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Author Topic: (Answered) Rules for applying damage to front vs rear torso armor on ‘Mechs  (Read 417 times)

Alfaryn

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INTRODUCTION

Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum. Sorry for the long post, but I think that I’ve run into an issue that affects not only me, but also many new Battletech players out there as early as during their first game using introductory rules, and since I would really like to see more people playing the game, I believe any rules questions regarding such basics should be discussed in detail, so that any answers and possible resulting errata are as complete and as easy to understand to new players as possible. Also please forgive me any grammar, spelling, stylistic mistakes and the like. English is not my first language, and while I usually don’t have a problem understanding it, I do sometimes find it difficult expressing myself in it.

THE MAIN PROBLEM

I can’t find the rules which determine when torso damage is applied to the front, and when to the rear sections of a ‘Mech record sheet anywhere in the Total Warfare book(third printing) or the Introductory Rulebook (2013 printing – the one from the box with an Atlas on the cover). I suspect that the issue has remained unreported for all of those years because the rules are so obvious to anyone who learned the game from another person or ever run something like Megamek, that we think that they are in the rulebooks even if they are not. Either that or I’m just so blind or stupid that I can’t find where they are. They are certainly not where I expect them to be.

THE RESEARCH I'VE DONE, AND ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS FOUND

The closest thing to those rules I could find are in the Transferring Damage section (p. 44 of the Introductory Rulebook and p. 123 TW) where it is stated that “Damage from the rear firing arc that hits a missing limb is transferred to the appropriate rear torso location.” and in Advanced Hit Locations on page 77 of the Tactical Operations book (second edition), which mostly deal with an alternate way to resolve attacks from ‘Mech’s sides, but I feel there are a few problems with those.

1. Having to look for such basic rules in TO and figuring out TW or Introductory rules from them is obviously out of question, so I won’t discus them here in detail.

2. As far as I can tell nowhere in BattleTech rules other than in the sentence I quoted above there is such thing as taking damage from rear firing arc. Firing arcs are defined on p. 34 Introductory Rulebook and p. 104 TW (and other pages for non-’Mech units), apply to the Attacker, and determine where your rear mounted weapons (or flipped arms) can hit. To determine where the attack is coming from we use Attack Direction defined on p. 42 Intro and p. 119 TW (and other pages for some non-’Mech units), and some hexes which fall into ‘Mech’s rear firing arc do not belong to it’s rear Attack Direction. It seems logical to me, that Attack Direction should be used to determine weather we should use rear or front armor, and Advanced Hit Locations from TO seem to support this interpretation, but as far as I can tell nothing in TW or Intro rulebook seems to do so.

3. If we read the first step of Damage Resolution section (p. 43 Intro, p. 122 TW) literally a ‘Mech we can get a situation when a ‘Mech has lost all of it’s front or rear armor in a torso section (but not both front and rear), but can’t take damage to it’s internal structure in this section, because this step does not specify that in case of torso hits if you lose all of the front armor in the section from an attack that does not apply to the ‘Mech’s rear the remaining damage go to the internal structure. Same with attacks from the rear, when a ‘Mech has front armor left. All of those rules seem written as if their author couldn't decide if a ‘Mech has three torso sections (left, center and front) or six (three front and three rear). I know this entire point may seem obvious to someone who played Battletech for years, but I can imagine someone reading the rules for the first time getting lost here.

3a. As a side note the rules for automatic breaches on p. 121 TW seem to suffer from a similar problem – it is not clear if a torso section is breached if it looses all of it’s front OR rear armor or it needs to lose both front AND rear armor.

4. As I wrote at the beginning of this post there seem to be no clear rules in the Intro rulebook or TW, which specify when we should use front and rear armor when resolving damage to a ‘Mech (especially confusing with side shots since they usually came from direction of a ‘Mech that is closer to it’s rear than it’s front, but affect front armor), are front and rear sides of left/center/right torsos separate sections, and what exactly happens when a ‘Mech loses only front or only rear torso armor.

MY THEORIES ON WHAT THE RULES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE

I believe that:

A. When resolving damage to a Mech torso we apply it to the rear torso armor when it is dealt by an attack from rear Attack Direction, or the rules specifically tell us to use rear Hit Location (for example after rolling a 4 in Facing After Fall Table on p. 68 TW / p. 28 Intro Rulebook), or simply say that the ‘Mech takes damage to it’s rear or back (as in damage to the ‘Mech which performed an unsuccessful DFA attkack – p. 54 Intro / p. 150 TW, a ‘Mech which “successfully” at hit a unit while accidentally falling from above – p. 55 Intro / p. 152 TW or a ‘Mech in a hex hit by a bomb if they rolled 4-6 when determining hit direction – p. 246 TW). If all rear armor in a given location is destroyed all remaining damage strike internal structure (and transfers to central torso rear armor if it destroys all internal structure in side torso location). All front torso armor is ignored while resolving such damage.

