© 2003 by Mike Fischer
"This place gives me the creeps," Menkovich muttered to himself. The gray floors, the gray ceiling, the sickly-blue walls, and above all, the silence of the dead freighter weighed on him.
"Shut up and keep the channel clear!" Sergeant Osaka was a stickler for radio discipline. He was also born and raised in the wide-open spaces of the New Frisco colony; he hated this environment even more than Menkovich did.
But orders were orders. Menkovich's team had the task of securing the engine room, making sure everything was shut down and safe. Easy work for any trained StarMarine. Not so easy when a party of unknown aliens was sneaking around in the same ship, presumably looking for loot. Singh's PARM squad had already exchanged shots with them in the darkened cargo bay. They'd surely try for the engine room sooner or later; the easiest way to loot a deserted spaceship is to make off with the whole ship.
They crept down the deserted hallway as quietly as they could, weapons at the ready. Now and then, the ancient ship's air blowers would grate over a stuck bearing, and the sudden noise would make everyone jump. O'Day had already wasted a few shots on imaginary aliens. You'd expect that of Rojas, the new guy. O'Day should know better.
They cautiously rounded a bend in the hallway and found the door to the engine room. By hand signals, Menkovich ordered Steinberger to cover the doorway with him, and Rojas to work the door controls as soon as the others were ready. He nodded. The door slid open.
The engine room was empty, quiet, and dark aside from the emergency lights near the floor. Indicators and controls shone brightly in the darkness. O'Day was the expert here. Without needing orders, he stepped to the main console and began pressing buttons.
A huge shadow stepped out of the auxiliary access passage and fired something. O'Day fell, wounded by the point-blank shot. His comrades returned fire in a well-trained reflex that mowed down the alien in a shower of gauss-rifle bullets. Several back-up indicators winked out, shattered by a stray shot.
They heard another alien step back and disappear into the access passage. They'd have to go in after him. Great, just great. Menkovich motioned for Rojas to cover the other end of the passage while he approached the near entrance and Steinberger attended to O'Day. As he neared the passage entrance, he got his first good look at the dead alien.
"Norx," Menkovich muttered. "I hate Norx."
Outer space is vast, inconceivably vast. If a spaceship meets with misfortune in the interstellar vacuum and doesn't get off a distress call, the odds of anyone finding that ship aren't even worth calculating. But now and then, such a ship does get found, either due to an automatic beacon, some other still-functioning system, or (most likely) pure luck. And when a derelict ship is found, it usually triggers a sort of feeding frenzy among all the nearby races. After all, the rule for abandoned ships and their cargo is "finders keepers."
But finding and keeping are two very different things. Unlike battlefields in open terrain, the silent corridors of a dead ship keep your soldiers from knowing where their enemies are. Every corner, every door may become an ambush. Tactics vary according to the situation. Sometimes you'll just send in your troops to find a particular item of cargo, grab it, and go. Sometimes you'll have to take over the ship's bridge or engineering spaces, to bring the ship home or to keep another race from making off with it. And sometimes your mission is simple extermination.
This rule book is an optional supplement to StarMarines. It is meant to be used with the special M8 maps for spaceship interiors (maps #89-99), but you can try other ship-interior maps if you want.
Included on this map sheet are many cargo items, used on this map and any other map with cargo space.
This map also includes one matter-transporter booth. Each turn, one soldier can enter this booth and instantly move to the other booth in map #094, or vice-versa. The booths can transport one cargo container per turn if they don't move a soldier. They won't work if a soldier or cargo container remains in a booth after transporting.
The Auxiliary Control Room is an emergency bridge. A soldier who spends an entire turn in one of the chairs can block any of the die-roll functions of the bridge if he rolls a 4-6.
A soldier can climb onto or over a cargo container at no movement penalty. In zero gravity, one soldier can move one cargo container at no move penalty beyond the normal no-gravity penalty, but he can't do so and attack in the same turn.
