Archive for the ‘Campaign Rules’ Category

Personnel Officer Chart

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Personnel Officer Action Green (6)
May Request Personnel, Train or Raise Morale Once Per Turn Regular(5)
Roll Personnel Officer vs. their skill level Elite(3)
plus modifiers for the personnel type they are attempting to recruit.
Personnel Recruiting Cost
Infantry (Platoon) +1 5000
Mechanic/Medical Teams +2 20000
Vehicle Drivers +2 20000
Vehicle Driver with Vehicle +3 50000 If successful, 20% veh value
Mechwarriors +3 30000
Mechwarriors with Mech +5/+6/+7/+8 150000 If successful, 20% mech value
Officers +3 25000
Intelligence Officer +4 250000
Quality Level
Green 2-7
Regular 8-12
Veteran 13-14
Elite 15+
Modifiers to Success Roll
Sign-On Bonus 100,000 -1
Empty Mech -1
Dragoon Rating D +2
Dragoon Rating C 0
Dragoon Rating B -1
Dragoon Rating A -3
Unit is on Periphery +1
Unit is on Uninhabited Planet +1
Modifiers to Quality Roll
Regular Recruiting Officer +1
Veteran Recruiting Officer +2
Elite Recruiting Officer +3
MOS 5 or greater on Success Roll +2
A Personnel Officer and his team can spend the turn attempting to train another unit.
The other unit also has to have 0 duties.
Works only with Mechanics, Medical, Engineer, Personnel
Cost 20,000 credits
2-7 No result
8-11 Unit gains 1 exp
12+ Unit gains 2 exp
Raise Morale
A Personnel Officer and his team can attempt to raise the morale of the merc command.
Cost 200xnumber of personnel in unit
2-6 No result
7-11 Morale + 5
12+ Morale + 10
Green Regular Veteran Elite
Labor Costs (Per Turn)
Mechwarriors 3000 3750 4688 5859
Officers 2500 3125 3906 4883
Intelligence Officer 4000 5000 6250 7813
Vehicle Drivers 2000 2500 3125 3906
Technicians/Medical 2000 2500 3125 3906
Assistant Technicians 1500 1875 2344 2930
Infantry 500 625 781 977
Green Regular Veteran Elite
Labor Costs (Per Year)
Mechwarriors 72000 90000 112500 140625
Officers 60000 75000 93750 117188
Intelligence Officer 96000 120000 150000 187500
Vehicle Drivers 48000 60000 75000 93750
Technicians/Medical 48000 60000 75000 93750
Assistant Technicians 36000 45000 56250 70313
Infantry 12000 15000 18750 23438
Officer Types
Contract Lawyer
Fabricator (Type) Armor/Structure/Base Ammo
Mechanic (Type) Aero/Mech/Vehicle/Battle Armor/Protomech
Pilot Mechwarrior/Vehicle/Aero
Supply, Ordinance

Skills Explained

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Some common questions on the skills.

1)  Logistics and Weight Management are ‘Command Skills’, and can only be taken by one member of the team.  They would become unbalanced if every lance member took them.

2)  Officer Duties – This skill allows a player, on any turn where they are not in combat, to perform in the role of their chosen officer specialty.  For example, if a player chooses ‘Personnel’, the team could requisition 2 Personnel per turn (one for the Personnel Officer, and one for the player with ‘Personnel’ skill.)  If the player takes this skill, and chooses any of the Mechanic skills, the team will need to hire 6 technicians, as a full Mechanic team consists of a lead tech and 6 technicians.  They can be hired through a Personnel office at a +1 Bonus.

3)  Intelligence Officer – The Intelligence officer is the one area of the game where the GM has more leeway, and because of it’s high costs, it has significant potential long-term value to a team.  The Intelligence Officer has 3 main functions, one on the battlefield, and 2 off.  Their battlefield functions comes from acquiring and using Intelligence equipment, mainly Satellites.  Their are several tiers and software satellites can run, and they can provide several benefits such as Initiative Bonuses, knowing exactly when enemy reinforcements will arrive on-site, revealing mine-fields, estimating enemy force composition, and approximate enemy positions if they are attempting to ambush.

Second, Intelligence officers can seek out special missions, including character background missions.  For example, one member of our current team is seeking the people who killed his parents.  The Intelligence officer can help complete those kinds of tasks.  Additionally, the Intelligence Officer can seek out missions the players can take regardless of having a contract in place.  For example, they could attempt to find hidden pirate bases, lightly defending mining or less lightly defended production facilities.

