Lunar Mecha Character Generation (v1.0)
- v0.1: First version.
- v1.0: Clarification: you can't use a Reply in response to another Reply.
The Lunar Mecha system is a loose emulation of a console RPG, meaning that characters take lots of damage and shake it off immediately with magic and all the real system work happens during "arena combat" that uses its own complicated, specialized ruleset. Comparatively, noncombat activities have no system at all except where they mimic combat activities (healing wounds between battles, etc).
Your character in Lunar Mecha is defined by a variety of specialized traits, almost all of which are purely combative. Since most of these traits only matter in the battle system, you don't need to feel entirely fettered to them when roleplaying your character, but you should at least keep them in mind. If your Muscle 5 character is played as a strong-man outside combat you probably need to reconsider your spread, but there's no hard-and-fast rule "if you have Muscle 5 you are this strong."
First, a quick rundown of the different attributes a PC has.
- A number from 1 to 30 that measures a character's overall badassity. This will start out very low, as befits greenhorns, and climb over the course of the game until you are a white-hot beacon of awesomeness.
- Fighter Primary Stats
- These are six stats, ranging from 1 to 30, that describe your character's aptitude at a number of general things. The average is 15. The Fighter stats are so called because they are used exclusively when fighting on foot. The Fighter Primary Stats are Muscle, Stamina, Dexterity, Agility, Talent, and Intelligence. They are fixed during character creation and never increase.
- Pilot Primary Stats
- These are three stats that are used only when piloting a mech. Like the Fighter stats, they range from 1 to 30 and are 15 on average. The Pilot Primary Stats are Kinesthesia, Awareness, and Harmony. They are fixed during character creation and never increase.
- Derived Stats
- Your Primary Stats don't get used directly in combat. They're combined with your Level via an overcomplicated formula to yield Derived (or "Secondary") stats, which are harder to explain in real-world terms but are closely connected with basic system concepts like how much damage you do. Equipment and magic can provide percent-based bonuses to these -- for example, a good weapon might give you a 50% modifier to your Attack. Don't worry too much about these; they're the job of the magical Function Gnomes.
- Rather than having a value subtracted from all damage, you have a percentage by which damage is reduced. There are 9 of these, one for each of the 8 elements and one for physical damage. They don't go up during the game and are usually the same for everyone before gear is accounted for.
- Skill Groups and Skills
- "Skill" is a blanket term for all activated abilities, including magic and weapon skills. The game has a huge listing of canonical skills (provided in a separate file), and you can work with me or Mia to create more if you want something odd. All skills fall into certain skill groups. Your character will be naturally talented in several of these groups, and that's where he'll want to focus his attentions. He can learn skills from other groups, but it is more expensive.
- Supermoves are specialized and powerful abilities. They are a bit like Skills, but they consume Will instead of MP and only work in a mech. You have far fewer options when picking Supermoves than you do when picking Skills, but Supermoves tend to be the stronger of the two.
- Skills are activated abilities, but you also have some permanent, passive abilities, your "Edges." These tend to provide much smaller benefits than skills, but they're always "on." Edges are divided into Pilot-type (relevant when piloting), Fighter-type (relevant when on foot), and General (always relevant). Unlike skills, though, there's no particular grouping beyond this. The only thing sthat determines which Edges you're naturally suited for are your Primary Stats.
- Like most games, this one divides weapons into general categories, and you can only use weapons from particular categories. You're encouraged to be good at at least a few kinds of weapons, however. The weapons you use on foot need not be the same as the ones you use in a mech.
- This system makes no attempt to provide a framework for the resolution of noncombative activities. However, to allow characters to define the noncombative things they're best at (and to prevent them from being experts at anything that doesn't involve numbers), they have Proficiencies, which represent either areas of expertise, like "lip-reading," "smooth talk," or "running," or special powers that have no particular combative use, like telepathy.
Although some of the information above describes your character's piloting skill, nothing talks about his mech. This is handled by a separate set of stats, so that pilots can switch mecha without it being a huge ordeal.
- Mecha have a Level too, and it also goes from 1 to 30. Like PC level, mech level increases gradually over the course of the game, but unlike PC level it requires that actual upgrades be made to the mech, so you can fall behind if you don't spend enough time tuning up.
- Mecha Primary Stats
- The reason there six Fighter Primary Stats but only three Pilot Primary Stats is because half of your stats while piloting come from the mech. These are the three Mecha Primary Stats, which belong to the mech itself. These stats (Frame, Handling, and Enchantment) use the same scale.
- Each mecha comes with three descriptive Traits, like "Large, Gunner, Mobile," or something along those lines. A mech's Traits determine which Features can be easily installed in it, but they have no other effect. If you want to make a paper-thin mech with the Tough trait, whatever.
- Features are like mecha Edges -- they apply minor permanent benefits. Features aren't learned the way Edges and Skills are. Instead, a mech's Level determines how many it can have. When the maximum goes up due to levelling, you have the option to upgrade the mech at a hangar or workshop.
