On a planet recently liberated from the fifty year rule of a maniacal dictator, a group of professional mech pilots, or Lancers as they're known, will soon arrive. As varying factions vie for dominance in the wake of the change, while the loyalist remnants launch a spree of terror across the planet, these pilots will provide instrumental in the shaping of what comes next.
The setting for this game is located in the Field Guide to Suldan
Suldan is a settled planet off of Mahendragiri Station on the Vindhya line which is in the process of transitioning from Colony to Core World status. An arid planet orbiting a G-type main sequence star, Suldan required only modest terraforming to be comfortably habitable. Settlement is focused primarily around the "oasis zone" of the northern hemisphere which contains the majority of the planet's surface bodies of liquid water (comprising around 12% of the planet's total surface area) while the southern hemisphere is largely wasteland ranging from the equatorial deserts down to the landlocked ice caps at the southern pole. The planet has two moons in orbit, Akaya and Neru, as well as an asteroid field which was presumably a third lunar body that suffered a cataclysmic event at some point in the distant past. A Suldani day is roughly 27 Cradle Standard hours long.
The current planetary population is approximately 20 million natives, centered primarily around the colonial capital city of Hadiqa, along with various minor settlements further out. Suldan was originally flagged as being a rich source of mineral wealth and its foremost industry is mining the planet's substantial deposits of osmium, titanium, platinum, tantalum, uranium, and various lanthanides. Other exports include valuable native crops such as incense grass and Suldani peppercorns along with entertainment media, primarily sports and gladiatorial competitions. In addition, the galactic-tier corporation Chandrasekhar & Herschel Ltd. has its headquarters on Suldan.
Suldan is, depending on one's perspective, either recovering from or still embroiled in civil war. For the last 50 years of the planet's 250 year settlement history it was ruled by self-appointed Emir Julian Ambrose Khan, who seized power in a bloody coup that deposed the incorporate administrative council that had previously governed the planet. The Emir's tyrannical rule was characterized by a massive widening in the already significant gap between Suldan's socioeconomic classes, a substantial increase in military allocations far beyond what was necessary for the world's population numbers and strategic value, oppressive and exploitative civic policies, as well as endemic corruption, decadence, and brutality. The Emir's court was a never-ending bacchanal catering to the jaded whims of those that had supported his rise to power while the rest of the populace was forced to meet increasingly demanding production quotas to fuel this opulent lifestyle as well as participate in ever more bloody gladiatorial spectacles for the Emir's entertainment. The Union Administrator for Suldan at the time, Miranda Cortez, was complicit in this, preferring to support and subtly manipulate the Emir's reign over the world while exploiting the situation for Union's gain as well as her own.
The situation eventually came to a head when a gladiator named Jun Chandreskhar won the quinquennial Grand Games, rising above every other challenge and competitor the arena had to offer and awarding her the prize of any boon she wished to be granted by the Emir. To his surprise and amusement, rather than ask for wealth as so many champions often did she instead demanded a license of incorporation, granting her the right to create, distribute, and profit from printer licenses both on-world as well as off. This unusual request tickled the Emir's fancy and it was granted. Under the guise of establishing a corporation for custom designed mech frames and weaponry for specialized purposes, Chandrasekhar began covertly supplying beleaguered rebels opposing the Emir with arms and equipment. In time Chandrasekhar would become a unifying figure of the rebel movement, bringing the scattered cells and cadres together under a common banner.
However the tipping point came when the Emir died from a narcotics overdose during his birthday celebration, his 17th death in fact. Unknown to all but a select few, the Emir had been perpetuating his reign indefinitely by cloning himself. Repeated deaths and resurrections had done little for his already tenuous mental stability, but it ensured the primacy of his rule not only due to his indifference to death but due to the fact that he had encrypted much of Suldan's civil and planetary defense systems using his own genetic sequence as the key. Without his biometric authorization Suldan would be crippled and vulnerable, and thus it was in the best interests of those who enjoyed the decadent life his rule afforded them to allow him to retain the throne.
