01: Planetary Holdings


The Sundered Sphere :

   The Clan invasion of 3050 eventually proved a total failure. While credit for this is usually given to the timely recovery of the “lost tech” or to the brilliant leadership of various inner sphere leaders, the simple truth is that the `sphere was saved by poor sportsmanship. Faced with a superior foe and almost inevitable defeat, techs, pilots, and mechwarriors across the inner sphere did whatever they could to deny them any profit from their victory. The clans captured worlds, cities, and populations, farms, and power plants – but virtually nothing in the way of mechs, parts or intact factories to produce them. Dependent on their own few worlds for supplies, the clans faced the ravaged, but still vast, resources of the inner sphere. Given time to build by the fifteen year delay won by Precentor Martial Focht, the sphere overran the clans superior, but vastly out- numbered, Battlemechs thru sheer attrition… The fact that the Clans – born in a rigid, near-sterile, envir- onment – were exposed to an overwhelming mass of other cultures, centuries of new diseases, & an endless list of “Dishonorable” tactics, didn’t help them a bit.

   Victory had it’s price; casualties were enormous on both sides. With the forces of the great houses almost wiped out, and the latest battlemech building technology scattered across the sphere, an ever-increasing number of local leaders broke with the great houses, creating a vast number of splinter states. Recruiting scattered mercenary, clan, and house survivors, local garrisons, technicians, scientists, leaders, and other allies let the majority of such states survive – for a time. The clans did not unite the inner sphere, instead they may have shattered it completely. Such is the situation in 3082, arrayed against “you” are other minor lords, the shrunken cores of the great houses, raiders, and sheer bad luck. The major elements you have to work with are planets, personalities, cash, and your military forces.

   Planets are your primary resources, your main targets, and your strongpoints. Military might and great leaders are tools, but without worlds to supply and follow them, they are virtually useless. For your purposes, planets are defined as any large natural object which supports a reasonable population. This includes asteroid belts, moons, and resource-rich airless worlds, but generally excludes gas giants, frozen worlds, comets, rings, and other worthless hunks of rock. You can lord it over as many of those as you like. It does you no good, and no one cares.

   Useful planets have, for our purposes, five major characteristics, all of which usually range from -100 to +100. These are Economy, Production, Research, Resources, and Loyalty, all described below. Planets are valuable – and somewhat fragile. While biopackages of genetically-tailored organisms brought green and growing life to barren worlds, such biospheres will take thousands of years to become anything more then a thin and fragile facade. Worlds with growing, alien, biospheres had oxygen, rich soils, and water, but that alien life was utterly incompatible with earth’s – and was equipped with alien proteins, exotic toxins, & bizarre survival mechanisms. Earthly crops and beasts competed, on worlds where they didn’t fit in, with vigorous native species growing on a planet they evolved to suit. Survival on alien worlds demands technology and constant effort. It takes up most of the population’s time and resources.

   Smash the cities – and you destroy that technology. Hold them – and& you hold a world. Deploy weapons of mass destruction, and your own population will everthrow you. You are inviting a similar reprisal – and they know that they cannot survive it. Interstellar conquest is only possible because the individual planets can not afford to support a serious military force. For example, the Free Worlds League, encompassing about 400 worlds, has (or had) a military strength of about 40 regiments.

   As far as the population is concerned, the ruler is almost irrelevant. It’s not like they mattered much…

   Economy is a composite measure of a worlds population, standard of living, general productivity, agricultural base, basic facilities, etcetra. While it provides the basis for production (QV) it also provides the people, cash, and labor you need to get things done. A planets economy can usually support itself, your government is normally only interested in the surplus. If it should happen to matter for some reason, a planets population can be (roughly) estimated from it’s economy score, as 100 million, minus one million per point economy point below zero, or plus five million per point of positive economy. Even the best-developed worlds never approach the kind of population that Earth supports.

   Production is a measure of a worlds general industrial facilities, basic level of technology, availability of technical personnel, etcetra. It may not differ from economy by more then 50%, hence changes in economy may alter production, although the reverse does not apply. Advanced equipment usually cannot be manufactured on a planet whose production is below the required minimum, although trade permits some exceptions. More directly, a worlds production value determines how much advanced war material it turns out. (See the Production Chart, later). A world’s production can be doubled for a turn by expending 5 MegaCredits (Money) on overtime costs.

