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Mechs in Traveller?


I'm going to be starting a campign taking place in the spinward marches during the 5th frontier war where the players are going to be testing mechs for the imperium and some random company but are mercs and are throwen into the middle of the war.
what im having problems with is figuring out how to design them using classic traveller rules and building an into adventure.
Any ideas?
I'd say keep them small, like tank-sized or less. Plus make them mobile, like thrusters or gravitics or something. Other than that, I'd like to know how this'd work, too!

(Edit) Oh yeah, welcome to the boards. Have fun!
well i think that there going to be about as tall as a tank is long and i was also thinking leg suspntion.
My friend is the one i need to talk to partly because he actually understands the design system for fire, fusion, and steel.
Finally thx ive been on for few weeks and have gotten some ideas already. =)
It would seem that the tech for the human/machine interface is there-- battledress pretty well covers that. The usefulness is somethin' else, what with grav vehicles and all, how does the Mech fit in?

Even playin' Battletech I went for wheels and tracks and VTOL aircraft before Mechs. Are you thinkin' 'magnum' battledress or the full-on transmittal of FASA style Mechs to your TU?
ive never played battletech altough Ive wanted to. I was thinking along the lines of Mech Warrior mixed with Gundam Wing's Mobile suits.
Also i wanted to do something right out of Gundam and have some of the mechs be able to be modified to be able to go into space but had to be remodified when it went down into the atomsphere.
I don't see the need for mechs when you have artifical gravity. I mean, they're cool and all, but they wouldn't exist except for maybe TL9 or so, when gravitics become pretty cheap.
1. they are faster than convetional tanks(dont know top speed of Grav Tanks)
2. The can carry higher tech level weapons then a tech lvl 9 Tank can.
3. the way im going to design some as Air and Space fighters much like helicopters in space.
I think they'd be useful for reconnaissance, but as Rodina noted, once you have cheap anti-grav tech, any benefits that walkers have vs. crawlers are superceded. A walker will never be able to support as much armor and weapons as a tank. Think about the relative ground pressures invoved (footprint).

A question:
If a walker can be fitted with higher tech weapons, why couldn't the crawlers be fitted with the same weapon systems?
They would pose a less of a combat loss, if you had one guy in a mech vs. a Crawler or Grav APC full of guys... it would possibly allow for a more flexible mode of employment... I think if you were to go to the expense of constructing such devices, they would be advanced enough to function in any environment with no trouble (save for crazy insidious or corrosive atmospheres)

Some sort of combination of technology would be in order, like Mechs with Grav Packs, to increase this flexibility of operation. I think its a cool idea, but you should bust out more background as to why and how that style of warfare came to be in your traveller universe. Maybe its a cultural thing?
more background as to why and how that style of warfare came to be in your traveller universe. Maybe its a cultural thing?
gladiatorial contests, with betting, televised across a subsector - sort of like the WWF, a combination of zoo, opera, and fashion show. people need mighty heros, but actual open warfare is nothing more than impersonal mass slaughter. they'll flood into the theatres to see this tremendous display of individual real men engaged in larger-than-life battles enacted across continent-sized fields-of-honor.

there's a new career path for "citizens of the imperium". gladiator. available skills combine those of the army with heavy-duty technical experience.
Loss of crew. If a mech operator can control all its systems single-handedly then a grav tank can be single-operator as well.

A tank is more optimally shaped to reduce mass of armor. Putting armor all over the legs and arms of the mech would at least triple the armor load. Unarmored, the mech is easily imobilized.
Mechs would be a big investment with a high maintenance cost for little combat efficiency.
What a commander wants is maximum firepower in target for minimal cost and maintenance bills.
I could see mechs as an upgraded battledress suit grown to large size in a restricted area. They would be at most 3M tall and carry a very heavy crew served type infantry weapon such as a VFR gauss gun with ammo. It's use would be in city, forest, underground or boarding actions. Anyplace a grav tank could operate easily, they would be superceded.
This is the Experiemntal model we were working on... It killed one test operator due to a servo malfunction...

Experimental Combat Robot X3 “Colossus”

Item Size (vl) Cost (Cr) Ep Note1 Note2
Humanesque Chassis 140000 140000 140/kph 1400AR
Armor 21000 189000 15AR
Chameleon Armor 2800000
Legs DT 25200 2700000 600 64kph
Advanced Fusion 2250 495000 +1500
Fuel 31346.3 14 months
Control System 28000 70000
Pressurized 7000 175000 175
Climate Control 1400 70000 14
Arm 75 375000 15 Str 150 Dex 25
Arm 75 375000 15 Str 150 Dex 25
6 Heavy Beam Lasers 6000 6000000 12
2 Heavy MRLs 2000 10000
2 Heavy Fusion Cannon (fixed) 15400 20000000 320
Holovisual 150 200000 10
Infrared 1 1500 .03
Light Intensifier .2 500 .2
Voder .5 1200 .03
Radio, 2 way 50 7500 20
Auditory 2 2000 .1
Radar 50 3750000 2.5

140000 7371414 1183.86
Agility 0
Armor Class 17(21)
SI 103
Realistically, the solomani are about the only OTU power likely to have more than a few... since they take a -1TL vs gravitics (source from CT era...) in exchange for +1 TL for medical tech.

