The Partizan hovertank is a popular skirmisher and patrol unit in human armies and militias. It features lightweight armour capable of shrugging off small arms fire but which struggles against heavier weapons. The tank’s main defence against more burly opponents is agility and guile, aided by four belly-mounted repulsor engines.
The turreted pulse cannon boasts a high rate of fire but low damage and penetration compared to larger calibre weapons. Any combat against more armoured opponents is risky and best avoided. If such battle is sought, a wily Partizan commander will attempt to limit the engagement to an environment advantageous to her; urban landscapes with lots of cover or swamp-like land limiting the movement of heavier foes but not Partizans. They are not suited to all environs, however; the dust and sediment of arid worlds can play havoc with the repulsors.
Crew: 2 (One driver, one gunner)
Role: Patrol, skirmishing
Weaponry: 1 x Pulse Cannon Turret (top mount)
Special Features: Low drag, high agility.
The Dittisham-class is a starship produced during the Third Age of humanity. The ship was advertised as a ‘Armoured Transport’ and aimed at the growing colonist and expansionist markets; people and groups who would want to get goods and themselves from one place to another safely, come-what-may.
The ship features two open cargo bays designed with ease of access in mind; the magnetic sealed during interstellar travel but not suitable for unprotected human habitation. Cargo crates could be loaded and unloaded quickly and efficiently, though, the the vessel was used by a variety of individuals to support developing colonies and industry.
The Dittisham-class was also modified by the Halfpenny Dukes to work as a Command Corvette; a ship not just able to deploy ground troops and vehicles but also able to provide command and communication support for a decent-sized force in attack and defence.
The ship is quicker and sturdier than the Monksclove-class in spite of its larger size. Additionally, the Dittisham is armed with a number of fast-tracking flak turrets to make it a less than appetising target for enemies.
The LCS-08 (aka The Washington-class) is a newer American capital ship brought into service following the tactical and technological advances of the Forth Age. LCS stands for Littoral Combat Ship – a term originally applied to small vessels able to operate closer to shore than most naval assets – denotes the ship’s ability to manoeuvre effectively in vacuum as well as atmosphere.
The Washington is neither as agile as the Ankur or as sturdy as the Bremen; it occupies the ground between these two extremes. It fulfils a variety of roles within the USEF; anything from independent patrols to participating in larger fleet actions alongside Strike Carriers and the like. It is also used to transport VIPs and other assets through the lawless Rim territories – the firepower at its disposal is usually enough to discourage most pirates and raiders and it is quick enough to flee more powerful threats.
The ships firepower consists of two ‘Starsnipe’ flak turrets, a medium-range photonic cannon and a rear mounted warhead launcher. The latter is unusual for the ship’s size – it gives the vessel the ability to engage targets at longer ranges and hidden from line of sight. The downside of the launcher is the limited ammunition; when it is out of missiles it becomes quite useless. This renders it unsuitable for prolonged engagements.
It is these missiles which tend to give the Washington the edge against their most common foe – the Wun’Tux Clanship. The thick armour of the latter can be difficult to penertrate with photonic cannons; LCS-08s deployed on anti-Wun’Tux operations are equipped with ‘Havok’ armour piercing missiles to balance the scales.
LCS-02s (prototype precursors to the 08) took part in the USEF Fleet Action at Dronta VIII, spearheading the attack on Wun’Tux ships guarding the slave market. They were subsequently able to achieve suborbital altitudes and launch accurate against Wun’Tux armour and fortifications.
In more recent times, the Washington-class has been deployed alongside Taft-class Strike Carriers in extended operations in Wun’Tux territory. Typically the ships are outfitted with longer-ranged, ‘stand off’ missiles and able to discourage or soften up Wun’Tux targets before engaging. In worse case scenarios (e.g. a larger enemy presence than predicted) this stand-off capability can give USEF forces breathing room in which to retreat.
Engineers at Highpoint have successfully modified the base design into distinct combat variants. The LCS-ASW (aka the ‘Rhode Island’ class) is perhaps the most popular. This version swaps the warhead launcher for a launchpad capable of carrying, arming and repairing a shuttle-scale ship. This is most commonly a Vaquero-class gunship; a well armed craft bristling with sensors. This ASW (anti-stealth warfare) variant is designed to detect and defend against stealthy foes; the main ones being the Hirudin. The gunship is able to act as spotter for the LCS but is also more than capable of engaging common interlopers (like Blackfins) independently.
