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Power Armor

An iconic image for infusing sci-fi into any campaign is a hero or villain striding forth into battle in mechanical battle gear, whether that’s a simple servo-driving exoskeleton like Ripley in Aliens or a high-tech power suit like Iron Man or even giant mecha. The Aethera Campaign Setting from Legendary Games balances sci-fi and fantasy elements within its own unique aesthetic, combining fantastic technology with dieselpunk style, but the rules presented here for power armor can be incorporated into any 5th Edition campaign that wants to delve into the impact of advanced technology in the campaign world. When using power armor, cybernetic automata, and class options that play with those rules in other campaigns, you can choose to embrace the conventions of the Aethera universe or apply those that fit best with your own campaign. One example described below is the idea of weapon and equipment restrictions.


In a more “civilized” sci-fi/fantasy campaign, many forms of weaponry are not available to the general public. Feel free to ignore this rule in a more rough-and-tumble frontier campaign where societal restrictions are not as strong.

  • Restricted: These items are not commonly available. They may be considered illegal or contraband or simply too dangerous to offer in trade. Heroes searching for such items may have to go through underworld connections or smugglers or other illicit sources to obtain them, or gain access to those with power and privilege to access things out of the hands of the masses.
  • Military: These items are strictly limited to official armed forces. Those using them openly without proper authorization may find themselves subject to arrest or attack.

Large aetherite-powered suits of armor were designed to help construction and mining operations. These early predecessors of modern power armor, though extremely effective for their tasks, were too large and unwieldy to be used outside of civilian applications. However, as aetherite technology advanced, smaller and more specialized versions of these suits were created, eventually leading to power armor not just designed for industrial use, but also for commercial and even military applications. While each suit of power armor can be of a different, specialized nature, they all share the same common traits.

Entering and Exiting Power Armor: Power armor is an articulated suit of pistons and gears held together by clamps and locks. When sufficiently powered, power armor can be donned or removed as a Action by unlocking the rear hatch and climbing inside the armor as it closes around you. Power armor without sufficient power requires a DC 15 Strength check to open from the inside or a DC 15 Strength check with disadvantage to open from the outside, requiring 1 minute to enter or exit. While occupied, power armor may not be opened from the outside unless the wearer is helpless. A character may wear normal armor beneath power armor, but the power armor’s wearer does not gain any benefit from the additional armor (including magical effects) until they exit their power armor.

Power: Each suit of power armor is charged by a personal aetheric capacitor installed on the back of the armor under a hardened plate. Due to its defensive placement, this capacitor can only be recharged by another character (or by the power armor’s wearer when disembarking from the armor), making charging a suit of power armor a tactical decision. This aetheric capacitor can be targeted by attacks, though attacking it provokes opportunity attacks. The aetheric capacitor has 30 Hit Points and has resistance to all forms of damage, except psychic damage which it is immune to. If this capacitor is reduced to half its maximum Hit Points, the creature operating the power armor has disadvantage on all attack rolls and the power armor’s Armor Class is reduced to its broken value. If the capacitor is reduced to 0 Hit points it burns out in an eruption of aetheric plasma dealing, 1d6 fire damage and 1d6 lightning damage to the wearer of the power armor and any adjacent creatures. Adjacent creatures that succeed on a successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw halve this damage. When not powered on, power armor is immobile and creatures attacking someone wearing insufficiently powered armor have advantage to their attack rolls.

Proficiency: Power armor is treated as heavy armor in all respects, and creatures wearing it always have disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Strength Bonus: All power armor grants a nonmagical bonus to Strength while powered on. Additionally, all power armor doubles the carrying capacity of its wearer.

Constitution Bonus: More advanced suits of power armor grant a non-magical bonus to their wearer’s Constitution.

Max Dex: As with normal armor, power armor limits the maximum Dexterity bonus to AC of its wearer.

Armor Check Penalty: This penalty is applied to all Dexterity and Strength-based ability and skill checks.

Broken Value: This is the power armor’s Armor Class when its aetheric capacitor is reduced to half of its maximum Hit Points.

Capacity: This is the maximum number of aetheric units the power armor holds when fully charged.

Usage: This is the number of aetheric units the power armor frame consumes for each hour it is powered on. Additional accessories can increase this number.

Accessory Slots: Each power armor frame has a number of accessory slots that allow for the installation of interchangeable components for modular customization. Each accessory takes up a number of accessory slots listed in its description and adds additional units of au required to keep the suit operational while attached.

Speed: The unencumbered speed of a creature with a 30 ft. base speed while wearing the power armor frame. Power armor doesn’t have a minimum Strength score in order to move in it at full speed.

Weight: Power armor is incredibly heavy, but this weight does not count against a character’s encumbrance when worn, as power armor carries its own weight.

Armor Slot: Power armor accessories can only be fitted into certain slots in the power armor, and no two accessories can be using the same slot, effectively limiting which accessories can be fitted in a power armor at any given time. These slots include: Belt, Body, Chest, Hands, Head, Feet, Shoulders, Wrists.


Aetherite is a supernatural mineral forged from the destruction of ancient ley lines. Naturally occurring or “raw,” aetherite appears as growths of brightly phosphorescent blue crystals that shed light as a torch. Aetherite in its natural form is radioactive and can poison creatures, rendering them catatonic and leading to eventual death.

More details on aetherite can be found in the Alien Codex and Alien Bestiary from Legendary Games, but for the purpose of Power Armor we need only think about aetherite in terms of its role as an energy source and medium of exchange.

