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Subject: Return to Jovvian III rss

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David Murray
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Mission #2 - Return to Jovvian III.

This is the second time I have played through this scenario. After playing all the entire six published scenarios I thought I would revisit Mission #2.



The last outing to Jovvian was one of the easier missions I had played - time got a little tight but encounters with the Sand Worms and the (then) Mutants were minimal and the team managed to accumulate enough victory points from only three of the four victory point locations.

For the return mission the team were informed that they should expect Dark Roots - a far more difficult opponent than the Mutants.

My team leader, Sergeant Murray, had managed to accumulate enough experience points to improve his Command Skill to 3. Unfortunately most of my experienced squad members were lost after a particularly difficult encounter with the Flesh Eaters in Mission 6, where consistently the Eaters were encountered at fire range and their -2 AP against fire was crippling - this was despite my Team leader already having a Command skill of 4 - can’t recall how many 1 chits were pulled for range! The only other surviving squad member who had an improvement was Trooper Kaleb (Shotgun), who had improved his melee skill of 3 to a 3.

Sergeant Murray’s report of the mission.

This is the report of Sergeant Murray of the Outer Colonies Defence Force. I was charged with leading a mission to the arid desert region of Arsla on Jovvian III. I had led a mission there several months ago to locate a group of stranded scientists and it looked from the report I received that another group had befallen the same fate. The report contained a disturbing report that in the last transmission from the scientists they mentioned they had encountered members of the Dark Roots plant family - I had encountered these before and was not in a hurry to be reacquainted with them.

In order to select my squad for the mission I reviewed the base’s trooper manifest. So many new names and so many deleted entries - Damn those Flesh Eaters! My eye caught Pilot first Class Martinez’s name on the register. Martinez was the pilot on the last trip out to Jovvian and knew the Arsla region as well as anyone in the sector. Martinez also had one of the best maintained Rhino’s on the base and we would need that if we encountered any of the giant Sand Worms the Arsla region is infamous for.

From my previous visit to Jovvian I knew we needed an trooper trained in exploration and looking through the specialist trained manifest I came across a new name, Trooper Rashid, just shipped in from the desert planet of Archron VI. If anyone would be able to find their way around the Arsla region it would be someone who hails from a desert planet - so he was in.

I knew from experience that you are most likely to encounter Dark Roots close up and so Trooper (Shotgun) Kaleb would come in handy, his progress in his melee skill was not to be ignored. Heavy Weapons was next, the armour piercing capacity of this unit would be invaluable against the heavily armoured Sand Worms, Trooper (HW) Samuels was selected. Finally Trooper (C/C) Umar was selected for his armour suit and general purpose skill base.

The roster for the mission
Sgt. Murray - Team Leader
Trooper Martinez - Pilot (with Rhino AFV)
Trooper Rashid - Explorer
Trooper Kaleb - Shotgun
Trooper Samuels - Heavy weapons
Trooper Umar - C/C Unit.

The sector anti-piracy patrol frigate transported the team to Jovvian III and a service shuttle took us down to the surface.

Day One - Start
The service shuttle set us down at the edge of the Arsla basin, the sandstorms within the basin were too fierce to land us any closer to the last reported location of the scientists. The rest of the first day was spent negotiating a route into the basin. The storms were so bad we had to hunker down in the Rhino all day, by nightfall Martinez had negotiated the outer rim of the basin and despite the Rhino suffering minor damage we met no other resistance.



Day Two - Pilot 2 Node
By dawn the storm of the previous day had subsided and we could see we were just at the lip of a huge basin looking down onto soft sand below, occasionally in the distance the sand erupted into great flumes several tens of metres high. Samuels asked what they were and Rashid gave him a thorough run down on the life cycle of the giant Sand Worms that inhabited the soft sand regions of the Arsla basin - Rashid did not skimp on the details and by the time Rashid was finished Samuels’ knuckles were white where he had been gripping his weapon. Martinez tried to reassure Samuels that we would avoid the soft sand as much as possible. Before we set off Martinez examined the damage caused to the Rhino yesterday, she insisted it was nothing to worry about, however I could see the concern on her face. We all piled into the Rhino and set off into basin.



Day Three to five - Pilot 3 Node
It took three days to reach a set of jagged rocks that towered over the desert floor. Everyone was becoming increasingly jumpy as Martinez reported increasing amounts of Sand Worm activity. Just as we reached the second of the large jutting rocks Marinez shouted through the intercom, ‘looks like we have company.’ In the distance a large Sand Worm was making a B-line straight towards us. I ordered all the troopers out of the Rhino and prepared to engage it. As I left the ATV I noticed to our left was a hard patch of sand that we could use to our advantage and increase the range to the Worm, I gave the order to fall back (successful Command roll) and we managed to engage the Worm at fire range. Using my tactical knowledge we managed to keep the Worm at fire range and the guns on the Rhino and Samuels’ heavy weapon made short work of the Worm as the armour-piercing bullets soon brought the creature down. I noted Samuels’s relief at encountering and defeating a Sand Worm, the moment was only marred by Kaleb stating that was noting, wait until you meet them close up and personal in melee.

After we returned to the Rhino, Martinez informed me that the sensors had picked up three cave complexes within the basin. Rashid added that the rocks of this region were laced with Toridium, and that our sensors would not be able to penetrate more than a couple of metres of rock. He also added that the caves would be free of Sand Worms and if the scientists were anywhere they would probably have taken shelter inside one or more of the cave complexes. I decided the team would explore ‘B’ complex first and then move on complex C.



