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Author Topic: Lance Composition  (Read 423 times)

Von Jankmon

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Lance Composition
« on: 20 February 2020, 20:13:29 »
I am arranging mechs on my purchase list to paint them according to unit organisation.  In all my time, that is since the 80's, I only have assumptive knowledge of what lance designations actually mean.  I know that traditionally a company is split between a Command, Fire and Scout lance.  Then there are Pursuit lances, Striker lances and many more.

So I went to Sarna and found that this is a blind spot in the lore there also.  Time for a new thread and perhaps some official answers, if there are any.  Maybe roles are just assumed and there is no formal structure as to whether a particular combo of mechs makes a Pursuit lance, a Recon lance or a Striker lance, or a Heavy version of above.
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Empyrus

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #1 on: 20 February 2020, 20:32:15 »
Best resource for lances are Alpha Strike something.... uh, well, the book that includes force building, and/or Campaign Operations.
They list lance types and what are required for them, and more or less answer what they're for.

But on top of my head...

Heavy, light, or whatever other weight-related adjective more or less tells the average weight of the lance.

-Command Lance is usually additional to lance. So you might have a company and a Command lance, or battalion and Command Lance (in larger formations the Command Lances form a Command Company as i understand it).
Naturally dedicated to body guarding the commander but may also include additional capabilities, act as a reserve.

-Battle lance is your mainline combatants, focusing on armor and firepower over speed. When combined with weight class, it may drop "Battle", ie "Heavy Lance" most likely means "Heavy Battle Lance".

-Striker Lance, also known as Cavalry Lance, contain Above average speed 'Mechs for fast attacks or flanking attacks.

-Recon/Scout Lances are for scouting, duh. Lighter and faster 'Mechs are the norm.

-Fire Lance means fire support lance. Contains long-range support 'Mechs like Catapults, Archers, JagerMechs, etc.

-Pursuit Lance is one i've never quite figured out. Usually it contains fast 'Mechs with reasonable firepower, so they're rather similar to Striker Lances but occasionally also Recon Lances.

What others there were...
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nckestrel

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #2 on: 20 February 2020, 21:08:52 »
Lance types were originally just colorful ways to name forces, and wandered all over the place. Prior to the Alpha Strike and Campaign Operations force building rules, we compiled a list that went on forever (not actually forever).

The last FASA box sets and First Strike sourcebook introduced roles for 'Mechs (Brawler, Striker, Missile Boat, Juggernaut..) and Lance types were combinations of those.  So Fire Lancers were mostly Snipers and Missile Boats.  Assault Lances were mostly Juggernauts.  No rules, just using the roles to steer new players into thinking about how different 'Mechs can act differently in the game, and lances as being like groups that acted similarly.

Alpha Strike Companion (now in Alpha Strike Commander's Edition rulebook) added assigning roles to all units, and formations (lances/stars) types having requirements in return for gaining benefits (usually special pilot abilities).  So Assault Lance is required to have heavy, tough units, but gets the ability to intimidate.

Campaign Operations then took those rules and converted them back to BattleTech for non-Alpha Strike players.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #3 on: 21 February 2020, 11:26:19 »
And even with the ASC/CampOps designations, I have a problem with 'Cavalry Star' designation since the Wolves have those with Gargoyles since they can make the speed.

But that is a personal gripe for what is overall a decent starting point.  Remember also that the advantages nckestrel refers to are optional rules.  Its a good starting point, but I would suggest giving a list of most of the mechs you want and then the company or clusters can have the edges filled in to make sure the lance/star meets the qualifications.
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Von Jankmon

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #4 on: 22 February 2020, 14:58:47 »
Thank you for the replies.  This is what I have learned so far and tell me if I am on the right page.

Lance designations are in canon representation of what commanders think, and are subject to the will of the military leadership.

So if I said made a lance of a Shadow Hawk, Wolverine, Phoenix Hawk and Jenner.  I represent the force commander in calling it a 'Recon' lance arbitrarily, and no-one can turn around and say "that actually its a 'Striker' lance" because some commanders would call it a 'Pursuit' lance, some a 'Striker', some a 'Recon' or 'Scout' according to how they choose to see it.  Just so long as its justifiable by role it fits.*  So four fast light/mediums could fit a variety of patterns of lance structure as above, but four assaults would not, outside of specific memes.

Or is there a canon determination anywhere, whether in general or limited to specific factions.  Such as say speed 6 or higher to qualify for recon, or must be jump capable to qualify for pursuit etc.

* To be clear here this would be true by player choice anyway, in the same way I could paint my mechs pink with blue polka dots, but not all player decisions are readily justifiable in canon.
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Von Jankmon

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #5 on: 22 February 2020, 15:06:34 »
Heavy, light, or whatever other weight-related adjective more or less tells the average weight of the lance.

