Author Topic: I need help designing a scenario  (Read 650 times)

Phantom000

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I need help designing a scenario
« on: 10 January 2024, 11:52:38 »
When me and my group play Battletech we like to have one player as a sort of game master running the scenario against the other players who each control their own mechs.

I want to design a scenario where a lance 2-3 mechs working together against a custom Charger (it has 12 double heat sinks, 1 ER-PPC and 1 hatchet, everything else is armor and engine). I want this to be an even fight but as long as the players work together, if they try to go one-on-one they will get crushed.

So what kind of mechs would you recommend for a scenario like this?

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #1 on: 10 January 2024, 12:13:40 »
What speed will the Charger be?  Because the big issue here is that a balanced fight from a firepower basis is going to be three fairly small ’Mechs so the Charger's PPC can be a threat to them.  And if the Charger is too slow then the smaller mechs will just be able to stay away from the hatchet, especially as any turn where they win initiative the Charger will be have to move before them.
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Phantom000

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #2 on: 10 January 2024, 13:19:10 »
What speed will the Charger be?  Because the big issue here is that a balanced fight from a firepower basis is going to be three fairly small ’Mechs so the Charger's PPC can be a threat to them.  And if the Charger is too slow then the smaller mechs will just be able to stay away from the hatchet, especially as any turn where they win initiative the Charger will be have to move before them.

It's movement is 5/8/5, aside from those 2 weapons its all engines and armor.

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #3 on: 10 January 2024, 14:01:15 »
OK, so looking at a Charger-1A1, changing the engine to XL and movement to 5/8/5, switching to double heat sinks, swapping out all weapons for a PPC and a Hatchet and maxing armour... and you're 5 tons underweight.  So you can add some more weapons or other equipment but even then the issue is more that this Charger isn't going to be a huge threat to players who know their stuff. 

Problem 1 is that it can only do a maximum of 26 points of damage spready across 2 phases, and it relies on getting adjacent to an enemy to do 16 of that.  The only way this Charger can generate a piloting skill roll in an enemy is if it kicks, which does the same amount of damage ass the hatchet and if it does that it can't use the hatchet. 

Problem 2 is that if you use BV to balance, then as it stands this Charger has a BV of 1780 which means you're looking at 3 mechs with a BV around 600 to fight against it. These units tend to be very low armour so a 10-point hit from a PPC is going to hurt, and a kick or hatchet attack will ruin one, but they're also very fast, they can almost all generate a +3 movement modifier, if not +4.  With gunnery 4, if you walk and your target gets a +3 movement and they're at short range with no cover, then you need an 8 to hit.  Which isn't too bad but it's less than a 50% chance to hit and you only get one attack.  And that's if you walk and they're not in woods or partial cover.  Most of these mechs have more than one weapon and will be attacking at short or medium range - if you walk to keep your movement mod that's down that's a max of +2 if you go 5 forward.  Assume gunnery 4 and they ran to keep the movement mod up, then that's 8 to hit at short range or 10 at medium with no cover.  Which works in your favour but most stock designs in that range will have multiple weapons, and therefore attack rolls they can play the odds and score hits. 

Problem 3 is that because the smaller mechs will have superior manoeuvrability, they'll define the engagement range.  Unless you deliberately hobble the enemy units' movement to allow the Charger to catch up with them, so you'll never get to do a physical attack unless they let you do it.  If they lose initiative they run or jump away.  If you lose initiative they can choose how close they get. Expect them to get into your rear arc a lot and if one gets right behind you you'll have to choose between torso twisting to get your PPC or hatchet into arc.

Ultimately a game like this will end up being kinda frustrating, because the safe way for the smaller mechs to play will be to hide until they can do effective slashing attacks against the Charger, limiting the ability for it to hit at all in return. And because the Charger has like 247 armour points, it's going to take a long time to do it in.
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Daryk

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #4 on: 10 January 2024, 18:34:45 »
The light 'mechs will want rolling map boards too... maneuverability is always restricted in a phone booth...

