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Nathan Easton
Lawyer by day, Guerrilla Ontologist by night
Lawyer by day, Guerrilla Ontologist by night


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We banned Zak years ago. Looks like the rest of the gaming community is finally catching up.
I want the whole world to know that +Paolo Greco is loved. We stand beside you in the face of bullies, be strong, if you can - we're always here for you.

Shares and +1's matter here folks, let you voices be heard.

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It has suddenly occurred to me that, while it's difficult to make a hexmap of a spherical body, the common isocahedron provides a ready model for splitting a planet up into regular triangular sectors.
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It has suddenly occurred to me that, while it's difficult to make a hexmap of a spherical body, the common isocahedron provides a ready model for splitting a planet up into regular triangular sectors.

Are there rules anywhere for a TL4 ship that doesn't have a spike drive? So like a system ship, but with cheap fusion, artificial gravity, and the like.

Has there ever been errata for the mech weapons table on pg. 176 of the core edition? I'm not sure if cutter plates are actually supposed to be restricted to light and heavy mechs. It's weird that suit mechs couldn't have a melee weapon. Also the description of the weapon states that suit mechs do 1d12 with it.

My actual question is about the lasers, though. I am pretty sure that some of the stats are mixed up between Light Lasers and Anti-Vehicle lasers. Anybody else have an opinion on that?

I'm looking at Starvation Cheap, in anticipation of my players in a new campaign possibly starting a mercenary legion. The campaign is going to be very mech-oriented. How do I fit mecha into these rules?

I was considering saying that a soldier in a suit mech is basically infantry, and is worth maybe 5 regular soldiers in terms of unit strength. So you could have a Battalion of 100 soldiers instead of 500, if they were all trained operators in mech suits. That'd probably raise their contract cost somewhat, and also you'd actually have to buy the mechs, at a cost of around 18 million credits or so. That seems rather steep!

(Seriously, mech suits might be overpriced. The Achilles-class shock suit in the core book is 178k. The fully loaded gravtank on pg. 15 of Engines of Babylon is only twice that. I dunno, I might want to cut suit mech costs by 75%. That'd make suit mechs merely ~5x as expensive as Powered Armor. Extending that to light or heavy mechs would probably make them too cheap, though, though they might need an adjustment as well. It looks like Gravtanks actually aren't that heavily armored compared to light or heavy mecha, so that's a substantial difference.)

The reason this is actually interesting is what it does to logistics. I think if you're willing to pay the extremely high price to purchase, maintain, and crew a mech-based mercenary force, you can save a LOT of logistical headache. IIRC, a suit mech takes up 1 ton of cargo space (in addition to the pilot, of course), a light mech takes up 10, while a heavy mech takes up 50. The advantages over an equivalent tonnage of grav-tanks is obvious with a short examination of the relevant rules. A mercenary force willing to pay the absolutely insane premium to have 2,500 tons of light and heavy mechs (the amount of tonnage of tanks necessary for a battalion of tanks) would burn to the ground a gravtank-based enemy force of equivalent size.

So, you might have a little more efficiency on the back-end, and you'd be able to shrink your personnel requirements to some degree.

Anyway. Thoughts?

Is it too presumptuous or too early to suggest things for SWN2E? If not, pre-built equipment packages might be nice. I dunno if you'd want to have a few packages for each class, or else add in a few items of equipment to the background and training packages. Frex if you were some kind of technician you get a postech toolkit, or whatever.

I was bragging on how I could make an SWN character in less than ten minutes, and realized the most time-consuming part was probably picking out equipment.

Warning, long post incoming.

I'm completely full up on running games right now, so this is a pipe dream. But it's preoccupying my attention and I figured writing it out would relieve the pressure in my head, if you can dig it.

Inspirations for this include Jupiter Ascending (shut up, that movie is great), the new Voltron, a small dash of Battletech, lots of sword and planet stuff, a bit of Dune, and all kinds of other things that have caught my fancy over the years. Maybe a little WH40K even.

The Premise
The PCs are young human space-nobility with their own starship and mechs. They proceed to have adventures. They might wish to start a mercenary company, for example.

Character Creation
The PCs are Nobility. This means that they have descended from certain genetically engineered gene-lines that predate the Scream. This is semi-obvious from a physical perspective, since they are usually visibly larger, healthier, and more attractive than a typical human. Nobility are relatively rare, maybe one in ten thousand humans. Colonies in SWN are often fairly small, a world with a million people would be rather above-average and still have only one hundred Nobles. You can be guaranteed they will be in positions of power and authority.

Character attributes will be 18, 14, 14, 10, 10, 7, arranged to taste. Note the SWN scale, where an 18 is +2 and a 14 is +1. The 7 is only a -1. Characters are thus far superior to the mundane masses. They start out at Level 1 with the maximum HP result for their chosen starting class (Warrior, Expert, or Psychic.) I'd prefer to have no more than one psychic in the party, but that's up to the players ultimately. All PCs must take Noble as their background!

