Thunder on Zyrna by Mike Elliott

Issue: 27
System: Dirtsde II
Publisher: Ground Zero Games

Thunder on Zyrna
by Mike Elliott


This scenario is based on a similar scenario for Traveller/Striker which appeared in The Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society some years ago.

Zyrna is one of the youngest colonies in the Trin's Veil subsector of the Spinward Marches. Located on a small world orbiting the largest gas giant of that system, Zyrna's sixty thousand inhabitants are concentrated around two harbour cities on the eastern coast of the largest continent. The original survey report showed only low levels of potentially exploitable minerals, and the Zyrnans, lacking the equipment and know-how to economically mine these deposits, sought outside help. In return for a substantial share of the profits, the interstellar operation Treliskian Mining Corporation agreed to provide training for the local workers.

Recently, more detailed surveys have shown that there are a large number of metallic ore deposits on the world which are both rich and workable. The Zyrnan government believes that the company will soon attempt to take control of the planet in order to exploit these assets without hindrance. The government, therefore, is looking for a mercenary force to take out the TMC security forces and thus secure the planet's resources under their control.

When the mercenaries arrive on the planet, the Zyrnan government informs them that they have just discovered that TMC have obtained two illegal thermonuclear devices (called thunderballs in military jargon) with which they intend to blackmail the Zyrnans. They have been stored somewhere at the main mining camp. Although the devices were delivered several weeks ago, the technicians with the skill to arm them have not yet arrived. The mercenaries must therefore capture the devices before they can be armed. Under normal circumstances, no organisation or government would dare use thunderballs. TMC however are evidently hoping that the current war will divert attention away from Zyrna and allow the whole incident to be hushed up.


The mining camp, where the nuclear devices are stored, is a collection of pre-fabricated buildings surrounded by an electrified security fence and a cleared free-fire zone. The camp is approximately 1500 metres square. The camp should be placed in the Defenders Rear Area or the Main Battle Area. At any time, up to one third of the garrison will be on patrol away from the main camp. The defender rolls 1D6 for each platoon, on a score of 1 or 2 the platoon is out on patrol.

Defending Forces

The TMC forces defending the main camp consist of two components. Firstly, there are it's own security troops:

  • Four Militia Infantry platoons each consisting of:
    • Five squads, each of two Rifle Teams, each squad mounted in a wheeled APC.

Secondly, TMC have retained the services of another mercenary force to assist their own troops:

  • Two Line Infantry platoons, each of:
    • Five squads, each of two Rifle Teams, each squad mounted in a Grav APC
  • One Weapons platoon, of:
    • Two RAM mortars (light artillery, mounted in a Grav APC)
    • Two GMS/L teams (mounted in a Grav APC)
  • One Tank platoon, of:
    • Four Grav Main Battle Tanks

Attacking Forces

The attacking forces should consist of up to nine platoons. A suggested organisation is given below:

  • Two Powered Infantry platoons, each of:
    • Three squads, each of two Rifle Teams
  • Three Line Infantry platoons, each of:
    • Three squads, each of two Rifle Teams, each squad mounted in a Grav MICV
  • Two Tank platoons, each of:
    • Four Grav Main Battle Tanks
  • One Command Platoon of:
    • One Command vehicle
    • One Area Defence/AA vehicle
    • Two missile vehicles
  • One Artillery Battery of:
    • Three SP artillery vehicles

Victory conditions

This is an Attack/Defence battle, but there are only two objectives, the two thermonuclear devices. These must both be placed somewhere in the camp (you could use the nuclear round counters from the game). The attacking player does not know the exact location, so dummy markers can be used to provide confusion. To win, the attacking player must find both the devices and carry them off his own rear table edge. If only one is successfully captured then the game is drawn.

Ed Note: Dirtside II is a 6mm (Epic) SF Armour rules system produced by Ground Zero Games and was reviewed in Ragnarok 10. Although currently out of print the rules are available as a download from the GZG web site.