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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor  (Read 6057 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« on: 03 December 2015, 11:50:07 »
Clan Interface Armor - Experimental Technical Readout The Republic III page 14



     Experimental Technical Readout Republic III probably wasn't where you would have expected to see the Clan Interface Armor, but once you read the Readout you can see that it doesn't just detail RAF units, but also those of likely foes and allies once the Republic comes looking for payback. Interstellar Operations revealed the existence of the Clan version of the Blakist technology, which was covered in the Machina Domini article. As a side note, the Clan suit is the reason why I was trying to hold off on writing that article, and why I was careful how I wrote about the Word of Blake version.

     In many ways there's not much to be said about the Clan Interface Armor that wasn't written about the Machina Domini Interface Armor. Due to the need to use a PA(L) chassis, combined with the mass of the interface system, there simply isn't much payload or room to add anything else to either suit. With the Manei Domini being such warm and cuddly chaps, the Word gave their suit a secondary role as an anti-personnel unit, capable of butchering conventional infantry thanks to its Firedrake. Of course, the inherent flaws of PA(L)s made such a usage mutually assured destruction against even mere Ballistic Rifle infantry platoons, but nobody ever said that the Master's pets were rational and stable. The Clans came up with a much more sensible implementation, more concerned with pilot survival, but there's a hint that even they have caught a touch of madness when they gained access to the interface technology.

    I won't go into the details of how the interface system works with a ’Mech; for that, I suggest you go read Interstellar Operations or Jihad Hot Spots: Final Reckoning. I will note that the Clan version detailed in Interstellar Operations interfaces with Enhanced Imaging Neural Implants and not the Vehicular Direct Neural Interface used in the original Word version. Assuming that the units in Republic III aren't some early prototypes that are using salvaged or captured Word hardware, then that means that the Clan Interface Armor, Parash 3 and Ryoken III-XP base chassis are actually purely Clantech and not mixed tech as listed in the first publication of the Experimental Technical Readout.

     Like the MD Interface Armor, the Clan Interface Armor is no slouch in a foot race, capable of moving three hexes per Turn and thus generating a +1 Target Movement Modifier. Barring the defensive bonus all battlesuits get vs non-infantry, that's it as far as avoiding being hit, with the CIA relying upon the two points of armor that sheathes the suit. Basically, for Interface Armor caught outside a ’Mech cockpit, the best defense is to get back inside a cockpit, like yesterday, if not sooner.

     With the lighter Clan armor plating neatly balanced by the heavier Harjel-equipped chassis, the Clan Interface Armor has the same payload available for weapons and equipment as the MDIA. Like the Blakist version, the Clan suit comes with a Neural-Interface Unit, twin Armored Gloves and an AP Weapon Mount on the left forearm, but replaces the Interface Suit's Firedrake with a second AP Weapon Mount on the other forearm. The gloves do make the AP mounts superfluous, especially as they're actually capable of wielding larger infantry weapons than can be installed on the mounts, but to be honest there isn't really much else worthwhile that could be installed for 5kg apiece.

     The gloves do allow the Clan Interface Armor to mount a friendly Omni, so any ejected pilot should hopefully find a quick taxi ride off the battlefield. The suit can also perform Leg Attacks, but the lack of ’Mech-scale armament prevents it from inflicting damage during a Swarm.

     Instead of the heavier weaponry, the Clan suit possesses a pair of Mission Equipment compartments, which allow for survival kits, emergency rations, spare ammunition and anything else that could be crammed into the two 30kg compartments. There isn't a volume restriction per the rules, and technically the arm locations cover equipment mount on the shoulders, so I'd just hand wave the bulk of any supplies being carried.

     While the Mission Equipment compartments were presumably intended to carry equipment to aid pilots who're forced to eject, apparently some bright spark decided that they would also allow the CIA to be used for covert operations - remember what I said about catching the Blakist's madness? While the ability to carry equipment that can aid in covert missions might be useful, the suit lacks stealth and, more importantly, is also carrying a valuable piece of hardware that should be best kept in a ’Mech cockpit whenever possible. Added to that, MechWarriors are mostly trained for armored warfare, not for infantry combat, sneaky or otherwise, which is more the realm of Elementals, and if you really want to sneak an Elemental somewhere they shouldn't be, give them an XXL Sneak Suit and be done with it.

     Whereas the Machina Domini suit was only seen in concert with the Gestalt BattleMech, both of which designs are now apparently extinct for all intents and purposes, the CIA can be found in use with two ’Mech designs. The original mount for the CIA was the Parash 3, in operation within Clan Hell's Horses since the mid-3080s. This BattleMech is a decent enough scout, but it's the Wolves that are fielding the best partner to the CIA in the form of the Ryoken III-XP OmniMech, aka the Skinwalker. In addition to the Wolves, it's suggested that the Snow Ravens may also be fielding the Skinwalker themselves, and thus also have access to interface technology.

