A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

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A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:11 pm

As a distraction from writing rules and trying to get new books done, I'm starting a small solo exploration campaign using the ships from the old Starfleet Museum site. I'm doing a very loose conversion, just using the basic class concepts and order of introduction to build my initial force list.

United Federation of Planets.pdf
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I'll be playing as the Federation in this game, and as I explore I'll see if I run into any other aliens (oh, but of course I will!) and then convert them over, too.

My starting Tech Year is this game is 2157, which is the baseline year on my conversion list and gives me 10 unit classes up to and including the Tannhauser cruiser. One of the conceits of the Starfleet Museum ships is that the early Federation vessels were hobbled by old engines and power systems. As such, most of my ships start out with the Slow trait.

I'm going to start with a single Homeworld system and expand outwards from there, so let's roll up those stats.

The base Homeworld has 10 Capacity, 3 Raw, 9 Census, 8 Morale, and 6 Productivity. I then roll 3 times on the Special Traits Table to see what I get. My rolls give me +2 Raw, +1 Census, +1 Morale. This gives Sol final stats of:

Sol: 10 Capacity, 5 Raw, 10 Census, 9 Morale, and 6 Productivity.

I then roll for jump lanes. I roll poorly, and Sol only has 2 jump lanes connecting to it. Well, at least that might make the system easier to defend!

My economic output in Sol is 6 Utilized Productivity x 5 Raw = 30 economic points. That gives me 150 economic points to spend on starting forces. I know I'm going to spend 20 points on an Orbital Shipyard, and another 10 points on a Trade Fleet for Sol (for the income bonus). That leaves 120 points to spend on military units.

I know I need ground forces in Sol to keep it from having Morale problems. I'm going to purchase 6 Infantry (18 EP) to patrol the system and keep the population in line. That leaves me with 102 points for ships. I don't think I'm going to build any bases right now, but I added one to my force list during setup just in case I needed one later on. And technically I have the units off of the Universal List, too.

I need two scout forces to explore from Sol. Right now my only Scout is the Baikal, and it is a Scout (1). I need 2 Baikal to get a +1 to my exploration roll, or 4 Baikal to get a +2 to my exploration roll. I'm going to go ahead and assemble my scout forces like this:

Scout Force One
4 Baikal CL

Scout Force Two
4 Baikal CL

This costs me 40 points, leaving me with 62 to spend on actual warships.

The core of my fleet is going to be the Tannhauser CLs, because they have a good mix of Defense and Command to anchor squadrons. I'm filling that out with Krechet DD and Archer GB, which are unfortunately my best fighting ships. I'm also picking up a pair of Bison supply ships that can travel with my fleet and keep it in supply.

Task Force 1.1
2 Tannhauser CL
1 Krechet DD
2 Archer GB

Task Force 1.2
1 Tannhauser CL
2 Krechet DD
2 Archer GB

Task Force 1.3
1 Tannhauser CL
2 Krechet DD
2 Archer GB

Task Force 1.4
2 Bison CL

Task Force 2.1
1 Krechet DD
6 Archer GB

This gives me a total of 4 Tannhausers, 6 Krechet, 2 Bison, 8 Baikal, 12 Archer, 6 Infantry, and 1 Orbital Shipyard. The cost to maintain these are 2 + 2 + 3 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 17 EPT. That leaves me making 13 EPT from Sol, plus an additional 3 EPT from the Trade Fleet in Sol, for a total of 16 EPT. That's enough economic points to purchase a Colony Fleet every other turn, or I could save up and start upgrading Productivity in Sol to maximize my income.

Looking at the ships I'll have available going forward in this game, it's going to be awhile before I get anything all that remarkable. I'll end up getting a fighter and carrier fairly soon, but it's going to be awhile before I get any truly good ships. And the time period I picked means that I'll never see any of the iconic TOS ships unless I make them available early and the game lasts much longer than I foresee happening. Optimistically, I would only ever expect about 10 years of tech advancement to happen, or about one a year. If the campaign were to somehow last 20 years, then we'd start getting into some newer, more interesting tech.

