Author Topic: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR  (Read 1729 times)

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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« on: September 06, 2022, 09:12:19 AM »
Campaign Setup
Random Stars, Human NPRs, All Spoilers, Realistic Promotions, Limited Research Administration, Inexperienced Fleet Penalties, Commander Political Bonuses
30% NPR Generation Chance, 30% Ruin Generation Chance
1250 million pop w/ default Tech and Build Points
Starting Year: 1585 Post-Diaspora, 97 AL by the Manticoran local calendar
Custom Starting System

UPDATE: 27 September 2022:
As of the current game year (1591) there are 3 player races and 1 (human) NPR.  The Star Kingdom of Manticore and Andermani Empire have been revealed. The identity of the third player race and NPR is a surprise. I expect to add additional player races as needed for the narrative.

Campaign Background and System Information
The Manticore binary system was first discovered in 526 PD by a university research program searching for Earth-like planets around twin main sequence stars. It quickly became the focus of an entire semester for the class of graduate students who located and catalogued its fourteen planets, naming each one after creatures from a popular fantasy roleplaying game. The system exceeded the study's wildest expectations as the researchers discovered not one, but three habitable planets with what appeared to be diverse human compatible biospheres.

As exciting as the discovery was on paper, the Manticore system lay more than 500 light years to the galactic north of Sol, thus practical realities made manned exploration or settlement a non-starter in those early centuries of humanity's pre-FTL diaspora. The system remained an academic curiosity for several centuries, even as colonial ventures began to seek farther and farther afield for useable real estate. Eventually, it came to the attention of an eccentric billionaire named Roger Winton who acquired the rights to the system for a bargain price. The academic and business communities thought he was mad to attempt a journey of almost seven hundred years in cryostasis, but Roger was a visionary who saw the future potential of the system and felt it was worth the risks.

In 1416, the colony ship Jason finally arrived to find employees of Roger Winton's company, Manticore Colony LTD, waiting for them. Over the intervening centuries, humanity had developed rudimentary FTL travel and now the journey from Earth to Manticore could be measured in mere years rather than lifetimes. Many of the colonists were shocked to discover that Roger Winton had planned for exactly this eventuality, leaving behind a trusted executive and the remainder of his assets with instructions covering a wide range of possible future scenarios. In this case, once travel to the system became feasible, the company had sent ahead volunteers to prepare the colony site and a small fleet of armed frigates to discourage any claim jumpers that might appear. These frigates were the humble beginnings of what would one day become the Royal Manticoran Navy.

Relatively easy access to the industrial, technological, and population base of Earth and her more mature daughter colonies provided the Board of Directors with opportunities few had dared to imagine when they initially set out to the farthest reaches of the frontier. But an influx of new settlers, bolstered by a generous immigration policy, threatened to overwhelm the small group of original shareholders. Determined to maintain control of *their* system, the Board voted to reorganize its nominally democratic structure into a constitutional monarchy, headed by Roger Winton as King Roger I. All of the original colonists were ennobled with hereditary aristocratic titles based on those of Old Earth's United Kingdom and given vast grants of land and mineral resources relative to their initial financial contributions. Thus, the Star Kingdom of Manticore was born.

The current year is 1585 and celebrations are being planned for the Kingdom's centennial. The current reigning monarch is Edward I, a great grandson of Roger Winton, who took the throne when his father Michael abdicated in 1542.

The system population has exploded due to immigration and now surpasses 1.2 billion spread across all three habitable planets and two lunar mining sites.

Author's Note: I have recreated the Manticore system as closely as possible based on the information available in Jayne's Intelligence Review: The Royal Manticoran Navy, House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion, and the limitations of Aurora. There are several discrepancies between the books, so I've given precedence to House of Steel as the more recently published source. Since Aurora does not model binary systems with a common center of mass, I had to have Manticore B orbit Manticore A but managed to keep the distance and eccentricity accurate to the listed values. I rerolled the minerals on Sphinx to match its book description (incredibly rich deposits, but low accessibility). To compensate, I removed the randomly generated minerals from uninhabited terrestrial bodies but kept any that were generated on moons.



The planet Manticore remains the system capital and its primary industrial, technological, and financial hub with more than 764 million inhabitants at present. It has rich reserves of mineral resources and a pleasant temperate climate. His Majesty's Space Station Hephaestus serves as the primary orbital shipyard and fleet base for the Royal Manticoran Navy.

Manticore Installations
     Population: 764.77m
     Naval Shipyard Capacity: 147,755 tons
     Commercial Shipyard Capacity: 255,000 tons
     Repair Yard Capacity: 56,000 tons
     Maintenance Capacity: 406,250 tons
     Research Facility: 30
     Construction Factory: 800
     Mine: 600
     Fuel Refinery: 190
     Maintenance Facility: 325
     Financial Centre: 300
     Deep Space Tracking Station: 4
     Mass Driver: 1
     Military Academy: 2
     Naval Headquarters: 1
     Spaceport: 1

Manticore Survey Report
     Duranium 261,997   Acc 1
     Neutronium 75,478   Acc 0.6
     Corbomite 61,858   Acc 0.7
     Tritanium 74,497   Acc 1
     Boronide 89,397   Acc 1
     Mercassium 214,719   Acc 0.4
     Vendarite 264,419   Acc 0.4
     Sorium 140,647   Acc 1
     Uridium 150,838   Acc 0.8
     Corundium 93,438   Acc 0.8
     Gallicite 68,858   Acc 0.7

His Majesty's Space Station Hephaestus
     1x Battlecruiser Yard of 28000 tons with a single slip
     1x Heavy Cruiser Yard of 19000 tons with two slips
     1x Light Cruiser Yard of 12000 tons with two slips
     2x Destroyer Yards of 7200 tons with a total of eight slips
     1x Repair Yard of 28000 tons with two slips

The second inhabited planet around the primary star is called Sphinx. It is a cold, mountainous planet whose Alpine Forests are home to many exotic and dangerous predators such as the Hexapuma and Peak Bear. Sphinx has vast reserves of mineral resources, but its harsh environment and terrain make them almost impossible to excavate profitably. Sphinx is the second most populated planet in the Star Kingdom with 375 million inhabitants, mostly scattered on small family homesteads throughout the bush, but some clustered in large population centers. Sphinx serves as a secondary industrial center, notably manufacturing missiles and small craft for the Navy. It is orbited by His Majesty's Space Station Vulcan which presently has a small yard of 1000 tons with two slipways tooled to build marine assault pinnaces.

Sphinx
     Population: 375.29m
     Naval Shipyard Capacity: 2,000 tons
     Research Facility: 17
     Construction Factory: 100
     Ordnance Factory: 250
     Fighter Factory: 100
     Mine: 200
     Fuel Refinery: 10
     Financial Centre: 200
     Deep Space Tracking Station: 2
     Mass Driver: 1
     Refuelling Station: 1
     Ordnance Transfer Station: 1

Sphinx Survey Report
     Duranium 2,474,505   Acc 0.1
     Neutronium 18,578,162   Acc 0.1
     Corbomite 13,596,439   Acc 0.1
     Tritanium 1,933,205   Acc 0.1
     Boronide 29,163,214   Acc 0.1
     Mercassium 1,706,731   Acc 0.1
     Vendarite 10,946,300   Acc 0.1
     Sorium 11,604,099   Acc 0.1
     Uridium 2,783,819   Acc 0.1
     Corundium 34,918,638   Acc 0.1
     Gallicite 3,523,272   Acc 0.1



Despite its pleasant appearance, Gryphon is actually the least habitable of the Star Kingdom's three planets due to its axial tilt which results in massive seasonal temperature fluctuations and extreme weather patterns. Apocalyptic storms are commonplace on Gryphon year-round dumping massive quantities of wind, rain, snow, hail, and sometimes even dust. Most of Gryphon's 110 million people live in several large, fortified cities that support its limited industry and maintenance facilities for the RMN's 2nd Fleet which is based in orbit. Still, the planet has a certain appeal to rugged individualists who fancy themselves the descendants of old earth's pioneers. Disparagingly referred to as "Highlanders" by the more civilized city folk, these modern-day mountain men have a contrary libertarian bent and despise the local nobility, while, strangely, possessing an almost fanatical patriotic loyalty to the Kingdom and the House of Winton. Gryphon has a thriving adventure tourism industry and, in its calmer months, is a popular destination for hunters, fishermen, and snow sports enthusiasts. It hosts the primary training facilities for the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps.

Gryphon
     Population: 110.13m
     Maintenance Capacity: 125,000 tons
     Research Facility: 3
     Ground Force Construction Complex: 10
     Construction Factory: 100
     Mine: 200
     Fuel Refinery: 100
     Maintenance Facility: 100
     Deep Space Tracking Station: 2
     Mass Driver: 1
     Refuelling Station: 1
     Ordnance Transfer Station: 1

Gryphon Survey Report
     Boronide 1,355,818   Acc 0.6
     Vendarite 2,533,320   Acc 1
     Sorium 509,283   Acc 0.8
     Uridium 564,315   Acc 0.4

In addition to these inhabited planets there are two mostly automated mining colonies, each having 100 automines and a mass driver:

Egg Survey Report
     Vendarite 357,601   Acc 0.1
     Corundium 4,656,934   Acc 0.9

Naga Survey Report
     Tritanium 7,617,570   Acc 0.9
     Vendarite 435,573   Acc 0.8
     Sorium 5,904,897   Acc 0.1


Before rising to the throne, King Edward achieved the rank of Captain in the Royal Manticoran Navy and briefly commanded the heavy cruiser HMS Sphinx. At the time, the Navy was seen as a waste of resources, leaving the new King as one of its few proponents in the government. A large faction in Parliament sought to shut the whole thing down, arguing that local space had become increasingly civilized since the Star Kingdom's founding and the population of the system was now too large to be truly threatened by mere pirates. Anyway, it would be cheaper to pay off any theoretical raiders who might happen to come along in the next hundred years than to indefinitely maintain the Navy's unnecessary heavy warships.

That all changed in 1543 when the Earth based megacorporation Axelrod of Terra dispatched a small mercenary army to subjugate the system. Axelrod had been reviewing old survey data searching for signs of newly theorized "wormholes" that would allow instantaneous transit between distant points in space. While wormholes appeared to be fairly common, what they found in Manticore's survey data was something else entirely: a dense cluster of wormholes, no more than 1 billion kilometers apart. Axelrod's scientists theorized that this "Wormhole Junction" might allow ships to travel from one side of the explored galaxy to the other in mere days rather than years or decades. So, the megacorporation attempted to conquer the remote technologically and socially backward system to gain control of this resource for its shareholders.