- Break Thresholds
- The real measure of mech damage is Breakage, not HP, since mecha can fight even at 0 HP. Mecha have six Breakage Thresholds, one for each of their five locations (Head, Body, Arms, Legs, Wards), and a final Wreck Threshold. When the mech has accumulated as much Breakage as a given location's threshold, that location is permanently broken. For example, if your Head Break Threshold is 4, you are under permanent Head Break whenever you're at 4+ Breakage. The mech is completely ruined and inoperable once it reaches its Wreck Threshold.
- Other Stats
- Mecha also have a slew of other stats that don't come up in chargen -- they have all the same Derived Stats as humans for interoperability of the two systems, and also a few more to boot. In general, mecha have higher ratings than humans in stats that involve power, damage, and damage resistance, and comparable ratings for reaction, accuracy, and evasion.
Building a Character
This is going to lead you through the character creation process one step at a time. Although I've presented this as a step-by-step process, some of the steps can be performed in any order, and it's a good idea to read through the whole thing and glance at the other system docs before you commit. Obviously, you should have a clear concept in mind at this point, though sometimes it's fun just to build characters to see what the system allows.
Step 1: Choose Build and Stats
The first thing you need to think about is what build you want. Unlike other iterations of MGS, this system doesn't divide combat-oriented and magic-oriented characters into separate "classes", but it does distinguish between three balances of stats: Fighter-oriented characters are excellent at fighting on foot but not so good at piloting, while Pilot-oriented characters are the reverse: hotshot pilots who aren't that good outside a mech. Most characters are Rounded and have equal aptitude in both areas. Pick the one that best suits you. Keep in mind that the builds only affect stat points; a character can make up for his deficiencies in one area by learning appropriate Skills and Edges.
Starting PCs are at Level 3 -- they're more capable than a random townsperson, but they have far more potential than experience.
Your six Fighter Primary Stats will determine how good you are when fighting without the aid of a mech. Rounded characters get 90 points to divide among them, Fighter-oriented get 108 points, and Pilot-oriented get 72.
The six Fighter stats are:
- Muscle is.your sheer physical power, the amount of raw force you can create or resist. A character with low Muscle will have trouble lifting an axe or jumping over a pit, while a character with high Muscloe can duke it out without flinching and hurl cinderblocks around. Muscle determines the amount of damage a character inflicts with his physical attacks and weapon skills. It also determines his resistance to physical impairments. (You might think Stamina would do that, but shut up.)
- Whereas Muscle represents the amount of physical power you can focus in the short-term, Stamina represents staying power. Stamina is the ability to endure fatigue and to push yourself in the long term. A character with low Stamina may run fast, but he's ready to collapse after a brief jog. A character with high Stamina can do laps for hours and hold bis breath for several minutes. Stamina determines a character's HP.
- Dexterity is a measure of a character's hand-eye coordination, precision, and ability to do many things at once. A character with low Dexterity may be a fumble fingers or have poor aim; a character with a high Dexterity can juggle knives or hit a bird with a thrown rock. Dexterity determines the accuracy of a character's attacks, as is usual for MGS games. However, it also determines the accuracy of his spells, because it represents a broader kind of precision.
- Agility is whole-body nimbleness, quickness of act and thought. It represents a character's reflexes, but also encroaches on Muscle a bit by determining how much ground he can cover. A character with low Agility either can't run fast or is likely to take a header while doing so, whereas one with high Agility can move through an urban center in a dash, hopping railings and dodging passers-by. Agility determines a character's ability to evade attacks, weapon skills, and offensive spells. It is also used to determine the initial action order at the beginning of a fight.
- Talent is a character's natural ability to learn new things, apply things he already knows to situations he is unfamiliar with, and internalize skill to instinct. A character with a low Talent has to devote his full concentration to one mental task at a time (however good he may be at that task), and either lacks breadth or has to work hard to develop it. A character with a high Talent may never be an expert, but he finds that new things come easily to him and he can function for a long time without getting burnt out. Talent determines a character's MP.
- "Intelligence" is a vague term and can be interpreted broadly both in real life and in this system. It can represent encyclopedic knowldge, natural cunning, or a gift for insight. A low-intelligence character either has none of these or finds an abundance of one offset by a dearth of the others. A character with high intelligence may be a genius whose leaps of insight astound others, a clever trickster who always emerges on top, or a know-it-all with information no.one has any reason to know. Intelligence is the power behing conventional spells; it determines the potency of the character's magic.
Your three Pilot Primary Stats combine with your mech's stats to determine how effectively you can fight in any given mech. Rounded characters get 45 points to divide among them, Fighter-oriented get 36 points, and Pilot-oriented get 54.
The three Pilot stats are:
- Your Kinesthesia is your awareness of your body, its position and its movements. More than that, however, it extends these traits to the prosthetics that extend your body. A character with low Kinesthesia is inelegant and imprecise when using mecha and other prosthetics, while a character with a high Kinesthesia is in complete control of both his own movements and those of his mech.
