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Turn 7: The Minbari Stand Alone

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Campaign, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 20, 2009 by redcoat668

The new year saw the beginning of a new turn in the A Call To Arms campaign, as the League made a concerted effort to wipe out the now isolated Minbari.

Having removed the Earth Alliance as a factor with a convenient peace treaty, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds unleashed four major battlefleets, hitting the Minbari at Volk’s Star and Rilus V, as well as sending re-enforcements to finish the Minbari fleet at Wuj. In the face of this massive wave, the Federation could only re-enforce their main fleet at Volk’s Star and their treaty starbase at Caesar’s Folly and pray to Valen for deliverance.

In the meantime, the Centauri, readying themselves to open hostilities with their major rivals the League, found their plans interrupted by a Tza’sol Narn raid on Defiance which pinned their system fleet and forced the Centauri battle fleet targeting Henders to return to fight the renegade Narn.

Still smarting from their turn 6 defeats, the Kha’ri Narn brought their heaviest ships into Ancona and awaited the inevitable League counterthrust into the system, which came in the form of another huge (4 points Armageddon huge) fleet.

And so, the stage is set for the final battles of the MinbariLeague conflict. Can the Minbari, alone,  hold off the hordes with their superior technology? Or will their presence in-sector be reduced to the single starbase in Caesar’s Folly…a base situated in the uneasy neutral space between the Earth Alliance and Centauri Republic

turn7map

Turn 7 Battles:

Volk’s Star (D6): League vs Minbari

Rilus V (A6): League vs Minbari

Wuj (D8): League vs Minbari

Defiance (F8): Tza’sol Narn vs Centauri

Ancona (G7): League vs Kha’ri Narn

Turn 7 EA Retrospective: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Posted in A Call to Arms, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , on January 18, 2009 by redcoat668

SCENE: The camera pans across a starfield lit by a beautiful purple nebula. A convoy of three freighters and a liner moves through space, with Starfuries accompanying. We hear the radio traffic of the convoy as the camera gradually focuses on a single ‘Fury with a point-down broadsword painted on top.

SHOT: Int. Cockpit and a PILOT

PILOT: So…I hear you and Jessica are quits.

2nd PILOT: (over radio) Yeah…we got the papers finalized Tuesday. She’s keeping the house, we’re splitting part time custody of the kids, and I got the dog.

The camera pulls back out and upward over the convoy.

PILOT: (over radio) Still…that’s something, right?

2nd PILOT: Not really…I hate that damn dog.

Several jump points open simultaneously, and two Takatas and many Brakiri fighters appear.

MUSIC OVER: Juno Reactor: Navras.

PILOT: Crap…two jump points and multiple targets. Brakiri ships, you have entered Earth Alliance space. Please state your –

The Brakiri fighters break into an attack run. One of the freighters is hit and begins spinning away from the convoy.

PILOT: All ships, all ships. Incoming Brakiri contacts are hostile. Break and attack. Break and attack.

The camera judders as if it’s been hit and then begins to spin lazily across the battlefield revealing the Earth and League ships engaged in a furious battle around the now burning convoy ships.

RADIO VOICE: (faintly) This is Earth Liner Weber to all Earth ships…we are under heavy attack…breaking up…in the name of God there are children on board…

The camera pulls back and we can see that the action is taking place on a conference room screen aboard Victoria Station. Admiral redcoat668 and his staff do not look happy. Also present are JULIE MUSANTE, Earth diplomat FREDERICK LANTZ, and a very sanguine looking BRAKIRI delegate.

redcoat668: (tapping his foot) Well?

BRAKIRI: Most tragic, Admiral. What a senseless waste.

redcoat668: Well at least you admit –

BRAKIRI: (cutting him off) All Brakiri marriages contain an embedded pre-nuptial agreement that is legally binding. That man would at least have gotten half the value of his house had he taken such precautions. 

redcoat668: Oh that’s IT!

LANTZ: (interrupting quickly) I have spoken at length to the ambassador, and he assures me that these were rogue fleet elements not acting on behalf of the Brakiri government or the League of Non-Aligned Worlds.

redcoat668: Rogue elements not bothering to remove their fleet markings or change their fleet encrypts.

BRAKIRI: That’s how they come off the showroom floor, Admiral. We’re not responsible for their use after the buyers sign the waivers.

