It's 20XX, year 1X of the Kaiju Era. 1X years ago, LEVIATHAN HEAVEN fell to earth, levelled what is now the San Francisco Exclusion Zone, and made humanity shit its collective pants over its place in the universe to the tune of 12 million casualties. The Survival Paradigm and Eschaton technology is all that stands between human existence and a swift, brutal death at the claws of titanic biomechanical horrors from beyond.
The kaiju kept coming. From everywhere. The depths of the sea, deep underground, materializing in rifts of ozone, falling from space, crawling out of secret labs, assembling from otherwise mundane technology, emerging from the fallout of other kaiju attacks. We couldn't stop them until we reverse-engineered Eschaton technology from their corpses and built the first mechs.
The Survival Paradigm is the democratization of mech construction, pilot training, and kill-op organization. It's the only strategy that survived the first year of kaiju attacks, the collapse of the short-lived United Nations Defense Accord, and a United States bid to monopolize anti-kaiju defense efforts (nuclear weapons have been written off ever since their strike on DEVOURER RADIANT, which escalated a category 3 to a catastrophic category 5 event).
Corporations immediately co-opted this framework, turning mech pilots into the highest-death-risk sector of the gig economy. The influx of capital for pure research and emergency crisis response developed some incredible technology: the Eschaton Core, the kinetic burster, direct neural interfaces, to mention only the ones that are in every mech on the planet. But once those designs were made free and open and public, the vultures of finance and the military industrial complex moved in.
You can buy a prefab for the same price as a used car, customize it in a makerspace, order baseline heavy weapons off of Triple-B (bloodbathandbeyond.ca). Get in the giant robot, give it a test run during the 3am curfew hours (the cops can't do anything but look the other way, you're in a mech and the one thing the govs did right was ban police access to eschatological weaponry). Then sign up for emergency response alerts, and wait for the call.
Sign into TacNet, the app that cornered the market on kaiju response command and control. find a handle some other joker isn't using already. deploy and hope your rival won't use a moment of weakness to accidentally push you into the path of the monster's jaws.
Collect your hazard pay (30% down since this time last year, because of "innovations in civilian bunker technologies"), collect your meagre kill fee (45% goes to the app), pay down your core loan, pay down your medical bills, pay your rent. Realize that you've gotta get another confirmed Category 3+ kill this month to stay in the black. Expand your fight search radius. Sigh. Kick back with a glass of cheap liquor to forget the fallen.
Let's break this down. Generate a kaiju. One of the big nasties.
Base how the kaiju appears on its designation. Many will be hybrids of meat and machine, towering eldritch abominations, giant featureless warriors with god-smiting weapons. Where they come from is up to you: excavated from deep time, summoned from the universe where everything's bigger than here, landing as the vanguard of an alien terraforming machine, mutated after a whatever-comes-after-nuclear test gone wrong. A superhero turning their powers to apocalyptic ends.
You're mech pilots. Handle it.
Each category requires exponentially more minimum firepower for a confirmed kill. 1 eschaton is the reactor output of a baseline 5-meter mech, distributed over the course of a standard combat operation. You can increase your firepower exponentially, if you are clever and well-supported. Kaiju past Category 1 will require advanced plans, exotic weaponry, powerful reactors, ablative populations, larger mechs, rockstar pilots.
Proposals to rework the category system to include levels above 5 have been deemed irrelevant by experts in titanic studies worldwide. A threat that would require such degrees to classify would ensure that no one would be left to use the revised scale.
1: 1 eschaton (ET). The size of a bus, like an overgrown crocodile. Crushes through townhouses, wields a streetlamp as a crude cudgel. Threatens a population in the thousands, like a neighborhood or fishing village.
2: 10 ET. Building-size. It towers over houses and its roars shatter all the windows on the street. Tank rounds splinter on its skin. You're only making it stronger. Threatens a population in the tens of thousands, like a town or port district.
3: 100 ET. The size of a city block. Its tail slithers down the highway, its claws are the size of a category 1. Fighter jets crash into its eye and it blinks the debris away unfazed. Threatens a population in the hundreds of thousands, like a small city.