     I do have to wonder whether the CIA is the mystery PA(L) worn by Ultraheavy ProtoMech pilots mentioned in the War of Reaving sourcebook, or perhaps an adaptation of that suit. If it is, then it suggests that there might have even been a degree of parallel development rather than the Horses having just copied and then modified the Blakist technology. Or perhaps some of the rumors and theories regarding the Blood and links with the Society hold a kernel of truth.

     Like the Machina Domini suit, the CIA isn't something that you’ll typically be fielding by the squad. Given that the Parash 3 and Ryoken III-XP are both considered experimental, you probably wouldn't see multiple examples in the same Star, thus if you do sight a Clan suit it most likely will be a solitary example, whether as an ejected pilot or a covert operative. Over time the two ’Mech designs might become more common, and the system spread to other designs, but even then Stars are still unlikely to eject in formation just to form a Point of PA(L)s.

     There's not really much you can do with a single PA(L) in the typical BattleTech scenario, particularly ones lacking any heavy firepower or usable electronics. Like many such lightweight suits, the most likely roles are spotter, initiative sink and/or meat snack, with a better environment being A Time Of War scenarios if you really must use the suits outside of a cockpit. Like the MDIA, there really isn't anything more worthwhile that can be said.

     Given the advantages provided by the interface technology, with EI technology already well established within the Clans, the Parash 3 and Skinwalker are unlikely to be the last that we'll see of the system within their ranks. As noted in Experimental Technical Readout Republic III, it's ironic that what started as a Blakist development is likely to live on in the ranks of their most hated enemies.

glitterboy2098

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #1 on: 03 December 2015, 15:11:02 »
i don't think that the suit thing in ultraheavy proto's was a full PAL. i suspect they use a control system more like we see in the film Pacific Rim.. the pilot wearing body armor tied into a series of armatures that read his/her movements. which is then backed up with a neural interface link for fine control.

i doubt the control hardware would have any ability to operate seperate from the proto. that said, the ultraheavy proto's are in use by the Hells Horses, suggesting that the ultraheavy proto control set up might have inspired the choice of pursuing the interface technology.
« Last Edit: 03 December 2015, 15:13:53 by glitterboy2098 »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #2 on: 03 December 2015, 17:12:40 »
Certainly an interesting development.
The master would turn in his grave.
Someone should look for Storms on Circinius or something.
So, do these suits stack DNI and EI bonuses, or is it somewhere in between?
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sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #3 on: 03 December 2015, 20:29:38 »
i don't think that the suit thing in ultraheavy proto's was a full PAL. i suspect they use a control system more like we see in the film Pacific Rim.. the pilot wearing body armor tied into a series of armatures that read his/her movements. which is then backed up with a neural interface link for fine control.

i doubt the control hardware would have any ability to operate seperate from the proto. that said, the ultraheavy proto's are in use by the Hells Horses, suggesting that the ultraheavy proto control set up might have inspired the choice of pursuing the interface technology.

The Wars of Reaving, p 204, Ultraheavy ProtoMechs section:
"Achieving this without using BattleMech-scale components—including gyros—meant creating a larger control system based around a modified PA(L) suit. In addition to giving the Ultra the same flexibility of control, this suit-based cockpit and control unit doubles as an escape system for ProtoMech warriors, something not possible for lighter, standard-weight ProtoMechs."

If the Ultraheavy suit was just modified body armor, then why refer to it as a PA(L) at all? The question could be asked as to why a "modified PA(L)"? Presumably because not just any PA(L) can be used, but must instead have specific hardware installed... just like the interface unit fitted to the CIA. That Ultraheavies can also be quads would potentially point away from the idea of armatures using a feedback system to control the Proto. Such a control method would also be a step back from the purely neural EI system used for smaller Protos. Just like the Clan Interface Armor we see here, the Ultraheavy control suit can also be used as an escape system, therefore operating independently.

The specific mention of the Ultraheavy suit allowing gyros to be avoided is yet another match of the functionality of the CIA, such that I feel that we're well into duck territory. That the Horses seem to be the first users of the CIA, given the evidence of the Parash, and given that, as you point out, they also use Ultraheavy, we have what appears to be another tie in.

Of course, this is all purely speculation on my behalf.

Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #4 on: 03 December 2015, 23:59:50 »
I remember reading in The Wars of Reaving book about how the Ultraheavy Protomechs were using "Suits".

So the CIA is the one-in-the-same suit used with the Ultraheavy ProtoMechs?  Hell's Horses are the only one fielding a Ultraheavy ProtoMechs...

I do think having such a suit is interesting "dare i say"  step forward?  Aside from the nasty effects of Enhance Imaging does to a pilot, it keeps the pilot alive and better protected after a ejection.  Possibly being able to do some cloak and dagger stuff and going back to the mech possibly?

