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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike  (Read 6814 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« on: 07 November 2012, 21:34:03 »
Gray Death Strike - Technical Readout Prototypes page 13



     The Gray Death Strike is a rare beast for a Lyran Battle Armor design, being a bipedal suit in a stable of quads. Of course, it could be argued that it's not a pure Lyran design, having been developed by Gray Death Technologies, a company created by mercenaries that just happened to be located in Lyran space, but for all intents and purposes, it's Steiner to the bone.

     As covered in the Gray Death Standard Battle Armor of the Week article, the first version of the Strike, the Gray Death "Strike Suit", appeared in prototype form in Experimental Technical Readout Steiner. Incorporating Clantech and built before GDT suffered a crippling assault by the Word of Blake, this version wasn't really viable for full-scale production. After the remnants of GDT were swept up by Defiance Industries and moved to Furillo in 3074, the company eventually set about converting the design into a more viable format, resulting in the Grey Death Strike in 3080, some seven years after the first prototype was built.

     As conversions go, the change from Strike Suit to Strike and from mixed technology to purely Inner Sphere didn't result in much loss of capability. The sole Clantech equipment on the prototype was a triple-tube SRM launcher, supplied with a trio of salvos, with the loss of just one of those salvos in the change to a Spheroid launcher of the same size. Even then, the lower tech launcher and its ammunition came out a little heavier, but the designers were able to recoup the mass by switching from twin Battle Claws to twin Basic Manipulators, leaving the remainder of the suit unchanged.

     The Gray Death Strike Suit/Strike is a good example of the continuing superiority of Clan Battle Armor technology, despite the advances made by the Inner Sphere since its adoption. Not only are Clan missile launchers much lighter, at nearly half the mass, but the Spheroid chassis design remains inferior. Clan Battle Armor chassis are heavier, but this is due to the addition of the Harjel system that the Clans consider to be mandatory for their combat designs. Often not an important benefit as far as players are concerned, what may be of more importance is that Inner Sphere suits cannot jump or conduct Anti-'Mech attacks while a torso-mounted missile launcher is still attached. That the Strike Suit prototype and the production Gray Death Strike, which both use an Inner Sphere chassis, suffer from this failing despite the former's use of a Clan launcher shows that it is indeed the chassis that is to blame, although neither need to worry about not being able to jump, of course.

     Like the Gray Death Standard suit that it is based upon, the Gray Death Strike is a Medium design, with an enhanced ground movement capability to make up for its lack of jump jets. Able to move three Movement Points per Turn, the suit is capable of achieving the all-important +1 Target Movement Modifier for distance travelled, although obviously it's vulnerable to rough terrain slowing it down to below the required threshold. As noted before, this high ground speed makes the Strike a good urban combat suit, or for use in other battles where jump movement is not possible, such as underground. The twin Basic Manipulators also allow the mobility boost provided by Mechanized Battle Armor operations when friendly Omnis are available, and given its armament, the Strike works well with heavier units.

     Alongside the two-shot missile launcher, the Gray Death Strike does retain the same weaponry as its prototype. In common with the original GD Standard, the suit is fitted with an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount on the left arm, which provides the sole remaining built-in firepower once the missiles are expended. That does appear to be a light armament at first glance, but the Strike has another trick up its sleeve, or should I say mounted on its right forearm. Although obviously only usable with suitably equipped support units, the Light TAG has the potential to be the most dangerous component of the design. When friendly artillery, units loaded with Semi-Guided LRMS or other such TAG-capable munitions are available, the GD Strike acts as the point of the spear, highlighting targets for destruction.

    Again retaining the nine points of armor originally possessed by the Gray Death Standard, and the Inner Sphere Standard from which it in turn was developed, the Strike remains just as vulnerable to one-shot kills by PPCs and AC10s. Admittedly, most suits are just as frequently, if not more so, killed by an accumulation of lesser hits, with one of the key killers being twin Medium Laser hits. As a common secondary weapon for many 'Mech designs, it's the sort of damage that the Strike should expect to encounter, and with two hits required to get a kill compared to the three for an Elemental, for example, it's yet another reminder that the Clans are still the top dog in the Battle Armor arena.

    Using the GD Strike commonly follows two patterns, based around when to fire the SRMs. On the one manipulator, by firing off the two salvos at the first available targets, the suit then frees itself to be able to perform Leg Attacks - Swarm Attacks will be of little use considering the lack of an arm-mounted 'Mech-scale weapon that can inflict damage - so that the Strike can still present a threat by itself, without needing appropriately armed friendlies around. On the other manipulator, if there are plentiful guided attacks to mark, then the Light TAG might be emphasized as the main weapon, and so it may be preferable to retain the SRMs to hold off a possible attacker. Of course, some attackers aren't going to be that deterred; with an average of eight hits per salvo, the SRMs won't force a 'Mech into a Piloting check, and many designs can afford to soak up the damage the two shots can inflict.

