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Author Topic: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules  (Read 9355 times)

milesteg

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Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« on: 08 June 2012, 10:13:14 »
Recent discussions about the virtues of energy weapons versus ammunition-based weapons (again) sparked a rules discussion between my brother and I (his forum name is beyond.wudge) about how ammunition explosions could be rebalanced while staying true to BattleTech lore and the existing rules.  We had tried out house rules for an ammunition explosion table in a few games and found that it made a large difference to the survivability of ammunition-based Mech designs and their appeal in Mech vs Mech combat.  However, before I go into the rules in any detail, I think that it’s very useful to nail down the issues very specifically.

What is actually wrong?
Energy weapons are exceedingly consistent when compared to ammunition-based weapons as they cannot suffer catastrophic explosions that consume the Mech utterly.  You can overheat and while in a land of single heat sinks that can be a very big deal, overall the consistency of lightbulb Mechs can typically outweigh the benefits of ammunition-based weapons in Mech vs Mech games (it has already been extensively discussed in other threads how the addition of other units types can radically change this equation and I take that as a given).  In short, overheating is inconvenient whereas ammunition explosions are lethal.  Issues surrounding certain weapons (such as the weight of autocannons) only compound this underlying issue.

What are these rules trying to achieve?
These rules try to reduce the number of catastrophic (ie normal) ammunition explosions and make ammunitions explosions more fun overall.

How are these rules trying to achieve this objective?
The current rules operate as follows: A critical hit is achieved, this hit is randomly applied against an ammunition slot, all of the remaining ammunition in that slot explodes, your opponent smiles and you damn yourself for not playing Clans.  These rules only expand and modify what happens when the critical hit is randomly applied against the ammunition slot.  Rather than a critical hit always causing a massive explosion (if sans CASE), there are many types of damaging results that fill out the space between nothing happening, and everything (bad) happening to your Mech.

The rules do not change CASE, CASE II or the basic method for resolving ammunition explosions.  They simply affect the severity and frequency of these explosions once a critical hit has been inflicted.  Additionally, wherever possible, existing rules have been employed and then expanded upon rather than creating new rules at every point.  This is to make it easier for players to simply pick these rules up and plug them into their games (as opposed to reinventing the wheel).

Why is this change a good thing?
There are two reasons why you may wish to use these house rules in your game.  The first is simply game balance; you may wish to buff ammunition-based units so that they are a more attractive choice versus energy weapon Mechs in a competitive context.  The second reason is simply flavour.  While ammunition explosions are reduced, there are also a few truly catastrophic results that can make life even more interesting.  You may be a bit bored with the usual rules and want to try something a bit different.  Also, these rules make catastrophic ammunition explosions rarer, so they may actually become more fun (more or less; think of headcapping and the like for an analogy). 

How does this mesh with the existing fluff?
These rules strive to change as little as possible from a fluff perspective and ultimately, it could be argued that nothing has to change at all.  Instead, these rules can be seen as fleshing out things that simply haven’t been covered in the rules before and as such they don’t change things; they merely add to them.

There are three crucial fluff ideas that these rules rely upon.  First, it presumes that there is some sort of inherent system (or systems) that tries to prevent catastrophic ammunition explosions, whether through superior industrial design, sophisticated (but flawed) blow-out panels, internal armour or whatever else.  These systems are different to CASE in that CASE is a very specific system that is exceptionally reliable (Era Report 2750 has an excellent description of what CASE actually is and how it is more than blow-out panels, etc).  These systems don’t reach the CASE level of reliability or sophistication and that is why they have the random element.  The rules below represent how these systems may help with an ammo explosion, but won’t always prevent it.

These rules don’t replace CASE; they fill the gap between absolutely nothing and CASE.  They are designed to combine with CASE and CASE II seamlessly.  What CASE gets you is certainty that your Mech won’t asplode due to ammunition going off; these rules simply give you a chance to survive. These rules affect what happens when an ammunition slot suffers a critical hit; they don’t change what CASE does to mitigate ammunition explosions.

