- Knowing they are outgunned but not necessarily out-armored, Aralakh adopted a strategy of long range sniping from deep woods positions, hoping to draw the Capellan units to them and gambling that they can eliminate the biggest threats before they get close enough to be a problem. Damage is significant on both sides, and while the Capellan mechs are running hot, they've still got some big guns - and Aralakh's Centurion is feeling the loss of its AC/10.
- Upon engaging the crippled units, Aralakh's Assassin and Centurion found there were several others nearby. They destroyed the Jenner outright and have hammered a few other units over the ensuing exchanges, but they still face the Wolfhound and the mobile turret as well as a Clint that came in from the Northeast as well as a Hunchback and a Rifleman that were powered down in nearby woods along with some geurilla forces. Their opposition is badly damaged, but it remains to be seen whether they can withstand its firepower long enough to neutralize it.
- Aralakh made some hasty repairs to their units in preparation for their second, cleanup mission - a sweep across the surrounding countryside looking for stragglers and salvage. Most notably, Drevan found a cache of Lostech - including a pristine Phoenix Hawk - while chasing a pair of crippled units into a thick forest. Meanwhile, Jyun and Orion happened upon a limping Jenner, a mobile turrent, and a Wolfhound undergoing field repairs...
- Though their Warhammer got caught out away from the heart of the firefight, some good fortune allowed Aralakh to not only come out of the engagement on top, but also to earn some impressive salvage on the operation.
- Aralakh took out the damaged Jenner and continued to inflict significant damage to the Hatchetman, which is now barely operable. The Grasshopper and Dervish still remain significant threats, but they, too, are wearing down and nearby friendlies are keeping additional units from venturing into the sector. The FWLM trucks continue to load supplies from the located munitions depot, apparently safe from major threats.
- While they remain largely in control of the battlefield, Aralakh is anything but unscathed. Their next challenge will be in securing the area and completing their objective before one or more of their own units is crippled by enemy fire.
- The encounter with on-world Capellan forces continued as Aralakh engaged the newly-arrived Grasshopper & Dervish more directly, while the damaged Jenner circled back around and began harassing the trucks that had arrived to clear out the munitions depot. Several exchanges resulted in critical damage to both sides, and it became apparent that clearing the sector wasn't going to be as easy as they'd hoped.
- Aralakh continued their push into the city, destroying a weapons factory, locating a power station, and pushing back the mounting resistance. They destroyed one tank and crippled the harassing Jenner, which fled the field. A Dervish and Grasshopper arrived in the sector causing them to regroup, but a lucky shot blew off the advancing Hatchetman's leg, further securing their advantage.
- As they made planetfall, Aralakh was briefed on their objective: they would be entering a sector of an urban industrial area looking for targets. Any supply depots were to be held until they could be cleaned out. Production, research, and repair facilities were to be destroyed to cripple the Capellan war effort in this region. Resistance was expected to be light to moderate; mech forces were known to be on-planet, but probably not in large numbers. As they approached the edge of the city, engagements had already begun elsewhere. Thus far, resistance was a bit more than anticipated, but not problematically so. They were also warned of incoming contacts to their position, and that guerrilla forces had been observed.
- In their initial advance, Aralakh located a factory and a munitions depot, destroyed a 20-ton Stinger and a building concealing a laser weapon, and maimed a retreating tank.
- Aralakh met up with the so-called "Capellan Insurgency" holding their crew members hostage. The situation clearly being under their foes control, the company decided to go through with paying the ransom after ensuring their crew would be returned and they could all walk away.
- After resolving that situation, the various merc companies being employed by the FWLM forces were briefed on their mission: they would be lifted to the Yunnah system where they would be looking to destroy newly-developed research and repair facilities on a backwater world 2 jumps into Capellan space.
- As the Centurion joined them, the company took a quick look at the destoyed tanks. Finding nothing salvageable, they decided to withdraw and chalk up the win instead of pressing their luck by assaulting the compound in the mountains above.
- Short on funds, the company sent a priority message to their next prospective employer, a FWLM division, saying that if they would spot them the c-bills, they could take it out of their paycheck. After some brief negotiation, they agreed.
