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Author Topic: AU development thread  (Read 604 times)

monbvol

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AU development thread
« on: 20 January 2020, 17:33:52 »
While working on my fanfic I have been thinking about creating a thread down around these parts where I could go into some of the details that I have for setting that are just il suited for working into fanfics, well okay more like I'm ill suited to work into my fanfics.

Because my Collision Course AU builds off my What if AU I am debating if I should just have them in the same thread or not.

Either way I am going to get started with What if.

It largely is predicated off the ideas of(I'll expand on these as I think about them or get asked questions):

-Embrace super science a bit more.  AIs, genetically engineered super soldiers, and to make it easier to latch on to make it a mystery to even the people in universe how certain technologies actually work.

-I'm still working out exactly how to depict it properly and probably haven't properly conveyed it but one of my end goals is to  make it so ASFs aren't so dangerous to Warships because of their massed lasers, missiles, or autocannons but because of the things that can be strapped to their wings.

-Economy and military sizes are a bit more reasonable for the population number I have in the back of my head(which I never intend to share the population numbers unless I absolutely have to).

-The mech isn't as much of the focus unit, both to reflect the power it has lost against other unit types in the evolution of the rules and a nod to the greater importance space combat plays in conflict, but still has a valued place as part of a combined arms ideology.  I think I've at least got a basis for this reasonably established though.

-One of my self constraints is to keep to a much more limited timeline because one of my complaints about Battletech is you could easily take out a few hundred years, adjust the dates of certain events accordingly, and none of the setting would actually be changed beyond that.

-I also pay no attention to the cost calculations in the rule books as part of my economic overhaul.

-To keep certain things in check the military minds in this setting do realize Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't exist in the same form as it does for us in the real world of the early 21st century.  What this means in more practical terms is they know if they over invest military resources to either attack or defense the WMDs will come out to play but even in these cases there is a very real possibility that a chain reaction will be unleashed that even if it doesn't eliminate their nation it is mostly a matter of semantics by that point so they better be damned certain they need to let the nuclear genie out of his bottle.

I'll go ahead and go into more faction specific details by giving each faction it's own post and see what I can dig up of all the various stuff I've worked up for this setting.
« Last Edit: 20 January 2020, 18:35:40 by monbvol »

MechWarriorFox

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Re: Monbvol's What if(working title) AU development thread
« Reply #1 on: 20 January 2020, 17:58:22 »
Actually I've been playing with the idea for a while now.

Basically, some Camerons decided that pragmatism is the virtue of the day and started on a series of projects pushing the very limits of Battletech research to the limit. One such project combines genetic and cybernetic research to create a 'perfect First Lord'. This leads to various breakthroughs being discovered and it's first utilization in the birth of Simon Cameron. This also leads to some quirks that somehow got past testing. Nothing much, just some harmless oddities here and there.

Pragmatically, a lesser version of this is spread across the Inner Sphere as part of the 'spread technology' mandate. ;)

As more and more of these projects come to fruition, more and more things change.

For example, Simon was able to push his 'periphery reconciliation' policy (which included an expanded exploration and colonization policy) and didn't die by hacked kamikaze miner drone, thus not having Richard not taking the throne at such a young age...

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #2 on: 20 January 2020, 18:53:46 »
Well since someone else wants to join in on the fun with their own AU and wants help developing it, thread title change ahoy!

A more cyberpunk take on things sounds like to me MechWarriorFox.  A common theme and by no means a bad one.  Heck I went pretty cyberpunk myself for one of my factions in my own AU.

Some ideas to bounce off you to help you take it a bit further.

The House Lords in their quest for power start developing their own takes on these technologies, both to utilize and counter.  Some counter by favoring to target the machine, others the man.

At the extreme ends certain select people become the combat unit.  Both physically and metaphysically.

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #3 on: 21 January 2020, 20:56:15 »
Well since someone else wants to join in on the fun with their own AU and wants help developing it, thread title change ahoy!

A more cyberpunk take on things sounds like to me MechWarriorFox.  A common theme and by no means a bad one.  Heck I went pretty cyberpunk myself for one of my factions in my own AU.

