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Power Armor: Dex or Mech?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:56 am    Post subject: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

I've never felt that Power Armor Operation really fit into the Mechanical skill category. Every description I've ever heard of power armor involved a suit that sensed the wearer's movements and augmented them via its own servos / musculature. That's a lot different from sitting in a ship or speeder's driver's seat, manipulating a steering yoke or whatever. To me, Power Armor seems much more a Dexterity skill.

Also, on a related note, if Power Armor is moved to Dexterity, would it be a better fit as a regular skill or as an Advanced Skill. And, if an Advanced Skill, what prerequisites?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never felt that Power Armor Operation really fit into the Mechanical skill category. Every description I've ever heard of power armor involved a suit that sensed the wearer's movements and augmented them via its own servos / musculature. That's a lot different from sitting in a ship or speeder's driver's seat, manipulating a steering yoke or whatever. To me, Power Armor seems much more a Dexterity skill.

Also, on a related note, if Power Armor is moved to Dexterity, would it be a better fit as a regular skill or as an Advanced Skill. And, if an Advanced Skill, what prerequisites?

Interesting. I have some questions. If Powersuits merely sense the wearer's movements and augment them, what is the skill rolled for? Shouldn't the suit just provide bonuses to the other skill uses it augments?

Under RAW, WEG Spacetroopers use Powersuit Op. How would you stat them? If it grants a non-flying user the ability to fly, that is more than just augmentation. It has a Space Move of 1 so that would seem to be vehicle to me. Where do you draw the line between suit and vehicle? Should there be separate skills?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
If Powersuits merely sense the wearer's movements and augment them, what is the skill rolled for? Shouldn't the suit just provide bonuses to the other skill uses it augments?

One of the more detailed sci-fi descriptors of operating power armor is found in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The suits are equipped with a pressure-sensitive inner layer that responds to the wearer's movements. Raise your arm, the sensor layer detects your arm moving in that direction, the sensory input is fed into a processor that interprets the motion and uses the armor's servos to respond accordingly.

However, this didn't result in natural, intuitive movement; you couldn't just throw on a suit of armor and use it effortlessly, so training was essential. It was still tied to physical movement, but required a different set of instincts. That's why I was thinking it might be better as an Advanced skill (with Running and Dodge as prerequisites, perhaps).

Quote:
Under RAW, WEG Spacetroopers use Powersuit Op. How would you stat them? If it grants a non-flying user the ability to fly, that is more than just augmentation. It has a Space Move of 1 so that would seem to be vehicle to me. Where do you draw the line between suit and vehicle? Should there be separate skills?

Since not all suits of power armor are flight-equipped, I'd put the flight mechanism under the Jet Pack or Rocket Pack Operation skill if using the RAW. For myself, I've replaced Jet Pack and Rocket Pack with Jump Pack and Flight Pack, with Flight Packs being statted more along the lines of a tiny vehicle, and Jump Packs allowing a straight-line jump from Point A to Point B.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes sense. I'll have to think about this.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never felt that Power Armor Operation really fit into the Mechanical skill category. Every description I've ever heard of power armor involved a suit that sensed the wearer's movements and augmented them via its own servos / musculature. That's a lot different from sitting in a ship or speeder's driver's seat, manipulating a steering yoke or whatever. To me, Power Armor seems much more a Dexterity skill.

Also, on a related note, if Power Armor is moved to Dexterity, would it be a better fit as a regular skill or as an Advanced Skill. And, if an Advanced Skill, what prerequisites?


I can partially see the idea of moving it to dex, but disagree that all of them are "augumenting via their own servos etc". Some power suits (like the storm trooper zero g armor) do seem more like vehicles...
As for 'keep it a regular skill or go advanced.. Not sure here.

Whill wrote:

Interesting. I have some questions. If Powersuits merely sense the wearer's movements and augment them, what is the skill rolled for? Shouldn't the suit just provide bonuses to the other skill uses it augments?

Under RAW, WEG Spacetroopers use Powersuit Op. How would you stat them? If it grants a non-flying user the ability to fly, that is more than just augmentation. It has a Space Move of 1 so that would seem to be vehicle to me. Where do you draw the line between suit and vehicle? Should there be separate skills?


Additionally practically all powersuits (i have not bothered to check to see if any don't but i am sure there's possibly some) have Dex penalties.. IF the skill moves to under dex, do these powersuits then LOSE that dex penalty?
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Yora
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thing is that Star Wars is not realistic but puply. With real powered exoskeletons the aim is to make them feel like they aren't there. But for Star Wars I feel it more appropriate to make them big waliking tanks.
Also, most vehicles require that you make use of your own sense of balance. Even cars and smaller planes.

