HELICOPTERS!

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Helicopters!

Setting

170 years ago, our ancestors left Sol behind. Countless numbers of them packed into primitive stasis devices, others able to send only their genetic material aboard the escape ships. Fleeing the oppression, environmental degradation and suffocating societies of Earth, they travelled for twenty years, accelerating to such a speed that time its self altered before activating the experimental long shot engines which made up the cores of their craft.

They sought to travel, travel further than any human had ever travelled before. Further than any human made signal or human made object had travelled. Away from Sol, away from the old societies and to a new place where they could freedom.

We now inhabit their vision, a series of free colonies, created in a distant sector of space, a sector seemingly full of life bearing planets.

But new freedoms always bring new problems.

AD2383, Year 150 of the New Calendar. The elected government of the Colony of Tampara has overthrown in a violent coup by a wide ranging rebel movement including both exohuman groups and political factions who objected to the government's economic and settlement policies. The Rebels primary objection was the resettlement and citizenship of large numbers of refugees from the failed colony on Sierra-52 who they charged had effectively rigged the election in favour of the ruling party.

Due to the rich (though often hostile) nature of Tampara's ecosphere, its abundant natural resources and the presence of large scale ruins of no less than three apparently extinct alien civilizations, the international community, especially the White Flame, the organization that oversaw the exodus took and immediate interest in the coup.

A White Flame fleet, already engaged in suppression of hostile animal life (bug hunt) in the neighbouring Juno-5 system, was mobilized to restore the democratic government to power. After taking control of planets orbit with little resistance, the White Flame took control of several bases on the planet's surface and began to bring in troops to restore order.

These troops included government forces from a dozen worlds, as well as mercenaries and thrill seekers recruited from dozens of colonies by the White Flame.

Despite initial gains, the White Flame intervention found its self facing attacks by heavily armed and augmented guerrilla bands, hostile native wildlife, and even strikes by what appeared to be automated defence systems within the ruins.

Faced with limits to off planet supply, and to the amount of fabricator support they could deploy, not to mention the limits on their numbers of personnel, Intervention Force Tampara needed a way to patrol vast amounts of terrain and exert control of numerous distant towns, villages and mining outposts.

The solution: tilt jet VTOL aircraft, known locally as helicopters.

Characters

Modern combat VTOLs are user friendly and automated enough, and modern soldiers augmented enough that a single pilot can easily handle all systems on the aircraft, movement, weapons and electronics. You are one such soldier, flying at the interface where ground meets sky.

You begin with 15 CP to generate your character.

Stats

Stats represent how good you are at a particular thing, all traits are necessary to fly the aircraft and many have use out of combat. All stats run from one to ten. Each point of stat requires one CP.

All checks are one stat + vehicle stat in dice against a target difficulty.

Physical
Making Pilot Checks, firing hand weapons.
Wits
Making snap tactical decisions, aircraft gunnery, initiative.
Intelligence
Navigation, mission planning, controlling defensive electronics
Perception
Spotting things, Using sensor systems
Charisma
Directing Additional Crew and calling in support
Integrity
Keeping a cool head under pressure, surviving information attacks

Traits

Traits are special rules, usually related to the story that apply to your character. You begin with one trait. You can suggest others and the GM may accept them.

Never Say Die
You may invoke Never Say Die once per session on a roll that would otherwise shoot down your aircraft. You are not shot down.
Important to the Plot
Something about your back story is important to the plot, making you the focus of the story at least sometimes. Gain a +1 bonus to rolls concerning this.
Hey Good Looking
Add your charisma up to 3 rolls per session, in addition to other bonuses
Ace Combat Air Channel
You gain 2 additional support requests per mission
Blue on Black
No matter how close you engage, you don't hurt friendly troops
Patrick
You seem to be unable to die, no matter what happens to your aircraft.
Sixth Sense
You have an uncanny sense of ambushes, gaining a +2 on dice rolls to detect them
Hot Shot
gain one additional stunt bonus on any stunt you make. (Must make a stunt to receive benefit)
Ground Pounder
You're a blue at heart. Gain +3 in infantry combat situations and the like.

Advantages

Advantages are like traits, but are bought with CP, and are often related to special skills. Additional advantages maybe suggested to the GM.

