Falling Fire

Righteous Fire Rutter, Part One

--a ship's rutter.

In the age of privateers, rather than using maps or outlines, privateers used a book called a "rutter." A rutter is a point to point guide, with observations. (Thus the notes in the Privateer rutter of which jump points to go to rather than a map or an outline that discusses which systems to jump through).

This is a rutter for Righteous Fire. It starts at the close of Privateer with the fight with the Steltek Drone and goes on to the RF campaign (I did not want to spoil the Steltek Drone fight for anyone, but if you are stuck at that scenario, you need to get through it for the best enjoyment at RF).

I. Eggplants

The Steltek Drone reminds me of an Eggplant in appearance. Hunting it offers several choices.


First, go after it like you would Kilrathi.

Second, go after it with just the Steltek gun.

Third, use some alternate method.

The first method does not work out because missiles don't go fast enough, hit hard enough or fire quickly enough. Further, the marginal yield of other gun types does not factor better than the higher fire rate a fast Steltek gun offers. Finally, brushing shields does not reduce it as much as you and is really dangerous (try the game with a Confed Paradigm if you want to practice it).  Finally, until the Steltek gun hits the Drone, it won't take damage from anything else.  "In theory" you should be able to take it out with hot shooting and just photon torpedoes -- in reality, you can get ten hits in a row and not bother those shields -- until after a shot from the charged up Steltek gun.

The Steltek gun as the only weapon used is the plot intended method.

The alternate is not bad. It is to pair up torpedo launchers with the gun for extra shots (the gun and a photon torpedo have equal punch). I am not sure it is worth the extra effort, cost and skill. I used it though (and was amazed when the torpedoes actually worked. I had a sneaky suspicion that the game mechanics did not allow any weapon or object to damage the Drone other than the Steltek gun. They do, but only after the Steltek gun is used.).

Out of the Frying Pan and away from the Blender

The Drone will jump into the Blockade system after a random interval. It appears that the opening dialogue starts the clock.

After the dialogue, pick a Nav point to run to (preferably one away from the fleet and away from the asteroids -- that is, pick the clear Nav point on the lower left, Nav 5). Start out that way and wait for the Drone.

You want away from the fleet ("the Blender") for several reasons.

First, the fleet does not appear to hit often enough, at the same place, to do enough damage to affect the Drone. (The way to test this would be to stay near the fleet and just fly in circles for ten to fifteen minutes several times and see if the Drone ever has its shield levels drop.

I have not had the drive to validate this thought, because). Second, the fleet often misses and hits you -- and it can hurt you, not to mention get in your way, collide with you, etc.

Third, (in 1994 or so) on most PCs, the fleet generates enough moving items that the game starts dropping frames and slowing down, making it a pain.  (On a modern PC you don't even notice it, but the other issues still count).

Break a few eggs for the omelet

It always seemed that the afterburner slide should result in the afterburner spin. If enemies can't hit you during the infamous slide maneuver (though Privateer enemies tend to not stay still to be hit during it, making it of less use), then you should be able to just crank the stick hard left or hard right and hold a spiral slide with continuous afterburners.

You can, but while enemy computers do not properly track you, the volume in which the enemy tends to fire -- and "miss" -- just happens to be where you are.

The Drone is a better shot, and misses less -- so it does not hit you at all during a slide or burn spiral. (While you may discover this when you take a hit and your maneuver jets are damaged, allowing only one direction to spin while the repair droid works, the principle tends to work).

Shields down to shield 2 for more energy (so you can ride the afterburner), into a spiral, break on line, fire like crazy, then break hard into the spiral when the Drone levels at its firing range. Break out and fire, break hard back in again. You'll note a series of direct frontal hits on the Drone and the temptation to break a little late -- a bad temptation to give into.

[The clue book suggests riding the afterburners until you can tail the Drone. The Drone is supposed to level out and run straight away from you eventually and you are supposed to just pound it from the back until power gets low, then break until it regenerates and do that again.

The first time through, this did not happen for me, now it works like clockwork.] At shield 2 your power regenerates well. With an occasional torpedo volley thrown in (think of the twenty torpedoes you can carry as alternate Steltek guns) power does not seem to be a problem.

The book solution may just take more dodging around with the Drone than I had patience for. The "bap and break" routine works faster.

