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Author Topic: VotW - Small Support Vehicles  (Read 4215 times)

Weirdo

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VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« on: 16 June 2022, 11:27:10 »
They're squishy, they're puny,
Their crews must all be loony!
Small support vees must truly
Be the strangest of all vees!

*ahem*

Rather than look at a specific vehicle, today we're going to instead analyze an entire category of vehicles, in this case Small Support Vehicles, which for brevity's sake will henceforth be referred to as SSVs. (Also, because researching stats and rules for all of these has gotten me to the point that the word 'small' just looks...unnatural.) Weighing in under five tons(and sometimes even less than one ton) and usually built at least partially of civilian-grade components, these tiny vehicles are a facet of militaries that are often ignored or abstracted into mechinf platoons but are more than capable of filling oft-neglected roles on the battlefield.

Before looking at any particular unit, let's take a look at SSVs as a whole, and get familiar with what they can and cannot do. For starters, they are vehicles. They move, shoot, and take damage just like regular vehicles. In a way they're even simpler to game with than larger support vehicles because the vast majority of methods for inflicting extra critical hits that most vehicles mounting subpar armor are susceptible to, will just kill an SSV outright. Seriously, if you ever actually inflict a critical hit on an SSV while leaving enough vehicle to actually track afterwards, please let us know how the hell you did it. SSVs can also spot for indirect fire like regular vehicles and are treated just like their larger  brethren for the purposes of stacking and moving-through-enemy-held-hexes purposes. If that doesn't trigger a light bulb over your head, go read GreekFire's ProtoMech Tactics Article for ideas on using very small units to influence traffic.

What are the differences between from other vehicles? There aren't many. In terms of construction, they're limited to small and medium weapons, which means conventional infantry stuff. Even BA-scale equipment is off-limits. In terms of on-table gameplay, the two real things to remember are that wheeled support vees(not just the small ones) require the Off-Road chassis modification if they want to leave roads and move at any real speed. Even clear hexes cost extra MP if you don't have this, and on any non-urban map that can add up FAST. Working the other way, SSVs that are built as bicycles or monocycles are an exception to the rule barring wheeled or hover vees from entering light woods hexes.

(Pictured: BattleROM footage of a hoverbike engagement within a large wooded area)


Beyond the rules differences, there are practical differences that separate all SSVs from the stuff we're all used to: They're small. REALLY small. What this means is that every kilogram counts when building these, and they have next to no room for things like armor or weaponry. When your ride can feasibly be bench-pressed by an Elemental sans armor, don't expect to tank hits from an eight-ton autocannon, it just ain't gonna happen. Your only real defense is to not get hit. This means speed if you have it, bigger buddies to take the hits if you don't, or ideally both. By the standards of SSVs, 'tough' is defined by the ability to get hit by a single machine gun or SRM-2 and survive to immediately get the hell off the battlefield. Ironically, this means that an infantry platoon is expected to auto-kill you and you're safer going after mechs and tanks that are likely to only devote very light guns to you while they focus their main fire on other mechs and tanks.

Offensively, it's been mentioned previously that SSVs are limited to mounting weapons normally used by conventional infantry. This means 1- or 2-point guns, and usually not many of them. A bit of good news is that most designers of published SSVs are sensible enough to use weapons with at least a bit of range, so the bulk of the SSVs we'll be looking at today are perfectly comfortable fighting at ranges of 4-6 hexes, keeping them safe from machine guns and other small guns, as well as shorter-ranged infantry platoons. I don't care if it makes your shots harder, that range is your lifeline. USE IT.

All that being said, let's look at some actual vehicles, shall we?

Ibex RV
(Handbook - House Marik, 2005)


In an interesting reversal of real-world developments, the Ibex (first seen in Handbook: House Marik) is the militarized version of a wheeled SUV mostly known for its popularity among wealthy suburbanites. A total mass of 2,000kg puts the Ibex roughly in the middle of the pack, with a speed of 5/8 and Off-Road chassis allowing for decent maneuvering options in the field or in city streets. Unless 31st-century road traffic is very different from 21st-century interstates, a top speed of 80-odd kph is something that should keep considerate drivers off of the major highways, however.

The design is remarkably tough, with 2 full points of armor on each facing, though the BAR of 7 accomplishes little at TW scales except to render this unit immune to mine-clearance missiles and resistant to flechette artillery. The Ibex can take a machine gun or SRM to each facing, and depending on how the dice roll even stands a real chance of surviving a volley of buckshot from an LB 5-X.

Offensively, the Ibex mounts 2 King David Light Gauss Rifles, one on each flank in a pintle mount that provides a 180-degree arc of fire. 3/6/9 might seem like amazing range brackets for something this small...until you notice the utter lack of fire control, meaning Ibex gunners must contend with a +2 modifier to all shots and aren't going to hit much outside 6 hexes. Realistically, you're not going to kill anything with an Ibex or even a small group of Ibexes. Even other SSVs will probably require multiple salvos to kill and if you don't kill an SSV of any kind in the first shot, you're probably better off directing your firepower on a more worthy target. If you must use these in direct combat, your best bet is to keep them in reserve until you can either dash at the flanks of enemy vees to go for crippling shots or try for crits on enemies that have been opened up by your larger allies. The real prey of an Ibex is mechanized infantry. 4 points of damage per KDLG if you can catch a platoon in the open is nothing to sneeze at, especially from something that only costs 36 BV per vehicle.

Pintel Heavy Combat ATV
(Handbook - House Davion, 2007)


"Heavy" is a bit of a misnomer with this vehicle, as the Pintel may very well be the lightest unit we look at today, coming in at only 500 kilos, no heavier than a vehicle-scale machine gun or small laser. Meant to represent the small vehicles used by motorized troops, this wheeled ATV is a surprisingly versatile ultralight combat platform. 4/6 movement with Off-Road capability is pretty standard, though you might have to look twice to notice that the Pintel is actually amphibious. (I only noticed it on my fourth look at the stat block.) Good to know that somebody on the design team took the "all-terrain" part of ATV seriously. As one should expect of a vehicle that weighs less than the shell of a Savannah Master, the Pintel's own armor is practically nonexistent, with only a single point of BAR 2 plating on each facing. Anything bigger than a light machine gun hits this and it is gone, pure and simple.

As far as armament goes...well, we don't actually know. The Pintel is equipped with a pintle mount, but there is no actual weapon assigned to it. The Pintel's pintle(yes, really) weighs 22 kilograms, which means it can support any infantry weapon weighing up to 110kg, which includes....almost everything, actually. About the only things disqualified are the heavy or ultra-heavy support lasers, the heavy mortar, and both flavors of support PPC. (I suppose for completeness' sake I should also include the Vintage Gatling Gun in that list, but I feel safe in assuming nobody reading this was contemplating that weapon anyway.) If you really want to cheese things, equipping an ER Support Laser will allow you to plink 1-point hits out to a hilarious 12 hexes, while a Man-Portable Plasma Rifle doubles your firepower while cutting the range in half. Much like the Ibex, the Pintel mounts no fire control, so again don't expect to actually hit much past your weapon's medium range.

GM-Rowell "Apocalypse" World Rover
(Handbook - House Davion, 2007)


Showing up in the same book(same page, even) as the Pintel ATV, the Apocalypse is almost identical to the smaller Pintel, with only a few differences stemming from being four times the size of the aforementioned ATV. Speed is the same, though the trailer hitch and amphib capability are gone. Firepower is again an empty pintle mount, though this one is rated up to 400kg, allowing the Apocalypse to carry any infantry weapon in existence that isn't a support PPC. (For those wondering, the absolute cheesiest option is the Clantech Ultra-Heavy Support Laser.) 7 passenger seats allow this truck to carry a standard infantry squad, though not in the context of a TW-scale engagement.

