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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)  (Read 3196 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« on: 04 February 2012, 13:37:30 »
Resgate PA(L) - Technical Readout Vehicle Annex page 194-5
(or it could be a Krise PA(L), your guess is as good as mine)



     If when you first read the title of this article, you found yourself asking "What's the Resgate?", then don't worry, you're not alone. The Resgate is one of the oft overlooked designs from the collection of PAL(L)s and Exoskeletons that can be found in Technical Readout Vehicle Annex. With all but zero utility on the battlefield, the Resgate is as little used as it is little known for most players, and the only time I can recall ever seeing one in a game it was for flavor.

     Developed by the Cloud Cobras, the Resgate is actually the first known Clan PA(L), although the Snow Raven's Aerie was the first to be published. The Vehicle Annex does actually refer to the Resgate as both a PA(L) and an Exoskeleton, despite them being two separate unit types, albeit very similar. The sole difference between the two is that an Exoskeleton has to have armor and Extended Life Support to be able to safely operate in hazardous environments, however there's no need to install any specific item to make a design one or the other, just fluff what you want it to be.

     Among the Clans, Exoskeletons are considered to be non-combat units, and as such they sometimes don't install the Harjel system, thus allowing the use of the lighter Inner Sphere-style chassis to save mass. The Resgate uses the heavier Harjel-equipped chassis, indicating that it is built to a military standard, even if the original design wasn't intended for a military role. Added to that, the Resgate is able to operate in the midst of fires and other such hazards as part of its basic job requirement, even though it lacks Extended Life Support, which further points to it being a PA(L) and not an Exoskeleton. Finally, and most importantly, jymset confirmed that it is indeed a PA(L), and not an Exoskeleton.

     The version of the Resgate that we have presented in the Vehicle Annex could properly be called the Resgate II, because it represents a later model that was introduced in 3059 after the addition of Fire Resistant armor. The original Resgate was produced decades earlier during the late 30th century, having been developed in the aftermath of a massive earthquake that devastated the Cloud Cobras' enclave on Homer. Authorities found themselves struggling to cope with the disaster and, in the review afterwards, they saw the need for a powered suit that could assist with rescue and other recovery operations, resulting in the development of the Resgate, using discarded Battle Armor prototypes as a template.

     Upon seeing the Fire Mandrill’s new Fire Resistant armor, the Cobras decided that it was a must have for their emergency services suit and so issued a challenge to obtain the technology. Interestingly, the trial was between Scientists rather than Warriors, with the winner being decided by who performed a set experiment the best. Given that other cases of trials to obtain militarily useful technology or designs have involved combat, I have to wonder whether the Cobras were restricted to using the armor for civilian purposes only, or whether the Mandrills were just playing nice.

     As noted above, it's the upgraded version of the Resgate, with the added Fire Resistant armor, that we see in the Vehicle Annex. The stats of the original aren't known, but probably doesn't differ that much, given that the write up doesn't indicate that anything had to be removed to account for the modest increase in mass. The improved armor obviously allows the suit to better withstand operating within burning buildings and other fires, but that's as good as the protection gets. With only two points of armor, the Resgate isn't really capable of withstanding damage from a military opponent, but there's enough plating that it can perhaps survive environmental damage, such as jumping into the side of a building in an emergency or withstanding the blast from an explosion.

     The Resgate is a mobile design, being capable of moving three hexes using both ground and jump movement, and in that regard it is impressive compared to most other Battle Armor and PA(L) designs. The jump capability would obviously allow the suit to get to places that cannot easily be reached just by foot, as well as allowing rapid deployment from an airborne transport or jumping directly from a building with a rescued disaster victim. The relatively high ground speed means that the Resgate can rapidly move within buildings and underground, where jump jets would be dangerous to use, with little or no loss of mobility.

     As would be expected for a design intended as an emergency response unit, the Resgate lacks any integral armament and without modification it even lacks the ability to wield weapons in its manipulators. Equipped with a Salvage Arm ,and Basic Manipulator, the suit is also incapable of Anti-'Mech attacks, although under the latest Tech Manual errata it is at least able to undertake Mechanized Battle Armor operations if a Clan had a need to deploy them with combat units. The only combat-useful equipment installed on the design is the Improved Sensors, intended for locating trapped victims, but obviously there would be a viable use for this item on the battlefield. While short ranged, the sensors at least provide Clan players with a powered scout without having to use custom configurations on Elementals and other modular-capable designs.

