Building Mecha

Previously, the rules for the combat sequence were posted, along with four mecha as examples. Now it's time to look at creating your own. I've made over 40 so far, but I would love to see what others makes out of it.

A bit of notice: the rules and names of things are intentionally bland. After the rules, I'll talk a bit about implementing these rules in a game along with a few more examples in another post.

Along every step of the creation process, you will need to keep track of the cost, the weight and the energy usage of components. Cost is measured in credits (Kr) and weight is measured in tons (t). Energy usage is not measured in any standard units, they are only important during mecha creation. If the DM chooses, he or she could use gigawatts.

The first step in mecha creation is to determine its overall body size. Essentially, pick the number of structural points your mech will have. Each structural point will weigh 1 ton and cost 50 credits. After determining structual points, you must purchase at least one pilot's compartment. Each compartment consumes 3 power, weighs 3 tons and costs 300 Credits.

The next step will be to choose an engine. Each engine is rated by its energy output. The energy generated is used to power weapons and movement of the mech. Choose an engine and note its costs. Here is the table of available engines below:

engines

In general, the more powerful the engine, the more massive and more expensive it will be. This is usually the most expensive part of a mech.

The third part is purchasing energy shields.

shields

Again, the more AC Bonus desired, the more power and money required.

The next step is choosing your armaments. As I said earlier, these descriptions are pretty bland. Damage done is measured in terms of Structural Points

Weapons come in five categories: Slug Throwers, Recoilless Guns, Missile Systems and Lasers are the four offensive weapon systems. SAMD's are defensive weapons designed to knock down/avoid damage from missiles.

Mass Driver Cannons aka Slug Throwers

Slug throwers are a class of weapon that hurl a solid object at a target. Usually, the slug is taken from depleted uranium or other super-dense material. The main advantage of slug throwers is that slugs are not easily deflected by shielding. The main drawbacks of slug throwers are their huge power consumption, mass and cost. Still, most mecha have at least one, however small. A slug thrower weapon has 10 rounds of ammo included in its mass when purchased.

MDC

Recoilless Guns

Like slug throwers, recoilless guns hurl a solid object at a target. However, due to its construction, it is a much lighter weapon. Unlike conventional slug throwers, it allows some of the propellant force to escape from the back of the gun. Recoilless guns are also much lighter than slug throwers. The trade-off  however, is that they do not have the range or damage capacity of slug throwers. A recoilless gun has 10 rounds of ammo included in its mass when purchased.

recoilless

Missile Launchers

Missile Launchers hurl multiple projectiles at a target. Due to their guidance systems, they usually make erratic flight paths to avoid anti-missile defense systems. The result of a successful strike with missiles are several simultaneous hits at different places on a target. The number in parenthesis next to a missile indicates the amount of ammunition included in the missile launcher. For example LR(6) is a Long Range Missile Launcher that can fire six times before running out of ammo.

missiles

Lasers

Lasers are energy weapons designed to strip away layers of metal on a target. Lasers can be diffused by shielding, but recent advances in technology still make them potent threats on the battlefield. Lasers are relatively inexpensive and powerful weapons that have the longest range of any weapon to date. A laser can be fired as long as the mech has enough power to fire it.

lasers

Sandcaster Anti-Missile Defense System

Sandcasters represent the cutting-edge in missile defense, despite having a basis in ancient weapons. When missiles are detected, the sandcaster hurls a lot of material designed to explode and/or misdirect missiles to prevent them from striking a mech. Each SAMD is rated for the amount of missile damage it prevents.

SAMD

After assembling all the parts, total the power consumption and subtract it from the Engine Rating. Write down this number, which I'll call the Excess Energy. Total the mass of every part of the mech. Divide the Excess Energy by the Total Mass of the mech to determine the Base Movement Rate. All results are rounded down. No mecha can have a Base Movement Rate above 12.

Finally, come up with a name for your new class of mecha.

Creating a Mech

Walking through the process, let's create a mech:

1. Purchase Structural Points: Lighter Mecha have 40 to 60 structural points. Medium mecha have between 60 and 80 structural points. Anything over 80 is considered to be a heavy or assault mech. Let's create a mech with 75 Structural Points.

