09: Inventions

   Advanced Sensors are handy for aerospace pilots and navigators, but they’re primarily important to scouts. Each invention devoted to this area boosts their range and discrimination, providing a +10% bonus to rolls on the scouting table. The second, and later, inventions in this area also allow their “user” to select one of the special bonuses given below, although each may only be selected once. Possible special bonuses include a; -1 bonus to hit in space combat, +10% on the Battle Setup table(s), +5% to Exploration, +5% to Espionage – and a doubling of the range of the Beagle Probe system.

   Alternative Conversions are generally silly – but a few cranks want them; This is basically treated like a LAM, but the unit gets to use the suspension factor, and the movement mode, of whatever-it-is they turn into.

   The only real point of this is that it makes it far easier to smuggle your units into places. It may also be used with combat armor units to speed deployment or to allow units to use inappropriate dropships.

   Artificial Intelligences are very big, complex, and frightening. They do, however, help a lot with things like research, production, and resource management. In terms of the game, they allow the transfer of “points” from planetary Loyalty scores to whatever Resource the player can think of a way to justify. Loyalty ratings cannot be reduced below zero this way – mostly because people will start sabotaging the things. Note that, if AI’s are in use, some of the results on the “Politics” table could be interpreted in very interesting ways.

   Autorepair Systems involve redundant systems, miniaturized repair robots (With very complex programming), programmable “memory metals”, self-sealing hydraulics, and so on. This sort of thing is very expensive (About +200 CP) – but it gives the unit the ability to repair battle damage without even slowing down. While this is limited to a maximum of 5 points per turn, and a total of (Tons/2 + 10) “repair points” per battle. These may be “spent” to repair armor damage (1 per 1), damage to the internal structure (2 points per point repaired) – or even critical damage (5 points per slot). An auto- repair system takes up 5 slots anywhere in the unit, and weighs (Unit tonnage/25) tons itself. Like Endo Steel, hits on the critical slots an autorepair system “takes up” have no effect, and should be rerolled. Autorepair Systems can be readily improved after their invention; technical improvements may be used to boost the number of repair points available by (Tons/5) points each.

   Bioweapons (Macro) : These are genetically, or even cybernetically, enhanced versions of various lifeforms – whether of earthly or alien origin – capable of both withstanding and delivering battlefield-level attacks. In practice, and for simplicity’s sake, “biounits” are designed according to the usual rules – using whatever equipment the other players can be convinced is at all reasonable (“Look, it’s not really an AC/20. It has a bandolier of big rocks and throws them, OK?”), and may then be produced for only 25% of the basic cost. Such units, however, never become “standardized”, and tend to cause loyalty problems. Limited updates and variants may be permitted, at least for anything they carry in- stead of growing. Note that the “innate equipment” of bioweapons is not necessarily limited to those items a player has technological access to.

   Microbiological “Weapons” (Plagues) are available and need not be invented. Of course, they also can not be controlled. Still, if you want to wreck a planet, this is the cheapest way to do it. Fusion bombs are faster though – and still relatively cheap.

   Combat Drugs are complex combinations of drugs that include powerful stimulants, neural accelerators, pain killers, strength and endurance enhancers, and a series of neurochemicals which induce a near-fearless, ruthless, focused – and utterly lethal – frame of mind. This is highly useful in a fight; the user’s units each gain a -1 to hit, a +15% on their morale, ignore results that call for consciousness rolls, and a one-point bonus on their initiative. They must also roll a 6+ to abandon a target, an 8+ to retreat from a battle, and a 10+ to refrain from closing to at least medium range. Worse, at least in many respects, is their tendency to under-report damage, over-expend ammunition, and to rush into things. Opponents receive a +10% bonus on scouting and get to draw two extra battlecards.

   Economic Developments provide a D6-1 campaign bonus on the user’s economic ratings. Sadly, providing this bonus requires the wide distribution of the invention. This, in turn, means that everybody else will gain the benefits of your development three turns later, albeit at an additional “-1”. Production advances are treated similarly. Players selecting economic or production inventions should make an effort to explain them. The better the explanation is, the more likely the remaining players are to accept it.

