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Maintenance Misconceptions

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
Recently I have discovered a misconception that has even affected a member of the staff. It is a misconception with a mysterious origin and argument that collapses in on itself as soon as real military doctrine and mechanical engineering are applied. Militaries in SARP are no strangers to mud and dirt. With a long history of bloody wars on the site involving millions of casualties among soldiers alone militant forces across our setting have become quite adept at building tools of war tailored specifically to operate in the harshest conditions in places where there might not be access to spare parts and upkeep items. The most outstanding of these factions reigning dominant on the battlefield would undoubtably be the sectors two super powers, Yamatai and Nepleslia.

A close examination of both factions technology would show you that they operate on very different philosophies, and yet they have very similar doctrines. Focusing specifically on powered armor, as this current misconception has been focused on, you will notice that neither faction has many details regarding the upkeep and maintenance of their powered armor beyond stating in general that there is a maintenance cycle.

At some inexplicable point the misconception has arisen that PA such as the Mindy M2-4 and Daisy II are suddenly “difficult to repair” and “hard to maintain”. Yes, it would seem that despite 4 decades of bloody war and technological innovation to navigate the battlefields of the future that players, admittedly not as familiar with Yamataian technology have forgotten something about our super high-tech powered armor. They have discovered the sensitive electronics and hyper advanced systems, yet have unfortunately failed to realize one major factor.

These machines were built for war.

Yamatai has a reputation for destructive operations in the engineers of our faction know precisely what they are doing. They did not build these suits of armor for operation only in a clean, sterile environment. Mindy and Daisy or a couple of dirty girls, more than happy to play in the mud.

It’s true that our dearest Daisy is designed for engagements on a planetary surface where the effects of explosive combat tend to relocate dust and dirt into the air along with healthy amounts of radiation, strong EM currents, and flying debris galore however it would be unwise to assume that Daisy’s more clean-cut sister is incapable of getting a little dirt under her nails. Starship demolition generates even more radiation and toxins than any planets surface ever will. Fluids will spray about as ammonia cooling systems rupture and oil reserves burst.

What more could Yamataian troops in both space and ground conflicts face? Survival when separated from the ship or base is a scary situation. Yamatai knows that it’s men and women want more than anything to survive to see their families and treats no one as expendable as proven by their choice to field all of their combat personnel with the best weapons and armor in their arsenal. While at peace these armors should be cleaned and polished at all times there is one thing that should be known while at war. It’s gonna get dirty, scratched, and busted up and yet these suits of armor will survive the worst of it.

Designers know their creations are meant to be used in the harshest conditions fathomable and some they couldn’t possibly imagine. They are meant to be put back together at the end of the day and thrown right back into the fray for another round.

So this is to all you fellas out there doubting my girls on the frontlines, in support roles, and in recon roles. The faces of the SAoY don’t NEED a low maintenance counterpart, you do. Mindy and Daisy have been getting down and dirty longer than most of us on the site knew how to to pronounce Mishhuvurthyar. Have some faith.



EDIT: due to spellcheck weirdness on my phone I needed to correct some typos, though I promise that the integrity of this post was maintained.
 
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Soban

Convention Veteran
Something I'll note is that SARP is essentially a powered armor setting. Powered armor, such as the Mindy makes someone only roughly 3 inches taller. The Mindy is explicitly able to fight in relatively confined spaces that one will find say indoors. There are almost no places that a person can go that a mindy can't. And for those places, the Daisy has tactical drones.

A suit of powered armor in this setting is able to lift more, go farther, faster, carry more and heavier weapons and armor. They carry powerful computers that gives them tons of intelligence at their fingertips. All while being not significantly larger then a dismounted infantry.

I'll admit the sweet spot isn't insanely narrow, a prepared dismounted infantry can beat a powered armor. They can even skimp on somethings. However, a unit of powered armor is going to essentially always defeat a unit of dismounted infantry in nearly every situation from combat to scouting.
 

