11: Mini-Units

General Unit Design 

   Mech and Vehicle Design : “Round-offs” may be ignored for units of ten tons or less. In such cases, the rule that armor must be bought in half-ton lots may also be ignored. Optionally, the table below may be applied to both mech and vehicle design. The Armor Factor applies the fact that smaller units armor will be both thicker and better braced for a given weight, while the “Attack” Modifier applies to attempts to hit the unit with mech or vehicle mounted weapons. It does not apply against infantry, minefields, or other attacks of any sort.

Total Tons Armor Factor Att Mod Class
Less Then 1 24, 1 Hit Location (1) +3 Drone
1-2 Tons 16, 1 Hit Location (1) +2 Mini-
3-10 21 points per ton +1 Ultralight
11-20 20 points per ton Light
21-39 18 points per ton Light
40-59 16 points per ton Medium
60-79 16 points per ton Heavy
80-100 15 points per ton Assault
101-150 14 points per ton -1 SuperAss
161-250 13 points per ton -2 Naval
251+ 12 points per ton -3 H. Naval

   (1) Vehicles or “Mechs” (Combat Armor) this small have only one hit location. Anything which carries a human being has a minimum size of 1 ton – but such units are small enough for total manual control, eliminating the need for gyros, servomotors, and major computer systems. Other gear is taken from the chart below. As noted (QV Fusion Microcells) most such units have 5 single “heat sinks” and cannot add more. Mini-mechs, and mini-aerospace fighters, may overheat by up to six points, but become inoperative beyond that level.

   As the Compendium indicates that Inner Sphere “Battlearmor” units are mechanically equivalent to clan units, all weapons use clan statistics, regardless of a units origin. Finally, note that such minivehicles are very easy to operate, no special skill is required beyond a short training period. The pilot or driver only has a few controls to play with, unlike the hundreds of bits of information, controls, buttons, dials, and readouts which confront a mechwarrior or aerospace pilot. This does not apply to those piloting mini-mechs or “combat armor”, which requires extensive training to handle.

   Units in the 1 to 2 ton size range may enter buildings at a cost of 1 MP. Land vehicles of any type may move through woods and heavy woods hexes by going around or between the trees. Water vehicles this small may move through “depth 0” water hexes similarly. A mini-mech or mini-VTOL may change facing without spending MP, in effect, such units have no “facing” for game purposes. Minifighters receive a 2 point bonus on piloting rolls when attempting any atmospheric special maneuver (QV).


Mini-Unit and Drone Design :


Weaponry Tons
SRM 2 Launcher .05
SRM 2 Ammo, 2 Shots .05
Small ER Laser .15
Flamer .15
Machine Gun .05
MG Ammo, 10 Shots .05
LRM 2 Launcher (1) .10
LRM Ammo, 2 Shots .05
Arrow IV TAG .15
Small Pulse Laser .30
Medium ER Laser .30
ER MicroLaser .10
Narc Launcher (16) .30
Per Narc “Pod” .05
Maglauncher (17) .10
Light Mortar (14) .05
20 Light Mortar Shots .05
Grenade Launcher (15) .05
LRM 5 Launcher .30
LRM 5 Ammo, 1 Shot .15
Medium Pulse Laser .75
SRM 4 .15
SRM 4 Ammo, 2 Shots .15
Tangler Coil, 3 Shots (2) .05
Major Components Tons
Internal Structure (13) 10%
Controls and Comlink (3) 05%
Armor Tonnage (4) Var
Jump Jets (5) .05
Chameleon Web (6)  .10
Autopilot (7) .05
MASC / Overdrive (8) .05
Passenger Compartment (9) .10
Lift Eq/Rotors/Dive Eq (12) .10
Fuel (10) (15 Thrust Pts). .20
Self-Destruct/Warhead (11) Sp.
Anchors (18) .05
Thermal Shield (19) .25
Re-Entry Pack (20) .20
Active Probe (21) .20
Antipersonnel Weapon (22) .00
Engine Ratings (12) Tons
Fusion Microcell; Rating 0-1 .00
Fusion Microcell; Rating 2-3 .05
Fusion Microcell; Rating 4-5 .10