So I think using Mechanical is the more thematically fitting choice. But this also means that power armor should be quite beefy and have a big impact. I guess it depends on where you want to draw the line between motor assisted armor and micro-walkers.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
I can partially see the idea of moving it to dex, but disagree that all of them are "augumenting via their own servos etc". Some power suits (like the storm trooper zero g armor) do seem more like vehicles...

I don't see how. The armor wearer fits his arms and legs inside the armor's arms and legs and they move when he moves. The control interface is pretty basic. If Boba Fett fires his armor's weapons with an Armor Weapons skill (Dex), and he aims them simply by pointing his arm in the appropriate direction, there isn't a whole lot of difference between that and this. The only difference is the armor has its own musculature that's designed to move as the wearer moves.


Quote:
As for 'keep it a regular skill or go advanced.. Not sure here.

Quote:
Additionally practically all powersuits (i have not bothered to check to see if any don't but i am sure there's possibly some) have Dex penalties.. IF the skill moves to under dex, do these powersuits then LOSE that dex penalty?

Good question, and I'm not really sure as to the answer. It might be a good argument for making Power Armor Operations an Advanced skill that is rolled separately just so the wearer can move normally (while still suffering penalties) in the armor...
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yora wrote:
Thing is that Star Wars is not realistic but puply. With real powered exoskeletons the aim is to make them feel like they aren't there. But for Star Wars I feel it more appropriate to make them big waliking tanks.
Quote:
So I think using Mechanical is the more thematically fitting choice. But this also means that power armor should be quite beefy and have a big impact. I guess it depends on where you want to draw the line between motor assisted armor and micro-walkers.

I think the control interface is key. Is the "driver" sitting in a seat, manipulating levers and pedals and such to control the vehicle, or is he actually wearing it, as it moves along with his own movements. It's still possible to be a big, lumbering walking tank just on the basis of Dexterity penalties.

Quote:
Also, most vehicles require that you make use of your own sense of balance. Even cars and smaller planes.

Not true for planes. This is why they stress instrument flying at night and in bad weather. Following your own sense of balance is a sure ticket to going out of control and crashing.
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Last edited by CRMcNeill on Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Mechanically, I've decided to go the advanced skill route: Armor Proficiency. This is not a commonly known skill outside of clone troopers and stormtroopers, but it is possible for other characters to have it if it makes sense with their background. Armor culture Mandalorians would be a possibility.

The WEG suggestion of veteran troopers having so much experience that they no longer have the Dex penalty makes sense but in my SWU, stormtroopers start training as children so even noob troopers should have some degree of this ability. Armor Proficiency is something that takes years to gain at 1D. Then almost no one in the galaxy has more than 1D in the base skill, but there are skill specializations for specific suits of armor.

For each 1D in skill, that removes 1 pip of Dex penalty. The general skill would allow a trooper to remove 1 pip of Dex penalty for any suit of armor, but any additional pips could only be removed with specialization dice for that specific suit of armor. The specializations apply to all aspects of that suit of armor. Here's what it would look like for a regular stormtrooper:

(A) Armor Proficiency 1D
(A) Armor Proficiency: Standard Stormtrooper 2D

I'm also restatting stormtroopers and their armors (standard and all the specialized troopers I have in my game) and I broke each suit down by three components: body glove, armor plating and helmet. Each component has its individual bonuses to physical and energy damage plus Dex penalties, so I can have stats for wearing any combination of individual components (except armor plating cannot be worn without the body glove). Altogether standard stormtrooper armor has a Dex penalty of -1D, but a standard stormtrooper has an effective Dex penalty of -1 (I do equate 1D to 3 pips for this purpose).

Since a lower Dex penalty means higher effective Dex skills, I think a bit of a reduction in blaster skill from RAW is in order for base stormtroopers to better reflect the films. Veteran standard stormtroopers may have the Armor skill specialization at 3D and thus remove all of the Dex penalty. Scout trooper armor has a -2 Dex penalty, but base scout troopers have 2D in that specialized armor and thus eliminate the Dex penalty.

Prerequisites for Armor Proficiency are minimal levels of Dexterity, Mechanical, lifting, stamina, and Technical. Armor Proficiency can add to armor repair rolls (specializations only for that suit), and any other rolls to operate systems of the suit of armor such as the sensors or communications (for non-mundane situations where rolls are even required).


CRMcNeill wrote:
One of the more detailed sci-fi descriptors of operating power armor is found in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The suits are equipped with a pressure-sensitive inner layer that responds to the wearer's movements. Raise your arm, the sensor layer detects your arm moving in that direction, the sensory input is fed into a processor that interprets the motion and uses the armor's servos to respond accordingly.

