Friday, July 10, 2020

Mechs in the Survival Paradigm


://pilot.manual.era//:

The Kaiju Era is roughly comparable to the smartphone era, in terms of where we are relative to its beginning. Many remember the world before, but there's no way back.

The first kaiju attack occurred fifteen years ago. The Survival Paradigm became international law eighteen months later, marked by the first mass mech deployments. The military-industrial complex finished restructuring to a total war footing between mechs and kaiju shortly after. The international economy has never been stronger. Protections for workers and pilots have never been weaker.

The largest mech deployment occurred five years ago. Operation: OUTER GOD slew the largest kaiju to date, in orbit at the L1 Lagrange point. Debate still swirls in academic circles on whether it could be considered a Category 6. We haven't seen another one yet. We think it's only a matter of time.

The mech gig economy is not the only model of defense. However, its prevalence (backed by Pentagon contracts and the bloated mass of American taxpayer dollars spent on the final human wars) has terminally warped everyone else's strategies. They piggyback off of TacNet's satellites and early warning grid; global supply chains are all precisely tuned to build prefab small mechs in bulk; research into other solutions has been chronically underfunded in favor of "proven strategies".

Some nations marshal national defense mech fleets from a new military arm. Some fully decentralize their deployments under a more egalitarian system, where pilots are provided for by state healthcare and stipends. Those stories are worth telling, but they are not the ones told here.

This is the bleak corporate death-cult stranglehold of the United States of America, and you're one of the essential workers whose blood fuels its metastasis. Thank you for your service, hero. Here's your medal. Here's your debt.



 ://pilot.manual.core//:

The Eschaton Core is poorly-understood and difficult to scale, but easily replicable. When linked to a human cognitive experience, it provides clean (in conventional senses), easily-distributable, and controllable power. It obviously breaks conservation laws, yet is impractical as a civilian energy source for several reasons.

The amount of energy a core produces correlates to hundreds of factors. It seems to respond to linked pilot emotional state, surrounding energy fluctuations, kaiju proximity, *violence* and *meaning* and perhaps even *dramatic tension* (which scientists gave up on understanding a long time ago). You can't use this to power a plane or a city. It's not exclusively for mechs, but it produces exponentially more power in one than it does anywhere else.

While it's not a pollutant, it fucks up your brain. The connection's a two-way street. Prolonged exposure changes your cognition to match its use context - when all you have is a mech, every problem looks like a kaiju. Mech pilots become more combative, more self-sacrificial, more impulsive, and more heroic (according to their cultural notions of heroism). This leads them to early graves, even out of their mech.
   
For a pilot in the right mindset, the core will start to produce energy that can be harnessed through a dizzying array of auxiliary systems to produce seemingly magical effects. Flight. Force fields. Damaging auras of pure energy. Summoned beasts of light and fury, multiplying the destructive power of weapons tenfold. These are linked to the pilot's own predilections and combat style, as well as the stakes of the battle. In short, it takes a pilot's will, and makes it reality.
   
Our weapons are no longer mere wonders of science and engineering. Now the human element - meaning - translates directly into their power. Cultural context and lived experience are essential to pilot outcomes, so we've sent deeply traumatized individuals into a deeply traumatizing conflict, and expect them to carry the weight of the apocalypse on their shoulders.

://pilot.manual.basics//:

There's two types of test: a Roll and Strain. Each is a d10, usually against one of the mech's stats (Chassis, Engines, or Reactor).

Rolling is just a binary success/failure. Roll equal to or less than the target number to succeed; rolling over is a failure.

Straining always succeeds, but if you don't get equal to or less than the target number, you take damage. This is usually 2, and increases by 2 every time you Strain in a round, even if you don't take damage. Your first strain roll deals 2 damage if you fail, your second deals 4, third deals 6, etc.

Rolls and strain aren't interchangeable. You can't swap one for the other at will, only if a system or the GM lets you.

://pilot.manual.controls//:

On your turn, you get two actions for free. The base action types are Move, Attack, and System. You only get to do each action once.

If you want to take an extra action beyond the first two, you may strain the relevant stat. You can do this any number of times, in any order. These extra actions may be additional actions of a type you've taken.

When you Move, move to an adjacent zone. For an extra Move, strain Engines.

When you Attack, fire one of your mech's weapons at an enemy within range. Pick an ability to target, reduce the number of damage dice you roll based on the kaiju's Category, add any from weapon mods, roll damage, then remove all the dice with values equal to or less than the kaiju's Armor. For an extra Attack, strain Chassis.

System actions are based on whichever subsystem you're using. For an extra System action, strain Reactor.

Other actions exist and are up to you and the GM to adjudicate. Sheltering civilians with your chassis, picking up a new mech-scale weapon, making an impassioned plea to corporate overhead for reinforcements, pulling the body of your best friend out of the shattered carcass of their mech. Each of these would count as an action.


://pilot.manual.survival//:

When a Kaiju attacks your mech, you get to Dodge. Roll Engines; on a success, you avoid the damage. On a failure, you take it and go down hard. Allocate the damage to a stat of your choice (all damage to the same stat). Excess damage goes directly to you, the pilot. Every point of overflow damage you take keeps you out of action for a week. Medical care can reduce that time, but isn't cheap (this is, of course, the American healthcare system we're talking about).

When a stat goes to 0, roll on its Breach table. When all your stats are at 0, your mech goes from a somewhat capable battle machine to just another lump of battlefield scrap.

://mech.construction//:

You've got 25 points to build a mech. 1 point  = 1 in a core stat. All core stats start at 1 for free.

You can't spend more than 15 points on core stats. You can increase them through rewards and play.
A weapon is 5 points.

