Sunday, 16 June 2013

NYW Savoy Artillery

As you can see, I've clearly managed to get a lot of painting done since the last NYW update... I've finished one single solitary light gun and crew.

Savoy's artillery performed in a somewhat lacklustre fashion for much of the Nine Years War. Crewed by civilians rather than a permanent corps, the army lost near enough it's entire artillery train (30 guns) in a single battle at the beginning of the war.



Given the mountainous terrain, it's perhaps unsurprising that (like the cavalry) Savoy-Piedont's artillery arm often seems more like an afterthought than an important part of the Duchy's military.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Total Chaos Solo Campaign

Now that I've finally got myself enough Mechs and other miniatures painted white to represent Word of Blake forces, I'm just about ready to begin my "solo" Battletech campaign. Not that it will be a true solo campaign as such, I'll be drafting in other people to play the OpFor in all the scenarios and tracks I generate.

For the most part, I'll be using the updated Chaos Campaign rules in the Total Chaos campaign book, with a few exceptions (mostly drawn from Doug's Succession Wars era Chaos Campaign). I'll also be generating my own Mercenary unit using the rules in Field Manual: Mercenaries (Revised) rather than picking one of the three pre-generated Merc units provided in the Total Chaos book.

Although I can't go into too much detail about Doug's House Rules without first obtaining his permission, here's a quick list of the Dougal's House rules that I'll be using:
  • Pilots, Crews and Infantry improve their skill ratings by spending experience points rather than by spending support points. 4XP buys a pilot increase, 8XP buys a gunnery increase. Specialist talents (such as Marksman) can be purchased XP points as well.
  • To compensate for this, new pilots and crews (but not infantry) are purchased using War Chest Points rather than support points, making new pilots ten times more expensive.
  • Rather than simply spending a few Support Points to completely re-arm a Mech, specific types of ammunition stockpiles must be purchased individually using War Chest Points.
  • I'll be using Doug's repair costs table, which takes into account such things as replacing new limbs, armour points, internal structure points and so on. Weapons and equipment that take up critical-hit slots have to be paid for and stockpiled separately..

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Battletech: The Steel Legion Issues an Official Statement

+++++++++STEEL LEGION RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS+++++++++

A press conference was called today by the Steel Legion mercenary company. Spokesman Tiberius Valentino addressed recent accusations of their participation in the recent urban devastation on Galtor III.
Image
The camera cuts to a podium bearing the Steel Legion crest as a Mercenary in a immaculately pressed uniform addresses the assembled reporters.

“My name is Tiberius Valentino and on behalf of my fellow members of the Legion and myself I would like to read the following prepared statement.

Tiberius of the Steel Legion
We in the Legion would like to express our deepest regret for any civilians who may have suffered a loss of property during the recent actions on Galtor III and in the city of New Derry in particular. While we will not comment on the actions of the DCMS withdrawal from the region, the Legion's stance is that such damage should be avoided wherever possible but that it is an unfortunate fact of life that this is not always the case. There are those who would seek to glamorize warfare through poorly made, voyeuristic and quite frankly, gaudy holo-dramas, who would have you believe otherwise. However, the conflict on Galtor III was a very real and serious affair. To present it as otherwise is not only disrespectful to those who have fought but also dishonors the memory of those who have fallen on both sides.

That being said, the damage inflicted upon the New Derry University was wholly unacceptable. Responsibility for these actions can be laid squarely at the feet of one Barrabas Hideyoshi, formerly a Sho-Sa in the DCMS. His unwarranted and cowardly actions led to this wanton destruction. Hideyoshi is now a wanted fugitive and has chosen to flee rather than face punishment for his crimes.

It is also important to note that although significant property damage was sustained, the area had been evacuated and that there were no civilian casualties. Any attempts by other parties to claim otherwise or to accuse the Steel Legion of complicity in Hideyoshi's actions are nothing more than a blatantly slanderous attempt to discredit the Legion. Rest assured that the Steel Legion will be fully cooperating with the ISF and any other intelligence or security organisation in their attempts to apprehend Hideyoshi and see that he faces justice for his actions.

That's all for now. Thank you for listening, ladies and gentlemen.”

Brians Notes:
  • I very much enjoyed the little dig at the Fox Hounds and their Battle-Rom documentary. Describing it as a holo "drama", a work of fiction, was an especially nice touch.
  • No civilian casualties eh? When the DCMS was carrying out a scorched earth policy, the took the time to evacuate civilians did they? Hmmm. Well, either the Fox Hounds or the Steel Legion are lying about that. I wonder which ones....
  • I believe this rebuttal was written by William, who plays Tiberius in the campaifn.

Inner Sphere News: 3025 in Summary

Although I've been including snippits of "Inner Sphere News" here and there on the battle tech campaign pages, I've been limiting myself to only using the articles that directly relate to events involving the players.

