Custom Damage Reduction Rules in Battletech

My friend Josh has been wanting to inject some more “realism” into Battletech and has proposed a more robust damage reduction system than what is presented in Tac Ops.  I’ve put together a proposal that we are discussing right now.  I have concerns with many of the dimensions of this, but we’re making progress and tweaking as we go.

Alternate Proposed Scheme for our group

Michael’s Guiding Principle/Assumption: Mech size should not be the determinant of the armor toughness. Any size Mech should be able to pay for any “thickness” of armor.

Varying levels of damage reduction are tied to fewer points of armor purchased per ton.

General rules: DR does not apply to internal structure.  DR does not apply to excess damage transferred to other locations.   DR that reduces damage to zero cannot injure pilots or cause critical hits (Has the benefit of eliminating the utility of “crit seeking” builds).  Record sheets should be clearly marked with the locations that have DR armor.

DR Level

Points of Armor per Ton

Crit slots (rounded up)



0.1 X tons purchased



0.2 X tons purchased



0.3 X tons purchased



0.4 X tons purchased

The added crit slots not only reflect the thicker armor, but the need to stabilize the gyro to the added weight.

System Construction Test

The balance of this proposal can be roughly tested by building a Mech and seeing what sort of compromises need to be made.  Some of the details left out because the only thing that matters is tonnage and crit slots.  The base Mech sheet contains 49 open critical slots, assuming a standard cockpit and gyro

Clan-Based 90 Tons

Internal Structure 9t

Clan XL Fusion Engine with 3W/5R MP (270 engine rating) 7.5t/2 extra crit slots in both LT and RT beyond normal

Standard Gyro 3t

Standard Cockpit 3t

10 Free heat sinks + 6 additional heat sinks (all DH) 6t/12 crit slots

276 points of DR 4 armor purchased = 34.5t and 14 crit slots

2 ER PPC 12t/4 crit

4 Streak SRM 6 12t/8 crit

3 tons of SSRM6 ammo 3t/3 crit

Total tonnage used: 90

Total crit slots used: 45 of 49

Compromise:  Couldn’t buy Endosteel due to crit slot cost of DR armor.

System seems to work.  My original system had a crit slot requirement for DR armor 0.1 higher than current values and it made constructing a Mech difficult.

Questions to Consider

Should DR armor be required to be installed on every location or just some locations?  Can a Mech have different DR values on different locations as long as they are clearly indicated?

Another consideration:  High DR essentially eliminates the efficacy of SRM and LRM missiles.  Should DR be applied to the total?  That compromise doesn’t seem right because that could just result in fewer max point groupings when damage is applied.  Is that an acceptable trade off if it means forcing the missiles to strike fewer locations?

This proposed system is in between the weaker (Tac Ops system) and the stronger (Josh’s first suggestion).  It obviously needs to be play-tested.


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