Cinematic Drama Campaign

I've been looking over the CCDU concept that was pushed in '07 and then archived at the other BBS. I think it's a fascinating idea, because it offers something that isn't a simple 4X campaign. As a result, I've been doing some fiddle-work on it and writing a computer-moderated backend for it.

What do you guys think of the concept? What would you like to see it do? Would you play in such a campaign?

Campaign Advertisement

So this campaign is a thing, now. (MP4)(WebM)
I know there isn't much call for campaigns from the players here, but I figure I'd see who is interested.

I plan on starting this campaign during the last week or march or the first week of april. Campaign rules are posted on the campaign's website.

Very cool! I'll have to read

Very cool! I'll have to read your webpage and find out more about this whole thing. You've done a nice job of it.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Matt, this looks

Matt, this looks awesome!

Looking forward to it going live.

Dramatic SFB going Live

So a couple of players jumped into this a few months ago, and the three of us have gotten to turn 10. A catastrophic database-operator error (you like that? It almost hides the fact that I screwed up while meddling with the DB) caused this campaign to prematurely close. The three of us are starting a new campaign inside of a week, and would like to see our numbers grow. Anyone interested, please let me know either by signing up (at sfbdrama.mattnet.org) or by emailing me (email in my forum info.)

Additionally, I intend to post turn summaries and the like in this thread. I meant to do that for the last one, but got lazy. This time I'll do better.

Spring, Y165

The first turn of the General War Era game is now underway.

The Klingon/Romulan border is seeing patrols where each party matches the other perfectly. A large Klingon convoy is escorted by a frigate, only to find a Romulan frigate sliding in for a raid. A small Klingon colony has a destroyer patrolling nearby, only to find a Romulan conversion of the same hull looking for trouble. Both battles promise to be equally difficult for both sides.

The Romulan/Paravian border, conversly, is as peaceful as one could hope for. The Romulans put a Kestrel destroyer in orbit around a vulnerable colony of theirs, only to find the Paravians instead went hunting for Space Boars. Neither side bothered the other.

The Paravian/Klingon border is similarly peaceful. The Klingons had a treacherous area they were mining, where they saw fit to place a destroyer in patrol. The Paravians left the Klingons alone. Likewise, the Klingons had a small base in a vulnerable area that the Paravians also left alone. Maybe the Bird Brained empire is just weak?

Matt

What does this campaign involve? There isnt a lot of information on your website or here.

Thanks.

Campaign Involvement

I'm not sure what you mean when you ask about involvement in the campaign, so I'll try to answer a couple of ways you could be asking that.

To summarize what you do in-game: You are the commander of a small fraction of your empire. You start the game with a fleet of ships, an income, and a series of borders with other empires. Each campaign turn, a series of scenarios are picked from a list and assigned to each player based on the size of border they have with their neighbors. Each player assigns their ships to the scenarios given to them (using a blind-bidding technique) and then the ship assignments are revealed to everyone. Those scenarios that had no ships assigned to them are discarded, those with "Overwhelming Force" (a threshold defined at the start of the campaign, but defaults to 150% of the difference of the BPV of either force) are talked through without need for play, and the remaining scenarios are played. Play can be held on SFBOL, FTF (if locations allow), or PBEM (if it can be done very quickly by PBEM standards). After the battles are talked/played through, any crippled, destroyed, or captured units are marked as such, and encounters are marked as a victory for the appropriate side. Then the website software performs builds, handles the economy, assigns rewards based on how the scenarios came out, and picks new scenarios for the players to bid to.

What you as the player are tasked with doing: This is a computer-moderated campaign. There are two phases of each turn that require your input into the software that is driving the campaign.
1) First you give orders to your units to be built and to be bid to the scenarios you have been handed.
2) After the bids are revealed, you play through the scenarios that are close enough to be a real fight. After those battles are done, you must go back to the software and "give orders" that the appropriate ships were captured/crippled/destroyed and that the defender of the scenarios was either victorious or defeated.
All in all, there isn't much "paperwork" involved in the campaign. However, it doesn't have the strategic-side of things - with a map, research, and upgrading colonies - that your traditional 4X campaigns have. This campaign will largely test you as a ship captain faced with oddball scenarios, and not as the head of an empire building fleets for the front line.

Campaign Reboot

Well, we started a new campaign, as noted above 5 days ago. But then we got a slew of new people who were interested. the existing players decided that they wanted everyone to begin afresh. So we now have the Six-Powers War, between the Klingons, Federation, Kzinti, Romulans, Gorn, and the Paravians.

Spring Y165

The Klingon/Federation border is showing a Fed frigate is defending their terrain feature against a Klingon F5, while a similar matchup is going on around a nearby Federation base. Both of these are close, and only a careful management of firepower can pull either empire's iron out of the fire. Similarly, a frigate from each empire has shown up to hunt the space boar that is prowling the Paravian/Federation border. A Kzinti terrain feature has a couple of heavy frigates on patrol when a Federation frigate shows up to investigate why the Kzinti are so heavily defending it. It's likely that the Federation will back away after the initial overtures of the Kzinti.

The Romulans had not given enough defenses to one of their colonies when a Klingon F5 came calling, creating a large hole in the Romulan economy. A Klingon tug was found near the Kzinti border doing an important supply mission, which the Kzinti decided to allow this time.

A Romulan convoy was found by the Paravians to be escorted by a K5R, which the birds have decided to raid with a lowly frigate. On the other side of the Romulan/Paravian border, a Romulan colony was heavily defended by a Snipe and K5R, which the Paravians did not show up to raid. The Gorn showed up to a Romulan base, found no defenders, and promptly destroyed the base. That will close the border between the two empires until future events opens up that avenue for interaction.

Speaking of the Gorn, they attempted to raid a Paravian colony with a destroyer, only to find a pair of frigates in defense. It is likely that the Gorn will back off in order to fight another day. The Gorn found a valuable asteroid on the Kzinti border, which the Kzinti could not divert any forces to take. However, a Gorn colony defended by a lonely destroyer is under attack by a pair of Kzinti frigates. This is very likely to shrink the border between the two powers.

The Orion Observer
-- by Hans Offit

Spring, Y166

A group of refugees went seeking a home in Paravian space, only to be scooped up by the Romulans. However the Space Boars are out in force, and one is trying to flee from a Romulan Kestrel frigate and Paravian frigate.

A pair of Klingon F5s are attempting to raid a large Federation colony, defended by a frigate and a destroyer. This one could be a win for the Federation, if they can suppress Klingon sniping or convince the Klingons to close with the Planetary defenses. Elsewhere on the large Klingo-Federation border, a Klingon tug is attempting to service at temporary resupply point while flanked by an E4G and a F5 but has been intercepted by a pair of Federation frigates. This doesn't look good for the Feds, but they can certainly cause some long-term damage if they get a good shot in. Additionally, a Space Boar has shown up in Federation space, and the Klingons were the only one to send a wildlife-reclaimation-unit to the scene.

The Klingons attempt to raid a Romulan Mobile Base with a frigate, but are met by the new Romulan Warhawk carrier and escort. It's likely the Klingons will - ahem - advance back to their own lines. Elsewhere, a Klingon Base Station is under attack by banshees and a Kzinti frigate has decided to record the destruction for posterity.

The Gorn border sees a heavy concentration of Gorn and Paravian forces near a small herd of Space Boars. The Gorn have brought out their new cruiser and an attendant pair of destroyers, only to be met by a Paravian frigate squadron and a war cruiser. This is the fight to bring out the popcorn for, as it looks like a pretty fair fight. Can the Gorn's heavier guns overcome the swarm of Paravian torpedoes? It depends on how close the Paravians let the Gorn approach.

The Kzinti have flushed a group of refugees into Federation space, but it looks like the cats gobbled them up before they could get to safety. The Gorn have captured a group of Kzinti hostages, which the cats have simply shrugged and allowed to be carted away.

The Orion Observer

-- Hans Offit

Fall Y166

This fall we've seen a dramatic growth of the Klingon-Federation border. Hopefully that will bring good profit to us--err, good things to both empires.

And speaking of the Klingo-Fed border. The Federation is raiding a couple of Klingon colonies with their frigate squadron, but are seeing the Klingon commando frigates stand their ground. That's going to be a blow to the Klingon economy for the next year if the Klingons fail to defend their colonies. In response, the Klingons are escorting an Eel that threatened a Federation colony, successfully destroying the population base of that planet. This is going to give the two empires fewer places of contact. And finally, the Organians had brokered a colony with the two empires, of which only the Klingons cared to establish. This will somewhat offset the economic loss caused by the Federation raids elsewhere.