   Enhanced Manipulation is a vastly improved jointing and tactile feedback system for battlemech “hands” – a development which gives them genuinely effective manipulative abilities. While this has a multitude of uses as far as civilian engineering goes (Enough to provide a +3 bonus on the economy rolls of the user’s worlds), it also allows them to throw things effectively, wield “clubs” with one hand – or carry mech-sized equivalents of ordinary tools and weapons. Installing such a system requires one critical slot in each arm – as well as an extra 1/2 ton of specialized augmentations.

   Thrown objects have S/M/L ranges of 1-3/4-7/8-10, and inflict (Attackers Mass/10) points of damage. Only one object may be thrown in a turn – and the restrictions on weapons fire and damage to the arm are the same as for punching. The damage location is determined as usual. Objects may be thrown indirectly at a +1 penalty or at a hex, rather then a particular target, at a -2 bonus. These rules preempt those given under Drop Mines (Q.V.). Battlemechs may carry objects specifically designed to be thrown at a weight of 10/Ton. Such objects inflict an extra five points of damage, regardless of form.

   Carried tools and weapons may mass up to 10% of the mass of the `Mech (Plus any allotted cargo space) with no penalty, however a maximum of two such items may be employed at one time (One per functioning hand). Basic items are treated as “Strap-On Weapons Pods” (Q.V.), but more advanced items include various “Physical Weapons” (See; Physical Weapons, Power Axe, and Rapier. Thanks to the fact that the usual elaborate support structure is unneeded, the weight of such weaponry is halved) – and scaled-up weapons (These generally consist of armor, a power or ammunition supply, any necessary heat sinks – and a weapon. Weapons that use ammunition or batteries produce no heat, others produce half the usual amount, whether for the weapon itself – which must be able to handle it – or in the host unit. Weapons normally cost 5 CP a Ton to build – but this cost is doubled if they contain fusion engines. It’s also subject to the usual “standardization” modifier).

   Fixed Airmechs are a spinoff of LAM technology – and are essentially simply Battlemechs permanently set in the “Airmech” mode. This bestows vastly increased jump capabilities at the expense of ground speed, and takes up 1/25’th of the designs mass.

   Foamcrete is a tough, silicon-based, polymer, which can be sprayed on much like styrofoam insulation – and quickly hardens to the consistency and strength of solid concrete. This provides the user with a 20% reduction in the cost of building installations, as well as with the ability to construct far superior (+1 level) field fortifications. If the player chooses to release this invention for civilian use, he / she may add 2% to the Economy ratings of all his / her planets, but everyone else will acquire the stuff, and it’s benefits, within the next three turns.

   “Force Field” Technology is, and has been, a widely sought innovation, however impractical. Presuming the players decide to agree that such a device is actually possible, here are the development steps. All “force field” generators weigh 2 tons, and take up one critical slot in each location. The steps must be developed in the order in which they are given;

  • A Constrained Static Field is a quasi-stable, close-confined, electromagnetic field surrounding it’s user. It represents the first stage of developing the legendary “force field”; learning to – somehow – confine an energy field. Thanks to the high-voltage shocks it can give them, this effectively prevents infantry Swarm or “Leg” attacks.
  • A Static Discharge Field is a version of the Static Field capable of “containing” a considerable amount of pure energy. This vicious corona can inflict 2 points of damage on contact – regardless of who is contacting who – and has side effects identical to a Shockweb. It generates two points of heat per turn.
  • A Barrier Field can contain and store energies from outside sources, as well as those from it’s generator. While it’s too well constrained to match the energy discharges of the more primitive systems, it does tend to absorb lasers, detonate warheads before they hit, and dampen physical impacts. The system can absorb a total of 24 points of damage before temporarily overloading, and can “regenerate” it’s capacity at a rate of 2 points per turn of inactivity. Unfortunately, any individual attack that inflicts more then 6 points of damage will overload the field locally, allowing the remainder (X- 6) points to inflict damage normally. Armor-piercing weapons are, however, thus limited to inflicting armor damage.
  • Force Shields are localized versions of the Barrier Field, capable of “absorbing” up to 8 points of damage to each individual location – and of regenerating that capacity at a rate of one point per turn per location. In addition, Force Shields aren’t subject to localized overloading unless the total capacity of the field has been overloaded.
  • An Advanced Force Field swiftly re-radiates most of the energy it absorbs – somewhat reducing it’s ability to absorb individual shots, but vastly increasing it’s overall ability to absorb damage. Units equipped with Advanced Force Fields effectively increase their armor values by 50% in each protected location, and are immune to the special properties of “armor-piercing” weapons.

