APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 9 October, 2001


Black Talon TacPack: Back to Caprice

An APA Proposal

Dennis D. Kirkpatrick

Author's Preface

Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, I wanted to assemble scenarios that I could organize with my local gaming group and for conventions. At the same time, I needed to write material for APAgear. At that point, it hit me. Why not combine the two efforts, so here we are. I hope you enjoy watching this effort take shape and find it good enough to play for yourself.

Conceptual Summary

This proposal will seek to define a Black Talon Team TacPac. The Black Talon concept, created by Dream Pod 9, is a great springboard for creating a team setting for tactical players. Player groups can assume the role of tactical pilots behind their battles and scenarios, creating a unique playing experience that transcends mere tactical play. This proposal attempts to capture and define that unique playing experience in an APA presentation.

This effort will define a TacPac allowing players and GMs to play out a campaign on Caprice with the 3rd Black Talon Team and opposing CEF forces. Similar to other TacPacs published by Dream Pod 9, this proposal will include a campaign comprised of a fixed set of mission scenarios. Each of these scenarios will incorporate a set of conditions and criteria that will dictate which scenario is played next depending on the outcome. Damage, maintenance and supply will all play a critical role in creating tactical drama that spans across scenarios.

The Black Talon team will be a collage of assorted characters. Determined zealots, overconfident rogues and experienced veterans will make up a team piloting only second-line Black Talon gears. These "paler" dark gears will make the 3rd's job a lot harder. Their mission will require more brains than brawn and "uber-tech", cutting losses and stealing away with partial victories to complete their missions against the CEF. Fortunately, they have a little friendly help, the Liberati.

Detailed coverage of each Black Talon second-line gear will include brief details on the associated pilots. Specific care will be taken to look at equipping weapons on the gears that are easily repaired or resupplied using comparable CEF or Caprician weapon parts and ammo available on Caprice. This means mostly energy weapons, hand grenades, anti-personnel grenades and machine guns. Mortars and missiles, both guided and unguided, will have limited availability due to the difficulty for Liberati to steal them and the risks of damaged goods during salvage operations.

The CEF forces will include an entire Battle Group, specifically the 223rd Armor Battle Group. This CEF Battle Group is commanded by Major Gillian Tomas and comprised of Hovertank, Frame and GREL Infantry Patrols. Details on select CEF units (i.e. a particular Frame, Hovertank or Infantry Patrol) are intended to follow CEF character sketches, where appropriate. Tomas' modified Type 55 Frame will be one of the highlighted CEF vehicles, with other special vehicles and noted infantry patrols as well. In addition, both the 3rd Black Talon and the 223rd Battle Group will have organizational charts, tactical doctrines and historical background explained and outlined.

Scenario conditions and requirements will be determined through a number of criteria. In the case of the CEF, they will have better resources available. The campaign is on Caprice after all. However, morale due to scenario performance and interference from CEF High Command will effect the CEF commander's ability to lead her troops. The Black Talons are going to have things a little tougher. Each scenario is going to up the stakes for them. Repairs and maintenance will not always be available between missions. Also, ammunition may not be accessible or attainable. This will inevitably affect morale, which is not a good thing when you're the mice in a house full of hungary cats.

The real meat of the book will be the mission scenarios. The missions will involve everything from helping the Liberati raid for supplies to full battles against pursuing CEF patrols, including some intelligence gathering on CEF war games using the newer Frames. A prepatory set of mission will preceed the primary campaign, offering players a chance to practice the skills that they will need on Caprice. After those missions, the primary campaign will follow the 3rd Black Talons through a web of scenarios that involve getting pursued by Major Tomas' troops and the Major's personal agenda. No thanks to the great success of the 1st and 2nd Black Talon teams against the 223rd Battle Group, that agenda is a hubris fixation on destroying any Black Talon presence and exposing the Liberati underground within her patrol region. Toward the end of the campaign, her efforts lead Tomas to take rash actions that get CEF High Command involved, placing Tomas' future as an officer in jeopardy. Whether the 3rd survives this whole ordeal depends on themselves, Tomas, CEF High Command and a bit of luck. Gaming tables will be formulated to introduce a certain amount of randomness to the outcomes.

In conclusion, this TacPac is meant to offer a unique Black Talon tactical experience that is similar in principle to Dream Pod 9's other TacPacs. The goal is that players will be able to take on the character roles supplied within and add their own special attitude to the tactical play, giving the tactical experience more dimension and imagination.

Proposed Outline

Table of Contents
Chapter Fiction
Chapter 1	Forces At Play
1.1		Recent Events
1.2		3rd Black Talon -- Wind and Fire
1.3		223rd CEF Battle Group -- Lightning Hounds
Chapter Fiction
Chapter 2	Preparatory Campaign: Training for Caprice
2.1		Scenario 1: Practice makes Perfect
2.2		Scenario 2: Black Sands
2.3		Scenario 3: New Introductions to an Old Enemy
Chapter Fiction
Chapter 3	Campaign: Return to Caprice
3.1		Scenario 1: <<>>
3.2		Scenario 2: <<>>
3.3		Scenario 3: <<>>
3.4		Scenario 4: <<>>
3.5		Scenario 5: <<>>
3.6		Scenario 6: <<>>
3.7		Scenario 7: <<>>
3.8		Scenario 8: <<>>
3.9		Scenario 9: <<>>
3.10		Scenario 10: <<>>
3.11		Scenario 11: <<>>
Chapter Fiction
Chapter 4	GM Resources
4.1		More Vehicles and Equipment
4.2		Scenario Tables and Charts

End Notes

Next month, the project takes on more shape with Practice Makes Perfect and a new Black Talon vehicle refit. Stay tuned.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 9 October, 2001