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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath  (Read 2721 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« on: 05 October 2014, 16:36:11 »
Smoothdavid II PA(L)/Smoothgoliath II PA(L) - Technical Readout Vehicle Annex Revised page 197



     Whenever I read about the Smoothdavid II or see one in a scenario, I can't help hearing the theme tune to the old Robocop movie in my head, together with Peter Weller's voice quoting "Come quietly or there will be... trouble." The Smoothdavid II and its Smoothgoliath II variant were designed to be the future of law enforcement in Old Detroit the Inner Sphere, or at the very least the Lyran Commonwealth, and as could be expected of a paramilitary design, it's also found itself in a combat role thanks to the Jihad.

     Introduced in Technical Readout Vehicle Annex, the Smoothdavid II and Smoothgoliath II both entered production on Tharkad in 3064. What the mark I versions may be is unknown, they've never appeared in either stats or fluff form in any sourcebook, but presumably were just early prototypes or perhaps limited release first runs to iron out the kinks. The Smoothdavid III is later added, with the newly released Record Sheets Vehicle Annex - IndustrialMechs and Exoskeletons giving us greater detail.

     The fluff for the Smoothdavid II discusses how Inner Sphere police forces became interested in battle armor for their heavy response units in the aftermath of the Clan invasion. Cost and availability put the early battlesuits out of reach and it wasn't until a decade or so later that law enforcement had the opportunity to explore the possibilities presented by the armored suits. At first the experience didn't quite match expectations, with battle armor typically being overpowered or occasionally too clumsy.

     The solution for the police forces' needs was an obvious one: if the available battle armor was too big and powerful, make one that is lighter. TharHes of Tharkad stepped up and fielded the Smoothdavid II and its variant, choosing the lightest possible battle armor chassis, which even then truly will be a goliath in the non-military environment. Built as a PA(L) - or Powered Armor (Light) - instead of an exoskeleton, that means that the Smoothdavid II is fully sealed, despite the artwork, and thus capable of operating in hostile atmospheres or even no atmosphere at all. While potentially useful for SWAT and similar heavy police units, that small step is one that is very useful for a suit hoping to later make the leap to the military market.

     Oddly for a Lyran design, there isn't much talk of the Smoothdavid II/Smoothgoliath II being sold to foreign customers, but the fluff does at least mention the concept being copied. While technically not fully canon, you thus could field similar PA(L)s in other militaries and mercenary forces if the Smoothdavid II or Smoothgoliath II fits the troop mix you have in mind.

     The question could perhaps be asked, just how much do law enforcement departments really need PA(L)s? Given their access to conventional infantry-style weapons and equipment, SWAT is already going to be more than enough to handle criminals. If you're dealing with terrorists, then you're probably already calling in the military anyway. Rule of cool, I guess.

     With experience garnered from gladiatorial suits used on Solaris VII, TharHes at least managed to get the design right. Both the Smoothdavid II and Smoothgoliath II are capable of speeds of up to 32.4 kph, which will certainly enable them to outrun somebody on foot. The ability to move three hexes per turn allows a +1 Target Movement Modifier to be generated, and makes them great for running around inside buildings. The two suits are also equipped with armored gloves, a searchlight and a mission equipment bay.

     The gloves are pretty much a no brainer for a PA(L), especially one with the mission role intended for the Smoothies. The operator doesn't have to worry about accidentally crushing a perpetrator in their grasp, plus it freely allows the use of any equipment usable by a person. If you're using the suits for a combat role, then heavy infantry weapons such as the Man Portable Plasma Rifle, Portable Machine Gun, Standard Two-Shot SRM Launcher, Heavy Grenade Launcher and David Light Gauss Rifle make for good choices.

