Author Topic: Interstellar Operations Open Beta Test: Force Operations: Discussion  (Read 180216 times)

Precentor Martial

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The following thread is for discussion of the Interstellar Operations Open Beta Test: Force Operations PDF. You can ask questions of why rules were done in a certain way, a wish list of additions and so on.

Please note, this is NOT a thread for specific errata. Use the "Errata" thread for that work.
« Last Edit: 03 January 2013, 15:44:03 by Precentor Martial »

boilerman

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I have a question, will there be a chapter, "Maintaining a Force?"  I had assumed I would see some things in "Force Operations" that I don't after a search of the pdf, such as a clear cut definition of a maintenance cycle. 

After a skim-through I really like what I see, especially the base payment calculation for a merc contract not based on total salaries.   O0
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SCC

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On a quick skim through the rules for Mission Failure seem a bit harsh, I loss one fight and the contract is finished and I don't get anymore pay? Seems somewhat unrealistic, mercs have to lose sometimes and Out of Game I should be losing 50% of the time

boilerman

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I believe there is a problem with the Experience Rating Table on p3.
The average skill value for Regular and Veteran overlap.

"8.00 to 10.99"  Regular
"5.00 to 8.01"  Veteran

Looking at the rest of the table I think the Veteran average skill rating should be "5.00 to 7.99"
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boilerman

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And shouldn't those numbers in the Experience Ratings Table be cut in half?  I thought a Piloting 6, Gunnery 7, average 6.5, was considered green, using this chart the unit is considered Veteran.  By the Random Skills Table p273 in Total Warfare  Piloting 6, Gunnery 7 is green.
« Last Edit: 03 January 2013, 20:39:28 by boilerman »
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Scotty

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And shouldn't those numbers in the Experience Ratings Table be cut in half?  I thought a Piloting 6, Gunnery 7, average 6.5, was considered green, using this chart the unit is considered Veteran.  By the Random Skills Table p273 in Total Warfare  Piloting 6, Gunnery 7 is green.

The numbers on the table refer to total skill.  A Piloting 6, Gunnery 7 is a skill 13, and is so far to Green it's not funny.
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Scotty

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On a quick skim through the rules for Mission Failure seem a bit harsh, I loss one fight and the contract is finished and I don't get anymore pay? Seems somewhat unrealistic, mercs have to lose sometimes and Out of Game I should be losing 50% of the time

Quote from: Page 4
If the force achieves some—but not all—of the primary objectives, the mission is considered a partial success and does not affect reputation.

This section directly contradicts that.  Is this a case for some errata?

EDIT: On the same page, the example on the bottom of the first column speaks of Arnold's example company.  However, it mentions that it hasn't seen any combat.  The problem: In order to get to the 23 rating, his force experienced several contracts and combat to increase his units' skills.  Obviously, the rating cannot be 23 if the unit has not seen combat, so one of these examples is incorrect.
« Last Edit: 03 January 2013, 21:44:26 by Scotty »
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Sorry guys wrong place I shall move. Just a general comment - looks pretty much like the old mercenary rules rehashed again. Was surprised how many Independents would be your employer - in other words no matter the era shouldn't it be the Great Houses as your most likely employer? I know they get the easiest die combos but no where near as much as before.

 :-[ That explains it. Thanks Scotty, was in the middle of moving it to the errata category anyway. Now it can go to the trash bin.
« Last Edit: 03 January 2013, 22:07:43 by Takiro »

Scotty

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That's how long it takes to install, not its power generation.
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cray

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I have a question, will there be a chapter, "Maintaining a Force?"  I had assumed I would see some things in "Force Operations" that I don't after a search of the pdf, such as a clear cut definition of a maintenance cycle. 

I thought StratOps handled maintenance cycles and repairs.