Where the Apocalypse truly stands out is in the armored shell. Apocalypses devote over seven times as much mass as Pintels to their protection, resulting in BAR-7 plating laid out 3/2/1. That's right, this thing can actually take a small laser to the front and keep coming. (Or more likely, live to run away and come at you again next week.) I'm reminded of Elemental Battle Armor, in that a single unit isn't actually that hard to kill, it just requires more effort than most people are willing to invest given the actual threat posed. Opponents are more likely than not to take a potshot at an Apocalypse, see that it's still there, and then decide they've got more important things to kill, like that Hunchback filling their screen. This is something to keep in mind when fielding any kind of SSV, actually. The word 'support' must be remembered at all times, in that these are purely supporting cast and things will go VERY poorly if any SSV is ever thrust into a starring role.

As people might have noticed, I'm covering these vehicles in their publishing order, as opposed to sorting them by mass or introduction date. At this point we're done looking at the Handbook series and must jump forward five years to a book that the vast majority of players often forget includes any material at all for standard-scale games but is a veritable treasure trove for us.

Boreas Cavalry Hovercraft
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


Our first(and to date, only) Clan small support vehicle, the Boreas hoverbike(not to be confused by the Boreas Quadvee Mech built by the same Clan) is a very different beast from anything we've seen previously. For starters, it's fast, insanely so, with a fuel-cell engine propelling it to a spleen-congealing 14/21 movement curve. On top of that, it's a hovercraft with all the terrain options that entails AND has been built with a bicycle chassis type, which as mentioned before means that light woods are NOT prohibited terrain for this thing. You're actually going to have to work fairly hard to find sizeable areas that are closed off to a determined Boreas driver. Just the one driver, mind you. The Boreas has absolutely no capacity for any passengers, and absolutely zero cargo space. Either these troopers go on patrol with their pockets absolutely filled with ration bars and water canteens, or long Boreas patrols always go from one supply dump to another. As with many small units, all that speed is gained at the expense of armor. BAR-8 armor laid out in a 1/1/1 pattern won't stop much of anything, so you'll need to use your maneuverability to its utmost in order to come back from any hostile contact.

All that speed would mean little if that was all the Boreas had, as most Battletech players expect a military craft to be able to shoot things. The Boreas does not disappoint. First off, it is the first SSV we've looked at that actually possesses advanced fire control, so no pesky +2 to all attacks effectively closing off your long-range bracket. If you're trying to stay out of range of a larger vehicle's machine guns or small lasers, this is huge. Second, the Boreas is an OmniVehicle. Before you ask, no, this does not mean you can carry five tons of battlesuited muscle around the battlefield - no support vee can use mechanized BA, even Omnis. The actual capacity of the Omni hardpoints is unknown, though we do have three published configurations. The Boreas Prime mounts two Mauser IIC laser rifles. They're not support-grade weapons, though they might as well be, with each such rifle inflicting 1 damage out to a range of 9 hexes. REALLY glad for that advanced fire control, as it means you can harass infantry from completely outside the range of most platoons or battle armor, and from the medium or even long range of larger targets. The Boreas A is a victim of the abstraction necessary at this tiny extreme of the Battletech scale, as it  means the single Semi-Portable Support Laser carried has identical range and damage stats to a single Mauser IIC rifle. This article does not concern itself with RPG-scale performance, though I will let you know that the Boreas A fares MUCH better in that system, and let you look up the details yourself. (NOTICE: This thread is not an invitation to debate any perceived weaknesses in BattleTech’s infantry construction system. If you want to do that, go back to Fan Rules from whence ye came.) Finally, the Boreas B eschews laser weaponry entirely in order to mount a Bearhunter Super-Heavy Autocannon. One-third the range of either prior configuration, with the same total damage as both of the Prime's Mausers combined, plus a burst-fire effect when targeting infantry. It's time like these that players should remember that weapons in one scale are not the same as those built in another, even if they share the same name. Battle Armor-scale Machine Guns are not the same weapons as Vehicle-scale Machine Guns, and behave differently from their larger cousins. Similarly, infantry-scale SRMs are very different beasts than the missiles fired by battlesuits or mechs. Why am I preaching at you about this? To put you in the right frame of mind when I say also that battle armor-scale Bearhunters and infantry-scale Bearhunters are two very different guns, and the +1 accuracy penalty that afflicts BA Bearhunters does not apply to the infantry-scale Bearhunter. You're welcome. While ordinarily I don't recommend that any SSV get within Bearhunter range of any infantry platoon, the ability of the Boreas to generate an extremely high TMM means it might be worth the risk in order to bring that cannon's raw firepower to bear.

Hoodling Hoverjeep
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


I intended to focus solely on armed SSVs for this article, but the Hoodling is interesting enough that I felt it warranted inclusion here anyway. Used by the Com Guards and Explorer Corps(and probably by Blakist forces as well, by extension) as a covert recon vehicle, the Hoodling is the first SSV on our list with a fusion powerplant. Combined with environmental sealing(another first), Hoodlings can survey any surface that isn't underwater or exposed to hard vacuum, and do so for as long as the two-man crew's rations and psyches hold out. 9/14 movement means that wherever you're going, you'll get there fast. A 2/1/1 shell of BAR-5 armor means, as usual, don't get shot.

As mentioned before, the Hoodling lacks any form of offensive weaponry. What is it good for on the tabletop, then? Well, aside from the usual ability to spot for indirect fire without tying up a combat unit, the Hoodling is also equipped with a Remote Sensor Dispenser and a single ton of Communications Equipment for monitoring them. These sensors have two primary uses. The first allows a Sensor to spot for indirect fire even after the Hoodling has departed, albeit with a hefty to-hit penalty. you won't be very accurate, but there's something to be said for being able to drop a wave of missiles on something big and slow without exposing any manned units even in the spotting role. (Protip for folks wanting to deploy Thunder or smoke missiles from safety: A hex definitely qualifies as very big and very slow.) The second function of a remote sensor is to act essentially like an Active Probe with a 2-hex radius, revealing hidden units within that range. A short-ranged stationary probe might seem like a poor deal compared to a mobile unit with a full suite, nd let's be honest; it is. Not everybody has access to Active Probes though, especially during the Succession Wars or when looking at very low-tier forces. Dropping a sensor two hexes away from a suspected ambush point allows you to reveal any units concealed there without getting close enough to trigger a pointblank attack, very good news for the diminutive Hoodling. Finally, you'll be pleased to note that the Hoodling's dispenser carries a LOT of sensor units, thirty to be exact. Good news, given that any sensor that actually starts to make a difference on the battlefield is probably going to be targeted for destruction, and these things are ridiculously easy to kill, even compared to an SSV. If you want continuous coverage in a tactical game, your Hoodlings are gonna be busy reseeding sensors all day.

Assuan Armored Bike
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


Designed by the Capellans to work in tandem with their field Arrow IV batteries, the Assuan motorcycle is perhaps the ultimate iteration of "well, you can use it as a spotter". 6/9 is a decent speed rating, combined with the Off-Road and Bicycle modifications to give you a scout that can enter almost any land hex, and do so far less obtrusively than any 20+ ton tank will. Armor is typically thin with a 1/1/1 shell, though in this case House Liao dug deep into their change jar and sprang for advanced composites, as those few armor points are a full military-grade BAR-10. This doesn't help at all with regards to direct weapons damage, though it does grant some protection from things like Rifle Cannons(I find the idea of an open motorcycle being completely immune to Light Cannons to be hilarious), Rivet Guns, Flechette artillery rounds, and Mine-Clearance Missiles, among others. A military known for a doctrine heavy on minelaying, deploying a spotter that takes no damage from dedicated mine-clearing munitions. I wonder if that was intentional...