Finally, the IO can attempt to locate Lostech caches of weapons and equipment.  The players would need to organize missions and logistics to attempt recovery, which can be costly, but the rewards could potentially be huge. (or not so huge, depending on the size of the cache)

4)  Contract Law – These bonuses apply during contract negotiation.  There are several contract clauses that need to be hammered out as a contract is offered, such as Salvage Terms, how much in support costs the employer will pay, and what type of Command structure the players will be subject to.  A category reroll allows a player to reroll the result of any contract roll, and choose which of the 2 results to take.  A bonus to a contract roll provides a bonus modifier to be added to the contract roll.

5)  Shiny and New! (Light and Medium)  If a player’s mech is destroyed in combat, a player may choose an appropriate light or medium mech to replace it instead of rolling randomly.  Heavy and Assault mechs will always be random.

Character Creation

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Character creation for the campaign is pretty basic.  Folks are starting with individual mechs and not lances, to keep mission times down and move the game along.  We had our first full blown lance on lance mission and it took nearly 3 hours.  We previously completed 4 objective missions in less than an hour each.

I don’t have any opposition to folks using A Time of War to create characters, but this will definitely remain a mech-based campaign, and not an RPG campaign.

Step 1 – Each player begins with the option to take a 45 ton mech with a (Green) 6/5 Pilot/Gunner rating.  Alternately, they can trade 10 tons and take a 35 ton mech with a (Still Green) 5/5 Piloting/Gunnery, or a 25 ton mech with a 5/4 Pilot Gunner rating.  As an FYI, the first group running through this campaign has a 6/5 in a Phoenix Hawk (45 ton) and a 5/4 in a Mongoose (25 ton), and the Mongoose has definitely held its own.

Starting mechs need to have been in production in 2791.  You can find all sorts of mech resources at Solaris7, and I checked most of the mechs in the Battletech Introductory Boxed Set and their first production is all before 2800 (if I’m wrong someone please let me know).  The game is low-tech to start, so be prepared to use just the basic weapons and equipment until you move out of the Periphery (if you ever choose to), the year advances to where new tech is available, or you get access to a good Intelligence/Procurement officer.

Each player starts with 1,000,000 C-Bills, and the lance as a whole starts with 5,000,000 C-Bills.  That’s not really a lot of cash, so money will be very tight for at least the first 20-30 turns or unless you score some good salvage terms in your first contract.

Step 2 – Each player starts with 10 Experience Points to spend on skills.  Experience is gained by surviving missions (+1) and per kill (+1).  Experience can be used to improve Piloting/Gunnery or add perks to a character.  I will continue to add new skills or balance the current skills with Exp cost as we use them.  For example, the first change (the one player who already took the skill at cost 1 can keep it) was to change Tracker from 1 to 2 Exp.  There were MANY times when the player was getting essentially a +1 gunnery, for a mere 1 exp.

