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compiled overview of the 80ton Grand Crusader 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

When Precentor Martial Arian assumed command of the Word of Blake Militia in 3052, his forces were in sorry shape. Initially, ComStar had not protested when dissident Com Guard MechWarriors took their equipment when they left their ranks. Later, stricter guidelines enforced by the Com Guards virtually cut off the flow of defecting BattleMechs from the Guards to the Word of Blake. A few Level II units left as a group, but the battered condition of their 'Mechs and other equipment after the fighting on Tukayyid meant that the Word of Blake inherited more problems than solutions.

Arian commissioned several 'Mech designs to replenish his militia's ranks. He negotiated a contract with Gibson Federated BattleMech Works to construct the new 'Mechs, promising that the Word of Blake would underwrite production costs and allow the designs to be sold on the open market. Gibson Federated agreed.

Though called Grand Crusader, this BattleMech bears little resemblance to the traditional Crusader. Precentor Blane christened the 'Mech from a passage of Jerome Blake's works that states, " ...those who fight to preserve technology and knowledge are the grandest crusaders of all."

The Grand Crusader's massive, barrel-chested profile harkens back to old designs such as the Awesome and the Mackie. This image is enhanced by the large smokestack-like pylons rising from the 'Mech's back. Although these devices contribute to the Grand Crusader's steam age appearance, they are actually sophisticated sensor arrays that are tied into the Artemis IV fire control system.

Mounting two Tronel PPI-20 Large Pulse Lasers and twin Holly LRM-20 packs, the Grand Crusader can cripple its opposition at long range. However, the 'Mech's heat sinks cannot cope with the heat generated by firing all these weapons at once.

For defense, the Grand Crusader mounts a Lindblad Shotgun Anti-Missle System on a pivot point on top of the cockpit. Blind spots on the sides of the 'Mech's lower legs and its rear pose a problem in using the Anti-Missle System to repel Elemental attacks; however, the Word of Blake has no intention of sending its Grand Crusaders against the Clans for many years, allowing plenty of time to correct this oversight.

The Grand Crusader arrived in the Word of Blake's First Division in the late fall of 3053. In subsequent years, the Word of Blake Militia has continued to bolster its divisions with this exceptional new assault 'Mech.

Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.

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