BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => A Time of War => Topic started by: abou on 20 May 2017, 14:52:07

Title: The Dead Atlas Troupe - c.3024
Post by: abou on 20 May 2017, 14:52:07
Planning to give it a go as a GM for an ongoing campaign. My experience with GM-ing for an RPG is very limited. I know it is going to be a work in progress when it comes to getting better. I've watched a number of videos on YouTube about the experience from a fantasy perspective. Hopefully I can do right by my players.

Since there is not much in the way of support for AToW, I wanted to share my campaign with the forum: both to help me get better and to help with people wanting ideas. This is, I hope, going to be a bit collaborative. I don't want to make this too difficult, but I also don't want to make it too easy even for a first campaign.*

My group of players have named themselves The Dead Atlas Troupe. The characters they are creating are based off of what they used for a few games of Alpha Strike. The best part is that one of my players managed to salvage his wrecked Atlas, but doesn't have the resources to repair it. Since the setting will be roughly 3024, I find this to be wonderful.

Here is the intro for my players. I am still working on details, which I will update with time. I am debating on going in depth or leaving it open enough that anyone could pick it up and choose whatever planet controlled by whatever main faction. There may be characters that deal with specific cultural behavior, but nothing that is restrictive. So without further ado:

X is a dry, desert planet that has weathered the Succession wars badly. Although once wealthier due to mineral deposits and Star League technology making for more fertile soil, currently only the northerly climes are inhabited. Small villages dot the landscape surrounding the main city of Y. The city itself rarely suffered blows in war, but rather has been hallowed out by depopulation. The main driver for this was the breakdown of infrastructure as Star League tech became increasingly difficult to maintain.

As the 3rd Succession war has ground on, X has been left to its own devices. While a weak, local government exists, the true ruler of the planet is a group of bandits that controls with force and terror. Operating from the mountains and named The Hatchets, they bully the villages for food, but save most of their resources for their limited off-world campaigns to seize wealth, military supplies, and be generally despicable human beings.

Despite their thuggery, The Hatchets are a relatively minor threat to neighboring planets. With resources being stretched thin as the Succession wars continue, no major power has been willing to put forth military effort to get rid of them. However, recent petitions through ComStar by the people of X have not been in vain. The regional authority has granted enough funds to hire a mercenary unit to find the bandits' hiding place among the mountains and eliminate them.

Mind you, not enough money to hire a good mercenary unit. Just enough to hire you.

* PS. This is the group of players that lost of a lance of 'mechs to a lance of Vedettes. I can't go too hard on them.  ;)
Title: Re: The Dead Atlas Troupe - c.3024
Post by: abou on 07 June 2017, 15:27:08
Part 1 of the story. The group has landed and managed to get some direction as to where to go to start collecting information. I added some on-the-fly complications in an attempt to get the players to better know what they can do with their skills. Such an example included a vehicle breakdown that needed to be repaired.

Mercs and dropship land at the spaceport near the city. The players are told that they should find their way to one of the nobles that helped organize the petition. The city is mostly empty with a small number of neighborhoods still actively occupied by residents. Most of the nobles keep a low profile due to the bandits. And due to the poverty of the planet, noble might be a generous term.

In any of the neighborhoods, some of the shops might provide hints of where to go – particularly bars. Common names for such establishments: The Pit, 5 O'Clock, The Dirty Dive, The Sweaty Taint

Depending on player interactions with NPCs, this could be a quick process or a slow one. Regardless, the end goal is a small village with a man named Ichiro. The village is nothing more than a main street with houses and shops on either side. At the end of the road is a relatively wealthy house with Japanese style architecture surrounded by a gate. The yard inside the gate is a well-maintained Japanese rock garden with few bushes and trees (eg. Cherry blossoms) and no grass – maximizing decoration and making the best use of limited water.

Ichiro will meet with them. His background is that of a traditional Japanese businessman dealing mostly in interstellar trade. He retired to the planet before the bandits came and can speak about the depredations of them and will give the players information about their forces and how they operate. He may also gift the players with equipment.

