Thursday, December 27, 2018

Elite Armor I: Maradon Space Knight Armor

While working on armor, I came to a few realizations.  First, increasingly, armor is the signature of a few factions, especially the Maradonian space knights.  One thing I've noticed my readers really enjoy is the idea of a fully armored space knight, rather than the lightly-clad space samurai of Star Wars.  I don't think they mind the latter so much as see the former as an element that stands out.  As such, I want to really bring an emphasis to that armor.

Psi-Wars feels like fantasy, but isn't.  From this, certain forms of Space Opera gain a lot of interesting tension, so I wanted the armor of the setting to merge tropes of each.  On the one hand, they should be obviously "plate armor," perhaps with relic suits worn by ancestors and maybe with magic psychic powers embedded into them.  But at the same time, if you look through the designs of armor in Star Wars: the Old Republic, or even just Star Wars itself, you find glowing buttons and tubes and wires.  What does all of that do?  I want to evoke a feel of the space marine who lovingly attends his armor, runs diagnostics over the whole thing before closing it about him with an atmospheric hiss and a click, and then ignites his force sword with a crack and prepares for battle.

All of this means that I need to give Space Knight Armor additional attention and, perhaps, ways of differentiating them.  Ideally, given its nature, each suit would be perfectly unique, as is true of all forms of Low-Tech armor from which it draws its inspiration, but asking your players to design their own suits of armor is a bridge too far, so I offer a few models and a few modification options below.

All forms of Elite Armor, including Space Knight armor, are sufficiently unique that one cannot buy them; they must be purchased as Signature Gear.


Maradon Space Knight Armor

While the Maradon Houses pool their industrial resources together for ARC, they do not trust ARC to handle all of their industrial needs for them. One core reason Houses control the means of production is so that they can use them for their own purposes, and one such use is the creation of personal armor.

The armor of a Maradon space knight is deeply personal. When a noble decides to commission armor, he approaches his Guild foundry (or asks politely to borrow a Guild foundry from an ally or friend) and they scan his physique to create a perfectly tailored suit of armor to his needs. Then the noble selects what sort of armor he wants and works with the Guild to design his armor his way. Finally, the foundry assembles the armor, generally using advanced and proprietary materials, especially diamondoid (though some heavier armors will use a carbide core). The results is a glittering, magnificent work of art that provides nearly unparalleled protection.

Several variations of Space Knight armor exist, noted below. All are at least Stylish, and provide 8 hours of air and, with a proper helmet, are sealed and provide vacuum support. Furthermore, all armor is tailored to the wearer; anyone else attempting to wear it (unless they have very similar builds; GM’s discretion) suffers a -1 to DX and those attempting to attack chinks in the armor gain a +1 to do so. It can be modified by an armourer to fit another wearer, provided the wearer is somewhat similar in body size and shape as the original wearer, but this takes days.

Maradon “Crusader” Model Armor (Any): When Alexus Rex first waged his war on the Galaxy, his Space Knights wore “full plate” diamondoid armor. The armor was constructed entirely out of diamondoid, bound together via intricate joins and very thin sections of battleweave. This armor most strongly resembles plate armor, with some additional attachments and tubing on the back that handle power and air supplies. Designed for practical use in combat rather than style, this fell out of fashion during the heights of Maradon power. Today, though, it enjoys a resurgence as traditionalists seek their roots and war-focused knights look for something that will offer them superior protection against the armies of the Valorian Empire. House Grimshaw and house Kain are especially likely to use this model.

Maradon “Gothic” Model Armor (Any): At the height of the Alexian Empire, Maradon armor began to shift away from a purely martial role. This model integrated psi-amplifier circuitry into its design, as well as a thinner, more comfortable armor, and exaggerated features such as taller collars, pronounced vambraces and, typically, a long skirt covering the legs, as well as a very complex set of tubing, fins and psychotronic circuitry running along the back of the armor. In addition to providing its usual benefits, this armor grants its wearer a +3 to the use of a single psionic power (for example, Electrokinesis or Telepathy or ESP). Today, it’s a less popular option, preferred by those who wish to expand their esoteric abilities over their martial prowess. House Grimshaw and House Sabine are more likely to use it than other Houses.

Maradon “Cavalier” Model Armor (Any): After the fall of the Alexian Empire and during the war between the houses, knights began to shift from a front-line role to a more ceremonial position. They still fought, but preferred lighter armor that gave them greater agility and allowed them to defeat other force-sword armed opponents, or engage more easily in raids behind enemy lines. This armor consisted of a battleweave “arming garment” with embedded diamondoid plates, giving it a very sleek appearance. This also inspired modern Imperial armor, and later developed into Duelist armor, which abandoned diamondoid anywhere but the arm and face. Today, this is most often commissioned by House Sabine or House Elegans.

