Thursday, September 29, 2016

Force Operations Part II (Rolling some dice and stuff)

Hey Battletech Fans, we’re back with another look at using the Contract rules in Campaign Operations.  Check back through our blog for anything with a title like Force Construction to figure out how we got here.  It’s January of 3025, and the Tombstones are ready to roll for their first assignment from the Comstar Overlords...i mean mercenary work.  As a government force, they always have the option to take a garrison contract which pays all of their peacetime costs if a different contract is unavailable.  Let’s dig right in.

Like most of the Battletech Rules systems, this has multiple stages that we need to complete in order to figure out exactly what’s going on here. This part of the game has four stages, and we’ll need to complete each one in order.  

Stage 1:Find the number of offers

Offer is a bit of a misnomer, as this stage is where the number of potential assignments a unit has access to.  These could be raids, planetary assaults, garrison  missions, or things that are a little bit different.  Mercenary units are taking a job offer for money, Government units are taking an assignment from the boss (if they think that can handle it) and Pirates are acting on rumors of potential revenue.  Offer is the catchall term for each of these different situations.  

When rolling for your contract offer, you need to make a couple of decisions.  We’ll start with the Mercenary options, because they have the greatest range of potentials.Mercenaries need to determine how many contract offers are on the table at any given time.  At the start of every month, Roll a Negotiation check, modified by the Hiring Hall that the Mercenaries are using.  The margin of success from this Negotiation check will determine how many offers are on the table.  (this table is on page 39, right under the contract modifiers list).  The better your negotiation skill, plus other applicable modifiers, the more job offers you have access to.  

Pirates generate their offers (which represent targets of opportunity for them to raid) the same way.  The difference is that they have to use the “No Hiring Hall” option for their modifier.  

Government Forces allready have an employer, so they don’t need to roll for an offer, they’ve got extra opportunities waiting for them.  

Once you’ve generated the number of offers, it’s time to move on to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Determine Employer.  

Mercenaries determine Employer based on the roll of 2D6 (and apply all modifiers for reputation/hiring hall/etc..)  Roll once for each offer to determine who’s offering the job.  The player can select any result lower than the result they end up with. (for example, if i have a total modifier of 4, and roll a 6 on my 2D6 roll, i can select anything on the line for 10 or below.  If the player also rolls an independent power, roll the dice a second time and compare your result to the second column.  

The Corporation result means you’ve been hired by a major interstellar company to get into some trouble.  

The Planetary Government result means you’ve been hired by a planetary government for a specific need their government is not meeting.  Extra Security, a raid, or any of a bunch of different options for a planetary government contract.  

The Noble result is any number of minor noble powers that need a mercenary force to accomplish something.  This is probably the result that has the greatest variety of job types, but you should watch those nobles, they’re always up to something.

The Mercenary result means you’ve been subcontracted to fill a mission specific role by another mercenary command.  

Pirates use this table to determine who they’re stealing stuff from.  They roll the dice the same way that a mercenary force operates, however, they are rolling for targets, not employers.  

Government forces all ready have an employer, and don’t need to use this step.  

Stage 3: Determine the Mission
Mercenaries are going to make 1 negotiation roll per contract offer they have.  They’ll apply the hiring hall and negotiation skill modifiers to this roll.  After you’ve made that roll, keep track of the Margin of Success.  Roll 2D6 and add the MoS.  Compare that result to the mission table, using the appropriate column for your employer.  

I roll negotiation and after modifiers, end up with a total margin of success of 5.  I roll 2D6, and end rolling an 4.  Adding the MoS of 5 to my result of 4, i end up with a total score of 9.  Comparing that to the Government Employer, i see that the mission in question is a recon raid.  

You’ll do this for each of your contract offers on the table for the month.  Pirates generate missions the same way, except they use the Pirate column exclusively for generating missions.  Government forces do likewise, using the appropriate column on the chart.  

