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Author Topic: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?  (Read 2582 times)

Adastra

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Pretty much the thread title. I could understand weapons like lasers or PPCs to have trouble dealing with infantry, but why weapons like missiles and autocannons?

At least from the descriptions of ACs with defined calibers/burst sizes, those weapons should be absolute terrors. The General Motors Whirlwind on the Marauder supposedly "fires 120mm shells in three round bursts", yet from my understanding of the infantry damage rules, it'll only kill one soldier on a successful hit (assuming the target is in cover). That seems extremely low. To me it feels like multiple 120mm HEAP rounds should be trashing cover and shredding infantry. Against infantry out in the open there should be very little left. It doesn't seem like AC 2s can even hurt infantry in cover!

Missiles seem similarly gimped. An LRM-5 can only kill one trooper on a hit? That seems a little ridiculous. Even with the itty-bitty missiles that can be assumed from the ammo-per-ton (SRMs can weigh at most 10 kg, assuming metric tons, and most likely weigh a lot less given the need for feed systems and containers), they should still be quite deadly, being explicitly explosive-based warheads. Given that a 40mm grenade can kill most of the people in a room (considered to have a kill-radius of 5 meters), I find it hard to believe that a significantly larger missile wouldn't be able to do better. Even if they're say, HEAT warheads, which typically have less explosive than if you just packed the whole warhead, the blast effect should still be notable.

Am I missing something? I wouldn't be surprised if I was misreading the rules, so clarification would be welcome.
« Last Edit: 14 November 2020, 05:50:33 by Adastra »

Syzyx

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #1 on: 14 November 2020, 10:04:15 »
This was part of the drive to make combined arms more attractive to a certain segment of the player base. I am not saying whether that was the right nor wrong choice, just what the motivation was. This set of changes made the lowly machine gun a great choice for anti-infantry work, sorta, instead of 'every weapon in the game'.

By logic (swings machete at crowd of cat girls) you are quite correct. AC's, LRMs, and SRMs should be wiping out infantry with gleeful abandon. Lasers are a bit of a question and there are good arguments on both sides of that. PPCs, in my opinion, should also do more than eliminate two guys but that's merely my opinion.

The counter argument to logic is THIS IS BATTLETECH! (kicks catgirl corpses into well, Spartan style)
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Paul

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #2 on: 14 November 2020, 10:12:37 »
Because those weapons concentrate their shells/missiles in a small area, unless you use the anti-infantry frag/flechette ammo, which does a ton of damage.

Charistoph

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #3 on: 14 November 2020, 12:09:32 »
In order for a missile or autocannon shell to be effective against infantry, the explosive must be triggered.  Ground could do detonate the round, but a PBI is not likely to.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #4 on: 14 November 2020, 12:20:48 »
I can generally accept the logic but I’m still annoyed I have to remember / look up another table for a unit type already festooned with such things

idea weenie

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #5 on: 14 November 2020, 17:04:34 »
Missiles could be primarily shaped-charge style, trying to focus the damage forward instead of equally in all directions.

Infantry won't be happy if a bunch of shaped charges land near them, but at least they are alive

glitterboy2098

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #6 on: 14 November 2020, 17:20:23 »
it is also worth remembering that each hex is 30 meters (98.4 ft) across, which is a huge area for 21-28 men to spread out over.

Simon Landmine

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #7 on: 14 November 2020, 18:54:48 »
Missiles could be primarily shaped-charge style, trying to focus the damage forward instead of equally in all directions.

Infantry won't be happy if a bunch of shaped charges land near them, but at least they are alive.

That's what I'd assumed - ACs and missile systems have been optimised for attacking BattleMech armour, with shaped charges or HESH warheads and the like as standard. To take on infantry, you need to start loading alternate ammo types.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #8 on: 14 November 2020, 19:56:04 »
it is also worth remembering that each hex is 30 meters (98.4 ft) across, which is a huge area for 21-28 men to spread out over.
This is the biggest thing. Each hex is over 2300 square meters.  That’s more than a 9m by 9m square per man (more for a jump platoon).
« Last Edit: 14 November 2020, 23:53:44 by Arkansas Warrior »
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Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #9 on: 14 November 2020, 23:06:55 »
In order for a missile or autocannon shell to be effective against infantry, the explosive must be triggered.  Ground could do detonate the round, but a PBI is not likely to.
If an AC shell or missile hit you directly, you are most likely dead, or at least severely injured. For AC shells the round isn't even going to stop, it'll just blow you apart and hit whatever's behind you, then explode. The SOP for ACs and missiles wouldn't be to go for direct hits in the first place, it would be to aim for whatever cover they're hiding behind. See gunfire coming from a window? Fire a shell into it or into the wall next to it.

Missiles could be primarily shaped-charge style, trying to focus the damage forward instead of equally in all directions.

Infantry won't be happy if a bunch of shaped charges land near them, but at least they are alive

Shaped charges don't really focus the explosion, it uses the explosion to create what is essentially a jet of metal (not through heat, but pressure) to punch through armor. The actual explosion more or less behaves like a normal explosion. HEAT rounds are generally less effective than if you just packed the whole warhead with HE, but that's because there's quite a bit of empty space inside the shell to allow for it to do what it's supposed to.

Panzerfausts and Bazookas were well understood as very effective at killing infantry in buildings, because despite firing HEAT rounds, they still produced a substantial explosive effect.

This is the biggest thing. Each hex is over 2300 square meters.  That%u2019s mores than a 9m by 9m square per man (more for a jump platoon).

This makes a lot more sense. However, even assuming the platoon is evenly spread throughout the terrain, large explosives, much less multiple projectiles, as fired by ACs should be able to handle those kinds of distances. I see no reason why a mechwarrior wouldn't be able to "single-fire" their AC or missile-launcher in order to hit multiple hiding spots.
« Last Edit: 14 November 2020, 23:13:51 by Adastra »

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #10 on: 15 November 2020, 03:06:21 »
I think OP had a point. A big round, such as 120mm smoothbore gun, can only kills a person even if it actually hits that person unless it loads a explosive ammunition. But you know, that is only the RIFLE in battletech universe which is far outdated. Also, these guns are able to arm the explosive rounds.

In 31th century, no one use such one big round - at least one big armor piercing round; autocannons are shooting small caliber rounds in rapid succession, and modern missiles are small and have many shots rather than 20th's one big flying scythe of Death.

You know, while a bullet of 20mm rotary guns on our era only kills one person per a shot, it actually spouts a hail of bullets and it can erase a squad to platoon at a moment if they are fool enough to not got scattered already. Autocannon in Battletech universe is no different, I think. It shoots a bunch of smaller ammos rather than only rely one a big shot, thus it surely quite effective against the infantry. Missile is same as well - while only a missile have smaller radius, but still most of them have explosive warhead which is not a good news for the nearby infantries.

Still Lasers are not seems to be effective against the infantry, for it seems only aim for one big shot, save for pulse laser groups. But for the others, the definition of these weaponry means they must be quite effective against the infantry. It is just not so efficient for money wise.
« Last Edit: 15 November 2020, 03:08:48 by PuppyLikesLaserPointers »

Cannonshop

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #11 on: 15 November 2020, 03:34:19 »
it is also worth remembering that each hex is 30 meters (98.4 ft) across, which is a huge area for 21-28 men to spread out over.

only when they're standing in formation.  that square footage includes depth, but weapons fire is coming from one side and going deep.  (five feet by two feet might be ten square feet, but you're not going to fit a ten foot long I-beam into it.)  Take a machine gun (like, say, a minigun) and see if you can't sweep it to put one bullet per meter into a thirty meter long wall.  The area in front of that wall might be 100 meters long, which gives us (30x100=3000 M2) but that doesn't mean that you're going to miss most, or even some, of 28 men spread across that 30 meter frontage.  Your odds are better that you're going to hit some, or even most, of them (minus hard cover).

because the bullets don't care about the depth of the area-they only care about the x coordinate, not the Y.

same applies with shells that themselves have an area of effect.  Two shells each with a blast radius of, say, 7.5 meters, are going to be enough to cover (with fifteen meter diameters) roughly half that 30 meter by 30 meter area.

(hence why when facing grenades, which tend ot have a blast zone of 5 meters, ranger file marching has around 10 meters interval-because a hit on one guy is astronomically less likely to wound his buddy.)

In short, our 'huge amount of area' isn't, unless you're firing from directly above with a linear weapon and have to actually fire on each square meter of that zone.  (this also presumes no secondary effects from things being tossed in the air by the impacts/blast-which seems kind of unlikely unless you're using airbursts...)

the really important part, is to remember that Battletech is a game, and it is set in a fantasy universe.
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Charistoph

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #12 on: 15 November 2020, 13:35:37 »
If an AC shell or missile hit you directly, you are most likely dead, or at least severely injured. For AC shells the round isn't even going to stop, it'll just blow you apart and hit whatever's behind you, then explode. The SOP for ACs and missiles wouldn't be to go for direct hits in the first place, it would be to aim for whatever cover they're hiding behind. See gunfire coming from a window? Fire a shell into it or into the wall next to it.

Exactly.  If you hit the actual person, they're pink mist, but their body won't do much in triggering any explosive the round may have, and so it will probably travel past until it does hit something solie.  Hit the ground, a wall, or something more solid, and it will go off and probably hit others.

Which is probably why when you do a direct hit against infantry, it only hits one guy out of the platoon.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #13 on: 15 November 2020, 14:16:56 »
I like the reduced damage rules for Anti-Mech weapons, BUT, I feel they went too far.

I think a 5 point "round-up" rule would have been better for Single Shot weapons.

Things that were "Multi-shot" like AC, Missiles, & Pulse Lasers should have been 1/2 Damage or maybe do a bonus to the Divide by 5 rule.  Like +2 similar to Pulse now.

Stuff that is full on cluster like LBX should do the Cluster roll in damage.  So 6 average on an LB10.

Or perhaps to combine everything on the cluster table call it Divide/2 "Per Cluster" & Round Up.
With that an LRM rack would do 1-3 per cluster.
SRMs would be 1/missile
LBX would be 1/cluster which is raw damage.


The Marauder AC for example, which I thought was actually a 5-round burst in the GDL books, works as a good example multiple damage w/o being a full 5 points.   Saying it does 5/2 = 3 or  5/1 + 2 = 3 would give it some respectable killing of grunts still w/o being OP & making them immune to AT fire.

When I had to do range/target duty in the army when we did live fire you could see what kind of damage training rounds would do to the ground.
I'm talking about trenches that would be wide enough to jump across at the impact point & then narrow over the course of 6 feet of earth or more.

Having 5 of those stitch a line 15m across & deep is going to kill more than 1 trooper IMO, and its only going to get worse with other AC's I feel.
The ShadowHawk/Vedette used an 80mm gun with more rounds & the Wolverine's 60mm was, IIRC, fluffed as sounding like a MG going off it was firing so fast.
The AC20 on the Victor was 100mm with every "shot" being a 20 or 100 round burst, I forget.

Using the above options the AC20 would do 20/2 = 10  or  20/5 +2 = 6 damage which still isn't wiping out entire platoons.

Overall I like the concept, just feel they took it too far with it being 1/10th damage.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #14 on: 15 November 2020, 15:55:28 »
Infantry is still amazingly easy to deal with. People really need to examine flechette and frag ammo more.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #15 on: 15 November 2020, 16:12:38 »
Exactly.  If you hit the actual person, they're pink mist, but their body won't do much in triggering any explosive the round may have, and so it will probably travel past until it does hit something solie.  Hit the ground, a wall, or something more solid, and it will go off and probably hit others.

Which is probably why when you do a direct hit against infantry, it only hits one guy out of the platoon.
especially when you consider that standard AC rounds are more likely to be APFSDS darts than HEAT warheads. the described composition of standard battletech armor is such that things like shaped charges would be greatly reduced in effect, but kinetic penetrators would fair a little better.

thus each of those three projectiles can basically pulp any infantryman they hit.. but the only area of effect they'll have is to spray droplets of blood and gore around.
plus while the weapon fires 3 round bursts, you have to remember that these would be at an extremely high rate, give that a turn is only 10 seconds and most of that would be taken up by the aiming. think "BRRT" rather than "dakka-dakka-dakka", three shots fired so fast that they'd seem like one shot.
those three shells would at most slam into one guy.

this is why you need flechette ammo to use an AC vs infantry.. with flechette you repalce those single APFSDS projectiles with instead canisters filled with hundreds of inch long darts, which on leaving the barrel spread out to become a shotgun round from hell.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #16 on: 15 November 2020, 17:18:19 »
Infantry is still amazingly easy to deal with. People really need to examine flechette and frag ammo more.

