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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander  (Read 18379 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« on: 23 November 2011, 02:29:12 »
Salamander Battle Armor - Technical Readout 3058U page 47



     For many players, when you say Salamander, they think about the Lyran Assault BattleMech from Technical Readout 3055U, but for the Battle Armor fans, particularly those that are Clan players, it's the Fire Mandrill's Salamander Battle Armor that comes to mind. Possessing a striking appearance, it's a design that has become better over time, with new rules turning it from merely dangerous to an object of nightmares for any conventional infantry that might stray into its crosshairs, while retaining its pyromaniac utility against other foes.

     jymset: When sillybrit started this series, there was one single unit which I requested to have a say on: the Salamander, aka divinity in battle armor form. Of course, since then sillybrit's furious debut has become a fully-fledged series of highest quality, so I will do the only sensible thing and let him write the bulk of this piece, too! I thank him for still letting me wax on a little bit about this special little battle armor.

     When it was first published, the Salamander instantly became my favourite suit, and it has survived the test of time very well indeed. In his first specific article on the Elemental, sillybrit clearly established that the Elemental sets a universal bar for all battle armor; essentially, all following designs featured some form of specialisation or changed the perfect balance of mobility, armour, and weaponry. The Salamander falls squarely into the former philosophy by being an incendiary design and it excels in that parameter.


     I must confess that unlike jymset, it was the Salamander's Crusader partner, the Gnome, that earned my passion when the two designs were first published, although the venerable Elemental remained my favorite. Even so, I still acknowledged the Salamander's superb capabilities, fielding Points of all three designs when I ran Clan troops. I already had a tendency of setting fire to enemy troops, innocent buildings and just about anything else that didn't have my faction's insignia painted, stitched or tattooed on its side, so in that regard the Fire Mandrill's design did gain my favor, despite its lighter armor.

     The Salamander we know today wasn't the first Battle Armor of that name, sharing it with an earlier anti-infantry incendiary design, that had fell out of favor as the Elemental not only drove conventional infantry from the frontline Clusters of most Clans, but also asserted its dominance over all the other Battle Armor types that had appeared in the late 29th century. From the beginning, one thing that caught my eye was that the new model Salamander was originally described as a guerilla fighter and counter-insurgency weapon, which shows how far the Clan Fire Mandrills were willing to stretch the traditional Clan code of warfare. It's hard to imagine there being much need for either counter-insurgency or guerilla troops in the typical combat Trial, but Kindraa Faraday-Tanaga clearly recognized the benefit of units designed for those roles on the wilder worlds of the Inner Sphere. Another notable feature was the appearance of the suit itself, in particular its legs, which seemed to me to be purely mechanical and presumably requiring that the wearer crouch inside the torso, although the body appears to be too small to hold an Elemental warrior in such a manner.

     jymset: The Salamander first appeared in Field Manual: Crusader Clans and was the first new Clan battle armor next to the Gnome, which simply increased weapons and armour of the Elemental at expense of speed. As such, the Salamander is the Clans' first truly specialised suit, which is the very reason why it always stood out amongst its contemporaries. It retained the speed/mobility of the Elemental, but gives up armour protection in order to change weaponry and abilities. While the armour change from 10 to 7 points may seem questionable, it makes a good deal of sense in a Clan environment, retaining some threshold protection versus two of the most common anti-battle armor weapons, the Clan Pulse and ER Medium Lasers. And the frills of the suit were downright sexy.

     Dual flamers as the main weaponry truly underline the incendiary aspect of the design, with a theoretical maximal capability of causing +20 heat in 'Mechs (capped at 15 in Total Warfare). Beyond that, its direct-fire weaponry essentially represented a doubling of the Elemental's sustained firepower. To add insult to injury, the SRM – downgraded to a single tube with a single shot – was originally automatically of incendiary type.

