Thursday, April 28, 2016

FWL taxes from "Succession Wars" boardgame

Firstly: it's Succession Wars (not BattleForce) that contains a concise overview of BattleTech's history up to 3025. (I'm a little surprised nobody questioned that.)

I wish I'd found a better scan of the Succession Wars (hereafter SW) map, but the borders, names and values all seem faithful. You can see many places where the borders of a tax region follow the contours of a province. Or, looking just below Atreus on the HM:FWL map, vice versa. I suppose FASA drew both from an earlier map.

I've done my best to match them up. 

Now, the Taxes

The Tax Zones look gerrymandered, so I think I can assume the nine outer zones really do represent 10/25ths of the FWL's taxes. If so, and if the known provinces contribute a share proportionate to their votes, then that leaves an average of 0.4 votes' worth for each independent star system; by the same logic, independent systems in the eight inner zones should average 1.5 votes each.

ZoneSW Taxes   Est. from
Avg Votes
Adding up the votes in each tax zone, it looks like most zones mostly work. They can be tweaked to fit.

Some zones can't work no matter what, just because the dominant provinces have too many or too few votes.

It's interesting that the zones which are low happen to be next to zones which are high by the same amount; maybe some votes were shifted for gameplay, or maybe the 3D positions of the stars don't map well to a 2D surface.

It's also interesting that the Marik Commonwealth and Duchy of Oriente, which support more 'Mech regiments than you'd expect from their voting power, also contribute more taxes in SW; and that Andurien, which is famous for being unhelpful militarily, contributes less SW taxes (Furud) than you'd expect from their voting power.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Provinces in the FWL

To help me place the FWL's last shipyard, I've been working out how much economic activity happens on each world; and since a province's economic output equates directly to that province's voting power in Parliament, I've been searching HM:FWL for clues about how many Members of Parliament each world gets.
  • At least four provinces occupy only part of a world: New Assam on Tiber IV (page 145), Ryal on Atreus (page 50), Khe Shang on Tamarind (page 138) and Olympica on New Olympia (page 154). Plus, since the world of Thirty Weight (page 34) doesn't appear on the map, it probably shares a star with some other world.
  • At least seven provinces seem to consist of a single world: Kyeinnisan (page 120 and map), Panjang (page 70); and Oliver (page 164 and map) and Dalton, Tania Australis, Gallatin and Bainsville (page 50), which seem to have more than one Member of Parliament.

The map shows 18 provinces which claim more than two star systems, amounting to 132 of the FWL's 333 star systems. Assuming that the 201 other star systems contain a single world each, and that the 136 smaller provinces contain no more than two worlds each, then they're split somewhere between
  • 88 with two stars, 25 with one star, and 23 share stars
  • 70 with two stars, 61 with one star, and 5 share stars
The FWL has over 400 worlds across its 333 star systems, though (page 153); adding extra worlds skews the ratio towards more worlds per province. You can skew it back by introducing provinces with three or more worlds, as  long as "the vast majority consist of one or two worlds" (page 62).

Names Can Be Misleading

Provinces are often referred to by the name of their primary world or ruling House (page 55, 72-74, major provinces on 84). The primary world is usually a "parent-state" supporting the province's other worlds as colonial "client-states" (page 63, 98, 100, 149). The ruler of a planet may be an Earl or Count or what-have-you (page 60) but they're all generically referred to as "dukes" (page 24).
  • The Sirian Concordat (or Sirian Concordance) is often referred to as "Sirius" even though Sirius isn't isn't part of it anymore. The ducal seat might be Procyon.
  • The Principality of Regulus is ruled by the Count of Harmony from the House of Cameron (page 103, 149), from the ducal seat of Regulus. Harmony and Cameron are also planets in the principality.
  • The Duchy of Orloff is ruled by an Earl from the House of Orloff, from the ducal seat of Carbonis (page 24). Orloff is a world too (page 111) but it isn't on the map, so I guess at least one of their stars has multiple inhabited worlds.
  • The Province of LeFarge is ruled by an Earl (page 72) who--like the MPs from New Olympia, Silver and Marcus (page 49, 69, 142)--happens to be "MP from Bowang" (page 34, 147) instead of "MP from the province of LeFarge." So Bowang is probably in the province of LeFarge, with some other world being the ducal seat. 
  • The Silver Hawks are called "a coalition of independent worlds" (page 64) even though several of them have client worlds. So it's not clear whether worlds like Nestor and Talitha (page 42), Camlann (page 63), Irian (page 124), Holt (page 143), or the nineteen other examples of government (page 73-74) go solo or have client-worlds.
There Used to Be Other Notable Provinces

The FWL has been fragmenting ever since "Camlann vs. the FWL" in 2683, but in 2571 it had only 15 provinces (page 62-63).
  • Marik Commonwealth
  • Duchy of Oriente (including what would become Orloff and The Protectorate)
  • Principality of Regulus (including what would become Gibson, Regulan Free States and Rim Commonality)
  • Stewart Commonwealth (conquered in 2295)
  • Duchy of Graham-Marik(separated from Marik in 2400s)
  • nine other provinces, probably including Tamarind and Abbey, plus Bolan and about half of Steiner's Alarion province (held perhaps as late as 2940s)
Those other provinces would contain about 120 of the modern FWL's stars, but I'm not sure how many would've been colonized at the time, especially since they're mostly in the outer half of the League (colonization figures in MW1e would cut their number by 25%).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Have a Mech: Eridani LAM

I wrote most of this last summer and then started picking at it again, off and on, after Christmas.

(Text version here.)

Where my Banshee LAM entry was all about how awesome the Banshee is, this Merlin entry  is more about the circumstances surrounding the Merlin.

It's longer than I'd like. Were I trying to fit it onto an actual published page, I'd probably have to trim some of the setup from the historical battles, and abbreviate the description of the -2X variant.

Edit, April 6: Someone pointed out that the Merlin was the construction example in BattleDroids too, not just 2nd Edition BattleTech. Half-ton jump jets and everything! Still a good fit for the Super Griffin, though. /Edit