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"Vehicle House Rules for Stargrunt" Topic

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Achtung Minen05 Jan 2015 5:17 p.m. PST

As mentioned in my thread about rules for Heavy Gear gaming, I have been thinking about using Stargrunt II for warfare on Terra Nova.

The only problem is that vehicles (particularly tanks and the eponymous "Heavy Gear" walkers) play a huge role in Heavy Gear. I understand that vehicle rules are one of the few shortcomings of Stargrunt II—a game where vehicles tend to be vulnerable "glass cannons" that can explode at the first impact. On the other hand, infantry, who are the real focus of the Stargrunt system, are only slowly worn down by enemy fire and can take quite a beating before the last man is taken out of action.

Although I normally appreciate this feature of Stargrunt, it seems vaguely unsatisfying when translated to warfare in the Heavy Gear universe. Therefore, to make vehicle combat work a little more like infantry combat, I am considering these house rules for Stargrunt. Please tell me what you think!

Targets in Cover: This rule actually relates to both infantry and vehicles. Where the SGII rules ask for a die type to shift up for cover, you would instead roll a separate "cover die" (D6 light cover, D8 medium cover or D10 heavy cover) and take the highest from the range die and the cover die for the defense roll. I find that rolling two dice and taking the highest provides more satisfying results than boosting 1D6 to 1D8.

Heavy Weapon Ranges: The range band for heavy weapons is now based on the impact die of a weapon, instead of automatically being 12". Thus, a D6 weapon firing at a size 3 target would have 18" range bands. I find this adds more variety in the weapon systems, allowing you to have weapons that hit hard (D6 impact die, x5 weapon class modifier), yet have shorter ranges (6" x Size).

Heavy Weapon Attacks: With the exception of the above mentioned range band and dice shift rules, attacks are rolled the same as in SGII. However, a major hit on the attack causes two impact dice to be rolled (taking the highest), instead of doubling the impact die result. This results in less "swingy" outcomes (i.e., ones that are more averaged)—the same goal as the aforementioned "dice shifts" rule.

Heavy Weapon Penetration: As in normal SGII, the Impact Die is rolled against the armour die (multiplied by the vehicle armour value). However, the armour die is not automatically D12, but rather D10 (frontal target), D12 (frontal, hull down), D8 (flank), D6 (rear) or D4 (top or bottom). Thus, a penetration roll might be Snub Cannon (D6, x5) vs frontal light armour (D10, x2). If the initial attack had caused a major hit, it would be 2D6x5 (choose highest) vs 1D10x2. The point of this rule is to encourage flanking attacks.

Vehicle Damage: The SGII rules for damage are completely overwritten by these rules. If the impact roll is less than or equal to the armour roll, the vehicle takes a glancing hit (place a "wounded" aka "systems malfunction" chit next to the vehicle). If the impact roll is higher, the attack caused minor damage: place a systems malfunction chit AND a "systems offline" chit (use the "kill" token for the latter). If the impact roll is twice or greater than the armour roll, the vehicle is destroyed by major damage (leave on the table as wreckage).

For every "systems malfunction" chit on a vehicle, that vehicle suffers -1" to movement and -1 to all attack rolls and rolls to communicate, observe, remove suppression, transfer action or test confidence. If a vehicle has one or more "system offline" chit, then it may do no action other than "repair systems" (see below).

Repair Systems: This is a new action available to all vehicles. To take this action, simply roll the vehicle's quality die. On a score of 4+, remove one system offline chit (or system malfunction, if there are no system offline chits). Additionally, a successful roll of 4+ allows you to take another free action (which may then be another repair systems roll, and so on and so forth).

Small Arms vs Vehicles: Small arms weapons may fire at vehicles using the rules above. However, the small arms impact die always has a x1 modifier and, furthermore, all damage levels infliced by small arms are reduced by one damage type (from glance to no damage, minor damage to glance and major damage to minor damage). While small arms can never destroy vehicles, they may knockout external sensors or cameras (the equivalent of cracking a glass vision block on a WW2 tank).

The overhaul of the damage rules is the biggest change and allows vehicles to function similarly to infantry (they accrue damage bit by bit instead of being taken out instantly). The possibility for instant destruction is still there, although now it will typically require forcing an enemy vehicle to shutdown and then using that opportunity to slip around the flank of the vehicle for the coup de grace. Hopefully, this should make vehicles more dynamic and interesting (if still somewhat vulnerable, compared to infantry) and be a good way to bridge Stargrunt II and Heavy Gear.

