GIWTR 01 – A Mecha in King Arthur’s Court – Part 2 – Mecha Design – The Sweord

groon

So as I mentioned back in Part 1 I’m planning to use Mekton Zeta for the giant robot portions of this game. By that I mean the combat and the mecha construction. Theres actually a (weirdly?) small number of dedicated giant robot/mecha rpg’s and Mekton Zeta is one of the oldest and in my opinion one of the best. A number of the more recent mecha games use systems where the attributes are defined narratively, e.g. I mentioned Camelot TRIGGER in the last post. It uses FATE so you have statistics for your robot like “Torso: Great armour”. Nothing wrong with that per se, it lets you quickly model the salient features and start playing. I actually have a lot of time for the FATE system and its various offshoots. But when it comes to giant robots, even if you’re talking about super robots, I like the feel of getting down to the nitty gritty, to the nuts and bolts, to complex systems and sub-systems and lots of numbers. Mekton Zeta’s mecha construction system is a nice middle ground between the fairly light system of something like FATE and the overly detailed/fiddly tech creation systems from something like the Silhouette Vehicle Creation System or T:TNE’s Fire, Fusion and Steel (basically I dont want to deal with complex forumlae).

MZ’s (Mekton Zeta’s) basic mecha creation system is outlined in the core book, its around 30 pages and is a solid base which lets you design a fairly wide array of mecha commonly seen in the anime and manga that inspired the game. Then you have the Mekton Zeta+ Technical Manual which contains the Mekton Technical System, a greatly expanded version of the construction system found in the main book. It adds a massive range of options without increasing the complexity of the process a huge amount. I do find that it has one major failing though. It doesnt include all of the information thats included in the main rulebook, so you basically need both books to make full use of it. This seems like a wasted opportunity to include the entire system in one book and cut down on needless flicking between the two. A minor thing to be sure but still sort of annoying. Anyhow, I shall persevere. Both books in hand I’m ready to set about creating my prototypical “Knight Armour”.

 

Before that a (very, very) brief overview of some core concepts for the MTS (Mekton Technical System). Everything is bought using CP (one oddity is that theres only a proper explanation of CP in the core rules so you need it for odds and ends like that along with the MZ+ book). The game suggests that 101-300 CP is the range for mass produced models with upgrades for officers and special tasks. Other key elements are spaces and kills, spaces are exactly what the name implies, Kills are a measure of durability/damage. Basic elements have the same number of spaces and kills as their CP cost.

1. Concept

All of the Knight Armours used by “proper” English Knights are quite similar in form and function. The main differences come down to size/weight (Light, Medium, Heavy, Super Heavy) and armament. There are also minor variations between KA’s such as differing sensor setups etc. But by and large most of them are fairly similar. Of course there are unique models out there which stray a little further from the mold. But we’ll get to them when/if the story dictates. So this is going to be a basic medium KA (the most common type of KA). All KA’s share the following basic features (which may be subject to change if I think the change is cooler):

  • Main armament consists of non-energy melee weapons (and often a shield)
  • Majority of KA’s carry at least one form of ranged weaponry. But its used either as a last resort (by cowards) or for utility/recreational hunting (rules wise any Glory earned while using a ranged weapons is reduced by 90%)
  • KA’s have enough room for one pilot, though the cockpit has enough space to accomadate one other person in somewhat cramped conditons
  • EW is more or less non-existent
  • Advanced movement systems such as flight or gravimetrics are unavailable, most KA’s have limited GES (Ground Effect Systems – hovercraft-esque)
  • KA’s require no fuel, legends say they are powered by the hearts of dragons
  • Knights control their KA’s via thought, this allows them an unmatched degree of control but at the risk of suffering along with their armour (Subject to change)
  • KA’s can repair any damage they sustain, even replacing expended ammunition. They can only do so when their pilot is inside (The last part is subject to change – basically the thought control feedback and the pilot inside requirements are an attempt to emulate the downtime being wounded creates in Pendragon)
  • No one knows how the KA’s function and as such cant repair or modify them in any large way (swapping armaments is generally as far as it goes). Even if someone did understand they couldnt do anything about it as the world lacks the industrial infrastructure to create parts. Legends tell that faerie smiths under the hill have created Armour for those lucky or unlucky enough to come upon them and willing to pay their price. It’s also said that Merlin understands the KA’s, as he understands all things.