- Aralakh arrived at a military base on the world of Ohrensen some weeks later. They were advised to stay on the base as the city outside was known to have some problematic criminal elements. Their ship's crew, however, wanted to take the leave while they could get it, and convinced them to go into town.
- The evening went well for most of them, but a few disappeared as the night wore on - only reappearing later in hostage photos of the so-called "Capellan Insurgency", delivered to the base with a demand for ransom. The irate sergeant told the company to "handle this" or their contract would be terminated.
- Meanwhile, Rip arrived at Galatea and met with Magistrate Brandt about the dispensation of liquid assets from the defunct Buller company. While not a negotiator by nature, Rip managed to dig up a few pieces of info that helped his cause, and ultimately left the meetings 1.75 million c-bills richer.
- After a couple of months of rests and repairs, the group sends Rip to Galatea to pursue his share of the defunct Buller Company's liquid assets. Needing to replace their lost unit, the company decides to pursue Jyun's suggestion of travelling to Phact where he happened to know of a Centurion posted just for show.
- On arriving in-system, the plan was to use a small mech force to draw out the compound's conventional defense forces while Jyun and a small contingent approached stealthily on foot to climb into and steal the mech.
- The tank forces Aralakh's Panther and Assassin encountered were more competent than expected, and they took some significant damage before they could adjust their tactics.
- On visual, Jyun was surprised to find someone preparing to take the Centurion down to engage in the ongoing battle - and moreso that he was speaking to the pilot of the Whitworth standing across from it. Knowing that these pilots would not only keep them from acquiring the Centurion according to their plan but would also be seriously bad news for the battle raging below, Jyun and his companions opened-fire on them.
- After quickly felling the pilots with some fortunate shots, Jyun ran for the Centurion, activated, and escaped with it - though not before losing an arm and his heavy weapon to AC/10 fire from the compound's turrets.
- By the time he met up with his companions' units below, the Panther and Assassin had gained ground and the tanks had withdrawn. Though they took some pretty significant damage, the mission was overall a solid success - their first in some time.
- While the two stranded 'mechs managed to escaped their pursuers and made for the designated LZ, Aralakh's desperate bid to clear the zone for the battered dropship took a turn for the worse. As damage mounted, Steiner attempted to intimidate the opposing units into surrunder, but they knew they had the upper hand. Riley's Trebuchet sustained critical damage to the reactor core - which exploded catastrophically - and Jyun's Panther took some unfortunate leg hits which all but remove it from the field. Fortunately, the forced-retreat of one of the Clints and the massive damage the enemy Archer had taken were enough for the opposing force to reconsider the assault and withdraw.
- Aftermath: Riley's Trebuchet was a total loss, though Riley herself was able to survive the incident (albiet in poor spirits). Steiner is having some growing doubts about the viability of the merc company long-term. That said, the beneficiaries of their rescue have brought a Union dropship to Aralakh, as well as a Crusader and an Assassin with their pilots and techs. In light of this, the company has decided to release the Leopard from their service on good terms. They are now going to spend some time resting and repairing before taking on a new contract.
- Having successfully captured assets for NAR, Aralakh was finally released on so-so terms. Their most pressing concern was treating Drevan's injuries, so they took their chances staying in-system and going to the hospital. The company repaired what they could, but were short on supplies.
- A few months later, they jumped back into Free Worlds space to a more populous planet where they were hoping to repair and resupply. On their way in-system, however, they picked up a distress call from a merc dropship in orbit around one of the system's planet's moons.
- In exchange for the distressed company's remaining liquid assets, Aralakh agreed to get the company's surviving units out of trouble on the planet. They made a few low-passes in the target area before directing the survivors to a promising LZ northwest of their position.
- While the survivors continued to fight off the pursuit mechs that had been hunting them for the past few days, Aralakh attempted to clear the landing site - which, unfortunately, contained a hostile presence formidable in the face of Aralakh's severely-damaged condition...
Adam is joining our game, and we spent this evening making two PCs for him to add to Tim's company: an experienced former House Regular who pilots a 45-ton Assassin, and a newbie Noble who has a 65-ton Crusader.
These characters will a fragment of a decimated merc unit looking to join up with someone else - and Aralakh will be the convenient choice. They will be bringing their 'mechs as well as a beat-up Union dropship into the company's assets.
