Amber Zone - Mithril Dawn

Last Updated 26 January 2004.

Mithril Dawn

Classic Traveller/Mercenary scenario for a battalion, plus own artillery support and transport.
Characters required: ex-Marines or Army, preferably Imperial citizens. Zhodani or Sword Worlders need not apply.

Materials Required

(See also References)

Map surface (paper or other)
4 sheets of overhead transparency film
4 coloured transparency markers

Setting

Mithril (Spinward Marches/Sword Worlds) E568000-0

This scenario was designed to be played out during the Fifth Frontier War (1109), but may be used in a variety of time settings:

1109 Fifth Frontier War
Sword Worlds Sacnoth Fleet defending, Imperial 214th Fleet attacking
Sword Worlds Sacnoth + Narsil Fleets attacking, Imperial 214th Fleet defending
1119, 1127 Aslan Ihatei incursions
Aslan attacking, Imperials defending
1132 Sword Worlds land grab
Sword Worlds attacking, Border Worlds defending
Sword Worlds defending, Imperials attacking

Other time settings (the other Frontier Wars for example) are possible.

Background (1109)

Mithril
Mithril is 8000km in diameter with a standard atmosphere and water covering 80% of the world's surface. In actuality, the water is mostly ice; ice-caps cover both poles, and much of the continental landmass is under a mantle of ice and snow. Mithril's temperature rarely goes above freezing. Mithril has a twenty-hour day, with one major continent and four minor landmasses.

Mithril is listed as having no population, but this is not entirely true. Mithril is one of the group of Metal Worlds, held in reserve by the Sword Worlds Confederation for future development. Its resources have been held in trust against the day when the Sword Worlds need them to support continued expansion. That day fast approaches.

The Sword Worlds maintains a starport (type E, an admin building next to a paved area) with a port warden responsible for maintaining sovereignty. The normal population for the world is thus about two or three individuals; government is low-profile, local law generally consisting of restrictions on behaviour within the admin building. Unrefined fuel can be obtained by melting and pumping snow into the tanks of a ship.

Like frontiersmen everywhere, the starport crew have produced what is arguably the most vicious liquor in known space. "Calamander Blood" is an extract of certain secret ingredients, with enough kick to take out a Bowman belter at ten paces. Calamander Blood is (mostly) alcohol but contains traces of one or two substances that are illegal even in the relatively permissive Sword Worlds society. Needless to say, nobody can remember what the drink tastes like, although everyone who has tried it shudders at the memory of the Mithril starport drinking games.

Calamander Blood: Throw END or less on 2D for each glass to avoid incontinence and unconsciousness. Any PC who can take three shots becomes an honourary member of the Mithril Snowbabies Club, and must run naked around the starport building as their initiation. Referees should feel free to invent various humiliating drinking games to amuse (abuse?) the PCs.

In 1106 and early 1107, the port warden 'persuaded' a party of Imperial adventurers to survey the planet for future exploitation; these adventurers discovered a variety of puzzling features, including an unidentifiable radioactive waste dump and an artificial chasm a staggering 1500 metres deep, visible from orbit, with artifacts suggesting it may have been inhabited by Aslan at some unknown time in the past. This chasm has baffled archaeologists, since there has been no known Aslan presence on the planet since the Long Night. Climatic conditions have made the chasm impossible to date, and there remains a possibility that the feature could be of Ancient origin.

By mid-1107, growing tension between the Sword Worlds and the Imperium led the TAS to declare the subsector an Amber Zone. Soon after, the Fifth Frontier War broke out.

In late 1107, elements of the Sword Worlds' Sacnoth Fleet were assigned to garrison Mithril against incursions by the Imperial 213th and 214th Fleets.

The Sacnoth Fleet
Member worlds of the Sword Worlds Confederation maintain their own fleets, assigning them to Confederation command only in times of emergency. At the beginning of the Fifth Frontier War, the Sacnoth Fleet was assigned to guard the rim-trailing border of the Confederation, which includes the resource rich and uninhabited Metal Worlds (Iron, Bronze, Mithril and Steel). The fleet's homeworld, Sacnoth, was to be defended by the Narsil fleet, which would also act as a strategic reserve.

Imperial Navy 214th Fleet
Early in the war, the 214th Fleet was assigned to defend the Imperial rim-spinward border along the Glisten subsector. When it was recognised that this frontier was unlikely to face enemy incursion, the 214th gradually moved coreward, to contain the Sacnoth Fleet and bolster defences in the Caladbolg Pocket. The Pocket is a strategic link to the Five Sisters subsector via the naval base at Flammarion, and is an Imperial enclave consisting of the rich agricultural world of Caladbolg, the extensive resources of the Caliburn asteroid belt, and the less valuable Amber Zone world Gunn.

By mid-1109 the 214th was patrolling the Sword Worlds' rimward border. Although tensions mounted, both opposing fleets held their positions other than sending an occasional reconnaissance squadron to test enemy defences.

The Imperial Advance
On 285-1109, the 214th Fleet advanced upon the Metal Worlds. The 214th launched attacks on Steel, Mithril, Bronze and Iron, in a bold attempt to shatter the Sacnoth Fleet and join forces with the Imperial 213th Fleet for a combined push into the Sword Worlds heartland.

The Imperial Strategy
The 214th will mount simultaneous naval and ground assaults on the four Metal Worlds, using all available naval forces. Even the Reserve Fleet elements defending the Caladbolg Pocket are being assigned to the attack; the Pocket will be defended only by their System Defence squadrons and elements of the 214th Fleet's elite Imperial Marine fighter and ground forces.