Currency: Aetherite energy can be stored in massive power batteries for spacecraft and other vehicles, but for personal use it is stored in a small device called an aetheric capacitor. In some campaign settings, this energy is used as currency, with the standard denomination being the au (aetherite unit), which has a value similar to 1 gp in a standard 5th Edition campaign, and you can simply treat all prices listed in au as gp prices if your campaign world uses coinage. of course, energy also can be expended to power high-tech weaponry or equipment like power armor.

Aetheric Capacitor (Standard, Greater)

Wondrous item (technological), common (standard) or uncommon (greater)

An aetheric capacitor is a cylindrical device containing a refined piece of aetherite specially modified to house an abundant amount of aetheric units of energy (or au).

Aetheric capacitors rely on warping magic to contain energy in extradimensional spaces, allowing a single crystal to hold vast amounts of power. A standard aetheric capacitor can hold up to 100 au, and a greater aetheric capacitor can hold up to 1,000 au. As a standard action, a character can plug an aetheric capacitor into any aethertech device and refill it to a number of charges equal to the item’s capacity rating.

Table 1: Aetheric Capacitor
Type Price Weight Capacity
Standard 100 gp 1/2 100 au
Greater 1,000 gp 1/2 1,000 au
Table 2: Power Armor
Type Cost Str Bonus Con Bonus Armor Class Max Dex Broken Value Capacity Usage Accessory Slots Speed Weight
MK I 2,000 au +2 19 +1 9 24 2/hour 2 20 ft. 600 lbs.
MK II 4,000 au +4 +2 21 +1 10 36 4/hour 4 20 ft. 675 lbs.
MK III 16,000 au +4 +4 23 +1 11 48 8/hour 6 20 ft. 700 lbs.
MK IV 36,000 au +6 +4 25 +0 12 60 12/hour 8 20 ft. 750 lbs.
Table 3: Power Armor Accessories
Type Cost Slot Usage
Toxin filter 250 au head +1
Ammo storage 1,000 au belt or chest +2
Ballistic armor plating MK I 2,000 au body +4
Power armor speed booster 2,000 au feet +5
Emergency trauma system 2,500 au shoulders +4
Environmental seal 3,250 au body and head +4
Injector system 3,500 au wrists +2
Augmented slot 4,000 au special +2
Boost thrusters 4,250 au hands and feet +4
Redundant power supply 4,500 au chest
Agile frame 4,750 au body
Heavy weapon stabilizer 5,550 au belt +1
Articulated claws 7,500 au body +2
Ballistic armor plating MK II 8,000 au body +8
Redundant power supply, large 10,000 au chest

Power Armor Frame Varies

Price 2,000 au (MK I), 4,000 au (MK II), 16,000 (MK III), 36,000 (MK IV); Capacity see text; Usage see text; Weight see text.; Restriction restricted (MK I), military (MK II–IV)

A frame represents the basic exoskeleton of power armor upon which armor and accessories are attached.

A power armor frame comes in four categories ranging from MK I to MK IV. Each frame category grants increased strength and accessory slots but also has a higher base cost and consumes more units of aetheric energy while in use. Any creature wearing a power armor frame is treated as being one size category larger than they are for all beneficial effects or attacks such as the gelatinous cube’s Ooze Cube racial ability. A power armor frame has the following accessory slots as noted on the table below.

Power Armor Accessories

All power armor accessories are aethertech components that integrate directly into a suit of power armor’s wiring rig. These components take up slots on the power armor in the same way that magic items do on a creature. Power armor accessories are powered on at the same time as the powered armor and continuously draw power. A power armor accessory can be installed into a suit of power armor with a successful DC 15 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) or Intelligence (Arcana) ability check and takes 10 minutes per accessory.

Type Accessory Slots
MK I Body, Head
MK II Body, Head, Feet, Shoulders
MK III Body, Chest, Hands, Head, Feet, Shoulders
MK IV Belt, Body, Chest, Hands, Head, Feet, Shoulders, Wrists

Agile Frame

Cost 4,750 au; Slot body; Weight 15 lbs.; Usage none; Restriction none

An agile frame accessory fully replaces a frame’s servos and joints with smaller, segmented plates granting increased mobility and range of motion. This accessory removes the disadvantage power armor forces on Dexterity (Stealth) ability checks and increases its Max Dexterity bonus by 1.

Ammo Storage

Cost 1,000 au; Slot belt or chest; Weight 35 lbs.; Usage +2; Restriction restricted

An ammo storage accessory adds quick-access ammo carrying components to the power armor frame that can store up to 50 lbs. of ammo and magazines. Ammunition stowed in these compartments may be retrieved as a reaction for reloading.

Articulated Claws

Cost 12,500 au; Slot body; Weight 10 lbs.; Usage +2; Restriction military

A pair of articulated claws on sinuous, metallic arms can be installed onto a power armor frame in order to provide it with extra capability in melee. These claws are considered natural weapons with which the wearer of the power armor is proficient. On a hit, a claw deals 1d10 slashing damage and the target also takes 1 slashing damage each round at the beginning of their turn until they stop the bleeding with a DC 15 Intelligence (Medicine) check or any magical healing effect. This bleed damage does not stack with multiple hits.

Additionally, these claws can be used to hold melee or ranged weapons by replacing the claws with a mounting clamp for the weapon. Treat this as a locked gauntlet.

An articulated claw that wields a melee or ranged weapon cannot be used to make natural attacks.

Augmented Slot

Cost 4,000 au; Slot special; Weight 6 lbs. Usage +2; Restriction restricted

Slot augmentation modifies powered armor by replacing one available item slot for another. An augmented slot comes in multiple varieties, representing each of the possible accessory slots on a powered armor frame. By attaching an augmented slot, you can change one power armor accessory slot to another: hands slot into an additional body slot, body slot into an additional hands slot, and so on.

