Register Register

Author Topic: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership  (Read 3579 times)

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 8221
My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« on: 20 November 2022, 04:12:44 »
So the usual model for how one becomes a member of the titled MechWarrior Nobility in the 3025 era doesn't make a lot of sense. Whichever House Lord ennobles you provides both the land you get and the 'Mech and all he (or she) gets in return is that they don't have to provide upkeep for the 'Mech when it's not 'in-service', however it might not show up for service for one reason or another and that in turns means you don't get fixed force numbers. This does however make sense for when rewarding people for service to the state or binding those with resources you wish to control to the state. I think the best way to put it is that it is fine, but but shouldn't be the default model.

Now knight's errant are another case, you own a 'Mech but don't owe service to one of the Great House (At least not with that 'Mech), so you're free to do what ever you want with it and might take service with your Great House, possibly as the only way to maintain your 'Mech.

SLDF defectors, lets be honest, these people basically traded the 'Mechs in their possession, the legality of which is dubious, for a noble title, the 'Mech probably remains with the Great House full time and if the family that originally owned it sends someone into service their supposed to get that 'Mech (Or it's replacement) but if they don't send anybody, that's fine.

Which brings me to likely the largest group/most common type. How these people got their land/titles isn't known. They might have been local leaders when the IS's political system was set up, be land developers, who knows what, but somehow they got them. What matters is that they probably don't have to send members of their house to serve in the armies of the Great House on the regular, they're responsible for maintaining a local militia and might have to send some or all of that to fight for their Lord under certain conditions, but all the time? Doesn't work.

Sorry, this is all somewhat rambling, but how feudalism works in BT is strange. I'll try and come up with a more coherent version in a day or two.

AlphaMirage

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2579
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #1 on: 20 November 2022, 07:30:57 »
Most of the nobles get their titles through military or political service just like real life which in turn provided them with wealth and prestige. As a noble you were given a tax base to maintain a mech and militia to protect your demense. During times of strife lesser nobles must provide forces from their own to the Empire. So you get a title for owning a mech but not all MechWarriors are nobles

SteelRaven

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9079
  • Fight for something or Die for nothing
    • The Steel-Raven at DeviantArt
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #2 on: 20 November 2022, 10:57:13 »
Mech ownership made more sense prior to FASA dropping most of the medieval trappings. It makes more sense in the early books and fiction addressing mech where directly tied to the power structure vs being issued equipment.
Battletech Art and Commissions
http://steel-raven.deviantart.com

AlphaMirage

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2579
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #3 on: 20 November 2022, 11:05:47 »
Well the Post-Helm Core Inner Sphere is a very different place than the 3rd Succession War that was the recent past in 3025. Once you can manufacture more Battlemechs, and Jumpships begin to increase in number you can begin issuing and maintaining them from the Imperial Treasury much easier and deploy them to conflict zones without ruining your economy.

phoenixalpha

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 529
  • For God, Prince Davion & the Federated Suns
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #4 on: 20 November 2022, 11:21:47 »
Upto and including the 4th SW - most "mech" nobles - gave over use of their family mech as long as one of the family piloted the mech. So litlle Joe-bob McDavey would inherit the family Clint and in order to maintain the family titles and status would serve House Davion as a mechwarrior in a recognised regiment of the AFFS. Failure to provide the mech and a mechwarrior would mean the family would lose its titles and wealth.

Post 4th SW - it was more about federal forces.

DevianID

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1183
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #5 on: 21 November 2022, 00:13:53 »
Yeah for me I just use the 1300s style model.  A horse and armor and 3 months of service/year or whatever in exchange for land and taxes.  How you became noble varies but the important bit was you could afford and provide weapons and armor when called.

In 3025 if you start with the mech and take land, or start rich and buy a mech, the end was the same.  You had to swear fealty but kinda get to do your own thing most of the time.

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #6 on: 21 November 2022, 04:15:53 »
Upto and including the 4th SW - most "mech" nobles - gave over use of their family mech as long as one of the family piloted the mech. So litlle Joe-bob McDavey would inherit the family Clint and in order to maintain the family titles and status would serve House Davion as a mechwarrior in a recognised regiment of the AFFS. Failure to provide the mech and a mechwarrior would mean the family would lose its titles and wealth.

