Tuesday, October 6, 2015

ATOW Battletech Campaign Update Part 3

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 update was posted. If you are a current reader or by chance a new reader please follow along and check back for the next update.

Bonus Battletech Battle Report inside.

Back to Sutov

Last time I left off, Lydon's forces were prepped, ready and waiting for any nearby listening posts to detect a signal generated from a homing beacon previously attached to a renegade Griffon. Within a short amount of time a signal was detect with an approach directory for the planet Sutov. Lyndon's forces left Arisfire for Sutov carefully observing reports from Sutov's listening post and from other nearby listening posts. The signal was tracked with an approached vector directly towards the planet Sutov finally settling stationary on the planet itself. Lyndon's forces surmised the Pirate aligned Leopard dropship left Arisfire in a straight path to Sutov.

Listening post crew attention span towards the Leopard dropship would be little or nothing at all. Sutov has its own fair share of civil, commercial, and pirate traffic and anything that is reported just gets reported. In this case Lyndon had to find confirmation for first detection by asking and reviewing reports. Rumors speculate both Susis, Sutov's sister world and Sutov have a bed of various trafficking issues.

Lyndon's forces arrived late in the evening near the listening post. Lyndon requisitioned the listening post facilities as needed. Once the initial prep work was complete Lyndon had all the combat units including himself bed down for some much needed rest for the day ahead. Lyndon had plans to execute large scouting maneuvers so he needed everyone involved at the top of their game.

Late in the evening once Lyndon was headed for his room to retire for the evening he overheard the pilots talking aloud in their room.

"You didn't cook breakfast?"

"Did it yesterday.  Franks and beans."

"No...it was eggs.  I did eggs."

"Hell you did.  Your turn."

Lyndon bangs on the door shouting.
"Shut up you idiots, neither of you two ever cook breakfast ... let alone get up on time"

Lyndon stands at the door in thought. An idea clicks in Lyndon's head. Lyndon muses to himself to have a conversation with Jave and the chef concerning the pilots in the next day's activities. Lyndon had a thought of combing rising the pilots early and feeding them a hardy morning meal their performance might improve.

"Well, when I'm your age I'll probably forget what I eat, too"

Lyndon shakes his head and continues on.

Early the next day while everyone else was prepping for the days activities the pilots as usual were nowhere to be seen. Lyndon placed his thoughts from the other night in motion. Jave handled the job of waking the pilots up, getting them ready, and to the the table while the chef prepared the morning meal slightly larger than normal. (Mark literally wrote down get pilots up and feed them to get shit done.) The idea seemed to give some benefits in the briefing room with the pilots paying attention during most of the duration during the briefing, well most of it anyway.

Reconnaissance Preparations

Lyndon's mind was on reconnaissance of the location where the homing beacon became static. His first order of business was to kick the pilots out of the dropship and get them into the sky devoid of any bomb munitions. As much as Lyndon enjoys the fact the pilots will find and utterly annihilate lone targets he needed eyes in the sky. He considered his available forces for the task at hand. The pilots would provide aerial reconnaissance while Zoku piloting the much faster Mongoose battlemech would provide scouting maneuvers on the ground. Klive would use his skills to capacity in the command center to intercept communication Jave and Wolfy were placed in charge of battlemech maintenance and general battle preparations.

When Klive or any NPC for that matter uses their skills to full capacity it removes the NPC from subsequent local missions. This helps reflect the passage of time in skill usage.


Reconnaissance went better than expected with some impressive amount of high rolls by the Lyndon and Zoku as well as general rolls for Klive's skills. When Lyndon's obtains a fifty percent success rate in leadership of the pilots he considers it a good day. A simple +2 boost to leadership roles by readying the pilots differently or parenting whichever way you look at it goes a long way. The pilots did well with one of the them flying around the beacon as told instead of flying straight over the beacon. Lyndon counted on this happening. Despite failing to get Deven to follow orders as predicted,  he was able to get him to gather valuable data.

With Deven flying his massive Riever over the beacon location it let anyone in the vacinity know someone else was there. Despite Deven not listening as usual and doing his own thing it spawned a benefit of dragging the attention of any ground forces surrounding the beacon to the sky above. This lone benefit assisted Zoku with her scouting. Zoku had a huge amount of high sneak rolls helping her slip past enemy sensors and stay hidden. She got close enough to get somewhat of a head count and some valuable imagery.

Reconnaissance Results

Once reconnaissance was all of the data had been gathered Lyndon and his forces gathered to review their combine findings. Deven's predicted fly over reported a battlmech headcount of four. Trevor's fly over reported a battlemech head count of four as well. Both pilots spotted the large Leopard dropship from above. Zoku's ground mission reported a battlemech head count of eight. A few battlemechs had large enough silhouettes to give off the impression they were either heavy or assault class battlemechs. Two of these battlemechs were suspected of being the Chargers spotted during the Griffin's extraction.

