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:


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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)


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).


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


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


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


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).