Post 4th SW - it was more about federal forces.

I wouldn't say that the fact of not serving would automatically make them lose their titles, as it is harder to strip someone of a title that it would seem in real life feudal systems. Maybe one generation doesn't produce a mechwarrior, then that family mech will not serve, but neither the family will get the benefits and spoils of serving. Perhaps they will have to pay an equivalent quantity of money in exchange, as it happened in some feudal regimes. But dispossession I think is too much.

In the end I always felt that the whole 3025s setting of feudal service was badly implemented, as you get from the beginning the House sourcebooks that made it clear that these are professional armies, and nobility just serves as any soldier, although with the advantage of their own mech, and probably officer rank. So I always think of it as national armies with a percentage of the mech forces provided by the serving nobility as soldiers with their own mount, with that percentage being reduced as more and more tech is recovered, and the state can provide more and better mechs directly.

Prospernia

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 398
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #7 on: 21 November 2022, 18:11:20 »
Well, a noble probably inherited his mech, to whom his family swore allegiance to and that lord swore allegiance to an even higher-lord etc. Most mechwarror-nobles should have enough wealth from their estates to maintain and furnish their mechs.

Each house and their own mechs and if a player was not in a mech that house mass-produces, I considered them, maybe, nobility. 

idea weenie

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4230
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #8 on: 21 November 2022, 21:02:48 »
Well, a noble probably inherited his mech, to whom his family swore allegiance to and that lord swore allegiance to an even higher-lord etc. Most mechwarror-nobles should have enough wealth from their estates to maintain and furnish their mechs.

Each house and their own mechs and if a player was not in a mech that house mass-produces, I considered them, maybe, nobility.

That level of nobility would be very precarious, as a non-House Mech means getting repairs and spares parts is harder.  This means that noble family is more likely to be Dispossessed and lose their title as they are having to spend more money on their Mech, plus getting the repair components might take longer to arrive.  Now if the Mech is worth it . . . .

On example might be a Davion noble that has an Awesome.  Before the FedCom is formed the noble might have a fairly easy time getting parts for it.  After the FedCom is formed and the Concord of Kapteyn is created as well, spare parts for her Awesome will be much harder to get.

DevianID

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1183
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #9 on: 22 November 2022, 01:08:50 »
Quote
That level of nobility would be very precarious
From what I remember, this is exactly right.  Fear of being dispossessed was a massive thing, and a whole culture of 'gentlemanly' mech combat came out of it.  You could often just put your mechs arms up and walk away unscathed, or otherwise pay a ransom to get your mech and retreat with safety.  This is how hundred year old machines would stick around for so long and was a big component of the initial setting.  Forces that fought to the bloody end instead of retreating were often just pirates, who could expect to be executed instead of given safe passage if they retreated.  They may have backtracked on this, I stopped reading the lore like I used to, but in 3010 losing a mech to an ammo explosion was a shame for both the attacker and they defender, and so combats were not big regiment on regiment affairs of total annihilation.  The 4th succession war happened partly due to so much infrastructure coming back by that point that mechs were no longer scarce and new mechs and variants were popping up all over the place for the first time in a hundred years.

phoenixalpha

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 529
  • For God, Prince Davion & the Federated Suns
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #10 on: 22 November 2022, 03:42:11 »
A lot of the time pre 4th SW - units would maneuver repeatedly and engage in very little combat as mechs were so difficult to replace. When one side hand the upper hand tactically - the other side would just retreat from the battle rather than get damaged.

Thats why the 4th SW was such a shock. Up until that point in time such massive engagements were unheard of since the 1st and 2nd SW. So a company of mechs could quite easily take a planet as the cost of losing the mech defenders outweighed the actual cost of the planet and they knew that they could return in a short while and retake the planet and this was the tactical doctrine of the day - very few planets changed hands ie - House Marik is defending a border world with a company of light & medium mechs. House Steiner invades with a company of assault mechs. House Marik forces *know* its a battle they cant win and if they do - they'd lose the planet *AND* their mechs, so retreat is the only option especially if you owned the mech that you were going to be fighting in and replacement parts were like gold dust.

