Thursday, October 13, 2016

Skilled Technicians & Mech Customization

tl;dr? almost half of all field technicians can make short-term modifications (but short-term only). Will talk about player characters, tech progression, repair facilities, Solaris VII, and redoing the skill chart in a following post.

In MW1e:
  • A tech with skill 4+ can attempt a temporary repair with improvised parts by adding +3 to the repair difficulty (reroll each time the hit location takes damage). This can "involve grafting an arm or leg from a different 'Mech type onto the afflicted unit."
  • A tech with skill 6+ can research 'Mech design. 
In BattleTechnology #4 (aka #202):
  • Stuart Bell, the mercenary who created the CGR-SB Challenger by modifying a Charger to use a smaller engine, had a skill of 8 and stupendous amounts of documentation (and recommends at least a skill of 6 for anyone trying to follow his modifications).

How easy is it to find an NPC at these various levels of skill?

To start with, MW1e gives only a 5/6ths chance that a given 'Mech will have a Technician assigned to it; after that, their skill is based on the skill of the MechWarrior.

If I can work out how common those pilot skill totals are, that'll tell me how common the tech's skills are.

MechWarrior skills are easy to convert to BattleTech skills. Because of how character generation is priced, most MechWarriors end up subtracting their skill level from a base of eight to determine their Target Number (TN).

From The Rules of Warfare we know that a typical MechWarrior has base TNs of 4 for gunnery and 5 for piloting, and that green and seasoned pilots are (respectively) one point higher or lower.

The fictional actuaries responsible for the data in BattleForce apparently rate Elite MechWarriors as 3/36 of all MechWarriors, Veterans as 9/36, Regulars as 15/36, and Green as 9/36.

Another table there claims to show how RPG skills equate to boardgame TNs and experience categories, but its math looks several kinds of wrong... it looks to me like it's supposed to say BattleTech base TN totals of 10-11 should qualify as Green, 8-9 as Regular, 6-7 as Veteran, and 4-5 as Elite. If so, that would produce a fairly simple relationship:

"Interpolate" was the wrong word, but whatever

Combining those pilot frequencies with the NPC skill chart gives me 3.5% of Techs at level 1 skill, 11.3% @ level 2, 40.5% @ level 3, 37% @ level 4, 7.6% at level 5, and none at 6 or above. So almost half of all NPC technicians assigned to combat companies can improvise repairs or modifications, but none of them can engineer a stable design change.

To Be Continued

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