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Old 04-07-2019, 07:42 PM   #1
Sorenant
 
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Default Magitech Battlesuits

I'm currently working on a framework for power armor/battlesuits for a homebrew fantasy setting of mine and decided to post what I got to hopefuly get someone to point out what I might be doing wrong, or how I can improve it.
As a premise, these are battlesuits for a very cinematic world where

I've always loved knights and power armors, so it's only natural that I would eventually I'd want to mix them. Unfortunately, GURPS doesn't have any ready-made stat for battlesuits fueled by magic to be used in low tech worlds. I've considered statting them as advantage but it never seemed right to me, both because of the high point cost and because I wanted them to be part of the world, not that of the character. However, thanks to the works of giants before me, I've been able to cobble something usable. I'm posting what I got so far here, and I'd appreciate any feedback, particularly those pointing out what I might be doing wrong, or how I can improve.
As a premise, I'm considering a very cinematic world with TL roughly around 5, where firearms uses the Survivable Guns (Pyramid #3-44 Alternate GURPS II) so an average rifle deals 2d+2 (2) pi+ damage, and No School Grognard's Easier Armor Design rules for designing armor and particularly the Duplex Plate modifier to add Hardened (2) to the armors. I'm doing this to keep armor DR low enough so melee weapons are still viable, while also being efficient against firearms. Finally, I'm also using Knowing Your Own Strength (Pyramid #3-83 Alternate GURPS IV) for ST progression.

The core of my framework is the Super Vehicle rules from GURPS Supers, but I opted to use Gadget limitation instead of Ally advantage because I wasn't very happy with the values I was getting with the latter, as it felt too cheap and the way it works (percentage based).
The basic part is a SM+1 battlesuit, it's large enough to fit all the magitech-y stuff while still feeling like a suit and not a vehicle. I started it by statting the armor using the Easier Armor Design: It's a SM+1 suit of plate armor using Industrial Steel and Duplex Plate, with DR 9 (2) on head and torso, 6 (2) on arms and legs, and 4 (2) on hands and feet, weighting around 105 lbs and costing $20,966. Purchasing this armor with point-for-cash at TL5 will cost 9 CP.
To support its size, and to make it really a powered suit, I want this armor to provide the wearer with +5 ST. As a Gadget, it will be External ST (Striking ST + Lifting ST) with the following limitations: Breakable, DR 9 (2) (using the value of DR 18), Machine, SM+1, -35%; Can Be Stolen, Must be forcefully removed, -10%; Nuisance Effect: Real Armor, -5%; Mana Sensitive, -10%. Total -60%. So this will cost 16 CP.
As an advantage, this battlesuit will cost a nice round 25 CP, but I want it to be an equipment so I need to convert it to G$. This is where I'm torn between just using the point-for-cash trading rate and Metatronic Generator's values (Pyramid #3-46 Weird Science). I'm currently set on using the former out of simplicity, so it will cost 25*$2,500=$62,500, which seems to me like a decent value. Summing it up, the final stat is the following:

Basic Magitech Battlesuit: DR 9(2) on head and torso, 6(2) on arms and legs, and 4(2) on hands and feet. Provides External ST 5. Can be targeted at +1 and has HP 20, DR 9(2). 105 lbs. $62,500.

This basic suit would then be customized with modules built in similar fashion, as if it were part of the armor (using the same limitation as the External ST, mentioned as "Armor Addon"), for example:

Flash Step: This module allows the knight to increase their step distance by a yard, and gives an extra +1 to Dodge when retreating.
Statistics: Increased Basic Move 10 (Only when calculating step, -60%; Armor Addon, -60%) [10] + Enhanced Dodge 1 (Only when retreating, -20%; Armor Addon, -60%) [3]
Cost: +$32,500

Gallop: This module greatly improves the knight's running speed, but using it requires their undivided attention.
Statistics: Enhanced Ground Move 2 (All-out, -20%; Armor Addon, -60%) [8]
Cost: +$20,000

Deep Diver: This module seals the armor, making it waterproof, and also provides the ability to breath underwater. Note that the armor is still too heavy to float, so the wearer is limited to walking on the bottom of the water body.
Statistics: Doesn't Breath (Gills, -50%; Armor Addon, -60%) [4] + Nictitating Membrane 1 (Armor Addon, -60%) [1] + Sealed (Armor Addon, -60%) [6] + Pressure Support 1 (Armor Addon, -60%) [2]
Cost: +$32,500

Last edited by Sorenant; 04-07-2019 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:15 AM   #2
Ailluminus
 
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

That's cool.