He ostentatiously hands redcoat668 a stack of forms. LANTZ beams happily.

redcoat668: You’re like a race of evil used car salesmen, aren’t you.

MUSANTE kicks him.

LANTZ: In any case, this new treaty clearly defines our respective areas of influence in this sector, and should prevent any further incidents.

BRAKIRI: Excellent. Then I shall withdraw and inform my Emperor.

redcoat668: “Emperor”.

BRAKIRI: I’m sorry?

redcoat668: “Emperor”. You have to verbally add the quotation marks to evoke the level of respect he deserves.

BRAKIRI: Of course. Forgive me. (he leaves

LANTZ and MUSANTE are all smiles. redcoat668 and his staff confer.

CARRIERE: No offensive operations? After they killed all those people?

redcoat668: Nope. So we sit here. And wait for more ships. And take a window seat when those bastards and the Centauri start tearing each other to pieces after they finish with the Minbari and Narn.

CARRIERE: And then?

redcoat668: And then…someone has to pick up those pieces, don’t they? The question is simply when to start sweeping.

CARRIERE: Brilliant. Every race in the sector is at war and we’re the janitors.

KAER: You know you’ll never get authorization with Lantz here.

redcoat668: Point. Something’s got to be done about that guy.

YUN: There could be…an accident.

redcoat668: Something not obvious. Until then…I’ll just have to handle him with my trademark charm and tact.

YUN and CARRIERE exchange uneasy looks, but redcoat668 is already approaching LANTZ and MUSANTE.

redcoat668: (laying on the charm) You know, Mr. Lantz…I’ve been wondering since you arrived: are you related at all to Walter Lantz?

LANTZ: (surprised) Why…yes…in fact I am.

redcoat668 (genuinely equally surprised) Seriously? Woody Woodpecker Walter Lantz?

LANTZ: Actually, yes. You know I’m very surprised, Admiral. I don’t often run into people who know about that particular bit of 2oth Century historical arcana.

redcoat668 (with newfound reverence): Mr. Lantz…I insist that you have dinner with me.

SCENE: A restaurant aboard Victoria Station. redcoat668 and LANTZ are sitting at a table together with a large green neon sign reading BENNIGAN’S – OF EARTH behind them. redcoat668 is enthusiastically attacking a plate of wings while LANTZ picks gingerly at a salad. redcoat668 has clearly been talking at length, and LANTZ is not enjoying himself.

redcoat668: -and another thing…what about that poor walrus? He never could catch a break, could he?

LANTZ: (spearing a crouton) I suppose not.

redcoat668: You know…this is really enjoyable. Just think…we can have dinner together every night while you’re here and share our appreciation for your ancestor’s work!

LANTZ: Oh…well…you know, I actually have to leave for EarthDome tomorrow. Something…uh…suddenly came up.

redcoat668: But…but I thought you were staying here for at least a month after the treaty was ratified.

LANTZ: No…and I’m afraid my shuttle leaves early tomorrow and I must depart to pack. Thank you for dinner, Admiral. (he leaves as quickly as he can while still remaining dignified)

A WAITER approaches with a pitcher.

WAITER: Another drink, or just the check, sir?

redcoat668: (looking wistfully after LANTZ) Why is it that sometimes getting what you want is just as painful as not getting it?

WAITER: I don’t know, sir…I’m working to pay for a useless Art degree, not a useless Philosophy degree.

redcoat668: (holding out his glass) Top ‘er up, Caravaggio.

FADE OUT

The Battle for Ope’Diar: Narn vs League

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 6/May, 2261

Scenario: A Call to Arms

Terrain: Jumpgate in League deployment area.

Situation: Hoping to disrupt the concentration of the Non-Aligned fleet before it can begin a new drive into Minbari space, a large Narn force attempts to take the League staging point at Ope’Diar. Unfortunately, the Bin’Tak slated for the assault is drawn off by a daring Vree diversionary raid, and the rest of the Narn fleet jumps in-system into the teeth of the League’s fixed defences.

