Thursday, May 24, 2018

Swords of Truth

[Nothing I want to put together for BattleTech or D&D can be put together quickly. So instead, here's some D&D-ish stuff from my old high school group.]

The main thing about Paladins in our old high school homebrew was their holy swords. Small damage buff (huge buff against unholy creatures), glowed in the presence of unholy creatures, and injured the wielder anytime the wielder lied, cheated, disobeyed orders, desecrated the dead, or fought dishonorably. If you were especially cruel (and tough enough to survive the sword's punitive zap when you reclaimed it), you could impale an enemy, then heal the wound around the sword so they'd get zapped if they lied under questioning.

Our most memorable NPC paladin was a puzzle. The party was under his command, and we kept getting more and more indirect and circumstantial evidence that he was treasonous and breaking the paladin code, but we could never catch him red-handed. His holy sword was genuine and I don't know if we ever learned how he avoided offending it - maybe he just took the damage and was good at hiding it.

The next most memorable such NPC wasn't a paladin, it was a merc brat whose holy longsword was too big for him and who - despite obviously getting injured every time he lied - still attempted all the mischief and bravado you'd expect from an adolescent hanging around with mercs.

Translating these swords into Pathfinder (for my evil rat), the GM wanted to make the punitive zaps do bleed damage, but that doesn't seem sound to me. (Not that I have the best grasp of Pathfinder/D&D balance.)

It never came up in play, but I intended my rat's sword to have lore ties to the oracular statue in my city quest. I envisioned the big oracle sword as a "purer" version - instead of relying on the bearer's perception of truth, the oracle judged objective truth. It could be used in civil and criminal trials, and the wealthy could pay beggars to test other claims. The players proposed testing the oracle with a paradox; I figured that would turn them undead instead of killing them. The players didn't find that as logical as I do, but whatever - oracles aren't meant to be fair or straightforward.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

First Look at 3025 Davion 'Mech Manufacturing

[Skip to the bottom to see my estimates.]

from House Davion: The Federated Suns
Seeing as how every other faction with complete-ish manufacturing data (that is to say, everyone but Kurita and Liao) builds all three of the Locust, Wasp and Stinger; and that Achernar of New Avalon builds only the Locust and Wasp (and Phoenix Hawk) but not the Stinger; I think Aldis of Terra's unnamed 'Mech production is likely to be Stingers; and I suspect the Weimalu proposal is a hedge against loss of access to Aldis in the upcoming Fourth Succession War (and is ultimately supplanted by the Hornet line on Talon).

Remember how, on the MW1e 'Mech Lance tables, the frequency of Liao, Steiner and Kurita 'Mechs line up with the frequency of those factions on the Character Affiliation table (400, 500 and 600 respectively), but Davion was 675 instead of 700? I notice that Aldis of Terra supplies the Federated Suns yet is independent of them - 25 'Mechs/yr from Terra would cover that gap nicely. It's a little on the small side, as 'Mech manufacturers go, but that's fitting; Terra never comes across as a big military supplier in 3025 material.

I also notice that 25+50+75+100+125+150+175 = 700. If we look Davion manufacturers, Independence of Quentin falls between 50 and 75; the two manufacturers above it don't give numbers, but Corean of New Avalon's 130 is close to 125; and Dorwinion builds exactly 150 (6000 over 40 years). So the Davion Weapon Industries pages not only order manufacturers by size (as do the Steiner, Kurita and Liao books), but also rates them in fairly predictable intervals. 

If the 'Mechs named on the Davion industries pages show the same 270 : 230 split (common unseens vs. less shared factional designs), then Kallon Industries must produce only 55ish Enforcers and JagerMechs combined (230 minus Valkyries, Atlases, etc). If the Suns produce 700 'Mechs/yr and the industries pages show only 230+270, then 200 'Mechs aren't being shown, and the remaining Enforcers must be among those 200. TR:3025 puts the primary Enforcer/Dervish factory on a world called Dorwinion - since Cal-Boeing of Belladonna is also at a place called "Dorwinion," I'm taking them (and their production rate of 150/yr) as an intentional analogue for Achernar of Dorwinion.

Norse of Marduk is tricky; I don't want to outshine the combined output from Defiance's two sites. I'm less concerned about outshining Nanking's Wolverine line, since that one isn't operating at full capacity in 3025. It helps that I can count some of Norse's production as being at a second site.

My first estimate of Davion manufacturing rates is below. What's really neat is that if you add up all the tonnage, and divide by 49 tons (the average mass from the FWL book), it comes out to a hair under 675 'Mechs' worth of 49-ton 'Mechs. It makes me think the final numbers will end up being pretty close. (Well, that, plus how hard it is to change things without skewing light.)

I've been taking it for granted that the "130" Valkyries and "20" Marauders (and so on) mentioned in the text really are exactly 130 and 20 (and so on), but I have to wonder if they aren't being rounded off.

I've included Javelins and Blackjacks in the table because the Marik and Steiner books include designs like the Spider and Goliath that're even deader in TR:3025.