Especially the errata'd version.  I think a few are still looking at the early Total Warfare stats, which go a little too far.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #17 on: 15 November 2020, 18:42:24 »
I think OP had a point. A big round, such as 120mm smoothbore gun, can only kills a person even if it actually hits that person unless it loads a explosive ammunition. But you know, that is only the RIFLE in battletech universe which is far outdated. Also, these guns are able to arm the explosive rounds.

In 31th century, no one use such one big round - at least one big armor piercing round; autocannons are shooting small caliber rounds in rapid succession, and modern missiles are small and have many shots rather than 20th's one big flying scythe of Death.

According to the fluff, the Marauder's AC/5 fires three-round-bursts of 120mm rounds (which is probably, admittedly, at the larger end of the AC/5 calibre range).
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Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #18 on: 15 November 2020, 23:03:52 »
especially when you consider that standard AC rounds are more likely to be APFSDS darts than HEAT warheads. the described composition of standard battletech armor is such that things like shaped charges would be greatly reduced in effect, but kinetic penetrators would fair a little better.

thus each of those three projectiles can basically pulp any infantryman they hit.. but the only area of effect they'll have is to spray droplets of blood and gore around.
plus while the weapon fires 3 round bursts, you have to remember that these would be at an extremely high rate, give that a turn is only 10 seconds and most of that would be taken up by the aiming. think "BRRT" rather than "dakka-dakka-dakka", three shots fired so fast that they'd seem like one shot.
those three shells would at most slam into one guy.

this is why you need flechette ammo to use an AC vs infantry.. with flechette you repalce those single APFSDS projectiles with instead canisters filled with hundreds of inch long darts, which on leaving the barrel spread out to become a shotgun round from hell.

Battetech AC ammo is usually described as HEAP (High Explosive Armor Piercing), and thus should still have a substantial explosive payload. The explosive blasts away at the armor, the penetrator punches through. That still involves substantial explosive.

An infantryman might not trigger a shell, but the cover he's using should. A battlemech isn't aiming for individual soldiers anyway, it's aiming for hiding spots and cover that have troops behind them.

A round being 10 seconds doesn't require that the burst be that fast, at least in the case of the Marauder's 3-round burst. It could be as slow as one shell every 2 seconds and still fit well within a 10-second round. And that assumes that it can only fire in bursts, rather than being able to select single shots.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #19 on: 15 November 2020, 23:19:52 »
A round being 10 seconds doesn't require that the burst be that fast, at least in the case of the Marauder's 3-round burst. It could be as slow as one shell every 2 seconds and still fit well within a 10-second round. And that assumes that it can only fire in bursts, rather than being able to select single shots.

That makes 0 sense.
An AC does damage once per 10 seconds. All of that damage goes to 1 spot.
If it was shooting a shell every couple of seconds, the odds of all of them going to the exact same spot on the target Mech are 0.
AC bursts a single event, short in duration.

Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #20 on: 15 November 2020, 23:22:13 »
That makes 0 sense.
An AC does damage once per 10 seconds. All of that damage goes to 1 spot.
If it was shooting a shell every couple of seconds, the odds of all of them going to the exact same spot on the target Mech are 0.
AC bursts a single event, short in duration.

Could treat it as never hitting with more than one shell in a burst. Honestly it makes more sense than a medium laser doing as much damage as 3 120mm shells.

Plus, regardless of burst speed, there is no reason why you wouldn't be able to fire single shots at a slower rate of fire.

This also doesn't address the fact that AC standard ammo generally has a significant explosive component.
« Last Edit: 15 November 2020, 23:29:57 by Adastra »

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #21 on: 16 November 2020, 00:13:29 »
According to the fluff, the Marauder's AC/5 fires three-round-bursts of 120mm rounds (which is probably, admittedly, at the larger end of the AC/5 calibre range).

Still it shoots more than one, although it is not something like the 'machine gun' and only three shots seems not so effective against infantry. But at least it is better than only one big shot. Well, it is only the AC/5, after all....

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #22 on: 16 November 2020, 05:54:34 »
especially when you consider that standard AC rounds are more likely to be APFSDS darts than HEAT warheads. the described composition of standard battletech armor is such that things like shaped charges would be greatly reduced in effect, but kinetic penetrators would fair a little better.

thus each of those three projectiles can basically pulp any infantryman they hit.. but the only area of effect they'll have is to spray droplets of blood and gore around.
plus while the weapon fires 3 round bursts, you have to remember that these would be at an extremely high rate, give that a turn is only 10 seconds and most of that would be taken up by the aiming. think "BRRT" rather than "dakka-dakka-dakka", three shots fired so fast that they'd seem like one shot.
those three shells would at most slam into one guy.

this is why you need flechette ammo to use an AC vs infantry.. with flechette you repalce those single APFSDS projectiles with instead canisters filled with hundreds of inch long darts, which on leaving the barrel spread out to become a shotgun round from hell.
I don't think they'd even be APFSDS, LB-X seems to be a 'Mech sized shotgun, which would suggest everything is solid shot.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #23 on: 16 November 2020, 06:55:10 »
I don't think they'd even be APFSDS, LB-X seems to be a 'Mech sized shotgun, which would suggest everything is solid shot.

Okay, found the page source so that we can put this particular one to rest.

TechManual, pg. 207, Autocannons

"With calibers ranging from 30 to 90 millimeters at the lighter end, to as much as 203
millimeters or more at the heaviest, most autocannons deliver their damage by firing high-speed streams or bursts of high-explosive, armor-defeating shells through one or more barrels"

At least from the perspective of the game rules, Autocannons typically fire ammunition with a high-explosive component.

I also take exception to the "it's fantasy" argument, because I do not feel that the fantasy actually serves the gameplay in this case. Is battletech more balanced, more interesting, or more cohesive because autocannons and missiles can barely do damage to infantry with standard ammo? I would argue no to all of these. IMO, something like half damage makes more sense, makes autocannons more worthwhile, and makes autocannons more interesting (or at least no less interesting) while still letting infantry not get completely wiped out by everything.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2020, 07:14:59 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #24 on: 16 November 2020, 07:48:02 »
it is also worth remembering that each hex is 30 meters (98.4 ft) across, which is a huge area for 21-28 men to spread out over.

Is it though? I mean, is it really huge for a platoon formation?

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #25 on: 16 November 2020, 08:13:21 »
Okay, found the page source so that we can put this particular one to rest.

TechManual, pg. 207, Autocannons

"With calibers ranging from 30 to 90 millimeters at the lighter end, to as much as 203
millimeters or more at the heaviest, most autocannons deliver their damage by firing high-speed streams or bursts of high-explosive, armor-defeating shells through one or more barrels"

At least from the perspective of the game rules, Autocannons typically fire ammunition with a high-explosive component.

I also take exception to the "it's fantasy" argument, because I do not feel that the fantasy actually serves the gameplay in this case. Is battletech more balanced, more interesting, or more cohesive because autocannons and missiles can barely do damage to infantry with standard ammo? I would argue no to all of these. IMO, something like half damage makes more sense, makes autocannons more worthwhile, and makes autocannons more interesting (or at least no less interesting) while still letting infantry not get completely wiped out by everything.

Adastra, it's like the rotor-damage nerf on VTOLs.  In the real world, a rifleman with a good eye and hand-eye coordination can drop a Hind with a bolt-action mauser.  In the BMR era, weapons did full damage to platoons, and the Rotor Damage Reduction did not exist.

and a great many people in the playerbase were sad.

So, the rules changed with Combat Equipment Guide and then, with Total Warfare, and what was adopted was first taste-tested in a book called "maxtech" from the eighties.

and that great many players were happier.  Devs were also happier, because people stopped hassling them with "infantry is useless" and "Vtols are worthless" claims.

and the game moved on.

and now, we're full circle with people objecting to the damage reduction on Infantry.  Why? Largely because they want to have the same icebox/energy boat 'mech able to steamroll the PBIs the way it steamrolls tanks, and other 'mechs.

you know, at eighteen hexes slaughtering half of a platoon stand in one shot with the CERPPC, like they could in the olden days before the current ruleset.

Game Balance wise, it's as much about preventing "won true build' designs as anything else-that Supernova with the TC and CERLL's is a terror to tanks, and other 'mechs, but it's vulnerable to infantry, who are slower than it is...and that's a good thing.  It means nobody gets to field a single design that utterly dominates by picking a single weapon that is overwhelming to all comers all the time.

Thus: it IS a 'balance thing'.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #26 on: 16 November 2020, 09:26:24 »
Adastra, it's like the rotor-damage nerf on VTOLs.  In the real world, a rifleman with a good eye and hand-eye coordination can drop a Hind with a bolt-action mauser.  In the BMR era, weapons did full damage to platoons, and the Rotor Damage Reduction did not exist.

and a great many people in the playerbase were sad.

So, the rules changed with Combat Equipment Guide and then, with Total Warfare, and what was adopted was first taste-tested in a book called "maxtech" from the eighties.

and that great many players were happier.  Devs were also happier, because people stopped hassling them with "infantry is useless" and "Vtols are worthless" claims.

and the game moved on.

and now, we're full circle with people objecting to the damage reduction on Infantry.  Why? Largely because they want to have the same icebox/energy boat 'mech able to steamroll the PBIs the way it steamrolls tanks, and other 'mechs.

you know, at eighteen hexes slaughtering half of a platoon stand in one shot with the CERPPC, like they could in the olden days before the current ruleset.

Game Balance wise, it's as much about preventing "won true build' designs as anything else-that Supernova with the TC and CERLL's is a terror to tanks, and other 'mechs, but it's vulnerable to infantry, who are slower than it is...and that's a good thing.  It means nobody gets to field a single design that utterly dominates by picking a single weapon that is overwhelming to all comers all the time.

Thus: it IS a 'balance thing'.

But we%u2019re discussing autocannons here? I%u2019m not saying that medium lasers should be able to vaporize five soldiers every hit, I am specifically taking issue with ACs and missiles. At least with the numbers I proposed (half damage vs infantry for ACs, perhaps require a cluster roll then halve for missiles), ACs and missiles are hardly going to be tearing through platoons, much less becoming the one true build.

Under this scheme, an AC 5 would kill three PBI on a hit. An AC 10 would kill 5, and Ac 20, 10. An LRM 5 would kill an average of 2, an LRM 20 would kill 6-7 on a hit.

Would anyone argue that my proposed damage values vs. infantry, which deal solely with ACs and missiles, present a game balance issue?
« Last Edit: 16 November 2020, 10:00:00 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #27 on: 16 November 2020, 11:50:23 »
But we%u2019re discussing autocannons here? I%u2019m not saying that medium lasers should be able to vaporize five soldiers every hit, I am specifically taking issue with ACs and missiles. At least with the numbers I proposed (half damage vs infantry for ACs, perhaps require a cluster roll then halve for missiles), ACs and missiles are hardly going to be tearing through platoons, much less becoming the one true build.

Under this scheme, an AC 5 would kill three PBI on a hit. An AC 10 would kill 5, and Ac 20, 10. An LRM 5 would kill an average of 2, an LRM 20 would kill 6-7 on a hit.

Would anyone argue that my proposed damage values vs. infantry, which deal solely with ACs and missiles, present a game balance issue?

Currently?  because I've seen this proposed in the past.  (albeit almost 20 years ago, jesus has time gone by that fast?) Although, at that time, it was to bring that damage DOWN, not UP.

I kinda suspect it was seen as excessive verbiage to result in the same general outcome, since people tend to focus fire to annihilate in those situations and all that would really occur, is chewing up the corpses. It's fairly rare that a player will fire a single weapon at something like infantry, they're much more likely to fire lots or all the weapons if they're going to bother firing at all, or they're going to default to the weapon that is most likely to render said infantry into chunky salsa in a single go (like an HMG or MG).

at one point it was suggested on the forums that support weapons damage be tracked separately from issue weapons and that the two not cross over.  (thus, avoiding the sword platoon with the six hex range thanks to a sniper rifle).

