Battlemech Design Experimentation – Inner Sphere vs. Clan
In doing all of my recent designs of Battlemechs, I came upon the question: What would happen if you attempted to make a strict Inner Sphere tech base Mech that was as close to a strict Clan tech base as possible? Would the BV reflect the extreme difference in the strength of the two tech bases? Here follows a single anecdote investigating the question.
I’m sure that you remember the Bengal that I posted earlier in the week. *wink* Here are the stats again:
Earliest Production Year:
Unknown 240 Fusion Engine
2 ER PPCs
2 Streak SRM-6s
Targeting and Tracking System:
Tech Rating/Era Availability:
Internal Locations: 1 HD, 1 LA, 5 RA
16 (32) – Double (9 in engine)
Heat Sink Locations: 1 CT, 2 LT, 2 RT, 1 LL, 1 RL
Actuators: L: SH+UA+LA+H R: SH+UA+LA+H
201 points – Ferro-Fibrous
Armor Locations: 3 RT, 4 LA
CASE Locations: LA, RA
Center Torso (rear):
R/L Torso (rear):
Weapons and Ammo
@Streak SRM-6 (15)
@Streak SRM-6 (15)
Special Abilities: CASE, SRCH, ES, SEAL, SOA
The goal became to create an Inner Sphere Mech as close to this loadout and defensive capabilities as possible. Compare the Bengal above to the Resolute below:
Pretty close, but not a perfect match. Inner Sphere ER PPCs do less damage than Clan ER PPCs and the ER SL hardly makes up for it. That leads next to the fact that double heat sinks are a real bear to fit on IS Mechs because of the extreme crit slot requirements. Only eight less damage potential, true, but considerably less heat mitigation as well at 28 to 32. The Inner Sphere Mech lacks CASE (can’t even afford the crit slots!) and suffers the weakness of a Light Fusion Engine with crit slots in both side torsos. They have equivalent defensive armor and tonnage for internal structure. The Inner Sphere Mech is potentially a bigger threat at short range, especially if you require Clan Mechs to obey by zellbringen (no melee, one-on-one only).
So, what is a Mechwarrior to do? Tonnage is not the problem. There are not enough crit slots on the Inner Sphere Mech! In fact, a keen eye will notice that the Resolute isn’t even using the full 60 tons!
Now let’s compare the costs. At 2336 to 1493, the slight differences in strength between the two are highlighted by the reduced effectiveness, and cost, of Inner Sphere tech. The Resolute is getting 843 extra BV to spend on support for the same cost as the Bengal. That’s a whole extra Mech! So, I’ve been pretty hard on Clan Tech, but it seems, at least anecdotally, that you better plan on playing for it. Building Mechs from scratch, by hand, has been a real education in helping me to wrap my head around game balance.
Since drafting this post a few days ago, my next step is going to be to start looking to variant internal structures on the Resolute and also possibly removing hands and lower arms to free up crit space.