Author Topic: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions  (Read 675 times)

Wraithcannon

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Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« on: 09 January 2018, 17:11:58 »
I was wondering if the person in charge of the Solaris Melee Challenge rules could discuss a few points with me.

In the Battlefield Surprises section, the rules seem very fast and loose with what actually appears on the battlefield. I was thinking that perhaps assigning something more concrete would be beneficial.

For the rules about Mother Nature, I think that should be entirely up to the judge to include any Natural Hazards they want for their board.

But, as far as the number of Turrets, Storage Tanks, Minefields, and Rebar are concerned, I think a d6 or d3 would be a good amount for the recommended 4x6 play area.

1d6 Turrets
1d6 Minefields
1d6 Storage Tanks
1d3 Rebar

This way you are limiting the number of extra dice rolls needed each turn and moving things along.

Turrets the weight class of the turrets should be closest to the average tonnage of all the starting mechs, going up in class in case of an even split (at 30 or 50 tons average weight, for example).

When an AC 2/5 is rolled for the turret weapon, it is easy to give each of the 4 types of AC an even chance of being present. Roll 2d6

2 AC
3 AC
4 AC
5 Ultra
6 Ultra
7 Rotary
8 LB-X
9 LB-X
10 Rotary
11 AC
12 AC

Using this table gives a 25% of rolling each of the 4 cannon types.

Storage Tanks use a table to determine the class and contents.

1 CF 20 - No damage
2 CF 20 - 1d6/2 damage
3 CF 30 - 1d6 damage
4 CF 40 - 2d6/2 damage (3d6/2 would make more sense as a step up in damage)
5 CF 40 - 2d6 damage
6 CF 50 - 20 Explosive damage to adjacent hexes and 10 damage to two hexes away (5 pt increments)

This way the judge can just roll a dice and have a slip of paper set to the side with the secret CF of each tank, and reveal what that is and the contents when the limit is reached. Also, there really is no need to reference the table in TO, you can just include the damage of each liquid in the tank table for easy of play (rather than juggling books).

Minefields Use a roll to determine the density of the minefields based on the average tonnage of the mechs on the field. All minefields default to 5 points unless the target number is rolled on 2d6, then they default to 10 point minefields.

Light mechs 9+
Medium mechs 7+
Heavy mechs 5+
Assault mechs 3+

Target Practice Roll a d6, 1-3 there are 12 targets, 4-6 there are 18 targets.

Attached is a counter sheet I created that should print up to standard map hexes. It also includes 6 entrance/exit points.


I believe there is a misprint on page 6 under custom mechs. I think the word "bottle" is meant to be "bottom".
« Last Edit: 27 February 2018, 11:02:25 by Wraithcannon »
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CranstonSnord

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #1 on: 09 January 2018, 18:55:23 »
It is entirely up to the GM whether or not to use weather conditions, turrets, mines, etc. The rules as presented for the battlefield conditions are for GMs who don't want to make up their own turrets, etc. Feel free to customize these elements.

Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #2 on: 10 January 2018, 10:05:40 »
You don't think recommended guidelines, say for less experienced GM's, would be any benefit?

It would also be of use to groups using the rules without a GM, then all of the Battlefield surprises are determined randomly instead of being assigned by a player.
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #3 on: 27 February 2018, 10:49:38 »
Also, the google drive folder seems to be missing the Mediums, Heavies, and Assault mechs.

And the separate pdf with the on board events and charts is outdated, the costs are off and it still includes things like "crippling" a mech.

Also, I'm a little confused about Larzellier Communication?

As a sponsor, they allow you to customize your mech, just like joining a stable? But if you do join a stable, you can still customize it according to their rules as well? How does that interact? And why would you want Larzellier to add an active probe to a mech, when they offer no benefit in SMC? It would make sense if you allowed the active probe rules from TO page: 99 to apply, but not as is.
« Last Edit: 27 February 2018, 10:58:49 by Wraithcannon »
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VincentDegrassa

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #4 on: 27 February 2018, 12:36:20 »
You don't think recommended guidelines, say for less experienced GM's, would be any benefit?

