Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Force Operations Part I (Reputation is Everything)

All right Battletech Fans, today we’re going to take a closer look at the Force Operations rules from Campaign Operations. Today we’re going to look at the first thing you need to do to get your shiny new force out and about in the universe, score their reputation.  Reputation does a lot of work in helping you as a player, or a GM figure out just exactly what kind of missions you can likely find during the game.  It’s essential to move deeper into the force operation rules, so let’s go through each step of the process.  

What does your reputation score do?  It represents the way the rest of the battletech universe looks at your unit. Are they an elite, super reliable unit of hardened house troops or are they a bunch of screw off pirates?  Reputation gives you a snapshot of how the universe sees your unit. A better reputation is almost universally a good thing.

A higher reputation score gives bonuses on determining what missions your unit has access to.  It can also increase payment for mercenary units, supply priority for house units, and options for glory and advancement for clan units.  The higher your units reputation score, the more likely they are to be trusted with a more dangerous, higher priority mission.  You don’t send the worst command in your theater off to conquer an enemy world (You may send them off to distract defenders from nearby worlds, but that’s a different mission).  

Reputation is built with 8 key factors.  Average Experience Rating, Commander Rating, Combat Record, Transportation Rating, Support Rating, Financial Rating, Crime Rating, and Other Reputation Modifiers will affect your overall Reputation Score.  Reputation is then applied as a modifier to a bunch of dice rolls that will crop up during the Contract phase we’ll cover next week.  Let’s dig in to our factors, shall we?

Average Experience Rating is an indicator of the combat experience of your unit.  Add up all of your unit’s combat skill ratings, then divide by the number of combat units multiplied by 2 (to account for units having two combat skills).  Round the result half down (.5 or lower is rounded down to the lower whole number, .6 or higher is rounded up).  Compare this number to the chart that be found on page 34, and you’ll get your unit’s average experience rating.  

So we take our Tombstones, and we start doing some math (I’m only counting the actual mechs for this, so don’t worry about the dropships and calculations not matching).  36 battlemechs, with average skills of 4 Gunnery and 5 Piloting gives us a number of 324.  We divide that number by 72 (number of combat units times 2) which gives us a skill rating of 4.5.  We round that down to 4 and compare.  4 on the Chart is a regular unit, which has a reputation value of 10.  So far we have a reputation score of 10.  

Moving on to the next factor, we have our commander rating.  We didn’t build our commander using the A Time of War rules, so we’re going to get some random dice rolls to determine the skill ratings for Dr. Henry Jones, our designated force commander.  We roll 1D6 for Leadership, Strategy, Tactics, and Negotiation.  We rolled well, coming up with a 5 for Leadership, a 4 in strategy, a 4 in tactics, and a 6 in Negotiation.  We add one to each of these rolls because we are a regular rated unit, and we end up with Leadership 6, Strategy 5, Tactics 5, and Negotiation 7.  We sum those numbers and end up with a Commander Rating of 23.  Added to our Average Experience Rating, we come up to 33 Reputation Score.  

The third factor we come up to is Combat Record.  For every successful mission we’d accomplished, we’d add 5 to our score.  For every mission that we’d tried hard but didn’t quite hit the mark completely, we’d add 0.  For every mission we’d failed, we’d subtract 10.  For every contract we’d breached, we’d subtract 25.  Given that the Tombstones have no combat record to speak of, we apply none of these modifiers.  Our Reputation score remains at 33, and we move on.  

Transportation Rating is a bit of challenge to math out, but we’re going to do our best.  Our Dropship bays have a total of 36 mech cubicles to store our combat assets.  We have 36 of those, so we’ve hit the sweet spot of not having excess cargo capacity for combat units while also not having insufficient space.  We don’t lose or gain any points to our rating from this, but we lose 3 points for having insufficient transport space for the 216 astechs and 15 support personnel we need to bring along.  (we may end up trying to convert our extra fighter bays into troop transport stations for the astechs).  We do have our own Jumpship asset, which nets us 10 points positive, and we gain 5 more for having enough dropship collars to move the entire unit.  This means we gain 12 points total to our transportation score (+10 for the jumpship, +5 for having enough Dropship slots, -3 for not having enough space for the non combat personnel).  Adding that score to our overall Reputation puts us up to 45.  

Our current Support Rating is a 0.  We have enough technical teams to keep all of our mechs and other units operational.  We don’t have excess technical teams to give us a bonus, nor do we have a deficit in the number of technical teams we need to keep everything operational.  This nets us a total gain of 0.  Our Reputation score remains at 45.

Financial Rating is our next factor, and through the power of math, we ended up going into debt in our initial build.  Because our force is in debt, we lose 10 points of reputation.  Our poor credit reflects badly on our ability to move from place to place and put holes in bad people.  This reduces our Reputation score to 35.  

Crime Rating is an easy calculation, as the Tombstones have committed no criminal acts.  They acquire a Crime Rating of 0 which doesn’t affect their reputation at all.  There is a nice chart for anyone who wants to keep track of the effects of mass murder, rape and larceny on their reputation scores.  I can see a couple of interesting ideas for a merc unit that spends its days taking contracts that no one wants kidnapping people, or robbing other people’s banks.  Our Reputation score for the Tombstones remains at a solid 35.  

The last rating we need to cover are Other Reputation Modifiers.  This section covers mainly the effects of long term stagnation on a unit’s credibility as a fighting force.  A unit that hasn’t seen combat in ten years isn’t going to have the street credentials that a unit with a more recent combat profile has.  The Tombstones don’t have this problem, given their recent creation and their eager desire to put boots and autocannons to other people, and have a modifier of 0.  Factoring in all the modifiers, we end up with a final Reputation Score of 35 for our newly created unit.  

So we’ve calculated our Reputation score, and just to give a quick recap
  • Average Experience Rating of Regular: 10 points
  • Commander Rating: 23 points
  • Combat Record: 0 points
  • Transportation Rating: 12 points
  • Support Rating: 0 Points
  • Financial Rating: -10 points
  • Crime Rating: 0 points
  • Other Reputation Modifiers: 0 points

This gives us a total Reputation score of 35 points as we mentioned above.

All right BAttletech Fans, we’re going to call it a day from there, tune back in next week to see what that reputation score affects when we roll for our first contract/mission.  If you have any questions as to how we got to these numbers, let us know.  

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Game on, Game Fans

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