Friday, October 18, 2013

Power Armor in Car Wars

Below is the first set of home-brew rules that I wrote for Car Wars. I even sent them in for publication to Autoduel Quarterly in the early 90's and had them rejected because "they were already working on something similar".


After five years of extensive research APK Corporation is proud to announce its line of civilian power armor – perfect for the cop on the beat or a stroll around the block.

Power armor suits are roughly 4 feet wide and 7 to 8 feet tall.  Use ½” x ½” counters to represent them.  A new skill, Power Armor Operator, is required to use these suits.  Persons without the skill can neither move a suit nor fire its weaponry.  Each point of skill above 0 adds to the operator’s reflex roll, which can improve handling class by only +1.  For every 2 skill levels, the operator gains a +1 hit bonus when punching with the suits arms.  In all other respects, this skill is like the Driver skill.



Suits come equipped with small miner lights, climate control, gas mask, normal optics and two-way radio.  Operators take up 2 spaces and may wear no body armor, but can use a fireproof suit.  A power armor suit cannot carry passengers inside.  Five pounds (2G.E.) of one- and no-hand items may be carried internally, but may not be used while the suit is in operation.

Operators take two minutes to get into power armor and one minute to get out.  Suits can be stored only in cargo spaces, taking up room equal to their space capacity +1.

Power suits can use all armor except metal and metal variants.  Each point of armor placed on a suit is universal, like normal body armor.  Vehicular weapons do full damage to suit armor.  Hand weapons, flechette and explosive burst attacks cause only half damage (round down, 0 damage is possible).  Suites are immune to regular spikes, but they will set off explosive spikes and mines.  Damaged armor is repaired for double the original purchase price per point.

All power armor has a handling class of -1 (negative one).  This can be increased to 0 only by an operator reflex roll of 5 or higher.  Suits are limited to the same maneuvers as motorcycles, with two exceptions:

1)    They may move backward at a maximum of ½ top speed.  When doing so, all maneuvers are at an extra D2 and all weapons fire performed by the operator that turn suffers a -2 hit penalty.

2)    If a suit is stationary, it may change facing up to 180 degrees that turn.

Power armor suffers no penalty for off-road movement and treats slopes as though it has military suspension.  Due to their large, ungainly nature, suits cannot ascend or descend stairs in buildings.  They may enter buildings only through ½” openings and can only enter rooms which are at least 6 feet wide and 8 feet high.

Stopping these bulky units is not easy.  All suits may decelerate by 2.5 mph safely.  For each additional 2.5 mph deceleration, apply a cumulative D1 hazard.  Example:  5 mph deceleration is a D1 hazard, 10 mph is D3.


Suits require a power plant to move and fire weapons.  If the powerplant is destroyed, the suit locks up;  falling in the direction it was traveling and taking collision damage from the ground.  The suit is totally unusable until repaired and takes 2 minutes for the operator to get out of.  Power armor cannot use powerplants designed for other vehicles, nor can other vehicles use power armor powerplants.

Acceleration is 10 mph if power factors equal or exceed half the weight, 5 mph if less than half weight.  Power armor can carry a maximum weight of 4 x power factors.

Top speed is figured as follows:  (49 x Power) / (Power + Weight), round up to the nearest 2.5 mph.  This should yield a result from 10 mph to 25 mph.  This top speed may not be “pushed.”  Power armor is allowed to move in 2.5 mph increments.

Power capacity equals 25 x damage points.  Determine power consumption as follows:  (PU x Current Speed) / Max Speed x 30).


Damage allocation is as follows:

·         Front Hit:  Armor, Front-Mounted Weapons, Operator, Powerplant, Rear-Mounted Weapons.

·         Rear Hit:  Reverse of front hit.

·         Other Directions:  Armor, Operator.

Small suits are at -3 to be hit; medium and large suits are at -2.  These modifiers apply regardless of which facing is targeted.

