Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Mechanically Enhanced Combat Hardsuits
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Mechanically Enhanced Combat Hardsuits...aka M.E.C.H for short. In the current campaign I am running Renraku is working hard to regain a foothold in the World Megacorps power shuffle by winning over the CAS military with its MECH design.

In an auditorium filled with Top brass from the CAS armed forces meeting with a Renraku official. The following is what was heard

"Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Senators and Senior Officers. My name is Sho Kasugara, and I welcome you our New Cybertech and Robotics Research and Test Facility here in Austin TX. I thank you all for coming and hope that you will all be satisified from the results on Project Urban Striker that we have achieved to complete here. "

With that the room darkens and a spotlight shines down to the center of the stage. Rising from the floor a Glistening Humanoid form rises into view. Its metallic visage cut with hard angles yet still sleek in appearance like an exotic sports car reflecting the spotlight off its polished surface. The metalic Humanoid stands nearly 8ft tall.

"Before you stands our prototype for Project Urban Striker. It is a Mechanically Enhanced Combat Hardsuit. M.E.C.H. for short. Designed to exponentially increase the Survivability, effectiviness and firepower of Soldiers in a hostile Urban Enviroment or any enviroment really."

"The MECH is based off of our Striker Light Exoskeletal Chassis design. Surrounding the Pilot in an Exoskeletal Suit layered with the most Advanced Cybertech Myomar Musculature available to date. The result a stronger, faster more resiliant Soldier than would otherwise be humanly possible. Not limited by the restraints of flesh and bone like the normal Cybersoldier. The MECH can achieve feats of strength not yet possible with basic cybertechnology. The Light Chassis also is designed with speed in mind allowing for increased response times and having a ground running speed of 30MPH. "

"We realize that on the Battlefield that survivability of our soldiers on the ground is essential and the MECH provides just that. The entire Exoskeleton is protected by 1 inch thick Plastisteel-7 armored plating able to deflect small arms fire and a large majority of higher caliber ammunition. Protecting the internal workings and more importantly the Pilot inside. Our MECH is also fully enclosed and can be switched over to a fully pressurized life support system if needed. An Internal Air tank has been provided on all models with an advanced Oxygen Recycler giving the MECH a 12 hour oxygen supply. Fitted with maneuvering verniers the MECH could be operated as easily in space as it is on the ground giving the CAS ultimate versatility on where they wish to deploy their Striker units"

"On the topic of Versatility I would also like to note that we have built the MECH on a modular design with hardpoints spaced around the Exoskeleton for the addition of a variety of weapons and tools that can be mounted for the specific missions needed. With this being built on the Light Chassis Design there are slightly less hard points than available the heavier Chassis. The MECH currently before you has been left free of any Modular Accessories. We wanted to be able to demonstrate the ease in which a Modular weapon or accessory could be changed out."

Two men step from the back of the stage wearing white lab coats, Pushing a cart with a large barreled gun laying on top of it. and Casing attached to a belt of ammunition. With a few clicks and turns of a power ratchet they have a large caliber assault weapon attached to the left arm with a belt of ammunition reaching around to the back of MECH. In which the attached a Case of Ammunition is set

"With the current technology available on todays battlefield where hackers consistantly wreak havoc on the modern soldier we have decided to leave our MECH designs almost totally wired, Free of Wireless technology that is so openly preyed upon by codeslinging Hackers. The only wireless systems onboard the MECHs are the commlink systems for communication and the ECM/ECCM suites. which are kept completely seperate from all other onboard systems. Making the MECH for the most part unhackable."

Suddenly 2 red lights begin to glow in the visored facial area

"The Sensors and visuals given to the pilot are unprecedented. the twin wide angle cameras give the pilot inside a 180degree field of vision with a broadband laser rangefinder that constantly updates what the pilots sees on his AR smarthud. All of the current modular weapons systems are also equiped with smartgun technology and gun cameras that feed directly to the Smarthud. The cameras with a thought can be switched from regular live video feed to enhanced Thermographic, Infrarred, or Ultraviolet ranges of vision. Also twin high frequency Microphones have been added to give the option of Ultrasound, and a continuouse passive Sonar to detect ground density levels with that will warn the pilot if the ground is able to support the weight of his MECH. Also a modular Broadrange Microphone can be added giving the MECH an Active Sonar ability that acts as a motion detector with a range of up to 100 meters. The commlink that is built in will post the information it recieves as a layover to the main Smarthud using a holographic display in order to keep the wireless system seperate from normal functions. As you can see there is not much that will go unoticed. We have even documented that the MECHs dogbrains can see targets rendered invisible thru means of magic due to the live video feeds and virtually display them to the pilot. When faced against the more potent invisibility spells the Ultrasound and Active Sonar will still be able to detect even those targets. "

