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Uncle Mark's Amazing Scenario Design System


Mgellis
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Okay, I was bored and I put together some tables for randomly generating scenario ideas. I figured I would share them with folks. Use as many as you need to come up with a good story. Enjoy! I hope they inspire many fun scenarios!

 

 

First, we need to know when the story takes place:

 

Year of Crisis

 

1-2: Cold War: 1970 + 1d20

 

3-4: Turn of the Century: 1990 + 1d20

 

5-6: Present and Near Future: 2010 + 1d20

 

(This gives us a range from 1971 to 2030, which is actually beyond the official range of the HUD-4, but allows for more historical and speculative scenarios. There are enough older platforms in the HUD-4 that one can handle a lot of the 1970s pretty easily. And one can always just re-roll if one feels a particular year is unsuitable, or shift the rolls to 1-3: 1980 + 1d20 and 4-6: 2000 + 1d20, for a range of 1981 to 2020.)

 

 

Second, we need some good guys:

 

Heroic Blue: The Usual Suspects

  1. Australia
  2. Brazil
  3. Canada
  4. E.U.
  5. France
  6. India
  7. Israel
  8. Italy
  9. Japan
  10. NATO
  11. Netherlands
  12. Norway
  13. Other (e.g., Morocco, Germany, etc.) or Roll Again
  14. Pacific Alliance (Mexico, Colombia, and Peru)
  15. Philippines
  16. South Africa
  17. South Korea
  18. Spain
  19. United Kingdom
  20. United States

 

Heroic Blue: Other Possibilities

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Black Sea Nation (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, etc.)
  3. Chile
  4. Denmark
  5. Finland
  6. Germany
  7. Greece
  8. Malaysia
  9. Morocco
  10. New Zealand
  11. Other (Uzbekistan, Estonia, etc.) or Roll Again
  12. Pakistan
  13. Persian Gulf State (Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, etc.)
  14. Poland
  15. Portugal
  16. Singapore
  17. Sweden
  18. Taiwan
  19. Thailand
  20. Turkey

 

Third, we need some bad guys. In fact, I've got THREE tables here (the number after the country's name is a Wikipedia-based guesstimate of how many combat aircraft the country is likely to have available--this is a VERY rough estimate, and obviously the quality of the specific aircraft matters a great deal, but it at least provides some idea of the overall threat presented by the country in question):

 

Concepts for Red Side: The Usual Suspects

  1. Algeria (200)
  2. Angola (60)
  3. Argentina (80)
  4. Belarus (200)
  5. China (1,500)
  6. Cuba (200)
  7. Indonesia (60)
  8. Iran (400)
  9. Kazakhstan (180)
  10. Libya (50)
  11. Myanmar (120)
  12. Non-State Antagonists (e.g., drug cartel, terrorists, pirates, insurgents, etc.)
  13. North Korea (650)
  14. Pakistan (500)
  15. Russia/USSR (1,900)
  16. Serbia (90)
  17. Sudan (70)
  18. Syria (300)
  19. Venezuela (70)
  20. Yemen (160)

Concepts for Red Side: Alternates 1

  1. Albania (30)
  2. Azerbaijan (50)
  3. Bangladesh (100)
  4. Brazil (220)
  5. Bulgaria (80)
  6. Cambodia (30)
  7. Cameroon (50)
  8. Chile (60)
  9. Colombia (40)
  10. Ecuador (60)
  11. Egypt (700)
  12. Ethiopia (40)
  13. Failed state or other nation in the process of civil war, rebellion, or collapse (varies)
  14. Greece (300)
  15. India (1,000)
  16. Iraq (varies)
  17. Jordan (100)
  18. Malaysia (40)
  19. Mexico (50)
  20. Mongolia (80)

