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Old 04-30-2014, 09:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

An idea I had for a necromancer involved him wearing leather armor (possibly with some bone cage armor on top because, you know, necromancer), then turning the armor into a zombie to function as a sort of Powered Armor. I'm intending to use Ghostdancer's Summoned spell modifier, but I'm not certain what common metatrait each armor should have. I've decided the armor will simply get HP based on its weight for "free" (a bad deal, honestly, as you're unlikely to get armor with 10+ HP), and that any bonus to ST the armor has applies to the user's ST (but not HP), but only if all limbs involved have the zombified armor on them. For example, if the necromancer had ST 12 and was wearing a full suit of zombified armor that had +2 ST, he'd function as though he had Lifting/ Striking ST 14.

Here's the metatrait as it stands:
Zombie Armor [45]
-Compartmentalized Mind (Controls) [25]
-Dependency (Mana, Constantly) [-25]
-Doesn't Breathe [20]
-Doesn't Eat/Drink [10]
-Hidebound [-5]
-Immune to Metabolic Hazards [30]
-Incurious [-25]
-Injury Tolerance* (No Blood, No Brain, No Eyes, No Vitals, Unliving) [40]
-IQ 0 [0]**
-Low Empathy [-20]
-No Sense of Humor [-10]
-No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]
-Slave Mentality [-40]
-Unkillable 1*** [50]

*I'm using a slightly modified version of lwcamp's Semi-Cumulative Wounding System, wherein Injury Tolerance (Unliving) includes High Pain Threshold. If you'd like to use this armor in your campaign, add in the cost of HPT.
Of note here is that the armor has IT (Unliving), not the IT (Diffuse) flexible armor usually has. This is to make it possible to "kill" the zombie armor without actually destroying the armor itself, but see later.
**IQ 0 is technically [-200], but that seems like far too much. On the other hand, I've already given the "character" [-100] worth of "mindless" Disadvantages. I'm honestly not certain how one should go about building a piece of equipment as a character.
***Unkillable 1 means the armor takes a lot of damage to actually "die." I included this both so I don't need to make checks on its survival and because, without it, the metatrait is worth [-5] - as 24 energy gets a [62] summon (starting points of [250]), that's [67] worth of augmentations for the armor, which seems massive to me.

For reference, the ritual is as follows:
Lesser Create Undead (6) + Lesser Control Undead (5) + Summoned, 25% (4) + Duration, 1 day (7) + Subject Weight, 100 lb (2). 24 energy.

I opted for Lesser Control Undead because the armor simply mimics the movements of the wearer - this actually imposes a -2 to DX (it's a little awkward), but a Perk negates this. To cast the ritual on someone else's armor, you'd need to upgrade to Greater Control Undead (boosting energy to 72). The ritual typically requires flexible armor (although as noted above a bone cage can also be incorporated, so long as it's completely underlayed with leather), and all the bits to be reanimated must have come from a single creature. Subject Weight is sufficient for a full suit - you can typically save 1 energy by leaving out the headgear, or 2 energy by only wearing it on the arms.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

I'm quite fond of this idea! Quite, quite fond.

I think the metatrait should include Payload. Otherwise, you could give the armor DR that doesn't protect the wearer, which would be silly.

I don't think you should feel too bad about getting 200 points back from selling IQ down to 0: getting rid of Incurious, Hidebound (although that one is a hilarious pun in context), Low Empathy and No Sense of Humor cost 60 of those points, and I'm sure you can find more advantages it needs. Does it sleep? No? 20 points. Does it age? 15 points. Can it feel fear, or be persuaded? 15 and 15 points. Basic Set p. 81 prices immunity to psionics at 30 points, which is a fair price for immunity to mind-affecting magic. Perhaps Perfect Balance or Hard to Subdue make sense, or just a bonus to HT: you really don't want your armor to get knocked down or stunned, because then you're just dragging it around. Soon enough, you're back at your original price point and your armor is that much less likely to get dragged into confusing rules questions like "what if my armor gets scared".

