Author Topic: TSM - Why isn't it more common?  (Read 535 times)

Challenger

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TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« on: 25 June 2017, 09:04:47 »
Alternative title: Game changing technologies and why they failed to change the game.

TSM has been a bit of a favour of mine for some time. Primarily because it gives a 55ton mech a kick that forces two piloting skill rolls and a punch that removes heads in a single hit. It seems to me that used on mass this should be gaming breaking, anything slow becomes very vulnerable to having its head punched clean off while faster targets are dealing with kicks that hit like AC20s.

But, TSM didn't fundamentally alter the game like DHS did and I'm not sure why. So I was wondering what others thought about it. Why is this 0ton, 6 crit, widely available piece of kit, not a standard fit?

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #1 on: 25 June 2017, 10:12:27 »
My guess is that it's just too fiddly to bother mounting.  DHS simplify the heat mechanic.  TSM makes it more complicated.

Hellraiser

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #2 on: 25 June 2017, 11:25:24 »
Its also not so simple as "double physical damage".

The heat level makes weapons fire less accurate.

Physicals can only be made at range 1, but you can be shooting things at ranges over 20 hexes.

Staying hot & not getting to physical means now your loosing damage each turn from missed shots.

Your not guaranteed to be able to physical someone, sure there might be a slower mech in range, but if the hex you can get to also leaves you at a lesser movement modifier & in front of other enemy units all you get is a dead mech that is lucky if it gets off 1 enhanced kick.

Not that I don't like TSM, its just that it requires certain levels of skill to use properly & depends on luck or the enemy making a mistake to be able to use it w/o retribution.

In the meantime, if you don't actively use it, then you've paid BV for it & the enemy has more BV for guns & armor.
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Maingunnery

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #3 on: 25 June 2017, 12:17:16 »

Weapons that deal heat have become more common and have more range, making it more difficult to manage the heat and increasing the chance of severe overheating.
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Iron Mongoose

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #4 on: 25 June 2017, 14:52:28 »
Plus, in the era of DHS, endo steel and XL engines, mechs have other things to use their criticals on.  Sure, on a light or medium mech that's got all the weight saving techs and still has some criticals left, you might just toss it on for fun, but such mechs arn't great physical fighters and don't often make heat easily enough to warm the TSM up.  On a larger mech, by contrast, it's rare that you've got the space left anyway, or if you do you probaly could have used it better in the first place.

Lastly, as mentioned, most mechs just arn't set up to use it well.  There are a handfull of mechs that just have TSM tossed in for fun, true.  But most TSM mechs are specally optomized for TSM, with good speed to close with the enemy, a wide range of small guns to help fine tune your heat, and often a mealee weapon (or at least fists).  Even if you could slap one on any old mech, what good would it do?
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guardiandashi

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #5 on: 25 June 2017, 16:04:35 »
really when you come right down to it both versions of TSM are seriously flawed.  its just a question of how flawed are they and what risks do you deal with.

the original stolen version was an always active design but if exposed to a specific combination of materials it acted as a catalysis that caused it to essentially spontaneously combust when it tried to contract.

the second version has a higher heat level required to get it to "activate" which essentially means that other systems have to run in a thermally compromised/degraded mode to work.

heck you can introduce other things to a game as long as there are disadvantages to explain why everyone doesn't always use the special systems.

Sir Chaos

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #6 on: 25 June 2017, 16:48:19 »
You all understand that TSM doesn´t *FORCE* you to constantly overheat, right? A TSM-equipped ´Mech can stay cool and duke it out at range, especially since TSM doesn´t weight anything and thus (except in crit-space-strapped designs) does not cut down on how many weapons you can mount - and if or when the time comes to get up close and physical, it can overheat and start dishing out double damage melee attacks.