   Further improvements on “Advanced” Force Fields are possible, but essentially fall into the realm of minor technical improvements – slightly increasing the armor multiplier. Dropships and Jumpships may mount any of the various force fields; this adds 250 CP to their cost – 500 CP as a refit.

   Fusion Thrusters are related to both Flamers and to common Jump Jets. While they weigh the same amount as a jump jet, and occupy the same slot, they’re twice as effective; A `Mech with Jump-4 would only need to have two Fusion Thrusters, rather then four Jump Jets. Used as “weapons”, Thrusters can inflict 2 points of damage each on any unit in the same hex as the user – with no roll to hit required – but generate an equal amount of heat. In either case, they are rather destructive, and often start accidental fires.

   Grasers are variants on the ER Large Laser modified to emit X-Ray or Gamma Radiation frequencies. These inflict heat, rather then physical damage. They can be very, very, annoying, but do count as the use of major enhanced radiation weaponry.

   Gyroc Cannon expand on the ancient “Gyrojet”/Rocket Pistol design, using a propellant which “burns” barely below the explosive level rather then detonating. With no need to contain an explosion to propel the slugs, a Gyroc “Cannon” or Artillery Piece can be far smaller – and far lighter – then a conventional model. The weight and number of slots required for Autocannons, “Ultra-” Autocannons, and “conventional” Artillery Pieces/Cannons (Sniper, Thumper, and Long Tom) are reduced by 50%. More technical improvements may be applied thereafter.

   Heavy LAM’s are straightforward enough; this bit of new technology allows the user to build LAM’s of up to 79 Tons. Applying another invention in this area lets the user construct “Assault LAM’s”, weighing up to 100 Tons. Building a “Superassault” LAM of up to 120 Tons requires both the “Superassault design” advance, and yet another invention in this area.

   Hyperpulse Generators are remarkably useful, acting as a “+5” economic resource on any world where they’re established. While your trading center and capitol are assumed to be equipped with these already, they can be built on other worlds at a cost of only 200 CP apiece. As side benefits, they allow swift communications, are excellent bribes, help out with politics (+5%) – and can even facilitate trade (+5% overall). Of course, having them will also provoke a “holy war” with Comstar – and thus is very likely to get the user annihilated.

   Integrated Infantry Armor is designed using impact- dispersing, reinforcing, polymer, and myomer fibers in conjunction with “Smart” plastic plating, an automatic medication-dispenser, and an integral electronics package. While essentially “soft”, and thus of relatively limited effectiveness against battlefield weaponry, it can still enhance the effectiveness of infantry a good deal; Any type of “unarmored” infantry unit (Firearm, Energy, or Missile) can be equipped with IIA for +5 CP per unit. Such units can sustain 3 points of damage per soldier, enjoy a +1 bonus to their movement rates, get a -1 To Hit, ignore modifiers for night, can carry heavier weapons (Increase their damage by 50%, rounded down), can’t be detected by Beagle/Active Probes, have basic life support systems (Underwater, fire, and vacuum – at least within limits), and are treated as Armored Infantry for morale purposes.

   Intensive Training goes a bit beyond the “ordinary” limits of military training, incorporating drugs, some special conditioning, extensive combat training, and a lot of other bits and pieces. This is expensive, and will take four turns to put into general practice, but thereafter will provide any unit with a -1 targeting and piloting bonus – at the modest cost of 25 CP per unit.

   -Presumably, the Clan’s already did this, but their system is not readily adaptable to normal conditions.

