Sunday, September 25, 2016

Battletech City

We've made quite a bit of progress on our Battletech City in the last few days.  The buildings in the middle of the picture here are the ones we have built recently.  The more basic skyscrapers are made from Dollar Tree gift boxes while the others are scratch built from various objects.

We've got a lot more buildings in progress but I think things are looking good so far.  My goal is to have enough to make three 4x4 foot tables which I will need when our Port Krin campaign kicks off.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Battletech Alpha Strike test game!

 I've been intending to look at Battletech Alpha Strike rules for a while now.  The quick start rules are free to download from the Battletech site.  Alpha Strike is intended to be a faster and simpler version of Battletech and it is also a terrain and not hexed based rule set.  I found that it played very quickly and easily.  My 7 year old son participated in this game and did pretty well with it.

 Also I'm playing with our new city terrain we've been working on.  It's still a work in progress but I think it's coming together nicely.  We chose to have pirates raid  a city defended by two Draconis (Kurita) Legion of Vega mechs and a mercenary.  I played the pirates and the rest of my family played the Draconis forces.  My Blackjack died in the 2nd turn and did no damage.  My Warhammer hit the Catapult hard.  

 I sent my Commando in to try and finish off the Catapult but the Centurion ran up and took the Commando down.  Light mechs are extremely fragile in Classic Battletech but they seem even more so in Alpha strike.

 My Warhammer started chewing up the Trebuchet but it took some nasty hits from the combined Draconis force.

 Eventually I lost a weapon which took my damage down by 1 point.  In Alpha Strike mechs do damage based on their total fire power and range to the target.  This greatly speeds thing up over Battletech because only one attack roll is needed per mech.

By the end of the match I had killed the Trebuchet but I had taken a lot of damage in the process and was forced to retreat.  I thought the game played out really well.  We played at least 6 turns in less than two hours being unfamiliar with the rules.  I think this would be a really exciting way to get mech combat done in a Battletech RPG especially with a practiced group.  It still felt enough like Battletech and it would be much easier also to play really large scale engagements this way.  The only thing it lacked was some of the thrill of Classic Battletech.  Damage is handled in a very basic fashion and it didn't quite have the cinematic feel of having parts of your mech get blown off during battle.  I'm definitely sold on this system as a quick alternative to the core game.    

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Star Wars "Shards of the Empire" Setting Overview.

Star Wars “Shards of the Empire” is set just a little over a year after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star and it follows the new post Endor storyline set up by Episode VII.  There isn’t a lot of information about the new timeline between the battle of Endor and the new movie.  Basically the Empire seems to have crumbled during the first year after the death of the Emperor due to internal fighting and pressure from the New Republic. 

What is left of the Empire either disarms or flees to the unknown regions to later become the First Order.  The New Republic decides they don’t want to be like the old Empire so they sign the Galactic Concordance reducing their military down to a laughable level and moving the government around from system to system so as not to show favoritism.  Planets and systems are allowed to have defense forces of their own but they are restricted from creating Stormtrooper forces and having large numbers of armed capital ships.  Eventually the First Order is discovered and while the New Republic mostly hides their heads in the sand a few powerful individuals start the Resistance.  Within this framework I’m trying to create a more realistic explanation for what happened after Endor.  

Nothing as big as the Galactic Empire just goes away in such a short time frame.  In my “Shards of the Empire” setting most of the more powerful Imperial forces either fled to the Unknown regions to form the First Order or re-aligned themselves to the New Republic.  The rest of the forces followed roughly three paths.  

Some Imperial forces have basically become Pirates.  With the means to take what they want, especially, in the Outer Rim several smaller groups of Imperials have turned to banditry.  None of these forces are large enough to threaten the New Republic in any way but they can certainly threaten individual and remote worlds in the galaxy.  Some planetary governments have taken to hiring former Rebel Alliance personnel as Privateers to combat this threat.  

Other Imperial forces have taken up an insurgency against the New Republic using basically Rebel style tactics to conduct hit and run raids against New Republic targets.  These cells are typically led by former Imperial Officials who were fanatically loyal to the Empire.  They are not all aligned with each other though they share the same cause.  The New Republic has responded to these threats by downplaying them and encouraging local systems to be vigilant against Imperial Loyalist.  