Online Game Perks Benefit Exp
Weight Management Transport costs are 10% lower 2  (Only 1 player can take)
Officer Duties* Acts as an Officer of Regular Rank on non-encounter turns 4 (12 for Intelligence)
Officer Promotion Acts as an Officer of Veteran Rank on non-encounter turns 4 (12 for Intelligence)
Officer Promotion Acts as an Officer of Elite Rank on non-encounter turns 4 (12 for Intelligence)
Logistics Reduced mission transport/drop costs by 15% 2  (Only one player can take)
Delegation Can have an additional officer of the same type 2 Can take once for each officer type.
Contract Law I +1 Category Reroll 2 Can take 3 times
Contract Law II +1 Modifier to any category roll 2 Can take 3 times
Graft Can pay 50,000 credits to add +1 to any Officer Roll 4
Bribes Can pay 100,000 credits to add +2 to any Officer Roll 4 (Must take Graft)
Shiny and New! – Light** One-time; inherit random light mech 4 Can only take once per career
Shiny and New! – Medium** One-time; inherit random medium mech 8 Can only take once per career
Shiny and New! – Heavy One-time; inherit random heavy mech 12 Can only take once per career
Shiny and New! – Assault One-time; inherit random assault mech 16 Can only take once per career
Offline Game Perks
Bat Eyes No Night Fighting Penalty 8 (Must have Night Arrows!)
Edge Reroll any one roll per encounter (attacker or defender) 5
Explosives Can place 3 standard mines in any defense scenario, or +3 in scenarios with mines 2 (Also allows mine acquisition)
Heat Management On 8+, sinks one additional heat 1
Higher Ground +1 When firing from elevation 2 or greater 3
Individual Weapon +1 to hit, exact system (e.g. small laser, LRM 5) 3
Leadership Can command NPC’s in unit 2
Leadership Override Can command NPC’s against their better judgment.  -1 Rep when used 2
Lucky Reroll one Determine Critical roll (either as attacker or defender) per battle 3
Missiles/Lasers/Guns +1 to one category of weapon (Missiles, Energy or Projectiles) 5
Night Arrows! Night Fighting Penalty for Ranged only +1 3
Overrun Combat If initiative MoS is +2, One mech can move, attack and physical prior to enemy 8 Merc Supplemental p 73
Combat Drop – Precise Can choose target block for landing in a hot-drop.  +1 to landing piloting roll. 2
Combat Drop – Precise II Can choose target row or column for landing in a hot-drop, No piloting roll for landing. 2 Requires Combat Drop – Precise
Combat Drop – Precise III Can land in a specific 7 Hex Circle, and move once prior to initiative. 2 Requires Combat Drop – Precise II
Combat Drop – Engage Can fire all weapons once prior to rolling initiative for round 1 (+1 penalty for drop) 2 Requires Combat Drop – Precise
Steady -1 to Piloting when kicking or kicked 4
Strategist +1 to Reinforcement rolls 1 Can take a 2nd time for 2
Tactician +5% to Reinforcement BV 1 Can take 3 times
Terrain Advantage +1 when fighing on one terrain type (pilot choice); hills, water, urban 3
Tracker No Penalty for targets in Light Cover 2 (First Light Cover only)
 ** If your mech was destroyed in combat, you may choose the specific replacement.  Light and Medium Only.
To Pilot/Gunnery
Skill Improvement 5 4
4 8
3 12
2 16
1 20
0 24
Current Officer/Tech Duties
Mechanic, Mech* Maintains and repairs Battlemechs
Mechanic, Vehicle* Maintains and repairs Vehicles
Mechanic, Aerotech* Maintains and repairs Aerotech assets
Medical Can heal Pilot Damage and infantry losses
Supply Can procure general items
Supply, Ordinance Procures specialized weapons (Thunder LRM, Streak Missiles, Mines)
Personnel Can hire personnel
Engineer Can reverse engineer items and has minor fabricator ability. (+2 penalty)
Fabricator Can fabricte components with appropriate facilities.
Administrative Required for unit to operate efficiently.  Can make contract rolls, make contacts.
Intelligence Required for special missions, finding Lostech caches, adding satellite assets to unit.
*(Also gets one procurement request per turn for a specific part related to their specialization)
Dragoon Rating Modifiers Experience
Survive Mission 0 +1
Complete All Objectives +3 +1
Defeat all Reinforcements (away missions) +1 +1
Per Kill (individual) +1
No Internal Damage +1
Fail Mission -3
Break Contract -10

Last Chance

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Looks like a good world to hold the campaign on.  I haven’t checked all the books yet, but I can’t find much about it on Sarna.  It also sounds good considering the challenging, but hopeful nature of the campaign.



Friday, August 3rd, 2012

The Battletech rules discuss and allow for ‘officers’ of various types.  These include officers such as Personnel, Administrative, Supply and the like.  Combining some ideas our gaming group has had with Battletech, using these officers provides much of the ‘campaign’ flavor to the Fringe War campaign system.  Every turn (barring travel turns), each officer can perform a task in his core function to assist the unit.  For example, the Supply officer can requisition armor and spare weapons in advance of an assault mission, or the Personnel Officer can attempt to hire a mechwarrior, another officer, or a squad of infantry.  High margins of success (MoS) will give bonuses to future rolls or reduce the cost of acquired goods.

For example, the Personnel Officer action consists of:

1)  Start Task

2)  Pay costs – some of the tasks officers can perform require a payment in credits.  For example, to recruit a mechwarrior without a personal mech costs 30,000 credits to cover the expenses of HPG transmissions, advertising, interviews, etc.

3)  Determine Target Roll – More challenging tasks require higher rolls.

4)  Roll and determine result.

