CEI (and ECEI)


Banded Mongoose
Seeing CEI and ECEI make a reappearance in Mercenary (having first shown up in "Element Class Crusiers”), I thought I’d ask some questions about things I don’t get about them. Hopefully some wise folk here can explain them to me...

1. What’s the relationship between ECEI and CEI? Somehow I got the impression that ECEI was “temporary” CEI. Reading between the lines, it seems that a ship/company starts out with ECEI=CEI, and then evolves from there (generally downwards). But there never seems to be any mechanism where the two interact subsequently. Is a ship/company supposed to reset ECEI=CEI after each mission? Or have its ECEI capped at CEI (i.e. it can’t have ECEI>CEI)?

2. Are there circumstances where you use CEI instead of ECEI? For example, if a crew/company has a low ECEI, does that mean that they function as having low skill levels? That seems a bit odd, although I could see for a crew/company that was depleted of members (from casualties, or forming divisions) that they might be depleted of experts and function at a lower skill level (e.g. the assistant engineer is filling in for the chief engineer). Should skills be based on CEI and overall bonus based on ECEI?

3. It seems odd that forming a detachment of experts gives a bonus to the roll for what happens to the “residual” crew (and conversely that forming an inept detachment gives a penalty). Surely that’s the wrong way around: forming an “A-team” detachment should give a bonus for the new detachment (as written), but a penalty for the residual crew?

4. One thing that seems to be missing from the Element Class Cruisers rules is what happens when the ship takes radiation hits. If a cruiser gets in a battle with a ship with a spinal mount, presumably there could be some big casualty lists. High Guard suggests a -1 penalty per 10% hull hits, but that doesn’t tell us how many crew are getting taken out of commission. My best guess is 10% of crew per 10% of hull.

5. Taking a sequence of small casualties (and re-evaluating ECEI after each) leads to a very different (and much worse) outcome than taking one big loss. For example, taking 10 x 1% losses will reduce most units to ECEI=0, whereas one 10% loss would be far more sustainable. Taken to the extreme, taking 20 x 0.1% casualties would reduce most units to ECEI=0. This seems an odd feature of the rules, and begs the question: how often should one check for ECEI changes? Every combat round? After an engagement?

Any thoughts on these gratefully received!
1) CEI is the baseline stat, ECEI is the temporary one. CEI doesn't usually change during a mission but may do so between missions if the circumstances warrant (significant crew changes and/or enough experience and training to bring about a permanent qualitative change). ECEI changes more frequently due to circumstances (including attrition) and represents the state of things during the mission.

2) Crew skill levels are set by the CEI. Task DM is set by the ECEI. (An individual crew member's skill level doesn't change, but how effectively the crew can work as a team does.)

3) I agree that this is probably a case of Mongoose editing striking again.

4) That's something that will vary with how well-protected the ship and crew are from radiation attacks. Military vessels generally have radiation shielding and individual crew members will have access to vacc suits (at least) which provides some further defense, so the actual losses will likely be much lower than that. A civilian vessel like a megafreighter or passenger liner, on the other hand, may have nothing in the way of (military-grade) radiation protection and very little in the way of protective gear beyond some basics for the security team, leading to much higher casualty counts.
Hors de combat.

At least for the duration of the battle, not capable for contributing further, but not necessarily dead.

I agree on 3. as well. It seems an odd mistake that is dragged in all CEI rules (Element cruiser, Deepnight, and now the Mercenary).

For 5. Just calculate it at the end of the engagement - i.e. the less frequent - the better.
Thanks for the comments everyone. It clears up most of my confusion.

One issue that I'm still slightly confused about is how CEI and ECEI interact. Do we all think ECEI resets to CEI between missions?
Yes, since all of the situational effects are now over and done with.

This would also be the point that CEI changes if that's warranted.