It would also be of use to groups using the rules without a GM, then all of the Battlefield surprises are determined randomly instead of being assigned by a player.

The battlefield surprises are meant to be recommendations only if the GM or groups wants to throw something fast in the arena.  They are not meant to lock GMs or groups into a specific way of doing any of the battle field surprises.  As you can see, we reference existing rules if the rules are applicable in one of the core rule books.  This way we don't have to deviate or rewrite the rules.

Jim Topa
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VincentDegrassa

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #5 on: 27 February 2018, 12:50:22 »
Also, the google drive folder seems to be missing the Mediums, Heavies, and Assault mechs.

And the separate pdf with the on board events and charts is outdated, the costs are off and it still includes things like "crippling" a mech.

Also, I'm a little confused about Larzellier Communication?

As a sponsor, they allow you to customize your mech, just like joining a stable? But if you do join a stable, you can still customize it according to their rules as well? How does that interact? And why would you want Larzellier to add an active probe to a mech, when they offer no benefit in SMC? It would make sense if you allowed the active probe rules from TO page: 99 to apply, but not as is.

We are still cleaning out the Medium and Heavy mechs, that why you don't see the mech lists there

We will clean up the charts as soon as we finalize the rules for the 2018 con season

Lazellier:  We at one point were allowing a more active role for active probes, but felt the rules slowed the game down especially at events at Origins and Gencon.  Now if the GMs running their game at home or their Game store want to use Active Probe rules from TO, they are more than welcome to.  They just won't be in the rules that we follow at Organized events like Origins and Gencon

Yes, Lazellier can customize just like being a stable except they cannot add the same equipment that Stables can.  They are limited to the list of equipment per the chart


You also need to understand the base rules for SMC are designed for Origins and Gencon.  This way when a Player walks up to play, we can give them to the player and they know exactly what to expect.  If we deviate from the rules in any way, it may be for a specific thing like a bridge or other terrain. 

You mentioned increasing the damage for mines based on the average weight class.....you can do it for your game.  But running something like that at Origins or Gencon may have an impact on someone's chances to reach the finals (especially if they have played for 2 days).  The low damage values for the mines are so they hurt but do not cripple a mech right out
Jim Topa
Don Degrassa, The Godfather of Battletech
"Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day accept this Mech as gift on my daughter's first tournament"

Proud Member of the Vortex of Suck Merc unit
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #6 on: 27 February 2018, 15:53:04 »
Might I suggest changing the way that negative quirks work? Having them be permanent seems a bit overpowering. What about allowing them to be repaired after they are discovered on the battlefield? Using the same cost as a spot repair and allowing the quirk to be removed?

Also, a different quirks table that makes them less likely to manifest, as well as eliminating the need for a d20.

Negative quirks table d66
11 No quirk   
12 Poor cooling jacket   
13 No quirk   
14 T Comp is Whacked   
15 No quirk   
16 The aim is off
21 No quirk   
22 Unfortunate Jam   
23 No quirk   
24 Ejection Offline   
25 No quirk   
26 Is that in the way?
31 No quirk   
32 Poor life support   
33 No quirk   
34 Where’s that spark   
35 No quirk   
36 They are all over
41 No quirk   
42 gyro is off   
43 No quirk   
44 Is that an actuator   
45 No quirk   
46 where is the armor
51 No quirk   
52 What is that vibration   
53 No quirk   
54 Paper legs   
55 No quirk   
56 Blown Hammy
61 No quirk   
62 No cooling jacket   
63 No quirk   
64 where is the AC   
65 No quirk   
66 Liao sweatshop parts

or if you just want the quirks..

