AAR: Campaign C001 Beast Masters

Dec 5, 2015
Campaign C001

Mission 001 – Crimson Stryker

Location: Deep range science station Galileo 7 on Helende-2, a planet in the Jovian 3 system

Situation: All transmissions from Galileo 7 ceased 3 Earth days (ED) ago. J Squad, 2nd Platoon, 51st Company, deployed to investigate.

Objective: Secure three priority locations.


Squad Leader: Ryan “Mobile” O’Shennanigans
Assault Team Alpha: Shawn “Sapper” Baldwin
Assault Team Bravo: Jack “Corvid” Bennet
Close Combat Team: Justin “Gears” Garison
Shotgun: Josh “Hitman” Malbon
Technician: Jonathan “Solo” Uniconfis


STRATOPS used: None

Resources used: intel x 4, demo charge x1, medkit x3
Equipables used: None
Squad points used: 110 points

Intel Staff Officer (S-2) briefing: Discreet listening satellites have picked up transmissions in the last 30 ED indicating elements of the “Beast Masters” faction have been operating in sector. The “Beast Masters” were known to have self-relocated to the Deep Periphery nearly 40 Earth years (EY) ago. Direct contact has been limited and passive surveillance has not borne many results. It is suspected that their “development” would have focused on close quarters and melee combat.

Squad Leader’s Plan: Assuming Beast Masters are on site, will plan for engaging and neutralizing at close range. Want to bring overwhelming close range fire power. Will not leave us much space for specialist help. Company S-2 has identified likely sources of explosives, medical supplies, and an engineering room that may provide detailed blueprints, maps, or access codes that we do not have. Will request company intelligence assets be dedicated to gathering intel that aids our rapid progress through the Building 02. Regret not having room for a medic, but will carry medkits, advance toward the medical clinic on base for supplies, and hope we can make quick progress and limit time exposed to patrols or ambushes from any occupying hostiles.


Squad Leader Action Log

Insertion Zero Hour: Insertion location clear. Jonathan “Solo” attempts to bypass base computer to enter west entrance to building 02. No luck.

Insertion +1: Access delayed by contact. Three multi-pedaled forms detected at short range to the north. Brief firefight at close range. Solo leaves door access port and finds cover in depression behind combat elements. Corvid’s team takes wounds but is still in action. We gave much better than we got…all three hostiles neutralized. Initial impression: fast moving and attack with fury. May have little regard for own survival.

Insertion +2: No progress.

Insertion +3: Success. Team passes through west entrance. Immediately set upon by three more hostiles of the same type encountered outside. Firefight is at close range. Initially we were caught off guard and took more incoming than we were able to put on target. Corvid’s team is feeling the effects of their wounds. Gears is up front with his heavy armor. His team takes much of the heat but weathers the melee. Sapper and Hitman recover from initial surprise and deliver punishing wounds to the enemy. The hostiles fight with more fury as they are wounded. All hostiles are neutralized but we have taken more wounds; medical supplies are used and Gears is wounded.

Insertion +4: Intel gathered pre-insertion helps us enter and clear the first objective location (SW section of Building 02). No contact with hostiles. No sign of assigned base personnel, but I located the data core from the lab.

Insertion +5: Backtracking to the entrance room. Intel shows security door to the east may turn the quickest route to the second objective in Building 02 into a dead end. We make fast time covering known ground.

Insertion +6: Intel from pre-insertion activity gets us into a location that would’ve required demolition otherwise. Any chance to proceed without making loud noise is good. It’s quite here.

Insertion +7: The next location is fairly secure. S-2 believes we may find some explosives here. Solo makes progress gaining entry but is not successful.

Insertion +8: We’re in! No sign of the enemy but we do locate the munitions lockup. The only items of value are a couple volleys worth of grenades. The next location was our second objective, another science lab. We were concerned it could be heavily defended.

