Original Map of Clanspace – A Bit of BattleTech History

When I worked on the Wolf Clan Sourcebook, I knew there were two things we would need.  First, a list of all of the Clan Bloodnames.  Second, a map of the homeworlds.  I undertook both of these efforts just so that future authors would have references to work off of…you’re welcome.

This weekend, while rooting around, I found the second draft (the FASA version) of my crudely handrawn map.

Scan_20190721

A few tid bits about the worlds…

Marshall, Albion, Niles and Homer were named after small towns in Michigan where I was raised.

Lum is named after a nickname my father had, a throwback to the old radio program Lum and Abner.

Grant’s Station was named after the antique shop my parents owned in Galesburg, Michigan – Grant’s Antique Market.

Roche was named for a great manager I had when working at Ford Truck Operations.

Foster was named after Foster Brooks, a wonderful comedian.

So anyway, I thought fans might enjoy a glimpse into a bit of BattleTech history.

Gen Con Survival Tips – Updated for 2019

IMG_1977
Yes, those are Superman and Batman BattleMechs

Yes, it is that time of the year again – time for my unsolicited updated list of Gen Con tips survival.  These are to be treated as tongue and cheek – intended with a hint of a sense of humor.  If you’re offended, well, suck it up…this was intended to be useful and hopefully funny.

So, here’s my annual tips – updated where appropriate.

#1:  Plan in advance.  Go online, figure out what you want to do.  DO NOT try and figure all of this out while you are at the counter buying tickets.  This is like that person standing at line at Starbucks for 15 minutes, getting up there and going, “Hmm…I’m not sure what I want…”  Don’t be that guy.  Everybody hates that guy.

#2  Getting into the city.  Indianapolis is easy to navigate. It is hairiest to drive into the city on Thursday and Friday because of the locals who work there. The good news is that rush hour in Indianapolis is not horrible. The locals think it is, but it isn’t (I live outside of Washington DC.)

#3  Parking.  Okay, this is tricky.  Thursday and Friday, you have to compete with the locals for parking spaces.  Many lots fill up by 10:30am.  In other words, be prepared to walk some distance on those days.  I have a secret place or two for parking – which I won’t reveal.  The key is, get there early before the garages fill up.

#4:  Pack as if you are going to be at the convention center for 16 hours straight…because you are.  Slip in some snacks because let’s face it, convention food is expensive and sucks.  Bring pencils, pack your lucky dice (you know the ones!) graph paper, phone charger, a small tape measure (for miniatures games), aspirin, you know – typical geek gamer survival gear.  Think over seriously if you need to bring all of your rules books and game manuals.  Chances are the guys running the game are going to have a copy there.  Don’t over pack.  You don’t need to bring your PC with you, I’m almost positive.  Keep it simple, keep it light.  Pack what you need but remember, you’re not setting out to climb Mt. Everest (or Mt. Doom, your choice.)

#5:  Be prepared for the rush to the main hall when it opens.  Yes, when the balloon goes up and they open the doors to the sales floor, it is a geek equivalent to the running of the bulls in Spain (albeit a little safer).  Don’t fight the masses, ride it in.  Also – DON’T RUN.  The convention folks really hate people that run.  To answer your question now:  Yes, it’s that crowded every year.  You can’t get in without a badge, have it out and visible.  The Stormtrooper Door Guards will stop you dead in your tracks, meaning you are subject to being trampled by the crowd surge.  Also, nothing sucks more than being in a crowd of 2000 only to find out you have turn around and run back to the hotel room through a sea of angry and exited geeks.

#6:  Get generic tickets. Events are sold out, but people don’t show.  When they don’t, you can use generic tickets to get into anything.  They are wonderful little gems to have tucked away.  Don’t worry about having leftovers, you can go to the BattleTech pods and spend ‘em.

#7:  Cosplay is part of the experience and is encouraged.  If you are going to do it, don’t design a costume that is going to injure passersby.  Think it over.  No one is more of a douche-bag than a guy that has designed a costume that is hard to get around or trips/blinds people when you pass.

#8:  If you’re going to be one of those people who stop in the middle of a crowd to take a picture of the booth-babe wearing a chain mail bikini, do it quickly and don’t clog up the corridor.

#9:  Bathe and use deodorant.  This shouldn’t have to be a tip, it should be common sense.  Based on my own experience moving through the crowd, I had to include it.  Look, you paid for a hotel room right?  Go back at some point and at least use the shower.  Foot powder, toothpaste, and clean clothing (a fresh set for every day) shouldn’t require mentioning – yet here I am doing it.  Why?  Because people don’t do it!

#10:  While you have no adult supervision and can do what you want, be respectful of others.  In other words, bringing your leftover Taco Bell burrito from dinner to that 8am gaming session and eating it during the set-up is just wrong.  You do know that their meat isn’t real meat, right?

#11:  For your meals eat outside of the convention center.  First, convention food sucks and is expensive.  My memory is that a single, room-temperature, piece of convention cardboard pizza runs around $425.  I don’t blame the folks in Indianapolis for this, it sucked when the convention was in Milwaukee too.  I also like the brisk walk to the attached mall.  They have a food court, variety, better prices, and it’s a hoot watching the locals interact with the convention attendees.

Go only five blocks away and there are a LOT of eating places.  Pita Pit is great.  Gamers hate leaving the convention site, even for an hour for food, so if you are willing to walk, downtown has a LOT of eating options and the further you walk, the smaller the crowds.  I recommend taking the stroll.  Ten minutes of walking gives you a few minutes of peace and quiet.

The Food Trucks are your best friends.   I only discovered where these vendors parked four years ago and found their offers to be a much better alternative to eating on-site at the con.  Let’s face it, everything is better than the food in the convention center.  While we’re on it…

#12:  Don’t frighten the locals.  Look, Indianapolis really seems to like having Gen Con in town – well, at least they like our money.  Don’t try and frighten that family on the sidewalk with your Orc costume waving a sword and cursing in Orkish.  A lot of locals come down town to look at the cosplay folks – don’t add to their stereotype images of us.  Not cool dude.

#13:  While I totally appreciate Cosplayers, sometimes the costumes are confusing as all hell.  Don’t be insulted if people ask you, “who are you trying to be?” Obviously show the cosplayers some respect.  While you may think their costumes suck, they put some work into them.

#14:  There is always someone that knows the rules better than you.  He’s arrogant, overweight, and wearing a black tee-shirt (then again, who isn’t?)  Nothing kills a game faster than two guys trying to prove who is smarter about the rules regarding the splatter effect of a Mark IV plasma rifle in zero-G.  We get it, you read and memorized the rule book.  Stop ruining game play for everyone just to demonstrate your incredible powers of memorization…please.   We refer to these individuals as Rules Douches, or the more French- La Rules Douchebag.

#15:  Don’t just sit around.  Go and check out the miniatures games, or some of the big events like the Live Dungeon.  You didn’t shell out all of that money to sit and read a catalog you picked up did you?  The convention won’t come to you – you need to move.

#16:  Do some prep work if you are planning on buying some specific products.  Some companies are bringing limited quantities of games to the con for each day, or a certain day.  If you aren’t in line at the right time, you’re hosed.  The short version of this:  Make up your mind on what you are going to purchase and do it.  If you wait too long that newly released product can/will sell out.  Check the web sites and Twitter feeds of your favorite companies to see if that new product will be available and when.

#17:  Wear comfortable shoes.  Preferably shoes that do not have a predetermined aroma.

#18:  Go back to your hotel at night and get some sleep.  The convention is not designed as an endurance test.  You’ll need the energy.  All night gaming is great, if you’re young, but even then you need some sleep.

#19:  Attend the auction.  You’ll be able to tell your wife/mother/cat/significant other than that shelves and containers of games you have ARE of value.  You’ll be surprised at what games people collect and what they will pay for one.  It’s also kind of fun to see last year’s hot products being sold for a pittance of what people paid for them a year ago.

#20:  Play the demo games.  Look, games cost money – a LOT of money.  I sit in on demos, watch tournaments, etc. to figure out where I’m going to spend my cash.  I recommend you do the same.  Try some things you’ve never played before.  Think of this as a chance to test-drive new games and systems.