Anyway, that's my starting position! I'll be playing a bit later today and will report back with what happens.
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:31 pm

2257 Federation.pdf
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For reference, here is a copy of the turn sheet format that I use when I play VBAM. It's a pretty basic Word document (although this is of course a PDF copy of that). System and maintenance data is stored in an Excel file, and then I just record my turn orders on the sheet. Fleet movement I handle by putting orders in like "Sol => Alpha Centauri" to indicate where a fleet is moving, or if a fleet is exploring I just put an * after its location to let me know that I need to roll for it.

This shows all of the Federation's assets at the end of the Turn Orders Phase on Turn 2157.1. I'm now ready to proceed with generating the turn and getting my asset sheet updated for 2157.2.
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:42 pm

A New Beginning - Year 2157

2157.1
  • Scout Force Two explores to Proxima (Unimportant, Outpost, 3 Capacity, 1 Raw, 2 Jump Lanes)
  • Sol Shipyards begin construction on 2 Bison supply ships to finish out that maintenance group
2157.2 - 2157.3
  • Nothing to report
2157.4
  • Scout Force Two explores to Indi (Minor, Colony, 8 Capacity, 2 Raw, 2 Jump Lanes)
  • 2 Bison supply ships completed in Sol
2157.5
  • Scout Force Two explores to Hyperion (Minor, Colony, 8 Capacity, 2 Raw, 2 Jump Lanes)
  • Began construction on 6 Amarillo DD @ Sol. This construction order maxes out the Orbital Shipyard’s available slipways. The reason I’m building older DDs is because they cost less and can be built faster. Right now the fact that they are Slow doesn't bother me, as I don't have anywhere to send them in a hurry.
2157.6
  • Scout Force Two falls back to Indi to be resupplied by a military supply ship chain I set up over the restricted Proxima/Indi lane
  • Colony Fleet purchased at Sol
2157.7
  • Second Colony Fleet built at Sol
  • First Colony Fleet begins loading Census in preparation for moving out to Indi to start a new colony. Taking a Census with me lets me start with 2 Census and 2 Morale.
  • Scout Force Two goes back to Hyperion so that it can try to explore again next turn
  • Amarillos completed
2157.8
  • Colony Fleet 1 (along with 3 Amarillo escorts in TF 5) move to Proxima en route to Indi to colonize
  • Colony Fleet 2 loads Census at Sol. It will then begin moving out to Hyperion next turn.
2157.9
  • Colony Fleet 1 arrives in Indi and establishes a new colony (2 Census, 2 Morale)
2157.10
  • 1 Productivity @ Indi
2157.11
  • Colony Fleet 2 arrives in Hyperion and colonizes the system (2 Census, 2 Morale)
  • Begin building a Supply Depot @ Sol to move out to Hyperion. This takes up 20 of the system's 30 construction capacity and will take 10 turns to build. I'd debated holding off and hoping to get either Indi or Hyperion to 3 Utilized Productivity to turn them into supply points that way, but I think I'm going to need to get supply out there sooner rather than later.
2157.12
  • Building 2 Militia @ Indi to give it some troops and remove chance of Morale loss from being undefended
  • Tech advances to 2158 (fails second advance, with a 11% chance)
  • No population increases (+1 to next rolls).
  • No new emerging empires activated (+1% per turn that no jump lanes are explored, so I had a 9% chance of someone finding me). This is a rule from the 2e Companion.

2158-federation-map.png
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The first year of the campaign was pretty uneventful. Scout Force One failed to explore that last jump lane out of Sol. The fact that my jump lanes rolls have been so bad (2 per system!) means that I really don't have any good avenues for expansion left. I'm glad I didn't trigger a new empire on the last turn, as that would have forced me to start preparing for war.

My tech advance earned me the Marconi scout cruiser: Cost 6, Maint 3/4, DV 5, AS 0, AF 2, CR 6, CC 2, CV 0, Scout (2). It is an updated version of the Baikal that I already have, but is twice as good when it comes to number of scout functions. I may start refitting my Baikals into Marconis sooner rather than later to improve my chances of scout success.

