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Author Topic: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?  (Read 4585 times)

Colt Ward

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The BTU setting has a few OOC universe rules that prohibit a faction from upsetting the balance and centrality of Mech primarily & ground forces in general from being overshadowed in the setting.  Rules like-

Limited drop collar access
Limited or no warship & JS production
Aversion to space-based industry/production
Ease of salvage of mechs compared to anything else
Difficulty performing accurate NGS- similar to the Artillery nerf, aka mathz are hard
Jump points have no stationed defenses except in rare narrative cases- HotW & recharge stations
Research into KF drives & HPGs is rare to non-existent after the fall of the Star League- blame ROM, but post Jihad it should have happened

Some of it also relies on OOC coincidence . . . like the dropship fleets of the IS are tiny size ships compared to getting something like bulk carriers w/o the Behemoth problems.  A lack of commercial clones or variants- IE, the Aquaduct class DS should have a regular cargo carrier version at that size to benefit more from economy of scale.  AFAIK, no published colony ships- IE something that moves masses of people in a economical manner.

BUT . . . if you were to remove those rules to shift BTU to something like WWII in space w/ the advanced inertia movement . . . what other universe rules would you establish?
Colt Ward

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Lagrange

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #1 on: 04 January 2022, 17:52:00 »
Much of what you list is setting-based rather than rules-based, and there are ways to achieve things within the rules along the lines of what you mention.  For example, design a large dropship, build more jumpships, buy some industrial space stations (design exist already), use homing rounds, stick battle stations on/near jump points, and use custom dropships that can do an accurate air-to-ground naval strike with subcapital weapons.

So, what rules would need to change?

AlphaMirage

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #2 on: 04 January 2022, 18:11:20 »
I agree with LaGrange, most of that is setting based. In my K-Verse setting I am trying to add some more Aero and Space-centric elements to the setting. It would just take focus but that would take the lens off the Battlemech centric nature of this beer and pretzels game. As far as most that don't write fiction are concerned there are enough jumpships to run your skirmish games. Additionally we will likely never get any kind of industrial rules beyond fan made ones that you can add to space stations or dropships in order to make orbital or deep space factories. The reason we don't have them is likely an artifact of the SLDF's massive Warship fleet that could easily threaten such constructs.

The real problem that is fixable is that the rules for Space Combat are scattered in too many books and really need a Battlemech Manual style redesign (Battlespace III), streamlining, and some kind of squadron creation application. Additionally we cannot make canon designs obsolete with modern rule redesigns like my Gen III Warships which mix standard, sub-cap, and capital weapons in greater numbers.

Check out my Free Trader's and Second Star League forum topics for an idea of the economics of jumpships as well as space combat strategy according to the present rules. I have tons of ideas to fix them (there's a space combat redesign thread in the fan rules somewhere.)

Colt Ward

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #3 on: 05 January 2022, 10:46:53 »
Setting & Universe rules are the same for this purpose, a universe constant like gravity.

Gist of the question is, what setting/universe unwritten rules would you change to shift the emphasis to aero to build a WWII Pacific-style setting?  I would figure 3050s would have to be re-written . . . or perhaps even the tech recovery letting each House get a economic build up via trade keeping in mind Mahan's observations on naval power.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #4 on: 05 January 2022, 11:18:49 »
We have no jumpship numbers post-3030ish for all we know the Inner Sphere was awash in jumpships that could finally be repaired during the tech renaissance. At least until the Jihad and War of Reaving wrecked  jumpship yards and many of the craft themselves.

We know that the Free World's League was capable of supplying the Draconis Combine and Federated Commonwealth with war material while the Federated Commonwealth's own jumpships were likely used to move FedSuns forces and goods to the Clan front. That means they must have had a lot of jump collars and craft.

Without more solid numbers of what each planet needs and makes we cannot know what they trade. Without knowing what they trade we don't know how often they need to do so. Thus we cannot know how many jumpships would be needed in order to service said trade.

If we knew that we could figure out how many warships (pocket or otherwise), assault dropships, and Aerospace fighters/carriers the Great Houses would need to make in order to secure that trade from enemy action. We also don't know how many they already have, there could be thousands of Leopard CVs in the Inner Sphere each carrying a fighter squadron but they are not expounded upon. 

Since the Great Houses don't attack Jumpships by unspoken rules and there are only a limited number of easy points of entry/exit I suspect that Mahan's observations are not entirely valid in the setting. Additionally an assault carrier or small space station can very effectively control a jump point against troop ships or the small numbers of Aerospace fighters they typically carry. While even the most formidable space station is intensely vulnerable to craft designed to engage in intense Aerospace combat like Assault Dropships and heavier Aerospace fighters. You cannot reasonable make a Fort Drum style space citadel using the current rules.

For HPGs and KF drives I think they work fine. Mobile HPGs exist which is incredibly huge but they are expensive and vulnerable to attack. Ground based HPGs are built around fortresses that serve as COMSTAR exclaves, banks, and likely provide other essential services for the local Lord's subjects. COMSTAR not advancing HPG tech makes perfect sense, they don't need them to be small and would prefer them big and scarce.

Rules adjustments I'd like to see that could have the most effect
Space Stations and Jumpships can have more SI making them far less vulnerable to damage. With Space Stations having the option to mount Capital SI (you could also just have the normal SI as an option as well) you can actually have serious system defense stations capable of downing Warships which would in turn require their greater use.

A shorter ranged but modern KF drive for faster intra-system transit with a few dropships rather than interstellar transit. Although I suppose we can allow a 15LY one as well. These would be useful for the rapid deployment of reinforcements to support an embattled jump point garrison and make something approaching the much dreaded monitor or allowing a more flexible underway replenishment vessel.

Colt Ward

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #5 on: 05 January 2022, 12:01:49 »
Rules adjustments I'd like to see that could have the most effect
Space Stations and Jumpships can have more SI making them far less vulnerable to damage. With Space Stations having the option to mount Capital SI (you could also just have the normal SI as an option as well) you can actually have serious system defense stations capable of downing Warships which would in turn require their greater use.

A shorter ranged but modern KF drive for faster intra-system transit with a few dropships rather than interstellar transit. Although I suppose we can allow a 15LY one as well. These would be useful for the rapid deployment of reinforcements to support an embattled jump point garrison and make something approaching the much dreaded monitor or allowing a more flexible underway replenishment vessel.

Not talking about actual book rule changes.

I would disagree a bit about the possible abundance of JS in the 3040s, because we still have discussions in fiction in the 3050s and 3060s about waiting for JS or how the route works.  I would describe the Inner Sphere's jumpship level as subsistence since the 1SW, we get bits about how leaders tried to organize and optimize JS for increasing trade.  Now, I would also buy into a setting rule change that with the tech recovery chugging along in the 3040s that JS salvaging would become a booming business- sort of like how the Blakists were salvaging warships in the 50s & 60s.

I think you bring up a good point, part of a WWII style setting would be commerce raiding so JS and DS will have to become more plentiful so that corvettes & Q-ships can try to get behind borders/frontlines to hit JS/DS shipping.  So the culture/setting rule of not hitting JS might need to be relaxed, which by making JS more plentiful can happen.  This also might mean pirate point jumping does not scare spacers as much as it does currently in BTU- did it really scare spacers or was it more ground commanders who did not understand astrogation?

Another economic shift would be actually exploiting systems more- more asteroid mining either by going to the rock or bringing the rock to you, settlements on Jovian moons overseeing gas mining, Kupier belt mining for ice/volatiles, perhaps even solar foundries deep in systems.  Some of these locations- particularly the Jovians- are going to have small garrisons that operate sensors, support long range (read Small Craft like Tigress or Condottiere) patrols, and customs operations.