Glein

Game Master
My concern is power use, and extended operations far from any standard support base, much less access to armory techs able to perform maintenance beyond "Yup, it's works" level. Especially with some of the tech used being dangerous to unarmored personnel when active, much less how much of a detectable signature it would produce (CFS in use has to be detectable if we're aware of needing to shield people in the armor to avoid killing them with it, much less how to shield them). Which is why I and Jack have been looking into a kit for those who's mission profile is less about getting right into the thick of a fight, and more about being less visible, less detectable, and more importantly, better suited to *not* having any real support for months at a time, including not getting a battery charge every week (I know Mindy's and Daisy's can go much longer than this, it's a joke).

He and I are basically trying to make the equivalent of the Willy's Jeep in terms of maintenance levels required to keep functioning, as opposed to an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank (What I effectively equate a Daisy to being in terms of needed support for keeping in top fighting form). Can the Abrams go with extended periods of low maintenance? Yes, it's military equipment, it's designed for it. But it's effectiveness does quickly begin to decline without regular field maintenance, the sort which the crew wouldn't have the tools on hand to perform, even if they had the complex knowledge of how to perform the repairs and maintenance needed. The Willy's Jeep on the other hand, short of needing replacing key parts when they failed, was simple enough to keep running that anyone with a toolbox and basic mechanical knowledge could keep them functioning well enough for longer periods. Yes, they were more easily effected by combat (it wasn't a tank after all), but they weren't meant to be tanks. They were auxiliary equipment to support the other jobs needing done by the military.

Is this comparison perfect? No, far from it. There's plenty of holes in it, but it's the one I can most easily do to explain what we're going for.
 

Firebrand

Well-Known Member
Did everyone forget that basically everyone in setting has access to 3d Printing tech that is basically star trek replicators? Not to mention self repair systems and other stuff like that. Does a PA need Maintenance? Yeah. Is it some kind of hangar queen that's so fragile and breakdown prone that it can only be taken out once a month like an Formula 1 Car? Hell no.

Like, I get it. I know you guys don't want to use PA, but Rizzo has a point.

Also, Glein. Glein. Dragon. Drag-ON. The Power generation available in SARP is ridiculous. We have gobs and gobs of both compact power generation sources and high density power storage devices.

Simultaneously, Glein, the comparison to an M1A1 isn't entirely apt- advances in technology and war have made it akin to comparing a Norman Knight with an T-34. A better comparison is to the full battle rattle that modern soldiers wear: common, ubiquitous, and used by everyone.

In my opinion, PA are the dominant battlefield weapon because That's How SARP Do. There's numerous relevant passages from Starship Troopers about this that I could apply here, but the biggest reason is that Its a Core Conceit Of the Setting. The Iroma don't use PA as much as everyone else, because they're actually less advanced, and to get the performance that the core powers can put in a PA they have to put it on something the size of a VANDR; much is the same for other states that don't use PA.

The average infantryman faces a multitude of horrendous threats to bodily function in SARP. From the Environment (or lack thereof) as often from the Enemy. Hard radiation, toxic chemicals, and weapons fire that can tear through any suit of armor that's light and flexible enough to use without a powered assist. That's why PA is so common: It doesn't just let the wearer fly; it makes them strong enough to carry armor that can let them survive being shot in the chest by a three round burst of .50cal bullets; allows them to fight in space without choking to death; and lets them carry the actual armaments that lets them be of use against other powered armor.

That is why, in addition to the multiple times i've had PA using characters forced to go on combat missions in just their everyday uniforms where it went tits up, I believe that actually sending people without any kind of powered armor suit into any engagement in SARP is tantamount to sending them to die.
 
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Ametheliana

Moderator
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
The first drawback listed on the mindy 4 page is:

“The Mindy 4 has more parts than previous Mindy armors and is thus more time-consuming to repair than previous models. It also uses Zesuauium plates which have to be replaced when significantly damaged, because they cannot be repaired.”

I don’t know what your point is Rizzo, if it’s one that isn’t negated by this quote.
 

SchererSoban

Office of post cheer.
Convention Veteran
Could argue for either a less time-consuming model or a new version of the older type 2 honestly. As Ame-sensei pointed out its more time-consuming and not repair if you have a unit with out a proper supply line or lack of proper facilities this could be more hurtful again the point could also be made that this would hamper any model but if you could get somthing that could be more easily patch worked and rough this might be a good point to have for a new PA suit.
 