A space boar was sighted on the Kzinti-Fed border, which the Cats took down, unhindered by their neighbors. The Federation-Paravian border will be closing, as a large Paravian force escorted a planet crusher against a feeble Federation defense.

Elsewhere, the Klingons attempted to destroy a Romulan mobile base with one of their F5s, only to find it defended by a pair of Romulan ships of the same hull. One of these days we'll get to see some F5-on-K5 action. The Klingons had a logistics mission near the Romulan border, which the Romulans merely noted on long-range sensors.

The Klingons sent their newly commissioned Commando Cruiser to a Kzinti terrain feature with the intent of taking over the operation, but they were intercepted by the new Kzinti BC and their newly converted SDF. I hear the Klingons decided to withdraw their ship because they wanted to keep the nose art undamaged. However, another boar is skittering around the Kzinti-Klingon border, and each empire has dispatched their frigates to take the beast home. This should be an interesting battle.

The Paravians had taken some tourists to the Romulan empire as hostages, but the Romulans got them back without a fight. The Romulans are going to see their goodwill and their border increase with whichever empire the tourists call home. A banshee attack on a Paravian base is being helped by a timely appearance of a Romulan Warhawk and Snipe. But the CVE and frigate are going to have to contend with a Paravian war cruiser and a frigate in defense. Like on the Klingon border, the Paravians are doing a sensitive logistical mission, which the Romulans are once again merely observing.

The Paravians noted a Gorn convoy operating near their border, but did not have the ships to threaten the significant Gorn force escorting the freighters. The Gorns destroyed a Planet Crusher on the Romulan border that was threatening one of their colonies, thanks to the Romulan ships being tied up elsewhere. A Gorn colony found itself vulnerable to a Kzinti attack, but the Kzinti must not have known of the opportunity. Conversely, a Kzinti FRD was operating near the Gorn border with less-than-normal escorts and the Gorn apparently were busy elsewhere.

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Spring Y167

Another year dawns and the universe is still throwing new things at people.

Banshees struck a Romulan base on the Paravian border, and were killed with the help of a K5R. In two different instances, refugees from the Paravian regime attempted to seek asylum from the humane Romulan republic. Both times, the refugees were captured and returned to Paravian re-education camps. The Paravians also sent in a frigate to shoot up a well-founded Romulan colony, found no defending ships, and caused enough damage to cripple the economy from that planet. I think there might be a war brewing between the Romulans and the Paravians in the near future...

On the Romulan/Klingon border, both empires found a technology cache of unknown origin. The Romulans sent in a pair of small, unescorted carriers against a Klingon commando frigate. By some quirk of fate, the carriers felt for their lives and scurried away as fast as they could. The Klingons mounted a logistics mission near the Romulan border with a commando frigate as escort and a pair of Snipes went to investigate. It's possible that the Klingons will not succeed here.

A visiting Gorn convoy strayed too close to the Romulan border, to which a K5R was dispatched to raid them. When it found a Gorn cruiser and "destroyer" as escort, the Romulan is likely to turn around and report back to high-command. Some Gorn refugees were fleeting to Paravian space with a "frigate" in hot pursuit (Hey: even a Gorn police ship is dangerous if you're stuck on a shuttle with standing-room-only.) But the Gorn ship is likely to turn around when it finds a Paravian war cruiser and frigate in orbit around the refugee's new home.

The Kzinti sent an FH to bolster a vulnerable terrain feature on the Federation border, but it was boring duty for the frigate crew. Additionally, the Klingons were able to grab some ore-rich asteroids just inside the Federation neutral zone and found no contest there. The Klingons attempted to strengthen a large colony with a commando cruiser, a destroyer squadron, and a frigate, but nearly the entire local Federation fleet showed up: a frigate squadron, a cruiser, and a destroyer. This is the battle worth the popcorn.

The Kzinti were able to scoop up some refugees heading into Klingon space (they probably had some navigation failure; undoubtedly they were headed to the WYN cluster and took a wrong turn at the minefields.) A couple of Klingon colonies were raided by Kzinti forces: both raiding fleets included a Kzinti BC and frigate, while each had a lowly Klingon E3 as defender.

On the Gorn's side of the Kzinti border, we saw a Gorn CA and CL being serviced by an FRD. The Kzinti could not bring any forces to bear there. The likely reason is because a Kzinti heavy cruiser and light cruiser were across the border at one of their colonies, protecting it from a Gorn raid that never materialized.

The Orion Observer
-- Hans Offit

Fall Y167

Another year comes to an end, but new borders have opened up everywhere!

The Paravian Republic has opened borders with the Kzinti, Federation, and Klingon empires. Thusfar the Cats have been unwilling to cross phasers with the Birds, even though the Paravians had a nice juicy Tug sitting on the Kzinti border. On the Federation border, a pair of Federation frigates hoped to dine on some Space Boar, but found a pair of Paravian war cruisers across the table. I expect the frigates to leave for easier pickings. On the Paravian/Gorn border, these two warring races have met again, but the Gorn sent most of their cruiser hulls against a pair of bird-brained frigates. Needless to say, these frigates have also left for the kiddy table. The Klingons and the Paravians are experiencing some friction over a terrain feature that the Birds are currently mining: a Klingon fast raider has left the field to a patrolling war cruiser.

On the Federation borders, the Kzinti have claimed a colony in the neutral zone with no interference from the Federation. The Klingons have another major colony near Federation space, with nothing but a notation in the Galactic Gazeteer, and they stumbled upon a cache of odd technology, with no Federation ships able to route it's direction. However a vulnerable Federation convoy was being raided by a Klingon F5, but can the Klingon defeat the destroyer that is running as escort?

The Klingons, by far, have the largest borders to patrol of the year. The Romulans have a ship in for refit that the Klingons have sent their commando cruiser to capture, but the Romulans have routed a K5R to defend. That should be interesting to hear about. A planet crusher has taken a liking for Klingon colony worlds; this one has an E3 in orbit. But the Romulans have sent a K5R to help the monster with it's meal. The Klingons and Romulans are also fighting over a rich technological trove, but the Klingons sent a frigate and the Romulans sent a frigate pair. This will probably go to the Romulans (maybe it has warp technology in there somewhere?)

The Romulan/Paravian border is pretty quiet. Parts of the Paravian logistics network escaped Romulan raiding ships; first a convoy with a frigate escort, and then a tug with a war cruiser escort. Perhaps the Paravian intelligence leak is starting to pay off for the Romulans.

The Kzinti/Gorn border is pretty picturesque: if you count the fact that the Kzinti didn't show up as worthy of a snapshot. The Gorn blew up a small Kzinti base and destroyed a Kzinti FRD. The Gorns had a scientific outpost on the Romulan border, but the Romulans left it unmolested.

The Klingons sent a commando frigate to scout out the opposition of a Kzinti mining operation, only to find a full frigate squadron in attendance. The Klingon commander quickly left, with cat-calls over subspace. However, the Kzinti missed a minor planet that the Klingons set up on their border, having sent nothing to send off the mighty E3 in orbit. And in the same vein, the Klingons successfully set up a mobile base on the Kzinti border.

And there you have it. Alot of stuff happening, but nothing for the Tri-D video.
The Orion Observer
--Hans Offit

Spring Y168

Spring is in the air. So they say. I can't tell, with the recycled stuff they send through our environmental system.

The Romulans and Paravians are squaring off this month. Both found valuable asteroidal deposits, but where the Romulans sent one of their old Snipe workhorses (and I mean *old*), the Paravians sent a modern war cruiser. It's likely the Romulan will slip beneath the subspace waves and slink back to base from there. The Romulan scientific post near the border was guarded by a Warhawk carrier group, which took the opportunity to do some stargazing to fill their otherwise boring patrol time. One of the Romulan's Sublight Warhawks and K5R elected to stage a raid at a small Paravian colony, but found a new command cruiser in orbit that was trying to dry it's paint and a war cruiser. It's likely the little ships are going to figure their job was done when they profiled the warp signature of the new ship with long-range scanners. The Romulans made a try for a Paravian convoy with a K5R and an unescorted Warhawk. Without the escorts, that carrier is going to head home and the K5R is unlikely to take on the escorting war cruiser and frigate all by itself. Elsewhere, a Paravan convoy was able to sneak past the Klingon fleet without any fight.

The Federation/Klingon border is seeing some interesting action. A Federation DN, CC, and DD are helping to establish a colony before the a D7C, D6G, F5 squadron, and pair of E3s can do the same. This is the one to bring out the popcorn for. Elsewhere, the Klingons sent significant mobile assets to raid a Federation colony. With no defenders, the border between the two empires just got smaller. As compensation, an eel attacked a Klingon colony, helped by a frigate squadron. That is going to shrink the border further.

