03: Starmap and Game Setup

The Galactic Sector:

   Starmap Generation : Starmaps may be created on any blank hex sheet – the back of a battletech map will do very nicely – via a series of rolls on the table given below. The “standard” scale is 15 light years (Jump-1) to the hex. Players should select a quadrant to place their initial planetary holdings in either randomly or in advance. Once the map’s been set up, each player is entitled to specify the contents of three hexes within their quadrant. By convention, the remaining worlds of the inner sphere are assumed to be located “below” the board, while unexplored space is located “above” it.

   Once the map is completed the players should decide on which systems contain their initial worlds, as well as on their initial jump routes.

   Groups of unclaimed worlds are normally presumed to represent non-player political groups – possibly semi-independent, but quite willing to come to each other’s assistance against a conqueror. For the sake of speed, the nature of such worlds can be determined with a D6) 1-3; Other World, 4-5; Minor World – and 6; Major World. They’re presumed livable. Each such world also permits a check for asteroid colonies and such. D6) 1-4; None, 5; Other World – and, 6; Minor World.


Basic Hex Contents (D20) :

  • 1-12 : Nothing but interstellar gas. Exploration and a detailed survey may reveal rogue planets, a microdwarf sun, or some other oddity of great astronomical – and no practical – interest.
  • 13-14 : Single Sun. These may be assumed to have some exploitable asteroid belts and/or uninhabitable planets if anyone wants to bother with them – but they have no habitable ones.
  • 15-16 : Sun with “habitable” planet(s); (1D6) 1-4; 1, 5-6; 2. Note that “Habitable” merely denotes a planet which could be made livable, it does not necessarily mean that someone has already done so. Habitable worlds claimed by a player are presumed livable. Planets which wind up “unclaimed” may be checked on the next table. Exploitable asteroid belts and/or uninhabitable planets may be assumed to be present, if anyone wants to bother with them.
  • 17 : Distant Binary; In practical terms, these are two separate – if nearby – solar systems with a total of (1D6) 1; Nothing but uninhabitable worlds and asteroids, 2-3; Rich asteroids (+10% on the resource rating of any “planet” set up there), 4; One habitable world, 5; Two habitable worlds, 6; Three habitable worlds.
  • 18-19 : A Close Binary Star. The safe jump points for these are a long ways out, and the inner system tends to be hot and dangerously unstable.
  • 20 : Something Unusual (1D6) 1; A Black Hole. Interesting, but useless, 2; A Dense Nebula. This may (D6, 1-3) contain a newborn star and rich resources (+20%), but anyone who goes to look risks a 2 in 6 chance that the nebula is too thick to allow the use of a jump sail. 3; A close group of three (or more) stars. These resemble distant binaries, 4; A variable sun. It takes (1D6*1D6*3) hours to recharge a jump drive here. These may have asteroids and such, but lack habitable worlds, 5; A Pulsar. These are extremely dangerous and cannot recharge a jump sail, 6; A giant star. These recharge a jump drive within two hours.


Unclaimed Worlds in Claimed or Isolated Systems (D6) :

  • 1) An Independent World – if possibly not for long. 1) Poor Other World (Gets no bonus points when/if it gets rolled up). If it’s in a system which someone’s already claimed, they decided to get it later – if at all. 2) Other World, with 20 bonus points of resources in a Home Guard and/or defensive Military stuff. 3) A Minor Industrial World. Ditto above, plus a triple-strength garrison. An alliance is very likely the best way to go. 4) A Major Industrial World, with a defensive alliance and a double-strength garrison. 5) A Minor Industrial World, now held by allies / relatives of another lordling. Attacking will normally lead to it being reinforced by 1/4’th a company. Actually capturing it will lead to 1D6+2 reprisal raids at a rate of 2 per turn. 6) An Other World that’s currently in contention. Two full companies are slugging it out, and will be doing so for the next 1D6+1 turns. After that it will be occupied by a full company for the next 12 turns, as either (5, above), or as an outpost of a major house (2, below).
  • 2) An outpost of a major house. The planet probably has something well worthwhile on it – but it’s not likely to be worth the war.
  • 3) The biopackages were dropped and it’s livable, but the world was never developed. It may be colonized as usual.
  • 4) No/Alien biosphere, but may be seeded and developed.
  • 5) Wrecked. The place is somewhat habitable, but was bombarded or struck by some planetary cataclysm at some point. It may be redeveloped to the status of an “Other” world at 1/4’th the base cost.
  • 6) Allied or held by relatives. You may draw on up to 50% of it’s resources and production – but have an obligation to come to it’s assistance if/when it’s attacked. It’s a (D6) 1-3; Other World, 4-5; Minor Industrial World, 6; Major Industrial World. In an unclaimed system this result indicates an alliance with an NPC group, either on or off the board.


