Hair of the Dog PBeM Report ~ 5.4b Mad Dog

BATTLETECH: A TIME OF WAR RPG

Campaign: Hair of the Dog

Story 1: Running with the Big Dogs

Act 4: Bites, Scene 9 – Casing and Entering – PoV – Lieutenant Mel ‘Mad Dog’ Winters

Thursday, November 27, 3028

Beasville, Ardmore Tea Room, across from the War Marik Museum of Military History

7:30 PM

The trip here from the waterfront bar was boring and cold, but not difficult. For the first time today you did not pass any Lyran patrols, and saw only a single cruiser for the local police, however – also for the first time today – you saw an enemy lance of mechs making its way through the downtown core at the onset of dusk. From the sound and the brilliance of their running lights, you know the lance is moving in a tight formation, four together. As your transportation goes one way, and the lance moves off in the other, you catch sight of two of the mechs clearly enough to identify them – a Commando, and a Wasp.

Arriving at the Ardmore Tea Room just before 7:30 pm and the closing of the Museum, you are just in time to smell fresh pies being taken from the oven and set on the counter to cool. The evening shift staff as as friendly and plump as the morning staff were, but the pie, being warm and fresh, is inestimably better.

If all has gone according to plan, Cool Hand will be inside the museum waiting to let the two of you in at 8pm. Once that happens, much will need to be done in order to prepare your targets for your escape.

MD

I’ll try to stay sharp and alert. Soon… Very soon…

In particular I’ll try to keep my eyes and mind open to any patterns or goings on that might signal something we didn’t plan for.

GM

You have been told that the building closes at 7:30pm, and have seen the staff leaving in groups since 7pm. However, although you have seen the guards lock the main doors, the lights in the lobby are still on.

Looking carefully, but being careful not to appear to be staring at the goings on in the museum through the front window of the Tea Room, you are pretty sure that there is a guard in the guard booth, and you think that the shadows reflected on the glass of the building entry are two or three guards moving around at the security desk. At this distance, it is hard to tell.

MD

Hmmmn…

I am so out of my element with this stage of the mission. Not especially stealthy and negotiate best at gunpoint… 🙂

GM

Just before 8pm, as the agony of waiting and the paralyzing grip of doubt and concern for your commander are about to reach a shattering crescendo of agitation, the lobby lights go out, and the  guard in the booth begins to close his station down.

As you sit there in the relaxing warmth of theArdmore, eating pie, drinking great coffee, and looking at the hard frosted ground surrounding the museum, and blocking your view of the moat and drawbridge….  you suddenly remember the drawbridge.

This morning, just before the guard appeared, the drawbridge was lowered into place. Now that the guard is gearing up to leave, doesn’t that mean that the drawbridge will be raised again?

If you rush across now, while he is descending to the lower floor of the guard tower to operate the bridge controls, is there anyone to see you on the outdoor security cams?

If you wait, will you be able to sneak through the grounds to the moat, and swim across the deep, frigid waters to get to the doors on time to be let in by Cool Hand?

Has Fitz realized this?  Blowtorch seems to be lost in thought or consumed by the wonder of the pie.

What do you think that you and your partner (BT) should do? Feel free to broach the subject in the IC chat thread. Post as though the clock is ticking:

  •   The lights in the lobby finally go out at 7:57pm and you are due to be let in at 8pm.

Mad Dog & Blowtorch Storm the Gates!

  • (Their entrance into the museum can be read here in this repost of their shared thread)

GM (Private Mad Dog PoV resumes At the Security Console)

Looking at the computer systems and security systems built into this console, you really have absolutely no idea what any of it does or how to fiddle with things more complicated than the keyboards and camera joysticks. Everything has confusing names, or the names are worn off from use, and the whole console arrangement is as cluttered and confusing as a mech cockpit.

Looking around the desk and the lobby, however you realize that you do know some basic tactics which can give you an advantage over your adversaries when they arrive.

The door to the stairs has a sliding bolt to lock the door. It should not be there as this is a fire exit, but it was probably installed to prevent the door from opening suddenly and smashing into the guard who has to sit in front of the damn thing to do his job…

Locking it can buy you a few seconds to subdue or win over the people in the elevator to your cause.

There is a mop and bucket in the corner with dirty water within. The floor is slick faux marble, so the addition of dirty soapy water in front of the elevators and stairs may decrease the traction and combative ability of those who pass through that area.

The security desk is heavy wood with a stone facing that is beyond a doubt, bullet proof.

The elevator doors are in columns which extend out about 1m from the wall. It would be easy to lurk there to spring at the pair from behind with surprise on your side.

You will have time to make use of 1 of these ideas.

There are 5 guards and 3 of you. Three of the guards are coming this way. One in the elevator and 2 climbing the stairs from below.

You know that CH:L maintains hard combative training, is very flexible and has body language which signals a very hard style, possibly a form of kick boxing, based on certain recurring motions when he animatedly tells drunken tales of violence.

You know that BT also maintains a high degree of training.

Are you good enough to take on what is rumored to be an elite cadre of trained security professionals – without killing or unduly harming them?

You have a laser pistol and a stun baton.

MD

A decision has to be made right away. The thought of barring the door flashes quickly through my mind, but then is instantly dismissed as an image of them not being trapped in the stairwell confronts me. What if they run out through another exit and come back around? What if they get help or sound an alarm? We need lots of time to get these mechs up and running. I’m not sure if out of the two of us, whether or not CH is the better fighter to deal with this. I’m pretty sure I can handle one person.

Instant is over… Physically, I drift towards my decision before I’ve fully recognized which choice I’ve actually made. Taking out and preparing the stun baton, I use hand signs familiar to anyone with basic FWL military training to silently signal that there are two coming up in the stairwell as I drift towards an ambush point for the elevator.

My intent is to assess—it will have to be in whatever second I have once the doors open—whether I need to stun the occupant or whether they can be persuaded to be silent and cooperative. It will probably be a quick jab with the stun baton and be done with it to be safe. I’m guessing that Blowtorch and CH should be able to handle the other two well enough that they won’t get away or sound an alarm. I’m intending to take out the elevator occupant as fast as possible, and then move over to assist them with the other two.

GM

Good move, I have sent messages to the others with what they can see of what you have done.

Clarifying One Small thing: Bolting the door was intended to limit the number of opponents in this encounter in the short-term, not keep them locked in the basement while you work. Sorry if that was not clear. CH:L’s plan is to capture or sway all the guards before moving on to the mechs.

Someone else might bolt the door. Worry not. You will be in position for ambush by the elevator when things resume.

MD

I wasn’t sure about what was on the other side of the door, but thanks for the info. I think I would still be more concerned about them sounding an alarm from a wall alarm or even from radios or whatever on their belts. I’m thinking it’s better that we surprise all three at once, either at gun point or stun baton zappy end. If we get the drop on them, armed and trained, it seems pretty likely that we can either render them unconscious or perhaps even have a CH persuasion moment.

My concern is if we limit the number of occupants to this room, we also limit our ability to control how the guards react. I’m thinking the odds of this spinning out of control increase if we do that, even if we were to make the possible initial struggle easier.

GM

[OOC: I think that is good thinking. I am trying to represent the limited amount of time to decide and act before 4 ‘enemies’ suddenly arrive in this space, combined with differing levels of tactical awareness for each of the three PC participants. One of the three of you did not roll well. 😉    When the posts are all in and sorted, it will be interesting to see what happens~]

The Security Guard, in black commando gear (wool turtleneck with purple epaulets and insignia), web belt, fatigues, and boots, is rushing straight at BT perhaps to body slam her back into the console.

BT is a trained combatant and is facing her attacker.

You and CH:L are on opposite sides of the elevator, and behind the Guard, diagonally.

The Stairwell access door is still closed, and on CH:L’s left. The full mop bucket and mop is in the corner to his immediate right, mere cms away from his leg.

You and CH:L have drawn your stun sticks.

MD

Still fairly certain that two people will come through the door…?

GM

It’s only a matter of time~

MD

1. Trust that Blowtorch can handle the guard…

I’m expecting that CH might nod to her or signal her to take the guard down, but she ought to do that as a default reaction.

2. Signal quickly to CH indicating that he should talk to the woman

3. Quickly go over and slap mop bucket water in front of the door

4. Take out my stun baton and get ready

This is assuming that CH doesn’t give signals (military hand signals, nodding or shaking of his head, etc.) to the contrary. I feel that all the characters would be trained to work as group, so looking for and responding to direction from the group leader and each other would be normal for them. Something sensible of this sort would possibly override anything I’ve written here.

Actual Play is interrupted here for a serious player question

MD

OOC: I have an OCC question. Did we, as a group just fuck up with our group response? 🙂 The player (me) is happy, but it’s more about my in-character response that might come later.

Although the scene thus far has amused me greatly as a player, I think alarm bells would be going off for my character. Our leader should have quietly signaled us or quickly given verbal orders, at least if any of us weren’t already doing what he wanted. They would have had to have been quick given the time frame, like shoving Blowtorch and saying “Move, Sergeant!”

There was very little time, but enough time it seems for me and CH to hide and leave Blowtorch by herself. We left one of our teammates out and alone by herself. That’s so bad, for soldiers at least.

If CH had failed to give orders, my signals as next in line ought to have been heeded. If Blowtorch had been caught off guard daydreaming, one of us should have grabbed her and shoved her to get her going.

I find myself hearing some imaginary training officer in my head shouting words like “inexcusable” and “TEAM”. 🙂

Anyhow, just curious. If you could shed a little light on this, it would help me better determine how my character would feel about it. I’m guessing that there might have been a few less than stellar die rolls in there. 🙂

I was just thinking, should we as players be putting in as intended actions things like, “Look to the group leader for direction” and “signal my squad to move accordingly once I have directions from the leader”? I kind of did with saying that I intended to signal the others, but I did not explicitly state the first time that I was ready for directions from CH as well. In fact, I stated that I moved without direction and started giving signals myself.

By splitting the group thread up like this, maybe you are forcing us to roleplay the ‘soldier’ part of the team work. The more I think about it, this might be good. If we just assume that the teamwork and group cohesion is happening on its own, it’s there but backed by our character skills. If it’s partly roleplayed, then it’s backed by our character skills and our player choices.

For example, there might be a really tense situation where I want to do something, but I type instead, “I look to CH for direction or orders.”

Tense seconds go by, CH  mutters something I don’t understand, and then runs off by himself. What do I do? As the player, I might feel the tension of the character more, say having a target in my sights, saying that I do, and waiting on a razor’s edge for the confirmation to fire.

I guess what I’m saying is that the struggle of teamwork and cohesion might be felt more accutely this way. Someone going off half-cocked on their own, or failing to think of a team member might feel more like a personal failure rather than something to be blamed on the dice. There might be a lot of “I look to the leader for signals or orders” typed over and over again, but it might be a small price for the drama it can create.

What do you think? Is this kind of what you had in mind?

GM [OOC to all]

Douglas asked me OOC:

  1. Should we use a military approach in our posts?
  2. Did we screw up in this scene?
  3. What is the purpose of compartmentalizing the declarations in this scene?

1. Well… the advice I have gotten and liked on this subject is that Leaders are simply members of the group who carry responsibility for the well-ordered working of that group. They do not have to originate or control every action; they should train and maintain a team that consists of capable professionals who will follow their lead – when it needs to be expressed. Otherwise, they will do their jobs as they were trained and report their progress/ideas/etc to the leader. When the leader gives an order it should be obeyed. If it is a bad order, and time permits private questioning, that is ok. If not, follow it with a witnessed objection if time permits, and a report later, if you survive.

This is the model supposedly used in the army, and it works really well for RPGs, I think. I do not want leaders to have to micromanage the other players, nor do I want players having their action choices subsumed into the leader’s, nor do I want players deferring choice and leaving things ‘up to the leader.’

