Atria on foot. Playing Hard Suit WITHOUT the Hard Suits?



Hi all! Long time no posting.

Recently I’ve been drawn into the mysteries of Atria and the Hard Suit book. Like the book says, science-fantasy is bucket list genre for TTRPG enthusiasts, specially after so so so many fantasy “you meet in a tavern” stories. My group seems to love the idea of science-fantasy (haven’t pitched much about HS to them yet, yada yada discovery gameplay, etc.) and I feel the call to uncharted lands!

But my big concern rn is that the Hard Suits feel kinda… disconnected? both thematically and mechanically. After reading most of the book, I have no clue how to pitch them or even how to integrate them in play really.

I find it interesting that they are this mystery to unravel through play, but the world doesn’t seem like a fun playground for them. They are a blunder to carry around, expensive and heavy, and difficult to maintain. It just seems more logical from a gameplay perspective to dump/stash them somewhere and just travel around on foot a la Alfheim. Moreover, since they are precious and rare, if one player looses one of them, specially early on, I think is going to feel really bad.

I was thinking maybe just playing without them at first but introducing them later if some big fight or impossible to do on foot scenario presents itself? Maybe have them as a milestone or “main quest”, the party needing a mcguffing to reactivate them or something.



Hard Suits help the characters deal with the BIG threats as they can’t even make a dent in a Giant or larger creature without one - see page 11 of the book on THE GIGANTIC SYSTEM!

Still I can see how they’re a pain in the butt and sometimes likely not worth the trouble.


I was uncertain on how to handle them at first as well. There were a lot of dots I was having a hard time connecting…and I’m still unsure about stuff. HOWEVER, just start! It takes a few sessions, but things are starting to come together with the group I’m running (this is my first time running Hard Suit). We’re only 4 sessions in, but we’ve already had some fun and tense situations that would not have happened without the Hard Suits. For instance, in the last session, the players decided to go back down and explore the wreckage of the ship to see what they could salvage. Two of the players were working on salvaging stuff while one of them was hauling goods to the top of the cliff. He had already dropped off some food rations and a heavy, cylindrical object and was bringing up another one of the cylindrical objects. Just as he could see over the top of the cliff he saw Mord and five people he hadn’t met before. Uh oh, the player knew this could be bad, especially if the people saw the Hard Suits. And yep, it didn’t go so well. Turns out that Jarl Greeman really hates old tech and tried to stop them. Jarl Greeman learned really quick that you don’t mess with Hard Suits. One of the players ended up grabbing the Jarl and wasn’t at all happy with him. It was a tense moment as the player was debating squashing the Jarl or letting him go. The players just wanted to help out Mord with the crabs and be left alone to try to figure out who they were, they didn’t see anything bad about the Hard Suits. There was way more to it than that, but my point is that the Hard Suits created a lot of tough choices for the players, choices that would not have been there if they were just “exploring” Atria. The Hard Suits also give them a little more direction for what to do. My players are trying to figure out how to recharge them, and who knows how that will play out…I don’t even know that yet. I have some ideas, but I like to try to let the players lead as much as possible.

I think what I’m trying to say is that the Hard Suits are a tool that can be used for a lot of different things to enhance the story and the experience. They can be used to add conflict, tension, tough decisions, and side quests, just to name a few. If you’re worried the players won’t want to lug them around, throw things at them that make it difficult to continue if they don’t use them - set it up so they have hard choices to make. Sure, you can do this with other things, but the Hard Suits are a mysterious part of this world that you get to “figure out”. I kind of like that it’s a bit vague, since it gets the players thinking and coming up with ideas that I can riff on. My players are getting really attached to their Hard Suits, kind of like pets/companions. Sure, they will probably lose them, but that can create some good stories. And just because they lose one, or all of them, that doesn’t mean that’s the end, you’re the GM and in charge of pacing for that part. During the salvage job I mentioned earlier I let the dice decide that they found 3 Hard Suits in the wreckage (there might be some more in the sea ;-)), and then I had them each roll up a new Hard Suit - which they had a lot of fun with. What will they do with these? Well, I already know that they will try to protect them fiercely. And who knows what will happen with Greeman village after the incident with the Jarl. With them having a little “surplus” of Hard Suits it gives me, as the GM, more options, just as it gives them more options.

We haven’t even scratched what Atria has to offer yet. The Hard Suits, and the players trying to figure out where they are, who they, and how these things relate have been driving the story…and trying to stay alive. :wink: One of my players thinks there’s something that will kill him behind every rock and door. :smiley: Hopefully this helps give you some ideas, but I think the main way to figure it out is to just start. Enjoy the journey, Ha’ Baka!