Author's Note: Aurora limits the distance jump points can exist from the star, so the Manticore Wormhole Junction is slightly closer to Manticore A than depicted in the source material. This setup has the JPs between 4 and 6 billion kilometers, which was the maximum distance allowed. This will be slightly detrimental to early expansion but should provide ample opportunities to play with the new DSP and freighter transshipment features.

The Battle of Manticore (1543) proved to be a decisive victory for the Royal Navy, not only on the field but in Parliament. The anti-military faction found themselves firmly on the wrong side of public sentiment as a patriotic fervor swept the Kingdom. Many in the Commons lost their seats to vocally pro-Navy politicians and the Lords quickly realized which side of the bread was buttered. King Edward was given carte blanche to institute his reforms, expand the Kingdom's military-industrial capability and fulfill his long-held dream of replacing almost all of the outdated foreign surplus warships with new locally designed and built models.

At the same time, the Kingdom offered generous incentives (including lands and titles) to any astrophysicists in the new field of Wormhole Studies who were willing to relocate and perform a close examination of the Manticore Wormhole Junction. It has taken the better part of forty years, but their research has finally borne fruit and the Kingdom has recently constructed a small fleet of survey cruisers equipped with these new "wormhole" drives. King Edward intends to send the cruisers through the wormholes as part of the Kingdom's centennial celebration, to herald in what he hopes will be the dawn of a new golden age of human space exploration.





A Brief Genealogy of the House of Winton in 1585

Roger I - reigned from 1485-1489

Elizabeth I - reigned from 1489-1521

Michael I - reigned from 1521-1542


Edward I - reigned from 1542-present

    - Crown Prince Richard Winton, Lt. JG, Royal Manticoran Navy (deceased - Battle of Manticore 1543)

    - Crown Princess Sophie Winton

        - Michael Winton - Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy, CO HMS Donnelly

            - Edward Winton - age 8
            - Catherine Winton - age 7

        - Richard Winton - Duke of Winton-Serisberg

            - William Winton-Serisburg - age 4 (twins)
            - Samantha Winton-Serisburg - age 4 (twins)

        - Elizabeth Winton - Lt SG, Royal Manticoran Navy, XO HMS Gargoyle
« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 03:15:36 PM by rainyday »
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2022, 01:25:51 PM »
The Royal Manticoran Navy of 1585

Historically, the Royal Manticoran Navy has been little more than a system defense force with only a handful of ships and limited opportunities for advancement or command. Higher postings were handed out based on nobility and nepotism rather than merit. This situation has begun to change under King Edward’s reforms, at least in the lower ranks, but competition for the handful of available Captain billets remains fierce. The flag ranks are presently held by an aristocratic Old Guard, most of whom are resentful of the growing role of commoners in the officer corps and unwilling to cede their own power.



The senior uniformed commander of the RMN is 1st Space Lord Admiral Sir Michael Summervale, Duke of Cromarty, a close confidant of the King who is generally in agreement with his views on the future of the Navy.

The 1st Space Lord is assisted by a pair of deputies:
     2nd Space Lord Vice Admiral Anson Laidlaw, who heads the Bureau of Planning
     3rd Space Lord Vice Admiral Hamish Lawrence, who heads the Bureau of Ships

Operational Command of the RMN is divided into two Fleet Districts: Manticore and Gryphon, which contain the Home Fleet and 2nd Fleet, based at their respective planets.



The Royal Manticoran Navy’s OOB in January 1585:

Home Fleet: Admiral Godfrey Howard, Earl of Greenlake Commanding
     3x BC Triumph: HMS Invincible (Flag), HMS Triumph, HMS Victory
     2x CA Kodiak: HMS Hexapuma, HMS Kodiak,
     2x CA Manticore: HMS Gryphon, HMS Manticore
     2x CL Donnelly: HMS Donnelly, HMS Heissman
     4x DD Salamander: HMS Aphrodite, HMS Damocles, HMS Eriyne, HMS Fenris

2nd Fleet: Admiral Alice Guiliani Commanding
     3x BC Triumph: HMS Nike (Flag), HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vanguard
     2x CA Kodiak: HMS Sabrepike, HMS Treecat
     2x CL Casey: HMS Casey, HMS Locatelli
     4x DD Salamander: HMS Draco, HMS Roc, HMS Salamander, HMS Wyvern

Detached Light Forces
     8x DD Gallant: HMS Galahad, HMS Galatea, HMS Gallant, HMS Gargoyle, HMS Gawain, HMS Glorious, HMS Goliath, HMS Grizzly
     8x FF Amphitrite: HMS Akheron, HMS Amphitrite, HMS Amymone, HMS Andromeda, HMS Antheia, HMS Arete, HMS Argonaut, HMS Ariadne

Royal Manticoran Fleet Auxilia:  Rear Admiral Oscar Cortez Commanding
     2x FSV Anubis
     2x CO Apollo
     2x CS Orpheus
    10x FT Clydesdale (25000 ton capacity)
    5x FT Vega (62500 tons capacity)

Survey Command: Rear Admiral Peter Sorbanne Commanding
     6x CS Pathfinder: HMS Discoverer, HMS Explorer, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Pioneer, HMS Trailblazer, HMS Wayfarer


Author's Note: Realistic sizes of Honorverse ships present a problem in Aurora, but not as much as you might think due to the difference between the source material using loaded mass and Aurora using hydrogen displacement tons. Jayne's Intelligence Review: The Royal Manticoran Navy states that the average density of a fully loaded Honorverse ship is 0.25. From this we can get a rough estimate of their volume and thus displacement based on the provided masses. Using this method on HMS Casey gives an Aurora size of ~20433 dtons. There are certainly people who build light cruisers that size in Aurora, but my preference is to start with somewhat smaller ships and let them grow organically over the course of the campaign, so I divided this value in half and made the Casey 10250 dtons. From there, it was a matter of keeping the relative sizes between the various RMN classes roughly lore appropriate. I checked myself where numbers were available, such as the Triumph class, which in the lore is about 2.6x the mass of Casey. My version came out at 28k dtons which is pretty close. Overall, this means that later in the campaign small ships could reach lore appropriate sizes. The real problem comes at the huge jump between battlecruisers and capital ships. Keeping this at lore accurate scale puts BBs around 200k dtons, which isn't impossible, but not practical for the smallest capital ships. I will probably make battleships 2x the size of battlecruisers rather than 5x and work up from there.

Selected Excerpts from Jayne’s Fighting Ships of the Haven Sector: 1583-1584

Historically, the Royal Manticoran Navy has adhered to the traditional balanced weapons mix of missiles for long range combat, energy weapons for close combat and autocannon for point defense. Other than a questionable flirtation with Energy Torpedoes on small combatants, both locally built and refitted surplus hulls tended to follow the collective wisdom of the galaxy’s premier naval establishments. After the Battle of Manticore, however, King Edward began to advocate for much heavier missile broadsides at the expense of energy armament. Manticore’s recent construction takes this philosophy to questionable extremes.

Likewise, point defense capabilities have always been designed with a “mirror” combat in mind as ships are intended to engage with opponents in the same weight class. This has rendered missiles largely useless in such duels as neither side can deal appreciable damage to the other until they reach energy range. Manticore has taken a much more aggressive approach to missile combat. The phrase “eggshells armed with hammers” comes to mind. Few of Manticore’s modern ships can stand up to their own missile broadsides. It remains to be seen whether this gambit will succeed or prove to be the RMN’s tactical Achilles heel.

Triumph-class Battlecruiser
Frequent readers of Jayne’s will be intimately familiar with the RMN’s Triumph-class battlecruisers which have been in service now for well over a hundred years. Originally built as the Solarian Lexington-class, Manticore’s “battlecruisers” were already small and thoroughly outdated by the standards of the time when they were acquired from Frontier Fleet’s surplus. Nonetheless, they possess a laudable battle record against the RMN’s traditional adversaries.

Although Manticore has not, yet, managed to construct anything the size of a Triumph, they have performed extensive refits on their older ships. Most notably, since our last issue they have replaced the impeller nodes with homegrown ones designed for their heavy cruisers bringing their speed up to the fleet standard 4500 km/s.

Code: [Select]
Triumph- class Battlecruiser      28,000 tons       858 Crew       3,843.6 BP       TCS 560    TH 2,520    EM 0
4500 km/s      Armour 8-82       Shields 0-0       HTK 146      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 24      PPV 160.4
Maint Life 2.56 Years     MSP 2,059    AFR 261%    IFR 3.6%    1YR 441    5YR 6,609    Max Repair 420 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 1,000 tons     Magazine 216   
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Flight Crew Berths 20    Morale Check Required   

NG60-840 Warship Impeller Drive (3)    Power 2520    Fuel Use 75.74%    Signature 840    Explosion 14%
Fuel Capacity 1,918,000 Litres    Range 16.3 billion km (41 days at full power)

15cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (16)    Range 180,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 10       
100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (16x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (2)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
AN/CDT-3a Point Defense Fire Control System (2)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes MFR-48 Gaseous Fission Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 96.2    Exp 5%

HLS-6 Solarian Horizontal Launch Cell System (36)     Missile Size: 6    Hangar Reload 122 minutes    MF Reload 20 hours
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (3)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 6A Cruiser Weight Missile (36)    Speed: 17,933 km/s    End: 9.4m     Range: 10.1m km    WH: 9    Size: 6    TH: 95/57/28

AN/SSL-3a Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 1680     Range 24.9m km    Resolution 140
AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Strike Group
2x Ares Pinnace   Speed: 7013 km/s    Size: 9.98

Two of the Triumphs, HMS Invincible and HMS Nike, have been outfitted as command ships by closing up their boat bays and remodeling them into flag decks. They also carry a more extensive sensor and electronics suite but are otherwise identical to their peers.

Code: [Select]
AN/SSL-3c Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 16800     Range 78.6m km    Resolution 140
AN/SML-3b Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 48     Range 9.6m km    MCR 861.7k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3b Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km
AN/SPE-3b Emissions Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km



Manticore-class Heavy Cruisers
Nowhere is the RMN’s deviation from traditional doctrine more obvious than by comparing the armaments of their Manticore and Kodiak class heavy cruisers. The Manticore is an older class and mounts the extensive energy armament expected of a true warship, including a pair of Energy Torpedoes in each broadside. It has six missile tubes with sufficient magazine space for nine salvos, perfectly respectable for a ship of this size.

