Author Topic: about battle armor...  (Read 2081 times)

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Offline Chaoswolf

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about battle armor...
« on: May 03, 2008, 08:19:15 AM »
Good morning, campers! They call me Sergeant Major
Macintyre, but you will address me as ďSergeantĒ! I donít care
where youíve come from or what you had to do to get here.
You may be some badass Special Forces type. Maybe youíre
here from a line regiment and figure this for an easy gig. Or
perhaps youíre fresh out of boot camp and still damp around
the ears. It donít matter here, because youíre all starting right
at the beginning. So settle down, pin your ears back and pay
attention! The enemy will be giving you an exam later.
Most people think these tin cans we call battle armor
are just baby BattleMechs. As you have all volunteered to
become grade-A SPAM, youíll soon enough know they are
dead wrong.
Over here we have a genuine Toad suit, or Elemental battle
armor as the Clanners call it. Donít let the bullet holes and
bloodstains faze you.
Your battle armor falls into several classes. Power armor
is not much more than an armored exoskeleton, and
weighs up to four hundred kilograms. You donít see it out
on the battlefield much, but suits like the Nighthawk and
Tornado are best for special ops work. Some donít consider
them true battle armor, but donít go discounting
them out of hand.
Next up, you have the light class, coming in at up to 750 kilos.
Suits like the Kobold and Kage are fast and agile, so they tend
to show up as scouts, though they can still lay a world of pain
on anything that gets in their way. Still, they just canít carry the
kind of armor needed to stand up to heavy weapons.
Toadie here is a medium-weight suit. Weighing in at a full
ton, his mix of mobility, weapons and armor makes him one
of the most balanced battle armor types youíll ever run into.
Up to one and a half tons, you get the heavy class. These
babies can pack some serious armor and fi repower, but they
pay for it in speed and agility. As a result, you donít see them
as much. The Clanners have started fielding the Gnome, and
we have our Sloth. Both move about as well as a stuck pig,
but pack a solid wallop nonetheless.
Last of all, you get the assault class. Now here, youíre riding
the curve of diminishing returns. At up to two tons in weight,
these things are slow and as clumsy as hell. Of course, they
can also carry enough armor to stop just about any mobile
weapon system you care to mentionóshort of an orbital fi re
support mission from a passing WarShipóand they can pack
more firepower than some light íMechs.
Now that this sucker is opened up, you can see the chassis
donít look all that different from the powered exoskeletons
youíve seen used for boring civilian work. Of course, in this
case, weight and strength are real important. Youíll never find
a civilian exoskeleton made out of this stuff . It takes some
fancy zero-G manufacturing, and itís not cheap. Just like the
rest of the gear on the suits youíll be playing with. Bring them
back. We can afford to lose you, but we canít spare the suit.
Remember that.
The chassis is just like a skeleton. Everything else mates to it.
Most battlesuits are like Toad Boy here. They walk around on
two legs just like you. Gather íround. Come closer, everyone.
See here? You can see these bundles of rubbery stuff attached
to the chassis. Thatís your musculatureójust like myomers
on a BattleMech, except the fibers in these are shorteródesigned
to work on this reduced scale. Pass electricity though
an actuator at one end and watch them contract. Works just
like your own muscles, only this stuff is way stronger.
Donít pull that, soldier! You donít know what itís attached
to.
Next up, we have the power packs right back here.
These little beauties will keep you going for about a day
of heavy use. Longer if you shut down everything but the
essentials between fights. These things charge your life
support, comms and movement. Your weapons run off
their own power packs, so donít go wild spraying laser fi re
everywhere. I hear tell the Clans messed with using a lightweight
fusion reactor to power their Toads. Didnít work out
too well, apparently. You really donít want to have reactor
containment fail when youíve got a ball of million-degree
plasma sitting between your shoulder blades. Your average
recharger will fi ll you up in under an hour. Techs can
swap the packs out in a few minutes. Some suits rigged for
longer endurance carry additional power packs, and if you
can hitch a lift on a friendly OmniMech you can just plug in
and draw juice straight from the engine.
So the chassis supports the weight of all your gear, the
myomer muscles are strong enough to move it all, and you
have power to make everything work. How do you make
the can youíre wearing do what you want it to? The key
is the suit lining, which is fi lled with pressure sensors. The
sensors detect every movement you make and then trigger
the suitís myomers to mimic the motion. What this means
to you is, you donít have to think about driving or controlling
the suit like a tank or a ĎMech. Just move, and the suit
moves with you.
Ahh! I hear you all cry out in dismay. If itís that simple, why
canít anybody just strap on a suit of battle armor and go?
First off , the suit has to be adjusted to fi t each person like
a glove if itís going to work right. That takes time and skill.
Second, the control system not only mimics your movements,
but uses that fancy musculature to amplify the effect.
So a lot of what youíll be doing over the next month is
learning how to avoid killing yourself and your buddies by
accident. And then there are suits with a jump pack built in.
Jumping in one of these is a tricky skill to pick up, and the
only way to do it is practice.
