Fainter Stars: Ang's Crater
Interstellar warfare is logarithmic. The plan for the attack begins by considering questions of hundreds of billions of kilometers. How will we get people and equipment from all over the galaxy to orbit the star of the planet we intend to take? Those logistical threads can get tied into knots that are literally light years long. Then once we have our force in star system it becomes a question of millions of kilometers. How do we get to this planet safely and quietly? Then we have to make the landing, thousands of kilometers. Next there is a question of defending the LZ: hundred of kilometers. Once the air support is dealt with and the artillery is neutralized, we've got to reach the objective. Then finally there is the soldiers' combat. That is when the scale collapses quickly. A fight we started light years away can end because we had to cross two meters of open field or because a piece of shrapnel was a millimeter too close.
-Awl-70000891, Captain, Dynastic Army
Overview:Ang's Crater is an example of a rare planet with an atmosphere breathable by standard humans and a surface temperature near the range of human tolerance. The planet for one reason or another was passed over by the great Â‘sleep ship' exodus from Earth. It was not discovered until the Dynastic Migrations. The Dynasty made a gift of this rare planet. They gave the entire system to a company of mercenaries called the McCarron's. On Ang's Crater the McCarron's rest between military campaigns and carry on the traditions of their military legacy.
Galactic Scouting Almanac's Entry for Ang's Crater
System Name: Ang's Crater (Star: Hare)
Location: Rabbit Sub Sector, Navigation Grid Point 9L
Mapped Star Systems within range of standard D-drive:
9K Sora System
Inhabited Planets: Ang's Carter
Ang's Crater: Planetary Details
Size: Small Planet (0.72 gravity)
Atmosphere: Standard, Earth-like
10% Noble Gasses, 20% Oxygen, 70% Nitrogen
Geological Activity: Negligible
Noted Geographical Distinctions
Equatorial Temperate Zone
North Western Continent
Endogenous Biomass: Yes
Planetary Coverage: Limited
-Plant Life Taxonomy: Non-vascularized photosynthesizing plants: algae and lichens
-Animal Life Taxonomy: no known extant examples
Current Political Status: Military Junta
Factions: McCarron's Mercenaries
Galactic Allegiance/Affiliations: Dynasty
Class C Orbital Spaceport, with a small craft repair bay and limited combat craft manufacturing.
Class D: Landing strip and beacon, limited small craft repair facilities
Extended Scouting Report
Star System Cartography:
Ang's Crater is a high energy system with a young intense blue spectrum star, while still a main sequence star, it is roughly 20 times the stellar mass of Sol-standard. The Ang's Crater world is the 12th planet in the star's large terrestrial belt. The other worlds are uninhabited and without classical life supporting biomes. The Gas Giants, Ang 13 and 14 are rich enough to provide a source for gas mining should an orbital or mobile refinery be placed in system.
Ang's Crater: Planetary Features and Cartography
Ang's Crater circles her star in a long elliptical orbit that takes 47 local standard years. Ang's Crater rotates on her axis every 18.7 hours and has a magnetic field that protects it from most solar radiation. The Dynastic scientists that studied the planet believe that the magnetic field is failing as the planet's core is cooling. Their data suggests that in roughly a thousand local years the planet will be at the mercy of the solar wind. Aside from that, the geological survey of Ang's Crater revealed a planet with limited economic potential. Much of Ang's Crater is covered in water. The water is oxygenated and does have a rich microbiome, the surface of the oceans are frozen much of the year. Economic exploitation of the oceans would be less efficient than the dynasty found desirable. The Northwestern Continent sits near the northern polar region and is essentially a sterile desert. The Equatorial Archipelago supports some basic life forms mosses and algae in addition to a few species of fungi.
Ang's Crater is the 12th planet in the system and is currently in a deep ice age. It was original discovered and mapped by a Dynastic Survey team. The Dynasty dispatched a team of geologists and planetary scientists that a spent a few local standard years studying the planet. Geological surveys have revealed a warmer or at least moderately temperate past. After publishing their initial results the Dynasty's Geology and Planetary science division put further research on Ang's Crater on indefinite hiatus.
The planet's only inhabited outpost is the home base of McCarron's Irregulars. This fanatical mercenary company specializes in air support and convoy escort. They use Ang's Crater as both a home and a training facility.
