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Right out of the gate I’m very pleased to announce two more official language CBT websites: The Italian and Austrian sites. As mentioned previously, if there are other language sites that would like to become part of the Official Language Classic BattleTech Websites, simply e-mail me.

Well, as you might guess from last month’s announcement I’ve been a just a tad busy, so haven’t gotten out the last two month’s worth of BattleChats.

So obviously we’ve got a lot of things coming down the pipe and a lot of things going on. In effect, a lot of changes. And as part of those changes (and to help me get back to the excellent record I had for over three years of hitting every month with a BattleChat), I’m changing up what the BattleChat is all about; in addition to be so busy, part of what causes the delay is that in an effort to make sure the BattleChat is something useful and cool for everyone to read, it turned into a mammoth tome that could actually be a little intimidating to tackle.

With that in mind, three things will come out of this.

First, the regular monthly BattleChat will continue, but will focus specifically on providing previews of upcoming products, as well as provide details on “behind the scenes” work for products.

Second, the one exception to this will be Total Warfare. Due to the obvious importance of this product, I will be starting a weekly BattleBlog right on the front page of the new cbt.com website, where I’ll tackle an in-depth look at the origins of Total Warfare, the decisions behind its creation and development, why the whole re-branding and so on.

Now I’m well aware some are likely wondering how I’ll managed that when my track record on BattleChats has not been very good over the last year. The biggest key to this will be keeping them short and sweet and to the point; if you want a tome of information in one go that’s what a BattleChat is for. The BattleBlog is a weekly bit-sized morsel of information that should provide current players (and hopefully potentially new players) with an excellent picture of exactly what they’ll be getting in Total Warfare when it publishes in August.

As an addendum to that, don’t forget the monthly Live BattleChats open to anyone that www.BattleCorps.com will begin hosting this month; the first will be March 18th, 10AM PST; I’ll be answering any and all questions about Total Warfare, the re-branding of Classic BattleTech and so on.

Finally, over the last several years FanPro has been concentrating on increasing the quality of its products and making the universes and rules more accessible and desirable to the gaming community. On the Shadowrun side, this is epitomized in Shadowrun Fourth Edition; on the Classic BattleTech side this will reach a new plateau in Total Warfare. Unfortunately, this concentration has, over the last year and more, significantly affected our ability to hit release dates.

With that in mind more than ever, FanPro is in the process of completely overhauling not simply our production schedule, but also the way in which we generate and keep our production schedules.

FanPro is well aware this is going to be a long and slow process and is committed to spending the time and effort to regain back not simply the community’s confidence in our ability to hit our release dates every time, but just as important to regain the confidence of retailers and distributors as well.

This portion of the overhaul means that instead of dropping tidbits of release date information buried in a BattleChat, we are creating a new page at www.fanprogames.com where newly designed pdf sell sheets for every product will be posted and updated on a regular fashion. This should provide a more dedicated, centralized, and user-friendly location for this all important information; these sell sheets and the accompanying new schedule will begin to post mid-March (the new 2006 FanPro catalog will also be available in PDF format mid-March; as with so much of what is going on, the catalog has been changed up in an effort to make it as useful as possible).

With all of that in mind, let’s jump in.

TECHNICAL READOUT: 3058 UPGRADE

You will find several previews of this product available on this website through this product’s page.

TECHNICAL READOUT: VEHICLE ANNEX

Several additional sketches have been posted on this product’s page, along with a final of an IndustrialMech; find a final draft (pre-edit) of the entry to accompany that final IndustrialMech illustration below.

    Equipment                        Mass
    Internal Structure:                 5
    Engine:  100 (Fuel Cell)            4
        Walking MP: 4
        Running MP: 6
        Jumping MP: 0
    Heat Sinks:     3                   2
    Gyro:                               1
    Cockpit:    Industrial              3
    Armor Factor:   80                  5 

                       Internal  Armor
                      Structure  Value
      Head                3        6
      Center Torso        8       10
      Center Torso (rear)          6
      R/L Torso           6        8
      R/L Torso (rear)             4
      R/L Arm             4        7
      R/L Leg             6       10

