Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Battletech Heaps: ATM Munitions

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.

ATM systems are a favorite of mine. Despite being a versatile platform with myriad tactical possibilities, the three flavors of ammo for it are disappointing.

Multiple Target Approach
MTA missiles are designed to by pass anti-missile systems by avoiding a straight-line path to their target. Instead, the munitions take flight at a preset angle from their target. As they close on it, a secondary, high-powered guidance system activates and turns the missile back towards the unit. This spreads the missiles and fools anti-missile systems designed to confront only head-on approaches. Unfortunately, the addition of the secondary guidance package and new aerodynamic qualities of the missile require that the firepower of the warhead be drastically diminished. MTA munitions are available in two types: Standard and HE.

Std MTA munitions   Damage: 1/Msl, C2  Range: (4)5/10/15
HE MTA munitions    Damage: 2/Msl, C3  Range: 3/6/9

The effect of enemy anti-missile systems on MTA munitions is reduced by 2(Giving a -2 penalty on the missile hits table instead of a -4. The effect of AMS may not be reduced above 0.)
Notes: Yes, they land in non-five damage groupings. An ATM usually hits about MslDmg*RackSize/ClusterSize locations. That's 2/5*RackSize for Standard munitions and 3/5 for HE munitions. Std MTA missiles are 1/2*Rack Size and HE MTA munitions are 2/3*RackSize. That means that even though their firepower is drastically reduced, they're still hitting about the same number of locations.(4/10 vs 5/10 and 9/15 vs 10/15).

Light Explosive

LE munitions are a rarer munition type designed to overcome the limited range of high-explosive rounds without the proximate targeting difficulties associated with Standard ATM munitions. While loading both HE and Standard munitions on a 'mech is easy to do, 'mechs with smaller ammunition stores, like the Pouncer E and Black Lanner E, sometimes need a more versatile load, or want a larger focus on more distant engagements while still having minimal close-range engagement abilities.

Light Explosive munitions   Damage: 2/Msl, C5  Range: 4/8/12

Note: It's completely unimpressive and uninspired, yes? It's a niche weapon. Perhaps one more fit for roleplaying than for tabletop. The beauty--the true beauty--of Advanced Tactical Missiles is that the make a 'mech--to some degree--into an omnimech. You know your mission and get the equipment you need for it. Shooting across a river or providing fire support? ER ammo. Not sure? Standard. City and jungle ops where you expects some ambushes? Surprise a friend with High Explosive gifts from up to 270 meters away. Doing some general mixing it up? Get one of each.

That said, sometimes, you just don't know, and you don't want to get screwed with minimum range modifiers for Standard rounds or have someone hover outside of your woefully short (esp for the Clans) High-Explosive range. LE ammo is an unoriginal middle ground between the two.

It also lets you--if you compromise a bit--drop some excessive ammo loads in return for a medium laser or BAP or something. Having three tons of ammo so you can carry every ammo type for ATMs is obsessive and ineffective, in my humble opinion, especially on light 'mechs(Firemoth E, I'm lookin' at you.)

High Fidelity Missiles

HF Missiles are modified versions of High-Explosive, Standard, and Extended Range Advanced Tactical Missiles designed to land in rapid succession and blast through armor by sharing in-flight data and high-precision digital positioning control to 'follow the leader.' While these tight-formation chains of  missiles are limited in size, they deliver a powerful payload to their targets. Sadly, these close, 'loyal' formations often file into the maw of enemy countermeasures or follow a rouge leader past their target.

ER HF munitions   Damage: 1/Msl, C7  Range: (4)9/18/27
Std HF munitions  Damage: 2/Msl, C7  Range: (4)5/10/15
HE HF munitions   Damage: 3/Msl, C7  Range: 3/6/9

All High-Fidelity munitions receive a -2 penalty on the Missile Hits Table, with an additional -2 against a unit using an Anti-Missile System against it(for a cumulative -6: -4 for AMS, -4 for the HF's penalties, and +2 for the ATM's integrated Artemis IV.). The roll result cannot be reduced below 2.

Notes: Don't pair these with ER ammo on an ATM 6 or an ATM 3, or with Std ammo on an ATM 3. Also, use your munchy clan lasers to kill Hellbringer Primes with their ECM and AMS.

And, no, the Clans are not big fans of John Cusack. They should be, but they aren't.

I'm also trying to think of a munition that either fires twice as fast, or carries half as many loads. :\  

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