Mechwarrior PBeM Report 5 ~ Hair of the Dog ~ Story I Act IV Scene 7

This entry continues the ‘behind the scenes’ look at how the Hair of the Dog campaign, using Catalyst Game Labs’ RPG rules, set in the brilliant Battletech Universe, is being conducted as a PBeM.

If you are new to the story being created in this campaign, you might want to start at the beginning…  HERE. Acts 1 to 3 have been edited into a sort of dramatic continuity, with most of the game elements removed. Acts 4 through 6 are being presented as they were conducted via gmail.

For further detail about the setting and how the campaign came about, you can check this link.

Scene 7 of Act 4 can be found below. Earlier Scenes in this Act can be found here:

Please be aware, for those for whom harsh language is of concern, that here be curse words~

Campaign:  Hair of the Dog

Story 1:  Running with the Big Dogs

Act 4: Bites,  Scene 7: ,  PoV: All Players

November 22, 3028 – 6pm -Hanachi Military Academy


The needs of the body eventually win out over the force of the will, and sleep claims each of you in its own way, and in its own time.

Roused later by Westerlie as she ends her shift, you gather to report on findings, make final recommendations, and set a timeline for the raid on the museum. The meeting is being held in the Dean’s private office.

The storms will continue to rage for the next 2 or three days, but will be followed quickly by a similar weather pattern within a day or two. Ground cover is expected to reach between 1 and 1.5 metres of snow by the end of tomorrow, with extreme freezing temperatures to follow once the storm passes.

Present for the meeting are:

  • Captain Lucas Rom
  • Lieutenant Mel Winters
  • Sergeant Velika Kadlec
  • Angus Llew Fitzsimmons, Major – retired
  • Westerlie Plantagenet, Captain – retired
  • Synnor Liscombe, Colonel – retired, Current Dean of HMA

OOC: For Planning the Raid IC

HMA’s Leapord Class Dropship – Available:

  • Can Carry 4 Mechs and 2 Aerospace Fighters, 15 Passengers
  • Unarmed, Unarmored
  • No resources to arm it
  • 4 days to modify armor plates for it – if sufficient stocks can be obtained

Civilian Air, Ground, Rail Commercial Transport out of the mountains is unavailable

Private Air Transport out of the mountains exists:

  • Brigadier
  • HMA
  • Emergency Services
  • Various private conventional aircraft can be used – weather permitting

Private Rail Transport out of the mountains exists (Brigadier)


  • The mech assets in the museum are actual mechs donated to preseve the technology and prevent the complete descent into a true dark age.
  • There is a reasonable chance that all weapons will be real (but deactivated and locked).
  • There is an excellent chance that all electronics systems will be in good repair.
  • There is no doubt that motive systems will function at peak efficiency.
  • There is no doubt that armour will be in excellent repair (donated fresh from the factory)
  • There is no expectation that functional ammunition will be present
  • There is a display of support vehicles and equipment onsite also (loaders, gantries, coolant trucks, etc)
  • A small guard force may be present


The site can be represented using the attached maps, as we have lost our most excellent cartographer. They are to be arranged side by side:

  • Delta Basin on the left
  • City Street 1 in the middle
  • City Street 2 on the right

Delta Basin will represent the city streets making their way to the harbor. City Street 1 will represent the residential and small business zone around the museum. The museum is on (and under) the island in the small lake. City Street 2 will be the neighborhoods getting closer to the the center of town (Academic and Commerical Zones).

If there is a battle, and if it must go N or S, we will append City Street Map 2 in all directions in the center and right, and Delta Basin on the left. Not perfect, but – what is?


The Dean’s office is unchanged, but an additional data system has been brought in for presenters to use if needed, complete with large-scale holographic projection.

Fitz looks much better, but is dressed warmly and hooked to an IV. A condition monitor on his wrist will alert the medical staff in the clinic if he should have an episode.

Everyone looks and feels exhausted.

There are refreshments open to all, and the feel of the meeting is quite informal. The Dean has broken into his supply of fresh fruit, and has supplemented that with still-warm breads, muffins, and pies.