    Weapons and Ammo  Location Crits Mass
    SRM 2                LA      1      1
    Ammo (SRM) 50        LA      1      1
    Machine Gun          RA      1     .5
    Machine Gun          RA      1     .5
    Ammo (MG) 100        RA      1      1
    Searchlight          LT      1     .5
    Searchlight          RT      1     .5

    Notes:
    Features Advanced Fire Control System

SecurityMech

CPK-6 “COPPER” SECURITYMECH

  • Mass: 25 tons
  • Chassis: Coventry Peacekeeper Series
  • Power Plant: Coventry Hybrid 100 Fuel Cell
  • Cruising Speed: 43.2 kph
  • Maximum Speed: 64.8 kph
  • Jump Jets: None
  • Jump Capacity: None
  • Armor: Lexington Limited
  • Armament:
    • 1 Coventry Twin-Tube SRM-2 Launcher
    • 2 Coventry Light Auogun Machine Guns
  • Manufacturer: Coventry Metal Works (SecurityMech Division)
  • Primary Factory: Coventry
  • Communications System: Cyclops P7 Dispatcher
  • Targeting and Tracking System: Cyclops 8B UrbanTrak

Overview

Often referred to as the “poor man’s BattleMech”, SecurityMechs (also occasionally referred to as RiotMechs or PoliceMechs) are a rare animal, even in the IndustrialMech market. Indeed, in many occasions, police and private agencies willing to look into ‘Mechs for their security needs have tended to choose true BattleMechs over these machines almost as often as otherwise. The reasons for this are more based on tradition and legalities, rather than in physical reality; in the pre-BattleMech era, armed WorkMechs did exist, but were often seen as ungainly and overpowered for typical urban security work (where they were meant to be employed). Thus, even before the dawn of the BattleMech, such armed IndustrialMechs found themselves limited in size, while their armament was studiously kept at a level military forces could contend with, the reasoning being that no police force should ever be tasked with a military operation (or-some critics noted-be able to interfere in one).

After the rise of the BattleMech, these rules became even more stringent, limiting everything from the maximum weight and armament to the power supply used by armed WorkMechs-to prevent these machines from becoming an underground competitor for the growing BattleMech manufacturers. Of course, as ‘Mech technologies evolved in both the civilian and military sectors, many commercial manufacturers quickly found themselves consumed by the larger military ‘Mech producers, their products retooled to true BattleMech design or recast as common WorkMechs. Nevertheless, demand for dedicated non-military ‘Mechs for security roles remained strong enough in some areas to keep this niche market alive even today.

Capabilities

interstellar law, few SecurityMechs exist over 35 tons in total mass, which places Coventry Metal Works’ 25-ton CPK-65 “Copper” SecurityMech in what amounts to the medium weight class for its kind. First commissioned in 3065, the “Copper” is actually the latest in a long line of the company’s “Peacekeeper” series, a commercial variation on the famous COM Commando BattleMech line. Although-aside from some interchangeable actuators and electronics-similarities between the CPK-65 and the Commando end with their identical tonnage ratings, at its heart, the only real differences between the “Copper” and a true BattleMech lie in its heart an its bones.

The CPK, unlike the Commando, makes use of an IndustrialMech chassis, powered by a fuel cell engine for modest ground speed, rather than a lighter, more capable fusion plant. These naturally limit the design to lighter weapons, which are often considered excessive even in a full-scale riot (and indeed, the “Copper’s” weapons load-while consisting of military-grade hardware-is usually rendered even less deadly by the use of rubber bullets and tear gas SRMs over true anti-personnel firepower). The lack of true environmental sealing also prevents the deployment of the CPK in any environment one may find a BattleMech at work (a factor that requires pilots who use tear gases to always keep a filter mask or two handy in the cockpit). Such design limitations, however, also lower the “Copper’s” price tag to half that of a Commando, and indeed, the SecurityMech runs cheaper than virtually every single BattleMech produced today. This single factor, more than any other, has made machines like these a favorite for commercial and corporate security forces across the Inner Sphere-even those that can afford and use true BattleMechs.

Deployment

Produced in various models since the CPK-19 first debuted in the Star League era, “Coppers” may be found in the employ of various corporations, nobles, and police forces across the Lyran Alliance and beyond today. The latest “Copper” model, however, is far more prevalent among the larger civilian security forces of the Alliance’s Coventry Province than anywhere else.