The 4th SW shocked everyone with massed assaults and fast strikes from multi regiment groups. No one thought such a tactical doctrine could be used.

Fallen_Raven

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3706
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #11 on: 22 November 2022, 10:02:08 »
A lot of the time pre 4th SW - units would maneuver repeatedly and engage in very little combat as mechs were so difficult to replace. When one side hand the upper hand tactically - the other side would just retreat from the battle rather than get damaged.

Its also the era of ICE tanks being frontline assets, and Vedettes being a common threat. You didn't need to be able to kill a 'mech, just do enough that the Mechwarrior didn't want to take the risk of permanent damage. Many units had enough trouble sourcing replacement parts that some 'mechs would never be fully repaired. Being Dispossessed is devastating, but being bumped from a prestigious unit to a back water garrison is still a pretty big problem for someone who's social status and financial well being are directly linked.
Subtlety is for those who lack a bigger gun.

The Battletech Forums: The best friends you'll ever fire high-powered weaponry at.-JadeHellbringer


SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 8221
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #12 on: 23 November 2022, 04:34:45 »
Mech ownership made more sense prior to FASA dropping most of the medieval trappings. It makes more sense in the early books and fiction addressing mech where directly tied to the power structure vs being issued equipment.
Depends upon what you mean by 'private', prior to the retcon that happened around the time of Helm a private citizen owning a 'Mech would have to be very careful, lest they, or rather their 'Mech be drafted somehow.

Upto and including the 4th SW - most "mech" nobles - gave over use of their family mech as long as one of the family piloted the mech. So litlle Joe-bob McDavey would inherit the family Clint and in order to maintain the family titles and status would serve House Davion as a mechwarrior in a recognised regiment of the AFFS. Failure to provide the mech and a mechwarrior would mean the family would lose its titles and wealth.

Post 4th SW - it was more about federal forces.
This doesn't work for me and never has. It isn't a good way to run a government. It leaves no 'Mechs for the planetary milita. It ignores the armor and infantry regiments that exist. And the politicking that would exist is absent.

I wouldn't say that the fact of not serving would automatically make them lose their titles, as it is harder to strip someone of a title that it would seem in real life feudal systems. Maybe one generation doesn't produce a mechwarrior, then that family mech will not serve, but neither the family will get the benefits and spoils of serving. Perhaps they will have to pay an equivalent quantity of money in exchange, as it happened in some feudal regimes. But dispossession I think is too much.

In the end I always felt that the whole 3025s setting of feudal service was badly implemented, as you get from the beginning the House sourcebooks that made it clear that these are professional armies, and nobility just serves as any soldier, although with the advantage of their own mech, and probably officer rank. So I always think of it as national armies with a percentage of the mech forces provided by the serving nobility as soldiers with their own mount, with that percentage being reduced as more and more tech is recovered, and the state can provide more and better mechs directly.
Except this would require attaining them of their lands and I don't think we see anything like this happening. And we don't see anyone bringing their own 'Mech as being a big thing, see Dan Allard and the training battalions.

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #13 on: 23 November 2022, 05:38:17 »
Sorry, cause english is not my native language, but I understand then that you agree with what I said (either that or I expressed myself worng).

The implementation of the feudal system in the Battletech universe, in the beginning of the game, was not well thought. It tried to emulate the idea (not the reality) of the medieval feudal system, but without taking into account the whole ramifications of a modern-future society. Even with the drop of technology levels, it is hardly logical for a Successor House to be only able to field armies if their vassals provide the troops, considering that prior to the Successor Wars tech levels were high, production of military material too, and the armies were well equiped. The Successor State sure had the ownership of a majority of their mechs, and also access to the production. With the tech loss of the SW it makes sense to see more noble owned mechs, but even then there's still production, even if at lower levels than before, but if you are a mech industry business, you are going to make deals with the central government first, as the business is more lucatrive. Looking at the TRs it's easy to find references to those situations.

