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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor  (Read 8923 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« on: 13 January 2012, 15:19:53 »
Clan Medium Battle Armor - Technical Readout 3075 page 121



     The Clan Medium Battle Armor - or Rabid, as it's also known and as I shall refer to it during most of this article - is a result of Clan Nova Cat's attempts to replace the irreplaceable in the aftermath of their Abjuration. Exiled from the Clan tree house and forever cast down among the unwashed masses of the Inner Sphere, the Nova Cats found themselves faced with the horrifying prospect of running out of Elemental Battle Armor.

     Unlike the other Clans which moved to the Inner Sphere, the Cats didn't exactly get much time to prepare and so they found themselves needing to find replacements for all those units they'd built in their holdings in Clanspace or sourced from other Clans, with one of those units being the Elemental. The more curmudgeonly among us might be asking at this point why they didn't just directly copy the Elemental; after all, they were going to have to build a new Battle Armor factory, so why not save themselves the design stage, with the delays and potential for failure that might ensue? The answer to that is quite simple: the Nova Cats are idiots. Luckily, their questionable decision making didn't affect their ability to produce a Battle Armor suit that, while not as capable overall as the Elemental, was at least a decent design.

     As the name suggests, the Clan Medium Battle Armor is a Medium Battle Armor design, and was first seen under the moniker of Clan Battle Armor in Mechwarrior Dark Age back in 2002. I'll leave discussion of that game to those who inflicted it upon themselves and instead move on to the design's first appearance in real BattleTech with the 2003 publication of Record Sheets Mechwarrior Dark Age I, not long after Classic BattleTech Companion gave us construction rules. The write up for the design in that sourcebook includes some details that are left out in the Rabid's later appearances in Combat Equipment and Technical Readout 3075, such as ComStar's assistance in obtaining the Jump Booster technology and the Hell's Horses' acquisition of the design by capturing Clan Wolf suits. It's even acknowledged that the design will eventually find itself in Inner Sphere hands, noting that they're then deployed in squads of four instead of Point of five.

     Starting with the Elemental as a template, the Jump Booster is the key to the changes made to the design, with the Clan Scientists needing to find ways to save mass to compensate for the installation of the Booster. Obviously, there are only two main areas to look at, armor and weaponry, and the Cats' Scientists tapped both wellsprings. The decision to reduce the armor from ten to nine points was not only driven by the need for mass, but can also be viewed as symbolic of the Cats' exile to the Inner Sphere, where the standard armor protection for Medium trooper designs was also nine points. This reduction in protection obviously means the Rabid can now be destroyed by a single shot from heavier weapons such as Clan Large Pulse Lasers and class ten Autocannons. Unfortunately, the increase in jump mobility didn't result in an increased ability to generate Target Movement Modifiers, which means that the Rabid is more vulnerable than the Elemental.

     The armament is where the Rabid suffered its greatest weight savings, losing its Modular Weapon Mount and a quarter of the primary weapon payload to instead install a fixed Flamer, together with the addition of a pair of fixed one-shot SRM launchers that replace the original reloadable and detachable launcher. Although these alterations provided the necessary 125kg for the Jump Boosters, the Rabid also switched from a single Battle Claw to a pair of Basic Manipulators to retain the Anti-'Mech and Mechanized Battle Armor capabilities, although that creates a problem with respect to the artwork. Like the Federated Suns' Infiltrator Mk II, which also relies upon twin Basic Manipulators, the Rabid is shown with its right hand completely enshrouded by its primary weapon, which technically should make the suit incapable of Anti-'Mech attacks, although this is hand waved away.

     jymset: Yeah, well, the Angerona is another one that qualifies for that. And like the Infiltrator II (and the Fa Shih), the Angerona is even lacking a clear AP Weapon Mount, but before I digress just this: the rules are always in some ways an abstraction. We know those suits have another basic manipulator hidden in the sleeve of the weapon and only the Clan Medium does not address this in some way in the text. The Puma does say that "one of those hands is encased within the hardpoint when fitted with a support-class weapon, while the other is a fully articulated claw" implying that the suit is good to go as-is, while the Angerona "requires the rifle to be unlimbered if [it] is to best ride on the exterior of another unit". So the implication could be that the Puma never unlimbers, the one manipulator being strong enough for the attacks, while the Angerona always unlimbers, even when only using mechanized transportation (requiring only 1 manipulator)?