The point being, there's a LOT of abstraction that went into the revamped Infantry rules.  Tons of it.  you can get some pretty absurd outcomes (like the aforementioned melee weapons platoon that has sniper rifle range for the full damage of their melee weapons, or the half-tracks that can climb stairs and open windows with the mechanized platoons).

at the end of the day, what you're proposing might make a decent house rule, because there are gaps in the rules, things they could have done differently but elected not to for other, attending, reasons. (Like, for example, making the 200 point ammo bomb worth carrying.)
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #28 on: 16 November 2020, 12:28:01 »
only when they're standing in formation.  that square footage includes depth, but weapons fire is coming from one side and going deep.  (five feet by two feet might be ten square feet, but you're not going to fit a ten foot long I-beam into it.)  Take a machine gun (like, say, a minigun) and see if you can't sweep it to put one bullet per meter into a thirty meter long wall.  The area in front of that wall might be 100 meters long, which gives us (30x100=3000 M2) but that doesn't mean that you're going to miss most, or even some, of 28 men spread across that 30 meter frontage.  Your odds are better that you're going to hit some, or even most, of them (minus hard cover).

because the bullets don't care about the depth of the area-they only care about the x coordinate, not the Y.

same applies with shells that themselves have an area of effect.  Two shells each with a blast radius of, say, 7.5 meters, are going to be enough to cover (with fifteen meter diameters) roughly half that 30 meter by 30 meter area.

(hence why when facing grenades, which tend ot have a blast zone of 5 meters, ranger file marching has around 10 meters interval-because a hit on one guy is astronomically less likely to wound his buddy.)

In short, our 'huge amount of area' isn't, unless you're firing from directly above with a linear weapon and have to actually fire on each square meter of that zone.  (this also presumes no secondary effects from things being tossed in the air by the impacts/blast-which seems kind of unlikely unless you're using airbursts...)

the really important part, is to remember that Battletech is a game, and it is set in a fantasy universe.

And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #29 on: 16 November 2020, 13:29:07 »
And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.
I was just about to say this.  Thanks Colt.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #30 on: 16 November 2020, 13:33:11 »
The underlying issue is game balance. This is an intellectual property that will always be constrained by the needs of the underlying table top game. There are other IPs out there that are for folks that need a more realistic depiction of future combat. The Expanse comes to mind.

There are tons of things in the game that are sacrificed at the altar of trade offs. If BT weapons had the legality of real world weapons, games would end after three rounds. "ONE SHOT-TECH: a game of instant death combat" would be a lot less fun.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2020, 13:36:32 by pat_hdx »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #31 on: 16 November 2020, 14:25:37 »
Also, while I discussed the effects of explosions . . . yeah, some of this stuff does not feel comfortable to be next to either.

The 31st Century battlefield is a VERY uncomfortable place to be, the 'modern' combat gear will mitigate some of this . . . but some stuff cannot be mitigated.  Basic rules (and even advanced rules) are abstractions, look at the discussions of blast effects, artillery radius accuracies, mobility, etc for examples.  I had a bit of a funny moment when I read a Tom Clancy novel that dealt with the weapon system I was trained on and noticed how he made the specs 'off' . . . reminded me of my discussions with my submariner father about how he was 'close' on subs in the Cold War.

Pre-TW a PPC hitting a infantry squad and killing 10 men (or 20 in the open) was a bad result.  Killing 2 men (or 4 in the open) is better, and yes makes AI weapons have a point.  Yes, infantry got buffed, but I think it makes a better game . . . anything that makes something other than 3/5 assaults with Gauss Rifles and ERPPCs the answer is a good thing.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #32 on: 16 November 2020, 21:05:52 »
And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.

Math might be off, but the principle is sound-that is, "Battletech is a fantasy game." and "Infantry rules are highly abstracted."

if they WEREN'T highly abstracted, we'd have things like Machine guns capable of damaging infantry across mapsheets (Multiple).

You clarify it right there in y our post why it's abstracted the way it's abstracted.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #33 on: 16 November 2020, 22:21:41 »
Math might be off, but the principle is sound-that is, "Battletech is a fantasy game." and "Infantry rules are highly abstracted."

if they WEREN'T highly abstracted, we'd have things like Machine guns capable of damaging infantry across mapsheets (Multiple).

You clarify it right there in y our post why it's abstracted the way it's abstracted.
He rightly pointed out that your idea that depth doesn't matter is wrong, because mechs are firing down at infantry, not straight across on a level.  You're can't just handwave that as "maybe my math is bad, but the point is right."  Your point isn't right.  Mechs are firing down, so the depth very much does matter.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #34 on: 17 November 2020, 00:15:05 »
He rightly pointed out that your idea that depth doesn't matter is wrong, because mechs are firing down at infantry, not straight across on a level.  You're can't just handwave that as "maybe my math is bad, but the point is right."  Your point isn't right.  Mechs are firing down, so the depth very much does matter.

they're only firing down if the infantry is agl and not in an elevated position, number one, number two, they're only firing down if the machineguns are in an elevated position and not mounted on something like the legs.

Three, slant range still gets the same result, only with LESS protection from things like hillocks and folds in the ground.  (It's called "High ground" and it's valuable for a REASON).

The straight-across descriptor is giving everything the same (Ceterus paribus) because low-mounted vehicles do exactly the same damage at exactly the same ranges...because the rules are formulated to either abstract, or ignore, terrain.  aka every machine gun does 2D6 to infantry regardless of what it's mounted on.

even if it's mounted on a battlesuit standing on level ground with the infantry in clear terrain.

This is the same with your other weapons.  Hence, why the three dimensional area (or two dimensional area) of a hex ends up being 'crowded' with 28 men-because the game is structured in such a way...including not accounting for slant range or elevation wrt range.  (a machinegun with a range of 2 will still hit a target on elevation 12 as if it were on level ground from a position of elevation -1)

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #35 on: 17 November 2020, 00:50:03 »
And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.

Well, no. For a 9 meter tall mech, firing at the center of the ground 3 hexes away (90 meters), the shells will only be 1.5 meters above the ground by the time they've entered the hex, and that assumes all the weapons are mounted at the top of the mech. At say, 9 hexes away (270 meters), the shells will only be half a meter above the ground by the time they enter the hex. At this distance ballistic drop is negligible. At the very least, my math says that shells will rake through a fair amount of the hex.

In addition, even ground bursts of artillery are extremely dangerous. Airbursts are even moreso, but that doesn't mean you're safe if a shell lands and detonates in the earth 10 meters away. For things like small berms and foxholes, an AC shell will most likely plow through and explode inside it, shredding the poor fellow hiding behind it. A tree hit with an AC shell of substantial size will explode, sending shrapnel and splinters in all directions.

And PPCs and Gauss rifles are fine as they are, I'm not proposing any kind of buff to them. It's only ACs and missiles that I'm looking at, and those weapons are hardly overpowered.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2020, 00:54:24 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #36 on: 17 November 2020, 12:37:55 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

If PBIs are hiding in a building with a CF of over 70 or so, it seems impossible to effectively dig them out of the building, as nothing with AI modifiers can get past the DR of the CF.  So you end up plinking one infantry with each weapon no matter what you do (unless you have loaded frag ammo in a LMR20 or AC20 and how often do you do that in a game?) 

Even trying to save catgirls from the logic bomb I can't get past the sheer damage a PPC or large AC or LRM would do to a building and the amount of concrete (or other building materials) flying around as shrapnel that would be lethal to PBIs hiding in the building.  I mean even just floors/ceilings collapsing from these massive weapons (with out the whole building going down) would neutralize massive amounts of a platoon, from repeated heavy weapon strikes.  But if an Awesome fires all out at a CF 70 building I'm seeing 3 dead troopers and I just cant make that work in my head. 

As a funny aside, one time playing MegaMek I had BA swarm a mech which then ran through a building trying to knock them off.  When the BA fired their swarm attack, since the target was in a building it applied the CF of the building as DR against the damage from the attack.  Obviously this makes no sense as they are touching the mech the building can't be getting in the way.  However if you squint hard at the rules I can see a rules lawyer making the argument that this is the correct way to do damage.   

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #37 on: 17 November 2020, 12:49:23 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

Stalingrad
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #38 on: 17 November 2020, 15:09:11 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

At which point you bring the building down on top of them.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #39 on: 17 November 2020, 15:10:35 »
Stalingrad

While I agree with your overall point, nearly half a million Russians died in less than half a year, with more than a million russian casualties total. The Axis lost nearly as many. We%u2019re talking about thousands dead every day on average. A great deal of which were the result of bringing down buildings.

Also, Stalingrad was a big city, and the porosity of the lines meant that you couldn%u2019t just obliterate every building with artillery. Not that the Nazis didn%u2019t try. But when you%u2019ve got so many buildings to hide in, even if you blow them up, there are many more, and every building you destroy is now a pile of rubble that can still be used as cover.

It%u2019s hard to dig people out of urban areas not just because it%u2019s hard to kill people in buildings. It%u2019s also hard because your own troops get ground down just as fast if not faster. Cities are both incredibly dense fighting ground with a lot of men-to-meters, and places where it%u2019s easy for enemies to flank, ambush, etc. Cities are people-grinders
« Last Edit: 17 November 2020, 15:25:31 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #40 on: 18 November 2020, 10:50:46 »
they're only firing down if the machineguns are in an elevated position and not mounted on something like the legs.


So your post is solely about one version of the Viking?
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Sartris

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #41 on: 18 November 2020, 11:14:51 »
don't forget about the victor 9A1 or the Cicada 3C!

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #42 on: 18 November 2020, 12:36:44 »
So your post is solely about one version of the Viking?

no, the post is in response to something abstracted out in the rules-see, it doesn't matter if you mount the mg's in the legs, or in the torso, or on the head, or on a tower up off the shoulder that sits another sixty meters in the air, they have the same range and presume the same effect, because the ranging rules in the game are predicated on a flat plane, not a three dimensional environment, therefore you aren't angling 'down' it's going forward, because all range and damage is X and Y, none of it involves Z.

In the game's rules, there is no defilade, and no enfilade.  a 'mech standing at the top of a level 7 cliff two hexes from a platoon in level-1 pit, can still be shot by that platoon as if both are standing on level 0 facing each other.

and it can shoot back the same way.

ditto if things are reversed.  The elevation only counts for physical attacks (Punching, kicking, swarming).

Therefore the explanation offered doesn't work, because no matter what direction, you're facing the same 28 guys across a 30 meter front, as if standing in formation.

The level of detail necessary to make this not so, is to the point of excessive, so it's abstracted, otherwise a single cycle of movement and fire between single units could easily reach an hour or more, with dozens of exceptions and modifiers in play.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #43 on: 18 November 2020, 14:36:54 »
There is one exception IIRC, in the form of the partial cover rules. At least from what I remember, you can't receive partial cover if the shooter is at a higher elevation than you.

Of course, if we applied that logic to everything, then logically infantry shouldn't get a cover bonus at all from mechs that are at the same level, since mechs are 2 levels tall. Which would only support that idea that weapons should do more damage to infantry.

And I'm still going to refer back to the math I did earlier. At any appreciable distance the height of the mech is basically irrelevant.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #44 on: 18 November 2020, 14:39:21 »
There is one exception IIRC, in the form of the partial cover rules. At least from what I remember, you can't receive partial cover if the shooter is at a higher elevation than you.

the one exception is a mech in level 1 water (obviously irrelevant to infantry)

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #45 on: 18 November 2020, 15:55:19 »
I think the "buff'' that ACs and missiles need in general is not to the damage, it is to ammo storage. They should be able to carry half ton loads. Right now if you want to decimate infantry with an AC you sure can, but you have to take flechette rounds. You want the ability? You have to sacrifice something.

The problem is that on too many designs there just is not enough room for almost any alt. munitions, and sacrificing ALL your standard rounds just to carry one ton of Flechette is too harsh  Being able to carry half tons would fix that and allow for way more flexibility. As it is now,  I suspect alt. ammo loads are seriously underrepresented.

Given ACs already get ragged on, I also think the advanced ammo types like precision need to have their reduced ammo penalty removed. You already pay more in C-bills and BV for the advantage, making them take reduced load seems like a pile on.
« Last Edit: 20 November 2020, 00:49:06 by pat_hdx »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #46 on: 18 November 2020, 17:31:31 »
I think the "buff'' that ACs and missiles need in general is not to the damage, it is to ammo storage. They should be able to carry half ton loads. Right now if you want to decimate infantry with an AC you sure can, but you have to take flechette rounds. You want the ability? You have to sacrifice something.

The problem is that on too many designs there just is not enough room for almost any alt. munitions., and sacrificing ALL your standard round just to carry one to of Flechette i too harsh  Being able to carry half tons would fix that and allow for way more flexibility. As it is now I suspect alt. ammo loads are seriously underrepresented.