Unfortunately for the Emir's supporters this wasn't to last, as it was discovered only too late into the process of reviving him that someone had managed to sabotage his personal genebank with a mutagenic viral agent. The Emir's clonal stock was tainted beyond repair, and the body that decanted was twisted and deformed, but the greater problem was that his geneprint had been irrevocably altered beyond established parameters, locking him out of the security system that he himself had established. It was at this time that the rebellion began launching a full-scale uprising, targeting key installations across the city in a series of coordinated attacks. In a panic, several of the Emir's retainers attempted to bypass the security protocols to bring the idle defense systems online in order to save themselves.
Their mistake would prove to be a short-lived one. Upon detecting the intrusion the defense system locked itself down before launching a retributive strike against the source of the unauthorized access attempt. Within minutes the royal palace was obliterated by an orbital kinetic payload, decapitating Suldan's government and military in one fell swoop. The system then launched punitive strikes against randomly selected targets within Hadiqa and its outskirts as a "warning" against further intrusion attempts resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life. By the time the dust settled and the system entered into a standby state over 100,000 people had been killed, but the rebellion had at last successfully overthrown the Emir and seized what remained of the palace. For the moment victory was theirs.
But the Emir continues to haunt the people of Suldan. Managing to escape the palace before its destruction accompanied by Miranda Cortez and a sizable contingent of his personal guard and retainers, they fled Hadiqa to an undisclosed location, an emergency command bunker far from the capital, unfinished and consequently unaffected by the security lockdown. From there the deposed Emir in exile has gathered those forces still loyal to him and begun a campaign of terror attacks against the nascent transitional government, hijacking shipments of raw materials to fuel their efforts. Due to this ongoing instability as well as the planet's Administrator having gone off the grid, a Union Naval Expeditionary Force has recently been dispatched to Suldan under the command of Captain Yusef Oshana to assess the situation and determine the appropriate level of intervention necessary to restore order to the region.
The matter of restoring stability is further complicated by the addition of a secondary conflict playing out across the planet between PMC forces under the employ of Arclight TransColonial, one of the original participating corporations in the Suldan Colonial Venture, and the Suldani Independence Front, the newly formed militia assembled by the clans of settlers and miners who fled into the badlands to escape the Emir's reach. Arclight is determined to begin aggressively making up for the financial losses they incurred when the Emir's coup resulted in illegal export sanctions against the other members of the Colonial Venture before anyone else can, and their reclamation teams have been drawn into an increasingly bloody asymmetrical war with SIF forces defending their homes.
The current cast and their currently printed mechs
Important factions that the PCs have interacted with
- The Provisional Government of Suldan: The current rulers of Suldan, a former revolutionary group that was making significant strides against the Emir until his most recent death. Following the chaos that resulted from the corruption of his cloning system, Jun Chandreskhar and her rebellion were able to seize power. The government presently consists of a council of delegates, former revolutionaries, who are overseeing the various administrative functions and civil services they've inherited. They are presently in the process of transitioning from a revolutionary movement to a full government, though that has come with its own difficulties.
- Loyalists to the Emir: Marching under the symbol of a pair of crossed, golden sword; the force of his His Most Royal Highness, Julian Ambrose Khan, Emir of Suldan (In Exile) represent a motley crew of insurgents ranging from fanatical rebels, hired guns, former members of the Royal Army and the elite personal guard of Julian Amrose Khan. Their goal is to return the Emir to the throne they believe (or have been paid to believe) is rightfully his. Due to the nature of Suldan's military build up under the Emir and the nature of his deposal, the insurgents have access to rather more military gear than most rebellions typically have; and the Emir is capable of putting powerful forces in the field. At present, his forces are using this gear to commit waves of terrorist attacks across the inhabited portion of the planet, aimed at collapsing the provisional government.