A vulnerable space monster was found on the Romulan/Klingon border and both empires dispatched a single small ship to investigate. Since the K5R has more facilities to establish a motivation for the monster than the Klingon's E3, it's likely that the Romulans will reap the benefits (after they reap the monster, supposedly. Romulans are not known for their compassion.)

The Gorns, known for their hatred of the Paravians, found a mining operation in Paravian space and sent a respectable fleet to crush the Paravian economy. Finding no defenders, the Gorns and Paravians are now too far apart to reasonably conduct a war. Likewise, a minor Romulan colony has been destroyed by a Gorn light cruiser and frigate. It looks like the Gorns have fought themselves out of the galaxy, since there is no more territory near enough to them and another empire in which to conduct trade and communication.

The Kzinti put an FRD near Federation space, but it was a boring duty for the frigate stationed there against need. Elsewhere, a couple places on the Kzinti/Klingon border, Kzinti frigates were able to successfully take some Klingon hostages. The Kzinti will be thoroughly questioning both groups as to the whereabouts of new trade partners - and then eat the hostages. Knowing what the Kzinti do with hostages has started a stampede of refugees heading to Klingon space. The Kzinti were able to round up most of them with a bombardment frigate so as to give them the same stern questioning. It will be interesting what empires the Kzinti strengthen their relationships with. With the Klingon fleet invested in Federation colonies, the Kzinti were able to get a research post close to Klingon space and conduct their experiments in peace.

So there you go! A little bit of meat for the Tri-Ds. Particularly with that large-ship battle between the Klingons and the Federation.
The Orion Observer
--Hans Offit

Fall, Y168

We've lost contact with the Gorn empire. Hopefully that means the territory they used to own has become ripe for regional supremacy of our cartel. Additionally, while the Romulans tend to have civil wars as often as they have holidays, a clear leading house has risen to the top. Perhaps they will turn around this fascination with antiquated ships.

The Kzinti/Klingon border is one of the largest borders at the moment. But it's going to get smaller, as the Klingons sent a frigate to watch an Eel gobble up one of the Kzinti colonies. This might have been because the Kzinti sent some of their largest ships to spank the Klingon D7C that attempted to raid a Kzinti mining operation. Additionally, the Klingons lost out on a technological find when they dispatched a pair of their new D5 war cruisers, but met a pair of modern Kzinti cruisers and a bombardment frigate.

The Kzinti had lost some critical supplies on the Federation front, when the Kzinti frigate running as escort met a Federation dreadnaught (!!), command cruiser (!), and frigate. The dreadnaught left the scene before the battle could have gotten underway (well, more like it was showing the sledgehammer), because it didn't have the consorts required by doctrine to actually wade into those awfully dangerous freighters. Elsewhere on the Fed/Kzinti border, the Kzinti were able to establish a rich colony without a physical intervention by the Federation. However, our spies managed to be privy to a strongly-worded response by the Federation diplomat.

The Kzinti/Paravian border was very quiet. A Paravian command cruiser stopped in to a colony for some R&R, on the off-chance that the Kzinti decided to make a similar visit. The Paravian crew were quite relieved, because of all of the stories they've heard of Kzinti prowess had them "concerned". One of the cartels operating in Kzinti space were able to make a deal with the Romulans. What that deal entailed, I'm not allowed to say --cough-- warp drive --cough--.

Speaking of the Romulans, they sent a couple of K5Rs to check out a monster wandering the Klingon neutral zone, when they found an F5, D5, and FD7 already trying to establish communication with the beast. The new Klingon F5 carrier group got it's first mission, making sure nobody interrupted their attempts to mind a rich dilithium find in Romulan space. The Romulan/Paravian border, years ago a nice place to find two empires who couldn't get along, was still pretty quiet these last few months as neither empire intruded upon the other. A pair of Paravian war cruisers found a technological stash, a Romulan Warhawk carrier group and Vulture dreadnaught escorted a convoy past the Paravian sensor-nets, and a several Paravian ships were spied making a deal with more Orions.

Despite the Federation's attempts to close the Klingon border, the Klingons were able to defend one of their economic centers from the deprivations of a frigate by virtue of the Klingon garrison; an F5 squadron, commando cruiser, and bombardment cruiser. From what i understand, the Federation captain issued some blistering demands to the Klingon commander, but fled when the Klingons actually began loading weapons.

On the Paravian border, the Klingons attacked a convoy and war cruiser with a destroyer and frigate. The Klingon commander actually closed and warmed up his weapons, but decided that the swarm of inbound torpedoes were a bit too much for his small hulls and fled before anybody got hurt. Elsewhere on the same border, the Paravians found a space monster in their territory and investigated with a war cruiser and pair of frigates. The Klingon frigate that was dispatched to the event was a non-factor in the situation.

The Federation/Paravian border is a small one. Mostly, it is used as a trade conduit, as the two empires have rarely squared off. This time was no different, as the Paravians sent a war cruiser to one of their colonies near the neutral zone and the Federation sent no response to the sudden armament on their border.

Not much this issue, either. The only thing that might have been interesting was a Klingon raid of a Paravian convoy. But that was over almost as soon as it started.

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Spring Y169

Elements of the United Federation of Planets that are friendly to the Klingon empire have taken power inside the Federation power structures, allowing them to reorganize the political landscape in unprecedented ways. As a result, the new Chancellor of the Terran Empire has issued strong remarks that suggest that there will be no more patrols on the Klingon border and increased military patrols on the remaining borders of what used to be the Federation. Some suggest that this is an attempt to placate the Klingon war machine; others think it is an invitation for the Klingons to do more of the same.

The results on the bordering areas of the now "Terran Empire" are a complete withdrawal of Federation forces from the Klingon border. The Klingons only response to this was to set up another colony inside the much-redefined neutral zone. Elsewhere on the Federation borders was an unmolested Federation convoy moving past the Paravian sensor nets, a Kzinti convoy successfully moving past the Federation's watchful eye, and dreadnaught with a frigate squadron helping a Planet Crusher eat a Kzinti colony that was defended by a ubiquitous bombardment frigate and a Kzinti battlecruiser.

In Klingon space, a large fleet led by the D7C "DoomSlayer" and F5V "Axe Carrier" had visited a medium-sized Paravian colony defended by a command cruiser, war cruiser, and a couple of frigates. The Paravian forces are standing their ground, but aren't expected to last long. The Paravians must have expected something from the Klingons, because there was a stellar-mining operation near Klingon space that the Paravians stationed a similar garrison at, but the Klingons put their full weight on the other battle.

The Romulan/Klingon border is seeing more than it's normal set of "misunderstandings". The Romulans let a Space Boar go whilst a Klingon E3 took the beast down. But the Romulan Fleet came down on a colony being attacked by a Morey Eel. The new Romulan Sparrowhawk cruiser, a K5R, and a recent Battlehawk conversion found that the colony was defended by a sizeable Klingon force led by the fast cruiser "SwiftSword" and included the "Battle" destroyer squadron. The Romulans cut and run as soon as they realized the size of the defending force.

The Romulan/Paravian border was very quiet. This is where the Romulan Vulture was found, doing the ignoble duty of escorting a convoy that the Paravians never touched. The Romulans found a creature wandering the neutral zone, and dispatched a destroyer to investigate. And the Paravians had staged an FRD close to Romulan space, where a war cruiser was undergoing a much-needed warp-engine realignment.

The Kzintis sent a frigate to shepherd a Planet Crusher to a Paravian colony, but found a pair of war cruisers in orbit. Elsewhere, the Kzintis attempted an outright colony raid with a frigate, but found a similar pair of war cruisers in attendance. Needless to say, the cats have thusfar been thwarted by the birds. And even the Romulans have failed to get any action from the Kzinti government by hunting a Space Boar just inside the neutral zone. The Klingons, however, got a response from the Kzinti in the form of a command cruiser, battlecruiser, and bombardment cruiser attempting to assert Kzinti sovereignty when the klingons ran a large convoy too close to Kzinti space. The escorts were a bombardment cruiser, a war cruiser, a destroyer, and the destroyer carrier group "Fiend". The Kzintis launched drones and headed into the fray. Elsewhere, the Klingons attempted to hijack a Kzinti convoy with a frigate, but was shown off by the Kzinti bombardment frigate.

So there you go. The big-ticket battle is the Kzinti trying to swamp a Klingon convoy with drones and also there is a scrappy Paravian colony defense. With any luck, the everyone involved will get scrapped and maybe we'll be able to move back into the Klingon markets.

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Fall, Y169

With the close of another year, we've seen two whole new empires leap into the fray. A Jindarian caravan has, quite unexpectedly, come out of the asteroids near the conflux of the Federation Empire, the Paravian Republic, and the Romulan Empire, and began pushing a logistics network out from their normal economic bastions. While the Hydrans have come out against the Klingons, the Kzintis, and the Paravians in a stunning set of attacks, particularly against the big-stick of the galaxy: the Klingons.