Code: [Select]
Manticore class Heavy Cruiser      18,620 tons       533 Crew       2,557.7 BP       TCS 372    TH 1,680    EM 0
4511 km/s      Armour 8-62       Shields 0-0       HTK 106      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 19      PPV 75.4
Maint Life 3.22 Years     MSP 1,731    AFR 146%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 252    5YR 3,785    Max Repair 420 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 500 tons     Magazine 325   
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Flight Crew Berths 10    Morale Check Required   

NG60-840 Warship Impeller Drive (2)    Power 1680    Fuel Use 75.74%    Signature 840    Explosion 14%
Fuel Capacity 1,416,000 Litres    Range 18.1 billion km (46 days at full power)

15cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (6)    Range 180,000km     TS: 4,511 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 10       
15cm Energy Torpedo Launcher (4)    Range 60,000km     TS: 4,511 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 10,000 km    ROF 10       
100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (5x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,511 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
AN/CDT-3a Point Defense Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 49.1    Exp 5%

Mod 6a Missile Launcher (6)     Missile Size: 6    Rate of Fire 735
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 6A Cruiser Weight Missile (54)    Speed: 17,933 km/s    End: 9.4m     Range: 10.1m km    WH: 9    Size: 6    TH: 95/57/28

AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SSL-3a Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 1680     Range 24.9m km    Resolution 140
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Strike Group
1x Ares Pinnace   Speed: 7013 km/s    Size: 9.98



Kodiak-class Heavy Cruiser
By contrast, the newer Kodiak sacrifices more than half its energy armament to mount an astounding FOURTEEN Mod 6a missile launchers. Despite dedicating 45% more space to magazines the Kodiak can fire only six salvos before it will be forced to fall back on its pitiful laser batteries. Also note that while the Kodiak has a slightly improved point defense suite over its predecessor it cannot hope to defend itself from another Kodiak. The RMN intends to screen these heavy cruisers with destroyers to provide additional point defense capability as needed.

Code: [Select]
Kodiak class Heavy Cruiser      18,650 tons       508 Crew       2,567.4 BP       TCS 373    TH 1,680    EM 0
4504 km/s      Armour 8-62       Shields 0-0       HTK 102      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 19      PPV 71.6
Maint Life 3.07 Years     MSP 1,634    AFR 146%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 260    5YR 3,906    Max Repair 420 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 500 tons     Magazine 509   
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Flight Crew Berths 10    Morale Check Required   

NG60-840 Warship Impeller Drive (2)    Power 1680    Fuel Use 75.74%    Signature 840    Explosion 14%
Fuel Capacity 1,422,000 Litres    Range 18.1 billion km (46 days at full power)

15cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (4)    Range 180,000km     TS: 4,504 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 10       
100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (6x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,504 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%
Rukes MFR-9 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 9.3    Exp 5%

Mod 6a Missile Launcher (14)     Missile Size: 6    Rate of Fire 735
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (2)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 6A Cruiser Weight Missile (84)    Speed: 17,933 km/s    End: 9.4m     Range: 10.1m km    WH: 9    Size: 6    TH: 95/57/28

AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SSL-3a Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 1680     Range 24.9m km    Resolution 140
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Strike Group
1x Ares Pinnace   Speed: 7013 km/s    Size: 9.98



Casey-class Light Cruiser
It’s well known that HMS Casey (CL-01) was built more as a technology prototype for Manticore’s new shipbuilding industry than out of any real need for a heavier reconnaissance platform. Her success in the Battle of Manticore, where she destroyed a battlecruiser three times her size at close quarters, was down to the unexpected and, frankly, irrational presence of capital grade Energy Torpedoes on a light cruiser. The RMN itself decided this was probably a bad idea and removed two of the torpedo generators in the second flight HMS Locatelli to make room for additional missile launchers and magazine space. Casey was later refitted to this same standard.

Code: [Select]
Casey class Light Cruiser      10,250 tons       274 Crew       1,325 BP       TCS 205    TH 924    EM 0
4507 km/s      Armour 5-42       Shields 0-0       HTK 65      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 10      PPV 35.6
Maint Life 3.59 Years     MSP 807    AFR 84%    IFR 1.2%    1YR 97    5YR 1,448    Max Repair 231 MSP
Magazine 147   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

NG42-462 Efficent Impeller Drive (2)    Power 924    Fuel Use 49.54%    Signature 462    Explosion 11%
Fuel Capacity 751,000 Litres    Range 26.6 billion km (68 days at full power)

15cm Energy Torpedo Launcher (2)    Range 60,000km     TS: 4,507 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 10,000 km    ROF 10       
10cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (2)    Range 90,000km     TS: 4,507 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (4x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,507 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%
Rukes MFR-9 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 9.3    Exp 5%

Mod 4a Missile Launcher (6)     Missile Size: 4    Rate of Fire 600
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (36)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SSL-3a Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 1680     Range 24.9m km    Resolution 140
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km



Donnelly-class Light Cruiser
The RMN’s second attempt at building a light cruiser exemplifies the new naval doctrine taken to extremes. Significantly larger than a Casey, the Donnelly class is also slower, with shorter legs and no more armour than a destroyer. She also mounts no energy weapons. None at all. Instead, the Donnelly’s are armed with twelve of the new Mod 4a light missile launchers and a reasonably deep magazine capacity of seven salvos. One minor point in the Donnelly’s favor is that it carries the same defensive suite as the larger Kodiak heavy cruisers, which should allow it to shrug off missile attacks from larger more traditionally armed enemies.

Code: [Select]
Donnelly class Light Cruiser      10,800 tons       294 Crew       1,452.9 BP       TCS 216    TH 972    EM 0
4500 km/s      Armour 4-43       Shields 0-0       HTK 71      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 10      PPV 37.2
Maint Life 4.24 Years     MSP 840    AFR 93%    IFR 1.3%    1YR 75    5YR 1,124    Max Repair 162 MSP
Magazine 337   
Commander    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

NG27-324 Light Warship Impeller Drive (3)    Power 972    Fuel Use 76.80%    Signature 324    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 1,014,000 Litres    Range 22 billion km (56 days at full power)

100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (6x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CDT-3a Point Defense Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%

Mod 4a Missile Launcher (12)     Missile Size: 4    Rate of Fire 600
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (84)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SLL-3a LAC Tracking Array (1)     GPS 360     Range 17.9m km    Resolution 10
AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km



Salamander-class Destroyer
An older design that has received extensive refits, the Salamanders are intended as close escorts for the RMN’s heavier warships. To better serve this role, all of their energy armament has been replaced with point defense autocannons. First Space Lord Summervale is on record saying, “Destroyers have no bloody business getting into energy range anyway”, a sentiment we believe will win him no friends among the galaxy’s more traditional flag officers and destroyer captains.

Code: [Select]
Salamander class Destroyer      7,200 tons       216 Crew       966.3 BP       TCS 144    TH 648    EM 0
4500 km/s      Armour 4-33       Shields 0-0       HTK 48      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 33.6
Maint Life 4.29 Years     MSP 603    AFR 69%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 53    5YR 790    Max Repair 162 MSP
Magazine 147   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   

NG27-324 Light Warship Impeller Drive (2)    Power 648    Fuel Use 76.80%    Signature 324    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 502,000 Litres    Range 16.3 billion km (42 days at full power)

100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (8x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CDT-3a Point Defense Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%

Mod 4a Missile Launcher (6)     Missile Size: 4    Rate of Fire 600
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (36)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SSL-3a Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 1680     Range 24.9m km    Resolution 140
AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1



Gallant-class Destroyer
Here at last, someone in the RMN Bureau of Ships has managed to produce something like a reasonably balanced design. Their latest destroyers, alternatively known as Gallants or G class, are intended to serve as escorts for the commercial traffic that may soon be flowing through the Manticore Wormhole Junction. It has a lower top speed than their other warships but a long endurance and range.

Code: [Select]
Gallant class Destroyer      7,200 tons       214 Crew       973.5 BP       TCS 144    TH 462    EM 0
3208 km/s      Armour 4-33       Shields 0-0       HTK 50      Sensors 18/0/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 33.6
Maint Life 4.04 Years     MSP 607    AFR 69%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 59    5YR 892    Max Repair 231 MSP
Magazine 147   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

NG42-462 Efficent Impeller Drive (1)    Power 462    Fuel Use 49.54%    Signature 462    Explosion 11%
Fuel Capacity 602,000 Litres    Range 30.4 billion km (109 days at full power)

10cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (4)    Range 90,000km     TS: 3,208 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (4x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 3,208 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Rukes MFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%

Mod 4a Missile Launcher (6)     Missile Size: 4    Rate of Fire 600
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (36)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SLL-3a LAC Tracking Array (1)     GPS 360     Range 17.9m km    Resolution 10
AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3b Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km



Amphitrite-class Frigate
Intended for long range reconnaissance, pickets and light patrol duties, the RMN’s latest frigate design is fast and lightly armed with a defensive weapons suite and carries a similar sensor package to the much larger Triumph class command battlecruisers.

Code: [Select]
Amphitrite class Frigate      5,000 tons       129 Crew       652.7 BP       TCS 100    TH 462    EM 0
4620 km/s      Armour 2-26       Shields 0-0       HTK 31      Sensors 18/18/0/0      DCR 3      PPV 13.8
Maint Life 4.08 Years     MSP 744    AFR 67%    IFR 0.9%    1YR 72    5YR 1,075    Max Repair 231 MSP
Magazine 32   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required   

NG42-462 Efficent Impeller Drive (1)    Power 462    Fuel Use 49.54%    Signature 462    Explosion 11%
Fuel Capacity 471,000 Litres    Range 34.2 billion km (85 days at full power)

100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (3x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,620 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CDT-3b Point Defense Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,800 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes MFR-9 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 9.3    Exp 5%

Mod 4ax External Missile Rail (8)     Missile Size: 4    Hangar Reload 100 minutes    MF Reload 16 hours
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (8)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SSL-3b Ship Tracking Array (1)     GPS 6000     Range 49.7m km    Resolution 100
AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3b Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km
AN/SPE-3b Emissions Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km



Pathfinder-class Survey Cruiser
The newest ship class in the RMN’s arsenal, the Pathfinders are not warships at all. 20% larger than a Donnelly light cruiser this ship carries survey sensors and a prototype “wormhole transit device” which is intended to transport itself and other similarly sized ships through a wormhole. This capability will allow the RMN to explore the systems beyond the Manticore Wormhole Junction and project force through them using its lighter combatants if necessary.

Code: [Select]
Pathfinder class Survey Cruiser      12,000 tons       313 Crew       1,551.7 BP       TCS 240    TH 768    EM 0
3200 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-46       Shields 0-0       HTK 68      Sensors 6/6/2/2      DCR 12      PPV 0
Maint Life 4.02 Years     MSP 1,669    AFR 96%    IFR 1.3%    1YR 165    5YR 2,482    Max Repair 396.8 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 30 months    Morale Check Required   

J12000.0(3-50) Military Wormhole Transit Device     Max Ship Size 12000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

NG48-384 High Efficiency Impeller Drive (2)    Power 768    Fuel Use 20.90%    Signature 384    Explosion 8%
Fuel Capacity 1,013,000 Litres    Range 72.7 billion km (262 days at full power)

AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
AN/SPE-3a Emissions Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 11:33:39 AM by rainyday »
 
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Offline Warer

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2022, 06:54:24 PM »
This is stupidly awesome.
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2022, 08:58:45 PM »
Author's Note: This should be the last setup post. Expect a gameplay update to follow later this week.