  •    1) Heat 1, Dam. 1/Missile, Range 7/14/21, no minimum.
  •    2) Heat 1, Dam. Special, Range 1/3/5. A set of minimissiles, trailing a “sticky” high-strength cable. A successful hit entangles the area struck. These weapons are most effective on Mechs and VTOL’s. On Mechs a leg hit forces a +3 piloting roll to avoid a fall the next time it moves, the +3 continues to apply until the roll to stand up is made, breaking the cable. Arm hits inflict a +2 on attacks using either arm during the next turn. Torso hits block a mechs next attempt to torso-twist. A “Head” hit fouls some of the targets sensors, inflicting a +1 penalty “to hit” for the rest of the game. VTOL’s are unharmed by armor hits, but any rotor hit jams the rotor, effectively “destroying” it. Naval and Ground vehicles are essentially immune, such units may suffer jammed turrets on appropriate rolls but are otherwise unaffected. Tanglers come in three-shot launchers, these cannot be reloaded thanks to the cables fast-drying super-adhesive coating. Due to the development of synthetic spider-silk in the late 20’th century, a tanglers 1/2-inch lines have have a breaking strength of nearly 250 tons.
  •    3) Takes the place of the cockpit for both mini-mechs and mini-aerospace fighters. Unfortunately, without the extensive computer assistance of control cockpits, no more then 2 weapon systems may be aimed and fired per turn without a gunner. Weapons operated by gunners may fire in any direction, those run by pilots or drivers may only be fired in the forward arc unless the vehicle halts or the driver makes a successful control roll of “6+” to avoid crashing.
  •    4) Ferro-Fiber armor is available. Whatever the units origin, it multiplies its armor value by 1.2.
  •    5) Gives the unit a jump movement rating equal to its engine rating divided by its tonnage. Due to mini- units lighter construction they only build up heat from jumping at 1/2 the usual rate, with a minimum heat build-up of 2 points. For those can’t resist the idea, you can put jump jets into minivehicles, but the jump capacity does not receive the benefit of the suspension factor.
  •    6) A Chameleon Web is an integrated camouflage system that incorporates various active and passive methods of concealment. Any unit using a Web is far harder to detect electronically – and is targeted at an extra +1 whenever an attack on them suffers from terrain penalties. They’re also targeted at +1 by missiles and drones. These modifiers are cumulative if both apply. While humans are harder to fool, such units cannot be electronically detected if it’s “hidden” or out of sight.
  •    7) Autopilots are capable of following a wide variety of simple directions, such as; homing on a signal, taking evasive action, going somewhere, leaving an area if the pilot is unconscious, and so on. If an autopilot is used to control weapons or autoreturn fire it has an effective skill of six. Any manned unit may mount a computer to remote-control drones and such, this requires a 1/2 ton / 1 slot computer. Note that the Guardian ECM suite is very effective against drones and remote-operated units – degrading the performance of autopiloted units by +1 (Over and above the limited skills of the autopilot system), and that of remote-operated units by a total of +5.
  •    8) MASC operates normally, Overdrive works exactly as MASC does, but applies to vehicle systems. Fighter units may use Ultrathrust in exactly the same way.
  •    9) Carries one person comfortably, two with crowding. Passangers may act as gunners if the design allows them to do so.
  •     10) For conventional and aerospace fighters, adding VTOL capabilities adds .05 tons. Life support in aerospace units is provided by a military pressure suit consisting of skintight elastic cloth and an oxygen helmet (Plus a first aid/patch kit). Conventional fighters get 30 thrust points rather then fifteen, as they also use the local atmosphere. Aerospace miniunits are too susceptible to turbulence to re- enter safely – suffering a +4 piloting modifier on such attempts unless they carry a one-use, .2 ton, re-entry pack. Minifighters cannot carry external bomb loads, although they may carry bombs from the table given in note #11, as a part of their “cargo capacity”. They also cannot use “overcharge mode”, and so cannot strafe or use energy weaponry while on either aerospace map. They can, however, reach the atmospheric/high-altitude hexes of the space maps. Manned space-going miniunits cost twice as much as usual, thanks to the extra training required.
  •    11) This is an onboard bomb of variable size. As such small units rarely contain any real secrets, these are usually installed as weapons “of last resort”. Some units are expected to explode, such units are commonly called Drones or “Guided Missiles”. They are usually powered by a fuel cell or some form of combustion, in practice they can simply be treated as a VTOL or given whatever form of movement seems to fit, as well as an appropriate microfusion cell or small IC Engine (QV).

The available self-destruct bombs include :

Bomb Tons Contact Damage In Hex Damage Adjacant Hex Damage
.05 5
.10 8 2
.15 16 8
.20 20 10 5
.25 24 12 6
.40 32 20 10
.50 36 25 12
1.00 50 30 15

    Perhaps unfortunately, both fission and fusion bombs are available. These do 20x as much damage (-5 per hex between you and the detonation point. Ignore the value for “contact”), and increase the cost of the entire unit by a factor of 20 (Up until the one-ton version, which is large enough to trigger with a laser, and thus evades the high cost of fissionables).12) Hovercraft weighing 2 tons or less have no minimum engine weight, despite the note in the Compendium.13) Minivehicles need devote only 5% of their net mass to internal structure. All mini-units possess only 1 point of internal structure, regardless of type. and are essentially presumed to be falling apart and out of action if (when) they lose all their armor. Critical tables are thus irrelevant.