Secondly, these rules also conceive of an ammunition slot containing more than simply the ammo itself.  For example, the slot would also include the ammunition feed system that runs from that slot to all of the weapons that draw from it (expands on the notion of damaging the ammunition feed system in an individual weapon found on p76 TO, and applies it to the ammunition slot instead).  Furthermore, the slot would include any number of ancillary systems, armour and other components that may mitigate damage sustained in that area and may “get in the way” enough to stop the ammo itself from being hit and ignited.  As such, it would be possible to damage the slot and not necessarily cause the ammo to explode, just like the advanced rules for critical damage in TO represent that a weapon could take a critical hit and still possibly function, albeit in a reduced manner.  However, such damage would probably make a catastrophic explosion more likely.

Thirdly, these rules presume that certain types of ammunition are more (or less) volatile than the norm and this is reflected in modifiers that apply to the chance of a catastrophic explosion.  For example, infernos are very unstable, while MG ammo is less so (ok, ok; this is a little arbitrary and we’re fully aware that real-world MG ammo can explode pretty badly and catastrophically.  As this is BattleTech and not the real world, we shall now use a healthy dose of Handwavium and presume that machine gun ammo is made of various types of mundane Unobtainium that makes it less explosive than standard Autocannon ammo.  Having now used the Power of Arbitrary for the Sake of Rules Balance, can we move on?  :)

These rules are designed to be as compatible with the fluff as possible and fit into the continuity of BattleTech rather than overwriting things; they are trying to add rather than replace.  As such, these rules acknowledge CASE and that catastrophic ammunition explosions still happen but that there can be more to it than just that.  These rules try to find a middle ground between the all or nothing of the current rules.  On a side note, we understand why ammunitions function as they do in the game and in the universe; they’re fun.  They can cause the momentum of the game to swing back and forth and they follow the “rule of cool”.  These rules are an attempt to balance this out a bit more so that the swings aren’t so hard.

Do these rules apply to units other than Mechs?
No, simply because Mechs as the designated “kings of the battlefield” would have the best technology to preserve them, and the limitation of other designs (such as conventional vehicles) would probably prevent the use of such systems (although that doesn’t really explain why simply blow out panels wouldn’t work for vehicles, but then if vehicles survived ammo explosions and Mechs didn’t.......).

Nothing to see here; move along   ;)

These rules are meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek and not overly serious.  For example, we considered calling the rules the Ammunition Salvation System, but the unfortunate acronym caused us to go for a more innocuous title.  Also, some of these results could easily be compressed and streamlined if being translated into a more “serious” version; we have a larger number of results simply to increase the flavour of the table. 

And now, the rules:

Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
Whenever a slot of ammunition suffers a critical hit, the owning player must roll 2D6 on the Expanded Ammunition Explosion Table and apply all relevant modifiers to determine the result.  Any modified results on this table that are greater than 14 count as 14 and less than 2 count as 2.  While an individual ammunition slot can be hit multiple times under these rules and as such individual results on this table can be repeated for that slot, all modifiers are cumulative and eventually damage modifiers will ensure that an ammunition explosion of some description becomes inevitable.  CASE and CASE II operate normally to limit the damage inflicted by ammunition explosions.

This table does not affect any ammunition explosions that result from a ‘Mech’s heat level.  Ammunition explosions for One Shot and Hot loaded weapons are also resolved normally. 

Ammunition Modifiers
+1 if ammunition slot contains non-inferno missile ammunition (type M weapons)
+2 if ammunition slot contains inferno ammunition of any kind (does not stack with modifier for missile ammo)
-1 if ammunition slot contains machine gun or AMS ammunition of any kind (standard, light, heavy, etc)

Era & Faction Modifiers (Optional)
+1 if faction is Periphery or Pirate
+1 if time of play is during the Succession Wars
-1 if tech base is Clan (yes, cheating Clans...)
Insert your own (quirks for ‘Mechs, etc)

Expanded Ammunition Explosion Table
2D6 Roll - Roll Effects

2 - Nothing Happens
You got lucky (unless you’re carrying infernos of course and in that case you deserve everything you get).  The ammunition does not explode and as such the ‘Mech does not suffer any internal damage or hit to its MechWarrior.  All further rolls on this table made due to subsequent critical hits to the affected slot will suffer an additional +1 modifier.