My per-turn income is still miserable compared to 1e, but the constraints don't seem to be giving me too much of a problem. If I can get a Supply Depot out at Hyperion and a few Marconis built I should be able to continue pressing my expansion down that warp chain.

I almost had a raider attack at Sol this year, but missed it by about 2%. I'm glad, because a strong enough raider fleet could probably have bloodied by defenders pretty good, and I don't have enough shipyard capacity to repair them -- especially since the Federation don't have any Atmospheric ships!
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:45 am

Well, this happened:

2158-6-federation-map.png
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I just can't catch a break!

Went through a few different NPE generation routines before I found one that seemed the most straightforward of the available prototypes I had. The one I had converted from the Companion had some hiccups and I wanted to refine it a bit more.

Anyway, I have to generate stats for the Tholian Assembly forces and get them setup and ready to play. They have 90 AG, 70 IN, and 90 XE, and our starting relationship is a 10 (!). War between the Federation and Tholians is all but guaranteed, unfortunately, and the Tholians have an economy 3 times larger than our own. Not that the Federation knows this. It doesn't help the the Tholians discovered and swallowed up the Andorians during their own generation.

With OOC knowledge, I think the Federation might stand a chance here if they manage to take and hold on to Gorath just long enough to split the Tholian empire. Taking Gorath would definitely level the playing field economically. Otherwise, Sol may want to start building those starbases after all to turtle up and try to hold out against the Tholian hordes.

I'd really hoped that the Andorians would have held out in the pre-contact war, but alas it was not to be.

Maybe I should intervene on the the Federation's behalf and have their next tech advance give them a Mass Driver equipped ship? :twisted:
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby PaulB » Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:03 am

Tyrel Lohr wrote:As a distraction from writing rules and trying to get new books done, I'm starting a small solo exploration campaign using the ships from the old Starfleet Museum site. I'm doing a very loose conversion, just using the basic class concepts and order of introduction to build my initial force list.


Unrelated to the campaign but super cool website. Never seen it before. There's a lot of artwork done for all of those ships.


On topic, what software do you use to create the nodal maps? And are those sort of icons available to players to use with whatever software they might have? It might be a cool resource to have a few ready-made icons for players to use with gimp or other free software if they want to try and create a snazzy map like that one.

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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:51 pm

Starfleet Museum was an interesting take on the early pre-Federation ships, although it has all been superseded by the events of Enterprise with no real ability to reconcile the differences. Still, they are pretty cool looking ships that would work in any setting.

I really should have picked a different era of Star Trek for this campaign, or done something slightly different, because it wasn't until after I started that I realized that they only did like three or four Romulan ship designs -- which isn't enough to have a useful fleet, even with converting over the canon ships from that period.

The maps are done in Illustrator, and I think players should be able to open up any of the map files in Illustrator or Inkscape and use them to create the maps. What I've been doing is putting a hex underlay beneath the map and using it to guide positioning (figure out ring positions, etc.) and then turn that on or off depending as needed and locking it when it isn't needed.

I really should have used the FASA ships for this campaign, or gone back to my old method just randomly creating units based on the amount of starting Productivity in the home system plus extras for the future Tech Years, but I wanted to experiment a little bit. I have created some stats for the Tholians now, but I'm not sure I'm happy with how they turned out. I'm using Disruptor to simulate their web casters, and gave them mostly small ships with a few large ships (including a pair of dreadnoughts).

I'm still trying to get used to the new Tech system as far as it relates to conversions. I'm of two minds, really. The first is to do a strict conversion where I keep the ISD the same as the source material, and the second is to build a looser, more "campaign friendly" force list that just gives units in order and makes it easier to pick a date and run from there. Still debating it. I may end up doing a reboot, but for right now I may just kick around converting some FASA ships over and seeing what I can come up with there.
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:57 am

The Federation campaign has fizzled out, but I'm in the middle of playtesting some rules for the COMPANION, so I decided to throw together some stuff and just see what I come up with here.

