Monitor (naval concept)
- This article is about the spacecraft design concept. For other uses, see Monitor (disambiguation).
This drive core has no tactical value in combat but typically makes up 47.5% of a given WarShip's mass. The idea behind the Monitor concept is to free up this mass for weapons, armor, and other combat-relevant systems by forgoing the jump drive. Such Monitors would theoretically be vastly more powerful on a ton-per-ton basis compared to regular WarShips of the same mass.
No official rules
No official rules exist for Monitors. The very concept breaks the aerospace construction rules, as WarShips (with their size limit of 2,500,000 tons) mount a jump drive by definition. Under Canon rules, non-jump capable vessels must be built either as DropShips (size limit of 100,000 tons) or even small craft (size limit of 200 tons). Space stations are immobile structures and cannot mount tactical maneuvering thrusters, giving them limited tactical value.
Gerald Hall pioneered the Monitor concept in the MechForce magazine MechQuarterly (vol. 4, issue 2), an official but non-canon BattleTech publication. His suggested construction rules for Monitors were incorporated into the official BattleTech design program, HeavyMetal Aero, but are not canonical and violate legal construction rules.
BattleTech Line Developer Herbert A. Beas II has repeatedly stated that Monitors, if they existed, would outperform WarShips to the point where they would threaten game balance, and that Monitors were therefore kept out of BattleTech for game balancing reasons. To put the issue to rest, he solicited an entry for Monitors in Experimental Technical Readout: Boondoggles to showcase that, and why, the concept was not viable in the BattleTech universe. However, within days of publication fans pointed out on the BattleTech Forum that the entry as written, which described a small number of Monitors to have been built and deployed before the project was scrapped, actually proved the Monitor concept to be viable to a degree. In response to this, an erratum was published that completely replaces the initial entry in what technically constitutes a retcon (in the sense of altering canon).
The following errata applies to the entry titled "Monitors". Please replace ALL TEXT under this entry with the following:
We apologize for the inconvenience.
- Herbert Beas
Although the Monitor concept at large was refuted, a few isolated cases exist in canon that could be regarded as Monitors:
- The Bonaventure-class corvette Sheridan, as of 3067, operates as a training ship in the Sol system. It has had its jump drive removed to make room for a full second crew compliment and some training gear; however, it is unknown just how much of the jump drive was removed and how much room/mass the extra facilities take up.
- The Word of Blake's converted Naga-class SDS control ships in the Sol system were effectively monitors.
- Battlesat type space stations with (limited) thrust power could also arguably be described as monitors. It should be noted that they are legal under current construction rules, but have been rendered largely moot due to their limited movement. As a consequence, it is questionable if battlesats were deployed outside of the known canonical example in the Luthien system.
- Despite its name, the Cockatrice Monitor Platform is technically a DropShip (its design in turn based on a Small Craft, the K-1 DropShuttle); while it could be described as a monitor in a functionality sense, it is not a Monitor in the design sense of being a WarShip without a jump drive core.
- "Establishing that monitors never worked in the setting, however, was my intention.";
"We simply call those "broken" JumpShips and/or WarShips. Really, the point is that a "monitor" in BattleTech simply does not exist as a viable or in any way functional concept.";
"There never were any official monitor rules. That was the point of the entire exercise with XTR: Boondoggles; explaining why there never were any."
- BattleCorps short story The Last Full Measure
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, pp. 178-180
- As explained in this thread on the official BattleTech forum