When making Giant Fighting Robots and Power Suits of all types, I typically take one of two approaches. One is, as you point out, Allies with Compartmentalized Mind, low- to nil-IQ and Payload is one way to do this. The other way, that I prefer in your situation, is Alternative Form.

The way this works out is that you pull the Gadget limitations out of the system that you have there and find the total point value. You then pay 15 CP + 90% of that total point value. You THEN take that total cost and apply the Gadget Limitations to that Advantage for Alternative Form, adding in Maintenance as well. You can also add on Immediate Preparation required if getting into the suit takes a considerable amount of time, Takes Extra Time if it's pretty fast, but not wildly so.

This means that there is a separate, distinct device that has physical form and structure within the game world that grants your character the ability to become the Power Suit Guy. To me, this leads to cleaner operation within the GURPS rules, because there's a clear distinction between when the power is working and when it's off. It also helps model the act of donning the suit a little better.

That's my suggestion, but cool concept, man.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:48 PM   #3
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

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Originally Posted by Ailluminus View Post
apply the Gadget Limitations to that Advantage for Alternative Form
Do you also enforce those Limitations when the AF is not "on" -- that is, for Breakable or Can Be Stolen, you allow the suit to be targeted or stolen from the character, even while they're not wearing it? How about encumbrance? An SM+1 battlesuit isn't going to be easy to carry around when you're not wearing it (and benefiting from its powered ST).

Or do you assume the armor magically vanishes somewhere when the character shifts out of that form?

Last edited by Anaraxes; 04-08-2019 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 04-08-2019, 02:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

I like your design. When I started reading your description I was thinking of Golems with a cockpit of sorts. I'd consider having FP cost to run around in the suits just to keep them similar to other magic items.

Also you could have all kinds of enchantment style abilities like Blur armor that reduces spot checks and to-hit rolls or self-readying repeating crossbows with cornucopia boxes, or flaming weapons, just little things to up the Exo-Squad uniqueness of the armor suits.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

I like your general idea, it reminds me of Final Fantasy's Magitek Armor.

I think flash step's calculations are a bit off, the accessibility discount cannot exceed 40%.

On the other hand, GURPS Swashbucklers features an advantage called "great void", it allows you to retreat one hex further when you retreat. This is worth 10 points, and it is very specific (as an option for an active defense, when playing swashbucklers). It also requires combat reflexes, weapon master and basic move 7+ (but let's say these requirements are covered by buying the battle suit). IMO flash step should cost more than 10 points, because a (longer) step that's always available to you is a lot; so it would be something like:

Enhanced dodge 1 (9) + Increased basic move 10 (30) (Accessibility, magitek step only -40%) [39]

Edit: Also consider adjusting the accessibility discount (limitation) on the rest of the modules to 40%.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

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Originally Posted by Ailluminus View Post
When making Giant Fighting Robots and Power Suits of all types, I typically take one of two approaches. One is, as you point out, Allies with Compartmentalized Mind, low- to nil-IQ and Payload is one way to do this. The other way, that I prefer in your situation, is Alternative Form.
How do you handle DR with that method? Getting enough DR to deal with HT/UT weaponry as advantage can be quite pricy.
I'm not much fan of Ally method because of the above mentioned problem with DR, and also because I've never quite been able to wrap my mind on how controlling another "character" through Compartmentalized Mind (Control) works. My current understanding is that you'd use all the physical traits of the controlled character, but mental ones would be handled by the pilot, but I wasn't able to find descriptions on how to handle initiative (robot or pilot's basic speed?). I also fail to understand how combat rolls are treated, if a giant robot is shooting a gun, does it use the pilot's Gun skill based on the robot's DX? Or Driving skill would be the one used? If the robot is sapient, does it get an "extra" mental action?

About the Alternative Form, I found the idea interesting when I've first heard it but I dropped because limitation on it would only be applied to the 15 points part, which would leave the advantage quite pricy (mostly due to DR), so I quite like your suggestion about ignoring RAW and applying Gadget on the whole. Thanks for it!

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Do you also enforce those Limitations when the AF is not "on" -- that is, for Breakable or Can Be Stolen, you allow the suit to be targeted or stolen from the character, even while they're not wearing it? How about encumbrance? An SM+1 battlesuit isn't going to be easy to carry around when you're not wearing it (and benefiting from its powered ST).

Or do you assume the armor magically vanishes somewhere when the character shifts out of that form?
I've questioned that too, but I couldn't find a good simple answer* so given the book lists suits as "must be forcefully removed", I've decided to just consider it's about stealing the gadget during combat/use. A hat can be locked in a safe when not worn but it still uses the "Easily Snatched" limitation.