   Research measures a worlds ability to produce advances and discoveries. While this is in no way limited to the military arts, that’s usually what has the most impact on the game. It’s mostly the province of universities, engineering institutes, and major companies. Of course, espionage, old archival files, and items to study make a big difference. Research need not always be rolled. You are not obligated to support research at all – and some types of “research”, such as making minor changes or upgrades in a design, don’t always require a check. Items which are only engineering, rather then research into the unknown, merely require that a world with the appropriate research score expend a turn or two on the job. Unfortunately, the necessary scores and what is, and what is not, “only engineering”, must be established by negotiating with the other players. Common items so designated include minor modifications to Mech designs (Armor upgrades, changing a few weapons around, and so on. Up to four such changes usually count as a “minor” modification), analyzing basic mechanical systems from captured examples (Shields, Tracers, etc), and designing a new minivehicle or ordinary drone. Analyzing a more complex new technology, technical advance, battlemech, or vehicle design, is far more difficult. It requires the possession of a sample and a research roll within 5% of the score required to gain a similar new technology /technical advance/design independently. A successful analyasis of said item may then be substituted for the rolled result. Unfortunately, it still takes at least two turns to begin producing such an item.

   Resources measures the worlds special characteristics. Unlike the other values, resources are subdivided into individual 5-15 point modifiers on other tables or can be any of a variety of “special” resources. While most planetary resources cannot be improved or destroyed, a few can be temporarily neutralized by accidents and/or enemy attacks. Unlike the other ratings, resources may not be “bought up”, although new resources, or methods of exploiting old ones, may be discovered on occasion. Possible types of resources include;

