Saturday, 31 October 2015
Technical Read Out 3055
I had the good fortune to be asked to write for the BattleTech universe by Sam Lewis. I had written to him suggesting a TRO to cover the Clan second line mechs and Inner Sphere combat support vehicles. My idea was to do a version of the 3025 book but using the new Clan technology rules.
Sam wrote back and said this was an interesting idea but given that I was in England it would be too difficult to coordinate this project.
You have to remember I was writing this stuff in the late 80s and early 90s before the advent of the internet we all know and love today. There was also the little thing of just having one person write a whole TRO. I was game, but the people at FASA thought it would be better if the work was given to more than one writer.
I remember having a conversation and asked what I would like to write for the book? I said the Clan second line mechs, which made "Black" Mike Nystul happy. Mostly because it seemed that no one had any interest in doing them because they were considered boring. They sent me a bunch of drawings and told me to design stats to match. At the time I knew nothing about the Harmony Gold problem and I was blissfully ignorant of any developments happening within FASA. All I wanted to do was produce stats for classic Inner Sphere mechs I liked.
I Also remember Mike apologizing about cutting the text down for the TRO after insisting on it for the original specification. I knew several of the other British based contributors to this product, and they all moaned about the amount of fluff text that had been specified. It's quite difficult to write things which have any relevance to the game.
FASA wanted five of the design optimized for Solaris, which back then had a different ground and time scale. The designs had to take advantage of the rules, and I was told that if there was any spare tonnage that this would be a good thing. Because they had ideas for scenarios with extra surprises.
They also told me that certain mechs were to be Diamond Sharks and to mention this when writing the text. I didn't have the first clue about who or what they were, other than they had plans. Also, I didn't design the Jenner that is in the Clan second line mech section.
The following are links to the full text I wrote for FASA.
The AC2 version of the Kraken was optimized for then original version of Solaris. This used a different time and ground scale combo. The rules allowed certain weapons, like the AC2, to fire either every turn or on more turns than a lot of other weapons.
What I called the Matador became the stats for the Phoenix Hawk.
SHD-3J Shadow Hawk
Name changed from Wolverine to Hellhound by FASA.
I later learnt Herb Beas rewrote the rules because of my designs. Seems the mechs were a popular choice for tournament games. Due to the combined bonus to hit from having pulse lasers and targeting computers.
My design philosophy at the time (even now) is to design mechs which over heat slowly, and as they take damage, degrade gracefully. This suits my style of play. I'm not a frother who likes to overheat a mech for one extra shot on the enemy which ends up shutting down your mech.
This comes from a steep learning curve with unforgivingly brutal opponents like Glenn Wallbridge. Though I think I can say that we were fairly evenly matched? I've seen him reduce people's units, who were considered pretty good players, to shambling wrecks without breaking into a sweat.
He taught me a few things I had missed. I remember playing a MechForce UK game against I think Neill Fowler Wright? I fought his then unbeaten Jenner trio to a standstill with a Black Jack BJ-1D & Rifleman RFL-3D team. He reconsidered his tactics, and I started using Jenners after that.