Building a Better Suit of Powered Armor

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 3, 2017 - 8:56pm

You know the cover of Zebulon’s Guide, featuring a character in a bad ass suit of powered armor.

It had an effect similar to the posters of some movies – promising delights that just weren’t in the finished product. Buried among the plethora of skills (note, the original meaning of plethora is “a great quantity, especially more than desirable”) was the powered armor skill.

But, as was typical with the Zebs rulebook, no examples of powered armor could be found except what was on the cover. One had to wait for the January 1988 issue of Dragon Magazine for the article “Armed and Dangerous: The power of powered armor in the STAR Frontiers® game” before that deficiency was rectified.

The writer David Dennis does a fine job of laying out the reasons for including these kind of  super soldier suits in the game.

“Powered armor is a device commonly used in science-fiction role-playing games and occasionally used in fantasy RPGs,” Dennis wrote. “TSR.s own GAMMA WORLD® game has powered armor. A suit of powered armor also appears in AD&D® module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

“Unfortunately, the game that would most likely have powered armor lacks it. Spacesuit armor is found in the STAR FRONTIERS® Knight Hawks rulebook, but it is not powered. Here, then is real powered armor,” he continued.

The armor’s wearer – we’ll call him or her a pilot – receives a number of benefits – immunity to damage from certain attacks, super-hero like movement, such as 200 meter jumps, tripling the pilot’s effective stamina, the ability to lift one-metric ton and such. One of the major drawbacks to Dennis’ presentation are the complicated combat rules.

For example, the following comes from the “Armed and Dangerous” article:

1. Check if the weapon penetrated the armor. If so, additional suit damage may have occurred. (The nature of this damagewill be checked later on Table 7.) Character damage also results. If not, no character damage results.

2. Check if damage to the armor occurs. Subtract the number rolled from the number needed to hit for the difference. If the difference is equal to or greater than 35,then additional damage to the suit.s functions has occurred.

3. Add the number of dice of damage caused by the weapon to a 2d10 die roll.

4. Divide the percentage of protection by 5, then multiply the quotient by 2. Subtract the product from the sum in step 3.

5. Consult Table 7. Apply the results next turn.

6. Roll for normal damage to the character, reducing the damage by half; reduce it by one-quarter if using a powerscreen effective against that weapon type.

Wait players while we break out our scientific calculators to find out if you take damage and what kind of damage it is. Maybe this is a good time to order pizza.

Sarcasm aside, the writer did not come up with the idea of complicated defensive armor. Simply look at the spacesuit armor in the Knight Hawks game. It's also a system where you need to worry about patching holes in the spacesuit after a character’s been hit in an attack.

Simpler forms of powered armor have appeared in Star Frontiersman magazine including Chris Harper’s  “Powered Battle Suits” and a powered inertia suit by William Signs, both in Issue 9, or Brian Cliff’s powered armor from issue 14.

But, another advantage of David Dennis’ article was presenting a system of how to build a powered armor suit. I’d like to explore how that could be done in future posting using some of the ideas laid out in the exoskeleton discussion.

Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 3, 2017 - 8:58pm
By the way, the exoskeleton discussion is one I posted recently, but it is mostly based on ideas by wOOt!

Is wOOt! Larry Moore's username? I usually like referring to a person's real name especially if I am going to use their ideas for a potential story. It's giving credit where credit is due.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 3, 2017 - 9:06pm

Powered Armor Design According to David Dennis

The system provided in this section allows you to custom-design a suit of powered armor. This system gives the designer 545 points with which to build a suit.

The basic cost of a suit of powered armor is 3,500 Cr for a stripped-down version without weapons, sensors, or special movement capabilities. Prices for additional equipment may be added to this base price.

The system for designing a suit is explained below:

Weapons: Weapons cost one point for every kilogram of weight they possess. For purposes of game balance, pistols weigh 3 kg and rifles 7 kg.

A character may never have more than five pistols or three rifles per arm. In addition, a suit may never have more than 30 kg of weapons built into one arm. However, a character may still hold a handheld weapon in an arm with 30 kg.

Handheld weapons must still be paid for in points. Total point cost for all weapons desired may never exceed 85 points. All costs for weapons purchased are added to the base cost.

Movement: When designing a powered suit, the turn speed, top speed, acceleration, and deceleration must be bought in points. Each of these is paid for using a number of points equal to that ability in meters/turn (thus, a turn speed of 90 meters/turn costs 90 points).

