28 Jul 2016

Commentary Returns! Rahela and Victor!

Last week, I staged an encounter between two characters created to try hacking the Firefly RPG for the BattleTech setting.  It went turn by turn, but there was a hint of a plot there.  In fact, I have a rough idea of where I'm going.

Most of the background comes out of BattleTech canon, though the various sourcebooks published by FASA and Catalyst Game Labs.  The specific books I referenced are A Time of War, the official BattleTech RPG; Handbook House Liao, covering the Capellan Confederation; Handbook Major Periphery States, for the Magistracy of Canopus info; 1st Somerset Strikers for the Axman's stats, Technical Readout 2750 for the Hussar's, and Technical Readout 3025 for the Hunchback's.  When I write fanfic, I do my research*.

The example battle serves as the teaser for the unnamed series.  Two MechWarriors from different backgrounds, one a noble from a Periphery state, the other a career soldier from a major House, must now team up to deal with a bigger threat than each other.  Both are professionals and don't have a reason to dislike each other.  The Word of Blake invasion throws things into disarray.

The fight, which took paragraphs to resolve, doesn't really cover that much time.  There are liberties taken.  Rahela's laser can't really penetrate armour that well, but Cortex+, Firefly's core mechanics, run more on narrative than numbers.  The Blakist mooks in their Hunchbacks were expendables.  The scene is the pre-credits teaser, a burst of action to introduce two of the main characters and set up the story to follow.  BattleMechs made of explodium works for the narrative, though I did try to make the destruction believable.  Head shots in BattleTech are dangerous, especially with the heavier weapons.

I have discovered a small problem with my setup.  Zurich, which was a Capellan world in 3025, wound up in the hands of the Federated Suns after the Federated Commonwealth Civil War.  I could do some handwaving - the Lyran forces are just waiting for a JumpShip to arrive to take them back home while Sun Tsu Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation and First Lord of the Second Star League, could have suggested a Canopian unit to act as peacekeepers during the transition.  The Chancellor may also be looking at regaining the world; Zurich had a weapons factory, at least in 3025.  The problems of playing in someone else's extensive sandbox.

Mechically, the battle could have been more interesting.  I could have had Rahela and Victor go for more plot points, breaking up the handfuls of eight-sided dice used in some rolls.  However, I let things go organically.  Choices were made on the situation, not  for demonstration.  I did try to use the different distinctions and brought in some of the triggers.  However, as proof of concept, the 'Mech battle worked, at least when treating the opposition as just extras.  I should try another battle later with at least one opponent being a major NPC, built like Rahela and Victor.

Tomorrow, introducing the third character for this extended example.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the problems with adapting toys.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Transformers.

* More research than I did for last year's NaNoWriMo project.

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