     But this fearsome arsenal was not all, for the Salamander introduced two special abilities which have since then translated into construction materials, one of which has become of essential importance to Jade Falcon Clan designs. The Salamander was immune to flame-based attacks, resurrecting a concept initially integral to the Elemental, but lost in one of the early rules changes. Once construction rules were devised, this translated into fire-resistant armour, which has become possibly the most valuable protective gear ahead even of various stealth devices, as it eliminates the most lethal danger to armoured troopers. The armouring of the suit also indirectly caused one of the two subtle rule changes in the Salamander design: nowadays, its Inferno missile tube is simply a (OS) SRM1, but by virtue of the fire-resistant armour, there are no drawbacks using it with Infernos (whereas non-fire-resistant suits face nasty penalties when carrying the volatile ordnance).

     The Salamander originally also received a -1 to hit bonus for leg and swarm attacks, which has since translated into magnetic claws. The other change in rules, slightly more significant, is that these claws nowadays only convey that bonus for swarm, but no longer for leg attacks. Of course, with its glorious weaponry, the one thing that the Salamander should never do is perform leg attacks.


     I'll disagree a little with jymset there, but only a little, and it's more a matter of personal preferences than a strict guideline. While I do acknowledge that the Salamander is at its best when Swarming, and indeed one of the best at Swarming, I do use them for Leg Attacks in circumstances when I need instant results or I want to cripple a 'Mech instead of killing it. If I do gimp a 'Mech after such an assault, I do then like to follow up with a Swarm where possible, a combination that one victim called a "shake and bake", but that's only if I feel I can afford the delay before the Battle Armor start inflicting damage. Against vehicles, I show no such reserve and will happily pile on them until the paint blisters.

     jymset: If anything, the Salamander had too many capabilities. Back on its release, I was not a constant user of battle armor, but I certainly turned to the Salamander more often than all other suits, combined. And when I did, I almost always used it in the incendiary, nay, heat induction function. I would aggressively attack 'Mechs and cause as much havoc (heat) within the shortest possible time span, until the troopers were all killed by return fire. Treating them as expendable worked too well to consider any more subtle modus operandi and at first I never used the ability to swarm at all.

     Swarming and incendiary attacks do represent two key abilities for the Salamander, but with the new damage rules for conventional infantry that were introduced in Total War, it finally earned its reputation as an incredibly powerful anti-infantry design. Assuming both Flamers hit, on average a Point of Salamanders could kill 61 infantry, or to put it another way an entire platoon per Flamer. All but ignored by some players, or fired off as soon as possible almost as an afterthought, the single SRM shot offers another useful ability when loaded with an Inferno, with a salvo capable of automatically killing a single Battle Armor suit. Unlike other attacks against Battle Armor, Inferno hits simply accumulate during the Turn, and once all attacks are done then for every three Infernos one suit is destroyed, no matter how thick its armor, unless it also possesses fire resistance. With the release of Tactical Operations, it was also apparent that the Salamander was a capable marine boarding suit, with its paired Magnetic Claws offering superior capability than the Elemental's single Battle Claw.

     With such formidable capabilities, it's easy to understand why the Salamander has managed to spread throughout all the Clans. However, two Clans weren't content with the standard suit and developed their own variants to suit their particular battlefield needs and doctrines, with one of those variants spreading to two more Clans. The first of these redesigns was initially fielded by Clan Wolf during the FedCom Civil War, before eventually being taken up by the Snow Ravens and Goliath Scorpions; dubbed the Salamander (Laser), this variant simply replaces one of the Flamers with an ER Micro Laser, exchanging the incendiary anti-infantry firepower for slightly better range. From an in-universe perspective, I can see this model working well as a marine suit for the Snow Ravens, able to use its Flamer for room clearance, while its laser provides a more precise recoil-free attack. In the case of the Wolves and Scorpions, they presumably felt that the single incendiary weapon provided enough heat and anti-infantry capability, and instead wanted another weapon that expanded the other aspects of the design, however modest that improvement might be.

