Wow, this is a lot more than I expected to show up. The new roster is as follows, and will be added to the first post:
CO: The_E "Easy"
XO/Lance Leader: Polpolion "Polly"
Lance Leader: Andrew "Duck" Gibbs
Officer (Vehicle Commander): StarSlayer (you'll see why)
MechWarrior: headdie "Headdie"
MechWarrior: Patriot "Patriot"
MechWarrior: Phantom Hoover "Phantom"
MechWarrior: Esarai "Esarai"
MechWarrior: Dragon "Rapier"
Vehicle Commander: IronBeer "Iron"
Vehicle Commander: Aesaar "Toothless"
Vehicle Commander: Direwolf "Dire"
Admin: Me "Strobe"
Mech Techs and Mechanics: redsniper, Mongoose.
Now then, onto why the roster is set up this way!
Starting off, I have to roll up a total of 12 combat units and 12 support personnel. Everything is rolled up with 2d6, so I don't get to cheat and fudge numbers here and there for better stuff. With that in mind, there are a series of tables in the AtB rules that govern how to generate the company. In a nutshell, these tables determine skill level and weight class of vehicle, as well as something called Tech Level that I'm going to leave behind the scenes. It only really influences how likely it is for you to get a "better" (as determined by battlevalue, the balancing mechanism for the board game) ride when you start, and nothing else. I'll post the meat and potatoes of the tables here:
2-6 = Green
7-9 = Regular
10-11 = Veteran
12 = Elite
2-3 = Dispossessed (i.e. the "**** you" result)
4-6 = Light
7-9 = Medium
10-11 = Heavy
12 = Assault
As you can see, the game is heavily stacked against starting with large numbers of Heavy and Assault 'Mechs, and probably for good reason. Most struggling, starting up merc companies aren't likely to have a huge reserve of big bruisers.
With those tables, and a pair of trusty six sided dice, I can start rolling up the company.
The company commander comes first (Hi, The_E!). The important thing about the company commander is that he has to be designated before rolling, because he gets bonuses to his rolls. A +2 bonus to every roll is added, and while that might not sound like much, the 2d6 bell curve makes it a powerful tool. Rolling the dice, the first result to come up is an 8, modified to 10. A Veteran. Excellent, it's always good to have an experienced commander. Another roll finds the weight class of his 'Mech. 12. Well, ****. I just wasted that +2, since nothing above 12 gives you anything better than a 12, and I just rolled a 14. Still, I can't cry about having an Assault 'Mech handed to me for the very first 'Mech of the company, no siree. A couple more rolls on the individual skill level tables that I'm not going to post here because they'd take up huge amounts of space reveals that The_E's skills are Gunnery 3, Piloting 5.
The "average" skill for a Regular pilot in the Inner Sphere is Gunnery 4/Piloting 5, so The_E is a bit above average. How Gunnery works is by taking the base skill score, in this case 3, and using it as the "must beat" number for a given check. This is the base number for the most ideal shot, meaning the target hasn't moved, the shooter hasn't moved, the target is at short range, and there's nothing in the way. If all those conditions are met, the attacker will hit the target on a result of 3 or greater, henceforth abbreviated as 3+. Any result 3 or higher on 2d6 will inflict damage on the target. Considering there's only 1/36 chance of getting lower than a 3, that's pretty damn good. That also means that the lower the Gunnery skill, the better the gunner, and the higher the Gunnery skill, the less likely he is to hit the broad side of a barn at 10 paces. Skills cap out at 0 on the god-level side and 8 on the danger-to-yourself-and-others side. Piloting works the same way, except it governs whether a pilot can maintain course and balance after taking damage, running on pavement, or navigating tough terrain. A bad pilot will frequently find him or herself landing hard on their ass, while a good pilot can probably dance through a landslide without falling.
A 3/5 Assault 'Mech is not bad at all to start with, but I still have 11 units to go. I have the feeling karma is going to bite me here pretty soon for that one.
The next three pilots confirm my fears. 5/5 Light, 5/6 Light, 6/5 Medium. ****. Well, at least they're not as bad as it is actually possible to be, though both the guys with 6s take the cake as "worst in the unit" in their own special ways. Note that is is technically possible to start as high as 7 in Piloting, so it could, in fact, be worse.
The company so far:
*** 3/5 Assault
As a 'Mech lance, that thing would be pretty godawful. An Assault, two Lights, and a Medium, most of whom are barely graduates from the academy? I need some better pilots, stat. The answer to that is another 'Mech lance. This one goes a bit better to start with. The first pilot I roll is a Regular (4/6). Okay, sweet. His ride? Another Assault 'Mech. The karmic whiplash is making my neck ache.
The next pilot is even better, for the most part. He drives a Medium, which I actually need more of, and is a Veteran. Woo! His exact skills? 2/5! Yeah, that's right, Gunnery 2. That's absurd for an IS pilot right there. That's actually getting close to being as good of a shot as a whole bunch of Clan Veterans, though he's not nearly the sheer pilot. This guy is going to be the XO, I can almost feel it. I'd have to get really lucky on the last lance to make that not happen.
Pilot 3 in Lance 2 is mundane, even terrible. A 6/5 Light 'Mech pilot. Yawn. File him away in the bin with the others.
The fourth pilot makes everything even better, again. A Regular pilot who somehow manages to pull out a 3/4 skill! It's possible, but it doesn't happen very often. That also means that this particular pilot is all around better than our company commander (Sorry, E). That happens sometimes, and isn't even really a bad thing. Having pilots better than your commander means there's not really any question that somebody is going to be able to step up if the commander goes down.
