This week’s seed is for A Time of War in celebration of the release of the A Time of War Companion.
The Casting Shadows blog offers Saturday Seeds and campaign starters every Saturday (go figure…). Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll.
This seed could serve as the basis of a single scenario of play, or as the foundation of an ongoing campaign. It is built around the ideas of military contracts, design flaws, and test pilots. Although I imagine it with LAMs as the prototype in question, there is no reason to restrict it to that beleaguered vehicle.
Planting the seed
This will be most effective in eras with increased production of ground-breaking prototypes, but can conceivably be set in any period the group desires. As it revolves around being test pilots, it may be limited to new groups, groups of corporate or military pilots, or groups with members who are recently Dispossessed who must take any opportunity to get in the cockpit again.
I would lean toward running it during the Star League and focus on the highly competitive race for lucrative SLDF contracts, but with the Battletech Universe, there are so many interesting options to go for ranging from Primitive Units, the return of primitive units, and the bleeding edge of “modern” tech.
For once the details are very simple. The characters are part of a test pilot program to put a new machine through its paces, develop an operational framework for it, and eventually demonstrate it for a client – likely a military contractor with deep pockets.
Obviously, for the sake of chills, thrills, risk, and adventure, things will take on a distinct pear shape.
The scenario will allow the players to take on roles of great risk, without focusing on combat, and enjoy being a part of adding something new to your campaign. In addition, they will be motivated to investigate the incidents of sabotage and get to hunt down and throttle the type of lowly coward who puts others lives at risk under cover of darkness and deceit.
What’s going on
The design is flawed in its own right in the early stages of the project and will place pilots’ lives at risk, but more importantly there is a pair of saboteurs on the technical team. Once the project begins to make headway toward a working prototype, they will step up their efforts to ensure the project ends dramatically.
To make this more interesting, neither of these saboteurs is aware of the other and each was put in place for different reasons, by different plotters. As an example, one would be from a competitor and as a result might be the more easily found out. Their goal might only be the delay of the prototype rather than outright failure. Their meddling, however, in conjunction with the other saboteur will have been leading to far more serious incidents than they had planned. This might be a lead in for the characters to get an early move on capturing the second villain.
The second plant might have motives more in the arena of espionage and ensuring this development simply does not occur, for the good of their House or employer. They will be far more careful and use more varied tools in their arsenal of destruction, including having a team of agents at their disposal, turning other employees against the company, bribing licensing officials, interference with fuel and parts deliveries, outright sabotage, and many more.
Uncovering and capturing the responsible party means for the main thing, your friends stop going to the hospital and the morgue, but can also lead to other opportunities within the organization and even more exposure to those who would rather you did your breathing in the depths of space, or inside a pine box two meters deep.
Darken others' doors: