Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battlechanger as Mecha

One of the things I wanted to do with Battlechangers (which is just one or two images from publication!) is to include a way to 'hack' the race creation system to build piloted, transformable mecha rather than sentient transforming robots.

I always planned to include mecha in future 'tech-oriented' Black Tokyo releases, and they fit well with my other campaign worlds. In the Battlechangers: Ironworks PDF, I'm going to stat up 3 distinct mecha designs, based on what I feel are the three most iconic robots in anime and gaming, and expect more when Battlechangers: Multiverse hits.

I doubt these three mecha designs will be illustrated in Ironworks, but I should be able to get comissioned art for at least some of them by the time Multiverse goes to press. That's a pretty unfortunate cost saving measure, but you probably already know how these mechs look anyway.

Take a look at how I built Veritech "Valkaryie" homage robot called the Cloudfire using the Battlechangers ruleset below.

Transforming Mecha: Battlechangers as Vehicles
            By hacking the Battelchanger race creation system somewhat, players and gamemasters can create piloted, transformable mecha rather than self aware alien robots. This section gives some basic rules of thumb for building Transforming Mecha.

·        Transforming Mecha are treated as Constructs of the appropriate size. Transforming Mecha gain the Battlechanger and Meca subtypes.

·        You spend Shannix as normal for a Battlechanger of the Mecha’s size to customize the Transforming Mecha. The Transforming Mecha gains an alt-mode (s) as normal, which usually must be a Vehicular alt-mode, though mechanical Primitive modes are possible with game master approval.

·        Transforming Mecha are typically mindless (but see the Mecha subtype). They might gain bonus feats by spending Shannix.

·        If the Transforming Mecha is treated as equipment, pricing and rarity are at the GM’s discresion, but usually these are extremely expensive, multi-million dollar hardware, equivalent in price to any other military vehicle and just as hard to acquire.

·        If the Transforming Mecha is intended as an opponent, assign ability scores and additional abilities as desired, keeping the monster creation guidelines in The Bestiary in mind. Usually these enemy Transforming Mecha are assigned a BAB appropriate to their challenge rating and ability scores representing an average, undistinguished pilot, with a 10 in all attributes save DEX, which is 15. The GM should modify as necessary to produce elite Mecha pilot opponents.

·        While piloting the Transforming Mecha, the pilot has total cover and cannot typically be targeted by physical affects, but remains vulnerable to magic and psionics. When the Transforming Mecha is reduced to 0 HP it is disabled and non-functional. When reduced to -20 HP or fewer, it explodes, inflicting 5d6 fire + 1d6 fire damage per Mecha Hit Dice (REF DC 20 half).

·        The Transforming Mecha’s pilot is considered to be wearing Heavy Armor for the purpose of arcane spellcasting failure.
New Subtypes

            Monstrous Humanoids with the Battlechanger subtype are powerful alien mechanoids able to alter their form into vehicles, tools and other useful shapes.

            Constructs with the Mecha subtype are vehicles designed to operate under the direct control of an intelligent pilot. Mecha have the following qualities.

·        Though the Mecha’s type is Construct, it is vulnerable to mind-influencing effects through its pilot. This weakness does not apply if the Construct is unmanned. Location: Weaknesses Format: Intelligent Pilot  
·        Piloted (EX) Some of the Mecha’s qualities, marked with an asterisk in the statblock, are replaced by the Mecha’s pilot if they are greater. The following qualities are replaced by the pilot’s when the Mecha is in action: alignment, languages, REF and WILL Saves, base attack bonus (which may modify CMB and CMD), DEX,  INT, WIS and CHA scores.
Location: Special Qualities Format: Piloted
Mecha, Cloudfire – CR 10
Huge N* Construct (Battlechanger, Mecha)
XP 9,600
Init +2 Senses Darkvision 500 ft, lowlight vision, perceive unencrypted radio/television/wifi signals, Perception +0       
Languages pilot’s languages*

AC 22 Touch 10 Flatfooted 20 (-2 size, +2 DEX, +12 natural)
HP 13d10 + 40 hp (112 HP)
FORT +4 REF +6* WILL +4*
Immune Construct Immunities
Weaknesses Cybernetic Security Risk -1, Intelligent Pilot  

Spd 40 ft Flight ft (average) alt-mode only
Melee +13/+8/+3 slam (2d8+2 bludgeoning, 20/x2)
Reach 15 ft
Ranged +15/+10/+5 Military Plasma Rifle of Distance (2d12 fire, 19-20/x2, 60 ft range increment, semi auto, 12 cell)
or +14/+9/+4 High UV Laser Pistol (2d8 fire, 20/x3, 30 ft range increment, single shot, infinite ammo)
Special Attacks Mini-Missile Flurry (4x/day)
Special Qualities Piloted, No Breath, Starflight, Unhealing

