Friday, 29 June 2012


One of the guys over at my local group decided to run a Battletech campaign. Given that so many players were interested, he decided that instead of giving us a lance each, he'd divide us into two mercenary lances, with each players controlling just a single pilot. Over time, as we earn more cash for the war-chest, we'll be able to recruit other pilots and mechs but, at least to begin with, we're just one pilot each. 

Playing Battletech as an RPG-lite wargame will be a brand new experience for me, although Battletech campaigns that use this format seem to be quite common (Paint it Pink is running one right now). As you can tell, I'm quite excited. At the moment, both lances are on Galatea in the year 3025. Dougal (the DM) is running us through training scenario's at the moment, with the best performer from each lance getting first pick of the available Mechs.

All the Pilot Profile Images were whipped up by William, one of the players, based on character art and profiles submitted by the pilot's player.

Here's my Lance:

 "The Fox Hounds".

 So far the Fox Hounds have performed well in the training scenarios. Notable, they completed the Reconnaissance scenario against a Heavy Mech Lance without firing a single shot and losing only a single ton of armor between them. Two members of the lance counted coup of enemy Mechwarriors during the scenario and all four proceeded to leave the training area in style (walking backwards) despite being under fire.


Played by Craig. Zachary Fox served for over two decades in the House Davion Military before being badly wounded in a training exercise where a captured Zeus was erroneously loaded with live autocannon rounds. Having had more than half of his body replaced with bionics, Fox was medically discharged due to his wounds. Unwilling to give up the only life he has ever known, he has traveled to Galatea to find work in a new Mercenary Unit and to train his new body in the skills required of a Mechwarrior.

Gunnery: 4

Training History:
Ranger has completed 2 of the four designated training missions, participating in a close range city fight simulation in Scenario 1 and completing a an efficient reconnaissance in Scenario 2. 

[*] Moonwalked out of the training area while under fire upon completion of Scenario 2. Counted Coup on an enemy Mech. Did not fire a shot.


Played by moi, Lishka is a former Agromech pilot from Gunzberg in the Draconis Combine. As both as woman and a farm-hand, she was repeatedly refused entry to Combine Mechwarrior gymnasiums. Determined to become a Mechwarrior, she sold her farm, home, agrimech and livestock to purchase passage and training at Galatea, the Mercenary Star.

Lishka  is surprisingly well-educated, given her home-schooling, and (even more surprisingly, given her clipped, Raslahague accent) possesses a singing voice trained to many styles and disciplines. She has used her funds to acquire an elegant -if revealing- wardrobe, her one extravagance, the rest of her fortune having been dedicated to the pursuit of her new profession. Deadly serious despite her fondness for clothing other female Mechwarriors would consider "frivolous" she is as cold and calculating in the cockpit of a mech as she is brash and brazen outside it.

Gunnery: 4
Piloting: 6
Training History:
Scarlett has completed 2 of the four designated training missions, participating in a close range city fight simulation in Scenario 1 and completing a an efficient reconnaissance in Scenario 2. 

[*]Personally destroyed a Whitworth while piloting an Enforcer in the City Fight Scenario.

[*]Scanned three out of four enemy Mechs in the Recon scenario without firing a shot Cicada, Griffon and Banshee). Counted coup on one opponent piloting a Cicada by tapping it under the chin and proceeding to moonwalk out of the training area. Total damage sustained: lost a 1/2 ton of armor on the right arm. Did not fire a shot.


Played by Ken. Formerly of the 3rd Oriente Hussars, a young graduate from the Allison Mechwarrior Institute.  After being hounded out of her unit by a senior officer, Domino elected to follow in her fathers footsteps by becoming a mercenary. Her brother, with whom she has an unpleasant relationship at best, continues to serve in the Mark military as an Aerospace Pilot.

Gunnery 4 
Piloting 6.
Training History:
Domino has completed 2 of the four designated training missions, participating in a close range city fight simulation in Scenario 1 and completing a an efficient reconnaissance in Scenario 2.

[*] Moonwalked out of the training area while under fire upon completion of scenario 2. Did not fire a shot.


Played by George. Foa has revealed little of his past, save that he comes from a periphery world. Given his Viking-like styles of dress, speech and mannerisms, certain of his colleagues believe he originally belonged to a band of Periphery Pirates. Foa, characteristically, is silent on the matter.

