Saturday, April 22, 2017

Castle Brians and you (DFA Lore)


A Recurring element of Battletech is the idea of lost or hidden Star League Era facilities that are full of equipment and technology.  The biggest of these facilities are Castle Brians.  Named after one of the Director Generals of the Terran Hegemony (the nation state that dominated Terra and the 120 or so light years around it), Castle Brians are probably the hardest structures in the known galaxy to take away from their owners.  No one is entirely sure how many of them were built during the Terran Hegemony?star League years because in many cases the ones built in the Periphery were designed as rapid response fire bases.  From these jumping off points, Star League Defense Forces could rapidly engage rebellious Periphery powers (or pirates, bandits, thugs and a host of other enemy combatants.  

A standard style of Castle Brian hosts approximately two brigades of SLDF forces (a brigade is an administrative grouping of 3 or more regiments that train together and use similar weight classes of equipment.  The Star League era versions often integrate battlemech assets, Armor formations and Infantry commands into a single brigade, so any given brigade could have wildly different personnel and equipment.)  Coupling the troops stationed inside with construction that will keep a Castle Brian operational in the face of a sustained orbital bombardment, you can imagine how and why these things were near impossible to take without special measures.  (the ones that were taken were either compromised by infiltrators, had tactical scale nuclear weapons used to breach the doors and flooded with chemical or biological weapons, or were hit with enough orbital ordnance and strategic scale nuclear weapons to crack the planetary surface).

So what does this mean for our wonder friends on Death from Above?  Well, this next part is some theory crafting and some educated guesswork, and this is mostly to give you folks an idea of what’s likely there.  

Why Zathras?

Zathras actually makes very good sense to put a major Castle Brian facility.  It’s about as far out as most folks would be travelling ever and in that sense it forms a barrier to external forces.  In essence, it’s a Hadrian’s Wall type of construction where the Star League has drawn the borders of its domain.  It also has the benefit of being near both the Magistracy of Canopus and the Taurian Concordat, both of whom have caused trouble (fought major wars) with the Star League in the past.  The Taurians in particular have been extremely hostile in the past, and being able to rapidly deploy a brigade to quell an uprising in support of standing garrisons is an essential part of the SLDF strategy.  

Why Boomerang Base?

This particular Castle Brian isn’t a standard one, and is what’s traditionally referred to as a Port Castle.  Some Castle Brians are very obvious and when they move troops around, they use the local spaceport facilities.  Port Castles are built in regions or areas where that is not a strategically sound decision, and have massive, internal hangars that contain all the transportation assets needed to move the units stationed at the Castle Brian from planet to Jumpship/Warship. My personal suspicion is that the Boomerang Base is an annex for the Spaceport complex and the rest of the Castle Brian is hidden below the surface, and will require some serious excavation and exploration to fully explore.

What else is non standard about this Castle Brian?

The typical array of automated defense guns and fixed weapon emplacements are missing or haven’t been found.  This is either an attempt by the original builders to hide the Castle (and these kids are clever, i’ve seen reports of port castles built into the bay, with launch facilities underwater), or they’ve been scavenged by various forces who didn’t have the resources to gain entry into the larger complex.  I would also imagine that this one is a larger complex because of it’s location and probable intended purpose.  The two brigades stationed here would act as guardians and a mobile reserve, but there would probably be several independent regiments assigned to the facility as offensive units to go look for pirates and handle security for local systems.   

What’s in the base?

Well, that’s the billion C-Bill question.  Depending on how things went during the liberation of Terra and the preparation for the Exodus, there could be empty hall ways and a couple of crates of Mauser laser combat rifles.  Alternatively, there could be the functional strength of several hundred battlemechs, thousands of tanks, and the equipment to arm and equip tens of thousands of infantrymen.  More importantly, there are likely spare parts and equipment to repair said equipment, and other non military equipment that the SLDF would use for relief missions and operations to handle systems stricken with plagues, natural disasters, and a host of other problems.  
Remember that the Star League Defense Force operated with a Total War doctrine and were willing to use Orbital Bombardment and the use of nuclear weapons as battlefield resources, so there’s a possibility that those weapons are in the facility.  
Other things located in the facility would likely include the Dropship assets needed to move large scale troop formations, and Star League era military data.  The data probably isn’t as useful now, but the locations of other stockpiles and facilities would be included, along with the last known access codes that this Castle Brian had.  A Castle Brian is also a Strategic resource in that it has its own interstellar communications equipment, and the space to hold a lot of people and material.  If there’s one of these under Zathras, Team Marauders better get their asses in gear and get their act together.  

This is entirely conjecture, but it fits with the setting and would make sense given the historical context of the region and Battletech as a whole.  I’m curious to see how closely my speculations line up with Tyler’s mad genius, but my average is better than i thought it would be.  That’s all for now, let’s hope we learn more as the Fridays keep rolling.  

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