He has also has prepared reports on the type and condition of the forces present at the school based on the condition prior to the upgrades begun on November 21. There is no precedent on which to base the Lyran reaction, but he speculates they will demand the mechs be turned over, and the school curriculum immediately shift to subjects becoming to Lyran officer trainees. He further speculates that an additional 1 to 2 years will be added to the students’ programs, that this Academy will close on schedule, and that the students will be transferred to the Anderson campus rather than graduate.

He also releases a very brief report on Axthelm, whose career has been both highly successful, but marred by scandal. Due to some event that is under seal he could not enter the Nagelring, and so was denied all the best that rank and privilege have to offer an aspiring officer. In fact, so heinous was the crime covered up, that the only military academy he could enter was the Black Guard School of Conflict, which produces one thing: highly effective mechwarriors, with unfettered ambition, and situational ethics.

According to the report, which bears all the earmarks of a personnel dossier from the Intelligence Community, Axthelm is the pet of a notoriously greedy ‘Social General’ under the thumb of the ‘Estates General’. This Social General is notorious for unscrupulous land grabs and corporate takeovers, but never seems to fall under reprimands from the ostensibly peace-minded Lyran Archon.

He implies in his report, but does not state openly, that this report was prepared on planet, by members of the Marik Ministry of Intelligence. It does not seem unreasonable to believe that perhaps the planet was not left entirely defenseless.

After this report he opens the floor for the report on the students, according to the agenda set by Cool Hand.

Mad Dog

Mad Dog presents a data pad to CH containing his final student reviews with linked files along with his personal observations and comments. In addition to the one he hands off to CH, he also presents the Dean with a storage device containing the files for use with his presentation devices.

“Dean… Captain… I’d like to report some news from last night first, and then comment on the student reviews.”

[To CH], “As I briefly had time to mention to you in passing prior to this, I have some big news about the miners. I set up a meeting for you.

“Now, Chilton and Kenworth being away without leave and out past curfew is serious under the circumstances, but I recommend we go light on them. We need pilots, the young men have some serious family concerns that were involved in the situation, and they seem to have seen the error of their ways.

“Some good came of it though… Skipping a lot of details in the story, they ended up in conversation (in part due to their family positions in the Brigadier corporation) with several men from the local mining outfit. One of the men said his name is Lassiter and that he is the lance leader for the mine—number two in the security department there. I got the impression that he might be in charge of a combat-capable lance, though I didn’t pry for details at the time. I was also surprised to learn that the mining set up is somewhat fortified already—perhaps the corporation suspecting in the past that it might need to stand on its own if no help were nearby. Of course, they also have industrial mechs which we need for clean up and set up purposes of our own, but industrial mech pilots, of course, could possibly be trained to be mechwarriors as well.

“The miners seem full of fervor to support a revolution. I set up a meeting between them and you. I came to the conclusion that for this important meeting, our CO coming to see them personally would set the right and proper tone for what will hopefully be a lasting and trusting relationship. As your 2nd, and their point of contact for this, they will be expecting me. Blowtorch should come given some of the topics that will be discussed. Fitz, if he were up to it, would be an asset. They apparently know him and respect him. He would help all of us get along for these important talks.

“We have tentative arrangements to meet the Brigadier mechwarriors and other members of the security staff at their compound near the mine this evening. They will be introduced to you, Captain, and I believe we will inspect their equipment and maps. Lassiter provided me with secure contact information and protocols so that we can alter the meeting time if necessary.”

[Shifting in his seat], “As for the student reviews… You’ll see that although a few of the students are not recommended for close quarters or high-risk missions initially, I’ve been able to give all who have the will to fight a recommendation to serve with us—though a few of them with some reservations. Overall, all of the students are ready, and I am proud to recommend them.

“The five students from the combat sim stunt actually made it to the top of the list, although you’ll want to give a careful read to my concerns and comments about Cadet Brown. Out of the five, there are three who I recommended for promotion to 1st Lieutenant, junior grade, as soon as performance can warrant it. Of course, since they all graduate as 2nd Lieutenants from the academy as a matter of standard practice, we’ll have a slew of junior officers at first. These are unusual circumstances and we’ll not be impeded by it. Anyhow, as to the three I’ve recommended for future promotion as soon as we can justify it…

“Cadet King has always been talented and is now showing greater dedication. Teamwork came up in our conversation. If she can maintain her current level of dedication, lance leadership could easily be in her future. We’ll see if her current long-awaited discovery of working hard lasts, or if she slides back into settling for merely doing ‘good enough’.

