Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tech Manual Thoughts (cross posted on my blog)

Well, got Tech Manual about three weeks back, and since then I've been busy going through all my re-designs and putting in the new stuff when appropriate. I never much liked fan re-designs that don't take the mech's original design specs and combat role into consideration. The best re-designs are those that still conform to the 'flava' of the mech, for lack of a better word.

So, going through the new equipment for battlemechs(ignoring the workmechs stuff), and how I used them:

Structural components
Compact engines - Urgh, compact engines take up much less space in the CT, but pay a 50% penalty in mass increase. Most of the time, it's impossible to find enough mass savings on older designs to put in a compact engine, and even if it was done, the CT still needs some more equipment to act as crit soakers. Very few of my re-designs have compact engines, though I did manage an Atlas with MMLs, max armor, compact engine and compact gyro. The quintessential zombie... like the Wobblie Archangel(the Celestials-series omnimechs demand a post of their own!).

Compact gyro - Ahah! Now this I can get! For a mere maximum of two tons penalty, you squeeze the gyro's crit slots to just two slots, which makes frustrating gyro hits(+3 to PSR) due to golden BBs(hit location roll of 2) less of a worry. Of course, you still to put in stuff to soak up crits, but most of the time, a double heat sink and a C3 slave unit would suffice. The very best structural addition to the construction game, IMO. I managed to put in compact gyros for many re-designs, and the results are generally very pleasing. Because of this, I can also make the weapon locations in few mechs match the artwork better. The best example of this would be the classic unseen Marauder.

XL gyro - Acts much like the XL engine, halving the weight of the gyro for an additional two crit slots in the CT, for a total of 6 gyro slots. Makes it very vulnerable to golden BBs, so I restricted it to ultra-fast light mechs that could use the weight savings to boost their armor or weaponry. The example for this would be the Davion Fireball. Putting an XL gyro in means that I can upgrade the guns to dual ER meds, a streak SRM 2, and even put in a C3 slave unit. All this for max armor and a movement rate of 11/17.

Heavy duty gyro - An interesting piece of equipment, but one that needs a hefty mass penalty to pay for. I don't think I used it at all, because I prefer the gyro NOT to get hit in the first place. A compact gyro is still better.

Small cockpit - For a +1 penalty to all PSR rolls, you get only 1 life support crit in the head and 1 ton free, which it's now possible to put weapons(and other equipment) with two crit slots in the head! An ER large laser in the head area... weird... I stay away from this one, because the +1 penalty to PSR is just too painful to ignore for 4/5 regular pilots on most designs. Of course, the Wobblies don't need to worry about this, since they have Vehicular Direct Neural Interface(VDNI) equipped elite Manei Domini Phantoms who can ignore the +1 penalty for their mechs with small cockpits. As a Wobblie, I'm very happy about this, but non Wobblies are very pissed at all the good stuff we're getting.

Improved jump jets - I'm kinda neutral to this. It's hard to get the extra mass and crit slots open for the IJJs, and in many cases, I find it's only possible by downgrading the engine, which violates my personal rule of re-designing - don't change the speed/engine ratings! Interesting things can be done with IJJs, but I think they belong more in the realm of custom jobs.
I tried it out on the Spider, reducing the base movement to 5/8, while using IJJs to keep the jump MP at 8. This freed up enough mass to max out the armor! Same for the Venom.
Still, I feel the reduction in walking/running MP is a tactical limitation. Imagine you can get behind the rear of an opponent, but because you don't have enough run MP, you have to jump there, which means a +3 which makes any attack roll much more difficult. So in the end, I stuck with the basic movement rates and engine ratings for all my mechs.

Light/heavy ferro-fibrous armor - For only 7 crits, it's now possible to up the armor a bit using LFF! I used this extensively, especially on many of my re-designs that I squeezed TSM in because they had crits free but couldn't use them all up, particularly in the 7-13 free slots range. But now, with LFF armor, I can take away the silly TSM and put LFF armor in. HFF armor is also an excellent option for mechs with FF armor and still 7 or more slots free, and beats out even clan FF armor! Nothing to dislike about these armors. My second fav component option
improvement in Tech Manual.

Weapons and equipment
Light autocannons - Lighter and takes up less crit slots than regular ACs, at the cost of shorter ranges and caliber restrictions(only LAC/2 and LAC/5 available). Not too bad, given that they can also use specialized AC ammunition. I do tend to use this quite a bit, especially on canon designs that rely on overly heavy ACs, such as the Rifleman and Jagermech. Switching their guns to LACs opens up a lot more options to upgrade their armor protection and heat dissipation.

Plasma weapons - The one thing I steered away from completely, because I can't bother to create it as a custom weapon in HMP. I can see their uses, but can't really find mechs to mount this new weapon yet. As anti-vehicle and anti-infantry hunters and medium range fighters, they'll probably be very good. Against TSM mechs, the plasma rifle is a killer. The clan version, the plasma cannon, is also very useful. Alas, I have stayed away from clan redesigns so far...