     The mission equipment is an interesting feature given how it’s described in the fluff. From the artwork, it's obvious that the suit doesn't have the bulk to hold the equipment internally, particularly not the Smoothdavid II with its 205kg bay. The write up in the Vehicle Annex instead attributes the mission equipment to multiple hardpoints that allow a variety of equipment to be attached to the frame. Examples given for the sort of equipment that could be used consist of a somewhat odd collection. The manipulator gloves are perhaps the least unusual, because it maybe wouldn't be uncommon for an operator to need even finer motor control than the gloves allow, only donning them for firefights and such. A counterpoint is that the Smoothdavid II and Smoothgoliath II should probably only be used when a heavy firefight is imminent anyway; the suits aren't really meant for the average beat officer. The mention of filter masks and armor vests as other options are a greater curiosity.

     Technically it shouldn't be impossible to design extra-large armor vests that could be used by battle armor, particularly PA(L)s and exoskeletons. For suits that have the payload capacity it would be an easy way to provide greater protection without a complete rebuild. Of course, there is the little problem that we don't have any rules for this, although it’s something that shouldn't be difficult to house rule. The need for operators to carry filter masks is also something that doesn't mesh with the rules. All PA(L)s are already environmentally sealed, so any such mask is technically unnecessary. The most plausible solution is that - like the gloves - part of the facemask of the helmet can be removed to allow the suit to present a less imposing visage, again house ruling that the suit isn't sealed when the mask is detached. This would be more fitting for a police suit than a military design, plus it would neatly account for the artwork.

     Where the Smoothdavid II and Smoothgoliath II part ways is in the remaining equipment. Whereas the former has an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount installed on each forearm, the Smoothgoliath replaces them with a cutting torch and heat sensor. The Smoothdavid's weapon mounts would allow it to carry some lighter firepower to support the main weapon carried in the hands, perhaps a stunner or a pistol. They could also be used to carry the only firepower for when the operator is using other equipment or otherwise doesn't have a hand free to hold a gun. It should be remembered that in the default BattleTech rules, no matter what infantry weaponry a battle armor suit wields, they're all treated effectively as an Auto Rifle and that only one weapon can be used per turn. Even when using optional rules, only one AP weapon can be fired per turn, but at least you can use a mix to allow for different types covering different roles.

     The Smoothgoliath's equipment suggests that it's intended for use in assaults. The heat sensor could be used in other situations, but the cutting torch is pretty clearly intended for cutting open access ways. The Smoothgoliath II also has heavier armor than the Smoothdavid II, which altogether accounts for it having around a third less mission equipment capacity at just 140kg. Even with two points of standard armor versus the Smoothdavid's one, the Smoothgoliath isn't well protected in BattleTech terms, although the two points are plenty in A Time Of War.

     The Smoothdavid III first appeared as an entry in the Field Manual 3085 RATs, with rough details published in Technical Readout Vehicle Annex Revised, and more revealed in Record Sheets Vehicle Annex - IndustrialMechs and Exoskeletons. Introduced during the Jihad as a way of dealing with shortages of real battle armor, the Smoothdavid III is an upgunned suit, but the weapon chosen forces the design to pay a hefty price. The description in the Armed and Dangerous section of the Annex states that TharHes replaced one of the AP Weapon Mounts with a Medium Recoilless Rifle, together with lower speed and a smaller mission equipment payload.  The mass requirement of the recoilless rifle means that the Smoothdavid III has been reduced to just a single Movement Point, which makes the suit much easier to hit and, when combined with the weak armor, the Smoothdavid III might be able to dish out the damage, but it definitely can't take it. The Smoothdavid III is the epitome of the glass cannon.

     Like all PA(L)s, you can't really expect much of the Smoothdavid family of suits. They're cheap and disposable spotters and initiative sinks, and, in an urban environment in particular, the Smoothdavid II and Smoothgoliath II can make for a usable sacrificial scout. The small Marine Point Value provided by the Smoothgoliath's cutting torch isn't really enough to make it worthwhile for boarding purposes; even unarmored marines in good body armor would be superior. The Smoothdavid III can make for an ambush unit, although it works best against conventional infantry and other PA(L)s, which it can hopefully kill before suffering too many casualties itself. Against proper battle armor, even light suits, the Medium Recoilless Rifle simply can't inflict enough damage to prevent almost certain destruction of the ambushing PA(L)s.

