Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Double-Weave Armor

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Double Weave Armor
Double Weave Armor is a new, bulkier armor that is simply more resistant to damage. Its a somewhat linear improvement of basic armor by Clan scientists. It uses larger energy-absorption weaves to reduce damage caused by weapons. Less efficient space-wise than most armors, the Double Weave Armor still yields a standard mass-protection ratio. At certain ranges, AC shells simply bounce off of it, and it stores and radiates energy weapon heat.

Rules Level: Experimental
Available To: Clan Star Adder
Availability: Battlemechs

Game Rules: Double-Weave Armor reduces damage dealt by attacks according to the range they are fired from and the amount of Double-Weave Armor mounted on the 'mech.

Every 70 whole points of armor(4.375 tons) reduces Long Range attacks against the unit by 1.
Every 140 whole points of armor(8.75 tons) reduces Medium Range attacks against the unit by 1.
Every 280 whole points of armor(17.5 tons) reduces Short Range attacks against the unit by 1.

Weapons firing within a minimum range are still counted as Short Range. Weapons fired with the aid of C3 or C3i computers still determine their range for double weave armor reductions as per the firing unit's actual range. It provides 16 points of armor per ton and costs three times as much as standard armor.

The reduction applies to each cluster to hit the 'mech. The damage counted for the purposes of piloting skill rolls is the damage after reduction. Physical attacks, falling damage, damage from running through buildings, and artillery are considered short-range damage.

In addition, Double Weave Armor tends to absorb and reflect energy rather than transmit it, impairing the equipped 'mechs heat dissipation.

As armor is reduced through a fight, it does not affect the effects of double weave armor. As long as the 'mech mounting it has a single point of Double Weave Armor on it, the damage reduction to that armor and the heat penalties still apply.

Weapon/Item Type    Heat Damage    Range  Ammo  To-Hit 
Double Weave Armor   *    -(-)    -/-/-/-  0     -

Item Cost / Ammo    Weight Space  Battle Value
  ???     / -         0.5    **     ???

Avail.  Tech Rating   R&D      Prototype  Introduced  Extinction  Reintroduced
(X-X-F)   E          - / 3055   - / 3065   - / 3070    - / -       - / -
*Reduce the heat dissipation of any 'mech mounting Double Weave Armor by 3 times its Long Range damage reduction.
**Double Weave Armor takes 2 critical slots in the legs, arms, and side torsos of a 'mech. 

Damage Example: A Timberwolf outfitted with 12 tons of double weave armor takes a 7 missiles from an LRM 10 volley, an AC/2 round, and a medium laser hit from 8 hexes away. That's Long Range for the Medium Laser, Medium Range for the LRM, and Short Range for the AC. The damage reduction for the Timberwolf is -0 for short range, -1 for medium range, and -2 for long range.
   -The AC round hits at short range, so it's reduced by 0. The AC hits at full strength, well full 2 points of damage. 
   -The LRM hit is reduced by 1 for being at Medium Range. The hit of 5 and the hit of 2 are each reduced by 1 to 4 and 1 respectively. The Timberwolf takes 5 damage from the LRM. 
   -The Medium Laser hits the CT at Long Range. It's reduced by 2 for being at long range. The Timberwolf takes 3 more points of damage. 
The overall damage was reduced from 14 to 10.

Heat Example: Same lucky Timberwolf, in the Heat Phase. It just took a little jog while firing off its PPCs. That's 32 heat. Normally, Mr. Mad Cat could dissipate 30 of it no problem. However, its double weave armor lowers that dissipation by 3 times its long range damage reduction (2). 2 x 3 = 6. The Timberwolf only dissipates 24 of that heat, leaving it with 8 additional heat at the end of the Heat Phase.

Handy Table
Tons of Armor  SR Red  MR Red  LR Red  Heat Dissipation Penalty

 0.0-4.0 tons   -0      -0      -0       0 
 4.5-8.5 tons   -0      -0      -1       3 
 9.0-13.0 tons  -0      -1      -2       6 
13.5-17.5 tons  -0      -1      -3       9 
18.0+ tons      -1      -2      -4      12

I obviously wrote these rules post-Total Warfare, the latest Battletech Rules edition, but without acknowledging how important heat-creating weapons were. DWA should either reduce, enhance, or ignore how those weapons function. Ignore is a tempting option; why make a rule you don't need? Reduction makes sense because it's mentioned a few times that the armor is made to inhibit and dissipate heat transfer. 

Making heat weapon more effective against double-weave armor-equipped 'mechs makes sense for the same reason and it supports heat as a drawback for these units. That said, I have little enough experience with heat weapons that I can't really suggest a balanced add-on. +1 heat per location hit with such a weapon, up to a maximum of the DWA 'mech's long range damage reduction?

1 comment:

SkilTao said...

My experience with heat-adding weapons is also limited. I'd first need to find out how many hits the unit is expected to take at each range, to see how much balancing is warranted.