Variants

Though rare, commercial-grade SecurityMechs come in broad varieties that can be found today across the Inner Sphere in various forms. Among the most well known is Ceres Metals’ 15-ton GS-54 “Guard”, a quadrupedal design armed with twin machine guns for riot control on numerous heavily populated Capellan worlds, the 30-ton CCU-36 “Pacifier” built by Alshain Weapons for Combine-based civilian authorities, and the ultra-heavy 35-ton ITW-80 “Inquisitor”, created by Irian Technologies, Unlimited exclusively for the defense of all IrTech facilities throughout the Free Worlds League.

HISTORICAL: BRUSH WARS

As mentioned in December’s BattleChat, here is the proposal that was submitted by David McCulloch for the Anton Revolt section of Historical: Brush Wars.

Historical: Bush Wars – Anton Revolt – Pitch – DM

Viewpoint – A historical treatment of the Anton Revolt from the viewpoint of a historian working out of the university on Atreus around 3060. In a valiant attempt to cut through the propaganda, the historian (with the advantage of being distanced from the events by some 45 years) endeavors to deliver a balanced and insightful analysis of events. Note – The degree of ComStar’s behind the scenes involvement may be played down as “Old ComStar” and the Word of Blake may be just a little too similar for comfort for a FWL source to place the blame for the revolt squarely on their shoulders. Kristofur will probably get to carry the burden of blame alone.

While it is inevitable that Wolf’s Dragoons will feature prominently, this material will endeavor not to degenerate into another Dragoon love-fest. Instead, it will place the mercenaries into events in their proper place – as a means to an end for both Anton Marik and Maximillian Liao.

FictionA 2 page (1,500 word) – The last meeting between Janos and Anton. Possibly with flashbacks, it will focus on showing the growing rift between them. Vesar Kristofur will also feature (probably at the end), when Anton makes the decision to openly challenge his older brother.

HistoryA 4 page (3,000 words) summary of the events running up to the revolt. Focus is on relationship between Anton and Janos (with the General Crawford affair being the thin end of the wedge). The political climate is detailed and the reasons why the League is ripe for rebellion discussed. The other factors (ComStar and Liao) that help the League on down the slippery slope are also addressed.

Sidebar – Unlikely Bedfellows – The alliance between Max Liao and Anton Marik (who commanded the Capellan Front) is briefly covered.

Sidebar – Wolf’s Dragoons – origins of the Mercenary unit. At this point the Dragoons are still on their Recon mission. Their motivation for undertaking the assignment is given a brief analysis.

Personalities – 6 Pages (1 per page). These are not “up to date” bilogrophies – instead they focus on the lives of the personalities up to and thru the Revolt. The Aftermath section will give some additional details, but again the focus will be on the Revolt and not on later years.

  • Janos Marik – Captain General of the Free Worlds League. His rise to power, and the political horse-trading that would subsequently alienate his brother will be covered. Prosecution of the campaign against Anton, and the subsequent changes wrought on Janos complete the outline of the Captain-general.
  • Anton Marik – Janos’ younger brother, Anton became dissatisfied with his Brother’s rule (especially as they once harbored such great plans for what they would do while being educated on Atreus). Central to the events of the Anton Revolt is the rift that grew between the brothers – a rift that would be exploited by Vesar Kristofur and the scheming Maximillian Liao.
  • Vesar Kristofur – A prime mover in the behind the scenes action, Kristofur helped fan the flames of civil war (allegedly to force a devaluation of the M-bill). He naturally is considered in modern times to have been acting alone (the official FWL viewpoint – to think otherwise raises some interesting questions about the WoB presence at the date of this document’s composition).
  • Maximillian Liao – Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation. Old “Mad Max” covertly supports Anton – seeing the opportunity to disrupt the League as too good to pass up – allowing him to focus on the Davion front.
  • Jaime Wolf – Commander of the elite Wolf’s Dragoons. Wolf and his command are loaned to Anton by Max Liao – to whom they are under contract. With the new knowledge about the Dragoon’s true origins, a bit more detail can be presented on Wolf for this period.
  • Joshua Wolf – Jamie Wolf’s brother. Liaison with Anton Marik. Like his brother, Joshua can be fleshed out a little bit more due to the availability of far more information than previously was available.
  • Note – Natasha Kerensky is not considered to be a major personality in this particular product and will not be given a detailed personality overview.

