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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor  (Read 5241 times)

sillybrit

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Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor - Technical Readout 3075 page 125



     The Rogue Bear is a design which I really want to like, but find myself held back by its less than ideal design. A Ghost Bear suit that sees usage among Spheroid troops deployed by the Dominion, the integration between Inner Sphere and Clan even eventually results in a mixed tech variant, although sadly this does nothing to enhance the design in my eyes.

     First fielded in 3073, the original Rogue Bear was apparently always intended as a secondline unit, which no doubt explains the simplicity of its design. Basically a big chunk of armor, with a strong missile pack and a symmetrical backup armament, echoing the earlier Golem Assault Battle Armor, the Rogue Bear is a very pleasing battlesuit aesthetically, if nothing else. Possessing a cosmetic styling that deserves it being considered a totem design in the eyes of some, the Rogue Bear is one of my favorites visually, even if I find myself turning elsewhere when judging purely on stats.

     As noted above, when developing the suit, the Ghost Bears pretty much just took their Golem design and put it in the wash until it shrank. The overall similarity of the two led some early observers to mistakenly identify the new Heavy as a Golem variant when first encountered, a confusion that was apparently deepened by the Hell's Horses' introduction of the Golem Fast Assault around the same time. Like the Golem, the Rogue Bear has a large back-mounted SRM launcher, with a ballistic weapon on each arm providing sustained close-quarters firepower. Where the two significantly differ is the less than maximum armor fitted to the lighter suit, together with the investment in jump jets to make the Rogue Bear more mobile on most battlefields.

     With thirteen points of Standard armor, the Rogue Bear has one point less than the original modern era Heavy Battle Armor design, the Gnome. While possibly a distinction between the secondline Rogue Bear and the frontline Gnome, it's probably just a simple consequence of the mass remaining after the installation of the armament and other systems. The reduction in protection when compared to the Gnome doesn't really have any major effect, at least as far as vulnerability to one-shot kills, and if anything the Rogue Bear could have perhaps reduced its armor further to allow improvements elsewhere. That choice is a familiar issue for Battle Armor designers, whether you aim for one of the armor sweet spots that allow the suit to survive a hit by a common weapon - five, ten and fifteen points probably being the most common thresholds - or do you just opt for whatever is left after installing other components. There's no real right or wrong, and as dangerous as one-shot kills may be, suits frequently die by an accumulation of lighter hits.

     The Rogue Bear devotes more mass to mobility than the Golem upon which it was based, although unlike the heavier Assault suit instead of boosting ground speed, the Rogue Bear adds jump jets. Only capable of jumps up to sixty meters, or two hexes, the suit can't generate a Target Movement Modifier for distance, but does at least get a modifier for being a jumping target, whereas the Golem can't generate any such modifier. Jump capability can also allow the Heavy design to more easily negotiate rough terrain than its bigger brother, although the Rogue Bear is not as mobile inside buildings and other such enclosed spaces where jets can't be used. Another key advantage for the Rogue Bear over the Golem is the ability to ride Omnis, allowing for combined operations without the need for vehicular transports, which are typically lacking in most Clan units.

     The core of the Rogue Bear's firepower is its SRM3 launcher, which possesses a respectable four reloads for each tube. For heavy combat, that's often just enough shots before the armor runs out, so in effect it almost allows the player to treat the missiles like an ammoless weapon. That said, four shots isn't quite enough that a player can take each and every shot no matter how remote the chance of hitting, not unless you're facing an opponent that's just hard to hit while still capable of killing your Battle Armor. With a full Point, a Rogue Bear unit can launch fifteen missiles per salvo, but sadly this results in an average of only nine hits, which is one short of producing the all-important twenty points of damage. On the plus side, when firing Infernos, that's enough to kill three non-fire resistant Battle Armor or twenty-seven conventional infantry.

    Like the Golem, the Rogue Bear mounts a single ballistic weapon on each forearm, in this case a standard Machine Gun instead of a Bearhunter autocannon. Although I find the symmetry of the armament visually appealing, the lack of range is a significant failing in my opinion; once the missiles are gone the Rogue Bear's remaining firepower is much easier for most opponents to avoid. At least the Machine Guns allow a Point of Rogue Bears to force a Piloting check on an enemy 'Mech if used in conjunction with the SRMs, plus they provide a useful anti-infantry capability, albeit one outranged by many infantry platoons. The choice of the relatively old-fashioned Machines Guns and SRMs instead of directed energy or gauss weapons goes a long way towards emphasizing the simplicity of the Rogue Bear's design. This is enhanced even further by both weapon types being fixed, with the suit lacking any form of modularity, and on the whole avoiding anything advanced or exotic.