    The SRMs also provide another decision that needs to be made, namely which munitions type to load. When using the official rules, only Infernos are an available effective option, and they can make for a very effective choice indeed. It's been mentioned numerous times in the Battle Armor of the Week articles, that Infernos are excellent Battle Armor killers, as well as being lethal against conventional infantry and able to inflict crippling hits against other unit types. When houseruling the use of other specialist munitions, Tandem Charge warheads are another good choice, while oddities such as Tear Gas missiles can be very useful in the right scenario.

    Apart from some examples that are retained for Defiance Industries own security forces, suits that are rumored to be the same specification as the mixed tech prototypes, all Gray Death Strikes are sold to the LCAF. Personally, I can't say that I'm that upset at that prospect. The Strike is a nice enough design, and in the right circumstances can be a very nasty foe for an opponent to tackle, but it's not alone in being able to bring a Light TAG to the fight. Admittedly, it's one of the few canon designs with that capability, but it's not unique, and with custom configurations allowed, then any suit with a Modular Weapon Mount can equip the device.

    Effectively little more than a variant of the Gray Death Standard, and a logical progression of the Strike Suit prototype, the GD Strike fills a niche for the Lyrans, but there's not much more to be said for it. By no means a ground breaker, it's not a bad design, and if used with its limitations in mind, it can at least be an interesting suit to play.

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Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #1 on: 08 November 2012, 20:04:12 »
Another solid article!  I kind of like these guys as a strike and spotting platform, plus the art is much better in my opinion than the Gray Death Heavy's.

I'm looking forward to your comments on the horrifying mixed tech revealed in XTRO Phantoms when you get that far down the list.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #2 on: 08 November 2012, 20:39:00 »
Just an aside, I thought the Kopis was supposed to be after the Warg?

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #3 on: 08 November 2012, 23:39:26 »
TAG and just enough firepower to make them hard to shift quickly. all in what may be the least subtle BA design of all time.

for as much as the jihad smashed the GDL into an ugly little smear that writes out "told you that wouldn't work twice" the survivors sure did make for a great BA production team. *wanders off to find out about omni hovercraft*
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #4 on: 09 November 2012, 03:29:05 »
Just an aside, I thought the Kopis was supposed to be after the Warg?

Aha! It would take its daddy to notice!

Let me jump in here to add that sillybrit kindly changed the roster slightly in view of the long run. The Kopis will basically be the unit to finish the main part of this series, and do so in dignity. There are a few accompanying factors that also stipulate it being moved back.

Please be patient a little while longer. It will be worth the wait. :)

I'm looking forward to your comments on the horrifying mixed tech revealed in XTRO Phantoms when you get that far down the list.

Strangely, sillybrit doesn't seem to mind the ultramunch that happens with mixed tech. O:-)
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Nikas_Zekeval

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #5 on: 09 November 2012, 12:01:00 »
The Strike looks like a 'heavy weapon' support variant, to be folded into platoons with standard GDL suits.  This would give each platoon a couple of bursts of high firepower, while the regular suits handle other work.  If armed with LRRs the Strike squad is there for guiding in firesupport with the TAG, and saves it's SRMs for when a big target is seen.

In this deployment you'd have three squads of GDL Standards and one GDL strike squad in the platoon.  Arranged in a diamond formation they can sweep two side by side maps (17x26) in a minute and a half with their sensors.  The Strike squad is at the back of the diamond, to provide cover fire (SRMs and TAG guided 'rain of pain') if the rest of the platoon flushes out an enemy contact.

I'd say the 'natural' environment for such work is urban terrain.  From the RP standpoint while the Rottie has higher ground speed, better AP potential, and the same sensors the lack of a turret leaves it more vulnerable to ambush, and while clusmy the battle claw and manipulators are better for opening doors.  Particularly if you go at it X-Men Style (from the comics, "One thing about being an X-Man.  You always known where you've been."  ;)).  Rather than 'unleashing ther hounds', use GDL suits platoons as 'beaters' for clearing urban battlefields of ambushes.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #6 on: 09 November 2012, 13:50:49 »
Strangely, sillybrit doesn't seem to mind the ultramunch that happens with mixed tech. O:-)

It's all in the application, and really the XTRO Phantom suits either possess a hideous flaw or are somewhat bread-and-butter, despite the mixed tech. Even at its worst, custom munch is typically only a modest boost over pure Clantech.

