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Orion Pirate Smuggling Campaign

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The Ghost
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Orion Pirate Smuggling Campaign Reply with quote

Greetings all,

One of the local gaming groups I belong to meets every Wednesday with a different player running a game that week. Myself and another player have introduced them to Federation Commander. Many of the players used to play Star Fleet Battles in the past. When I game master I am going to run a smuggling campaign where the players cooperate together while competing to see who can deliver the most cargo to the final destination. Attached is the initial background and campaign setup provided to the players. The game will incorporate some borders of madness type material in that the pirates will be able to use fast patrol ships and fighters in the future if they decide to convert them from cargo into weapons.


Initial summary sent to players

Each player will be running a small group of pirate ships that are part of a larger overall pirate fleet. The goal of the pirate fleet is to smuggle equipment across multiple empires in the middle of the general war. The game master will be playing the forces of the law throughout the campaign. Players will be asked to make choices from a roleplaying aspect and those actions and applicable combat actions will affect future encounters. Additional background is in the attached file.

The first question from the game master to the players after they finish reading the attached campaign document is what route do they wish to take out of the "neutral" Orion province into occupied Federation space. The three choices are 1) through Klingon occupied areas 2) through the area were Klingon and Romulan occupied areas meet or 3) through Romulan occupied areas.


Campaign Document


Pirate Smuggling Campaign


The Orion Province is a member province of the Federation. It has long been associated with activities of the various pirate cartels. It is the height of the General War, the province of Orion has declared itself neutral in the conflict and has seceded from the Federation. The Klingon and Romulan invaders have swept by the province while respecting its neutrality. The war has been very lucrative while also being very damaging for the various pirate cartels. Lucrative in that the empires are distracted from preventing piracy, freighter traffic (targets) is at an all time high and some empires (the Klingons) are paying the pirates to attack their enemies (being paid twice for the same job). Damaging in that the war has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of warships in existence and on patrol that tend to shoot at pirates first and ask questions latter.

The local pirate cartel leader has received a lucrative contract to smuggle Orion weapon systems and high tech equipment to the WYN cluster at the border of Klingon, Lyran and Kzinti space. The contract is a joint contract from the Cluster Cartel and the WYN government. The Cluster Cartel is primarily looking for the weapon systems and the WYN government is primarily looking for the high tech equipment to use in a new line of ships. The weapons of war include Fast Patrol Ships, Fighters and shipboard weaponry. The high tech equipment is composed of electronics, sensor equipment and targeting systems. The weapons of war have been picked up at one of the local cartels clandestine bases (local leaders need plausible deniability about any association with the pirates). The fleet is currently setting out enroute to a Federation planet near the Federation/Kzinti border where the high tech equipment is being produced by Federation factories. The order for the equipment was placed with a dummy corporation and the goods will need to be picked up by the freighters that are accompanying the fleet to avoid any suspicion by the Federation police forces.

One of the first challenges will be to get past the Klingon/Romulan forces at the province border and then through the front lines of combat into Federation controlled space. The second challenge will be discretely pick up the high tech gear, hopefully without the law realizing what is going on until it is too late. Future challenges will include trying to sneak through Klingon and Kzinti space in an effort to reach the WYN cluster. Past experience has taught all that many more challenges are likely as pirate activities have never been easy, even less so in the middle of an all out war.

The gamemaster will be playing the forces of the law and the various empires throughout the campaign. The players will be individual representatives of the various crime lords that make up the capital pirate cartel. Each player will have some combination of the following – a warship, a fast orion freighter/smuggling ship and possibly a normal freighter. Pirate success will be assessed when (or possibly if ) the pirate fleet makes it to the WYN cluster. The first measure of success is for each individual player and will depend on how much cargo they delivered individually (bragging rights and jockeying for position inside the capital cartel). The second measure of success is how much cargo was delivered overall (how much the cartel is paid and what if any future jobs they receive from the WYN government and cluster cartel – there are rumors of a possible subsequent smuggling mission down to the Lyran Democratic Republic).

There will be some elements of roleplaying in the campaign as well as combat. The pirate forces will be asked to make decision as to what path the fleet will take. Choices made will affect what challenges are encountered and what empires are fought. Individual players may make choices related to their cargo (convert it to weapons to support the fleet at the cost of a loss in cargo, trade it away to other pirate cartels [non players] for assistance and supplies). Ships and equipment may be captured, added to the fleet, left behind due to damage, etc. Crippled ships might become a liability that slow the fleet down and increase the risk of a catastrophic encounter with a war fleet. Similar challenges may be encountered as a result of the slower speed of the freighters that are accompanying the fleet.

