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Collecting the goods

A simple scenario to act as an introduction to Caldoom.

On Caldoom, the term ‘Scum and Smugglers’ has been adopted almost as an ethnic identity buy the inhabitants of the Shanties. Thus even perfectly respectable people, diligent clerks in the administration, industrious filers of memos and assiduous retrievers of lost documents, will class themselves as smugglers. Thus genuine smugglers, those actively engaged in smuggling, will seek another name. Thus and so, Yahoo is a Contrabandist.

It is unlikely his doting parents christened him Yahoo, but that is the only name he answers to. He, with his ship ‘Special Delivery,’ will meet incoming ships out in the asteroid belt, and there cargoes will be swapped. Sometimes he will venture further afield, he is known at Dreghorn Junction, but as a legitimate businessman. Yahoo will then bring his ship in to rendezvous with his customers and business associates. Again cargoes will be exchanged and the authorities, busy people all of them, will not be troubled with the keeping of even more records. A popular landing place is on the coast not far from Liberty, to the west of the Western Suburbs. There, you will find the shanty of Booco, or as he is known to the criminal classes of Liberty, Booco the perfectly legitimate fisherman. Whenever there is a ‘delivery’, Booco is always at sea and never sees anything.

On his expeditions, Yahoo is always accompanied by his loyal engineer and sidekick, Stoffen. Yahoo will have an energy carbine plus an energy pistol. Stoffen will have a steel bar he uses for moving the stackers, plus a shotgun.

In this trip, Yahoo has undertaken to deliver three passengers and a number of stackers. Passengers are unusual, Yahoo’s normal response to people wishing to travel with him is to point out that Special Delivery is not a yacht. But he has made an exception for these three. They are three preaching monks of the Itinerant Order of the Poor Brethren. Most reasonable people are willing to make an exception for monks of this order. Not only are the genuinely concerned about the plight of the poor, they aren’t too proud to help, and because their message is always an embarrassment for the smug and comfortable, the amount of trouble they can stir up is frankly impressive. Thus when they arrive the only sensible response is to find a comfortable chair, open the popcorn and settle down to enjoy the fireworks.

The current party of preaching monks consists of, firstly, Brother Roberto, an inspiring preacher and evangelist. He has already been driven out of six systems as a trouble maker, suggesting that theocratic republics should give up little luxuries and support the poor.

Secondly there is Brother Virgil. He is supposed to chronical the sayings of Brother Malthus, ensuring his sermons are spread more widely than just those who hear them in person. More usefully he is also a doctor of medicine rather than theology.

Finally there is Brother Theodore. He is a kindly soul, always ready to help anybody, and has several times laid out those attacking the party, using his heavy staff as a weapon. A Veteran Warrior before he took his vows of poverty, he counts as supremely skilled in melee combat with it.

Yahoo has everything arranged. When he lands, he will be met by one of the gangs who will come with a Traktor and trailer. They will unload their stackers, which will be loaded into the Special Delivery. They will, with the help of Brother Theodore, load the stackers that made up the Special Delivery’s cargo in their trailer. Then accompanied by the three monks, the scum will drive back to Liberty.

The Order of Malthus in his Aspect as the Personification of Self-Restraint

Senior members of the order have heard that Brother Malthus is on his way to Caldoom. This they intend to stop if at all possible. A hand of five of their cultists is flying along the various traktor trails in an air raft hoping to intercept them.

Another hand of cultists is sailing along the coast in a barge, hoping to find them from that direction. In theory they could arrive at the same time but it’s probable that one will arrive first and the other will act as reinforcements.

Fighting the game

On turn 1 Yahoo lands. The Scum are waiting for him with their traktor. Their trailer is already unloaded. Booco is, as always, out at sea and plays no part in this episode.

Move 2 Yahoo is on his phone looking for more trade. Stoffen will start unloading with help from the monks and Scum.

Move 3,4,5 Unloading and loading continues

Move 6 toss a coin in this and subsequent moves, on a heads, the unloading and loading is completed.

The arrival of the cultists.

For each of the two groups of cultists roll 2d6 per move to see if they arrive. Tot up the scores separately for each group, they will arrive when their group has a total of 35. Statistically this means that both groups, rolling perfectly, will arrive on move 5, but dice being what they are, it’s probably the only move they won’t arrive in. But baring amazing dice, nobody will arrive before move 3.

Troop Quality

The forces of The Order of Malthus in his Aspect as the Personification of Self-Restraint

Barge Squad, Second class regulars, 19 reaction points.

The commander, Veteran, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

First Lay Brother. Normal, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Second Lay Brother. Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Third Lay Brother. Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Fourth Lay Brother. Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Air raft Squad. Second class regulars, 18 reaction points.

Brother Almoner, Veteran, flak jacket under robes. Power mace, hard wired. 