Another setting change would be a shift of emphasis about orbital defense platforms.  We heard about them for the first time in HotW but afaik nothing was ever laid out about them specifically.  I would expect capital and sub-cap missile launchers able to do bearings only launches with deep magazines.  Some orbital platforms that house ASF & Small Craft squadrons/wings.  A extension of this would be CAPTOR mines for orbital supplement and jump zone denial.  Moons go back to what was seen in the 2nd GDL book- 'orbital' bases for a planet, housing ASF/SC/DS assets for patrol, customs and defense.  With current weapons, they might also be equipped with capital missile launchers and mass drivers?

As for Mahan's observations, I was not talking about choke points so much as the natural vs artificial growth of naval power.  Basically a country involved in trade builds the supporting infrastructure and has the outlook to support a navy (British Empire) vs a power that is more concerned with land-based gains and has outlets that do not require naval strength so that support for naval strength/policy waxes & wanes (France) based on who is making policy.

Based on the above, I would say the Dracs, FedSuns, & Cappies would be a artificial naval power, the League & Lyrans would be natural naval powers (which might be born out by BTU history).  For the Periphery . . . well, I think all of them might be naturals.  Among the IS Clans, the SharkFoxes, Ravens, and maybe Cats would be naturals.  The Bears waxing artificials, and the rest of the Clans are 'fat' with Star League left overs.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #6 on: 05 January 2022, 14:02:13 »
The thing is that the Great Houses have been at subsidence level trade since the Succession Wars likely at incredible losses to the appropriate treasuries so there has never been a lot of infrastructure put in place to make it easier as the scale just isn't there even if the tech was. A fluff rewrite in the 40s and 50s should be a pretty easy add. Although the only mention of jumpship trouble that I remember in the 3050-60s is Victor complaining that he had to pay a ransom to get the FedSun's jumpships back from his sister. There is also the Clan's thorny year long supply line from the Homeworlds. If they didn't have so many Warships that weakness could be ruthlessly exploited by Commerce Raiders. During the Jihad you had the whiteout which meant that jump-ships existed you just couldn't tell them where to go or be in real time so you needed to wait and run couriers.

As for space resource exploitation I think the battletech universe does okay for its fluff. Preferably I would have shrunk the universe down to a tenth of its size. This would increase populations to the point where they were already exploiting many planetary resources and needed to look upward. With so many mostly uninhabited planets it doesn't make as much sense to mine asteroids or harvest volatiles from moons when you can build factory towns (or just land a dropship carrying such items) right next to mines and service them by rail, sea, or space. A smaller universe would allow the developers to dig down into more intricate details like economics or at least give the players or authors that option. With thousands of worlds it is much more difficult to determine wants and needs and it dilutes even large fleets of space bound warships to novelties.

Even if it did these would likely be used in system and not interstellar. Most raw resources are likely not worth that much in trade particularly with sparse jumpships. Now again if that were to change and the subsidized or unsubsidized price per ton to ship were to drop you'd see a boom in trade as more things became viable.

The Megiddo/Dragon's Breath launchers are perfect missile armed CAPTOR/Jump Zone denial assets if you wanted to implement them more broadly. There is also the M-9 Pavise SDS station which is armed like a Warship even if it can't take the same beating. Already the Bastion and Capitol type planetary stations exists they just need more weapons. Heavy Mass Drivers I think are the ultimate anti-space station weapon so I figure they would be preferentially on Warships. Light and Medium ones could definitely be used as sneaky weapons to defend asteroid bases (which do exists in the fiction, Pirate's Belt, Al'Nair, Camelot Station, and a few others) from enemy attack.

Daryk

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #7 on: 05 January 2022, 19:25:30 »
You don't need a Mass Driver to be a successful anti-station platform.  Anything that can launch more than one nuke will do.

Colt Ward

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #8 on: 05 January 2022, 23:20:39 »
You don't need a Mass Driver to be a successful anti-station platform.  Anything that can launch more than one nuke will do.

Forgot the WMD setting rule . . . not sure I would want to take those gloves off.  Just like they can wipe out a mech regiment, they can hammer a battleship/dreadnaught/supercarrier.

Besides, a siege ship that waddles in to blast a orbiting defense station when it clears the curve of a planet would be interesting.

Forgot this-  Lagrange points . . . do they become giant shipyards or zero-g factories/ports . . . or is it to easy for a 'fireship' type attack to pirate jump and have the KF field wreck the infrastructure?
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Daryk

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #9 on: 06 January 2022, 04:23:37 »
Generally, you park your infrastructure inside the proximity limit to prevent exactly that.  Conveniently enough, the Lagrange points (we're really only talking about the L1s) themselves aren't the actual jump points, as they take centrifugal forces into account.

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #10 on: 06 January 2022, 10:31:19 »
The BTU setting has a few OOC universe rules that prohibit a faction from upsetting the balance and centrality of Mech primarily & ground forces in general from being overshadowed in the setting.  Rules like-

Limited drop collar access
Limited or no warship & JS production
Aversion to space-based industry/production
Ease of salvage of mechs compared to anything else
Difficulty performing accurate NGS- similar to the Artillery nerf, aka mathz are hard
Jump points have no stationed defenses except in rare narrative cases- HotW & recharge stations
Research into KF drives & HPGs is rare to non-existent after the fall of the Star League- blame ROM, but post Jihad it should have happened

Some of it also relies on OOC coincidence . . . like the dropship fleets of the IS are tiny size ships compared to getting something like bulk carriers w/o the Behemoth problems.  A lack of commercial clones or variants- IE, the Aquaduct class DS should have a regular cargo carrier version at that size to benefit more from economy of scale.  AFAIK, no published colony ships- IE something that moves masses of people in a economical manner.

BUT . . . if you were to remove those rules to shift BTU to something like WWII in space w/ the advanced inertia movement . . . what other universe rules would you establish?

You don't actually need to 'Change the rules' as much as it looks like at first blush.  Most of what you need is actually IN the rules as they exist, a few adjustments to the SETTING, on the other hand... Because the situation is more or less another FASANomics situation.

What do I mean? well, as it sits, most of the ground game couldn't happen if we stick to things as presented in the first place-particularly the large conflicts like the Fedcom Civil War, Operation Serpent, The Clan Invasion, the Jihad, etc.

These things only manage to happen because the authors already bend the situation in ways they loudly claim not to want it bent.

The simplest way to demonstrate this, is to work out how many three-collar jumpships you need to move your average RCT, using the most common dropships per the canon.

The fleets have to be absolutely massive.

same for moving your average Merc unit if you take an average from the Mercenary Supplementals.  Fleets gotta be gigantic, kids.

(and that doesn't even include if you want to have ammunition for your 'mechwarriors, or food, when they get there.)

What you're proposing, then, is doing away with FASANomics and accounting for things like "Food and ammo take up space and tonnage".

From there, it's a matter of then determining how fleets should function to enable armies to function.  Which the devs pointedly avoid whenever and however possible, a bit like how they avoid the issues of "How can Clan economics actually work and what would be the natural consequences of their system?"

because that's not a beer-and-pretzels game either.

The first step then, is already described in this post:
I agree with LaGrange, most of that is setting based. In my K-Verse setting I am trying to add some more Aero and Space-centric elements to the setting. It would just take focus but that would take the lens off the Battlemech centric nature of this beer and pretzels game. As far as most that don't write fiction are concerned there are enough jumpships to run your skirmish games. Additionally we will likely never get any kind of industrial rules beyond fan made ones that you can add to space stations or dropships in order to make orbital or deep space factories. The reason we don't have them is likely an artifact of the SLDF's massive Warship fleet that could easily threaten such constructs.

The real problem that is fixable is that the rules for Space Combat are scattered in too many books and really need a Battlemech Manual style redesign (Battlespace III), streamlining, and some kind of squadron creation application. Additionally we cannot make canon designs obsolete with modern rule redesigns like my Gen III Warships which mix standard, sub-cap, and capital weapons in greater numbers.