Insertion +9: We accessed the objective due to intel from pre-mission recon efforts. That was the last of the pre-mission intel gathered by scouts. Will have to work hard to get through Building 01. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find something or someone who can get us through quicker. The team secured solid defensive positions while I began my search for another data core and the Technician searched the attached clinic for medical supplies.

Corvid spotted two more beasts approaching.

“Boss, two marks, thirty meters down the corridor.”

“Take them at close range, Jack.” They’re deadlier at close range, but so are we.

No new scratches on any of my guys. Two more carcasses on a cold floor. Grenades are wonderful.

“Sir, there’s more band-aids and wet wipes in here than we showed up with. We can clean Sappper and Malbon for parade ready in no time.”

We got them patched a bit. Nonetheless, most of my shooters are limping or showing some blood.

Sapper unloaded a few more bursts into the dead beasts while I finished pulling the data core.

“Terrible thing about killing something is once you’ve killed it, you can’t kill it again.” Sapper, gotta love him.

Insertion +10: With the second objective clear, we move back to the security sector, fortunately without finding any more hostiles patrolling through. There’s an open alley between the two buildings. The Technician is covered while he sprints across the open lane to set the demo charges on a badly mangled access door. The wall to either side of the door took some heavy abuse…something other than those beasts we keep coming across?

The charge works perfect, before the dust has settled Gears and Corvid’s teams are inside.
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Dec 5, 2015
Insertion +11: If we’re lucky we can take a short corridor to the east and access our final location. No such luck…the security door slams shut only a couple meters in front of us. Damn, we’ll have to go around. That’s a lot more exposure.

Insertion +12: We quickly advance into the large western room of Building 01. We’re not alone.

“Contact! Maybe forty meters down the room.” Gears was on top of it.

We didn’t have a good ambush position, but we could take them at range. Nah. Let them get close, we’re more effective brawling.

“Two, sir.”

“Get their attention at 15 meters, Justin.”

“You got it.”

Gears made known our presence. He got the brunt of their attention but all four teams were able put them down quickly. A grenade volley helped.

Crap. We put the hurt to those things quickly, but everyone is banged up. It’s taken most of our Q-tips and band-aids to keep them fighting.

S-2 thought there could be blue prints, maps, surveillance video, or other cool swag in the next location. They seemed to think some engineers worked there, maybe with a security detail. I looked around at my troops. They’re beat. And we’re out of just about anything but our primary arms. We have a few more rooms to cover. If the next location holds any intel about the facility layout, it might get us through quicker and limit our exposure.

Insertion +13: Our Technician makes progress. We’re able to pass through a couple deactivated doors but we still have a few more to get through.

Insertion +14: Slow to no progress. They guys appreciate a breather but we’re losing time.

Insertion +15: Success. We’re into the engineering/security hub. So are they.

Heavy fire erupts from Malbon, Corvid, Gears, and Sapper’s teams. Those beasts are once again at brawling range. It ends in our favor. Mostly. Corvid and his second are banged up.

“You’ll make it Jack. But you’re staying here.”

We both knew one of those was the truth and one was probably a lie.

“We’ll keep your 6 clear, sir. If we run out of ammo, we’ll throw these used wet-wipes and empty bandage wrappers at them.”

Decision point. We can get out now, mission not accomplished. But mostly intact. Fight again. Or we proceed on, less some warriors who are bleeding out alone behind us.

Solo and Gears show up. “We found some schematics, sir. And some live footage of the corridors and rooms ahead of us. Nothing showing.” That’s got to be too good to be true.

Sapper places a couple magazines next to Jack and his PFC. Then we’re off.

Insertion +16: Though everyone is limping and we’re down a team to help with overwatch, we make great progress. We won’t survive another battle. And our last objective is likely to be strongly held. They know we’re here; we’ve had steady opposition from insertion.

Insertion +17: We enter the next location. Normally it shouldn’t take me too much effort to navigate through, but I’m not feeling frosty. Those schematics and video footage help us make good time. We take liberties by moving with less caution, but the video feeds streamed to our displays provide some confidence.

