Monday, October 7, 2019

Having Mechs on the First Date

Humans skyrocketed to dominance through tool use. As we ascended, our tools became more complex. The bag and the word have their proponents, but here, at Chicxulub Heavy Industries, we're talking about weapons. The rock became the stone axe became the longsword became the flintlock became the machine gun. We've gotten better and better at killing - our predators, then each other, then the world we live in. Mechs are merely the latest, greatest, final word in weaponry. Their pilots are rock stars. Their enemies are not long for this world.

Our competitors at Of Slugs and Silver LLC, Nuclear Haruspex Zaibatsu, Words for Yellow Boutique Combat Implements, Oblidisideryptch Incorporated, and Octarine Tinted Security Systems will all offer you tools. We offer you weapons.

25 tons of awesome.

Level 1: Mech, Weapon, System, 1 Eschaton Die
Level 2: +1 Weapon or System, +1 Eschaton Die
Level 3: +1 Weapon or System, +1 Eschaton Die
Level 4: +1 Weapon, +1 System, +1 Eschaton Die

Hit Die: d4
Skills: 1. Brawling, 2. Conviction, 3. Engineering, 4. Gambling, 5. Gladiation, 6. Tinkering
Starting Equipment: Coveralls, crowbar, toolbox, mech, greasy manual

(1000+ name list credit to the OSR discord, and inspiration credit to EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER)

Mech: You have a mech. It's about the size of a bear, has a cockpit-torso where you pilot it, two arms, two stubby legs, and is powered by d6: 1. Steam, 2. Magic, 3. God, 4. Blood, 5. Passion, 6. Life. Its power is represented by Eschaton Dice (d6s).

Roll your Eschaton Dice each combat round. You can add them to any mech rolls you want. You must allocate them before you make the roll. You may also spend or burn Eschaton Dice to activate special abilities of your mech. Burnt Eschaton Dice only return when you repair your mech (1 per repair). Outside of combat, you must take a rest to roll ED. Mechs crave battle, and their cores run cold in peacetime.

Mechs move at the same speed as a human, deal d8 bludgeoning damage with their fists/stomps, and have 6+2d6 STR, 2d6 DEX, and 6+2d6 CON. Their HP = CON, and base armor is 4. Whenever dealt damage that reduces it to or below 0 HP, roll on the mech Breach table, and when reduced to -max HP, it's rendered unusable. You can repair your mech whenever you would heal during a rest for the same number of HP you would otherwise recover.

1. Leg Snapped. Knocked down.
2. Hull Breach. You take damage from breaching effect as well (CON save halves)
3. Weapon Jammed. Can't fire random weapon until repaired.
4. System Shocked. Random system shuts off until repaired.
5. Core Breached. Mech takes d6 fire damage, and loses 1 ED until repaired.
6. Controls Scrambled. Save or act at random until you pass that save.

Anyone else who wants to pilot your mech is going to be bad at it (unless they too are a Mechwarrior). They can't do much beyond sluggishly, stumblingly move it around and aimlessly trigger weapons systems. Every time someone untrained tries to do something in your mech, they have a 2-in-6 chance of doing something different and entirely unwanted instead as they pull the wrong lever.

