Monday, June 24, 2019

# 'Mechs Controlled By Local Nobles in 3025

[Three funerals and a wedding in the span of six weeks; that's life, I guess. Sorry for not having this up earlier.]

TL;DR? Houses Steiner, Davion and Liao seem to reckon second-line forces as
70 / 5 + 2 = 16 Davion second-line regiments
50 / 5 + 2 = 12 Steiner second-line regiments
40 / 5 + 2 = 10 Liao second-line regiments
and Marik, Davion and Liao count their nominal regiments as
70 *1.1 + 1 = 78 nominal Davion House regiments
50 *1.1 + 1 = 56 nominal Marik House regiments
40 *1.1 + 1 = 45 nominal Liao House regiments
20 *1.1 + 1 = 23 nominal Liao Merc regiments

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Sleepers of the Second Rune

Will post some BattleTech math Sunday. Meanwhile:

In a Cavern Beneath the Tundra

An enormous chandelier hangs by three chains instead of seven, almost (but not quite) level, with a sarcophagus where each chain reaches the chandelier. Each lid is carved with its own dangerous beast (proud lion, wrathful bear, etc) with different magic (exploding rune for wrath, charm person for lust, etc) on each. Two of the broken chains are tangled up with a lower tier of the chandelier, where hangs an eighth sarcophagus carved with a kingly, innocent, Wish-granting lamb. The other two broken chains [hang down from the chandelier,] swing[ing] free in the darkness.

Someone capable of language and dreaming can attempt to activate the Wish. If they fail, or open any of the sarcophagi, nine-foot-tall mummified paladins rise from the seven beastly sarcophagi to drive them off.

They wield the sarcophagus lids as shields. The chains attach to those lids through pulleys in the bottom of the sarcophagi so, as the mummies move, the chandelier tilts. The mummies are excellent at holding on and can climb up or down any intact chain. (If all seven chains were intact, and all seven mummies were to climb those chains through holes in the roof of the cavern, the chandelier would be lifted towards an easier access point there.)

The Dream of the Lamb

A person activating the Wish enters a trance (perhaps falling from the chandelier) and joins the dream of the eighth sarcophagus.

The dream is of a windowless dome a hundred feet across. A worn but regal paladin sits on a throne whose back is scorched and broken; the throne sits atop a high, many-stepped dais; the dais, the throne, and the paladin contemplate a large rune of purple stone set into the floor. Memories of some ancient calamity drift across the walls like light through a soap bubble, along with images of whatever the other PCs are currently doing in the cavern.

The paladin will release the character from their trance if asked. He will not volunteer to grant the Wish. If the character asks him to grant it, he'll ask what the character's worst fear or nightmare is, because his dream-rune is keeping back something even more fearsome; any fear or nightmare the player offers is manifested and inflicted on the PCs at the chandelier.

If the PC can convince the paladin that their Wish will serve the same ultimate goal as the dream-rune, the paladin will grant it, some of the rune will flake away, and the player character will wake from their trance.

Basic image of the throne and chandelier inspired by one of Pardoe's chronicles; idea of chains as shifty terrain from a Christmas rescue; "tell me your fears" from some episode of Dice, Camera Action; and the whole thing has shades of the Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

As written, this is a "shiny thing" trap that relies on the players risking their lives for something they might not notice or need. I'd be happier adding an extra draw - sticking a minor McGuffin or key among the sarcophagi, making the chains part of an optional path from floor to ceiling, or getting a critical NPC to flee onto it, or something.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Things You Might Find On My Character's Corpse

Ignoring any "normal" equipment and magic items you might expect and sticking to more interesting oddities which may be of some small use.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Hagfish

There is an ooze which basks near recent battlefields, mass graves, and certain cemeteries, absorbing energies which emanate from rotting meat.

The Caravan

A group of traders discovered that, as the ooze moves to a new site, its puddle transforms into a portal big enough and which lasts long enough to drive a caravan through. They became famous for their fast journeys. They grew confident, and complacent, and now their caravan is only found near recent battlefields, mass graves, and certain cemeteries.

