Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Imperial Security: Materiel

What sorts of soldiers, vehicles and equipment do Imperial Security generally sport?  Well, we already have a rough idea of what sorts of roles their troopers fulfill, because I wrote up security agents back in Iteration 4, and we touched on it already:

  • Generic Security Troopers: generalists with blaster pistols and neurolash batons who represent the typical security trooper one might meet and who act as basic backup for the rest.
  • Assault Security Troopers: elite specialists with a focus on direct attack in close environments (urban or ship-borne raids).
  • Riot Control Troopers: Troopers armed with shields, neurolash batons and a bad attitude, meant to put down riots.
  • Security Snipers: While the Empire of Star Wars generally isn't associated with high accuracy, the concept of a sniper fits perfectly with the oppressive atmosphere we'd like our empire to foster.
  • Security Officer: An officious lieutenant who either supervises security troopers, or assists a named Security Agent.
As before, and despite claims to the contrary, the role of Security Troopers isn't it kill people, it's to enforce peace and order.  They prefer to take suspects in alive for questioning, and to intimidate the populace, rather than kill them.  Plus, many security troopers genuinely believe in protecting civilians and killing bad guys, and see the rebel conspiracies they undo as dangerous anarchists and little better than more base criminals.  Sometimes, they're even right!

Security Materiel


When it comes to armor, two concerns pull Imperial Security in different directions.  First, it wants the prestige and power that comes from military power.  The Empire fetishizes the miltiary, and in Imperial Security, police militarization has run amok. On the other hand, it doesn't face military-scale threats.  It doesn't have to deal with rifle fire or heavy attack vehicles.  It deals primarily with punks who wield pistols, clubs and knives.

Against clubs, knives and fists, battleweave is more than sufficient.  DR 20 will stop clubs, knives and pistols, and will definitely slow down a vibro knife enough that a character will watch away with a few stitches rather than a long stay at the hospital.  Against light pistols, a tactical battle weave vest should be sufficient, but our troopers want to look like the military, and that means looking like someone with a hardsuit, and that means clamshell armor.

Recently, pyramid released an ultra-tech armor design system!  Since we're finally digging into detail work anyway, let's take a look.  Battle weave is just energy cloth with 2/3 the DR, which means max DR is 80, DR/inch is 160, and a WM of 0.021, making it heavier than Monocrys, and also more expensive!  I've dismissed monocrys and nanoweave thus far because they're only effective against bullets and edged weapons, which isn't useful in a setting full of beam weapons and armor that protects against beam weapons won't stop blasters!

Real life SWAT agents just wear uniforms and tactical vest. We could do the same, but why not armor the sleeves and gloves while giving our agents a light clamshell that will stop blaster fire to the chest?

If we want to stop a vibroblade, we need an average of 35. A monocrys coverall with DR 35 would weigh 11 lbs and cost $825, while battle weave would weigh 13 and cost a staggering $6,500!  For a clamshell, we already have one (UT 176), but if we wanted to reinvent the wheel (Why not?  Then I feel I can release the values in my PDF), we could.  Of course, it turns out the original clamshell is probably a solid armor with some flexible armor inside.  On the other hand, while this is technically possible (at least, specifically, for the chest), if you look at storm trooper armor, that's closer to what our armor design system calls plate.  We could redesign a complete armor system that uses plate for the torso with a thin layer monocrys armor beneath.

We need about DR 50 to stop the average blaster shot from a pistol.  Assuming we had full coverage already from DR 30/10 monocrys, then we only need DR 40.  If it's to "the torso" (including the abdomen and thus groin) and is plate, it would weigh:

  • Advanced Nano-Laminate: 9 lbs and $1700
  • Advanced Nano-Composite: 18 lbs and $850
  • Diamondoid: 13 lbs and $1250
  • Diamondoid Laminate: 7 lbs and $2500
Diamandoid laminate is probably what we'd make our military hardsuits out of, so it fits the best, and look at that weight!  The cost is huge, but Imperial Security has the money.  The diamandoid probably also give is a nice gloss.

So, our complete set is a monocrys coverall with DR 30 (Torso, arms and legs, and we'll add neck) vs pi and cut (and let's just add imp for simplicity) and 10 vs cr and burn, with DR 40 plates over the torso and abdomen.  The total cost is $5500 and it weighs 14 lbs.  The chest is plate (thus vulnerable to both chinks and gaps) and the rest is optimized fabric, thus vunerable to chinks.  Technically, that means you can bypass the DR 40 with an attack to the gaps, and "only" face DR 30/10, but that might be more specific than players want.

For the extremities, we'll add optimized monocrys gloves with DR 15/5, with neg weight and costing $50, and some monocrys-lined diamonoid laminate boots, which come to a total weight of 1 lb and costs $300.

