But tonight, before I finish that last North Texas RPG Con entry, I had to get something down on paper. I took my draft rules for OSR Mecha and took them for a spin, Robotech style. And just to test them further, I threw in a mage. A Perytonian Energy Wizard to be exact. So, without further adieu, here's how my sim went.
OSR Mecha Sample Combat
[Designer's Note: OSR Mecha is designed to help answer one of the most frustrating questions most mecha RPGs have to answer - how to handle the immense scale of the mecha themselves. How do humans interface with mecha? How much human damage does a mecha weapon do? How much mecha damage does a human weapon do? The basic answer to this is the core of OSR Mecha.
Mecha damage is an effect, not a number of damage points. Mecha save versus the various types of weapon on the battlefield, a failed save indicates a damage effect. When mecha fire at human-sized targets, a "hit" almost always indicates a near miss. Only on a natural 20 is a mecha-scale weapon assumed to hit a human-sized target squarely. If the human is wearing armor that offers protection against mecha weapons, they save as a mecha would, taking 1D6 HP for each mecha damage category suffered. This number is doubled for the dreaded "direct hit"- the human is probably a goner.
Mecha saves show a value for No Damage, Light, Moderate, Severe and Kill. Each Mecha sheet has a save matrix that shows the armor's effectiveness against various classes of mecha weapon. A mecha hit with a Medium Mecha Weapon rolls a Save vs. Medium Weapon. The effects of various rolls appear on the Save Matrix. The average Mecha is destroyed on a Kill result. Two Severe hits equal one Kill. Two Moderate equal one Severe, and two Light equal one Moderate. As mecha takes damage, damage begins to impair the mecha.
Mecha can be of several size classes. As of this test of the rules, mecha come in Power Armor, Mini Mecha, Standard Mecha and Kaiju sizes. Using the Halfling rules as a guiding star, mecha are -2 to hit targets one size class smaller. Multiple size classes stack. Power Armor-sized mecha are considered the same as normal PC scale.
Ready to see how it plays? Let's go!]
Corporal Ramos winced as the crank on his throwback field telephone made a quiet whirring noise. He dared not power up his field radio. The damned Invid had a way of homing in on high-tech gear, and the RRG eggheads had yet to figure out how. The Invid patrol was moving slowly up the ruined street, a group of Karbarran slaves shuffling discontentedly between the lead and trail elements. Ramos looked at his partner, the demonic-looking Perytonian Borthak. Borthak regarded Ramos with those unsettling crimson eyes, and grinned the grin of a hundred sharpened teeth. Ramos shuddered involuntarily. Borthak was good to have around, but he hadn't yet gotten used to the devilish appearance of his comrade even after three months of working together. Borthak nodded silently, and began to murmur to himself. Ramos picked up the field phone reciever and began to tap on it with his good luck charm - a titanium spork.
"Three gun scouts on point, four soldiers. One trooper and a gaggle of bear slaves" Whispered Sergeant Milburn. "You cyclone ladies hold up until the show starts. We don't want the Invid tipped off." Milburn turned to the pair of Marines on the venerable M2. He mused how the reserve weapons had gotten brought out of mothballs when it became apparent the Invid could track energy signatures. The same MG that had fought the Germans twice, the Koreans, the Cong, the Russians... was about to light up some friggin crab creatures on another planet. With a deft movement, Lance Corporal Dean chambered a round and sighted in on the lead Invid gun scout.
[The Expeditionary Force has a surprise round, they consist of a machinegun team, a Anti-Armor team, a scout team including one Marine and one Perytonian, and two Marines in Cyclones who can't act during the surprise round for fear of setting off the Invid sensors. Borthak the Perytonian declares his intention to cast Light on the #2 Invid's sensors, but since this is a surprise round declaring spells ahead of the initiative roll is a formality.
Sergeant Milburn has the MG team start the party. L/Cpl Dean rolls 1D20 and adds his DEX bonus of 1 for a total of 16. The Invid has an AC of 10 on the ground - it's big, but clumsy until it takes to the air. Dean hits easily. The Ma Deuce is a Heavy Infantry Weapon firing at mecha, so rather than roll damage dice, the Invid rolls a Save vs. Heavy Infantry Weapon.
The Invid's Save vs. Heavy Infantry is "Good", so before the game the DM noted the Invid's save numbers. On a 10 or better, the armor stops the attack. On a 6-9, the Invid will take a Light damage. On a 1, a Moderate. The Invid rolls the save and gets a 6, Light damage. A quick roll of 1d8 produces a result of "Damaged Armor, -1 on Saves" The .50 rounds riddle the lead Invid with holes.
