Welcome to the first in the Long Live! series. This series is designed to help players design multi-era lances for use with Battletech and Alpha Strike. Each entry will attempt to build a functional lance with faction-flavor for the Succession Wars, Clan Invasion, FedCom Civil War, and Word of Blake Jihad. In some cases, an entry will have substitute options to add some variety. If you have your own substitutions or suggestions, post them below in the comments!
Build a DCMS lance that can be played across eras, from the Succession Wars through the Jihad.
Restrictions (completely arbitrary)
Click the image to purchase these models from Ironwind Metals! (Miniatures supplied unassembled and unpainted.)
This lance was inspired by a unit that I used in Northwind Highlander colors while playtesting the rules that eventually became Alpha Strike with Charlie Tango and Savage Coyote. I designed the original lance to be a relatively mobile, heavy/assault lance designed to take a beating and outlast the opposition. Consisting of a Highlander HGN-732, Victor VTR-9K, Gallowglas GAL-1GLS, and Thunderbolt TDR-7SE, the green-colored, plaid covered, bagpipe whaling zombies did a bonnie job of just that. The game took place in a relatively open space, with a small city or campus like area in the center. Throughout the game, I discovered that the maneuverability of the jump-capable 'Mechs put me in a favorable position and the ability to attack at all ranges allowed for a fluid, adaptability to the changing table. This was a great lance--I lasted to the end not because of my playing ability, but the lance's playability.
Early Succession Wars (154-174 PV)
In order to qualify for a Fast Assault Lance (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 153), and with the units available to the DCMS in the Early Succession Wars, I had to choose either a unit with one juggernaut or a unit with two snipers. I chose the two snipers option for (funny enough) two reasons. First, the juggernaut model of the Crockett, CRK-5003-0, has significantly less damage potential (3/3/0 v. 4/4/3). Second, because the inspiration lance had a Highlander amongst its ranks, it was necessary to have the Highlander HGN-732 as an option.
With three sniper options, this lance could easily substitute as a Fire Lance instead (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 154).
The high PV of this lance will make adding perks and adjusting pilot skills a challenge. It does, however, serve its intended purpose: a big, jump-capable wall of zombie 'Mech metal.
Late Succession Wars - Lostech (152 PV)
The LosTech era iteration of this unit sees the loss of the Crockett and replacement of the Highlander with a downgraded model. Replacing the Highlander HGN-732 with the Highlander HGN-733 loses some of unit's overall punch (3/4/4 and IF2 reduced to 3/3/2 and IF1). This isn't too much of a concern--infact, it sits well with the Succession Wars LosTech fluff. What's more, this change saves the unit 4 PV and fulfills the requirement for a juggernaut in the Fast Assault lance.
These changes prevent this lance from switching between Fast Assault and Fire Support lances. With the diverse unit roles this era adds, however, it can now become either a Fast Assault or a Command Lance (Alpha Strike Companion, p. 155) if a Striker makes its way into the mix. Surprisingly, the LosTech era doesn't damage the original design of this lance significantly. It remains a survivable, mobile unit.
Late Succession Wars - Renaissance (146-159 PV)
The Succession Wars - Renaissance allows for the cheapest PV option in this lance.
In this era, the Crockett returns as the Katana CRK-5003-2. The two points less armor and 0/-1/-2 points difference in damage brackets sacrificed in the conversion save this unit 8 PV. The Katana remains a respectable foe. Coupled with the return of the Highlander HGN-732, the combinations of this lance are formidable.
The ultimate unit choices depend on the role this lance will play: Fast Assault or Fire Support (or Command with a Striker). With these options, however, this era provides the most flexibility of roles for this unit to fulfill--perfect for the War of 3039!
Clan Invasion through FedCom Civil War (169 PV)
The Clan Invasion and FedCom Civil War create a lance that seems a bit different from the predecessors in both form and function. To keep the multi-era functionality with as few models as possible and to keep preserve the inspiration of the unit, this iteration continues to emphasize survivability and mobility.