Given ACs already get ragged on, I also think the advanced ammo types like precision need to have their reduced ammo penalty removed. You already pay more in C-bills and BV for the advantage, making them take reduced load seems like a pile on.

there were possible solutions in Maxtech and such, and of course, in Tac Ops. 

The real problem you've just articulated.  loading Flechette means you're not damaging other 'mechs with that cannon.  Now on a MAD-3R that's not a big deal-you've got paired PPc's and Medium Lasers to handle the mechanically gifted, so loading that AC/5 with flechette is just good prep for an urban fight.

but if your autocannon is also mister main gun (See: Centurion) it's a definite hindrance-you can't afford to waste it on Flechette when there are battlemechs or tanks on the board.

I'm not sure your solution actually solves anything, but it kinda highlights one of the problems we see with a LOT of 'mech designs in that they have single-ton ammo bins and that's ALL your shells. (or one one ton bin per gun.)

This kinda suggests you shouldn't be loading any alternate ammo on any design that doesn't have multi-ton ammo bins.  (and there's not that many that do).

this in turn suggests that an answer that works without changing the rules, is to build a 'mech, where the autocannon is the main gun, and it has the ability to carry two or more tons of ammo-because then, you can load whatever you're using.
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Arkansas Warrior

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #47 on: 18 November 2020, 18:23:14 »
no, the post is in response to something abstracted out in the rules-see, it doesn't matter if you mount the mg's in the legs, or in the torso, or on the head, or on a tower up off the shoulder that sits another sixty meters in the air, they have the same range and presume the same effect, because the ranging rules in the game are predicated on a flat plane, not a three dimensional environment, therefore you aren't angling 'down' it's going forward, because all range and damage is X and Y, none of it involves Z.

In the game's rules, there is no defilade, and no enfilade.  a 'mech standing at the top of a level 7 cliff two hexes from a platoon in level-1 pit, can still be shot by that platoon as if both are standing on level 0 facing each other.

and it can shoot back the same way.

ditto if things are reversed.  The elevation only counts for physical attacks (Punching, kicking, swarming).

Therefore the explanation offered doesn't work, because no matter what direction, you're facing the same 28 guys across a 30 meter front, as if standing in formation.

The level of detail necessary to make this not so, is to the point of excessive, so it's abstracted, otherwise a single cycle of movement and fire between single units could easily reach an hour or more, with dozens of exceptions and modifiers in play.
Have we been talking about shooting infantry in the open this whole time?  Or do you just always have your infantry use Napoleonic tactics?
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #48 on: 18 November 2020, 19:31:30 »
there were possible solutions in Maxtech and such, and of course, in Tac Ops. 

I'm not sure your solution actually solves anything, but it kinda highlights one of the problems we see with a LOT of 'mech designs in that they have single-ton ammo bins and that's ALL your shells. (or one one ton bin per gun.)

This kinda suggests you shouldn't be loading any alternate ammo on any design that doesn't have multi-ton ammo bins.  (and there's not that many that do).

this in turn suggests that an answer that works without changing the rules, is to build a 'mech, where the autocannon is the main gun, and it has the ability to carry two or more tons of ammo-because then, you can load whatever you're using.

As I see it, it would make ACs more fun/competitive without requiring a redesign of a ton of TROs/sheets or a major rewrite of the rules.

You only need one errata: AC ammo bins may be divided between two type of ammunition with the exception of caseless ammo. In the case of an AC/20, the player must declare how they wish to divide the ammo, but the allotment must be three of one type and two of the other.

Now a standard Vedette can carry 20 shot of standard or 10 of Standard and 10 of Flechette (or AA, or tracer, etc.). With some units that may leave you a little short of standard rounds, but that is the trade off. An Enforcer could go 10 Standard and 10 Flechette, and still be pretty viable to go toe to toe with competing designs.

Of course we can try to decide to develop more multi-bin units, and that may be more viable with advanced tech, but in 3025 and 3050 that still leaves a ton of cannon designs that will rarely get to take advantage of alt ammos.

I really think this is a change that would make the game way more fun without requiring major surgery to the rules or established designs. It definitely would not make ACs (or missiles if it was applied to them) OP,  just a bit more useful, and a lot more fun.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 00:50:31 by pat_hdx »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #49 on: 19 November 2020, 00:38:47 »
Have we been talking about shooting infantry in the open this whole time?  Or do you just always have your infantry use Napoleonic tactics?

yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)



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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #50 on: 19 November 2020, 01:57:54 »
At which point you bring the building down on top of them.
Which the infantry are not required to stick around in a building you are blasting. 
Taking the same example of an Awesome dealing with infantry in a CF 70 building, sure it can blast the building for two rounds doing 60 damage but then at the beginning of the third round the infantry can just leave the building with 10 CF left, ideally entering another building in an adjacent hex.  And clusters of buildings are fairly common on most maps even if you aren't deep in a urban area.   

Under the old rules even though the building prevented a lot of the damage, you still could tear up PBIs by blasting the building.  With both rules going against traditional heavy weapons it is extremely unlikely you can render the infantry combat ineffective before you just blast all the buildings the infantry can reach.   

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #51 on: 19 November 2020, 02:00:43 »
yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)

Plunging fire is not magical . . . and it was air-burst fuses along with improved explosive fillers that really increased the lethality of artillery because it sidestepped variations at ground level.  Standard HE makes a crater for a reason.  As has been mentioned, ACs and LRMs are designed to be armor breaching weapons . . . there is a reason Snubtillery gets the AoE damage code while ACs do not.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #52 on: 19 November 2020, 02:06:43 »
Which the infantry are not required to stick around in a building you are blasting. 
Taking the same example of an Awesome dealing with infantry in a CF 70 building, sure it can blast the building for two rounds doing 60 damage but then at the beginning of the third round the infantry can just leave the building with 10 CF left, ideally entering another building in an adjacent hex.  And clusters of buildings are fairly common on most maps even if you aren't deep in a urban area.

Very few buildings have CF 70, though.  And generally if you're actually stopping to engage entrenched infantry it's because there's something important that you're doing in the vicinity of the infantry so you can't afford to have them sticking around and being annoying.  So it becomes worth taking a little time to do bad things to property values in the area.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #53 on: 19 November 2020, 02:14:35 »
It is also why you have combined arms . . . that Awesome is bad at killing infantry.  Which is why I am sending my Elementals in there to clear your PBIs out.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #54 on: 19 November 2020, 04:22:07 »
That too.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #55 on: 19 November 2020, 10:12:24 »
yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)
Ok, now I’m just confused.  Don’t infantry take double damage in the open?  None of the damage numbers I’ve seen were accounting for that.  I thought we were at least using modern infantry tactics, in terms of spacing, using cover, staying low, etc.  Isn’t *that* the normal understanding in the rules (hence why infantry in the open take double normal damage)?
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #56 on: 19 November 2020, 13:19:59 »
Ok, now I’m just confused.  Don’t infantry take double damage in the open?  None of the damage numbers I’ve seen were accounting for that.  I thought we were at least using modern infantry tactics, in terms of spacing, using cover, staying low, etc.  Isn’t *that* the normal understanding in the rules (hence why infantry in the open take double normal damage)?

In cover, it really shouldn't help much. Most weapons in BT are going to punch right on through most of the stuff that the game considers cover. For example, light woods, which is to say, trees, small hills and crests, maybe the occasional boulder. Autocannon shells should by all rights be able to go right through all of those, and in the case of trees and rocks, burst them apart with sufficient force to make additional shrapnel. Note that the to-hit penalty already covers the concealment aspect of woods.

When you've got weapons the size of BT's autocannons, you don't try to shoot around cover, you just blow it up and whatever's behind it.

Out of cover just about every weapon should be able to scythe through infantry like grass, which they really don't for the most part. An AC/10 does all of 1 damage to infantry in cover, 2 to infantry out of it.


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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #57 on: 19 November 2020, 14:12:48 »
Because the AC shell is a directional- AKA shaped charge- warhead or a penetrator.  You keep confusing the velocity a shell/s travel with it's bursting charge- if it has one!  Current anti-tank rounds are kinetic impactors, not explosives even so all you do have is the velocity and they suck trying to deal with troops in the open.


Not a tanker, but IIRC the HEAT are the shaped charge rounds.  Basically they form a molten stream that burns or forced through the side of armor and cools just enough to ricochet about the inside of the vehicle turning it into a blender.  The KE are the dep-u rounds that punch through the armor, instead of the normal shell shape (only really in artillery any longer) you see the sabot where it mates up with the gun tube to carry the shot.  Not really sure what the two on the right are . . .



Shaped charges are safe, for some definitions anyway, to be standing next to when they go off- I have done that for blowing doors- because all of the explosive force is channeled in a single direction to achieve the desired effect.

A lot of what you see when a kinetic penetrator hits or even shaped charges at the 'impact' point is dust or debris being shaken and even flying off.  You can find all sorts of Desert Storm photos of Iraqi tanks taken out by kinetic penetrators, the hole is there and typically the rest of the tank just burns- problem really is sifting the photos to find ones that are not taken out by air.  I also found a video on youtube that had TOW, Javelin, and LAW firing on armored vehicles put out by a source called WarLeaks, it is pretty instructional.

The point is this, if the blast is omni-directional it is a waste of munitions load.  Your charge that sends that munition down range had to be larger/heavier because you wasted part of the energy that you delivered.  Anti-mech weapons, even based on the tech of the 80s!, will be firing shaped charges where the energy is focused on penetrating and defeating the armor.  IF you hit something sensitive- fuel or ammo- then you get the big explosive effects, but most of those missile warheads are small flashes and smoke but are not too remarkable.    Expecting big explosions comes from watching way too much IRL movie affects.


You want the AoE to affect the infantry on a mech or tank, get snubtillery.
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Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #58 on: 19 November 2020, 14:40:24 »
Because the AC shell is a directional- AKA shaped charge- warhead or a penetrator.  You keep confusing the velocity a shell/s travel with it's bursting charge- if it has one!  Current anti-tank rounds are kinetic impactors, not explosives even so all you do have is the velocity and they suck trying to deal with troops in the open.


Not a tanker, but IIRC the HEAT are the shaped charge rounds.  Basically they form a molten stream that burns or forced through the side of armor and cools just enough to ricochet about the inside of the vehicle turning it into a blender.  The KE are the dep-u rounds that punch through the armor, instead of the normal shell shape (only really in artillery any longer) you see the sabot where it mates up with the gun tube to carry the shot.  Not really sure what the two on the right are . . .



Shaped charges are safe, for some definitions anyway, to be standing next to when they go off- I have done that for blowing doors- because all of the explosive force is channeled in a single direction to achieve the desired effect.

A lot of what you see when a kinetic penetrator hits or even shaped charges at the 'impact' point is dust or debris being shaken and even flying off.  You can find all sorts of Desert Storm photos of Iraqi tanks taken out by kinetic penetrators, the hole is there and typically the rest of the tank just burns- problem really is sifting the photos to find ones that are not taken out by air.  I also found a video on youtube that had TOW, Javelin, and LAW firing on armored vehicles put out by a source called WarLeaks, it is pretty instructional.

The point is this, if the blast is omni-directional it is a waste of munitions load.  Your charge that sends that munition down range had to be larger/heavier because you wasted part of the energy that you delivered.  Anti-mech weapons, even based on the tech of the 80s!, will be firing shaped charges where the energy is focused on penetrating and defeating the armor.  IF you hit something sensitive- fuel or ammo- then you get the big explosive effects, but most of those missile warheads are small flashes and smoke but are not too remarkable.    Expecting big explosions comes from watching way too much IRL movie affects.


You want the AoE to affect the infantry on a mech or tank, get snubtillery.

I already went over this, but let me reiterate.

1. Battletech is about as explicit as it can be that standard Autocannon ammo is NOT inert. Total Warfare's descriptions specifically mentions them firing explosive shells.

2. Shaped charges are NOT by necessity safe to stand next to, and they are not actually dependent on heat (HEAT stands for High Explosive Anti Tank). The shaped charges used on doors are very small, and have cases to contain the explosion, but this is NOT required for the shaped charge to function. In many military shaped charges, the case is either lightweight plastic or a fragmentation sleeve, which do not contain the explosion, and in the case of the sleeve, amplify its effect by producing shrapnel. Notably, the US uses the M830 multi-purpose shell (second one from left in your picture), where the explosive charge both serves as a shaped charge and as a conventional high-explosive (as well as having airburst and bunker-busting fuse settings). It is a multipurpose round, capable of dealing with vehicles AND infantry. Limited ammo loads in tanks incentivizes multi-purpose shells so that a tank can have a greater useful load for any one situation, HEAT shells like the M830 provide that.