For the head, we could go with a full helm, like our military troopers use, but security troopers need to be able to talk to people. They still benefit from having IR/Night vision and from not breathing in toxins (especially if they want to gas a bunch of rioting citizens), and real swat teams wear combat helmets.  A DR 30 diamond laminate helmet weighs 1.5 lbs and costs $250, If we add an IR visor (glasses) and an air mask with filter, hearing protection and tiny radio, then we increase the weight by one lb and the cost by $700 for a total of $1000.

The net result is a warrior with DR 70/30 on the torso and feet, 30/10 on the limbs and neck, 15/5 on the hands, 30 on the skull with no DR on the face (but with a filter mask, hearing protection, IR visor and tiny radio with a range of 5 miles), for a total weight of 17.5 lbs and a cost of $6,850.  That's a very good deal!

You could make the case that not all characters should wear this, that some would "just" wear monocrys or battleweave, but I'd argue that security troopers are security troopers, and this also makes it simpler.


Savvy readers  might have noticed that thus far, I've avoided the stun setting on blasters.  I think I mentioned it in Iteration 1 and then dropped it.  That's because while the stun setting shows up in A New Hope, most of the rest of Star Wars seems to forget it, even when it might be really handy for taking prisoners alive.  They'll threaten to shoot to kill, or they'll shoot a fleeing suspect and accidentally kill them, when a stun setting would have taken care of the job nicely. Furthermore, the rest of the larger genre, as it focuses on translating modern action into sci-fi, just treats blasters as guns with subsonic laser-bullets. which kill rather than stun.  I say this because a stun setting would be really handy for space cops.

If we look at real-world police pistols, the weapon of choice for imperial security would probably be something like an H&K .40, or an SIG Sauer P226, both of which have a reputation for excellent design and power.  What we want is something with a little more punch than a standard blaster pistol, but not quite a magnum blaster pistol.

For our paramilitary troopers, we need a blaster SMG.  We have one from Iteration 4, but Overtech is slightly different and fits better (and is less complicated), so we'll make a few minor modifications and bring that through.

Our snipers will need a sniper rifle, naturally. There's no reason not to use the same design we had before in Iteration 4, again, with some minor modifications.

Finally, the classic cop car carries a shotgun, and it's something I tried to touch on before, but I didn't really have the tools.  Well, now I do.  The purpose of a shotgun in a police car is that it offers him superior firepower, superior accuracy, and is better able to breach things like doors.  My main problem with plasma weapons as written are that they're explosive, which is terrible for fighting in streets full of civilians.  So, we'll use the diffuse option!

Before I go further, I want to note that I've already discussed how imperial weapons tend to "feel:" They're overengineering, overpriced, but lighter and tend to be superior to other available weapons.  One of my favorite blogs, GURB, boils down the concept into an idea I'd like to use, the "brand"  of a company, which means we can have a standard "way" of handling guns.

For the Empire, I'd like to have a sort of conglomeration of companies that have been drawn into a single massive company that answers to the Ministry of Finance.  Using random corporation name generators, I've come up with the Overtech Conglomerate.  Using GURB's suggestions, Overtech weapons are: 10% lighter, 10% more expensive (just cuz!), -1 on maintenance (they're like Apple and prefer to be proprietary) but +1 on HT.  That gives us a core "concept" that we can wrap around our weapons.

The Overtech BP-45 Enforcer
This glossy, attractive weapon deals 3d+2(5) burn sur with an rof of 3, weight of 1.8 and 120 shots with a C cell, and comes in at a staggering $4500!  It comes with a laser sight which adds +1 to hit within 1/2D, but grants the target +1 to dodge.

The Overtech BPX-5 Avenger
An impressive weapon reminiscent of the Enforcer, the Avenger is heavier and sports a second grip for steadying the weapon.  It deals 4d+2(5) burn sur with an rof of 12, a weight of 3 lbs and 60 shots with a C cell.  It comes in at a heft $15,000.   It comes with a laser sight which adds +1 to hit within 1/2D, but grants the target +1 to dodge.

The Overtech BR-1 Executioner
This long sniper-rifle sees use both in the security world and in the military world.  It deals 7d(5) burn sur with an rof of 3, a weight of 12 lbs and 15 shots with a C cell.  It comes in at a heft $28,000.   It comes with a laser sight which adds +1 to hit within 1/2D, but grants the target +1 to dodge, and a compact targeting scope which adds +3 to accuracy and offers IR vision.

The Overtech PR-500 Breaker
A carbine-sized weapon with a pump action this weapon deals 3dx5 burn damage with an rof of 2, a weight of 5 lbs, and 10 individual power cartridges, and costs $12,000.