On a quick skim through the rules for Mission Failure seem a bit harsh, I loss one fight and the contract is finished and I don't get anymore pay? Seems somewhat unrealistic, mercs have to lose sometimes and Out of Game I should be losing 50% of the time

I was just repeating the failure rules from FM:Mercs. There's a lot here borrowed from FM:Mercs.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

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**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

boilerman

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The numbers on the table refer to total skill.  A Piloting 6, Gunnery 7 is a skill 13, and is so far to Green it's not funny.
I don't know what pdf you're looking at, but the one I'm looking at says "Skill Average" and the writeup says "find the average of its Piloting and Gunnery."  After looking at the example it appears it does not match the instructions in the preceding section.  The example adds all of the piloting/driving and gunnery skills and then only divides by the number of units, so the number is off by a factor of 2.
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Scotty

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I don't know what pdf you're looking at, but the one I'm looking at says "Skill Average" and the writeup says "find the average of its Piloting and Gunnery."  After looking at the example it appears it does not match the instructions in the preceding section.  The example adds all of the piloting/driving and gunnery skills and then only divides by the number of units, so the number is off by a factor of 2.

Upon further reading, you are at least halfway correct.  The table does not explicitly mention that the number is the total skill.  However, being more than a little familiar with the previous FM:Mercs system, I can tell you that it's referring to total skill.  The issue is in the clarity of the text.
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boilerman

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I thought StratOps handled maintenance cycles and repairs.

StratOps does handle repairs very well but the time interval of a "Maintenance Cycle" has always bugged me.  When StratOps came out I asked about it and, going by my memory, which isn't the best anymore, was told to expect more information in Interstellar Operations.  Now, years later the developers have so far stuck by their decision to require a full 7-man squad to properly support a 'Mech so I guess they will stand by the "Time (Maintenance/Repair Cycle)" section on p166 of StratOps.  That section suggests a maintenance cycle is a single day, but I've always considered the wording rather ambiguous.
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Shin Ji

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Did you guys want to use the term rape or violation?  On the table on page 2, it mentions -10 reputation points for rape, but on page 5 the bolded heading is Violation.

Given that there needs to be a catchall category for war crimes that include rape in any case (inflicting terror on the populace, destroying important resources such as water treatment facilities and hospitals, and defacing treasured historical/religious monuments, for example), maybe we should just call it "other" and leave it to the GM.

Given that Terrorism is a valid mission, type, though, I may be overstating the extent of what constitutes a war crime in the BT universe.
« Last Edit: 04 January 2013, 07:51:25 by Shin Ji »

Mukaikubo

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On page 10,

Quote
Reputation Factor
This is based on the force’s final Reputation Rating. It is equal to
20 percent of the final Reputation Rating plus 0.5, not rounded.

On Page 6,

Quote
Final Reputation Score: Sum up all the different applicable
bonuses and penalties to get the final Reputation Score. A
related and important value used in contract negotiations is
the reputation modifier, which is equal to the Reputation Score
divided by 10, rounded down to the nearest whole number.

I'm confused. The table on page 9 seems to be working with the first trait, but the formula on page 10 seems to be intended as a standalone. For a force as in the example with 46 points, the page 6 formula would yield a rep modifier of 4, for a 1.6 multiplier; is this IN ADDITION to (0.2*46+0.5)= x9.7? Or is it (0.2*4+0.5) = 1.3? Basically, what's the total modifier to payment due to reputation; is it x1.6? x9.7? x2.08 (1.6*1.3)? I think this needs clarification, because I'm kind of baffled.

I'll be running the force I created last thread through a few contracts in the next few day, this just caught my eye immediately.


There's a reference to Dragoons Rating on p.13-14; haven't seen anything about calculating that yet. Holdover from before it was renamed Reputation?

SCC

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*Looks at the Contract Modifiers Table (3085) and how good the mods are and wonders what the 3025 mods are*

boilerman

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Would a force's DropShips and JumpShips be counted as combat units for purposes of determining a force's base pay for contracts?

Using Arnold's force for example and using very rough numbers total force value, excluding the Seeker DropShip and Invader JumpShip, is close to 35,000,000 C-bills using the EQUIPMENT AVAILABILITY & COST TABLE in the force creation chapter.  So 5% of that, is 7,000,000.  For the Invader and Seeker, they roughly cost 250,000,000 C-bills each, so 5% of that is 12,500,000 C-Bills per ship.  That kind of money is going to really skew contract values.  With numbers like that I think a potential employer would much rather hire a force without DropShips and JumpShips and reimburse 100% of that force's travel expenses.