However, they may select any training package they wish. Further, all characters have Exosuit as an in-class skill, because Mecha are the focus of the game. Further, they receive their class' normal allotment of skill points at level 1, to expand their capabilities as they see fit. After that, they receive double skill points per level. At each level HD are rerolled, the new result is taken if it is higher. Otherwise their HP do not change.

The players can give me some details of their family, which will control an area at least the size of the Hawaiian island chain. I don't plan to get too deep into this for the first few levels, during which the PCs are supposed to prove themselves by not relying on their clan for support.

The PCs start out with reasonable personal equipment, basically they can have most things that are TL4 or less, plus 1,000 credits in pocket money. The minimum they should expect is a few weapons of their choice, substantial ammunition, a commpad, a TL4 backpack, any random things they want such as dataslabs or the like, several units of trade goods and trade metals, and a pilot suit. The pilot suit is basically an AC5 version of the Vacc Skin that also functions as a uniform. They can't be combined with further armor, although they work just fine inside at least a suit mech.

The PCs start out with a Frigate, crewed and equipped with any TL4 spacecraft fittings they like. They also each start out with a Suit mech, again equipped as they like. Suit mechs take up 2 tons of cargo space apiece. Excess cargo space may be used for mecha repair/maintenance supplies. In fact, it should be!

Money in the Game
Their reasonable expenses, maintenance, and crew pay are also prepaid for the first three months. After that, the characters will incur substantial lifestyle costs and must be generating income in order to support themselves in the style to which they are accustomed. The problem is that there is close to no such thing as "credits" that work across worlds. Ala Suns of Gold, the PCs should be accumulating wealth, not money.

House Rules
In order to make the PCs feel more badass, I'd probably institute some rules giving special abilities to higher-level PCs. I don't want to overshadow the innate abilities of the classes, but a few optional maneuvers somewhat like the Feats of D&D 3.x and later editions might do a lot to make characters feel more heroic. Some kind of special ability would accrue at levels 3, 6, and 9, I suppose.

Mecha would have double HP, but be subject to battle damage. As they took damaging hits in combat, systems would become compromised or fail completely. I'm not sure exactly how I'd use this. Maybe any attacker would receive a "critical" result on an unmodified attack roll of (20-weapon skill) or above. No more damage than usual, but the defender would have to take a result from the critical charts. The defender could make a saving throw to negate the critical aspect, although they'd still take the damage. Different attack types would require different saving throws; I'd want there to be a variety here.

The critical charts would have a variety of results. Speed reduction, Armor reduction, AC penalties, pilot damage, weapons and defensive systems degrading or being totally destroyed, any kind of thing I could think of. Mecha repair and maintenance would take longer than as written in the book, and there might be additional penalties for repairing or replacing damaged systems due to critical hits.

Suits would have only 5 points of encumbrance available internally for PC equipment. Light mecha would have 10, Heavy mecha would have 15. After that, it's exterior netting or cargo space.

Note that the major function of Light and Heavy mechs in-setting is to negate artillery and automated attack systems. If the PCs were involved in a mercenary company, they'd be a vital component of any forward strike force once they upgraded to Light mechs.

The relevant game texts would be: The Core Edition of the SWN book for mecha. Suns of Gold for a bunch of trading rules and other interesting tidbits. Starvation Cheap for running a mercenary army, which would very likely be an important part of the game at some point. Skyward Steel for naval stuff, and because the Battle Stations rules would be used. Additional bits of Polychrome (cyberware) and Darkness Visible (bad guys) would probably be in play.

I'd adjust the combat system slightly to make it more high-action and heroic. For one thing, melee weapons need to be a more viable option. I know it's unrealistic, I don't care. :P

Lots of human worlds in an incredible variety, all of which have major problems. Several enemy empires, which might be human but are more likely to be hostile or indifferent aliens. I'd definitely be using the Chittik, from Hard Light, because I wrote up a shit-ton of information about them from my last SWN campaign and I believe in recycling. There'd be some more classic or familiar villain types out there, as well. I want things to be a little more fanciful than I normally run them, so I'd have to keep that in mind when developing things.

Our game has generated a question about proficiencies. Magical Music (class proficiency) asks for a successful Performance (general proficiency) throw to play or sing effectively. However, Performance only requires you to make a throw to identify the work of others, which is at 11+. There also doesn't seem to be an improvement in that ability when you spend more slots on Performance.

I've been assuming that all proficiencies where there isn't a specific throw given, that apprentices throw at 11+, journeymen at 7+, and masters at 4+. I've just now realized this is actually nowhere in the text, and that I simply borrowed it from the Healer proficiency's ability to diagnose illness.

Did I accidentally divine the intent of the rule? Come up with a house rule? Totally misread things? Does it benefit a character with magical music to spend multiple proficiencies on Perform?
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