     The second variant of the Salamander did not appear until after the start of the Jihad and apparently is only found in the ranks of the Jade Falcons, who are keen users of fire resistant Battle Armor. Presumably designed or at least conceived before Total War was finalized, when machine guns were the only weapons to inflict bonus damage against infantry, the Falcon's variant is designated the Salamander (Anti-Infantry), but here I will defer to jymset to describe its performance.

     jymset: TRO 3058U was released one or two months before Total Warfare with its updated anti-infantry weapon rules. In conjunction with these new rules, I was utterly underwhelmed by both variants, including the Jade Falcon's (Anti-Infantry) version. The straight swap of the flamers for heavy machine guns no longer represented an upgrade, but in actual fact a downgrade of anti-infantry capabilities, leaving me scratching my head. The upgrade in firepower for a loss of AI capacity, range, and most importantly, the incendiary aspect of the design seemed unacceptable.

     The label of (Anti-Infantry) is not deserved and indeed surely is a mischievous attempt at deception, for upon returning to it recently, I had a moment of clarity. I stated above that I had never really used the Salamander's excellent swarming capabilities, but the (Anti-Infantry) variant is a brilliant attempt at reconciling the suit with the anti-'Mech potential. And boy, does the (Anti-Infantry) variant excel at it. The swarm rules stipulate that swarming suits cause all damage of all arm-mounted weapons in a single location. Well with 2 guns at 3 damage for each of the 5 troopers, a full squad of Anti-Infantry Salamanders will cause gigantic 30-damage hits. Beyond that, two surviving troopers will suffice to cause a 2/36-chance headcap on a hapless 'Mech victim.

     I revisited this design when I was looking at magnetic claws while pondering on their optimal use. The Salamander already does it, already uses them optimally. I was unable to come up with any realistic modification that would further improve the design. The bottom line is: the Salamander (Anti-Infantry) is the single most deadly canon suit as far as swarm attacks are concerned.


     Clan Fire Mandrill was one of the casualties of the Wars of Reaving and, with Shadow apparently abandoned after the destruction of the Society, unless one of the surviving Clans relocated the factory or builds a new facility, it appears that the Salamander is in danger of sharing its parent's fate, at least in Clanspace. Luckily for the Inner Sphere Clans, Sudeten emerged from the Jihad unscathed, so at worst it's just a matter of negotiating with the Falcons or defeating them in a Trial to obtain new supplies. It's not certain that the Wolves' Salamander factory survived the nuclear strikes by the Blakists in their Scouring of Tamar, but given that some factories on the world have survived, it's a hopeful sign.

     Despite the increasing diversity of Clan Battle Armor, the Salamander remains the design to beat in its particular niches. No other suit, whether Clan or Inner Sphere, can compete with the ferocious Swarm attack of the Anti-Infantry variant, while the standard model remains the incendiary design par excellence. Among the Medium Battle Armor class, none can match the Salamander's brutal performance in close quarters against conventional infantry, and despite its lack of space adaptations it's still one of the better choices for marine boarding operations. As this impressive pedigree shows, the Fire Mandrill's legacy remains strong, even as the Clan itself is consigned to the history books.

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Kojak

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #1 on: 23 November 2011, 03:31:54 »
This article does what the best articles do - revisits a design I hadn't thought about in a long time, and then makes we really want to take it out for a spin on the battlefield. Especially the "Anti-Infantry" variant.

I mean, 30-point hits. Good lord.
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jymset

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #2 on: 23 November 2011, 10:37:56 »
<metal>TROGDOOOOOOOOoooooooR!!!!!!!! [rockon] </metal>

As I discovered here, it is quite difficult remaining articulate when describing something that fills you with pure, unadultered passion.

Thanks to sillybrit both for the brilliant article and for having me on board, and thanks to Jellico for the appropriate avatar. As always the problem with articles of late, I ended up not having enough time to send in anything but a rough draft... but I did psyche myself up for Salamander week by breaking out ye olde greene stuffe last week.