    The one big exception to the Rogue Bear's theme of rugged simplicity is also its greatest waste of mass if we're talking purely about design efficiency. The paired Vibro-Claws may be somewhat useful on a lighter Battle Armor design, but on Heavy and Assault suits they are all but cosmetic, diverting 100kg of mass that could be better used elsewhere. The claws do help to make the Rogue Bear an excellent choice for boarding operations, with the suit worth an impressive seven Marine Points, the highest of any canon Battle Armor design. Unable to perform Anti-'Mech attacks, the Rogue Bear's Vibro-Claws do allow it to inflict melee attacks on other infantry in the BattleTech tactical game, and they can prove formidable in roleplaying scenarios. Given the limited usefulness of the claws, personally I'd much rather have upgraded the ranged weaponry, whether improving the existing systems or even adding a third Machine Gun. Apart from the reduction in Marine Point Value, this would provide much more bang for the buck, but I do have to admit the claws do look cool.

     Technical Readout 3075 describes the Rogue Bear as intended as a secondary, supporting element, although presumably that is only meant in comparison to the Golem. If anything the Rogue Bear's Mechanized Battle Armor ability makes it far more usable as a shock unit for the typical Clan unit, even if its armor and spike damage are lower than those of the Golem. Once it gets to the fight, the Rogue Bear lives and dies by its SRM, often lacking the speed to close the range to bring its Machine Guns to bear unless the enemy allows it, is distracted or otherwise unable to keep the relatively slow suit at a distance. The Vibro-Claws are even less likely to be used in most fights and my advice is to not really worry about whether you do get to use them or not, but even if bringing the Machine Guns to bear (heh) forces your Rogue Bears out of cover, the suit is tough enough to take some damage and so the risk can be worth it to grab what may be a fleeting opportunity. Ideally, like other equally slow Heavy Battle Armor, such as the Gnome, try to deploy the Rogue Bear against already engaged foes, which will often neatly cover both the vulnerability issue and getting into range in the first place.

     Found in secondline Clusters across the Dominion, as noted earlier the Rogue Bear is even operated by former KungsArmé troops in the First Tyr Assault Cluster as a reward for their performance during the Blakist attack on Radstadt in 3074. This relationship between the Rogue Bear and Rasalhagians deepened further with the development of a new mixed-tech variant, the Rogue Bear Hybrid, which we even got to see in its prototype form, the Rogue Bear HR, with the publication of Experimental Technical Readout Clans. As a side note, the new suits continue the Rogue Bear's excellent artwork with one of the better drawings among the newer suits; visually still obviously a Rogue Bear, it adds a dynamic flair, leaping towards the observer with roaring jump jets and arms spread wide to rend its foe.

     Developed by a pair of Spheroids, the Rogue Bear HR is a paradigm shift for the suit, changing it from a frontline suit that's relatively slow in Battle Armor terms, to one that moves as fast as the typical Medium design and is intended by its designers for infiltration and reconnaissance, with the Ghost Bears particularly interested in using it to eliminate rebels and terrorists. The HR prototype can be seen in some ways as the bastard offspring of a Rogue Bear and Kage, the latter no doubt being a familiar design to Hitomi and Koslow, being a half-Draconian technician and ex-Rasalhague KungsArmé respectively. Transplanting the Partial Wing and Basic Stealth from the Kage, the former actually illegal for Heavy Battle Armor and the latter in its more compact Clantech form, left the resulting suit harder to hit and more mobile. To further enhance its ability to avoid detection and incoming fire, the HR also had a Camo System installed, probably inspired by encounters with Blakist Battle Armor equipped either with that or the more advanced Mimetic armor version.

     Providing only a +1 hit penalty at Medium range and +2 at Long range, Basic Stealth isn't that much of a game changer, despite Warrior fears, although every little helps. As noted in earlier articles regarding stealthy designs, these modifiers are unaffected by the movement of the Battle Armor itself and are also ignored by conventional infantry. Luckily for the HR and Hybrid, the Camo System does effect PBIs, however its bonus is reduced the faster the suit moves, ranging from a +2 hit penalty at no movement, +1 at a single hex of movement and no modifier if faster than that. When combined with actual movement and Battle Armor modifiers, the HR and Hybrid can achieve a +5 modifier at Long range if the unit stays still, or jumps one or three hexes; against other Battle Armor that drops to +4 and against conventional infantry to just +3.

