Battletech Role-playing?

For several years now I’ve resisted checking out Battletech role-playing even though I’ve been interested in it.

My rationale has always been that few members of our gaming group are really into Battletech “Universe” stuff.  Yet, as the years go by, I don’t want to sell myself short of what could be a really cool role-playing experience.

So DJ just picked up Strategic Operations.  Strat Ops is a tabletop core book, but it is more planetary and solar system scale fighting.  Interstellar Operations is the region/galaxy-wide theatre book that I am really anticipating, but its publication has been delayed over several years.  Is 2015 its year?  Maybe 2016?  With a little bit of digging, apparently it has been split into two books:  Interstellar Operations and Battletech Campaign Companion.  You can read about it here:

http://bg.battletech.com/news/battleblog/interstellar-operations-cometh/

I would actually like the rules of the Battletech Campaign Companion the most, from a tabletop perspective, but there is no doubt that Interstellar Operations, combined with StartOps, could provide all the necessary info to run a really awesome Battletech RPG game.

The actual rulebook for the RPG is called A Time of War.  The quick start rules are available here:

bg.battletech.com/download/QSR_ATimeOfWar.pdf?bdd337

So, I’m thinking about how we would do that.  Maybe the group would be interested in learning a very new genre for them or maybe DJ and I just need to find a third to justify doing some BT role-playing?  Talk Kathy into it?  Ha ha.

Looking through the base mechanics above, A Time of War is a 2D6 system (duh, its Battletech ;P ) with target numbers based upon characters raw attributes as modifiers to the dice roll and a modification system based upon the “EDGE” attribute that can be “burned” to influence the roll, like bennies in Savage Worlds.  There are also opposed checks governed by the widest margins.  Twelve (single attribute check) and 18 (double attribute check) are the base target numbers and your usual modifier will be in the +5 to +9 range and modified by difficulty (positive modifiers for easy and negative modifiers for difficult).

Another interesting dimension of the system, mechanics-wise, is the fact that player movement during combat is completely individualized according to character attributes.  That could make for much more depth in combat, in my opinion.

I will say that the combat in the system is a tad needlessly complex.  The designers clearly made a system to parallel the Battletech tabletop game, so there are attack modifiers for range, target movement and attacker movement.  I could do without that.  The good news is that the stat block for the game isn’t very large.  We should be focusing on role-playing, not number-mining.

What matters most, of course, is the world in question.  And Battletech is a rich world that smacks very much of the “smuggler/pilot” realm of Star Wars with a little bit of Cyberpunk.  There are so many adventure hooks here.  Recruiting mechwarriors, finding lost technology, maintaining a unit, strategy and tactics of that unit, politics of the Great Houses, etc.  It really has it all.

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