#21:  Don’t insult your favorite writer or game designer intentionally.  These guys work hard to produce your fun.  Don’t be “that guy” that shows up to tell someone how horrible a product they wrote in 1992 was, or how they made a mistake in an out-of-print 1989 book.  We get it, you can read.  If you’ve traveled all of this way to show off your knowledge, you’re a decade or two off.  If you meet writers, authors, artists, designers – be cool and respectful.  As a writer in the industry, I welcome comments from fans…but there is a limit to critique that I will endure, and I am not alone.  As a corollary – there is a limit to the number of things you want autographed.

#22:  Go early to the con.  Get out of bed and get to the convention early.  There’s a lot going on and the lines are significantly shorter.  I hit the MechWarrior pods usually at 8-9am when the convention hall is empty-ish.  They are a tradition I am addicted to.

#23:  WIN.  Savor your victories.  Cherish the lament of your foes as they are crushed under the weight of your killer die rolls and strategy!  Don’t rub it in, but enjoy it.  Serious dude, don’t rub it in when you win.  You didn’t travel all of this way to lose did you?  Hell no!  In other words, have fun!

#24:  Don’t wear costumes that are designed to deliberately upset people.  Skip the political stuff.  Someone is going to be upset and that isn’t the intention of going to a convention and having fun.

#25:  Wear something other than a black tee shirt.  At Gen Con, black tee shirts are like camouflaged ghillie suit for snipers.  Everyone is wearing a black tee shirt.  Someone someday will earn a PhD studying why gamers are drawn to black tee shirts.  In the meantime, I recommend wearing something else (something clean), in a color other than black.  Corollary:  Reading the hilarious tee shirts is one of the more phone things about the Con.

#26:  Don’t abuse your demo time in any booth.  Okay, in the main showroom, the vendors often offer short demos on their products.  These are a major part of the experience.  Don’t abuse the privilege.  I saw one guy camped out a table last year for four hours.  There were a lot of people wanting to sit in, but this guy had decided to turn a demo into a full-fledged campaign.

#27:  Remember the Gen Con food groups.  Caffeine, Chocolate, Salty Snacks, Caffeine, Pointless Carbs.  Beef Jerky, while not a formal food group, is also permissible but please be discreet when eating it – no one looks cool tearing into a piece of jerky.  Yes, Caffeine is listed twice because it is that important.

#28:  If you want to do free events plan on a wait or get there early.  A good example of this is the Paint and Take event Reaper puts on.  It’s cool to get a free mini you paint there, but everyone wants to do it and there’s usually a line.

#29:  If you want the Convention giveaways – go to those booths first thing when the doors open.  A lot of these vendors run out in the first 20 minutes.  They often have more of the freebies, but limit the number they give out each day.

#30:  Con-Crud – prepare for it.  Con Crud is not a new module release of Pandemic – it’s the social plague that hits thousands when they return from Gen Con on the following Monday.  Use hand sanitizer (you have to bring your own on this).  Load up on vitamins and other legal medications aimed at reducing colds, flu, or whatever it is that morphs into Con-Crud.

#31:  Patronize the places the support Gen Con.  If they support Gen Con, support them.

#32:  If you have a young one with you, go the Lucas Oil Stadium.  I took my grandson last year and there was a ton of stuff for us to do together.

#33:  Don’t overschedule.  This one came from my compadre Scott.  Leave yourself some time to soak it all in.  Otherwise you miss a lot of the convention just bouncing from one event to another.

#34:  Meet the celebrities.  I’m not just talking about the “name” celebrities.  This is a chance for you to track down that favorite author or artist and shake their hand.  I make a point at every Gen Con to network and meet people (and re-meet people I met years before).  Mingle and be social.

#35:  “Language” I’m noticing more and more kids at the Con which is great.  I bring my grandson.  If you feel the need to curse, make sure only the adults are around.

#36:  Take advantage of the crowds to do things you want to do.  Look, at 10am, everyone is lined up to get into the main hall.  That’s the perfect time to do things that otherwise have long lines.  For me, that is when I hit Paint and Take.  Understand the masses, don’t always be part of the masses.

#37:  If you are in a wheelchair, it is not a weapon to clear the crowds.  I got hit by someone in a wheelchair last year just standing still.  He just plowed into my ankle because he wanted to get through.  I’m understanding, but not that understanding.

#38:  You will get a book of freebie coupons.  If you plan on redeeming them, you need to do it first thing in the main hall.  Some of that stuff disappears in a matter of minutes.

#39:  Some booths have a line.  Paizo, Fantasy Flight Games, CMON, Catalyst…they all have lines.  Lines just to get into the booth to look around.  Lines for the demos.  Don’t get discouraged, it is almost always worth the wait.  If these guys are high on your list, go straight there when the doors open.

#40:  Play some things you never have before.

There you have it guys – GAME ON!

#GenCon

The Chronicling of our D&D Campaign: Tempora – Part 32 – Judgement of the Church

im-a-paladin-i-can-smite

Welcome to the novelization of my current D&D campaign, told through the perspective of the characters. Parts 1-19 charted the first part of the campaign, part 20 began the next phase of the saga: Tempora. For me, it lets me do a little creative writing between more serious projects. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this one. Enjoy!

Arius…

With the Battle of the Horns of Essex over, we began our trek to return the paladins to their fortress at the Great Gap the next morning after burying the dead and blessing their graves.  I felt a sense of humiliation at having lost the sword to Viktor Barristen.  The thought of what he might be able to do to the paladins still trapped in the blade was chilling.

We were only a day’s march to the end of the foothills of the mountains when we camped for the night.  It was not a night when we would get much sleep.  I was awakened by Brandon to tell me there were sounds in the brush.  We silently armed ourselves and listened, hearing orkish voices.

Athalus stood proud.  “Orcs. I speak orc.  I can handle this.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I’m quite charming,” he said flashing a wry grin.

Our warlock called out, “Rut Roh Rhaggy!”

“Rubie-Rubie-Roo,” came a voice back from the brush. I can only assume that Athalus was communicating with them.  A party of six orcs emerged from the brush.  Athalus continued to grunt and speak orc to them for several minutes.  He even showed them his nipple ring, then turned to us.  “I told them we were the tribe of the Big Tusk.  It’s all good.  Don’t attack.”

After a long series of grunts, belches, and other guttural sounds, Athalus went to his pack and pulled out the small cask of mead that he had been carrying since we have met with Dimitrious. We passed the potent mead around, barely able to tolerate their stench.  Having consumed our alcohol they told Athalus that they wanted to camp with us.  My instinct was the kill them, they are orcs after all – God only knows what kind of pillaging they had done.  But we did not.  In the morning they moved on.

“I think they liked us,” Athalus told us. “Who knows, we may run into them again.”

Great. These are the kinds of allies we do not need.  We marched out, finally coming out of the forested foothills into the rolling hills.

We marched for a day or so when we heard the sound of hoof-beats thundering on the plains.  I was hopeful that it was a greeting party from the castle, but I was wrong.

They emerged from over the hills and were not like any creatures I have ever seen.  Ungainly bird-like lizards, tall as a man, outfitted with saddles.  I could only catch glimpses of their green hides, for they were wrapped in rotting bandages of some sort, mummified yet alive and quite agile.  They had large horns, yellow with age.  On their backs were skeletons, adorned in black robes, some holding rods, others swords, one holding some sort of ungodly symbol.  There were four of them – and they were flanked by three armored knights, elven I believe, with lances.  They had, on their armor, a black heart symbol – which I did not know what it represented.  We saw them at a distance and realized that they were no escort.  They had come to fight us…to kill us.

It was clear that someone did not want us to reach the safety of the castle.  Barristen…it had to be.

They rushed us and we dug in, using our spears as a phalanx in the sod, forcing the elves to flank.  One of the skeletal riders held out small rod and from it a fireball erupted – boring right in on Brandon.  There was a mighty explosion and we saw him no more, only the black-charred grass where the ranger had once stood.  Athalus emerged from the flames, his robes smoldering slightly from the explosion, only to be hit by a lightning bolt from one of the cloaked skeletons. Smoke from the fireball hung heavy in the air as our paladin comrades moved to the left flank, breaking apart the onslaught, wading into the riding elves.