3. The way a shaped charge works is by using the explosive shockwave to deform a metal liner into a high-velocity jet, which punches through armor. While the metal is basically liquid in this state, it is pressure, not heat, that makes the metal behave like a liquid. The metal doesn't "cool" so much as decelerate and start behaving like a solid again.

Once again, I will point to the use of Bazookas and Panzerschrecks for house-busting back in WW2. Despite firing shaped charges they still had a very significant area of effect.

Also, to sate your curiosity, both shells on the right are experimental STAFF shells (the rightmost picture is the projectile, the left one is the complete cartridge). It was designed as effectively a top-attack tank shell. The tank would fire the shell over the target, and once the shell detected a tank underneath it, it would use an EFP (explosively formed penetrator, which is similar to a shaped charge except it forms a sort of "bullet" rather than a jet) to punch through the tank's much weaker top armor.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 14:47:04 by Adastra »

Colt Ward

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #59 on: 19 November 2020, 15:08:56 »
Actually, the description of AC ammo does include discussions of penetrators IIRC.  The difference is that it is not inert like Gauss ammo, that is the comparison. 

But however, fine, they do not use the sabot rounds and instead use the HEAT rounds to break through the armor.  I was in no way suggesting you stand next to a tank that is being hit, merely that by their nature shaped charges have zones with much less effect since as much of the energy is directed to a specific place.  I thought about including a range safety diagram for AT missiles but that gets far afield of the point.  I understand your point about the ammo load, but IIRC the Abrams deployed in Europe during the Cold War had a war load of mostly anti-tank rounds- the sabots.

To your 3rd point, yes I know how it works and how the IEDs in Iraq were build a decade ago to use this- typically the deformed metal was copper.  I also know how they changed armor to try to defeat this sort of IED, I was using a very basic description.  The point was that its method of destruction- and why shaped charge warheads are used- is that it trashes the interior.  Armor that keeps things out is pretty good about keeping things in . . . like those reformed copper bits.

The point never the less remains the same, Anti-Mech weapons are going to put all of their destructive energy they can into defeating the armor and going internal.  Large blasts are a waste of that energy.

As for bazookas & panzerfaust . . . they were NOT modern (or again, 80s) armor piercing warheads, the technology was being developed.  For tanks and warships, their AP shells typically used processes to attempt make the tip denser than the armor so it would penetrate.  It should also be noted for them to be effective anti-tank weapons they had to hit weak points on the enemy tank . . . its not like TOW (future of the 80s) missiles which have a better chance, on the different aspects, comparatively of breaching the armor than a bazooka.

LRMs and AC rounds are not area effect weapons- what you are advocating is the AC shell is effectively identical to a Thumper or Sniper shell . . . and its not.  They would be designed differently.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #60 on: 19 November 2020, 16:06:17 »
Actually, the description of AC ammo does include discussions of penetrators IIRC.  The difference is that it is not inert like Gauss ammo, that is the comparison. 

But however, fine, they do not use the sabot rounds and instead use the HEAT rounds to break through the armor.  I was in no way suggesting you stand next to a tank that is being hit, merely that by their nature shaped charges have zones with much less effect since as much of the energy is directed to a specific place.  I thought about including a range safety diagram for AT missiles but that gets far afield of the point.  I understand your point about the ammo load, but IIRC the Abrams deployed in Europe during the Cold War had a war load of mostly anti-tank rounds- the sabots.

To your 3rd point, yes I know how it works and how the IEDs in Iraq were build a decade ago to use this- typically the deformed metal was copper.  I also know how they changed armor to try to defeat this sort of IED, I was using a very basic description.  The point was that its method of destruction- and why shaped charge warheads are used- is that it trashes the interior.  Armor that keeps things out is pretty good about keeping things in . . . like those reformed copper bits.

The point never the less remains the same, Anti-Mech weapons are going to put all of their destructive energy they can into defeating the armor and going internal.  Large blasts are a waste of that energy.

As for bazookas & panzerfaust . . . they were NOT modern (or again, 80s) armor piercing warheads, the technology was being developed.  For tanks and warships, their AP shells typically used processes to attempt make the tip denser than the armor so it would penetrate.  It should also be noted for them to be effective anti-tank weapons they had to hit weak points on the enemy tank . . . its not like TOW (future of the 80s) missiles which have a better chance, on the different aspects, comparatively of breaching the armor than a bazooka.

LRMs and AC rounds are not area effect weapons- what you are advocating is the AC shell is effectively identical to a Thumper or Sniper shell . . . and its not.  They would be designed differently.

Tanks in the cold war were largely using sabot because it was expected that they would largely be facing other tanks. You also had a lot more 105mm-armed vehicles, which could stow more rounds. The Yom Kippur War and the terror of infantry-portable ATGMs significantly changed that dynamic, not to mention the shift towards counter-insurgency warfare.

More about the M830. The fact that it has an airburst setting considered to be useful against helicopters should attest to the idea that it has a substantial lethal radius. Most NATO militaries to my knowledge don't even have dedicated HE rounds for 120mm cannons, multipurpose HEAT rounds (or HESH for the British) are effective enough in the role.

Shaped charges are more useful due to the fact that they can punch through the armor to begin with. Yes, behind-armor-effect is nice and you shouldn't ignore it, but it's meaningless if you can't actually get through the armor. Shaped charges effectively rendered the traditional armor scheme of monolithic steel plates obsolete.

TOW missiles are in fact, also very effective against infantry, just less efficient due to their cost and bulk. Javelins were being used a lot against infantry (particularly infatry in entrenched positions) in Afghanistan, but again constrained by cost and size.

There's a reason why most military shaped charge designs don't bother with "focusing" the blast effect. For one, shaped charges rely more on the shock wave than gas pressure, so containing it is less useful. But more important is weight. Putting enough metal around a projectile to contain a large explosion takes up a lot of weight, weight that could instead be replaced with more explosives. By not containing the explosives, you can get something that's as effective at punching through armor, but is also more effective at other things, like killing infantry. I'm going to restate the whole thing about most military shaped charges using either plastic containers or fragmentation sleeves.

Shaped charge warheads like ATGMs and rockets would not work if the shaped charge needed to be meaningfully contained. The projectile would weigh a ridiculous amount. Missiles are remarkably light for their size because instead of thick metal tubes, they're mostly motor, explosive, and guidance equipment, all of which also have a good deal of empty space.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 16:10:49 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #61 on: 19 November 2020, 16:20:36 »
Tanks in the cold war were largely using sabot because it was expected that they would largely be facing other tanks.

The most important part of the whole thing you said . . . mechs carrying anti-mech weapons use munitions designed to be anti-mech.  If a AC or LRM equipped mech expects to face or deal with infantry they have different munitions (flechette) that allow them to do that more effectively.  While a shaped charge is going to have a blast area, and will have some effects 'behind' the point of impact & direction, it will still not be the same as to the front.  Safety diagrams get into the launch point, flight path and impact point danger zones, you can see just how they expect the blast & shrapnel scatter . . . and that is injury rather than lethal.

You are also still talking about AT missile being used to hit hardened or protected targets- not troops spread out in the open or in hasty positions.  Firing a TOW or javelin at a platoon in battle formation advancing across a field is just not going to do too much damage to the whole platoon.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #62 on: 19 November 2020, 16:44:42 »
The most important part of the whole thing you said . . . mechs carrying anti-mech weapons use munitions designed to be anti-mech.  If a AC or LRM equipped mech expects to face or deal with infantry they have different munitions (flechette) that allow them to do that more effectively.  While a shaped charge is going to have a blast area, and will have some effects 'behind' the point of impact & direction, it will still not be the same as to the front.  Safety diagrams get into the launch point, flight path and impact point danger zones, you can see just how they expect the blast & shrapnel scatter . . . and that is injury rather than lethal.

You are also still talking about AT missile being used to hit hardened or protected targets- not troops spread out in the open or in hasty positions.  Firing a TOW or javelin at a platoon in battle formation advancing across a field is just not going to do too much damage to the whole platoon.
The main reason why most missiles don't have huge lethal radiuses is because they're generally not optimized for fragmentation. Blast radius tends to be a lot smaller, but it is still substantial.


Not really "hardened". We're talking about sandbag gun positions and caves. Also, if you arrange 19 points in a hex-shaped formation (like a rocket pod) 30 meters wide, you would have only 7.5 meters between points. All standard types of platoons have more than 19 soldiers, and realistically they're likely to be clustering up behind available cover, which is going to be limited and not evenly dispersed. Hand grenades should be able to hit multiple soldiers, much less shells and missiles.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #63 on: 19 November 2020, 18:46:50 »
In cover, it really shouldn't help much. Most weapons in BT are going to punch right on through most of the stuff that the game considers cover. For example, light woods, which is to say, trees, small hills and crests, maybe the occasional boulder. Autocannon shells should by all rights be able to go right through all of those, and in the case of trees and rocks, burst them apart with sufficient force to make additional shrapnel. Note that the to-hit penalty already covers the concealment aspect of woods.

When you've got weapons the size of BT's autocannons, you don't try to shoot around cover, you just blow it up and whatever's behind it.

Out of cover just about every weapon should be able to scythe through infantry like grass, which they really don't for the most part. An AC/10 does all of 1 damage to infantry in cover, 2 to infantry out of it.
28 dudes scattered across 2338.27 square meters, most (if not all) prone or kneeling, often behind concealment (if not cover) is still a whole lot less likely to get shot up by one stream of rounds, even if it's sweeping across the hex, than those same 28 guys doing some kind of Napoleonic dress-and-cover.  That's my point.  Cannonshop seems to think that marching rank and file is the normal expectation.  To me that's "in the open" (really it's worse than that.  28 dudes doing 3-5 second rushes across a street is "in the open".  Marching in column is just suicide.).
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #64 on: 19 November 2020, 19:31:44 »
28 dudes scattered across 2338.27 square meters, most (if not all) prone or kneeling, often behind concealment (if not cover) is still a whole lot less likely to get shot up by one stream of rounds, even if it's sweeping across the hex, than those same 28 guys doing some kind of Napoleonic dress-and-cover.  That's my point.  Cannonshop seems to think that marching rank and file is the normal expectation.  To me that's "in the open" (really it's worse than that.  28 dudes doing 3-5 second rushes across a street is "in the open".  Marching in column is just suicide.).
Sure, assuming Napoleonic squares is pretty optimistic. But Cannonshop's overall point about raking fire still holds up. The depth of the fired-upon area matters a lot less than the width.

Also, how are you getting 2338.27 square meters? I thought BT hexes were 30 meters across, not 30 meters to a side? Assuming that it is 30 meters across (in the sense that the center of one hex is 30 meters from the center of each adjacent hex), a hex is only about 780 square meters.

« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 19:33:53 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #65 on: 19 November 2020, 21:23:39 »
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So this thread got me thinking, and looking up some old threads, and doing some other research, and doing some math, and thinking again. If, a gigantic if here, we want to put something like realism into BattleTech (good lord, why?) then in general anti-mech weapons should do significantly more damage to infantry than they do.

 But first some definitions and specifications:

1)   I am working with 'kill' as defined as effectively removed from combat, not actually dead, nor even necessarily hurt.

2)    I am assuming a roughly 17 degree angle of attack, which is what you get shooting from 10m up across a 30m distance.

3)    I am assuming that the infantry in question know they are in combat and know that they do not want to die. (given descriptions of some of the combat drugs in this universe these matters are not a given, but I chose to make them a given.)

4)    I am assuming that the MechWarriors in question want to neutralize their infantry foes efficiently, not make a pretty red mist nor a frankly disgusting 1,400 kilo mud and gore smoothie.

Now that we have those matters out of the way let's look at the weapon categories:

Machine guns- gigantic, likely rotary barreled, slug throwers akin to what we have today and consider small cannon. actually the weapons that require the most work to make effective against infantry.

Autocannon- really big machine guns with either really big, explosive shells, or insane rates of fire with much smaller shells. Either way works pretty well.

Missiles- Tiny guided rockets with enormously powerful warheads. Pretty effective in general, but can be used in a couple ways.

Lasers- lots of energy packed into a very brief window of deployment. Not that effective,  but better than portrayed.