- Drevan's strike team invaded the dropship. They sustained some casualties, but were ultimately successful in capturing the ship, as well as the damaged Hatchetman in contained, and the two incapacitated Jenners outside - making for a pretty respectable salvage haul.
Continued playtesting on personal scale combat this session. How I ran the session aside, the system behaved well and played out the way I would want. That said, it's a little bit too clunky and I think I'm going to make a few more tweaks to it.
- NAR continued the defense of their compound, eventually destroying 3 out of 4 of the attacking units - unfortunately causing two of them to catastrophically explode, leaving no usable salvage for the Resistance. Hopefully Aralakh's attempts to capture the attackers' drop ship produces a more tangible gain...
Adam continued this encounter with us, and will likely be joining this game on an ongoing basis.
- Using assets "borrowed" from Aralakh, NAR attempts to fight off the mercenary lance sent to destroy them while Aralakh furthers its efforts to capture the merc's Union. The Resistance managed to take out the crippled mercenary Clint and the enemy Whitworth has virtually no armor remaining, but Aralakh's Warhammer is severely battered and the Trebuchet is now out of missles...
Adam joined us for this session, so we decided to play out the latter half of the previously "off-camera" engagement of mercs vs. NAR in order to introduce him to the defining mech combat aspect of our Battletech campaign. After this encounter resolves, we will return to Aralakh's attempts to capture the dropship, which have now moved into the personal-scale boarding of the vessel.
- Aralakh neutralized the mech defenses of the merc dropship and blew open one of the loading doors. The lance then called in their strike team, led by the temporarily dispossessed Drevan, who proceeded to board the vessel for capture.
- As NAR began engaging the mercenary force sent to take them out, Aralakh's partial lance emerged from their concealed location, making their way to the merc's LZ in an attempt to capture their Union-class dropship...
- NAR prompted Aralakh to go raid a Capellan noble's compound for much needed hardware and supplies. The group was only able to send a few mostly-repaired light mechs as the others were still in bad shape, but their target was not believed to possess mech forces. They engaged a trio of tanks, a pair of helicopers, and some turrets. As they finished loading up their plunder, however, they were pressed by a pair of aerotech fighters and a pair of approaching mechs. In the end, Aralalkh took significant damage but managed to escape with most of the desired equipment.
This session was the first to use my simplified Battletech vehicle rules mods. Tim and I both thought it went very well.
- Then things turned ugly. An LRM volley from Riley's Trebuchet destroyed the Hunchback completely, but Steiner's Blackjack was too close to avoid damage from the reactor explosion it triggered and it fell when it lost its gyro. Aralakh then attempted to negotiate a mutual withdraw, but were unable to convince their attackers. The Banshee's continued press on the damaged Trebuchet took down the smaller mech with a kick that obliterated one of its legs and then charged over to finally incapacitate the fallen Warhammer - which was still firing PPC blasts - with a kick to the head.
- Seeing little alternative, Aralakh surrendered. It turns out that their attackers were self-described freedom-fighters attempting to liberate the planet and remove the nobles' predation on the world's resources at the expense of its atmosphere.
- The New Andrin Resistance press-ganged Aralakh into their service - promising that if they helped the rebels kick the Capellan nobles off-world, they would return them their mechs and the two could part ways.
- As the exchange continues, it becomes clear that neither side can keep this up for long - but neither side has a clear advantage either. The battle has moved away from the Warhammer such that it has some difficulty engaging, and the Blackjack is greviously wounded. On the other side, the Banshee is pretty beat up, but its toughness is keeping it at the top of the threat list. The Hunchback now has only a small laser, but the relatively-untouched Wolfhound has started to have an impact on the fight.
- The company continued to trade blows with their assailants. The Banshee's luck improved only briefly, and Aralakh's opponents may have been considering retreat before the Hunchback, its AC/20 now destroyed, got a lucky laser shot against the Warhammer's already badly-injured leg, taking it down. The Cicada has already met a similar fate, and the Hunchback and Banshee both have significant injuries that have greatly reduced their damage output. Unfortunately, Steiner's Blackjack isn't looking much better, Riley is only just starting to land some hits with her LRMs, and Jyun's injuries have made him less effective.