I would at least exclude the JumpShip from the base pay.
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SCC

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Got a problem with the contract generation, you make Protocol Skill Checks, digging up the ATOW QSR you subtract Skill Level from a base TN and then roll against that, problem is that the base TN isn't given in these rules, nor are any other modifiers (barring those from the hiring hall table, which I think modify MoS instead), please add base TN and any likely modifiers (an explanation on how to make these rolls wouldn't be a miss either)

EDIT: I'd also like a definition as to what counts as "Sufficient Support personal"
« Last Edit: 05 January 2013, 04:23:37 by SCC »

Armitage72

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Would a force's DropShips and JumpShips be counted as combat units for purposes of determining a force's base pay for contracts?

I was about to post something similar.

The Reputation Score section on page 3 refers to "...the force’s combatant units (i.e., anything except JumpShips, administrators, and technical personnel)" which would suggest that only Dropships are included when calculating Base Payment, but that's still going to massively inflate payment.
I suppose that if you're going to fly something as valuable as a Dropship into a combat zone, you're gong to want extra compensation.


Unrelated:
Page 6 says "Stage 4: Negotiate terms (Payment, Length, Command Rights, Overhead Cost, Salvage Rights, Support and Transport Cost. Use the Master Contract Terms Table below.)"

Overhead is on the Supplemental Contract Terms Table, but doesn't appear anywhere else in the document.  Either Overhead was accidentally left out or it's not intended to be part of the rules any more and the references were accidentally left in from the earlier versions of the rules.

cray

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I don't know what pdf you're looking at, but the one I'm looking at says "Skill Average" and the writeup says "find the average of its Piloting and Gunnery."  After looking at the example it appears it does not match the instructions in the preceding section.  The example adds all of the piloting/driving and gunnery skills and then only divides by the number of units, so the number is off by a factor of 2.

No, the text is very misleading due to a sneaky use of "average." I meant, "average sum of skills for the force," not "average, separate values of piloting and gunnery." I was trying to save some math. I'll get that clarified to make the use of the summed values listed on the table sensible.

StratOps does handle repairs very well but the time interval of a "Maintenance Cycle" has always bugged me.  When StratOps came out I asked about it and, going by my memory, which isn't the best anymore, was told to expect more information in Interstellar Operations.  Now, years later the developers have so far stuck by their decision to require a full 7-man squad to properly support a 'Mech so I guess they will stand by the "Time (Maintenance/Repair Cycle)" section on p166 of StratOps.  That section suggests a maintenance cycle is a single day, but I've always considered the wording rather ambiguous.

Trying to re-invent the wheel on maintenance of military forces wasn't in my job description for IntOps. I'd much prefer to see StratOps errata'd. How much in the way of changes to StratOps' text do you think are required to clarify your questions about maintenance cycles?

Would a force's DropShips and JumpShips be counted as combat units for purposes of determining a force's base pay for contracts?

Using Arnold's force for example and using very rough numbers total force value, excluding the Seeker DropShip and Invader JumpShip, is close to 35,000,000 C-bills using the EQUIPMENT AVAILABILITY & COST TABLE in the force creation chapter.  So 5% of that, is 7,000,000.  For the Invader and Seeker, they roughly cost 250,000,000 C-bills each, so 5% of that is 12,500,000 C-Bills per ship.  That kind of money is going to really skew contract values.  With numbers like that I think a potential employer would much rather hire a force without DropShips and JumpShips and reimburse 100% of that force's travel expenses.

I would at least exclude the JumpShip from the base pay.

A first point is that the cost calculations were trying to address a complaint from players that being a merc was not a profitable way to make a living. Prior mercenary force rules didn't seem to provide much of a profit margin, or made them a money-losing proposition. Well, a budget based on a combination of peacetime operating cost, travel time, and a small percentage of the force's total cost means that a well-run force can handsomely reward its personnel.

The specific intent of the 5% factor in base pay was to allow a force to replace all main units every 20 missions, since losses beyond salvaging were likely over that time period. In 3025, DropShips were valid targets and most BT militaries have the rather dumb idea of sending troop transports in with their aerospace superiority forces instead of cleanly separating "control the skies" from "send in the vulnerable transports." So, you have to budget for DropShip losses, and doing so over a 20-mission period seems like a reasonable one. 