TO&E

Narn Regime:

  • 1x G’tal
  • 8x G’Quonth

League of Non-Aligned Worlds:

  • 1x Brostilli Warbase
  • 2x Shodrama sattelites
  • 1x Varl (VCS Ghost)
  • 1x Brokados (BSS Brokados) -2 falkosi cap
  • 2x Brivoki (BSS Street Justice, Desire) -2 falkosi cap/ea
  • 1x Convoy Guardian (Fearless)
  • 2x Urik’hal (Rich, Powerful)
  • 3x Strike Carrier (v1s) (Pelosi, Heinlein, Crusade)
  • 1x Patrol Ship (Officer)
  • 2x Ikorta (BSS Ikorta II, Regard)
  • 2x Tiraca (BSS Peace, Calm)
  • 1x Takata (BSS Catapult)
  • 2x Falkosi flight
  • 2x Sky Serpent flight
  • 6x Delta V1 flight

The League fleet prepares to defend Ope\'Diar

Turn 1: Alarms howled aboard the League ships and base as the Narn fleet roared out of the jumpgate. The Narn admiral immediately split his command into two divisions, one with the G’tal as its flagship to assault the Warbase, and four G’quonths to deal with the sattelites. The Warbase assault group immediately ran into strong opposition from the League defenders. While their Frazi screen downed any Sky Serpents foolish enough to attempt a torpedo run, heavy fire from the Brivokis Street Justice and Desire reduced the G’tal to a burning hulk before it even had a chance to fire a single mine. Meanwhile, the Warbase and its defense satellites concentrated their fire on the second division, causing heavy engine damage to the lead G’quonth.

The Narn position themselves to assault the Warbase

Turn 2:  The Brakiri defense sattelites were no match for the firepower of a single Narn G’quonth, much less four, and were soon transformed into so much floating debris. With the G’tal no longer a threat, the Brivokis began to concentrate on the G’quonths, and Desire burned one out and left it to drift. The Narn fighter defenses, however, remained highly effective and 4 Sky Serpent flights and a Star Snake were destroyed or scattered by Frazis or accurate gunfire from the G’quonths. 

The League fleet arrives and the battle switches into high gear.

Turn 3: With the satellites destroyed, the Narn desperately tried to recombine their cruiser divisions while under heavy fire from both the base and the enemy fleet. A G’quonth wrecked Ikorta II, but one of its division mates took a grav lance through its fire control center, knocking out all its weapons. Damage control teams rushed to get the fire control system back on line, but as they arrived a secondary explosion roared through that section of the ship, incinerating them instantly (that ship failed every repair roll it made…and never got to fire again for the rest of the game). As if in vengeance for the dead Narn engineers, another G’qonth sent a heavy laser slicing though the Warbase, neatly carving off an entire section (48 damage in one beam shot!).

Babylon 5 - Parking Wars!

Turn 4: A Narn heavy laser sliced VCS Ghost in half,and the Vree warship was soon joined in death by the hapless Patrol Ship. At the same time, the Narn fleet was dying. Their reinforced hulls had held up well against the almost constant stream of energy and and flight after flight of missiles being poured into them, but they could only withstand so much. One after another, three G’qonths rolled over and began to burn as their crews ran for the lifepods. Only four Narn ships remained, and half of those had been reduced to frantic skeleton crews.

With half the fleet destroyed, the Narn attack begins to falter.

Turn 5: With half of his fleet adrift and burning, the Narn admiral gave the order to disengage. As the ponderous G’quonths tried to come about, the League fleet went on the offensive. The Tiracas and Urik’hals destroyed two Narn cruisers, and Catapult  finished another. The remaining pair of Narn ships continued to make a run for open space.

Turn 6: The League continued to pour fire into the retreating Narn. One G’quonth blew apart under the continuous salvoes, damaging Catapult in the process. The Takata emerged from the cloud of burning metal and floating Narn casualties and fired a crippling shot into the last G’quonth, which was finished off moments later by Fearless. All that remained of the Narn attack force was drifting wreckage and the constant wail of the homing beacons on the Narn lifepods.

The remaining Narn ships are chased down one by one.

Aftermath: When it became clear that the Narn fleet was no more, the League admiral ordered an intensive search of the area. This was met with enthusiasm by all the races represented in the fleet: the Brakiri and Vree sought prisoners to ransom back to their families and potential salvage, and the Pak’mara viewed the vast number of drifting corpses strewn throughout the battlefield as a gigantic frozen meat locker.  The League fighter pilots, who had performed poorly throughout the battle, were harshly disciplined (the Brakiri were fined, the Vree shunned from their groupmind, and the Pak’mara sent to bed without supper).

