Armored Hero Generation

Originally printed in Dragon Magazine #180 April 1992 pp. 95-97 by Justin Mohareb (Marvel Super Heroes).

This article assumes that you have MA3 The Ultimate Powers Book. If you don't, simply use the Players' Book from the Advanced Set rules, selecting the powers you think are reproducible by machinery or electronics. Using this system, armored heroes are rolled up using Column 3 ("High Technology") as in both the Ultimate Powers Book or the Advanced Set rules. These abilities are the character's normal levels. This is to reflect that the character is a normal human wearing an armored suit that supplies his super powers.

Judges may wish to allow a character to increase his physical stats when wearing the armor by roll once on Table 1 (below), then dividing the results among the hero's four physical abilities (FASE). Note that the ability scores indicated when the character adds the modifiers to his personal attributes reflect the benefits of the armor only when it is being worn. For example, a character whose Strength is Typical, with a +3CS modifier for the armor, might add +1CS, +2CS or +3CS to his Strength, or he might not increase his Strength at all, preferring to divide +3CS among his other three physical statistics.

If the character created his own armor, he also recieves a +1CS to his Reason, a +1CS to his Electronics talent, and another +1CS to repair and modify his personal armor. If the character recieves the armor from someone else, it is assumed that the original owner or people he knows (all NPCs) can repair it. In the latter case, the hero would not recieve any of the Reason bonuses, though he could recieve training later on, at the Judge's discretion.

The character then rolls up the number of his armored suit's powers, using the usual tables in the Ultimate Powers Book or the Advanced Set rules. This character automatically has Body Armor at Excellent rank, though this can be increased (see the note under "Defensive Powers,") which follows. When the character's powers are determined, a special power rank called Armor Endurance is also created. This is usually called E.C.M (electronic countermeasures) and is used against attempts to control the armor from outside sources.

Because of their nature, armored heroes can only use certain powers that could be technology based. A suggested list of these powers, from the Ultimate Powers Book, is given here:

Defensive Powers:

Reflection:

Detection Powers:

Energy Control Powers:

Energy Emission Powers:

Fighting Powers:

Illusory Powers:

Life Control Powers:

Matter Control Powers:

Matter Conversion Powers:

Matter Creation Powers:

Mental Enhancement Powers:

(These powers are not mental powers per se, but are technological versions of mental powers.)

Physical Enhancement Powers:

Self Alteration Powers:

Travel Powers:

Players can choose their armor's powers from this list. If you find this list to be too limiting, just use your imagination. Once the powers for the battlesuit have been selected, rolls are made on Table 2 for the power rank of each power. These rolls are not modified, with the exception of Body Armor (as previously noted). Also generate a power rank for Armor Endurance at this point.

Damaging Armor To add depth to armored combat, each power--including Body Armor--and each of the FASE ability modifiers is then assigned a number as part of a random-roll table. These numbers will determine which of the armor's systems are damaged when an attack exceeds the suit's Body Armor (or applicable Force Fields, etc) by more than +1CS, as noted later. The numbers should be arranged so as they can be rolled on a simple die: 1d8, 1d10, 1d12, etc. Optionally, assign two or more numbers on such a table to a power that would have a greater chance of being damaged., like Body Armor or Flight, depending on your vision of the character's armored suit and the placement of his weaponry and equipment.

We now get to the raison d'etre for this expanded system: armored suit combat. Every time the character is in combat and recieves a blow that inflicts more damage than his Body Armor rank, the character takes damage minus the amount absorbed by his body armor. For example, if a hero has Remarkable Body Armour and is hit by an Incredible rank Force Bolt, the hero takes 10 points of damage (40 - 30 = 10). This is per normal rules.

If the damage is 2CS or more than the Body Armor rank, the character takes the appropiate damage, and percentile dice are then rolled on the rank of the attack -4CS to determine if the character's armor was damaged by the attack. For example, if the hero as above with Remarkable Body Armor was punched by a villain possessing Amazing Strength, the hero would roll 1d100 on the Good column (50 - 4CS = 10). If the result is red, then roll on Table 3. Energy attacks are a special case, as Body Armor is 20 points less effective against energy attacks than against physical ones. When a hero is hit by an Energy attack capable of breaching the armor's reduced rank vs. Energy attacks, the character must follow the procedure for determining armor damage from physical attacks as before. Armored heroes can take Resistance to Energy Attacks to cover this weakness.

Repairing Damage Fixing damaged armor is relatively simple. The hero must make a Reason FEAT roll to make the proper repairs correctly. A Resources FEAT roll might be called for as well, to see if the hero can afford to make the repairs. Other strictures can be applied to the roll at the Judge's whim. It is often a good idea for the Judge to make the Reason FEAT roll for the hero in secret. That way, if the roll is a failure by a narrow margin--say, within five points of the number needed for success--the hero may mistakenly believe that his armor is repaired when it actually might fail at an important moment. This is a nasty thing to do, but I leave the decision whether or not to use this up to each Judge.

Armored Advancement The player may, at some point in his hero's career, attempt to modify the hero's armor by adding new powers. Armor powers can be added, up to the maximum number that was determined at creation, by spending 3,000 Karma for each, plus 10 times the starting rank number for that power (this is also the formula by which robots can add powers). Power advancement is done normally, by spending 10 points times the current rank number plus 500 points for cresting from one rank to the another. A Reason FEAT roll should be called for, with the difficulty equal to the new rank, if an old power is being advanced to a new, higher rank or if a new power is set at its starting level. A Resource FEAT roll might also be needed to see if the hero has the cash to perform the modifications. The Judge should make his own rulings on how to do the "total makeover" that's so popular with armored heroes, including such things as resetting Popularity to zero, upping appropiate powers and FASE abilities one rank, or adding new things. This should cost a great deal; about 10,000 Karma points, a high Resource FEAT roll (Amazing or better), and access to high-tech equipment or a high (Incredible or better) Reason FEAT roll (this is of course up to the individual Judge). All other forms of advancement are performed normally.

Creativity is the key to any successful and enjoyable role-playing game. This system can only get you started on the way. Where you go is up to you.

Table 1: Armor Modifiers For F.A.S.E Abilities

1D100
Result
01-10
Unchanged
11-20
+1CS
21-45
+2CS
46-75
+3CS
76-95
+4CS
96-00
+5CS

Table 2: Power Rank Generation Table

1D100
Power Rank
01-05
Feeble
06-10
Poor
11-20
Typical
21-40
Good
41-55
Excellent
56-80
Remarkable
81-95
Incredible
96-00
Amazing

Table 3: Armor Damage Table

1D100
Damage Results
01-20
One Power is at -2CS
21-40
One FASE ability modifier is at -2CS
41-65
One power is inoperative
66-90
All powers are at -1CS
91-94
All FASE ability modifiers are -1CS
95-98
All FASE ability modifiers and powers are at -2CS
99-00
Massive systems overload. All FASE modifiers are at -2CS, and all powers, with the exception of one (player's choice) are inoperative.