Bad ‘Mechs – Hellfire

Bad 'Mechs - Hellfire

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Another explosion rocked MechWarrior Creden’s Hellfire as his star continued a fighting retreat. The Blood Spirits had launched their assault on York soon after the bulk of the Star Adder touman had left to attack the Snow Ravens, leaving a contingent of solahma and second-line clusters to defend the planet. 

Both Creden and his ‘Mech were past their prime by most Clan standards. Creden was 44, but if you counted back to when his Hellfire had started life as a Lupus, his ‘Mech was over 200 years old. Even the best Star Adder engineers hadn’t been able to build out the quirks his ancient machine had acquired over its many decades of combat service. Throw in the electromagnetic interference from the new Heavy Lasers, and Creden barely considered his ‘Mech combat capable.

But fight he must. A Blood Spirit Zorya bravely fired its autocannon at Creden at just over 600 meters, its flechette rounds shaving armor off his Hellfire’s jutting chest but failing to find a breach. Creden returned fire with his LRM racks, the swarm of thirty missiles throwing up a cloud of dirt and smoke. Creden didn’t have time to determine whether his missiles had finished the small tank or not. He fired his two extended-range medium lasers into the cloud–just to be sure–before turning to a new threat. 

A Crimson Langur came bounding over a crest, lasers firing wildly at the Star Adders below. With his missile rack reloading and his ER Medium Lasers rebuilding charge, Creden switched his target interlock to fire his Heavy Lasers. Although powerful, the interference caused by the lasers’ massive discharge shorted many of his ‘Mech’s systems. For this reason, Creden tended to use the Heavy Lasers only as a last resort.

Muttering a small prayer to the Great Father under his breath, Creden pulled the trigger on his weapons. The green beam of the Heavy Large laser connected his Hellfire and the Blood Spirit Crimson Langur for a brief moment before a cloud of vaporized metal seemed to obscure his sensors. The other two beams went wildly into the cloud as Creden’s HUD began to flicker. A warning light on his damage display confirmed internal damage to his sensors, yet he’d not taken a hit to any of the sensor cowlings covering his ‘Mech. 

“Stravag,” Creden cursed. It was the damned lasers. He’d begged his technician to harden the Hellfire’s electrical systems, and each time they’d assured him that there was nothing more they could do. 

While he was cursing his technician, a beam from the Langur struck his Hellfire, disabling the ammo feeder for his missile racks. All three LRM-10 systems went dark on his wire display, and Creden cursed again as he slammed the button that would eject his ammo stores. They were just a liability if they couldn’t be fired–even worse than those damned Heavy Lasers. 

As the Crimson Langur closed, Creden fired again with his full complement of lasers. His cockpit instantly became a sauna as the Hellfire’s fusion engine revved to meet the energy demand of so much collimated light. Unfortunately, the massive energy discharge proved too much for the old machine. 

Creden’s HUD flickered, then went dark. Through the cockpit glass, he could see his two extended-range Mediums strike the Crimson Langur dead in the chest, but his Heavy Lasers somehow all fired in separate directions. Worse, one of the Medium Heavy Laser tubes exploded as the heat spike melted its cooling sleeve. 

Recognizing a losing battle, Creden considered an expeditious retreat, only to be thwarted by two things. First, a Blood Spirit Stooping Hawk had appeared on his flank and fired enough autocannon rounds into his left torso to shatter his Heavy Large Laser cowling. Second, his Hellfire’s damage display revealed his MASC system had failed along with his HUD during the energy surge caused by his accursed lasers.

Creden shouted in rage. It was more at his failing ‘Mech than at the enemy, but he let his external speakers carry the sound as he charged into the Stooping Hawk’s fire.

Hellfire : Bad 'Mechs a Sarna Tale | Battletopia Stories
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Hellfire MWO Blueprints

There are many instances throughout human history where a weapon system was invented before it had a platform truly capable of supporting it. The atomic bomb is perhaps the best example. Ideally, the launching aircraft wants to be as far away as possible once the bomb detonates, but at the time of the bomb’s invention, all that was available were relatively slow high-altitude bombers. This resulted in the bomber still being within the shock wave radius when the bomb detonated, which although not catastrophic for the crew, was certainly less than ideal.

