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Author Topic: Talk to me about Small Craft  (Read 1301 times)

Iceweb

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Talk to me about Small Craft
« on: 07 November 2019, 00:12:20 »
The year is 3058, and my merc unit is on Terra for some R&R, after a lucrative garrison contract. 
Among other things the commander told the admin guys to throw some cash around and see if a ship of some type could be purchased, as the unit doesn't have any space assets bigger than Areofighters. 

Well they came back with one option, a decently maintained Achilles (2582 model) assault dropship. 
The commander was not thrilled about not being able to get something to transport her Mechs, but the firepower on the Achilles was too much to pass up.  Most of the unit's funds were used to make the purchase, but the two small craft that it can hold are a bit of a new twist. 

So I was hoping to get some ideas on what type of small craft would be good for the unit. 
The first thought was to try to get an NL-42 Battle Taxi for transporting battle armor.  However I was unsure from the Sarna description if it could operate in atmosphere, or only in space.  If it can touch down on a planet, the ton of cargo space could be nice to get emergency ammo or other supplies to a hot zone. 

The second choice looked like the K1 Dropshuttle.  The over 50 tons of cargo looks like the best amount that can be gotten, and the option to link to a drop collar is nice. 

The S-7A Bus was looked at but being unable to operate in atmosphere seems to be a deal breaker. 

Of course the commander is pushing for the LC-100 AstroLux for her personal comfort and use.  She seems willing to also consider the Mowang Courier, as that can carry a decent amount of cargo in it's bay and is decently opulent. 

Are there any other small craft that people like, or would be worth looking at for a Mercenary command?

Any thoughts on the Achilles itself would also be helpful. 

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #1 on: 07 November 2019, 00:28:53 »
The NL 42 is atmosphere capable.

The K-1 is currently in a tricky situation due to recent rulings. Dropships require a KF boom to be transported by docking collar, and there are no rules for small craft having KF booms (and even if there were, the KF boom would preclude them from being transported internally).

So technically speaking, by the rules, the K-1 can't be transported by docking collar and has to ride in a small craft bay. Though if your group is a bit less rule strict, the world probably won't explode if you ignore that part.

It's worth noting that the Achilles itself isn't atmosphere capable though. If your unit is focused on ground combat, it might not be a good buy.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #2 on: 07 November 2019, 00:36:15 »
The NL 42 is atmosphere capable.

The K-1 is currently in a tricky situation due to recent rulings. Dropships require a KF boom to be transported by docking collar, and there are no rules for small craft having KF booms (and even if there were, the KF boom would preclude them from being transported internally).

So technically speaking, by the rules, the K-1 can't be transported by docking collar and has to ride in a small craft bay. Though if your group is a bit less rule strict, the world probably won't explode if you ignore that part.

It's worth noting that the Achilles itself isn't atmosphere capable though. If your unit is focused on ground combat, it might not be a good buy.


+1 to above, if you are running an Aerospace Merc Group running security for Belters or some kind of salvage op which sounds awesome and want an Achilles to support that go for it.  I would then take the K-1 to ferry equipment to the surface and back and an S-7A equivalent to operate from stations, fuel Aerofighters, and/or allow Marines to deploy without endangering your very precious dropship.

Iceweb

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #3 on: 07 November 2019, 01:23:15 »
If the NL 42 can do atmo being able to put two units of battle armor down via it, seems like it is a must have.  If boarding or other space borne operations come up (never know when pirates will show up)  it is just a bonus. 

The K-1 being unable to use a dropship collar is a disappointment.  It still looks good for moving cargo, but it gives the commander more ammo to demand a luxury craft for her use.  Then again in an emergency a K-1 having to be hooked up to a collar as the only way out on a jumpship makes a great story, and is something to have in the back pocket for a plot hook. 

The company is mostly mechs with some ASF to support, and BA (with transport) to provide base security and do some scouting (with some VTOLs for extra scouting and spotting), so ground based stuff is the bread and butter.  So for the most part buying the Achilles is a piss poor idea. 
However it is a freaking assault class dropship, and the same reasons for buying an assault class mech apply just scaled up.  It is really a status symbol and an attempt to punch a ticket to the big leagues.  The company commander wants to have a dropship, and being able to say her flagship (other ships?  what other ships?) is an Achilles is freaking cool. 

