08: Exotic Systems

   Ablative Shockfoam occasionally leads to stories about “styrofoam mechs”, but actually works fairly well. In reality it’s a thick, foamy, rigid plastic layer. When attacked it cushions the impact, detonates the warhead before it actually hits the armor, or vaporizes and so carries off the energy of the beam – as appropriate to the attack. Invented during the late 20’th century, it has been greatly improved since, the counter-weapon of “penetration” missiles was countered with hardnets, as energy weapons became common, the formula was modified with ablatives. Sadly, the stuff is a great insulator. Each unit applied gives an extra 12 points of armor, and effectively negates one heat sink. The extra armor may be distributed as desired, with the caveat that no one location can have its armor value boosted by more then 1/3 in this fashion. Most of the heat sinks return to operation as damage strips the stuff away, but getting the last 25% of them (round .5 up) working again takes an hour or so with a bucket of solvent. The stuff has one incidental benefit, it reduces the heat input from flamers and infernos by 50%. Ablative Shockfoam may be used on aerospace fighters, but it automatically burns off during reentry or during a planetary launch – and would severely hinder (+3 piloting) any unit operating in the atmosphere in any case.

   Ammunition may be purchased in 1/2, and 1/4, ton lots. Unfortunately, each ammunition rack still takes up one critical slot and differing types cannot be mixed in a single slot. This does, however, offer the flexibility to load up whatever type of ammunition is desired during a turn.

   Antimissile Systems are somewhat effective against the various kinds of cruise missiles and drones, including the Thunderbolt, TAG-targeted Arrow-X Shells – and the Devastator, Kali, Skybreaker, and Typhon missiles. The system inflicts 2 points of damage on such targets (An Arrow-X Shell requires X points to destroy) – although actually destroying them often requires multiple antimissile attacks. These may come from multiple systems, or from the same system after a missile misses on it’s first attempt. In any case, such systems are run by a good computer. To simulate this, the player may decide when, and in what combination, he/she wishes to fire his or her antimissile system(s).

   Antipersonnel Pods are, thanks to the spread of combat armor, much more common then they used to be. Current models weigh .25 tons, cause 1D6+1 points of damage to unarmoured infantry and two points to all miniunits in the hex, and occupy one critical slot. They’re available to both inner sphere and clan designs. Standard pods are available to designs using star league technology – if anybody wants them.

   Armless Battlemechs are rare, but a few designs exist. While such `Mechs have fewer available critical slots, suffer a +4 piloting modifier to attempts to stand up, and cannot make most physical attacks, attacks hitting the “arms” are considered to have missed.

   Armor is purchased by determining the number of points you want, and rounding off the result to the nearest .25 tons. As a note, Crystal-Aluminum Armor (One technical advance beyond Clan Ferro-Fiber Armor) offers the best possible amount of protection per ton, some 1.33 times normal. Further improvements may, however, reduce the number of critical slots required. As an option, individual critical slots may be armoured, protecting them against the first “critical hit” that strikes them, by devoting eight points of armor to the slot.

   Artillery Weapons include the Arrow-II and -III. These are essentially lighter versions of the Arrow-IV – and may be treated similarly. As with the Arrow-IV, the Clan versions are somewhat lighter, weighing 6/8 tons, and occupying a similar number of critical slots. Light mortar- and rocket-based versions of artillery weapons are commonly used as support weapons, as they’re cheap and easy to produce. Sadly, they’re also among the most ineffective artillery weapons ever designed – and so are only used as local backup for a friendly force.

Weapon Heat Damage Range Tons Critical Ammo
Arrow II 3 5/2 3 Boards 7.5 7 20
Arrow III 5 10/5 2 Boards 10.0 10 10

 

   Ballistic and Artillery Weapons may not be used on the high-altitude map. The muzzle velocities required, the recoil, and the degree of precision needed to actually hit anything, make it impossible. The various “Arrow-” systems are exceptions; they’re basically missiles – and aerospace variants can thus be equipped with effective guidance systems. Perhaps unfortunately, nothing short of tactical nuclear weaponry can “blow up” entire low- altitude hexes – and high-altitude hexes are immune to everything short of novas. Actually “hitting” a target (IE; coming close enough for an explosive charge to do some damage or connecting with one of a series of beam weapon shots) requires an 11+. Drone-mounted warheads must “ram” to get close enough, and suffer an additional +2 penalty if they’re actually trying to make contact.

   Batteries are on often-overlooked option, but the same power-pack technology that makes hand-held laser weapons possible can be adapted to larger energy weaponry. This is rarely done, as it negates the great advantage of energy weaponry – limitless “ammunition”. It does, however, cut the heat generated by such systems by two thirds (Vehicles need no longer consider the heat that such weapons produce at all). Batteries can be slowly recharged by the main engine or a built-in microfusion cell, but the process requires ten hours – and cannot be accelerated without risking an explosion (Roll 3 + the number of hours you’re trying to save to avoid).

   A 1-ton battery has a “damage potential” of 300 (IE 100 shots for a medium laser, 30 for a PPC 10, etc), and occupies 1 slot. A critical hit on a battery causes a 100-point “Ammo Explosion”, although a CASE system may mitigate the effects. As a side effect of eliminating the power capacitors used in most energy weapons, such weapons are lightened by 20% (Round off to the nearest 1/4 ton). A battery system can even be used to keep a mech operating without an engine – if not for long. A battlemech running on batteries must spend (Tonnage/5) points of their potential per turn, dissipates heat at half efficiency, and cannot employ fusion-based flamer systems at all. This is not a long-term tactic, but is occasionally enough to retire from battle. Batteries may be bought in 1/2 ton lots if so desired.

   As a note, if the power capacitors are installed in the energy weapons in any case (IE, the weight savings are not taken) they may be run normally off the engine if/when the battery power runs out.

   While batteries may be used in aerospace units, the power capacitors must be left in the weapons which they “power”. Used in this way, they act to smooth the power demand, and thus reduce heat, even when the weapons are operating in overcharge mode.

   Battle Command Computers are quite limited compared to full-scale control installations, but are still fairly powerful tactical computers. They can track up to 300 units, coordinate communications, display maps, battle conditions, and options, summarize units known abilities and damage, and otherwise be very useful. In play, a BCC allows the user to modify his sides initiative roll by one, direct artillery fire without spotters as long as some friendly unit has LOS to the target area, operate drones, and provide limited fire-control data to up to four of his units per turn (-1 at medium range and -2 at long range). BCC’s normally weigh four tons and take up two critical slots, mostly due to the special comlinks they require. They are also as expensive to build as a full C3 computer network.

   Bridgelayers (Maximum Tech) can deploy a 1-hex bridge. These float and can support twice their own CF tons. Why anyone would bother in these days of Jump Jets, Hover- craft, Amphibious Vehicles, `Mechs and VTOL’s is another matter. Bridges come in CF 7/20/45 weighing 1/2/6 tons each. If some clown wants to put one on a `Mech, they take up two critical slots.

   Cables are generally associated with Engineering Gear, but are occasionally installed alone. Cables occupy a critical slot and weigh half a ton. Thanks to a crude system of interwoven myomer strands, the user can manipulate and extend them (Up to six hexes) like extremely clumsy tentacles. They can also be rewound to lift up to 200 tons or used as anti-infantry weapons (2 points of damage to infantry only, via flailing them around).

   Canister Munitions are available for the AC/10 and AC/20 only. They release hundreds of submunitions when they detonate, spraying them throughout the hex hit and the next 2 hexes along the line of fire. The submunitions attack any and all units in those hexes, the damage is determined by rolling on the 5- (AC/10) or 10- missile chart and is distributed in 5-point clusters. Since a canister shell is targeted against a hex, target movement modifiers do not apply, although others do. Such shells automatically “clear” 2 hexes of light or 1 hex of heavy woods, but do not reach additional hexes.

   Ultra AC’s may fire canister munitions, but this is at the risk of detonating the submunitions while loading the shell – destroying the weapon. This occurs on an attack roll of “2”. If it does occur, a second roll must be made to see if the remaining AC Ammo detonates as well. This will occur on a roll of 8+.

   Composite Structure (Maximum Tech) only weighs half of what a conventional internal structure weighs, but any damage done to it is doubled. Composite Structures do not take up any critical slots. They cannot, however, be combined with Endo Steel.

   Crabmines are small, simple, robots, weighing about 30 pounds. They have legs, a fuel cell, basic sensors, and a few chips designed to receive directions and to home on unallied units. With camouflage, radar – absorbing paint, minimal heat signature, and small size they are virtually undetectable amid the confusion of a battlefield. They are also fairly cheap, a good thing since they each carry an explosive charge. Crabmines have 3 movement points, and move around the battlefield under the direction of their operator. When in the same hex as an enemy `mech they try to move under its legs, and then explode violently. This attack should be treated as a minefield, although it only affects “enemy” mechs and will continue to attack each turn. Crabmines move “with” the controlling side but, like a minefield, can try to attack any enemy unit which moves through a hex they currently occupy. They can be “cleared” as normal mines are. They can be operated by a command unit, by a scout group, or by any unit with a command computer. If no operator is available the crabmines stay put – and should be treated as a normal minefield.

   Cryosinks are a temporary method of defeating the heat buildup problems of many mechs, they are essentially a reserve of liquid nitrogen which absorbs a vast amount of heat as it boils off. Each ton devoted to cryosinks can neutralize up to 30 points of heat during a fight, although cooling from cryosinks may not exceed a mechs normal heat dissipation. A unit with 10 heat sinks and 2 cryosinks can dissipate an extra 30 heat points during a fight, but never more then 20 points in a turn. The effects of cryosinks are not cumulative with water, if the unit was dissipating an extra 4 heat points a turn due to standing in the water, only 6 points a turn may be dissipated by the cryosinks. The same limit applies to bonuses due to low-temperature battlefields. As the system tonnage includes a modest N2 liquefaction plant to keep the reserve topped up, any unit with cryosinks can renew its N2 supply from the atmosphere as long as it can keep it’s heat buildup at 0 and still dissipate at least one more point of heat a turn. Adding 1 heat point worth of liquid N2 to the reserve generates ~300 points of heat over whatever period is taken to do so. A unit with 10 points of heat dissipation to spare and 3 tons of cryosinks can refill them in about 8 hours.

   As a note, units equipped with vehicle flamers can “Fire” blasts of liquid nitrogen. This will extinguish any one burning hex or unit or cool another unit by an amount equal to the usual “flamer” damage. Such blasts use up 5/10 (Vehicle/Heavy Flamer) points of the cryogen reserve and one “shot” worth of flamer fuel (Used as propellant). Units with Cables/Hoses can use them in a similar fashion, or can hook up to another unit and cool them by up to ten points a turn.

   “Fire Extinguishers” are a minor variant, designed to let vehicles move safely thru burning hexes, to put out burning armor, and to extinguish inferno hits. Each 1/2 ton of extinguisher gear will protect some vehicle from fire for a total of ten turns.

   Deathpaste is almost universally banned and despised – but it’s still occasionally used. In concept it’s very simple; you mix something utterly lethal – a bioagent, nerve agents, plutonium dust, whatever – with a sticky base. You load it into Streak SRM missiles, and shoot some enemy units. The pilots will be exposed as they get in and out. Mechanics will be exposed as they work on the units. Noncombatants will be exposed, either in passing or by their parents. Blackmail, usually in the form of some treatment, antidote, or vaccine, commonly follows. Even if the target discovers what’s going on soon enough to take precautions, they’ll still have to decontaminate everything, run all kinds of tests – and still not be sure. There are viruses which are lethal in doses as small as ten molecules. Using deathpaste can reduce a targets effective force by (2D6*10)% over the course of a campaign. Unfortunately, it will also reduce your own forces by (1D6*5)%, usually provokes a massive loss in loyalty and morale if/when it gets out – and often leads to the more “honorable” mechwarriors abandoning your cause. It is sometimes used by pirates and renegades.

   Drone Control Computers permit the remote operation of miniunits of the drone category at ranges of up to ten battletech boards/aerospace hexes. With the assistance of the computer an operator may control up to 6 drones – or up to 2 in addition to his/her primary unit. Such a computer and it’s associated communications gear takes up one critical slot and weighs 1/2 ton. The version with a 20 board/hex range weighs a ton – and the version with a satellite uplink (Basically unlimited planetary range – but the link is only available on an 8+ during any particular battle. This isn’t usable on the space map. The lightspeed delay limits things too much) has a weight of two tons, and takes up two critical slots. Vehicles, Battlemech’s, and Aerospace Fighters may all carry drones by simply dedicating cargo space to them. Unfortunately, they can only launch two per turn and, in `Mechs and Fighters, each one takes up a critical slot.

   Drop Mines are simply large bombs, usually loaded on a rack behind a dispensing port. Their detonator package can be set for; time, proximity, impact, vibration, or command, when the mine is activated. Time is commonly used for depth charges, allowing the user to select an approximate detonation depth. Due to waters outstanding ability to transmit concussions, such attacks do 5 points of damage to units 2 hexes away. The Vibration mode is usually used as a trap (QV; Vibrabombs). Since much of the force is expended against the ground, such traps do only half the usual damage. The Command mode is similarly limited. The Proximity mode is used for direct attacks, the airburst inflicts the mines normal 25 points to the hex struck, 12 points to the adjacent hexes. The Impact mode is used when throwing the mine at something, such attacks can be devastating, as they inflict damage to a single location rather then in the usual five-point clusters. Such direct hits do thirty points of damage to the location struck, the normal 25 points to other units in the hex, and 12 points to the units in the three adjacent hexes on the side the mine came from, the three hexes opposite are in the targets blast shadow and thus take no damage. A missed attack using impact mode inflicts, like vibration and command modes, damage of 12/6 points in five-point clusters to units in/adjacent to the hex struck (see below).

   Drop Mines can be launched in 3 different ways, the simplest being to just drop them. Mines “launched” in this way are simply left in one (or more) of the hexes the user passed through during the movement phase. As a practical matter, such mines are usually left in the command or vibration mode. Mines stored in a leg slot are deployed in this fashion. Mines stored in a torso or arm slot may be “thrown” during the physical attack phase, provided that the user has functioning hand and arm actuators and has not fired any weapons on the arm during the weapon attack phase. This attack has a base range of 1/2-3/5, selecting Impact detonation inflicts a penalty of +2 to hit. A miss will scatter 1-2 hexes in a random direction, causing damage according to its detonation mode. Throwing can also be used to plant a mine in command or vibration mode, but this is obvious to any unit within visual range. Finally, mines may be launched with a gas-powered mortar. Such weapons have ranges of 3/6/9 with a minimum range of 2, a weight of 3 tons, and take up 4 critical slots. One slot must be noted as the gas reserves, a critical hit on this slot causes a 6 point explosion (although it looks far more impressive then that). Due to precise computer control of the propellant charge, mines can be launched into a hex with fair accuracy, suffering only the +1 modifier for indirect fire. Attempts to actually hit a specific target in a hex are far more difficult, suffering a +3 modifier. Mortars can be used for artillery-type fire at ranges from 10 to 30, but such shots take 1 turn to arrive at ranges 10+. Due to the great size and weight of the mines, they must be stored in the same location as the mortar. Similarly, the launching method to be used with the mines in any location must be designated in advance. The mines themselves take up one critical slot, and weigh one ton, for every five mines. Hits on critical slots occupied by drop mines are disastrous – regardless of CASE, the unit will take a minimum of 30 points of damage per mine which detonates as they are, of course, in contact. Such damage transfers as usual. If the unit does not have CASE the damage is 40 points per mine.

   Vehicles may carry drop mines, although they cannot throw them. VTOL’s receive a unique option when using drop mines, they can simply drop them from a long ways up. Such attacks are resolved using the Aerotech dive- bombing rules, save that units in the target area only get a -2 bonus to hit the VTOL and the bombs “scatter” distance is halved (rounding up). These modifications are due to a VTOL’s lesser speed, which allows them to launch from further up. A VTOL must, however, end its move within one hex of the targeted hex since it lacks the speed necessary to make the mine go very far. Any “conventional” fighter can carry drop mines, using the rules for dive-bombing. They are ineffective otherwise.

   Aerospace Fighters may also carry drop mines. While such units require a fancier release system, thanks to the difficulty of a controlled release at high speeds, this merely doubles the effective weight of the mines. Up to 2 per turn may be dropped under the dive-bombing rules – but this requires the use of the proximity detonation mode. It should be noted that aerospace units cannot carry bombs otherwise, as the heat and stresses of re-entry would detonate an external bomb load.

   Dual Machine Guns are simply the usual, basic, machine guns installed in tandem. They do twice as much damage but use ammunition twice as fast. They also produce a certain amount of heat, each DMG produces .5 points of heat when fired (total, rounding .5 down, a single DMG contributes no significant heat). Ranges are 1/2-3/4. Dual machine guns can be used for strafing, if so used they are treated the same way that energy weapons are.

   Engineering Gear is normally mounted on vehicles. The package includes an assortment of light equipment, one heavy system, and various supplies. In game terms the package weighs three tons and, on mechs, takes up five critical slots. Whether the “heavy” system is a crane, bulldozer blade, scoop, or trencher, the “light” stuff normally includes drills, cutters, winches, and bridge building gear. Engineering gear is rarely useful in a skirmish, but can be used to great effect given even a few hours. It is often used to create pools, streams, double-strength “improved positions”, bridges, altered terrain, various sorts of traps (including landslides, giant waves, collapsing bridges, falling buildings, or simple pits), fords, walls, trenches, and so on. While this can take anything from hours to days, the simpler tasks (EG drilling a hole and planting a radio detonated demolition charge to start a landslide) can be done in minutes. (As a note, you can leave out the heavy items and simply take the lighter stuff, this takes up three slots and weighs one ton. See also; Cables).

   Electromagnets are a variation on Light Engineering Gear; these simple items allow the user to “Grab” onto anything containing enough ferrous metal (Such as most other units) with a “grip” capable of supporting up to 100 tons or so. The exact applications of this are up to the imagination of the players, but the system does provide the user with a “-2” target number modifier on any relevant rolls.

   Floatation Systems are quite straightforward; they let units refrain from sinking. aerial units with floats can land and take off from the water’s surface. Ground vehicles can cross one water hex on momentum (Costs +6 MP; It may take turns to drift across) and Battlemechs can bob around (About as much like corks as fifty tons of metal has a right to expect. Units with usable arms can move about at a rate of one hex/ three turns). If someone want’s to bother, floats may be installed in a unit at a rate of one ton per 25 tons of unit, usually rounded off to the nearest 1/2 ton.