“The second of my top three, is Kenworth. Although he’s been victim to trying too hard at times, and needs to reign in his impulsiveness, the young man is a fighter. I’d be happy to have him watching my back, and I know he’d follow me straight through the gates of Hell if I led him there. He won’t hesitate or flinch, and if we work on his situation assessment he could also be a decent lance leader with improvement in the right areas.

“Last but not least, Coy Chilton… I was tempted to slap him with the callsign Coyote due to how he’s acted thus far. On faith, I’m giving him the handle Frost representing the potential I see in him during this time of oncoming winter. He has the greatest leadership potential out of all of the students. I’ve harped on him about working with the greater team, and as of late he’s showing that he got the message. He’s an excellent planner, is crafty, thinks outside the box, and seems to effortlessly inspire trust in the other students.

“Captain, despite our busy schedules, I think it would be a good idea if we had a last minute assembly. Very last minute for security concerns… I suggest we push up their graduation ceremony to this afternoon. We’ll keep it to an abridged version. At this time they are waiting, drilling in every way, and are very anxious to join us. If I were to present them to you today, and if you were to give them a speech, we’d be hitting them at an ideal moment morale wise. They’re soldiers now, Captain, and want to do their duty. Let’s put away their school uniforms today and get them ready for war.”

Suddenly interjecting remembering something else, “Also, I was looking at the Gordon 4 footage again. Unless I’m losing it, I’m seriously starting to believe that the Lyrans faked the battle somehow.”


“So the Lyrans couldn’t come up with a real fight, so they staged a show for their propaganda?”


“Interesting take on the battle; not sure what difference it would make if it were though – unless we spot some proof. The best stance in negotiations is to be calm but appear angry, so maybe nothing more than that. Either way, we’ll give them a real fight soon enough.

As for the student reports, good work. We’ll set up a meeting with the miners as soon as we finish this meeting. For your 3 best cadets, I think we will give them the rank of ‘acting’ 2nd lieutenant. Let them know that permanent promotion depends on their performance, but it will get them set up for some lance leadership duties.”

“The other old business that Saint has brought up is the school. Our options are simply; business as usual, defend it, abandon it, or destroy it. Now I know you [speaking to Saint] prefer to complete your term here after we clear out the hardware, but I strongly suspect that the Lyrans will either replace you and any loyal staff immediately, or use you to get to us. I would really like you to reconsider the role you play in this war. I respect that you do not wish to take direct command, but I think it would be safer for everyone involved if you move operations to the underground base and continue advising and intel in a more official capicity. We can decide later whether to leave the base abandoned or trigger that fiery sending-off we discussed.”

GM: [Synnor ‘Saint’ Liscombe]

“Yes,” Saint says, “You are right. Based on recent developments, such as the possibility of stranded Marik personnel, the initial spread of Lyran forces, and the intel I have gleaned on the Lyran commander, I concur that I need to have a more active role in the resistance. The school, however, may need to remain open. If it is suddenly emptied, that in and of itself may draw attention that simply trying to fulfill its mandate may not. It may prompt the question, “If they are not here, where are they?”

“I believe Axthelm wants reports of military hardware simply to know where the ripest vines for plucking are. If we submit an honest appraisal of the mech forces here (as of November 20th) complete with the lack of armour, plus the actuator, heat, and wiring issues – minus the personally owned mechs, we may present less of a target than refusing to submit. We could rely on being overlooked, and it is possible that no one realizes the graduating class remains here instead of the Anderson campus due to all the redtape that was cut to make it so, and I am willing to take that under advisement, but… there you have it. ”


“The Lyrans will look here, there is no question. I think even one lance of run down mechs would be a tempting target for the Lyrans given their situation – especially if we send them an appraisal, which amounts to ‘come and take them’.

The mind does not accept empty spaces. They will never believe that there is nothing to see here unless we can get them to accuse, and prove them wrong in a public and humiliating way. Or prove to them that there is something else here. When the mind is convinced of something, and then has to do a 180. It will not go back to that old hypothesis.

