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Author Topic: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue  (Read 3837 times)

Trace Coburn

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Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« on: 22 March 2011, 07:21:24 »
RGU-133* Rogue - 40t, TRO2750
Originally posted 21 Sept. 2005.

  All proposed fan-variants should be posted in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread.


  Another of the Star League’s quirky designs, the Rogue is not the ‘typical’ light fighter... but in some ways, it might have been the first sign of things to come, perhaps even a distant inspiration for designs like the formidable Sai.  Another ‘light fire-support’ starfighter like the defender’s-delights that are the Spad and Zero, the Rogue can lay down a pattern of long-range fire to daunt even the stoutest heart, and it can actually turn-and-burn with some of the best if it has to.  ;)  :o

  The RGU-133E operates off of a 200-rated fusion engine with the obligatory five tons of fuel, yielding a 7/11 thrust-curve that many pilots of the time considered ‘sluggish’.   Now, on one hand they’ve got a point; the Rogue cannot hope to keep up with kamikaze crotch-rockets like the Cheetah or Thrush.  On the other, they were still thinking like light-fighter pilots in that they were thinking of trying to yank-and-bank with interceptors, which is not what a 7/11 thrust-curve is for; they needed to be retrained to think of larger game, for that same thrust-profile allows you to eat ‘normal’ dogfighters like the Stingray for breakfast - and still have room for a nice, hearty stack of pancakes.  ;D
  Fluff text in TRO2750 also says that many of those pilots (like WWII Commonwealth pilots who drove the vastly-underrated Hurricane and the justly-renowned Mosquito) would often land after a sortie, get out to take a look at their bird, and be struck dumb by how much punishment the spaceframe had actually absorbed and remained combat-viable.  Again, they must have been thinking of super-light spaceframes like the F-10 when they thought that, because this is another assertion that doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny (especially in light of birds like the earlier Sparrowhawk); while ferro-aluminium armour is a good (and rare) move on the SLDF birds, 5.5 tons of the stuff is less than 14% of the ship’s mass, and its 30/27/15 layout means that every section is vulnerable to threshold TACs by the omnipresent medium laser/cluster-damage.  While this may not be a catastrophic flaw in a fire-support design, it still isn’t too good for one’s peace of mind.  :-\
  However, the true shining glory of the -133E Rogue is its arsenal.  The self-defence medium lasers in the nose and tail are sound enough ‘getting-home’ guns, and will cause enough anxious moments for the interceptors which are the Rogue’s natural enemy; the real prizes, though, are the Holly LRM-15s fared into the wingroots, each rack having a full ton of ammunition for sustained firing.  With only the base ten (single!) heat-sinks, alpha-striking all your forward firepower can get very, very ugly in one or two turns, but you can fire any two arcs without problems.  Better yet, the LRM racks give you a pair(!) of weapons which can threshold the vast majority of pre-Clan starfighters from almost any angle - from Long range, moreover! :o - and that, in squadron strength, can generate a pair of 5 Capital bays in the anti’Shipping role, which is enough to make the lives of most IS1-era ’Ship captains distinctly unpleasant.  All told, while the RGU-133E is not especially suited to the ‘line of battle’, its contributions to the aerial battle are often quite significant.  }:)
  One might also note that the Rogue, like many other 7/11 or better fighters, can carry a goodly amount of external ordnance and still keep a respectable degree of performance.  Eight tons of external warload at 5/8 isn’t the best ever, but it can keep pace with ’clean’ heavies like the Stuka, making for good escort coverage all the way to and from the target if you load up on gas... and let’s face it, eight tons of high explosive landing on your head isn’t going to do much for your outlook on life, either.  :D

  As noted, this is not a machine built for slugging it out in the front lines; it’s meant to travel in company with heavier dogfighters (or lighter interceptors), stand off from the main furball, and pour in salvo after salvo of missiles to tear big, bloody chunks off of any enemy starfighter which offers itself (or is giving friendlies particular grief).  Being that it is a support machine, anyone who paid attention to the mantras knows that you need to provide escorts to keep enemy interceptors from molesting them (Sparrowhawks would be a good start ;)).  Be careful of you fuel/ammo states, too; you only have eight salvoes per launcher and your back-up weapons are suited only to purest self-defence, so when you’re out of either, it’s time to dance the Bug-Out Boogie and go get more bullets/juice.

