Friday, July 10, 2015

ATOW Battletech Campaign Update Part 1

ATOW Battletech Campaign

This post details information concerning my ongoing ATOW Battletech RPG game I currently run. This post will help catch up readers and bring them up to speed on what events have unfolded revealing further story line since the last battle report was posted. I have garnered the attention from a few new readers thirsty for information along with some nice compliments to my posts. My RPG players are encouraged to check and read these types of posts for information as well. Sometimes they may find hidden details, leads, and secrets in these posts and I know one player has been checking and waiting for the next post.

If you are a current reader or by chance a new reader please follow along and check back for the next update. This will be the first of possibly two or three updates leading to a few battletech battle reports posted one after the other.

I will begin from where I left off with the last battle report involving the raid on sutov. Feel free to check out that battle report here. Just to note I refer the player forces as Lyndon's forces as the player character is in command of the player lance/company. This easily includes the other player character Zoku and the NPCs.

From a Supply Raid to a Post Assault.

The Raid on Sutov

The raid on Sutov placed the Lyndon's forces against the mercenary group known as Headless Help once again. This occurrence would be the third run-in with Headless Help with both sides displaying their military prowess. Headless Help is a respectable even match towards Lyndon's forces. Their presence has now spread across two campaigns. They are a determined force working for their pay as any mercenary unit should. The true theory still to be determined is are they a simple mercenary unit siding with a rival faction or a true enemy.

The first time the Lyndon's forces met Headless Help was during a successful breakthrough scenario on Katara Prime extracting an ousted corrupt governor. Headless Head showed the player's forces they were very capable of using decoy tactics. (Sadly I didn't record this battle as it was a good one.) The lead mercenary lance commander was killed during the extraction causing hatred to brew toward's Lyndon's forces. The ousted corrupt governor is a wanted individual on the loose, but his whereabouts are not of the utmost priority weighed against the sudden rise in combined pirate and mercenary activity. During the extraction raid, an unknown mechwarrior was spotted piloting what appeared to be a Shogun battlemech. The Shogun pilot as he is referred to would not communicate and seemed to only be leaving the battlefield in the general direction of the extraction.

The second time Lyndon's forces faced off against Headless Help they were part of a combined assault against the Lyndon's combined forces attempting to defend confiscated assets held within a mining installation. Although the assets were secretly hidden on a nearby grounded dropship, the battle lead to an eventual draw for both sides unwilling to gain or lose anymore ground. This battle confirmed the local pirates where operating with combined mercenary support. There is speculation they were are being influenced and supported by a major rival house. The Shogun battlemech was spotted again with some remnants of the extraction raid herding other forces to the battle. For unknown reasons they were not taking part in the combined assault.

The third time the player forces saw action against headless Help was on the planet Sutov where a marginally successful raid was performed against a downed supply ship. The mercenary forces were very aggressive in their attempts to secure the booty aboard the dropship. Lyndon's forces prevailed in pushing the mercenary forces back causing them to retreat off field. This raid gave a possible second look at Headless Help's preferred lance composition as well. The are also not willing to back down until they have received a large amount of damage or suffered losses and not without attempting to cause the same amount of damage in return.

The raid on Sutov lead to the capture of a mercenary mechwarrior and his battlemech. The captured mechwarrior did not possess any useful intelligence upfront. Jave an NPC, is the only member under Lyndon's command with any interrogation skill and him being off world didn't help at all. Through some careful questioning, the captured mercenary explained his unit was chasing the supply ship for awhile waiting for a convenient time to conduct a raid. He had no knowledge of any FWL units outside of the rather non-threatening field base personnel. More than likely the mechwarrior piloting the Ostsol which retreated off the battlefield would have been the one to question instead. Through prolonged time the captured mechwarrior gave the impression he would be out of their custody soon. With the combined impression and lack of any respect for the listening post personnel, Lyndon took this as a threat and prepared the listening post for a possible assault.

Preparing for an Assault

The listening post assault was handled completely out of mech in the confines of the ATOW RPG combat system. The history of how we all as players meaning GM and PCs got this far is quite amusing. Learning the combat system for ATOW was no small task as there were was plenty of fail before there was ever a win. I feel the rules system is a bit cumbersome and out right deadly, but I was determined to give my players what they wanted. The combat system takes patience and repetition and in some cases a handicap in areas due to the deadly combat weapons available.

Learning to Combat

Here is a small break down on how I went about introducing ATOW's combat system. I use the main combat system currently where combat resolution is predetermined and not the optional combat system where hits are randomly determined. This makes managing the combat easier and not as deadly. An easy example is all player characters and NPCs where a type chest armor and this is there damage threshold before they take bodily damage. They still have to carry other equipment to keep weight in check so no one is running into combat naked with only a gun and chest armor. We will leave that to the Fall Out universe.

Campaign 01

* Melee and Ranged Combat Tutorial  -  FAIL  -  (Keywords: Clusterfuck, Gun, WTF)
* Lyndon never forgets, NPCs never forget
* Investigation
* Ranged Combat Tutorialol 2.FAIL  -  DRAW  -  (Keywords: Shotguns, Unconscious)
* Melee Combat Tutorial  -  WIN
* Melee Combat Tutorial 1.5  -  Cowards  -  (Keywords: ish, sort of, not really)

Campaign 02

* Melee Combat Tutorial 2.0  -  WIN  -  Rifleman
* Ranged Combat Tutorial 2.0  -  WIN  -  (Ballistic vs Laser)
* Melee and Ranged Combat 3.0  -  SOON

I LOLed move than I really needed to listing this, but it is important to sometimes laugh at your own massive failures in order to learn from them.