   Fog is a metal-bearing paint with a high attraction to metal, plastic, and glass, but almost none for itself. It thus has little surface tension and tends to spread itself over such surfaces on contact. In practice this means that any hit on a unit will distribute the stuff over it in a thin layer. Sadly, since it does not bond strongly to itself, additional hits cannot thicken the layer enough to have any further effect. Any unit hit with fog suffers a +1 targeting modifier until cleaned off – which requires either scrubbing after the battle or a complete immersion in water (which gives a unit a roll of 8+ to remove the stuff). Fog “canisters” are available for the AC10 and -20, gauss rifle, SRM’s and Streak SRM’s, and all artillery weapons – although the effects are limited to the hex hit. Ultra AC’s can use Fog, but cannot fire it and normal munitions in the same turn. A hit on a critical slot loaded with fog does no internal damage, but can “gum up” the inside of a unit terribly, letting the attacker try another roll on the critical hit effects table. A slot “hit” by this roll is merely rendered useless, not destroyed, and hence can still be destroyed by later hits. Such bonus criticals have no effect on engines and cannot “blow off limbs”, such a result merely indicates 3 “critical hits”. Such criticals are also incapable of detonating ammunition.

   Fog canisters may be mixed in with normal ammunition – but if this is done the firing sequence must be set in advance.

   Fuel is occasionally added to LAM’s. In this case each extra ton of fuel occupies one critical slot, provides 15 thrust points – and is essentially harmless if hit, since it consists of nothing more then purified water. Fuel may be added to VTOL’s as well – allowing them to operate as “conventional” fighters when necessary.

   Fuel Scoops and Purifiers permit Aerospace fighters to operate effectively in an unusually thick “atmosphere” – more commonly known as “underwater”. While nothing prevents a “normal” aerospace fighter from engaging in such operations, the fact that it costs one “point” of thrust per (Battlemech-Scale) hex moved tends to limit the practice. These modifications permit an aerospace fighter to enter/”land on” the water more readily (The usual “+3” modifier does not apply) and refill it’s fuel tanks without even stopping. The system weighs one ton and can process up to 1/2 ton of “fuel” per land scale turn. If engaged in combat, an aerospace fighter works in much the same way that it would on the low-altitude map, save for the fact that it is restricted to underwater ranges – and is subject to hull integrity rules. It may “land” on the bottom without a roll, and should be treated as a submarine as far as “depth” goes.

   Fusion Cannons are the bastard offspring of two simple facts; atomic warheads are relatively light and cheap, and there are only two practical defences against them – shooting them down on the way in – and not being there when they go off. Smaller space-going units avoid such problems via decoys, dispersion – and being too small to detect until they’re nearby. Most worlds dislike using nuclear weapons in their own back yards. Larger units (Jumpships) had to rely on shooting them down. This was fairly simple as long as the incoming missiles had to have powerful drive systems. The missiles could be made nearly undetectable easily enough, but the plasma flares of their drives were a dead giveaway. There was a time when the jump warships reigned supreme. They no longer do.

   The fusion cannon is simply a large electromagnetic accelerator, a scaled-up gauss cannon designed to fire target-seeking missiles with fusion warheads. Lacking major drive systems, the missiles are virtually undet- ectable. 500 Tons, 20 Heat, Range of 20/40/60. Targets of city-size or less are automatically destroyed, each missile weighs 2.5 tons. Usable against space targets only – preferably deep space targets.

   As a general rule, fusion cannons may be assumed to be available, and in place – and basically irrelevant.

   Gauss Rifles have many components beyond the capacitor system, damaging any of which disables them. Only hits on the two capacitor slots can cause an explosion. If other slots are damaged the weapon may be shut down in 1 turn, after which even hits on the capacitors cannot cause an explosion. Gauss rifles may fire fragmenting loads. This should be treated as an LB-X 15 autocannon firing cluster munitions.

   Gyroc-Gauss Sniping Rifles were the result of an (Ill- fated) attempt to provide infantry with a more potent, long-range, antiarmor weapon. While the light missiles of a gyroc rifle or hand-held launcher couldn’t breach the sound barrier, they could maintain such speed once that was done. An explosive launch would detonate the fuel – but a gauss launcher would not. Unfortunately, the resulting “hybrid” required a 200 Lb power supply, was horribly heavy itself – and emitted a magnetic field capable of scrambling unprotected electronics within a wide radius, including other launchers. Shielding them required so much metal that you might as well just get a full-scale gauss rifle. As an infantry weapon, they were hopeless.

   A single, isolated, scout could, however, leave the power pack in the trunk of a shut-down vehicle, and take full advantage of the rifles fabulous (12-board) range to do a little sniping. Such attacks are resolved as standard, immediate, weapons fire, thanks to the great velocity of the projectiles, bracing to compensate for the extreme range, and specialized targeting gear. A hit inflicts two points of damage – but has a “penetration value” of 10 (Q.V.; Needle Lasers).

   A major part of the art of using a Gauss-Gyroc lies in choosing a firing point. You want one that offers a wide field of fire, good cover, a fast getaway, near inaccessibility, and a decent a chance to make several shots before your targets get undercover – all without being so good that your location is obvious.

   Gyros may be rounded off to the nearest 1/2 ton rather then always being rounded up to the nearest ton. This may leave older `Mech designs with a little open mass. This should be expended in customizing the design. If a player chooses to invest “Technical Improvements” in Gyro design, he / she may increase the tonnage divisor to 150 with one improvement or to 200 with two. He or she may also decrease the number of critical slots the Gyro requires by up to two – but no more then three of these improvements may be used in any single design.

   Heatfoam was invented as a firefighting tool but, like many other things during 300 years of war, was quickly adapted as a weapon. Designed to smother flames, offer incidental support to damaged structures, and insulate heat sources, Heatfoam is a thin greenish liquid which breaks down into N2 and a quicksetting polymer base when heated, resulting in a block of insulating, fireproof, foam enclosing the heat source, while leaving the rest of the area unobstructed. As a weapon it can’t inflict damage, but can foul heat sinks, causing heat buildup. This effect is most notable when the target has double heat sinks, but is a problem in any case. Fortunately for its targets, only so much foam can stick to a mobile unit. After this point additional hits have no real effect. Due to the amount of foam required for any real effect, the stuff can only be delivered by an AC 20, SRM (2 missiles =1 hit), or Gauss Rifle. Heatfoam comes in canister munitions as fog does and can be mixed with normal munitions in the same way. A critical hit on heatfoam ammo fills the location with foam, forcing it to shut down. This does not affect the R/L torso shielding of XL reactors but is otherwise quite total. The stuff is almost impossible to fully remove in the field, but moving thru depth 1+ water reduces the coating by 1 level per turn to a minimum of 3. Simple scraping reduces the coating by 2 levels, to a minimum of 4. This requires one full turn, during which a mech may neither move nor attack. If the stuff hits a mechs head, it interferes with the sensors, adding +1 to all targeting rolls. As the head is relatively cold it won’t foam, and so will drip off in 3 turns. Despite attempts, neither heatfoam nor fog can be used in LRM’s, their impact velocity is so high that the foam splatters uselessly over the surrounding area, rather then adhering to the target.

Total Heatfoam Hits 1 2 3 4 5 6
Single Heat Sinks:Extra Heat Per Turn 2 3 4 5 5 6
Double Heat Sinks:Extra Heat Per Turn 3 4 6 7 8 10

   Heat Sinks It should be noted that, as per the Battletech Compendium, (Rating/25) heat sinks are built into the structure of any fusion engine. These do not count against a `Mechs weight limits – even if the number is in excess of the minimum, ten, “free” heat sinks which come with lighter fusion engines. This is one of the major reasons why high-rating engines are so heavy. As a note, both vehicles and installations may use double heat sinks – if the extra CP cost is paid.

   The Holographic Projector was originally designed as a camouflage system, but proved impractical. The visual illusion is excellent – but the system is incapable of deceiving instruments at ranges of 350 M (12 hexes) or less. The system does have it’s uses; an exhibitionist can make his mech look like anything of the same basic size and shape, pretend to be almost any other mech in the same weight class (at least at ranges of 13+), and “blend” into the landscape. Units using the system for camouflage in this way are targeted at an extra +1 “to hit” whenever attacks on them are subject to a terrain penalty. The projector requires one ton and one critical slot, the sensors required to make the “chameleon” bit work take up another slot and ton – although some pilots don’t bother to install them. The system generates no significant heat, but does require some power.

   An Induction Field sets up eddy currents, resulting in heat, in any sizeable metallic object within it. While the effect is minimal, the field covers a 3-hex radius and can be quite annoying. The amount of heat induced depends on the configuration and size of the unit. Mechs take 3, VTOL’s and combat armor take 2, other vehicles take 1, and infantry is unaffected. Any unit in water of depth 1+ is also unaffected. A unit moving through the field is also affected by it. Vehicles which reach heat levels of 12 or more must be abandoned until they cool, but an inactive vehicle automatically dissipates 2 points of heat a turn. As induction fields interfere with each other their effects are not cumulative. Only fusion-powered units can supply the enormous power the field requires and even they suffer a -1 on their base movement rate. The generator weighs eight tons, takes up 4 critical slots, and generates 6 points of heat when operating plus whatever the field adds, as the user is in no way immune to its effects.

