Conventional Vehicle enhanced construction options, rules & equipment

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06/16/18 03:19 PM

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Combat vehicle construction has evolved by 3150 and engineers have experimented with various aspects of combat vehicle construction, leading to many additional variations and design decisions that the engineer and company must weigh against each other. While the standard and basic cheaper control systems, internal structures, and such are still the most common by far even by 3150, the more advanced alternatives are starting to pick up steam.

Construction rules stay the same as Tech Manual, with some exceptions and expansions.


Step1:Chassis Design

Internal Structure
Combat Vehicles can use Battlemech-style alternative structures, including Endo-steel, Endo-Composite, Composite, and Reinforced structures. They work similarly to how the Battlemech systems work, with endo-steel taking 2 slots (1 clan) and endo-composite taking 1 slot (0 clan). C-Bill cost multipliers are the same as their Battlemech equivalents. Superheavy Vehicles have standard, endo-steel or endo-composite structures available to them.

In addition, IS is allocated in a different way under these rules. Instead of having 4 body IS locations (6 for super-heavies), the vehicle has a single "body" location that 1 point of structure for every 2.5 tons, rounded up. Turret and rotor locations calculate their IS like normal, however.

In addition, under these rules, the only way to gain a total destruction on a vehicle is to drop the body IS points to 0. Like large-scale support naval vessels, the destruction of a turret will not result in the destruction of a unit. Instead, destroying a turret or rotor location results in a "crew stun" critical hit for 1 turn. Subsequent attacks should use the hit location table as if it doesn't have those components. Ex: a Zephyros [Dual Turret] that somehow manages to lose both its turrets and gets hit again would roll on the hit location table as if it was a turret-less vehicle.

These rules are also much gentler on vehicles with respect to salvage. Under standard rules, losing structural integrity on any body to-hit location renders the vehicle "truly destroyed" and thus salvageable, as per pg.175 of Strategic Operations. Under these rules, a vehicle is only considered truly destroyed if one of these conditions are satisfied:
1.The vehicle is destroyed by a fuel explosion or fusion/fission engine detonation (a tac-ops rule) via critical hit.
2.The vehicle is destroyed by not having CASE and suffering a vehicle-destroying ammunition detonation
3.The vehicle is destroyed via an area-effect weapon like a bomb.
4.The vehicle takes excessive damage to the Body location past its body IS, equal to its body IS.

[However, for a campaign setting, the GM is free to decide that the OPFOR can choose to abandon any vehicle with a destroyed turret or rotor location, considering it considered 'destroyed' for the scenario]

Ex: A Savannah Master (6 armor on the side and 2 body IS by these rules) gets hit on the side by an IS large laser. The laser would deal 8 damage, reducing body IS to 0, destroying the unit but not "truly" destroying it. If it had taken a PPC to the side instead, it would reduce the body IS to 0 and also take +2 "overkill" damage, which would make it truly destroyed as the overkill damage is >= its body IS.

Step 2: Engine & Controls

Fusion Engine Shielding
Fusion engines on vehicles usually have 50% of the engine's weight as extra shielding. A vehicle can instead use extra-light shielding, which only weighs 25% of the engine's weight, while taking up 1 extra slot and increasing the C-Bill cost of the engine by 15%. If using the exploding fusion engine rules in Tac Ops, the engine will explode with a roll of 9+ on an engine crit rather than 10+.

Vehicle Dive/Lift/Rotor
Introduced in 2500 VTOLs, WiGEs, Submarines, hydrofoils and hovercraft can have advanced alternative equipment that modifies the drive. They substantially increase the cost of the control systems and are generally harder to find replacement parts for, so it took until ~3100 for these alternatives to become more common.

Standard:Consists of all legal design's lift/drive/rotors up until this point. Identical to the lift/drive/rotor of base game.

Heavy-Duty: 100% of old-standard weight (so same weight). Applies a -1 modifier to motive system critical hit rolls for WiGEs/Hovers/Subs, and VTOLs with HD rotors do not apply -1 MP to rotor hits. Increases C-Bill cost by 8x

Enhanced: Upgraded version of standard versions of lifts: Weighs only 75% that of the Old-Standard. It would also be more expensive than the Old Standard to some degree. Increases C-Bill cost of controls by 5x

Lightweight: 50% of old-standard weight. Applies a +1 modifier to motive system critical hit rolls for WiGEs/Hovers/Subs, and VTOLs with LW rotors take (damage)/5 damage to the rotor instead of (damage)/10. Increases C-Bill cost of controls by 5x.

