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BattleTech Game Systems => Aerospace Combat => Topic started by: Jellico on 26 April 2021, 07:49:19

Title: Germanium Prices
Post by: Jellico on 26 April 2021, 07:49:19
How much Germanium do you need to justify your mercenary company double crossing your Great House employer and disappearing? Say 3150.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: CVB on 26 April 2021, 09:27:07
The only canon source I remember offhand is The Periphery (FASA 1692), p. 96: ca. 2000 Cb per ounce.

However, you might also want to look at Cray's post here (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/general-discussion/producing-jumpships-a-stupid-question/msg663554/#msg663554) which indicates four to five orders of magnitude less.

Fasanomics...
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Daryk on 26 April 2021, 19:50:08
Not sure about 3150, but seriously, a LOT of Germanium... like, a SHIT TON of the stuff... Not just a ton or two.  More like a JumpShip core's worth...
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Elmoth on 27 April 2021, 06:04:50
A jumpship core's worth seems low to me. Like regular payment for the unit. It is unprocessed germanium we are talking here, not the end product. Raw materials are always cheaper, no matter what. Maybe if it was like the core of 10 or 20 jumpships we are talking.
Just random numbers here.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: cray on 29 April 2021, 20:55:43
I started the math again but I was just reinventing my 2013 post:

Quote
Food for thought: when you look at the costs of a KF drive, taking away overall ship cost multipliers and the low-mass docking collars, just getting to the cost of the core...germanium ain't too expensive in BT.

Assuming the titanium-germanium core of a JumpShip is 100% germanium, and assuming 100% of the core's cost is from the germanium, prices range from 2,525 CB/ton for a Scout's germanium to 2,100 CB/ton for a Monolith. That's 2.1 to 2.5CB per kilogram, or pennies per ounce.

That's straight out of the cost and construction rules. It'd be hard to budge those prices without altering the construction rules.

A core's worth, several hundred million CB of germanium, would be enough to let most mercenary forces retire. With average annual incomes of 10,000 to 20,000CB for most MechWarriors, 1-2 million per merc soldier is enough to let them retire to wealthy civilian lives.

But if they want to stay active as mercs then you'd probably want several cores' worth so they can support their 'Mechs and keep the force running. Say, 5 to 10 million per MechWarrior or fighter pilot.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: CVB on 30 April 2021, 02:25:27
With average annual incomes of 10,000 to 20,000CB for most MechWarriors, 1-2 million per merc soldier is enough to let them retire to wealthy civilian lives.

But if they want to stay active as mercs then you'd probably want several cores' worth so they can support their 'Mechs and keep the force running. Say, 5 to 10 million per MechWarrior or fighter pilot.

That leads us back to an old problem with FASA prices and income: every owner/operator of a lowly 3025 bug 'mech is a multimillionaire by today's standards and should demand a six-digit CB income for interest and insurance for his 'mech plus his personal work and risk.
As it is now, being a merc is just an extremely risky and expensive hobby.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: idea weenie on 30 April 2021, 05:23:56
That leads us back to an old problem with FASA prices and income: every owner/operator of a lowly 3025 bug 'mech is a multimillionaire by today's standards and should demand a six-digit CB income for interest and insurance for his 'mech plus his personal work and risk.
As it is now, being a merc is just an extremely risky and expensive hobby.

The key might be that owning a mech worth 10 million C-Bills gets you better recognition than merely having 10 million C-Bills in your bank account.  The C-Bills in a bank account can be used to invest, but you are still relying on others to work and make you wealthier.  A Mech means you have control over your own destiny, and are trusted with a high-tech war machine.

As for Germanium prices and costs of a Jump Core, I expect that the House Lords have people in a variety of spaceports that are willing to purchase a Jumpship from a family who can't afford to maintain it any longer.  The family loses the freedom they had, but the money in their bank account is its own form of security.  Pity most of that money is in that House's currency, so they don't get to travel freely any longer.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: cray on 06 May 2021, 19:17:36
That leads us back to an old problem with FASA prices and income: every owner/operator of a lowly 3025 bug 'mech is a multimillionaire by today's standards and should demand a six-digit CB income for interest and insurance for his 'mech plus his personal work and risk.
As it is now, being a merc is just an extremely risky and expensive hobby.

Which merc rules are you referencing? Campaign Operations force rules assign pay partly on the cost of their hardware. Errata actually had to throttle it back because most merc forces could hit retirement income levels in a quiet year or two of garrison work.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: CVB on 07 May 2021, 06:43:26
@idea weenie:
I do my own investment decisions, and feel to have control of a large part of my destiny :)
My control of destiny in a 'mech might very quickly end with an unlucky Gauss hit to the head.

@cray:
CO, p.40ff. They were a big step in the right direction (probably even too big),  although quiet Garrison and Cadre contracts are relatively rare, just 10 or 11 on an unmodified 2d6 mission roll. MoS from the initial negotiation roll may change that, but when your MoS is too high, it easily rolls you over to the (mostly hazardous) Special column.

