Armor progression

I am currently writing an X-Com inspired setting. So mankind has to fight back an alien invasion.
To display the technological difference I use the tech levels (humans 1, aliens 3). Mankind can advance in tech level though, so I need upgraded verisons of tha base armor items.
So far I have on Tech Level 1 Heavy clothing (armor bonus 1), medium body protection (armor bonus 2) and heavy protection suits (armor 3). I have also some special armors deriving from that base items, like:
Ghillie suit
Wealth: 4
Properties: Invisible 5, Reliable, Armor (Heavy clothing)

How could an upraded version look like? Like on Tech Level 2 I thought, the existing armor can be upgraded with alien metal plates, making it something like:

Alien metal armor
Wealth: Base Item +2
Properties: Persistent (Resistance 3 (Precise, Forceful, Energy)), Armor (all)

Precise, Forceful, Energy reflects “vs Melee, Ranged Ballistic and ranged alien plasma weapons but not psionic attacks”
On Tech level 3 that resistance bonus would go up to 6

Would that be a good approach to upgrade the armor?

The tech level already has it built in, so if you are using that on top of also changing the armor, then tech level 1 is now super behind in comparison.

The point of the tech levels is you don’t have to create different armor/items, just the flavor of those items perhaps.

This type of equipment would probably be a bit rarer, and only on some of the super elite type of troops.

1 Like

Persistent is WL +3
Resistance 3 Precise WL + 1
Resistance 3 Forceful WL + 1
Resistance 3 Energy WL + 1

This is a WL 6 item with just the extraordinary properties that you have given it default, and at pl 6 that would jump it to, technically, WL 12.

Naturally you can adjust that as the GM for your setting in price, but it certainly is a very powerful item and the PL 3 resistance.

So all I should do is leave it to the tech levels and the difference in advantage? So at tech level 1 the players have a light armor with armor +2 and disadvantage 2, at tech level 3 they have a light armor with +2 armor but no disadvantage? Tech Level 1 is supposed to be super behind TL3. You have basically a todays world getting attacked by aliens with plasma weapons.

WL is a bit adapted anyways, weapons and armor players can get can be advanced technology, unavailable to the normal people, but for them being part of an international anti alien organization, they can get that equipment.

Well, maybe I just have to playtest a little bit. It’s very hard to wrap your head around open legend if you come from systems like D&D or Pathfinder…

I’d say a 2 dis/advantage difference counts, as long as it comes up enough. It really comes down to the frequency.

If armor dis/advantage barely came up, I could see it being underwhelming some. But, if a boatload of rolls have to deal with it, that’s a huge deal.
Edit: Also remember that it cuts both ways. A Tech 1 would be at Disadvantage 2 for dealing with a Tech 3, and a Tech 3 would be at advantage 2 for dealing with a Tech 1. Likewise, both levels would be at dis/advantage 0 dealing with only their own level of tech rather than a different level.

Yes, this.

There’s plenty of examples in our own history of superior technological countries getting smashed by lower technological ones in combats.

Extraordinary Items that are permanent you want to be careful just handing out. It will quickly change the way you have to handle things in your game, and could even change the direction completely.

The advantage and disadvantage is base don the difference in tech level. You don’t have to apply the (dis)advantage to every situation either, but where it makes sense for the technology to actually make a difference.

The other thing to remember is that weapons and armor are just tools. Your attribute rolls are how well you use the item, not how powerful a weapon is.

But that’s the point. A todays Pistol just won’t do much damage on a high tech alien armor, on the other hand an alien plasma rifle will just burn through a kevlar west as if it wasn’t there. I’m not sure the advantage / disadvantage is enough to represent this, because at this stage the weapons are not just the same tools, the alien weapon is significantly stronger

on the average, advantage is like giving +2, disadvantage like a -2.

Resistance you were talking about is a +3, then +6 if you went that route.

2 disadvantage is like -4, advantage like +4, so it really is like that, and you don’t have to worry as much about the items this way.

Also, if a weapon is simply incapable of doing something, remember about every roll matters. So if a Pistol can’t do squat against an alien, don’t have them roll. Otherwise it will be harder to explain when they explode and do 50.

  • With disadvantage they are going to be less likely to have explosions, with higher armor, explosion is still going to do a bunch.
  • With higher armor, once you have equal armor vs equal armor it is going to take forever in combat b/c armor is higher for everyone. Whereas with the (dis)advantage it just becomes equal

Notice, I’m not saying don’t do the armor/extraordinary item thing at all, I’m just saying that isn’t necessarily needed, and you might be creating more work than you need to for accomplishing the feel you want.

To that point, I’m not actually sure what the feel you want is, I’m basing this discussion in Tech Levels, which you mentioned and then seemed to veer away from with extraordinary items. It might do good to talk more about the setting itself, and what you expect the players to be experiencing or feeling during a session.

Right now, it mostly sounds like you want it to be impossible for the players to do anything unless they manage to steal items from the aliens, which sounds hard to do b/c of how much better they are. BUT, I don’t think that is what you want, it is only what I have read so far from a very limited perception on my part. Perhaps you could expand a little more on the setting and what you expect the players to be doing in it.

1 Like

You know the old X-Com games? There the aliens were super hard to kill and you most probably lost soldiers at least if they were fresh recruits early in the game. Well, this here is a roleplaying game, so it should not be that hard, but the aliens should be a serious threat to a player when playing with tech level 1. You should do anything you can to equal out that disadvantage, by heavy use of cover, flanking, or whatever.
Basically I want to have a bit of that a little bit frustrating experience from the original games, that turned into such great happiness, when you managed to do a mission without losing soldiers.
Again, as this is a roleplaying game, it should not be that hard, or that player characters are frequently dying, but it should be hard when there are aliens involved. There was a thing that you learned the hard way when playing X-Com: 99% Chance to hit is not the same as 100% chance to hit :smiley:

It was quite a bit of both, the discussion about tech level and extraordinary items. Because I wanted to know whether I need both to represent that difference enough. But I think I like the tech level only approach. For now I ditched the extraordinary items and just made the fluff texts for the higher tech weapons. I would give you a copy, but I write in german, so I don’t know whether that makes sense…
Parallel I ditched the extraordinary weapons for the higher tech levels, which I had being Deadly 1 at Tech 2 and Deadly 2 at TEch 3, introducing just more advantages… Now I have just the base weapons vs the base armors, Maybe I introduce some more extraordinary items, like I did with the Ghillie suit… But that would be items that really do something except from being armor…

Oh, of course there is the option to loot alien weapons, but of course they are adapted to alien anatomy, so using them would give your shooting more punch, but the disadvantage because your anatomy does not really work with that weapons :wink:

1 Like