It may not be able to land and move cargo, but it does protect against pirates or reinforcements coming into the system where the company is working.  Theoretically it could be leased out to do pirate hunting with other units, or support a house trying to land a beachhead on a planet.  I'm sure there are other good ways to make money with an Achilles while the main forces are planetside working a contract.  In fact I would love to hear them, if anyone has ideas.   

What I don't know is if it can do any orbital bombardment, but I would assume it would not be able to.  I also don't have any PBI for the foot platoon it can carry, but I think it wouldn't be too hard to convert that to space for techs and admin staff to bunk in. 

Weirdo

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #4 on: 07 November 2019, 11:08:33 »
My advice? Fire your commander for embezzlement. She's the one who blew a huge wad of your unit's resources on her own vanity. Arrest her if you can find a legal jurisdiction that covers your people. Once she's gone, either sell off the Achilles and shuttle, or sell off all your mechs. At your unit's size, you're nowhere near big enough to tackle both ground and space contracts, you need to pick one venue and focus on it. If your ground force REALLY wants an assault ship, you can sell the Achilles for an Avenger or two or an Intruder, and have enough cash left over to upgrade all your mechs and maybe even hire an additional lance or two.

For shuttles:

If you want to throw a boarding party, get a Battle Taxi.

If you want to move cargo or carry out infantry drops, get a Mk. VII Landing Craft.

If you want to land cargo on any terrain, get a K-1 DropShuttle. Ignore what anything/anyone says about docking collars. That is nothing but fluff and is completely unsupported in the actual game.

If you want to impress employers and other VIPs, get a K-1, some plywood boards, a few rolls of nice carpet, and a couple rooms' worth of furnishings from SpaceKEA. Use the plywood and carpet to create modular floor panels, and now you can fancy-up a few compartments in your DropShuttle to make a bigwig more comfortable while still conveying the message that their money is going to be spent on practical things like defending their holdings, or blowing up their enemies.

If you want to move mechs or combat vehicles, get a DropShip.
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Insaniac99

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #5 on: 07 November 2019, 14:42:54 »
Yeah, my advice is different than Weirdo's, but for the price of the Achilles, you can buy the much more common Overlord (I like the Combined arms one personally) and then buy a full Squadron of 6 ASF fighters, and a limo to put in the vehicle bay.

The combination of a single dropship to transport your units that you can have a strong air superiority with comparably inexpensive fighters, and transport for you current units + salvage.

Iceweb

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #6 on: 07 November 2019, 14:44:19 »
Lol like commanders never spend resources on their own vanity.  Now its time to try to make some money with the hand dealt, or go broke trying.  On the other hand you can't become big enough to do space contracts if you don't buy the ships and grow. 

I'm a little confused on what you are saying on the MK. VII Landing Craft. 

Looking at MegaMek I see:
Ares Landing Craft Mk.I
Ares Close Assault Landing Craft Mk.II   
Ares Assault Craft Mk.III   
Ares Assault Craft Mark VII  (and C version which I am ignoring) 

The I II and III all use primitive components and I worry about extending my logistics train that way.  (We are not going to talk about refitting them to modern components, as customization is another area of the forums)   

The I holds 57 tons of cargo which sounds good
The II holds 12 tons of cargo and doesn't seem like enough
The III has an infantry bay for two foot platoons but the company doesn't use PBI 
The VII holds 31 tons of cargo which seems like a big drop from the K1's 51.5 tons of cargo. 

The K1 also has two doors as opposed to the VII not having a bay door, not sure how that translates for RPG or TW though.  Still I would imagine the K1 would be easier to load and unload than the VII. 

The 31 tons on the VII  isn't that much more than the Mowang Courier at 26.5 tons and the commander is pushing for a luxury craft.  I know what you will say about that but keeping the bigwigs happy is it's own thing. 

So if you could explain a little more where you are advocating for the Mark VII (I don't see how that one does infantry drops) I would be most appreciative.   

As for getting the other types of dropships, that would be nice, but someone has to be willing to sell you one.  Not looking too closely at the economics (as that way lies madness) one has to assume that most people who own a dropship find them profitable and/or useful and are not inclined to sell theirs at a reasonable price.  Given the ship search rules, the company spent money seeing if there was a ship available in their neck of the woods, and the Achilles came up.  Who knows how long it would take to find another dropship, let alone searching for a specific one such as the Avenger or Intruder. 