A system has a base cost in points and might scale for each additional point you put into it.

I encourage players to try to break this. If you do, congratulations, welcome to the big leagues. EXTERMINATE BERSERK is cutting a swathe towards Shanghai and we need all the warm bodies we can put in its way.

://mech.core//:

Chassis: A mech is only as tough as its frame. If the steel doesn't hold together, you've just got a garage of very expensive, very fragile, often explosive components. Roll Chassis for in-mech feats of strength, resisting damage, or holding together when you push your mech beyond its limits.

Engines: The joints and hydraulics and actuators that make your mech go. Sometimes includes actual rocket boosters or jet engines. Roll Engines for moving quickly and dodging attacks.

Reactor: Your mech's thrumming heart, cabled into your nervous system, beating in tandem with the rhythm of your thoughts. Roll Reactor for anything that needs its power, whether that's charging a system, unleashing raw energy, or sustaining a power drain from a parasitic kaiju.

://mech.core.breach//:
1. Crushing Strain: Strain for 3 damage instead of 2 for the rest of the battle.
2. Immobilized: You can't move under your own power until the end of next round. Afterwards, moving always strains Engines.
3. Neural Feedback Overload: Take 2 Overflow damage as the Eschaton core's context overlays itself partially onto your mind. Gain or increase the level of your the trauma Coreshock (rules forthcoming).
4. Shattered Windshield: All damage you take from here on out inflicts half as much damage as Overflow.
5. System Shocked: Your highest-point system deactivates for the rest of the battle.
6. Weapon Jammed: One of your weapons stops working for the rest of the battle.

://mech.weapons//:

First, pick your weapon's core. This determines its base damage die size and other innate bonuses. All weapons by default can't attack targets outside of the zone the wielder's in. Weapon cores with lots of small damage dice have higher baseline damage output and will have leftover dice after Category resistances, but scale worse with Mods and will get negated by Armor more often. Weapon cores with few but powerful damage dice fare better against armor, but get rapidly nullified by high-Category threats.

Remember how Kaiju resistances work: Armor ignores all damage dice with results less than or equal to the armor, and the Category reduces the number of dice you get to roll by (Category-1).

://mech.weapons.core//:
1. Accelerator: 1d10 damage, range 1
2. Blade: 1d10 damage, ignores 1 armor
3. Blaster: 3d4 damage, ignores 1 armor
4. Cannon: 2d6 damage, range 1
5. Missiles: 4d4 damage
6. Mortar: 1d12 damage, can only attack at range 2 (no closer)
7. Saw: 2d8 damage
8. Impactor: 1d12 damage
9. Rifle: 2d6 damage, always attack in First Strike phase
10. Rockets: 1d10 damage, range 1, explosive (hits everyone in target area, both allies and enemies)

Every mech pilot optimizes their weapons for certain situations that they're likely to face. Modifications set circumstances in which the weapon gets extra damage dice. Each mod will only provide 1 die, so a Missile mod will increase it from 4d4 to 5d4, while a Blade mod will increase its damage from 1d10 to 2d10.

All weapons start with 1 mod. More mods can be added after you've obtained enough resources from proving yourself worthy of further investment. You can't stack the same mod twice.

Some mods' conditions are easier to achieve than others, and some work better with certain weapons. This is intentional. Eventually, when fighting against category 5s that shrug off 4 damage dice before even considering any other defenses, you'll need to stack every advantage you can get.

://mech.weapons.modifications//: 
1. Anti-Armor: +1 die vs targets with Armor 3+.
2. Blitz: +1 die against a target that hasn't been hit yet this round.
3. Burst: +1 die vs targets who've taken 6+ damage this round.
4. Chemical: +1 die against targets suffering an ongoing debuff.
5. Combo: +1 die when fired alongside a Combo weapon on another mech. Both mechs must be in the same zone and acting in the same phase. Make both attacks simultanously.
6. Energy: +1 die when plugged into a larger, stationary power source like a Power Plant or Research Lab.
7. Fallback: +1 die if your mech's been Breached.
8. Fine-Tuned: +1 die if you haven't taken damage yet this combat.
9. Focused: +1 die vs targets that haven't moved yet this round.
10. Heavy: +1 die if you roll to Strain your Chassis as part of the attack.
11. Hunter: +1 die vs targets with Category > base damage dice.
12. Kinetic: +1 die if you've moved closer to the target this round.
13. Overcharged: +1 die if you roll to Strain your Reactor as part of the attack.
14. Rapid Fire: +1 die if you roll to Strain your Engines as part of the attack.
15. Reactive: +1 die if you've been hit by the target this round.
16. Reliable: +1 die if the damage would be reduced to 0. Roll this die after all the rest of the damage is tallied. Doesn't stack with itself.
17. Stabilized: +1 die if you burn a Move action first to aim (don't move, just expend the action).
18. Tactical: +1 die against abilities that the Kaiju used this turn.
19. Tracking: +1 die if the target's moved this round.
20. Twin-Linked: +1 die if you've fired another weapon with the same core on your mech this round.

://mech.systems//:

Each system scales by (points) or by (+). (+) is the number of points spent past the base value, (points) is the total number of points in the ability. The divisions in type are arbitrary and flavorful to make the d66 table come out nice.