  On the countermeasures front, specific platforms would depend greatly on who you’re playing as... but you definitely want a spaceframe that can reach/catch the 7/11 Rogue, so you’d do well to have similar performance yourself.  The Sai and/or Samurai would be good choices; so would almost any interceptor you care to name, and let’s face it, when a single ML is a valid crit threat, two or more look like the blades of a food-processor.  :o

  Two production-variants of the Rogue saw the light of day.  The RGU-133F was fluffed as a ground-based bomber, trading away the LRM racks for two SRM-6s per wing, each launcher getting a full ton of ammo to itself(!).  This model loses the signature weapon of the Rogue and voids its intended design role, long-range support, but picks up a close-range punch that is hard to argue with.  Without additional heat-sinks, Really Bad ThingsTM happen if you try to use more than half of your forward armament (ML + 2 SRM-6s = +1 heat), but a Strike from that many SRMs makes for as many as twenty-four crit chances on enemy ground-vehicles (and ’Mechs that have already been heavily damaged); nor can their efficacy against other starfighters be questioned at point-blank range.  Not my choice as a ‘fast dogfighter’, as its unchanged armour is still fearfully thin, but as a bodyguard to LRM-packing Rogues or for making slashing attacks on distracted enemy dogfighters, you can do a lot worse.
  The RGU-133L is the ‘Medium’ of the ‘Short/Medium/Long’-reaching Rogue family, offloading the missile-launchers completely in favour of a single large laser per wing and six additional heat-sinks.  Again, with its armour going unaltered it remains disturbingly fragile, but it can Strafe fairly well (unlike both of its brothers), and with proper heat discipline it can make the other guy’s life pretty lively in a yank-and-bank contest (both LLs before the merge, the appropriate wing-laser and one or both MLs in the turning fight).  Another decent ‘bodyguard’ for its LRM-toting sibling.

  [VARIANT PROPOSAL(S) REDACTED] All proposed fan-variants - including my own - belong in the corresponding “FotW Workshop” thread: http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,3421.0.html

  If you have your own ideas/opinions on the Rogue, or any funny/humiliating/startling stories about it, I’m sure at least somebody here will be ready to hear it!  ;)  ::)

  Be advised: the attached .txt transcript(s) of previous runs of this thread contain numerous reader-proposals for variants.  I’ll try to change those out for ‘sanitised’ versions of those threads when I can, but I can’t promise it’ll be soon - that’s a lot of ground to cover.  ;)

Trace Coburn

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RGU-133* Rogue (TRO3050 Updates)
Originally posted 03 Oct. 2007.


Quote from: Maelwys
I have to admit, the notable pilot section of the Rogue makes me laugh. I think it's another prime example of why in future years we'll probably consider half the stuff in the recent books to be Wolfnet propaganda (much like we consider anything messed up in older books to be "ComStar error" or "ComStar disinformation"). Actually, the simple fact that Wolfnet is still capable of putting together documents like this is pretty much propaganda in its own right. The entry talks about how a ComStar pilot of a LX Rogue destroyed 5 out of 6 attacking Cheetah fighters in a [WoB] Level II. That's not that odd. The Cheetah, despite its speed is completely unsuited to taking on the LX with its light weaponry. To attack, the Cheetah must close within range of even the medium pulse lasers of the Rogue, and the Cheetah doesn't have the luxury of hiding behind the Rogue, sniping at its tail. I can fully believe this. What gets me, is that after the Cheetahs, and whatever damage they managed to inflict, the pilot then went on to face *2* Level II’s of *Stingrays* and still managed to kill 3 before dying. 12 on 1, she kills 3. And they were upgraded Stingrays that can hit her from well outside her engagement parameters. But I digress.
  ... Depends on the circumstances, but I’m inclined to agree with this being an ‘unlikely’ tale.  During WWII, then-P-38 driver Robin Olds and his wingmate fought fifty(!) Bf-109s and killed three before they called it a day, but they blind-sided the German machines and bushwhacked the tail-end charlies.  The ’50U fluff-entry that Maelwys summarises above claims that this ComStar pilot was attacked by the Blaker machines, which makes her posthumous claims of “it was twelve-to-one, and I got three!” a little hard to swallow.  ::)