Thanks for writing this up, sillybrit!
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #5 on: 04 December 2015, 12:36:28 »
Well, protomech pilots aren't known for their longevity, anyways, so the system is no step back there.
Besides, would this system allow a single pilot to control a quad mech?
As far as I remember that was possible for VDNI (The vehicle part, they had no quadmechs).
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Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #6 on: 04 December 2015, 12:39:05 »
Well, protomech pilots aren't known for their longevity, anyways, so the system is no step back there.
Besides, would this system allow a single pilot to control a quad mech?
As far as I remember that was possible for VDNI (The vehicle part, they had no quadmechs).
There are ProtoMechs are Quads and Battle Armor that uses VDNI.  However, as far I know none of the Clans have Battle Armor that uses VDNI.
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UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #7 on: 04 December 2015, 12:59:35 »
Ah, I meant QuadVees.
You now, that crossbreed of a Quad Mech and Tank that could switch modes depending on terrain.
As far as I know it needs two Pilots, and VDNI allowed a single Pilot to control a Tank, so I figured a mechwarrior with an Interface suit might be able to solo the QuadVee, thus making this a great choice for the Horses.
But then again, maybe the EI implementation doesn't allow for that benefit.
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marauder648

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #8 on: 04 December 2015, 14:50:40 »
Lovely article :)
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GreekFire

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #9 on: 04 December 2015, 15:28:22 »
The Wars of Reaving, p 204, Ultraheavy ProtoMechs section:
"Achieving this without using BattleMech-scale components—including gyros—meant creating a larger control system based around a modified PA(L) suit. In addition to giving the Ultra the same flexibility of control, this suit-based cockpit and control unit doubles as an escape system for ProtoMech warriors, something not possible for lighter, standard-weight ProtoMechs."

If the Ultraheavy suit was just modified body armor, then why refer to it as a PA(L) at all? The question could be asked as to why a "modified PA(L)"? Presumably because not just any PA(L) can be used, but must instead have specific hardware installed... just like the interface unit fitted to the CIA. That Ultraheavies can also be quads would potentially point away from the idea of armatures using a feedback system to control the Proto. Such a control method would also be a step back from the purely neural EI system used for smaller Protos. Just like the Clan Interface Armor we see here, the Ultraheavy control suit can also be used as an escape system, therefore operating independently.

The specific mention of the Ultraheavy suit allowing gyros to be avoided is yet another match of the functionality of the CIA, such that I feel that we're well into duck territory. That the Horses seem to be the first users of the CIA, given the evidence of the Parash, and given that, as you point out, they also use Ultraheavy, we have what appears to be another tie in.

Of course, this is all purely speculation on my behalf.

That's...really well thought out, and makes complete sense.
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Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #10 on: 04 December 2015, 17:52:06 »
Ah, I meant QuadVees.
You now, that crossbreed of a Quad Mech and Tank that could switch modes depending on terrain.
As far as I know it needs two Pilots, and VDNI allowed a single Pilot to control a Tank, so I figured a MechWarrior with an Interface suit might be able to solo the QuadVee, thus making this a great choice for the Horses.
But then again, maybe the EI implementation doesn't allow for that benefit.
As far I know, the QuadVee is straight up Ground "LAM", just Neurohelmet affair.  With two pilots as far i know.  No VDNI involved.
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marauder648

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #11 on: 05 December 2015, 03:12:57 »
Where is your article about the Machina Dormi?
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Wrangler

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #12 on: 05 December 2015, 08:31:50 »
Where is your article about the Machina Dormi?
The original one was in Jihad: Final Reckoning.   New info on the Clan version is in Interstellar Operations BETA.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #13 on: 05 December 2015, 15:37:06 »
As far I know, the QuadVee is straight up Ground "LAM", just Neurohelmet affair.  With two pilots as far i know.  No VDNI involved.
Yes, I am aware of that.
Argumentation:
  • A regular vehicle requires multiple crew members
  • QuadVees require multiple crewmembers
  • VDNI allowed a single person to control a Vehicle
  • VDNI was used in the WoB Interface Suit
  • The WIA and CIA are at least somewhat similar
  • It can be assumed a Word operative with the suit would have been able to control an adapted vehicle
Question:
  • Can a clan operative do the same, given the probably similar connectors outside the suit and a sufficiently adapted vehicle?
  • If the above is at least a "maybe", can a QuadVee be similarly adapted?
The general train of thought is that given current knowledge, a Vehicle could, in certain circumstances, require less pilots than a Quad Mech, while a LAM always required just one.

@Marauder:
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,45013.0.html

Quick Question:
Do ejected pilots still get the +2 to hit if in the suit?
« Last Edit: 05 December 2015, 15:42:15 by UnLimiTeD »
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Clan Interface Armor
« Reply #14 on: 05 December 2015, 16:02:23 »
Where is your article about the Machina Dormi?
The original one was in Jihad: Final Reckoning.   New info on the Clan version is in Interstellar Operations BETA.

he means the BAotW article:
BAotW: Machina Domini Interface Armor

as a BA it is rather lackluster. too much mass given over to weaponry, not enough to mobility or protection, given its role as a pilot's suit. but rather WOB considering, since they probably saw it as a commando unit.. letting the mech pilot leave the mech and cause chaos.

 

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