MERCENARY COMPANY – ORIGINS

Mercenary Company – Origins is a simple campaign system designed for players who are new to the game, enabling you to play straight out of the BattleTech A Game of Armoured Combat box set.  Design your company, choose your BattleMechs and MechWarriors and then take on your first Mercenary Contract.

Mercenary Company – Orgins, uses a simplified and streamlined version of the Chaos Campaign rules.  All the rules needed can be found in the document, but if you want to explore Chaos Campaign in more detail go to the following link:

You can play this campaign with two players, controlling opposing MERCENARY COMPANIES, or you can play this as part of a larger event where each player controls a MERCENARY COMPANY and each round the tournament organiser pairs of players for each MISSION.

WHAT IS CHAOS CAMPAIGN?

Chaos Campaign is an abstract system that allows two players to design a MERCENARY COMPANY. The players complete a CONTRACT of several MISSIONS, each MISSION is not fought with the entire MERCENARY COMPANY but with one Lance of BattleMechs called the MISSION FORCE. During each MISSION the player’s forces will achieve OBJECTIVE POINTS and earn WARCHEST POINTS. After each MISSION the players will need to use WARCHEST POINTS to buy SUPPORT POINTS to pay to REPAIR AND REARM. The eventual campaign winner is usually the player with the highest number of OBJECTIVE POINTS earned.


Designing your Mercenary Company

Step 1 – Choose your BattleMechs

Your starting Mercenary Company will consist of a MERCENARY COMPANY of exactly 8 BattleMechs with a total tonnage of up to 450 tons.  You must arrange your force into two lances (Alpha and Beta) each with exactly 4 BattleMechs and up to a total of 225 Tons (or less). You may only choose BattleMechs that contain only Introductory Technology.  You can choose any ‘Mechs from the link below:

Master Unit List

Introductory Technology includes Autocannon 2/5/10/20, SRM2/4/6, LRM5/10/15/20, PPC, Small/Medium/Large Lasers, Standard Engines/Armor, and Internal Structure.

BattleMechs with non-Introductory Technologies such as ER PPC’s, ER Lasers, Pulse Lasers, XL Engines, Ferro-Fibrous Armor and Endo-Steel Internal Structure, may not be selected.

Dan decides to build his Mercenary Company – Raven’s Remembrance.  He uses his 8 Mech’s from BTAGOAC and organises them into two 225 ton Lances.

Alpha Lance (225 Tons)

  • BLR-1G BattleMaster (85)
  • CPLT-1C Catapult (65)
  • SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (55)
  • LCT-1V Locust (20)

Beta Lance (225 Tons)

  • AWS-8Q Awesome (80)
  • TDR-5S Thunderbolt (65)
  • WLV-6R Wolverine (55)
  • COM-2D Commando (25)

Step 2: Choose your MechWarriors

Each player gets 8 MechWarriors to assign to their force.

1 Veteran Officer (with the rank of Captain) who has a skill of Gunnery 3 and Piloting 4, who is the COMMANDING OFFICER (CO) of the MERCENARY COMPANY and leads Alpha Lance.

1 Veteran Officer (with the rank of Lieutenant) who has a skill of Gunnery 3 and Piloting 4, and who is the companies Executive Officer (XO) and commands the Beta Lance.

6 Regular MechWarriors (With the rank of Private) who have a skill of Gunnery 4 and Piloting 5.

Each MechWarrior must be assigned to one BattleMech.  MechWarriors may not be moved from one BattleMech to another unless under certain circumstances such as when a BattleMech is Truly Destroyed or when a MechWarrior is KIA (Killed in Action).

The two Veteran Officers have one point of EDGE (as per MechWarrior: Destiny). This enables them to once per game, straight after any roll has been made either by the player or their opponent, if involving the officers BattleMech, to immediately reroll one or both dice. This includes piloting skill rolls, attack rolls, critical chance rolls, critical location rolls, and consciousness rolls.

Grayson “Death” Carlyle’s Marauder is hit in the leg by an attack that penetrates the armour and causes internal structure damage.  His opponent rolls to check for a critical hit and gets a 9 (1 critical hit).  He then rolls for the location and rolls a 1 for the hip.  Grayson may choose straight after any of those rolls to reroll them, but only straight after the roll is made.  He could not wait until the critical hit location was determined and then make the opponent go back and re-roll the initial attack roll.

Step 3: Fleshing out the company (Optional)

Now you have chosen your BattleMechs and assigned MechWarriors you can choose to add some flavour to your MERCENARY COMPANY, although this is for RolePlay reasons only.  Choose names and genders for each of your MechWarriors.  You may wish to also add Biographies for each one.

You may also want to add information about the history of your unit and even a logo!

In Mercenary Company – Origins, the company does not have a DropShip of their own, but instead books passage on commercial DropShips.  Later in the campaign, the company may acquire a DropShip (although this is not covered in these introductory rules).

