MechaStellar: Updated Mech Creation Part One

It’s been a year so let’s run through some major changes to Mech Creation. In this post we’re focus on a Mech’s Frame Level and the derived stats that can come from that.

In the past there was a cutoff where certain formulas would change. For example Frame 3+ suits had more expensive Performance and Pilot Skill. Similarly, Frame 4+ units got more bang for their buck when it came to the Reinforced EQ option. We’ve since leveled the field on points cost, and made Reinforce scale with every Frame level instead of a cut off. Below are some changes.

Equipment

In VER3 we took a lot of one-off equipment choices and made them a free slot but increases the cost of the MS by 10. For instance, an Anti-Beam Coating, very expensive in universe, would be a free slot but increase the suits cost by 10. Valuable for a high Frame unit but impractical for grunt units where it may come close to doubling their cost. We kept EQ slots that were similar to weapons and were used often, such as the blinding Flash from the Dom (and it’s successors) or the rocket anchor you would see on the Sword Strike Gundam or the Gouf Custom who’s electrified rod could pull it closer to aircraft or mobile suits.

In VER4 we consolidated a lot of equipment choices. In the past you might have about 6 different options for Armor or HP improvements, we were able to replicate these benefits just by using a generalized “Reinforcement” eq slot that could encompass more HP and improved Armor Saves. The same was done for Thrusters which consolidated several movement / evasion options.

Reinforce & Thrusters

Reinforce and Thrusters were previously an irritating balancing act, we’ve simplified them to the following:

Reinforce: Each level bought gives 100*Frame Level in HP. Note: Frame 1 Units gain 200 HP / level.

If Reinforce exceeds your Frame Level gain +1 Weight. Gain an additional +1 weight for every two levels of Reinforcement after that. For instance, you are Frame Level 2, with Reinforced Level 2 no problem, but at Reinforced Level 3 you gain +1 Weight, you would gain another weight at Reinforce 5, 7, 9 etc.

High Levels of Reinforce also boost your Armor Save. Currently that is every 5 levels gives +1 Arm Sv but we’ve been toying with lowering that.

Thrusters: Each level gives +1 Movement. Every 3 levels gives +1 Evade.

You can opt to have negative Reinforcement (thin armor) or negative thrusters (bulky and slow) to represent suits with poor mobility but extra equipment.

Armor Saves

In VER3 we switched Armor Saves from a ‘Negate Damage’ style save like you might see in Warhammer 40k to instead be a Save you make to avoid instant death. We wanted Beam weapons to be less powerful in DMG compared to their kinetic counterparts (like a Bazooka) but have a higher Penetration factor which could instantly destroy a suit if it goes through a critical piece. This variance better replicates the feel of Mobile Suit Gundam, especially in Zeta and later entries where a beam may graze a target and leave it fine but a direct hit is often a lethal one.

Currently Armor Saves are roll a d6 and add your Frame’s modifier, i.e. +1/2/3. If the roll is greater than the enemy weapon’s PEN you survive, if it isn’t your suit is destroyed.

As an Example a Dom is hit twice by a GM’s Beam Spray Pistol which has PEN 2. The Dom player rolls a d6 for each shot, if they roll a 1 or 2 on either die the Dom is instantly destroyed when the Beam pierces through the mobile suit disabling it.

Special Frame Type

Assault, Heavy Arms and Indomitable were rewritten to make sure their rules are compatible with Frame 1 and 2 units. Two additional types were added.

Melee: Gives +1d10 to the Melee Stat

Sniper: Gives +2 to the Shooting stat. Additionally you do not need to target the nearest enemy model when outside Sensor’s range.

POINTS

Previously a Mech’s performance or skill was 2.5 points per level for Grunts (Frame Level 1-2) and 5 points per level for Frame 3+ mechs. Great idea on paper we later found that higher level Mechs were extremely expensive and often different feel like they were worth their points. Since Frame cost was an exponential function (5 x Frame level squared) a higher Frame unit was already considerably more expensive. Ultimately we decided to keep it at 2.5 points per level for all suits, suddenly making suits like Zeta Gundam, the Quebeley or Sazabi massively cheaper.

Special Frame Types like Indomitable, Heavy Arms or Assault were previously allowed at Frame Level 3 but increased cost by 20. We’ve since opened up these frame types to all Frame Levels and lowered the points increase to only 10. As before Frame level 4+ get these for free.

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