(This "percentage of force expenses" factor was also based on in-house playtesting comments prior to this beta. The first draft of these rules was based solely on operating costs and thus made some useful, expensive units like XL-powered 'Mechs - or even 'Mechs all together - less palatable than conventional vehicles. A company of LRM carriers could earn much more cash than a company of Penetrators. So, there had to be a reason to encourage the use of more expensive, energy-based units like 'Mechs.)

JumpShips (and WarShips, and space stations) are other matters. In the 2860 - 3067 period, JumpShips generally lasted centuries and were nigh-inviolate in both the Inner Sphere and Clans (who tended to grant safcon). On the other hand, they were prime targets during the early Succession Wars, Star League Civil War, Reunification War, Age of War, and (apparently) Jihad.

So, how about a temporal factor? Add in JumpShips by default, but exclude them from cost calculations in the 2860 - 3067 period?



Did you guys want to use the term rape or violation?  On the table on page 2, it mentions -10 reputation points for rape, but on page 5 the bolded heading is Violation.

...interesting. That editing occurred after I handed off the draft document. Apparently it was okay to use the term "rape" in ATOW, but now gentler sensibilities have incompletely edited this beta test document.

Since the crime is listed in ATOW as "rape," I'll try to edit this document for consistency between core books.

Quote
Given that there needs to be a catchall category for war crimes that include rape in any case (inflicting terror on the populace, destroying important resources such as water treatment facilities and hospitals, and defacing treasured historical/religious monuments, for example), maybe we should just call it "other" and leave it to the GM.

I'll try to get in such a catchall category.



Quote from: SCC
On a quick skim through the rules for Mission Failure seem a bit harsh, I loss one fight and the contract is finished and I don't get anymore pay? Seems somewhat unrealistic, mercs have to lose sometimes and Out of Game I should be losing 50% of the time

Quote from: Page 4
If the force achieves some—but not all—of the primary objectives, the mission is considered a partial success and does not affect reputation.

This section directly contradicts that.  Is this a case for some errata?

Yep. It looks like more leeway for partial failure is need under Mission Failure.

Quote
EDIT: On the same page, the example on the bottom of the first column speaks of Arnold's example company.  However, it mentions that it hasn't seen any combat.  The problem: In order to get to the 23 rating, his force experienced several contracts and combat to increase his units' skills.  Obviously, the rating cannot be 23 if the unit has not seen combat, so one of these examples is incorrect.

The rating can be 23 without combat in the campaign. After all, there are a number of non-combat (or not directly combat) ways to build up a reputation: Average Experience, Command Rating\, Transportation Rating, Financial Rating, etc.

The Average Experience rating and Command Rating serve to capture the force's combat experience prior to the beginning of a campaign, or the fact that the force's combatants were experienced in combat in other forces prior to joining the force being built.  If you want to build an elite, century-old mercenary force that's been in dozens of battles, that's cool. But in force creation, you won't be able to add those dozens of fictional battles (i.e., battles that weren't played out on a game board) to the Reputation via the Combat Record Rating.

The Combat Record Rating only serves to capture the changes to Reputation that occur during gameplay.



*Looks at the Contract Modifiers Table (3085) and how good the mods are and wonders what the 3025 mods are*

The "(3085)" should be deleted. As noted in the text preceding the table, the table is a genericized set of modifiers meant for any era.


Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

boilerman

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I suppose that if you're going to fly something as valuable as a Dropship into a combat zone, you're gong to want extra compensation.
I can persuaded that DropShips should be included in the base pay calc but not at 5% of value.  And as expensive as a JumpShip is to buy and maintain, I think they should be as well, but again not at 5%.

I think to not include JumpShips because they are not combat units is logical.  But they're very valuable, in terms of buying, operating, and providing assets to the force and the employer.  They're so valuable that I think they need to be included.  The only thing about a JumpShip that is relevant , in my opinion, is the number of docking collars so adding a set amount for each docking collar into the base pay sounds good to me. 

The reimbursement rates for transportation expenses makes a good baseline in my opinion.  Using an average of 1 jump a week and 100,000 C-Bills per collar and rounding for simplicity I think 500,000 C-Bills per month per docking collar is a good number to throw out, at least for discussion.

