Battle of Tukayyid Expanded Force Creation

At long last the Battle of Tukayyid sourcebook was released. And one of the first responses after “ooh, look at that cover” was “why isn’t the Kodiak on the random tables?” The short answer was, the tables were not intended to cover every ‘mech that could possibly be on Tukayyid, but after a number of edits and cuts that shortened the “lists” compared to the tables, I can understand why a player seeing the final result would wonder why only a few weren’t on the tables for the Clans. A second response was “how do I determine what weight my Stars are, based on the Cluster weight?” And the response here was that the Cluster weight was just a guideline, the player chooses the weight of each ‘Mech.

But that did make me wonder. What if I had a goal of every ‘Mech available on Tukayyid being available (from the full Supplemental lists, not just the Kickstarter available units) on the random assignment tables somewhere, and what if we started with the Cluster weights (or Division weights) and built tables all the way through determining each Stars’ formation type and each ‘Mechs weight class?

Battle of Tukayyid Expanded Force Creation

Nashira Campaign

I wrote this BattleTech campaign specifically for new players getting A Game of Armored Combat and Beginner Box sets. At the time, there was already an announcement of an upcoming Succesion Wars campaign that I thought would do the same, so I impatiently released it myself as a fanwork. Perhaps if I’d had more paitence, but by the time Chaos Campaign: Succession Wars came out, the box sets had been out a while already and I didn’t want to wait another 6+ months to get approval and go through the process of an official release.

It’s built on a line in an old sourcebook (original House Davion?) bio for Ardan Sortek, where it mentions a raid on an electronics factory on Nashira led to his rise and eventually being noticed by Hanse Davion and becoming Prince’s Champion.

Nashira is well behind the border, and the mention of an electronics factory was interesting to me. Why would Davion be striking so far behind the lines at an electronics factory, and why would this be a big deal for the career of Sortek? Later, Nashira is home to the Genyosha, and even later the Genyosha would be well known users of the C3 system. So I had an early attempt at C3 that was halted by the Davion strike. The Genyosha did not exist yet, but I was able to bring in a later Genyosha CO as a younger officer on this raid. While this C3 system would be considered a failure, and its failure would be a mark on her career for some time, Laura Nelson would stick with both her career and C3 and both would eventually be rewarded with success. The 15th Dieron Regulars would not turn out so well..

You can download the Nashira campaign under the Campaigns page.

Designing a Narukami

Third TR 3145 Designing a … post, and the first design I actually did and the first that got published is the Narukami.

Another open-ended “requirement”.  A Kuritan assault tank.  Now, as most Kuritan players are aware, the DCMS isn’t all that respectful of its armor forces, and the TRs haven’t given them a lot of attention.  They have the Schiltron (which they share with many others).  They have ancient Behemoths, Demolishers, Ontos and Schreks.  They salvage Challengers and Alacorns when they can.  (So the MUL tells me).  That’s it for assault tanks.  They haven’t built a new asault tank other than the Schiltron since the Star League fell?

My first thought was twin Long Tom Cannons. I had been considering that one for some time.  Forget aiming, just cover the field and crush whatever is there.  This was rejected due to another unit already planned for TR3145 with that loadout (see TR3145 Davion).  Didn’t want the same concept repeated.

So I started poring over what tanks the DCMS had, thinking something was due for a make-over.  The Behemoth was already getting a Behemoth II (though for the Cappies and not the Kuritas), so I chose the Schrek.

The Schrek has good firepower and decent range.  Problems were its speed and armor.  The speed I decided to leave, it’s an assault tank, low speed can be accepted.  I wanted to improve it’s defense, and if I could also improve its firewpower, that would be a bonus.  I needed tonnage, and that meant an XL engine.  Yes, it’s much more expensive.  But one of its primary opponents (Federated Suns), was churning out XL engine assaults like they have nothing better to do, the DCMS would just need to pony up some money to match them.

The first thing I did was add some Anti-Missile Systems.  SRMs are a pain to tanks, whether standard SRM rounds causing crits, or inferno rounds that just ruin the day.  I put two systems and deliberately set one on the turret and one up front, so that the front is always covered even if the turret moves to track a target.  Preferably the enemy stays in the front arc, but if not, the gunner can track a target without leaving the front of the tank unprotected.

Next I added armor.  Lots of armor.  And I made it hardened.  Unfortunately, my memory failed me, and this doesn’t stop LBX rounds like I orginally hoped.  Nor does it do anything to vehicle movement crits.  It does still stop standard penetrating crits, and those pesky tasers.  (If you’re playing against tasers, you’ll love hardened armor).  I tried to change this to heavy ferro-fibrous at the last minute to make it even more armor, but those in charge liked the hardened.  I think the writer of the TR entry missed the hardened, as he refers to it as “underarmored for the modern battlefield”.  Odd for something carrying 17.5 tons of armor.  How much do you need? 🙂

And CASE got added.  Why?  Well, if there’s any vehicle crews in the DCMS worth saving, it’s likely to be the ones piloting their new, advanced assault tank.  Let’s try to save those crews.