You can also assign names to the other key personnel in the company (again this is completely optional). Personnel include:

  • Doctor (Admin) who also leads a team of 6 nurses
  • Logistics (Admin) who organises supplies
  • Human Resources (Admin) who hires and fires personnel and keeps everyone happy
  • BattleMech Technician – Each BattleMech has a “Tech” who leads a team of 6 assistants “AsTechs”. The lead Tech is a Master Sargent who usually looks after the BattleMech of the CO.

Now your force is ready, complete the Table of Ordinance and Equipment table attached, and you are ready to start the campaign.


Playing the Campaign

WarChest Points

Each MERCENARY COMPANY is awarded 1000 WARCHEST POINTS (WP). These are an abstract method of representing the MERCENARY COMPANIES’ resources, expenses, and reputation. WARCHEST POINTS can also be used to purchase SUPPORT POINTS to Repair and Rearm units.

If a player ever reaches 0 WP they are in Debt, the force may no longer convert WarChest Points to Support Points (e.g. to Repair and Rearm). They may take on new missions (paying the MISSION COST), but they will continue to go into negative WP.

The campaign ends after a set number of MISSIONS. Victory is determined by the player with the highest number of OBJECTIVE POINTS earned in that campaign.

At the end of a CONTRACT, the MERCENARY COMPANY may be awarded a final contract payment (usually 500 WP). This helps to reset the companies costs ready for the next CONTRACT.

CONTRACTS and MISSIONS

Once your BattleMech Company is ready you may start the CONTRACT.  A CONTRACT is a series of between 3-5 MISSIONS that are played through in order.

When you play in a MISSION you may select any 4 BattleMechs with a total tonnage of 225 tons from your MERCENARY COMPANY. Usually, you will select one of your Lances, but later in the CONTRACT, you may need to reorganize lances due to damage and combat losses.

In the first Mercenary Company – Origins CONTACT there are three MISSIONS:

  • The Great Land Train Robbery
  • The Bank Heist
  • Showdown at the OK Coral

These will be detailed in another article.


Layout of a MISSION

SITUATION: Describes the MISSION. This is for information only.

GAME SETUP: This describes how to determine which map sheets to use and the deployment areas. Players may roll maps randomly or choose them by mutual consent or as dictated by the MISSION.

MISSION COST: This is the amount of WP needed to be paid for the upkeep of the MERCENARY COMPANY. It’s an abstract cost representing costs such as the resources needed to transport units to the battle, and pay salaries.  The usual default value is 200 WP (although it can vary between 100 and 500 WP).

OPTIONS: When you complete a MISSION you may add the bonus from any OPTIONS which have been selected to the OBJECTIVE POINTS earned, but only if you achieve at least one OBJECTIVE. If OPTIONS are positive (+) they give the player extra OBJECTIVE POINTS (usually by giving a benefit to the opponent). If the OPTIONS are negative (-) they make life easier for the player, in this case, they are subtracted from the OBJECTIVE POINTS. Options may be available either for the ATTACKER ONLY or DEFENDER ONLY or can be for both.

OBJECTIVES: These are the goals of each player. When completed they award a number of OBJECTIVE POINTS. Objectives may apply to Attacker Only, Defender Only, or for both.


Support Phase

After each MISSION the player may Repair and Rearm their BattleMechs and heal injured MechWarriors. Each WARCHEST POINT can be used to purchase one SUPPORT POINT.

Consult the table below for the cost of each Repair and Rearm option.

ActivitySupport Point Costs
Repair BattleMechs Entire Armor* =Tonnage
Repair BattleMechs Entire Internal Structure and Critical Hits** =Tonnage x 2
Re-arm Unit (Introductory, [AC, LRM, SRM, MG])=5
Heal MechWarrior=30 per hit (once per MISSION or Month)
Hire new MechWarrior (Regular Gunnery 4/Piloting 5)=100

* Armor is restored only to locations that do not have internal structural damage.

** ’Mechs whose Center Torso internal structure has been reduced to 0 cannot be repaired and are Truly Destroyed.


Salvage and Ransom!

Players who “Control the Field” at the end of the game may claim an enemy immobile BattleMech that is not Truly Destroyed as salvage. They take control of the BattleMech and may add it to their TO&E or sell it at the end of the CONTRACT.

‘Mechs are immobile and can be salvaged if:

  • The MechWarrior has ejected/Crew have abandoned they vehicle.
  • The ‘Mech has no legs.
  • The ‘Mech has two gyro hits or three engine hits.
  • The ‘Mech has no head, has taken a Cockpit Crit or the pilot has died of damage.
  • The ‘Mech is Shutdown or Immobile at the end of the track

In some cases, you may capture an enemy MechWarrior.  If you “Control the Field” at the end of a track and an enemy MechWarrior is unconscious either inside their BattleMech or after ejecting, they are captured at the end of the MISSION.

Players may “Ransom” the MechWarrior back to its owner for 100 SUPPORT POINTS, otherwise, they will remain a captive.


COMPETing the COntract

After the CONTRACT is complete the player may take several actions before starting the next contract, including buying new BattleMechs or selling unwanted or salvaged BattleMechs.

