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Author Topic: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)  (Read 315 times)

idea weenie

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Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« on: 05 October 2022, 06:35:48 »
The key problems with Inner Sphere Endo-Steel and Ferro-fibrous armor is that each one needs takes up 14 crit slots internally.  So I wondered, why not just make the Mech bigger, so the extra space was available?

Result: a Bulky Mech.
Bulky Mechs are made when a non-crittable critical slot item is declared to be on the outside of the Mech, rather than the inside.  The advantage is that you are freeing up room to work with, the problem is that your Mech is going to be bigger.  Obvious examples of this are Endo-Steel and Ferro-fibrous armor.  XL engines do not qualify as their crit slots are crittable (and I don't think you want to risk crit hits by putting the reactor on the outside of the armor)

Rules:
Any technology that takes up crit slots but those slots are not valid critical hit locations can be declared to be external.  This can be anywhere from 1 critical slot to the entire technology's crit slots.

The disadvantage:
Each tech placed on the 'outside' like this makes the mounting unit 1 pt easier to hit on a to-hit roll.  Even if it is only 1 crit slot placed on the outside, anyone shooting at the unit will get the 1 pt bonus to hit you.


So a designer wants to put Inner Sphere Endo-Steel and Inner Sphere Ferro-fibrous armor on a Mech, but there are only 27 slots available.  They decide to put the Endo-Steel on the interior taking up 4 slots, and leaving 13.  There is not enough to put all of the Ferro-fibrous armor critical slots on the interior, so 1 remaining slot is listed as being on the exterior.  This allows both techs to be taken, however anyone shooting at that Mech gets a +1 to hit.


(It didn't seem to make sense about Mechs not being able to fit stuff inside their armor, but I wanted there to be an obvious disadvantage.  This would be a useful modification for civilian Mechs as they can get more stuff mounted, but if these Mechs get into combat they will get hit more often.)

Syzyx

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Re: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« Reply #1 on: 05 October 2022, 08:09:50 »
I have toyed with an idea similar to this myself, but ran into issues with assault 'mechs in general. The big bruisers don't often care about their defensive modifier to begin with and the extra space means they get to mount a potentially silly amount of weapons/heat sinks.

When we tested it out our final iteration looked something like this before we scrapped the idea:

For each 4 crits 'externally mounted' the unit offers opposing units a -1 bonus to-hit
For each 3 crits 'externally mounted' the unit suffers a +1 penalty on piloting rolls
At least half of crits for structural items (endo steel, XL engines, FF, etc.) must be mounted internally
Any item mounted externally will suffer a critical hit on 8+ when that section is struck by enemy attacks (in our rules we allowed crittable items to be mounted externally)

While this did prompt some players to spend on increasing pilot skill it still didn't overcome the masses of ER PPCs that could then cram in their needed heat sinks on 100 ton monsters.
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BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« Reply #2 on: 05 October 2022, 10:38:49 »
I like this.  It's like a half-way point between regular 'mechs and superheavy battlemechs as far as crit assignment is concerned.
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VanVelding

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Re: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« Reply #3 on: 05 October 2022, 14:24:25 »
I like Syzyx's ideas. Making a graduated set of penalties adds a general cost instead of making all-or-nothing pockets for advanced technologies.

Personally, I'd dedicate X slots as superheavy slots, add a tonnage surcharge, and slap to-hit penalty on it with those additional crits.

Making superheavy slots means you don't need to designate internal/external and you get to use an existing system.

The tonnage surcharge would allow a graduated penalty for the number of slots instead of a flat -1 to-hit against the unit. Either a flat rate for the equipment, 0.5 tons for every 2 slots (or fraction of 2). Or a 10% bump in the 'mech's structure weight for every 2 slots (round up to the nearest half-ton) . That's 60% to turn one side torso into superheavy slots (reduced back to 30% with ES). For a Locust, that's +1.5 tons for 12 slots and for an Atlas, that's 6.0 tons for the same. Both get reduced by ES normally.