Check out my Free Trader's and Second Star League forum topics for an idea of the economics of jumpships as well as space combat strategy according to the present rules. I have tons of ideas to fix them (there's a space combat redesign thread in the fan rules somewhere.)

See the bolded part? yeah.  that.

The next part would be figuring out how space-naval operations actually work within the setting, where the Navies would actually be in the political pecking order, and why they're at that point.

I actually started a thread to rewrite things, only to discover everything I wanted to rewrite was already done by generations of devs before me-it's just that it's all put in the margins and then promptly forgotten about to keep 'mechs center stage.

They even put in fairly reasonable restrictions on why Orbital Bombardment shouldn't be your instant go-to, though it could use some refining and maybe a little more prominence to demonstrate how and why.  (the simplest way to put it, is that if you want to use OB, you're either hitting a fixed installation that doesn't move, or you're hanging in the upper stratosphere and fighting gravity with all your might along with aerodynamic heating and other issues that render your platform REALLY vulnerable to a counterattack from the sides or above, as seen with the example of the Lucien Davion over Palmyra).

That isn't to say I didn't have some of my own ideas-like having a difference between running pressurized (shirtsleeves environment, very comfortable, cheap to train crew in) versus expanse-like depressurization (reduced damage to critical systems, no fires, easy to repair, hell on the crew and expensive to train.)

But that goes to an idea I've had for a while about how factions should have different naval Doctrines-which should then influence how they operate and train.

Issues like "yeah, man, you can pull 3 gees all the way from the jump point to the planet, but your 'mechwarrior cargo's going to be ****** when they land if you do" presents good reasons for naval battles in space even in a 'mech centric setting, applying more realistic fuel-use also would help here, since you no longer have exhaust gasses breaking the light barrier on your transports, and more logistics to deal with for large navies (which would help  the 'mech centricity really Hang On there while still allowing for a 'Navy game' to go on.)

This also gives really GOOD reasons why your escort and similar vessels might not be doing double duty as 'mech carriers, but instead focused on protecting said carriers, or attacking them.

The major problem, is that a Naval aspect taken seriously becomes a Logistics game, and not just production, but moving the product.  It's too many layers for a two-dimensional type of thinking, which the ground game excels at with its mapsheets-planning and positioning are hit with motion and frame of reference.  That makes a tough game to build a single coherent ruleset around, and it's even tougher for people who aren't used to considering the scale of space ("Space is really, really BIG!!").

But the simplest move, is still to gather the extant and existing rules into a single coherent document, and start filing and filling to refine it.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #11 on: 06 January 2022, 11:39:33 »
Come on Cannonshop, my second post clarified I was not talking about rule books but rather rules the universe operated by, what they called setting rules.

With that said, I agree we would probably see a increase of dropships that would transport a mech or armor battalion, escorting infantry battalion, and then a support battalion- techs, docs, admin, supply.  Part of why I was suggesting the IS would also have a dropship design that was a colony/troop transport- something that was able to carry a motorized/mechanized infantry regiment plus their support equipment.  Peace time would have such a ship involved in moving populations to start a new colony or expand another world.  It would have been so easy to say such a design existed in the 1SW book, but when they were pressed into the troop transport role they were a priority target and thus went extinct.

Otherwise, what dropships do you use to start colonies- even what currently passes in BTU, setting up mining outposts?  Heck, would a BTU shifted to aero emphasis also push colonization?

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AlphaMirage

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #12 on: 06 January 2022, 11:51:59 »
I mean the Czar can serve as a colony ship and it existed in the 1SW era.

I think an aero emphasis would encourage more orbital habitats over ground settlements on hostile worlds. This is something I am working through now that the (more numerous but understandably hesitant to put targets on themselves) Belters are on the ascent vs the Clanners in my AU. In fact the War of Reaving (Sundering) in my setting was partially caused by Clan Spacer separatists

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #13 on: 06 January 2022, 12:05:22 »
Come on Cannonshop, my second post clarified I was not talking about rule books but rather rules the universe operated by, what they called setting rules.

With that said, I agree we would probably see a increase of dropships that would transport a mech or armor battalion, escorting infantry battalion, and then a support battalion- techs, docs, admin, supply.  Part of why I was suggesting the IS would also have a dropship design that was a colony/troop transport- something that was able to carry a motorized/mechanized infantry regiment plus their support equipment.  Peace time would have such a ship involved in moving populations to start a new colony or expand another world.  It would have been so easy to say such a design existed in the 1SW book, but when they were pressed into the troop transport role they were a priority target and thus went extinct.

Otherwise, what dropships do you use to start colonies- even what currently passes in BTU, setting up mining outposts?  Heck, would a BTU shifted to aero emphasis also push colonization?


Logically, they'd need to push colonization.  Here's the thing: not everyone could endure, much less survive, a Belta-life.  The kind of person who can endure a lifetime of only knowing planetary surfaces through telescopes, video records and books is rare, but the need for elbow room, and resources? that's infinite.

"Humans have itchy feet" and when it's possible to "Leave and start over" a fairly large number of people will go if they are only allowed to go.

For colonization, I see more of a structure of a Jumpship, with two Mammoth transports and a passenger boat, as part of a small fleet of such vessels (seven to ten to get started).

This works better than concentrating your entire colony on a single vessel for a couple reasons:

1. because not every star system is going to have habitable, or near-habitable, worlds, and multiple ships means your chance of failure over-all is significantly reduced.  I don't remember where I read it, but for sufficient genetic diversity to start out, you need about 40,000 people, which means a fairly heavy investment is required...

but people will invest in it.  Corporations because it gives them real-estate and resources, built in mercantile trade at the outset and room to expand, governments because after the initial investment period, it's an expansion of tax-base and a hedge against disaster, and civilians/colonists because it gets them away from their problems at home, or offers new opportunities that have dried up at home, or a chance to try things they can't in a fully developed environment.

2. because redundancy is good.  If you have your whole colony tied to a single ship, one failure and your colony fails.  a small fleet, otoh, gives you the ability to absorb losses due to mechanical or other isolated failure.

For dropships, I'd see a need for a dedicated 'cattle car' dropship unless you're packing a shit-ton of iron womb tech with pre-prepared embryos.  (People are omnivores, they need meat as well as vegetable protein, and this is even more apparent because to have proper dietary balance on an all-vegetable diet requires an industrial base with industrial food processing and industrial farming to support it), along with passenger transports, and dedicated cargo ships to carry the gear necessary to establish your initial colonial landing ("Landing City"), to include basic machine shops, a prefabricated foundry (because humans are metal workers and it's more reliable than hoping the right materials for advanced ceramics and plastics are just laying about near the surface), and some hardy, basic, vehicles and construction equipment along with prefabricated modules for your initial housing.

Oh, and a power-plant technology of some kind that is not subject to weather or specific fuel sources.

It's also a good idea to haul along a good basic technical library, with information on geology, metallurgy, and chemistry, both for prospecting things to exprt back to the 'Home country" for additional resources, and so that you're not trying to grow food in lead-laced soils (or some other hostile local condition).

If you HAVE spacer/belter components (and it's a good idea to have them along), their needs aren't going to be that different-maybe a different form of livestock, for example (something food/energy efficient that is also space efficient), prospecting and mining gear, a prefab processing station, prefab shipyard, that sort of equipment to maintain the deliveries and set up fueling for incoming and outgoing traffic.  This builds in an automatic economy, as the surface colonists will have things the spacers need, and the spacers will have things the surface people need.

