Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Battletech Heaps: MRM House Rules

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.

Medium Range Missiles Are Broken; Fix Them
MRMs are not broken in the sense that they're too good. I know they're designed to work with C3 systems and that they have the new Apollo system to help them suck less.

The first step is changing their weights and heats.

Name       Heat Damage    Short  Medium Long     Tons    Crits     Shots/Ton
MFM 10      4   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     3.0     2         24  
MFM 20      6   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     6.0     3         12
MFM 30     10   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     9.0     5          8
MFM 40     12   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15    12.0     6          6

Second, I'm taking the same route that they took with old school autocannons: Specialty Munitions.

Penetration Warheads
Penetration warheads feature a shaped-charge designed for far deeper penetration into armor than standard MRM warheads. Larger than MRMs, each ton of Penetration Warhead ammo only carries half as many rounds. 

When Penetration Warheads hit a target, roll to determine the first location hit and note how many total missiles hit. 

Roll a critical hit on the first location hit and add a modifier from the table below according to how many missiles hit. If less than five missiles hit, do not make a critical hit roll.

Dmg Total Roll Bonus Rough Amount of Damage
 1-5       No roll
 6-10      -4         More than half of an MRM 10
11-15      -3         More than half of an MRM 20
16-20      -2         More than half of an MRM 30
 21+       -1         More than half of an MRM 40

Scatter Warheads
Scatter Warheads fragment in-flight to release submunitions that engulf a unit completely. They are larger than normal MRM munitions and the shots per ton of Scatter Warhead ammunition is half that of standard MRM ammunition. 

When an MRM firing Scatter Warheads hits a target, roll on the Cluster Hits Table as normal, then roll on the Cluster Hits Table again for the result of the first roll. For each point of damage that results, deal it to the target, rolling for hit location for each point of damage.

Note: On a '32' result on the MRM 40, roll on the 30 and 2 tables of the Cluster Hits Table and add the result. 

For example: Bobby fires an MRM 30 at an enemy 'mech. He hits, and rolls on the '30' Column of the Cluster Hits Table. He rolls a '9', which returns a result of 24. 24 of his missiles are going to hit, bursting to release their high-speed submunitions. He rolls on the 24 column of the Cluster Hits Table to see how many of those do damage. He rolls a '5', and 16 of those hit. He rolls for the hit location of each of the 16 separately.

Fragmentation Missiles
As per LRM/SRM specialty munition of the same name (Total Warfare, page 141).

Saturation Missiles
Medium Range Saturation rounds spread out over a wide area to fill an area with unguided missiles. Saturation Missiles have additional fuel and 'random-jets' that make them larger than regular MRMs. A ton of Saturation Missiles only yields half of the missiles as a ton of standard munitions. 

An MRM firing Saturation Missiles does not suffer the +1 to-hit modifier of MRMs. In addition, subtract one from the to-hit penalty that is a result of the terrain a unit is in. Because so many missiles are lost to cover this area, Saturation Munitions that hit a target roll on the Cluster Hits Table for a rack half their size.

Partial-Guidance Munitions
Rough guidance systems have been jury-rigged onto standard Medium Range Missiles, increasing their size and allowing them to follow the signal of friendly Target Acquisition Gear. Partial Guidance Munitions are twice the size as standard munitions and at ton of ammo only has half as many shots as a standard ton. 

Partial Guidance Munitions ignore the +1 to-hit penalty of MRMs when firing at a unit designated by a friendly TAG. The additional fuel for the on-board guidance system doubles the damage from the explosion of a ton of Partial Guidance System ammunition.

MRMs can carry minefield munitions analogous to those of LRMs. The minefield size is equal to half of the MRM's rating.


SkilTao said...

I think one of us proposed extending the "Missile Saturation" idea to all "missile volley"-type weapons.

I've never liked "fixing" a weapon by changing its mass and crits. At that point you're making a successor weapon (like the Ultra/5 to the Vanilla/5, or LB-10X to Vanilla/10) rather than making the original more usable; and successor weapons are a *good* idea (and should involve the rethinking of *every* weapon in the tech base), so I don't know why the whole circular "invent specialty munitions to keep vanilla weapons competitive with modern designs, then put vanilla weapons on modern designs so specialty munitions are used" gets perpetuated.

As someone who hasn't played in...years?, I find I have less patience for weapon variants and special munitions. I'm beginning to think of them exclusively as one-off scenario items, or as campaign analogues to "maayybe this town has an alchemist who maayybe has a magic weapon or two you maayy be interested in."

VanVelding said...

My only problem with the ever-expanding weapon & munitions list are the fact that nothing goes away. If they phased out certain weapons in certain eras, then I wouldn't mind. Trying to keep specific weapons relevant when their niche shrinks with each new weapon introduced is contrived and tiring.

But yeah, limiting the spread and use of the really niche items to scenarios is an improvement.