3 - No Going Back Now
Miraculously, the critical damage does not ignite the ammunition in the bay, but the mangling of the ammunition control subsystems means that the bay is more or less sealed until a technical team can prize them open after the battle.  The ammunition does not explode and as such the ‘Mech does not suffer any internal damage or hit to its MechWarrior.  However, the ammunition cannot be dumped and the bay can only be depleted through firing the appropriate weapons (hopefully with reckless abandon!).  All further rolls on this table made due to subsequent critical hits to the affected slot will suffer an additional +1 modifier.

4-5 - Ammunition Feed System Damaged
While the ammunition doesn’t explode (this time), the feed systems are damaged beyond immediate repair and renders the ammunition useless for the rest of the game.  The ammunition does not explode and as such the ‘Mech does not suffer any internal damage or hit to its MechWarrior.  However, no ammunition in the affected slot may be used to fire any of the ‘Mech’s weapons for the rest of the game and the ammunition in that slot cannot be dumped during the game.  Furthermore, any further rolls on this table made due to subsequent critical hits to the affected slot will suffer an additional +2 modifier.

6 - Explosion Suppressed
The damage control systems perform above and beyond the call of duty.  The explosion is completely vented by releasing handy anti-explosion airbags to suppress the chain reaction (ok, I'm kidding here, its special foam ^_^).  Resolve the ammunition explosion as if the ‘Mech were equipped with CASE II.  However, instead of suffering only 1 point of damage as per the CASE II rules, the ‘Mech suffers 1+D6 points of damage. 

7 - Blowout
Through superior design, excellent construction or sheer dumb luck, the damage control systems successfully trigger and vent the explosion out of the ‘Mech via a series of incredibly convenient blowout panels.  Resolve the ammunition explosion as if the ‘Mech were equipped with CASE.

8 - Barely Contained Explosion (or “She Canna Hold It Captain!”)
The ‘Mech survives the ammunition explosion, but only just.  Resolve the ammunition explosion as if the ‘Mech were equipped with CASE.  However, the ‘Mech, suffers an additional 2D6 points of damage to its internal structure in the next location where damage would usually transfer (ie if the ammunition explosion occurred in the right torso, this damage would be applied to the centre torso).  This damage may cause one or more critical hits as per the usual rules and may trigger additional ammunition explosions and the like.

9-12 - Catastrophic Failure
The ammunition explodes and there is nothing else to be done except to eject and hope for the best.  Resolve the ammunition explosion normally and seriously consider about either installing CASE for next time, or playing Clans.

13 - Burninating The Countryside
Not only does the ammunition explode and completely consume the Mech, the ammunition takes a page from Trogdor and gives the surrounding countryside and any hapless units a good burnination.  If the location of the ammunition slot is protected by CASE or CASE II, the ammunition explosion is resolved according to those rules.  However, if there is no such protection, the ammunition explosion follows the rules given on p78 of Tactical Operations.  As stated there, determine the total amount of damage caused by the detonation (generally equal to the amount of shots remaining times the maximum damage of each shot).  Divide this amount by 10 (round down) and apply it as an area-effect attack in the destroyed unit’s hex, with all units in adjacent hexes taking half this damage (round down).  As per those rules, CASE and CASE II in the relevant location will operate normally.

14 – The Stackpole Effect
A small mushroom cloud marks the last location of the unfortunate Mech and its probably cursed pilot.  The ‘Mech suffers a critical (and technically impossible) engine-related explosion that would ensure the ‘Mech’s classification as a small weapon of mass destruction.  The ammunition explosion is resolved normally.  Additionally, irrespective of the existence of CASE, CASE II or any other cheating Clantech, the Mech explodes.  The explosion follows the rules given for Engine Explosions on p77-78 of Tactical Operations.  As stated there, the explosion destroys the Mech and all other units in the same hex, and also starts a fire in the hex, regardless of the terrain.  Any units in adjacent hexes take damage equal to the engine’s rating divided by 10 (rounded to the nearest whole number; round .5 down).  Units 2 hexes away take damage equal to the engine’s rating divided by 20.  Units 3 hexes away take damage equal to the engine’s rating divided by 40.  Divide this damage into 5-point Damage Value groupings and randomly determine each location; determine the direction of the attack from the direction of the hex where the engine exploded.
« Last Edit: 08 June 2012, 10:27:58 by milesteg »

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #1 on: 08 June 2012, 10:37:13 »
Haha I like the last two ones. Weapon of mass destruction indeed. :)

RogueK

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #2 on: 08 June 2012, 13:51:45 »
I like these rules. I like these rules a lot. Shame I mostly play megamek (Lack of RL opponents) and thus can't use these rules.

