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Author Topic: Ages of War: Battletech AU (Introduction)  (Read 2074 times)

Dread Moores

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Ages of War: Battletech AU (Introduction)
« on: 30 January 2011, 15:46:29 »
Okay, let's start with a few general notes. Obviously, this is my AU and I'll be setting the rules for it. I'm definitely interested in feedback, but I should be upfront and note that I have some specific goals in mind. Some of those goals are not likely to change, but how I get there certainly could. Realism has never been one of those things that I've found to work too well when applied heavily to Battletech. Instead, I prefer to look for internal consistency. Do the ideas and storylines hold to the “rules of the game” as established within the setting? That's probably my rule of thumb when it comes to the AU, balanced with the idea of just keeping it fun. My ideas might not match up to other folks thoughts, and even after discussion, they still may not. I'm very interested in that discussion though, since it helps to have multiple eyes on target for problems or consistency issues.

The general framework for the AU is pretty simple. I wanted to see what happens if the Succession Wars become a six-nation battle. Yes, that means the SLDF stuck around. And yes, that definitely requires some handwaving. Ideally, I'd like to eventually get two (maybe three) “snapshots” of the AU. These will roughly correlate to my own versions of the Fourth Succession War and the Clan Invasion (if I go for a third, that one is a bit undefined currently). These two snapshots will give general overviews of the factions, timelines, available tech, and custom units for this AU. No, I don't have a real timeframe for how long this will take, or how detailed it'll be. This is a big project that I'm partially doing to see if I can get such a project to some level of completion, and as a world-building exercise. Before we delve into the actual material here, let's cover a few of the core ideas I'm using to put this storyline together.

The canon timeline is largely unchanged up to 2780. There's a few tweaks to events in Amaris' plan and the reclamation of the Hegemony, which I'll cover now.
  • SDS systems in the Hegemony were more numerous and built up than in the canon events.
  • The other member states of the League did contribute some small amounts of troops (or at least, did allow those who wished to assist Kerensky, to do so). Often these were not the most desired of their own troops, mercenaries, or units with more loyalty to the League than the specific member state.
  • The carnage in the Hegemony was incredibly rough on the SLDF, but the additional troops did offset that to some extent.
  • There were Cameron twins that Colonel Schmitt of the Royal Black Watch saved. They were initially sent to Federated Suns space, but Schmitt also got word to Kerensky. This means that Camerons came back to the Hegemony after Terra was liberated.
  • There's a grey area of what, if any, advanced technologies the non-Hegemony member states had access to at this time period. I'm choosing to go with the fact that they had none prior to the Amaris Civil War.
  • Amaris had quite a bit more in the way of covert ops access, and received assistance from some of the upper class Terran once he took over. This allowed him to do a bit more to stir up conflicts outside the Hegemony.

Due to Amaris' meddling, the Succession Wars kick off earlier, and scattered. While Kerensky is pushing on the Hegemony, the other Houses begin to brawl amongst themselves over perceived wrongs (and due to false flag attacks). The wars don't get particularly nasty until some time has passed (more on specifics of that later) after the liberation of Terra. Initially, the Houses focus on each other and old rivalries, before turning on the Hegemony. The wars, once they go hot, end up being far more destructive. Planets are abandoned, economies fall apart, and the rebuilding is much longer.

The SLDF ends up consolidating in a locked down portion of the former Hegemony, leaving a number of worlds to their own fates during the Succession Wars. Former Hegemony worlds are hit particularly hard, and are later raided by the Houses for technology, so it can be recovered. In many cases though, the worlds are badly damaged enough that the Houses do not bother holding this conquests.

Production and industry are scaled up a bit more “realistically.” This is some handwaving to have factions recover a bit more on their own, adjust army sizes slightly, but still keep the main feel of Battletech intact. I do prefer some of the more modern feel, less of the Mad Max of earlier material, so that influences this point.

There's an end goal of the SLDF/Hegemony at some point developing Clantech. Though they keep to themselves, they'll put in appearances during the two snapshots. The first will be with predominately IS Advanced/Experimental gear as their base tech, but still largely resembling the SLDF. The second will be my own version of the Clan Invasion, seeing a Clantech base SLDF from a Hegemony that has undergone some significant changes.

A lot of this material will focus on the ground side of things. That mostly comes from the fact that I don't have an easy program like SSW or MML to deal with creating the other unit types. At some point though, I'll certainly look to fill out that side as well. Not unlike canon material though, WarShips largely disappeared from all but the Hegemony (and were drastically reduced there as well) for at least the first snapshot.