PPCs- a lightning gun, even if it isn't. A lot of energy packed into moving particles with near-infinitely more mass than photons. Should be outright fantastic against infantry.

Gauss Rifles- a magnetically accellerated glob of matter flying at hypersonic speeds. I was really surprised at the potential efficiency with this one.


Now that we've got our players let's get down to it.

I said above that machineguns are the hardest to justify really hurting infantry. In my mind, having considered the potential equipment, training, angles, and so on involved it's just not going to be easy to get a meaningful ID and target lock on that big a spread of that many people. Now, accepting that cover isn't going to be ubiquitous and evenly distributed, we do get some clumping and so it's definitely more than one person at a time, but up to 24 (taking into account the doubling for being in the open)? That is just hard. Unless the 1960's efforts at guided bullets were revisited and worked. Then you spray in the general area of the infantry and let the slugs figure out what to run into. A bit non-BattleTechy to me but, eh, potential future of the '80's stuff.

Autocannons, like the rest of the weapons going forward, are going to do very little if they are fired directly at one poor schlub. That guy is probably gone and the fight goes on. However, if the AC is shooting at the ground instead of the actual infantry then we start getting some effective kills. If the infantry are hiding behind rocks, hillocks, berms, or other earthwork-like structures then the AC users best bet is to use those very structures as targets and let the subsequent cascades of debris and toppling or sliding of earth remove the infantry from the fight. No, in this case you're not going to see a lot of fatalities but you will see a lot of guys either stuck in the mud and rubble subsequently created or trying frantically to get their buddies out of said mud and rubble. It probably won't take that long to get free, 5 minutes would be a stretch for the longest it could take, but in the scale of a 2 minute battle it's plenty long enough.
     Similar effects happen in wooded areas by shooting the trees and causing timberfalls and small-scale dazzling/blinding from the burning and sharp wood flying around. Still not actually prone to being too lethal but definitely takes those guys meaningfully out of the fight.
     Overall, I could still see this effect accounting for 1/3 to 1/2 of the AC's rating in kills.

Now missiles have two arguments, but I am partial to the second one I will present. Personal preference, neither more right nor wrong than the first.
     Initially, since missiles are guided weapons, it's nowhere near beyond the scope of reason to presume that each missile might be able to lock on to an individual trooper and blow that specific guy to however many bits might be imagined. Not too hard to extrapolate from the future of the '80's technology mandate. But I just don't care for the idea of poor Pvt. McWillis running madly away from the soda can of doom as it chases him down. Again, my preference.
     Going back to the idea of shooting the ground, however, we run into a neat effect called liquifaction. Liquifaction is when a mass of solids get enough potential energy and in the right conditions to act like a liquid. If you bury a bunch of explosives a meter or half meter under ground and largely blast downward this is what happens to relatively solid earth. Mining demolitionists use this property to slough big sheets of earth out of the way.
     Pepper a hex with 10 LRMs and you're going to see infantry wrestling  not only with the shrapnel kicked up from the blasts, but also finding themselves or their buddies stuck in what amounts to quicksand. Still quite unlikely to actually kill a lot of people but it definitely takes them out of the fight.
     Either way you look at it I feel like this could account for 1/2 to even full damage from missiles applying.

Lasers are kinda tricky. They pack a ton of energy into a small spot. Shoot poor Pvt. McWillis with one and he'll be boots and not much else. But his buddy at his shoulder is mostly going to have only the trauma of having breathed in his squadmate. Lasers work by ablation and so the surface they hit will be directly harmed but it's the explosion of material off of that surface that would really work against infantry.
     By shooting at the ground or cover the infantry is using you're going to create a rapidly expanding cloud of stuff that is highly ionized. The ionization matters because unless the infantry in question have fully self contained breathing apparatus then they won't be able to use the atmosphere around them for respiration and attempting to do so will leave them spasming from the electrical impulses in their lungs/diaphragm. I was not able to determine how potentially lethal that could be but from the few lab accident reports I found regarding high-powered lasers I'd assume not too much so. But even still, it stops those soldiers from fighting.
     Now the question of pulse duration for BattleTech lasers really makes a difference in how this actually plays out. If it's a single, micro-second long pulse then you'll get a very violent but small explosion and really you're only likely to inconvenience or kill one or two guys. If it's a single seconds long pulse, or series of pulses over a few seconds then you can sweep the beam and spread the effect out. By shooting the ground with that longer spray you can affect more troopers.
     Hard to judge this without better pulse duration, but I'd still say 1/4 to 1/3 effect from lasers.

Now on to the old-school mother of all weapons, the PPC. Looking into how these should work and the effects of accellerated protons on various materials the PPC has become a lot scarier in my mind. This loose conjecture is based on a muddle of information between particle effects and lightning strike details so please have your sodium intake significantly increased. 
     But relevant to our discussion if a PPC hit someone directly that individual is dead. There is no maybe, they are actually worse than dead because they are exploding with enough force to cause injury to others within possibly 50 feet. Now that 50 foot number relates to unarmored people in unprepared conditions, but even still the guy nearly shoulder to shoulder with him behind that wrecked tank is definitely out of action.
     On top of that wonderful effect there is also the magnetic corona around the beam. That is likely to be around 30 to 50 feet in diameter and is a massive force in itself. People exposed in that area suffer arhythmia, seizures, muscle spams potentially strong enough to break bones, and a host of other physiological effects that are massively debilitating. Now as awful as that all sounds it is apparently not commonly lethal, so we come back to guys out of the fight but not necessarily dead.
     But hold on! There's more! What if we shoot the ground behind the infantry group? Why would we do that? We would do that because the charged particles from the PPC's beam will charge and split particles in the ground which results in a big explosion! Now this explosion is coming out of the ground but because of the ionized channel the PPC created the blast is going to mostly focus back the way the beam came with something like a cone point of around 5cm and a cone base of around 30m (unexpectedly convenient, that). In this cone is going to be a whole lot of brief hell: heat, shrapnel, overpressure, and concussion. Altogether this can actually be lethal, but given the armor, training and other factors on the part of the infantry in question many will probably pull through. Just not likely in immediate fighting shape.
     So, yeah, PPCs should realistically do their full damage against infantry. Maybe more. But who wants the PPC to be even more the King of Kings?

And now the Gauss Rifle... This one really surprised me. I was really expecting KE weapons like the Gauss to be pretty simple: that guy is dead, everyone else heard a loud, annoying whistling sound. But no. Apparently if you use the Gauss Rifle as a miniature Rods from God type weapon then you can create craters in hexes to bury infantry or at least leave them stuck trying to climb up steep slopes of very loose material, which will take way more time than a battle will last.
     At a 17 degree angle, for what it's worth, assuming hard ground, the gauss slug leaves a crater almost 4m deep and a little more than 15m across. And then there's the ejecta and concussive effects to worry about. Definitely something that will ruin the day of poor Pvt. McWillis and co.
     Overall effect in game? Probably even more than base damage to infantry, but again that doesn't sound like fun.

Now I am certain that my web-based investigations have some pretty serious flaws, but the general ideas are sound. In a reality with these kinds of weapons I seriously doubt you could find enough people to volunteer for infantry duty to fill a regiment, nevermind the divisions the Houses have. But this is BattleTech and some people gotta have their massive underdog victories. Those are what make good stories!
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #66 on: 19 November 2020, 21:30:37 »
The real killer from a  Gauss rifle is that you've got a 125 kg slug traveling at hypersonic speed.  Being near it as it passes by will inflict considerable potential damage to an exposed human body.  Or as Cray put it "the Gauss Rifle misses.  That means you're now deaf and airborne."
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #67 on: 19 November 2020, 21:43:38 »
The real killer from a  Gauss rifle is that you've got a 125 kg slug traveling at hypersonic speed.  Being near it as it passes by will inflict considerable potential damage to an exposed human body.  Or as Cray put it "the Gauss Rifle misses.  That means you're now deaf and airborne."

Yup. There are actually a number of sources describing deaths from cannonballs passing by the victim's head, or injuries caused by near-misses. As in "A cannonball flew by us, and Bobby fell over, and when I checked for a pulse I found out his skull was pulverized". And those are cannonballs propelled by black powder, not magnetically accelerated metal melons.

Best use for a Gauss Rifle, however, would be to aim for cover, not troopers. Just about anything the GR hits will be turned into a cone of very lethal shrapnel and vaporized crap coming out the other end.

All the same, people have brought up game balance, and I think it's also important. Gauss Rifles and most lasers/PPCs are already very strong weapons. On the other hand ACs and missiles are decidedly not so. Giving those weapons somewhat more damage against infantry is both a win for verisimilitude and for balance IMO.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 21:52:26 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #68 on: 19 November 2020, 22:34:51 »
Simply put, it's because a unit in a game must have some use, some value, some reason to be put on the board. Infantry and combat vehicles add variety to the game, which is an aspect to be valued, so..in game...they've been strengthened.

If this buff didn't occur, then battles would almost always be Mech vs Mech, vehicles would be even more of a glass cannon than they are and infantry would not be used because they wouldn't have any impact on the battle.

In universe, Mechs are king. If infantry was anywhere near as effective as they are in the board game, Mechs wouldn't exist. By the same token, if infantry were as ineffectual in the board game as it is in the BTU, there'd be no infantry.

Mech scale weapons would devastate anyone in the same hex. Shockwaves, sound, shrapnel, etc would leave little standing. So, the power has been turned down to give infantry a chance.


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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #69 on: 19 November 2020, 22:44:13 »
The intent was to have there not be any guns that are highly effective against any unit type.

Except for the goddam plasma rifle.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #71 on: 19 November 2020, 23:47:20 »

Also, how are you getting 2338.27 square meters? I thought BT hexes were 30 meters across, not 30 meters to a side? Assuming that it is 30 meters across (in the sense that the center of one hex is 30 meters from the center of each adjacent hex), a hex is only about 780 square meters.
You may be right.  I was just thinking Hex=30m.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #72 on: 20 November 2020, 00:21:25 »
28 dudes scattered across 2338.27 square meters, most (if not all) prone or kneeling, often behind concealment (if not cover) is still a whole lot less likely to get shot up by one stream of rounds, even if it's sweeping across the hex, than those same 28 guys doing some kind of Napoleonic dress-and-cover.  That's my point.  Cannonshop seems to think that marching rank and file is the normal expectation.  To me that's "in the open" (really it's worse than that.  28 dudes doing 3-5 second rushes across a street is "in the open".  Marching in column is just suicide.).

I'm not really going to defend that point, because it's more or less incidental, and we don't have real world numbers on how well 28 men in full combat gear are going to cover 30 meters in ten seconds while finding enough cover at each end.

(1MP=30 meters in any direction, the baseline movement of foot infantry in Battletech).  UN-loaded men can do it in around 7 seconds. (but that's in tank tops and booty shorts with sneakers, on a prepared track, without having to hump gear.)

but I'll point out a few things that are also incidental:

Small Arms in Battletech are heavy. this is more or less the result of the original writers/developers for the roleplaying game aspect being my fellow americans and not understanding the relationship between Metric and English systems.  (hence, infantry rifle weights in kilograms that were straight port of equivalent weapons in pounds-the Federated Long Rifle is far too heavy!  It weighs as much as a BAR.)

Correcting that over and pretending the weights were dropped to something realistic...

that's something else for your 30 meter dash-they aren't just running all-out, they're doing it with rifles, ammo, and packs.

while still being able to fight.

if they were doing it in formations, then those are some healthy boys and girls, doing it in cover-and-move and it's bordering on olympic athlete levels of healthy.

which goes back to the core point I was making: Battletech isn't science fiction, it's science fiction flavored fantasy, the infantry rules aren't granular enough to account for people-scale things people scaled people would be doing, but instead it's abstracted averages.

Honestly for damage, the only ones they've been able to get completely right wrt infantry are AOE weapons and machine-guns, and that's only on the damage end.

but it's a balance issue there, too; infantry needs to be useful and dedicated anti-infantry designs need a role, so they set things up that way.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #73 on: 20 November 2020, 07:45:41 »
The intent was to have there not be any guns that are highly effective against any unit type.

Except for the goddam plasma rifle.

I wouldn't really call my proposed changes something that would make ACs "highly effective" against every unit type. ACs are one of the worse weapon categories in the game right now (not to the point of being useless, but definitely far from the best), so while their anti-mech and anti-vehicle effectiveness isn't poor per se, it's far from the best. Missiles are also hardly overpowered in any major way. So far as I can tell these changes would, at best, make them okay against everything.