  •    14) Heat 0, Damage 2 (Hex)/Special (QV; Sm Gas Mortar), Range 4/8/12 (2 Minimum).
  •    15) Heat 0, Damage 1 (1D to Infantry), Range 1/2/3. Has 10 Ammo to start +.05 tons per +20 Ammo. As a note, these statistics also represent SMG’s and all similar “light” weapons.
  •    16) Heat 0, Damage (Special), Range 4/8/12. May use any of the special Narc “Pod” Munitions.
  •    17) Heat 1, Damage (Special), Range 0. Powered and guided by hardwired links with their operator’s “console”, magnetic mine systems are lighter – if much shorter ranged – then standard narc pod systems but use the same warheads. (See; “Narc Pods” and “SRM Speciality Warheads”. AP warheads (Damage 4, Penetration 30) are popular for ambushes).
  •    18) Includes magnetic or mechanical systems for holding onto things. Such units can cling to the hulls of aerospace units, climb sheer cliffs – or whatever’s appropriate to the unit type. “Combat Armor” gets a -1 “to hit” for making swarm attacks and is difficult to remove (A +1 on the target number). Minivehicles with anchors are usually meant to attach themselves to larger units for transport.
  •    19) Thermal Shields are a combination of insulation and coolant systems that allow units to resist fire for up to half an hour at a time. While fusion plasmas – such as Mech Flamers – overwhelm such defenses in mere minutes the few seconds of exposure typical of the battlefield are easily handled.
  •    20) Re-Entry Packs range from ablative shells for dropping combat armor thru conventional ceramic tiles. Regardless of the exact design, such systems permit only one safe reentry. After that, you must either get the system serviced or take your chances.
  •    21) Sensor Packs are basically equivalent to the Beagle Active Probe. Unfortunately, their range depends on the number of units you interlink. (1″ per unit up to a maximum of 5″. Linked units must all be in the same hex).
  •    22) “Antipersonnell Weapons” may be added to any unit – usually by putting a pistol in the pilots pocket. Such weapons have ranges of 0/1/2, produce no heat, and can do one point of damage to unarmored infantry (ONLY) on a hit.


Cold Fusion Microcells :


   For those designing very small vehicles, “Cold Fusion” power cells are available in ratings “0” through “5”. These cells are considered to have 5 free single “heat sinks” built in and weigh almost nothing. Sadly, they cannot be combined in any single vehicle or “mech” due to feedback effects between the cells. Note that such cells don’t really have heat sinks inside, they merely supply limited amounts of power without generating any significant heat. Hence further heat sinks can not be added to vehicles using them, there simply isn’t power available for additional weaponry. Developed near the end of the twenty-first century, such fusion cells are primarily responsible for the continued functioning of society under the stress of continual warfare. With-out this easily portable, dependable, power source the current technical civilization would soon collapse due to loss of communications, collapsing power grids, and lack of transport. As FM’s generate little or no radiation, vehicles using them require no extra shielding, unlike vehicles using conventional fusion plants.

   -As a note, miniunits that do use “standard” fusion engines normally use UL versions (Fewer Heat Sinks, No Backup Systems, and Overheats Easily), which, with the standard shielding and transmission gear for vehicles, leaves the net total equal to the standard weight from the Fusion Engine chart.


Mini-unit Examples :


   Combat Armor is probably the most versatile weapons system ever designed – capable of going wherever a man can, of sustaining direct hits from anti-vehicle class weaponry, and of mounting heavy weapons of it’s own, all built into a powered exoskeleton that a man can wear and control directly. While limited by the fact that it’s joints must match a humans – it must be something man- sized and wearable – ton for ton, Combat Armor has far more firepower then any Battlemech. Their flexibility is a secondary advantage, as the weight of an infantry unit has little to do with how much space they require on a transport vehicle. Devide the actual tonnage of combat armor units by five to see how much cargo space they take up. “Standard” combat armor designs include;