There are other Imperial forces who have either tried to carve out small kingdoms for themselves in remote areas or they have decided to embrace the New Republic while secretly working to undermine it.  Some systems still have a very Imperial culture run by former Imperial officials who find clever ways around the restrictions put in place by the New Republic.  A number of these systems are also secretly aligned with the First Order and are supplying the movement with arms and information.  

For the most part the New Republic is aware of these former Imperial factions but their response has been to either downplay the threats they represent or to ignore them completely.  Most system regard the New Republic as the legitimate government but the systems of the Outer Rim and other remote areas of the galaxy have become far more dangerous and lawless since the fall of the Empire.  The Hutt Cartels have been very aggressive against their neighbors and several other criminal organizations have increased their activities in the last year.  Other systems have decided to rule themselves rather than join the New Republic and these systems have rejected the restrictions places on the Galaxy by the Galactic Concordance.  

In my campaign former Rebel Alliance personnel have joined a private security company called “Sand Panther Squadron” and they are currently employed by Queen Sosha Soruna of Naboo who had assigned them to aid the pirate king Nym of Lok in his struggle against the Imperial pirate force called “The Storm Lords” who have also threatened her own system.  

Eventually they will face other former Imperial threats and be a part of uncovering the threat of the First Order and the formation of the Resistance but those events are many chapters away.  

At this time I am currently behind posting game reports.  We are six episodes into the campaign and the players have just fought a major battle against the Storm Lords in the Naboo system.  I will probably post most of the the last few game reports as short synopsis with a gallery of images.    

Saturday, March 19, 2016

X-wing Satellite

Just thought I would post this large satellite/station that my wife and I built.  She actually built it and I painted it.  It's made mostly from two baby bottle caps and some junk from mechanical pencils.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Star Wars Shards of the Empire Season 01 Episode 02 Recon in Farce

Sand Panther Squadron had been sent on a mission to Nod Kartha a planet in the Karthakk system near Lok to search for one of Nym's operatives.  Morago was a Kubaz member of the Lok Revenants who was spying on Storm Lord activity on Nod Kartha.  As near as Nym could tell he had made it to the planet but they had not heard from him since.  Nym was not sure if he had been captured by the Storm Lords or the Local Neimodians who were no friends to Nym or his followers.

First they would have to get past the Spine and the Storm Lord patrols.  "Eyeballs dead ahead!" shouted the Zabrak Sune' Arkel over her comm.  "I see em!" replied one of the Revenant Y-Wing pilots.  "Darin let's get these two on the right!" Jenny Kule.  Two X-Wings and a Y-Wing banked towards their targets scoring a few hits.  "Hey I'm gonna need some help over here!" Sune' said excitedly.

"Got em!  Two down!" excalined Darin-Une.  "Yeah but their chewing us up over hear.  Shields out!" yelled Sune'.

 "Interceptor down!  We're comming to help." replied Jenny.  The Sand Panthers swung around to help their friend.

 "Hey I got one!" shouted one of the Revenants.  "We might just pull our backsides out of this yet" Sune' said.

 "Got the last TIE!  Take out that Squint before he gets away." Sune' said as her X-Wing rolled through the debris of the TIE fighter she had just vaporized.

 Darin lined her ship up on the final TIE Interceptor and opened fire.  In a flash the small craft vanished.  "He's down.  Let's get clear of the Spine and make our jump." she said.

The three Sand Panther pilots and two Revenants landed a few kilometers south of Gunray station on Nod Kartha.  The planet was a cold and desolate wasteland but there was so little moisture that nothing more than a heavy frost covered most of the ground.  "Separatist used to make Trihexalon weapons on this rock.  Cold kept the stuff stable." one of the Revenants said.  "Sounds like a great place to live." growled Sune'.  

Gunray station was a large town consisting mostly of prefabricated structures in fairly bad repair.  As the three pilots made their way through the outskirts they noticed that the town itself was fairly sparsely populated and in fact they had not seen any Neimodians at all.  

They got directions to the local cantina.  The place was named Rizzno's and it was owned by a Rodian.  Darin went up to the bar.  "Hey I thought that this was suppose to be a Neimodian town.  Where are they?" she ask.  The Rodian bartender looked around nervously "They moved on.  Yeah some time ago.  None of them left around here.".  He was obviously hiding something but Darin didn't know what.  

