[MS] Design Goals VER 8 – Death Rays

One thing we’ve been able to play around with recently have been Death Rays, the catch-all weapon profile for any Area of Effect type of attack that typically is in a line. Since we’ve been drafting up profiles for Super Robot style shows like Getter Robo we’ve been able to use them more often. For a game like MechaStellar we always try to thread the needle by keeping a profile general enough that it can be used by either a Super Robot or a Real Robot show, with the latest iteration of the Death Ray type weapon we get closer to that goal.

Previously Death Rays would only pop up if your game included the unstoppable tyrant Big Zam or Gundam Unit 4 and its megabeam launcher. With Getter Robo and other Super Robot Shows we’ll likely see these area of effect attacks more often. It’s important that the profile not be strong but also not be too weak so there are a few things we need to consider here.

Penetration (PEN on the profile sheet) is especially lethal to MS class Mechs which is 99% of the Gundam roster. When a MS fails an Armor Save against Penetration it is instantly destroyed. As a result we have to be careful which weapons have high penetration, in VER 7 the highest we see normally is PEN 5 on a shooting weapon and PEN 7 on a melee weapon. If we want Death Ray to be high PEN we have to consider the effects of that, since an area of effect let’s say 2″ wide line streaking across the battlefield could force a lot of units to make an Armor Save and be instantly destroyed. Of course, that’s pretty common in the Mecha genre isn’t it?

That said it’s important to strike a good balance and if we want to have high PEN weapons that are also area of effect there needs to be a corresponding cost to be paid such that these weapons don’t proliferate everywhere.

For Titan class Mechs using a Death Ray causes you to lose Momentum and has a massive Power draw. So let’s say a Death Ray is normally 6 Shots, PEN 6. For a Titan we start that out at Power 5, meaning they are burning 5 of their equipment slots to have a Power of 5 in order to use this weapon every turn. Fair enough. But if we do a stronger Death Ray we need to keep ratcheting up the power requirement. If we did 7 Shots, PEN 7 we’re now going to have the power requirement be 10. Quite an investment. For 8 Shots, PEN 8 the power requirement will be 15.

That’s a very high power draw, as it should be since it’s a powerful weapon but keep in mind the “All-Out Attack” Command allows you to temporarily increase your power up to 10, although you risk shutting down. This is perfect since we saw in a lot of Super Robot style shows that these strong weapons aren’t used constantly, and are typically used sparingly or reserved for a finale.

For Titan’s our model currently looks like this.

PowerRangeShotsPENSpecial
Death Ray I532″66Lose M:1 AOE: 1″ Wide Line
Death Ray II1032″77Lose M:2 AOE: 2″ Wide Line
Death Ray III1540″88Lose M:3 AOE: 3″ Wide Line
Death Ray IV2040″99Lose M:4 AOE: 4″ Wide Line
Death Ray V2548″1010Lose M:5 AOE: 5″ Wide Line

So that works well for Titans, allowing you to have a very powerful weapon at the expense of burning your equipment slots on Power but what about MS class Mechs that do not rely on Power. For MS we use a higher Momentum cost, representing that many weapons require significant charging time, long reload time or have a deleterious effect on that units reactor draining most of its energy. Death Ray for a MS will follow the same table above but it will cost 2 Momentum per Level to fire so a Death Ray II for instance will cost 4 Momentum to fire and a Death Ray V representing a Satellite Cannon or 00 Raiser Sword would cost 10 Momentum. While very costly for your Momentum pool keep in mind that a Death ray is very likely to destroy several units earning back several of the Momentum just lost.

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