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Savage Battletech
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:31 am    Post subject: Savage Battletech Reply with quote

Welcome, have a seat, grab a fussiller, and welcome to the far future of the Inner Sphere, the Children of Kerensky, and the Followers of Blake.

This is not what you might at first think, a thread by a new person asking how to adapt one set of rules to another. No, this is something far different.

No, this newbie doesn't come asking for advise, but rather, request review and thoughts on an a work in progress:

Savage Battletech

Some notes to alleviate expectations: this is a syncretic work. It draws from both Savage Worlds and Battletech, so knowledge of both systems is basically required. The goal was not to completely supplant the core Battletech system, which has withstood the test of time (as far as tabletop gaming goes, it's core mechanics have been fundamentally unchanged for thirty years), but rather streamline it and make it more much faster using Savage Worlds and for Mech fights to play more like the novels and video games rather than strictly simulative.

To this end, this means that so long as the players are piloting mechs, damage is handled via Battletech record sheets and weapons do fixed damage. Certain other things are lifted from Battletech, like the values pf modifiers, and weapon ranges. It is expected to be played on the Battletech scale, with either miniatures or a hex-grid, but I'm sure you expected that.

Feedback is greatly appreciated. Myself and my friends have been refining these rules for about two years now, but we've grown a bit stagnate, as we've gotten to the point where we've likely automatically filled holes in the rules without even realizing it, and a fresh set of eyes to look over things would be appreciated.

Enjoy.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savage BattleTech - Revision 12 - 11/02/2012

Savage BattleTech Rules - Revision 11 - 06/21/2012

Savage BattleTech Rules - Revision 10 - 04/14/2012

Savage Battletech Rules - Revision 9 - 03/23/2012

Savage Battletech Rules - Revision 8 - 02/29/2012

Savage Battletech Rules - Revision 7.1 - 01/05/2012
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice document, I can see you put a lot of effort in it. I've just gone through it briefly and I'm not sure if I like these rules better than the mech rules in Interface Zero. There's certainly more to them than IZ's. I'm going to have to give it a more thorough read when I have the time.
A question; when you say knowledge of both systems would be required, what Battlelech books would you need?
The reason I ask is because the Battletech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set isn't availalbe any more and I believe it contained the core rules. Or is there another book that has the core rules?
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The current Core Rulebook for Battletech is Battletech: Total Warfare. However, that's a massive hardbound book, and expensive.

One of the interesting things about Battletech is that the Core mechanics have not changed in 30 years, they've been expanded, new things added, but the fundamentals are the same. So any Battletech core rulebook should work fine. I actually originally wrote these rules using Battletech 3rd Edition rulebook (still findable for lower cost under the title "Classic Battletech Master Rules") that I've had since the mid 90s. When a friend got TacOps, there were no changes that needed to be made, merely new options for us to expand into.

I should have mentioned, that this system is very crunchy compared to core Savage Worlds. Battletech itself is a very crunchy system, taking into account dozens of variables to figure out even a single weapon shot. Much of that crunch was removed in Savage Battletech, but some of it made it through.

If Savage Worlds is creamy peanut butter, and Battletech is dry-roasted peanuts, Savage Battletech is crunchy peanut butter. Wink
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peregry wrote:
The current Core Rulebook for Battletech is Battletech: Total Warfare. However, that's a massive hardbound book, and expensive.

Actually, that book can be bought at LGS's in my city for about the cost of a SW setting book - so not too expensive. I seem to recall a free 2 dowload quick-start rules on the Catalyst game site, but maybe I'm not remembering correctly? If such a thing does exist, would they be enough for Savage Battletech?
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peregry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rules in the Quick Start guide (Found here) are sufficient for a basic understanding of Battletech movement. Unfortunately it is not sufficient when it comes to damage, as it uses a greatly simplified damage system, while Savage Battletech is based off the complete damage system.

The main area is that under the Quick Start, stripping the armor off a location treats the location as destroyed. Under core Battletech, to destroy a location you must both strip its armor and destroy the internal structure, and hits on internal structure threaten critical hits, which can do further damage.

Savage Battletech ups the ante on Critical Hits, as Hits with a Raise also threaten critical hits on the location hit (there's an entire rules section dedicated to this in the document). This is a big part of combat in Savage Battletech and while you could play with the Quick Start damage rules, I would suggest doing away with the weapon grouping rules and rolling each weapon attack individually (this would extend combat a bit as weapon groups serve directly to increase combat speed by making hits much more significant).

Finally, the quick start rules lack the full weapon tables, which means you'd be stuck using the pregenerated mechs from that, which takes out a huge chunk of the fun of a Savage Battletech campaign, which is in refining your Mech's loadout and customizing it over time, taking it from a generic Mech to your Mech.

That said, to run a quick scenario to get a feel for the system, it should work just fine, I just wouldn't use it for a longer term game.
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the mech rules have been unchanged for a while, the tabletop rules have varied wildly. My friend ran a 2nd edition game for a while using the 2d10 (exploding) +bonus system and it was fun for the time. But damage involved a lot of looking up charts and the bonuses didn't seem to matter much compared to the dice. The current version of the RPG rules has 2d6+bonus, but in this system the bonus seems to matter too much. The damage system is a bit more simple, but I still didn't fully understand it. All in all I much prefer Savage Worlds.