   Installations may be camouflaged and treated as hidden units – but this is generally a once-off. Once found, an installation generally cannot be reconcealed unless somebody new invades the planet. Installations powered by fusion engines may have a maximum of one per hex as they interfere with each other otherwise. It should be noted that installations can be of any desired size. Anyone who wishes to be technical may simply call them several small installations set side-by-side – but the effect is otherwise identical. Asteroid installations usually mount a 20-ton Ion Drive, which provides (very slow) maneuvering thrust. Unfortunately, as far as the duration of an space battle goes, they’re still pretty much stationary. Other special options include; Super- Hardening (CF of up to 200), Armor (Maximum = CF. This prevents units from moving through buildings), and the fact that each hex of a multihex building has it’s own CF. It is possible to have part of a building standing after you wreck another part.

   Medical Equipment varies a lot – but can be handled in a fairly abstract fashion most of the time. Emergency medical gear (Sophisticated ambulance-style – allowing decent field surgery and so on) weighs 1/4 ton. A full- scale operating setup (Hospital-style, allowing almost any kind of individual operation) weighs 1 ton. Larger medical systems (Allowing things like vaccine research or medical synthesis) aren’t readily transportable, as they have a base weight of 150 tons. Having a medical unit along is worth a bonus on morale, and attacking a dedicated medical unit penalizes the attackers morale. Further details can be found under “Morale” and “Medical Units”. Given time, Medical Equipment allows Infantry units to be “repaired”.

   Mines come in antivehicle versions (These do not react to, and have no effect on, infantry), and antipersonnel, versions (6 to unarmoured infantry, but only 1 against other units). Hovercraft only set off a mine on a roll of 12, Minivehicles on a 10+, and minihover vehicles not at all, but any vehicle that triggers a mine must also roll on the Motive Damage Table. Specialized Minelayer Systems exist; they are treated as LRM-5 launchers but use SRM ranges. They establish a 6-point minefield in the hex hit. Minesweeping can be done by specialized vehicles (Details vary, but these usually try to clear a safe path through the minefield. Buy some Armor VRS mines only. Until it’s depleted, the vehicle need not roll on the motive damage table. The mines detonate, and a safe path is established, on the usual 7+).

   Missile Packs are straightforward. They’re one-ton, one-shot, “stacks” of launch tubes for unguided SRM or LRM missiles – essentially a large-scale version of an old-fashioned fireworks cluster. Due to the fact that “Accuracy” is a mythological concept as far as such an attack is concerned, movement modifiers don’t apply. A missile pack can be fired at a hex (All units in the hex suffer an attack rolled on the LRM-10 table) or at a specific target (The number of hits is rolled on the LRM-20 table). Misses are a problem; the missiles have to go somewhere (QV; Scattering) – and may well endanger friendly forces. Misses ALWAYS default to attacking a hex. Firing a missile pack generates 8 points of heat. The ranges are as per unguided SRM/LRM missiles.

   Multifrequency Radar is handy when something is making a mess of a unit’s standard sensors, such as dust or a massive storm. It reduces the usual targeting penalty for such conditions by one, an occasional benefit that few designers feel is worth devoting an extra critical slot and half a ton of equipment to.

   Narc Missile Beacons may be used to fire any of a wide variety of exotic “warheads”. Tracers simply permit the user’s side to track escaping targets, and are often used against fast raiding groups. Drillmines take 1D6 turns to bore through a target’s armor (This does only one point of armor damage) – but then set off a charge that does 2 points of internal damage. Captive-Target pods are essentially command-detonated double-strength SRM warheads – and are equipped to let smaller targets know it (This often results in surrender). All of them use the same launcher – as well as the same statistics for range, heat, ammunition, and so on.

   Naval Weaponry is rarely used since the development of the Fusion Cannon (QV) – but here are it’s statistics, just in case it turns up sometime. Naval weapons can’t effectively target anything smaller then a jumpship. Other bits of Naval Equipment are still used, including the Lithium-Fusion Battery (Allows a jumpship to store enough power for an immediate, second, jump – however, much the same effect can be achieved by just launching a cluster of low-yield fusion warheads and then allowing the jump sail to reflect the energy they generate into the jump drive system. While this Fusion-Orion System is awfully “noisy”, it’s cheap, and the equipment masses less then 100 tons).

   As a note, turns on the high-altitude map have been set at 15 minutes each. This reduces the accelerations to roughly 1 gravity per thrust point, rather then 200 or so. Attacks are still limited, since energy weapons must be fired many times to establish a “spread” – and a reasonable chance of hitting anything. Missiles must accelerate, travel, and either hit or get by the target, before you can lock on and fire again. Having missile drive flares between you and your target tends to foul up your instrumentation. Ballistic weapons simply are not practical AT ALL, and may not be used.

Naval Autocannon :

  Short Medium Long Tons T/Shot Damage
NAC/10 1-8 9-16 17-24 2000 .2 100
NAC/20 1-8 9-16 17-24 2500 .4 200
NAC/25 1-7 8-14 15-21 3000 .6 250
NAC/30 1-7 8-14 15-21 3500 .8 300
NAC/35 1-6 7-12 13-18 4000 1.0 350
NAC/40 1-5 6-10 11-15 4500 1.2 400

   It should be noted that these are absurd – requiring muzzle velocities of many thousands of miles/kilometers PER SECOND and impossible accuracy. The error in angle that’ll cause a 100-meter miss at a range of 100,000 Km (About 15 high-altitude hexes) is hopelessly tiny, even if the target’s stationary.

Naval Missiles :

  Short Medium Long Tons Damage
Killer Whale 1-10 11-20 21-30 50 40
White Shark 1-15 16-25 26-39 40 30
Barracuda 1-20 21-26 27-30 30 20

   Also absurd – at least for the “standard” timescale. Would anyone care to calculate the acceleration and final velocity for these? It’s AT LEAST 11,000 gravities and 6,500,000 M/S. 2% of the speed of light. Enough kinetic energy to shatter a continent. Even at the revised, 15-minute, aerospace timescale such missiles still have to accelerate at AT LEAST 50 gravities. Presumably they’re using some sort of one-use fusion drive to do so, since the final velocity is still roughly .15% of lightspeed.

 

Naval Lasers :

  Short Medium Long Tons Damage
Naval Laser 35 1-7 8-14 15-21 700 35
Naval laser 45 1-9 10-18 19-27 900 45
Naval Laser 55 1-10 11-20 21-30 1100 55

 

Naval PPC’s :

  Short Medium Long Tons Damage
Light PPC 1-8 9-16 17-24 1400 70
Medium PPC 1-10 11-20 21-30 1800 90
Heavy PPC 1-10 11-20 21-30 3000 150

 

   The Needle Laser (AKA the Hatpin) is a standard combat laser modified to generate a beam less then 1/10’th of an inch wide, with a total duration of around .02 Sec. While such compression gives the beam excellent armor- piercing qualities at short ranges, it spreads quickly at longer ranges, and reduces the energy efficiency of the generator. Due to this a needle laser ignores part of its targets armor within short range. The amount so bypassed is the lasers “Penetration”, as listed on the chart below. Due to the beams narrowness, it can only do a limited amount of internal damage at close range, the amount listed under “Int”. Any additional damage is taken by the targets armor (or lost if insufficient armor remains). Used at medium or long range the beam is too dispersed to act this way and so acts normally.

  Heat Dam Int Pen Short Med Long Ton Crit
Large 10 5 2 20 1-4 5-7 8-9 6 3
Medium 5 3 1 15 1-2 3-4 5 2 2

   One critical slot on each needle laser must be devoted to the surge capacitors, a hit on them causes a modest (5 point) “ammo” explosion. If the laser is destroyed the capacitors can be discharged to safe levels by the end of the next turn.

   Example; A N. Laser used at short range against a mech with 22 points of armor would ignore 20 of them, blast through the remaining 2, and do two points of internal damage (the maximum allowed). The remaining point goes to the mechs remaining armor, reducing it to 19 points

   One-Shot Missile Launchers don’t require elaborate reloading mechanisms – and therefore can consist of little more then a tube and a sighting mechanism. Sadly, they still require a complex computer interface (QV Missile Pack) and therefore still weight half of what a standard missile rack of the same type would. They also take up half the normal number of critical slots – rounded up.

   Orion Thrusters can only be installed in a mechs legs, other units lack the necessary gyros, while even mechs cannot steer if they’re installed anywhere else. Orion thrusters are a set of tapered-burn solid-fuel rockets allowing almost any mech to jump – once. They take up one critical slot in each leg, and weigh the same as one normal jump jet would, but each set allows the mech to make a single jump of up to twice its walking distance at a cost of 6 points of heat. The stress inherent in using such a system does a certain amount of damage to the mech, inflicting a total of (tonnage/20) points of damage to the internal structure of each leg. Critical rolls apply, but are made with a -1 modifier.

   Overdrive modifies a vehicle drive system, the precise mechanism varies with the engine type, but the effects are similar. It allows the pilot to coax brief bursts of extra power from the drive, allowing his vehicle to move at twice its normal cruising speed. Sadly, these bursts are an enormous strain on the engine, each turn that the pilot uses Overdrive, he must make a piloting roll to avoid damaging his engine, failure reduces the vehicles cruising MP by 1, modifying flank and overdrive speeds appropriately. The overdrive system weighs 1/2 ton for every 5 tons of the vehicles power plant. Note that hover vehicles with overdrive capabilities can be designed to “hoverjump” (QV; “Design Features”).

   Parachutes are straightforward, weighing 1% as much as the unit they are made to fit, they allow a reasonably safe descent from altitude levels of 25+ and can break the fall from heights of 12+, reducing damage to that of a height three fall. They can only be used once.

