MechaStellar – Pilot Skill – Melee

Ramba Ral

During our Zeta playtesting we wanted to try out a new system for Melee that involved wagering Skill.  Here’s the proof of concept we tried with the Gundam and the Gouf, a classic melee duo.

In Melee the attacker and defender both roll a d6 and add their melee bonus.  Fortune favors the bold so the attacker may reroll their d6.  For example a Gouf is +6 and the Gundam is +4, if the Gouf rolls a 3 and the Gundam rolls a 4 then we finish with 9 Vs 8 and the Gouf wins dealing damage.

In the Melee Skill system we introduced wagering.  The attacker wagers skill (each skill is +1 to his roll) then rolls his d6, the defender sees the total result decides their skill wager then rolls their d6.  Here’s an example where the Gouf and Gundam get the same die result but have wagering added in.

Gouf and Gundam art

The Gouf wants to win the fight, he’s got Melee +6 and he wagers 3 skill, a total of +9 bonus on top his d6.   The Gouf rolls a 3 and gets 12 total.  The Gundam has Melee +4 and only 4 skill left, he wagers all 4 not wanting to lose this one for a total bonus of +8.  He rolls and gets a 4, for 12 total.  The two tie and would do no damage.

However, the Gouf as the attacker may reroll his d6.  Quite risky, if he rolls a 4 or better he claims victory, if he rolls a 1 or 2 then he loses and the Gundam surely cuts his arms off.  Stakes are high.

Gouf severed arms

It makes melee a very tense situation, you don’t want to underbid your skill since you may get your suits arms cut off.  Wager too much and you blew some precious Pilot Skill.

We developed the wagering system after testing a few fights in Zeta.  We did small matches of 2 on 2, Zeta Gundam and Hyaku Shiki Vs The O and the Quebley using the iconic reactor room in the colony laser as the backdrop.  Only in this case we have lemons and cans of garbanzo beans instead of beautiful yellow reactor tubes.

Zeta Melee Test 0

With just the standard skill system which at the time we were using skill to add to melee rolls to let you tie your opponent thus letting no one take damage.  Most of the early rounds were uneventful bouts of “I attack” and “I use skill to not die”.  Not very exciting for a climactic scene between some fantastically skilled pilots.

With The O being a melee powerhouse we tried demoing the skill wagering system.  The risk reward here made melee dicey, especially with The O and Zeta having pretty similar bonuses and skill.  The O – Melee +9 and 10 Pilot Skill.  Zeta – Melee +8 and 12 Pilot Skill.

Zeta Melee Test 1

The O being on the offensive he had to choose wisely how much skill to spend.  Blow too much too early and it meant that Zeta could horde skill and trounce The O in each follow-up engagement.  Both suits had enough HP to survive a single beam saber swing so things got pretty interesting.

After about 10 iterations of playtesting this and making minor tweaks here and there we arrived at the above system.  Overall, it’s been pretty fun, we’re looking forward to trying it with weaker grunt suits and less infamous pilots.


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