Finally, two of the PPCs were kept, and one swapped for a gauss rifle to add a slight amount of damage and some range.  I then went looking for lightning based Japanese names, and came across Raiden.  That name has way too many connections in most people’s minds, so I found the less used Narukami and the tank had a name.

Quirks: Low Profile was “kept” from the Schrek description in TR3026/3039.  The Hard to Pilot combined with the hardened armor piloting penalty is a bit rough, but it’s mostly meant to park and smash, and it can’t fall down like a ‘mech, so it’s bearable.  Fast Reload?  Sure, keep that gauss (and AMS) going..  (The Low Profile was the one I choose.  We were asked to choose one, and leave the others for the writers/artists/whoever to have some room).

So that’s all of my part in the Narukami.  I love the art.  I was surprised by the gauss rifle being off-center, but at least this way it doesn’t look like a giant extended middle finger? 🙂

Designing a Stalker

Part two in the I have no idea how long Designing a.. series.

After having fun with the Narukami and Sarath, I thought I was done.  But jymset came to me and said he had a new addition that needed stats ASAP.  A Stalker II, and it needed to be “boss as ***K”.  No idea why he came to me for that, but I was happy to give it a try.

I immediately had two very opposing ideas.  All out defensive IS tech, or no holds barred the best of everything.  Defensive was to go with hardened armor and torso mounted cockpit to make it nearly impervious to regular weapons fire.  This left hardly anything for firepower.  It would be extremely slow, so I picked some extended LRMs so that it would also be able to fire something at a target.  I then needed as much firepower as I can manage with very little tonnage (or space for heat sinks), so I piled on medium lasers, and tossed a targeting computer.  (The original also had TSM to help with closing the distance speed.  Not sure why/when that got dropped).

For the no pulling punches variant, I pulled out the best of clantech and IS tech.  Compact engine, compact gyro, small cockpit, endo steel.  Sixteen double heat sinks.  16.5 tons of Stealth Armor.  ER Large Pulse Laser, Two Streak LRM-15s, Angel ECM, CASE II, medium pulse laser, TAG, targeting computer.  I should have thrown a c3 in there somewhere :).

And somebody thought the IS tech one was more interesting.  I immediately tried to upgrade the firepower, but I could find anything that was more interesting (in the opinion of the people making that decision).  One suggestion was to keep the stealth armor of the other variant in order to do twin thunderbolt 10s, and twin light ppcs, with the laser array and targeting computer. If I had remembered the piloting skill modifiers, I might have pushed this more… (see below).

Oh, and my note on the hardened armor/torso-mounted cockpit combination?

“I started just wanting it tough, the 8 MLs was just…how can I get some kind of firepower on this??  27 tons of armor is a lot. I’m concerned about its lack of mid-normal long range firepower.  12 damage from two exended lrm-10s isn’t much. I’ve also never used a torso-mounted cockpit.  Not sure if that’s a good idea or not. ”

Yes, I had forgotten that both the hardened armor and torso-mounted cockpit have piloting penalties.  Doh.

Designing a Sarath

Technical Readout 3145 has had some interesting changes from previous TRs.  One of those was the handing off of the collecting/determining stats/construction to a team specficially for that purpose.  They put a lot of  work into collecting all the various Mechwarrior Dark Age references (and the variants), figuring out how they fit in to “classic” BattleTech (who made what, when, etc). I had very little to do with that team :).

But after they had been chugging away at their work for quite a while, jymset asked me if I was interested in designing some units.  I said probably not, but what did they need and jymset sent me over a list.  I immediately picked out a reference to a “FWL 50 ton ‘mech” with no other information.  “Really, that’s all you got?  The Regulans could use a medium ‘mech.   What about an omni?  Or a quad?  Or even a quad omni?”   What all the answers got affirmative replies, I was hooked.

My first thought was Voltron’s lions.  Then I went looking at art online, and realized my youth idolized some things more than they really deserve.  But I still wanted that wanted to pounce on people.  But there are several recent awesome looking quads.  Though my favorite (glancing over the Master Unit List), was the Shedu.  Yes, it’s a Battle Armor.  But it was that look of ready to pounce that I was looking for.  (The Procyon is another good one that I didn’t remember till later).  But the Shedu was important to making me really want all the weapons in a turret.  For their first omni, having the majority of the swapping being a entire turret swap seemed like a good idea.

For pouncing, I wanted talons.   So it was back to jymset time.   “Talons are clan only?  So, um, how about mixed tech too?”  And I’m still getting an affirmative.  Rock on!  But I balked at making it the prime (or fixed).  The Regulans would put Talons only would could.  They couldn’t count on enough to make the primary configuration on something that would hopefully be a medium and thus fairly standard ‘mech in their forces.  (Hopefully).

Somebody commented online about the “issue” of not filling the leg slots with TSM.  This wasn’t even possible form the beginning due to the talons.  I needed those leg slots.