So... they have a 2 TL range for mechs...

Seriously, though, the real world applications are NOT typically going to be combat. The applications are, however, unusual: Construction, Mining, forestry, dockyards. (Remember: The loader Ripley uses in Alien is based upon a real world prototype...) The scandinavians are using 6-legged vehicles for logging. Loaders have an advantage of being intuitive to operate if bipedal with 2 arms. Same for construction work and mining work. Additionally, multi-legged vehicles are ideal for mining due to the excellent steep and rough terrain handling, plus the ability to (if properly designed) brace ceilings.

Walkers ARE NOT FAST... at least not by the design sequences in Traveller and GURPS. They top out at about 60 MPH... Treads can go faster. Treads, however, have trouble over 40-60 degrees of slope. Wheels between 30-60 degrees of slope (basically, more wheeles, and right tires, and you can make it happen...) ... with the right equippage, however, walkers can traverse up to 75 degree slopes (NASA proved that some 50 miles from where I sit... a volcanic caldera in either Mt. Redoubt, Illiamna or Spurr...). With the right equipment, a walker could be made to climb 90 degree slopes... but reasonably, about 75 to 80 degrees is about all one could hope for...
Tracks have a problem in forestry of tearing up the soil. Wheels have the same problem. Walkers don't, and actually are being designed with LESS ground pressure than wheels, and comparable with tracks...

The other advantage over tracks is less critical part contact with debris...

But none of the real world walkers are being designed for "GIANT robot" modes... the loaders are about 10-12 feet tall, and have about 1 to 2 square meter footprints, and move a measly 10 MPH... with lifts of up to about 2 tons...

The scandinavian forestry walkers (still experimental, but functional) have foot pads about 40cm in diameter, and have 3-5 pads in contact at all times, dependant upon speed and load.

Combat walkers would probably be either loader based, with extensible legs for speed... making them comparable with some of the slower tread tanks... again, intuitiveness, not weaponry, would be the key gain, and, with proper design, lower ground pressures and less obvious tracks possible. By tying movement to leg motions and weapons to arm motions, one could make the single-man light tank... essentially the idea behind Heavy Gear's Gears... and have far more terrain open to movement.
1. these mechs arent going to be tall they are going to be the size of tanks more or less but tall instead of long.

2. if you want where i got this idea from watch Gundam, Gasaraki, Nadisco, or even Robotech. but mostly Gasaraki.

3. This is going to be a new weapon system (basicly) for my campgien altough amuored it is not so much as it can take 400 fusion gun blasts and still be runing fine in fact it probly only take 5 before it went down.

4. A computer would be doing mostof the operations on the mech so the pilot need only give directions on speed, firing, and direction for movement. this is exluding other systems useage.

5. It really shouldnt be using more than 2 weapon systems at a time and then they would be more or less twin-linked weapons.

6. these arent ment to be all powerfull but to be more mounverable than coventional tanks and faster than them too. so then they might turn out to be the tie fighter of ground combat in traveller, but a Grav tank wont always win aganst one.

7. Finally they would probly be alot cheaper than grav tanks because even if Grav was made cheap it would still be more expensive than something touching the ground.
Controlling bipedal appendages for balance is quite complicated. Position of the center of mass, direction of motion, and many other factors have to be constantly adjusted. Organic units (us) have dozens of fine control motors (muscles) and complicated cabling (tendons) to accomplish this, all controlled by an advanced parallel processing computer network.

Grav is going to be simpler hardware-wise.
Originally posted by Straybow:
Controlling bipedal appendages for balance is quite complicated. Position of the center of mass, direction of motion, and many other factors have to be constantly adjusted. Organic units (us) have dozens of fine control motors (muscles) and complicated cabling (tendons) to accomplish this, all controlled by an advanced parallel processing computer network.

Grav is going to be simpler hardware-wise.
One of the few advantages to "Robot Suit" is that, for the most part, the human can provide a LOT of the ballance and control computation intuitively. (The real world bipedal loaders look almost exactly like the one in Aliens... The pilot straps feet, body harness, and grabs the gripper conrols. The harness suspends the pilot, who uses natural motion to feed motor inputs to get the limbs to make the same movements as the operator, only larger.) The extant loader experimentals have been dropped last I heard, not due to tech difficulty, but to lack of need for the few advantages they provided over forklifts...

A 1 person light tank has been technologically doable since the 1950's, courtesy of autoloaders. It has yet to become combat practical... for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with information overload and control complexity. (If you use your hands to drive, it's harder to use them also to aim and fire weapons...)

Arguably, few ground combat units should drop below two-man for the forseable future, due to the informational needs of a ground combat unit, unless they drop to 0...

Now, on the snide side, to quote from an Army Aviator I once knew: "One man Tank? It's called an A-10, Son." (said aviator flew cobras...)

Cybernetic information links might make 1man combat tanks more useful.
why develop oboslete technology?...once control for grav feilds is developed, one can create a MBT (main battle tank) with the speed of a modern jet, more maneuverable than a helocopter and still carry weapons that that make most enemy think twice...mechs are tall most of the time, in the feild, you want a LOW siloette. knees, hip, are week points, bipedal has natural stability problems (just watch a toddler learn to walk...)

didn't we have this kind of thred going last year?