Really, that strikes me as a bit of a waste, especially considering that DM Dougal puts so much effort into them. So here they are: the full set of news reports for 3025 up until the duel between the Steel Legion and Hideyoshi.

NOTE: If all this jumping back and forth has you confused, you can read all the news reports in chronological order on the new Inner Sphere News page. Just click the link under the banner.:

INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH JULY 25TH 3025



+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++

File:Stein's Folly Neighbors.png
Steins' Folly
Capellan Confederation forces have launched an assault on the Federated Suns world of Stein's Folly. Capturing two Invasion Class jumpships, forces from both McCarron's Armoured Cavalry and St. Ives Armoured Cavalry assaulted the world. Hanse Davion has ordered the 17th Avalon Hussars and 5th Crucis Lancers to defend the region. Latest reports indicate that Davion drop-ships have been intercepted by Capellan aerospace cover and casualties are high.

+++++++++EXCLUSIVE - LCAF UNVEILS NEW HEAVY TANK++++++++

Cyclops Inc has rolled out it's latest heavy hover-tank which is receiving rave reviews from industry correspondents. The tank performed favorably in field tests at the Skye testing facilities and has proved a capable match for low-end medium battlemechs.

Classic BattleTech: Drillson Hvy. Hover Tank 2pk.
Drillson Heavy Hover Tank

 At the top of the hover weight class, the vehicle features six and half tons of Arc-Shield armor evenly spread across the tank with front and turret protection only slightly stronger. This protection and armament are higher than average for a hovercraft and even allows the Drillson to engage BattleMechs in direct combat.


The targeting systems available to Drillson crews almost equal BattleMech standards, featuring a full 360° view of the battlefield and a direct connection with the turret-mounted Cyclops Eye Large Laser.


The Drillson relies mostly on the Cyclops Eye Large Laser based in its turret. The Laser is a home-brew design by Cyclops and the tank's targeting systems were developed especially for this weapon. Mounted alongside the Laser are two HoverTech SRM-2-racks supplied with one ton of ammunition. A single Light CrossBow LRM-10 and two Kicker Machine Guns complete the the weapons array.

++++++++SAVANNAH MASTER HOVERCRAFT TO INCORPORATE LOSTECH FUSION ENGINE++++++++




The Savaanah Master: Tiny but deadly.

S.L. Industries has announced that it's new reconnaissance hovercraft is to incorporate a miniature fusion engine, outclassing many current designs utilizing standard ICE technology. Their new craft is allegedly capable of speeds approaching 200 kmph making it one of the fastest  ground vehicles on the field to date.

INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH AUGUST 6TH 3025


+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++


Draconis Combine units in the Galedon and Benjamin Military Districts have been placed on high alert with all regiments recalled from leave and set to op-ready status. Combine spokesmen have indicated that the move is merely a military exercise whilst Federated Suns units in the Draconis March have upgraded the status of their own garrisons to high alert.

+++++++++EXCLUSIVE - LIVE UPDATE FROM THE CAPELLAN MARCH+++++++++

Bloody and brutal fighting continues between Capellan and Federated Suns forces on the world of Stein's Folly around the City of Steinsdown with heavy casualties on both sides. Reports indicate that heavy aerospace bombing by the Capellans has broken several battalions in the swamps to the south of the city. 

Fighting continues on Stein's Folly

+++++++++LOSTECH ARTIFACTS FLOOD DRACONIS MARCH+++++++++

A recent glut of lostech artifacts has hit the auction houses and markets of the Draconis March. There are no indications as to the origin of these items but MIIO agents and mercenaries alike are searching for their source. Rumours abound that a Star League cache has been uncovered in the region, recently surveyed by a Galactic survey commissioned by Hanse Davion in 3024.

FNS INTERSTELLAR NEWS HOUR


++++++++STEINS FOLLY, JORDAN'S PASS+++++++++

*A blonde woman in combat fatigues gives the camera a dazzling smile*

Kat Krystal: "This is Kat Krystal for Federated News Services, coming to you live from the world of Stein's Folly. I'm currently accompanying the 17th Avalon Hussars toward Jordan's pass-"

*MUFFLED EXPLOSIONS IN THE DISTANCE*

Kat Krystal: "-and as you can hear, the Capellans are shelling the pass ahead in an attempt to prevent the Davion forces consolidating toward Steinsdown."

*SOUND OF RETRO ROCKETS*

Kat Krystal: "Outside, I can see a Leopard dropship is landing - it's a mercenary vehicle! I'm heading over!"

*The camera shakes and follows Kat out of an APC toward a motley crew of figures emerging from a dropship*

Kat Krystal: "Who are these guys?"

Cameraman: "Steel Legion, I think."

Kat Krystal: "Steel Legion! Kat Krystal, Federated News Services, can I ask you guys a few questions?

*one of the mercs grins and wanders over*


Fawlkes Lessaaris
Fawlkes: "What ho. Fawlkes Lessaaris, Steel Legion.