Player Domains :

Initial Planetary Holdings :

   A players initial holdings will normally include 3-4 major industrial worlds (D6; 1-2=3, 3-6=4), 4-6 worlds with minor industries (D6; 1=4, 2-4=5, 5-6=6), and 4-5 nonindustrial other worlds (D6; 1-2=4, 3-6=5). The base ratings for each world are determined by rolling once per world on the tables below and then spending the listed number of optional points to boost desired ratings – although such spending is limited to the maximum listed in the last column.

Major Industrial Worlds Controlled:

  • Roll 1D6: 1-2=3, 3-6=4
  • Roll 1D6 to determine the base ratings column.
  • Spend 25 optional points to boost base ratings.
(1D6) 1-3 4-5 6 MaxAdd
Economy 15 25 -10 20
Production 25 35 40 15
Resources 0 -5 20 10
Research -20 -5 5 5
Loyalty 10 15 0 10

Minor Industrial Worlds Controlled:

  • Roll 1D6: 1=4, 2-4=5, 5-6= 6
  • Roll 1D6 to determine the base ratings column.
  • Spend 30 optional points to boost base ratings.
(1D6) 1-3 4-5 6 MaxAdd
Economy 5 15 -25 10
Production 10 15 5 10
Resources 10 -25 15 10
Research -60 -25 -80 30
Loyalty 0 5 -15 10

Other Worlds Controlled:

  • Roll 1D6: 1-2=4, 3-6=5
  • Roll 1D6 to determine the base ratings column.
  • Spend 40 optional points to boost base ratings.
(1D6) 1-3 4-5 6 MaxAdd
Economy -40 -30 -80 20
Production -30 -20 -5 10
Resources 25 30 20 15
Research -90 -60 -40 55
Loyalty 15 25 -15 20
  • Each player may designate one of his or her worlds as the Capitol (Economy +10, Production +20, and Loyalty +20) and one as a Trading Center (Economy +40, Production -10).
  • If a player initially controls 10 worlds, add 10 optional points to each world.
  • If a player initially controls 11 worlds, add 5 optional points to each world.
  • If a player initially controls 14 worlds, subtract 5 optional points from each world.
  • If a player initially controls 15 worlds, subtract 10 optional points from each world.

Initial Treasury :

   1D6+20 Megacredits. Some or all of this money may be used to improve initial planetary ratings.

Initial Personalities :

  • 1D4+2 Tactical Figures (+10% on local scale)
  • 1D4+4 Strategic Figures (+5% on planetary scale)
  • 1D2 Campaign Figures (+5% on stellar scale)

Initial Jump Routes :

   Each domain starts with three personal, secret, jump routes. Such routes have a maximum length of 4 hexes and must begin within the quadrant containing the domain.

Initial Information :

   All players begin with access to “basic” information about everything on the map (QV “Cash; Obtain Planetary Information”). More detailed information costs money.

