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Author Topic: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign  (Read 3869 times)


  • Corporal
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[NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« on: 08 March 2020, 04:50:20 »
I am a relatively new Battletech (and Tabletop in general) player, after a couple of years I decided to start my own narrative/map campaign with some players out of The Carcosa Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC. While there's still some rough edges I'm ironing out, my players have been very thrilled to be thrown off the deep end with my sort of bizarro approach of throwing brand new twists and turns at them throughout every scenario. I figured I should put together a thread to record the events of this campaign, as detailed by the detailed After Action Reports I write to go with every scenario.

Now to be clear, I OC'd up an entirely fictional merc lance, non-canon planet, non-canon planetary factions, and have set it all against the backdrop of a surprise 3050 Clan Smoke Jaguar planetary invasion. I wanted to write a story about the people of all stripes and backgrounds, pushed to their breaking point, forced to improvise and adapt to the conflicts laid out before them. All of it set from the perspective of a handful of corporate mercenaries closer to Agent 47 than any sort of "honorable warrior."

Here is the overall campaign primer:

And here is the briefing for the introductory scenario:

The After Action Report for Scenario 01 will be the rest of this post:

Black Thunder Lance, Leviticus Steppe, Marston, Planet Vanderlin

DATE: 20 March 3050

SUBJECT: Operation Crimson Tears

FROM: CEO Daisaku Kuze
TO: Black Thunder Lance
CC: Kuze Tactical Discretion Operations Staff

Escort “ELEMENT KILO” to target location at B.T. Facility 0451
Discourage Kell Hounds lance reinforcement
Exfiltrate West to Dropship “TOJO” with minimal losses

The mission was an overwhelming success… for better or for worse. Black Thunder Lance eliminated four buildings at Berenger Technologies’ research facility, ELEMENT KILO (which actually belonged to Clan Smoke Jaguar) escaped completely unharmed, and almost all Kell Hounds mercenaries were killed, minus one. 

[David] Netro Karagan eliminated Building 2113, 2615 (+2 XP, 2.5mil CBills)
[Frank] Les Bowey eliminated Building 2015, 2315 (+2 XP, 2.5mil CBills)
[Rob] Vladia bin Kareef eliminated Building 3111 (+1 XP, 1.75mil. CBills)

>>Vladia bin Kareef’s Hatchetman brutally dismembered a Flea and its’ pilot via brutal overkill. It exploded before being sliced in half by Vladia’s blade, as a matter of fact. (+1XP for the kill, +1XP for a notable act of Sadist Brutality to Vladia, 250,000 CBills.) Mere moments later, she rescued Netro Karagan’s Wolverine from a 1v1 standoff with a Gauss Rifle equipped Hollander II by detoning the SRM ammo cache in its Left Torso. (+1XP for the kill to Vladia, 250,000 CBills)

>>Element KILO safely left the AO after completing their objective, entirely unscathed. (+1XP to every pilot + $5 million C-Bills to contract pay) They are now taking shelter in a mountainous area in the Southwest region of the mainland continent of Marston.

>>Building 3111 took 10 points of damage from falling defense grid satellite debris. A prominent geothermal engineering scientist, Jovany Delos, known for his potentially revolutionary experience in converting planetary cores into a renewable energy source was brutally smashed into fleshy paste. His family is in mourning, and funeral expenses are being raised via multiple crowdfunding platforms. (+1XP to “An Act of God”)

>>Kell Hounds pilot “Dan Allard” in a Firestarter witnessed his entire lance be dismantled in front of his eyes. He fought valiantly to the last man and refused to give up an inch, even in the face of the chaos in front of his eyes. He then proceeded to run for his life and jump into the bottom of a recently emptied nuclear missile silo. His jump jets malfunctioned, and was brutally injured as his mech slammed face first into the hard cement silo floor. (+1XP to “An Act of God”) Every limb in his body was shattered into a thousand pieces - but thank the heavens the generosity of the Berenger Technologies medical research staff was able to rescue him and his career in private security by outfitting him with experimental prosthetics. It’s amazing what the future makes possible!

>>Clan Smoke Jaguar “leaked” our involvement with the incident to the local media in a video address also meant to indict Charred Flesh Awakened, the local labor militant group. Berenger Technologies CEO Sid Berenger has sworn revenge for the senseless slaughter of their civilian researchers, and promises their brightest minds will be tasked with developing and deploying experimental military responses to both the invasion of Clan Smoke Jaguar and against the newly crowned “Butchers of Fordham.” (That’s us! What the ******, pilots.)