Kat Krystal: "I thought I recognised you! Mind answering a few questions?"

Fawlkes: "Certainly! Always a pleasure addressing my public!"

Kat Krystal: "The Steel Legion are a new face on the mercenary scene, can you tell us how you came together as a unit?"

Fawlkes: "Well, we were in a bar drinking, and someone said, and I quote: 'Ye kno' wha' we shoo do? Make a lanshe... a big lanshe...'
I have no idea who that was, but it seems to have worked out okay."

Kat Krystal: "You were previously employed as a Solaris VII gladiator, what made you sign up with a mercenary company?"

Fawlkes: "Scandal! I was cheated! I prefer not to talk about it, but you can quote me as I was cheated!"

Kat Krystal: "The Federated Suns are not normally reliant on mercenaries - is your contract a sign of desperation in the face of overwhelming Capellan force?"

Fawlkes: "Oh heavens no. I think they just want someone to go do the dirty jobs they wouldn't normally sully their oh-so-honourable paws with."

Kat Krystal: "The fighting on Stein's Folly has been seen as an inevitable Capellan victory - do you think the Federated Suns can defend their world?"

Fawlkes: "Yes. Don't ask me why, but I think yes."

Kat Krystal: "There have been rumours of Capellan soldiers committing atrocities in breach of the Ares conventions - have you seen any evidence of this?"

Fawlkes: "Damn straight I have! Using a Griffon and a Jaegermech against a recon lance! Most unsporting!"

*A siren sounds and the sound of muffled explosions begins again*

Kat Krystal: "Well, that's all we have time for! Looks like the Capellans are starting another bombardment. This is Kat Krystal, Stein's Folly, your eyes and ears in the heart of the action!"

*Cut to FNS newscaster*

Charlie Reddick: "Thanks Kat! And now sports. The latest from Solaris VII..."


INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH SEPTEMBER 5TH 3025

+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++

Capellan forces are withdrawing from the world of Stein's Folly after a protracted struggle that has left several major cities in ruins. Though FSAF forces have reclaimed the territory lost to the retreating Capellans, it seems that McCarron's Armoured Cavalry have raided the worlds stockpiled resources, ensuring what will likely be a global recession for many years to come. The Lyran Commonwealth has offered humanitarian aid to the injured civilians with the consent of First Prince Hanse Davion, sending several med-evac ships into Federated Suns space to provide badly needed supplies. Chancellor Maximilian Liao of the Capellan Confederation gave a speech describing the raid as a 'Glorious victory for the Capellan Confederation. The Fox has learnt that at least one state will not meekly submit to his depredations!" First Prince Hanse Davion was not available for comment.

+++++++++FIRST IN CENTURIES+++++++++

Hellespont 'Mech Works has unveiled and entirely NEW battlemech design, field-tested in the recent struggle on Stein's folly. The RVN-3L Raven is a remarkable new development is battlemech technology. Eye witness reports that the chassis is similar to the much heaver Catapult but strangely no battlefield recordings or sensor readings have been obtained. Sources in the FSAF are convinced that this is due to incorporation of Ceres Metals electronic warfare equipment in the design - a technology not seen since the Star League.

+++++++++REBELLION+++++++++

The Draconis Combine occupied world of Verthandi now stands so on the verge of open revolt after almost 200 years of Kuritan rule. Originally settled and terraformed by the Lyran Commonwealth, many citizens advocate a return to the rule of house Steiner, citing that they are treated as a lower caste by the Kuritan occupation. Governor General Masayoshi Nagumo has vowed to treat any dissidents with harsh measures, stating that rebellion against the just and benevolent Combine is an insult that will not be tolerated.

+++++++++FORCES ON THE MOVE+++++++++

The Draconis Combine worlds bordering the Draconis March of the Federated Suns have seen a marked increase in troop movements, though there seems to have been little response from the FSAF, perhaps due to the conflicts in the Capellan March. Draconis Combine media have broadcast the movements as a "Great and glorious exercise demonstrating the invincible strength of the Sword Of Light. Let those who would oppose the Combine tremble before the strength of the Dragon! All praise to the co-ordinator, all praise to the House of Kurita!"

+++++++++A LOST TREASURE+++++++++

Rumours continue to flood the Draconis March of a hidden cache of Star League technology. Several sources have hinted that the source of the lostech on the black market is the world of Galtor III. Treasure-hunters have flocked to the world but Federated Suns media have dismissed the rumours as a pipe dream with no basis in fact.

INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH OCTOBER 8TH 3025

+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++

The Union class dropship Jasper exploded on takeoff from the Planet Marduk in the Draconis March. Early reports state that all aboard were killed, including two companies of French's Battalion of the Dahar DMM. The port facilities were severely damaged by the blast and traffic from the planet has been severely curtailed. A preliminary examination of the crash site revealed the possible cause of the crash to be a faulty sealant tube. FSI have not ruled out sabotage by Kuritan guerrilla movements at this stage.

