Optional Mission 2a – The Green Bands

November 3, 2009

Planet: Nox

Location: Outside the city of Trondhiem

Date: January 1, 3031

Colonel David Ralleagh cursed loudly as he read the communique from his beleaguered  convoy. He had been cursing ever since he took command of the Spaceport garrison force on Nox. Nothing about this assignment had gone according to plan.

Months ago Ralleagh had cursed when the second half of the garrison force had been moved off world to help with the offensive against the DCMS leaving him without enough BattleMechs to adequately defend both the starport and the city of Trondhiem. As a result Ralleagh had been forced to concentrate his forces at the starport and could allow only minimal military presence on the all-important supply convoys.

Weeks ago Ralleagh had cursed at the civil engineers who informed him that the plans for a well paved road through the forests dividing the Starport and the city were postponed indefinitely. These so called “Green Bands” of forest were both a logistical and tactical nightmare. Unfortunately it seemed that neither expediency nor safety were pressing concerns and the materials and manpower simply did not exist to complete the project.

Days ago Ralleagh had cursed under his breath when his officers had informed him that moral among the enlisted men was low and that some were grumbling about desertion or worse. Faced with this problem Ralleagh had allowed all but a skeleton crew to take a days liberty and celebrate the New Year and let off some steam. Ralleagh had weighed the risk of being under staffed for a day against the possibility of an all out revolt down the road. He had chosen the former and realized now how big a mistake that had been.

The Colonel had ordered a young comm officer to round up any MechWarriors she could find who weren’t too hungover to function. David seized yet another opportunity to curse as she met him in the Mech hangar with only two young men trailing behind her. Absolutely nothing was going according to plan. Three BattleMechs against a mixed lance of mercenaries. Ralleagh could only hope that the attackers had already suffered some losses. Hope and curse.

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MechWarrior – Leif Svalgaard

November 3, 2009

Name: Leif Svalgaard

Age: 26

Sex: M

Current Assignment: Camerons Legion (MechWarrior, Machinist Mate)

Lance: Hyperborean Drakes

Gunnery: 3

Piloting: 5

Weapon: Small/Medium Lasers

Mech: Medium

Experience: 2

Player: A

My name is Leif Svalgaard.  I grew up on New Slartibartfast, a cold, snowy planet full of frosty fjords.  It’s so cold that we depend heavily on our machinery to survive the long winters until the single warm month when “’tis short spring, at last; the frigid ice-blast of Slartibartfast has passed into past,” as the ancient saying goes.  So I grew up a skilled mechanic.  Our beloved planet’s inhospitable environment has also rendered me particularly adept at wilderness survival (a forgotten bard once spoke of our planet thus: “This white waste of hinterland is the ice-hard splinter and shard of frost-dead Winterland,” which is the legendary ice-world of a god whose breath will one day freeze the fire of the stars: “The glittering ice-god exhales frigid frost to freeze life-fires in death-ice”).  New Slartibartfast has taught me to remain cool-headed in all situations; on my world, giving way to the fire of rashness leads directly to death.  Also, while I love eating fish–especially those from “the frozen fjords of ‘Fast” (for so we sometimes refer to our world)–I hate sushi.


Behind the Scenes – Roleplaying, lite.

November 3, 2009

One of the few things I don’t like about the BattleTech system is how it reduces pilots to only two stats, piloting and gunnery. In order to add a bit more roleplaying into the campaign (without digging into the MechWarrior system) I’ve introduced specialties as well as a modified version of BTs existing experience system. Here’s an example of the simple pilot info sheet I’ve created and some details about the XP system.

Pilot Sheet

I’ve swiped some of the specialization categories from MechCommander 2. I’ve also edited the experience advancement rules from the basic master rulebook. Here’s how my rules work, keep in mind these have not been playtested and are designed for a short (6 missionish) campaign.

After completing a mission every surviving pilot is awarded XP
1 XP for surviving
1 XP for surviving with Mech intact
various XP may be awarded by GM for spectacular valor in combat

Over the course of a campaign players may use XP to purchase upgrades in skill. 4 XP to reduce their piloting skill modifier by 1, same for gunnery skill. 2 XP can be used to transfer a specialty point (pilots cannot have more than one weapons specialty and one mech specialty at a time).

Specialty points add a -1 piloting modifier when using that class of mech or a -1 gunnery modifier when using that weapon type. Pilots may have one weapon specialty and one mech specialty at a time.