Sune' went up to the bar next and ask if the bartender knew Morago a Kubaz.  "Yeah there has been a Kubaz in here lately.  Comes in about this time most days. 

Sune' set back down with here drinks and watched the door.  After a while a Kubaz came in and set down at a table along.  The three Sand Panthers approached his table.  "Well, well you all don't look like the locals." the Kubaz said through a robotic sounding translator.  "We aren't.  You wouldn't happen to know a Morago would you?" Sune' asked.  The Kubaz leaned in and said "I hope Nym sent you.  I'm Morago.  I've got some intel for Nym but I need to get it out of my safe house.".  "Lead the way." Jenny said.

They made their way across the street to Morago's safe house.  "Hold on here.  I'll get my stuff and we can get back to Lok." the Kubaz said then went inside the small structure.

 Darin heard a group moving up behind them.  Turning she saw a group of four Stormtroopers.  "We've got company!" she shouted.

After a brief blaster exchange all four troopers lay on the ground.  "Crap they got me." Jenny said.  Just then the Kubaz ran out a side door of his safe house and headed across the street.  "Stun that bastard!" Sune' yelled.  The three pilots shot the Kubaz with stun bolts and he fell to the ground.  

After patching Jenny up Darin used some smelling salts from her pack to wake the Kubaz.  "So Morago you planned to double cross Nym" Sune' said as she held her blaster out at the Kubaz.  "I'm not really Morago.  The Storm Lords hired me to impersonate him in order to catch any Revenants who came looking for him.  My name is Velis.  If you promise not to kill me I will show you where the Storm Lords are holding Morago." the Kubaz said.  "Well Velis" Jenny said "We best get moving".

The Sand Panters and their Kubaz captive traveled to the warehouse sector of town.  There were eight Stormtroopers guarding a large warehouse.  Velis pointed at the structure.  "Morago is in there and I can tell you there will be more troopers in there guarding them.  Now if you let me go I promise I won't be any more trouble".  "Get moving then before I decide to kill you." growled Sune'.  The Kubaz ran off.

After searching around the three pilots found a large barrel full of fuel.  "Let's set this up behind this warehouse and set a thermal detonator to blow it.  When the troopers come to investigate we can attack the warehouse." Sune' said.  "Sounds risky but I don't have another plan" said Jenny. 

The Sand Panthers set the detonator then moved across the street to another warehouse. 

The entire warehouse exploded in a ball of fire.  The shock wave knocked the three pilots off their feet.  The Stormtroopers ran towards the inferno but stopped in the middle of the street gawking at the flames.  

 "Quick let's move out!" Darin said and she and Jenny ran towards the warehouse that Velis had pointed out.  A Stormtroopers came out a side door and Darin shot him.

Sune' sat on the ground shaking her head.  It took her a moment to get to her feet.  She then moved back towards the street and fired at one of the gawking troopers killing him.    

Jenny and Darin took out another pair of troopers who came out the door.  The troopers who were watching the fire seemed confused for a few moments then they realized they were under attack.  The split into two ground.  One group headed back to their warehouse while the other moved towards Sune's position.

Sune' dropped another detonator and ran away from the advancing troopers.  One trooper rounded the corner of the building and shot her knocking her out.  The detonator exploded killing the trooper and his comrades.

Darin and Jenny engaged the other group in a fierce fire fight.  They had good cover from a piece of heavy industrial equipment they were hiding under.  Eventually they managed to kill all the troopers.

Darin ran back towards Sune' and pulled her medpack out.  Jenny went into the warehouse and found a Kubaz tied up.  "Hey are you with Nym?  I'm Morago." the Kubaz said through a very chipper sounding translator.  "Yeah he sent us to find you" Jenny replied.

Darin managed to patch Sune' up.  "We had best get our butts out of here." Sune' said.  "Yeah let's get someplace safer." Darin replied.  Morago and the pilots made their way to the edge of town.  "Alright I need to get to my Z-95.  Don't worry she's got a hyperdrive so we can make an in system jump back to the Spine." Morago said.  "Sounds good.  See you in space." Jenny replied.

