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BattleTech Player Boards => Fan Articles => Topic started by: Empyrus on 23 April 2018, 16:43:05

Title: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 23 April 2018, 16:43:05
(http://cfw.sarna.net/wiki/images/thumb/8/8f/Pathfinder.png/208px-41yw28n35h8udyrjkout6lekgzztn81.png?timestamp=20110630183023)

During the Jihad, the Inner Sphere went through something called "RetroTech craze". The Jihad was destructive in every possible way, and the need for weapons was greater than ever, yet the factory capacity wasn't quite there. Then some genius figured that they could manufacture primitive, Age of War-like 'Mechs more easily than modern equipment. It wouldn't be as good, naturally, but quantity has a quality of its own, as the saying goes.

In 3075, the Lyran Commonwealth needed cheap, easily produced scout 'Mechs for their planetary militias and other lower priority units (and for sale to mercenaries, it would be un-Lyran not to consider potential sales). This resulted in the aptly named Pathfinder, designated PFF-2. At 25 tons with 96 KPH maximum speed, it is an unremarkable design, but such is the price of using Primitive (or more properly, RetroTech) construction. Let's review what this means: The engine has 20%  higher rating for same performance as standard construction would give, in other words more tonnage is used. The cockpit eats into payload mass as well, weighting 5 tons rather than the usual 3 tons. And finally, primitive units use Primitive Armor that gives only 2/3rds of the protection standard armor gives for the same weight (strictly speaking RetroTech units could use other armors but if you go for cheap, why bother?). This all results in another drawback: Attacks against Primitive (or RetroTech) units are more likely to cause critical hits.

The Pathfinder is powered by 180-rated Primitive Fusion engine rather than 150-rated SFE 25 tonners with 6/9 movement would usually use; while the resulting speed is average at best for its weight class, it is common speed in Lyran light 'Mechs and more than enough to keep up with their heavier designs. The Pathfinder's armor weights 6 tons for protection equal to the Lyran-staple Commando, with some armor shifted from rear and center front to the front sides and head. 10 standard heat sinks are used, enough for a simple machine like this.
Unlike rest of the 'Mech, its equipment is modern: Its sole armament is a right arm-mounted ER Medium Laser, and it also sports a modern high quality Beagle Active Probe granting it superior scouting abilities compared to old bug 'Mechs. Finally, though we do not have information about its exact sensor systems the BAP aside, it does possess Improved Sensors quirk (according to BattleMech Manual).
There is one proposed variant, which simply swaps the laser for a TAG. Since MUL lists a PFF-2T variant without record sheet, I am assuming it is the TAG variant mentioned in XTRO: RetroTech.

All in all, the Pathfinder is really what its name implies, a recon 'Mech and nothing more. Use it for scouting, and keep running without stopping to fight, leave that for others. It does have more range than old bug 'Mechs (likely machines used by raiders and pirates) but it also has less mobility and is more vulnerable to their attacks due to its lower spec construction. Against modern versions of those bugs... well, fortunately the Pathfinder is cheap.
Despite its drawbacks, as a 'Mech intended for militias, it is nearly perfect. It has more speed and range than infantry and is suited for supporting them, it is more mobile than vehicles in difficult terrain, and the Beagle Active Probe and the 'Mech's hands likely will find more use in search and rescue operations even if they never see use in combat proper. Anyone else will want something better though.

Other stuff:
The Pathfinder is from XTRO: RetroTech
There is no miniature for it.
http://masterunitlist.info/Unit/Details/4790/pathfinder-pff-2
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Tymers Realm on 23 April 2018, 18:04:50
IOW, a 'Mook' mech?
Or at least one that can spot ambushes...?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 23 April 2018, 18:11:05
IOW, a 'Mook' mech?
Or at least one that can spot ambushes...?