And with the House sourcebook it is pretty clear that the armies functioned as real modern  armies in all aspects. Thats why I prefer to think of the 3025ish Era as more of a feudal society in the level of control and rulership of planets, but in the armies is more like national armies, but with a sizable part of nobility serving with their own mount, like if you were a british noble in the napoleonic wars, you get into the army, bring you own horse, etc... So nobility has an important part in the making of armies, but there is an structure, a chain of command, and all the other trappings of a modern army. The nobility has to be instructed in an academy before being able to join, even if the time at the academy if a joke, cause daddy paid for my graduation (I'm looking at you, LC).

I understand that FASA tried to convey a sense of a decadent almost post-apoc Mad Max level society, with the mechwarrior as a knight in service to its lord, but was not well implemented. And as many times has happened I think it is fine to correct this early lore with a better designed and thought lore that solves the problems without completely abandon the old one. That's why I always say that one thing we need is an Era Report: 3025 sourcebook, to give a more refined view of one of the most popular eras of play.

Greatclub

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2613
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #14 on: 23 November 2022, 12:52:41 »
This doesn't work for me and never has. It isn't a good way to run a government. It leaves no 'Mechs for the planetary milita. It ignores the armor and infantry regiments that exist. And the politicking that would exist is absent.

The gentry, when not on callup, would be the militia. This was lore pre-citytech, before vees and infantry were viable combat units.
Quote
Except this would require attaining them of their lands and I don't think we see anything like this happening. And we don't see anyone bringing their own 'Mech as being a big thing, see Dan Allard and the training battalions.

The training battalions were Hanse trying to disrupt the feudal status quo.

The whole feudalism thing was never well explained, possibly not well thought through; it was just some background fluff that the house books partially contradicted anyway.

glitterboy2098

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11217
    • The Temple Grounds - My Roleplaying and History website
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #15 on: 23 November 2022, 16:32:11 »
I've generally figured te whole "landed mechwarrior" minor nobility thing was a result of offers being given to SLDF mech pilots during the collapse of the star league and hegemony. Offering land and title to anyone hegemony defenders or remaining sldf troops willing to switch sides and enlist in the house militaries with their (often high tech) mech. Over time the mechs got downgraded or replaced with salvage as tech regressed, but the status got handed down

SteelRaven

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9079
  • Fight for something or Die for nothing
    • The Steel-Raven at DeviantArt
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #16 on: 23 November 2022, 18:35:59 »
The way that makes more sense to me is just how terrible logistics where up until 3025.

Making individual Mechwarriors responsible for their machines makes a little more sense when your interstellar empire is too stretch thin for a more centralized command and logistics structure. This slowly changed leading up to 3025 with the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth being the fastest to restructure with the other Houses still suffering from the internal politics getting in the way of the type of restructuring needed to move beyond small unit deployment to what we see following the 4th SW.
       
Battletech Art and Commissions
http://steel-raven.deviantart.com

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 30576
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #17 on: 23 November 2022, 20:01:02 »
Liam's Ghost did a great AU en petit on Foxhaven in the Periphery around these ideas...  :thumbsup:

five_corparty

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1284
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #18 on: 23 November 2022, 21:31:25 »
FWIW, the status of "who owns the Mechs" was a key part of my story "The Third Pillar" in the Legacy anthology and - about twenty-ish years BTech time later - people getting a title for Mech ownership is (slight spoiler) a key plot point in "A trial Most Acceptable" in Shrapnel 10.

In "3rd P" the evolution of forces from owner-operator to national forces in the wake of the Clan Invasion is touched upon, and Kendra's admission in "Trial" that she only made her rank because she's on a backwater world really shows that the trend is still LEGAL, but almost unheard of by the Jihad.  So, like so many other things in BattleTech, the answer often is "well, WHEN are we talking about?"  :)

drjones

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 103
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #19 on: 25 November 2022, 12:17:28 »
I wouldn't say that the fact of not serving would automatically make them lose their titles, as it is harder to strip someone of a title that it would seem in real life feudal systems. Maybe one generation doesn't produce a mechwarrior, then that family mech will not serve, but neither the family will get the benefits and spoils of serving. Perhaps they will have to pay an equivalent quantity of money in exchange, as it happened in some feudal regimes. But dispossession I think is too much.