Base chassis was pretty simple.  5/8 as a general purpose medium speed.  XL engine because, as an omni, I wanted lots of options in the configurations.  Triple strength myomer was necessary for the mauling I wanted it to do in close combat.  It needed a large turret on one torso.  Standard armor because quads don’t have lots of space and the TSM/XL were taking up a lot. And, unusual for me, no endo steel for the same reason.  10 double heat sinks.

So then we needed some configurations.

The first thing I put in the turret was a gauss rifle.  Some ER medium lasers as backup in the center tors,  ER small in the head.  That was my prime.

The A was spikes.  A Clan LB10X and a pair of IS medium lasers in the turret.  Two more medium lasers in opposite torso.  Two ER small lasers (one each in head and CT).  Ammo in rear legs.

B would be a Trebuchet.  Regulans love Trebuchets, so the B config was made to appeal to that element.  Twin clan lrm15s and two MML3s in turret.  Ammo in legs.  Jump jets in legs and CT.  ER small laser in the head again.  This is the only config that survived as I originally designed it.  Why two MML3s and not another clan LRM15?  Because they are backup weapons.  Spending whatever it costs for clan LRMs to the Regulans wasn’t worth it for “backup” weapons.  The MML3s allow them to say it has better long-range damage than the Trebuchets.  I picture this config as being given to commanders of Trebuchet lances. And after the author wrote the entry, as one of the reasons why the Sarath got a bad early rep.  Switching to a quad (piloting switch nightmare) and an omni (technical nightmare as first regulan omni), so that you can be slower (TBT-3Cs were now standard with 6/9 movement) or use it’s TSM to keep up and have a harder time hitting anything…  They are ways it is better (jump jets not on 3C, the extra MML3s, more armor), but there’s enough for anybody that didn’t want to switch to have ammo for “whining”.  If these were the first given out, it could start an ugly first impression despite being “better”.

C was designed around improved jump jets.  Seven of them.  Snub-nose PPC in the turret, a medium pulse laser and medium laser as backup weapons.  ECM and Probe for recon.

The D would finally have the talons.  Four light PPCs in the turret, twin ER small lasers, twin medium lasers.

And then jymset came back and said “you only get 3 configurations”.  So I started trying to combine configurations.  Again the talons were too “experimental” to be on the prime, but I “needed” a talon config.  I wanted at least one jumping config, and wanted to keep the “trebuchet” config, so that whole config stayed as is and just got bumped up a letter.

The improved jump jets had to go, but I wanted to keep some sort of recon option.  The gauss on the prime got switched to a heavy ppc and a light ppc and the single er medium laser was kept.  The Beagle got added for recon.  And the spikes were brought from the A config.  So the prime ended up combining elements from the old prime, A and B, trying to keep the important part of each.

The talon config changed completely.  With the light ppc being part of the prime, I didn’t want two of the three variants to feature it.  (I only got three configs!)  And I didn’t want to go with more clan tech (LB10X). So I went with a plasma rifle.  That lead to adding more heat weapons (er flamers) and only kept the two medium lasers from it’s old weaponry.

So that’s how the configs ended up as they are now.

Other little tidbits.

I tried to have it made on Gibson.  Sorry, it’s a wasteland.  Perhaps something uncovered from Gibson helped the Regulans engineer their first omni, but it’s not being built there.

Every config ended up with an ER small laser in the head.  So it became fixed.  No other reason, but since they all had one there, it seemed simpler (fluff wise for the engineers) to just mount it fixed.

I was really worried about the art.  After submitting the final stats, I kept picturing the 3055 Solaris ‘mechs spikes and thinking “oh god, what have I done?”  The artist was amazing though.  He described the overall look as “gangly hyena” and I think that works perfectly.

Compact ‘mech quirk.  I selected this for the Sarath thinking it would crouch, with it’s legs folding up minimize it’s profile in the bay.  They would stack on top of each other in the bay.   The turret would rotate to the side.  When the dropships land, the top Sarath would leap out followed by the second.

Introductory League

My BattleTech group has recently started a BattleTech Introductory League. 220 tons, exactly 4 battlemechs and nothing else, only Introductory rules level, all Veteran mechwarriors. I’m not competing as I’m “hosting”, but will play if there’s an odd player out that needs someone to play against. I did up some default lance lists for those that are new and/or don’t want to make their own force, but I wanted to think about what I wanted to use.

Hunchback HBK-4G (x3)
Archer ARC-2R

The Hunchbacks are the whole idea. Most people seem to be going 45-55 tonners with 5/8/5, 6/9/6 or 5/8 with maybe one slower heavy (Thunderbolt, Grasshopper or Guillotine for example.) And getting anything to die is tough. there’s a four hour limit on games, and our two games so far were both one with one kill.

Hopefully AC/20s can speed that up. The extra tonnage is used for a long-range tough mech that would get the honor of moving first so the Hunchbacks can react to the enemy’s moves.