Negative quirks table d66
11-12 Poor cooling jacket   
13-14 T Comp is Whacked   
15-16 The aim is off
21-22 Unfortunate Jam   
23-24 Ejection Offline   
25-26 Is that in the way?
31-32 Poor life support   
33-34 Where’s that spark   
35-36 They are all over
41-42 gyro is off   
43-44 Is that an actuator   
45-46 where is the armor
51-52 What is that vibration   
53-54 Paper legs   
55-56 Blown Hammy
61-62 No cooling jacket   
63-64 where is the AC   
65-66 Liao sweatshop parts

« Last Edit: 28 February 2018, 15:55:40 by Wraithcannon »
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #7 on: 27 February 2018, 16:03:56 »
I would also suggest the layout of the rules need to be tweaked, setting up the board should be followed by gameplay rules and then offboard cycles. Then character creation and development. The layout just seems jumbled and confusing when flipping through them.

Has there been any thought of allowing a pilot to shut down their crippled mech to avoid further damage? Right now it seems like either ejecting (which effectively makes the mech count as destroyed) or escaping the field are the only two options. Some of our local players have suggested they be able to "pop smoke" to signal that they are done with the battle, the same way demolition derby drivers have a stick they can break.

That way they don't have to pay for a full repair.
« Last Edit: 28 February 2018, 13:17:51 by Wraithcannon »
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #8 on: 27 February 2018, 16:29:35 »
Should improved piloting and gunnery be skills? I agree that they should have a minimum Fame requirement, but having them as skills seems to imply that they cannot stack with other abilities that modify a target number, which I don't think is actually the case, since there are 22 other separate skills, abilities, and stable effects that can modify the hit number in one way or another. Also, as skills, they can be lost when the pilot is wounded. If they were separate as an upgrade, that wouldn't be the case.

Also, might I suggest that since the sources of the bonus are distinctly different in the case of quirks and pilot abilities be allowed to stack? It makes sense to me since they come of different sources. i.e. anyone climbing into a mech with a quirk gains that benefit, anyone with a certain skill can use any mech with that benefit, but if you combine the mech and the pilot, why not let them stack?

And there are so many abilities with the same benefits, and none of them/some of them stack? The wording can be very confusing.

Green shows a bonus to the hit roll
Purple shows a penalty to the enemies hit roll
Orange is a mixed benefit/penalty
Blue changes the skill level
Red is a penalty

Starting
Can’t hit what you can’t see +1 to be hit in cover
Dodge +2 to be physically attacked in open

Melee Master -1 to punch, kick, melee weapon subsequent hits(this is more expensive than Melee Specialist, but how is it better?)
Marksman -1 to hit
Melee Specialist -1 to physical attacks

Improved Piloting -1

Advanced
Low Blow +2 to hit on kick table
Weapon Specialist -1 to hit
Sniper reduce range modifier by half
Raining Hail -2 to hit

Improved Gunnery -1

Quirks
Low Profile +1 to be hit at med/long range
In my sites -1 to hit
Accurate weapon -1 to hit
Iron Fist -1 to hit

Extension of me +1 to piloting rolls

Stables
Black Lions +1 to hit
Cenotaph +2 PSR for DFA

Starlight +1 to be hit when walking
Silver Dragons +1 to be hit in cover

Deleon +1 physical attacks after shooting with that limb
Fitzhugh +1 to shooting attack during physical attack
Skye Tigers -1 to hit FS/FWL, -1 piloting, +1 physical attacks
Overlord -1 short range, +1 long range
Renegades burn edge for -1 to hit, +2 to be hit
Bromley -1 to hit Co-op
Galahad -1 to hit
Hombres -1 to hit
Lion City -1 to hit at long range, -2 for secondary targets
Lynch -1 to hit moving targets
Tandreck -2 physical attacks,
-1 piloting med/hvy mechs
White Hand -1 to long range attacks
Zelazni -1 to physical attacks

« Last Edit: 27 February 2018, 17:36:46 by Wraithcannon »
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #9 on: 27 February 2018, 16:43:40 »
For customizing:

Has there been any thought to allowing all ammo types to be removed by the half ton? I know it dips into fractional accounting, but the dueling nature of Solaris makes me think that it would be useful to allow pilots to reduce the amount of ammo their mechs carry and allowing to be replaced by an authorized piece of equipment? Or is something like this already ok?