Additional Fate
1 CP Per additional fate point
You begin with 1 fate, which lets you reroll one of your rolls, or modify the difficulty of one of your rolls down by 1. Each CP buys you another
Allies
2 CP
Any NPCs you build gain +3 CP, and promotes up to 2 of them, giving them a trait
ZR Uniform
1 CP
+3 to all charisma checks in person
Favourite Enemy
1 CP
Pick one type of enemy (infantry, soft vehicles, light armour, tanks, or helicopters) gain +2 on all rolls against that type of enemy. Alternatively, gain +3 to all rolls against enemy fast movers.
Weapon/Gadget Master
1 CP
Gain +3 bonus on all rolls on one specific weapon or piece of equipment
Pop Up Attack
1 CP
Gain +3 on rolls concerning stealth
Useful secondary skills
1 CP
You are a medic, engineer, computer specialist, or something else useful in your spare time.

Aircraft

Your aircraft are vertical takeoff and landing, and serve the same role, more or less, as helicopters do in on twentieth century earth. Rather than becoming increasingly multi-role as technology increases as Earth aircraft have however these aircraft have continued to specialize and fill their own roles: Scouts search for targets, gunships kill them, and transports move ground forces around.

Because of the specialist nature of these units, any flight (like the PC party) must have one of each before any duplicates can be chosen.

While modern craft can manage with a single pilot, most non-gunship aircraft carry several crew to fulfil other functions such as firing door mounted weapons, navigation or the like.

Vehicle Statistics

Agility
How good the aircraft is at lateral manoeuvres and dodging, used in breakaway tests.
Speed
How fast the aircraft crosses ground
Combat Electronics
The vehicles combat electronics score, it's usual rolled defence.
Sensors
The helicopters ability to identify targets.
Hit points
The amount of damage that the aircraft can take
Armour
the number of dice subtracted from enemy damage rolls.
Weapons Spaces
How much room the aircraft has for weapons

Scouts

Scouts are the smallest type of military VTOL used, and the toughest. There small profile is well armoured, and defended by various passive stealth features, a layer of altered carbon armour and a suite of defensive electronics and point defence weapons. These features are necessary as Scouts are always on the closest approach to the enemy, hovering low to

While scouts are armed, a large part of their job is to cue other assets, particularly gunships but also fast movers, artillery and orbital fire.

Basic Scout
Agility: 4
Speed: 3
Combat Electronics: 5
Sensors: 5
Hit Points: 8
Armour: 4
Point defence system: wits + sensors roll to shoot down incoming enemy missiles
4 weapons spaces

Choose type A or B:

Type A
Prioritizes stealth and speed
-2 on enemy detection rolls
+2 Speed
+2 Agility
Type B
Prioritizes armour and weapons
+2 Armour
6 additional weapon spaces
+2 HP

Options

Pick one

1: Drone Pod
Deploys micro UAVs and UGVs into the same square as the scout, capable of searching buildings and cover.
2: Self Repair System
Repairs 1 HP damage every 4 turns.
3: Troop Carriers
Carries a 4 person chalk of NPCs in the back
add 2 door weapon spaces

Gunships

Gunships are the primary weapons of the near ground battlefield. Heavily armoured and laden with numerous weapons and point defence, Gunships are never the less considerably more vulnerable than scouts and are usually best advised to sit back and allow the smaller aircraft to find their targets before engaging.

The biggest threats to gunships are paradoxically, close range infantry ambushes, and long range missiles that can engage beyond their range.

Basic Gunship
Agility: 2
Speed: 5
Combat Electronics: 2
Sensors: 3
Hit Points: 8
Armour: 4
Point defence system: wits + sensors roll to shoot down incoming enemy missiles.
22 weapons spaces

Chose Type A or B

Type A
Prioritizes Speed and Agility
+2 speed
+1 Agility
Type B
Prioritizes Armour
+2 Armour
+1 Combat Electronics

Options

Pick one

Co-Pilot
You have an NPC helping you, designed under the standard NPC rules
Fast Tracking Point Defence
Gives an additional Point Defence shot against incoming missiles
Stealth Coating
-2 on enemy detection rolls