Now, for my own use, I'm wondering what you could do with Path of Body. Greater Create Body can create a mindless body... Greater Control Body can allow me to move that body... this could be glorious.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:08 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

Running some numbers, it occurs to me that a good deal of zombie armor would have more than 10 HP - 2 lb corresponds to 10 HP under Homogenous/Diffuse. I think what I'll do is have the metatrait include IT: Diffuse and Fragile (Unnatural), getting rid of Unkillable. The ritual will be required to match the armor's actual DR, HP, and ST (ST being ~1/4 of HP). Slight adjustments to these stats are acceptable, as long as they don't go beyond +/-20%. Rather than being a modifier to the wearer's ST, the armor's ST score will be used to calculate its Basic Lift, this will be added to the wearer's Basic Lift, and end ST will be determined from this. For example, a 36 lb full suit of medium leather would weigh 36 lb. This corresponds to 26 HP (actually around 26.4) and ST 7 (actually 6.6, but we'll round up). ST 7 has BL 9.8 - this would boost an ST 10 necromancer to ST 12, or an ST 12 one to ST 14. The metatrait will also include a Perk, Zombie Armor, which is essentially a Teamwork Perk with the wearer. If the wearer lacks the same Perk, he'll suffer a -2 to DX while wearing the armor. As per McAllister's suggestion, I'm going to also require Payload (but get rid of CM: Controls, as the armor is working with the wearer). Payload is going to depend on the armor's BL, but is likely to be expensive. I'm going to assume a human body is around 2.5 cubic feet, meaning we need 50 lb of Payload to cover one (the "passenger" will be moving on his own power, so we just need to support the volume, not the weight). That's around 5x the BL of our 36 lb armor, meaning a cost of [50]. For armor that doesn't give full coverage, multiply the needed volume by the relative coverage (if using the % values from LT, divide 50 by 3 - for 16.67 - and multiply this by the LT % values).

As for being mindless, I think I'm just going to eyeball it at a total of [-100] for IQ 0 and all the various "doesn't have a mind to affect" Advantages. This insures I don't overlook anything and probably isn't a horrible price. Doesn't Sleep and Unaging can probably be safely ignored.

As of now, the metatrait is as follows:
Zombie Armor [-9]
-Dependency (Mana, Constantly) [-25]
-Doesn't Breathe [20]
-Doesn't Eat/Drink [10]
-Doesn't Sleep [20]
-Fragile (Unnatural) [-50]
-HT +2 [20]
-Immune to Metabolic Hazards [30]
-Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Brain, No Eyes, No Vitals, Diffuse) [120]
-Mindless [-100]
-No Legs (Portable, Can Kick) [-15]
-Social Stigma: Valuable Property [-10]
-Unhealing (Total) [-30]
-Perk: Zombie Armor [1]

The social stigma was added in because, well, it's a piece of equipment. Applied to a full suit of medium leather, it would add in DR 2 (Tough Skin) [6], -3 ST [-30], +19 HP [38], and Payload 50 [50], for a total of [55], fitting nicely under the [62] cut off to be a 25% Summon. The end cost of the ritual ends up being 24 energy.

EDIT: Because the armor cannot move on its own, and does encumber the wearer (the addition to BL will never overcome the object's weight), some version of Legless could apply. We'll assume this is worth [-20], giving us enough for +2 HT to bring us up to the HT 12 most armor has to start with.

EDIT2: Messed up my math earlier, and some more changes to the metatrait. Unhealing (Total) is appropriate (still allows magical healing via Restore Undead), and I decided Doesn't Sleep is probably worth some points after all. No zombie armor is going to be around long enough for Unaging to matter (while upkeep is only 7 energy per day, you're likely to miss a day at some point). One thing I failed to note before - the weight of the armor is before any modifiers from things like Tailoring.

Last edited by Varyon; 04-30-2014 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:09 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

Playing around with it, I've noticed something odd - most notably from when I decided to see what effect Bolster Undead would have on the armor. Starting with ST 7 armor, if we decide to spend [10] on increasing ST, this decreases our Payload needs from 51 levels to 39, saving [12] points! Things are slightly less pronounced at the next +1 to ST, going from 39 to 31, for a saving of only [8]. Next is 25 (save [6]), then 21 (save [4]), and so on.