However question:

This can operate alongside CASE right? That if you have CASE it merely means any result worse than not having CASE (Excepting the most extreme cases at least that's how I'd do it :))) gets neutralized.

Nikas_Zekeval

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #3 on: 08 June 2012, 14:13:18 »
I'd almost say if you do use these rules, throw out the old CASE rules entirely, and instead use Case, Clan Case, and Case II as having reducing modifiers instead.  Much like how AMS now is a -4 to the cluster table for the missile salvo it intercepts.

BTW have you ever read the damage charts for the Middle Earth Role Playing Game?  If doing this for fun those might give you some ideas.

Scotty

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #4 on: 08 June 2012, 14:48:02 »
I really like these rules.  Really like them.

On the other hand, I'd still have CASE and CASE II function normally even on results of 13 or 14.  They're not very likely numbers to hit, but it still feels like the explosion completely circumvents everything CASE (which is described as being exceptionally reliable, as you noted) tries to prevent.

Other than that?  Really like them.
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Moonsword

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #5 on: 08 June 2012, 17:23:30 »
We prefer that house rules be placed in the Fan Designs board.

milesteg

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #6 on: 08 June 2012, 20:29:34 »
Moonsword

Fair enough; makes sense.


Everyone else

Only got a moment or two to post, but the idea is that these rules only affect what happens when a critical hit is scored against an ammunition slot and leave everything else as is (CASE, etc) so as to minimise the number of changes.  These rules don't change CASE at all; they work with the CASE rules.  These rules (mostly) lessen the number of ammunition explosions, so that CASE isn't used quite as often, but if/when the explosion does occur, CASE works as normal to reliably prevent your Mech being obliterated.

And as for results 13 and 14, I was thinking that CASE should prevent 14 (still works for 13), but then again, who can possibly stand against the mighty Stackpole Effect?  :)

Glad you like them; hope you enjoy them.  I'll look through suggestions and comments later and see if they can be improved.

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #7 on: 09 June 2012, 22:22:25 »
I really like these rules.  Really like them.

On the other hand, I'd still have CASE and CASE II function normally even on results of 13 or 14.  They're not very likely numbers to hit, but it still feels like the explosion completely circumvents everything CASE (which is described as being exceptionally reliable, as you noted) tries to prevent.

Other than that?  Really like them.

Yeah, we'll probably think about that in the future. It's a case of needing to get a feel for just how often/fun the rules are and then working out whether it would be premature to mitigate something that funny/hilarious.

I'm leaning towards saying it's a good idea that c.a.s.e stops everything but remember only 'missiles/infernos/multiple hits to an ammo bin' are going to ever allow for a stackpole result.

Then you still have to roll the 1/36-3/36 chance result.

It could just be far too rare and funny to get 'super serious balance' about.

In anycase, if you have c.a.s.e covering results 13-14 then you have our blessing. Not that you really need it but still you have it. :P
« Last Edit: 10 June 2012, 00:49:39 by beyond.wudge »

Fallen_Raven

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #8 on: 09 June 2012, 22:41:57 »
I have no idea how effective these rules would be in practice, but they do seem like an excellent start. I think that with some playtesting and a little work Zug proofing and you should have some lovely optional rules. Also, you need a level of screwed for when you have a full Capital bay of ammo explode.
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beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #9 on: 10 June 2012, 00:25:26 »
Hell yes. :)

Sabelkatten

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #10 on: 10 June 2012, 07:07:44 »
Similar, but simpler, rules for ammo explosions.

I've missed one thing, CT ammo explosion should leave 1 IS if caused by a TAC (i.e. CT ammo explosion causes starting IS minus one points of damage).