Lyndon's forces concluded there was at least a light company worth of battlemechs on the ground. Lyndon's forces knew they were in for a fight. They knew they were going to have to fight their way through to the Griffin in order to capture or destroy it. They were in no mood to go for another chase.

A Mysterious Communication

Some point in time after reviewing all of the reconnaissance data a lone unrecognized communication came in to the listening post. On an open channel accompanied with an unrecognized voice, came a request to speak to a Lyndon Reynold on a more secure channel. Lyndon excepted the communication request and switched to the secure channel with a return request for the identity of the unknown party. The unknown party did not give a name, just a message.

Communication open.

"Lyndon" the unknown voice on the other end stated calling for Lyndon specifically. "You have a price on your head and I am here to claim the prize." "I will find you, either before or where you are now." The line went silent momentarily and then the voice spoke again. "I am aware of your aerial tactics and I will take action according to remove the threat".

Communication closed.

Conducting some research, Klive was unable to figure out exactly where the bounty on Lyndon came from or who it was placed by. Most likely it was placed by the Pirate forces Lyndon's forces had been engaging for the longest time. Since the bounty was not on an approved list and Lyndon a house military personnel, it might have been listed on a hidden market. This bounty hunter left an impression he was bold enough to attack the listening post head on. Lyndon was not all for this so he devised a plan to meet the bounty hunter before he reached his location.

Battle Report

Battle Setup



Seek and capture

Mission Objective

Lyndon of the FWL forces must avoid capture by a bounty hunter and his retinue.

Mission Rules

Floating Criticals, Careful Stand, Forced Withdrawal


Mapsheet Selection

Deep Canyon 1
Deep Canyon 2

The FWL forces are allowed to chose the map to reflect the fact they were going out to meet the bounty hunter in combat at a place of their choosing. They chose these mapsheets for the strategic deployment options knowing they would have to be laid out a certain way.

Mapsheet layout

West - Deep Canyon 1
Battletech logo pointed West
Deep Canyon 2
Battletech logo pointed West

North is up

The map layout offered a way to funnel forces towards each other. High canyon cliffs forced slower units to use the canyon floor for protection or use the high cliffs with little to no protection. Units with jump jets having the best maneuverability above all.

Battle Forces


Bounty Hunter and retinue

Mech lance

Bounty Hunter Retinue

Phoenix Hawk PHX-1K  -  G 3 / P 4
Centurion CN9-AL  -  G 4 / P 3
Kintaro KTO-18  -  G 3 / P 4

Bounty Hunter

Warhammer WHM-6R  -  G 3 / P 3


FWL 9th Marik Malitia

Mech Lance

Wolverine WVR-6M    -  G 4 / P 6 *With Re-roll
* Extra simulator time during down time.
Crusader CRD-3R     -  G 3 / P 3
Marauder MAD-3M     -  G 3 / P 4
* Lyndon, through leadership got Jave to finally try it out over his Rifleman.
* The scenario was balanced whether Jave used his Rifleman or the replacement Marauder.
Thug THG-11E        -  G 4 / P 4

When comparing battle forces it is obvious it is a one sided fight heavily in favor of the defending forces. There is a lot of purpose behind this. The bounty hunter and his retinue is a scaled down version of the player forces facing a much more formidable enemy. In a way I am stepping the player forces up in threat levels constantly testing their abilities thereby allowing their characters to evolve.

I accomplished this by creating an enemy using Lyndon's enemy character trait. This was the first time I have created an enemy specifically for a character. Using a bounty hunter as the face of the enemy gives the enemy character room to grown assuming he doesn't parish in battle. By having the bounty hunter pilot a Warhammer his threat level was raised significantly.

The rest of the bounty hunter's retinue are battlemech variants from his imagined work areas. The Kintaro KTO-18 and Phoenix Hawk PHX-1K variants give an impression the bounty hunter has worked in or near the boundaries of the Draconis Combine. Kintaro battlemechs are apparently rumored to be mercenary work horses so he could have obtained this battlemech anywhere. The Centurion variant is kind of an after thought for the bounty hunter working in and around the boundaries of the FWL and for my own excuse to try it out.

The bounty hunter in the Warhammer uses his retinue Phoenix Hawk and Kintaro as fast strike units saving the Centurion to the rear for long range support. The retinue acts as a deterrent so the Warhammer can safely approach its target. All of the retinue battlemechs have better armor profiles than their former counterparts save the Kintaro which is extremely deadly up close. They use their speed to compensate for the the lack of maneuverability using jump jets.

This lance was created with knowledge of the terrain, but without deployment knowledge.

Battle Report


Attacking forces deployed on the West map edge.
Defending forces deployed on the East map edge.

