This is a personal zine covering game approaches, theory and clues. This issue covers what I think fits as a good Wing Commander Colonies plot for an expansion of the genre using an engine that runs at the 486sx/4meg level. It illustrates the elements I liked in Wing Commander.
Returning the Favor
The Hellbore Campaign
A Campaign set in the Colonial Outreaches.
(Takes place immediately after the events in the novel Fleet Action).
Features the Colonial Forces vs. the Kilrathi Sector Command for the Tr'ka krrrt Sector.
This scenario introduces the campaign and begins things at a research station far out on the colonial frontier. (All ships described in the appendix).
Longwood Base [1,1]
Test flight. You as an experienced combat pilot are flying one Wraith while a politically connected neo [Lightspeed] flies the other on a demonstration flight. You are flying a long course into an empty area.
Nav 1. Two Sathar. When they are destroyed, two more appear. The presence of overlapping wide patrols should be a warning.
Nav 2. Further into the course. A wing of four Drathar medium fighters.
Nav 3. Two Ralathar in light carrier configuration (no antimatter cannon, only 200cm armor, carries six light fighters and four medium fighters). [all light fighters have been launched on wide patrols, each has a medium fighter it can launch]. You use a leach missile on each and lock one for your wing to attack while you pound the other. You move quick enough that neither launches before you've shut them down with the leach and then it is too late].
Nav 4. Homeward bound. Two Sathar.
The respite wasn't long enough. The brass decide to launch an assault to take it to the Kilrathi before they can regroup and follow-up on the jump route their probe was anchoring.
Strike Force Alpha
You are assigned to a colonial light carrier. It has six light fighters (Wasps) and six light-medium fighters (Weasels).
The strike force has two light carriers, two transports and a destroyer. It's first target is Lamba System, the base for the enemy carriers. Recon and possible search and destroy.
Personnel are a mix of retired regulars, colonials and combat experienced regular pilots.
Lamba System (Lamba)
In Wasps. Nav 1 Minefield with two Sathar and a message capsule (only shows up if you close to within 1000km of Nav point. note and continue as no tractor beam to pick up).
Nav 2 empty, with debris of destroyed ship(s). Nav 3 has two Drathar.
Recon to target [2,2]
In Wasps. Nav 1 two Stealth Fighters. The new Strakhar takes longer to charge up to go back into Stealth, but sure packs a punch. Nav 2 empty. Nav 3, enemy Destroyer jumping out (you miss). Nav 4, two Drathar.
In Wasps. Engage Dorkathi and escort. Nav 1 two Sathar. Nav 2, four Sathar and a Dorkathi. Nav 3 empty except for a lone Dorkathi.
Last Look [2,4]
Possible sortie by screening forces for Kilrathi withdrawal of failed initiative. Nav 1, four Drathar (no missiles), two Dorkathi (troop carriers, only one working gun and one missile). Nav 2, two Sathar (no missiles), one Dorkathi (damaged). Nav 3 Empty. Nav 4, one Sathar, one damaged Sathar (one gun, no force field left functioning).
Epsilon System (3--Epsilon)
Quick Raid [3,1]
In Wasps. Nav 1 empty. Nav 2a, two Dorkathi. Nav 3 empty. Nav 2b, one Dorkathi, two Sathar. Nav 4, one Dorkathi.
In Wasps. Nav 1, empty. Nav 2, four Drathar. Nav 3, four Drathar. Nav 4, enemy carrier, with phase shields (fly by, note and return home).
Strike Again [3,3]
In Wasps. Nav 1, two Sathar (pro pilots). Nav 2, four Drathar. Nav 3, one Dorkathi. Nav 4, one Sathar.
In Wasps. Nav 1, mines. Nav 2, message beacon in asteroids. Nav 3, two Sathar. Nav 4, mines.
You are taking a long shot probe into the heart of darkness to finish it all if possible.
Tarrant System (4--Tarrant) (in Colonial Weasels)
Relieve friendly carrier from four flights of two Drathar each.
Intercept two flights of Drathar on their way to attack friendly freighters. First flight will engage you while second attempts to bypass intercept squadron. Kamkhar.
Escort freighters out from planet to jump point. Kamkhar on way back.
Patrol Nav 1, two Sathar, Nav 2, empty, Nav 3, mines, return to find carrier under attack by Strakhar (three wings of two each), then two Grithar.
Reprise Campaign (5--Reprise) (Weasels again).
Escort incoming Destroyer. Four Jalthar attempt intercept at jump point. Then four Strakhar make a play for it on way back to carrier group.
Marine troopships on way to drop attack. Three Drathar at jump point, then two Jrathek attempt intercept. Marines drop into planet atmosphere and assault begins.
Point Attack [5,3]
Attack communications stations in asteroids. Six stations to be attacked in a 10km stretch of asteroids (each station has 12 cm armor, two neutron cannons in a turret, one flack gun). Six Sathar defend the area.
Atmospheric action. Hit heavy Ralathar Destroyer while phase shields are neutralized by atmospheric penetration.
