Inside a Mech

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shai-hulud
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Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:25 pm

Except for cockpits, firing ports, and areas near portholes, the inside of a mech is naturally pitch-black. Dwarves don't mind this, but other races do. Illuminating mechs is the common solution.

Mechs walk in a jarring, jerky fashion that is extremely abrupt. The first time a character boards a mech, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10) or suffer from "mechsickness" due to the jerky motion (obviously, warforged are immune). Mechsickness is exactly like seasickness. Mechsick characters spend 1d4 hours nauseated then suffer a -1 circumstance penalty to all rolls until they've spent a day getting used to the mech's motion.

A mech's controls are straightforward. Each usually has two levels, as in a tank. Each controls one leg. Push the right lever forward and the right leg advances; push the left lever forward and the left leg advances. Push them forward in an alternating sequence and the mech walks. Push a lever all the way and the mech strides as far as it can; push it halfway and the mech takes a shorter stride.

Piloting a mech consists of learning how to time the motion of the levers. The pilot must connect his own personal kinesthetic sense to that of the mech. Avoiding boulders while walking across a rocky field requires moving the legs in different strides with each step, which only the best mech jockeys can do with any sort of speed or precision. Jumping requires pumping the legs to the maximum stride at just the right moment, then putting them in the right position when the mech lands. Turning requires moving one leg forward and the other backward at just the right rate. All of these techniques are hard to learn and difficult to master (especially since the consequence of failure can be toppling over and damaging the mech).

A pilot-operated weapon is generally controlled with a metal strut or arm that extends from the cockpit's wall. The pilot moves the weapon by moving this oversized joystick, whose motions are amplified and mimicked by the mech's arm. If it is an axe or other melee weapon, the pilot must swing the joystick in the right motion relative to the position of the mech's real arm. If it is an elemental cannon or other ranged weapon, the pilot must aim the arm, then push a button to fire.

Since it is nearly impossible for a two-handed creature to control two joysticks and two levers at once, advanced mech jockeys modify their controls to make them easier. One common adaptation is the addition of a horizontal bar between the two leg levers. The bar has a ball joint on each end, and if the levers are given a little leeway at their base, the bar can be used to control both levers at once. The pilot simply grasps the bar in one hand and then shifts the strength of his hand to move one lever or the other. Pushing forward on the center of the bar brings both levers forward; pulling back does the same thing. It's similar to pushing a bicycle with one hand on the handlebars.

Elemental-powered mechs require large amounts of water. This water keeps the gears cool to avoid breakdowns. The mechs are designed to suck water through filters to keep the water from getting too filthy from running through the mech's parts. Oil is also required to keep the mech running smoothly. The combination of water and oil needs to be constantly maintained as the water keeps the parts in working condition while the oil keeps the gears from grinding.

Communication between mechs takes place in a variety of ways. Some mechs can use magic items or spells that allow telepathic communication. Others may incorporate wavemakers. The earliest mechs, however, have no form of communication.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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Re: Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:33 pm

Description and Construction
A mech can be built by anyone with skill, a lot of gold, and a huge labor pool. In theory, the field is wide open; in practice, only well organized (or extremely numerous) societies can cobble together a battle mech, much less something larger.

Player characters can build their own mechs to field against dragons, enemy mechs, and other foes. They can also adventure on board the larger mechs, explore the burned-out husks of wrecked or ancient mechs in Xen'Drik, battle against enemy mechs, and research new ways to improve mech technology.

This section covers the description and construction of mechs. The two topics are covered together because by discussing a mech's construction we will simultaneously detail its description.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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Re: Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:59 am

Profile
A mech's stats are defined in the traditional monster format. They have hit dice, attacks, damage, and ability scores, just like any construct. A few new terms apply to mechs, however, and a few old terms are defined differently, as follows.