Dragon Cat

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #7 on: 09 November 2012, 14:15:47 »
Another solid design from Gray Death Industries seriously a company that was going somewhere.... then WOB said hello  >:D

Sellsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #8 on: 09 November 2012, 16:27:18 »
The Strike looks like a 'heavy weapon' support variant, to be folded into platoons with standard GDL suits.  This would give each platoon a couple of bursts of high firepower, while the regular suits handle other work. 

This is exactly how I've wanted to use the GDL Strike.  I'm glad someone else had this idea.  Now I just have to put a game together.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #9 on: 09 November 2012, 16:53:37 »
The question is, is that really a burst of high firepower?

THe light TAG on every suit is overkill here, as the unit makes one to-hit roll and gets no advantage if all four TAGs hit, correct? Light TAG is something begging for deployment as a squad support weapon, and you could more easily deploy it on a Gray Death Scout squad. I won't put variants here, but there's plenty of available light dual-purpose weapons (anti-Mech and anti-Infantry), and it's a shame that this suit has nothing once the non-game-breaking missiles are gone.

Looks great, but doesn't do it for me on the tabletop.

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Nikas_Zekeval

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #10 on: 09 November 2012, 19:26:57 »
The question is, is that really a burst of high firepower?

THe light TAG on every suit is overkill here, as the unit makes one to-hit roll and gets no advantage if all four TAGs hit, correct? Light TAG is something begging for deployment as a squad support weapon, and you could more easily deploy it on a Gray Death Scout squad. I won't put variants here, but there's plenty of available light dual-purpose weapons (anti-Mech and anti-Infantry), and it's a shame that this suit has nothing once the non-game-breaking missiles are gone.

Looks great, but doesn't do it for me on the tabletop.

W.

Take a Lyran platoon (4 squads) of LRR armed GDL Standard.  That is roughly ten 2 point hits total on average.  Now replace one squad with a Strike squad.  You drop two or three hits (call it 5 damage points average) for two 8 SRM hits on average (16 damage).  So that is about three turns of fire for a LRR squad it replaces per salvo, or about tripling the platoon's salvo when the SRMs are added.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #11 on: 10 November 2012, 01:14:47 »
The question is, is that really a burst of high firepower?

THe light TAG on every suit is overkill here, as the unit makes one to-hit roll and gets no advantage if all four TAGs hit, correct? Light TAG is something begging for deployment as a squad support weapon, and you could more easily deploy it on a Gray Death Scout squad.
the duplication within the squad makes it less likely that a lucky kill against the unit takes the TAG out of play. (IIRC, killing the #1 suit in a squad removes the SSW from play)

plus it makes each suit a really nasty thing in RPG games.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #12 on: 11 November 2012, 02:49:21 »
Putting the Light TAG in a SSW won't help much, it only frees up 17.5 kg and I doubt that there's anything that will help with

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #13 on: 22 November 2013, 22:51:35 »
RS3145 gives us a new variant of the Gray Death Strike.

The big change is the adoption of a HarJel (and thus Clan) chassis. This has no effect in game, but matters in the RPG.
In the post-Jihad era Clan SRMs were easier to get so the Strike returns to the lighter missile launchers, though gives up the detachable option. This time it has four rounds.
In addition to the TAG the Strike manages to squeeze in a Firedrake Needler in place of the AP mount. All of this requires the addition of Advanced Armor to make it fit.

In combat terms the Gray Death Strike (HarJel) doesn't operate that differently to the standard one. The extra ammo allows extended firing, and the suits themselves are unlikely to survive more than four turns of firing. The Firedrake provides a backup weapon of sorts, but I wouldn't want to rely on in. In many ways the AP mount is still superior.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #14 on: 23 November 2013, 00:36:25 »
This has no effect in game, but matters in the RPG.
...
The Firedrake provides a backup weapon of sorts, but I wouldn't want to rely on in. In many ways the AP mount is still superior.

There is one game effect: the Harjel variant can make Anti-Mech attacks without having to first jettison the launcher. With this ability, mounting a Firedrake instead of an APWM allows the suit to inflict damage during a Swarm. If the variant had jump jets, it'd also be able to jump without having to jettison the launcher first.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #15 on: 23 November 2013, 03:10:40 »
That makes me wonder if the name should have highlighted the Clan chassis rather than the HarJel? Water under the bridge I guess.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #16 on: 23 November 2013, 06:55:15 »
Perhaps the inclusion of a "Clan" chassis means only the HarJel, and other internal components are still of Inner Sphere design?  A minute point, but it would matter to the fluff.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #17 on: 23 November 2013, 09:45:44 »
Well, with no jumpjets it is a thorough moot point.
That said, the new version certainly has some merit.
Longer fire, and if for some reason you ever find yourself fighting Infantry, a firedrake has certain advantages, no doubt.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #18 on: 23 November 2013, 18:06:18 »
The Firedrake provides a backup weapon of sorts, but I wouldn't want to rely on in. In many ways the AP mount is still superior.