2. What happened in this scene was this:

  • The guards left late leaving no time for CH:L to prepare the building for your arrival (Story Complication)
  • The group as a whole missed the detail of the drawbridge (failed intelligence and covert ops and tactics checks during planning. I took it as a sign). This was all rolled in response to player input to plan less and do more.
  • The realization of the drawbridge dawned slowly as characters had a chance to observe (rolls again) and the approach of the first specified insertion time gave it some excitement (player input)
  • CHL was able to get the crew into the building w/o raising an alarm (covert ops) but in trying to complete his preparations for that did not note that the guards were coming now (perception)
  • BT also failed to note this, but did roll really well in her tech skill areas for sabotage ideas
  • MD noticed the arrival of the guards and signalled to the others that they were coming
  • BT failed to note this signal
  • CHL opted to use BT as bait, relying on her native ability as well as the skills of MD and himself to handle the situation.
  • The guard acted like a berserker (Story Complication)
  • The guard got the worst initiative so, BT is able to apply her -Fu to ruin his day and interrupt his charge. [Team Initiative]

Did you screw up? That is up to you. In my opinion: Not yet, but there is still time!   😉

3. As Doug indicates in his query, there are few means of generating tension in this format. This is one of them. Fortunately, we have the tools to give us greater verisimilitude in e-mail so that is all good.

As we are in a ‘heist scene’ and time is of the essence, and it’s your skill versus the Guards’ skill… I am restricting communication flow to keep players only aware of what their characters’ own skill sets tell them. When the pressure is off, we will return to normal open chats.

The weakness of this approach is that it does rely on GM and players catching the existence and/or importance/unimportance of details mentioned in the posts, and that is not always possible in these trying times. In times of doubt, I try to go with ‘the fun.’  Be warned however, that I think horrible deaths are pretty damned fun.

PS: As you all may remember, I hate intra-party conflict more than beachwear on a sunny day, but the genre and the universe fiction all have a certain tone that I would like to maintain when it comes to personal interactions. These involve:

  • the doubts of the fighting man
  • the doubts of the commander
  • the friction caused by leaders and followers and the hard choices faced
  • the consequences of snap decisions
  • the consequences of command decisions
  • etc~

A merry band of rebels is possible, but requires work to achieve.  😉

MD

OOC:

Thanks,

It was just this last thing/most recent part of this scene that concerned me and not everything that happened leading up to it. I was wondering if there were bad die rolls involved or if I as a player should be posting differently.

My only remaining thing to say is one of those common moments in games where a player says “I would have done this if I had known or seen that.” These moments maybe are harder to handle with the same ease compared to playing together ‘live’.

Had Mad Dog heard CH tell her “stay here” or “act as a distraction” or a hand signal or gesture to that effect, that would be one thing. Otherwise, if Mad Dog had noticed—and the ‘if’ here is probably key—that Blowtorch wasn’t responding, moving, or that she seemed to have missed his signals, I would have had him abort his action to grab or shove BT and say something  typically military like, “Move, Sergeant!”

Leaving a teammate to fend for herself without any instruction from him or the leader is not something he would have done. If he had failed to notice until it was too late—entirely possible—as an officer, a leader, and a soldier, he would feel that he had failed in general and failed BT in particular in that specific instance.

So, yeah, that’s about it. The guard is funny though. 🙂

GM

[OOC: Ha! Don’t worry, only 1 of the two of you intentionally left BT as a distraction, but he is a hard-boiled spy used to weighing life in different terms, so it is ok~   😉 ]

CH:L

[OOC: Heh.  indeed.  Actually the distraction part was just a bonus.  😉  Runeslinger did indeed give me the option of giving her a heads up, but at the expense of different action.  I have to assume you marines are competent enough to take care of yourselves damn it!  😉 ]

BT

[OOC: Damn it, BF, I’m a mechanic not a marine!]

Actual Play Resumes

GM

You begin to step out from cover, but Cool Hand waves you back.

In the elevator, you can hear frantic breathing and the sound of the occupant mashing a button feverishly.

The burly guard rushes at Blowtorch and she reacts fairly calmly, despite suddenly realizing that Cool Hand has let her dangle a bit as bait. Stepping forward and a bit to her left, she executes a heavily drilled maneuver to trip and strike her assailant, sending him hurtling heavily into the front of the security console.

He strikes the edge of the console with his face. A jet of blood from his forehead sprays the wall behind the console, to the right of Cool Hand.

He hangs there for a second, before crumpling awkwardly up against it on hands and knees. The console shudders from the impact and the I and N in INFORMATION explode off the stone facade along its front, rattling down on the floor next to him. He is down, but not out of the fight.

[BT beat the Guard’s Roll, She passed the Roll, he Failed the Roll, damage assigned as Fatigue from her maneuver as it is unarmed, but beating his MoF by more than 3 she is able to earn a Knockdown which is situationally appropriate. That causes him to interact with the console, and that causes some Standard damage. Yippee Ki-Yay, range-rider~  However, he is a big tough dude, and he passed his consciousness check].

What would you like to do?

Cool Hand waved you back from leaving cover, and is trying to see what is going on with Blowtorch. He can no longer see the guard due to cover from the console, but can still see BT.

None of you can see into the elevator, but you can hear the panic going on in there.

MD

I acknowledge CH with a nod, stun stick still out, while trying to quietly shout with my eyes and a quick glance of my head, “Aren’t you going to do anything (talk to, subdue, etc) with that woman in there?” Of course, my eyes don’t speak, so…

I make signals from cover, again, that two adversaries will likely exit from the door behind the desk. If CH seems to have missed them, I will repeat them.

What is he doing? Doesn’t he realize that a place like this is filled with alarms—there might even be one in the elevator (like an emergency/fire alarm if nothing else). On top of that, all a single member of the security staff has to do is remember that they can radio for help at any time. We need to talk to or take out these people before they have a chance to do something we don’t want.

If there is any sort of FWL hand signal for ‘ALARM’ or ‘act before an alarm is sounded’ that would be sweet. Otherwise, I’ll keep trying to silently signal that we need to act.

I am yet again doubting one of CH’s decisions, but I’ll follow his signal and lead and  stay put until something changes.

GM

[OOC: Remember these feelings of doubt and that WTF!? sensation. Now, what actually happens will happen before Mad Dog can finish the chain of thoughts you sent, but that core emotion will definitely be in full flower when events interrupt his thoughts. In this scene, your motivation has been to get shit done, and your complication is that the CO seems to always be a beat behind – just not seeing the things that you see, or knowing how to be a proper CO. The doubt is a major worry. At this point in the scene Mad Dog is about to get something of a surprise, and that cold, cold realization that maybe he has missed some things as well.]

GM

As you nod and begin to raise your fist again to try to signal him about the stairwell, you make full eye contact with Cool Hand and see a sharp blaze of annoyance, and the steeling of his face into the cold mask of a killer.

Stepping out from the cover he had adopted to ambush the set of guards due to come up the stairs from the guard room below, he quick walks around the corner of the console raising his laser pistol as he does and aiming it into the interior of the elevator.

His body language does not say aggression, but his face is hard and blank. He keeps his distance from the downed guard, and seems to be trusting Blowtorch to watch his back as he continues on toward the elevator.

While walking he projects firmly, “Madam Curator.  In the name of the Free Worlds League Regular Forces, please step out of the elevator and tell your guards to stand down. No one else need be hurt”.

When he completes his statement, he gestures for you to step inside the elevator doors, keeping his eyes firmly on his target.

MD

Out of range for the stun baton now, so I’ll get ready to switch to the pistol. That would be the last thing I’d want, since our duty is to protect these people and negotiations at gunpoint have a chance of going sour. Well, too late now…

I’m not sure why CH just left Blowtorch hanging out there, but I realizing that he made that decision doesn’t make me feel any better for *me* missing that she didn’t see my signals. She depends on me to watch her back, and I and her—at least—have training where that is expected. That’s my failure, my slip up, and had something more serious come out that elevator we might have lost her.

These emotions swirl through me in an instant as I act. I’m not sure if CH was always involved in solo black ops, but… Still, now that he’s actually giving some sort of lead, I’ll follow it. We have to work as a group or we won’t get through this.

If the annoyed look was towards me, I’ll flare it right back at him. He deserves it.

(1) I’ll go in the elevator doors. I’m not sure why he wants me to deal with the woman in the elevator; I’m the worst choice, but…
(2) I’ll make sure she doesn’t get anywhere near any alarms (ie: the fire alarm or emergency alarm) and I’ll attempt to keep her from leaving. Make sure (look) she hasn’t got a radio on her.
(3) I’ll try to avoid speaking to her (using my Charisma score) unless I can work in a trained skill like leadership. 🙂

So, CH is getting psyched up to murder the guards? Mad Dog is not impressed. Not that Mad Dog hasn’t killed as a soldier and with little remorse on some occasions, but these are just guards from a population we are supposed to protect.

I’ll see how this plays out and continue trying to trust him. So far, it seems like his public relations approach needs a bit of polish. Mad Dog will keep this to himself and try to look supportive of his teammates.

MD

I step into the elevator, following his lead.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will work out. 🙂 Personally, I would have gone for securing the whole room (communications and people), and then surprising and doing the same to the other two guards about to come through the door, and *then* attempted to negotiate with them *after* all the people and communication devices were under our control in a very certain and quiet way. Make sure there are no random elements that can amount to anything resembling an alarm or call for backup and *then* negotiate…

Even if CH can convince what’s her face (at gunpoint and panicking) to tell them (the two guards about to enter) to stand down, who says they will or that they will even hear anything except her panicked voice. The first reaction for any security people like these is to sound an alarm (quiet or otherwise) at the first sign of a threat. Negotiate with the intruders while help is one the way… That’s what I would expect them to do.

Maybe we’ll get lucky…

[OCC: The personal strife, Mad Dog’s conflicted feelings in this scene, is actually feeling like good RP stuff. Everything, feels very laden with drama in a subtle way. Everyone made CH the CO, but is he up for the job? Could he be a hero to the people at least, or is he really just best suited to be a spy and a killer? Have we got the right man for the job or have we made a horrible mistake? Will things get better or worse? If it gets worse, will duty have to come before friendship?

Many hints of something horrible that hopefully will never happen—quite gripping actually… ]

GM

[OOC: It is indeed a part of the evolving story~

On a related note, as the Devil on Reaper used to say, “Wow, you go to theDark Placefast!”  😉

Based on CH:L’s expressed desires to subdue the guards quickly and without harm (non-lethal methods preferred), Mad Dog likely has no basis for leaping to the conclusion that Luke wants to kill them. While he does not have any real idea what Rom’s covert ops background might have entailed, he does know the man and would know that he is more likely interested in limiting human casualties and ensuring the guards have a reasonable line of defense from Lyran investigators than in just killing them to make stealing mechs easier.

Mad Dog clearly saw the elevator contained a man and a woman, so may not need to go the “what if something else came out of the elevator” route. He might, but… he might not.

I totally agree that MD would feel like BT missing his signal was his own fault, and would be angry at CHL for choosing to have her be unsuspecting bait rather than suspecting bait.

The seed of doubt about CHL’s motivations for certain actions that MD would not have taken is a very valuable one for dramatic purposes, and as long as we are all having fun I am happy with it. It is good for us all to remember that MDs reaction or CHL’s reaction to the reaction, or BT’s reaction to the situation or whatnot may not be interpreted correctly by observers, and more to the point, may not be the right one; if there is a right one.

Whoa~ adult roleplaying.   😉

Clarifications:

MD chose not to act when the elevator doors open, letting the guard pass him, because he trusted that BT, who he could see was aware of the attack, could handle it. Had that not been true, he would have certainly been free to act to deal with the guard. He was not powerless to help her, and freely chose to let her deal with the guard on her own. Had she been unsuccessful both he and CHL could have sprung to her aid easily.

If the woman in the elevator is the curator, having her compliance will make most of the rest of this easy~

I believe a huge argument will take place at a dramatically appropriate time after the raid, and hope that it will be fun to play the hot-headed MD, the frustrated CHL, and the outraged BT, all drunk and full of certitude, hahaha.]

GM

Following close on the heels of Cool Hand’s declaration to the Curator that you were part of the Free Worlds League Regular Forces and that hostilities should cease without further violence, you see Velika dart in to try to pin the burly guard to the floor. It won’t be easy, but if she is fast enough she should be able to do it.

As you turn your back to her to enter the elevator and prevent further nonsense on the part of its panicked female occupant, you her Velika snarl nastily as she was taught, “On the floor, NOW!” followed by the sounds of grappling.

Interposing yourself between the woman, who is wearing a name tag declaring her to be Lynne Genue, CURATOR, and the elevator buttons, you position yourself to be able to look at both her and the security door. Your back is to the left side of the elevator (looking in from the front) and you are facing Cool Hand about 5m away. Beyond him, behind the Security Desk is the stairwell door where at some point, more guards should appear. 