The Anti-Armor team looses their rocket, an Armor Piercing round. It corkscrews in on Invid Scout #3, with the team rolling a 15 to hit. The shoulder-fired rocket is still a Heavy Infantry Weapon, but considered +1 to damage. Thus, the Invid's saves will all be one point more difficult. The Invid rolls a 3 - not enough to cause Moderate damage, but enough to make it take notice with Light. A consultation with the 1d8 effect table for Light damage yields a lucky result - "Sensor Hit." Normally, this would just spoil the enemy mecha's aim or detection abilities, but to an Invid a sensor hit is bad news. The sensors are directly in front of the pilot compartment... The missile impacts the "eye" of the Invid, and it explodes in a wash of green nutrient fluid.
Borthak casts his Light spell, blinding the #2 Invid, which begins to flail its clawed arms.
Corporal Ramos raises his Wolverine assault rifle and looses a burst at one of the Invid powered armor troopers. The Malar Power Armor has a rating of "Stops" against Small Arms. Corporal Ramos is packing AP rounds, so the Invid will roll its save at -1 if hit, but even with this bonus no damage at all will occur unless a 1 or 2 is rolled. Ramos gets a 13 to hit, barely there, and the Invid rolls and 18, not even close to a penetrating shot.]
"Cyclone team, go, go go!" Sergeant Milburn barked. Behind him he could hear the sound of the two Protoculture-powered bikes roaring to life. The Invid were recovering from the surprise- the battle was joined in earnest.
[The Invid roll a 5 for initiative, the Expeditionary Forces a 3. Looks like the Invid are going to go first.
The three- well, two - scouts react first. One leaps into the air, increasing its AC to 16 due to it's speed and maneuverability. It strafes the Anti-Armor team that destroyed its neighbor. The Invid rolls a 1, missing by a mile. The #2 scout turns toward the MG team and rolls an 18 - even with the penalty for firing at a human-sized target and the GM-called penalty for the Light spell, that's bad news for L/Cpl Dean and his loader. The plasma discs are Light Mecha Weapons, to which the CVR-3 armor the Marines are wearing has a resistance of "None". L/Cpl Dean and Pfc Spunkmeyer roll an 11 and a 17. Both get results of "KILL". To a mecha, that's an instant destruction result. For a human hit (near-missed) by mecha weapons, that's 6d6 damage. Neither Dean nor Spunkmeyer can eat that much damage- both are killed in the fireball.
The four Invid power-armor troops act next. Two fire at the Cyclones that have declared their power-up this round. A 7 misses the first bike, but a 17 hits the second. The Malar has an arm-mounted enery bazooka that hits as a Heavy Infantry Weapon. The Cyclone Rider hasn't transformed yet, so she has to rely on her CVR-3 body armor, which resists Heavy Infantry Weapons with a "Poor to Fair" rating. A roll of 19 means the lucky dog took no damage from the attack, the CVR-3 successfully deflected or absorbed the hit!
The two other Malar start looking for cover and pull back toward a pile of rubble, firing at Corporal Ramos and Borthak. A 3 and an 8 mean clean misses.
The big purple Trooper, wishing it were the armed variant of its class, lumbers forward to engage the Cyclones, but cannot close the distance without going airborne.
Time for the Expeditionary Forces to act. The VR-052 Cyclone pilot, CPL Wile, guns her motor, charging toward the Trooper as fast as her cycle can carry her, then reconfiguring to Power Armor mode at the end of her move. Since she moved and transformed, her round is over. CPL Welti, her partner in a VR-041 Cyclone, transformed in place after being shot at by the Malar. She still gets her attack, and decides to fire six of her twelve rockets from the chest launchers at the Malar that fired on her. A 15 beats the Malar's Armor Class by two, so two of the six rockets hit home. The rockets are Heavy Infantry Weapons, against which the Malar has a resistance of "Fair." The Invid rolls 19 and 13 to save, taking one rocket with no damage, and light damage from the second. This results in damage to the Malar suit (1d8 yields an atmosphere breach) and 1D6 damage to the pilot inside. The pilot is a 1HD Invid soldier, and the damage rolled is enough to drop his HP to zero. The Malar drops- but the suit could be salvaged.
Sergeant Milburn asks the GM if the .50 survived the attack. The GM takes pity on the sarge and asks for a ST, Milburn rolls a 6 and the GM declares the .50 is a melted pile of junk. The Sergeant unslings his Gallant energy rifle, thumbs it over to high power, and takes a shot at one of the Malar. A 14 hits, and the Malar must now save versus Small Arms, with a -1 penalty due to the Gallant's High Power mode. A 14 on that die means nothing is done despite the fearsome power output of the energy rifle.