You know where the enemies are when your Pathfinders drop out of contact with you :P

A mook 'Mech is a good description certainly, if the players are pirates. I don't think you find Pathfinders on Draconis Combine or Free World League border worlds. But near-Periphery and other less important places, sure.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 23 April 2018, 18:41:42
You know where the enemies are when your Pathfinders drop out of contact with you :P
replace Pathfinders with Wasps/Stingers/Locusts and that pretty much sums up scouting in the 3rd and 4th succession wars..
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Luciora on 23 April 2018, 18:46:46
Now i really want a mini to make another Commando Freyr. The head is a good start.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 23 April 2018, 19:02:59
replace Pathfinders with Wasps/Stingers/Locusts and that pretty much sums up scouting in the 3rd and 4th succession wars..
True, but it isn't like the Active Probe really changes this. The 'Mech isn't fast and tough enough to really run away or survive.
Though admittedly this is a result of the game rules. I assume the Beagle Active Probe really adds long range sensors to 'Mechs as well, along with other useful stuff that can't be really represented with game rules.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Moonsword on 23 April 2018, 21:19:11
For what it is - a cheap high quality sensor picket - the Pathfinder is a surprisingly good baseline unit to toss out to militias, with a thoughtful use of modern components to get performance where it was necessary to meet requirements.  Long-term, modern 'Mechs are better (their components will be more common once the supply chain is back in order, so the cost will come out in the wash) but the Pathfinder is not a bad unit for what it does.

If you can't maintain this - and I'd bet the active probe is a problem for less sophisticated militias - quit faffing about with 'Mechs and buy a bunch of Ferrets and cheap APCs to use as your sensor picket, substituting numbers to provide the necessary detection radius from your main forces.

True, but it isn't like the Active Probe really changes this. The 'Mech isn't fast and tough enough to really run away or survive.
Though admittedly this is a result of the game rules. I assume the Beagle Active Probe really adds long range sensors to 'Mechs as well, along with other useful stuff that can't be really represented with game rules.

Beagle helps with longer-range detection as well under the Double-Blind rules in TO, 20% over IR and 50% over radar on BattleMechs.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 23 April 2018, 21:45:12
Figures the BAP plays a role in Double-Blind. Never really played that, no chance for it, not practical. (I'm not really a Megamek player, doesn't have the same feel as holding minis and talking with friends face to face while playing.)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Frogfoot on 23 April 2018, 23:42:17
Seems like it would slot into LCAF units just right, what with the similar chassis to the Commando. I'd guess that the Steiners wouldn't let these guys range too far from their 'wall of steel' so that if it ran into trouble it would have a reasonable chance of retreating towards back-up.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 24 April 2018, 03:50:34
Just far enough to be able to immediately shoot at it's corpse. ^^
For lyran needs, surprisingly focused on what is actually useful. Then again, what they mostly cut was the production cost, so it's very lyran in that regard.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 24 April 2018, 06:48:34
I'm really surprised there isn't a post-Jihad upgrade to the Pathfinder. Either an entirely new build or at least an armor overhaul.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 24 April 2018, 07:03:35
Yes, switching to production grade armour shouldn't be too difficult, and as that's what gets damaged first and there's probably a steady and reliable supply available, that makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 24 April 2018, 08:08:48
Switching to all-modern construction would free 3.5 tons after maxed out armor. 4 tons, if you don't waste half a ton for single point of armor.
Either way, this would allow for TAG, a Guardian ECM suite, and another ERML or perhaps swapping the laser for a medium X-pulse laser, to create a full-blown scout/EWAR 'Mech that shares many parts with the Commando.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Wrangler on 24 April 2018, 09:01:13
Be interesting to see a modern refit (at least Succession War level introtech) version of it.  I think though that once the Dark Age demilitarization / downsiding happened, that Lyrans properly dropped production like sack of potatoes.   Its possible it could been reintroduced in the brief 10-15 years of the Late Dark Age / Gray Monday happened that something could have sparked revival.  Though it may not be fun to play as a personal mech as player, As a opposing force or a NPC supplemental force or even Battleforce level games, it may be more useful since you can get more of them.

Funny thing is the Draconis Combine has a similar mech, the Sokuryou.  I don't think it as cheap as Pathfinder since it's more modern industrialMech vs retrotech mech.  It meant for scouting and artillery spotting work as well.  Though it is a post-Jihad machine introduced in 3084 vs earlier date of the Pathfinder. 
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Moonsword on 24 April 2018, 09:07:23
Switching to all-modern construction would free 3.5 tons after maxed out armor. 4 tons, if you don't waste half a ton for single point of armor.
Either way, this would allow for TAG, a Guardian ECM suite, and another ERML or perhaps swapping the laser for a medium X-pulse laser, to create a full-blown scout/EWAR 'Mech that shares many parts with the Commando.