Fifth Lay Brother, Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Sixth Lay Brother. Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired.

Seventh Lay Brother. Green, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired.

Eighth Lay Brother, Normal, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

All your brethren get one dice shift in their favour because whilst they are not superbly training in close combat, (which would give them two dice shifts) they have some martial arts training meaning they get one shift. Brother Almoner has a power mace which gives one dice shift because it’s a specialist close combat weapon.

Smugglers and Scum

They use a composite alien reaction table.

Composite Alien reaction table.

Factors to add or subtract to Default Table:

 -1     Under fire.

 -1     Suffered casualties.

+1     Commander in line of command within one move.

We used half a dozen figures.

Composite aliens. Reaction point total 17

Because the figures came from the CP Miniatures Scum and Smugglers range, all are different and figures tend to have a wide variety of weapons.

Looking at an individual figure I would give it either flak or ablative armour. If it has a hand to hand weapon this will give them two dice shifts in close combat. I would allow them the weapon they are equipped with, as well as an energy carbine for ‘general’ use.

As to how competent they are roll a d6 for each figure.

  1. They are Green
  2. They are Green but hardwired for the weapon they are holding
  3. They are normal
  4. They are normal but hardwired for the weapon they are holding
  5. They are normal and hardwired both for the weapon they’re holding and their energy carbine.
  6. They are veteran and hardwired both for the weapon they’re holding and their energy carbine.

Yahoo and Stoffen. Militia, 19 reaction points.

Yahoo Normal, flak jacket under robes. Energy carbine, and hard wired energy pistol.

Stoffen. Veteran with shotgun, plus a steel bar he uses for moving the stackers, he gets two dice shifts for this as a close combat weapon.

Winning and Losing

The Cult isn’t trying to close down a smuggling operation, they just want the three monks. And they want them alive, not dead.
Yahoo and the Scum are ‘contractually obliged’ to look after the three monks, (The problem with running a protection racket is that you have, from time to time, to provide protection, otherwise people stop paying) but they don’t really want to start a feud with the cult.

So the winning side is the one with the three monks, alive, at the end of the game.

Note that everybody is nervous and are likely to be easily surprised. Air rafts appearing out of nowhere, somebody opening fire, are all going to have people making reaction tests and whatever you want, the guys might just open fire anyway.

Solo Play

Because the Cult arrival is determined at random, they make a reasonable adversary if the player takes on the part of Yahoo and the Scum.

Whilst you might wonder whether it is possible for you to decide when the other side ought to open fire, I suspect that the figures will take the issue out of your hands. Nervous people with weaponry can often fire first and rationalise it later.


So Caldoom is ‘launched’. A real scenario! Firstly the figures. When Ali ( ) and I started with the idea of creating our own world, we decided that for Caldoom we would use CP Models figures.

I confess that this is for no better reason than they’re nice figures and Ali and I both liked them. CP Models is, as it were, an innocent bystander. For them, Caldoom is something of a surprise. Hopefully people will like their figures and make it a pleasant surprise. As we continue our way through the sector, leaving a litter of bad prose and shattered mdf behind us, on other worlds, we could well use other figures.

The other thing that makes Caldoom is that Ali makes such cool stuff. Obviously some of it is there in the photos, but there’s a lot more. It’s worth taking a minute just to look at it!

This has led to an interesting creative partnership. I will write something, Ali will produce something which is way nicer than I had in mind, I will rewrite something! So, for example, there weren’t going to be many APCs on Caldoom. Until of course Ali casually produces an APC. So I wander back and rewrite the canon and we have APCs on Caldoom. Admittedly they’re battered and second hand, but still.

Given we’re 2192 miles apart and he’s two hours ahead of me it means he is largely unsupervised. This is probably a good think because rewriting the canon for some nice new toys is always worth the effort.

Rules and stuff? Well I geared it to Hell by Starlight. But I’ve tried to ensure that you can use your own rules with your own figures. Also I’ve tried to ensure that as much as possible is geared to solo play as well as against an opponent. So hopefully for the solo player Caldoom is a setting you can immerse yourself in. There is a Caldoom by Starlight book and other stuff on the way. Ideally it’s a world of imagination, and with all the stuff Ali is turning out, there’s plenty for your imagination to work with.

Hopefully it’s going to be an interesting journey and a lot of fun


Should you want to know more about Caldoom, I’ve written a short novella. Think of it as putting the ‘flavour text’ in a separate volume so it doesn’t get in the way when you’re frantically flicking through trying to remember a rule. Also because it’s a separate volume it has to have characters and plot and stuff. Oh the ignominy. Anyway, it’s available as a pdf from Iliada Game Studio as a pdf for £2

From Wargame Vault, as a £2 pdf

And from Amazon as a paperback for £4.50 or for £2 on Kindle

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