The T-51 ‘Starlock’ is a multi-role transport ship utilised by the USEF. It is well-liked by pilots for it’s durability and adaptability in all manner of operations.
It is more flying brick than ergonomic beauty. The ‘brick’ like shape, however, is armoured and durable against myriad threats. The ship is regularly used to transport important members of the military and civillian figures – though not in any measure of comfort.
The combat version is fitted with a flak cannon underneath each VTOL engine. These are predominantly to protect the ship from starfighter attack but have seen use against infantry and vehicles during take off and landing.
As a combat support vessel it is tasked with transporting troops, vehicles and personnel in and around hostile territory. Marines and US Rangers landed on Dronta VIII in T-51s and the ship has been a firm favourite of soldiers since. It is capable of transporting vehicles and extra cargo attached to its belly, although this does make it a much more easy to hit target for enemy forces.
The Ankur-class Corvette is a small capital ship fielded by the Asian Coalition. It was designed as a rapid reaction asset and escort ship and often acting as picket vessel for Mobile Defence Groups.
The Coalition spent most of the war against the Union harassing and staging hit-and-run offensives and counter-offensives with old and fragile vessels unable to go toe-to-toe with Union capital ships. The Ankur is a design suited to harassment but built to a modern, sturdy and reliable standard. It is the fastest mass produced human capital ship on record and has relative agility to match its straight-line speed. The majority of the armament is comprised of autocannons; basic and effective weaponry with a high rate of fire. Although not particularly effective against armour, the turreted autocannons are good all-round performers.
The Ankur was found to be particularly effective in the defence of the colony at Ermina III. The Wun’Tux aggressors were using Bastions to bring heavy fighter support in their raids; a tactic the established Coalition forces couldn’t easily counter. The first ‘lance’ of four Ankurs was rushed to this front and into combat against the Wun’Tux. Autocannons couldn’t penetrate durillium armour plating but were very effective against the external fighter racks of the Wun’Tux carriers. These four ships led hit-and-run raids against the Wun’Tux, targeting their fighter racks before retreating. This effectively neutralised half of the threat from the invading BroodClan and brought the offensive to a halt.
The ships are relatively expensive and lack the sturdy armour and substructures of comparable craft (i.e. the Bremen-class). They are especially vulnerable in drawn-out battles in which their speed and agility is negated.
The Gnobo planetary forces come with a fearsome reputation. Recruits are trained for months in the mountain ranges that criss-cross their home planet; they are at home fighting on unwelcoming terrain. They are moulded into proud warriors who rarely give up or give in. The TAV-6 (Tracked Armoured Vehicle) exemplifies this fighting style and spirit.
The vehicle’s torque, power and adaptability stem from its four independent drive tracks. These allow the TAV to traverse a wide variety of weather and ground unimpeded. What it lacks in high straight-line speed it more than makes up for with its ability to manoeuvre at pace.
The armour is thick and cleverly constructed; only the most advanced armour-piercing shells can penetrate in one shot. Like most tracked vehicles, however, it remains vulnerable on its underside to mines and other explosives.
The TAV is armed with the same fragmentation cannons as the S-91 Gun Skiff, meaning it can deliver significant damage on a variety of targets. The high-calibre guns are least accurate when targeting infantry, leading tank crews to request troops to ‘close escort’ the TAV. This usually involves four troops sat atop of the armoured shell to protect against enemy infantry. This is considered a plum assignment, as it means the escorting troops are saved many miles of marching across unfavourable terrain.
The first iteration (TAV-1) was deployed during the Gnobo invasion of Illayko territory, where its rugged reliability and thick armour gave the invaders an edge. A large number were destroyed from orbit during the Battle of Ompolor VII, the remainder were airlifted out ahead of the Illayko counter-attack.
With their razor-sharp claws and alarming alacrity, the Wun’Tux are formidable enough opponents without augmentation. Their armoured Planewalkers only serve to make them more ferocious and intimidating.
The Planewalkers look ungainly and awkward at first glance. Their odd angles and forward tilt give the impression the machine might tumble forward at any moment. But the Wun’Tux engineers are far from careless; the poise is maintained by a unique system of gyroscope-like devices, the centre of gravity so easily manipulated as to give the Planewalker a shocking straight-line speed.