ECM, TAG, and an ERML would be great additions for a low-end EW platform.  ERMLs are fairly widespread by the Republic Era; MXPLs not so much.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 24 April 2018, 09:15:32
X-pulse lasers become "common" in 3082 per IO, so they should be available. Of course, ER lasers are older tech and likely simpler and easier.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 24 April 2018, 11:24:31
I'm really surprised there isn't a post-Jihad upgrade to the Pathfinder. Either an entirely new build or at least an armor overhaul.

When you're drawing down your armies, putting a 'mook' (to use the earlier term) into full production instead of something more useful like, say, Razorbacks or Hollanders isn't a great use of scarce resources. This was a design intended to fill the gaps during a particularly devastating war, and when the war was over it was done. (Think destroyer escorts and escort carriers post-1945. They filled their role, and afterwards they were retired quickly- and no more were built once the need passed.)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: grimlock1 on 24 April 2018, 13:58:09
Switching to all-modern construction would free 3.5 tons after maxed out armor. 4 tons, if you don't waste half a ton for single point of armor.
Either way, this would allow for TAG, a Guardian ECM suite, and another ERML or perhaps swapping the laser for a medium X-pulse laser, to create a full-blown scout/EWAR 'Mech that shares many parts with the Commando.
Just to check my understanding, other than flavor, c-bill cost and BV cost, are there any advantages to Retrotech?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 24 April 2018, 14:51:33
Just to check my understanding, other than flavor, c-bill cost and BV cost, are there any advantages to Retrotech?

This may be flavor but, availability to shift from an IndustrialMech facility to making RetroTech. In the vein of WW2's tractor to tank factory transitions.

The Pathfinder is one of those units that's a hell of a lot more useful in a strategic sense than a tactical one. Scouting out the enemy is very important but also very boring.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 24 April 2018, 15:25:29
To follow on Kit's comment, it's also something that Battletech doesn't really handle particularly well in-general. Either you play a standard game and can see where your enemy's units are anyway, or you're using double-blind rules and the game will take a while (to say the least!). For most games, a scout isn't as handy as it would be to real armies- a Retrotech scout then is even less-so. The earlier comments had it dead-on: You know where the enemy is when your Pathfinders stop responding.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Wrangler on 24 April 2018, 16:19:16
I guess it must not be very popular with it's pilots when that's way they find the enemy!

Field Commander - "I need you go out find that where opposing force is."
Pathfinder MechWarrior - "I will do my best sir!  I will not let you down."
Field Commander "I'm sure you won't, even if you don't report back in."
Pathfinder MechWarrior - "...."
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 24 April 2018, 17:07:33
"Make sure you try to make your engine explode when you die. The smoke makes for a great scout marker."

(I'm presuming primitive engines follow the same rules as a standard or XL for purposes of engine explosion rules, but as I typed the above I realized I wasn't 100% sure.)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 24 April 2018, 20:50:17
Well, in double-blind, which is certainly a valid option in MegaMek, it actually has some scouting capabilities.
If they sent them off to militias, they could just drop them from the books; not likely anyone will ever come to check. Of course, then you can't do any fancy refits like fitting them with new armour, so that'll only happen if the world they're on has the industrial capability for that.
In which case: Can't you build something better?
Oh, but that aside: It's got pretty competitive looks.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Wrangler on 24 April 2018, 21:05:05
In which case: Can't you build something better?
Oh, but that aside: It's got pretty competitive looks.
Well, limited production capacity i think is one of the problems.  Primitive Mech is like using today technology with some advanced ones (to us) and slapping legs and arms on it. 

If factories in the Jihad hadn't been blown up, better machines would have been better choice.

Then again, if you can't kill enemy with quality, you can make them joke and quanity...in way down their throat.  Sort like Sherman tanks in WW2, but still not endearing to it's crews...
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Moonsword on 24 April 2018, 21:43:04
X-pulse lasers become "common" in 3082 per IO, so they should be available. Of course, ER lasers are older tech and likely simpler and easier.