* Limiting a limitation, like Must Be Forcefully Removed (Only when being used,-x%) -y% felt silly.

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Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
I like your design. When I started reading your description I was thinking of Golems with a cockpit of sorts. I'd consider having FP cost to run around in the suits just to keep them similar to other magic items.

Also you could have all kinds of enchantment style abilities like Blur armor that reduces spot checks and to-hit rolls or self-readying repeating crossbows with cornucopia boxes, or flaming weapons, just little things to up the Exo-Squad uniqueness of the armor suits.
I've considered using Chritopher R. Rice's excellent Magitek Batteries to power the armor, and the idea is still on the table, but I decided to skip it for now while I get the basics figured.
I could also use PK's "Costs 1 FP per 10 seconds" limitation, but I feel that would be too limiting, and would add to the already large gadget modifier.

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I think flash step's calculations are a bit off, the accessibility discount cannot exceed 40%.

On the other hand, GURPS Swashbucklers features an advantage called "great void", it allows you to retreat one hex further when you retreat. This is worth 10 points, and it is very specific (as an option for an active defense, when playing swashbucklers). It also requires combat reflexes, weapon master and basic move 7+ (but let's say these requirements are covered by buying the battle suit). IMO flash step should cost more than 10 points, because a (longer) step that's always available to you is a lot; so it would be something like:

Enhanced dodge 1 (9) + Increased basic move 10 (30) (Accessibility, magitek step only -40%) [39]
I took the idea out of an article from Pyramid #3-89. I admit the value felt a little too big, not being able to constantly move faster is a fairly big limitation on the disadvantage but not sure it would amount to -60%, but given it already had a -60% from the other modifiers on it, I decided it wouldn't make much difference and just used it.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Magitech Battlesuits

Christopher Rice's stuff is very good, that's a recommendable reference indeed.

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I took the idea out of an article from Pyramid #3-89. I admit the value felt a little too big, not being able to constantly move faster is a fairly big limitation on the disadvantage but not sure it would amount to -60%, but given it already had a -60% from the other modifiers on it, I decided it wouldn't make much difference and just used it.
Well, by the book you can only achieve up to -40% from an accessibility limitation. So a -80% (considering you applied -60% two times per concept) does not apply for this matter, unless you house-rule it.

The flash step from pyramid requires a chi-talent, which usually is worth 15 CP, and the advantage also demands the user spending 2 FP (which impedes abusing the advantage). So, in the pyramid issue, this advantage is at least worth 25 CP and it is limited to a number of executions. In my experience, requiring the chi-talent dubs/covers an unusual background of 15 CP.

What I take into account with house rules is, that changing the basic system could sometimes throw-off the balance during design.

Your flash step is always available and it does not cost fatigue, it does not require an unusual background (acquiring the armor does not count for this matter). This provides a superior advantage for those choosing to wear magitek armor, because it does not touch much of the player’s CP budget. In other words, the utility of the module is very high and the cost is very low (because you are not taking into account the rules for limitations).

You are duplicating benefits from the accessibility limitation (applying “only when” & “granted by armor”) assigning a -80% instead of the maximum -40% (regardless of the number of accessibility limitations). The value can’t go below -40% with accessibility.

If you want to stack other accessibility limitations, check “GURPS power ups – limitations”. It provides other kind of accessibility limitations and more guidelines, you will find them very taxing (i.e. "something entailing 1d/2 hours of work, serious expense, actively illegal or somewhat dangerous behavior,” etc. provides only an additional -20%").

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(...)I've questioned that too, but I couldn't find a good simple answer* so given the book lists suits as "must be forcefully removed", I've decided to just consider it's about stealing the gadget during combat/use. A hat can be locked in a safe when not worn but it still uses the "Easily Snatched" limitation(...)
The thing is that you are branding your item as a valuable possession; for simplicity's sake, the GM should play this limitation in ways you often have the risk of losing your equipment. "(...) This is only a limitation if the item is obviously powerful and likely to be the target of theft! (...)". If you are not using your equipment, the chances of losing it should be higher.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:05 AM   #8
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Do you also enforce those Limitations when the AF is not "on" -- that is, for Breakable or Can Be Stolen, you allow the suit to be targeted or stolen from the character, even while they're not wearing it? How about encumbrance? An SM+1 battlesuit isn't going to be easy to carry around when you're not wearing it (and benefiting from its powered ST).