Similarity to what drove a lot of the New England colonies;  The British Empire put shipyards out there to service the Navy and merchant fleet, and I don't see why this wouldn't be a preferred methodology on an interstellar scale, particularly for specific resource colonies or corporate/government sponsored efforts.

esp. given the Mechanics of interstellar travel in the BTU-there shouldn't be an inhabited system in the Inner Sphere that doesn't have a recharge station, fueling dock, and service assembly, because those are things that are vital to keeping the nations bound together with internal trade.  Even if your ships are Timex pieces, they still experience failures and still require fuel for station keeping and transit, and whie you CAN put an electrolysis splitter on just about anything with a fusion pack, that's time spent that could be spent doing other, more profitable things, otoh docking up and hooking up because the locals have been cracking comets for you is faster, and inevitably economies of scale work in to make it cheaper and more reliable.

(these things also give your Navy game something to target that isn't the planet for a campaign.)

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #14 on: 06 January 2022, 12:12:06 »
I mean the Czar can serve as a colony ship and it existed in the 1SW era.

I think an aero emphasis would encourage more orbital habitats over ground settlements on hostile worlds. This is something I am working through now that the (more numerous but understandably hesitant to put targets on themselves) Belters are on the ascent vs the Clanners in my AU. In fact the War of Reaving (Sundering) in my setting was partially caused by Clan Spacer separatists

There are two issues I'd see with Belta-Colonies:

1. Childbirth and carrying children to term in null-gee.
2. Health and welfare (see 1, but general health)

so figure a colony established by Belters would still need 'gravity wells' for maintaining the physical health of your colonists.  These don't have to be habitable worlds.  It can just as easily be inside a mined-out-cave on a heavy moon, or under a dome.  The point is, your spacer colonists need gravity for things like making healthy babies, and spin gravity won't do the job as efficiently as just siting a habitat on a big rock.

This idea actually came up thanks to someone shooting me a link on the subject, along with notes on what's been discovered about the outer system here in the real world, hence I ended up adding "Hatter Rockjacks"-settlers in dug-out cave systems on a mercury-like planetoid in the inner system.  (the almost-moon-planetary body is roughly mercury in conditions with a decent amount of native gravity and a main industry of heavy elements.)

but then, I've been refining "Kowloon" with information as it becomes available or is pointed out to me in an effort to make it less dependent on fan-author fiat to actually WORK.
« Last Edit: 06 January 2022, 12:17:18 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
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Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #15 on: 06 January 2022, 12:22:57 »
Just as a further digression...Imagine a kid who's only seen a 'habitable' environment through telescopes and old books.  I imagine there'd be a pretty good chance, esp. after being told all the hazards of a natural environment, that this kid might have issues if you stuck them on a planet with open skies, weather, and native life.

by 'issues' I mean 'weird phobias' or even a paralytic phobia.  I (mis)use this rather frequently, but... it could explain how spacers could be vital to the BTU as we know it, but also be socially and societally non-influential, or it could be used as a buyable flaw when creating characters with a spacer/navy pattern.  Guy can be a brilliant strategist and natural logistician, but be paralytically phobic about going 'to the bottom of the well under that awful sky without a suit for protection'.

which can, in the right hands, give us some hilarious stories or sections of stories.

("...and Admiral so-and-so just would NOT take his helmet off!  What's wrong with this guy??")
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Charistoph

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #16 on: 06 January 2022, 14:58:57 »
Just as a further digression...Imagine a kid who's only seen a 'habitable' environment through telescopes and old books.  I imagine there'd be a pretty good chance, esp. after being told all the hazards of a natural environment, that this kid might have issues if you stuck them on a planet with open skies, weather, and native life.

by 'issues' I mean 'weird phobias' or even a paralytic phobia.  I (mis)use this rather frequently, but... it could explain how spacers could be vital to the BTU as we know it, but also be socially and societally non-influential, or it could be used as a buyable flaw when creating characters with a spacer/navy pattern.  Guy can be a brilliant strategist and natural logistician, but be paralytically phobic about going 'to the bottom of the well under that awful sky without a suit for protection'.

which can, in the right hands, give us some hilarious stories or sections of stories.

("...and Admiral so-and-so just would NOT take his helmet off!  What's wrong with this guy??")

Asimov included it his Robot series for the main Terran character.  They grew up in massive hive-like cities similar to Judge Dredd, and even just stepping outside the borders of the city was incredibly rare and induces agoraphobia.  As the Terrans began to look in to doing a second diaspora, it was encouraged to spend some time outside because they knew there were no hive cities where they would be going.
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Daryk

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #17 on: 06 January 2022, 17:09:37 »
I'm wondering... Cannonshop, have you ever tried something like taking the BT universe back to 2200 or so and advancing it from there?  ???

idea weenie

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #18 on: 06 January 2022, 19:08:05 »
Just as a further digression...Imagine a kid who's only seen a 'habitable' environment through telescopes and old books.  I imagine there'd be a pretty good chance, esp. after being told all the hazards of a natural environment, that this kid might have issues if you stuck them on a planet with open skies, weather, and native life.

by 'issues' I mean 'weird phobias' or even a paralytic phobia.  I (mis)use this rather frequently, but... it could explain how spacers could be vital to the BTU as we know it, but also be socially and societally non-influential, or it could be used as a buyable flaw when creating characters with a spacer/navy pattern.  Guy can be a brilliant strategist and natural logistician, but be paralytically phobic about going 'to the bottom of the well under that awful sky without a suit for protection'.

How about just watching a Belta's reaction to wind?  The Planet-people are laughing, while the newly arrived Belta is panicking and yelling about pressure loss while slamming a helmet on their head.



For the setup where nearly every system has a recharge station, fueling dock, and basic (unpressurized) repair dock, the Inner Sphere was likely in that situation in the Star League Era; but all that likely went BOOM during the first Succession War.  Six missiles per system (3 for Zenith, 3 for Nadir, one for each of the three stations) would allow a raiding force to deal a lot of infrastructure damage really quickly.



Rules-wise, we have Campaign Operations p123 (Planetary population table, 2016-2021 edition, corrected 2nd printing) which has a x0.05 modifier for population in uninhabitable locations.  I am assuming the vacuum of space with only space-based infrastructure qualifies.  So any population you put as a Belter environment will cost 20* as much as a habitable planet (you get a similar penalty for gravity over 1.5 Gs).

So if you had the resources to colonize a habitable planet with 40,000 people, you would only be able to colonize 2,000 people in a Belter environment.  As a comparison, if you wanted to colonize a planet that had a Tainted atmosphere, was very Hot, was 1.2G-1.5G (or below .8G), and had less than 40% water coverage, you could still put over 16,000 people on that planet for the same cost as 2,000 Belters.

Plus if the Belters only have access gravity below .8Gs, that number drops to 1600 Belters living in Zero-G due to their need (cost) to deal with low-gravity effects.



One thing that would help out this Aero-centric universe would be giving in-system jumps a bonus to the roll.  You aren't aiming at a pirate point that can be 30-lightyears away, you are at the Zenith or Nadir point and aiming at the local Star-Planet pirate point that is only ~10 AU away that your ship can likely see with its onboard telescopes.  Jumpships in the outer reaches of a solar system can jump almost on top of the target and use either onboard weaponry or ASF rapid-launched (Battlestar Gaalactica style) to engage.  The defenders have to either rapid-launch their own ASF, pray they are too small to be bothered, or be lucky enough to be close enough to a large body that its gravity prevented the attacker from getting close enough.

RifleMech

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #19 on: 07 January 2022, 07:41:27 »
I would increase jumpship and warship production. Not so much that there's thousands of warships but a few small fleets and individual ships. I'd also have primitive jumpships making a comeback. Actually, I wouldn't have them disappear completely. They'd get rare for a while but  start becoming more common to replace warships.

I'd have more satellite and space stations. I'd include rules for artificial gravity by rotation.

I would make it easier to salvage other unit types. Crashed aircraft are going to be more difficult since there won't be much left. Lost in space would be more difficult to salvage since you'd have to find them. Units on the ground, or in the water, or in a stable orbit should be easier to salvage. .

I can see some jump point defenses but space is so big, they'd only be at the more common areas. 