The date in IO just means all the major factions can build them.  ERMLs have a more common availability code than MXPLs do.  They're used on a lot more units and are just a more mainstream weapon, which is what I was getting at.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: nerd on 24 April 2018, 23:39:37
"Make sure you try to make your engine explode when you die. The smoke makes for a great scout marker."

(I'm presuming primitive engines follow the same rules as a standard or XL for purposes of engine explosion rules, but as I typed the above I realized I wasn't 100% sure.)
We call that a "Flaming Datum".
 ;)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 25 April 2018, 08:28:42
Just to check my understanding, other than flavor, c-bill cost and BV cost, are there any advantages to Retrotech?

Out of universe, not really. It'd be like producing M4 Shermans to supplement M1 Abrams production. Sure you can do it, but it's pointless.

If they sent them off to militias, they could just drop them from the books; not likely anyone will ever come to check. Of course, then you can't do any fancy refits like fitting them with new armour, so that'll only happen if the world they're on has the industrial capability for that.

Well a full armor swap isn't much more difficult than repairing damaged armor so I'd think it was in the capability of a militia unit.

When you're drawing down your armies, putting a 'mook' (to use the earlier term) into full production instead of something more useful like, say, Razorbacks or Hollanders isn't a great use of scarce resources. This was a design intended to fill the gaps during a particularly devastating war, and when the war was over it was done. (Think destroyer escorts and escort carriers post-1945. They filled their role, and afterwards they were retired quickly- and no more were built once the need passed.)

Strategically, I agree. Producing RetroTech when you don't absolutely need to is a waste. On the other hand, if you have a Pathfinder in your unit making sure it lives longer is a Good Thing. 'Mechs aren't cheap and swapping it out for a new unit may not be possible. Even having the manufacturer produce an upgrade kit could be good for everyone. The manufacturer gets more money, the government taxes said money, and the buyer gets a more capable unit. (Granted, not much more capable, but still.)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Wrangler on 25 April 2018, 08:45:19
How much modifications can be done to a RetroTech mech?  Would heavy commercial armor (same strength as standard armor) be out of the question? It certainly lessen the crits being inflicted on it.  Unless it's conversion all the way or nothing. Their essentially up gunned IndustrialMechs
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Tymers Realm on 25 April 2018, 08:58:31
In all honesty, my best thoughts would be, as a field upgrade, to replace the Primitive Armor with 4.5 tons of Standard (slight armor increase) and throw a Guardian ECM in one of the Torsos. I haven't speced it out yet.
But that kind of upgrade should be with in most militias capabilities, shouldn't it?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: grimlock1 on 25 April 2018, 09:37:52
Out of universe, not really. It'd be like producing M4 Shermans to supplement M1 Abrams production. Sure you can do it, but it's pointless.
If my finance and manufacturing people are telling me they can't give me the enough of the M1's I need, but they can supplement them with a passel of M4's, I would inquire how many M60's I could get for that money.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 25 April 2018, 10:30:53
The point of RetroTech was that the factories in question were civilian-grade, and even 3025-level stuff was too much for them to handle without unacceptable retooling delays.

To extend your metaphor, you don't have enough M1s, the factory currently putting out Ford Mustangs can start giving you M4s as early as next week, but if you want M60s you won't see a single one for at least a year...and the enemy army is a month away.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: smdvogrin on 25 April 2018, 12:55:23
Out of universe, not really. It'd be like producing M4 Shermans to supplement M1 Abrams production. Sure you can do it, but it's pointless.

Yes, the in-universe reason for the primitive tech is that it can be built with industry that is incapable of producing standard tech components.

M-1 vs M-4 is actually a very good comparison - If you need to start tank production in some backwater country, their industry is unlikely to be able to produce Chobham armor (which is a highly classified composite), but can probably roll out large amounts of face hardened steel (which is used in civilian industries).
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Wrangler on 25 April 2018, 13:04:39
In all honesty, my best thoughts would be, as a field upgrade, to replace the Primitive Armor with 4.5 tons of Standard (slight armor increase) and throw a Guardian ECM in one of the Torsos. I haven't speced it out yet.
But that kind of upgrade should be with in most militias capabilities, shouldn't it?
The Armor would be one thing, it makes difference such as in case of another RetroTech mech, like the Rook.  There standard tech version and high tech one. Given they lost like 100 primitives trying stop an invasion, i think upgrading Pathfinder would add it more life on the field.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 25 April 2018, 13:06:26
The Armor would be one thing, it makes difference such as in case of another RetroTech mech, like the Rook.  There standard tech version and high tech one. Given they lost like 100 primitives trying stop an invasion, i think upgrading Pathfinder would add it more life on the field.

You run into a sort of primitive version of Apollo's Law then though- if upgrading to standard tech is the only way to make this thing useful, is it worth those resources to begin with?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 25 April 2018, 14:25:26
My ideal fate for the Pathfinder would be for the primitive model to remain in production for local militias, and any updated model be produced solely for export, selling them to mercs, Periphery militaries, and in true Lyran fashion anyone with the cash.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 25 April 2018, 14:32:19
You run into a sort of primitive version of Apollo's Law then though- if upgrading to standard tech is the only way to make this thing useful, is it worth those resources to begin with?
Well, no, it isn't.
But, in the case of a light scout, it is useful to begin with - you're just making it a bit more useful, or in this case, more survivable, so that it can be useful for longer.
I see an armour upgrade in that light - whenever something breaks, replace it with the equivalent standard armour, and the whole cover once that happens often enough; Armour takes damage first, and if that militia is in any way actually using their Pathfinders, that damage will accumulate, so, in relative peace, why not supply it with milspec plate that the militia hopefully has access to, anyways. I could see them not even using the freed up weight, just the durability would be a boon already.

If you think about a serious upgrade, I think we indeed reach the point where it is more sensible to replace the entire machine. Could just take an old Commando and pull a missile launcher for a probe and ecm.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 25 April 2018, 14:33:22
My ideal fate for the Pathfinder would be for the primitive model to remain in production for local militias, and any updated model be produced solely for export, selling them to mercs, Periphery militaries, and in true Lyran fashion anyone with the cash.

That WOULD make it a handy addition to the mini-factions that sprung up in the Republic post-blackout, actually. A Pathfinder working alongside cobbled-together industrials and combined-arms forces, maybe with a 'real' Battlemech (Panther, Arbalest, etc.) at the head of the force, would be pretty solid for a standard attack force in that era.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 25 April 2018, 15:58:16
Heh, funny how a simple scout actually creates quite a lot of talk.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 25 April 2018, 16:22:53
The stuff that generates the most conversation are usually the ones with odd in-universe situations, or ones that are more than just frontline direct combat units.

There's only so much conversation you can have about Devastators when nearly everything revolves around walking one onto the board and shooting stuff, or having same done to them. Eventually someone tries to spice things up by mentioning cerulean whips, and that's when you know the thread's pretty much done.

Stuff like the Pathfinder? You gotta think when you use one, and that leads to...ideas.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 25 April 2018, 16:33:32
Stuff like the Pathfinder? You gotta think when you use one, and that leads to...ideas.
Ideas? This doesn't have anything really weird on-board. Heck, it weighs too much to be easily thrown.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 25 April 2018, 16:40:22
Ideas? This doesn't have anything really weird on-board. Heck, it weighs too much to be easily thrown.

Time to design a support vehicle trebuchet...
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 25 April 2018, 16:53:24
Time to design a support vehicle trebuchet...

That's easy. After all, the Lyrans already have Luftenburgs...
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 26 April 2018, 08:55:23
The point of RetroTech was that the factories in question were civilian-grade, and even 3025-level stuff was too much for them to handle without unacceptable retooling delays.

To extend your metaphor, you don't have enough M1s, the factory currently putting out Ford Mustangs can start giving you M4s as early as next week, but if you want M60s you won't see a single one for at least a year...and the enemy army is a month away.

And the M-4s mount a modern main gun.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 26 April 2018, 16:30:11
And the M-4s mount a modern main gun.
M-50 Super Sherman's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Sherman) basically, with the long 75mm guns.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Colt Ward on 28 April 2018, 01:24:54
While the talk about armor is interesting . . . if I was a merc buying secondhand Pathfinders, its that Prim engine I would look at replacing.  IMO that would increase its viability as a scout- after all, you do not really want them getting shot at much.  After you can go faster to avoid those who might try to shoot at you, then we start talking about improving their scout ability by improving how much they can risk being shot by improving the armor type.