This era witnesses the retirement and replacement of the Shadow Hawk SHD-2K with the Kintaro KTO-K. This iconic Kurita 'Mech is both strikingly ugly and a hard-hitter. Because the previous era's models lacked jump jets these did not qualify for addition in the earlier builds. The Kintaro KTO-K, however, fulfills that need and brings with it a helluva punch (4/4/0). What's more, the addition of C3 demands a capable, mobile, and survivable spotter. (While there are some i would gladly take over this one, the Kintaro has a wider range of era-playability.)
The DCMS is one of the first factions to implement C3. Even though it inflates PV, it provides numerous benefits to improve to-hit numbers. With the addition of C3, and the move into this era, allows the Shadow Hawk to swap out for another iconic Kurita unit: the Kintaro. Strikingly ugly but a hard-hitter, I avoided putting the prvious era's models in the lance because of the lack of jump jets. The Kintaro KTO-K, however, fulfills that need and brings with it a helluva punch (4/4/0).
It does lack the long range attack of the Shadow Hawk, but both the Victor VTR-C and the Grasshopper GHR-C have long range attacks that their previous models lacked. Comparatively between the three (SHD-2K, VTR-9B, and GHR-5H v. KTO-K, VTR-C, and GHR-C), the damage brackets rise from 8/10/2 to 11/11/3. With the combined-fire nature of C3, this is a substantial gain! Even with the usual PV inflation of C3, this lance remains less costly than its Early Succession War counterpart full of LosTech (though not by much).
To maintain the C3 network, the Katana upgrades to a Katana CRK-5003-CM. The performance of the units is negligably different; the CRK-5003-CM loses one point of short range attack to gain the C3M ability. It is slightly more expensive than the CRK-5003-2, but well worth the investment for the C3 network. What's more, if playing with MHQ rules, this unit has an MHQ rating of eight.
Unfortunately, this lance looses some of the role flexibility of previous eras. This unit will find it hard pressed to fulfill any roles beyond Fast Assault.
Jihad through Early Republic (160-178 PV)
...I may have broken the swap restriction here, but, I mean, look at the era!
In tune with the eras of play, this lance carries more than a touch of munch. C3, improved jump jets, and experimental tech, this unit exemplifies the idea of a mobile assault lance.
To maintain the C3 network requires the carryover of the Katana CRK-5003-CM. To make things interesting, the lance can take the Katana CRK-5003-CJ. Because these are two different versions of the same 'Mech, it won't cost any FP (faction points) as a duplicate unit! The performance of this unit is akin to that of the Highlander HGN-732. Making this switch is like adding a HGN-732 with improved jump jets and C3--a tough and highly mobile unit that can deal respectable damage. In can act as an anchor for the unit, a body guard for the C3M, or a Gojira-sized C3 spotter in a pinch.
The Shadow Hawk makes a return as the Shadow Hawk SHD-3K. An classic chasis style with upgraded weapons, this machine is a slightly up-gunned versin of the SHD-2K. The damage brackets improve to 2/3/2 from 1/2/2 and the movement moves to 10"j from 10"/6"j, gaining 4" to make that nice, rounded, and complete 10" jump (instead of the bizarre fraction). With all this and a bag of C3 chips, this sniper returns to be able to maneuver and harass enemy units better than before.
Like the Clan Invasion and FedCom Civil War units, this lance also benefits from MHQ8. What's more, with the diverse unit role options, this lance would be a great option to assume the Command Lance formation and really put the MHQ to good use with an appropriate Striker unit. If nothing else, it can maintain its inspiration's role as a Fast Assault lance.
Long Live the Dragon!
With only six models, this lance can span seven eras that comprise some of the most pivitol events in Battletech fiction. Throughout that span, it retains many of the same defining characteristics: mobility through, jump capability and survivability with no fewer than five points of armor per unit. These qualities, and the low number of models required, make it an ideal lance for new players.
Sure, not all of the models his as hard as other 'Mechs that come in and out of the timeline, but this unit will allow players to field a force throughout the major eras of play.
HAVE YOUR OWN MULTI-ERA LANCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE OR SWAPS TO THIS ONE YOU'D MAKE? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
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