Handheld Weaponry

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Dulio12385
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Handheld Weaponry

Postby Dulio12385 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:53 pm

Just to share a wild idea and provoke discussion.

Today I was cruising around for some light mechs to back up a Longbow with Arrow IV that I was eyeing and I noticed that light mechs of relatively low price, particularly those than can run above 10/15 without an XL engine, don't come with TAG. I was rather miffed when I revisited an old idea I initially pitched in BTM years ago; Handheld Weapons(from Tactical Operations). Granted its very Gundam-ish but it solved my problem, suddenly the pewee Dart could punch above its weight class and it had enough spare weight to have a Rocket Launcher/15 for a nasty rabbit punch just in case something went after it.

Granted Handhelds take away more firepower than they give; you lose the use of your Torso and Hand mounted weapons but in certain instances they can fill gaps in a mech's capability, particularly in Light mechs who have very limited arsenals to begin with. Case in point a Dart has only 3 SPLs but two functional hands. But that two-ton capacity those hands give it can give allow it to carry 4 Rocket Launcher/10s, an MG with 2 RL/10s or the aforementioned TAG with a pair of Rocket Launcher/10s to boot.

Even heavier mechs can get some utility out of this. To which I reference an episode of Gundam 8th MS Team wherein a platoon of mecha are besieging a hilltop fort and rather than charging in with their own weapons they opt to sit back, wait for a support truck to roll up and pick up missile launchers to bombard the base before attacking it head on. Now imagine a Hunchback doing the same, compensating for its lack of long range firepower with a handheld brace of Rocket Launchers or an MRM-10 with two tons of ammo.

A wilder idea, and one that was explored briefly in XTRO, is using it to achieve a sort of limited omni-capability. Imagine a mech, full kitted out for combat, but with a Lift Hoist. Suddenly the mech, able to already engage in combat in its own right within an optimal bracket, has the option to go into battle with a second set of gear. Like the aforementioned Hunchback, with a Lift Hoist, could now have a Long Tom to bombard targets from afar and then greet them with its AC/20 when they try to stop it.

Then another idea hit me; who does not lose anything by using these things? Industrial Mechs. Most of them are unarmed and have Lift Hoists that allow them to carry up their entire weight. Handheld capacity is based on a mech's lifting capacity which means a Patron, with its two hoists, can actually carry 15 tons worth of weaponry; that's a Thumper with 20 rounds and bigger mechs like the Buster and Powerman can manage Long Toms easily. The former can even accommodate both a Long Tom, for ground bombardment, and an Arrow IV, for air defense, making it the ultimate fire support machine at a cost of 2 million c-bills.

Now of course this does not mean Industrial Mechs are any sort of substitute for a real mech but it is cool idea on many levels for creative writing. Just thought I'd share it.
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Rabbit » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:27 am

Where's the game balance though? You know, why run around in an assault Mech when a couple of 20 tonners can carry arty pieces and blow the hell out of the assault Mech before it even gets close? Then they can get away faster than the assault Mech can get there and then if it does get there, they can shoot it to shit with their other weapons.

Yes, there are vehicles and other Mechs that can do the same thing with their standard weapons load out, but they cannot then drop that arty piece and start firing with a different set of weapons because the arty didn't cost them anything. Yes, you could include an arty vehicle/Mech/whatever in your force and the assault Mech has to deal with that, but then it doesn't have to deal with the tonnage / BV of some other thing that was taken up by the arty.

It just does not seem to be a balanced thing for the Battletech game, even when you are writing for it instead of playing it.
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Jon Allen » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:37 pm

The game balance is probably in how fragile that industrial mech would be, and all the stuff that combat mechs get automatically that industrial mechs don't.

Think glass cannon.

I feel like this is more of a "once in a lifetime" writing opportunity for a character or unit. Unless I'm reading this wrong he isn't suggesting a new unit or some rule change. Just a unique moment. You're fighting, you are presented with a strange challenge that you can't seem to solve, you find an Industrial mech and a character smiles and goes "hey, I got an idea" and you something akin to what Dulio suggested as a surprise element in whatever happens next.

I once wrote a scene in which someone found a PPC capacitor on a flatbed truck, managed to charge it so that its holding all this energy, and used it like a bomb to cripple a 'mech with an explosion. Another "once in a lifetime" moment.

In my Trial of Bloodright for the Growing Bears I had a similar moment. After reading about 'mechs fighting in space and the rules pertaining to that I decided to put one to use as a story element. It was my character in elemental armor vs a light 'mech. He choose a large asteroid in space as the battlefield. He fired a AP gauss rifle at the 'mech's center torso from max range until he managed to score a breach. From there, the way I portrayed it, the reactor detected the breach, scrambled and shut down, just long for for the 'mech to face-plant and for the Elemental to get to the cockpit and force the mechwarrior to concede the fight.