Also, adding heat sinks to the list of removable equipment might be something to bear in mind. There are certain designs that seem to be oversinked, like the SHD-2H. Of course you couldn't go below the 10 required Heat sinks. Can they be upgraded to (doubles, laser, etc.) using the customization rules? Should there be a Fame requirement for that?

What about adding different armor types to an existing mech? The rules aren't really clear. If you can upgrade your armor, setting a Fame requirement level, such as 10 for Ferro Fibrous, 15 for LFF, and 20 for HFF, Laser reflective, or reactive armor, would allow veterans to do it, and make it something to strive for. But once the armor crits are placed, they become fixed and cannot be changed to a different armor type later.



« Last Edit: 01 March 2018, 16:43:58 by Wraithcannon »
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CranstonSnord

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #10 on: 28 February 2018, 22:35:00 »
You are free to do whatever you want in your own game.

The official rules concentrate on maintaining balance for conventions. Anything that slows the game down unduly, or requires too much effort (heavy customization) is not a part of the official convention rules. For simplicity, replacement equipment must go in the critical slots vacated. So, the Shadow Hawk 2H could drop one heat sink and put in equipment into the vacated crit slot. Any heat sinks hidden in the engine can be removed to free up tonnage, but the crit slots for new equipment must come from some other equipment.

Changing armor type is a pretty major change to the mech, and requires lots of critical space, which would be problematic in light of the SMC customization rules. The SMC rules are clear about the specific pieces of equipment that can be removed / added.

All pilot skills in SMC can be learned in the two turns you spend offboard. Thus, it's not like your pilot spends weeks learning how to shoot better; it's more like he just read a Buzzfeed listicle ("The 12 Best Ways to Lead a Target!") and has to concentrate on remembering the specific tips. This is the fluff reason for limiting combining abilities during a turn.

Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #11 on: 02 March 2018, 11:19:53 »
"You are free to do whatever you want in your own game."

Of course I'm free to do whatever I want, but I play with a group of players and none of us can just dictate a new house rule that we like for the others to adopt, and nor would I want to. I am simply offering up some of my ideas to the people who are in charge of this rules set in the hopes of improving clarification and game play. Like offering quick and easy rules to determine Battlefield Surprises. And to start a conversation about possible changes, like allowing the rules for active probes from page 99 of Tacops to be used. If you want to exclude them being able to detect minefields for speed of play, that is understandable, but if you're going to include a sponsor that allows you to add one to your mech under the customization rules, wouldn't it make sense at least allow them the bonus to targeting an enemy unit in woods?

"The official rules concentrate on maintaining balance for conventions."

I understand that, but nothing I'm proposing (like being able to remove extra heat sinks) is any more complex than anything already part of the rules.

And changing armor types really is more of a minor change. If you have the free crit space, it's a fairly straightforward operation, and would free up tonnage for customization. For example, there are certain sponsors (like Tekshop) that allow you to upgrade your CASE to CASE II. But CASE II weighs an additional 1/2 ton. Where is that supposed to come from? Is it free, making your mech technically overweight? What if you don't have any of the approved components listed that you can remove, other than the one ton of ammo it was supposed to protect?

"All pilot skills in SMC can be learned in the two turns you spend offboard. This is the fluff reason for limiting combining abilities during a turn."