Flight capability may also be bought, but a 190 meters/turn top speed on the ground and a minimum ground acceleration of 80 meters/turn are needed to qualify for the running take-off needed to fly. Flight costs an additional number of points equal to the top air speed in meters/turn divided by 10, rounded up.

The monetary price for movement is 5 Cr per meters/turn in every ground ability and 10 Cr per meter/turn of top speed in flight. Flying suits accelerate, decelerate, change altitude, and make turns just like a jetcopter. However, flying suits may perform nap-of-the-earth flying with no movement penalties.

Power: The amount of SEU stored in the weapons and the miscellaneous powerpacks must be decided upon. Add up the total SEU carried in each powerpack and divide this number by 10, rounding up.

This is the number of points that must be paid. The monetary cost is 5 Cr for every SEU carried. Powerpacks may be recharged at the same places as power backpacks (at no more than a 50-point expenditure).

Ammunition: Again, the listed weight in kilograms is taken in points. A dash on the Ammunition chart (in the Alpha Dawn Expanded Game Rules booklet, page 40) means that the item weighs 0.5 kg or less.

For point costs, assume that these items weigh 0.5 kg each and therefore cost ½ point each.

Extras: If you wish to include special equipment such as more communications, radar, infrared jammers, cameras, holoscreens, and so forth, the point cost is up to the referee. A good ballpark estimate of cost may be made by dividing the cost in credits by 100, thus giving the point cost.

Under this system, an infrared jammer would cost 5 points, a holoscreen would cost 10 points, and a subspace radio would cost 200 points.

 

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 3, 2017 - 9:08pm
I think there is some potential to use some of Dennis' concepts, though I'm not thrilled with the point system as presented. He does offer a formula for calculating the costs of adding movement and other capabilities to the powered suit. That might be something worth working on.
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 4, 2017 - 4:45am
Larry Moore is w00t. He was abducted by aliens five years ago and no one has seen him since.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 5:42am
jedion357 wrote:
Larry Moore is w00t. He was abducted by aliens five years ago and no one has seen him since.

Thank you.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:11pm
jedion357 wrote:
Larry Moore is w00t. He was abducted by aliens five years ago and no one has seen him since.

I think it must have been the Mechanons.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:23pm
Just in case you need it, the exoskeleton post is here: http://starfrontiers.us/node/9631

Originally, Larry Moore had proposed having a separate exoskeleton for explorers and another for enforcers. (Sounds suspiciously like Zebs character classes).

Being lazy, I figured one design would do the trick to cover both types which is this:

Explorer/Enforcer Rig

Cost: 3,500 Credits

Weight: 25 kilograms

Power: 100 SEU Backpack (sold separately)

Power Usage: 4 SEU per hour

The EE Rig, also called the poor man’s powered armor, is a robust exoskeleton designed for speed, melee power but not necessarily for a lot of extra carrying capacity. Basically a scaled down robot for a character, it is made to mount all sorts of equipment and is compatible with a defense field. In its stripped-down form, it will not provide any additional protection but a character could wear a defensive suit.

A character in an EE Rig can move twice as fast as normal, receives a +1 Initiative Modifier, can jump five meters straight up (in a 1 G environment), gains a +20 to hit modifier in melee and does does an extra +1d10 points of damage in melee. It comes with many pockets and attachments to hold additional powerclips and equipment.

This rig can be pared with partial and full polyplate armor (see the Alpha Dawn remastered rules under Optional Equipment). If so, a character cannot wear any other defensive suit and the polyplate armor is actually plates that are mounted over the exoskeleton. The installation charge is 10 percent of the normal price. Characters will not suffer any Dexterity or Reaction Speed penalties.

Other equipment can be mounted to the EE Rig such as a toxirad gauge, chronocom, trace-tags, etc. for an additional 10 percent installation charge. For an additional 5 percent charge, such equipment can also be made to be removed and used by a character when they are not wearing the outfit. Characters can double their normal carrying capacity (unencumbered and encumbered).

It takes a character 1d10+10 turns to suit up or properly exit the rig; a character can spend experience points to reduce this time (1 XP to reduce 1 turn to a maximum reduction of 8 turns). Humans, Yazarians and Dralasites can use the same type of labor exoskeleton, but Vrusk need their own purpose built unit (no extra cost).

Because of its size and bulk, a character cannot wear an EE Rig and operate  or even ride in many vehicles (cycles, cars, etc.), but they could be carried in an explorer or ground, hover or air transport and other larger craft.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:38pm
I would say the EE Rig should be the version used as the basis for less expensive powered armors. They type characters might be able to purchase, those used by smaller paramilitary groups.

