I got a ridiculous idea for a character, and as fun as it sounds I'm not sure if it'd necessarily be PLAYABLE? Basically, a contemplative capable of wearing powered armor like this handsome hunk of gray matter. Given the penalty to Strength and general weakness of contemplatives in general I'm not sure they'd function well in a class that gets powered armor out of the box, and the classes that contemplatives excel in don't really work well in powered armor. So...can this joke character be made viable, or should it just remain a joke idea?
Oh hell yes, now that is what I'm talking about. A clear avenue to pursue this would be via the Mechanic and their Custom Armor.
This concept is very fun! And I agree with the class+race combo, I would add the Theme Tinker for Durable Crafting (6th Level) that way the armor has even more HP!
What weaponry would they be best suited for?
I believe your best options would be any of the weapons with the Integrated special weapon property(Armory pg29).
There are several weapon types that your Class Armor upgrades can use allowing you to pick a particular combat style and utilize feats to increase their overall effectiveness.
An armor storm solider contemplative can use power armor without any worry about strength.
I believe, with integrated weapons on a set of power armor you overcome one their main problems, being limited to 1 handed weapons. And you also get to use the movement speed of the power armor, overcoming a second one.
So actually, I could see this being the best way to make a combatant (contemplative assuming you weren't looking to use magic or be an operative).
You're a brain in a robot body, to overcome the weakness of your physique.
You can mount any weapons on power armor weapon slots, you don’t need the integrated quality. That’s for installing in armor upgrade slots and they’re all weak.
I was suggesting beacuse of the themes and weird concept hijinx, the weapons are usable due to a number of them not requiering feats at early levels combined with having the extra armor upgrade slot you get from your class can give you the feel of having built-in weaponry for your own Walking Brain Tank, which seems to be in line with the Concept, now as far as optimal? No but its hard to say it's bad without knowing their choice of feats and other pertinent information needless to say all of this is just a starting point.
It may not be optimal, but if you push your dex as high as possible you should be good with ranged weapons and the power armor will replace your strength so you can be good with melee weapons.
The real problem is that it doesn't come online till level 5, when you get the power armor feat (for free without meeting prereqs).
After you get the power armor I think you'll be competitive with anyone else, with maybe 1 to 2 points behind in key stats. You wont be the best, but you wont be bad.
Another angle I was looking at was taking a caster class (probably Technomancer or Witchwarper since the contemplative's bonuses complement those classes best) and using the Spell Sergeant archetype. That gets Powered Armor for free too, though it lacks the soldier benefits of removing the STR requirements for heavy armor. I suppose the problem COULD be mitigated by dipping into Soldier, which would also get me access to a wider variety of weapons, but I feel like part of the whole POINT of Spell Sergeant was a way for casters to get mpre combat durability WITHOUT dipping...