Genetically, the McCarron's are human's descended from first migrants. The Dynasty recruited the founding members of McCarron's from first migration worlds. The Dynasty equipped the nascent McCarrons with last generation technology and employed them as irregular fighters, scouts, garrison troops and cultural liaisons during the Dynastic Migration Wars.
During his 60 year tenure, Commander McCarron, (now deceased), led his company on many successful campaigns in Rabbit, Rat and Dragon Sector. After the end of formal hostilities between the Union and the Dynasty, McCarron was granted a fiefdom on Ang's Crater and established a community comprised solely of his mercenary veterans and their families. After his death the command of the unit, and the fiefdom passed to one of his subordinates Torch Stewart. The culture of the community emphasizes cheerfulness, military discipline, a distain for popular politics and a distain for democracy. In general the residents of Ang's Crater appreciate their relative isolation from galactic politics and their isolation from greater human population centers.
The McCarron's do not produce enough resources on Ang's Crater to feed or equip themselves. Trade is necessary for the colony's survival. In addition to several regular supply contracts they do permit unscheduled landing and speculative trading missions. If the McCarron's fighter carrier, Nancy, is in orbit trading missions must obtain permission from her to land. If Nancy is dispatched elsewhere communications with the surface of Ang's Crater proper can be established and landing solutions arranged. The residents of Ang's Crater usually deal in Dynastic currency, but will sometimes barter with military spoils. It is not unusual for prospective recruits to arrive on Ang's Crater with the trading missions. The McCarron's are hospitable to recruits. Recruits that prove incompatible or undesirable are given lesser jobs in the colony's non-combat hierarchy, or forced to leave world.
There is no endemic transmitted or recorded media production on Ang's Crater. The McCarron's do have a choir and a drum and pipe core.
There are no planetary defense systems on Ang's Crater. The McCarron's maintain a standing light infantry force of roughly 2000 men, and a modern space/atmosphere fighter wing that is based in orbit. There is also a home guard or militia, this roughly 6000 fighting men and women. They are supported by a wing of Â‘junk fighters' flown by trainee or retired fliers. The Junk Fighter wing is based in Ang's Crater Proper.
Trade and CommerceServices in demand on the Planet
Pay:2 x Standard
Reputation Required: Trusted
Arriving, Moderate (6-12 passengers per run).
Departing, Moderate-Bulk (10-1000). When McCarron's return from combat missions, they will sometimes have prisoners. They will pay to have them shipped to FTO refugee camps, Dynasty prisons or re-patrioted after a ransom.
Reputation Required: Positive
Goods For Sale
Constant=Food stuff, High Tech Consumer Goods, Small Arms, Entertainment Files
Rare= Heavy Machinery, Software
Game Master Information
Personalities likely to be encountered by player characters
Master Sergeant (retired) Feather Frasier:Feather Frasier is the chief buyer and negotiator for all non-combat supplies and services purchased on Ang's Crater. She was an Engineer when younger and her buying preferences lean away from luxury items and more towards technical supplies and redundancies. Thus, when Frasier does have budget surplus, she will be more inclined to invest in spare parts or support tools. She is wary of new technologies. She is completely loyal to the McCarron's. She detests small talk with the exception of a good joke. Her primary motivator in life is a desire to be so efficient as to be above reasonable criticism.
Nancy:Nancy is the interstellar fighter Carrier that serves as the primary transport for the McCarron's. Nancy, the physical, craft was originally an FTO factory ship. The old FTO factory ships were C-drive ships, that travelled between populated worlds at 0.9999% the speed of light. As they travelled they would turn the raw materials they collected into the trade goods and technological items that would be traded for raw materials at the next star system. Nancy, the AI construct, is the original concierge program used by the FTO. Thus, Nancy's age is over 200 lived years old and she has been operational for over two centuries in ESYs. When the FTO was preparing to retire Nancy, and all old factory ships, they offered Nancy ownership of the craft rather than having her intelligence transferred to another matrix. Nancy worked as independent factory ship for while, manufacturing spare parts for obsolete FTO technologies, before entering into a contract with McCarron himself to serve as orbital repair bay for his atmosphere-space fighter core. Over a couple decades Nancy modified her physical form and programing to better support the changing roles of the McCarron's. While most of Nancy's manufacturing equipment has been replaced with fighter bays and fleet tending facilities, she does retain her production line for the Glasgow Fighter.
