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Author Topic: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans  (Read 1066 times)

Lagrange

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Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« on: 13 February 2022, 09:44:09 »
I've also been thinking about 3025 tech fighters that can reach parity with the clans.  Is it possible?  What would it look like? 

The Devilbane is close to a legal 3025 fighter---just downgrade the 2 ERMLs to MLs and the HFF armor to standard armor.  Double heat sinks are available on an experimental basis, so the result is something comparable to a Turk or a Visigoth except with superior armor rather than superior weapon range. 

What about in the heavy range?  Here's a proposal.
Code: [Select]
Roc

Mass: 100 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 300 Fusion
Armor: Standard
Armament:
     14 Small Laser
     1 Long Tom Cannon
Manufacturer: Unknown
     Primary Factory: Unknown
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3025
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-F-E-D
Cost: 6,474,750 C-bills

Type: Roc
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Tonnage: 100
Battle Value: 2,534

Equipment                                          Mass
Engine                        300 Fusion             19
Safe Thrust: 5
Max Thrust: 8
Structural Integrity:         10                     
Heat Sinks:                   17 [34]                 7
Fuel:                         400                   5.0
Cockpit                                               3
Armor Factor                  560                    35

                           Armor 
                           Value 
     Nose                   170   
     Wings                145/145 
     Aft                    100   


Weapons
and Ammo                    Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
Long Tom Cannon               NOS       20.0     20    20   20   20    0 
4 Small Laser                 NOS       2.0      1      3    0    0    0 
5 Small Laser                 RWG       2.5      1      3    0    0    0 
Long Tom Cannon Ammo (20)     FSLG      4.0      -      -    -    -    - 
5 Small Laser                 LWG       2.5      1      3    0    0    0 

The primary weapon here is the Long Tom Cannon which provides a 20 points of damage at long range.  This achieves threshold criticals against any clan fighter (confirmed here).   

The primary is backed by an array of small lasers which can either engage in point defense vs missiles at long range or triple the total damage output at short range. 

All of this is swathed in 35 tons of standard armor, making it difficult for enemy forces to achieve threshold criticals.  This is generally useful of course, but also useful when engaging  ground targets where the advanced atmospheric control rolls (SO page 97) are in play.

Going through roles:
  • Dogfighting: High endurance from lasers and armor at short range make a good dogfighter.
  • Fire support: The ability to do 20 points of damage in a single hit makes for credible fire support.
  • High speed engagement: The ability to do 80 (=20x4) points of damage in a single hit provides a threshold crit vs. any dropship.
  • Ground attack: Heavy armor reduces the need for control rolls while the long tom cannon ignores target movement, the small laser array provides a reasonably potent strafe, and a potential 20 HE bombs can be dropped in a dive bomb run.

Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #1 on: 13 February 2022, 10:16:21 »
LOVE the LTAC!  :thumbsup:

Also, the Small Lasers can be used in a Point Defense mode if you use Advanced Point Defense rules from StratOps...  ^-^

In addition, I would add that the Lucifer R-20 variant could work as a canon unit.  Anti-DropShip roles don't change much...  8)

Lagrange

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #2 on: 13 February 2022, 11:54:01 »
LOVE the LTAC!  :thumbsup:
It's quite the monster, even without FAE rounds :)
Anti-DropShip roles don't change much...  8)
That seems fair.

I think the apex ASF predator for the invading clans is the Hydaspes (even though it's not an omnifighter).  Odds on Hydaspes vs. Roc?

Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #3 on: 13 February 2022, 12:05:50 »
I'll have to look... I"m not familiar with clan designs in general...

Atarlost

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #4 on: 13 February 2022, 17:46:02 »
I don't think there's one fighter for the job.  The Roc is a nice void fighter, but in atmosphere the lawndart check is the great equalizer.  Even in void combat there's the risk that using vector movement a faster Clan fighter could stay out of range and pepper it with CERLLs. 