>>The FEDCOM Planetary Governor, Mariah Castro, has declared a planetary emergency in response to the Clan incursion. Civilians are to relocate to their closest shelter or bunker down in their homes as the military fights like hell to hold back Clan Smoke Jaguar. In lieu of the current crisis, and in response to CEO Daisaku Kuze’s pleading that they had no idea the Clans were behind the incident at Fordham, FEDCOM has offered KTD a basic contract escorting a supply convoy of arms through hostile territory. A stealth relay ship has been launched, and a military response is en route, although that will be some weeks away.

>>Charred Flesh Awakened Corporal Brady Gonzalez issued a video address denying any involvement with the incident at Fordham, and has insisted they will fight both FEDCOM and Clan Smoke Jaguar to the last man. They have activated every militant cell across the planet, and have promised that protecting civilians and helping them get off-planet is their primary objective for the time being.

     Netro Karagan: 6.25 million CBills
     Les Bowey: 6.25 million CBills
     Vladia “Hatchetwoman” bin Kareef: 4.25 million CBills 
     Netro Karagan: 4XP
     Les Bowey: 4XP
     Vladia “Hatchetwoman” bin Kareef: 6XP
    C. KILLS:
     Vladia “Hatchetwoman” bin Kareef: 2 Kills
     Act of God: 1 Kill
     Netro & Les: 0 Kills
     FEDCOM: -1
     Berenger Technologies: -2
     Clan Smoke Jaguar: +1
     Civilians: -1
     Kell Hounds: -3

Well, apparently none of you thought to read the contract and question why a labor militant group would ask you to raze a bunch of buildings full of civilian research scientists. So yes, now we have a wallet full of Clanner minted C-Bills, all of which are just as good as regular C-Bills, but everyone hates us, and we are now the “Butchers of Fordham.” Big ups to Vladia, you’re now known as “Hatchetwoman” for your anti-Flea brutality.

For now, we’ll try to work for the Federated Commonwealth’s local government. Of course, this is the largest government in the Inner Sphere, and we’re just a handful of mech pilots, so they have no reason to give a ****** about us if something goes wrong. Something to keep in mind going forward. [Options for mech purchases and spending XP will be made available in a couple days. -GM]

« Last Edit: 25 October 2020, 14:02:47 by Taintberner »


  • Corporal
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #1 on: 08 March 2020, 05:01:44 »

Wrapped up the second scenario in my narrative campaign this week - the Mercs of Kuze Tactical Discretion survived by the skin of their teeth! I took some photos:

The BBC-76 "Banal Bringer of Cargo" and her 5 lightly armored trucks prepare to depart into the canyon where an unidentified Clan Smoke Jaguar Star waits to ambush them. I rolled a 1D6 to determine the weight class of the mechs they'd be facing - 1 for Negative Contact, 2 for Light Mech, 3-4 for Medium, 5 for Heavy, and 6 for Assault. The first contact ended up being a Mad Cat, believe it or not.

Here is the canyon of death that loomed before them.

The Merc lance managed to down the Mad Cat, but not before it managed to kill one of the supply trucks! A few turns later, the BBC-76 turned and blocked the path of the trucks - it wasn't a cargo landcarrier, it was a rapid Battlemech deployment playform! She launches a Marauder piloted by the pilot that jumped into the bottom of a recently expended nuclear missile silo. Kuze Tactical Discretion responded by forming a congo line and lighting the ******'s ass up, with the Hatchetman taking an axe to the BBC's engine block. But that's not where the fun stops!

One of the Wolverlines sprinted across the wreckage to close the distance with the Marauder, dodging not one, not two, but THREE shots of PPC fire. I gave an extra XP point for that one, obviously. The three of them then proceeded to force the Marauder to fall from overwhelming fire. Absolutely embarassing show.

They then proceeded to circumvent the road and take the trucks off road - I thought they would have to apply skidding rules for taking wheeled vehicles off paved terrain, but alas I was wrong. This allowed them to mostly circumvent the Clan Smoke Jaguar Star (minus one lucky ER PPC shot from a Puma) and escape the AO, having all the vehicles basically drive off a cliff, take 2 points of damage, and then drive off the map.

Partial victory, $6 million CBills in the bank, and a few handy salvageable Mechs.

For the next scenario, my players will be shipped off into space - fighting on a low orbit landing platform defending refugee transports as Clan Smoke Jaguar attempts to violently claim these poor souls as their bondsmen.
« Last Edit: 10 March 2020, 10:55:00 by Taintberner »


  • Master Sergeant
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #2 on: 08 March 2020, 11:15:59 »
Nice AAR and campaign. You've put a lot of work and thought into it and it shows. I was wondering what did you use to create your planetary map?


  • Captain
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #3 on: 08 March 2020, 20:50:01 »
Excellent work.  Looking forward to further installments.  :thumbsup:
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.   -Machiavelli

Greetings, Mechwarrior!  You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against...Oops, wrong universe.  -unknown SLDF Recruiter

Because overkill is underrated my friend.  -John "Hannibal" Smith

Unit/Scheme of the Month Master Index


  • Corporal
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #4 on: 10 March 2020, 14:20:10 »
Nice AAR and campaign. You've put a lot of work and thought into it and it shows. I was wondering what did you use to create your planetary map?

