Thursday, August 25, 2016

33 Solahma NPCs

Need NPCs? Here's a bunch. Back at the beginning of June, someone in /BTG/ requested almost-solahma Smoke Jaguars for a "Dirty Dozen" type unit to be assembled in secret by their Loremaster.

I responded with four, each one a different combination of happy or unhappy and ambitious or not ambitious. (I wanted a third angle to differentiate their attitudes, which would've made for eight combinations, but couldn't come up with one.) Named randomly because I never know how to name* Clanners.
Oscar, RFL IIC (Jag AC variant) - mediocre warrior from a group of patrilineal mixings the Jags have given up on. All warriors from that breeding line know that their careers are basically over, no matter what trajectory they were on before. The chip on Oscar's shoulder has worked him into even worse assignments than he'd normally get.

Arkady [insert bloodname], Warhammer IIC (Jag LRM variant) - one of the intelligent commanders who retreated early on Tukayyid. Ousted by a new power bloc but accepted the demotion gracefully. Recognizes a losing battle and respects enemies who devise them.

Lora and Branka, Shadow Cats - relatively young; could've been ristars but pissed off the wrong people. Mistakenly see themselves as the Loremaster's proteges and are convinced that a good showing here puts them on track to a bloodname.

Tamari, Jenner IIC - unusually competent freebirth warrior who was popular isorla among several Homeworld Clans in the four years before Revival. Seems easy going for a Jag - she tries to settle disputes with comrades with Trial by Dance Off (augmented or not) instead of combat - yet really enjoys unaugmented murder and is basically super happy to be in this unit.
I'm pretty happy with these, even if they're not terrifically original. (I'm pretty sure I'm channeling the "mistaken protege," "popular isorla" and "augmented dance-off" concepts from NPCs other people have posted previously.)

After mulling it over a few hours, I posted six more:
Marko, Etta and Hikmat, HBK IICs - rebels without causes in a land of rebels without causes. Tukayyid broke them; Marko is listless, Etta is mindlessly contrary, and Hikmat is slowly going mad from stress. When kept together they keep each other balanced, but have also taken to robbing petty supply points with unclanlike subterfuge.

Satu, SCP-1N Scorpion (with clantech weaponry) - was on point for her cluster on Tukayyid and survived with her honor more or less intact. None too bright, she was tricked into volunteering for this unit and for her "gloriously challenging" 'Mech. Splits her time between ridiculous future sports and plotting her revenge.

Rosalia, Crossbow - has bounced between front-line clusters and solahma because Jag upper echelons keep forgetting she is a freebirth. This new assignment breaks that pattern, which makes her uneasy. She deals with the uncertainty by examining Inner Sphere goods and broadcasts for cultural weakness.

That Bastard Bernard, Grendel - in the course of trying to sabotage a rival, he accidentally corrupted his own Trueborn genetic records, giftake and living DNA. Won his innocence in a grueling Trial, but is still despised by all and constantly shorted. Was once stranded for a month and by necessity learned basic maintenance and repair.

Silvio, Locust IIC - losing his chance at conquest, plus prolonged (and confused) contact with Cloud Cobras, have warped his mind. Privately believes that his best chance at glory and immortality is to proselytize the Great Houses from within. Acts as though the Invasion is still advancing and continually pushes for assault missions. Luckier than good.

Nomusa, Excalibur (with Clantech weaponry) - a contemporary of the Loremaster. She's bitter about this assignment, which is as much of a favor as the loremaster can do for her. Knows where every galaxy commander's skeletons are buried but doesn't have the will or the leverage to do anything about it.
I'm not as happy with these. They're less sympathetic, less archetypal, still channel NPCs I've seen elsewhere, and have a weirder selection of 'Mechs. It's surprisingly hard to make a distinctively Jaguar-ish second-line star. Maybe I should've used Peregrines.

Of course, I wasn't the only person to respond to the "Dirty Dozen" request. Someone proposed a star of weirdos and misfits who all want out, and who plan to use the secret assignment to make a break for it; this may or may not (I can't tell) have been the person who posted the following mixed star:
Mechwarrior Albert, Shadow Cat.
Laziest Clanner alive, when it doesn't come to pulling the trigger. Has repeatedly fought Trials of Refusal against promotion, ducked a Bloodhouse nomination early in his career, and refuses to bother with basic calisthenics or training except on his own terms. Expert, lethal duelist in and out of his 'Mech, with a fondness for stalking enemies. Once successfully defended his practice of declaring duels by engraving his challenge into a gauss slug and firing it into his chosen target from behind. Has an entirely unholy love for cup ramen. Smiles like someone who has recently discovered they have a face and would like to know more about the topic.

Accepted the assignment after being told Zell is off the table and he can pretty much kill freely "as long as they're designated targets".

Point Commander Sissy Schmidt
Captured Blood Spirit elemental. Likes: fire, teamwork, high-caliber AP weapons, pushups and team-building exercises. Dislikes: Freebirth, Smoke Jaguars, rain. Has mild agoraphobia and spends most of her "free" time Augmented if she has to leave her barracks.

