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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Module C3A

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Module C3A: The Andromedan Threat File will be heading to the stores soon. What is in it? Well, first you have to understand that almost everything in this product is conjectural.

First, there is the Andromedan "dissection beam" which can dismember ships, but is fortunately short-ranged. There are four ships which use it (including a Devastator battleship variant).

There is a mini-energy module, a little larger than a T-bomb (and uses T-bomb spaces) that allows even a satellite ship to dump some energy from its panels and beam it overboard.

Pseudo-satellites can pretend to be not just Cobras, but Cobras, Vipers, or Mambas, or any variants of those hulls. So when those three Terminators suddenly appear, things will get real exciting real fast.

There were a lot of proposals for Andromedans with Galactic weapons, and just doing a lot of SSDs replacing tractor-repulsor beams with photons or disruptors or plasmatic pulsar devices or what-have-you would have been easy to do. Too easy, it would have felt like cheating the players (at least it felt like it to me). But I did do a "plasma pod," basically a modified cargo pod that could create plasma torpedoes that would then be launched by transporter. This of course gave them a myopic zone (they need to recover from disrupted fire control before they can actually pursue their targets), but they can be launched in ANY direction, and can be placed anywhere within five hexes of the mothership carrying the pod. There is a phaser-1 refit for every Andromedan unit, just to let you know how nasty they could have been if they were able to upgrade those weapons.

There is an alternate Andromedan command system which allows more Andromedan ships to turn up.

There are rules to allow the Andromedans to use their transporters to place nuclear space mines (and limits on the numbers of them they can have), but also rules that allow even a satellite ship to use its transporter to transport another satellite ship . . . or even a mothership.

Energy modules might not simply sit and slough energy into space; they may actively pursue your ship, by displacement, and detonate on reaching it.

Spatial distorters are yet another function of displacement devices that can break up your formations, or suddenly increase the range to an Andromedan ship, or make it impossible for your fighters to land back aboard the base for rearming.

Historically, the Andromedan mobile weapons platforms never really evolved, but now they gain warp booster packs (allowing them to reach Speed 31), and Adder fast patrol ships make their appearance with a full array of variants. An SSD of mobile weapons platforms, and of the variants thereof, was included so that players do not have to draw the added (two box) booster packs onto the SSDs in Module J2. (These SSDs also include the phaser-1 refit as appropriate.)

There were requests for Andromedan fighters and bombers, and well, if the Andromedans could launch satellite ships, why not bombers? So the Andromedans are able to launch bomber squadrons into direct combat. There is no real Andromedan "carrier," but modified cargo pods convert any mothership into a carrier of sorts. One of the problems was not allowing large openings on the Andromedan ships that those nasty galactic players could use to crash land shuttles full of Marines into an Andromedan ship, so even the fighters and bombers are launched by transporter (but one transporter operation can launch an entire squadron . . . recovery is a lot slower though). Further, virtually all of the fighters and bombers were designed to be "Andromedan," i.e., almost all of the fighters, and all of the bombers, use power-absorber technology, meaning with a little time they can "recover from damage" and come back into the fight.

Variants of different Andromedan units not see before are included. (What if the Conqueror were real, what would its variants look like? What if the Andromedans had upgraded the Viper like many Alpha Octant empires upgraded their frigates to heavy frigates? What if they upgraded their Cobras? Their Mambas?)

The first cut of Andromedan advanced technology rules appeared in Captain's Log #18, and are included, along with an array of advanced technology ships from an Intruder (the INX) down to the Viper (VPX), including rules for the X capabilities of systems included in Module C3A.

And, yes, there are suicide sleds that work like suicide freighters . . . but also a look at using cargo variants of satellite ships (Mamba, Cobra, Viper) as suicide ships, or even using a mothership that would otherwise have been taken out of service as a suicide ship.

Module C3A also includes a short timeline of the "alternate timeline" encountered by the Darwin. There's also an article looking at how the Andromedan conquest worked in that timeline, and an article about why the Andromedans did not see to adopt, or adapt to, technologies in the Alpha Octant.

The only thing NOT conjectural in Module C3A is the Fall of Demorak campaign. This is, in a small scale (because the Lyran Democratic Republic is smaller than most other empires) the first campaign about the assault on a "capital planet." This means it is big, and it will take multiple playings to wear it down, and both sides will have to carefully expend their resources in the quest for ultimate victory.