Insertion +19: This is it. Need to get through some passive security systems and we’ll reach our last objective. Glad we found that intel cache in the engineering hub.

“We’re in, sir.” The Technician made quick work.

We enter, half dead and out of everything, expecting to get annihilated. There’s no one there. No dead personnel. No live beasts. The Technician and I gather some data cores from the administrator’s office and a security system.

Last objective met; we head back. Corvid and the PFC are still alive. They’re more surprised to see us than we are them. All is quiet. We make our extraction point with plenty of time to spare and no more hostile contacts.



Nodes transited: 12
Number of combat events: 5
Number of non-combat events: 0

Unit status: Assault Team Bravo under medical treatment, all others ready for duty.

VP scored: 6 (+3 mission success, +1 resources unspent, +2 no STRATOPS used)

XP earned: SL 4, ATA 3 , ATB 3, CCT 3, Shotties: 3

XP upgrades purchased: Assault Team Alpha “Sapper” - Parry, Close Combat Team “Garison” - Bull
Strength, Shotgunners “Hitman” - Deadly Strike


First off, I was sure I was going to have a squad wipe. The last objective node was 2+/B. All three remaining combat units had one wound apiece and I had no medkits or grenades. If I encountered enemies, I was likely to get wiped out. I needed to roll the hard 1. And I did it (technically I rolled a zero, but same thing)! Or rather, the dice did it. It was epic. I was elated. However, had I rolled an encounter and had a squad wipe I would’ve been mopey and morose.

Back to the beginning:

Like I often do (long history with Space Infantry), I often underestimate the number of unfavorable rolls I will have over the course of a mission. I thought I wasn’t likely to need my STRATOPS, so I didn’t take any. So I played risky from the start in that sense.

But knowing that I usually roll more encounters than I want and analyzing the Beast Men for the beasts they are, I knew I would need as much melee firepower as I could bring to bear. It’s better to fight the Beast Men at Fire range instead of Melee, but the odds are that you will be at Melee range greater than 80% of the time. Knowing I was going to be fighting them at their ideal range, I knew I had to bring devastating melee firepower. So I selected all four units that excel at melee range.

That left me with only ten squad points, so I could only bring one specialist, and no medic, at that. I analyzed the map and figued the Technician would give me the greatest benefit (can also use demo charges). I want to move fast through the nodes. The Beast Men are beastly and the more time I spend trying to resolve nodes, the more exposure I have to event checks. I figured between the Technician, the demo charge, and four intel resources, I would be able to move fast enough but have some room for medkits. This mission has three resource caches: grenades, intel, and medkits. I knew I would utilize my starting resources rapidly to ensure quick map movement and reducing wounds to my troops so I should have room to take advantage of the caches as I reached them.

I got lucky on the objective node with the one B class event that I resolved. I only rolled up two War Beasts. It could have been cripplingly worse.

Later as I worked my way toward the last objective, I was stymied by a scenario specific event when a security door slammed shut and prevented quick access to the last objective. So I was forced to go around, desperately low on health, medkits, and grenades. After the second (and last) fight in Building 01 where Assault Team Bravo was knocked OOA, I was sorely tempted to abort the mission and preserve my squad because the odds of success were so low. The gamble paid off, this time.

Now my squad is in a strong position for mission 2. My melee troops are better suited to deal damage and reduce wounds from enemy attacks.
Dec 5, 2015
Campaign C001

Mission 002 – Cryptic Axe

Location: Deep range science station Galileo 3 on Helende-2, a planet in the Jovian 3 system

Situation: Something spooked the scientists at the Galileo 3 station 2 Earth days (ED) ago. Most managed to escape off planet and rendezvous with the Colonial Fleet. Sounds like those that couldn’t jet scrambled and maybe took up in local hidey holes in ones or twos. J Squad, 2nd Platoon, 51st Company, deployed to extract them.