[1] ://mech.systems.chassis//:
1. Auxiliary Limbs: 2. Can take any number of times. Each limb set passively reduces strain damage for either attacks (arms) or movement (legs) by 2 (minimum 1).
2. Bunker Mode: 4+. By burning a Move action, you can gain (points) damage reduction for the round if you haven't moved and don't move.
3. Hazard Plating: 3+. Reduce damage from extremes of heat, pressure, pH, radiation, etc by (points). Does not reduce kinetic damage, from things (like kaiju claws) hitting your mech really hard. Fully seals mech against fluids, gasses, etc. Can double damage reduction for the round with an action.
4. Heavy Armor: 4+. All attacks that deal (+) or less damage don't affect your mech. Can't have (+) greater than 6 (some experimental tech might increase this).
5. Stabilizer: 2. You can roll Chassis instead of Engines to Dodge. If you would be moved, you can strain Chassis to resist being moved.
6. Titan Frame: 8. Your mech is the size of a category 1 kaiju. You can always strain Chassis to reduce the number of damage dice rolled against you by 1.

[2] ://mech.systems.engines//:
1. Air Frame: 5. Your mech can fly. You ignore all ground-based hazards and can engage flying kaiju in melee.
2. Bore Drill: 5. Your mech can burrow. Whenever you move, you can choose if you're underground or on the surface. Underground characters can't target or be targeted by characters on the surface, and vice versa (area attacks that damage everything in a zone still harm you, as do attacks that can specifically target underground characters).
3. Grappling Array: 3. A set of high-tension cables and rocket-propelled hooks lets you grapple onto locations and targets in the same zone with a move action. If the grappled target moves, you do too. You can also use this to pull grappled targets with a strained Engines roll (large enough targets are hopeless to pull). When you take damage, you must make a strained Engines roll or choose to decouple.
4. Jump Jets: 2. Your mech has VTOL boosters. While you can't move laterally in the air, your jets will let you do vertical jumps up buildings or kaiju hide. You can engage flying kaiju in melee.
5. Lateral Thrusters: 2. When you successfully Dodge, you may move to an adjacent zone. Uses past the first strain Engines.
6. Reaction Boosters: 3. Your first Dodge each round can strain Engines instead of being an Engines roll.

[3] ://mech.systems.eschaton//:
1. Bioform: 3+. Grown from your cell culture strung over a kaiju-bone scaffold, the Eschaton Core is the raw beating heart of your meatpunk mecha. Restore (+) to a system of your choice at the start of each round. By taking an action to consume a large quantity of flesh, you can get a (+) bonus to one of your systems for the rest of the round.
2. Energy Shields: 1+. You have (points) damage resistance per round. Recharges at the start of the round. Doesn't apply to Strain.
3. Eschaton Manifest: (Points = Reactor). Pick a Kaiju ability or create an ability in a similar style. You can wield that ability by straining your Reactor. On a failure, the ability still occurs, but your core powers down until your next turn. All rolls are strained until it comes back online.
4. Gravity Hook: 3. You can roll Reactor instead of Engines to move. You can also move mech-size or smaller targets in the same zone as you with a strained Reactor roll.
5. Stealth Shroud: 4. You can disappear from the visible spectrum, making you unlikely to be targeted by the kaiju unless you're the only character within range (or it's hitting the zone you're in with an area attack). All actions while under stealth besides movement are strained, and taking damage decloaks you until the start of your next turn.
6. Teleport Beacons: 3+. As part of a move action, you can drop a Teleport Beacon in the zone you're moving from, or strain Reactor to teleport to any beacon you've set up. You get one beacon for taking this system and have (+) spares. Picking up a deployed beacon is free. Beacons are destroyed if they take any damage.

[4] ://mech.systems.reactor//:
1. Backup Batteries: 2+ Even if your Reactor is 0, you can always treat it as if it's (points) for rolls and strain.
2. Drone Carrier: 2+. You have (points/2) drones attached to hardpoints on your mech. Each has an unmodded weapon and a single system with cost less than or equal to (+). You can use a Move action to move each of your drones instead of your mech, and an Attack action to have one of them attack. Strain for these actions can be allocated to a drone instead, though if a drone ever takes damage it's immediately destroyed.
3. Heavy Reactor: 4. Reduce Reactor strain damage by 2 (minimum 1).
4. Modular Circuitry: 2+. At the start of your turn, you can choose a stat or a system to get a (+) bonus. You can't use any other stats or systems this turn.
5. Overdrive Vents: 2. Once per round, you can strain Reactor instead of another stat.
6. Spinal Mount: 3+. Pick a weapon. You can strain Reactor to give it (points) extra damage. You can only have one Spinal Mounted weapon.

[5] ://mech.systems.sensors//:
1. Black Box Neural Net: 2. Advanced neural nets give you advance warning of the kaiju's next move. You can take one of your actions each round immediately after the GM announces the kaiju taking an action, before the kaiju's action is resolved
2. Comptroller Matrix: 2+. You can spend an action to let an ally take a free action on your turn. They get plus (points) to one roll they make with that action.
3. Deep-Scan Suite: 2. If you can spend a whole round uninterrupted in the same zone as the kaiju doing nothing but gathering data on its capabilities, you learn one of its hidden abilities, and players can now target it.
4. Onboard AI: 4. If you get exactly the target number on a roll, you get a critical success and can do something extra (negotiated with the GM).
5. Satellite Uplink: 3. You know what the exact values of the kaiju's visible abilities are.
6. Targeting Optics: 3. When the kaiju exposes a weak point, your attacks ignore its armor as well as category resistance.