ActivitySupport Point Costs
Buy a new BattleMech (Introductory Technology)=Tonnage x 10
Sell a BattleMech***=Tonnage x 5

*** A damaged ’Mech can be sold at 50% of this.

Training

At the end of a CONTRACT, MechWarriors may increase one skill by one level. Each skill must be increased separately. The difference between Pilot/Drive and Gunnery may be no more than 2.  The cost to improve the skill is as follows:

SkillCost per Point
Gunnery200
Piloting150

Beyond Origins

Once you have played through your first campaign you might want to consider some of the following additions from the full Chaos Campaign rules:

  • Switch from Tonnage to BV for a more balanced game. This allows you to balance forces including their skill. The Lance Size is 5000 BV for a 3025 Lance.
  • Add Infantry, BattleArmour, Vehicles and even aerospace units and a DropShip to your TO&E.
  • Play in more Eras and Tech levels.
  • Integrate your Chaos Campaigns into MechWarrior Destiny games.
  • Write your own CONTRACTS and MISSIONS!
  • Explore other Chaos Campaign supplements from BattleTech including the Battle of Tukayyid.
  • Visit http://comstar.home.blog for more Chaos Campaigns!

Chaos Campaign Glossary

WARCHEST POINTS An abstract measure of a MERCENARY COMPANIES’ wealth and resources. WPs are earned through completing Objectives in Tracks. WP are spent to buy Support Points.

SUPPORT POINTS: These are used to pay for repairs, buy new ‘Mechs, heal MechWarriors, purchase new BattleMechs and gain new edges. Support points can be increased by taking on new flaws.

CONTRACT: A series of between 3 and 5 individual MISSIONS (Tracks) that make up one storyline. These are also referred to as Campaigns in the Chaos Campaign System.

MISSION: One MISSION in a series as part of a CONTRACT. Each MISSION has a MISSION COST and pays out WARCHEST POINTS for earning OBJECTIVE POINTS. These are also referred to as Tracks or TouchPoints in some Chaos Campaign.

Destroyed vs Truly Destroyed: A unit may be considered “destroyed” during a game, as described in the A Game of Armored Combat (AGOAC) Rulebook (see p. 35, AGOAC). However, there are instances when a unit “destroyed” in terms of a particular game (e.g. by head destruction or engine destruction) is not truly destroyed in terms of the Campaign. ‘Mechs are only truly destroyed if their Central Torso reaches 0 internal structure. In other words, it may be possible for a unit considered destroyed during gameplay to be returned to operational status by spending SP on repairs between tracks.

A ’Mech is only truly destroyed when its center torso internal structure is eliminated. In that instance, as noted on the SP Unit Activity Cost Table, it cannot be repaired.

All other damage sufficient to consider a unit “destroyed” during gameplay can be repaired between tracks, including a completely destroyed head location (however, in that case, a new MechWarrior will need to be hired).

Paying for Repairs – Players may choose not to pay the cost of repairs, to heal MechWarriors or to Rearm Ammo. If these forces are later deployed to a Track they do so in a damaged state, or holding less ammo. Armor can be repaired on a unit without first repairing the internal structure.

Entering the play area: If a track’s Game Setup requires a force to “enter through their home edge in Initiative order,” the loser of the Initiative roll for the first turn moves a unit onto the playing area first, then the winner moves a unit, and so on.

Units entering the mapsheet in this way must pay Movement Points (MP) for the first whole hex they enter—1 MP if it is a Clear hex, 2 MP if it contains Light Woods, and so on. They do not need to pay additional MP if their desired entry hex is above or below Level 0; assume that the unit is entering the hex from another hex of the same Level.

Any number of units may use the same entry hex, provided they each end up in their own hex at the end of their movement. Unless the Game Setup indicates otherwise, any whole hex along a force’s home edge is an eligible entry hex.

Forced Withdrawal/Crippling Damage: If a BattleMech receives Crippling Damage its pilot may choose to eject (use the simplified Ejection rules in the BattleMech Manual). Ejection occurs in the movement phase of the turn after Crippling Damage is received. Once a pilot has ejected the BattleMech and MechWarrior removed from play and may not be targeted. 

Rather than eject, the unit may continue to fight but must move towards the retreat edge of the table at best possible walking speed. They are not required to run, or to turn their back on the enemy.

Controlling the BattleField: If at the end of a MISSION if all enemy units have retreated, are destroyed or are in Forced Withdrawal, then the player “Controls the BattleField” and may claim Salvage.

Conditional Surrender: At any time in the Track one player may admit defeat. The Track ends at the end of that turn. Forces that surrender are usually given the option to leave the field and take with them any Mech’s which are damaged (but not immobilised)

Retreat: At any time a players forces may retreat by exiting from their Starting Home Edge on the map. These units have retreated and are no longer a part of the battle. They do however count as defeated/destroyed for the purposes of Objectives.


Chaos Campaign Notes

[Reading for Organisers and Experienced Players]

Although simplified, all of the above system follows the rules in the Chaos Campaign supplement.

The 8 BattleMech Mercenary Company is made up of a Campaign Force of 2 Lances (x2 Multiplier) and has a Technology Level Multiplier of x0.5 with an Equipment Rating of F (0-15% Standard Technology). This produces a Base Force Size Multiplier of x1.

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