Objective: Return with four scientists.

Squad Leader: Ryan “Mobile” O’Shennanigans
Assault Team Alpha: Shawn “Sapper” Baldwin with Parry trait
Close Combat Team: Justin “Gears” Garison with Bull Strength trait
Shotgun: Josh “Hitman” Malbon with Deadly Strike trait
Explorer: Aaron “Pathfinder” Gannaway
Pilum ATV


STRATOPS used: +1 Intelligence
Resources used: intel x 3, medkit x5
Equipables used: TR X7 Lasblade (5 SQ), AA55 Atch Shotgun (5 SQ), Armax Tracker Clip (10 SQ)
Squad points used: 110 points

Intel Staff Officer (S-2) briefing: The scientists who evacuated the planet reported there were three exploration efforts in the same area. All were focused within anomalous caves that were unique to the region. The base was abruptly attacked. Personnel from the main base who later escaped reported distress signals were received from all three exploration groups simultaneously. The simultaneous attacks prevented the personnel at the main base from lingering to gather further information. Trace transmissions have been picked up from the area where the exploration teams were working. Escapees reported the attackers to be Beast Masters. Apparently, there’s also some other “wildlife” to be aware of. Nomadic worms. Solitary, hostile, and not afraid to get close to fight.

Squad Leader’s Plan: They’re letting us take a Pilum. While it won’t do us any good inside caves, it will provide firepower and draw enemy fire above ground. With the Beast Masters providing entertainment, I’ll take the same troops I had before. The fighting is likely to be close enough to smell them, so brawlers are needed. Corvid’s team is still feigning injury in the sickbay to flirt with nurses and I have room for an extra team. But with the Pilum to help outdoors, we might be better pilfering the armory. Limited company resources (personnel and equipment) are drawn down by multiple demands. We are priority but as usual can’t get everything I want. Shawn “Sapper” and team will get a lasblade, Shotgunners led by Josh “Hitman” will carry the AA55 Atch shotguns, and my close combat team, led by Justin “Gears” will get the Armax Tracker Clip. Looks like an explorer will be of critical value, so we’ll take Aaron “Pathfinder” Gannaway. We’ll go heavy on medkits and have dedicated resources to gathering intel for us before insertion. I want to take a medic, but with the medkits, Sapper’s ability to parry attacks, and Gear’s armor and bull strength, we ought to be okay. Plus, that lasblade assigned to Sapper is likely to keep some damage off of us.


Squad Leader Action Log

Insertion Zero Hour It’s a crappy world with a lot of rock and a copious moss type growth that’s less appealing than the rock. Scientists are a breed apart; who’d voluntarily seek employment and accommodation here?

We’ve put in near the main research compound. Company Commander wants a thorough search of the premises. It’s going to take some time.

Insertion +1 Clearing buildings takes time. No contact.

Insertion +2 Lots of ground to cover. Not much of interest. We’ve found a couple bodies but no live occupants or hostiles. My killers are getting impatient with the search. I request satellite time to analyze the base for life signatures.

Insertion +3 Request was granted…must be slow for the moment below the satellite. Aside from our team, the satellite detects no motion or signs of life other than my team. Will consider my task accomplish and move out. Satellite feed cut until a later request is approved.

Less than 100 meters from the compound entrance a loud gravelly noise masks the howling wind. A hard-skinned worm, maybe 10 meters long, bursts from a hole in the rock, previously camouflaged with moss. The squad directed firepower on it in a fraction of a second. It was in the midst of us, leapt at Gear’s team, but everyone put it down before it could flatten Gears and gang.

It smells unwholesome.

Insertion +4 Outside the main base looking for access to Cave 01. “Pathfinder” Gannaway is out front. The Pilum is holding a central position in our formation.