I also like using the transportation reimbursement rates for DropShips, perhaps with some adjustment.  Please pardon me for bring the real world into this discussion, but I think the best way to explain what I'm think is to use an analogy.  I think there is a difference between a 'Mech and a DropShip similar to the way there is a difference between a car and a house.  In war I think a 'Mech should be considered to be a durable good like a car; if you take care of it, it will last a long time, but regardless, unless you are very lucky, you will have to replace it eventually.  I think the DropShip is more like a house, which is not say say they appreciate in value over time, but to say they are a much greater, and expensive, asset that will most likely last many times longer than a 'Mech will.  Although DropShips are still a potential target in a combat zone they don't seem to be at as much risk as a 'Mech, tank or fighter.  I think you will have more time to get your investment back so I think using the 0.5% rate from the transportation reimbursement section is more appropriate.  I hope that analogy makes sense.

Overall, I think the transportation reimbursement rates make a good baseline for handling DropShips and JumpShips that are force property that won't skew the contract numbers much if at all.


Note Mike, I posted this before I saw your post.
« Last Edit: 05 January 2013, 12:11:05 by boilerman »
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boilerman

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Trying to re-invent the wheel on maintenance of military forces wasn't in my job description for IntOps. I'd much prefer to see StratOps errata'd. How much in the way of changes to StratOps' text do you think are required to clarify your questions about maintenance cycles?
Yes, very good point.   An errata would be a better way to clarify what a "Maintenance Cycle" is. 

This is probably going to be very frustrating to read given my past complaining about it but I can accept a single day being a "Maintenance Cycle" if you do 2 things.

From the force creation beta ,p10:
Quote
Technical support personnel teams also address logistics
support for their associated combat forces. No personnel are
better for hauling tons of ammunition across a battlefield in
thinly armored support vehicles than junior astechs, a fact that all
MechWarriors and senior techs agree on.

Keep that line in the force creation chapter and give us some way to get vehicles for the tech squads and I can go along with the 7-man tech squad and 1-day maintenance cycle.  I interpret that line to mean that most of the support I need for the 'Mech, not just maintenance, can be accomplished with the 7-man squad: maintain it, haul the spare parts, replacement armor and ammo, even do the MechWarrior's laundry if I want to push things.  That covers a broad range of support requirements I've written about that are not covered by the canon.
When you replied to Arm72's question about J-27 crews in the force creation thread by suggesting that meant double duty for the astechs hauling stuff I didn't like it because of that paragraph.   Consider logistics close to the combat unit an integral part of the astech job description, and not double duty, and I can happily go along with StratOps as is.
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boilerman

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A first point is that the cost calculations were trying to address a complaint from players that being a merc was not a profitable way to make a living. Prior mercenary force rules didn't seem to provide much of a profit margin, or made them a money-losing proposition. Well, a budget based on a combination of peacetime operating cost, travel time, and a small percentage of the force's total cost means that a well-run force can handsomely reward its personnel.
I agree totally with the new cost calculation thought process and the 5% value for the all combat elements, except DropShips and JumpShips.
The specific intent of the 5% factor in base pay was to allow a force to replace all main units every 20 missions, since losses beyond salvaging were likely over that time period.
Did you mean months, not missions there?  For 'Mechs, tanks, etc. I think 20 months is a reasonable time frame to think you will have to replace  or near totally rebuild them.

JumpShips (and WarShips, and space stations) are other matters. In the 2860 - 3067 period, JumpShips generally lasted centuries and were nigh-inviolate in both the Inner Sphere and Clans (who tended to grant safcon). On the other hand, they were prime targets during the early Succession Wars, Star League Civil War, Reunification War, Age of War, and (apparently) Jihad.

So, how about a temporal factor? Add in JumpShips by default, but exclude them from cost calculations in the 2860 - 3067 period?
I like using the transportation reimbursement rates as I suggested above, but after thinking about it 0.5% for DropShips might be too little, but I think 5% is too much.  Maybe 1 or 2% of value will work?
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Armitage72

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Yes, very good point.   An errata would be a better way to clarify what a "Maintenance Cycle" is. 

What I was hoping for was a more abstract version of maintenance intended for long time periods.  Using the existing rules, the example unit is going to be making 480 Maintenance rolls every month (assuming a 1 day Maintenance Cycle), and they're a small unit.

