The Antares Campaign Day on 2019 at WLG HQ in Nottingham had a variety of tables, each with differing terrain. But these tables are not just random – each represents a part of the planet on which the artefacts (objectives) had been located and over which the factions are fighting. As an example of how to theme your own tables and terrain, Tim Bancroft takes us through the planets, the terrain that might be expected and the special rules for each.
The ‘Yu Hamnu Artefacts’ that seem to predict the collapse of gates are scattered around the equatorial region of Antares, predominantly – as far as panhumans know – within or around the region known as Determinate. All are far from Xilos. The furthest ‘north’ (in Antarean terms) is in the recently discovered Taskarr system on which the Virai were first found. Another recent planet on which the artefacts appear to be operating is the contested and dangerous Shamasai. Two other systems – Dilexyon and Tolek – are located close to the borders with Vorl space.
It is strongly suspected that there are other planets with such artefacts within Vorl space, off-limits to panhuman exploration.
That all the planets are in systems with relatively new gates is a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the IMTels and the leaders of the various factions, vardos and guilds. Is Antares trying to provide a means whereby a shutdown can be stopped? Indeed, are the non-builder artefacts able to prevent or limit the gate shutdown at all? The questions can only be answered by retrieving the artefacts – which means getting down and dirty on the planets themselves.
But these newly-connected systems have planets that are not as forgiving as many in the Nexus. Here we run through the problems with terrain that might be faced by visitors to those planets.
Not only is Shamasai home to the deadly bionanospore that contaminated Batu Delhren and virtually destroyed Ma’Req and Ghar forces, but it has since been bombed by the Ghar in an effort to remove it as a threat. All visiting starships and personnel are equipped with special, nanospore safety features – but none can last long on the planet and all are thoroughly sterilised before returning home.
Arguably, the main problem now is the devastation caused by the Ghar disruptor bombardment. Huge swathes of the planet’s surface are now scorched rock, with molten lava still pooling in the craters. Even here, the dust has adapted and spread the more hardy local plantlife, massive lichens and spindly plants trying to recolonise the devastated areas.
Any games played on the surface of Shamasai must have a Distort Dice in the bag. This represents the legacy effects of the Ghar’s polluting weaponry. Even if Ghar are fighting, only one Distort Dice is used (they cannot pollute it further than they already have).
Special Terrain – Solidifying Lava
Some craters or rocky areas contain lava pools surrounded by (possibly) more stable, solidified rock. These are difficult terrain with line of sight as appropriate (obscuring whilst low craters are open). Suspensored units are unaffected by lava, but otherwise treat the craters or bouldered areas as normal for their type. Units failing their Ag test not only suffer normal penalties, such as half move for infantry, but have fallen in and take a pin as if from shooting and 1D3×SV3 hits.
Taskarr is undergoing another of its regular ice ages and is largely locked in snow an dice. Tundra and icy regions abound. Some raised areas of ground on tundra are classed as low scrub: where it can be seen across, LoS is obscured (perhaps up to 6″, if you like) and Cover bonus is +1 Res and all are Difficult. Some is on raised ground which may block LoS as for hills.
Special Terrain – Ice
Protuding ice floes block line of sight, give a cover bonus of +2 Res, are impassable but can be easily damaged by weapon fire, having a Threshold of 3 and only 5 damage points: any shots or attacks of SV3 or more can damage the floes if targeting them, perhaps destroying them completely. Some floes combine together to make obstacles which can have 3-4″ wide holes blown in them from weapon fire as for other ice. When intact they offer a Cover bonus of +2.
Dilexyon is an hot and steamy, ancient world inhabited by huge, primitive beasts that roam its jungles and lurk within the stagnant depths of its swamps. There are signs of civilisation in the starports that can still be seen from space, and much of the expeditionary supplies has been downloaded to these open areas in the otherwise densely-covered land.
Special terrain – Pools and Rivers
There are areas of open pools which are similar to marsh but whose depths are hidden by the murky, surface water. Open pools are classed as open ground for LoS, offers no cover and is difficult going. Movement across such areas is at half speed, with units halting if they fail their Ag test; suspensor units cross at full speed but must still make an Ag test – on failure they move half pace.
Where such pools are surrounded by mangrove-like trees, LoS is obscured up to 8″ (some areas are larger than 8″!) and Cover bonus to Res is +1. If vehicles cannot pass between the trees or other obstacles, then they cannot cross, but otherwise suspensored troops regard it as Open Pools for movement.
Mud-bottomed rivers also abound, with the same movement penalties as other pools and with no cover or LoS penalty. However, some are crossed by fallen trees or other objects: if an infantry or beast unit crosses using such an aid, then their movement must be measured along the path of the aid and the terrain is ignored.
Open Jungle Terrain
Where other planets have scrub, Dilexyon has more open features. Where open growth is found, it is classed as obscuring up to 4″ having a Cover bonus of +1 Res and Difficult for movement (Ag Test required).
Close Jungle Terrain
The majority of terrain on Dilexyon is unique, rock-strewn jungle of Dilexyon is relatively open for ground troops pushing through, but extremely dense above that height. It is classed as difficult terrain (Ag Test required) and impassable to Large/X-Large, is obscuring up to 4″ Dense and offers a Res bonus of +1, +2 if there are boulders in the areas of jungle terrain. Similarly, the jungle-like obstacles have a Res bonus of +1, +2 if with boulders.
Tolek has only been settled for a few years as it appears to have once been terraformed for crop or agricultural use. There is plenty of rich, temperate land which the Freeborn have settled and have planted the more lucrative crops for processing and exporting to other systems. Given that there were also sites of archaeological interest made it a bonus. Of course, Tolek is now one of the focii of exploration!
Tolek has a variety of crops, some growing on rough ground. Wheat-like crops are ‘low crops’ (Clear, Res+1) and taller, green-spiked crops are ‘high crops’ (Obscuring to 4″, Difficult, Res+1).