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Re: FT campaign and wet thrust

From: "Email - when it absolutely, positively has to get lost at the speed of light" <KOCHTE@s...>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 18:44:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: FT campaign and wet thrust

>I've got queries on two subjects:
>First, some time ago some one published, I think, a set of FT campaign
>rules.  I wonder if that person, sorry can't remember who, has done
>with them in the way of changes additions.  

I think that was Marshall Grover. I took his rules and adapted them to
something I had been toying with. I mostly finished it a few weeks ago,
but haven't sprung it on you guys 'cause I was pending feedback from a
couple other people (haven't heard from them, and since the topic is
here now, I'll pop 'em out for your comments/criticisms)

>Due to presure of real life,
>honest guys it is out there, I have only just started to look at them. 

Tell me about real life.  :-(

>would welcome a discussion on the campaign aspects of FT with anyone of
>most knowledgable folks.
>I am seriously considering setting up a a play by e-mail campaign using
>these rules so any thoughts on this would be helpful as well.

Funny...I was going to do the same thing. I was going to keep the
game small (4 players max), though, to help iron out the bugs.

One thing I am planning on doing is running any starship combat with
friends in RL, and do the campaign/empire-building stuff via PBeM
(mainly 'cause tactical combat can take quite a while, even if you
do 2 turns/week).

Well, that all said, here's what I have. It's somewhat simpler than
because I didn't want to tackle some of the details he had come up with.
But in other ways it's prolly more complex (I intro'd 'tech trees' which
player would choose one to follow during the course of developing their
respective empires).

Indy's PBeM FT Strategic Campaign Game
Welcome to Strategic Thrust! This is a really simple, cut-to-the-chase
set of
rules based on Marshall Grover's "Third Empire" rules and a bit of
This is meant for simplicity, and to do an initial Strategic level PBeM
A lot of it is taken directly from Marshall's set of rules; other
aspects were
changed to make things more simplistic and quickly workable (this mostly
because *I'm* so freaking busy with other things, such as work and Real
:-/ ).

This takes place in what astronomers term a 'loose' star cluster. All
stars associated within are members of the same cluster, and so the
stays together over time.

There are 4 players in the game, representing the 4 powers (Red Dragon,
Falcon, Black Wolf, and Iron Fist). Each player starts with an Imperial
star system (aka, homeworld). The object is to expand out and take over
star cluster. Each turn represents 1 standard year of time. Each player
the highest official in their empire (the Emperor, the King, what have
and dictates what goes on at a Strategic Level. The tactical level stuff
be handled elsewhere.

Starting the Game:
Each race starts out at Tech Level 1, has only a Homeworld, and has 1000
with which to build ships or start tech level development, or both..
intial points must be used prior to turn 1.

Sequence of Play:
As stated earlier, each turn represents 1 standard year. During this
period you have the following things to do:

 1) Diplomacy Phase: attempt to negotiate treaties with other players.
		  are allowed up to 2 transmissions to the aliens
		  the GM per turn. These messages must be sent prior to
		  the next Orders Due due date.
 2) Economic Phase: count up your available Production Points (PP). This
		  what you have to spend on new ships, repairs, and tech
		  level increases.
 3) Production Phase: spend your PP as you see fit. Newly finished ships
		  are available immediately
 4) Movement Phase: players move their fleets. Since this is a PBeM,
		  is governed by the referee. Fastest fleets will move
		  slower fleets. Combat is checked for if one fleet
		  another the same system before the other departs.
		  Freighters spend this time loading/unloading if
 5) Combat Phase: combat situations are resolved in order of occurrence
		  (ie, if an fleet is sitting in a system and a speed 6
		  fleet shows up, then later that same turn a speed 4
		  reinforcement fleet of yours appears, your fleet
		  will do combat first; if there are survivors of the
		  fleet and they stay around, then the reinforcements
will do

Orders/Detection Reports:
A typical turn starts by sending orders in to the GM from the Emperor
whoever you are), and culminates by the receipt of detection reports.
orders will be due periodically, and detection reports will come back as
as humanly possible (though things will slow a bit once empires start
fighting). In between the transmission of detection reports and when the
set of orders are due is when players may engage (if at all) in
relations. During this period of time players are allowed to communicate
an/any other player their fleets are in contact with. As communications
be done through the GM, the players won't know who is running the
empire (heheheh).