The normal complement for boarding a spaceship is an augmented level-2 formation. Such formations follow the various races' rules for level-2 groups, with the following changes:
The derelict-spaceship rules address these problems with a hidden-movement system. Every soldier is represented on the map, not by his counter, but by a special marker called a question marker. These markers are numbered, and each number corresponds to a number on a soldiers' track sheet, which you should keep the other player from seeing. You can look at a marker, check the track sheet, and know which soldier is really there. But your opponent won't know. Choose which color, blue or yellow, will represent your soldiers. Each player gets one track sheet.
To add to the fog of war, you get more question markers than you'll ever need. You use these extras on the map as dummies, to represent places where your soldiers might be, to keep the enemy guessing. You can put these on the map at any time, in any place where an enemy soldier can't see them, or take them off at will. You can move them as if they were soldiers, or leave them on "guard duty," or do anything else a soldier could do, to confuse the other player. For instance, you can put one question marker on top of another, move one, and leave the other. Which one is the soldier and which is the dummy? You know; the other guy doesn't. Maybe they're both dummies. If a hallway forks, you can send equal-strength patrols down both branches, and only you know which "patrol" is real.
When soldiers are in sight of each other, the question markers come off and get replaced by the real soldier counters. If one of the "soldiers" is really a dummy, take it off the map. It may happen that a dummy marker meets an enemy dummy marker. In that case, remove them both.
After an encounter ends, replace the soldiers with question markers again. It's smart to replace them with different-numbered markers, so the other player can't make a mental note that (for example) marker #11 is your Sergeant.
All doors are closed at the start of the battle. Soldiers cannot enter a hex through a DOOR marker; they must open the door first. It takes one move unit to open a door, or to close it again, from an adjacent hex.
It takes one extra move unit to enter a hex with a blue chair (these are usually next to control consoles).
There are ladders in some of the spaceship maps. It takes 2 move units for a soldier to go up or down a ladder. Soldiers in heavy armor, powered or otherwise, cannot use ladders. Neither can soldiers who don't normally move on two legs, like Saur Styros or most Swarm things.
Ladders that go below main deck level lead to small, cramped access passages. No soldier can move more than 1 hex/turn in such passages. Ranged weapons are at -1 to-hit here, and close-combat weapons are at -1 damage. Spaces above main deck level have normal rules for movement and combat.
Any corridor that ends at the edge of the map becomes an air lock; place an air lock from map #099 next to that hex. The rules for air locks are as follows:
A soldier who fails his morale check on a spaceship will run straight away from the last enemy he saw. There is no map edge, no way off the ship, so he will keep running until he hits a dead end (in which case he stops) or finds another enemy (in which case he turns and runs the other way). A broken soldier who cannot move will freeze.
|Scenario 1: the scout ship Rebecca Lee|
>-< < 089 > >-< < 092 > >-< < 090 > >-< < 099 > >-<
|The small scout ship Rebecca Lee, long overdue from a deep probe mission and presumed lost, has shown up on planetary radar. She does not answer any hails, and all on board are presumed dead. Two races want to board her and capture her so the computer logs of her journey can be thoroughly analyzed.|
One race can use the two air locks on the left side, and the other gets the locks on the right.
Each player's goal is to free the bridge of enemies, get the ship moving, engage navigation, and keep things that way for three consecutive turns.
|Scenario 2: the light freighter Joshua LaGoon|
>-< < 089 > >-< >-< 090 >-< < 093 >-< 091 > >-<*092*>-< >-< < 099 > >-<
|(Maps marked with a star must be rotated 180°.) The small freighter Joshua LaGoon, often chartered for smuggling and gunrunning, has been hijacked by an alien race. They stranded the crew on a barely-habitable planetoid and were halfway to their home system when the engines failed, victims of poor maintenance. Now the LaGoon is drifting, and the owners' race has sent a boarding party to reclaim it. Both sides want to gain control of the freighter so a friendly ship can take it in tow.|
|Mission||Player 2 starts the game with all his soldiers on the map. You must divide your question markers as evenly as possible across the map sections, and no soldier can start closer than 3 hexes from any air lock. Player 1 can use any air locks.
