From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Armorclad Insurance company was founded in 1892 by Maxwell Prendergast, a canny businessman who had made a fortune in munitions. Predicting a worldwide end to aggression in the 20th century, Prendergast funneled his fortune into the world of insurance. Though his predictions never came to pass, Prendergast's new enterprise -- Armorclad Insurance -- developed into one of the United States' premiere insurance providers.
With the emergence of super-human criminals and crime-fighters in the mid-20th century, insurance became a hot business in Paragon City. Many reputable insurers wouldn't touch the city, and a brief insurance crisis in the mid-1950s left several companies bankrupt after superhuman-related incidents. Armorclad CEO Arnold Prendergast, after a protracted fight with the Armorclad board of directors, began offering insurance against super-human incidents. A bold (and potentially fatal) move, Prendergast had a plan -- he lobbied the local, state, and federal government to sponsor his insurance plan, on the grounds that average citizens deserved to be protected from super-human related expenses. For twenty years, Prendergast got paid twice -- once in the form of outlandish premiums paid for Armorclad super-insurance, and again through government subsidies.
In the early 80s the well ran dry due to government belt-tightening, and Armorclad was forced to compete on even footing with other insurers in the Paragon Area. For nearly thirty years, the company barely broke even, forced to cover its expenses through traditional property, auto, and life insurance, and steadily losing money on any super-related insurances. In 2007, the current Armorclad CEO David Prendergast had an insight -- could the company actually save money by sponsoring a super-hero? A super-hero focused on protecting its customers, and aware of the costs associated with destruction of property? How much would customers pay for this service?
Enter Armorclad, the corporate spokesman for Armorclad Insurance and personal protector of its customers. Customers that purchase the Armorclad Invulnerable plan are connected to a network of sensors, monitored 24/7 by Armorclad security experts. In the event of an accident, hostage situation, or break-in, these experts will dispatch the armored super-hero Armorclad to the scene! Equipped with the nigh-indestructable Armorclad Defense System, and supported by a team of technical geniuses, tactical experts, appraisers, and adjusters, Armorclad will eliminate the problem while minimizing damage to life, limb, and property.
Seeking a charismatic and compelling personality for the Armorclad role, Armorclad Insurance hired Grant Roberts, a Navy SEAL turned stuntman and actor. Barely able to get enough roles to keep his SAG card, Roberts leapt at the opportunity to be Armorclad. After extensive training by former Longbow officers and expert insurance adjusters, Roberts was deployed on a trial run as Armorclad!
Grant Roberts is contractually obligated to portray Armorclad as forthright, honest, friendly, and concerned. Since he is connected via multiple sensors to the Armorclad Command Center, he is acutely aware that all of his words and actions are being monitored. Thus, whenver Roberts is in the Armorclad armor, he is "on".
In private, Roberts is quiet, but funny. He is a homebody and a fitness nut. Prior to his role as Armorclad (and his access to Armorclad Insurance's state-of-the-art training facility), he worked out on a home-made obstacle course in his backyard. AI has moved Roberts into an apartment in the city, but he maintains his home in the mountains for the rare weekend away.
Armorclad Defense System
The Armorclad Defense System (ADS) is the brainchild of Seamus McMurty, an expert in mechanical systems and chemistry, and Takeshi Shimamura, a physics genius. The two met while attending MIT, and used seed money from the Institute to start Logical Strategic Components (LSC), a think tank for next-next-generation arms and armor. LSC developed the initial systems that became the ADS.
ADS is an amalgam of numerous armor technologies, unified into a single system. The multi-layered armor utilizes the following systems:
- Regenerating Ablative Plating (RAP): The RAP system is a crystalline lattice of carbon-titanium nanites. These nanites absorb point impacts by distributing the energy across the entire RAP mesh. Any destroyed nanites are replaced using a mass reserve distributed throughout the armor's underlayer. The RAP network is light and flexible, but vulnerable to electrical and energy discharge.
- Point Defense Fields: The Point Defense Fields connect numerous micro-force field generators distributed througout the armor to a sensing grid that detects incoming projectiles. Micro-fields are then deployed to deflect incoming fire.
- Microdoc Body Suit: The Microdoc Body Suit is a suite of sensors, nano-surgeons, and pharmaceutical dispensers that allow doctors in the Armorclad Command Center to treat non-critical wounds, while deploying performance enhancers to the wearer of the ADS.
- Waldo Suit: The weight of the ADS requires a Waldo suit, a micro-fiber exoskeleton that increases the wearer's strength ten-fold. This allows the wearer to move freely while encumbered with nearly a ton of armor and armaments.
- Tactical Sensor Grid: The Tactical Sensor grid is constantly scanning and analyzing the environment, pinpointing possible dangers and assessing risk and damage in a tactical environment.
- Energy Augmented Power Knuckles: The ADS's key offensive component, the EAPK system drives two 'kinetic capacitors' in the ADS's gauntlets. These capacitors discharge on knuckle impact, augmenting waldo-enhanced punches with an additional directed energy discharge. The combined effect is similar to being hit with a mac truck loaded with TNT.
Armorclad Command Center
Armorclad is connected at all times to the Armorclad Command Center (ACC), a room on the top floor of Armorclad's corporate offices. This room is powered by the best simulation and analysis hardware and software in the world, and staffed at all times by a team of seven: Two experts in the ADS systems, two tactical experts, an appraiser, an adjuster, and the Armorclad Commander. This staff is responsible for deploying Armorclad to the scene of an incident, assisting him in dealing with threats, and minimizing damage to facilities or persons under Armorclad protection.
The Armorclad Commander has the final word on all decisions related to the Armorclad Project. Grant Roberts has no authority to override his decisions, and he is acutely aware that he will be fired if he does not perform to the utmost in his role as Armorclad.
I love Armorclad's costume -- it was the driving force behind the character, though the concept has developed sufficiently that I now find him interesting as a concept. While the "Armored Superhero" concept is done to death in CoH, I think Armorclad is sufficiently interesting-looking that he differentiates himself from other armored super-heroes.
- You'll notice that he has no belt, gloves, boots, or excessive helmet adornment. Less is more!
- I love the "gunmetal" color for armor. I forget where I initially saw it -- I think it was on someone's robot character. It's not the exact shade I want, and has a tendency to look dull, but it can also really pop.
- In an ideal world, Armorclad would have the word "Armorclad" running down the arms and legs (as part of the stripe). As a corporate shill, he needs to be more branded.
- I would just like to emphasize that I love this costume. I think I'm nearly alone in that, as I have yet to get a compliment on it. It may be that the armored super-hero look is just so played in CoH.
- Like all armored superheroes, Armorclad obviously owes a debt to Iron Man. I guess he gets some of the "corporate shill" angle from Iron Man, too, or possibly Booster Gold. But I like the softer, "working actor" aspect of the character that makes him a bit more likeable.
- I would classify Armorclad as quasi-Silver Age, or perhaps "nouveau retro". I think the look is a bit more contemporary, and the quasi-subversive "super insurance agent" angle is a little too self-mocking to really be a Silver Age concept. Still, his behavior and world view are pure Silver Age. If somebody took a plain vanilla Silver Age armored hero and updated him for today, Armorclad might be the result.