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Author Topic: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.  (Read 2904 times)

abou

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Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« on: 15 January 2012, 15:35:15 »
This is something that will be roughly a few months in planning before it happens.  It's mostly a finally-finished-with-school-game-I-always-wanted-to-play sort of thing.  Basically I would get a few friends together as a merc company while I play as the OpFor/GM.

It looks like I will need Total Warfare and Tactical Operations to pull this off.  I intend to mostly ignore the space-side of things for the sake of simplicity.  Does anyone have any advice for this kind of campaign?  Amounts of cash?  Ways in which I should push the players without totally demolishing them?  Or better yet, ways to punish the players for doing something stupid?  For example, they rip out all their machine guns for extra heat sinks or armor, which is then followed with me deploying loads of infantry in tight confines.

I intend to use a lot of support units with smaller numbers of 'mechs compared to what I imagine will be their all 'mech force.

There will be multiple contracts, multiple campaigns, etc.  A few of my ideas involve Periphery pirates, Davion nobility/mechwarrior cabal run amok, FWL internal conflics, and getting involved in the 4th SW war.  Eventually, I want to give them access to some newer tech -- either by finding an SL cache or getting their reputation high enough that they get prototypes in the War of 3039.

Lysenko

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #1 on: 15 January 2012, 16:41:54 »
I have to vote for FWL League. There's a lot more potential for doing "stuff" freely. That is, the lens of the novels wasn't on the FWL, so you have more freedom of action.

snewsom2997

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #2 on: 15 January 2012, 19:47:13 »
The FWL, or the Periphery for locale, unless you want to play something historical and published GD Legion, and the old Scenario Books.
The original Mercenaries Handbook, and Mercenaries Handbook 3055 are very good resources. The have tables to roll for starting Cash, Orig for Pre Clan Invasion, 3055 for Post, the starting Cash will be different. Because of you period the lists of mechs will be okay and the prices too, they also have the rules for contracts, pay, salaries, support, technical, and just about everything else, including aquiring Jumpships and Dropships.


mensa12345

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #3 on: 15 January 2012, 21:24:58 »
I'd pass on the FWL if you're going to try to link it to a 4th SSW campaign.  They mostly sit out.   I'd also think twice about using Laio, because they get squished.  I'd stick to Fed Suns, or maybe Lyran.  It's about the only war they actually get to have fun in.
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Kobold

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #4 on: 16 January 2012, 00:51:57 »
I'd stick to the Periphery.  You can still have the players work for a major power though.  While house units are all busy fighting each other, the lords on the edges of the sphere need to rely on upstart mercenaries to protect them from pirates and rim aggression.

Isanova

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #5 on: 16 January 2012, 01:01:11 »
Remember:

Lyran contracts are strictly business. Higher standing, but more from a numbers standpoint than a military/tactical POV. They might pay well, but they might leave you at the harsh end of a boomstick if problems arise. Good supply access though.

Kuritan contracts will seem generous at times, but very short on supplies... and they charge you a LOT for access to their logistics when you need them.

FWL are likely to be more political and nuanced, can be interesting but can be problematic... one state preying on the other, etc.

Capellans treat their mercs well enough, but you're likely to find yourself with little other than militia as backup (and I don't just mean the 4th SS War)

Davions are bland, probably require higher standing, and a wide range of generic fighting. Expect fair, but not spectacular actions.

Periphery is desperation, the low end and probably only choice when you're disreputable, but there's opportunity for redemption... low-to-decent pay though weak access to supplies (cept for the TC). Lot more freedom for full salvage rights, and you can go looking for lostech caches (if you can swing your own jumpship somehow)


============

There are a few merc books that have different systems in them, but you may want to get them just for the perspective on hiring practices and the like.

Might also want to peruse the old house books for ideas in setting up contracts to offer them.

Also consider your better pilots playing on Solaris in-between contracts (only the ones who own their mechs) as a way to generate the smaller pick-up games, etc. When you only get 2-3 players show up, or don't have time for a larger battle. Quick way to pick up some extra salvage, minor money and fame
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Kovax

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #6 on: 16 January 2012, 09:59:58 »
If you're planning on having everyone start out with a personal 'Mech, and a small bit of spare cash to tide them over until the first decent contract, then that makes for a small and easily run 'Mech lance or so, with the focus on the individuals and the combats.  If you're planning on a full-bore Merc Company or Battalion, then the logistics and support side generally becomes the main focus of the game, whether you want it to or not.

Ask yourself the following:
Are all of the players capable of handling combined Arms forces?
Can they deal with the micromanagement of repairs and supply storage and transport?
Are they mainly in it for the battles, or for character-based RP?

Martius

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #7 on: 16 January 2012, 10:09:43 »
Ask yourself the following:
Are all of the players capable of handling combined Arms forces?
Can they deal with the micromanagement of repairs and supply storage and transport?
Are they mainly in it for the battles, or for character-based RP?

Agreed.

One way to work around this is to make them part of an even bigger merc formation. They have their own 'Mechs and depending on their mission they get some support as well.

