Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Mecha Character Generation

To give a shout out to Paul Czege, a lot of the ideas in this post come from an IM chat I had with him.

From the beginning of the NGHB, I had looked at mecha creation as sort of secondary to character creation.  In fact, I really preferred the Battletech version of mecha selection (lots and lots of pregened mecha with the options to build your own) over doing something more varied.  Then I realized that most the examples I’ve been using for the game are Gundam Wing and Evangelion, which feature highly unique and distinctive mecha.

So I am goign to add mecha generation as part of chargen.  I figure that even if the players want to play in a world where there are only two types of mecha then the fact that the PCs are special (because they’re PCs) means that they will more intuitively understand their rides or will have made little modifications and that’s part of chargen.

It also introduces other things.  Mecha designs have strengths and weaknesses just like charaters do.  I want to emphasize the interplay between a character’s strenghts and weaknesses and a mecha’s strengths and weaknesses.  I also think there are bonuses/penalties for riding in another’s mecha (the interplay of the strenghts and weaknesses.)  I’m high on this idea.

Is this evocative to anyone else?  I’m trying to noodle over the way mecha and characters will play out.  For some reason, I like the thought of say the little guy piloting the huge mecha because he feels it compensates and then at some point putting the little guy in a light fast mecha and seeing what happens.



November 9, 2007 - Posted by | Mecha


  1. I dig on this idea. I’d probably take it a step further, and have the process build the character and his mecha simultaneously, really linking the two together.

    If I were to go extra hippy, I might even invert the idea, and have mecha design create the character. Say you want your mecha to have a lot of armor. Part of chargen is to ask “why?” Maybe it’s because you’re a cold person, and the mecha armor reflects your emotional armor. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid that your own hesitation or inexperience will get you killed, so you overcompensate to protect yourself — taking this idea farther, maybe it’s because you had a close call and don’t ever want to face death again. You might even draw from Don’t Rest Your Head’s character creation questions.

    I don’t know if you want to go that route, of course, but I like where you could be heading.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | November 9, 2007 | Reply

  2. This touches on something I’ve been meaning to post (the problem is not having content to post, it’s finding the time to post). The short version is: my resources are independent of scope. I can use the same resource mechanic to describe a single character, a squad (as a unit), a ship, an organization or even a nation. I also intend to have the gameplay scale in the same way.

    You can use your passions/strengths/weaknesses to describe a mecha as if it were a character, and the interplay between the character and his mecha work just like other passions in the game, giving the character advantages in his own and weaknesses in other mecha.

    This also implies that characters can have passions that give them teamwork bonuses, and mecha squads could have further bonuses (Voltron!).

    Comment by btaggart | November 9, 2007 | Reply

  3. This must happen.

    Ryan’s idea was going to be something I suggested. The mechs might even choose their pilots. Have you seen Zoids? It’s something you might want to check out. I recommend Zoids: Genesis. It’s an Anime that is kind of intended for kids, but has an actual storyline and is really pretty cool. You can’t get it in America yet, so you might have to… well you know. Anyway, that’s how Zoids work, the Zoids are lost technology, and will only power up, and work for certain chosen people.

    Comment by iamclyde | November 9, 2007 | Reply

  4. This is an excellent idea.

    Comment by robertbohl | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  5. Ryan, good idea. I’m going to write it up and see how it feels.

    Clyde, which part must happen? Just out of curiosity? The mecha design first or the interplay between the character and mecha?

    Mr. Taggert, apparently we are writing the same game. And anything I can do go make Voltron the RPG…even better. I am liking this idea of things scaling. I need to think on it.

    Thanks Robert!!

    Comment by commondialog | November 12, 2007 | Reply

  6. In all honesty, for me… mech design first. However most people aren’t me so the interplay between the character and mecha. Battletech, and Robotech are already in the closet, so I’ll be alright. *wipes tear*

    Comment by iamclyde | November 12, 2007 | Reply

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