  •    BattleArmor, as used by clan “elementals”, is a one ton minimech with IS/Controls (.15), FF Armor (.50, 10 points), Jump-3 (.05), Fusion Microcell 3 (.05), SRM 2 launcher and 2 loads for it (.10), and a choice of small laser, flamer, or machine gun and 20 clips (.15). More detailed information can be found in the sourcebooks.
  •    -As a note, Clan Elementals can take an extra point of damage. This is due to the pilots, not the armor.
  •    Cargo Handlers aren’t technically “miniunits” – but they’re hardly combat-oriented. They’re 5-ton “Mechs”; IS; (.5), Cockpit (No sensors, life support, or engine shielding (Can’t handle ANY overheating), 2 IS only, 1 ton), a R25 UL Fusion Engine (.3), Gyro (.5), 11 Armor (.7), Light Engineering Gear (1), and 2 Cables (1). The unit can easily lift weights of up to one ton, carry 5 – and “run” at 30 MPH. A few have been modified to carry flamers or small lasers, rather then the cables or the engineering gear, to control dangerous animals. While they use “standard” `Mech hit locations, each location only has one point of armor and 2 IS.
  •    The Hunchback is a two-ton “minimech” named for the appearance of its massive, back-mounted, laser pack. It’s fired from the right wrist through an optical cable. IS/Controls (.3), FF Armor (.5, net 10 points), Jump-2 (.05), Fusion Microcell 5 (.1, Walk 2, Run 4), Machine Gun (.10, 10 Shots), Medium Pulse Laser (.75), Tangler Coil (.05, 3 shots), and any one of the following; SRM or LRM -2 launcher (4/2 shots), Arrow IV Tag, or Small ER Laser.
  •    Imperator armor is a 1.25 ton design that relies on paired machine guns, and is usually used for antipersonnel operations. IS/Controls (.2), Ten Points of FF Armor (.50), MASC (.05), Jump Jets (.05), F. Microcell 5 (.1, Walk 4, Run 6 – 8 with MASC) – and 2 Machine Guns (.1) with 50 rounds worth of ammunition (.25). Rarely encountered in battle, the design is common in cities, usually serving to cow civil unrest.
  •    Aerospace Drop Armor is a design only available for silly games. 1 Ton; IS/Controls (.15), 15 Thrust Pts (.2), Fusion Microcell 3 (.05), Jump-3 (.05), 2x Small ER Lasers (.3), and 5 points of FF Armor (.25). Walk 3, Run 5, Jump 3, Thrust 5. While incapable of an unaided re-entry, they can be dropped from orbit using an ablative heat shield – and are fully capable of returning to orbit unaided, as well as of fabulous “jumps” using the aerospace low-altitude map.
  •    Omnimail is a very silly suit of combat armor (Even moreso then the Aerospace Drop Armor). It’s capable of operating effectively in almost any environment. Two Tons; IS/Control (.3), Fusion Microcell-5 (Walk 3, Run 5, Jump 3, Cruise 28/18 for VTOL/Water, Thrust 5, Over thrust 8. .1), 15 Fuel (.2), VTOL/Dive Gear (.2), Jump Jets (.05), Ten points of FF Armor (.5), Chameleon Web (.1), Medium ER Laser (.3), and SRM 2 and 4 Loads (.25). Depending on where it’s going to be deployed, the SRMs may be loaded with torpedoes instead.
  •    I.S. Powered Armor is a “streamlined” version of the first inner sphere armor prototypes. While not as well equipped as the “Battlearmor” units they were based on, once standardized, they were considerably cheaper. .65 Tons; IS and Controls (.10), Armor-9 (.30, FF), Weapons Mount (A small laser, flamer, or machine gun and 20 clips .15), Fusion Microcell-2 (.05), and Jump-3 (.05).
  •    Gnome Assault Armor is basically the old Battlearmor design equipped with reinforced armor and an upgraded SRM launcher. Sadly, this increases it’s weight to 1.5 tons and slows it down. IS/Controls (.25), Armor-14 (.9), Fusion Microcell-3 (Walk 2, Run 3, .05), SRM-2 (.05), and 2 Loads (.05), ER Small Laser (.15), Jump Jets (Jump-2, .05). While the Gnome armor is too cumbersome to permit those who use it to make antimech leg or swarm attacks, it’s SRM system has an improved targeting system, using the “Streak” range profile and “rounding” the number of hits up to the nearest even number.
  •    Salamander Armor is basically a military adaption of the gear historically used by firefighters. While not truly immune to flame, it will stand up to it for hours – far longer then most military operations require. IS/ Control (.25), Armor-7 (.45), Fusion Microcell 5 (Walk/ Run 3/5, .1), Jump Jets (Jump-3, .05), 2 Flamers (.30), SRM-1 and 1 Shot (Usually an Inferno SRM, .05), Thermal Shield (.25), and Anchors (.05). While hard on infantry and property, the Salamander is rarely all that effective in open battle.
  •    Light Scout Armor, originally developed by the “Gray Death” mercenary company, is highly mobile and carries an excellent sensor and communications system. On the other hand, it’s lightly armored and has no built-in weapons at all, forcing the user’s to rely on standard infantry weaponry (These are included in the cost of the armor). .5 Tons; Armor-4 (.15), IS/Control (.05), Jump-4 (.05), Fusion Microcell-2 (.05), and an Active Probe (.20).
  •    Kage Armor is an excellent compromise between speed, stealth, armor, price, and firepower. Sadly, as usual, the cost of being fair at everything is being excellent at nothing. .65 Tons; IS/Control (.10), Fusion Microcell-3 (Walk 4/Run 7, .05), Jump-4 (.05), Chameleon Web (.10), Armor-5 (.20), and a Weapons System (Generally a Flamer, Small Laser, Machine Gun, or TAG unit, .15). As a note, the prototype 4-unit Kage squads carried highly specialized ECM packages. While these made them harder (+1/+2) to hit at medium and long ranges, it replaced the weaponry on three out of every four units. While the technology is available, most commanders, and quite a few of the users, prefer firepower over a marginal bonus on their defenses.
  •    Kanazuchi Assault Armor was designed for durability, firepower, and intimidation. Mobility was a distinctly secondary consideration, which is why it’s usually only used in defensive roles. 1.7 Tons; IS/Control (.25), 2x SRM-2 (.10), 2x SRM-2 Ammo (.05), Armor-15 (95), Medium Laser (.30), and Fusion Microcell-2 (Walk 1, Run 2. .05). While incapable of making “swarm” attacks, or of riding on `mechs, this suit can fire all three of it’s weapons in a single turn. “Current” versions usually come in at 1.8 tons – adding more SRM ammo, and sometimes using FF armor (The IS/Control tonnage remains unchanged).
  •    Infiltrator Stealth Armor is used for surveillance and deep penetration missions. It simply isn’t equipped for open battlefield combat. .40 Tons. IS/Control (.05), Fusion Microcell-1 (Walk 2, Run 3, .00), Armor-5 (.20), Chameleon Web (.10), LMG and 10 Shots (.05). While this armor type cannot make swarm or leg attacks, it gains a +1/+2 to be hit at medium/long ranges.
  •    Sloth Armor was a triumph of foolishness. Loading enough extra weaponry to double the net weight onto the Infiltrator exoskeleton left it grossly overloaded. The designers, used to designing ‘Mechs, promptly went to a four-legged configuration – ignoring the fact that some poor fool would have to wear the thing. Crawling around the battlefield did not prove popular. Some additional design work resulted in something resembling a hedgehog standing on it’s back legs; odd looking, but reasonably effective. .80 Tons; IS/Control (.10), Fusion Microcell -3 (.05), Armor-5 (.20), Two Small Lasers (.30) – and a Maglauncher (.10), with One Shot (.05).
  •    Achileus Light Battle Armor resulted from an attempt to use “stealth” electronics to make up for the initial weakness of inner sphere attempts to duplicate the clan Battlearmor design. .65 Tons; IS/Control (.10), Fusion Microcell-2 (.05), Chameleon Web (.10), Weapon Mount (A small laser, flamer, or machine gun and 20 clips. .15), Jump-3 (.05),and Armor-6 (.20, FF).
  •    Marid Infantry Armor is about as “low-end” as combat armor can get. Designed to enhance the survivability of ordinary infantry, Marid armor mounts no weaponry, uses a basic strength-amplification system simply to let the user move easily, and has a built-in jump harness. It’s pretty easy to use, although it’s wearer’s must rely on standard infantry weapons (Included in the base cost of the armor). Marid platoons normally consist of 21 men. .25 Tons; Fusion Microcell-1 (.00), IS / Control (.05), Jump-4 (.05), and Armor-4 (.15).
  •    Nightwind “Assassin Armor” was never really designed for the battlefield. While it’s extremely mobile, it’s weaponry and armor is laughable – if deployed against a military target. Soft targets – civilians, rear echelon officers, and support units – are quite another matter. .30 Tons; Fusion Microcell-3 (.05), ER Microlaser (.1), IS/Control (.05), Armor-1 (.05), Jump-10 (.05). Walk 10, Run 15.
  •    HawkBrother Armor realizes the dreams of generations of tinkerers and engineers – it’s a personal flight suit. Military applications were an afterthought. .8 Tons; IS/Controls (.15), VTOL Gear (.1), Armor-6 (.25), Small ER Lasers (x2, total .3), and Fusion Microcell-1 (.00). Cruise 70, Flank 105 (In theory. The Hawkbrother is not capable of breaking the sound barrier. Most atmospheres thus limit its maximum speed somewhat).
Combat Armor Construction Costs CP
Battlearmor (Clan “Elemental” Design) 25
Cargo Handler 40
Hunchback 50
Imperator 31
Aerospace Drop Armor 50
Omnimail 99
I.S Powered Armor 16
Gnome Assault Armor 36
Salamander Armor 36
Light Scout Armor 12
Kage Armor 16
Kanazuchi Assault Armor 41
Infiltrator Stealth Armor 10
Sloth Armor 19
Achileus Light Battle Armor 16
Marid Infantry Armor 6
Nightwind “Assasian Armor” 7
Hawkbrother Armor 19