The Hellfire was likewise an unideal platform for a new weapon system. Clan Star Adder invented the Heavy Laser at the end of the 3050s but required a platform to put them to use. The solution was to refit mothballed first-generation Lupus OmniMechs, convert them into BattleMechs, and load them up with a collection of the new Heavy Lasers. The resultant ‘Mech was extremely powerful but also extremely temperamental.


In 3058, Khan Cassius N’Buta ordered Lupuses to be refitted en masse to make use of the new Heavy Lasers and tasked Kappa Provisional Galaxy Commander Jenica Turgidson with overseeing the refit’s development. Galaxy Commander Jenica Turgidson in turn imagined a largely defensive heavy ‘Mech for second-line Galaxies, resulting in a unit that was slower and far more heavily armed than the original Lupus on which the Hellfire is based. 

The original Hellfire was armed with one Series 4D-2 Heavy Large Laser, two Series 6A Heavy Medium Lasers, and two Series 14 k. II Heavy Small Lasers. This assortment of Heavy Lasers was further augmented by two ER Medium Lasers, which had been in common use throughout the Clans for over two centuries, and three “Longbow” III LRM-10 launchers for adequate long-range firepower. 

Even if the Hellfire were equipped with standard lasers, such a massive quantity of weapons would tax the 17 double heat sinks tasked with keeping the ‘Mech cool. Unfortunately, Heavy Lasers were vastly more heat-intensive than either the extended range or pulse varieties and massively overtaxed the Hellfire‘s cooling capacity. Worse, the new weapons also arrived with several known defects. Best known is the inaccuracy of the Heavy Lasers thanks to the firing delay caused by the massive charge required in their operation. On top of that, the enormous discharge created electromagnetic interference which affected the firing ‘Mech’s targeting systems. Hellfire Crusader Clans

Sometimes the Heavy Lasers simply blew up during combat, their focusing tubes unable to endure the incredible heat and vast power required in their operation. It would take a decade for Clan Goliath Scorpion to correct this shortcoming, although the Improved Heavy Laser is still at risk of explosion should the focusing tube become damaged in combat.

Intended for defense, input from Star Adder MechWarriors noted the Hellfire‘s 64kph top speed as a detriment in running battles and asked to improve the ‘Mech’s engine. Unwilling to compromise on the Hellfire‘s weapons, Jenica Turgidson added MASC to provide the Hellfire with a temporary running speed of 86kph, albeit in short bursts. Nine tons of ferro-fibrous armor provided adequate protection, while a standard 240 engine gave the ‘Mech tremendous staying power even in the face of damage that would disable most Clan OmniMechs.

Hellfire 3067U

However, the addition of MASC to the platform resulted in another unforeseen detriment. Either due to the age of the Lupus chassis or interference from the Heavy Lasers, Hellfire MASC systems saw a 15 percent greater failure rate than other ‘Mechs. Star Adder engineers attempted to solve this issue after the Hellfire‘s adoption but were unsuccessful. Thus, Hellfire pilots are informed to use their acceleration signal circuitry sparingly or in dire circumstances.

The Hellfire would develop two alternate versions throughout its lifespan. The Hellfire 2 served as a testbed for the Advanced Tactical Missile system in the late 3060s. The ‘Mech would retain the Heavy Large and Heavy Medium lasers, replace the Heavy Small Lasers with a single ER Small Laser, and replace the LRM-10 launchers with two ATM 6s. The ‘Mech would also forgo MASC in favor of a 300 XL engine, providing a top speed of 86 kph without the possibility of myomer failure.

Hellfire MWO

The Hellfire 3 was developed through an alliance with Clan Hell’s Horses, which sought to refit the machine to perform dedicated support for its conventional forces. This saw the ‘Mech’s weapons stripped in favor of two ER Flamers, two regular Flamers, two SRM-6s, and four Plasma Cannons. These provided an unparalleled ability to eliminate infantry and conventional vehicles while being somewhat vulnerable to opposing ‘Mechs. The 240 standard engine was replaced by an extra-light version, and the MASC system was retained.

The Hellfire‘s story stops with the Wars of Reaving. The Adders are understood to have eventually secured total control of Arcadia, but it is unknown whether the factory that produced them continues to refit Lupuses. Even if it did, the potential number of Hellfires could never exceed the total number of viable Lupus OmniMechs, which among the Home Clans, is believed to be extremely limited. With such limited numbers and a reputation for being both a hanger queen and battlefield volatility, it seems likely that the Hellfire met its end at some point within the last half-century. Perhaps examples remain among the Hell’s Horses, but those are likely few and far between.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

46 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Hellfire

  1. Eric Karau

    The Hellfire is a stylish Mech, but I would think the Clans would be able to totally re-engineer the original design so it performs better: maybe re-start from the ground up with the design, maybe…..