 After making an in system jump the Sand Panthers and pirates made their way towards the.  "Looks like we got problems already.  These Imp bastards just won't give up!" Sune' said.  "Six Eyeballs, two Squints, and a Decimator!  Who did you guys kill?" asked Morago.  "Oh just a couple Storm Lord patrols." replied Jenny.

A pair of Z-95s bearing Revenant markings came up on their position.  "Nym thought you could use some help" said one of the Z-95 pilots.  "We certainly do.  This is going to be a tough fight!" Jenny answered.

The ships engaged at high speed firing at each other.  Several scored hits in the first pass but kills were scored.  "I always end up by myself!" Sune' growled.  "Stop doing that then." Jenny answered.

 The Decimator turned into the fight it's turret spraying out deadly green fire.  One of the Z-95s exploded.  "We lost one already!  We've got to fight they are too fast!" Morago yelled.

Darin, Jenny, and two of the pirates concentrated their fire on the Decimator and the larger ship exploded in a flash.  "Yeah he's down!" cried Jenny.  "Good, now get over here and get these Squints off me.  My shields are down already." Sune' yelled.

Another TIE exploded.  "Don't worry Sune' we're on our way" Jenny said.  Just then Sune's X-Wing exploded.

 "Sune'! Sune' are you there!" Jenny shouted into her comm.  She hit her thrusters charging straight at a TIE firing as she flew.  The small craft exploded but she over shot directly into the path of the oncoming interceptors.  The two fighters riddled Jenny's X-wing with laser fire and her ship spun out of control before exploding.

Darin took down another TIE and another was taken down by the Revenants but the TIEs took out a Pirate Y-Wing.  "Sith!  Did anyone see if they ejected?" Darin yelled over her comm.  "It's too hot.  We've got to get out of here!" was Morago's only answer.  

Darin-Une banked her craft away from the battle.  As she did she check her scanners.  Two familiar emergency transponders were blinking on her screen.  There was at least a chance her friends had survived.  

"I'm sorry about your friends but I want to thank you for bringing Morago home.  Jenkins if analyzing some vital data he brought back.  The Storm Lords have rounded up the Neimodians and they have them working as slave labor trying to produce Trihexalon weapons.  We're doing everything we can to find out what happened to your squadron mates.  Rest assured that we will let you know if we find anything."  Nym said.   Darin nodded and walked back to her quarters.  

Sune' and Jenny awoke to find themselves tied to a pair of chairs aboard some kind of ship or space station.  "Welcome to Blood Razor Outpost.  I'm Jorund Saleem a captain of the Blood Razors. I sure hope for your sake your worth more to me alive than dead." a tall human man with braided hair stood and crossed his arms smiling at his two captives.  

Notes:  Well that was another rough one.  The players planning to rescue Morago was a little too rushed.  They planted their explosives way too close to the guarded warehouse.  While it cause the distraction they intended most of the troops were able to recover and get right back into the fight before they could rescue the Kubaz.  The final space battle in the Spine went pretty poorly as well.  I think the opposing force was just a bit too strong but they also split up a bit too much.  At first they tried to just punch straight through but TIEs are too fast for that so they lost a whole round of fighting trying to run too early and they also took too much damage doing that.  Fortunately the two players who got shot down managed to eject.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Star Wars Shards of the Empire Season 01 Episode 01 Friends in Lok Places

Four X-Wing starfighters dropped out of hyperspace in the Naboo system.  "Captain Kyn said that we should meet up with Nym's contact Kole on Rori.  Keep an eye out for trouble" Jenny Kule said as she opened the s-foils on her craft.  "I doubt those 'Storm Lords' would dare try anything in this system. I hear most of the renegade Imps are operating in the Outer Rim." said Darin-Une with some doubt in her voice.  "Who's gonna stop em?  The New Republic ain't got their poodoo together yet and the Imps pulled out of this system after Jakku.  Anyway it's weird still fighting Imps, still flying X-Wings, even though the war is suppose to be over." replied Dack Cuthus a former Alliance pilot from Mynock squadron.  "Well we aren't in the Alliance anymore.  Still can't figure out this 'Sand Panther' squadron set up.  Rogan Dexter seems to have an awful lot of funds and good equipment for a Corellian smuggler.  I'm not sure if I trust him yet but I need the creds.  Besides the New Republic had me flying transports after Jakku and I much prefer the T-65." Sune' Arkel sighed as she ran through a system check of her craft.  "Tell me about it!" Dack said "We've got a contract from the Royal House of Naboo to run escort mission for a band of Pirates from Lok?  The galaxy is upside down.".