The Royal Manticoran Marine Corps of 1585

The Star Kingdom of Manticore has no standing Army. Each inhabited planet is responsible for maintaining its own small Planetary Guard, a force mostly composed of reservists with a solid core of career officers and NCOs. The Guards respond to natural disasters and other local disturbances, having never actually been needed for defense with the Kingdom's planetary populations safe behind the "Duranium Wall" of the RMN.

Sometimes, though, the Navy needs boots on the ground, whether boarding hostile ships or raiding pirate strongholds, and those duties fall to the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps.

The primary organizational unit of the RMMC is the Regiment, commanded by a Colonel. The RMMC is a pure infantry force at present, but its regiments are intended to bring significant concentrated firepower in a small, easily transportable package. Each regiment is fully equipped with powered armour and built around a core of heavy weapons companies.
 
RMMC Regiment
Transport Size: 12,499 tons
Build Cost: 356.4 BP
1x RMMC Regimental HQ
120x RMMC Plasma Gunner (LAV)
120x RMMC Light Tri-barrel (CAP)
964x RMMC Rifleman (IPW)
30x RMMC Heavy Tri-barrel (HCAP)
30x RMMC Heavy Plasma Gun (MLAV)
136x Supplies

At present there are 4 such regiments stationed on each inhabited planet with members mostly drawn from the local population, a regiment assigned to each mining colony, and two extra "training regiments" at the RMMC facility on Gryphon.

RMMC personnel also maintain and oversee the day-to-day operation of the Star Kingdom's planetary defense batteries, two on each planet and one on each mining colony. Each battery is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel.

Planetary Defense Battery
Transport Size: 4,743 tons
Build Cost: 628.1 BP
1x HQ5K
13x 15cm NUL Planetary Defense Cannon

In addition to these forces, the RMMC provides a company of marines and a flight of Ares-class assault pinnaces to each RMN heavy cruiser and battlecruiser division.

Boarding Platoon
Transport Size: 250 tons
Build Cost: 18.9 BP
26x Marine Rifleman (B)
10x Marine Gunner (B)

Code: [Select]
Ares class Pinnace      500 tons       2 Crew       51.2 BP       TCS 10    TH 70    EM 0
7013 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 2      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 0 Years     MSP 0    AFR 99%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 16    5YR 244    Max Repair 35 MSP
Troop Capacity 250 tons     Boarding Capable   
Lieutenant (SG)    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 1 days    Morale Check Required   

NG3.5-70 Pinnace Impeller Drive (1)    Power 70    Fuel Use 764.95%    Signature 70    Explosion 20%
Fuel Capacity 10,000 Litres    Range 0.47 billion km (18 hours at full power)

This design is classed as a Fighter for production, combat and planetary interaction
This design is classed as a Troop Transport for auto-assignment purposes

Finally, as an arm of the Navy, the RMMC is expected to handle its own transport and logistics needs. For this purpose, it has two Anzio-class Troop Transports, unarmed and unarmored vessels capable of carrying two full marine regiments.

Code: [Select]
Anzio class Troop Transport      45,000 tons       275 Crew       1,101.4 BP       TCS 900    TH 1,800    EM 0
2000 km/s      Armour 1-112       Shields 0-0       HTK 103      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 15    Max Repair 80 MSP
Troop Capacity 25,000 tons     Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 1   
Lieutenant (SG)    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

NG60-300 Commercial Impeller Drive  Power 1800    Fuel Use 5.77%    Signature 300    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 295,000 Litres    Range 20.4 billion km (118 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a Troop Transport for auto-assignment purposes
« Last Edit: September 06, 2022, 10:39:51 PM by rainyday »
 
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Offline Pedroig

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2022, 09:14:53 PM »
For those of us who have to find to time to play, not to mention, customize systems, would one be willing to share their starting db for the Honorverse?

I like your conversion concept from Weber to Walmsley on tonnage. 

(editted cause I just realized this is in Fiction, apologies.)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2022, 09:17:49 PM by Pedroig »
si vis pacem, para bellum
 

Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2022, 09:34:56 PM »
For those of us who have to find to time to play, not to mention, customize systems, would one be willing to share their starting db for the Honorverse?

I've added a database containing just the custom system to my Manticore Assets Pack post which can be found here: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=13074.msg162036#msg162036

If you want the whole starting setup, I do have a database backup with everything and would be happy to send it to you.
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2022, 02:41:39 AM »
Looks like a huge amount of research and effort has gone into this!
 
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Offline backstab

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2022, 04:04:26 AM »
Wow , awesome work.. it’s making me get off my ass and try a few ideas I’ve had floating around
Move foward and draw fire
 
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Online nuclearslurpee

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2022, 07:39:28 AM »
Interesting! It is about time that we had an Honorverse AAR around here, not only is it a key inspiration for Aurora (IIRC) but more importantly this means we finally have an AAR which will feature a heavy dose of missile warfare, something sorely lacking in these beams- and conventional starts-obsessed AAR forums these days (not that those things are bad, either, but variety is the spice of life and the AAR board both).

Also, congrats on becoming the rare AAR to receive an actual comment from Steve himself!  :o :o :o

Campaign SetupAll Spoilers except Invaders

Still don't understand why people turn off Invaders but leave Rakhas on. At least the former provide salvage, the latter just exist to annoy people.

Quote
At the moment there are no NPRs active. For a similar game I ran in 1.13, I added the Andermani Empire and Republic of Haven as NPRs, but I am debating having at least one of them be player controlled this time. Either way, I will add some NPRs soon.

On thing I've tried is unchecking the "New Races Generate as NPRs" option, so that you can start with only one player race but then add more through random generation events, so the game grows into a multi-faction game over time but you have the NPRs to provide an early opponent. Plus that way you don't have to spend months doing several custom faction setups all in one go.

Quote
Campaign Background and System Information
That all changed in 1543 when the Earth based megacorporation Axelrod of Terra dispatched a small mercenary army to subjugate the system. Axelrod had been reviewing old survey data searching for signs of newly theorized "wormholes" that would allow instantaneous transit between distant points in space. While wormholes appeared to be fairly common, what they found in Manticore's survey data was something else entirely: a dense cluster of wormholes, no more than 1 billion kilometers apart. Axelrod's scientists theorized that this "Wormhole Junction" might allow ships to travel from one side of the explored galaxy to the other in mere days rather than years or decades. So, the megacorporation attempted to conquer the remote technologically and socially backward system to gain control of this resource for its shareholders.



Author's Note: Aurora limits the distance jump points can exist from the star, so the Manticore Wormhole Junction is slightly closer to Manticore A than depicted in the source material. This setup has the JPs between 4 and 6 billion kilometers, which was the maximum distance allowed. This will be slightly detrimental to early expansion but should provide ample opportunities to play with the new DSP and freighter transshipment features.

A very interesting setup that you don't see in normal Aurora games!


The Royal Manticoran Navy of 1585

Author's Note: Realistic sizes of Honorverse ships present a problem in Aurora, but not as much as you might think due to the difference between the source material using loaded mass and Aurora using hydrogen displacement tons. Jayne's Intelligence Review: The Royal Manticoran Navy states that the average density of a fully loaded Honorverse ship is 0.25. From this we can get a rough estimate of their volume and thus displacement based on the provided masses. Using this method on HMS Casey gives an Aurora size of ~20433 dtons. There are certainly people who build light cruisers that size in Aurora, but my preference is to start with somewhat smaller ships and let them grow organically over the course of the campaign, so I divided this value in half and made the Casey 10250 dtons. From there, it was a matter of keeping the relative sizes between the various RMN classes roughly lore appropriate. I checked myself where numbers were available, such as the Triumph class, which in the lore is about 2.6x the mass of Casey. My version came out at 28k dtons which is pretty close. Overall, this means that later in the campaign small ships could reach lore appropriate sizes. The real problem comes at the huge jump between battlecruisers and capital ships. Keeping this at lore accurate scale puts BBs around 200k dtons, which isn't impossible, but not practical for the smallest capital ships. I will probably make battleships 2x the size of battlecruisers rather than 5x and work up from there.


Usually, my approach has been to get the components approximately right and then worry about tonnage. This can work fairly well, for example, in a WH40K setup if you take some licenses and use "batteries" rather than number of guns as the balancing metric. Usually with the Aurora component mechanics this ends up leading to a reasonably workable tonnage mark while preserving most of the essential flavor.

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Historically, the Royal Manticoran Navy has adhered to the traditional balanced weapons mix of missiles for long range combat, energy weapons for close combat and autocannon for point defense. Other than a questionable flirtation with Energy Torpedoes on small combatants, both locally built and refitted surplus hulls tended to follow the collective wisdom of the galaxy’s premier naval establishments. After the Battle of Manticore, however, King Edward began to advocate for much heavier missile broadsides at the expense of energy armament. Manticore’s recent construction takes this philosophy to questionable extremes.

Eeeexcellent.

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Likewise, point defense capabilities have always been designed with a “mirror” combat in mind as ships are intended to engage with opponents in the same weight class. This has rendered missiles largely useless in such duels as neither side can deal appreciable damage to the other until they reach energy range. Manticore has taken a much more aggressive approach to missile combat. The phrase “eggshells armed with hammers” comes to mind. Few of Manticore’s modern ships can stand up to their own missile broadsides. It remains to be seen whether this gambit will succeed or prove to be the RMN’s tactical Achilles heel.

It might take a while (probably requires multiple player factions to really test), but I want to see this get to a point where the box launcher "meta" becomes the dominant strategic flavor and factions race to develop effective counters. Mainly I think there is a lot of unexplored space here as players usually shy away from such "exploitative" tactics.

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Kodiak-class Heavy Cruiser

Extensive use of reduced-size launchers?  ;D ;D ;D

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Her success in the Battle of Manticore, where she destroyed a battlecruiser three times her size at close quarters, was down to the unexpected and, frankly, irrational presence of capital grade Energy Torpedoes on a light cruiser. The RMN itself decided this was probably a bad idea and removed two of the torpedo generators in the second flight HMS Locatelli to make room for additional missile launchers and magazine space.

Cowards.

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Gallant-class Destroyer
Here at last, someone in the RMN Bureau of Ships has managed to produce something like a reasonably balanced design. Their latest destroyers, alternatively known as Gallants or G class, are intended to serve as escorts for the commercial traffic that may soon be flowing through the Manticore Wormhole Junction. It has a lower top speed than their other warships but a long endurance and range.

These are likely to be the first ships to engage the new spoiler race, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out...


This is stupidly awesome.

It is also intelligently awesome, truly there is something for everyone here.


RMMC Regiment
Transport Size: 12,499 tons

The one true base formation size for VB6 enjoyers who must grudgingly accept the new realities of C# ground combat. I approve.