   Jump Improvements include Jump-3, 4, 5, and so on – unless the players choose to agree that Jump-3 or more is initially available. Other possible inventions include Microjump (This makes it possible to make short, in-system, jumps – requiring only a modest fraction of the energy in the drive core. This cuts the usual one week travel time to and from the jump points down to a day or less, saving a great deal of time. It also lets the user trade at +5 (without fear of piracy), explore at +10% – and invade multiworld systems without allowing them enough time to concentrate their fighters and other aerospace forces to meet the attack. It’s an extremely valuable development, but is likely to attract a great deal of attention – and offers/threats. The necessary jumpship modifications cost 500 CP), smaller and cheaper jump units (-1500 CP per jump rating – to a maximum of two such inventions), and Hyperpulse Jump Cores (These are actually related to the Hyperpulse Generator – but operate at a tremendous overload. While this lets them drive hyperspace jumps while remaining relatively tiny compared to a full-size jump drive, it also means that their core doesn’t come back. They’re effectively one-shots, although they can support up to six microjumps. Hyperpulse jump cores only weigh two tons for units of up to 100 tons, while Dropships can be fitted with two at a cost of only one “point” of their cargo capacity. A fighter-sized core costs an extra 50 CP to build – and dropship-sized ones cost 250 CP, 500 CP the first time they’re installed as a refit).

   Optionally, anyone possessed of Jump-4+, Microjump, and Hyperpulse Jump Cores, may choose to invent Hyper-Drive – essentially a rapid sequence of microjumps. A ship so equipped travels at a rate of 30 light years a day without the need for recharging a jump drive – and enjoys the benefits of microjump capability. This is a major development, and will radically change the basis of the game. The players should discuss it carefully.

   Kinesthetic Computers replace heavy gyroscopes with an array of kinetic sensors, laser-coupled microgyros, and a dedicated balance computer. The system weighs half a ton and occupies a single critical slot – usually in the head. This does have the disadvantage that it can be destroyed by a single lucky shot – but a backup may be readily installed.

   Laser-Guided Plasma Beams discharge a high-velocity plasma stream down the temporary, near-vacuum, channel created by the atmospheric absorption of a tuned laser beam. When the channel collapses, or the plasma stream encounters a barrier, the plasma expands violently – and thus generates a tremendous concussion. While this is relatively ineffective in terms of causing raw damage, it’s very effective at knocking things down and stunning infantry and such.

   LGPB Projector; 2 Tons, 1 Critical Slot, Range 1-6/ 7-12/13-18, 6 Heat, 6 Damage to Target plus a piloting roll at +2 or Fall (Battlemech)/”Stunned” for one turn (All other units). Any other units in the hex suffer 3 points of damage and must make a normal piloting roll or suffer a similar fate. “Stunned” VTOL units must make another roll to regain control and avoid crashing next turn.

   Lighter Materials include buckminsterfullerene composites, structural aerogels, monocrystal fibers, and so on. While wildly different in structure, each of them has a similar effect; a modest reduction in the weight of each component of a vehicle of battlemech. In game terms – for simplicities sake – they act as components with “negative weights”. Each such invention/material included in a design reduces it’s allows it to include one “extra” ton of equipment for every 20 tons of it’s base weight – or part thereof. Thus, as an example, a 20-ton Mercury incorporating two such inventions could be augmented with “another” two tons of gear – without an increase in it’s “tonnage”. This process is subject to a limit of five such inventions – and the calculation of how much “extra” equipment can be carried is always based on the final weight of the unit. You cannot add four tons of equipment to that Mercury on the strength of the idea that the extra gear takes it over 20 tons, entitling it to a reduction of two tons per invention. The “extra” gear simply brings a unit – built of those lighter-then-usual materials – up to 20 tons again.