Heavy PPC - For increased weight, increased heat, and crit slots, you can swap out a PPC for the heavy version, which packs a whopping 15 points of damage. The most vicious new weapon for the Inner Sphere to appear in Tech Manual, and already a fast favorite of most designers. Their weight and heat requirements, however, mean that it's tough to get them onto designs with two or more PPCs. In the end, I only managed a few. The Awesome with 3 HPPCs is probably the most terrifying of the lot on paper, but with only 17 DHS, has to resort to a 3-2-2-2 firing pattern. IMO, the Guillotine with a compact gyro, HPPC, 2 MPLs, 2 ER meds, SRM2 pack, and a TC is the best mod I managed with heavy PPCs.

Light PPC - Halve the weight and space of the PPC, and you get the light PPC. Some like to think of it as just a longer ranged ER med laser, but I prefer not to, because of the minimum range. If anything else, the weapon it most closely resembles is the AC/5. Same range and damage, but the light PPC is vastly lighter for only 4 more points of heat. Essentially, Light PPC + 2 DHS > AC/5 with ammo. I didn't use this weapon much, because finding ways to swap out ER meds for LPPCs is just too difficult, and I prefer not to change ACs out for energy weapons at all if I could help it.

Snub nose PPC - Now, this is an extremely interesting weapon. The weapon brackets are weird, 0/9/13/15, with drastic damage dropoff from short to long range. The lack of a minimum range and the unprecedented range of the short range bracket means that this is a perfect weapon for infighting designs. I used it on the Wyvern, Ostsol, and Lancelot.

Multi missile launchers - These are, contrary to what a lot of people think, not replacements for LRMs. Changing LRM launchers out for MMLs on a 1 to 1 tube basis, I realized there was too much of a penalty in weight and crit space. Just look at the Wobblie Viking. They changed it from a dedicated fire support platform to a... whatever it is, I don't know. Sure, it's scary up close, but the smart player would stay away and pepper it with LRMs with his original Viking.
For SRMs, however, they're almost perfect, if not for the fact that the weight per tube for MMLs get worse and worse and the rack size gets bigger. An example of this would be the classic Javelin. Put in ES and DHS, and then swap out the SRM 6 packs with four MML 3s, with 3 tons of ammo.
Also, it was possible to make MMLs work for redesigns, especially those with both LRM and SRM launchers. A Thunderbolt, for example, had a LRM 15 and a SRM 2. I changed them out for two MML 7s with 3 tons of ammo. For the loss of 1 tube, I get a hefty short range punch and increased versatility with LRM and SRM ammunition. Another example, more extreme, is the Highlander, with 1 LRM 20 and 1 SRM 6. I changed them out for two MML 9 racks, with 4 tons of ammo. Scary stuff.

Machine gun array - Not much use for this, unfortunately. For two machine guns, it's dead weight. The MGA is, I think, useful only on mechs with 3 or more machine guns. Only one mech had enough machine guns to justify this piece of equipment - the Sentry. I'm not counting clan mechs, of which one would stand out for the MGA - the Piranha!

Hyper assault gauss - No comment on this, as I haven't got around to making redesigns for clan mechs yet. But they're certainly scary in a way that MRMs are not... 40 points of damage at range 24? Ouch.

My favorite re-design using Tech Manual rules has got to be the Wyvern. The Wyvern originally was like this. Large laser, 2 small lasers, LRM 10 with 1 ton ammo, SRM 6 with 1 ton ammo. Near max armor, 12 single heat sinks. CASE in both torsos.

Now look at the Comstar/Word of Blake version. Toaster worshipping has its advantages!
I did the following:
Replaced the single heat sinks with double heat sinks. For better heat dissipation.
Changed the gyro to a compact version. Better chances of avoiding gyro hits.
Swapped the armor to light ferro-fibrous weave.
Took one torso CASE out, put all ammo on one side.
Swapped the large laser for a Snub nose PPC. Increase in hitting power at close range.
Changed all missile racks for two MML 5s with 2 tons of ammo. Essentially replaces the LRM 10 and SRM 6 rack, with an increase in short range hitting power!
Upgraded both small lasers. Upgraded 1 to a ER med, and the other becomes a ER small.
Lastly, included the standard piece of equipment for all toaster mechs - the improved C3 module!
The Wyvern is now an even better city fighter than before, with enhanced capabilities in every aspect, while still retaining the flavor of the design. Also can act as a hold up spotter at medium-close ranges in open terrain.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

These are the days that we live and die in

quick updates on the CBT scene!

