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Author Topic: What is the weakest or most unbelievable aspect of the BT Universe?  (Read 23337 times)

BrianDavion

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the clans also extoll an individualistic dualing mindset. this MAY result in more skilled mechwarriors but WW2's pacific theatre proved it was inferior to cooperative tactics alongside a wingman

marauder648

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I still think that the Clans are a very noble attempt at making an alien culture without having them be actual aliens. Clan society is as alien and strange to us as the Ancient Greeks/Romans would view ours or we'd view theirs.

But its definately something that could have done with a few more passes and tidying up to make it not collapse like a failed souffle.

For me one of the oddest things is that the Clans are like Elves. We're told that they have a fairly limited population base and that they can't sustain heavy losses. But you can have several clusters of them get wiped out and its barely a blip on the radar. The only Clan that ever suffered manpower issues was the Smoke Jags who never really got back on their feet following the horrific losses sustained on Tukayyid and Luthien.

Your typical Clan Warrior takes 16 years minimum to 'make' and final graduation is a live fire battle with horrific casualties. So Clan Sibko's must be planned far far in advance and whilst we've no idea of how many Sibko's are running in any individual Clan at any one time the whole system is set up to deliver a comparative trickle of personnel and reacts poorly to huge casualty losses.

The real world analogue of this is the pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy in WW2. Pre war they went through a HUGELY rigerious training regime as well as an exceptionally stringient test to get into the pilot program. They had  huge amounts of flight training, deck landings etc as well as tactical training and more that was considerably longer than pilots underwent in the USN or RN. The result was that only the very creme of the crop was able to pass and failure rates were very high, and if you failed once you was gone.

Again, it was set up to deliver a slow but steady trickle of pilots and reacted poorly to any sudden need to replace loads. Even during the initial period of Japanese involvement in WW2 the IJN refused to alter this policy and even though pilot numbers were dropping, they'd not suffered any mass casualty events.
At the pivotal battle of Midway, the IJN carriers went into battle with about 75% of their airgroups in total as pilots and aircraft hadn't been replaced.

The losses at Midway were bad, but the true gutting of the IJN's pilot cadres was the meatgrinder of the Solomon Islands and the battles around it and only belatedly did the start cutting back on training and the requirements to get in.

This kind of happens with the Clans, with the Falcons using battles like the attack on Coventry to be a Warriors trial of position but it still takes a very long time to grow and train a warrior.

The other issue the Clans have is also echoed in the IJN. As the war went on, the IJN's best pilots were kept on the front lines or on island bases etc and it was a case of 'they don't send you home unless its in a box'. The USN on the other hand was rotating experienced pilots back home, and they'd teach the new pilots going through training the tricks and tactics they had learned. The IJN didn't do that, so any new pilots who's mistakes might have been caught by an experienced veteran are missed, and they go into battle with these mistakes not addressed and often died for it.

The Clans and their treatment of older people is quite simply insane. You eliminate any body of knowledge by either fighting and killing an older and more experienced Warrior, or they don't cover themselves in glory and are consigned to being solhama where their usual fate is clearing minefields with their faces.

And for a society obcessed with not wasting anything, this is a massive waste (along with you know the death battles in giant robots that usually leaves one or two smashed up).

One idea i've seen floated around is going and having a more feudal system with the Trueborn being limited in numbers but massively well trained and equipped, and they're supported by serfs or men-at-arms IE Freeborn who would support their 'Knightly' betters with less decent kit and inferior training. The honour duels etc still happen but its almost always a 1 v 1.

As was said in another thread, the Creche and Iron womb system has the solution to the Clans problems, as they could be hugely efficient and churn out people by the absolute bucket load, the Clans could have expanded, turned to massive use of asteroid mining or strip mining worlds around the Cluster and Homeworlds.

There's a lot that could be done to fix some of the issues without changing the Clans too much in terms of a society and people.
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pokefan548

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Probably. Apparently Nikky K extolled MechWarriors uber alles, wouldn’t be surprising if that attitude led to deficient ASF training outside the Snow Ravens and Cloud Cobras. Which leads to a tangential question - have Raven pilots fared better than other Clanners against Spheroid opponents?
If memory serves, Raven ASFs tended to be a bit better for the most part, but all their best spacers ended up going to large craft crews. Cloud Cobras on the other hand...
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Cannonshop

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I still think that the Clans are a very noble attempt at making an alien culture without having them be actual aliens. Clan society is as alien and strange to us as the Ancient Greeks/Romans would view ours or we'd view theirs.