And I want to reiterate that my proposed changes are hardly extreme. Instead of 1/10 damage against infantry in cover, ACs and missile launchers would do half (cluster weapons still need to roll on the table, and streaks probably behave like normal MLs against infantry).

That means that an AC/10 is still less effective than a machine gun against PBI (5 vs. 7 average), while being 24 times the weight and carrying way less ammo, in exchange for greatly increased range and better performance against non-infantry. I think that's a fair trade.

An AC/5 would only do 1 more damage against infantry than a PPC (3 vs. 2) while being a worse weapon in basically every other regard. I don't think the AC/5 turns into a murder machine here. The AC/2 is similar. Sure, it does more damage than it did before, but it's still only 1.

An AC/20 does 10 damage, which is about halfway between a machine gun and a flamer. But the weapon weighs 14 tons and only has 5 shots per ton, so I think that's still fair.

An LRM-5 kills two PBI on average, killing only one on a roll of 4 or less and killing 3 on a roll of 11+. Pretty good, but still hardly exceptional. An SRM basically kills one PBI per missile hit, which is nice, but I doubt this change would bring them out ahead of medium lasers.

Sure, a PBI platoon can be wiped out if a King Crab hits them with every weapon in its arsenal (pretty difficult since the range bands don't really lend themselves to that, and the LRM needs to roll a 9+ on the cluster table to actually pull it off). Is that really so bad? 
« Last Edit: 20 November 2020, 07:49:24 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #74 on: 20 November 2020, 16:45:18 »

Now on to the old-school mother of all weapons, the PPC. Looking into how these should work and the effects of accellerated protons on various materials the PPC has become a lot scarier in my mind. This loose conjecture is based on a muddle of information between particle effects and lightning strike details so please have your sodium intake significantly increased. 
     But relevant to our discussion if a PPC hit someone directly that individual is dead. There is no maybe, they are actually worse than dead because they are exploding with enough force to cause injury to others within possibly 50 feet. Now that 50 foot number relates to unarmored people in unprepared conditions, but even still the guy nearly shoulder to shoulder with him behind that wrecked tank is definitely out of action.
     On top of that wonderful effect there is also the magnetic corona around the beam. That is likely to be around 30 to 50 feet in diameter and is a massive force in itself. People exposed in that area suffer arhythmia, seizures, muscle spams potentially strong enough to break bones, and a host of other physiological effects that are massively debilitating. Now as awful as that all sounds it is apparently not commonly lethal, so we come back to guys out of the fight but not necessarily dead.
     But hold on! There's more! What if we shoot the ground behind the infantry group? Why would we do that? We would do that because the charged particles from the PPC's beam will charge and split particles in the ground which results in a big explosion! Now this explosion is coming out of the ground but because of the ionized channel the PPC created the blast is going to mostly focus back the way the beam came with something like a cone point of around 5cm and a cone base of around 30m (unexpectedly convenient, that). In this cone is going to be a whole lot of brief hell: heat, shrapnel, overpressure, and concussion. Altogether this can actually be lethal, but given the armor, training and other factors on the part of the infantry in question many will probably pull through. Just not likely in immediate fighting shape.
     So, yeah, PPCs should realistically do their full damage against infantry. Maybe more. But who wants the PPC to be even more the King of Kings?


Not really. The damage from a PPC is tied up in the momentum of the particles(mass x velocity squared, its mainly about velocity), not their charge. The streams are pretty tightly focused and there isn't a huge magnetic charge associated with the beams. They will produce some fun isotopes on the receiving end, but that's really something for the techs to worry themselves with. The damage resembles arc welding from a distance in the instances I've seen.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #75 on: 21 November 2020, 12:23:10 »
I wouldn't really call my proposed changes something that would make ACs "highly effective" against every unit type. ACs are one of the worse weapon categories in the game right now (not to the point of being useless, but definitely far from the best), so while their anti-mech and anti-vehicle effectiveness isn't poor per se, it's far from the best. Missiles are also hardly overpowered in any major way. So far as I can tell these changes would, at best, make them okay against everything.

And I want to reiterate that my proposed changes are hardly extreme. Instead of 1/10 damage against infantry in cover, ACs and missile launchers would do half (cluster weapons still need to roll on the table, and streaks probably behave like normal MLs against infantry).

That means that an AC/10 is still less effective than a machine gun against PBI (5 vs. 7 average), while being 24 times the weight and carrying way less ammo, in exchange for greatly increased range and better performance against non-infantry. I think that's a fair trade.

An AC/5 would only do 1 more damage against infantry than a PPC (3 vs. 2) while being a worse weapon in basically every other regard. I don't think the AC/5 turns into a murder machine here. The AC/2 is similar. Sure, it does more damage than it did before, but it's still only 1.

An AC/20 does 10 damage, which is about halfway between a machine gun and a flamer. But the weapon weighs 14 tons and only has 5 shots per ton, so I think that's still fair.

An LRM-5 kills two PBI on average, killing only one on a roll of 4 or less and killing 3 on a roll of 11+. Pretty good, but still hardly exceptional. An SRM basically kills one PBI per missile hit, which is nice, but I doubt this change would bring them out ahead of medium lasers.

Sure, a PBI platoon can be wiped out if a King Crab hits them with every weapon in its arsenal (pretty difficult since the range bands don't really lend themselves to that, and the LRM needs to roll a 9+ on the cluster table to actually pull it off). Is that really so bad?

I would say yes this is too much.  By a pretty substantial margin.

Yes the ACs and missiles will weight more than machine guns but with the extra versatility this grants added to the consideration that the main reason I'm mounting such weapons in the first place is not to engage infantry but tanks and mechs?  Flamers and Machine Guns just don't justify their weight anymore.  Not when I'd be better off putting that 1-1.5 tons into either upping a launcher to the next size or slapping an extra ton of ammo on for such weapons since now they are being used more often.*

Then this raises the question of why bother loading flechette or fragmentation specialty ammunition?**

There are more designs than many suspect that carry more than one ton of ammo per AC but I'd still argue with that performance and the fact that even AC-20s allow you to out range a rather substantial number of published infantry options, you're getting enough performance out of standard ammo that you're better off with standing back and making the extra trigger pulls.

*Now I grant the number of mechs and vehicles that use both an AC and a Machine gun/flammer is relatively small but it is substantial enough to be a consideration.  The number of mechs and vehicles that use missiles and machine guns/flammers is quite higher.  The point is that this is a level of versatility that only looks okay on the surface but once you stop to think about it the proposed changes start falling apart from a game balance perspective.

**I know I need to address Inferno ammunition separately.  Against standard infantry it is always going to be quite effective but with the proposed changes it becomes the only real alternative worth considering.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #76 on: 21 November 2020, 18:59:27 »
I would say yes this is too much.  By a pretty substantial margin.

Yes the ACs and missiles will weight more than machine guns but with the extra versatility this grants added to the consideration that the main reason I'm mounting such weapons in the first place is not to engage infantry but tanks and mechs?  Flamers and Machine Guns just don't justify their weight anymore.  Not when I'd be better off putting that 1-1.5 tons into either upping a launcher to the next size or slapping an extra ton of ammo on for such weapons since now they are being used more often.*

Then this raises the question of why bother loading flechette or fragmentation specialty ammunition?**

There are more designs than many suspect that carry more than one ton of ammo per AC but I'd still argue with that performance and the fact that even AC-20s allow you to out range a rather substantial number of published infantry options, you're getting enough performance out of standard ammo that you're better off with standing back and making the extra trigger pulls.

*Now I grant the number of mechs and vehicles that use both an AC and a Machine gun/flammer is relatively small but it is substantial enough to be a consideration.  The number of mechs and vehicles that use missiles and machine guns/flammers is quite higher.  The point is that this is a level of versatility that only looks okay on the surface but once you stop to think about it the proposed changes start falling apart from a game balance perspective.

**I know I need to address Inferno ammunition separately.  Against standard infantry it is always going to be quite effective but with the proposed changes it becomes the only real alternative worth considering.

Even assuming every shot hits, an AC shooting at infantry will take about half a ton of ammo to kill a standard platoon (An AC 5 needs exactly half a ton of hits, every other AC requires more than half). LRMs will need even more due to the cluster roll. Even expensive infantry platoons tend to be lower BV than the cheapest mechs, which will have a hard time standing up to half a ton of AC ammo hitting them.

Well, let's take an actual example and compare? Let's just say, an Archer. Quality heavy fire support mech with a focus on missiles. Each LRM-20 will kill about 7 troopers per hit, with four hits wiping out a standard platoon assuming the cluster rolls are more or less favorable. I'm discounting the lasers because they're no stronger than before and the Archer lacks the heat capacity to really manage them in combination with the missiles. So that's two rounds per platoon destroyed minimum, and the Archer will shoot itself dry after killing about 6 platoons. Again, that assumes no misses, and that the Archer has nothing more important to do.

By contrast a Stinger can kill platoons about as fast (14 damage average from the machine guns by themselves). With 100 salvos, the Stinger will basically never run out of ammo, even if it has to go multiple battles without a reload. It's more vulnerable while doing so, but it's also less than a quarter the BV (359 vs 1477), so you could field an entire lance of Stingers for the same "cost" as an Archer (the cost in C-bills would also be similar).

A Firestarter, less than half the BV of an Archer, can wipe out platoons in a single round without even firing most of its weapons (one flamer hit and two machine gun hits will kill the requisite 28 troopers on average, and the Firestarter has 4 flamers).

So a top-quality 70-ton LRM boat can break even with a mediocre 20-ton scout with two machine guns, and is outclassed by a 35-tonner anti-infantry/utility mech with flamers and MGs.

Honestly, MGs and Flamers could also do with improvements, but they're not exactly useless here, and avoiding buffs to weapons that need them to keep them in line with weapons that ALSO need buffs is, not great.
« Last Edit: 21 November 2020, 19:01:36 by Adastra »

monbvol

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #77 on: 21 November 2020, 19:28:13 »
Even assuming every shot hits, an AC shooting at infantry will take about half a ton of ammo to kill a standard platoon (An AC 5 needs exactly half a ton of hits, every other AC requires more than half). LRMs will need even more due to the cluster roll. Even expensive infantry platoons tend to be lower BV than the cheapest mechs, which will have a hard time standing up to half a ton of AC ammo hitting them.

Well, let's take an actual example and compare? Let's just say, an Archer. Quality heavy fire support mech with a focus on missiles. Each LRM-20 will kill about 7 troopers per hit, with four hits wiping out a standard platoon assuming the cluster rolls are more or less favorable. I'm discounting the lasers because they're no stronger than before and the Archer lacks the heat capacity to really manage them in combination with the missiles. So that's two rounds per platoon destroyed minimum, and the Archer will shoot itself dry after killing about 6 platoons. Again, that assumes no misses, and that the Archer has nothing more important to do.

By contrast a Stinger can kill platoons about as fast (14 damage average from the machine guns by themselves). With 100 salvos, the Stinger will basically never run out of ammo, even if it has to go multiple battles without a reload. It's more vulnerable while doing so, but it's also less than a quarter the BV (359 vs 1477), so you could field an entire lance of Stingers for the same "cost" as an Archer (the cost in C-bills would also be similar).

A Firestarter, less than half the BV of an Archer, can wipe out platoons in a single round without even firing most of its weapons (one flamer hit and two machine gun hits will kill the requisite 28 troopers on average, and the Firestarter has 4 flamers).

So a top-quality 70-ton LRM boat can break even with a mediocre 20-ton scout with two machine guns, and is outclassed by a 35-tonner anti-infantry/utility mech with flamers and MGs.

Honestly, MGs and Flamers could also do with improvements, but they're not exactly useless here, and avoiding buffs to weapons that need them to keep them in line with weapons that ALSO need buffs is, not great.

Except the problem is the Archer doesn't have to load up on specialty ammunition, one not found in Total Warfare I might add, and thanks to LRM range is close enough to immune to return fire from said infantry that it makes zero sense to send in a Stinger.  All while it can still go toe to toe with another Archer in the process.  Again all with standard loads and no optional rules that rely on the approval of others.

That's the problem for me.  I don't have to think.  I don't have to debate.  I don't have to reach for an anti-infantry specialist design either.  It may not be optimal but I can do all this at a level that is not good from a game balance perspective.

pat_hdx

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #78 on: 21 November 2020, 21:02:13 »
If you want to kill Infantry with an AC, pay the price and carry Flechette rounds.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #79 on: 21 November 2020, 21:52:36 »
Except the problem is the Archer doesn't have to load up on specialty ammunition, one not found in Total Warfare I might add, and thanks to LRM range is close enough to immune to return fire from said infantry that it makes zero sense to send in a Stinger.  All while it can still go toe to toe with another Archer in the process.  Again all with standard loads and no optional rules that rely on the approval of others.