Mechman08

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #5 on: 10 January 2024, 20:17:24 »
Is the scenario objective just to kill the opposing mechs?  Because a customized hatchet wielding Charger screams bounty hunter, hit man, or pissed off Solaris gladiator looking to extract his pound of flesh to me.

As Gamemaster, do you have the maps picked out ahead of time?  If yes, I’d set up two map sheets long-ways, place a few buildings at the far end, then nestle a grounded VTOL in among them.  Charger’s goal is to blast the VTOL before it can take off and extract a VIP (for instance, some noble with infirm health, so they need time to load his life support up).  Work out how many turns it would take without interference to get the Charger into position to take the shot (say, 6 turns), then double that.  If the Charger can’t get the VIP before time is up, he flies off.

The opposing lance would be lights BV balanced against the Charger, acting as body guards.  They don’t have to KILL the Charger, but they do need to get in the way enough to prevent it from hitting its mark.  This way both sides are fighting the clock, and can’t really afford to skirmish much.

idea weenie

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #6 on: 12 January 2024, 21:50:44 »
If the Charger has the 5 tons available (thanks Lorcan) and will only get rare shots, how about taking the risk of using a PPC Capacitor?  ER-PPC every turn will be 10-10-10-10, but thanks to the Capacitor it can be 15-0-15-0.  If Light Mechs want to hide then the Capacitor can just be charged up that turn instead of the ERPPC firing.

It will give the light Mechs a fun choice of "who wants to get shot at first with the headcapper, so the rest of us can engage ~safely?"

This does leave 4 tons, so perhaps tossing in a Light PPC with another PPC Capacitor would be fun.

gwaedin

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #7 on: 13 January 2024, 13:35:50 »
May I suggest to consider the Individual Initiative rules?
I think that in this situation having each unit rolling on its own makes the fight more interesting, as the playing order will be more balanced and random as opposed to the Charger moving either first or last (and with the light 'Mech player not knowing which of its own units will move before or after the Charger).

Charistoph

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #8 on: 17 February 2024, 23:47:41 »
May I suggest to consider the Individual Initiative rules?
I think that in this situation having each unit rolling on its own makes the fight more interesting, as the playing order will be more balanced and random as opposed to the Charger moving either first or last (and with the light 'Mech player not knowing which of its own units will move before or after the Charger).

We often use the Initiative cards or simple face cards for situations like that.  Just include the Charger in to that equation, and people can't complain so long as you don't have a card shark who can stack the deck while shuffling.
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DevianID

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #9 on: 18 February 2024, 05:12:51 »
So for 'bad guys' i give them an AI.  The players know my AI, so they can game it on purpose, make plans, ECT.

I use individual initiative, and if the bad guy has to move first they make the most defensive move they can that gives better shots.  So the charger will run 7+ or jump 5 in woods, whichever is the most defensive, while getting closer or in better position to shoot as a secondary concern... Thus they will jump to the closer heavy woods, instead of the heavy woods farther from the player.

If the bad guy doesn't lose initiative, it must move towards someone who has moved already, whomever they can get the best shots on.  So if only a spider has moved with 3 marauders still waiting, the bad guy must move into the best range possible of the spider
  This may mean not moving at all if they can't close to melee and the spider is within 7, as thats already the best range possible with stationary for +0.  You can, if you lose init, force the enemy to show its back to your team if you move behind it for example, in a position it has to move to get you in arc by turning around.  Its not easy to force the enemy to show its back, what with torso twists and backwards movement, so if the players set it up they earn it, cause of the AI rules.  No GM "well the charger goes prone this turn so no one can shoot", as while that might be smart, its not fun for the players who now can't participate in the game for like 5 turns.

When it comes time to shoot, the bad guys must shoot their lowest numbers.  So if the spider need's 8s to be hit, and that will kill the spider, a heavier mech stepping up that the bad guy needs 7s to hit will "draw agro".  By the players knowing how to manage aggro by presenting the lower TMM/to hits, you avoid the very real issue of a GM wisely focusing down 1 unit at a time.  Focusing 1 person down is feels bad for a multiperson scenario, so with my aggro rules the players are expected to juggle the enemy.

