One of my goals is to have rules that let people build the mech they want, but not get bogged down in points buy hell. Jeremy Keller's excellent Tech Noir is a great example. Cyberpunk games have a distinct "designer weapon" feel to them. It's not a handgun, it's a Ares Predator. I want to capture that feeling with this design.
Each mech has five equipment slots. They correspond to a body part on the mech. For most knights, since the mechs are controlled by a neuralhelm, these parts correspond to the human body - head, front torso, back torso, arms and legs. For the designs of the Emergent, the evil robot barbarians threatening Arthur's realm, these designs allow for non-human shapes. For example, the MerGN-B "Boar" armor is head, torso, torso, leg, leg.
You can choose either an internal system or external system for the slot. Sure, your armor has lots of cool gadgets, but the equipment highlighted in the slot is the best feature. It's like buying a car. A buyer cares more about the horsepower or the soundsytem rather than power doorlocks or the adjustable seats.
Internal systems give you a higher Skill level while in your mech. This replaces your characters Skill, so if you have a Fair Shooting and the internal system is an Average Shooting, you are better off with your natural skill. Each slot offers a spread of skills ranging from getting one skill at Great to four skills at Average.
External systems work like stunts. They give you a +2 for a skill in a narrow circumstance, let you swap out one skill for another, or otherwise break the rules. These do stack with internal systems, so if you pick up a mech with a Good Shooting and give it a weapon that adds +2 at long range, that's a Legendary +6 when that mech shoots at you at long range.
To counter those big numbers, the mecha can absorb stress like consequences. Shutting down a system absorbs 2 stress. Shutting down either all internal or all external systems absorbs 4 stress. Shutting down all systems absorbs 6 stress. Bringing these systems back online requires a Smithy roll, with the difficulty set as the number of systems shut down.
We'll see how well these rules handle contact with the players. If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment below or tweet @robowieland. And one final tease: one of the test mechs I built. I give you: The Broadsword!
- Head: Death’s Head (Use Piloting for Intimidate)
- Front: Kiloton Breastplate (+2 Fighting vs. Physique defense)
- Back: Self-Repair Pack (Spend a Fate Point to bring a system back online)
- Legs: Stabilization Spurs (+2 Physique when on solid footing)
- Arms: Energy Gunblade (Use Fighting for Shooting attacks)