The Ferox Rangers (Battletech)
Originally I had this idea to pick up my last old Battletech campaign from college and convert it over to Weasel-Tech, because I figured that Weasel-Tech has less rules crunch than Battletech. In truth, I've found that both systems are honestly beautiful and unique in their own ways, doing what they do very well and also very differently.
In fact, hilariously enough, the very act of digging into my past (and digging into the rules for Battletech to re-capture that magic for the conversion / mod for Weasel-Tech) actually sparked off my old love for the game enough that I'll be running the campaign in the original system, as intended. I guess it's true what they say about how you never really forget how to do something, even if it has been twenty years.
I did do a lot of work on the mod for Weasel-Tech, though, so I'll be including that information in this post as well. It's all cleaned up, has pictures, etc. and it's ready to play. Weasel-Tech players can find the complete write-up on the mod [here].
This campaign, focusing on the Ferox Rangers, will be played using Battletech, but more specifically, I'll be using Battletech to tell a story. As of this writing, I have no more idea how events will play out than you, the reader do. Hopefully my heroes will survive, but if they do not, well, you'll read about it here. As you'll read in the notes at the bottom of this post, I'm no stranger to sudden mechwarrior death in my campaigns, so we'll see what happens in the coming play sessions. I'll be updating the rosters and contacts, etc. below as I play and post new individual battle reports.
While I didn't think to write down many details of the campaign I ran in high school and college, writing it all out here as I move forward now will provide a record for future viewing, and also, hopefully, as inspiration for others who are about to embark on their own (or rekindle their own) campaigns.
The Ferox Rangers were originally The Ferox Irregulars* in the 3050's and early 3060's. The original leader of the Ferox Irregulars (Natessa Ferox) retired to her own private moon in 3066, selling off all of her assets and getting out of the mercenary game entirely. Her daughter (and second in command) Ellen Ferox, however, made a deal with her mother to continue the family legacy. From her mother, she received two of the merc outfit's best mechs, Dantor and Poseidon, for her and for Fox Dornentanz, another pilot from the Ferox Irregulars who wasn't yet ready to give up gigging for the big houses. Without the assets to pay for the bloated military organization that her mother had built, Ellen was given the chance to start fresh, while most of Natessa Ferox's best pilots went on to found their own mercenary organizations or to compete for glory and cash in the games on Solaris VII.
Going back to their earliest roots, the Ferox Rangers have relocated to a planet on the edge of Davion space currently held by Lindon's Battalion (formerly Lindon's Company,) with an eye to hunting pirates on the frontier.
Our story begins in February of 3066. The planet in question is a modest agricultural world at the border of the Federated Suns and the Outworlds Alliance called Kennard. Formally held by the mercenary group Lindon's Battalion, Kennard always seems to have had a pirate problem, but as Lindon's Battalion) has grown in strength and notoriety, they have become mostly occupied elsewhere.
Using the connections she still has with House Davion and Lindon's Battalion, Natessa Ferox has been able to use her influence and reputation to get her daughter Ellen a posting on the world hunting pirates. Lindon's company is almost completely uninterested in pirate hunting on the world these days, so they (and Davion) have been more than happy to pass some basic work on to The Ferox Rangers, supporting the two-mech company with some local Federated Suns and Lindon's Company resources on planet.
The following rosters are not static, and will be updated throughout play to reflect the current standing of the mercenary unit.
The Dantor is a MAD-3R Marauder that was part of assault operations for The Ferox Irregulars since she was acquired by The Red Wolves in 3032. Her original owner was one of two brothers for a minor noble house who ultimately sought to sell the Marauder for parts with an eye to trading up to something heavier. As part of The Ferox Irregulars, she has served in many battles and has been refitted to include some salvaged Clan equipment, including 3 ER Large Lasers, 2 ER Medium Lasers, 23 salvaged clan double heat sinks and a Davion Targeting Computer reverse-engineered from clan technology. The emphasis on laser weaponry allows her to operate for long periods in the field with minimal maintenance, and her built in cooling ability allows her to deliver devastating firepower consistently.