     We have a wonderful game with detailed rules, yet thankfully, still also have a certain amount of creative freedom. The Clan Medium features a weapon on one of its "hands". It still works.
O0

     One final change was made to the Rabid's armament that is mass neutral, with the exchange of the Elemental's Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount for a chest-mounted Searchlight. Although offering some use in night combat by illuminating a target - as well as alerting enemy troops to the location of the Rabid Point, of course - overall I'd have to say that this was one of the poorer design decisions, removing the last vestiges of configurability as well as resulting in a small reduction in firepower. If the night combat capability really was that important, I'd have just taken the mass from the 15kg spare after the unnecessary removal of the Battle Armor, enabling the secondary mount to stay.

     The choice of the Flamer was perhaps questionable under the BattleTech Master Rules, where only machine guns received a bonus against conventional infantry, but with the coming of Total War it is definitely the best option from among the original troika of Small Laser, Flamer and Machine Gun, if you have to go for a single fixed weapon. While not as hard hitting as the heavier Small Laser, the Flamer is far more effective against PBIs and has the ability to inflict heat instead of damage, giving the Rabid a degree of flexibility despite the lack of modularity. Falling behind both those, the Machine Gun's only advantage is its even lighter weight and fluff concerns, such as less likelihood of collateral damage than the Flamer. On the down side, the decision by the Cats to opt for a fixed Flamer cut them off from the ability to deploy the AP Gauss Rifle when that was eventually developed.

     Although intended as a weight saver, the switch to a pair of fixed one-shot SRM2s actually improved upon the Elemental's missile capability. Unlike the older design, the Rabid can salvo both launchers for a double strength attack, instead of staggering them to mimic the endurance of the Elemental's reloadable weapon system. In addition, there's the shake and bake option of a mixed load, using standard SRMs in one launcher and Infernos in the second. The Rabid's launchers did lose the ability to detach from the suit, which gave a small boost in agility in the RPG environment in the old rules, but under A Time Of War this currently has no effect. Like the manipulator issue noted above, the artwork also causes problems for the missiles: with the installation of the Jump Boosters, there simply isn't enough room in the torso for both SRM systems, resulting in one being assigned to the left arm, presumably as some form of shoulder mount rather than a backpack mount. Likewise, the chest-mounted Searchlight has also found itself in the left arm, which can be viewed as an even more clumsy solution, but one that was unavoidable in the circumstances.

     Clan Nova Cat Scientists had begun development of the Rabid at the end of the 3061, reaching prototype testing by August 3062, when the events of the conflict between the Combine and the Ghost Bears intervened, delaying final production until mid 3067. Within the Nova Cats' Touman, the Clan Medium Battle Armor rapidly spread through the ranks and, as revealed in Technical Readout 3075, it was there that it earned its nickname of Rabid, although the reason for this isn't given. Once the Rabid became available, the remaining Elementals were reserved for use by high-ranking commanders - remember what I said about idiots? Why not put a flashing beacon on the heads of the command Points while you're at it, I'm sure the enemy won't be interested in targeting them - although even then the Cats are forced to deploy the Combine's Void among their secondline units.

     jymset: Uh, it's not like the Clans are very much into subterfuge. The people deserving the best, well, get it. And by being best, they can easily weather any increased incoming fire...right? ...Bueller?

     sillybrit: Sadly, Star Colonel Bueller can't reply. The Blakist forward observer spotted his Elemental and called in an artillery strike. Oopsie. The Star Colonel really should have taken the day off. ;)

     Cosmetically, the new suit was a big change from the smooth clean lines of the Elemental, with samurai-like styling in recognition of the Cat's new association with the Draconis Combine. This appearance led to the Jade Falcons rejecting the design as being tainted by its Inner Sphere origin when they were eventually in a position to obtain the Rabid for themselves, which could even be seen as a foreshadowing of the Wars of Reaving - I have to wonder how those Falcon decision makers feel now, knowing that they're viewed with the same disdain by the Homeworld Clans. The Diamond Sharks felt no such contempt, instead seeing a perfect opportunity for profit, bless their little Ferengi hearts. Offering the Cats a discount on much needed supplies of weapons and other equipment, the Sharks purchased the blueprints and put the design into production on three of their holdings.