I´d mount TSM in a long-range support ´Mech, for example. Getting inside the LRM minimum range of that Archer doesn´t sound like nearly such a good idea any more if it can close the rest of the distance to you and kick you for 28 points of damage.
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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #7 on: 25 June 2017, 18:14:42 »
You all understand that TSM doesn´t *FORCE* you to constantly overheat, right? A TSM-equipped ´Mech can stay cool and duke it out at range, especially since TSM doesn´t weight anything and thus (except in crit-space-strapped designs) does not cut down on how many weapons you can mount - and if or when the time comes to get up close and physical, it can overheat and start dishing out double damage melee attacks.

I´d mount TSM in a long-range support ´Mech, for example. Getting inside the LRM minimum range of that Archer doesn´t sound like nearly such a good idea any more if it can close the rest of the distance to you and kick you for 28 points of damage.

Which as I said above, will cost you BV, which means the enemy is packing more guns/armor/mobility than you if you do not actually USE the TSM.

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Cryhavok101

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #8 on: 26 June 2017, 01:01:32 »
Just the equipment costs eight times what a normal 'Mech musculature would cost. Add to that the cost of refitting an entire musculature, and it could be not worthwhile to refit existing 'Mechs. With long established supply lines for regular musculature they would need to build up those routes in order to supply units with the new stuff (this is the same problem most new tech has). It's gonna compete with other new technology in getting those supply routes, and I'd be willing to bet the other new tech of the time was a lot more worthwhile on the battlefield. If you had to chose between a supply line for ER PPCs or TSM, I know which I would pick.

The new stuff is a lot bulkier and coming in at the same time as ferrofiber and endosteel. One new designs they have to chose what is gonna fill up the space and gaining extra tonnage for more weapons and equipment is going to be better for performance in general. New designs that could incorporate it because they aren't using all that space are often designed that way because they are cheap... very cheap. Sure you could put it on a stinger or a wasp, but paying eight times the price for the musculature on a mech designed to be cheap seems counter intuitive.

That being said, it still would have been a valuable addition to any force, and the really likely reason it didn't become more widespread is probably poor marketing in universe.

"Hey we have this thing that makes people punch really hard and run a bit faster!" "We want to be able to shoot better not punch harder, so meh."

VS

"Hey we have this thing that can make a Hunchback run at 86 kph, and any it'll boost any other 'Mech too! It also lets you destroy heads with one punch!" "Put it on everything you can!"

ajcbm

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #9 on: 26 June 2017, 08:09:32 »
TSM is a niche weapon. A light mech would not have the weapons to activate it while heavier mechs won't have the speed. Basically, it is best used in narrow terrain by mechs designed for close combat.

A very niche weapon.

Cryhavok101

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #10 on: 26 June 2017, 08:51:07 »
Every 'Mech has the ability to activate it. You can turn your heat sinks on and off, or as many as you want on or off. Movement produces heat, so you can build up 9 heat just walking to the battlefield. It's not unreasonable to have most 'Mechs starting the battle with it activated already, assuming the 'Mech walked to the battlefield. If It dropped to the field from a transport bay, or was brought there from some other method like waiting to come out of the gate in a solaris arena, then it probably wouldn't, but in most cases I don't think it would be unreasonable to have them activated already.

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #11 on: 26 June 2017, 09:12:20 »
And now I'm thinking of Mechs warming up before a battle like athletes on the sidelines - stretches, jogging on the spot - to bring the heat up for the TSM ...

(Or, for the petrolheads, like cars spinning their tyres before the quarter-mile.)
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Col Toda

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #12 on: 26 June 2017, 11:43:31 »
For me it is all about time management . A lance of TSM mechs takes as long to use as a company of combat vehicles or cold running mechs . Throw in Plasma Rifles , incendiary LRMs or infernos SRMs it is more like 2 companies . Add to that your 9 heat mech loses it's extra speed at 10 heat and you can get up to 18 heat from external sources 27 on the heat scale gets ugly. I prefer to be able to quickly move and fire weapons of 2 companies of mechs and combat vehicles by myself or minimum help .TSM even if the enemy does not come with heat producing ammo you still eating an accuracy issue and if you are stuck with regular pilots the performance becomes truly lacking. Stll the biggest issue is Time to use a TSM unit VS just about anything else.

