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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit  (Read 3187 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« on: 03 September 2013, 22:44:37 »

PAB-28 Sniper Suit - Technical Readout 3145 Federated Suns page 5







     The PAB-28 Sniper Suit is an interesting PA(L) design, which attempts to find a niche for what is otherwise a not very useful weight class of battle armor. Introduced in Technical Readout 3145 Federated Suns, it's the lightest of the designs introduced in the 3145 series, with the other new PA(L)s and exoskeletons having been introduced in Technical Readout Vehicle Annex Revised in the Armed and Dangerous section.

     The suit was first mentioned, albeit not by name, in Masters and Minions. The entry for Federated Industries notes how an exoskeleton-equipped version of the standard PAB-27 infantry armor kit was being developed, entering service in time for the defense of New Syrtis. From this sparse information, and with the intention of min/maxing the design as much as possible, jymset then set about thinking up a viable battlefield role for a PA(L), other than meat shield, mine detector or initiative sink. The result is both good and bad, the latter more due to the limitations of the chassis.

     All PA(L)s and exoskeletons suffer from three limitations compared to larger battle armor types, having a low payload capacity, restricted slot spaces and near-worthless maximum armor strength. Addressing the first issue, a PA(L) with a single ground Movement Point, no armor and twin armored gloves would be able to move 320kg of equipment, whereas a light battle armor design with the same speed, armor and manipulators would have more than double that capacity. With a mere six slots spread two per arm and two in the torso, a PA(L) is incapable of mounting bulky weapons such as the Magshot, larger missiles launchers, and certain armor would be impossible or force even harsher space restrictions. With a maximum protection of two armor points, any PA(L) can be one-shot killed by weapons such as the Small Laser, AP Gauss Rifle or Medium Recoilless Rifle. You might think to use some of the newer armor type to address at least some of those vulnerabilities, but with seven slots required by those advanced materials, PA(L)s are SOL.

     That's the setting for any PA(L) design, which is why they're so rarely viewed as a viable option. Setting aside the issue that a light battlesuit can be made to do anything a PA(L) can - apart from having a slightly larger transportation footprint if you're using the optional rules - then to make a PA(L) as usable as possible, you have to find a niche it can occupy, preferably one that isn't suicide scout or filler.

     Jymset's approach first does the only thing you can do to address the weakness of the PA(L) chassis' protection limits: don't get shot in the first place. For a suit that's meant to go into harm's way, then one way to do this is to be difficult to see and/or hit. Mobility can help with the latter, but so can stealth, and the latter was jymset's choice. Mimetic armor would have been a better choice given the final product, but we again run into the space issue, so he went for the best viable option in the form of Standard Stealth. This is already seen on the Infiltrator Mk II, giving a nice design hook there, plus it still leaves some space left over for other equipment.

     Standard Stealth is only useful against non- conventional infantry foes, but you can't have everything when you're working with such a difficult platform. Inflicting a +1 hit penalty at short and medium range, increasing to a +2 at long, this can mean the difference between a near-certain death or a miss, especially when combined with the +1 penalty all non-infantry receive when shooting at battle armor. Some might have preferred Improved Stealth for an extra benefit at medium and long range, but the extra slot requirement would greatly limit the space remaining for weaponry. Alternatively, dropping to Basic Stealth would have provided more space, but the limited payload would have left little to exploit it .

     Another way to avoid being hit in combat while still being effective is to out-range the enemy. That's something that's not really possible against most vehicles and ’Mechs, but is a viable tactic against many battle armor and infantry platoons. Given the mass and space available, the ideal choice here would have been an AP Gauss Rifle, but sadly the Clantech fairy didn't bless the PAB-28 and it had to make do with the best Inner Sphere alternative. As mentioned before, Magshots are too bulky, which left the David Light Gauss Rifle, in the form of the Federated Suns own version, the Thunderstick. Mounting one per arm, this means that the PAB-28 can pick apart suits such as an IS Standard armed with the default troika of Flamer, Machine Gun or Small Laser, all without any risk to the PA(L).

     The obviously flaw is obvious: what if the enemy gets closer. Sadly, this is where the PAB-28's deck of cards starts to crumble. The mass of the twin Thundersticks and two points of Standard Stealth armor don’t leave anything for increased mobility. With just a single Movement Point of ground mobility, there's nothing that the PAB-28 can outrun; the best it can hope for is to keep pace with foot infantry or some heavier battle armor designs. To get around this problem, the PAB-28 can rely only upon terrain or friendly units that can hopefully prevent the enemy from closing.

     An alternative armament could have been twin Machine Guns, which would have given an impressive bang for the buck. The price for such a move would have been drastically lower reange that would have turned the PAB-27 from a usable niche unit to an almost-certain death trap. Battle armor are sometimes refered to as mobile minefields and that's what a Machine Gun-armed PAB-27 would have been, including the issue that mines are destroyed as they damage the enemy. Sure, if the foe had a different target the same Turn that this theoretical PAB-27 launched its attack, then the PA(L) would survive to shoot again, but life expectancy could still typically be measured in tens of seconds at best.

