Mechwarrior PBeM Report 2a ~ Hair of the Dog

This actual play report is the dramatized version of Scene 2, Part 1 – as experienced by Melvin ‘Mad Dog’ Winters. This flashback mech combat scene began in media res on the heels of the introductory scene of the campaign wherein the characters discovered their planet had just been annexed by the forces of the Lyran Commonwealth. For the scene as experienced by the other characters just click on their names:

Turn 1

Loose gravel and boulders come cascading down from your upper left and you have to consciously consider balance and footing as your Griffin rocks again and again, first from the near miss of the brutal AC20 round that hit the ridge above and beside you, and then from the rumbling of the earth as that section of ridge collapses, precipitating a massive landslide into the gorge where you are making a mad dash at top speed to escape a surprise pincer movement by two of the enemy mechs! No clear vector to trigger the jets!

Your speed carries you past the landslide, but deeper into the darkness and smoke filling the gorge. Somewhere ahead of you is the other enemy mech!

Somewhere above you, Cool Hand’s ShadowHawk was trying to locate the enemy Rifleman that has been firing on your position with incredible accuracy. Blowtorch’s Griffin is nowhere to be seen. You lost sight of her farther back down the gorge, and something is playing hell with your HUD; you can’t identify friend from foe, and the range seems stuck on short.

Did TLC evade the autocannon of that enemy Hunchback as well as the landslide? The Hunchback’s medium lasers just missed your cockpit, but as far as you can tell no damage has been done.

In this terrain, with the landslide and debris, you will need to be very careful of the foot and ankle actuators. The overcast sky is reads clear of enemy air support on your HUD, but who can be sure?

You have lost visual contact with all friendly mechs.

The gorge you are in runs more than 2 jagged km at depths ranging from 30 – 50 meters in either direction, never getting wider than 90 meters. The hard, grey rock looks black in the light. With the dust cloud from the landslide, and the depth of the gorge being at least 40-50 meters at this point, with a width of less than 20 metres for the next 60-90 meters, and with the enemy Wolverine maybe 40 metres ahead of you getting closer and closer to a missile lock, you have to do something!

Your HUD shows two mechs in the gorge near you, one above you on the ridgeline, and a third and forth approaching through the same passes the Hunchback and Wolverine used to cut you off.

Turn 2

You press on at a run. You would never have expected them to approach from the South, but it was pure genius on their part. What is interfering with the HUD?

The comms are howling with interference, pulsing in time with the distortions in your HUD. It doesn’t behave like ECM, but it is definitely raising holy hell with sensors and some of the more sensitive or perhaps less well-shielded internal electrical systems.

Ducking agilely to your left, you slip the impending missile lock. Almost at the same time you prep the jump jets and as the Wolverine looms closer and closer, you fix your attention on that slightly wider split in the curling lips of the gorge overhead. In your mind’s eye everything should fit like toothpaste leaping free of the tube… if you arc it just right.

For a split second, comms and HUD clear, and readings resolve into the two Quickdraws approaching from the south, one in each side canyon, to close the pincer.

The icon that must be Luke’s Shadowhawk fails to resolve, but the mech designation for Blowtorch’s Griffin, beyond and far below him to the East, blips into view once before disappearing in the static.

The familiar feel of combat’s adrenalin dump smooths out the rough edges of tension as the well-worn chassis beneath and around you seems almost to gather itself in preparation for its high-powered vault into the sky…. completely fearless in the face of the possibility of sudden crushing death against the rocks~

“C’mon girl, we can do this…”

The jets fire with all the fury of the fusion engine of the Griffin’s mighty heart, and you are slammed into your seat with all the love of family, tradition, hearth, and home. You ask, and she responds.

The narrow gap above you rushes closer and closer!