     The stealth technology and increased jump capability came with a heavy cost in terms of armor strength and firepower. The raw protection provided by the Basic Stealth composites is still respectable, particularly for a suit not intended for direct combat, with ten points of armor still allowing the Rogue Bear HR to survive a hit from a standard PPC. The armament suffered much more, being all but gutted with the complete removal of the missile system, plus the exchange of the left arm Machine Gun for an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount. The downgrading of the paired Vibro-Claws to standard Battle Claws is less of a loss in my opinion; the melee attack ability against infantry was often unused in many scenarios and boarding operations are so rarely played that the reduction from seven to six Marine Points is of even less importance.

     Introduced in 3078, only five test suits were produced and apparently the assigned troopers - presumably Elemental Warriors - and observers struggled with the new concept. Stealth armor is considered unClanlike, with the only other exception being the Aerie PA(L), which is a relatively uncommon niche design, being fielded by a single Clan that isn't a big player in planetary surface combat. Looking at this out of character does make the in-universe viewpoint seem odd, considering that the Clans are happy with accuracy enhancers such as Targeting Computers and Pulse Lasers, but find the idea of degrading the accuracy of an opponent to be unacceptable. Of course, the actual answer is game balance, which is why we probably will never see the Clans adopting C3 either.

     Hitomi and Koslow persevered with their pet project, overcoming the naysayers' doubts, and after four years of refinements the result was the unveiling of the Rogue Bear Hybrid. By exchanging the Partial Wing for the same Jump Booster technology already in use on the Clan Medium Battle Armor, the designers saved a useful 75 kilograms, and by further downgrading the claws to Basic Manipulators, enough mass was thus available to double the armament of the HR prototype. With a Machine Gun and Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount on each arm, the Hybrid is obviously better equipped to handle combat if cornered by the enemy, plus it regains the symmetry of the original Rogue Bear, but I personally would have preferred equipment better suited to assisting its recon role or something with more range. Thanks to the switch to mere Basic Manipulators, the Hybrid's Marine Point Value is reduced yet again, although five points still makes it a decent choice for boarding operations, with the increased jump capability making it a better choice than the original variant in zero-G operations.

     Lacking any specialist systems to locate and mark the enemy, the HR and Hybrid variants only have their improved speed and stealth capabilities to help them in their scouting missions, which is disappointing. Forced to rely upon the same spotting capabilities possessed by all combat units, the Hybrid (and its prototype) is just as vulnerable to being ambushed as any other unit, which is an uncomfortable position to be in when you're hunting guerilla-style opponents as originally intended by the Ghost Bears, or enemy troops dug into defensive positions, such as during the drive into the heart of the Protectorate. So far avoided by the frontline Clusters, the Hybrid finds itself operating alongside the equally stealthy Kobold, acting as a heavy backup for the lighter scout design. Whether acting as the cavalry to save the day, or exploiting its Camo System to act as an anvil to the Kobold's (admittedly lightweight) hammer - the Hybrid does indeed work well in combination with the Kobold, with the latter's modularity allowing the use of longer ranged weaponry and various sensor systems to cover the Hybrid's lack, although sadly this does require non-canon configurations.

     The future of the Hybrid remains in question according to Technical Readout Prototypes. Although Koslow - the original proponent for the infiltration and recon theme - remains enthused about the Hybrid concept, the frontline forces of the Ghost Bears are still unconvinced about its usefulness, citing the vulnerability to foes with long ranged armaments. In contrast to his partner, Hitomi is apparently more willing to adapt and is continuing work on the design, supposedly working on developing a new design based upon the Hybrid.

     Despite being a fan of Heavy Battle Armor in the trooper role, I find myself somewhat apathetic about the Rogue Bear in its original form, despite having used it with reasonable success. There's just too much missed opportunity within the design for me to warm to its flaws, and besides that I already have the Gnome and Corona to scratch my Heavy Clan suit itch. While acknowledging the flaws of the Hybrid (ignoring the HR since it's few in number and a prototype to boot), the latest variant does at least add more variety to Ghost Bear forces and can prove a nasty surprise to unaware opponents expecting the typical Clan units.

