Death may Die
With all the discussion about new and more efficient ways of killing each other, you might want to know something about not dying. Armor is one such way. There are a number of armor technologies available.
Deflection and Threshold
Deflection is a measure of the armor’s tendency to redirect injury away from it. Threshold bonuses measure the armor’s ability to absorb the trauma, taking it in place of the wearer. Ballistic armors prefer Deflection by distributing the force across a wider area, while the “armor” that most people think of (chain mail, padding, etc.) tends to favor Threshold.
The numbers given here won’t always work with the numbers provided in Magenta. In general, for Death may Die you should use these numbers.
Conventional armor usually doesn’t provide an environmental seal and usually doesn’t cover the entire body. It’s often formed of individual pieces. For armor with powered systems, environmental seals, and/or movement augmentation, see exoframes below.
Partial Armor: Many of the varieties of armor listed below assume full-body coverage. This isn’t every square centimeter, but it is general body coverage. If someone is wearing less, then they get less Deflection. Take the difference between their skin’s Deflection and the armor’s (subtract three for most humans). Then apply a percentage. Round down to the nearest whole.
Someone who’s wearing a vest (covering the center of gravity and the brunt of the main body mass) gets 60% of the Deflection. Someone wearing a sleeve gets 5% (two sleeves get 10%). A helmet provides 20%, while pants provide 15%. Add this total up, round to the nearest whole, and then add back in the skin Deflection (3 for most humans). If purchasing segments of armor, a “chestplate” reduces the purchase difficulty by 1, while, a helmet, pants, or sleeves reduces the difficulty by 2.
This can be used for “piecemeal” armor, if the GM so wishes.
|It’s always possible somebody wants to layer armor. In this case, you can add the Threshold bonuses together, but use the highest of all possible Deflections. Keep in mind, though, that armor rarely gets designed to stack on top of itself. Sharp reductions in mobility follow.|
All Deflections are for full-body coverage. Most people don’t wear helmets to work, so even armored clothing won’t have full body coverage. Remember that to adequately cover the head, most of the head must be concealed. Most hats are insufficient.
Bare: This is the character’s Deflection score without anything worthy of being called “armor.” Stripped naked or wearing plain clothes, this is what the character has. (Technically, a naked person would have a lower Deflection than this, but it likely doesn’t matter.)
Aramid Clothing: Very effective in ensnaring bullets and projectiles, aramid clothing doesn’t actually stop the force of the strike so much as engulf it so that it stops before scoring significant penetration. Thus, the bullet still lands against your chest. Most aramid outfits lack head covering of any kind, and even a basic hat will likely be insufficient. This armor isn’t readily detectable, even if someone touches you. It is, essentially, just fabric, albeit a complex synthetic fabric.
Aramid Suit: This is the kind of body armor soldiers might wear when they get body armor. It uses a family of materials called aramids that have very high ultimate tensile strength compared to relative density. This is a standby, and it may incorporate trauma plates for added protection.
Aramid Tuxedo: This is another concealed armor using aramid fibers. In this case, it includes a cape, a scarf (looks dashing but it also protects the face), a hat, gloves, etc. It provides minimal buffer between impact and body, but more importantly it can provide facial and head protection without appearing unusual (insofar as a tuxedo is usual).
Since the coverage in part relies on softer elements (in particular around the face and throat), the suit utilizes shape memory textiles that will harden for a few seconds after any of its individual fibers break. This means that when a bullet strikes the scarf, the scarf hardens into a neck (and possibly facial) guard, while remaining porous. This armor isn’t readily detectable, even if someone touches you. It is, essentially, just fabric, albeit a complex synthetic fabric.
Evening gown variations technically exist, but these run into the problem that female evening wear exposes more of the body. Often the back and arms are exposed, and certainly the face. Armored versions have a covered back and front (which may be a fashion faux pas) and use long gloves rather than sleeves. They also include a shawl or drape for facial protection, as well as a stylish headdress of some kind.
Biosuit: People used to make fun of the “skintight spacesuits” that people wore in so many comic books and movies. Turns out those are the safest possible spacesuits imaginable. A biosuit is a lightweight, skin-tight, and (believe it or not) porous spacesuit. The modern biosuit utilizes a graphene stitch to tighten and bring pressure onto specific “lines of non-extension” along the body, generating pressure to prevent the “inflation” effect caused by vacuum. The problem of overheating in space is solved through sweating (which rapidly removes heat in space). Wearing a biosuit, one literally touches vacuum and does not suffer for it.