since the launch of the New Box (all hail!) and Starterbook: Sword and Dragon, CBT has reestablished a presence in Paradigm Infinitum. Kenneth is currently running this simple campaign on Friday nights at about 7.30 or whenever he can dash down from SMU. 2 rounds played so far, with lots of explodey goodness. inquiries, and updates on campaign progress of The Fox's Teeth and Sorensen's Sabres, can be found here! unfortunately my upcoming exams at the end of october prevent me from doing more than guest-starring as OpFor, but feel free to yell out to us on the boards if youre interested in hooking up for a game or something! note: boards require registration to post.

in other news, new stocks of the CBT Intro Box, SB:S&D, as well as mech packs have arrived in PI! this marks the return of IWM's CBT metal minis to PI, which have not been stocked for , what, 2 years or so? while its not a full range of blisters, the Mech Packs will allow you to assemble and paint up the Command Lances of the Fox's Teeth and Sorensen's Sabres, as well as mechs from the upcoming Starterbook: Wolf and Blake. get a pack and get painting! or pay me to do it once i graduate! muahahahahahah....

Workaholic - 伊藤由奈

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Good Night

got to play some CBT at PI tonight! Kenneth dragged Patrick in for a game by enticing him with some Kuritan goodness in the form of the SB:S&D campaign. a demo game ensued. played on the Basic map, the battle unfolded as a 2-way fight between Patrick's HBK-4G, JR7-D, my SDR-5K and Kenneth's HER-2S.

never underestimate a Hunchback.

the damn thing headcapped the HER-2S after only 3 rounds. my Spider fought on, but a painful death was inevitable. but at least we have a new convert! hope this goes some ways to restoring our presence in PI...

since we had some time left, Kenneth and me whipped out the 4SW book to look for a quick smash-up. i forget the scenario name, but it basically pitted the WD against a regular DCMS unit on the basic map.

on the WD side:
1 x WLF-1 (1/2),
1 x HOP-4B (1/2)

on the DCMS side:
1 x TBT-5N (4/5)
1 x DRG-1N (4/5)
1 x CPLT-C1 (4/5)
1 x CP-10-Z (4/5)

the WD immediately began to display extreme gayness in terms of their amazingly low to-hit numbers. the Trebuchet died in 2 turns to an ammo explosion, as fire began to fall upon the Hoplite. while the Dragon and Cyclops double-teamed the Hoplite, the Wolfhound first pursued the harrassing mechs and then made an end-run to shoot up the Catapult up the hill delivering fire to the Hoplite. a lucky TAC scored 2 engine hits, putting an end to the happy happy fire support. the Catapult then made a series of panicky jumps to avoid getting shot up as much as possible, delaying the Hoplite and Wolfhound as the Cyclops and hip-critted Dragon staggered in to close the distance. as the distance between the Dragon and Cyclops widened, the Wolfhound managed to separate the Dragon and harrass it as the Cyclops began to pound on the Hoplite. already suffering from an actuator crit that prevented arm flipping, the Hoplite suddenly found itself victim to a 4 ML blast of glory 2 rounds in a row in addition to the attention from the Cyclops, this finally resulted in the demise of the Hoplite. durable buggers, those! the Wolfhound fought on, first legging the Dragon and then blowing out its LRM ammo before killing the unconscious pilot. in the fray leading up to this, however, the Wolfhound had suffered a leg actuator hit, and the resultant loss in mobility ate into its ability to run around and annoy the remaining DC mechs. it was a matter of time as the Cyclops slowly peeled away the Wolfhound's armour, before blowing a leg off. at this point, Kenneth conceded. it was generally agreed that the WD are a bunch of psychotic buggers. and a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Its Here!

The Box Set has arrived on our shores and sits on the store shelves as we speak! stop reading this blog and go get it dammit! also consider laying your hands on the Tech Manual and Starterbook: Sword and Dragon. good reviews for those so far. but enough talk! arise, my brethren, and purchase!

Neo Universe - L'Arc en Ciel

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Project Little Plastic Locust

heres something i've been working on in my free time! tried to make it look nice, but Blogger is being nasty, so i'll just post a link to

Project Little Plastic Locust

what say you guys? paint? leave it naked?

Driver's High - L'Arc En Ciel

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Broadcasts From The Overlord

in our latest breaking news, CBT to continue! Precentor SG will keep us posted, so watch your comms devices for Wobbly Broadcasts! possibility of the MO in the pipeline as well, so warm up those dice!

gaming on next week sunday, more details to follow!

this has been a Capellan News Network priority broadcast...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Black Ghosts, White Death

Dear Singaporean CBT players, I'm organizing yet another official FanPro-approved scenario game, starring Loren Jaffray and his rag-tag gang of noble survivors vs our favorite baddies, Word of Blake Manei Domini Omegas!

Anyway, here's the deal.

Date: 1st April(yeah, yeah, but I'm serious here.)
Location: Settlers Katong
Time: 2.00pm - 7.30pm

It'll be a company vs company fight. Mapsheets and record sheets will be provided.

Ghosts of the Black Watch vs Word of Blake!

Place your bets!

Interested players, pls contact me via MSM, or you can email me directly at


The Wobbly Guy