As the Introduction explains, this book has several purposes. It presents improved systems for vehicle design and mobile combat, it introduces military-style heavy weapons, and it deals with powered armour... which when you mix in cyberware can get pretty interesting.
The first chapter looks at Military Vehicles. While armoured personnel carriers have become popular with law enforcement and private security forces alike, most military vehicles are still rarely seen out of a military context. That said, they do show up when the armed forces - or the private security of a really LARGE company like Militech (they make them, after all) - are involved in whatever is going down; and so the relevant rules for armour penetration and the procedures for conducting vehicular combat are presented. Should someone using a suit of power armour wish to mix it with fighting vehicles of a more conventional nature - quite likely as the natural reaction of law enforcement when faced with a crook in powered armour would be to send for the nearest tank! - there are rules for that as well. Drones, remote-piloted vehicles, indirect fire, missiles and countermeasures are all covered... plenty and enough for any 'punks wishing to wage all-out war.
Now that we know what they can do, next comes Vehicle Design. Again this section is devoted to rule mechanics, and you can basically build a vehicle to meet your needs... provided you can pay for it! Once you have the vehicle, then you can arm it. With, of course, a reminder that you will need ammunition and storage space for it as well. If there's any space left, there is some additional equipment that you can add - maybe you'd like a crash control system (airbags and the like) in case things go wrong, or a fire extinguisher should they get worse... or if they are going well, maybe a wet bar and a large bed are more your style.
If vehicle design seems a bit like hard work, you may prefer the next chapter, Vehicle Catalogue. Imagine a showroom full of shiny military vehicles, what sort of patter might the salesman have? And it's not just road and off-road vehicles, there are hovercraft and helicopters and more here as well.
We've already heard a bit about how to fight with powered armour, but the next chapter Powered Armour looks at everything you need to know - skills, options, complete combat rules and more. There's even a selection of typical PA Trooper slang, so you can sound the part as well as look it. The use of this armour is so specialised that, while anyone can put it on, to use it to full effect there's a Solo sub-class dedicated to its mastery.
The next chapter is ACPA Design, so if you want to design a suit of powered armour from the bottom up, here's all you need... and again, if designing your own seems like too much bother, there's an ACPA Catalogue in the next chapter with a wide selection of ready-made suits for the discerning Trooper to choose from. The book rounds off with a collection of ready-reference charts for weapons, armour and vehicles dicussed elsewhere.
Profusely illustrated with line art of a high percentage of the items described, this book is ideal for those who want plenty of firepower. It presents both vehicles and powered armour in a neat manner - firstly the rules for using them in combat, then the construction rules, and then a generous catalogue of samples to use as-is, or as examples to hone your own design skills. While of necessity rules-heavy, there is plenty of flavour as well.
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Reviewed: 28 June 2009