- Arclight Transcolonial: A long tim ago, Arclight was one of five corporations that colonized Suldan initially, and controlled it with representatives on the Corporate Council. That ended when the Emir overthrew the council, and executed most of their representatives on the planet. By the time any of the offworld corporations realized what was going on, he was dug in with a defense system that made removing him a costly proposition. The Union representative tied up their claims in red tape the Union, leading to a stalemate. With the fall of the Emir, however, Arclight has come to reclaim fifty years worth of back taxes, the first of the five to make a move on the liberated planet. It was Arclight combat ships that cleared the way through the renegade defense network, and Arclight personnel that reopened the spaceport and are taking a cut of everything that moves on and off the planet. But it's not enough. Their current business plan to recoup their losses causes for massive mineral exploitation in the Chiraji Mountain Range near the badlands. This has led to differences with the people living there.
- The Union: The Union is far too vast to cover in a brief description. But they have come to Suldan. The light frigate Iphigenia, under the command of Captain Yusef Oshana, has entered orbit. The Union response to the chaos on the surface. Officially, his mission is to assess the planet, assist in the restoration of order and reestablish the Union presence. He's been consulting with the provisional government, and deploying engineers and mech units to the surface, though he has yet to officially declare his support. Right now, his forces appear to be mostly gathering information.
The former Union Representative on the planet, Miranda Cortez, has been missing since the bombardment of Hadiqa. The Union doesn't believe she's dead, or they would have sent much more than a light frigate to the planet. The death of a Union Representative calls for a retaliation... but one whose status is unknown makes the situation more... fluid.
Captain Yusef Oshana has the ability to make or break Suldan. His assessment to Union Command will have a great, and every faction wants to court his favor. His forces are light on the planet, but attacking him is attacking the Union. Only a madman would do that.
- The Red Circle: A criminal outfit in Hadiqa City that runs a high tech black market. They predate the revolution, and they predate the Emir. Secrecy and paranoia have long been their watch words, clients very rarely directly contact them. Cut outs and anonymous messages are their preferred means of contact. Their prices are high, but they offer rare technology stolen from the Emir's research labs and weapons stolen from military stockpiles. They're also willing to trade favors for clients with certain skillsets.
Key figures that the PCs have met
- Colonel Joumari: A high ranking member of the provisional government's military, Colonel Joumari is the primary contact point between the hired freelancers and the mercenaries being employed by the government. A rebel soldier from the days under the Emir, Joumari nonetheless seems to have an excellent understanding of the exigencies and twists of mercenary work; this likely being the reason why he was given this job in the first place.
- Captain Mason: A cigar chomping engineer, Mason specializes in heavy equipment, from transports to construction gear. He used to be a civilian engineer until he got involved in the rebellion against the Emir after one atrocity too many. He's direct, straightforward and has a profound loathing of the Loyalists.
- Lieuteant Said: A soft spoken member of the Provisional Government's police, Said is another veteran of the rebellion who's transitioned into the more. He's of a philosophical bent, and has been taking active part in the discussions as to what form the new government should take and how it should enforce its laws. Meanwhile, he's working to maintain order and defend the people in the current conflict.
- The Lancer in Red Armor and a Horus Insignia: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
At present time, the team has access to four allies. Mason and his engineers, Lieutenant Said and his police infantry, Rajaa and his hacking rig and Najwaa the Guerilla
On each combat encounter, provided sufficient time for preparation is available, one ally can be taken into the combat encounter. Mason brings his Bridgelayer vehicle, Said brings two squads of infantry, Rajaa brings an Ewar vehicle and Najwa is a wildcard.
Mason's Bridge Layer
H: 5 A: -5 S: 1 E: 3
System, Full Action, Limited (1)
As a Full Action, the Bridgelayer can deploy a piece of unfolding bridge terrain from itself. The bridge is 3 squares wide by 6 squares long, and is laid down on top of existing terrain. One of the narrow ends must be placed adjacent to the Bridgelayer. Units on the bridge ignore any difficult or dangerous terrain and any altered elevation in the spaces it now covers, granting safe passage over broken ground, rivers and chasms, and so forth. It can be tilted up or down, reaching a height or depth of up to 6 squares from the starting elevation of the Bridgelayer, so it might grant access for ground units to the top of a large building or bottom of a ravine. The Bridgelayer can retrieve the bridge as a Full Action. Each space of the bridge has 20 HP and armour 3.