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LastChanceCav

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #3 on: 23 November 2011, 11:55:27 »
Another fine article. As far as BA appearances and pilot position go, I always figured the for a lot of designs the troopers arms are inside and the legs don't extend past the "ankle." I've attached a crude sketch.


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LCC
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #4 on: 23 November 2011, 12:30:01 »
The biggest issue that bothers me is how far apart the legs are. It's clearer on the original artwork in the Field Manual, but it can still be seen on the TRO art. If the operators legs extended into the suit's, then due to that wide gap at the crotch they're going to be in an extremely uncomfortable position, potentially with the need for flexible thigh bones.

Iron Mongoose

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #5 on: 23 November 2011, 13:21:34 »
As someone who's famously a big Mandrill supporter, I do love the Salamander quite nicely.  In fact, the only thing I don't like about it is how quickly it proliferated; by 3058U's time, two other factions boasted canon factories for the suit, and both veriants origonated outside the Mandrills.

But, it definatly works.  As said, the armor's a bit weak but seven points is the other magic number if you can't hit ten in the Clans, and the flame resistance is absolutly invaluable.  Not only can you shrug off attacks from a lot of the more common 'anti BA' weapons like Plasma and infernos that many people take to counter more common infantry based threats, you can also hide in the fires that you yourself create, giving an instant cover that makes the Salamander a dificult suit to ferret out when it wants not to be disturbed.  I once used a few Salamanders to trap a Night Gyr in a flaming forest; leg attacks (under BMR, so they got the bonus) elimintated its movment and I was able to bring it down over time after it became unable to escape.

It has more power than it seems like it should.  Flamers aren't thought of as anti mech weapons, because on mechs there are so many better choices, but relitive to other BA (especaly the then current king, the standard SL elemental) four points in two hits is rather alot.  Its beat by the contemperary Gnome, of course, with its ER ML, but the Gnome has to rely on its guns and armor, since its slower and lacks claws as the Salamander has.  As a resualt, you can do very solid damage just by shooting at things. 

Personaly, I miss the leg attacks bonus.  It was a really nice way to open up an attack on a mech, especaly against the sort of slow mech that BA loves to pray on.  I movement hit on a mech like a Dire Wolf or Thunder Hawk can render it a 2/3, at which point it loses any hope of escape from the 3 jump BA. 

Under any rules, my favored tactic is to start by slowing the enemy down.  Heat is now a good way to do this.  Lead with an inferno attack from range so that you're enemy can't flee, then jump into his hex.  Continued flamer attacks and keep the speed down further, rendering your opponent vulnerable to either your own damaging or swarm attacks, or to the tender mercies of any mechs or tanks that happen to have come along (not strictly honorable, but there's times for honor and there's times for none, so its a situational call).

With some of the newer suits, its hard to recomend the old Salamander too heavily over things like the APGR Elemental, but if you need a suit to do what it does, either swarming or working in firey environments, or if you expect to face a lot of heat producing mechs and you want to try and pull a fast one, then the Salamander is still very usable.
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Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #6 on: 23 November 2011, 13:25:49 »
Interesting and well-done article.  This isn't a suit I've ever thought much about.  I'll take another look over the article when I've got more time.

Jymset: Personally, I'd estimate that the most lethal danger to battle armor these days is the increased proliferation of and access to area-effect weapons (LTCs or Sniper tubes and Arrows firing HE rounds are capable of blowing away a full squad of Ravagers in a single shot), but not needing to worry about Infernos or plasma weapons certainly does eliminate what I'd call their second-greatest existential threat.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #7 on: 23 November 2011, 13:51:36 »
Something I just realized I should have added: using the flamers in heat mode while Swarming to overheat the target. The rules assume that damaging weapons are used, but flamers are a reasonable exception and using them to inflict heat while Swarming has worked out OK in play. It should even be possible to use one flamer to inflict damage and the other to add heat.

Thinking about it, it's worthwhile asking TPTB.