But its definately something that could have done with a few more passes and tidying up to make it not collapse like a failed souffle.

For me one of the oddest things is that the Clans are like Elves. We're told that they have a fairly limited population base and that they can't sustain heavy losses. But you can have several clusters of them get wiped out and its barely a blip on the radar. The only Clan that ever suffered manpower issues was the Smoke Jags who never really got back on their feet following the horrific losses sustained on Tukayyid and Luthien.

Your typical Clan Warrior takes 16 years minimum to 'make' and final graduation is a live fire battle with horrific casualties. So Clan Sibko's must be planned far far in advance and whilst we've no idea of how many Sibko's are running in any individual Clan at any one time the whole system is set up to deliver a comparative trickle of personnel and reacts poorly to huge casualty losses.

The real world analogue of this is the pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy in WW2. Pre war they went through a HUGELY rigerious training regime as well as an exceptionally stringient test to get into the pilot program. They had  huge amounts of flight training, deck landings etc as well as tactical training and more that was considerably longer than pilots underwent in the USN or RN. The result was that only the very creme of the crop was able to pass and failure rates were very high, and if you failed once you was gone.

Again, it was set up to deliver a slow but steady trickle of pilots and reacted poorly to any sudden need to replace loads. Even during the initial period of Japanese involvement in WW2 the IJN refused to alter this policy and even though pilot numbers were dropping, they'd not suffered any mass casualty events.
At the pivotal battle of Midway, the IJN carriers went into battle with about 75% of their airgroups in total as pilots and aircraft hadn't been replaced.

The losses at Midway were bad, but the true gutting of the IJN's pilot cadres was the meatgrinder of the Solomon Islands and the battles around it and only belatedly did the start cutting back on training and the requirements to get in.

This kind of happens with the Clans, with the Falcons using battles like the attack on Coventry to be a Warriors trial of position but it still takes a very long time to grow and train a warrior.

The other issue the Clans have is also echoed in the IJN. As the war went on, the IJN's best pilots were kept on the front lines or on island bases etc and it was a case of 'they don't send you home unless its in a box'. The USN on the other hand was rotating experienced pilots back home, and they'd teach the new pilots going through training the tricks and tactics they had learned. The IJN didn't do that, so any new pilots who's mistakes might have been caught by an experienced veteran are missed, and they go into battle with these mistakes not addressed and often died for it.

The Clans and their treatment of older people is quite simply insane. You eliminate any body of knowledge by either fighting and killing an older and more experienced Warrior, or they don't cover themselves in glory and are consigned to being solhama where their usual fate is clearing minefields with their faces.

And for a society obcessed with not wasting anything, this is a massive waste (along with you know the death battles in giant robots that usually leaves one or two smashed up).

One idea i've seen floated around is going and having a more feudal system with the Trueborn being limited in numbers but massively well trained and equipped, and they're supported by serfs or men-at-arms IE Freeborn who would support their 'Knightly' betters with less decent kit and inferior training. The honour duels etc still happen but its almost always a 1 v 1.

As was said in another thread, the Creche and Iron womb system has the solution to the Clans problems, as they could be hugely efficient and churn out people by the absolute bucket load, the Clans could have expanded, turned to massive use of asteroid mining or strip mining worlds around the Cluster and Homeworlds.

There's a lot that could be done to fix some of the issues without changing the Clans too much in terms of a society and people.

The other problem the Clans have, is that Nikki K. was green.  I'm not talking color either-the society he created is obsessed with ecological issues.  (Read Warriors of Kerensky if you don't believe me).  this means a LOT of what you suggest as a solution requires a change of a fundamental sort at a fundamental level in the morality of the Clans as a civilization.

They use wind and solar instead of fusion or nuclear for their nonmilitary/non-shipping infrastructure, for example, which would be fine if they were, say, using solar collectors on satellites to beam power to the surface, but that's not what they do.  The practice of "Enclaves" means a terrestrial focus, making spaceborne industry like you describe the freak, not the rule (see entry on Clan Ghost Bear, who worked out spaceborne mining and industries with the Snow Ravens, and it's a big deal instead of being a common practice.)

Their economic structure doesn't work for developing prosperity on purpose-the 'zero waste' practices aren't really 'zero waste', because they're focused on limiting economic surpluses-that is, it's a command economy, and it's easier to command an economy if you can put the boot to the proles with, y'know, actual boots (or foot actuators).