Concepts for Red Side: Alternates 2

  1. Morocco (100)
  2. Nigeria (30)
  3. Norway (50)
  4. Other (or Roll Again)
  5. Peru (60)
  6. Poland (100)
  7. Saudi Arabia (280)
  8. South Africa (40)
  9. Spain (150)
  10. Sri Lanka (30)
  11. Thailand (100)
  12. Tunisia (50)
  13. Turkmenistan (80)
  14. Turkey (460)
  15. U.A.E. (80)
  16. Uganda (20)
  17. Ukraine (180)
  18. Uzbekistan (110)
  19. Vietnam (180)
  20. Zimbabwe (30)

 

And, of course, we need a plot. Some generic country names have been used:

 

Basic Storylines: Why Wars and Battles Happen

 

1. The noble and peace-loving country of Freedonia must position some of its forces in a disputed or hostile region to gather intelligence, conduct mine sweeping operations, establish or defend a territorial claim, etc. Freedonia must complete its mission and avoid serious losses. The evil and totalitarian nation of Bacteria will attack them.

 

2. Freedonia must move some of its forces—a convoy, a task force, etc.—through a disputed or hostile region. This may involve running a blockade. Bacteria will attempt to stop them.

 

3. Freedonia must defend its forces or assets against one or more air strikes conducted by Bacteria. Employing air defense effectively and/or maintaining air superiority will probably be critical to this mission.

 

4. Criminals and/or hostile nations are engaged in illegal activities (piracy, smuggling, violating Freedonia’s EEZ, etc.). Freedonia must seize one or more of the ships involved in these actions (i.e., Possess rather than Damage) and bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

5. Freedonia must locate and destroy hostile submarine forces controlled by Bacteria. These must be prevented from reaching their intended destination or completing their intended mission.

 

6. Freedonia must locate and destroy (or seize) hostile surface forces controlled by Bacteria. This may be a convoy or task force, possibly assisted by submarines or aircraft. These surface vessels must be prevented from reaching their intended destination and/or completing their intended mission.

 

7. Bacteria is believed to have supported terrorists, attacked neutral shipping, etc. Freedonia conducts a raid or a punitive strike.

 

8. Freedonia and Bacteria are at war. Freedonia must gain control of the skies over Bacteria and then destroy vital targets on the ground and/or at sea. This may involve air strikes, cruise missile strikes, naval bombardment, and/or the use of marines, commandos, and/or paratroopers.

 

9. Bacteria has attacked or is planning to attack Freedonia’s ally, Harmonia. Freedonia must defend its ally from this attack by destroying Bacteria’s aircraft, ships, and submarines before they can inflict a critical amount of damage on Harmonia.

 

10. Freedonia must conduct a rescue or extraction mission. This will either require getting a submarine or one or more aircraft on station for a certain period of time and then getting them to a safe destination, or gaining control of a ship being used to hold prisoners or hostages (i.e., Possess rather than Damage) and then getting it to a safe destination, all while evading or eliminating forces attempting to prevent the rescue or extraction from taking place.

 

11. Freedonia’s ally Harmonia has experienced a coup. The new government is hostile to Freedonia. Freedonia must invade and occupy Harmonia in order to restore the previous government or establish a new government friendly to Freedonia.

 

12. Failed state Dystopia has collapsed into utter chaos; Freedonia must occupy the country, prevent humanitarian crises and/or acts of genocide, disarm the warring parties, capture or kill pirates or terrorists or drug lords or warlords, and/or assist in rebuilding the nation.

 

13. The non-aligned nation of Neutralia is in the middle of a civil war or rebellion. Freedonia has decided to assist either the existing government or the rebels. The other side may or may not be receiving arms from Bacteria. Freedonia must protect its allies and/or attack its enemies.

 

14. Freedonia has decided to attack Bacteria’s ally Sylvania, its military assets (e.g., warships, etc.), and/or its merchant shipping. Bacteria will either attempt to stop the attack or to assist Sylvania after the attack has taken place.

 

15. Freedonia must maintain a no-fly zone over part or all of Bacteria to prevent that country from engaging in hostile activities against other nations or freedom fighters operating within its borders.

 

16. Freedonia must protect maritime assets such as oil rigs, fishing boats, etc. from hostile nations, criminals, and/or terrorists.