For the most part, a character can wear normal defensive suits, including polyplate armors and carry items. The problem is that there would be limitations if you want a fully enclosed suit, and it would be no where near some of the capabilities listed in David Dennis' article.

I've nicknamed his standard suit as the Planetary Assault Battle Suit (PABS), which we will use as the creme de la creme of Frontier powered armors.

A Planetary Assault Battle Suit (PABS) is the ultimate powered armor available in the Frontier and is much more like a one-person tank than a powered suit. It was designed especially for use by the UPF Landfleet and Spacefleet Marines during the Second Sathar War.

Sealed like a spacesuit, the PABS allows the pilot to operate in hostile environments, including the vacuum of space, for indefinite amounts of time. Its life support system will provide air, water, and liquid nutrition for up to 10 GST days (200 hours). If not depleted by combat, its power system with three type I parabatteries can keep the suit operating at full capacity for 3,000 kilometers or 1,000 GST hours.

Suit Design. The standard UPF assault model includes:

·         Two rocket launchers on the right forearm with 8 rockets,

·         One grenade mortar on the back with 8 grenade mortar shells,

·         One flamethrower on the left forearm with 10 shots.

·         Two guided missile packs, one on each shoulder, with six missiles each (12 total),

·         One hand-held heavy laser with 300 SEU of power or one hand-held ECM rifle.

ECM Rifle. This weapon shoots a beam of magnetic energy. Its main function is to disrupt robots and computers, though it may affect living beings by causing disorders in the iron content of the creature’s blood and by jamming the creature’s neural synapses.

To find the chance of jamming a computer or robot, multiply the number of SEU used by five for a base percentage chance of success. From this base, subtract the level of the computer or robot multiplied by four; this will yield the chance of a malfunction. When a malfunction occurs, roll on the malfunctions table (page 15) for the results.

To cause damage to living targets, an expenditure of two SEU is necessary. When firing at vehicles or armor, treat the number of SEU used as the number of dice of damage done when using the damage table. Even if 15 SEU are fired at an armored soldier, the attack still does 5d10 to the wearer, but it is a 15-dice attack for the damage table.

Statistics for the ECM Rifle. Cost: 8,000 Credits. Mass: 15 kilograms. Damage: 5d10 or jam. SEU Usage: 2-20. Rate: 2. Defense: Gauss. Range: PB 0-10, Short 11-30, Medium 31-100, Long 101-150, Extreme 151-300.

Guided Missile Pack. Each missile pack contains six missiles. The PABS pilot may fire all the missiles at once (or any number he chooses) and command them to divide themselves between as many targets as were launched that turn. In addition, the pilot may dispatch different numbers of missiles to different targets.

For example, the pilot sees one civilian, one skimmer, and one enemy powered-armor soldier. The soldier launches eight missiles, aiming one at the civilian, three at the skimmer, and four at the enemy suit. All missiles must roll separately to hit, but receive a 30% bonus to hit because each missile is guided.

Statistics for the Guided Missile Pack. Cost: 1,200 Credits. Mass: 10 kilograms. Damage: 6d10/missile. Blast Radius: 4/6 meters. Rate: 1-6. Defense: Inertia. Range: PB 0-10, Short 11-50, Medium 51-150, Long 151-300, Extreme 301-500.

Firing Limitations. The PABS pilot may fire all weapons he possesses in the same turn except those on the gun arm. Here, the wearer must choose between the handheld weapon and the weapons built into that arm.

Ground Movement. Treat the PABS movement similar to a robot or a vehicle. Its typical movement rates are:

·         Cruise/Walking Speed: 10 meters/turn

·         Turn speed: 90 meters/turn

·         Top speed: 150 meters/turn

·         Acceleration: 70 meters/turn

·         Deceleration: 50 meters/turn

All of the vehicle movement options (except skid turns) can be made by a PABS. Consider it to have a bump number of:

Flight Capability. Some PABS models are made to fly. On the ground, these models have top speed of 190 meters/ turn and a minimum ground acceleration of 80 meters/turn. Flying suits accelerate, decelerate, change altitude, and make turns just like a jetcopter. However, flying suits may perform nap-of-the-earth flying with no movement penalties.

Jumping. The PABS can make vertical jumps of 200 meters in height. Jet-assisted jumps may be made to 400 meters, but only 10 jet-assisted jumps may be made before the suit runs out of fuel.