Mukaikubo

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So!

I took the mercenary 'company' / two Level IIs that I made with the Force Creation rules, detailed over here: http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,24888.msg560219.html#msg560219 and decided to spin them through these rules to see how they fare. I've got, uh, a lot of questions/issues. Issues and questions I will put in ITALICS.

First Step: Calculating Reputation

Experience Rating: Easy enough. I bought 4 veteran and 8 regular mechwarriors. Average skill is 8.3 or so, so Regular. 10 points

Command Rating: The old PC I used in the force creation rules has Leadership 3, Tactics 4, Strategy 0, Negotiation 4; he also has Connections 2, Wealth 1, and Bad Reputation 2.  Throw those all in a hat and I see 12 points.
Question: "Wealth or CHA 7+" means any level of wealth at all or a Charisma of 7+, right? Not wealth of 7+ or CHA of 7+?
Question: Does each level of a positive or negative trait count for a point, or does Connections 5 count equally to Connections 1?


Combat Record: They new. 0 points

Transport Rating: I have a single Union for 12 mechs and 107 non-dropship crew. Here's where things get a bit iffy. So, I have 12 mechs, and a Union has 12 mech bays and 2 vacant ASF bays.
Question: Do I have exactly enough carrying capacity (0 points) or 17% surplus capacity since I'm filling 12 of 14 slots for combat machines?
I'll say that trying to count those unused ASF bays is cheating, and award myself 0 points.
Now, the personnel issue. I have 12 mechwarriors, 12 techs, 72 astechs, and 11 Admin Personnel. The Union has 12 mech bays, 2 ASF bays that I suppose could be repurposed for crew quarters (especially since I'm not counting them as surplus combatant carrying capacity!) and... well, I can't actually find how many passenger bays the Union has, but I think it's "none". So... bay personnel I'm having a hard time finding defined. Is it just "Mechwarrior + Tech"? If so, the astechs completely ruin everything, which goes back to the arguments last thread about having to buy astechs starting out instead of just hiring them as unskilled labor wherever you go. If not, then are those 2 ASF bays enough to house 11 admin personnel? Heck, I don't know! I think based on the spirit of the rules each Mech Bay and ASF Bay counts for two bay personnel, in which case with or without the requirement to drag astechs along I don't make the requirement for support personnel. -3 points.
Question: PLEASE CLARIFY THIS. I am completely confused about personnel transportation, and nothing I'm finding in Stratops or Techmanual is helping me.

Support Rating: I made this with the Force Creation rules, which I think means I have exactly as many support personnel as I need since that's how those rules work. 0 points
Question: Is this right? Is a fresh force made with IntOps rules ever going to have anything but a 'zero' here?

Financial Rating: I made sure to begin with a year's worth of noncombat expenses, for which I get zero points. 0 points

Crimes: None! 0 points

Total Starting Reputation: 19 points (Reputation Modifier of +1)
Comment: This seems depressingly small compared to the examples, but I don't really see how I could have gotten much higher with an IntOps-made force.


Okay! So, a few thickets there, but let's move on to offer creation.

First Immediate Reaction: Protocol Skill Rolls for everything? May I ask what the reasoning was? This just opens up the thicket, because aside from the issues already noted now we're into the gory details of specialization. I'm assuming the base TN is 9 per ATOW, but... does my commander who has Protocol(Comstar)-4 and Protocol(Lyran)-1 have to roll against a 4 everywhere? 9 everywhere but hiring halls in Lyran space or Earth, where I can roll against an 8 or a 5 respectively?

I'm going to assume my highest Protocol skill rules everywhere, which is probably a poor idea but I don't want to redo every roll. Let's also say I'm at Outreach. So! I'm rolling against a TN of 5 (9-4(Protocol), and I get a +3 from being at Outreach and +1 from my reputation mod, so I'm effectively rolling against a TN of 1.
Question: Do I apply those bonuses after I roll and hit the TN, or before? If I manage to roll snake eyes, do I have a +1 result and get 1 offer or +4 (failure +4) and get 2 offers?
Happily that doesn't come up, as I roll a 9; +8 result either way, for 3 contract offers.
Comment: It seems extremely difficult to not get any contract offers.