This mecha in particular:

The Sweord is one of the most common Knight Armour’s, its a Medium classification Knight Armour as is armed with a sword, shield, optional lance and backup projectile weapon.

2. Construct a Frame

In this step you create the basic mecha before moving on to adding in all the fancy stuff

2a Choose Body Form

Humanoid – All Knight Armours have a humanoid (1 head, two arms, two legs) form

2b Buy Servos

Servos serve as the mechas “skeleton”. The Sweord is a medium mecha so I just went with that for all of the basic servos.

Servo           Class          Cost/Space/Kills

Torso Servo     Mediumweight    12
Head Servo      Mediumweight    6
Right Arm Servo Mediumweight    7
Left Arm Servo  Mediumweight    7
Right Leg Servo Mediumweight    7
Left Leg Servo  Mediumweight    7
Pod Servo       Light Heavy     7/14/0

Arm servos dont actually come with hands, technically the hands are designed as weapons and added on later. But the Sweord only needs basic hands, which takes 1 space has 1 kill and costs 2 CP, so thats 4 CP for both hands.

The Pod Servo is a special type of servo that basically serves as storage, it gets twice as many spaces as its CP but can take no damage without being destroyed. You’ll note the Pod is a different class than the other servos. Actually all the servos could be different classes once theyre within one classification level of the Torso servo

2c Wheels and Treads

None

2d Buy armour

The Sweord is meant to be a tough solid KA so I’m going to bump the armours class and type up a bit (you dont need to use the same class of armour as the servo it’s covering, nor do you need to use all the same class of servo actually)

To save time I’m going to use the same armour class and type on all servos, so I’m going with the Light Heavy Armour Class which has a Stopping Power (SP) of 7 and which costs 7 CP per Servo. And the Alpha (one step up from standard) Armour Type, which costs x1.25 normal. So 7 CP over seven locations costs 42 CP, with the Armour Type modifier thats a total armour cost of 61.25

So thats the basic body of the Sweord complete, at this point it costs 114.25 CP

3. Choose your weapons

3a Build Weapons

The Sweord’s armament is fairly basic, it has a sword, shield, lance and backup projectile weapon. Shields actually fit in the next step so that just leaves us with the sword, lance and gun. The sword and lance are melee weapons and their two main statistics are Damage and Accuracy (theres also a few other traits we can give them). One of the concepts mentioned above is that none of the KA’s use energy or beam weapons. I’m going to sidestep that concept a little when it comes to the lance. I want the lance to be powerful, but limited in use, as such I’m going to design the lance as an Energy Melee Weapon so it can only be used for a limited amount of time in any fight.

Lance

Consist of just a long handle in its sheathed form. When in use a glowing lance of solid energy extends from the handle. However this field can only be sustained for a short time and needs to recharge outside combat.

EMW have a significant advantage in that they treat all SP as being -4, e.g. SP 7 would count as SP 3 against an EMW.

So the lance will do 5 Kills of Damage (5 CP), with an accuracy of 0 (x0.9) which can be used for 2 Turns (x0.4) for a total cost of 1.8 CP

Sweord Blade

A “basic” melee weapon, its damage comes from a mixture of its size and its advanced material (the game doesnt make any actual distinction, it leaves flavour like this up to the player)

So it does 5 Kills (2.5) with an accuracy of +0 (x1.0) for a total cost of 2.5 CP

Bow

The basic projectile weapon carried by the majority of KA’s. Each unit tends to have some small variation. Bows are generally single shot, high damage, medium range weapons.

So 7 Kills of Damage (7 CP), this gaves a range of 8 but I want it slightly longer 125% should do which gives us a x1.12 multiplier. Accuracy of 0 (x1.0). For a total cost of 7.8.

Ammo is purchased seperately and is stored in clips. It costs costs Weapons Cost x (0.01 per shot) x [Ammo cost multiplier]. The Bow has a 15 shot clip and uses standard High Explosive ammo. So 7.8×0.15×1 for a total cost of 1.2 CP and takes up 1.2 spaces.

3b Do they fit

Ok I’m a little unsure about this. MZ+ says that hands “may carry as many Spaces worth of equipment as the servo in which they are mounted” but the other examples generally seem to have the weapons spaces come out of the arms Spaces.

Ok after a bit of re-reading it seems that “mounted” weapons come out of the arm spaces whereas handheld weapons come out of the hands spaces.