Nancy gender identifies as female. Though she has modified her programing and hardware to allow her to manage interplanetary navigation and sensor function, she is still primarily a concierge program tasked with supporting the needs of a human crew. Nancy's core program has sophisticated ability to integrate data regarding human behaviors, vocal patterns, pheromone levels, and micro-facial expressions to determine human emotional states and predict actions. Nancy's programing has evolved over the years so that her primary satisfaction comes from a voyeuristic observation of human behavior. Thus, Nancy desires to retain her position as the all-seeing eye of in of a station that holds a relatively large human population. Nancy takes special pleasure in observing human emotional conflict. If the human's in her care don't provide enough conflict, than Nancy is not above starting rumors or spreading gossip. She will adapt her style communication to specific individuals and can be very convincing. Nancy is not particularly loyal to the McCarron's but does enjoy her position.
Commander McCarron (deceased):
McCarron is still a legend among his namesake military unit. Most of his McCarron's officers and many of the enlisted men attempt to emulate his style of behavior and approach to command.
McCarron was born on the Rat sector world of Olsofjord. McCarron's birth world is a goldilocks planet with earth-like conditions that was settled by first migration colonists over 30,000 locale standard years prior to the Dynastic Migration. Olsofjord's recent history had been one of neo-tribalism, intense war, strife and tragedy. McCarron was a trained pilot of conventional military aircraft when the first Terran explores reached Olsofjord. McCarron latched onto the Dyntastic military interests extremely early during the Dynastic Migrations. His first role had been as a liaison to help facilitate the conquest of Olsofjord. The founding members of the McCarron's were all member of McCarron's tribe and close friends from his military unit.
McCarron was described as a warm and emotional man, the type of figure not intrinsically understood by the personalities of the Dynasty. He loved to laugh. He cried a lot. He drank a lot. Though equipped with a mean streak, he had a kind word for everyone. He never forgot a name of the living or the dead. And while he was judgmental enough to condemn his men if they broke his rules, and ruthless enough to sacrifice men in combat, he would never speak ill of his men behind their backs. He was violent in as much as he was trained commit, willing to commit and did commit horrific acts of violence against other human beings, but saw violence only as a tool. Politically, he was known to speak at length about politics, he perceived democracy, consumer capitalism and passivism as idealistic failures. He preferred to surround himself with people who agreed with him and had innate desire to the 'one in charge'. This last point was something that developed with age, and as part of the Dynastic Military efforts he pushed more and more to work as the leader of an independent unit. McCarron died on Ang's Crater of complications relating to a stroke. He is buried on the crater ridge with a clump of soil from Olsofjord in both hands. (Most of the McCarron's are from Olsofjord or descended from Olsofjord ex-pats).
Regimental Commander Torch Stewart:
Torch Stewart was second in command of the fighter wing before McCarron's death. An election was held among the highest ranking officers in the McCarron's and a split ballot allowed Stewart to assume command ahead of more experienced and better liked candidates.
Commander Stewart was trained as a combat flier on the first Migrant world of Gargarin in Rat Sector. Gargarin is an Earth-like world that had a large human population descended from first migrants and had a progressive technological pallet at the time of the Dynastic Migration. Gargarin was a member of the Union of Worlds. Gargarin did not cooperate with Dynastic efforts to integrate the Gargarin economy or the Dynasty's attempts to genetically profile the population. The Dynasty's military invaded Gargarin.
Stewart was part of the first wave of military resistance to the Dynastic Invasions and was an early prisoner of war. After the end of formal hostilities between the Gargain governments and the Dynasty the McCarron's were brought to serve as garrison troops. Union of World sponsored resistance movements sprung up all over Gargarin and a young Stewart was offered a release from captivity if he agreed to assist the McCarron's. Stewart accepted.
Stewart is an introspective and typically quiet man (Nancy finds him a fascinating challenge). An accomplished poker and bridge player he is known to 'play his cards' close to his chest. He is not prone to rash decisions. While cold and ruthless, he is not vicious or petty. Even more than McCarron did, he views violence as means to an end. Stewart doesn't inspire the same broad loyalty as McCarron, but he does have a close circle of friends and advisors within the McCarron's upper arms of leadership. He has financial ambitions for the McCarron's. He hopes to develop an agricultural sector on Ang's Crater and is looking to invest in minor terraforming. Stewart is slight man with tan skin, thin coal black hair, dark eyes and a soft voice. He is prone to long pauses during conversations and only makes eye contact for emphasis.