Like the Hoodling, the Assuan does not incorporate any offensive weaponry, though I doubt most players will consider it to be unarmed. Central to its role as a spotter is a forward-mounted Light TAG(augmented by Advanced Fire Control) placed where most bikes have a headlight. It took humanity a thousand years, but they finally developed a light bulb more damaging to oncoming traffic than the LED. And much like all LED-equipped vehicles, you are advised to destroy Assuans as quickly as possible before the weather takes a turn for the explosive. Just about anyone reading this knows what TAG can do, so I won't go into that. Needless to say, of all the SSVs from this book, the Assuan is the one I expect to see the most actual tabletop usage. I really wish AToWC had included BV values for its vehicles, so that I could tell you exactly how cheap this lethal spotter that can go almost anywhere and be deployed en masse was.

Beast Riot Car
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


While AToWC does not actually list the final mass of any of the vehicles between its covers, it seems safe to say that the Beast is probably one of the largest and certainly one of the most ominous. Used by the Word of Blake as a riot suppressor, seeing the inside of a Beast means you're either a Blakist or a Blakist prisoner, neither option having good long-term prospects. The Beast's mission profile isn't one that calls for much speed, and that's reflected in a sedate 3/5 movement curve. It should be noted that Beasts do NOT possess the Off-Road modification, so keep that in mind before you try to use any in open-field combat. Stick to the roads, where you're not gonna lose a drag race to a Behemoth. With a name like Beast, you'd expect this vehicle to be tough, and by the scale that SSVs are measured by at least, the Beast delivers. 2/2/2/2 with a full BAR-10 rating is the heaviest armor shell of any published SSV, even if the Apocalypse technically beats it out in raw points on the nose. And yes, that fourth 2 is correct, the Beast is our first SSV with an actual turret, further increasing survivability by adding another armor facing to hopefully absorb damage before any given side is breached. While still vulnerable to the bulk of heavy weapons, the ability to take hits from multiple SRMs or a light infantry squad gives you much better odds of closing to deploy your guns and payload. While beyond the purview of this thread, I'd be willing to be this is a stone-cold, er, beast to deal with in a roleplaying campaign unless your characters have access to heavy support weaponry. A lack of environmental sealing is very unfortunate here, as it renders the vehicle and all occupants highly vulnerable to Tear Gas missiles. Really, who goes to a riot(on either side) without expecting tear gas?

Unlike the Hoodling or Assuan, the Beast is very much a direct combatant and is armed appropriately. An Auto Grenade Launcher mounted forward and a Heavy Flamer in the turret are fearsome(if short-ranged) weapons to turn on a crowd of civilians, though the description says they're usually loaded with non-lethal munitions. Let's just hope that's actually true. The real threat of the Beast lies in the cavernous 2-ton infantry compartment. At the level SSVs operate at, two infantry squads represent an enormous amount of self-deploying firepower. Hell, usage of the advanced battle armor weights rule even lets you transport a full Level I of PA(L) troopers or a 4-man squad of light battle armor! :O

Death Trike
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


As has been established, it takes a special kind of outlook for a soldier take what can charitably be described as a go-cart lined with sheet metal onto a battlefield populated by multi-decaton tanks, giant robots, armored supersoldiers, and even the occasional moving castle.

And then there's Death Trike drivers.

Let's be honest. Nobody that's truly stable voluntarily chooses piracy as a life path. You do it because you're desperate, you're being forced, or you have a burning hatred for your fellow human. So pretty much like any 9 to 5 job, except the hours are even worse and the percentage of folks around you who've heard of hygiene are even lower. Then there are those who stand out from even this wretched band of scum and villainy, whose psychotic levels of aggression and need for adrenaline override any sense of self-preservation. These rabid psychos get the cool clothes, and ride Death Trikes.

Death Trikes are, simply put, terror weapons. They're cobbled together with the express purpose of roaring into a civilian settlement and causing large amounts of chaos and carnage so that their slightly more stable compatriots can grab plunder and booty of all kinds(basically, the plot of Blazing Saddles), and in this role, they excel. In order to get in amongst their targets quickly and catch them unawares, Death Trikes are fast. 9/14(18) fast, using an engine burning alcohol of all things and boosted by a supercharger to achieve this and incorporating Off-Road and Bicycle capabilities because Death Trikes never obey the rules of the road, including the rules that determine where the road ends and everything else begins. As far as armor goes, well, it didn't go. At all. There is literally zero armor to be found anywhere on this psychocycle. Any amount of Battletech-scale damage will utterly annihilate a Death Trike and its driver, so be sure to get in, do your job, and get out BEFORE any such damage-capable units manage to get powered up.

The Death Trike's armament is similarly all about the short-duration destruction and carnage, mounting a single Two-Shot SRM Launcher with only enough ammo for four salvos. (By all indications, the 'Two-Shot' part of the name is just that - part of the name and nothing more. Under no circumstances should this launcher be confused with the far larger SRM-2 or any other cluster weapon.) Get in, fire your missiles at something collateral-looking, and get out before your pirate queen gets annoyed and steps on you with her mech. Given the mission profile, it seems fair to assume that it's not at all uncommon for Death Trikes to go into battle armed with Inferno rounds. Advanced Fire Control is pretty much the closest thing to high technology you'll find on a Death Trike, and means that even if your speed can't get you exactly where you want to go, you can still fire your missiles at that Orphanarium at the edge of your range and be reasonably confident of actually hitting your oh-so-flammable victims.

Yarr.

Dune Buggy
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


Like a lot of combat SSVs, Dune Buggies are specialized units, though in this case they're not tied to a specific role, but to an environment. 8/12 is a highly respectable speed for a wheeled vehicle, but in this case it is tied to a Dune Buggy chassis(hence the name), which adds caveats. First off, Dune Buggy and Off-Road are mutually exclusive, so Dune Buggies pay extra MP to enter unpaved clear hexes, functionally being reduced to 4/6 movement. The flipside is that they are immune to the movement penalties that most wheeled vehicles must suffer when moving over sand, essentially flipping the movement penalties between the two terrain types. As you can imagine, you probably only want to invest in Dune Buggies if you expect to fight in areas where much of the terrain will be paved, sandy, or depth 0 water. A 1/1/1 shell of BAR-2 armor provides the usual non-protection, while also rendering Dune Buggies vulnerable to all kinds of BAR-specific weapon effects. This isn't as fragile as a Death Trike, but it's pretty damned close.

Armament is light but solid, consisting of a single forward Support Machine Gun, giving you 1 damage(plus burst) at 2/4/6 ranges. Very competitive against most infantry, and suitable for harassing many battle armor suits and larger units, provided you've got larger buddies to draw fire from the larger guns. Fire Control is only Basic rather than Advanced, so while that gun is going to be more accurate than those on the first few SSVs we've looked at, you can have difficulty engaging at the edge of your range or when trying to hit faster targets. Aside from the terrain-specific properties, Dune Buggies are very much archetypal small support vehicles, being extraordinarily fragile, but maneuverable and able to add a bit of firepower to your force for unbelievably cheap(and without any need for advanced technology).

As a final note(meaning I didn't notice this until afterwards and had to come back to this section), Dune Buggies are also equipped with a surprisingly roomy 200-kilogram cargo bay. While that's not enough for heavy equipment of any kind, it does make Dune Buggies excellent couriers when in their element. This might be something to remember when trying to design some kind of interception or breakthrough scenario.

Eagre Firefighting ATV
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


No, that is not a typo in the name. Yes, it's driving me crazy too. While I'm thankful to Herb and the rest of the AToWC team for this treasure trove of SSVs, "Eagre" is definitely not a check in their Win column.

Another unarmed(mostly) SSV, the Eagre is both about as niche as it gets AND extremely flexible, being built as a specialized counter to a very specific kind of attack, namely fire. A 5/8 electric drive with Off-Road means decent speed, but nothing overly special. Similarly, BAR-7 armor laid out in a 1/1/1 pattern is nothing spectacular, though it does provide protection from some effects mentioned earlier in this article.