   Periscopes are fairly straightforward; They increase a unit’s height – at least as far as being able to “see” things goes – by +1 (1/2 ton model) or +2 levels (Full ton version). Any weapons that can fire indirectly, or which could fire through the intervening obstructions, can fire without penalty. While this is normally used to get around difficulties like smoke, any submersible unit may use it to permit them to fire at shore/aerial targets without coming up. While this does allow for “return fire”, the submarine unit is treated as having partial cover and all of the weapons used are restricted to their underwater ranges. As a note, submarines may also partially surface, exposing only their turrets to fire. This gives them a +1 defensive modifier.

   A “Personalized Interface” comes in a variety of forms (Direct neural links, re-arranged cockpit controls and displays, virtual-reality environment, etc, etc, etc), but the effects of all practical versions of these are much alike; a -2 bonus on gunnery and piloting skills. The price tag is much the same as well – a specialized computer system specifically programmed to suit an individual user, high maintenance costs, being unable to assign pilots to different Mech’s, and endless tinkering by a highly skilled programmer/tech to keep the system matched to the pilot. In practice, such a system is restricted to occasional, talented, mechwarrior/techs, and is usually a technical violation of regulations even then. A partial version can be mass-produced – but is insanely expensive, and only offers a “-1” bonus. Such a system takes up one critical slot in the head, but has no significant weight.

   Physical Weapons come in various forms, whatever their “look”, they are treated as a standard hatchet. A huge chunks of metal designed to smash, crush, or tear mech armor is far less fragile then other weapons, at least one half of these weapons critical slots must be “hit” to disable it. Optionally, such a weapon may be longer then usual, giving them a -2 bonus to hit but reducing damage to the “punch” level. Due to greater leverage, such a weapons “weight and slot” divisor is “20”, rather then “15” like a normal hatchets.

   The Plasma Laser AKA “Plaser” is arguably the ultimate fusion-backed beam weapon, converting plasma heat into light directly – rather then drawing electrical energy from the MHD coils. While this creates a devastatingly powerful beam, diverting the reactors plasma output to a magnetic bottle and forcing it to lase means diverting it from the MHD coils, resulting in a loss of power to other systems. In practice a plaser-equipped unit must either remain stationary when firing or carry a backup power supply to bridge the gap. Even so, partial loss of power is unavoidable, resulting in a +1 modifier on piloting and attack rolls throughout the turn of firing. Firing without backup power is possible but forces the unit to remain stationary throughout its turn, fire no other energy weapons, and attack at a +2 penalty. If a piloting roll is needed during that turn it fails, and any attacks on the firing unit receive the -4 “Target Immobile” modifier. As a plaser requires a direct link with the reactors plasma tap, no one reactor may power more then one. A plaser creates very little heat for a weapon of such power, a result of bypassing the usual multi-stage conversion losses. The energy capacitors of the backup power supply are one of the flaws in the system, a hit on them causes a violent explosion doing (engine rating/10) points of damage to the location.

Plaser Eng. Dam. Sh Me Lo Art. Wt.(1) Cri(1) Heat
I 60+ 12 6 12 18 3B 2/2 3/2 4
II 120+ 20 8 16 24 5B 3/3 3/3 5
III 240+ 30 10 20 30 8B 4/5 4/5 6
IV 360+ 36 12 24 36 10B 4/6 4/6 7

   1) The value after the slash is for the backup power supply, the first value is for the plaser itself.

   2) In general, Aerospace units cannot employ plasers. The power fluctuations cause too many problems for them. An appropriate invention – such as multiple engine technologies – may fix this problem.

   3) The base chance of connecting when using a direct-fire “artillery” weapon at multiboard ranges is an 11+. On the other hand, they can fire at units on the low-altitude map from the ground, at least out to their maximum ranges.

   A Plasma Mirror combines the output from two (or more) identical energy weapons into a one beam, doing damage equal to the total of the combined weapons. Otherwise, the beam is treated normally except for a 1″ reduction in range. A plasma mirror weighs 1 ton and takes up 1 critical slot. It also generates 2 points of heat per turn. If a mirror is disabled, the weapons adjusted to use it may not fire for 3 turns – after which time the targeting systems will have them re-aligned for normal firing if they weigh less then 3 tons. Heavier weapons must be realigned externally. A plasma mirror can only combine the output from weapons located in the same or adjacent locations. As a note, the mirror is treated as the source weapon when/if they’re used with turrets or targeting computers.

   The Plasma Shield employs a powerful magnetic field to restrain the plasma generated by an energy beam in the atmosphere, in effect, causing the air around the user to act like a partial mirror. More powerful beams make more plasma, and hence loose more energy. Sadly, this effect is somewhat inefficient, under ideal conditions the system can only deflects about 1/3 of the incoming energy. If the user is moving, the shield is far less effective, although it still serves to deflect 1 point of damage from incoming energy weapon attacks. `Mechs can’t use plasma shields at all, as the magnetic field tends to cause eddy currents and lock up joints. There is a one variant relying on magnetic deflection rather then plasma reflection, it reduces the damage from PPC hits by 5 points each but does not affect other energy weapons. Since this requires a far weaker field, Mechs can use the anti-PPC variant. Either system weighs .05 tons per ton it shields. In mechs the Anti-PPC variant takes up one critical slot in each location.

   The Power Axe is a modification of the common Hatchet, adding an energy discharge to the physical impact. The most common version channels plasma from a battlemechs fusion reactor into a containment field wrapped around the hatchets edge, creating a searing plasma arc which serves to weaken the targets armor ahead of the blade. A power axe does 5 more points of damage then a normal hatchet but requires an additional critical slot and ton of weight. A hit on this slot disables the plasma arc, but the “axe” remains usable as a normal hatchet. When “on” a power axe generates 2 points of heat each turn.

   A Rapier is a battlemech size version of a stiletto, a blade or spike designed to penetrate armor by applying its full impact against a single point. Attempts have been made to improve on this basic idea via vibration, electrification, explosive tips, using the stiletto as an injector, and so on with little success. The basic Rapier weighs two tons and takes up two critical slots in the arm. While it only does 4 points of damage, it is only resisted by 1/10’th the current armor value of the location struck, rounding up, any remaining damage is assessed against the target’s internal structure. The “improved” versions mentioned above weigh 3 tons and require three critical slots, however they do 6 points of damage. A hit on the extra slot reduces the weapon to a standard rapier, but has no additional effect. A Rapier can be combined with the use of triple-strength Myomer – but the damage is only increased by 2 points.

   Reflek is a metallo-organic polymer which, mirrorlike, reflects and disperses light energy. While this would seem to make it an ideal defence against lasers, it is relatively fragile and is subject to burn-through when overloaded. Even so, coating a unit with reflek gives it a good deal of protection from lasers, reducing the damage they do by two points per attack as long as the user has any armor left at all. While a Reflek coating only weighs 1/2 ton per size class of the unit (Light, Medium, Heavy, and Assault) it has many disadvantages, it tends to retain heat (+2 heat per turn), interferes with with long-range sensors (+1 to hit at 12 hexes or more), and is very conspicuous (All missile attacks on the user are made at -1, reduces the attackers terrain penalty when the user is in a woods hex by -1).

   Reinforced Cockpit : Due to the distressing number of complaints about the (fragile) battlemech head design, a reinforced model with more shock absorbers, multiply redundant sensor pickups, autopolarizing periscopes to replace vulnerable armorglass windows, etcetra, is now in use. These design refinements give such reinforced cockpits a total weight of four tons, 6 points of I.S. (capable of mounting up to 18 points of armor), a “-2” bonus on the pilots roll to avoid damage from falls, and prevents pilot injury due to head hits doing less then 3 points of damage. A reinforced cockpit may be retro- fitted on “standard” battlemechs by removing armor.

   The Relativistic Particle Projector (RPP, AKA Elfshot) is related to the PPC. Like the PPC it projects a beam of charged particles, unlike the PPC, it relies on the secondary radiation and electromagnetic surge produced by a small quantity of high-velocity particles, rather then on raw power. An RPP hit does little damage, but can induce massive surges in electronic and electrical systems. Sadly, military equipment is usually too well shielded to damage permanently, but a +4 piloting roll is necessary to prevent the location hit from shutting down for a turn. The roll is unaffected by a locations armor, while heavier armor reduces the E-M effects, it increases the secondary radiation. A Shutdowns effects vary by location as follows : L/R torso shutdowns also render the corresponding arm useless, but don’t affect reactor shielding, leaving an XL engine unaffected. As the center torso is very radiation-tolerant a shutdown will merely prevent torso-twisting and scramble the gyro feedback, as per a gyro hit. A leg shutdown requires a piloting roll at +3 to avoid falling and scrambles any leg mounted systems. Arm shutdowns simply block use of the arm and any arm mounted systems. A head hit can not only shutdown the entire mech, but secondary radiation inflicts a wound level on the pilot as well. The basic RPP unit weighs 6 tons, occupies 3 critical slots, and generates 8 heat when fired. The beam has a range of 8/15/25 with a minimum of 2 and inflicts two points of normal damage in addition to its special effect. If it matters, the beam glows blue with cherenkov radiation.

   Repair Shops allow extensive repairs to Battlemechs and Vehicles – given an adequate stock of spare parts. “Light” damage can be repaired with a technicians kit, some time, and a bit of luck. “Moderate” damage requires some heavy equipment – about five tons worth. “Severe” damage requires a 20-ton shop. Repairing units that’ve been “Wrecked” requires a major facility (300 tons for a basic version. Not something you usually haul around with you, although an operational version can be inst- alled in a Dropship at the cost of 6 “points” of cargo space). “Vaporized” units are beyond repair by anybody save, possibly, the regimental chaplain. “Spare parts” are treated generically, and weigh one ton per 25 CP.