Control Systems
Control systems include the wheels, tracks, rollers, and steering mechanisms and come in standard, heavy-duty, and lightweight varieties. Combat vehicles commonly use the standard control systems as it has a good balance of weight, cost, and durability.

Standard Controls:No special rules, just follows standard construction rules.

Heavy-Duty:Weighs 50% more than Standard Controls. -1 modifier to motive system critical hit rolls. Increases control costs by 50%. For VTOLs, they can ignore the 1st hit against their rotor if it would deal only 1 point of damage without the associated -1 MP and +1 piloting malus from rotor damage, and critical hits against the rotor get a -1 modifier.

Lightweight:Weighs half that of Standard Controls. +1 modifier to motive system critical hit rolls. Increases control costs by 50%. For VTOLs, critical hit against the rotor get a +1 modifier.


These optional rules change the way vehicles work slightly. In effect, these rules substantially strengthen vehicles from the front arc by drastically reducing the chance of crits & motive crits from the front arc to nearly the level of a Battlemech, while increasing these chances on the side and rear arcs to be relatively more vulnerable (roughly Tac Ops Vehicle Effectiveness levels), making facing more relevant which is somewhat lost in Tac Ops's vehicle effectiveness rules. For instance, a vehicle under these rules is 2x more likely to sustain a regular critical hit and more than 4x more likely to sustain a motive critical hit when attacked from the side, and a motive critical hit from the side is more likely to do actual damage from the side than from the front.

None, one or all of these rules can be used if so desired.

Vehicular Floating Critical Hits & Modified Critical Effectiveness
-When rolling to-hit, a result of 2 from the front/rear arc, or the result of 2 & 12 from the side arc results in a critical hit.
-Roll again to find where the attack hits and the critical hit lands, and then roll on the critical hits table for the side that is hit.

Battlemech-style Critical Hit Determination for Vehicles
-When a critical hit is rolled, first roll on the Advanced Determining Critical Hits Table (modified by the damage value of the attack or direct/glancing blows, depending on the alternative rules chosen)
-This roll determines how many times the vehicle should roll for a critical hit on the vehicle critical hits location table
-If the roll ends up as a "head/limb blown off" on the table, this will translate to an automatic critical hit roll of 12 for the vehicle on whatever side was hit, in addition to the rest of the rolls
-For simplicity's sake one may wish to follow the usual and simpler Determining Critical Hits Table. Follow a similar procedure.

Expanded Critical Effects for Vehicles
-The "weapon destroyed" and "weapon malfunction" slots on the critical hit table are treated as "weapon hit" slots instead.
-On rolling these and determining the crit weapon, roll on the Battlemech expanded table as per their rules starting on pg.75 Tac Ops
-If the crit rolled was a "weapon destroyed" crit, roll twice and add +1 to each roll in addition to any modifiers by glancing/direct blows or the critical weapon's damage.
-Use the Battlemech critical slots value of a weapon to determine the "durability" of the weapon since vehicles don't have proper critical space themselves. Ex: a PPC has 3 crits on a Battlemech. It would be destroyed on the 2nd critical hit to the slot (>50% critical damage results in destruction).

Modified Motive System Crit Rules for Vehicles
-Use the standard TW Ground Vehicle Hit Location table as a starting point for determining motive crit chances.
-Remove the motive chance on a 9 from all locations
-Remove the motive chance on a 4 & 5 from the front location
-Remove the motive chance on a 5 from the rear location

Modified Motive System Damage Table
Roll* Effect**
5- None
6-7 +1 driving skill modifier
8-9 -1 Cruise MP, +1 driving skill modifier
10-11 -2 Cruise MP, +1 driving skill modifier
12 -3 Cruise MP, +1 driving skill modifier
13 -4 Cruise MP, +1 driving skill modifier
14 -5 Cruise MP, +1 driving skill modifier
15+ Unit Immobile

*Roll is modified by glancing/direct blows and damage value as per Tac Ops rule sets, if in use. Roll is NOT modified by Hardened Armor. Certain weapons (ex: mines) may have additional modifiers under certain rules.
**Driving skill modifier is cumulative. The MP penalty is not. (use the harshest penalty rolled thus far)

Attack Direction Modifier:
Front -2
Rear -1

Vehicle Type Modifier:
Tracked, Naval -1
Wheeled +1
Hydrofoil, Hovercraft +2
WiGE +3


The Clans & the Inner Sphere have since refined their Armored Motive Systems (which is retroactively dubbed Prototype Armored Motive System) and have developed improved versions and three varieties of them. All types are pod-mountable.

