Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Aristocratic Materiel

The aristocracy, naturally, needs its own arms and armor.  Blasters and battleweave are good enough for the rabble, but a knight needs his force sword, his force buckler and his diamondoid armor.  Or, at least, a force saber and a bit of diamonoid jewelry to remind you of the armor that his ancestors wore, preferrably with a seal.

In principle, different houses have slightly different weapons and armor and their own signature gear, but this covers the equipment of houses (and knightly orders) in general.

Aristocratic Regulars and Knights: Materiel

The material of aristocratic regulars tend to be impressive and at least nominally space-worthy. Starships and fighters make up an essential part of a noble’s arsenal, but will not be covered here. When it comes to knights, impressiveness counts double, as most knights will be deployed into leadership positions, or as the bodyguards to impressive political personages, such as senators or the leaders of houses.

Regular Arms and Armor

Regular Vacuum Suit

Aristocratic regulars traditionally faced combat in situations where they might be exposed to vacuum. While Star Wars has never featured a scene where a character has been exposed to vacuum in any of its movies, realistically we should at least make a nod to the risk posed by hard vacuum when invading a potentially disabled ship. However, we can make an allowance for the fact that by now, actual invasion of ships would be relatively rare, and that modern regular uniforms are merely shaped by that ancient tradition.

Thus, we might expect a skin-tight battleweave vacuum suit, one that allows for, perhaps, an hour of combat (most attacks on a ship will be lightning raids, and the crew might keep their life support on, only venting if they’re certain that their ship will be lost and also if they don’t mind violating the cinematic conventions on which Psi-Wars is built! And in such a case, having an hour of air gives you enough time to take out the remaining holdouts and restart life support or, failing that, return to your boarding vessels).

What we need is armor that will fit beneath whatever uniform the character might wear, thus a flexible full suit covering all hit locations with something not much thicker than a t-shirt. For battleweave, that comes to a DR of 20. A total outfit, complete with 8 hours of air and 12 hours of power costs $5000, and weighs 12 lbs and requires a b-cell. A stylish helmet with a tiny radio, air-mask, night vision 9 and hearing protection and a DR of 40 on the skull and 20 on the visor comes to 6 lbs and $1500.

This represents what a pilot might wear beneath his flight suit, or what a regular infantry man wears beneath his combat armor. On planetary duties, the latter might forgo this completely.

Regular Battle Coat

Our Regular infantry do not rely on their vacuum suit alone to protect them. They’ll wear a heavier, padded “battle coat” that doubles as a stylish and handsome parade coat. The aristocracy will make sure to festoon their regulars with their house crest and bright colors, because camouflage is pointless when invading a starship, and beautiful and identifiable uniforms matter when trying to recognize your own on a chaotic battlefield and when marching through the streets of a newly liberated city. The purpose of a regular soldier is not just to win wars, but in such a way that feed glory into the aristocratic house that rules it.

Thus, I expect regulars to wear a thick battleweave garment over their vacuum suit. These need to work together, and a flexible garment no heavier than “typical outerwear” should fit over a garment “no thicker than light inner wear” without causing a layering issue. Thus, our maximum DR is 40. A long coat, similar to a gambeson or a buff coat will cover the torso, arms and the upper legs. If regulars want the rest of their legs covered, they can wear knee length boots. The result is a garment with DR 40 that weighs 12 lbs and costs $12,000.

If we want boots that cover the legs, shins and the front of the knee with DR 40 diamondoid boots, we get boots that weigh 8 lbs and cost $2000.

A fully armored regular thus costs about $20,000, weighs 38 lbs (light encumbrance for most soldiers) and provides DR 60 to the arms, torso and legs (except for the rear knees), DR 40 to the skull, and 20 to the face, hands and the back of the knees. It also provides a +1 reaction where it matters (typically savoir-faire (Military)).

Regular Weapons

Most modern regular forces use modern weapons; they especially like the Startrodder SC-515 blaster rifle, as its long construction looks nice when marching, or the Stellar Dynamics RB-5 Light Carbine, as it has an attractive look and its small construction allows for quick deployment in ship-board operations. Both may be armed with vibro-bayonets, as regular forces often prepare for close combat.