Understand this. Some of you are going to get hurt during
your training. Maybe hurt dead. And nine times out of
ten it will be during jump practice. Talking of jumping, some
gizmos can boost jump range. The late, great GDL came up
with a jump booster for their scout suits, and the Combine
came up with its own partial wing system.
Your hands are going to be busy controlling the weapons.
So youíve got to use your head. Thereís a heads-up display
inside your helmet to give you targeting info and tell you
what shape youíre in. All the controls are activated by voice
or eye movement. Also built into that fancy heads-up display
are IR and light amplification systems. Donít get too dependent
on them, though. The bad guys can use all sorts of
countermeasures to fool them. Meanwhile, your comm systems
are good for about fifty klicks on the battlefield, give or take.
The Gray Death added a whole pile of advanced sensors to
their battle armor. Others, like our very own Infiltrator II suits,
have powerful electronic countermeasures that will mask everything
around them, while also playing merry hell with enemy
sensors and comms.
Talking of hands, you see that ugly big claw on Mr. Toad?
Thatís your basic battle claw. With the suitís myomers behind it,
you can rip your way through ferro-fibrous armor. Some suits
have lighter manipulators. Light suits usually make do with unpowered
gloves. Those are dexterous enough to let you use
stock infantry small arms and equipment. These manipulators
are one of the things that make battle armor so scary to the
íMech jocks. If a bunch of you can mob some poor unsuspecting
BattleMech, then you can start to rip into it. Target soft
spots like actuators or maintenance access points. If you get
lucky, youíll cripple the íMechómaybe even kill it. That is, if
the MechWarrior donít kill you first.
There are quad suits out there, too. You may have seen the
Sloth they rushed out to fight the Clans. Quad suits are driven
differently than the humanoids. Stick and pedal controls make it
more like driving a groundcar or pushing a íMech around. They
donít jump, and they arenít as flexible as a full-up suit like Mr.
Toad, but they can be fast buggers. Some of the Clanner suits you
might come up against may also have other movement modes.
The Sylph can fl y using a miniaturized VTOL system, and the
Undine is designed for underwater ops. The boys and girls here
at the NAIS are working to develop the same sort of capability,
but they arenít there yet.
Weíll take five, then move on to armor and weapons in detail.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about battle armor...
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2008, 08:24:04 AM »
Still here? Nobody sleeping at the back? Fine.
All the time youíre wearing battle armor, the suit keeps an eye
on your vitals. If you get yourself hurt, this neat medical system
kicks inóhitting you with painkillers and stimulants. It you get
hit real bad, itíll try to keep you alive until the medics can get to
you. The combination of the two used by the Clanners can keep
even a mortally wounded trooper awake and alert, allowing him
to fight on even when he should be halfway to the Reaper. Bear
that in mind when you face one on the field. The gent who rode
in this Toad fought to the bloody, bitter end, with no less than
three high-caliber AP rounds in the chest.
Armor! Something dear to my heartóand to yours, if you
know whatís good for you. This is half of what battle armor is all
about. Thanks to the wonders of the chassis and super-strong
myomers, battlesuits can carry far tougher armor than anything
youíll have used before. With this stuff óand a bit of luckóyou
can survive BattleMech laser fi re, missiles, autocannon shells
and PPC bolts. Donít get cocky, though; even some punk from a
planetary militia can drop you with a bolt-action rifle if he hits
you just right.
As well as the basic armor, youíll fi nd a whole range of special
stealth armors. Theyíre no good against infantry, but they can
mess with vehicle and BattleMech sensors, especially at long
range. The WoBbies even cooked up their own version of the active
camouflage system used on the Star Leagueís Nighthawks.
This so-called mimetic armor, used on their Purifier suits, acts like
a chameleonís skin, using a bunch of sensors to copy the colors
and shades of the surrounding terrain. Unfortunately for them,
the system works best when they stay still; fast enough motion
strains the computers that run the color change features, and
they just canít keep up.
Battle armor can be hermetically sealed, so it can operate in
space or toxic environments. You can even survive under water,
though without the underwater maneuvering units the Clans use,
itís going to take you about an hour to slog your way out of a lake
if you fall in. Life support is usually good for twelve hours in these
suits, though some suits have even longer endurance. Internal
heat generated by your own soft and squishy body and the
suitís systems is vented away by an efficient heat transfer system,
which uses the same kind of coolant found in a MechWarriorís
cooling vest, aided by a liner specially designed to absorb excess
perspiration and other waste fluids.
The Clanners have had much more time to mess around with
battle armor, of course. Their equipment is much lighter, but
their chassis are heavier because they have this HarJel stuff.
When their armor takes a penetrating hit, the suit squirts this
sticky black gunk into the breach. This goo will hold a seal even
when fighting in space for a while. I hear tell it comes from
some planet way back in the Clan homeworlds. The oceans on
this world are lousy with chemicals and there are these great
big clams lurking on the bottom. They just sit there, sucking
up the gloop while looking for food. All the stuff they canít digest,
they crap out all over the ocean floor. Bam! Instant, concentrated
gloop. The Clanners go in and gather it all up and
process it into HarJel.