If on the winning path, may skip to 6, if not (or choose optional extra mission), go to heartsick.
5A-Heartsick (Colonial Rapiers)
Colonial Defense and Relief.
Advance Probe [5A,1]
Carrier jumps to a secret short jump location. You recon in force. Nav 1, wreckage of transports, civilians in life pods. Nav 2, four enemy Drathar. Nav 3, two Jalthar. Nav 4, on return loop, four Sathar.
Recon in Force, Clearing the way [5A,2]
Nav 1, three Sathar, one damaged Sathar. Nav 2, four Jalthar. Nav 3, Kamkhar. Nav 4, two Sathar (pro pilots).
Engage: Cleaning House [5A,3] 1d6 times.
Nav 1, 2d3 light fighters.
Nav 2, 1d3 medium fighters.
Nav 3, 1d3 heavy fighters.
Nav 4, asteroids, mines or d2 Stealth fighters.
Capping it. [5A,4].
Nav 1, d2 Dorkathi, 2d3 Improved Krant (new Krathar). Nav 2, empty. Nav 3, Ralathar Carrier, no escort. Nav 4, 2d2 Jalthar. [If carrier killed, go on. If not, go back to 5A,3.] Repeat.
Skipping Stones (6--Long Reach) (Colonial Rapiers).
Wide escort between jumps. [6,1] Nav 1, communications station. Nav 2, forward recon 2d2 Sathar. Nav 3, heavy strike force 2 Jrathek. Nav 4, call, return to carrier immediately, three Dorkathi in distance (if you kill transports, carrier jumps without you...).
Wide escort between jumps. [6,2]. Nav 1, crippled Sathar. Nav 2, mines. Nav 3, empty. Nav 4, Dorkathi with two Krathar escorts. Carrier, under assault by three flights of Jalthar.
Strike force relief. [6,3] Escort tanker out (two flights of Sathar). Jumps. Four Krathar hit just moments late. To incoming Jump point. Four Jalthar arrive early. Kill before incoming tanker. (you need the fuel). Escort back to carrier.
Forward Recon to jump point. [6,4]. Through Asteroids, destroy communications stations. To jump point, clear. To masking asteroids, four Jalthar, then two Jrathek. Rejoin carrier, jump.
Taking it Home
Time for heavy combat.
The Main Assault, Sigma System (7--Mainline)
In Sabers. Attack convoy. [7,1] Lead light fighter screen, 4 Sathar. Fighter escort, six Krathar. Three Dorkathi tankers. Beat off relief force of two Krathar. Return to base.
Intercept enemy courier. [7,2]. Hit escort, four Krathar, (includes enemy ace). Chase down Sathar courier. Retrieve message canister. Destroy nearby communications station.
Direct assault on enemy task force. [7,3] Four friendly fighters vs. one enemy heavy carrier. Attack it while it launches fighters and while screening light fighters come back in (in pairs) to relieve it.
Hunting Party. [7,4]. Abandoned enemy fighters lurking in Asteroid belt. Spotted at Nav 1, 2a and 3b. d3 Sathar and 2d3 Drathar at each point. Enemy Freighter jumps in at Nav 2b during patrol.
7A--Jostick (only if enemy heavy carrier escapes). (in Saber fighters).
[7A,1], engage random enemy fighters on strike missions. (Intercept and destroy).
[7A,2], escort incoming tankers and supply ships, then escort out hospital ships.
[7A,3]. Assault the enemy Fang Carrier again.
Continue until carrier destroyed.
Kilrathi Sector Capital System (8--Retribution) (In Morningstar2)
Outer layer. Red Dawn
Furtherest orbit. [8,1] Take two Ralathar Destroyer escorted by four Grithar. 2d3 Sathar as screening forces.
Cat Killers. [8,2] Escort incoming marines. 2d6 Strakhar assault on way to jump point. 2d3 Krathar at jump point. Ralathar Destroyer and two Grithar.
Counterforce [8,3]. Intercept assault group. 2d3 Krathar. Four Jalthar. Two Ralathar Destroyers. Sathar attempt to relieve Destroyers.
Station kill. [8,4] Hit anchor station. Four Drathar elite. Then Drathar militia. Hit station. Relief attempt by three heavy Jalthar. Intercept attempt by four Strakhar and then two Jrathek.
Inner Layer. Drowning Moon
Escort carrier task force into position (wide escort). [8,5] Minefield and four Sathar. Two flights of four Drathar each. Two Semi-Cloaked Ralathar Destroyers.
Breaking Run [8,6]. Hit critical defense key. Will run semi-cloaked (so avoid enemy fighters). By-pass Jalthar task force. By-pass Grithar task force. Intercept Emperor's convoy. Two Jrathek. Governor issues challenge. Flies special heavy Jalthar (+3 cm shields, +1 to maneuver/accel rating). Duel. (The Governor with cyborg assist is a 3 pilot, 5 attitude, 5 dogfighting pilot).
Kill four Dorkathi, Six Krathar escorts in convoy. Prince in Grithar makes a pass and then runs. Record and rebroadcast running Prince.