Turn 3

You break out into the sunlight just before reaching the apex of your jump, beneath you, you can see TLC sprinting East, about to enter the cloud, its torso rotated to face South, where the Quickdraws are. Smoke is rising from a detonation near the location of the West Quickdraw, and as you leave the debris cloud in the gorge, your HUD clears substantially, indicating that that mech has slowed, and might be reversing direction. Blowtorch’s Griffin is reversing down her section of gorge, while the Hunchback, its back to her, is alive with the electrical discharge effects of a PPC strike, and being further rocked by missiles arcing in from somewhere further west…  Fitz?

Yes! His Trebuchet enters the extreme limits of your scope as his message, “S*rr* ** b* *ate,” comes in a distant and digitized-sounding broadcast. Suddenly, you realize that you are howling in a release of elemental triumph and elation into your own comm channel! You cleared the gap! Inches!  Mere inches to spare!

You are going to come down behind TLC, on the ridgeline above the Hunchback.

The very distorted icon which must be the Wolverine beneath you, fires its jump jets; hot on your heels.

You can already see that his vector is wrong….

Turn 4

The Wolverine slams into the overhang of the gorge, and then, perhaps due to overcompensation when trying to correct, slams into the other side of the gorge, before falling to the base of the gorge. No matter how much or how little damage has been done to the mech, your experience tells you that the pilot has to have taken a severe beating and be more than a little disoriented.

The Hunchback is turning to its left to swing around and bring its forward arc to bear on Blowtorch. There may be enough distance between them for her missiles to track properly, but her PPC is likely still recycling. You are above it, and if it completes its turn, you will be behind it at a range of about 30 or 40 metres. Its damaged right side is toward you at this time.

The West Quickdraw has come to a complete stop. The East Quickdraw has pressed close to the West side of the canyon and has broken into a run.

TLC passes into the collapsing cloud of dust and its icon flickers, but stays steady.

A burst of static comes from your comm, and you follow up immediately with, “”Lance! Move to support CH!”

Fitz’s Trebuchet comes into view across the gorge to the South West, moving with his characteristic precision through the jumble of boulders that litter that high point of elevation.

Your cockpit suddenly erupts with the missile tracking alarm.

The Hunchback, a famed urban brawler well-suited to this network of canyons, turns its torso directly toward Blowtorch while heading toward the north wall at its stately walking pace. Its rear is open toward you for a brief window of opportunity as you plot a run back the way you just came; to the East.

Fitz and Blowtorch both launch a flight of LRMs at the Hunchback. Due to the proximity, Blowtorch’s slam into the ugly little mech just as its twin medium lasers seek to boil away her armour.

Trying to time everything just right, but having to divert your attention in two different directions as you turn to run East while firing West, you still manage to strike a solid blow with the PPC on its damaged right rear torso, sending the Mech stumbling.

The cloud of missiles from Fitz’s launcher arcs high overhead in a tight formation. His Trebuchet continues to close at a run, gaining the high ground between the Quickdraw and Blowtorch. That Quickdraw continues to stand still.

Glancing at the scope, and its slowly clearing topographical overlay, you rush toward TLC as your PCC begins its slow recharge.

TLC is running toward the gorge and the enemies that await you both there.  As the Quckdraw closes the distance to where the canyon he is using widens to join the gorge where the downed Wolverine lays unmoving, Cool Hand triggers a large and a medium laser while the fast-moving heavy mech below him launches flights of long and short range missiles and a barrage of medium laser fire.

The LRMs arc up and toward him, the SRMS curve flatly in his direction, their trail of smoke coiling behind them like serpents on the hunt. The medium lasers pass harmlessly to either side of TLC, as Luke’s large laser sears a glancing blow across the top left side of the Quickdraw’s head.

The wolverine has not yet begun to rise.

Turn 6

Your mech runs smoothly across the sun-baked stone of the plateau. Far to the north you can make out the impossibly high mountains which frame your new home. The strange cast to the sky reminds you that you are under different stars than the ones under which you were born.

