Catalyst Demo Team
- FanPro Commandos, Catalyst Commandos, and Catalyst Agents redirect here.
The group as such was set up by FanPro as the FanPro Commandos shortly after FanPro had acquired the full license for what was then "Classic BattleTech". In the post-FanPro era, after CGL took over the BattleTech license, the organisation was continued, but renamed to Catalyst Commandos and later Catalyst Agents. Aside from the name change it remained the same organisation, also retaining the numbering system.
Although an overlap exists, they are not the same as the CGL factchecker group nor are they typically CGL employees.
The FanPro Commandos had a webzine called Commando Quarterly that featured largely in-character content in a similar fashion to the BattleTechnology magazine of old, including "Worldbook" articles, in-character ads and communication bulletins, short stories and fiction, essays, and scenarios. Later issues also included Shadowrun content.
The magazine was available for free download via the (now defunct) FanPro Commando website.
From 2002 through 2008 the demo team hosted a number of World Wide Events (WWEs) where fans could partake in scenarios and, through gameplay, determine the canonical outcome of the situation within the BattleTech universe (in most cases; not all events had an impact on canon). Typically, a given scenario would be played out across numerous places under the aegis of a demo agent, and from the average results it was then determined which side had won the engagement in BattleTech canon. After 2008 this stopped, until the Catalyst Demo Team resumed the Wordwide Events in 2017.
Despite the overlap between World Wide Events and (other) Canon Events, not all World Wide Events were Canon Events and vice versa. Several Canon Events were played out at large game fairs instead of WWEs; they are sometimes referred to as "GenCon Events".
Past BattleTech events include:
The Martial Olympiad worldwide events were more of a player vs. player tournament than a scenario. Each Martial Olympiad had three rounds, each a unique scenario. Each Commando (demo agent) would tabulate scores for each player, individually, and then submit those. For the 2002 event the results were then posted publicly on the Classic BattleTech website (classicbattletech.com, now defunct). The winner made it into Field Manual: Updates. Further Martial Olympiads were held in 2003 and 2004, but the results were not covered in a product.
The Battle of Monte DiabloEdit
The Battle of Monte Diablo was run on 2 March 2002 as the inaugural FanPro Commando Worldwide Event. It focused on a non-pivotal battle during the FedCom Civil War, because FanPro did not want to have an unexpected scenario outcome affect the predetermined storyline.
Trial of RetributionEdit
Trial of Retribution was originally scheduled to be run on 1 February 2003, the day that the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated. The scenario features a space battle (the attack against a Clan Ghost Bear Leviathan-class WarShip under still construction), and Scott "Clutch" Taylor postponed it because he did not want the Commandos to be running games featuring exploding spaceships just hours after the Columbia disaster. The event was rescheduled for 8 February 2003.
FanPro had limited edition Leviathan miniatures sculpted and sent to each Commando who ran the game—one for the game winner and one for the Commando.
Lawyers, Guns, & MoneyEdit
The Lawyers, Guns, & Money scenario was run on May 24, 2003. It featured in-fighting among mercenary units on Epsilon Eridani over the discovery of a lostech treasure. Like the 2002 event, it was an isolated event largely irrelevant to the larger storyline, so that the outcome could be canonized with no problems.
Kings & PawnsEdit
Kings & Pawns was run on November 20, 2004. This was the endgame battle for the chaotic situation on Hall that had been developed on the sidelines over several sourcebooks, again a side conflict with no impact on the larger storyline.
Vengeance Gambit was a Worldwide Event held in September of 2006.
Black Ghosts, White DeathEdit
Black Ghosts, White Death was a Worldwide Event held in March of 2007.
Operation Higashikuni was a Canon Event played at GenCon in 2007. It featured the mercenary coalition assembled by Chandrasekhar Kurita on Arcturus under surprise attack from the Word of Blake's 40th Shadow Division, with the Blakists trying to kill Kurita or reclaim the journal of Victoria Parrdeau that he had acquired, in an attempt to keep him from discovering sensitive information (such as the location of the secret "Ruins of Gabriel" shipyard).
Return of the WolvesEdit
Return of the Wolves was a Worldwide Event scheduled for June 2007, but apparently postponed to the last quarter of that year.
Vengeance Gambit IIEdit
Vengeance Gambit II was a Worldwide Event held in September/October of 2007.
Operation Kabutomushi, the 2008 GenCon Canon Event, was the attack by Kurita's coalition forces against the Ruins of Gabriel in the Odessa system, a naval battle between WarShip fleets. It unexpectedly ended with a Word of Blake victory, crushing Chandrasekhar Kurita's forces in their first battle after having been given a slew of sourcebook fiction and BattleCorps stories building them up as an elite anti-Blakist strike force. Canonizing this defeat was said to have upset the timeline as it had been plotted out by the developers, and necessitated some changes. A subsequent second attack was written as having been successful, bringing the storyline back on track with only relatively minor changes. It would still be the last such event for years to come.
Scorched Earth was a 2017 Worldwide Event created and run by the Catalyst Demo Team between the end of Origins games show that year and the first Monday of September (Labor Day in America) to bring back the Worldwide Events. It was explicitly noted, however, that the Demo Team had created this event with no endorsement from CGL and that it thus did not fulfill the criteria for a canonical event.
The scenario recreated the attack of Clan Wolf against the Free Rasalhague Republic planet of New Oslo during the Clan Invasion of 3050. It was somewhat broader in scope than previous events, including tabletop scenarios for classic boardgame BattleTech as well as Alpha Strike, and ready-to-run roleplaying scenarios for A Time of War.
Dig, Defend, or DieEdit
Dig, Defend, or Die was the 2018 World Wide Event created by the Catalyst Demo Team and the second since the resumption of these events. Again played out from the end of Origins to Labor Day, it was the first to be considered canon since Operation Kabutomushi at GenCon 2008.
The conflict was a late Jihad/early Dark Age Era event on the world of Stotzing in the former Free Worlds League, where pirates threaten the vulnerable world and the First Marik Protectors arrive to fight off the marauders.
After the event concluded, CGL released two related products on 10 September 2018: Spotlight On: First Marik Protectors and Touring the Stars: Stotzing. The scenario PDF and the accompanying MapPack consisting of four new maps were also offered for free download, and all four products were made available as a package deal.
Requiem for a Blue StarEdit
Requiem for a Blue Star was the 2019 Worldwide Event run by Catalyst Demo Teams, again played out from the end of Origins until Labor Day.
Set in the late Dark Age Era, a lost world is disclosed as being the place where survivors of the SLDF's lost 295th BattleMech Division made landfall. ComStar had discovered the site a century earlier but kept it secret. However, by 3150 two mercenary units would race to this world to recover Star League era BattleMechs.