This is a story I wrote as a prologue for an “A Time of War” roleplaying game I just started GMing. Two of my four players are pretty unfamiliar with the Battletech/MechWarrior setting, so I thought I’d write up something to introduce them to to setting and give a little background on where their regiment stands.
April 5th, 3048
Sgt. Kay O’Bannon, 17th Skye Rangers, Charlie Company
Dromini VI, Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
The Commando crashed through the trees at a dead sprint. Branches and trunks shattered with sharp cracks as the 25 ton war machine rushed through the forest at nearly 100 kilometers per hour. Inside the Battlemech’s cockpit, Kay was boiling in her own sweat. Humidity fogged up the screens on her instruments and moisture collected on the inside of her cockpit canopy, dripping down in long, thin rivulets that streaked the armored glass.
She’d been pushing the machine to its limits for three hours now, and the fusion engine below the cockpit was straining with excess heat, far more than the Commando’s heat sinks could possibly handle on their own. A warning light flashed on one of the consoles, and for the fifth time in as many minutes Kay slapped the override for the machine’s automatic safety shutdown. Down below her, in the torso of the humanoid machine, a half ton of short range missiles cooked in the heat. At any moment something could give, and the Commando would be ripped apart in a cacophony of explosions as its own ammunition cooked off, the force doubly destructive as it was trapped in the armor plating of the machine. Kay tried not to think about it. Continue Reading
++May 22nd, 3050
++FWL Colony #3454 “Fallen Bow”
++Planet Genvieve, Free Worlds League
Lt. Karen “Power” Simms thumbed the button for her comms, “Viper Three, checking in. No contacts in mountain village, grid square Charlie Four. Whatever happened here, I think we missed it.”
“Roger that, Viper Three,” Commander Llorn answered over the comms. “Behemoth lance reports no contact river either. Proceed to Delta Seven and clear.”
“Delta Seven, aye.” Power leaned back into her Raven‘s command couch and looked around her at the deserted prefab buildings of the small outpost. The distress call had gone out four days ago, and the Renegade Suns were the first boots on the ground, half a week late to be of any use. Now the entire colony was a ghost town, with no sign of what had happened to the people here except a few open doors, swinging in the wind. She felt naked without any infantry support clearing these buildings, but the Suns had been hired to be first responders, not garrison troops, so their only infantry platoon was securing the area around the dropship to make sure the ‘Mechs had available transport in case they needed to be somewhere fast.
The low thrum of the fusion reactor inside the light ‘Mech purred through her spine as Power throttled up to a slow walk, wary of ambush. Her Raven, designed for recon work, was small and lithe, and with its Guardian ECM Suite blocking enemy sensors she felt like a ghost haunting the graveyard of the colony. Her own sensors still registered blank except for the distant blips of the rest of Viper lance, spread out throughout the forest and mountains surrounding the colony. As she watched Viper One, Captain Donaldson, move towards another small outpost of prefabs half a klick away, her map flickered and her sensors went dead. “Hold up. This is Viper Three, I’m experiencing some sensor trouble. Is anyone else getting this?” All that answered was the hiss of static through her comms, and a chill rushed through her. She’d just entered into an enemy’s ‘Mech’s ECM bubble.
Ok, let’s rap for a second, guys. We all know that giant robots are both large and robotic, and that, in MechWarrior Online, by PGI Games, they’re also just absolutely covered in weapons. Now, if you’ve been following this weekly column then you know that there are different sizes of ‘Mechs and that different weapons are effective at different ranges. These two facts, combined with the varying speeds your giant robots can achieve through the use of different engines means that ‘Mechs can serve a number of different roles on the battlefield.
The role of your ‘Mech is primarily determined by three factors: Size, Speed & Loadout. Since these three factors are really the only variables in MechWarrior Online that means that the previous sentence was kind of pointless. It’s ok though, keep reading, we’re gonna get to the actual meat in just a second. The important thing to know here is that your role determines your strategies and how you should pilot your ‘Mech. Know your roles and you will immediately see an improvement in your game! Well, theoretically, anyway.
GIANT ROBOTS OH EM GEE!
CLANG! BOOM! ZAP! PEW PEW BAM KABOOM! WEET WEET! BOOOOOOM!
Man, Giant robots are freaking fun, are they not? It’s just like, awesome. I know, for me, there’s nothing quite like a massive machine made of tons and tons of metal and guns just blasting the ever living crap out of stuff, and the best place to do that right now is definitely on MechWarrior Online.
The game, which is completely free to play (download it from mwomercs.com) is my current ultra obsession. That said, as anyone who’s played can tell you, it is really not easy for the new player to be successful. So this is the first in a series of handy primers to keep you from getting shot to scrap. Continue Reading