LastChanceCav

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #8 on: 23 November 2011, 14:23:52 »
It should even be possible to use one flamer to inflict damage and the other to add heat.

10 points of damage and 15 heat to a mech? Salamander point assemble, form of a plasma rifle  >:D

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Weirdo

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #9 on: 23 November 2011, 18:02:46 »
I have been given...interesting...ideas...}:)
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Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #10 on: 23 November 2011, 18:20:06 »
10 points of damage and 15 heat to a mech? Salamander point assemble, form of a plasma rifle  >:D

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It used to be more fun when you could stick 20 points of heat into a 'Mech before the Inferno. Two points at close range virtually meant a shut down 'Mech.

kuttsinister7

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #11 on: 23 November 2011, 20:43:40 »
 O0 I want to steal a group of them...that would make many people miserable... >:D
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chanman

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #12 on: 23 November 2011, 23:24:42 »
Playing these with the new Pouncer F (it's in the new Upgrades PDF preview) is a pyromaniac's dream.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #13 on: 24 November 2011, 20:20:12 »
Mm... the Salamander, one of my favouritest BA designs. The funny thing is, when FM:CC debuted I was mroe impressed with it then the Gnome, possibly because of the whole "Burnsauce" thing.

The Salamander falls into a category of things that I call "not nice", one that's headed up by the Hellstar. It's jsut a brutal, horrible suit that is quite shockingly effective at what it does. I've oft joked that the Salamander's effectivnessis measured by how many busloads of Nuns it can incinerate (Note: Deadborder does not condone the incineration of Nuns in any form) and certainly under TW its effectiveness against unarmoured infantry is somewhere in the area of "sickening". The fire-resistant armour, IMO, became even more potent under TW with the proliferation of Plasma weapons.

When fielding a Clan force, I'll try to throw in at least one point of Sallys per Star, possibly more if I know I'm liable to be facing conventiional infantry. I've had a lot of success with using the little buggers as ambush troopers or foring from cover inside buildings. They're also one of the few suits where I cannot recommend swarming enough.

Finally, the DA mini, while oversized even by DA standards, looks really cool.
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Ian Sharpe

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #14 on: 25 November 2011, 17:51:43 »
Not initially a fan of them, mostly due to their lighter armour(also loving the Gnome).  That said, they're absolutely brutal against Mechs and it was that which changed my opinion of them.  The damage/heat ability of the flamer makes it a handy weapon, probably the best all round gun that isn't the APGR.  Only thing that beats it as an ambush suit has to pack a light TAG and have Arrow IV raining down on its target(s).

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #15 on: 25 November 2011, 23:05:34 »
I've oft wondered about warrior assignments for Salamanders. Their role would be seen as a dishonorable one - BBQing hapless infantry dosn't strike me as something that a Clan Warrior would see as a "good" battle, and certainly even by Battlearmour standards they're more support than anything else. Your job is to kill the little guys to protect the big guys? Yeah. Not fun.

Maybe Sallys are handed out to less capable warriors or punishment detail or simply to the guys who like setting things on fire. With that being said, with the Jihad, I can see the suit gaining some prestige for being used aginast MD troops.
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #16 on: 25 November 2011, 23:23:04 »
Except that the same thinking could then be applied to Mechwarriors because they're equally capable of killing hapless Battle Armor, particularly those who pilot 'Mechs with cERPPCs, GRs, UAC20s or anything else that can insta-kill an Elemental in one shot. Besides, in their own way, well-equipped infantry can be quite powerful, with a platoon armed a mix of Mauser IICs and Bearhunters, for example, being some of the best crit seekers in the game, and that's before you look at units with towed guns.

In any case, Salamanders aren't just used for anti-infantry. As some of the earlier posts have already described,  they are very useful in the anti-'Mech role, either performing actual Anti-'Mech attacks, or simply overheating enemy units.