Some ideas to bounce off you to help you take it a bit further.

The House Lords in their quest for power start developing their own takes on these technologies, both to utilize and counter.  Some counter by favoring to target the machine, others the man.

At the extreme ends certain select people become the combat unit.  Both physically and metaphysically.
The thing is, it is likely that things were pretty cyberpunk during the Star League days and made only worse in the post-Succession War era.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #4 on: 21 January 2020, 21:27:13 »
There is certainly a good number of indications that they were going that way at the very least.

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #5 on: 22 January 2020, 00:49:51 »
There is certainly a good number of indications that they were going that way at the very least.
Very true. Then again, given that Simon was pro-Periphery Reconciliation and someone pulled, as I liked to call it, a 'Black Hand' (aka 'kill the guy that is willing to not be an ****** to us and try to reconcile the bad blood between two nations (in this case Serbia and Austria-Hungry)' aka 'this guy is a hindrance to our ideology, kill him'), having Simon live is a major AU in of itself.

Perhaps Simon was going to have a 'little leagues' table so the rest of the periphery has a voice (and give them something to sate them politically) and promote a few major periphery powers to the 'big leagues' table?

Perhaps that, if Simon lived, he would have seen the entire Inner Sphere become more... cyberpunkish? He -and anyone smart, savvy, and has enough 'enlightened self-interest' within the Cameron family- would probably try to keep it from being completely cyberpunk (because going full cyberpunk means you are ripe for a revolution) just to save their skins.

So, a combination of Simon pushing for an expanded colonization and exploration program, trying to keep the cyberpunk bits from going out of control, and keep the entire Inner Sphere from exploding into unadulterated violence that would mark the first two Succession Wars would be happening in the background. The cloak and dagger bits that make a great spy novel as it were...

Daemion

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #6 on: 27 January 2020, 15:36:22 »
Johnny-come-lately.

Have you looked into reversing the design evolution of mechs by other factions early on?

For example, instead of quads being a late development, when the Hegemony first introduced the BattleMech, other houses looked at Quad designs as more 'stable platforms' before figuring out that the BattleMech wasn't just an up-armored and weaponized industrial?

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monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #7 on: 27 January 2020, 17:46:53 »
I am thinking about that consideration for my own AU as I am thinking a lot about how the Battlemech would evolve in the setting I'm developing where the ASF has more agency because air superiority covers a multitude of other tactical shortcomings.

Daryk

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #8 on: 27 January 2020, 21:03:36 »
+1 for the Maxim 4 reference... and I have to say... my book opened to just that page when I was checking the number...  ^-^

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #9 on: 27 January 2020, 21:41:41 »
*nod*

Yeah one of the things weighing on my mind is what keeps ASFs in check with what they can do under modern rules taken to their logical conclusions.

Daryk

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #10 on: 27 January 2020, 21:46:43 »
I experienced it in my last table top game... One of my ASFs received multiple Avionics crits in ONE ROUND.  I RTB'd it immediately.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #11 on: 28 January 2020, 20:15:44 »
I do recall promising that I'd go ahead and delve into the factions of my AU a bit and individually.

I think I'll go oldest to newest.

Terran Dominion, as the name implies they control Terra.

As a bit of an inside joke I based their origin story off an old PC game called Superpower where I somehow managed to take the tiny nation of Lesotho and turned it into a global Superpower.  And no I didn't cheat.  Probably exploited the hell out of game mechanics and other shenanigans but no outright cheats.  It has been so long ago I doubt I could do it again.

From there I started developing them into an autocratic conservative nation that likes to pretend it has democratic/republican trappings.

They don't have all the technologies at max levels.  Still using Inner Sphere equivalent Battlearmor for example but are pretty close(Clan tech equivalent omnifighters, omnimechs, and Warships) at their peak.  Had a slow start getting there and being autocratic with unrest problems didn't help them catch up very well for a while.

Manpower wise they have the largest population of my factions but again the near constant unrest mean they have trouble exploiting it at times.

Economy is probably where they are most lacking though.  Nationalization of key industries has allowed them to somewhat have a command economy for certain things where they can just order something built but only have to worry about paying reduced rates.

