What good is a future juncture without power suits and the occasional giant robot? Even the DARPA are taking them seriously.
The cinematic effects of a hardsuit are important to consider. Just raising a person’s Strength and Toughness doesn’t match up to the effects in anime. The armor is good for bouncing small arms fire, but equivalent-damage strikes from close combat will actually hurt. The lifting and crushing feats of strength are impressive, but they don’t punch through opponents with the same capacity. Accordingly, the base Strength and Toughness ratings for any hardsuit match their use against general opponents, and extra numbers will be given for strength feats that can be performed when properly braced and for dealing with flying lead.
Hardsuits give technologically-oriented characters the equivalent of fu powers. The built-in guns are handy, but the back jets allow stunts on the order of Prodigious Leap, and ... examine the possibility of defining fu schick-like effects for powered armor characters, much like spending XP for arcanowave devices. This will only be useful when in the armor, of course, so it should cost less or be more useful than a given fu schtick, and will have a feng shui site like effect of giving the character opportunities to find armor or get theirs fixed. Alternatively, compare them to Gun and Creature Schticks.
Big, clunky power suits. Active dodges are possible but tend to throw the armor off and require an additional three shots to get up while at a much lower defensive AV.
Knight Saber quality material. Not as much armor but capable of active dodging.
Giant robots are generally impractical. The cube-square law makes it hard to build them in the first place, and the pendulum periods for the limbs of a giant robot will be substantially larger than those for a humanoid being— so having one move with a human-speed gait will require vastly greater effort. By the time you have the kinds of power sources and motors that can move a humanoid figure around like that, there are probably vastly more impressive things you can create.
Still, for battles of humanoids against humanoids, the psychological impact of the humanoid form is undeniable. If you have the gundamium alloy to build the things, and the protoculture power source to run them, some militaries may well enter a frenzy of giant robot-building. (And if you have to fight against giant demons like the Thing With a Thousand Tongues, you ought to get a giant robot!)
(note creation of fu-related technologies by splinter groups to get the "tar suit" effect from G Gundam-- fu-oriented mecha...)
Giant robots aren’t quite on the Kaiju scale, but they are pretty hard to damage. Start with the Thing With a Thousand Tongues for inspiration (high Body but vulnerable at weak points) and go on from there. Whenever pulling out giant robots, always make sure that the heroes can get in their own giant robots, be transformed to the appropriate scales themselves, or have a list of creative stunts handy that the non-giant-robot heroes can use against the giant robots (kick open access panels and start ripping out circuitry, handy barrels of oil to pour on the ground so they slip, etc.).
The Architects have powered hardsuits for their troops that need to deal with rogue Abominations, and naturally they like to experiment with arcanowave versions of anything they created with normal technology...
A hardsuit made out of chitinous plates harvested from gigantic insectoid demons and augmented with their unnatural muscles. The armor folds closed around the operator. In its unpowered mode, it clomps around under their muscle control, giving an effective +2 Strength, +4 Toughness, and -2 Reflexes. When the operator brings the arcanowave systems online... (build in jets, leaping, guns...) Operators who spend too long inside this armor tend to meld with it when they become Abominations.
(Steal from the Guyver.) A more advanced package that works as a spinal implant, formed from tissue from transforming demons...
These are always one-off creations by the inspired arcanowave technicians who have departmental first dibs on any corpses of giant demons.
This should move onto an opponents page at some point. Notes for boomers: run them as supernatural creatures. Schticks include Transformation, Abysmal Spines, Tentacles, Armor, Regeneration, Blast (make sure to have lots of gratuitous built-in guns). Add a Hideous Strength schtick to match the hardsuits. Transformation works only once and then they have to go get a new synthflesh coating. Some of the extra strength can show up in human form, as can small abysmal spines and a bit of armor, but they can only really function in combat when transformed.
Explanations: if Penrose is right about intelligence being involved with quantum effects, then producing decent AI will require computers that have a substantial amount of quantum-level processing. This, of course, introduces a wonderful excuse for having machines go rogue: the more intelligent they are, the more likely they’ll make it past quality control with serious mental flaws. Your average waiter or housecleaner or stevedore boomer doesn’t need to be capable of a lot of initiative... but bodyguard and combat models need as much as a human, and are more likely to go rogue from sheer mistreatment, let alone bad programming.
The AD Police style cops can be out there for the sociopaths who enjoy their hardsuits a little too much (it’s easy to rack up those hardened Violence notches when you feel invulnerable!) and the cyborgs who have managed similar feats of insanity through body replacement.
Skills: Driving, Guns, Martial Arts.
Mecha schticks are definitive of a character’s primary mech or hardsuit, and prejudice what is available to the character in various junctures, much like being attuned to a feng shui site that specializes in giant robots. On an extended adventure in the Deadlands juncture, the hardsuit operator may be without a way to recharge his armor from the Cyberpunk juncture, but his Mecha Schticks would prejudice him toward meeting a friendly mad scientist with a ghost-rock-powered steam-engine robot that suits the juncture.
The skill for operating a mech is Driving, with the appropriate specializations for power suits bought. The character can use their Martial Arts or Guns skill up to the limit of their Driving.
By default, a hardsuit imposes a –2 penalty to Speed and a +2 penalty to shot costs, and cannot active dodge. (These are like the K-12 suits in Bubblegum Crisis: big, bulky robots.) This can be modified by battlesuit schticks. (You don’t want to actually have AV modifiers because that means a battlesuit character will become suddenly more effective when out of the suit. A +1 shot cost is roughly equivalent to a –2 AV penalty, given the snap shot rules.)
Little extras like the parachute drops on K-12 armor can be freebies that come with the drop plane.
Need to come up with rules for damaging a mech without damaging the person inside. (R. Bain suggested a Durability rating, which dovetails nicely with Jan Walker’s suggestion that hardsuits should have Wreck and Pep ratings.)