- Aralakh engaged in combat with their assailants. Steiner in particular has been extremely fortunate that the Banshee's pilot is having a run of bad luck. He was less fortunate with regards to the Hunchback's AC/20. Riley has yet to prove herself, and Jyun is hurting enough from his near-death experience that it is severely hampering his performance. Still, the group has given at least as good as they've gotten thus far...
- A few weeks after the processing plant sabotage, a group calling itself the "New Andrid Resistance" attempted to assassinate a couple of the members of Aralakh company. While the overall attempt failed, it was a miracle that Jyun survived.
- About two months later, the company gets an alert while on patrol: a lance of 'mechs is approaching the compound. They load up and head out, facing a Wolfhound, a Cicada, a Hunchback, and a Banshee...
This was the first session to feature my Mechwarrior Basic rules for personal-scale combat. It is very lethal (as I wanted it to), but it played very well.
- Aralakh arrived on the mining planet and took up their garrison duty.
- One night about 5 months into the job, a few of the small security team Aralakh had subcontracted witnessed an odd exchange between one of the compound locals and some outsiders. Following them, one of the men saw the outsiders give the local a large backpack. The man then proceeded to his job in a refinery. About 20 minutes later, alarms sounded and the place was evacuated. While authorities were attempting to determine what had caused the alarm, there was a tremendous explosion and the building collapsed.
- The Baron who'd hired Aralakh was furious at the sabotage, but the company was able to maneuver around his accusations.
- With the help of the subcontracted team, Aralakh was able to track down and capture the saboteur, who had apparently been paid to place the explosives but knew little of his benefactors.
- Aralakh stepped up internal security in response to the incident.
- Aralakh took their payment and left world, deciding to jump into Capellan space to avoid potential political issues selling "acquired" Free Worlds' military hardware.
- A baron met with them under false pretenses - not interested in buying their mechandise, but wanted to hire them on retainer for guard duty on a secondary planet in-system.
- The group negotiated up to 500k for the year, plus the baron will cover all repairs and normal expenses. Additionally, the baron agreed to hire a broker to aid them in the sale of their unneeded merchandise. The group also has 50% salvage rights, but as there are no other mechs on their world, it seems unlikely they'll get much.
- Aralakh took the opportunity of having a benefactor to bring on a new mechwarrior: a woman called Riley who pilots a Trebuchet.
- Overall, while not especially lucrative (or exciting), it seems like a nice, easy contract...
- Both sides continued to pound each other for several rounds, severely damaging multiple units.
- Ultimately, the pirate leader proposed a deal: they would leave the system and not return - and would leave the merc a prize of valuable military equipment - in exchange for an end to hostilities.
- After considering the situation carefully, Aralakh agreed to their terms. The pirates proved true enough to their word.
- The company's employer was not completely satisfied with their results, though they had technically fulfilled the contract and the pirate threat was gone (at least for the time being). Compensation was renegotiated for half.
- After taking the contract, Aralakh headed out to the mine abandoned moon where the pirates were said to be hiding out. Not liking the hemmed-in approach from the main road to the south, they decided to put their dropship down on the plain to the north even though it meant more rugged terrain between them and their target.
- As they approached the mine from above, first contact was made with the Jagermech perched atop a hill. The Commando entered as the mercs engaged, with the Dervish and Stinger arriving after a couple of exchanges.
- Aralakh took some hard hits early in the confrontation, but have so far managed to avoid being crippled. The destruction of the Commando has evened the playing field somewhat, but they still have an uphill battle. If they don't get a break soon, they may need to pull out or risk more than their contract...
- Though their new recruit gave them an in-system raid target with a decent opportunity to steal a solid battlemech, the company commander decided the timing was wrong and instead ordered repairs to begin on their damaged mechs as they made their way back to the jump point to head out of system.
- Upon returning to their employer, they collected the rest of their pay, finished their repairs, and received two offers for new contracts from others: one involving eliminating a pirate lance in a nearby system, and another recruiting merc units for a larger campaign offensive assaulting an undisclosed Capellan world.
- After some discussion and weighing options, the company decided to go pirate hunting...