Thank you for the advice.

grimlock1

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #7 on: 07 November 2019, 15:20:31 »
The NL 42 is atmosphere capable.

The K-1 is currently in a tricky situation due to recent rulings. Dropships require a KF boom to be transported by docking collar, and there are no rules for small craft having KF booms (and even if there were, the KF boom would preclude them from being transported internally).

So technically speaking, by the rules, the K-1 can't be transported by docking collar and has to ride in a small craft bay. Though if your group is a bit less rule strict, the world probably won't explode if you ignore that part.

It's worth noting that the Achilles itself isn't atmosphere capable though. If your unit is focused on ground combat, it might not be a good buy.
Other than the fluff, what stats tell you that Achilles can't operate in atmo?

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #8 on: 07 November 2019, 15:25:19 »
The K1 is indeed an excellent shuttle, combining range, armor, defensive weapons, and a large cargo bay into one platform that can land anywhere. The reason I'm a bit leery is because it's a spheroid, which means it is horribly vulnerable in atmospheric combat. If you have absolute faith in your fighter escorts or your ability to keep it away from all airborne fighting, then by all means go for it. If you think your shuttles will ever find themselves in a scrap, then I believe the Mk VII's ability to actually get in and out of a combat zone(and when really lucky, actually outmaneuver fighters) is worth the loss of cargo space.

I'm looking at 3057r right now, and the K-1 has no bay doors. You'd only need them when docking externally to a large craft anyway, since you won't be loading any mechs or vees into it.

The reason the Mk. VII can do infantry drops is that it has a cargo bay, and can fly. That's all that is needed. Yes, this meansthe K-1 can do it too. The reason I see it as being superior to the K-1 in this respect is the ability to actually get in and out of hostile airspace in a reasonable span of time(being capable of supersonic flight), whereas in terms of lateral movement, a K-1 on the Low Altitude map can be outrun by several classes of blimp.

Where are you getting your stats for the Mówáng? I'm looking at Handbook Liao, and it has only 5.5 tons of cargo, less fuel than a K-1, and armor thin enough to make a Sparrowhawk look like a brick.

Other than the fluff, what stats tell you that Achilles can't operate in atmo?

Nothing in the hard stats, admittedly. The closest is that in StratOps, under the description of the Un-streamlined quirk(which prohibits atmospheric operations), the Achilles is the specific example.
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grimlock1

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #9 on: 07 November 2019, 15:42:53 »
Nothing in the hard stats, admittedly. The closest is that in StratOps, under the description of the Un-streamlined quirk(which prohibits atmospheric operations), the Achilles is the specific example.

So the dice decided to give the OP the one dropship in TRO 3057 that isn't atmo capable?  Ouch.

Although to look at some of the "aerodynes," you have to ask if Loose knew anything about aerodynamics.  The Leopard is a brick but it's A: licensed art, and B: looks inspired by lifting body aircraft.  The Condor and Monarch probably wouldn't fly well, if at all, but you can tell he was looking at pictures of aircraft. But the Hamilcar?
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Iceweb

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #10 on: 07 November 2019, 16:06:05 »
I asked MegaMek to give me a list of all small craft in the time period. 
I attached a picture below, it shows the cargo bay with one door and 26.5 tons of space. 

Now I am not saying MegaMek is correct or canon, but it is usually pretty accurate, and I don't have a copy of 3057 so I have to work with that and Sarna.  However given that Sarna (which is not guaranteed to be accurate either) also mentions that the 5 ton cargo for the Mówáng, I am inclined to believe that MegaMek has it wrong.  A 5 ton bay makes it pretty worthless.  Might as well pay double for the AstroLux at that point.   

MegaMek is also listing the K1 as having two doors for the cargo bay, that might need to be a second bug report. 

I'll admit I don't know the areo rules that well, so I don't know about dropping troops from cargo bays.  Does that only work with PBI or can it work with battle armor also?  Do they have to be jump capable or can they use zip lines?  Can field guns be deployed also or only organic troops?

It's a tough choice then on the K1 vs the Mark VII, at this point I am leaning to the K1 and seeing how long it lasts till it explodes into flame.  Afterwards it will probably be a big push for the Mark VII so that never happens again. 