I'd be okay with JF and HPG research.

Bigger dropships would be okay. I think there would be a lot of clones and variants. We just haven't seen them. I don't know that every class needs them though. Sometimes a tanker is just a tanker. There doesn't need to be a passenger version.

I would also change ranges so that all units have the same range in space/zero gravity. I'd just have modifiers for ground units though.

I want to say add some kind of veneer system to better control ground units in zero and very low gravity. Jump Jets only seem like part of it. They give you the thrusters but where's the control?

I'd also like to see older tech used. With how things work in BT there's units that should still be using ancient chemical lasers and rail guns and such. They might also make a come back in some places as more advanced systems are lost during the succession wars.

Charistoph

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #20 on: 07 January 2022, 11:49:30 »
I would increase jumpship and warship production. Not so much that there's thousands of warships but a few small fleets and individual ships.

Agreed.  If nothing else, something where seeing anything from a Corvette to a Frigate wouldn't be that unusual for spacers, but Cruisers and Battleships would be at key nodes like capital systems.

I'd also have primitive jumpships making a comeback. Actually, I wouldn't have them disappear completely. They'd get rare for a while but  start becoming more common to replace warships.

Having such be the equivalent of tramp freighters operating within small clusters of stars that are "close" to each other would make sense.  Or even be used by smuggling operations such that they're cheap enough to consider using "pirate points" with a little more regularity.

I can see some jump point defenses but space is so big, they'd only be at the more common areas. 

Much like Cruisers and Battleships, they would be common at key, nodal systems where either political and/or key resource/industrial operations are at.  They could even be considered to be limited to just holding off an invading force long enough for said Cruisers and Battleships to Jump in behind the invading forces.

Bigger dropships would be okay. I think there would be a lot of clones and variants. We just haven't seen them. I don't know that every class needs them though. Sometimes a tanker is just a tanker. There doesn't need to be a passenger version.

To be honest, I don't think there are a lot of wet naval ships that are 100% just like each other, especially as a line gets older.  New innovations as the builders construct the ships will alter each subsequent member of the line, not to mention all the copy-catting of what simply works.

That being said, having a generic template, along with an established name, to reference so that campaign managers don't have to build everything from scratch is perfectly fine.

I seem to remember a story from WWII where the Japanese thought they sunk 3 US carriers, but it was always the same carrier they hit.  If such can be fooled to thinking that one ship was 3 different ships of the same line, it's not too hard to consider that while numerous ships may be officially of different lines, but are only really different on the table by the names of the parts which make them up.
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RifleMech

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #21 on: 07 January 2022, 12:29:56 »
Agreed.  If nothing else, something where seeing anything from a Corvette to a Frigate wouldn't be that unusual for spacers, but Cruisers and Battleships would be at key nodes like capital systems.

Yeah. It'd be the smaller ships that are mostly seen and then mostly when you get further into a Houses territory. The bigger ships would definitely be in capital systems. Most likely mothballed or as reserve museum ships do to the cost of operation. But they can be made ready if needed.

Quote
Having such be the equivalent of tramp freighters operating within small clusters of stars that are "close" to each other would make sense.  Or even be used by smuggling operations such that they're cheap enough to consider using "pirate points" with a little more regularity.

Good idea.  :thumbsup:


Quote
Much like Cruisers and Battleships, they would be common at key, nodal systems where either political and/or key resource/industrial operations are at.  They could even be considered to be limited to just holding off an invading force long enough for said Cruisers and Battleships to Jump in behind the invading forces.

Exactly. They'd be more, patrol, customs inspection and a tripwire against an invasion force. I wouldn't have them in every system though so raids and pirate attacks can still happen. But they would be in a few systems.

Quote
To be honest, I don't think there are a lot of wet naval ships that are 100% just like each other, especially as a line gets older.  New innovations as the builders construct the ships will alter each subsequent member of the line, not to mention all the copy-catting of what simply works.

That being said, having a generic template, along with an established name, to reference so that campaign managers don't have to build everything from scratch is perfectly fine.

Yeah. Some newer things get incorporated into the newest ship or the latest refit. So unless they were built at the same time there will be differences. Which is cool. With BT though, most of the changes probably aren't worth mentioning.


Quote
I seem to remember a story from WWII where the Japanese thought they sunk 3 US carriers, but it was always the same carrier they hit.  If such can be fooled to thinking that one ship was 3 different ships of the same line, it's not too hard to consider that while numerous ships may be officially of different lines, but are only really different on the table by the names of the parts which make them up.

I believe that was the Battle of Midway and I want to say it was the Yorktown that was hit so many times. It helped that damage crews got the fires out, and got the ship functional so fast. I do agree that there's going to be ships that look like other ships. There's also going to be some where the only differences are internal.

I don't think we need every variant stated out but it would be nice to be given possibilities. Unfortunately, the Core Rule Books don't cover all the possibilities. It's okay that the Princess is the only canon luxury liner but we should have the information to build our own. But if you don't have HB: Major Periphery States, you won't know about Luxury and Ultra Luxury class Quarters or the pool deck or earth deck.

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #22 on: 07 January 2022, 12:57:49 »
I'm going to go back to a point I tried to make (and maybe failed).

What does your navy DO??

I'm talking about the portfolio of missions  your ships and stations and installations are actually there to do, not about x powerful design is better than Y powerful design here, but what you actually NEED your navy for.

I keep hitting on this, because inevitably, people jump straight to 'make more of x' or 'don't let y go obsolete so easily', or 'we want Monitorz!!' (that last note may be dated a bit. PWS were how the devs got around the policy of 'no Monitors').

A LOT of the problem, both in the OP's original question, and the policies that created it, comes down to a certain lack of a decisive grasp on what a Navy is actually supposed to do and how it's supposed to work.

For example, I've seen writers and devs both spread the alarmist idea of "Everything becomes 'I Killz it wit' mah WARSHIP" and hammering on orbital bombardment as a cheap cheat.

which, left in a vacuum, it kinda is.

The other one that we all see, is the claim that somehow, effective naval power will make 'mechs take a backseat.

You know, like the way Dreadnought battleships conquered Gallipoli during the First World War, or how Ironclads invalidated horse cavalry in the Civil war...

Oh, wait, they didn't do that, anymore than shore bombardment made infantry and armor superfluous at Normandy, or Okinaway, or Guadalcanal, or Inchon, or how strategic bombing alone defeated Germany and drove Japan out of the Phillipines...right? Only it didn't.

But this confusion comes from there being very little clear understanding of what Naval power is for, and what it isn't.

The other thing I think lots of us keep looking  past, is that you don't need proper warships to have a proper naval engagement, or even a proper naval branch wargame.  You don't need Capital armed Dropships either.

They're a "nice to have", not a Core Essential.

What you DO need, is a clear idea of what your navy is, what it does, and what it's for.

We have this with Battlemechs, we have it with Tanks, Support Vees, Conventional and Aerospace fighters, combat vehicles, and infantry.

But we really don't have a premade basic guidepost for Naval for the game in the same way we can sit down and say, "A regiment is three battalions with This organization comprised of this many units" with the basic units being scaled like so:

1 'mech=1 Tank=1 Platoon infantry (decide roles to match) for the Inner Sphere, and 1 'mech=2 tanks=2 fighters=1Platoon=1 Point of five battlesuits  (types determined to fit) for the Clans.

We don't have that.

We don't have a clear delineation of how many fighters are worth a dropship are worth an armed jumpship.

this is one of the things we need to change if we want Aerospace to be anything bigger than a sideshow that periodically gets buried by developers.

We need, in short, a 'setting structure' that is easy to explain to new players, that lets them envision what's going on in their heads while seeing what the game is doing on the board.

This isn't about BV points, it's about What does a basic, standard organization look like on the tactical to Strategic level.

How many fighters in a squadron, how many squadrons in a wing? we've kind of got that far, but then it breaks down at the Dropship and above level.