Each player's goal is to wipe out the other side.
|Scenario 3: the private yacht Song of Abigail|
>-< < 089 > >-< >-< 095 >-< < 090 >-< 098 > >-< 092 >-< <*091*>-<*095*> >-< 097 >-< >-< < 099 > >-<
|(Maps marked with a star must be rotated 180°.) The Song of Abigail, William Gates XIV's luxurious private space yacht, has been boarded by pirates while returning from its most recent upgrade. They spaced the crew, grabbed whatever valuables they could find, and left the ship to drift. But they missed the greatest valuable, the source code for the newest version of Microsoft Windux, hidden somewhere on board. Whoever finds the data module with the source code can name his own price.|
|Ask a neutral person to make a pen mark on the back of one random cargo container. Put one container in each room and chamber on the ship. For instance, on map 095, each stateroom counts as a room, each bathroom is another room, and the galley and laundry areas count as two rooms. Do about half of the escape pods, not all of them. Put a few in back passageways like the one in the bottom of the engine-room map, too. Spread the leftover freight containers in the cargo bays, widely spaced apart. These containers represent places where the data module might be hidden.
One player uses the air locks on the left side of the ship, and the other player uses the locks on the right; nobody uses the cargo-bay lock. It takes 1 turn for a soldier to check out one adjacent container. Each time a soldier does so, turn the container over. If it's the one with the mark, he found it! If not, remove it from the map. Once the data module has been found, the soldier who found it must return to one of his army's air locks, and his team wins. Obviously, if one side wipes out the other, they can find the data module at their leisure, so you can win that way, too. If the soldier who found the module is killed before he can reach a friendly air lock, the data module is presumed destroyed by the bullet or blade that killed him, and the game is a draw.
|Scenario 4: the fast transport Alden Drive|
>-< < 089 > >-< < 094 > >-< >-< 092 >-< <*093*>-<*096*> >-< 095 >-< < 097 >-<*095*> >-< 091 >-< <*092*>-< 098 > >-< >-< < 090 > < 090 > >-< >-< < 099 > < 099 > >-< >-<
|(Maps marked with a star must be rotated 180°.) The Alden Drive was on a routine trading run between Earth III and the Victor trading station on Ursula Major IV when something bad happened. It was carrying a full cargo, from the mundane (drums of olive oil) to the exotic (melanite crystals from Tangeria that crumble to dust if exposed to light). This cargo is worth a fortune. And everybody knows it. "Finders keepers" is about to turn very deadly.|
|Spend 35 points on soldiers and weapons. One player sets up his soldiers on the map, spreading them as evenly as possible. None of these soldiers can be closer than three hexes from any air lock at the start. The other player can use any and all air locks. Your goal is to wipe each other out.|
|Scenario 5: the Victor Trader ship Mork Swax|
>-< >-< 089 >-< < 090 >-< 097 > >-< 093 >-< >-< 094 >-< 092 >-< < 095 >-< 094 >-<*092*> >-<*096*>-< 098 >-< < 099 >-< 091 >-< 099 > >-< >-< >-<
|(Maps marked with a star must be rotated 180°.) This squat, unattractive freight hauler served a monotonous, uneventful career in various star systems for almost forty years, and then suddenly disappeared. That was almost a century ago, and now it has reappeared as mysteriously as it vanished. The escape pods are gone, but no one knows where the crew went, or why. This ship holds some secrets, and more than one racial government wants to solve them.|
|The cargo areas should be less than half full of various cargo containers. One player uses the air locks (including the cargo-bay air lock) on the left side of the ship, and the other player uses the locks on the right. At the end of 16 turns, whoever has sole possession of the most map sections (one or more real soldiers there, and no enemy question markers, real or fake) is the winner. In this game, dummy markers cannot be placed anywhere on the map, but can enter only via an air lock or next to a soldier.|