The Marine forces assaulting the Metal Worlds will be temporarily understrength and local Imperial Army units are still tied down in garrison operations throughout the Glisten subsector. The 214th has therefore hired a mercenary mechanised infantry battalion, with artillery support, to defeat the ground forces defending the less vital world of Mithril. Resistance is expected to be only moderate, given that the Sacnoth Fleet should be caught off guard by the surprise onslaught.

The Imperial Navy will destroy or neutralise any starships or SDBs in the system, and provide limited orbital fire support. A Naval Intelligence Liaison Officer (NILO) will accompany the unit to assist with enemy threat assessment and collect information to support future operations.

The mercenary battalion will hold the position until Imperial Marines relieve them in approximately four weeks' time.

The Mission

The mercenary unit will, in order of importance:

  1. Seize and hold the Mithril starport until relieved by Imperial Marine forces
  2. Secure an area 100km in radius, immediately surrounding the starport
  3. Clear the planetary surface of enemy forces, and
  4. Assist the Naval Intelligence Liaison Officer (NILO) in gathering intel of value to future operations.

Intel Report
As of the last recon patrol three weeks ago, the starport was occupied by approximately one company of infantry and a troop of three TL-11 grav tanks. A mercenary cruiser and a patrol cruiser are situated in geosync orbit above the starport, and there are indications that SDBs may be hiding in the gas giant. The infantry and armoured troops are likely to be in poor morale, given the difficult conditions and the fact that they have had no resupply for over a month.

Payment
The Imperial Navy will pay the normal unit salaries from the time the contract is signed until the unit is relieved by the Imperial Marines, and an additional MCr2 will be credited to the mercenary unit's account on signing. A success bonus of MCr3 will apply if all four mission objectives are achieved. The Navy will guarantee standard repatriation bonds.

Equipment
The Imperium will equip the battalion from the Imperial Army depot on Caladbolg. All TL 12 equipment is available, except for combat armour. The Marines will supply the unit with arctic combat environment suits; these suits are chameleon configured and only require one chill cartridge per twelve hours' operation. Four TL 13 battle computers and a TL 13 radio jammer are also available for use.

The 800t Mercenary Cruiser Khukri will be orbiting with a period of three hours. It will be overhead for 45 minutes every three hours, when it can provide on call fire support with its four triple pulse laser turrets and four double missile turrets. Since the Khukri will be acting as a communications relay, its captain will not change orbit unless in the most extreme circumstances.


Referee's Section

The Imperial Commander
The Imperial commander appears to be nervous. She is being honest with the PCs, but has not been able to find a unit other than the PC's battalion that will take the job on. PCs with Admin or Bribery skill will be able to negotiate a much better deal than the Commander is offering; she can give up to MCr10 plus the equipment as payment, and will also allow the PCs to keep any captured enemy equipment once it has been scoured for intel.

Lieut. Ibreen Diskalath 694ED8
Tactics-6, Computer-4, Sensor Ops-4, Rifle-2

The NILO, Ibreen Diskalath, is an honours graduate of the Imperial Navy Intelligence College on Rhylanor and makes sure everybody knows it. Her arrogance would only be mildly irritating if she weren't so damn good at her job. She seems to have an incredible ability to integrate reports and fragmented information into an accurate intelligence picture. Diskalath is over 1.8m tall, with dark skin, black hair, and laser-blue eyes that look as though they could pierce hull alloy.

A rumour will circulate among the soldiers that Diskalath is a psionic, probably a Zhodani from her appearance and her uncanny ability to second-guess the enemy. This should be seen for the joke it is, given her enthusiasm and ability to predict and analyse enemy activity.

A psionic who tries to read her thoughts will encounter nothing more than a series of scrambled images. Diskalath is actually a cyborg; part of her brain has been replaced with a miniaturised TL-15 battle computer, which accounts for the distortion in her thought patterns. She will be reluctant to speak of this, since in many parts of the Imperium, being a cyborg is only marginally more acceptable than being a psionic.

The Sword Worlders
The recon patrol commander should lose their job: they missed most of the enemy forces on the planet. The forces given in the intel report are only those in the immediate vicinity of the starport; there are another three platoons of TL-11 infantry and another two troops of three grav tanks each, dug into heavily camouflaged positions in a ridge overlooking the starport, three troops of grav tanks are patrolling the rest of the planetary surface, and a submarine with a TL-12 50t missile bay is submerged about ten km offshore.

The ground troops are far from demoralised. They were selected from the elite Sacnoth Alpine Regiment (SAR) and have extensive experience fighting in arctic conditions. Their equipment is arctic camouflaged and conditioned, and will suffer no detrimental effects from Mithril's climate. A resupply craft visited about ten days ago, so they are in good health and spoiling for a fight.

The starport is still in operation, but since the SAR are prohibited from drinking alcohol while on duty they do not get along with the starport crew, who are seldom sober.

The Situation
The referee should copy the map of Mithril Starport (SEE Double Adventure 2, p 14) onto a playing surface that is large enough to map a ridge about 300m to the south of the starport, the ocean shore about 200m to 1500m to the east (most of the 'shore' beyond 200m is treacherous ice shelf) and a rough snow plain stretching off to the north and west. To the south, beyond the ridge, are a series of small hills and valleys of various sizes.

Reconnaissance
The referee can provide the players ****
The Battle
The fight should be tougher than the PCs expected, but if the Sword Worlders can be taken by surprise, the mercenaries should only have to fight a small part of the enemy forces at a time.


References

Double Adventure 2: Mission on Mithril (REQUIRED for this scenario)
Regency Sourcebook
Fifth Frontier War (RECOMMENDED background reading)
Imperial Encyclopaedia
Book 4: Mercenary (Weapons and equipment references)
Book 5: High Guard (Some spaceship details)


Return to Top of Page