Dread Moores

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Re: Ages of War: Battletech AU (Introduction)
« Reply #1 on: 30 January 2011, 15:48:11 »
The Fall from Grace (2764 – 2767)

Historians often look to the near extinction of the Cameron line by Stefan Amaris (December 2766) as the beginning of the end for the Star League. The process was actually begun two years before, when First Lord Richard Cameron signed the secret mutual aid and defense treaty with the Rim Worlds Republic. Giving the RWR troops access to the Hegemony's military and intelligence agencies was an unbelievable coup for the scheming Periphery Lord. To also be granted access to some of the First Lord's private intelligence and communications assets was a divinely assisted stroke of luck. While Amaris finished his prepartions for the inevitable fall of the Camerons, he used his newfound access to the inner workings of the Hegemony to divert technological upgrades to his hidden armies. While they were nowhere near as well-equipped as the Hegemony's Royal troops, the RWR military quickly brought themselves up to the equal of Regular Army SLDF troops and many of the member states' front-line military units. With access to some of the private HPG protocols used by the First Lord and high level intelligence reports, Amaris managed to position a large number of agents to strike at the member states if necessary. He was concerned that one or more of the Houses would move to support the Hegemony during the upcoming coup. These agents found themselves given access to the best that the Rim Worlds Republic dictator could beg, barter, steal, or build. Positioned as sleeper agents, and taking advantage of the centrally controlled HPG network (which Amaris has subverted using his newfound access), these RWR spies and saboteurs were zealous patriots from families that would reap huge rewards from Stefan Amaris' plans.

Sometimes, new students of mine wonder how Amaris still made mistakes with such a wealth of tools at his disposal. I make sure to beat these students about the head with tomes about of all those other “perfect” historical leaders. While Richard was clearly wrapped around Amaris' little finger, Stefan forgot a very basic rule. “Behind every great man is a greater woman.” Or as my cruder young students might say, “Elise had more important parts of Richard's body wrapped around her little finger.” Amaris and Elise had never gotten along, and it was at her insistence that Amanda and Ian were never exposed to Stefan. The couple's first child, Michael, was raised in court and visible as Richard's heir. Records of the twins were locked away, and it would be several years into the coup when Amaris realized his error in the Throne Room in 2766. The two children were raised under an immense veil of secrecy and largely estranged from their parents. (The two children saw the most of their mother, but even the relationship there was incredibly limited due to the necessary security measures.) Letting the twins survive ensured that Kerensky would never side with Amaris as he hoped would occur. They became an inspiring symbol for the entire SLDF, carrying the troops through the horrific campaign to reclaim the Hegemony. Amaris even had a chance to discover their existence, as Jason Cameron Bashina, had every intention of saving his immediate family by revealing his knowledge of the twins' existence (he had been the children's godfather, and often sent them Catholic texts for their birthday to instill “proper and necessary faith”). Amaris confused Elise's venom and horror at Jason's compliance, and killed one of the few people in the Throne Room (even the whole Hegemony) who could tell him of the living heirs. The few others of the Cameron line who were in on the cover-up, Elise included, led the charge to storm Amaris on his new throne. The information died with them in the ensuing massacre.

This certainly wasn't the only mistake made by the Usurper, but likely one of the most significant. He also gave into rage, ordering the nuclear annihilation of the Royal Black Watch regiment, exactly as Colonel Schmitt had hoped. She died knowing that her unit's sacrifice would grant the twins safe passage to sanctuary within the court of First Prince Jon Davion. Additionally, Amaris allowed foolishness to rein when his forces used terror tactics on significant historical cities such as Rome and culturally significant worlds in the Hegemony such as New Dallas. The list of mistakes (minor or otherwise) could continue for pages, but that is not the purpose of this treatise. The Fall continued as one would expect. Amaris slaughtered what he believed to be the last of the Cameron line, his troops took control of the majority of the Hegemony, his agents provocateur were in place around the Inner Sphere, and he consolidated his new rule on the cradle of Humanity.

Excerpt from Rise and Fall of the Golden Throne
by Alain Habeas, Professor of History, Tharkad University
Published 2951

Dread Moores

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Re: Ages of War: Battletech AU (Introduction)
« Reply #2 on: 30 January 2011, 16:14:02 »
Vengeance (2767-2770)

Only fools dismiss the need for vengeance. Any one who has been wronged, lived through war, or fought on the front lines understands that it is a basic human response and desire. It is a motivating tool for commanders, a tantalizing goal for leaders, and a salve for the common man's indignities. The “honorable” Star League Defense Force was no different from any other army throughout history in that regard. Scholars and civilians will endlessly debate about why Kerensky sought peace with the Periphery powers and moved immediately against the Rim Worlds Republic. Warriors do not debate such matters, as they are quite aware of the truth. Rage must be focused, as it is a weapon of war.