5)  On a success, roll on the quality table to determine the rank of the hire.

6)  On a success, add one experience point to the Officer.  On a natural 12, add 2 experience points and at the GM’s discretion, another bonus is applied (such as an additional recruit available).

7)  Promote if enough experience.  Officers gain a rank (Green, Regular, Veteran, Elite) and decrease their target rolls similar to technicians.

An example:  Silver Spear, a light mechwarrior company is looking to hire an additional pilot for a Jenner it took as salvage in the last mission.  They have a Veteran recruitment officer (Target roll of 5), mostly due to the high number of replacement pilots they go through.  They are offering a 100,000 credit signing bonus (-1), they have an empty mech for the pilot to use (-1), and their Dragoon rating is C. (0 effect)  However, the unit is on the Periphery (+1), and they are doing Garrison duty on an essentially uninhabited mining planet (population under 100,000), which is another +1.  Their total roll would need to be a 5 or greater to succeed in locating an appropriate mechwarrior for hire.

Once a candidate is found, a roll is made on the quality table to determine the rank of the unit.  The Silver Spear Personnel Officer rolls a 9.  With his bonus to Quality roll of +2, he has found a Regular rank mechwarrior.

Each officer has a particular set of modifiers to their rolls, though they all have the same target numbers based on the rank of the officer.  Recruiters may also spend 1 experience to add a +1 modifier to any roll, up to a maximum of +5.

Green – 6

Regular – 5

Veteran – 4

Elite – 3

Questions, comments and suggestions welcome.  Future posts will cover each officers’ potential actions and modifiers.


Introduction to Fringe War

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Fringe War is an ongoing, multi-generational Battletech campaign, taking place from approximately 2790 to whenever folks want to quit.  Turns are 2 weeks, so there will be 26 turns a year.  Due to being new at GM’ing Battletech, plus having a million sourcebooks to go through, this will be a lance-sized campaign to start, though people can certainly build beyond that.  On the Periphery where the campaign takes place, money is tight, parts are hard to come by, and a brand new mech hasn’t been seen in 200 years (with one exception!).  To start, forces will be of mechs, vehicles, turrets, artillery and infantry.  Aerotech will be introduced as we learn it, though there will be some limited Aerotech assets available for hire (Airstrikes).  Dropships are purchasable, though I’d guess the campaign would go 20-30 years before enough capital is raised to do so (so it might be used by a new generation of pilots, and not the ones starting the unit).  Through the twisted hand of fate, it would probably be easier to capture one.

Players begin the campaign owning a small Mercenary command based out of Lendon Fields, a battleground from the locally called ‘Cross-bone War’.  It is located several miles from a small town (pop 5000), where folks have very mixed feelings about the Mercs.  Some think having them there can only cause trouble, while others pray they might be some help if the pirates return.  The town council generally looks the other way of the Mercs, but no one knows why, as they are very intrusive into the lives of the citizenry.

The planet (TBD) is Agrarian, with very little in the way of ores, fuels or radioactives.  However, there is quite a bit of mining activity in the solar system, including several asteroid mining stations and a much larger population of miners and pirates on the local moon.  There are several major trade cities on the planet, with 2 major starports and some smaller dropship platforms scattered around some larger estates.

The military presence is very light, due to a combination of low population, small tax revenue, and its near total destruction in the conflict with a pirate faction known as The Kin.  Remaining forces are several brigades of infantry, a company of armored vehicles, one light Aerotech wing, and the pride of the planet, a 3/4 lance of Heavy battlemechs.  The command unit of the lance, the Lendon Fields (a Crusader-3R), has been missing and presumed destroyed for nearly 3 years.  No one knows how the mechs came to be in possession of the planetary government.  They aren’t fielded often due to a lack of maintenance personnel and spare armaments, but when they are, they outmatch almost anything in the solar system.

Each turn of Fringe War will have certain elements.  Currently, that looks something like:

1.  Repair and refit.

2.  Pay all fixed costs and personnel.

3.  Acquisition of equipment and personnel (using ‘officers’, which are part of your command).

4.  Contract offers, bids and negotiations.

5.  Deploy to contract location (this could take several turns by itself, depending on the distance, jump routes, etc)

6.  Encamp at contract location (1-2 turns, depending on whether only the lance/techs are moving or whether the whole Lendon Fields contingent is).