McCarron Infantry: STR 7 DEX7 END10 EDU9 INT9 SOC5
Athletics(endurance)1,Athletics(co-ordination)1,GunCombat (slug-pistol)0, Melee(unarmed)1, Recon2, Comms1,
Personal Equipment: Autopistol (3d6-3), Assault Rifle (3d6),
McCarron Flier: STR 6 DEX10 END8 EDU8 INT 10 SOC 7
Pilot(small craft) 3, Mechanic 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero-G 2, Comms 1, Sensors 1, Gunnery (turret) 2, Melee (unarmed) 1
Personal Equipment: Vacc Suit (4), Snub Pistol (3d6-3)
McCarron Elite Flier: STR 6 DEX14 (Cybernetic) END4 EDU8 INT 10 SOC 7
Pilot (spacecraft) 3, Mechanic 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero-G 2, Comms 1, Sensors 1, Gunnery (turret) 2, Engineer (P-plant) 2, Engineer (life support) 1, Melee (unarmed) 1
Personal Equipment: Tailored Vacc Suit (6), Snub Pistol (3d6-3), Hand Computer
Plot Hooks and Special Trade Opportunities
Special trade case: The Jump Drive on the Nancy goes out, and the McCarron's are left without an interstellar ship capable of moving cargo. They need the PCs to get a new one and they will apply force if necessary. This involves a trip to a Class A Starport, a large exchange of cash money or valuable trade goods.
Special Trade Case: The McCarron's got a bunch contraband as war trophies and want to sell it without attracting the attention of the Dynasty. They will use the PCs intermediaries.
Plot #1 'Picking Your Battles'
The Dynasty Intelligence Service, wants to find out what the McCarron's are up to, they believe they are participating in the Skaa'rug (non humanoid aliens) civil war. This is illegal. The McCarron's are very secretive however and for the PCs to get proof of this they will need to infiltrate the McCarrons. This will involve getting fake IDs if they already working for the government, then finding transport to Ang's Crater and then undergoing a rigorous application process. All the PCs should be able to test in at some level, obviously being a fighter pilot or ground troop would be the most appealing, but the McCarron's also need techs, navigators, cooks and other skills the PCs will likely possess. Once in the McCarron's the PCs will find themselves thrust into combat against Skaa'rug. After the battle the PCs will have to decide whether or not to sell out the McCarron's. The McCarrons might also respond badly if they find out the PCs sold them out. Things could definitely go Reservoir Dogs here.
Plot #2 'One Man's Hero'
The McCarron's and the PCs are hired by the Dynastic Forces to restart the offensive against the Union. The Dynasty has decided to invade planet that is well defended by an orbital minefield. A small unit including both McCarron's and the PCs groups are sent to invade the global defense center, deactivate the orbital mines and kidnap the planetary defense leader. The planet itself is sparsely populated and produces mostly agricultural goods through hydroponic factory/farms. The PCs and the McCarron's succeed at this but with a heavy cost. Many McCarron's will die on the mission. Even if the PC plan and execute the perfect mission their will be a malfunction in a vehicle or something that will cost the lives of many McCarron's.
However, once the PCs and McCarron's have disabled the minefield and captured the leader, they receive word that the Dynasty has had a change of heart. They are not going to renew the war with the Union of Worlds. The McCarron's are to release the defense minister The mood among the rank and file McCarron's is outrage. They want to revenge for their fallen comrades. Stewart, the commander, wants to plunder the agricultural technology. The McCarron's refuse the order and start moving in with a plan to invade themselves. But the McCarrons don't have the resource for a full invasion, their invasion would just be retaliatory raid. The PCs are order to turn on the McCarron's, free the captured minister and stop the McCarron attack. This could mean rearming the orbital mines.
