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If you want to make your own armour, or if you disagree with the ratings PowerFrame provides for a particular armour type, you can easily create a set of balanced stats that reflect the performance you have in mind. As with all things in PowerFrame, just about anything's fair as long as you follow the guidelines.
Designing armour is pretty easy. The main thing is to decide how much protection it will provide against the four different types of damage – Cutting, Piercing, Bludgeoning and Energy.
Compare your proposed armour to the listed armour types to get a feel for appropriate Toughness Bonuses. They are normally between +1 and +3 for Ancient armour, with an additional +1 for Modern and again for Future armour. To make the calculations easier, assign an even number of points between the four Damage Types.
Add together the Toughness Bonuses you’ve assigned to the four Damage Types to give the armour’s total protection rating – which is then used to calculate its Cost, Encumbrance, and Threat.
Currency in PowerFrame is rated in abstract Currency Units; 1 CU is around $50, and is also 1 gold piece in fantasy settings.
Cost per Location is equal to the protection rating divided by 4.
Encumbrance is an abstract measurement of weight and bulk. The numbers are small enough to easily keep track of, and it can be an intriguing balancing act to outfit your character in a combination of gear that doesn't slow them down.
The Encumbrance of each Location is equal to the protection rating divided by 4, minus 1, with a minimum of 0.
Threat is a rating of equipment's combat effectiveness. The more Threat characters are equipped with, the less Experience they get from combat.
A point of Threat is equivalent to 1 point in an Ability. Since a complete suit (six Locations) of armour that provides +1 against all Damage Types is the equivalent of 1 extra point of Toughness, each section of armour is rated in 12ths of Threat. For example, armour that provides +1 against all Damage Types is worth 2/12ths of Threat per Location.
The Threat per Location (in 12ths of Threat) is equal to the protection rating divided by 2. To figure out the Threat of a suit of armour, add together the Threat of each Location and round up to the nearest whole number.
Modern and futuristic armours often provide better protection for the same weight, as they use lightweight materials and production techniques not available in ancient times.
- In most cases you can reduce Enc by 1/2 for modern armour, and by 1 for futuristic armour.
- Any reduction in Enc results in an equivalent increase in both Threat and Cost.
Next up, I'm probably going to draw a selection of polearms to put in the Weapon section. Yes, PowerFrame is one of those systems that has several pages dedicated to weapon lists, and for the next post I'll delve into the ways the system differentiates them and creates interesting choices.