Oh! And before I forget, look out for the Clannersí Salamander
suits. Donít waste your time hitting them with fl amers or inferno
rounds. Little bleeders are encased in some fancy fi reproof armor.
You ainít going to hurt them any, but youíre probably going to
make them mad.
And now the subject youíve all been hanging on the edge of
your seats waiting for: weapons.
Youíll find a lot of dif erent weapons on battle armor. Most
suits can carry one or more heavy weapons. These are heavily
modified versions of infantry support weapons, which mesh
with your suitís targeting systems and built-in stabilizers to be
even more deadly. These weapons often supplement missile
launchers and anti-personnel weapons. Some more exotic systems
you probably wonít have run into before include bomb
racks, pop-up mines and even mine dispensers. Youíll find many
suits have special mounts that allow you to carry different kinds
of weapons depending on the mission. Going up against forces
with BattleMech support? Take a support laser. Got to clear out
a nest of infantry? Try a flamer or a machine gun. Most of the
weapons you get on battle armor are set up with auto-loaders
and gyro stabilization so you can handle them on your own.
They interface directly into your HUD targeting systems and
have integral heat sinks and cooling systems, so they donít tax
your suitís cooling system. The net results are guns that can
match their BattleMech-mounted equivalents. Battle armor designs
can mount up to four of these weapons, one in each arm
and two more mounted on the body.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about battle armor...
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2008, 08:27:04 AM »
Weapons break down into your usual three main categories:
energy weapons, ballistic and missiles.
First, energy weapons. Here youíve got lasers, particle cannons
and plasma weapons. The lasers are roughly equivalent
to the lighter energy weaponry mounted on combat vehicles
and BattleMechs. On the other hand, the particle cannon is
far less powerful, which just goes to show that even battle armor
has its limitations. Plasma weapons are kind of a halfway
between energy and ballistic weapons. They use ammo to
generate super-hot plasma, but they fire more like a particle
cannon. These weapons are best used on hardened targets
like BattleMechs, vehicles, and of course enemy battlesuits.
Ballistic weapons include a variety of rapid-fi re machine
guns, light autocannons and recoilless rifl es that are real effective
against unarmored infantry, and can also chew up
hardened targets. Weíre also seeing some high-tech Gauss
weapons coming down the R-and-D pipeline. My favorite is,
of course, our own Magshot. Good range and penetrating
power for the weight. Only problem is, itís bulky, so it canít be
mounted on some suits.
Your primary anti-armor weapon, however, is still going
to be missiles. They have the best range and pack a solid
punch. Theyíre bulky, though, just like the Magshot, and
you never seem to have enough ammo. The Clanners have
a real head start on missile tech here. They make lighter
launchers and have had the time to solve all those little
problems of integrating everything into their Toad design.
Some missile launchers are detachable; that helps to improve
the agility of Inner Sphere designs like the Longinus,
which canít use its jump jets until it ditches the backpack
launcher. The standard battlefield missiles are all represented.
SRMs are probably the most common, and pack
the most bang for your C-bill. LRMs are just beginning to
appear, as have MRM types. The Clanners also have an advanced
SRM based on Streak technology, which has better
range, but a guidance system thatís not quite as good as
full-up Streak munitions. Not yet, at least.
So, youíve got a suit of battle armor, all tricked out with
weapons of awesome destruction. But what to do when
you need to deal with some snot-nosed kid armed with
a bolt-action rifle, without destroying the neighborhood
in the process? If you look close at Toad Boy here, you
can see it has a bracket on the underside of the left arm.
Thatís your anti-personnel weapon mount. Not all suits
have them. Some have two or even more. Just like the
heavy weapons are modified versions of infantry support
weapons, these AP weapon mounts can carry special
versions of infantry small arms. Submachine guns and
pulse laser rifles are a popular choice. They allow you to
deal with an unfriendly without trashing everything else.
Real useful if youíre in a boarding party on a DropShip or
JumpShip, and you donít want to go blowing big nasty
holes in the hull.
Just about done now, so if you can hold off yawning in my
face for five more minutes, Iíd appreciate it.
Thereís a whole load of special equipment you can
slap onto battle armor. Some have special modifications
to their manipulators, for example, like mine-clearance
equipment or vibro-bladesóthe latter being particularly
nasty in close combat against squishy targets like conventional
troops. The Cappies have cooked up a system
of clamps that let their Fa Shih suits ride on vehicles and
normal BattleMechs as if they were Omnis. They canít recharge
the same way Omni-hitched battlesuits can, but
itís a neat trick. Once the NAIS figures out how they did
it, you can bet weíll be seeing the same tech on our own
suits. The Combine came up with a special mounting that
can carry a manipulator or a variety of specialized tools:
Drills and cutters and such. While not much use on the
battlefield, those tools are real handy for setting up prepared
positions or helping salvage crews.
That wraps up your introduction to the fun-fun world of
the Battle Armor Corps. I look forward to fighting alongside
those of you who survive your training.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!