The Poseidon is a ZEU-6T that was part of assault operations for The Ferox Irregulars since he was salvaged by The Red Wolves in 3037. As part of The Ferox Irregulars, Poseidon has served in many battles and has been refitted to include some salvaged Clan equipment, including one Ultra AC/10 with 10 rounds of ammunition, an LRM 15 with 8 shots of ammunition, a pair of ER medium lasers and a single ER large laser. This configuration upgrades the classic design with some extra stopping power, and Poseidon's built in cooling ability (with 19 Clan double heatsinks) allows this mech to deliver devastating firepower consistently.
Old Man Wibble is an ON2-M Orion with a long and mostly quiet service record as a garrison unit in service of House Steiner. It started life as a stock model ON1-K and was transferred to Kennard for garrion and pirate hunting work in 3030. In 3063, it was completely overhauled and upgraded to an ON2-M, but continued to operate in Davion space as a garrison unit with special provisions. Those provisions ended in 3066 and the lance containing this unit was recalled to Lyran space, but the Orion never made it off the planet. Cunning maneuvering by agents of the Word of Blake put the Orion in the path of Colonel Sarah Lindon of Lindon's Battalion, where it was ultimately destroyed. Salvage agreements with the Ferox Rangers put Old Man Wibble in the hands of Clark MacKay of the Rangers in 3066.
Big Al is an AS7-D Atlas with a service record dating back to the Star League. It's survived the deaths of countless pilots, has fought on the front line for at least three different major houses and even, allegedly, spent a few decades as a pirate's personal command unit in the periphery. The last owner, before it was salvaged by the Ferox Rangers, was House Steiner, where it served as part of an assault lance assigned provisional garrison duty from 3030 to 3066. Cunning maneuvering by agents of the Word of Blake put the Orion in the path of Colonel Sarah Lindon of Lindon's Battalion, where it was ultimately destroyed. Salvage agreements with the Ferox Rangers put Big Al in the hands of John Thudmucker of the Rangers in 3066.
Leader of The Ferox Rangers, Ellen is every bit her mother's daughter. She's seen enough combat to be effective, and she's still young enough to be idealistic. Her goal is to lead and grow the Ferox Rangers until it rivals the size of the mercenary outfit her mother ran before she retired. Piloting: 3 Gunnery: 3; XP: 5
Lieutenant Clark "Rage" MacKay (March 13, 3044 - Present)
Clark MacKay grew up on an agricultural world in the Outworlds Alliance and decided very early on that he didn't want to be a farmer. Joining up with a local arm of planetary militia, he spent a few years defending agricultural complexes from pirates, mostly running an ancient TP-1R Trooper against technical trucks fitted with machineguns. Eager to get his hands on some heavier hardware, he joined the Ferox Rangers on February 28, 3066. Piloting: 4 Gunnery: 5; XP: 4
Lieutenant John "Osprey" Thudmucker (July 30, 3042 - Present)
John Thudmucker raced dirt bikes for most of his life before becoming a mechwarrior. He's fierce, loyal, dependable and also wily, with a love for daring and speed. In his career as a battlemech pilot, he worked with a small mercenary outfit called The Rolling Thunder, and piloted a HZV-11 Huskavarna against pirates and some backwater targets in the Outworlds Alliance. He joined the Ferox Rangers on March 12, 3066. Piloting: 4, Gunnery: 5; XP: 2
Lt. Crates was the favored son of a minor house in the Federated Suns who studied philosophy extensively before deciding that teaching was less interesting than becoming a mechwarrior. Unfortunately, though his parents wanted him to settle down in a nice garrison position in one of the safer parts of the Federated Suns, he took off one night and started looking for jobs working for mercenary outfits. It wasn't long before he crossed paths with the Ferox Rangers, and immediately found himself pressed into the seat of Poseidon. He joined the Ferox Rangers on April 8, 3066. Piloting: 4, Gunnery: 5; XP: 0
Representative Nazir is the primary contact point between the FedCom (later the Federated Suns) and The Ferox Rangers. She has a limited history of working with Ellen Ferox's mother when The Ferox Irregulars were still active and she still has a bit of a soft spot for the Ferox family as a whole.
