Author Topic: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?  (Read 1210 times)

Black_Knyght

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1515
  • Nisi mors certum est in bello
Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« on: 05 June 2016, 16:32:38 »
After an 18 year absence I returned to Battletech summer of last year. Since my return I've been involved in a long Battletech campaign, and I have a mercenary unit that's evolved greatly over the almost a year I've been playing it.

I decided I want to "flesh it out" a bit, like FASA did back in the day - I.E: Give everything names/ranks/etc. As it stands now, I have two Merchant-class Jumpships as my prime movers, and two Fortress-class dropships and a Condor-class dropship for my ground forces.

But I have a question - What "Rank/Title" should the commander of each respective jumpship/dropship have? Is everyone a Captain, commander of his/her own little vessel, or is there a better ranking tier to reflect Jumpships over Dropships?

PurpleDragon

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1652
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #1 on: 05 June 2016, 17:24:40 »
In my games, house rules in use, to avoid confusion, I make the dropship commander a Ship's Captain.  A jumpship commander then becomes a Flag Captain.  Then I go to Vice Admiral, Rear Admiral, Admiral.     I hope this helps, though it is not in any way canon. 

I read a novel somewhere wherein the mercenary ground based captain was given the honorary rank of major by the ship's captain to avoid confusion as to who worked for whom.  Though I have no idea which novel/story it was I read. 
give a man a fire, keep him warm for a night. 
Set him on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life!

The secret to winning the land/air battle is that you must always remain rigidly flexible.

I like tabletop more anyway, computer games are for nerds!  -  Knallogfall

Tai Dai Cultist

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6269
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #2 on: 05 June 2016, 20:13:09 »
In my games, house rules in use, to avoid confusion, I make the dropship commander a Ship's Captain.  A jumpship commander then becomes a Flag Captain.  Then I go to Vice Admiral, Rear Admiral, Admiral.     I hope this helps, though it is not in any way canon. 

I read a novel somewhere wherein the mercenary ground based captain was given the honorary rank of major by the ship's captain to avoid confusion as to who worked for whom.  Though I have no idea which novel/story it was I read.

It's also a common real-life military thing.  It won't do to call an Army Captain a "Captain" at sea.

Giovanni Blasini

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3769
  • And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #3 on: 05 June 2016, 20:47:57 »
Captain may be a naval rank, but it's also a title.  In the US Navy, there are many surface combatants commanded by officers with the rank of Commander, but they are still captains of their vessels.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Black_Knyght

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1515
  • Nisi mors certum est in bello
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #4 on: 05 June 2016, 22:33:18 »
I considered the possibility of calling the Jumpship "captains" by the Captain title. and the Dropships "captains" Commander, with each being "Captain" of their own vessel.

Daryk

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5004
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #5 on: 06 June 2016, 10:28:46 »
That's really the best way to go.  In addition to what Gio mentioned, there are also smaller ships commanded by Lieutenant Commanders, and even Lieutenants.  Generally, lower ranking commanding officers are only addressed as "Captain" while aboard their vessels.

Frabby

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2942
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #6 on: 06 June 2016, 12:28:14 »
In the novel Far Country the owner and captain of the free trader JumpShip Telendine goes by the rank/position "Master and Commander".
Author of the BattleCorps stories Feather vs. Mountain, Rise and Shine, Proprietary, Trial of Faith & scenario Twins
Sarna.net BattleTechWiki Admin

PurpleDragon

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1652
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #7 on: 06 June 2016, 16:08:45 »
What of the term "Skipper"?  Is that reserved for certain types of ships/boats or is that just something Hollywood came up with? 
give a man a fire, keep him warm for a night. 
Set him on fire, keep him warm for the rest of his life!

The secret to winning the land/air battle is that you must always remain rigidly flexible.

I like tabletop more anyway, computer games are for nerds!  -  Knallogfall

Decoy

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2071
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #8 on: 06 June 2016, 16:21:09 »
The term "Skipper" originated from ship captains who took their ship and left all of the payments on said ship a LONG LONG ways away. IIRC.

Daryk

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5004
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #9 on: 06 June 2016, 21:03:04 »
"Skipper" is informal, and some commanding officer's prefer it, but not all.  "Captain" is more formal, and no one really objects to being called that aboard their own vessel.

Archangel

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 5616
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #10 on: 11 June 2016, 23:21:13 »
Well the AFFS uses light commodore to denote those who command DropShips and Assault Ships, while commodores command DropShip squadrons or JumpShips.  Meanwhile, the FWLN Commanders acting as executive officers on naval vessels but also can command DropShips and JumpShips until they gain the experience/time in grade needed for promotion to captain.

In your case you shouldn't need more than 3 command ranks (ranks can be easily changed according to personal taste or local preferences):
Admiral - Senior Captain who has command authority over the entire fleet
Captain - Senior* ship commanders
Commander - Junior* ship commanders
*The difference between captains and commanders can either be JumpShip vs DropShip or simply time in grade (after x number of years commanders are automatically promoted to captains).  After all a DropShip commander may prefer to remain with the DropShip that he has commanded for x number of years instead of taking command of a JumpShip whose commanding officer has retired/past away.  He might instead recommend his executive officer for the position who would then take the position with the rank of commander.
Detect evil first, smite second and ask questions later.

Intermittent_Coherence

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 541
Re: Mercenary Jumpship/Dropship "captain" ranks/titles?
« Reply #11 on: 05 July 2016, 10:17:27 »
They're civilians. They all get to be captains without having to compare size of commands. It's only in the military where "Captains" can be expected to have a minimum size of ship for his command. If there are several travelling together(as in a jumpship with attached dropships), they can elect a senior one from among themselves.

I imagine such would usually default to one of the jumpship captains unless there's a gross lack of experience. The "senior captain" could take any of several titles, "commodore, "admiral", "fleet captain", etc.