     The Clans' travelling Walmarteers were soon peddling the Rabid to other Clans and, it was rumored, even to the Wolves-In-Exile and Inner Sphere factions. The latter resulted in a scandal and spat back in Clanspace, ultimately leading to fighting in orbit over Strana Mechty, and although the Rabid did appear in Wolves-In-Exile colors, whether the rumors regarding the Spheroids were true or not at the time isn't certain. As noted earlier, in Mechwarrior Dark Age, some Inner Sphere factions do operate Clan Battle Armor, but given the intervening decades by then the situation had changed completely, with the Sharks and other Inner Sphere Clans no longer under the auspices of the Clan Council.

     jymset: FM85 now confirms that the rumour regarding Inner Sphere sales is true even before the start of the proper Dark Age, with the Rabid showing up on DC, FS, and RotS RATs.

     Although rejected by the Jade Falcons, the Sharks found the Wolves and Ghost Bears to be willing buyers, with both developing their own variants after a few years, while the Sharks still pondered whether this was a wise move under the Rules of Acquisition. Even though the Bears deployed few Clan Medium Battle Armor suits in their ground forces, they did develop the first of the new variants in 3070, intended for use by their shipboard marines. Nicknamed the Bär, the Bears' variant removes the missile launchers to allow the Flamer to be replaced by a Micro Pulse Laser, together with the installation of a Heavy Battle Vibro-Claw on the left arm and an Extended Life Support system in the torso. Sadly, under the marine boarding rules from Tactical Operations, neither of these changes results in any improvement in the Bär's performance during marine operations. However, in RPG terms the Vibro-Claw could no doubt be useful for cutting open bulkheads and such, while the laser better fits the image of a high-tech weapon for space operations. Outside of marine operations, the Bär possess an above average Anti-'Mech ability, is well suited for tackling fast moving or other difficult to hit targets, and retains a respectable anti-infantry performance thanks to its pulse laser.

      Many good designs have a variant that's a dog, and in this case it's all thanks to the Wolves. Like the Bär, the Volk, the Wolves' version of the Rabid, is also somewhat relegated to the sidelines, even being assigned to the Wolves' solahma units - some might ask why the Wolves are wasting any Battle Armor on solahma, when they already have skin to protect them - in addition to their second-line troops. The Volk was apparently only intended as a short term solution to cope with the dwindling numbers of Elemental suits, with two new factories for the latter intended to go online in the late 3070s, and at one point it was uncertain whether they would continue using the Clan Medium Battle Armor design at all.

     Given the changes the Wolves Scientists made to the Rabid to produce the Volk, it's fairly obvious why their troops were so unimpressed. Opting to use one of the worst weapons in the Clan Battle Armor arsenal, the Flamer was exchanged for an ER Micro Laser, thereby losing the heat and burst-fire capability for the sake of an extra hex at Long range. It could have been worse I suppose - after all, the Sharks had been looking into using autocannons, and we could have instead seen the horror that is known as the Bearhunter - but the Wolf Scientists involved definitely needed a whack on the snout with a rolled up newspaper. The twin SRM2s were also swapped for a single SRM3, again one-shot, further downgrading the armament, with the saved mass used to upgrade the left arm manipulator to a Heavy Battle Claw. If they really wanted a proper Battle Claw, I have to ask: why not just use the spare 15kg that remained unused on the Rabid chassis? This change added nothing while removing flexibility and reducing firepower, but just when you might think that the Wolves had caught the Nova Cats' idiot bug, they come out with the sublime Rache variant in 3077.

     Introduced in the Old Is The New New section of Technical Readout 3085, the Rache is a great design, which some players even prefer over the old Elemental. I don't fall into that category, but it's easy to understand why the fans of the Rache are so enamored: by replacing the Rabid's Flamer with a Machine Gun, they saved enough mass to increase the armor to ten points and add an extra tube to both SRM2s. Yes, that's right: a Rache Point can throw 30 SRMs at you in a single massive salvo. If only they'd kicked that oversized flashlight to touch and reinstalled an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount, but I suppose I shouldn't be greedy.