Now as for the mech side of things... Sure, it hasn't changed in 30 years, but I think there could be some improvements. I think it's silly how, barring an extremely lucky events (TACs, headshots followed by a failed knockout roll, etc) the damage usually boils down to damage racing since armor stops attacks cold until depleted.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mylon,

In SBt you generally use Savage Worlds for all tabletop combat and resolution. I've never been impressed with the MechWarrior RPG and found it clunky, hence this system.

If you look at the Mech rules for SBt, combat has been sped up greatly. This accomplished by adopting hit with raise from Savage Worlds. On a Mech, a hit with a raise results in a Battletech critical threat on that location. Further raises add +1 on the confirmation roll. Additionally, more weapons tend to hit due to weapon grouping rules. All this results in combat being much faster and armor no longer stopping hits until depleted.
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Mylon
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooo, I like this idea. Making margin of success matter in mech combat! But... This also means those 1 gunners are that much more valuable.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might I suggest reading the document I posted? This is all covered in it. Wink

Long story short, most dice rolls are done per Savage Worlds. Mechwarriors are the player characters with SW character sheets. For a Mechwarrior there are three main skills:

Mech Piloting
Gunnery
Mech Melee

Characters have ranks in these skill identically to Savage Worlds. For instance, a Mech Piloting of a d8 means just that, you roll a d8 on all piloting skill checks.

The only rolls that are still done per Battletech are hit location, critical confirmation and cluster hits, in other words, the table rolls are still rolled with 2d6 on the appropriate table. Success/fail checks are made with Savage Worlds rules and the appropriate dice size.
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Diamondb
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just did a quick read, but this looks awesome!

A couple of my players have been bugging me about running a Battletech game and I've been hesitant to do anything because of the bulky set of rules. I've been planning on doing some conversion work to Savage Worlds, but I'm thrilled to see I don't have to wait until this summer to undertake the task (school starting back up makes rule conversions challenging).

As I delve further into it I may have more comments and questions, but for the time being I'm impressed and thrilled to see this.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our rules team (as I wrote in the intro, there's actually four of us working on this, I'm just the author) is currently hashing out better rules for electronic warfare and hacking, so expect a much more complete system there.

Please contact me with any feedback, we really want to improve this.
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koraq
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I think BT works fine just as it is, this take of a Savage BT looks great. The MechWarrior part didn't gel as well as it should and this looks quite good. Impressive.
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small miracles never cease to amaze - low and behold 1 of my FLGS's has just received a few Battletech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Sets. Since I missed its 1st release in 2007, I'm thinking of jumping on it. And now that I actually have a hope of playing in the Battletech universe, I gave the Savage BattleTech rules a more thorough read and I'm impressed.

So of course being a complete n00b to the BT Universe ( I do admittedly own some MecWarrior DA figs, but I only ever played 1 game with them) this raises a few questions. Wink

- If I want to start playing Battletech as a RPG, what addtional books do I need; i.e. do I need A Time of War?
- Will the 80 pages rule book in the Anniversary box be enough for all the base rule content for Savage BattleTech, or do I also need to purchase the Total Warfare book?.
- Can I use my MechWarrior DA figs from Wizkids with the anniversary set figs and these rules?

I'd like to eventually play a campaign in the BattleTech universe, but my current knowledge is limited to the videogames; which probably isn't saying much.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm unfamiliar with the 25th Anniversary Box set rules, to be honest. I've been playing Battletech since the mid-90s and these rules were originally written using the 3rd edition Master Rulebook. I know the standard "starter rules" do not cover enough information (those rules leave out internal structure damage and such).

You may have to invest in Total Warfare, but Battletech is damn near 100% backwards compatible. The rules haven't changed much since the game was first developed, so if you pick up a copy of the "Master Rulebook" it may be cheaper than Total Warfare, and I can assure that it will work.

Any miniatures should work for this system. The big thing to note is that Battletech is designed for a hex map, so if the miniature base is to large for a single hex it can get awkward. That said, the miniature or counter doesn't matter in the least. The development group that I play with uses a combination of Battletech miniatures for the players and old Mage-Knight miniatures for enemies, and it works just fine. The important thing is to be able to tell where the front of the mech is and then determining other facings (Left, Right and Back).

As to knowledge of the gameworld, I'd likely be a terrible person for you if you ran, but, like I said, I've been following Battletech since the 90s and between me and my local library I have access to damn near all the Battletech novels ever written (and I own a few rare ones too). I can tell you exactly where every game falls in the timeline, how it fits, and how accurate it is to the overall universe. Wink Anyway, to be honest, between the universe information in the core books, the games and http://www.sarna.net you should be able to have a good game that fits the general feel. Sure, you may not know the names of the five pilots Kai Allard-Liao brought down in his "Trial of Position" on Outreach, but that's trivia, what matters is to remember the answer my brother came up with for the question of "What is a Battlemech?"