 

17. Freedonia believes that Bacteria is planning an attack; Freedonia must make a preemptive strike against some of Bacteria’s critical military or industrial assets.

 

18. Terrorists, pirates, drug lords, etc. are operating out of Neutralia. Freedonia intends to conduct a raid against them. Neutralia may or may not be assisting Freedonia, or may have even refused to cooperate (possibly because it feels this is an internal matter) and has threatened to attack any of Freedonia’s forces crossing into its territory, territorial waters, or airspace.

 

19. Freedonia must patrol a region (to defend its borders, enforce a blockade, help police the EEZ of an ally, etc.). Hostile forces entering this region and/or attempting to pass through it without authorization must be driven off, seized, and/or destroyed.

 

20. Other or Roll Again.

 

Some more tables, listing possible locations for a scenario...

 

20 Places Where Things Can Go Wrong

 

1. Somalia

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo

3. Sudan

4. Chad

5. Zimbabwe

6. Afghanistan

7. Yemen

8. Iraq

9. Central African Republic

10. Ivory Coast

11. Guinea

12. Pakistan

13. Nigeria

14. Kenya

15. Ethiopia

16. Niger

17. Uganda

18. Myanmar

19. North Korea

20. Eritrea

 

100 More Places Where Things Can Go Wrong

  1. Syria
  2. Liberia
  3. Cameroon
  4. Nepal
  5. East Timor
  6. Bangladesh
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. Egypt
  9. Republic of the Congo
  10. Iran
  11. Cambodia
  12. Mauritania
  13. Uzbekistan
  14. Burkina Faso
  15. Kyrgyzstan
  16. Equatorial Guinea
  17. Zambia
  18. Lebanon
  19. Tajikistan
  20. Solomon Islands
  21. Laos
  22. Angola
  23. Libya
  24. Georgia
  25. Colombia
  26. Djibouti
  27. Papua New Guinea
  28. Philippines
  29. Comoros
  30. Madagascar
  31. Mozambique
  32. Bolivia
  33. Indonesia
  34. Fiji
  35. Tanzania
  36. Ecuador
  37. Azerbaijan
  38. Nicaragua
  39. Guatemala
  40. Moldova
  41. Honduras
  42. China
  43. Algeria
  44. India
  45. Mali
  46. Turkmenistan
  47. Venezuela
  48. Russia
  49. Thailand
  50. Turkey
  51. Belarus
  52. Morocco
  53. Maldives
  54. Serbia
  55. Jordan
  56. Cape Verde
  57. Gabon
  58. El Salvador
  59. Tunisia
  60. Dominican Republic
  61. Vietnam
  62. Mexico
  63. Peru
  64. Saudi Arabia
  65. Cuba
  66. Armenia
  67. Guyana
  68. Suriname
  69. Namibia
  70. Paraguay
  71. Kazakhstan
  72. Republic of Macedonia
  73. Malaysia
  74. Ukraine
  75. South Africa
  76. Cyprus
  77. Albania
  78. Brazil
  79. Brunei
  80. Bahrain
  81. Senegal
  82. Ghana
  83. Belize
  84. Jamaica
  85. Trinidad
  86. Romania
  87. Kuwait
  88. Mongolia
  89. Bulgaria
  90. Croatia
  91. Panama
  92. Latvia
  93. Oman
  94. Greece
  95. United Arab Emirates
  96. Hungary
  97. Argentina
  98. Italy
  99. Poland
  100. Spain

 

In addition, on the off chance we need fishing or merchant fleets, either as good guys to play, bad guys to pursue, or hapless bystanders to protect and/or not kill by accident, here are a few tables based on the largest fishing and merchant fleets in the world:

 

Nations with Major Fishing Industries (i.e., Blue ships to protect or Red ships to sink or capture)

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Canada
  3. Chile
  4. China
  5. Iceland
  6. India
  7. Indonesia
  8. Japan
  9. Malaysia
  10. Mexico
  11. Myanmar
  12. Norway
  13. Peru
  14. Philippines
  15. Russia/USSR
  16. South Korea
  17. Taiwan
  18. Thailand
  19. United States
  20. Vietnam