Hit Dice: All mechs use d10 for hit dice, and they always receive 5.5 hit points per hit die.
Speed: Mech speed is listed in tactical terms, as with normal monsters. Large mechs can move great distances quickly due to their massive strides, but in general mechs are not capable of high-speed movement.
AC: Armor Class isn't relevant in most mech combat. Each mech has an armor class, but due to their size they are often painfully easy to hit. More important is the mech's hardness, which is a function of its size and material type.
Hardness: A mech built of iron is more durable than a mech build of stone. This is reflected in the mech's hardness score. Similarly, a Colossal size mech has a denser superstructure than a Large mech. It also has more open space, meaning a successful penetration is less likely to hit something important. All of this is reflected in the mech's hardness rating.
Critical Thresholds: A heavily damaged mech may suffer system failures long before it is completely destroyed. Mechs have what are known as critical thresholds. These are divisions of their hit points. At each new threshold, the mech is more likely to suffer critical hits. Critical hits cause not only additional damage, but also specific system failures (such as a loss of power to the right arm, or clogged gun ports).
Each mech has four critical thresholds: green, yellow, orange, and red. A mech's entry will include break points, as a percentage of total hit points, for these critical thresholds. For example, "Green, Yellow 50%, Orange 25%, Red 10%" means a mech crosses the threshold to yellow when reduced to 50% of its starting hit points, orange at 25% of its total, and red at 10% of its total.
The effects of hits at the various critical thresholds are described in more detail in the Basic Mech Combat thread. Note that all critical damage ignores the mech's hardness, since it takes place inside the mech's shell.
Attacks: A mech's attacks depend on its crew. This is described in more detail in the combat section. For now, keep in mind that even though a mech may have many attacks listed, it needs the relevant crew members to be alive and functioning in order to make those attacks.
Space/Reach: Same as for a monster
Saves: Mechs have Fortitude and Reflex saves. They do not have Will saves. A mech's base Reflex save (which is almost always negative) is not inclusive of Dexterity modifiers.
Ability Scores: Mechs have Strength and Dexterity scores. Both are contingent on the mech's size and power source. Some mechs may be clumsy but powerful, while others are agile but weak.
As with all nonliving constructs, mechs lack a Constitution score. Mechs do not have Intelligence, Charisma, or Wisdom scores. The mechs themselves are never subject to effects or checks concerning these stats; such effects or checks instead affect their pilots and crews.
Payload Units (PU): This new term describes how many people and weapons a mech can support in addition to its basic superstructure, armor, and engines. One Medium creature or weapon takes up one payload unit, a Large creature or weapon takes up two payload units, a Huge creature or weapon takes up four payload units, and the progression doubles at each increment thereafter.
Payload requirements for weapons generally include space for ammunition and reloading, unless noted otherwise.
The mech itself occupies a space equal to twice its payload units. For example, a Huge mech would occupy 8 PU in a larger mech.
Payload units can also be used for transporting raw materials. In general, 1 PU is sufficient to carry a volume measuring roughly 6x6x6 feet (216 cubic feet), or a weight of 1,000 pounds.
Crew: Different kinds of mechs require different kinds of crews. Man-powered mechs are extremely labor intensive, since the entire mech runs by manpower. Animated mechs require substantially less crew (mostly just gunners and tactical staff), while an undead mech requires only a single necromancer to control it. A mech's profile will indicate its crew requirements.
Firing Ports: In a small mech, all the passengers are near the edges and can fire ranged weapons through firing ports. The larger a mech becomes, the lower the proportion of its passengers that is near the edge and has access to firing ports. The firing ports entry is determined by a mech's size. It indicates what percentage of the mech's total payload units are next to firing ports. Remember to add vertical height into the range determinations for shots fired from high up on large mechs.
Power Source: This describes the power source that runs the mech.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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Re: Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:42 pm

Size
A mech is constructed by determining its size and type, customizing various components, and adding weapons. Construction will be described in more details later, along with information on pricing. For now, let's look at the various components of a mech's profile.

The first consideration in a mech's profile is its size. This determines the range of its payload and height. The type when combined with the size then determines the range for the rest of the attributes. A mech can exceed its normal size/type range, but this raises the cost.

The "size modifier" applies to the mech's AC and melee attack bonuses as normal.

