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War Machine Profiles

War Machine Profile #11: Northern Gun NG-X9 Samson Power Armor

By Brian Hardwick

Overview: Northern Gun’s Samson PA is by far the most widely used PA suit in North America. It provides a good blend of firepower, protection, and mobility for infantry, and its low cost makes it even more attractive. Mercenaries and many non-CS nations all make use of the suit. It also has the distinction for us of being one of the first three suits of power armor in Rifts (the other two being the original CS SAMAS and the Flying Titan, not bad company to be in). As such, the NG-X9 has served as the standard for all later power armor suits.

Firepower: The firepower of the Samson is its main selling point. Combined with its speed and armor, the Samson can create havoc among light to medium armored infantry forces. Even troopers with heavy body armor will find themselves in a bad situation unless they are entrenched and equipped with heavy weapons themselves.

The centerpiece of the Samson is its NG-202 Super Rail Gun. The Super 202 provides excellent range and hitting power on a burst, and the Samson carries enough ammo to easily last a typical battlefield encounter or two. The other ranged weapons of the Samson are paired mini-missile launchers, one on each arm. The Samson only carries a total of four minis, so the pilot needs to make sure they count. Proper use of these combined with the Super 202 and the Samson’s agility (see Speed below) in a squad size unit is what makes the Samson a opponent to be feared. Finally the Samson is also equipped with knuckle blades that increase the damage from a punch. The Samson’s robotic strength combined with these blades equals its standard power punch damage without using the extra attack.

Armor Protection: The armor protection of the Samson, while dated compared to other, more recent designs, is still more than enough for a infantry unit. Curiously, we’ve never to my knowledge received the stats for the Samson’s arms or legs, but the Samson "Missileman" version presented in Merc Ops does list the protection of the limbs. Players and GMs should note that the Missileman is listed as being an ‘up-armored’ version of the basic Samson. If using the Missileman as a basis, then GMs may wish to lower those stats.

Speed: The speed and mobility of the Samson is in my opinion it’s second best feature (after firepower), even though it cannot fly. Still a very impressive top running speed of 150 MPH means the Samson can keep up with, or even outrun, even the most recent Coalition designs. Just as impressive is its jumping ability, either non-assisted or using it’s rear booster jets. Only the vaunted Triax Terrain Hopper when power-jumping or the Super-SAMAS can out jump it. Again it's these abilities when combined with the Samson’s firepower that make it so devastating on the battlefield.

Deployment: The Samson originally was, according to the old Rifts Main Book, "Not often available". However in RUE, it has "Good availability; excellent in and around Michigan." This can be easily explained as the recent wars in North America’s Midwest have ramped up the production for this unit. Infantry commanders should use the Samson in no less than a squad size formation, ideally a platoon. This allows the pilots to make use of coordinated attacks using the Samson’s strong points and minimizing its weaknesses. Notably, its primary weakness is the lack of flight capabilities. As with all ground based units, military commanders need to provide air support, otherwise they risk losing their unit.

Upgrades: The Samsons workhorse nature lends itself to other weapon configurations easily. The Missileman version clearly indicates the need for a heavy weapons platform based on the Samson frame. Although it loses some mobility in the process, the Missileman gains much in the way of firepower they can bring to bear on the enemy.

One possible variation might be to augment the Super 202 with a flame-thrower. Nothing creates havoc among infantry formations like a massive fire. Other possible versions of the Samson could be a "riot-control" unit equipped with the Defender PA’s Neural Disruptor Rifle, tear gas dispenser (like the Cyborg system) and mounting grenade launcher’s for additional non-lethal options.

A "Firefighter" variant could also be handy: drop the weapons and in their place use the Cyborg system CO2 foam dispensers, increasing the fire resistance, adding additional oxygen supplies (with a couple of masks that those rescued can use), an emergency beacon and a vital signs monitor.

In short, the Samson should be able to soldier on easily for many more years.

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