For an in-game effect, I like the idea of a defense penalty, but that -1 to-hit is broad. What about: For every N slots (or fraction of N slots) on the 'mech, 1 point of to-hit penalties for Terrain or Movement are ignored. If you're going to stand in plain cover, there's no penalty, really. But you're going to stick out of/above terrain and be a big blob no matter how fast you move. Granted, after 3N or 4N slots, there's really no penalty for assaults taking more. Maybe if we threw in Range penalties as well?
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idea weenie

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Re: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« Reply #4 on: 05 October 2022, 19:54:53 »
I have toyed with an idea similar to this myself, but ran into issues with assault 'mechs in general. The big bruisers don't often care about their defensive modifier to begin with and the extra space means they get to mount a potentially silly amount of weapons/heat sinks.

When we tested it out our final iteration looked something like this before we scrapped the idea:

For each 4 crits 'externally mounted' the unit offers opposing units a -1 bonus to-hit
For each 3 crits 'externally mounted' the unit suffers a +1 penalty on piloting rolls
At least half of crits for structural items (endo steel, XL engines, FF, etc.) must be mounted internally
Any item mounted externally will suffer a critical hit on 8+ when that section is struck by enemy attacks (in our rules we allowed crittable items to be mounted externally)

While this did prompt some players to spend on increasing pilot skill it still didn't overcome the masses of ER PPCs that could then cram in their needed heat sinks on 100 ton monsters.

This graduated setup does make more sense, but I was worried it could make Mechs too vulnerable.  For example if the Ferro-Fibrous' 14 crits was mounted on the outside, that would be giving that Mech a +4 to be hit (14/4, FRU).  So if it was at long range, the enemy would be engaging that Mech as if it was at short range.

Clan Ferro-fibrous becomes that much more effective, as it only gets a +2 to be hit, and even that is less likely since all the other Clan stuff is smaller.

Good testing data on it, and your players found a key problem with it too.

I like Syzyx's ideas. Making a graduated set of penalties adds a general cost instead of making all-or-nothing pockets for advanced technologies.

Personally, I'd dedicate X slots as superheavy slots, add a tonnage surcharge, and slap to-hit penalty on it with those additional crits.

Making superheavy slots means you don't need to designate internal/external and you get to use an existing system.

The tonnage surcharge would allow a graduated penalty for the number of slots instead of a flat -1 to-hit against the unit. Either a flat rate for the equipment, 0.5 tons for every 2 slots (or fraction of 2). Or a 10% bump in the 'mech's structure weight for every 2 slots (round up to the nearest half-ton) . That's 60% to turn one side torso into superheavy slots (reduced back to 30% with ES). For a Locust, that's +1.5 tons for 12 slots and for an Atlas, that's 6.0 tons for the same. Both get reduced by ES normally.

For an in-game effect, I like the idea of a defense penalty, but that -1 to-hit is broad. What about: For every N slots (or fraction of N slots) on the 'mech, 1 point of to-hit penalties for Terrain or Movement are ignored. If you're going to stand in plain cover, there's no penalty, really. But you're going to stick out of/above terrain and be a big blob no matter how fast you move. Granted, after 3N or 4N slots, there's really no penalty for assaults taking more. Maybe if we threw in Range penalties as well?

Those more specific points would work and for a more advanced game could be fun, but for starter players you just have to tell them "your Mech is Bulky, enemy fire gets a 1-pt bonus to hit you"

Good ideas though, maybe others will get to play with them for fun?

RifleMech

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Re: Bulky Mechs (aka putting internal stuff on the outside)
« Reply #5 on: 13 October 2022, 12:52:17 »
We tried something like this when trying to recreated the unseen Shadow Hawk's backpack. We had 1 crit for connections and as many items could be mounted externally as space for that location allowed. Any hit to that location would result in the destruction of the item, unless it was armored. When it came to the Center Torso items could be confined to it, or it could be treated like a turret with all the items being located in a side torso. We didn't get far in testing it though.

Another thing I thought about was to stretch the mech. Make it oversized and treat the internals the same way superheavy mechs do. The first drawback is that the IS is treated like Composite and suffers twice the damage it normally would. The second is that armor is no longer has a BAR 10 rating. This would apply to all IS and Armor types. We haven't gotten to test it either.