Transports

Basic Transport
Agility: 3
Speed: 3
Combat Electronics: 4
Sensors: 3
Hit Points: 10
Armour: 4
Point defence system: wits + sensors roll to shoot down incoming enemy missiles
2 Door Gun Mounts
Carries a chalk of 14 Troops

Chose Type A or B

Type A
Armed Transport
Adds +8 weapons spaces
Type B
Heavily Defended Transport
+2 Armour
+2 Combat Electronics

Options

Choose one

Stealth Coating
-2 on enemy detection rolls
Extra Door Guns
2 Extra door gun mounts
Self Repair System
Repairs 1 HP damage every 4 turns.

Weapons

Modern VTOLs are highly modular aircraft, and can swap out one weapon for another on a mission to mission basis. Most pilots and mission commanders have a favorite combination of guns however.

Each aircraft may attack twice per round, with each roll being used to fire all, some or none of it's weapons. Any weapon maybe fired only once per turn. Weapons are fired with a wits + sensors roll.

Weapons damage + is added (in dice) to damage rolls, while AP is subtracted from enemy armour.

Weapon Keywords

Anti-Aircraft

Most weapons suffer a +2 difficulty to hit airborne targets. Anti-aircraft weapons don't.

Anti-Missile

This weapon gives an additional point defence attack against incoming missiles at standard wits + sensors

Burst

The weapon has a burst effect, capable of blanketing multiple ground targets (such as a formation of infantry or vehicles).

Countermeasures X

The Countermeasures number on a missile weapon is added to the operators wits roll to avoid enemy point defence.

Direct fire

A unit must have a line of sight to the target to attack with this weapon, leaving it vulnerable to return fire.

Glide

A glide weapon requires the aircraft to move towards the target in order to attack it.

Guidance X

Rather than the vehicles sensor system, a guided weapon adds + guidance to the operators wits roll to hit.

Missile

Missiles are the main weapon of most gunship.

Unlike direct fire weapons they do not require line of sight. They can attack a detected target anywhere on the map.

Missiles suffer from point defence fire. Each missile has a point defence value of (half wits round up) + countermeasures. Each square the missile crosses in line of sight of a hostile unit it takes point defence fire. The defender rolls wits + sensors. If they get more successes than the missiles point defence value, the missile is destroyed.

Multiple Missiles maybe fired at a target at once to overwhelm it's point defence and do extra damage. An entire volley has the same too hit roll, and rolls once for it's countermeasures roll. Point defense must beat this number of successes to destroy one missile, double it to destroy two and so on. The downside of this is that if the volley misses, the entire wave is wasted. The maximum number that maybe fired in a volley is 10.

Sensor Seeking

These weapons can only be used if an enemy has used active sensors against a friendly aircraft. However, the enemy unit receives a -3 on their combat electronics to resist this attack.

Weapon List

Lasers
10 spaces
Keywords: Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Missile, direct fire
Damage +8 Unlimited ammo
Gauss Gun
18 spaces
Keywords: Anti-Aircraft, direct fire
Solid Round: Damage +16. Reactive Armour Piercing +10 Damage AP 5, Canister Round Damage +4, burst unlimited ammo
Brilliant Missile System
4 spaces per missile system
Keywords: Missile, +4 Guidance Countermeasures 3
High Explosive Missile +10 damage, burst, Anti-Tank Missile: Damage +6 AP 4, Thermobaric Damage +8 Burst, ignores cover, Top Attack, +6 Damage, AP 5, Countermeasures 1. x8 rounds
Heavy Missile System
6 Space per missile system
Keywords: Missile +5 Guidance, Countermeasures 4
High Explosive Missile +12 Damage, Burst, Thermobaric Missile +10 damage, Burst, ignore cover, Anti-Tank Missile +8 Damage AP 5, Top Attack +8 damage, AP 6, Countermeasures 2. x3 Rounds
Glide Bomb System
3 Spaces
Keywords: Glide, Missile, +2 Guidance Countermeasures 2
High Explosive Missile +10 damage, burst, Anti-Tank Missile: Damage +6 AP 4, Thermobaric Damage +8 Burst, ignores cover, Top Attack, +6 Damage, AP 5, Countermeasures 1 x10 rounds
Guided Rocket Pods
4 spaces
Keywords: Missile +1 Guidance,
AP +4 Damage AP 2, HE +5 Damage, Burst, Thermobaric +4 damage, burst, ignores cover. Unlimited Ammo
Cannon
2 Spaces
Keywords: Direct fire, anti-aircraft.
+4 Damage
Unlimited Ammo
Air to Air Pod
4 spaces
Keywords: Missile, Air to Air, +4 Guidance countermeasures 4, 1 point defence roll per 2 spaces due to high missile speed.
+5 Damage, x10 shots
Anti-Radiation Missile System
4 spaces
Keywords: Missile, +8 Guidance, Sensor Seeking Countermeasures 5
+6 damage, x4 shots