Structural Points: 75 Weight: 75 tons Cost: 4,750 Credits
Pilot Compartment: 1 Weight 3 tons Power Usage: 3 Cost: 300 Credits

2. Select an Engine: Based on the weapons chosen, the engine may change. For now we'll choose a pretty big engine to power the mech, an engine with a 2000 rating.

Engine Rating: 2000 Weight: 45 tons Cost: 1,000,000 Credits

3. Select Shields: Medium Mecha see a lot of combat. Good shielding is important.

Armor Class Bonus: 8 Weight: 2 tons Power Usage: 45 Cost: 40,000 Credits

4. Pick some weapons. Most mecha have a mixture of weapon systems. A slug thrower or recoilless gun, lasers, missiles and a SAMD. Sometimes, though, different mecha switch out more missiles for slug throwers.

Weapon: M-Class VIII Laser Weight: 9 tons Power Usage: 24 Cost: 179,000 Credits
Weapon: Long Range Missiles(3) Weight: 16 tons Power Usage: 2 Cost: 40,000 Credits
Weapon: Long Range Missiles(3) Weight: 16 tons Power Usage: 2 Cost: 40,000 Credits
Weapon: Short Range Missiles(2) Weight: 25 tons Power Usage: 3 Cost: 50,000 Credits
Weapon: Short Range Missiles(2) Weight: 25 tons Power Usage: 3 Cost: 50,000 Credits
Weapon: SAMD-4  Weight: 16 tons Power Usage: 16 Cost: 52,000 Credits

This mech has incredible firepower at short range and is capable of delivering some damage at a distance. The lack of a slug thrower may be considered a weakness, but don't tell the mech pilot that!

5. Do some Math: The total power usage of all the parts of the mech is 115.

The engine rating is 2000. 2000 - 115 provides an Excess Energy of 1885. The total mass of the mech is 232 tons. Dividing 1885 by 232 produces 8.125 which is rounded down to 8.

6.  Name the mech: I'll call it Karich

Statistics for the Mech

Name: Karich SP 75; AC 1[18]; Atk Laser (4d10), 2 LR Missile Launchers (1d10 * 4 , 3 shots each), 2 SR Missile Lauchers (1d20 * 6 , 2 shots each); Move 8; Save Per Pilot; Cost: 1,455,050 Credits; Special: 60 points Missile defense

 Gee, Thanks for the Math

I get it, there's a bit to track with this system. To help with Mech Creation, the following link is a LibreOffice spreadsheet that will help you create mecha easily and produce statblocks.

Lorica Stats Mecha Creation

Enjoy!

Lorica – Swords and Wizardry with Big Shiny Machines

A couple years ago, I started working on a big machine (read mechs or hovertanks)  game based loosely on 2e. Since I have changed systems once again to S&W, I finally found the muse to finish the project.

I have lots of machines made and a good process to make them. Four of them, stated for S&W, are included in this post.

Tonight, I have a combat sequence.

It is short, sweet and based directly on Alternate Method No. 3 from Swords and Wizards Complete. The following text is entirely OGL. Sec 15 for the purposes of this post is:

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules, Copyright 2010, Matthew J. Finch
Lorica - Swords and Wizardry with Big Shiny Machines, Copyright 2013, John Payne

Combat Sequence for Lorica

Note: this is a based on the Alternate Combat Sequence Method No. 3 in the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules.

The combat round is divided into 10 segments of 6 seconds each. Each individual machine rolls a d10 for initiative. The result represents which segment of the first round the machine moves or takes any other action. A roll of 0 (zero) represents the 10th segment, the last segment of a combat round.

Every subsequent round, the machine moves (or takes an action) at intervals of six segments. The machines base movement rate and/or hull points remaining modify the 6 segment interval. In general, faster and healthier machine can sometimes attack more than once in a combat round.

Base Modifier to the 6-segment interval

8 - Base Movement Rate

Other Modifiers to the 6-segment interval

At three-quarters hull points: +1

At one-half hull points: +3

At one-quarter hull points: +5

Add the modifiers to the base number of 6 segments to see how many segments it will be until the machine can take action again. For example, a light machine with a base movement rate of 10 at full hull points will take its next action in 4 segments. The standard 6 segments is adjusted down by 2 segments ( 8 – base movement rate of 10) . There is no adjustment for full hull points.

