Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers Session 1
Operation Eight

Introduction: The Dick Winters is gliding through space in formation with two other Terran troop carrier ships. There is a montage of soldiers coming awake, rolling out of their racks and hurriedly dressing in fatigues and rushing to assemble. The three ships bear down on a planet – a greyish-green world hanging in empty space, dotted with tiny green specks of light from Tarka settlements on the surface.

{Play Starcraft Intro music}

Introduction of each character in a montage of scenes similar to an HBO miniseries. Each one is seen in an iconic situation (for that character), for instance Harrison Jones is polishing a knife and looks up in the general direction of the camera, Kobe Glawson is yelling and wild-eyed as he points his E-Cannon at some off-screen enemy and discharges it in a flash of deadly neon-blue light, Lou Masterson is horsing around with some of the guys throwing a crude football over the rookie Trooper Glenn’s head to Trooper Andrew Sergevobik and smiling goofishly as the camera focuses on him, and Amstill Brown is looking serious as he pulls on the armored gloves to a Marauder Mobile Infantry combat suit. This is a basic roll-credits scene that will reappear in every session after a short introductory scene, establishing the format of the show.

Scene 1

{Terran Ready Room music}
The troops are gathered in the briefing room. Lieutenant Pennington briefly goes over the mission objectives. He explained how this would be different from Capella, and why this may be a very, very long war. He wishes everyone luck and dismisses them, but holds Sgt Brown aside at the end of the briefing. Puzzled, Brown remains. First Sergeant Bakhtiar also remains.

“Have you ever used tactical nuclear weapons to date, Sergeant?” asks Pennington.
“No sir,” replies Brown. “Capella hadn’t really prepared us for that.”
“And so what would you say your comfort level with them is then, Sergeant?”
“I’d have to say almost none sir, like I said I’ve never used them before.”
“Very well then. Sergeant Bakhtiar, take a double load of nukes for yourself on this drop. Sergeant Brown, Third Platoon will be in a support role to mark targets for the other squads. Simply clear the areas of hostiles and Bakhtiar’s boys will drop the hammer.”

Scene 2

{Play Starsiege Shell, Terran Defeat music}
The troopers are gathered in the Dick Winters’ armory. They are being suited up and checked by 1st Sgt. Bakhtiar, also the ship’s Weapons Master. Bakhtiar explains that after the mission he will see to any damaged equipment and berates the Troopers to “bring back my suits intact,” and goes down the line to check each of the men before proceeding to check on the other Platoons. Lieutenant Pennington removes a Trooper from First Platoon who has a slight fever from the drop team, over his protests. Then the troops, now in the bulky steel and ceramic “gorilla suits” of the Mobile Infantry armor, climb into their cramped drop pods and wait as the system checks run. Lieutenant “Penny” and Captain Tasha Leone, the Naval officer commanding the Dick Winters, banter a bit before the countdown and pods are fired all over the ship in successive waves.

Scene 3

{Play Starsiege Dynamix Scene 5 music}
The drop pods detach, the Troopers are flung into space strapped into their MI suits, weightless but completely restricted in their movements for several minutes drifting helplessly before striking Sogroth’s murky atmosphere. Their shells burn red, then white, then they shear off completely in the lower atmosphere, scattering flak to confuse ground based sensors and serve as chaff to throw off any anti-air defenses. The cabins rock violently before coming to pieces; foam wombchairs at last detach and the Mobile Infantry slow their descent with built-in rockets anchored in their suits.

Encounter 1 – Tarka Homestead (4 threat Tokens)

{Play Mechsoul, Cloudburst, Terror, Shard, New Technology from Starsiege playlist}
Third Platoon emerges from their pods and hit the ground running. They have touched down near a large lake in the heavily wooded vicinity of a Tarka agri-complex. Weird domes glow faintly in the tree line. It is still dark outside, with natural illumination coming from beneath the canopy. The battle begins as a PC ambush of Tarka militia guarding a timber harvesting operation – which they unceremoniously tear to shreds leaving smoking conveyor vehicles and a score of dead, “un-armored” Tarka in their wake. At the conclusion of fighting, 1d4 Trooper’s armor is incapacitated from the jump, requiring Sgt. Brown to detach guards and note their geographic coordinates. After the first engagement it became apparent that Trooper James Glenn had thrown up inside his helmet, necessitating him to raise the visor. Atmosphere was breathable, but not entirely comfortable for humans. Glenn compared it later to “breathing through a straw.”

Encounter 2 – 1st Objective City (6 Threat Tokens, AA: 6)

The PCs use jump jets to cover hundreds of kilometers with rapid speed (over 400 kilometers in the course of less than 20 minutes). Two MIs progress forward in 25-km increments while covered by their allies, then the other half of the firing team leapfrogs forward, always covered. Brown makes sure the flanks are secure while pushing his men quickly towards the objective: a teeming city full of the Crocs, now much more alert to the fact that they are facing a planetary scale invasion. The Tarka will try to set the range of the combat at Far and establish a perimeter which the MIs cannot breach. They will try to hold out there where the MI attacks do less damage (in terms of Kills) and await armored reinforcements.

Result: Third Platoon closed to Near range, executing their most deadly attacks via Corporal Glawson’s E-Cannon and Trooper Jones’ Energy Rifle. The Tarka commander began to evacuate the city, but before most civilians could be removed Sergeant Brown “tagged” the city by painting the geographic coordinates for First Platoon. First Sergeant Bakhtiar then proceeded to grimly destroy the city with tactical nuclear warheads with extreme prejudice, slaughtering the inhabitants and fulfilling key mission objectives.