Be especially sure to get a feel for the distance the Drone uses for its lock and fire decision and to break hard when the Drone reaches that range. Most dogfights in Privateer call for a light hand on the joystick. This one calls for a hard break and a heavy stick.]

Interlude time. Go explore a little of whatever you missed, go beyond the Blockade points for Kamekh encounters, earn some money, refit your ship with any equipment you missed, the general. RF is a very expensive game.

Equipment you will be considering includes:

I suspect that you will want all of these improvements.

You will then want to go to the pleasure planet in Jolson's, so that the plot continuity feels better, and load RF.

II. The Next Chapter

The best missions, and the ones I wish I had run while I had the Steltek gun fully powered up, are the Nav point Patrols in the Perry System. You can often get three "Patrol X Nav Points." They pay 10K to 16K each. Perry has no hostile random encounters so that you get one encounter per patrol you take. Ten voyages, 300k credits.

Wish I had done that before Righteous Fire.

Assuming that you've loaded the game and started play, it is no secret that the game starts with the Steltek gun being stolen from you.

Two major sets of clues start coming from bartenders. They are Troy and Perry. Some sub-set clues include New Detroit, Pirate Bases, Pleasure Planets, Oxford (I listed them as Perry, New Detroit, Padre, Troy, Oxford, New Caledonia, Pentonville).

Prior to Oxford, only Perry came up with a fixer on the first try. Sandra Goodwin, who is friendlier this time. Her five interactions are listed under her Frame, Perry/Goodwin. Double and triple up on those missions (i.e. Patrol Perry twice and then jump out for the mission) in order to make any money. You have to go through the missions to get the clue at the end.

Following the clue and the end of that frame, I decided to just start hitting clue sites again. [The game says "choose between fixers and multiple plots" sort of stuff. For the initial plot, this is true. You can run Tayla, Oxford, Edom/Lynn and Perry in about any order.] For me, Pentonville on the second look came up with Tayla (subsequent play-throughs had her on the first look). Her missions are listed under her frame. Shield 4 is nice as you end up fighting in asteroid fields.

III. The World Turns

Some things go up in price and some become much more profitable. Food and radioactives are obvious choices with the price changes.

The isometal armor really makes a difference. I was very impressed at just how much more damage weapons took before they had reduced function. A "best buy" and a "must buy."

I gave in and tried out the fusion guns. Result? They are still installed. I do not have the range figured out, but they pack a punch, and do so cheaply in energy drain. Fast enough that the ITTS stars remain compatible with a Tachyon cannon pair.

You also get a history of who you shot up and how they feel about you. That is important because it lets you know if bounty hunters are actually after you as part of the plot or if it is the result of some mission. It also lets you feel some pride (my chart shows "0" for militia killed, "0" for confed killed and "0" for merchants killed. Makes me feel good to look at it).

Pirates were much more likely to have cargo. Had more ejections from destroyed craft (in all of Privateer I saw only one ejection. In RF I have already seen two. Unfortunately I was going about 600kps in a dog fight and ran them over. But, I did see them).



Captain Goodwin as a Fixer. Hoping to make major and a good deal more friendly. Pay is poor (and all the bartenders know it).

1) Defend Niter. 2 Gothri.

2) Defend Hyades. 3 Gothri.

3) Defend New Caledonia (6 jumps away). Dralthi and Retros.

4) Patrol and clear Regallis (6 jumps away). Dralthi, Gothri, Retros and the "unknown" (frog ships, I call them).

5) End of missions, but promise of a 40,000 bounty on ex-Governor Menesch, Retro & Kilrathi running scum.


I had been there before, but tried it again after Perry ran out.

Tayla has some missions.

I think that this time you might be able to skip her missions. I may reload and try it out, just to find out.

1) Deliver her "personal stuff" to Tuck's in Sherwood. $10k. Bounty hunters begin to stalk you at this point.

2) "Load of contraband" to Saratov in Prasepe. $20k. Confed detects in spite of your special shielded compartment. Surprise!

3) Brilliance to Speke Pleasure in Junction. $30k. Bounty Hunters and a super militia ambush.

4) Deliver contraband to Basque in Pyrenees. $40k.

(Where you will meet Roman Lench, on the run. This mission appears to exist just to introduce you to Roman's new location).

5) Dead end (but "thanks"). Leaving you to get out of the pirate base alive.

Roman Lynch/Lench/Pyrenees

If you will kill Menesch or pay $200k, he will clear your record for you so that all groups are at least neutral to you.

