Monday, August 29, 2016

Chargers and Banshees and Loss Rates

  • The Charger and Banshee show the same rate of loss per year, which lets us estimate that there are about 1155 Firestarters (or one per battalion), 100 Clints, 150-450 Assassins and 350 Victors walking around in 3025.  
  • Stingers use a different and simpler ratio, which lets us estimate that there are 2500 Archers, 1100 Jenners, and probably 100 (but maybe 700) Atlases in 3025. 
  • The Wasp's figures are only possible if it were abandoned early on and then revived after the Star League fell.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Twenty Thousand

First, I shouldn't have treated 20YU, TR:3050 and MW2e as representing a single point in time. I've rewritten my "79k" post to reflect how things change from one to the next.

I don't know if the "1000 'Mechs per entry" trick will tease any useful data out of TR:3055; I doubt it'll work for TR:3058. (Fortunately I have the Field Manuals to work from. What will be trickier is figuring out how to account for ultra-light 'Mechs.)

ComStar's Cache Under Hilton Head

The Warrior Trilogy says "ComStar has more BattleMechs hidden here than any of the Successor States can claim." Clearly more than Davion's 110 regiments (14k 'Mechs), but probably less than Davion+Steiner's 110+75 regiments (23.7k 'Mechs). TR:2750 has twenty 'Mech entries; at 1k apiece, that would make 20k 'Mechs--right in the middle.

The MW2e affiliation table implies that ComStar expends 1200 'Mechs/yr against the Clans. At that rate, the cache would last 16.67 years, which would seem like a natural fit for the Truce-End date in 3067. 

Except ComStar already pulled at least 8300 to 8900 'Mechs out of the cache between the end of the Fourth Succession War and the Battle of Tukayyid. So the cache runs dry no later than early 3062, more likely by 3060, and even earlier if Focht prepares a secondary cache on Tukayyid. [Edit, Aug 28: Or earlier yet if ComStar continued supplying 'Mechs to the Rasalhague Kungsarme. /Edit]

Thursday, August 25, 2016

33 Solahma NPCs

Need NPCs? Here's a bunch. Back at the beginning of June, someone in /BTG/ requested almost-solahma Smoke Jaguars for a "Dirty Dozen" type unit to be assembled in secret by their Loremaster.

I responded with four, each one a different combination of happy or unhappy and ambitious or not ambitious. (I wanted a third angle to differentiate their attitudes, which would've made for eight combinations, but couldn't come up with one.) Named randomly because I never know how to name* Clanners.
Oscar, RFL IIC (Jag AC variant) - mediocre warrior from a group of patrilineal mixings the Jags have given up on. All warriors from that breeding line know that their careers are basically over, no matter what trajectory they were on before. The chip on Oscar's shoulder has worked him into even worse assignments than he'd normally get.

Arkady [insert bloodname], Warhammer IIC (Jag LRM variant) - one of the intelligent commanders who retreated early on Tukayyid. Ousted by a new power bloc but accepted the demotion gracefully. Recognizes a losing battle and respects enemies who devise them.

Lora and Branka, Shadow Cats - relatively young; could've been ristars but pissed off the wrong people. Mistakenly see themselves as the Loremaster's proteges and are convinced that a good showing here puts them on track to a bloodname.

Tamari, Jenner IIC - unusually competent freebirth warrior who was popular isorla among several Homeworld Clans in the four years before Revival. Seems easy going for a Jag - she tries to settle disputes with comrades with Trial by Dance Off (augmented or not) instead of combat - yet really enjoys unaugmented murder and is basically super happy to be in this unit.
I'm pretty happy with these, even if they're not terrifically original. (I'm pretty sure I'm channeling the "mistaken protege," "popular isorla" and "augmented dance-off" concepts from NPCs other people have posted previously.)

After mulling it over a few hours, I posted six more:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The 156 Most Populous Worlds Amount to 450 Billion People

[Edit, 2019 April 2: revised calculation here. /Edit]

Someone called Mendrugo is doing an interesting review of BattleTech fiction in stardate order (wrong franchise, sure, but it's easier than saying "chronological according to fictional date rather than real world copyright date"), and he's raised an interesting question: how come worlds like Trellwan, Verthandi and Stein's Folly don't seem to have HPGs when MW1e says HPG stations are located on every inhabited world in the Inner Sphere?