   Sand is an antilaser measure, an ultrafine dust with a refractive crystaline structure which disperses light, especially coherent light. Once scattered, Sand hangs in the air for several minutes. making any laser fire which passes through it both truly spectacular and far less effective. Any laser weapon fired through one or more hexes containing sand will be dispersed enough to half their damage value, rounding up. While the Vulcan Laser system is unaffected by sand, needle lasers are, losing their armor-piercing effect.

   Sand, Sensor Probes, Smoke, Ultraflares, and Window are normally launched in relatively small canisters by a gas-powered mortar, although they can be deployed in a variety of other ways. Such a mortar weighs 1/2 ton, requires 2 critical slots, has a range of 6/12/18, and has a minimum range of 2. Mortars generate no heat and always use indirect fire, targeted against a hex, thus the to-hit roll is modified only by the users movement and condition. Due to computer control of the propellant charge and high trajectory, mortars normally have a 360% firing arc and cannot be mounted in a mechs legs. They can fire any of the loads given above interchangeably, or a modest explosive charge, doing 2 points of damage to units in the hex hit. Misses scatter 1-2 hexes, the direction is determined normally. A ton of mortar ammo consists of 50 rounds, and can be taken in 1/2 ton lots.

   Sand, Smoke, and Window form height-2 clouds in the hex hit and its adjacent hexes, remaining for 3 turns. Such unusual conditions as rain, high winds, and vacuum, reduce this time to 1 turn. Sensor Probes remain until neutralized – but Explosive Charges and Ultraflares take effect immediately. Similar effects can be obtained by loading shells and missiles with sand, smoke, or window, but the ultraflares and sensor probes are too fragile to be launched in this fashion. Such shells are available for the AC/10 and 20, the Gauss Rifle, and for artillery systems. Due to the sheer mass of material used in the AC/20, Arrow IV, Sniper, and Long Tom ammunition, such a launching technique offers twice the usual duration.

   Sensor Probes are instrument packages that relay basic “scans” of a 3-hex radius, either to the unit that set them or to any “friendly” battle command computer. The probes can act as an indirect fire “spotter”, give the user a “-1” bonus on any long-range fire into the area they cover, and provide basic information about any unit which passes through the area they survey. While they can spot hidden units or precisely identify those that pass, this requires a base roll of 8+, with a bonus of +1 for every 20 full tons of the unit. Failure merely indicates the presence of a hidden unit or the general class of a passing unit.

   The Battlemech Shield was invented by an annoyed tech, outraged at the amount of damage to one `mech, he said “I wish I could put a shield on this mech!” and then got to thinking about it. A Shield takes up three critical slots in the arm and weighs 5 tons. It can be used to block attacks from the front, rear, or the appropriate side arc, as the user chooses. The “shield” covers the arm and any three adjacent locations, attacks on those locations must first penetrate the shield. The shield itself counts as 48 points of armor and does not inhibit the users actions. It can even be used as a weapon in the physical attack phase, inflicting (Punch+5) damage

   A Shockweb is designed to enhance the effectiveness of physical attacks. The system includes a set of cables running to the battlemechs extremities, a high-voltage accumulator, and some insulated discharge points. The net effect is to add a massive electrical discharge to any successful physical attack. While this only does 1 extra point of damage, the victim must make a piloting roll at “+2” to compensate for the overload, a failure leaves the target at a +2 penalty on any actions which involve the location hit during the next turn. Hits on the center torso or head affect all activities. A hit on a side torso location also affects the arm, while a hit on a leg affects all piloting rolls, including the one to avoid falling down. If the attack does internal damage the web also gives the user a “+1” when rolling for critical hits. A shockweb system only weighs half a ton, but takes up three critical slots. It can only be “fired” once a turn, and generates 2 heat points when it does. As a side effect, this system makes the unit immune to infantry “Leg” and “Swarm” attacks.

   Skeletal Reinforcement is a straightforward option for `mechs; one simply “buys” a heavier internal structure then one needs (If this goes off the chart, simply add the IS boxes corresponding to the remaining weight). This fills one critical slot per extra ton of IS – and may not more then double a Mech’s total IS. As a side benefit, any mech which takes more then 50% reinforce- ment receives the benefits of a Reinforced Cockpit for free.

   Spotter Drones are an improved, mobile, version of the sensor probe, propelled by helicopter rotors and powered by a high-efficiency fuel cell. While elevation gives their scans an 8-hex range within LOS, it limits their ability to identify units (or detect hidden units), to immediately adjacent hexes. They should be treated as having jump-12 movement, take four points of damage to destroy, and carry a “suicide pack” capable of doing 5 points of damage to any unit in contact with the drone if it goes off. Attacks on them are made at -3 due to their minimal size. They have the same functions as a sensor probe (QV). A set of 2 drones and their control computer weighs 1 ton and takes up 1 critical slot, an additional 6 drones takes up an additional ton and slot. A hit on the computer disrupts the entire system. The drone design is; IS .03, Comlinks .015, Autopilot .05, Lift .05, Fuel Cell 0, Armor .105, Warhead .05 (tons).

   SRM Speciality Warheads include a variety of oddities. Since the “basic” SRM warhead is already optimized for general battlefield conditions, variants are generally more effective under special circumstances but less so under other conditions. While other types of missiles are obviously possible, the common speciality warheads include the SRM :

  • -AP (Armor Piercing) warheads are refinement of the common shaped-charge warhead, creating a pulsed super- heated jet. Even the multilayered structure of modern armor cannot fully resist such an attack, giving these warheads a penetration value of 15 (QV: Needle Lasers) and a damage rating of 2, of which 1 can go internal. As a glancing hit misaligns the jet, wasting the missile, -AP warheads suffer a +2 penalty to hit.
  • -C (Catalytic) warheads use a chemical payload that breaks down the polymer matrix of ferro-fiber and ferro- aluminum armor. Such warheads do 3 points of damage to such armor, but only 1 against other targets. Only the first point of damage done can transfer to IS. Unlike explosive warheads a glancing hit is quite useless, so -C warheads suffer a +1 modifier “to hit”.
  • -D (Decoy) warheads carry an electronic hookup that briefly mimics the users sensor signature. While this cannot fool a full-scale targeting system or a viewers eye, it can often fool a missiles guidance chips. Any SRM launcher loaded with -D warheads can fire one each time a unit is targeted by an missile flight up to its capacity (2, 4 or 6) at the cost of 1 heat per missile fired. Each decoy warhead diverts 1D6+2 missiles from the flight. -D warheads do not affect streak missiles since these are corrected from the firing unit. A few users have managed to “redirect” the diverted missiles against another target, but this requires an attack at a +4 penalty. It should be noted that these are a good deal more effective in space combat – where the sensor signature is usually all the attacker has to go on. In such situations launching a decoy will leave attackers with a choice of targets until the computers manage to sort things out – 1D6 turns later. Dropships normally deploy quite a few decoys during a planetary approach. Jumpships cannot effectively employ decoys, due to the fact that the distinctive energy signature of a hyper- space drive can’t be effectively simulated by anything except a hyperspace drive.
  • -ER (Extended Range) warheads have extra fuel but a smaller warhead, making them roughly equal to standard LRM missiles. While their less-then-ideal design gives fewer missiles per ton, at least they can use the same launcher as standard SRM’s.
  • -F (Flock) warheads home on each other, so all that hit at all hit in the same location. The same feature makes it harder to acquire a target, so flock warheads suffer a +2 penalty to hit.
  • -G (Gas) warheads are used against (basic) infantry or unprotected civilians. An infantry target suffers 5 points of damage, while any hit in a civilian-occupied hex will cause massive casualties. They have no effect on other battlefield units. Gas warheads attack hexes rather then units, affecting all possible targets. Any misses “scatter” 1-2 hexes. Note that -G warheads use relatively mild chemical agents, most “casualties” are merely incapacitated. Using true nerve gasses tends to cause massive damage to both sides.
  • -HS (Heat Seeker) warheads rely on temperature cues more then normal warheads do, giving them a “-1” bonus when used against a mech whose heat scale is currently above 7 and an additional -1 against mechs with double heat sinks. Units whose heat scale is currently at “0” are attacked at a +1 penalty, while units that have no heat sinks at all are attacked at a +2. They suffer an additional +2 penalty if a target is within 3 hexes of a strong heat source, such as a fire, any mech with 16 or more points of heat, any unit using flamers, or any unit currently affected by an “inferno” (including the target, as the flames “blur” the thermal image).
  • -I (Inferno) missiles are described in the rules. As a note, a wide variety of “other” substances can be delivered by such warheads. Such “substances” include Sand, Smoke, Window, Heatfoam, Firefighting chemicals, and whatever else you can dream up. Sadly, the modest size of such warheads limits the effect of such things to the hex struck – if that much.
  • -S (Scatter) warheads throw fragments, pellets, and bits of metal all over the place. This causes 4 points of damage to basic infantry – but has little effect on any other unit. These are often called “Fragmentation” or “Antipersonnel” warheads, but all of those initials have already been taken.
  • -T (TAG) missiles will automatically hit any target which has been successfully “Tagged”, but may be fired normally. In either case, roll for the number of hits as usual.
  • -U (Ultra) warheads use more powerful, if much less stable, explosives. While such missiles do 3 points of damage, they explode due to heat as per “infernos” and will detonate in the launcher on any attack roll of 2. The blast automatically destroys the launcher and does other damage as per a normal ammunition explosion.
  • -W/A (Water/Air) missiles may be fired in air or in water – or from water into the air. (Going from air to water throws them off somewhat, inflicting a +2 to hit modifier). Unfortunately, the far more elaborate drive and control systems reduces the size of the warhead, and so they only inflict one point of damage per missile.