Per the descriptions we've been given of the actual planetary conditions, most of the Kerensky Cluster and Pentagon worlds were probably BETTER than much of the settled 'Wealthy' inner sphere worlds whose surpluses astounded Clanners on arrival, because their system doesn't permit the sort of growth or investment that turns hellhole almost-habitable nasty planets into liveable real-estate with booming industries and widespread prosperity.

Average lifespan of a common worker (even a dirt farmer) in the Inner Sphere is around seventy, seventy five in the bad parts.  In the Homeworlds the average lifespan of their majority population of workers is around 56.

Their currency is two-tiered and separated by caste, if you're not a Merchant, you don't own anything and you don't have the ability to save against the future-your bank account resets to zero every payday before your current work credit is deposited, meaning that things like Pensions, health insurance, or major investments we in the west take for granted, don't exist.  When you get too old to work, your allotment goes away and your family can't do a damn thing about it-you're expected to gracefully let them leave you to starve. (Source: Warriors of Kerensky), and anything you had, that you might sell in another culture to live a few days longer?

well, that's the Clan's resources and if it has any value it will be redistributed without consideration for anything but meeting quota.

The Clan system is basically engineered to hamstring them from the get-go on every level except producing good fighters, the real miracle is that the Clans advanced at all with that system in place.

Further, it's not a production economy, it's a redistribution economy.  Yes, they produce goods, but anyone who is productive stands a very good chance of being traded around like the slave they are to whoever has the most aggressive big stick...and is expected to perform as good property when the exchange takes place.  Failure to do so results in things like Londerholm.
« Last Edit: 16 May 2022, 09:51:24 by Cannonshop »
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Tyler Jorgensson

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If memory serves, Raven ASFs tended to be a bit better for the most part, but all their best spacers ended up going to large craft crews. Cloud Cobras on the other hand...

With the possible exception of the Outworlds Alliance I believe the Ravens were the better pilots in general… but that’s only because space and fighter combat gets so little screen time… well because it’s a mech focused story after all (another thing to add to the topic)

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Going from something over 120 average lifespan to 56 is the kind of thing normal populations revolt over...  xp

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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The Pentagon Worlds did see a number of revolts until the Clans put them all down.  Then got civilians used to the "need" to work twelve hours shifts seven days a week.
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Dayton3

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I think the ultimate irony is that it was probably the mercenary Wolf's Dragoons that combined the best of Clan and Inner Sphere practices when it came to training warrior training.

They eventually followed Clan practices strongly but they still made allowances for older warriors experience levels.

The Clans would've absolutely have hated Tom Brady.

Cannonshop

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Going from something over 120 average lifespan to 56 is the kind of thing normal populations revolt over...  xp

Maybe so.  We could go over real-world examples but that would violate rule 4.  Suffice to say, it's not even an unprecedented situation-we've got a real-world example or three including one in the present day of how such systems, derived from a personality cult, actually work in practice, so the writers didn't fumble on "Warriors of Kerensky".
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SCC

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Came up with a couple of others:
1. That Light 'Mechs are still a thing, especially the sub-30 tonners, between the SL era peace, the recovered tech boom of the 50's and 60's and then Stone's Peace, one or more of these should have killed off 'Mechs in time.
2. That turd 'Mechs not only get put into production, but stay in production, the Charger is the poster child here, in production for almost 400 years at no less then 4 sites, and is the sole user of 400-class SFE and no-one seems to have thought of converting that/those plant/s to produce more in demand engines.
Bonus round: Any design where it is the sole user of a particular engine rating.

GRUD

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Came up with a couple of others:
1. That Light 'Mechs are still a thing, especially the sub-30 tonners, between the SL era peace, the recovered tech boom of the 50's and 60's and then Stone's Peace, one or more of these should have killed off 'Mechs in time.
2. That turd 'Mechs not only get put into production, but stay in production, the Charger is the poster child here, in production for almost 400 years at no less then 4 sites, and is the sole user of 400-class SFE and no-one seems to have thought of converting that/those plant/s to produce more in demand engines.
Bonus round: Any design where it is the sole user of a particular engine rating.
I can see the "Sub-30 Tonners" being used for routine patrols, security, and "Riot Suppression".  But I don't think we've ever heard of one having ANY sort of "Pivotal" Role in a Major Battle, ANYWHERE, whether in the IS or Clan Homeworlds.  And I mean a battle involving All weight classes, or at least Lights and at least one other weight class.  (Yeah, Lucky shots in TT play do NOT count!  ;D )