Each individual mech type has its own profile based on its size, as follows. These profiles include critical hit tables for each mech type. These critical hit tables will be explained in more detail later.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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Re: Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:02 am

Maneuverability
For the purpose of simplicity, a mech's maneuverability is linked to its size and power source. More flexible mechs can be built but they are more expensive.

The base maneuverability classes by mech size are as follows:

Code: Select all

Size         Maneuverability
----         ---------------
Large        Good
Huge         Good
Gargantuan   Average
Colossal     Average
Maneuverability is then modified by the mech's construction type, as follows. No mech can be worse than clumsy or better than perfect when it comes to maneuverability.

Code: Select all

Power Source        Maneuverability
Elemental-powered   No modifier
Man-powered         -1 increment
Clockwork           +1 increment
Animated            +1 increment
Undead              -1 increment
With regard to mechs, maneuverability classes are defined as shown in the following table. Note that mech maneuverability is even more cumbersome than the typical flight maneuverability increments--most mechs are hardly graceful.
Mech maneuverability classes

Code: Select all

Task            Perfect      Good          Average       Poor         Clumsy
----            -------      ----          -------       ----         ------
Reverse         Free         -10 ft.       No            No           No
Turn            Any          90°/20 ft.    45°/20 ft.    45°/20 ft.   45°/40 ft.
Turn in Place   Any          90°/-20 ft.   45°/-20 ft.   No           No
Maximum Turn    Any          Any           90°           45°          45°
Trip Checks     +4           +0            +0            -4           -8
Climb           Yes          -4            No            No           No
Jump            Yes          -4            -8            No           No
Clearance       3/4 height   1/2 height    1/2 height    1/4 height   1/4 height
Reverse: Mechs of perfect maneuverability can switch between forward and reverse movement at no penalty. At good class, the mech must expend 10 ft. of movement to switch to reverse. Mechs of average or worse maneuverability cannot move in reverse.
Turn: The amount of forward movement the mech must make to turn. Mechs with perfect maneuverability can wheel in place, while others must move forward in order to make a turn.
Turn in Place: The amount of speed that the mech can spend to turn in place. Mechs of poor or clumsy maneuverability cannot turn in place; they must move forward in order to turn.
Maximum Turn: The maximum amount that a mech can turn in one round.
Trip Checks: The modifier to the mech's trip checks. The less maneuverable a mech is, the less balanced it is, and thus easier to trip.
Climb: Well balanced mechs can climb cliff faces, castle walls, and other obstructions. This is made using the pilot's Mech Pilot skill, as described later. Mechs of perfect maneuverability can do so at no penalty, mechs of good maneuverability have a -4 penalty, and other mechs cannot climb.
Jump: As with Climb, this describes whether a mech can jump, and if so, what penalty is applied. Jumping is described later.
Clearance: How high the mech can step, as described later.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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Re: Inside a Mech

Post by shai-hulud » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:38 pm

Man-Powered Mechs
Man-powered mechs use hordes of toiling workers to power their actions. Your first mech utilizes a crew of five additional warforged! Based on their size, man-powered mechs have the following base profile.

Power Source: Manpower
Physical Appearance: Man-powered mechs lack the elemental engines of elemental mechs, but they share the noise. In the case of your first mech, it is the painful squealing of straining gears.
Critical Thresholds: Green, Yellow 60%, Orange 35%, Red 20%
Crew: 50% of a man-powered mech's PU must be laborers. These crew members can do nothing but work to provide power; they cannot pilot, navigate, fire weapons, or do anything else. The balance of necessary crew (pilots, gunners, and commanders, as dictated by the mech's design and the crew's capabilities) must come from the remaining PU. Obviously, this means most man-powered mechs use more than 50% of their PU for crew. In smaller mechs, the mech jockey and gunners must provide some of the mech's power themselves through pedals or treadmills, in addition to the other workers. Larger man-powered mechs include some additional senior-level staff (a mech commander or navigator), but most of the space is dedicated to additional labor.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

Image Kolgu 'Sparky' Dermott: Android Rogue/Wizard
Image Garrick Cae'Sarr: Human Bard
Image Hormy Noodzo: Goblin Hunter

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