I randomly rolled a home system for my new empire using the Star Types and Campaign System Generation rules. The star type was F5V (a white main sequence star) with 3 jump lanes, and the system is a Minor (Colony) with Capacity 8, Raw 4, Census 5, Morale 4, and Productivity 5. The planet is a Barren world with a single moon. The planet has a climate much like Mars, so it's not ideal but I can live with it. Productivity and Terraforming costs are 50% greater here. I'm calling this the Tiber system, and my empire is the elusive Romulans. I am using some of the FASA ships I converted last month, starting at a Tech Year of 2240. This gives me a decent selection of ships to work from.

Image

Okay, so we're the Romulans. Tiber has an economic output of 20, which gives me 100 EP to work with. Given the current costs in the rules (including some updates I made today to the working draft), I'm starting with the following assets:

3 Vastam cl’Vangas DD (12)
4 Vastagor Lattam FF (16)
6 Revastal CT (24 EP)
8 Praetor ST (2 EP)
1 Trade Fleet (20 EP)*
1 Orbital Shipyard (20 EP)
2 Regulars (6 EP)

*I increased the cost of a Trade Fleet to 20 EP and then doubled the amount of economic points you earn from Commerce Income. This preserves the cost-to-output ratio for Trade Fleets and eliminates the need to halve Utilized Productivity when calculating Commerce Income.

The ships I have available aren't that great, but it gives me a good core fleet to work with. I had been tempted to take a Dhael'tagor battlecruiser (the Condor dreadnought from SFB), but ultimately decided that it would be better to load up on a larger number of ships for the flexibility.

The Vastam cl'Vangas DD is my best ships, and it is DV 4, AS 4, AF 1, CR 5, CC 2. No Cloaks in this fleet, as it is too early for the FASA cloak ships to come into play. I have to wait about 6 years for those to arrive.

My total Maintenance with these forces is 9 EP/turn. My total Income is 20 (System) + 5 (Commerce) = 25 EP/turn, which leaves me at +16 EP/turn. A decent gain, and at least enough to work with.

Astute players will note that I don't have a proper troop garrison at Tiber, and I'll risk losing Morale the first few turns until I can get extra troops built. Luckily, I can crank out some Militias on my first turn to make up for that.
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:37 am

2240, Turn 1

Tiber Empire
Current Treasury: 16

First order of business is to purchase 5 Militia at Tiber. This is the maximum number of ground forces I can purchase there this turn, and each Militia costs 1 EP. The total cost is 5 EP. I'm also going to spend 8 EP to start building another 2 Vastam cl'Vangas DD. This leaves 3 EP in my Treasury.

My Revastal scout corvettes (Atmospheric, Scout 1) are going to start heading out into the galaxy. I am combining them into 3 Scout Forces, each containing a pair of Revastals. That is enough to get a +1 exploration bonus for each fleet. This isn't great, and a better play might be to put them all in one scout force, but I don't want all of my eggs in one basket. At least not just yet.

The rest of the fleet is sitting at home and organized into two squadrons. I obviously don't have much in the way of a fleet yet! This is part of the reason that systems with < 20 EP/turn income should probably just be non-aligned worlds. In that case, I would have had a bit more to work with.

Anyway, that's my orders for the turn.

Scout Force 1 successfully explored on its first try! It jumped into a F3VI white subdwarf single star system with 2 jump lanes. The system is a Major (Major Colony) Superterrestrial planet with 2 moons. It is also inhabited by an Interstellar power (boo!). It has Capacity 9, Raw 4, Census 9, Morale 8, Productivity 5. This system is named Irune and hey, look, it's the Volus Protectorate!

Image

*sshht* Greetings, Romulan-clan *sshkt*

This wouldn't be a VBAM campaign if you didn't have this kind of cruel Turn 1 luck, now would it?

The jump lane connecting Irune to Tiber is restricted. At least that is in our favor (because the odds definitely aren't!).

I'm not going to give the Volus any other starting colonies, because they really don't need them at this point. Also, given that I don't want to stop and generate unit statistics for them, I'm going to have them use the Kili force list.