Skullringer shimmered in my hands as I rushed forward, taking out part of mummified lizard’s body as they charged us.  I caught a glimpse of Dimitrious leaping in front of one, his fists a blur of savage strikes that knocked the mummified lizard mount to the ground, throwing its skeleton rider hard.  Bits of the torn cloth of the mount clung to his bloodied fists.

Theren morphed into the bear we had been so accustomed to.  It savaged two of the attackers, sending bits of bone and rotting lizard hide flying in the process.  Althalus tried to provide the paladins cover with his emerald magic blasts, but missed widely, no doubt stinging from the lightning bolt he had taken.

I saw Sir Bentblade, the paladin commander wade into one of the elves that rushed him, knocking him from his saddle so hard that he was doubled over in agony.  He drove his sword into the rider hard, then seemed to pause in a quick prayer.

Dimitrious finished the last of them, springing at one of the skeletons and grappling with it, twisting him out of the saddle and onto the ground.  He tore the skeleton apart with his furious blows.

Glancing around we saw that only one of our comrades was gone – Brandon.  We began to look for any sign of him where the fireball had hit.  Suddenly he emerged from the woods.

“What happened?” I asked.

“That ring I found — I used the word on it and it teleported me just as the fireball hit.  I was about a mile away.  What did I miss?”

“The entire battle,” Athalus said.

Looking around the dead elves and rotting corpses I waved my hand.  “All of this…”

Suddenly there came more thundering hoof beats on the ground and we saw paladins of the Order of the Fang appear.  When they saw Bentblade they nearly wept.  “Commander – we thought you lost.” They were overjoyed.

The old warrior nodded grimly.  “Let us get to the castle – there is much to discuss.”

We made our way to the castle gates and inside.  Paladins on the ramparts and in the court all surrounded us and those paladins we had saved from Tempora.  For the first time in a long while I felt a sense of relief.  We were safe here, safe for the first time in weeks.

Then Bentblade spoke.  “Arrest those two immediately,” he said pointing to Athalus and Theren.  Theren immediately morphed into a wolf and darted through the gate, but our warlock was quickly grabbed by no less than three armed paladins.

“What is going on here?” I demanded.

“They used magic banned by the church…they must now face charges of heresy.”

“We saved your lives!” I charged, but I saw hands drift to sword hilts, ready to fight.

“Aye, you did,” Bentblade said.  “But they used unholy magic.  You know that matter must be dealt with.  We will hold a trial to determine this one’s fate,” he stabbed a finger at Athalus.

I wanted to fight right then and there, regardless of the odds.  But I was a holy man…I knew church law as well.  “At least let me be his advocate at court.”

“Very well…” Bentblade said.

Althalus was taken off to a cell somewhere and we retired to our rooms.  The trial was two days hence.  I mended my armor, sharpened my sword, and prayed.

 

We came to the inner court for the trial and Brandon suggested trying some ruse and disguise to get in.  The guards heard him and kept him at bay while we disarmed and entered.  With Dimitrious at my side I felt confident.  The monk’s most deadly weapons were his hands…so if it came to a fight, we were well armed.

Athalus was brought to the stand, flanked by two armored paladins as Bentblade read the charges.  “The unholy use of magic, unnatural transformation (leveled only at Theren who was being tried in absentia), and Heresy against the Church.”

“Lord Commander,” I said.  “We saved your life and those of your comrades.  We got you your freedom.  Surely that counts for something?”

Bentblade dipped his head.  “Indeed it does.  I will consider it strongly when judgement is passed.  Is there anyone else that would speak for this man’s soul?”

At my side Dimitrious stepped forward and cleared his throat.  “I am Friar Dimitrious of the Priory of the Sapphire Eye.”  He opened his cloak and showed his chest, but I could not see it from where I stood.  Whatever the Lord Commander saw there, it seemed to impress him.

My jaw hung open.  He can talk!  All of this time!

“I have been to the Priory of Illuminus and have spent time with the Gospel of the Truth.  I have gazed into the Temple of Time, looking forward rather than back.  This sight has cost me dearly.  I have aged nearly a decade as a price for my arrogance.  My oath of silence was self-imposed – I did not wish to share my shame.

“You see sinners and heretics before you.  That is true.  Under church law, there is no defense for their use of magic.  Fighting these charges is pointless.  These men have an important role to play in the future.  The druid in their ranks, he yet has a role to play in a reconciliation with the Church.  The warlock – he will bring and soothe great pain and suffering. Your brother paladin is more than he seems.”  He turned and locked gazes with me.  “Their ranger will sit on-high one day, if he survives the maelstrom that is looming.

“Great evil has risen with Victor Barristen’s return.  He seeks a member of the Sisterhood of the Sword who can give him the paladins souls trapped in his blade.  If he can consume them, he will be fully restored and blackness will fall upon the world again.  That darkness is coming regardless, but stopping him will slow it down.  Even now, he cowers in the Cloudlands in the northwest where the twilight is eternal, planning to wage war on the living and the bring the church to its knees before him.

“I have seen the great battle that is to be waged.  Punishing these men will make matters worse for all of us.”

“What of this battle?” Sir Bentblade asked.

“It was in a haze of war, but I saw paladins fighting with the Sisterhood of the Sword and these men and your own.  I saw the dead rise.  Minotaurs and heroes of old, fighting together.  Old enemies now allies.  The thunder of hooves and a return of the Gray Wind.  I saw a ruined abbey and raining fire.  Walking graveyards of stone and doom.  Bones and blood and fire all mixed.  And these men, they play a role in all of that.

Bentblade frowned, “Impossible.  The sisterhood is dead.”

“Are they?”  The monk’s words hung in the air.

“Do we win?” the Lord Commander asked warily.

“We did – but we will pay a price that cannot be measured – a cost that cannot be repaid.

“If you imprison or kill Athalus, there will be nothing that can stop what is coming.  It would be better to have them in our service…as a means for them to pay their penance for their transgressions.  Send them to find Lexa Lyoncroft and protect her.  Barristen will come for her, he needs her to release those souls.  She needs him because of what else is in that sword…her past and future.

“Do not doctrine cloud your judgement Lord Commander.  The fate of the world may hang in the balance.”  With that the monk returned to his silence.  I could only stare at him in awe.

Bentblade nodded, then went quiet for a long minute.  “There are mitigating circumstances, namely the saving of the head of this order.  And the friars of the Priory of the Sapphire Eye are incapable of lying.  These charges are set aside.”

“We won?” I asked.

“Of course.  We are no barbarians.  Doctrine required a trial, and a trial was had.  But before you can leave – we need to contact the Church. I want them to sanction you as agents of the Church…then you need to go out after Lyoncroft.”

Gray Riders were summoned with the blast of a horn…and a week later we got our response.  Brandon was delivered a note as well, one that he kept to himself.  A rider was sent out to find Theren.  I composed a message to him to return.  I wondered how the riders could find our druid, but I realized they had that power.

One strange thing though…when the Gray Rider showed up, the horse bowed its head to us. I saw that the rider and the other paladins were as surprised as I was. I wonder what that was about?  Moreover, the words that Dimitrious spoke chilled me still.  There was a war coming…and we were going to be in the middle of it!

 

The following are the previous installments. I hope you enjoy the campaign so far. Be sure to follow my blog if you do. 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Part 26

Part 27

Part 28

Part 29

Part 30

Part 31

Character Background Material

My New Campaign

#dungeonsanddragons

#DandD

#DnD

Yes, I Do Play MechWarrior Online

MWarrior

I really started playing MWO about seven months ago.  It all started because of the BattleTech pods at Gen Con.  I LOVE playing in the pods every year – so does my son and my grandson.  I was hoping to recapture some of that experience at home on my PC.

Bear in mind, I’m 56 years old – so I don’t have that energy-drink-fueled set of reflexes that a young kid playing the game does.  I also didn’t do a lot of research into MWO before jumping in – other than it looked like it might be a good way for me to get my BattleTech fix on.