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #11 on: 07 November 2019, 16:33:28 »
You can combat drop both pbi and BA. For conventional troops, only jump troops, mechanized VTOL troops, and foot paratroops can be dropped. This rules out anything with a field gun.

Battle Armor of any kind can be dropped, they're either using jets, or Battle Armor Drop Chutes. Suits that drop with suits have a harder time of it, and a bit more vulnerable if fighters catch them in the air.

It's a tough choice then on the K1 vs the Mark VII, at this point I am leaning to the K1 and seeing how long it lasts till it explodes into flame.  Afterwards it will probably be a big push for the Mark VII so that never happens again. 

If you can keep the K1 alive, then rock on. It's a fine shuttle. And speaking as a member of the Rules Group...keep an eye on the errata for Total War, either very recent or very soon. The K-1 might be gaining a little bit of a boost. :)
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Hammer

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #12 on: 07 November 2019, 17:47:28 »
I asked MegaMek to give me a list of all small craft in the time period. 
I attached a picture below, it shows the cargo bay with one door and 26.5 tons of space. 

Now I am not saying MegaMek is correct or canon, but it is usually pretty accurate, and I don't have a copy of 3057 so I have to work with that and Sarna.  However given that Sarna (which is not guaranteed to be accurate either) also mentions that the 5 ton cargo for the Mówáng, I am inclined to believe that MegaMek has it wrong.  A 5 ton bay makes it pretty worthless.  Might as well pay double for the AstroLux at that point.   
The simple answer is that it very underweight when built.  So rather than waste 20.5 tons we tossed that into Cargo space. We find their are lots of small craft, support vee's, and other non combat units with errors when we run them through MegaMekLab. I suspect this is a result of them being built by hand or excel spreadsheet.

MegaMek is also listing the K1 as having two doors for the cargo bay, that might need to be a second bug report. 
Any unit comes from 3057 was remade when we coded Large Craft in MML, and as we mentioned when that release went out

Hi Everyone,
Next release in this development cycle.  The big thing in this release is the long-awaited ability to build Large Craft (Jumpships, Warships, and Space Stations). 

Something very important about the Large Craft Data files – they have all been remade to match the rules in Strategic Operations and Interstellar Operations.   Consider TRO 3057R was released in 2004 which was 2 years before Total Warfare, and 4 years prior to Strategic Operations so the units currently in Megamek are based of the old Aerotech 2 and AT2 Revised Rules.

We’ve done considerable research, and worked with the old stats to come up with revised stats that match the current rules. In most cases the ships lost some cargo space.  We’ve also reworked names to better reflect the introduction of the ships. We’ve also added some ships described in various fluff.  Going forward we are going to consider these redesign ships as “Our Fixed Canon Ships”. This will be one of those very rare times we won't match the MUL or the TRO. If CGL ever decides to update the ship designs we'll be certain to update the designs to those stats.

Anyone who has made Large craft by hand will find errors loading these ships, there is a huge amount of code that has changed to make these ships build able and numerous tags and equipment names have got changes. In addition, these ships are now validated against the construction rules. The only option is to remake them in MegaMekLab.
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Iceweb

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #13 on: 07 November 2019, 18:11:49 »
Ah thank you Hammer
As I said my areo knowledge is limited.  I can see making the extra space. 

Thank you for all the hard work

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #14 on: 07 November 2019, 18:23:06 »
Ah thank you Hammer
As I said my areo knowledge is limited.  I can see making the extra space. 

Thank you for all the hard work
It was a tough decision since we really want to stay canon. But once we had the rules coded into MegaMekLab about half the SC,DS,JS,WS and SS had some type of issue. We've tried to keep the fixes to common sense and as a general rule unused space became cargo and the doors needed to use them.
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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #15 on: 07 November 2019, 19:00:39 »
If you're willing to go with a currently illegal design (due to using infantry bays for crew quarters), I've done deck plans for the Mark VII down in the design forum...

Iceweb

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #16 on: 07 November 2019, 20:21:33 »
I love your Mark VII, but I think I am going to avoid anything illegal at the moment.  I know it sounds silly that you can't swap the bay for quarters, but the abstraction of life support and food and water makes me just worry about suffocated personnel too much. 