  •    Economic; agricultural surpluses, unique drugs, gem mines, special luxuries, exotic plants and animals, or simply being unusually earthlike – allowing the planet to support an unusually large population without using too much technology to do so.
  •    Espionage; being the source of some addictive drug, hosting a Comstar facility with a “leak”, a government controlled underworld, having “inherited” a network of spies, production facilities for long-range scanners / sensor probes, simply holding some hostages from other realms, having extensive “safehouses”, dominating some exotic religious cult, and so on. As a note, espionage resources are fairly rare. An automatic espionage roll is a 15% resource, while bonuses cost twice as much as usual (+1 for every 2% invested in the resource).
  •    Exploration; production facilities for high-powered scanners or probes, specialized research groups, weird societies and cults (These are usually looking for something or other “out there”), appropriate archives from the Star League’s exploratory period, or some such. As a rule, such resources are relatively rare.
  •    High Potential; worlds can support economy, production, and research scores in excess of 100. This may be due to being unusually earthlike, possessing plentiful “generic” resources, being unusually large, being part of a multiworld system – or actually having compatible native lifeforms. In any case, the limit for all those scores is 100 plus the assigned resource value.
  •    Home Guard Units; are local militias – forces which are available to protect the planet, but which may not be moved offworld. Resources devoted to such units are doubled and applied as production resources – but the CP so generated may only be applied to the construction and maintenance of the local guard. While guard units may be subsidized as well, especially during construction, they generally must pay their own maintenance. Militia units are limited to what a planet can produce on it’s own. A planet with a production score of 15 simply is not capable of building combat armor. Having a Defense Alliance is a variant wherein one of the great houses, Comstar, or some other group, has agreed to defend the place. While this triples the value of this resource, rather then merely doubling it, such units are subject to recall under some political conditions.
  •    Military; being a primary training center or having a military academy (Modifies rolls on the battle setup table), having extremely rough terrain and/or a highly independent population (Modifies rolls on the scouting table), exotic surface conditions (These may simply be things such as having lots of water – giving a notable advantage to high-heat mechs and naval units – or they can be conditions that inhibit certain types of units, effectively reducing the number of construction points worth of that type of unit in the attacker’s forces by 25/50/75/90/100% – for a 5/10/15/20/25 point resource. Possible examples include; Extreme winds and underground shelters (Reduces Air forces), swamp (Mechs and ground vehicles), extreme tempertures (Most infantry), desert (Naval, and twice as effective), abrasive “sandstorms” (Hovercraft and VTOL’s), strange lifeforms (Almost any type of unit), exotic atmospheres (A general nuisance, especially for those unfamalier with the place. Reduce all attacking forces by the % taken. Sadly, this also reduces the planets economic rating), having plenty of natural “fortresses” (Defenders have the protection of light/medium/heavy/hardened positions for infantry, at a cost of 5/10/15/20 points. Oher units recieve cover one step below that “bought” for infantry), or extreme dispersion (Generally typical of asteroid colonies and such. These move all the time – and are hell to find). Water-worlds are popular, and have a “cost” of 10%.
  •    Political; being a recognized neutral world for the negotiations of others, being a (the?) major source of some vital material, being the center of some peculiar interstellar religion, or being the former center of a major state. It is most unusual for a minor leader to control any such world, much less a major one. They’re prime targets for others (Consider Arrakis, from Dune) – and are rarely abandoned by the major states. Thanks to these problems, it “costs” four resource percentage points to buy a 1% modifier on the political table.
  •    Production; heavy metal deposits, large hydrocarbon reserves, industrial crystals, old automated factories and equipment, or massive energy sources. Such resources are added to a planets base production value, but only for the purpose of calculating the construction points available per turn. “Special Materials”, such as; rare earths, radioactives, a star league military junkyard, germanium for drive cores, insul fiber, unique alloys, or the infamous “Protoculture” of the RoboTech series, add directly to a worlds production score – increasing both the number of construction points available and the sophistication of the units that can be produced – but only as far as a particular type of unit is concerned, and to a maximum of a 30-point bonus on a worlds tech- nological level. No matter how nice the resources are, a planet still needs the technical skills to use them. Extremely specialized “special materials” may be worth greater bonuses, but this is subject to negotiation… Unlike most other resources, such unique materials can be effectively shipped to, and used on, some other world then where they’re produced – but this requires that a jumpship be assigned to that task throughout the turn. This may not be done with normal production resources. The shipping cost is far too high to make it practical to ship mundane materials over interstellar distances. As a note, a jumpship need not be assigned to the task if both the origin, and destination, worlds are in the same system. Mundane resources may also be transferred within a system, presumably by commercial transport… (If a detailed system is desired, production resources devoted to a particular class of unit – such as “Heavy Battlemechs” – are effectively doubled. Those devoted to the production of a specific unit – such as “Pumas” – are tripled. Sadly, these multipliers are reduced by one level (x1, x2) if the world in question would normally be incapable of producing the desired unit. Even with automated factories and such, the appropriate raw materials, power, repairs, and refined metals, must be provided if you expect it to actually make something).
  •    Research; surviving star league archives, old labs, an established research institute, a population with a genetic tendency towards high IQ’s, or simply being an established site for scientific conferences. Access to “Exotic Technologies” may be permitted as a variant on “research” resources. In such cases, each development must be assigned a resource “cost” (Normally between 5 and 25, depending on how widespread it is, how bizarre the technology involved is, and how great an effect it will have on the game. Access to something like the Reinforced Cockpit will probably only cost 5 “points”, but access to a Plasma Laser design would usually cost a great deal more. There is no need to pay for access to technologies and devices that the players have agreed are in common use. A list of suggested prices is given as an appendix to the technology section).
  •    Special resources are subject to player discussion. One relatively common “resource” is having an on-world Comstar Facility. These cost 10 points – but act as a 5-point Economic Resource and provide an instantaneous link with any other Comstar Facility. They also supply a neutral location to meet in, emergency services (1/2 cost when relieving natural disasters), and have fair-sized garrisons which can sometimes be persuaded to be useful during a planetary disaster or if someone tries to commit a major atrocity.
  •    Trade; being an established trading center, special luxuries (Exotic furs, spices, wines, foods, gems, and so on), unique biochemicals, germanium (Also necessary for jumpship construction), jumpship repair facilities (Even sketchy facilities are quite rare), an extremely convenient location, a major banking / comstar office, being on a well-established trading route, and various other specialized items… In general, trade resources are either immobile things that draw traders or easily transported luxury goods.  

