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Old 03-03-2018, 12:45 AM   #1
PTTG
 
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Default How do *you* build Mechas?

I'm thinking of running a game with PC mechsuit pilots with a distinctly eastern-mech approach (the mechas are narratively treated more like an extension of the pilot, rather than a vehicle containing the driver). I would like character development to include a significant amount of mech customization, with most characters having access to stock options (Chainsaw hands? Reinforced core armor? Number of aux Etherium turbines?) and tinkerers have the option to innovate (Rocket pack? Chameleon armor? Electro-arc hands?).

They'll be fighting monsters that are even larger and stronger than they are, making the game -- in theory -- boss fights only.

The technology is cinematic mundane, so I'm not going to worry about kilowatts and load strength. At the same time, I don't want mechas to be entirely stat-driven. If you want to armor up, your mech should be meaningfully heavier. If you want to have an oversized gun, that should entail something beyond having fewer points to spend on ST.

So, how has the forum built its mech systems? I've seen some discussion of Spaceships as a foundation, but its scale seems somewhat larger than what I was thinking of. Thoughts?
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:25 AM   #2
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

For mechs with a lot of individuality, I'd build them as mindless Ally vehicles with Controls.
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

Well I think you should consider what sort of skills you are going to require from the pilots. Which again depend on what sort of actions they are going to take.


First off I would ask myself: How important should the pilots abilities be, outside of Piloting skill?

For instance. A mech build like a machine is going to require Piloting and Gunner from the pilot. But lacks proper rules for making melee attacks outside of "ramming". You could use piloting skill to make melee strikes though. Sort of substituting DX, Brawling or Melee weapon with Piloting Skill. Or alternatively making Piloting Techniques. But in the end, the only skill needed by the pilot is a high Piloting skill. This fits many anime-genres where you have teenages who are awesome fighters in the mech, but not outside it.
This does mean all the pilots are going to be pretty similar in regards to combat ability. With the mech's capabilities being the main difference. (Which is why I would suggest making a lot of Techniques).


Alternatively. You might want to let the mechs be more like powerarmour, which just enhance the users abilities. So to make a punch or kick, your pilot needs Brawling or Karate skill. Or to fire a weapon they need Guns not Gunner. This way the character's skills are very important.


I think both systems work. It depends very much of the feel and theme of the game. Do you want the best pilots to be veteran fighters or to be the one with the highest Pilot skill?
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

I've not used it, but David Pulver's article Modular Mecha, Pyramid 3/51, p.23, looks like it'd be what I want for something like this.

Mechas come in three sizes, and the 'standard' mecha has certain features. Quality determines how many more (or less for cheap models) features they have, such as more armour, flight, extra weapons, and so on.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
So, how has the forum built its mech systems? I've seen some discussion of Spaceships as a foundation, but its scale seems somewhat larger than what I was thinking of. Thoughts?
When I did my mecha game that included some customization of mecha, I just came up with the numbers I wanted by fiat, without any underlying design system. It was fairly quick and easy, and gave me the exact results I wanted.

For a game with extensive customization, going by fiat would be a little more work, but it will also allow you to more closely control degenerate combinations. Extra aux etherium cores might increase handling less on a scout mecha than they do on a heavy mecha.

So I'd start with a table of chassis types, like this:
Code:
Type	ST	Hnd/SR	HT	Move	LWt	SM	DR	Weapons
Scout	80	1/4	11	40	30	+3	180	1 Light, 1 Medium
Medium	90 	0/5	12	35	45	+4	220	2 Medium
Heavy	100	-1/5	10	30	60	+4	240	1 Heavy, 3 Medium
and then I'd have a list of weapons and add-ons, along with any special notes: a heavy or medium chassis increases Move by 5 and Hnd by 1 at the cost of HT -2 by increasing extra etherium cores, but Scouts only increase Move by 1 and reduce HT by 1. Or whatever; these numbers are entirely off-the-cuff.

But anyway, that's how I build mecha.
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Last edited by mlangsdorf; 03-03-2018 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

You can use Spaceships 4 for Mecha, though they tend to be glass cannons.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

I'd probably build them by fiat, after looking at the tanks, spaceships, and fighter planes they'd be facing off against. Mecha are either small enough to be considered battlesuits or are suboptimal in terms of engineering, so just declaring what you want is probably best.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

Upright Mecha are more for style than substance, but horizontal Mecha are another story altogether. A hexapodal Mecha would offer superior functionality when compared to a tank of the same mass in an Earth-like environment, though they would be mechanically more complex. A piscine Mecha would offer superior functionality when compared to a submarine, though they would also be more complex than a submarine. In short, humanoid Mecha are impractical, but animalistic Mecha are promising.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

How do you figure the spider is better than the tracked tank? When I build a TL 10 T-72 analogue using Vehicles 2nd edition and swap the treads for 8 legs*, ground pressure goes up and maximum speed goes down by 2 mph. Both designs have almost the same off-road speed in most conditions - the spider is twice as fast in forest and swamps, but only because both vehicles are fairly light weight (~15 tons) and that prevents the tank from smashing through trees.

8 exposed legs are a lot more vulnerable than treads. The speed advantage in swamps and forests, and the overall improvement in MR, are rather small compared to the risk of having the legs blown off.

* Each leg had DR 180 advanced laminate armor on all faces, so I didn't skimp on the protection but it's still nothing compared to the tank's front armor.
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Last edited by mlangsdorf; 03-03-2018 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: How do *you* build Mechas?

A spider can function with two crippled legs, a tank cannot function with even one crippled tread. Depending on the design, crippled legs are also much easier to replace than crippled treads. In addition, you can lower or raise the body of the spider by adjusting the angle of the legs, allowing for better performance on angled surfaces (and even allowing the body of the spider to remain level despite the angle of the terrain).
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