However, I'm not so much referring to current rules, but lore. We are told time and again that a very high percentage of merc outfits fold within one year and company store syndrome is always looming. Even long established mercs often have to make do with older, cheaper equipment, so they seem to have problems to invest enough to keep their "means of production" current. (Disclaimer: I mostly do campaigns in the 3rd SW and started campaigning back in 1988 following the various rules iterations, so that might colour my perception of the merc business.)
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Emcha on 20 May 2021, 20:08:57
I started the math again but I was just reinventing my 2013 post:

That's straight out of the cost and construction rules. It'd be hard to budge those prices without altering the construction rules.

A core's worth, several hundred million CB of germanium, would be enough to let most mercenary forces retire. With average annual incomes of 10,000 to 20,000CB for most MechWarriors, 1-2 million per merc soldier is enough to let them retire to wealthy civilian lives.

But if they want to stay active as mercs then you'd probably want several cores' worth so they can support their 'Mechs and keep the force running. Say, 5 to 10 million per MechWarrior or fighter pilot.

I just checked the relevant prices and Titanium is (currently) $4,800.00/ton while Germanium is 1000/kg for the pure metal and $720/kg for GeO2.
the big issue here is we don't actually know the composition of the core alloy. I feel like it would be around 60-80% Ti and the rest Ge but i'm not exactly Michio Kaku.

perhaps to save money they recycle a lot of the Germanium in the setting or buy straight ore and refine it on-site?

Clearly there's enough money in it because the Marian Hegemony is a thing.

and I would say that, for me, to betray my employers it would have to be enough germanium where I would never have to fear reprisal, either from being able to hire my own mercs or smooth things over by supplying my slighted employer with lots of cheap germanium.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Lord Cameron on 03 October 2021, 09:55:14
Could the difference be in the refinement, processing and manufacturing?

Computer chips cost far more than the cost per pound of silicon.

Also, location in system could be an important factor.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Warship on 03 October 2021, 20:44:05
Could, when the original FASA writers wrote about germanium, it was either worth more than today due to rarity and mining costs/technology, or when researching, the wrong number was read?  Also, since the various sized vessels probably require different amounts, could many of the worlds throughout the IS been bled dry of their easy to reach germanium stores driving up prices.  I mean, when the Star League was going full tilt, just how many Warships and Jumpships plied the black, with more being built each year until the Succession Wars slowed production to a crawl and only for Jumpships?  How much germanium did all of that take?
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: Paul on 03 October 2021, 21:54:03
Depends on the 'disappearing' part.

Screwing over a Great House once isn't really a big deal. You just don't work there anymore. Next employer may not trust you as much, but if it's an enemy of the one you doublecrossed, it's not a deal breaker.

The disappearing part is a big modifier:
A. Just go somewhere else?
B. Actually disappear, no one knows what you did, you start with a clean slate?
C. You retire altogether?


Assuming just A, I'd say many merc companies (like, sized at 12 or so Mechs) would start biting around the 10 million cbill mark.
Almost none would refuse at the 50 million mark.
None would refuse at the 100 million mark.

And in 3150, disappearing got a *lot* easier, and there's way less consequences. No third party organization involved in any meaningful way. Plus the Houses' reach does not extend as much as it did a century ago.
I'd worry about screwing over Sea Foxes, and that's probably about it. And only if I was savvy enough to know how those guys were operating in the 3150s, and I don't feel that's necessarily understood by an average mercenary company.
Title: Re: Germanium Prices
Post by: DevianID on 05 October 2021, 04:31:17
The issue of merc's retiring is actually a pretty real one.  That said, knights in history were also pretty wealthy, and had the same issue--why fight when you can sell your weapons/armor and retire, or go rogue and just take over a town with your small force?  In history the answer was that someone with those weapons/armor you sold them to cash out could just take your land/money since they now have weapons/armor.  So keeping some equipment to defend your self makes sense, but then you need a household to maintain it, and land to support that household, and you are right back to needing to go on campaign to get money to protect money.

In my headspace, personal owned mechs make a lot of sense as knights of old, who needed land to rule over to support their military force, and whose military force was instrumental in keeping their land/acquiring money to live on.  So even a merc or pirate company should have territory somewhere they are tied to, with each mech having a familiy back home they are supporting/being supported by.  In that sense, a 10 million c-bill payout is nice, but if your household is 100 million net worth with a 5 million cbill mech being part of that estate, then we see why mercs dont just pirate a 300 million dropship at the first opportunity to go rogue--the lance has 400 million in estates in their families name, and a 300 million split is a net LOSS when their families assets get seized so a few people can go live out their days on a pleasure planet.  Pirates found kingdoms for this reason in btech Id bet--to have a territory to maintain and support their war machines, which then needs the pirates to raid to support their kingdom.