Encounter 3 – Guard Extraction Site (8 Threat Tokens, AA: 6)

{Play Eradicate & Evolve, then Ballad of Rodger Young when the beacon cues}
Some of Rasczak’s Roughnecks have run into trouble, and request aid from the closest friendly platoon over an oepn channel. Apparently geothermal power generators which they were attacking were part of an active volcano system that is now exploding due to the target reactor’s destruction. One MI has already been killed, and he is from Fox Company. To make matters worse it seems that an enemy Legion was based nearby the planet and has rolled in on them with armored vehicles, making extraction difficult. They need immediate relief so that they can suppress enemy fire and move out of the kill zone before the cliffs under their feet become a torrent of lava.

Result: Third Platoon moved with efficiency to defeat the Tarka encirclement before it could be completed. Tarka “land crawlers” which moved like caterpillars and shot energy and ballistics weapons from throughout their carapace were not nearly maneuverable enough to avoid nor armored enough to withstand sustained assault from Third Platoon’s grenades and E-Cannon. Trooper Masterson staged a daring attack on a nearby settlement to capture a Changed Tarka male – it resisted strongly but he subdued it with a grenade, fulfilling a secondary objective. In relatively short order, despite taking some damage the Platoon suffered no casualties and mopped up the Tarka resistance. The Roughneck’s beacon hit the ground, and to the sounds of the Ballad of Rodger Young they were evacuated, thanking Fox Company (Penny’s Pathfinders) for their trouble.

Ending Scene

{Play Blood on the Risers, pickup, & meeting with Lt. Pennington}

Fox Company’s own beacon hits, and the soldiers proceed for extraction. The players learn the extraction music – Blood on the Risers – for the Dick Winters. Bakhtiar introduces the mechanics of weapon upgrades and asks the Troopers to take advantage of the armory’s services before the next drop. However, after just a few days Pennington convenes his troops for the rebroadcast of a news cast from Earth – telling everyone that the Second Space War is over. The Tarka have surrendered.

Mission #1 Briefing
Operation Eight

The following recording plays in your bunk in the nights prior to the mission after 2200 hours standard cycle. Hypnopedia entries routinely cover such issues as drill, order of battle and platoon organization, seniority of rank, and the duties of officers ranked above and below you, so that you are able to memorize them and seamlessly undergo leadership transition or changes of battle plan even in the worst of circumstances under fire in combat. When you dream of this mission though, you seem to wake up shivering half the time. Exterminating a planet is no mean or easy task and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever been asked to do before.

“Sleep well Trooper. Beginning briefing, Operation Eight. The target planet is Sogroth, also called Ke’Sogroth (hn. ref. attached article ‘Tarka planetary naming conventions’) and lies at the fringe of Tarka Imperium territory. The planet is a forward base of investment by enemy civilians and is among the list of first colony worlds to be destroyed by a multi-pronged Federation attack in pursuit of the end of the current war – further details classified.

Sogroth is a medium size 6 world with dense, heavy atmosphere and a vibrant jungle ecology, the product of extensive alien terriforming. The world will be warmer than is comfortable or normal by human standards but has a breathable atmosphere – MI suits will not be equipped with additional oxygen supply or non-standard retrofitting for this op. By all indications it is being prepped for large shipments of colonists from the enemy Capital Systems. Its current population is estimated at between 40 and 60 million, majority civilians. Intelligence reports place military threats at low to moderate; the planet has not been heavily reinforced. Significant hardware has not been observed and main threat consists of citizen militias (hn. ref. article ‘Tarka civilian military establishment’).

Undertaking this mission are the Federation troop carriers Colonel Bowie, Rodger Young and Dick Winters. Should critical mission failure result, evacuate to one of these respective ships’ pickup points and accomodations will be made for your safe evacuation.

Fox Company has been given the primary objective of destroying several enemy cities in the southern hemisphere. You are assigned to the Third Platoon. Your drop zone is in the immediate vicinity of an enemy homestead complex. First destroy this settlement, then spread out and destroy two other settlements; the first is located at 30 South, 18 West and the second at 14 South, 44 West. The goal of this mission is the destruction of enemy cities and to inflict maximum losses in material, terraforming environment and enemy lives. The Sky Marshal’s strategy directives are to seek capitulation of the enemy through the repitition of such tactics in future operations. Inflict as much damage as possible. To this end Platoon Sergeants will be equipped with tactical thermonuclear rockets to ensure the destruction of population centers.

Secondary objectives include gathering additional intelligence information and taking a small number of manageable prisoners if possible. Should the enemy planet broadcast and seek large scale surrender, every effort will be made to observe the established interstellar protocol. However the lack of space for prisoners aboard the troop carriers and their support fleet and our limited manpower (hn. ref. article ‘Capellan insurgency’) have led the Sky Marshal to urge that the enemy population be reduced by at least 50% before accepting any broadcast terms. Of particular value to Federation Intelligence would be working armored combat vehicles, high ranking living Tarka specimens (especially ‘Changed’ males), and working datacaches in Urdu Kai for further translation study.

Attached to your personal data profile accesible at your terminal or from your account on dataslates throughout the ship is the Hypnopedia entry for the Tarka race. All knowledge contained in the Hypnopedia is general information with a Secret rating. It is a criminal offense to share such information outside of your existing chain of command. You are urged to study the enemy: knowledge is power. The operation begins in 5 days. This briefing cycle will repeat at 2200 hours tomorrow. On D-Day minus 3 hours you are to report for final briefing by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Pennington in the War Room before before retiring to the Drop Pods where you will perform routine checks and diagnostics on armor and weaponry before executing your objectives. Any questions should be referred to the CO during final brief. Rest easy soldier."

See attached documents for further details regarding Tarka society, culture and physiology as well as photo-imagery of your troop carrier.

Link: Intelligence dossier on Tarka race.


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