Saturday, April 2, 2016

Reflections on Armor

Reflec is reflective material on a plastic base. It can be  can be tailored into a body suit. It is typically worn under other clothing (unless you're an exotic dancer or the like.) Reflec is expensive and often difficult to obtain. It is ineffective against most other weapons. It renders most laser weapons about as effective as a laser pointer. Unlike ablative armor only a minimal amount of reflec will melt under laser fire. 

Unofficial Scout Survival Manual 7th Printing.

The government of Mariros (C00088A-9) has a large and mobile population moving around their planetary belt. despite (or perhaps due to) the high law level there is a large covert rebellion going on. Attacks on government officials became so widespread that a few years ago government functions were all moved to several high security and well defended space stations. rebels were still able to get onboard and attacks were only diminished, not stopped as was hoped for. 

The peacekeepers adopted a unique solution to minimize damage from assassins. While some weapons notably body pistols could be smuggled aboard in small numbers armor of any kind remained very obvious to sensors. The government officials began importing and wearing reflec armor. Reflec was unobtrusive and didn't marr the lines of a negotiator or official's suit. After all you don't wear power armor to a power lunch meeting. It isn't done!

The assassins continued to smuggle their body pistols onto government stations. However the rflec armor was very effective against the small and weak rounds. One attacker who grabbed a minister to use as a human shield was shot down immediately by the peacekeepers. Fourteen beams hit him, seven hit the minister who was wearing reflec. The minister was unharmed and her attacker supposedly hit the deck emitting a whistling sound from the number of holes in him.

The peacekeepers then displayed their second import: laser pistols. With the government VIPs all but invulnerable to laser weapons there was little to fear in unloading a flurry of beams at any attackers. Worse for the rebels: reflec by its very nature shows up on on sensors or a casual inspection. After some attackers cobbled together a third rate suit of reflec from a Tl 13 thermal blanket they acquired from a derelict ship's ATV some peacekeepers began carrying heavy revolvers as back ups and proved that other than body pistols and laser about the only thing reflec could protect against was freezer burn.

For a while attacks on ministers dropped to almost nothing. then one enterprising rebel cell realized you could make throwing stars, blades, and daggers out of the same materials a body pistol used. 

Despite this the reflec/laser pistol system of body guarding soon spread to other worlds because a killer bringing a knife to a laser fight is not the horse I'd bet on.

Reflec is not an absolute protection against laser fire. For one thing it is a body suit (think of those silver spacesuits from Lost in Space) and equipment worn outside it is not protected. Wearing it under your vacc suit in space is thus of limited use.
(Stylish and practical but they add 5 kilos to you!)

Second, lasers of higher tech levels will be more effective against your reflec armor. For every tech level above 10 the reflec hit modifier is two worse. 

A form of bargain basement reflec exists in the form of reflec spray for armor and equipment at TL 12. Its modifier vs. lasers is only -6 and it is worthless against any other attacks (being a shiny high priced tatoo). This spray is very obvious (yes you can use it as body paint but it itches and the dm vs. lasers is only -4). It costs 1000 cr. a can and will last for a couple days in the field. It is very popular for protecting equipment and vehicles if you can afford several cans (an ATV needs about a dozen cans, an air/raft needs four.)

Hooligan Reflec: any vehicles and spacecraft use thermal blankets attached to their hulls for insulaton. these are often available for the finding (or theft). They have the disadvantage of bulk and advertising to all what a cheapskate you are. they impart a -2 to laser fire and are useless to any other attacks. It also reduces dexterity for weapons and skill usage by 2.

It should also be noted that armor is way harder to hide than weapons in many cases and may be subject to local laws and social custom. In the Mariros Belt it is restricted to government officials and a few high level peace keepers. On other worlds it might be a badge of nobility. This could result in a very favorable reaction to characters until the shop clerk realizes you're a murder hobo poser (that's the shopkeeper's words not mine!)