Author Topic: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)  (Read 496 times)


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Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
« on: 18 May 2017, 15:34:11 »
Hi friends,

TL;DR: Here is a complete reworking of the Inner Sphere at War rules for the campaign I'm running.  Feel free to take a look and leave me some feedback if you have the time.

I was inspired by the Inner Sphere at War rules from the IO book.  I've run hundreds of sessions of RPGs and hosted a lot of board games for my friends and I saw this game as an opportunity to run something new and different: a hybrid strategy/role-playing/tactical game that links all three aspects of play.  When HBS announced their BT video game, I knew I also wanted to incorporate this into the game. 

However, after reading through the ISaW rules for the tenth time, I had to admit that they are unplayable.  The spirit of the rules wants you to play an epic game of thrones in space, but the rules as written make this untenable.  If you play at the largest scale (the whole Inner Sphere), then you'll never have the time or energy to actually fight other factions with big, stompy robots.  And this doesn't even cover the inconsistencies, the repetition, and the typos (some of the ISaW tables are missing the "5" row and where the hell is the Order Sheet the rules keep referencing?!).  This is an inspired set of rules with the potential for creating a fun, collaborative narrative for competitive gaming.  However, it just doesn't work with the rules printed in IO. 

My goal was to rewrite the rules to create a game that (1) can be played over the internet, (2) gives participants a Player Character and puts them together on teams, (3) incorporates the new HBS video game, and (4) can tell an interesting story. 

Here's what I've put together to meet these goals:
Only a few of my BT friends live nearby and even with the changes I've made, the game has to have a online map (I use Roll20) and spreadsheets to track Combat Commands, RP, and planets.  Simultaneous secret order submission, a mechanic I've loved since my first experience of Diplomacy, is perfect for google spreadsheets.  The old Combat Operations rules for Leaders with some TW-ish rules for Pilots let each lets each player have PC in the campaign.  Plus, having multiple players on each faction (currently at 3 or 4 for each House) means that no one has to worry about ruining the game for her friends if they take a vacation or get bogged down at work. Everyone in our group is excited for the new video game, so this will be one of the ways we resolve combat.  I quickly realized that there will be so many battles that we can't play PvP skirmish matches for them all, so the system also includes some auto-resolve or abstracted rules for battle.  When players do have time to jump into a match, the match results take the place of the random rolls in the auto-resolve rules (still waiting for more details about the game's skirmish mode so I can incorporate faction 'mech preferences, unit skill, unit class, etc. into the rules for setting up a PvP match).  As the GM, I also wanted the flexibility to add events and developments as the campaign progresses, such as, the arrival of the Dragoons or rumors of a new Star League memory core.  Overall, I want the game to allow players to rewrite the entire history of the BT universe from our start date in 3004. 

An incomplete list of what is in my rules:
  • New faction unique traits (by player request)
  • Simplified rules for orders
  • Expanded rules for diplomacy for NPC factions
  • Simplified rules for raids
  • Simplified rules for movement
  • Simplified rules for fatigue, morale and experience
  • New rules for abstracted combat
  • New rules for espionage
  • New rules for popularity, interest groups, and rebellions
  • Rules for character creation and leaders (PCs)
  • Missions and events overview

If people are interested, I can also share my spreadsheets for systems (which tracks ownership and RP) and my faction Order Sheet which tracks orders, espionage, leaders, and unit stats/damage/parameters.
I hope to eventually include a single RPG session for each of the player teams.  And if our first campaign is successful, we hope to follow it up with a 4th SW game that picks up where we left off (we will then do a short Klondike/Golden Cent./OpRevival Clan campaign).


P.S. Shout out to Alexander Knight for sharing their hexographer map of the IS with me.


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Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
« Reply #1 on: 20 May 2017, 13:21:05 »
And here's a link that just about everyone who is playing ISaW will find useful: an example of my custom order sheets for each faction.  This is the one for the Dracs.  It's got a summary page to track RP spending, an Order page for military units (to track Orders, movements, XP, etc.), an Espionage page for black ops orders, and some character sheets (part of my custom rules).  Hope someone else will find this useful.*

*Many of the values for supply and movement have been changed for my game.  You'll need to modify the values in the formulas if you want to use it for your game RAW.