I wondered if light and heavy were relative if added as prefixes.  So 'Heavy recon' could mean four fast 50+ ton medium mechs.  And a 'Light assault' lance might include heavy or medium mechs in assault roles, say a Victor, a Thunderbolt and two Hunchbacks.
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Please prepare NOW, buy tins, powdered milk and dried stores as priority while risk of exposure is relatively low.  You do not want to have no choice but to expose yourself by shopping during peak virus.

Empyrus

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #6 on: 22 February 2020, 15:33:13 »
I wondered if light and heavy were relative if added as prefixes.  So 'Heavy recon' could mean four fast 50+ ton medium mechs.  And a 'Light assault' lance might include heavy or medium mechs in assault roles, say a Victor, a Thunderbolt and two Hunchbacks.
Didn't think of those cases, heavy recon and light assault are kind of oxymorons if we're taking the weight literally...
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nckestrel

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #7 on: 22 February 2020, 16:11:49 »
Anybody can call a lance anything they want.
You can put a Rifleman in a Recon Lance.
You can put a Panther in an Assault Lance.

Doesn’t mean they will be any good at it :).
You can ignore the requirements of the lance types, you just won’t get a bonus for it.

We went back and forth a ton on the requirements.  But if you try to accept all canon instances into the requirements, you end up with no requirements.  Because there is a canon example of a Rifleman in a Recon Lance. 

Also, the same Clan Wolf said Timber Wolves are too slow for Striker Stars, so they clearly can’t make up their mind how fast they need to be. :)
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Empyrus

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #8 on: 22 February 2020, 16:21:50 »
Also, the same Clan Wolf said Timber Wolves are too slow for Striker Stars, so they clearly can’t make up their mind how fast they need to be. :)
Well, considering that Clan 'Mechs have tendency to be a speed-step faster than Spheroids, in Clan-to-Clan fighting the Timber Wolf doesn't have above average speed for its weight class so the Wolves sort of have a point.

Some stuff certainly depend on context.
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nckestrel

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #9 on: 22 February 2020, 16:25:58 »
I meant specifically compared to them also using Gladiators in Striker Stars.  How Gladiators can be fast enough, while Timber Wolves are not.
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Empyrus

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #10 on: 22 February 2020, 16:35:51 »
I meant specifically compared to them also using Gladiators in Striker Stars.  How Gladiators can be fast enough, while Timber Wolves are not.
...Uh, Gladiators are very fast for assault-class...

Some Wolf-weirdness. Never cared for their sudden love of speed, were they jealous of Ice Hellions or something...
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nckestrel

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #11 on: 22 February 2020, 17:30:47 »
I read that in Gimli’s voice.
“Dwarves are very fast, for an assault class.”
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Empyrus

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #12 on: 22 February 2020, 18:08:12 »
lol  :D
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Colt Ward

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #13 on: 22 February 2020, 22:24:09 »
It was about the Timber Wolves keeping up with Ice Ferrets . . . which, yes the Linebacker does better.
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nckestrel

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #14 on: 22 February 2020, 23:27:04 »
It was about the Timber Wolves keeping up with Ice Ferrets . . . which, yes the Linebacker does better.

And therefore we have Heavy Striker/Cavalry Lances that allow 4/6 units in them like Gladiators, but don’t allow them to be mixed with Ice Ferrets. 

The above comment meant half sarcastically, I totally agree some/many  canon lance listings do not abide by the lance requirements.  We had many, long discussions about the requirements and I was against them and when I lost that battle I argued till I was worried I was driving the others insane with my arguments.

But the thought was that if we give benefits, there had to be some requirements.  And the acknowledgment that anything we do was going to have the caveat that sometimes a canon formation will be named something that either doesn’t exist as a rule (there are so many different names) or was named something but it should actually use the rules of a different lance type.  The fluff should always be held as flexible.  (“Bob is invincible should not mean Bob is literally invincible.). The rules have to be more
“solid”.
Master Unit List - List of all canon units, faction availabilities, Alpha Strike unit cards, Battle Values
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Colt Ward

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Re: Lance Composition
« Reply #15 on: 24 February 2020, 12:03:52 »
I understand and agree that limits have to be in place . . . it gets back to one of the early oddity with the Wolves, their 'assault' clusters would not be recognized as such among the Jaguars let alone the Lyrans b/c it described the role rather than just the weight- even if they had a lot of Gargoyles.  I want to say they are the only BT faction in which that happens, for most the factions the naming matches up with their doctrine pretty well.
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