Arkansas Warrior

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #13 on: 26 June 2017, 14:02:06 »
Which as I said above, will cost you BV, which means the enemy is packing more guns/armor/mobility than you if you do not actually USE the TSM.
How often does an Archer use its MLs or battlefists?  How often does an Atlas use its rear-mounted lasers?  Plenty of mechs carry things that are only used in contingency situations.  The fact that a mech isn't necessarily designed around getting the most out of TSM doesn't mean it isn't plenty useful.
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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #14 on: 26 June 2017, 14:27:51 »
How often does an Archer use its MLs or battlefists?

Well, I like Steiner Archers, so I use those a lot....
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Skyth

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #15 on: 26 June 2017, 16:10:35 »
Well, I like Steiner Archers, so I use those a lot....

Oh yeah.  I was always a fan of Gladiators, so them being long range fighters in Battletech never sat well with me ;)

garhkal

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #16 on: 26 June 2017, 16:32:39 »
For me it is all about time management . A lance of TSM mechs takes as long to use as a company of combat vehicles or cold running mechs . Throw in Plasma Rifles , incendiary LRMs or infernos SRMs it is more like 2 companies . Add to that your 9 heat mech loses it's extra speed at 10 heat and you can get up to 18 heat from external sources 27 on the heat scale gets ugly. I prefer to be able to quickly move and fire weapons of 2 companies of mechs and combat vehicles by myself or minimum help .TSM even if the enemy does not come with heat producing ammo you still eating an accuracy issue and if you are stuck with regular pilots the performance becomes truly lacking. Stll the biggest issue is Time to use a TSM unit VS just about anything else.

But how often, realistically do you play in games where plasmas, infermos and flamers are around?

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #17 on: 26 June 2017, 16:42:49 »
But how often, realistically do you play in games where plasmas, infermos and flamers are around?

Almost every battle I'm in. Those are my favorite weapons. Will I fire infernos or regular SRMs? How many will hit? There's no way to calculate that out accurately to ride the 9 heat curve.
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Cryhavok101

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #18 on: 26 June 2017, 17:31:08 »
While we are on the topic of TSM:

Something I have noticed, my TW PDF says that TSM adds 2 mp to the walking speed and you recalculate the running from there. A lot of design programs I have seen seem to notate TSM on the sheet by, in parenthesis, adding the TSM'd speed next to the normal speed, but only seem to be adding 1 tot he walking speed. Was there errata I don't know about, is my PDF right or is the program using the old version of TSM?

If necessary I'll take it to the rules forum, unless you guys already know the answer.

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #19 on: 26 June 2017, 17:45:47 »
While we are on the topic of TSM:

Something I have noticed, my TW PDF says that TSM adds 2 mp to the walking speed and you recalculate the running from there. A lot of design programs I have seen seem to notate TSM on the sheet by, in parenthesis, adding the TSM'd speed next to the normal speed, but only seem to be adding 1 tot he walking speed. Was there errata I don't know about, is my PDF right or is the program using the old version of TSM?

If necessary I'll take it to the rules forum, unless you guys already know the answer.

It adds +2 MP, but at 9 heat you are at a -1 MP, so you end up at a net +1 MP.
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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #20 on: 26 June 2017, 17:47:24 »
TSM hasn't changed.

The wording to it has.

It used to read "+1 to MP & ignore the -1 for being at +5 Heat"

Now it reads "+2 to MP & DON'T ignore the -1 for being at +5 Heat"

I think the reason they reworded it is people were ignoring the -1 at +5 when they were in the 5-8 Heat range & that wasn't the intent. 

You get ZERO benefits for being at 0-8 Heat but some were trying to get a partial benefit at 5-8 by ignoring that first -1 before they hit 9 Heat.

TSM has never allowed you to actually function at a +2 MP factor the best you could get was +1 over the starting speed.   

So the example of a 97 KPH  (9 MP) Hunchback above is actually incorrect. 
Standard 4/6 Hunchback could only be boosted to 5/8 & 8 MP is typically listed as 86 KPH.