The modern biosuit has advanced from the late 2010’s model in that it no longer requires gas-filled gloves or boots. Instead, the only gas-filled component is the helmet. They also fill concave surfaces with a resilient material, thus to prevent armpits from becoming “armhills.” The advantage of the light, flexible design that doesn’t get burdened with hard, uneven surfaces or thousands of incomprehensible subsystems is that if the suit tears, there’s every possibility that nothing will happen. If something does happen (either the wearer gets a cut or a compression stitch comes out, the wearer can mend that (temporarily) through a simple slap patch. This would be impossible in the heavier hard spacesuits.
Biosuits can generally manage about four hours of air, making them far less durable than the hard suits. In general, those going on spacewalk will use the two-cylinder setup to replace cylinders one at a time. Because the helmet is gas filled, technically both cylinders could go at the wearer would be safe for a few minutes, which is more than enough time to get another cylinder attached if it’s within easy reach.
Biosuits also function as dive suits, but they do not allow for significant pressures. With the right gas mix, this can allow for dives greater than 30 meters (where nitrogen narcosis can set in).
Mail: Sometimes worn by divers who might face sharks and sometimes worn by others who might face shrapnel, mail is a metal fabric. (Note: “Plate mail” is a contradiction in terms, though “plate and mail” with plates riveted onto mail isn’t.) Mail often comes in the forms of small, thick links of chain interleaved to form a fabric mesh. This is astoundingly good at redirecting force by ensnaring force within the armor itself, but it doesn’t provide nearly the halting power that solid plates provide.
Steel Plating: Although commonly seen in Medieval replica armor, steel plating is a common feature of some simple armor systems. The metal is very heavy and quite dense, especially compared to aramids. However, it does provide some stiff boundaries against harm, though most bullets will cut directly through it without issue.
Trauma Plate: Several armors, in particular aramid suits, are designed to accommodate trauma plates. These get added to the armor directly. Although the full Deflection is listed, these plates typically only cover the chest and back (for humans this reduces the Deflection to 8). However, this is hardly a concern as the trauma plate’s principle value is in stopping injury. However, trauma plates don’t work forever. If the wearer suffers damage from physical impact equal to or greater than their total Threshold bonus from armor minus 11 (including the trauma plate’s bonus), the plate shatters. It protects this one last time, but now it’s useless.
Wicker Armor: When the unprepared face serious danger, they take steps to protect themselves. Wickerwork armor might not be a desirable form of armor in most modern military environments, but it is better than a t-shirt (and depending on where you live, the other option might be nothing more than body paint). Wicker is most noteworthy for ensnaring weapons – it doesn’t present a useful buffer against harm so much as prevent the harm from actually reaching its victim. It still fails compared to other forms of armor, but it’s found wherever there are poor people in parts of the world that aren’t industrialized who need to be ready for armed fighting.
“Exoframe” technically means powered exoskeleton, something that enhances the natural qualities of mobility and/or strength of a person by reflecting and augmenting the physical movements of the person. This is different from a robot walker – walkers are larger vehicles that move entirely under their own power and, with the correct systems, can function without any pilot or crew at all.
Exoframes have a number of innate features. Most of these features aren’t technically “innate” – that is, an exoframe might not have them. However, because of the operational theaters in which they’re used, they tend to have certain features in common.
The fundamental feature of most exoframes is their ability to augment the movements of the human body, either for speed or for strength (or both). There are practical limits to how far this can go, but in general these features enhance the natural capabilities of the body.
Most of the time, these are reserved for the disabled – the exoframe simply allows disabled persons to walk, carry, etc. These have rather small output requirements. A frame that can do no more than walk doesn’t require the same output as a frame that can not only provide increase to running speed but also provide stabilization for balance. (Indeed, moving rapidly is a rare feature of exoframes.)
Virtually all exoframes will provide enough of a motion assist that their own weight will not burden the wearer. However, this doesn’t mean that one moves as rapidly as they normally would. Exoframes are large and have mechanical limits.
Exoframes generally require a character to use the Exoframe skill to move in place of Run. The character’s movement is slower because of the greater mechanical process of motion. Additionally, exoframes are rated as “light” or “heavy.” A Light system places moderate mechanical limitations on the body for motion, functioning as a single full Load Factor against movement (regardless of the character’s Body). A Heavy system counts as two.
This isn’t a universal feature, but most exoframes are designed for space or oceanic operation. This means that these armors are either vacuum enabled or high-pressure enabled. They generally provide considerable amounts of oxygen – as much as eight hours. They completely isolate the wearer from the outside environment. They might also provide systems to account for gravitational issues, such as preserving circulation in microgravity.
