Archives of Nethys

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Light Armor | Heavy Armor | Powered Armor
Armor Upgrades

Powered Armor

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 203
Unlike light and heavy armor, powered armor requires its own battery, and comes with a fully charged battery at purchase. Powered armor uses the same type of batteries as other items, including charged weapons, and the battery for a suit of powered armor can be recharged as normal using a generator or recharging station (see page 234), or it can be replaced with a new battery when spent (see Table 7–9: Ammunition for battery pricing).

Using Powered Armor

Powered armor augments the wearer’s Strength and has weapon mounts on which ranged weapons can be installed. More about using powered armor is below.

Entering and Exiting

Getting into or exiting a suit of powered armor requires a full action. Unless noted otherwise, a suit of powered armor has an electronic lock preventing anyone from opening it without knowing the passcode. The passcode can be determined with a successful Computers check (DC = 15 + double the armor’s level).

Powered Armor Proficiency

Characters can gain proficiency with powered armor by taking the Powered Armor Proficiency feat (see page 160) or at 5th level through the soldier’s guard fighting style. Lacking proficiency in powered armor comes with more significant drawbacks than with other types of armor. If you are wearing powered armor with which you are not proficient, you take a –4 penalty to both EAC and KAC, you are always flat-footed and off-target, and you move at half speed. If the armor has a special form of movement (such as a fly speed), you cannot use that movement.

Powered Armor Descriptions

The following explains powered armor’s statistics entries. Specific suits of powered armor are described on page 204. Each suit of powered armor’s price is listed in Table 7–16: Powered Armor.

EAC and KAC Bonuses

These are the bonuses the powered armor adds to your Energy Armor Class, which protects against attacks from laser weapons and the like, and to your Kinetic Armor Class, which protects against projectiles and other solid objects.

The cockpit of powered armor is too small to fit a person wearing heavy armor. If you’re wearing light armor while in powered armor, you gain the higher of the EAC bonuses and the higher of the KAC bonuses between the two suits of armor, and you take the worse maximum Dexterity bonus and armor check penalty. Powered armor is normally designed to be operated by any roughly humanoid creature of Small or Medium size—only creatures not matching those criteria must have the armor tailored to fit them (see Adjusting Armor on page 196).

Maximum Dexterity Bonus

You normally add your Dexterity modifier to your EAC and KAC, but it’s limited by your powered armor. A suit of powered armor’s maximum Dexterity bonus indicates how much of your Dexterity modifier you can add to your AC. Any excess Dexterity bonus doesn’t raise your AC further.

Armor Check Penalty

You take a penalty to most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks equal to this number.


Rather than using your normal speed, the powered armor has a maximum land speed of its own. In some cases, powered armor has additional movement types as well.


When wearing powered armor, the armor determines your effective Strength. You use it for all Strength-based rolls. Even if your Strength is higher, you’re limited to the armor’s Strength.


When you make an unarmed melee attack with the powered armor, it deals damage equal to the armor’s listed damage value plus its Strength modifier.


A suit of powered armor has the listed size, so you may take up more space when you’re wearing it.

Some suits of powered armor list a reach in parentheses after size. Powered armor with a reach greater than 5 feet allows you to attack creatures within that range in melee even if they aren’t adjacent to you. Add the reach of the powered armor to the reach of any weapons you wield using the powered armor.

Capacity and Usage

Powered armor requires a great deal of electricity to function, and it has a battery capacity and usage value.

A suit of powered armor’s battery capacity indicates the number of charges its battery holds. This battery can be recharged as normal using a generator or a recharging station (see page 234), or it can be replaced with a new battery (see Table 7–9: Ammunition). You can put a battery with a smaller charge capacity into powered armor, but you can’t recharge one to hold more than its maximum number of charges.