The first few weeks were depressing.  I seemed to be a magnet for long range missile indirect fire.  When I wasn’t being blown apart by LRM’s fired by enemies I couldn’t see, I was having freaking Ravens and Fleas running laps around me, firing at me with pea shooters until my ‘Mech collapsed into a pile of smoking debris.  God I hate Ravens!

Some fellow fans (the 13th Oriente Hussars who I now regularly fight alongside on Friday nights) took me under their wing.  First off, I learned, that the stock ‘Mechs were, “less than freaking effective.”  Customizing a ‘Mech isn’t quite intuitive but I got some help.  Heat is a real issue, but a lot of it was how I configured the target interlock triggers – so I worked on that.  Also, I wasn’t using skills at all.  I was sent by my comrades some great YouTube videos that helped me figure that morass.

I still suck…but not nearly as much.  Moreover, once I got over those hurdles, I found my groove with the game.  Now it is a treat for me.  When I finish writing a chapter or something, I log on and give myself three quick drops.

My callsign is…are you ready…Blaine Lee Pardoe.  Yeah, I know, real creative.  Well it is.  At least once a week I hear somebody threaten me, “Hey man, if the real Blaine Pardoe finds out that you are using his name, he’s going to be pissed.”  Efforts to explain to them the truth often fall on deaf ears.  “Yeah – right, you’re really HIM.”  Also, it can be stupid to have that callsign, because a few folks have killed me and really enjoyed that.  “I killed the guy that wrote some of this stuff!”  “Laugh it up pretty boy – I’m switching to my Atlas Kraken for the next drop.”

I am now using it for research…at least that is my excuse with my wife.  I have picked up some wonderful slang for BattleMech names and such which I am incorporating into my fiction.  Funny how that works isn’t it?
So if you see me online – yes it is me.  Yes it is cool to ask me questions.  No it is not cool to shoot me in the back.  It is most cool if you see a Raven heading my way to kill it.

The ilClan Sourcebook Outline (April Fool’s 2019 Part II

BTech GOT

All of this talk about the ilClan.  You know, we might just be messing with you. The damn thing has been promised for years after all.  Wouldn’t it be pisser if we just didn’t do it?

Anyway, as usual, I wanted to do something for April Fool’s Day again.  Last year I did BattleTech Products that never reached the market.  Before that I did Operation Freakin’ Awesomeness. Before all of this, I explored storylines we didn’t purse.

Operation Total Freaking Awesomeness

BattleTech Products That Never Came to Market

Rejected BattleTech Storylines

And this year I also released a bonus “musical” April Fool’s bit… Blood on the Canopy

I figured, why not release the proposed outline for the ilClan Sourcebook?  My first draft was whacked, but it was Ray that said, “You haven’t gone far enough.”  As it turns out, you really shouldn’t give me a loaded gun like that.

 

ILCLAN SOURCEBOOK OUTLINE (HELFERS LEVEL SECURITY REQUIRED)

TABLE OF CONTENTS – the key concept here is to spread the blame around as much as possible. Name dead people if that is what it takes. Include some fake names, especially as playtesters for the new ‘Mechs.  We really haven’t had time to “validate” the stats or continuity.

INTRO FICTION (6k words)

Devlin Stone’s initial plan (Operation LANCE BOIL) for dealing with the ilClan is to use some long-captured Word of Blake tech that will blow up Terra.  His thinking here is, “If there is no Terra for the Clans to set foot on, no one can be named as the ilClan.”  The idea has a lot of merit, except for the loss of the cradle of mankind and billions of lost lives. Stone abandons this plan, after much debate, for dubious reasons, “I keep all of my stuff on Terra.  Blowing it up would take out my miniature collection.” Note: This is totally plausible with our fan base, but not their spouses.  This forces him to seek out new allies in order to stop the horrific and long-overdue Clan onslaught.  (Operation WE ARE SO FU*KING SCREWED)

Devlin Stone’s secret mission to Clan Wolverine (Periphery world location – see Pardoe’s document on the fate of the Wolverines – section on “The Resurgent”)  The risks of Clans Wolf or Jade Falcon taking Terra are too great for Stone.  He proposes an evil alliance (cue the music when the Legion of Doom used to appear on Super Friends).  The Wolverines come to Terra, joining the Fidelis/Smoke Jaguars there, and can proclaim themselves the ilClan(s).  When the Wolves or Jade Falcons arrive, the combined RAF/Fidelis/Wolverine force will wipe them out, or so Stone hopes.  The Wolverines want Clan blood in revenge and quickly agree.  The stage is set for something cool or at the very least, utterly confusing.

The General of the Armies that Stone has tucked away is a clone of Victor Steiner-Davion.  Victor 2.0, named Hannibal, is like Victor Steiner-Davion, but brutal, vicious, a tad kinky, suffering from male pattern baldness, erectile dysfunction, and incontinence.  There may be a hint of the Master’s DNA in him – because we all know the fan base loves the Jihad. We won’t be doing the big reveal as to his identity just yet.  He is still short though, which will be the hint for the readers.  Hannibal is looking forward to crushing the Clans and getting himself a studded dog collar.

Stone has also cloned his sister, Katherine, as Stone’s personal consort.  Think Princess Leia in the slave outfit, but Katherine Steiner Davion – so most fans will loathe her. Her name is Katie and is utterly devoted to Stone, but willing to sleep with Hannibal behind Stone’s back!  Ohh, intrigue! Ohh, incest.  Ew… Outside of House Liao, we have never really played much with incest.  Given the popularity of Game of Thrones, the powers that be think incest is a winner (per John Helfers).

SECTION – THE STORM BREAKS (3.5k words)

Operation BUTT-SCRATCHER opens with Jade Falcon operatives on Terra taking down Fortress Republic.  As it turns out, there is a big switch in Geneva marked (On/Off) and all you have to do is toss it.  Stone considers this “hidden in plain sight.”

The Jade Falcons engage in a massive naval battle in the Sol system and commence landing after a batchall with Stone.  Imagine Malvina’s face when she learns that the Wolverines are back!  Talk about getting your thong twisted!  This section ends when the first Wolverine and Republic units hand the Jade Falcons a stunning defeat at the Battle of Berlin. (Artist Notes: Use image of Russian’s raising flag over the Reichstag with the flag of Republic of the Sphere.)

Sidebars:  Wolverine’s Bioregenerative Armor, GenWeps, Quantum Disruptors, Mjolnir Gauss Hammer Projectors, Sonic Shredders, and Ultra-Elementals, and Wave Motion Guns and Cannons, Thor and Odin orbital spikes.

wave motion
Concept Art for Firing the Wave Motion Gun…

SECTION – THE BATTLE FOR NORTH AFRICA (2.8k words

Clan Jade Falcon is bogged down in North Africa, staggered by the revelation that the Republic is allied with Clan Wolverine and arguments about what colors to use to paint their BattleMechs that will camouflage them best in the desert. This allows us to explore the exciting world of camouflaging three story fast running war machines all over again. I personally think the fans embrace this.

The Republic forces suffer a staggering loss in Tunisia.  The Fidelis wipe out the Falcon’s Green Arrow ™ Galaxy in Palestine.  Malvina unleashed tactical nukes ‘cause she can.

Sidebars:  Africa Burns – Summary of Falcon’s nuke strikes, losses, etc. Here we paint Malvina is a positive light – after all, it’s the freaking Wolverines she is slaughtering!

SECTION – LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD – WOLVES AT THE DOOR  (3.341 words)

Alaric discovers that Fortress Republic has fallen and arrives in Terra to find the Jade Falcons Turkey Baster Galaxy trapped in Africa fighting the greatest foe of the Clans, the Wolverines.  saKhan Garner Kerensky sets off for the Ghost Bears Dominion while Alaric lands to relieve Malvina (Operation BLIND SQUIRREL).  Yes, the Wolves are saving the Jade Falcons. The fans will never see this coming! Hannibal plows into the Wolves with Stone’s Gallstones, wrecking havoc and making them run like a bunch of little wussies.

Malvina
Malvina Hazen – circa 3148 – Phil Lee’s Personal Collection

Anastasia goes to find the Wolves Dragoons to bring them in to help defeat the Republic.