Trying to do the math but . . . if you drop a 175 LFE in you can move up to 7/11 . . . and a 225 XL actually gives you a half ton back to zip at 9/14.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 28 April 2018, 04:43:02
to do that though is a lot more work (practically a rebuilding) compared to replacing the armor. since IIRC the engine is generally going to include the mass of all the myomers and other motive system components spread around the mech.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: marauder648 on 28 April 2018, 05:59:32
I'd never heard of this little thing, its a cute lil scout and a rather high end retrotech thanks to its weapons and sensors.  Nice write up!
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Darkwing on 28 April 2018, 09:55:05
Also, engines are the most expensive component in the machine. I am certainly not going to drop the C-Bills on a massive engine upgrade without addressing the crit prone armor. As a Merc I am buying these as a cheap picket line, and putting in the kid who has yet to prove to me he can hack it. A scout is a skill set, and information is ammunition. If I have something better, my scouts going in it. Even if it's just a savannah master or a Packrat. These things are tripwires and force multipliers. That's about it. That being said, they do the job well.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Colt Ward on 28 April 2018, 10:18:13
Yeah, but what other electronics loaded scout would be available on the merc market?-  Not that I am saying not to do the armor as well- heck if you are removing things to get at the engine, then it would also be the time to be swapping the armor.  This thing came out during the scarcity of equipment of the Jihad and was followed by the Battlemech to AgroMech Stoner program . . . so while there might be better dedicated scout mechs out on the general market for mercs, first are they available and second do you want to spend the c-bills for a all up scout or would that money be better spent on general combatants- if you can get either?

IMO you also have to wonder how many Pathfinders might be in Merc ranks with the BAPs stripped out to go in something that is a better scout- be it a vehicle or something like a Firestarter FS9-S or such- for those at the ends of logistical lines.  How many of these made it into the periphery areas like the Marian Hegemony and Rim Collective/Able's Aces?  At least as training mechs . . .
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: glitterboy2098 on 28 April 2018, 14:27:10
Yeah, but what other electronics loaded scout would be available on the merc market?
according to the MUL, during the early republic era, Mercenaries had easy access to the following Probe equipped Mechs..
Mercury MCY-97
Hermes HER-3S
Firestarter FS9-S2
Ostscout OTT-9S
Owens OW-1A
Owens OW-1B
Owens OW-1D
Raven RVN-4L

adding the IS general list adds the Firestarter FS9-S.

[the MUL Search] (http://www.masterunitlist.info/Unit/Filter?Name=&HasBV=true&HasBV=false&MinTons=20&MaxTons=35&MinBV=&MaxBV=&MinIntro=&MaxIntro=&MinCost=&MaxCost=&HasRole=Scout&HasBFAbility=PRB&MinPV=&MaxPV=&Role=None+Selected&Technologies=1&Types=18&BookAuto=&FactionAuto=&AvailableEras=15)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 28 April 2018, 14:49:53
Well, no, it isn't.
But, in the case of a light scout, it is useful to begin with - you're just making it a bit more useful, or in this case, more survivable, so that it can be useful for longer.
I see an armour upgrade in that light - whenever something breaks, replace it with the equivalent standard armour, and the whole cover once that happens often enough; Armour takes damage first, and if that militia is in any way actually using their Pathfinders, that damage will accumulate, so, in relative peace, why not supply it with milspec plate that the militia hopefully has access to, anyways. I could see them not even using the freed up weight, just the durability would be a boon already.

If you think about a serious upgrade, I think we indeed reach the point where it is more sensible to replace the entire machine. Could just take an old Commando and pull a missile launcher for a probe and ecm.

The thing is, the Lyrans already produce a ton of different mechs that fulfill that role, so there's not a whole lot of incentive to retool the armed tractormech to be a real battlemech.  Might as well just sell the basic version to dirt-poor militias that can't afford anything better, and focus on producing Commandos, Wolfhounds, and Razorbacks to fill the demand for better equipment for themselves.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Colt Ward on 28 April 2018, 15:36:59
I knew there were some, but of those how many are still in production during the end or after the Jihad? 