Systems: Pick a system to install in your mech, or upgrade an existing mech system.
1. Bastion
    ✧: +4 HP, can project 10' tall by 10' wide shield that gives +1 Armor to everyone behind it, shield bash deals d10 bludgeoning damage and forces save vs. knockdown
    ✧✧: +4 HP, 2 shields at +2 armor each, can place as terrain with 4 HP, can throw shield as ranged weapon (boomerangs back)
    ✧✧✧: +4 HP, 3 shields, can project/dismiss them within 100'
2. Berzerker
    ✧: Enter rage state when reduced below half HP. Roll ED with advantage, must spend all ED each round, must move towards nearest creature and fight it, lose 1 HP whenever you spend an ED, rage ends on successful voluntary WIS save or when nothing in sight lives
    ✧✧: Extra attack while raging
    ✧✧✧: +ED armor and STR while raging
3. Bioform
    ✧: Eat 1 HD of meat in combat to restore 1 HP
    ✧✧: Spend an ED to get +3 to a stat of choice, must give up the bonus to get the die back
    ✧✧✧: Spend ED with combined sum 10 or greater to mutate and replace this System with another system of your choice for a round
4. Blitz Core
    ✧: +2 DEX, double max speed, if you move full speed you can go first in initiative next round
    ✧✧: +2 DEX, +2 Armor if you moved full speed this round
    ✧✧✧: +2 DEX, extra attack if you've moved full speed this round
5. Brawler
    ✧: +2 STR, double the values of ED spent on melee attack damage, gain a melee weapon
    ✧✧: +2 STR, melee attacks ignore armor
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, extra melee attack each round
6. Carrier
    ✧: Gain 2 drones, each with a d4-damage mech weapon. Drones are cat-sized (3 HP), and can do one of the following: fly, have arms and hands, or have +2 armor. You can see through your drones' eyes. Spend ED to issue (sum) orders to the drones (max 3 per drone). Repair as mech.
    ✧✧: +2 drones
    ✧✧✧: +2 drones
7. Excavator
    ✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (dice*5)' cube as turn
    ✧✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (dice*5)' cube as action
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, spend ED to excavate/construct (sum)' cube as action
8. Giant Robot
    ✧: Size of a house. +6 HP. Requires pilot to succeed on WIS test to control it each round (may spend ED on WIS test).
    ✧✧: Size of a tower. +6 HP, +3 STR. Requires 2 pilots to each succeed on WIS test to control it each round.
    ✧✧✧: Size of a dragon. +6 HP, step up damage dice.
9. Hazard Suit
    ✧: +2 CON, advantage on saves vs. temperature/pressure/radiation extremes
    ✧✧: +2 CON, advantage on saves vs. magic
    ✧✧✧: +2 CON, +2 Armor, immune to temperature/pressure/radiation extremes
10. Jaeger
    ✧: +2 STR, max damage attacks always wound/breach mech-sized enemies
    ✧✧: +2 STR, +2 Armor when fighting mech-sized enemies
    ✧✧✧: +2 STR, roll damage against mech-sized enemies with advantage
11. Juggernaut
    ✧: Can't be knocked down or moved against will, +2 CON
    ✧✧: +2 Armor, +2 CON
    ✧✧✧: Double ED spent on saves, +2 CON
12. Magewrought
    ✧: Mech core knows a random spell. Can spend ED as MD to cast it (burn on 5 or 6).
    ✧✧: Learn another random spell, +1 ED (spend only on spells)
    ✧✧✧: Learn another random spell, +1 ED (spend only on spells)
13. Mobile Frame
    ✧: Double movement speed, can climb vertical surfaces, +2 DEX
    ✧✧: Triple speed, jump jets (can fly, but must land on ground at end of turn), +2 DEX
    ✧✧✧: Flight (no longer need to land), +2 DEX
14. Morphic
    ✧: Your mech can spend an ED to turn into a vehicle (POW = STR, HAN = DEX, DUR = CON) with a vehicle trait of your choice. Still has ED in vehicle mode, but can't use mech systems
    ✧✧: Extra vehicle trait and +2 to an attribute of choice in vehicle mode
    ✧✧✧: Extra vehicle trait and additional mode of locomotion in vehicle mode (flight, submarine, etc.)
15. Overdriver
    ✧: +1 ED, step up an ED
    ✧✧: step up an ED, may reroll 1 ED per turn for free
    ✧✧✧: step up an ED, may spend any number of ED to vent core and deal (sum) damage to everyone in melee range (save negates)
16. Spirit Machine
    ✧: It has its own INT/WIS/CHA scores (3d6 down the line for each), is (d6. 1. snarky and jaded, 2. ruthlessly efficient, 3. naive and happy-go-lucky, 4. caring and parental, 5. enthusiastically helpful, 6. bloodthirsty and angry), and can act independently for (sum) minutes by burning an ED
    ✧✧: act independently for (sum) hours
    ✧✧✧: is fully autonomous
17. Stealth Frame
    ✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, camouflage into environment when stationary (won't be noticed unless someone's looking for it, or runs into it)
    ✧✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, burn ED to turn invisible for (sum) rounds until firing weapons
    ✧✧✧: +1 DEX, +1 CON, invisibility lasts for (sum) minutes, firing weapons doesn't break invisibility
18. Telefrag
    ✧: Gain a throwable teleport beacon. Can teleport to beacon if within 100'.
    ✧✧: Can teleport to beacon from anywhere
    ✧✧✧: Stored in a pocket dimension, summoned with teleport beacon, can be dismissed back into pocket dimension.
19. Voltron Module
    ✧: Combine with another mech to form one big mech! The new mech has the highest of each mech's STR/DEX/CON and Armor, all weapons/systems, and all Eschaton Dice. The other mech must also have a Voltron Module
    ✧✧: Can combine with mechs without Voltron Modules
    ✧✧✧: Can combine with any machine (figure it out)
20. War Crime Machine
    ✧: Gain an extra special weapons system with 2 combined Ammo types. Understandably banned in all jurisdictions.
    ✧✧: Step up damage die for special weapons system and add another Property
    ✧✧✧: Gain an additional copy of your special weapons system