That's the problem for me.  I don't have to think.  I don't have to debate.  I don't have to reach for an anti-infantry specialist design either.  It may not be optimal but I can do all this at a level that is not good from a game balance perspective.

I'm not really sure why having to rely on optional rules is a good thing, because you talk about it like it's a positive.

Also, it's not as if the Archer is some universal tool in this circumstance. Very fast units are just as hard to hit as before (VTOL and Savannah Master swarms will be infuriating). Its speed is nothing to write home about, it can't jump, its heat sinks aren't great, and up close its armament is mediocre (especially since half its medium lasers are rear-facing). Even against infantry, an Archer would be able kill something like 50-60 BV worth of PBI a turn, as little as 40 BV worth of basic auto rifle foot infantry (once again, assuming no misses). That's not exactly incredible performance. In a normal game with constrained maps, an equal BV of infantry will likely be able to close with an Archer before it can kill too many of them, especially since the Archer can't use both LRMs every turn without incurring heat penalties. Jump Laser Infantry (66 BV for a platoon, so 24 platoons to an Archer) seem like they could win on most maps.

Even in the published rules, an Archer could kill 8 soldiers per LRM salvo. So the damage boost wouldn't even double its efficacy, just bring it up to a level where it actually makes sense.

monbvol

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #80 on: 22 November 2020, 00:59:19 »
I'm not really sure why having to rely on optional rules is a good thing, because you talk about it like it's a positive.

Also, it's not as if the Archer is some universal tool in this circumstance. Very fast units are just as hard to hit as before (VTOL and Savannah Master swarms will be infuriating). Its speed is nothing to write home about, it can't jump, its heat sinks aren't great, and up close its armament is mediocre (especially since half its medium lasers are rear-facing). Even against infantry, an Archer would be able kill something like 50-60 BV worth of PBI a turn, as little as 40 BV worth of basic auto rifle foot infantry (once again, assuming no misses). That's not exactly incredible performance. In a normal game with constrained maps, an equal BV of infantry will likely be able to close with an Archer before it can kill too many of them, especially since the Archer can't use both LRMs every turn without incurring heat penalties. Jump Laser Infantry (66 BV for a platoon, so 24 platoons to an Archer) seem like they could win on most maps.

Even in the published rules, an Archer could kill 8 soldiers per LRM salvo. So the damage boost wouldn't even double its efficacy, just bring it up to a level where it actually makes sense.

I do not consider optional rules inherently 'positive' or 'negative'.  I've just had too many of these arguments where invariably the other side eventually relies on them as in play to make their point.  So I made the point that with standard rules and standard ammunition loadouts enough mechs are getting significant enough boosts that it really raises questions about why I need dedicated anti-infantry units.

You're the one who chose the Archer, not me.  I just went with it to minimize variables.

Is it the poster child to show how much your proposed changes actually change the dynamic?  I'd say no.  It is actually pretty tame in that regard.  It is fair enough it's prime advantage against infantry in either rule set is it's potential to out range infantry.

To select another mech that still isn't a poster child but shows how it does go too far I'll reach for the 4R Enforcer.  Now sure it has that Large Laser but let's ignore it for now.  The AC-10 under your proposal does require 3-6 successful shots to eliminate a 28 man platoon depending on if they are in the open or not.  Now at the upper end of 6 that is most of the Enforcer's very limited ammunition supply.  But compared to before it only could do that if you use fractional ammunition load rules from Tac Ops and well it certainly makes me feel way more confident about just staying with standard ammo.

Especially when Flechette would still require 2 shots against a 28 man platoon in the open.  3 if they're not in a building of some sort.  Which compares a little too favorably to the lower end 3 of your proposal for just sticking with standard loads.

Which is my point.  Yes the specialty ammunition and specialist designs may still be better but the margin between them and your proposed revisions is too tight, especially if my opponent is using combined arms.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #81 on: 22 November 2020, 01:23:22 »
I do not consider optional rules inherently 'positive' or 'negative'.  I've just had too many of these arguments where invariably the other side eventually relies on them as in play to make their point.  So I made the point that with standard rules and standard ammunition loadouts enough mechs are getting significant enough boosts that it really raises questions about why I need dedicated anti-infantry units.

You're the one who chose the Archer, not me.  I just went with it to minimize variables.

Is it the poster child to show how much your proposed changes actually change the dynamic?  I'd say no.  It is actually pretty tame in that regard.  It is fair enough it's prime advantage against infantry in either rule set is it's potential to out range infantry.

To select another mech that still isn't a poster child but shows how it does go too far I'll reach for the 4R Enforcer.  Now sure it has that Large Laser but let's ignore it for now.  The AC-10 under your proposal does require 3-6 successful shots to eliminate a 28 man platoon depending on if they are in the open or not.  Now at the upper end of 6 that is most of the Enforcer's very limited ammunition supply.  But compared to before it only could do that if you use fractional ammunition load rules from Tac Ops and well it certainly makes me feel way more confident about just staying with standard ammo.

Especially when Flechette would still require 2 shots against a 28 man platoon in the open.  3 if they're not in a building of some sort.  Which compares a little too favorably to the lower end 3 of your proposal for just sticking with standard loads.

Which is my point.  Yes the specialty ammunition and specialist designs may still be better but the margin between them and your proposed revisions is too tight, especially if my opponent is using combined arms.

Could always adjust Flechette ammo, too. Could roll it and Flak into a single ammunition type; the mechanisms of action are very similar (AHEAD and airburst ammo IRL are essentially both flak and anti-personnel fragmentation rounds). I think that would give the new combined ammo enough utility to be worth packing. Alternatively, flechette ammo could give a to-hit bonus vs infantry, or ignore/mitigate range modifiers.

Basically, once we have a new baseline, yes, other things need to be adjusted, but that can still be worth doing.
« Last Edit: 22 November 2020, 01:25:02 by Adastra »

monbvol

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #82 on: 22 November 2020, 01:50:57 »
Could always adjust Flechette ammo, too. Could roll it and Flak into a single ammunition type; the mechanisms of action are very similar (AHEAD and airburst ammo IRL are essentially both flak and anti-personnel fragmentation rounds). I think that would give the new combined ammo enough utility to be worth packing. Alternatively, flechette ammo could give a to-hit bonus vs infantry, or ignore/mitigate range modifiers.

Basically, once we have a new baseline, yes, other things need to be adjusted, but that can still be worth doing.

To be fair this thread does give me conflicting feelings.  I do maintain Total Warfare went too far in improving infantry over where they used to be.  Especially since I myself have floated similar ideas about just combining Flechette and Flak.  It just makes a lot of sense and wouldn't even be that hard to work out a game balanced final form.

But what you just said there is what worries me the most about your proposals.  The cascading changes.  Once I see that I know things are already out of hand and I knew they were coming with how tight the margins were from your proposals versus rules as written.

Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #83 on: 22 November 2020, 11:24:15 »
To be fair this thread does give me conflicting feelings.  I do maintain Total Warfare went too far in improving infantry over where they used to be.  Especially since I myself have floated similar ideas about just combining Flechette and Flak.  It just makes a lot of sense and wouldn't even be that hard to work out a game balanced final form.

But what you just said there is what worries me the most about your proposals.  The cascading changes.  Once I see that I know things are already out of hand and I knew they were coming with how tight the margins were from your proposals versus rules as written.

Well, nothing wrong with hard work. Conceptualizing, discussing, and refining is what it's all about, that and hopefully coming up with something better than what you started with. And unlike CGL, I don't have a time crunch or more pressing things to do, and don't have to consider the business implications of constant errata.

We have the notable advantage that Autocannons and missiles aren't coming from a particularly strong position balance-wise, and our ceiling is stuff like the Medium Laser and the Gauss rifle. That gives us some margin. Ideally, I'd like to work on every weapon to try to bring them about to the level of those powerhouses (perhaps with some minor nerfs to the top weapons).

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #84 on: 24 November 2020, 19:20:02 »
Oh man an ammo type that combined the benefits of flak and flechette ammo into a single ammo type would be good.  I think frag is missile so that wouldn't combine also but I forget. 

But to have an ammo for shooting at mechs and tanks, and an ammo for shooting everything else would be nice.  The rare times that it is helpful to bring something to shoot at PBI or Aeros or even clear woods, it would be nice to just have a single ammo that fired sharp shards instead of HEAT rounds to do all the sub work.   

It would also be nice if there was an extension to the handheld weapons rules where you could pick up an external ammo feed pack, and plug it into the outside of your cannon and fire that specialty ammo, then when the real fighting starts you drop it and fire the AP stuff.   

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #85 on: 25 November 2020, 13:43:40 »
Flak already does pretty solid damage to infantry, doesn't it?  More is always better, granted.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #86 on: 25 November 2020, 13:48:41 »
Flak already does pretty solid damage to infantry, doesn't it?  More is always better, granted.

No.  Flak is rather lackluster against PBIs.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #87 on: 25 November 2020, 13:52:24 »
Quote
Flak ammo only inflicts half the normal damage on all targets except moving VTOLs and Fighters (AeroSpace and Conventional), WiGEs and conventional infantry.
Full damage is lackluster?  It's still better than standard rounds by a longshot, isn't it?
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #88 on: 25 November 2020, 14:45:15 »
Full damage is lackluster?  It's still better than standard rounds by a longshot, isn't it?

No because that passage isn't telling you an AC-5 firing Flak rounds eliminates 5 infantry, it is telling you that it still does 5 damage then must go through the conversion process as per a ballistic cluster round.

If it really killed 5 infantry rules as written there would be zero need for Flechette.

Arkansas Warrior

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #89 on: 25 November 2020, 19:58:47 »
Ah.  I’ve been reading that wrong.  Good thing I’m mostly a fluff fan and rarely get to actually play on the tabletop.


But also, they really should combine flak and flechette.  They’re pretty similar in concept already, both being a burst of small, high-velocity shrapnel instead of anti-armor shells.
« Last Edit: 25 November 2020, 20:01:11 by Arkansas Warrior »
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #90 on: 25 November 2020, 20:27:41 »
I'll second that.  Both are highly situational, having one ammo type that's good against both infantry and things that fly isn't going to break autocannons.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #91 on: 26 November 2020, 10:59:27 »
I'll second that.  Both are highly situational, having one ammo type that's good against both infantry and things that fly isn't going to break autocannons.

agreed, lets just call it "shredder" ammo ... would that kind of steal from LBX though? (albeit, LBX's are lighter for the most part and have a better range)
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #92 on: 26 November 2020, 11:54:30 »
agreed, lets just call it "shredder" ammo ... would that kind of steal from LBX though? (albeit, LBX's are lighter for the most part and have a better range)

LB-X Cluster I think still has enough advantages to make a case for itself.  -3 against VTOLs, -1 against all other targets, still does full damage against armored targets, and crit seeks quite a bit better.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #93 on: 26 November 2020, 23:13:06 »
And LB-X autocannons have better range and lower heat.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #94 on: 26 November 2020, 23:40:25 »
well good, it'll give standard AC's another stop gap upgrade if we could combine (or house rule) that that ammo type would be equally good at AA and PBI duties.  And it wouldn't really step on any LBX toes.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #95 on: 27 November 2020, 16:38:42 »
Deleted because I was replying to the wrong post 😅
« Last Edit: 27 November 2020, 16:43:25 by Challenger »

Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #96 on: 28 November 2020, 00:14:20 »
well good, it'll give standard AC's another stop gap upgrade if we could combine (or house rule) that that ammo type would be equally good at AA and PBI duties.  And it wouldn't really step on any LBX toes.

Yeah, as much as I'd love to see ACs being brought into line with other weapons, that's not happening any time soon. That's why I like these sorts of changes. They help out AC mechs without having to change up record sheets, and it helps the world make more sense, which is generally nice. ACs can kill infantry alright, but still get a lot of benefit from specialty ammo (in this case Anti-Air/Infantry).

Chance are most of the other specialty AC ammo types (Precision, AP mainly) should maintain their existing damage, though. being solid shots or rocket-guided projectiles ought to come with some penalty to raw potential against unarmored targets
« Last Edit: 28 November 2020, 00:31:33 by Adastra »