As you regain your view of the lobby, you and Cool Hand see that the burly guard, evades the hold Velika intended to put him in, by rolling abruptly to his right and coming up in a crouch close to her, facing the elevators. A thin trickle of blood is creeping down his face from his hairline, and he looks furious. Velika has her back to you, facing the entry doors. The security desk is on her left.

Snarling a response to her statement to get on the floor NOW, he growls, “Never, Lyran Dog!”

[They both failed the TN 8 +/- modifiers roll, leading to a ‘not grappled’ result for each of them and no damage done]

You have your stun baton in hand. Luke has his pistol in hand, but has shifted aim away safely once you crossed into the elevator. 

MD

I give CH my best ‘I got this nod’.

Without taking my attention off of the woman I glance briefly at the door while unbuttoning any safety strap that might prevent me from drawing my pistol quickly.

If there’s time I will change my earlier  view on this and foolishly try to speak to her. In a hushed voice, I might say, “The Lyrans are the enemy, Ma’am—not you people. Give our captain an opportunity to explain.”

I’ll spend Edge on this if I need to. 🙂

Hopefully, maybe she’ll help us calm the situation and control it. Away from any alarms, buttons, or points of escape…

GM

As you turn to face the woman in what you hope is a reassuring manner, despite your weapons and paramilitary gear, you hear Velika snap, “Do I look like a Lyran, bitch?!” with venom.

A beat later Rom follows up with, “Damn it, we are Grey Hawk Irregulars, man! We don’t have much time!”

In the elevator, the Curator is too busy loudly apologizing and trying to phrase her surrender in what sounds like an attempt at German to really listen. Her head is down, avoiding your gaze and she seems to want to give you her keys.

“‘Grey Hawk Irregulars… Really?” Velika’s assailant asks, as you try to calm the woman.

“The Lyrans are the enemy ma’am… not you people. Please give our Captain a chance to explain,” you tell her, trying to penetrate the stupid panic of a petty bureaucrat bent on saving her own ass.

RULES_____________________________________________

  •  Charisma + Intelligence roll
  • -1 penalty from Charisma
  • -1 penalty from ‘poor conditions’: panic, weapons, Lyran threats, etc.
  • TN 18 (standard Dual Attribute Roll TN)
  • The roll has a – 2 modifier and adds Cha+Int (7)
  • May use Edge after the roll as a boost or to force a reroll

Roll 1:     9 – 2 = 7 + 7 for 14

4 points are needed to earn a success which will reduce Edge to 0. Do you wish to do this? (See section on Edge and Edge Recovery)

MD

For the sake of the team, the mission, and not slaughtering the people we are fighting for, I will spend them, yes.

The sheer convergence of will, luck, karma, whatever else, and something exploding in Mad Dog’s brain will create a shiny aura of energy that will convince the woman that we are the messengers of hope. 🙂

GM

[OOC: I believe that is called a halo… ]

As you do your best to calm the woman, you hear Blowtorch reply, “Yeah, really. And it you want to stick it to the Lyrans, help us.”

As your sincere belief in the justness of your actions, and as the simple truth that you mean her no harm starts to sink in, you see signs of her starting to relax, and pull herself together. Thankfully, she stops trying to speak German.

Behind you you hear Cool Hand speaking to the guard, “Captain Lucas ROM.  The rest of the introductions can wait, because first priority is keeping the Lyrans from getting your mechs.”

Turning to guide her out of the elevator to meet Rom, you look out into the lobby to see Blowtorch still in her defensive posture, but Cool Hand has relaxed his stance to one closer to the merely conversational. Looking across the lobby and out the glass entry doors, you can see that the drawbridge is slowly reaching its upright position.

A mixed look of relief, excitement and joy suffuses the burly guard’s face as he holds his hands out peacefully and begins to slowly rise up into a normal standing posture with a thousand questions brimming in his eyes, looking at Cool Hand with something akin to wonder.

“I have already begun…” he begins, when suddenly the stairwell door behind the desk slams open so hard from the kick of a massive, booted foot that it literally tears off the upper hinges, and a huge bear of a man… near 7 feet tall and at least 300 pounds, steps into the small space behind the desk, filling it with muscled menace. He is wearing the same Security Uniform as the burly guard. His eyes are on that guard as he growls, “Tate, is there a problem here?”

MD

Giving her more space and respectfully motioning towards the center of the room, I say, “After you,  Ma’am.” I don’t take her keys.

I can’t help but smile at the entry of the big bruiser. A part of me thinks it would be a fun yet possibly dangerous challenge to take him on (then again, I would think taking my mech through a tight halo drop from a 3 klicks up fun)—another part of me thinks of recruiting him. Either way, I can’t help but like his entry for some reason.

These are just reactive emotional responses as I involuntarily smile. I’m not losing sight of the mission for foolish antics.

By showing her some trust and suggesting she take charge, I hope she will decide to calm the situation.

GM

Everyone’s eyes are on the huge guard, and perhaps to further impress them, he puts one of his huge hands on the counter that runs along the front part of the desk, and lightly swings his body over it. He stops where he lands, in front of the desk, and stands there waiting for an answer.

Rom prompts Tate from his reverie by politely asking, “Yes, Tate, is everything ok, now?”

Tate finally speaks up, “Alexandre! Everything is ok!  Reinforcements are here! We will be able to get the rest of the mechs out now! We won’t have to leave any behind!”

He is turning his head back toward you when the curator’s head snaps around to look at Tate. “What did you say? You are stealing the mechs?! But I told you No! I have an appointment with Oberleutnant Braun in the morning!”

Tate ignores her to say to Rom, moving forward to shake his hand, “We have to hurry – there is not much time!”

MD

I’ll try to encourage the woman/curator to remain calm as simply as I can with my general body language. I’ll continue to encourage her to join the other staff members so we can work this out.

I’ll try to let Rom do most of the talking. I don’t see why any of these people have to show up to work tomorrow if they chose instead to join us.

GM

CHL will smile and say with exploratory tact and a sense of mutual respect, “Captain ‘CHL’ Rom, Mad Dog and Blow Torch” nodding to each in turn, “If you could give a quick brief on what you have ready to go…?  Your prep is obviously farther along than anything we had planned.”

The bleeding, burly guard, takes a moment to grab a handkerchief from his pocket to press to the cut, and nods. “Call me Tate. I am in charge of security here. Lieutenant in the 18th Marik Militia logistics and planning division, retired. Pleasure to meet you all…

Blowtorch picks up her duffel bag and adopts a more casual stance, ready to get back to work. “Sorry about your face, by the way,” she offers when he looks her way.

Tate laughs and says, “I get worse just shaking Alexandre’s hand. Don’t sweat it… Blowtorch, is it?  This is my second in command, Alexandre,” he says, indicating the giant by the security desk. “You might recognize him from The Fight! Channel, but he was a mechwarrior once… we all were, or could have been.”

Checking the blood on his handkerchief he smiles and winks at Blowtorch before continuing. “The alarm systems are down, the mechs are primed for a cold start, and we have detonators rigged to take out the cockpits of the mechs we cannot take. The problem is, we do not have the passcodes needed to start the mechs, unlock the weapon systems, and allow the addition of warrior-grade neurohelmets.”

He stops and directs a black look at the curator. “She does.”

The curator is still babbling about her fate and how you simply cannot steal the mechs as they belong in a museum, while Mad Dog tries to get her to listen to reason.

Blowtorch turns on her and states, “You can blame us for the theft when Braun shows up. Tate put up a heroic fight to stop us…”

Alexandre rumbles to Tate, “Want me to get he password from the old hag…? I can have it in less than 2 minutes…” His posture is more relaxed, but as he turns toward the curator, she cowers against the wall in fear. “Or do you prefer the jail of the Lyrans for a long time…? Do you really think they will let you go or live…. MA’AM!”

CHL cuts in and takes on a more assertive posture, “I suggest your group joins us and we can work out how to merge command structures and how to best take our battle to Lyrans.  Our plan was for museum administration to be respectfully tied up and left behind.  It will be safest for them if we do not question where their loyalty lies.  Anyone who actively assists us would be safer to join us in the exodus.  Agreed?”

The giant named Alexandre turns to look at the rest of you and says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Tate nods, and says, “Yeah – we are definitely on the same side here…  How many of you are there? We have 4 that can pilot a mech well, and one good tech that can run one in an emergency.”

“There are four of us here tonight… the fourth is outside – Do you think you could let him in? “ CH:L replies

Before Tate can answer, Alexandre interjects politely and indicates that he needs to contact the people who are caring for his girl. “It’s time for them to move her out of the city,” he says.

Tate nods and says, “Use the blue line. Sal checked it an hour ago and its still safe,” before turning to Cool Hand, “Yes, let’s get your 4th in here and get a move on! We have a war to fight!”

MD

Mad Dog will call out, “Atten-shun!” He will expect everyone except for the curator and CH to snap to.

Turning quickly to CH and saluting, “Captain! Any other orders?

Depending on what CH says, Mad Dog will salute and say, “You heard him. You’ve got your tasks!

The whole point other than keeping order within their own group will be to establish with no uncertain doubts that CH is in charge. Clear leadership and structure for the success of the mission…

Mad Dog will not let anyone harass the curator. So far, she just seems to be a civilian and afraid. She can still be convinced to help.

A second diversion from Actual Play took place…

GM

I am waiting on two more posts to get the next turn ready.

Things to consider in the interim:

5 security guards, 4 of you

8 of these 9 people can be assumed to be, or to have been, full mechwarriors

1 person is a tech who can pilot a mech if need be (non-combatant)

Who will pilot which mechs?

CHL wants the greenest pilots in the fastest mechs and the more experienced ones in the most battle capable mechs (bearing the lack of ammo in mind)

MD will need to get some sort of rating from Tate about his crew’s proficiencies, as well as a listing of mechs in the collection (FYI: the mech information has been in the Command ToDo document for weeks, so you can preplan your strategy now and save time later).

The giant guard may have trouble fitting into a smaller cockpit (for the pure RP value) but your guess is as good as mine about which mechs might have small cockpits.

To get the mechs in motion: (all require a password or hack)

  •  a neurohelmet needs to be assigned to each mech
  • the system needs to be calibrated for the new pilot and helmet
  • a new start-up and password sequence needs to be programmed
  • the engines need to be started
  • the weapons locks need to be removed

BT can do all of this by hacking, but it will take a lot of time. If CHL cannot get the passwords from the curator, you may need to settle for fewer mechs. Deciding which mechs are to be taken and which to be left might fall to you, or might be something on which your input would be requested.

Cool?

MD

I just gave the list a lookover.

CH would probably be resistant to me being in a Griffin in this case, but as it turns out the variant is all fire support and not my kind of mech. Go with the PPC and have everything else be short range is what I say. I notice the Guillotine and the Thunderbolt variant are both jump capable. Between the Thunderbolt being more likeable ‘looks-wise’ to me, and the technical and equipment-based unreliability of the Guillotine design, I think I’ll put myself in the Thunderbolt if I have to move so slow. With the exception of the Griffin, it seems to be all heavies and lights. I like speed but getting killed in one shot doesn’t appeal to me. 🙂  I guess with MD’s gunnery being more than competent for a Mechwarrior of his experience and background (an experienced solid 4), it would be remiss to put firepower is less skilled hands. Still, my piloting relies on having a mech to make use of it—well there are still jump jets.

“Death from above! In your face…!” 🙂

The lights are all clearly recon run-like Hell mechs. Pretty clear what to do there, except for the Hermes 1SB. With the general assortment of lostech it has, the Beagle Active Probe and a MASC system, not to mention the extra firepower, that scout mech needs to go to someone who won’t even scratch it.

CH should probably go in either the Orion or Thug. He’s our best gunner.

GM

Decisions, decisions~

Somehow this campaign has mostly featured decision-making… maybe I should rename it Hair of the Decision.

Actual Play resumes

GM

“Lieutenant!” Captain Rom says to you.  “Have someone see to Fitz, debrief Mr. Tate on the status and complement of the mechs, then organize and resume the operation in light of our new allies’ advance preparations. Report back with a revised timeline. I will be with the Curator.” He walks over to guide the curator toward the stairs and away from further contact with the operation, its planning, and its enactors.