You may not create an accessory slot on a power armor frame that it cannot normally possess, nor can you give the power armor frame more accessory slots than it can normally possess. For example, MK I power armor frame can only accept body and head accessories, and only has two accessory slots.

Ballistic Armor Plating

Cost 2,000–8,000 au; Slot body; Weight 150 lbs.; Usage +4 (MK I), +8 (MK II); Restriction restricted

Ballistic armor plating allows the wearer of power armor to benefit from additional protection against ranged weapon attacks. Anyone attacking someone wearing MK I ballistic armor plating has disadvantage on ranged attack rolls with non-firearm weapons. Anyone attacking someone wearing MK II ballistic armor plating has disadvantage on ranged attack rolls with all ranged weapons, including firearms.

Boost Thrusters

Cost 4,250 au; Slot hands and feet; Weight 20 lbs.; Usage +4; Restriction none

Boost thrusters grant a person wearing the suit of power armor advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to jump and also reduces damage from falling as if the wearer of the power armor frame had fallen 10 fewer feet. In zero gravity, boost thrusters give the wearer of the power armor frame a flying speed of 10 feet.

Emergency Trauma System

Cost 2,500 au; Slot shoulders; Weight 25 lbs.; Usage +4; Restriction none

An emergency trauma system adds blood pressure sensors into the chest cavity of the power armor frame and a single slot that can contain one potion. When the frame’s wearer drops below 0 Hit Points, the frame injects the potion into the wearer’s body through a pressurized pneumatic injection port at the start of the following round.

Environment Seal

Cost 3,250 au; Slot body and head; Weight 225 lbs.; Usage +4; Restriction none

An environment seal accessory adds a layer of airtight gaskets around the frame’s joints and tiny aeronite fans capable of generating breathable air when powered on. This accessory protects the wearer of the installed frame from atmospheric effects such as the vacuum of space, or inhaled poisons, and allows the wearer to breathe in any environment, even underwater.

Heavy Weapon Stabilizer

Cost 5,550 au; Slot waist; Weight 125 lbs.; Usage +1; Restriction military

A heavy weapon stabilizer is an articulated arm with an integrated gyroscopic stabilizer. The wearer of power armor with this accessory can attach the stabilizer to any wielded heavy weapon as a bonus action. The arm grants advantage to resist attempts to disarm the weapon, negates the disadvantage for firing an automatic weapon, and counts as a bipod for firearms with the stabilization quality.

Injector System

Cost 3,500 au; Slot wrists; Weight 10 lbs.; Usage +2; Restriction restricted

An injector system adds slots in the power armor frame’s arms that can hold up to 2 potions. The wearer of the power armor frame can activate each potion as a bonus action, pushing it through a pressurized pneumatic injection port to gain one or both potions’ effects. Changing out these integrated potions requires 10 minutes and the power armor frame to be unoccupied.

Power Armor Speed Booster

Cost 2,000 au; Slot feet; Weight 35 lbs.; Usage +5; Restriction none

A power armor speed booster adds improved leg hydraulics and shock absorbers as well as redundant power cabling to the frame’s aetheric capacitor. As a reaction the wearer of power armor with this accessory can engage an overdrive mode that grants a +20 foot bonus to their speed. Each round of this enhanced speed drains 10 au from the armor’s total capacity. This overdrive mode can be disengaged as a reaction.

Redundant Power Supply

Cost 4,500 au; Slot chest; Weight 50 lbs.; Usage none; Restriction none

A redundant power supply adds a second aetheric capacitor to a power armor’s frame. This aetheric capacitor has an au capacity of 25 and automatically activates when the primary power system is fully depleted.

Redundant Power Supply, Large

Cost 10,000 au; Slot chest; Weight 75 lbs.; Usage none; Restriction none

A large redundant power supply adds a second aetheric capacitor to a power armor’s frame. This aetheric capacitor has an au capacity of 200 and automatically activates when the primary power system is fully depleted.

Toxin Filter

Cost 500 au; Slot head; Weight 10 lbs.; Usage +1; Restriction none

A toxin filter accessory adds aeronite filters in the helmet’s respirator, granting advantage on saving throws versus inhaled poisons while powered on.

Heavy Weapons

Table 4: Heavy Weapon Statistics
Heavy Weapons Cost Damage Weight Properties
Cannon, scrap 200 au 3d6 piercing 15 lbs. Ammunition (range 80/160), burst fire, reload (8 shots), stabilized, two-handed
Flame lance 3,000 au 4d6 fire 45 lbs. Aetheric capacitor (capacity 40, usage 1 (5)), range 30/90 ft., stabilized, two-handed
Flamethrower 800 au Special 60 lbs. Ammunition (range special), burst fire, loading, reload (6 shots), two-handed
Grenade launcher 8,000 au Varies 8 lbs. Ammunition (range 120), reload (5)
Machine Gun, Light 1,000 au 3d6 piercing 20 lbs. Ammunition (range 40/80), burst fire, reload (40 shots), two-handed
Machine Gun, Heavy 1,500 au 3d8 piercing 140 lbs. Ammunition (range 120/240), burst fire, reload (60 shots), stabilized, two-handed
Phineas resonator 4,750 au 3d6 thunder 25 lbs. Aetheric capacitor (capacity 50, usage 10), burst fire, range 60/180 ft., stabilized, two-handed
Plasmathrower 30,000 au 4d6 fire and lightning 15 lbs. Ammunition (range 60/120), reload (20 shots), two-handed
Rail gun 30,000 au 3d10 bludgeoning and piercing 14 lbs. Ammunition (range 200/400), reload (10 shots), two-handed
Rocket launcher 10,800 au 12d6 force and fire 10 lbs. Ammunition (range 120/240), reload (10 shots), two-handed

Firearms use the following rules:

One and two-handed firearms are simple weapons, while heavy firearms are treated as martial weapons. Early firearms, modern firearms, and their ammunition are bought or crafted for 10% of the cost listed in other sources.