     Overall, you're going to operate most of the Clan Medium Battle Armor models similar to how you use the Elemental. The Bär is the one exception due to its lack of missile armament and thus its inability to threaten any targets beyond the ninety meter range of its Micro Pulse Laser, but given the battlefield that it's intended for, this is a forgivable weakness. The other three versions can all operate identically to the early Elemental configurations; although once the AP Gauss Rifle is available they cannot really compete with the sustained long-range firepower of that weapon. The lighter armor of the Rabid and Volk (and Bär), can lead to heavier casualties, but as shown by suits like the IS Standard, it's not a crippling weakness, with the Clan suits also getting the advantage of larger unit sizes to help keep individual troopers alive for longer.

     Although the increased jump capability doesn't generate a greater Target Movement Modifier, it does help the Clan Medium Battle Armor keep up with heavier units when Omnis or other infantry carriers are unavailable. It's not unheard of for Rabid Points to even outpace some 'Mechs and vehicles in rougher terrain and the improved jump performance can also help in cities and hilly or mountainous areas, enabling the design to jump over higher buildings or terrain that would block suits like the Elemental. Unwary opponents can also be caught unawares by the increased jump distance, mistakenly believing themselves safe from the threat of attack, and suddenly finding themselves taking hits or even being Swarmed or kneecapped.

     Without the Elemental, the Clan Medium Battle Armor would no doubt be held up as the best Medium design available, or at least a strong contender. It does possess advantages over the older suit, but as discussed in the Elemental's Battle Armor of the Week article, that design is so well balanced that to improve one area almost inevitably leads to a reduction in another; unlike the IS Standard, for example, which can be easily upgraded for no loss of performance elsewhere. The Nova Cats would continue their search to supplement and replace their fading supplies of Elementals, but really they could have rested on their laurels. While the Bär is at its best in confined battlefields, and the Volk is at least serviceable, both the original Rabid and the later Rache are effective and capable designs that serve their Clans well.

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SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #1 on: 13 January 2012, 17:08:09 »
Is there a rule that says BA can't walk and jump in the same turn? Because from what I see this suit has a 1/4j movement profile which means it should be able to generate a TMM of +2 from it's 5 movement ( +3 for jumping as well)

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #2 on: 13 January 2012, 17:10:54 »
Total War p53:

"At the beginning of each unit’s movement, a player must select one of the following movement modes. A unit may not combine movement modes during a turn."

So, no, you can't do that.

SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #3 on: 13 January 2012, 18:01:12 »
Ah, I was looking in the rules on jumping

Colt Ward

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #4 on: 14 January 2012, 00:12:27 »
Loved this thing when it came out, made it hard for IS assaults and heavies to flee the advancing BA points which were after their legs.  Flush the SRMs when you have a shot and you do not have to think about conserving ammo or if you needed to wait on the leg attacks to fire off the SRMs.
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Istal_Devalis

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #5 on: 14 January 2012, 00:39:38 »
Less idiocy and more 'didnt have a choice.' They'd be glad to produce the Elemental if they could but theyre missing something in the process.

Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #6 on: 14 January 2012, 04:54:31 »
A Bär has superior EVA performance to an Elemental. Mind you, very little matches an Elemental (Space).

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #7 on: 14 January 2012, 06:04:08 »
While purely a personal interpretation (in the absence of anything like a layout record sheet), the Volk, Rabid and Rache might look like this in Wolf service

http://www.solaris7.com/files/members/602/BA_Wolf_Rabids.JPG

(I assume the Wolves would snap off the worst of the Samurai frills ;) )

And a thanks to you for the series, and for inspiring me to kitbash BAs. I've enjoyed the series, and look forward to future installments giving me more inspiration.

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Ian Sharpe

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #8 on: 14 January 2012, 10:19:31 »
The Rabid and Rache have been pretty solid for me, and the extra jump MP combined with much better armour coverage was wonderful.  The ability to fire both sets of SRMs immediately has made them really useful to me in ambush and double-blind play.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #9 on: 14 January 2012, 12:25:36 »
Less idiocy and more 'didnt have a choice.' They'd be glad to produce the Elemental if they could but theyre missing something in the process.

Except that there's nothing even remotely reasonable for them to be missing. Even making the assumption that they don't have the actual blueprints for Elementals - and assuming further in that case that not one of them thought to trade for the plans from the Sharks - they obviously had the technology and ability to design Battle Armor and even had Elementals on hand to copy, it would have been a trivial task to do so. Even if the resulting suit didn't look like an Elemental, they should have been able to duplicate its performance.