 

More Nations with Major Fishing Industries (i.e., Blue ships to protect or Red ships to sink or capture)

  1. Argentina
  2. Brazil
  3. Cambodia
  4. Denmark
  5. Ecuador
  6. Egypt
  7. France
  8. Ghana
  9. Iran
  10. Morocco
  11. Netherlands
  12. New Zealand
  13. Nigeria
  14. Pakistan
  15. Senegal
  16. South Africa
  17. Spain
  18. Tanzania
  19. Turkey
  20. United Kingdom

 

Major Shipping Fleets (i.e., Blue ships to protect or Red ships to sink or capture)

  1. China
  2. Denmark
  3. Germany
  4. Greece
  5. Hong Kong
  6. India
  7. Iran
  8. Italy
  9. Japan
  10. Malaysia
  11. Norway
  12. Russia/USSR
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Singapore
  15. South Korea
  16. Switzerland
  17. Taiwan
  18. Turkey
  19. United Kingdom
  20. United States

 

And a few more possible locations for scenarios...

 

20 Maritime Choke Points

  1. Bab el-Mandab (Gulf of Aden)
  2. Bosporus
  3. English Channel
  4. Lombok Strait (East of Java)
  5. Luzon Strait
  6. Makassar Strait (East of Borneo)
  7. Mozambique Channel
  8. Oresund (between Denmark and Sweden)
  9. Panama Canal
  10. Strait of Messina (South of Italy)
  11. Straits of Gibraltar
  12. Straits of Hormuz
  13. Straits of Malacca
  14. Suez Canal
  15. Sunda Strait (East of Sumatra)
  16. Taiwan Strait
  17. The Nine Degree Channel (Arabian Sea, north of Male)
  18. The Six Degree Channel (Andaman Sea, north of Sumatra)
  19. Torres Strait (North of Australia)
  20. Yucatan Channel (between Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean)

 

20 Troubled Seas

  1. Adriatic Sea
  2. Aegean Sea
  3. Andaman Sea
  4. Arabian Sea
  5. Argentine Sea
  6. Baltic Sea
  7. Barents Sea
  8. Bering Sea
  9. Black Sea
  10. Caribbean Sea
  11. Caspian Sea
  12. East China Sea
  13. Labrador Sea
  14. Mediterranean Sea
  15. North Sea
  16. Red Sea
  17. Sea of Japan
  18. South China Sea
  19. Timor Sea
  20. Yellow Sea

 

(An Exclusive Economic Zone might be the scene of all kinds of confrontations, any of which might escalate into a genuine conflict...)

 

 

The Twenty Largest EEZs

  1. United States
  2. France
  3. Australia
  4. Russia
  5. United Kingdom
  6. New Zealand
  7. Indonesia
  8. Canada
  9. Japan
  10. Portugal
  11. Chile
  12. Brazil
  13. Kiribati
  14. Mexico
  15. Federated States of Micronesia
  16. Denmark
  17. Papua New Guinea
  18. Norway
  19. India
  20. Marshall Islands

The Second Twenty Largest EEZs

  1. Philippines
  2. Solomon Islands
  3. South Africa
  4. Seychelles
  5. Mauritius
  6. Fiji
  7. Madagascar
  8. Argentina
  9. Ecuador
  10. Spain
  11. Maldives
  12. Peru
  13. China
  14. Somalia
  15. Colombia
  16. Cape Verde
  17. Iceland
  18. Tuvalu
  19. Vanuatu
  20. Tonga

The Third Twenty Largest EEZs

  1. Bahamas
  2. Palau
  3. Mozambique
  4. Morocco
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Namibia
  7. Yemen
  8. Italy
  9. Oman
  10. Myanmar
  11. Sri Lanka
  12. Angola
  13. Greece
  14. Venezuela
  15. Vietnam
  16. Ireland
  17. Libya
  18. Cuba
  19. Panama
  20. Malaysia