Among the survivors repatriated was the Narn admiral, whom a court-martial completely exonerated. Narn captives without financial resources were either allowed to join the Tza’sol Narn fleet or imprisoned.

Having secured their Ope’Diar base, the League launched a wave of retributive raids on Centauri commercial shipping. Some raiders even reached Earth Alliance space.

Analysis: This was a tough one for Bob. Between the fleet and fixed defenses, he was completely outnumbered and outclassed, especially after the loss of his Bin’tak to the diversionary raid. Under the circumstances he acquitted himself well, causing heavy damage to the Warbase and destroying two ships. 

His one arguable mistake was dividing his fleet. The defense satellites really didn’t need 4 G’quonths to take care of them, and that additional firepower might have meant that Marc would have to spend his cash on an entirely new base rather than just repairing damage.

Thanks to Marc for the pics for this battle report!        

 

The Battle for Defiance: Centauri vs Narn

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , on March 17, 2008 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 5/April, 2261

Scenario: Annihilation

Situation: In retribution for the Tza’sol Narn raid on Sparta Hill the previous month, Centauri Fleet Sector Command deploys two battleship squadrons and their supporting elements and a prototype Adira-class dreadnought to the Defiance system to “teach those primitives a sharp lesson.” They are met at the system’s jumpgate by a Narn border defense fleet, and a massive battle ensues as both sides attempt to destroy their most hated enemy.

Terrain: One density 10 asteroid field on the left corner of the southern table edge, and one small planetoid in the right corner of the southern table edge. The jumpgate was placed in the center of the Centauri deployment zone on the northern table edge.

ToE:

Centauri Republic:

  • 2x Octurion (HMS Jupiter Fulgur, Manlius Aquilius)
  • 3x Tertius (HMS Durus, Tarquinius, Petasus)
  • 1x Adira (HMS Ultor)
  • 2x Prefect (HMS Erastes, Camenae)
  • 4x Corvan (HMS Capua, Tusculum, Vesta, Divus)

The Centauri fleet in review formation

Tza’sol Narn:

  • 1x G’Karith
  • 1x Ka’toc
  • 1x T’loth
  • 1x Bin’tak
  • 1x G’quan
  • 1x Sho’kar
  • 2x Var’nic
  • 10x Dag’Kar

The Narn fleet, also on parade

Turn 1: As the jumpgate opened, the Centauri admiral brought the Adira prototype Ultor, a Corvan, and one Battleship group containing an Octurion, a Tertius, and a Prefect. The rest of his force remained in hyperspace in hopes that the heavy-hulled Centauri capital ships would be able to withstand the initial Narn defense fire. The Narn Admiral responded at a leisurely pace, moving his ships at combat speed rather than ordering All Power to Engines, and as a result ended the turn just out of firing range of the helpless Centauri (by only an inch in some cases).

The Narn fleet moves leisurely toward its doom

Turn 2: The Narn continued to bring their ships towards the Centauri battlegroup massed at the jumpgate, but were unable to bring the massive energy mine salvo they hoped to unleash into play. The Centauri brought in a second Battleship group (another Octurion, Tertius, and Prefect), and waited with cold smiles as the Narn entered range of their battle lasers.

Mr. Varus, don't fire till you see the red of their ridge crests...

Turn 3: With the Narn now in range of their main weapons, the Centauri unleashed their devastating front-arc firepower. Ultorcrippled the G’karith with a single salvo, and one Battleship group skewered a flanking Var’nic with three battle laser shots, destroying both its engines and fire control. The 10 Dag’kars fired off a massive salvo of energy mines, shipbreaker mines, and torpedoes, but the well-constructed hulls of the Centauri capital ships withstood every hit. The Petasus finished off the already burning G’karith and opened up a long rent in the T’loth’s Marine barracks, venting several platoons worth of Narn troops into space and crippling it.