    Just goes to show you: the Clans ARE human and therefore make mistakes like the rest of us! Just look at the Hunchback IIC!!!

    1. Daniel

      Everybody hates on the Hunchback IIC, but it’s just badly outfitted. If you put a couple of clan UAC 5s in there, a few ER M lasers and dramatically up the armor it is an incredible mech.

      1. George Spelvin

        But then it wouldn’t be a Hunchback IIC.

        As any proper hunchwarrior will tell you, putting anything less than the biggest gun possible on a Hunchback is just… wrong.

        I’m not saying it’s not smart to downgrade the autocannons. It’s just wrong.

        1. Lord thanatos

          How about replacing the autocannons with a pair of gauss rifles? Those are really big guns too and allows the mech to remain at range, making the light armor less of an issue while eliminating the overheating problem.

          1. George Spelvin

            Remaining at range is not the Hunchy Way.

            Heavy gauss rifles would be acceptable, despite their minimum range, because they’re heavy, and heavy is very hunchy, but the clans don’t have them.

      2. JustSomeGuy

        The Hunchie IIC is perfect for what it needs to be. Give it to your solahma mechwarriors who have been moved to occupation forces posted along Clan territory. Zell requires warriors to remain within distance of your opponent’s weapons while challenging. UAC20s have just slightly worse range than ER Mediums, meaning that your chance to get a shot in is pretty high. You only need one good shot, and provided to an aged-out but capable mechwarrior it will do damage while possibly allowing the pilot to die with honour.

        The mech is about as Clan as you can get. It does not work well against IS forces however, unless you are ambushing which it is also pretty good at doing.

  2. Dwagonzahn

    I don’t often use Heavy Lasers due to their unreliability, especially in the wake of ECM/C3 and other defensive tech making inroads around the same time as their introduction. But the Clans sure seemed smitten with the damned things following their invention, just like ATMs and HAGs.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are places for them; but heavy mechs boating the damned things is not one of them, because even when you opt to not turn your mech’s cockpit into a human-coal kiln by not firing them, Heavy Lasers still explode when hit (get that CASE II ready).

    Mechs with very limited weapons tonnage and high mobility make great use of HLs in moderation, especially medium heavy lasers. And yes, I see the spot of irony in describing HLs in any way related to “in moderation”.

    1. Niven

      It’s the heavy SLs on the Hellfire Prime that really get me. Sure, they only eat a pound of pod space, but on something that slow (even with MASC that doesn’t randomly fail on-table more than any other mechs’ MASC) you’ll almost never be able to control when you can actually use them. Combine that with their inaccuracy and high heat generation to get a desperation weapon that probably won’t work when you need them to, either because they just miss or because you’re risking ammo cook-off/shutdown to even fire them. I get that this thing was supposed to be a test platform for heavy lasers, but putting every heavy laser variant on the same platform feels excessive.

      1. Colt Ward

        Also Heavy Smalls are just a half ton- they share the same weight as Std lasers, but have more crit requirements.

        1. Lord thanatos

          The fact that they do only one more point of damage than the clan ER small laser at half the range and greater and higher heat doesn’t help the small heavy lasers either.

    2. Colt Ward

      Heavy Lasers do not explode . . . Improved Heavy Lasers are the ones that explode. They have uses, and there are mechs that use them properly, but IMO it has to be something fast enough to get into range- at least against other Clans. Against the IS, they are a much better weapon system. Mechs such as the Solitaire, Phantom H, Fire Moth H, and even to a lesser extent the Timber Wolf H are solid examples of their use.

      Also, ECM/C3 do not effect heavy lasers?

      1. JustSomeGuy

        Add to that the Viper, Black Lanner, Linebacker, and the Gargoyle. Anything up-engined, compared to the standard touman used by the Clans, with limited tonnage/pod space.

  3. AlanthePaladin

    Never used heavy lasers before, let’s see… more heat produced then damage potentially caused on the large laser, and they can all? explode like the gauss rifle. Plus the accuracy debuff. Why do some clanners see the very concept of sustainability as anathema to their lifestyle? I Thought they were all about not being wasteful.

