Power Armor: How Useful is it?


General Discussion

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Yeah. In earlier Fallout games, you needed special training to use power armor and it was an end-game thing. But, it had ever-lasting power. In Fallout 4, however, since you get it so early and without needing to learn how to use it (which was a mistake in my opinion), they needed some way to balance it out. And fusion cores was the way they decided to go about it. I'm pretty sure that was the thought process that led to power armor in Starfinder needing to be charged up.

I'm completely fine with the mechanics of power armor. I would just like more power armor. Especially those Xenodruid power armors made of living plants that were mentioned in the CRB.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I've got great hopes for the Armory hardcover for more power armor.

If not I'm going to have to finally stop being lazy and design a progression line for the Battle Harness.


Azalah wrote:

Yeah. In earlier Fallout games, you needed special training to use power armor and it was an end-game thing. But, it had ever-lasting power. In Fallout 4, however, since you get it so early and without needing to learn how to use it (which was a mistake in my opinion), they needed some way to balance it out. And fusion cores was the way they decided to go about it. I'm pretty sure that was the thought process that led to power armor in Starfinder needing to be charged up.

I'm completely fine with the mechanics of power armor. I would just like more power armor. Especially those Xenodruid power armors made of living plants that were mentioned in the CRB.

Uhm. If I remember correctly...

Your character in Fallout 4, grew up in that time, he even was part of the ongoing war himself. He was a war vet. Long since experienced. S/He has LOOONG since known how to use just about every form of power armour that was standard. and probably the warbirds and various other machines.

So there was no real need for S/He to learn.

Also, as a random note. I believe that the Fallout 4 armour is the early model of power armour. The newest models were all on the West Coast- Alaska, California, and then a few in DC. The newer versions had the cycling energy type I believe was mentioned in fallout 2 somewhere... but man that was long ago.
The reason being (added later and implied), because near the end of the war there simply... wasn't people or resources to ship more and more munitions to people at the fringes. So the guys up in Alaska? They had what they had, and only had what their own R&D could readily make. So the theme of that power armour was protection and long use; because there may not be a resupply nor reinforcments. So they switched R&D aims. This was one reason, one of the R&D notes near the prototypes you find in F04 talk about power usages

I just remember some notation in 1, 2, or maybe brotherhood, that their suites were powered by cyclers in the air.
Its why their power suits were mainly defensive in nature and only a bit into STR and carry weight; and those were some more premium models.
It is also why the F04 Power Armour is redunk strong in comparison, even to some of the brotherhood power armour folks. Plus your character knows far more about old world techniques for them as well as evidenced by how easily he improves the various models.

This all excludes the cutting edge specialty "prototypes" you discover at the various production and R&D plants in the commonwealth anyway. Though I doubt any of them would be significantly different than other operation wise; simply because it was so late in the war and so few resources and people actually left that you wouldn't have time to train vastly different people


Zwordsman wrote:


Uhm. If I remember correctly...

Your character in Fallout 4, grew up in that time, he even was part of the ongoing war himself. He was a war vet. Long since experienced. S/He has LOOONG since known how to use just about every form of power armour that was standard. and probably the warbirds and various other machines.

So there was no real need for S/He to learn.

You do not remember correctly. Nora (or whatever you name her) was a lawyer, not a soldier. I can see Nate being able to wear power armor, as he might have had some training. But certainly not Nora.

Or all the followers you get that you can then make wear power armor.

Or all the bandits that have power armor.

Or literally any human/ghoul NPC that can just hop in whatever power armor is laying around, so long as it has a fusion core.


Damanta wrote:

Heh, in the fallout series power armor was endgame armor for all but the latest installment and was something you kinda permanently wore.

In 4 to wear it all the time requires a bit more planning and luck with getting the fusion cores, but it's still possible.

