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Have I got the wrong idea about the chain tentacle?
Yes, should be as writen in core book 50%  50%  [ 1 ]
Maybe not, some or all of your changes should be used. 50%  50%  [ 1 ]
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 Post subject: chain tentacle
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:48 am 
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I have been playing around with some custome mech designs whos designs are based around drawing oponents in (much like a mother mech) and then cutting them to ribons with buzz saws. I was hoping to use large chassies (CII or above) with leg anchors, rotating torsos and hooked axes. This how ever left it vunerable to small manuverable mechs. The answer : Chain tentacles, but there are some questions about these wonderful weapons I'd love to have answers for.

1. The brake DC for the chain is 28. This doesn't make a lot of sense for many reasons. I guess this weapon was designed to be used against huge/Gargantuan mechs. As most mechs are clockwork or steam this gives them a strenght check of:

1d20 + size mod in relation to medium size + Str mod.
Around 1d20 + 20 for a gargantuan mech. roll 8 to brake
Around 1d20 + 12 for a Huge mech. roll 14 to brake

These are not hard rolls concidering these weapons would be used over 100 -200ft range giving targets multiple atempts whilst being pulled in over a number of rounds (problem with this also: see 3.). You would think that designers would have used better materials.

This is especially confusing as it only takes DC 26 to brake a pair of manicals and 28 to brake an iorn door down off its hinges. Also the binder barb discription in the 2nd age of walkers has a brake DC of 34 and I would assume these chains to be smaller as there are so many.

I would expect the brake DC for the chain tentacle to be more like 35-40. 38 sounds nice, huge and smaller can't brake chain unless roles natural 20 which I would rule always brakes chain, gar can brake on a role of 18, colossal can brake on a role of 12. over a few rounds this should allow any colossal mech to brake free whilst giving a gargantuan one a fair chance. At least I would expect a DC of 36.

2. I assume the weapon is based on a kind of winch system other wise it would be hazardus to the mech it is on (500ft of chain dragging behind it). I don't think most mechs would be able to use their hands (if they have them) in such a coordinated manner to grab the chain and pull it in hand over hand so how can it drag the attacking mech??? I would sugest replacing:

"The attacker can attempt to drag the defender closer (and vice versa!) as a movement action. Escaping the chain and dragging an opponent closer are resolved by opposed strenght checks." in the core book with:

"The attacker can attempt to drag the defender closer with an opposed strenght check. If attacker wins opponent is dragged closer, if attacker looses opponent can move at half speed against pull of the chain that round if desired. The defender can try to escape the chain tentical on his turn with an opposed strength check."

3. the core book says:

"A dragged opponent is pulled half its normal movement toward the attacker"

This makes no sense as larger mechs are usually faster so it means a Gar mech effectivly puts up less of a fight than a Huge one.

I would use:

"A dragged opponent is pulled towards the attacking mech at a rate of the attackers speed minus half the defenders speed, minimum 20ft, per round."


This leaves the 4th paragraph of the chain tentical entry in the core book reading:

"The attacker must declare how he is using the chain tentacle before rolling his attack. On a successful spear attack, the target is chained to the attacker. The chain immediately tightens and the target may not move outside the radious of the attack range untill he escapes. The attacker can attempt to drag the defender closer with an opposed strenght check. If attacker wins opponent is dragged closer, if attacker looses opponent can move at half speed against pull of the chain that round if desired. The defender can try to escape the chain tentical on his turn with an opposed strength check. Even if the defender loses the opposed roll, if his check is high enough (DC 38), he brakes the chain (leaving the weapon inoperative) and is free. A dragged opponent is pulled towards the attacking mech at a rate of the attackers speed minus half the defenders speed, minimum 10ft, per round."



Have I got the wrong idea about this weapon and what do people think of these alternate rules? I'd be very interested.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:32 am 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

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Interesting alternates -- have you used them in play? I don't tend to have much mech-vs-mech combat when I do things with DragonMech, so the chain tentacle hasn't posed these kinds of questions to me. Not until now, anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:23 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Location: Zanesville, OH
Keep in mind that a chain is, quite simply, a chain. It's only so big and only so strong. I can't remember specifically how much force is required to break something with DC 28, but I know that it would require an absolute minimum of 26 (+8 mod) strength to do and a strength of 46 (+18 mod) to do at least half the time. That has to be at least a couple tons of force.