A Bär has superior EVA performance to an Elemental. Mind you, very little matches an Elemental (Space).

While in real world terms it would have a higher thrust in zero-G, the way the thrust rating is determined in StratOps (Jump MP / 3, round down) give them the same EVA maneuverability in game terms.

While purely a personal interpretation (in the absence of anything like a layout record sheet), the Volk, Rabid and Rache might look like this in Wolf service

Those look really good. I had pictured in my mind that the Volk would have the SRM3 on the right shoulder, with the assumption that the launcher in the left arm slots was the one on the left shoulder, but actually seeing it makes your interpretation look far more balanced.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #10 on: 14 January 2012, 13:38:51 »
Not a bad suit overall, but it's fortunate that the Nova kitties get the later Thunderbird into production. Combined, they give the clan a good mix of mobility and firepower
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #11 on: 14 January 2012, 13:42:59 »
Ah yes, the Tbird, the second Cat attempt to not design an Elemental.  :)

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #12 on: 14 January 2012, 15:53:19 »
While in real world terms it would have a higher thrust in zero-G, the way the thrust rating is determined in StratOps (Jump MP / 3, round down) give them the same EVA maneuverability in game terms.
But more fuel to burn.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #13 on: 14 January 2012, 16:21:05 »
True, there is that point, which reminds me, have we ever been told the number of extra fuel points for installing Fuel Tanks under the current ruleset?

Unfortunately for the Bär, the same is also true of the Rabid which is just as capable in marine operations, without the need for a redesign. The Bär's not alone among the marine suits that fail to offer a combat advantage in the boarding rules, with the Void (DCA) being another example from TRO3075, but given that those designs existed prior to TacOps, it's understandable.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #14 on: 14 January 2012, 16:34:26 »
Except that there's nothing even remotely reasonable for them to be missing. Even making the assumption that they don't have the actual blueprints for Elementals - and assuming further in that case that not one of them thought to trade for the plans from the Sharks - they obviously had the technology and ability to design Battle Armor and even had Elementals on hand to copy, it would have been a trivial task to do so. Even if the resulting suit didn't look like an Elemental, they should have been able to duplicate its performance.
It's not that they dont know how to build the Elemental, they just cant. They dont have the ability to make the parts which is why they end up with two 'best attempts'. There's some part of the Elemental production chain they just cant duplicate with just their own resources. The Thunderbird fluff is pretty clear on that. Even the Rabid requires a bit of help from the Diamond Sharks. The Thunderbird is the closest the Nova Cats were able to get to the Elemental's performance, using just their own resources without outside assistance. Remember that they had to make due with whatever they had setup in the IS before the Abjuration and whatever they managed to take with them while they were running.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #15 on: 14 January 2012, 17:39:49 »
Actually every Clan that manufactures Battle Armor requires the Diamond Shark's assistance, the reason being Harjel, so the Cats' need is not unique. The Clan Medium Battle Armor's write-up is clear that the Cats developed and began to manufacture the Rabid without assistance from the Sharks, with the latter only getting involved when they liked what they saw and traded for the plans - after all, if they'd assisted in the design, they would have already had those plans without any need to trade for them.

The reason why the Rabid doesn't match the overall performance of the Elemental is that the Cats made the deliberate choice to install Jump Boosters, it's stated right there at the beginning of the design process in the suit's TRO entry, a process that clearly started with the Elemental as its template, whether actual plans or studies of the suit itself. That one key choice then influenced the remaining design decisions due to the need to recoup 125kg from other features, forcing the reduction in armor and weapon payload.

The Cats simply got too ambitious, trying to improve the Elemental and ending up with a design that while it possessed some advantages was overall less than its sire, and all this at a time when they were desperate for Battle Armor and other war material. There's a time and place for innovation, and that wasn't it in my opinion.

Without going into too much depth at this point since I have to save something for the TBird article, the same problem of ambition continued with that later design, and it was a much humbler design that eventually entered service after Santin West put his foot down and introduced some common sense into the project.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #16 on: 15 January 2012, 01:52:36 »
Does the Clan Medium use HarJel? (you mentioned the Sharks having nothing to do with it until AFTER the design was finalized I believe), if not does it may the Clan advanced chassis weight cost?