I had a .PDF of Campaign Operations where I ripped the lineart for the Planetary Map template out of the back and put it onto an 11x17 in Adobe Illustrator. Then, I went into Adobe Photoshop and started drawing out the map (based off some pre-lim sketches in my campaign sketchbook, very helpful for logging events, brainstorming, etc.) outline in blue.

After that, I was able to fill in with different colors & brushes for texture. After that, I came up with some basic icons, and to come up with location names, I looked at the character list from the Red Dead Redemption 2 Fandom wiki and started splattering them around, to get a vaguely Wild West theme going.

Also, thank you! I'm working on a fresh map from scratch right now, as a matter of fact. It's tricky! Gonna try to write up some fluff as well, although I think my players are oddly over-focused on taking FEDCOM contracts to fight Clan Smoke Jaguar instead of the other stuff I've dreamed up.


  • Master Sergeant
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #5 on: 10 March 2020, 15:24:06 »
Thanks! It turned out really well.
Also, thank you! I'm working on a fresh map from scratch right now, as a matter of fact. It's tricky! Gonna try to write up some fluff as well, although I think my players are oddly over-focused on taking FEDCOM contracts to fight Clan Smoke Jaguar instead of the other stuff I've dreamed up.
This is the way. Having plans for your players is a sure fire way to have them do anything *but* that :)).


  • Corporal
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Re: [NYC] The Vanderlin Campaign
« Reply #6 on: 25 October 2020, 12:58:10 »
Unfortunately, the pandemic happened, so this campaign got held up in quarantine for months. But thankfully, NYC has loosened their restrictions a bit, and with proper safety precautions, we were able to resume play! So as a quick refresher - Kuze Tactical Discretion is an "off the books" mercenary company, they were tricked into helping the Clans launch a nuke in order to disable a planetary defense grid satellite, and after taking the fall they begged and pleaded with the local FEDCOM government in order to get a convoy escort contract to try and restore their good name. In which they succeeded! Holy lordy!

Suddenly I had a lot of downtime on my hands, and I took a little of that time to put together an in-universe newspaper, which not only puts some lore around in-game events, but also fills in what's going on with the other factions in the campaign. You can read it here, it's only a couple pages.

Preview of the link above.

So I was finally able to get my group back together in a new gaming space after lockdown restrictions were lifted, and we finally moved forward with the third mission they selected - defending refugees escaping the planet who where awaiting transfer on a low orbit platform. So vacuum rules would be in effect. And of course I totally mislead them, thinking they'd be going 1v1 with Clan Smoke Jaguar - I totally tricked them. The three of them took on five lightly modified "light mechs" that I rebranded as "Xenotech" - Weyland Yutani's tabletop game of the future! - and essentially swarmed them. Shockingly, they succeeded with no real losses.

I actually hacked this map together myself from a DriveThruRPG resource pack, and then slapped a bunch of 3d printed terrain on it from various sources. The tiles are scaled for 1.75" hexes, which is what I use for Heroscape terrain.

Another view of the map before play. Just looks really cool to me, even though I haven't gotten a chance to paint everything up yet, but having a 3d map really does beat anything else out of the water.

And here's a shot of the map in action! Xenos running down the corridors, with the mercenaries of Kuze Tactical Discretion on the defensive. Sadly, I couldn't lure them out into the open.

Now here is the formal After Action Report:

Black Thunder Lance, Marston Intl. Spaceport Platform 0811, Vanderlin Low Orbit

DATE: 12 April 3050
SUBJECT: Operation BT121

FROM: CEO Daisaku Kuze
TO: Black Thunder Lance
CC: Kuze Tactical Discretion Operations Staff

Secure landing platform for refugee transport
Escort refugee transports
Eliminate hostile biologicals by any means necessary

There%u2019s not much to say, really. This deal with FEDCOM is getting worse and worse all the time, cleaning up the messes of their little mad scientist science fair - first nuclear hellfire, second a ****** alcoholic cybernetically enhanced mechwarrior, and now - Battlemech sized spacebugs that can survive the vacuum of space. And yet, brutally overwhelmed and completely unprepared, you managed to cut down all of those oversized freaks with cold efficiency. (+2XP and +500,000 CBills to each pilot)

>>PRE-DEPLOYMENT: Vladiya repairs Hatchetman for 750k CBills, and learns Melee Master for 8XP, taking her down to one. Eugene Creanga has been subbed in for Netro Karagan and brings a Hunchback into battle.