I'm not sure where you get a size modifier being added to the strength check to break the chain. Size modifiers apply to grappling, tripping, and the like because things like height, weight, and leverage affect these actions and therefore grant a significant advantage to a larger contestant (even if they're both exactly equal in brute strength). Size modifiers do not, from any source that I am aware, apply to strength checks in general. Pulling on a chain is not a grappling action (mechs cannot grapple at all), nor is it a trip action (attempting that with a chain tentacle is another process that is specifically mentioned in the rules). Ergo, unless I'm majorly missing something here, the stats would be more like this:

Gargantuan mech, Str MAX of 28 (steam or clockwork paying extra to build with improved strength)
1d20+9 vs DC 28 to break the chain
Required roll to succeed: 19 (10% chance)

Huge mech, MAX Str of 24
1d20+7 vs DC 28
Success rate: Impossible

A colossal II size mech (like a Dignitary, Incinerator, Judge, or Steam Blade) has an average Str of 34 (max 36), giving it a +13 bonus, tops. Even these 50 foot tall brutes only have, at best, a 1 in 4 chance to break the chain (needing a 15). Assuming everything happens strictly according to the law of averages it is quite possible that such a mech can be hauled 75 feet (half movement [50/2=25] x 3) before it manages to snap free. A wise commander seeking to capture such large mechs would know that a chain tentacle would not be overly reliable to use against them and would limit its use to ranges under 100 feet (keep in mind that larger mechs are generally faster, so a good "hunter" should be able to close the gap). Also keep in mind that right around colossal II is about where you cross the line into "heavy" mechs, namely the type often designed with combat against other mechs is in mind. In fact, the Scale Hunter is of this size class, and it is well known to be extremely effective at hunting and slaying lunar dragons, which have a reputation for being rather large and nasty.

Anything bigger than colossal II is definitely a mech that can be described as a "big one." The heavy combat machines, like the Legion's paladin, the Stenien war smith, and the Irontooth wakizashi, are all Colossal IV class, of which the average Str score is 42 (+16). Even these behemoths might be held up a few rounds by a chain tentacle before breaking it (hitting a 9 on a d20 is pretty good odds, but that's still no guarantee), though the anchoring mech would have to be another mech of similar or greater size to expect to even delay the mech for a few seconds (though paladins are mounted with chain tentacles, they rely more on speed and a stationary slugfest isn't what they were designed for).

And remember that if a mech on one end of the tentacle exceeds 28 on it's strength check and the other doesn't (like a mother attempting to capture a viper), the chain doesn't break because the sufficient force was only exerted on one end of the chain. Rather, the losing mech (likely the smaller one) is dragged in. The strength of the pulling mech applies even if you are using a winching system (which I always figured was obviously the case, particularly from the artwork of CT armed mechs with no hands, like the mother) because the mech's boiler or mainspring (the source of the mech's strength) is ultimately what's powering that winch.

The core DM book, in the last paragraph of the chain tentacle description, notes "some coglayers have experimented with larger chain tentacles designed for use against larger mechs," so logic would suggest that such a weapon is viable. Just think: what do you need to do to make a chain stronger? Quite simply, you make it bigger and heavier. This would have several obvious effects on it's use as part of a chain tentacle weapon. First, it will take up more payload space due to increased weight and bulk. Second, it will have a decreased range due to it's increased weight (the "projectile" is still the same, but that extra weight just gets bigger the farther out it goes). Lastly, due to the increased amount of steam pressure required to propel such a chain over any distance the weapon itself will cost significantly more because of the need for more heavy duty parts capable of managing such pressure. So let's see what we can work out here.