What makes the Eagre unique(aside from the name) is its onboard equipment, consisting of twin Handheld Searchlights up front and a Sprayer in the rear. The Searchlights are of value in night engagements, as a single Eagre can illuminate two enemy targets without forcing any of your own combat units to reveal themselves, giving your side a clear advantage  during a weapons exchange. Be VERY careful when doing this though, as using the searchlights illuminates the Eagre as well, and between their inherent fragility and inability to generate a very high TMM these little buggies cannot survive any amount of enemy ire. Expect high(possibly total) casualties among your Eagre complement if you go this route.

The Sprayer is pretty much the Eagre's entire reason for being. It's meant for firefighting, but is potentially almost as flexible as a Fluid Gun. In its primary role, Eagres are highly effective at dousing flames, especially when using Firefighting Foam. An Eagre or two with such a loadout is pretty much a hard counter in any base defense scenario where your opponent tries to win the easy way by setting target buildings ablaze from afar. Oil Slicks are a hilarious way to prepare a city defense, and don't involve covering your home's streets with explosive mines. Coolant and water are useful for cooling down friendly units(or engaging unprotected people without actually killing them), as I'm sure everyone reading this can think of at least a few 'mechs that would become MUCH more dangerous if they only had 1-3 more points of heat dissipation. Corrosive and Paint fluids are meant to be used directly against any units, with Corrosive ammo doing a surprising amount of raw damage, and Paint inflicting a long-term hindrance to their weapons fire.

Do take care when using any of the fluids that require being fired directly at a unit - Sprayers have a maximum range of 1 hex and are completely incompatible with any kind of fire control. Whether friendly or enemy, you'll have to get right up next to your target, and if they've got any kind of TMM your chances of hitting them will never be sure things.

If you're still reading this, I'm impressed. This is a goliath of an *otW. And to think that when I first started writing this, I was expecting to only need a couple lines for each vehicle. It definitely speaks to the strength of the construction system that they were able to create so much variety using units with almost no room to mount much of anything in them. But rejoice, we're getting into the home stretch!
« Last Edit: 09 July 2022, 15:51:26 by Weirdo »
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Weirdo

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #1 on: 16 June 2022, 11:51:53 »
Harpoon Parasub
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


Last of the armed SSVs in this book, the Harpoon is our first truly aquatic SSV, unlike the merely amphibious Pintel. Harpoons able to maneuver underwater with ease, with their Submarine chassis giving them a base crush depth of 300 meters(as opposed to 90 for Battlemechs). 3/5 movement doesn't seem like much but is fairly typical for any submarine that isn't named Manta. Even by SSV standards the armor is fairly light with a 1/1/1 spread of merely BAR-2 armor. On the upside, just about all the in-game effects that could take advantage of that low BAR are only found above the surface. On the downside, hull breach rules mean that a point of damage to any location WILL kill you even if you're surfaced - Harpoons are functionally as durable as Death Trikes.

Harpoons are fairly well-armed, with the bow sporting both a Support Laser and the same Two-Shot SRM Launcher as found on the Death Trike. Only the laser works underwater, doing a single point of damage with a 2/4/6 range bracket, which increases to 3/6/9 when surfaced. That single point isn't much on the surface(literally), but underwater it forces a breach roll just as well as any other weapon, making a group of Harpoons a lethal threat if allowed to get close enough to a submerged enemy(or a surfaced one if attacking from below). The SRM launcher is of little use at sea but can be employed in concert with the laser to hit shore targets near the water's edge, and their Inferno capability is probably a VERY serious concern to owners of waterfront properties.

(Fun fact: Long-Range Torpedoes possess the same indirect-fire capability as their flying brethren, provided a completely underwater path can be traced from shooter to target. So if you've got a larger LRT-equipped sub or mech in your force, you can indeed hide it behind a ridge or mass of space-kelp and use Harpoons to spot for indirect fire.)

Small Steamer
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)

You thought we were done with this book, didn't you? Well, here's one more entry! Small Steamers are extremely slow, are just as vulnerable to hull breaches as Harpoons, and being completely unarmed have essentially no combat utility beyond an extremely slow spotter or floating speedbump. I'm only bringing them up because I find it absolutely hilarious that among all the advanced military vehicles published in this book, we've also been given the stats for a 19th-century, coal-fired, civilian, steamboat. Seriously, don't take this into combat. It and everyone aboard WILL die the moment your opponent decides to devote any attention whatsoever to it, and unlike the Harpoon it can't even dive to escape danger.

Rock Rover Halftrack
(Technical Readout Vehicle Annex, 2013)


Despite being THE source for support vehicles, TRO VA is surprisingly light on combat-useful SSVs. Most small vehicles are completely unarmed civilian models, and most of the armed vehicles are too large to fit into this category. The Rock Rover is one of the exceptions, a dedicated military vehicle topping out at 4 tons. A tracked vehicle with a 2/3 movement curve, Rock Rovers are slow as hell, clearly meant to fight alongside and in support of dismounted foot infantry. Armor is the thickest  found on any published SSV, with an impressive 12 points of BAR-8 armor laid out 3/3/2/1. I know, I know. When you look at enough units this small, your bar for 'impressive' falls pretty low. On the upside, this thing is pretty well equipped to tangle with other SSVs and come out on top and can even survive fire from a generic infantry squad for multiple turns.

Weapons aren't as heavy as some other SSVs, but in terms of raw damage it's definitely in the upper tier. The main punch comes from a Support Laser in the turret, and each flank is covered by a pintle-mounted auto-rifle that deals the same damage as the laser, but at one-third the range. While getting another SSV(that is likely much faster) into close range on the Rock Rover's centerline isn't the easiest feat to pull off, the 3 damage you can put out if you can do so is a very serious threat. I would have probably preferred something with burst damage myself, but the laser's range could be invaluable if you're ever deploying Rock Rovers outside of a city. Advanced Fire Control means you can actually make use of that range. Much like the Beast Riot Car, the Rock Rover's real threat lies in its transport ability, with a single-squad infantry compartment and a cargo bay capable of carrying a second squad bringing a not-insignificant amount of additional firepower to the fight.

All in all, Rock Rovers and Beasts are very similar, to the point that deployment advice is pretty much the same. The biggest difference lies in the Rock Rover's lack of speed, forcing you to be even more careful to use terrain to mask your approach and ensure you actually get into weapons range alive. Against larger units, Rock Rovers are probably best used as ambushers, with the halftrack and its troops hidden in a building, firing into the sides of a tank or back of a mech, and then withdrawing out the back of said building to redeploy and set up another ambush further back.

Jonah JN-002 Submarine
(Technical Readout Vehicle Annex, 2013)


Our only other entry from Vehicle Annex, there's not much to be said about the Jonah, mostly because everything you can say about it has already been said earlier in this article already. In terms of mobility and durability, it's pretty much identical to the Harpoon Parasub, being only slightly faster and possessing enough BAR-3 armor that it can take a single point of damage to the bow without automatically sinking, but nowhere else. In terms of utility, it mounts the same Remote Sensor dispenser as the Hoodling Hoverjeep, allowing you to set up detection nets to spot enemies trying to move through your waters and catch them with armed units or vector indirectly-fired torpedoes onto them. That’s...pretty much it.

Outrider
(Touring the Stars: Tortuga, 2018)

A surprise entry from Touring the Stars: Tortuga, the Outrider represents a concept more than a specific vehicle chassis, and as such may very well be the single most common SSV in human space by a wide margin. Long story short, this is the 31st-century version of the machine gun-armed pickup truck fighting in conflicts across the world even today. A basic ICE engine and Off-Road chassis propels this technical to a speed of 5/8, nothing spectacular but enough to outmaneuver many heavier combat vehicles and mechs. Protection is surprisingly heavy, with 6 points of BAR-4 armor laid out in a 2/2/0 pattern allowing our future-Hilux to actually survive multiple hits from other SSVs, though the rear is completely unprotected.