Additionally, firearms may have the following qualities:

Firing Modes: Firearms have three types of firing modes. Most weapons are restricted to using a single firing mode unless the weapon’s description states otherwise.

  • Automatic: This weapon fires a burst of shots with a single pull of the trigger to attack all creatures in a line. This line starts from any corner of the wielder’s space and extends to the limit of the weapon’s range or until it strikes a barrier it cannot penetrate. When using an automatic weapon to attack all creatures in a line, the wielder makes a separate attack roll against each creature in the line. Each creature in the line can be attacked with only one shot from each burst. Each attack roll has disadvantage, and its damage cannot be raised in any way, such as with class features such as Sneak Attack or feats. Effects that grant cover, or the blur, invisibility, or mirror image spells, do not affect an automatic weapon’s line attack. A single burst with an automatic weapon consumes 10 charges. When taking an Attack action with an automatic weapon, the wielder can fire as many bursts in a round as he has attacks, provided he has enough charges to make all of the attacks.
  • Semi-Automatic: A semi-automatic weapon fires as a single shot weapon. However, the user can take both an Attack action and a bonus action to fire twice, with disadvantage on both attack rolls.
  • Single Shot: A single shot firearm fires once for every attack its wielder can make in a round. This is the standard firing mode for many kinds of firearms.
  • Slow-Firing: A slow-firing weapon requires both an Attack action and a bonus action to use, and thus cannot be used to make more than one attack per round.

Capacity: When making an Attack action with a single-shot or semi-automatic firearm, you may fire the weapon as many times in a round as you have attacks, up to the number of cartridges in the firearm (or more, if you can reload the weapon as a reaction while making an Attack action).

Magazine: The amount of ammunition a weapon carries, and hence how many shots it can fire before needing to be reloaded, is determined by its magazine capacity. How the firearm is reloaded depends on its magazine type. The number in this entry is the magazine’s capacity in shots; the word that follows the number indicates the magazine type: box, cylinder, or internal. A fourth type, linked, has an unlimited capacity; for this reason the entry does not also have a number.

  • Box: A box magazine is any type of magazine that can be removed and reloaded separately from the weapon. Reloading a box magazine is a reaction for a one or two-handed firearm and a bonus action for a heavy firearm.
  • Cylinder: A revolver keeps its ammunition in a cylinder, which is part of the weapon and serves as the firing chamber for each round as well. Unlike box magazines, cylinders can’t be removed, and they must be reloaded by hand. Reloading a cylinder magazine is a bonus action for a one or two-handed firearm and an action for a heavy firearm.
  • Internal: Some weapons keep their ammunition in an internal space, which must be loaded by hand. This is the case with most shotguns, as well as some rifles. Reloading a firearm with an internal magazine is an action for one and two-handed firearms and a both an action and a bonus action for heavy firearms.
  • Linked: Some firearms use linked ammunition. The bullets are chained together with small metal clips, forming a belt. Typically, a belt holds 50 bullets and any number of belts can be clipped together. In military units, as the gunner fires, an assistant clips new ammunition belts together, keeping the weapon fed. A second character can serve as a loader for a linked weapon, spending an action and bonus action to keep the linked magazine firearm loaded while at the same time performing a Help action that grants the wielder of the linked firearm advantage on their next attack roll.

Stabilized: Weapons with the stabilized quality require a bipod or vehicle mounting or a hardpoint installed on a suit of power armor. Stabilized weapons fired without such a mounting have disadvantage on attack rolls and knock the wielder prone; a successful DC 16 Strength (Athletics) check avoids being knocked prone. Setting up or breaking down takes a bonus action for a bipod or tripod and 1 minute for a vehicle mount.

Cannon, Scrap: A scrap cannon is a heavy weapon variant of the scrap pistol (see below). This weapon requires moving a heavy bolt-action lever to fire and is incapable of firing more than once per round.

Flame Lance: A flame lance is a heavy cylinder containing flauros coils that, when primed, conjure fire which is contained in an aetheric field and projected out of the flame lance’s muzzle. Before a flame lance can be fired it must be primed, a process that takes 3 rounds as the flauros coils heat up and rippling waves of heat and flame emanate from the barrel. The flame lance has two firing modes which the wielder may switch between as a bonus action. Firing the flame lance in beam mode (1 charge) projects a single, thin ray of heat with a range of 30/90 feet that deals 4d6 fire damage. Firing the flame lance in wide-angle mode (5 charges), the weapon projects multiple jets of flame within a 20-ft. cone. Each creature in the area takes 4d6 fire damage, or half as much with a successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. In addition, creatures failing their saving throw catch on fire, taking an additional 1d6 fire damage each round at the beginning of their turn until they extinguish the flames. They can spend an action to attempt a new saving throw to put out the fire, with advantage on the saving throw if they drop prone. Jumping into water extinguishes the flames.

Flamethrower: When using a flamethrower, the wielder projects a 60-foot-long line of fire, attempting a separate attack roll against each creature within the line.

Effects that grant concealment, such as fog or smoke, or the blur, invisibility, or mirror image spells, do not foil this line attack. If any of the rolls threatens a critical hit, the wielder confirms the critical for that roll alone.