[6] ://mech.systems.support//:
1. Breach Sealant: 2. Once per combat, you can negate the effects of one Breach on your mech or a mech in the same zone.
2. Creature Comforts: 1. Heated seats, air-cooled cockpit, kaiju-leather control pads. No aches and pains distracting you. You can reroll one die per combat for free.
3. Custom Paint Job: 1. You can ruin your paint job to ablate one enemy attack. Recharges when you give it a new paint job out of combat.
4. "Juice" Injectors: 2. You can always act in First Strike if you want to, regardless of initiative. Take 1 Overflow damage if you choose to activate this in combat.
5. Shock Harness: 1. Reduce all Overflow damage taken by 2 (minimum 1).
6. Streaming Rig: 1. You can make some extra cash by livestreaming your fights. Rules forthcoming for downtime and bills and repairs and the like.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Meta Prompt Generator

I've been slowly working my way out of a creative rut brought on by the general state of the world and my life in 2020. Something I've toyed with is just posting short things more often, instead of scope-creeping my way into 2000-word opuses that are both a: incredibly cool and b: take about a month to percolate and cut into something postable.

Here's a d100 list of tags to mix, match, and recombine into inspiration for your (or my) next blog post! Hit the button. Write that post. I double-dog-dare you. It doesn't have to be good, or long, or more than like (2d4*100) words. A good table can go a long way.

With whatever you roll, try to make something conceptually dense and useful immediately at the table. Practical utility > highminded theory, especially when I haven't actually run a game in a year and likely won't until it's safe to have 4-5 people in close quarters indoors again.





by Guangyuan Yu
d100 Post Tags
1. advice
2. alchemy
3. alignment
4. an adventure
5. art
6. b/x
7. campaign prompts
8. character creation
9. cities
10. class
11. clothing
12. combat
13. concise
14. crafting
15. crime
16. cultures
17. currency
18. d20 tables
19. death
20. deep time
21. dice
22. divinity
23. downtime
24. dragons
25. dungeons
26. dwarves
27. elements
28. elves
29. endings
30. environments
31. equipment
32. exploration
33. factions
34. folk
35. food
36. fountains
37. giants
38. glog
39. healing
40. hexcrawling
41. history
42. horror
43. humans
44. items
45. just write a short dungeon and post it
46. language
47. law
48. leveling up
49. light
50. machines
51. maps
52. math
53. meat
54. mechs
55. meta
56. metal
57. modern
58. monsters
59. mutations
60. narrative
61. nature
62. npcs
63. one page
64. orcs
65. outsiders
66. patronage
67. peasants
68. plague
69. plot hooks
70. pointcrawls
71. prophecies
72. prosthetics
73. psionics
74. random encounters
75. religion
76. royalty
77. sample characters
78. schools
79. sci-fi
80. ships
81. shops
82. skills
83. social
84. space
85. spells
86. stress
87. theory
88. time
89. tools
90. traps
91. treasure
92. trivia
93. undead
94. vehicles
95. villages
96. war
97. weather
98. weird shit
99. wilderness
100. worldbuilding

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Kaiju in the Survival Paradigm

Welcome back to the world of the Survival Paradigm. For over a decade, humanity has faced the end, and grimly sent its bravest martyrs clad in shining steel and blazing cannon to defend the planet against impossible monsters. That's what the propaganda channels blare, that's what you see in the movies, that's what the TacNet registration posters proclaim. Become a pilot. Build your armor. Save the world.

They lie. We aren't brave, we're desperate to pay rent. We aren't martyrs, we're bodies sent into the meat grinder. We aren't armed with the newest toys or the toughest armor, we've scraped together pre-war armament and secondhand scraps of metal and processor into the only hope that Earth has left. They pay us shit, then leave us to die - if not at the claws of a kaiju, then under the weight of medical debt.

But we have no choice. Our families, our communities, our friends - they're all counting on someone standing between them and the eschaton. And there's no help coming from the corps, from the billionaires, from their pet governments. They've decided we're a sacrifice they're willing to make, and it doesn't even dent their portfolios.

We've fought this stalemate for over a decade. We're tired. But we can't hang it up, because if we do, you all - we all - die.

This is off the record, right?

Shit, my phone buzzed. Category 3 inbound - and yep, there's the klaxons. Get to the shelters. I've got to saddle up.




The Battle
by Kouji Tajima
- - - COMBAT ZONE ACTIVE. PREPARE TO DROP. - - -

The battlefield is divided into around 10 zones, spanning an area based on the size of the kaiju. A category 1 threatens a city district; a category 5 threatens a major metropolitan area. If you're in the zone the kaiju is, you're within its melee range. Ranged attacks can target zones adjacent to the attacker. Each zone may have a hazard in it. Any number of mechs or kaiju can exist in the same zone.

- - - WEAPONS FREE, ENGAGING TARGET - - -

Roll initiative at start of the battle. You're either on First Response (before the kaiju) or Cleanup (after it). If you pass your check, you pick which you act in. If you fail, you end up on Cleanup. While this doesn't change round-to-round, you can spend an action to reroll your initiative for the rest of the battle.

- - - GIVE THE BASTARD ALL YOU'VE GOT - - -

You don't need to roll to hit a kaiju (abilities like CAMOUFLAGE notwithstanding). Even the smallest are bigger than the broad side of a barn. Can't miss it. Pick one of the kaiju's abilities you want to damage, and roll your weapon's damage dice. Then, remove the highest (CATEGORY - 1) dice (a category 1 removes 0 dice, a category 2 removes 1, etc) and all dice ARMOR or lower.

For example, using a weapon that deals 5d6 damage against a Category 4 kaiju with 2 armor and rolling 3, 3, 4, 5, 1 - you'll remove the highest 3 dice (5, 4, 3) and the 1, dealing 3 damage total. You're tiny. It's giant. Get used to futile efforts.

On a failed ability roll, the kaiju will expose the ability as a Weak Point until its next turn, for which category resistances no longer apply. Attack it for massive damage.

