Power Armor for DCC (or other Retroclones)

I’ve been way out-of-pocket with blogging as the baby date gets closer (super excited and terrified), and I haven’t actually been gaming to boot. Doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about stuff occasionally, though. For example, this was something I drafted up a while back, meant to flesh out more, and now am just going to post as-is, cause why not?

by Eupackardia

I was thinking about how to handle power armor in gonzo science fantasy games within the bounds of D&D-like rules. I know some people have touched on this before — pretty sure Dungeon of Signs had some sort of power armor on the HMS Apollyon — but I was thinking about how I would codify it for myself in the event that I ever ran my ASE DCC campaign or something along those lines.

I decided that power armor provides a flat AC rather than an AC bonus, as Agi/Dex don’t factor in, but otherwise it still basically functions the same as armor. After all, if HP and AC are abstractions anyway, then there’s no need to change that here.

It would also make sense if powered on it often provides bonus to movement, but if power runs out or the system freezes, then you can’t move at all.

by Nate Feyma

Then there’s the idea that power armor should probably enhance your Str to some degree. For this, all power armor has a “Force/Finesse” rating. This provides bonus or penalty to physical actions based on whether the power of armor enhances the raw physical ability (Force), or if bulk of armor interferes with an action (Finesse). So a suit of power armor might have Fo/Fi +4/-8, meaning a +4 bonus to anything forceful and a -8 penalty to anything requiring finesse.

Maybe use unique Fumble tables to reflect differences in function, but I haven’t done anything with that. What I did put together is a table for extra risk from particularly well-aimed hits. Any time a critical hit is suffered by someone in power armor, in addition to other effects, roll 3d6 on Critical Systems Damage table:

3 – Core rupture, rupture damage per armor
4-5 – Core leak, leak damage per armor
6-8 – Systems locked, cannot move for 1d6 rounds
9-12 – System integrity maintained, armor still functions
13-15 – Systems locked, cannot move for 1d6 rounds
16-17 – Core leak, leak damage per armor
18 – Core rupture, rupture damage per armor

Light Power Armor: AC 16, MV +15 ft, Fo/Fi +2/-4, Leak 1d4 dmg/rd, Rupture 8d6 dmg 15′ radius (exploding dice)

Heavy Power Armor: AC 20, MV +10ft, Fo/Fi +4/-8, Leak 1d6 dmg/rd, Rupture 8d8 dmg 30′ radius (exploding dice)

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Author: John Carr

Gamer, comic guy, office drone.

3 thoughts on “Power Armor for DCC (or other Retroclones)”

  1. I feel like a finesse penalty is rather a spoiler for nought. I don’t remember anything in Starship Troopers (for example) that suggests that PA is anything other than an unmixed blessing. Just make it expensive, consumptive, and campaign restricted… don’t nerf it mechanically.

  2. Addendum… depending on the system I’d require skill ranks in PA equivalent to its strength bonus to operate a suit, or PA Feats, or whatever. If I were looking for a reason why every player might not use it.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I probably should have put in the post that my thought process was regarding power armor as magic item,so to speak — ie, lost techno treasure in post-apoc gonzo science fantasy style setting (Thundarr the Barbarian, etc). I may tone down the finesse penalty somewhat, but I definitely think picking a lock or trying to disarm a trap would be a bit more difficult in a big powered suit.

      Regarding system requirements, I would personally use in DCCRPG most likely, so it wouldn’t really apply there, but if you were making it a more common item in a 3.x/PF game, I’d agree.

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