B. In all other cases including attacks from front and side Attack Directions, damage otherwise applied to front or side Hit Location or damage which does not specify weather it hits the back or the front of a ‘Mech (like damage to a ‘Mech falling to a basement p. 179 TW – or is it? Vehicles take damage to front or back depending on whether it moved forward or backward when they fell, but I don’t see a similar rule for ‘Mechs). If all front armor in a given location is destroyed all remaining damage strike internal structure (and transfers to central torso rear armor if it destroys all internal structure in side torso location). All rear torso armor is ignored while resolving such damage.

C. A torso location of a ‘Mech is automatically breached if it loses either all front or all rear armor (not necessarily both) for the purposes of flooding as described on p. 121 TW and other effects where sealing matters – like in Vacuum or Trace Atmosphere on p. 54 TO.

MY QUESTIONS

I. Am I right about points A-C, and if not – what am I understanding incorrectly,

II. Are there any important rules that I missed in Intro rulebook/TW (and TO) about when front/rear armor is used and other issues I’ve discussed that I’ve missed? If so – please point me to them.

III. What do you think errata (if any) should be reported in the errata forum? Personally I think, that we need the following changes:
- p. 123 TW, p. 44 Introductory Rulebook in the third paragraph of Transferring Damage section change “Damage from the rear firing arc that hits a missing limb is transferred to the appropriate rear torso location” to “Damage from the rear Attack Direction (or otherwise defined as affecting ‘Mech’s rear or back) that hits a missing limb is transferred to the appropriate rear torso location”,
- p. 122 TW, p. 43 Introductory Rulebook change the first step of Damage Resolution section to make it clear that in case of ‘Mech torso hits only front or rear (as appropriate) is considered in this point (both in answer to the yes/no question, and when applying damage if yes),
- at some point in p. 119 – p. 121 TW, and p. 42 – 43 Introductory Rulebook insert rules explaining when torso damage is applied to front and when to the rear torso locations (or add page references to those rules if they are elsewhere in the book); depending on how the changes to Transferring Damage and Damage Resolution sections are phrased include clarification if front and rear torso armors are considered separate sections,
- at p. 121 TW under Underwater Units make it clear, that ‘Mech torso location is automatically breached if either front or rear armor protecting this location is destroyed,
- at p. 54 TO Vacuum – under Hull Integrity add clarification about breaching ‘Mech torso locations analogous to above,
- as an extra errata at p. 56 TO under Tainted and Toxic Atmospheres clarify when armor is breached for the purposes of those effects. Possibly something as simple as stating that the rules for those breaches are identical to those for Hull Integrity in Trace Atmosphere p. 54 TO will be sufficient – unless they are not, and in Tainted and Toxic Atmospheres breaches occur on rolls other than 12 or only after complete destruction of an armor section.

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Edit - just some reformatting for now.
Edit 2 - added titles to the sections of the post to hopefully reduce reader's confusion.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2017, 06:52:53 by Xotl »

Xotl

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Hi, and welcome to the forum  You've posted a bunch of questions, some (like this) with a lot of detail to them.  That's no problem, but please be aware that I'm really busy at the moment, so I'm going to need a little while to get to all this.

If in the meantime you could edit this post to make it as clear and as concise as possible (and well formatted), I'd really appreciate it.  I understand that some issues need a lot of explanation room, but anything you feel you can cut helps me help you.

Just letting you know.  Cheers.
Away until late August.  Cheers.

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Alfaryn

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Hi, I'll try to edit my post when I'll have some more time, but I really can't promise a lot. I have problem with being brief in my native language, and trying to post in English makes it even worse.
For now I can offer a summary of what I consider the most important points.

- As far as I can tell nowhere in the Introductory Rulebook or Total Warfare it is correctly explained when the damage to a ‘Mech’s torso should be applied to the front, and when to the rear armor diagrams.

- The Transferring Damage (p. 44 of the Introductory Rulebook and p. 123 TW) and Advanced Hit Locations on p. 77 TO are what I believe to be the closest thing to the missing rules.

- The Advanced Hit Locations rules explain a lot, but since they are in Tactical Operation knowing them should not be required to understand how front vs rear armor works in introductory or tournament level rules.

