Spardason: Dammit, I knew I was still forgetting someone.
I didn't expect near
this level of interest, but even then turnover is probably going to be pretty high. Not XCOM high, but high enough you'll be one of the first on the list. CommanderDJ and Scourge will be vehicle gunners.
The way vehicle crew work for this set is that all crewmen are hired at the same skill, meaning that the Heavy tank I have is going to have between 5 and 6 crewmen that all share a 3/6 skill rating. What I do with them after I hire them, however, is my own perogative. The determining factor for a vehicle's aggregate skill ratings depends on both position and average skill. If the driver of a vehicle is a 5/1 (unlikely), and the gunner is a 1/5 (slightly less unlikely), the aggregate skill rating of the vehicle is going to be 1/1. At the same time, if there are two gunners, and the other gunner is a 7/8, the skill rating of the vehicle is going to be 4/1. There will never be more than one driver to a vehicle, but there will more than likely be several gunners. The commander of the vehicle is the one I give the highest rank in MekHQ, with ties broken by the sum of their gunnery and piloting skills.
Two assaults and a heavy, sounds pretty good for the start. I hope I get an Awesome. It was one of my favorites, with it's PPCs swapped for Clan ER versions, some armor stripped and the extra free space used for some additional close range lasers (on tabletop, extra heatsinks would probably be in order instead). Looking at the Wiki, this actually was somewhat similar to the AWS-9M variant (or 9Q, at the time when I had a 4th ERPPC. That one might cook itself when applied to the tabletop, though ).
You're going to like what I rolled up to start. Speaking of which, I have that list! Every single 'Mech was rolled randomly from a series of tables helpfully provided by a guy who goes by Xotl over on the BT forums. He has this nifty Faction Assignment and Rarity Tables
project that's a wonderful way to make a force. If anyone is playing along with MegaMek, these tables are actually included in the "Roll Random Army" section, under RATs -> Unofficial -> Xotl.
Anyway. That Tech Rating thing I glossed over before? Here's where it matters. Each 'Mech is assigned a rating from A to F, with A being the best and F the worst. What the ratings do is alter the roll (of 1d1000) up or down on the Random Assignment Table (RAT) to reflect better or worse equipment. A 'Mech with the A rating gets a +100, B is +50, C is 0, D is -50, and F is -100. For a good idea of just how ****ty merc equipment is to start, the company before I rolled exact vehicles and 'Mechs had three Cs, seven Ds, and two Fs.
Amusingly, our glorious company CO had one of the Fs. The_E's chances for a pimpin' command 'Mech didn't look good. Then I hit the button to roll, and out popped an Awesome, specifically an AWS-8Q model. Talk about lucky! Those of you that have played MWO are probably already familiar with this guy. Those of you that haven't...? Well, TRO time!
Tonnage: 80 tons
Engine: 240 standard
Speed: 35.4 km/h (3) walking, 51.2 km/h (5) running
Armor: 15 tons standard
Armament: 3 PPCs, 1 Small Laser
Not the largest 'Mech ever built, but definitely one of the most dangerous, the Awesome has lived up to its name since first rolling off the production lines in 2665. Fifteen tons of armor is fully 75% of the entire mass of some 'Mechs that can be found on the same battlefield, the unlucky bastards. A 240 rated Pitban standard fusion engine propels the Awesome to a top speed of just over 50 km/h. That doesn't sound like much, but it gets you where you need to go, especially if that where isn't going away.
What really makes the Awesome shine, though, is in the weapons. Three PPCs are alone more than most 'Mechs can handle in a stand up fight. There's one PPC each mounted in the left torso, right torso, and right arm. The small laser is just gravy, sitting in the head. Each of those Kreuss model particle cannons is capable of shearing off more than half a ton of armor per hit out to a range of over 500 meters. The only downside is that firing all three PPCs is going to heat the pilot up after a sustained barrage. Twenty eight heat sinks isn't quite enough to handle taping the triggers down and walking away, but compared to a lot of contemporary designs, it's still doing well for itself.
What does all that mean? The Awesome is an anvil. A very painful anvil, against which to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.
The very next roll, I got another one (this one from a tech C). So, our company is going to have one hell of an anvil, yes siree.
A little bit more on the PPC:
PPCs are direct fire energy weapons. Not only that, they are the most powerful direct fire energy weapons available to most armies. With a maximum range of 540 meters, the PPC also boasts a very long range for an energy weapon in 3049, surpassed by exactly two systems: the ER Large Laser and the ER PPC, the former by only 30 meters. At that range, the PPC is capable of cleaving more than half a ton of armor from the target per hit. For some smaller 'Mechs, this is enough to amputate entire limbs in a single strike. The only drawbacks to the PPC are the high heat load and high tonnage of the weapon system. Each PPC masses seven tons and takes up fully a quarter of the space in a 'Mech's torso or limbs. Additionally, PPCs are ineffective at extremely short ranges. From point blank to 90 meters, the PPC suffers degraded performance when compared to other, shorter ranged weapons.