My two thoughts are have them march in here with a full company of mechs only to find a few industrial mechs and aging librarians. Or back to my old plan of ‘successfully’ rooting out an insurgence here, and blowing it up. But we can go into details of those after today’s main order of business.

Operation ‘Antique Roadshow’

Phase 1: Posing as miners and using the Brigadier rail system to get into town. Coy might be able to tell us where to slip in among the crowds. We could also chat with our new mining contacts, but I’d rather wait till formal introductions. The fewer that know about this mission the better. I’d say either 4 mechwarriors (Me, MD, Fitz and BT) possibly adding a few drivers for the support vehicles (total 7 or 8).

Phase 2: Museum entry. BT, MD and I will enter the museum the day before to scope out the security systems. If we find a place to hide until the doors are locked we do so. I may have to do that part alone if guard presence is high. I (we) then open the doors for the rest of the team after dark. We incapacitate any museum staff, and disable or kill any Lyran guards. We should have most of the night to prep the mechs and equipment to battle status. BT, you tell us what you need at that point. Student lance leaves the school under cover of night (and hopefully snow to the proving grounds area. Get ready to defend our retreat if we are followed there.

Phase 3: We break out of the museum at first light. Cameras rolling. We want this to be public. Escape through the delta basin as it offers the most cover. Remember we will be light on weapons. Take out any resistance we can match, otherwise run to the hills.

Phase 4: Optional: If pursuit is light, we pass by the Highlander compound on the way back to make contact and check on guard situation.

Comments? Any details to fill in?

Mad Dog

“Yes, some things need to be commented on, again Captain.” Looking at his friend, obviously not happy about whatever it is he feels he needs to say, “Permission to speak freely…” [OOC note between players to indicate this is purely an IC debate snipped]


“Speaking freely, especially in this room, is a necessity. ”

Mad Dog

“The idea of staging a defeat at the school, while intriguing, was a flawed plan when you first mentioned it. It’s a worse idea now.”

“Ignoring the possibility of unnecessary losses or personnel being captured, it will―if you think about it more―accomplish the opposite of what you want. This school is a known location that we all know the Lyrans will check on. We cannot hold it and we need to vacate. This should also be obvious even to the most obtuse of Lyran commanders.

“Why then, would we defend it? Why would we be that stupid and simply let them come and finish us off? It will raise these questions for them. They might even jump to the conclusion that there is something here we need to hang on to. Even if they don’t come to that conclusion, they will assume both that there is a reason why we didn’t leave, and like with any such instance of insurgence, assume we likely rallied support from the local populace. This whole area will come under a microscope until they are certain that there is nothing more to see here. The likelihood of that plan failing is very high and the likelihood of the Scorpion facility being discovered as a result increases at least tenfold―maybe more.

“Operation ‘Antique Roadshow’ is, on the other hand, brilliant. It shows the talent and thinking that made you the best choice for our CO in charge of supervising and overseeing all of our fields and various responsibilities—everything ranging from special ops, to intel, to military operations, and the political end of things. With every instance of special ops or intel related plans, I’ve had nothing to add. It speaks of your extensive experience in these fields. You’ve also brought fresh ideas that have shaken things up with regards to military planning. Otherwise though, with respect, your military planning has been touch and go so far. Now strategic planning is not something you delegated. You assigned me responsibility for Tactical, but I am your second-in-command. You should be taking the suggestions of your second-in-command more seriously. You should be taking the input of all your senior staff more seriously. Some of us actually are lifetime career military people.

“Remember our objective: execute an effective wide-sweeping assault and large scale war with the goal of holding a stalemate situation as soon as we are able to manage it. Stressing the ‘as soon as we are able to’ part…

“Until then, we are relying on winter coming on full in one month, distracting or fooling the Lyrans to go to other locations as far away from here as possible, and training, recruiting and gathering as much strength as possible so that we can be ready to attack in force. We can still perform missions if the manpower is available. However, we need to be acting with as much of a reliable long-term plan as possible even though we are acting with little intel. We need to be ready to adjust that plan. We can’t just react to the Lyran encroachment, which despite the complexity of some of the proposed ideas, is exactly how it seems.