   Loyalty measures how committed the local population is to your government. Unlike most other ratings, loyalty tends to quietly improve itself over time. It can also be affected by a variety of actions – as well as being bought up directly. A few common loyalty modifiers are given below, but inventions and various tables may yield others. If a planet has a positive loyalty score, that score is changed to a negative one if and when it’s conquered, and it’s original value is subtracted from the planets total scores. Fortunately, they automatically return to “normal” as the loyalty score is raised. The loyalty score must be rebuilt, however the expenditure of 1 MCr/turn will suffice to raise a negative loyalty score by 5 points per turn. Once it’s positive again, the usual rules apply. As a secondary effect, a planet with a negative loyalty score reduces the effective CP size of it’s garrison by a similar percentage.

  •    A positive loyalty score offers two basic benefits; The score provides a rough estimate of the strength of the civilian resistance to an attacker. The higher it is, the more trouble an attacker will have (The player favored by the locals gets to draw an extra battlecard to use during the course of the planetary campaign for every 15 points of loyalty – or part thereof. If said score is negative, this benefit goes to the attacker). It also sets the maximum number of infantry units that can be deployed without reducing the loyalty score.
  •    Planetary Loyalty Modifiers include having a double strength garrison (+5. This is usually only relevent on newly conquered planets), having an “understrength” garrison (50% or less of the “standard” strength, -5), mounting a valiant defence against overwhelming forces (+2), failing to engage, and make a good try against, an attacking force (A matter for some discussion – but at least 3 turns is probably a minimum. -5), a successful defence (+5), personalities (varies), ruling for four continuous turns (+5), ruling for 20 continuous turns (+10), improving the worlds economy and/or resources (+1 for every +5 improvement), overproducing infantry (EG; deploying a number of infantry units which exceeds the planet’s loyalty rating, -5), being responsible for a minor atrocity/disaster (-5), and sending the infantry out against “major” military forces (Up to -10, at the discretion of a neutral player. Having them run light support for your command staff is reasonable. Sending a dozen armoured infantry units out to catch two scout Mechs is also reasonable. Throwing riflemen at a Thor is not. While minivehicles and combat armor units don’t usually count as infantry, a similar penalty may apply if you throw them at heavy tanks and assault mechs…)
  •    Campaign Loyalty Modifiers apply to every world the user controls… These include; attacking a commercial jumpship (-2. This threatens all interstellar trade), destroying an unarmed jumpship (-3, Ditto), committing a major atrocity (Such as the Kentares Massacre, using nerve gas on a world’s major city or cities, poisoning or destroying the water supplies on a desert world, or some such. -5 – but the first such action does provide a +5 political “resource”; it scares everybody), using nuclear weapons on, or near, an inhabited planet (-5), using major chemical or radiation-based weaponry (Tear gas is fine, nerve gas is not. -2), using microbiological or self-reproducing robotic weaponry (-10), using macrobiological or major (Such as the legendary “Ogre” tanks) robotic weaponry (-5), abandoning or failing to defend a “loyal” (rating 10+) world (-5), any relevant personality (Varies), or betraying an ally or relative (-5. This also includes failing to fulfill your force commitments or breaking your alliances).

   Personalities are your important people. The geniuses, generals, engineers, explorers, and pilots who possess skills well beyond the usual. Those few, exceptional, individuals who make a personal mark on history… In terms of the game, the ones who modify scores & rolls. Despite their varying names & abilities, personalities come in three “grades”; Tactical (Capable of modifying events on a purely local level), Strategic (Capable of modifying events on a planetary level), and “Campaign” (Capable of working on an interstellar level). Each is capable of modifying a particular score or roll, & has a rating for how much they modify it. Tactical figures begin with a base of 10%, but the others begin at only 5%. The range of possible personalities is very broad, but a variety of examples are provided below. No more then one personality of any particular type may modify a particular score or roll at one time. One tactical, one strategic, and one campaign, figure may apply, but additional personalities are of no assistance. Highly “specific” personalities (EG; production engineers who specialize in particular types of units and so on) are worth an increased bonus – although this is subject to player negotiation.