   It should be noted that some of these missile types can be combined. For example, one can readily produce Flock-Ultra warheads as their effects are independent. An ER-C warhead would do two points of damage to FF/FA armor, and one to other targets. Quite a few of these (Notably; -F, -G, -I, -S, -T, and -U) may also be used in LRM configurations at half the usual effects. As an example, Inferno LRMs have a good (6+) chance to start a fire, but splatter around too much to actually “hit” a specific target. Any unit in the hex can simply move out of it before the fire is too well established.

   Strap-On Weapons Pods are relatively uncommon, but can be useful on occasion. In effect, they’re simply an externally-mounted weapons system – unprotected by the host units armor. Strap-on pods are automatically hit by any attacks that strike their location, and require three points of damage to destroy. Any further damage is passed on to the host unit. Pods come in weights of up to three tons – but no one unit may mount more then two pods, or more then 10% of it’s own weight in pods. Used within those restrictions pods have no noticeable effect on movement (QV; Cargo Carriers). Most pods are simple, one-shot, missile launchers or combinations of one-shot missile launchers. (Streak or Artemis systems may not be used, use the standard launcher weights – and ignore heat and ammo explosions, as the launchers aren’t inside). Strap-on missile pods are not reusable – but only cost two CP per ton to build. Energy weaponry may also be installed in pods – in which case it generates only half the normal heat. Unfortunately, building it in a pod configuration doesn’t reduce it’s cost (10 CP per ton) very much – and leaves it extremely vulnerable. Energy weapon pods are rare, except when an individual pilot scavenges something. Machine guns may be mounted in pods, but computer-controlled systems (Antimissile, Vulcan Lasers, etc) may not. Antipersonnel pods may be mounted as strap-ons – but only one such system may be put in a pod, and the pod’s destroyed when it’s fired. Only weapons may be mounted this way.

   Targeting Computer : A Targeting computer never weighs more then one ton per weapon it controls, and need not control all of a unit’s weaponry – although if it does not, what it does control must be noted in advance.

   Tailed mechs are unusual (to put it mildly), but a few designers have tried it. A tail takes up one critical slot in the center torso but gives anything mounted in the remaining slot a 360o field of fire. A stationary tailed unit can brace itself with it, provided that it does not fire a tail-mounted weapon in that turn. Such a braced unit receives a -2 bonus on piloting rolls to avoid falling. A mech may make a physical attack with its tail provided that it has not used it otherwise in the same turn. Such an attack may target any adjacent unit in the mechs rear or side arcs, doing (tonnage/5) points of damage. Tails take up 1/12’th the weight of the mech (1/15’th if using endo steel), rounded off to the nearest 1/2 ton. Tails may “borrow” two slots from each side torso as part of their structure, this gives the tail a total of 3 free critical slots. Anything in them is simply noted in the side torso locations under the “tail structure” slots. Critical hits on the tail structure have no effect, and should be rerolled.

   Tanglers (Ranges of 2/5/8, Heat 2), are pairs of mini- missiles trailing a length of “sticky”, high-strength, cable. Successful hits entangle the area struck. These weapons are most effective on Mechs and VTOLs. On Mechs, leg hits require a “+3” piloting roll to avoid falling whenever they move, until a roll is made, breaking the cable. Arm hits inflict a “+2” on attacks using either arm during the next turn. A torso hit blocks the mechs next attempt to torso-twist. A head hit fouls some of the mechs sensors, inflicting a +1 “to hit” until it’s removed afterwards. VTOL’s are unharmed by armor hits, but any rotor hit effectively “destroys” the rotor due to the resulting jam. Naval and Ground units may suffer jammed turrets on appropriate rolls, but are otherwise immune. Tanglers come in 3-shot launchers which cannot be autoloaded thanks to the cables fast-drying, super- adhesive coating. Tangler launchers weigh 1/2 ton and take up 1 critical slot. Thanks to the development of synthetic spider-silk in the late 20’th century, these 1/2-inch lines have have a breaking strength of nearly 250 tons.

   The Thunderbolt is a massive missile, capable of doing 12 points of damage to its target. Too large for auto-loading, it comes in an OS launcher and generates 6 heat points when launched. The launcher and missile weigh 1/2 ton and take up 1 critical slot. It has a range of 18, due to its sophisticated guidance electronics and slow response it has a base 6+ chance to hit at all ranges. In addition to the damage, the thunderbolt adds 2 heat points to the unit hit. While the missile is only very lightly armoured (3 points), antimissile systems often fail to stop it. Dual Thunderbolt systems weigh a ton, but still take up only one critical slot. Due to the electronic complexity of targeting a “Thunderbolt”, no single unit may launch more then eight of them a turn.

   Torso Mounted Cockpits (QV; Maximum Tech), These weigh four tons, put the “Cockpit” slot in the center torso, put the life support slots in the R/L Torsos – and add a third sensor slot in the center torso – allowing the `Mech to “survive” having it’s head destroyed (If at a “+4” to targeting). While head (or torso) hits do not damage the Mechwarrior, he or she can swiftly roast if the life support system is damaged, taking one point a round if the heat scale goes above zero, two per round at fifteen or above. Worse, the massive magnetic field generated by the fusion engine tends to interfere with the cockpit’s delicate computer systems – inflicting a “=1” penalty on all piloting rolls.

   Turrets (As adapted from the Maximum Tech book) : Battlemechs may use turrets; Shoulder turrets go on the R/L Torsos and may fire into the front/appropriate side/rear arcs. Quad’s with a single turret may rotate it 360o. Turrets may also be mounted in/on top of the head – but this is of no use unless you can free up at least one slot for the rotation system. Such turrets weigh 10% of the weight of the weapons so mounted, are protected by the locations usual armor – and take up one critical slot. If that slot gets hit, the turret locks in it’s current position.

   Vehicles may mount one extra turret. VTOL’s may get one. Other units may have front and rear turrets. Rear turrets operate normally, frontal turrets may not fire directly to the rear. They must be armoured separately – but get the usual amount of IS boxes for free.

   “Sponson Mounts” let R/L Side weapons fire in 180o arcs – up to straight ahead and behind. This adds 10% to the mass of the weapons so mounted. Sponson mounts are normally installed in pairs.

   Ultraflares generate an electromagnetic burst designed to temporarily overload battlemech sensors. Any `mech within a 75 m radius of the detonation point must make a +3 piloting roll or suffer a +3 attack modifier thru the next turn. If successful the penalty is reduced to +1. As the burst tends to disrupt tracking systems, a unit firing at the affected unit(s) is also subject to a +1 penalty. Shielded Sensors (QV; Design Features), reduce the penalties by 2.

   Ultralight Cockpits are sometimes used on lighter mech designs. There are four possible modifications to the standard cockpit, each of which saves half a ton :

  • 1) Fragile; Reduce IS to 2 and the potential Armor to 6
  • 2) No Life Support/Heat; A simple oxygen tank permits operation in vacuum and underwater, but the user has no protection against excessive heat. QV; Critical Hits. This also frees up one life support slot.
  • 3) No Life Support/Atmosphere. While a basic pressure suit protects the pilot against vacuum, gases, and water, such things can penetrate the cockpit – and will (At least for water, vacuum, and some gases), put the `Mech out of operation within three turns. Once again, this frees up one life support slot.
  • 4) Crude Sensors; +1 Targeting penalty, can only take one “sensor” hit before they go out entirely. They still, however, occupy two critical slots.

   Ultralight Engines are lighter fusion engines, and can be combined with the XL modifier. Unfortunately, they are lighter because the design cuts corners. Each such “cut” reduces the weight of the engine by 10%. Some of the possible “cuts”, and associated problems, include;

  • 1) Light MHD Coils/Extra Heat (+4 per turn).
  • 2) Fewer Heat Sinks/Only has 6 built-in heat sinks.
  • 3) Poor Shielding/Pilot starts with a “wound”.
  • 4) No Backup Systems/Any hit “destroys” the engine.
  • 5) Overheats Easily/Engine shutdown rolls of : 4+, 6+, 8+, 10+, and Automatic occur at heat levels of 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20.
  • 6) Tech. Improvement/They’re so useful elsewhere. Also subject to a maximum of 3, albeit no extra RP cost.

   Note that, while you can make an Ultralight XL engine, you multiply the effects together – rather then adding them. An XL engine with three “cuts” weighs (.5 x .7 = .35) 35% of the usual weight. For design purposes, the weight may be rounded off to the nearest 1/2 ton.

   The Ultrathrust system allows aerospace and conventional fighters to thrust at up to twice their normal ratings at the cost of fuel (As per overthrust) and a great risk of damaging its drive. Ultrathrust works as MASC does, a failed roll destroys the main thrusters. This leaves the fighter dependent on the steering thrusters, which have an overthrust rating of 1. At “low” altitude the fighter must try to land during the next turn. Due to the danger of being trapped headed out, this system is rarely used in aerospace fighters, despite its minimal size and weight (1 engine slot and fighters tons/50).