Combat doctrine emphasizes centralized command and discourages individual initiative making headhunting tactics popular against them.

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #12 on: 30 January 2020, 19:21:46 »
Eh, that's pretty radical IMHO...

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #13 on: 31 January 2020, 01:29:54 »
A lot of the early history of the Terran Dominion I do intentionally obscure behind legend/propaganda to keep some of the sillier aspects of it's origins under wraps.

One of my conceits of this AU is that powers do evolve/devolve depending on your perspective.  Introducing reforms, overturning them later, and other shenanigans I admit are probably a little too much in the background right now but do happen as a particular example.

Another conceit of my setting that I should also add is there is no technological regression in my AU.  That's not to say there isn't technological die off due to loss of working knowledge but that is almost exclusively down to more of moving on to better options, at least in the eyes of key people.

Still there are probably parts that even in my more detailed write ups that I probably need to go over again to spruce up since I have learned a few things about economies, political systems, and a number of other things that can change a few details to be more reasonable but still give the same overall feel.

I mention that because while I haven't given this AU a lot of attention all things considered it is over two decades old now and yeah I have a lot to fix both because of what I've learned since I started and there are things I've tried to integrate because of learning/thinking about things that I probably still need to properly integrate and/or reconcile.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #14 on: 01 February 2020, 18:02:58 »
I have to admit I don't actually have in my notes which is older between the Belarus Alliance and the Amegis Compact.  There might be other notes hiding from me because of transferring data between hard drives over the years but I guess in this instance I'll go ahead and make this post a very generalized overview of the Amegis Compact.

In a nutshell they are probably the most altruistic of my factions in my AU in that they do prefer to be peaceful in their part of space but they do know there is a difference between peaceful and defenseless and push comes to shove they are actually very pragmatic.

For habitable planets they got the worst luck but had decent luck for easy to access strategic materials and as a consequence have the smallest population.

In a diplomatic deal resulting from an international incident to try and shore this up they did bargain for the genetically engineered/artificially gestated human Project 114(the Belarus Alliance's efforts to make people specially adapted to life in rapidly fluctuating gravity situations but most of the time being spent in very low gravity, other words great for being ASF pilots and black navy ship crews) and made a few changes to the techniques involved.  They are not exactly Aerospace Phenotypes.  Despite not being slaves or forcibly indoctrinated they still most often join the military and due to their predispositions dominate the space faring arms of the military and are seen as bit of a dark stain on the soul of the Amegis Compact, hence their being called Ankokujin.

They however got the largest portion of scientists that quickly catapulted their technological expertise in all fields but where they truly dominated was in the field of artificial intelligence and automation.  This does allow them to be able to afford a much larger and much more mechanized military than their population would otherwise be able to support.  They also were forced to give a lot of thought about how to handle the nature of AI to make sure it wouldn't turn on them but to not make them slaves.  I'm not enough of an expert on AI to put much detail into how they solved this issue but for them it largely works.

I am enough of an expert to know just because something is an AI doesn't mean it has to be fully self aware or even super interactive.  I did come up with their AI classification system though.  Class 1 would be stuff like Alexa, Siri, and Watson.  Certainly intelligent and highly interactive but not really self aware.  Class 2 is actually typically not very interactive but is able to handle large complex infrastructure such as power grids and automated factories.  Class 3 is even more scaled up versions of Class 2 or for even more complex/demanding tasks.  Class 4 is typically military AI.  Something that can defend itself against electronic/cyber warfare while also managing some other tasks.  Often they are highly interactive and thus come close to being able to pass for human.  Class 5 is most often a cheat by using a specialized evolution of the neurohelmet that can as part of a complicated system effectively create a digital copy of a person.  There is almost always some variation from the original person though as they are now freed from certain biological considerations.  I haven't ruled out a piece of pure coding with the right hardware being created that meets the criteria of being Class 5 being possible but as of yet I haven't explicitly put one in my AU yet.  Class 5 as a matter of law are considered full citizens.

At their technological peak there is terribly little that is off their table but that is mostly me deciding if I want them to have certain new technologies that Batteltech proper has developed over the years to be available to them or not.