  •    A Campaign Personality can modify Political checks, or Planetary Scores (Economy, Production, and Loyalty, are common. Campaign Research figures are vanishingly rare, and may be disallowed, while Resources cannot be modified by personalities) throughout your dominion. A personality of this type is worth twice as big a bonus if his or her efforts are focused on a single planet – an option sometimes used to obtain excellent planetary commanders or other specialists. As a side effect, the presence of such a personality increases the planetary loyalty or morale score, as appropriate, by 5%.
  •    A Strategic Personality can modify Planetary Scores on a single-planet basis, as well as most of the rolls which may or may not be called for during a turn, such as Espionage, Exploration, and Trade. Expert Commanders may modify rolls on the “Battle Setup” tables during a planetary campaign, Scout Commanders modify scouting – and Brilliant Tacticians can modify (A “-1” bonus) the target numbers of one lance per battle.
  •    Tactical Personalities modify local situations; the production of an installation, facility, mine, or some other resource, command or scouting ratings for a det- achment of troops, the leadership of a single lance (A “-1” bonus on piloting & targeting rolls for the whole lance), the piloting of a single unit (A “-2” bonus on any relevant rolls. Such “pilots” are especially handy aboard Dropships and Warships), and so on.
  •    -Research personalities may be used to try to get a specific result (QV; Politics), but this is limited to trying for new designs. New inventions, technical imp- rovements, and other such items show up when they show up, regardless of directives from the management. They may also be assigned to develop minor modifications on existing designs – as per the usual rules on planetary research.

   Cash is always a major asset. In this setting it’s measured in “Megacredits” – MCr. These are a somewhat abstract unit of currency, but they’re very large. An entire planet generally only yields a couple of MCr in a three-month turn. Of course, most governments are a lot more interested in accumulating and spending money then they are in the details of where it comes from.