Turn 4: By this time, the Narn jumpgate engineers were desperately trying to shut the gate down, but the Centauri were able to override the failsafe codes and keep it open. Jupiter Fulgur hammered the oncoming G’quan with its battle laser, and crippled a Dag’kar with a volley from its secondary weapons. The Prefect-class Camenae finished off the crippled T’loth, but at the same time the Dag’kars concentrated their fire on the massive Ultor. Again, the Centauri flagship weathered the storm of energy, but a lucky shot did send a gout of flame through the observation deck where a crowd of engineers, nobles, and Fleet officers were observing the Adira prototype’s first combat trial -incinerating both the assembled dignitaries and their complimentary buffet. Though the Ultor’s captain realized that his career was now essentially over, he directed his ship’s fire skillfully, destroying another Dag’kar, and putting a battle laser shot straight into the Bin’tak’s engine room. Now thoroughly established on the Defiance side of the jumpgate, the Centauri ships began to launch fighters and bring more Corvans through the open gate.

Turn 5: The Centauri fighters brushed aside the Narns’ light screen of Frazis with contemptuous ease and began attack runs on the capital ships. The Octurion-class Manlius Aquilius destroyed the Var’nic before her engineers could finish repairs, and another blew the Ka’toc apart with one front arc salvo. The remaining Narn Dag’kars hammered the Adira with shipbreakers, scoring only minor damage but destroying a Corvan (HMS Divus). In response, the Centauri capital ships added another Dag’kar and the Sho’kar to the casualty list and destroyed the Bin’tak with combined battle laser fire. As the Narn fleet reeled from these massive losses, the Centauri continued to launch more fighters into the fray.

A much-reduced Narn fleet does what it can

Turn 6: With the death of their Admiral, the remaining Narn knew they were doomed, but they threw themselves into battle with redoubled fury hoping to take at least one more Centauri with them. Unfortunately, they ran into a wall of fire from the Centauri fleet. Manlius Aquilius shredded the last Var’nic and the Tertius-class Durus from the same Battleship group sliced a Dag’kar in half. The resulting explosion wreaked havoc in the tightly-packed group of remaining Narn, crippling another Dag’kar which was in its turn finished off by the Ultor, its own death throes destroying yet another Dag’kar’s engines.

The Centauri circle the remains of the Narn fleet

Turn 7: At this point, all that remained was for the Centauri to finish off the remains of the once-proud Narn fleet. Erastesknocked out the helpless Dag’kar, and Manlius Aquilius destroyed the heavily-damaged G’quan. The Durus lined up on the last remaining ship, a Dag’kar, and ordered its captain to beg for his life. The Narn commander nobly refused, and the Centauri obligingly blew his ship into flinders.

All over but the cleaning up/atrocities

Aftermath: Two of the Centauri ships were ordered back to the Royal Court to recieve accolades for this great Centauri victory. With them went the disgraced captain of the Ultor, whom a court martial exonerated, but who found himself assigned to command a planetbound fighter garrison shortly thereafter. Emperor Cartagia ordered that all surviving members of the imprisoned Kha’ri be shown recordings of this battle while he mocked them unmercifully.

The Earth Alliance issued an official protest when gun-camera recordings of Centauri Sentri pilots using Narn lifepods for target practice were accidentally released, but took no further action apart from sending the Narn sector commander a Fruit n’ Flowers basket and an autographed photo of Molly Rome in commiseration.

Molly flew a Starfury at the Battle of the Line so she's been there.

Analysis: Did I mention it was tough fighting the Centauri in general and Rich in particular?

Nevertheless, the Narn admiral here made several critical mistakes which, while they probably did not alter the outcome of the battle, turned a mere defeat into a turkey shoot for the Centauri:

  1. Diluting his mine loadout. Had he gone with all basic mines (his original plan) or all shipbreakers, the Narn would have had a massive unified salvo. Instead, he got two groups with different ranges and capabilities, neither of which were enough to deal with the high hull-value Centauri ships.
  2. Relying too much on mines.this was a valuable tactic when fighting the low hull-value Drazi, but against the high hull-value Centauri the mines failed to do enough damage to properly soften them up.
  3. Failing to close on Turn 1. With the Centauri helpless from the jumpgate effects, there would never be another chance to cause so much damage unopposed.
  4. Failing to concentrate fire. Concentration of fire is key, especially against larger ships with high hull values and lots of damage capacity.

That said, Rich showed his general propensity to roll consistent double digit damage while his opponent was lucky to score more than 5 in a single hit.