Military Forces :

  • Total available Construction Points : 120,000
  • Maximum number of initial units : 500
  • All units come with support personnel and equipment.
Construction Limits Total Units (1) Designs (2)
Mech Units 100 (24) 12 (3)
LAM Units 8 (4) 3 (1)
Aerospace Units 24 (12) 8 (1)
Vehicles 150 (60) 25 (5)
Infantry (3) 1250 (0) ——
Combat Armor 60 (40) 1 (1)
Minivehicles 180 (120) 6 (4)
Drones 50 (50) 1 (1)
Installations 60 (60) ——
Miscellaneous (4) 12 (12) 12 (0)
Dropships (5) Special 6 (0)
Jumpships (6) Special ——
  • (1) Total Units indicates the maximum number of units of the type which may be included in your initial forces. The second, parenthetical, value is the number of those initial units which may be of original designs.
  • (2) Designs indicates the number of specific designs you may select – both for later production, and among your initial forces. The parenthetical value is the number of “original” designs which that selection may include. These are considered standardized designs (QV; Production). Omnimech designs only “come with” three configurations, but it’s easy to develop more. Players may also take up to three extra omnimech configurations, or three “minor” variations on a design (QV; Research), as a second slot.
  • (3) Infantry units count as only 1/10’th of a “unit” for setup purposes. You can have a lot of them if you want.
  • (4) EG; Command, Engineering, Scout, and Medical units.
  • (5) Players automatically begin with a free selection of 1D4+4 Light, 1D4+1 medium, and 1D4-2 Heavy dropships, and may build more if they desire – but only begin with six designs. This does not limit their initial selections – but dropships simply aren’t as easy to copy as `Mechs and vehicles. “Extra” dropships cost 2000/3000/4000/12000 points to start with.
  • (6) Players automatically begin with access to jumpships with a total jump rating of 1D6+6, and a total capacity of 3D6+12 dropships. Sadly, individual ratings may not exceed Jump-2/6 Dropships. If the player so desires, a portion of his or her initial CP allotment may be spent acquiring additional ships, or on upgrading one or more of those initial ships (QV Production) with naval-class armaments or multijump systems.
  • (7) Any MCr unit costs do not apply. Points may also be used to establish a stockpile of spare parts (IE; saved to pay maintenence), but spare parts may not be used to build units later on.


Military Companies :

   “Standard Military Companies” occur as mercenaries, raiders, house troops, challengers, and in various other places throughout the rules. Their composition may be determined as follows;

Size and Technological Base (1D6) :

  • 1-2) 4D6+8 Lances, and 3D6 “Minor” Units, equipped with Old Inner Sphere Designs.
  • 3-5) 4D6+4 Lances, and 2D6 “Minor” Units, equipped with Star League or upgraded Inner Sphere Designs.
  • 6) 3D6 Lances, and 1D6 “Minor” Units, equipped with Clan or other Advanced Designs.
Standard Lances (2D6)   Special Units (1D6) :
02) Medium LAM   1) Assault Mech Lance
03) Heavy Battlemech   2) Engineering Unit
04) Light BattleMech (1)   3) Command Unit
05) Medium BattleMech   4) Medical Unit
06) Fighter Unit   5) Scout Unit II
07) Heavy Vehicle   6) Scout Unit III
08) Special Unit    
09) Light Vehicle (1)   Fighter Units (1D6) :
10) Light Vehicle   1-2) Light (Pair)
11) Heavy Vehicle   3-4) Medium (Pair)
12) Light LAM   5-6) Heavy (Pair)

   (1) Two “Ultralight” lances may replace a “Light” one

“Minor” Units (2D6):

  • 02) Technical Staff (Noncombatants. +50% Salvage).
  • 03) Four Jump or Motorized Infantry Platoons.
  • 04) Combat Armor Platoon (Five units)
  • 05) Dependents/Staff (Noncombatants. Morale +10%).
  • 06) Armored Infantry Platoon.
  • 07) Ultralight Vehicle Lance (Four units).
  • 08) Minivehicle “Lance” (Four units).
  • 09) Scout Unit I.
  • 10) Tactical Personality (Military types only).
  • 11) Drones/Guided Missiles (Eight units)
  • 12) Support Weapons “Platoon” (Provides light rocket-artillery support, equal to the Artillery Support card, when the company is defending, or attacking a fixed position, only.