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #11 on: 11 June 2012, 14:19:07 »
Hmmm, nerfs explosions hard.

Bit too much for my taste. :)

Ammo explosions aren't one of those things you want to make too simple or safe. It doesn't happen that often so you want the complexity, you want the potential for a real but interesting impact on the game.

Ammo explosions are a bit too consistently crushing at the moment but we realised that you still need to leave room for some seriously crippling damage, for some serious game momentum changing effects.
« Last Edit: 11 June 2012, 14:41:33 by beyond.wudge »

CloaknDagger

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #12 on: 11 June 2012, 14:40:30 »
I don't see what the problem with ammo-explosion nerfs is.

Worst-case scenario: Ballistics and Missiles aren't as garbage compared to Energy Weapons.

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #13 on: 11 June 2012, 14:47:22 »
Guts the game of the fun stuff too much for the sake of questionable mech vs. mech balance.

We play with a lot of infantry/tanks so we don't find the ballistics/missiles that rubbish.

There are better ways of solving energy dominance in mech vs mech (reflec armour, blueshields, hot environment rules).

A. Lurker

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #14 on: 11 June 2012, 15:08:58 »
Bit of a tangent, but one idea I've had recently was basically "well, ammo explosions should definitely happen, but all the ammo getting touched off at once and then somehow deliberately applying all that combined damage in concentrated form to the unit carrying it is perhaps kind of silly".

So for something occasionally a bit less lethal but still serious and simpler to handle, how about having ammo explosions only apply 1d6 shots' worth of damage for the weapon in question or whatever's left in the bin, whichever is less? With the assumption being that anything above that simply blows out and is wasted, rather than contributing to the potential destruction of the carrying 'Mech? CASE and CASE II would continue to apply their respective rules normally to that damage.

(Might need a bit of tweaking for other unit types, I suppose...)

Sabelkatten

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #15 on: 11 June 2012, 15:30:16 »
Hmmm, nerfs explosions hard.

Bit too much for my taste. :)

Ammo explosions aren't one of those things you want to make too simple or safe. It doesn't happen that often so you want the complexity, you want the potential for a real but interesting impact on the game.

Ammo explosions are a bit too consistently crushing at the moment but we realised that you still need to leave room for some seriously crippling damage, for some serious game momentum changing effects.
Considering that ammo-heavy clan mechs are regularly crippled - and often killed! - by ammo explosions in my experience, I'd say a major reduction in the danger of ammo explosions is what is needed to explain why there are any ammo-using mechs left!

Losing a whole location to a freak crit is quite serious enough for me, thank you!

As somebody noted in the "Why not just MLs and PPCs?" thread - ACs might be easier to replace than PPC, but after the mech has been totally destroyed by an explosion there's nothing left to replace!

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #16 on: 11 June 2012, 15:39:44 »
Actually Lurker that is a fairly interesting idea. The whole "X amount of shots with the rest blown out" could be _really_ cool.

I think I might look into that more closely. :)

***

Yeah, the shots cap would nicely nerf MG explosions whilst leaving hilarious AC20/LRM20 stackpoles in the game.

It could also curiously add a lot of strategy with whether to C.A.S.E or not C.A.S.E based on the ammo type you store (lower damage/missile-per-salvo weapons being less risky to leave unprotected than the big ones).

I get this sense of how designs with say an SSRM2 and SRM6 suddenly aren't as hit hard by the differing ammo types when c.a.s.e isn't in use, or isn't covering all the ammo. Maybe a Commando's SRM4 ammo not exploding as badly as the SRM6 could save a mech if you roll low numbers?

Got to number crunch it a bit first before I can say.
« Last Edit: 11 June 2012, 16:28:05 by beyond.wudge »

beyond.wudge

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #17 on: 11 June 2012, 15:44:41 »
Saber, I appreciate your concern about ammunition explosions. I also had that sentiment for some time.

I guess the more I studied real world tank dynamics the more I became used to the idea of ammo explosions and wasted tanks.

It became real to me and ceased to go against my notion of reasonable combat dynamics.