Travel between stars is done ala the Starfire system: through 'warp
points/regions' in space. However, unlike Starfire, this points are not
localized to a specific coordinate in any given solar system. They are
like 'regions' where space is semi-folded. It requires an FTL drive to
'activate' the region and allow a ship to slip into the 'warp hole'.
There is
(at this time) no other manner in which ships may travel between stars.
since the 'warp region' is so huge (call it an area of space over 6
miles across), there is no adequate way to defend against an incoming
attack at
the 'warp region'. Thus most battles take place closer to the system
(eg, planets, bases, or other things of interest).

Not all stars will be reachable via the warp hole network. Suffer. ;-)
rest assured all players will be able to get to one another in some way,
or form). All star systems will at least 2 'warp regions', connecting it
other stars. Some stars will have 3 of these. Interstellar travel
without using
the 'warp regions' will be addressed in a future edition of these rules
(ie, in
an Advanced Rules set - when I'm feeling REALLY masochistic!)

Ships with FTL can travel the number of jumps equal to 1/2 their Thrust,
rounded up. Thus a ship with Thrust 2 may only make 1 transit through a
'warp region' a turn. A ship with Thrust 4 may make 2. Thrust 8 ships
zip around all over the bloody map! (it's really not that big)

If there are enemy forces in a system you just jumped into, you may not
continue on. You must stop and fight, or retreat, or sit tight.. If you
opt to
retreat, there is a 50% chance the enemy ships will catch you anyhow and
initiate combat (assuming they have orders to do so). If you sit tight,
you sit
at speed '0' near the 'warp region' and the enemy can do whatever they
going to do (attack, retreat, sit also).

If your fleet enters a system containing an alien fleet (ie, another
fleet that you have never encountered before), you do not *have* to
combat, unless you want to (ie, it's in your battle manual; your battle
should cover contingencies for meeting other races). You cannot,
proceed further into the system or through the next 'warp region'. You
retreat back the way you came (assuming you have enough movement left to

Economics and System Resources:
This is a *very* simplistic system: there is no expenditures for
settlement growths, readiness states for ships, etc, etc. You will have
however, build freighters to move system resources (production points;
hereafter know as 'PP') from one system to another.

Freighters can haul PP equal to 1/10 their Mass, round down. Why such a
amount? Oh, to promote freight trains...  ;-)

Each Imperial Capital/Homeworld will generate 50 PP per tech level of
owning empire per turn. Each system absorbed into your empire will
either 10 or 20 PP per tech level of your empire. Thus if you are Tech
Level 2
and have 2 other systems in your possession aside from your homeworld,
you can
be bringing in between 140 - 180 PP a turn (assuming the freighters are
available to bring them in).

Production Points may be saved up from turn to turn (but if the system
which is
saving that storage of PP is lost to an enemy, the enemy may then
gain access to 1/2 of the PP stored there (and if the enemy holds the
and has freighters available, may start moving the PP out next turn).

Each Production Point is essentially a cost point as noted in the FT/MT
rulesbooks to build starships (thus, if you build a starship and by the
FT/MT rules it would cost you 127 points, it will cost you 127
Points to build it in this campaign system).

Moving Resources:
As mentioned, it takes a freighter to move resources from one system to
another. And since freighters are notoriously slow, you will have to
set up a running train of freighters to get resources from your
systems to your inner systems - should you wish to do this.

It takes 1 turn to load/unload PP from a freighter. Thus it will take 1
freighter a 4-turn turnaround time to go to a system (assuming the
can reach the system in 1 turn), load the resources there, bring them
and unload them. The turn after they are unloaded the resources are
in the system they were deposited.

If you think about this, you'll prolly be building a lotta freighters to
move stuff about once you start expanding...