Going prone in power armor takes two seconds.  Getting up takes five.  Firing weapons while taking either maneuver is impossible.  When prone, only arm-mounted weapons may fire.

Suits which hit oil suffer the normal hazards for maneuvers, but also use the pedestrian falling rules.  Add 2 to the falling die roll.


Power armor may use only vehicular weapons requiring 2 spaces or less.  Weapon weight equals half the unloaded weight plus ammo.  Cost is normal.

Weapons can be mounted in six areas, but only one weapon can occupy an area and cannot be linked to any other weapons:

·         Front and Back:  Have same fire arc as a motorcycle and are protected by the suit’s armor.

·         Left and Right arm:  These are automatically on a universal mount and have a 180 degree field of fire to the front (see diagram A).  Nothing may be held by the hand of the arm on a turn when its weapon is firing.  These weapons are not protected by armor and any weapon fire coming in from the front or side arcs has a 1 in 6 chance of hitting them instead of the suit.  Arm mounted weapons may also be targeted at -5.


·         Left and Right Shoulder:  These have a 180 degree arc to fire to the side (see diagram B for left shoulder arc).  It costs $200 to make these mounts universal.  They are hit and targeted in the same way as arm mounted weapons and are also unarmored.



Suit mounted weapons gain certain advantages over regular pedestrians in combat.  They maybe fired each turn without having to stop or suffering a to hit penalty.  If a weapon is fired on a turn that the suit does not move or change facing, it receives a +1 bonus for being braced.  Note that these weapons may not be braced in the normal way.

An operator in power armor can punch, causing 1d6 damage.  Base to hit for a punch is 6, and all modifiers except point blank apply.  Punches do half damage to vehicular armor.  In addition, hand weapons may be carried and used normally, as long as maximum weight is not exceeded.


Unless otherwise stated, assume the equipment below is identical to its pedestrian counterpart.  If an accessory is not listed, it is not available at this time.

AP Grenades – Same cost and weight.  Only one may be mounted on the front and one on the back.

Binocular Optics – Cost $100 no weight.  See CAR WARS TANKS for use.

Fire Extinguisher – Cost $200 weight 20 lbs.  Takes up ½ space of front or rear weapons mount.  Put out fires on a 1 or 2 on 1d6.

Infrared Optics – Cost $800, no weight.

Integrated Helmet – Cost $5000 no weight.  Same as CAR WARS TANKS.  Weapons mounted on the suit automatically receive the H.U.D. bonus without having to pay the extra $200.  Hand weapons carried by the operator must pay the $200 cost to gain the bonus.

Infra-red Shielding – Cost and weight as per TANKS.

Light-intensifying Optics – Cost $300, no weight.

NBC Protection – Cost $2500, weight 5 lbs.

No-paint Viewplate – Cost $200, no weight.

Radar—Cost $2500 weight 10 lbs.  Takes ½ space from front or back weapons mount.  Works as a man-portable version.

Searchlight – Cost $150, weight 5 lbs.  Takes up ½ space and may be put in any weapons mount.  Treat as the hand-held version.  It uses 1 power unit per second when at blinding intensity.

Tinted View Plate -- Cost $30, no weight.

Voice Amplification System – Cost $500, weight 2 lbs.  This is an upgrade of the suit’s standard external speakers and works like a vehicular sound system.

NOTE: Switching from one optic system to another takes one second and counts as a firing action.
2 or less:          Skid ¼ inch in direction of travel. *
3,  4,  5:            Skid ½ inch in direction of travel. *
6,  7,  8:            Fall flat and slide.  Decelerate 5 mph per phase.  Apply collision damage to front            or back – 50% chance of landing on either. **
9,  10,  11:        As 6—8, plus operator is stunned for 2d6 phases after armor stops sliding. **
12 or more:       As 9-11, but suit is jammed.  Treat suit as if the powerplant was destroyed.                                 Unjamming the suit is a hard job for a mechanic. **
            * Weapon fire is at -2 for this turn.
            ** No actions of any kind allowed until suit stops sliding.

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