Scenario 10: The Cat and the Dragon
Having smashed their way through all the defences thrown at them, the Nova Cats finally succeeded breaking into the Kado-Guchi Valley. They were expecting stiff resistance, but got more than they bargained for in the form of the Dragon’s Claws, a unit of veteran Mechwarriors commanded by Coordinator Takashi Kurita. Knowing that his father may opt for a suicidal charge reminiscent of the ancient Terran Samurai, Theodore Kurita entrusted his aid, Sho-sa Shin Yodama, with the responsibility of holding Takashi and his warriors in check. To help him, explosives were hidden beneath Takashi’s cockpit. Yodama had the triggering mechanism in his Phoenix Hawk, providing him with some measure of leverage over the cantankerous old warrior. Historically, Yodama was successful in reining Takashi and his warriors in, providing an unwavering defensive line that ultimately held back the invading Clans.
The Nova Cats were represented by a Mad Dog Primary and a Summoner Primary. The Mad Dog happens to be KuriboGoombas favourite Mech (dyed in the wool Ghost Bear, that one) and I love Summoners. The Draconis force consisted of a Phoenix Hawk piloted by Sho-sa Shin Yodama, a Grand Dragon piloted by Coordinator Takashi Kurita, a Hatamato Chi and a Hatchetman.
Every turn Yodama and Takashi had to make an opposed piloting skill roll to prevent Takashi from going berserk and charging the nearest enemy Mech, trying to take it down in physical combat. His Genyosha bodyguards would follow him into close combat, which would be an absolute riot.
One way to win this game is to destroy the Phoenix Hawk first, then lead the rest on a merry chase. The hard part is nailing the Phoenix Hawk, which can jump around out of sight pretty easily. Goomba and I didn’t really talk about tactics. To be honest, we have been playing Battletech together for that long, we don’t really need to talk anymore, tactics just happen.
Or… Goomba just charges into the teeth of the enemy and my new objective is “rescue Goomba”.
Goomba charged his Mad Dog forward in an attempt to split the Draconis forces with the forest in between. This would prevent them all from focusing on a single Clan Mech. Wade took advantage of the Mad Dog’s proximity to jump the Phoenix Hawk behind and unleash fire into the weak rear armour, gunning for a cheap kill. The Pho-hawk managed to score a critical hit but didn’t make a significant impact. It did, however, leave the Mad Dog unable to turn its back on any enemy Mechs for the rest of the game. I covered him, taking off the Phoenix Hawks arm, which would usually trigger it to withdraw. We weren’t using withdrawal rules this time around though, to represent the utterly cutthroat nature of the battle. The Mad Dog pounded the Hatamato Chi, but also took some serious damage in return.
Interestingly, Takashi beat Yodama’s piloting skill roll early on, despite heavy modifiers. I jumped my Summoner in and drew the Genyosha Mechs away to take the heat off Goomba. We focused fire on the Hatamato Chi for several turns whilst avoiding the worst of the physical attack whirlwind we had unleased.
Unfortunately, the Mad Dog took a hip and lower leg actuator hit which slowed it down. The Hatchetman, which we had blocked out of the equation by keeping it perpetually on the wrong side of the forest, closed in and began hacking into the Mad Dog. Goomba did everything he could to keep pressure on the Hatamato Chi, which really should have gone down by now… After several turns of punishing close combat the Mad Dog lost its leg and took a critical hit to its LRM 20 ammo bin. With its other arm required to prop itself up, the Mech had no way of taking shots. It was effectively dead.
With the rest of the Lance focusing on me, I spread solid LB-10X AC and ER PPC shots between the weakened Phoenix Hawk and the Hatamato Chi. I stripped both of their armour and switched to cluster munitions for the kill. But. They. Just. Wouldn’t. Die.
After turn after turn of trading fire, I had one last shot to take them both down. The ER PPC missed and the LB 10X AC only hit with 3 cluster shots (I was banking on the average, 6). I still managed to score 3 critical hits on the centre torso, but couldn’t pull off the kill. In return, concentrated (lucky) fire took out one of the Summoners legs and we called it a night.
As the smoke cleared we had a close look at the record sheets and found that the Hatamato Chi had sustained a staggering 259 points of damage. It will forever be known as the Zombie Chi! The Draconis Combine force was awarded a minor victory, bumping the campaign VP's in favour of the defenders (+15 VP). In addition to this, Takashi had broken his leash and dragged the whole Draconis defensive line down with him. This will have huge repercussions in terms of the campaign, as it will now diverge from the canon history quite radically. Fantastic!
Stay posted for the next scenario: A Samurai’s Death.
See you across the table,