Powered armor’s usage indicates how long a single battery charge runs the armor. For example, a character in a battle harness with a fully charged battery can use that powered armor for 20 hours before its battery needs to be replaced or recharged. Once you have entered a suit of powered armor, you can tell how many battery charges it has remaining, if any. You can turn a suit of powered armor on or off as a standard action, and you do not need to use all charges for a suit of powered armor consecutively, but you must use them in 1-charge increments.

If you’re in armor that’s out of power, you are flat-footed and off-target, you don’t benefit from the armor’s Strength or damage, and you can’t attack with it or cause it to move. None of its mounted weapons (see below) or upgrades (see Armor Upgrades below) function, even if they have their own power sources. You can’t attempt any Strength- or Dexterity-based skill checks, and the armor’s maximum Dexterity bonus is +0 (or the armor’s regular maximum Dexterity bonus, if lower). You can still exit the armor.

Weapon Slots

Ranged weapons can be installed in most powered armor. The maximum number is equal to the powered armor’s weapon slots.

Upgrade Slots

You can improve your powered armor with technological and magical upgrades (see below). This entry shows how many total upgrades your powered armor can accommodate. Some larger or more complicated upgrades take up multiple upgrade slots.


A powered armor’s listed bulk refers to its bulk when it is picked up or carried as cargo, and it does not count toward your own normal carrying capacity. When you’re wearing powered armor, you use that armor’s Strength to determine your carrying capacity. Count everything you’re wearing, everything the powered armor is holding, and any armor upgrades and weapons mounted to the powered armor against this bulk limit.

Powered Armor Clarifications

Starfinder Armory p. 74
These powered armor suits follow all the rules for powered armor found on pages 203–204 of the Core Rulebook. Some additional clarifications on how powered armor functions is provided below.


Powered armors of Large or greater size use their own arms and hands, rather than allowing the user to manipulate objects or weapons with their own hands. Operating such a suit of powered armor requires all your hands to be free (within the armor’s cockpit) and allows you use of all the armor’s hands. Large and bigger suits of powered armor have two arms and hands unless specified otherwise.

Powered armors of Medium or smaller size allow the operator to use its own limbs (however many that is), and does not require any hands be free in order to operate the functions of the powered armor.

Hybrid Powered Armor

Hybrid powered armor sometimes has unusual abilities that recharge after a set period of time, as determined in each armor’s description. These suits also use normal batteries, which must be recharged normally, for all other functions. Hybrid powered armor follows the same rules as hybrid items, but neither it nor hybrid armor upgrades count as a worn item.

Improving Powered Armor

It is possible (though expensive) to improve powered armor to make it a more effective, higher-level piece of equipment. It costs a number of credits equal to 150% of the armor’s current price to improve the armor’s item level by 1 and takes at least 24 hours for each level gained. Thus improving an ironclad bulwark to 11th level would cost 28,875 credits. The price paid to improve powered armor by 1 level becomes its new current price, so selling an ironclad bulwark improved to 11th level would bring in 2,887 credits, while improving it to 12th level would cost 43,312 credits.

Anyone who could build a suit of powered armor of the new level can improve powered armor to the same level. Increasing powered armor’s item level by 1 increases its bonus to EAC and KAC by 1 each; if the new item level is evenly divisible by 5, then the powered armor’s bonus to EAC and KAC increase by 2 each instead. If you improve powered armor by 5 item levels, its maximum Dexterity bonus increases by 1, its Strength score increases by 2, and it gains one additional upgrade slot. Powered armor can’t be improved beyond 20th level.

Weapon Slots

A suit of powered armor can mount a number of one- or twohanded ranged weapons, as indicated by its weapon slot value. The weapons mounted in powered armor’s weapon slots require no hands to wield or carry as long as the armor has power, but reloading such weapons requires a free hand (unless you have an automated loader upgrade). Mounted weapons designed for a creature the size of the powered armor or smaller impose no penalty to attack rolls. It takes a full action to mount or remove a weapon. A weapon can’t be removed and you cannot be disarmed of the weapon if the armor has power and you do not wish the weapon to be removed. Weapons in weapon slots can be subject to sunder combat maneuvers.