Lifting ST is [3], and I'd think that "Only for calculating Payload size" would be appropriate as a -80% Limitation, meaning around +3 for [2]. This is economical up through effective ST 21, so buy it up to this point (or as close as you can without going over) and then buy Payload. For our ST 7 armor, that means we buy PST 19 [8] and Payload 7 [7] (PST 22 would require Payload 6, so would cost [1] extra), spending [15] on the payload instead of a whopping [51]. This drops the armor's point value to only [20] - might as well use some of the extra to boost its HP up to the maximum (36 lb is HP 26.415, so maximum - x1.2 - is 31) for [10]. Nothing else is really within our x1.2 limit to adjust, so we'll just have to cry about the "wasted" [32] - although I could see cause to toss in a Lesser Strengthen Undead effect to be able to get some use out of them (Lesser Strengthen effects can do up to x1.3; as I'm already allowing up to x1.2, it probably wouldn't be out of line to let the two effects combine to x1.5). When we later use Bolster Undead (which uses a Greater Strengthen Undead effect), we can increase things further (going up to x2 total), and if points were previously "wasted" I'd allow them to come back into play at that point.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:02 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

Rise from your grave!

So, I have a variant of Zombie Powered Armor I need to figure out - the Zombie Cloak. This is a reanimated leather cloak that functions based on the will of the caster. It won't add to the user's ST like the Zombie Armor, but instead has skill in Brawling, Cloak, and Wrestling (all have to be at the same level), which it uses to defend its wearer and attack foes on the wearer's initiative (it's useless without the Zombie Armor Familiarity Perk, which functions as a Teamwork Perk for the cloak). It can also use these for more mundane tasks - it can grab something for its wearer, grab hold of a ledge to keep its wearer from falling to his death (although he'd best grab hold of the cloak so it isn't supporting his entire weight by the neck!), and so forth. I'm trying to figure out what traits it should have. First off - can things that are completely mindless (IQ 0) even have skills, or will I need to give the Zombie Cloak a little IQ? If it needs IQ, how much? Secondly, I'm not entirely certain what sort of Disadvantages a cloak would have - obviously it's got No Legs (Portable) and the like, but should it have Bad Grip/Ham-Fisted/No Fine Manipulators/One Arm? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:21 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [RPM] Zombie Powered Armor

I think I've come to my decision - rather than make things complicated (and potentially unbalanced), I'm going to give the Cloak No Legs (Portable) [-30] (instead of the Can Kick variant) and Ham Fisted 2 [-10], and have the cloak be used hands-free by the wearer, using their Cloak skill (but with the cloak's ST) - it's essentially giving them a low-ST Extra Arm (Long, Cannot Strike). It will still need a 50 lb Payload (as an added bonus, this makes the wearer effectively 50 lb lighter when the cloak is holding them up) and all the rest, but I'm going to let the wearer use Cloak (instead of DX) to grab objects, ledges, and so forth with the cloak.

So, for a typical 3-lb leather cloak, we're looking at the following:

Zombie Cloak [12]
Zombie Cloak Metatrait [-34]
DR 1 (Tough Skin) [3]
ST 4 [-60]
Payload ST +15 [10]
Payload 7 [7]
HP 16 [24]

That's right at 5% of our [250] "base" summoning pool, so we're looking a ritual that is as follows:
Lesser Create Undead (6) + Greater Control Undead (5) + Lesser Strengthen Undead (3) + Summoned, 5% (1) + Duration, 1 day (7) + Subject Weight, 10 lb (0). 66 energy (22x3).
EDIT: On second thought, as the necromancer has Magery 4 and Path of Undead 20 (thanks to Anatomist Talent), I'll probably boost Duration to a month, meaning if she burns all her ER and gets another point of energy from somewhere else (say, sacrificing a small animal) she'll be right at her Safe Threshold.

I've opted to boost the Control to a Greater Effect due to the fact the cloak isn't simply mimicking its wearer's movements but is functioning as though it were an extra limb. For those curious, I've extended Ghostdancer's Summoned chart, based on the low-point Ally rules from DF9 - 0% cost +0 energy, 5% costs +1, 10% costs +2, 15% costs +3. The DR 1 is perhaps a slight overreach - LT gives such cloaks DR 1 against cutting and impaling, while I'm having it give an overall DR 1*, which I don't think is an excessive interpretation of DR 1.5...

I'll likely have the necromancer reinforce the cloak in some manner (either by bezainting or similar, or with a layer of mail), but this won't change the above statistics - it's functionally the same as the cloak wearing a layer of armor.

EDIT2: Does anyone have any guidelines on how well a character can keep hold of a ledge while carrying a great deal of weight? DF15 indicates that a character can haul up to 15xBL with a rope when firmly planted, but what about just hanging on? Even with the -50 lb for Payload, a 120 lb necromancer weighs 22x the Zombie Cloak's BL...

Last edited by Varyon; 07-03-2014 at 02:59 PM.
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