The trick is that the HPG comment comes in a section which distinguishes "inhabited" worlds (and bandit holds) from mere colonies. To wit: while "uncounted other worlds are claimed and exploited by Davion forces," the Federated Suns only possess "about 110 star systems actively settled under its aegis" (page 112). The old House Davion sourcebook (FASA1623, hereafter HD:FS) agrees by setting the number of duchies at 100 to 120. (No doubt the exact number fluctuates with loss and conquest along the House border.)

Unlike the other House books, at most 19 of the 30 worlds listed in the HD:FS Atlas have substantial populations; adding the 9 Chesterton worlds published previously in HL:CC brings the Suns up to 28--exactly the same as the Free Worlds League, and in line with the Draconis Combine and Lyran Commonwealth.

The Housebook Atlases focus overwhelmingly on capitals and other highly populated worlds. By failing to list more such worlds, the HD:FS Atlas rather strongly suggests that the Federated Suns don't have any more to list; and since the Chesterton worlds give the Suns' count parity with the other Houses, it's likely that the other Houses don't have any beyond what they've already listed either.

Now here's a curious thing:

Neither the HD:FS Atlas nor the HS:LC Atlas give population figures. But if we suppose that Steiner's major worlds average midway between Marik's and Kurita's, and if we suppose that Davion's major worlds average midway between Kurita's and Chesterton's, then the (approximately) 156 most highly populated worlds in the Successor States have a combined population of 450 billion people.

The number 450 is remarkable because the number of "inhabited" worlds MW1e gives for each House also adds up to 450.

Another curious thing:

I count about 1900 stars on the Housebook maps, with something like 2000 worlds claimed between the five Housebooks; meanwhile, HD:FS (second page of its History chapter) philosophizes thusly:
Perhaps there are epochs in history when humanity finds an area large enough to grow into--first a country, then a continent, then a world, then four thousand worlds--and remains at that level of expansion until it, too, has been outgrown.
So: greater than 450 billion people, and 2000-4000 colonized planets? This sounds an awful lot like what Robert A. Heinlein said in his book Time Enough for Love, which implies the Inner Sphere has right around 500 billion people across 2000 planets.

I'm tempted to estimate the population of each tier geometrically--450 billion, then 45 billion, then 4.5 billion, then 0.45 billion; and since the divide between "settled" worlds and colonies is at 450 worlds, to put each tier break at (450 - 156 = 294) 294/156ths of the previous tier; so the first 156 worlds average 2.9 billion apiece, then the next 294 would average 150 million apiece, the next 554 would average 8.1 million apiece, the next 1044 would average 430 thousand apiece, and the last 1968 would average 23 thousand apiece.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pathfinder Transcript: mountains and dragons can't kill us, only drow clerics can kill us

[One of the players in our group has started keeping brief transcripts of our sessions, partly for the amusement of a third party who isn't playing with us I guess, and partly to help us pick up the following session in medias res. 

The next quest was run by the player who'd been controlling Camlost (Bloodrager / Dragon Disciple). It continues a broad metaplot of politicking between two dwarf cities, with spoiling actions from a drow city.

TL;DR- we were hired to recover a magic box which had been stolen a week ago from dwarves somewhere on secret mountain roads several days to the north. I think we surprised the GM by:
  • Choosing to Magic Steed a direct route through the mountains instead of an easier route through the plains; we might've missed an important encounter by doing this. 
  • Demolishing a Frost Worm so quickly; the party was strung out due to terrain, so it was able to ambush a single (I think random) character in isolation. I liked the set up. If it had gotten one of the spellcasters instead of a melee type, things might've ended differently.
  • Driving a White Dragon from its lair and teleporting away with its loot; this was accomplished almost entirely by the wizards player. This showed how powerful his character build is relative to the rest of us, but also exposed weaknesses.
  • Being essentially immune to falling off a mountain; we're getting into higher levels, where there's a bunch of magic and special abilities which negate most normal threats. It makes adventure design a little more difficult. 
  • Attempting a non-violent resolution to being ambushed by trolls; unfortunately, we had no leverage or clever tricks, so we fell back on violence.
  • Being bad at finding things; probably related to the first bullet point. He might also have expected us to have different skills or spells, or to leverage what we did have differently, or to hire an NPC tracker. 
  • Almost TPK'ing in the boss fight; our characters are all pretty capable individually, but our squad tactics are nonexistent. I suspect we survived mainly because the boss decided to leave instead of finishing us off.
Deciding where to go and how to find the magic box occupied most of our play. The GM did a fair job of making the combats interesting and not letting them drag on.