Mecha RPG – The Basics

Over on Wild Die, The Game Guy posted a really great article on how he went about creating his Mecha RPG.  Since I am currently creating a game called Mecha (formerly Neoborn Genesis Honor Blade), an RPG about mecha, I thought I could use this blog to create a dialogue.

This is in no way an attempt to convince you, my gentle reader, that The Game Guy is wrong or bad.  In fact, until The Game Guy acknowledges it’s okay to do so, I’m not even going to go point by point on what he said.

Instead, I am taking his post as an inspiration, especially because of one line:

Whether you are going for the Anime feel (something that I don’t, being that I dont care for Anime)

I found this interesting because with Mecha I totally am going for the anime feel.  Mecha is unapologethically, categorically, and completely a game about mecha anime.  And I believe that our two choices allow us to take the same genre (mecha games) and go in wildly different directions.

In most anime, even the hard core military anime series like 08th MS Team, the main characters are devilishly hard to kill or oven to have their mecha taken out.  They rarely have trouble taking out enemies (unless they are aces) and they can perform a number of feats at super human level including making a big steel beast dance and dodge bullets, build mecha out of scrap, create new inventions, and generally be awesome.  In mecha anime, the pilots rarely fail, though the tend to be less successful than in other times.

In Mecha, there are only 4 Stats and 7 Skills. Your mecha has an additional 4 Stats and then they Link.  So technically there are 8 Stats and 4 Derived Stats.  Those 7 Skills govern pretty much anything you want to do in the game: Operate a mecha, fight outside a mecha, do social activities, repair your mecha, etc.

Mecha also features a turn-based structure we call “scenes” and “episodes”.  Play goes around the table with each player getting a scene.  During their Scene they can do something Social, acquire new gear, repair the mecha, etc.  One skill for one type of scene.  Once everyone has had their scene, the GM gets her turn and then there’s combat.  End of the episode.

Then the players get their turn.  Then the GM goes.  Then combat.

Anyway, I want to talk more about Mecha in the coming months.  This weekend I plan to finish the beta playtest doc.  Then I’m going to get feedback.

Then…maybe publish?

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~ by Chris Perrin on April 3, 2009.

7 Responses to “Mecha RPG – The Basics”

  1. Yay, MECHA! I want now!

  2. Are there points other then the Anime comment that you disagree with in my article?

  3. I think that “disagree” is a harsh term one way or the other. Mainly, I am fascinated by the two paths in which are games are taking us.

    I guess if I had anything that made me think “hrmmm” is the part about being bad at stuff. In anime mecha, the pilots either are aweome at what they do or they don’t try it. That sort of relates to your idea about balancing stats and skills.

  4. I am not saying that Mech pilots arent going to be bad at anything (expecially at first), all I said is that if they are going to have a specific career class (such as Mech Pilot) they should at least have the skills to do te job.

    I would hope if you hired an accountant or a lawyer that they would have the skills to at least do their job (regardless of whether they do it well or poorly).

  5. @The Game Guy – But that’s precisely Chris’ point, that in Anime Mecha shows, being a mecha pilot is almost an innate thing; whether it gets honed by training is irrelevant, really. Rick Hunter was a natural the moment he got in the seat of a Veritech; training only made him more badassier. Same thing with Max Sterling. Same thing with the kid from Evangelion, or MS Gundam, or Gunbuster, etc.

    You’re gunning (no pun intended) for the BattleTech-y side of the coin, with trained pilots who must have the skills for commanding one of these huge metal beasts. Chris is gunning for the Anime-y side of the coin, with natural-born “technowizards” that are missing half their soul until they get in the cockpit of a huge metal beast.

  6. That’s fine. He wants to play the Anime side of Mecha which is fine, and thats cool.

    That’s not what I am looking for because I hate Anime. But I respect his choice and its cool he is playing a Mecha rpg, however he wants to play it

  7. @The Game Guy – One of the reasons I am very interested in following your series is because, aside from the fact that I have a soft spot for Mecha, my experience of mecha has always been the Anime kind, never the other one (except for Battle Tech), so I’m very curious what are the sources you are drawing from and what you’re building is meant to emulate. Good stuff.

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