  •    Megacredits may be expended as noted on the various game charts (Economic, Political, Espionage, Research, Scouting, and Trade), to bribe or trade with the other players, to pay for overtime production (Spending five MCr will double a world’s effective production score – including bonuses from resources and personalities – for one turn), to pay for special items (QV; Production) – and for any of the following special purposes;
  •    Boosting Morale is easy, but expensive. It involves items like increasing salaries, establishing funds for military widows, orphans, refugees, and pensions, building veteran’s hospitals, funding religious groups, and so on. Each and every MCr spent on such things improves the morale of the spenders troops by 10%, but only for the duration of the turn. Permanent morale boosts can be purchased at ten times that cost – 1 MCr per 1%.
  •    Bribing ComStar is another very expensive notion – but is well worthwhile. ComStar has access to enormous resources, much of the information flowing through the inner sphere, a sizable army – & an enormous espionage net – despite it’s past and current difficulties. Common fields for bribery include; Getting a ComStar facility on a world without one (QV; Special Resources. This is usually fairly easy, requiring a bribe of only 8 MCr and succeeding on a roll of 7+), Borrowing Money (A 30 MCr loan “Costs” 40 MCr and must be paid off at a rate of 10 MCr per turn. Loans are available on a roll of 8+. It is most unwise to default, as ComStar functions as the interstellar banking system… A default will half the value of the defaulters currency – including that used to pay up – until the debt is paid), “Advertising” for Mercenaries (QV; Politics, 91-95. This costs 3 MCr, and succeeds on a 6+), Gaining Information (This counts as a free espionage roll – but only informational results count. This costs 5 MCr and succeeds on a 8+), Getting a ComStar Facility Garrison to help out (This can only be done on worlds where they’re present, costs 10 MCr, and succeeds on an 7+. This may be rolled for free if someone is currently committing a major atrocity or is otherwise wrecking the planet… A ComStar garrison is roughly equal to a standard planetary garrison without miniunits or supplemental forces, and may be rolled up normally) – and Seeking Refuge (Essentially this means taking advantage of ComStars status as neutral ground, and as a bank. ComStar can get a defeated military force offworld on a 7+, at a cost of 10 MCr – along with any relevant noncombatants. A primarily noncombatant group can be evacuated on a 5+ at a cost of 2 MCr – a common fate for defeated nobles and their families). Any other possible areas for bribery, and their chance of success, should be negotiated by the players. One common area for such negotiations is the purchase of `Mechs, `Mech Designs, and other military gear. No matter what, the bribe/fee is paid BEFORE the success roll is made. It should be noted that mercenaries hired through ComStar may be used to make “anonymous” raids, but the “bribe” is 6 MCr instead of 3, the mercenary group will always demand double maintenance (Rather then land grants and /or favors), and sending them up against hopeless odds (In the judgement of some neutral player) will make it far more difficult to hire mercs in the future (QV the listing for Mercenaries, below).
  •    Building A Factory. This is fairly straightforward; It’s basically just building up a planetary production score. This requires eight turns and provides a “price break” dependent on just how “specific” the facilities constructed are. A factory intended to produce a particular class/type/specific unit provides a “production bonus” of +2/3/4 per MCr spent. Existing factories may be converted to new purposes at half the cost and time required to build a new factory. They may be upgraded in capacity in four turns at the usual cost. Factories designed to produce specific types of units may be up- graded to produce variants thru the expenditure of two MCr… The total production bonus due to factories may not exceed +50% on any single planet.
  •    Build Up Planetary Ratings (+1 per MCr spent, up to a maximum of 5 per turn. The effects of such spending are doubled if the planetary score is below zero).
  •    Countering Political Bribery is fairly simple; when a player announces that he or she plans to expend some money modifying his, or her, politics check, the other players may choose to expend some money interfering. Unfortunately, since this is bound to be somewhat less well-directed then the original bribery, the sum spent by the other players is halved before being subtracted from the amount spent by the original player. Results of zero or less have no effect.
  •    Establishing A Church usually requires either a new invention or having a suitable new religion arise (QV; Politics, there is only about a 2 in 6 chance that any particular new religion will be suitable for this). In either case, setting up a more-or-less official “state religion” costs some 3D6x5 MCr over the next two turns – but results in the acquisition of a +5 political resource and a +10 bonus to Morale. Roll 1D6; 1; Some other weird religion decrees you a “force of evil”. A minimum of one raid per turn may be expected. 2; Great rejoicing raises your popularity. All loyalties raised by 3. 3; 1D6/2 planets attempt to secede (QV; Negative Political Results), 4; A “major” religion of the inner sphere launches a jyhad or holy war against you. This is treated as a major invasion. 5; You attract a bunch of converts. You gain a Solar System, as per Politics, 148-149. 6; You inspire many with religious fervor and a desire to spread your faith. You gain 5000 CP worth of “free recruits” per turn. Whatever happens, keeping your church running costs (Planets/4) MCr each turn. A failure to pay negates any good results – but does not affect bad ones. Getting rid of bad results requires a public rejection of the faith, an action which results in a 5% drop in loyalty on all your worlds.