Stage 4: Negotiate Terms

This is the part of the day where things get very number crunchy and you have to your completed TOE in front of you, with the total Peacetime cost calculations completed.  

The base formula is this.
Final Payment = (Base Payment x Length of Mission x Operations
Tempo x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + (Base Payment x
Transport Period x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + Support
Payment + Transport Payment

There are two other points that need to be resolved for mercenaries, Command Rights, and Salvage Rights.

Base Payment is equal to 75% of 1 month’s operating expenses, plus 5% of the total cost of all combat units that aren’t Jumpships.  For the Tombstones, this means 3,177,056.25 C-bills (75% of Peacetime operating Costs) + 13,448,366 C-bills (5% of the total cost of all combat units).  That totals out to 16,625,422.25 C-bills per month as a Base Payment.

Now we need to calculate the Length of the Mission.  This requires some more math, and looks kind of like this.  Assuming a mission takes a 2 actual weeks in the field, plus transportation time.  Because of the way travel works in battletech, Assume it takes 1.1 week per hyperspace jump to get to the destination planet.  If that planet is 9 jumps away from the planet your unit starts on, they’re going to be in their transports for a while.  You also have to travel them back to their starting location.  

So, if my unit is travelling 9 jumps away on an objective Raid, our calculation looks like,

Base 2 weeks
Travel at 9 jumps 9 x 1.1 week is 9.9 weeks.  
Travel back is also 9.9 weeks
So 22 weeks.  This divides by 4 into 4.5, which rounds up to 5. 5 months of travel time

Our Mission period is determined by the master contract table on page 42.  The Objective Raid scenario we’re pitching has a base time of 3 months.  

So we have 5 months of travel time, plus 3 months of mission time.  

Final Payment = (16,625,422.25 x 3 x Operations
Tempo x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + (16,625,422.25 x
5 x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + Support
Payment + Transport Payment

With us so far?  And who said you wouldn’t use algebra :)

The next factor is Operations tempo, and that’s determined by the mission itself.  Objective Raid has an Operations tempo of 1.6.

Final Payment = (16,625,422.25 x 3 x 1.6 x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + (16,625,422.25 x 5 x Employer Factor x Reputation Factor) + Support Payment + Transport Payment

The Employer factor is determined on the same table as the Operations Tempo Factor.  We’re going to assume we’re working for a Major Power, so we have a modifier of 1.2.

Final Payment = (16,625,422.25 x 3 x 1.6 x 1.2 x Reputation Factor) + (16,625,422.25 x 5 x 1.2 x Reputation Factor) + Support Payment + Transport Payment

Reputation Factor (if i am reading this correctly ) is the unit’s Reputation Rating (for the Tombstones is a 3.5) times .2, +.5 not rounded.  For the Tombstones that swings in at .7+.5 = 1.2

Final Payment = (16,625,422.25 x 3 x 1.6 x 1.2 x 1.2) + (16,625,422.25 x 5 x 1.2 x 1.2) + Support Payment + Transport Payment

Since the Tombstones have their own Transports, they don’t need a transportation payment

Final Payment = (16,625,422.25 x 3 x 1.6 x 1.2 x 1.2) + (16,625,422.25 x 5 x 1.2 x 1.2) + Support Payment + 0.

Support requires some dice rolling, and ends up with us rolling a 9 on our 2D6 result.  Checking the support table on page 43, we’ve got 20% battle loss compensation.  This means that as we take damage, the employer will pay 20% of the cost to replace and repair damaged parts.  

So our Final payment looks like 114,914,918.592 +119,703,040.2, +20% Battle loss compensation.  This nets our happy pseudo-mercenaries a nice contract payday of 234,617,958.79 C-Bills for 8 months of work.  Not bad for finding a thing and shooting some bad people, right?

All right Game Fans, That’s where we’re going to have to call it for the day, next time we’ll cover some other rules and things to keep in mind for Force Operations, and then we’ll see what other trouble we can get into.

Game On, Game Fans.

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