- The rules in Transferring Damage are insufficient (they only state that a hit from the rear firing arc to a missing limb transfers to the rear side torso, there is nothing about attacks that roll torso in the ‘Mech Hit Location Table), probably incorrect (possible errata - they use firing arc instead of rear Attack Direction, which are two different things), and not in a place where a player will look for them (they should be in Damage Resolution section on p. 43 Intro rulebook and p. 122 TW or before).

- Damage Resolution section (especially it’s first step) is written in a way that completely ignores a possibility of having two different armor sections protecting one internal structure section as is the case with ‘Mech torso locations, and should be probably reworded.

- The rules for flooding submerged sections of a ‘Mech (p. 121 TW) and similar rules in TO regarding Atmospheric Conditions (pp. 54-56) don’t clarify if a torso is automatically breached if it loses front OR rear section or both front AND rear armor must be destroyed for it to happen.

- Between a little bit of familiarity with Battletech (I never had chance to play much, but I’ve owned Polish edition of Introductory Box Set plus a couple of other related products for over two decades), some common sense, a little bit of Megamek and rules in Transferring Damage and Advanced Hit Locations I believe I understand how rules work (I explain it in points A-C of the original post), but I would like an official confirmation and if possible an official errata for the rules in question.

Finally there is no rush answering my question in this topic. Unlike other questions I posted today I’m fairly certain I understand how the rules discussed here are intended to work. It is just that I’ve been lurking around here long enough to know that a reprint of the Intro Box is coming plus you along with other people at CGL are working on the BattleMech Manual, and I decided that it is a good moment to point out what I personally consider to be the biggest problem with the Introductory level rules, and generally one of the bigger problems new Battletech players face in general, and reducing such entry barriers should strongly impact people’s interest in the game, sales, and who knows? Maybe it will lead to some more Battletech players in my local area. I certainly haven’t had much luck convincing my friends to play yet.

Alfaryn

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Xotl,
I’ve been thinking on how to make the wall of text I’ve posted easier to grasp. Would it help if I split this material into multiple threads as follows?

1. a thread about the rules deciding when to apply damage to the front and when to the back of a ‘Mech torso, just to make sure I understand them correctly – in the Total Warfare subsection of the Rules Questions section,
2. a thread discussing how to reword those rules in Total Warfare and Introductory Rulebook so that that the rules are no longer ambiguous in this matter – in the Ground Combat the section (or would General BattleTech Discussion section be better?),
3. a set of threads regarding other rules questions that came out when I’ve been looking for examples regarding the above.

Xotl

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Just give me a bit first to really analyze it.  I'm not going to be able to take a good look at this until at least Monday; I'll let you know then.

Thanks for being amenable though.
Away until late August.  Cheers.

3028-3050 Random Assignment Tables -
Also contains faction deployment & rarity info and Quirk lists.

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1219.0

Alfaryn

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Ok, I'll wait to hear from you before I'll create any new threads on the topic.

For now to help you analyse what I believe to be the very core of the problem I'll give you a simple task which should be trivial, but I find it impossible to accomplish.

Take the Total Warfare book and the Introductory Rulebook.

Find a rule which states that an attack from the left or the right attack direction (as defined on p.119 TW and p. 42 Intro Rulebook) which hits a torso section of a 'Mech causes damage to the front and not the rear armor of the 'Mech.

Find a rule which states that if the attack hits the front torso armor section then after the damage destroys the front armor damages the internal structure, and the rear armor is ignored. Same for the attacks from the rear ignoring front torso armor.

Found them? If so, then just tell me on which pages they are, and I'll make an errata post asking to add reference to those pages in appropriate places on pp. 119-122 TW, and pp. 42-43 Intro, and the rest will be easy from there.

Can't find them? Then we have a problem. Without those rules damage resolution procedures on p. 122 TW and pp. 43-44 Intro make no sense, when applied to torso damage. We will need to figure out how to add them to those books and to BattleMech Manual too, I guess.

----------------

Ok, so the second rule I asked you to find should be obvious to anyone with a gram of common sense, but without it we will need to reword step one of the damage resolution procedure...

And the first rule may not be that obvious to someone who is reading the book for the first time, and may not realise, that 'Mechs normally are too mobile, and don't have enough rear armor for side shots to apply to the rear armor. This rule may be even counter-intuitive to new players because to get a left or right shot on a 'Mech you usually need to be slightly behind and to the side of it.

I've done some digging in the books, and found some issues with other rules that are related to the main problem, or my proposed solution to it, hence the big wall of text, but those secondary issues are smaller, and I can solve them later with some errata posts, and maybe a few questions in separate threads.

Hope this makes things easy to understand.