The overall result of this system is to allow lightly-armored and faster machines (or opponents) to make more attacks, over the course of the combat, than those who are heavily armored or wounded. To balance this out, very fast machines quickly lose their advantage when hit. For example, the fastest machines in these rules (STADES and STADES II) have a Base Movement Rate of 12, but only 50 hull points. One hit from a 125mm Mass Drive Cannon will likely change their interval rate from 2 segments to 5.

Standing Rules for Combat

  • Regardless of a machines interval rate, missiles can only be fired once per combat round.

  • On the first segment of every round, before any other action is taken, all anti-missile defense systems fire for machines equipped with them. The effects of anti-missile systems last for the entire combat round.

Movement

Normal Movement is Base Movement Rate * 300 yards per round or Base Movement Rate * 10 miles per hour.

Combat Movement is Base Movement Rate * 150 yards per round.

Using a Hexmap

This system makes each hex 150 yards. It's a bit of an odd size, but it works for me. Let me know what you think. I tend to avoid using a map and/or minis if I can help it. Still, it is useful to determine distances for some weapons and relieves the DM from having to mentally guesstimate those distances.

Stat Blocks for Machines

Scouts (fastest)

STADES

HP: 50; AC 4 [15]; Atk Long Range Missiles (1d6*4), Short Range Missiles  (1d8*6), Form II Laser (1d12); Move 12; Mass 104 tons; Cost  798,600 Kr ;Special: SAMD-1 (Missile Defense 14).

STADES Mk. II

HP: 50; AC 4 [15]; Atk Long Range Missiles (1d6*4), Short Range Missiles  (1d8*6), 50mm Recoilless (2d6); Move 12; Mass 105 tons; Cost  782,400 Kr ;Special: SAMD-1 (Missile Defense 14).

Light Combat

Loanza

HP: 60; AC 3 [16]; Atk Short Range Missiles  (1d12*6), 125 mm Railgun (4d10), Form III Laser (2d8); Move 8 ; Mass 152 tons; Cost  1,032,800 Kr ; Special: SAMD-2 (Missile Defense 24).

Medium Combat

Centus

HP: 90; AC 1 [18]; Atk Short Range Missiles  (1d12*6), 2 * Long Range Missiles (2d8 * 4), 100 mm Recoiless (4d6), Form VII Laser (4d8); Move 6 ; Mass 234 tons; Cost  1.277,800 Kr ; Special: SAMD-5 (Missile Defense 84).

Heavy Combat

Onager

HP: 90; AC 0 [19]; Atk 2 * Short Range Missiles  (1d20*6), 2 * Long Range Missiles (1d10 * 4), 275 mm Railgun (9d12), Form IV Laser (2d10); Move 4 ; Mass 354 tons; Cost  1,795,300 Kr ; Special: SAMD-4 (Missile Defense 60).

 

How the Worlds Tie Together

This is post 199. More about the history of this site in the next post.

For now, this is about how the various worlds of Andras tie together. In some ways, this is sparked by Vincent Florio's post about mixing Sci-Fi with Fantasy. Where it differs, however, deals with how the rules for various settings can work together.

Lorica is about mechs and/or tanks and Tiezerekan is about space fantasy. A far future setting has some elements in common with space fantasy, namely interplanetary travel. More than that, both setting rely on creating various ships and other craft to accomplish goals. Lorica has many classes of mechs, air ships and the colossal drop ships. Tiezerekan has many classes of space craft to explore, conduct trade, transport and fight in wars.

The idea behind Andras is to provide one system to make craft for both worlds. While it may require some amount of abstraction, I really didn't want a lot of hand-waving to be part of the process. I want something straight-forward with lots of options that doesn't bog down players that just want to get started.

More than that, I want a system that also connects with Dweneyarda. High fantasy vessel making? Sure. Sooner or later, you may want to create naval vessels. When the system is complete, I also hope that the rules can incorporate generation of medieval-ish artillery, golems, and other magical creations.

