HALO: The Covenant War

by RonKhan, Ideas for a classic pencil & paper RPG

On February 11th, 2525 AD the Covenant attacked the UNSC colony world of Harvest. On August 30th, 2552 AD the UNSC world of Reach fell to the Covenant. Every wondered what happened in all those years, so long ignored? For over thirty years, the Covenant war raged across space. Over eight-hundred human inhabited worlds were ravaged by the Covenant. Their blood-lust fueled by religious doctrine. First the outer colonies were massacred, one by one. Until the inner colonies were laid siege to. In thirty years and eight-hundred planets, many tales of heroism can and should be told.

Any war has many fronts and many objectives. The exploits of Spartan-117 were but the end of a saga. Now that saga begins to unfold. First we had the novels of Eric Nylund and William C. Dietz, excellent work by the way! Now we have Halo Wars and : ODST.

When I watch the Halo: Land Fall series of videos, I am filled with a sense of wonder and excitement. The core of this feeling, of these tales is simple. Humanity against the monsters. With just one question. How many can you save?

My original campaign idea was a party of Spartans, but as the idea began to grow and evolve, I realized that the tale of humanity's struggle should feature its star players. Therefore I have decided to chronicle the exploits of soldiers. And as I looked for the perfect branch of the military it became obvious, Hell Jumpers!

The Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were the best of the best before the Spartan program. Many think that they still are! Join the misadventures and misdeeds of "The Missionaries" a six man team of the 707th ODST division. Off-screen they have been fighting for up to three years. But their story begins in earnest on December 17th, 2530 AD. I chose a group of stars around forty light-years from Earth: the Gliese systems, Ursa Majorus, and some Eridani stars as the sector that the PCs would frequent on their patrols.

I found these details to be ideal. But any GM can modify it to fit their own plans. I would recommend to anyone who likes these ideas, to chose your own sector and begin weaving your own tales. Its all about war stories. Feel free to use my star-systems if you like, or merely have them guest star. Much like , a grander tale may be told by a group of Covenant soldiers realizing the lies of the Prophets. But its ultimately up to the GameMaster and players, enjoy! I will include my version of the Halo Universe timeline, I have made notes and adjustments. Drawing material from many diverse sources. But the novels factor heavily into the overall campaign design. I will update the events of the timeline, as my players adventures continue.

HALO: The Covenant War  RPG TIMELINE

January 3, 2506 AD / Project: ORION, the origin of the Spartan-I program.

However, darker experiments on childern were undertaken and subsequently covered-up. These experiments undoubtedly led to the successes of the later Spartan-II program. Two of these childern were Louise Harris (age 7) & Reginald Socalle (age 9). Prominent members of the 612th ODST team "The Pagans".

September 23, 2517 AD / Spartan-II program begins, the 75 applicants are age 6.

July 12, 2519 AD / Epsilon Eridani System / Reach [Spartan- 117 becomes squad leader by stealing a pelican dropship to get everyone home.]

February 11, 2525 AD / Epsilon Indi System / Harvest

[First Battle of Harvest] Skirmish with Covenant cruiser "Rapid Conversion".

March 9, 2525 AD / Epsilon Eridani System / ONI Medical Facility / Reach orbit

Cybernetic/Medical augmentation of SPARTAN-II trainees at age 14. Thirty-three survive, thirty die, and twelve are permanently disabled.

March 30, 2525 AD / UNSC Carrier Atlas en route to Lambda Serpentis System Funeral service for the fallen Spartan-IIs, who died as a result of failed augmentation.

April 20, 2525 AD / Epsilon Indi System / Harvest

UNSC Argo investigates Harvest, confirmining alien contact before destruction.

April 22, 2525 AD John-117 kills two soldiers and severley wounds another from the 105th ODST division in a scuffle aboard the UNSC Carrier Atlas.

July 10, 2525 AD / Epsilon Indi System / Harvest

The Arbia, Vostok, & Heracles engage the Covenant. Only the Heracles escapes. The Covenant broadcasts the following message: "Your destruction is the will of the Gods... and we are their instrument."

September 14, 2525 AD Eridanus / Rebel Rocks, Spartan-II kidnapping of Colonel Robert Watts.

November 2, 2525 AD / Spartans briefed on the Covenant threat.

November 11, 2525 AD / 18 Scorpii [ G1 star / 45.75 light years from Earth ]

Adventure: The Scorpion Strikes in the Dark.

PC Spartan-II team is taken by UNSC Little Boy to recon Covenant listening post at 18 Scorpii. Objective is to gather intelligence and alien artifacts through a quick strike. [Spartan-IIs' current age 14]

November 15, 2525 AD /

PC Spartan-II team transfers from UNSC Little Boy to UNSC CommonWealth. Covenant artifacts taken for research by UNSC Little Boy immediately, to ONI Research Center Gliese 615-Deep-3.

November 27, 2525 AD / Chi Ceti 4, Damascus Materials Spartan-IIs outfitted with Mjolnir IV powered armor. [Battle of Chi Ceti] UNSC CommonWealth vs Covenant light cruiser "Unrelenting"

January 1, 2526 AD / Spartan-II teams dispatched across the outer colonies to combat the Covenant.

March 1, 2526 AD / Epsilon Indi System / Harvest

[ Second Battle of Harvest ]Vice Admiral Cole engages the Covenant. Two-thirds of Cole's battlegroup is destroyed, but are victorious.

October 21, 2526 AD / Alpha Aurigae System / Origami Asteroid Field

[Battle of Alpha Aurigae] 117 UNSC ships defeat 12 enemy warships, losing 37 ships.

February 13, 2528 AD / Cole, now promoted to Admiral, establishes "The Cole Protocol", forms the First Wave Fleet, & adopts a plan of system hopping.