RedDevilCG

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #17 on: 26 November 2011, 00:18:12 »
Maybe if they are fighting only 5 troopers, but if you're a 5 man point and take on over 10x your number in infantry, that's pretty honourable.

Also, see above post about mechs vs BA.

Marveryn

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #18 on: 26 November 2011, 01:03:09 »
I've oft wondered about warrior assignments for Salamanders. Their role would be seen as a dishonorable one - BBQing hapless infantry dosn't strike me as something that a Clan Warrior would see as a "good" battle, and certainly even by Battlearmour standards they're more support than anything else. Your job is to kill the little guys to protect the big guys? Yeah. Not fun.

Maybe Sallys are handed out to less capable warriors or punishment detail or simply to the guys who like setting things on fire. With that being said, with the Jihad, I can see the suit gaining some prestige for being used aginast MD troops.

I think you are falling under a misconception.  flamer been part of battlearmor from the begining and elemental for the most part unlike clan warrior are ok going working in group to take down a mech in the ratio of 5 to 1.  This leads me to believe they are more flexiable in what they consider honorable combat.  they may frown or be hesistant to flame a person unarm with there hand up but if you raise arms against them.  Even tossing a rock i think they be more then willing to let the flames out and if you are unlikely enough to be caught by those flames, then its your own darn fault for standing in front of them.

A. Lurker

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #19 on: 26 November 2011, 06:06:39 »
Also, when you look at it, the Clans are really more concerned with glory, with concepts such as "fairness" or "honor" playing second fiddle at best. It's not a Clan warrior's job to give an enemy combatant a "fair" chance; if they decide to bid down, it's to provide themselves with a greater challenge and consequently make themselves look better in the eyes of their peers and superiors.

So if you're issued a Salamander suit and told to root out and torch a bunch of hostile PBIs, well, it may not be the most glorious part you could play in the battle, but it's still a job that needs doing and that you're presumably qualified for, and after all those guys on the other side chose to take up arms against your Clan and so really only have themselves to blame.

chanman

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #20 on: 26 November 2011, 06:08:55 »
Also, when you look at it, the Clans are really more concerned with glory, with concepts such as "fairness" or "honor" playing second fiddle at best. It's not a Clan warrior's job to give an enemy combatant a "fair" chance; if they decide to bid down, it's to provide themselves with a greater challenge and consequently make themselves look better in the eyes of their peers and superiors.

So if you're issued a Salamander suit and told to root out and torch a bunch of hostile PBIs, well, it may not be the most glorious part you could play in the battle, but it's still a job that needs doing and that you're presumably qualified for, and after all those guys on the other side chose to take up arms against your Clan and so really only have themselves to blame.

And once you're done frying their sorry hides, you can find yourself a Gnome or something to kill to fill your glory-lust. Or a Nova Cat. A cat is fine too.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #21 on: 26 November 2011, 06:09:39 »
And if you really don't want that job, why didn't you challenge your CO in a Trial of Refusal, and win?

chanman

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #22 on: 26 November 2011, 06:12:42 »
And if you really don't want that job, why didn't you challenge your CO in a Trial of Refusal, and win?

And then make HIM do that job! With a spork!

RedDevilCG

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #23 on: 26 November 2011, 15:30:22 »
Sporks are dangerous!  You can cut the inside of your mouth!

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #24 on: 28 November 2011, 16:00:11 »
So, funny story: obviously sillybrit and I discuss the units he writes about via PM before they go live, something I actively consider a privilege.

As he attaches an itinerary of upcoming articles, it is no secret that currently, that is the Undine, Sylph, Enhanced Sylph and Elemental II. And as I comment on those, I keep on thinking of my beloved Salamander:

So.
Damned.
Good.

The battle armour construction and game rules are really precious. With a relatively minimal ruleset, there are a myriad of variations, dirty tricks, colorful deviations, all. But most of it is just lightweight fun and games. Only a few suits which deviate from the gold standard (aka Elemental) survive the test of time.

Without tweaking.