8A--Cracker, if you fail at Red Dawn must play. May play if you succeed.
Bombing runs on various targets. Softening up for Drowning Moon.
2d3 Krathar or 2d2 Jalthar , then 3d3 Drathar or d3 Jrathek at target. 2d2 Sathar or 1d2 Grithar assault on way out & shadow back to carrier.
Repeat as needed.
Final capping mission.
Personal Matters (9--Pursuit [9,1])
Take a Wraith and chase down the Prince. (When the Governor goes down, general revolution breaks out against the disgraced prince who was responsible for the barren earth tactics). But, loyalists hold the system. Prince is in a special Grithar (takes twice the damage to systems to damage a system). 3 Pilot, 1 Attitude, 3 Dogfighter. Has help from two Jalthar.
Find where the Prince was headed. Spot enemy "Sivar Hammer" approaching the fleet, ready to launch a terrible blindsiding final strike on the fleet. Multiple escort ships. Mostly Jalthar, Strakhar and Sathar. Engage and destroy Hammer just in time, crushing the loyalists.
Ship list for enemies
Strakha with + 3cm armor and one Plasma Gun instead of two lasers and missiles.
or Salthi3, a Salthi with +4 cm to shields and two Meson Blasters instead of two lasers.
Dralthi +4 cm shields, 2 laser, two particle cannons.
Improved Krant, Lasers and Meson Blasters, +3 cm to armor, +3 cm to shields.
Heavy Jalkehi, Meson Blasters and Plasma Guns. +4 cm to shields.
A Grikath that can "pivot" in the horizontal plane. No turret, but has three neutron guns and one ionic pulse cannon. Very dangerous to attack from the side. Will pivot if attacked from side or rear. Attack from top or bottom or using afterburner slide.
Jrathek, Dorkathi: as before.
Kamkhar Commerce Raider.
1 inline accelerator (fires over a narrow forward cone). 2 turreted Meson blasters (top), two turreted Meson Blasters (bottom), 1 turreted tractor beam and missile launcher [four dumb fires, four heat seekers, two image recognition] (top rear). Attacked from the front it destroys any fighter. From the sides, four Meson blasters. From the rear, only missiles for defense (all others blocked by turret or engines). No phase shields, but makes a good torpedo target from the rear.
No antimatter cannon, only 200cm armor, carries six light fighters and four medium fighters.
Kilrathi heavy carrier.
Ship list for pilots
Colonial Wasp (2--Lamba, 3--Epsilon)
The Colonial Wasp is a Hornet with 3 cm thicker shields and mass produced Tachyon Cannons instead of Lasers. Colonial Wasp Tachyon Cannons have a range of 4400m and an abuse limit of medium. (+6 to shields and any ace would love it).
Colonial Weasel (4--Tarrant, 5--Reprise)
The Colonial Weasel is a Ferret with 3 cm more shields, 2 cm more armor 4 dumb fire missiles (on struts, destroyed by any armor penetrating hit), and 2 particle cannons instead of mass drivers.
Colonial Rapier (5A-Heartsick, 6--Long Reach)
The Colonial Rapier is the "old" Rapier cockpit and performance, weapons of the new Rapier, 6 more cm of shields than the old, 1 more cm armor.
Saber (7--Mainline, 7A--Jostick)
Wraith (1--Introduction, 9--Pursuit)
Morningstar2 (8--Retribution, 8A--Cracker)
The Morningstar2 advanced heavy fighter has two ionic pulse cannon, two tachyon cannon, same shields and armor, the leach missile as an option (carried instead of the mace), and available bomb pods (each carried instead of two torpedoes or the mace).
(wingman's statistic total goes up or down depending on your performance. Maximum is +2 in each area, minimum -2 to each. Range is 6 to -2. Raw recruits are -1, novices are 1s, pros are 2s, elites are 3s, aces are 4s). Each pilot is listed by the scenarios the pilot flies in and has total points in parenthesis.
1 pilot, 2 attitude, 1 dogfighter
Wolf (10) (Dragthan: a doglike race).
3 pilot, 3 attitude, 4 dogfighter
2 pilot, 2 attitude, 4 dogfighter
Storm (8) (Griffacth: a cat/bird cross race).
2 pilot, 4 attitude, 2 dogfighter
4 pilot, 1 attitude, 3 dogfighter
Razor (5) (Slith, a hungry reptile race.)
2 pilot (note that is up to 4 if player has played well by final), 0 attitude (2 by final if winning), 3 dogfighter (5 by final if winning).
Ace 1: Renegade Human. Flies a Sathar with two Ionic Cannon, engine upgrade. 5,2,4.
Ace 2: Baron x$x%. Flies a Krathar with IR missiles. 3,5,4.
Ace 3: Baron x#x@. Flies a Drathar. +2 cm shields, +1 engine level. 4,4,4.
Ace 4: Renegade Slith (Reptile Race. Razor is a Slith). Flies a Jalthar, Plasma guns are turreted and can be fired independently of other guns (some Slith have bifurcated brains). 4,2,4.
Ace 5. Prince (per above).