Sidebars:  Alaric’s Big Gamble – Choosing Your Friends Carefully.  Intel report, new Battlearmor spotting in the field and why that is bad for you!

SECTION – BREAKOUT (3.5k words)

The combined Wolf/Falcon forces drive into Europe and Malvina nukes Geneva.  The Northwind Highlanders arrive in defense of the Republic, forcing Alaric to retreat into Russia.  Tara Campbell faces Malvina in battle and kills her.  Note:  We get a great scene of Tara playing the bagpipes with one foot on the blasted and bloated corpse of Malvina Hazen. Yes, it will piss off the Jade Falcon fans, but Malvina was never as warm and cuddly as we made her out in the fiction.

Khan Randi Franklin of the Wolverines is mortally wounded, turning leadership of the Wolverines to saKhan Ralf Hallis.

Sidebars:  Profile of Randi Franklin.  Per Ray’s notes, Randi is to have a heart for the dot over the letter i, it is some sort of cute trademark of hers.  Make sure layout is aware of this.  Also, we need a large fictional piece on the death of Malvina Hazen.  There will be a hint that her BattleMech has been sabotaged in some way prior to the fight.  It is a lot like Clue ™ in terms of who may have wanted to kill her.  “I have Trillian Steiner, with the candlestick, in the bunker…”

bunny2
That is KHAN Ralphi to you! 

SECTION – THE DRAGOON BETRAYAL  (Reference Pardoe’s Wolves Dragoons novella for details) (4k words)

Anastasia’s attempts to lure in Wolf’s Dragoons take a bit of a twisted turn.  She barely escapes alive as the Dragoons jump into the Wolf Empire, already secretly under contract with the Republic.  Alaric’s empire is being consumed while he is on Terra.

Sidebars:  New Dragoons General reveal…Jamie Wolf’s Clone – fused with his memories which the Dragoons have preserved.  A resurgent House Marik forces link up with the Dragoons in the former Wolf Empire. The Marik’s have secured their position of power through a series of killings that make the Godfather Part II seem like a documentary on how pencils are made. They whip out 24 new ‘Mechs and vehicles, conveniently just enough to fill a new TRO.  It’s so cool when stuff like that works out, isn’t it?

Sidebars:  House Marik’s Sudden Rise to Prominence.  Finding that cache of long lost Wobbie-tech sure paid off.  See Randall’s notes on The Hidden Enemy – The WOB and What The Fuck They Are Up To Now.

SECTION – ULTIMATE BETRAYAL (2k words)

The Fidelis turn on everyone…payback on the Clans and the Republic and anyone else that screwed them over in the past (which is, well everyone).  It isn’t their brightest moment as they are wiped out, mostly at the hands of the Republic Armed Forces and the Jade Falcons who oddly find themselves, for a moment, fighting the same enemy.  Imagine their surprise?

The Fidelis survivors mount an exodus off of Terra with promises to return in a century and give everyone in the Inner Sphere an atomic wedgie, aka a Trial of Crack-Thrustus.

Sidebars:  Where is the Fidelis Custos, Paul Moon?  He disappeared just before the end of his people.  Rumors include Word of Blake smuggling him off of Terra.  Malvina’s Ghost – a MechWarrior sees her hovering over the battlefield, then survives an assault that should have killed a dozen men.  The legend of Malvina’s Ghost spreads and will be a cult in a new era.  Warriors that see her visage are granted survival against all odds. Oddly enough, a lot of ex-Blakists line up for this cult (those whack-jobs would follow any stupid vision.)

SECTION – THE CONFLAGRATION (2.9k words)

In Asia, the Republic releases its Super-Heavy Tanks, code-named Dinos.  These are the size of city blocks, slow moving, but massively armored and armed.  They are surrounded by new drones, ED-209’s.  The Clans counter these with their new Wave Motion mounted weapons and hack the ED-209’s, turning them on each other and the Dinos.

Ogre (2)
Concept Art – The Dino

 

The Republic’s new transmorphable Land-Air-and-Sea ‘Mechs lead a seaborne assault on the Philippines, despite the fact that it is defended by only a rouge cluster of Solhama, each oddly wearing a right eye patch (Unit:  Wolf’s Mange Cluster).  They achieve an early victory as the Clan commanders laugh uncontrollably at the sight of these new war machines and are gunned down while doubled over in hilarity.  Once they rally the Republic forces convert into Prius’s and conceal themselves in a used car lot in Manila, opting to wage a largely unsuccessful by humorous guerilla war from there.

Speaking of gorillas, Hannibal unleashes squads of up-armored gorilla troops with mind-control helmets on the Clan Elemental forces.  These “Grodds” proved to be effectively hilarious once the Jade Falcons learned how to jam their command signals and they began firing at any indiscriminate targets.  This battle takes place in Vatican City because it is one of the few places we have never fought a battle and Brent believes that the Vatican Map Set is going to be a big seller with the kids.

Packers

Alaric is killed in Asia by an UltraElemental Star painted as the Green Bay Packers, but not enough for us to get sued – if you catch my drift.  The Wolves are leaderless!   Anastasia arrives just in time to save them from a complete rout.  The Jade Falcons wipe out a lot of Republic troops and land in North America under their new Khan Bob Hazen.   Sidebars:  See the novel, XXX XX XXX XXXX XXXXXX Chapter 18 for death of Alaric.  Do the fiction/Sidebars from the UltraElemental’s perspective, after-action report.  Remember, these are essentially giants, so let’s get into stuff like their eating and hygene habits – the fans will love it! Separate Sidebars:  Did Alaric really die?  No body is been found.  Reports are he may yet live…  One account has him dressing in drag to get off-world on a transport heading to the Periphery. Other major Sidebars:  Bob Hazen Profile from the Wolf Watch (make sure we mention his struggles with IBS – that figures in a novel coming next year – Bowels of Honor!)

SECTION – ROARING BEARS – FLAMING JUNGLES (4k words)

The Ghost Bears jump into the Sol System (Operation TWIST AND SHOUT) and immediately the Fortress Republic (now weaponized) technology is turned on their ships as they materialize in-system.  Warships go boom!   Only a handful of Ghost Bears survive as their dropships are popped like balloons – revenge by the Wolverines who have a bit of a hard-on for the Ghost Bears after all of these centuries.  Garner Kerensky lands with the Ghost Bears and is in fighting in Brazil.  He is seen with no shirt, Putin-Style, going all medieval on the Wolverine’s collective asses.

A Galaxy of Ghost Bears (The Care Bear ™ Legionnaires) land in South America and face a surprise by Stone – ComGuard units!  These ComStar units were preserved by the Republic and are fresh against the Ghost Bear survivors.  These units employ new Inner Sphere technology that rip into the hides of the Ghost Bears and devastate their ranks.  saKhan Wanker Bekker is killed by multiple death from above attacks by the ComGuards quasi elite ATT Customer Service Division.  (Yes, we have new rules to cover this situation.)  The Care Bears get in one devastating assault, taking out the ComGuard General Xander Davion-Kell (Julian Davion’s long lost love child with Calamity Kell) sending the Guards falling back.  There may yet be hope for da’ Bears…

care bear
A Care Bear Legionnaire Elemental Warrior (mock up) 

Sidebars:  Using the Republic Technology as Weapons.  What happened to Garner Kerensky Part II?  Hiding ComStar in Plain Sight.

SECTION – FALL OF THE REPUBLIC (4.5k words)

The last Republic forces are crushed by the Jade Falcons.  Stone’s Leghumper Legion slam into them, filled with rage and fury at the loss of Republic that has protected them for so long, taking down the last of Clan Jade Falcon.  Clan Wolf retreats to India, devastated and pursued by the Clan Wolverine forces. Using Terra’s massive call center complexes for cover, the Wolves seem to be getting away.

The Northwind Highlanders (Your wife’s lipstick battalion) join ComStar in South America, further savaging the Ghost Bears uber-elite Snuggles Brigade just because we want to see kilted BattleMechs take on the Ghost Bears.  Note from Brent:  Iron Wind is producing eight different tiny tartan kilts for sale this year so that players can put them on their favorite ‘Mechs…sure to be hot item.