Type: Direct-fire energy
Mass: 7 tons
Critical: 3 spaces
Range: 90 meters minimum, 540 meters maximum (3/6/12/18)
What do all those numbers mean? The mass should be obvious. Each 'Mech has a certain tonnage, and it cannot surpass that and still be a legal design. The mass of the PPC counts toward that total mass for any 'Mech it is mounted on. Critical spaces are the internal space of the 'Mech. Every single (bipedal, we might see quads later, maybe) 'Mech has the same amount of critical spaces, regardless of size, and the PPC takes up 3 of those spots. Before advanced materials like Endo-Steel and Ferro-Fibrous armor are commonplace, that doesn't mean too much, but after they show up, critical space starts to run short very fast. The range in meters is pretty self-explanitory, but I'll explain the numbers in parentheses after it. Each number represents the weapon's range in hexes. The first number is the minimum range. Any target within 1-3 hexes of the PPC when it fires is harder to hit. Not every weapon has a minimum range, so if there are only three numbers, that one is the one missing. The next number (or first, if there's no minimum range) is the short range. All the way up to that number, in this case six hexes, the weapon behaves with no penalty to shots. At medium range, from hexes 7-12, there is a +2 penalty imposed on the shot. Remember, a pilot with Gunnery 4 would suddenly find him/herself at 6+ to hit, instead of the 4+ earlier. Finally, long range is a +4, and occupies the space between the last and second to last numbers, in this case 13-18. At long range, that Gunnery 4 pilot would find him/herself firing at 8+, before taking anything
else into account!
And on the Small Laser:
Quite possibly one of the least terrifying weapons on the field when viewed from a MechWarrior's perspective, the small laser is still a capable weapon. With a maximum range of 90 meters, it's difficult to get in range, but at such close range there is no more efficient weapon on the field. Though the directed beam of coherent light sears off less than a quarter ton of armor, it does so at miniscule heat production, and with the smallest base mass of any weapon system out there.
Name: Small Laser
Type: Direct-fire energy
Mass: 0.5 tons
Critical: 1 space
Range: 90 meters maximum (1/2/3)
So, that's what our pair of Awesomes
wade into battle with. You'll have to take my word for it at this point, but having two of them is pretty damn impressive. Our company CO, The_E's "Easy" and Dragon's "Rapier" will be piloting these two.
This post is already getting to be huge and info-dumpy, so I'll cut it off here. I've still got two vehicles in the command lance to do, and then two more full lances. There are some more duplicates, here and there, but for the most part the company is pretty diverse.
Rest assured, this will actually get more interesting once I get something to actually do
. I'm not technically released from training until Thursday around noon, and until then I don't have access to either enough time to play out the game, or any way to put MekHQ on a government computer (not that I'd do such a thing...). That, and once the biggest infodump is out of the way (ten distinct designs in the company, plus their weapons), it'll speed up.
Actually, you know what? I'll just post the entire company here, and do the write-up sections later. You guys deserve to know what's up, and can look them up yourselves if you absolutely need to. The write-up sections will still happen, just spaced a bit better.
After those two Awesomes rolled up, I was pretty damn ecstatic. The rest of the lance did not
disappoint me. The 4/6 Medium vehicle came up as a Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun. Hetzers gonna Hetz. The 3/6 Heavy vehicle resulted in a Manticore Heavy Battle Tank. StarSlayer, please enjoy your ride.
The Scout lance was less impressive. The 2/5 Medium landed me exactly what I wanted in the form of a Phoenix Hawk
PXH-1, often affectionately referred to as a Pixie. It's fast, jumps, and has a good weapons suite on it, so our Scout lance has at least a little bit of bite. The rest of the lance... well, when I said "POS Bugs" a while back, it was spot on. NGTM-1R got a Locust
LCT-1V, and the 5/6 and 6/5 both got Wasps
WSP-1A models. The Wasp is a strong contender for "most useless 'Mech in the game" at this level, so there. The Locust is at least speedy.
The third lance ended up significantly lower powered than the command lance, but not terrible in its own right. The officer in the Heavy, Mr. Gibbs, rolled a Grasshopper
GHR-5H. Initially, in fact, he rolled the upgraded 3050 version. Then I realized that the 3050 "upgrade" was one of those lemons that is pretending to be something sweet, and GM-fiat'd that back to a normal one. Seriously, two tons of Streak ammo for one
Streak SRM-2 is kind of, uh... well, put as kindly as possible, ****ing retarded
. And that's why we can't have nice things. The next 'Mech ended up a Shadow Hawk
SHD-2H. This 'Mech is very nearly the definition of mediocre, even in 3025. I'd take the Pixie over it in a fair fight any day, and the Pixie is ten tons lighter.
The two vehicles in third lance were pretty mundane, too. The 4/5 got a Vedette, which GMs across the world have used as the mook enemy for decades, and the 4/6 got another Hetzer.
So, to sum it all up:
*** 3/5 Awesome
AWS-8Q, The_E "Easy"
AWS-8Q, Dragon "Rapier"
4/6 Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, IronBeer "Iron"
* 3/6 Manticore Heavy Battle Tank, StarSlayer "StarSlayer", Scourge "Scourge"
** 2/5 Phoenix Hawk
PXH-1, Polpolion "Polly"
LCT-1V, NGTM-1R "Night"
WSP-1A, Patriot "Patriot"
WSP-1A, Esarai "Esarai"
* 3/4 Grasshopper
GHR-5H, Andrew "Duck" Gibbs
6/5 Shadow Hawk
SHD-2H, Phantom Hoover "Phantom"
4/5 Vedette Medium Tank, Aesaar "Toothless", CommanderDJ "DJ"
4/6 Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, DireWolf "Dire"
Admin: Me "Strobe"
Doctor: deathfun "Deathfun"(?)
Mech Tech: Mongoose "Mongoose"
Mechanic: redsniper "Red"
Six Mech Techs
And now, regarding customization: Probably going to be limited early game, as I'm going to want every single 'Mech available all the time for missions. Downtime between missions is possible, however, as is emergency repairs of the "Just shove a large laser in there, the PPC is busted!" variety. Refitting Clan equipment onto the company's 'Mechs runs into a couple of hurdles.
1) Shooting down the Clan pilots in the first place.
2) Controlling the field to get the salvage.
3) Maintaining the equipment once we get it.
Number 3 is by far the most concerning. I'll cross that bridge when we get there, but a 4xCERPPC Awesome is probably the pinnacle of "not gonna happen" right now.