Note that depth is a harder challenge than void. Even a pressure-enabled liquid breathing exoframe can only go so far before it ruptures. Also note that gravity will still be an issue, and this doesn’t help with mobility (for instance, an exoframe in space without propulsion is unable to maneuver at all). Radiation will still present a problem, though generally after calculating mSv of exposure one can cut it in half again for the armor.
Pressure breaches are critical issues on exoframes. Like the hard spacesuits before them, they aren’t susceptible to a simple slap patch. They have uneven surfaces, hard systems, and complex works. If a leak forms, the only thing one can really do is to make it to a safe environment before pressure becomes intolerable.
If the character suffers the exoframe’s Threshold + 10 damage in a single attack, it’s been breached. This means it’s now losing its atmospheric characteristics. If the character is in severe pressure (high or low), the wearer will likely have to spend one Body point per round to remain active. If he runs out, he will perish in just a few minutes (in the best-case scenario).
Most exoframes have on-board intercom systems. These are useful for military purposes on land, but in the oceans and space they’re a requirement simply to be heard. Thus, basic communications are fairly standard on most exoframes.
It might go without saying, but armored exoskeletons are usually armored. The exoframe’s Deflection and Threshold are unique to the individual armor, although they’re usually quite thick and made of dense materials. The Threshold is usually quite high because of this, although Deflection is often lower than one might think thanks to the hardness.
|Exoframe Type||Deflection||Threshold||Size||Purchase||Special Features|
|Atmospheric Diving Suit||7||+16||Heavy||8||Depth 600m, 8 hours of air, sonar telemetry, lights, aquatic mobility systems|
|Construction Frame||10||+44||Heavy||10||Strength enhancement, armor points, air filtration, radiation shielding|
|Deep Oceanic Combat LSS||12||+40||Heavy||13||Depth >2000m, 4 hours of liquid breathing, sonar telemetry, armor points, C4I2, recoil bracing|
|Liquid Environment LSS||7||+16||Heavy||9||Depth >2000m, 4 hours of liquid breathing, sonar telemetry, lights, aquatic mobility systems|
|Military Exoskeleton||12||+34||Light||12||Armor points, air filtration, advanced communications, C4I2, recoil bracing|
|Oceanic Combat LSS||12||+40||Heavy||13||Depth 600m, 8 hours of air, sonar telemetry, armor points, C4I2, recoil bracing|
|Space Combat Exoskeleton||12||+47||Heavy||14||8 hours of air, vacuum enabled, radar telemetry, EVA, C4I2, recoil bracing|
|Space Hardsuit||11||+25||Light||10||Vacuum enabled, 8 hours of air, radar telemetry, tool mounts, EVA mount|
Atmospheric Diving Suit: Atmospheric suits are intended to allow someone to survive dives to 600 meters by providing normal atmosphere within. It’s much like wearing a submarine with jointed limbs, and moves about as gracefully. Fortunately, it supports aquatic mobility systems with jets and turbines allowing the character to move without encumbrance penalties (although the armor will only be able to carry as much as the character can while encumbered with two Load Multiples thanks to the system relying in part on the user’s muscle power). It has eight hours of air, and supports a sonar system. Unfortunately, sonar isn’t like radar, and the signals require heavy interpretation, so when using sonar the user cannot use any secondary senses to assist. The sonar’s range is S15, M50, L300, and E2000. It’s passive sonar, so it doesn’t make a “ping.” The diving suit also supports lights that can illuminate to provide something more like human perception.
Construction Frame: This style of exoframe is designed around land operations, in particular heavy industrial operations. It uses air filtration but can also optionally carry up to 4 hours of air. It also has heavy radiation shielding – instead of cutting radiation exposure in half, it cuts it in quarter. The armor is large and powerful, and provides strength assistance to the wearer. The wearer functions as if he had a Body five times his given Body score (this makes it one of the most effective strength-enhancing system for people of ordinary strength). It also allows the wearer to rely on the armor more heavily for activity. The armor has “armor Body Points,” spendable as Body Points. Every point spent requires a roll of Exoframe against a difficulty of the number of armor Body Points already spent. This will require some time in maintenance to restore, as it strains noncritical systems.