It would be easy to delve into figures and dates, looking back on the conflict as some sort of arm chair general. I could proudly point at some decision I would have made differently, as I have the luxury of full knowledge of the situation. Here are the facts that matter. Kerensky did not anticipate that the Republic would have been fortified; built as a lodestone for the General's neck. Amaris had more troops at his disposal than even other Periphery leaders realized, as he had militarized the Republic. Republic militias and Regulars resisted the SLDF, throwing themselves at Kerensky's army with zeal. The Emperor had subverted his citizens hatred of him (and the Amaris line), turning it towards the Hegemony and the Star League. The war to retake the Republic was brutal, as the SLDF faced troops (and civilians) convinced by Amaris that the Terrans were there to utterly destroy them and annihilate their culture. The General knew that he would need the industrial base of the Republic to rebuild, so he sacrificed soldiers as any respectable commander would do. Pawns must be given to achieve victory, and can be replaced. By the fall of the last RWR stronghold in late 2769, the SLDF had already put the rogue state's industry to work rebuilding and rearming their forces. However, the losses were higher than expected, and the command staff (particularly, the General) were left wondering whether they could succeed in breaching the former Hegemony defenses. Aleksandr Kerensky was faced with the possibility that he was leading the SLDF to its death for a hopeless cause. He would soon discover that vengeance always provides for those dedicated to it.

From the private journals of Tai-sa Taragi Noketsuna (translated from Japanese)
DCMS Mechwarrior serving with the 160th BattleMech Division
Journal entry dated 01-12-2778 (last entry)

Dread Moores

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Re: Ages of War: Battletech AU (Introduction)
« Reply #3 on: 30 January 2011, 16:16:11 »
Storm clouds and carrion birds (2771 - 2773)

The Dragon has lost its mind. My father is a fool, allowing romantic ideals to cloud his, and the entire Pillar of Steel's, judgement! He weakens our forces, sending our troops to aid the Terrans in their internal squabble, while the worthless rats on New Avalon strike out our borders! Slaughtering an entire city on An Ting wasn't enough for the cowards. They decided that our colony on Arlington must be exterminated with cowardly chemical weapons. I will never let this be forgotten. Their worlds will be massacred, and I will bathe in their despair and screams for mercy. Father does not see that our greatest enemy is not the foppish Amaris, but the Davion line. A time will come when I am the Dragon, and with the right target...the right message...the Federated Suns will come to understand the strength of the Dragon's roar.

Journal excerpts attributed to Jinjiro Kurita (unconfirmed, translated from Japanese)
Originally dated 04-17-2773
Published by the Drake Underground 10-11-2996 (200th Anniversary of the Kentares IV Massacre)

The Dragon knows fear. The Dragon knows sadness. The Yellow Bird has touched the whole of humanity, and we step closer to the edge of a chasm. Inevitably, we shall plunge over it and the worlds of humanity shall follow with us. The Combine is divided, and this house must be strong to withstand the touch of the Yellow Bird in my family. What was the expression I learned on that island in the Mediterranean region of Terra? Yes...my son is bloody-mouthed. The Combine must be unified to survive the next Dragon and those like him.

The attack on the so-called Amaris Empire is continuing, but the SLDF does not have the resources necessary to finish this task. Their losses to the SDS defenses are immense, and each system regained is requiring an assault against a hardened fort of their own creation. Combined with the losses suffered against the Rim Worlds Republic defenses, I do not believe Kerensky can gain Terra. Without that happening, my nephew Drago, will be lost. I will have broken the promise I made to my own father Takiro. I must sacrifice the purity of the Dragon, dooming the Combine to darkness and war, to ensure its survival. The charade of the “Ronin Regiments” is nearing completion. Even the Emperor will believe that these devoted patriots are traitors to their own realm. Without the help of the Order, this would never have been possible. The traitors (loyal sons and daughters of the Dragon, each and every one of them) will be cast out for their failure to stop the recent Federated Suns raids. Their place amongst the Combine will be gone, their families shamed, and their legacy forever tainted amongst our people. Many of their own sons and daughters may very well be killed by the hardliners that follow Jinjiro. But Kerensky will have some of the support he needs. I only hope the gesture becomes the symbol I hope it can be, forcing the other House Lords to contribute as well. Kerensky must retake Terra, or the horrid war I see on the horizon will become reality.

While the raids against the Federated Suns have increased, it is not surprising the Jon Davion has countered. Both the ISF and the Order agree regarding the attack on Arlington. The agents who delivered the nerve toxin were not Federated Suns citizens. I fear the reach of Amaris is longer than believed, but perception is reality in this case. Something I'm convinced that Jon is aware of. I cannot let the “Suns” terrorist attack go unprovoked, and their ill-timed raid on An Ting only complicated matters. A simple stray shot in combat, an ammo detonation, and a city is gone; wiped out due to poor maintenance of gas lines. The Ronin will assist the Hegemony, while Amaris is convinced that I have simply lost control of rogue subjects. The Combine's honor will remain true in those lost souls, while the bloody-mouthed fools following my son will have their war against the Davions. I pray that Drago is returned home, that Kerensky succeeds, and that somehow the Dragon survives through the darkness which lies ahead. I wish our citizens strength, and that the Yellow Bird's influence dies with my heir. We will roar for now, but soon, the Dragon may finally be able to rest.

Journal excerpts attributed to Minoru Kurita (unconfirmed, translated from Japanese)
Originally dated 03-13-2773
Published by the Drake Underground 10-11-2996 (200th Anniversary of the Kentares IV Massacre)