This, is something we need to address.

Those of you familiar with my deranged scribblings in the Fanfiction boards, know that I've tried to impose this very thing-an orderly, organized, structure that at least kind of makes some sense, where you have the really small ships, and x number of them is equivalent to (or subordinate to) one bigger ship, and a group of those groups is subordinate to a Bigger ship, with command ranks scaled to the level of responsibility each phase or stage or level of forces represent.


Sloop/Cutter/Corvette: Commanded by a Lt. Commander-because it's a support vessel for larger vessels, or conducts 'hands off' operations, or handles policing duties.

Destroyer/Light Cruiser: up to half a million tons, commanded by a Commander, who also oversees a group of the smaller ships.

Cruiser/Battlecruiser: Gets a Captain (O-6) commanding it, and a group of Destroyers who are in turn supported by corvettes.  This is where you start getting into Theater-level (using AFFC terms) assets.

Battleship/Flagship: The boat gets a Captain, but there's an Admiral on board in command of the full battlegroup, which has the battleship, some Cruisers or Battlecruisers, each supported by a group of Destroyers, who in turn oversee a gaggle of corvettes.

In addition to all of that, you have the transport jumpships with their dropship complements flying in support.  Figure numbers hack out to 1 'tender' for every 4 Corvettes in a battlegroup, and that tender hauls cargo ships, portable service assemblies or whatever you think you need for logistical support of your NAVAL forces.

Then, you have the Transport command-the units specifically there to support ground forces.  These are more "Our mission is to protect this" or "Our mission is to stop the enemy's this"-aka more 'The football' than anything else.

In this idea, your assault dropships would attach at the Cruiser level and above, as 'pieces' of the larger ships' arsenal (when they're assault dropships and/or PWS).  They're basically just like your missiles and your cannon ammo-only they have their own missiles and cannon ammo, or you can look at them as being like your fighter complement. These, for the NAVAL game, would be assets in support of your larger vessels-point defenses, and so on, or assets used to escort your transport units while the Navy boys hunt the other guy's defensive units and tie him up via combat power.

Most of those would be commanded by an Ensign (O-1) to Lt. Senior Grade (O-3).

But that's only when you've got healthy fleets of compact core ships.

For post 2nd Succession War, the ROLES remain, but the equipment changes heavily.

How? more emphasis on dropships and fighters, for one.  Instead of being supplemental units for your 'real navy', they become your front liners for it, with Jumpships having to hang back as command platforms or support infrastructures, while you'll see  a 'rank inflation' in your dropships based (again) on size and combat power.

IOW where in a proper navy, a Vengeance is basically a means to transport extra fighters under the command of the Flagship's CAG, it becomes the main firepower for a given group, filling the same role as a Cruiser, with similar ranks, while a ship like the AFFC's 'Claymore' class would still be under the command of a junior officer since it's a small, armed, dropship that flies like a fighter.

You almost have to look at structuring by era, or by how your group wants to embrace the paradigm of warfare/tech levels.

but it still leaves the question of 'what is your navy FOR??'

the needs and capabilities of the pre-Snow Ravens OWA are going to be different from the needs of the SLDF-era massed fleets of jump-capable warships, but even within a given era, some needs don't function like others.

Because they don't need to, or because the threat one fleet faces regularly doesn't even exist in their neighborhood.  (as a contemporary example, the FWLN isn't facing Clan Warships in 3055.)

so the issue is muddied because the doctrines (the intended use vs. live experience) is going to be different than, say, a Naval-resurgent LCAF with Clanners sitting ont heir border with upgraded heirloom SLDF warships in quantity, and those experiences will be different from a DCA that's had to stare down the Jaguars (and lost more than a few times).

Sure, everyone's got information from everyone else, but it's going to be weighted differently, this governs not only what ship types will predominate, but in what sort of organizational numbers, and at what level, and they're going to be doing things very differently right from the get-go.

even if you put everyone on the same 'keel' technologically.

but those doctrines will have evolved from SLDF doctrines, because that's where everyone 'started'.

I know, I'm talking around it.

sorry guys.  I'm trying to think about how to frame the problem so this isn't just a bitch-session.



"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #23 on: 07 January 2022, 13:28:07 »
Let's try writing a Doctrine and see where it gets Us (okay, I'm going to crib my own fanfics for this, but I'm trying to get my logic across, and maybe some of you will have refinements!)

Jump capable units

1 Cutter/Sloop/Corvette- commanded by a Lt. Commander.  In peacetime, this vessel serves roles like bandit hunting, search and rescue, and customs enforcement or commerce protection, but mostly it 'shows the flag' in a group of four systems with its patrol mates.

1 Patrol:  4 Corvettes/Sloops/Cutters, one 3-4 collar jumpship with logistics packages (cargo droppers, or portable stations, or what have you, this is your 'tender' for the Corvette patrol and basically acts as a mobile 'home port')  Patrols are commanded by LTC promotable or Commanders (senior O-4s to junior O-5s). 

1 Squadron: 3 Patrols plus one "Destroyer" or light Frigate (under 500,000 tons) acting as 'flag'.  a Squadron is commanded by a Commander (0-5P) with his 'flag captain' on the destroyer being an O-5 with less time in grade, who also serves as the squadron's XO.

1 Division: 4 squadrons, 1 cruiser.  This is the level of peacetime force you'll find in, for my example, the Melissia Theater command.  A naval division here is commanded by an O-6P "Captain" or "Commodore"(for you fedsuns fans out there, the AOR equivalent would be Filtvelt pre-split).  The cruiser would have an 'Assault dropship' group comprised of dedicated combat dropships that do not deploy ground forces, his logistics would include all of the Tenders assigned to each squadron of cutters, plus a six collar tender for group support (with attendant logistics dropship assets) and a 'Scout' or 'messenger' or Liaison unit of four Two-to-three collar jumpships with a mixed force of non-combat-transport dropships (aka the 'supply group').  A division will have a proper central 'home port' consisting of a station or surface facility on an airless moon or large asteroid where surface installations commanded by junior officers are located (with fighter squadrons and other non-jump supplemental ships as local security).

Battlegroup: Battleship or Battlecruiser, overseeing 2 or more Divisions, Admiral level, with a flag rank 'flag captain', this is where you get to provincial level command.  assume 3 Battlegroups in a Provincial command, with the senior Flag officer.

Fleet (Regional) covers multiple Battlegroups (usually want to keep it 3 for efficiency).  this is your Vice Admiral to Admiral level, and will include the 'homeports' for the battlegroups and divisions, may include a dedicated "Marine Expeditionary unit" of ground forces trained for hostile environments, independent Squadrons of Corvettes, or sundry attending aspects necessary for smooth Naval operations.

Admiralty: This person sits in high command interfacing with the National leader and/or Prince's Champion and/or Archon and/or Prince, you get the the idea.  Oversees the various fleets, is the CNO, writes policy letters, approves war planning, testifies in budget hearings and has their head on the chopping block first if shit goes seriously wrong.  Admiral of the Fleet.

Now you'll notice I kept the ranking low.  This is quite intentional-we're doing this in the Battletech universe, and 'mechwarrior nobles are above swabbies socially and politically, and there's no reason for this NOT to remain, we can still have an awesome setting.

This also lets player-characters start impacting events at lower ranks, making it more 'exciting and accessible' than having to slog through 10 years of career before you get to a position to do anything meaningful.

this is, after all, heroic fiction, and what good is it without heroic heroes doing awesome and amazing things?

Because this IS that kind of setting, the Admiral of the Fleet has a 'ride' besides their desk, and it need to be distinctive-the 'Fleet Flagship' doesn't have to be the most powerful unit, but it does need to be kinda cool in some way.  First off the line or last off the line, a ship that doesn't get trotted out into every skirmish.