     Between its good mobility, sensors, pitiful armor and complete inability to directly harm an opponent in the BattleTech tactical game, there are really only three ways to use the Resgate if you somehow find yourself using them. The easiest role is as an initiative sink, the second is as a disposable scout in scenarios using hidden units and/or double-blind rules, with the last option being as a spotter for artillery and other fire support. As you might expect, with no self-defense capability and poor protection, this can be quickly fatal if the Resgate unit allows the enemy to get too close, but at least it's a cheap unit to deploy and so you can afford to be indulgent with the numbers.

    During RPG combat, a Resgate operator at least has the option of physically pounding on an opponent, and there should be enough stabby, slicey, crunchy tools on the Salvage Arm to make it a rather unpleasant death for anybody unfortunate enough to find themselves on the business end of the suit's left arm. Think of the Saw movie franchise on a pair of powered armor legs and that should adequately picture the possibilities for a homicidally inclined Resgate operator. The design's general RPG utility is somewhat diminished by its lack of Armored Gloves, but Basic Manipulators can perform some relatively clumsy handling of everyday objects, such as using door handles, even if being incapable of fine motor control, so it's not completely worthless.

     That would really be all that could be said for the Resgate, as short and sparse as it might be, but for a trio of intriguing entries that have recently appeared in the new RATs published in Field Manual 3085. Deployed by the Diamond Sharks and Jade Falcons, the Interdictor, Support and Spotter entries presumably represent three new variants rather than different configurations for a single new variant, but we'll have to wait until the anticipated update to the Vehicle Annex to be certain.

     The names do suggest some possibilities based upon existing designs, with the Interdictor presumably equipped with ECM and the Spotter probably having a Light TAG. The Resgate (Support) is perhaps the hardest to determine; it could be some sort of non-combat support suit, perhaps a pack mule akin to the Tornado G14, but the most likely possibility in my opinion is some form of light armament. Whether there are any further changes, such as new manipulators, different armor, or even alterations to the mobility are all open to speculation, with the manipulators being the most likely candidate, freeing mass with the removal of the Salvage Arm and adding the appropriate combat capabilities based upon the replacement(s).

     In my opinion, such combat capable variants aren't going to be much of an improvement on the BattleTech battlefield, because nothing can be done about the critical flaw of its low armor. A single AP Gauss Rifle, Medium Recoilless Rifle or Micro Pulse Laser hit will obliterate a PA(L) and it's also not uncommon to see an infantry platoon take down an entire PA(L) squad in a single Turn. Assuming they keep the Fire Resistant armor, it's not going to greatly extend battlefield life expectancy, if at all, because they can so easily be killed with such light weaponry. Really, Fire Resistant is best used on the heavily armored monsters that make ideal targets for Inferno attacks, not PA(L)s with their wafer thin protection. Personally, no matter how interesting the new units may prove to be, I suspect that the Resgate will see little extra tabletop time, even from those who enjoy using such lame ducks or who select for flavor purposes.

     There really is nothing else to be said about the Resgate that wouldn't involve little more than cutting and pasting its Vehicle Annex entry, or repeating more of what has already been written about PA(L)s in the Nighthawk and Tornado articles. I wish I could get more enthused about the design, and perhaps I will once the new variants are published when Technical Readout Vehicle Annex is updated, but as a non-combat unit in a combat game, the Resgate is unfortunately not only a lame duck, but a duck out of water too.

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Prince of Darkness

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #1 on: 04 February 2012, 15:37:10 »
I always found it really odd that a suit meant essentially for rapid extrication from a dangerous area wouldn't use an armored glove for a manipulator- I personally saw Resgate operators also carrying paramedic trauma bags along with their suits in the extra cargo space, and not using the glove really kinda hurts it's use.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #2 on: 04 February 2012, 15:59:56 »
I wonder how useful Resgates would be for the Clan Watch. The sensors are an obvious boon, as is the high mobility. Resgates would form the point of a Watch sweep, using their speed and sensors to rapidly scour an area, either to point out heavy enemies for destruction by friendly big guns, or detaining small groups on their own using the brute strength of the PA(L), or by the intimidation of shoving the salvage arm into someone's face. They can deal with limited small arms on their own, and for real firepower, that's when you call in the SWAT Van IICs, or perhaps a Magical Murder Machine-er, Sokar.
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Diablo48