Quote from: Maelwys
[-> RGU-133LP Rogue: 40t, 7/11/7/5, 30/27/15, 10 DHS; N: MPL, W: LPL, A: MPL]
A support fighter, the FOTW indicates this might be a sign of things to come. And this design REALLY reminds me of the Ahab. Oddly, I've figured the Rogue works well with the Zero. If you want massive armor with support weapons, go with the Zero. If you wanted massive support weapons, go with the Rogue. If the Rogue can stay back and pound away while remaining unseen, so much the better. If it can't, well, it has about half the armor of the Zero, and only about 60% of the armor of the Spad, so expect bad things to happen. 3050U gives us a new variant based on the -113L. Apparently ComStar has about 10% of its Rogue's upgraded to the L version, and even went one step further. Like Trace's suggestion, they drop the heatsinks for doubles, replace the medium lasers for MPLs, though instead of ERLL's which would keep it in the support range, the LX version (LP on the record sheets) uses Large Pulse lasers. It's said many of ComStar’s aces used these to get to that distinction, and it’s sort of understandable. Like the -503 Spad, the LPL/MPL combo is devastating. Unlike the Spad, the armor means you better kill your opponents before they kill you. The LX/LP version can also run into heat issues, with 10 DHS not being quite enough to fire your forward guns without overheating, but it is enough so that you don't immediately go into an uncontrolled spin. You’re great for killing lights that have to come into range, but if something out ranges you, you’re in trouble.
...
With the destruction of the factory, we can't really do too much to upgrade the Rogue. The ComStar variant is pretty good, but still suffers from the lack of armor. Maybe ERMLs (or standard mediums) instead of MPLs and put the savings towards extra armor would’ve been a better idea.
  Indeed.  Trying to turn the Rogue into a fast-dogfighter is something of a ‘pig’s ear -> silk purse’ project, even with the -133L to start from, and what the ‘Good Robes’ got was every bit as ugly as you’d expect from such an effort; fast dogfighters need speed, armour, and guns, and you can see for yourself which one the -133LP lacks.  :(  If it’s going to get into brawls like the stats suggest - pulse lasers being knife-fighting weapons even in AT2 - what the RGU-133LP really needs to do is leave the large lasers as standard beamers and use the freed tonnage for even more armour; hell, with my ‘will an ML generate a threshold crit-check?’ criterion, I’d be tempted to replace each MPL with twin-ERSLs to save even more weight for even more armour, but 11.5t of FAA on a 40t starfighter is getting a little ridiculous.  OTOH, the newly-revealed availability of Heavy Ferro-Aluminium offers some relief, so if you stick with LLs and MPLs, you can get 9.5t of HFAA onto the spaceframe and achieve ML-proof protection without getting too far from either the ‘original’ -133L weapons loadout or sensible weights of armour.  ;)  And you don’t even need a new engine, like in my original “Series 1” refits!  :D

  Maelwys’ 2007 PM of the ASF stats from TRO3050U included another model of Rogue which he actually forgot to discuss in his “3050 and You: ASFs” article - though he and I did talk the model over in the ‘original’ ’50U Update thread.
[-> RGU-133P Rogue: 40t, 7/11/7/5, 30/27/14 (FAA), 12 SHS; N: ML, W: PPC, A: ML]
  Whiskey.  Tango.  Foxtrot?  :o
  I can only surmise that this design was meant to represent either more IC disinformation or a ComStar prototype from the early days of the -133LP project.  A Lyran 2SW experiment that just reeks of desperation overwhelming good sense, this thing is just awful!  It has more raw punch, yes, but the use of SHS means that this hunkajunk can never fire both main guns at once - which makes its having dual-PPCs in the first place borderline flamin’ pointless.  Too flimsy and too hot-headed to stand-and-deliver, I can only imagine the -133P being used in ‘slashing attacks’ where only one PPC (and one or both MLs) can be brought to bear; anything else is just begging to become a Deeply Regret telegram.  >:(  Frankly, if you want a light PPC-shooter?  Get into a Spad rather than this thing.  The Spad has no pretensions to being more than it actually is.  :(
  (Of course, if you can plump for DHS once the technological rennaissance kicks in, the RGU-133P gets a fair bit better and makes a pretty-good strafer, so who knows?  Maybe some IC individual ‘made a typo’ when writing up the stats; after all, ’twouldn’t be the first time....  :-X)