For mine, I used BB-1, the first of the totally non-canon 'Fredrick Steiner Class' battleships.  not the newest or even necessarily the best, but instead a prestige ride because it's the first new proper BATTLESHIP in centuries, and it's named for a Lyran Hero and a proper mad bastard.
« Last Edit: 07 January 2022, 13:31:49 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #24 on: 07 January 2022, 14:07:39 »
Continuing from my last post;

So what's it all for?

Alright, your Cutter/Sloop/Corvette patrols in peacetime are your low-intensity warfighters, they go after Piracy, they enforce customs, they show the flag to the average citizens.  This is the most independent of your independent commands, in a sense, because they're utility players who are busy war or peace, outside of practice exercises and such, they have to serve as the 'working navy' for their area of operations.  They are, essentially, the 'face of the fleet' when there isn't a declared war, invasion, or other major military disruption.  Generally they'll 'ride circuit' in a limited number of systems when not actively going after Bandits. Pirates, and other interstellar scumbags.  In a declared war, these are the "Eyes of the fleet" and the screen for larger elements in wall of battle, providing 'extended point defense' for the major capital vessels in their Division.

At the Division level, these serve as the 'tripline' and as a communication linkage, and as first or immediate response to threats.  a full Division assembled in a system means shit is going DOWN, but it's not at the level of a national emergency yet, or it's throwing hands to convince someone with delusions of granduer that their periphery state is NOT going to be reclaiming worlds lost in the Reunification war, because there's quite a lot of capital grade iron in play...but it's not a national crisis (yet).  Divisional is likely the largest formation you'll find in a single system unless it's VERY important.

Battlegroup: Heavy Punch.  The enemy has eight Heirloom SLDF ships bearing down on YoBloke's Colony in the arsehole region and we don't want them to take our supply of Unobtainium baubles.  so we'll assemble a Battlegroup.  OR, we've decided we don't want the Clanner Skum to keep massing on YoMamma, so we're going to render them immobile and cancel their life subscriptions to 'Eat, breathe and defecate' magazine.  The Battlegroup is purely a formation meant to inflict lots of harm, very quickly.  In peacetime, you assemble it for wargames on a hostile border to encourage your enemies to requisition the brown pants, and reassure nervous civilians that yes, the central government of the province really DOES give a damn.

Fleet level: if a Fleet Deploys, it means shit is going down on the serious.  This is like assembling everything at Pearl Harbor to go co-write another nation's navy's obituary.  If the whole Fleet is assembled, it's a major offensive that isn't intended to stop until they reach the border on the far side of the enemy's nation-by going through it.  A full deployment of a Fleet group is not a statement you make in peacetime, it's a statement that 'Negotiations have failed and we're not going to sit idly by-we're going to make lots of people die in darkness and silence."

Divisions are for threats and counterattacks, Fleets are purely there to attack, or deliver a strong counter-attack.


Methods come into play here.  It is very unlikely that a Division will move in a single body. The more likely form of offense, will be to deploy one or more divisions to commerce and traffic interception and recon in ENEMY territory.  Think "Submarine campaign" only preceding "Holy shit they're coming to kill us all".

This is the MAIN wartime job of corvette/cutter type units-to attack the enemy's supply lines and communications, prep target systems for invasions, knock out defensive works, knock out defending naval forces, paralyze the enemy, etc. 

Divisions in total are your initial blockade forces for planetary siege (which does not require Orbital Bombardment.  If you can take his jumpships and destroy his dropships, you've effectively rendered his ground force immobilized off the planet.  Digging them out? that's the ARMY's job!)

A fleet group on the attack hitting a single system means there's a major enemy naval force concentrated therein, or you want to draw them out and destroy them.  Fleet offensives should cover MULTIPLE enemy systems simultaneously, shifting assets to support ground-army landings when and where appropriate.  This is the level of strategic warfare and strategic warfighting.





"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

AlphaMirage

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #25 on: 07 January 2022, 15:17:01 »
I actually think we need to go back for a second and think about the weapons and needs of the time and the types of feudal Battletech society. Some of this I am going to expound upon on my Second Star League's Guide to Warships since its interesting.

During most of the in game history the two most effective forms of naval force projection were Marines/Espatiers/etc... and Aerospace Fighters, which remain the most per ton effective space combat platform. Thus the two most important areas for the Great Houses to focus on would be boarding craft and carriers. Jumpships, space stations, and transport dropships are of course critical but as objectives to be destroyed, bypassed, or captured not necessarily as participants. This can lead to all kinds of interesting hero game material as gallant fighters slice through space exchanging deadly laser fire while Marines cut through the hull of a jumpship to sabotage it trapping a Draconis Combine raid until reinforcement can arrive.

These two areas are fairly well covered in the rules so they don't need much adjustment. The real adjustment is when we go bigger.

Assault dropships are big hammers and should play supporting roles as jumpship, troop transport, or carrier escorts. From these ships we extrapolate upward to Warships which the Great Houses in canon mistreat as giant Assault dropships. Many of the first and mostly only generation of 31st century Warship officers likely served aboard an Avenger or something similar before being promoted to a Warship. 25 years and only a few engagements is not a lot of time to adapt for a stodgy aristocratic society to adjust tactics and build working knowledge before the Jihad wrecked most of them.

Logically the Great Houses would double down on the old standbys giving these new jump-capable Warships Marines, Boarding Craft, Fighters, and Dropships of their own which would finally be protected in a way the jumpship couldn't offer. That would make them something akin to Battlestars. Its certainly effective but it gets kinda boring, however this would be a solid design for a Cruiser type vessel meant to operate in a variable threat environment.

To distinguish the ships we need to look at the Capital Weapons in play and how they interact with each other.
Capital missiles and sub-capital weapons mounted on dropships can do serious damage to space stations and warships. Thus missile defense is important but not enough to dedicate all your weapon space too. You don't necessarily have to blow up every one of a large missile salvo by yourself. Each one doesn't do that much damage comparatively, you just need to be able to make it hard for someone to nuke you. The rules advantage small craft (which we shall call Gunstars) in this role and I can testify they work maybe even a bit too well. 

Big guns can be used in small quantities on small ships but the rules give the most benefit if you use bracketing fire so more smaller guns are superior to fewer big ones, unless you can move quickly and get into an advantageous firing position. That move quickly and get into an advantageous position role would be best filled by a Corvette type vessel with a couple big nose guns that was meant to operate like the Blitzkrieg battlemech, run in, cause some damage, then get out fast. The nearby coastal patrols that a wet navy corvette perform can be done by better designed Assault dropships instead and recon can be conducted using satellites or roaming patrols of small craft carriers.

Smaller Capital weapons like the NL/35 are sufficient to incapacitate or kill assault dropships and aerospace fighters meaning ships meant to destroy them would be built around that ensuring you have a role for Destroyers. Since Destroyers are meant to mostly protect larger craft they don't need to have their own constellation of dropships, this simpler design reduces their cost and ensures you can have plentiful escorts for your larger Warships.

Now we get into Battleships and Heavy Cruisers, optimally these would like the Texas and McKenna are built around big guns in large numbers. Something like an Aegis is definitely in the Battleship category. These are meant to eliminate other Warships, moon bases, and orbital redoubts like the M-9 Pavise. They should travel with a supporting fleet and carry their own Gunstars and Aerospace fighters to mitigate their heavy weapon's vulnerabilities. Arguably the Texas and McKenna are too large, expensive, and vulnerable to missile and fighter attack although the Texas gets points for having so many lasers.

Now with these roles and some more supporting information we can start building a doctrine. The Inner Sphere is already pretty well divided up into PDZ, Prefecture, etc... so Fleets would consist of all vessels in that area.