Door Guns

Door guns can be fitted onto gunships or scouts in lieu of normal weapons and take up 1 weapon space when doing so. A maximum of 2 maybe fitted.

Machine Gun
+3 Damage, Range 3 squares
Minigun
+4 Damage, Range 2 Square
Grenade Launcher
+5 Damage, range 1 Square

Combat Flying & Maneuvers

In modern combat, aircraft need to avoid lasers, and thus tend to either fly very high, above the clouds, or very low like your VTOLs. Here are some basic ideas. Each aircraft may declare one combat maneuver per turn.

Gun Run
While weapons have a basically unlimited range (most modern weapons can easily hit a target at ten to twenty kilometers away), the presence of combat electronics and as importantly cover makes practical shooting distances much shorter. In a gun run, the VTOL must declare a gun run and then move into the same hex as the target. Roll physical + speed, and add the result in dice to your attack roll.

Gun-runs are highly dangerous maneuvers and exposes the aircraft to potentially a lot of ground fire, for instance, from its target. It's generally only done by scout helicopters and when the target is distracted (for instance, when heavily engaged with friendly infantry.)

Break Away
One of the biggest threats to a VTOL is ambushing enemy infantry, often armed with short range weapons. A break away rapidly egresses the aircraft from a kill zone.

Roll Agility + Physical vs the enemies Wits x2. If you win, you have successfully broken away, and take only normal fire. Otherwise, you take a number of rounds of fire equal to the difference in scores.

Unmask
Unmasking, when done properly allows you to get into firing position with direct fire weapons without being detected. Roll physical + pilot against the enemy perception + sensors.

Evasive
When an aircraft declares it's flying evasively it may roll physical + agility and add their dice in successes to their wits + electronic warfare defense rolls. However, it must move from one square to another each turn to maintain evasive action, and all weapons are at -2 to hit while evasive.

Designate
You may designate a target for other aircraft to hit. Roll sensors + perception. A friendly unit adds your successes in dice to their attack roll. Often done by scouts for gunships.

Support

VTOLs are only one part of the combined arms framework of a modern army, and so can expect to operate with all kinds of support from off the map, high altitude, or even space. Crews must be thrifty with their support though, as there's only so much to go around. Most operations will receive only 2 supports for the entire operation, with additional ones being gained by successful charisma rolls on the part of the PCs.

UAVs

Small Recon Drones flying high above the battle are an excellent recon method, though in the modern battlefield, the proliferation of camouflage techniques and combat electronics which even the lowest tech guerrilla armies improvise forces scout helicopters to descend

This support positions a UAV over the battlefield. Each round it may scan a particular square for enemies, with a perception + sensors of 8, and launch an attack with its onboard brilliant missiles, of which it has eight.

The UAV is usually stealthed, but if it attacks it may be subject to engagement by heavy enemy anti-aircraft systems.

Artillery

Each use of this support calls in a barrage of rounds from a distant artillery unit. Modern artillery is almost always mobile, and generally either uses a few fairly expensive equipped with extensive stealth, evasion and armour or a large number of very cheap rounds to overcome enemy point defence. Most are launched along with expendable decoys, anti laser drones and chaff to allow them to penetrate enemy defences.

And artillery unit may fire several types of rounds at the battlefield on request. All rounds impact the turn after the artillery strike is called. Artillery must be called on a specific grid square. Charisma is used to call in the strike.