Existing rules that will likely apply

Transfer between ships by transporter – 1/5 (.2) cargo box per transporter
Transfer between docked ships – ½ (.5) cargo box per turn
Transfer via shuttlecraft – 3/10 (.3) cargo box per shuttle
Loading/Unloading shuttlecraft – 8 impulses

Up to two ships may be docked with a mobile base/commercial platform
Up to six ships may be docked with a base station

Ships and shuttles may land on planets
Land on the first impulse
Take off on the last impulse
Cargo may be loaded and unloaded by ships and shuttles landed on planets (treat as docked)
Transporters may beam items onto and off of planets

Campaign rules
As the pirates are operating away from normal supply sources, repairs will be tracked and will convert into expenditure of cargo. Each point of repairs will expend 1/50 (.02) of a cargo box. Note reloading drone racks count as repairs and expends the applicable amount of cargo. The only limit on repairs will be the amount of cargo the pirate player has remaining. In the larger scheme of things, individual repair costs will be small, but will likely add up over the course of the campaign.

Weaponization of cargo – Cargo items converted to weaponry will also result in a loss of cargo. If the weapon system is still intact at the end of the campaign, partial value will be granted for the used item (50%). This one is an interesting choice as it can add significant combat potential, but at a cost to the overall amount of cargo delivered. Any weaponization will need to wait until after leaving the Orion province as the local cartel boss will frown upon such blatant conversion of resources while still in “friendly” territory.

Orion Pirate Rules

Engines on Orion ships (not freighters) may be doubled to provide double the power for that turn. This is hard on the engines and destroy a portion of them at the end of the turn (after the repair phase). This damage may be repaired in future repair phases.

Starting weapons
All option mounts will have either a photon, disrupter, phaser 1 or drone at the start. These may be upgraded as the campaign progresses based on fleet location and player actions. Items from captured ships may be cannibalized and moved to pirate ships.

Stealth Coating
All Orion ships have a built in stealth coating. All direct fire weapons targeted at them add +1 to the hit roll. Seeking weapons that hit (after all defensive fire) miss on a roll of a 6.


Intel provided to the Pirate Captains


Some additional background on the ongoing war. The area where the Klingons and Romulan conquered areas meet is not so much a contested area, but an area where two allies have met in conquered Federation territory. The alliance is strong enough that they will not blame their ally for any attacks that occur there. They will suspect Federation Raiders, a Federation Task force or Orions for anything that goes on here (assuming none of their ships get home).

Some possible Pro/Cons of pursuing this path based on intelligence information

Pro - Likely a more limited response from either of the empires as it is at the edge of each empires conquered area
Con - Likely to draw a response from both empires, that may be stronger overall

Pro - Response will likely be split into two separate elements on separate areas of the battlefield (one from each empire)
Con - Same as previous con - possible greater response

Pro - Response will likely have mixed weapons (disr and plasmas)
Con - Same as previous con - possible greater response

Pro - Shorter distance to Federation controlled territory
Con - Response may be quicker/more decisive as they want to keep Orion cut off from the Federation


Intelligence information based on going through Romulan controlled territory

Pro - Romulans have weak drone defense
Con - Romulans ships can cloak and they have plasma torpedos, which can pack a powerful punch if they hit

Possible OPFOR (Opposing Force) Romulans may have the older "bird" type ships watching the Orion enclave.
Pro - Ships are slower and take less damage once shields are penetrated.
Con - Torpedos can be powerful

May have opportunity to obtain a cloak or plasma torpedos if a ship is captured.


Intelligence information for going through Klingon occupied territory

Pro - Klingon disrupter lack the immediate crunch capability of Romulan Torpedos and they have no cloaks.

Con - Disrupters fire every turn, Klingons have better drone defense and they have more marines

Possible OPFOR (Opposition Force) - no current intel

Possibility to obtain drone resupplies and possibly some additional pirate crewmembers as Klingons have many subject races who don't like being members of the Klingon empire.
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Commodore Mendez
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 07 Jan 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

neat idea
"thats no moon...."
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The Ghost
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the more experienced players was appointed the overall fleet commander and set about organizing his compatriats. They players ended up crossing into the Romulan oocupied space and immediately set about weaponizing everything in the cargo holds that they could get away with Smile. Within a day of setting out they encountered a cloaked patrol ship (Snipe) that continued to dog them despite repeated attempts to shake it lose. About a week into the journey, they encountered a Romulan force composed of War Eagles, Battle Hawks and Snipes. The Romulan force was split into four sepate groups and was overall weeker than the pirate fleet. The pirates quickly damaged and overran an isolated War Eagle while suffering damage to one of the Fast Patrol ships that they had activated (weaponized). They then proceeded onward out of the area as the rest of the Romulans had hot torpedos and the fleet commander decided it wasn't worth the risk of fighting the rest of the ships. The Battlehawks and Snipes are shadowing them with the War Eagles continuing to fall even further back. The race is now on to see if they can reach the Federation border before additional Romulan forces close in on them.