Speaking of the Klingons, they have been pushing in all directions this time around. The Paravian border saw a Klingon frigate make a paltry attempt at sabotaging the Paravian research station of Avianus Alpha, but instead found the largest concentration of Paravian ships to date. If that Paravian fleet spends more time on the Klingon front, the Klingons might have a rough time of things. However, the Paravian/Klingon border is going to get a little smaller, as another Klingon E3 managed to single-handedly destroy an undefended mobile base that the Birds were trying to push into Klingon space. The Paravians might have done better to pull that frigate doing convoy duty on the Klingon border to protect that base, since the Klingons appear to be uninterested in Paravian convoys.

On the new Klingon/Hydran border, a race for a new treaty-colony ensued where the Hydrans brought in a pair of frigates and the Klingons brought in a C8-led D5 squadron and a F5 carrier group. The Klingon economy will continue it's run-away boom and the Hydrans are learning that the Klingons are willing to bring excessive force to the party. Although, there was a rare technological find inside Klingon space, to which the Klingon war cruiser was faced with a deadly Dragoon/Ranger pair.

Fortunately for the Federation, the Klingons elected to leave alone the Federation colony of "Dirt Patch" during a vulnerable time, or else the fully-refit cruiser in orbit might have had some target practice with those dinky destroyers that the Klingons are so fond of. Elsewhere, the Federation sent a command-cruiser in to aid a Planet Crusher in the destruction of a colony, only to find that the "Battle" destroyer group, a fast cruiser, and a bombardment cruiser were dispatched to the colony to render it a defense. For those of you that are shocked that the Federation would actually aid and commit such an atrocity, I'd like to remind you that the pro-Klingon faction (to the point of modeling themselves after the Klingons methods of staging war) within the Federation government had staged a coup during the last new-years elections.

The Federation and Paravians are having some diplomatic issues over a Paravian convoy that slipped into Federation treaty space. The Federation dreadnaught "Executioner" with it's frigate squadron escort, were dispatched to remove the military convoy and it's escorting war-cruiser-leader and frigate. There is no word yet of the commander of the "Flight Leader" actually backed down from the larger force or not.

The Kzinti sent a repair point into the Federation neutral zone with a command cruiser and a pair of frigates, but it appears the Fed empire was too busy on other borders. Similarly, the Jindarians pushed their form of repair dock out from the asteroids and added a cruiser asteroid ship with a pair of metal-hulled destroyers. This seemed to be in preparation of a larger offensive against the Terran Empire, but has not g\otten any official attention.

Elsewhere on what seemed to be the jindarian's borders, there has been little excitement. A temporary supply point was set up on the Romulan border, but it got no notice. Neither did the jindarian convoy that slipped past the Romulan sensor-nets. Both groups had some relatively significant metal-hulled escorts.

The Romulan/Klingon border saw a small flare-up when a Klingon E3 attempted to interfere with the new Romulan SPA, a pair of battlehawks, and a pair of kestrel destroyers while they were negotiating for information with the local Orions.

Likewise, the Romulan/Paravian border is still blazing merrily. This time it is a Paravian frigate squadron being led by a war-cruiser-leader that was caught fraternizing with a rival cartel by one of those kestrel destroyers that the Romulans are so proud about. The Romulans had left their Vulture dreadnaught and it's escorting War Hawk carrier group on convoy duty, which the Paravians wisely decided to leave alone. Rumor has it that the commander of the dreadnaught is from a disgraced house, and that is why the ship is spending it's time in such a lowly position.

The Kzinti are in the enviable position of running second-fiddle to the Klingons in terms of economy and perhaps in weight of their fleet. We saw a very large fleet of Klingon ships, including the "Axe" destroyer group and the "Axe Carrier" destroyer carrier group in one of the Klingon's astronomic mining facilities, but the Kzinti didn't offer hostilities there. However, at another Klingon astronomic mining facilities, a Kzinti force of their DN, a BC, CD, and FH decided to square off with the Klingon D6G, a pair of D5s, the "Battle Carrier" destroyer carrier group, and an F5. This looks like a battle neither side will back down from, particularly considering the two empires saw a similar battle earlier in the year that only came to a close after some initial exchanges. On the Romulan border, the Kzinti stationed a cruiser and bombardment frigate at one of their gas giants.

On the Hydran/Kzinti border, the Hydrans set up a colony with the help of a Hunter and a Dragoon and it went unremarked by the Kzinti. Elsewhere, a Hunter and Ranger destroyed an undefended Kzinti colony under the cover of a Space Eel. The border there is shrinking even as the Hydrans get started in this conflict. If they continue this trend, they will go the way of the Gorn, and become a non-entity in the galaxy.

And there is all the news that's fit to be news, from your friendly neighborhood businessman. As you can see, things are really heating up now.

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Spring, Y170

The 170th year from the invention of warp drive dawns, and so with it many technological breakthroughs. Most of them fueling the raging infernos of slight distrust and a small dislike for others.

The Hydran Kingdom, our smallest empire (by border) in the galactic stage, is defending their interests in an asteroidal mining operation on the Klingon border with a pair of Hunter frigates and otherwise no Klingon interest. While the Klingons advanced a repair point into the Hydran neutral zone, but then failed to defend it against a sizable force of an oversized cruiser squadron, an Outrider carrier, and a pair of frigates. The Kzintis had advanced a refit depot into the Hydran neutral zone with a battlecruiser and heavy frigate, which drew no official interest from the Hydran government.

The Jindarian enclave that surprised everyone by reaching out last year, had managed to intrude on the Terran Empire's attempt to establish a colony. First by squaring off against the Federation dreadnaught "Tidehunter" and her three frigate escorts with a BCH asteroid ship and *her* two frigate escorts, and then by giving the Terrans a drubbing by destroying one of the frigates and sending the Tidehunter packing. Elsewhere, The Jindarians ignored the Paravian mining of a nebula with a command cruiser leading a war-cruiser squadron. Furthermore, the Jindarians spread themselves around by garrisoning a base they advanced into Federation space (increasing contact between the two powers), offering a juicy convoy to the Romulans, and pushing a colony into Romulan space - both ignored by the Romulans who were dealing with their Klingon neighbors at the time.

Speaking of the Romulans and Klingons, The two came together over a colony in what could have been spectacular, but instead was an anticlamactic retreat for the Romulans. The Klingons threw in the might of their C8 dreadnaught, a bombardment cruiser, mauler, the "Rabbleslayer" war cruiser squadron, the "Axe" destroyer squadron, and "Axe Carrier" escort carrier group. The Romulans had a rag-tag group led by a King Eagle, a war cruiser scout, a war cruiser, a couple of old light cruisers, a kestrel destroyer, and the "Dire Wolves" carrier group. It could have been interesting to watch, but the Romulans would have lost the battle and some important hulls if they had stood the field. However, the Romulans have managed to defend a colony with K5R against an Eel. The increased strength of that colony will expand that border between them, and give the two empires a chance for more friction and more reward.

The Romulan and Paravian border is always a source of interest, and this season was no different. The two came together over a Romulan gas giant with a Paravian frigate against a kestrel destroyer. The Paravian eventually left the area under high warp, but not without scuffing the paint of her adversary. Elsewhere, the border was idyllic. A Paravian colony was boring duty for it's garrisoned frigate, convoy duty was tedious for the snipe running escort, and the Romulans started an important colony with naught but a K5R. And otherwise the Kzinti placed a repair point close to Romulan space, which was noted and then ignored.

The Kzintis sent a dreadnaught with several cruiser hulls and several frigate hulls to beat up a Klingon gas-collecting facility in a nearby nebula, only to find the place deserted. But that will decrease the large-ish border they share. The Klingons gobbled up a Kzinti convoy with a mere frigate and another one with a cruiser squadron, a war cruiser, the "Dragon Carrier" escort carrier group, and a couple of frigates. The Kzinti might have found something to shoot at, if they had followed in a Space Eel while it attacked a Paravian colony. The Paravians soundly beat the monster with a CWL-led war cruiser and frigate pair.

The Terran Empire sent a cruiser to wipe out a Klingon colony, doing so, and nearly closing off contact between the two. The Klingons sent their fast cruiser, a bombardment cruiser, their commando cruiser, the "Battle" destroyer squadron, and their new "Audacious" escort carrier group wipe out an undefended Paravian base, which would have cut that border in half. The Paravians sent that big command-cruiser led fleet of 5 war cruisers and a war destroyer scout to hold their interests at the asteroid mining operation, which had the effect of offsetting the loss of their base to the big Klingon fleet.

