Just the job

A solo scenario for those who suspect their own side is a bigger risk to life and limb than the enemy.

I wanted to do some solo scenarios for Hell by Starlight. I’m working on a scenario/campaign booklet, probably called Hell by Starlight Campaigns (don’t you just love the originality.) The idea is that as part of the campaign setting there would be a lot of these scenarios, but they’re just simple things that will not take a lot of room but which players could ‘unpack’ and grow.

One thing I wanted was a formula which I could put in for the enemy force. I wanted something based on what the player actually had, but which I could never know. Because it’s a campaign the player might have optimised things very differently from how I would have done it.
So I linked it to Hell by Starlight. The first thing is the number of figures the enemy is deploying. That is comparatively simple. The player’s force is always 1. So if the enemy force is 50% stronger, then they’re 1.5.

The next issue was the technology. How geared up was the enemy? Were they street thugs with shotguns and pistols, or combat veterans with helmets giving a full head up display and targeting data?
Luckily different troop types get a different base die roll when shooting, so I just took that base die roll from Hell by Starlight.

Dice   Firer

d4      Green troops

d6      Normal troops and hardwired green troops

d8      Veteran troops, hardwired normal and greens with ESA

d10    Hardwired veterans, normal with ESA, and automatic systems

d12    Veterans with ESA

(ESA is Enhanced Sensory Array)

So if your attackers are basically green troops, then they’ll roll d4.  But if, in the scenario, I say the enemy are d8 you get a variety of possibilities. They could be veterans with ordinary ‘dumb’ weapons. Or they could be normal troops but who are hardwired to their weapon, or even green troops with an enhanced sensory array.

So an attacker can be described as 1.5/d6. It gives you a feel for the sort of thing you’re up against.
Similarly if the player’s force is out there in the back country where things get rough, they might be d10, but if they’re having a bit of R&R in an almost respectable country club, they might be d6. So you can tweak your enemy to what you expect your players to be.

So I thought I’d try something like this but on a more generic background.

The party are a group of local security agents (it sounds so much better than mercenaries) who have been hired by a mecha unit brought in from off world. The party are responsible for ensuring supplies get to the unit and the unit is spared the nonsense that comes from having to deal with local petty bureaucracy. I would class them as basically d8 because if they were better the front line beckons.

The Mecha are stationed just behind ‘the front’ as they will be brought up to support should they be needed. Behind the front there is a three day drive back to ‘civilisation’ where the area has been fought over, looted by both sides and is infested with looters, deserters, military police, refugees and unexploded ordnance.

Travelling there or back, the first day consists of two day portions and one night portion. The second day consists of three day portions and one night portion. The third day has three day portions. So effectively there are ten moves. You don’t move during night portions but trouble can still find you.

The terrain is a mixture, you can have ash wastes, shell shattered woodland, seas of mud with rusting barbed wire as you wind through it on a corduroy road, the choice is yours.

Your force?
Really it’s what you’ve got. For your level of technology I would suggest that you’re somewhere around d8 because you’re good enough to work with mecha. But if you want something a bit lower tech just downgrade everybody a couple of dice steps. You are assumed to have six trucks unless the mission specifically states it. It’s up to you what a ‘truck’ is, but it isn’t an APC. Also feel free to be flexible, if you have six 1p army men figures plus two trucks made out of Lego, then that’s just fine. Even with six trucks I don’t think you need of than 12 figures. OK you might feel you need more but you’ll just get bigger enemies.

If you fancy interesting trucks, GZG have this


Or there’s this as a collection of printable files


Roll a d6 for the mission

Convoy from civilisation to the front

1) A milk run, your six trucks are loaded with food supplies issued to the unit

2) The unit has asked you to get medical supplies, especially vaccines and anti-virals which they should have been issued with on deployment. (see below)

3) A mixed load, food, mail, and half a dozen mechanics returning from R&R. They’ll probably sober up by the time you get to the front.

4) Serious amounts of munitions. Normally this stuff would be flown in but there’s a shortage of fliers at the moment so you’ve been given an extra six trucks. Having extra men to go with them would be nice.

5) They’ve given you the wrong load, they’ve loaded the trucks with howitzer ammunition when you were getting something to eat. They’re too fat and idle to unload it. (see below)

6) A mixed load, food, mail, a media team, some medical supplies and a lot of winter clothing.

Convoy from the front to civilisation

1) Just the usual, broken equipment, some wounded, and a few needing medical treatment for local illness. None of these are capable of combat

2) Six trucks with forty prisoners under escort and twelve guards and a medic (some of the prisoners are wounded.)