Regular forces don’t make much use of heavy weaponry. Explosives like grenades might damage a ship they board, and in any case, they expect to be accompanied by space knights, who carry force swords, or to have militia forces at their side who may carry heavier armaments, or to have strong air support from starfighters and orbital bombardment.

Nonetheless, sometimes regulars carry traditional weapons (usually on parade or on guard duty), and space knights certainly do. The most common “traditional” weapon is the force sword, followed by the force buckler. Regulars and knights alike make use of the Force Glaive and while it has been surpassed by modern weaponry, regulars sometimes still make use of the heavy Plasma Lance.

Foundry Arms and Armor

Every industrial power-base has partially automated factories that can fabricate parts on demand. While most modern industrial bases use robotic factory lines to produce one item and produce it cheaply, Maradon nobility made more extensive use of modifiable fabrication systems and robo-facs. Thus, they could afford to create bespoke items customized directly for the noble that commissioned them. Each noble house had their own factory-cathedrals, often shortened to a “Foundry” which was keyed to the genetics of the noble line (thus an Elegans factory-cathedral would only operate with the permission of someone bearing Elegans blood). Those who operated them formed temple-guilds, semi-religious brotherhoods of engineers who learned to marry the designs of their technology with the unique biological, psionic and cultural needs of their house. Each house, thus, has its own specific technological traditions. Nonetheless, the houses taken as a whole have technological generalities between them.

Traditional Knightly Armor

Back in ye olden days when space knights directly invaded ships, they’d certainly need some kind of vacuum-proof armor for the same reason our regulars would, but they would also need heavy armor as they would represent the front-line fighters in the contest. With a focus on elite fighters over numerous fighters, the cost of such armor was no concern. Given that each noble had access to the House Foundry and to the means necessary to commission highly tailored armor, the armor that each wore was worth a veritable fortune, but provided unparalleled protection (though arguably modern laminate is lighter for the same DR).

If we take a full body covering of battleweave as our base, and then layer intricately tailored, slopwed and stylish diamonoid plate over it with a DR of 90, and then we seal it, give it LSS and enough air and power for 8-12 hours, we come up with armor that weighs 50 lbs and costs a cool $85,000. The helmet (also DR 90) might lack a visor, or have a very slim visor, to allow for maximum decoration of the faceplate, might come to 10 lbs and $5000. Such armor has -1 to target its gaps and chinks (and you’ll face DR 65 at the chinks, 40 at the gaps), and applies -1 DX to anyone it’s not tailored for.

Even better armor is possible. “Mastercraft” armor, as a fashion original with masterful tailoring is 40 lbs and costs $300,000. The helmet weighs 8 lbs and costs $15,000.

Modern Dueling Armor

All that extra weight and armor is completely unnecessary if you’re not actually fighting. Once the time of conquest had passed and the era of imperial dominion dawned, the nobility became increasingly reluctant to put itself on the front line, but still insisted on proving its martial dominance, but preferably via the safer avenue of dueling. As a result, arms and armor began to focus more intently on weapons that proved useful in one-on-one duels, leading to the rise of the force sword and dueling armor. Despite it’s impracticality, this has proven popular as it provides enough protection against a marginal blaster hit, looks stylish, and doesn’t strain the wearer nearly so much.

Dueling armor sheds the heavy diamondoid plates that cover the whole body, leaving only the DR 40 body sleeve, which remains sealed, stylish and expertly tailored. The result is DR 40 armor that covers the whole body (except face and skull), weighs 14 lbs and costs $50,000.

For harder armor, most duelists protect their head with the traditional knightly helmet, noted above.

The arm, which often served as a preferred target for certain force sword styled, gains either a dueling gauntlet or a vambrace. The gauntlet covers the hand and forearm and provides a staggering DR 120, which is sufficiently heavy and unwieldy to provide a -1 to DX to use that hand. This is preferably placed on the right hand, to protect it from force sword attack. This weighs 5 lbs and costs $5,000. The vambrace covers the entire arm, usually up to a highly stylized shoulder. It also provides a DR of 120, weighs 7 lbs and costs $6500.

To protect the feet and legs, most knights wear long boots made of diamondoid that either reach the knee or thigh. The former weigh 6 lbs and cost $7000, while the latter weigh 7 lbs and cost $8000. Both provide an additional DR of 40.

