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Author Topic: What are your thoughts on Heat Sink Coolant Failure rule in TacOps?  (Read 3240 times)

abou

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I came across this rule in TacOps on page 105.  It seems like a neat concept that goes a way to making the game match the fiction.  I think it has a lot of potential to add intensity to the game as well as giving coolant trucks a greater role if they're available.  It would also make fighting in desert environments just that more daunting.  I'm tempted to try using this rule -- especially in Succession War-era play.

My questions are whether any of you have tried it and what your thoughts are.  I do worry about whether adding another rule, another die role, and another factor to track slows the game down.  I love BattleTech, but let's be honest with ourselves: the game can be slow if not everyone is as familiar with the rules as they should be.

vidar

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I love it.  At scussestion wars era it makes running out for long times a bad idea, for clan invasion it can take the intensity down a peg or two. 

epic

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I love it too.  It's absolutely great for SW era play. 

I will say it DOES slow down play a bit - for more than one reason.  The extra dice roll is not that big of a deal, because it's only for mechs with higher heat. 

However, especially in SW era play, losing that extra point of heat means that the other guy is going to start limiting their fire even more.  This means that they're inflicting less damage per round...

Also: it makes fire even more appealing... Thus... we had a problem with players wanting to burn down entire forests.  A lot.
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abou

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Cool.  I'll have to give it a try then when I get the chance and see how it goes.

skiltao

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It seems like a neat concept that goes a way to making the game match the fiction. 

It tries to make coolant trucks more useful by penalizing momentary bursts of overheating, but coolant trucks are supposed to be about endurance matches and sustaining regular levels of underheating. I have not played the rule; if I'm going to screw with heat and firing patterns, then I'd much rather have something that penalizes alpha-babies at least equally well.

I'm not sure if it enhances or detracts from the 3025 vibe, though, so I will be curious to hear how your try goes.
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wundergoat

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I think it is a neat idea, but it hits TSM machines pretty hard.  On the other hand, it also gives those types of mechs a reason to not always run the TSM.

Paul

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If you want to use those rules, it might be an idea to roll up a bunch of 2d6 rolls ahead of time, and record them on a list.
Then whenever someone is over 5 heat, check off one of those 2d6 results from the list, and apply the result (if any).
If you don't have a GM, each side makes a list for their opponent.

Paul


SandMan

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Don't like it, as it completely changes game balance.  Flashbulbs and TSM users get hit hard, while cool-runners see no impact.  Band-aid fix would be to give a BV adjustment to hot 'Mechs.

Paul

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I don't think the intent of the rule is to act as a 'balance', it's intended to add another layer to gameplay for the people interested in it.

Paul

SandMan

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Intentional or not, it gimps certain designs while having no effect on others.  Designs built around TSM (notably, big guys with hatchets) go from a unique role to an extremely questionable design choice.  Naturally, you're free to play with whatever rules you like, but at my table we prefer rules like Glancing Blows, which make life more interesting for everybody.

epic

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Intentional or not, it gimps certain designs while having no effect on others.  Designs built around TSM (notably, big guys with hatchets) go from a unique role to an extremely questionable design choice.  Naturally, you're free to play with whatever rules you like, but at my table we prefer rules like Glancing Blows, which make life more interesting for everybody.
It only really gimps them after a few rounds... which, in my experience, after a few rounds of being in close range of a TSM hatchet, the battle is usually over anyways.

It does mean that flashbulbs are a little nerfed - note, a little.  The impact it has - gaining 1 or more heat extra a round assuming you continuously run hot - is only noticeable in a very long game. 
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niall78

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Like a lot of tac-ops rules it is great for fluff role-play games and not great in competitive BV based games as it breaks the BV system.

abou

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Paul, the pre-rolled dice are a good idea.  Something I'll give a try.

I'm not really concerned about "gimping" machines with mostly energy weapons.  They already have the distinct advantage of not carrying ammunition.  Besides, this makes the AC/5 more viable in Succession War play.  It also prevents the annoying tactic of alpha striking, which is usually done by the worst player on the board... who usually misses, overheats, shuts down, and then gets shot to pieces by everyone else.

Now to just set up some scenarios on some hot, desert planets.

Hermes IIs and Dragons for everyone!

Paul

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Another thought I had: instead of using the rules as-is, instead resolve them based on how much heat is *generated* in a turn.
For example:
Hellstar. You ran and fired 4 ERPPCs that turn. 62 heat. You roll on the table, but with a +8 modifier. This is at least 10, so it loses 1 heat capacity, starting the next Heat Phase. Heat for the Hellstar then drops back down to 2.
Next turn, run, and alphastrike, you now have 62 + 2 = 64 heat to compare to the table.

Dragon, vanilla 1N. Fires all forward-mounted weapons and runs. 10 heat. Roll with a +0 modifier. You're unlucky and roll a 10. Heat capacity drops by 1 next turn. Also means that if you fire and run the next two turns, heat can have climbed to 11 when you roll; a +1 modifier.

If you use this change, you should ponder bumping the target number to 12 or some such; rolling a 10 or higher is a 1 in 6 chance, which is rather high. And the vast majority of 'Mech routinely generate 5-20 heat in combat.
Another modification to ponder is a -2 modifier to the roll if the heatsinks are Double strength. -3 for Clan, if you're feeling generous. Most DHS designs push heat that'll have them failing rolls almost every turn otherwise...
But maybe that's desirable. =)

Do note that just running around, and even modest Jump Jet usage wouldn't require a roll.

Paul

abou

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Paul, I'm not quite sure I follow.  Do you mean to say that your alternate rule is to use the absolute heat generated without factoring in the dissipation by heat sinks?