I do agree that ammo explosions as they stand leave very few mechs on the field and have a nasty habit of wasting pilots and other valuable things. However, I think the question of ballistics and missiles is far more complicated than we think because we play a simplified version of the universe. The more I get into the universe the more ballistics and missiles make sense and the more energy weapons cease to be this mandatory-must-have.

Quite honestly, I'm actually more tempted to add some kind of harmful impact for losing an energy weapon than to nerf ammo explosions anymore than these rules do.

I have some ideas but I want more time to think/playtest before I bother putting them forward. *cough get my brother to write them up for me cough* ;)
« Last Edit: 11 June 2012, 16:28:36 by beyond.wudge »

milesteg

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #18 on: 12 June 2012, 09:50:27 »
Heh; I appreciate a long weekend and the replies mount up.  Here we go......

Nikas_Zekeval

Quote
I'd almost say if you do use these rules, throw out the old CASE rules entirely, and instead use Case, Clan Case, and Case II as having reducing modifiers instead.  Much like how AMS now is a -4 to the cluster table for the missile salvo it intercepts.

BTW have you ever read the damage charts for the Middle Earth Role Playing Game?  If doing this for fun those might give you some ideas.

Ok; at first I didn't really understand what you meant, but now it makes sense.  Instead of CASE altering what happens when an ammunition explosion occurs, it affects the likelihood of an explosion.  That makes sense in one way.

In order to implement it, some results on the table would need to be changed to have pure CASE/CASE II results as many of the results are CASE + something else.  Additionally, that would be a combination of various different rules and would require some robust playtesting in order to implement properly.  The original design goal for these rules was to patch the ammunition explosion rules only and to leave CASE (etc) alone.  Making CASE into a modifier would be very controversial given that right now it is 100% effective at what it is designed to do.  It would become a design trade off and the relative benefits would depend on the circumstances.

Indeed; CASE in a standard engine Mech can be excellent as you can lose half your Mech and still keep going and as long as you're clever with where you allocate things, the 100% effective nature of CASE is magnificent; you will never lose your whole Mech to an ammunition explosion.  However, if it becomes a modifier, then CASE could save your Mech from being rendered inoperable even when you have an XL engine....or when you have ammo in the CT.  However, you could take CASE and then still lose the Mech if you roll badly.  Converting CASE into modifiers completely changes what it does and how ammunition-based Mechs would be designed.

The biggest thing that mitigates against this change is inertia; many people would complain bitterly that certain canon designs that work well now would be invalidated (etc).  However, that doesn't mean that it is a bad idea, but it would need to be playtested thoroughly.  It all comes down to the tradeoff of a 100% guarantee of a certain result in the case of an ammunition explosion, versus a chance of mitigating the explosion partially or completely.

I'm not familiar with the Middle Earth Role Playing Game; how are the damage charts useful exactly? I presume that you have some experience on the point :)

Scotty

Quote
I really like these rules.  Really like them.

On the other hand, I'd still have CASE and CASE II function normally even on results of 13 or 14.  They're not very likely numbers to hit, but it still feels like the explosion completely circumvents everything CASE (which is described as being exceptionally reliable, as you noted) tries to prevent.

Other than that?  Really like them.

Appreciated; always a good feeling when someone likes your creations!

I can understand why you'd want CASE to still function; I'm in two minds about it.  Yes, CASE always, always, always works and that is what we like about it.  However radical it may be, there is just something about the Mighty Stackpole Effect that induces me to make it unstoppable.....I mean, I always love in RPG's the "Doom Result" when you roll double 0's and your model is sucked into the warp, vanishes or is otherwise obliterated.  Often it is more fun when there is the rare but possible "And now, everything has gone wrong.  Congratulations!" (and your gaming partner then double facepalms.....).

In the end, I suspect that it is a matter of taste.

Fallen_Raven

Quote
I have no idea how effective these rules would be in practice, but they do seem like an excellent start. I think that with some playtesting and a little work Zug proofing and you should have some lovely optional rules. Also, you need a level of screwed for when you have a full Capital bay of ammo explode.

Please forgive my ignorance, but do you mean rules for ammo explosions on WarShips and the like? I am very familiar with Mechs and ground equipment, but only just starting to sink my teeth into Aerospace units (everything is...different.  Yes.  I'll leave it there for now :)).