So the take-away is that dreadnaughts seem to be all the fashion these days, but nobody seems to be able to use them. But that's probably a good thing: those beasts probably get something like 80 pounds of dilithium to the light year. And, as you know, dilithium doesn't grow on trees...

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Fall Y170

The year comes to a close, but there is a few places of friction that we are eagerly awaiting to hear from.

The Paravian/Kzinti border is pretty quiet. A Paravian frigate managed to negotiate with Kzinti mercenaries in peace, while a a Kzinti bombardment frigate and command cruiser scooped up a technological find in Paravian space. A pair of Hydran frigates exploited a dilithium asteroid in Paravian space without interference. The Jindarian asteroid ship and her escorts were found destroying a Paravian base by the war destroyer scout in the vicinity, giving the Jindarians breathing room in that area of space and shutting down all contact between the two powers.

A Federation cruiser squadron and dreadnaught wiped out a Paravian gas giant mining operation, sending the frigate garrison in retreat and putting a bit of a hole in the Paravian economy. While the Klingons were able to get a large convoy past the Terran Empire, probably from the large escort of their D7C, D6D, D6G, D5, and the "Dragon Carrier" escort carrier group.

Naturally, the Klingon borders are seeing large concentrations of ships. Klingon refugees fled to a Paravian colony, where there were no pursuers but four war cruisers, a command cruiser, and a war cruiser. A Klingon frigate was in for repair, but is likely to leave the FRD to it's fate when a Paravian fleet led by a command-cruiser and 8 war cruisers and a war destroyer show up. A sizeable Klingon fleet (as they usually are these days) escorted a convoy past the Romulans, who wisely left it alone. A Romulan K5R showed up to a Klingon asteroid mining operation, only to find a Klingon dreadnaught-led fleet. In order to attempt to hire some mercenaries against the Klingons, the Romulans sent a significantly-sized rag-tag fleet led by a King Eagle, a couple of Sparrowhawks, some Battlehawks and a K5R squadron. The Klingons intercepted them with merely an F5 squadron, and is likely to leave the scene.

The Romulan/Paravian border is the currently the largest border, but there is little going on there. A paravian colony was garrisoned with a frigate, but left alone. And another Paravian frigate found a cache of a very volatile substance while patrolling on the wrong side of the Romulan border, but was able to get away without interferrence. The "Dire Wolves" Warhawk carrier group helped to establish a major colony on the Kzinti border, while a nearby Space Boar was being subject to a grueling chase by the Snipe "Horror" (a fitting name. But then I haven't served on her, either.)

The Kzinti dreadnaught "Hegemony" and her battlecruiser squadron, bombardment cruiser, medium cruiser squadron, frigate squadron, and bombardment frigate was found hunting several space boars on the Klingon front, in which they were met by an F5 squadron and promptly left alone to their work. However, a different Klingon F5 squadron was sent to investigate a half a dozen banshees that were wandering aimlessly and were left alone to their scientific work.

The Hydrans found a Morey Eel heading to a colony from Kzinti space with no Kzinti escorts and handily dispatched it with a Hunter. An important Hydran convoy was intercepted by a Klingon F5 and E3, but found a Ranger and Dragoon as escorts and turned tail. The real popcorn ticket, however, is a technological find the Klingons needed to defend from a Hydran onslaught. The Klingon fast cruiser, bombardment cruiser, commando cruiser, the "Battle" destroyer squadron, and the "Fire Carrier" escort carrier group, was met by a Lord Bishop, an Outrider carrier, a couple of Dragoons, a Ranger, and a Hunter. This could go either way, and it's a good thing we have a spy on a Klingon ship with a tri-D recorder.

The Jindarians started a small colony on the Romulan border with a couple of small asteroids and some destroyers, but it drew no Romulan response. Elsewhere, the Terrans sent a cruiser and a couple of frigates to hunt some Space Boars near the Jindarians and were not disturbed. The Terran Empire sent a dreadnaught to garrison an nebula mining facility. It was a good thing that the Jindarians never visited, for doctrine would have required that the dreadnaught would have needed to retreat since it had no escorts. The Jindarians instead wiped out an undefended Terran Empire asteroid mining facility.

So the excitement is with the Kingon/Hydran battle. With luck, we'll see some Pow-Pow there.
The Orion Observer
--Han Offit

Fall Y171

We here at the Orion Observer apologize for failing to get an issue out last season. As it turns out, a Tholian police force overran our offices and forced us to relocate. Needless to say, the presses (such as they are) were not running for a while.

Speaking of the Tholians, a few more empires have decided to participate in the ongoing spat we are witnessing. The Tholians are one of them, and the Lyrans have decided that that their neighbors shouldn't have all of the fun. It's getting so crowded around here, that I wouldn't be surprised to see a few Juggernaughts decide they want a piece of the action.

So the Tholians started off by sending a respectable fleet into Kzinti space, found a technological cache left by one of the old kings, and were met by a Kzinti cruiser squadron backed up by a bombardment cruiser. We'll see if the rockheads have what it takes against all of those drones. A Hydran frigate and cruiser found some Dilithium in a Tholian asteroid, and it seems that they got away with it scot-free. On the Jindarian border, a Planet Crusher came after a Tholian colony, which was met by a frigate-heavy fleet but no Jindarians. On the Lyran border, we found one of the Lyran command cruisers escorting a convoy, but no Tholian raiders.

On the Lyran side of things, a couple of Jindarian asteroid ships with a couple of metal ships succeeded in taking out an unescorted Lyran tug. A Lyran war-hull battle group attempted a raid on a Jindarian convoy with an asteroid and a couple of metal-hulls, but decided to leave after the strongly worded threat from the Jinbaro. That's a shame: that looked like it would have been a good battle to watch. Space Boars were sighted on the Hydran/Lyran border, but only the Hydrans showed up with a "Wildlife Reformation Agency". Additionally, the brand-new Hydran Cavalier carrier group has had it;'s first mission by helping an Eel eat a Lyran colony. That's going to leave a mark on the Lyran economy that they will feel for the next year. The Terran Empire is stepping away from their Klingon look-alike doctrine and attacked a Lyran colony with a dreadnaught and a cruiser squadron. The Lyran war-hull battle group must have decided that the preservation of fleet is pretty important, because the Lyrans turned tail and now those two empires will lose contact with eachother.

Speaking of the Terran Empire, they have decided to go poaching Boars on the Paravian side of their border with another dreadnaught, a pair of cruisers, and an escort frigate. Having met the Paravian CW squadron, both the escort frigate and the dreadnaught were forced by doctrine to sit out the battle, which is likely to send the whole fleet home. Refugees from the Klingon empire sought solace from the Terrans, and were quickly processed by the lonely escort frigate that met them. A Jindarian convoy has skated past the Federation eyes unremarked by not unnoticed - particularly because of the suspicious asteroid that seemed to keep up with the trans-light convoy. Death has visited a Jindarian colony, in the form of a Terran Empire dreadnaught and cruiser squadron. But it could go the other way around, as there is a couple of asteroid ships and a couple of metal-hulls hanging around in orbit. Fortunately for the Federation, the Jindarians aren't packing any attrition units in this one.

In the Jindarian sphere of control, there sure seems to be an anomolous amount of asteroid ships, hmm? But I digress. The Romulans were able to advance a base into Jindarian space, garrisoned with a kestrel destroyer. Banshees came screaming out from Jindarian space to a different Romulan base, only to be mopped up by a lowly Snipe frigate (don't ask me how they managed it, but that captain deserves a promotion).

The Romulan/Paravian border has been idyllic for some time, and this is no different. A Romulan K5R went hunting Space boars and saw no interference from the Birds. A Paravian war cruiser squadron had a boring garrison duty over a research plant. And a Romulan Battlehawk had a similarly boring garrison duty over a Romulan colony that now produces vaccines. A large Klingon fleet struck an undefended Romulan nebula processing site, creating a shortfall of Helium in the Romulan empire for the coming year. However, the Romulan Vulture-led fleet met a Klingon fleet of a cruiser squadron, a pair of destroyer squadrons, and the "Battle Carrier" escort carrier group over a Romulan convoy. This battle promises to be bloody. And to be anti-climactic, a Space Eel coming from Romulan space was met by the "Fire Carrier" escort carrier group, which will allow that colony to survive to expand the border between the two. The Kzinti border was very quiet, where the Romulans got a convoy across the Kzinti sensor nets and were able to kill another Space Eel.