The Volus have a starting Tech Year of 2239, a year behind our Romulans. Because 2240 is my starting year, and 3000 is the default start for the sample empires, I'll give the Volus everything but the last ISD 3000 ship off of the Kili force list. So they don't have the Wall CA yet, but they have everything else.

The Volus will have 100 EP to spend on their own starting forces.

3 Discretion CVL (15 EP)
3 Aegis DD (15 EP)
3 Riposte DD (15 EP)
12 Screen LF (3 EP)
1 Trade Fleet (20 EP)
1 Orbital Shipyard (20 EP)
3 Defense Brigade (12 EP)

Not a bad fleet. Could use more Parry FF for cheap, low CC filler, but this is enough to give them a respectable fighting force right out of the gate.

The Volus Protectorate are AG 8, IN 7, XE 10. Lovely. The Reapers really did a number on these little guys, and now they're pissed. Our initial relationship is at 3. That's on a 10 point scale. That is also not good. They pass their hostilities check, and decide to fly out and shoot at my scouts! Ha! :roll:

The Romulan scout commander decides to run like the wind. The Volus demand a Deep Space scenario, the Romulans refuse, and a Pursuit is generated. The Task Forces:

Romulan "OH CRAP" Squadron
2 Revastal CT

Volus "DEATHBRINGER" Squadrons
A) 1 Discretion CL, 1 Aegis DD, 1 Riposte DD, 4 Screen LF
B) 1 Discretion CL, 1 Aegis DD, 1 Riposte DD, 4 Screen LF
C) 1 Discretion CL, 1 Aegis DD, 1 Riposte DD, 4 Screen LF

The Romulans have 2 scout functions, the Volus have 3 scout functions.

Romulans roll Normal readiness. Volus roll Disastrous, but they ignore below Normal readiness.

The Romulans extend scenario length by 0 rounds (-1 from scouts). The Volus extend scenario length by 5 rounds (+1 from scouts). Pursuit has a -2 round modifier. Final length is 3 rounds. Sigh.

I really don't see how I'm going to survive this. I'm SLIGHTLY outgunned here, you know? Oh, I never did say what the Revastals had, did I? Where here they are:

Image
Revastal CT: Cost 4, Maint 2/8, DV 2, AS 1, AF 0, CR 2, CC 1, Atmospheric, Scout 1

Yeah, this isn't good.

I am foregoing fire on the Revastals to gain +1 scout function each. I'm then using those 4 scout functions to halve the AS of 2 Riposte DD.

The Volus are using their 3 scout functions to give each carrier a +1 formation level.

Round 1, First Phase 1: The Volus have 13 AS. They roll 4, giving them 5 damage. They blow one Revastal out of the sky and score 1 damage to the second.

Round 1, Fire Phase 4: The Volus fighters dart in. They have 12 AS. They roll 4, scoring 4 damage. Another bites the dust.

The Romulan fleet has been destroyed. The Volus have taken no damage.

The Tiber Imperium gains 1 XP from exploring the lane (minimum they could have rolled). The Volus gain 8 XP for slaughtering the Romulans. That's all I need, an outstanding Volus leader!
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:02 am

2240, Turn 2

Tiber Empire
Starting Treasury: 3
System Income: 20
Commerce Income: 5
Maintenance: 10
Current Treasury: 18
Experience: 1
Pride Status: Wounded :evil:


Volus Protectorate [AG 8, IN 7, XE 10]
Starting Treasury: 0
System Income: 20
Commerce Income: 5
Maintenance: 12
Current Treasury: 13
Experience: 8


Political Situation
Volus/Tiber Relationship: 3 :|

I didn't really elaborate there in the last post, but Irune is a Superterrestrial planet. This is a big, rocky, high-gravity planet that isn't hospital for most forms of life. The Romulans would have a +100% cost modifier if they tried to live there, which is as bad as it gets. I'm not using the full First Contact rules here, but the Volus are Superterrestrial Natives, which means that they actually like Superterrestrial worlds and have a +0% modifier there. They just find it difficult to live most every place else.