Horizontal jumps of 180 meters, with a 40-meter peak at the height of the arc, may also be made. The rate of movement in powered armor depends upon the type of armor purchased.

Power. The amount of SEU stored in the weapons and the miscellaneous powerpacks must be decided upon. Add up the total SEU carried in each powerpack and divide this number by 10, rounding up.

This is the number of points that must be paid. The monetary cost is 5 Credits for every SEU carried. Powerpacks may be recharged at the same places as power backpacks (at no more than a 50-point expenditure).


Protection. The PABS provides 100% protection against electrostunner, normal melee, and needler attacks. It is shielded against Electromagnetic Discharge attacks and is flame resistant (90% protection against flamethrowers and incendiary devices). See the Planetary Assault Battle Suit Protection Table on page __ for more information.

Strength and Stamina Boosted. Besides providing protection, a PABS boosts the wearer’s Strength and Stamina. A person wearing a fully functional suit of armor has triple his normal Stamina. This benefit comes from lack of fatigue, lack of effort expended when wounded, decreased penetration by weapons, and many other factors.

Even more benefits are received from the increased strength the armor gives. An armored character is able to lift one metric ton (1,000 kilograms) over his head, carry 200 kilograms at encumbered movement, and carry 120 kilograms unencumbered.

PABS Targeting Systems. The pilot wearing a PABS receives a 20% bonus to hit when using ranged weapons. If the character uses a missile pack or other heavy weapon, this bonus is trimmed to only 10% (because characters get a -10% penalty for using heavy weapons.

Melee Benefits. The suit’s strength adds an additional 35 points to damage done in melee combat. For purposes of hitting in melee combat, such that half of the attacker’s Strength is the chance to hit, give the wearer a base 100% chance to hit.






Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:40pm
The stats listed above pretty much come from Dennis' original story.

As I've noted earlier, I really don't like the fact you have to consult a chart to figure out if the suit is penetrated.

Here's the original chart:

 Planetary Assault Battle Suit Protection Table

Weapon Type

Protection

 

Weapon Type

Protection

Axe, knife, etc.

100%

 

Gyrojet

55%

Electrostunner

100%

 

Lasers

50%

Gas Grenades, bombs, etc.

100%

 

Explosive Mine

50%

Needlers

100%

 

Fragmentation Grenade

45%

Flamethrower

90%

 

ECM Rifle/ED Warhead

45%

Spear or sword

85%

 

Recoilless Rifle

40%

Stunstick

85%

 

Rocket Launcher

35%

Bullets

70%

 

Guided Missile

30%

Shock Gloves

70%

 

Cannon

30%

Electric Sword

65%

 

Bomb

20%

Bolt, Maser Weapons

60%

 

Howitzer

15%

Sonics

60%

 

Tangler Grenades/Warheads

0%

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:48pm
It's a bit of a complicated chart, much like the spacesuit armor from Knight Hawks or the Combat Armor in one of the Star Frontiersman magazines. Oh, I think I added things like the bolt and maser weapons protection just to give an idea where it would fit in.

I like the idea that it offers 100% protection to some weapons, but why does it give 50% protection to an explosive mine but only 15% protection from a howitzer? The speed of the shell versus an explosion at your feet?

I'm thinking of keep its 100% immunity from certain weapons, giving it a total number of structure points, and then it might protect a bit better than a full polyplate armor. Maybe it absorbs 90% of the damage, passing on 10% to the pilot? At least until a certain level of armor/structure points are burned off.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:52pm
The Chris Harper powered armor, which I've nicknamed the Heavy Assault Reconnaissance Patrol Enforcement and Raid (HARPER) Suit has the following stats (which are based on the SFman story, though I think I slightly altered them when I was trying to balance it with David Dennis' powered armor):

WarTech HARPER Suit.[1] Developed by WarTech during the Second Sathar War, the Heavy Assault Reconnaissance Patrol Enforcement and Raid (HARPER) Suit proved to be cheaper to build than tanks as well as more portable. This powered armor suit has a heavy-duty exoskeleton chassis covered with a special polyplate armor that is four times as thick as that found on a normal polyplate combat suit.

Sealed from the outside environment like a space suit, the battle suit employs communications, advanced targeting computers, life support for 50 hours, defense screens and medical support including a freeze field, 6 doses of Biocort and 1 Staydose .

Many combinations of standard and heavy weapons can be mounted to the suit’s four hard points. A character can wear a “soft” defense suit while inside the Harper Suit (i.e. a skeinsuit, albedo suit, etc.) but it will not provide any extra protection. It will help the character if he is forced to exit the powered armor.

