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Author Topic: Laser Arrays  (Read 2259 times)

Daryk

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Laser Arrays
« on: 10 October 2016, 16:48:18 »
Looking back at some of my (really) old notes, and seeing how Machine Gun Arrays were implemented, I came up with the below for lasers.  I see this as a parallel research effort to the Blazer Cannon, and one that lost to it due to even worse heat issues, not to mention complexity.

Unlike Machine Gun Arrays, Laser Array equipment is required to link each individual weapon.  For an array of two, one array link is required.  For an array of three, three, and an array of four requires six links.  Further, all the weapons and links have to be placed in the same location (this is one of the factors limiting arrays to four).  Like Machine Gun Arrays, Laser Arrays can be fired together, and roll on the appropriate cluster hit table (2, 3, or 4), with all hits being resolved separately against the same location.  Finally, the necessary proximity of the lasers and link equipment results in extreme heat.  This is modeled by assigning a heat value to each link.  Laser Arrays can be reconfigured in the End Phase of any turn to drop weapons (and their associated links) out of the array, or simply fire them independently (dropping only the links).  Damage to links or weapons requires an array reconfiguration in the End Phase, but the remaining parts of the array continue to function once reconfigured.

Statistics:
Small Laser Array: 0.5 ton, 1 critical, 1 heat per link
Medium Laser Array: 1 ton, 1 critical, 2 heat per link
Large Laser Array: 2 tons, 2 criticals, 3 heat per link (thus only three Large Lasers can be linked on a 'mech)

Configurations:
Configurations of 2 would have been prototyped around 2812 (the year the Blazer Cannon beat this design in competition)
2 Small Lasers: 1.5 tons; 3 criticals; 3 heat; 3 or 6 damage (3 aero)
2 Medium Lasers: 3 tons; 3 criticals; 7 heat; 5 or 10 damage (5 aero)
2 Large Lasers: 12 tons; 6 criticals; 19 heat; 8 or 16 damage (8 aero)

Configurations of 3 would have been prototyped around 2820
3 Small Lasers: 3 tons; 6 criticals; 6 heat; 3, 6, or 9 damage (6 aero, only 3 threshold)
3 Medium Lasers: 6 tons; 6 criticals; 15 heat; 5, 10, or 15 damage (10 aero, only 5 threshold)
3 Large Lasers: 21 tons; 12 criticals; 30 heat; 8, 16, or 24 damage (16 aero, only 8 threshold)

Configurations of 4 would have been prototyped around 2830
4 Small Lasers: 5 tons; 10 criticals; 10 heat; 3, 6, 9, or 12 damage (6 aero, only 3 threshold)
4 Medium Lasers: 10 tons; 10 criticals; 24 heat; 5, 10, 15, or 20 damage (10 aero, only 5 threshold)
4 Large Lasers (Large Aerospace Craft/Vehicles/Test Stands only): 32 tons; 20 spaces; 50 heat; 8, 16, 24, or 32 damage (16 aero, only 8 threshold)

I am Belch II

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #1 on: 11 October 2016, 22:41:10 »
That would be really scary on a Nova or a Supernova mech.
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cray

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #2 on: 12 October 2016, 18:19:37 »
Statistically, is it ever better to use the array over independent lasers?
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

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Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Daryk

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #3 on: 12 October 2016, 18:55:22 »
Hence why the Blazer won... :D

Slightly more seriously, if you get lucky and roll high on the cluster hit table, you only have to get lucky once on the hit location.  Enough luck can turn a five or six ton investment (less heat sinks of course) into a head cap.  It's an edge case, and completely fails for aerospace since it doesn't increase the ability to threshold.

The_Caveman

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #4 on: 13 October 2016, 15:38:28 »
It's an interesting idea. I think the rules for it are overly punitive, though, especially given the time period when it was developed. It reads more like something that would have been developed a century later based on its flaws.
I get that you want it to be a "dead end" research project, but frankly having it crop up during the early Succession Wars is enough to take care of that. There are all kinds of reasons why it could have failed to reach production that don't require MWO-style ghost heat. Shortages of specialized components, critical personnel getting assassinated, or even the overextended wartime budget being directed elsewhere. For that matter, the sudden lack of double heat sink availability would make a project like this seem pointless.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

Daryk

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #5 on: 13 October 2016, 19:16:37 »
Overly punitive?  So how would you dial back on that?

worktroll

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #6 on: 13 October 2016, 19:35:26 »
Okay, 6 ton headcapper on something most 3025 mediums could handle? I don't think it's overly punative.

Imagine re-arranging a Quickdraw - move an arm laser in to the right torso & tie in arrays. Jumping 15-pointer. The heat load isn't unsupportable, particularly in a jumper. Heck, drop the LRM-10 for more heatsinks, and the Grasshopper will be green with envy. Talking of which ...

A Phoenix Hawk rejigged would also be less than friendly :)
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Daryk

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #7 on: 13 October 2016, 20:04:25 »
"Just crazy enough to work" was exactly what I was shooting for.  Thanks WorkTroll! O0

The_Caveman

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #8 on: 14 October 2016, 00:04:21 »
Okay, 6 ton headcapper on something most 3025 mediums could handle? I don't think it's overly punative.

If you hit the head. If you make good on your cluster roll. And with the craptastic range of a medium laser combined with "you're not firing anything else this turn" levels of heat. I know one shot head-caps make everyone's panties moist, but they don't actually happen that often--if they do, someone at your table is cheating.

I think it should either have the excess heat or the excess tonnage and critspace, but not both.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

Daryk

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #9 on: 17 October 2016, 16:31:33 »
Now that I'm back to my regular computer...

I think if either one of those penalties were dropped, it would make the technology actually viable, which is exactly the opposite of what I was shooting for.  Are you saying that without those penalties the technology still wouldn't be worth installing?

worktroll

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Re: Laser Arrays
« Reply #10 on: 17 October 2016, 16:55:53 »
The possibility of one-shot headcaps is far more powerful a weapon than the actuality. Remember the 'bubble-o-doom' around the Hunchback in 3025 play? People had to learn new tactics to handle them.

The trick about these arrays is that they're enormously lighter, and can viably be put on fast-movers in the way an AC-20 can't. So suddenly you have a much larger possible bubble-o-potential-doom. Either way, it's going to force the opponent to react. The fact that it's not a guaranteed insta-kill shot is what makes it attractive and, to my mind, balanced along with the other rules.

Certainly something I'd play initially as a bad guy's secret weapon in a 3025-era campaign, and have the players trying to capture an example.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

 

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