"With Renraku being a leader in Dogbrain Technology we have also added a host of features that will help keep a pilot alive in the most dire of situations. Biometers at all times will continue to take readings of the Pilots Vitals Including heartrate, bloodpressure, temperature, and Alpha brainwaves. If for anyreason the pilot is wounded grievously incapacitated the Dogbrain will use its Autodoc skillsofts to attempt to stabalize the pilot using adrenaline, morphine painkillers as needed. If unable to stabalize the pilot the Dogbrain will swith the MECH to autopilot and move the pilot to safety, and then it will contact command with a sitrep."

"We have also built in fail safe security for the MECHs. In order to even pilot one of the units the pilot must have a custom Vehicle Control Jack implanted in them. The design is unique to the MECHs. and it is wired not wireless. Its plug and play for these units All the way."

"Well once again I thank you all for coming to this briefing and with that I say Hasta Lavista"

With a wave of his hand the MECH suddenly jumps to life bringing the Assault weapon that was attached earlier to bear upon the audience it opens fire mowing down the people in their seats with amazing speed. Haha Just kidding

Anyway on to the basics of M.E.C.H design

There are 3 different Exoskeletal Frames currently being designed each one offers its strengths and weaknesses. One common trait MECHs are vehicles they fully enclose their pilots making mana based spells useless against them. 1 hard point can be swapped out for 2 Firmpoints.

Basic Piloting and Combat Rules:
Skills Used in piloting a MECH
Piloting (MECH) required. It is a Reaction Based skill. So all Piloting related feats would be Reaction+Piloting+handling. Piloting would be used for extreme manuevering avoiding knockdown from attacks, and is also used on total defense actions. Many times a GM can call for a piloting role anytime a normal Reaction or Agility test would be called for for a person outside of a MECH.

With a MECH being an extension of the person who is piloting it combat is handled slightly different than with most vehicles. Each weapon will have a skill type linked to that weapon to determine what type of skill is needed in order to use the weapon proficiently. For example a MECH using a torsro mounted Missile launcher would use the Gunnery skill, however a hand held rifle would use the Firearms skill, and a MECH in Mellee would use the Normal Armed or Unarmed Skills as if fighting outside of the MECH.

Ranged Combat would look like this
Ranged Combat skill+Agility +/- any modifiers (attacking)
Reaction (defense)
Reaction + piloting+ Handling (total Defense)

Mellee Combat
Mellee Skill + agility (attacking)
Mellee Skill + Reaction (defending)
Mellee Skill + Reaction + piloting/handling (total Defense)

Damage resistance rolls are made like normal Vehicle Resistance rules. Meaning if the attacks Modified DV (before bursts) does not equal or exceed the Armor value, then the attack simply fails to damage the vehicle. All damage that is dealt to to the vehicle first goes to the Suit not the pilot. (granted all pilots are rigged live so can take feedback damage as normal)

Vehicle Control Jacks: In order to be able to pilot a MECH at all requires the use of a Vehicle Control Jack Implant. This Implant which patches directly into the Nervous System of the Pilot, and is what allows the MECH to keep its Human Like Agility and Reaction. It also allows the Pilot to activate controls with a mere thought. Without Such a Device the MECHs Movement would be sluggish and jerky. The Jack implant is actually a double jack implant set at the rear of the pilots Neck. (more to come)

Light MECH stats, abilities, and hardpoints/firmpoints
Strength:10 reactive strength is +3 allowing for str greater than 10 from augmented humans (the current prototype is built for a human)
Body:10 Armor:10
handling: 4
Max IPs: 4
Speed to be announced

Hardpoints (HP) and Firmpoints (FP) by location
Arms: 1 HP each
Legs: 1 FP each
head: 1 FP
Torso: 2 HP

I will keep posting and adding to the original post and add new posts posts to inform people that have already read the OP that new changes have been made.
Jack Kain
We are the Exo-Squad!
How do you "Drive" it?

is it a special vehicle skill?

If you need a control rig do you get the +2 bonus that a control rig gives when you are doing remote piloting?

If you are remotely piloting the vehicle through a control rig are you in VR?

If you aren't driveing the suit and it's not a vehicle but just Heinlin type power armor, what does the control rig do?

If you have level 3 wired reflexes can the suit keep up?

Could the suit be set up with rigger adaptation?

If it can have rigger adaptation can it be remote operated with no one inside it?