  •    Hiring Commercial Jumpships isn’t easy. Most prefer the secure, established, routes and profits of the inner sphere. Even fewer are willing to carry military drop- ships for a periphery lordling – and most of those are already accounted for during game setup. Traders can, however, be used to “sneak” minor forces onto a world. Spies and Scout-I/II units do so as a matter of routine, but it requires special arrangements to slip in larger units, and the process is rather unreliable. Still, this is one way to bypass orbital defences. The units which can be slipped in – and the odds on successfully doing so – are noted below. Unfortunately, this costs 1 MCr per unit shipped – and the odds of success are checked on each unit, although the order is up to the shipper. A failed roll indicates that the shipment could not be delivered. A roll failed by 2+ (EG; 2- on a 5+ check) indicates that the unit shipped has automatically been captured, with a 3 in 6 chance that the proceeding and succeeding units will be captured as well.
  •    Drones may be slipped in as basic “cargo” in 50 ton units. This is relatively simple, and has an excellent (5+) chance of success. Minivehicles and Combat Armor units may be shipped in similarily (The pilots/drivers travel normally), but combat armor is tough to explain to customs. The chances of success are only 6+ for the minivehicles and 7+ for the combat armor. A Scout-III unit will get through on a 6+. Most other units are shipped in set of four; Ultralight stuff can be gotten thru on a 7+, and Light Vehicles on an 8+, but it’s very hard to sneak even Light Mech’s and Aerospace Fighters in, requiring a 9+. If anyone wants to bother with it, Engineering, Medical, and Command units can be shipped in as Scout-III units are.
  •    Just as a note, there is no guarantee that a trader will be available to do this sort of thing at all. The availability roll is a 7+ – but there is a +1 bonus on the roll for every ten points of trade resources which the player has access to.
  •    Hiring Mercenary Dropships is rather expensive, but is also often necessary. If any are available, “light” dropships may be hired for a turn for half a MCr – and are usually hired in pairs. “Medium” dropships are available for 1 MCr, Heavy ones for 2 – and Ultraheavy ones for 4. Sadly, dropships are not always available. There is a 3 in 6 shot at any particular type of light dropship being available, 2 in 6 for medium dropships, 1 in 6 for heavy dropships, and ultraheavy ones are only available on a total of 2-3 on 2D6. Each standard type of ship is checked individually. If one dropship of a particular type is available, there’s a similar chance of a second one of the same type being available (This is automatic for “Light” dropships – which are checked for in pairs) however that is usually the upper limit. Hired dropships may be retained from turn to turn, but must be paid every turn.
  •    Making An Impression is fairly simple. It consists of sponsoring charities, holding impressive neo-feudal ceremonies, paying for massive public festivities, and otherwise impressing everyone with your wealth, power, benevolence, nobility, and importance. Whoever puts up the best show (IE; spends the most money) on this gets a 5% bonus on his/her politics check for the turn. The amount spent by each player should be noted secretly and then compared to determine the winner. If a NPC state is involved, it’s expenditure may be set as 1D6-2 MCr.
  •    Mercenaries are normally available according to the various tables, but the players may elect to give them a more prominent role. If this option is selected roll 1D6 each turn; 1-2; None available. 3; 1/4’th company, 4; 1/2 Company, 5; 1 Company, 6; 1 1/2 Companies. Who they wind up working for can be decided by competitive bidding among the players. States that’ve earned a reputation for misusing, cheating, betraying, abandoning or undersupplying mercenaries, must offer double bids. A standard mercenary contract lasts for one turn – but may be renewed from turn to turn as long as the player can afford it. Once that contract is allowed to lapse, there is a 3 in 6 chance that the group will leave the area. If not, it will again be available for hire. If someone (An extra, occasional, or visiting, player) is available to play the various mercenary groups, things can get a good deal more complicated.
  •    Obtain Planetary Information. While general, basic, information (Name, allegiance, general description and obvious features [“It’s a waterworld”, “There’s a huge orbital shipyard”], impressive [15+] resources, and type [Minor, Major, Other]) is freely available, details, and military data, is harder to come by. A “basic” survey costs 1 MCr – but also provides the planetary scores and resource ratings, as well as an estimate of the worlds garrison (Weak/Half standard or less. Average/51-150% of standard, Strong/Twice standard or more – and Absurd/ Five times standard or more), and an idea of what it’s major components are (EG – “Mostly light Mechs, with a few heavy tanks”). A detailed survey (2 MCr) provides an accurate count of the garrisons major units by type (Light Mech, Hovertank, Etc), the general locations, and descriptions, of major (CP 120+) installations – and a rough idea of what miniunits are around. An intensive survey costs 3 MCr, identifies the garrison’s units by name, provides detailed descriptions of major install- ations – and provides a decent idea of what additional forces are available on other worlds in the system. If somebody wants to defend his / her worlds against such spying they may spend a few MCr on secrecy, purchasing a resistance check of 10+/9+/8+/7+/6+/5+ for 0/2/3/5/7 /10 MCr per turn. Fortunately, this fee covers all of your planets.
  •    Pay Off The Inner Sphere. The inner sphere tends to get interested when a minor state out on the periphery displays exotic technologies, begins producing major – or original – military units, or just starts expanding rapidly. The price of evading such attention, and any accompanying espionage, invasions, or raids is one MCr for every two planets “you” possess each turn. This is a rather expensive precaution – but may turn out to be well worth it.

   Military Forces are what everyone is interested in. Sadly, they’re hard to come by. While it’s presumed that each local overlord has managed to salvage, hire, steal, purchase, marry into, or otherwise somehow come into possession of a modest “army”, such units must be maintained, more must be produced – and the technology needed to keep up with the neighbors must be developed if you wish to remain competitive. Further details may be found in the appropriate sections of the rules.


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