Jamie Wolf v3.0 rules the Wolf Empire, establishing a chain of burger franchises, Dragoon Fries and Shakes.  He also makes a killing selling Dragoon action figures.  He emerges as one of the more sane leaders in the Inner Sphere in this new era.

Meanwhile in the Federated Suns (Phil to write.  Summary:  The Combine and Confederation forces pinch House Davion down to a dozen worlds.  Julian Davion is rumored to have gone insane from the losses.  The Federated Suns is no longer considered a viable House.  The worlds are clogged with FedSun refugees.  The Cappies and Dracs can each claim a complete victory.  They don’t conquer the survivors because there is nothing left to fight and no one wants to deal with the refugee issue.

Stone’s newly formed Knights of the Republic Sentinel Defenders of the Realm (rolls off the tongue don’t you think?) is made up of all of the Knights and Paladins, led by Levin and Redburn, surge into battle against the Clan Wolf forces but are pummeled badly (since most of them are antiques) giving Clan Wolf one moment in the sun with a victory.

Debauchery Kell (Calamity’s illegitimate twin brother) attacks the Green Lantern Corps Galaxy of the Jade Falcons.  When pressed in battle he uses his Phantom Kell skill to summon the ghost of Morgan Kell.  Morgan’s ghost destroys the attacking ‘Mech, saving Debauchery’s life, then goes off for years to meditate.

Sidebars:  The Kell Hounds and Wolves in Exile eliminate the Jade Falcon Occupation Zone.  (Phil to provide map)  The Lyran Commonwealth is saved (Brent made us do it.)  This should be a double-sized Sidebars given its importance. Phantom Kell Skill stats for the RPG (see Phil’s notes, it was his idea)

SECTION – ROAR OF DOOM (4.001k words)

The Wolves are surrounded and only a handful of them, led by Anastasia Kerensky, manage to escape alive.  The Ghost Bears are wiped out as well, but the cost was every last one of the ComStar troops. No one sheds a bloody damn tear.  Hannibal emerges from the fight with the bodies of his victims chained to his BattleMech, their blood streaking his paint.  Like I said, he’s a tad vicious.

Sidebars:  Where are the Wolf survivors?  Hell’s Horses attack the Ghost Bear Dominion, finding it mostly abandoned – as does the Combine. Note:  What emerges is that the most powerful forces in the Inner Sphere is the Draconis Combine and the Capellan Confederation. Anastasia Kerensky – Some People Just Fucking Refuse to Die.

SECTION – ilClan!! (3.3k words)

While Devlin Stone is prepared to declare victory, he is betrayed by Clan Wolverine, who proclaims itself the ilClan.  Stone refuses to acknowledge this claiming the victory as one for the Republic.  He faces saKhan Ralf Hallis in a Circle of Equals only to be defeated by the Wolverines.  (Brent says we have artwork for this already.)  Stone does live and will go on to lead the Republic (well, what is left of it.)  Note:  It is during the fiction tied to this that we learn that Stone has an entire cybernetic body, courtesy of recovered Word of Blake technology.  This means he can potentially live forever (because the fans absolutely love his character and the depth we have provided as to his backstory.)

Clan Wolverine REALLY wants the ilClanship.  This is critical because no one has seen this coming (except that bastard blogger MechLivesMatter who posted his predictions a year ago, I hate that guy.)  The Republic still stands – but not on Terra, but what is left of Prefecture X, led by bionic Stone (who we will have slowly go insane.)  The Wolverines begin to rebuild to take the war to remaining Inner Sphere Clans in the new era – The Wars of Horrific Retribution and Gloom (first sourcebook due fall of 2019).

Sidebars:  Profile of Ralf (Ralfy to his friends) Hallis – ilKhan. (Recommend using artwork that mirrors Ralphy from A Christmas Story) Devlin Stone – Bionic Warrior-god.  Rumor:  Arthur Davion – is he still a thing or are we over that?

IMPORTANT NOTES TO SOURCEBOOK WRITERS – FUTURE DIRECTION: 

Alaric will resurface in the Lyran Commonwealth where he will become Archon and marry Anastasia Kerensky.  Their love children will be important characters in the next era.

Hannibal will reemerge with an eye patch over his right eye two years from now leading a rag tag fleet of survivors in the last BattleStar into the Periphery.  (Reminder:  Brent is going to have 2000 eye patches made up for GenCon 2020 – Dubbed “The Year of the Eye-Patch!”

House Marik will surprise everyone by being the most stable government in the Inner Sphere. We know this is a bit predictable, but they are equipped with a WOB-tech droid army which basically is autonomous BattleMechs.  We did this because only good positive things come from self-aware androids in science fiction.

We know fans will be upset by the demise of the Federated Suns.  Hannibal’s fleet of refugees will forge a new empire and come back for revenge, and as the means to sell six more Tech Readouts.  It will take 300 years but will be worth it.

In 2022 we will have the BattleTech home world Clans find their way back for some fighting – The Wars of Reaming (sequel to The Wars of Reaving)

We have ignored the Sea Foxes and Snow Ravens.  We thought it might complicate the sourcebook, but we will leak to the fan base that we have “special plans for these clans.”  They always fall for that shit.  In reality, the plans call for them to attack Terra for the epic GenCon 2021 event – tentatively titled – Screw the Wolverines Again!

 

SECTION – NEW UNITS FIGHTING FOR THE BATTLE OF TERRA

(See Phil’s list plus the following.  Artists needed for the new Stone’s unit patches)

1st ComStar Division (Ghosts of Focht.  All ‘Mechs have an eyepatch painted on them like their namesake)

2nd ComStar Division (ATT Customer Service)

ComStar ATT CALL CENTER
Peace of Blake Be With You…Please Hold…

3rd ComStar Division (Testicles of Tukayyid) With the Buddy the Elf Extermination Brigade

2nd Century, Fidelis (Jaguars of Doom)

The Dumfries Demolishers (Elite Northwind Highlander Company)

The Kell Hounds (rebuilt)

Stone’s Leghumper Legion

Stone’s Hangovers

Stone’s Toenail Fungus (All ‘Mechs painted a dull flat yellow)

Stone’s Migraine Brigade

Stone’s Restless Leg Syndrome Battalion

Stone’s Arthritis

Stone’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Stone’s Hangnail Legion

Stone’s Diaper Rash  (This is a youth-brigade of young volunteers)

Stone’s Gallstones (personal troops for Hannibal/Victor 2.0)

Stone’s Melanoma

Stone’s Depends ™

Stone’s Liver Spots (great cameo pattern with this unit!)

Toejam of Stone – staffed with dwarves – these are known as Stone’s Munchkins and the Lollipop Guide Fire Brigade

Lollipop
“Prepare to eat sugar you freeborn trash!” 

The Fox News Irregulars (Merc Unit)

Fee Fi Fo Fum…Uber UltraElemental Unit – Remember, these guys are basically genetically bred giants.

Clan Jade Falcon Green Arrow ™ Galaxy

Clan Jade Falcon Green Goblin ™ Galaxy

Clan Jade Falcon Emerald City Galaxy

Clan Wolf – The Wolf’s Mange Cluster

Clan Ghost Bear – Lambda Lambda Mu Galaxy – The Care Bear ™ Legionnaires

Clan Ghost Bear – Yogi Irregulars

Clan Ghost Bear – The Snuggles Brigade

Clan Wolf – The Angry Little Bitches Cluster

Clan Wolf – The Rabid Rottweilers Galaxy

Clan Wolf – Michael Vick’s Vengeance Cluster (again, too soon?)

Clan Wolf – Smells Like Wet Dogs In Here Assault Cluster

The Northwind Highlanders (Your wife’s lipstick battalion)  Answers the age-old question of “What do you wear under your kilt?”

 

SECTION – NEW WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT:  (Brent has had the powers-that-be bless the stats and can provide)

Slaver Systems

GenWeps (Brent has final refinements to the mutation tables)

Mutations
You want to roll low on those mutation tables – FYI 

Quantum Disruptors

Sonic Shredders

Sonic Funnels

Quantum Whip (we can stick the word “quantum” in front of any weapon and it sounds cool and deadly)

Enemanator (works similar to the Colonsocopy Anti-Infantry Ray but is more of a weapon that targets the MechWarrior in the cockpit)

Kloaking Device ™ Comes in light blue color

Remote Cockpit Systems

Class 7 Disco-Ball Scatter Laser

Molecular Acid Blasters (should look a lot like a super soaker)

Photon Destabilizer Weapons

Akira Laser Flashers

Thundar Disruption Hammer

Wildstar Wave Motion Guns and Cannons (what are the chances of us being sued twice for borrowing IP from Japan?)