Three of those are Omni which are going to be in a different buying pool than a merc commander considering a Pathfinder to supplement his C or D rated unit.  The Raven maybe on the merc list in the MUL but it does not mean its common or available on the market to anyone not near the CapCon.  And I would not be thinking about the Pathfinder unless I was in or near the Lyran borders- Noisiel, Arc Royal (and not intend to face the Clans), Galatea or Solaris VII.

Honestly, looking at a purchase, would you rather buy a Thunderbolt 7M & two Pathfinders or a Gallowglas 1 & a Firestarter S as a merc commander if you were not facing the Clans?

And I rechecked the math . . . you could drop a 200 LFE in for the same weight of the Prim 180 and go 8/12- much better for a scout, and just a mil c-bills, it still comes out cheaper than a FS9-S and certainly less than a Omni.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Orin J. on 29 April 2018, 00:42:41
primitive equipment is always kind of a hard choice for me-sure, i love me cheap 'mechs but frequently the drawbacks irk me. the engine is always the worst offender though. it's just never really worth the effort to refit that. at least the armor is an easy swap..... this is alright though. a scout with an active probe and literally no reason to play hero. finally a ride to convince the most "enthusiastic" pilot to map the area and bug out!

Ideas? This doesn't have anything really weird on-board. Heck, it weighs too much to be easily thrown.

Wait, that all depends on what we can throw it with. How do dropship captains feel about external winches? And loop the loops?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Caedis Animus on 02 May 2018, 01:59:11
/snip
Owens OW-1A
Owens OW-1B
Owens OW-1D
/snip
Isn't listing all three superfluous? I mean, Owens already mount BAP as hard-mounted kit, so every Owens already comes stock with it-even customs that some enterprising tech didn't turn into standard battlemechs with ill-advised "Improvisation".
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: SCC on 05 May 2018, 01:45:07
replace Pathfinders with Wasps/Stingers/Locusts and that pretty much sums up scouting in the 3rd and 4th succession wars..
It defines scouts in just about every wargame of some sort and I'm pretty sure real life as well, and it also raises the question of why people build scout 'Mechs, after all life is cheap, 'Mechs ain't.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Sabelkatten on 05 May 2018, 06:11:04
It defines scouts in just about every wargame of some sort and I'm pretty sure real life as well, and it also raises the question of why people build scout 'Mechs, after all life is cheap, 'Mechs ain't.
Well, most of the "detect enemy by blowing up" scouts were made during the Star League - when mech were cheap... ;)

The more practical scouts are usually well enough protected to actually survive contact.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 05 May 2018, 07:09:34
It defines scouts in just about every wargame of some sort and I'm pretty sure real life as well, and it also raises the question of why people build scout 'Mechs, after all life is cheap, 'Mechs ain't.

Because airborne scouts are easy for hostiles to spot(yes, even compared to four-story robots) and can be disrupted by weather. Of the various ground-bound scouts, mechs can traverse more terrain than any other machine, with even non-jumping mechs able to handle things that will stop any conventional vehicle cold. Above all else, your scouts need to be able to go everywhere.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 08 May 2018, 07:43:25
You know the Pathfinder might make a good civil defense unit. Replace the laser and BAP with a fluid gun and ton of ammo...wait. Can't. Need another half ton. Crap.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Terrace on 08 May 2018, 11:09:32
You know the Pathfinder might make a good civil defense unit. Replace the laser and BAP with a fluid gun and ton of ammo...wait. Can't. Need another half ton. Crap.

Take it out of the armor. A single half-ton of armor isn't gonna make any real difference in how fast this thing explode under enemy guns.  xp
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: UnLimiTeD on 08 May 2018, 17:09:50
Not sure what the advantage over a tracked vehicle is in that case, though.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 08 May 2018, 18:02:21
Feet. Vast terrain-handling advantage.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Colt Ward on 08 May 2018, 19:58:07
Or the ability to get through fire & water obstacles . . . Prims can do that, right?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 08 May 2018, 20:17:25
Also, hands.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 08 May 2018, 20:22:17
Or the ability to get through fire & water obstacles . . . Prims can do that, right?