Plot #3: To live
Setup: The PCs are contracted by the McCarron's to take a dozen prisoners from Ang's Crater to a Dynastic Prison colony. When the PCs arrive Nancy, the frigates and most of the McCarron's are gone on assignment. The PCs land on the Surface and Feather Fraiser greets them. She gives them the dozen prisoners. Each prisoner should get a brief introduction, at least a walk by. You should have the scared young prisoner, the dangerously pretty prisoner, the tough guy, the old man, the freak, the engineer, the smug bastard, the thief, the freedom fighter, a couple and so on. (If you want to make little hands out for each prisoner that would be cool.) Make sure the PCs see one or more Junk Fighters (just an engine, power plant, cockpit and weapon put together from scraps) taking off before they leave. Somebody could explain that the fighters are leaving on Patrol.
Part 1 Ambush: After briefly meeting all the prisoners, the PCs take off. As they are leaving the atmosphere the PCs' ship gets hit by a weapon. The ship is damaged. This can go several ways.
A) If the PCs have a tough ship or a special ship, if they are fliers and won't go down easy; give them bit of chase scene here. One or more McCarron junk fighters (just an engine, power plant and cockpit and a weapon-make sure it is enough to take down the PCs) attack the PCs. The PCs can contact the McCarron's command if they want. They will soon find out that the attack is unauthorized. Other McCarron's will show to attack the rouge McCarrons but it is too late for the PCs. They have lost control of the ship and crash on to the Northern Continent.
B) If the PCs are big on their ship or space combat. Just have get hit, maybe detect a fighter on their sensors, then they crash onto the Northern Continent.
Part 2 Survival: After the crash the PCs are in a cold dark area. The communications system is completely shot, can't be repaired and the life support is failing. Something happens so the PCs don't think the McCarrons are coming for them. Perhaps they can hear the communication between the McCarron's and the McCarron's assume they crashed in the ocean. Perhaps communications are being jammed by the hunter and he giving them threats over the comm. Maybe the Hunter will strafe the crash site (see the Hunter). Point is they can't stay there and nobody is coming to help. Their only hope to walk to RE-G-182.(Or whatever ingenious plan the PCs come up with)
But one of the prisoners is severely injured and will have to be carried and cared for if they take him/her. So the PCs have to decide to what to do. Do they care for the prisoners or not. The prisoners aren't going to just sit there ideally either. They are going to want to reach RE-G-182 also. So you are going to have a problem here where the PCs have to work out what to do, how they are going to improvise weather clothing.
Part 3 The Hunter) The reason the PCs were shot down is because the member/s of the McCarron's wants to kill the prisoners as way of revenge for lives lost in the last battle (they killed my son, husband, friend...you get it). He shot them down. He has landed near them and he is coming to kill them. He will lay several ambushes for the party. Kill a few prisoners maybe, but a team up of the prisoners and the PCs should be able to take him out. Alternatively, he may reach out to the PCs on short range comms. This will give the chance to A) explain his motivations B) make some bad guy rants and C) give the PCs an ultimatum. 'hand over the prisoner/s so that I can kill them violently and I will help you out. Nobody else needs to get hurt'. So then PCs have more dilemmas. Do we scarifice somebody? Do we trust the hunter? What do we with the smug bastard prisoner and the cowardly prisoner who want to agree to the hunters demands?
Part 4 Resolution) The PCs reach RE-G-182 or find another means of contacting the McCarron's. The McCarron's are coming to get them. But that could mean the prisoners will be shipped off to dynastic prison colony once the McCarron's arrive. If the PCs don't find a way to free the prisoners than the prisoners will fight the PCs at this point. The PCs will have to find away to balance any loyalty they gained towards the prisoners during the ordeal of the crash with their contracted obligation to the McCarron's and with their need for assistance from the McCarron's. Feather will not agree to let the prisoners go just because of what happened. She will agree to pay to the PCs for all the damages plus a bonus and double the transport fee. But she will need the prisoners back and she will want to deliver them to the Dynastic Penal Colony.
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? Responses (3)-3
Wow, this is really thorough. You've obviously thought out the wider setting of this universe, but even that aside the little characters and details make this adaptable to lots of space settings. The plots really bring it all together. Very nicely done.
An excellent submission. Love all the details.
The plot is good except for the forced nature of the shoot-down. I wouldn't expose the PCs own ship to a forced loss - better they be on some form of McCarron provided transport that gets knocked out of the air. If the PCs are in charge of flying and defense, you may have to 'force' them to fail at defense, especially against the crap fighters. I would personally hate that.
It is a little railroady.