MechaStellar: Updated Mech Creation Part Two

Shooting & Evade

Something we learned from Version 3 was it’s actually a lot more fun to give the Defender the ability to roll. Previously it was d20 + Shooting modifier versus the target’s Evade (a static number). We found it was a lot more fun to have the Attacker have a flat value and let the Defender roll to Evade putting them in control of their destiny.

Additionally, making Shooting a static value made it simple to implement an Accuracy system where some weapons are more or less accurate than others. For instance: A Guncannon with Shooting 7 has a Beam Rifle (ACC-0) and a Twin Linked Cannon (ACC-1). His target has Evade 2. If he fires the Beam Rifle then the target needs to roll a 5+ to dodge, if he uses the cannon then the target dodges on a 4+ (7-1-2).

Overall formulas were tweaked to adapt to a d10 vice d20 system. Shooting and Evade also began to decay such that a high performance unit didn’t become invincible to an older unit. We did this since part of the fun of watching Unicorn and various Gundam Mangas like MSV-R Return of Johnny Ridden is seeing classic suits put up a fight against newer models.

Shooting = 1:1 growth from Performance 1-5. Then every two points gives +1 Shooting, so Shooting+1 at Performance 7/9/11/13/15 etc.

Evade = 1:1 growth from Performance 1-4. Then every two points gives +1 Evade, so Evade+1 at Performance 6/8/10/12/14 etc.

Staggering the decay provides two benefits. One it allows Shooting to always outpace evade which we want since having unhittable suits does not make for a compelling game. Two, it means every improved level of Performance gives you something valuable so you don’t feel like you have empty levels.

Last thing to note, we learned in VER4 that some suits could be specifically built around Evade while having paper thin armor. Think Kampfer. Likewise you may have suits with piss poor Evasion. We added an always hit and always fail option for these two extremes that way there’s a point to rolling, a hope even.

A Roll of 10 means you Evade no matter what. A roll of 1 means you are hit no matter what (unless you’ve got a reroll up your sleeve). In this way the clunky Guntank may get lucky and narrowly dodge a penetrating beam rifle. Likewise, a Hizack machine gun burst against the Hyaku Shiki means that possibly one of the many shots will get lucky and scratch the Hyaku Shiki’s golden paint job.

Melee

Melee transitioned from a d6 system to a d10 system. In the past we used 2d6 + a melee modifier. Let’s say a Gouf was 2d6+5 and the Gundam was 2d6+3. 2d6 gave a good bit of variance so even with a higher modifier it wasn’t a guaranteed victory. To encourage using melee we’d give the Attacker a free reroll.

When it came to Skilled pilots we used wagering. The Attacker would wager skill, let’s say the Gouf wagered 4 skill for +4. He’d roll 2d6+5+4 and after the free attacker reroll let’s say they finish with a 19. Pretty good! Now the Gundam with 2d6+3 base has to consider if they want to wager skill or not. The Gouf had a pretty good roll, if the Gundam wagered 7 skill they’d still have to roll a 9 to tie (lock swords) or a 10+ to beat the Gouf and deal damage.

It was a fun and decisive system but it did have some issues. If an attacker wagered enough skill the defender wouldn’t even both on defense, this could lead to instant-death. Additionally it also became a massive drain on the armies Skill reserves if two Aces got into a melee combat.

We switched to a success based system which we think better captures the show where mobile suits will often clash but don’t always strike a decisive blow until later. In a success based system you roll a die and on a certain number or higher it counts as a success. If you’ve ever played a game of Warhammer 40k you do success based rolls all the time. For example hiting on a 3+ means every d6 that is 3 or better is a success.

Let’s say two suits are fighting and each one has a 5+ in Melee. Let’s say you rolled 5d10 and got 1,2, 3, 5, 9 that would be two rolls that are 5 or better so two successes. As the attacker we’d call those hits, if you were the defender we’d call those blocks. If the hits exceed the blocks you take damage, if the blocks exceed the hits you may overpower the attacker and they take damage instead.

Here’s an example: The Gouf (6+) rolls 6d10 and gets 1,4,4,6,7,9. 3 Successes or “Hits”. They use their free reroll as the Attacker to reroll the 1, 4 & 4 and get two more successes when they roll a 2,7 & 7. That’s 5 successes total. Gundam (6+) only has 3 dice on defense and luckily rolls 6, 7, 8 for three successes or “Blocks”. Gundam’s 3 blocks remove the 3 Hits from Gouf’s pool. The remaining HITs deal 500 DMG each. That 1000 DMG from Gouf rends a whole in the torso of Gundam’s cockpit and Amuro can now see directly outside.

Melee, Movement and Sensors

Melee and Movement and Sensors had their growth lowered overall. Movement improved every 3 levels of performance now. Melee and Sensors bumps up every time period. From a Gundam perspective if we treat the one year war as a Performance level of 1-5 then at Performance 6 all suits get a Performance boost. This worked out extremely well for having the tabletop stats match some published stats with Sensors. If you ever take a look at MAHQ you’ll notice that most suits per era have Sensors around a certain range. The OYW caps around 6k meters, Zeta is around 10k meters and CCA is 14-16k meters. Interestingly enough the GM III a suit that straddles the Zeta / CCA era has Sensors of 10k while the Jegan is 14k, just another reason why the Jegan was such a fantastic successor to the GM!

Targeting

In order to protect fragile back line units like bombardment types we implemented the following rule:

You can only target the nearest enemy model in range.

With the following exceptions:

  • You may target any model within Sensor’s range
  • The Aim Action or a Sniper type unit may target any enemy in range

The rule has been great at adding some more tactical depth to the game. It also lets you reenact your favorite moments trying to protect your Guntanks from a rampaging Gouf.

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