You, suddenly feeling every inch the second in command, call out loudly, “Atten-shun!” in a tone that demands attention.

Tate replies instantly, “Sir, yes, Sir!” and snaps to attention, blood still seeping across his forehead.

When Rom and the curator have left the lobby, and you have everyone’s attention, you state, “You heard him: Mr. Tate with me. Alexandre, bring in Lieutenant Fitz and have the rest of your team meet with Sergeant Kadlec at the mech display.” You nod your head for Alexandre’s benefit to indicate that Sergeant Kadlec is the woman that you have been calling Blowtorch.

“Sergeant, rendezvous with the rest of the team at the mechs and do what you can to ready them for departure while we attempt to retrieve the passwords,” you say to Blowtorch as she makes the dufflebag more comfortable on her shoulder.

Blowtorch states quietly to you, “I can deal with the password problem, but it will take longer if we do it my way. You should know, though, that starting them up is one thing, but if we use the Curator’s passwords to remove the locks on the weapons, a signal will be sent out notifying the regional military governor. Unless that’s what you want, I will have to hack them anyway.”

Alexandre, at the security desk and already in the process of contacting his girl’s guardians,  looks to you and says, “Lieutenant, I need to contact the people taking care of my girl. I have to tell them to be on alert and get ready to move her.”

He had already asked his boss, Tate, about this, and gotten approval. You can tell that this is something about which he, or any right-thinking man, would feel very strongly about. You also get the sense that he didn’t really believe that Tate’s plan to steal the mechs was actually going to succeed, and that now that it is, he is both hungry to take the fight to the Lyrans, and regretting not having moved his girl sooner.

MD

In response to Blowtorch, “Good point, Blowtorch. I suggest, then, that you leave that matter to last until we better know our current sit-rep with the curator.”

In answer to Alexandre, Mad Dog nods to the big man. “What’s your girl’s name? How old is she?”

He will attempt to very briefly get details such as where in the city she currently is and what what the situation seems to be. “Make the call. Let us know what you find out, and we’ll try to help if we can. We snuck into this city. It should be possible to sneak a girl out.”

“Tate, with me! Slight change of plans… We’ll talk and walk at the same time, and Fitz will probably react better if he sees me with you. Alexandre, when you are finished join us. If for some reason we don’t come back this way, go to where the mechs are and assist the Sergeant.”

Trusting that CH will be ethical with the curator, and extending trust in general to new people he barely knows, he will quickly attempt ‘briefing’ with Tate while finding Fitz as soon as possible. Following that, I intend to have him re-enter the way he came with Fitz and look for Alexandre before heading down to where the mechs are.

GM

In response to her, you say, “Good point, Blowtorch. I suggest, then, that you leave that matter to last until we better know our current sit-rep with the curator.”

In answer to Alexandre, you nod at the big man and smile. While the huge man completes the connection on the secure line that Tate had set up for them, MD asks, “What’s your girl’s name? How old is she?”

Seeing that the connection has gone through and that Alexandre needs to speak to the person on the other end, you  turn to Tate.

“Tate, with me! Slight change of plans… We’ll talk and walk at the same time, and Fitz will probably react better if he sees me with you.”

Turning back to Alexandre, you say in a quiet, but clear voice, ““Let us know if there are problems, and we’ll try to help if we can. We snuck into this city. It should be possible to sneak a girl out. When you are finished, join us here or at the mechs.”

While you was speaking at Alexandre, Tate had motioned to the other two guards, and they had walked over to stand with Blowtorch. As you turn back to him, he takes his radio mouth-piece off his shoulder, “Would you like me to have my other guard go to the mech display to rendezvous with the Sergeant?” With this he looks over at her and says quickly, “I’m really sorry I mistook you for a Lyran, Sergeant. You had every right to toss me into the desk.”

Outside the snow begins to fall more heavily.

MD

“Just make sure that whoever normally has any patrols or posts clearly visible from outside keeps them until we signal them to join us. For example, if you normally have someone in that guard booth by the bridge all night, we don’t want anyone noticing and wondering why no one is there—until it’s too late to make a difference, that is.”

If he’s still bleeding, I think it’s about time one of us said, “You’re head’s still bleeding. Let’s get one of your first aid kits and patch that up.” Perhaps a slap on the shoulder and a smile, “No leaving a conspicuous trail of blood when we go outside to get Fitz, eh?”

GM

Things start to move along very quickly once the two different teams begin to figure out how to work together.

After you and Tate return with the Booth Guard and Fitz, and the museum is locked down for the night, people begin to relax a bit and focus more clearly on the task at hand: prepping, and then stealing these huge war machines, and escaping through the quiet night-time streets of this residential section of Beasville. While everyone is serious and well-aware that these preparations are the first big step in starting a rebellion, the thought of finding unexpected allies is a reassuring one.

Fitz seems familiar to most of the Security Guards and it is Pietr who recognizes him as a former champion boxer, now retired.

The Night Security Team who came up the stairs with Alexandre introduce themselves as follows:

·          Sal Winner, former tech for the 18th Marik Militia Aerospace Division

·          Pietr Llewellyn, formerly of the 10th Marik Militia, Dispossessed, Disability Discharge

Tate introduces the Booth Guard as:

·          Dominic Vincent, former test pilot for the Brigadier Corporation

While Blowtorch quickly interviews each guard to find out their technical and piloting skills, Alexandre and Tate go off to the side for a quick and private discussion. While Tate seems ready to just throw his lot in with you guys without thinking, Alexandre seems to be advocating a little more

The mechs appear to be in excellent shape and the technical and status readouts that Sal produces are very reassuring. In order to depart, all that remains is for each pilot to have their neurohelmet formatted and registered to a specific mech, and for the weapon locks to be removed. The guards have already prepped the mechs for active use, and have returned the engines to active status, not storage more, meaning that initial start-up times are significantly reduced, and access to onboard electronics is possible right away.

The four mechs on this level are a Guillotine, an Orion, a Thunderbolt, and a Thug. Two levels below, in the storage area, the remaining mechs have been freed from their storage cocoons and lined up for easy access and departure through the tunnel to the Museum’s loading dock and warehouse. These are two Hermes, a Hunchback, aGriffin, a Crusader, a Spider, and an Archer. The technical readout indicates that their exact specifications are:

·          Archer               ARC-2K

·          Crusader            CDR-2R

·          Griffin                GRF-1DS

·          Guillotine            GLT-4L

·          Hermes             HER-1S

·          Hermes              HER-1SB

·          Hunchback         HBK-4J

·          Orion                 ON1-M

·          Spider                SDR-5V

·          Thug                 THG-10E

·          Thunderbolt       TDR-5SE

As Blowtorch and Sal get to work formatting the neurohelmets (expected time: 1hr15m), Tate explains to you that they have rigged radio detonators, sufficient to destroy all the electronics, into the cockpits of each of the 8 mechs that their team was planning to leave behind. Now that there are 8 pilots instead of 4, some of those detonators need to be removed, and decisions have to be made about which of the 11 mechs to leave, and whether or not to destroy those left behind. Even Tate, whose idea it was to rig the cockpits with explosives, is unsure if destroying them is something he would be able to do.

Tate also explains that their plan was to take the Hunchback, Orion, Thug, and Thunderbolt. Tate was to pilot the Orion with Sal in that mech’s rumble seat. Pietr was to take the Hunchback, Alexandre the Thug, and Dominic the Thunderbolt. Their escape route mirrors the one Cool Hand planned; head to the harbour and head north before cutting across the desert.

Tate lets you know that Alexandre has advocated caution about jumping in with your team with both feet, but that he is pretty sure the big man will come around. He just had a hard life, with a lot of negative military experiences and while disciplined and hard-working, has a knee-jerk reaction to authority.

There is still no sign of Cool Hand. You probably know enough now to seek him out and brief him as he requested. He should be in the guard office on the 2nd Basement level.

Pietr is getting ready to lower the mech display into the basement storage and loading area with the others, but will need help with the elevator. Both Fitz and Alexandre are free. Sal and Blowtorch are also ready to work on their first pilot.

Seeing you scope out the room, Alexandre visibly makes up his mind and comes over to speak with you. Nodding to Tate before he begins, he lets you know that the detonators in the cockpits work, but that the remote relays to set them off still do not. They simply do not have access to the right kind of transmitting equipment. He has been thinking about what to do about this, and has come up with a solution.

His solution is to leave the devices in the cockpits of the mechs you have to abandon, along with some software cracking tools and other workman items indicating that you guys left in a hurry. The Lyran techs will discover the explosive devices and either successfully disarm them or… not.

This would produce a diversionary effect allowing for a secondary line of devices to be installed, deep in the legs of the mechs which could cripple them when blown, but in a much more repairable way – hopefully allowing their capture and salvage at a later date. Alexandre informs you he was a former Myomer technician, and that he thinks he knows where to plant these secondary bombs where they will never be found unless the entire leg is disassembled.

An estimate of time, however, is about 1 hour per mech.

MD

[OCC: Perhaps I can squeeze in a quick post about the immediate situation, though stuff like recommending who gets what mech and giving a report will take more thought.]

Mad Dog will nod to Alexandre, “You’re presenting a better alternative. Good work! No mechwarrior should just destroy an unmanned mech if he can help it, but booby-trapping the legs might be an acceptable alternative. If we have to face them in combat we might just end up obliterating them anyways, and this way they remain intact for later salvage but temporarily unusable. Good thinking! I’ll run it by the captain.”

A moment later he will ask, “You didn’t mention anything, but I must ask… Is everything alright with your girl?”

After Alexandre and anyone else is out of earshot, he’ll turn to Tate. “I won’t lie to you. Tac ops is all military, and I’m in charge of it. We will all be stronger together, but do what you can for your friend. If you think he’d work best as a mechwarrior and soldier, do what you can to help his point of view. Our captain has a more varied background and is as much a political leader of this revolution as a military one. There might be roles and work to do that takes your friend more out of the military chain of command, if need be.”

No need to talk about how he might relate to the man in some ways. This is not the time or place.

[OCC: You wrote that Blowtorch was getting info on piloting and technical skills? I guess Mad Dog would check with her before trying to give recommendations to CH. Also, getting Tate’s opinion about the new situation (with more pilots as opposed to his original plan) might be helpful.

I still feel I should be in a jump-capable mech capable of fighting close up as well as all ranges to some degree, but it seems I’ll get some influence on that outcome. :)]

GM

Before speaking with Alexandre, and discussing Alexandre with Tate, and asking for his assistance bringing the enormous man onboard with your leadership style, you checked in with Blowtorch.

She was busy fitting Sal’s neurohelmet; taking readings and measurements about balance, recovery rates, normal head position, focus acquisition, rates of vertigo and spatial positioning, etc. so knew better than to interrupt, but master tech that she is, she had taken notes about the guards:

  • Sal Winner has no mech piloting skills, but is a first class aerospace tech, with additional training in electronics and weaponry – specifically shipboard weapons.
  • The others, Pietr, Tate, Alexandre, and Dominic, all have experience piloting mechs. Of these, only Pietr and Alexandre have seen combat, but the person with the highest technical level of training is Dominic, the former test pilot for Brigadier.

When the big man comes over to speak with you to make his suggestion about mining the legs of the mechs, he does seem to be making an effort to be a part of the team, but you can see that he is not comfortable with ranks and the like.

Trying to bridge the gap, while maintaining the reality of the chain of command is not easy, but you give it a go [leadership].

Nodding to Alexandre you reply, “You’re presenting a better alternative. Good work! No mechwarrior should just destroy an unmanned mech if he can help it, but booby-trapping the legs might be an acceptable alternative. If we have to face them in combat we might just end up obliterating them anyways, and this way they remain intact for later salvage but temporarily unusable. Good thinking! I’ll run it by the captain – we are on a tight schedule.”

“You didn’t mention anything, but I must ask… Is everything alright with your girl?”

The enormous man responds in his thick french accent, “Yes she is, thanks for asking… We will have to pick them up at one points, when things settle a bit. As for time, I am use to work the Myomers, so I can do it quickly and not leaving a trace of it. Just let me know what you want… I will go see the sergeant and see if she need my help…”

With Alexandre on board with the time-table, and Fitz and Pietr working to lower the mechs to the Basement, and Tate getting in line to get his helmet formatted, it is now time to report to Cool Hand.