Calibanmodel Armor (Kain): While the rest of the Maradon nobility evolved their armor away from the orignal “Crusader” armor, house Kain returned to it and perfected it. Given their stronger physiques and their propensity for cybernetic augmentation, they created even heavier armor and integrated the duelist gauntlet innovation into their design. Their armor is almost force-sword proof on the torso, helmet and on their fighting arm, and those who have combined their gauntlet with a cybernetic arm have been known to reach through force sword blades to grab and crush an opponent’s force sword!

Maradon “Duelist” Armor (Any): With the Federation, war nearly vanished from Galaxy for centuries, allowing the knights to turn their attention to sport with one another. The armor of the era evolved to support this. Duelist armor is less a cohesive set of armor and more of a combination of armor pieces. It consists of a heavy battleweave bodysleeve with a very heavy and very stylized diamondoid gauntlet/vambrace that covers the whole of the duelists’ right arm with sufficient protection to ward away a force sword blow. This remains very popular with modern space knights, as most space knights trained in their formative years win the armor, though its practicality in an actual war is highly questionable. Only house Kain disdains it entirely. The Gauntlet may be worn separately, or layered with the armor at no penalty.

Armor

Loc

DR

Cost

Weight

LC

Cell

Notes

“Crusader” Armor
All
120/80*
$175,000
35
2
C/5 days
OSV
“Gothic” Light Armor
All
60/40*
$140,000
35
2
C/4 days
OPSV
“Cavalier” Light Armor
All
80/60†
$85,000
25
2
C/5 days
OSV
“Caliban” Heavy Armor
All
150/100†
$200,000
65
2
C/5 days
OSV
Duelist Body Sleeve
All
40
$35,000
15
3
C/5 days
FOSV
Duelist Gauntlet
Arm
120
$25,000
5
2

O
*The higher value protects the torso only
†The higher value protects the torso and a single arm (generally the right)
F: Flexible; 1/3 DR vs crushing;
P: +4 to single psionic power
O: Stylish
S: Sealed with helmet
V: Vacuum protection



Maradon Sealed Helmets

Space Knight armor is functionally a heavily armored vacc suit, similar to a Combat Suit from GURPS Ultra-Tech. This means that they need a helmet to seal the suit. All of the following helmets provide a complete seal airmasks (allowing them to provide filtered air rather than relying on separate air stores), a tiny radio with a 10-mile range and a nightvision HUD (×8 magnifier, +9 Nightvision) and offers both protected vision and hearing.

Space Knight Masque: Generally worn with duelist armor, either with a battleweave hood or with the rest of the head free, this is a highly stylized, diamondoid mask, similar to the Maradon Masque. It does not provide a complete seal on its own, but may when combined with a battleweave hood, which does provide a seal.

Cavalier” Helm: This light helmet is preferred by those wearing the Cavalier or Gothic model of armor. It offers more protection than most helmets but is not extraordinarily burdensome. It has no visor, but instead has eyeslits (which often gleam when the night vision is active) and a highly stylized face.

Crusader” Helm: The original helm and generally worn with Crusader or Caliban model armor, this provides extraordinary protection to the head of the wearer. They have no visor, but instead have eyeslits, similar to the Cavalier helm, though they tend to be less baroque in design.

Armor

Loc

DR

Cost

Weight

LC

Notes

Space Knight Masque
Face
80/40*
$3500
2
3
ANO
“Cavalier” Helm
Head
80/60*
$9000
4
2
ANOS
“Crusader” Helm
Head
120/100*
$20,000
10
2
ANOS
* Lower DR protects the eyes only (-10 to hit)
A: Contains an air-mask and filter, allowing it to remain sealed while breathing atmosphere without airtanks.
N: Nightvision HUD (×8 magnifier, +9 Nightvision)
O: Stylish or Fashion Original
S: Completes a seal

Maradon Armor Customization

Maradon Space Knight armor is not modular: a space knight cannot change his armor “on the fly,” but they are highly individualized and customized. When choosing a space knight armor, you may also select from the following options. Some options are proprietary. This means that they’re generally associated with one specific house. This does not prevent members of other houses from gaining access to the option, rather, the associations are illustrative of how different houses tend to customize their armor. After all, the houses have been swapping secrets and marrying one another for centuries!