“The mind does not accept empty spaces? Nonsense… The mind does not accept anything it isn’t predisposed to accept or is unwilling to accept. We convince them by giving them something convincing.

“Compare my plan for the school that I had suggested. Not fool-proof, but more likely to succeed.

– We truly vacate the place convincing everyone not a part of our plans that it is true. Why would the Lyrans believe this? Because it makes sense that we would vacate for all the reasons that we discussed?

– Why would they believe that we had gone south away from here? Because we stripped the school’s repair facility down, took everything useful, and because a mech force fitting the profile would actually be KILLING their fucking soldiers 1000 km south of the vacated position.

– If they were to somehow discover the Scorpion facility, our standing force up here—hidden and waiting—would be more than a match for an initial recon mission—much more than if they assaulted this position in force.”


“OK, we’ve discussed the school situation before, and I think we can save that decision till after the raid on the museum. Let’s focus on the mission at hand first.

BT, I will need you to come up with a minimal list of equipment to bring for those mechs. We may find what we need there, but let’s bring some backup just in case. Remember we will be on foot for a lot of this though. You will have us to assist, but we will need to get those machines running and armed before first light

MD, choose your lance for the backup. I suggest the schools fire support lance. but keep them jump capable for escaping into the mountains. Maybe 2 Quickdraws, the Wolverine and a Griffin. Impress on the lance commander that they are not to advance beyond the drop zone at the pre-approved ambush point.

I’m not happy about the lack of a plan C. I agree with previous recommendations that we want to commit light at this stage, so we’ll keep with the single backup lance, but Westerlie, maybe keep a transport flyer on standby to pick us up in case we have to ditch the mechs? We will be slow if we indeed get that thug moving, and a single backup lance will not be enough if we face serious opposition, or these antiques have limited firepower. Also, do we have any support vehicle drivers competent enough to take with us? Do the roadways allow them the options they will need to avoid any Lyran pursuit until they can be picked up? The support vehicles are second priority, but still useful.

If we hit opposition as we leave, focus firepower on any scout mechs, or medium jumpers. We can try to evade anything bigger, but losing a wasp is damn near impossible.

Any details to add? It will be the little things that will make or break this mission.

One option I considered, but dismissed, was have the students drive the stolen mechs, and us as the backup. It would put our best pilots in the mechs that actually have ammo, but the recruits in more danger. I’m willing to revisit it if anyone has input.”

Mad Dog

In response to his orders, I simply reply without hesitation, “Yes, Captain! I’ll see to it.”


The school has all the uniforms, and personal military gear for all type of weather conditions you may need. There is only a limited amount for jungle environments, but a lot extra for cold weather environments.

The support vehicles in the museum do require roads. This will severely limit their ability to control their course or to fool pursuit about their direction of travel. Is everyone up on the distances involved in this mission?

GM: [Saint]

Listening to the plan, and subsequent debate, Saint looks thoughtful.

GM: [Westerlie]

Westerlie begins to plot fuel consumption and course data to compare current stocks with requirements and gives you a green light, but adding that present resources will allow one raid like this and perhaps one other.

GM: [Fitz]

“Captain,” Fitz puts forward, “About the support vehicles… if you want to get them on this run, perhaps they could bolt for the secret base while we make our run for the proving grounds with all of the tin-plated sturm and drang in hot pursuit. Westerlie could perhaps pick them up en route, or at the base… perhaps making contact with the Capellan Mercs at the same time.”

“The museum is mostly underground, but the arrangement and location of the Hall of Honour will let us smash our way up to the lobby, and out the front door, or make a break deeper inside to whatever loading and access area they have secreted about the grounds. We will have multiple options to reach the harbor, and our escape routes.”


“Travel to the border of the Lyran zone of control is a distance of approximately 2000 km as the crow flies. There are numerous ways to get there (dropship, roads, cross country, running the Brigadier rails), and there are bound to be Lyran patrols along that border.

The city of Beasville and its targets lie between 100 and 200km inside the Lyran border. The Militia Base lies a similar distance outside it. The rate of expansion is unknown. Other than the ostensibly deserted military base, there is little between the current border and the Hanachi Industrial Zone which houses our School, the Mines, Hanburton and the Power Plant for the northern region.”

