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War Zone


Another question, probably only the really seasoned GM's have messed with this. I am thinking of putting a war zone near the area where my party will start. My initial idea is one of the true Imperium vs. outsider wars, like the conflict with the K'kree or the Aslan. How wide would the area of fleet activity be?
In a related issue, how badly can a fleet hammer a planet from orbit?
I would suspect that either fleets don't often make contact, fearing to attack the combined force of enemy fleet plus system defenses, or that the front is actually quite mobile as fleets attempt deep strikes toward enemy bases and major planets, leaving minor planets behind for mop-up and often being pushed back from the deep targets they have taken.
For the purpose of creating "war zones" on my map, the two methods of war would lead to very different patterns of conflict. It probably depends on the availability of ships (the fewer ships the more mobile the war) and the technology. Any comments? Has anyone already confronted this? Maybe modelled or wargamed it?

As for the depth of the conflict, the FFW had zho attacks in Jewell and Regina and Vilis. with a depth of upto 1 subsector. They also did deep raids as far as Rhylanor (what 2 subsectors).

The nature of the war depends upon the forces involved. Navies are a mixture of lowish jump (J3) heavy units designed to grind down defences / smash battle fleets. High jump lighter forces do the raiding, hitting supply lines and massing fleets.

Most planets can be either bypassed or overwhelmed by a decent navy force. Any planet of less than 10 million population or a decent tech will have no space defences. These are only seized to ensure supply / communications lines. 2nd line forces are assigned to mop these up.

High population worlds (pop 9 and 10) with a reasonable tech can delay spaceforces and these are the ones the navy tries to take as major objectives. Depending upon their location they are either invaded, or placed under seige (i.e. Jewell TL12, PopA and very exposed position). The plan is to isolate high pop worlds in exposed positions. This stops them exerting influnece, and hope they fall, due to isolation. Other high populations worlds in the heart of the enemy need to be taken to destroy the enemys major forces, infrastructure, and morale.

Try picking up the FFW or the spinward marches campaign.

Hope that helps
Thanks a million! The depth of 1-2 subsectors is just what I needed, and the synopsis of the tactics militating that scale is great. I'm desperately impecunious, so the books tend to be out of my reach. Thanks for taking the time out to give such a thorough answer.

Contact me off list; my e-mail address is in my profile, and I'll take a crack at whatever specific questions you may have regarding the war zone you want to throw at your PCs.

I ran dozens of Trillion Credit Squadron campaigns in the mid-80s. I've used wars as a backdrop in various home-brewed Traveller campaigns and in other RPG campaigns too.

The first question you need to ask yourself about this war is the question MT's creators failed to ask themselves; How will the war end? Once you have an ending, you can sketch out a narrative, or history, of the war. This story will 'flow' as your campaign or game time flows. Depending on the type of campaign you run, the PCs will either have no input, little input, or major input into how the war's story unfolds. Having the story beforehand will allow you to take whatever sort of input the PCs do have and work it into the overall narrative.

Another point to take into consideration is the 'limited' nature of most wars in the OTU. Leaving aside the Interstellar Wars and Consolidation Campaigns, none of the OTU's wars have been 'total' wars(1). That is none were fought with the utter conquest of the enemy in mind.

During five Frontier Wars, neither side ever planned to march on Capital or Zhdant and completely overthrow the other. Both sides have fought almost exclusively in the Marches and only for relatively limited war aims.

During the Rim War, the Solomani only fought to retain their sphere of influence previously granted them. Only the most rabid Solomani supporters ever imagined that they'd be able to conquer the Third Imperium as a whole. On the Imperial side, the reintergration of the Solomani Sphere was a stated aim of the war, but the Imperium also settled for far less than that when it was politically expedient to do so.

Keeping in mind the idea of 'limited' wars, look to the Age of Enlightment for examples of how your war's narrative should play out and leave the Napoleonic, ACW, and World War eras aside.


1 - Yes, the K'Kree-Hiver War was a total war, but only from the point of view of one of the participants. The other participant had a very different idea about the War. The Hivers forced a stalemate and then did not follow up to rid the galaxy of the K'Kree. The War not viewed as a total war by them.
Thanks - I'm not to the point of detail yet; it depends on how the players organize their party. I'll email if it looks like they should be near such a zone. At the moment, the detail I need is the jump-3 technology and the rough 1-2 subsector front. Thanks!

Okay, jump3 and a 2 subsector front? May I ask a few more questions?

- Is this a homebrew setting? Either no 3I or very early 3I?
- What's the size of the polities at war? An their government types?
- Any neutrals around? Big? Small? Middlin'?
- Do both sides control every system along the front or are there gaps? Either political or astrographic?

There's no real need to hurry with any answers. However, your players and their campaign may get there before you as the GM are ready! ;)

Is this a homebrew setting? Either no 3I or very early 3I?
- What's the size of the polities at war? An their government types?
- Any neutrals around? Big? Small? Middlin'?
- Do both sides control every system along the front or are there gaps? Either political or astrographic?
A homebrew version of the Imperium in the classic period circa 1000 (no Solomani problems). The astrography is mine. The campaign is set at the edge of an overextended Imperium, where the 3I is receding, unable to maintain order. At this moment, somewhere near, the Aslan Hierate is beginning to expand toward and into 3I territory (it's the 3I problem with early contact with the Aslan that took place more than a thousand years ago in the OTU history).
The sphere of Aslan influence is replacing the Imperium along narrow bridges across a fairly small rift. The actual combatants would be breakaway human republics vs. 3I or Aslan vs. breakaway republics. The Aslan don't care to tangle directly with the 3I. Yet.