The discovery of the Volus right next door is a worst case scenario, but we'll roll with it. I'm glad that we have 2 Vastam cl'Vangas DD in the yards right now, but I'm really wishing I'd bought that battlecruiser with my starting points now. Here's the stats for the Dhael'tagor:

Dhael'tagor CB: Cost 8, Maint 2/2, DV 7, AS 6, AF 3, CR 7, CC 4, CV 1

It's pretty beefy and would do a number on those Volus, but alas we don't have one. We do have 12 construction capacity left open at our Orbital Shipyard, though, so I'm going to spend the 8 EP to get one started.

Meanwhile, I'm going to spend another 8 EP to start building some Vadaso Stelri FF on the planet. These Atmospheric ships are better against fighters. Given that the Volus have lots of carriers, that is something I'd like to have.

Vadaso Stelri FF: Cost 4, Maint 1/6, DV 3, AS 1, AF 2, CR 3, CC 1, Atmospheric

The FASA Romulans in this conversion really lack any cheap ships because so many of them are Atmospheric, and their early fleet has a lot of Scouts. I have to wait until Year 2250 to get my Vas'Hatham. Though, technically, I do have the Vas'hathirra on my list which is kind of a "SFB-era" Bird of Prey version. It is Stealth (1) and otherwise has the same combat stats as a Vastam cl'Vangas. The Stealth could help, but I think I want numbers instead.

My remaining 2 EP are put into tech investment.

The Volus, meanwhile, are bloodthirsty monsters apparently. They killed two scouts without breaking a sweat and are ready to keep on pushing forward. They could jump to my homeworld this turn, but I just rolled a d10 against their XE and didn't get a 10, so I think they'll decide to stay home for now. But they'll definitely be building up their war fleet now.

They will build a fourth Discretion CVL to finish out the maintenance group (5 EP) and then invest in another Aegis DD (5 EP). The last 3 EP are used to purchase 3 Militias. This will be enough to make Irune properly garrisoned and avoid Morale loss.

Scout Force 3 disappeared this turn while exploring from Tiber. Did the Volus get them, too? Or were they just in peril? (It was totally a scout peril roll) :(

The Volus/Romulan relationship roll was the worst possible roll (diplomatic incident). Relationship drops to 2. Subsequent hostilities check just barely avoids a Volus attempt to declare war on us. They're increasingly suspicious of our motives, though. Who knew that long term survival could be so threatening?
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:31 am

2240, Turn 3

Tiber Empire
Starting Treasury: 0
System Income: 20
Commerce Income: 5
Maintenance: 10
Current Treasury: 15
Tech Investment: 2
Experience: 1


Volus Protectorate [AG 8, IN 7, XE 10]
Starting Treasury: 0
System Income: 20
Commerce Income: 5
Maintenance: 13
Current Treasury: 12
Tech Investment:
Experience: 8


Political Situation
Volus/Tiber Relationship: 2 :shock:

We've got our system nearly at full capacity now. There is enough room at our Orbital Shipyard for one extra ship, and a bit over half at our planetary factories. Right now every ship is going to help, so I'm building another Vastam cl'Vangas DD at Tiber (4 EP) and 2 Vastagor Lattam on the planet (8 EP). The other 3 EP go into tech investment.

The Volus are still debating whether or not to send a fleet over to check Tiber out. Given their extreme XE, though, it's pretty hard for them to decide to rock over center and actually go check us out. Right now it's like 30% because of their XE and Relationship. They are thinking about it, but they're just not too sure they want to do it YET.

Given their XE, I'm going to have them start investing in some defsats off of the universal list. Say, about 12 Basic AS Defsats for 12 EP. All built in a turn. FEAR US, ROMULAN-CLAN!

No exploration or raiders this turn. It's quiet. But then it's always the most calm before the storm...
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby PaulB » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:13 pm

Are the Volus from Mass Effect? Kinda look like a Hitchhikers alien but Reapers I think is ME (haven't played those games too much but will one day)

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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:58 pm

PaulB wrote:Are the Volus from Mass Effect? Kinda look like a Hitchhikers alien but Reapers I think is ME (haven't played those games too much but will one day)


Yeah, the Volus are from Mass Effect. They are cute little guys, and they eventually added them as a playable class to the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.