- - - IT BLEEDS LIKE WE DO - - -

Kaiju ability scores double as health. Attacks target specific abilities, and damage dealt reduces the the ability score by that amount. Therefore, as the kaiju takes damage, its capabilities will deteriorate. Whenever an ability is reduced to 0, the kaiju takes a Wound. Wounds will further harm the kaiju, but also empower it as its rage consumes it. This occurs even when its last ability is reduced to 0, as its death throes let it strike one last time.

Wounds (d6)
1. Berzerk Mode. The Kaiju immediately takes an extra turn.
2. Core Vent. At the start of its next turn, the Kaiju releases a blast of energy that deals 2*CATEGORYd10 damage to everyone in the same zone as it and destroys any setpieces in the zone.
3. Defense Mode. The Kaiju's armor increases by 2 until it's next wounded.
4. Havoc Scream. The Kaiju's screams panic all in earshot. Evac level gets worse by 1. -2 Response Strength.
5. Mutation. The Kaiju spontaneously develops a new ability with a score of 10. That ability doesn't cause a Wound when reduced to 0.
6. Storm Warning. A natural disaster emerges in the Kaiju's wake (acid rain, meteor storm, vast earthquake, EM disturbance, whatever makes sense based on the Kaiju's abilities). Lasts CATEGORY rounds. Deals 1d10 damage or equivalent effects to any mech exposed.

- - - TARGET ON THE MOVE - - -

A Kaiju takes 3 actions on its turn. It can only take each type of action once, unless otherwise specified. It gets one basic move to an adjacent zone, and one basic attack. All others must either be ability rolls or dependent on environmental conditions. Some abilities provide extra movement or attacks (for example, EXCEPTIONAL SPEED provides extra moves, while all RANGED ATTACK abilities allow for bonus attacks one or more zones away from the kaiju). An ability can only be used once per turn, unless otherwise specified.

- - - PILOT DOWN, REPEAT, PILOT DOWN - - -

Basic kaiju attacks deal CATEGORYd10 damage to a target in melee range, plus an extra effect based on the kaiju's name and abilities (like flaming claws, or a multi-target cleave, or grabbing the target). The mech pilot may roll to dodge the damage, but the extra effect occurs unless you have specific defenses against it. Such defenses can be gained by taking action to protect yourself on your turn, having on-board systems to counteract the effect, or by being shielded by a building, another mech, etc.

- - - MY GOD. THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE. - - -

Kaiju abilities have a score from 1-20 and are roll-under; equal to or less than the ability score is a success, over is a failure. If a kaiju fails an ability roll, the ability has minimal effect (which can still be devastating), and is exposed as a weak point until the start of its next turn. Attacks on weak points ignore Category resistances.

Abilities with scores 10 or higher are visible on long-range scanners and known to the players if they have any intel access through TacNet, sponsors, local newspapers, etc.

Abilities with starting scores under 10 are hidden, and the kaiju will only deploy them once the pilots have engaged it in battle. The first use of a hidden ability automatically succeeds. If a kaiju has nothing but hidden abilities remaining, so the pilots can't target anything in particular, attack damage is evenly distributed between them.

by guthrie art
The World

- - - LIVE FROM VANCOUVER ISLAND, THIS IS K-WATCH REPORTING - - -

A city under kaiju attack is chaos. While the best efforts of world governments and corporate coalitions have created nominal best practices for civilian response (as pilots gear up to face the monster head-on), when the klaxons blare, all bets are off. There's never enough bunkers. There's never enough space on the roads. There's rarely enough warning; some attacks occur within mere minutes of contact.

Here's how everything can, and does, go wrong.

- - - EVACUATION FAILED, CIVILIANS IN DROP ZONE - - -

The combat zone can be in one of the following stages of evacuation, in ascending order of prospective casualty count.

Evac Level
1. Barren. Total evacuation success. The only casualties will be pilots and monsters. Go nuts.
2. Bunkers. All civilians evacuated to subterranean shelters. They will only be lost to specifically targeted kaiju attacks, or in the event of your failure.
3. Partial. Many civilians failed or refused to evacuate. The streets are silent and empty as civilians shelter in place. Every kaiju ability use kills 10^CATEGORY civilians.
4. Panic. Traffic jams clog the highways. Looting. Riots. Police brutality. Military crackdown. Every kaiju movement or ability without a specific target kills 10^CATEGORY civilians. Additional complications will arise as the government attempts to maintain "order".
5. Taken Unawares. Jaws hang open. Screams and sirens. Airwaves are jammed with farewell calls. Every kaiju action that doesn't have a specific target kills d10*10^CATEGORY civilians.

- - - ADDITIONAL RESPONDERS DISPATCHED - - -

The players are rarely the only force defending against the attack. They're by default assumed to be in tactical command of the situation; other mechs won't fuck with your op (unless you've pissed them off prior and they're looking to settle a score). Instead, other mechs' existence is a constant attrition battle against the kaiju. At the end of each combat round, after Cleanup, roll 2d6 on the Response Table and add the Response Strength to see how the other mechs involved fared.

Response Strength begins at the party's average level minus the Kaiju's CATEGORY. This will change to a reputation score later, once I've got that all hashed out.