Diamondoid Jewelry

Martial prowess isn’t as fashionable in the Alliance as it once was. Nobles, especially those with a militant title (Knight, Baron, Marquis) might want to display at least symbolic martial prowess, but feel that full armor is excessive (and expensive!) and not in keeping with the times. These resort to jewelry made of diamondoid, which can have a lovely sheen to it if worked correctly. Compared to metals like gold, diamondoid is 1/20th the weight and costs a pitance. Using the Jewelry table, on LT 38, diamondoid jewelry, multiply cost by x1 and weight by 0.1 (as a result, most jewelry is much larger than the jewelry described, typically 3x to 5x the size). Cost is obviously not a major factor in this aristocratic decoration. Rather, craftsmanship and heraldry matters more; the material is largely symbolic of a military heritage (ie, the diamonoid ring is symbolic armor for the wearer).

Diamondoid Bracelet, fashion original: $400, 0.1 lb

Diamondoid Broach, fashion original: $150, neg.

Diamondoid Collar, fashion original: $400, 0.12 lb.

Diamondoid Crown, delicate, fashion original: $150, neg.

Diamondoid Crown, heavy, fashion original: $700, 0.25.

Diamondoid Necklace, delicate, fashion original: $100, neg.

Diamondoid Necklace, long/heavy, fashion original: $500, neg.

Diamondoid Signet Ring, fashion original: $250, neg.

Foundry Weaponry

Obviously, the most famous weapon of the various foundries of the aristocratic houses are its force swords. These tend to be well-styled, costing $40,000 apiece, representing their beautiful styling and obviously aristocratic importance.

Beyond that, foundries do make a variety of traditional weapons. Aristocrats don’t necessarily turn their nose up at more mundane weapons (especially pistols), but the following are often chosen either for ceremonial purposes or out of love of traditional weaponry and techniques.

The Sanctuary Light Blaster Pistol is a small, delicate pistol with ornate design. Small enough to fit into a lady’s handbag or to slip unnoticed into a dignitaries pocket, it offers marginal protection for a wealthy noble who doesn’t want to be seen carrying a weapon.

Foundry Guild “Sanctuary” Light Blaster Pistol: Dmg 2d+2(5) burn, Acc 4, Range 100/300, Wt 0.6/B, RoF 1, Shots 35(3), ST 2, Bulk -1, Rcl 2, Cost $4000.

The Prestige Dueling Blaster Pistol is among the oldest designs of a pistol, and escaped the heating problem by having a single, self-contained “charge shell.” Each shot used up precisely one power cell, requiring an immediate reload (using a breakaway action). Some knights carried them as a secondary side-arm, wielding both force sword and dueling pistol, but for a time it became more popular as a dueling weapon (hence the name). More modern versions can get six shots out before their power cell gives way, and has become a popular mainstay among dueling enthusiasts who prefer a blaster to a force buckler or force blade.

Foundry Guild “Prestige” Dueling Blaster Pistol: Dmg 5d (5) burn, Acc 4, Range 360/1000, Wt 3.3/B, RoF 1, Shots 6(3), ST 6, Bulk -3, Rcl 2, Cost $25,000.

The Safari Hunting Rifle never took off as an especially popular design, but one might find it among noble hunting enthusiasts, especially among the Grimshaw. Highly accurate and beautifully crafted, the wealthiest of houses might even replace the SC-515 with it, as it has similar dimensions, but is far more accurate and lethal.

Foundry Guild “Safari” Hunting Blaster Rifle: Dmg 7d(5) burn, Acc 10, Range 1000/3000, Wt 10/B, RoF 1, Shots 1(3i), ST 7, Bulk -6, Rcl 2, Cost $100,000.

The Plasma Lance, a beam staff weapon, originally used a D-cell power pack before the modernization of the power-cell. Regulars wielded it as an anti-knight weapon, something that could punch through even a force buckler and heavy armor, but didn’t have the range to accidentally rip a hole in the bulkhead of a ship. With the slimming down of its design, its spear-like design makes it a popular weapon for aristocratic bodyguards.

Foundry Guild Plasma Lance: Dmg 5dx2(10) burn ex, Acc 2, Range 6/60, Wt 5/C, RoF 1, Shots 15(3), ST 5, Bulk -6, Rcl 3, Cost $25,000. (Staff)

Foundry Guild Force Sword, the classic weapon of the aristocracy. What would a space knight be without one? The Aristocratic foundries tend to customize them specifically to the aristocrat’s hand and taste (treat as Weapon Bond and Styled for +1). Most foundry Force swords are also fine. Fashion has begun to move away from the force sword as an iconic image of the aristocracy, who have begun to prefer the force saber, for its greater precision when dueling, or the Sanctuary pistol, since it’s easier to learn.

