3 Jun 2021

Test Run - MechWarrior Destiny - The Clans

Last outing with Catalist Game Labs' MechWarrior Destiny went well.  This time around, I want to try out the character creation system for a Clanner PC.  As usual, everything will be after the break.

When I created Ensign Catalina Francesca Mendoza y Romero, I used the default setting of 3025, the end of the Third Succession War.  The Clans, though, were introduced in Michael A. Stackpole's Blood of Kerensky series, starting in-universe in late 3049.  The invading Clans had advantages that the Inner Sphere lost due to centuries of warfare, including technology and a level of integration not seen.  Clan MechWarriors were far more skilled than their Inner Sphere counterparts with BattleMechs that could take and deal more punishment than equivalent tonnage from the Inner Sphere.

The Clans looked like they could sweep through the Inner Sphere except for two event.  The first happened at the former Free Raselhague Republic world of Radstatd, where the Elected Prince of the FRR was heading without realizing that Clan Wolf had just finished taking the world.  In the ensuing battle, Tyra Miraborg A-Winged her AeroFighter into the bridge of the Clan Wolf warship, where a war council was taking place with the Khan of the Clan Smoke Jaguar who was also the Khan of all the Clans.  Miraborg wound up stalling the invasion by forcing the the Smoke Jaguars to appoint a new Khan and forcing a recall of the invading Clans for a year as they figured out who was the new ilKahn.  Miraborg's sacrifice was honoured by the Clans, with the Smoke Jaguars renaming a DropShip class in her honour.

The second event was ComStar calling what the Clans know as a batchall, a battle challenge, with the planet of Tukayyid being a proxy for Earth.  If ComStar won, there would be a fifteen year truce before the Clans could continue their invasion.  If the Clans won, they'd have control of Earth and could continue their invasion.  There is a Tex Talks BattleTech that covers the Battle of Tukayyid more thoroughly.  The short version is that ComStar had been studying the Clans, their tactics and their culture.  They had an insight that the Inner Sphere House militaries did not.  ComStar also had access to Star League-era technology, long thought lost, and was closer to being on par with the Clans' tech.  May 3052 saw the result, the Battle of Tukayyid.

When the battle was over, ComStar had suffered heavy losses, but only Clan Wolf achieved their objectives.  Clan Jade Falcon had a draw, having taken only one objective.  The Steel Vipers pulled out of the fighting after losing a quarter of their forces.  The Smoke Jaguars lost a third of their personnel and over 80% of their equipment.  The Nova Cats came back with just fifteen MechWarriors after sending 90 to 375 times as many to Tukayyid.  The Diamond Sharks were worse off, with their entire warrior caste destroyed.

The Inner Sphere eventually realized that fighting the Clans wasn't going to solve the core problem.  The goal of the Clans was to reinstate the Star League.  The Inner Sphere Houses beat the Clans to the punch and established the Second Star League, with Chancellor Sun Tsu Liao of the Capellan Confederation elected as the new First Lord.  The new Star League put down Clan aggression, finally ending the invasion.

Right.  With that brief scratching of the surface of the Clans, let's get going with the thirteen steps.  MechWarrior Destiny uses the year 3050 for the Clan Invasion appendix, so let's go with that.

1) Character Theme

This time around, I'm going with an ambitious character, one who is a rising star, or ristar, within the Clans.  One who may bite off more than he or she can chew.  One who already has a Blood Name.  I don't want command yet; that is one of the character's goals.  Let's get the name and tags done.  The character's name is Carter Ott, with tags MechWarrior, Ambitious, Proud, Crusader, Trueborn, Idealist

2) Faction

Carter is from Clan Smoke Jaguar.  Chances are good that he survives Tukayyid, though without a BattleMech, if the game reaches that point.  Or, afterwards, he's no longer accepted by the Clan, in which case replace the tag Idealist with Disillusioned.

3) Experience Level

Clan PCs in Destiny start at Veteran, to reflect their training and hardware.  However, I want to go with Elite, just to see how it works out.  

4) Attribute Points

All Attributes start at 1.  Carter gets nine Attribute points, but the highest an attribute can be at this step is 4.  I set STR to 2, RFL to 4, WIL to 3, INT to 2, CHA to 3, and EDG to 1.

Carter's condition monitors can now be set.  He marks the two pips off the first row and one pip from the second row of his Physical Damage Track.  His Fatigue Damage Track loses one pip each from the first and second row.

5) Skill Points

Like last time, skill levels will be bought at a one-for-one rate, and I will need a Knowedge skill as part of the choices.  Elite level PCs get 20 skill points to spend.  The result:

Gunnery: BattleMech 3

Knowledge: Smoke Jaguar Remembrance 2

Leadership 1

Piloting: BattleMech 3

Protocol 1

Small Arms 2

Tactics 1

Athletics 2

Perception 2

Navigation 1

Melee Combat 2

6) Traits

Carter gets one positive and one negative trait, and can take a second positive trait if he takes a second negative trait.  Carter takes Toughness for the positive trait and Enemy for the negative.

7) Life Modules

There are new Life Modules for the Clans, reflecting their culture and training.  I'll use the new ones for Childhood, Higher Education, and Real Life.  For Childhood, Carter was raised in a Trueborn Sibko, gaining +1 to Intimidation.  Carter's Higher Education was spent in MechWarrior Training (Clan) to no one's surprise, getting +1 Piloting (BattleMech).  For Real Life, Carter takes Warrior Caste: Tour of Duty (Clan), gaining +1 to Gunnery (BattleMech).  Yes, that means Carter's Piloting and Gunnery in a BattleMech is a 4 before adding in his Reflexes.  That's how the invading Clans got so far into the Inner Sphere until Tira Miraborg decapitated the Clan hierarchy.