   Mini-Vehicles lack some of the advantages of Combat Armor – they cannot readily climb stairs, squeeze into tight places, or redirect their weaponry by pointing a hand – but they’re much easier to build and aren’t restrained in speed by having to actually swing a pilots legs. They can carry passengers and gunners, and can be piloted with minimal training. There will always be a place for them.

   The “Buzzsaw” Hydroskimmer is a light attack hydro- foil, capable of extreme speed – and extremely heavily armed for it’s size. It’s usually operated by a pilot, who handles the two forward-pointing ER S. lasers, and a gunner, who handles the ER Medium Laser. It’s total weight is two tons. IS/Control .2, Hydrofoil “Lift” Equipment .2, Passenger Compartment (.1), Small Lasers (x2, .3), ER Medium Laser (.3), Omni-25 Engine (.5), 6 points of FF Armor (.3) – and a cargo capacity of .1 ton (Usually used for a sea emergency kit, life vests, and so on). Cruise 43, Flank 65. The submersible Narwhale variant is essentially identical, albeit slower – with Cruise 28, Flank 42. Minor variants have been known to replace the S. Lasers with an LRM-2 launcher with four reloads.

   “Devastator” Guided Missiles are extremely lethal – to the point where many or most military organizations take care to ensure that their forces in the field are equipped with at least a few Guardian ECM units. These unpleasant drones have decided more then one battle.One Ton : IS/Autopilot (.1), VTOL Lift Equipment (.1), Rating-10 ICE Engine (0.0. Cruise 60, Flank 90), Five Points Armor (.3), Warhead (.5. 36 points on contact, 25 in hex, 12 in adjacent hexes). The Typhon (naval) variant moves at 40/60, but is otherwise the same.