    1. Colt Ward

      As said before . . . regular heavy lasers do not explode. Improved Heavy Lasers do, but they are ‘improved’ in that they no longer have the +1 TH.

      1. AlanthePaladin

        Thanks for clarifying. I just figured that if the improved version has a drawback it was also in the original.

  4. Samuel Crosbie

    All you really need to do is swap out the masc, ers, one lrm for a better engine,maybe a tc, and perhaps another heat sinks or two, and this one becomes rather interesting. Give her a good gunner, and people tend to run scared from those heavies.

  5. T

    See now THIS is a proper bad Mech. And by that I mean, the Heavy Laser is wildly inefficient, even for their relatively cheap BV. In a 2d6 system, a single point of accuracy up or down makes a world of difference, and the Heavy lasers being both hideously overbudget on heat as well as inaccurate… It just dooms them.

    As always though, the Mediums aren’t awful, since they do at least give you a nice shot at a 10 damage hit for a single ton to a single location, and for 2 tons you get a shot at a piloting check. Paying 18 heat for 16 damage on the Large is ghastly though. The only time it really works is on a custom mech, because it DOES pair really well with a standard ER Medium laser.

    They have the same range brackets, and you can hook them to a 1 ton tac comp, loading the rest of the mech up with missiles. Nice short range punch for a discount.

  6. Craig

    This is a very un-Clan like Mech, except for the heat generated. MASC is risky and LRM ammo is risky with so much crazy laser heat. This Mech cooks!

    It’s a close-in brawler, depending on close range to make up for the bad targeting and MASC-level heat for speed. So the 3050 era Omnimechs may be able to play with it at long range (say Hellbringer or Adder) on an open field.

    For fighting the Inner Sphere Mechs more than other Clans? Hence the second-line designation? Might be a nasty surprise for the generally crappy 3050 IS Mechs and “upgraded” 3025 Mechs.

    Flawed in a fun way!

    1. George Spelvin

      I don’t know about that. Given some other superstars like the Bane, Stone Rhino, Nova, Hunchback IIC, not to mention the Swayback IiC, I’d say the Hellfire is VERY Clan like.

      1. Craig

        Should I have said “1990s Clans”… or “original Clans”?

        There really seems to be two kinds – the Omnis and the 2nd liners. The Nova I suspect is made to survive battle damage, it can’t realistically fire everything as it’ll have to roll for shutdown. There’s also the Hellbringer which pushes its luck heat-wise, but if you look carefully at most configs the Clans mostly run cool with lots of LBX-5’s, gauss, and missiles mixed in – often too cool and wasting heat sinks. Nova C, Timber Wolf B, Hellbringer B, all waste the tonnage on the base frame devoted to DHS.

        I don’t see the Hellfire dancing outside of the long range of IS mechs as the heavy lasers are the same range, and it’s not really any faster – MASC works sometimes but it also sometimes does not.

        I may be swayed by coming back to this fiction / community / game after a 20+ year absence – it is a stark difference to me. Example: the few Omnimechs in “Crescent Hawks Revenge” were mostly dumb opponents but they did hit from long range and run faster than the garbage IS 4-6 “troopers” that most lances were built with so they could escape. Hellfire? Eh it would be just the same as Crescent Hawk’s “Rifleman *,” “Marauder +” or other phantom non-existent mechs that pushed the limits of DHS and use of tonnage. In other words the same as what the computer gives to you.

        1. Owl

          I see the Nova as a light mech hunter. The weapons placement means that if any light mech tried to flank it or get behind for a rear shot, at least one arm can torso twist to bring its loadout to bear. This also means that as a light mech hunter, it can rarely get all the weapons to align on a single target, which might be why it carries more weapons than it can properly cool since it would be expected to only fire one “side” of them at a time on a flanking target.

          1. JustSomeGuy

            The Nova can’t torso twist if you follow the quirk rules. That does lend credence to your idea that the designers knew it’d have problems keeping guns on target in medium-to-light encounters and so only expected it to fire 6 lasers at any given time.

            Honestly the Nova is a pretty great mech for what it is. It’s made to get shot up and pushed back out quickly (standard armour and frame, uses only the most common of weapons). Doubling the weapons available also means you can take losses and still be fully combat effective for a long while.