V2AV
Vertically Vectored, Anti Vehicle Rounds attack all enemy (or some) vehicles and buildings in the gird square to roll electronic warfare or suffer a +10 damage AP5 attack. Point defence maybe used against countermeasures 3 The target must be designated with a perception + sensor roll and must be within line of sight of at least one VTOL unless a UAV is present.
ABIF
Airburst Incendiary Flechette rounds cause all infantry, soft skinned vehicles and VTOLs in the grid square hit to roll electronic warfare at difficulty 11 or die. Don't call them on the square you're in
SU/CHE
Standard Unitary/Cluster High Explosive Rounds damage everything in the grid square inflicts a charisma +4 attack (+10 damage) on all units in a designated grid square.

One support call gives four strikes fire before the artillery battery will be reassigned.

CAS Strike

A CAS strike is performed by tough, relatively slow aircraft at low altitude. Modern CAS aircraft are heavily armoured and fusion powered, and armed with lasers, very heavy cannons (which are probably about the weight of a gunship) rockets, and glide bombs.

Designate one file of the battlefield. CAS makes a pass on that file and attacks every revealed enemy target on that file. The attack roll is charisma +4. Each CAS aircraft has an unlimited number of +8 damage attacks, 4 +10 damage attacks and 4 +8 damage burst attacks and 4 +6 AP 5 attacks. These do not refresh between passes.

A CAS aircraft may make 2 passes before using up the support request.

Interdictor Strike

An Interdictor Strike is a long ranged alpha strike conducted with a swarm of heavy long range missiles from distant aircraft, usually either specific fast, stealthy fighter bombers or else fighters equipped with standoff weapons. On a modern battlefield, multirole fighter aircraft, while they may carry bombs do not perform CAS or make close approach to the battlefield due to the profusion of weapons that can kill a high flying aircraft.

Instead, volleys of high speed, low visibility cruise missiles do the moving for them.

Specific interdictors are usually used to penetrate deep behind enemy lines and are extremely stealthy and fast in their own right.

An interdictor strike attacks one specific grid square with 20 heavy missiles. Treat these as standard heavy missile attacks, moving in from one board edge for point defence purposes. They can attack on their own, or be guided to their target by a VTOL.

2 grid squares maybe struck in this way for one support request.

SEAD strike

Modern Suppression of Enemy Air Defence is performed almost exclusively by unmanned craft. Decoy drones are deployed first to insight enemy radar to engage them, then stealthy follow up aircraft armed with laser weapons and high speed missiles destroy the revealed radars and launchers.

Make a Charisma + 6 roll against each SAM operator on the map's Wits + Sensors. Any air defence vehicle that is beaten loses its radar and is attacked by a +8 damage attack.

1 SEAD strike maybe mounted with this support.

Kinetic Bombardment

Kinetic Bombardment or THOR launches a payload of hypervelocity super dense Javelins, accelerated by the planets gravity and by onboard thrusters. Modern Javelins usually have onboard combat electronic systems to protect them against point defence lasers.

A kinetic bombardment consists of several volleys of javelins and takes several turns to arrive. When the support request is made, the player calling it designates 3 squares of the map where the Javelins will arrive. Javelins arrive 5 turns later, and may strike in the designated square or any surrounding squares.

Each volley consists of 3 Javelins, so up to three targets must be attacked. Target designation maybe performed by any friendly unit with a line of slight, or by a UAV if one is present.

Any building or vehicle targeted by a kinetic strike takes a +20 damage AP6, +3 Guided countermeasures 4 attack.

3 strikes may be called in this way before the satellite is retasked.

Particle Beam Strike

In a particle beam strike support mission, one of the friendly warships orbiting the planet attacks a designated point with its main particle beam cannons, causing massive destruction. Designate a hex. All targets within that hex with an armour of less than 10 must immediately make a wits + combat electronics roll at difficulty 12 or die. Units with 10 or more armour who fail their combat electronics roll suffer 3d10 hit points of damage.

All units in the square or surrounding squares suffer an EMP effect which temporarily shuts down their combat electronics. Military units have their combat electronics scores reduced to 0 for 1 turn, while rebels and militia with civilian trade electronics permanently lose access.

The window for a particle beam strike is narrow so the particle beam support gives only one fire mission. These missions are rarely given out, and may require major role playing or charisma checks to use.