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #3 on: 04 February 2012, 22:34:44 »
I like it, although definitely I see it as more of a scenario unit than a combat suit because it adds a lot of flavor and depth to the universe in a way combat-oriented designs are simply not capable of.  You could have an interesting mission where you have to escort a point of Resgates to an objective like a destroyed command center and protect them as they extract and evacuate some MVPs.  They would also make great filler units to add a little chaos or flavor to a scenario, although I would keep them as a "civilian" unit working to evacuate people rather than a real combat unit.

That said, if I was forced to fold some into a battle strategy I would probably split them into one-man "squads" to let them monitor as much area as possible with the smallest possible investment and have them keep their heads down as much as possible because as mentioned in the article they have no business getting shot at.

Finally, I like the mention of a non-warrior trial because that is one aspect of the Clans that I feel does not get enough attention, and I agree with the assessment that the use of Fire Resistant armor was likely limited to civilian use due to the nature of the trial.


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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #4 on: 05 February 2012, 07:58:17 »
Really would like armored gloves, i'd like to be able to turn a doorknob when rescuing someone out of a building. Though i guess just smashing through the door works too. Unless its a security door. With a keypad lock...
Apart from that, my first thought was "SuperHero Suit".
Remember when Spidey jumped into the third floor of a burning building to rescue a baby? Thats what this PA(L) is made for!
And its even armored enuff to stop the shuriken flying around in those burning buildings!

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #5 on: 05 February 2012, 12:16:50 »
As noted in the Elemental II's entry in TRO: Proto, Basic Manipulators allow a skilled operator to use a doorknob without mangling it. You could perhaps also use them to do single finger typing using the hunt and peck method with a large enough keyboard, and could use them to carry somebody without hurting them or carry something without breaking it, but what you couldn't do is touchtyping, write with a pen, strip down a pistol, or anything else that requires delicate motor control.

Grantwhy

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #6 on: 05 February 2012, 23:55:49 »
Really would like armored gloves, i'd like to be able to turn a doorknob when rescuing someone out of a building. Though i guess just smashing through the door works too. Unless its a security door. With a keypad lock...
Apart from that, my first thought was "SuperHero Suit".
Remember when Spidey jumped into the third floor of a burning building to rescue a baby? Thats what this PA(L) is made for!
And its even armored enuff to stop the shuriken flying around in those burning buildings!

although, picking up something that is fragile and/or delicate and/or soft with either a salvage arm or basic manipulator is going to be tricky to do well  :o
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Diablo48

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #7 on: 06 February 2012, 02:15:48 »
although, picking up something that is fragile and/or delicate and/or soft with either a salvage arm or basic manipulator is going to be tricky to do well  :o

You could still pull it off so long as you are careful, although you would really want a medical variant that swaps to a pair of gloves and medical gear to deal with injured people who may need to be moved carefully or treated in place.  Actually, that would be a nice variant concept to see canonized in some form because there is definitely a need for fully trained and equipped medical professionals to be on the scene in disaster relief work and the Resgate is a good frame to work with.  It would also be worth looking into what real-world USAR teams do to get an idea of what exactly would be desirable on a suit of this type.

Incidentally, I am curious how many Clans have access to the Resgate because I can definitely see other Clans having an interest in acquiring them for their own use to get the disaster relief capabilities without having to invest in the necessary R&D.  Exporting them would also be a good source of income for an IS Clan because many IS worlds would love to get their hands on these suits and I cannot see any Clan having issues with the sales because the design lacks any military application.


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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #8 on: 06 February 2012, 22:58:53 »
I like having a civilian model PA(L), despite it not being useful in the tactical game.  I think it does add needed flavor to the overall universe, specially now that we have ATOW RPG.

I do wish though that certain equipment that listed for BA and PA(L)s were more detailed.  Such as the Salvage Arm, which i think leaves the player to question exactly it does for a player.  TW rules it does nothing can grab things, in TacOps it highlight somethings but still only manipulator.  I wish ATOW was able to detail what it could realy do, if it does have a cutting tool in it, or a minor torch of some kind.

