User talk:LRichardson/Essays/Anti-Spalling Buffer
This is a house rule that my group came up with back in 1993. Basically, players were loading up their Mech's with MG's or small lasers not for use as weapons but as something ELSE to hit in a location rather than ammo or engine ect. The idea behind the buffer was to have something to hit that took up more critical hit spots per ton than any other equipment but was not actually useful for anything. Basically, it represents high strength packing foam, heavy quilted cargo nets/blankets, and that foam in a can stuff for filling plumbing holes. It playtested well being simple to understand and keep track of. It was useful, but not unbalancing. Not allowing carry over from one location to another was simply to avoid additional record keeping. The melting heat and fire heat levels were picked because there was nothing else on that line on the heat table and the buffer rolls could be written in as a reminder of the rule. Buffers were only successful in Mechs that had really open sections with only a few critical slots filled, but important stuff in those slots, hence the fluff about it being originally from light security mechs with ammo based weapons. There would not be much point in putting buffering into a section that only had a medium laser or was an arm that had no weapons. As this was a LONG time before battle values or the ill fated combat value I have not made any guess as to what an appropriate value might be. I am totally open to anyone's estimate on this.
I would be interested in hearing here from anyone else who tries these rules or has comment about them. Thanks for reading. : ) <<< - L Richardson >>>
Future of the Buffer: Battle Values, Future Developments, Military Adoption, and the Clans
While I am not quite able to help you calculate Battle Values, I can probably help you figure out where to go next with the concept of the Anti-Spalling Buffer. If you want my advice, introduce the Anti-Spalling Buffer into something like Solaris Skunkwerks or MegaMek, and keep running games to take note of just how much of a difference it makes. That might help you approximate a Battle Value. Also, for the UPS Professional version of the Anti-Spalling Buffer, I would give it the ability to be split among crits.
I am currently working on a fan project intended to expand upon IndustrialMechs as a whole (called Experimental Technical Read-Out: Heavy Industry), so these Anti-Spalling Buffers would probably become fairly common on IndustrialMechs as they gradually spread out from the Periphery and into other places. MechLaborers might modify their own mechs with Anti-Spalling Buffers, for example, and lots of companies would start replicating UPS' idea and including them with their own mechs.
Eventually, militaries would become more interested in the technology, and would begin trying to find ways to make the packing materials flame-retardant and/or self-extinguishing (reducing or even eliminating the risk of an explosion), and when combined with CASE, the difficulties of maintenance and repair would be mitigated somewhat. (Damaged components protected by CASE are unaffected by the Anti-Spalling Buffer).
Then the Clans take notice, and decide to go one step further. The Clan version of the Anti-Spalling Buffer would have negligible weight, and automatically be installed in any unused space in a mech. (Keep in mind that they use OmniMechs on a regular basis, so modification, repairs and maintenance become a lot less of an issue even without CASE).
Furthermore, it would be constructed to withstand much higher temperatures without being destroyed as quickly, and to help conduct heat away from various components.
When the mech started to get hot, the Clan Anti-Spalling Buffer would only be destroyed by the heat at a rate of one critical slot per location per turn.
Finally, for every four critical slots occupied by the buffer in a location (rounding down to a minimum of 0), the combined heat output of all components in the same location would be reduced by 1 point (to a minimum possible heat output of 1).
The Clan Anti-Spalling Buffer, in other words, would essentially become the new CASE for them, and they'd just start going nuts with it.