A Player's Guide to Menlo

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A basic Menlo suit with a robotic theme.
Since the Menlo craze has started, I've been watching different people describe their suits and have found a few errors in what they're doing. I want to help the game avoid fights and run smoothly, and that is why I have taken the time to put together this guide. The first section will be on 'Menlo Manners', both IC and OOC. The second and much larger section, will be on 'Suit Design'. Hopefully this will help not only improve the design of suits, but will also help avoided arguments in the long run.

Menlo Manners

No One is Invincible (Within Reason)

It's pretty self explanatory for the most part, except for the line 'Within Reason'. The within reason line is to make clear the difference between an Amateur, Advanced Amateur, and a Professional Menlo Player. An Advanced Amateur will normally beat an Amateur, while a Professional will normally beat an Advanced Amateur. The Professional will pretty much always beat the Amateur.

The Whole Suit

When making your description of your suit, you should mention all weapons and armour it has in an early post. This is to avoid conflicts over what your suit does and doesn't have, and makes sure that people aren't adding features they want to their suits in the middle of combat to try and make themselves capable of beating other suits. You may want to 'keep some secrets', but that just isn't fair to the other players. The weapons mentioned are OOC knowledge more than anything, and knowledge of them should not be used in the IC game. The OOC knowledge is needed to avoided conflicts and fights.

Adopting Other Ideas

Don't get angry when others adopt your good idea. If it's a good idea, it's going to do the same thing that a good new bat type or a nice new golf ball does in baseball or golf circles. It won't be long before everyone has one. Getting angry about people borrowing your ideas isn't worth the time or trouble.

Know your Suit

Know your suit's design before you go into competition. Don't make other people wait for a post while you figure out what your suit has.

Suit Design

Armour

Armour has inherent weaknesses. Heavy armour isn't flexible, and flexible armour doesn't provide a lot of protection. Combining the two (Heavy and Flexible) is a big no-no, as it's just not possible to have a flexible, high-protection armour. The choice for flexibility should mean sacrificing some protection. There are some middling armours that provide decent flexibility and protection, but again, you can't go to either extreme without sacrificing either protection or flexibility. To give an idea of how much armour weights, and why it will effect movement and flexibility, let me provide some numbers. Lets say you want 4 inch (8.56 cm) thick armour, for the highest possible protection you would use steel. For each 1 in by 1 in (2.14cm x 2.14cm) section of steel used, you would add 1.13 Lbs (0.51 kg). If you wanted more mobility with decent protection, would could switch to a lighter (though not as resilient) metal such as aluminum. The same 4in x 1 in x 1 in (8.56 cm x 2.14 cm x 2.14 cm) size in aluminum would weight 0.4 Lbs (0.2 Kg). Another note: Heavier armours are also prone to being loud. 'Clank clank clank'.

Bipedal vs Quadrupedal

Bipedal suits generally have better use of 'in-hand' weapons such as swords and guns. Quadrupedal suits are normally much faster in movement, and can take a harder hit before being knocked over. Quadrupedal suits will get more speed because they are capable of taking longer strides without sacrificing forward momentum to maintain the upright (and inherently shaky) posture. Some suits combine the two, but keep in mind that doing it without it effecting the performance of the suit when it's not in it's 'Primary' mode is a power play. Since we're bound by technology, keep in mind that there is not a joint in existence that operates at 100% in both ways, since they require different leg-arm ratios.

Suit Locomotion Power

Your suit has to be powered somehow, and it's a good thing to specify it. But remember, the scientific laws restrict what is available to certain types of suits. Electricity is a silent power. Unfortunately, electric power isn't usable by the heavier suits, and is only ideal when used with a 'body-hugging' lightweight type suit. Pneumatic power is workable for a middle-weight suit, or a light suit that needs to move quickly. Pneumatic power is created by forcing air into a tube. The pneumatic tubes do make a loud hissing noise when in use. The tubes can only be used by forcing air INTO them, so if you want to create a suit that moves solely on Pneumatic power, you would need to endure the hiss once for each direction the piston needed to move in. There is another disadvantage in that the tubes require time to reset between each use. Hydraulic power is the best to use when you're talking about a heavyweight suit. Hydraulics are run on electricity, but use water pumped into tubes to provide the thrust. They make some noise when moving, but are powerful enough to move a heavy suit. The water tank also adds a great deal of weight, as you must carry the water that is used to fill the pistons, and have a tank large enough to hold all of the water that the suit uses, should it all be forced out of the pistons. Fronima based suits are the most difficult to create, as a large amount of the suits resources must be spent on the power source and that leaves few points to be rationed out to other aspects of the suit. Fronima has the distinct advantage of being able to move a heavy suit silently, but again leaves little to be allotted to weaponry.

Electric Powered Devices & Weapons

The majority of your suits' weapons and devices will be powered by electricity. Things like spikes launched by air compressors, pneumatically powered weapons or tools, searchlights, and gear-based weapons or movements. These items are generally the sort of thing that are currently available in real life to military types.

Fronima Powered Devices & Weapons

The devices powered by Fronima pose a great drain on your suit's resources. These things are the sort of thing that are currently impossible with modern technology such as chameleon camouflage devices, poisons that target electronics, or blaster type weapons. So long as you keep in mind the requirement to keep these items balanced in the game (IE: don't turn them into godmode or powerplay devices) they can be almost anything within your suit's Fronima power scope.

Ranged vs Melee

When designing your suit, it is wise to choose a specialization as to weather or not you will fight at range or in melee. This is because to become good at either one, you must sacrifice one for the other. To become accurate at range, you must sacrifice the heavy armour and weapons that would get in the way during your delicate aiming process. Likewise, to become powerful in melee, you must sacrifice a great deal of flexibility and delicateness for the suit to be strong enough to stand up to such a battle. Should you choose to place yourself in the middle of these two extremes, you should be average at both, as you would be forced to choose armour and weapons for melee that would not interfere with the process of aiming and firing at range.

Weaknesses

Every suit has weaknesses. It's inevitable. When designing your suit you should make sure that one or two are built in. If you have followed the guidelines above, your weaknesses should be built right into the suit already. If not, a ratio of about 2 strengths per 1 weakness is a good rule of thumb. For every 2 strengths you have, make sure you have at least 1 weakness in the suit.