   Maneuvering Thrusters are a straightforward modification of standard jump jets which gives any unit with a fuel reserve (They only get 10 points per ton. This can, however, be readily retrofitted), and jump-3 – or better – a thrust rating of 1. Units capable of jump-5 or better also get an overthrust rating of 2, at least as long as the fuel holds out. While this does permit such units to operate on the Aerospace maps, that does not mean that they’re good at it. Such units suffer a +2 penalty on piloting, and targeting, while operating on the Aerospace maps, as well as collecting 20 points of heat and ten points of damage if/when they re-enter or exit the atmosphere. While this system can be used as a means of “jumping” great distances, this isn’t at all safe – coming in for a landing after such attempts requires standard Descent and Landing rolls (QV; Battlemech Drops).

   Medical Developments generally tend to convince the populace that their government is expending it’s time, and resources, looking out for their welfare. This is a good thing, thus each medical invention provides the user with a +5 campaign-level loyalty bonus. As a side benefit, medical inventions may provide modest bonuses elsewhere (1D6) 1; +2% on morale rolls, 2; a +5% trade resource, 3; +1% on political rolls, 4; a +5% economic resource (Somewhere), 5; +2% on espionage rolls – and 6; no side effects (Oh well).

   “Metallurgical Compaction” allows more equipment to be squeezed into less space. While of little relevance in vehicle or installation design, this does have some effect on Battlemech and Aerospace Fighter designs; it increases the number of critical “slots” available. In Mechs, it provides an additional twelve “slots”. While these are located in the left and right torso’s, it is recommended (For convenience) that they be filled with items which would be rerolled (Endo steel or FF Armor) or essentially irrelevant (EG; Slots from an artillery piece which takes up most of the left torso anyway) so that modifying the critical tables can be avoided. In Fighters, this development makes a total of four extra slots available – one in each of the usual locations.

   MicroFusion Warheads employ a laser-based inertial- confinement implosion system to generate a microscopic nuclear blast. This is not, in general, a really good idea – but it is very destructive. Sadly, at least for those who like explosions, the limiting factor lies in the laser triggering system; it’s very heavy, complex, and fragile – and becomes increasingly so as the size of the desired explosion increases. This limits the use of MF Warheads to Heavy Missiles and Thunderbolts. Note that deploying anything larger then the Type-II counts as the “use of nuclear weapons on an inhabited world”, and will reduce loyalty – as well as upsetting quite a few of your own troops.

Warhead Type Target Hex Hex-1 Hex-2
Type I (H. Missile-5) 10 5 2
Type II (H. Missile-10) 20 10 5
Type III (Thunderbolt) 25 15 5 2
Type IV (H. Missile-15) 30 20 10 5
Type V (H. Missile-20) 40 30 20 10

   Multiple Engine Technology is an ever-popular idea. As engines go up in rating they become less efficient; they generate far more heat per unit of power, and weigh more. While using several small engines would relieve such problems, fusion plants interfere with each other when they’re too close together, thus limiting them to a maximum of one a unit. The following inventions can help relieve this problem, however, it should be noted that fusion plants are expensive; a unit designed with multiple engines may be far more expensive then a more ordinary design of similar weight.

  • Improved Shielding allows multiple fusion plants to operate in the same hex (Installations) or unit at the same time. One extra plant can operate in such an area or unit for each time this invention has been taken.
  • Power Switching allows units to switch back and forth between power plants – thus allowing a unit to carry a backup engine or engines.
  • Power Coupling permits the output of multiple power plants to be added together to determine the effective engine rating for a unit. The “Power Switching” invention is a prerequisite for this technology.
  • Coolant Coupling allows the the user to link up the cooling systems of multiple engines together – a trick allowing the use of all their heat sinks at once. The “Power Coupling” invention is a prerequisite.

   Multistage Targeting is basically a “Streak” system for guns and lasers; if the weapon fails to lock on to it’s target (IE, if the roll to hit is not made), said weapon does not fire – generating no heat and conserving ammunition. While this does complicate things a somewhat, the necessary command circuits only weigh half a ton for each unit’s full compliment of laser weaponry. Ballistic weapons are considerably harder to to target in this way; the extra gear required adds 1/2 a ton to the mass of each such system – and this invention cannot be used in conjunction with artillery weaponry at all. As a note, it is possible to apply a further technical improvement to this system after it’s development; the target-acquisition gear can be modified to fire if and when a designated target has been locked onto – rather then merely not firing on a locking failure. This has a notable advantage, in that the system is more likely to hit (-1 bonus to targeting), but annoys pilots, who tend to object to having firing decisions taken out of their hands.