Armament is similarly basic, but well-chosen. The only weapon is a Support Machine Gun on a pintle mount, providing you with a weapon with decent range, a very wide firing arc, and burst capability for dealing with infantry. An astounding 1,000-round ammunition bin will probably last the entire lifetime of the truck, and even after it is destroyed the wreck can probably serve as an ammo supply point for your troops. The Outrider's only real flaw is a complete lack of fire control. This sadly negates the Support Machine Gun's range, though the edge of your medium range bracket is still beyond the long range of basic rifle infantry, so it's not all doom and gloom.

For even more fun, this is one of the first SSVs aside from the Ibex to actually have a published BV, and it's...five. That's right, this vehicle costs a full 5 BV to field. Needless to say, the size of your Toyotapocalypse is limited not by unit cost, but by your minis/counters collection and your group's tolerance for swarms in their games. This writer does not recommend deploying so many that you lose friends or get kicked out of gaming groups. There, I've covered my ass, any Outrider-related strife is now entirely your fault.



Last year a new Technical Readout was released, one showcasing the various improvised fighting units that formed the backbone of the initial pirate and paramilitary factions that sprang up in the aftermath of the HPG Blackout. While most of the attention focused on IndustrialMechs(modded and otherwise), TRO Irregulars also gave us a plethora of small support vehicles, with some being dedicated military vehicles and others being civilian products equipped with armor and light weaponry in the same vein as the Outrider:

Monocycle
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


One of many created by affixing armor and weapons to a civilian vehicle, Monocycles are seen all over the place, but most commonly among Capellan-backed paramilitary or insurgent units and are lethal raiders. 8/12 movement plus Off-Road and Monocycle(unsurprisingly, given the name) means they can go anywhere, while a 2/1/1 shell of BAR-9 armor provides good protection from other SSVs, at least. Where Monocycles truly shine is in their armament. Man-Portable Plasma Rifles are among the most powerful weapons that can possibly be carried by an SSV, combining 2pts of damage with a 2/4/6 range bracket AND incendiary capabilities, easily able to ignite fires or raise the heat levels of 'mechs. No less than four Man-Portable Plasma Rifles(with ten shots apiece) backed by Advanced Fire Control have been crammed onto this thing, outgunning any other SSV by a huge margin. Seriously, this thing is a monster, rivaling some 'mechs in terms of sheer firepower and combining that with the speed to get that firepower wherever you want whenever you want. To nobody's surprise Monocycles also have the highest known BV of any SSV, but a grand total of 74 BV is still obscenely cheap on the scale of any Battletech game.

Minigun Cycle
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Anything is going to feel like a letdown after the Monocycle, and while clearly not in the same league, the Minigun Cycle is still a perfectly serviceable SSV. 7/11 speed with Bicycle and Off-Road is quite nice for getting where you need, and 1/1/1 armor is pretty average at this point, though BAR-5 is lower than a lot of the ones we've looked at already. As you can probably guess from the name, Minigun Cycles are armed with a Support Machine Gun with Advanced Fire Control. As always the BV is very low, and at 18 BV per bike you should have no problem whatsoever incorporating a biker gang or two into almost any force you can imagine. Overall, this is very much a middle of the pack unit and could be used as an example of the archetypal small support vehicle. For those who don't want a harasser and would prefer to deliver a single heavy strike and then get out of town, the Minigun Cycle (SRM) variant drops the machine gun for no less than four separate Light SRM Launchers, but only carrying two shots for each. BV is more than double the base model, at 30 per bike. Get in, drop your missiles into something juicy like exposed 'mech innards or tank flanks, and get out. Alternatively, use your high number of to-hit rolls to go after other fast SSVs*cough*DeathTrikes*cough* and let statistics be your guide.

Hoverbike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


One of the few dedicated military SSVs in TRO:Ir, Hoverbikes are a top-tier combat SSV, drawing many comparisons to the Clantech Boreas. Clocking in at 12/18 with Bicycle mods, they're blindingly fast and only a couple notches slower than the Boreas. Armor is actually heavier than the clan bike, with BAR-7 protection laid out 2/1/1. The weapons loadout also mirrors the Boreas Prime, with a pared Support Laser and Support Machine gun allowing you to harass from (relatively) long range or close in for antipersonnel burst damage. There are also two variants that standardize their weapons load, with the Hoverbike (Laser) bringing twin Support Lasers for range, and the Hoverbike (MG) going with a pure Support Machine Gun load for some serious anti-infantry firepower. Costs ranging from 38 to 45 BV are higher than average but let's face it, at the scale of any Battletech game, there's no such thing as an expensive SSV.

Trike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Yet another conversion of a civilian vehicle, Trikes are the answer to the question "What do I do if I want that thing over there to be on fire but my budget is effectively zero?" 6/9 movement isn't very fast but is perfectly decent when combined with Bicycle and Off-Road mods. A 2/1/1 shell of BAR-7 armor matches the aforementioned Hoverbike, and firepower consists of a single Heavy Flamer for a short-ranged incendiary punch. Ammunition is extremely limited with only three shots so this is very much a single-use striker, not a harasser. At least you've got Advanced Fire Control, so you're at least likely to hit whatever you throw those few shots at. With a BV of only 11, this may very well be one of the least expensive fighting units in the entire setting. Hell, until I found the Outrider, I thought it was THE cheapest.

We're almost done, just hang in there!

Trackbike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


The Trackbike is an odd design, one of those units that when faced with resolving the three-way battle between speed, firepower, and armor, actually chose speed and armor while neglecting firepower. 7/11 speed is extremely fast for a tracked vehicle of any size and armor is surprisingly heavy with a 3/2/1 shell, albeit of only BAR-5 plate. No other SSV that has reached the armor-3 threshold is capable of generating a +3 TMM, and Trackbikes can manage a +4. As mentioned above the weapons loadout is pretty light, with a single Semi-Portable Autocannon with Advanced Fire Control being shorter-ranged than many other SSV warloads and also lacking any fire or burst damage. At least the BV reflects this at only 19. This is less a direct combatant and more a scout with the speed and durability to have a real chance at surviving long enough to report an encounter with hostiles.

Hey, look! We're finally at the end!

Scout ATV
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Our last SSV is another dedicated military build, and the job is right there in the name, Scout ATV. These little buggies definitely have the speed to get their job done, at 9/14 with Off-Road. Armor is relatively solid with 2/1/2 of BAR-7 plating. An odd layout, but I guess it befits something that's either going to be dashing in to get an ID or land a strike, or running directly away to report in, with only hover SSVs having the speed to get around for a shot at the flanks. Armament consists of a single Heavy Grenade Launcher capable of inflicting 2 points of damage guided by Advanced Fire Control, but with only a 1/2/3 range bracket. To me, this is a unit that doesn't engage in harassment, but either avoids combat entirely or dashes in to strike a juicy target of opportunity.

Congratulations, you made it through the whole thing! Now go run around in something tiny and get squished by a Spider!

Harpoon Parasub
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)


Last of the armed SSVs in this book, the Harpoon is our first truly aquatic SSV, unlike the merely amphibious Pintel. Harpoons able to maneuver underwater with ease, with their Submarine chassis giving them a base crush depth of 300 meters(as opposed to 90 for Battlemechs). 3/5 movement doesn't seem like much but is fairly typical for any submarine that isn't named Manta. Even by SSV standards the armor is fairly light with a 1/1/1 spread of merely BAR-2 armor. On the upside, just about all the in-game effects that could take advantage of that low BAR are only found above the surface. On the downside, hull breach rules mean that a point of damage to any location WILL kill you even if you're surfaced - Harpoons are functionally as durable as Death Trikes.

Harpoons are fairly well-armed, with the bow sporting both a Support Laser and the same Two-Shot SRM Launcher as found on the Death Trike. Only the laser works underwater, doing a single point of damage with a 2/4/6 range bracket, which increases to 3/6/9 when surfaced. That single point isn't much on the surface(literally), but underwater it forces a breach roll just as well as any other weapon, making a group of Harpoons a lethal threat if allowed to get close enough to a submerged enemy(or a surfaced one if attacking from below). The SRM launcher is of little use at sea but can be employed in concert with the laser to hit shore targets near the water's edge, and their Inferno capability is probably a VERY serious concern to owners of waterfront properties.