Sabelkatten

Quote
Similar, but simpler, rules for ammo explosions.

I've missed one thing, CT ammo explosion should leave 1 IS if caused by a TAC (i.e. CT ammo explosion causes starting IS minus one points of damage).

Ah; the dreaded TAC.  In rules such as these, I would seriously consider rules for a negative modifier to the rule for through armour critical hits.  A part of me feels that TAC's are a part of the game and you can possible (how can I put this....) reduce "the awesome" in the game when things like that can't happen.  A game can be too consistent/have insufficient potentiality.  It reminds me of a certain BattleTech comic....I will let it speak for itself; please see the attached :-)



One thing about the proposed rules is that they are of the TacOps flavour and would fit in with the Expanded Critical Damage charts and the like; these aren't Total Warfare rules.  The latter would require a very simple table with easily predictable results.  I would say it would be something like:

2-5 - Got Lucky! - Nothing happens, +1 modifier to subsequent rolls
6-8 - Explosion Contained - Like Blowout; resolve the explosion as if the Mech has CASE.
9-12 - Catastrophic Explosion - Standard ammo explosion.

Learning a table like this would be very straightforward and elegant.  It could then be expanded with TacOps advanced rules easily enough, etc.  The above table is merely representative; I'd want to think a bit more closely before presenting something.

As for those rules, I had a look at them.  I think that I agree with beyond on this one, but given that there are a few discussions here about the whole issue of nerfing ammo explosions in the first place, I'll address those issues in a follow up post so as not to clutter this one too much.

milesteg

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #19 on: 12 June 2012, 10:13:06 »
Ok, I'm separating these points into a separate post to try and keep things clear.

I observe that there are two camps when it comes to ammo explosions and indeed, this stems from there being two camps when it comes to ammunition-based weapons generally.  While what I am about to say is something of a generalisation, I believe it to be sufficiently accurate for our purposes.

The first camp believes that ammunition-based weapons are merely various levels of rubbish and should be junked for the consistency of superior energy-based alternatives.  This camp simply sees ammunition explosions as yet another reasons (if perhaps the main reason) why ammunition-based weapons are markedly inferior to the alternatives.  While it is not always the case, often people in this camp focus on Mech vs Mech games and have a more competitive edge.  I must emphasise, this is not always the case but I have observed the correlation.  Indeed, I was not so dissimilar a few years ago :-)

The second camp takes a broader view, and sees that while ammunition-based weapons do have some problems (especially certain grades of autocannons), they typically have a more favourable opinion based upon what these weapons can do against different types of targets (as opposed to energy-based weapons).  For example, the sight of seeing one of beyond's Demolisher Mk II's being totaled by an SRM swarm from some Grenadier suits sums it up very nicely for me; you can pound that front armour all day long and a Demolisher will mostly shrug it off and just keep coming, while many smaller hits are its worst nightmare (it was a critical hit to the turret BTW).  Once again, while it is not always the case, this group often has a greater fluff focus, or simply doesn't play purely Mech vs Mech games as their staple.

The reason this is important as the type of game you typically play will greatly influence what is useful in your game.  If you run into masses of infantry, chipping through them with lasers alone is a painful exercise, while flechette rounds on an AC 10 are a true God-send.  I am sure that you're all familiar with the examples that are used in these sorts of discussions.  However, I argue that the type of game that you usually play will strongly determine your view of how big a problem this actually is.  In previous times, I considered ammunition explosions alone to be a sufficient reason to drop those sorts of weapons altogether and simply opt for endo-light bulbs.  Recently, my view has been shifting on the point in that ammunition-based weapons can do certain things and fulfil certain tasks far more effectively than any energy weapon alternatives.

So, the first step is to try and quantify just how big a problem this actually is, and therefore the necessity and scale of the solution (in short, is the game broken or just a bit lopsided?).

However, there is a second question and this is just as important.  If you nerf ammunition explosions too much (say so that they don't have much of an impact on the game), then does it simply become a dead letter that should be deleted entirely? In our gaming group we call this MRS or "More Rules Syndrome".  In short, does the rule need to exist? Does it actually add something to the game, or is the game fundamentally the same without it?

