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Author Topic: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master  (Read 26772 times)

Moonsword

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Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« on: 01 October 2012, 17:59:06 »
Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master

Sorry for the intermission.  I needed the time off - it's been a long month.  Hopefully, next time I need to knock off for a bit, I'll have someone else ready to take over.

The Savannah Master is one of the smallest and fastest combat vehicles in the game,  Introduced to the game by TRO3026 and to the LCAF in 3026, the Savannah Master's core is the miniscule supply of Omni 25 fusion engines discovered by the JumpShip Winnetka in 3024 and claimed by Warrant Officer Lewis.  He used them to devise a design in response to Katrina Steiner's solicitation of vehicles for screening and reconnaissance duties and able to defeat a Locust in three out of four solo engagements.  After a demonstration against Locust pilot Savannah Johnston, the design earned its name from the drubbing it gave her in testing and entered service with the LCAF whether certain commanders liked it or not.  During the Fourth Succession War, the design proved its value against the DCMS, a success sometimes attributed to AFFS advisers.  Somehow, the Big MAC had gotten their hands on a shipment, and McCarron's Armored Cavalry proceeded to hand the AFFS a few lessons of their own in Savannah Master operations during the Fourth Succession War.

Savannah Masters are tiny, only 5 tons, smaller than your typical escape pod and half the size of the standard APCs used by the Successor States.  Fusion power might be an extravagance but it's one the Savannah Master puts to good use - a blistering 216 kph flank speed would be achievable with an ICE (the Ferret's Tyson 25 ICE is the same weight as the Savannah Master's Omni 25 SFE) but the weapons load wouldn't be.  Just a single Defiance B3M medium laser that takes up a full 20% of the design's weight load all by itself but it provides a reasonable punch at a reasonable range for the Savannah Master.  The armor is sufficient for a 5 ton design, 1.5 tons of Durallex Light arranged 10/6/2.  Considering that you have 13 MPs to burn even if you stick to cruise speeds, you can probably manage not to point your rear at the enemy.  Other than that, it's actually tougher than a hover APC, twice the coverage on the front.  (Somehow, I don't think the guys in the back of the hover APCs find that a comforting comparison...)

S. L. Lewis had experimented early on with a testbed design using two small lasers instead of the medium but found the range was just too short.  Other than that, the design of the Savannah Master was stable for several decades, even through the FedCom Civil War that saw S. L. Lewis refuse sales to the AFFS, although they honored their service contracts.  (This would later lead to one of the most epic cases of scope creep for a design I can think of when the AFFS tried to replace it with the Fox.)  I suspect the lack of the obvious ERML swap has to do with the 50% increase in price.  TAG and a C3 slave are other simple one ton options; again, neither one has been followed up on.  The variant that finally emerged was the Savannah Master (Interdictor), one of several variants in TRO3085's Old is the New New section to follow that general theme of stuffing in ECM.  Okay, so you got one ton from the ML, and this isn't a mixed tech unit, so where's the half-ton coming from?  There's only one place tonnage can from on this design: Armor.  One ton of HFF is as good as it gets for maxing armor values out but at 8/5/1, we're down to 19 points.  IS MPLs are now a lethal side threat and an IS LPL or any of the increasing number of weapons that can hand out a 10 point hit is a guaranteed one shot kill.  Since a lot of those weapons are remarkably popular, that's not a good recipe for your health.  And trust me, the less you think about that rear armor, the happier you'll be.  How survivable is it?  The answer, surprisingly, is “not as bad as you think”.  They're not armed and unlike TAG or C3, ECM isn't necessarily a priority target, especially if the enemy isn't badly affected.  And then there's ghost targets - combine that with a Savannah Master's speed and you're talking about to-hit numbers that can be nearly imposible.  There's enough armor that Spheroids, at least, still have to commit a reasonably heavy weapon unless the Interdictor is in MPL range to guarantee a one-shot kill even on the sides.