==================================================

Heavy Duty Chain Tentacle
Size: Colossal
PU: 16
Cost: 3500 gp
Damage: 3d8
Range: 80 ft.
Weight: 3,400 lbs

Description:
A larger version of the standard chain tentacle, this model is intended for use against larger and stronger targets. It is functionally identical to the standard version, except that it's maximum range is 400 ft rather than 500 and the break DC for the chain is 36. Only the largest and strongest of common mechs have even a slight chance to break it.
This version was developed by a Gearwright's Guild research team for the event of war with the Legion. The Legion's primary heavy front line combat mech design, the paladin (which uses a colossal lance as its primary anti-mech weapon), would have to rely on its faster speed to prevail over the heavier weapons and armor of a war smith or similar Stenien design. This weapon can take away that speed, holding the faster mech in close for a slugging match that a slower and heavier mech, such as many common Stenien designs, would be much more likely to win.

==================================================

How's that? With a break DC of 36, even a colossal IV mech will need a 19 or 20 to break it and smaller mechs pretty much have no chance. As for detaining city mechs, well the best way to detain one of those would be a small fleet of bruiser mechs with HDCTs to swarm it much like a band of brigands on foot would a huge or gargantuan mech with grappling hooks.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:58 am 
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Quote:
Interesting alternates -- have you used them in play? I don't tend to have much mech-vs-mech combat when I do things with DragonMech, so the chain tentacle hasn't posed these kinds of questions to me. Not until now, anyway.


Unfortunatly I haven't got a group to play in at the moment so these options haven't been tested.

I like the heavy Duty Chain Tentacle (but I would reduce the DC to 32), would you mind if i used it? I was hoping to do some thing similar after hearing some comments on the points raised above. In relation to those.

1. I didn't realise that no size bonus was used in the strenght check (found out that PHB defines a normal strenght check in skills section as 1d20 + ability mod), and with that in mind the normal DC of 28 is ok. But it raises the question of why the DC for binder barbs in Second age is so high at 34 (unless that is a modified check including size as those chains opperate more like a grapple?). Thanks to Flush master for pointing that out.

2. I didn't put this very well. I meant to say something more like this. As the weapon is based on a winch (abit like a fishing reel) an attacking mech has the opption to wind in a target, hold it at a fixed lenght or allow it to move away in a controled manner. As mechs are not dexterous enough to grab the chain and pull on it, the defender has no option to do anything except move. In the core book it says the defender can pull the attacker in on an opposed strenght check. I don't see whay it would want to do this or how it possibly could as it could not shorten the lenght of chain between itself and the attacker (by pulling on it hand over hand). As such I think that opposed strenght checks should have the following results?

On Attackers turn: Move action to wind in chain: Strenght checks

Attacker wins - defender pulled closer
Defender wins - No change, Defender and attacker remain in same positions. If check exceeds DC28, chain is broken.

On defenders turn: Move action to move or escape: Strenght checks

Defender wins - defender can move at upto half speed away from attacker, who must reel out that distance of chain. If 500ft appart then defender drags attacking mech in direction of choice. If defender closes with attacker, attacker reels in chain as normal and new strenght checks are needed to move away again (next round). If check exceeds DC28, chain is broken.
Attacker wins - No change, Defender and attacker remain in same positions.

3. I still think that the rule:

"A dragged opponent is pulled half its normal movement toward the attacker"

is strange as it means larger, faster mechs, are pulled in more quickly



I think the 4th paragraph in the weapon discription should read:

"The attacker must declare how he is using the chain tentacle before rolling his attack. On a successful spear attack, the target is chained to the attacker. The chain immediately tightens and the target may not move outside the radious of the attack range untill he escapes. The attacker can attempt to drag the defender closer with an opposed strenght check. If attacker wins opponent is dragged closer, a dragged opponent is pulled towards the attacking mech at a rate of the attackers speed minus half the defenders speed, minimum 10ft, per round. On their turn a defender can try to move away from the attacker or escape the chain. If the defender wins an opposed strenght check they can move at upto half their speed away from attacker, who must reel out that distance of chain. If 500ft appart then defender drags attacking mech in direction of choice. A defender can always choose to close with the attacker. If they do the attacker reels in chain as normal and new strenght checks are needed to move away again in subsiquent rounds. Even if the defender loses any of the opposed rolls, if his check is high enough (DC 28), he brakes the chain (leaving the weapon inoperative) and is free."


I think with these few little clarifications the chain tentical could be once of the mose useful weapons in dragon mech (especially with the addition of the heavy duty varient - bring on the city mechs)


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