This being said, with only 50,000 tons of regiments to begin (plus STOs and boarding platoons) the RMN will be very hard pressed to carry out any actual ground combat operations anytime soon. Building up the ground forces takes a very long time in C#.


I like your conversion concept from Weber to Walmsley on tonnage. 

I like this phrase, "Walmsley Tonnage" and will endeavor to use it elsewhere.


I've added a database containing just the custom system to my Manticore Assets Pack post which can be found here: http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=13074.msg162036#msg162036

If you want the whole starting setup, I do have a database backup with everything and would be happy to send it to you.

I think if you attached the starting DB to the OP it would be appreciated, not just now but also for posterity - especially if someone, someday figures out how to import old DB saves into new versions as this is a very neat scenario with a lot of work put in.


Looks like a huge amount of research and effort has gone into this!

Looks like your last WH40K campaign has a worthy challenger!  ;D
« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 08:53:44 PM by nuclearslurpee »
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2022, 11:09:12 AM »
Interesting! It is about time that we had an Honorverse AAR around here, not only is it a key inspiration for Aurora (IIRC) but more importantly this means we finally have an AAR which will feature a heavy dose of missile warfare.

When I started playing VB6 Aurora, one of my favorite things was how the missile battles felt so much like I was commanding ships in the Honorverse. I've remained a proponent of launcher armed large ships even as most of the community has shifted away to beams, fighters and box launchers just because it's my preferred flavor of space combat.

Still don't understand why people turn off Invaders but leave Rakhas on. At least the former provide salvage, the latter just exist to annoy people.

I actually like the Rakhas because they present additional opportunities for ground combat. I normally play with all spoilers on, but I just haven't figured out a good way to theme the Invaders in this one yet. Can always turn them on later.

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On thing I've tried is unchecking the "New Races Generate as NPRs" option...so the game grows into a multi-faction game over time...that way you don't have to spend months doing several custom faction setups all in one go.

That's genius, actually. I've never messed with that option; I think I forgot it existed. I've been wanting to do a non-Sol multi-faction game for a while, but the setup for several factions is so daunting if you aren't doing conventional starts. I'm thinking very seriously about adding the Andermani as a player race because 1) Chinese Space Prussians is a concept I find really amusing. 2) There is way less source material on them than the other major factions. 3) Although they're allied to Manticore now in this era of the books, I think they make a great antagonist in a rival imperialists power struggle.  I would also be down for a People's Republic of Haven but it's about 200 years early. The OG Republic of Haven feels too "nice" to be interesting, unless they decide later the Star Kingdom has become too expansionist in a role reversal of the original timeline.

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A very interesting setup that you don't see in normal Aurora games!

Yes! I'm very excited about the wormhole junction. The JPs are far enough apart that you can't defend them all with a big fortress but close enough together to make setting up a forward Deep Space base very practical. And, thanks to our newest friends, I won't be tempted to doom stack the whole fleet there away from the planets.


Usually, my approach has been to get the components approximately right and then worry about tonnage. This can work fairly well, for example, in a WH40K setup if you take some licenses and use "batteries" rather than number of guns as the balancing metric. Usually with the Aurora component mechanics this ends up leading to a reasonably workable tonnage mark while preserving most of the essential flavor.

I sort of did both. I started with HMS Casey because it was the only ship from the era that I could find a reasonably complete set of statistics on. I worked out my rough estimate of the Aurora tonnage and then built out its official weapons package in the ship designer. I was hoping to hit somewhere in the range of 6-8k dtons for a destroyer, as I've found that's my personal sweet spot, so was very pleased the Casey worked out so nicely at ~10000.

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It might take a while (probably requires multiple player factions to really test), but I want to see this get to a point where the box launcher "meta" becomes the dominant strategic flavor and factions race to develop effective counters. Mainly I think there is a lot of unexplored space here as players usually shy away from such "exploitative" tactics.

I really like the later Honorverse concept of the flat pack missile pod limpeted to every flat surface of the hull so I could definitely see that sort of thing coming out if there is a missile arms race.


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Extensive use of reduced-size launchers?  ;D ;D ;D

This is a light load of 40% launchers for me. My current non-AAR 2.1 game has 7000-ton destroyers with 20 size 4 launchers. I've come to generally prefer small reloadable launchers with tiny magazines (1-3 shots) over box launchers for the ease of reloading with a basic fleet collier. My overall experience in C# has been that if you put up less than two hundred missiles against any halfway decent opponent, you're just wasting galicite, but I realized recently that I've been using very bad settings in the Missile Optimizer and making objectively terrible missiles all this time. So, this game is going to be a bit of an experiment to see how I manage with less tubes.

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Cowards

I do honestly kind of regret this change but I was afraid that 4 launchers on a CL were just wasted space. Not that 6 is much better, but I might at least land a hit on something armed with say... a couple of railguns.

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These are likely to be the first ships to engage the new spoiler race, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out...

Yes, very exciting. :)

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This being said, with only 50,000 tons of regiments to begin (plus STOs and boarding platoons) the RMN will be very hard pressed to carry out any actual ground combat operations anytime soon.

I have 16 of these regiments, so 200000 tons, but only two transports, which is a bit of a problem that they'll have to tackle before they go on any interstellar adventures. Fortunately, I didn't start with any commercial jump tenders either, so I have a window of a couple years to build more before they'll be needed.

That said, I'll probably create the Royal Manticoran Army in the future, once it becomes clear there is a need for bulk ground troops and armoured vehicles.  In the lore, they created the Army basically the first time they needed to occupy a planet and realized the RMMC lacked the manpower for an occupation.

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especially if someone, someday figures out how to import old DB saves into new versions as this is a very neat scenario with a lot of work put in

I would be very happy if someone just created an import/export function for custom systems. I think this would be much more straight forward than import/export of an entire game. It could import the stars and planets into the current game with a new system ID, no races or anything. I've been tempted to write something like that for personal use since I have now built this system from scratch in 1.13, 2.0 and 2.1. I've gotten pretty fast at setting it up.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 11:18:38 AM by rainyday »
 
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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2022, 01:31:32 PM »
1585

On January 26th, 1585, at precisely 6:20 PM Landing Standard Time, the survey cruiser HMS Pathfinder became the first manned vessel to transit through the Manticore Wormhole Junction. Intense radiation scrambled her sensors, filling the bridge screens with static. When it cleared, she detected an F7V star at 140 light minutes, orbited by five terrestrial planets, six moons and three dozen asteroids. Sheets of ice covered two of the larger planets from poles to equator. Both had nitrogen dominant atmospheres near standard density, but no life capable of oxygen photosynthesis.

Five minutes after her initial transit, HMS Pathfinder reversed course and reactivated the wormhole device.

Aboard the Royal Manticoran Auxiliary Ship Anubis, Rear Admiral Peter Sorbanne, CO of Survey Command, and his staff exchanged high fives as the cruiser reappeared. Some of his peers had scoffed when Sorbanne moved his flag to the hulking, unarmored supply vessel—-perhaps even tittered, a bit. Now, he proved the efficiency of being on the scene. Within minutes, he parcelled out the light forces under his command and dispatched a squadron to probe each of the remaining wormholes.

On her third transit, HMS Pathfinder travelled in company with HMS Amphitrite, HMS Goliath and HMS Gargoyle. They followed standard procedure to the letter. After all, it was the first time anyone had used it. The small frigate raced ahead to scan the inner planets for signs of life or advanced technology with its powerful sensors while the destroyers followed with the vulnerable survey cruiser at best speed.

A small gathering of King Edward’s closest advisers erupted in cheers when the news finally reached Mount Royal Palace four hours later. First Space Lord Sir Michael Summervale proposed a toast to the future of the Kingdom. Then, Prime Minister Gregory Webster, Duke of New Texas, insisted on drinking to the King’s health. One toast followed another until the “live” feed ended and the King, now nearing his 97th birthday, had dozed off in his favorite armchair.

As the King’s stamina faded in recent years, the mantle of championing his political agenda passed to his grandson, Prince Richard. At 32 T-years old, the Duke of Winton-Serisburg was already a force to be reckoned with in the Lords and de facto leader of the Crown Loyalists, who, for the moment, governed in coalition with the Centrists. Both parties supported the expansion of the Star Kingdom to suitable worlds beyond the Wormhole Junction, a position which was strongly disputed by the opposition. The three men stayed until the early hours of the morning, discussing the possibilities in Pathfinder’s report, and how best to apply their individual levers of power.


These orbits seem just a bit unstable

Over the next week, Survey Command obtained long range scans of all five neighboring systems. None showed an Earth-like world, but all had at least one main sequence dwarf star with multiple planets. The second wormhole led to a wide trinary system almost three hundred light hours across. The third, a fairly typical K7 system. Most impressive was the fourth system, which contained fourteen planets orbiting a single F0 subgiant. These included seven gas giants with an astounding one hundred and fifty-one moons between them, many in the habitable zone. After that, the fifth system’s four small terrestrial planets seemed almost disappointing.

The Admiralty expected to receive geological survey data on the smaller systems within six months. In the meantime, the Crown and Landing University sponsored a contest asking citizens to submit and vote on names for the first system discovered by HMS Pathfinder.

On February 19th, HMS Akheron, a frigate picketing the Junction, detected a faint fluctuation in the background radiation of the fourth wormhole. Followed shortly by the unexpected reappearance of the survey cruiser HMS Explorer. Lieutenant Commander Megan Alquezar refused to provide a reason for her vessel’s unscheduled return, insisting on an immediate face-to-face meeting with Rear Admiral Sorbanne.

Several hours later, a lieutenant from the Office of Naval Intelligence entered the First Space Lord’s private box at Hopewell Field during the second half of the Naval Academy’s All Star soccer game. Paparazzi photos of the young woman escorting Admiral Summervale to an unmarked aircar shot to the top of every news feed in the Star Kingdom. Public traffic records obtained by the media showed the car had flown directly from the Field to Mount Royal Palace. Heated arguments about the nature of the crisis erupted across the planetary net. The only thing everyone seemed to agree on was that nothing short of Armageddon could pull the Duke of Cromarty away while the Marines were up 2-0.

By the time the government had located and briefed all the necessary parties, it had entirely lost control the news cycle. Outlandish theories dominated the airwaves right up to the start of Prime Minister New Texas’s press conference. Yesterday, the announcement that HMS Explorer had located ruins believed to be of advanced alien origin, would have been astounding enough. Today, headlines speculated if the government was covering up something more sinister.

Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated assurances that the Navy had found no live aliens, less savory publications capitalized on the hype with clickbait articles quoting anonymous sources. The aptly named tabloid Nosey News of Yawata Crossing insisted its highly placed informant had seen pictures of a “vast alien armada.” Pundits for the opposition Liberal Party accused the government of encouraging such nonsense to drum up support for increased military spending in the current budget negotiations.