For atmospheric work I'd suggest going the other way:
Code: [Select]
Lawndarter

Mass: 25 tons
Frame: Unknown
Power Plant: 200 Fusion
Armor: Standard
Armament:
     1 LRM 10
Manufacturer: Unknown
     Primary Factory: Unknown
Communication System: Unknown
Targeting & Tracking System: Unknown
Introduction Year: 3025
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 608,719 C-bills

Type: Lawndarter
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Standard)
Tonnage: 25
Battle Value: 236

Equipment                                          Mass
Engine                        200 Fusion             13
Safe Thrust: 8
Max Thrust: 12
Structural Integrity:         0                       
Heat Sinks:                   10                      0
Fuel:                         400                   2.5
Cockpit                                             2.5
Armor Factor                  16                      1

                           Armor   
                           Value   
     Nose                    4     
     Wings                  4/4   
     Aft                     4     


Weapons
and Ammo              Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
LRM 10                  NOS       5.0      4      6    6    6    0 
LRM 10 Ammo (12)        FSLG      1.0      -      -    -    -    - 


The Lawndarter can just survive an ERLL long enough for the pilot to eject if the ammo doesn't cook off, but you can have ten of them for the price (in either C-bills or BV) of a single Roc and once an enemy gets inside long aerospace range they can force piloting checks while the dueling trained Clan pilots try to take them down one at a time without any pilot specials that would help them fight multiple opponents.  I think the absolute most elite Clan pilots might be unable to fail a lawndart check, but for most the Dice Gods will frown on them eventually.  It's fast enough to break off from combat with the fast Clan heavies if things go sour and the LRM-10 provides a 5 point chunk that can threshold the smaller, faster stuff.  As conventionals they have a tighter turning radius than ASFs and they completely swamp the initiative system due to their cheapness so they can probably get tails where the 5 point cluster is effective on the in between stuff. 

I can't make faster than a Visigoth work with a conventional engine, but if you drop to 7/11 and 320 fuel points you can get it down to 357,305 C-bills or 221 BV.  I'm not sure at what point the ability to swamp the enemy in targets hits diminishing returns compared to having the option to escape combat with at least some opponents given that you can only impose one lawndart check per enemy per round. 

For punishing enemies who try to CERLL kite Rocs I think the right choice might be something like the Seydlitz but built at 25 tons with more fuel just to maneuver around and force the enemy to either disengage or get into a furball that the Rocs can catch up with. 

Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #5 on: 13 February 2022, 18:45:20 »
If you just want to rely on lawn dart checks, 2 LRM-5s would be cheaper, and more likely to provoke one...

Atarlost

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #6 on: 13 February 2022, 20:03:10 »
If you just want to rely on lawn dart checks, 2 LRM-5s would be cheaper, and more likely to provoke one...
An LRM-5 will threshold all aspects of a Bashkir or the wings and tail of a Vandal. 

An LRM-10 will additionally threshold the nose of a Vandal, all aspects of an Avar or Batu, or the tail of an Ogotai or Sulla. 

So with an LRM-10 and at 8/12 it can threshold the tail of all omnifighters that can match its acceleration.  With an LRM-5 it can't.  Assuming they will be used in swarms I am assuming that the chance to threshold the enemies most dangerous to the Lawndarter is more valuable than the increasing the already high chance of scoring at least one hit per round to inflict a lawndart check, though that may depend on pilot training. 

Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #7 on: 13 February 2022, 20:08:56 »
If one chance at a lawndart check is enough, why not go with an ER or even vanilla LL?

pokefan548

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #8 on: 13 February 2022, 20:46:27 »
As Daryk said, Large Lasers are the way to go if you want cheap threshold-penners. I presume you're playing with Advanced Atmospheric Control Rolls, yes?
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Lagrange

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #9 on: 13 February 2022, 21:37:24 »
The Roc is a nice void fighter, but in atmosphere the lawndart check is the great equalizer. 
There's an advanced rule on SO page 97 which makes an enormous difference here if it's applied.   In essence, you only make a lawn dart check if:
  • Avionics critical
  • Control critical
  • Damage threshold is exceeded
Under this rule, heavy armor helps with the third case, which incidentally helps with the first and second.  For the Roc, you need >10 damage aft, or >15 damage elsewhere.  So, a UAC/20 or LB 20-X with solid shot is the only way to reliably trigger lawn dart checks.  These are reasonably common weapons, but they are heavy enough that reliably triggering a lawn dart check requires dedicated use of primary weapons on a heavy or assault ground unit.  Against ground units, in exchange for the reduced-but-still-significant chance of a lawn dart check, the Roc can drop up to 20 high explosive bombs in a single run on a ground unit (200 damage!).  That's probably not enough to take out an assault mech, but it's certainly enough to soften it up a great deal.   

Against an in-atmosphere clan ASF, the Roc can reliably trigger a lawn dart check via the LTC and it can trigger another 5/12ths of a critical hit via the sheer number of weapons.  On the other hand no clan weapon can trigger a threshold crit unless it's against the aft.  This is because a UAC/20 delivers two 15-point hits, and an LB20-X always fires cluster munitions on an ASF.  Ironically, an IS ASF with an AC/20 (i.e. a Transit or Chippewa) is more dangerous to the Roc in atmosphere. 
Even in void combat there's the risk that using vector movement a faster Clan fighter could stay out of range and pepper it with CERLLs. 
Evasion (+3), Extreme range (+6), and a Side aspect (+2) combine to give a very healthy penalty.  A clan fighter playing kite with CERLLs would need to have a base gunnery of 1 or 0 to even hit, and I suspect the clan ASF would run out of fuel in that case before it accomplished anything useful.

Code: [Select]
Lawndarter...
It's definitely a good swarm unit.   On defense, it makes sense.  On offense, perhaps less so due to the transport and maintenance costs. 

Atarlost

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #10 on: 14 February 2022, 19:52:37 »
If one chance at a lawndart check is enough, why not go with an ER or even vanilla LL?

ERLLs aren't available in 3025 and weigh too much (these are conventional fighters so they can't use DHS or have any energy weapons that aren't fully sinked).  6 tons just barely fits at the desired speed, armor, and fuel.
 7 tons does not.  LLs don't have the range.  With LRMs you have to weather class 2 autocannons at and CERLLs at +4 before you can first fire.  With a large laser you have to weather class 2 and 5 autocannons, LRMs, and CERPPCs before you can first fire. 

There's an advanced rule on SO page 97 which makes an enormous difference here if it's applied.   In essence, you only make a lawn dart check if:
  • Avionics critical
  • Control critical
  • Damage threshold is exceeded
This is an optional rule and a very poorly thought out one.  If it were true in-universe the Kallon AA lineup would be supremely stupidly designed for AA work. 

Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #11 on: 14 February 2022, 20:06:46 »
I'm pretty sure ERLLs are available if you throw the "Experimental" switch, which you should TOTALLY do if you're facing clan tech with the 3025 variety...  8)

pokefan548

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #12 on: 14 February 2022, 20:19:10 »
Quote from: Atarlost
This is an optional rule and a very poorly thought out one.  If it were true in-universe the Kallon AA lineup would be supremely stupidly designed for AA work.

Gonna have to disagree there. While it does cause some issues when you look at many canon AA vehicle setups, no one likes getting an unlucky lawn-dart thanks to a single ding from an AC/2. Also actually makes heavy fighters worth a damn and cuts down on brain-dead Suzume spam.