Trace Coburn

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PRINCES OF THE UNIVERSE
The “Royal” Starfighters of TRO3075
Originally posted 03 Sept. 2008.


  Given that the subject of “full-service high-tech super-fighters” has been the focus of ‘vigorous discussion’ ever since people first looked at the “lacklustre” platforms listed in TRO2750 - discussions which came rather too close to starting their share of blood-feuds for my own tastes - TPTB may well intend these ships to finally end that particular debate once and for all.  Personally, I have to say it’s about time - posters shooting at each other on a tabletop or over MegaMek is all in the spirit of the game, but all those dagger-drawn arguments were trying my nerves.  :D

  Before we start, I’d just like to chip in a helpful fluff-note for the tech-scavengers, culture-vultures and wannabe-writers (like me!) who find every tidbit of CBT lore interesting.  For those who haven’t yet had the chance to score TRO3075 :'(, it appears that any SLDF platform which was given the “Royal” treatment has a ‘b’ suffix appended to its normal type-designator, e.g. TRN-3Tb.  If you’re checking your opponent’s record-sheets or OOB before a game, you might want to be very careful about looking for that innocuous suffix; it might be the difference between a fun game and mauled by some underhanded munchkin.  :-X

  Also FWIW: in the weeks after TRO3050U was released, I made a point of ‘thinking out loud’ about what I thought a Royal ASF might look like.  I’m including links to those speculations in each entry, for reference purposes; you’ll need to scroll down to the “Update Workshop” in each post, though.  ;)

...

RGU-133Eb Rogue
  ... D’y’know, I didn’t actually do a ‘proper’ “Royal” interpretation of the Rogue:o  Maybe I was too busy being underwhelmed by what the ’50U variants had done for it.  :-[
  Thankfully, the ‘upgrade’ appears to be a straightforward KISS operation: XL the engine (making sure to use a double-strength cooling system), then use the freed mass to add Artemis-IV to the LRM racks and upgrade the MLs to pulse-models.  Now an ‘alpha-baby’ that delivers substantially more damage with each missile-spread, the “Royal Rogue” still isn’t going to be a ’Ship-killer - not with the way the TW/SO rule-sets shaped up - but it’s a very, very good option for hunting birds that don’t have armour proof against TAC checks from M(P)Ls or LRM-clusters.  Use the RGU-133Eb for counter-fighter work, especially in bullying lightfighters or anything light than itself, with a sideline in general-purpose harrassment.  And again, note carefully that the difference between this and the ‘vanilla’ -113E Rogue would be almost completely invisible until too late.  }:)

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #3 on: 22 March 2011, 07:56:43 »
While you might be overstating all-aspect penetration with LRMs in the first post under the new rules, the firepower isn't bad and I can see some possibilities for supporting other fighters.

As far as countering, aside from dropping something big and nasty in their laps, I'm looking right at interceptors like the Sabre or Centurion.  They have the armor to absorb a bit of rough handling (though they'll be eating the thresholds) and once they can get close, they can casually out-turn the Rogue while their lasers tear into it.  A Seydlitz is probably a bad idea.  The large laser penetration isn't really necessary, the standoff range is worth nothing, and it doesn't have the armor to withstand the LRM fire.

