Phase Shift Armor
PS Armor is a defensive combat system developed for the Earth Alliance's prototype mobile suits (later called 'Gundams') and proved very effective against ballistic and explosive weapons of all types, even extremely heat resistant and, in the rare case, allowing an mobile suit (MS) to survive a direct nuclear explosion from a breached nuclear reactor.
Phase Shift, or "PS" armor, is an armor system that uses electricity to reduce the damage from all forms of physical attacks although in most practicalities, PS armor makes a mobile suit virtually immune to solid body impact attacks. When PS armor powers up, a hissing sound can be heard and the grey surface of the mobile suit's armor is overlaid in color, which appears to be alterable by entering different values in the Armor Voltage section of the OS. Once powered up, the PS armor requires a steady flow of energy to maintain although power consumption spikes momentarily whenever the mobile suit is hit. ZAFT commander Andrew Waltfeld, after watching the GAT-X105 Strike fight, estimated that the Strike in standard use can take approximately 76 hits from the missiles of a TMF/A-802 BuCUE, before the energy usage drains the battery. This example illustrates that even solid ballistic weapons can eventually overpower Phase Shift Armor. Most beam weapons are able to overpower PS Armor faster than ballistic weapons. However, should a power failure occur, caused by either prolonged use or the use of high energy beam weapons, which will further drain the mobile suit's battery, the PS armor will power down, leaving the mobile suit vulnerable to even the simplest physical attack.
Phase Shift armor is also able to protect the unit from great heat and thus making the unit possible for atmospheric re-entry.
Because PS armor draws energy off of a mobile suit, the suits so equipped must have a means of replenishing that energy, or risk power depletion. During the war, the existence of Neutron Jammers limited mobile suits and mobile armors to operation on an energy battery (some mobile suits were equipped with various turbine engines to extend their operating time, but almost none had truly unlimited operational ability). Due to the limited amount of energy within each battery only a certain amount of power is ever allocated to the PS armor system. This limitation prevents the armor from being able to nullify higher forms of energy such as beam weapons. Because of this, most PS armored mobile suits carry a shield with an ablative anti-beam coating for defense against beams.
Nuclear power could give a PS armored mobile suit theoretically unlimited operating time. However, during the Bloody Valentine War, the widespread use of N-Jammers made this impossible without the use of Neutron Jammer Cancellers; afterward, the Treaty of Junius Seven outlawed nuclear-powered mobile suits. Only a few nuclear-powered mobile suits were made in any event, including the YMF-X000A Dreadnought, ZGMF-X09A Justice, ZGMF-X10A Freedom, ZGMF-X11A Regenerate,ZGMF-X12A Testament, ZGMF-X13A Providence, and the ZGMF-X999A ZAKU Trial Type. Each of these units incorporated an N-Jammer Canceller in their design, negating the effects of the N-Jammers in the field. With the tremendous amount of energy made available through the use of nuclear power, even greater amounts of energy could now be allocated to PS armor. ZAFT's superweapon GENESIS allocated so much power to its PS armor that it was able to nullify direct energy beam attacks from the Eternal and Kusanagi, including the Kusanagi's "Lohengrin" Positron Blaster Cannons.
Orb has also improved the PS armor with their own technology and installed it on the MBF-02 Strike Rouge. The minor improvement allow Strike Rouge to config attribute of PS armor, chaging its power usage and strenght as well as the colors. Unlike VPS (see below), attribute Strike Rouge's colors-shift PS must be config pre-combat.
---TRANS PHASE ARMOR---
During the first Bloody Valentine War, OMNI Enforcer experimented with ways to extend the usefulness of PS Armor, leading to the development of Trans Phase Armor (TP), which improved on PS Armor by only activating at the point of impact. Because the PS armor consumed large quantities of energy non-stop until it is turned off, it rendered most mobile suits at the time with a very limited operation time. This also left little energy for the power-hungry beam weapons. TP armor was developed to solve this problem as it only activates upon contact, enabling the mobile suit to conserve energy while not in use. However, this left TP armored mobile suits vulnerable to heavy attack from multiple vectors (a sufficiently powerful weapon could also overpower the TP armor). Orb's Morgenroete, Inc. produced a similar Phase Shift system to armor the cockpit of the refitted MBF-P03 Astray Blue Frame Second L. While this armor was not referred to as Trans Phase, it was functionally identical.
--VARIABLE PHASE SHIFT ARMOR---
While the Earth Alliance developed the TP armor to save energy, ZAFT went in a different direction, with a combination of improved batteries and Variable Phase Shift Armor (VPS). Variable Phase Shift allows the MS to automatically alter the strength and by extension the power consumption of a Mobile Suit's PS Armor automatically, depending on what combat configuration that MS is in. As a result, the MS's colors changes. Unlike Strike Rouge's colors-shift PS, VPS is capable of changing its strenght on field.
