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High trees, thick bushes, hidden enemies. The cockpit's simulated temperature was climbing over 30 Celsius, and the small, armored windshield was stained by mud from his last fall into a bog pit.

Chiisai watched his sensors. He was feeling at home on this restrictive environment. The trees blocked LOS at less than 50m range, and normal sensors were of not much help. On the other hand, the MagRes Lens of his VM's sensor suite granted him an unrestricted vision of the battlefield, so he had an enormous tactical advantage. Of course, the MagRes was of no good against cloacking, but he knew by instinct where the best places for a cloacked VM to set an ambush were and avoided them.

Almost always. That damned Spider-Mek had been very short of chewing him, although his powerful shield spared him from being grapled, and when he blasted one of his mandibles and took the air, a 100mm Disruptor-AP round (he'd been too busy saving his butt to watch sensors) punched his shield and armor and blew his E/M-Shields to Kingdom Come. He had to hit the ground real fast to avoid the AAA batteries, and spent a very enterteining quarter-hour hiding away and frantically jury-riging his VM. He'd been unable of fully repairing it, of course, but the M-shield mode was again on-line for a time. Time to rock'n'roll again.

A blink on his screen. His target analizer quickly identified it as a 30m tall avatar of an Austrian movie actor. "This has to be Arnold and his funny Barbarian-Mek. And if Arnold is there, his friend Alex and his cloacked Ninja-Mek has to be somewhere near..." Normally Chiisai would not even bother with an unarmored VM armed only with a big sword, but on this terrain, with combat range reduced to melee reach, Arnold was feeling at home, too. "So, we have a big, mean VM able of taking my M-shield, my VM and another VM behind me with one stroke, and a cloacked Ninja-Mek nearby that without my E-shield can slice me by surprise in half any moment he wants", he muttered. This was gonna be funny.

He took the air. As usual, the AAA started firing at him, weaving a deadly pattern of energy fire. He braved that fire, dodged it, avoided it, until he got what he was waiting for: a heavy AA missile was fired at him from under the tree cover.

Chiisai smiled. It was gonna be challenging. He watched the missile coming at him at an angle, he came Cora to a dead stop at the last moment, the missile missed him by less than ten meters. The AAA had a field day with his siting mecha, and a powerful laser tore into Cora's left arm ripping it under the elbow, but he didn't care. The missile turned towards him again. Done the dificult part.

Chiisai kicked the throtle full open, the missile still tailing behind, towards where his sensors showed him Arnold's VM was. He took the ground just beside him. As suspected, there were on the ground signs that a cloacked VM was on the area. Arnold started raising his sword.

"Surpriseeeee!" Chiisai allowed the heavy missile to hit him. Cora shook by the force, but the M-shield hold, as expected. The other two mecha were caugth in the blast area. Arnold's unarmored mecha was torn apart by the scatershot shrapnel. Alex's ligtly armored VM hold not apretiably much better. Chiisai spotted his outline against the explosion, turned, finished fragging it. His jury-riged shield went down again, but he just had such a good time, he didn't regret it. Smiling broadly, Chiisai moved on to keep the game.

THE JUNGLE

An Arena for Virtual Mekton

Large map of jungle. Dense jungle. Lots of trees. Lots of bushes under the trees. Lots of vines betwen the trees. Lots of large critters which would make Godzilla or King Kong look a whimpy. Lots of small soldiers firing at you with Striker-scale weapons (BTW, the critters seem to think said soldiers are bland-tasting, so forget trying to pit each other). Lots of pits of swamp mud to fall into. Lots of AAA hidden placements to make flying a very bad idea, at the very least. Lots of other players which are as pissed by the environment as you are. Choose a side o choose a target.

The Critters: Time to get crazy. The GM can place any Kaiju he wants... both 1:1 (or bigger!) sized Beasts (there are many for Algol or Starblade settings) and/or Techno Organic mecha (the Hardshells of MMM1 and the Skorpons of MMM2 comes to mind). Not more than one or two at the time, but they keep coming...

The Pesky Mud-eaters: Soldiers with all relevant stats and skills of 5, dressed on flack mesh armor (SP 18) and carrying assorted MZ weaponry (each has an Armor-Buster SmartRifle or a Gatling SmartGun (for this time, the program cheats and this gun does (1d6/3)-2 Kills) and Incendiary grenades to create smoke), organizated on fire teams of 5, each team carryes a heavy weapon like a Anti-Mek Beamgun, Anti-Mek Missile or Anti-Mecha Mine. There are at least one of these fire teams for each player prowling the area, and if one of these teams get anihilated, another one pops up..These teams never separate (they are not really individual soldiers). They are always treated as like if they were Stealth and with Basic Cloack.

The AAA: Each turn a mecha gets airborne and ends the turn flying instead of jumpjetting, it will come under attack, just before the next turn begins, by a Deluxe CIDS system, and a 10K, WA +3, Range 40, Smart 4 Skill 20, Scattershot, BR 2 missile (nasty, hum?) will be fired at him form somewhere at 30 hexes range from his final position, both fired by A-grade crews (16+1d10). EACH turn. Since these missiles have BR, the targeted player will be not very popular betwen his peers until he gets rid of it... There are several scores of these fire bunkers spread by all the jungle, firing at them (5K before blowing up) gives points and makes the player feel better but has no effect on these rules.