However, this didn't result in natural, intuitive movement; you couldn't just throw on a suit of armor and use it effortlessly, so training was essential. It was still tied to physical movement, but required a different set of instincts. That's why I was thinking it might be better as an Advanced skill (with Running and Dodge as prerequisites, perhaps).
...
Since not all suits of power armor are flight-equipped, I'd put the flight mechanism under the Jet Pack or Rocket Pack Operation skill if using the RAW. For myself, I've replaced Jet Pack and Rocket Pack with Jump Pack and Flight Pack, with Flight Packs being statted more along the lines of a tiny vehicle, and Jump Packs allowing a straight-line jump from Point A to Point B.


Powersuits were introduced into Star Wars by WEG, but I understand they have since appeared in other EU works. They don't seem to exist in film canon (or Disney publishing so far). I'm not opposed to the technology existing in Star Wars, but at the same time I do not feel much obligation to incorporate them into my Star Wars universe. I especially don't see a need for the details of powersuit tech in another sci-fi franchise to have a lot of bearing on powersuits in Star Wars.

I really don't care for the idea of PCs having easy access to using powersuits effectively so making it an advanced skill works for me. To account for them just in case they ever come up in my game, my thought is to incorporate it into my Armor Proficiency advanced skill. I do understand that becoming accustomed to and compensating for the weight and limitation of armor is not the same thing as compensating for servomotors that augment movement, but they aren't completely unrelated. Powersuits having Dex penalties like armor makes sense as the main purpose of powersuits (beyond the normal armor protection) seems to be to amplify feats of Strength, like lifting, brawling damage, jumping distance, etc.

So powersuits can be thought of as advanced and rare armor. But I'm thinking that Zero G Stormtrooper armor is a vehicle and uses starship operation to pilot since it has a Space Move.
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nuclearwookiee
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I think the control interface is key. Is the "driver" sitting in a seat, manipulating levers and pedals and such to control the vehicle, or is he actually wearing it, as it moves along with his own movements. It's still possible to be a big, lumbering walking tank just on the basis of Dexterity penalties.

This. IMO, something like smasher armor is just armor, while zero-g stormtrooper armor is more of a vehicle. So only the latter would use Powersuit Ops.

I would not make this an advanced skill. Powersuits don't seem any more advanced than other vehicles. And if you do, only make one prereq. Because advanced skills get added to their prerqs, setting more than one prereq just lets the player advance the prereqs at a discount.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m a little confused at the insistence that Spacetrooper armor is more like a vehicle. I’m not seeing it. It has arms and legs, which the wearer manipulates by moving his own arms and legs, which happen to be inside the armor’s limbs. The fact that it has spaceflight capability could just as easily be covered by Rocket Pack Operation.
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nuclearwookiee
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well like you said, it's an issue of the control mechanism. To me it looks like the zero-g armor takes more than just "it moves when I move." Part of it is how oversized it is, but it's always looked to me like there were feet pedals in the suit, which I've always assumed had something to do with the actual movement.

But this is a side issue. While we may disagree on the nature of the zero-g armor itself, the point is that I agree with your criteria.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I especially don't see a need for the details of powersuit tech in another sci-fi franchise to have a lot of bearing on powersuits in Star Wars.

I think you missed my point. For power armor to function, it has to have some mechanism to sense the wearer's movements and react accordingly. The fact that the description comes from a different sci-fi genre is immaterial. Even something as basic as the stirrups in the "boots" of spacetrooper armor is going to have a similar basic function.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Whill wrote:
I especially don't see a need for the details of powersuit tech in another sci-fi franchise to have a lot of bearing on powersuits in Star Wars.

I think you missed my point. For power armor to function, it has to have some mechanism to sense the wearer's movements and react accordingly. The fact that the description comes from a different sci-fi genre is immaterial. Even something as basic as the stirrups in the "boots" of spacetrooper armor is going to have a similar basic function.


That may be true. BUT that doesn't then, mean the character's using his DEX to move the armor.. Any more than a person sitting in a forumla 1 vehicle is..
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Power Armor: Dex or Mech? Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
That may be true. BUT that doesn't then, mean the character's using his DEX to move the armor.. Any more than a person sitting in a forumla 1 vehicle is..

I suggest you rethink your analogy. Every other Mechanical skill (or at least the piloting ones) involve sitting at a console, pushing buttons and manipulating levers to make a device perform a particular action. Power Armor, on the other hand, involves moving your body inside of a device that mimics the wearer’s movements to augment those movements and/or offset its own weight.
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