For employer rolls, still using my highest protocol skill, I'm again rolling against a TN of 5 with a +3 to the roll, 2 from being a great all and 1 from rep rating. Rolls are 4, 9, 10; they become 7, 12, and 13, which beat the TN by 2, 7, and 8 respectively. Independent, Capellans, Kuritas. Second roll.... question: Do the same modifiers apply to this second roll as to the first? gets a 3 which after the +3 beats the TN by 1, so that's for Astrokaszy.

Missions! Question: Does Reputation Modifier apply here? It's not explicitly called out. Again a TN of 5, with a +3 modifier since I'm assuming reputation still matters what mission you're offered. Rolls are (for Astrokaszy, Capellans, Kuritans respectively) 12, 8, and 10 so they beat the TN by 10, 6, and 8. This yields Astrokaszy Garrison Duty, Capellan Objective Raid, Kuritan Extraction Raid. For the sake of digging deeper into contracts, I'll accept the Capellan Confederation's Objective Raid.


Contract Details

Capellan Confederation, circa 3057; I'll call them a "Major Power" (since Sun Tzu hasn't quite gotten them back to the mountaintop yet), "Stingy", and "Controlling". My total equipment value is 110,870,000 C-bills, and my peacetime expenses are 692,235 C-bills per month; this works out to a base payment of 6,063,000 or so C-bills per month.
Comment: This seems enormous, since it's before ANY modifiers...

Mission Length is 3 months. Without the rest of the book, there's no way to determine a length, so I just rolled 2d6 and got 9 jumps as the distance to target. This yields a 3 month transportation time, for a total mission length of 6 months.
Comment: The example in the book is a 1 month raid. I don't see any way that's possible under Rules As Written!

Operational Tempo for an Objective Raid is 1.6.
Comment: There needs to be some guidance on what "High Risk" means for Op. Tempo. Against the Clans? Who else? No hard and fast rules, but just guides for GMs.

Employer Multiplier: Given how I characterized them, 1.0

Reputation Factor: Oh boy. IF I TRUST THE TABLE, this is a -0.5, and I'm presuming I would add that to my final rating. IF I TRUST THE TEXT, this is (0.2*1+0.5) = 0.7, and I presume I would multiply that to my final rating. The way the formula looks, I'm ASSUMING that the text formula is proper, and further assuming that it's (0.2*1+0.5) and not (0.2*19+0.5). So, the reputation factor I'll say is 0.7.
Comment: This badly needs clarification.

Transportation Payment: Repeat the "Oh Boy." I have a Union, but as we saw earlier that isn't enough. I hire an Invader jumpship and the smallest personnel transport I can, the K-1 Drop Shuttle, for my transport needs. 6 months total mission duration, and 9 jumps there. The dropship costs 3% of its total price, which comes out to ~278,000 C-bills. The Jumpship, I'm using all three collars since I doubt the Capellans would let me have civvie merchant jumpships on a raid. 9 jumps, 3 collars, 2.7 million C-bills. I also want the jumpship to stick around so I can be sure of getting out before waves of irate Fedcom reinforcements... Comment: No way to determine opposition- is that in the Campaigns section of the book? so I'm also paying for 12 weeks of idleness for 3 docking collars which comes to 3.6 million. Total transportation payment: 6.58 million C-bills

Comment: I can't do support yet! Things are a little out of order..

Command Modifier: Objective raid is -1, employer is -2, reputation -1, net mod is -4; roll of 10 becomes 6 and I get House Command.
Overhead Compensation: Not mentioned anywhere in the master contract table or in the text! Is this a holdover that didn't get deleted?
Salvage Rights: Net mod is -4, a roll of 7 becomes 3 which means Exchange; assuming I apply the same rolls, a 11 becomes a 7 for the amount. 40% Exchange Rights on Salvage
Support Rights: Net mod is -1, roll of 8 becomes 7; 100% Straight Support
Transport Terms: Net mod is 0, bad roll of 5 means the Capellans will reimburse 35% of transport (2.3 million C-bills or so!)

Now, time to calculate the complete payment with this Giant Wall of Formula.

