First thing’s first: there are rules that govern what can be considered legitimate Mobile Frame Zero fan material. They can be found here (link). With that out of the way, I would like to look through various sources (the forums, really) and bring as much information together from the fan-made material as possible. I, of course, do not hold the copyrights of any of these comments, stories, and names, but if anyone has an issue with me using them in this way please do let me know.
I intend to make and update a page specifically as a sort of reference style-guide for what can be considered Canon in the MFZ universe, which can be found at https://cheapmfz.wordpress.com/mfz-style-guide/. Some examples follow. If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please do leave them in the comments!
Arms and ammunition:
The Solar Calendar encompasses lots of different levels of tech, and gleefully embraces them all. SU military frames with beam swords clash with Free Colony conscripts armed with crowbars. You could have a converted rivet gun driven by muscle cylinders that you use to dakka Ijad ghanats. Soren has a picture of a frame on here somewhere that is using a crossbow grenade launcher. Lowest Form of Wit had an awesome frame that was using a compound bow. You could have a frame that smashes cannonballs at the enemy by swinging a giant bat. If it works, then it gets used. The nice thing about the rules is, you don’t get penalized for being low tech or get advantages by being high tech. A converted mining laser is just as good as a gyrostabilized bin-fed rail gun. So…if you want your cutting edge TEM frames to be sporting caseless firing assault rifles…I’d say the liklihood is definitely there.
Frame-scale automatic weapons are typically revolver cannon in the 25-30mm range, firing conventional cased ammunition at around 450-750 rpm; usually electrically-fired, and sometimes with more exotic propellants than nitrocellulose, but nothing a modern tank armorer couldn’t figure out in an afternoon. Simple cheap reliable stuff. Some unguided rocket launchers use gyrojet-style ammunition for simplicity and to achieve a higher rate of fire.
Railguns: I love me a good railgun, but they’re support weapons due to rate of fire and power supply issues. The main advantage of a railgun on land is penetration, and there’s not much need for that. They’re mostly used as long-range artillery and spacecraft weapons.
Coilguns: the biggest advantage to a coilgun is that Free Colony cells with access to a lot of industrial power-switching gear can make weapons that will throw cheap, inert ferrous ammunition. Otherwise, lots of the same problems as railguns for not much advantage.
Caseless ammunition: Atavism has it in one; fractionally beneficial in certain corner cases, big disadvantages in logistics and handling safety. It’s easier to cook off caseless ammo during sustained fire, it’s harder to keep it shelf-stable or salvage it if it gets wet, it degrades more rapidly over time, it’s harder to manufacture, etc. There are probably a few weapons with combustible/consumable casings, disposable weapons or magazines that are factory-packed, but as there’s little need for higher rates of fire against land targets and lasers are more effective against aircraft (and where they’re not, missiles work just fine), not many of them.
Colonies are launched as private ventures with, how should I put this… variable… degrees of preparation and planning. Some planners do a good job of providing for a minimum standard of living and others do a terrible job. A few hundred thousand people with prefab factories and some imported heavy equipment would be a middling-reasonable sort of colony. Ten thousand people living in shacks and buying imported goods from the company store (with company scrip, at a 40% markup; talk about captive markets) would be an awful sort of colony. Most fall somewhere in between.
Several colony worlds are up around the sixty- to hundred-million mark; about what you need to build and sustain an industrial economy capable of designing and building giant robots of your own. Most of that is natural increase since those colonies were settled; shipping people is expensive enough that it’s easier to pursue natalist policies on the other end, although it still happens because even large colonies are hungry for labor. Some people have sufficiently valuable skillsets to get shipped from colony to colony on assignment, while others are simply there for warm-body jobs requiring the ‘right’ (Earth-centric) mindset.
There are a few colonial universities (like the Peloto Polytechnic College, where the Hi-Leg was developed), and many local branches of Earth, Martian, and Jovian universities on colony planets.
Past that on the scale, Shebehu, not a colony per se, has several billion Ijad and an unknown number of potential host bodies, human and otherwise.
Keep in mind: “Several hundred million” is a lot of people. But I’m picturing something like half the population of Europe, spread out over an entire planet. That means that, scattered throughout the volume of the Solar Unions are cities like Tangier, Boston, and Edinburgh; not Kinshasa, New York, Tokyo, or Mexico City.
-Joshua A. C. Newman,
Transit Gates, size:
If it’s not big and powerful enough to send fleets of ships to other systems, it’s not worth the expense of building. So smaller short-range gates might bepossible, but they don’t exist.
Transit Gates, amount:
You’d need some pretty exceptional circumstances to justify building multiple transit gates in the same system, especially just for zipping between planets. Gates are expensive, and I’m pretty sure ships can travel between planets just fine on their own.