Some GM take aways

I divided the pirate fleet into six groups of ships to match the player numbers and then had them roll randomly to see who got what. One of the players new to the system ended up with his two ships, a freighter and three of the activated weaponized fast patrol ships. Unfortunately, I missed this and I need to juggle a few ships assignments to transfer the fast patrol ships to another player. Not a major headache at this stage in the campaign, but something I will definately keep an eye on in the future allocation of resources that are under GM control.

War Eagles make even worse pursuit ships than I thought they would. I ended up having to decide if I wanted to use their power to pursue or to arm the weapons. Not a good choice to have to make, but war is never fair.

The Romulan forces were split up to much to effectively hamper the pirates as the blasted through the one blocking War Eagle.

edited to add GM take aways
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The Ghost
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After breaking through the Romulan forces the pirates continued fleeing at full speed for the edge of Federation controlled space. With their main combatants (War Eagles) unable to close and arm torpedos effectively at the same time, the Romulans settled for shadowing the Pirate fleet and reporting their position.

The Pirate fleet Captain was faced with three possible options based on intelligence data. 1) He could proceed to the left toward the join of Klingon and Romulan occupied territory. 2) He could proceed straight ahead towards Federation territory where forces appeared to be gathering to assault a Federation base station. 3) He could proceed to the right through more Romulan occupied territory.

The decision was made to proceed on the least time path straight towards the possible battle at the base station.

Upon arrival in the area, scans detected 2 Firehawks, 2 Sparrowhawks and 3 Skyhawks closing on a Federation Base Station, 2 Frigates, a Police Cruiser and 6 fighters (direct fire weapons .

Attempts to negotiate passage with the Romulans were rebuffed. The Romulans assumed the cargo vessels are carrying supplies for the Federation. Attempts to negotiate an agreement with the Federation were more succesfull. The Pirates agreed to joint action against the Pirates and the Federation Commander identified he would experience communication difficulties for a couple of days after the battle and would not be able to report about the pirates until that time had past.

The Romulans turned to attack the Pirate fleet to stop the "supplies" from getting to the Federation. The pirates turned and headed towards one flank while engaging the pirates.

While closing range, the three Skyhawks were effectively crippled by long range fire and one Sparrowhawk is moving away at a high rate of speed because of the drone swarm targeted at it. The Pirates lost a pair of fighters and suffered some incidental damage. Most of the pirate heavy weapons have been expended and the Romulans are planing on closing to point blank range to destroy as many cargo vessels as possible. The Battlehawk and Snipe on that flank will also be closing in to assault the pirates as well.
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The Ghost
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the pirates proceeded around the one flank, the battlehawk and snipe shadowing on that side closed in. The two war eagle trailing behind appeared on the pirate sensors as well. The pirates continued to press forward and volleyed many of their phasers into one of the firehawks in the front force. The Romulans decided to bolt their plasmas vice closing to point blank range with the fast patrol ships and fighters. The Federation fired their photons at the same time. One Romulan Firehawk and one Romulan Sparrowhawk were hurt in the exchange and damage was scored on two of the freighters, one LR and one fast patrol ship in the pirate fleet. The Romulan main force then turned off to keep the range open against a possible drone launch. The pirate fleet then turned in towards the Federation base to run under its guns and hopefully keep the rest of the Romulans away. The war eagles being at extreme range opted to bolt their torpedos at this time and did some minor additional damage with one hit. The battle hawk and the snipe bolted all their torpedos and fired all their phasers at most hurt freighter and with exceptional gunnery skills scored multiple hits that ruptured the cotainment field on the ship. At this point and time, the Romulans withdrew to repair and the pirates fled into Federation space. The base commander continued his efforts to evacuate all non essential personnel.
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Lieutenant JG

Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 66
Location: Savannah GA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so how did the campaign end up?
"The Galaxy Must by Ours!"

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The Ghost
Lieutenant JG

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note to self need to check this sub forum more often.

I ended up stopping the campaign as I was running the entire opposition force by myself and it was causing some challenges. I will end up redesigning a campaign to allow players to play on both sides of the campaign while earning points irregardless of which side they are playing. I am running a system like that for a WWII skirmish game currently and it seems to work well as I can sit back and referee as needed while plyers on both sides get to enjoy playing the game.
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