+++++++++TENSIONS RISE+++++++++

The Draconis Combine has flatly denied claims of covert activity on the planet of Galtor III, in response to an accusation by First Prince Hanse Davion. FSI claims a covert strike force of DEST agents was looting a site of fissile material, in flagrant disregard of the Ares Conventions. An agricultural planet in the Draconis March, Galtor has recently been the object of many rumours concerning an undiscovered cache of Star League Teechnology, purportedly a cache of military supplies hidden by Kerensky during the Amaris coup. A spokesman for the Combine was quoted as saying "The Fox grows senile and toothless in his advancing years, barking uselessly at his betters. He knows better than to accuse the unimpeachable and honourable Dragon of base treachery. All praise to the co-ordinator, all praise to the House of Kurita!"

++++++++IN SPORTS++++++++

Duncan Fischer
Three time Solaris VII medium weight champion Duncan Fisher denied rumours that he is considering retirement. In an interview on Solaris Spotlight he responded: "Retire? Hell no! I love this game. It has my favorite things! 'Mechs, big guns, and a whole lot of explosions. You know my wife sometimes looks at me strangely. "Duncan," she says "there's more to life than Solaris." Frankly, it's like she speaks another language. I mean, the words make sense individually, but put them together and it's complete nonsense."

FNS INTERSTELLAR NEWS HOUR

LEAKED HOLOVID INTERVIEW WITH FOX HOUNDS MERCENARY JULIA "DOMINO" LAINARK

A grainy camera image tracks toward a woman in a mechwarrior coolant vest and smartly pressed uniform. She is watching a tech unload a devastated Assassin battlemech onto a transport skiff. The mech is a wreck and spattered with mud and weeds and she seems none too happy about it.
 
Mechwarrior Domino
“Alright, so the mission began no-problem. We spread out and start covering ground with our sensors, moving up cautiously and leaving nothing unseen. A few of the buildings have low power - Vike spots squatters in one building, and on one of the sea structures, Ranger takes out an old comms dish to be on the safe side.

“Things did not stay OK for long. As we moved, our own comms got jammed. This really should have alerted us, we’re here for looters and are they going to have that sorta tech? We pressed on, anyway.

“Right after this, we get in range of a building that feeds into one of the underwater structures, and Vike trades fire with our first tango – a tank that packs a metric fuck-load of missiles.”

She sighs.

“So Vike is hit, but before we can do anything about we get heat from the water – four enemy mechs lurking in wait for us. At this point, we’ve got it figured – ‘Looks like we found our pirates, har har’ – if only!

“Scarlett finds a huge reading of metal from her sector, something real big down in the water. No power, no heat, so we leave it for now. Pirate drop ship? Half right.

“So by now we’re fighting – I get the tank down to limping-speed, but take way too many missiles for it. A Jenner comes out the water so we start swapping fire with it. The old oil containers still have something in them, so we keep clear in case any stray rounds set the whole place on fire – turned out this was the least of our worries.

“Ranger engages with a Panther in the water, and is fighting the Jenner too after not long – Vike is still on fire support, Scarlett is scanning the few buildings left, and I’ve been forced to leap the huge central structure straight into scuba duty to save myself.

“Now, this huge building was not brought up by intel. When I saw it, I thought ‘Hey, Domino, isn’t that a missile silo? Naaah, Intel would have mentioned it.’ I don’t think I’m going to ever stop second-guessing Intel from now on!

“This place has had its side blasted open – not unlike some other places, we expected that – and there are huge furrows in the sea bed from something. There’s a Whitworth coming at me, so I move for the shore. Not my best idea.

“At this point, Vike is moving up to cover the last of the mission area, Ranger is and drawing all kinds of fire from mechs, and Scarlett decides to check out that metal signature. Damn is that girl lucky! Jumps right into the water, and lands on the top of a Dropship – surrounded by mines! A couple of metres out and she would’ve been wrecked.

“Best to come is for yours truly though, as in this murky water I can’t get anywhere. My mech is on its ass more than once, with this Whitworth closing, and he finally puts Diamondback down. The battle keeps going elsewhere, but down in the water, with my engine off, all I can hear is my Geiger counter. Silo? Check. Radiation? Check. Nukes? Stolen.”

She sighs again.

“There’s something special to finish though. That drop ship took off, and its colours were nice and clear: Draconis Combine. We’ve been fighting DEST commandos this whole time! We stumbled into something way bigger than us here, and we got out as quick as. With me trapped beneath the water, Scarlett had to pull my Assassin’s head off to get me out.

“We got away, and I think we learned from this. Mostly I learned that I want shoot Kurita mechs in the face. A lot.”

The camera pans back toward the battered battlemech, a hole shot clean through the centre of mass. The microphone picks up Domino sighing a third time.

INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH OCTOBER 8TH 3025

+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++

Contrary to their prior claims of disinterest, the Draconis Combine has invaded the world of Galtor III. Elements of the Benjamin Regulars, the Galedon Regulars, the Amphigean Light Assault group and the 7th Sword Of Light led the attack, under overall command of Warlord Grieg Samsonov. Beachheads were established outside New Wuhan City and New Derry, the latter falling under the control of Draconis Combine forces. 
Live from the Front Lines
In the South, the city of Changlee is besieged and is currently held by a beleaguered garrison comprised of the 33rd Avalon Hussars, the 4th Crucis Lancers and a smattering of mercenary elements. A massive detonation of an FSAF command facility offshore of Changlee was detected shortly after the opening salvos of the assault. Initial reports have indicated that the base was destroyed after falling to an assault of DEST commandos. Further reports indicate that General Timothy Oldham was killed in the detonation and the Neptune class submarine Ward was lost to enemy fire.

FSAF Command has since passed to Leftenant General Wilson Mandella but latest reports indicate that a his Mobile HQ was vaporised by heavy fire from the 1st Galedon Regulars Assault Lance.

Further reports are sporadic, with many communications links going offline. Comstar issued a statement to the effect that their facilities had been subject to collateral damage from "Samsonov's ham-fisted and crude assault" and has warned that sanctions and reparations will almost certainly be expected from the Combine or they will issue a HPG interdiction on the planet.

INNER SPHERE NEWS FLASH OCTOBER 25TH 3025

+++++++++BREAKING NEWS+++++++++

The Federated Suns troops were in high spirits today after the retaking of city of New Derry on Galtor III. The 33rd Avalon Hussars, still smarting from the loss of their CO, Lieutenant-General Mandela, drove back the Benjamin Regulars. The DCMS troops fell back in disarray after major disruption to their communication and supply lines, regrouping at New Wuhan City.

In a press conference on New Avalon earlier today, the newly appointed Prince's Champion, Colonel Ardan Sortek had this to say:

"This brutal assault on our worlds by Kuritan thugs will not go unpunished. The peoples of the Federated Commonwealth have seen the triumph of justice and courage today. Our thoughts and thanks go out to the men and women fighting for us behind the invader's own lines, for their bravery and ingenuity has allowed us to strike back against the Dragon this day."

Kuritan spokesmen were unavailable for comment on this latest development.

+++++++++THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME+++++++++

Image
The Mysterious Bounty Hunter
An unusual mech has been sighted several times behind Draconis lines. A distinctive looking Marauder, painted bright green, has been seen patrolling sites where the DCMS forces have been struck by commando raids. Several ransomed mechwarriors have reported that a mechwarrior wearing colours matching the camo of the mech has been present during DCMS interrogations, speaking very little and only to ask about the whereabouts of a mercenary unit known as the 'Fox Hounds'. The whereabouts of the 'Fox Hounds' is unclear, but it seems the DCMS have decided that the group are enough of a problem that they merit a contract for the infamous Bounty Hunter.

INNER SPHERE NEWS NOVEMBER 29th 3025


            +++++++++DCMS TO WITHDRAW FROM GALTOR?+++++++++
The Last Kuritan Dropship leaves Galtor
As Warlord Yorioshi's forces leave the planet of Galtor, AFFS forces are bearing down on the last vestiges of the DCMS invasion force. Warlord Samsonov's forces have put up heavy resistance but with both Chang Lee and New Derry reclaimed by the AFFS, the situation seems untenable for the Galedon Regulars. With typical ruthlessness, Yorioshi employed a scorched earth policy in his retreat and the city of New Derry is now a ruin, whilst Chang Lee's field hospitals are flooded with refugees and injured civilians. Despite heavy losses on both sides the Avalon Hussars and Crucis Lancers have pushed the Galedon Warlord back to his original drop site and Lt General Tallman is leading the final assault, promoted to command after the deaths of several of her superiors during the conflict. 
                     +++++++++COMING SOON FROM SOLARISVISION+++++++++
                                                                 GLORY ON GALTOR
A burst of electric guitar music accompanies a an explosion and the logo of the Fox Hounds fills the screen.
Image
              Fox Hounds Special Force Group

On a world under siege, one Mercenary company stands alongside the AFFS against the Combine. As Galtor III explodes into conflict the Foxhounds find themselves tested like never before, in what may be the greatest challenge of their career.

Witness the thrilling exploits of these daring Mechwarriors as they go behind enemy lines to strike a blow for the Federated Suns.

Scarlett - The Tactician
Ranger - The Veteran
Vick - The Enigma
Domino - The Prodigy

and introducing

The Bounty Hunter - as Himself

You'll see them pushed to breaking point as their skills are honed to a razors edge and the bonds they share are reforged in the breath of the Dragon.