Ichiro is very traditionally Japanese in the sense that he will participate in extended periods of small talk before discussing business – including lengthy chats over tea. Check to see if any character has Protocol/Draconis Combine and have them roll to see if they understand what is happening and why Ichiro would rather talk about his cherry blossoms than the problems facing his community. The following may happen depending on how quickly and tactfully the players force Ichiro to the point; they appear in ascending order:

1. Ichiro will point the players to Jim's Jockstrap. He will inform the players about the basic capabilities of the pirates: a small force of 'mechs and, dropship, infantry, and assortment of wheeled vehicles including trucks, ATVs, and jeeps.
2. The above and assortment of ammunition for the players' chosen sidearms and two miliary communicators with power packs.
3. The above and an exceedingly rare DCMS Gallileo scanscope with micro powerpack.
Title: Re: The Dead Atlas Troupe - c.3024
Post by: Nav_Alpha on 16 June 2017, 21:14:19
Late to the party - but I really liking this. Can't wait to see more
Title: Re: The Dead Atlas Troupe - c.3024
Post by: abou on 20 June 2017, 08:04:11
Thanks! More to come when my PC is up and running again and I am not stuck on my phone.

We played Sunday. One of my players had a bad day of it. In their first fight against two NPCs, he took a kick to the head in the first round and crumpled to the ground unconscious. Typical for him.
Title: Re: The Dead Atlas Troupe - c.3024
Post by: abou on 29 July 2017, 16:53:13
Unfortunately my group fell apart. Not pleased at all. With that being the case, I thought I would at least post the remaining work I did. Hopefully the ideas present may help someone out with what they are doing.


Jim's Jockstrap is located in the same village. It is the divest of dive bars with a smell that stands up to the name. A faint haze of smoke is present in the air and it is clear that some parts of it look to not have been cleaned since the Star League era. If it wasn't for the fact that it would be impossible, you could swear that parts of the outside were painted in crumbling lead paint.

Inside is fairly empty. There are only a handful of depressed-looking patrons and more than half are drinking by themselves. If the players carefully look around and check – perhaps a perception roll – they may notice two men sharing the same booth. Two other men are working in the bar. The first is Jim, who is gruff, gray, of mixed descent and is the owner. The second is Han, who is younger and of oriental background.

Jim doesn't seem to know much at all about the bandits except how much of a nuisance they are. Thankfully, they mostly leave this village alone as it is, in his words, “The ass-end of the planet.”

Han, however, does know something. He is anxious and acting coy. He will claim his shift is ending soon and is just trying to get out ASAP. The players can choose to press Han or wait for his shift to end. Either way, two of the patrons have paired off. They are thugs of the bandits and it turns out that Han has been giving them free drinks in an exchange of favors (money, loot, and protection of the bar). The pair clearly mean business. The Thug stats from AtoW p.337 would be appropriate.

If the players press Han too much, the thugs might move quickly and in the bar to silence them. If the players wait for Han to get off his shift and approach him outside the bar, the thugs will attack then. The thugs will attempt to subdue the player characters figuring that they might get access to gear.

The conflict can go one of three ways.

1. The players are quick at eliminating the thugs. They stop Han and can interrogate for information. Han will inform them about a remote building a few kilometers away used by the two thugs. More members of the bandits might be present and it is up to the players how they will approach.
2. The players slowly eliminate the thugs. Han gets away and the players have to chase him down. The thugs, if they are alive, are unlikely to talk, but might if the players are good at intimidation. Otherwise, they will have to track Han down to wherever he might have disappeared to.
3. The players lose the encounter. They find themselves tied up in the building with several bandits. Their possessions are in another room. The knots are poorly made; however, they are still restrained with one or two bandits overseeing them.

The building is among the foothills of the mountains on the continent. The earth has a reddish hue with a small number of plants. Nestled among a small valley, it is relatively inconspicuous: ferrocrete structure, beige color, flat roof, antennae and satellite dish. Perhaps an old farmhouse from when Star League equipment kept the lands fertile. Due to line of sight, the players can approach relatively inconspicuously and observe from a distance. Built into the side of the valley near the building is a cave entrance large enough for a 'mech.