That might be an interesting thread to start on some other thread. Story ideas, based on strange combinations or things. Or taking advantage of Battletech rules (or how things work) in some unexpected way. Things you might use but you are also putting it out there so others might use it too someday. Or to help others brainstorm.

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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Dulio12385 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:14 pm

Well I defer to writer's princip; Anything and everything written was purposefully put there by the writer and all the consequences arising therefrom are fully intended by the writer. The Handheld weapon rules has been on the books since Maximum Tech and has been republished in Tactical Operations without alteration. So for good or ill this is canon, albeit Level III Canon.

That said the rule was later balanced by a statement from the devs that set the hard cap as 10-20% of a mech's weight, so I was mistaken on the light mechs with artillery bit but the theory is valid. Its just that to carry artillery the minimum weight would be 75-tons with TSM for a Thumper. The paradigm was validated by the publication of three canonical designs, the Axman, Incubus II and Quickdraw that use a combination of this rule and Lift hoists to attain a limited level of omni-capability. The mechs would carry one handheld weapon in their hands for use, put integral weapons in the head and legs so they could get around the no hand mounted and no torso restriction, and carry more handheld weapons on their Lift Hoists, very Gundam, but if you think this is absurd, someone even proposed a two-faced mech that had all its integral weapons as rear facing in the style of the WWII Archer Tank so it could have a choice of using handhelds and integral weapons just by turning its back. The innovation stemming from this one rule is truly entertaining.

Personally I'd do a 100-ton mech in the style of the Berserker with TSM and invest in two Lift Hoists to carry a Long Thumper or Arrow IV as one package for extreme range combat then either a Gauss Rifle, MRM or RAC/5 for mid-range combat. All told, the two lift hoists yield a 40-ton arms package at a lowly cost of six tons.
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby director » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:22 pm

IN regard to the TAG thing, there are two ways I've seen it allowed to be handled, because honestly how often do we really use them.


1. Techs could temporarily replace say a 1 slot laster (like a medium) with a TAG for a specific mission. (it doesn't stay that way long after.)
2. Use Infantry to get into position with man portable, tag units, can bring the infantry into play more, and provide it that way.

The other option is to start building your units so that you look for each lance or company to have, at least 1 tag, an ECM or beagle unit etc.
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Dulio12385 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:27 am

Well I do intend to eventually have all three, Active Probes, Guardian ECM and TAG but having the said systems and speed, somewhere in the ballpark of 8/12+, tends to be an overly expensive proposition.

What book did this rule come from? The one which lets you replace a laser for a TAG?
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Vampire » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:26 am

Dulio12385 wrote:Well I do intend to eventually have all three, Active Probes, Guardian ECM and TAG but having the said systems and speed, somewhere in the ballpark of 8/12+, tends to be an overly expensive proposition.

What book did this rule come from? The one which lets you replace a laser for a TAG?


I believe Tim's suggestion is that of minor RP mods rather than any rule. If we go along the line of official B-tech rules, both a Medium Laser and TAG costs 1 crit and 1 ton, so swapping them out isn't any issue. Its more of BTM rule that NO MODIFICATIONS are allowed that would be a problem.

Again, one offs like what was previously discussed above and in several other threads that are logical shouldn't be an issue. MUCOs should be the ones monitoring things so that they don't get out of hand.
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby director » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:57 pm

IN regard to the TAG thing, there are two ways I've seen it allowed to be handled, because honestly how often do we really use them.


1. Techs could temporarily replace say a 1 slot laster (like a medium) with a TAG for a specific mission. (it doesn't stay that way long after.)
2. Use Infantry to get into position with man portable, tag units, can bring the infantry into play more, and provide it that way.

The other option is to start building your units so that you look for each lance or company to have, at least 1 tag, an ECM or beagle unit etc.

Also on the mods thing yes. I find that building your unit with the capabilities in it helps too. A lot of the early BTM canon designs were designed with that in mind (EW or TAG)
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Re: Handheld Weaponry

Postby Dulio12385 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:05 am

Well it just hit me that item 1;

1. Techs could temporarily replace say a 1 slot laser (like a medium) with a TAG for a specific mission. (it doesn't stay that way long after.)


Gives value to Modular Weapons Design Quirk which doesn't make much sense when stood on its own and next to the Easy to Maintan Quirk. Under this paradigm the Modular Weapons quirk would have value.
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