Battletech Campaign Guide

Using GURPS characters in Battletech

This section is designed for use with the GURPS™ Battletech conversion described on this site. These changes are designed to add a little flavor the the basic Battletech™ game and to link it a little more closely to the role playing aspect of the campaign. GMs and players should also revew the more general 'Running an RPG Character in Battletech' page for more rules and options for Battletech game play.


This system includes a number of initiative modifiers that are designed to allow characters with superior skills and/or equipment to gain an edge on the battle field. GMs should take note of these and plan opposing forces and NPC's appropriately.

A good leader can turn the tide of any battle. A battlefield commander must be able to quickly size up a situation and make the correct tactical decisions for his troops.
Effect: Each side in a given battle must designate one pilot as its leader. Add together the GURPS leadership and tactics skills for each leader. If one side's leader has a combined total that is 5 or more levels above that of the other side's leader, all of the superior leader's side gains a +1 initiative bonus. This bonus is cumulative with personal initiative bonuses and the communications bonus detailed below.
If one side's leader is killed or his battlemech suffers a sensor hit that side must choose a new leader and the leadership/tactics totals for the opposing leaders must be compared again. This could potentially change which side gets the initiative bonus. (if any)
A pilot who is well versed in the art of tactics has the edge over pilots who aren't.
Effect: Any pilot who has a GURPS tactics skill of 12 or higher gets a personal +1 initiative bonus. This bonus is cumulative with any other initiative bonuses from command or communications but only applies to the pilot not any of his or her allies.
Combat Reflexes
A pilot who has the Combat Reflexes advantage gains a personal +1 initiative bonus. This bonus is cumulative with all other bonuses listed above.
Clan Mindset
Clan warriors are trained from birth to fight in a formal and highly ritualized form of warfare. While their intensive training and advanced breeding program make them formidable warriors, this ridgidity can cause problems for them when confronted with the chaos of the conventional battlefield.
Effect: Clan warriors who have this disadvantage suffer a -4 penalty to their tactics skill when fighting an enemy who does not follow the Clan rules of combat. This may affect any initiative bonus they would otherwise gain from that skill.

Pilot Skills

In order for GURPS characters to function on the Battletech battle field, their GURPS skill levels need to be translated into their Battletech equivalents. The following chart provides a mapping between GURPS piloting or gunnery skill level and the corresponding Battletech level. When consulting the table, pilots use the best Battletech score for which they qualify.

Skill LevelBattletech Equivalent

Thus a mechwarrior who had GURPS battlemech piloting skill of 15 and a gunnery skill of 16 would be a Gunnery 4/Piloting 5 mechwarrior in Battletech terms.

There is a special restriction on untrained pilots: Any pilot who tries to pilot a battlemech using his or her default piloting skill (i.e. a pilot who has spent no points on actually learning the skill) must make a piloting skill check at the end of any movement phase in which they expended movment points to keep the battlemech from falling over. The usual Battletech modifiers apply to this skill check. Such pilots suffer an additional +1 penalty to this check if they jumped during the current turn. This restriction does not apply to vehicle drivers but it does apply to aerospace fighter pilots.

Physical Attacks

Note: These rules have been rendered obsolete by the latest rules in Total Warfare An updated version of these rules will be forthcoming, but is not yet available.

In the Battletech Master Rules a pilot's piloting skill only matters when executing charge or death from above attacks. This section provides an optional rule which allows players to have their character's piloting skills influence the base to hit numbers for all physical attacks in Battletech combat rather than on the standard base to hit numbers. Like the system outlined for charge and DFA attacks in the Master Rules, this system takes into account the skills of both the attacker and the defender. If the attacker's skill level is higher than that of the defender, the attacker gets a -1 bonus to hit for each two full skill levels by which he beats the defender. If the attacker's skill level is lower than that of the defender, the attacker gets a +1 penalty for each three skill levels by which the defender beats him. This calculation is sumarized in the table below:

Physical Attack Base to-hit Number

Attacker SkillDefender Skill

Physical attacks do not all have the same base to hit number. Some attacks are more difficult to perform than others. Punch attacks and club attacks use the base to hit number as listed in the table. The base to hit number for a push or kick attack is one less than the base to hit number given in the table. The minumum base to hit number for any physical attack is zero. (i.e. A Kick attack executed by a piloting skill zero pilot against a piloting skill eight pilot still has a base to hit number of zero, not negative one.)

Pilot Injury

In Battletech, all pilots are treated equally when it comes to taking damage and losing conciousness. With RPG characters, it becomes possible to differentiate pilots, to an extent. These rules apply to GURPS characters.

Health A pilot who is unusually frail or unusually tough is easier or harder to knock out than an average one.

Effect: A pilot whose GURPS health score is 14 or higher may ignore the first pilot hit scored against him in a Battletech game. No conciousness roll needs to be made for that hit. Subsequent hits are treated normally for the pilot. A GURPS character whose health score is 8 or less suffers the opposite effect. The pilot starts the game with one pilot hit assessed against him or her. No conciousness roll needs to be made until the pilot takes additional damage during the battle.


Given sufficient spare parts most battlefield damage can eventually repaired. Most units employ a small army of technicians and assistent techs (astechs) to maintain and repair their equipment. In some cases player characters will want to make use of the various repair skills to fix something for themselves. All techs are rated in five categorees: Astech, Green, Regular, Veteran, and Elite. Note that Astechs cannot do much of anything unless they are present in squads of seven. Player characters are no exception. To determine a tech's level based on his GURPS skills consult the following table and use the highest level for which the character is qualified.

Tech Qualification Table

Tech Experience LevelMinimum Skill Requirments
AstechBattlemech Repair 8+
GreenBattlemech Repair 12+
RegularBattlemech Repair 15+
VeteranBattlemech Repair 17+, Fusion Plant Repair 10+
EliteBattlemech Repair 20+, Fusion Plant Repair 14+, Battlemech Design 10+

Having more than one tech present will often improve the odds of successfully making a complex repair. For a listing of repair rules look here.

GM's are free to award characters free temporary hero points for good role-playing or clever actions as play progresses but any such awards are one time awards and do not carry over or refresh between campaign sessions.