If you have them, Savannah Masters are your fingertips.  They're not the armored fist.  That's what Falconers, Blitzkriegs, and Manteuffels are for.  Savannah Masters are a tool for a commander to get an idea what's out in the vast expanses and lay a few hits on it.  As scouts, spotters, and light skirmishers, the SM's staggering speed is invaluable and it has just enough armor to be able to survive tangling with infantry or light armored units as long as the pilot prudently withdraws after his armor picks up more than a few scrapes.  You've got less firepower than some individual assault suits (or heavy suits) and less armor than your typical BA squad manages to boast.  Tough for a 5 ton vehicle?  The Savannah Master is that.  Being able to survive a PPC hit - once - on the vehicle's front armor is impressive.  But that doesn't make it all that tough in the grand scheme of things (like the way an IS LL or Clan medium can blow the side straight off) so don't get cocky.  Use slashing attacks in open terrain, don't get sucked into tight quarters, and if you've got a reason to suspect (or know) that a particular unit has pulse lasers, don't engage it in their arc.  Also, from a good sportsmanship/not getting beaten in the parking lot perspective, don't just spam them.  Most players don't find that a fun game even if they do have the tools to deal with it (see below).  If you have both of the major varieties available, mix a few Interdictors in to provide ECM cover or to swamp the field in ghost targets for the kind of To-Hit numbers that inspire hate and loathing.

Okay, so you've got Savannah Masters on the board against you.  How do you put them down?  Well, accuracy is at a premium when Savannah Masters get some room to work in, even more than it is against most light, fast units.  Fortunately, they're short-ranged, so they're obliged to get into arm's reach - you may get a little singed but pulse lasers can be brought to bear.  LPLs will take anything but the front out and will severely weaken the forward armor.  So will medium VSPLs at short or medum range.  (Against Interdictors, LPLs will blow them straight to whatever hell is reserved for the hotshots who pilot vehicles like this against giant robots.  So will a medium VSPL at short range.)  If they get into the killing ground of medium range - say, 4-9 hexes - bring any decently heavy weapon that will bear and has decent numbers.  You may not get a better opportunity.  Clan opponents have a bit easier job thanks to their more powerful, longer-ranged tools but the basics apply to both tech bases.  If you have them, area effect weapons are a useful trick - Thumper Cannons or an LRM 20 full of MCMs might get lucky and smack the back armor while an LTC will put a serious crimp in the Savannah Master's style.  In fact, with an LTC or cluster bombs, if I had good odds of putting the shot where I wanted to, I'd think strongly about planting it behind the Savannah Master for a better shot at the rear armor.  Otherwise, look at the terrain - pull into places where the Savannah Masters are going to burn MPs heavily.  Trees may just keep them away, period, but gentle, sloping hills that force them to either turn constantly (and keep their speed down or bury themselves in the hillside on a botch) or eat the 3 MP cost of an elevation change (remember, vehicles pay +2 MP, not +1 like 'Mechs) will help a lot in forcing the TMMs down to something you can handle.  These are terrors (well, really annoying, at least...) on the open plains so don't fight there.

References: The Master Unit List is an excellent first stop.  You may also want to visit CamoSpecs.
« Last Edit: 01 October 2012, 19:18:36 by Moonsword »

Diablo48

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #1 on: 01 October 2012, 18:23:49 »
Another good IS counter would be the Snub-Nosed PPC.  Even though it does not get a targeting bonus, the hover is obliged to get into short range if it wants to hit at all so it will probably stack up well enough against IS Pulse Lasers which are going to have trouble getting a shot at short range.  It also does not do well against better pilots like most light units, so dealing with Clanners will be doubly problematic due to their superior skills.


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Fireangel

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #2 on: 01 October 2012, 18:39:19 »
After a demonstration against Locust pilot Samantha Johnston...