And of those, the Salamander is the one I will always {>{> most. I consider it a piece of art.

And really, though self-indulgent, that is such a cool way of judging most things: as art that has survived the test of time. In musicology, people generally start speaking of works in comparative terms only once they are 20 years+ old; before then, it's rather difficult to analyse how much zeitgeist is involved. Well, the Salamander is only 13 years, but that still means it's been around for 50% of BT's life!
On CGL writing: Caught between a writer's block and a Herb place. (cray)

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RedDevilCG

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #25 on: 28 November 2011, 16:44:43 »
I like them too, but what are the reasons you are so  :D for them? =)

jymset

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #26 on: 28 November 2011, 17:13:14 »
Well, in the context of conversation with sillybrit it is definitely the fact that it revolves around strenghts and weaknesses. With most suits it is a case of "well, it kinda sucks, but in this context, with these special parameters and when that happens it can do ____"

At times, finding strengths and weaknesses can feel downright contrived and apologetic. Mind you, that's putting it very bluntly. Most suits need a special purpose, function, setting, or all. And some remain that still leave the reviewer scratching his head.

With the Salamander, this is never the case. Despite it seeming like a particularly specialised suit, there is basically nothing it cannot do. I would love to have it on my side in the city, the forest, heck, even in space. It is this fact, that the specialised suit is just generally better than many a generalised suit, that makes it my favourite.

Beyond that, I have just finished reading Treasure Island for the 3rd time in my life today. I defy anyone who reads that book - really reads it - to not have a very positive spin on any- and everything he likes anyway for at least 24 hours after that. So yeah, I guess that the Salamander is my personal Treasure Island of battle armor!
On CGL writing: Caught between a writer's block and a Herb place. (cray)

Nicest writing compliment ever: I know [redacted] doesn't like continuity porn, but I do, and you sir, write some great continuity porn! (MadCapellan)

3055 rocks! Did so when I was a n00b, does so now.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #27 on: 28 November 2011, 18:45:33 »
One thing that came up in the chats between me & jymset is that the Salamander is one of those suits that you can show a player who is new to the game or doesn't use Battle Armor much and just see their eyes light up when you explain some of the little advantages it has. It opens up a whole new world outside of just fielding the biggest stompy robot, able to shoot the most damage at the greatest distance.

Sure, infantry and other Battle Armor can Swarm, but that's one of the strengths of the Salamander, especially the so-called Anti-Infantry variant. Or there's its frightening capacity to cook 'Mechs and PBIs (sorry for that gruesome imagery). Or the ability to dance in a firestorm of Infernos or other such incendiary attacks and just laugh it off.


Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #28 on: 29 November 2011, 18:31:57 »
Or it can die really quickly before it can get close enough to do all of that stuff.

Its under armored with no special defensive mods.
Fire Resistant armor is heavy and only defends against a small subset of the likely weapons being used against it.
Its weapons are short ranged.
It has a single, one shot missile that is really only effective against a small subset of units.
Heat is fun, but most DHS 'Mechs can deal with it.
Swarming is suicidal. Better claws don't change that.
Has anyone ever used the boarding rules in a game?

We all have fun stories of Salamanders lighting up some poor schmo at short range. They can be brutally effective in the right conditions. But mostly they are not.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Salamander
« Reply #29 on: 29 November 2011, 19:14:52 »
Most of that is true of all Battle Armor to one degree or another, and even the mighty 'Mech can perform underpar in the right circumstances, which again is true of all units. Nobody sane advocates using Battle Armor in place of all ground units, or in all roles or environments, but using them where or how they are meant to be used makes them a powerful force multiplier.

It's true that DHS designs can swiftly dump heat, but in doing so they have to take what is likely to be a signficant chunk out of their firepower, which can be a great aid to the 'Mechs or tanks they're fighting. As for the danger inherent in Swarming, it depends upon what you're Swarming.

And yes, I have used the boarding rules, frequently, for both types of naval vessels.