Colonel Sarah Lindon is the current leader of Lindon's Battalion (formerly Company and Regiment, during those respective time periods.) She has a limited history working with Ellen's Ferox's mother and alongside The Ferox Irregulars along the border between the Lyrans and Clan Jade Falcon. She and Natessa Ferox parted on positive enough terms when Natessa left Lindon's Company for The Red Wolves, and though their acquaintance was strained during the years when Sarah Lindon's mercenary unit was working for the Draconis Combine, they are on positive terms now. Sarah Lindon has designs on bringing The Ferox Rangers into the fold as part of Lindon's Battalion, but she keeps this secret very close to her chest, as she knows that Ellen is as fiercely independent as Natessa was, and only careful manipulation over time will likely get Dantor, Poseidon (and their pilots) to formally join Lindon's Battalion. Piloting: 0, Gunnery 0.
To Ellen Ferox, Natessa is just "mom" or "ma'am," but to the rest of the Inner Sphere, she demands the respect of being called Grand Marshall Ferox. The hubris of the title and her iron-fisted, shrewd leadership of her former mercenary unit has earned her both friends and enemies throughout the Sphere, but since January 2nd of 3066, she has retired to her own private moon to live out her days in pursuit of her many hobbies, most of which include whiskey, cigars and card games. She's made it clear to her daughter Ellen that she's not going to be giving out any loans or gifts to finance The Ferox Rangers, but in truth, she only hides her fears, love and generous nature behind a façade of scotch and smoke. She still keeps her old command mech (A Kingfisher C) on hand. Piloting: 2 Gunnery: 1.
Though he is, in reality, just the wine-soaked and drug-fueled leader of a two-bit pirate alliance that plagues only one system in the entire Inner Sphere (Kennard,) Corpuz still styles himself as a "pirate king." He's smart enough not to overly piss off the FedComm or Lindon's Company, but the instant he got the specs on the expensive mechs fielded by The Ferox Rangers, he made it his main goal to acquire them through any means he can manage. He's also convinced there's a LosTech cache somewhere on Kennard, but he hasn't found it yet (so far as FedComm reports can tell.) Piloting: 3, Gunnery: 3.
Second in command of The Ferox Rangers, Fox ran heavy mechs for The Ferox Irregulars before they disbanded. Sensing the potential for greatness in the new mercenary outfit, Fox quickly jumped at the chance to join Ellen Ferox and to keep fighting under the Ferox name. Piloting: 3 Gunnery: 3; XP: 5
Maynard is a CN9-D Centurion that served as part of the Davion Garrison for Kennard before it was scrapped and salvaged by pirates. Refurbishing the mech with parts from several other Centurions, the pirate warband that came to field Maynard ultimately lost it trying to obtain clan tech by attacking the Ferox Rangers. After it fell in battle, Ellen Ferox had it refitted and brought back into service for use against the pirates in 3066. It served the Rangers well for several missions before being retired and sold back to the Davion Garrison in the same year.
Old Bullet is a stock RFL-3N Rifleman that was fielded by pirates (or someone pretending to be part of a pirate outfit) until it took an AC10 round to the head from Maynard, a Centurion piloted by Clark MacKay. Replacing the head and repairing damage as part of a comprehensive refit, Old Bullet was made fully operational as part of the first lance of the Ferox Rangers in 3066. It was retired in the same year and sold for scrap after being cored.