     The characteristics of being slow, stealthy and having a long-range gun armament explain the sniper moniker. Personally, I have images of PAB-28s wearing oversized ghillie suits or festooned with branches, leaves and other undergrowth sneaking up on some poor unsuspecting victim.

     Thanks to the pair of armored gloves, the PAB-28 can also conduct Anti-Mech attacks, with its arm-mounted gauss rifles allowing it to make Swarm attacks against ’Mechs and vehicles. The gloves also allow a PAB-28 trooper to wield an infantry weapon, which could even out-range the Thundersticks if you're using the optional infantry weapon rules.

     Deployed in small units in march militias and some LCTs, the PAB-28 might not be a great unit on the tabletop, but judging by its Technical Readout write-up it can have a large impact within the game universe. Particularly given its spread to mercenary commands, it could also be an unpleasant foe for a roleplaying scenario, where any form of battle armor can be very dangerous.

     While I can't say that the PAB-28 is a unit I'd choose for any reason other than as a flavor piece, it does at least do its best given its humble background, and jymset did well with what he had to work with. It'll probably never be a game winning unit, instead forever relegated to the sidelines, but it can at least contribute to the fight, unlike some PA(L)s, even if its first shot might be its last.

SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #1 on: 03 September 2013, 23:08:49 »
Problem, it's the KING David Light Gauss Rifle that has the damage bonus against other BA, not the normal David Light Gauss Rifle. You could mount a SINGLE King David, but only by switching to a single point of Basic Stealth armor

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #2 on: 03 September 2013, 23:59:54 »
Do I say anywhere in the article that the David Light Gauss gets extra damage vs battle armor?  ???

And you couldn't mount a King David just by stripping one point of armor, as you'd be 10kg short. Removing all the armor would then remove all stealth bonuses, which would be really bad for an already vulnerable suit.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #3 on: 04 September 2013, 04:00:26 »
Did you just put up THREE BAotW articles at once?
You naughty person.  O0

Also, nice suit given the weight class. One of the biggest advantages of PA(L)s is the price. Shouldn't be discounted IC.
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Martius

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #4 on: 04 September 2013, 04:03:14 »
The problem is that with a suit that light the design options are limited.

Still in the RPG or in games where Infantry has to capture or hold a certain objective the suits can be useful. I used the Tornado G13 PA(l) with some success in this role- but its main advanteage was the fact that a whole Marian Squad of 5 suits fits well into the 3t infantry bay that is very common with our vees.

As an IS standard squad of 4 PABs is only 2t you can fit two of those in the standard BA bay- which might be an advantage in certain situations.
« Last Edit: 04 September 2013, 04:05:45 by Martius »

SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #5 on: 04 September 2013, 06:43:12 »
Do I say anywhere in the article that the David Light Gauss gets extra damage vs battle armor?  ???

And you couldn't mount a King David just by stripping one point of armor, as you'd be 10kg short. Removing all the armor would then remove all stealth bonuses, which would be really bad for an already vulnerable suit.
Sorry, the wording made it sound like it

Arkansas Warrior

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #6 on: 04 September 2013, 11:52:53 »
Where does the name "thunderstick" for the PAB's rifles come from?  I've never heard it before.
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #7 on: 04 September 2013, 11:58:52 »
XTRO Davion: the Infiltrator Mk II CORAL INTENT prototype is armed with a David instead of a Magshot, and is described in the fluff as being a Federated-Boeing version called the Thunderstick, which had been developed from the Thunderstroke II. The fluff actually says that the Thunderstick is longer ranged than the David, but costs five times as much. Obviously rules > fluff.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #8 on: 09 October 2014, 08:03:17 »
Small Necro:
This topic doesn't seem to be in the Article List. Took me a while to actually find it. :)
Savannah Masters are the Pringles of Battletech.
Ooo! OOOOOOO! That was a bad one!...and I liked it.

Grey

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #9 on: 24 October 2014, 23:31:20 »
When I first read about this suit I thought it was a great in universe application of technologies, and a frighteningly specialised suit that really should not be in a tabletop game unless you're playing some sort of desperate defense or retreat scenario. The thing is a spec-forces, guerrilla fighter or ambusher. If it's on an active frontline battlefield then things have gone horribly wrong, either for the person using it the wrong way or for the person facing it because the other guy has a plan.

SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - 3145 Special - PAB-28 Sniper Suit
« Reply #10 on: 02 November 2014, 00:59:00 »
No, this thing isn't special forces or anything like that, it's simply for elite units or merely heavy infantry. The problem with using is the way the rules work to kill it, this wasn't designed as a BA or PA(L) but rather something for normal infantry to use, so it SHOULD be used in normal infantry formations, the problem is that the rules don't allow you to do that. I COULD post some house-rules that allow you to do that, but here isn't the place

 

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