Mechwarrior PBeM Report 2c ~ Hair of the Dog

This actual play report is the dramatized version of Scene 2, Part 1 – as experienced by Velika ‘Blowtorch’ Kadlec. 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 on Mad Dog’s Griffin from his upper left from the near miss of the brutal AC20 round that hit the ridge above and beside him, directly under Cool Hand’s ShadowHawk. The rumbling of the earth as that section of ridge collapses, precipitating a massive landslide into the gorge where Mad Dog is making a mad dash at top speed to escape a surprise pincer movement by two of the enemy mechs can be heard over all the warning bells and munitions explosions further back in the gorge!

Cool Hand’s ShadowHawk was trying to locate the enemy Rifleman that has been firing on your position with incredible accuracy. You lose sight of Mad Dog farther up the gorge, because of the darkness and smoke…, but you have a clear bead on the Hunchback, as it swings around to follow Mad Dog up the gorge, it’s back coming into clearer and clearer view.

Did TLC evade the autocannon of that enemy Hunchback as well as the landslide? Did Mad Dog evade the Hunchback’s medium lasers? They looked to be on track for the cockpit!

In this gorge, you will need to be very careful of jumping vectors. The overcast sky reads clear of enemy air support on your HUD, but where is that Rifleman, and who is spotting for it?

You suddenly realize that 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.

There is a large dust cloud ahead from the landslide, and the depth of the gorge is at least 40-50 meters at this point, with a width of less than 20 metres for the next 30-50 meters, before widening considerably where the landslide occurred. The enemy Hunchback is maybe 20 metres ahead of you, moving at a walk, carrying that devastating autocannon toward the thin rear armour of Mad Dog’s mech. A Wolverine is somewhere further up the gorge. Why didn’t Mad Dog get by it already? You have to do something!

Your HUD shows three mechs in the gorge, one above and ahead of you on the ridgeline, and a fourth and fifth approaching through the same passes the Hunchback and Wolverine used to cut box Mad Dog in.

Your weapons are online and fully operational.

Turn 2

You slow and bring the PPC to bear on the Hunchback. The briefing for this said nothing about them approaching from the South, but it was pure genius; they have got you scattering… and 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.

Turn 3

Glancing up and to your left, you make brief visual contact with what looks to be Cool Hand’s ShadowHawk, running west along the top of the gorge, but looking south. The jagged nature of the ridge edge, takes him from sight an instant later as you continue to line up on the back of the Hunchback.

For a split second, comms and HUD clear, and readings resolve into Cool Hand’s Shadowhawk, the enemy Hunchback, and farther to the south, a Quickdraw approaching through each canyon to close the pincer.

What must be MadDog’s Griffin fails to resolve, but the target designation for the Wolverine just past him to the East blips into view once before reverting back to a generic vehicle icon.

Despite the narrowness of the gorge around MadDog and his enemy, the icon for what must be his Griffin keeps hammering toward the Wolverine at top speed until, against all training and common sense, it jumps!

The adrenalin dump chills you, but does not distract you from the trained sequence of bringing the main weapon to bear and firing.

The powerful discharge of the Particle Projection Cannon sends heat and vibration through the aged and abused chassis of the Griffin you ride, and arcs blazing blue-white death toward the enemy’s paper-thin rear armor… but where is that Rifleman… and where is Fitz?

After firing your PPC at the Hunchback, you continue to reverse down the gorge to the West to get a good firing solution for the LRM rack and a better lock for the PPC. As the massive cannon starts its slow recycle, and the wave of heat flows through the Griffin, the cold sweat of combat finally serves some purpose.

The Hunchback’s rear, right torso blackens under the impact of the charged particle beam, arcs and flares coruscating over the right side of the mech. The blast tears a huge rent in the back of the mech, where its ribs would be were it human. A blast like that has to have done internal damage…  the autocannon is housed there. With a little luck, it might be non-functional now…  do you have that kind of luck?

As you eye the damaged Hunchback for signs of it turning to bring that brutal, mech-breaking autocannon to bear, you catch sight of the sunlight glinting off metal. MadDog’s Griffin comes blasting out of the dust cloud like some Olympic high-jumper. His signal resolves into a steady, clear icon as he hits the apex of his jump arc, a few metres above the cloud.

Over head, a flight of SRM missiles from TLC rockets into the gorge where the West Quickdraw has been advancing. At the impact and detonation of those missiles high on the gorge wall over the enemy mech, you see it come to a stop, and possibly begin reversing direction.

Throughout this, you have been opening up the range between yourself and the Hunchback, and are just coming into the sweet spot for the PPC now. The powerful weapon continues to labour through its recharge phase… a process that seems like centuries in combat.

The very distorted icon which must be the Wolverine, fires its jump jets; hot on MadDog’s heels.

In front of you, you see a flash of light from missile detonations on and around the Hunchback. At the edge of your HUD, Fitz’s Trebuchet resolves out of the clutter of distortion at the extreme limit of the edge of your scope.

“S*rr* ** b* *ate,” comes a distant and digitized-sounding broadcast from Fritz’s channel, while from MadDog’s a howl of elemental triumph and elation gets through the static as though coming from light-years away instead of mere metres.