Insertion +5 It takes longer than anticipated, but Pathfinder Gannaway finds the entrance to Cave 01. We prepare to enter and post the Pilum on a nearby high point. Gannaway spots a couple shapes moving our way from the west, coming over the hill above the cave entrance. We had the range and could fire now but I deployed the teams to engage at melee.

It was over quick. We put two down right away and last only half a minute later.

Sapper’s team enjoyed their lasblades. Before they could finish cutting the War Beasts into kabob sized bites for a snack or prank fodder back on ship, I ordered everyone to the cave entrance.

Insertion +6 Getting past the entrance requires climbing down a rock face. Inside the cave is equipment from the exploration team. Their portable lights are still engaged. I always appreciate light; we humans have the crappiest night vision of any species I’ve encountered outside Sol.

Insertion +7 Partway down the cliff is a large flat space below us. A shelf in the cliff. Gannaway spots something.

“Two more War Beasts, sir. On the platform below us. They know we’re here.”

For such large beastly abominations, they sure made a funny hissing sound. You’d think they’d have been taught to growl. Maybe roar. Regardless, they were adaptable. Anything that could be thrown: rocks, kit left from the expedition, maybe a scientist’s leg, were being tossed up at us on our tethers. Not accurately, it was a weird angle, even for such muscle-bound freaks as these.

“Everybody let down to 5 meters above the shelf. On my mark, open up on them.”

Hanging 5 meters above the flat spot from our tethers and firing nearly point blank into those things just out of reach was fun…too easy to spin or move about on our tethers. But it was better than falling amidst them from 5 meters. Once dead we let down all the way.

At least no one caught a rock or metal gear case launched skyward.

Insertion +8 Once to the bottom of the cliff we put Pathfinder Gannaway at the rear and my brawlers advanced up front. Pressing forward through the rough but well-lit passage we could hear a familiar hissing and as well as copious swearing. Kind of a hysterical swearing.

It was a member of the exploration team. He had scaled a tricky rock face and was on a point 10 meters above two War Beasts. They couldn’t appear to reach him. But he had nowhere to go. Apparently they have a personality of a sort. They seemed to be taunting him with hisses, interrupting that only to play with corpses from the expedition team below the survivor.

The scientist gave us away when he saw us and shouted for help. Yet my three teams were already close to the War Beasts. I think Hitman let the War Beasts turn around completely before he and his team obliterated them.

Insertion +9 - 11 We made fast time heading back down the passageway, even with the scared scientist in tow. He didn’t have much of use to say. I told him to shut up. We were able to scale the cliff and make it back to the cave entrance in good time.

Insertion +12 -14 The scientist is loaded in the Pilum. It takes some time to pilot the Pilum through the rocky terrain toward the next caves. It gets banged up driving over some boulders when what one could generously call a “track” disappeared.

Insertion +15 We’ve made the entrance to Cave 02 but not before tweaking the suspension on the Pilum on some more rocks.
Dec 5, 2015
Insertion +16 We advance into the cave. Again, well lit and strewn with equipment like the other. Again, populated by War Beasts. Four of them. They were waiting for us.

I’d probably cry tears of joy if that physical liability hadn’t been mentally excised from my capability by years of training. The teams performed admirably. The War Beasts advanced toward us, but Sapper’s parried their attacks and diced them up. Gears and team took some blows but were preserved by their armor and bull strength. Josh the Hitman left more metal than organic matter in the corpses of the four War Beasts.

We found some maps of the cave network among the gear left by the expedition team. This might come in handy.

Insertion +17 - 18 After a short climb down another face we encountered three more War Beasts. We terminated them quickly.

Seems they had been pursuing a couple scientists. These guys were in a little better frame of mind than the other guy from Cave 01. They were confident everyone else in their team was dead or…taken.

Insertion +19 - 20 Backtracked out of Cave 02 to the Pilum without incident.

Insertion +21 We had to navigate another long boulder field to get to Cave 03. Again, the Pilum’s pilot took the worst route over a bad field of choices and banged it up even more. Hopefully it would still work if we needed it.