Response Table (2d6+Response Strength)
2. Wiped Out. The players are on their own. More names for the memorial obelisk.
3. Last Ditch Barrage. d10 damage to the Kaiju's weakest known ability. -2 Response Strength.
4. Failed Gambit. -2 Response Strength, but reveal one unknown kaiju ability (which it uses to obliterate the unlucky pilots who discover it) and open it as a Weak Point next round.
5. Covering Fire. The Kaiju can't move next round (but takes full action count). +1 Response Strength.
6. Distraction. The Kaiju loses one action next round. -1 Response Strength.
7. Minor Barrage. d4 damage to the Kaiju's strongest known ability. -1 Response Strength.
8. Major Barrage. d6 damage to the Kaiju's strongest known ability. -1 Response Strength.
9. Regroup. +2 Response Strength. All pilots may reroll initiative if they want.
10. Risky Barrage. d10 damage to the Kaiju's strongest known ability. -2 Response Strength.
11. Evac Efforts. Improve the evacuation response by 1 level (from Taken Unawares to Panic, Panic to Partial, etc) as the responders run crowd control.
12. Critical Strike. Reduce the Kaiju's weakest known ability to 0 and Wound the kaiju.

by Dominic Qwek
- - - ABNORMAL WEATHER PATTERNS. BUNKERS BREACHED. YOU HAVE ONE LAST SHOT. - - -

Drop zones are divided into ~10 kaiju-size sectors. Some will have important buildings or features. When it rains, it pours - kaiju attacks are often nexuses for natural disasters, the origins of which are a phenomenon hotly contested to this day

Bunker Complex. Improve the evacuation level in this zone by 2 (minimum: Bunkers).

Celebrities. Here's where the "important people" are. Or at least, you'll get a bonus if they survive. Any kaiju attack in this zone has a CATEGORY-in-6 chance of killing them unless you're specifically protecting them. Some might be willing to relocate; others want to go down with their estate.

Convoy. As Celebrities, but moving along a route. Probably has slightly less noxious passengers, but might carry hazardous materials.

Hospitals. Reduce civilian casualties (in the end total) by an order of magnitude if the hospitals survive the battle. Lots of treatable wounds become fatal if there's no-one to provide rapid care.

Launch Tower. Lets you move anywhere in the drop zone if you start your turn here.

Power Plant. Explodes, messily. 2d10 damage to everyone in the zone and 1d10 to everyone in adjacent zones. Has 20 HP, or can be set to manually detonate by a human-scale operator.

Port. There's a lot of boats here. You can set them loose and might be able to move them out to sea to get landing platforms, or maybe you just want to pick up a boat and hit a giant monster with it.

Research Complex. There's plenty of experimental tech in here. If you get the kaiju in this zone, you might be able to use the complex's sensor equipment to detect its hidden abilities. There might also be experimental weapons inside, whether that's a giant turret or something a mech can wield.

Riot. Evac level in this zone is Panic. Spreads to an adjacent zone at the start of each round unless quelled. Do try not to commit a war crime.

by Doug Williams
- - - LAST-HOPE OPERATORS FALLEN. ESCHATON IMMANENTIZED. ARMING PARANUCLEAR RESPONSE. - - -

A failed Kaiju kill operation becomes a mass casualty event. Roll a response - it will always be dealt with, but at the expense of vast quantities of civilian lives per week. The specific response rolled determines the number of weeks it rampages for.

Kaiju's Fate (d4)
1. The Kaiju becomes endemic to the region after an epic reign of terror. It retreats deep underground, or into the stratosphere, or an oceanic trench, to lick its wounds and revel in the carnage it caused. [CATEGORY] weeks of destruction follow. It will return.

2. Everything we developed besides mechs to stop kaiju falls under the label of paranuclear weaponry. It's all experimental, ridiculously dangerous, and brutally effective. Rods from god, rapture beams, temporal cages, stasis inducers. One's deployed in a last-ditch effort to end the kaiju. It works, and the area is wiped off the map. Remaining players get enough warning to make it out of the kill zone if they can still evacuate, but no one else escapes. Everyone in the target area and the surrounding region dies the same horrific death as the kaiju. Roll for one week of casualties, but as if the kaiju was two categories higher.

3. Another, shinier, more professional mech force swoops in to humiliate you. They make it look easy. They make you look incompetent. They save the world. [CATEGORY] - 2 weeks of destruction (minimum 1). No one in the region will trust your team again.

4. Civilian resistance cobbles together a collective defense strategy, out of salvaged mechs, combined-arms tanks and aircraft, hired mercenaries. The casualty count is immense, and the scars will never heal, but the kaiju is defeated. [CATEGORY] weeks of destruction, double the casualty count, and the area is uninhabitable.

Lives Lost Per Week
Category 1: d10*100
Category 2: d10*1,000
Category 3: d10*10,000
Category 4: d10*100,000
Category 5: d10*1,000,000

by Edouard Caplain
The Monsters

All kaiju, regardless of their category, have 50 ability points. The category will affect how those abilities scale and how difficult they are to damage. If you want to challenge the players more, increase the ability point budget for your kaiju

Roll 1d6-1 for its armor. Subtract 5*result points from the pool. Then, roll a d20, and assign that value to a random ability. Subtract that many points and repeat until 20 or fewer points remain. Put the rest into one more random ability. Note which are known and which are hidden. Pilots don't have access to ability scores unless they have advanced sensors, just the ability names themselves. 

All abilities can be used for thematically appropriate actions. The following descriptions aren't the sum total of what they can do, and intentionally leave open possibilities for creative use. All provided numbers are intended as measuring sticks for a GM's rulings on the fly.

by el-grimlock
d36 (or d66) Kaiju Abilities

1 (11). ABSORBS PROPERTIES: Whenever the kaiju is damaged by an elemental effect or it eats a material, it can roll ABSORBS PROPERTIES and gain a ELEMENTAL abilities at rank X (where X is the roll value). On a success, gain the power, on a failure, lose all other powers gained this way, then gain the power. Damage to those abilities damages this one too. When this power is lost, all the ELEMENTAL abilities gained this way go away too.

2 (12). ADAPTIVE: Whenever the kaiju is damaged, roll ADAPTIVE. Halve damage from that source and similar sources (adapting to an incendiary weapon reduces all fire damage going forward). A failed roll means all previous ADAPTIVE resistances are lost. The kaiju can also take an action to roll ADAPTIVE and preemptively protect itself from a specific danger.