Warchest and Salvage:
(Updated on 4/27/3066)
Current Monthly Overhead:
The insignia used here for The Ferox Rangers actually belongs to a real cavalry unit from US military history. I'm re-using it for this campaign because it seems to be an absolutely perfect fit to me (and the unit is not active and saw most of its action in World Wars 1 and 2.) In the Battletech universe, I figure that Ellen Ferox would have chosen it as a nod to her heritage, and her unit's connection both to the Federated Suns and to Lindon's Battalion. The motto, "Celer Eundo; Concurso Ferox" translates to "Swift in March; Bold in Attack."
As some background info on the history of the Ferox Rangers: when I was in highschool (and first year of college) I ran a solo mercenary campaign in Battletech where my group, The Ferox Irregulars, took jobs along the Periphery and collected quite a bit of Clan loot and Level 3 gear. Natessa Ferox, originally a pilot of Lindon's Company, left that mercenary group in 3042 to work with a smaller outfit called The Red Wolves. In The Red Wolves, she saw a lot of potential that she felt was lacking in Lindon's Company, and she quickly rose through the ranks to become second in command. Led by Commander Rick Fokker (it was high school,) The Red Wolves were a mercenary group that worked mostly with House Davion through the late 3030's and 3040's. After 3050, The Red Wolves relocated to the border between Clans Wolf, Jade Falcon and The Federated Commonwealth, picking up more lucrative contracts as they finally started to find their footing as a mercenary unit.
Though this put the mercenary outfit in a position for a meteoric rise in power, it also would prove to be The Red Wolves' ultimate downfall. After Commander Rick Fokker was killed during a clash against Clan Jade Falcon, where his mech took a very unlucky shot to the head with a gauss rifle, Natessa Ferox took command and renamed the group The Ferox Irregulars. Natessa Ferox took an aggressive approach to her career as leader of a mercenary group, growing the force from a warband of two ragged lances of medium mechs to a massive operation with several dropships, an allied jumpship and a slew of mechs that could take on multiple missions at once. During her career, she had an on-again, off-again relationship with a Lindon's Company mechwarrior that ultimately yielded her one and only child, Ellen Ferox. Ellen's father was, unfortunately, killed during a mercenary drop in 3048.
Around 3065, The Ferox Irregulars were last seen operating at the periphery edge of The Lyran Alliance, but most of my records from that time are spotty or missing, so that's about all I can gather up. As I get back into giant stompy robot games, I thought it would be fun to pay homage to my roots, and so this campaign will be a continuation (at least in spirit) of the one I ran in Battletech all those years ago.
Dantor: a X2-1 with an MG-5-a
Poseidon: a X2-1 with an MG-5-a
Ellen Ferox: Level 5: Rugged Survivor, Guardian Mode x2 Concentrated Fire
Fox Dornentanz: Level 5: Emergency Repairs, Defensive Posture x2, Sixth Sense
Johann Parra: Lvl: 0
Tyse Reyes: Lvl: 0
Joanna McKinnon: Lvl: 0
Sal Slonicker: Lvl: 0
Lisbeth Truong: Lvl: 0
Cassidy Thurston: Lvl: 0
Contract 1: Pirates against Weasel-Star Inc. (+1 Starting Blip & +1 Starting Guardian Blip.)
THREAT 3; INTENSITY 1 (no Hazard Pay. Distant Mission.
Contract 2: Pirates against Rebels (+1 Starting Blip) THREAT 2; INTENSITY 3 (Hazard Pay)
Contract 3: Stellar Zaibatsu Inc. against Rebels THREAT 2; INTENSITY 2 (Hazard Pay) Unexpected Assets: +1 Starting Blip
Level 4: Sixth Sense x2, Rugged Survivor,
Level 1: no skills
Level 1: no skills
I don't own the rights to anything Battletech or Weasel-Tech, I just enjoy their books and playing in their universes. This is all just narrative-style game reports written by a long-time mech fan. If you like what you see here, please support Battletech and its creators / owners, but also consider giving Weasel-Tech and it's creator a try and kick some some cash their way as well. Both games are awesome.
I also made the faces of the characters using RPGmaker MV.
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