The ‘walkers are typically used to defend valuable locations (e.g. durillium mines) and to assault hardened enemy targets; the Wun’Tux are aware of the terror the sight of one can spark, however, and are not shy in using them to keep unruly slaves in line. BroodClans are not shy of using the armour against other Wun’Tux, either; the ‘walkers often feature in the frequent bouts of Wun’Tux infighting.
Planewalkers are usually piloted by the second-born of a brood; it is a position of respect and relative protection compared to third-born and below who tend to be deployed as foot soldiers. These walker pilots are talented but prone to arrogance and overestimation of their skills.
Their ‘Shredder’ cannons inflict devastating damage on organic and lightly armoured targets, especially at short range. Their thick armour enables them to survive sustained exposure on the front lines. Their main vulnerability is from the air, although airborne attackers have their best chance of hitting a Planewalker if it is standing still; they are difficult targets when moving at full speed. The USEF purposefully struck at defending walkers from orbit in preparation for the battle at Dronta VIII.
The ‘Voidrunners’ (a group of ex-slaves involved in a guerilla war against the reptiles) have a way of disabling the gyro-stabilisers with a well-placed Improvised Explosive Device. This causes the ‘walker to malfunction, lose balance and often come crashing to the ground. This method, to the relief of Wun’Tux everywhere, not widely known.
It is against Planewalkers that the Blackmane X-MM made its name; within the tight confines or an urban sprawl, the human mechs were able to evade the Wun’Tux’s shredder cannons and close in for the kill. This remains one of the rare occasions on which Planewalkers were bested by another mech.
The European Union Navy (EUN) is the united space-faring military of the old Earth European states. Along with the Asian Coalition, the Union were the poorer cousins to the more advanced British Commonwealth and United States, a trend which followed with their military forces.
In the belated rush for prime interstellar real estate, the EUN came into limited and then all out conflict with the Asian Coalition, cumulating in the Pan-Eurasian War. This conflict pitted the slower, heavily armoured EUN ships against the more numerous and agile Coalition forces. Both were outmatched by the modern mercenary forces employed near the end of the war and since the subsequent armistice the Union has been eager to develop up-to-date vessels of its own.
The EUN saw extensive action in the short Union-Oroso Conflict; it suffered several high profile losses until reinforcement from the Core in the form of up-to-date ships. This influx of vessels allowed the EUN to stem the tide of Oroso counterstrikes and led to the speedy armistice thereafter.
The Navy itself consists of a wide variety of people of different nationalities and cultures. Most individual vessel crews come from the same country; inter-ship rivalry is a common headache for Union Admirals.
The ‘Silverfish’ track-tank is an old fashioned idea in a very modern world; a tracked vehicle in a hovering world. It lacks many modern conveniences of advanced navigation, electronics and power management systems – the designers aimed more towards the prosaic function and ease of construction. The result was a cheap, tough little tank.
The Silverfish is constructed from reasonably common materials, meaning it can be made in a variety of settings. Models have been assembled within the cargo bays of naval ships, and counter-insurgents have even built constructed versions of the vehicle in abandoned warehouses, right under the noses of their opponents. Although single Silverfish struggle in an even fight with the more modern tanks, walkers and crawlers they are near-impervious to small arms fire and can move quickly around built up areas, small enough to manoeuvre on roads meant for cars.
The tank is used predominantly by the mobile divisions of an army, e.g. the Marines. It needs very little resupply and can move with a mobile force; given sufficient parachute/grav-chute support the vehicle can even be dropped onto a planet with orbital insertion parties.
The basic model features a reliable auto-cannon turret. The ‘B’ model is equipped with a more advanced armour-piercing variant, suitable for anti-armour operations.
Armoured Crawlers are a hybrid between traditional tracked tanks and the more modern bipedal walkers. They combine the sturdy armour of the former with the adaptability of the latter to create an affordable and stalwart part of any ground force.
The ‘Salamander’ is a human vehicle, designed and marketed by the Northropp Terrestrial Division and supplied primarily to US forces. It is heavily armoured and capable of withstanding damage which would destroy other craft of it’s stature.
It’s default armament takes the form of a anti-material cannon mounted on it’s back. This weapon can target both ground and sub-orbital enemy targets at mid-to-long range. Salamanders are typical commandeered by Generals and other high-ranking individuals, placed at the core of a defensive formation or the rear of an attack.
Above: A Salamander as part of a defence on a tank factory against a Wun’Tux scouting party