Gunnery: 4
Piloting: 6

Training History:
Vick has completed 2 of the four designated training missions, participating in a close range city fight simulation in Scenario 1 and completing a an efficient reconnaissance in Scenario 2

 [*] Moonwalked out of the training area while under fire upon completion of scenario 2. Did not fire a shot.

 NEXT: The rival Merc Lance, "The Steel Legion".

Saturday, 9 June 2012

OSRIC: Religion, Morality and Alignment

One thing's for certain, I really need to find a new name for my War of the Roses OSRIC campaign. Something a little catchier. OSRIC: Age of Anarchy, perhaps. What do you guys think?

Anyway, one of the (slightly) different things about this campaign is the way I'm treating alignment. Rather than doing away with the concept altogether, except for extremes of good and evil (as I often do) alignment with be replaced by moral codes and religions. This is still a work in progress at the moment, but the options at present are:

Religious Alignment Choices:
  • Medieval Catholicism
  • Medieval Islam
  • Medieval Druidism/Paganism
  • Medieval Judaism
  • Medieval Orthodox
  • Servant of the Dark One (NPC Only)
 The religion based alignments are the most nebulous of all in a very real sense. For example, most of the major religions have a variant on "though shall not kill". As mentioned in a previous post though, Catholics believe that only humans have souls, so this rule only counts towards killing humans. That being said, for a Catholic it's perfectly acceptable to kill a human if he (or she) is a non-christian, or if you're a member of the knightly and noble caste (because god has ordained that you are born into a role that requires killing) and have a fairly good reason for doing so.

So, these five choices aren't quite the straight-jacket they might first appear to be.

Then we have the (sometimes) more restrictive, properly fixed moral codes:
Rashi, perhaps the best known medieval Rabbi and Scholar

Moral Alignment Choices:
  • Athiest/Agnostic
  • Chivalric Code
  • Humanist
  •  Irreligious
  • Secular Devotion
The Humanist and Chivalric moral codes are perhaps the most tightly restrictive in a sense that they have fairly well defined limits. Like everything else, of course, there are loopholes to exploit, but the Chivalric code especially is fairly well defined. The irreligious and atheist/agnostic alignments give the greatest freedom of action of all, perhaps equivalent to true-neutral in the traditional D&D alignment spectrum. Basically, such people are limited in their actions only by the actions and the beliefs of the authorities around them.

Lastly, we have Secular Devotion, which implies an utter adherence to an NPC secular authority such as the King, a Duke or Earl or even simply a friend or loved one. The limitation here is that the character won't do anything to act against the interests of the object of his devotion, but at the same time the character would be reluctant to disobey any instructions from this same NPC, regardless of how abhorrent. Most of the lower-end bad-guy NPC's in this game will have this alignment, which is very similar to lawful neutral in many respects.

Finally, we have good and evil
Salahadin: A great example for Islamic Paladin characters

Good and Evil:
Good and Evil, Law and Chaos no longer exist in an alignment sense, but they do still have a place in the game world. Generally, for a creature of being to be affected by such as a spell, they must have a history of routinely acting in a certain way. For example, angels and demons are always affected by spells that affect good and evil creatures respectively. A knightly character who consistently acts to uphold the law and maintain stability in the land (regardless of his actual alignment) would be affected by spells such as Protection from Law. A robber-knight on the other hand (or one notorious for changing sides during the Wars) would be affected by Protection from Chaos and so on.

Alignment and Clerics:
Clerics, strictly speaking, can be of any alignment, not just the alignment of their religion. However, if they wish to retain their spell casting abilities, they had better ensure that their actions remain consistent with the tenants of the religion they represent. Thus, a Catholic cleric might have the Secular Devotion alignment, and be devoted to the service of his brother, an NPC Lord. He might politic and preach on his brothers behalf without effect, but if he arranges the assassination of his brother's enemies, he can kiss those clerical abilities of his good-bye.

This helps to explain why so many priests in the historical time period (and setting) can act contrary to the interests of their religion and still remain priests. In a gaming sense, the ones that manage to obey the tenants of their religion can perform minor miracles. The ones who betray their religious beliefs in favour of more secular or personal concerns, lose their powers. Often very early in their clerical careers. The few who manage to exist in the secular world and remain true to their faith are essentially minor miracle workers, moving to become widely recognised as living saints (or prophets) at higher levels.

Pope John XXIII. A fine example of a priest who most definitely would have lost his cleric powers in this setting.
 All these concepts are just skeletons at the moment, in need of a great deal of fleshing out. But that's where the alignment system remains at the moment.