Don't miss out on this exclusive glimpse into the danger and excitement of Merc life, only from Solaris Vision in association with the Federated Broadcasting Corporation.*

*Contains scenes of actual battle ROM footage and extreme violence. Parental Discretion Advised
 +++++++++CONTROVERSY AT DCMS AWARDS CEREMONY+++++++++

FNS INTERSTELLAR NEWS

LEAKED HOLOVID FOOTAGE OF DCMS AWARD CEREMONY
.
A wall of mechs stand in parade formation behind a raised dais, resplendent in the colours of the Galedon Regulars, the Benjamin Regulars and the Sword Of Light. One mech towers above the others, a gigantic Atlas with polished golden trim and modified Lord's Light PPC's adorning it's forearms. Beneath the looming bulk of the Atlas stands a raised dais and assembled before it are the Busosenshi of the Galtor invasion force. The mechwarriors stand proudly, red uniforms pristine, each one bearing a ceremonial daisho through a sash at his waist. The camera pans across the ranks of soldiers before focusing on the dais. A commentator speaks in hurried Japanese, the respectful yet strident tones typical of the sycophantic Combine media machine. As the camera zooms in, the commentator speaks at length about the bravery, wisdom and sagacity of the figure on the stage, a stocky man with harsh features, jet-black hair and heavy brows that seem to bristle with irritation. A hush falls and Warlord Grieg Samsonov begins to speak:
Warlord Samsanov

"Warriors! The Dragon is pleased!"

A deep throated rumble of approval runs through the crowd.

"Warlord Yorioshi's forces have quit the field and we will withdraw soon, but not before teaching the Fox the cost of confonting the Dragon! You have all fought bravely in the face of a foe that fought without honour, a foe that from ambush and fled before our superior warriors. The AFFS fought like cowardly curs and in his wisdom, the Coordinator has employed dogs of his own."

Several glances are cast toward five mechwarriors, still wearing fatigues and cooling vests.
Steel Legion
"The Steel Legion were... instrumental in destroying a raiding force of the new Savannah Masters. Chu-i Voskov advises they were even of some small assistance in capturing one of these new hovercraft, to be analysed by our scientists on Luthien."

One of the Steel Legion looks like he is about to protest but is kicked in the ankle by a scarred comrade and closes his mouth.


"I promised that any who defeated these raiders would be awarded the Bushido Blade and I will keep my word, even to masterless wave-men. Step forward, mercenaries."


The Steel Legion glance at each other and then one of their number mounts the first step of the dais. The mercenary, a young man of japanese descent, begins to speak in halting tones:


"Honoured Tai-shu, it gives me great honour to be presented with this award for services rendered to my homeland. It has been a balm to my troubled soul to be of help to the mighty Dragon. However, I must beg your forgiveness, for I can no longer ignore the path of giri and must clear the name of Master Fuhito"

A murmur sweeps the room and Samsonov's brow furrows.

"You speak of traitors who are best forgotten, mercenary."

The young man shakes his head and levels a finger at one of the assembled officers. The accused's face blanches in shock and outrage.

"Ie!There stands the honourless dog who framed my master to hide his own treacherous ways. I have proof which will allow my master to rest in peace and for me to live my life with honour again!"

The ronin falls to his knees and presses his forehead to the dais before the Warlord.


"Please honoured Samsonov-sama, grant me leave to do what is right and just. I shall not proceed in this place without your consent for that would dishonour you and the Dragon which has never been my aim."

The warlord stares hard at the officer for a long moment. Samsonov gives a grunt of disapproval then turns his gaze back to the pleading mercenary. In the background the commentator can be heard talking rapidly and fearfully, demanding the holovid operator cut the transmission.

"If your evidence bears out, what would you ask of me ronin? You have abandoned the Dragon and your words mean little and are worth less. Yet your deeds are worthy of some reward. Speak."

The ronin looks up at Samsonov, his gaze clear, his voice steady.

"I challenge Sho-Sa Barrabas Hideyoshi to an honour duel. Let the this duel decide who shall rot in hell as an honourless dog for all time. I will accept whatever form he chooses for the duel as my masters spirit will guide me to victory."

With a burst of static, the camera tilts and the transmission is cut.
                        +++++++++LOSTECH GOODS FLOOD MARKET+++++++++
Although the bulk of the Star League cache on Galtor has been claimed by the Federated Suns for study at the NAIS institute on Avalon, several unscrupulous salvage crews have sold their finds onto the open market. Many of these ancient battlemech components have found their way to the markets of Solaris VII and Galatea where the bidding on them by gladiators and mercenaries is fierce.
                         +++++++++FWL CONDEMNS LYRAN RAIDS+++++++++
Painted by Kuleshov
The Free Worlds League Parliament today condemned what was referred to as "continued and flagrant espionage and border violations" by the Lyran Commonwealth. This was in response to a security breach on the world of Kalidasa, though details of the breach have not been relased by Kali-Yama Industries. The MP for Kalidasa was quoted as saying "A unanimous motion was carried to request an immediate reprisal from the Captain-General. Such a blatant disregard for our borders and property cannot go unanswered." The FWLM declined to comment on any current military activities but several dropships were seen burning for a high orbit rendevezous with a jumpship above Kalidasa.