Str 15 Dex 15* Con - Int 10* Wis 10* Cha 10*
Base Atk +13 CMB +17 CMD 19
Feats Ground Walk Mode, Mini-Missile Flurry
Skills Fly +4
Gear 6x spare cells for the Military Plasma Rifle (hip carry)
Headware – Onboard Computer
Shannix Budget
Damage Reduction (1), Efficient Systems (1), Feat Programming (Ground Walk Mode, Mini-Missile Flurry) (total 4) Special Weapon (+2 Military Plasma Rifle of Distance) (3), Special Weapon (+1 High UV Laser Pistol of Infinite Ammo) (2)

Environment any land or air
Organization serves as a vehicle for a Medium pilot
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Fuelon Reserve (EX)
             The Cloudfire has 8 points in its Fuelon reserve. It can expend a point of Fuelon to achieve a number of results, described fully in Battlechangers: Ironworks.

Ground Walk Mode (EX)
            The Cloudfire can assume a hybrid robot/aircraft form. In this form, it can use all vehicle mode weapons, as well as carry and manipulate objects.

Massive Strength (EX)
            The Cloudfire’s pneumatics and artificial musculature allows it to haul enormous weights, out of proportion to her size. Its lifting, carrying and dragging limits are 100 times greater than a humanoid creature of its size. Its maximum load is 20,000 lbs.

            Mini-Missile Flurry (EX)
            As a full-round action, the Cloudfire Mecha can unleash a flurry of mini-missiles against all targets within 500 ft who do not have total cover. The Cloudfire may target up to 6 individual opponents, inflicting 10d8 damage, half of which is ballistic, half of which is fire. Targets may attempt a DC 18 REF Save for half damage. The Cloudmaster can use a mini-missile flurry four times per day.

The Cloudfire’s alt-mode is a futuristic warplane, extensively modified from the F-15 design legacy. Fast, sleek and powerful, the Cloudfire’s purpose as a finely tuned instrument of war is clear. External weapons and armor, as well as drop off fuel pods and exo-atmospheric boosters give the Cloudfire even more threatening lines. The Cloudfire Mecha can change from alt-mode to robot mode as a move equivalent action that never provokes attacks of opportunity.
Classification Huge Sky Fighter
Armor Class 24
Damage Reduction 5/-          
Spd Fly 1,000 ft (average)
Maximum Load 20,000 lbs
            The Cloudfire can carry a single passenger, aside from the pilot in the instructor’s seat.

            The Cloudfire Mecha is a standard by which transformable mil-spec vehicles are judged. Fast and sleek, in its robot configuration, this mecha is a capable giant, dominating the battlefield with heavy firepower and great dexterity. Cloudfire Mecha serve as close-in air support, strafing ground vehicles and infantry with their integral energy weapons, using the mini-missiles slung beside the cockpit either as anti-personnel or anti-armor weapons, depending on the mission.

            The Cloudfire’s cockpit becomes an armor clad control pod within the robot’s chest, as reinforced plating slides into place to protect the bullet proof polymer. The robot has slender, humanoid proportions, with its wings partially retracting into the spinal plating, while the underslung missile pods move to become part of the shoulder plating.

            Cloudfire Mecha are painted in squadron colors, often with impressive nose art or tail-fin deco identifying the best pilots and most legendary machines. Most are painted in a smoke grey with golden trim and canopy, for best concealment among the clouds.

Variant Transforming Mecha: Apache Hunter
            The Apache Hunter is a helicopter-based iteration of the Cloudfire Mecha, transforming from a robot mode similar to the Cloudfire’s into a helicopter gunship. Apache Hunters are usually a matte black with smoked canopy and dark navy trim, tuned for night operations. The mecha’s four bladed rotors fold and partially retract, becoming a back-pack like unit. The Apache Hunter is taller and thinner than a Cloudfire Mecha, with more spindly proportions. Unlike the Cloudfire, an Apache Hunter carries only a single ranged weapon, a powerful anti-tank chaingun.

            Use the Cloudfire Mecha stat-block with the following changes.

Special Qualities Remove Spaceflight
+16/+11/+6 Flaming M-60 Machine Gun (2d8 ballistic + 1d6 fire, 20/x2, 100 ft range increment, full auto, infinite ammo)
Shannix Budget
·        Replace Damage Reduction (1) with Racer (1)
·        Replace both Special Weapons with Special Weapon (+3 Flaming M-60 Machinegun of  Infinite Ammo) (5)
Feats Add Hover (alt-mode only)

The Apache Hunter’s alt-mode is a futuristic ground attack helicoptor, resembling a more advanced Apache bristling with missile pods and carrying a single chaingun firing depleted uranium rounds from a gimbaled mount slung beneath the cockpit. The Apache Hunter can change from alt-mode to robot mode as a move equivalent action that never provokes attacks of opportunity.
Classification Huge Sky Fighter
Armor Class 24
Spd Fly 1,250 ft (good)
Maximum Load 20,000 lbs
            The Apache Hunter can carry a single passenger, aside from the pilot in the instructor’s seat.

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