A pack of Space Boars on the Kzinti/Paravian border drew a couple of Kzinti cruisers and a frigate squadron, but also drew a Paravian war cruiser squadron and a frigate. This looks interesting, because I've gotten reports they might fight that one out. Another Paravian war cruiser squadron (just how many of those things do they have?) was able to cover for a research station on the Kzinti border, helped by the fact that the Kzinti never showed up. Additionally, a (you guessed it) Paravian war cruiser squadron was able to escort a convoy across the Kzinti border unmolested. Klingons found a technological stash on the Kzinti side of the border, where the F5 battle group is likely to send the pair of Kzinti frigates packing. A Kzinti dreadnaught-led fleet has met a Klingon C8-led fleet over the gas giant mining station of Krellex-VII. This is fourth dreadnaught-led battle we've seen, where both parties are likely to cross phasers. This season is turning out to be really amazing!

The Klingons have allowed a Hydran repair point to exist in the neutral zone, saving the Kingdom credits in transport fees and critical transfer time of their cruiser squadron and attendant specialty ships. In return, the Klingons were able to work on their fighter designs unmolested from a research station on the Hydran border. The fact that the Klingon's put on station a cruiser squadron, war cruiser squadron, destroyer squadron, and escort carrier group probably had nothing to do with the Hydran's non-involvement in the area. A Planet Crusher came for a Hydran colony, with 5 Paravian war cruisers (which we aught to rename to some sort of promiscuous weed) as escort, which swept aside a frigate and police ship. The border between those two powers has grown shut; they no longer have colonies within reach of eachother.

And so, there is all there is to know about the conflict that started out as the "Six Powers War". We're up to several dreadnaught-led fleets clashing over freighters and wandering monsters, we've seen more jindarian asteroid ships in the last year than we've seen in the last two decades, and some empires are trying to knock out the Klingon F5 from it's spot as "largest number of a certain hull".

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Spring Y172

This is a season of winners and losers, but with little left to chance.

The Terrans are bordered with 5 other empires, but has a tenuous thread with each - The jindarians being their largest front. A monster rampaging in the Paravian side of the border was met and pacified by a moderate-sized Paravian fleet, but was completely ignored by the Terrans. The Kzinti sent their only dreadnaught and it's attendant fleet to defend a colony against a Planet Crusher, to which the Terrans sent a cruiser squadron that disengaged when they realized the size of the fleet. A Jindarian convoy, with no less than three asteroids as escorts, skated past the Terran's watchful eye. A different pair of Jindarian asteroids crossed into Terran space to hunt down a pack of Space Boars, which the Terrans couldn't intercept in time. The Hydrans intercepted a Terran convoy with a couple of cruisers and a frigate squadron, causing a disengagement of the four Terran cruisers.

In Hydran space, a tug attempted to resupply the Deliverance heavy carrier group and it's attached fleet but was intercepted by a Klingon fleet of a couple cruisers and a pair of destroyer squadrons, but the Klingons withdrew when they realized the fleet they found had so many fighters. Elsewhere on the Klingon border the Klingons set up a repair point and garrisoned it with a frigate, but the Hydrans were unable to take advantage of the weak escort. A group of refugees fled Lyran space, chased by an escort-variant war destroyer, b it was forced to retreat in the face of a Hydran cruiser squadron and a couple of frigates. A Tholian colony with a PC garrison was established within sensor distance of the Hydran border, but the only response was a strongly-worded message from the local base commander.

On the Kzinti border of Tholian space a mob of banshees come screaming in and are decimated by a pair of dreadnaughts, a cruiser, a destroyer, a PC squadron, and a web tender. It's a good thing no Kzinti units had shown up, or the most-junior commander of the dreadnaughts would have needed to retreat, as fleet doctrine does not allow more than one dreadnaught in the field when facing combat. A large Tholian garrison defended the Atlantis Asteroid Field from a possible Jindarian attack. Fortunately, for either side, there was no such raid. The Lyrans established a research station on the Tholian border and garrisoned it with a fully-refit war creuiser, but the Lyrans abandoned the station when the Tholians sent in a destroyer and a PC to investigate. There was a similar Lyran withdrawal when a war destroyer attempted to raid a Tholian convoy that was defended by a pair of PCs and a web-tender.

A fully-packed Lyran fleet that included two war cruiser squadrons and a war destroyer squadron had met the only Jindarian dreadnaught and a couple of metal-hulled ships over a gas giant siphoning operation. We haven't yet had any word on how that turned out - hopefully we'll have something exciting for you there. A Jindarian asteroid ship has gone hunting Space Boars and managed to find a Lyran DW investigate but not interfere.

The Jindarians garrisoned the Tortuga Asteroids with a simple frigate, which promptly left the area when it detected a ragtag Romulan fleet of cruisers and destroyers nearby. Elsewhere, a Jindarian destroyer successfully wiped out a Banshee swarm on the Romulan border. A Jindarian shipyard asteroid stopped at a base for some R&R, which gave the base commander some relief from Romulan raids.

The Klingon/Romulan front is still seeing a heavy Klingon presence but is marked by no Romulan responses. A Klingon escort frigate showed the flag at a nebula siphoning operation in hopes of slowing down a Romulan raid that never happened. A significant Klingon fleet obliterated an un-escorted convoy. Both parties attempted to set up a colony in the neutral zone, but only the Klingons put forth any escorts, and those escorts included one of their C8 dreadnaughts and it's entourage. A Space Eel destroyed a Romulan colony with the help of the other Klingon C8 dreadnaught and entourage.

The large Romulan/Paravian border, however, was a little restive this season. A Romulan BattleHawk took some Paravian hostages, which did not elicit an official Paravian response. The Paravians had stirred up the populace of a Romulan colony to riot, which forced the Romulans garrison a BattleHawk there for a time, to prevent a Paravian raid from taking advantage of it. Significant infrastructure went to another Romulan colony, causing them to stage their King Vulture dreadnaught there during a delicate time of the installation. And the Paravians had a frigate doing escort duty for a convoy, which the Romulans succesfully raided with a Kestrel cruiser squadron. The Romulans managed to control more of Kzinti space by strengthening their colonies on the Kzinti border with an un-escorted Warhawk at one colony and a Kestrel destroyer at another.

In Kzinti space, the Paravians ramped up their fleets just over the border at a trivial colony. Are they preparing to invade? At another colony, the Paravians used a Planet Crusher as cover for a raid with a war cruiser squadron, but the ships left when they found a cruiser squadron, a war cruiser squadron, and a bombardment frigate acting as garrison. An important Kzinti convoy successfully made it's planetfall with no mishaps, in no small part because of the 5 frigates and the cruiser that it had for an escort. The Klingon side of Kzinti space saw the Klingons destroy a vulnerable mobile-base with a frigate, weakening the border between the two powers. A large Klingon fleet defended an important gas giant, but saw no Kzinti action.

A significant Paravian fleet brushed aside a Klingon frigate on the way to destroying the last Klingon colony holding those two powers together. Contact between the two powers has been lost. When asked about a reason for the callous and unprovoked attack, the Paravian spokesperson cited an incident where the Klingon ambassador called the Paravian emperor "a parakeet".

And that sums up the season. A whole lot of ships moved around, but they kept missing eachother. One of these days, some intelligence agency is going to be able to match a fleet against another fleet, and we will see some sparks. Until then, stay tuned.

The Orion Observer

--Hans Offit

Spring Y173

The tides of war are fickle, and do not respect a deadline. We apologize for the lateness of this issue. We had figured that the calm area that is ISC space would be safe enough to publish our propagan---err, publication from. That is, until they showed up with a dreadnaught that nobody knew was coming out of the slipways. (Note to self: Never work for a Gorn pirate. It's from them that the term "bite your head off" came from, and they mean it.)

So anyways. You folks are looking for all the news of this conflict we keep hearing about. Presumably so you can figure where all the good salvage is. Trust me, there is some to be had this time around, starting with the Hydrans. The Klingon "Apocolypse" group was sighted just outside the Hydran border while the construction corps could erect another colony. The "Axe Carrier" escort carrier group was garrisoned around the Kanopus Asteroidal Mining & Processing Facility (KAMPF), until the Hydran Ranger "Devotion" with a Knight decided to kick them out. This one looks like it will produce some nice pickings. Elsewhere, the Klingon dreadnaught "Devotion" and her group were spotted around a large convoy when a Hydran cruiser squadron and three other smaller hulls showed up. The Hydran's aren't likely to fight that one. A Kzinti bombardment frigate was found at a rich asteroidal find, but was un-opposed in their extraction efforts. The Kzinti "Hegemony" group was able to advance a colony on the Hydran border un-opposed as well. The Hydran Cavalier "Deliverance" and some supporting ships had visited destruction on an un-garrisoned Lyran Base Station. The Hydran Paladin "Victory" and group established a colony on the Lyran border in the face of a war destroyer. A series of Banshees came screaming out of Hydran space to a Tholian Base Station, but they died quickly to the three Dreadnaughts that were collected there for training. It's a good thing that the Hydrans hadn't showed up there, or else the Tholians would have retreated most of those dreadnaughts. Similarly, a Planet Crusher descended upon a Tholian colony on the Hydran border with a Lord Baron, Hunter, and Lancer pretending to be an escort. Once they saw that the colony was defended by a couple of Tholian cruisers and a destroyer squadron, the Hydrans quickly left. And finally, the Hydrans made some trouble for a small ISC colony with an un-opposed hunter.