  • Movement. Standard model – Top speed: 125 meters/turn (75 kph), Cruise speed: 50 meters/turn (30 kph), Accel./Deccel.: 40/30 meters per turn. Vrusk model – Top speed: 175 meters/turn (105 kph), Cruise speed: 80 meters/turn (50 kph), Accel./Deccel.: 60/40 meters per turn. The pilot can run at top speed for a number of minutes equal to his STA/10. He can maintain cruise speed for a number of minutes equal to his STA/5. The character can walk for his STA/5 in hours.
  • Leaping. A pilot can leap in the battle suit. The distance is 1/3 the distance traveled per turn. The player must make a reaction speed check to avoid a roll on the vehicle control table.
  • Jumping. The battle suit can jump vertically 5 meters. A battle suit can jump down 10 meters with no effect. Falling from a height uses the AD rules for falling.
  • Maneuver Checks. Characters must make a maneuver check with their adjusted Dexterity score. If they fail, the battle suit will fall down, causing 1d10 damage. The player must then roll below his modified Dexerity to stand up.

·         Benefits. 360-degree vision. While in the battle suit, the pilot can punch, kick, or wrestle an enemy. The character’s melee or martial art skills apply with their modified Dexterity score. Re-calculate their chance to hit using the modified DEX score. Punching and kicking damage is 2d10 +20.

·         Drawbacks. Due to its bulk, a battle suit will not fit through most doorways and some floors will not support its weight.

·         Ranged Combat. With the targeting computer the pilot can use his normal projectile or beam weapon skill while in the suit. Direct fire weapons such as lasers and machine guns can be aimed by using the targeting computer. The pilot must remain stationary for one turn, except the enemy can be moving and still be aimed at, and receives a +15 bonus. Virtually any weapon can be mounted to the Harper battle suit (see description for more information).

·         Weapons: Small arms or large weapons can be mounted on the HARPER. The suits have 4 hard points to mount weapons: one on each shoulder and one on each forearm. It can mount all manner of man-portable heavy weapons (not weapons that take up 2 hardpoints or more). Some special weapons packages, such as an automatic recoilless rifle, guided missile pack, and “stinger” gyrojet pack are available for purchase.

·         Cargo. There is an airtight, vacuum-safe cargo area on the back of battle suit that can hold up to 25kilograms. It is airtight and safe in the vacuum.

·         Protection. The battle suit has 400 structure points. Once this has been eliminated, the suit takes internal damage and the pilot takes damage. On a roll of 01-02, the suit takes additional damage on the battle suit damage table regardless of how much armor stamina it has. Weapons that only do 1d10 damage will not affect the suit in a combat situation.

·         Critical Damage. Once the armor has been penetrated the, suit receives critical damage on the Battlesuit Damage Table. The pilot also receives damage. Hits are cumulative. The suit structure can be hit up to 6 times before the suit is immobile.

Example: Terl’s HARPER suit armor is down to 20 points. He gets hit with 6d10 damage. A 10, 9, 4, 3, 2, 2 are rolled. The highest numbers are added up first. The 10, 9, and 4 are enough to penetrate the armor. Whereas, the 3, 2, and 2 are left. Therefore, 3 dice penetrate. The attacker gets 3+3D10 on the battle suit damage table. She rolls a 10, 5, 3 + the dice makes 21. So, the torso structure is hit.

A HARPER suit is powered by a type I parabattery (500 SEU). The suit uses 10 SEUs per hour to operate. A separate 500 SEU battery is used to operate other systems. A third parabattery or SEU pack can be added to the cargo compartment for emergency power backup.



[1] Harper, Chris. “Powered Battle Suits,” Star Frontiersman, Issue 9, pp. 16-22.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:55pm
Here's a bit more of my effort to try to balance the Harper's armor with Dennis' creation.

WarTech HARPER Suit. This suit has 400 external armor points. Once this outer shell has been eliminated, the suit takes internal damage and the pilot takes half damage. If an attacker rolls 01-02, the suit takes additional damage on the battle suit damage table regardless of how many armor points it has. (As with other combat rules, the referee will need to make sure this rule is not abused. A character wielding a knife or a whip is highly unlikely to cause any major damage to the suit.)

Weapons that only do 1d10 damage will not affect the HARPER suit in a combat situation. Once the armor has taken six successful internal hits (i.e. a “no effect” result on the Internal Damage Table does not count), it is rendered immobilized and useless.

