I may be showing my age here, but I played an RPG released by Leading Edge Games called Living Steel, which was a paper and dice game written by a
chap who now works for JPL. Although I doubt he has anything to do with this Darpa research, he still proposed a realistic suit of power armour
(hence the name).
The game itself was quite 'beardy' as all the rules for firearms were based initially on research by the FBI, et al, and hence highly accurate. No
'hit points', no MDC or SDC, just a realistic portrayal of typical wounds, depending on where on the body you are shot and the size/damage potential
of the round hitting you.
As a result, the characters are extremely mortal and prone to dying from (un)lucky hits with alarming regularity.
The expanded rules, called Phoenix Command, were even more detailed but are not for the faint-hearted or gun-bunny types, as even the thought of
running at a machine gun nest would be enough to get you killed.
Anywho, back on topic (
), the power armour in the game enabled a person to run twice as fast as a normal human, withstand most small arms fire,
punch with six times as much force, lift heavy loads, etc., and each suits' main weapon was a Battlepack consisting of either Gauss, Lase, Rocket or
Flechette weapons (primarily) coupled to a backpack which offers auto-assisted reloading mechanisms and armoured ammo feeds.
Some suits had options to fit auxilliary packs, such as HEAT round intercept packs (which fire a cone of ballbearings to prematurely detonate these
rounds - the bane of PA), scatter packs (which lauch a fusillade of unaimed darts into a cone roughly 14m long), and Barricade mines (which, when
activated, fire barbed wire like cables to stick into the walls of corridors and rooms).
The defensive systems on these suits include radar damping surfaces and Passive Spectrum Regulation Systems (which alter the wavelength of light
striking the suit and giving it a limited chameleon capability).
Methinks someone at Darpa has played this game, as some of the features discussed seems to have been influenced by this. Wouldn't be the first time
the military has taken their ideas from popular media, like TV or books.
Anyone inclined to play RPG's in the 'old-fashioned' way and interested in PA games, Living Steel is worth checking out. Quite hard to track down
some of the books, unfortunately, but worth checking out if you spy one at a convention or something.
[Edited on 22-12-2003 by MacGonzo]