Trace Coburn

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #4 on: 22 March 2011, 08:17:38 »
While you might be overstating all-aspect penetration with LRMs in the first post under the new rules, the firepower isn't bad and I can see some possibilities for supporting other fighters.
  Yeah, I overlooked that bit during the editing process - the TW-era clustering rules really did take a lot of the bite out of larger LRM racks.  :(  OTOH, they're still pretty nasty about TACing the thin armour of most interceptors, so maybe that was the Rogue's design intent - to create a fire-support bird that could bully the fast-movers from behind a screen of its own?  ???

Quote
As far as countering, aside from dropping something big and nasty in their laps, I'm looking right at interceptors like the Sabre or Centurion.  They have the armor to absorb a bit of rough handling (though they'll be eating the thresholds) and once they can get close, they can casually out-turn the Rogue while their lasers tear into it.  A Seydlitz is probably a bad idea.  The large laser penetration isn't really necessary, the standoff range is worth nothing, and it doesn't have the armor to withstand the LRM fire.
  At which point it becomes a matter of whether these interceptors can get to the Rogues fast enough and knock 'em out of the fight before the Rogues crit 'em into uselessness and/or do a Casey Heynes on 'em.  ;D

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #5 on: 22 March 2011, 08:36:44 »
Yeah, that's the question.  It depends on their G tolerances and willingness to test said tolerances by sprinting across the Rogues' range, I think.  Going evasive would probably help, too.

Another very unpleasant idea for a counter is decidedly on the nasty thoughts side: An Ostrogoth.  Definitely overkill but it's an amusing thought.
« Last Edit: 22 March 2011, 08:38:16 by Moonsword »

Neufeld

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #6 on: 22 March 2011, 16:45:30 »
I suppose that we can conclude that the Rogue was a failed experiment considering that there has been no new fighters duplicating the concept, quiaff?

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Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #7 on: 22 March 2011, 18:47:48 »
I suppose that we can conclude that the Rogue was a failed experiment considering that there has been no new fighters duplicating the concept, quiaff?

The Sulla B does it pretty exactly and has the kind of LRM throw weight that can make small interceptors melt between the thresholding and the damage.  Certain Batus and Sais have some resemblance in terms of role.  What's different is they had shinier toys to play with so the end results are a lot prettier.

Maelwys

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #8 on: 23 March 2011, 02:06:41 »
I'm not currently checking the stats as I post this, but is it just me, or is this the third or fourth very similar fighter that we've seen?

7/11 with LPLs seems to be rather popular with some of these designs...

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #9 on: 23 March 2011, 04:29:14 »
The Sulla B does it pretty exactly and has the kind of LRM throw weight that can make small interceptors melt between the thresholding and the damage.  Certain Batus and Sais have some resemblance in terms of role.  What's different is they had shinier toys to play with so the end results are a lot prettier.

Still, those have more thrust and more armor taking them out of the slow under-armored light support category.


"Real men and women do not need Terra"
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We will be used to subdue the Capellan Confederation. We will be used to bring the Free Worlds League to heel. We will be used to
hunt bandits and support corrupt rulers and to reinforce the evils of the Inner Sphere that drove our ancestors from it so long ago."
-- Elias Crichell

Moonsword

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Re: Fighter of the Week, Issue #042 (repost) - Rogue
« Reply #10 on: 23 March 2011, 09:39:10 »
Still, those have more thrust and more armor taking them out of the slow under-armored light support category.

Uh, not exactly.  The only one of those that really manages to completely escape that is the Sulla, which is five tons larger and uses an XLFE.  The Sai is actually a bit sluggish compared to its contemporaries (like the Batu) and several of them aren't terribly well armored themselves, including all three S-4 variants.  They all have more armor and thrust but as noted, they also have a much more generous mass budget and several get Clantech toys.

Beyond that, it can get the job done when used competently.  Those interceptors I'm talking about are not going to enjoy trying to fence with a Rogue and as a support bird with other fighters rammed right down someone's throat (Hammerheads come to mind) to draw attention, it can work.  The Star League Defense Force not only kept them around - they kept a lot of things around, include the never-sufficiently-cursed Burke - but kept buying new ones, not just maintaining stockpiles, and evidently found the same armor you, Trace, and I spend time dismissing sufficient for the needs of the day.