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Author Topic: Mercenary armored unit  (Read 775 times)

Elmoth

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Mercenary armored unit
« on: 21 August 2018, 04:58:15 »
Hello all,

Dunno if this would go here or in general discussion.... It a RPG game question combined with in-universe and TT performance... and not really using ATOW since we do not fancy that particular rulebook. Lots of constraints here xp But well, since it is a RPG question let's shot it here :) feel free to move it.

Me and my group are fairly new to the universe. We like the convoluted nature of the IS (even if we consider the clans and WoB less favourably) and the fact that you can pretty much play from exploration to far west along with cyberpunk and medieval knights in (fairly large) shinny steeds on a rampage. Nice :)

Battletech is about mechs. Or not. For us it is more about warfare than mechs really, even if mechs play a dominant role here. It is like a well done (if optimistic) verison fo game of Thrones in space. being a total ripoff of a lot of Western story is nothing new and nothing to complain about. We also like the underdog role and raise from there, so we have decided to play a not-so-successful mercenary command. Oh the breaking idea! Nobody has done that before xD What seems to be weird compared to other games I have researched is that we have decided to play an armour unit.

Now, there are 3 players in the game, so we plan on having them be fairly bad mechwarriors contracted to operate remote controlled tanks. Basically they will be controlling armor with their HUDs, and since armor is much simpler than a mech, they can control several vehicles each. That removes the problem of having A LOT of NPC personnel in the game (no vehicle crew needed), and it seems that radio-control tech is a really proven one in universe (the mackie destroyed radiocontrol merkavas after all). For VTOLs we decided that radio control does not work so well, so you need to pilot the craft.

So, we are here. Now we have 2 doubts:

1. Attrition
2. Armor to be chosen.

The (supposed) advantage of this all is that materiel is way cheaper than mechs, but not so much when you are cramming 15+ vehicles in a Leopard and you start suffering attrition to your assets. We are around 5M c-bills for our starting vehicle selection. We know FASAnomics make no sense, but it is the official price of each vehicle.

Since we are looking at a down on their luck mercenary command we decided to go with the cheap Scorpion as the basic element of our force. Here is the run down

Combat units:
6 Scorpion light tanks (25tn, AC5, MG, unreliable)
3 LRM Scorpion light tanks (25tn, LRM10+LRM5, MG, unreliable)
1 Harasser LRM (25tn, LRM10)
2 Harasser minipeggy (25tn, 2 SRM4, sensor dispenser)

Support:
2 Ferret VTOL (5tn, MG, 1 Tn of cargo)
2 Armor Command Vehicles / Small Mobile HQ(same stats as the Swift Wind car; basically wheeled control centers)
2 Trucks (10tn recovery vehicles)

That amounts to 4,95M c-bills (and 4103 per BV2 values) and seems to be able to be fitted in a Leopard with some cargo space available for supplies (around 120 Tons).

Would you consider this to be bad-yet-serviceable as a combat unit? We starter with better units (warrior VTOLs, Saracen and Scimitar hoover tanks...) but downgraded them since we thought it would be too much. The scorpion seems a fairly bad vehicle, so we are happier now. We also tried to stick to A) A low number of weapon systems (LRM, SRM, AC5 & MG ammo) avoiding the more modern laser stuff and B) ICE engines. I suspect that there will be a running joke about or tanks being "Cool" since I already saw 2 of the players do that lame joke... Since we have not decided on a time period yet, all machines are at least available before 2950, except the minipeggy, that is a 3028 vehicle but quite simple as a field retrofit. We do not have the best techies in the galaxy after all, and they will grumble a lot about the quality of the Scorpions.

So, ATTRITION.
We are totally unfamiliar with how armor (or anything, really) plays in game. We are unsure if we will start with our shinny command and be basically armor-less by the third game. We know that commanding armor is a dangerous proposition in the BT tabletop, but are unfamiliar about their replacement ratios. We will have supply & refit missions to equip us again for sure, but to be sure we are not going to be too handicapped here. Any recommendations here?


Thanks a lot for any feedback :)

BTW, we plan to start with the adventure of the Dead Atlas Troupe that can be found in this same forum: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=57579.0

I am practicing my techie face scratching the back of my head and saying "but boss, I have no idea on how to repair a mech! those things have myomer, fusion engines and energy weapons, not 8-piston ICE and trusty solid ammo!"