***** Flashback Sound *****

***** Flashback Cloud *****

Learning ATOW's combat system started in the first campaign when it was only myself the GM and another player and a bunch of NPCs. It was a simple combat introduction where Jave needed to see a doctor to deal with an absurd amount of battlemech head hits causing a lot of unwanted neural feedback. The idea was while Jave was in the back with the doctor, Lyndon and his two NPC lance mates would be in a sense jumped in the doctor's office lobby. The theory was fine, but the execution was straight up horrible, playing it out went all wrong. I admit it was horrible, awful, complete garbage, it was so awful I have it listed as Investigation in my campaign notes, lol.

Okay lets move on from that awful time to far better times.

Somewhere perhaps before the previously discusses atrocity I ran Ranged Combat Tutorial 2.FAIL. I really wasn't bad, but we learned how stupidly awesome and dangerous shotguns can be and why they are not in any combat sessions. I conducted a heavily modified scenario using four characters from the Introductory RPG PDF. It was a simple have two characters reach an objective zone. The game was full of hit and unconscious with just about every character falling unconscious after practically any hit. The shotgun toting asshole on either side were pure hate beasts killing with ease till they were put down.

Later on when our second player Zoku showed up I introduced everyone to Melee Combat Tutorial 2.0 and Lyndon was more then hopeful this would be the group's second chance. I kept this scenario simple and focused only on melee combat so just a bunch of fist throwing fool hearty fun. Lyndon, Zoku, and Wolfy were at a local salvage shop buying and selling equipment. The negotiations for price were interrupted by the infamous Hunchback mechwarrior along with his friends the Firestarter pilot and a third mechwarrior. Yes, I know they don't have names yet, but I am working on it. They were there to only start a fight and generally cause trouble. As predicted due to his low stats, Lyndon went down first with a nice punch from ole Hunchy. Wolfy and Zoku held their own and chased off the deterrent mechwarriors from the salvage shop.

Towards the very end of the first campaign's conclusion Lyndon and his forces were cornered by pirate forces on a space station in transit back to the parent company. This was an excuse to introduce melee combat grappling techniques otherwise known as Melee Combat Tutorial 1.5, but it was very one sided. I taught them the grappling technique were and before they could get out of it they were all tasered allowing the pirates to bail.

Once the first campaign had concluded and the second was beginning the group found themselves on the planet Arisfire. Arifire was the planet where a new player arrived received and Jave got himself in a pickle causing a decent mechwariior brawl. This brawl is how Jave and another NPC got themselves tossed in the brig for a bit. This is where I introduced Melee Combat Tutorial 2.0 and it was a huge success. Everyone partook in the rules and fundamentals as we started and finished one combat round after another till learning had proceeded to understanding.

***** Flashback Sound *****

***** Flashback Cloud *****

The Assault of Sutov's Listening Post

The next time I used the ATOW combat rules was on the planet Sutov proceeding the raid on Sutov. The players had the feeling the listening post was about to be attacked and attacked it was. The players only had their lance mates to help along with what help was available to from the listening post itself. Lyndon had both Klive and Wolfy get in their assigned battlemechs and oversee the outer defense of the post and defend it as much as possible on the outside. This sacrifice of not having those two NPCs simulated their defense would prevent no more than a single enemy squad would breach the outer defenses and enter the post's inner facilities.

For the listening post's inner facilities I used the small picture of a Battlemech Mech Hangar included in the ATOW Introductory PDF. Lyndon along with Zoku were given five additional NPC soldier grunts to help defend the base against an equal number of enemy soldier grunts. Lyndon and Zoku were under strict conditions that the base soldier grunts were not simple through away NPCs and they will act on their own to survive and or help comrades in trouble. This restriction was accepted and understood from the position of the NPC viewpoints. This RPG session was another huge success and the players seemed to enjoy the entire session.

The Defense of Sutov's Listening Post

Lyndon was holding the captured mechwarior in the mechwarrior suites and his  battlemech in the mech hangar. For specific locations the mechwarrrior was held in the southeast mechwarrior suite, while his battlemech was stored in the northwest mech hangar. This allowed Lyndon to spread his squad out to guard more points of entry and to allow response in case one area needed additional support.

Lyndon assigned all the squad their guard positions to maximize coverage between both the mechwarrior and the battlemech. One guard was in the room with the mechwarrior. One guard was assigned to the small corridor between the astech bunks and the tech quarters. Another guard was assigned to the small corridor between the guard barracks and the cooling tower. One more guard was assigned the large corridor opposite the mech hangar. Lyndon and one NPC guard were stationed in the security booth, while Zoku patrolled the upper mech bay.

The enemy squad entered using three different entrances going for both the mechwarrior and his battlemech at once. Two enemy units entered through northwest entrance, another two enemy units entered thorough southwest entrance and the final three entered through the entrance near the security booth.

Since the enemy units were part of the laser infantry squads during the raid they were armed with lasers and flak armor. Lyndon's squad was armed with their standard issue FWL rifles and ablative flak armor. A handicap was given to Lyndon's squad which worked fine, but their advantage was their weapons had burst fire capability. A secret advantage was if the enemy's weapons were used against them they would be more effective versus single fire.

The guards in the area opposite the mech hanger held with the south guards have the most trouble. The mech hangar successfully repelled their invaders as well. Zoku pushed through to support the south guards as they had been overwhelmed and the mechwarrior cloud have been freed. Both squads suffered a casualty and a few unconscious as well. The invaders eventually collected their casualties and fled empty handed.

Once the problems on Sutov were solved and the supplys brought to the lightening post Lyndon's forces left Sutov and headed for Arisfire.


This concludes this update and the next update. The next update will have all of the information which happened on Arisfire post leaving Sutov. If you have read this far and enjoyed reading, please follow along, leave a comment, and check back soon for the next update.

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