Outside of Narmel the members of Sand Panther Squadron meet Kole from the Lok Revenants at a small outpost that was once operated by the Rebel Alliance.  "Hello there!  My name is Kole" the small Chadra-Fan said.  "You must be Rogan Dexter's crew.".  "That's us.  Sand Panther Squadron." Dack replied.

"We're trying to get underway here but I've got a problem.  I was expecting a shipment of thermal detonators but I just found out that the transport they were on had to make an emergency landing a few kilometers from here.  I'm short handed so I was hoping you folks could go pick it up." Kole gestured over towards a large flat bed hover skiff.  "Sure thing! just tell us where to go" replied Jenny.  "I've got the coordinates on this datapad.  Leeta is the pilot.  I've been having some trouble reaching her on her comm but that's no surprise.  She's a good smuggler but her ship is not usually in the best of shape." Kole answered.

 "Should be straight up ahead.  I still can't reach this Leeta." Dack said as he slowed the hover skiff.  "Storm troopers what the?" yelled Darin.  A small yellow craft sat against a hill.  It looked like it had crash landed but was not badly damaged.  A squad of Imperial storm troopers in dirty white armor were standing around the craft.  Among them an officer in a disheveled uniform.

 The troopers raised their blaster carbines and started shooting.  Jenny and Sune' jumped from the back of the skiff and moved closer to the yellow craft as they fired at the troopers dropping two of them.  Dack and Darin hopped out of the cab and shot the others.  The officer ducked around the back of the craft but as soon as the four pilots came around the corner he dropped his pistol and put his hands in the air.  A badly beaten woman lay on the ground behind the small shuttle.  Jenny pointed at the woman "Can anyone help her?".  "Yeah I've got medical training." replied Darin as she knelt next to the woman and pulled a small med pack out of her bag.

"What the Hell are Imps doing here?" Dack asked the officer while brandishing his pistol at him.  "Well I'm not sure you could call us Imperials anymore but we were here looking for a bunch of Pirates from Lok.  The Storm Lords heard that they were trying to gather supplies here on Rori." the officer replied as he rubbed the stubble on his chin.  "You're one of these Storm Lords then?" Sune' ask.  The officer rolled his eyes "Yes obviously and I suppose you are with the pirates?".  "How did you come to be a part of the Storm Lords?" asked Jenny.  "Well I was stationed on Lok at an Imperial base there.  After Jakku our transports never returned to pick us up and all we had as far as space craft were a few TIE fighters.  Nym's Lok Revenants were trying to wipe us out.  Then Storm Squadron showed up and helped us beat the pirates back.  We started gathering other former Imperials from the nearby sectors and we re-formed as The Storm Lords." the officer replied.  "Why not turn yourselves in?  The New Republic has gone pretty easy on former Imperials troops." ask Jenny.  "Well we had ships and arms and nothing better to do.  I guess you could say we saw an opportunity in that." the officer chuckled.  "So your pirates too then eh?" said Dack.  "Indeed." answered the officer.  "Tie him up.  We'll see if Kole wants to take him back to Lok." Jenny said.  "With pleasure." Dack replied doing a mocking salute.

  "Who are you people?" the young woman sat up and looked around.  "Kole sent us.  You must be Leeta." replied Jenny.  The Woman nodded.  "Alright I've got the goods in my ship but I had to set down out here.  Somethings wrong with my ship.  I was trying to figure it out when these guys attacked me.  Can any of you help me fix it.  I'm not much of a mechanic?" Leeta said.  "Sure I'll check it out." replied Sune'.  "You can tell Kole he can take ten percent off my fee since I didn't quite deliver the shipment."  Leeta rubbed a goose egg on her forehead.  "Ship should fly now.  You're fuel filter was clogged." Dack laughed.  "You know you really should get this thing serviced so it doesn't get you killed next time." Sune's scolded.  "You sound like my father." replied Leeta.  "Must be a smart man." Sune's said folding her arms across her chest.  "Okay I'll have it checked out at Narmel.  Take care."  Leeta waved and climbed back into her ship.