Pretty sure, yes.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 09 May 2018, 07:12:28
Or the ability to get through fire & water obstacles . . . Prims can do that, right?

Yes, that's what I was counting on. Some sample missions for a CD Pathfinder:

1. Firefighting in high threat environments like chemical plants (via Fluid Gun).
2. Wilderness firefighting. Presence of hands allows Pathfinder to break down trees or dig primitive fire breaks, plus fluid gun.
3. Flood damage repair. Pulling trees and building parts out of reservoirs, cities, etc.
4. As 3, but for tornado/hurricane damage.
5. Search and Rescue of lost hikers. Probably want to keep the Beagle Probe for this one.
6. With the recent eruption on Hawaii, volcano defense preparation. Dig ditches to divert lava flow, or act as a forward observer for other CD units. (On second thought, dedicated construction equipment would probably be better for the ditch digging.)

One area we didn't even talk about is supporting something like an Interstellar Expeditions operation or hostile environment exploration. A Pathfinder isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than a BattleMech. Covering a large amount of ground relatively quickly to find areas of interest is possible. And given that it's a Primitive design (and I'm removing the weapons), government agencies are probably going to give you less of a hassle bringing it on world. Maybe I could even equip it with a Remote Sensor Dispenser for scientific purposes.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 09 May 2018, 07:54:00
Also, hands.

Yup, getting lost Tabiranths out of trees.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 17 June 2019, 10:20:32
You know the Pathfinder might make a good civil defense unit. Replace the laser and BAP with a fluid gun and ton of ammo...wait. Can't. Need another half ton. Crap.

Take it out of the armor. A single half-ton of armor isn't gonna make any real difference in how fast this thing explode under enemy guns.  xp

I just realized a Vehicle Flamer with its variable ammo would be a good fit for this.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 17 June 2019, 11:29:35
Huh, i didn't delete this one? Oh, well. I'll let it stay up. Completely forgot ever even wrote this thing.
(My other articles are waiting to get rewritten or whatever.)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Fallen_Raven on 17 June 2019, 20:41:45
I've got the perfect job for this in Chaos Campaign play. Doing the Recon missions in between tracks typically means I need to send something high tech and expensive at the same time my usual bodyguards are down for maintenance. But a Pathfinder is a cheap enough scout with and active probe that I can scan buildings and run without risking a costly battle.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Weirdo on 17 June 2019, 21:26:50
Sounds like exactly what it was built for. :)
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: SCC on 18 June 2019, 05:27:42
Did they build a new factory to make the engine for this 'Mech?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 18 June 2019, 08:51:08
Did they build a new factory to make the engine for this 'Mech?

Nope.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Tymers Realm on 18 June 2019, 10:45:24
Huh, i didn't delete this one? Oh, well. I'll let it stay up. Completely forgot ever even wrote this thing.
(My other articles are waiting to get rewritten or whatever.)

Why delete it?
There's a lot of interesting discussions in this thread.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Empyrus on 18 June 2019, 11:35:49
I deleted my articles because i thought they needed improving, plus there were some ****** shitting up threads so i had enough back then.

But as i said, i'll let this stay, and my intent is to eventually get around rewriting and reposting my deleted articles.
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: SCC on 19 June 2019, 06:49:16
Nope.
Huh, then how does the primitive engine inefficiency work out then?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: mbear on 19 June 2019, 10:30:38
Huh, then how does the primitive engine inefficiency work out then?

I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you asking where they got the engines?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 19 June 2019, 11:30:48
Huh, then how does the primitive engine inefficiency work out then?

Inefficiently?
Title: Re: MOTW: PFF-2 Pathfinder
Post by: Moonsword on 20 June 2019, 08:00:53
Knock it off you two.

SCC, any sort of canonical answer to that question couldn't be revealed in this area.  If you post it in Ask the Writers, maybe someone who has a real answer will reply, maybe they won't, but please don't litter this thread with tangential speculation.

EDIT: That was a moderator directive to drop the topic, people, not an invitation to continue discussing it.  If people continue speculating about the engine in here, warnings are going to be issued.  Knock it off.

+++MOD DIRECTIVE+++