Which reminds me I hate an intense dislike for Protomechs and they do not exist at all in this AU for anyone and never will as long as I have a say in the matter.

Also that reminds me of another AU wide conceit which is while there are often official government languages they all do realize to some extent or another they have to be somewhat accommodating to other languages because the worlds under their control are more often than not much more diverse than Battletech proper often depicts of their worlds and factions.

Their political structure I really need to overhaul badly as it is poorly defined currently.

Military they prefer to do all they can to fight the enemy before they make landfall so they invest much more in their navy but they are smart enough to know they can't completely neglect their ground arms.  They know they are almost always going to be outnumbered so they prefer to fight as assymetrically as possible and many of their designs lean on non-ammunition consuming weapons as possible.

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #15 on: 02 February 2020, 06:19:35 »
You know what? I've been playing with an AltHistory for a while now called 'the Iron Pact Timeline' for a while now, and working out a Battletech timeline based on that would be interesting.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #16 on: 02 February 2020, 12:55:44 »
I have two with a branch or three depending on how you want to look at it.

My What If(working title until I come up with something better) full conversion AU that I'm trying to focus on and develop more, Collision Course(also working title until I can think of something better) mashup, and Battletech Earth.

Battletech Earth is really easy for me to put into a nutshell.  Space lift capability is about on par with today(a major effort to get about 50-60 tons into orbit) so no Dropships, Jumpships, and no true ASFs but I'd probably mashup the rules of conventional fighters and ASFs a bit to have something that will hold up a bit better against ground fire but not so dominating if used to their logical conclusions correctly.

Collision Course is basically a massive butterfly effect of a What If Class 5 AI crewed Warship misjumping into another reality and giving an alternate genisis for the Clans but instead of the Exodus taking most of the SLDF out of play it gathered up top secret survey data, scientists, civilians, and enough troops to protect them incase anyone did manage to find them with the rest of the SLDF staying behind and honestly not changing much in the way of history from that point forward as there wasn't enough support to keep them going with the House Lords cutting their contributions.  Comstar is secretly still very much in contact with this group and as the masters of the HPGnet keep them hidden and are able to even keep certain skills sharp and up to date while the scientists use the stolen data to develop what is essentially Clan tech.  Another major change was the War of Andurien Succession worked so the CapCon was no more and Andurien, Canopus, and the Concordat were all a new united nation and Jeffery Caulderon became Victor's superfriend instead of Kai Allard Liao.  When the Star League in Exile came back to repay the House Lords for their misdeeds against the Star League the Free Rassalhague Republic quickly just surrendered but this actually caused the SLiE to actually have to slow down just as much as if they had resisted.  The misjumped ship that started this all was rediscovered by the FedCom and I had some vague ideas about Comstar to try and keep things going according to their master plan going after this ship in a massive shadow war but yeah I never really thought about much more than that plot wise.

What If is basically me maybe going a bit too far in some regards in me cutting out the fat of Battletech's timeline, none of the factions really grabbing me thus creating all new ones, and trying to do a better job of making fluff and rules have less of a troubled relationship where nothing is sacred in either.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #17 on: 03 February 2020, 15:09:20 »
Now for probably the most morally reprehensible faction in my AU, the Belarus Alliance.

They got luckiest for garden planets very suitable for human habitation.

Their science primarily focuses on genetics.  Cloning/duplication and engineering.  The debate/reality of nature versus nurture did quickly force them to realize it is both and as such they quickly became well versed in the psychological sciences as well.

This allowed them to artificially gestate tailored humans that were both mentally and physically suited for what ever task desired.  Leading to a system that was legalized slavery all in but name.  It was possible for these engineered humans in rare instances of exceptional service to the state to escape this system of slavery but even then they were often treated as second class citizens.

Farming techniques, an unmatched healthcare system, and various other social support systems were developed from this social reality and allowed the population of the Belarus Alliance to boom.

Land owners and their families were the ones who held political and economic power from the earliest days and it quickly became common practice for rival families to try and manipulate circumstances in such a way as to result in their rivals to be forced into slavery or at the very least losing their land.

