The Serpentis Berserker

Campaign by Moonsword

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The Serpentis Berserker

Postby Moonsword on Sun 01 Mar 2015 15:55

An NPR survey corvette in my game had the delightful fortune to stumble over a berserker while surveying. Specifically, they were surveying their home system since they had just become aware of the existence of warp points. Overall, while the strategic risk involved was horrifying for the NPR, the one mitigating factor is that because they were a one-system power, most of their fleet was camped around the homeworld. They also had the considerable good luck to do this on turn 40. Literally one more turn and they would've had two of these monsters loose and nothing more in the way of fleet resources available, although I would have been merciful enough to allow the Pursuit Group One to get in on the fun.

The NPR in question is a charming little species of dinosaur men ruled over by a not terribly charming government named the Hierarchy of Axanar. Think Deinonychus including feathers with a Cold War parody aesthetic in their uniforms. They're a despotism and I ran with it. While the leadership is a bit unstable and they'll go to war at the drop of a hat (at RM 94, they may not wait for the hat to hit the ground first), they're not crazy, just extremely militant and dedicated to their warship building program. My "player" race, the Terran Confederation, is currently having a slightly nervewracking first contact given that this is their first HEL encounter. While the diplomatic courier Envoy was in system attempting to establish communications and is aware of multiple high energy events that sure looked like nuclear explosions, the Confederation's only role in events was to cause Pursuit Group One to be off station and therefore unavailable to assist in the interception. Hopefully someone will mention that bit about nationality detection in D5.07 to the Hierarch before he decides to declare war.

The campaign log's name for the Hierarchy's home system is Lambda Serpentis (named before the NPR was activated; their race design is a coincidence). They're currently EL 4 with certain SL 5 systems due to obnoxiously good luck when they were activated at EL 2, most notably Jb. D is on the knot list and A hasn't started to be fitted to hulls yet. A quirk on the design tables is the fact that they don't use LRWs on mobile hulls. Given my experiences here, they'll be rectifying that little eccentricity.

Order of Battle

Berserker
1 Lambda Serpentis DN
"Slumbering Titan"

Hiearchy of Axanar Navy
Battle Squadron
2 Pinnacle of Wonder CA
Pinnacle of Wonder
Obelisk of Might


3 Glorious Leader CL
Glorious Leader
Ancestry of Greatness
Puissance of Descent


1 Golden Palace CL(C)
Golden Palace (fleet flagship)

1 Panopticon FG(Y)
Gaze of Glory (outside combat zone)

Pursuit Group Two
6 Flame of the Nation FG
Will of the People
Flame of the Nation
Fire of Will
Intentions of Flame
Burning Essence
Nation's Light


1 Panopticon FG(Y)
Flame Vision (outside combat zone)

Combat Summary

Technically, this is the second battle. The first lasted approximately as long as the berserker's missile flight time to the AHN survey corvette Stalwart.

Once firing range was achieved for the berserker, the frigates achieved three things in descending order of importance:
* Most importantly, forcing the berserker to maneuver against them, which slowed it down for the cruisers to be able to approach in a single coherent formation.
* Convincing the berserker to flush its XO racks to whittle down the numbers instead of reserving them to fire on a cruiser.
* Nation's Light inflicted one single point of damage with its force beam before the berserker's return fire turned it into Nation's Fifth Destroyed Hull.

All of that occurred in seven turns. While forcing the berserker to evade them was ultimately crucial to the cruisers being able to bring their force beam armaments to bear, the frigates' collective combat performance was kind of like throwing baby ducks into shark-infested waters to get the shark's attention.

Then it was the cruisers' turn to be used for target practice. The berserker elected to start with the CLs; lacking any way to tell them apart, I decided it started with the Glorious Leaders, which were cruising more or less in their listed order. Its goal was to knock them out of formation and, hopefully, pick off the cripples once it had them strung out. Without the Charge of the Baby Ducks, I suspect that would have worked extremely well. As it was, I did fairly well anyway. Glorious Leader took the initial fire and was knocked out of formation after the second volley. Ancestry and Puissance were similarly staggered but while Ancestry of Greatness fell out, Puissance of Destiny maintained formation with Glorious Leader. The CAs and Golden Palace managed to close in and use their XO racks, beginning to seriously thin the berserker's shields, and it turned its attention to the more immediate problem of the CAs after noticing Golden Palace was generating less fire. Another couple of turns and the berserker got pincered and then savaged by the collective fire of the cruisers; of them, only Puissance of Descent was rendered combat ineffective because the engines, shuttle bays, and magazines were largely able to soak the DN's fire. Being large enough to have a decent stack of passives to blunt the Rc fire helped, of course.

