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Author Topic: Talk to me about Mech Mortars  (Read 575 times)

grimlock1

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Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« on: 22 February 2019, 13:12:54 »
Granted they aren't too common, but rereading the MOTW Crossbow article pushed me to review the rules in TO.
In general they have me scratching my head.  The TH mods for direct fire versus indirect w/o a spotter seem bassackwards.  The bigger launchers can be rough on infantry.  The only real draw seems to come from using them as long range crit seekers, but that only pays off with the 4 and 8 barrel launchers.  Am I missing something?
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Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #1 on: 22 February 2019, 13:56:56 »
The direct fire penalty is undoubtedly because mortars fire at a high angle and relatively low velocity. Makes aiming tricky, especially in a hurry as happens in combat. But do remember they can target hexes, meaning they ignore all target movement modifiers in those cases, this more than compensates for initial weak accuracy.
They're immune to AMS though this is not exactly a big deal.
They have useful specialty ammo, though flares aside, nothing exclusive.

Figure they're very much a weapon that is not intended to be truly good, rather it is a dead-end technology that has some niche uses. The Ant Lion makes good use of the 'Mech Mortars, but don't think there's much point in them outside pure specialists.

The smaller launchers definitively got the short end of the stick though.

EDIT Overall, they're also good long range crit seekers. SRM-damage, multiple projectiles, LRM-range. An enemy whose armor is mostly missing and is hiding behind the front line will be surprised when some mortars rain on it.
« Last Edit: 22 February 2019, 13:59:12 by Empyrus »

SteelRaven

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #2 on: 22 February 2019, 14:08:45 »
I always saw the incarnation of Mech Mortars as a 'well, why not?' idea, something that fills the gap between LRMs and heavier artillery for indirect fire
They're immune to AMS though this is not exactly a big deal.

Which bothers me more than it should considering actual point defense systems can easily target a Mortar shell but I understand why mortars are immune; needs a edge/niche over the LRM to justify it's weight.

The Mech Mortar could really benefit from special munitions
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Moonsword

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #3 on: 22 February 2019, 14:16:36 »
The Mech Mortar could really benefit from special munitions

They have some - airburst, anti-personnel, armor-piercing, flare, semi-guided, and smoke are all in TO, although I think one of those may be the standard load. I can't remember what they all do but semi-guided is basically the same as semi-guided LRMs.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the weapon.  I prefer to stick to LRMs or artillery and leave mortars out or stick them as low tech weapons used by less advanced or improvised forces but that's strictly personal dislike and head canon, not anything official.

Empyrus

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #4 on: 22 February 2019, 14:20:09 »
They have some - airburst, anti-personnel, armor-piercing, flare, semi-guided, and smoke are all in TO, although I think one of those may be the standard load. I can't remember what they all do but semi-guided is basically the same as semi-guided LRMs.

Armor piercing is the standard round. Semi-guided mortars are like semi-guided LRMs as you note, functioning like armor piercing mortars otherwise.

Weird weapon, in that its basic rounds aren't simply titled "Mortar ammo", unlike every other weapon in BT.

SteelRaven

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #5 on: 22 February 2019, 14:39:07 »
They have some - airburst, anti-personnel, armor-piercing, flare, semi-guided, and smoke are all in TO, although I think one of those may be the standard load. I can't remember what they all do but semi-guided is basically the same as semi-guided LRMs.

Missed that in the write up, thanks.
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Moonsword

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #6 on: 22 February 2019, 17:39:53 »
Yeah, it can be easy to miss the ammo section is at the back of that chapter if you don't happen to know that already or flip past it looking for something else.  My PDF copy has bookmarks to help with things like that but even those get lost in the sea of other bookmarks sometimes.

TigerShark

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #7 on: 22 February 2019, 18:06:07 »
'Mech Mortar, as currently written, need a few tweaks (in my opinion). I've played or seen (no joke) more than a hundred games with these things involved over the past 10 years. I came to the following conclusions (or we did, since it's a server/community):

+ Air Burst has a 100% hit rate on a cluster table. No other cluster weapon, to my knowledge, does this. i.e.: you get hit with 3 x Mortar-8 air burst shells, you have 24 die rolls for damage. If this was the shaped-charge ammo, you'd roll on the cluster table. This makes air burst extremely powerful, IMO. Air burst should roll on the cluster table.

+ Their BV doesn't match the above ability whatsoever and is dirt cheap for the damage, crit-seeking, and pilot KO ability it inherently possesses. Either the air burst ability should change, or the BV should reflect this ability.

+ Indirect fire and Direct Fire rules don't make as much sense as they (easily) could. IRL, spotters are integral to any mortar team and a 'Mech's targeting system is doing the "spotting" when the MechWarrior fires -ANY- weapon, indirect or not. It's quite silly to think that having a direct view of the target makes it 66% harder to hit than if you just closed your eyes. A unit should be able to self-spot for a +1 penalty due to firing in the same turn (in addition to any other modifiers it incurs on itself).