Not the most elegant solution, maybe, but easily the best we've got without a major overhaul to the base aerospace rules.
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BattleTech players: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater since 1984!
"Poke is just a figment of our imagination really." - Siam
"Poke isn't a real person, he's just an algorithm programmed by CGL to try and get people to try the aerospace rules." - Phantasm
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Daryk

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #13 on: 14 February 2022, 20:22:31 »
Personally, I'm A-OK with nerfing bad pilots with AC/2s.  The only real balance between ASFs and ground units is that Piloting skill matters WAY more to ASFs...

Lagrange

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #14 on: 14 February 2022, 20:54:12 »
This is an optional rule and a very poorly thought out one.  If it were true in-universe the Kallon AA lineup would be supremely stupidly designed for AA work. 
Well...
  • As per pokefan548, the idea that a heavily armored ASF shrugs off AC/2s in space but  faces instant death in atmosphere seems unrealistic. 
  • Massive swarms are often considered undesirable, as it makes the game harder to play.
  • Autocannons can take advantage of flak ammo, which provides a -2 bonus vs airborne units.  Combining this with the relatively light armor of many ASF and all conventional aircraft,  there is a strong niche for the Partisan available.
Daryk's reason (balance), seems like the only good argument against the rule, as it makes an ASF-centric force more viable.

Atarlost

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #15 on: 15 February 2022, 20:55:33 »
Well...
  • As per pokefan548, the idea that a heavily armored ASF shrugs off AC/2s in space but  faces instant death in atmosphere seems unrealistic. 
  • Massive swarms are often considered undesirable, as it makes the game harder to play.
  • Autocannons can take advantage of flak ammo, which provides a -2 bonus vs airborne units.  Combining this with the relatively light armor of many ASF and all conventional aircraft,  there is a strong niche for the Partisan available.
Daryk's reason (balance), seems like the only good argument against the rule, as it makes an ASF-centric force more viable.

  • You're asking for size to be treated "realistically" when it favors you, but not when it doesn't favor you.  If you want to talk realism you need to account for a Transgressor not having a third the fuel efficiency of a Sabre and larger planes (and everything else) not getting less armor per ton due to having to cover a larger surface area. 
  • There are no actual players involved in a thought experiment.  If there were, Clan players accepted the swarm tactic when they showed up to the table with Clan forces when their opponents were playing 3025 Inner Sphere.  There is no way a BV balanced game won't be against a swarm.  Same for a C-bill vs K-bill game. 
  • Flak does cluster rolled damage.  A Partisan firing flak is managing the damage of a solitary LRM-20 with less range.  That is not a reasonable armament for an 80 ton 1.8 million C-bill tank.  Without lawndart checks -- and with each shot rolled on the cluster chart it won't threshold much -- this is almost pointless damage against all but the lightest aerospace fighters. 

Lagrange

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #16 on: 15 February 2022, 21:28:24 »
...
I expect we'll have to disagree.  That's ok---not everyone agrees all the time. 

The one thing that was new to me here is the cluster damage for flak ammo---I wasn't aware of that.  It appears to be an errata.

pokefan548

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Re: Roc, a 3025 tech fighter vs. clans
« Reply #17 on: 15 February 2022, 22:03:48 »
Quote from: Atarlost
There are no actual players involved in a thought experiment.  If there were, Clan players accepted the swarm tactic when they showed up to the table with Clan forces when their opponents were playing 3025 Inner Sphere.  There is no way a BV balanced game won't be against a swarm.  Same for a C-bill vs K-bill game.
There is a compromise here, albeit one that requires a mite more bookkeeping between turns: Advanced Atmospheric Control Rolls + Variable Damage Thresholds.

Deal enough damage to a fighter on one turn, and damaged sections are likely to have a lower threshold on the next, allowing heavily-armored fighters to be whittled down if they stick around for too long. A lance of partisans with Flak rounds focus-firing, say, an Eagle can (with decent hit location rolls) knock its nose and both wings down to or below 40 armor with a bit extra damage on top, meaning that next turn, if the Eagle decides to come back around and it ends up in-range of any Partisan (or any AC/5, medium laser, etc.), every single crit will exceed Damage Threshold. Also not a perfect solution, but an easy one to implement straight out of the books.