8) Armour

Carter gets one suit of armour.  He takes the Infiltration suit, providing protection from both ballistic and energy weapons.  It only has eight pips of defense, but Carter should be doing most of his fighting in his 'Mech's cockpit.  Fighting infantry is the job for Elementals.

9) Select Weapons

Being Elite, Carter gets four weapons, on top of either Unarmed or Martial Arts.  He takes a laser pistol, a knife, a vibro-sword, and a gyrojet rifle, for a mix of uses.  Swords and rifles are awkward to get to inside a Mech's cockpit.

10) Select Inventory

Carter gets four pieces of gear, which can also be personal effects.  The first item is the Remembrance, the Smoke Jaguar history, set in verse.  A noteputer is always handy, as are a set of night-vision goggles.  A pristine dress uniform rounds out Carter's inventory.

11) Select Hardware

Time for a BattleMech.  Clans get an extra hardware point, but the catch is that Clan OmniMechs, the BattleMechs that can be customized each mission, also cost a point more than a regular BattleMech in the same class.  As an Elite PC, Carter gets four points, five when adding the bonus point for being a Clanner.  That can get him an Assault Clan BattleMech or a Heavy Clan OmniMech.  Since I know what I want for Carter, he gets a Mad Dog, aka a Vulture heavy OmniMech.  Sure, I could have gone with the more iconic Mad Cat, but the Vulture was fun to pilot in MechWarrior 2 on the PlayStation.

12) Create Cues

These are catchphrases that the character can use.  I tend to develop these in play, so I'll just pass over them for now.

13) Create Character Background

Essentially, time to fill out the character sheet.  Let's do that.

Carter Ott


STR 2   RFL 4   WIL 3   INT 2   CHA 3   EDG 1


Athletics 2+2 (+4)

Gunnery: BattleMech 4+4 (+8)

Intimidation 1+3 (+4)

Knowledge: Smoke Jaguar Remembrance 2+2 (+4)

Leadership 1+3 (+4)

Melee Combat 2+4 (+6)

Navigation 1+2 (+3)

Perception 2+2 (+4)

Piloting: BattleMech 4+4 (+8)

Protocol 1+3 (+4)

Small Arms 2+4 (+6)

Tactics 1+2 (+3)

Life Modules

Faction: Clan Smoke Jaguar

Childhood: Trueborn Sibko

Higher Education: MechWarrior Training (Clan)

Real Life: Warrior Caste: Tour of Duty (Clan)

Vital Factors

Faction: Clan Smoke Jaguar

Age: 21

Rank: Star Commander

Height/Weight: 1.80cm/79kg

XP: 0

Tags: MechWarrior * Ambitious * Proud * Crusader * Trueborn * Idealist


From a young age, Carter knew he was destined for greatness.  During his Trial of Position, he earned the rank of Star Commander before his 'Mech shut down from overheating.  He earned his bloodname shortly after and was noticed as one of the Clan's ristars.  That has given Carter an inflated ego, something that might get popped during the invasion of the Inner Sphere.


Smoke Jaguar Remembrance

Night-vision Goggles


Pristine Dress Uniform


Positive: Toughness - Subtract 1 from all Physical and Fatigue damage taken; damage to armour pips is not reduced.

Negative: Enemy - Carter has gotten on the wrong side of a Jade Falcon MechWarrior.

Personal Weaponry

Martial Arts - Damage 2F, Close OK, Near --, Far --

Knife - Damage 1, Close OK, Near -2, Far --

Vibrodagger - Damage 2, Close -2, Near --, Far --

Laser Pistol (E) - Damage 3, Close OK, Near OK, Far OK

Gyrojet Rifle - Damage 5, Close OK, Near OK, Far OK


Infiltrator Armour: -1 damage from ballistic (B) and energy (E) weapons


Physical Condition Monitor

  O    -1 (CON Check: 3)

 OO    -2 (CON Check: 5)

OOO -3 (CON Check: 7)

OOO -4 (CON Check: 10)

   O   Staggered (CON Check: 11)

   O   Dead (CON Check: Dead)

Fatigue Condition Monitor

 OO   -1

 OO   -2

OOO -3

OOO -4

   O   Staggered

   O   Knocked Out

As always, if you use Carter, please let me know.

Like Catalina, Carter was easy to create.  With more points, he is more skilled, but that's the difference between the Clans and the Inner Sphere.  Something to note, though, is that Clan PC creation isn't completely compatible with Inner Sphere character creation.  If you're going for a mix of Clan and IS characters, choose where the campaign will be set before starting.  If the PCs are going to be an Inner Sphere mercenary group with a Clanner pilot as part of the unit, figure out how that works, then use the IS Hardware totals.  The Clanner is still going to be a Veteran, but may not have access to an OmniMech.  However, if the group is playing a Clan unit with someone wanting to be a former IS bondsman taking the same route as Phelan Kell to become a Clan warrior, then use the Clan Hardware rules while using the IS Life Path.  Mixing and matching is allowed; it just takes a bit of thought.

A cat photo for making it this far.  (Model is Jewel, photo by author.)

Friday, Lost in Translation continues at Psycho Drive-In.

Saturday, Lost in Translation can be found at The Seventh Sanctum.

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