Let's start with making mechs/tanks for Lorica as a part of this walk-through, we will re-create the Loanza light mech:

  1. Choose a power source.The Loanza uses a fusion engine with a power rating of 1300. It has a mass value of 12. (This is important later)
  2. Choose Shields, Armor, Weapons, and special attachments.Everything has a mass and power usage score. Both of these scores affect the amount of drain on the power source. There are trade-offs that make the game interesting.In Lorica, Shields directly benefit Armor Class, making a mech more difficult to hit. The more powerful the shields, the more power required. Shields do not weigh much, but because of the high power requirements, too much shielding can leave little power for weapons and movement.The Loanza uses Rating 6 shields providing an AC bonus of 6. The power drain is a relatively low 31 points and the mass is 2. These numbers are important later.

    Armor uses no power, but has a high mass. In Lorica, Armor provides the Hull points. One point of armor costs 1 point of mass. The Loanza has a lighter amount of armor, 60 units of armor costing 60 mass points.

    The pilot is a special attachment. The space for the pilot costs 3 power points and 3 mass points. Another special attachment could allow space to carry infantry, but that won't be used for the Loanza.

    Weapons have varying values for mass and power. Lasers use a lot of power, but have the greatest range. Missiles costs very little power, but have limited range. Slug thrower do great amounts of damage, but are quite massive.

    The Loanza has the following weapon systems:

    Weapons Range Power Mass Damage
    Form III Laser
    20 10 4 8+1d8
    125mm Slug
    15 6 47 28+1d12
    SR Missiles(12) 6 2 15 1d12 x 6
  3. Now for the math to calculate the movement rate and the Hull points. Optionally, the rough size can be calculated as well as the total cost.Here's what we have so far:
    Loanza
    power mass cost
    Engine 1300
    12 650000
    Shields 6 31 2 30000
    Armor 60
    60 3000
    Pilot 1 3 3 300
    Special Att 0 0 0 0
    Weapons





    Form III 10 4 72000

    125mm 6 47 218000

    SR(12) 2 15 30000























    Velocity
    Totals
    52 143 1003300 8

    First we'll calculate the movement rating:
    Start with the Engine Rating (1300) and subtract the total power points for the shields, weapons and other components. In this case, all systems drain 52 power points. 1300 - 52 = 1248.

    Now divide the subtotal by the total mass points dropping any remainder. The total mass points for the Loanza is 143. 1248/143 rounds down to 8. A movement rate of 8 means that the vehicle can move 8 hexes per round.

    Now to calculate the Hull points:
    In Lorica, one unit of armor provide 12 Hull points. It is assumed that the armor is a futuristic alloy. 60 times 12 equals 720 Hull points.

    For estimated size, I use a unit of volume I call a ton. It is 1000 cubic feet or a 10' x 10' x 10' cube. One mass point equals one ton. Since the Loanza has 143 total mass points, it is 143 tons in size. This is 143,000 cubic feet. It is about the size of an oil tanker.

  4. With these numbers, provide a good description of the vessel.

How could something like this apply to Tiezerakan or Dweneyarda?

Tiezerkan vessel would use similar engines. Keep in mind that a 1300 rated engine in one world is not necessarily equivalent to a 1300 rated engine in another. In Tiezerkan, vessels are moving at speeds hundreds or thousands of times faster than tanks. However, to keep the math simple, there no need to create a master table of engines, use the same ones. For crossover, simply come up with a conversion rate.

Weapons in different settings will vary in damage. A GM may decide that weapons do absolute damage. For example, a 17th century cannons may only do 1d4 Hull points of damage as opposed to the large values of damage for Lorica weapons. Tiezerakan weapons may be a factor of 10 or 100 times more damaging than Lorica.

A GM may also decide that weapons do relative damage. A 17th century cannon may do 1d10 Hull Points of damage in a fantasy setting, but very little if brought into another. Again, if you do crossover, create a conversion factor.

You may decide to assign different numbers of Hull points per one unit of armor depending on the material. Steel may be 8 Hull points per unit of armor, for example. Wood may be 6 Hull points per unit of armor. A GM could define as few or as many materials as desired.

Special attachments vary considerably. Mechs do not need living quarters or galleys, but interstellar vessels do. Some settings may not have energy shields like Lorica. In each setting, special attachments are better defined.

Lastly, a ton may not be the same in every setting. In some settings, a ton may be a 5' x 5' x 5' cube or 125 cubic feet. In others, it may be thousands of cubic feet. Like engines, relative values help to simply things. I have not found a need to do this, using this system, I have re-created a 16th century Portugese Nau with close to real-life values.

After post 200, some more concrete examples of this system in other settings.