War – 10 pages (2 maps) (9,750 words – length cut to accommodate Aftermath section) depicting the events as they unfold. The conflict breaks down into phases.

  • Phase 1: Maneuvering – Anton’s decision to revolt was not a spontaneous act. Growing ever more disgruntled Anton had years to covertly prepare. Stationed on the Capellan front, He chooses New Delos as his headquarters.
  • Phase 2: Revolt – The revolt begins. Initial targets are taken, and the rallying call for others to join the rebels goes out.
    The campaign opens with three thrusts. The southern thrust (spearheaded by Wolf’s Dragoons) is aimed towards Atreus. Capture of the capital (and perhaps even the elimination of Janos) will do much to legitimize Anton’s claim to the post of Captain-General. The center thrust (with Anto’s own Third Marik Militia at the forefront) will swing in to take Marik – another symbolic target). The third thrust on the northern front is intended to take Irian and other weapon-manufacturing worlds.
  • Phase 3: Faltering Steps – Anton Marik may have the support of about a third of the League, but fewer units rally to his call than anticipated. While others remain neutral (with several provinces invoking the home defense act) Janos cannot completely strip the borders to hurl the weight of the League’s military against Anton, the progress of rebel forces never-the-less slows.
    With forces from Orient threatening the flank, Anton is forced to divert elements of the Dragoons to deal with them. Worse is the Fourth Regual Hussars decision to turn-coat and join with the Loyalists to fight the Dragoons.
  • Map for Phase 1 thru 3.
  • Phase 4: Collapse – In an attempt to stall the loyalist thrust from Orient, Anton sends in a taskforce spearheaded by Wolf’s Dragoons (with Kerensky’s Independent Company) to attack Callowy IV in a bid to force Orient onto the defensive. The move fails. Worse, it dispels the Dragoon myth of invincibility. With the north and center thrusts stalled, the Rebels come under increasing pressure as Janos concentrates his forces and the Loyalists begin to drive back the Rebels.
  • Phase 5: Last Mistake – The tide has turned. Janos brings the full weight of the League’s military to bear. Anton’s forces begin to desert and he demands Jamie Wolf split the Dragoons up to bolster his remaining troops. Wolf refuses, and the infamous events culminating in the “execution” of Joshua Wolf and the Dragoon assault on New Delios takes place. The revolt collapses.
  • Map for Phase 4 and 5.
  • Sidebar – Ducal Guard – Duke of Procyon, Anton assembles a multi-regiment force from those fragments of units to flock to his banner. Figure this will be about three ‘Mech regiments and 10 to 12 conventional formations (subject to change as writing firms up details).
  • Sidebar – The Provinces – Details how each of the major political entities in the League viewed events and whose side they were on. The major players generally supported Janos or stayed neutral. Andurien invokes the home defense act. Regulus just stays quite until it is clear who is going to win. Orient and Steward back Janos.
  • Sidebar – Disparity in Forces – Anton was (on paper) vastly outnumbered. Sidebar discusses why things were much more equal than it would appear.
  • Sidebar – Lyran Predation – Rather than imbed it in the main text, Lyran responses to the Revolt are covered in a sidebar section.

Aftermath – New Section! – 1 Page (750 words) – Brief analysis of the aftermath of the revolt and the profound impact it would have on Janos (and the League).

The Dragoons come out of the war changed too. The contingency plans they will put in place will finally be executed when the DCMS try to absorb/destroy the Dragoon’s decades later.

Max Liao comes out a winner – with the League now too weakened to be a threat, he can concentrate on Davion.

Deployment Tables – 4 pages of standard format deployment tables. Note that a number of never-before-seen mercenary units will appear here. They will all either be destroyed during the revolt, or probably be considered to have folded at some point over the past half-century and no longer exist. Some may also make an appearance in other conflicts in this publication (if the other authors so desire) and may fall during the Ronin War or the Andurien Succession.