Planetary Assault Battle Suit (PABS). The main property of battle armor is the protection it provides. The degree of protection for a number of weapon types is listed on the Powered Armor Protection Table, though like the HARPER Suit an attacker’s roll of 01-02 almost always penetrates. (Again, the referee will need to keep this automatic armor penetration rule from being abused.)[1]

The percentages listed there work on the same principal as spacesuit armor. If a character is hit by a weapon, look on the chart for the proper percentage and roll percentile dice. If the number is less than or equal to the listed percentage, the weapon fails to penetrate the armor. If the weapon penetrates the armor. The character will only take half damage.

Optional: Once the PABS has taken 600 points it no longer provides any protection and is considered pretty much destroyed. The suit’s internal structure can be hit up to ten times before it is immobilized and rendered useless.[2]



[1] In order to make the HARPER and PABS armors more compatible, having the PABS armor penetrated on a roll of 01-02 is a house rule and not part of Dennis’ original description.

[2] This is a house rule so the PABS statistics more closely conform to the other armors listed here.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 4, 2017 - 10:58pm
What's Next: I'll just try posting some ideas to create a consistent system to build powered armor 
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 5, 2017 - 3:51am
RE: "Any weapon can be mounted on the harper suit"

I interpret that to mean anything off the equipment list

Question: sealed suit, armor 4x as thick how does a pilot change out a magazine? Lets say its a laser rifle and a standard 20 seu clip. Its awful tough pluging small things into small holes with big fingers. This could be a problem.

I think the solution is that heavy grade weapons are whats mounted on the suit with magnum magazines (something like 3 X the ammo)

hvy machine gun, and hvy laser are obvious but I really thing military establishments will call for power armor scaled weapons. They count as hvy, have oversized magazines, the special rules for characters not in PA or exo suits for using hvy weapons apply but with a negative mod (-5) because the magnum magazine unbalances the weapon

And little tiny grenades for those big ham hocks of an armored fist? scale it up. its only logical.

And dont forget to submit an article. because your creation isn't real, for most of the community, until its in print.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 5, 2017 - 6:20am
jedion357 wrote:
RE: "Any weapon can be mounted on the harper suit"

I interpret that to mean anything off the equipment list

Question: sealed suit, armor 4x as thick how does a pilot change out a magazine? Lets say its a laser rifle and a standard 20 seu clip. Its awful tough pluging small things into small holes with big fingers. This could be a problem.

I think the solution is that heavy grade weapons are whats mounted on the suit with magnum magazines (something like 3 X the ammo)

hvy machine gun, and hvy laser are obvious but I really thing military establishments will call for power armor scaled weapons. They count as hvy, have oversized magazines, the special rules for characters not in PA or exo suits for using hvy weapons apply but with a negative mod (-5) because the magnum magazine unbalances the weapon

And little tiny grenades for those big ham hocks of an armored fist? scale it up. its only logical.

And dont forget to submit an article. because your creation isn't real, for most of the community, until its in print.

Roger. I want to work out some of the kinks first.
Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
April 8, 2017 - 9:57am
That article by Mr Dennis a classic example of how not to design something useful and practical for actual RPG use Wink The last thing you need in a combat situation is having everything slowed down whilst the referee has to do maths Foot in mouth

As for the PABS and Harper suits, I think the rules you have for the armour points of the latter would work for the former, otherwise we're back to my initial point above. If any given suit has the equivalent of a kind of STA, it's easier to figure out. What could be added is that the PABS can take more damage from one attack than the Harper before the suit is penetrated and the remaining damage is passed on to the occupant.

Aside from that, I'd like to know how much either suits weighs and how tall it is.

Incidentally, I'll have to dig out a design my RPG group developed for SF back in the 80s, the 'Battlesuit'. It's not powered, but is essentially a suit of armour with a helmet. I think one of my players still has the data and stats for it.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 7:43pm
KRingway wrote:
That article by Mr Dennis a classic example of how not to design something useful and practical for actual RPG use Wink The last thing you need in a combat situation is having everything slowed down whilst the referee has to do maths Foot in mouth.

Yes, I don't want to be too critical of the writer. If you read his story -- which jedion has posted on his Top Secret Project -- Dennis has some good ideas. But the combat part is way too complicated.