Bioregenerative Armor

Colonoscopy Anti-Infantry Ray – AKA Brown Ray Weapons – You can guess the effects on the targets, right? Infantry hit with this weapon need to be repainted with brown paints immediately.

Tachyon Vortex Cannon – nickname – Atomic Wedgie

Thor and Odin Orbital Spikes

Red Ryder Gauss Pellet Launcher

Mjolnir Gauss Hammer Projector

Pryor Class Enhanced Flamers – the older fans will get this

McClane Machinegun Array “Ho ho ho, now I have a machinegun…”

The Valhalla Organic Cohesion Eliminator (VOCX)

Twinkie Hypersonic Needler “That’s one hell of a Twinkie…”

UltraElementals – see notes, they are half the size of a BattleMech in full armor per Ray’s and Brent’s specification

Grodd Gorillas

 

SECTION – NEW BATTLEMECHS

Ball-Buster (186.5 ton Super-Dooper Heavy BattleMech)

Testicle-Twister (Clan Wolverine ‘Mech)

Kardashian Class Assault Tank (Clan Jade Falcon)

Jethro Bodine (with Slaver) (Clan Jade Falcon BattleMech)

Kanye (Light, fast, with no real firepower, Class Wolf BattleMech)

Crusty Toenail Class Tank (Clan Hell’s Horse – and they are even in this fight…oh, some sort of hint of things to come or just us being douchebags?)

Moonshiner Class Tank (Republic of the Sphere) (Note to artists – this should look like a still with a turret, with XXX painted on the hull somewhere.)

IM000019.JPG
Think this – with tank treads and a big ass cannon. 

Immortal Class BattleMech (oddly named given its remarkable lack of armor – BP)

Bynes Class Hover Tank

Poison Ivy Class BattleMech

Lohan Class Battlearmor

Thunderbuns Class BattleMech (Jade Falcon)

Bad Hair Day VTOL

MCCGA Class Scout Mech  (Make the Capellan Confederation Great Again) Note:  ‘Mech only comes in red.

Smollett Class Battle Suits (too soon?)

FITW (Fart in the Wind) Class Artillery – essentially a big Tachyon Vortex Cannon-thing.

Ski-Doo Class Land-Air-and-Sea Transmorphable (not Transformer ™ because that would be bad)

Pimple-Popper 2000 Class Medium Mech (Republic of the Sphere)

Honey-Boo-Boo Class Assault ‘Mech

ED-209 Drone (Republic of the Sphere)

Ed209
You have ten seconds to comply…

Jerry Springer Class Drone with Optional Chair Launcher

Blood Upon the Canopy (April Fool’s 2019 Part 1)

Eject

Blood Upon the Risers is an American WWII paratrooper song about a paratrooper whose chute does not open.  It appears several times in the HBO series, Band of Brothers.  Band Of Brothers Blood On The Risers

I always thought that song was great.  Then it hit me, we don’t have a good BattleTech song – one that captures big stompy ‘Mechs and particle projection cannons, trueborns, and stuff.  So, this year, as part of my annual April Fool’s Day offering, I present to you – Blood Upon the Canopy – sung to the same tune:

 

He was a green MechWarrior who trembled with fright

He made sure his restraining straps were put on good, secure and tight

Outside of the cockpit he heard the artillery rumble and roar

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

Glory, glory what a hell of a way to die

Glory, glory what a hell of a way to die

Glory, glory what a hell of a way to die

He aint’ punching out no more

 

The incoming LRMs tore his right torso to shreds

The laser beam hit his cockpit turning everything bright red

Warning lights flickered on filling his heart with dread

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

His autocannon barrage was poorly aimed and went wild

The Clanner on the other side simply broke into a smile

He knew the Clansman would leave his battered body defiled.

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

He unleashed his Alpha Strike making his cockpit a burning hell

The Clanner shrugged off the damage but he never even fell.

Inside his neurohelmet the sweat of fate he could only smell.

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

He juked hard to the right, his arm was blown clean off

He was tossed about the cockpit hard and jostled pretty rough

The Clanner called to him asking, “You are toast quaiff?”

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

His SRM missile rack was pounded into useless scrap,

His PPC sparked, a round had turned into nothing but crap.

Only then did he realize his lance had been led into a trap.

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

His jumpjets flared and he rose up atop a brilliant blue flame

He came down hard, his left leg twisted and now it is just maimed

The evil Clanner taunted him, “They will never remember your name!”

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

His missile ammo cooked off with a rumble through his CASE

His heat sinks burst and coolant sprayed all over the battlespace.

One salvo cratered his reactor housing, leaving not a trace.

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

He grabbed the ejection ring and pulled it back with all his might

The cockpit canopy blew and shot him straight up out of sight.

The Clanner locked onto him with his PPC, purely out of spite

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

He felt the blast shoot over him and into the bright blue sky

He saw the parachute disintegrate and he let out a cry.

The Clanner called out to him, “Freebirth prepare to die!”

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

His BattleMech erupted in a massive ball of flame

He plummeted to the earth with no one left to blame

He hit the ground and his body was curmbled and left maimed

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

He hit the ground, the sound was “SPLAT”, his blood went spurting high;

His comrades, they were heard to say “A HELL OF A WAY TO DIE!”

He lay there, rolling ’round in the welter of his gore

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

As he lay there with his busted knees thrust over the top of his head

Then came the moment every Mechwarrior comes to fear and dread

“Tell my mother I didn’t fail House Davion, and I wish I wasn’t dead!”

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

We buried what was left on a  hillside not far from our post

We knew that MechWarrior well and were sorry he was toast.

He’ll never fight the heat or have to fear that he will in his cockpit roast

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

Wayne Waco, Jamie Wolf and Archer Christofori

Horse, Aiden Pryde and even Natasha Kerensky

In Valhalla they await his coming with stein of Timbriqui

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Chorus

 

(slowly, solemnly; about half the speed of the other verses)

There was blood upon the ejection seat and remains of his chute,

Intestines were a-dangling from his MechWarrior jumpsuit,

He was a mess, they picked him up, and poured him from his boots,

He ain’t punching out no more

 

Personally, I would love to hear this sung at GenCon this year, either at Masters and Minions or at the Catalyst Update Presentation. Print out copies – bring ‘em, sing ‘em.

From The Archives: BattleTech Storylines That Didn’t Make the Cut (April Fool’s)

What-it-really-is-via-communityDOTbattletechgameDOTcom-user-Smaug-625x417

For April Fool’s this year, my list of BattleTech plotlines and story ideas and plotlines that were never fully considered.  Having been part of this universe for a long time, my sense of humor has been twisted rather tightly.  Most of these concepts and story ideas were discarded for damn good reasons, though in all honesty, I think that the powers that be missed some golden opportunities with some of the ideas I’ve toyed with over the years.  So, for a chuckle – here you go!  

Kerensky’s Coup:  When Stefan Amaris offers Kerensky the chance to serve under him – he accepts.  While the Usurper secretly plots Kerensky’s assassination, the old man kills the First Lord first and assumes control of the Star League.  The Rim Worlds Republic is shattered quickly as the SLDF units don’t have to fight their way into the Hegemony.  The Star League never dies. 

The last scene of Endgame is Katrina and Victor sleeping with each other.  (Oh come on, you’ve all suspected that she secretly loved him…)

Kai Allard-Liao slips into an Elemental suit to prepare to do battle, but can’t use it because it’s too damn big (LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK?).  He climbs out and is squashed like a bug under the footpad of a Clan Vulture. 

Nicholas Kerensky proposes the idea of the Clans and is then sedated and locked up.  “Single combat when I have a fully company of ‘Mechs at my disposal, what in the hell is he thinking?  Give up sex to reproduce using iron wombs?  And what is up with all that babbling about Smoke Jaguars?  What’s he been smoking?”