Rules

Rules will be presented in the standard sections…

  • Force Specific Abilities
  • Unit Assignment Tables
  • BattleForrce 2 Command Lists
  • The Inner Sphere in Flames Annex

STARTERBOOK: SWORD AND DRAGON

One of BattleTech’s biggest problems from the moment it first published has been moving potential long-term fans beyond the base box set (as well as beyond the core rulebook) into the rest of the universe and product line.

While Total Warfare and the rest of the new core line of hardback rulebooks will provide a larger set of products for new players to easily follow through with, there is still a need for a tailor-made series of products that will act as a bridge between the base box set and the rest of the rulebooks and sourcebooks.

At FASA numerous different formats were tried with the scenario packs to try and use them as a bridge between the introductory products and the rest of the line (BattlePack: Fourth Succession War and First Strike! are the two best examples). For various reasons none of those attempts accomplished that goal

The Starterbook series-and their accompanying ‘MechPacks-will be new variation on this theme, based on twenty years of what type of products have sold and what the fans have shown they like most about various products.

Starterbook: Sword and Dragon will be an introductory book; a combination of sourcebook, campaign book, technical readout and record sheet book. This will not only provide a holistic slice of all the best aspects of numerous products to the players, but it will allow them to fight their own designed battles in an open ‘track-style’ format (similar to what was developing for the Dawn of the Jihad sourcebook) between the perennial favorite factions of House Davion and House Kurita.

While the product is tailor-made for new players, it is also designed to be enjoyed by long-time players as well, covering the histories of two of the universe’s most notorious independent companies, while updating their histories to the current time line (the campaign section of the book will play out pre-3049, however, as this is a companion volume to the base box set, which is set in 3049; i.e. ‘Mechs only and the introductory technology of 3025); see the outline below for this product.

To ensure that this product meets with the same high quality we are striving to achieve in Total Warfare, Starterbook: Sword and Dragon will be printed in full-color (it will be soft-cover, however).

Finally, Iron Wind Metals will be simultaneously releasing Sword and Dragon ‘MechPack Davion and Sword and Dragon ‘MechPack Kurita to support Starterbook: Sword and Dragon. Each ‘MechPack contains four unique ‘Mech variants, to be used in conjunction with the new variant record sheets found in the Starterbook.

STARTERBOOK: SWORD AND DRAGON OUTLINE

COVER

TITLE PAGE 1

TOC/CREDITS 2-3

SHORT FICTION STORY (4,000) 4-8

This will actually be two, 2,000 word short stories covering each unit.

INTRODUCTION 9

SHORT DAVION/KURITA HISTORY (1,500) 10-11

FOX’S TEETH HISTORY (4,500) 12-17

In addition to a history of the Fox’s Teeth Davion independent command, there will be sidebars including different era TO&Es, anecdotal inserts and so on

Fox’s Teeth Independent Company (NA) 18-29

Each page will detail a member and his ‘Mech. This will include a quarter-page full-color bust illustrations of the MechWarrior, a quarter-page-sized photo of the appropriate ‘Mech, along with appropriate text describing each.

SORENSON’S SABRES HISTORY (4,500) 30-35

In addition to a history of the Sorenson’s Sabers Kurita independent command, there will be sidebars including different era TO&Es, anecdotal inserts and so on

Sabres Independent Company (NA) 36-47

Each page will detail a member and his ‘Mech. This will include a quarter-page full-color bust illustrations of the MechWarrior, a quarter-page-sized photo of the appropriate ‘Mech, along with appropriate text describing each.

CLASSIC BATTLE TECH RULES (12,000) 48-64

This section will not only include rules for how to make each individual MechWarrior more unique in his skills in the board game, but will also have an abbreviated open-ended campaign framework that will allow players to run multiple scenarios, in a track system that will generate different outcomes each time (i.e. will use an abbreviated form of the DotJ track system). A section on scenarios (tying into the track system), as well as the prototype technology found on the command lance ‘Mechs of both companies will also be included.

RECORD SHEETS (NA) 65-96

Thirty-two record sheets for both companies; eight of the twenty-four ‘Mechs will be new, unique, never-before-seen variants (i.e. the command lances of each company) mounting prototype technology from War of 3039 (matching the 8 unique ‘Mechs that will appear in the two ‘MechPacks), while an additional eight record sheets will be those same ‘Mechs as of 3070; i.e. full tournament legal designs, mounting “production” weaponry.

See you next month!