Firebrand

Well-Known Member
The first drawback listed on the mindy 4 page is:

“The Mindy 4 has more parts than previous Mindy armors and is thus more time-consuming to repair than previous models. It also uses Zesuauium plates which have to be replaced when significantly damaged, because they cannot be repaired.”

I don’t know what your point is Rizzo, if it’s one that isn’t negated by this quote.

The point he's trying to make is that PA isn't so fragile and such a hangar queen that its better to use unarmored and unpowered infantry for ground combat roles.
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
Q: how time consuming is it to repair the previous armors? More time is not the same as prohibitively long time. Also Zesu is hard to damage so unless they are in heavy combat, they probably are not going to need to be replaced.
 

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
It certainly isn’t, IMO, Ame. Yes, it has more parts, and yes, it takes longer to repair. But what is powered armor? When you break it down it’s not really all that complicated. Now I agree that an M2-4 in the hands of a Ranger on a month long assignment with intermittent engagements is going to come home looking a lot less pretty than when it left home, but still it’s not just going to leave you stranded. Really, if it’s just lack of maintenance that’s the issue all of that can be resolved when you return to base. A nodal fabricator could be used to patch up any pock marks or gouges just fine too.

Even with these low maintenance suits that are being proposed, they too are going to endure the same torture testing. It’s still going to need an overhaul when it gets back home. The only difference is that it’s packing less equipment and protective plating.

I agree that the M2–4 is not a good example of low maintenance. But Daisy is. Little miss daisy was built for ground combat. Ground in space combat are very different. Without an abundance of cover space engagements are fierce and fast as compared to ground engagements. The Daisy is far more rugged and was built just for planetary combat, which is always longer and drawn out.

I do like Glein’s explanation. You put it very well, A lighter duty suit for the guys that don’t get shot up as much makes sense to me. I don’t necessarily agree with reducing defensive capabilities nor do I feel it is wise to have your best troops equipped with inferior equipment as compared to general forces.

Why do I feel the new, less armored suits are inferior to general forces suits?
For exactly that reason is my answer. Any suit can do what these suits do with a helping of Xiulurium top coat and intelligent strategy. In any case, nothing is perfect, so when a Ranger is finally faced with that moment where someone shoots him point blank in the chest with a PA rated weapon what does he want to be wearing at that exact moment.

Now, I am not a military professional but I’m going to assume the answer would be the thickest, most effective piece of armor and shielding he can possibly carry. If they get caught, or detected they’re not going to be politely asked to leave. When I close my eyes and try to think about what I would want in that situation I keep coming back to the Daisy II. It’s rugged, durable, and very reliable. If I know that when I get back home whatever I’m wearing is most likely going to be in an awful state of disrepair, ill maintained, dirty, damaged, I want the Daisy.
 

Firebrand

Well-Known Member
I think the problem here is that we're all assuming the worst of one another, actually.

I'm assuming that people wanting more unarmored infantry stuff want to relegate all PA use to special units and make it rare and not used by common infantry (which is bad).
People like Glein are, presumably, assuming that I want to squash down all unarmored infantry stuff until it doesn't exist.

The truth is that neither of these assumptions are correct. There's jobs that infantry in PA just can't do, stuff like what the Rangers do, and they need kit to do it. But at the same time, you need PA to outfit your actual line troops and direct combat forces, and no-one wants to take that away from them. Giving the Rangers and other unarmored specialist troops the tools they need not only makes them better at their jobs, but means there's more PA available for everyone else to use.

And no-one's going to be so stupid as to strip PA from infantry, are they?
 

Glein

Game Master
Myself and Fiver did have a heart to heart, and we came to an understanding that we both were taking things to a illogical extreme of what the other was saying.

I have no desire to remove PA from the equation. They're too damned useful in too many roles and operational needs. But at the same time, as I mentioned earlier, there are times when PA is a hindrance than a boon. Having the right tools for the job is something modern military's have learned the hard way, especially since earlier eras of conflict, you didn't need to really consider it.