Mech Weapon Generator
Property (d10)
1. Anti-material: punches through cover, halve defender's armor
2. Anti-personnel: reroll 1s and 2s for damage to smaller targets
3. Automatic: reroll 1s to hit and for damage
4. Dual: can attack two different targets at once (split damage between two equally)
5. Heavy: step up damage die
6. High-explosive: deals damage to all targets in 5' diameter area
7. Light: can always fire this before enemies
8. Rapid-fire: can spend an Eschaton Die to make two attacks against target
9. Semi-autonomous: can detach and run around on its own (1 HP)
10. Spinal-mounted: step up damage die twice, can't do anything else on a round you fire this

Ammo (d20)
1. Bore: slashing damage, pierces through targets to whoever's behind them
2. Charge: electric damage, may deal max damage once by run out of charge for 10 min
3. Chem: acid damage, melts through mundane substances
4. Cryo: cold damage and freezes target on failed STR save
5. Flak: slashing damage, max damage against aerial/fast moving targets
6. Force: bludgeoning damage, throw target in direction of choice
7. Fusion: fire damage, melts target to surface (save negates)
8. Gas: leaves burning cloud in 5' radius around target (save vs. on fire)
9. Grav: bludgeoning damage, attracts everything within 10' to target (save negates)
10. Hunter: slashing damage, if you can miss you can attack a different target near the first
11. Incendiary: fire damage and sets target on fire
12. Kinetic: bludgeoning damage, push target 10' away
13. Memetic: psychic damage, attack chains to anyone target talks to (save ends)
14. Mono-molecular: slashing damage, step up damage die, leaves perfectly clean cuts
15. Phase: piercing damage, phases through obstructions to target, step down damage die
16. Pulse: bludgeoning damage and target saves vs. knockdown
17. Shredder: slashing damage, damage can't be healed for a week
18. Sonic: bludgeoning damage, save vs. deafness (1 hr), can play music
19. Swarm: piercing damage, swarm of microbots flies around and deals that damage divided between things near target (max 4 points per round), can tell bots to move, dissipate when all damage dealt
20. Zap: electric damage and charges target (they attract other charged things)

1. Accelerator: d6 damage in line of sight, hits targets without attack roll if immobile
2. Beam: d8 damage in 100' line
3. Blade: d10 damage, melee
4. Blaster: 2d6 damage within 30'
5. Coil: d6 damage within 100', anyone who moves into or out of range saves vs. getting hit
6. Drill: 2d4 damage, melee, max damage to terrain
7. Impactor: d8 damage, melee, push target 10'
8. Launcher: d8 damage arcing, bouncy projectile within 100'
9. Missiles: 4d4 damage within 100', split dice among targets of choice, expend damage dice on 3+ (reload when repaired)
10. Mortar: d10 damage arcing projectile, disadvantage to hit within 100', accurate with setup time out to 5km
11. Projector: 2d4 damage in 30' cone
12. Rifle: d8 damage within 100', d10 damage within 10'

