Reverend mort said:
Well, first of all, failing an upkeep test means they have several ways of negating it, most of which don't remove the power armor from play.
Secondly, applying a penalty to an upkeep test for repairing power armor seems rather harsh, especially since no such penalties are applied for maintaining a paradise world estate, a new cruiser or even an space station built like your face.
Third, requiring upkeep tests for power armor in general seems rather harsh. They're Rogue Trader, they feed thousands of souls every day, they buy, sell and trade priceless artifacts and works of art every week. They own and maintain at least one massive space ship. Straining their resources just to patch some holes in a suit of armor, especially when they have a tech-priest, strains credibility.
Also, if they have to do upkeep to repair power armor, why wouldn't they have to do the same for any other armor, which likewise gets hit and hurt and holed? This seems like a solution more likely to annoy your players and appear meant to screw them over, rather than anything that adds fun or suspense to the game. Groups differ, obviously, but it seems very harsh.
My suggestions to fix this problem is the following:
Bring the anti-tank weaponry. People in power armor aren't subtle, and most threats to a RT is people with either equipment or the money to get it. If they know they're facing people in PA, why wouldn't they do their best to get their hands on weaponry to penetrate it? Heavy las weapons and bolters exist to kill PA. Use them to do just that!
Power armor has a limited battery life (far too limited in RT to my mind, but even more reasonable and rational figures give you limited lifespans on their use) enforce this more, and you'll make PA something you bring when you know trouble's coming, but not something you wear for any length of time (unless you're a tech-priest in Dragon Scale, but that's tech-priests. They tank when naked).
Furthermore, while most Imperial nobles no doubt accept people, especially RT's, who show up wearing carapace beneath their fancy robes, or even over them if it's ornate enough, PA is loud, clunky and extremely overt. It's not subtle, it's not stealthy and it projects an air of immediate and direct force. Someone who walks in to a meeting, party or anywhere else in PA is loudly proclaiming they're either expecting or planning violence. Neither is beneficial when you're trying to negotiate anything but immediate surrender. Enforce this too, and your players are no doubt gonna consider wearing something slightly less hostile to meetings and trade agreements.
Talk to your players. If you really don't want or can't handle them all wearing Power Armor, say as much. Bring it up, talk to them and see if you all can't reach an agreement or solution that you're all happy with. Unless you're playing with a bunch of dicks, chances are they'll gladly just stop using PA as much if it's a problem for you.
Maybe this upkeep system will work for you all, I dunno, but talk about it rather than just introducing it without mentioning why you're doing it.
I'm going to get to your good points fairly out of order.
I do intend to implement the upkeep for ALL armour (hence leaving "power" out of the post title). I also intended to make it at fairly dramatic points, for instance where they've been out in the void a while without resupplying, or down on a planet without the retinue of tech priests to patch it up after every single fight. Pretty much only when it's actually appropriate that their resources are strained.
I also agree with you about the limited battery life, which is why when they Acquire Best Quality power armour the power source is effectively limitless. Once BC came out, I allowed them to pick a number of enhancements from the power armour section based off of quality of the armour, since it made sense. BQ got all of them, again, because that's what power armour and the acquisition rules represent.
This is actually an attempt to make the weapons that scum and other sorts of low powered adversary's might carry actually dangerous again, without going around the rules or around the thematic appropriateness that I like to have in my may. I have no problems presenting them with anti-tank weapons when someone has prepaired for them specifically, but a good amount of the time they're facing off against brand new foes. High pen weapons are being slowly introduced as they make sense, but I'm trying to give them plenty of options other than combat to approach situations as well. I feel that is method actually promotes more roleplay, as if your armour is broken, you'd better feel more like talking or running, or even taking cover.
I also encourage my PCs not to wear it to social functions, and that's worked 80% of the time once the snide comments were bandied about.
As far as talking to the players, I always talk to them about changes made to the game system when it's different from the RAW. But this, actually, isn't.
Pg 275 in RT under "When to Make an Upkeep Test":
When an acquisition is expended, damaged, or destroyed: Such as a suit of armour worn by an Explorer that suffers massive damage, a planetary settlement bombarded from orbit, or a supply of rare ammunition used excessively.
It's in the book. I was surprised too when I went to look up the RAW definition of an upkeep test. Here I was, thinking I was being very clever in using the acquisition rules, and FFG had already seen my predicament.