There is one game effect: the Harjel variant can make Anti-Mech attacks without having to first jettison the launcher. With this ability, mounting a Firedrake instead of an APWM allows the suit to inflict damage during a Swarm. If the variant had jump jets, it'd also be able to jump without having to jettison the launcher first.

Actually the Firedrake is a marked improvement, if driving the GDSS into the support specialist role even more.  The usual weapon for an APWM is an autorifle, about a half point per mount on the TW scale, vs the Firedrake's one.  Same range for both.  What really stings is that according to the battlesuit weapon table footnotes in TW, against infantry the Firedrake is treated as a flamer.  Even assuming we are talking a BA scale flamer, that is a 3d6 roll against the PBIs, per suit that hits.  :o

A Time of War scale?  The autorifle is a 4B/4B weapon.  The Firedrake in a BA mount is a 3B/6CS weapon.  The splash damage means either take the weakest armor of the area hit or any adjacent location, or if not playing with the optional hit locations add one to the AP.  So roughly similar penetration, with more damage on the Firedrake.  That is before you account for the extra damage on following terms the continuous damage code gives, since there are incendiary flechettes.  Admittedly you do lose range in AToW combat vs the autorifle.

Short form?  A hosedown from the autorifle will have a few guys screaming for a medic.  The same from a Firedrake?  Turns those guys and their nearest buddies into piles of cooked hamburger.

What's this mean for the GDSS?  Simple, take a four squad platoon of GD suits, three regular, one Strike.  The Harjel variant makes it even more of a support specialist.  Load the other three squads up with primarily antiarmor load outs, and let this variant do firesupport and PBI sweeping.


sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #19 on: 23 November 2013, 18:11:05 »
Well, with no jumpjets it is a thorough moot point.
That said, the new version certainly has some merit.
Longer fire, and if for some reason you ever find yourself fighting Infantry, a firedrake has certain advantages, no doubt.

And can make Anti-Mech attacks without jettisoning the launcher. Don't forget that.

As for the name, the whole design was meant to have come about due to Lyran experiments with battle armor-scale Harjel systems. This was a design hook exploiting the fact that the fact that the Lyrans were the ones who reverse-engineered the Sharks' Mech-scale Harjel system. To make the battle armor system work they had to copy certain Clan chassis design concepts and materials, with the result being a full Clan chassis, but since it was originally the Harjel project, the name stuck. The LCAF found the protection and mobility advantages of the "new" chassis worth pursuing and so the testbeds got turned into a production design.

In metagame terms, the variant is meant to show that you don't just need to limit Clantech transfers to guns and armor, the more typical items included on IS suits, and also it's a canon example showing that it's a Clan chassis that removes the limitations on torso-mounted missile launchers, not the launchers themselves. EDIT: Keeping it in the family, as it were, the prototype Grey Death Strike Suit uses a Clantech launcher with an IS chassis, and has to jettison the launcher to make Anti-Mech attacks, as a final proof that it's the chassis that's the key.

And to preempt a possible query: no, there still isn't a Clantech chassis that lacks the heavy Harjel system, thereby saving weight. The Clans doesn't believe in building combat battlesuits without Harjel and the IS haven't learned how to build a Clantech chassis without the integral Harjel system. What you do on your own table is another issue though.
« Last Edit: 23 November 2013, 18:30:15 by sillybrit »

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #20 on: 23 November 2013, 18:18:36 »
Re the APWM mount, where it potentially beats the Firedrake is range, assuming you're using the optional rules where you treat the AP stats as per the actual weapon mounted rather than treating them all as an Autorifle. It's possible to double or triple the range over the Firedrake, although damage will suffer.

In ATOW, just about every AP weapon will outrange the Firedrake due to the oddity of how current rules scale battle armor weaponry from TW to ATOW.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #21 on: 23 November 2013, 21:37:21 »
Huh.
That's neat to know.
Then again, a Firedrake is a sort of a flamethrower in that respect, so it sure beats smgs for punch.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Gray Death Strike
« Reply #22 on: 23 November 2013, 23:06:32 »
Nice article! 
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