I suspect that very few 'mechs would sit out a generation. Looking at how thoroughly rules for tracing inheritance have developed, I'd expect any family with a 'mech to be able to find someone to put in the cockpit -- and that they'd have no trouble finding a candidate even if it wasn't as simple as handing the access code to the newly retired or dead warrior's first born. The problem would likely be the opposite; if inheritance of the 'mech was murky enough to contest at all, it probably would be contested.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 30576
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #20 on: 25 November 2022, 14:07:51 »
That depends entirely on how feudal your particular neo-feudalism is...  ^-^

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #21 on: 25 November 2022, 17:04:07 »
I suspect that very few 'mechs would sit out a generation. Looking at how thoroughly rules for tracing inheritance have developed, I'd expect any family with a 'mech to be able to find someone to put in the cockpit -- and that they'd have no trouble finding a candidate even if it wasn't as simple as handing the access code to the newly retired or dead warrior's first born. The problem would likely be the opposite; if inheritance of the 'mech was murky enough to contest at all, it probably would be contested.

If the knight/lord has no ability to be a mechwarrior and hasa son or daughter, or a brother or sister that does, then probably yes. But if not, then don't think so, as the mech is an inheritance to pass to your heir. Is not like having a car that you lend to your friend. It is an essential part of the house history, and therefore not to be given to someone who is not an heir. And not something to be contested, as it goes with the title, so if you are contesting the mech then it is more probable what you really are contesting is the title, and the mech is just part of the pack.

drjones

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 103
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #22 on: 29 November 2022, 22:38:05 »
If the knight/lord has no ability to be a mechwarrior and hasa son or daughter, or a brother or sister that does, then probably yes. But if not, then don't think so, as the mech is an inheritance to pass to your heir. Is not like having a car that you lend to your friend. It is an essential part of the house history, and therefore not to be given to someone who is not an heir. And not something to be contested, as it goes with the title, so if you are contesting the mech then it is more probable what you really are contesting is the title, and the mech is just part of the pack.

I'm drawing on MechWarrior: Destiny here (see pg. 17) for the idea that the 'mech will be contested; it describes the struggle to be the generation's warrior as "fierce and brutal." Interestingly, the same section gives a nod to your comment as well, stating that the family member who ends up that generation's warrior also becomes "the effective leader of that family." I'm not sure this would carry over to a noble title, though.

Regarding the inheritance factor, I'm assuming that the 'mech would pass to a relative, the heir. Looking at something like inheritance of the British throne though, that relative doesn't have to be terribly closely related in certain circumstances and apparently Great Britain has the rules and information to trace inheritance pretty far from the immediate family of the current occupant of the throne. I think this would likely come into play in inheriting a 'mech as well; if the last warrior doesn't have a son, daughter, brother, sister, etc., there will be a long-lost uncle or aunt who ends up with the 'mech.

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #23 on: 30 November 2022, 06:24:02 »
I'm drawing on MechWarrior: Destiny here (see pg. 17) for the idea that the 'mech will be contested; it describes the struggle to be the generation's warrior as "fierce and brutal." Interestingly, the same section gives a nod to your comment as well, stating that the family member who ends up that generation's warrior also becomes "the effective leader of that family." I'm not sure this would carry over to a noble title, though.

Regarding the inheritance factor, I'm assuming that the 'mech would pass to a relative, the heir. Looking at something like inheritance of the British throne though, that relative doesn't have to be terribly closely related in certain circumstances and apparently Great Britain has the rules and information to trace inheritance pretty far from the immediate family of the current occupant of the throne. I think this would likely come into play in inheriting a 'mech as well; if the last warrior doesn't have a son, daughter, brother, sister, etc., there will be a long-lost uncle or aunt who ends up with the 'mech.