I don't know that in Fallout 3 or New Vegas I would consider them "end game" armor, but you definitely did have to work at getting access to training for the armor in both games. But I guess the problem is more how you define "end game" with relation to sandbox rpgs like Fallout. I mean you can definitely encounter power armor users, kill, and take their armor relatively early on. But getting trained to use it is another matter entirely. And usually requires a more diplomatic approach.

In Fallout 4 you immediately can use power armor, but due to fusion core use and requiring repair (compared to other armor in game) I literally never used it except where you have to walk through the incredibly irradiated area. I found it to be too much of a hassle. The power armor mechanics of Fallout 4 were really poorly implemented IMO.

And I think it was all because they wanted to have you fight a Deathclaw 10 minutes into the game so they give you power armor to make sure you don't die. Or they could have kept the mechanics like it was in all the other games, make it rare (instead of freaking everywhere), and make the fusion cores actually last effectively forever. And they could have made you fight something that is terrifying and deadly but still able to be beaten by a low level character with some help (they could have had more people to follow you to Sanctuary if they survived) a fight with something besides a Deathclaw.


Azalah wrote:


You do not remember correctly. Nora (or whatever you name her) was a lawyer, not a soldier. I can see Nate being able to wear power armor, as he might have had some training. But certainly not Nora.

Or all the followers you get that you can then make wear power armor.

Or all the bandits that have power armor.

Or literally any human/ghoul NPC that can just hop in whatever power armor is laying around, so long as it has a fusion core.

True. Nora is a lawyer.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if Nate had given her basics.
and power armour being idiot proof.

I mean they were mass produced to an extent for a large portion of disposable combatants.
or simply because how riddiculously common they are in that part of the world, that it is something more readily known.
Since there isn't any sort of req for using those models.
but there were reqs in previous games.
So could be a specifric to the area culture.

but most likely idiot proof models.


Fallout 4 seriously retconned fusion cells lifetime for power armor. In older games, they've always been supposed to be powered by a nuclear source able to last for decades, if not centuries.
It's a change pushed by game design, and I'm not sure I like the results of said game design compared to previous installations in the franchise.

Given the frequent requests for more power armor options, I'm pretty sure Paizo noticed the demand is there. I'm not sure if publication planning will allow them to make it come faster than the Armory book, however.

I just hope when they do that they'll also flesh out the good-for-everyday-use approach of the battle harness rather than focus only on situational mechsuits.


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Fallout is what people think of for futuristic power armor? Really?

Not Doomguy or Master Chief? :v


There is one TTRPG that I immediately think of when I think of power armor, and I've mentioned it here before. Deadlands: Hell on Earth. And I think Starfinder is going the same route that it did. In the base book, there were only a couple power armors, the drain on them was huge, and it was a very situational thing.

However, in a later splat book, they upped the number of power armors from 4 all the way up to 13. And they ran the gamut from the big Stahljeager (with a drain of 1 power/minute and a total of 200 power) that was meant to hunt and destroy heavily armed cyborgs and other power armor to the LRRP (with a drain of .05/minute and 200 power) that was designed for long-term scouting and recon and even came with it's own solar power collector blanket as standard to keep charged while still.

They also added in a *ton* of add-ons to the power armors. Weapons, jump-packs, medical sensors, speed or power upgrades, flight packs, etc. One thing that stood out for those who don't like power armor having to be situational is a Canister.

"Canisters were designed specifically for battlefield recharging of Armored Infantry. Canisters are basically an armored fusion engine with four power couplings evenly spaced around its perimeter. The size and shape of a beer keg with two stout handles on the side,a canister weighs roughly 300 pounds so a trooper carrying one has her hands full. A canister can produce an unlimited amount of power, and each port can supply a battle suit 30 units of power per minute. The canister is AV3, Durability 20/4. If destroyed, the fusion reactor shuts down harmlessly."

(Devs, if you're reading this, seriously check out the Denver book for Deadlands: HoE.)


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Dark Midian wrote:

Fallout is what people think of for futuristic power armor? Really?