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #17 on: 15 January 2012, 02:19:35 »
Clan Medium Battle Armor - like all Clan combat Battle Armor and PA(L)s - has a HarJel system.

The Sharks supplied HarJel to every Clan, even if they had nothing to do with actually designing or building the Battle Armor made by those Clans that manufacture them. The Harjel would even be needed to resupply damaged suits once in the service of all Clans, although presumably other than that it's not an actual consumable unless it has some form of shelf-life for optimum performance. Other than the possible consumability issue, the relationship between the Sharks and Battle Armor manufacturers could be considered akin to that been oil companies and car makers, although those are probably likely to liaise more than the Sharks and Clan manufacturers given that HarJel probably doesn't come in multiple grades.

To expand upon one earlier point I made, not every Clan now requires Shark assistance to build Battle Armor, due to the Sharks having been kicked out of Clanspace.  Among the Homeworld Clans, that position is now presumably held by the Star Adders, although both Coyotes and Stone Lions may have a share given that they also have holdings on Strato Domingo. Thanks to the discovery of Harjel in the Twycross system, the Sharks have retained their monopoly among the Inner Sphere Clans. Kind of lucky that, one would almost think that fate conspired to allow both sets of Clans to continue using Harjel.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #18 on: 16 January 2012, 19:08:45 »
Actually every Clan that manufactures Battle Armor requires the Diamond Shark's assistance, the reason being Harjel, so the Cats' need is not unique. The Clan Medium Battle Armor's write-up is clear that the Cats developed and began to manufacture the Rabid without assistance from the Sharks, with the latter only getting involved when they liked what they saw and traded for the plans - after all, if they'd assisted in the design, they would have already had those plans without any need to trade for them.
The Thunderbird's fluff is pretty clear on the Nova Cats issues with the Elemental. "Unable to build" doesnt mean "Chose not to."

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #19 on: 16 January 2012, 19:59:47 »
Just as "Unable to build" doesn't mean incapable of being able to develop/copy it. They're unable to build the Elemental because they don't have a factory for it, simple as that.

There is nothing inherently difficult in building an Elemental to prevent any Clan from doing so, especially one that has displayed the ability to not only design two suits of their own, and also assisted an Inner Sphere faction in developing a third. Their skills and resources are not in question, but their decision making is, just look at the debacle of their early development of the Thunderbird.

Obviously this is an area where we will not be able to agree.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #20 on: 20 January 2012, 15:33:24 »
Just as "Unable to build" doesn't mean incapable of being able to develop/copy it. They're unable to build the Elemental because they don't have a factory for it, simple as that.

Or they don't have the resources.  Or the molds.  Or the data necessary.  Or a lot of things really; the term "Factory" here is kid of a blanket term for "They can't build the Elemental, so they have to make due."
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #21 on: 01 February 2012, 20:02:49 »
The Rabid is hands down the finest general purpose BA in the Clan inventory. Many people in this thread have compared it unfavorably to the Elemental which is a truly mediocre design, so I'll do the same.

The Rabid costs just 80% of the Elemental. This can make a huge difference when designing a force. This is mostly due to a quirk in the rules, switching from a SRM2 with 2 shots to a pair of One-Shot SRM2 drastically lowers the BV. I've long wished the Elemental was refit to one shot launchers like most modern BA designs.

The armor drops to 10 from the Elemental's 11. This is the only category where the older design wins out, but this isn't a huge drawback. It does make the Rabid more vulnerable to 10 damage weapons, but aside from a few dedicated designs like the Nova H, the odds of the entire squad being one-shotted out of existence are so small as to be irrelevant.

With a jump of 4 instead of 3, the Rabid is far, far more dangerous when performing leg attacks. Aside from doubling the number of hexes covered by the jump radius, that extra point of movement is enough to prevent the larger, slower mechs that are prime candidates for a kneecapping from simply walking away.

Splitting the launchers gives greater tactical flexibility, allowing 2 different ammo types to be carried if desired. Also, the ability to fire all the SRM's at once is a tremendous increase in one shot firepower, turning a decent backstab into a devastating one. As well, needing to achieve a good firing position just once instead of twice is a huge advantage. This also means the Rabid will have emptied its magazines one turn sooner, freeing it for the kneecapping attacks it excels at.