The Fourth Twenty Largest EEZs

  1. Nauru
  2. Equatorial Guinea
  3. Republic of Korea
  4. Thailand
  5. Egypt
  6. Turkey
  7. Jamaica
  8. Dominican Republic
  9. Liberia
  10. Honduras
  11. Tanzania
  12. Pakistan
  13. Ghana
  14. Saudi Arabia
  15. Nigeria
  16. Sierra Leone
  17. Gabon
  18. Barbados
  19. Côte d'Ivoire
  20. Iran

100 More EEZs and Nations with Troubled Borders

  1. Mauritania
  2. Comoros
  3. Sweden
  4. Senegal
  5. Netherlands
  6. Ukraine
  7. Uruguay
  8. Guyana
  9. North Korea
  10. São Tomé and Príncipe
  11. Samoa
  12. Suriname
  13. Haiti
  14. Algeria
  15. Nicaragua
  16. Guinea-Bissau
  17. Kenya
  18. Guatemala
  19. Antigua and Barbuda
  20. Tunisia
  21. Cyprus
  22. El Salvador
  23. Finland
  24. Bangladesh
  25. Taiwan
  26. Eritrea
  27. Trinidad and Tobago
  28. East Timor
  29. Sudan
  30. Cambodia
  31. Guinea
  32. Croatia
  33. United Arab Emirates
  34. Germany
  35. Malta
  36. Estonia
  37. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  38. Belize
  39. Bulgaria
  40. Benin
  41. Qatar
  42. Republic of the Congo
  43. Poland
  44. Dominica
  45. Latvia
  46. Grenada
  47. Israel
  48. Romania
  49. The Gambia
  50. Georgia
  51. Lebanon
  52. Cameroon
  53. Saint Lucia
  54. Albania
  55. Togo
  56. Kuwait
  57. Syria
  58. Bahrain
  59. Brunei
  60. Montenegro
  61. Djibouti
  62. Lithuania
  63. Belgium
  64. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  65. Singapore
  66. Iraq
  67. Slovenia
  68. Jordan
  69. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  70. Kazakhstan
  71. Turkmenistan
  72. Azerbaijan
  73. Mongolia
  74. Chad
  75. Niger
  76. Mali
  77. Ethiopia
  78. Bolivia
  79. Zambia
  80. Afghanistan
  81. Central African Republic
  82. South Sudan
  83. Uzbekistan
  84. Zimbabwe
  85. Burkina Faso
  86. Uganda
  87. Laos
  88. Belarus
  89. Kyrgyzstan
  90. Nepal
  91. Tajikistan
  92. Malawi
  93. Serbia
  94. Bhutan
  95. Moldova
  96. Armenia
  97. Burundi
  98. Rwanda
  99. Macedonia
  100. Kosovo

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick note...I modified (and hopefully improved) the system slightly, adding a new table and changing the wording in other tables in a few places. Obviously, you don't use every table every time and not every set of rolls will give people a viable scenario (some results will be totally implausible or ridiculous) but I hope that, as a brainstorming tool, the system overall is helpful and fun!

 

Anyone who wants to post scenario ideas they've generated from the system in this thread should feel free to do so. It would be fun to see what people come up with. And the whole idea is to encourage scenario design for Harpoon.

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Your are not alone, thanks by the table Mark, it's not in the 169 pages of my personal main Harpoon theory working paper!

(Secondary papers are about RCS, radar, sonar, submarines and sound signatures, determined plane types, armour ...).

Some of the more strange tables are about infantry quality, weapons and size for fit it on transport planes and helicopters, artillery PH, with what amount of losses a country must lose the campaign, counting the historic period, nationality, fanatism and political system ....

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I don't have any of the exotic dice Mark is using.

But I was able to work up an alternate using a spreadsheet program and the random number generating function, RANDOMBETWEEN(X,Y).

It lets you set the year in one step, RB(1960,2030).

 

I also set up the main Blue and Red sections in columns that did not have to be limited to 20 entries.