In this case, I added them because the alien homeworld was a Superterrestrial planet type, which is what the Volus would have if they were ported over to VBAM.
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby PaulB » Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:44 pm

I wonder is there a system within VBAM specifically designed for Solo play? I get the impression that most solo campaigns are sort of born with the requirement that the player indulges in a bit of schizophrenia and by the end is perhaps gaming multiple empires and not simply the one he/she began with.

It would be cool, albeit difficult I think, to have a system where new empires are not so much determined in full and gamed thereafter but revealed in pieces and developed as time goes on. Such a system might require a ton of charts however, which are in turn modified by those existing attributes.

The enjoyment from Solo play seems to be in large part the exploration aspect and I would venture that exploring a race is likewise part of the enjoyment but in the current system the player seems to have full understanding of a race, down to its fleet composition, at first contact.

Some ideas might be:
At first contact, the important question is How does the enemy react to you? Maybe this is influenced by the location of the encounter.

Then from their reaction, you can develop other traits. Maybe those traits are developed as the player has contact with them. They get a check to knowledge of that race for example. If they're hostile, why? Aggressive? Xenophobic? The hostility would modify the roll and make some things more likely but not impossible.

Overtime you can learn how big they are, how advanced they are. Maybe for the fleets there are a few basic types which can be modified by certain rolls which in turn change the costs. Maybe they favour small tough ships, so they get the small ships list but those are modified with a DV + Cost increase.

But overall, the specific ideas of the race are determined when the player needs to know them. If the enemy declares war on the player, how big is the fleet in relation to their own? How big is their empire and how does the size of that empire affect how long ships take to reach the front? Fleets can remain an amorphous number until needed and industrial capacity can likewise be overall. Are their defences centralized or decentralized? Industrial? If you need to roll for 10 turns of spending, and that spending is all on defence which translates to say 70/30 OSATs and ground troops where are they located? Mabye centralized they fortified the homeworld and left the outer systems relatively undefended sort of thing.

Such a system would probably need a book unto itself and that book would need to be well indexed, organized and so forth to be as usable as possible but I think it would benefit solo campaigns in two ways, one it would bring the exploration aspect to the enemy races and two it would minimize those race book keeping until such time that it was necessary to know.

In your current campaign, maybe the Romulans run into the Volus and a firefight ensues. Maybe the Volus employed better ships as well. Now the romulans are wondering, oh boy are these guys going to invade? How big is their empire? How many ships do they have? So now maybe the player has options for how to proceed, maybe he starts scouting around that contact system to try and find other systems, they get a % chance to find other systems and scouting helps to determine how big the empire is. Maybe the player can also try to initiate diplomatic relations which in turn can reveal other traits or maybe prompt other actions which in turn develop traits. Or maybe the player just turtles up and as the turns pass there's a check to see whether the Volus have responded with a probing or invasion force of their own.

It still would require a bit of book keeping, specifically a history of the different events which would in turn influence the rolls but I think it would be more enjoyable and less of a hurdle than an all out examination of the enemy.

One problem might be to keep the enemy engaging once the exploration of who they are has been exhausted, that would probably require something similar to what With a Purpose is reportedly going to offer. Like an enemy encounter system where the aliens have aims but those aims are not known until later. Some sort of branching system.

All in all don't know how difficult, feasible or popular such a system would be, but I think it would be appealing for solo players.

PS - Maybe this post should really be a thread unto its own.

wminsing
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Re: A New Beginning - Early Federation Campaign

Postby wminsing » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:08 pm

It would be cool, albeit difficult I think, to have a system where new empires are not so much determined in full and gamed thereafter but revealed in pieces and developed as time goes on. Such a system might require a ton of charts however, which are in turn modified by those existing attributes.


Man, I *LOVE* this idea. Definitely worth a thread of it's own.

-Will
"Ships and sail proper for the heavenly air should be fashioned. Then there will also be people, who do not shrink from the dreary vastness of space."
-- Johannes Kepler, 1609


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