System, Quick Action
The Bridgelayer may create a contiguous area of up to 3 spaces of difficult terrain, at least one of which must be adjacent to the Bridgelayer. It may also either excavate up to 3 spaces of trench adjacent to itself, which offer soft cover to units entirely within them, or create 3 squares of size 1 10 HP cover adjacent to itself. The squares chosen do not need to be free; the Bridgelayer deals 10 AP kinetic damage to any objects or terrain in those spaces, while units must pass an Agility save or be knocked prone into an adjacent space, and take 4/5/6 AP kinetic damage.
Adjacent allies can use the Bridgelayer for hard cover.
The Bridgelayer cannot be knocked back, prone, pushed, or pulled by any actor smaller than itself.
The Bridgelayer ignores difficult terrain.
When the Bridgelayer finishes its movement or a boost, it may deal 30 AP kinetic damage to any number of adjacent objects or pieces of terrain. Any adjacent enemies must also succeed at an Agility save or be knocked back 3 spaces and knocked prone.
+1 vs evasion
3 kinetic damage
When the crane claw hits a target, they are also either grappled or suffer Knockback 5.
Said's Police Squads
H: 2 A: 2 S: 2 E: 2
The Squad acts as one character, but it represents a group of soldiers acting together. When the Squad takes a certain amount of damage, it results in the narrative death of one or more of those soldiers. Eventually, this reduces the number of attacks the Squad can make each turn, as listed in the relevant weapon profiles. By default, the Squad is made up of 10 members, each with 1 HP.
Strength in Numbers
The Squad has RESISTANCE to all damage from attacks that aren’t area , and is IMMUNE to GRAPPLE, RAM, KNOCKBACK, and STUNNED.
Instead of tracking the position of individual soldiers, the Squad’s members are assumed to move freely within the space it occupies. Other characters can freely move through and end their turn in spaces occupied by the Squad, and as long as the Squad occupies at least 2 free spaces it can end its turn overlapping obstructions, cover, or other characters.
Individual soldiers can easily duck behind cover, but the sheer force of mech-scale weapons limits how effectively they can be shielded. The squad always has soft cover, even in the open, but can’t benefit from hard cover.
+2 vs evasion
3 energy damage
This weapon can make two attacks at a time; if the Squad loses more than half its HP, it can only make one attack at a time.
+1 vs Evasion
5 AP Energy Damage
Duck and Cover
Trigger: The Squad is hit by an attack.
Effect: The Squad gains Resistance to the damage but becomes Immobilized until the end of their next turn
H: 0 A: 1 S: 3 E: -2
+1 vs e-defence/tier with +1 Accuracy
4 kinetic damage
Once per round as a reaction when an enemy targets an ally’s e-defense within the Relay’s Sensor range with a Quick Tech or Full Tech action, the Relay becomes the target instead. The Relay cannot use this system if it is Jammed.
As long as the Relay is not engaged or Jammed, any ally within their sensor range of the Relay may choose targets for their Quick Tech and Full Tech actions using the area of the Relay’s sensor range instead of their own.
As long as the Relay is not Jammed, allies within range 5 of the Relay are immune to the Jammed Condition and enemy Quick Tech and Full Tech actions targeting their e-defence suffer 1 Difficulty.
System, Protocol, 2 heat (self)
At the beginning of its turn, the Relay may choose a single Quick Tech action that an ally within its Sensor range possesses. Until the end of its turn, the Relay can use this Quick Tech action as if it possessed the system itself.
Najwaa the Guerilla
Najwaa is a wildcard. She doesn't deploy to the map as a unit, but instead will infiltrate and sneak onto it ahead of the team if given the opportunity, and attempt to trigger various effects to aid the team. You never know what you'll get with her, but it'll always be good (and often involve explosives).