Fox Hounds: Award Ceremony on Galtor III

Shortly after news of the duel in New Derry makes it's away across Galtor III, the Fox Hounds are presented with the Dragon Slayer Robbon by Prince's Champion Arden Sortek in the city of Cheng Lee.


After accepting the Dragon Slayer flag,  Lishka (the Fox Hound's tactician) had this to say to the people of Galtor III:

Lishka, photo-captured outside a Cheng Lee Nightclub.

  
"People of the Federated Suns, I had come here planning to make some flippant remark that you need not fear any of the FoxHounds challenging the Prince's Champion or his staff to a duel." Her face darkens. "Obviously, that would no longer be appropriate. Let it be known that we, the Fox Hounds, would never countenance such hideous acts of barbarity as have been perpetrated by the Steel Legion on the good people of Galtor III. Instead, I make this promise: When next our paths cross, the Fox Hounds will stop at nothing, save to obey the limits of honourable warfare imposed by the Ares Conventions, to bring the Steel Legion to heel!" She punches her first in the air and shouts "JUSTICE FOR GALTOR III!"

************** 

A few days later on Galatea, the award ceremony and Lishka's speech are broadcast on Merc News....

Introducing Dom, Kraken of the Black Barracuda's
It was a hot sticky day. Dom was lazing in the shade with a beer and a TV hooked up to a little generator. News this, drama that. On screen comes a fine looking woman calling herself Lishka of the Fox Hounds Merc Unit. Dom recognised the name and turned up the volume...

After the ceremony finishes, he stands up, stretches, downs the rest of his beer and smiles the kind of smiles that only a man like Dom can pull off. 

"This just got interesting..."

 Brians Notes:
  • Lishka (my character) is talking a good fight, but how much of it is a simple PR exercise and how much of it does she really mean?
  • Dom in a member of the campaigns third merc lance, played by Tim. They've recently completed their training scenarios and just completed their first mission, so they'll be getting a page on this blog to themselves very soon.
  • There's also an interesting facebook chat happening between George's character, Vick (of the Fox Hounds) and John's character Striker (of the Steel Legion). Unfortunately, it's not happened yet in campaign time, since the chat takes place in the Grease Pit on Galatea. The two characters established themselves as drinking buddies early on, and are blithely chatting about which of them might end up having to kill the other as absently as anyone else might talk about the weather.
  • The campaign now also has it's first elite pilot. Mark decided to upgrade the gunnery score of his character, Fox (of the Steel Legion) earlier today.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Steel Legion: War Crimes and Honour Duels

Our Battletech campaign is going from strength to strength, with a fourth Merc unit (the proposed name for the unit is Gunboat Diplomacy) joining the campaign. 

Following on from Hoida's challenging of Hideyoshi to a duel at the awards ceremony (link) the Steel Legion got together to play out the duel. Here, in the words of theDougal, the DM, is how things went down:

Steel Legion

Hoida's Vindicator jetted above the buildings of the University district. Hideyoshi had opted to duel in the city of New Derry before the DCMS withdrew from it. Combat began in earnest as Hoida's Vindicator,  "Vengeance",  seared armour from Barrabas Hideyoshi's Quickdraw. 

Predictably Hideyoshi had not come alone and with two Dragons and a Whitworth in support, attempted  to obliterate the Vindicator. However, the Steel Legion had kept their 'mechs nearby and stormed onto the battlefield. After a heavy exchange of fire, Fawlkes managed to perform a Death From Above on a Dragon that had been knocked onto its back and smashed through the cockpit with the feet of his mech, crushing the pilot! The Steel Legion capitalised on the advantage and hammered the enemy mechs with blue PPC lightning despite weathering combined LRM barrages.

 During the firefight, Fawlkes lost control of his mech on a particularly reckless turn and smashed through a University campus building, collapsing it around him. This didn't deter him and he emerged from the rubble, lasers blazing. Eventually Hideyoshi's mech was brought down and thrashed on the ground, unable to rise due to damaged actuators. The Dragon and the Whitworth withdrew from the field, deciding that their commander would only have shown them the same loyalty. 
Original Steel Legion Mech Line-up

As Hideyoshi stirred back into consciousness, Hoida's mech stood above him. "I give you one chance to surrender, dog. Seppuku is your only chance for honour now." The Quickdraw sat up and Hideyoshi growled back over the comm. "Curse you and your master, Hoida. You have not heard the last of me." With a detonation of explosive bolts, the Quickdraw's canopy blasted outward and the pilot's command chair jetted off over the city. 

