Not a Secret Project

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I am always working on a new project, especially when a previous one fails. This time, I am mostly taking the advice of Kevin Crawford of actually writing all the text before before attempting to publish anything. (I'm in the editing phase of the current project.)

Some time ago, I mentioned the OSR Tinkerer's Toolkit and making a quarterly zine called Odd Duck. The idea is that I am testing the toolkit to come out with a different game based on the toolkit. One new game or setting will be in every issue of Odd Duck.

The rest of the pdf will have pieces of the Toolkit in smaller articles. This includes things like mini-encounters, new monsters, new magic items, spells, playable races, magic systems, and a place to discuss a particular mechanic.

For example, in issue one, the theme is Armor. There will be an encounter with naturally armored creatures. (The answer to the encounter will not be kill them all, although that is certainly one option.) There will be two new armored creatures detailed in a monster article. There will be a demonstration of using the Alternate Combat Sequence Method No. 3 that is more visual than number-crunching. Another article details the use of spidersilk and integrating spidersilk workers into a setting. Of course, there will be spells and magic items mixed in as well.

The game for issue one will be my final version of Lorica, a large vehicle game inspired by Battletech, Centurion Legion, and various mecha.

In writing the text, Lorica has changed from the various posts here. Nanites play a big roll in the repair, management, and manufacture of various machines. There are still lots of different kinds of weapons, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The system to create your own machines is still largely the same. I won't include the 50 types of mecha I have already created in the issue, but I'll publish them here on the website.

The machines themselves are not the bulky metal-and-wires mecha I loved in all our games  of Battletech growing up. Instead, the huge machines are semi-intelligent artificial life forms. The internal structure is a type of supergel that distributes weapons damage efficiently throughout the mech while nanites effect regenerative repair. The outside will still feature ceramic outer armor. In many ways, the mech will be an extension of the pilots' own body.

By the way, it uses the alternate combat rules discussed in a separate article.

There's more to come. I recently recovered a lot of gaming journals and notes that I thought I had lost. This includes a setting I sketched out called Circles of the Nine Songs as well as various psionics systems, old dungeons, MSH characters, and NPCs galore. There is plenty to write about.

One other thing is that I use Microlite20 as part of the tinker's kit. M20 is great at prototyping and it is used for the limited testing I am able to do. All in all, I think I have finally embarked on a project that is doable and sustainable. As I said, the first issue is in editing. The second issue (which is about Magic) will be the best of the Magic Project I started in January. I won't have the spell building system (that utterly failed), but I will have article about using different mechanics for types of magic systems.

Okay, maybe there is a secret project coming. It has nothing to do with Odd Duck and it will not benefit me directly at all. All I'll say is that it has to do with M20, but I'll say nothing else. Unlike Odd Duck, I don't know if I will be able to do this project like I impicture it.

Anyway, the insanely busy season is passing for me. I haven't written anything in over two months and I am ready to go. Wish me luck!

Listed on Links To Wisdom

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In the Player Character section of Links to Wisdom (an OSR House Rules Wiki), there is a link to my post about Building Mecha. Since the post was made back in April, I have no idea how long it has been there.

Thanks for the link!

If you like Building Mecha, here are all the links for Lorica, the name I use to group my mecha for S&W posts.

Maybe I've been reading CM4 Earthshaker too much lately, but I will throw a mech into a fantasy game. I actually had a location in my campaign world I ran in high school that featured a centuries old mecha "ruin". The secret was that one of the missiles still worked, everything else was pretty much non-functional.

Making Lorica Yours

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Here's the posts about Lorica for Swords & Wizardry so far:

Combat Sequence

Building Mecha

So far, things are a bit bland. The only thing customized at this point are the names of the various mecha that I've generated stats for. Before moving on to critical hits, conducting battles, character classes and the Weird, here's some ways to making these mech rules your own.

1. Personalize the Weapon Names

The d20 Future Mecha file available from WOTC provides weapons with evocative names like the M87 Talon Missile Launcher or the Thunderbolt Shock Rod. Here's some random ways to come up with names:

Add a random letter and then d%

Pick a destructive name:

01 - abrogator
02 - annihilator
03 - crusher
04 - decimater
05 - demolisher
06 - eraser
07 - exterminator
08 - liquidator
09 - obliterater
10 - razer or razor

Synonyms for slug throwers:

01 - Mass Cannon
02 - Mass Driver
03 - Chaingun
04 - Railgun
05 - Coilgun
06 - Fountain
07 - Kinetic Energy Penetrator (or KEP)
08 - Gauss Rifle

Synonyms for Lasers

01 - Microwave Beam
02 - Particle Cannon
03 - Laser Cannon
04 - Energy Cannon
05 - Plasma Cannon
06 - Lightning Gun

Names for Missile Systems

01 - Starburst
02 - Kamikaze
03 - Bloomers
04 - Striker

Use old gun names

01 - arquebus
02 - hackbut
03 - blunderbuss
04 - musketoon
05 - ballista
06 - fire lance

2. Add your various factions/aliens

Standard mecha games have various houses, each with a particular style of battle and specialized mecha. If you make various houses, they could be limited to certain sets of light, medium and heavy mecha.

Aliens are bound to have a different physiology - at the very least, the size of the pilot compartment could be different. Other variations could include requiring two of each weapon (these aliens use two pilots with mirrored controls) or having mecha that are not bipedal.

3. Provide different vendors

Two or more companies make an ol' reliable 100mm slug thrower, but which one is better? One vendor could make a 100mm model that is 10% lighter (weighs only 35 tons instead of 38), 10% cheaper (156,000 credits), 10% more/less damage (3d10+2 or 3d10-2) or a combination of these.

Another way to add vendors is to limit availability of the top-of-the-line 10% better equipment.

Of course the Loanzas from the Delta Sector gets pummeled. They use Nago-Kishi M-35 Razers! Everyone knows equipment from NK sucks. Good thing we got Kingston Railguns.

4. Add specialized systems

Someone is bound to invent better computer AI to punch lasers through shields. This could be equipment that provides a bonus to hit mecha with shields.

Introduce melee weapons (my favorite is a urumi that features whips similar to ones used by Red Omega from the comics).

Have a defensive system that dissipates laser damage (Anti-laser fog) in the same manner as Sandcasters mitigate missile damage.

5. Give slug throwers specialized ammunition

Why obliterate an opponent when you can send an EMP round to completely disable them? Makes salvage of a defeated mech that much more profitable.

That's just a few ideas, I'm sure that you can come up with more.