Picking the allies for Red and Blue was interesting since I sometimes got the same country on both sides (possibly a civil war, or insurgent proxies?).

 

It would make things even more interesting if there were a column to pick neutral nations that clutter up the action and constrict the options of Blue and Red? I'm thinking about Sweden or Switzerland during the Cold War. They were ready to shoot down any plane that flew over their territory and didn't care which direction it was going. An island nation neutral might force a naval task force to sail the long way around in international waters, giving the enemy enough time and knowledge to set up an ambush.

 

Mark, I noticed you had an entry for Red Non-State Belligerents (pirates, smugglers, etc.).

What about neutrals and NGO's? Would it be too distracting for the Blue player if the orders included the protection of (but no control over) a Doctors Without Borders Clinic at the same time he attacks Red and Red's Ally(ies)? A Neutral (Green) ship might be a fool that sailed his yacht into an exclusion zone, or a CNN charter boat watching a carrier launch an airstrike. You can't order them to clear the area, and you can't sink them.

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I don't have any of the exotic dice Mark is using.

But I was able to work up an alternate using a spreadsheet program and the random number generating function, RANDOMBETWEEN(X,Y).

It lets you set the year in one step, RB(1960,2030).

 

I also set up the main Blue and Red sections in columns that did not have to be limited to 20 entries.

Picking the allies for Red and Blue was interesting since I sometimes got the same country on both sides (possibly a civil war, or insurgent proxies?).

 

It would make things even more interesting if there were a column to pick neutral nations that clutter up the action and constrict the options of Blue and Red? I'm thinking about Sweden or Switzerland during the Cold War. They were ready to shoot down any plane that flew over their territory and didn't care which direction it was going. An island nation neutral might force a naval task force to sail the long way around in international waters, giving the enemy enough time and knowledge to set up an ambush.

 

Mark, I noticed you had an entry for Red Non-State Belligerents (pirates, smugglers, etc.).

What about neutrals and NGO's? Would it be too distracting for the Blue player if the orders included the protection of (but no control over) a Doctors Without Borders Clinic at the same time he attacks Red and Red's Ally(ies)? A Neutral (Green) ship might be a fool that sailed his yacht into an exclusion zone, or a CNN charter boat watching a carrier launch an airstrike. You can't order them to clear the area, and you can't sink them.

Another option for random number generation is to download one of the freeware dice rollers people have written. There are a bunch of them. I use Smallroller. Using tables with 20 items doesn't mean anything special; I set things up that way simply because I have a bunch of d20s in my house and it was an easy way to do it. In any event, the tables are really set up more as a brainstorming tool than anything else; you can roll on one table or all of them or anything in between and just use the results to inspire ideas and re-roll anything that does not make sense.

 

As for neutrals, yes, absolutely. You can set up a "protection" mission by making another side (in H3) an ally (friendly posture on both sides). You can't control their units, but any losses against their forces will still count against you if you have a "Protect" victory condition where you have to protect a certain number of units.

 

For example, you could set up "United Nations Peacekeepers" as one side (the side you are playing) and "Doctors Without Borders" as another Blue side. Your task force will follow your orders, but the DWB side (maybe a merchant being used as a floating hospital) will simply follow a pre-programmed mission...you still have to protect it if you have set up a Victory Condition like Protect/1 Unit/100%/Sub-Class: Merchant.

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  • 1 month later...

I just modified these again. I changed the plot lines (I wasn't entirely happy with them and I think the new version is better). I also added a couple of tables with more possible locations for scenarios...troubled seas and maritime choke points. Enjoy!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've added another brainstorming table, "100 EEZs Where Things Could Go Wrong." In this case, it's not the country itself that is in trouble, but the EEZ where a confrontation of one kind or another might take place. This includes all kinds of countries, ranging from those who might be particularly aggressive in defending their EEZ, to those involved in territorial disputes over borders, to those who have large EEZs that are hard to patrol and might look tempting to someone willing to engage in illegal fishing or similar activities.

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