Dropship Support (1D6):

  • 1-2) None. Do not check the Jumpship Support table.
  • 3) Two Light.
  • 4) Two Light, one Medium.
  • 5) One Light, two Medium.
  • 6) Two Light, one Medium, one Heavy.

Jumpship Support (1D6, All assumed to be Jump-2):

  • 1-3) None. Dependent on employer/commercial transport.
  • 4-5) One Jumpship, 1D6 Dropship Capacity.
  • 6) Two Jumpships. One Scout (Carries one Dropship), one with a 1D6 Dropship capacity.


Planetary Garrisons:

   Standard planetary garrisons are most commonly seen defending a non-player world against a player’s attack – but they also provide a standard to measure a worlds garrison against when considering loyalty modifiers. The figures given are for the periphery. Worlds of the inner sphere have double-strength garrisons, as do any major trading centers. Clan worlds, and Capitol worlds, usually get triple-strength garrisons.

   Lance compositions are determined by rolling on the “Standard Lance” table given above. The various mini-units may be selected by the defender. In addition, a planet can easily muster a number of jump or motorized infantry units equal to it’s loyalty rating if anyone wants to bother. Alternatively, these may simply be assumed to be in use as observers and class-1 scouts.

   Production/Turn indicates the number of new lances, and new miniunits, the planet may be assumed to build, hire, or buy, per turn. Such production is limited to a maximum of 6 turns accumulation – rounding fractions up. Note that the garrison-strength multipliers given above (Inner Sphere/Trade Center x2, Clan/Capital x3), apply to this value as well.

   Minor states may transfer their resources around to meet threats. Sadly, the population gets upset if you totally strip the garrison. At least 1/2 the standard forces need to be left to defend the place.


Planet Type Lances(1) Miniunits Production per Turn
Other World



1/4 Lance, 6 Miniunits

Minor Industrial



1/2 Lance, 12 Miniunits

Major Industrial



1 Lance, 18 Miniunits

   (1) The default technology level is Star League. The defender may take Old Inner Sphere designs only (+1/2/3 lances for Other/Minor/Major worlds), or clan/advanced designs (-1/2/3 lances for Other/Minor/Major worlds). The maximum “accumulation” is 8 turns for inner sphere designs, 4 for clan gear.

Jumpship and Dropship Support:

   Dropships: Roll 1D6 per habitable planet, 2D6 for major industrial worlds. Read each individually; 1; No Dropship, 2-5; One Dropship, and 6; Two Dropships. The type should be determined randomly for each dropship – from the list of (D6) 1-4 Light Dropships, 5-6; Medium Dropships.

   Jumpships: Roll 1D6 for every two “other” or minor industrial planets, and 1D6 per major industrial planet. Read each individually; 1-2; Jump-1 with a capacity of 4 Dropships, 3; Jump-1 merchant operating in the area, 4; Jump-2 merchant operating in the area. Merchants do not need jump routes, as they can pass unhindered thru the inner sphere. Merchants normally remain available for hire no matter who’s running the local government, and can be assumed to operate within whatever state is in charge (EG – They can transfer resources and troops), but will charge for combat missions. NPC’s don’t have to worry about cash (Lucky NPC’s), 5-6; None. Oh well.

Planetary Complications:

Military Complications (2D6, Once Per Planet):

  • 2) Defensive Alliance/Mercenaries. Add 8 lances and 4 “Minor Units” to the planetary garrison.
  • 3) 12 Standard System Defense Stations. The defender may place these as desired.
  • 4) Planetary Installations, with a total value of 2D6 x100 CP. The defender may set these up as desired.
  • 5) Ongoing Raid or Invasion. The garrison is halved, but the raiders will also have to be dealt with.
  • 6) Opposing Tactical/Strategic Personality, and 2D6x100 CP worth of Planetary Installations.
  • 7) Two opposing Personalities and 2D6x100 CP worth of Planetary Installations.
  • 8) 1D6 Home Guard Units, 60 Miniunits each. Armoured Infantry counts as five miniunits per platoon.
  • 9) Three opposing Personalities and 2D6x100 CP worth of Planetary Installations.
  • 10) Roll twice, rerolling 10+
  • 11) Roll three times, rerolling 10+
  • 12) Extreme (+50) loyalty. Expect partisan resistance.

