Invasion is a sourcebook detailing the Kafer advance along the French Arm of the galaxy, complete with loads of ideas for adventures and events in which the party can become embroiled, if they are privateers operating in space or become resistance fighters due to being on the wrong planet at the right time. Whilst there are other books in this line detailing encounters with the Kafer, not to mention an entire Kafer Sourcebook to let you in on far more that humanity knows about them at the present, you do not need any of them to use this book, although they might help you build your campaign even more effectively.
The book begins with a Referee’s Synopsis that lays out the course of events since first contact was made at Arcturus and Aurore. It then moves on to a section on The Military Situation, which describes the state of play in August 2301, when the events described in this book begin. Whilst the main focus is on human ships, Kafer forces are also mentioned. Next comes a section on The Path of Invasion, which includes a sidebar on how to get the party involved. It also explains how Invasion is intended to provide a backdrop against which your adventures will be played out, recognising that role-playing and all-out war can be difficult bed-fellows. Those who would like to play out major engagements can use the supplement Star Cruiser which presents rules for a starship combat board game (or you can just use the starship combat rules in the 2300 AD core rulebook. Here, though, we concentrate on events that are appropriate for a regular party of player-characters, with the wider sweep of the conflict presented as background. Even before they get involved themselves, the party will be able to hear news reports as the Kafer begin with a surprise attack and then move onwards…
Scene set, the following chapters cover each system the conflict reaches in turn. Every section includes ideas for adventure to use with the party should they be there, and for running a space combat within and around the system, should your tastes run in that direction. Influential personalities are mentioned, perhaps the party will meet them in their travels. You will need to decide when the invasion and the party meet – events before then will have happened but the party may influence later ones – you will have to judge how much their actions make a difference to the suggested timeline.
There is also information on a couple of bases established by the Kafer and a detailed account of the Battle of Beowulf, before moving on to a section called Adventures in the Kafer War which looks in greater detail at the sort of things your party might become involved in. The three main areas are escaping from a planet before the Kafers get there, fighting the Kafers on the ground and fighting them in space. Less martial individuals might concentrate on surviving under Kafer rule, but it is likely – knowing player-characters – that they will probably get caught up in a resistance movement (or even start one!). Other opportunities include courier missions, acting as privateers or even reporting on events to the rest of the galaxy. There are some technical details to help you adjudicate things like communications, blockade running and privateering in general too.
For those who wish to become involved in ground battles, the section War to the Knife provides a wealth of detail pertinent to running anything from a skirmish to a full-blown battle in the context of a role-playing game, where the focus is on the small group of characters that make up your party. This is well-handled and provides some good ideas. Material on Kafer weapons, equipment and starships is also provided.
Invasion handles the difficult subject of running a full-blown war in the middle of a role-playing game well, and provides for plenty of action should the party be caught up in events. Perhaps they will make a real difference, or maybe their fight will be just one to survive: they will, however, have answers to the age-old question, “What did you do in the War?”
[5 of 5 Stars!]