  7. Lord thanatos

    Suggest the linebacker for the next bad mech. Was designed as a timber wolf replacement and dose a terrible job at everything. It’s undergunned, undersinked, underarmored, and spends way too much weight on the engine while barely being faster than the mech It’s designed to replace and vastly inferior in all other ways.

    1. Beemer

      This is a good suggestion IMO. Aside from having slightly more armor, the Stormcrow is a package of better value with the same speed but more pod space. It can also run all of the Linebacker configurations.

  8. Eric Karau

    The way Heavy Lasers are shown in fiction is like firing a focused thermonuclear explosion at a target! No wonder the things explode like they do! In Transformers the closest equivalent is Megatron’s Fusion Cannon! Either way, when they fire it still make you go “What the Hell was THAT?!?”

  9. Salty Mariner

    Typical Clanner thinking, mounting an insanely insufficient number of heat sinks for the energy weapons jammed into the ‘Mech.

    A balance of both Heavy and standard (ER) lasers would make more sense, but given that this was a testbed for Heavy laser technology, that wasn’t going to happen.

    The really bad idea here is throwing a testbed ‘Mech into the field in numbers.

  10. Steel Shanks

    See, this is why We laugh at Clanners… Just… Hilarious…

    Look, the PGI design of this Mech is absolutely beautiful… Love the design, looks great. But yeah, not a great Mech at all. Dropping the things that make it special, and the reason it exists, the Heavy Lasers, is the only way to make it work. Even then… Silly Clanners… Yer almost as funny as Capellans… Almost…

  11. George Spelvin

    This article really belongs in a Bad Weapons column instead of Bad ‘Mechs, because heavy lasers are really bad weapons. Putting multiple Heavy Ls (emphasis on the ‘L’) on any mech will make it a “bad” mech.

    I’ve also never seen the point of putting MASC on slower mechs. Is it really worth it for just two more movement points? Well, OK, putting MASC on an Urbie is amusing (it’s Urbie Gonzales – the fastest slowest ‘mech in all Mexico) but on the Hellfire MASC just wasted. A bigger engine makes more sense.

    1. JustSomeGuy

      That or TSM. TSM would provide the extra speed with no weight gain, and since you’re already going to be overheating it’d get a lot of use.

      1. George Spelvin

        Excellent point. TSM also gives a boost in melee damage for when you’d want to give the lasers a rest to avoid cooking. But I don”t think the clans had TSM.

    2. Gamedoom

      MASC can definitely be worth it when it means getting into or out of range or up or down a level of terrain a round early. It’s really situational though. Like, I wouldn’t select this mech over another one because it has MASC. If I was assigned this mech though, I would use it.

      1. George Spelvin

        On a relatively slow ‘mech like the Hellfire, upping the engine makes more sense, though. Dump the MASC and the standard 240 engine, drop in a 300XL, and you get the same top speed, only now it’s reliable. You also get a faster cruising speed and 4 free tons to use for heat sinks or armor or ammo or whatever. That will get you into range more reliably and let you do more once you’re there. It’s far more useful overall.

        1. Owl

          Might have been an attempt at a semi-“zombie” mech? XL engines protrude a bit into the side torsos, which makes them a bit more vulnerable than a standard engine hidden inside the CT. Normally from what I observe, the use of standard engines over XL ones tend to be for reasons of survivability.

          1. George Spelvin

            See below for my reply. Sarna munged the reply threading somehow. Weird.

  12. Max

    Yeah a proper bad mech both in lore and table top (pretty brutal in mwo to be fair pull the lrms for DHS,tc and or XL or up size sfe)

    Heavy lasers just aren’t good, the worst being the large IMHO.

    The history of it being broke and sorta fixed then used as a test bed is good lore but, apparently much like reality using a bad test bed can effect the new toys use and impact.

    On better designs the heavy lasers just aren’t worth it, not a case of just need a better fit.

    It is fun when the dice gods smile upon you and you choose to let the poor sibkin driving it do a “POV you’re literally microwave popcorn” hits absurdly hard for anything let alone it’s weight class.

    As always the community ads so much to these really fun posts.

  13. WestRider

    What’s actually strange to me here is the entire concept of a Clan “testbed” Mech. Isn’t that part of the point of OmniMechs, that new weapons systems can just be tested out as new configurations of existing chassis? You want to try something new out, you just slap a few new pods together and load them on a Timber Wolf. Or maybe a Hellbringer would be a more appropriate match for a weapon system this ridiculous. Or even just stick the pods in the Lupuses if that’s all you’ve got, rather than rebuilding them as standard Mechs with different engines. That’s gotta be way more effort, and it clearly didn’t work out any better.