Ammunition explosions exist for the same reason that Mechs can shut down if they overheat, why Mechs can fall over and all the rest of it; BattleTech is a game where the momentum can flow back and forward quite fluidly and this is what can make it both frustrating and awesome (see Urbie comic above :-)).  Quite seriously, the game can easily get boring if it becomes too consistent.  I know that some will disagree with that, but it has been my experience.  While endo-light bulbs were efficient and consistent, they really character if it was the only thing you fielded.  If all Mech designs ultimately look alike, then what is the point?

I consider ammunition explosions a medium-grade problem for the following reasons:

1.  They dominate 3025 a bit too much as there is little that one can do to counter them (CASE doesn't exist yet, etc). 
2.  While heat is more of a problem in 3025 (which mitigates the above somewhat), the advent of DHS changes the equation profoundly.  I don't think that I need to elucidate this point much more....
3.  Even with CASE, there is simply no equivalent for energy-based Mechs, especially in a time of XL engines and the like.  Heat can be irritating and if you're not careful, it can be a serious inconvenience, whereas ammunition explosions are typically devastating.

It just occurred to me what makes the heat downside of energy weapons so different to ammunition explosions; you typically control your own heat.  You can choose not to fire certain weapons (etc) whereas once you take to the field, you can't really do anything about ammunition explosions.  That's why they feel so irritating; its not the same as when you alpha-strike, overheat and shutdown because you did that to yourself.  Hmmmm....I wonder if I can do anything with this......

In any case, a medium-grade problem needs a medium-grade solution.  A mere tinkering at the edges won't do, but deleting ammo explosions completely (or effectively by strongly nerfing them) will probably cause the game to be less fun overall.  In short, ammunition explosions still need to mean something, just not as much as they do right now.

BTW Lurker, at first I was a bit unconvinced by your idea (how does one actually hit some of the ammo and not all of it?) but the more I thought about it, it can be justified in the abstraction that I detailed in the first post.  It can be done and I think that it's a good idea.  I think that I'll take another look at the table, perhaps incorporate your idea and try to come up with a TW equivalent.


Does anyone else have any suggestions? All are welcome :-)






Rishingo

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Re: Expanded Ammunition Explosion Rules
« Reply #20 on: 20 January 2015, 04:33:20 »
[My Ideas on Ammo Explosions]
This still makes ammo explosions dangerous, but reduces the ridiculously extreme lethality of “smaller rounds = larger carrying capacity = bigger boom” weapons such as the AC/2 and Machine Guns.
A Critical Hit on an Ammo Slot will touch off an ammo explosion chain reaction (rather than the current “whole bin goes up in one big blast” theory).  The initial Round/Flight to set off the ammo explosion does the corresponding amount of damage.  For each Round/Flight remaining in the ammo bin after the first explosion, roll 2D6 to see if it sets off the next Round/Flight in the bin.  The next Round requires a 12 to not explode; each Round/Flight thereafter will reduce the target number by 1.  Each roll that results in an explosion may damage internal components and will require a roll for Critical Hit(s).  Any ammo bins that are carrying volatile ammo (Inferno, Cluster, etc.) add +1 to the base roll.  For each “level” of heat that would cause an ammo explosion add +1 to the base roll. Even if ammo remains in the bin afterwards, the ammo and feeding mechanisms no longer function and must be replaced. 
Weapon   Ammo / Ton   Minimum Damage   Average Damage   Maximum Damage
Light MG   400   2(1)   6   11
Medium MG   200   4(2)   12   22
Heavy MG   100   3(6)   18   33
Grenade Launcher   200   4(2)   12   22
AC/2   45   4(2)   12   22
AC/5   20   10(5)   30   55
AC/10   10   20(10)   60   110
AC/20   5   40(20)   120   200
LRM-5   120   10(5)   30   55
LRM-10   120   20(10)   60   110
LRM-15   120   30(15)   90   120
LRM-20   120   40(20)   120   120
SRM-2   50   8(4)   24   44
SRM-4   25   16(8)   48   88
SRM-6   15   24(12)   72   132