The first MS with VPS technology was the ZGMF-X12A Testament originally built by ZAFT, but acquired and fielded by Blue Cosmos under the designation RGX-00. It is highly likely that this is how the Earth Alliance acquired VPS technology, which they incorporated into the GAT-X105E Strike E, although it is also possible that they acquired that technology as a result of their brief alliance with Orb in CE 73. A third, less likely theory is that the Earth Alliance was able to obtain VPS technology through analysis of the three mobile suits stolen during the Armory One incident. VPS was later incorporated into all of ZAFT's Second Stage Gundams, including the ZGMF-X56S Impulse. The Impulse had at least eight VPS settings, three of which were used in combat by the first Impulse, piloted by Shinn Asuka.
Phase Shift armor (PS) was developed by the Earth Alliance, and first rolled out in Cosmic Era 71. It remains in use as of CE 73. The first mobile suits to be equipped with PS Armor are the so-called "Gundams", GAT-X102 Duel, GAT-X103 Buster, GAT-X105 Strike, GAT-X207 Blitz and GAT-X303 Aegis. Later, both ZAFT and the Orb Union's Morgenroete, Inc. were able to study and duplicate the armor design. Over time several different versions of PS armor were developed, which are more efficient than the original version. As a result, the first variant isn't produced anymore.
-Phase Shift Armor
-Trans Phase Armor
-Variable Phase Shift Armor
Type: Defensive Armor System
Skill: Mecha Piloting (OR Starship/Capital Ship Shields)
-Phase Shift Armor: Price of base vehicle x1/3
-Trans Phase Armor: Price of base vehicle x1/2
-Variable Phase Shift Armor: Price of base vehicle x3/4
-Phase Shift Armor: While activated, PS armor makes whatever it is equipped to invulnerable to all ballistic and explosive weapons damage. If the equipped vehicle or item is operating on an Ultracompact Energy battery, then the PS armor drains the battery of a number amount of points equal to its Hull Dice, per round, until the battery is drained or the PS armor is deactivated. Also, the battery is drained of power every time it is hit by enemy weapons fire, depleting the battery of a number equal to the weapon's Damage Dice. PS armor does not work against energy weaponry of most kinds (such as lasers or energy beams, lightsabers or beam sabers).
An alternate method (if players/GMs wish for an easier time of things), is to have the PS armor or weapon Damage Dice (one or the other) only deplete the battery by one point per round. If they wish for an even easier time of it, they can have the battery be depleted by one point from both of these. This variant on the rules makes the battery last much longer, but will lead to whatever it is equipped to being almost invincible and takes away the feeling of limitation meant to be felt by PS armor and the Ultracompact Energy Batteries.
-Trans Phase Armor: This variant operates exactly like Phase Shift Armor, however, instead of depleting the Ultracompact Energy Battery of the number of Hull Dice every round while active, it only does so when directly hit by weapons fire with the number of Damage Dice of the weapon. This leaves much more energy to be used by heavy energy weapons.
-Variable Phase Shift Armor: This works somewhat like PS armor. However, it can be altered for different energy consumption, either weakening the PS armor to conserve power, allowing better defense than normal but not maximum for more power to be used by other systems, or, it can have more power diverted to it to allow for more defense than normal PS armor.
If less power is used, reduce the number of "Hull Dice" reduced from the battery by one point per lesser Dice. The number reduction means ballistic and explosive weapons now have a chance of damaging the Mobile Weapon (or whatever the PS armor is equipped to), but still not full damage. Whatever Hull Dice are still powered by PS armor, this number is reduced from incoming weapons fire Damage Dice.
So, if you have a 5D Hull, but only have 3D PS armor active, then an incoming missile of 8D is reduced to 5D Damage.
If more power is used by the PS armor past its Hull Dice number, then every extra "Dice" number used past its Hull Dice Number (with a max extra number being no more than double the Hull Dice) adds to its Energy Weapon resistance rolls with Hull Dice.
So, if you have a Hull of 5D and add the 3D more to the PS armor, then the Hull rolls 5D+3 to resist energy weapon damage, and also remains immune to ballistic and explosive weapons damage (so long as the Battery still has power and the PS armor remains active).
Remember, VPS armor can only do this to a maximum of double the Hull Dice. So if you have 5D Hull, you can only make this resistance 5D+5.
NOTE ON STAR WARS RPG: Phase Shift Armor is a great defensive system in any setting using lots of weapons that use bullets, shells, missiles and other types of bullets, ballistics and explosive weaponry. However, in Star Wars, PS armor and its variants may seem like a waste of time, with its wide use of blasters and Proton Torpedoes (PS armor is NOT immune to Proton Torpedoes! but it would work against Concussion Missiles).
However, PS armor still has its uses in such a setting. While Energy Shieldsare all purpose and defende against almost anything (save ion weapons), PS armor could be added to such defenses to reinforce against ramming and other missile weapons. PS armor could even make a vehicle take no damage if it rams another vehicle, even on Starfighter and Capital scales! Also, if VPS armor is used, it could add that little extra to defend against energy weapons.
Even moreso, PS armor could be used to make very light yet highly durable armor even on character scale with the use of simple energy cells used throughout the Star Wars universe. Or even a handy hand-held shield that could be easily discarded when enough damage has taken it toll, or its power cell is used up.
In the right creative hands, PS armor could be very useful in the Star Wars universe!