Samantha? Wasn't her name Savannah? ???

chanman

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #3 on: 01 October 2012, 23:00:10 »
I think you could turn one of these into a recreational WiGE. The fact that it'd outrun most canon WiGEs is just icing

SCC

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #4 on: 01 October 2012, 23:30:39 »
What where the original engine supply likely from? A 25 rating isn't something you're going to see in a 'Mech

Diablo48

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #5 on: 01 October 2012, 23:42:56 »
What where the original engine supply likely from? A 25 rating isn't something you're going to see in a 'Mech

I do not recall there being a canon explanation, but I would guess they were intended for civilian vehicles, small scale local power generators for remote installations, or emergency power supplies.


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Scotty

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #6 on: 01 October 2012, 23:46:42 »
You could technically fit as 25-rated fusion engine in a 25 tonner moving 1/2, but those are... well pretty much non-existant.  I could see a couple kinds of Industrial 'Mechs using one of those, but it wouldn't be for combat use, not by a long shot.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #7 on: 01 October 2012, 23:53:37 »
I do not recall there being a canon explanation, but I would guess they were intended for civilian vehicles, small scale local power generators for remote installations, or emergency power supplies.

From the original TRO: 3026:
" Two years ago, the Winnetka's crew discovered a large Star League supply facility on an uninhabited Periphery world. They dumped their cargo of Botany Bay Industrial Sand and loaded all their Dropships with every piece of equipment they could find.

The recovered salvage was split among the crew. As part of his share, Warrant Officer Lewis requested and received the small fusion plants found at the depot. Unlike the rest of the crew, he did not sell his share to the highest bidder and retire. Instead, he held onto the fusion plants.
"

Samantha? Wasn't her name Savannah? ???

From TRO: 3026 again:
"The Locust's MechWarrior was Savannah Johnson, a veteran pilot with many kills."
Cowdragon:
I'm going to type up your response, print it, fold it in half, and look at it like a I would a centerfold. THAT's how sexy your answer was.

Weirdo

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #8 on: 01 October 2012, 23:58:09 »
I think you could turn one of these into a recreational WiGE. The fact that it'd outrun most canon WiGEs is just icing

There is a civvie version in VA, by the same company too.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #9 on: 01 October 2012, 23:58:39 »
From the original TRO: 3026:
" Two years ago, the Winnetka's crew discovered a large Star League supply facility on an uninhabited Periphery world. They dumped their cargo of Botany Bay Industrial Sand and loaded all their Dropships with every piece of equipment they could find.

The recovered salvage was split among the crew. As part of his share, Warrant Officer Lewis requested and received the small fusion plants found at the depot. Unlike the rest of the crew, he did not sell his share to the highest bidder and retire. Instead, he held onto the fusion plants.
"

While this explains where they were found, it doesn't explain what they were supposed to be used for, which is the real mystery.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #10 on: 02 October 2012, 00:10:32 »
It's the Star League. They could originally be space heaters for all we know. The only reason I'm ruling out their use in children's toys is that these particular reactors are bit tad big to power a speak-and-spell.
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chanman

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #11 on: 02 October 2012, 01:12:23 »
There is a civvie version in VA, by the same company too.

A hover bus and a hover car that goes 15/23 it looks like

Alexander Knight

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #12 on: 02 October 2012, 01:16:30 »
Ahhhhh, the Savannah Master.  It's the Thrush for groundpounders.  >:D

SCC

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #13 on: 02 October 2012, 01:18:02 »
It's the Star League. They could originally be space heaters for all we know. The only reason I'm ruling out their use in children's toys is that these particular reactors are bit tad big to power a speak-and-spell.
How about powering those 'toy' 'Mechs MW candidates have to make move?

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #14 on: 02 October 2012, 02:11:37 »
Always a classic choice, and definatly one of the best bang for the tonnage unit in the game, even including Clan tech and so on.  Even if you had a super-cyborg in a Fire Moth D, four level 1 Savannah Masters would look very tempting just the same, being faster and with more armor.