You find him with a slightly bewildered and exasperated expression on his face, trying to get the curator to understand that she needs to escape the Lyrans by hiding out with her powerful family connections. Her responses have more to do with cocktail parties and what does one wear to an annexation than to either his point, or reality. The blankness of her eyes is disturbing.

Your report should be issued in private so that she cannot accidentally hear anything  useful to the Lyrans. There is a room next door that she can be locked in.

Once that is taken care of, you are free to make your report.

CH:L will need to know:

  • what mechs there are (Joe knows so you can gloss over technical details)
  • what the pilots’ experience levels are
  • plans to deal with the abandoned mechs
  • suggestions for which mechs to take
  • suggestions for pilots
  • other problems

[PS: I salted clues about the enemy forces in each player’s threads, making it possible for the composition of those forces to be deduced…  if you care to play mech detective   😉 ]

MD

[OCC: This should be considered part one of my reply. 🙂 More to follow when I get a chance…]

Mad Dog casts CH a sympathetic and supportive look. Making sure that the woman has no means of phoning for “help” in a moment of hysteria, he’ll do his best to help CH escort her where she needs to be.

Once alone, he begins to speak, “I’ll begin my report with the mechs. Even though you are very familiar with all of these models, I felt it might be useful to refer to the loadouts and other particulars given the number of variants here. Other than bits form the technical readouts, I included some notes of my own, and at the end of that file I organized the mechs into priority ratings from 1 (the most important) to 5 (the mechs we can afford most to leave behind).

I based these ratings on three things in the following order:
(1) What we need to get everyone back to base in one piece…
(2) The presence of valuable tech, especially lostech/Star League technology. All of these ratings assume that all of these items are indeed present, as they appear to be, and in working order… We’ll need to confirm that. There’s a lot going on out there and Blowtorch is working like a mad woman.
(3) The long-term value to our revolution and a pitched war scenario, requiring both long-term campaigning mechs, and to a lesser degree—special ops mechs.

I touch an icon on the data pad and hand my report to CH.

___________________________________________________________
MECH SIT-REP

·          Archer               ARC-2K
·          Crusader            CDR-2R
·          Griffin                GRF-1DS
·          Guillotine            GLT-4L
·          Hermes             HER-1S
·          Hermes              HER-1SB
·          Hunchback         HBK-4J
·          Orion                 ON1-M
·          Spider                SDR-5V
·          Thug                 THG-10E
·          Thunderbolt       TDR-5SE
ARC-2K
– 70 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
2 x LRM – 15s
2 x Lg. Lasers
– 2 extra heat sinks

Notes:
A good support mech and well-rounded variant that we should take if we have someone to pilot it.

CRD-2R
– 65 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
2 x LRM- 15s
2 x Med. Lasers
2 x MG
4 x Streak SRM – 2s
– *Lostech*: ‘double’ heat sinks, endo steel internal structure, Artemis IV firing systems (one for each LRM), streak SRMs, and CASE ammunition storage

Notes:
Like the Archer, a good support mech and well-rounded variant that we should take if we have someone to pilot it. However, the Lostech makes this mech a rare prize. The Artemis systems will probably have to be removed for the lack of Artemis ammo, but the Streak SRMs could be invaluable for any of our later tinkering efforts. The endo steel design and double heat sinks makes this a valuable mech for us to attempt to customize.

GRF-1DS
– 55 tons
– Speed: 86.4 km/h
– Jump Jets: yes
– Weapons:
Lg. Pulse Laser
LRM – 20
– Extra-light engine + rare pulse laser technology

Notes:
The extra-light engine and pulse laser make this one worth taking if only to see what our techs can do with it. Personally, I dislike the design as is, but it might be good for someone else. The Lg. Pulse Laser is a great weapon, but further compounds heat problems for a mech that cries out for more heat sinks. There’s no point trying to use both weapons at once, because the mech cannot handle the heat from it. Missiles were always meant to augment the primary gun weapon, IMO, not replace it as the primary focus. In its current configuration, it would have to be used and deployed more like a Dervish or Archer. I also dislike the engine in some ways in that it is prone to critical hits and damage most engines would never feel. Griffins are supposed to be durable—a classic—elegantly rugged and reliable

With extra armour allocated to these engine areas, however, and stripping the weapons off for an all new variant, the half-weight engine could present working materials for a very potent Griffin. Especially with a PPC for long range and a host of smaller weapons for shorter ranges, it could be a power house—especially if some of the Crusader’s double heat sinks were added to the mix.

GLT-4L
– 70 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: yes
– Weapons:
Lg. Laser
SRM – 6
4 x Medium Lasers

Notes: 
We need heavies for a prolonged pitched war—at least for our core pilots. IMO jump jets are a good idea even on a heavy, at least on some of our heavy mechs for mountains and certain engagements. Otherwise, this 4L variant seems to be without any of the special tech that made the 4D model noteworthy.

With only a large laser for longer ranges, this mech will be easily outmanoeuvred and picked apart by any PPC or LRM equipped medium mechs with a faster top speed and greater jump range. It will need to be paired with long range hitters and/or a medium mech escort to compensate.

HER-1S
– 30 tons
– Speed: 151.2 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
2 x Med. Laser
Flamer

Notes:
Speed without jump jets on a recon mech reduces the usefulness of this mech to only certain engagements and terrain types. Out of the two, the other Hermes is the much better grab.

HER-1SB
– 30 tons
– Speed: 151.2 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
4 x Med. Laser
Sm. Laser
Flamer
– XL Engine, double heat sinks, Beagle Active Probe, MASC system

Notes:
Even if only for parts alone, this one would be worth taking. If we could later remove something in order to get jump jets (even if only a small amount of its full jump potential), this would be a great recon mech. The Probe, if it’s still working, allows for greater scanning ranges and can even sometimes detect camouflaged or shut down mechs. The MASC system while able to temporally boost the mech’s ground speed is also prone to crippling the mech—leaving it locked up and immobile. Perhaps it could later be removed for jump jets.

HBK – 4J
– 50 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
2 x LRM – 10s
5 x Med. Laser
Sm. Laser

Notes:
Without the AC-20, the Hunchback is just a medium mech that is too slow and lacking jump jets. Even with the AC-20, it’s a ‘budget’-minded AC-20 platform and a ‘heavy-mech attempt’ with a medium-mech cost that we love only because of character. It requires an escort, is easily outmanoeuvred and destroyed by other mediums, and is instantly outclassed as soon as a true heavy mech comes along. This variant is, at least, not limited to short ranges, but with plodding along at a top speed of 64.8 km/h we might as well take a real heavy mech that moves at the same speed. Always good to have, but it can be left behind over other choices.

ONI – M
– 75 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
LRM – 20
LBX AutoCannon/10
2 x Med. Lasers
1 x SRM 4
– Narc Missile Beacon

Notes:
We can always use another heavy. This is one mech that could be good for the Captain given the weapons and design. The NARC requires other mechs to have Narc missiles. Perhaps it could be switched out at a later date.

The large cockpit makes this one stand out. We’ll need it tonight since not everyone can pilot (that alone giving it a priority of 1), and you never know when that might be useful again. The Star League tech in addition to that makes this choice a no-brainer.

SDR – 5V
– 30 tons
– Speed: 129.6 km/h
– Jump Jets: yes
– Weapons:
2 x Med. Lasers

Notes:
A good recon mech with great versatility for its role. Though not as fast as a Hermes in a flat out run, I would never run a recon mech out in the open if I could help it. With its jump jets, it allows recon and access to areas other mechs could never reach.

The Royal Hermes 1SB could perhaps be reworked around this principle, and maybe even exceed the specs of the Spider. However, that’s an ‘if’. This mech is good to go on these principles right now, and the whole design of its chassis and handling are based on these principles.
THG – 10E
– 80 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: none
– Weapons:
2 x PPCs
2 x SRM-4

Notes:
We can’t leave an assault mech behind in this case, we just can’t. Other than that, there’s not much that stands out about this one. Not for me, but someone with a decent hand at gunnery should still be assigned to this one. We might later be able to create a better variant out of this one, perhaps with more weapon variety and more heat sinks.

TDR – 5SE
– 65 tons
– Speed: 64.8 km/h
– Jump Jets: yes
– Weapons:
Lg. Laser
LRM – 10
3 x Medium Lasers
– 2 extra heat sinks

Notes:
A nice mech able to handle a mix of ranges which should be pleasing to both the commander and his second-in-command. The presence of jump jets and extra heat sinks always appeals to me, and if I must be in a slower mech for whatever reason please let it be jump capable.

Summary with priority ratings:

Priority rating of 1

–                   – Orion                 ON1-M         (tech + dual cockpit)

–                   – Crusader            CDR-2R        (tech)

–                    –  Griffin               GRF-1DS       (tech)

–                     – Hermes              HER-1SB        (tech)

–                      – Thug                 THG-10E         (assault mech)

Priority rating of 2

– Thunderbolt     TDR-5SE            (jump capable)

Priority rating of 3

–                      – Archer               ARC-2K

Priority rating of 4

–                     – Guillotine          GLT-4L          (lacking long-range fire with a top speed of  64.8 km/h)

–                     – Spider                SDR-5V         (good recon mech with a significant jumping range)

Priority rating of 5

–          Hermes             HER-1S          (no jump jets; easily destroyed if cornered)

–          Hunchback         HBK-4J         (too slow for a medium mech; no jump jets)

[OCC: Looking at the to-do doc, it seems we still have meeting Westerlie at the secret base for extraction as a part of our plan? I couldn’t find any mention of VTOL capabilities, so maybe it requires an airfield or large flat area. It claims to be able to carry 4 mechs but doesn’t seem to distinguish between the grossly different sizes that mechs come in. I have a hard time imagining it carrying even one Atlas, for example. Does that sound about right?

Either way, 4 mechs can get out that way. It seems the others will likely need to be fast or jump capable if possible because they won’t be going on any first evac.]

“As for mechwarriors, you and Fitz are by far our best all-round mechwarriors. As life-long career mechwarriors, and talented people in general, both Blowtorch and I have reflexes and hand/eye coordination that are well above the norm. You and Fitz, however, are as they say, ‘off the charts’.

“Fitz and I are our best pilots. You and Fitz are our best gunners. You are hands down the best at mech sensors, with both Blowtorch and I as runners up.” Raising an eyebrow and smirking at CH, “It would seem you are exceptional at everything, Captain. Quite a feat for a man who’s worked more outside a cockpit than in one.”

“As for our new friends, here’s what we have so far:

• Tate. In charge of security here. Lieutenant in the 18th Marik Militia logistics and planning division, retired…
– Experience piloting a mech (no combat experience in one)
– The leader

• Sal Winner has no mech piloting skills, but is a first class aerospace tech, with additional training in electronics and weaponry – specifically shipboard weapons.
– Former tech for the 18th Marik Militia Aerospace Division

– No mech piloting skill—he’ll need a ride from someone

• Dominic Vincent, former test pilot for the Brigadier Corporation
– The highest technical level of training from this group
– Experience piloting a mech (no combat experience in one)

• Pietr Llewellyn, formerly of the 10th Marik Militia, Dispossessed, Disability Discharge
– Experience piloting a mech and has seen combat

• Alexandre
– professional fighter, and former mechwarrior
– Experience piloting a mech and has seen combat”

Pausing but then continuing, “There’s a lot of missing info, I admit, but it’s the best assessment I could get of the personnel out there with everything that’s going on.”

“Alexandre proposed an idea of booby-trapping the myomer in the legs of the mechs we leave behind.”

“You see, before meeting us their team rigged radio detonators, sufficient to destroy all the electronics, into the cockpits of each of the eight mechs that their team was planning to leave behind. They will need to remove some of those, obviously. More time to our schedule…”

“Alexandre feels that by leaving the current set up in the other mechs—the ones we leave behind—the Lyrans will find them and disarm them. They probably won’t, however, notice the explosives rigged in the legs that he proposed setting up. This allows us to avoid dishonourably and wastefully destroying unmanned mechs, but it will take those mechs out of use and leave them available for later salvage should our campaign in the north go well.”

“He says it would take him about one hour per mech. We have eight mech pilots out of nine people, so that means three mechs left behind and thus three hours of work for him if you approve.”