Suffice to say, the Ranger's operational posture is that they don't get into a direct engagement when performing their missions, because they're undergeared and underprotected, for the sake of mobility and discretion. If they were deploying in a more traditional assault mission however, they'll don power armors in a heartbeat. They aren't stupid. They want to live just as much as anyone else. If your gonna smash a nut, bring a sledgehammer. Solid enough to do the job and certain to succeed. But if you're not trying to smash that nut, but instead crack it open, bring a nutcracker. More precise application of force to get the result you desire than a sledgehammer.
 

RaWolfe

Site Supporter
FM of Yamatai
FM of Neshaten
Interesting discussion :) I do have a question. If you look at the cycle of repairing or maintenance towards a PA, how many times can a PA be repaired, be kept going until it is rather futile to continue the usage of it?
 

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
From what I’ve seen as long as its still intact it can be restored.

Perhaps it would also be useful to clarify what powered armor is mechanically. In Yamatai it’s a strength augmenting bodysuit of synthetic muscles with armored plating attached to it. Mix into that electronics, energy shielding, and propulsion and you’ve got yourself a suit of battle armor.

In essence it’s kind of like a lock stock and barrel situation
 

Toshiro

Well-Known Member
I think that the statement about not being 'easily serviced' is specifically in reference to certain high-complexity electronic components that are meant to be replaced as modules rather than field repairable. That doesn't mean that it isn't possible to do regular maintenance on the power armor itself. In fact, it might be relatively simple to do so. It just means that you're not expected to disassemble the Aether Generator and irradiate yourself in favor of simply replacing it with a spare if something goes wrong.
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
I'll note is that during Essia's occupation, powered armor and such from both S6 and Yamatai were still making it to the planet via various smuggling techniques for the resistance. They were being run through a harsh jungle with a occasionally spotty supply chain. They were constantly getting beat up and more often then not being repaired in the field. NUSPI modules were replaced rather then being fiddled with.
 
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Jack Pine

Staff Member
FM of NDC
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
The Separa variant of the Revenant PA they were being sent, were designed entirely modular for easy repair, simply swapping damaged pieces with scavenged working ones. Not the best solution, but the armor's survivability kept them alive.
 

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
Maybe another good question to ask is what we are expecting to cause the PAs to need repairs?
There is certainly a difference between wear and tear damage and gunfire related damages.

In the case of Rangers, who are getting picked on to death in this thread, Rangers are expecting to recon, right? So if they are getting into a lot of fights I can see two arguments which have been stated as both being relevant.

1.) They don’t need additional defenses so why bother making their equipment match existing suits?

2.) When they finally get caught we want them to have every tool at their disposal to SERE including a teleporter!

I don’t know why didn’t think of this earlier but if they get detected or for some reason have enemy forces closing in on them we should really make sure their equipment can equip a teleporter so they can just poof away. l do like that the TARSA can do this so maybe I could see that being a redeeming quality but at the same time a Mindy can do the same.
 

Jack Pine

Staff Member
FM of NDC
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
currently in Artemis, we have a designated Rikugan platoon to be the cavalry in case of the rangers running into trouble. Things hit the fan and the boys make the drop to pull their sneaky cousins from the fire.
 

Ametheliana

Moderator
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
It’s cool to see viewpoints exchanged as we work towards understanding one another better. Shoutout to Glein and Firebrand for really doing that latter one.

Toshiro, Zesuaium itself cannot be repaired. That’s the main reason I took that the Mindy is hard to repair.

Rizzo, you can’t paint a top coat of Zesu on something. I just noticed that mentioned and it doesn’t work that way.
 

Rizzo

Well-Known Member
My auto correct has some challenges and I’ve been using my phone today. I’m sure I meant to say either Xiulurium or Zenarium, both being used as topcoat paints and even armor types for stealth.
In regards to repairing Zesu, it’s super hard to break to begin with but I believe hull repair kits can inject osmiridium into holes to create a sort of patch. That’s the most I’ve ever heard of about repairing Zesu. But if that’s the best you can do at least it’ll plug a hole.

In regards to this thread, I’m really pleased with how well we’ve been able to exchange ideas and generally promote healthy discussions about this topic. I would like to thank @Glein for his interesting descriptions of the goals the new tech articles are striving for. Even if I don’t agree with all of the decisions made, it’s nice to understand the reasoning behind what is being worked on.
 
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