Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rogue Stars - Antagonist Squads & Nova Troopers

Coming up with a backstory for the Loor Scouts from CP Models got me to thinking about the Lurker/Threshold mechanic from Strange Aeons. You can check out my overview of that game here but the relevant part is, one player controls the protagonist warband, made up of Characters that develop over a campaign, while the other player controls the baddies, which are just one-off warbands written up for that particular scenario. The occasional Strange Aeons villain - called a Nemesis - can level up and otherwise develop just like the protagonists do. But for the most part, bad guys are there to fight and be fought.

In the spirit of adventure sci fi, where dashing (anti-) heroes regularly blast through scores of nameless mooks, the same kind of idea could apply to Rogue Stars. The Loor Scouts, for example, are great one-off antagonists. There are any number of reasons they might be after your squad: Did a deal with the Triad go sour? Perhaps your Space Cops have been ordered to bring them in? Or maybe it's just one of those troublesome misunderstandings that happen so frequently in busy spaceports? They can be dropped into a campaign as mysterious assassins, ruthless pursuers, or plain old thuggish nobodies. This could eventually become another scenario table for Rogue Stars - roll for which Antagonist Squad you'll be facing. But if I'm going to get to that point, I will need a few more potential entries.

Nova Troopers

"Nova" is the generic name for several branded security personnel system packages. Smaller corporations and even cash-strapped governments buy these packages to meet their paramilitary-level operational security needs. Despite a wide variety of detail-oriented brand differences, "Nova" product systems all have two features in common.

First, these systems use a tiered training regimen. Customers pack off one of their own employees for a period of training by the vendor corporation and, for a discount to the package price, a combat assignment subcontract with the vendor. If the trainee survives the subcontract assignment, he will return to instruct his original employer's other security personnel, for each of whom that employer must purchase a license from the training vendor. The vendor-trained employee is then placed in command of his own trainees.

Second, the vendor supplies arms and armor. Initial and continuing training is tailored to the vendor's branded equipment although in reality the differences across brands are fairly superficial. "Nova Troopers" are instantly recognizable throughout the galaxy thanks to their aggressive-looking blasters and distinctive combat armor. The armor itself is essentially a cheap alternative to real powered armor: a self-contained, miniaturized exoskeleton-driven battlesuit that provides solid protection but is susceptible to damage that can significantly bog down the wearer's movement.

"Nova" product systems owe their popularity to their effectiveness. Nova Troopers present an impressive and intimidating spectacle and their presence is often enough to deter violent criminal activity or quell unrest. On the other hand, Nova training does not produce leaders - perhaps by design - and their gear tends to look better than it actually is.

Nova Trooper 32XP

Combat Dress
Heavy Blaster Rifle

Six Nova Troopers make up a 200-point squad. "Promote" one to Corporal by giving him Danger Sense and Veteran. The squad uses the Militia theme and the Hive Mind tactical discipline. This write-up was inspired by the not-Storm Troopers available from Reaper in metal as well as their economical "bones" material. Search the Reaper site for "Nova." They offer six different poses.

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