All affected creatures take 4d6 points of fire damage, and any creature hit by the flaming stream must also succeed at succeed at a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw or catch fire, taking an additional 2d6 points of fire damage each round until the flames are extinguished. A burning creature can attempt a new save at the end of its turn.

Dropping and rolling on the ground grants a +2 bonus on this save.

The flamethrower itself weighs 20 pounds, while its paired backpack-mounted fuel and propellant tanks weigh an additional 40 pounds. The wielder has disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when wearing the cumbersome device. In addition, the tanks have a damage threshold of 10 and 5 hit points, and if the tank is ruptured in the presence of any adjacent flame (including the device’s own gas igniter), a mighty conflagration erupts, the wielder takes 6d6 points of fire damage, and all creatures within a 20-foot radius take 3d6 points of fire damage (Dexterity DC 20 for half damage). Any creatures who take damage must succeed at a DC 20 Dexterity save or catch on fire.

Grenade Launcher: A grenade launcher is a bulky weapon that can fire any grenade a great distance. Grenades propelled by a launcher can be set to detonate upon impact or at the start of the wielder’s next turn. A grenade launcher requires charges to fire, but unless the weapon is also loaded with a grenade, any charges that are consumed are wasted. A grenade launcher can hold up to 5 grenades at a time. Loading a single grenade into a grenade launcher is an action or a bonus action if proficient.

Grenades: This time-delayed explosive functions like the grenades described under High-Tech Weaponry, throwing them to the desired location and then detonating at the beginning of your next turn. Before being thrown by hand, the grenade must be primed with a quick twist of a dial at one end and then armed with a click of a button at the center of that dial. Priming and arming a grenade is done as part of the attack action used to throw it; a grenade launcher primes and arms all grenades it fires so that they explode immediately on impact.

All grenades follow the same basic rules: As an action, a character can throw a grenade at a point up to 60 feet away. With a grenade launcher, the character can propel the grenade up to 120 feet away.

Each creature within 20 feet of an exploding grenade must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 of the specified damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

  • Bang: This grenade deals no hit point damage but blinds and deafens creatures within 10 feet for 1 minute if they fail a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, or gives them disadvantage on Perception checks for 1 round if they succeed on their saving throw.
  • Concussion: This grenade explodes in a 20-foot radius burst dealing 5d6 points of bludgeoning damage, or half as much with a successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. If a target is reduced to 0 hit points by this attack, they are knocked unconscious by are not dying.
  • Fragmentation: A metal sleeve adds deadly shrapnel to a grenade’s explosion, dealing 2d6 bludgeoning, 2d6 piercing, and 2d6 slashing damage in a 15-foot-radius, or half as much damage of all three types with a successful DC 15 Dexterity saving throw.
  • Smoke: This grenade deals no damage but creates a fog cloud. The cloud fills a 5-foot radius when the grenade activates, and the radius increases by 5 feet each round at the beginning of the wielder’s turn thereafter, to a maximum of 20 feet. The smoke lasts 1 minute but can be blown away by a strong wind.

Optional Rule: Recoil

Some GMs may wish to add additional levels of restriction and difficulty when using firearms. Recoil represents the percussive force of a firearm, making it more unwieldy in untrained hands. When using this optional rule, each attack with a firearm gains disadvantage if your Strength score is not high enough. You gain disadvantage on your attack rolls if your Strength score is less than the maximum damage that the firearm deals. A firearm’s effective maximum damage increases by 1 for each successive shot fired in the same round. Mounted weapons and futuristic weapons, such as aethership weapon modules, do not impose a recoil penalty when fired. GMs using this optional rule may wish to introduce equipment that also helps to mitigate recoil.

Table 5: Grenades
Grenades Cost Damage Range
Bang 25 gp see below 20/60 ft.
Concussion 50 gp 5d6 bludgeoning 20/60 ft.
Fragmentation 75 gp 5d6 b, p & s 20/60 ft.
Smoke 25 gp see below 20/60 ft.

Machine Gun: Rather than using a box magazine, a machine gun may use linked ammunition, gaining the linked quality described above.

Resonator: A resonator generates a series of high-frequency sounds through a songsteel resonating chamber to a large conical projector, reminiscent of a gramophone. A resonator is a support weapon fielded by riot control officers. A resonator may only be fired in automatic mode. In addition to damage, a creature hit by the sonic pulse is overcome with nausea and dizziness (treat as stunned) unless they succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a critical hit, the DC is increased to 18 and the target is treated as poisoned for 1 round even on a successful saving throw. Creatures reduced to 0 hit points by the resonator fall unconscious but do not need to make death saving throws.

Plasmathrower: A plasmathrower is a devastating weapon that fires blasts of superheated, electrically charged gas. This weapon has two firing modes: slow-firing and automatic. When used on the slow-firing setting, the weapon fires a 10-foot radius burst with no range increment; on the automatic setting, it fires individual bursts of plasma. The weapons scores a critical hit on a 19 or 20.

Rail Gun: A rail gun uses gravitons to compress raw metal scrap placed in its sequencing chamber into hyperdense shells that it then accelerates to astounding speed and fires from its electromagnetically charged barrel. The weapon’s rate of fire is slow compared to most other technological weapons, yet its relatively high damage combined with its potential for particularly grisly critical hits makes it a much sought-after weapon for long-range combat. Shots fired from a rail gun bypass an object’s first 10 points of damage threshold and can completely penetrate targets without damage thresholds. When making an attack with a rail gun, make a single attack roll and compare that result to the Dexterity score of all creatures in a line extending out to the weapon’s maximum range if they have a damage threshold equal to or below 10. If any target has a damage threshold above 10 use its AC instead. This weapon damages all targets with a Dexterity score (or AC) equal to or lower than the attack roll. However, if the attack’s damage fails to penetrate any target’s hardness or damage reduction, this shot is blocked and cannot damage targets that are farther away.

