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Author Topic: AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!  (Read 385 times)

GamerDad

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AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!
« on: 19 August 2022, 05:51:23 »
My boys (18 and 13) are loving AS and I think the less waiting around and faster-paced action is really appealing for everyone all around the gaming table.  We've just spent yesterday dice-shopping and plan to use the optional rules for multiple attack rolls (p.175) so we definitely  ;)  needed lots of dice!!

My idea was for them to start out as a small mercenary outfit, maybe a lance or two, then build up from there.  Kind of like MechCommander vibe, I guess.  Definitely not making a big mercenary outfit, but I will give them a 4- or 8-mech dropship.  I'm hoping there'll be a bit of roleplay in this and not just be throwing mechs (and pilots) to fights-to-the-death.  Minimal infantry/tank assets and no aerospace, not until we get a better handle of things and can work out how to deal with these units.  Definitely looking at improving pilots over time and getting better mechs.

My issue is that a lot of things seem to be geared towards Classic BattleTech format.  I have the FM:Mercs Revised and Supplemental rulebooks, I have the Campaign Ops rulebook, and they're all nitty-gritty CBT format. 

  • How do I form a mercenary unit for the Alpha Strike system?  What books would I need?
  • Plan is to start at 3040 or 3045 so we can fight Clans at a later date.  Are there any mech tables or systems that would help me determine what mechs are available for them to buy from any of the mercenary worlds?  Or even for their own lances to start out with?
  • How do I run a campaign for this unit in Alpha Strike?  I'm thinking the Chaos System would work but not sure what's the latest version of this system? or what would be compatible with our time period?
  • I plan for them to be able to give special abilities to their pilots later on and maybe even special command abilities so I would need a system to work out how they would gain experience and spend it on these points?
  • Suggestions for a dropship?  Do I start them out small or just give them a big one straight off?  I think barring any RPG-related excuses on how they got a dropship, a small mercenary outfit would take ages to save up for a good dropship?

My brain is somewhat mush from reading so many books lately (plus my job entails a lot of "technical" reading too and we just got really busy lately) so please be gentle!  Any other suggestions on what to consider for my campaign or anything else I'm missing would be great!

I just got the Combat Manual Mercenaries to see if I can use that.  Any help appreciated!


Charistoph

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Re: AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!
« Reply #1 on: 19 August 2022, 10:24:32 »
    • How do I form a mercenary unit for the Alpha Strike system?  What books would I need?

    Assuming you already have the Alpha Strike: Commanders' Edition, it looks like the only thing you MIGHT need beyond what you've already listed is Strategic Operations to handle space interactions.  However, you can just skip that part like my campaign manager is doing.

    Beyond that is only figuring out how repair and salvage will work with Alpha Strike damage.  The BattleForce rules of Interstellar Ops should be able to help you handle that, as Alpha Strike uses BattleForce stats (though, not the unit pricing).

    Speaking of which, if you want to allow customization of units (a dangerous area, though not as needed with pure Alpha Strike), Solaris SkunkWerks and Mech Factory can provide the stats conversion for that so you don't need the Alpha Strike Companion Edition (though, SSW doesn't do PV values at present).

    • Plan is to start at 3040 or 3045 so we can fight Clans at a later date.  Are there any mech tables or systems that would help me determine what mechs are available for them to buy from any of the mercenary worlds?  Or even for their own lances to start out with?

    The Master Unit List, probably.  There's even a way to specifically look at the Faction.  Give them a starting planet, and they can get faction-specific stuff, or have them pick solely from the IS General list.  If they insist on having a unit from a specific faction, like the Panther or Commando, just increase the pricing (or reduce starting capital) by a bit to indicate the difficulty of acquiring said unit outside of its production sphere.

    Remember salvage and even cross-realm selling is a thing, so it is possible for a Mechwarrior to have a 'Mech that started in another nation, even if they don't share a border.

    • How do I run a campaign for this unit in Alpha Strike?  I'm thinking the Chaos System would work but not sure what's the latest version of this system? or what would be compatible with our time period?

    One of the nice things about Alpha Strike is that it really only affects how you resolve mission conflict.  It should be no different organizing a unit for Alpha Strike than it would be for Total Warfare.  In the campaign I'm in, the GM has had us run about 3-4 missions in Alpha Strike (and where we have lost the most 'Mechs).  The only challenge was when we were allowed to modify our 'Mechs and getting them converted, repaired, and/or salvaged with how Alpha Strike operates, but I addressed that above.

    • I plan for them to be able to give special abilities to their pilots later on and maybe even special command abilities so I would need a system to work out how they would gain experience and spend it on these points?

    I would recommend it.  Establish it early on and give them things to look forward to implementing  You can choose how you want to do it, but for our campaign, our CM has set up the following:

    Special Pilot Abilities: Our unit doesn't have a set Lance structure, but we can individually focus our pilots.  Experience is gained per mission with 1 XP per mission joined OR 1 XP per kill & 0.25 per assist.  4 XP allows for an increase in Skill or a point for purchasing a Special Pilot Ability.  You may want to stretch this out a little as Total Warfare (the stats we use) have twice as many Skills as Alpha Strike does.  Jumping Jack is probably the most popular one we've chosen as we have a LOT of hoppy 'Mechs, with Human TRO and Sniper being the next most common.

    Also, a certain number of "SPA" points were provided based on the unit's overall experience.  These could only be spent on SPAs, and help give a taste as to what one can do and look forward to options.

    Special Command Abilities: Applies to the whole force and based on the "experience" of the unit.  We've reached 2 so far, Esprit de Corps and Hit & Run (which might be replaced with the new Assault after this series), and looking to get Camouflage when we level up.