As for the Charger, I agree, it's odd the Lyran Scout was produced for so long.   :o  But was the Engine used in any vehicles or AeroSpace Fighters?   ???  I agree, seems like if they can make ONE type of fusion engine, they could make others.  And the Company would get more INCOME from producing/selling other engines also.  What Company would look at THAT as a "Bad" Thing?   ???
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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The Charger was not in continuous production for 400 years.  The Star League ordered a huge initial production run of them before it was shown just how useless they were.  After that, they were transferred to rear echelon positions or put into storage and kept out of most fights until the Succession Wars meant that losses were high enough that any mech was pressed into service.
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TheoLehman

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Charger manufacturing did happen at various times after the original CHR-1A1 production run, but these were different variants which downgraded the engine (or replaced it with an XL) and used the saved weight to load the 'Mech up with the kind of armor and weapon profiles you'd expect from an 80-tonner.
I think there were also field refit kits created to convert 1A1 Chargers into at least some of these variants, as well.
Even considering all the variants, however, I believe that "continuous" may be too strong a word to describe Charger manufacturing.
« Last Edit: 17 May 2022, 09:38:35 by TheoLehman »

Jellico

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The Clans would've absolutely have hated Tom Brady.
Interesting sport is usually the best analogue to the Clans. The 40+ elite sports people we see today are testament to how much sport science has improved over the last forty years. In the 80s the genuine freaks retired around 35 at most, and most everyone had crippling permanent injuries, usually cartilage related.

Dayton3

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I can explain "mechs like the Charger staying in production despite obvious flaws for so long but I would have to use modern real-world comparisons and I'm pretty sure that's against the rules isn't it?

Dayton3

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To me,  from a weapons standpoint I've always felt it was ridiculous that the impact of an SRM had about the same damage potential as the impact of a machine gun round.

To me when I hear the term "short range missile"  I think in terms of a present day TOW or HOT anti-tank missile which can blow apart a main battle tank.

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It seems unwise to me to expect performance similar to weapons centuries in the past, just because they have similar names.

Don't forget that Machine Guns are also very different from what we know today. At least one is described as a 20mm minigun. Ma Deuce this most certainly is NOT.
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Light Machine Guns are the closest analog I see to the Ma Deuce...  8)

Regular Machine Guns are in GAU-19 tri-barrel territory, with Heavies in the GAU-19 with SIX barrels league...  ^-^

Charistoph

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One should also consider that an SRM hit is just a single missile, while a Machine Gun hit is from numerous rounds from that weapon.  That's why the MG does 2D6 against ConvInf, and the SRM does 1.
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SCC

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I can see the "Sub-30 Tonners" being used for routine patrols, security, and "Riot Suppression".  But I don't think we've ever heard of one having ANY sort of "Pivotal" Role in a Major Battle, ANYWHERE, whether in the IS or Clan Homeworlds.  And I mean a battle involving All weight classes, or at least Lights and at least one other weight class.  (Yeah, Lucky shots in TT play do NOT count!  ;D )
Many would need a different load-out to what they currently carry out these roles, and if 'Mechs are rare you're not going to waste one on these types of duties

As for the Charger, I agree, it's odd the Lyran Scout was produced for so long.   :o  But was the Engine used in any vehicles or AeroSpace Fighters?   ???  I agree, seems like if they can make ONE type of fusion engine, they could make others.  And the Company would get more INCOME from producing/selling other engines also.  What Company would look at THAT as a "Bad" Thing?   ???
No it isn't, a 400 rating can only be used in 80 and 100 ton designs and given that it weighs over 50 tons it's generally not worth using.

Light Machine Guns are the closest analog I see to the Ma Deuce...  8)

Regular Machine Guns are in GAU-19 tri-barrel territory, with Heavies in the GAU-19 with SIX barrels league...  ^-^
XTRO:1945 says the M2 is equal to a support machine gun.