     The suits work best in RPG scenarios, where even a lowly PA(L) can be a tough cookie in a fight. A Time Of War also better allows players to fully utilize the flexibility offered by the armored gloves and mission equipment. The Smoothdavid is very well matched to the sort of player who likes to packrat, carrying every possible piece of hardware that might be required in a game session. When the mission equipment is offloaded, you also end up with a suit that masses under 200kg, which can be important if you're in an area with weak flooring and the GM is feeling evil.

     Overall, like so many PA(L)s and exoskeletons, the Smoothdavid/Smoothgoliath is really a flavor piece for BattleTech games. Use it you feel like the variety or have a few BV points/CBills spare, but don't expect much and, as always for these lightweights, make sure you have mops, buckets and body bags ready. At least that'll give you something to carry in the mission equipment bay.

mbear

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #1 on: 06 October 2014, 10:31:02 »
     The question could perhaps be asked, just how much do law enforcement departments really need PA(L)s? Given their access to conventional infantry-style weapons and equipment, SWAT is already going to be more than enough to handle criminals. If you're dealing with terrorists, then you're probably already calling in the military anyway. Rule of cool, I guess.

I can think of three cases where this suit could be useful:

1. Riot cops.
2. Adjunct for military forces, as in maintaining perimeters around terrorist strike zones while the military cleans them out.
3. Dealing with high risk criminal transfers. Joe Psycho is probably not going to be starting some shit with a heavily armored guard.

Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #2 on: 06 October 2014, 11:41:32 »
I like'em, there usable in rpg setting, which helps me in campaign i just started.

I think they'd be nice addition for scenarios for Tactical Battletech game itself, for riots and so forth.   

Thanks, sillybrt!
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #3 on: 06 October 2014, 12:02:41 »
I'm with mbear, PA(L)s in riot police have the advantage of being sealable vs tear gas. There's also something to be said for the ability to give absolutely zero shits about thrown rocks or bottles.

The Smoothdavid III first appeared as an entry in the Field Manual 3085 RATs, with rough details published in Technical Readout Vehicle Annex Revised, and more revealed in Record Sheets Vehicle Annex - IndustrialMechs and Exoskeletons. Introduced during the Jihad as a way of dealing with shortages of real battle armor, the Smoothdavid III is an upgunned suit, but the weapon chosen forces the design to pay a hefty price. The description in the Armed and Dangerous section of the Annex states that TharHes replaced one of the AP Weapon Mounts with a Medium Recoilless Rifle, together with lower speed and a smaller mission equipment payload.  The mass requirement of the recoilless rifle means that the Smoothdavid III has been reduced to just a single Movement Point, which makes the suit much easier to hit and, when combined with the weak armor, the Smoothdavid III might be able to dish out the damage, but it definitely can't take it. The Smoothdavid III is the epitome of the glass cannon.

While I agree that the Smoothie III will suffer greatly when facing actual military suits, I think it still has a place. I'd pair it with foot infantry on a platoon-to-company ratio. Assign one squad of Smoothdavids to provide support for each foot platoon, and you've provided heavy weapons support to them without slowing them down by making them cary their own support guns. This lets you replace battlesuits that were initially designed for the infantry support role(such as the Phalanx, and I think some Gray Death model or other), freeing those suits up for frontline combat.

Looking at the Marine Points tables, a Smoothgoliath II carrying a burst-fire weapon ends up with a Marine Point value of 2.25, for 9 points per squad. Not impressive compared to battle armor, but you're definitely going to cut a swathe through unarmored defenders.  The lack of a cutting torch brings the Smoothdavid II doswn to 8 points, so I'd reserve that for situations where you're actually going to be resolving to-hit rolls and whatnot. Those AP mounts will give you the edge there.
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #4 on: 06 October 2014, 13:18:26 »
Re Marine Point Values, only Mech-scale weapons on the burst-fire table TW p217 give a MPV bonus, so neither the Smoothgoliath II nor the Smoothdavid II would get such a bonus.