Somewhere during all the confusion, official communications began referring to the system as Trevor’s Star, although no one could ever determine where the name originated or who Trevor was. The name appeared in the Admiralty’s dispatch to Survey Command authorizing the immediate release of HMS Wayfarer to begin a gravitational survey. Until now, the Navy had held that cruiser in reserve to provide emergency transit capability if needed.



In late May, the public naming contest wrapped up and the first system surveyed by HMS Pathfinder publicly christened Basilisk. The Sphinxian teenager who suggested the name received a scholarship for her small contribution to science and an invitation to Mount Royal Palace for a photo-op with the King. Government bureaucrats breathed a collective sigh of relief and quietly agreed not to hold any more such contests. Calling the Kingdom’s most probable future colony site Stary McStarface would have been simply untenable.

The business and academic communities of the Star Kingdom focused on future commercial exploitation of the new systems. Parliament awarded small research grants to a variety of projects including orbital terraforming and fuel harvesting modules, tractor beams and small fusion reactors. At BuShips, the Office of Weapon Development expanded to two teams researching both 20cm Lasers and Fusion-boosted warheads simultaneously. They promised to complete both within the five-year timeline proposed for the development of the RMN’s new, much more powerful, Nike-class battlecruisers.

A minor scandal broke out in the Lords over the deployment of the new C45 Wormhole Transit Device. The Drewson Cartel, a commercial shipbuilding concern, received a lucrative contract for the construction of a 28000-ton vessel equipped with the device. The Navy intended to permanently station this new ship at the Junction to provide transit capability for freighters and colony expeditions to the new systems. Unfortunately, the Cartel only had one yard, which was already contracted to build a third Anubis-class fleet support vessel. That project wouldn’t be complete until late next year, significantly delaying production of the tender.

This resulted in days of finger pointing, mudslinging and accusations over whose cousin worked for which consulting firm. Finally, Richard Winton proposed to license smaller industrial concerns to fabricate the individual components needed for the new ship, including the Wormhole Transit Device. They could ship these to the Drewson Cartel Yard for final assembly. This met with general approval.

BuShips, meanwhile, finalized a new destroyer design. Based on the Gallant hull, the new Heroic-class looked identical on cursory examination but sacrificed a 10cm laser battery from each broadside to make room for a small flag deck. The Admiralty intended its new destroyers to serve as leaders for the escort squadrons and provide additional opportunities for young officers to gain task group command experience. HMSS Hephaestus had a destroyer yard with four empty slipways available, so construction began immediately on an initial flight, with the possibility of more to follow.

One by one, the survey squadrons reported in. Each cruiser transmitted its geological information before proceeding to RMAS Anubis for refuel and resupply, then returned to its assigned system to begin gravitational surveys. Since they had discovered no threats in any of the target systems, the escorting destroyers returned to Manticore for overhaul and much needed shore leave.

By October, geological survey data had been obtained on each of neighboring five systems. During previous months the government had come up with names for all of them: Basilisk, Gregor, Matapan, Trevor’s Star and Hennesy.

A vigorous debate began in Parliament over the immediate annexation of Basilisk. Although neither of the promising worlds with water and atmospheres possessed useful concentrations of minerals, the rest of the system turned out to be a veritable goldmine. Basilisk I and Basilisk II - Moon 2, both small barren worlds, were obvious candidates for colonization. Either could retain an atmosphere if the proposed terraforming modules produced one.

A rare alliance of Liberals and Conservatives opposed the annexation. They argued that the Star Kingdom barely had enough population to run its existing industry. It made no sense to colonize remote barren planets when rich mineral reserves remained on all three major habitable worlds. Annexing a foreign system would also double the amount of territory that needed to be defended by the Royal Navy, requiring even more excessive military spending. No matter how rich the proposed colony might one day become, it would take decades to pay for itself.

In testament to the political will of Prince Richard and Prime Minister New Texas, the proposal that ultimately passed the Lords included an amendment for the annexation of Trevor’s Star. It stipulated that the Star Kingdom would establish a new colony on Basilisk I, named Medusa in keeping with the mythological theme, as soon as was practical. Basilisk II - Moon 2, named Pegasus, would follow at a later date. Finally, the Navy would establish a scientific outpost on Trevor’s Star I to study the alien ruins, with colonists to follow once they deemed it safe.



Medusa Survey Report
     Duranium 4,147,200   Acc 0.9
     Neutronium 4,096   Acc 0.5
     Corbomite 331,776   Acc 0.9
     Tritanium 112,896   Acc 0.8
     Boronide 2,073,600   Acc 1
     Mercassium 350,464   Acc 0.6
     Vendarite 1,183,744   Acc 0.7
     Sorium 112,896   Acc 0.8
     Uridium 1,327,104   Acc 1
     Corundium 1,048,576   Acc 0.6

Pegasus Survey Report
     Duranium 88,200   Acc 1
     Neutronium 1,600   Acc 0.8
     Tritanium 250,000   Acc 0.5
     Boronide 302,500   Acc 0.5
     Corundium 10,000   Acc 0.7
     Gallicite 902,500   Acc 0.6

Trevor's Star I Survey Report
     (Ruined Settlement)
     Duranium 14,450,688   Acc 1
     Corbomite 11,289,600   Acc 0.1
     Tritanium 1,016,064   Acc 0.6
     Boronide 16,646,400   Acc 0.9
     Vendarite 186,624   Acc 0.1
     Uridium 18,662,400   Acc 0.1

By the end of the year, Survey Command had discovered four wormholes in the surrounding systems.



A total of 16 new ships were under construction including 2 CAs, 2 CLs, 8 DDs, 1 FSV, 1 TT and 2 more colony ships.



Author's Note:  I do intend to post the starting database in the OP for others who wish to play the scenario in the future. There are a few minor discrepancies in my backup that I need to resolve. It should be available by the end of the weekend. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, I love reading them.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2022, 05:29:37 PM by rainyday »
 

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2022, 05:12:16 AM »
Sorry don't really have much to say, this is just really well written fiction. Though I wonder when the TREE CAT MENACE will appear to MENACE the fair people of the VILE Star Kingdom of Manticore?

Also can't wait to see how you handle the Nikes, the part of Aurora I interact with most is the ship design. On that note the reason I think most people prefer beams to missiles these days, beyond all the changes to beams that everyone wanted to play with, as opposed to all stripe of missile launchers is the ammo problem, especially with box launchers. If a box launcher ship fires off all its missiles and doesn't win then you either have maintenance ships and colliers along to reload or back 10b+ kilometers to the nearest colony with enough of both to rearm them, or maybe if they're small enough stick them in a commercial carrier-collier? With reloadable missile launchers I think its the fear that the ""low"" number of launchers won't be able to penetrate the enemies PD, at which point your ships a glorified bowling ball I suppouse.
 
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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2022, 02:51:26 PM »
Heehee, Stary McStaryface  ;D

Interesting goings-on around the Manticore system, though it does seem like a lot of it is going to become fodder for later plot arcs. As is typical in most early game periods the name of the game is rapid expansion until the interesting parts begin.

Also can't wait to see how you handle the Nikes, the part of Aurora I interact with most is the ship design. On that note the reason I think most people prefer beams to missiles these days, beyond all the changes to beams that everyone wanted to play with, as opposed to all stripe of missile launchers is the ammo problem, especially with box launchers. If a box launcher ship fires off all its missiles and doesn't win then you either have maintenance ships and colliers along to reload or back 10b+ kilometers to the nearest colony with enough of both to rearm them, or maybe if they're small enough stick them in a commercial carrier-collier? With reloadable missile launchers I think its the fear that the ""low"" number of launchers won't be able to penetrate the enemies PD, at which point your ships a glorified bowling ball I suppouse.

There is a certain school of thought that the best compromise may actually be to use 30% launchers instead of box launchers, since these can be reloaded from colliers after firing.

Otherwise, even if you use 30% launchers you are losing not just 50% of the salvo size compared to box launchers but in practice clsoer to 1/3 to 1/4 the size is generated depending on magazine sizes. Magazines are the real evil in Aurora missile combat in the tactical picture, but strategically you often need magazines to provide staying power in a missile duel as reloading from colliers is not always feasible during an encounter.

The big thing that 30% launchers benefit from is strategic superiority. If you can concentrate enough firepower in one place that the enemy PD is overwhelmed either way, then having more total missiles ready to fire makes a big difference in your ability to exploit the advantage. With box launchers it is one shot and done (unless of course you use fighters).

Reloadable launchers also have a place in anti-fighter defenses, but against the NPRs it is pretty rare that this ever matters.

The long and short of it is that there's a lot of fun options to explore with missile combat at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, but since most people and especially most authAARs play against NPRs it is pretty rare to see this explored much as NPRs are helpless against basically anything besides standard-size launchers.
 
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Manticore Defiant Chapter Two: A Mysterious Visitor
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2022, 08:45:42 PM »
Chapter Two: A Mysterious Visitor (1586-1587 PD)

Christmas 1585 came in the middle of a scorching summer on Jason Bay, the planet Manticore caring little for the proprieties of Old Earth’s holidays. The royal family fled to their private retreat on Triton Island, a few hours by air-car from the capital. All the King’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended, including Princess Elizabeth, who had spent most of the last year deployed to Basilisk aboard HMS Gargoyle.

Rumors circulated in the media on Saint Sylvester’s Day that the King had taken ill and would remain on the island for some time to recover. One week later, an official announcement aired across all three inhabited planets, stating that King Edward Roger Timothy Winton I had died in his sleep. His reign was the longest in the Star Kingdom’s brief history, his dedication to the Navy and the Wormhole Project unwavering. Crowds packed the streets around King Michael’s Cathedral for miles on the day of his funeral.

Fewer people turned out to watch the Bishop of Landing crown Queen Sophie I. The common folk thought well enough of Sophie for her altruism and philanthropy, but no one expected her to be a strong or influential ruler like her father. The new Queen had always been shy and reserved, preferring privacy to the spotlight of national attention thrust upon her after her elder brother's death in the Battle of Manticore. Most felt the balance of power in the Kingdom would shift strongly to the Lords.

The Royal Manticoran Navy issued the Queen Sophie I Coronation Medal to all active-duty personnel to commemorate the occasion. Three vertical stripes represented the three inhabited planets of the Star Kingdom: red for Manticore, purple for Sphinx, and green for Gryphon. It symbolized unity in the new era.



The RMN’s combat forces spent the year 1586 engaged in routine duties around the home system. Training exercises and maneuvers broke up some of the monotony. Survey Command saw the only real activity, just as dull, but more stressful. Rear Admiral Sorbanne pushed his subordinates hard to wrap up gravitational surveys of all five systems by the end of the year. As soon as each one finished, the ships assigned to it refueled at RMAS Anubis and went to assist in the much larger Basilisk and Trevor’s Star systems.