If I took all of the sensors out of the suit what would the Sensor Capacity be? (BBB pp. 325)

Is this Autodoc an actual AutoDoc like the crashcart drone or is it just a hight rating medkit?

Thanks, Hope to see the stat's soon.
NIMG! frown.gif
It would fall under Pilot (Anthroform).

And Fortune, surely you don't think SR will remain mechless forever. For Goodness sake, they have Pilot (Anthroform) in the BBB!

I however, won't even touch house ruling one until they introduce them in the next rigger book (or whatever.)
In SoE there was a little blurb about Spinrad Industries making some sort of powered armor. You could use that as a jumping off point. I don't see why they woulnd't make it compatible with a regular control rig though.
QUOTE (PlatonicPimp @ Nov 8 2006, 12:14 PM)
... surely you don't think SR will remain mechless forever. For Goodness sake, they have Pilot (Anthroform) in the BBB!

I just hate all the cheesiness that tends to always surround Mecha*. The seemingly ubiquitous Magic Resistance associated with them does nothing to endear them to me further.

*Note: This is not a statement about Islam. wink.gif
Feeling the need to add disclaimers now?
Nah. Just re-read it and thought it sounded funny. Knowing some of the people here on Dumpshock, I figured that (a) a disclaimer might head off a misunderstanding, and (b) mostly because it tickled my funnybone at the time. biggrin.gif
I've had something like this in my campaign for a while. The caveats:
1) The exoskeleton is made for speed, not strength. It is only strong enough to negate the armor's encumbrance, though the myomers and hydraulics are quick enough to keep up with WR3.
2) The suits are relatively easy to get IF you earn the good will of certain people.
3) The suits are financially free, but the actual price can be quite steep; this is where the game-balance element is. wink.gif

i would assume mecha would have the same kind of magic resistance as any other vehicle, if it counts as one. if it counts as armor, it would offer as much resistance as any other armor.

if you were to make it require rigger gear, i would consider it a vehicle probably. if you could use one without such gear, i would probably consider it armor.

(as far as why it would need special gear to run, i imagine it's so that the 'robotic' limbs move at exactly the same time in exactly the same way as the wearer's limbs. this helps insure nobody's arm gets ripped off when they move too fast to shoot an enemy. that being said, i would just require skillwires + DNI, personally)
All right, if you are going to put mecha into your game, here's how to do it.

These things aren't on the street. They aren't in the military. Hell, they aren't even in production yet. They are a gleam in the eye of a few cybertechnology engineers who think they can make cybernetics work on a larger scale. Several of the Megas think this is a great Idea. (Ares, Mitsuhama, Renraku and Saeder-Krupp all have the interest and the bas industried involved, I feel they are good choices.)

Of course, this means parallel research. And where competing megas are concerned, there is always, always shadow work.

Your players should be contacted for work by johnsons from all companies involved over the course of the campaign. At first its just little sabotage jobs- wipe out this guys database, destroy this hozamawatzit. Remember, Big Mechs are made of small parts, and each of those parts need designing. Steal the prototype actuator. A successful cybertechnology roll will tell the players it's like a cyberleg's knee, only larger. That might get them thinking.

Throw in unrelated runs.

Eventually, they'll progress to extracting mecha-techs from one corp to another. They'll steal whole research and designs. Try to provide hints, red herrings, and above all, keep the players in the dark about what they're helping create. When you are ready for the big reveal, give them the job to steal or sabotage the other corp's finished Mecha. Don't have Mr. J tell them that's what they're going after, but make sure they know to take anti-tank weaponry. What's that? They triggered an alarm? Well, well, well. The Test Pilot is all riled up and can't wait to try his toy out against some real opposition. Make the players figure out how to kill one before they ever get to get in one.

Now that they know, let them make a few more runs against the mecha-corps while they're "in the know." Finally, the corp they've become buddy buddy with (once they hit this point they'll have pissed off the other corps too much to be offered any more jobs, they've sadly become defacto company men) will decide that they're perfect for giving their completed suits test runs. Either give everyone in the team a suit, or just give the rigger one and teh rest are on "Support Detail". Come up with some excuse to fight the other project's mech (or mechs.) Let them blow up conventional targets before giving Mr. Test Pilot from Corp B the opportunity to take his revenge.