""It is the Knight's sword, a legendary weapon passed down through his familty, or a special blade forged for him at the behest of his Master. It is his faithful steed, always ready to carry him into battle.

Like the steeds of old, it can be hurt, gravely, but unlike those made of mere flesh, can be restored through effort should it be harmed. THAT is the Battlemech."
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peregry wrote:
You may have to invest in Total Warfare, but Battletech is damn near 100% backwards compatible. The rules haven't changed much since the game was first developed, so if you pick up a copy of the "Master Rulebook" it may be cheaper than Total Warfare, and I can assure that it will work.

Well that's a bit of a problem, as the 1 and only LGS that seems to be carrying any CBT doesn't stock a Master Rule book. They just have CBT Total Warfare, the CBT TechManual and CBT Tactical Operations. There's an excellent, and quite humorous, review of the Intro Box set on boardgamegeek.com. This is some of that reviewers comments on the difference between the Quick Start and Introductory Rules included in the Set:

"However, if you're willing to dig deeper and add some of the more complex rules found in the "Intro rulebook" (also included in this set), you'll begin to glimpse why this game has survived for so long. For instance, you'll begin to see the incredible value of long-ranged units, even though they seem useless when you're first learning the game. You'll see the value of hiding in cover and flanking. You'll learn the fine art of balancing your heat and how you can use your opponent's heat gauge against them."

I realize that's brief, but based on what he's stating there do you think those intro rules are in depth enough for SBT?

Quote:
Any miniatures should work for this system. The big thing to note is that Battletech is designed for a hex map, so if the miniature base is to large for a single hex it can get awkward.

Ah, well that may be a problem as the mechs in MW DA have a 2" circular base. So if the CBT maps are 1" hexes that isn't going to work. Hmm....maybe I could use a 2" Chessex hex Battlemap.

I'd actually forgotten about the 50 page BattleTech Universe Guide that's free to download from the Catalyst Labs game site. From my quick browsing of it, it does appear to have enough content to get started RP'ing in the CBT universe.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the sound of it, it may have enough. Best I can say is give it a try, the big concern really is that the rules cover Battletech damage completely, from armor to internal to critical hits (especially critical hits as SBt increases their frequency). The other concern is that it has most of the Battletech tables, as I conscientiousness did not replicate Battletech tables unless we had specific changes to stats beyond the general conversion rule. Pretty sure basic tables are included in those.

Also, if you get the hankering to design your own mechs when you start feeling more comfortable with the system check out Solaris Skunk Werks. A powerful and easy to use mech designing tool that allows you to print out complete mech record sheets.

Anyway, you could just forgo a map all together and play it as a miniatures games. Battletech supports this, and there's no reason why Savage Battletech wouldn't, just change all instances of "spaces" to "inches" and bingo, done. The problem there, of course, is proper terrain for mech fights in miniature combat is much more complex, but that can be worked around.
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for all the replies peregry. I think I'll go with the Intro Set and if the 80 pg Intro Rules aren't enough I'll get Total Warfare.
peregry wrote:
...you could just forgo a map all together and play it as a miniatures games. Battletech supports this, and there's no reason why Savage Battletech wouldn't, just change all instances of "spaces" to "inches" and bingo, done. The problem there, of course, is proper terrain for mech fights in miniature combat is much more complex, but that can be worked around.


Cool, I still have the nice, flexible measuring tape included in the MechWarrior DA base set for hexless combat. Wink My gaming group and I also have a lot of terrain we've used in our Weird Wars II and Tour of Darkness campaigns. It is geared more toward 1:72 (20mm) figs, but all the bases on the trees fit in 1" squares/hexes. I'm also comfortable with creating maps in MapTool or drawing them up on a Chessex battlemap.

[Edit] A table is included in the Intro set, but apparently the box states includes 2, whereas it actually only comes with 1.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The table that really matters is the table that calculates to hit for terrain, as those modify the Gunnery roll in SBt. The modifiers for Piloting can be used, but my group has generally dispensed with all the piloting skill rolls for various terrain as it adds little but extra rolling to the system to be honest and slows down gameplay (you just ran over paved terrain, make a piloting skill roll to not fall over, you just entered a water hex, make a piloting skill... etc).

Weapon damage et all is generally on a Mech's record sheet, and SSW has all that built in, so you can easily just take the numbers from the printed sheets.
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol. Well you do a bit of digging and you find some valuable stuff - the game card in the Introductory Box Set with the tables is available for download as a PDF from the Catalyst games website . Wink

Its 2 page and includes the following:

* Movement Costs table
* Facing After Fall table
* Piloting Skill Roll table
* Cluster Hits table
* 'Mech Kick Location table
* Mech Hit Location table
* Attach Modifiers table
* Heat Point table
* Physicl Attack Modifiers table
* Determining Critical Hits table
* 'Mech Punch Location table

Damn, that's a lot of tables. Surprised I've noticed there's terrain modifiers listed in the Attack Modifiers table.
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