   As an option, a limited version of this system that relies on solid-fuel boosters may be installed. It has the same mass and slot requirements, and runs no risk of engine damage, but may only be fired 3 times per game.

   Vehicle Flamers can be loaded with many things besides incendiaries. For battlefield purposes, this includes Fog, Heatfoam, Catalytic, and Gas, attacks (Details on Catalytic and Gas attacks are found under SRM Speciality Warheads). A hit with a vehicle flamer is equal to two hits from other sources. In any case, the “ammunition” supply remains fixed at 20 “shots” to the ton.

   Vulcan Lasers are simply modifications of the standard small laser, putting it under computer control instead of under the control of the mechwarrior. The modified laser tracks, and hopefully destroys, incoming missiles. Sadly, even a fusion plant can’t power a lasers charge and discharge cycle fast enough to make this effective against standard SRM’s or LRM’s, but it is very useful against Hunter-Seekers, Drones, and the largest, slow, Guided Missiles. If a unit equipped with Vulcan Lasers is so attacked, the system automatically opens fire on the attackers when they come within 2 hexes during the movement phase. Each functioning V-Laser entitles the defender to one roll on the table below. V-Lasers are normally fired only once in a turn, but may be double-fired in emergencies. If

  • 1- : Miss, attacker undamaged. normally fired only
  • 2 : Destroyed in users hex. once in a turn, but
  • 3-4 : Destroyed at 1-hex range. may be double-fired
  • 5-6 : Destroyed at 2-hex range. in emergencies.

this option is used, the second roll is made at -1 and the heat generated is an extra 5 points, instead of an extra 2. If an attacking unit was carrying a warhead, it detonates when (if) the unit is destroyed, possibly damaging the hex and adjacent hexes. Destroying a unit at ranges below 2′ may not be complete protection, but it helps. V-Lasers can be used against any unit within their range, although such units must be hit normally. For this purpose, V-Lasers have a range scale of S/M/L = 0/1/2. The “0” indicates a target in the users hex, despite the usual rules, V-Lasers may be fired at such targets. A V-Laser hit eliminates any single unit of 1 ton or less, but only does two points of damage to any larger unit (The modification is related to the Needle Laser shown elsewhere). V-Lasers weigh 1 ton, require 1 critical slot, and generate 2 (7 double-fire) points of heat. For simplicity, they are considered to have a 360o firing arc. Note; The system can be used against Arrow IV missiles, but not normal artillery shells.

   Warbots are unmanned units operated by computers. They are subject to precisely the same rules that any other unit would be with the following exceptions;

  • 1) They are not subject to Morale penalties.
  • 2) They’re unpopular, and cause loyalty penalties. Unlike the use of fission/fusion weaponry, this is a one-time -10 penalty. It does, however, apply to each new world you acquire – and is doubled if you use warbots in acquiring it.
  • 3) They are subject to the Battlecards and Weather Conditions that interfere with “Drones” as well as those that interfere with the base unit.
  • 4) They cannot be taken over by enemy infantry.
  • 5) Critical damage to the “Crew”, “Commander”, and “Pilot” indicates damage to, or disruptions of, the onboard computer systems instead – but work exactly the same way.
  • 6) ECM systems degrade their performance (Piloting and Targeting) by a +1 penalty.
  • 7) Miniunits are limited to the Autopilots listed under “Miniunit Design”. They simply don’t have the space available for computers this complex.

   Water-To-Air Missiles are a fairly ancient design, and fit into the same slots as LRM’s/Torpedoes. Sadly, due to the fact that they require far more elaborate drive and control systems, their range is reduced to that of a SRM. While they may be freely fired in air or water, or from water into air, going from air to water throws them off a bit, inflicting a +2 “to hit” modifier.

   Window is an intensely irritating “weapon” designed to interfere with opponents instruments. The stuff is an ultrafine powder that, when scattered, interferes with both simple visual sighting and radar – except for a few frequencies. Such “open” frequencies are determined by careful (tuned-laser) selection of particle sizes when the stuff is manufactured. While this is not entirely effective, “window” still has far less effect on units using the “open” frequencies then on unprepared units. Window comes in two grades. Grade I inflicts a +1 “to hit” on a unit firing through or into a hex containing it – but doesn’t affect units using an open frequency. It isn’t dense enough to block line-of-sight through a hex or combination of hexes, and is considered to have an elevation 2 above the terrain it strikes. Grade II inflicts a +2 on enemy units and a +1 on friendly units. Grade II can interfere with LOS, making open hexes the equivalent of “light woods”, light woods equivalent to heavy woods, and heavy woods impenetrable. Units using an open frequency may ignore the LOS effects of window on any one hex, possibly allowing then to see an enemy unit before they can be seen. Such units may fire back if fired upon, but suffer an additional +1 modifier to hit for firing at a known, but unseen, target. Window does not affect indirect artillery fire, but does work against bombing if the units the attacker really wants to hit are concealed in it. When any side in a battle first uses window, its opponents should roll 2D6, a 12 indicates that the units radar frequency is one of the open ones. As changing frequencies takes about 4 hours per unit (Unless they’re equipped with multi-frequency radar) a 2-11 usually means that they are out of luck.

   XL Internal Combustion Engines are available, but very rare. They use high-temperture plastics for structural parts, extremely (and dangerously) reactive fuels, high- pressure turbines, titanium/aluminum internal parts, and various other light-weight replacements, for the usual iron-based alloys and hydrogen-storing metallic “sponge” used in standard combustion engines. An XL engine has only half the mass of a standard engine – but they are more expensive and notoriously cranky. Any engine damage will automatically cripple an XLICE.

   As a note, small ICE’s are far more efficient power sources then small fusion engines. Anyone who doubts that should inspect a model airplane engine. Fusion is a much better source for the massive energies demanded by a mech, fighter, or laser tank, but small units are often better off with a standard ICE (At least if they can refuel regularly). Revised weights for small ICE engines are as follows :

 

Rating Tons 50-60 1.00 105-110 : 5.00
10-15 0.00 65-75 1.50 115-125 : 8.00
20-25 0.25 80-85 2.50 Higher : 2x Fusion Weight
30-45 0.50 90-100 3.50    

   Implementing this rule will give a few of the light vehicles an extra ton or two to play with. Since most such vehicles are local productions, players should be permitted to use those tons to customize them a bit.

.

Suggested Resource Point Costs :

 

System RP.
Ablative Shockfoam 10
Ammunition, Variable Slots Free
Antipersonnel Pods (Improved) 5
Armless Battlemech Designs Free
Armor, Crystal-Aluminum 5
-Armor, Protected Critical Slots Free
Artillery Weapons; Arrow -II and -III Free
Batteries 5
Battle Com. Computer 20
Bridgelayers Free
Cables Free
Cannister Munitions 5
Composite Structure 5
Crabmines (Not available as standard equipment) N/A
Cyrosink (And Fire Extinguishers) 10
Deathpaste Free
Drone Control Computer 10
Drop Mines Free
-Heavy Mortar Free
Dual Machine Guns Free
Engineering Gear / Light Engineering Gear Free
Floatation Systems Free
Fog 10
Fuel Free
Fuel Scoops and Purifiers 15
Fusion Cannons Free
Gauss Rifle (Fragmentation Ammunition) 5
Gyroc-Gauss Sniping Rifle (Not available as S. E.) Special
Heatfoam 10
Holographic Projector 10
Induction Field 20
Medical Equipment Free
Mines (Antivehicle and Antipersonnel) Free
-Minelayer System 10
-Minesweeper Armor Free
Missile Packs Free
Multifrequency Radar Free
Narc Missile Beacons/Speciality Warheads  
-Tracers 5
-Drillmines 10
-Captive-Target Warheads (With App SRM tech) Free
Naval Weaponry and Equipment Free
Needle Laser/Small 10
Needle Laser/Large and Small 15
Orion Thruster 5
Overdrive Free
Parachutes Free
Periscope Free
Personalized Interface 50
Physical Weapons Free
Plasma Laser I-IV 20+5/L
Plasma Mirror 5
Plasma Shield (Either Version) 10
Plasma Shield (Both Types) 15
Power Axe 5
Rapier 5
-Enhanced Rapier 10
Reflek 15
Reinforced Cockpit Free
RPP 20
Repair Shops Free
Sand 10
Light Mortar (See; Sand/ Sensor Probe/Smoke/ Ultraflares/ and Window) Free
Sand 10
Sensor Probes Free
Shield 5
Shockweb 5
Skeletal Reinforcement Free
Smoke Free
Spotter Drones 5
SRM Speciality Warheads  
-Inferno/ Smoke/ Gas (and availablechemicals)/and Scatter. Free
-Armor Piercing/ Catalytic/ Decoy/ ExtendedRange/ Flock/ Heat Seeking/ Ultra/ Water/Air 2.5
-TAG 10
Strap-On Weapons Pods Free
Tailed 15
Tanglers 5
Thunderbolt 5
Torso Mounted Cockpits 10
Turrets/ Battlemech 5
Turrets/ Dual Vehicle and Sponson Free
Ultraflares 10
Ultralight Cockpits Free
Ultralight Engines Free
Ultrathrust Free
Vulcan Lasers 10
Warbots 10
Water-To-Air Missiles 5
Window 15
XL ICE 5
   
General Technical Improvements 5
Last two possible system Technical Improvements 10
   
Maximum Tech Equipment (see equipment tables)  
Artillery Cannons 5
CASE II 10
Command Console 15
Extended Long-Range Missiles 5
Mechanical Jump Booster 10
All Other Items Listed Free

 

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