Antonio "Spark" Farquar vs. the Star Emperor

A Triplanetary Variant by Stefan Jones

Loyal Triplanetary Players:

I wrote this when the last company I was working for was undergoing a long and painful dissolution. Having nothing better to do than take naps in front of the fax machine or bend paperclips into funny animal shapes, I came up with the following. Playtest results and comments welcome. Any resemblance to anything you have ever seen before is purely silly.

This is a somewhat less than serious scenario for Triplanetary. One player takes the role of "Spark" Farquar (world-renowned athlete and All-American Hero) and his trusty companions. The other player controls the forces of Fang the Unmerciful, dread emperor of the rogue planet Bongo. Fang, ruler of nearly all of the solar system, wishes to conquer Earth. Before he can accomplish this goal he must first soften the world up by plunging his own planet, Bongo, past Earth, causing earthquakes, volcanoes, cataclysmic storms and floods.

The Opponents

Earth Heroes

"Spark" and his companions begin their journey on Earth in a transport. The transport may refuel by landing on any world, or by orbiting an allied, neutral or liberated world.

"Spark" victory conditions: The Earth heroes win a decisive victory if Bongo is forced to leave the map and Fang is dead. The Earth heroes win a tactical victory if either one of these is accomplished. The Earth player automatically loses if the Earth is destroyed.

The Star Emperor

Fang wishes to control all the worlds in the solar system, especially Earth. He starts in control of Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Callisto and Bongo, the moving planet.

Fang victory conditions: Fang wins a total victory by killing off half of Earth's population, leaving it open to conquest. Fang wins a "spite" victory by destroying Earth instead. The Fang player loses automatically if Fang dies.

The Fang player begins the game with:

Characters

Characters (also known as heroes) are skilled people who are able to sway neutral leaders and inspire conquered populations to rebellion. Each side starts with three heroes. Ally heroes may join either side as a result of favorable diplomacy results or adventures.

Characters' abilities are rated by their Wits (intelligence, cunning, knowledge), Combat (strength, toughness) and Charisma (personality and personal beauty). Rolls on the Diplomacy, Liberation and Adventure tables may call for a roll (or "test") of these attributes. To do this, roll a die. If the roll is equal or less than the attribute, the test is successful. Exception: a roll of 6 is always a failure. Some objects or powers increase attributes.

Neutral Leaders

The neutral worlds are led by powerful characters. On rare occasions they may join a player's forces:

Fuglor, sage king of the moon people:
Wits=5, Combat=3, Charisma=3.
Fuglor has the power of knowledge (details not yet defined).

Sunilla, queen of the amazons (Venus):
Wits=3, Combat=3, Charisma=5.
Sunilla has the power of beauty. Sunilla refuses to be on a ship with male characters unless a female character is also present. Ally heroes from Venus are always female; ships from Venus are crewed by females and are allowable.

Barthold, baron of Io:
Wits=3, Combat=5, Charisma=3.
Barthold inspires soldiers and partisans. He adds one to the die roll for liberation attempts. If Fang tries to conquer a world the Baron is on, he decreases the conquest roll by one.

Jock, boss of Ganymede:
Wits=3, Combat=5, Charisma=3.
Jock is a wily thief. He may steal points of production from enemy worlds (Conquered Bongo world or allied neutral). He may only steal points once per visit; he must return to a friendly world to deliver his swag before attempting another heist. Roll a die after Jock has been on an enemy world for one full turn; that is how many points were stolen. (The world must have that many points to steal, of course! If the roll is over the world's stockpile, the entire stockpile is taken instead.)

Primitive Technology

All ships and planets in the game have primitive technology. Ships have a detection range of one (1); detection is blocked by asteroid and planet hexes. Once spotted, ships remain detected until they pass five or more hexes away from the spotting ships. Ships may also become undetected by landing on a world or passing through an asteroid hex. Planets have no detection capability at all.

Allied neutrals, liberated Bongo province worlds and conquered worlds may produce transports, packets, corvettes, and frigates. If Hans von Egdome is present on a world (either as a captive or a free man), the world may produce Torch ships at a cost of eight points. If Fang is present on a world he controls, he may use his scientific knowledge to produce Dreadnaughts at a cost of fifteen points. Points may be transferred freely between friendly worlds.

Earth has especially primitive technology. It has no production capability, and cannot refuel ships unless they end their turn on its surface. Earth has planetary defenses, but they are not activated until Bongo comes within one hex of the mother planet.

The Flying Planet

Fang's enormous power and scientific knowledge allow him to move the imperial capitol world, Bongo, about the universe. Bongo moves like a ship. It has an effectively unlimited power supply, but can only change course once every four turns. Bongo may not use the overdrive maneuver. It cannot assume orbit around a world, or land on a world. If it enters another planet's hex both worlds are destroyed and the game ends.

Heroes who land on Bongo may attempt to penetrate Fang's stronghold and destroy the planetary movement controls.

