Alright! Like I said last time, first of the month! That means two things. One, it's market time. Two, I get to generate the possible contracts for next time. Neither of those are guaranteed to actually happen even though this is technically the day to do it.
First off, market. There are five different venues to purchase vehicles and 'Mechs. They are, in order of difficulty, Open Market, Employer Market, Black Market, Mercenary Auction, and Factory Line. Factory Line is actually totally unavailable to me at this point, and requires the unit to be a B-rated unit or higher before the option is even given. For those of you who are curious, the unit as it stands right now (with some damage to that Vindicator still) is solidly in the middle of the D section. Open Market and Employer Market are both roughly 40% chance of happening in a given month (I have to roll 8+ to get anything), and each pull from different assignment tables to figure out what I can buy. The Black Market is harder to get into at a 10+, but generally has better quality equipment (Tech C versus Tech D and F for the other two). On the other hand, if I roll poorly I can just flat out lose the 'Mech that I buy, so I don't really like it. Finally, Mercenary Auctions are damn hard to get into (11+), but give good quality 'Mechs and vehicles and there are generally a damn lot of them to choose from. All in all, the odds of getting anything other than Open and Employer markets are fairly difficult.
I don't technically have an employer yet, but I am still on Milos, so I'm just going to roll with it. Rolling with it gets me two markets that actually have things to sell to me, Open and Employer (big surprise there). Rolling for number of 'Mechs (1-3 and 1-2, respectively) gets me a maximum showing from both (wow). Now I roll for what 'Mechs and vehicles they actually are. There's not a way to distinguish between a 'Mech market and a vehicle market in the rules as they are, so I just flip a coin on each of them to figure it out. Somewhat amusingly, all five of them end up being vehicles. I'll probably be doing pretty good on vehicles and vehicle backups if this keeps up. More rolling shows me that the vehicles available on the Open Market are two Heavies and a Medium, and the two available from my Employer are another Heavy and a Medium. After that, I take it to the RATs, and then finally determine the price.
105% Bulldog – 1,185,240
100% LRM Carrier – 1,872,000
95% Brutus (LRM) – 3,772,213
120% Vedette – 870,900
100% Prowler – 1,935,083
Welp, I think we found our Manticore replacement. That Brutus looks mighty good to me. Lighter armor, and slower, but damn does it hurt. This particular model comes standard with two LRM-20s, so that solves our missile shortage quite handily all on its lonesome. It's also on sale for cheap, which is a good thing because ammo is going to be a *****. The other thing I'm almost interested in is the Prowler, but it's the Succession Wars variant and not as good as the old Star League version that would really kick ass. However, that Brutus is pretty damn expensive, and I do want to have enough money to get to where we're going next, so I'll take the Brutus and leave the rest.
With the new Brutus parked in the hangar, I quickly staff it with the crew of the Manticore. Since this tank is roughly 15 tons heavier, it also requires a larger crew, so I take one of the Hetzer crewmen to take the wheel. I'd have picked Sergeant Carver, but I suspect he'd be happier with a vehicle command of his own. This is the part where vehicles having large crews is actually helpful, as the previous Manticore crew ended up as a 3/6, but with the influx of a 4/5 driver, I can take that 3/6 who was being wasted at the wheel and keep the Brutus at a 3 Gunnery and drop it to a 5 Piloting. Everybody wins!
Next up, contracts! Generating contracts that aren't at the start of the company is a bit different, in that I might not get one, or I might get three. The definite number of contracts to start is what sets it apart.
Three. Great. Lots of rolling. I'll skip all of the nitty gritty this time and just show you the end results. Last contract wasn't a great representative of what each field means, but I'll give you guys reading a chance to put in your two cents before I pick a contract, though I'll be offering my own thoughts in this post as well.
Employer: Draconis Combine
Contract Type: Planetary Assault
Enemy: Free Rasalhague Republic
Length: 9 months
Employer: Draconis Combine
Contract Type: Extraction Raid
Enemy: Federated Commonwealth (Steiner)
Length: 3 months
Employer: Federated Commonwealth
Contract Type: Objective Raid
Enemy: Capellan Confederation
Length: 3 months
First thoughts: HOLY ****! Somebody in the DC thinks we're the ****, apparently. Maybe whoever gave the “pirates” that Crab. Whatever the reason, we just got offered a contract into the FRR on a planetary assault, with independent command rights, against a Veteran enemy, with Veteran allies going in with us. 50% Salvage is pretty good, too, especially considering who we're talking about. Planetary assaults pay good as you can see there, but they happen to be pretty long term, and it's easy to get beat up going hard for nine months. On the other hand, doing that means everybody gets payed boukous bucks and gets to shoot all the things. Transport is also free, because I rolled a 14 on that clause after bonuses. Plus, 11 weeks gives me plenty of time to recruit a few more people and get that Vindicator back up and running and then some. With that much time, I could reasonably expect to convert two or three of our stinkers to better variants (looking at you, Locust) with weeks to spare.
Neither of the other two contracts are much to write home about, aside from our Green/A allies on that other DC contract, and the general trend of everybody throwing Veterans at everybody right now, which is weird for BT in general but absurd for this point in time. Green/A means I rolled a 3 for skill and a 12 for rating, so that unit could very well be a company/battalion of all noble's kids having fun for a few months, I dunno. Both other contracts have good command rights (though not as good as the big one), but really ****ty transport rights considering that they're not, you know, 100. Honestly, the only bonuses these have over the assault is that they have easier enemies to kill. That goes both ways, though, because when I shoot down someone in game, I have the chance to capture them and either demand ransom, or they can defect and add pilots to the rolls who are really good.
I'm leaning hard toward the planetary assault (also because it puts us in the FRR through early 3050), but please, discuss.