GoD Exploring planets

3 Exploring planets

One of the fun aspects of Galaxy of Damnation is that the star map is mostly undetermined when the players start out exploring it. Players get to generate the details of the planets they discover themselves and the star map is gradually mapped out and locations named. At the end of the campaign you will have your own unique map of a sector of space, with names and characteristics determined for yourselves. Players generate the details of planets by rolling on the Planet Generation Table (surprise).


3.1 Planet types

There are 10 types of planet. In order to generate the planet’s details a player makes a 2D6 roll to find out what kind of planet he had discovered. If a 2 or 12 is rolled then a mixed world has been discovered (this is either a single world with the characteristics of both planet types, or a star system with two different planets). In this case two further rolls are made to determine the component planet types. If mixed worlds happen to be rolled again then ignore it and re-roll. The availability of planets varies with dead worlds being the most common and civilised worlds, mixed worlds and research stations the rarest. The following pictures are from the Warhammer 40K rulebook (used without permission).

Civilised Worlds are going to have dwellings, factories, roads, bridges. Hive worlds are heavily populated and polluted. You could use Necromunda terrain – there should be lots of dense buildings.
Feral worlds are brutal and crude. Use no modern buildings and try limiting the native army to large masses with primitive weapons Agri-worlds are geared up for intensive agricultural production. They will tend to be very open, with few buildings. Forested worlds may also count as Agri-worlds.
Dead worlds are devoid of most life. They include desert worlds, ice worlds, and rocky planets. Use craters, hills, rocky spires. Feudal worlds are primitive. You could always use some WHFB terrain! Try limiting the use of high-tech weapons when natives defend these worlds.
Death worlds are inhospitable boiling pots of jungle and feral beasts. Some house rules for monsters (dragons, lizards, Tyranids?) could be fun. Forge worlds are industrial facilities. Use factories and industrial buildings. If you have the models, try using super-heavy vehicles and titans in these games.
Research stations are specialised facilities. You might want to use some within-building fighting rules or a special scenario.

3.2 Reaction to occupation

There is no guarantee that the natives will be friendly! (With the exception of dead worlds, where there are no natives or conditions are so grim that they are happy to see anyone…) The second roll that is made will determine the reaction of the local populace to the player’s forces. This will either be to accept them, to begrudgingly give in without a fight but send a distress call, or to resist them. The way in which natives react varies depending on the planet type. A civilised world will never willingly accept enemy occupation (unless cultists have been busy amongst them…), and they will also be reluctant to resort to force and risk getting their civilised lifestyle trashed. So the most likely reaction of a civilised world is to send a distress call. Feudal worlds, on the other hand, are most likely to resist and fight tooth and nail against the invaders. There is a slim chance that a feudal world will accept occupation but no likelihood at all of it sending a distress call – it just wouldn’t have the technology.

If a planet resists the player is going to have to fight to win it. By this stage the army is committed – a player is not allowed to roll up the reaction to occupation and then decide to run home to mummy if he gets into a spot of bother. Another player takes on the role of the defending natives and a game of 40K is played to determine the outcome of the invasion. More on this later.

3.3 Campaign points and army penalty points

If a player succeeds in annexing a planet (by force or because the natives accept or send a distress call) he will gain some campaign points for it. The rarer and more desirable planets generate more campaign points than the common ones. The player should add the planet to his fleet card and give it a name. He should also note the campaign points and penalty points that he has accrued as a result of owning the planet. Should the planet ever be lost the campaign points and penalty points are removed from the player’s totals.

Campaign points are, in effect, victory points for the campaign. Normally the campaign will be won by accumulating a predetermined number of campaign points. Campaign points are also the currency of the campaign and may be used to buy planetary defenses, probes, scanners and other goodies. They can also be used in trade for information or other barters subject to the Campaign points as currency advanced rule being in use, and the Gamesmaster agreeing to each transaction.

Penalty points reduce the number of army selection points available to the player when putting together their army for a game of 40K. This is an important balancing factor in the campaign system that is designed to make it difficult for very strong players to make cowardly attacks on weak players who have a lot less planets (and are possibly less experienced or younger gamers). This is explained in more detail later. Penalty points are cumulative and can never be bartered away or removed (except when a planet is lost).

3.4 Distress calls

If a planet sends a distress call the full details of the conflict is broadcast to one and all. Every other player in the campaign will be alerted to the position of the player’s fleet, and the type of planet that is under attack – this information should be pinned up as a message to all players and the details added to the common knowledge map by the Gamesmaster. (Just the player’s race is revealed, not the player’s name. If there is more than one player of the same race then at least some degree of mystery is retained – except from the other player of that race, of course!). In Galaxy of Damnation having everyone know your business and where you are is usually A Very Bad Thing. If the imaginatively named advanced rule Fight mission to prevent distress call is in use players might be able to prevent a distress call getting out.

3.5 Detecting the type of planet – scanners

This part is very important. Fleets cannot tell what type a planet is just by looking at it – normally they will have to land on the surface first. Most players will therefore commit themselves to landing (and therefore attacking) a planet before they know what type of planet it is or what the chances are that the natives will accept, send a distress call or resist them. For the cost of one campaign point players may buy a scanner. A scanner allows players to roll up the type of planet before deciding whether to attack it. This is very advantageous – players can decide whether a planet is worth the effort of a land battle, and what the likely reaction of the natives will be. If a player buys a scanner mark this on their fleet card, and knock one campaign point off their total permanently. Every time a scanner is used there is a chance that it will malfunction and break down. Roll a D6, and on a roll of 6 the scanner is broken and the player will have to pay a further Campaign Point to replace it.

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