Orbital Bombardment:
Orbital bombardment of a system may take place only if there are no
vessels in a system to contest the bombardment. Orbital bombardment of a
system is the last thing that happens during the combat phase (ie, fleet
battles take place first; after they are resolved, the victorious fleet
initiate orbital bombardments if desired).

You may use Ortillery to reduce the PPs generated by a particular
For every 3 Ortillery expended against a system (Ortillery is considered
to be a one-shot weapon at this scale) the system loses 1 PP point. The
next owner of the system will receive PP resources at the newly reduced

Also, for every Ortillery used against a system, it may destroy 1 point
stored PP. The Ortillery used in this way does not count for reducing
overall PP generation of a system.

System Exploration:
There is no *real* detailed system exploration in this system. You enter
system on one turn. If it is uncontested for the next entire turn, the
is yours and begins generating PP for you. If it is contested, the
generates PP for you on the turn following a turn of being uncontested.

Example: you enter the new system 2341 on turn 7. On turn 8 an enemy
pops in, but you manage to beat it off. On turn 9 you are unharassed. On
10 you begin to reap PP from the system.

Note: since the Economic Phase comes before movement phase, should the
in the above example pop back in on turn 10, the first player already is
considered to own the system, and receives revenue from it. IF the enemy
removes the owning player, the system generates nothing on the next turn
any unused/transported PP left may be used by the enemy fleet). If on
that same
turn the owning player does not reclaim the system (or, at least,
contest it),
the enemy player will begin gaining the PP revenue on the *following*

Sector Capitals:
You may, at your option, declare other systems to be Sector Capitals.
criteria for Sector Capitals are they cannot be in (known) adjacent
and they must contain a Shipyard in them. In the scope of this game they
give no other benefits unless you lose your Homeworld. At that point one
Sector Capital may be designated as the Primary Capital. This Primary
will begin to generate 30 PP per tech level per turn (not the 50xTL PP
Homeworld was generating).

Special FT Rules Restrictions:
Mine rules will not be used.
Screens may be no stronger than Level 2

Advancing in Tech Levels: 
It costs 10 PP to get a technology die roll (done by the ref using a
d6). When
your total die roll equals or exceeds 100 x the Tech Level you are
to reach, you achieve the next tech level (eg, if you are tech level 1,
and are
trying to go to tech level 2, you need to have a total minimum point
spread of
200). Your die roll can quite possibly exceed your point level. However,
you reach a given tech level, you need to start over again; any excess
from the previous tech level research are lost upon achieving a given
level. Oh, and you may not skip tech levels, either. To get to tech
level 3,
you need to be first at tech level 2.

Ship Building:
If you want to build ships, you have 2 options: use a Shipyard, or do
not use
a Shipyard. If you opt to *not* use a Shipyard, all ships will cost an
10% over an above their normal cost. Rounding up. Bases count as ships,
just having no Thrust or FTL.

Construction without a Shipyard will only yield 20 Mass per turn (thus
you are building a 60-Mass ship, it will take 3 turns). Building with a
Shipyard allows 25 Mass per turn (thus in 3 turns you can have built a
from 51-Mass to 75-Mass). Damaged Shipyards won't build quite so much

Ship Repairs:
There are going to be battles in which ships survive, but are damaged,
will be in need of repair before the next battle. Damaged ship systems,
if Damage Control Teams brought them back online, will need to be
repaired. The cost is the same as a new system would be (ie, if you lost
3-arc B-battery, it will cost you 9 PP to repair/replace).

Repairing hull structure is the same as buying a new hull - but you only
pay for the hull that's been damaged. You don't re-buy your entire ship
again! Example: a Mass 30 cruiser costs normally 60 PP for the hull.
it's taken 5 points damage (which translates to 10 Mass), it will take
20 PP
to repair (the cost of 10 Mass for military vessels).

Damage structure may *only* be repaired at a Shipyard. No Shipyard?
for you...

Both a 'new ship' and a new system: the Shipyard. The Shipyard may be
built at
Tech Level 1, and requires a 100 Mass vessel. It may have no Thrust, no
has installed 1 FireCon, and may mount no more than 4 Mass in extra
total. It may not mount batteries heavier than C-batts, may not mount
Area-effect systems, nor may it mount missiles (it may mount
packs). It's a ship building yard, fer crissakes, not a military base. 