Parliament established the Interstellar Resettlement Committee, which began organizing the extensive bureaucracy needed to vet and train volunteers for the new Medusa colony. It approved an initial list of two hundred thousand names and instructed those selected to be ready to relocate by the end of the year.

In mid-August, the Drewson Cartel completed RMAS Isis, the new fleet support vessel. After her shakedown cruise, Isis took on fuel and supplies at Manticore and moved out to the Wormhole Junction to relieve RMAS Anubis. Meanwhile, the Cartel began assembling the prefabricated parts of the transit tender. They announced the work would be complete in October. The Admiralty intended the new ship, RMAS Arrowhead, to be permanently stationed at the Junction to provide transit for freighters and colony ships.

A large convoy assembled in Manticore Orbit: 10 Clydesdale-class freighters, 2 Orpheus-class colony ships, the Marine Corps transport Monte Cassino and the RMN’s 3rd Destroyer Division. Between them they carried a hundred units of infrastructure, two hundred thousand colonists, and two marine regiments. As soon as the builders deemed Arrowhead flight worthy, the entire group set out for Medusa.

HMS Wayfarer, returning from Trevor’s Star to refuel, met the convoy at the Basilisk wormhole to transit its military escort. This revealed a large and heretofore overlooked problem in the Admiralty’s plan for the Gallant and Heroic class destroyer escort divisions. BuShips considered scrapping the destroyer leaders, already about 30% complete in the yards, and instead have each division led by a light cruiser with a dedicated wormhole transit device. Unfortunately, the size of the device made such a design impractical. For now, one of the precious survey cruisers would be assigned to the Junction Fleet to provide military transits.

The convoy reached Medusa and began unloading on December 18th, elevating the Star Kingdom to a true interstellar polity. It would return to Manticore for a second load of infrastructure and colonists, along with a pair of STO laser batteries.

On January 1st, 1587, the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, consisting of the RMN’s four light cruisers, arrived to relieve the long-suffering trio of frigates assigned to escort the Junction Fleet. The older Casey-class ships remained in Manticore, while the newer Donnelly-class CLs proceeded into Basilisk and took up station above Medusa.

The full gravitational survey of Basilisk completed a few weeks later and all active survey cruisers returned to Manticore to overhaul and rotate their crews. Survey Command intended to begin probing new wormholes before the end of the year.



February 26th, 1587 5:08 AM
Lieutenant (SG) Tyler Meares almost jumped out of his skin when a shrill keening alarm shattered the silence in Perimeter Security’s Central Control Room aboard Her Majesty’s Space Station Hephaestus. His book reader clattered to the floor as he spun his chair to face the huge holotank in the center of the space. His night watch crew preferred to sit in the dark, so the tank’s soft white glow provided the only light in the room. Now it had taken on a decidedly crimson sheen from a single blinking red icon deep within the plot.

“Contact,” a rating reported, shouting to be heard over the alarm. “Reading one gravitic footprint at 1-5-3 million kilometers. Bearing 5 degrees. Steady at 4-1-6-3 km/s. No IFF signal. Emissions don’t match anything in the database.”

Tyler scowled at the red icon. 153 million kilometers from the planet was well inside Manticore A’s hyperlimit. The sensitive gravitics arrays should have detected the hyper footprint of any ship entering the system via traditional FTL long before it got so close.

He turned back to his own station and pulled up the duty rotation for Response Alpha. His job was to report anything strange that appeared on the sensor net and this was definitely strange. Probably a glitch. But if it wasn’t… He pulled out his uni-link and punched in the code for HMS Kodiak.

No one answered.

“Oh come on,” he muttered, dialing Kodiak again. “You’re ready-60. Someone had better be awake over there.” Tyler had entered the Naval Academy brimming with excitement for the possibilities that lay beyond the Wormhole Junction, but after five T-years, he was thoroughly disillusioned. Watching his classmates with names and connections receive prestigious postings, even command slots, aboard ships, while he, with top scores, was stuck here had burned out every ounce of enthusiasm. Now, he was simply disgusted by it all. He dialed the code a third time.

“Yeah?” A woman’s voice growled. “What do you want?”

“This is Lieutenant Meares with Perimeter Security. We have a… situation here. Case Echo. Patching it through to your board.” He gestured for the rating to set up the connection with Kodiak’s computers.

“Do you always have to run these drills in the middle of the night?” The woman asked.

“It’s not a drill.” Tyler grated. “Look at the feed.”

After a long period of silence and one vulgar curse word, the line went dead.

Forty-five minutes later, HMS Kodiak broke orbit, accompanied by the destroyer HMS Damocles, on an intercept course. The unidentified ship was on a direct vector for Manticore and hadn't responded to challenges. From the gravitics footprint, it appeared to be a Light Attack Craft. LACs were too small to travel through hyperspace, so ONI believed that it must have transited undetected through one of the wormholes.

At 9:29am, the contact, designated Arbalest 001, detected the incoming cruiser and reversed course, heading away at its top observed speed of 4163 km/s. The Manticoran ships, travelling at 4500 km/s, would overtake it in about five hours.

At 1:34pm, the Arbalest dropped off the planetary sensor net, leading to considerable consternation in the Admiralty’s War Room. In the forty-four years since the Battle of Manticore, the RMN had become complacent about defense in the home system. The bulk of its mobile forces were concentrated in Home Fleet, orbiting Manticore, and 2nd Fleet, orbiting Gryphon, with a few forward deployed out at the Wormhole Junction. Sphinx, currently on the opposite side of the primary, didn’t have a single warship in orbit to protect the vulnerable HMSS Vulcan or the planet's significant population. Likewise, all the Kingdom’s Vega-class freighters were outbound to Roc’s lagrange point for an insystem jump to Gryphon, unescorted.

First Space Lord Summervale quickly passed orders to remedy these shortcomings. He sent HMS Andromeda to join Kodiak’s small task force, which was proceeding along the Arbalest’s last known vector. The frigate’s powerful gravitic sensors should help them reestablish contact. Since the frigates were the fastest thing in the RMN’s arsenal, he also sent a pair of them racing out to catch the Bulk Cargo Fleet. The cruiser HMS Hexapuma followed at best speed. Finally, the destroyers HMS Gawain and HMS Galahad were ordered to Sphinx.

While HMS Andromeda rushed out to meet her, HMS Kodiak played an endless game of cat and mouse with the mysterious Arbalest. Periodically, the smaller ship would pulse its active sensor, possibly to check if the cruiser was still in pursuit. The first time this happened the LAC had doubled back towards the planet confirming the First Space Lord’s fear that it might slip past and cause havoc elsewhere. Each active sensor pulse appeared in an unexpected location, forcing Kodiak to reorient time and again.

Finally, at 9:43pm, sixteen hours into the ordeal, HMS Andromeda picked up the Arbalest on her gravitics. The LAC was caught between the two RMN forces. Andromeda’s crew rushed to action stations and charged. As expected, the LAC turned to run, attempting to thread a rapidly narrowing gap between the Manticoran ships.



Captain Pryce Dunne of HMS Kodiak hadn’t left the bridge for over eighteen hours. Exhausted and strung out on coffee was a bad way to fight, but he refused to miss one second of the most exciting day of his entire Navy career. He could almost taste the much coveted Combat Action ribbon. Only the light units of the RMN, frigates and destroyers, sometimes managed to get in scraps with pirates on outsystem patrols. The cruisers and battlecruisers orbited Manticore and did endless drills.

“Guns,” he called to his tactical officer. “Synchronize our targeting system with Damocles. I want a full broadside from both ships as soon as we get into missile range.”

“Sir,” said his pedantic XO, Hal Bachfish. “We don't know if the target is armed or hostile. It’s skittish, sure, but until we know whose over there the rules of engagement stipulate that we attempt to disable them for boarding.”

Dunne ground his teeth. Bachfish was right, of course. He was always right. A constant thorn in the Captain’s side, ever ready to quote some asinine rule or regulation. Dunne, a scion of the upper nobility, firmly believed that rules were meant for other people. Peasants. Like Bachfish. Then again, if an investigation later determined the mystery vessel was unarmed and carrying civilians, he didn’t want that stain on his service record.

“Fine,” he said. “Helm close to 100 thousand kilometers. Cynthia, shoot to disable. But, if they do *anything* suspicious, fire missiles.”

“Aye, Captain.” Lieutenant Commander Cynthia Colenso gave him a thumbs up from the tactical station. She sounded almost as excited for an opportunity to fire the guns as Dunne himself.

It took another twenty minutes to close to beam range during which Kodiak’s sensors gained an active lock on the Arbalest confirming its size at 901 tons. A LAC wasn’t exactly a prestigious kill, but, as the old saying went, you shouldn’t look in a horse’s mouth. Whatever a horse was.

“Incoming!” Someone called out at the same time something rang against the heavy cruiser’s hull. “We're taking autocannon fire!”

“Guns!” Dunne barked. They were beyond the range of any Manticoran autocannon. Awfully far even for Kodiak’s lasers. Inconceivable for a LAC to mount such a big gun. It must be built around the thing. The ship rattled again as another burst raked her thick armor.

Cynthia’s finger punched the big red button on her console.



Fourteen missiles streaked out from HMS Kodiak’s tubes and another six from HMS Damocles. They flashed across space in less than five seconds. Later, detailed tactical analysis would reveal that three were shot down by the Arbalest’s point defense. Two more simply missed the wildly evading LAC. Fifteen struck home. The nuclear fireball briefly blinded Kodiak’s sensors.

Perhaps twenty missiles was a bit excessive. The bean counters at BuShips would surely try to rake him over the coals for “unnecessary ordnance expenditures.” It would be worth it though. Dunne had finally gotten to shoot something. The whole reason he’d joined the Navy in the first place.

“Uh, Captain?” The slight edge in Cynthia’s voice pulled him back from his fancies. “That’s no LAC.”

Dunne looked down at his display. At the center of the expanding cloud of debris sat the wreck of a light cruiser.


« Last Edit: September 22, 2022, 11:04:36 AM by rainyday »
 
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Manticore Defiant: Chapter Three: Growing Pains
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2022, 10:57:05 AM »
Chapter Three: Growing Pains (1587-1588)

The Office of Naval Intelligence’s report on the mysterious light cruiser contained more questions than answers. It utilized advanced stealth systems, far beyond anything known to the Star Kingdom, but its other capabilities were comparable to RMN ships. Unfortunately, HMS Kodiak’s missile salvo had breached the hull and vaporized everything inside, frustrating efforts to retrieve bodies or computer cores. Nothing else could be gleaned from the wreck without taking it apart, and Manticore lacked the technology to do so. HMS Andromeda lurked nearby under tight emissions control for several months hoping to catch anyone who might come looking for the missing ship, but saw nothing.