In Jindarian space, several offensive probes have materialized. The Terran Empire has sent a Dreadnaught and a cruiser squadron to raid a Jindarian colony defended by a couple of asteroids and three metal-hulled ships. Considering the losses the Terrans have had in the past against the Jindarians, we don't expect them to stand. But this appears to be a good fight where they can hand out some significant damage to the Jindarian defense effort. Elsewhere on the Terran-Jindarian border, the dreadnaught "Thunderdome" and group demolished a lonely Jindarian base. Terran news outlets are saying "We showed those Rockheads why you don't play in our back yard!" Indeed, they did; for the Jindo-Fed border will be smaller in the coming months for lack of a logistics train to anchor it. On the Romulan front, a BattleHawk surprised a Jindarian base and cut loose. That border will also shrink. A representative collection of Romulan cruisers was found performing minor refits on the Jindarian border. The Jindos apparently had better things to do than break up the Romulan R&R. A very large battle seems to have formed up over a colony that both parties are claiming is theirs via treaty. Two asteroids and five metal ships have formed up against the "Glory Bird" King Vulture and four Kestrel-type cruisers. So far, we've heard that the Glory Bird is crippled, but not before crippling a couple of the metal-hulled ships. The jindarians noted the Condor "Senator" and her consorts around a large convoy, but did not interfere. The Sparrowhawk Scout "Beacon" found a rich find of Dilithium, but then was intercepted by a Jindarian War Destroyer. We don't yet know if they decided to fight it out, but our reports say there have been some transient warp-fields detected - suggesting the rail guns have been used. A group of refugees streaming out from Lyran space have been intercepted by a large Jindarian force of two asteroids and several metal-hulled ships. What sort of opportunities the jindarians will be able to make of that, we will soon see. A third Jindarian base has been destroyed, this time by an un-opposed Lyran Light Cruiser. The Jindarian/Lyran border is hanging together by a thread now.

A Lyran base was defended by a Command Cruiser, a large war-cruiser squadron, and a large war destroyer squadron against a small Tholian force of a CC, a DD, some PCs, and a few support vessels. The Lyrans noted that an ISC frigate was in for repairs, but decided there were more important missions. A Lyran frigate was able to give aid in defense of a base as some banshees came streaming out of ISC space. Similarly, some Banshees from Lyran space attacked a Gorn base. While the base had a BDD and a DD squadron as garrison, they likely retreated with the base personell when they saw that a lyran war cruiser squadron and other ships were using the banshees for cover for destroying the base. A Lyran frigate was dispatched to test the defenses of the Gorn Sslla Nebula mining facility, and promptly retreated when it found a cruiser, war cruiser, war destroyer, and frigate squadron in attendance. Several Gorn ships descended on a group of refugees seeking asylum at a Lyran colony when they found no opposition.

In Gorn space, things are looking pretty lucrative. A Gorn cruiser, war destroyer, and a pair of frigates were found over a colony that some Paravian separatists were fleeing to. The pair of Paravian frigates that were giving chase, decided to dive in against their newly-found hated-foe. The resulting battle was bloody, and the Paravians were able to get away without damage after crippling one of the Gorn's frigates and reducing the number of future separatists. A Paravian research station was found on the Gorn border, defended by a frigate squadron and various war-type hulls and left un-opposed by Gorn High Command. A Tholian destroyer was able to cripple a small Gorn convoy. One of the Gorn dreadnaughts and her consorts were found at a medium-importance colony outside of ISC space and left unmolested. The other Gorn dreadnaught was found defending a small colony from a Planet Crusher that left ISC space.

A Paravian war cruiser squadron was found outside of Kzinti space while helping a tug with a logistics mission. The Kzinti did not interfere. A Romulan frigate was found garrisoning a medium-importance colony on the Paravian border, yet the Paravians did not interfere. A Paravian dreadnaught and fleet descended upon a Romulan BATS, reducing the Romulan's ability to make war on the Birds. More Paravian war cruisers than they could command had stumbled upon a cache of technology from the "Bird Kings" while patrolling the Romulan border. It's a shame that the Romulans didn't show up to the party. The other Paravian dreadnaught and it's fleet helped to install better economic infrastructure at one of their colonies on the Romulan border, further encouraging the Romulans to make war elsewhere. Indeed, a Romulan Kestrel destroyer was found in garrison while setting up a ComPlat over a colony on the Paravian border.

A Klingon E4E (an "Escort Frigate" in name only. More like an "Escort Fightercraft") showed the flag at a Terran colony, dwarfed by the Dreadnaught and cruiser squadron garrison. A Romulan Kestrel destroyer promptly left the Romulan convoy to it's fate when a Klingon command cruiser, two destroyer squadrons, and sundry support cruisers came visiting. The Klingon dreadnaught "Terror" and fleet kept safe a convoy from the Romulans, who wisely decided to leave that group of freighters alone. The Klingon "Fire Carrier" escort carrier group was on station when a swarm of political refugees fled Romulan space. The Romulans let them go unmolested, making the Klingons concerned about spies. Nearby, another group of Romulan refugees met the Klingon escort carrier group "Battle Carrier" without official Romulan aggression. Apparently, some Romulan house had need to bodily pick up and relocate outside of Romulan space.

Speaking of the Romulans, they still have the largest sphere of contact across the quadrant. Most of whom they are fighting some sort of brush-war with. A Snipe was sent to garrison a gas giant on the Kzinti border, in case of an attack that never materialized. The Kzinti sent several battlecruisers to ensure that the establishment of a colony on the Romulan border went without a counterattack.

And there you have it. As for us; we're moving where the Peacenicks can't park a dreadnaught overhead.

The Orion Observer

-- Hans Offit

Fall of Y173

Just when you think you've seen it all, your Orion sources tell you about the Klingon's Death Star. You don't doubt it, because last week they told you the Klingons had started construction on some monster starship-to-dwarf-all-other-starships. Instead you sit dumbfounded, wondering where the heck the Klingons got the *funding* for such a project.

Well, the Death star is on the Hydran border, but the Hydrans decided they didn't have the firepower to take it on with the dreadnaught, sundry cruisers, and locust-like fighter wings that are hanging around it. So much the pity, as even I don't want that thing hanging around. Hydran refugees, undoubtedly in awe of the Klingon behemoths in construction, picked up and ran for the Klingon border with no interference from the Hydran bureaucracy. The Klingons had a research station on the Hydran border, backed by a dreadnaught fleet, but even that elicited no response from the Hydrans. In fact, the only place on the Klingon border where the Hydrans showed up, was to send their only Paladin and fleet under the pretense of defending a Klingon colony from a Planet Crusher. Here they found a Klingon dreadnaught-led fleet, which decided their paint job was worth more than the colony they were defending.

Hang in there, Pirates. The Klingons gave us some salvage after all. Just not from anyone with whom they have much contact with.

On the Klingon/Paravian border, a rich Dilithium find was scouted out by the D7 'Klodode'. But before they could act on it, a Paravian dreadnaught and full fleet warped in and gave them the middle-feather. Naturally, the Klingon cruiser turned tail. I hear the Klingon consulate made a pointed effort to ensure the Paravians state department received several recipes for Klingon avian delicacies.

The Klingon and Terran Empire have recently opened up a wider border together. A Klingon D7 visited a Terran colony, where an orderly transferrence of property was issued, leaving the klingons another mining colony. In line with this transfer to the Klingons of Terran hearts and minds, several prominent client-race officials were "immigrated" from the Terran empire to the Klingon Empire and were processed without incident by the Klingon's fast cruiser.

A third Klingon dreadnaught was found at a rendezvous with an Orion "trader" from the Star cartel, where Romulan intelligence attempted an interception (and an assassination), but the local commander had no ships to send. A Klingon frigate squadron was found doing escort duty for a small convoy, just begging for a Romulan raid. Too bad they didn't show up. But neither did we - more's the pity. Another Klingon convoy saw a cruiser and war cruiser squadron as escort, which the Romulans wisely left alone. That was probably a shipment of the Emperor's wives, or something else high-value. The Klingons were caught out at the Nebula Mining station with just the 'Fire Carrier' escort carrier group against a squadron of modern Romulan cruisers. In the interest of performing his mission to the letter, the Romulan commander showed up, ascertained that he could not land his troops inside a nebula, and disengaged without firing a shot.