Quote from: Atarlost
There are no actual players involved in a thought experiment.  If there were, Clan players accepted the swarm tactic when they showed up to the table with Clan forces when their opponents were playing 3025 Inner Sphere.  There is no way a BV balanced game won't be against a swarm.  Same for a C-bill vs K-bill game.
As for Standard Rules swarm tactics, you really can't compare "I.S. has cheaper 'Mechs than Clans and will generally be fighting 2- or 3-to-1" with the state of swarming in aerospace. Even with things like field gun infantry spam and Hetzer shenanigans, there are very few cheap options in a ground game that can semi-consistently put heavy units in a position of danger in regards to instant-kills (each hit having less than 0.1% chance of engine-killing a 'Mech with a single TAC, some specialty munitions aside).

On the low-altitude map, however everything has a very tangible chance of killing you (at or below altitude 6) or putting you in a very bad situation (above altitude 6). The only recourse is to bloat the cost of your heavy fighters by giving them a Piloting Skill Rating of 1. Otherwise, a single squadron of heavy fighters will have a hard time avoiding Control Roll failure as it has to cut through a BV-equivalent force of a reinforced aero regiment of Suzumes, shooting the light conventional fighters down one or two at a time at best pace. Between instant-death from unlucky CR failures and altitude loss rolls, and the not-insignificant combined potential damage if most of the swarm force focuses one fighter, it really just becomes a matter of time, attrition, and a little bit of luck for the swarm player to win.

And really, that's what it comes down to. Time and luck, two things that go hand-in-hand with BattleTech, but are also best in moderation, which aerospace swarms throw out the window. It's just not fun- it eats up all afternoon and essentially just becomes a slot machine with extra steps. And even without such an obviously min-maxed WAAC list, there is still the very serious problem that most light fighters will outperform heavy fighters BV-for-BV and ton-for-ton. It just seems odd that a Taurian flight of 4 heavy fighters is fairly likely to lose handily against a squadron of Feddie reservists in Sparrowhawks.

If you're willing to dip your toes into house rules, one of the biggest rules that I throw out personally is making altitude loss based on MoF as opposed to a random 1d6 roll. This provides some extra benefits to pilots who are good but not perfect, and makes random lawn darts much less likely. Thanks to the effects of out-of-control this paired with Standard Atmospheric Control Rolls still leaves heavy fighters in a rough spot next to light fighters, but does do a lot to mitigate at least one cheesy, "I rolled good so I win" aspects of aerospace combat.

Quote from: Atarlost
You're asking for size to be treated "realistically" when it favors you, but not when it doesn't favor you.  If you want to talk realism you need to account for a Transgressor not having a third the fuel efficiency of a Sabre and larger planes (and everything else) not getting less armor per ton due to having to cover a larger surface area.
I won't put words in Lagrange's mouth, but I for one am not especially worried about the exact points of BT being realistic. You inherently have to make some sacrifices for giant fighting robots actually being relevant as a main-line armored vehicle, as well as things like FTL travel, etc. I do however, like it to be grounded, something that I admit has put me off from some of the pulp-ier fiction in the past, and, let's be real, a perfectly conscious pilot falling three quarters of a kilometer in under ten seconds is a bit silly- not to mention being a relatively frequent occurrence that is quite un-fun for the player who's just lost >13k BV to a lucky scratch.
« Last Edit: 15 February 2022, 22:14:42 by pokefan548 »
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BattleTech players: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater since 1984!
"Poke is just a figment of our imagination really." - Siam
"Poke isn't a real person, he's just an algorithm programmed by CGL to try and get people to try the aerospace rules." - Phantasm
"I want to plant the meat eating trees and the meat growing trees on the same planet! Watch that plant on plant violence!" - Sawtooth