KRingway wrote:
As for the PABS and Harper suits, I think the rules you have for the armour points of the latter would work for the former, otherwise we're back to my initial point above. If any given suit has the equivalent of a kind of STA, it's easier to figure out. What could be added is that the PABS can take more damage from one attack than the Harper before the suit is penetrated and the remaining damage is passed on to the occupant.

I'll look into that.

KRingway wrote:
Aside from that, I'd like to know how much either suits weighs and how tall it is.

Incidentally, I'll have to dig out a design my RPG group developed for SF back in the 80s, the 'Battlesuit'. It's not powered, but is essentially a suit of armour with a helmet. I think one of my players still has the data and stats for it.

I think I can dig those statistics out of the original articles. Or, if they are lacking, make them up.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 7:46pm
Back to some ideas up above.

The EE Rig is an exoskeleton that can be expanded upon to create some lower classes of powered armor.

One such armor was created by William Signs.

Powered Skeinsuit.[1] A type of powered armor used by soldiers on the battlefield. It consists of a military skeinsuit, an explorer/enforcer exoskeleton, an albedo screen, a helmet with a built-in chronocom, a tank of compressed air good for 10 hours of breathable air, a Level 3 (28 function point) computer, and a type 4 parabattery (4,000 SEU) to power all of the suit's systems and beam weapons, which is usually a laser rifle or a heavy laser that is often set at 20 SEU.

The powered skeinsuit also has the strength for the user to carry up to four heavy projectile weapons — usually shoulder-mounted rocket launchers — for fire-support roles.

  • Movement. A character can move at double his species’ normal rate for walking, running, climbing, jumping and vaulting. The pilot can jump five meters straight up (in a 1 G environment). Exception, because of its bulk, a character cannot swim in this armor. Unless it is equipped with ballast tanks and some form of alternative movement, the character must walk on the bottom of streams, rivers, lakes, sea beds, etc.
  • Benefits. The pilot receives a +20% modifier to hit in melee, does +10 points of damage.

·         Drawbacks: The wearer has a -10 percent modifier for all Dexterity and Reaction Speed checks.

·         Protection: the armor will absorb half of all inertia (ballistic/melee) damage, while the character takes the other half. Once it takes 50 points of damage, the armor will no longer protect the wearer. The albedo screen will protect against laser damage.

The powered skeinsuit uses 5 SEU per hour. Weight: 250 kilograms (the weight doesn’t affect the wearer when the suit is powered up).



[1] Signs, William. “It’ll Ride Up With Wear: Additional Suits for Star Frontiers,” Star Frontiersman, issue 9, p. 23.



Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 8:17pm
Some problems (or at least questions that come to mind) with the Powered Skiensuit include:

Why would you want a level 3 computer when a smaller Body-Comp could do the trick? Why a type 4 parabattery? That's a lot of SEUs even if you just have a heavy laser set at 20 SEU.

An ability to mount four heavy projectile weapons? Neat, but it only has an outer layer of skeinsuit material to protect it and the occupant? It seems over powered and under defended. There's a lot of expensive weapons that can be taken out by just burning through the 50-point skeinsuit material and killing the pilot. 

This suit cries for a bit of downgrading to become an entry-level powered armor using the EE Rig as its basis.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 8:13pm
Can one just take an exosuit, slap on some armor and call it powered armor?

I don't think so. What would the added benefit be to a character who could just wear a suit of polyplate and then "get rigged"?

To have powered armor, it needs an internal superstructure that would allow it to mount weapons and equipment beyond what a character can carry.

So, to add superstructure it would cost 5 Credits per structure point (if you want to call it an STA point go ahead), adding 1 kilogram per point. A powered armor suit should have a minimum of 100 structure points. Thus, you would add 500 Credits to the cost of the EE Rig (3,500 + 500 = 4,000 Credits). The weight would increase from 25 kg to 125 kg.

But wait, as the size and weight increases, so does the need for more powerful motors, servos, etc. (just like when an automaker upsizes a car model). So, I'd say that the cost goes up another 10-20 percent while the weight increases by another 10 percent. So, that base armor rig now costs 4,400 -4,800 Credits and weighs 137.5 kg (we could rounded that up to 138 kg).

Benefits, this gives you something to mount some weapons and equipment that doesn't count against the character's encumberance. Also, when a shot penetrates the outer armor layer -- whether it's skeinsuit material or something else -- half of that damage hits the structure points and the other half hits the pilot.

To mount a "heavy projectile weapon" -- I assume this is a 1 space/1 hard point vehicle weapon, you need to add a little more structure/cost. (Which I'll have to figure out by reviewing the vehicle weapons rules unless someone has a idea.)