And for the salvage I promised, The only point of contact between the Klingons and the Kzinti saw a meeting engagement over a major Kzinti colony, where the only Kzinti dreadnaught, 'Hegemony', and her fleet met the Klingon C8 'Terror' and fleet. Both fleets met with thundering waves of drones, but a Klingon command cruiser was the only casualty of the fight before the will to destroy left the Klingon admiral and he left the field to the Kzinti.

Elsewhere on the Kzinti border, the Paravians found a technological cache in the neutral zone with a frigate squadron. The Kzinti were too busy elsewhere to interfere. A squadron of Kzinti battlecruisers stood guard over one of their colonies as a planet crusher wandered into their trap and was destroyed. The Paravian economy got a boost when they established a colony on the Kzinti border without so much as a friendly visit from the Kzinti navy. The Paravian dreadnaught-led fleet might have had something to do with it, though. To top off the picturesque Kzinti/Paravian border, a Kzinti command cruiser and full fleet was sighted around the rimward system of the border, which allowed them to show the flag to the Paravians that the Kzinti mean to hold this border from possible invasions.

The border on the Federation side of the Kzinti Patriarchy was invaded by a couple of Terran cruisers. They retired after bombarding the colony, costing several mega-credits worth of infrastructure damage. Maybe an enterprising pirate will make a stab at that colony while it's weak? The Romulan/Kzinti border looks pretty boring, as well. A Romulan frigate garrisoned a colony, which was all they needed to keep the riff-raff away. Likewise, the Kzinti stationed a Heavy Frigate at a colony on their side of the border, which was likewise uneventful. A Romulan convoy was found with a frigate escort, but was unimpeded. There was little activity on the Hydran/Kzinti border. A Hydran colony being upgraded is the only thing of merit, which pulled a command cruiser and a survey destroyer as garrison. That proved enough to warn away the Kzinti patrols.

The Hydrans had several uneventful borders as well. The Terran Empire fortified the only colony they had on the Hydran border with their dreadnaught and a cruiser squadron. That firm resistance dissuaded the Hydrans, who were busy with the garrison of their only base on the Lyran border. There we saw significant numbers of smaller ships, but no attempt by the Lyrans to capitalize on the weaker ships. The Hydran/Tholian border saw both empires garrison their respective colonies against a possible raid, which neither had the ships left over to perform. The Hydrans used their Lord Baron and a moderate fleet, while the Tholians used a bare dreadnaught (which would have retreated immediately if faced by an aggressor.)

The Romulan/Tholian border saw the local commander read the pacificstic nature of the Tholians correctly, and put an old frigate as a garrison at the Romulan colony to keep the Rockheads honest. As it turned out, the Tholians didn't trust the Jindarians much. We sighted a Tholian dreadnaught and fleet at one of the Jindarian-facing bases, but they have yet to see any action this year. The Jindarians and Tholians did come to blows when a Morey Eel attacked a Tholian colony, and the lone Tholian cruiser was unable to defend the colony from the joint onslaught of the monster and the Jindarian metal ship. A Lyran command cruiser and a couple of war-hull squadrons escorted a convoy from Tholian space with a shipment of rare Tholian Gemstones. For once, the Tholians didn't try to regain their property. Although the Tholians did stiff one of our contacts, allowing a Lyran frigate to chase off the meeting. The Tholian/Gorn line saw some potential action, as a Tholian dradnaught-led fleet was in orbit around one of their colonies when a Gorn scout did a "touch and go" in order to gain some intelligence. I hear the scout was able to get away. Similarly, a Gorn scout was briefly sighted near a Tholian base, which caused some panic with the Tholian dreadnaught that was in for a systems repair.

The Gorn dreadnaught 'Argentinosaurus' and fleet was spotted setting up a mining facility at a gas giant near Paravian space, which went unremarked by the Republic. A Gorn convoy was found with a cruiser and a couple of small ships as escort, which was likewise unimpeded by the Paravians. However, a Paravian convoy with a war cruiser squadron in attendance saw some excitement when a Gorn cruiser, war cruiser, and frigate leader showed up, but eventually decided that the Paravians really would open fire if the Gorn commander attempted to perform a custom's check, and so the convoy was allowed to continue on. A wandering monster on the Lyran/Gorn border was met by a Lyran command cruiser and several squadrons of war hulls against a small contingent of Gorn small hulls. Understandably, the Gorn fleet retreated. Another Gorn dreadnaught with it's fleet was spotted laying in supplies at a colony by a Lyran Cheetah. And to make sure they Lyran aggression didn't affect any more Gorn colonies, the DN 'Tyrannosaurus' and fleet was dispatched to protect a colony that was never attacked.

The Lyrans sent a war cruiser squadron and some supporting firepower to remove a Jindarian research post, but found a couple of asteroids and three various metal-hulled ships in defense. Figuring that was more than they bargained for, the Lyrans retreated from the battle. The Terran cruiser 'Constitution' was sent to the Mutara Nebula on the off-chance that the Jindarians would attempt to break up the gas mining, but the intelligence proved faulty and the rocks never showed. The Terrans were forced to dispatch the 'Enterprise' against a Planet Crusher that came from Jindarian space, which went smoothly because the Jindarians didn't take a hand in it (they were likely afraid for their women, considering what the Tri-D has been saying about that ship.) The Romulans proved irritating to the Jindarians this year. Misinformation prompted the Jindarians to heavily garrison a convoy with two asteroid ships and three other ships, which went unanswered by the Romulans. That caused the jindarian attack on the Romulan base to be understrength, at simply an asteroid and a war destroyer to attack during a Banshee migration. This proved the deciding factor, as the base was able to survive the Banshees, despite the Jindarians aid and comfort. Another banshee attack on a Romulan base was accompanied by another asteroid and war destroyer, but the Jindarians decided that the modern Romulan scout would mount an even more effective defense than the lowly destroyer could, and retreated. A dilithium asteroid in Romulan space was taken over by the jindarians when they moved aside a Romulan destroyer leader with an asteroid and three metal ships. The Jindarians claimed an asteroid field on the Romulan border, which was largely unremarked by the High Command.

The Romulan/Paravian border saw several ships but no action. Two Romulan convoys were escorted by a Warhawk carrier group and a pair of Battlehawks. While a Paravian convoy was escorted by a war cruiser squadron. None saw any interruptions of their flights. The Romulan Condor 'Senator' and her fleet collected a valuable technological find, which the Paravians wisely left alone. Instead, the Paraivians established a colony on the border under the nose of one of their dreadnaughts. A modern Romulan cruiser was on hand to make sure the colony was established according to inter-empire law, but did not interfere. On the border with the Terran Empire, a Paravian frigate squadron and support vessels met one of the legendary Federation CVAs with a minimal escort. While the Paravians expressed interest in target practice against the best fighter pilots of the galaxy, the Terran commander decided not to risk the expense of the fighters.

And that's the end of Year 173. For those of you who celebrate the holiday where you eat a Paravian, shoot one for me! (They still have too many war cruisers.)

-- Hans Offit
The Orion Observer

Campaign Restart

A programming bug has prompted the players of the campaign (all 12(!!) of them) to ask for a restart of the campaign. They are passing around ideas for the starting circumstances now (Starting year, whether to allow conjecturals, and so on), as well as their empire picks. If anyone here wants to join, this would be a good time to send me an email and get in on the ground floor.

The campaign that is closing now ran for 21 turns, which spanned the Four-Powers War and the first half of the General War and eventually engulfed 10 empires (some of them minor powers.) 13 players took to furious action in a campaign that lasted nine months.

Dramatic Star Fleet

The new campaign has begun, titled "The Galactic Conflict". The last campaign started with a selection of 6 empires and doubled that in the course of a few months (about every other turn, a new player was added.) This campaign begins with the players of the previous conflict and adds one or two. As with previous iterations, we are accepting new blood as the campaign runs on; No need to wait for a finish, as you can be added on nearly-equal footing with those who have slaved through the asteroid fields and whipped those convoys to safety.

We are starting in Y166 again, where the Middle Years technology is beginning to give way to a period of refits and preparation for total war. Only the Klingons will be fielding a battleship this campaign as there are no conjectural ships (conjectural races not withstanding.)

We have a pair of Klingon players, a pair of Federation players (both elected to run with super-fighters instead of PFs), a pair of Jindarian players (one thrown at the D&D races, and the other dodging plasma), a Tholian, a Gorn, a Frax, a Romulan, a Kzinti, an ISC, and a Peladine.

So stay tuned as developments continue to file in. Or even, join the fun and get to create the developments!