Sneering at the Kuritan's cowardice, the Steel Legion moved to salvage the two downed mechs. It seemed Hideyoshi had a final card to play however, as the fusion reactor of the Quickdraw went critical and seared armour from two of the Legion's mechs. Dragging the wrecked Dragon with them, the Steel Legion quit the field victorious. Behind them, fires blazed beyond the rubble of the campus building as New Derry University burned. Vengeance would have to wait for another day.

Brian's Thoughts:
  • Although it was Hideyoshi's idea to fight in the city itself, the Fox Hounds are culpable for agreeing to it in the first place. This constitutes a war crime under Article V of the Ares conventions, compounded by the destruction of the university, the multiple civilian deaths, damage to property and, most damning, the fact there was no need to stage the fight in the city at all. 
  • The Steel Legions popularity rating with the Federated Suns has taken a major hit. Worse, a certain other Mech unit who already bears the Steel Legion a grudge (the Fox Hounds) now has added incentive to go after them for giving Mercs a bad-name and, incidentally, undoing much of the good PR work the 'Hounds have accomplished in the Federated Suns by giving Merc units bad press.
  • Mark  (Fawlke's player) really, really needs to stop running his Mechs on tarmac. The last time he skidded on tarmac, he tore both arms of his Mech. This time, he was lucky.


Monday, 3 June 2013

BATTLETECH OPERATION SIEGFRIED MISSION IV

MISSION IV: TWICE THE BOUNTY


With the majority of the Fox Hounds' Mechs badly damaged during their campaign behind enemy lines, only three Mechs were assigned to participate in combat operations during the raid. The Operational Lance consisted of: A Raven piloted by Scarlett, Vik in his Valkyrie and Ranger piloting the Assassin. The artillery park was commanded by Domino in her Panther. Her command included the entire rear-echelon group: the captured Thumper artillery piece, three infantry platoons, the techs and the remaining AFV's, The remaining pilots, operating the badly damaged Clint, Firestarter and both Javelins, formed a relay chain for the purposes of transmitting laser coded messages from Lishka's Raven back to the Thumper unit.
Operating within the Raven's ECM envelope, the operational lance approached the base under cover of the Mangrove swamps, taking up an over-watch position atop a hill. From here, they could call down artillery fire on the fuel tanks of the DCMS Forward Operating Base. Unphased by the presence of a strong garrison augmented by Warlord's Samsenov and Yoshi with their Assault Lance, the Fox Hounds began calling down artillery. Ranger directed the fire, beaming coordinates back to Lishka via tight beam Laser. She in turn passed these coordinates back to the Thumper via the laser relay.
Replica of the Bounty Hunter's Marauder
However, no sooner had the first salvo been called in than a 75 ton Mech was detected  powering up only 180 metres from the Fox Hounds position. Transmitting orders via laser for the relay team to fall back to the artillery position, the operational lance led the Bounty Hunter's Marauder away from the remainder of the company. The Operational Lance performed well in a long retorgrade engagement in which the Bounty Hunters Marauder would be joined by a Jenner, a Spider and a Dragon. Skilled evasive manouvres through the Mangrove Swamps allowed the Fox Hound mechs to remain operational despite having begun the mission lightly  damaged. While Ranger dueled with a Jenner and Vik harassed the Bounty Hunter with rear attacks, the enemy Mechs concentrated on bringing down the Raven.
 
Vike's single-handed and down-right heroic assault on the Marauder combined with re-directed artillery failed to destroy the Bounty Hunter's Marauder and resulted in the near dismemberment of his Mech. Vike finally broke off his attack only when his LRM ammo bins were empty and his right torso destroyed by PPC fire, taking his medium laser (his last weapon) with it Even so, it's likely he would have continued to fight with melee attacks had he not been ordered to withdraw by Scarlett. She dropped her ECM to broadcast a coded message instructing the rest of the Fox Hounds to retreat back to Davion lines. She herself would concentrate on drawing the DCMS forces away from the Hounds in a long chase. Thus far, the majority of attacks had been directed against her and her night irreplaceable "stealth mech".
Recovered Battle-Rom of Scarlett''s Raven directing artillery fire
Mere moments later, the "Bounty Hunter's" mech exploded, destroyed by a single salvo from yet another green-painted Marauder!. A broad-cast in the clear announced that the real Bounty Hunter had arrived on the field -and that he didn't appreciate cheap imitations. Hastily positioning herself (and her Mech's recording equipment) to best effect, Lishka quickly negotiated a new contract with the Bounty Hunter. Shortly thereafter, the Combine forces were driven from the field in an impressive display of gunnery skills from the Marauder pilot. While the Assassin and the Valkyrie were able to leave the field under their own power, Lishka's Raven was loaded aboard the Bounty Hunter's drop-ship for evacuation. A cock-pit hit had destroyed the Mechs controls in the last seconds of the pursuit, forcing it's pilot to eject, Battle ROM in hand, from her Mech.
The destruction of the DCMS Fuel Supply and the successful extraction of all remaining Fox Hounds and attached AFFS assets to Davion Lines sealed the file on Operation Siegfried.