Xotl

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Take the Total Warfare book and the Introductory Rulebook.

Find a rule which states that an attack from the left or the right attack direction (as defined on p.119 TW and p. 42 Intro Rulebook) which hits a torso section of a 'Mech causes damage to the front and not the rear armor of the 'Mech.

p. 119:
"Hit location is determined by the attack direction and the target’s facing."
And then all the immediately following text under Attack Direction.  It tells you whether the attack hits the front or rear.  From there I think it's a logical inference that it hits the front or rear armour.  I suppose I can clarify a bit more, if there's still time to adjust the Manual.  If not, it will be errata.

Quote
Find a rule which states that if the attack hits the front torso armor section then after the damage destroys the front armor damages the internal structure, and the rear armor is ignored. Same for the attacks from the rear ignoring front torso armor.

Damage Resolution, p. 122.  It does in fact say to remove "all armour in the location", not the facing.  So, it technically orders you to remove all front and rear armour, if any, before moving to internal.  I'll see that the Manual has corrected wording, and eventually errata TW.
Away until late August.  Cheers.

3028-3050 Random Assignment Tables -
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Alfaryn

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That answers my most important points.

When clarifying the rules about which armor facing to use be sure to make it clear, that attacks from the Left Side or Right Side Attack Directions impact the front facing, as that is probably the most confusing part, since in plain English left and right are neither front nor rear.

While deciding how to clarify the rules note, that while we talk about "front" and "rear" torso armor facings (as probably most people would call them), on the Record Sheets (and everywhere else in the rules as far as I'm aware) there is no such thing as front armor. There Center Torso armor and Center Torso Rear armor. Same with left and right torsos.

Also it appears to me, that rules in some places TW seem to imply, but do not clearly state, that if not otherwise noted any direction which does not come from a specific Attack Direction hit the front facing (like rules for 'Mechs falling into building basements on p.179 TW, which simply tell to use Front/Rear column of an appropriate Location Table for example). It may be easier to make a blanket statement that such cases all torso damage is applied to the front facing, rather then trying to hunt down and correct every such rule.

You may also want to word the clarification to make it clear, that whenever rules say that a 'Mech takes damage to it's back, or falls to it's back (as they do in several places - multiple examples in the first post) it means that the damage is applied to the rear facings. This clarification may not be needed though - I'm sure that almost everyone will understand that words back and rear are interchangeable in this case.

---------------

Finally there are two potential closely related errata items that need to be clarified.

1. In Transferring Damage section p. 44 Intro, p. 123 TW there is a sentence "Damage from the rear firing arc that hits a missing limb is transferred to the appropriate rear torso location". It should be probably replaced with "Damage from the rear Attack Direction that hits a missing limb or destroyed  side torso location is transferred inward to the closest not destroyed rear torso location" or something to that effect. It fixes two issues - that firing arc applies to the attacker, and covers different area than rear Attack Direction, and that current rules for some reason clarify here that damage from the rear direction transfer from limb to rear torso, but not that they transfer from rear side torso to the rear center torso.

2. Similarly to Damage Resolution on p. 122 TW and 43 Intro rules for automatic hull breaches on p. 121 TW (Underwater Units) and p. 54 TO (Atmospheric Pressure (Density) - Vacuum - Hull Integrity) simply state that the location is automatically breached if it loses all of it's armor, while they should probably add that in case of 'Mech torso locations when all armor on just one facing (front or rear) is destroyed.

Are my interpretations correct, and should I post errata on those two in the errata thread?

---------------

I'll make separate threads on my other rules issues I signalised in this thread, as they are not that closely connected to the main topic discussed here, and should probably have their separate threads to make finding the answers easier for someone running to the same problems in the future.

---------------

Edit - just to note, that  I've made some additional changes to the original post. I hope they help.
« Last Edit: 04 December 2016, 03:52:55 by Alfaryn »

Xotl

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Most of these clarifications are a bit too granular for Total Warfare: I am trying not to bloat the errata documents too much with changes that, in the end, are pretty self-evident.  However, with fresh text to work with, I've updated the BattleMech Manual throughout so that it reflects this more accurate wording.

Thanks for taking the time to point this all out.
Away until late August.  Cheers.

3028-3050 Random Assignment Tables -
Also contains faction deployment & rarity info and Quirk lists.

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=1219.0

Alfaryn

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I'm glad to to be of some help, and thank you for your patience with my nitpicking. I hope that BattleMech Manual will turn out fine. Who knows, maybe it could even become a basis of future printings of the Introductory Rulebook?
« Last Edit: 19 June 2017, 15:35:03 by Alfaryn »

 

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