The Lance and Sweord Blade take up ~2.5 spaces each so they can be wielded no problem (and easily fit in the Pod Servo’s storage). Likewise the Bow’s ammo easily fits in the storage. However the Bow itself takes up 7.8 spaces. I’m going to rule for the moment that it has to be used 2 handed (in essence combining the hands spaces).

3c Ammo

Already took care of this when designing the Bow above

So all in all the Sweords armament costs 16.34 (including the price of hands)

4. Consider Shields

Sword and Board is part of the classic Arthurian aesthetic so shields shall most certainly be considered. Shields luckily only take up 1 space in the servo theyre mounted in/hand theyre held in no matter what size they are. As energy lances have no become a “thing” hopefully shields will allow superior defence against them.

Hmm well I dont actually want to have energy shields so I’m just going to try and bulk up the “Basic” shield.

4a Choose Shield Type

So a Standard shield, with Light Heavy classification costs 11 CP and offers 11 SP (7 SP against a Lance), with a Defence Ability of +0 (x1.5) and an armour type of Alpha (x1.25) for a total cost of 19.25

4b Does it fit

Easily, it only takes up one space so it can easily be wielded in either hand

4c Use Binder space

Didnt use a binder

5. Buy Crew and Sensors

Ok so the basic cockpit is free and takes up 1 space, I also want room for another passenger so that costs 1 CP and takes up 1 Space. I’m going to place the cockpit in the torso because thats where all proper mecha should have it.

The KA’s have a basic sensor suite which encompasses everything required for normal operation and combat (though Knights generally use the KA’s external speaker systems to communicate rather than the internal communication systems).

So a mediumweight sensor suite costs 9 CP and takes up 1 Space (its going in the Head).

6. Buy other additive systems

At this point I’m just going to add a few basic bits and bobs: Liftwire (0.3 CP) and Escape Pod (2 CP, 1 Space – Torso)

6a Allocate spaces

Cockpit (2 spaces) – Torso
Sensor Suite (1 Space) – Head
Escape Pod (1 Space) – Torso

6b Efficiency

This allows you to scale down components to fit, I’m not going to bother with this

7. Figure base weight

This is the number of kills of structure divided by 2, which in this case is 62.5

7a Fuel

The KA’s dont use or require fuel

8. Weight efficiency

At this point you can reduce the mecha’s weight for a cost of 2 CP/ -1 Ton. This comes at the very end of the overall process (technically after multipliers but before scaling) however so I’ll leave it till then.

9. Flight and other propulsion systems

I mentioned above that some KA’s have a GES. But that actually goes against the aesthetic I want, so its No to propulsion systems.

10. Figure Base Cost

At this point the Base Cost is 162.14 CP (so still ~140 CP to go before we’re “Over Budget”)

11. Choose multiplier systems

11a. Choose powerplant

Standard cool fusion powerplant – x1.0 modifier

11b. Buy cockpit controls

Going with thought control so this will come later, at this point cockpits enclosure can be detailed. All KA’s have armoured cockpit enclosures i.e. they are built into the core of the mecha and sealed off (in system terms they get full armour SP for Cockpit Hit result)

11c. Maneuver Verniers

This accounts for small systems that increase the mecha’s maneuverability. Going to leave it alone for the moment

11d. Environment protection

The KA’s are generally not particularly resistant to any adverse environments.

11e. Transformers and Combiners

No transforming or combining

11f. Other multiplier systems

Here’s where we add in the more outre abilities for the mecha. In the case of KA this consists of Thought Control (x0.5 multiplier) and Regeneration (x0.25 multiplier)

12. Calculate your mechas multiplied cost

So thats our bas cost (162.14) multiplied by our total multiplier (x1.75) for a multiplied cost of 283.75

13. Overview Mecha

Looking over it it doesnt look too bad, though the manueverability is a little low and the weights a little high.

14. Figure stats

I was going to do this on paper but I came across an excel sheet that does it automatically so I just punched in all the shit listed above.

15. Buy command armour

Command armour is a second layer of armour and equipment you can add if you want. As we’re pressing agains the cost ceiling I’m not going to bother with it

16. Scale as appropriate

We’re going with a 1:1 scale so no need for that

17. Remotes

No remotes

18. Finishing touches

At this point our mecha stands 18 Meteres tall (using the MZ+ rule of thumb – Height = Torso Servo’s Kills x1.5) and weighs just over 60 tons (just a little less than a M1 Abrams in fact). This seems more or less fine. I am going to use the “spare” points to add in one maneuver vernier which brings the final cost to 299.97.

Vent your spleen

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