“As for which mechs to take, here are my recommendations:

(1) Orion                 ON1-M

(2) Crusader            CDR-2R

(3) Griffin               GRF-1DS

(4) Hermes              HER-1SB

(5) Thug                 THG-10E

(6) Thunderbolt     TDR-5SE

(7) Archer               ARC-2K

(8) _____

“And for number eight, it should either be the Guillotine or the Spider. For a fight, the Guillotine is obviously the better choice, however even on this mission we might need a mech like the Spider. I have this feeling that at some point we will need a recon mech that can jump over eight stories and clear 240 meters in a single jump. It can keep pace with a Locust and out jump almost any mech commonly seen and deployed.”

Rubbing his eyes for moment, “Other than theGriffinand the Hermes, our current list is all heavies and one assault mech plodding along with a top speed of 64.8 km/h. It will be a valuable but slow procession. If I had to choose, and it it seems that one of us does, I would go with the Spider based on our current goals of getting out, and the long term goals of our army. It seems counter to good sense to take a recon mech and leave a heavy, but there you have it. Feel free to call me on that choice,CH.”

After a noticeable pause, “I did have a crazy idea and this is not one of my better ones.”

“What if before our force left as one group, I took the Spider and ran towards an area that’s likely to get a Lyran reaction while you guys head for the hills? Maybe the Naval base? Maybe it’s possible to flush out the Lyran mech forces and act as distraction. If I don’t directly engage them, use the city environment and the Spider’s speed and jumping capabilities, I might be able to lead them on a chase. It wouldn’t be long before they notice heavies walking through the city, too, but it might buy some time—enough to make a difference.

“The downside of this crazy idea is that if I even once walk into a missile battery instead of placing myself on the other side of a building from one, or if some loser gets even one lucky set of shots on me, it could all be over for me. Light mechs have a habit of going up in flames that way.

Forcing a smile, “This is the point where you say, ‘Yeah, it’s a stupid idea,’  and that I’m ‘too valuable’ and all that”. An awkward chuckle follows…

Assuming CH either agrees that it’s a dumb idea or remains unsettlingly silent for the time being…

“OK, you wanted recommendations for mech assignments. Here we are:

1) Orion                 ON1-M                        – CH with Sal Winner in the extra seat

(2) Crusader            CDR-2R                   – Blowtorch

(3) Griffin               GRF-1DS                  – Alexandre (combat experience)

(4) Hermes              HER-1SB                 – Dominic Vincent (I’m hoping his technical skills might also include good sensor skills)

(5) Thug                 THG-10E                    – Fitz

(6) Thunderbolt     TDR-5SE                     – Mad Dog (it jumps)

(7) Archer               ARC-2K                     – Pietr Llewellyn (combat experience) or Tate

(8) Spider                SDR-5V                    – Pietr Llewellyn (combat experience) or Tate

“I’m concerned about placing Tate in the Spider, since he’s their leader, seems to intensely in favour of joining us, and seems to be a little sensitive. I really don’t care—you get what you get assigned—but if his ego is scratched we might also scratch the driving force behind them joining us right now. It sounds childish, but I felt it worth raising this time.”

“I could also take theGriffinor the Spider if you felt my skills might be better needed in either of those mechs.”

“To conclude”, Mad dog chimes to CH, “The current sit rep seems to be this..”

“We have various things which are requiring time—even more so because there are more pilots. We have to tune the neurohelmets, we have to remove explosives while perhaps installing new ones, and we likely will have to have Blowtorch hack the weapons systems for the mechs. Hacking the weapon systems will take time for each mech, unless we can get the curator’s codes, but those—I’m told—will alert the Lyrans immediately. Either way, it’s safe to say that we need to be out of here before sunrise and people start coming around here.”

“Working to our advantage is that we don’t have to deal with the security staff or being spotted by them during our prep. Also, they already had the engines at ready status by the time we arrived.”

“The Lyran curfew should work to our advantage for minimizing loss of innocent life or injuries. The streets should be pretty clear if we are out of here in time.”

“Our last intel suggests the likelihood of these three lances possibly being in this area:

– Experienced scout lance: Wasp, Commando, Locust, Flea
– Green scout lance: Stinger, Commando, Jenner, Wasp
– Veteran Medium lance: Phoenix Hawk, Clint, Trebuchet, Dervish

“Of course, there might be more than that to engage us. Of the two medium mechs capable of matching our LRM and PPC assortment, only the Clint and Dervish can play that game and the Clint can’t jump and is noted for running out of ammo quickly. If I were them, my primary targets would actually be our Griffin and recon mechs. With those out of the way, they could follow us and shadow us with greater ease.”

“Our main goal is to deter pursuit and lose them if we can’t outright destroy them. Destruction could become an option once we are away from civilian zones. Either way, the Lyrans can not be allowed to follow us. If engaged in battle we need to deny medium and light mechs the terrain and mobility that they would use to harass us and engage us with.”

“If we thought we had the upper hand, and had all weapon systems working, we might want to assault Lyran assets directly before they knew what was going on. Of course, that leads us back to a battle in the middle of a populated area, one that has not had time to evacuate or otherwise expect the destruction that would be about to hit them.”

GM

[OOC: Note: I transmitted it as written except, I made the edits you wanted, and the following two mech revisions:

1. Orion:  The Dual Cockpit is a later development in the BT Universe, but I like the idea a lot, so in 3028 what we have is a jumpseat with access to a slave console that has controls for sensors and comm gear. I call it the Large Cockpit. 😉

2. Spider: I clarify that in this universe at least, the Spider is capable of veering to the right or left for a jump, rather than being limited to a straight line trajectory like other mechs. The veering, if any, is 1 per jump. ]

MD

[OOC: Like flying along and then suddenly banking sharply 90 degrees? That’s interesting…

We’ve always tried to describe ‘flight’ paths for jumping mechs that are as straight as possible even though the starting facing and landing facing are irrelevant. In CityTech it just said you can move in any direction and any hex. It’s easy to imagine spinning in mid-air while travelling along a more less straight path vector of movement. Some minor turning  and changing of the the straight-line vector has always been a part of jumping but I’m hard pressed to remember veering suddenly off to the left or right.

I guess since they can’t stay in the air, and they are so heavy, our combined sense of good taste has always tried to imagine the ‘flight’ more like a missile launch combined with a ‘controled fall’ like that old moon lander game, whatever it was called.

Still, the idea that the Spider can make sudden significant vector changes in mid-jump that other mechs can’t is very cool. That would be crazy in a city. 🙂 I want to pilot it more now. Too bad it’s a light mech. 🙂 ]

CH:L

“Thanks MD, and we are thinking on the same lines.  The problem with some of those star league mechs is that most of the weapons are ammo based and will be dead weight in helping us get back.  The orion and crusader in particilar only have a pair of medium lasers working.

I think we should put our friends in those, since they won’t be much help in a fight anyway. I will be in the Hermes which can match all of the lighter mechs in firepower and speed (not to mention sensors).

Fitz and BT will be our raw firepower, which in this case will be the heavies with large lasers…

I want you in theGriffinfor close range, speed, harassment and best chance of physical attacks. Remember you will have one weapon with a max range of 300 metres.

You were being too modest about your own piloting skills.

Here are the assignments I’m thinking:
Guillotine               FITZ

*NB – He changes his mind later in the conversation

Orion                    Tate (and sal)

Thug                     Alexandre

*NB – He changes his mind later in the conversation

Hermes                 Dominic

HermesS               CHL

Thunderbolt          BT

Hunchback           (left behind)

Spider                 (left behind)

Griffin                 MD

Crusader              Pietr

Archer                (left behind)

I see your point on the spider, it has some unique capabilities.  We have plenty of fast jumpers back at base already though that can do 180 metres.  I’m not convinced the extra 60 metres is worth leaving a star league hermes behind for.  If you think it is a key asset, especially for that harassment lance we agreed you would set up, we can swap the second hermes for the spider.
Our new friends will be in heaviliy armoured mechs that can flee and take a bit of damage. We will provide cover fire and support for the escape.
…But damn, I did not see three lances in this joint.  This is 15% of their entire on-planet complement in a single northern city.  That medium lance in particular is extremely dangerous.  They can outmaneuver and outrange us with the lrms and AC5.  Maybe I want Fitz in that Thug after all.
You are right on their initial targets.  If they are smart, they will hit us with the Medium LRM lance first, while shadowing us with the light lances.  If they can take out our recon mechs, they can just follow without engaging and wait for reinforcements.

All right, lets

– tune the neurohelmets

– rig explosives on the legs

– check the computers for files on these mechs or weapon systems

– I have the codes, [gives entry and system access codes] and we can use them, but unlock the weapons systems as the final task before we escape [withholds those codes].

He dismisses you to get the work back underway. The mechs are all down in the 2nd Basement now. He will be going to force some more information out of the curator, and follow a hunch about mech data.

GM: Note Regarding the enemy forces.

What I meant was that each player has a piece of the puzzle regarding what mechs might be out there. Each of you saw something different as you were in the city in different places and times. The Notations on the ToDo list are just possibles – not an indication that all of these lances are present. They might be, but if you look carefully, you will see that each lance has certain mechs that are in at least 2 of the lances. It is possible, by talking with the other players (and Fitz) to determine what forces you will be facing.

MD

[OOC: RE Note – OK, thanks… I should make a point of having my character talk to these people then and try to remember to include something about this in my post.]

GM Note:

Mad Dog’s player, really getting in the spirit of things, wrote another massive reply after the scene had been concluded and it was never seen. I will include it here because I like certain aspects of it, such as quoting Sun Tzu, and because this post has already far exceeded the bounds of acceptable length, so… how can it get any worse?

Deleted Scene

I think we should put our friends in those, since they won’t be much help in a fight anyway.”

Perhaps partially because the leader of their resitance has reminded Mel that he prefers speaking like they always used to—despite his new position—behind the closed doors and away from both sight and earshot of the others, he begins to quietly laugh. A very tired yet sincere smile crosses his face as he tries to respond to his new friend of the past few months.

“Maybe you’re right. All I know is that two claim to have combat experience, so it might be safer to assume that they don’t know much about handling a mech. That someone claims to have been in the 10th gives me no real idea of how good of a gunner, pilot, or sensors operator he really is. We’ve got no performance reports—just a collection of comments from this crew.”

Perhaps in spite of any reasonable annoyed look CH might display, Mel will begin to relax and slouch either into a chair near CH or against the nearest wall if there are no chairs.

“Don’t worry, I haven’t lost it and forgotten that our ammo dependent weapons need something to spit out. That would be like forgetting to put clothes on before going out in public.” Respectfully making a bit of a jab with a friendly smile, “I’ll also save trying to make any response to your criticism of my beam weapon preferences until we get everyone out safely and are once again sitting down for another round.”

Holding his hands up momentarily in such a way as if to suggest patience, he continues, “Although both our intel and personal tours of the museum suggest no ammo at this location, we haven’t confirmed it for certain. Many other military exhibits have displayed both the munitions used as well as the weapons themselves. It’s quite common, so I’ve not wanted to exclude the possibility. The mechs seem to be in mostly pristine working condition, but we have not got a thorough confirmation of that yet. We have not confirmed that every beam weapon is indeed working, much less the Star League tech like the Beagle Active Probe.”

“Also… Tate had explained that their plan was to take the Hunchback, Orion, Thug, and Thunderbolt. Tate was to pilot the Orion with Sal in that mech’s rumble seat. Pietr was to take the Hunchback, Alexandre the Thug, and Dominic the Thunderbolt. Their escape route mirrors that you had planned; head to the harbour and head north before cutting across the desert. Other than the Thug and Thunderbolt, which also have weapons requiring ammo, the other two mech’s primary weapons would be as you say dead weight without something to shoot. It made me wonder if they might know about a store of munitions here or if they had some sort of plan to deal with that. With everything going on out there, there hasn’t been a chance to find an answer to that thought yet.

“Still, I agree that you are right. Even though I said that my recommendations are assuming full working condition for all components, including the presence of munitions, it seems at this point pretty safe to assume that we were right about no ammo. Given the lack of time to spare, we should revise planning with that in mind.”

I will be in the Hermes which can match all of the lighter mechs in firepower and speed (not to mention sensors).