(Fun fact: Long-Range Torpedoes possess the same indirect-fire capability as their flying brethren, provided a completely underwater path can be traced from shooter to target. So if you've got a larger LRT-equipped sub or mech in your force, you can indeed hide it behind a ridge or mass of space-kelp and use Harpoons to spot for indirect fire.)

Small Steamer
(A Time of War Companion, 2012)

You thought we were done with this book, didn't you? Well, here's one more entry! Small Steamers are extremely slow, are just as vulnerable to hull breaches as Harpoons, and being completely unarmed have essentially no combat utility beyond an extremely slow spotter or floating speedbump. I'm only bringing them up because I find it absolutely hilarious that among all the advanced military vehicles published in this book, we've also been given the stats for a 19th-century, coal-fired, civilian, steamboat. Seriously, don't take this into combat. It and everyone aboard WILL die the moment your opponent decides to devote any attention whatsoever to it, and unlike the Harpoon it can't even dive to escape danger.

Rock Rover Halftrack
(Technical Readout Vehicle Annex, 2013)


Despite being THE source for support vehicles, TRO VA is surprisingly light on combat-useful SSVs. Most small vehicles are completely unarmed civilian models, and most of the armed vehicles are too large to fit into this category. The Rock Rover is one of the exceptions, a dedicated military vehicle topping out at 4 tons. A tracked vehicle with a 2/3 movement curve, Rock Rovers are slow as hell, clearly meant to fight alongside and in support of dismounted foot infantry. Armor is the thickest  found on any published SSV, with an impressive 12 points of BAR-8 armor laid out 3/3/2/1. I know, I know. When you look at enough units this small, your bar for 'impressive' falls pretty low. On the upside, this thing is pretty well equipped to tangle with other SSVs and come out on top and can even survive fire from a generic infantry squad for multiple turns.

Weapons aren't as heavy as some other SSVs, but in terms of raw damage it's definitely in the upper tier. The main punch comes from a Support Laser in the turret, and each flank is covered by a pintle-mounted auto-rifle that deals the same damage as the laser, but at one-third the range. While getting another SSV(that is likely much faster) into close range on the Rock Rover's centerline isn't the easiest feat to pull off, the 3 damage you can put out if you can do so is a very serious threat. I would have probably preferred something with burst damage myself, but the laser's range could be invaluable if you're ever deploying Rock Rovers outside of a city. Advanced Fire Control means you can actually make use of that range. Much like the Beast Riot Car, the Rock Rover's real threat lies in its transport ability, with a single-squad infantry compartment and a cargo bay capable of carrying a second squad bringing a not-insignificant amount of additional firepower to the fight.

All in all, Rock Rovers and Beasts are very similar, to the point that deployment advice is pretty much the same. The biggest difference lies in the Rock Rover's lack of speed, forcing you to be even more careful to use terrain to mask your approach and ensure you actually get into weapons range alive. Against larger units, Rock Rovers are probably best used as ambushers, with the halftrack and its troops hidden in a building, firing into the sides of a tank or back of a mech, and then withdrawing out the back of said building to redeploy and set up another ambush further back.

Jonah JN-002 Submarine
(Technical Readout Vehicle Annex, 2013)


Our only other entry from Vehicle Annex, there's not much to be said about the Jonah, mostly because everything you can say about it has already been said earlier in this article already. In terms of mobility and durability, it's pretty much identical to the Harpoon Parasub, being only slightly faster and possessing enough BAR-3 armor that it can take a single point of damage to the bow without automatically sinking, but nowhere else. In terms of utility, it mounts the same Remote Sensor dispenser as the Hoodling Hoverjeep, allowing you to set up detection nets to spot enemies trying to move through your waters and catch them with armed units or vector indirectly-fired torpedoes onto them. That’s...pretty much it.

Outrider
(Touring the Stars: Tortuga, 2018)

A surprise entry from Touring the Stars: Tortuga, the Outrider represents a concept more than a specific vehicle chassis, and as such may very well be the single most common SSV in human space by a wide margin. Long story short, this is the 31st-century version of the machine gun-armed pickup truck fighting in conflicts across the world even today. A basic ICE engine and Off-Road chassis propels this technical to a speed of 5/8, nothing spectacular but enough to outmaneuver many heavier combat vehicles and mechs. Protection is surprisingly heavy, with 6 points of BAR-4 armor laid out in a 2/2/0 pattern allowing our future-Hilux to actually survive multiple hits from other SSVs, though the rear is completely unprotected.

Armament is similarly basic, but well-chosen. The only weapon is a Support Machine Gun on a pintle mount, providing you with a weapon with decent range, a very wide firing arc, and burst capability for dealing with infantry. An astounding 1,000-round ammunition bin will probably last the entire lifetime of the truck, and even after it is destroyed the wreck can probably serve as an ammo supply point for your troops. The Outrider's only real flaw is a complete lack of fire control. This sadly negates the Support Machine Gun's range, though the edge of your medium range bracket is still beyond the long range of basic rifle infantry, so it's not all doom and gloom.

For even more fun, this is one of the first SSVs aside from the Ibex to actually have a published BV, and it's...five. That's right, this vehicle costs a full 5 BV to field. Needless to say, the size of your Toyotapocalypse is limited not by unit cost, but by your minis/counters collection and your group's tolerance for swarms in their games. This writer does not recommend deploying so many that you lose friends or get kicked out of gaming groups. There, I've covered my ass, any Outrider-related strife is now entirely your fault.



Last year a new Technical Readout was released, one showcasing the various improvised fighting units that formed the backbone of the initial pirate and paramilitary factions that sprang up in the aftermath of the HPG Blackout. While most of the attention focused on IndustrialMechs(modded and otherwise), TRO Irregulars also gave us a plethora of small support vehicles, with some being dedicated military vehicles and others being civilian products equipped with armor and light weaponry in the same vein as the Outrider:

Monocycle
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


One of many created by affixing armor and weapons to a civilian vehicle, Monocycles are seen all over the place, but most commonly among Capellan-backed paramilitary or insurgent units and are lethal raiders. 8/12 movement plus Off-Road and Monocycle(unsurprisingly, given the name) means they can go anywhere, while a 2/1/1 shell of BAR-9 armor provides good protection from other SSVs, at least. Where Monocycles truly shine is in their armament. Man-Portable Plasma Rifles are among the most powerful weapons that can possibly be carried by an SSV, combining 2pts of damage with a 2/4/6 range bracket AND incendiary capabilities, easily able to ignite fires or raise the heat levels of 'mechs. No less than four Man-Portable Plasma Rifles(with ten shots apiece) backed by Advanced Fire Control have been crammed onto this thing, outgunning any other SSV by a huge margin. Seriously, this thing is a monster, rivaling some 'mechs in terms of sheer firepower and combining that with the speed to get that firepower wherever you want whenever you want. To nobody's surprise Monocycles also have the highest known BV of any SSV, but a grand total of 74 BV is still obscenely cheap on the scale of any Battletech game.

Minigun Cycle
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Anything is going to feel like a letdown after the Monocycle, and while clearly not in the same league, the Minigun Cycle is still a perfectly serviceable SSV. 7/11 speed with Bicycle and Off-Road is quite nice for getting where you need, and 1/1/1 armor is pretty average at this point, though BAR-5 is lower than a lot of the ones we've looked at already. As you can probably guess from the name, Minigun Cycles are armed with a Support Machine Gun with Advanced Fire Control. As always the BV is very low, and at 18 BV per bike you should have no problem whatsoever incorporating a biker gang or two into almost any force you can imagine. Overall, this is very much a middle of the pack unit and could be used as an example of the archetypal small support vehicle. For those who don't want a harasser and would prefer to deliver a single heavy strike and then get out of town, the Minigun Cycle (SRM) variant drops the machine gun for no less than four separate Light SRM Launchers, but only carrying two shots for each. BV is more than double the base model, at 30 per bike. Get in, drop your missiles into something juicy like exposed 'mech innards or tank flanks, and get out. Alternatively, use your high number of to-hit rolls to go after other fast SSVs*cough*DeathTrikes*cough* and let statistics be your guide.

