Like any of the more realistic sci-fi games, being seen is often being dead. Stealth systems won’t keep you totally safe, but can help you avoid some dangers of gear combat.
Stealth Systems in the World of Heavy Gear Blitz
Rather than try to project forward electronic warfare several thousand years, Heavy Gear simply assumes a complex web of electronic sensors, jamming and computerized SIGINT is always to some degree active. This is used to partially account for the seemingly low range of sensors and firearms in blitz. Stealth systems might not just be radar or IR absorbing paint, but heat baffles, electric engines, sealing around joints and actuators, and various silent running technologies. This can be seen in gears with stealth which often have shrouding around their joints, feet with noise dampening “shoes”, or electric engine backpacks that look different than the typical V-engine.
The Stealth Trait
Stealth is pretty simple to explain but has a complex role on the field. The rule states that the range at which enemy sensors can detect the model is halved. (so at 9”/12”/18” instead of the usual 18”/24”/36” that different levels of sensor provide.) There are several cases where this matters both offensive and defensive. Here are some examples:
- Some actions require Sensor Lock including ECM Hacking, Jamming a commander’s Orders, and Forward Observing. Models with Stealth effectively reduce the range of these actions.
- The enemy can still FO the ground underneath a stealth model, but that will make them a secondary target, aiding greatly in defense.
- If you end your move behind full light cover, Stealth can sometimes mean the enemy won’t get a chance to React against you by denying sensor lock.
- If you are behind full light or medium cover, you can still FO or use ECM Jamming or Hacking. So long as you can stay out of sensor range you can effect the enemy while leaving them no option to retaliate with their own ECM skills.
- If you can find a spot of full light cover, and a target within sensor range, you can and fire at the enemy without them getting Retaliate reactions. You will note there a number of stealth builds in the north and south that have long range weapons and higher sensors for just such sniping.
- If you have Silent weapons and are hiding, you can do all this while getting defensive rerolls.
- Commanders can make use of stealth gears to issue orders with less chance of being jammed.
- One common and annoying trick in our local meta is to shut down ECM defense by hacking the model providing it (haywire shuts down the effect). Stealth gears are less vulnerable to this and can, themselves, hack enemy models with less worry of retaliation (at least from enemy ECM)
This partial list shows that Stealth, like most traits is situational, but usually it’s light recon gears that benefit most from this rule. FO and Jamming can be good ways to shut down enemy recon units. ECM hacking a model to give it Haywire providing ECM defense also shuts down that defense, making stealth really valuable on models with ECM such as the Lidded Iguana or F6-16 Stealth. Unsurprisingly each faction tends to engage with Stealth in a different way. Let’s give an overview of them.
Deploying Stealth only in a limited faction on two gears and one APC, the North reserves stealth for veteran special forces with silenced guns and increased sensor ranges.
Found on 11 different profiles, the South mainly puts Stealth on recon gears (often with silenced burst weapons), but also brings some advanced weaponry gears with laser weapons, representing it’s penchant for black ops and state sponsored hit squads.
The PRDF loves it’s upgrades, and can deploy two stealth gears with many upgrade options consisting of 44(!) potential load outs. Despite all the options, their stealth gears are still all on armor 5 profiles. Also worth noting is the Black Wind, a light VTOL with stealth, ECM and TD
Deploying Stealth mostly defensively, NuCoal Epsilons, Morgana, and Sand Riders all have the trait. The faction lacks ECM or TD and stealth, so all you are really getting out of it is safety against jamming orders, and defense from enemy target designation.
All 137 possible Black Talon options have stealth, so enjoy that!
F6-16 and BF2-25 Frames come with stealth or can add it as an upgrade allowing lots of offensive and defensive uses. Like NuCoal they can also field Morgana GREL but also Morgana FLAIL squads.
None of the Caprice striders have Stealth, (one wonders how that would work anyway). However, you can still bring allies including CEF, Black Talon, or Utopians with stealth. This is actually not a bad option since it also helps with the total lack of increased range sensors in the faction.
Commando Armigiers and N-Kidu bring stealth for the Utopians which allows them some frustratingly nice synergy in using their body guard rules to avoid indirect and guided fire. APEs can also bring Stealth via Special Operations, giving Utopia a large number of forces for fighting dirty.
The Special Operations upgrade allows stealth on several types of Golems. Eden is currently under development so
With access to other faction’s stealth gears, Leagueless can bring a decent stealth game. However, their limitations against laser weapons can make it more expensive than it’s worth. All the same a stealth heavy false flag force could make a cool project.