Well, haven't read Destiny, so don't know about that example exactly (will have to look it up), but I think that a mech will be part of the whole inheritance, so that when the Baron of Pasanook dies, his son/daughter inherits the title of Baron, with all the properties attached, included the mech. If he is unable to serve as a mechwarrior maybe he can cede the mech to another relative, with siblings first, but the ownership is still of the new Baron, and he/she can take it back anytime.
Will check Destiny to see that reference you said :)

Edit: So I checked, and what I get from it is sibling rivalry for getting the position of mechwarrior. I would say it is the same type of rivalry that happened in noble families in the past, bickering to be the heir. Still think that ownership is part of the title, but that it would make sense for a noble to trust the mech to a sibling if the heir is not able to pilot it. So that the Baron of Pasanook has two children, his eldest, Joe, and the youngest, Carol. Joe is a fine politician, but wasn't ever inclined to military endeavours, while Carol is an excellent mechwarrior. When the Baron dies, Joe, the new Baron, gives the ancient family mech, a powerful Vulcan, to his sister Carol, to represent their family in the armed forces. As soon as Carol dies or Joe decides so, he can retrieve the mech. If Joe dies too, and he has some heir, the heir receives the mech again, but can decide to keep the lease to aunt Carol.
« Last Edit: 30 November 2022, 06:36:54 by Moragion »

Elmoth

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 3143
  • Periphery fanboy
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #24 on: 30 November 2022, 15:49:13 »
Until Joe dies and aunt carol uses the mech to place her son on the throne...

And great stories are made

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #25 on: 30 November 2022, 16:20:44 »
Until Joe dies and aunt carol uses the mech to place her son on the throne...

And great stories are made

Exactly  ;D

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 30576
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #26 on: 30 November 2022, 20:16:31 »
Shenanigans are de rigueur for family politics...  8)

S.gage

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 844
  • The Nova Cat is a subtle hunter.
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #27 on: 01 December 2022, 00:08:14 »
Feudalism among MechWarriors is not necessarily unreasonable, although it depends how it is achieved. Remember, in the setting neo-feudalism emerged over time as a method to organize and administer unimaginably large realms. I argue owning and piloting a 'Mech developed not as a signifier of power, rather cause and effect should be reversed here: the ability to pilot a 'Mech, ASF, etc is so exceptional it is the reason for receiving the feudal title, we are just centuries too late to see this transition.

One factor that has been alluded to but is really important to 'Mech ownership is the ability to actually pilot a 'Mech in combat. The ability to pilot a 'Mech is not very exceptional, but piloting a 'Mech well enough to not be a liability under live fire, with the ability to endure concussive injuries, heat, and grueling amounts of time in the cockpit, is very rare. Remember, the story and game almost exclusively involves characters who are important in BattleTech, mostly MechWarriors. Being a MechWarrior is a rare skill, and one possessed even by the most incompetent Lyran social general.

Consider in ~3060 the size of the Inner Sphere. There are approximately 50,000 BattleMechs in House armies (5 Houses, ~ 80 Regiments each). Between students in academies, trainees/squires, particularly skilled technicians, test pilots, mercenaries, dispossessed, retired veterans, etc., I would argue a generous upper limit for the number of people able to pilot a BattleMech in combat is 500,000 in the Inner Sphere total, whether they are Piloting/Gunnery 0/0 or 7/7. Everyone else does not even qualify for PS/GS. There are ~2000 or so planets in the Inner Sphere. Not every planet has 1+ billion people, but I think a mode of 10,000,000 inhabitants for most planets is reasonable. Throw in a few dozen planets with populations over 1-10 billion people, and maybe a comfortable estimate for the size of the Inner Sphere approaches 1 trillion people. Honestly, this feels like a low estimate. At any rate, if we accept ~ 1 trillion human beings, that means 0.00005% of the population registers a piloting skill and gunnery skill of any skill (for comparison, being a current major league baseball player, including being able to hit a MLB pitch is a skill only 0.0001% of people are capable of doing, or 2x as easy; that number goes way up if you include other leagues, training leagues, and retired vets like we did in the MechWarrior numbers).