Not Doomguy or Master Chief? :v

Fallout 1 was published in 1997. Halo 1 in 2001. Half-Life in 1998. Doom goes way back to 1993, but back then, Doom Guy didn't really have anything resembling the (admittedly awesome) Praetor Armor.

Fallout is probably the earliest appearance of power armor in PC games I can think of. (outside PC, only Metroid comes to my mind as being earlier).


Despite the fact that Samus' Chozo battle suit is power armour
I've never really thought of it as armour I guess..

Probably because of the way it is framed in the games, lore ,and manga as being more of a second skin rather than armour.
I guess my head differentiates armour and suits?
Like. Depending on where you look, Samus basically lives in it (some she doesn't and more recently she's had that zero suit, which is also a powered suit I guess).

So Fallout and ExoForce (cartoon) are my go to Power Armour types.
I've never thought of Doom guys having power armour until the newest one where it is retconned into power armour (assuming it is actually connected to the first one? I never got around to getting all the lore files... not the reason I play ed that game haha)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, Samus Aran's armor is powered armor in the comic book Iron Man sense, which is not really the same thing. Granted, in the first couple Fallout games, powered armor wasn't any more restrictive in practice. . . but that was mostly game mechanics. In lore, they were still supposed to be big, bulky, logistic-heavy equipment, not just a casual substitute for ordinary armor or clothing.


Maybe it's a lack of exposure to the actual games and their Lore, but when I think of stuff like Master Chief and Samus I see that more as Starfinder's Heavy Armor. Which... to be honest Iron Man is pretty much Heavy Armor too. Heavy Armor with a lot of upgrades (including an Armor equivalent of the Called Weapon Fusion in Iron Man's case) and some strong reflavoring of carried weapons sometimes.


I think the biggest quality for what is heavy vs. medium-sized power is whether it would replace the wearer's strength. It is reasonable that the base functions of the chozo suit would qualify (but let's be honest, its practically another mechanic specialization tied to the phrenic adept archetype). Of course, if you think of control style distinguishing power armour from humanoid vehicles, there is no upper size limit


Yakno. an open ended ARchetype based around super utilizing POwer Armour could make for some cool details.

giving proficiency without the need for heavy armour. Improved power cost or something..

Though that would potentially be a bit harder to balance maybe?
though would result in amusing things like power armoured mystics.


Just a matter of how technologically advanced were going with and what direction technology moved in.

Exo-Guardians

I personally think of Starship Troopers (the book) when I think of powered armor, and I'm pretty sure the developers were, too. In the Heinlein book, squads of Mobile Infantry (i.e. "Mobile Army" Armor Storm style feature) would be dropped from orbit separately, maraud for a few minutes using armor-mounted grenade racks, rockets, etc. (including launching tactical nukes) and then meet up and a rendezvous at the dropship. "On The Bounce," which is the ultimate style feature for Armor Storm, was a phrase actually coined by Heinlein in this book. Earth uses their power armor squads as basically shock and awe, to essentially demoralize enemies with their nigh-indestructible juggernauts of destruction that are gone almost before they arrive, leaving massive amounts of devastation in their wake.

So... while there were a multitude of inspirations for power armor in Starfinder (spider armor seems like it's definitely a Ghost in the Shell reference, and the Battle Harness is probably an Edge of Tomorrow thing), I think the overall intent is to have the suits be incredibly situational... not something you're just going to dungeon crawl in.

That said, as an Armor Storm soldier myself, I would love for there to be more power armor options and tactical improvements, like being able to drop the suit from orbit like a torpedo onto a specific space, squashing anyone unfortunate enough to not make a Reflex save and allowing me to jump into the fully-charged suit mid-battle if it becomes necessary.

(yes I do know that I would need the quick-entry/exit upgrade for both the power armor and my heavy armor; it would still be slick as hell).


Using a quantum power battery would solve the power issue and just have to manage the power used each round. Something like it worked for another game that had nuclear batteries that lasted a couple of hours so it was redone. lol showing my age.

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