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Orin J.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #1 on: 31 August 2012, 01:20:44 »
i personally really like the rouge bear armor, although this likely speaks more of my uselessness with battlearmors than anything. i prefer using BA sparingly, and having them rotate in pairs as guards on-base.

hard to think of a bigger, more concrete "NO" to tresspassers than having a few of these pacing about.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #2 on: 31 August 2012, 02:18:34 »
IMHO it wasted a lot of potential as the designer(s) tried to make it not significantly better than the Golem.
With other low-tech, priced weapons, e.g. 2 LRR, no vibro claws, and a bit less armor and/or smaller sRM rack it would be a worthy addition to the touman.

The Rogue Bear would have been a great asset in the 3050s, for the 3070s it's lacking...
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False Son

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #3 on: 31 August 2012, 11:59:07 »
I still think it works really well for putting out scatter damage.  It can also mechanize, so I think the comparison to the Golem is unfair, since the need to transport Golems has been one of the more glarring complaints in my experience.  It doesn't hold up as well as the Gnome, true.  But, I think they have slightly different roles.  The Rogue Bear's ability to move, be transported and inflict sustained damage are not perfect by any stretch, but fairly decent in all cases, at a BV lower than most Elementals.  I guess that's why I like it so much.
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Savage Coyote

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #4 on: 31 August 2012, 12:38:47 »
Perfect?  No.  Potentially devestating?  Yes!  I've had good luck with the Bears and combining them with Tyr's to race them around the Battlefield.  Drop them off in cover out of LOS and your opponenet won't want to be moving into that area as the SRM's can really enflict damage.  While not perfect, I've enjoyed them for the larger SRM count and extra armor (and IIRC, lower BV) over the "std Elemental"

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #5 on: 31 August 2012, 20:26:36 »
Did any body else note that Machine guns on the base model an be swapped out for a APGL?

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #6 on: 31 August 2012, 20:52:09 »
Yes, it's the most common modification I hear suggested for the design. In purely game terms, there's really not much to argue against that change, but as a design theme it would totally break the symmetry apparently beloved by the Ghost Bears.

Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #7 on: 31 August 2012, 21:00:06 »
At the expense of breaking symmetry.

While not perfect, I've enjoyed them for the larger SRM count and extra armor (and IIRC, lower BV) over the "std Elemental"

Interestingly, given one less MP, protection is about equal.

This suit has always struck me as strange and I would love to know the story behind it. The Bears had got their 3rd Gen suit in the Golem. Why a new one? SB is right to note its 1st Gen construction. It makes me wonder how long it has been sitting on the drawing board somewhere.

Anyway. It plays pretty much like a slow Elemental. I tend to use them as stiffening for a lighter force. They also do okay as the fire suport line for an Infantry/Constable line of scouts in city fights.
Along those lines I have developed a nasty doctrine of Kobolds, Constables and Rogue Bears, supporting a star of Kungsarme Clantech tanks for city fighting. Mars, Vidar, Axel and Odin. Do you realise how many LRMs there are there?

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #8 on: 31 August 2012, 21:42:12 »
Yeah, I like the extra reloads I guess.  But as I said, Tyr's are dropping mine off here and there so that lack of mobility wasn't a ton of issue, though I had just enough terrain to hide out in, and it was megamek so, double blind fun.  Oops... "Thats a lot of SRM's!"

Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #9 on: 11 December 2013, 21:05:04 »
RS:3145 NTNU gives us a new Rogue Bear. The Rogue Bear (Upgrade)

Lets start with the facts. Vibro Claws are downgraded to Heavy Claws. SRM3 gets downgraded to SRM2. Armour gets upgraded to Reactive.

I can only see one reason for this suit. The Ghost Bears were the first Clan to develop any kind of Reactive Armour. The Rogue Bear is their go to test bed for any new technology (See stealth variants, the Constable, the Wraith).

Seriously there is no other reason for this suit to exist. The Bears are the local BA missile spammers. Outside the mixed armament suits like Elemental or Kanazuchi, the Horses, Combine and Wolves are all big on lasers and ballistics. The 'Mechs are just as bad. The Combine is known for its PPCs, not missiles, and the Clan BA killers are the medium lasers.

Then there is the construction itself. Reactive Armour is the heaviest of the new armours. With this tech you really have to optimise its placement. Check out the Kishi as a great example of this enabling the light suit to have protection better than a Raiden. The Rogue Bear mounts the same 13 points as its progenitor suggesting the new plate was just slapped on. Mind you, given the marginal usefulness of the armour when facing the neighbours the Rogue Bear probably still needs all of the armour it can get.