I get that, I really do. But it just feels wrong not letting quirks from the mech stack with abilities from the pilot. You can look at the summary of benefits I've listed, and see that we are talking about going from a max of -2 to hit to a max of -3 with specific weapons.
« Last Edit: 02 March 2018, 11:23:29 by Wraithcannon »
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VincentDegrassa

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #12 on: 08 March 2018, 11:08:26 »
The customizations you are proposing may be totally legal according to the rules, but like I stated before we have certain restraints that limit on what we can do at the cons: manpower, time, available computers, etc.  If we are going to allow players to come in with a totally customized version of a mech, then why not just them bring their own favorite mechs from home designs?  How is that fair to the player that comes in and just wants to play the game.  The new player may not have spent the time to customize their mech and now has to play with a stock Mech.  The fair and balancing solution is to use stock mechs through out the Con and allow limited customization that doesn't increase the power creep that is already inherit in the rules.

Allowing totally home made mechs is a nightmare.  One of the guys in my group runs his version of Solaris when I can't.  He uses the rules I have composed but allows the players to use homemade mechs and allows the stacking of all abilities.  To hear the stories they tell me would frighten any player coming into the game in the middle of the tournament at Origins and Gencon.  The new players may not come back because there is such a learning curve in the meta of the rules.  Again, hence the reason we use stock mechs with limited customization.

You talked about replacing an entire armor system.  So we spend the time with the player to add Stealth armor.  We may have to fundamentally change the configuration of the mech since stealth Armor takes up two slots in arms, legs, side torso, and add Guardian ECM.  This means moving equipment around to make room for the two slots required, possible dropping equipment, etc.  In a local game like yours, mine, and Cranston, it will work because of unlimited time but not in a Con.

Your example with CASE II doesn't allow for an overweight mech as the player has to remove something from the mech to balance it out.  That may be Armor points, maybe removing a jump jet (s), maybe removing weapon(s).  Also the customization is only suppose to occur at the beginning or end of the tournament day or event day.  This was done only to go along with the amount of time is spent off board while in the game compared to the time spent between actual games

Feel free to do what you want at your game, its your arena.
Jim Topa
Don Degrassa, The Godfather of Battletech
"Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day accept this Mech as gift on my daughter's first tournament"

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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #13 on: 11 April 2018, 12:30:53 »
I have no problem limiting customization and think the rules in place do a great job of it, while keeping things balanced. I merely think there is room for improvement. Players cannot just, "come in with a totally customized version of a mech" or "bring their own favorite mechs from home". According to your rules in place, players have to be part of a stable to do any customizing, meaning they have to have played for awhile already. They have to have invested in the game. It's just as fair to the new players who just walk up, as they start out as all the new fish do, and have something to look forward to as they advance. I understand that if you allowed homemade mechs you'd have nothing but jumping T-comp pulse boats. That's why I would never suggest that.

Your talk about Stealth armor makes me think you are being deliberately obtuse? I am not suggesting altering any of the customization rules that you have in place up to this point, merely adding to them. If you have the 20 FAME (or whatever is determined), are part of a stable, and can add an ECM to a mech, or have one with it already, and you want to add Stealth armor? Check the critical slots. If there is even one required slot that is already occupied? Then according to the rules already in place, no, you can't add Stealth Armor by moving fixed critical slots. Easy. If the agent running the event doesn't have a computer or printer available to make custom sheets, then make it part of the optional rules and let them decide whether or not they want to mess with people being able to upgrade their armor by hand or with a calculator. At least give them the option.

Your example with CASE II doesn't allow for an overweight mech as the player has to remove something from the mech to balance it out.  That may be Armor points, maybe removing a jump jet (s), maybe removing weapon(s).

Sadly, according to your rules, none of the options you are suggesting are legal. I cannot remove armor, jump jets, or weapons according to what's written on page 7.

As an example, let's say I have a Starslayer 3C, it has 1 ton of SRM4 ammo and CASE. If I wanted to use my Tekshop sponsor to upgrade to CASE II, all I can do legally (maybe) is use fractional accounting to split the ammo I have down to a half ton. If it were possible, I would rather free up the tonnage needed by removing the single rear mounted small laser instead, but right now, I can't.