Thanks for giving us great article, sillybrit.
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Resgate PA(L)
« Reply #9 on: 05 October 2014, 18:11:30 »
Now that Record Sheets Vehicle Annex - IndustrialMechs and Exoskeletons is out, we finally get greater detail regarding the new combat variants noted in my original article. Please note that as of this time, there is some errata required for the Record Sheets, as the Resgate sheets are lacking the notation that the suit has Fire Resistant armor.

In addition to the three variants -  Interdictor, Spotter and Support  - revealed in the Field Manual 3085 RATs, we have a fourth Scout variant as well. All four variants retain the same mobility and armor of the original rescue version of the Resgate, so that hasn't changed their capabilities from what is noted above. They also all remove the original manipulators and replace them with a pair of Armored Glove, thereby retaining the ability to conduct Mechanized Battle Armor operations, while also adding the ability to make Anti-Personnel Weapon and Anti-Mech attacks. The latter alone would be a worthwhile bonus, as PA(L)s and exoskeletons do provide the most effective way for battle armor units to make leg and swarm attacks, although potentially only one of the Resgate variants can inflict damage doing the latter. Unless using standard rules that treat all AP attacks the same as ballistic rifle infantry, I would favor the Mauser IIC, Bearhunter Super-Heavy Autocannon, Heavy Auto Grenade Launcher, Portable Machine Gun or Two-Shot Standard SRM Launcher.

Where the four variants differ is a single piece of equipment that provides them with their unique roles and designations. It's a pity that there's not enough slot space to for a Modular Weapon Mount and thus allow one chassis to cover all four roles as configurations, but to do so would require the Fire Resistant armor to be swapped for Standard or Basic Stealth plating.

The first variant, the Interdictor, met expectations with the addition of an ECM module. This allows all the usual jamming and other electronic warfare options available to other ECM-equipped units, plus it can exploit a tactic I first used with the Infiltrator Mk II. Although the Resgate Infiltrator can't inflict damage while swarming, there's nothing that prevents it from being able to climb onboard an enemy unit. If that enemy unit happens to be part of a C3 network, you're then in a position to jam it with no way for the victim to outrun your battlesuits. Unless the foe can dislodge or destroy your swarming suits, or get within range of a friendly ECM unit to cancel your jamming, then there's nothing they can do to restore the C3 link.

The newly revealed Resgate Scout instead opts for an Improved Sensor suite. There's not much more to say about this that hasn't been covered in other Battle Armor of the Week articles regarding battlesuits equipped with some form of sensor. Within BattleTech scenarios their main usage is detect most types of hidden units, although it should be remembered that only Bloodhound can locate stealthy battle armor or non-stealthy conventional infantry that are trying to avoid being detected. The extra spotting distance can also help in double blind games. Active Probes and Improved Sensors also provide a small accuracy bonus when shooting through cover, such as trees, but sadly this Resgate variant is the best equipped unit to take advantage of that.

The Resgate Spotter does indeed mount a Light TAG, with all that entails. If you're allowing the use of Infantry TAG by battlesuits with gloves, this is perhaps the least useful variant, but even with that optional rule being used, the Spotter can at least TAG and have a self-defense capability, unlike the Interdictor or Scout.

The Resgate Support is now finally revealed to be a battlefield support unit for its peers, mounting a LMG in lieu of the electronics favored by the other variants. I must admit, I can't recall whether the LMG is meant to be arm-mounted or not, and I forgot to check with jymset when I was planning this amendment to the Resgate article. Where the LMG is mounted will determine whether or not the Resgate Support can actually inflict damage during a swarm, as it has to be on an arm to be able to do so. My apologies for the omission and hopefully I'll either be able to get ahold of jymset soon and make the appropriate update or perhaps he'll just directly reply here to remind me.

In any case, as firepower goes, a LMG isn't that much, amounting to just a single point of damage per suit that hits when shooting at armored targets or 1d6/2 damage per suit that hits vs conventional infantry. At least it does have the ability to shoot six hexes, which potentially does allow the Support to outrange many much heavier battle armor. Notably, if a Resgate Support manages to catch a standard Golem after the latter has fired off its missiles, then it can potentially destroy it without any risk to itself if it has the freedom to maneuver and no outsider intervenes. Other weapons would have been possible, such as a Micro Grenade Launcher or Firedrake, but that would have required mixed technology, as both are Inner Sphere weapons.

 

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