3) You’re loaded with captured war material. By definition it isn’t stuff your unit wants and none of the neighbouring units have been prepared to trade for. Largely semi-obsolete but it’ll equip militia.

4) A milk run. You’re mainly transporting mail and empty boxes. There are half a dozen men going for R&R. They’ve got light weapons and will not be pleased at being delayed.

5) Running empty. Well it happens.

6) The infantry overran an enemy HQ and you’ve got the personnel and paperwork for intelligence to work over. They’ve given you an extra ten men to watch over ten prisoners.

Medical supplies (From above) Toss a coin

Tails, no problem

Heads. First they say you haven’t got the right papers, then they say you have to have a medic with you, then they say they haven’t got any in store. As you can see the crates you’re supposed to be transporting from where you’re standing you assume he’s taken a bribe to sell them to another unit or put them on the black market.

You have two choices,

  • Make a formal complaint. Roll a d6 and on a 6 the authorities deal with the matter. Roll once a week until you forget to roll.
  • Just take them. The staff you’re facing are 1.5/d4. You might want to restrict yourselves to fisticuffs rather than hosing them down. Assuming you succeed roll a d6

1,2,3,4 Somebody makes an official complaint. Keep a running total of official complaints.

5,6 it’s never mentioned again.

Howitzer ammunition (From above) Toss a coin

Tails, no problem

Heads. First it’s your fault because you put in the wrong papers, then they haven’t got what you want because it went to an artillery unit.

Take a look round the back. Heads, no sign of your stuff, it must have gone to the artillery. Tails, it’s here.

If it’s there you can just unload and load the proper stuff. Roll a d6

1,2,3,4 Somebody makes an official complaint. Keep a running total of official complaints.

5,6 it’s never mentioned again.

If it’s gone to the artillery unit, you might as well chase it, you’ll catch up at the unit after three days. Then it’s just an hour to your own unit.

Problems on the road.

Random encounters, roll every day or night portion

Roll a d10

1,2,3,4,5  Nothing

6  Military police patrol 1/d8. They don’t bother you but might come in handy if you’re having trouble.

7 Refugees on the road, begging for food or a lift. If you’re heading to civilisation you might have room for a lift, if you’re heading to the front, you might have food.

8 Deserters 1.5/d8. They try and hit you for supplies

9 Looters and scavengers, 2/d6. They try and hit you to take anything worth having.

10 Vehicle breakdown. Too many miles on bad roads. It takes d4 day portions to fix. During these day portions keep rolling.

The problems caused by your real enemy (your own high command.)
Toss a coin at the start if every week. If you get a tails you have problems. Roll a d6 to see which day it is. On that day roll on a d6 below to see what they want.

1) Somebody has noticed the care you’re taking of your trucks. When you arrive at your destination (be in the front or civilisation) another unit will take them over and you’ll be issued with six of theirs. From then on, with your random encounters on the road, a die roll of 1 and 2 also counts as a vehicle breakdown. Keep track of each vehicle that has broken down. Once you fix it, it should be OK. When all have been fixed, you only break down on a 10 as per normal.

2) Divert one day west to pick up a forty man internal security detail who need a lift to the front. It doesn’t matter if you’re full, they can ride on the loads you’ve got. (Because you’ll be so overloaded, a 3 on the d10 counts as a breakdown. (This is as well as the 1 and 2 if that is still in effect)

3) Some units are being rebuilt after the debacle that was the last offensive. Lose a third of your men, they’ll be replaced by green recruits.

4) Somebody you’ve never met, and to the best of your knowledge you’ve never had any dealings with, has made an official complaint about you.

5) HQ has heard rumours that there is a large party of deserters who are camping at a waterhole a day portion off your route. Divert and check out the rumour…  Roll a d6, on a 1,2,3 the rumour is untrue, on a 4,5 you spot some deserters but they don’t spot you. On a 6 the deserters, 3/d6 find you.

6) There is supposed to be an unmapped minefield at this location, just a day portion off your route. Please confirm. 1,2,3 you can find nothing, get official complaint for not looking hard enough. 4,5, there is a minefield there. 6 You found it when the front wheel of your lead truck was blown off. You have enough bits to fix it, so it’s just a repair.

Official Complaints

Inevitable, and just another cross to bear. Each time you get one roll a d6. If you roll under the total you get a dishonourable discharge. The game is over. At any point you can ask the commander of the mecha unit to roll. If he rolls over he has his doubts about you and does nothing. If he rolls under, he tears up the complaints and you never hear about them again.


In case you’ve not come across Hell by Starlight they’re available in pdf from Wargame Vault for £4.


And from Amazon in paperback for £9.50 or on Kindle for £4.

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