As an example of the above rules, imagine a "Hunter" Heavy Gear (quality D8, fire control D6) is firing a medium autocannon (Impact: D8, x2) at a "Black Mamba" Heavy Gear (armour value x2, size x2) that is 25" away. The attacker rolls the quality die (D8) and fire control die (D6) as normal, but subtracts 1 because the Hunter still has a systems malfunction chit from earlier in the battle. The Black Mamba rolls 1D6 (second 16" range band from the medium autocannon vs size 2 target) and a D8 for cover. The Black Mamba also has two system malfunction chits and a systems offline chit, but these do not penalize defense rolls. The Hunter rolls a 6 and a 4 (modified to a 5 and a 3), while the highest the Black Mamba rolls is a 2—a major hit! The Hunter then rolls two impact dice (each D8x2) against the Black Mamba armour die (d10 for frontal attack, x2 for armour). The Hunter's highest die is 6 (modified to 12), while the Black Mamba gets a 4 (modified to 8). The Hunter causes a minor hit, adding a second "systems offline" chit and a third "systems malfunction" to the already stunned Black Mamba.

What do you think?

doublesix6606 Jan 2015 9:59 a.m. PST

Evan, interesting idea you have here I reckon you have done a good job here how have you found it when play testing does it make vehicles to powerful in the infantry game.

Are you doing HG's as powered infantry or as walkers?

We'll give it a few goes to see how it works.

Achtung Minen06 Jan 2015 8:56 p.m. PST

Haven't got a chance to playtest it yet, unfortunately. I have a big box of Jon Tuffley's 15mm infantry coming over on the boat from GZG so hopefully that will give me a good excuse to give it a go!

The plan is to treat Heavy Gear's as small walkers. To give an example:

OACS-01M/SU Jäger
Mobility Type: Walker D8
Size: 2 (Small)
Armour Class: D10x2
Weaponry: LAC, LRP, APGL, HG, VB
Fire Control: Enhanced D8
Other Equipment: Basic ECM D6

I've played around with vehicle movement to add more variation (with so many dozen Heavy Gears to model, vehicle entries need more detail!). Thus, the Jäger can walk 8" or 1d8x2".

The small size should be familiar to SGII players, but I've further detailed armour class so it is now a die type (D8, D10 or D12) as well as a multiplier. If the Gear has a sturdy box or two, I just bump up the default D8 to a D10 or D12. In this way, vehicles under these rules tend to be a little weaker (although with the aforementioned damage house rules, a failed armour save is less serious). Needless to say, I've already scrapped the earlier armour rules (D10 for front, D6 for rear, etc.).

Heavy weaponry is also weaker, however. A light autocannon (LAC) is merely D6x2, for example. I've based fire control on the old Heavy Gear FireCon values and used sensors as a basis for ECM (not an intuitive choice, but it was the only similar stat that every Heavy Gear had).

Achtung Minen07 Jan 2015 11:29 a.m. PST

Just thinking about the idea some more. I came across one SGII modification that takes up a similar idea:


Essentially, this WW2 mod uses flat impact dice rolls (without multipliers), with a "minor damage" resulting in a degrading vehicle/crew quality and a "major damage" resulting in vehicle destruction. Although we model the damage in different ways, the idea is the same: push vehicle destruction to a "major" result only and have numerous minor damages build up and accumulate slowly.

The more I toy with the idea, however, the more I see why Tuffley went the route he did. The multipliers produce really swingy results, which both emphasizes infantry as the "salient" force on the battlefield and also hints at far-future technology (when our ability to destroy will far outstrip our ability to protect vehicles). Plus, the SGII vehicle rules allows you to play with lots of vehicles, but also get them out of the way fairly quickly, which is good for Heavy Gear gameplay as well.

Even if I eventually decide not to use the above house rules, though, this effort has produced an easy system for converting Heavy Gears to classic Stargrunt rules.

Oberlindes Sol LIC03 Apr 2015 9:32 p.m. PST

I think I'll try some of your house rules at my next few games. I'll post my after action thoughts here. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

Mako1122 Jun 2015 8:14 p.m. PST

"…when our ability to destroy will far outstrip our ability to protect vehicles".

Actually, I think that is perhaps the wrong conclusion, and that there will always be some balance between the two.

In many cases, I'd say the AFVs have the edge, with the deployment of millimeter-band radars, computers, and vehicle self-defense weaponry (not to mention their very powerful, offensive weaponry).

Lion in the Stars23 Jun 2015 5:44 p.m. PST

"…when our ability to destroy will far outstrip our ability to protect vehicles".

Actually, I think that is perhaps the wrong conclusion, and that there will always be some balance between the two.

In many cases, I'd say the AFVs have the edge, with the deployment of millimeter-band radars, computers, and vehicle self-defense weaponry (not to mention their very powerful, offensive weaponry).

A friend of mine in the US Army was of the opinion that armor should NOT be allowed to reduce mobility. If you're in a position where you're taking fire from antitank weapons, you need to be leaving that position.

So he (and I) would prefer <45ton tanks and IFVs, with ICVs/APCs lighter yet. How much armor on ICVs? 155mm shell splinters and maybe 14.5mm all around.

kmfrye25 Jun 2015 8:45 a.m. PST

Good rules.

Consider them nicked. :)

Keith F.

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