For what ever reason, they always seem to be deployed in swarms.  Perhaps because they're very effective in swarms, but its fairly rare to see just one.

As to veriants, of course the ER model is nice, though honestly if I was spending my own money on it I wouldn't bother since its so damn fast that getting into range and dodging return fire are fairly easy.  I'd spend it if I had to pilot the thing, maybe.  The C3 is also nice, and the AP makes a lot of sense, even if its not overly useful in games.  The Interdictor, however, seems problematic, and unless I was really fed up with C3 useage, I'd leave it at home.  Though an ultimate HFF/ERML veriant would be tasty, or revisiting the twin SL idea with ERs.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #15 on: 02 October 2012, 02:35:51 »
They need an upgrade equipment item that the driver can push to de-magnetize the hull...

dessert terrain... full speed ahead... Fa Shih's attached to the hull... suddenly your 5 ton piece of militiatech can hurl four to six crude, flailing and screaming gauss slugs (filled with mines no less) your way  ;D
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #16 on: 02 October 2012, 02:59:25 »
Samantha? Wasn't her name Savannah? ???
Perhaps he is thinking of Samantha Jones? That's Freudian.

Diablo48

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #17 on: 02 October 2012, 04:50:54 »
Always a classic choice, and definatly one of the best bang for the tonnage unit in the game, even including Clan tech and so on.  Even if you had a super-cyborg in a Fire Moth D, four level 1 Savannah Masters would look very tempting just the same, being faster and with more armor.

For what ever reason, they always seem to be deployed in swarms.  Perhaps because they're very effective in swarms, but its fairly rare to see just one.

Honestly, they are so cheap you may as well buy at least a lance if you are ordering them, one recon hover does not really do you a whole lot of good on its own, and nothing else can keep up with it so it makes sense for them to be used together.

Quote
As to veriants, of course the ER model is nice, though honestly if I was spending my own money on it I wouldn't bother since its so damn fast that getting into range and dodging return fire are fairly easy.  I'd spend it if I had to pilot the thing, maybe.  The C3 is also nice, and the AP makes a lot of sense, even if its not overly useful in games.  The Interdictor, however, seems problematic, and unless I was really fed up with C3 useage, I'd leave it at home.  Though an ultimate HFF/ERML veriant would be tasty, or revisiting the twin SL idea with ERs.

The other variant I think would be useful would be a Flamer (or ER Flamer if you have those lying around) to add some utility to your force.  You might also be able to get some work out of a SPL (or SXPL) variant as a compromise between anti-infantry and anti-'Mech work, although I think the Flamer will still do a better job due to its incredible utility.  Twin RL-10's would also be an option for a fast strike unit, but you would really be better off with a more conventional powerplant at that point.  You could also get some use out of a small cargo bay for infantry, but at that point you may as well start looking at the existing APCs.

On the other hand I think a C3 configuration will get scrapped to quickly to really contribute much to the fight due to how popular C3 spotters are, and I am really not convinced it would be worth taking one of your limited network slots if you are not counting BV.  It might become semi-viable in a company-sized network where you would still have room for the other rolls, but anything that takes a C3 company to bring down will almost certainly have ways to make the little hover pop the first time it tries to spot.


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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #18 on: 02 October 2012, 05:06:23 »
[size=78%]For what ever reason, they always seem to be deployed in swarms.  Perhaps because they're very effective in swarms, but its fairly rare to see just one.[/size]


I haven't used these much but think that they gain some degree of protection as a force of 4 fast medium laser boats by appearing as a swarm as opposed to individually... I would envisage an in-universe reasoning being that they scatter to find the enemy then consolidate to attack
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #19 on: 02 October 2012, 05:11:52 »
Honestly, they are so cheap you may as well buy at least a lance if you are ordering them, one recon hover does not really do you a whole lot of good on its own, and nothing else can keep up with it so it makes sense for them to be used together.
You can get more then a lance of these for the price of a Locust, this sort of area is where 'Mechs aren't actually kings of the battlefield

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #20 on: 02 October 2012, 05:47:55 »
There was a quite long thread on the ground combat board about taking a star of light clan mechs against 36 SMs on flat terrain. The general conclusion was that if you used optimized customs the clanners could win.