The Inner Sphere is invaded by giant intelligent chicken creatures.  They are not only wiped out, but served as dinner to victors.  (Courtesy of Colonel Wayne Waco Rogers Roasters) 

The “What if I had a Jihad and no one showed up?” scenario.  At the outbreak of the Jihad Outreach is reduced to radioactive slag.  Only problem, Wolf’s Dragoons isn’t there.  Uh oh.  They got intel on the strike and moved against Terra.  Double uh oh.  The Dragoons shatter the Word of Blake there and declare themselves at the ilClan.  

The “Liao isn’t as dumb as he looks,” scenario.  Mad Max Liao, suspicious of the wedding of Melissa Steiner and Hanse Davion – orders his military to invade the Federated Suns at the time of the wedding reception.  They catch the Davion forces on their staging worlds, unprepared, and inflict massive casualties.  The Federated Suns crumbles, ill-equipped for a defense.   

Jerome Blake IS The Master.  Using lost Star League tech, Blake’s brain is put in a cybernetic body and never steps down as the head of ComStar.  None of the religious mumbo jumbo ever becomes part of the ComStar culture.  ComStar essentially becomes a very big powerful corporation with its own army.  When the Jihad happens, its is ComStar putting an end to the Succession Wars.  

When Victor-Steiner Davion denies Trent a chance to command, Trent kills him.  “Any last words Mighty Mouse?”  

Kahn Ward is attacked by a marauding band of giant intelligent chicken creature which peck him to death.  

Primus Waterly named the First Lord of a new Star League.  Her plan to cripple communications works (Operation Scorpion,) bringing the Federated Commonwealth to its knees, then the rest of the Inner Sphere follows.  She kills Focht and establishes herself as the First Lord of a new Star League.  

House Liao’s ultimate betrayal.  During the Clan invasion, House Liao strikes at House Marik and Davion, taking out manufacturing centers.  Without arms coming in, the Clans crush the other houses and Sun-Tzu Liao has backed a winner, earning him a place of honor in the court of the Star League.  

The Outbound Light doesn’t find the Clans, they find the Wolverines.  Talk about oops! The Wolverines tip off the Inner Sphere about what happened to Kerensky’s children.  The Inner Sphere unites out of fear and armed with the intel given by the Wolverines – leads as preemptive strike into Clan space.  

Vlad kills Phelan Kell.  There should be more to this but just nurse it for a moment.  Ahh…

Devlin Stone is the son of Frederick Steiner (Focht) and Myndo Waterly.  She wasn’t killed, but has been the true force behind ComStar all along.  I know – scary…

Snord’s Irregulars launch a surprise attack on Terra at the end of the Third Succession War and seize the planet.  Cranston Snord becomes the new First Lord of a new Star League.  It’s like Pawn Stars, but with ‘Mechs. 

Jerome Blake doesn’t seize Terra – instead House Kurita does in a surprise assault.  With control over ComStar and Terra, it is a battle royale between the rest of the Inner Sphere and the Draconis Combine.  

Wolverines Triumphant.  Nicholas Kerensky is killed while fighting the Wolverines.  The Clans morph into a more benevolent society as Kerensky’s extreme weirdness is stripped away.  The caste system is dissolved.  The Clans become a unified peoples, still militaristic, but not so Klingon-ish. When they do invade the Inner Sphere, there’s no bargaining…it’s all out war.  

What if the scientist caste was on top in the Clan heirarchy?  Rather than the Warriors, the scientists rule the Clans.  Technology leaps ahead centuries by the time of the invasion.  Bio-BattleMechs and stuff.  Nastier weapons.  Uber-Tech.  

The Smoke Jaguars win against the Star League.  Victor’s head is held in Osis’s hands before the Clans.  The Nova Cats get VERY nervous as a result of their betrayal.  

The Nova Cats have a vision about giant Chicken aliens invading the Inner Sphere.  Everyone laughs at them.  

House Marik wipes out Wolf’s Dragoons as Joshua Marik takes the throne of the Free Worlds League.  He picks apart the loot from the Dragoons and uses it to rebuild the League into THE major force in the Inner Sphere.   He also figures out where the Dragoons came from and prepared his nation, but not the others, for the eventual invasion.  

Katrina takes X as a mate.  X = Kahn Ward, Thomas Marik, Lincoln Osis, Archer Christifori, or Sun-Tzu Liao. 

The Knights of the Inner Sphere put on the play Spamalot II.  I actually toyed with this script.

What if we never changed the universe?  So a company of patchwork ‘Mech defend an entire planet.  No factories, no regiments, and big merc units numbered twelve dudes and skimpily clad dudettes with ‘Mechs.  Ice ships, pirates, and salvage means staying in the fight.  

One word:  Cylons. 

ComStar’s network becomes self-aware and renames itself “Skynet.”  Short android copies of Victor Steiner Davion are sent out to kill the leaders of the Inner Sphere.  (I have to admit, I’m still fleshing this idea out, but you get the idea.) 

Kahn Ward loses his arm in battle and Clan scientists replace it with a chainsaw appendage.  

All MechWarriors in the universe have the “Ghost ‘Mech” capability that Morgan Kell demonstrated, and they use it a lot.  

The Word of Blake comes across a planet inhabited by giant intelligent chickens.  They use cybernetic implants on these creatures creating the Manei Cluckini, an army of killer chickens.  

“Everybody on Exodus…be back in one hour.”  Kerensky wasn’t the only one to go on the Exodus.  All of the major houses send out forces into the Periphery to create empires they might need someday.  Each of these mini-Exodus’s cuts ties to their home governments during the Succession Wars and all come back as unique distinct cultures to invade the Inner Sphere.  

Richard Cameron sees right through Amaris and pops him with his laser before the coup unfolds.  The coup never happens and Rim Worlds League is laid waste as a result of Kerensky learning of their deception.  

Rather than fight a bloody Civil War, Victor has Katherine assassinated.  The Federated Commonwealth remains intact going through the Dark Ages.  

What if Kerensky came home sooner?  Rather than the civil war that led to the Clans, the SLDF remained intact and prospered.  In Kerensky’s lifetime they came back to the Inner Sphere on a war to reestablish the Star League.  But instead of arriving in 3050, they come a century or two earlier.  

‘Mechs invade Endor.  While not a viable idea, I like the idea of crushing Ewoks. 

Three words:  Battlefield Nuclear Weapons.  Not as optional – as standard equipment. Range of six hexes, they destroy everything within 20 from ground zero.  

The Succession Wars don’t happen.  Hell, Terra was pretty trashed anyway.  Why fight for control of the Hegemony worlds?  When the Clans arrive they find house governments with massive militaries that had not been battered by three centuries of warfare.  Surprise!

Daleks invade the Free Worlds League!  A little Dalek-on-‘Mech action would be fun.  Question:  How many points does a toilet plunger ray gun do?  Answer:  5 but the range sucks.  

The arrival of Wolf’s Dragoons results in their immediate attack and destruction.  The Inner Sphere learns of the Clans from their databases and sets off to attack the Clans first (or better yet, feeds them misinformation about the Inner Sphere prior to their own invasion.)  

House Ward is part of Clan Wolverine.  Phelan Kell tells the Wolves that capture him that he carries the Ward bloodline in his veins…and they kill him.  

Return to suggested Clan Names That Didn’t Make It Past The First Cut:  Turkey Baster, Iron Scrotum, Killer Sloth, Pregnant Hamster, Viper-Poodle, Pap-Smear, Smoked Stoner, Jade Prostate, Mammoth Shrimp, Amorous Armadillo, Snow-Weasel, Emerald Ball-Crusher, Pink Flamingo, Black Hemorrhoid, Fire Frogs, Azure Zit, and Rabid Monkey. 

Instead of building NAIS, House Davion builds a ‘Death Star.’  (Imagine me doing the quotes in the air like Dr. Evil and it’s funnier…)

And finally…Adam Steiner from the TV Series becomes Archon!  What?  What do you mean we did that?  WTF?  Huh?  It was mentioned in one of my books?  Aw crudstunk…