I had thought about your sensor skills, but it also seemed ill advised to recommend putting the leader of the resistance in a recon mech. Despite its impressive ground speed across open terrain, it has no jump jets which is a huge liability for any recon mech, and is an even greater liability in a potential urban battlefield where it’s very easy to get boxed in. Also, it often seems like most troops are more inspired by their commander when in what is normally perceived by most as a ‘command mech’. This new crew doesn’t know you yet, so…

Still, it’s your call, Captain.

Fitz and BT will be our raw firepower, which in this case will be the heavies with large lasers…

I want you in the Griffin for close range, speed, harassment and best chance of physical attacks. Remember you will have one weapon with a max range of 300 metres.

Blowtorch is a solid mechwarrior and I’d want her watching my back any day, but she’s not our best gunner. Still, she’s still quite competent and I’d rather remove myself from the Thunderbolt to get in a faster mech. I agree that my skills would be better used in a mech that has greater mobility. I guess I was too worried about putting my own preferences first, but it seems you think the same way. Alright let’s get me in a faster mech.

You were being too modest about your own piloting skills.
Mad Dog merely nods with a proud look and replies respectfully, “Captain…”
Here are the assignments I’m thinking:
Guillotine               FITZ   *NB – He changes his mind later in the conversation

Orion                    Tate (and sal)

Thug                     Alexandre  *NB – He changes his mind later in the conversation

Hermes                 Dominic

HermesS               CHL
Thunderbolt          BT

Hunchback           (left behind)

Spider                 (left behind)

Griffin                 MD

Crusader              Pietr

Archer                (left behind)

I see your point on the spider, it has some unique capabilities.  We have plenty of fast jumpers back at base already though that can do 180 metres.  I’m not convinced the extra 40 metres is worth leaving a star league hermes behind for.  If you think it is a key asset, especially for that harassment lance we agreed you would set up, we can swap the second hermes for the spider.

“What? Maybe there’s a error there. I recommended the Royal Hermes—the 1SB— Captain, and leaving the other one behind—the 1S. I could have sworn there was only one 1SB Royal Hermes. I don’t think we need the 1S as much as the some other choices.”

“CH, did you see the specs for the Archer variant. It actually has two large lasers, which kind of plays into more of what you were just saying. Furthermore, although I did say that the first priority was getting everyone out in one piece, we still have other lesser priorities being considered as well, such as that we don’t have any Archers in our stables and one could be useful once we get to the point of full-out campaign engagements.”

“It’s not my kind of mech, but it could come in handy. Unfortunately, the speed of the group as a whole is this case is limited by the heavies. The Archer won’t change that, though.”
Our new friends will be in heaviliy armoured mechs that can flee and take a bit of damage. We will provide cover fire and support for the escape.
“Well, they can flee… slowly. To cover their retreat will be essentially one Griffin and maybe you in an incredibly fast running but potentially quite vulnerable recon mech that we can’t afford to lose because of its Probe technology.”

Pausing as if remembering something uncomfortable, “Though, if theGriffin were to cover a retreat, I might be able to delay them. They might see it as a chance to eliminate the only medium mech covering the heavies. I might also be able to pilot my way out of situation that they wouldn’t expect—depending on how good and experienced the enemy is. They might go for it.”
…But damn, I did not see three lances in this joint.  This is 15% of their entire on-planet complement in a single northern city.  That medium lance in particular is extremely dangerous.  They can outmaneuver and outrange us with the lrms and AC5.  Maybe i want Fitz in that Thug after all.
“Well, that is just our initial intel which is very much in the realm of pure guess work. I’d rather suggest the worst than underestimate the situation.”

“I get the impression that some members of our team might have figured out a thing or two since then or have otherwise noticed something that we might be able to use to update that. I should talk to Fitz and Blowtorch, and even the others, about what they’ve observed thus far as soon as there is a chance.”

“This sit rep is very incomplete, but we needed to get something to you ASAP due to the lack of time. We need to get direction to what we’re doing even though we’ll get a better view of the of the larger picture as the night proceeds.”
You are right on their initial targets.  If they are smart, they will hit us with the Medium LRM lance first, while shadowing us with the light lances.  If they can take out our recon mechs, they can just follow without engaging and wait for reinforcements.

“CH, I was just remembering one of those quotes from one of my military history classes from my academy days. It was a Sun Tzu one and went something like this:

If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.

“If we were to split our escorts, any reasonably fast mech with jump jets, away from the heavies and force the Lyrans to defend a postion rather than chase our heavies… Or do something else that they * had * to deal with instead of following the heavies… Any ideas…?”

“If we can get our FWL insignia on these mechs and engage something valuable to the Lyrans—something they must defend—we might be a threat just be being something that the local population would throw their support behind. They can’t afford to lose control of the local authorities that they’ve forced into submission. We just have to be careful to remember that we are defending the local population and choose our targets very carefully. The mech or mechs selected would have to be capable of breaking off, and then either losing or destroying their remaining pursuers before rejoining the heavies.

All right, lets

– tune the neurohelmets

– rig explosives on the legs

– check the computers for files on these mechs or weapon systems

– I have the codes, [gives entry and system access codes] and we can use them , but unlock the weapons systems as the final task before we escape [witholds those codes].

He dismisses you to get the work back underway. The mechs are all down in the 2nd Basement now. He will be going to force some more information out of the curator, and follow a hunch about mech data.
Mad Dog salutes his friend and leaves.

End Deleted Scene

Actual Play Resumes

MD

Mad Dog straightens as he re-enters the activity and preparations of the other mechwarriors. Raising a hand, he hollars, “Everyone!”

“I’d like your attention for a moment. Thank you! Before any sort of briefing resulting from my conversation with our Captain, I need to ask all of you as a group a few questions.”

Depending on what he sees and on how they react it’s possible that he might continue to ask the following questions, listen to what people say, and engage in brief discussion.

(1) “Have we been able to confirm as a group that the technical readouts I obtained from these computers and showed the Captain do indeed match the mechs we actually have?”

(2) “Have we as of yet been able to confirm that all mech systems: weapons, sensors, or any supposed Lostech/Star League technology is indeed both present and in functional condition and can be ready for battle?”

(3) “Have we eliminated completely the possibility that there is no ammunition available anywhere within a reasonable proximity and time frame? Tate, this is mostly for your group. Our intel and survey said ‘no’, but while working here did you become aware of any stored munitions, or munitions exhibits, or any other reasonable options?”

(4) “On transit here, our group had less-than-good intel regarding possible enemy forces. Has anyone seen or come across anything that would give us a better idea of what we might be up against? Fitz, I think you developed a hunch at one point if I’m not mistaken.”

(5) “Does anyone know of any positions, possible targets, or other Lyans assets that they would be forced to defend instead of act proactively. I’m speaking of a possible diversionary move by fast moving mechs—something to throw them off and make them react instead of figure out how to act against us.”

“So far as I’m concerned, as soon as we can manage it, Mr. Lechasseur, we will endeavor to extract your daughter to a safer location. The same goes for anyone else with family. Our Captain has a lot of experience with special ops and I’m sure he’ll be able to think of something useful to that end.”

Pausing and looking up at the mechs, “I’d love to hear all about these mechs at a later point. This whole mission, it has intensely bothered me why these things are here in the first place and not seeing active service. Many mechs are very old, andno faction ever has enough of them. Maybe there is something special about these mechs, something that would explain why perfectly good and desperately needed war machines got placed here of all places.”

“Maybe the lostech indicated in these readouts is indeed intact in some of these mechs , or pieces of it are still here. Maybe these mechs are here because someone hopes to learn something, if only they can get another piece of lostech or perhaps a key data cache—some other piece of an age-old puzzle. Who knows… “

Mad Dog stops looking at the mechs and returns his attention to his duty. With an obvious beat change he clears his throat and returns his attention to the people in front of him

It wasn’t that long ago, that had been a Captain. Prior to the bar fight with Count Sturgen, he had been the second in command of The Black Wolves company of Trinity Castle Battalion of the 10th Marik Militia. Stepping forward to the assembled mechwarriors, he once again feels—as he often did then—some part of his old CO and father figure, Major Collins, coming out as he speaks, “Right now, all that matters is that these mechs now belong to the resistance!”

Pacing in manner that typically drums up morale for career soldiers, “All that matters is that these mechs WILL be used to defend the people of Oliver! WE will use these mechs to kill the Lyrans!”

Do I hear a Hell yeah?!!!

*** Expects a `Hell yeah’ nice and loud… A Battlestar Galactica chant of ‘So say we all!’ would also be cool… 😉 ***

“What?”, hand raised to his ear to indicate ‘again’ and ‘louder’.

*** Expects another ***

Assuming he got his expected response, himself now his own blood pumping, he’ll simply nod proudly at the group.

“Our new friends,” waving respectfully in their direction, “You all know each other and are all in heavies for this. You’ll be together. Fitz! You know us and how we work, and you used to be a major before becoming a Lieutenant again with this lot of us. You’re the best man to lead the heavy lance! Keep them together, and on plan as much as possible. A lance of five heavies…”

“Master Sergeant!” he shouts. “You and I will have to fill every other roll possible, from recon to escort. You will be in a light hit-and-run mech, so I will take point andI will draw fire, if necessary. A light-medium lance of two mechs… I will lead unless the Captain steps in to assume control of our lance and make it three.”

“The Captain’s mech will have an unusual role in this. He may run independently using sensors giving directions to us all, or at times he might assume lead position in either lance. Be ready for the unexpected! That light mech doesn’t have jump jets, so we’ll need to watch his back.”

“Unless the plan changes before we leave, we will head to the harbour and head north before cutting across the desert. If the Captain decides to try for ammo at the spaceport, we’ll need to be ready for that. We’ll be going in that direction. We might be able to go for it.”

“You and I Sergeant will need to be ready to break off and act as a distraction, if the Captain orders it. We might stick with the heavies the whole way, or we might attack the naval base or another target just long enough to distract the Lyrans from the heavies and keep them busy. Our job will be to make sure the Lyrans don’t get to either long-shot-to-death our heavies or simply follow them back home.”

“We will have to get clear from civilian areas ASAP to minimize damage and harm to our people. After that, be ready for sudden changes in plan. The Captain almost always has an alternate strategy, so be ready to change gears. We’re expecting mostly medium and light Lyran mechs. If we start getting outranged with our lack of ammo and with our long-range options limited, use terrain and LOS if possible to force them to come to us. We can not allow ourselves to be followed back to where we are massing our main forces. If this happens, and if the Sergeant and I can’t single-handedly ward off pursuit, we will need to force the Lyrans to fight us and our heavies on our own terms.”

“The Captain will want us to be ready to get the mechs’ weapons ready as fast as possible, but it will be the last thing we do before we leave. Let’s get back to work and get ready to get the Hell out of here!”

*** Gives Fitz a look indicating that he is done, expecting Fitz to then call the group to attention and salute so that MD can then proudly return their salutes. ***

Mel will then start to leave to find CH. His step will pick up. Being in battle again is drawing close. Anticipation is filling the mechwarrior but still leaving him hungry—but maybe not for long.

He will give CH a quick report of what is going on and what he ordered (OCC: could perhaps be a ‘blah’ to Joe rather than role-played?). He’ll also pass along the new facts and suggestions:
1. His own idea for forcing the Lyrans to react rather than act (maybe.. the Griffin and Spider hitting the naval yard or some other target in order to distract the Lyrans from the heavies).
2. Possible ammo at the spaceport *and* that the spaceport might also be a location the Lyrans might feel forced to either defend or attack (intel uncertain though-just a posibility)
3. The naval base and a power installation as things the Lyrans might feel forced to defend (although attacking a city power installation could backfire and create resentment among the people)
4. His hope that their march might even inspire the people of Beasville and beyond

After that he’ll head back, enter into BT’s world where she is boss, and roll up his sleeves and do what he can to help with preparation.

[OCC: I’m trying to remember, can only beam weapons be used underwater? I might suggest to CH that we go deep, deep into the drink.

It would bypass walking through populated areas, and limit the weapons to what we have. Few things besides mechs could follow us.]