Deep Oceanic Combat LSS: This is to the oceanic combat LSS what the liquid environment LSS is to the aquatic diving suit. It has all the capabilities of the oceanic combat LSS with the additional “feature” of liquid breathing for incredible depth capability. It has all of the advantages, as well as the profound disadvantages and psychiatric perils, of the liquid environment LSS. The deep oceanic combat LSS sometimes gets nicknames like “the deathtrap,” “lead lung,” and “punch to the face” thanks to the panic putting these on uniformly causes to warfighters and its effects on breathing, even those experienced in their use. It rarely sees use because of its severe side effects.
Liquid Environment LSS: This is, functionally, the atmospheric diving suit with the horrifying features of allowing yourself to suck water into your lungs and hold it there. Liquid environment life support systems use a perfluorocarbon liquid cycling system to allow the breather to breathe oxygen from liquid. It’s as fun as it sounds. Simply allowing the armor to fill with water is terrifying. People immersed in it suffer one point of Awe per round for 13 rounds, minus 1d4, minus their Introspection Rote (or Roll if they prefer). Most people allow themselves to panic, as the long term stress consequences are less, but this requires that the person be physically restrained as they experience the sensation of drowning without the actual death at the end. If not restrained, they will either remove the helmet or smash the face plate (which is armored against this, so it’s a race to see which wins – the realization that breathing is normal or the structural integrity of the armored shell).
Having gone through that enlightening process, the wearer can then operate to an unknown depth. Tests have been difficult since at the extreme depths one is likely to face attacks by Raliites or possibly other aquatic horrors. However, this armor is not without its troubles. While liquid breathing, all Body Point costs are doubled. Spending a Body Point for any reason will actually cost two Body Points (one exception – Body spent on APF is unaffected, as the phenomenon paradoxically eases the burden of liquid breathing stress). In addition, the wearer is functionally unable to speak. Just making sound is difficult, and through water the sound is extremely indistinct. Most liquid environment systems employ some form of texting system to allow for typed communication. Even people in air environments will want to use it, as the wearer of the armor suffers 50% Concealment to hear anything clearly.
The LSS otherwise functions as an atmospheric diving suit, with the exception that it only provides four hours of liquid breathing.
Military Exoskeleton: This mechanism, utilizing advanced graphene polymers and extraordinary systems, is a military platform for heavy soldiers in the modern day. It has some advanced mobility systems, meaning the wearer enjoys the “phantom Body Points” of the construction frame (see above). It also has recoil braces. While weapons can be directly mounted (which prevents the wearer from being disarmed of them), any weapon held will fire into the armor rather than the wearer, meaning the wearer suffers no difficulties from weapon recoil and can fire a .50 caliber machine gun without feeling the recoil. The armor itself is extremely protective of its wearer thanks to the advanced composites used in its design, and it can stop some heavy weapons. It also enjoys considerable communications relays, providing intelligent assistance in trying to send and receive signals (+1d6 rolled for any attempt at communications, which can result in a critical success but not in a fumble). It also provides C4I2 support, acting as a command node for a command network.
Oceanic Combat LSS: This is the merger of the military exoskeleton with the atmospheric diving suit, intended to bridge the gap between human and Raliite. This system provides many of the advantages of both of those armors, including the mobility enhancement, recoil support, and command networking of the military exoskeleton coupled with the sonar and atmospheric support of the diving suit. Its lack of on-board lights or aquatic mobility systems, along with the intelligent communication systems, is a matter of space efficiency. Submarine forces are expected to deploy from personal vehicles underwater, and use them for high-speed mobility and illumination (where desired).
Space Combat Exoskeleton: This is the space version of the military exoskeleton. It provides the command network, mobility enhancement, and recoil protection of the military exoskeleton, while providing the environmental support and radar telemetry of the space hardsoit. It has the EVA system hard-mounted. It lacks the intelligent communications systems and tool mount capabilities of those other armors, however, and it is in general less utilitarian than those armors, being solely focused on keeping the interplanetary warfighter alive.
Space Hardsuit: This is a common feature of asteroid miners. The tendency for hard rocks to float in from random directions and strike people in the head makes miners want to have some serious protection. (This along with the whole “people shooting at you” thing.) Space hardsuits provide vacuum protection and eight hours of air. They also provide a radar telemetry system – the wearer may attempt to rely on the radar system to detect things at S10, M40, L180, and E1000 (using Sensor Operation in place of Spot, with Spot as likely the only secondary sense available) or may use the sensors as a secondary sense and still rely on sight. The armor can also mount several tool systems, up to and including arc welders (usually for cutting) and other power tools. They receive power from the armor itself. The hardsuit can also mount an EVA system allowing the user use the armor as a flight vehicle, but this is a large and cumbersome system that turns the hardsuit into a heavy exoframe.