Copied from an email...
We should banter this a bit, as I think there's a lot of interesting value to having techies able to readily fabricate armour. The fundamental problems are the perennial ones - how much armour can a being carry, and how is it limited?
Every point of armour has a specific weight associated, and beings are limited by how much they can carry - force-wise. It was easy to calculate, and easy to explain and understand. Unfortunately, it grossly favours large beings, as they can carry stupid amounts of armour. This used to be somewhat limited by cost of armour, but this would not help in a system where technicians can construct it for free. Luckily, with this model, you can just give an easy rate that technicians can pump out points of armour.
We got sneaky, and sub-divided armour into "plates". Each plate forces the wearer to deduct one attribute from their physical stats (strength, speed, agility) to describe the encumbrance. Unfortunately, we didn't really specify any logical or theoretical limits to the size stamina-wise of each plate. I seem to recall that we might have made some mention about mass, and costs of stamina per mass. This means that the stamina density of armour being constructed, as well as rate of points fabricated needs to be simultaneously related for technician abilities. That's starting to get really ugly to calculate (for non-geeks, anyway), and unpleasant to explain understandably.
It's about this point that I get the urge to say, "fukkit", and push for widespread use of energy shields instead...
Anyway, I've got an idea. It's kind of new, but it's also kind of cheesy, and has some ugly logical holes.
Consider that the stamina of beings themselves isn't directly related to simple physical properties, but rather a measure of each being's ability to blunt the harm as well as just absorb it. What if we had armour act like part of the being? What if we have each plate simply reflect the severance stamina of the placement it's on?
vitals = 1/3
chest = 1/2
abdomen = 1/2
arms = 1/3 each
legs = 1/2 each
Each plate requires one physical statistic be dropped. Multiple plates allowed on any placement, except with perhaps awareness penalties for on the vitals. Technicians can fabricate one plate per hour per stage, with appropriate tools and materials.
This side-steps the size issue, in the same way that a being's stamina isn't totally related to their size. It also assumes that armour would have to be "fitted", so plates would only work on one being (and those really really similar - ref's discretion).
What do you think?
So, Mr. Infantry has 60 stam.
Second stage tech comes along, spends a half hour to construct some armour for Mr. Infantry's chest that counts for 30 stamina, and he would drop one point in strength (or speed, or agility). If he spends an hour, Mr. Infantry could have 60 stam chest armour... So, Mr. Human with max stats could have a shitload of armour if he didn't care about much else.
Say each layer on the vitals causes -1 awareness? Maybe a bit more, as I could see Mr. Infantry putting 8 layers on his vitals, giving him 160 vital armour.
Maybe have the first layer on each placement have no detriment, the second -1 stat, the third -2 stats and so on, so that piling up the layers on one spot isn't too feasible.
One thing - what about the quality of the armour? Should we be able to (for example) have a 10th stage techie be able to make armour that gives you more than 1/2 of your stam for the chest and have it cause the same detriment as armour created by a 1st stage techie? Maybe we should ignore this for now - I'm fine with leaving armour as one type.
You can see someone dispensing with 8 points of stats for armour on just one location? Ouch. I'd borrow a plasma weapon or shoot the goof in the chest. If we have the stat-per pile run up too quick, average people won't be able to wear full suits without gigantic detriment.
Actually for the awareness detriment, I'd be for saying that head armour means awareness is cut in half for every layer. This could be countered by mounting a tactical scanner on the outside, but the sensors would be vulnerable. This would give assassins something to do to keep them amused.
The quality of armour idea is probably best ignored - or used for exotic items only. It complicates what might otherwise be a relatively simple system.
I was thinking for the stats would only start doubling if there were multiple layers on a single location, but I think that gets too confusing anyway.
The head/vital armour causing awareness to be halved seems a little extreme... but lets do it anyway.
I propose we try the new rules with the Gabbros.
What sort of conditions should be met in order to blast the external sensors on someone's helmet?
Beating them by 10, obviously.
Successful assassination, though that seems a bit wasteful.
Some sort of luck roll, if they hit the helmet?
Beating by 10, assassination, or a 1 in 6 chance?
We could go with that.
Though, it sounds a little evil to have someone go half-blind 1/6 for their helmet performing its designed function. Not that I mind being evil, mind you... And I suppose it would help restrict the over-proliferation of helmet use.
Next question - do we allow half-plates of armour?
We could say that the damage has to be 1/4 the helmet to be able to knock out the sensors.
Would a half plate cause a detriment to the stats? I think that would get confusing.
Nah, I like the 1/6 chance to blind. That way even monster helmets can be dealt with by intrepid adventurers.
I think we are in agreement about the half-plates. If it isn't a full plate, it's just a piece of stuff that has some stamina and it's stuck to you. The chances of it taking damage instead of you becomes the same as any other carried item - pretty unlikely.
Tomorrow is a good day for death.