Bringing this back to neo-feudalism and owning a 'Mech, there are haves (with title) and have-nots (serf/peasants) who are tied to the land and insulated from combat. For the have-nots, what percentage of the population of the Human Sphere has enough free time, money, etc. to be able to leave the world of their birth regularly? How many civilians have been involved in combat since the 2nd Succession War?

As for who the haves are, historically feudal title, from sovereign to knight, is awarded for or won by (military) service, although it can also be bought by wealth or great charisma (excepting inheritance by future generations, this pertains to succession). The rarity of title means those who possess it are exceptional in a manner analogous, though not necessarily proportional, to the rarity of being able to pilot a 'Mech in combat.

In this way, developing neo-feudalism seems just as plausible as other have-havenot paradigms, and the BattleMech is as reasonable as any sci-fi knighting sword.
« Last Edit: 01 December 2022, 02:21:49 by S.gage »
"WHO PUT 6 ARMOR ON THE RIFLEMAN'S HEAD?!?" - Peter S., while marking damage from a PPC, 1994.
"Ich bin Jadefalke!!!! Ich bin MechKrieger!!!!" - German students on their field trip to Leipzig, 1998.
Custom Early Clan Refit BattleMechs, Custom Novel Golden Century BattleMechs, Custom Early Clan Refit Combat Vehicles, Custom First Generation OmniMechs.

Moragion

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 173
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #28 on: 01 December 2022, 06:08:37 »
Consider in ~3060 the size of the Inner Sphere. There are approximately 50,000 BattleMechs in House armies (5 Houses, ~ 80 Regiments each). Between students in academies, trainees/squires, particularly skilled technicians, test pilots, mercenaries, dispossessed, retired veterans, etc., I would argue a generous upper limit for the number of people able to pilot a BattleMech in combat is 500,000 in the Inner Sphere total, whether they are Piloting/Gunnery 0/0 or 7/7. Everyone else does not even qualify for PS/GS. There are ~2000 or so planets in the Inner Sphere. Not every planet has 1+ billion people, but I think a mode of 10,000,000 inhabitants for most planets is reasonable. Throw in a few dozen planets with populations over 1-10 billion people, and maybe a comfortable estimate for the size of the Inner Sphere approaches 1 trillion people. Honestly, this feels like a low estimate. At any rate, if we accept ~ 1 trillion human beings, that means 0.00005% of the population registers a piloting skill and gunnery skill of any skill (for comparison, being a current major league baseball player, including being able to hit a MLB pitch is a skill only 0.0001% of people are capable of doing, or 2x as easy; that number goes way up if you include other leagues, training leagues, and retired vets like we did in the MechWarrior numbers).

Well, one factor to add to your argument is that house armies are not the only ones with mechs. Planetary militias can have mechs too, not many planets will, but some, and that adds more. Also not every single mech owner serves in the military, either House or militia. I'm thinking about mercenaries, and also the amount of people with experience with agromechs (which is another factor to have in mind). But even then, some will not serve, and keep the mech in their own planet. There is no indication that I know of that says that not serving means automatic dispossession (but I haven't read every single source so maybe I'm wrong on this). I have vague memories of histories of single warriors defending a place with their mech, clearly not a soldier in a house army. And obviously nobles serving in the planetary militia would be very normal, as it keeps them in a position of power in their own home turf, plus they can always say they are defending the planet and therefore fulfilling their obligations to the higher noble in the planet.

But thats the matter with the initial lore, that it is pretty vague on those items, and quick enough, when the House sourcebooks came out, it became irrelevant, as the armies were presented no more as feudal forces but full modern military. The first source I ever had was the Mechwarrior Rpg 1e, and even there, with all the calling to feudal units, you get the section where the houses are described and the regiments are presented as a modern thing, not a feudal thing. So it is clear that it wasn't well thought, and discarded the more the game advanced.
« Last Edit: 01 December 2022, 07:58:17 by Moragion »

S.gage

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 844
  • The Nova Cat is a subtle hunter.
Re: My Attempt To Straighten Out 'Mech Ownership
« Reply #29 on: 01 December 2022, 10:24:58 »
Well, one factor to add to your argument is that house armies are not the only ones with mechs. Planetary militias can have mechs too, not many planets will, but some, and that adds more. Also not every single mech owner serves in the military, ...