- After a few intense exchanges and significant damage to both sides, Aralakh succeeded in bringing down the Awesome. The pilot of the mech survived and turned out to be an exiled noble of some sort. He offered them information that would aid them in exchange for a place among their company. Aralakh agreed to this on a "trial basis".
- The company bribed and called in the strike team that had been sent with them to round of the remaining personnel at the base. The noble had warned them of fanaticism, but the team still took some losses while performing the task. The group stripped some supplies and equipment from the base and then returned to the primary objective at the R&D facility.
- The strike team recovered 3 experimental/prototype "pulse lasers" from the facility. The leader of the strike team, having been bribed already, offered to sell Aralakh up to two of the lasers recovered for the Duke.
- The company used its Warhammer to carefully (if inelegantly) salvage the fallen Panther for rebuild & refit.
- As they were preparing to leave the system, their new "recruit" informed them that there was another ripe target in-system...
- Aralakh pursued the fleeing light mechs back to the mostly-decommissioned military base. After a few brief exchanges, they managed to take out the Locust and the Hermes - but about that time, they detected an engine power-up in one of the hangers. After a few moments, sensors were able to determine it was an assault mech - an 80-ton Awesome. Despite - or maybe because of - the fact that they couldn't get much salvage from the Hermes after its ammo explosion, they decided to stay and see what they could do against this new foe, particularly when they noticed it didn't seem to be operating at peak performance...
- Tim's company was hired by a Free Worlds League duke to hit a small Capellan military R&D facility on an otherwise-insignificant border world. Intelligence indicated the nearby military base was all but decommissioned and they expect no more than a few light mechs and a pair of turrets as in terms of resistance. Aralakh is to neutralize defenses and allow a strike team (they're transporting) to enter the facility and extract technology.
- Tim rolled rather poorly during contract negotiations and is only being compensated with a forward of 45,000 for operating costs, 25,000 for mission success, a potential 50,000 bounty on significant tech recovered - BUT, they do have full rights to any salvage they have time to pull out, which could pay off nicely.
- The jumpship transporting them says they will remain in-system for 17 days. At the standard jump points, the target world is about 8 days travel at 1G. Aralakh pays the captain an extra 5,000 to jump just a little closer to the ecliptic, shaving a day off the interplanetary travel. They should have up to 3 days on-world. Extra time comes at 10,000/day.
- Upon reaching the site, they found it defended by a Locust, a Panther, and a Hermes II - which is actually a medium mech. After a brief skirmish, they took the Panther down and the two remaining units retreated. Seeing no evidence of additional resistance, the unit held off on calling in the strike team and instead decided to pursue the fleeing units for more potential salvage.
|Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 8:00pm||new campaign, battletech, aralakh company, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
Aralakh Company will be a strategic-level Battletech RPG/playtest that Tim is helping me with. I loves me some Battletech and I haven't been able to get a full group together to start a game (not for lack of trying) - so, instead, Tim and I are playtesting a "Mechwarrior Basic" RPG companion ruleset I've developed as well as feeling out the logistics of a Succession Wars era mercenaries campaign. Since it's just me and Tim, it will be light on the RP and mostly focused on game mechanics, battletech map combat, and strategic level decision-making.
My version of the Battletech universe is about .5-1 steps removed from canon. I leave most things as-is, but there are a few minor alterations to "the way things are" that improve the setting in my view. In addition to using my own Mechwarrior ruleset, I've made a few minor mods to the tabletop wargame and have come up with my own simplified versions of some other game-relevant areas.
"Aralakh" was the name Tim gave his merc company, having stolen it from a video game.
- "Steiner", a guy born into a merc family who inherited and/or split off to form his own company; Pilots a Blackjack.
- "Drevan", a friend of Steiner's who comes from the family of a house regular; Pilots a Warhammer.
In addition to the two "PCs" and their mechs, Aralakh also has a leopard-class dropship owned by the hired captain, a few techs for upkeep on the mechs & vehicles, and some light support equipment. They're also starting with a small supply stockpile for repairs and reloading, but it won't last them forever.
Character creation rules seemed to work reasonably well, especially the random aspects. The "average" starting character might be *bit* too skilled out of the box, but we'll see how this develops.