For unmodified humans that didn't own land life was pretty miserable in many ways.  Food, housing, and health care were available but work was another matter and people do need to do something with their time.

The level of agitation this resulted in ebbed and rose as you'd imagine but never really got to the point of full open revolt thanks to food, housing, and medical care being so widely available.  Some reforms to allow these people more economic opportunity still had to be made but with the existence of people who were willing to do any work for next to no compensation still limited their options a lot unless they were willing to compete.

The prison systems that arose from these social factors though are rather dire places to be and many regular humans depending on their crime were given a choice of serve in the military or go to these places.  Most choose the military.

While they held an initial technological advantage over the Terran Dominion their reliance on massed formations did limit their interests in developing more complicated and difficult to produce technology.  Regular humans that join the military either by choice or to avoid prison were often given positions that would make the enemies of the Belarus Alliance more likely to take them prisoner or otherwise be treated better thanks to the protective nature of regular humans indoctrinated into the engineered humans destined for the military.

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #18 on: 03 February 2020, 21:16:29 »
Technically this would 'crossover' with Space: Above and Beyond but that sort of setup would be perfect:

Simon Cameron, by chance, doesn't get assassinated and pushes for Periphery Reconciliation and an expanded exploration and colonization program (with dropships that would become the Argo and its sibling classes being part of this program) during his reign, which leads to first contact... of the aggressive sort. Due to a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings, a war with alien life erupts and puts pretty much every scheme and plot on hold...

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #19 on: 04 February 2020, 01:19:47 »
To give you all an idea of how little attention I've actually given my What If AU I only have 4 detailed write ups for it, Terran Dominion, Amegis Compact, Belarus Alliance, and the Mercenaries Guild.

So from here on out I only have super generalized overviews for what I want them to be like anyway and I really need to fix that some day if I want this to get any real traction.

Which makes me think I should just finish them off in this post.

Carfana Federation-The end result of modern religions having to come to terms with go to space and evolve certain view points or be under the heels of the Terran Dominion and are rather inclined to try and destroy the Amegis Compact.  Closest tech base comparison is probably CapCon of Civil War period.

Darian Supremacy-An attempt by the Darius family to establish a Roman Empire in space.  This does make them a monarchy but they are not really neofuedalistic beyond that.  Yeah I know I've probably set them up to be the most unsound of the factions.

Ascunscion Alliance/Ithica Collection-Nearly conquered by the Darian Supremacy but thanks to a certain amount of idiocy on the part of the Emperor they were able to save themselves and convince large portions of the surviving invaders to defect whole sale and decided to rename their nation.

Stosh Drift-Bordering on if it is a true power or not due to it's small size it often finds itself a client state to another power making them experts at resistance movements.

Corporate Sector-A breakaway of many Terran Dominion colonies to escape the nationalization efforts underway and certain actions of the Terran Dominion being exposed.

Mercenaries Guild-Not the only mercenary organization but it is the most well regarded and has stood the test of time.  Also they are my excuse to have something resembling the Solaris games in my AU.

I think I'll go ahead and put fresh links to those more detailed write ups here but I'll repeat I haven't updated any of them in quite some time and as such there are things I know I want to change already but still feel free to ask questions or provide feedback.

Amegis Compact

Belarus Alliance

Mercenaries Guild

Terran Dominion

MechWarriorFox

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #20 on: 04 February 2020, 05:28:10 »
To give you all an idea of how little attention I've actually given my What If AU I only have 4 detailed write ups for it, Terran Dominion, Amegis Compact, Belarus Alliance, and the Mercenaries Guild.

So from here on out I only have super generalized overviews for what I want them to be like anyway and I really need to fix that some day if I want this to get any real traction.

Which makes me think I should just finish them off in this post.

Carfana Federation-The end result of modern religions having to come to terms with go to space and evolve certain view points or be under the heels of the Terran Dominion and are rather inclined to try and destroy the Amegis Compact.  Closest tech base comparison is probably CapCon of Civil War period.

Darian Supremacy-An attempt by the Darius family to establish a Roman Empire in space.  This does make them a monarchy but they are not really neofuedalistic beyond that.  Yeah I know I've probably set them up to be the most unsound of the factions.