Or do you assume the armor magically vanishes somewhere when the character shifts out of that form?
Either's possible, but yes, I enforce the Gadget Limitation when not in effect. If you don't, then it's not much of a Limitation.

If you make the Gadget of considerable size and DR, then yeah, it's ABSOLUTELY a pain to carry around, without question. When I did this in my homebrew superhero world, Extras, I had the Steel City Angel, and he literally required a truck to move his suit when not piloting it.

You could very easily do an Ultraman version of this, or like Iron Man in, what, 3, where he can summon his suit. Basically, have the 'Gadget' be a watch or other small object, and when it's activated that Time for the transformation is how long it takes the suit to zip zop around him. It just depends on what you want.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #9
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How do you handle DR with that method? Getting enough DR to deal with HT/UT weaponry as advantage can be quite pricy.
Yeah, it has to be a straight purchase. It works OK in a Modern Setting. Don't take this approach if Ultratech is on the table. Arguably, you could add additional, material armor on top of your Alternative Form, but you know.... some people will see that as cheesy, though I don't. If you buy some DR without Can't Wear Armor Limitation, you're able to throw whatever over it that I want. Add Advanced Body Armor armor from High Tech, that's like 35+ DR. Very suitable in a street-level superhero game where nobody's making a high Innate Attack instakill character.

Quote:
I'm not much fan of Ally method because of the above mentioned problem with DR, and also because I've never quite been able to wrap my mind on how controlling another "character" through Compartmentalized Mind (Control) works. My current understanding is that you'd use all the physical traits of the controlled character, but mental ones would be handled by the pilot, but I wasn't able to find descriptions on how to handle initiative (robot or pilot's basic speed?). I also fail to understand how combat rolls are treated, if a giant robot is shooting a gun, does it use the pilot's Gun skill based on the robot's DX? Or Driving skill would be the one used? If the robot is sapient, does it get an "extra" mental action?
Basically, as I implement it, the Vehicle/ally/character gets no skills; those have to be handled by the pilot. The pilot's action is telling the Ally what to do, and then the Ally does it at Speed. So, if the Ally goes first, it takes the Wait action until it gets input. If the Pilot goes first, he has to wait until the Ally processes the command to act. In other words, use the lower of the two Speeds.

Quote:
About the Alternative Form, I found the idea interesting when I've first heard it but I dropped because limitation on it would only be applied to the 15 points part, which would leave the advantage quite pricy (mostly due to DR), so I quite like your suggestion about ignoring RAW and applying Gadget on the whole. Thanks for it!
Yeah, I just choose to apply the Limitations across the board, as they'll effect access to everything as well. But then, those are games I GM, so I can do what I want. Really, it seems to me that an Accessibility or Gadget Limitation on Alternate Form will affect your ability to use all of those powers, so it just makes sense that those powers get the discount as well.

Last edited by Ailluminus; 04-09-2019 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:30 AM   #10
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Well, by the book you can only achieve up to -40% from an accessibility limitation.
I don't think that's quite RAW. The "random probability" chart in Powers only goes up to -40%, and the text for Accessibility suggests keeping the value in the -10% to -30% range (not bad advice). The Basic definition has two examples greater than -40% ("Only on psis" at -50% and "Useless under stress" at -60%.) PU8 has another chart for frequency of running across a person that would be affected, ranging from -50% (1 in 10,000) to -80% (one person). Other books have other examples ("Only while stationary", -50%, DF12; "Master Only" or "Familiar Only" -80% (on Telesend, Mind Reading, etc), DF5; One specific dreamer's dreamland, -80%, Horror; Only Affects IQ Penalties -50%, Horror; Evil Undead or Spirit Beings, -50%, MH1; Exposed Blood Only (on enhanced senses) -60%, MH1)... well, you get the idea. There's a number of examples scattered through the product line.

You can have Accessibilities greater than -40%, but they're uncommon. Along with that "usually -10% to -30%" advice, it's also worth keeping in mind that the Limitation value doesn't scale linearly with the "percentage of use" you get from the ability. "Only useful 40% of the time" is not a -60% Limitation. Going beyond -40% is more like an exponential reduction in the amount of use you can get out of the ability.

But rather than debate the value of an Accessibility on Enhanced Move, let's take a look at an old thread where Kromm derives the value of Increased Step for attack-type Maneuvers as [20] per, or a version usable with any Maneuver at [25]. (See the rest of the thread for other discussion and debate.) Apply the "Armor Addon" meta-trait (convenience wrapper for those Gadget Limitations) since it only works while wearing the armor, and you're done.
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