Crystals of Insanity by Nathon Clerke
A flexible, introductory scenario with a twist on the objectives for scout parties of 500 points.
An explorer ships finds a new system and a strange world with outcrops of crystals on its surface. Some of the crystals interfere with sensors, others seem to be completely transparent to all sensor bands. You have only a small contingent on board but they are sent down to investigate and pull back samples.
This scenario is useful as a fun way of introducing players to objective control and break points as a fundamentally matched scenario. However, it can also be replayed with a number of different options and with a variety of victory conditions – we suggest these are determined beforehand! The Designer’s Notes indicate ways the scenario can be extended into, for example, a more narratively based situation.
A 4’x4′ table can be used for 500 points, but 6’x4′ for larger forces. Set up terrain as described in the core rulebook (p.138+). Ideally terrain can be a mix of low rubble/forest(light terrain) and hills/ruins (Heavy Terrain), separated by rivers and pathways, creating the effects of an uncharted forest area.
There are two crystal clusters, represented by different color crystals – here referred to as the red cluster and the blue cluster. Each are set up half the way in towards the centre from the side edge and on the centre line.
In this scenario both sides deploy their full 500 point scout party within the displayed setup zone as described in the scenario “An Unexpected Encounter” on page 143 of the rulebook. The setup zone is 20″ wide and 10″ deep, centered in the middle of the players long table edge.
Both sides have to control as many crystal clusters as they can whilst remaining unbroken.
The game is played until six turns have elapsed or one side has reached its break point. Then roll randomly to see if another turn is to be played (Antares rulebook, p.141).
There are two major ways to determine victory and which applies should be selected before the game begins:
- Frenzy: If one side is unbroken at the end of the game and the opposing side is broken, the unbroken side wins. Otherwise compare lost order dice and the side that has lost the least is the winner (See Antares rulebook, p.141).
- Control: Count 2VPs for each crystal cluster controlled, 1VP for remaining unbroken.
Special Scenario Rules
Each cluster of crystals interfaces with combat shard of a nearby force and boosts an attribute of every unit in the force. By default, the boosts are:
- Red crystal cluster boosts Acc by +1
- Blue crystal cluster boosts Res by +1
For the bonuses to apply, a force must have Control of a cluster (see below).
The crystal clusters can de destroyed by being shot at and hit on a roll of 1 – a lucky hit. Similarly, a lucky hit on a squad in contact with the crystals may also be allocated to the crystals themselves. If hit is allocated to the crystal cluster, it explodes using the blast template, inflicting D5 hits at SV1 with No Cover, the attacker choosing the model in contact with the crystals on which to centre the blast template.
Controlling units are any apart from sharded, probe and beast units. Control can be established by a force having three or more of its models (excluding equipment), or the body of a model, within 5” of an crystal cluster. Units that are Down are still counted as being able to establish control as a tactical decision to do so may well help their survivability, but at the cost of capability of course! To claim control, however, no other enemy models can be within 5″ of the cluster.
For larger forces, deploy exactly as described in the deployment section of scenario “An Unexpected Encounter” (Antares rulebook, p.143).
Optionally, there could be more clusters spread around the centre line or even randomly offset by D5″. Additional effects could be +2 to Initiative or +1 to Command. Purely physical boosts – Ag and Str – may stretch the imagination somewhat but can be justified as being able to perceive weaknesses in an enemy’s defenses (Str) or more clearly being able to see an easy path (Ag).
Alternatively, the exact boost given by a given crystal cluster can be randomly determined as it is contacted, perhaps using a D10: 1=Ag+1, 2-4=Acc+1, 5=Str+1, 6-7=Res+1, 8=Init+2, 9=Co+1, 10=Roll again but treat the result as a negative modifier (e.g. +1 Acc becomes -1 Acc – ignore another roll of a 10!).