Again, I was just presenting hand-waving numbers to be safe, but I the numbers I proposed allowed for 90% people capable of piloting a 'Mech in combat to be non-House military, including trainees, retired veterans (mercenaries and planetary militias draw from this pool a lot), test pilots, families with a BattleMech, etc. Maybe that number is a little low, but not by an order of magnitude (i.e., more than 1% of all MechWarriors are House MechWarriors). Then invoking baseball, being able to pilot a 'Mech in combat of any skill level is rarer than hitting or pitching the average ~90 mph (~140 kph) fastball with movement/deception in MLB. Add in training leagues, etc (or related games like cricket, etc.), and being a current/former professional baseball player in any league way more common than being a MechWarrior.

If those numbers are "in the same ballpark" ( ;) ), at least not off by 1+ orders of magnitude, a MechWarrior of any skill level (even a 7/7 trainee) is approximately as rare as being a starter in the major leagues. I am not physically capable of playing baseball. Personally, I can pitch about ~40 mph (~60 kph), and I can sprint 90 feet to 1st base in over 9 seconds (where I have to catch my breath). I am slower than the slowest catcher, a slower runner than even Tom Brady, and likely would be thrown out on an MLB-average basehit to right field. I don't have years of training, but I doubt with any amount of training I would have made the majors. This is how I view the rare skill of being a MechWarrior.

...
But thats the matter with the initial lore, that it is pretty vague on those items, and quick enough, when the House sourcebooks came out, it became irrelevant, as the armies were presented no more as feudal forces but full modern military. The first source I ever had was the Mechwarrior Rpg 1e, and even there, with all the calling to feudal units, you get the section where the houses are described and the regiments are presented as a modern thing, not a feudal thing. So it is clear that it wasn't well thought, and discarded the more the game advanced.

I think the notion of title can be nebulous, and this is a problem, and FASA being vague about how neo-feudalism worked did not help. "MechWarrior Susy Markov" is title in the feudal sense, equivalent to "Dame Susy Markov". Maybe this entitles you to a small part of a continent of Karachi II. This is still a worthy title in the feudal/neo-feudal sense.

Moreover, just because you were born with a title or earned a title does not mean you are incapable of being a professional in a modern military. Even in the 21st Century, soldiers are still knighted, although the title is not what it was in the 11th Century. For instance, the most recent military knighthood bestowed by the United Kingdom was given to Gen. Joseph Dunford, US Joint Chief of Staff in 2020. It is nonheriditary, and I really don't know what privileges, money, etc. the title includes.

The Inner Sphere is a big place, and some echelons of power in the Inner Sphere have a lot of power. Is it not possible that Gen. Dunford's knighthood, if conferred for being able to pilot a BattleMech in the 30th Century, could also come with some land, money, or a 'Mech (so he could serve ably as a retainer)?

And if an family own a BattleMech, why is this a problem? A future generation might have the talent to pilot a 'Mech in combat, great, no problem. But even if they do not have the talent to pilot a 'Mech, they can still participate in the local militia, scare off some pirates, for instance. Is every member of the militia equally able to hit the target at 180 meters? We know from the Field Report series there are a scattering of 'Mechs in planetary militias, but it does not mean they are piloted by 4/5 House regular MechWarriors.
"WHO PUT 6 ARMOR ON THE RIFLEMAN'S HEAD?!?" - Peter S., while marking damage from a PPC, 1994.
"Ich bin Jadefalke!!!! Ich bin MechKrieger!!!!" - German students on their field trip to Leipzig, 1998.
Custom Early Clan Refit BattleMechs, Custom Novel Golden Century BattleMechs, Custom Early Clan Refit Combat Vehicles, Custom First Generation OmniMechs.

 

Register