Friend or Foe

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by Matt Crymble/Tom Stephens

Editor's Note: This ship came about because of a question about one of the old Star Frontiers miniature blister packs which was posted on the Star Frontiers Underground Yahoo! Group.  After tracking the miniature down, it turned out to be a ship that looked remarkably like the silhouette of the UPF minelayer on the Knight Hawks counters.  Matt Crymble created the ship write-up.  Tom Stephens added the Knight Hawks encounter.

Sathar Cutter

Background

Frustrated by the successes of the small but effective Assault Scouts against their Destroyers, the Sathar plotted to acquire the Scout design for themselves.  Several attempts to seize copies of the small vessels failed.  The CMS Osprey was saved at the last moment by its boarding crew's valiant actions despite the Sathar having a spy aboard.  The planned purchase via intermediaries of one of the Malthar's Scouts ended with his disappearance after the Dramune War.  Eventually the leaders of the Sathar elite became impatient because simply duplicating the ships would only level the playing field.  They wanted an advantage!

Several Sathar clans worked in competition with one another to create their own Scout vessels.  Unfortunately, Sathar science was geared more toward making things bigger and more powerful but not necessarily smaller and more efficient.  Despite this, Sathar Clan Y succeeded brilliantly in their design of an ultra-fast Scout that was first seen by the Frontier only by the accidental discovery of one by a Mahg Mar survey team in the Liberty System.  But while this design was fast it was also fragile and completely unarmed so was suitable only for scouting and survey missions.  Something else was needed. 

A workable design was finally created by Sathar Clan K, a clan of little real power in the Sathar hierarchy but eager to gain an advantage.  Some consider their efforts only partially successful as they were not able to improve upon the Frontier’s Assault Scout.  However their design was only loosely based on the Assault Scout.  The Cutter is both larger and slower, but it still fills a unique role in Sathar warships as a raider and heavy scout.  Deployment of the new design has also freed up larger Destroyer class ships for other missions.  Additionally, pairs of Cutters can be extremely dangerous to lone patrolling UPF Frigates or mid-sized yachts and privateering ships. 

Statistics

HS: 4   HP: 25  DCR: 60
ADF:MR: 3             
Weapons: LB(x2), Grapples    Defenses: RH, MS(x2)
Crew Size: 12 (+ 16 Marines/Scouts/Boarding Crew)

Description: Originally envisioned by Sathar Clan K as a potential counter to the Assault Scout, over the course of its design the Sathar Cutter turned into a different ship entirely.  Falling somewhere between a Scout and a Corvette, the Cutter is faster than the latter and stronger than the former.  Common tactics include disabling vessels with laser fire then boarding them to kill or capture the occupants or subvert the target ship itself.  They can also be used effectively in colony raids or as freighter hunters.  Radically designed by Sathar standards and not fully embraced by the more powerful Sathar clans, Sathar Cutters are still somewhat rare.

Bushwacked!

A UPF patrol stumbles upon something and doesn't realize what it is until it is too late. 

Background

A UPF Frigate and Assault scout are patrolling at the edge of the asteroid belt in the Liberty system when they stumble across an unidentified ship.

Radar returns and initial imaging seem to indicate that the ship is a UPF Minelayer but it is not responding to hails and something isn't right about the sensor readings.  Before they realize it, they've come within range of the ship which looks like a minelayer but is only hull size 4 instead of 7.  It's a new class of Sathar ship.  And it isn't alone.  The UPF ships must fight to survive and report their discovery while the sathar ships want to keep their presence hidden.

Order of Battle

UPF
  • 1 Assault Scout
  • 1 Frigate
Sathar
  • 3 Cutters

Ship Statistics

Statistics for all the ships used in these scenarios.

Assault Scout

HP: 15     ADF: 5     MR: 4     DCR: 50
Weapons:  LB, AR(x4)
Defenses:  RH

Frigate

HP: 40     ADF: 4     MR: 3     DCR: 70
Weapons:  LC, LB, RB(x4), T(x2)
Defenses:  RH, MS(x2), ICM(x4)

Sathar Cutter

HP: 25     ADF: 4     MR: 3     DCR: 60
Weapons:  LB (x2)
Defenses:  RH, MS(x2)

Setup

This scenario can be played two different ways, with or without an asteroid field on the map.  In this scenario the Sathar are the attacker.

Without the asteroid field

In this setup, it's just a straight fight between the opposing sides.

  • The UPF ships are set up within five hexes of one of the short sides of the map with an initial speed of up to 15 hexes/turn.
  • The sathar ships are then set up within five hexes of the other short side of the map with an initial sped of up to 20 hexes/turn.

With an asteroid field

The addition of the minefield can make for a game of cat and mouse.

  • Use 40 upside down counters to mark the asteroid field along the center of the map in a band 15-20 hexes wide running from one long edge of the map to the other.  Place each counter at the junction between three hexes on the map.  Each hex touched by a counter is considered to have asteroids in it.
  • The UPF player sets up first and places their ships within 5 hexes of the edge of the asteroid field with an initial speed of up to 5 hexes/turn.
  • The Sathar player then places their ships anywhere within the asteroid field in hexes that contain asteroid and within 15 hexes of the UPF frigate.  They may have an initial speed of  up to 5 hexes/turn as well.

Special Rules

If playing with the asteroid field, use the rules for asteroid field movement found on page 34 of the Knight Hawks Campaign Book.

Victory

This is a fight to the death.  The UPF ships must eliminate the Cutters in defense of Liberty system and the cutters need to eliminate the UPF ships to prevent their detection from being reported.  The winner is the first player to eliminate all of the opponent's ships.