At some point this will probably be necessary if you want to get closer to Mordecai Jones (the big plot villain). May not be necessary though. Depends who you've made hostile. I never took him up on the deal.


Went there on a gamble (more clues surfaced after I got there ... such it is with random dribbles) and as one of my possible threads.

Masterson is glad to see you, needs some help moving the collection to safer locations.

1) Books to Edom, N.C. $10k.

2) Patrol and clear all Oxford Nav points. $10k. (I took two more patrol Oxford missions to make some decent money on this one. The Nav computer did not function right on the Nav point colors, but it did handle the mission codes correctly and I made all my money). Note that you will actually get Retros that run -- into ambushes set for you. But they do run...

3) Books to Burton, Junction. $10k.

4) Defend freighter vs. "waves" of retros. $10k. Hard. The waves appear timed rather than cued by the destruction of craft.

Ignore dialogue, intercept Talons at range, but close back on the freighter to chase to the next wave. Each wave will stick with you -- but the next wave goes straight for the freighter so you can't stray except on the last wave.

The first time, I switched to four fusion guns for this one. I had my doubts on them, but not enough spare cash to switch back and forth with Tachyon cannon. The second time I used my fusion/steltek core and two Tachyon cannon for the outside guns.

5) Art to Perry. $10k. More hunters. You are bracketed by Retros upon launch, so be alert from the start (Yes, you start bracketed). If you are alert and hit the afterburners, clearing the zone, it isn't a big thing. If you sit there for a moment, adjusting, you are toasted.

There are mission related pirates (not just random encounters), mung beans (the "unknown craft"), Retros and Bounty Hunters. When you return, Masterson gives you an introduction for a source. Go to Macabees in Nexus asteroids.


1) Get him safely to New Detroit. Info, no $. You are in for some surprises. First, when you launch, you are into a nest of Kilrathi -- not Talons! If you loiter, expecting Talons, you can get mauled. If you get mauled, your cargo may take damage. If it takes too much damage, no Monte at New Detroit.

At 585kps and using an F8 tailing view, a clear escape from the minefield, a little running to string them out, then kill a couple (or all three) Kilrathi. Shield level 4 is important for this one, as is the isometal armor. If you are used to the F8 view, you should break through to clear space without any damage at all. Just as with the earlier launch (the Oxford/Art mission), you can't just sit on it during the initial moments.

2) Go to Drake in Capella to pick up info. Bounty Hunters attempt to interrupt you.

3) Return to New Detroit with encrypted information. Retros, unknowns, etc. (The frogs show up a lot, I generally did not note them as they were not that tough as long as you were careful of their torpedoes). Bounty Hunters.

Without the ability to check on factions, one would think the BHs were hostile. They are not (and you will meet friendly ones), it is just that someone is putting out contracts on you. Finally a reason for the addition of access to the info to the game.

4) Go to Nexus, Nav 4 and kill Retros. $5k and info (first time you get paid by this guy).

All you've learned this far is that the Retros have you on a most wanted list, that a renegade engineer, Mordecai Jones runs the Retros now, and that there is a well guarded secret base in Gemini.

It was here that I concluded I had better start earning money again.

At this point you should have bought every possible upgrade, with the possible exceptions of the thrust enhancer and the fusion cannon. You need your top speed increased, I'm just not sure you need to accelerate quicker.

5) Kill Governor Menecsh. That is Monte's commission to you. (His makes the third time someone has urged you to get the guy, and the first anyone tells you were to go. As is typical, Monte doesn't offer any money). Search Troy and surrounding systems (you can land and refuel at least once without losing this mission...).

ND - NC - Junction - Pender (search) - Troy (search) ("frogs," bounty hunters) - War (search) (bounty hunters at 3, "frogs" at 2). Refuel. Pyreenees (Roman is there, so don't expect much), (more frogs and bounty hunters), and then Regallis. Menecsh is in a Centurion, with friends, at Nav 1. Lock on him while he talks, chase him through the nav point and the jump, nail him on the other side, escape his welcoming party and go home. He is pretty unkillable prejump.

Pick up payments. Note that Monte says thanks & "good-by" and that Roman can only make people neutral to you (e.g., if you've kept your nose clean, all the groups friendly to you go neutral and the pirates become neutral too -- while Retros and Kilrathi remain hostile). Skip Roman's offer or take it as you please.

For Edom, see 7A