The scientists we had just picked up verified that our intel was correct, there was a small facility outside not far from the entrance to Cave 03. It was used to transfer and store supplies and personnel operating too far from the main compound to return each night. We thought it might be worth checking out. So did they.

Insertion +22 - 23 The walls to the facility weren’t breached; a good sign. The security system was robust enough that I spent more time than I wanted trying to communicate with the facility security AI and gain access. During that time, we were set upon by another worm. We killed it without problem.

Inside was another scientist. He said he made it out from Cave 03 in their Rover. Either he saw everyone on his team get killed or he just left without bothering to see if he could have helped save anyone else. He wouldn’t say.

I made the call for extraction. We should be back to ship quickly with our objectives met and all units healthy and ready for action.



Nodes transited: 11
Number of combat events: 7
Number of non-combat events: 3

Unit status: All ready for duty, Assault Team Bravo recovered.

VP scored: 7 (+3 mission success, +3 resources unspent, +1 One STRATOPS used)

XP earned: SL 4, ATA 3, CCT 3, Shotties: 3

XP upgrades purchased: None


I fought more and tougher enemies, generally with fewer units (in the Caves) than in the previous mission. Yet I had a ton of firepower. And two additional means to parry or deflect enemy attacks/wounds.

Deadly Strike on the Shotgunners is critical. They already get two melee attacks at skill levels 3 and 4. Deadly strike allows them to double all wounds given. This skill is paired perfectly with shotgunners. I added the AA55 Shotgun to their card which granted +2 AP to nearly all attack results. There is a small chance to suffer a jammed weapon and miss the next attack. I suffered that twice, but each time it was irrelevant because we had eliminated or seriously weakened the opposition. The +2 AP gave me 2-4 hits per combat round, often times 6 hits. This damage output is only possible with Shotgunners with the Deadly Strike trait and this weapon. They were generally able to kill 1-2 units per combat round.

Sapper’s Parry trait allowed him to reroll one successful enemy attack. Because I was killing Beast Masters so fast, they generally didn’t get to take big advantage of their Fury ability. His rerolls often as not eliminated what would have been a hit. Furthermore, if I had to assign him a wound, his lasblade gave him a 66% chance to redirect the wound to the enemy. That’s huge. And he had a 17% chance to deflect the wound to another unit. Which was either the Pilum or the Close Combat Team. Both of them had armor, and if not already used to stop one wound that round, could be used to attempt to stop the deflected enemy wound from Sapper. There were several times when Sapper’s lasblade was able to take out a War Beast that otherwise would have lived to fight one more round. This weapon is critical to minimizing damage and delivering damage.

Gears got the Bull Strength trait after the last mission. As an armor carrier, he is a natural sponge for lots of enemy fire as he has a 50% chance to block a single wound each round. Making him able to take more hits lets the squad take advantage of his armor even longer. He also had the Armax Tracker Clip, which allowed him to reroll one attack each combat round. With a melee skill of 3, should he miss, he had great odds to score a hit on reroll, which was often the case.

Looking at my stats, I scored an average of 7.1 hits per combat round. That is enough to kill 1-2 War Beasts a turn and seriously wound 1-2 more. That is huge damage output that in turn markedly reduced the damage I was exposed to.

I am super happy with the progress in these two missions. My three core melee units now have traits that coupled with the right weapons, may make them quite unstoppable at melee range. The hard choice will be; do I bring Corvid’s Assault Team back into the game? If I do, I won’t have enough squad points for all the weapons. But it will be good to have another unit to share wounds and deliver firepower at melee range.

I didn’t use any XP this time. I’m hording it to increase skill levels as soon as possible. After one more mission my Squad Leader should be able to bump his Command skill from 4 to 3, giving him a 66% chance to activate Command. He’s been fairly useless so far. I really want to get my shotgunner’s melee skills from 3-4 to 3-3. That will be a lot more damage output.

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