Ship Systems a Shipyard may mount:
  Submunitions Pack
  Enhanced Sensors
  Screens (no more than 1 level)
  Damage Control Teams (up to 10)

The hull cost for the Shipyard is akin to a military ship of the same
Mass: 2x.
But the damage structure is that of a civilian ship: 1/4 the Mass. As
Shipyard is a 100 Mass non-mobile vessel, it costs 200 PP straight up,
any side systems purchased from the list below, and has 25 damage

A Shipyard may build per turn a max Mass equal to it's current damage
(ie, and undamaged Shipyard may build up to 25 Mass in ships per turn).
Shipyard may only do one thing per turn: build ships/bases, or repair.
If a
Shipyard were even building a fraction of a ship in a given turn, it can
nothing else that turn. It cannot work on multiple ships, either, in a

Oh, building a Shipyard without a Shipyard present to work on it incurs
10% penalty, also. Any vessel built w/out the benefit of a Shipyard will
always incur the 10% fee penalty.

The Map:
The map is a hex grid 50x34. Stars are located in the following hexes:

		    0425 (Black Wolf)
		    0505 (Red Dragon)
		    2725 (Jade Falcon)
		    4510 (Iron Fist)

   0414     1120     1615     2125     2617	3905
   0619     1210     2001     2131     3307	4016
   0730     1503     2009     2510     3419	4028
   1006     1526     2014     2603     3829	4222

Combat will take place offline, in Real Life, between other players
(your 'captains'). You will need to furnish a Battle Manual for your
with which your captains may conduct their combat. An example of what a
Manual might look like follows:


A. Use missiles/subpacks first if the range permits effective fire.
   Concentrate all fire on the largest ship in the ememy force within
   effective range.

B. Begin using B-batteries at 16".

C. Always try to concentrate fire on the largest enemy ship when 
   possible.  The execptions being when a ship needs to fire in self 
   defence at ships/missles, etc. getting inside range 12.  Then the 
   ship has release to fire in self defence if it is being targeted 
   by enemy fire.

D. Break fleet up into groups of 3 and attempt pincer flanking movments
   if the number of enemy ships is 2/3 the number of your ships.
   remain in a close formation (no more than 6" seperating ships) during

E. Drive the enemy away, do *not* pursue, if uncertain of what lies 
   ahead of the TF in the next system.

F. Given equal fighting forces, retreat to the desginated system if your
   losses hit 1/3 of your ships. Loses mean combat ineffective or

G. Given the empire's squadron is disadvantage by more that 1/3 of it's
   fighting force, begin rear guard action and retreat.

H. Give the empire's squadron is advantaged by 1/3 it's fighting 
   force, attack and try to drive the enemy from the system.

I. Carriers are to stay in the back of the fleet. Escort vessels are to
   within 3" of their assigned ships. Orbital bombardment ships are to
   themselves to a subtask force and hang back until after the battle is

J. Larger ships are more valuable than smaller ones. If sacrifice will
   a larger ship, do it.

K. Maintain contact with the empire as best as possible. Send reports
   of the battle as soon as possible.

L. If cut off from the empire, hold the current system, or retreat to a
   sector capital if a system has been so designated.

You may have more than one Battle Manual. Just be sure I understand
one you want to access in any given turn.

While in reality the actual combat between two forces will take place in
a manner of minutes, getting *to* and *from* the system of conflict will
eat up most of the time. So fleets will only engage in battles in one
system per turn. You cannot jump into one system, do battle, defeat the
enemy, then continue on to the next system and repeat the process in the
course of 1 turn. Yeah, if you broke things down to finer granularity
probably could, but this is being as basic and simple as one can
get. Deal.

Fleets that lose a battle do have the option of retreating by one
If they chose not to retreat, they then automatically surrender. If they
have used up their strategic movement for the turn, they cannot retreat.
They must surrender.

You may make alliances with other players. Since I don't plan on
telling you who's who, you'll have to use me as your intermediary.  ;-)
You will be allowed no more than 2 negotiation messages per game turn,
and only if you are in contact with the other player's empire/fleet
with one of your fleets. These occur outside of the normal
reports routine.

