Powered armor—high-tech defensive suits that move under their own power rather than using the muscles of the wearer—have a long history in science-fantasy stories, dating all the way back to E.E. "Doc" Smith's 1937 Lensman novel Galactic Patrol (one reason the Lensman books appear in the Starfinder Core Rulebook's Inspirational Media list). The conceptually serve as armor, steed, and sometimes even weapon for super-advanced knight of high-tech settings, allowing a character to act as science-fantasy cavalry. There are five suits of powered armor in the Core Rulebook, which is just enough to give an idea of how such gear works in the game, but certainly isn't anywhere near enough to cover all your possible powered armor needs.
Happily, there's a good deal more in Starfinder Armory.
The book includes 18 total suits, from the scrapper's rig (item level 4) to the starguard (item level 20), with at least one at each item level and two at item level 17). Six of those suits are Medium, eleven are Large, and one is Gargantuan. While most of them are technological items five (celerity rigging, extradimensional armor, kyton bloodsuit, spellcaster's aegis, and stag-step suit) incorporate magic into their core design and are hybrid items.
In addition to providing more than three times the number of suits as the Core Rulebook, Armory provides some general power armor rules, covering weapon slots, hybrid powered armor… and how to improve a suit of powered armor to be a higher item level. This system allows a character to spend credits to boot a suit of powered armor's item level, EAC and KAC bonuses, and even (if you boost it by enough item levels) its maximum Dexterity, Strength bonus, and number of upgrade slots. These improvement rules are designed to allow a player who builds a character around a specific design of powered armor, they don't have to take a suit of a different size or environmental movement or operational range just to keep their armor relevant when gaining character levels.
In addition to just offering more suits at more item levels, Armory also provide powered armors design for specific situations. The explorer's cradle is design for days-long missions of investigation in harsh environments. The personal submersible operates underwater, and allows you to breath water and survive great depths even without using its environmental protections. The reactor guard similar protects you from radiation, even when its environmental protections aren't active. The spellcaster's aegis is specifically designed to allow magic-savvy characters to manipulate its built-in runes for more effective dispel efforts and greater protection against spells.
Whether you are an armor storm soldier looking for a suit to improve with you as you gain levels, or a mystic who has decided the best offense is a good defense, Starfinder Armory has the powered armor to meet your needs!
Owen K.C. Stephens
Starfinder Design Lead