Additional Weapons

Our security agents need a few additional weapons at their disposal.  First, we need neurolash batons, which have already been worked out and are fine as written.  Second, we need "tear gas" and flashbangs.  We already have stun grenades worked out, so all that remains are "riot control" grenades.  Tinkering with some ultra-tech numbers, we come up with an 8-yard radius with an HT-5 roll to resist feeling Nauseated, and fail by 5 or more means you're Retching for 1 minute per margin of failure.


Our security force needs to tackle three problems with its vehicles.  The first is simply getting to their criminals. Patrols generally falls outside of the purview of Security, but it might be nice to know what sorts of vehicles it would use if it was patrolling, partially as an example of materiel and assistance it could lend to others, and for how it might look if it was patrolling a world (such as, for example, the Imperial capital, or any world where Security holds direct sway).

Second, Imperial Security needs to keep its eyes and ears on the populace.  The old idea of a police helicopter might suit us, but given that our cars can already fly, we need to something more useful, and the real purpose of a police helicopter is surveillance: it spotlights targets, it scans the air, it transmits information realtime.  That makes it a high performance, aerial command platform.

Finally, what if the populace riots?  Then we need to deploy our riot troopers, and what better way to do that than a riot suppression tank?  It doesn't need to be a full combat vehicle, but it can pack riot-suppression gas launchers and pain beams to debilitate and disperse crowds.

Grav Car: the Prowler

Normally, I'd use the Grav jeep as a basis for our vehicles, but it's all wrong, so I wrote up my own rules for creating grav-cars, which is available to my Patrons!  The executive summary for the rest of you is that grav cars should be hover cars, to facilitate cool chases, and that where possible, we should treat cars as cars, only reskinned and ramped up to represent their sci-fi origin.

So, we have a design system.  What is it that I want to design?  Well, a police car allows police to patrol neighborhoods or highways, to swiftly get to a crime scene, or to chase down fleeing suspects, and to bring suspects back.  Security agents, though, aren't cops.  They're enforcers, investigators and troubleshooters.  Still, something that can take our agents to the crime scene, allow them to bring perpetrators back and chase fleeing suspects, and look good while doing it, wouldn't hurt!

We need:
  • Armored Vehicle and Blasterproof windows: Our agents want to be well secured when investigating crime-scenes.  They'll also want to jump behind their doors when in a firefight.  We'd expect them to be close to prove against full rifles, so they need to have a DR of about 80.  That turns out to be a bit expensive, and let's be honest, 60 will do the job for the most part.
  • A faster engine: If they're going to chase down a fleeing suspect, or they simply want to get somewhere in the nick of time, then they'll want a top-performing engine.
  • Weapons? The problem with weapons is that the Ministry of Defense is very territorial about combat capabilities.  The Ministry of Justice's movement towards paramilitary capability is dangerous.  Even so, being able to pop out some non-lethal countermeasures might be nice, and give it a "spy-car" feel!
This is the result:
Vehicle ST/HP Hand/SR Ht Move Lwt Load SM Occ DR Range Cost Loc
Prowler 60 4/3 12 20/200 2 1 +3 1+3S 60 10k $130k G(X)
The Prowler carries 3 weapon mounts, all "hidden."  The "X" hit location only applies if the weapon mounts have been exposed.  It has two forward-mounted 100 lb mounts, ostensibly for non-lethal weapons (or EMP cannons), but one might use it for actual weapons, and one 10 lb rear-mount, generally armed with a grenade deployer, usually for smoke or riot-gas grenades.  This leaves about 400 lbs of "real" cargo space.  Finally, with all doors and windows shut, the Prowler is sealed, having NBC filters. It uses 2 F-Cells to gain its range.

Grav Car: the Warden

Imperial Security does more than just arrest criminals of the Empire.  They also escort and protect the Ministers of the Empire.  Prowlers and Hunters will serve well to protect agents of Imperial Security, but what about the actual ministers themselves?  They'll want beautiful vehicles appropriate to their vaunted status, but also well-defended vehicles.
  • Armored Vehicle and Blasterproof windows:We want to keep our VIPs safe, so we need solid protection.  This time, we definitely want a DR of 80.
  • A faster engine: The primary importance of a fast engine is a quick get-away.  This is probably less important than the armor.  If a vehicle is under attack, the driver should radio in. regarding his circumstances and back-up should rush to the scene.
  • Beautiful! VIPs will demand exellence!  The result must be a vehicle that brims with spaciousness and luxury, worth at least a +1 reaction modifier, both inside and out!