Ascunscion Alliance/Ithica Collection-Nearly conquered by the Darian Supremacy but thanks to a certain amount of idiocy on the part of the Emperor they were able to save themselves and convince large portions of the surviving invaders to defect whole sale and decided to rename their nation.

Stosh Drift-Bordering on if it is a true power or not due to it's small size it often finds itself a client state to another power making them experts at resistance movements.

Corporate Sector-A breakaway of many Terran Dominion colonies to escape the nationalization efforts underway and certain actions of the Terran Dominion being exposed.

Mercenaries Guild-Not the only mercenary organization but it is the most well regarded and has stood the test of time.  Also they are my excuse to have something resembling the Solaris games in my AU.

I think I'll go ahead and put fresh links to those more detailed write ups here but I'll repeat I haven't updated any of them in quite some time and as such there are things I know I want to change already but still feel free to ask questions or provide feedback.

Amegis Compact

Belarus Alliance

Mercenaries Guild

Terran Dominion
I've started serious work on my 'Iron Pact variation' AU right now... just not enough to 'put onto paper' as it were.

monbvol

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Re: AU development thread
« Reply #21 on: 15 February 2020, 02:15:08 »
Some additional detail for the Darian Supremacy I never did put out that I should have that I think does make them a bit more stable than they otherwise would be as a political power.

One of their foundational agencies is the Order of Legacy.  The original idea behind it was that it would be something for the maternal side of the royal family to do.  They'd protect and support the Emperor and in return they'd enjoy a great deal of authority of their own as the power behind the throne.

Best way I can explain how this power came into being in the first place is by sheer force of personality of Darius the 1st combined with there is no denying that the Roman Empire followed by the Holy Roman Empires were pretty long lasting and stable empires all things considered so it was as good an idea as any other for a government form to rule an interstellar empire.

Tech wise I'd probably put them on par with Civil War era FWL with a few additions.  Like they also get Heavy Gauss Rifles to go with the Light Gauss Rifles and their tanks I designed around the idea of them not being truly omni but you can change their load out by just swapping turrets.  Nothing is changed game mechanically as far as construction options but instead of having to calculate each weapon individually you just spend 90 minutes to replace the turret wholesale.  Since they don't use fusion engines in their combat vehicles just as a point of fluff the power amplifiers and heatsinks are part of the turret but like I mentioned no actual game mechanic changes actually take place for modifying critical hit rolls or anything and sometimes this does allow a little extra armor to get applied to certain turrets or small cargo areas for crew gear storage.

Which makes me notice I also didn't go into the tech details of the Ascunscion Alliance/Ithica Collection, Corporate Sector, or Stosh Drift and probably should mention for the Carfana Federation that they import a lot of their combat vehicles or outright duplicate the designs of their neighbors.

Stosh Drift having spent much of it's time under the thumb of another power to some extent or another really doesn't have much of a solid tech base for most of their heavier stuff but Battlearmor is much easier to hide production for with how they are setup and they are pretty much the undisputed masters of it.  Last time I decided on what they could have Battlearmor wise a fair bit of stuff hadn't been introduced, in particular the Society's toy box, so pending me having to think about some tech advances to Battletech proper since I last worked on them most everything is fair game to use for their Battlearmor.

Corporate Sector and Ascunscion Alliance/Ithica Collection I'm honestly thinking about re-working a bit for their technical capabilities.

Something I also forgot to mention for the Belarus Alliance is that their engineered soldiers are predisposed to be protective of any non-engineered humans in the military.  This was done because the people in charge knew non-engineered would end up in the military even without being forced to choose between the military and prison.  Which often causes the engineered to find out exactly what kinds of positions/ranks they can give these people that they are suited for that will also improve the odds of them being treated better by the enemy if captured.  This does result in a lot of people being given more authority than they probably should have and the resulting tactics tend to be some variation of massed human waves but even the threat of these tactics has caused enemies to surrender despite having inflicted huge casualties on the Belarus Alliance simply because they couldn't sustain such fights for long and the Belarus Alliance can.

Which is to say infantry do make up the bulk of their forces.