3 (13). BERZERKER: This kaiju's Wound reactions are always Berzerk Mode. Whenever this kaiju is damaged, it can roll BERZERKER and on a success can make a basic attack against the attacker in response.

4 (14). BURROWING: As an action this kaiju can roll BURROWING and move an extra zone. On a success, it attacks all mechs on the ground or underground in the starting and target zones. All this kaiju's moves can burrow underground, letting it reach underground shelters (and if it remains underground, it avoids all ranged attacks from outside its zone).

5 (15). CAMOUFLAGE: At the start of combat, choose either ranged or melee attacks. Attack rolls of that type must make attack rolls against the CAMOUFLAGE value to hit. The kaiju can take an action to roll CAMOUFLAGE, a success lets it change which kind of attack needs to roll, or can blend it into the environment for other purposes.

6 (16). ELEMENTAL AURA: Everyone in the kaiju's zone is subject to an elemental effect. On an ELEMENTAL AURA roll, the kaiju can exude the effect into all adjacent zones until its next turn, but on a failure, it shuts off in the kaiju's zone until the start of its next turn.

7 (21). ELEMENTAL ESSENCE: The kaiju is made of the element, and healed by it when it consumes it or takes damage from it (1-1 damage to healing). On an ELEMENTAL ESSENCE roll, it acts like the element more than a kaiju - TIDAL ESSENCE may have it flow in the streets and drain into the sewers to hide, VACUUM ESSENCE may have it disappear and the air rush in like a thunder clap and shockwave. On a failure, it can't quite reform enough to perform regular kaiju actions next turn (basic attacks and movement).

8 (22). ELEMENTAL MANIPULATION: The kaiju can create and manipulate the element within the combat area. on successful use, effect can deal damage like an attack. still creates the desired effect on failure, though without dealing damage.

9 (23). ELEMENTAL MELEE ATTACK: All this kaiju's melee attacks inflict an elemental effect, and it can make a melee attack against all mechs in its zone on a successful ELEMENTAL MELEE ATTACK roll (failure only targets one mech, and exposes the ability).

10 (24). ELEMENTAL RANGED ATTACK. All this kaiju's ranged attacks inflict an elemental effect, and it can make a ranged attack against all mechs in an adjacent zone on a successful ELEMENTAL RANGED ATTACK roll (failure only targets one mech, and exposes the ability).

11 (25). ELEMENTAL WEAPONS. A sword ten stories long. A gun firing car-size projectiles. Artillery melded with flesh. Hammers of radiation. Scythes of raw vacuum. This kaiju can roll ELEMENTAL WEAPONS to make a melee or ranged attack against one mech in its zone or an adjacent zone, depending on the weapon type. A mech that successfully dodges the attack takes half damage instead of none. Failure on the roll jams or fumbles the weapon.

12 (26). EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION: The kaiju preternaturally senses what's about to happen. Once per round, it has a free ESP action it can take as a reaction to a mech taking an action. If the ESP roll is successful, the kaiju can take a free action before the inciting action occurs. If the roll fails, it takes its free action after the inciting action is resolved.

13 (31). EXTREME SPEED: Enemy ranged attacks must roll and beat EXTREME SPEED in order to hit. On the kaiju's turn, it can take extra move actions by making EXTREME SPEED rolls; once it fails it can't make more that turn.

14 (32). FLIGHT: As an action, this kaiju can roll FLYING and move an extra zone. On a success, it attacks all mechs in the air or on the ground in the starting and target zones. All its moves can fly, and if it remains in the air, it avoids melee attacks from all non-flying mechs.

15 (33). HIDES AS HUMAN: As an action, the kaiju can roll HIDES AS HUMAN to disappear and hide as a specific human. On a success, players lose track of where the kaiju is; on a failure, you can track their movement. The kaiju possesses all its durability and supernatural abilities, albeit reduced in range. It can convincingly mimic human behavior, though this does not make them more inteligent (a kaiju which also has HIGHER COGNITION may be incredibly devastating in this position). This lasts until the kaiju is damaged by a mech-scale attack, at which point they re-emerge into their kaiju form involuntarily. Human-form kaiju all have tells visible to someone looking for them - though the chaos of an attack will likely make testing difficult.

16 (34). HIGHER COGNITION: This kaiju is smart. It can use advanced tools, knows your plan, and will act to prevent it. At the start of each round, it makes a HIGHER COGNITION roll. On a success, it can intersperse all of its actions with the players'. Has an extra action each round.

17 (35). ILLUSIONS: This kaiju can project audiovisual illusions on a successful ILLUSIONS roll. Whether it succeeds or fails, something that occurred this round or that will occur later this round (that the players didn't do) will actually be illusory (such as NPC mech actions, setpieces failing, the kaiju being wounded, promises of reinforcements). When the players figure out what was illusory, the illusion breaks. Illusions remain until this ability is lost or they are broken. Interacting with an illusion breaks it.

18 (36). IMMENSE STRENGTH: Can roll IMMENSE STRENGTH to perform ridiculous feats like throwing a mech entirely out of the combat zone or lifting a subterranean shelter out of the ground whole. On a failure, it just counts as an extra basic melee attack.

19 (41). INVISIBILITY: This kaiju can take an action and roll INVISIBLE to turn invisible. All attack rolls must beat that INVISIBILITY roll to hit, and if the roll succeeds, the GM doesn't have to provide information on the kaiju's movements. This lasts until the start of its next turn.

20 (42). MANY-HEADED: This kaiju gets a free MANY-HEADED roll each turn, and on a success can take an additional free move or attack. The kaiju can make as many MANY-HEADED rolls as it wants until it runs out of actions.

