Force Specific Rules

Force Specific Rules are Advanced Rules used for enhancement of gameplay between two opposing forces. These rules are commonly used in scenarios. They can also be given to force commanders if using the Commanders special rule from Tactical Operations.[1]

Basic Description[edit]

These rules commonly reflected abilities or Force Specific abilities that each military force may possess to reflect their uniqueness in their training and tactics.

These rules have been published in various BattleTech faction sourcebooks under different names, such as Mercenary Commands, Special Force Rules, etc.

This is a list of these Force Specific rules and their effects in a scenario. Individual fighting forces harbor their own unique abilities that are not necessary found in a common list.

Please note: These are semi-short references of the full rules and they are not intended to replace published sources. Some details have been left out of these. Please refer to these published sources for complete descriptions.

List of Common Force Specific Rules[edit]

Anti-Aircraft Specialists[edit]

Restricted to sub-force commanders only, this rule applies a to-hit modifier to all airborne targets, but comes with a to-hit modifier disadvantage against ground targets.[2][3][4]

Banking Initiative[edit]

This ability/rule allows for a force which possess it to "win" the initiative roll without rolling it. In order to build up or "bank" (maximum of 2) initiatives. To gain single initiative, they must give up or "lose" 2 initiative rolls offs. When dealing with other special abilities, the "loss" initiative is considered to have won by opposing player by margin of 1.[5][6][3][4]


An option for each turn, a unit initiating this exchanges a To Hit Modifier disadvantage for a Target Movement Modifier advantage.[4]


Restricted to sub-force commanders only, this applies range modifiers to the standard range modifiers.[2][3][4]


Forces with this ability have the option of placing units as hidden, regardless of their role as either attacker or defender. Additionally, when standing still, a unit receives a target movement modifier advantage.[4]

Combat Drop Specialists[edit]

This force's units receive a considerable advantage on landing rolls, as well as a positive initiative modifier on the next immediate turn.[4]

Communications Disruption[edit]

Numerical values assigned to the opposing force's lances (in a quantity not to exceed the controlling player's lances) allow for the controlling player to randomly determine which of those opposing lances will be restricted to Walking/Cruising/Safe Thrust in their Movement Phase, with a successful 1d6 roll.[2][3][4]

Enemy Specialization[edit]

Specialization against a specific enemy faction or group delivers an increasingly negative initiative modifier (based on Skill Rating) when operating against an opposing force not that specific enemy, but comes with an equally positive initiative modifier against the specified enemy. Veteran units may elect to focus their specialization against that enemy further or divide the initiative modifier between two different identified foes. Elite and above forces gain the ability to negate one or more of the enemy's own special command abilities.[3][4]

Environmental Specialization[edit]

Specialization of a specific environmental condition delivers a negative initiative modifier when operating outside that particular setting, but comes with one or a combination of advantages—at varying degrees—in mobility, combat, and initiative, based upon the unit's Skill Rating.[3] The environments include atmospheric density (vacuum, trace, thin, thick, very thick), darkness, quakes, electromagnetic interference, gravity (low, high), temperature (cold, hot), and wind.[7][4]

Esprit De Corps[edit]

A force specializing in this ability enjoys immunity from forced withdrawals and morale checks.[4]

False Flag[edit]

A force cross-trained with the Off-Map Movement ability may allocate a fraction of its forces to attempt infiltration of the enemy's rear area, along with a force-wide initiative modifier.[4]

Forcing the Initiative[edit]

This rule/ability allows for the force that possess it to gain initiative bonus for their next turn based on margin of number of units destroyed. This bonus to its initiative roll is reduced by number of units it lost. Example: Player’s force destroyed three of his opponents units, but lost one in same turn. They would gain number +2 to their roll.[6][8][9][3][4]

Ground Attack Specialists[edit]

Restricted to sub-force commanders only, this rule applies a to-hit modifier to all non-airborne targets, but comes with a to-hit modifier disadvantage against airborne targets.[2][3][4]

Highlander Burial[edit]

Units in a force trained with this ability excel at Death From Above attacks.[4]

Hit and Run[edit]

When outnumbered, units in a force with this ability receive a To-Hit Modifier advantage when moving.[4]