Day Six and Seven - Pilot 3 Node
We made slow progress through the desert, Martinez was cautious about crossing any open patches of soft sand. As we reached the crest of a large dune a Sand Worm erupted out of the sand just to our left. There was nothing I could have done this time and I ordered all the troopers out to engage the Worm in melee. Umar rushed the worm who quickly turned and tore a large hole in his armoured suit. The worm also tore a gash in the Rhino. At this range we could not easily penetrate the Worm’s thick hide and even the grenades were not proving too effective. The next round found us once again at close range and this time Kaleb was the target of the Worm’s fury. The next round we managed to make some distance between ourselves and the thrashing Worm. The Rhino and Samuels opened up at fire range and, under my direction, the worm was taken down. We returned to the Rhino with both Umar and Samuels wounded.



Day Eight to Ten - Communication 3 Node
It took three more days to cross the interior to the basin until we were within range of the first cave complex (Complex B). There were no further encounters with the Sand Worms and the weather was mild.



Day Eleven to Twelve - Advance 3 Node
We discovered an entrance to the cave complex and left the Rhino outside. Rashid noted that the walls here contained very little Toridium and that our sensors should work OK, this yielded some useful information on the area (discovered 2 intelligence resources).
The caves were a maze and in trying to find a way through we stumbled onto a nursery of Dark Roots, one Adult and five Creepers. In the dark of the cave we were almost on top of them before we realised. We engaged them at melee range. The fight was hard fought and Umar didn’t make it. By the end of the fight were had depleted all our grenades and med-packs.

We buried Umar in a small alcove and I said a few words for a man I hardly knew. Spirits in the team were very low.

Day Thirteen and Fourteen - Tracking 2 Node
It took two days for Rashid to find a way through into the inner caves. However, it was worth it as a lone surviving scientist was discovered still alive (1 Victory point).



Day Fifteen and Sixteen - back to Communication 3 Node
Two uneventful days were spent returning to the surface and the waiting Rhino. We now had used up half our allotted time before the service shuttle would return to collect us. We had only 14 days to fulfil our mission remaining.



Day Seventeen - Pilot 2 Node
With added urgency Martinez drove the Rhino rapidly across the desert floor. Although we made substantially more progress the Rhino took a battering on the way and suffered some more damage.



Day Eighteen to Twenty - Intelligence 3 Node
Using the intelligence that we had discovered in the first set of caves I was able to guide the team to the entrance of the next cave complex (Complex C). We rescued another scientist who was found disorientated and wandering around on the basin floor - she was lucky a Sand Worm had not reached her first (1 victory point - total now 2).

Even using our intelligence information it took two days to find a suitable entrance into the caves. Just as we were about to leave the Rhino and enter the caves a Sand Worm was spotted moving towards us very fast. Again I was able to keep the range at Fire range and the Rhino and heavy weapon soon dispatched the Giant Worm, but at the cost of more damage to the Rhino.



Day Twenty One - Advance 4 Node
There were no signs of any Dark Roots in the first of the caves we explored, however we did find the remains of a previous team and scavenged two valuable grenades.



Day Twenty Two to Twenty Four - Climb 2 Node
With no more intelligence information available it took Rashid three days to find a way down to the deepest caves. As we approached the furthest of the remaining caves it was clear from the musty smell that Dark Roots were nearby. As we prepared for any confrontation, Kaleb spotted a large group of them at the far end of a huge cave - we had the advantage as they move very slowly and if you can catch them at fire range you can probably keep them there. As we took aim I could make out five creepers and three adults. I called Martinez forward to help, we would need all the fire we had. The fight took sometime but we managed to keep them at fire range for the entire encounter. At that range the creepers were virtually useless, however the three adults were still very dangerous. We were eventually victorious, however Martinez and Samuels fell in the process.

At the far corner of the cave was a lone scientist who had hid himself on a high self when the plants arrived in the cave yesterday. The scientist informed us that there were still more survivors in the last remaining caves (1 victory point - total 3VP - need 4 to succeed).
With only half of my original team left and only six days remaining before we were to be evacuated I considered the options. The remaining caves were nine nodes away and the chance of reaching the remaining scientists in time was as close to zero as damn it. It was clear that the mission had failed and I was not prepared to risk the lives of the remaining team on a fool’s errand.



We slowly made our way back to the surface and rejoined the Rhino. I signalled our current position to the patrol frigate and awaited evacuation. The remaining six days passed very slowly. Rashid busied himself with taking rock samples and exploring the local cliff face. Kaleb had been with me on the previous mission and knew to keep well out of my way during these times. I know a lot of questions will be asked on our return to base, such as why I did not explore Cave Complex A first? For now all that are in my thoughts are Martinez, Samual and Umar, and what I am going to say to their families when I get back.
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Timo Haas
Germany
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31.3.2013...
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Thanks for this really great report! Please share more of your plays with us

For me this is gaming at its best: games start to tell stories...
 
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Cameron Harris
Australia
Hobart
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Goodaye,

I like the story. Well done and beautifully presented.

Cheers,
Plugger
 
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Michael Langer
United States
Hickam AFB
Hawaii
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Love the format! Makes me eager to print out this game myself and try it out!
 
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Box of Delights
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Neston
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nice one ! makes me want to try the mission...

I like that you are building your team up, gaining them experience, and taking them from mission to mission and looking after them, and their experience, rather than sending them headlong into certain death...
 
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