Thanks to its MRR the Smoothdavid III does get the bonus, and is thus worth 2 MPV per suit (assuming a non-Elemental operator), but that's only equal to unarmored Elementals or non-battlesuit marines wearing armor with a damage divisor of 2. Notably, the latter can provide 10 MPV per ton and thus outperform the PA(L)s (and everything else) on a per ton basis. Even marines without the heavier armor will either equal or outperform the Smoothdavid III on a per ton basis, depending upon which value is used for the PA(L) tonnage.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #5 on: 06 October 2014, 17:22:46 »
The question could perhaps be asked, just how much do law enforcement departments really need PA(L)s? Given their access to conventional infantry-style weapons and equipment, SWAT is already going to be more than enough to handle criminals. If you're dealing with terrorists, then you're probably already calling in the military anyway. Rule of cool, I guess.

Actually, I think this makes a certain amount of sense.  BattleMechs and tanks aren't much use when it comes to doing more than sealing a perimeter off when someone's holed up in a building until you're ready to just blow the whole thing up.  Conventional military BA can storm the place but a lot of military suits are comparatively heavy and their loadouts tend to be weapons prone to collateral damage and over-penetration because they're designed to do things like kill hostile infantry in job lots and give BattleMechs a case of heartburn.  Conventional infantry might not be a great pick, either.  If you're a hostage, who do you want rescuing you: The planetary SWAT team who trains regularly for doing things exactly like this and has weapons picked partially to avoid over-penetration or a platoon of infantry from the 10th House Regulars that's primarily trained to spot for artillery and throw satchel charges on BattleMechs and is carrying combat rifles designed to let them scratch the paint on a big stompy robot?  House military assets that are appropriate to the situation aren't necessary on planet or even within two or three jumps, either.  A lot of worlds, even fairly prominent ones, may be forced to fall back on their own resources for dealing with things we might expect a national government to deal with today.

Whether they need PA(L)s for that is a slightly different question but it's not inconceivable that criminals could get their hands on decent infantry armor and weapons, either.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #6 on: 06 October 2014, 17:34:57 »
I suspect for a lot of police forces it's going to be like the navies of the 19th century, but instead of admirals bragging to their peers that they have a dreadnought or two - that in reality they never really needed anyway, except for a matter of national pride - it'll be police chiefs showing off their shiny PA(L)s that just ate up the entirety of next year's procurement budget.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #7 on: 06 October 2014, 21:09:19 »
To me, full-size battle armor fills the niche of those trophy dreadnoughts. PA(L)s are the cruisers that do the actual work that needs doing.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #8 on: 06 October 2014, 22:09:16 »
I can see SWAT usage.  I mean, the Sphere is awash in weapons, imagine a North Hollywood Shootout scenario.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #9 on: 06 October 2014, 23:56:16 »
Well Remember the Gray Death Infiltrator write up? It talks about a Criminal gang operating Gray Death standards.

If various Gangs by the 3140s have access to powered armor, I would think that Police units would be considering getting some as well, now the Infiltrator entry the force that took them out was a house unit, but I doubt all gangs that have powered armor face house military's all the time.

SWAT, counter terrorist operations are easily to see a use for. Their are other reasons

Better survivability, even PALs can shrug off small arms a lot better than "unarmored" personnel. Then theirs the medi packs they get, which can keep you active even with a sucking chest wound.
Better Mobility, the Smooth series can move at 32kph, would be criminals booking it might make half that, then theirs jump jet equipped guys (not much for subtlety though).
Better Sensors, even the PALs get SAT NAV, Radios, High magnification opticals and a HUD, also likely are range finders and night vision, one probably can also find remote camera feeds on some suits.
Better Firepower, they can carry a wider array of heavier weapons, never mind the vehicle grade weapons
Better Environmental control, They can easily laugh at tear gas or other such chemicals being used.


