Mechwarrior: Hair of the Dog ~ Pt. 4

The campaign is ready to start, with an initial cast of three players. One player is in Aberdeen, Scotland, two in Montreal, Canada, and I am in Seoul, Korea. While there will no doubt be tables in play, it will not be face-to-face in the truest sense of the word. Basic gameplay will be conducted via e-mail for a classic PBeM experience, but I intend to have dramatic high-points be conducted via webcam if at all possible, time zones notwithstanding. While I was content to run the game with two players, it will be nice to have the wider breadth of skills and backgrounds on which to draw, and it makes the idea of having a full lance of players a real possibility.

An interesting aspect of this game for me is that for three of us, it is primarily an exercise in nostalgia, but it is also an opportunity for us to share our fun with someone new to the game. It’s almost like school; we are all doing so much homework.

The Cast:

The first character to be completed is a “former” covert operative with an “interesting” history with the Lyrans. He and the other characters will be staff at the out of the way, mostly forgotten Military Academy mentioned in earlier posts.

The second character to be completed is an officer in the 10th Marik Militia, who has been reassigned due to a small matter of insubordination involving an inferior superior officer. Transferred to get him out of harm’s way, he will begin play with the advice still ringing in his ears that watching his career die is much better than seeing his own death by temper-tantrum up close and personal.

The next (and currently final) addition rounding out this group of soon-to-be rebels is as interested in running ‘mechs as in keeping them running. Currently responsible for keeping the Academy’s few, old, and nearly toothless battlemechs in operation, she had her work cut out for her even before the Annexation. Once the missiles start flying, she will not just be expected to do the impossible, she will be expected to do it yesterday.

The Academy

Most of the last week has been trying to establish the details of the Academy in a clear and concise way to reduce the amount of text the players will need to slog through once play starts. I gave a brief overview of the region in which play will start to the players in a faux-brochure format:

Hair of the Dog

Hanachi Military Academy today:

In the summer of 3027, renovators uncovered traces of toxic, potentially harmful, chemicals in several sites and storage facilities at the Academy. Subsequent investigations determined that closing the school, and relocating the 500 students to a more modern facility in the seaside community of Anderson.

The second dean of the esteemed Hanachi Military Academy installed an iconic clock featuring what the students believe to be a real human skull as the primary focal point in Howorton Hall. All new students see it and the plaque beneath it when first arriving at the school, and each student will pass beneath it daily on the way to class. Beneath the clock, is a plaque containing the school’s motto:

Death waits for all men. Keep him waiting as long as you like, but do not bore him.

-Dean Whittaker Forrestt Johansen


Graduates of Hanachi Military Academy, referred to as Hanachi Penitentiary by the students (inmates), were renowned for overcoming discipline problems and for finding productive roles in several fields, not just the military. Engineers, politicians, and doctors have distinguished themselves in all periods of the school’s history.

Hanachi District Overview

The stunning night view from Hantonburg, looking at Mount Hanachi is one of the best kept tourist secrets in the Free Worlds League. Skiers and outdoor enthusiasts should take note! The atmosphere is still notably thicker than most settled worlds even at this extreme altitude of 1800 metres above sea level, allowing views unlike any most atlhetes have ever seen on any other world.

Hantonburg is a small but vital mining community owned by Brigardier, and established to provide heavy metals for their battlemech and weapon system construction plants near the capital.

The PBeM Rules

Posting Rules

1. A minimum post number of 2 times per week is expected of this PBeM. Please respond to game posts within a day of receipt.

2. If you will be unable to reply for a period of time, please inform the group in the OOC thread.

3. Do not post moves to the IC thread or the OOC thread

4. Post all moves to the personal thread for your character

5. The OOC thread is reserved for questions, announcements, and clarifications

6. The IC thread is reserved for the Official Track of the Game and will be posted to by the GM only

Posting Etiquette

1. A minimum post number of 2 times per week is expected of this PBeM. Please respond to game posts within a day of receipt.

2. If you will be unable to reply for a period of time, please inform the group in the OOC thread.

3. Phrase all moves as intentions, not definite actions

  • I want to cross the room and smash him across the face with my neurohelmet                <- GOOD!
  • I smash him across the face with my neurohelmet     <- BAD!

4. Explain your line of reasoning, your reactions, and your suppositions

  • I think the command console might be rigged to wipe the data unless the correct phrase is uttered so I do not want to try and access it without the password. However, I also do not think we can get it without resorting to coercion, and I am not certain what the others would think of that, so I would like to feel them out on that topic before I try anything by asking Cool Hand Luke, “Cool Hand…? Do you think the console might be booby-trapped?”  If he agrees: “What do you think is the best way to get the password?”  If he agrees with beating it out of the prisoner, I will go for that. I won’t be much help if he suggests conning the Lyran, but I will do what I can. If he does not think it will be a good idea, I want to suggest asking Velika if she can circumvent any security protocols. <- GOOD!
  • I suggest torture. <- BAD!

5. Involve the other characters as much as humanly possible. Do not be surprised if you split the group to accomplish a personal goal and find the story continues without you. Interact, “Proact,” and realistically react.

6. Have fun, and enable the others to have fun, including the GM


With these items in place, we are set to begin the opening rounds of the campaign. Initial focus will be in providing a vehicle for the players to interact in-character, starting the process of finding the unique voices of each. As this progresses, we will establish the current conditions, and facilitate exploration of the group’s initial options before introducing a complication.

Want to know more?

Hair of the Dog Campaign Development Posts ~ Part 1, 2, 3, 4

Influences on Character

Hair of the Dog Campaign Live Report ~ Part 1

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