For example the stock 3025 Phoenix Hawk that jumps and fires his large laser.  The way I interpreted the rule is that with 10 functioning heat sinks, the End Phase heat level would be a 4; thus not needing to role on the failure table.  But if I understand what you're saying, you would want the player to role with a +1 modifier because the absolute heat generated would be 14.

Jimmy B

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The Heat Sink rule is for Mechs that run HOT. It would not use heat generated to determine the roll.
It would use the excessive heat left over after accounting for Heat Sinks.

In a TSM Mech, it has no negative affects for being over by a certain amount.
So you would only roll based on excessive heat over that amount.

The key to this rule is EXCESSIVE Heat.
James B. Hill Jr. aka Beatleguise
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Paul

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Paul, I'm not quite sure I follow.  Do you mean to say that your alternate rule is to use the absolute heat generated without factoring in the dissipation by heat sinks?

For example the stock 3025 Phoenix Hawk that jumps and fires his large laser.  The way I interpreted the rule is that with 10 functioning heat sinks, the End Phase heat level would be a 4; thus not needing to role on the failure table.  But if I understand what you're saying, you would want the player to role with a +1 modifier because the absolute heat generated would be 14.

Exactly. That way, 'freezer' units would also suffer. Usually soon.
But hence also the need to adjust the TN, and possibly apply modifiers for DHS.


The Heat Sink rule is for Mechs that run HOT. It would not use heat generated to determine the roll.
It would use the excessive heat left over after accounting for Heat Sinks.

I know. I'm proposing an alternative. One that's a bit more logical, since it looks at actual utilization of the heat sink system, rather than merely overages. Excessive ambient (well, ambient to a 'Mech's interior) temperature shouldn't be able to permanently reduce the heat management capacity.
For it to be permanent, and for it to be solved with a flush, the suggestion seems to be that the coolant somehow degrades when exposed to high heat for 10 seconds. Bizarre, to say the least. Coolant is a medium to move heat around, to make it such that heat degrades it is idiotic. The only reason not to use water (beyond a need to treat said water to eliminate scaling and biological growth) is if your target temperatures and pressures dont align with the boiling point of water at those pressures.


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In a TSM Mech, it has no negative affects for being over by a certain amount.
So you would only roll based on excessive heat over that amount.

Actually, for TSM 'Mechs, using the existing Tac Ops rules, you have to roll at a +0 every turn. Which means every 6th turn(on average) you're warm, you lose heat capacity.

Paul

abou

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That seems a bit harsh for me, Paul.  I see why you came up with the alternative, but I guess I would rather count units with DHS as lucky.

Paul

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That seems a bit harsh for me, Paul.  I see why you came up with the alternative, but I guess I would rather count units with DHS as lucky.

Sure, no harm in that.


skiltao

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It's not as harsh as it seems, Abou; even if a DHS unit were guaranteed to lose 1 heat point every turn, that 1 heat point isn't as valuable (I'd even say less than half as valuable) to the DHS unit as 1 heat point would be to a SHS unit.

Exactly. That way, 'freezer' units would also suffer. Usually soon.
But hence also the need to adjust the TN, and possibly apply modifiers for DHS.


I know. I'm proposing an alternative. One that's a bit more logical, since it looks at actual utilization of the heat sink system, rather than merely overages. Excessive ambient (well, ambient to a 'Mech's interior) temperature shouldn't be able to permanently reduce the heat management capacity.
For it to be permanent, and for it to be solved with a flush, the suggestion seems to be that the coolant somehow degrades when exposed to high heat for 10 seconds.

It would make sense (and adjust your TNs downward), then, to ignore the "overage" entirely and base the roll on only the heat dissipated. I had similar thoughts back when I was blogging my read-through of TacOps.

On a more tangential note, this (along with the other heatscale avoidance rolls) are the exact same set of pilot actions that TacOps' "Rerouting Heat Sink Coolant" rule tries to emulate.

On another tangential note, the way the coolant failure table is set up (with roll modifiers instead of TNs) kinda makes the rule look like it was meant for a more RPG-oriented framework.
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Paul

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It would make sense (and adjust your TNs downward), then, to ignore the "overage" entirely and base the roll on only the heat dissipated. I had similar thoughts back when I was blogging my read-through of TacOps.

Yeah, that actually is even more logical than my idea.
Not sure I like the 'rolling at each level' though, that seems harsh?
I guess it would allow for varying rates of degradation; the hotter you run your 'Mech, the swifter it loses cooling capacity. I think I'd prefer to keep the # of rolls down, this rule already adds more overhead. Maybe use MOF on the roll to determine heat capacity loss, IE, every 3 MOF (round up) is one point reduced.



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On a more tangential note, this (along with the other heatscale avoidance rolls) are the exact same set of pilot actions that TacOps' "Rerouting Heat Sink Coolant" rule tries to emulate.

Heh!


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On another tangential note, the way the coolant failure table is set up (with roll modifiers instead of TNs) kinda makes the rule look like it was meant for a more RPG-oriented framework.

Well, it does seem a little cumbersome to use unless you have only a small number of 'Mechs around. That's probable in an RPG setting.

Paul


skiltao

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Yeah, rolling at each level is a pain, but I really wanted the potential for losing multiple points at once, and I was trying to get rid of extra math. You're probably right about MOF/3 being the better way to go.

Well, it does seem a little cumbersome to use unless you have only a small number of 'Mechs around. That's probable in an RPG setting.

Not to mention that "Base TN=10" is also characteristic of the RPG. That, along with a couple other oddities scattered around, kinda make it look like an abortive Solaris Dueling ruleset got folded into TacOps. ...If we want to get more into that we should probably start a new thread though.
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