Rocket Launcher: A newly created rocket launcher contains its entire load of rockets and energy charges. It cannot be reloaded, and once its final rocket is fired, the weapon is useless. Rockets fired from a rocket launcher can target a single target or a grid intersection. A creature that takes a direct hit from a rocket cannot attempt a saving throw to reduce the damage taken. When a rocket strikes its target, it explodes in a 30-foot-radius sphere that deals fire and bludgeoning damage to all creatures within that area of effect — a successful DC 15 Dexterity save halves the damage for all but the target. Some rocket launchers carry alternate loads, replacing the fire damage with electricity or cold damage, and there are rumors of rocket launchers capable of doing even more damage, firing gravity-based weapons or using radioactive payloads.

Purchasing Ammunition

When purchasing ammunition, treat its purchase restriction as none. In settings that use the above ammunition caliber rules, treat one-handed firearms as none, two-handed as restricted, and heavy as illegal.

In high-detail settings where each weapon has its own individual ammunition type, treat its purchase restriction as that of the firearm it is used in.

Special Ammunition

Below are special types of ammunition.

Anthem: Anthems are similar to normal pulse rounds but are composed of a singing steel shell with whistling holes bored along the rim. Firing a single anthem round has no effect beyond creating a loud shriek (advantage to any Wisdom (Perception) ability checks made to hear the shot fired). However, firing a burst-fire or full-auto volley of anthems causes an ululating harmonic tone that taps directly into the martial elements of the score, granting an extra 1d4 to all attack rolls made by allies within 30 ft. of the attacker firing the anthem rounds. This bonus persists for 1 round.

Entropic: These black, crystal rounds are inimical to life and deal 1d6 points of piercing and slashing damage and an additional 1d6 points of necrotic damage, rather than the firearm’s standard damage. The negative energy damage is doubled against creatures with the aether subtype (see the Alien Bestiary from Legendary Games). Rolling a natural 1 when firing entropic rounds cause the delicate crystals to shatter, dealing 2d6 points of necrotic damage to anyone within 10 ft. of the weapon; a successful DC 15 Constitution saving throw halves this damage.

Explosive: An explosive round contains an internal combustive charge that detonates after impact. An explosive round deals additional damage equal to half the firearm’s base damage die. This additional damage bypasses any resistance to the damage type.

Flechette: Flechette rounds are jacketed shells containing two dozen tempered steel darts that explode from the shell when fired. Flechette rounds target all creatures within a 30-ft. cone when they are fired. Flechette rounds inflict an additional 1d6 point of piercing damage.

Hellbore: The reputation of hellbore ammo is such that hardened veterans shudder at the word. Hellbore are mechanized rounds of ammunition that derive power from a tiny aetherite reserve at their core. These rounds resemble a drill bit and bore into a target they strike for five rounds, dealing the weapon’s base die damage each round. This ongoing damage bypasses any resistance to the damage. Hellbore rounds halve the range of the weapon they are fired from.

Pellet: Pellet rounds are shells that contain dozens of tiny metal pellets that scatter when fired.

Pulse: Named for the telekinetic pulse that propels them, pulse ammunition is the standard used by professional security forces and military. Pulse rounds are conical, copper-jacketed tin-lead alloy rounds packed with an alchemical mixture of finely ground aetherite and sulfur. When fired, the alchemical propellant releases telekinetic energy, hurling the projectile down the barrel of the loaded firearm with a blue flash and characteristic, high-pitched sonic shriek. Pulse rounds do not suffer disadvantage when firing at long range.

Rust: This ammunition is an alchemical ceramic slug laced with a special powder derived from rust monster antennae. Rust rounds deal an additional 3d6 poison damage to ferrous creatures and objects.

Scrap Slugs: Crude projectiles made of melted-down scrap metals and chemical accelerants, scrap slugs or “scrappies”, are used in the scrapguns popular among those who cannot acquire proper ammunition. Scrappies are easy and cheap to produce, but impose disadvantage on all attack rolls and always miss on an attack roll of a 1 or 2.

Slug: Slugs are standard copper-jacketed tin and lead alloy rounds.

Incendiary Tracers: Colloquially known as “stars”, incendiary tracers are jacketed rounds composed primarily of flauros, a naturally occurring starmetal that emits heat and light when agitated. Creatures struck with a star round take 1 point of fire damage and must succeed at a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or catch fire. Creatures on fire take 1d6 points of fire damage at the start of each of their turns, until they or an adjacent creature takes an action to put out the fire.

Zombiemaker: Made from aetherite processing waste, zombiemakers are named for the catatonic state induced by aetherite poisoning. Due to residual magical energy in the dark blue crystals that tip these rounds, they are treated as magic for the purposes of bypassing resistances and immunities. On a critical hit, the round lodges inside the target and exposes the damaged creature to aetherite radiation, causing them to become poisoned for as long as the projectile remains lodged in the target; it can extracted with 1 minute of work and a successful DC 13 Wisdom (Medicine) check.


Automata is a catch-all term for any aethertech that directly interfaces with a creature’s body. Rather than wearing a full suit of power armor, some characters might instead have a limited number of cybernetic enhancements added to augment their biological abilities. The first pieces of automata were bulky, crude prosthetics designed prior to the Century War to restore functionality of amputees. The technology was adapted and expanded during the Century War to encompass a wide array of both civilian and military applications.