    1. RFS

      My thinking on this is much the same; the level of effort it must have took to chop and screw an omni into a regular battlemech must have pretty greatly exceeded the effort it would have taken to shove some heavy lasers into omni-pods and send them out. It could have even been pretty good bait to get second liners/garrison folks to volunteer for the program; test out our janky pilot-boiler lasers and get a new (to you) omnimech for your troubles.

      The only reason that makes sense in my mind is more political than technical. With omnis, there’s an expectation that the individual mechwarrior has the liberty to pick their configuration to match their preferences and mission. By hardwiring the heavy lasers into the Lupus/Hellfire, it forces the mechwarrior to either suck it up and find a way to make the loadout work or go through Trials to either get a different machine or retain their previous machine. A bum arrangement for the pilot, and not great for the technicians doing the upkeep, but perfect for the scientists standing on the sidelines who just want the hard data ASAP.

    2. Joseph

      I think part of the reason, at least for the Hellfire, is the Clan’s philosophy of not waisting anything. They probably hard-wired everything because the Lupis was a first-generation omnimech in a second or third generation of omnis. Production of parts for first-gen omnis were probably being or had been phased out, so stipping out the omni-pod technology was probably easier than updating them. Probably didn’t help the electronics problems though.

      Another reason why they probably didn’t just slap the heavy lasers onto existing omnis is because they had yet to develop a omni-pod version of the heavy lasers. They probably wanted to make sure the weapons worked while trying to figure out how to make the pods able to handle the power draw of the heavy lasers. (I just had the thought that testing the couplings and electronics might be another reason why they converted the Lupus, but it doesn’t explain why they didn’t just hard mount it to a more recent omni)

      But in the end, it’s probably just fluff from the writers. I do think it’s worth noting that in the TRO the Hellfire debuts in, all the mechs that use the Heavy Lasers are standard mechs (if my memory serves, I’m going to go check that). My guess is that there’s something about them that made the clanners nervous, but they wanted a edge on the IS so they didn’t abandon it entirely.

      1. JustSomeGuy

        Not wanting to refurbish old Omnimech technology would make sense, as does being unsure of whether or not the weapon system could work with pods early on. It’s likely the Hellfire started as a stripped down Lupus chassis that was being used for prototyping and once the scientists got close enough to a workable design the higher ups decided to run limited production. Anything more than limited production is likely political (a mix of “Not Invented Here” for disfavouring the Lupus and not wanting to be known for actively fielding a 200 year old chassis).

    1. WestRider

      No, but it makes the failure far less costly. It also provides more reliable test data, since the rest of the chassis is a completely known factor, so it’s more clear that the problems are with the weapon systems themselves than from possible unknown issues with the chassis.

  14. Beemer

    Where’s all the stuff about heavy lasers exploding coming from? The only heavy lasers that explode at all are the improved heavy lasers and that’s only if they suffer a critical hit. The normal heavy lasers have only a +1 TH modifier. The improved versions trade the +1 TH modifier for explodium.

  15. Eric Karau

    When Mechs mounting Heavy Lasers go into combat, they immediately stand out in appearance: massive muzzles on the lasers, carrying steaming extra coolant pods really working hard to stop overheating; even if your opponents are fellow Clanners they will know something is up weapons-wise!

  16. George Spelvin

    Do you know what we used to call zombie ‘mechs? Just ‘mechs.

    The zombie ‘mech concept was more an accidental discovery on the tabletop than an intentional design philosophy as people realized that, despite their other failings (heat mostly), the original energy based 3025 designs were a lot more robust once the armor starts peeling off than later lostech and clan designs. Only later did people start intentionally building zombies.

    In other words, if the Hellfire was intended to be a zombie ‘mech, those LRMs wouldn’t be there.

    In my experience, the increased average speed granted by an XL engine upgrade more than makes up for those extra engine bits hanging out in the side torsos. Over the long term, even a single +1 to hit modifier from movement can make a huge difference, especially on slower ‘mechs. They can’t
    crit what they don’t hit.

    There are also far worse things to have in the side torsos than engine bits. If you take a hit in the engine, you have to deal with extra heat. It’s survivable. If you take a hit in even a single ton of crit magnet machine gun ammo, you’re done. Game over.


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