Final Payment = (602607 [base] * 3 [mission duration] * 1.6 [op tempo] * 1.0 [employer] * 0.7 [reputation]) + (602607 [base] * 3 [transport] * 1.0 [employer] * 0.7 [reputation]) + (692235 [peacetime expenses] * 3 [mission duration, NOT including transport) + (6577838 [transport cost] * 0.35 [transportation terms]) == 37,480,707 C-bills.

When you subtract out the full transport payment and peacetime expenses, you're left with a net profit of 26,750,000 C-bills for 3 months of combat. That would cover the loss of 25% of the force, neglecting any salvage. This seems... I dunno, a BIT high? Maybe in the right ballpark, though? But absolutely if you included the Union Dropship in the equipment cost this would blow up and I strongly recommend not doing so!!! If that happened, the net profit of 26.75 million cbills above would balloon to an astonishing 70 million C-bills- meaning that if I lost half my force and got zero salvage at all, I would still make more than ten million C-bills in pure profit after replacing the mechs!


Hopefully that will help give some more info to the discussions; I'd love to hear responses to the questions and comments I sprinkled through this writeup, or I can try to break them out if that helps.


Armitage72

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First Immediate Reaction: Protocol Skill Rolls for everything? May I ask what the reasoning was? This just opens up the thicket, because aside from the issues already noted now we're into the gory details of specialization. I'm assuming the base TN is 9 per ATOW, but... does my commander who has Protocol(Comstar)-4 and Protocol(Lyran)-1 have to roll against a 4 everywhere? 9 everywhere but hiring halls in Lyran space or Earth, where I can roll against an 8 or a 5 respectively?

I asked this question in response to the mercenary contract rules in A Time of War Companion.

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,23993.0.html

Q: For the Protocol Skill rolls used to determine number of mercenary contracts, Employer, and Mission Type, is it Protocol (Mercenary) or Protocol (Where the Hiring Hall is located)?

e.g. if working on Galatea, would it be Protocol (Mercenary) or Protocol (Lyran Commonwealth/Federated Commonwealth/Lyran Alliance/etc.)?  I assume the former, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

A: The former. The latter might be used if the employer has overlap, IE, a Lyran hiring you, Protocol/Lyran may be useful. But I'd resolve that at a penalty since it's not exactly on the mark, and it means you're playing by your employer's "rules", rather than those of the merc business.

boilerman

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Using an average of 1 jump a week and 100,000 C-Bills per collar and rounding for simplicity I think 500,000 C-Bills per month per docking collar is a good number to throw out, at least for discussion.
After doing some number crunching I think 500,000 C-Bills per collar per month might be a bit low.  If all of that money goes to pay an Invader it would take about 26 years to pay off the note at 0% interest.  A Star Lord would take about 20 years.  BTW those are using the old cost formula, I understand things got a bit more expensive in StratOps.
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Vanadius

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  For 'Mechs, tanks, etc. I think 20 months is a reasonable time frame to think you will have to replace  or near totally rebuild them.

On average, every mech will have to be rebuilt/replaced every 20 months?


Disregarding the nightmare logistics of production that would require, that flies in the face of the whole "Mechs passed through families for centuries" thing.


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but a tank or fighter is NOT considered to have depreciated to 0 after twenty months of deployment.

boilerman

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On average, every mech will have to be rebuilt/replaced every 20 months?


Disregarding the nightmare logistics of production that would require, that flies in the face of the whole "Mechs passed through families for centuries" thing.


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but a tank or fighter is NOT considered to have depreciated to 0 after twenty months of deployment.
If they don't enter combat for those 20 months they will be in great shape, but they're built war.
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Armitage72

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Assuming that "Stage Two: Determine Employer" is supposed to work the same way that "Stage Three: Determine the Mission" stage does, there seems to be some text missing from Stage Two.

"Mercenaries (and pirates seeking mercenary work) make 1 Protocol Skill Check per offer, and apply the modifiers applicable to the Protocol Skill, and also those applicable to both the Hiring Hall world (if any), as found on the Contract Modifiers Table, plus the force’s reputation modifier. A result of “Independent” requires a second roll on the Independent Employer column."

I'm guessing that there should be text similar to what's in Stage Three before the last sentence.

"Then roll 2D6 again, and add the MOS of the Protocol Skill Roll to the result to determine the...[employer]".

 

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