Hoverbike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


One of the few dedicated military SSVs in TRO:Ir, Hoverbikes are a top-tier combat SSV, drawing many comparisons to the Clantech Boreas. Clocking in at 12/18 with Bicycle mods, they're blindingly fast and only a couple notches slower than the Boreas. Armor is actually heavier than the clan bike, with BAR-7 protection laid out 2/1/1. The weapons loadout also mirrors the Boreas Prime, with a pared Support Laser and Support Machine gun allowing you to harass from (relatively) long range or close in for antipersonnel burst damage. There are also two variants that standardize their weapons load, with the Hoverbike (Laser) bringing twin Support Lasers for range, and the Hoverbike (MG) going with a pure Support Machine Gun load for some serious anti-infantry firepower. Costs ranging from 38 to 45 BV are higher than average but let's face it, at the scale of any Battletech game, there's no such thing as an expensive SSV.

Trike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Yet another conversion of a civilian vehicle, Trikes are the answer to the question "What do I do if I want that thing over there to be on fire but my budget is effectively zero?" 6/9 movement isn't very fast but is perfectly decent when combined with Bicycle and Off-Road mods. A 2/1/1 shell of BAR-7 armor matches the aforementioned Hoverbike, and firepower consists of a single Heavy Flamer for a short-ranged incendiary punch. Ammunition is extremely limited with only three shots so this is very much a single-use striker, not a harasser. At least you've got Advanced Fire Control, so you're at least likely to hit whatever you throw those few shots at. With a BV of only 11, this may very well be one of the least expensive fighting units in the entire setting. Hell, until I found the Outrider, I thought it was THE cheapest.

We're almost done, just hang in there!

Trackbike
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


The Trackbike is an odd design, one of those units that when faced with resolving the three-way battle between speed, firepower, and armor, actually chose speed and armor while neglecting firepower. 7/11 speed is extremely fast for a tracked vehicle of any size and armor is surprisingly heavy with a 3/2/1 shell, albeit of only BAR-5 plate. No other SSV that has reached the armor-3 threshold is capable of generating a +3 TMM, and Trackbikes can manage a +4. As mentioned above the weapons loadout is pretty light, with a single Semi-Portable Autocannon with Advanced Fire Control being shorter-ranged than many other SSV warloads and also lacking any fire or burst damage. At least the BV reflects this at only 19. This is less a direct combatant and more a scout with the speed and durability to have a real chance at surviving long enough to report an encounter with hostiles.

Hey, look! We're finally at the end!

Scout ATV
(Technical Readout Irregulars, 2021)


Our last SSV is another dedicated military build, and the job is right there in the name, Scout ATV. These little buggies definitely have the speed to get their job done, at 9/14 with Off-Road. Armor is relatively solid with 2/1/2 of BAR-7 plating. An odd layout, but I guess it befits something that's either going to be dashing in to get an ID or land a strike, or running directly away to report in, with only hover SSVs having the speed to get around for a shot at the flanks. Armament consists of a single Heavy Grenade Launcher capable of inflicting 2 points of damage guided by Advanced Fire Control, but with only a 1/2/3 range bracket. To me, this is a unit that doesn't engage in harassment, but either avoids combat entirely or dashes in to strike a juicy target of opportunity.

Congratulations, you made it through the whole thing! Now go run around in something tiny and get squished by a Spider!

« Last Edit: 09 July 2022, 15:52:49 by Weirdo »
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

Liam's Ghost

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #2 on: 16 June 2022, 13:33:32 »
I have not read through the whole thing yet (it's a biggun), but I would like to add some additional context to these vehicles from the RPG side for anybody who might be wondering why so many of these vehicles invest critical kilos in to improved BAR armor when it doesn't really change how they perform on the TW scale.

It's because it massively changes how they perform on the AToW scale. In the RPG, damage to vehicle grade armor from personal weapons is directly rated to that armor's BAR. Without going into the math of it, a a fairly average character with a bog standard knife can damage BAR 2 armor. BAR 4-5 armor can be pretty consistently damaged by small arms (pistol and non-automatic rifle) fire. You have to get to BAR 6 and above before you need to really hit it hard to leave a scratch on it, and by 9-10 you're digging up the heavy weapons to have a chance.

In addition, the structure of a unit shares the BAR of its armor, or defaults to two if there is no armor at all. This means if you're skimping all the way to the lightest, cheapest armor you can get, your vehicle is squishy all the way through, or if you're riding a death trike, you've truly embraced the nihilistic madness of your existence, because your vehicle will shatter like glass at practically any impact.

(Weirdo would probably say at this point that this is not an invitation to discuss whether how AToW does things is good or bad, and that's a stance that I would wholeheartedly agree with. This is simply an attempt to relay how it works)

Anyway, time to resume reading.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

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Dragon Cat

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #3 on: 16 June 2022, 14:12:12 »
That's a great article
Below are links to my fan fiction pages.

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/alternate-timeline-with-thanks-(full)/

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-fiction/alternate-timeline-with-thanks-full-part-2/

As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

glitterboy2098

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #4 on: 16 June 2022, 14:56:20 »
it seems to me that the biggest flaw in the SSV use in a regular bt game would be the fact you're forced to use standard vehicle rules to run them. if there was a way to roll these into the infantry platoon construction rules, or run them in small squads of 3-6 like battlearmor, i think they'd be much more useful in standard BT rules.

Weirdo

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #5 on: 16 June 2022, 15:40:32 »
They're already in the infantry rules. The vehicles covered here are the exact things used by motorized and mechanized infantry, rolled out of that category and into the vehicle rules.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

Jellico

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #6 on: 16 June 2022, 18:56:17 »
Nothing to add but, awesome effort Weirdo.

Greatclub

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #7 on: 16 June 2022, 19:49:20 »
I have just read this after my commute. I want a death trike for tomorrows.

CVB

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #8 on: 16 June 2022, 21:25:46 »
Great article, very comprehensive! Thanks! :thumbsup:
"Wars result when one side either misjudges its chances or wishes to commit suicide; and not even Masada began as a suicide attempt. In general, both warring parties expect to win. In the event, they are wrong more than half the time."
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #9 on: 17 June 2022, 11:08:41 »
A high-quality article to be sure. Happy to see the Boreas (seriously were there no other names available, we had to double up?) as well as my beloved Rock Rover in there. I've never really considered running these are their own units, more as part of mechinf groups, but the monocycle is a seriously Bad Bitch over here.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #10 on: 17 June 2022, 12:39:43 »
on the Ibex?  Unless I missed something, even support vehicles get the +1 MP for being on pavenment, so it would be effectively 5+1/8+1 on a highway, or just able to hit 60 MPH.  Even 8 MP (86.4 kph) having to deal with some headwinds or the occasional slope is an okayish 53-54 MPH.

The Ibex and World Rover IMHO are the game's takes on a Jeep or Humvee.  Lightly armored utility vehicles that could haul a few dozen to a few hundred kilos of supplies on one hand.  Better than assigning a flatbed truck or recovery vehicle to the job.  On other days it is providing mobility to an infantry squad on a security patrol around your base, shuttling personnel around, or even (hopefully with the weapons dismounted) signed out to take a group into town for some R&R.