   The Dragonfly Observer usually operates as a ducted fan VTOL, but it’s jet-assisted mode allows it to make suborbital jumps, swiftly reaching combat theatres, or serving as a launching platform for surveillance mini- satellites. While the Dragonfly does mount a tiny bit of armor, it’s primary “defense” lies in the fact that most pilots are reluctant to shoot at something that’s so totally helpless – and settle for warning them off. That’s a consideration that doesn’t apply to the drone versions, which are easily distinguishable from manned ones by their constant communications. Drone versions are thus relatively rare – especially as it hasn’t yet proven possible to get computers to pick out/interpret military data nearly as well as a human observer does. One Ton; IS/Controls (.1), Fusion Microcell 1 (.0), 15 Fuel (.2, Thrust 3, Overthrust 5), Chameleon Web (.1), LRM 2 Launcher and 2 Shots (.1. Commonly loaded with a marker/smoke “warhead” to mark targets. Also used for launching sensor probes), Sensor Probes (10. 5 basic and 5 orbital, .2), Autopilot (.05), VTOL (.1. Cruise 51, Flank 77), 2 Points of Armor (.1), Sensors and an Ultra- high Resolution Camera (.05).

   Fusion Mines are essentially simple. They’re high- powered, laser-ignited, fusion warheads, equipped with low-powered, but nearly undetectable, drives, a set of passive sensors, a light and radar absorbent “blackbody” coating, and a basic autopilot system. To avoid infrared detection, they’re designed to operate at normal space temperatures. Their purpose is jump point interdiction. While it’s necessary to deploy quite a few to seal off the jump points and potential “pirate” jump points, they are extremely effective; a jumpship arriving at a jump point protected by fusion mines must roll to see if it survives. The roll is a 12+ for most jumpships and 11+ for warships (Which mount sophisticated sensors and many defenses). Applicable bonuses include; arriving as a part of a group of jumpships (+1), being equipped with a fusion-orion system (+1), a (charged) lithium-fusion battery (+2), or microjump (+5), If the roll is missed by one, any dropships aboard managed to escape the initial blast. Thanks to their far greater thrusts, such dropships will successfully escape the “minefield” on a 7+, 4+ if equipped with microjump. Unfortunately, even “friendly” units – those who know the appropriate code to broadcast (for this week) are in danger from such a field; there are always malfunctions – while a (truly) unlucky jumpship may wind up “materializing” atop one. Avoiding such a fate requires a 3+ roll, or jumping to an “open” jump point). While the relatively widespread use of fusion mines during the clan invasion has given them a much more positive reputation then most nuclear weapons, they still tend to discourage trade (Increase the cost of “buying” trade rolls by 1 MCr/5% resources – even if you’re leaving one “open” jump point in each system. If not, you MUST supply transport, and are stuck with the increased cost anyway) – and create political problems (-2% politics). Failing to warn everyone, and thus blowing up a commercial jumpship (a 2 in 6 chance per turn) provokes the usual penalties.

   It requires roughly 200 mines to interdict a normal jump point – and 250 more to interdict the various “pirate” jump points in a solar system. Overall, if you really want to withdraw from the universe – and it’s various, ongoing, conflicts – it’ll cost you about 20,000 CP.

   2 Tons; IS (.1), Controls / Comlink (.1), Autopilot (.05), Chameleon Web (.1), Fuel-45 (.6), Fusion Micro-cell-0 (00), Armor-1 (.05) – and a Fusion Warhead (1). While this theoretically has a thrust rating of 2, the need to step down the drive below the threshold of detection reduces it to 1. The Intercontinental Missile is a classic variant – equipped with only 15 points of Fuel and no Chameleon Web, but with a Rating-4 Microcell (.1, Thrust 4/6) and 7 points of armor (.45). Capable of blowing up any spot on a planet within half an hour or so, the widespread use of IM’s, or threats thereof, is only restrained by the fear of retaliation and public opinion.

   Hiemdaller Countermissiles were designed to protect dropships from massive launches of Skybreakers and other missiles. They’re usually simply dumped En Mass during a planetary approach, whereupon they simply ride along until an enemy missile comes close enough to hit. Half a Ton : IS/Control (.075), Armor-1 (.025, FF), Fuel 15 (.2), Autopilot (.05), Fusion Microcell 1 (0.0 Thrust 4/6) – and a Warhead (.15, 8 points to the hex). The Aegis atmospheric version has a R-15 IC Engine, and VTOL equipment, but no Fuel. It weighs only .4 tons.

   As a game mechanic, countermissiles get one special benefit; their “Ramming Attack” is made – and resolved – before that of their target. However, unlike other drones, countermissiles don’t get to turn around and try again if they miss; the first strike comes at the cost of detonating as soon they seem likely to be in range. This also means that the usual “contact” damage listed for the warhead quite irrelevant.

   The Janissary Infantry Support System is the modern equivalent of “Field Guns” – light, towed, cannon, used to provide infantry with extra punch. Sadly, in these days of highly-mobile, small-unit, warfare, such units are almost invariably either vehicle-mounted or set up in a more-or-less permanent strongpoint. The Janissary fulfills much the same role, in that it’s usually deployed to back up infantry. 2 Tons : IS/Controls (.2), Fusion Microcell 4 (.1), FF Armor (Net 10 points, .5). May mount either an LRM-5 (.3) and 6 Reloads (.9) or a pair of SRM-4’s (.3) and 12 Reloads (.9). Cruise 12, and Flank 18. The SRM variant is considerably more common, but the weapons packages are basically interchangeable. In either case, it’s not uncommon for the accompanying infantry to have hauled along some extra ammunition, and to be more then willing to help reload (Maximum of two tons (12/24 reloads) per platoon. Motorized and Armored Infantry only).

