Sunday, March 6, 2011

Old School Battletech, sort of...

I do enjoy the setting of old Battletech.  Before the Clans.  Before Michael bloody Stackpole.  Even before William H. Keith (whose praises I can not sing highly enough, so I best not start) wrote the fine tale of how his Gray Death Legion found the technical archives of the fallen Star League stored on an overgrown USB stick.


Turn to page 38 of the original Tech Readout.  Go to the bottom of the third column to read about MechWarrior Fletcher Raymond and his Clint.

During the battle for Bell of the First Succession War, Fletcher's great uncle happened to capture a Clint.  It still works well, but only one of the medium lasers still works, due to damage received during the battle for Bell.

That Martel medium laser represents a full third of the Clint's total firepower.  The First Succession War ran from 2787 to 2821.  This Clint has been carrying that damage for more than two centuries.  And that's normal.  Read the old unit & scenario books like Black Widow Company, Fox's Teeth and Cranston Snord's Irregulars.  The 'Mechs listed have at least a 50% chance of being in less than perfect repair.

In 3025 the BattleTech universe was in technological decline.  They were fighting for spare parts.  For some reason that appeals to me.  Or maybe it's the sense of unknowns and potential that one gets from the early days of any game.  Either way, I've been going over the oldest BattleTech books I can lay hands on.  The first edition MechWarrior RPG looks to be lots of fun.  It's full of charts to roll on.  Random 'Mech acquisition, unit affiliations, duty assignments, encounters and major astropolitical events.

It's that last one that really grabs my attention.

Instead of cleaving to the official BattleTech timeline, I want to roll on the major events chart and see what happens month by month.  I gave it a little test drive.  January 3025, first thing that happens is a major campaign starts up along the Free Worlds League/Capellan Confederation border.  A bit odd, considering that they had just signed a big agreement to cooperate against the Federated Suns/Lyran Commonwealth alliance.  Ah well, on to February.

Fall of a major world.  Andurien, in the Free Worlds League.  Looks to me as though Dame Cathy Humphries made her move to seccession about five years too early, and got stomped fifteen years ahead of schedule.  Probably the League and the Capellans coordinated to finish this in just a month, strengthing their alliance perhaps?  Hmm.

So that's what I want to run.  Same starting point, but no way to tell where it's going to lead.  However, fun as the random charts are, I don't want to use the whole rule set of first edition MechWarrior.  Right now MicroMechWarrior greatly appeals to me for being light weight and quick to pick up and fiting nicely into BattleTech.  But I just can't go that way because in my noggin nothing says roleplaying and giant robots more than Mekton.

More later...

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