If the stronghold is breached, the Earth hero player may change Bongo's course by one hex before the controls are destroyed.

Planet Busting

Earth begins the game with 20 population points (2 billion people). Fang can destroy these in several ways:
Bongo Flyby:
If Bongo is flown close to Earth, tidal forces will wreak havoc on the fair planet. For each turn that Bongo is two hexes away from Earth, one point of population dies. For each turn that Bongo is one hex away from Earth, a number of population points equal to a die roll are killed.
Purple Dust:
The Purple Dust is a deadly poison cooked up in one of Fang's laboratories. One of Fang's corvettes can deliver enough poison to kill 1d6 people. The ship must make one complete orbit of Earth to deliver the dust, and must land on Mongo to refill before dumping dust again.

Politics

Liberation

The Earth Heroes may try to cause Fang's provinces (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Callisto) to rebel. For each turn that a Earth hero spends a turn on a Fang-controlled world, roll a die. Add one to the roll if the orbiting Fang patrol has been destroyed. Liberation Table
Die Roll Result
  1      Hero killed
 2-3     Hero imprisoned (freed by next visiting hero)
 4-5     Roll on adventure table
 6+      Planet liberated
On a roll of 6 or more, the planet rebels. Upon rebelling, the world may either a) build a corvette for the heroes' use or b) build planetary defenses. Liberated worlds stay firmly in the Earth Heroes' camp unless reconquered by Fang forces.

Neutral Worlds & Diplomacy

Venus, Io, Ganymede and Luna are ruled by isolationist tyrants. They will use their planetary defenses to fire on ships of either side trying to land on their world.

Fang and the Earth heroes may both treat with the rulers of neutral worlds in an attempt to sway them to their side. To conduct diplomacy, an envoy (character) must spend a full turn on the world. At the end of the turn, roll a die. Add 1 to the roll if the other side has tried to conquer the world. Subtract 1 from the roll if the treating player tried to conquer the world. Add 1 to the roll if the treating character passes a test versus his or her Charisma. Diplomacy Table

Die Roll  Result
Under 1   Hero killed
  1-2     Hero imprisoned (freed by next friendly hero who visits)
  3-4     Hero goes on adventure
   5      Leader sends champion to help player.
   6      Neutral world joins treating player
   7      Neutral joins player; ally hero joins party
  8+      Neutral world joins player; leader joins as character

When a world joins a side, that player gains control of the world's planetary defenses. Allied neutral worlds produce 1/4 points worth of units per turn; the points may be saved to build larger units. 1d units cost 1/2 point.

Once a neutral has been swayed, it is more difficult to sway its loyalties. Subtract one from further diplomacy rolls on that world.

Ally heroes are champions of neutral leaders. They serve the controlling player loyally, even if their home world switches alliances. They have Wits=2, Combat=4, Charisma=2.

If a neutral leader joins the player, the world becomes the sworn ally of the controlling player; no further diplomacy worlds may be attempted there. Only the death of the leader changes this status; if a neutral leader dies, his (or her) world goes neutral and a new leader is elected. (Generic replacement leader: Wits=3, Combat=4, Charisma=3.)

Conquest

Fang may dispatch his imperial navy (the two corvettes on Bongo, Fang's frigate when it becomes available, and any ships produced during the course of the game) to other worlds in an attempt to conquer them. To conquer a world, the Fang ships must land on it. Total up the combat points on the world. Roll 2d; if the roll is less than the total combat points the world is conquered. Then roll for each ship involved in the battle to see how it fared in the battle; add 2 if the ships lost the battle. On a roll of 6 or more the ship was destroyed in ground action. Conquered worlds produce 1/2 points of units per turn. Points may be saved up to produce larger units. Conquered worlds stay under Fang's control until liberated.

Adventures

Heroes are often caught up in dangerous adventures. When diplomacy or liberation tables call of an adventure, roll on the chart below:
1 - Hero lost in a cavern complex; loses turn.

2 - Hero fights monster. Roll versus combat. If the player loses the roll (rolls over combat), hero dies.

3 - Hero fights champion of local ruler. Roll versus combat. If the player loses, hero is captured (released by next visiting hero). If the player wins, hero gains favor of ruler. Add 1 to next liberation/diplomacy roll made on that world.

4 - Hero finds ancient ruin. Roll vs. wits. If the player loses, hero is caught in a landslide and loses next turn. If player wins, hero finds gold crown (trade for 2 combat points worth of units on allied world, or ransom/bribe self out of next imprisonment).

5 - Hero meets mad scientist. Roll vs. wits. If player loses, scientist imprisons hero (released by next player to visit world). If player wins, scientist give hero disintegrator beam (adds 2 to combat strength).

6 - Hero meets masked man. Roll vs. Charisma; if player loses, hero must fight masked man (roll vs. combat; if player loses, hero loses next turn; if player wins, hero joins character). If player wins the Charisma roll, masked man joins hero. (The masked man is an ally hero with Wits=2, Charisma=2, Combat=5.)

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