Ancestral Memory Gem (Helmet; Elegans): A borrowed Keleni technology, this gem sits visibly in the forehead of the helmet, and contains some of the memories of one particular ancestor. This provides any telepathic or empathic character the ability to communicate with fragments of the ancestor’s memory. This functions as a version of Wild Talent and Racial Memory, but limited to the skills and memories of that ancestor. Many Elegans experience this as the presence of the ancestor as a “ghost” or “imaginary friend.” Many Elegan’s helmets include a second crystal on the inside of the helmet that will take on the memories of the wearer should he die, and thus these are sometimes called “Death Gems.” +$20,000.

Blind Masque (Helmet; Sabine): House Sabine often integrates a featureless, eyeless faceplate on its helms or its masques. This removes any eye-slit vulnerability, but these are not sensor visors: they blind and deafen the wearer to the outside world! However, the resulting sensory deprivation provides a +1 to all psychic powers and +3 levels to the Awareness ESP ability, and +3 to Blindfighting. +$10,000.

Bio-Intensifier (Armor, Elegans): Another technology derived from their exposure to the Keleni, some Elegans armor integrates a system that augments the mind-body connections to allow their will to live to overcome physical hardship. A Bio-Intensifier adds the wearer’s Will/5 to their HT for any rolls to heal, to avoid death after suffering a mortal wound, or to resist diseases or poisons; it also adds the same bonus to any psychic healing or esoteric healing roll made to heal them. This only works if the wearer wishes to live. Those who wish to die invert this bonus into a penalty to the same rolls. +$25,000, +3 lbs; halves power endurance.

Electrotronic Bodyshield (Armor, Grimshaw): If the character has the EK shield ability, this option doubles the EK shield value for as long as it is active. This is visible as a shimmering in the air, and becomes bright and colored if condensed into a single area via a Power-Block, giving observers the impression that some Grimshaw knights have “hand’s free” force bucklers! +$20,000, +1.5 lbs; reduce the power cell to 1 hour while active.

Electrotronic Reactor (Armor; Grimshaw): While not as masterful as Alexian secret technologies, House Grimshaw has mastered the ability to use their natural electrokinesis to power their armor. If the character has Electrokinesis Talent +1 or better or the Lightning or Surge ability or the Power Generator perk, they can use an integrated Electrotonic reactor to power all systems on their armor indefinitely. +$10,000, +2 lbs.

Fashion Original (Any): Maradon aristocrats with money to burn might create fanciful and awe-inspiring designs, often highly ornate, with a crystalline or a sparkling appearance. +4 CF.

Gestaltic Interface (Helmet; Sabine): House Sabine sometimes includes Psiberfaces in their helmets. This allows the wearer to gain a psychic link to other characters with a Gestaltic Interface within 20 yards. This psychic link provides a +2 to any telepathy powers meant to affect someone else wearing a gestaltic interface and open to contact, but more importantly, it allows all wearers to immediately enter a Gestalt with no skill roll as though they had Gestalt Familiarity with one another, and may maintain their gestalt as long as they remain within 20 yards of one another. House Elegans often borrows this feature as well! +$35,000.

Lightning Gauntlet (Armor or Gauntlet, Grimshaw): An example of a dedicated psi-amplifier, this system consists of a small backpack unit with wiring/tubing connected to the arm of the armor or gauntlet and a slightly oversized forearm vambrace to channel additional psychic energy solely for the purpose of the Lightning ability. This increases the character’s Lightning by three levels, provided they already have at least one level of the ability. +$10,000, +5 lbs

Mag-Lanyard (Any): Built into the gauntlet of the armor, this is designed to magnetically resonate with a given weapon (typically a force sword). It pulls your weapon to your hand as long as it is “loose” and within 2 yards of your character; this functions like a technological version of TK-Tether (Psi 56). + $500.

Psionic Mind-Shield Circuitry (Helmet; Any): Maradon knights often face psychic opponents and integrate psionic mind-shield circuitry into their helmets; This adds +5 to any IQ or Will rolls to resist telepathic invasion or affliction! Increase the cost of the helmet by $1000.

Trauma Maintenance (Armor, Kain): The armor integrates a bio-monitor, an injector system and an integrated ESU. It automatically detects if the character is critically injured and begins to administer emergency care. The armor automatically performs first aid with First-Aid-12; if the character is mortally wounded, it acts to stabilize the armor-wearer, and applies a +2 to all rolls to prevent death after being mortally wounded. + $10,000, +2 lbs.

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