The Trees and Mud: These trees are so many and so big ones that movement and LOS get hindered. LOS is restricted to directly adjacent hexes on the ground, 4 hexes to/from the air. Movement is at 1/3 (each hex counts as 3 hexes, all mecha can move at least 1 hex per turn.); Tracks will reduce it to 1/2 MA. Also, the trees absorb a lot of damage; mecha in the trees are asumed to have legs and lower torso (hit location #3) under not-ablating SP 10 cover from mecha (not Infantry) attacks. Mecha on the ground can be fired from the air without this cover, but with a -4 modifier, and vice-versa. Mecha can hide from other mecha in the trees by merely stating so (squating down on the bushes); this makes it imposible to see and hit, even from the air, unles adjacent or using indirect fire.

The swampy areas count as rough terrain and are covered with sligtly less dense foliage, so ranged combat is at a general -2 modifier unless adjacent. Also, aerial fire vs mecha on this terrain can't be made from farther than Combat Range (i.e, no LR fire). Each time a mecha walks into a swamp hex, either walking or landing, roll 1D10. On a 1, the mecha falls on a mud pit and sinks out of sigth. It takes a full turn's movement to crawl out. Until then, the mecha can't see, be seen, shoot at nor be shoot by anything.

On both terrains, mecha on the ground must walk or use wheels or threads; they can't use GES or thrusters and remain on the ground.

Sensor detection gets restricted to a number of hexes equal to its Sensor Range. Spotting Radar works to ten times this range, as usual, but also clearly pinpoints to everybody the location of sensoring unit using them (yes, it CAN be turned off). ASP adds 2 to this number. Radio/Radar Analizers allows the unit to detect anyone detecting him by means of standard sensors or ASPs, as per standard rules. Even Magnetic Resonance Lenses are hindered (there are SO many outlines that they end crowding the entire screen!), allowing only double (total) range. The Pesky Mud-eaters are assumed to have a no-radar sensor range of 3. The Critters are assumed to have a no-radar sensor range of 7.

Games played: Go-and-seek, Team Battles, Last Man Surviving...

Power-Ups: The Infamous Bomb, Tunneling, Super-Sensors (detects ALL units), IFF code for the AAA, IFF code for the soldiers, Monster Costume (which makes the monsters not to attack you but it feels SO ridiculous that you get 1- Cool).

Sample Critters: The "Starblade" ones were posted on the MZML. The "Algol" ones are from MZ+, reprinted there for ease of reference.

Note: the Limbs column shows any difference in number of limbs that the critter has with the typical "one head, one body, four legs, one tail" model.
Starblade Battalion Setting
Name Size Scale Temper Ref MA Limbs Abilities Nasty habits
Stegosaurus 5 Mekton 4 5 3   Armored, Spined, AP, Stunning Tailing him is bads idea
Triceratops 5 Mekton 7 4 5   Armored, Strong, AP Horns and Rams you on the same Action!
Tiranosaurus Rex 6 Mekton 9 6 5   Strong, AP It is a T-REX!
Arcadia Dragon 8 Mekton 8 7 6 2H, 2W Strong, Flying, Keen Senses He's mean enough to interdit any fligth the AAA mises. He's got two heads. Wath else do you want, a breath weapon?
Big Hunter 6 Mekton 7 6 6   AP, Keen Senses AP Bite
Small Hunter 6 Striker 8 6 8   AP, Keen Senses, Entangling AP Bite, Entangling Tail
Big Grazer 9 Mekton 5 4 4   Strong MONSTRUOSLY STRONG! Can rend a VM asunder on one asault. Head-on atacks are NOT advised, mechaboy!
Small Grazer 9 Striker 6 4 7      
Raptorsaurus 8 Striker 8 7 9   Keen Senses, Strong, Camouflaged Tends to jump from low hills to the head of other big, moving things - like canopy cockpits.
Sea Scorpion 5 Mekton 10 5 5 12L Armored, Strong, Spiked, Entangling Entangling Pincers and bad attitude
Large, very, VERY LARGE Sea Scorpion 10 Mekton 10 4 6 12L Armored, Strong, Spiked, Entangling, Camouflaged, Electromagnetic Just being so..beast is nasty enough
Queen Hrax 2 Mekton 5 5 2 6L Smart, Weak, Parasitic, Regeneration It bugs you
King Hrax 2 Mekton 5 5 2 6L Strong, Armored, Spined, Regeneration See Queen Hrax for details
Algol Setting
Name SizeTemper Scale Temper Ref MA Limbs Abilities Nasty habits
Floater 4 Mekton 5 6 3 Many Hivemind, Flying, Camouflaged, Acidic, Entangling Invisible to radar and just plain nasty!
Fog Hunter 7 Mekton 6 7 7   AP AP Bite
Gunfark 9 Mekton 5 3 6 2H Armored, Ranged/Acidic Spits a sizeable spray of digestive juices
Kicklizard 7 Striker 6 9 5   Strong  
Kregor Dragon 10 Mekton 10 4 7 Many Tentacles Entangling, Electromagnetic, Ranged/ Stunning, Ranged/ Shocking Its mere existence.
Uru Killer 9 Mekton 10 2 2   Armored  

Arena created by LITTLE LOCUS