   Military Jeeps are extremely common among scouts, and as infantry transport. Given the desperate state of the inner sphere military organizations, they’re also very popular as gifts from well-off parents for kids who’re coming of age for the draft. Getting your kid into the militia with their own military vehicle (however minor it is), lets them avoid winding up as “basic” infantry (A.K.A.; Battlemech fodder). 2 Tons : IS/Controls (.2), Fusion Microcell 4 (.1), FF Armor (Net 10 points, .5), Double Passenger Compartment (5 person, .2), Medium ER Laser (.3), SRM 2 Launcher and 5 loads (.3), Cargo Space (.4 tons). Both weapons are serviced and operated by the passengers. Cruise 12, Flank 18. Common variants add another weapon or a little more armor. Hover versions exist; these have a 0-rating fusion cell, cruise at 20 and have a flank speed of 30. Scout Versions are often fitted with Chameleon Webs – or made submersible.

   The Nightwing Aerospace Fighter was almost feasible from a technical viewpoint, but proved psychologically impractical. Not only were they too small for safe re- entry, but they were entirely too small for the pilots peace of mind. Deep space combat with nothing but a space suit for life support, and a mini- “fighter” for transport, swiftly turned usually-reliable pilots into nervous wrecks. While this difficulty can be overcome with intensive training- and a very careful selection of pilots – this roughly doubles the cost of the unit. The Spectre drone variant was more successful, but the lightspeed communications delay limits it’s usefulness considerably – necessitating the installment of a more powerful autopilot system. Two Tons; Controls (.1), 30 Fuel (.4), Rating 25 UL Fusion Engine (.35, Thrust 15, Overthrust 23, SI 15), 10 points of FA Armor (.5), LRM 2 and 5 Shots (.35), SRM 2 and 5 Shots (.30). The Spectre mounts an autopilot (.05), giving up a point of armor, and is considerably cheaper, as it doesn’t require any extra pilot training.

   The Relampago was designed to provide basic, quick, missile support for small-unit engagements, as well as harassing fire to inhibit enemy advances. If fulfills both purposes admirably and even turns the usual problem of ammunition into something of an advantage; since it swiftly exhausts it’s stock of missiles, the Relampago often departs combat before anyone’s gotten the range. 2 Tons; IS/Control (.2), Rating-10 ICE (.0), VTOL Lift Equipment (.1), 10 Points of FF Armor (.5), LRM-5 (.3) and 5 Reloads (.75), TAG (.15). Cruise 30, Flank 45.

   The Reliant Launch, in a variety of configurations, serves as an inter-station transport, ship’s lifeboat, and general workhorse, for inner system space operations throughout the inner sphere. While the Reliant can be equipped to survive a single re-entry, it must usually be completely refitted afterwards. Two Tons; Controls (.1), Autopilot (Navigation .05), 45 Fuel (.6), Fusion Microcell 3 (Thrust 3, Overthrust 5, .05), 2 Points of Armor (.1), Passenger Compartment x3 (.3, pilot and up to six passengers), and Cargo (.8, as-is for transport duties, one-shot re-entry equipment (.2) and supplies/ survival gear (.6) for lifeboat configuration).

   The Scout Hovercycle is probably the single fastest land vehicle ever designed, capable of reaching mach 1 – although it’s not capable of breaching the so-called “sound barrier”. This has advantages and disadvantages. While the `cycle is virtually impossible to hit, being fully capable of outrunning most missiles, quite a few pilots can be expected to kill themselves in accidents and collisions. While capable of fabulous jumps and a variety of fancy maneuvers, too sharp a turn can quite easily black out the driver! One ton : Controls / IS (.1), Lift Equipment (.1), 3 points of FF Armor (.15), Omni 25 Fusion (.5), Small ER Laser (.15). Cruise 65, Flank 100. When they’re moving at 24+, any attacks on them are subject to a +6 movement modifier. Attempting to attack others at such speeds requires a 5+ piloting roll to avoid suffering an accident sufficient to take the unit out of the game.

   The Skybreaker target-seeking missile is ordinarily launched at speed from an incoming aerospace force. As it can be scrambled by counterelectronics, it’s mostly deployed against orbital installations and to distract aerospace fighters too small to use such defences. It is NOT designed for in-atmosphere use, and can’t survive reentry. Two Tons; Controls (.1), Autopilot .(05), 30 Thrust Points Fuel (.4), Warhead (1), Fusion Microcell 4 (Thrust 4, Overthrust 6, .1), 5 Points Armor (.3), and Hyperthrust (Total 8, .05). SI; 4, inflicts 50 points of damage on contact, but only affects the target hit (no, you can’t blow up entire space hexes). The Kali atmospheric version is essentially identical, although it mounts a 25-rating turbine engine instead (.25) and has 6 points of armor. It saves weight as it requires less fuel in-atmosphere. It can also inflict 30 points of damage to everything in it’s detonation hex, and does 15 to the surrounding hexes. Thrust 13, Overthrust 20.