Heavy-Duty Armored Motive System
15% weight of vehicle (10% clan)
Year: 3070 (tech/availability level as original Armored Motive System)
Cost: 100,000 C-Bills per ton
Effects:Cannot be mounted on WiGEs, Hydrofoils, VTOLs, or Hovercraft. This substantial (but heavy) motive system enhancement completely nullifies motive system critical hits.

Standard Armored Motive System
7.5% weight of vehicle (5% clan)
Year: 3065 (tech/availability level as original Armored Motive System)
Cost: 75,000 C-Bills per ton
Effects: -2 modifier to any motive system crit check.

Lightweight Armored Motive System
5% weight of vehicle (2.5% clan)
Year: 3068 (tech/availability level as original Armored Motive System)
Cost: 50,000 C-Bills per ton
Effects: -1 modifier to any motive system crit check.

The VEESS line of equipment is an old, rediscovered technology from the 20th Century that can be applied to ICE vehicles to improve their tactical utility for a cheap price. Standing for "Vehicle Engine Exhaust Smoke System", the system works by pumping spare fuel into the exhaust duct, where it evaporates and turns into a thick smoke cloud upon reaching the cooler air outside.

VEESS is can be activated or deactivated during the movement phase. VEESS spawns Light Smoke on every hex the vehicle moves over (Heavy VEESS spawns Heavy Smoke instead), which lasts for 3 turns.

VEESS consumes 5x as much fuel as using running/flanking speed at max speed per turn its used. Heavy VEESS consumes 10x as much.

VEESS can be mounted on almost anything with an ICE engine:
Tracked Vehicles
Wheeled Vehicles
Displacement Hull Vessels

VEESS cannot be mounted on:
Helicopters (Smoke would be useless and could choke the engine or pilot)
WiGEs ("")
ConvFighters (Well, in theory they could, but with the only result of confusing the chasing fighter thinking they've critically damaged their prey only for it to run out of fuel using the decoy)
Submarines (Smoke isn't so useful underwater)

VEESS cannot be pod-mounted.

Tons: .5
Crit Points: 1
BV: 5.0

Tech Lv. "C"
2,000 C-Bills

Heavy VEESS:
Tons: 1.0
Crit Points: 2
BV: 10.0

Tech Lv. "C"
5,000 C-Bills


The Republic of the Sphere was the first to experiment with alternative armor types using bolt-on modular armor in the 3090s, in an experiment to add enhanced protection against airstrikes and artillery by mounting reactive armor on tanks to absorb its impact, and later clan Jade Falcon did the same thing with Ferro-Lamellor on the front of their smaller tanks to provide enhanced protection against small arms fire. "Augmented" modular armor weighs 1 ton, takes up 1 crit/slot in every circumstance, and costs 150,000 C-Bills. It provides what 1 ton of armor woud provide *.625, rounded to the nearest integer. Ex: Modular Armor [Heavy Ferro-Fibrous] provies 19.84*.625=12.4->12 points of armor.


Automated FPE is a special type of equipment specifically for ground vehicles designed to protect the crew and minimize the effect of deadly inferno rounds. The Automated FPE goes above and beyond BT's typical fire extinguishing systems and includes heavy-duty fire extinguishers, an advanced thermal-insulating lining, internal diagnostic systems and thermal sensors, and a computer heat-management system similar to that found in Battlemechs. Each turn, a vehicle with FPE can ignore the first critical hit check caused by fire-related sources (inferno bombs or SRMs), and provides a -2 modifier to critical checks on subsequent fire-related attacks.

Weight:.5 tons (.25 clan)
Tech Level C
5,000 C-Bills


An alternative method of enhancing vehicle survivability, the Combat Vehicle Armored Chassis modification encapsulates important components like the crew compartment, fuel tanks and engine systems in additional armor and incorporates advanced spall lining across the interior, decreasing the chance of catastrophic failure by unlucky penetrating hits. Causes a -1 modifier to critical checks.

Weight: 1 ton (.5 clan)
Tech Level B
15,000 C-Bills


The 'Mech forms of Null Signature Systems, Chameleon Light Polarization Fields, and Void Signature Systems are also available to be integrated into vehicles under these rules, in which case the vehicle follows same rules as the 'Mech stealth systems. While occassionally experimented with in prototypes, no combat vehicle with an alternative stealth armor type has reached the production line, with the closest being a late 3070s experiment with a Bolla Stealth Tank variant that tried to integrate the Void Signature System with the chassis.


A collection of quirks originally designed for vehicles but may also be applied to other units such as Battlemechs.