I find the continued attitude of "do whatever you want at your own game" to be very disheartening for a game that sports no less that six 300 plus page rulebooks that tell us how to play the game.
« Last Edit: 17 April 2018, 10:27:42 by Wraithcannon »
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #14 on: 11 April 2018, 12:46:50 »
I have some more questions as well.

On page 4, it says that Rebar can leave the board if the unit carrying it exits, but that it must be surrendered at the end of the arena cycle. Does that mean that you lose it as soon as you leave the board, or can you bring it back on during the same game?

You may remove pilot abilities, but at cost. Why would you ever do that unless there is a maximum number of skills you can possess. Is there?

On page 7, if you join Toranaga or Zelazina stables, you have a different list of equipment that you can modify your mech with. Shouldn't that change the wording on the stable list of "All Stables" to "All other Stables"?

Page 14, counting a mech as destroyed. Is this for determining kills or repairs? If an Inner Sphere XL engine mech has it's right torso internal structure destroyed, the mech is killed. But for repairs, does the pilot have to pay 30% for a full repair and risk a negative quirk, or can they spot repair the location for 10% and repair the engine for 5% (same cost as, "Full repair, mech not destroyed"). Are negative quirks only gained when a mech is being repaired from total destruction, i.e. having it's entire Center Torso internal structure destroyed?

Page 15. What is the repair cost for a mech who's pilot has ejected manually?

Positive Quirks "Hired Minion" has no cost and is linked only to that mech? Shouldn't this be a skill, as it is a spotter in the crowd, and not related to the mech itself?

If you buy the Edge skill, that extra token is just a one time use for that event only? If you suffer a wound, can it be lost?

Handheld weapons from Tac Ops pg 314. Are these allowed to be used/purchased?

If I may suggest:

Page 14, exiting the battlefield talks about removing a KO'ed pilot from the battlefield, add the word (optional), since the rules for that are located in the optional rules section.

Page 15, under ejecting, players must declare if they are turning auto eject off, not on.

The requirement that advanced skills require 15 fame should be listed somewhere more prominently than the upper corner of the table, it's hard to spot when the pages are stapled together.


« Last Edit: 11 April 2018, 15:18:38 by Wraithcannon »
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Wraithcannon

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #15 on: 16 April 2018, 11:21:16 »
Something like this:

Armor Customization

Once mechwarriors reach a certain level of skill and fame, they may be able to upgrade the armor on their mechs.

To upgrade the armor on a mech, one must follow all of the other customization rules already in place. You must be part of a stable, you may not move or remove any equipment or other criticals already in place unless they are authorized under the customization rules, and you must have a Fame score equal to the desired armor upgrade.

Once armor has been upgraded, and it's critical slots assigned, it cannot be removed, moved, or changed later. Mechs that already have armor other than standard armor may not be upgraded.

Fame
Ferro-Fibrous 15
Light Ferro-Fibrous 20
Heavy Ferro-Fiberous 25
Stealth 30 (mech must have a Guardian ECM suite)

Players may use the tonnage saved to add any currently authorized equipment. Once that equipment is assigned, it cannot be changed.

Whomever said violence isn't a solution obviously wasn't using enough.

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VincentDegrassa

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Re: Solaris Melee Challenge questions and suggestions
« Reply #16 on: 19 April 2018, 09:56:25 »
I'll address the Armor customization in this post and the other questions in another post when I get out of work:

Armor customization will not happen.  My example for Stealth armor was an example of how much of a headache it will be to be based on the current rules in place for customization.  I know that the Jumpjets and the other equipment cannot move to other slots. 

If the next person that takes over the rules wants to add Armor customization, then they can.  You can add it to your local game if you want.  It just wont happen at conventions like Origins and Gencon


Jim Topa
Don Degrassa, The Godfather of Battletech
"Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day accept this Mech as gift on my daughter's first tournament"

Proud Member of the Vortex of Suck Merc unit
--Keeper of those in debt and head of J'mes Jokers