Corporal Ramos fires a shell from the underslung grenade launcher on his Wolverine. 18! A hit on the Malar seeking shelter. The grenade is a Heavy Infantry Weapon with a penalty of 1 on damage rolls - it's a small grenade. The Malar has a resistence again of "Fair" and rolls a 15. Adjusted to 16 for the weak shell means no damage. This really isn't Ramos' day.
The Anti-Armor team takes cover and reloads their rocket launcher.
Borthak decides to quit screwing around and take some Invid out of the picture. He throws his one and only Lightning Bolt at the two rapidly retreating Malar looking for cover. As a 3rd Level Spell, Lightning Bolt can inflict damage as a Light Mecha Weapon (1st Lvl = Small Arms, 2nd Lvl = Heavy Infantry, etc.) and the Malar have a resistence of "Poor" to Light Mecha Weapons. A pair of Severe results mean both Malar take a roll on the Severe damage table, but since the squishy pilots of this power armor are going to be taking 4d6 damage, the GM rules it irrelevant and the Malar are removed from play.
The round ends with the Expeditionary Force and the Invid both having taken casualties, and the Invid looking to be on the worse end of the deal. L/Cpl Dean and Pfc Spunkmeyer are dead, but the Invid have lost two of their Power Armor troops and a Scout, with some damage to other units.]
Corporal Wile knew she was uncomfortably close to the big Invid trooper, but she also knew from experience it was likely to start tearing into the slaves if she didn't do something about it. From the flashes and the noise her helmet speakers were picking up, she figured Borthak had the enemy soldiers under control. The Trooper was all hers. She activated her sighting reticle, which popped up from the shoudler of her armor, and smoothly brought her right forearm launcher into line with the Invid's sensor eye.
[Initiative is rolled, and the Expeditionary Force goes first. Corporal Wile reminds the GM of the "aimed shot" rules from the S&W SRD, and goes for the sensor eye. -8 for the eye penalty, but +4 for the sighting hardware. She will lose her AC bonus from both the Cyclone and her Dex this round, but she's trusting the die to take out the Trooper before it can whack the hostages. The group lets her roll first for the pure drama of it.
The Expeditionary Force's luck holds, and the attack just barely matches the AC of the Trooper. Senor eye shot, instant kill. Boom.
CPL Welti's Cyclone goes next, releasing the remaining six rockets at the Malar she fired on last round. Oops. A 7. The rockets spiral off into the distance. She vows to use her targeting scope next time, but her rocket pods are dry.
The Anti-Armor team has another round ready this round, and fires it at the still struggling Scout #2. A 16 hits, and the Scout rolls a Heavy Infantry hit at a penalty of 1 for the AP rocket. 7, adjusted to 6 on the "Fair" column. Moderate damage. 1d6 on the Moderate table shows a weapon knocked out, the Scout loses its plasma cannons.
Corporal Ramos and Borthak pull back, Borthak unslinging his Wolverine and the pair of them firing grenades at the Malar. 17 and 14 both hit, and the Malar rolls a 17 (adjusted to 18) and a 2 (adjusted to 3) for armor saves. The 2 on the "Fair" table is a Severe hit. The GM rules the Invid inside the armor is escargot and moves on.
Sergeant Milburn sights in on the last Invid Malar trooper and fires, missing.
The Invid's turn sees the Malar returning fire on the Sarge with the Anti-Personnel lasers built into the gauntlet. The pair of lasers fire as one, and the Malar rolls a 19, which beats the Sergeant's AC by more than 1, so both hit. Each is rolled for separately. The Sergeant's armor rating against Small Arms is "Stops", so the Malar is disappointed with Milburn rolls a 14 and a 20, avoiding all damage and thanking the RRG researchers who invented CVR-3.
The Malar is further disappointed when the Scouts take to the air and begin a retreat, having lost their big brother and three of their little brothers, and one of their number losing their weapon. A failed Morale Check is a terrible thing- for the Invid.]
"We have you surrounded." Sergeant Milburn barked from behind the sights of his Gallant rifle. "Drop your weapon and stand down." The Sergeant winced as a blade thrust out from the Malar armor's chest, covered in green ooze. As the Malar slid off the blade onto the ground, Milburn saw Welti retracting the vibro-saber into her Cyclone's arm shield.
"Sorry, Sergeant, I know it's ROE for you to call for a surrender, but when have the Invid ever come quietly?"