Your Griffin moves North-East, past and to the rear of TLC as that mech decelerates suddenly into a full stop, seeming almost to rock back on its haunches as it coils to track the suddenly visible Quickdraw which arcs into view over the edge of the canyon on a gout of translucent flame. The enemy’s long range missiles pass harmlessly over the Shadowhawk, and you, in an ever-widening cloud as its nastier SRM flight digs itself into the dirt at TLC’s feet, detonating impotently.

TLC launches a flight of short-range missiles in response, raising its arms perhaps in a peremptory move anticipating physical combat with the heavier mech before it.

As the Quickdraw reaches the highest point of its trajectory, its arms are still raised overhead from its last laser attack. As TLCs pair of short-range missiles blast toward the enemy, twisting about each other and trailing familiar coils of black smoke which roil past his cockpit momentarily, you see the Quickdraw begin to prepare for landing. As it executes a change of facing more in keeping with going toe-to-toe with TLC, it drops its arms. At the last instant, instead of nailing the head, Cool Hand’s missiles slam into the heavy mech’s right arm to detonate just below the shoulder actuator.

On your scope you are able to establish that the Wolverine is still motionless, as is the other Quickdraw.

Fitz and Blowtorch have regrouped, on the high ground near the immobile Quickdraw.

The Hunchback to their north seems to have increased to full speed and is now heading south.

Your radio comes to life suddenly on the Full Lance channel, beginning with static and then resolving into Fitz’s voice, “…please advise, OVER.”

Turn 7

As you take in the tableau of responses and repositioning now taking place, you suddenly gain visual contact with the mangled Hunchback as it turns to try to enter the narrow canyon in which the eastern-most Quickdraw had been hiding. The brawler’s right arm, and autocannon have completely sheared away from the medium mech, and its armor is scorched from missile impacts about the head and chest.

Blowtorch is just beginning to guide her Griffin to a gentle landing on the hard stone of the highest plateau, as the Quickdraw which has stood unmoving all this time erupts out of the canyon on a blazing trail of heat distorted air. Its arm-mounted lasers are already trying to track her, but Fitz – continuing his own jump – completely outmanoeuvres the heavy mech, to settle in behind it.

You aren’t completely certain, not having experienced any Quickdraws in your time in the military, nor having had any chance to inspect the Academy’s in your brief time here, but you believe that what makes it unique is that the machine has no blind spots. In fact, it may have the most heavily armed rearward arc of any mech, no matter what class. Fitz is so close to the back of the heavy, that he can practically reach out and touch it. His Trebuchet, a noble machine with a distinguished history, looks somehow small and fragile next to the Quickdraw, despite their relative nearness in tonnage.

By landing behind the heavy, Fitz seems to be offering himself as a sacrifice. His Trebuchet, armed with a good balance of medium lasers and LRMs will perform better at this range than Velika’s Griffin will. Perhaps he is hoping to distract the pilot, while she extends the range to make her PPC a viable threat?

As your run continues and your mech’s feet find good purchase on the rock, you get a bead on the closer, and so far, ballsier Quickdraw as it completes its jump, facing TLC. The PPC is warmed up and ready to unleash chaotic death, but the LRM proximity alarm is simultaneously shrieking you are too close, and that the ammo bin is empty. The ammo indicator on the firing panel indicates the ammo bin is full… as usual.

While you checked your gauges, TLC pivoted, fired his jump jets in a short burst, and hooked around unpredictably, keeping his facing as much toward the Quickdraw as he could before landing suddenly. If your count is right, both mechs should be able to fire on each other again, but only the Quickdraw does, sending two blasts from its Medium Lasers, missing narrowly both times.

Your PPC strikes the Quickdraw in the right arm, smashing armour plating like fancy china. Your LRM flight arcs up smoothly, but even at this early stage you can tell it is going to go wide.

From the command channel, you can make out Cool Hand issuing an order to regroup to the north.

To be continued…

Check out more of Scene 2, Part 1 from the other characters perspectives!   Blowtorch Cool Hand Luke

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  1. […] The scenario seed for this encounter […]

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