Over-rev +3, MECH, VEE
The engine on this vehicle has a war emergency power setting that can increase the engine's power output above its rated power for some time, increasing maximum run MP by 1 point. While popular with 'Mechwarriors and tankers, quartermasters don't like it as extended use tends to degrade engine quality over the long term.

Excellent Gearing +3, VEE
Good gearing and torque at lower power outputs allows the vehicle to be an excellent climber even compared to faster vehicles, reducing MP cost for elevation changes by 1

Poor Gearing -2, VEE
Poor gearing and torque at lower power outputs results in poor performance on even the lightest of inclines, increasing MP cost by 1 for any elevation change.

Poor Reverse Gear -3, VEE
The vehicle's reverse gear is weak, and can only expend 2 MP when moving in reverse.

No Reverse Gear -4, VEE
The vehicle lacks any sort of reverse gear at all, and cannot expend MP to move in reverse.

Exposed Motive System -2, VEE
The vehicle is slightly more more vulnerable to motive hits than usual. Rolls of 2 on the hit location table also cause a motive system crit check, and has a +1 to motive checks.

Concealed Motive System +3, VEE
The vehicle is built with a partially protected motive system that's more difficult to hit than the typical motive system. Rolls of 3 on the hit location table does not result in a motive critical check.


Functionally identical to the VTOL jet booster, but for WiGEs


1 ton
0 slots (1 crit on LAMs)
1,000 C-Bills
Mountable on: LAMs, VTOLs, WiGEs, ConvFighters, Aerospace Fighters, Small Craft
ConvFighters and Aerospace Fighters (and VTOLs under Tac Ops rules) get 1 hardpoint free for every 5 tons of weight. This is usually sufficient, however some designers like the flexibility a high number of hardpoints offers, with vehicles able to mount AA missiles, various bombs, anti-ship missiles, anti-'Mech missiles, rockets or TAG like a poor man's Omni vehicle, and is especially popular on ground-attack craft. Units that use hardpoint equipment (as opposed to the free ones) don't pay any penalties in thrust or MP as they've allocated tonnage to the equipment.

External Stores Hardpoints are built into the vehicle's frame and cannot be pod-mounted.



Under Tac Ops rules, VTOLs lose 1 MP for every bomb carried, which may make it impractical for larger VTOLs or superheavy VTOLs to carry their full possible payload, and make them comically slow if they attempt to do so. Instead of losing 1 MP for every bomb, VTOLs instead lose 1 MP for every 5 hardpoints used in a similar way to how Aerospace thrust is calculated.

Under these rules, WiGEs also receive hardpoints and calculate MP loss in a similar way to VTOLs, although they fly so low that only rockets, missiles and TAG are really practical for them, with bombs (except perhaps Thunder and Torpedo bombs) being rather impractical for a WiGE to use due to their splash radius and the WiGE's inherently low altitude.


The Clans and Inner Sphere originally experimented with modifying standard battlemechs to have the same equipment as Omnimechs for carrying around Battle Armor. The undue stress on the standard 'Mech gyro was never really solved and it was determined to be overly expensive to finish development, causing the 'Mech prototype to be cancelled. Tanks didn't use gyros, however, and experiments with the 'Mech system were applied to combat vehicles. The TDS includes the necessary handholds, power outlets, and communication ports for BA and allows a non-omni combat vehicle to carry BA like an Omni, at only a small cost in crit slots and C-Bills.

The TDS cannot be pod-mounted.

BA Tank Desant System
Tech rating:B



The CV/Mech armor threshold optional rule uses a modified version of Fighter, Dropship, and Warship armor thresholds. A Battlemech or Combat Vehicle has a "damage threshold" on a location equal to its armor points on a location/10, rounded down. TAC results that hit a location that does not exceed the threshold are ignored. Taking hits to the Internal Structure and stuff like AP ammo or tandem-charge warheads still make their critical rolls as normal, however, and motive crit rolls are unaffected.

Ex: An Atlas is hit by a SRM (2 points of damage) and is determined to be a critical hit to the Center Torso. The CT armor threshold of an Atlas is rounddown(47/10)=4. Since 2<=4, the critical hit is ignored.



Ultra and Rotary Autocannons are sometimes selected due to their high fire rates, which increases the chance of at least partial hit on swift-flying targets. When firing at airborne targets with RACs or UACs (VTOLs, Fighters, etc), the following bonuses & maluses apply:

Fire Rate To-Hit Bonus Cluster Table Malus
1 Shell N/A N/A
2 Shells -1 -1
3-4 Shells -2 -2
5-6 Shells -3 -3

Edited by Retry (06/17/18 12:33 AM)
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