[OOC] I haven’t seen an exact figure on the proving grounds (our redezvous spot for lance 2) but based on tunnel distances that were mentioned, I would say half way to the Lyran line?


The Proving Ground is normally reached by dropship due to the intervening terrain:

• For example, in September for the students’ finals had that been real and not simulated, Westerlie would have dropped your lance from the Leopard, waited until you were set and then returned to do a combat drop of the attacking student lance.

• Ground vehicles heading to the Proving Grounds would depart HMA, head past the Power Station and its attached military base, then cut through a deep pass almost directly south to the proving grounds. This route continues on toward Shanyu and ultimately loops around the southern coast to head into Beasville in a Northerly direction.

• A direct route for ground vehicles headed to Beasville using the roads, if they were open, would depart HMA, pass through Hanburton, proceed through a deep and winding pass to the steppes and the large city of Hanstanople, then from there cut back over toward the coast before heading South to Beasville, coming no closer than a few hundred miles of the top secret base.

I hope this helps put things in perspective.


[Checking distances, roads and weather] “Looks like driving vehicles even to the secret base would be pushing it just now, so let’s focus on the mechs.

Here is a clearer time line”

[OOC Posted as ‘current mission’ tab in Command todo list. We can tweak it there]

Phase 1:

T-36 hours. CHL, MD,BT and F board the rail to Beasville.

T-30 hours: watch museum entrances to determine if there are any night time changes of guard

T-22 hours. CHL as solo, and MD and BT as ‘couple’ tour the museum, so as not to be seen all together. CHL will focus on hiding spots, BT will focus on secuity tech, and MD will focus on security meat. Fitz will explore terrain around the compound for optimal getaway.

T-20 hours: rendezvous in distant part of town to update. Sleep 8-10 hours as much as possible

Phase 2:

T-10 hours, just before museum close. It should be dark quite early this time of year. Either CHL enters museum and hides, or all 4 enter museum and hide based on quality of security discovered in phase 1.

T-8 hours: CHL lets in the others if needed through easiest access. Possibly elevator roof access. Disable security and guards. Remove Lyran military presence first.

T-6 hours: MD, BT and Fitz get up to mechs in running order. Sources suggest our only trouble should be neurohelmets and ammo. CHL maintains guard and patrol. Make sure the battle cameras are set to record on all 4 mechs.

T-4 hours: if mechs truly are pristine, MD, BT and CHL can take a quick look for additional ‘goodies’ including potential ammo sources, and rumours of a starleague dropship. 🙂 (later mission, since we are not bringing a pilot)

T-4: Wersterlie drops backup lance at proving grounds.

T-2 hour: eat, relax, guard .

T- 1 hour. Suit up and wait. We either leave 20 minutes after sunset or earlier if security relief shows early.

T-0: escape though delivery/service access. Quietly if possible.

Phase 3:

T-0: Escape city quietly IF POSSIBLE. we will probably be seen at this point and will have to fight our way out. If we can save the battle for closer to the secret base, i will be even happier, but we will likely have to fight our way out of the city. Keep a very close eye out for infantry units. You don’t want them to get inside your myomer. I will take any mech with MGs or flamers and make spotting them my priority.

T-0: Westerlie preps transport flyer for emergency evac if necessary. Stay on standby till contact is made at secret base.

T+ 10 minutes: head out through the basin if possible, or whatever route Fitz has spotted.

T+70 minutes. In case we are split during escape, meet exactly 50 kn due north of museum. Even the slowest mechs should be able to pull that off. Anyone who makes (or doesn’t make rendezvous) make best speed for secret base.

T+ 5? A. Discuss options of ambush or contact of the base at that time.

T+5? B. If base cannot be secured, make best time for proving grounds *if we are sure we are not followed*. Lead chasers to west coast if we are still hounded at this point

T+ Hide out at base till decent storm makes it possible to get to proving grounds undetected. Staying at secret base may be a feasible option, once contact is made. This may be the ‘disposable’ launch point we discussed earlier, and keeping these mechs here may work for us.

Mad Dog

‘”If we can save the battle for closer to the secret base, I will be even happier, but we will likely have to fight our way out of the city.”



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