Point 1 "Dinky" Jason, Freebirth Elemental.
Criss-crossed Samoan bloodlines with Elemental. Fucking huge, and getting bigger. Won a Trial of Refusal to remain in the Warrior Caste by choosing to run a "dry" biathlon using Man-pack PPCs against the Trueborn MechWarrior who refused to carry his Star. Refers to his suit's ERSL as a "popgun", and routinely hand-loads the SRM packs.

Point 3 Susan, Freebirth Elemental
Fond of explosives, excellent cook and chemist. Product of an illicit affair between a member of the Scientist caste and her Elemental mother. Suspected in several minor incidents of sabotage, but never caught. Other Jag Elementals find her intellectual bent "disturbing", along with her habit of infiltrating sites through the sewers. On team to get her out of Clan space. If she returns, will be involved in the birth of the Society..

Point 2 Grover, Trueborn Elemental
The rest of the Star are here for a serious cultural or mental defect. Grover's just an asshole. He likes to build furniture (badly), he insults everyone he meets benignly enough that no-one is willing to run the risk of honor loss for challenging him, and he always has a new but technically accurate complaint at the tip of his tongue for any given situation. From the same Sibko as Lincoln Osis, constantly refers to him being a "wanker" in training. Has had 11 separate suit malfs since joining the Star, none have been lethal. Yet.

Currently, unbeknownst to either, the Point Commander has a betting pool going as to whether it's Susan flirting with him or trying to kill him. It is eagerly followed.

Point 4 Hamilton - Freebirth elemental
Crack shot, highly-dexterous, poorly conceals his shameful hobby of gardening. Scrawny for an Elemental, but fast and capable of getting it into places and spaces no-one believes possible. Prefers to work as part of a team; never volunteers to be the pointman but accepts if asked. Excellent at laying covering fire. Called a "Prancing little git of a Tailend Charlie" by his previous point commander in the letter recommending him to the unit.

Point 5 Dumond - Trueborn elemental
Scrounger and inveterate gambler, fascinated by Solaris games. Has Dark Caste creditors blackmailing him that landed him the gig - they want to see what the Clan is planning, and have him sabotage any anti-Caste efforts. He's planning to use the opportunity to wipe them out and maybe make a little bargain or five on the side. Sleazy, yet trustworthy - as long as you don't coerce him. Has a near-legendary "sixth sense" for trouble, which he claims comes from a borrowed Nova Cat lineage. This does not endear him to any of the Jag officers. Holds grudges close, and lets them mellow like fine wine. Looks like the love child of Steve Buscemi and Peter Lorre.

Mechwarrior Davis (Truebirth) - Shadow Hawk C
Davis is a loser. Literally. He barely squeaked through his Trial of Position, and hasn't won one since. He lost out on the chance to ride to Tukayyid after getting traded out of his Cluster in a Trial, even had to come in late to the Invasion. His Nova Omni was destroyed by land-mines in a pirate-hunt in the Periphery last year.
He's also lucky as shit, as long as you define "luck" as "safety". Every theater he's ever hit has gone silent, he's lived through every Trial he's ever fought, his Cluster were slaughtered to a man by traps on Tukayyid within 30 minutes of landing. He managed to avoid Dispossession by claiming a (formerly RWR-owned) vintage SHD that no-one wanted and got it refit to clan standards.

He's in the group partly as a good-luck charm, and partly out of a desperate desire to FINALLY see some action. During training he's also discovered a heretofore-unknown aptitude with indirect missile fire; if the group captures a Longbow or Archer he'll probably try to claim it.

Mechwarrior Lee (F) - Exterminator
Captured Nova Cat Freebirth. Prefers night combat, claiming "The eyes of the Jaguar shine brightest in the dark". Speaks in riddles and proverbs to infuriate her Star Commander (and Bondholder), but is almost insultingly blunt to anyone who isn't an officer, and expects the same in return. Is carrying on an affair with the Star Commander, who finds her odd speech and mannerisms exotic. She followed him here. Lethally-accurate with lasers of all sizes, and an avid hunter. Refuses to touch porcelain of any kind except on direct orders, has a steel toilet in her barracks room.

On the rolls she has a "Caine" custom Exterminator: in fact, she has actually been given a working -4C with NSS and CLPS, as well as upgrading the weapons, structure, and engine to Clan standards and adding a MASC system. The exterior remains largely unchanged, mostly to avoid reconfiguring the stealth systems. The unit only has one spare of each system available, so she's been reading up furiously on the design documents with Elemental Susan and her lead tech (the only other technically-minded people she feels she can trust with the secret).
These seem more like plot hooks or player characters than like set dressing to me. Which, hey, maybe that's what you need sometimes.

All this follows a group of sad sack solahma someone posted in March (come to think of it, these would work better as the misfits trying to make a break for it):
These solahma pilots mostly come from one of my odder hobbies; I create rather pathetic (in both the modern and classical senses) profiles for NPCs, and, every time my PCs kill someone unnecessarily, I give them the profile of whoever they killed. On the other hand, if they go out of their way to take enemies alive, they get the chance to solve one of these character's problems and feel happy about themselves. It works well for my group, dunno about yours.