Then end the campaign, because you've hit the high note. Make new characters. Rewind the timeline. Same continuity or not, this next game revolves around something else and the secret mecha test projects never come into it. This is Shadowrun, not Mekton Zeta.
I made my hard suits like a cross between Heavy Gear and the suits in the Matrix movies. They tend to be fairly short in mech terms never really getting larger then 12'. They are good at all terrain but have no jump jets. They have their own stats so having wired reflexes is useless. They are built for strength and heavy armor. They are heavy support for infantry similar to the Starship troopers cartoon without the very short battery life.
Jack Kain
I think one taspect should be included is this.
The reason they are putting human pilots into these things as opposed just making big drones is to protect from outside hacking.
So these machines shouldn't have a remote method of control but still have that dog brain instailed. This way any hacker has to physically access the machine to hack it. As the all the dog brain appears to be programed to do is protect the pilot should he be knocked out.
i'd never include mecha in a campaign... but powered armor like Roughneck Chronicles or even GitS would be no problem. the difference between that and 'mecha' is that powered armor is just a collection of advanced technology put to good use, while mecha are special and awesome pretty much solely because they're mecha. magic resistance? souls and touchy-feely robot hearts? mecha-sized katanas? oh hell no. but a guy piloting a big humanoid robot with armor and (ranged) weapons? sure.
I totally agree mfb. Even in higher tech setting I never use them. I think the huge mechs are just large front targets with a lot of waste.
If you took out all those servos and articulation then put the same payload in a smaller, lighter and more manueverable vehicle then if would always defeat the mech. That is why Battletech never made much sense to me.
Jack Kain
Yeah the smaller power armor suits are the best mechs.
I only got to play a little bit of heavy gear my only character was a War of the Alliance veteren from Peace River. I loved there style of low tech mecha.
I also use hard suits as a way of saying you are out of your league here - go back!
I use them as military only in places where I don't want the PCs to be.
I think that there should always be something out there that scares them.

I also make the Hard Suit a drone rigger and give him his own unit.
12 hours of air is very low. It should be a LOT longer. A scuba rebreather without the larger oxygen tank and scrubber capacity that this monstrosity has can last for 12 hours.

Sensor system should include radar. It and the laser rangefinder should not be active by default, as they produces a detectable signature. Detectable signatures result in heavy direct fire.

But mechs are still silly.
aw come on! I think a hard suit in the throws of asphyxia is funny! Watch them stagger around damaging everything around them because someone didn't change the tank like they were supposed to. Or mix in a little helium and have them report on their situation in a duck voice.
Jack Kain
Concidering you can have a 2 hour tank instailed into your chest through cyberware I'd think the air supply on the mech could be a day or more.
Assuming they don't open a small hatch to allow outside air in.

Concidering the nature of the armor suit the internal air supply should only be active when there is something wrong with the air around the power suit.
also because they are fed via camera, regular invisibility is completely useless against it would still fool the driver for the same reason it fools security guards looking at camera screens. Unless the dogbrain is controlling the mech and aiming the guns, regular invisibility works fine. Ultrasound beats it though.
Jack Kain
But the dog brain could still pick up the invisible target even if the pilot is fooled, it could then alert him to the invisible targets location.
Ultrasound would be for improved invisiblity.

Remember normal invisbility is just mental effect while Improved Actually bends light around you.
ok I have updated the entire post from the original and started adding stats... will work on it some more tomorrow cool.gif
Some thoughts:
- the body rating would only be used for attacks on the vehicle? attacks on MECH and pilot are basically the same, how to you decide on suit damage?
- add some sensors, this would be a mayor benefit
- hardpoints should be limited to two (one arm + backpack)
- the suit should mount equipment and skinlink it to the pilot.

-effective strength is fine and should not depend on metarace but on usability.
-armor should be higher, as 10/8 is already achived by unpowered armor
A little of topic... but why are UCAS top brass meeting in Austin, Texas which is in th CAS?
Maybe the travel budget wasn“t empty, so a budget cut -reducing percieved importance- would have been in order for the next fiscal year? Happens all the time.
QUOTE (Jack Kain)
But the dog brain could still pick up the invisible target even if the pilot is fooled, it could then alert him to the invisible targets location.
Ultrasound would be for improved invisiblity.

Remember normal invisbility is just mental effect while Improved Actually bends light around you.

Simply alerting the driver that there is a target infront of him doesn't make it suddenly appear. Like I said, unless the dogbrain does the shooting, the driver would have to use the ultrasound to beat regular invisibility. Unless you're suggesting the suit puts a digital aura around targets it sees and shows the auras to the driver through the HUD - I suppose that could work as well if you want to add extra cheese to image links and cameras also, because there would be no reason for them not to have the same program.
I have no issues with mechs or anthroforms being used in shadowrun. Why? Because if you use a mech or anthroform on a regular basis you are not a shadowrunner you are some kind of para-military operative.

does anyone remember that SR3 had mechs as well as anthro forms? the JIM Diving Exoskeleton (Cyberpirates pp. 173) provided pretty much all the rules you need for power armor. I used Rigger 3 Anthroform vehicle design rules to modify the JIM for millitary aps.
The JIM diving exoskeleton, or JIM suit, is a plasteel mechanical exo skeleton that allows the diver to descend to depth as low as 600 meters. the interior of the suit is pressurized to 1 atmosphere, so the wearer does not risk decompression sickness or other diving hazards. the suit carries a self contained air supply, which provides up to 20 hours of air.