Cheers,
Xavi
« Last Edit: 21 August 2018, 07:40:34 by Elmoth »

Ice Hellion

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #1 on: 21 August 2018, 16:48:47 »
Tanks are fragile when facing 'Mechs so you will probably have a lot of attrition.

And for the choice of tanks, as you said, it depends on the era but you have something different.
In turn they tested each Clan namesake
In trial against the ice hellion's mettle.
Each chased the ice hellion, hunting it down.
All faild to match the predator's speed and grace.
Khan Cage smiled and said. "And that is how we shall be."

The Remembrance, Passage 5, Verse 3, Lines 1-5

Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #2 on: 21 August 2018, 20:27:52 »
The other drawback of all those vehicles is that you'll need a small army of Techs and AsTechs.  When you have vehicle crews, you can double tap them as AsTechs, so it's not so bad.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #3 on: 21 August 2018, 20:36:43 »
A mercenary tank company should be something that's pretty common across the BTU.  Of course they serve the same role goblins do to heroic PCs in D&D, so players and GM both should be wary of all the same thing a party of goblins should be worried about when the opposition is Paladins and Wizards.

As a GM, I'd focus on the aspects of warfare/military life that are NOT going toe to toe with superior equipped troops.  Let most of your action be war games.  Or being called in to help the local paramilitary police crush some well armed gangs.  Aside from shooting action, involve "out of the cockpit" drama.  Necessary parts are drying up and need to be procured in any way possible, and "oh what are the odds" the parts you need are just sitting on the tarmac over at the House unit's garrison.  Surely they won't miss them if taken subtly?  So on.

Save facing off with mechs as the climax of a story arc, because tanks and crewmen ARE gonna die.

Elmoth

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2018, 03:32:28 »
Thanks for the replies guys!

Tanks are fragile when facing 'Mechs so you will probably have a lot of attrition.

And for the choice of tanks, as you said, it depends on the era but you have something different.

After some negotiation we are probably going for the pre-clan invasion classic era (2020-2040 period). At least for the first forage into the Battletech universe we do not want to be totally drowned in the tsunami of new units and factions that appear later on.

Regarding attrition.... Should it be difficult to come up with replacements? My gut feeling is that it should not, but at a premium price since in a lot of places there will not be a dealer, so you would be buying spares and vehicles from militia units (off the books, of course) and well, a vehicle is not that easy to "missfile" I guess. Scrounguing in military equipment dumping ground should be fairly common as well.

The force (2 shooty tanks, 2 recon, 4 missile boats) sounds effective as a combat force? We think so but our experience is BT is nil. 2 games of Alpha Strike (using mechs) and that is it.

The other drawback of all those vehicles is that you'll need a small army of Techs and AsTechs.  When you have vehicle crews, you can double tap them as AsTechs, so it's not so bad.

Good point. Since vehicles are remote controlled, we do not have so many people. I counted 1 techie NPC per 3 vehicles. So it is 6 techies to maintain the 18 vehicles. Would that be enough?

A mercenary tank company should be something that's pretty common across the BTU.  Of course they serve the same role goblins do to heroic PCs in D&D, so players and GM both should be wary of all the same thing a party of goblins should be worried about when the opposition is Paladins and Wizards.

As a GM, I'd focus on the aspects of warfare/military life that are NOT going toe to toe with superior equipped troops.  Let most of your action be war games.  Or being called in to help the local paramilitary police crush some well armed gangs.  Aside from shooting action, involve "out of the cockpit" drama.  Necessary parts are drying up and need to be procured in any way possible, and "oh what are the odds" the parts you need are just sitting on the tarmac over at the House unit's garrison.  Surely they won't miss them if taken subtly?  So on.

Save facing off with mechs as the climax of a story arc, because tanks and crewmen ARE gonna die.

So we are Goblins. Yay! or not xD
I certainly expect the players (I know them) to chicken out in quite a few engagements. The ferrets and recon harrassers ar elikely to be their fav units in the unit, so they can look and flee.

Tanks dying is expected. I am more concerned about recovery/supply stuff here. I hope it is not more than half the company that dies every time though...

Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #5 on: 22 August 2018, 04:42:17 »
The current repair and salvage rules require a tech team of 1 Tech and 6 AsTechs per vehicle.  The support requirements quickly turn any lance sized unit into a company...