Some uses out side of SWAT and counter terrorist ops, would likely be high value Escort or guarding, Some VIP needs babysitting, with the threat be leaved to have some significant assets, but not to the level of house troops required. I mean not every potential VIP on a hit list going to warrant battlemech protection...  Also High visibility escort, ...they really meant it when they said they where upping security...


mbear

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #10 on: 07 October 2014, 08:05:12 »
2. Adjunct for military forces, as in maintaining perimeters around terrorist strike zones while the military cleans them out.
The scenario I was thinking about with this:
Tom Terrorist was able to escape the hideout during the military strike. The Paul the PAL Patrolman sees him and pursues. Tom has some heavier weapons on him, but the PAL provides enough protection that Paul can keep him in sight and call in location data. The military force with the big guns deploys in front of Tom and ruins his day.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #11 on: 07 October 2014, 08:29:26 »
To me, full-size battle armor fills the niche of those trophy dreadnoughts. PA(L)s are the cruisers that do the actual work that needs doing.
My basic position is that there is no work available for BA or PALs at this scale.
There was an extended conversation a while back about crims in tanks, but SOP these days when things get to hairy is to pull back,contain, and wait for nature to take its course. Agressive shoot outs are too dangerous and have too much colaterol damage.

The main role I see for PALs, military or police, is as a fire support pack mule for the conventionals.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #12 on: 07 October 2014, 08:39:37 »
To me, full-size battle armor fills the niche of those trophy dreadnoughts. PA(L)s are the cruisers that do the actual work that needs doing.

Whereas for me, the "conventional infantry" SWAT are the cruisers.

To an extent, both views are (or can be) correct, as it would depend upon the individual world. To use modern day countries as an analogy, although without going into specifics, there are countries that have civilian ownership of military firearms and others that restrict even the ownership of a single bullet. The BT equivalent of the former might indeed find PA(L)s of interest at some level, although again it's possible that they may not. One police dept might take the stance of honoring the threat and opting for PA(L)s because of the potential firepower that could be faced, while another police dept might be able to take advantage of a culture where PA(L)s would be viewed as excessive even in the face of possible military weapons. I have some specific real world examples in mind to make this all clearer, but board rules.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #13 on: 07 October 2014, 08:47:50 »
Well Remember the Gray Death Infiltrator write up? It talks about a Criminal gang operating Gray Death standards.

Yup, I wrote that  ;). And as you note, the response to the criminal use of full-scale battle armor was a military unit.

While a large enough police PA(L) unit would have eventually those defeated criminals, they'd still take horrible casualties, and potentially no different than non-PA(L) police, depending upon the armament the criminals had for their battle armor. When a SL can one-shot any PA(L), and other options generally two-shot, it's really time to step back and call for the militia/regular army to come deal with the threat.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #14 on: 07 October 2014, 10:09:34 »
this has some interesting possibilities.  Couldn't the smoothies carry Bear hunters? what about Man pack PPCs?  hell maybe even a light recoiless. 

That all being said I wouldn't exactly see some BFE police department with PAL's. 

On a side note you know the neiborhood is going down hill if the cops are suiting up in PA(L). 

well written article by the way, and the responses just gave me a Idea for my next ATOW rpg session
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #15 on: 07 October 2014, 11:23:50 »
Couldn't the smoothies carry Bear hunters? what about Man pack PPCs?  hell maybe even a light recoiless.

They can carry infantry support weapons, but you'd need a full redesign akin to the Smoothdavid III to carry the Mech-scale versions. Those infantry weapons aren't as powerful, with the infantry Bearhunter, for example, lacking the extra damage vs battle armor.


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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #16 on: 07 October 2014, 13:14:07 »
Yup, I wrote that  ;). And as you note, the response to the criminal use of full-scale battle armor was a military unit.

While a large enough police PA(L) unit would have eventually those defeated criminals, they'd still take horrible casualties, and potentially no different than non-PA(L) police, depending upon the armament the criminals had for their battle armor. When a SL can one-shot any PA(L), and other options generally two-shot, it's really time to step back and call for the militia/regular army to come deal with the threat.