Paint Jobs
1. A meaty dark red, with bone-white porcelain fringes and innards.
2. All gold, all the time. Ludicrously extravagant. Bejeweled.
3. Bare metal, raw, rusting at the edges. Purely functional.
4. Black, with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton painted on.
5. Bright red, with gold and black accents. Ruthlessly fast-looking.
6. Caked with dirt and grime. Moss grows in patches.
7. Copper and mahogany, with decorative piping and vents. Aristocratic.
8. Dazzle camo. Alternating zig-zag stripes of white and black.
9. Desert camo. Sandy tans and oranges.
10. Draconic. Scale patterns and a metallic d6. 1. red, 2. black, 3. blue, 4. white, 5. green, 6. purple. Decorative horns and wings.
11. Gunmetal gray, graffiti'd with slogans and dirty pictures.
12. Hot pink, with decorative bunny ears and cotton-tail.
13. Jungle camo. Browns, lush greens, greys.
14. Night-black, flecked with clusters of glowing stars.
15. Patriotic. In colors of your homeland, emblazoned with your lord or nation's banner.
16. Purple with emerald green highlights. A sickly, too-wide grin marks the cockpit.
17. Purple, with silvered arcane luck-sigils that rotate and twist on auspicious plating.
18. Silver polished to a mirror-finish.
19. Sky blue, sulfur yellow, crimson. Unmistakable, fearless primary colors.
20. So covered in rust and patches that you can't tell what color it originally was.


  1. N i c e. Those weapons are hella sweet, and your generator is slick. Can autonomous weapons fire while detached?

    1. Hell yeah it can! Only once per round, though, like any other attacking character.

    2. Okay, I've now lost two drafts in a row. This is getting frustrating. Anyway:
      *Voltron III looks really cool, but my default assumptions for how it works skew toward robot PunPun. My more reasonable ones still say "probably autosucceeds at safecracking and password theft", but that's cool enough to allow.
      *Swarm initially looks reasonable, but the first way I saw to break it was to combine it with Beam. I don't totally know how they interact, but if it really is one swarm per target, and it's possible to aim such that each 5' map tile in the path counts as a target, that's at least 1d8+Eschaton Dice x 30 damage per turn... which I then noticed was persistent. You can have arbitrarily large damage swarms following wherever you go. Combines especially nicely with:
      -Zap, to concentrate your enemies and thus make the swarm easier to direct.
      -The ultradamage combo, which is to say Warcrime Machine III, twin autonomous spinal-mounted (zap/phase/monomolecular swarm beam cannons). Total die size up-steps: 2-4. Times two attacks, independant of your actual mech. Even if the swarms don't last more than one round each, you can pump out something like ~410-480 damage between five targets in ideal conditions, or 20-40 damage per target in likely ones.
      -You could, of course, use Projector instead of Beam, which is likely a better choice in actual play. It certainly deals an enormous amount of melee damage. Heck, it can be your non-autonomous weapon system.
      *Bioform III can grab either of the above two tricks, if not as efficiently or quickly outside battle.
      *For actually rules-as-intended tricks, stocking up on Cryo Phase Coils makes you a really good area denial specialist. Likewise, Grav and Gas are pretty darn neat.
      *Actually, what's the point of offering a new weapon when you could just grab another Warcrime Machine system? It's a strict downgrade, unless "warcrime" is more than just aesthetics.
      *Launcher doesn't have a specified range.
      *I think Rifle probably needs a buff, since as-is it looks strictly weaker than Accelerator.
      *Likewise, Missiles are good for about six shots total - which could be a really powerful nova depending on how die-steps interact with multidie attacks, but it isn't DPR, and I sort of assume you don't get repairs after every fight?
      *Ooh, Fusion Cryo Accelerator is another really powerful combo.
      *Could you change the post title? It implies a straight-edge dating-and-giant-robots thing in the mode of Macross, and while that and this are both fine things, they are different things. People might be disappointed.

    3. The War Crime Machine definitely needs to be a violation of treaty to use. It's the only way it makes sense over taking another weapon.

  2. The feet of mechs are never big enough... Make sure they all sink off rock and road.

    1. that's an interesting way to balance them (no pun intended) on a table-by-table basis! but imo they're too cool to limit like that, and when you're already powering them with magic, real-life engineering challenges melt away

  3. Is this open source or Creative Commons?

    1. as of right now I'm gonna make the call to put it under CC 4.0 Attribution-ShareAlike! I've added the license link and terms to the bottom of my blog

    2. Thanks! I wanted to use a lot of this post as the basis for a Lancer-lite. I tried figuring out Mastodon to message you but I got stumped 😅

    3. that sounds fantastic! i'd love to see it when you're done


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