7.  Begin operations (for active duties) or deployment checks (for defensive type duties such as garrison/cadre)

By the Book and Not By the Book

Unlike my once upon a time D&D games, most of the campaign will be ‘by the book’, except where the book makes things too complicated.  So the combat will be 100% BTB, while we will be using an only slightly modified version of the Contract Negotiation system found in the Revised Mercenaries Handbook.  Battletech is a huge game, so if something is pointed out to me that I’m doing wrong or doesn’t make sense, we’ll fix it.  Repair and refit rules (quality ratings) will be modified, as the ‘full’ version could take 4 hours per repair cycle.  If we ever find a way to automate something like the ‘full’ repair cycle and determination of unit and item-level quality/maintenance, I’d be glad to implement it.  One reason for a very strict record-keeping system is so I can play the game as well as GM it.  Each player will have just as much visibility into the nuts and bolts of the game as I do.

As part of the joy of a campaign is character-building (though I hope folks don’t get too attached to any individual, as any battle can be their last), characters will be able to improve and earn skills (both combat and campaign oriented) based on experience earned on the battlefield.

Player Responsibilities:

1)  Once players learn the system, the upkeep of their assets will be entirely in their hands.  So while repair/acquisition rolls will be made in GM (or other player) presence, each session the player is responsible for submitting a hard-copy record sheet of their mech and assets (for PnP players) or an Excel file (for assets) and .Mul/.MTF file (for mechs, so I can load them into Megamek).

2)  Each engagement (excluding Intel/Lostech) will be run by the GM and players in turn.  This allows me to enjoy the game as well, but it also balances the field.  Battles will be BV2 based, modified by skills (piloting/gunnery); however, that doesn’t mean battles will always (or even often) be 1:1.  Assaults could be challenging as players go up against 150% of their BV, or easy as they run down convoys of enemy vehicles (50%).  Missions can be overt or covert.  They can take place on desert planets where there could be heat dissipation -3 or ice planets that require additional piloting checks, but heat dissipation is +3.  And so on!  Each player is expected to play the ‘opposition’ to the best of their ability, even when (especially when) fighting their own mechs.  Mechs will be lost, but part of the fun is finding and hiring new ones as well.

3)  There will be no time wasted arguing.  Other than rules specified ahead of time, the books take precedence in any disagreement.  I may modify a rule after the fact, but during play if I haven’t specified ahead of time, we’ll go with what the book says.  For example, the current campaign rule says the current lance’s airstrikes are Target 5 (9 against moving targets), with 3 batteries of LRM 15’s per fighter.  Now, I know that’s not how actual Aerotech works, but for the time being, that’s what we’re going with.  If I hadn’t specified ahead of time, we would figure out how to call in an airstrike by the Aerotech rules, or not do it until a following session.

4)  Check the blog at least twice a week for news and info.

5)  Attempt to get all software I am using to run the game up and running on your own computers.  (MegaMek and MegaMekLab are the two that should be gotten first)

GM Responsibilities:

1)  All rule changes that aren’t exactly by the book will be posted here on the ‘campaign rules’ page, with at least some explanation of why the rule change exists.  And to be honest, that will usually have to do with record-keeping time.  Any player wanting a particular rule to remain in force will have to volunteer to take up any record keeping responsibility associated with the rule.

2)  Contract offers, while allowing some ‘storytelling’ room, will be generated via a consistent set of campaign rules.  The contracts themselves will be generated using the Revised Merc Handbook  system, while the operational forces of the opposition will be generated randomly once a system is in place.  Before the system is in place, I will match a set BV as closely as possible, weighted by the mission type and OpFor rolls.

3)  As long as the players show up consistently and with a good attitude, I will post at least 2-3 times a week on the blog.

4)  Barring real life stuff (work, trips, etc), I will be available at least every other week for IRL/Megamek sessions.  And most likely, once a week if the players are interested in playing that often.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun!  I’ve wanted to do this for going on 25 years, so as long as we’re all having fun, I’ll be adding things to make the actual play experience nicer, such as new models, more maps, and maybe even some 3d terrain we can set up at the warehouse.  Players who are willing to take on any of the upkeep of a huge game like this will free up my time to add other cool stuff rather than handling infinite record-keeping.  This could include making some web pages we could use to generate contracts (the ones I’ve found so far online aren’t very good), random mechs, etc.

Thanks y’all, this post is long enough so I’ll leave it at that!