Foundry Guild Force Sword: Dmg 8d+4 (5) burn; Reach 1, 2; Parry 0; Cost $50,000, Weight 2, ST 5.

Foundry Guild Force Saber, a newer form of the force sword, pioneered by the Elegans, which favors agility over power, making it a preferred dueling weapon, and is beginning the eclipse the more traditional force sword among dueling enthusiasts as the Eleganian style of force swordsmanship grows in popularity. In addition to the stylizing and customization of the force saber (as the force sword), most Guild Foundry force sabers are balanced.

Foundry Guild Force Saber: Dmg 7d (5) burn; Reach 1, Parry 0F, Cost $30,000, Weight 1, ST 4, balanced (+1); Uses Force Saber (DX/A; Force Sword -3 or any Fencing Skill -3)

Foundry Guild Force Lance,the force lance is a small force blade built into a collapsible haft, creating a glaive-like weapon. The haft makes it vulnerable to force swords, but most aristocrats don’t use them. Instead, regulars and elite guards use them for easy melee dominance, or to back up an artistocrat. Thus, along with the plasma lance, it tends to show up often as a defensive weapon associated with prestigious VIPs.

Foundry Guild Force Lance: Dmg 6d(5) burn; Reach 2, 3*; Parry 0; Cost $20,000, Weight 5, ST 10; Hafted (DR 25); Collapsible (down to reach 1*).

Counterfeit Aristocratic Materiel

Not every noble who claims to be noble is, and the aristocracy is not what it once was. Many storied and honorable houses of the Federation have been reduced to utter destitution with the rise of the Empire, and rely on the charity of others to get by, or surrender to the inevitable and set aside the trappings of aristocracy.

Those who lack the money to maintain their materiel and who have lost access to their traditional foundries must make do with what they still have, and the weaponry of their ancestors. Those who lack even the funds to maintain these might need to sell off what arms and armor they have to pay the last few servants they have and to maintain what remains of their estate. To keep up appearances, some houses utilize counterfeits or trickery. Most connoisseurs can easily spot the difference, but it’s considered bad form to call an honorable member of a fallen house on his “deception.”

And naturally, some con artists want to claim to be nobles when they aren’t. Modern aristocracy makes this easier, as a diamondoid ring, a seal, and hacked entry into a genetic database and nobody will know the difference, but if you want to look the part without spending a mint, then you might need some of the tools below.

Holographic Force Swords: The most expensive element of a force sword is the actuator that powers the force blade itself. Some nobles replace these with holographic displays to create a “fake blade” that still gives off a wane light and will glitch and derezz at moments, revealing itself as a hologram. As a result, nobles with such a weapon will usually just wear their force sword hilt in a prominent fashion, draw and ignite it reluctantly and only to “show the blade” before turning it off again and trying to talk his way out of the conflict. Such weapons cost $125, or $500 if stylish. A force blade without a holographic projector barely costs less ($120 or $480), so most people spring for it. Roll IQ-Based Force Sword -4, Armory (Force Sword), or Connoisseur (Force Sword) to detect an unignited force sword, but add +10 to such an attempt when seeing an activated holographic force blade.

Ceramic Armor: Battleweave tends to remain cheap enough that most people can still purchase it, though even that can be replaced with a simple dark cloth. Ceramic armor looks superficially similar enough to diamondoid, especially with a little proper treatment. Ceramic traditional armor provides 20 DR to all hit locations (40 to the face and skull), but is not sealed; the helmet provides a sensor visor, hearing protection and air mask and filter. The armor weighs 70 lbs and its DR is semi-ablative, and costs $800, while the helmet weighs 15 lbs and costs $600. For dueling armor, the DR of the body sleeve is 2, weighs 20 lbs and costs $50; they use the same helmet as the traditional armor. Anyone with Armoury (Body Armor) can roll to detect the forgery at a glance at +0, as can someone with Connoisseur (Armor) at +4. Increase both by +4 if the inspector is allowed to look up close.

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