Game Effects
Teh standared JIM suit has a Strength Attribute of 7. More powerful models with higher Strength Attributes exist, but for every addistional point of strength desired (to a maximum of 10), in crease the price by 5000„. JIM suits have and Armor Rating of 6.

While wearing the suit, the user suffers a -2 modifyer to Quickness and Reaction and rolls only one die for Initiative. A suit may be modivied for rigger interface, which eliminates these penalties. and conferes the benefists of a vehicle control rig. Riggers jacked into a JIM suit substitute their Control Pool for the Combat Pool.

The book goes on to say that the suit cost 25000„ + enhancements. For SR4 I'd transfer these rules directly but since there are no VCRs, Control pools or Combat pools there's no way to avoid the penalties.

I'd really like to see more development on the control rig.

It seems to me that the issues with mechs in SR3 revolved around which stats are used in combat. It looks to me like you are designing a vehicle so I have no problem with the target being out of visual range for spell casting. However I don't understand your HANDLING rating. Are you saying that the agility of the pilot = the pilot skill used for vehicle tests. If your calling the guy a pilot shouldnt he be using a PILOT skill

You see what I mean? You've given the thing most of the vehicle stats If it's a vehicle, like a motorcycle is a vehicle, the operator ought to be using Reaction + Pilot (+- handling) to run around instead of STRENGTH + RUNNING. If it has WEAPON MOUNTS (BBB, pp. 341 top of first column) the opperator should be useing AGILITY + GUNNERY not AGILITY + (FIREARMS).

If this mech is simply powered armor and the opperator uses his own stats with bonuses to strength then he ought to use his own BOD. and damage track. He ought to be in the line of sight for spell casters, and the suit should limit reaction, agility and Initiative phases/turn.

Are hardpoints/Firmpoints new SR4 gear or a hold over from SR3?, AFAIK there is only one level of weapon mount in SR4, with a body of 10 your mech can have 3 weapon mounts.
Have updated the original post with new combat and piloting rules that I believe were needed seeing as how a Armor suit is not like sitting behind the wheel of a regular vehicle or a turret of a tank some differences are there, and more skill and finesse is needed. I will continue to add to the OP with new stuff when I have time. I work alot LOL

Ohh yes I also meant originally CAS not UCAS... sorry for that mess up.. it has been edited and corrected

also some detail on the vehicle control jack has been added more to come on that as well though
For those of you who played BatteTech (SR1 era game), we replaced the crappy "Mechwarrior" rules with Shadowrun rules (non-magic). You could do the same for "Mechs" in 2070 even if u wanted to use the more advanced rules from present-day BattleTech with Elementals and all that goodness it's an option.

We equated Heavy Weapons to BTech damage (MMG=1 Dmg, HMG=2, Missles=1 or 2, etc.) and ignored smaller weapons effects on Mechs completly.

In my campaign, the suits are basically slightly beefed-up Military Body Armor. They increase height by about 6 inches and weight by about 50%, though the weight doesn't matter so long as the 12-hour battery holds out.

BT-style mechs are right out as of 2070. Material technology isn't advanced enough to overcome the "square-cube" law on strength versus mass for any anthroform large enough to carry a metahuman inside the torso.

*For those of you who don't know, the "square-cube" law basically means that increasing any single dimension (like height) by a factor of X and scaling the other two dimensions equally will result in strength (both skeletal and muscular) increasing by a factor of X^2 since they rely on area (2 dimensions), but mass will increase by a factor of X^3 as it depends on volume (3 dimensions). See this to see how much Trolls really weigh.
QUOTE (jervinator)

*For those of you who don't know, the "square-cube" law basically means that increasing any single dimension (like height) by a factor of X and scaling the other two dimensions equally will result in strength (both skeletal and muscular) increasing by a factor of X^2 since they rely on area (2 dimensions), but mass will increase by a factor of X^3 as it depends on volume (3 dimensions). See this to see how much Trolls really weigh.

I always liked how they would embed themselves in the ground when running myself. Ground pressure gets pretty gross pretty fast.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012