ONI carefully avoided pointing fingers, but some members of the Lords were less circumspect. After all, everyone knew the Andermani Empire ran the most extensive intelligence apparatus in the Haven Sector. They had stealth technology and operated stealth ships for both reconnaissance and information gathering. Manticore had enjoyed positive relations with the Andermani for decades, but since the ascension of Gustav III the Empire’s foreign policy had become even more aggressive. These days the Andermani had no interest in friends, only clients, and Manticore regarded its large neighbor with significant distrust. 

The Andermani embassy denied any involvement, of course. It even produced evidence purporting to show a similar stealth ship being destroyed by the Imperial Andermani Navy in Nimbalkar. That didn’t stop Parliament from issuing a formal complaint to Potsdam or declaring that no Andermani ships would be welcome in Manticoran Space until the Empire apologized and made reparations. If the Star Kingdom found more stealth ships, the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps would seize them and intern their crews. Emperor Gustav III didn’t bother to dignify this threat with a response.



In 1587, the Navy launched twelve new warships: four Gallant-class destroyers, four Heroic-class destroyers, two heavy cruisers and two light cruisers.

In November, Lieutenant (SG) Tyler Meares received orders to report aboard the light cruiser HMS Marcello and assume the post of Tactical Officer. More proof, in his mind, that advancement in the RMN was based on nothing more than name recognition. Lacking noble birth, it had taken mention in several high-profile reports, including one read into the Parliamentary record, to get him aboard a ship. Still, Tactical Officer was the fast track to command.

Countess New Dijon of the Progressive Party rallied a powerful faction in the Lords to oppose an appropriations bill authorizing the construction of two more Kodiak-class heavy cruisers. The Countess presented a series of reports from the Bureau of Ship’s own Logistics Command full of dire economic stats. At present, the RMN fielded 673,000 tons of military shipping supported by only 458 maintenance facilities, each capable of supplying 1250 tons. This represented an annual maintenance shortfall in excess of 100,000 tons. If the Navy couldn’t maintain 15% of its existing force, how could it possibly justify building more ships?

Worse, the maintenance facilities already consumed more than 60% of the Kingdom’s annual gallicite production. Building enough to meet the Navy’s current demand would make the situation decidedly worse, leaving little gallicite for new construction or ordnance production. The Star Kingdom desperately needed more freighters to meet its needs in Basilisk. Commercial construction would boost revenues and help to ramp up out-system mining ventures, while more warships would only drain the economy.

The Navy’s supporters, including Prince Richard, countered that Parliament’s saber rattling towards the Andermani had increased external threat to the Star Kingdom. The Imperial Navy had multiple battleships, as well as battlecruisers and heavy cruisers. If the Emperor planned to attack Manticore, the Royal Navy would be hard pressed to stop him with its current resources.

This argument was persuasive, until the Countess delivered her coup de grâce, a recent BuShips report on the Kingdom’s current fuel situation. Naval exercises working up the new construction and continuous trips to Medusa had almost exhausted reserves. Current fuel production barely met the demands of the merchant marine, much less the Navy, and orbital fuel harvesting tech wouldn’t be available for some years yet.

These reports taken together made the Navy’s planners appear incompetent at best, or dangerously negligent at worst. They would bankrupt the Kingdom in short order if allowed to continue on the present course. This soundbite played heavily in the media, souring public opinion. It also led the Conservative Association to break with the majority coalition and vote in opposition, a worrying trend for the New Texas government.

In the end, Parliament issued a complete moratorium on warship construction. It created a Committee for Military Fiscal Responsibility, headed by Countess New Dijon herself, to monitor the current maintenance, fuel and gallicite crises. At its very first meeting, the Committee already started discussing the need to mothball or scrap existing ships, though no such extreme actions were taken. Yet. It agreed to provide some funds for additional maintenance facilities and fuel refineries, and suggested that if the Navy wanted more ships, it should build survey cruisers.

In response, BuShips launched a witch-hunt in Logistics Command, heavily scrutinizing any officer with suspected Progressive or Liberal sympathies. Several found themselves reassigned from comfortable desk jobs on HMSS Hephaestus to ships bound for Basilisk and Trevor’s Star. Despite this crackdown, they failed to discover the identity of Countess New Dijon’s informant(s).

The Royal Manticoran Marine Corps evaded Parliament’s ire and continued steady growth throughout the year. It recruited six new regiments, bringing its total to twenty-two, and constructed two new Anzio-class transports. The RMMC now fielded 320000 tons of forces and 100000 tons of transport capacity.

Survey Command resumed active operations in October. Its first target was Trevor’s Star. One of the unexplored wormholes there lay inside the orbit of the potential colony planet, just three hundred million kilometers from the primary. This seemed the most likely origin of the aliens who had previously inhabited the planet and the Star Kingdom wanted it investigated as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the 2nd Survey Squadron would start in Matapan.

On November 4th, HMS Discoverer transited from Matapan into Yorik, a system with a brown dwarf primary orbited by two gas giants and a handful of barren moons. The disappointment only grew after the survey determined none of the bodies had useful mineral concentrations.

The 1st Survey Squadron, led by HMS Wayfarer, had better luck in Trevor’s Star. They transited the innermost wormhole on November 8th and discovered a system with multiple terrestrial planets. One had a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere that was too dense for humans. That planet’s meager mineral resources weren’t worth the trouble of terraforming it, but the 2nd and 3rd planets might be useful mining sites for the future Trevor’s Star colony. The squadron found no sign of aliens.

Hancock-A II
     Duranium 56,448   Acc 0.7
     Neutronium 129,600   Acc 1
     Corbomite 451,584   Acc 0.7
     Tritanium 2,143,296   Acc 1
     Vendarite 1,272,384   Acc 0.3
     Sorium 4,562,496   Acc 0.1
     Uridium 2,509,056   Acc 0.4
     Corundium 4,981,824   Acc 0.1

Hancock-A III
     Corbomite 17,424   Acc 0.7
     Boronide 11,664   Acc 0.8
     Mercassium 360,000   Acc 0.9
     Sorium 104,976   Acc 0.7
     Uridium 285,156   Acc 0.9

HMS Pathfinder, presently assigned to the Junction Fleet, waited in Trevor’s Star until HMS Explorer returned to report an all clear from Hancock. Then, she transited back to Manticore to inform the Admiralty. The Colony Fleet had been sitting in orbit for some time because of the fuel crisis, but now the Interstellar Resettlement Committee ordered it to Trevor’s Star. The Fleet carried two hundred thousand settlers, infrastructure to support them and two RMMC Regiments.

Hoping to encourage civilian entrepreneurship, Parliament granted Gower Industries mining rights to a remote asteroid in Manticore-B’s Gorgon Belt. The agreement included a contract for the government to purchase every ton of minerals it produced.

Asteroid #268
     Duranium 11,862   Acc 1
     Mercassium 7,615   Acc 1
     Vendarite 9,103   Acc 1


Despite the ban on military construction, civilian shipbuilding concerns continued to operate at full capacity. Two Orpheus-class colony ships joined their siblings in January 1588, followed shortly by two Vega-class bulk freighters. What the Kingdom really needed though were more Clydesdale class freighters. The Vegas were too large for the current wormhole tenders, which limited their use to the home system. Deliveries to Medusa and the new Trevor’s Star colony had to be handled by smaller ships and there simply weren’t enough of those to move both infrastructure and industry. The commercial yards were undergoing continuous expansion and new freighters being laid down as quickly as possible.

Someone at the Admiralty suggested building an enormous space warehouse at the Wormhole Junction to speed up cargo transfers from in-system to out-system freighters. The RMN had already been floating the idea of a forward base with maintenance and recreation facilities for its own use. Since BuShips had nothing better to do, it ran with the idea and began drafting plans for a variety of deep space facilities. After all, Parliament hadn’t told them not to build space stations.

By May 1588, Survey Command had discovered seven new systems, but of those only Hancock seemed to have much potential. The rest lacked useful planets or sufficient resources to make near-term expansion profitable.



After a very boring probe of the empty Candor system beyond Gregor, the 1st Survey Squadron returned to Manticore to refuel. Its next assignment was to investigate the final two unexplored wormholes, located in Hennesy. At five billion kilometers from Manticore-A, the Hennesy terminus was the most remote of the Manticore Wormhole Junction. It lay almost a billion kilometers beyond the Basilisk terminus and over five hundred million from Matapan, its nearest neighbor.

Dispirited by the lackluster outcomes of previous surveys, the crews of the 1st Survey Squadron had little hope of a productive find in Hennesy. They just wanted to wrap up the mission and get home to their families. A probe of the first wormhole affirmed their negativity, revealing a planetless brown dwarf system. However, their hopes for an early homecoming shattered when HMS Ariadne transited the second wormhole to find six planets and eighty-six moons orbiting a solitary red dwarf.

Standard operating procedure called for the frigates to sweep the innermost planet with their sensors and then work outward. Only after they cleared every body would the vulnerable survey cruisers leave the wormhole terminus and begin their geological surveys. This process would take weeks and none of the commanders wanted to wait weeks, so they agreed to violate the procedure. Not for the first time. The dirty secret of the 1st Survey Squadron’s remarkable efficiency was that they often ignored procedure, sometimes even split up to work multiple systems at the same time. The commanders agreed this deceit was necessary to meet Rear Admiral Sorbanne’s grueling schedules.

HMS Ariadne and HMS Akheron, the squadron’s frigates, would move to the inner system and begin sweeping the terrestrial planets as planned. Meanwhile, HMS Explorer and HMS Wayfarer laid in courses for the outermost gas giants. Dozens of barren, inhospitable moons orbited both of them, but those seemed unlikely to harbor threats and getting a head start on surveying them appealed to everyone.

A week later, Lieutenant Commander Eldridge Underwood, Eli to everyone but his mom, woke from a sound sleep to the frantic chirping of his uni-link. He answered the device and snapped instantly awake at the stream of incoherent babble issuing from it. Despite his best efforts to calm the hysterical Midshipman, he still had no idea what was happening as he threw on yesterday’s uniform and raced to HMS Ariadne’s bridge.

He found the young officer and two enlisted members of the crew hovering over the communications console. They were wide eyed and pale and starring directly into the viewscreen. No one acknowledged his arrival or responded to his request for a report.

With growing concern, Eli squeezed in beside them and felt his own heart leap into his throat. The message header read HMS Wayfarer. The timestamp, just far enough back for the message to reach them at light speed. Playback had stopped leaving the video frozen on a scene of pure carnage. Fires burned on HMS Wayfarer’s small bridge, bodies sprawled in the darkness, and standing in clear view of the camera was a monster from the darkest pit of Hell.


« Last Edit: September 22, 2022, 11:05:20 AM by rainyday »
 
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