Lyndon's strategy was to deploy his heavy battlemechs on the cliffs leaving the Thug on the canyon floor. The Wolverine would act as rapid response where needed.

Turn 1

Once Lyndon was aware this would be a lance on lance fight he used his leadership to assign every battlemech to an enemy battlemech. This would keep the main fight between himself and the bounty hunter.

Turn 2

Lyndon's leadership held with the entire lance moving as one unit along a fire line not allowing a gap to form. Canyon cliff targets were clear, but canyon floor targets were still to be determined.

Turn 3

Canyon floor targets were clear at this point. Wolfy would deal with the Phoenix Hawk and Zoku would deal with the Kintaro.

All battlemech on the cliff were engaged in combat. On the north cliff line the outclassed Centurion would try and hold off and entertain the Marauder while the Warhammer would advance towards Lyndon's Crusader.

Turn 4

With two turn of main weapon miss fires and weak missile volleys, Jave in his Marauder was easily pushing back his Centurion adversary. Draconis Combine variant Phoenix Hawk versus a Free World's League Wolverine varaint, Wofly had a reputation to live keep up. Zoku was not worried by the Kintaro's weight class, she was worried by the Kintaro's weapon it brought. SRMs, especially SRM6s are Zoku,s bane of exisince and the Kintaro had three of them. Lyndon realized weapon heat, LRMs, nor damage were going to slow the bounty hunter in his Warhammer. Formidable enemy indeed.

Turn 5

Jave and Zoku were chasing there respective targets. The Phoenix Hawk even though having its wings clipped was chasing the Wolverine. Zoku patience with the faster and now over heated Kintaro gave here the edge to block it in the canyon floor. Lyndon and the bounty hunter were mirroring the Marauder pushing back the Centurion.

Turn 6

The Centurion having done his job of distracting the Marauder had been pushed back to far to be of any use to the bounty hunter. Wolfy was in a fair match to the death with the Phoenix Hawk. Zoku mostly acted to keep the Kintaro in check, but her move gave fatal consequences. Lyndon and his Crusader went toe to toe with the bounty hunter and his Warhammer.

End Game

The bounty hunter had successfully reached Lyndon. Both battlemechs were heavily damaged with high heat levels. The bounty hunter could have easily destroyed Lyndon's Crusader, but at the possible cost of his own battlemech or life. Lyndon was ready to bring it, but he offered to let the bounty hunter go with him knowing Lyndon's forces were a force of their own. The bounty hunter excepted his defeat and retreated along with the Centurion and Pheonix Hawk. The Kintaro lay on the ground, it's pilot dead crushed within a crushed head crushed by the fist of Zoku's Thug.

The FWL forces took the Kintaro as salvage although they would need to get a new head for it.

When the FWL forces returned to the listening post for repairs they realized the bounty hunter never made any indication he was hired of part of the pirate forces they were tracking on Sutov. he bounty hunter may have been tracking Lyndon's movement all along by himself using Sutov as way to capture Lyndon.


A few notes on the Bounty Hunter and his retinue.

Phoenix Hawk PHX-1K variant was a bit of a challenge to deal with. Even without jump jets the improve armor profile, and heat dissipation, and lack of ammunition let it be much more aggressive.

The Centurion CN9-AL variant was not as appealing from a defensive standpoint. However it was forced to go up against a much larger weight class. Missing with the main gun a few times and some awful shitty cluster rolls didn't help either.

Kintaro KTO-18 variant is a beast when used right. I rushed it like a young jock and got it someone caught near the Thug. If the first few SRM salvos where more productive it could have gotten the Thug to halt temporarily or better back off. Standard heat dissipation messes with this battlemech's strategy, but this unit is built for guerrilla tactics so increased heat level does come with the job.

Warhammer WHM-6R variant is a solid battlemech to deal with whenever against one. Twice now piloting one and fighting one this battlemech hard to kill. You would think the legs would go easy or the ammo would explode, however the ammo is decently protected somewhat and the rest of the armor location have good coverage.

The Bounty Hunter encounter was more of what I call filler material. This was productive filler material as it gives me chances to introduce a new enemy and sub plots. There is always a chance this Bounty Hunter or another will return now Lyndon has a price on his head.


Since the Bounty Hunter was not connected with the pirates Lyndon was chasing he didn't have anything more to worry about them at the moment. He did have to worry about the pirates moving off world, however they seemed to be sitting stationary for the meantime. Perhaps they were low on fuel awaiting retrieval, but whether or not Lyndon wasn't taking any chances and set his sights on attacking the pirates smashing them apart on his way to the Griffon.

I know this post is long overdue. I have been a whirl of busy between work, personal issues, and the surprising come back of Destiny. Next update will feature a large Battletech Battle Report where the FWL forces clash against a much larger pirate force. The fate of a Griffin is at large.

Check back soon,

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