Laser Strikes

A Laser strike represents an orbiting space craft or satellite based laser system striking the battlefield. While less destructive than a particle beam strike, a space based laser has a longer range and is able to give more support on the battlefield.

A Laser strike maybe performed in two ways.

First, designate a map file or a long, fairly straight feature visible from orbit like a road. The Laser follows this line and strikes everything on it. Make all attack rolls with Charisma + 6 against the enemies Wits + Combat electronics. Each point that point that the enemy is beaten by inflicts d10 hit points of damage minus armour on them.

Second, a laser may strike at a specific point on the battlefield. Designate a 3 by 3 square grid on the battlefield. Everything within this grid is attacked as in the first mission type.

Lasers have a longer range than particle beams and an easier orbit, thus allowing 2 laser strikes per support mission.

Airborne Jammer

Large airborne jammers such as the "spotlight" manned system, or smaller, nearer FEOB UAV systems are a common feature of the modern battlefield. This mission tasks one to you. This has several effects:

All friendly units gain +4 to combat electronics scores.
All enemy units suffer a -2 to detect friendly units.

Alternatively, these effects can be surrendered in favoured of a point neutralization of enemy combat electronics. Pick a 3 by 3 grid area. All enemy units in this area suffer -3 combat electronics.

Each support mission gives 5 turns of airborne jamming.

NPCs

Most aircraft have some number of NPCs attached to them.

Scouts have 2 Crew Chiefs and an operator in the back, and may optionally have four ground troops (three extras and one leader)

Transports have 2 crew chiefs (4 with the additional door gun options) generated as named characters, and 14 ground troops (2 generated as named characters).

PCs should generate their NPCs themselves.

Characters

Generated with 12 points
1 Trait
Crew Chiefs and ground forces receive Ground Pounder for free.

Basic Ground Troop

Generated with 10 points
No Traits
Ground Pounder +3 physical on the ground

Infantry Kit

Crew Chiefs and infantry Chalks wear infantry kit and carry infantry weapons. On a scout helicopter they often fire these guns from the helicopter. Modern infantry kit consists of a skintight armoured suit, usually sealed against NBC attack, and with sensor systems built into the helmet and smart linked to an soldiers weapon, usually a payload gun or grenade launcher, but sometimes a light machine gun.

All infantry, even the most basic rebels deploy battlefield combat electronics to survive on the modern battlefield, though in the case of rebels and militias they're often created from civilian components, which may render them vulnerable to EMP attacks and Jammers.

Infantry Kit Stats
Agility 2. While infantry aren't as fast as helicopters they can take cover
Speed 0. Bounce Packs and lift wings are still in the experimental stages
Combat Electronics: 3, and they can also take cover
Sensors 2. Infantry use helmet mounted radar, thermal and lidars to good effect on the battlefield
Hit points: 2, but you can make make a physical roll not to die when you are killed
Armour: 1, This isn't the Napoleonic War, get out of the way!

Infantry Weapons

All infantry weapons can engage helicopters.

Rifle
Range 1 Space
Keywords: Supressive fire 1: Infantry units must make an agility + physical check at difficulty one to move when under fire from a rifle.
Damage +1
Rarely used except by irregular forces
Machine Gun.
Range 1 Space
Keywords: Suppressive fire 4: infantry units must make a agility + physical check at difficulty 4 to move when under fire from a machine gun.
Damage +2
Payload Gun.
Range 2 spaces
Keywords: Guided +3, does not require LOS.
Damage +3
Rocket Propelled Grenade
Range 1 spaces
Keywords: Missile, Guided 1
Damage +5
ATGM
Keywords: Missile, +3 Guidance Countermeasures 3
High Explosive Missile +10 damage, burst, Anti-Tank Missile: Damage +6 AP 4, Thermobaric Damage +8 Burst, ignores cover, Top Attack, +6 Damage, AP 5, no Countermeasures. x2 rounds
PAD
Keywords: Missile, Anti-Air, +4 Guidance countermeasures 4, takes half normal point defence shots due to high speed missile.
+5 Damage, x4 shots

Other Vehicles

Light vehicles

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Aircraft

UAVs

Space Craft