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #11 on: 17 June 2022, 14:10:04 »
on the Ibex?  Unless I missed something, even support vehicles get the +1 MP for being on pavenment, so it would be effectively 5+1/8+1 on a highway, or just able to hit 60 MPH.  Even 8 MP (86.4 kph) having to deal with some headwinds or the occasional slope is an okayish 53-54 MPH.

You are correct, which players trying to drive something slow like a Rock Rover or Beast around a city should definitely remember. :thumbsup:
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #12 on: 17 June 2022, 16:55:06 »
They're already in the infantry rules. The vehicles covered here are the exact things used by motorized and mechanized infantry, rolled out of that category and into the vehicle rules.

I think glitterboy was expressing a desire to use the actual movement values of these vehicles for motorized and mechanized infantry instead of being limited by the infantry construction rules.  For example, when I build a mechanized wheeled platoon with MegaMekLab with only personal weapons, I'm limited to 4 MP, whereas the Dune Buggy can move at 8/12.  What gives?   xp  Perhaps I'm missing optional rules that aren't in MegaMek at this time, especially as I don't have the book for current infantry construction rules.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #13 on: 17 June 2022, 17:58:33 »
I think glitterboy was expressing a desire to use the actual movement values of these vehicles for motorized and mechanized infantry instead of being limited by the infantry construction rules.  For example, when I build a mechanized wheeled platoon with MegaMekLab with only personal weapons, I'm limited to 4 MP, whereas the Dune Buggy can move at 8/12.  What gives?   xp  Perhaps I'm missing optional rules that aren't in MegaMek at this time, especially as I don't have the book for current infantry construction rules.
Pretty much. While the fluff says these vehicles are what is being used by the mechanized infantry platoons, there is no actual mechanics to incorporate them into the platoon stats. Not in mobility, armor, or firepower.
And they are far too wimpy to use individually like a standard combat or support vehicle.

So either the infantry rules need an update to actually incorporate these small support vehicles stats, or we need rules allowing units of them to be deployed as a single hex group with combined firepower.

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #14 on: 17 June 2022, 21:19:35 »
You've done a great service, Weirdo, and we appreciate it.

Love seeing the write ups on the 3085 Infantry vehicles. That was a fun little surprise when it was decided to stat those out in AToW.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #15 on: 17 June 2022, 21:41:56 »
Someday I'll post about something I find interesting and there won't be someone who takes the opportunity to shill some custom design or fan rules.

« Last Edit: 17 June 2022, 21:54:09 by Weirdo »
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #16 on: 17 June 2022, 21:55:23 »
You've done a great service, Weirdo, and we appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #17 on: 19 June 2022, 13:00:07 »
Thank you Weirdo, fun to read and informative- great article!

I like the small buggers a lot, a game of Minigun Cycles and Trikes vs Outriders and Death Trikes can be surprisingly fun. Was part of an ATOW Game, local militia vs. pirates, a few infantry squads were involved, too.

I still hope for many more books like TRO Vehicle Annex and TRO Irregulars... a man can dream!  :D

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #18 on: 21 June 2022, 04:32:54 »
Great article Weirdo!  :thumbsup:  I like small support vehicles so it's nice to see them talked about.

I do have to agree with glitterboy2098 though. It would be nice if small vehicles could operate in groups like battle armor.  Right now they operate as vehicles or infantry platoons. And while they may be fluffed as the same, rule mechanics make them completely different.

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #19 on: 21 June 2022, 07:40:19 »
Love that this niche got some official Article TLC. Great work.

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #20 on: 21 June 2022, 10:05:09 »
Wonderful article as always from the guy who looks at a infantryman with a rifle, then says "I can hit that Urbie from this range".  ;D

Moderator Notice time:
 C:-)
However from the other posters in this thread we've noticed a slight trend in discussion over the rule changes on infantry.

I would like to quote the original post's feelings on said issue
Quote
(NOTICE: This thread is not an invitation to debate any perceived weaknesses in BattleTech’s infantry construction system. If you want to do that, go back to Fan Rules from whence ye came.)

So this is the official, friendly, in thread warning about such discussions.
Stop it.
Go to Fan Rules with that.
Failure to comply means warnings and such.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #21 on: 21 June 2022, 12:44:23 »
Never knew the Boreas existed until I was trying to figure out what I bought as a MWDA hoverbike substitute.  Not having read that entry- which came first, the MWDA Hoverbike or the Boreas?  One other thing to note between the two, is the MWDA hoverbike can seat two people- at least in a pinch.

The Ibex also re-appeared in TP Irian IIRC, did we get an updated version?  I left my Kindle today so I do not have the PDF.  Since it was the only one of these utility vehicles I knew of at the time, I had half-dozen added for my mercs as part of the 'motorpool' for personnel to get around without breaking out a truck or APC.

Not trying to delve into fan rules, but I got a bit confused . . . can these vehicles not be used outside of the abstract infantry groups?  I bought the Boreas to have the option of having a table top version of the MWDA Hoverbike's utility- scout or quick harasser.  Did the MWDA Hoverbike actually get a RS?- never used it b/c I have never found one.

Further rules question for someone familiar with the SV rules (if they can be used outside of infantry groups)- does a vehicle need specific commo gear to spot?  do the suffer penalties w/o the fire control gear, just like they do to fire weapons?  IE, a team in the Ibex as spotters would suffer the +2 to spot just like they would to shoot?
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #22 on: 21 June 2022, 15:14:32 »
Never knew the Boreas existed until I was trying to figure out what I bought as a MWDA hoverbike substitute.  Not having read that entry- which came first, the MWDA Hoverbike or the Boreas?
I genuinely do not know, and the answer is likely quite complex given how many forms the hoverbike has been seen in.
Quote
The Ibex also re-appeared in TP Irian IIRC, did we get an updated version?
The stats in TP:I are identical to those in HB:HM.
Quote
Not trying to delve into fan rules, but I got a bit confused . . . can these vehicles not be used outside of the abstract infantry groups?
They can, which is the whole point of this article - it looks at them as individual vehicles instead of abstracted mechinf platoons. There's a reason this thread is titled Vehicle of the Week instead of Platoon of the Week. :)
Quote
I bought the Boreas to have the option of having a table top version of the MWDA Hoverbike's utility- scout or quick harasser.  Did the MWDA Hoverbike actually get a RS?- never used it b/c I have never found one.
As the article says, it's in TRO Irregulars.  :)
Quote
Further rules question for someone familiar with the SV rules (if they can be used outside of infantry groups)- does a vehicle need specific commo gear to spot?  do the suffer penalties w/o the fire control gear, just like they do to fire weapons?  IE, a team in the Ibex as spotters would suffer the +2 to spot just like they would to shoot?

No penalties to spot. Any SSV can do it with no problems, even the completely unarmed civilian stuff.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #23 on: 21 June 2022, 15:50:19 »
Ah, I do not have VA but I thought it was one with RS problems which is why I asked.

Thanks for clarifying the rules thing, I was not sure I was seeing everything since some pruning was implied.  Now I need to see where I placed the Boreas minis to put them on the table next time.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #24 on: 21 June 2022, 23:09:14 »

Sadly, no small support vehicle in BT will ever match the OSK power of the real-life ATGM buggy…

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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #25 on: 26 June 2022, 16:33:33 »
Thank you Wierdo for a fascinating article!
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #26 on: 28 June 2022, 14:43:05 »
Slightly surprised there isn't a VTOL SSV, if only because I feel like at least one faction out there would be willing to give it a shot.
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #27 on: 28 June 2022, 15:14:35 »
Pretty much occupied by VTOL BA or jump infantry . . . but who would not want to see-


Zooming about the battlefield?
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #28 on: 28 June 2022, 15:22:09 »
They're in AToW Companion. I didn't cover them because they're completely unarmed and lacking any force multiplier equipment. :)
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Re: VotW - Small Support Vehicles
« Reply #29 on: 28 June 2022, 15:40:57 »
Lol, excellent spotters . . . until someone with a LB-5X shows up and yells "PULL!"
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