Edit - Mattlov beat me to it
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #22 on: 26 June 2017, 17:54:25 »
...
But, TSM didn't fundamentally alter the game like DHS did and I'm not sure why. So I was wondering what others thought about it. Why is this 0ton, 6 crit, widely available piece of kit, not a standard fit?

Challenger

DHS broke one of the fundamental dimensions of the original game balance.  Few things have the impact of DHSs since few things changed the game to the degree DHSs did.

But with regards to why aren't TSMs used more often, even though they are not as game changing as DHSs:  That seems to me to be two very different questions.  Why: in-universe and Why:Real-World.

In Universe: it's a much simpler refit/redesign to swap out heatsinks for magically better heatsinks, even with the latter's increased appetite for critical slots.  Changing out the entire musculature is a bigger refit/redesign even before factoring in the lesser benefit gained for TSMs over standard myomers compared to DHSs over HSs.

Real World: DHSs are the easymode button for BattleTech.  If people didn't like easymode more than tactical challenges, there'd be no seeking out cheatcodes in computer games.  And that's not meant to be elitist "my way of playing is better than yours" utterance, btw.  TSM is under the best of circumstances a challenging system to wrest value from in a theorycrafted scenario, and much less so in a competitive game.  The challenge threshold is just probably too high (especially in comparison to most other systems in the game) for TSM to shine.*

*=In CBT/Boardgame BattleTech, that is.  In Alpha Strike TSM is another beast entirely.  At that granularity of heat management, you can basically just decide when TSM on or off and get its benefit with basically no more difficulty in getting the benefit from the ability to perform an Indirect Fire attack with LRMs.  I'd imagine people who wouldn't enjoy the micromanagment required for TSM in a CBT/Boardgame BattleTech scenario would still be quite willing to use a TSM mech in a game of Alpha Strike.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2017, 17:56:43 by Tai Dai Cultist »

Col Toda

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #23 on: 27 June 2017, 03:11:42 »
How common a heat producing weapon is , depends on ERA . Inferno SRMs and flamers are by far the most common . Flamer do not count as if you are close enough to use it the TSM unit is likely close enough to kick but the other weapons are stand off enough. Any Pegasus Scout is likely loaded up with them to slow the target down so it can hit it with a TAG system. Battle Armor is also frequently loaded with them . The Plasma Rifle is fielded in later ERA's mostly to kill combat vehicles because combined arms becomes so common . In any Campaign game if the opposition force has intelligence assets they could be loaded up with heat weapons for an objective raid. Check out the Tsang a 6/9/6 heavy mech with an Axe . Speed and Stealth Armor are the best means of melee attack . I believe that you did get the answer on why it is not installed in every mech , most player just value different priorities and that is why TSM will remain uncommon , if not rare . Because it is rare any unit that fields a lot of it will stand out and become well known as having enmass and so attackers will arm accordingly.

StoneRhino

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #24 on: 13 July 2017, 07:08:07 »
For me its just one of those things that are more trouble then they are worth.

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #25 on: 14 July 2017, 14:26:03 »
Few of the 'Mechs that mount it use it well.

For a good example on how to use it well, look no further than the Thunderbolt-60-RLA. Multiple options to manage the heat results in a 6/9 mover with two chances a turn to punch your head right off.
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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #26 on: 14 July 2017, 20:40:23 »
I used to enjoy using the Ti Tsang. That thing was evil.
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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #27 on: 17 July 2017, 13:59:38 »
And now I'm thinking of Mechs warming up before a battle like athletes on the sidelines - stretches, jogging on the spot - to bring the heat up for the TSM ...

Mine do Jumping Jacks...

 ;)

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Re: TSM - Why isn't it more common?
« Reply #28 on: 17 July 2017, 22:00:59 »
I used to enjoy using the Ti Tsang. That thing was evil.

Its lovely. And for a more "Kong-like" experience try the TDR-60-RLA.
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