21 (43). MANY-LIMBED: This kaiju can move across any terrain without penalty, and has opposable thumbs or another dextrous equivalent. A successful MANY-LIMBED roll lets it make a basic attack against two or more targets within range OR pick up and wield large items as weapons (on a failure, it just makes a regular basic attack, or destroys the item it's trying to wield).

22 (44). METAMORPH: This kaiju can shapeshift. On a METAMORPH roll, it can replicate another ability of choice (using the current METAMORPH value). If it succeeds, the kaiju can then use that ability this turn. On a failure, may use it next turn. All abilities gained this way dissipate after one use (successfully or not). Damage to replicated abilities is inflicted on METAMORPH as well. Also allows the kaiju to perform other shapeshifting tricks (that maintain its volume and mass).

23 (45). MIND CONTROL: On a successful MIND CONTROL roll, take control of a mech, or many civilians (~10^category). On failure, take control of only a few civilians instead (~10^(category-1)). Hunts by driving civilians into its waiting jaws.

24 (46). MODULAR: This kaiju is comprised of of several kaiju of smaller categories (3 a category smaller, 6 two categories smaller, etc). On a successful MODULAR roll, when combined, lets them split apart. When it splits, all split act independently, out of a total pool of 4 actions. The sub-kaiju each have one of its other abilities, but all share MODULAR. A successful MODULAR roll will let them combine no matter where they are, combining at a midpoint. A failed MODULAR roll will only let them combine if they're in the same area.

25 (51). PARASITIC: This kaiju leeches energy and life from whatever it touches, dealing lethal damage to any living thing human-scale or smaller that makes contact with it. It can ready itself to pull energy and life from larger structures or its zone with a PARASITIC roll; whenever it deals damage this turn it'll restore that many stat points - a success lets it also make a free basic attack with the action and shuts down all non-Eschaton power sources in its zone.

26 (52). PHASING: This kaiju's movement and attacks pass through all obstacles. On a successful PHASING roll, it can make something in its zone phase out of reality for a round, either unable to interact with anything that doesn't have PHASING or unable to interact with things that do have PHASING (its choice)

27 (53). PILOTED: The kaiju gets to pick which of its abilities get damaged (unless PILOTED is targeted). On a successful PILOTED roll, the kaiju can hide all its currently exposed weak points. When PILOTED is removed, the kaiju goes berzerk and will automatically succeed on all its rolls, but exposes all its weak points.

28 (54). RAISES DEAD: A successful RAISES DEAD roll can raise civilian casualties or other dead things in the area as zombies (or other sorts of undead; in any case treated as SPAWN). Alternatively, it can raise a fallen mech pilot to turn arms against their former comrades. Harming the undead also damages this ability.

29 (55). REGENERATION: The kaiju heals 1d6 points of a damaged ability at the start of its turn. A successful REGENERATION roll lets it regenerate an additional d6 points, or seal things inside its wounds, or cancerously grow, or heal another target, etc. Failure lets it regen d6 points with disadvantage.

30 (56). SHIELDED: This kaiju's Wound reactions are always Defense Mode. Can make a SHIELDED roll to get +2 armor against a particular attack type of choice (ranged, melee, elemental, etc). A failure gives a  bonus of +1. It can alternatively use the shield to cage things and prevent them from moving for a round on a success.

31 (61). SPAWN: This kaiju deploys with many category 0 kaiju-spawn swarms. Each individual category-0 is human-size, and are collectively treated as a terrain obstacle that's left behind by the kaiju. A successful SPAWN roll lets the kaiju infest its zone or an adjacent zone with more spawn, or lets all spawn take an action against something in their zone. Spawn inherit one of their parents' abilities (including, potentially, SPAWN). Dealing damage to the spawn in their zones also harms the SPAWN ability, and when the ability is lost, all SPAWN flee. Attacks must deal damage in an area (explosives, flamethrowers, etc) to remove spawn as a hazard, instead of just dealing damage.

32 (62). TELEPORTATION: This kaiju can make a TELEPORT roll to teleport itself or one target. On a success, the kaiju can choose the location within the battlefield, a failure teleports the target at random. There's a CATEGORY-in-6 chance of the target telefragging something important; counts as a basic attack against the smaller of the target or whatever it materializes in.

33 (63). TEMPORAL ANOMALY: The kaiju can roll TEMPORAL ANOMALY and on a success, may undo one of its actions and take another action instead (or try the same thing again). It may alternatively undo a mech's actions, or another event of similar scale. On a failure, it just undoes one of its own actions, and it doesn't get to take a new one.

34 (64). TWINNED: The kaiju is doubly embodied. Each moves separately, but share a pool of actions and all ability totals. On a successful TWINNED roll, each body can take an action; on a failure only one does.

35 (65). WEATHER SYSTEM: A natural disaster follows in the kaiju's wake. The entire battlefield is inundated in a thematic disaster, like storm or earthquake or EM disturbance, etc (figure something out based on the kaiju's other abilities or designation). This causes minor penalties to all enemies in area (like a damage penalty, or minor damage over time, or slowed movement). A successful WEATHER SYSTEM roll increases the penalties until the start of the kaiju's next turn. When this ability is lost, the disaster dissipates.

36 (66). WEBS: This kaiju can make a WEBS roll and on a success deploys sticky webs in its and an adjacent zone that cocoons enemies in webbing (takes an action from the mech or another mech to break free).  Webbed zones can't be moved into and out of in the same turn, but are rapidly traversable by the kaiju, letting it move two zones with one action. On a failure, this just coats its own zone in webs, and fails to cocoon.

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