Planetary Resources (Roll in blocks of 5/10 points):

  • 02) Espionage. Non-player planets with espionage resources allow the defender to draw four extra Battlecards during the course of an invasion.
  • 03) Exploration.
  • 04) Military (Table bonus). Defender selects. If the planet was acquired randomly, the player selects.
  • 05) Trade (Optionally D6; 1 H. Potential, 2-6 Trade)
  • 06) Specific Production. Given the number of possible resources this may be chosen at whim by any handy neutral player. Priority should probably be given to the sort of stuff in the local garrison.
  • 07) Economic.
  • 08) General Production.
  • 09) Home Guard. Non-player planets with “Home Guards” get 500 CP worth of stuff per resource point. The unit selection is up to the “defender” but should be approved by a neutral player. If the world was developed by a player he/she may select units. In either case, the usual limits must be observed.
  • 10) Military (Environmental). Defender selects. If a world was acquired “randomly” the player selects.
  • 11) Research. Optionally, conquered/acquired worlds, but not those you develop, may supply access to a new Technical Improvement/Exotic System instead. If the players decide to allow this the chance is roughly 50%, and the improvement may be freely used by/in the defending units.
  • 12) Political.

   This table should be consulted both for independent planets and when a player acquires/develops a “random” world or worlds.

Planetary Conquest:


Roll 2/3/5 times for Other/Minor/Major Worlds:

  • 02) A Standard LAM Design (1).
  • 03) Information (Roll on the “Espionage” table. Only “Informational” results count).
  • 04) A Standard Battlemech Design (1).
  • 05) Cash; 1D6+2 MCr.
  • 06) A Standard Minivehicle Design (1).
  • 07) Luxuries (Artwork, fine wines, lovely concubines, exotic foods and spices, or whatever. This has no particular game effect).
  • 08) A Standard Vehicle Design (1).
  • 09) Military Supplies; 2D6x500 CP worth of items such as spare parts and maintenance supplies.
  • 10) Resources; two months supply, totaling 60 points, worth of some special production/trade resource.
  • 11) Recruit Personality (If one is available) or gain a valuable hostage (QV; Espionage, 85-89).
  • 12) A Standard Drone or Combat Armor Design(1).

   (1) Acquired Designs are limited to those which were used by the planet’s defenders. Higher priority should be given to those which they used a lot of (IE; If the defending units included lots of some particular tank, the odds are good that it was produced locally). As a note, if a world has “specific” production facilities, these include the appropriate design.

Collatoral Damage:

  • 02-07) None.
  • 08) Partisan Unrest. One extra turn of “Guerilla Warfare”. This is hard on the planets production and economy – and will include 1D6+1 small encounters between individual garrison units or lances and a selection of roughly-equivalent rebel forces. As a rule, captures are better then kills. They tend to settle things faster.
  • 09) Political. -5% on your next political roll.
  • 10) Provoked Raiding. 1D6/2 standard raids will take place at a rate of one per turn, normally against the worlds with the weakest garrisons.
  • 11) Reduced Planetary Rating(s). Subtract a total of 1D6 points from economy, production, or research. This usually results from rioting, city combat, and sabotage, but could just indicate bad luck.
  • 12) Desertion/Settlement. Units totaling 10% of the unit CP sent on the planetary attack “disappear”. Their exact fate may never be known, but they may become mercenaries, settle down in the boondocks, get ahold of something extremely valuable and leave to enjoy their new wealth, or whatever. The exact occasion may be determined by a neutral player if it might matter.

2 Responses

  1. Didn’t see the option for the single planet/system democracy in there. What can I say, I’d like to start off with a few inventions…

    • Well, it wasn’t normally an option. It would be an interesting way to start though; it would just have to be by special arrangement with the other players.

      Still, who knows? I may throw it in one of these days.

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