The Revenants and the Sand Panthers finished loading their cargo then took off from Rori.  "Head for the nearest hyperspace beacon.  We need to get out of this system as soon as possible." Kole said over the comms.  "Too late boss we've got incoming!" one of the freighter captains replies.  "Two TIE advanced and a Firespray! coming in hot!" Sune' said.  "They must not have been expecting the escort.  Lock S-foils Sand Panthers!" Jenny commanded.

 The Imperial fighters made an aggressive assault on the convoy.  The Firespray fired on Kole's YT-1300 missing.  The lead TIE advanced hit Jenny Kune's X-wing. "It's okay.  Shields are damaged but nothing serious." Jenny said.

 Three of the pirate freighters opened up on the Firespray and the heavy fighter exploded in a bright flash. "Got him!" shouted Kole.

 Jenny Kule and Darin-Une opened fire on the TIE advanced that had shot Kule's ship taking it out easily.  The small ship spun erratically through space then exploded.  "Good shooting Sand Panthers!" Kole exclaimed "Looks like you were worth the creds the Queen paid for you."

"Looks like the last one is bugging out.  Should we pursue?" ask Dack.  "No let's re-group and get to that nav beacon.  These guys might have friends in the system." replied Jenny.  "Eye, eye, skipper." Darin replied.

The convoy came out of hyperspace in the Lok system.  "Alright let's make for these coordinates.  The Storm Lords can't get their corvettes into the denser parts of the Spine.  The asteroids are too thick there."  Kole sent the coordinates to the other ships in the convoy.  "This won't be easy though.  They are bound to have TIE patrols in those areas.  Be ready Sand Panthers." Jenny said.    

 As the convoy made its way through the Spine of Lok the saw several TIE fighters headed their way.  "Look sharp Sand Panthers.  We've got a half a dozen TIEs dead ahead." Jenny said as she armed her weapons.

 The TIEs made a rush for the YT-1300 scoring several hits against the freighter.  "My shields are already at half power.  These guys aren't messing around!" Kole said.  One of the TIE interceptors exploded in a fireball.  "Got him!" shouted Sune'.

 Another TIE exploded as they swarmed around the Correlian freighter but they continued to hammer Kole's ship.  "There all over me!  I don't know how much longer I can keep it together.  Shields are down and the hull is at fifty percent!" Kole exclaimed.

"Scratch two!" Sune' shouted as another Interceptor went up in a flash.  "And three!" Jenny said as another TIE exploded. Kole hit another TIE with his laser cannons and the small craft broke apart spinning through space. Then other two TIE's swooped in pouring fire into the YT-1300.  The freighter tumbled through space then exploded.  "BOSS!" one of the pirates shouted into the comms.  "Anyone see an escape pod?  Check your visual scanners." Jenny commanded.  "Wow that was too close." came a high pitched voice over the coms.  "I don't suppose one you could pick us up.  Just barely managed to get to an escape pod."

The Sand Panthers walked into the palace at Nym's stronghold with Kole.  "We made it Nym!  Well mostly.  I lost the YT but the rest of the convoy got through.  If it wasn't for these mercs we would have been Bantha Poodoo." Kole gestured at the Sand Panther pilots.  "Welcome to Lok friends." Nym stood up and spread his arms.  "I'm grateful that you made it past the blockade.  We were in dire need of the supplies that you helped us secure.  Kole will see you to our guest accommodations.  In the morning I would like to meet with you to discuss our situation.".  "Thank you Lord Nym" Jenny said bowing "Sand Panther squadron is happy to be of service.".

Kole took the Sand Panthers to the guest rooms at Nym's palace.  They were comfortable rooms richly decorated with artworks and furniture from dozens of cultures.  "Well this beats an Alliance barracks!" said Dack.  "Make yourselves comfortable folks.  I'll see you in the morning." Kole bowed then turned and walked away.    

Notes:  Well this is the first actual episode of my "Star Wars Shards of the Empire" campaign.  I was originally going to set the first story arc on Dantooine but after doing some research I switched to Lok.  There is a large Imperial base on Lok and Storm Squadron from Tatoonine frequently conducted anti-piracy raids against the pirates in the Lok system.  It seemed a good match up for my first story arch providing a lot of opportunity for both space and ground action.