Elmoth

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #6 on: 22 August 2018, 05:35:58 »
The current repair and salvage rules require a tech team of 1 Tech and 6 AsTechs per vehicle.  The support requirements quickly turn any lance sized unit into a company...
:(
Man, I do not like that... Do you think a smaller detachment of a pair of techie masters and say 12 assistants can maintain the vehicles? It is still a lot more poeple than we intended to have around, but hey...

Curious that this does not apply to mechs, since a lance including techie staff is around 10 people only....

Ice Hellion

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #7 on: 22 August 2018, 15:38:33 »
:(
Man, I do not like that... Do you think a smaller detachment of a pair of techie masters and say 12 assistants can maintain the vehicles? It is still a lot more poeple than we intended to have around, but hey...

Curious that this does not apply to mechs, since a lance including techie staff is around 10 people only....

I need to check my books.
However if you don't have enough techs, your efficiency will decrease.
In turn they tested each Clan namesake
In trial against the ice hellion's mettle.
Each chased the ice hellion, hunting it down.
All faild to match the predator's speed and grace.
Khan Cage smiled and said. "And that is how we shall be."

The Remembrance, Passage 5, Verse 3, Lines 1-5

Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #8 on: 22 August 2018, 19:07:45 »
The rules require a tech team per 'mech as well.  If you only have one team for a lance, they don't really get any sleep (much less weekends).

Elmoth

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #9 on: 23 August 2018, 01:51:37 »
Sarna.net milotary structure says this:
Quote
A standard lance consists of one light, one medium, and two heavy BattleMechs.

In addition to four 'Mech pilots, there are normally four to six additional support personnel, making a lance roughly ten individuals.

Many smaller mercenary commands are typically one to two lances and their support staff; exact organization can depend on what a given command has available to it.
This is what got me confused. Sounds a lot like 4 pilots, 4 technicians and a pair of XO/ logistics guys.
« Last Edit: 23 August 2018, 01:54:04 by Elmoth »

Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #10 on: 23 August 2018, 17:32:17 »
Sounds like Sarna didn't cite Strategic Ops or Campaign Ops (where the rules I mentioned are)...

Elmoth

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #11 on: 23 August 2018, 17:37:38 »
I believe you. I just do not have access to those and I was confused by the Sarna info, that being my only source.

But it seems there is a contradiction between sources there, since Sarna cites this in 2 or 3 separate pages regarding mech Lance organization with a mech company having around. 60 people. Thanks tcpbtradicts the technical staff requirement bunam extremely large margin.

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #12 on: 23 August 2018, 17:49:36 »
The rules require a tech team per 'mech as well.  If you only have one team for a lance, they don't really get any sleep (much less weekends).

Depends on which set of rules you wish to use TBH.  BUT . . . your problem IIRC, is that what should normally be the maintenance team on tanks will not be available, which is the crew and something you do not have in your tank.  It also means they should be more likely to break down honestly . . . because feeling your vehicle's movement and hearing its sounds through the CVC muffling is how you find problems before some thing goes BADLY WRONG.
Colt Ward

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Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #13 on: 23 August 2018, 18:16:24 »
The pdfs are only around $15 a pop, and well worth the investment.  When they do reprints, you get the included errata for free.  In the meantime, the errata is available for free on the CBT main page.

guardiandashi

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #14 on: 23 August 2018, 21:42:50 »
The sarna info is rather misleading.

With that said, the standard for a mech lance is 4 mechs, 3 lances to the company, 3 companies and a lance for a battalion, and 3-5 batallions plus a company to the regiment.

The specific weight for mech lances ranges from 80 tons, to 400 tons with certain ranges being more common.

The minimum personel for a lance, would likely be 4, with 8 being a lot more likely and up to 32 ish not counting dependents and such
It also depends on what reference you use, as the specifics vary widely.
With that said, typical would be, 1pilot per machine, 1 tech per machine, and 6 astechs per tech to generate full teams under the current rules.


Daryk

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #15 on: 23 August 2018, 21:52:57 »
Campaign Ops then goes on to add the admin requirements (which include medical personnel, though Strat Ops specifies a Medical Team is actually 5 personnel: 1 Doctor and 4 Medics).  The two rules combined boost a lance to about 41 personnel, though House units can rely on higher headquarters for a portion of their admin requirements, and you can double tap some combatants with additional duties (though you have to pay them more).

Colt Ward

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Re: Mercenary armored unit
« Reply #16 on: 23 August 2018, 22:51:15 »
but to circle back around . . . he is using a armored unit where the PCs remotely operate 3 tanks concurrently.
Colt Ward

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