If you come across another player's fleet, you may, if you so desire,
attempt to initiate diplomatic relations. You may *not* be the aggressor
in combat (ie, you cannot attack the player's fleet...well, you could,
but I don't think it'd go over real well), but must sit there, waiting.
The next turn you can begin communications if you desire.

Technology Trees:
Technology can branch in one form or another, depending on what races
to study and work with. There are also different 'levels' of technology
each tree. Though not many since there aren't that many different types
ship systems in FT.

Ship			| Branch | Branch | Branch | Branch |
  System		|   A	 |   B	  |   C    |   D    |
C-Battery		|   1	 |   1	  |   1    |   1    |
B-Battery		|   2	 |   2	  |   3    |   2    |
A-Battery		|   3	 |   4	  |	   |	    |
AA-Battery		|   4	 |	  |   X    |   X    |
Needle Beam		|   3	 |	  |   2    |   2    |
Screens 		|   2	 |   3	  |   3    |   2    |
Reflex Field		|   X	 |	  |	   |   3    |
Cloaking Field		|   X	 |	  |   4    |   3    |
Pulse Torp		|   2	 |   3	  |	   |   2    |
Wave Gun		|   X	 |   X	  |	   |   3    |
Nova Cannon		|   X	 |   X	  |   X    |   4    |
Submunitions Packs	|   3	 |	  |   1    |   X    |
Msl (standard)		|   X	 |	  |   2    |   X    |
Msl (EMP, Needle)	|   X	 |   X	  |   3    |   X    |
Ftr (standard)		|   3	 |   1	  |   4    |   4    |
Ftr (fast/atk/intercept/|   4	 |   2	  |	   |	    |
     long-range)	|	 |	  |	   |	    |
Ftr (hvy/torp)		|   3	 |   3	  |   X    |   X    |
Ftr (multi-role: 2 max) |   5	 |   4	  |   X    |   X    |
PDAF			|   3	 |   2	  |   2    |   3    |
ADAF			|   4	 |   3	  |   3    |   X    |
ECM			|   2	 |   3	  |   3    |   3    |
Area ECM		|   3	 |   4	  |   4    |   4    |
Enhanced Sensors	|   1	 |   2	  |   2    |   1    |
Superior Sensors	|   2	 |   3	  |   3    |   3    |
Damage Control Teams	|   1	 |   1	  |   1    |   1    |
Ortillery		|   1	 |   1	  |   1    |   1    |

# - the tech level in which this system becomes available.
X - a system which this branch can never have.
Blank - a wildcard system, tech level 5. A branch may chose 2
	of these blank systems as their extra tech level 5 items.
	(note: Branch A has no blank systems...)

#/Lvl	    A	B   C	D
1	    4	4   4	4
2	    5	4   4	4
3	    7	6   6	6
4	    3	3   3	3
5	    1	2   2	2
total	   20  19  19  19

Captured Vessels:
Any captured vessel may be taken back to the homeworld, or to the
Shipyard, for examination. If the captured vessel(s) is/are of a higher
level than you, you can gain 1 free *1d10* roll to your current tech
progression rolls. However, this just gives you a boost in some basic
designs, hints at shortcuts in doing some things; it does *not* allow
you to
use the higher tech systems, especially if the vessel if from a culture
pursued an alternate branch in the technology tree! Too bad, can't use
systems. You *can*, should you desire, dismantle the vessel and receive
(round down) of the PP it took to build it (mostly as raw materials and
parts). You cannot simply lift ship systems from their ship to yours,
even if
you followed the same tech tree branch. There will be just enough
that incorporating them goes beyond the scope of this rules set.

You can hold ships 'hostage' (as if they were POWs), to be traded with
enemy player. If you opt to do this, you cannot dismantle the vessel in
way, nor can you use any systems on it. You can still examine thet
vessel at
a Shipyard to get a free tech roll, but this will only be a d6 roll, not
d10 roll (the d10 roll reflects that you are tearing into the ship more
just superficially studying it).

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