    Since you're running pure Alpha Strike, though, they may want to have each player making decisions for Lances as a whole, so they would then apply Lance-level Formations and rules provided in the Commander's Edition.  Most of the Command and Pilot Abilities from Campaign Ops translate pretty well in to Alpha Strike, too.

    • Suggestions for a dropship?  Do I start them out small or just give them a big one straight off?  I think barring any RPG-related excuses on how they got a dropship, a small mercenary outfit would take ages to save up for a good dropship?

    There are two ways to handle it.  Give them enough to transport the whole unit, or give them a bigger wallet to start with, but they have to pay more for transport.

    Our Campaign started off with a company.  Our CM gave us a Union and a Leopard to begin with.  We've since acquired a heavily modified Mule that basically carries a Company Combat Team (A Company of Mechs, 2 Companies of Vehicles, and a Conventional Infantry Company).  Early on, we converted our Union's ASF bays to pure storage and the Leopard's ASF bays to 'Mech bays, which came in handy when we pulled Lady Areno out of a bad situation.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for our pocket book) that only leaves us with the ability to carry 6 ASF in the Mule.
    Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
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    GamerDad

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    Re: AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!
    « Reply #2 on: 20 August 2022, 06:11:22 »
    Assuming you already have the Alpha Strike: Commanders' Edition,
    Yes we do but that only really covers generating a force for pickup games, not really for campaign/mercenary games as far as I can tell.  No units for base defense, no admin, no support units, etc.  Just mech/infantry/aerospace lances, special flavour effects, and done if we were to follow the AS:CE book.


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    Beyond that is only figuring out how repair and salvage will work with Alpha Strike damage.  The BattleForce rules of Interstellar Ops should be able to help you handle that, as Alpha Strike uses BattleForce stats (though, not the unit pricing).
    Thanks, will take a look at that.  I don't think I have that book though, so will have to order it in.

    Definitely no customizations for now.


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    The Master Unit List, probably.  There's even a way to specifically look at the Faction.  Give them a starting planet, and they can get faction-specific stuff, or have them pick solely from the IS General list.  If they insist on having a unit from a specific faction, like the Panther or Commando, just increase the pricing (or reduce starting capital) by a bit to indicate the difficulty of acquiring said unit outside of its production sphere.

    The MUL gives the list of mechs possible in the timeline, but not ratings or availability.  I was thinking more like RATs from old books.  I guess I might as well just dig up those old tables and go from there.  I think I was hoping that there are updated tables.


    Quote
    One of the nice things about Alpha Strike is that it really only affects how you resolve mission conflict.  It should be no different organizing a unit for Alpha Strike than it would be for Total Warfare.  In the campaign I'm in, the GM has had us run about 3-4 missions in Alpha Strike (and where we have lost the most 'Mechs).  The only challenge was when we were allowed to modify our 'Mechs and getting them converted, repaired, and/or salvaged with how Alpha Strike operates, but I addressed that above.

    Sorry but I don't think I follow.  Are you saying I can build my force and run it nitty-gritty CBT-style (FM:Mercs Rev has what I think is an awesome merc unit generation system) but then just use AS for combat, then back to CBT-style outside of combat?  If so..... interesting.... as that'll open up a lot of options for us.


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    4 XP allows for an increase in Skill or a point for purchasing a Special Pilot Ability.
    But some of these are more "expensive" than others??  I guess 4XP for the base 2-cost ones then 8XP for 4-cost ones?

    Charistoph

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    Re: AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!
    « Reply #3 on: 20 August 2022, 16:31:02 »
    The MUL gives the list of mechs possible in the timeline, but not ratings or availability.  I was thinking more like RATs from old books.  I guess I might as well just dig up those old tables and go from there.  I think I was hoping that there are updated tables.

    Someone here has put a lot of work in developing a RAT, but getting it in to such a narrow time frame might be a challenge.  I haven't kept up with the books that might have it as much I used to have.

    Sorry but I don't think I follow.  Are you saying I can build my force and run it nitty-gritty CBT-style (FM:Mercs Rev has what I think is an awesome merc unit generation system) but then just use AS for combat, then back to CBT-style outside of combat?  If so..... interesting.... as that'll open up a lot of options for us.

    Yes, exactly that.  Some of the units perform a little differently between CBT and AS, but not enough to warrant losing too much sleep over it.  It just changes focus on what you're going to bring.  A Firestarter is great if you're handling Conventional Infantry in CBT, but it doesn't translate so easily in to Alpha Strike, for example.

    But some of these are more "expensive" than others??  I guess 4XP for the base 2-cost ones then 8XP for 4-cost ones?

    4xp for 1 cost ones like Human TRO, 8xp for 2 cost ones like Jumping Jack, 12xp for 3 cost ones like Sniper.  These are the pricing from Campaign Operations.  It's best to balance out progression against what you want to deal with and expect them to handle.  They can get powerful VERY quickly, such as an LRM Specialist with Oblique Attacker, Sand Blaster, and Sniper is just nasty with even something as light as a Valkyrie and a terror with a Longbow.

    Of course, my CM always warns us, anything you can do, I can do, too.  And there have been times where a unit gets particularly annoying because of the Special Pilot Abilities (Oblique Attacker on a Trebuchet, for example).
    Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
    Quote from: Megavolt
    They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

    Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

    saab14

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    Re: AS Mercenary Campaign ideas, need help!
    « Reply #4 on: 20 August 2022, 18:22:46 »
    You could also check out DFA Wargaming's excellent Alpha Strike resources, including their campaign system. Among many other things it has rules for repairing/salvaging units.

    https://dfawargaming.com/downloads