 


Mission 2 – New Employers

November 2, 2009

Planet: Nox

Location: Outside the city of Trondhiem

Date: January 1, 3031

After retreating from an unwinnable battle at the Serpent’s Lake Research Facility on Maule the 3rd company of the 5th Rasalhague Regulars attempted to make contact with the Draconis Combine military and regroup. Upon establishing radio contact and delivering a situation report the company is provided with grave instructions. They are to report to the nearest DC garrison and commit Seppuku for their dishonor. Unable to convince their commanding officer Chu-sa Kage Kune, a radical adherent to bushido, that his request was not only excessive but completely unreasonable the 3rd company quickly decides to strike out on their own.

Labeled as ronin by their commanding officer, thus unable to return to any branch the Draconis Combine military, and carrying what amounts to 170 tons of stolen technology, the company attempts to find safe passage off-world. With nothing of value but their battle-scarred Mechs and their skills as Mechwarriors they seek out a mercenary unit that might be willing to take them in. Camerons Legion fits that bill. The company makes contact with Sgt. Lucia Dale, a representative from the Legion, in a recently pacified region of Maule. Dale explains that the Legion remains under contract with the Draconis Combine and will be moving off of Maule and into Lyrian Alliance occupied territory. The disaffected Mechwarriors are welcome to take a ride if they are willing to provide combat support and if they can prove themselves they might be offered permanent positions in the Legion.

And so the ronin Lance finds themselves engaging in their first mercenary action on the planet of Nox. Military supplies and weapons have been shipped by lightly armored convoys from production facilities in the city of Trondhiem to a garrison force in a Lyrian military controlled starport. The former 3rd company has been tasked with ambushing the convoy and confiscating as many of the supplies as possible. The purpose of this attack is two-fold; first it will draw some of the garrison troops away from the starport so the rest of the Legion can launch an assault, and second any captured supplies are the property of the mercenaries according to their salvage contract.


Behind the Scenes – Saving Time

November 2, 2009

It’s official, my gaming crew is awesome!

I got an e-mail this morning and one of the players wrote a ‘to-hit’ calculator for me. It’s a cute little program that accepts all of the possible modifiers and adds them up instantly. It’s simple but I’m sure it will help speed up the pace of play.

One of the things that has been slowing down our games is that I, as the GM am responsible for calculating the attacks of anywhere for 4 – 10 units a round. Add into that the fact that I have never been particularly fast at mental math and you have the recipe for a bottle neck. To this end I’m going to be implementing some streamlining features into our next game to see if we can’t speed things along:

Order of Play: After movement when we begin resolving attacks the GM will resolve all of the NPC attacks first, with the help of the player being attacked. Players who are not directly being attacked will calculate their hits, locations and damage on their own. Once the GM is done each palyer will be able to read off Target, damage, location, and then sort out any criticals. I have a really honest group so I can trust them not to lie about hits and misses.

New Markers: I’ll be printing out markers on cardstock that have “+1,” “+2” … “+12” and everyone will get a set. After movement pilots will be responsible for calculating the modifiers they are responsible for: Spaces moved, jumping, if they are standing in woods, etc. They will place the marker on their hex and the attacking character will only be responsible for calculating their own modifiers rather than having to constantly ask questions such as “how far did he move” and “did he jump?”

The Calculator: Like I said before I’m going to give this program a test run to see if I can’t streamline my side of the equation. Here’s a pic of what it looks like.

BattleTech Calc Pic


MechWarrior – Michael Hyung-Sei

November 2, 2009

Name: Michael Hyung-Sei

Age: 21

Sex: M

Current Assignment: Camerons Legion (MechWarrior, Intelligence Officer)

Lance: Hyperborean Drakes

Gunnery: 3

Piloting: 5

Weapon: Med/Sm Laser

Mech: Medium

Experience: 2

Player: M

Only child of Robert & Rebekah Hyung-Sai. Parents worked in a Mech production factory. Both parents killed during a raid on the factory. Lived on the streets as an orphan till he joined a gym and became a mech pilot. He tried to become the best Mech warrior he could by training all the time.


MechWarrior – Jelergen Meeves

November 2, 2009

Name: Jelergen Meeves

Age: 28

Sex: M

Current Assignment: Camerons Legion (MechWarrior, Communications Technician)

Lance: Hyperborean Drakes

Gunnery: 3

Piloting: 5

Weapon: LRM

Mech: Heavy

Experience: 1

Player: S

Jelergen Meeves, son of Alexi Meeves and Kameko Kurita. Father was killed in battle when Jelergen was six, while fighting against overwhelming odds. Because his father was a great war hero and his mother was born into House Kurita, Jelergen was a shoo-in to the prestigious Sun Zhang Academy. However, Mech piloting wasn’t his forte, and he was expelled. Jelergen drifted for a few years, doing odd jobs around the Combine until he decided to join the Deiron District Gymnasium where it took him six years to graduate.