Failure16

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I can see the "Sub-30 Tonners" being used for routine patrols, security, and "Riot Suppression".  But I don't think we've ever heard of one having ANY sort of "Pivotal" Role in a Major Battle, ANYWHERE, whether in the IS or Clan Homeworlds.  And I mean a battle involving All weight classes, or at least Lights and at least one other weight class.  (Yeah, Lucky shots in TT play do NOT count!  ;D )

Well, there is always the dismantling of Cochraine's Goliaths on St. Andre in the 4SW. Now, not every machine in Delta Company was under 30 tonnes (and, notably, the commander's ride was a 35-tonne FS9), and the unit had a large number of 30-tonners (VLKs and JVNs). But it happened (as silly as it was to me back then, and especially today).
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idea weenie

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To me,  from a weapons standpoint I've always felt it was ridiculous that the impact of an SRM had about the same damage potential as the impact of a machine gun round.

To me when I hear the term "short range missile"  I think in terms of a present day TOW or HOT anti-tank missile which can blow apart a main battle tank.

A single SRM is 10 kilos of material (50 shots/ton of ammo for an SRM-2 = 100 missiles per 1000 kg)
A single MG burst is 5 kg of material (200 shots per ton)

From there you have a MG massing half as much as an SRM-2 and getting 1/3 the range.

As for missile masses, enjoy

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SCC: A Support Machine Gun is also pretty much a 'mech scale LMG...  ^-^

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I always assumed MGs are something like Vulcan or Avenger auto cannons due to the weight, they would go through allot of ammo at the time while doing as much damage as a larger gun or missile.

As for missiles I have my thoughts but never did enough research on self propelled projectiles to make it worth posting. The mass of small projectiles would make more sense if countermeasures where written in as a constant *shrug*
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Cannonshop

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A single SRM is 10 kilos of material (50 shots/ton of ammo for an SRM-2 = 100 missiles per 1000 kg)
A single MG burst is 5 kg of material (200 shots per ton)

From there you have a MG massing half as much as an SRM-2 and getting 1/3 the range.

As for missile masses, enjoy

It gets funnier than that, because that 5 KG of machinegun ammo includes both projectile, and propellant (and casings in most cases-shell casings take up mass and space too.)

so projectile-weight wise, it's probably closer to 2 KG hitting if we're being REAL generous with the propellant weight and using ultralight alloys or composites for the casings.

and unless those are explosive penetrators, the slugs are doing that with kinetic energy at relatively low velocity (*based on the naked man range of BT machineguns-that is, how far it has to reach to kill an unarmored man standing still in a field.)

so either BT armor is very vulnerable to low velocity impacts, or SRM explosive fillers don't handle BT armor particularly well and need a lot of material to make a mark, even compared to dumbfire inert projectiles travelling around 800 FPS or so.

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... either BT armor is very vulnerable to low velocity impacts...

This is a known fact, proven every time a punch inflicts more than 0 damage.
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CJC070

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The Clans and their treatment of older people is quite simply insane. You eliminate any body of knowledge by either fighting and killing an older and more experienced Warrior, or they don't cover themselves in glory and are consigned to being solhama where their usual fate is clearing minefields with their faces.


My issue is in any other military fiction not starring the Clans NCOs are treated with respect and often the voice of reason.  Somehow more often than not the Clan commanders are above such petty concerns and sometimes (somehow) even more competent than a sergeant who has 30 years of experience. 

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My issue is in any other military fiction not starring the Clans NCOs are treated with respect and often the voice of reason.  Somehow more often than not the Clan commanders are above such petty concerns and sometimes (somehow) even more competent than a sergeant who has 30 years of experience. 

There are no NCOs in Clan militaries. Their promotions are based on martial skill, not officer training. That grizzled old sergeant in any other military would be at least a Star Colonel in Clan society. Provided they also had the political skills to survive.  Likewise, if you've been a Clan warrior for 30 years and not advanced beyond MechWarrior, then you have failed, and your opinion is irrelevant.

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There are no NCOs in Clan militaries. Their promotions are based on martial skill, not officer training. That grizzled old sergeant in any other military would be at least a Star Colonel in Clan society. Provided they also had the political skills to survive.  Likewise, if you've been a Clan warrior for 30 years and not advanced beyond MechWarrior, then you have failed, and your opinion is irrelevant.

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CVB

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This is a known fact, proven every time a punch inflicts more than 0 damage.

Although OTOH it seems to disagree with the stated reasons for the reduced damage of Rifle Cannons...
"Wars result when one side either misjudges its chances or wishes to commit suicide; and not even Masada began as a suicide attempt. In general, both warring parties expect to win. In the event, they are wrong more than half the time."
- David Drake

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!