Should be something more like:
Quote
"Mech Mortars are considered indirect fire weapons and may not fire directly, giving them a permanent +1 to-hit penalty.

If a non-infantry unit has walked, ran, jumped, or fired in the same turn as it spots for the 'Mech Mortar, or if the Mortar unit has direct LOS to the target, add the spotter's to-hit penalties incurred by these actions to the firing unit's attack roll. This is in addition to any LOS modifiers incurred by intervening terrain.

Example:
Mech A is firing its Mortar-2 at a target unit 10 hexes away and has direct sight, with no terrain intervening.

Proposed: 4 (Gunnery) + 2 (Medium Range) + 1 (Indirect Fire) + 1 (Spotting unit fired this turn) = 8
Current: 4 (Gunnery) + 2 (Medium Range) + 3 (Direct Fire) = 9
« Last Edit: 22 February 2019, 20:40:08 by TigerShark »
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Red Pins

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #8 on: 22 February 2019, 19:21:49 »
Ah, mortars.  I made a towed trailer with a MM/8 and a couple tons of ammo, once.  The tow vehicle had C3 and 4 trailers - brutal.
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Weirdo

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #9 on: 23 February 2019, 11:10:47 »
Just to clarify with everyone, fan rules belong in....? C:-)
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TigerShark

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #10 on: 23 February 2019, 11:58:04 »
Just to clarify with everyone, fan rules belong in....? C:-)
Sorry. Saw this under "fan articles" and figured it was kosher. :)
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Fallen_Raven

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #11 on: 23 February 2019, 13:28:16 »
Mech Mortars are amazing if you aren't trying to have 'mechs duel. They can crit seek vehicles nicely, they massacre infantry, and they provide utility from their variety of ammo choices. Being able to target hexes helps as well, since you can hide and fire them behind cover without needing a spotter. All of those are useful if you're in an area with a lot of cover, or if you are facing lots of conventional forces. A city fight often has both conditions, and something like the Anteater does wonderfully there.

The down sides are of course the large size and low ammo/ton. You don't get the same throw weight you would from an LRM, and you can't fire continuously through the battle. Mortars also sand blast, making it very hard to actually kill a target. Its like trying to kill an Awesome with a Javelin some days.
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Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #12 on: 23 February 2019, 13:42:37 »
A Mech Mortar/1 can turn a light 'mech into a complete terror for infantry and vehicles in a way an LRM/5 never could.  Targeting hexes is a huge advantage, especially against hovers.

Sartris

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #13 on: 23 February 2019, 13:45:19 »
there was this one night mission i terrorized my players with flare mortars and LRM carriers as they advanced on a small town...

Scotty

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #14 on: 23 February 2019, 13:49:59 »
It was a mistake to force the Mech Mortar into the LRM mold in terms of tonnage and the number of launchers.  Going from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 with the LRM's tonnage progression is a fantastic way to make the bigger launcher probably competitive (barely) and the smaller launchers a total waste of time.  The Mech Mortar 1 is barely worth the ink it's printed on.  A two ton (plus ammo) weapon that does the damage of one SRM to most targets, and when using its dedicated anti-infantry ammo kills a whopping... 4 troopers.  Breathtaking.
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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #15 on: 23 February 2019, 13:51:01 »
It's more about actually hitting vice the damage inflicted.

Sartris

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #16 on: 23 February 2019, 14:30:27 »
i think the range is the biggest issue apart from weight. if you could really reach out with them (maybe matching ELRMs instead) i might see my way to the tonnage as printed.

Scotty

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #17 on: 23 February 2019, 14:36:23 »
If the sizes were 2/4/6/8 instead of 1/2/4/8 that'd handle at least half of my issue with the weapon.  Then smaller 'Mech mortars would actually be genuinely good weapons for indirect fire and would compete (lower ammo/ton, higher heat, better critseeking, similar overall damage) with LRMs in a direct fire role.
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Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #18 on: 23 February 2019, 14:43:48 »
No argument there... If the 2-ton version fired two shells that would be really great.  I suspect TPTB weighed the "targeting a hex" thing heavy enough they shaved it down to one.

Sabelkatten

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #19 on: 23 February 2019, 16:39:41 »
I modified an Archer to pack twin MM/8s (and 8 tons ammo). I never really got to try it out, but I was told it had done very well by others.

mbear

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Re: Talk to me about Mech Mortars
« Reply #20 on: 25 February 2019, 14:35:17 »
So the Mech Mortar/1 is really a Mech scale BA Tube Artillery unit? With much shorter range?