Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Exoskeletons, Load Bearing Gear and Encumberance

So you can carry 45lbs with no encumbrance, does that mean one can still move as freely as a person without armor. I've learned when it comes to Gear, there is a serious underestimation in the importance of Load Bearing Gear.

What is the difference between LBG and a Nap-sack that can hold the same volume and mass- other than the ease of drawing? It is in the distribution of weight. Logically, without the Proper Distribution of Weight a PC will suffer a Bulk Penalty to his Dex checks despite having the strength to carry a load.

I've been studying my equipment load out in airsoft and discovered quite provably how much distribution of weight affects one's combat load. I'm sure former soldiers can attest the value of equipment organization and it can be expected that a professional combatant has the basic knowledge and experience needed to customize their weight distribution BUT not all combatants are professional. Poor Quality Troops can be expected to either, not have LBGs or not know the Value of LBGs. Quite across the Technology Spectrum LBG has a very imporant roll that becomes a realistic and serious disadvantage because despite its small contributing factor it adds up over the long run.

In Simplification, Load Bearing Gear Affects the Follow:

  • Combat Logistics. Reduce the effective operational range or Increase depending on the Professional Soldier Skill Level. In a game, it means adventurers can last a day longer simply cause they can fit more supplies or equipment without affecting their performance. Inversely Players can choose an increased Operational range but suffer penalties in Strategic Mobility.

  • Bulk of Primary or Secondary Gear. This is quite simply what Key pieces of Gear the PC can afford to carry without adversely affecting his Tactical mobility. GM can penalize tactical mobility when PCs take, a heavy weapon like a Pole Arm or a Light Machine Gun, or it may remove the “secondary” weapon slot reducing the secondary weapon from portable Sub-Machine Gun or a Shortsword to a Dagger or Pistol.

  • Quick Draw and Readiness. LBGs have only few limited Quick Draw Slots, these are slots in Easy Access to the Seconday Hand while the Primary Hand maintains the Primary Weapons.

  • Tactical Options. One Key thing I noticed that really affects so much of a tactical situation is tactical load out. Players who opt for Maximum equipment Arrangement while at the lowest Strategic Impact to mobility will have reduced Strategic Options. One interesting loss that I see in Airsoft a lot is the Inability to go Prone and Crawl. In Stealth- crawling and Prone are one of The best or only stealth modes available. Bandoleers and LBG Vests basically cut that in half or if pushed causes a piece of frontal equipment to break or come loose and get lost. (good luck finding that in a combat situation). Backpacks in the same lowest strategic impact to mobility gives Stealth Penalties from being spotted or Taking cover.

Note on Strategic and Tactical Mobility. What I mean by Strategic Mobility is effective mobility measured in Hours or Days, while Tactical Mobility is measured in minutes and Seconds. Sometimes its easier to push harder in a small circumstantial time increments (second to second) while sometimes over a longer expanse of time certain factors create a much larger effect.

Tactical back packs x2-x3 cost of normal backpacs

Tactical Back Pack -1 bulk penalty, 4lbs

Tactical Framed Back Pack -2 bulk penalty, 8lbs

non-tactical Back Packs suffer Double penalty and are -1lbs and -2lbs respectively.

Load Bearing with Regards to Light Combat Exoskeletons. Exoskeletons would reduce LBG efficiency signifactly especially since the contact points in the body for maximum security are limited. It would be simple and realistic to reduce Tactical Effective Load Out by 1/3. So 1/3less items. Fortunately at High Tech Levels you can actually make a rugged Drop tactical backpack. Basically a backpack that has a quick release and rugged items inside as well as a homing beacon or alarm.

Tactical Advantage of Extra-Light Exo-skeletons or in fantasy light Armor of Strength.

  • - Firepower: LMGs and possible HMGs and extra Ammo

  • - Longer Performing Endurance

  • - Strength to get through obstacles

  • - Melee Edge


  • A Cheap Gun has the chance to damage and ruin an Xlt-Exo

  • Logistics: batteries and it is a piece of sophisticated electronic machinery.

  • A whole new tactical doctrine to consider

Reinforced Extra-Light Exoskeleton DR24; $20,000; HT12; HP10; S-ST+4, L-ST+4

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