The forces the bandits have at their disposal is appropriate to what the players bring whether on foot, vehicles, or 'mechs. The state of repair of bandit equipment should not be pristine, but not falling apart. CF of the building should be that of a Medium L2 building. Once the bandits are eliminated or driven off, the building may be searched for additional information. The building is not trapped as the bandits had no need to do so.

If the players bring 'mechs, the bandits can emerge from the cave. Once the bandits have been eliminated, investigation of the area shows primitive 'mech gantries and maintenance equipment. Functional and broken down vehicles are also present. It is likely that any bandits not in 'mechs escaped either on foot or vehicle. The bandits should used the forced withdraw rules.


After successfully escaping or defeating the bandits, refit & repair back at the dropship is probably the best idea. The bandits, however, are unlikely to take this sitting down and may engage in a counter attack at the dropship using a mixed force of vehicles and 'mechs. As in the last scenario, the bandits will use the forced withdraw rules. The players may find their equipment in various states of repair. Use of the weapons on the dropship is a tricky proposition:

1. firing weapons would include the dropship in combat, which could mean return fire
2. if the dropship is damaged, it may strand the player characters
3. the bandits are likely to want to take the dropship intact for supplies or their own use
4. utilizing the dropship could quickly tip the engagement in the players' favor
5. the GM may decide that the weapons on this dropship are not functional since the players' are the bottom of the barrel mercs

If the players are successful in their defense, they may now plan for their attack on the main bandit enclave or to strike more of the smaller bases among the mountains in order to whittle away at the bandit forces. They may also want to contact Ichiro again for any information: he may be more communicative about other sources of information now that the bandits have been weakened. If the players show enough fortitude and skill, Ichiro may feel confident enough to include others of his group in the conversation.

If the players searched the compound from the previous engagement, they may have found a map. This may corroborate any information they get from Ichiro or others of his clique. There are somewhere between 3 to 5 other locations outside of the main base that can be struck. Not all may be staffed with an appreciable bandit force. However, there may be individuals that can be interrogated or provide details on the main base's defenses.

The Cache

The Hatchets had seemed to come out of nowhere with surprising capabilities for such a small group. Despite being bandits and their equipment in not the best of repair, their 'mechs were still operational and in fair condition. As it turns out, the bandits had stumbled upon a cache of equipment in the mountains. Although initially thought to be Star League in origin, it post-dates that time. Evidence points to it being a post-1st Succession war cache from a military unit that abandoned its post or contract.

Of Ichiro's group, one does know of the general location of the cache because it is possibly in what was once his land. His name is Jonathan. He once had a manor among the mountains and can possibly lead the team along paths to get there. How he does this, depends on interactions with the team.

1. Jonathan is a long-retired mechwarrior. He still has his 'mech, but his rusty skills could cause him to be more of a liability than an asset. Regardless, he can guide the players easily to the rumored site. However, the players will need to convince him to suit up. The players with Jonathan will then arrive near the cache and square off against the contingent of bandits
2. Satellite uplink and guidance over the comms could work, but the players might get lost; thus leaving them open to ambush. Unless the players AND Jonathan can succeed on their Navigation/Ground rolls, the bandits will get the first chance to attack.

If the players are successful, magnetic resonance scans of the area may notice an anomaly in the hills and point to the cache wherein equipment is located. It is then free for the players to investigate and hopefully salvage materials.

NB: This was my attempt to give the players their first +1 weapon, in a sense. There is not a lot of practical Lostech in the AtoW book the way it comes across in the fiction. I didn't want to give immediate access to Star League-era weapons and heat sinks, but something to help with roleplaying. What I chose were the following:

1. Field Comm. Sat, advanced, p.301
2. Fusion recharger, p. 307
3. Deluxe toolkit, p. 310
4. Electronics repair kit, p. 310
5. Armor
6. The rest of the cache is mostly empty with odds and ends left. The bandits have consumed most of the consumables or moved them.

Suggested bandit 'mechs would be those designs that would be extinct by the 3rd Succession war, but not utilizing Star League tech. Also the downgraded 2750 designs such as the Guillotine 4L.

It is in the best interest of the characters to try and capture one of the enemy mechwarriors. As the bandits have suffered loses, a decisive blow to The Hatchets can now be made. A captured 'mechwarrior can give them the info needed to track down the leader and main base of operations.