If you see them, you may notice that they can't shiver, can't walk backwards, and can't swallow. If you call out to them, they will repeat back to you whichever of your words seem most likely to make you leave. They have no tongues: their throats are full of butterflies, which puppet them, and drink blood. The puppets can kick twice as hard as a rifle shoots, and the swarm is happy to gain more puppets.

The now hundred-foot ooze coats the caravan's horses and wagons. What look from a distance like poles with pennants are spines, from which butterflies bud in sheets.

The ooze and the swarm are blind but possess an excellent sense of smell. The puppets spread out at twilight, to help the swarm forage; the puppets stand on one foot - with almost weeble-wobble balance - when empty. The ooze absorbs memories from the dead and its puppets can undertake any task those memories would allow.

The Herald

One member of the caravan, instead of becoming a puppet, was warped and sculpted into a misshapen ogre. He reclines on a bed of flying skulls, floating lazily backwards away from the caravan, announcing its presence on his oversized lute [edit: giant harp]. His great size and strength give his songs extra range.

He wears a large bearskin, has grown back the wrong number of arms, and - except for his ooze-filled veins - turns translucent when he casts spells.

Bolder or more desperate merchants sometimes seek him out to negotiate quick passages. He tries to sell them flasks of ooze. 

Certain Cemeteries

Liquefaction marks places where the ooze has puddle-ported - sand boils erupt, and the ground settles and flows unevenly, damaging whatever buildings and roads rest on it.

One town spotted a portal as it was forming and plugged it with debris; they don't realize the plug is slowly failing. Other towns have made their funeral practices more friendly to the ooze, because it preys on undead.

Dragons are cool and all, but other animals are weird too. The puddle-porting is part Nydus Canal and part failed summoning circle, while the traders are inspired by these traders

Edit, May 24th: I have the vaguest impression that the butterflies-in-the-throat are like something I've heard before, and that the ooze's spines are similar to something else I've read before. The wagon train may be similar to a third thing, but all I recall about THAT was that the caboose contained a coffin which slowly transformed its unwilling occupant into a hag or something.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

3025 Heavy Production: FWL vs MW1e

Remember how the Free Worlds League's manufacturing listings only added up to 486 'Mechs per year instead of the 500 claimed in the text? The most popular solution is to add 14 Thunderbolts per year. I eventually came around to that solution too, but now I think it's actually 13 Thunderbolts per year, not 14.
  • The manufacturing chart shows the FWL building only 257 universal designs per year. 13 Thunderbolts would raise that to exactly 270. 
  • The Earthwerks corporate profile mentions Thunderbolts instead of Phoenix Hawks, and the manufacturing chart lists the Phoenix Hawk at 13 per year.
  • When you line the FWL figures up against my figures from the MW1e encounter tables, the Thunderbolt fits perfectly at 13 per year.

From left to right, the Warhammer, Marauder, Archer, Thunderbolt and Rifleman align so perfectly that I have to suspect these values represent their overall, sphere-wide ratios.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Singing Squid, Astral Fish, and Uppity Iguanas

I've been using NASA's "Symphonies of the Planets" as white noise lately, and naturally, it turns one's thoughts to space whales and the like. So picture this:

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Quick note on 3025 production of universal designs

The Inner Sphere and Periphery build a total of 2867 'Mechs per year. Supposing half of those are the the universal designs from the 2nd edition boxed set, then I think their annual production by each House should break down like this:

Total 1433.33 (half of 2867)
Davion 270
Kurita 135 (counting the 270 LAMs at half covers the other 135)
Steiner 270
Marik 270, +51.67 "-M" Variants
Liao 270
Periphery 166.67 (they don't build any other 'Mechs, just the universal designs)

This gives me a few clues about the other Houses. Most notably, it'll help me sort out the weirdness in the Marik production data, and it looks like Aldis Industries of Terra builds something other than Stingers for the Federated Suns.