4: 1000 ET. It's the tallest building in the largest city. Its footsteps flatten mid-rise towers. It doesn't even notice as it turns and demolishes the Golden Gate by accident. Threatens a population in the millions, like a large city.
5: 10000 ET. Cloud-scraping. Affects weather systems. Wipes out towns without noticing. You can see it from space. Threatens a population in the tens of millions or greater. Could sink Great Britain or lay waste to all civilian populations on the Eastern Seaboard.
Each round, a kaiju gets 3 actions. Use initiative that puts pilots either before or after the kaiju. These actions are more generalized than normal combat actions due to the sheer size of the monster; movement will necessarily also damage anything in the path of the kaiju. Any action that can be construed as an attack wil kill civilians, no save. Instead, roll (category)d10 for casualties in a metropolitan area that hasn't been evacuated.
Damage dealt by a kaiju's attacks to anything mech-size or greater is (category)d10, and may carry additional effects based on the kaiju's capabilities.
A kaiju's capabilities are directly represented by its ability scores, of which it has d3 identified and up to d3 as-of-yet unseen. If you roll a duplicate, increase that score by 10. All attacks deal ability score damage, depending on which weakpoint you're aiming for. Kaiju roll under their ability score to take actions that these capabilities afford it (anything else that a giant monster can do, they can do as well). Kaiju have a number of points based on their category (1: 50, 2: 200, 3: 500, 4: 1000, 5: 5000) to distribute between their ability scores. This means that many scores will be over 20; therefore, these actions will always succeed until the kaiju has sustained enough damage to sufficiently reduce its capabilities.
Any weapons smaller than mech-scale can deal a maximum of 1 damage, and then only on a critical hit, to kaiju of size 1 or 2. The Eschaton Core is what lets something like a mech go toe-to-toe with a kaiju. Conventional armaments, even nuclear ones, will be at best exponentially less effective. The nuclear strike on the category 3 DEVOURER RADIANT proved the obsolescence of nuclear armaments, and escalated the incident to a category 5 disaster.
If you fail or cannot respond: [CATEGORY] weeks of devastation may be enough for affected populations to marshal a response, at the expense of d10*10^(3+category) civilian lives per week. This may result in new pilots joining the force in cobbled-together mechs with a grudge against those who couldn't save them, or the takeover of your company by a more well-equipped force that steps in where you cannot.
1-2: EXCEPTIONAL STRENGTH
3-4: EXCEPTIONAL TOUGHNESS
5-6: EXCEPTIONAL SPEED
4. AMBUSH PREDATION
7. ENDURANCE PREDATION
8. HIGHER COGNITION
11. TOXIC TRAIL
13. TOOL USE
14. ENHANCED SENSES
15. BERZERK MODE
16. ELEMENTAL RANGED ATTACK
17. ELEMENTAL MELEE ATTACK
18. ELEMENTAL IMMUNITY
19. ELEMENTAL AURA
20. ELEMENTAL ESSENCE
1. ABSORBS PROPERTIES
4. FEAR AURA
5. HIDES AS HUMAN
9. MIND CONTROL
12. PROJECTS ILLUSIONS
13. RAISES DEAD
18. TEMPORAL LOOPS
20. WIELDS WEAPON
Target Area Modifiers (d20)
1. ACID RAIN
2. ACTIVE WARZONE
3. ADDITIONAL KAIJU BATTLE IN PROGRESS
4. AWFUL PUBLIC IMAGE
5. ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE
6. ESCHATON CORE FACTORY
7. EVACUATION FAILED
9. GEOLOGICALLY UNSTABLE
10. HEAVILY IRRADIATED
11. KAIJU RESEARCH INSTALLATION
12. KAIJU SPAWNING PITS
13. MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA
14. MINOR METROPOLITAN AREA
15. ONGOING HURRICANE
16. POLITICIANS DEMAND EVAC
17. POWER PLANT
19. VITAL PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE
20. YOU LIVE IN TARGET AREA