[Battle of XI Bootis A]

The Outer Colony Massacres begin.

December 17, 2530 AD / Gliese 615 [ K0 / 44.84 LY from Earth ] Ice Planet.

Adventure: Hot Day on Gliese 615-3.

UNSC Bunker Hill drops 707th ODST team "The Missionaries" to recover Covenant artifacts delivered by UNSC Little Boy, to ONI Research Center Gliese 615-Deep-3, a mistaken safe zone. UNSC Bunker Hill destroyed by Covenant shadow-craft [Lurking Fear]. Shipboard A.I. ordered to join the team planetside. UNSC Little Boy arrives in time to retrieve ODST team "The Missionaries", the shipboard A.I. (The Wizard), and the research materials.

December 24, 2530 AD / Groombridge-1830

[Battle of Groombridge] Pyrrhic victory for the UNSC. 17 UNSC vessels against 3 Covenant, casualties 11.

January 2, 2531 AD / Gliese 5 "Gran Quivera" [ K0 / 44.7 LY from Earth ] Ringed Terrestrial.

Adventure: Second Wave.

Rally Point ECHO. The UNSC Little Boy reaches Gliese 5 & "The Missionaries" cargo is delivered. One weeks shore leave before being officially assigned to the UNSC Little Boy. Admiral Cole forms the Second Wave Fleet. The fleet is composed of battlegroups ALPHA through ZULU. Admiral Cole leads battlegroup ALPHA, containing 75% of all UNSC ships. Battlegroups BRAVO through YANKEE are stationed in various systems. Battlegroup ZULU is composed of small ship teams. Numbering between single ships and groups of upto four, placed on patrol duty. UNSC Little Boy is assigned to patrol ZULU.

The Cole Protocol has effectively limited the war to the outer colonies.

Confidence is high.

Except insurrectionists, lead by Reginald Zebo, plan to poison Port Loren with Toxin H2O-X. A stolen ONI bio-weapon.

January 9, 2531 AD / Epsilon Indi System / Harvest

[ Third Battle of Harvest ] UNSC Spirit of Fire leads a successful battle.

February 8, 2531 AD / Procyon System / Arcadia

[ First Battle of Arcadia ] UNSC Spirit of Fire pursues Covenant forces.

February 23, 2531 AD / Unexplored System /

The UNSC Spirit of Fire continues pursuing the Covenant without reinforcements. There fate is unknown. ONI will declare them "lost with all hands" in 2534 AD.

February 28, 2531 AD / Gliese 656 "Smoking Embers" [ K0 / 44.64 LY from Earth ]

Adventure: Mysteries in Fire and Smoke.

Former Ice Planet, Terrestrial due to seismic activty. UNSC Little Boy dispatched to bolster local forces. UNSC battlegroup OSCAR presently engaging the Covenant. The Covenant have captured an abandoned ONI research center, They are there to destroy it for religious reasons. It was once a ForeRunner A.I. factory.

Presence of the Oracle, 404-Burnt Offering.

404 is a rogue A.I. who still belives Mendicant Bias was correct. It escapes in a crippled Covenant CCS-Class cruiser the "Savior's Grace".

March 19, 2531 AD / Gliese 853-A "Dramune" [ G1 / 44.4 LY from Earth ] Rocky Desert.

Adventure: Traitors to Humanity.

UNSC battlegroup PAPA present. UNSC Little Boy recieves and automated distress call from a civilian frieghter calling itself "Thief of Hearts". She reports engine & lifesupport trouble. This is a trap. Insurrectionists, lead by Reginald Zebo, have plundered the UNSC Banshee.

Toxin H2O-X was used to kill the crew of the UNSC cruiser Banshee, after they responded to the same civilian distress call.

Find UNSC Banshee, bring her back, or scuttle her. Eliminate the Insurrectionists.

March 24th, 2531 AD / Crew transfers between the UNSC Little Boy and UNSC Banshee. OF-4 Commander Hank Brookes, OF-4 Cmdr Jason Thourgood, & E6 Lewis Black.

Dramune is evacuated, this forms the first of the refugee fleets? 

December 27, 2532 AD / Spartan III program begins on Onyx in the Zeta Doradus system.

February 12, 2535 AD / Spartan- 117 fights at Jericho VII, last UNSC outer colony.

This marks the end of the Outer Colony Massacres.

January 2, 2536 AD / Siege of the Inner Colonies begins.

Admiral Cole forms the Third Wave Fleet.

November 3, 2536 AD / Spartan III Alpha Company graduates & goes into operation.

July 27, 2537 AD / Spartan III Alpha Company completes Operation: PROMETHEUS.

Disabling a Covenant shipyard, 17 light years past the UNSC's outermost boundary. There were no surviving Spartan III soldiers.

January 21, 2541 AD / Spartan III Beta Company graduates & goes into operation .

April 22, 2544 AD / Admiral Cole forms the Fourth Wave Fleet.

January 2, 2545 AD / Long range stealth orbital insertion pods enter widescale use.

These HEVs feature stealth ablative coating and can be launched from slip-space.

July 3, 2545 AD / Spartan III Beta Company completes Operation: TORPEDO.

Disabling a Covenant plasma refinery. There are only two surviving Spartan III soldiers.

July 18, 2552 AD / Spartan- 117 fights in the city of Cote d'Azur, UNSC inner colony.

On planet Sigma Octanus IV, Sigma Octanus star system.

August 29, 2552 AD / Spartans outfitted with Mjolnir V powered armor on planet Reach.

August 30, 2552 AD / The Fall of Reach.

October 31, 2552 AD / Members of Spartan III Gamma Company's exercises are interupted by the events of "Ghosts of Onyx".