All this complicated calculation stuff is in the design phase, not when you are doing role playing/combat.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 8:21pm
I might call the revised Inertia Powered Armor the SIGNS Suit.

Now what would that acronym mean?  I = Inertia. One of the S's could mean "security." I'll puzzle it over unless someone can come up with a suggestion.

Security  ?
Inertial ?
G ... ?
N... ?
Suit?
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2017 - 9:45pm
One easy formula to figure out how many weapons, equipment, etc. can be mounted on an armor might be this: no more than 20-25 percent of the suit's structure points. That would include the weight of the outer armored shell, whether it's an skein/inertia suit, or a flak suit, polyplate armor, etc.

That percentage might need to be higher to account for parabatteries?
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 9, 2017 - 12:53pm
Support Infantry GuN Suit, or SIGNS Armor

OK, so the basic idea is that you can upsize the Explorer/Enforcer Rig exoskeleton for making powered armor.

The SIGNS Armor will be a downgraded version of what William Signs presented.

It will have the skiensuit armor material on the outside, 100 structure points, and then say you can mount 25 kilograms worth of weapons and equipment to it without degradating its performance.

A normal skeinsuit weighs 1 kilogram, so that leaves 24 kilograms for weapons and equipment... and power sources.

Let's say the upsized rig, instead of being powered by a 100 SEU backpack, like the E/E Rig, will have a type 1 parabattery to run its non-weapons/non-defense systems. This parabattery (which you have to pay for separately and account for the total weight separately) will not count against amount of weapons and equipment that can be mounted.


Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 9, 2017 - 1:59pm
The pilot of SIGNS Armor could carry a laser rifle or a heavy laser. That is possible given the amount of weight that a character wearing an exoskeleton can carry without being encumbered.

Holding a weapon does not count against the built-in weapons limit.

SIGNS Armor is supposed to have an air tank for 10 hours. That's about half of the air supply of a spacesuit. So, let's assume this type of armor is not made for the vacuum of space. Rather it might have a sealed interior so it can act like an environmental suit (Dragon Magazine, August 1986). A character can chose to run it sealed up, using the oxygen tank, or if one is on a terrestial world with a breathable atmosphere, operate without the life support unit on. Or, if the world has a tainted atmosphere, I suppose one could have a breather mask, saving the O2 tank for when it's needed.

The "Zeb" Cook designed environmental suit was suppose to weigh 2 kilograms, but cost a mere 100 Credits (Hmm, that's far cheaper than many other defensive/protective suits in the game and modules. Methinks it's a typo, so let's say it's 500 Credits).

Equipped with an environmental suit/interior, the SIGNS suit can still mount 22 kilograms of weapons and equipment.

Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 11, 2017 - 7:47am
Tactical
Armor
Computer
Assisted

TACA but informally called "Taco" with meat inside

Or

Tactical
Armor
Computer
Optimized

TACO! You're just the meat in the middle.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 11, 2017 - 10:08am
jedion357 wrote:
Tactical
Armor
Computer
Assisted

TACA but informally called "Taco" with meat inside

Or

Tactical
Armor
Computer
Optimized

TACO! You're just the meat in the middle.

I like it. I'll have to use the name for something.

For powered armor, I'm thinking of making three basic rigs, the Enforcer 100, Enforcer 150 and Enforcer 200 models. These are meant for lower level powered armors with the number respresenting the structure points. Then I'll provide the dreaded table to make it easier for the player/Star Lord or Starbitrator (referee) to easily see what can be added to the model.

Then I'll provide two other powered armor chasis. One for the HARPER Suit and the another for the Planetary Assault Battle Suit.
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 11, 2017 - 10:26am
I'll work up a body comp system called the TACO- that's standard for many/most PA's. It should be fairly obvious what's useful in prodgits. Be nice to present it as a grab and go item a player doesn't have to make sure he has the right processor or battery pack.

 Make it non modifiable but with a wt, or size or cost reduction over the same thing built from Zebs rules. 

It would make for a good looted item too
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 11, 2017 - 12:24pm
jedion357 wrote:
I'll work up a body comp system called the TACO- that's standard for many/most PA's. It should be fairly obvious what's useful in prodgits. Be nice to present it as a grab and go item a player doesn't have to make sure he has the right processor or battery pack.

 Make it non modifiable but with a wt, or size or cost reduction over the same thing built from Zebs rules. 

It would make for a good looted item too

That would be most considerate of you.
Joe Cabadas