The process of grafting automata onto a living creature is an arduous one, requiring hours of surgery where the prospective user’s body is bolted, riveted, wired, or otherwise bound to the new piece of hardware. The aethertech used in creating automata connects directly to the recipient’s consciousness through a spiritual bond with the less understood properties of aetherite and its interaction with a soul.

Each piece of automata has an implantation value that indicates how invasive the implant is. The total combined implantation values of all automata implanted in a single creature can’t exceed either that creature’s Constitution score or Charisma score—a creature’s Constitution sets the physical limit of what its body can accept in the form of automata implants, while the creature’s Charisma sets the mental limit of what its spirit can control. An implant whose implantation value would cause the total to exceed either of these two scores does not function but still takes up a body slot. In addition, as long as a character has automata implants installed whose combined implantation exceeds his Constitution or Charisma, he has disadvantage on all saving throws.

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor a Charisma score cannot receive benefits from automata, but a creature with only one of these scores can. Installing a piece of automata takes a number of hours equal to the automata’s implantation value if the installation is done by hand—certain aethertech items can speed this installation time. The target must be willing or helpless during the entire installation, at the end of which the installer attempts a Wisdom (Medicine) ability check against the automata’s Install DC—this specific value is listed for each automata. On a success, the target takes Constitution damage equal to the automata’s implantation value and the automata immediately activates. On a failed check, the target still takes the Constitution damage but the installation fails; a new attempt to install the automata can be made, although it’s wise to wait for the Constitution damage to heal before trying again.

Automata can be extracted using the same procedure as implanting it, with a failed Wisdom (Medicine) ability check indicating the attempt to extract the item failed. Failure by 5 or more indicates the subject takes Constitution damage as though it were a failed implant.

Fortunately, extraction is a simpler task than installment, and Wisdom (Medicine) ability checks to remove automata gain advantage. Extracting a piece of automata from a dead body requires no Wisdom (Medicine) ability check but takes a number of rounds equal to the automata’s implantation value. You can only install or extract a single piece of automata at a time.

Installing or removing an automata enhancement (a piece of automata designed to augment an existing implant) requires an Intelligence (Arcana) check rather than a Wisdom (Medicine) ability check. A single piece of automata may only possess one enhancement.

The mechanical race known as the phalanx (see the Alien Codex from Legendary Games) treat their Constitution and Charisma scores as doubled for the purpose of determining the maximum number of automata implants they may have. Additionally, phalanx never take Constitution damage from installing or removing a piece of automata and all Heal checks made to install or remove a piece of automata from a phalanx are made with a +10 bonus. Additionally, automata components can be installed in phalanx in half the normal time. Also, phalanx may install automata enhancements directly into their bodies without the need of the requisite replacement automata but must possess the phalanx battery automata to power such devices.

Creatures with the aether type (see the Alien Bestiary from Legendary Games) treat their Charisma scores as doubled for the purpose of determining the maximum number of automata implants they may possess. An NPC generally charges an amount equal to 1/10 the total price of a piece of automata for the service of installing the item.

Due to their primarily metallic construction, implanted pieces of automata count as wearing metal armor for the purpose of classes (such as the Druid) that lose access to class features when wearing metal armor.

Each piece of automata has a full description, including a set of abbreviated statistics at the start. This information is organized as follows. Automata with [Enhancement] listed in their description are components that enhance other pieces of automata

Table 6: Automata
Automata Price Implant Install
Phalanx Battery 500 au 2 26
Prosthetic Limb, Full 500 au 2 28
Prosthetic Limb, Partial 250 au 1 25
Quickstrider Legs 8,750 au 4 28
Enhancement Price Implant Install
Aether Thruster 2,250 au 1 28
Implanted Weaponry 5,000 au 2 26
Prosthetic Claw 550 au 1 25
Surefoot Talons 1,000 au 1 25
Strength Boost (MK I) 6,000 au 2 24
Strength Boost (MK II) 24,000 au 4 28
Strength Boost (MK III) 42,000 au 8 32

Slot: This is the part of the body into which the automata must be implanted. A single slot can only ever host a single piece of automata.

Weight: This is the weight of the automata in pounds. Once installed, the automata’s weight does not count against a creature’s encumbrance or maximum load.

Install: This is the Wisdom (Medicine) ability check DC required to successfully implant or remove the automata from a creature.

Implantation: A numerical value indicating how invasive the automata is. The higher the number, the more invasive the grafting process. Implantation influences the time and difficulty of installing and removing the automata.

Capacity: Automata run on aetheric energy and have built-in aetheric capacitors for storing power. This entry lists the maximum capacity for each piece of automata.

Usage: This entry notes the cost in charges of aetheric units that a piece of automata requires. Automata that do not have sufficient power to meet their usage requirements immediately cease functioning. Automata enhancements add additional energy costs to an implanted piece of automata.

Craft: This is the Intelligence (Arcana) DC required to create the automata. It is also the Intelligence (Arcana) DC to correctly identify the automata.

Aether Thruster Enhancement

Cost 2,250 au; Slot hands; Weight 4 lbs.; Install DC 23; Implantation 1; Capacity none; Usage 5 charges/round

Aether thrusters are special aether resonance chambers contained in the hands of automata prosthetics. These enhancements must be installed in pairs and the cost for aether thrusters reflects this. Aether thrusters are activated as a reaction and grant a flying speed of 20 ft. Their user can ascend at half speed and descend at double speed.

While flying, a creature with aether thrusters who attempts to use its hands for any purpose (such as to attack or cast a spell with somatic components) falls immediately.

An aether thruster can be fired offensively as a ranged weapon attack with a range of 10 ft. that consumes 5 charges per shot fired. A creature struck by an aether thruster takes 1d4 points of force damage and is pushed back 5 ft. A successful DC 13 Strength saving throw negates the push effect.