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #17 on: 07 November 2019, 20:25:11 »
I've been fighting to get the original Mark VII to be legal again for years, and the only victory I can count so far is that aerodyne Small Craft no longer automatically destroy themselves when conducting vertical take offs and landings.  Phase II is getting Small Craft able to use Infantry Bays again.  That fight is still in progress...

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #18 on: 08 November 2019, 17:42:34 »
Join the fight for TRO3057 U. Get cleaned up Small Craft stats.

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #19 on: 08 November 2019, 17:48:38 »
Would that be "U" or "Revised"?  ???

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #20 on: 08 November 2019, 18:45:48 »
Would that be "U" or "Revised"?  ???
I would assume that "U" (upgrade) part would be it including all the Aerospace designs that has come out since "R" (around 2005 ?).
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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #21 on: 08 November 2019, 19:12:30 »
Ah, makes sense...

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #22 on: 08 November 2019, 20:04:49 »
Where do i sign up for TRO3057U?????
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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #23 on: 08 November 2019, 20:12:24 »
I'd kind of like to get the rules issues settled first...

RifleMech

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #24 on: 09 November 2019, 04:08:12 »
Well, like everyone else here, I'm wondering why the Achilles?


As for the Small Craft, have you thought of the Tigress? It can carry some cargo, or infantry, is armed to make some attacks or defend itself and the Dropship, and has good endurance for patrol duties.

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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #25 on: 09 November 2019, 08:46:34 »
Iceweb. Cargo bays can't be used deploy troops like soldiers, Megamek if i'm not mistaken follows the rules.  Your troops would have to be unloaded like cargo.  So take while..i think guys are setting on floor and they get up walk around boxes and go down stairs.  That's not what you want.

Achilles has only two small craft bays.  Last time checked you can only store one smallcraft (or aerospace fighter) at a time in each.  Since it's 3058, there couple options. Such as can make do the Mówáng.  Since your using Megamek, it's fine. However, not sure how well drops are unloaded using it since it's civilian ship unless this your crew's taxi.

You could use a Intrepid Class Attack craft, it has a foot platoon worth space to deploy troops. It's obsolete but still usable, its just not in use by House Davion anymore.  Its designed lets your troops pop out at moments notice.

Too bad your not in 3060, Dragonstar Assault Transport (Small Craft) would become available to.  Its designed haul Battle Armor around, has the bay that can deploy them without delays and drop your guys through the special chutes to the ground with 4 tons cargo. 
« Last Edit: 09 November 2019, 22:39:34 by Wrangler »
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Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #26 on: 09 November 2019, 13:14:08 »
Cargo works just fine for deploying troops, it's just like an APC. You'll need long-term quarters elsewhere, though.
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"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer

Iceweb

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 452
  • Lyran Engineer
Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #27 on: 09 November 2019, 13:15:53 »
There is always better tech tomorrow :) 

Half the fun is surviving the clan invasion with mostly intro tech and scrapping for anything to give you an edge.  And then it rolls over to the Chaos March and the Jihad.  All the salvage is making me drool already :)

Still I'll keep an eye out for the DragonStar. 

How does it compare to the Battle Taxi?

Daryk

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11553
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #28 on: 09 November 2019, 14:13:10 »
Cargo space and infantry compartments are the same tonnage for foot troops.  Infantry bays are a bit more, but not too much, and give more endurance than straight cargo bays.

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17384
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Talk to me about Small Craft
« Reply #29 on: 26 November 2019, 18:54:16 »
Yeah, I will circle back around . . . why not load ASF if you need/have them in those two Small Craft bays?  Ruling is that you can do that though sure it wastes 50t of capacity, the ASF may suit your needs.  Otherwise I agree with at least a Landing Craft MK VII and a Tigress to escort your ground troops . . . using small craft to move ammo might be a problem for many reasons.

I will agree with Weirdo, buying that Achilles is a bad idea unless your fielding a battalion that can transport all its own mechs, supply dump and support elements.  Then its a orbital C&C support IMO after your folks are on the ground.  UNTIL you are in that position . . . yeah, it was a vanity waste.  Unless you are the HBS player who buys heavy mech components every time you find them in the store.  If you are about to go on a mission you need the Achilles to get your ground forces down . . . again, the CO is a moron.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.
Clan Invasion Backer #149

 

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