   Multiwarheads are available for the Arrow-IV and Long Tom only. These complex shells drop six submunitions (Equal to Thumper shells) into the six hexes surrounding the actual “target” hex. The resulting overlapping blast pattern is complex, extensive, and can inflict a good deal of damage on anything in the area. Note that these are compatible with the “Hex TAG” improvement, and that the same technology can be applied to bombs.

   Personalized Interfaces are described under the new technology rules, since they’re a favorite creation of individual tinkerers, but the mass-produced version is generally invention-only. It also costs a total of 125 CP to install them.

   Psychomanipulation is a series of subtle, hypnotic, propaganda techniques allowing the user to temporarily manipulate planetary loyalty ratings. Sadly, the population soon becomes resistant to any particular line of bull, but a shift of up to 15% may be maintained for a full turn on an “enemy” planet at a cost of 1 MCr. Any world you control can be given a permanent 5% boost at the same cost, but this can only be done once.

   Railguns run a tremendous current thru a conductive slug, electromagnetically accelerating it to a tremendous velocity as it moves along the contact “rails”. Unlike the closely-related “Guass Rifle”, it’s poorly adapted to launching heavy loads. It is, however, an excellent weapon – provided that enough power can be supplied. A fusion plant works very nicely, but an ICE engine will need power amplifiers to operate one. They also tend to run a bit hot. They may, however, fire either blunt or pointed slugs. Pointed ones tend to penetrate while blunt ones usually vaporize on impact.

   Light Railgun; 5 Tons, 3 Critical Slots, Ranges 1-12/13- 24/25-36. 8 Heat, 12 Damage (Blunt), 6/30 penetration (Sharp), 100 Ammo/Ton. Such ammo cannot explode.

   Heavy Railgun; 12 Tons, 8 Critical Slots, Range 1-12/13- 24/25-36, 18 Heat, 30 Damage (Blunt Ammo), 15/40 Penetration, 50 Ammo/Ton. Such ammo cannot explode.

   Planetary Defender; 120 Tons (Actual barrel is only 30 tons) plus a 360-Rating Fusion Engine. 40 Heat, 60 Damage, 20 Ammo/Ton – 4 tons per “shot” when firing at orbital targets. These are always installed in special installations, usually in or near major cities. With a “Muzzle Velocity” of around 150 MPS / 240 KPS they can make direct, “beam-artillery”, attacks at ranges of up to 90 boards given a valid LOS (Beyond this, the curve of the planet gets in the way). It is even possible to fire on aerospace units on the high-altitude map – but this is limited to units in stationary orbits or which are within a 3-hex range. It also requires firing many times to establish a “spread” – in effect, putting the Defender on the same, fifteen-minute turns, time scale as other aerospace units, as well as expending a great deal of ammunition.

   Ramfield Generators and Ion Thrusters operate in very different fashions, but both operate quite identically in game terms; Any aerospace fighter equipped with one of these systems, and currently operating in free space, may reduce it’s fuel expenditure in each turn by 1, to a minimum of 0. In other words, they can thrust at “1” indefinitely – while they’re on the high altitude map. Either system weighs two tons. A second invention in this area may be expended on the development of Plasma Thrusters (These operate as Ramfield Generators and also effectively double the amount of fuel available) – and a third may be expended on the invention of Fusion-Ion Thrusters (As per Plasma Thrusters – but the unit need no longer worry about fuel while operating on the high altitude map. It doesn’t use any there).