This force enjoys a substantial reduction in the cost of purchases & repairs.[10]

Off-Map Movement[edit]

This ability allows for the controlling player’s force to move their individual units off the map(s) to reenter in a predetermined map location. This ability can only be used if the scenario allows for it. The following are example scenarios that do not allow its use: breakthrough and hold-the-line scenarios. When using the ability, movement for units that are off-map must be calculated (distance and position) and recorded. A separate blank map(s) must be set up to allow for the units to travel their flank speed/run values to where they will reappear. The controlling player calculates when these units will reappear and the hexes from which they exited and where they will reappear must be recorded. Also, the controlling player must record written orders for each unit, i.e. what they will be do when they come onto the map. Should units on-map be destroyed, the units traveling off-map are considered in retreat. When units reappear on an arrival map which contains enemy forces, they may immediately attack according to the point-blank shots for hidden units.[3][6][11][12][4]

Overrun Combat[edit]

This rule allows a force that possess this ability in certain times to fire before the opposing force is able to move or fire. When rolling for initiative, should the player with "ability" be successful winning the roll. The margin of success over their opposing player’s roll is taken and divided by 2. Result is how many individual units may fire prior to opposing player’s turn to move and fire. Once used, resume turn as normal. This ability rule is per round of player.[2][13][3][4]

Rapid Strike[edit]

When attacking, the force's enemy has a prolonged deployment period, stretching over multiple turns.[4]


This force's units are all trained with the Blood Stalker special pilot ability.[4]

Sharp Shooters[edit]

Restricted to sub-force commanders only, this rule applies range modifiers to the standard range modifiers.[2][3][4]

Special Pilot Ability Specialization[edit]

A select number of units within the force are trained in a specific Special Pilot Ability (SPA); this specialization may be enhanced with multiple applications of the ability or combined with training in another SPA.[4]


Units within this trained force gain an attacker movement modifier advantage from moving slower than a set limit.[14]

Tactical Adjustments[edit]

A force trained to be adaptable to the enemy's tactics may force that enemy to surrender any positive initiative modifiers, after a given amount of combat has taken place.[4]

Tactical Experts (Engineers)[edit]

Units enjoying the expertise of engineers receive a number of fortification or bridge assets for each engineering company deployed.[4]

Tactical Experts (Hidden Units)[edit]

These experts in concealment receive extra dispensation on hiding units, with details differing for scenarios with Hidden rules and those that do not.[4]

Tactical Experts (Physical)[edit]

The force invoking this ability give up To-Hit Modifiers for ranged weaponry, in order to get the equivalent advantage for physical & melee attacks.[4]

Tactical Specialization[edit]

Specialization of a specific tactical condition delivers a negative initiative modifier when operating outside that particular setting, but comes with one or a combination of advantages—at varying degrees—based upon the unit's Skill Rating. The tactical conditions include attack, defense, combined arms, or a specified scenario type (such as breakthrough, capture the objective, forced withdrawal, hold the line, planetary assault, or stand-up fight).[3][4][15][16]

Zone Of Control[edit]

A ground controlling unit—with remaining Movement Points following—moving into a hex adjacent to and directly facing an enemy unit (that has not yet moved in the current turn) restricts that enemy unit from moving into either of the hexes adjacent to its own and the controlling unit. Infantry can only impact another infantry unit.[2][3][4]


  1. Tactical Operations, pp. 191–193
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Tactical Operations, p. 193
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Alpha Strike Companion, pp. 44–49
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 Campaign Operations, pp. 83–87: "Special Command Abilities"
  5. Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 67: "Banking Initiative"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tactical Operations, p. 192
  7. Alpha Strike, pp. 92–95: "Environmental Conditions"
  8. Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 136: "Force Specific Rules"
  9. Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 67: "Force the Initiative"
  10. Tamar Rising, p. 112: "Logistics"
  11. Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, pp. 136–137: "Off-Map Movement"
  12. Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 72: "Off-Map Movement"
  13. Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 137: "Overrun Combat"
  14. Tamar Rising, p. 112: "Steady"
  15. Alpha Strike, pp. 23–24: "Choosing Scenario Types"
  16. Tamar Rising, p. 111: "Tactical Specialization (Combined Arms)"