Implanted Weaponry Enhancement

Cost 5,000 au; Slot arm; Weight 1 lbs. (special); Install DC 21; Implantation 2; Capacity special; Usage special

A single light melee weapon or one-handed firearm can be implanted in a prosthetic arm. Melee weapons extend or retract as a reaction. Ranged weapons are fired from the forearm through a port in the palm or by disassembling the hand to form part of the barrel. Either type of weapon has statistics identical to its normal form. Firearms reload through a breach in the arm, increasing the reloading time of the weapon to a an action, or doubling reloading times that already take an action and bonus action or longer.

Implanted weapons are well concealed; detecting one requires a thorough search (Perception DC 20). Implanted cannot be disarmed. Weaponry installed in a prosthetic arm does not count against a creature’s implantation limit.

The cost, price, and weight of the weapon to be implanted are added to the cost, price, and weight listed in this stat block. Sheathing or unsheathing an implanted weapon drains 1 charge from the automata it is attached to.

Table 7: Strength Boost Enhancement
Model Bonus Implantation Install DC Usage
Mark I +2 Strength 2 19 5 charges/round
Mark II +4 Strength 4 23 10 charges/round
Mark III +6 Strength 8 27 15 charges/round

Phalanx Battery Enhancement

Cost 500 au; Slot body; Weight 4 lbs.; Install DC 21; Implantation 2; Capacity 60; Usage special

A phalanx battery is a special automata augmentation that can be implanted into any phalanx creature (see the Alien Codex from Legendary Games). This battery acts as an aetheric capacitor and can store up to 60 units of aetheric energy. A phalanx battery has a standard induction port, allowing the battery to recharge any standard aethertech device. A phalanx with this enhancement may power any other automata enhancements with a charge from this source as a free action.

Prosthetic Limb, Full

Cost 500 au; Slot arm or leg; Weight 12 lbs.; Install DC 23; Implantation 2; Capacity 30; Usage 1 charge/day

Automata prosthetics have come quite far since their invention nearly 200 years ago. A full prosthetic limb completely replaces an ordinary limb with arms connecting at the shoulder and legs at the hip. A basic prosthetic limb automata provides no additional function beyond restoring a lost limb, but can be upgraded with prosthetic limb enhancements for additional cost.

Prosthetic Limb, Partial

Cost 250 au; Slot hand or foot; Weight 4 lbs.; Install DC 20; Implantation 1; Capacity 25; Usage 1 charge/day

A partial prosthetic limb replaces a missing hand or foot, granting full functionality back to the lost appendage.

A basic prosthetic limb automata provides no additional function beyond restoring a lost limb, but can be upgraded with prosthetic limb enhancements for additional cost.

Prosthetic Claw Enhancement

Cost 550 au; Slot hand; Weight 4 lbs.; Install DC 20; Implantation 1; Capacity none; Usage none

A prosthetic claw is an enhancement for a full or partial automata prosthetic, replacing the hand with a clawed appendage. A prosthetic claw grants claw natural attack that deals 1d4 + the creature’s Strength modifier in damage.

A prosthetic claw is a cumbersome enhancement and imposes disadvantage on attack rolls made with melee or ranged weapons wielded in the prosthetic claw.

Quickstrider Legs

Cost 8,750 au; Slot legs (2); Weight 17 lbs.; Install DC 23; Implantation 4; Capacity 60; Usage see text

Quickstrider legs are specially constructed automata legs only sold and installed in pairs. These limbs consist of flexible steel bows replacing the calf of an automata leg, creating a characteristic curved appearance. This automata grants a +10 bonus to land speed, advantage on all Strength (Athletics) checks made to jump. A creature with this implant also applies double their proficiency bonus on Strength (Athletics) ability checks made to jump.

Strength Boost Enhancement

Cost varies: Mark I 6,000 au; Mark II 24,000 au; Mark III 42,000 au; Slot arm; Weight +10 lbs.; Install varies; Implantation varies; Capacity none; Usage varies

Automata limbs can be enhanced with additional strength by improving the servos and aetheric amplifiers installed in them. These modifications dramatically increase the energy required to maintain the limbs and the Strength enhancements are not always considered to be active in order to conserve power. A strength boost enhancement is activated as a reaction and can be deactivated as a reaction action. The bonus provided by this enhancement modifies the cost and other variables. These enhancements only apply to the automata limb that they are installed in and are not multiplied for additional limbs. A creature must have two automata limbs to gain a bonus to carrying capacity for its increased Strength. The bonuses given by this enhancement do not stack with the bonuses given by the Strength bonus given by wearing power armor.

Strength boost enhancements in an automata limb are always obvious whenever the limb is visible. Such limbs are unusually bulky or possess external components.

By increasing the cost of this enhancement by 25% the enhancement uses cutting edge components that can only be noticed with a successful DC 25 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Arcana) check.

Surefoot Talons Enhancement

Cost 1,000 au; Slot feet; Weight 4 lbs.; Install DC 20; Implantation 1; Capacity none; Usage none

This enhancement replaces the feet of a pair of prosthetic legs with three-toed talons like those of a bird. The wide sides of the feet and sturdy composition grants a +5 bonus to land speeds and allow the user to ignore the adverse movement effects of difficult terrain. This enhancement is only sold and installed in pairs and its price is reflective of this.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Power Armor (5E) © 2020, Legendary Games; Authors Robert Brookes, Jesse Benner, Jeff Dahl, Robyn Fields, Nick Hite, Andre James. Adapted by Michael Ritter.