Essentially, you needed 175 tons of clan mechs to beat 180 tons of SW-era IS vehicles... ::)

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #21 on: 02 October 2012, 06:11:08 »
Essentially, you needed 175 tons of clan mechs to beat 180 tons of SW-era IS vehicles... ::)
175 tons of optimized Clan 'Mechs to take out 180 tons of general SW-era IS vehicles...

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #22 on: 02 October 2012, 06:47:00 »
175 tons of optimized Clan 'Mechs to take out 180 tons of general SW-era IS vehicles...
Well, the SM is about as optimized as SW-era vehicles goes... The only way it could be worse is if it was a VTOL! :D

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #23 on: 02 October 2012, 07:45:38 »
You can get more then a lance of these for the price of a Locust, this sort of area is where 'Mechs aren't actually kings of the battlefield

Isn't that more like a company of them at the prize of a Locust? Or are Locusts cheaper than i remember?

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #24 on: 02 October 2012, 09:05:58 »
Perhaps because they're very effective in swarms, but its fairly rare to see just one.

Savannah Masters are the Pringles of Battletech.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #25 on: 02 October 2012, 12:49:31 »
I seem to remember that during the last rules edition some consideredSavannah Master -squadrons as good BA hunters. How is it these days? Are new BAs too much to SM?

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #26 on: 02 October 2012, 13:36:07 »
Maybe against older suits armed primarily with SLs and other short-ranged stuff. A Savannah Master could play the range game against them, dashing to 3 hexes and fire at short range, while they had to deal with long-range modifiers in addition to the S-M's speed. Newer suits? Not so much, I think.
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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #27 on: 02 October 2012, 16:48:22 »
Artillery pissing you off? Send in the Savvies- guaranteed to make life hell for enemy artillery positions. You can't hit the damned things with the shells, and your defensive weapons are going to have a hell of a time doing it as well. A group of slashing Savvies can ruin an Shamash works even better. Are you SL? Gabriels.)

I recently had a player use them another unexpected way- you can't move through a hex containing an enemy unit, right? Surrounding my Schiltron with four Savvies (and a tall cliff covering the other two hex sides) meant I was forced to not move- and in doing so, the Schiltron was toast. Miserable experience!
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Diablo48

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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #28 on: 02 October 2012, 17:03:45 »
Artillery pissing you off? Send in the Savvies- guaranteed to make life hell for enemy artillery positions. You can't hit the damned things with the shells, and your defensive weapons are going to have a hell of a time doing it as well. A group of slashing Savvies can ruin an Shamash works even better. Are you SL? Gabriels.)

I am not really sold on this one.  All you have to do is set the artillery pieces to direct fire mode and laugh manically as you ignore the TMMs.  Your escorts should also be packing Pulse Lasers because the biggest threat to artillery is always fast movers, so that adds another major layer of risk to the operation as well.


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Re: Vehicle of the Week: Savannah Master
« Reply #29 on: 02 October 2012, 17:22:37 »
I recently had a player use them another unexpected way- you can't move through a hex containing an enemy unit, right? Surrounding my Schiltron with four Savvies (and a tall cliff covering the other two hex sides) meant I was forced to not move- and in doing so, the Schiltron was toast. Miserable experience!

On the other hand, a guy filled me with the strongest urge to date to drag him into the parking lot and lungpunch him by doing the same thing to my entire battleforce using infantry squads, in a BMR-rules game. I'll admit, he was pulling out every trick in the book, including insisting on 20-minute-long rules arguments in every phase of every turn, so I probably can't blame that tactic alone on that.
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