>>TURN 05: Les Bowey begins his intergalactic bachelor party by eliminating xenomorph %u201CBEAMER%u201D (+1 XP and 250,000 CBills to Les Bowey)

>>TURN 06: Vladia bin Kareef cracks open the skull of xenomorph %u201CCUTTER%u201D, putting both sides on even ground (+1XP and 250,000 CBills to Vladia bin Kareef)

>>TURN 07: Eugene Kreanga downs xenomorph %u201CALPHA,%u201D Vladia bin Kareef drops xeno %u201CSPARKY,%u201D also who wrote these ****** names? +1XP and 250,000 CBills to both Eugene Creanga and Vladia bin Kareef)

>>TURN 08: Xenomorph %u201CGOONER%u201D disables Eugene%u2019s Hunchback, only to be ripped apart by Vladia bin Kareef (+1XP and 250,000 CBills to Vladia bin Kareef)

>>The biological weapons were eliminated with extreme prejudice and all of the refugees escaped, cheering and thankful for Kuze Tactical Discretion%u2019s intervention. (CIVILIANS CURRENT REP: +2)

>>FEDCOM is especially impressed by KTD%u2019s fast-acting response and efficiency and has promised a greater cooperative relationship in the future. (FEDCOM CURRENT REP: +2)

>>Sakhan Sarah Weaver has grown disgruntled with her inability to put a dent in Kuze Tactical Discretion, as well as losing her new toys. Clan Smoke Jaguar will be looking to turn up the heat and get the egg off their face. (CSJ CURRENT REP: -2) 

>>Berenger Technologies has lost yet another critical prototype to the dastardly Kuze minions. Sooner than later, they will be seeking to enact retribution against the mercenaries. (BT CURRENT REP: -4)

>>Kell Hounds have grown disgruntled with FEDCOM%u2019s interest in Kuze Tactical Discretion, and will be looking to steal back the spotlight in the future. (KH CURRENT REP: -4)

>>Planetary Governor Mariah Castro has offered Platform 0811 as a temporary F.O.B. (Forward Operating Base) for Kuze Tactical Discretion%u2019s operations. This is a huge get and will allow us to deploy engineers, cut maintenance and repair costs, provide rapid deployment, and give our pilots greater comfort between missions. (KTD GAINS SPACEPORT FOB, 50% DISCOUNT FOR REPAIRS & 25% DISCOUNT FOR SALVAGE)

>>Marston Central Command has attempted to suppress leaks of the xenomorph engagement, but short clips have slipped through the cracks on social media, and panic is beginning to spread amongst the remaining civilian population, already traumatized by the nuclear detonation just a couple of weeks ago. The long term consequences of this is yet unknown.

>>Clan Smoke Jaguar%u2019s detachment to Marston has pushed past it%u2019s LZ and into Leviticus Steppe and the Trelawney Plains. The city of Grayton is under siege and past it%u2019s breaking point, while Central Marston Command has packed its bags and retreated east to the Repair & Refit center just south of the city of Lazarus. There and the fuel depot are critical objectives to secure for FEDCOM.

Vladia %u201CHatchetwoman%u201D bin Kareef: 8.5 million CBills
Les Bowey: 9.5 million CBills
Netro Karagan: 8 million CBills
Eugene Creanga: 1.25 million CBills
Vladia %u201CHatchetwoman%u201D bin Kareef: 6XP
Les Bowey: 10XP
Netro Karagan: 10XP
Eugene Creanga: 3XP
Vladia %u201CHatchetwoman%u201D bin Kareef: 6 kills
Les Bowey: 1 kill
Eugene Creanga: 1 kill
Netro Karagon: 1 kill
Berenger Technologies: -4
Clan Smoke Jaguar: -2
Civilians: +2
Kell Hounds: -4
UrbanMech IIC (Needs Serious Repairs)
BBC-76 Land Carrier (Needs Repair, Upgrades Available)
Mad Cat D (Needs Serious Repairs)
Armored Truck x 2 (Possibly load these with explosive materials?)

This is why we make the big bucks, boys and girls. Talk about an absolute curveball -  you ripped apart a Star%u2019s worth of test tube beetle freaks, totally out of nowhere, and all we lost was a critically damaged Hunchback with a new pilot who managed to survive - congrats to Eugene on his stunning debut, his insides may be a little shaken but definitely not stirred after all that action. Now with the FOB, we can cut maintenance costs as well as make more choices available for your next deployment. Updates on that soon. -CEO Kuze

We did another mission after this as well, but this one was definitely a lot of fun to design and play, even if my players are on a 3 (now 4) game winning streak. What you don't see in the AARs is I do a lot of stuff with "narrative instructions" I use to try and break up the action, and introduce new elements like 20 meter tall genetically engineered bioweapon space beetles. I can provide the record sheet .PDFs for the Xenomorphs if you wanna look them over. Lemme know what you think!
« Last Edit: 26 October 2020, 03:28:38 by Taintberner »