If they do well, they get a bonus (upgrades or better 'Mechs ect) and fame if they do less than well they will get less support and less exciting Missions.

Zombyra

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #8 on: 16 January 2012, 15:02:20 »
Agreed.

One way to work around this is to make them part of an even bigger merc formation. They have their own 'Mechs and depending on their mission they get some support as well.

If they do well, they get a bonus (upgrades or better 'Mechs ect) and fame if they do less than well they will get less support and less exciting Missions.

+1 except for the "less exciting" part

I think the type of missions you send them on have to accommodate the kind of people you're playing with.  Ultimately the game is a cooperative effort, and it's part of your job as game-master to tailor the game.

Kobold

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #9 on: 16 January 2012, 15:20:50 »
Also "exciting" missions aren't the same as "safe" or "profitable" missions.  If a house lord just needs cannon fodder to slow down an overwhelming enemy force while he evacuates his personal units, that could be a very EXCITING mission...  but the lord isn't expecting the players to surive and demand the rest of their payment.

The Hawk

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #10 on: 17 January 2012, 10:41:32 »
When setting up such campaigns (which are my bread and butter) I always use the MW3rd RPG rules for the main characters and the rules in FM: Mercs Revised to develop the unit.  The two mesh nicely, but are both somewhat outdated now (A Time of War having superseded MW3rd as the RPG ruleset, and I seem to recall the suggestion that Interstellar Ops would update the merc rules.)

Anyway, my experience suggests that you can get some pretty varied outcomes in merc unit development from the FM:MR rules, but I would suggest keeping a steady GM's hand on the tiller to prevent things from either going too terribly, or being too overpowered.

Kobold

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #11 on: 17 January 2012, 12:35:35 »
Solution for overpowered mercs:

1)  Give them more power.

2)  Give them EVEN MOAR POWAH.

3)  Give them ComGuards.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #12 on: 18 January 2012, 08:31:03 »
I think a good first contract to get their feet wet would be hunting pirates along a successor state´s Periphery border.
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Dave Talley

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #13 on: 18 January 2012, 10:02:21 »
Agreed.

One way to work around this is to make them part of an even bigger merc formation. They have their own 'Mechs and depending on their mission they get some support as well.

If they do well, they get a bonus (upgrades or better 'Mechs ect) and fame if they do less than well they will get less support and less exciting Missions.


or as part of campaign they can be subcontracted to a larger unit,
for the pirate campaign you could have a battalion sized unit as main guys and the characters and 2-3 other units are scouting locations looking for the pirates for the main group to smack

thru dealing with the main group you can roleplay out things that will help them when they go solo later
"always have a good lawyer kid, he is as important as your head techie"

and you can scare the crap out of them by telling them that x, y and z units that were with them have been wiped out apparently,

run for the hills or go straight after the bad guys?
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Wolverine

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #14 on: 18 January 2012, 10:44:46 »
sounds alot like my last big player campaign from about 2000-2005 with 5 to 8 players, started as a lance, finished as a regiment, I used the PC games as inspiration as well as the books for scenario ideas alot.  We started tracking everything in a big spreadsheet (TO&E), but after a company we just tracked rare stuff only.   Eventually we split off a alt storyline for the 4th succession war where Wolf's Dragoons doesn't become the idiot punching bag for the DC like canon (Kerensky goes rogue and pulls out the SL goodies and a small warship or 2, Samsonov takes off after taking a beating to be chased by Tetsuhara, everyone realizes the DC Takashi is losing it, etc).
Loads of fun,  the players got a kick outta my epilogue writeups and storyline arcs.
Great era to play in.
J
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abou

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #15 on: 19 January 2012, 16:24:27 »
Thanks for the input.  Looking through the newer core rulebooks, there doesn't seem to be much on merc finances.  So it looks like I'll be sourcing older books.

As a broad outline of what I'm looking for, it would be a series of smaller contracts running for, say, 6 month periods.  The mercs would start out as roughly a lance and grow over time.  This would mean fighting against smaller forces or lots of conventional forces or poorly equipped larger forces.  Essentially, I want to reward smart play and punish stupid play as a key focus rather than just playing.

Being able to bounce around the edge of the Inner Sphere in backwoods areas where even a small military force would be valuable is, I think, a good way to start.  As the merc force builds, they would move more towards where the action is.  Within five or six years, maybe a lucrative contract with the Capellan Confederation would present itself for a year or so and then move on.

So, if anyone has any ideas on good books for merc stuff, I'd appreciate it.  I'm sure I can track anything down that I need.

Hellraiser

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Re: Running an old school mercenary campaign circa 3023.
« Reply #16 on: 19 January 2012, 16:39:12 »
In order to keep play at a manageable level I'm a fan of keeping them to a Lance of mechs.

IF you choose to expand a little its a lot easier to do so by tossing in a few light vees or some infantry.

For instance. 

A Leopard Dropship that doesn't use the ASF bays is perfect for 4 Mechs, 4 Light Tanks, & 4 Platoons of Infantry.

This gives you a few more toys to play with yet keeps things very managable.

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