Turn 1, aslan player turn, aslan second movement and combat phases.
War Breaks Out: 337-3401 to 364-3401
Week 25, and the aslan fleets consider their next move. If they were going to hit the Fastnesses or the Solomani Confederation, they should have done it before now, as Confed has put ships in Hasara and Tangga which means the Hierate would have to spend this turn fighting them before reaching any worthwhile systems. However, Mizah and Gazzain are both tough nuts to crack, and invading them would mean heavy losses.
The only other primary system in reach is Ria, but that is only valuable if the aslan can hold Daanarni to establish a supply route back to the Hierate. Moving any ship except a scout to secondary systems risks losing them to unlucky maintenance rolls.
So I think the Hierate’s best option is one last try at persuading Godoro and Valka to join them, which they do in week 26, and if that doesn’t work, bomb them back into the stone age next turn and land troops.
Godoro: 1d6+1 = 4. Negotiations continue. I think these guys are going to get flattened next turn.
Valka: 1d6+0 = 1. Oops. The Valkans have started shooting. Now, the aslan cannot voluntarily initiate combat while negotiating, but they can respond if attacked, which they have just been.
There is no space combat subphase, because only the aslan have ships present. Likewise, there will be no surface combat subphase because only the Valkans have troops present – a tactical error on my part, the aslan should have had a couple of transports with troop units insystem in case things went south. I had remembered ships taking part in surface combat, and had planned to land the destroyer to do that, but a close rereading of the rules shows that ships on the ground are helpless, and only engage in combat if there are no troops left to defend them. So if anyone had a ship on the ground already, it could take part in the defence, but only by acting as a bullet sponge.
However, there can be an interface combat subphase, in which the aslan task force attempts to blow the defenders to smithereens and the defenders reply in kind. The aslan have one destroyer (DD, 2-2-2) and one light cruiser (CL, 5-2-4) giving them a total of 4 missile factors for bombardment. Aaaand this is the point where I notice you need at least 7 missile factors to stand a chance of doing anything useful. Oops again.
A primary system rolls 1d6 for each incoming ship, and destroys it on a 1 or 2. Fortunately for the aslan, Valka’s planetary defences roll 3, 3 – both ships escape unscathed.
I mentioned spy ships last time, and they will remain an option throughout the war. I am mentally picturing the Type T patrol corvette as a sci-fi equivalent of fast attack craft (PT-109, anyone?) so the scenarios of inserting or recovering agents and spec ops teams, reconnaissance, intercepting courier vessels and whatnot are good for them, while merchants will continue trading but for dramatic purposes will be suspected, correctly, of carrying spies.
At this point Confed might also issue letters of marque and reprisal to Mizah Combine or pirate vessels (which we have established in play are present in the Fastnesses and Dark Nebula clusters).
Did a PC team on Valka deliberately force negotiations to break down? Are they involved in spiriting away the Valkan government, or other VIPS, to a safe haven – and where is safe now, anyway? Did they just happen to be there when the shooting started, and have to get away unscathed?
Meanwhile, Mizah has a PDF unit (in Traveller this would probably be a deep meson gun site) and Confed doesn’t. PCs working for Confed could be tasked with finding out about the PDF, and possibly sabotaging it at a critical moment in any future negotiations.
So, future historians will date the start of the Aslan Border Wars from this point. To align with Traveller canon, the shooting must start within 3401 AD; as far as I know, canon is silent on exactly when that happens, so I shall rule it happens in the final week of 3401. Rolling back 26 weeks tells me that the aslan left Panas in the first week of July.
For the next post in this thread, expect detailed dates for what has happened so far. After that, I’ll pause to let the PCs catch up, in case any of them are reading! It will be 3-4 months into 3402 before news of war breaking out reaches them.
Meanwhile, the aslan have not exactly covered themselves in glory so far. Confed has more troop units than the Hierate, assuming we limit ourselves to the counter mix, so they really need to be able to hire mercenaries. Now, however, honor demands vengeance!
Anyone following the game is welcome to comment, or suggest strategies for either side!