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BattleTech

Lunar Trial

You Wolves have no honor, so we will resolve this in a Circle of Equals. I call for a Trial of Grievance!

MechWarrior Lex

I recently picked up a lunar map sheet as an impulse buy, so I decided that I should play a quick game on it. In order to keep with the map’s theme, I decided to use the Vacuum and Low Gravity rules from Tactical Operations. Those rules would allow the ’Mechs to move faster than normal but also make them more fragile due to the risk of hull breaches in the vacuum of space.

With the battlefield picked, I then decided it was a good excuse to use some of my newly painted ’Mechs. I’ve been painting Clan units and decided that playing a trial between two warriors would be a good setup and Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon would be great opponents.

The Forces

Clan Wolf, Beta Galaxy

  • Serafina (3/4), Timber Wolf Prime

Serafina pilots a Timber Wolf and favors its primary configuration. It offers her a mix of long range firepower and dangerous close range brawling ability.

Serafina has a battle value of 3,613.

Clan Jade Falcon, Delta Galaxy

  • Lex (2/4), Summoner Prime

Lex commands a Summoner. For this trial, they have chosen the prime configuration because they think the long range weaponry and jump jets will help them stay at range while the cluster munitions of the LB-X autocannon will help to open up their opponent’s ’Mech to the vacuum.

Lex has a battle value of 3,539.

The Battle

Serafina and Lex agreed to hold their Trial of Grievance on the barren surface of the moon well away from the aerospace and observation facility where they were both stationed.

As the trial began, both MechWarriors sought to close the distance while staying out of sight. The low gravity allowed them to bound their OmniMechs over the barren terrain at nearly 90 kilometers per hour while only exerting their reactors as much as normal walking.

As the two ’Mechs came within about 500 meters of one another, Lex fired their jump jets to pull back to a position offering cover behind a ridge line. Serafina scrambled her Timber Wolf up a ridge line to maintain line of sight and fired her large lasers at the Summoner. Both shots went wide, but the particle cannon blast that came back towards her missed too.

Lex then walked their Summoner fully behind the ridge while Sera stalked closer. As she got closer, Lex rushed out of concealment and began to circle around to maintain a distance of about 360 meters. As Lex circled, they fired all of their weapons at the Timber Wolf but everything missed as their target bounded quickly in the low gravity. Sera unleashed a volley of laser fire and missiles back at the Summoner. The missile flights shot past their target, but one of the large lasers melted away armor on Lex’s left arm.

As the two heavy OmniMechs continued to circle one another, Serafina managed to close the distance to about 300 meters. Once her range finder pinged that the Summoner was within medium range of her secondary lasers, she opened up with all of her arm-mounted lasers and melted away armor from the torso of Lex’s OmniMech. Lex’s particle cannon vaporized a chunk of lunar rock, but long-range missiles and cluster munitions blasted chunks of armor away from the Timber Wolf’s torso. Lex smiled as they saw a blast of air escape from their target’s left torso after the missile impacts.

Suddenly dealing with a surge of heat as parts of her extra-light fusion reactor’s cooling system shut down due to exposure to the vacuum of space, Sera rushed her Timber Wolf behind a ridge line to give its heat sinks time to vent the waste heat. Lex had expected to continue circling her, and cursed as their target disappeared.

After a few seconds, her Timber Wolf was back to normal heat levels, so Sera bounded out of hiding and back into the fight at high speed. Spotting movement, Lex kicked up their Summoner’s throttle to get behind the fast-moving Timber Wolf, but maneuvering at that speed was well outside of what their heavy ’Mech’s design parameters and they felt the internal structure of its legs stress and crack as they pushed past its normal top speed. Sera twisted her Timber Wolf’s torso to track the rushing Summoner. Her large laser beam melted away the last of its left arm armor exposing it to the vacuum and then her medium laser burned a line in the Summoner’s green leg armor.

As Lex got behind the Timber Wolf, they fired their own weapons. The autocannon in their left arm went wide on its final shot as the arm suffered from its breach. The volley of missiles arced through the space the Timber Wolf was in a moment earlier. Then the artificial lightning of the particle cannon finally scored a hit, blasting through the Timber Wolf’s thin rear armor and venting its right torso.

With most of its torso exposed to the vacuum, Serafina’s Timber Wolf went into emergency shutdown because its reactor could no longer operate safely.

The Outcome

With Sera’s OmniMech shut down due to hull breaches, Lex secured victory in the Trial of Grievance. They claimed the disabled Timber Wolf as isorla to add to Clan Jade Falcon’s might.

Clan Wolf Damage Report

Serafina’s Timber Wolf took damage to its armor and the internal structure of its right torso. It suffered hull breaches to both its left and right torso sections.

Clan Jade Falcon Damage Report

Lex’s Summoner suffered damage to its armor and the internal structure of its left arm. It also took internal damage to both of its legs from the stress of high speed maneuvers in the low gravity. Its left arm suffered a hull breach.

Thoughts on the Battle

Playing with the vacuum and low gravity special rules was a fun way to add some extra variety to the game. Having the heavy OmniMechs boosted to 10/15 movement profiles and being able to gamble on moving fast at the risk of taking leg damage made for some interesting choices. The vacuum rules felt punishing with fairly high chance of a location being vented each time it took damage. The combination made for a fun game though with a focus on moving quickly to maintain a high target movement modifier since each hit had a much higher than normal chance of taking out critical systems.

I love that BattleTech offers such a wide range of battlefield condition options, and I encourage you to try out different combinations of terrain and conditions just to mix things up in your games.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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