   The “Super Gnat” is actually closely related to the popular civilian Skycycle VTOL. Most of it’s armor is based on an open framework construction, allowing most attacks to pass through, and a protective suit for the pilot. It’s quite popular as a militia and home-defense unit, mostly because it’s a useful personal vehicle. Daredevil pilots have been known to carry grenades and “personal” weaponry to supplement the Gnat’s. One ton; Controls/IS (.1), Lift Equipment (.1), Eight points of “Armor” (.5), Rating 0 Fusion Microcell (.0), Small ER Laser (.15), and an SRM 2 launcher with 2 reloads (.15). Cruise 50, Flank 75. Thanks to it’s extreme speed and maneuverability, attacks on these units are made at an extra +1 modifier. Unfortunately, the protective suit is a bit clumsy. If the pilot needs to bail out, he / she must roll an 8+ to do so in a hurry. The Hunter Drone variant substitutes an autopilot for the control system. Sadly, remote control is a bit too clumsy to permit it to take advantage of the +1 modifier against enemy attacks that manned units receive.

   The Tengu is an ultrafast civilian helicopter, most commonly serving as an ambulance, light transport, and exploratory craft. It was never intended for combat – but has occasionally been pressed into service, thanks to the incredible bursts of speed it’s jet-assist mode makes available. Since the Tengu is totally unarmed, it’s “passengers” must provide any necessary firepower via gunports and personal weapons. Armed variants have been spotted, but mostly seem to be only crude refits. 2 Tons; IS/Control (.2), Rating-15 ICE (.0), VTOL Lift Equipment (.1), Six Points of FF Armor (.3), Passenger Compartment (Double, .2), Fuel (30 thrust points, used for high-speed cruising, .2), and Cargo (1). Standard cargo packages include; Rescue, Ambulance, Survey, and “Ranger” equipment, all weighing about half a ton. The Tengu Cruises at 33, and has a normal maximum of 50, but the jet-assisted mode allows bursts of greater speed.

   The Whole Hawg armored hovercycle is favored by the occasional scout, as well as by rioting civilians, and the occasional motorcycle club. Civilian versions are usually unarmed – but motorcycle clubs have been known to make exceptions to the rule. 1.25 Tons; IS/Control .2, Fusion Microcell 1 (.0), Lift Equipment (.1) Jump- 1 (.05), Passenger Compartment (Sidecar, .1), 8 points of Armor (.5), and Cargo Capacity (.3, sometimes used to mount various weapons by the more violently inclined). Cruise 33, Flank 50. Common “variants” of this design include the popular Sports Car (Rating-10 ICE. Cruise 24, Flank 36, otherwise identical – although some rare versions reduce the cargo capacity or armor and add an autopilot to take the drunks home. Minivans have more passenger room (A double compartment) but less armor).

   The Winterhawk light fighter is fast and deadly – but the design suffers from the near-inevitable ammunition shortage resulting from it’s lack of energy weapons. Two tons : Controls (.1), Fuel (30 thrust points, .2), Rating 25 ICE/Turbine Engine (.25), 8 points FF Armor (.4), SRM-4 Launcher, and four loads (.75), VTOL Capable (.05), Cargo Space (.25, usually a droppable bomb – 12 points to the hex hit, 6 to adjacent hexes. 25 if it actually hits something). Thrust 13 / 20, SI 13.

   The Wolfshead Skirmisher was intended to be able to catch, and defeat, light reconnaissance Mechs. As far as some of the older (3025) models went, this design is a marginal success. Sadly, more up-to-date technologies tend to overwhelm it. 2 Tons; IS/Controls (.2), Fusion Microcell 0 (.0), FF Armor (Net 21 points. 1.1), Lift Equipment (Hovercraft .1), Medium ER Laser (.3), SRM 2 Launcher and 5 loads (.3). Cruise 20, Flank 30.

Miniunit Construction Point Costs :

Vehicle CP
Buzzsaw Hydroskimmer / Narwhale Submersible 34
Dragonfly Observer 20
Janissary Infantry Support System 34
Military Jeep / Military Hoverjeep 34
Nightwing Aerospace Fighter 83
Relampago Missile Support VTOL 21
Reliant Launch (Noncombat) 40
Scout Hovercycle 21
Sports Car / Minivan(Civilian Whole Hawg) 15
“Super Gnat” VTOL 16
Tengu Fast Transport VTOL 42
Whole Hawg Armoured Hovercycle 20
Winterhawk Light Fighter Plane 25
Wolfshead Skirmisher 34

Drone CP
Aegis Atmospheric Countermissile (Heimdaller) 6
Devastator Guided Missile 10
Fusion Mine 32
Heimdaller Aerospace Countermissile 8
Hunter Drone (Super Gnat) 16
Intercontinental Missile (Fusion Mine) 32
Kali Cruise Missile (Skybreaker) 20
Spectre Aerospace Drone (Nightwing AF) 42
Skybreaker Aerospace Missile 32
Typhon Hunter Torpedo (Devastator) 08

   Just as a note, it’s generally agreed that a couple of hundred “Intercontinental Missiles” will suffice to throughly devastate a planet. If, like many or most of the worlds out there, the planet is hostile – and simple survival requires advanced technology – this will KILL EVERYONE THERE unless an immediate, and massive, rescue/rebuilding effort is made by some other world.

   Destroying a world is cheap.That doesn’t make it a good idea.

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