Oh, absolutely.  I'm thinking of things like hostage scenarios, "hot entry" situations, or other scenarios where making SWAT tougher, more mobile, and able to carry more might be a major force multiplier.  If someone really wants to bring anti-tank guns to the party, it may be time to let the tanks do the door knocking.

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #17 on: 07 October 2014, 14:32:12 »
Of course, one area where police PA(L)s would be useful is to counter any form of misuse or non-violent crime by civilian exoskeletons. In some circumstances the police would be able to use squadcars to counter an amok Groundhog with a drunk operator, for example, but what about cases where the problem is indoors or in terrain where normal ground vehicles can't go? Rather than just awaiting for the problem exoskeleton's batteries to run flat, the police having PA(L)s/exoskeletons of their own allow them to more directly bring the situation to a close. Depending upon the planet and police force, that sort of event might be anything from a rare occurance to something that happens daily.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #18 on: 07 October 2014, 14:52:10 »
There may also be a question of scale.  Aren't exoskeletons a lower tech level than battle armor?  A population of billions are going to require a few hundred, if not a few thousand suits.
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #19 on: 07 October 2014, 15:02:57 »
I think that "require" is the wrong word. The Earth today has a population of billions, without a single exoskeleton.

As for tech level, few planets make their own hardware anyway, so just like Mechs, ASFs, etc the suits can be imported.

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #20 on: 07 October 2014, 15:15:32 »
But in answer to False Son's question, Exoskeletons are downright lowtech at Tech C as opposed to BA's Tech E. Even PA(L)s get a discount at Tech D.7

sillybrit, you were much too matter-of-fact in your appraisal of the Smoothdavid III. After all, see what happened when I came to you with the question of whether to be sensible (LRR, original ground speed) or go full retard...

And hey, a successful swarm attack by a full squad of Smoothdavid III can headcap a 'Mech. Oh my, how very theoretical I'm getting :P
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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #21 on: 07 October 2014, 15:21:11 »
I think that "require" is the wrong word. The Earth today has a population of billions, without a single exoskeleton.

...which require (or demand, depending on your point of view, not trying to start an argument) policing without exoskeletons in their list of options.  Current militaries don't have any battlemechs, either.  That doesn't mean that the demand for them in universe is diminished by the fact that they don't exist in real life.  But, if you are going to make use of them, the deployment numbers are going to be higher than military grade battle armor.  BT has a pitiful regiment to population ratio, but do we know the same is true of law enforcement?

I've argued before that PALs are inferior to light BA and conventional infantry in other threads.  The start up costs are just rediculous.  However, I wonder if part of it could also be said to be public perception.  A PAL for the protection of the officer might go over with the public better than a militia's full fledged battle armor showing up and smashing through all the doorframes.

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As for tech level, few planets make their own hardware anyway, so just like Mechs, ASFs, etc the suits can be imported.

I was referring more to economics of scale.  Since these are civilian/paramilitary they fall outside of the scrutiny of BT's traditionally weak military industrial production.  If every city with a population of 2 million+ needs a Smoothie that is an large number of suits.  Like, the "don't worry yourself with the tank numbers" amount.  I'm trying to rationalize why this would exist when perfectly good battlearmor or modern infantry can do the job.
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Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #22 on: 07 October 2014, 19:03:35 »
I'd like see if my smuggler character to get hold of this for special "job" he would be doing. Was there actual price given to them?  I think that one of the more frustrating things these days I have to deal with. How much this item in the window?

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Smoothdavid & Smoothgoliath
« Reply #23 on: 09 October 2014, 02:40:37 »
See I would like to see PA(L) end up for damage control parties on warships, or now I guess pocket warships, since it should allow them to be able to move during combat maneuvering.  They would also be useful for gun bunnies (aka 13B) serving towed or open vehicle mounted artillery- instead of multiple people moving the shell a single PAL could be slinging it.
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