Ship Designs

Code: Select all
"Slumbering Titan"
DN Lambda Serpentis*-class DN         (AM1) 20-(XOb)         130 HS / 63 TS   
[5] S1×18 A1×9 Ze (Ie×4) (Ie×4) Mg Mg Rca Rca Mg (Ie×4) Da Rca Rca Mg Eca Yb Da (Ie×4) Mg Rca Rca Da ?a (Ie×4) Eca BCS**  [6/3]                     
Trg: 1   Def: -1      Cost: ?? / ??         SL 8   {SOLAR}
66 HTK   S1 x18 A1 x9 Da x3       Eca x2 Rca x6 (420 MSP)
*: As SM, I've decided name berserker classes after hull size, system, then encounter number and role if more than one berserker comes from a single system.
**: Berserker control system.

====

Pinnacle of Wonder-class CA         8-(XOa)         60 HS / 50 TS   
[5] S×12 (Bsa) (Jb×2) Qa (Jb×2) Qa (Jb×2) Fb Fb (Jb×2) Qa Fb M1 Fb (Jb×2) Fb Qa (Jb×2) Fb  [6/2]                     
Trg: 2   Def: 0      Cost: 946 / 141.9         SL 5   {SOLAR}
36 HTK   S x12       Fb x6
Introduced before the development of datalink and never refitted.  Slated to receive an upgrade to incorporate Zb, M2, A, and probably Ya in lieu of (Bsa) but Zb is still in development.

====

Glorious Leader-class CL         6-(XOa)         45 HS / 38 TS   
[5] S×9 Mgs (Bsa) (Jb) (Jbs) (Jb×2) Qa M1 (Jb) (Jb×2) Fb Qa (Jb) Fb (Jb×2) Fb Qa (Jb) Fb  [7/2]                     
Trg: 2   Def: 0      Cost: 712.3 / 106.9         SL 5   {SOLAR}
30 HTK   S x9       Fb x4 (24 MSP)   
They had a half space because of the small engine, so I figured some way to reload the XO racks would be a practical thing to provide.

====

Golden Palace-class CL(C)         6-(XOa)         45 HS / 38 TS   
[5] S×9 Mgs (Bsa) (Jb) (Jbs) (Jb×2) Qa M1 (Jb) (Jb×2) Fb Qa (Jb) (Jb×2) (CICa) Qa (Jb) Fb  [7/2]                     
Trg: 2   Def: 0      Cost: 697.3 / 104.6         SL 5   {SOLAR}
29 HTK   S x9       Fb x2 (24 MSP)   
Derivative of the Glorious Leader built as the Hierarchy's glorious flagship in the pre-activation month.

====

Flame of the Nation-class FG         3-(XOa)         22 HS / 19 TS   
[5] S×4 Za Mgs (Jb) (Jbs) (Jb) (Jb) Pga (Jb) Pga Qb (Jb) Fb  [8/3]                     
Trg: 1   Def: 0      Cost: 376.1 / 56.5         SL 5   {SOLAR}
16 HTK   S x4       Fb x1 Pga x2 (24 MSP)            
Upgraded frigate incorporating datalink, XO racks, and plasma guns.  During the refit, the small hold was replaced with a small magazine to supply XO reloads.  Combat performance to date has suggested that the notion a Flame of the Nation would survive intact enough to require reloads between engagements may be overly optimistic.

====

Panopticon-class FG(Y)                  22 HS / 19 TS   
[5] S×4 Hs Qa (Jb) (Jbs) (Jb) (Jb) Yca (Jb) Qa (Jb)  [8/3]                     
Trg: 1   Def: 0      Cost: 387.1 / 58.1         SL 5   {SOLAR}
14 HTK   S x4
Based on the National Will (predecessor to the Flame of the Nation class), the hull was heavily modified to carry a massive and extremely sensitive scanner suite.  I'm not sure NPRs would necessarily do that but what the hell.  One is attached to Battle Squadron and each of the two Pursuit Groups.  Due to a misreading of the XO size on my part, the National Wills and Panopticons were built without XO racks.  While the Flame of the Nation upgrade fixed that oversight, the Panopticons are supposed to evade direct combat.  A potential refit is under consideration after this engagement but since the type's doctrine isn't changing, it's at the bottom of the Navy's priority list.


EDIT: Although it's not marked properly, all small engines are part of an engine room with the engine to their left.
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Re: The Serpentis Berserker

Postby Cralis on Mon 02 Mar 2015 03:19

What munitions did you use on the Axanar fleet? I don't see it anywhere... and if they don't have any LRW, how did they even think about XO?
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Re: The Serpentis Berserker

Postby Moonsword on Mon 02 Mar 2015 15:56

Whoops, forgot to mention that. Axanar doesn't currently mount LRW systems on mobile hulls but they do have plasma torpedoes with Pta on the racks (two per cruiser, one per frigate). The Ptb project was started a few turns ago to upgrade their base and station designs as well as improve the external ordnance.
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