Mechwarrior Andrej
A freeborn warrior of remarkable skill , Andrej was once considered as close to a freeborn ristar as one could be, until he was relegated to a solahma unit for his 'unclanlike' ways, specifically referring to his secretly marrying a trueborn lancemate. After being separated from his wife, he has taken to distilling bootleg alcohol and drinking heavily.
He pilots a Banshee-3E.
He is 27 years old.

Mechwarrior John Polanski

A freeborn warrior, though fairly talented, Mechwarrior John was demoted to a solahma unit on his 30th birthday due to anti-freeborn prejudice. His freeborn family is one of the few that has secretly preserved knowledge of their original last name down the centuries, and, having no siblings, cousins or children of his own, Mechwarrior John is immensely fearful that his family name will die with him if he dies childless.
If in the inner sphere: Mechwarrior John Polanski has hidden letters throughout his mech, primarily in locations that are the least likely to be damaged were he to die, begging that whoever kills him at least bury him under his real name.
He pilots an Archer(C).
He is 32 years old.

Mechwarrior Ian

A trueborn warrior who has only made it as far as he has by pure stubbornness, Mechwarrior Ian is the prototypical Solahma, seeking death at the first opportunity in each engagement, though he also possesses a deep-seated desire not to allow any of his starmates to be hurt in whatever last stand he chooses for himself, and will in fact abort a promising suicide attack to save a starmate, which is the primary reason that he has lived to be 58 years old.
He pilots a Thug-11E.
He is 58 years old.

Mechwarrior Emily

A Blood Spirit abtakha, she is constantly haunted by her inability to request bondsref from her capturing clan. In general, she despairs of her seeming 'cowardice', and as a result of her conservative fighting strategy, she was demoted into a solahma unit at the age of 26. She occasionally wonders if she would not be better off as a spheroid than the clanswoman she thinks she has failed to be. She is in love with her tech, but believes that she does not return her feelings. As a result, she drinks heavily, typically brooding on her failure.
If she is in the inner sphere, she has begun to collect dolls. If wounded or taken bondswoman, she begs that her carefully cached collection be given to her tech, along with a letter she begs you not to read. If killed, a similar letter will be found upon her copse.
She is 28 years old.
She pilots a Guillotine IIC.

Mechwarrior Carson

One of the oldest Solahma in his clan's touman, Mechwarrior Carson has survived as long as he has by his simple refusal to die; with three artificial limbs and a replacement eye Mechwarrior Carson has survived three full demotions in his time (from Star Commander to Mechwarrior), and shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, he seems to draw strength from stories of Inner Sphere mechwarriors still serving at his own age.
If in the inner sphere, he has become friends and something of a surrogate great uncle to a boy of ten or so in the OZ. If wounded or captured, he asks you not to tell the boy what happened, but to instead tell him that he had been reassigned to the Clan homeworlds.
He is 73 years old, and pilots one of the last surviving Woodsman Omnimechs.
One or two other people contributed NPCs to that March thread too:
Mechwarrior Helmar
Freebirth with Elemental genes on his father's side. Currently jammed into a panther because the Star Commander thinks it's funny. Generally jovial, but occasionally snaps and enters a berzerker rage. Has been known to initiate physical attacks, even in Trials. Other Mechwarriors blame it on the Elemental in him.

Star Commander Jan:
Wounded in the Revival trials, she lost a leg and arm. She tested down while acclimating herself to the bionics, and regards her placement as less permanent than her superiors do. Her Hunchback is reliable, but she desperately misses the speed and firepower of her old Viper.

Mechwarrior Tyler:
A junior FFR Lieutenant, field-commissioned in 3050 after leading a successful fighting withdrawal in his first combat engagement. He was captured and made Bondsman a year later, after successfully legging a Mad Dog with his Grasshopper. His personal honor and disdain for the Combine caught the eye of his captors. He was allowed to keep his family 'Mech, and is training hard to Trial out of his current assignment.

Mechwarrior/Point Commander Pella:
An Elemental who tested into BattleMechs, Pella is a soft spoken woman, who prefers to pilot Heavy and Assault machines so that she can fit herself into the mech. She was relegated to Solahma duty after a raid against the Combine left her the only survivor of her Star after a mine was dropped on them. (Nominally in an Adder modified with 2 LPLs in place of the ER PPCs. It's how I introduced her in my campaign) Age 26.

Mechwarrior/Point Commander Tim:
Relegated to solahma duty after a "Demolitions accident" where he detonated 100 kilograms of C8 during a sweep of Combine troops in the Occupation Zone, killing 400 miners. His Star Captain felt that the man was a menace, and foisted him off to a Solahma command. Age 27

Mechwarrior/Point Commander Raoul:
An aging former Star Captain, Raoul feels every bit of his 45 years when compared to his starmates. His Ice Hellion heritage makes him an outsider, and the failure to secure his bloodheritage from the Hellions has left him bitter at all and sundry.

*Back when I didn't know anything about Gen Con, I always assumed that a player who won the Trial of Bloodright tournament got to invent a new Bloodname. Kinda disappointed that it doesn't work that way.

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