   The Plasma-Pulse Ramjet is designed to use – rather then to ignore – the local atmosphere. It essentially scoops up some gas, adds enough fusion plasma from the engine to superheat it, and lets it blast out the back of the reaction chamber. Obviously enough, this system can only be used in the atmosphere, and by fighters with fusion engines. More annoyingly, it weighs 1/2/4 tons for light/medium/heavy fighters, takes up two slots in each wing, generates six points of heat per turn (Even without adding in heat for Overthrust) – and reduces the units base thrust rating by 2 thanks to it’s intermittent nature. A Plasma-Pulse Ramjet cannot be used to provide thrust during takeoff, landing, re-entry, in a thin atmosphere – or for movement to the high-altitude aerospace map. They’re also prone to trouble in high- density, charged (IE; In a major storm), corrosive, or abrasive-loaded atmospheres, and have been known to go out after sucking in a bird. Such situations cause the system to malfunction (Half thrust, zero thrust on the second malfunction result) on a “4-” each turn. While birds are not usually a real problem (They make a fine explanation for the use of various Battlecards though) the other situations are. Such problems can, however, be individually negated by technical improvements. The system also has a prerequisite of Fusion Refractories, specialized quasi-ceramics capable of withstanding the temperatures, pressures, and continuous mini-explosions inside the fusion/air reaction chamber.

   The Aerospace Availability table is still relevant, even for units without fuel problems. The constant vibration leads to a lot of maintenance, thus units that wind up “Down” 50+ points of fuel are considered to be in for tests and repairs.

   Reflex Weaponry has a very simple effect; it allows those units so equipped to fire, and resolve the effects of their fire, before units without this system do so. This requires two inventions – some way to translate a simple will-to-attack into targeting and firing orders and a way to avoid launching accidental strikes at any friendly unit that happens to startle the pilots using the system. The first involves a direct neural feed and reaction system, the second a vastly improved tactical computer.

   Religions may, as noted in “Establishing A Church”, be invented. Go ahead. Come up with something weird.

   Repulsorlifts permit the design and construction of rotorless VTOL’s – although it doesn’t reduce the mass which must be allotted to lift equipment. Exactly how this works is open to discussion, but an internal high pressure air jet system is reasonably feasible. Exotic alternatives include electromagnetic systems, turbine- lift systems, a higher-powered variation on the common hover system, fusion thrusters, and even gravity-control systems (Permitting this is NOT recommended. God alone knows how this could be done – and the implications of such a technology will quickly demolish the game). As a side-benefit, Repulsorlift VTOL’s may have turrets.

   Superassault Design extends the usual weight limits on Battlemech’s and Vehicles – usually by about 20%. The new limits are; Mech’s: 120 Tons. Hydrofoils: 120 Tons, SF 535. Tracked: 150 Tons. VTOL’s: 35 Tons, SF 195. Wheeled: 100 Tons. Hovercraft: 60 Tons, SF 300. Fighters: 60 Tons. Aerospace: 120 Tons. Dirigibles: 75 Tons, SF 0. Displacement Hulls and Submarines: 450 Tons, SF 50.

   -It should be noted that many existing vehicles are “illegal” under the battletech rules. For the sake of the game, it should simply be assumed that most larger units proved impractical. It could be argued that such a trend has already begun; in an environment of cruise missiles, hunter drones, and tactical nuclear weapons, larger units are simply bigger targets. The only real hope for survival on future battlefields may be simply being too small and dispersed to draw major attacks.

   Torso Rotation is pretty simple; it permits a `Mech to twist it’s torso up to three hex sides. Sadly, this complicates the internal, and armor, structures enough to require an “invention”, as well as two center torso critical slots and 1/2 ton of equipment per weight class of the Mech in question.

   Ultradense Capacitors can be used to convert energy weapons to “Ultra” configurations. Sadly, double-fired energy weapons produce three times their usual heat, and will overload – destroying themselves and inflicting a point of internal damage to their location – on a roll of “3”.

   Weather Control Equipment allows the user to select the weather for any specific battle (Within limits. A player vote may be called for if somebody tries to get ridiculous) on a roll of 6+. This can also be used as a “weapon” against fixed positions, reducing morale by 10 and possibly even inflicting minor damage – given a few days. Weather control equipment weighs 40 tons, and must be mounted in conventional or aerospace fighters. At least 10 such units must be available to manipulate the weather in a particular area, although they may do so from miles away. If attacked while so engaged, they are considered “immobile targets”.

   Other inventions are, of course, possible, but this selection should suffice to provide ideas.

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