The Rabid may not have the wide variety of weapons that the Elemental does, but it's hard to do better than the humble Flamer. The range may be short, but the SRM's are the primary offensive weapon, and after they've been fired the leg attacks take over as the primary attack. The Flamer is there for situational use, support, and the occasional shot when someone is just out of range of the BA's move. It's BV cheap, devastating vs infantry (which frees an expensive mech from the job of chasing them down), can start fires easily, and can switch from damage to heat as the situation requires. I put one of these on every light mech i design.

If I can get away with it, I use the Rapid in every Clan force I build, even if that requires a bit of hand waving over just how they wound up in a homeworld Clan's touman. *cough* Diamond Sharks *cough* Trial of Possession *cough* *cough* Bondsmen *cough*. :)

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Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #22 on: 01 February 2012, 20:29:10 »
Elementals have ten points of armor, not eleven.  That eleventh circle on the record sheet is the pilot.  It's the one that really, really matters regarding the important question of whether or not this is an interesting display of modern art vs. a functioning piece of military hardware.  Rabids, similarly, have only nine points of armor, and are therefore vulnerable to 10 point hits making instant kills while Elementals can take a shot from, say, a class 10 autocannon and keep shooting back.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #23 on: 01 February 2012, 21:47:48 »
The 9 armour is the biggest issue for me. there are a lot of weapons that do 10 damage, and also a lot of mechs that carry these types of weapons. this is one of the major reasons why the Rache is far and away the best variant of the Clan BA, and one of the best overall as well.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #24 on: 02 February 2012, 03:10:12 »
The Rabid is hands down the finest general purpose BA in the Clan inventory. Many people in this thread have compared it unfavorably to the Elemental which is a truly mediocre design, so I'll do the same.

Comparing the two is like comparing an OmniMech to a BattleMech. Yes there are BattleMechs tactically superior to OmniMechs, but OmniMechs are always technologically superior to BattleMechs.

In this case the Clan Medium Battle Armor is very good at basic BattleTech combat. It is less effective when put in roles where raw firepower is less important. For example the flamer is not a great weapon when collateral damage is an issue. The technological superiority comes through features like the detachable missile mount and modular weapon mount.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #25 on: 02 February 2012, 08:52:23 »
Not that the detachable missile mount seems to do much these days...

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #26 on: 02 February 2012, 17:43:11 »
A Time of War, P216.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #27 on: 03 February 2012, 06:21:38 »
Elementals have ten points of armor, not eleven.  That eleventh circle on the record sheet is the pilot.  It's the one that really, really matters regarding the important question of whether or not this is an interesting display of modern art vs. a functioning piece of military hardware.  Rabids, similarly, have only nine points of armor, and are therefore vulnerable to 10 point hits making instant kills while Elementals can take a shot from, say, a class 10 autocannon and keep shooting back.
The way Battle Armor works, that 1 point that represents the pilot is indistinguishable from armor, so I lump it all together. Call it a pilot, call it internal structure, call it all armor... When the counter reaches 0, the unit dies.

Since it's functionally identical to the armor itself, I always add them together. When doing mental math it's easier to always go '10 points' than to contiinually go '9+1 points'.

Edit -

Oh, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's obsessive about calling them Rabid. CMBA was an idiotic name, and I've long hoped that if I use the proper name enough it will catch on among the community. That, or I'll have to start pointing at someone's Warhammer and saying 'This turn I'll be shooting at Inner Sphere Heavy Battlemech'... See how THEY like it! :D
« Last Edit: 03 February 2012, 06:26:18 by Nemesis »
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #28 on: 03 February 2012, 08:23:17 »
Looking at the RATs in FM3085 it also looks like the Rabids have spread beyond the Clans and into other House militaries.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #29 on: 03 February 2012, 10:05:24 »
Looking at the RATs in FM3085 it also looks like the Rabids have spread beyond the Clans and into other House militaries.
Thanks to Diamond Shark Merchant Factor Stan the Used Battle Armor Salesman!

As many others have said, the Rabid is a perfectly servicable suit and I have no qualms about fielding it in place of Elementals. I miss that modular weapon mount at times and that last point of armor but thems the ropes. The general availability of the Rache by the Dark Ages helps sooth that wound.  >:D