Otherwise it is Rogue Bear by the book. The loss of a single missile tube isn't huge and the claws have minimal effect. Spam it up with the missiles then try and close.
The (Upgrade) should be able to monster Elementals, Gnomes, and Clan BA as long as its own missiles' ammunition hold out.
Otherwise the (Upgrade) will play like a standard Rogue Bear with less firepower.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #10 on: 11 December 2013, 21:36:39 »
I can't really add much more to what Jellico has said, although I don't quite agree with the assessment that the new Rogue Bear will be able to readily defeat Elementals, at least not Elementals armed with APGRs.

Even though the Ghost Bear's likely foes might favor direct fire weapons that suffer limited effects from reactive armor, it will still make the new Rogue Bears a major pain to kill with area effect weaponry, which are the most efficient way to kill battlesuits. Mine Clearance Missiles might no longer be an option now that they've been errataed, but that leaves artillery, artillery cannon, Mech mortars and bombs to provide an annoyance to battle armor.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #11 on: 11 December 2013, 21:53:42 »
Seriously there is no other reason for this suit to exist. The Bears are the local BA missile spammers. Outside the mixed armament suits like Elemental or Kanazuchi, the Horses, Combine and Wolves are all big on lasers and ballistics.

I'd note that the Horses Gnome suit mounts a mixed armament including SRMs, and the Upgrade ads LRMs on top of that. The Draconis Combine has a number of suits equipped with SRMs, and MRMs with Apollo are becoming more available. While these might not be the top tier killers of BA, I can understand why the Bears might be interested in having an option to stop them.
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Jellico

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #12 on: 11 December 2013, 23:15:05 »
I can't really add much more to what Jellico has said, although I don't quite agree with the assessment that the new Rogue Bear will be able to readily defeat Elementals, at least not Elementals armed with APGRs.
Its a timing thing. I rate the Rogue Bear about equal to the Elemental even with the APGR. The 3 points of armour makes up for the extra jump MP. Three missiles equal two missiles plus gauss. Elemental firepower drops after 2 turns. Rogue Bear drops after 4. It is totally random at that point whether both suits have remaining armour and still want to fight. Of course surviving Elementals are still able to support combat far more easily than the short ranged Rogue Bears.

I may have over rated it when I said "monster". The Upgrade messes the maths up. It loses 1/3 of its firepower, but its armour means the Elemental loses 1/3 of its firepower for 2 turns. Arguably it is weaker in total against the Elemental, which goes back to my original argument about the neighbours not really being vulnerable to Reactive Armorr.


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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #13 on: 12 December 2013, 08:29:31 »
When I read the passages I've boldfaced below...
Quote
Like the Golem, the Rogue Bear mounts a single ballistic weapon on each forearm, in this case a standard Machine Gun instead of a Bearhunter autocannon. Although I find the symmetry of the armament visually appealing, the lack of range is a significant failing in my opinion; once the missiles are gone the Rogue Bear's remaining firepower is much easier for most opponents to avoid. At least the Machine Guns allow a Point of Rogue Bears to force a Piloting check on an enemy 'Mech if used in conjunction with the SRMs, plus they provide a useful anti-infantry capability, albeit one outranged by many infantry platoons. The choice of the relatively old-fashioned Machines Guns and SRMs instead of directed energy or gauss weapons goes a long way towards emphasizing the simplicity of the Rogue Bear's design. This is enhanced even further by both weapon types being fixed, with the suit lacking any form of modularity, and on the whole avoiding anything advanced or exotic.
... it strikes me that perhaps the Rogue Bear was a test for the Dominion's industrial base.  "Prove you can take the first step in BA production and we'll trust you with more advanced stuff." So the Rogue Bear could be the Dominion equivalent of the Filtvelt Coalition's Hound: A solid first step that they can build on in the future.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Rogue Bear Heavy Battle Armor
« Reply #14 on: 14 December 2013, 07:27:10 »
I absolutely love the rogue bear. After you fire your machine guns set to burst mode, people stop ignoring them. I've also had success with the duel vibro claws, A point got too close to try and finish me off and learned the hard way not to underestimate them  ;).
 I'm with you all in i wish it was something other than machine guns, but i take solace in that they aren't bear hunters.
 Plus you can't deny the aesthetics of it are awesome  O0. Also the upgrade makes it better than the wraith,which...kinda isn't hard to do *obviously has a low opinion of that BA if you have not noticed heh*
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