The result is a hover-sedan, better armored the prowler, and quick (at least for a Sedan).  It has the same range on teh same number of cells (It's running the same "Mark 2" engine), but it's more massive armor and clunkier streamlining slows both its acceleration and its top speed.  It lacks any weapons that a Prowler might have.

Vehicle ST/HP Hand/SR Ht Move Lwt Load SM Occ DR Range Cost Loc
Warden 65 3/3 12 30/180 2.2 1 +3 1+4S 80 10k $160k G

Grav Bike: the Hunter

Not every security agent needs a full Prowler.  Often a simple patrol vehicle like the Hunter will do.  The Hunter is a grav bike with superior (astonishing!) speed and an armored shell, equivalent to a Prowler, though the benefits of an armored bike are questionable, as it does nothing to protect the rider.  It also contains a weapon mount for up to 70 lbs of weapon, though this is usually left empty, due to legal hassles.

Vehicle ST/HP Hand/SR Ht Move Lwt Load SM Occ DR Range Cost Loc
Hunter 25 +4/2 12 30/300 0.35 0.2 0 1+1 60 12k $12,500 E

Sky Recon: The Sentinel

Slowly, surveillance drones replace police helicopters, but both serve the same essential need: To provide high-powered eyes in the sky.  In essence, this amounts to high-powered sensor equipment that can sweep the area, highlighting targets for security agents.

This, unlike the previous vehicles, would absolutely be a contragravity vehicle, and its aerial nature would allow it to move at very high speeds.  We could treat it as a low IQ robot (a drone), but for this instance, I want a full "totally not a helicopter"

The key features of this vehicle aren't found in Vehicles, but in Ultra-Tech.

  • Eye in the Sky: The Sentinel needs to be able to locate enemies and spot them for the rest of the Imperial Security forces in the area. That means a searchlight (UT 74), an IR sensor array (256x magnification; UT 61), and a Medium Ultrascanner (UT 66).  We need a comm system and a computer, but the comm system weight and price are a rounding error in this vehicle!
  • Armor: The Sentinel should be at least as tough as the Prowler or perhaps even the Warden.
  • Speed: The Sentinel needs to be fast, but it's fine if it's about as fast as a Prowler: It's main objective is being high up.
  • Transportation: If we're going to have a air transport, we might as well put some extra people in it.  In addition to the pilot and the scanner, let's add space for a squad of up to 5 security troopers.
The final version has all the noted elements above, plus an additional weapon mount hidden in its nose, that can carry up to 100 lbs of beam cannon.

Vehicle ST/HP Hand/SR Ht Move Lwt Load SM Occ DR Range Cost Loc
Sentinel 75 +2/4 12 20/200 3 1 +4 2+5S 80 10k $400k G(X)

The Security Tank: the Vanguard

Imperial Security, by law, may not deploy full military gear.  However, it certainly can argue for the need for heavy vehicles.  First, it needs to transport dangerous prisoners who may well have well-armed compatriots who'll try to free them; second, they'll need to transport their own squads of soldiers into heavily contested areas under marshal law (such as into the midst of a major gang war); finally, they need the ability to put down riots.

Enter the Vanguard.  This heavy vehicle doubles as an armored transport and a light attack tank.  Like the previous vehicles, it uses repulsor lifts to move around (I like to picture crackles of energy coming from its contact nodes, arcing against the ground).  It needs to fulfill a few roles:
  • Armor: It needs to be able to stop small missiles from destroying it.  DR 200 is sufficient to stop a heavy blaster, DR 300 (laminate!) will stop a 25mm HEMP round, and DR 500 is necessary to stop a 40mm round. Heavier is possible, but then we push into genuine "tank" territory, and the Imperial Navy begins to scowl at us.
  • Armaments: We need two kinds of weapons. First, we need some sort of riot-gas deployment system, thus some mounted grenade launchers.  Second, we need some sort of anti-riot weapon, like a neural beam, or just a stunner mounted on a turret.
  • Transport Capacity: If we want to send a full squad, we need up to 10 people in the back of the vehicle.
Vehicle ST/HP Hand/SR Ht Move Lwt Load SM Occ DR Range Cost Loc
Sentinel 100 +1/5 12 5/125 8 3 +4 2+10S 500/300 5k $1,000,000 t
The sentinel has an independent turret that can carry up to 125 lbs of gun, and 2 25mm launchers that can fire up to 32 rounds per second (and has a total of 32 rounds).  It's fully armored, including protected visors and sensors allowing the driving crew to see,  It's crewed by two people, a gunner/commander and a driver.  It has room in the back for 10 passengers, with attachment points in case they're prisoners who need to be bound, or for response teams, so they have some sort of place to hang their gear.
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