This means you can feel free to make the charger pretty deadly, like a 1/1 nasty piece of work, and as long as the players are playing smart their team of medium mechs/low end heavies/high end lights can win without you killing people too fast.
« Last Edit: 18 February 2024, 05:18:12 by DevianID »

idea weenie

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #10 on: 18 February 2024, 17:16:41 »
So for 'bad guys' i give them an AI.  The players know my AI, so they can game it on purpose, make plans, ECT.

I use individual initiative, and if the bad guy has to move first they make the most defensive move they can that gives better shots.  So the charger will run 7+ or jump 5 in woods, whichever is the most defensive, while getting closer or in better position to shoot as a secondary concern... Thus they will jump to the closer heavy woods, instead of the heavy woods farther from the player.

If the bad guy doesn't lose initiative, it must move towards someone who has moved already, whomever they can get the best shots on.  So if only a spider has moved with 3 marauders still waiting, the bad guy must move into the best range possible of the spider
  This may mean not moving at all if they can't close to melee and the spider is within 7, as thats already the best range possible with stationary for +0.  You can, if you lose init, force the enemy to show its back to your team if you move behind it for example, in a position it has to move to get you in arc by turning around.  Its not easy to force the enemy to show its back, what with torso twists and backwards movement, so if the players set it up they earn it, cause of the AI rules.  No GM "well the charger goes prone this turn so no one can shoot", as while that might be smart, its not fun for the players who now can't participate in the game for like 5 turns.

When it comes time to shoot, the bad guys must shoot their lowest numbers.  So if the spider need's 8s to be hit, and that will kill the spider, a heavier mech stepping up that the bad guy needs 7s to hit will "draw agro".  By the players knowing how to manage aggro by presenting the lower TMM/to hits, you avoid the very real issue of a GM wisely focusing down 1 unit at a time.  Focusing 1 person down is feels bad for a multiperson scenario, so with my aggro rules the players are expected to juggle the enemy.

This means you can feel free to make the charger pretty deadly, like a 1/1 nasty piece of work, and as long as the players are playing smart their team of medium mechs/low end heavies/high end lights can win without you killing people too fast.

One bit of fun for your 'AI', include a slight bit of randomness into it.  So the Charger might not run at full 7+, but instead pull a different maneuver.  Instead of shooting at the one unit with the lowest to-be-hit, the d6 roll came up '1' so the Charger shoots at the weaker unit behind the unit drawing aggro.

This won't happen that often, but it will be enough to keep the players on their toes to watch out for a potential weakness in your force, instead of always fighting 'robots'.

DevianID

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Re: I need help designing a scenario
« Reply #11 on: 19 February 2024, 02:37:42 »
Yeah, to be fair my AI isnt perfect, but having seen Aces played where every turn its something different, ill say consistency is better then randomness.  Now, you did mention a 1 out of 6, so honestly its fine to do that cause it wont be too chaotic in that case.  However, a big part of the consistency is to get the players purposefully taking 'gamey' actions to beat opfor so that no player gets murdered turn 2.  Id feel bad if the Charger rolled a 1 for example, and shot the least armored player after the players purposefully moved to shield the damaged player mech by presenting a lower TN.  Now that player is just out of the game not due to a decision made but an AI roll. 

Such randomness would be great in a solo or multiple units per player setup though.  This way you could get surprised by the random AI and lose some units, but its ok because you have more then 1 unit so you arnt out of the game yet.  Aces on the other hand, where its fully random, well the mechs tend to pace back and forth, as each turn every unit does something different just to undo their action next turn with a different random AI imperative.  The AI doesnt have a direction/gameplay like my set AI does.  I even got the store owner using a version of the AI in his games, and in his games instead of the enemy units that lose init making the most defensive move, they make the most offensive move to get the most targets in the best range as possible before seeing their movement.  It does shake up how the opfor plays a bit, but more importantly the AI opfor for both him and me is constantly advancing towards players who lost init, getting as close as possible to hammer anyone that sticks out too much.  The AI has an overall direction (right to the players pretty aggressively) so it can make progress on the board UNLESS specific player actions are taken to kite it.  The opfor's overall heading being determined prevents the 'pacing back and forth' ive seen in the more random Aces footage.