'Battlestar' General Cruisers would be commanded by a Captain-equivalent or Rear Admiral and be given an area of responsibility all their own.
Carriers would principally used defensively against enemy attack as they can control a wide area.
Battleships would initiate point attacks strong enough to destroy or dissuade any Cruiser they encounter (they should probably struggle at bit against fellow Battleships however). Both Carriers and Battleships would have at least Vice-Admirals in command.
Light Cruisers (defined by either lacking firepower or airpower), Destroyers, and Corvettes would be assigned a Commander-equivalent and put under the command of the Regional Fleet HQ when operating independently conducting low risk missions.

A 'Battlestar' Cruiser would have up to two supporting elements while Carriers and Battleships would likely have at least four. In high threat environments or during large operations one or more of these Battlestar Triads would supplement a larger Task Force or operate in tandem with a fellow Triad.

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #26 on: 07 January 2022, 15:25:56 »
Application to the playing board...

Scenario 1: Minimum Forces

Side A:

1 corvette with ASF support.

Side B:

3 Dropships:

Overlord, Leopard CV, Mule

3 sqdn fighters

1 Invader class jumpship.

Scenario type:

"Emergency Response/Anti-Piracy"

Layout:  Side B must get at least 2 dropships from their home edge, to the far side of the map intact.  Side A will be coming from mid-map left (or right) edge.  They must stop the dropships from reaching and docking with the jumpship.

Boarding rules are in effect, and Side A may not employ nuclear weapons.

Victory Conditions:

Side B: 250 points for each undamaged dropship that makes it to the Jumpship on the far edge and successfully docks before the jumpship 'bugs out'.  An additional 5 points per Aerospace fighter that also makes the rendezvous.  0 points are scored if the jumpship leaves without any successful docking.

Side A: Scores 100 points per enemy dropship intercepted and destroyed.  15 points for each side B fighter that is destroyed.  Side A may not engage the Jumpship prior to one of Side B's dropships docking.  Engaging the jumpship prior to a successful docking negates further gains.  Destroying the jumpship after a docking is only worth 25 points.  Side A may attempt a boarding action after the second dropship has docked, but before the third. (Rules of Engagement).  Successful boardings will net an Intel roll (1D6; on a roll of 2, 4, or 6, intelligence on where Side B's home base is will be obtained.  This is worth 300 points.  The jumpship may not be boarded prior to one or more of Side B's dropships docking.  plan accordingly.)

Should the Jumpship leave the system, this stages for part two.

Scenario concludes either when all three of Side B's surviving dropships have docked (and the Jumpship jumps out) or when all of side B's dropships have been either boarded or destroyed (which will trigger the departure of side B's jumpship.)

the scenario: Side A's corvette is responding to a pirate attack alert, and does not know which jumpship brought them into the system, the identity of the Pirate group, or their base of operations. 

The mission for Side A is first, to obtain intelligence, and second, to neutralize or destroy the Pirate units before they can escape.  Successfully netting the intelligence will allow your patrol to strike the enemy's home base or aim a punitive expedition at that base, therefore capturing someone or something with the necessary navigation info is paramount even above killing the raiders.

The mission for Side B: The raid was successful, the spoils have been distributed across all 3 dropships to prevent losing them all in a single go should the defenders' backup arrive and start smashing up hulls.  Therefore, speed is better, and it's 'no man left behind' because you don't go into piracy to do work for no (or less) pay.


This general scenario is a peacetime scenario, meaning there is no open, declared war, and the corvette/cutter type unit is engaging in civil protection duty, including commerce protection and antipiracy as their primary role.

IOW the intel is worth more than kill counts, but killing will be necessary.

This scenario can be used as an opener for many different types of campaign, ranging from basic pirate/bandit suppression, to the opening shots of a general war (and many different things in between).

Boarding actions may be resolved abstractly, or, resolved using a separate map and infantry rules (ATOW rules even better!)

For those running a campaign, feel free to add your particular chosen flavor to the intelligence, or other compelling complications (Hostages are a good one for roleplayers or to force the Side A player to be careful and think ahead.)

The VP are heavily slanted to reflect this, and to reflect the very different missions each side is performing.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #27 on: 07 January 2022, 15:44:49 »
Mission 2: Punitive Strike!

Side A: a small force of Naval type units (2 to 4 corvettes, or 1 corvette, 2 standard transports carrying assault dropships), 1 standard transport jumpship with landing craft.

Side B: a points-equal force of dropships, and fighters.  The jumpship from the previous scenario, plus two others and attendant assault dropships. This is the defense.

Side A's mission is to put Side B out of business in space, and support the landing of ground troops to finish the job.

Side A's ground-forces dropships may not exceed 1 Gravity acceleration.  (this is because their mission is to land troops, and troops that are exhausted and beat to shit by high-gee manuevers aren't going to be worth anything on the ground.)

Therefore, the ground troops are 'the football', and must be protected by side A, while Side A also deals with Side B's assault ships and fighters.

Jumpships MAY be captured at any time in the scenario using boarding action rules, and contribute 100 points per capture.  Enemy assault ships are worth 50 if destroyed, or 75 if captured.  Enemy fighters are worth 25 victory points apiece for destruction/mission kill.

Each of Side A's landing dropships are worth 100 points for Side B to destroy.  Each combat vessel larger than a dropship, is worth 200 points if destroyed, each fighter is worth 50 points.  Assault dropships belonging to side A, if used, are worth 75 points.

Each of side A's landing dropships that successfully lands on the planet, is worth 150 points.

The outcome of this scenario may lead to a ground combat.  Corvettes may not engage in orbital bombardment, because they'll be destroying anyone they're there to rescue.  the ground target MUST BE TAKEN  INTACT (or at least, not utterly destroyed from orbit!)

nuclear weapons are not permitted in this scenario. ("It's peacetime and you're not those crazy ****** from Kowloon!!")

The basic setup here is your standard antipiracy punitive raid.  for 3rd succession wars era action, substitute another standard transport jumpship for the Corvette(s) and load it with space-only combat assets (carriers and assault ships that don't also ferry ground troops).

as such, you can soothe the hurt feelings of some players who want their Giant Robots fix by staging the surface action in this pirate/bandit suppression.  suitable layouts for scenarios already exist in the main book.

The main focus of the NAVAL action, is to eliminate the Bandit's ablility to flee, eliminate their air support, and pin them in place on the surface for your ground forces to capture and/or annihilate as needed.  Side A's mission priorities are therefore to eliminate the pirate/bandit king's air support, achieve air and space superiority, and retain it for the duration of the ground mission, thus enabling the Noble Officer in command of the 'mechs to gather glory unto himself in the Feudal fashion.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Daryk

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #28 on: 07 January 2022, 16:08:14 »
The only thing you really forgot to mention, Cannonshop, was that all those senior commanders come with STAFFS.  A staff is what enables a commander to "be awake" at all hours and exercise command and control of all those subordinate forces 24/7.  Not to mention do all the necessary planning to make everything possible in the first place.

Lagrange

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Re: Changing Universe Rules from Mech-centric to Aero-centric?
« Reply #29 on: 07 January 2022, 18:07:59 »
...
I like this, but I think there are two changes to the rules necessary to make it be a reasonable outcome of optimization.

  • Small warships need to be cheaper.   The minimal cost of a warship is about 4B, which is equivalent to ~8 merchant class jumpships.  The cost formulas have a 'warship support' cost which effectively adds 500K tons to each warship.  Eliminating that add on makes a minimal warship cost only ~3 merchants, which seems much more reasonable.
  • ASF need to be nerfed somehow.  As it is, an ASF bay is something like an NL55, except it requires a factor of 7 less transport, has a similar effective range increase, and can engage a wider range of targets.  I personally prefer making capital:standard 1:100 instead of 1:10 as the simple solution here, although that does nerf dropships fairly hard.
Without these changes, an optimized navy looks like a bunch of jumpships with large carrier dropships.  These are significantly more efficient at projecting force for the cost, even if you think of your jumpships as disposable assets for each naval battle they participate in.

 

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