The company again, with another officer marked:
*** 3/5 Assault
** 2/5 Medium
Looking okay for now, but it needs a bit of rearrangement, methinks. Let's try matching up the weight classes and seeing what we can smash together. Immediately I see the opportunity for another officer, and I can see what these lances are going to morph into. This is, of course, barring any anomalies, like getting a Dragon for the Heavy, or a Panther or Urbanmech or even Valkyrie for Lights.
*** 3/5 Assault
* 3/4 Heavy
** 2/5 Medium
That's still not all of it, though. After two 'Mech lances, I want to mix it up with some vehicles. If the rolling doesn't go well, and I don't get some of the vehicles that are just flat out better than 'Mechs at things like scouting, I can just mix the vehicles in with my 'Mech lances to smooth out the rough edges.
The first vehicle surprises me a little bit. A Regular crew turns out 3/6 and a Heavy vehicle. Alright, not gonna ***** about that one too much. That'll fit into my Assault/HQ lance to replace that ****ty 6/5 Medium easily enough. The other three are less surprising, and also more disappointing. 4/6, 4/5, and 4/6, all Medium vehicles. Welp, looks like I won't be getting those scouts I wanted. At least they should be cheap to replace and maintain when I lose them (and I probably will).
With the additions to the company, and the need to elect a fourth officer, I rearrange the lances a bit. Immediately I run into problems when I find all four of my officers in two lances. Well damn. Guess I won't get to have the lances I want, either. Every lance has to have an officer, or they're effectively useless and can't deploy to anything. Oh well. Moving them around a little bit finds me with this rather workable set up. I'll even add names, since this is everybody:
*** 3/5 Assault (m) The_E "Easy"
4/6 Assault (m) Dragon "Rapier"
4/6 Medium (v) IronBeer "Iron"
* 3/6 Heavy (v) StarSlayer "StarSlayer"
** 2/5 Medium (m) Polpolion "Polly"
5/5 Light (m) NGTM-1R "Night"
5/6 Light (m) Patriot "Patriot"
6/5 Light (m) Esarai "Esarai"
* 3/4 Heavy (m) Andrew "Duck" Gibbs
6/5 Medium (m) Phantom Hoover "Phantom"
4/5 Medium (v) Aesaar "Toothless"
4/6 Medium (v) DireWolf "Dire"
Unfortunately, Dragon, a custom Dire Wolf/Daishi is probably the single least possible option I have for your Assault 'Mech right now. You're far more likely to be stuck with something like a Victor, Zeus, or Awesome. I've got a brawler mixed Assault/HQ lance, a (hopefully) fast Scout lance that will one day birth the greatest pilots the Sphere has ever known (seriously, Scout lances improve so fast), and one general purpose combat lance with everything I can't fit somewhere else. Pretty standard for a starting company, I suppose.
Next up, the support personnel. All I need to roll for these guys is skill level, so it goes really fast. I decide to split my Techs 70/30, with seven 'Mech Tech teams and three Mechanic teams. 'Mechs can take more punishment, but then also need significantly more repairs after a fight than a comparably sized vehicle. That, and I have double the number of 'Mechs I have vehicles. In a pinch, I can use either tech team to fix either unit, but they're less effective, and sometimes can't perform the necessary repairs. A 'Mech Tech team can't replace the stabilizer on a hovertank, while a Mechanic team can't replace actuators, and so on.
The rolling is quick, and I end up with five teams of Regular 'Mech Techs, two teams of Green 'Mech Techs, one Veteran Mechanic team, and two Regular Mechanic teams. For right now, I'm going to have redsniper be the Veteran Mechanic, while Mongoose gets to be one of the regular 'Mech Techs.
The other two support personnel in a starting company are the Administrator and the Doctor. The Doctor is a normal Regular. Once Herra finds his way to this thread, this'll probably be him. The Admin for this game will be played by me, and in light of that, I choose to make him a Command Admin. Totally coincidentally, that roll makes him Elite. No bull****, got a 12.
There are four different kinds of Administrators in the AtB rules, Command, Logistics, Transport, and Human Resources. Each admin gives a bonus to a different field of contract negotiation or recruitment. Command admins help negotiate command clauses, logistics admins negotiate overhead and support, transport admins negotiate transport rights, and human resources admins attract higher quality recruits. Normally, I have my first admin be a HR admin to bulk up my pool of proficient personnel quickly, but if I want to be telling the story, I need a command admin. That's not bad early game, anyway, since command rights determine how much control you have over your own forces, and how many attached allies you have per mission.
Attached allies are possibly the most horrible things ever. In the Integrated and House command contract types, you get two and one allies respectively. They are controlled by the bot, and if you lose them, you lose contract points (more on those later). Since contract points directly affect how much you're getting paid, that's a Very Bad Thingtm. Liaison command contract types have one ally, but he's under your control. You still lose points if he dies, but you can make him run away, concentrate fire, and do other, similarly not-retarded-bot things. Independent is widely regarded as the best command type, and comes with no allies whatsoever. You live and die by your own merits.
I still have no idea what exact 'Mechs and vehicles I'm getting yet, since I'm away from my assignment tables at the moment. Once I figure that out, I can boot up MekHQ, input all the stuff I've got so far, hire pilots and buy the 'Mechs to start, find my starting treasury, and then find a contract to pursue.
I'll try to start adding some pictures once the game gets started up for proper like, I swear. Hell, I'm tempted to go back and add some to that wall o' text exposition block, too.
That should be it for tonight. Tomorrow night will proooobably be contract generation. I'm going to hold off on actually picking the contracts just yet, but it's nice to know what my options are.