GM

Cool: Your plan dovetails nicely with his in some key areas, and diverges wildly in others, some of which I plan to edit to save time and stress, and some of which I will leave as they are because they are pure RP gold~  🙂

I have decided that due to the circumstances surrounding play now there is really no chance to elicit the deduction of the enemy lance so I will give you the clues as though you overheard them as you work with the others on the mechs, and let you make of them what you will:

BT – Commando with Wasp

MD – Commando with Wasp

Fitz – Stinger, Centurion

Alex – Wasp with Jenner, Clint

Sal – Jenner

Dominic- Wasp

Tate – Commando (possible)

Pietr – Wasp with Jenner

Yes, only beam weapons, or weapons with underwater rounds (torpedoes) can be used underwater.

MD

OK…  I’ll do my best to do all of these things.

– I’ll complement BT on her foresight.

– I’ll tell her right away that there will be some slight mech reassignments.
– I’ll look to see if Fitz has come back. See what he has to report if he has… Do something if he is past due back and missing…

– I’ll see that com channels are set up for three different lances, one channel for the force as a whole (that we use as standard – ‘Group chat’), one channel intended for the student lance much later (from a preassigned frequency), and maybe lance-leader-only com channel (Me, CH, and Fitz).

– I’ll ask the assembled new group of people if they already have callsigns. If they do, I’ll use them. If anyone doesn’t, I’ll give them one (get back to me on that, I guess).
– I will ensure that everyone has their battle gear.
– I will tell Alexandre and Pietr that I want to have a quick private chat with them.

Other things might depend on some of this above…

Depending on what happens, I will still have to inform the rest crew of mech reassignments and of the lance restructuring. My quick conversation with Alexandre and Pietr could affect that though.

Briefing to Alexandre and Pietr in private conversation…

My take on this is this…

Most military people I’ve met and spoken to in real life are fairly direct and honest. They would be more concerned about whether or not their buddy will get home in one piece because they did their job well, rather than care about their ego staying intact.

The others are green and inexperienced, but Pietr isn’t. I imagine (as a player imagining things) that he’s used to direct questions, and he’s used to being expected to dispense with bullshit and focus on how a team can best work together. He should respect me more for asking him straight to his face about his disability, so long as I do it in a respectful way. If I ask about him behind his back and he hears about it, that will seem sneaky and weaken morale.

“Soldiers deserve soldiers,” as one line in one movie went.

Unless my guess is off, I expect I can get a very accurate self-assessment from the man and save time simply by asking the man directly under the right conditions. Afterwords, if either Alexandre or Pietr have something to add that they didn’t in the meeting, that’s fine, too.

________________________________________________________

Sitting down if there is a side room with chairs…

“Before we get to final decisions or announcements, I wanted to talk to you two gentlemen in private. There’s going to be some last-minute lance restructuring.

The Captain has decided that there will be a third lance—a small strike lance. It might stay with the larger formation the whole time, or if certain circumstances arise, the Captain might order it to break off and take a lot of enemy attention for the benefit of the formation as a whole. A diversionary attack could be a possible example.

My Griffin will now be in that lance, and I’ll lead it. There will be one other mech in this lance—that’s you Mr. Lechasseur.

If it happens that we are ordered to break off and perform a separate task, we’ll likely be outnumbered. We will take a lot of fire, spit it back, and then regroup with the larger force when ordered. We might get support from the recon lance if ordered to do something like this, but if so ordered we will otherwise be biting off a lot of grief for the benefit of everyone else. We’ll need to haul ass back to the larger formation on our own or will fail to fufill our role and benefit to the force.

Clear…?

Mr. Llewellyn, you are currrently still assigned to the main heavy lance, but I need a better understanding of your mech skills and what sort of roles you are best at. As a former member of the 10th, I trust you understand what I’m getting at. I don’t want to put a crack sniper in an assault role or vice versa. Also, you mentioned a disability, and you know I will need to know more about that.

As a former member of the 10th myself, I feel I can count on you. So how about it? What roles do you think you can help us with the most for this mission? I’ll try to get you where you need to be to do the most good.”

GM

During a period when Alexandre, Dominic, and Sal are waiting to get access to the last mech’s legs to plant the last explosive charge, you take the opportunity to talk with each of them. Eating, and drinking cool water, to keep sharp, you ask some questions to fill out your understanding of each of you, and let them know more of what is going on.

You say, “Before we get to final decisions or announcements, I wanted to talk to you gentlemen in private. There’s going to be some last-minute lance restructuring. If you have any questions about other operational matters, we can talk about them, too. First…”

You look at Pietr.

“Mr. Llewellyn, you are currrently still assigned to the main heavy lance, but I need a better understanding of your mech skills and what sort of roles you are best at. As a former member of the 10th Marik Militia, I trust you understand what I’m getting at. I don’t want to put a crack sniper in an assault role or vice versa. Also, you mentioned a disability, and you know I will need to know more about that… As a former member of the 10th myself, I feel I can count on you. So how about it? What roles do you think you can help us with the most for this mission? I’ll try to get you where you need to be to do the most good.”

Pietr nods his head, clears his throat and says, “I knew you’d ask.” He looks at you, and he looks at the floor, and then… he sits up straight, and looks you right in the eye to say, “I was discharged under the psych regulations, Lieutenant. After I had my mech blown apart around me, I spent a few months in the hospital. I made a full recovery, but it turns out that physiotherapy also includes some kind of bullshit psychotherapy now. They pushed me to be ‘really honest about my feelings’ so I could “heal,” and they had me on all kinds of drugs for the pain and what they were calling ‘shock.’ I wasn’t in shock – I was grieving… my mech… that Wolverine had been in my family since my great-grandfather’s day. It hadn’t seen that much combat, but it always brought my family home from war safe, and they did the same for it… but not me… I lost it on what was supposed to be a routine patrol but the Steiner dogs ambushed us…it was on Callison, Sir… 8 years ago now… two to one, three to one on our Lance Commander… it was over before we knew what hit us…. we were able to salvage our mechs, but I was too badly wounded to even regain consciousness until a week after they decided to use my Wolverine as… scrap…”

He swallows hard. “They didn’t even tell me until I was nearing the end of physio.”

He looks away, knuckes white as his fists clench.

“A month after that, I was out of the service on a full disability, and no way to ever serve again… ‘An unacceptible emotional risk in combat.” He looks at each of you again, angry now like a real warrior. “Doctors!” is all he says, spitting the word like poison from his mouth.

There is a short, awkward silence… then you clear your own throat and nod – changing the subject.

“The Captain has decided that there will be a third lance—a small strike lance. It might stay with the larger formation the whole time, or if certain circumstances arise, the Captain might order it to break off and take a lot of enemy attention for the benefit of the formation as a whole. A diversionary attack could be a possible example. MyGriffinwill now be in that lance, and I’ll lead it.

There will be one other mech in this lance—that’s you Mr. Lechasseur.

If it happens that we are ordered to break off and perform a separate task, we’ll likely be outnumbered. We will take a lot of fire, spit it back, and then regroup with the larger force when ordered. We might get support from the recon lance if ordered to do something like this, but if so ordered we will otherwise be biting off a lot of grief for the benefit of everyone else. We’ll need to haul ass back to the larger formation on our own or will fail to fufill our role and benefit to the force.

Clear…?”

MD
Wow, that’s a sad story. Probably touches another nerve with Mel…

The way that it is written, I get the impression that Pietr seems entirely sincere, but that Mel feels unsure as to whether to believe everything the man says. He seems to be telling the complete truth, but maybe his point of view on things might not be confirmed if someone else who was there were here.

Still, Mel would want to help the man. What would it be like if Mel had lost his father’s mech. Mel might have gone through every bottle and every bar fight for miles. Or, maybe he would have managed it, somehow…

I’m also trying to remember that even though my character is a good leader, he tends to be abrasive and upset people (his CHA of 3). So, I’m probably best keeping things short and sweet when dealing with sensitive topics. The man didn’t answer my question, though, about what roles he is good at (jumping, recon and sensors, frontal assault, fire support/sniping). It must have slipped his mind.

I’m thinking of maybe saying something more. If it really seems like a bad idea to continue the conversation (Perception role maybe…?), then I’ll drop it for now and let them get back to work. It probably won’t affect mech assignment anyways.

However, responses from Mel could range from between two options or somewhere in between:

(1) Say as little as possible or nothing… Nod with what should be a look of understanding, but without losing the ‘we’ve got a serious job to do’ underlying tone of the meeting. I would do this if I thought there was no point in talking to him at the moment. If I felt this way that would also raise my level of concern about whether he’s fit for the job.

or…

(2) Without giving in to being soft (rather an attitude intended to build him up), I’ll try to fix him with an understanding look, “And… Thank you, Mr. Llewellyn, for being so forthcoming.”

Gazing at data pad in my hand as if I were actually checking something in it, “I still trust a former member of the 10th will be up for the job. We are currently switching you to one of the jumping heavies. Both of those mechs are only out one missile rack, and are good close up war machines. We want to put them in good hands. However, that’s why I wanted to ask you about what roles you served in and excelled in. If you were an excellent fire support pilot, I might think another mech might be better for you. We are still hoping to come across ammo at some point in our journey—it may happen. This one might be asked to perform a lot of challenging jumps and work a lot in medium to short ranges with heat management becoming an increased problem.”

GM

Alexandre looks at Pietr sympathetically while the man speaks, but when you change subject to explain the new lance structure, he returns to business.

When you finish, he waits for a couple seconds before asking “May I ask why me? and what mech you gona assign me, as I guess we will need some kind of fire power, but also some speed to save our asses…”

He brings up the standard Thug specs on his data pad. “This thing is nice, but defenitly too big to move fast enough to get out of there in time. Some jump capability would also be nice to had”.

As before he doesn’t seem to want any particular mech, he just wants to prepare, and is unafraid of the big brawlers, or the fast jumpers.

You let him know that the Captain is conferring with Blowtorch now about the exact capabilities of these mysterious mechs, and he will announce the mech reassignments shortly.

As the clock is ticking, Alexandre needs to get back to work on the legs. On his way out, turning to Pietr, he says, “I know what you mean about dogs, one day I tell you what they have done to me too”

[Perception] You have every reason to believe that Pietr is telling the truth [Career: Soldier] but recognize that there is also no reason to doubt that this is also the way he interprets what happened.

Either way, he is not lying about details.

You inquire about his actual role in his former lance and he apologizes for leaving you hanging.

“Sorry, sir – I wasn’t expecting to think about all that today.” He clears his throat

I was in a Medium Strike Lance for most of my time in the 10th, but did a turn in a Heavy Recon Lance. I’m no sniper and no hot dog, sir. I have a good sense of terrain, am a trained navigator and sensor operator. I was given a citation for my general tech skills, and one citation of bravery. The only other thing on my record of note is my psych discharge. I couldn’t even get a job as a merc after that. I like autocannons and missile systems best, I prefer to keep moving and rain death down at long range, but my kill ratio showed I worked best at medium range…. not sure what else you’d like to know….”

Dominic interrupts, “Sorry – uh I guess it’s my turn, then? I already mentioned I have no combat experience, but in simulation or in any mech class I can consistently score top marks on any obstacle course devised for the military standards boards, and in simulation score in the top percentile for accuracy with mech weapons systems.” He does not seem to be boasting, just confident and lacking a need to exaggerate his worth. [Perception] “I was let go from Brigadier with all the others – the program was cancelled when we demonstrated the prototype was dud.”

MD

Nice… The scene plays out exactly as Mad Dog would handle it: he’d listen to Alexandre and do so in such a way that Alexandre would know that he was actually listening, he’d make a few notes about crew skills (like near the end), but wouldn’t commit to any final mech assignments at this point or feel that he had to explain why CH has the authority to change things at the end.

“Thank you, gentlemen. This will help. The Captain asked me to create preliminary mech assignments and lance assignments, but obviously he intends to change these before we go. I had organized us according to one heavy lance and one light-medium recon/escort/distraction lance. At this time, he is considering a light recon/escort lance, a medium-heavy attack/strike and/or distraction lance, and a heavy lance. Because of terrain, the only heavy mechs that have come up for consideration for the strike lance are the jumping heavies. They are slow for running with a Griffin, but we have what we have. The Captain will make his final decision not long from now. Obviously, I’m getting more information so we get our respective talents in the machines where they can do the most good. In the end, we have what we have for mechs, there’s the current lack of ammo, but we will use what we have together. Together, we can make this long haul.”

When he’s done talking to them, he’ll salute them of course. He’ll expect all of them to salute back. If they don’t, there will be a problem.

 

Stay Tuned for the next exciting installment!

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