As you finally pass into the minimum effective range for your LRM rack, it seems like MadDog will touch down on the West side of the landslide, on the same level as Cool Hand.

Turn 4

The Hunchback, a famed urban brawler well-suited to this network of canyons, turns its torso directly toward you while heading toward the north wall at its stately walking pace.

Continuing your rearward walk, you track the brutal-looking mech as the wail of your LRM system settles into a solid signal and you loose its flight of 10 warheads in response. Almost simultaneously the pilot of the Hunchback fires his twin medium lasers in your direction.

One strikes the Griffin’s left arm, the other goes wide, hitting nothing but the stone of the wall behind you.

The cloud of missiles from your launcher, with barely time to arm themselves due to the close range, slam into and around the squat and ugly mech, peppering it with high-explosive impacts and blowing off bits and pieces of armour across the right torso and left arm.

On your scope you can see that Fitz has continued to approach at a run in his Trebuchet, while the nearest Quickdraw continues to stand still. A flight of LRMs from Fitz briefly registers on your scanner, mere instants away from impact against the Hunchback.

Mad Dog, turning to the East, opens up with his PPC at the Hunchback’s upper rear, sending it stumbling from the force of impact. The gaping maw of its AC20 looks large enough to swallow your entire mech with room to spare.

Turn 5

Glancing at the scope, and the slowly clearing topographical overlay, you arm the jump jets and prepare to take this fight to a whole new level.

The griffin’s jump jets roar immensely for a moment and the ground drops away beneath you. The intense acceleration to reach maximum elevation mashes you back into the deep vibrations of the command couch like the palm of a negligent god, but your training helps you retain focus and control.

Although jumping to the south, you are able to keep your orientation so that you can visually track the Hunchback.

As you arc up and to your right, over the high rocks of the gorge you witness the after-effects of the last few seconds’ brutal assault on the medium mech. As Fitz’s missiles arc down to detonate on the enemy machine, the brawler’s immense autocannon tears loose from the chassis and shears through the shoulder assembly taking a large section of forward armour, as well as the entire right arm, with it. The Hunchback stumbles as the last shrieking shred of metal tears free from the internal structure of its torso, leaving tons of twisted, smoking metal in the dirt behind the mech.

Twisting to follow you, the mech takes a huge number of Fitz’s missiles across its centre torso, smashing and cracking the heavy armour there, while a cloud of flame and smoke envelops its head. You are not sure to what extent the mech was damaged as the front torsos are the most heavily protected areas, but it looked like a few missiles impacted on the head, where the shock of impact has the greatest effect on the fragile meat which pilots it.

There is still no sign of movement from the Quickdraw in the canyon near you. The blip on your scope that you are now certain is the Wolverine is also immobile.

Turn 6

The Hunchback still seems to have some life in it. It turns sharply to the south and accelerates to a run. You know that two of its 4 weapons systems have been neutralized: the autocannon and the right arm- mounted medium laser are gone, leaving the other medium laser in the left arm, and a small laser on the mech’s head.

From your airborne vantage point you can make out Mad Dog’s Griffin continuing his Eastward run, passing close behind TLC. The other Quickdraw has jumped from the canyon and has just been struck by missile fire… presumably by Cool Hand.

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 lose visual contact with the mangled Hunchback below the lip of the plateau to which you have jumped, you begin to guide your Griffin to a gentle landing on the hard stone, dusted with grit. As the jump jets scream and scour the rock beneath your mech clean, the Quickdraw which has stood unmoving all this time erupts out of the canyon on a blazing trail of heat and distorted air. Its arm-mounted lasers are already trying to track you, but Fitz- continuing his own jump – completely outmanoeuvres the heavy mech, to settle in behind it.

Having worked on more than a few Quickdraws in your time in the military, and your brief time here, you know the machine has no blind spots. By landing behind the heavy, so close he can almost touch him, 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 your mech will. Perhaps he is hoping that will distract the pilot, while you extend the range to make your PPC a viable threat?

The Quickdraw fires two medium lasers at you, raising each arm threateningly, as though to punch. The first goes high and wide, but the second strikes solidly on the centre torso armour of your Griffin causing alarms to flare as it burns through a critical seal in the plating there.

Fitz tears into the Quickdraw from behind, firing two of his three medium lasers at point-blank range and hitting with both. He follows up with a punch that strikes the left arm, near the shoulder, and if you are not mistaken, there is a flare of laser light, and the sharp crack of super-heated armour that suggests he may have fired his laser on impact! What other dirty tricks has Fitz been hiding?

While it is unlikely that he penetrated armour, he will have come close, and must have given the pilot a scare.

As your jets fade and your mech’s feet settle firmly on the rock, you can make out Cool Hand on the comm issuing an order to regroup to the north.

To be continued~

Check out the scene from the other members of the lance!   Mad Dog Cool Hand Luke

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

  2. […] You can read dramatized transcripts of the first 7 turns of my group’s exposure to this scenario from three PC perspectives here, here, and here. […]



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