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Author Topic: Vehicles and Morale?  (Read 389 times)

Daemion

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Vehicles and Morale?
« on: 29 April 2022, 10:56:32 »
I've been running a lot of vehicles, lately, as a GM for linked-game campaigns. (No real connection to the RPG.  The only real stat improvements are SPAs and Gunnery and Piloting.)

I've been trying to keep to what's supposed to be very common tanks, like Harassers, Missile Platforms, and Demolishers. Done some Vedette patrols on occasion, too.

There have been many times where I had to effectively Roleplay forces that take too much damage and have to decide between holding the line or backing out.  An example would be a company comprised of 8 LRM carriers, 2 SRM carriers and 2 Demolishers behind some prepared walls.  These walls blocked line of sight down a 5-hex wide train tunnel that the Mech-mounted heroes were investigating as a side quest in the larger invasion. 

The plan: pop out a spotter in the form of a heavily armored demolisher and hammer them with LRM spam via indirect fire.

Everything could have gone well, were it not for the fact that the Named Hero and one of his companions had ER PPCs, (A Zeus variant and a MAD II variant) outranging the LRMs pretty drastically. And, once they popped the first wall, it became clear that I either had to move into range, or bail on the plan entirely.

I opted for maneuvering, at first.  But, once one demolisher got plaster by a key objective Stalker, along with some ER ranged fire popping a carrier or two, I personally felt the rest of the company decided it wouldn't be worth sticking around.  Side note, the hero team was a group of Marians with a couple oversight units.  5 were on the board, including the two oversight units.  Knowing that the Marians had reinforcements close-to-hand helped me make that decision.

These weren't units that could be found in a Field Manual, so I didn't have some hard and fast stats for the defenders.  They were 'local', as far as I was concerned.  They generally wouldn't stick around in a protracted fight, or risk staining the inside of their metal coffin if they could avoid it.

Knowing that not everyone plays narratively, or uses a GM to aid in playing narratively, it got me wondering if there is a simple, easy way of applying morale to combat vehicles, and not just infantry.

Forced Withdrawal only effects the status of the individual combat unit (Mech/Tank/Squad/Platoon), and many vehicles are thin-skinned enough that they won't survive to the point that extensive damage will trigger a withdrawal.  So, what I'm thinking of would apply to formations, like Vehicle Platoons and Companies.

Some ideas are bouncing around in my head.

However I'm curious if anyone else has tackled this, and what they came up with.

So, thanks, anyone for sharing. 
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

AlphaMirage

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Re: Vehicles and Morale?
« Reply #1 on: 29 April 2022, 12:55:00 »
I typically run thicker skinned custom vehicles but it basically comes down to the cost, if they are protecting a settlement from Marian slavers or let invaders damage their water purification or other critical infrastructure then they will die in tank rather than let that happen. The problem is that most vehicles cannot outrun a pursuing mech so they have no choice but to stand and fight or shutdown or bail out and abandon the vehicle if it gets immobilized. You can also RP this, basically one of your MechWarriors gives them the option and you roll a d6 adding 1 for each big hit dealt since the fight began.

Vehicles don't have enough critical structure to withstand the kind of withering punishment a Battlemech can produce without friends or preparation. That said I typically do bounding (or rebounding) over-watch while using smoke and cover to conceal my vehicles (use that Level 1 to max effect) and break LOS from whatever the biggest threat is. Additionally if you can hit a mech with Infernos and slow it with terrain in order to pull it back in order to line up a shot that would be my preferred tactic.

DevianID

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Re: Vehicles and Morale?
« Reply #2 on: 30 April 2022, 23:57:33 »
I have the "idea" of morale come up a lot in my campaign game, and I usually dont give in to anything on the table in the moment.  For example, the mission is to destroy 50% of the enemy, and forced withdrawal is in effect.  When 50% damage is done, if the night is running long we call it a victory.  But if the players are struggling to reach 50% without losing units and try and force an early surrender to keep their mech alive, I dont allow that--45% destroyed isn't 50% destroyed, and you need to play the next turn (which means I'll probably kill a mech) even though its clear the players are going to kill 5% more.

I always default to forced withdrawal, especially for vehicles, but when I turn forced withdrawal off I make sure everyone knows it's turret tech time and the pirates/fanatics are going to have to be killed before they stop shooting no if ands or buts.

As for your situation, I dont allow unilateral 1 sided fights (they are boring).  So if the tanks are behind a wall (and the forces are fair) the set up will have a reason the players can't spend 25 turns at 23 hexes to 'cheat' the fight.  My default is 10 turn games, or games with the LOS rule, and no rolling mapsheets you can bypass the game with.  Thus, in the tunnel situation, the players have 10 turns to get through the tunnel, OR I have extreme/LOS range turned on so the LRMs are still a problem at 22+ hexes--both ways keep my players challenged throughout the game.

Daemion

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Re: Vehicles and Morale?
« Reply #3 on: 02 May 2022, 08:58:38 »
As for your situation, I dont allow unilateral 1 sided fights (they are boring).  So if the tanks are behind a wall (and the forces are fair) the set up will have a reason the players can't spend 25 turns at 23 hexes to 'cheat' the fight.  My default is 10 turn games, or games with the LOS rule, and no rolling mapsheets you can bypass the game with.  Thus, in the tunnel situation, the players have 10 turns to get through the tunnel, OR I have extreme/LOS range turned on so the LRMs are still a problem at 22+ hexes--both ways keep my players challenged throughout the game.

Actually, that game didn't last more than 6 turns. And, the hero group had undergone a handful of gauntlet games being hit by groups of harassers, so they had some existing damage already.  The tunnel was over 5 kilometers long from bend to bend.  Just so you have a better picture of what went down.  Each entrance point was two maps (1 km) from entrance/exit to the bend that connected to the 5 km stretch I mentioned.  Three of his reinforcements had been cycled to the rear (off map) during the gauntlet progression. 

But, this isn't the only situation where mechs had to face vehicles in large numbers, and slaughter them wholesale.  We've played many a mission derived from MechWarrior 4: Black Knight.  Many of those are very vehicle intensive if you port forces directly. xp

And after any game with platoons or companies of vehicles, including air support, I'm still left wondering at what point the numbers don't help the mental fortitude of the force losing so many compatriots in job lots.  When I'm in charge, I don't run forced withdrawal. (f)  But, I can roleplay the OpFor as the GM.  It's when I'm not in charge that I'm wondering if there shouldn't be something my group can use for a guideline, besides voicing my own opinion.

(f) = Forced Withdrawal has its own problems.  In many cases, I'm inclined to leave a hero team's disposition up to the person(s) running it.  But, we do have a guy that isn't so good at that, willing to throw unit after unit at the enemy with no inclination for retreat. And, he gets to be in charge of some of our games every once in a while.  In fact, he's the one that runs the MW4:Black Knight games. 


Thanks for your suggestions.  Keep 'em coming.

It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

 

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