When piloting a mech, Kinesthesia contributes to your physical attacks' power and accuracy.
- Awareness represents your perception and intuition, your ability to remain alert and think fast in the middle of a battle. A character with low Awareness is likely to develop tunnel vision in life-or-death situations, while one with high Awareness has an uncanny gestalt and is difficult to take by surprise. When piloting a mech, Awareness contributes to your ability to dodge attacks and offensive spells and to the accuracy of your magic. It also helps to determine the initial action order at the beginning of a fight.
- Science and magic blend into a seamless whole in this setting. Magic is intimately tied to the mind and spirit, so only someone who can look past the cold steel frame of a machine to its soul can use it to its full potential. A character with low Harmony feels entirely separate from the machines she uses, while one with high Harmony has an intuitive rapport with magitech and can treat her mecha (and other complex technology) as an extension of herself. When piloting a mech, Harmony contributes to the potency of your magic and to your mech's resistance to impairment.
There's some thematic overlap between the two types of stats (e.g. Dexterity and Awareness, or Agility and Kinesthesia), but I chose to not force people with particular sorts of Fighter stats to take particular sorts of Pilot stats in the interests of freedom. Do whatever works for your concept.
Strategy: Almost everyone's stats should fall between 5 and 25, but if you end up outside that range, don't worry -- it won't break anything in the system if you have 1 Stamina and 30 Intelligence. Just make sure it makes sense ICly! A more serious consideration is that most Edges require certain stats. For that reason you may want to read through the Edge document and decide which ones you're going to want before you set your stats in stone.
Step 2: What Can You Do?
Pick three types of weapon that you can use. A list of sample weapon types is included in the gear document, and you are welcome to diverge from it if Mia says it's OK. I recommend that you be capable of using at least two distinctly different types of weapon -- for example, a magic weapon and a strong weapon, or a close-range weapon and a long-range weapon. These choices only determine your abilities on foot. Mecha can use any kind of weapon, though you can fine-tune yours to be especially good with particular types. Armor use is determined by Edges -- by default you can only use the worst kind.
Now, your character has four points of aptitudes -- specialized natural advantages. For each one he can pick one of the following:
- Skill Group Natural: You have natural proficiency with a particular skill group, and find it easy to learn skills from that group. A list of skill groups follows in this section. You can take this aptitude repeatedly, but only take this Aptitude once per group.
- Extra Edges: You have three additional Edges. You can take this aptitude any number of times.
- Supermove Natural: You have an easier time learning new Supermoves, and you can learn more and stronger Supermoves. You can take this aptitude twice at most.
You must take at least one Skill Group. You never get more aptitudes, so choose carefully! I imagine that most characters will take three different Skill Groups and one level of Supermove Natural. Taking fewer skill groups does not in any way reduce the number of skills you can learn over the course of the game, but it ensures that your focus will be very narrow. You don't automatically gain the ability to use these skills while piloting, but almost all pilots have their personal mecha designed so that they can. In the next step you'll also choose some "Supermoves," mecha-only abilities that consume your Will rather than your MP.
The skill groups available are:
- One of the Eight Elements:
- Each of the eight elements has its own group: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Nature, Thunder, Light, and Darkness. They all function much the same. The element groups focus on offensive magic, but offer a selection of idiosyncratic support spells as well, and defesnes against attacks of that element.
- Blast is the group for angry, angry mages. It is nothing but attack magic. This gives it less versatility than an elemental group, but it encompasses every element, so it's ideal for an offensive mage who doesn't want to be caught unprepared for an enemy with specialized defenses.
- In addition to the eight specific-element groups, there is also a general "Elemental" group encompassing all eight. This contains only the spells directly related to the element -- spells that alter the element of an attack, defend against attacks of a given element, and so forth. The Elemental group does get into attack magic until later on, so a mage who plans to put effort into it and doesn't demand the raw power of Blast can do fine with no other offensive groups.
- Virtually all recovery abilities, as well as most of the abilities that improve item use, fall into the Healing category, and it gets most of those abilities earlier than the other groups that have them. It has virtually no offensive capabilities, however, and is only effective at reversing damage, not at preventing it.
- Bless is the prevention to Healing's cure. It encompasses all abilities that enhance allies' abilities or protect them in some way, particularly what would be considered "buffs". These powers appear in many other skill groups, but Bless collects them all in one place and gives you access to them almost from the start. It can also cure impairments as effectively as Healing, but it has no means of restoring HP.
- Blight is the mean counterpart to Bless. Whereas Bless covers all the good things you can do for your team, Blight covers all the bad things you can do to the other guys. Negative spells, like positive spells, appear in almost all skill groups, but Blight gives you all of them and earlier than most groups. Dispel magics also fall under Blight. Unfortunately, for all its offensive potential, the group has no direct damage abilities.
- "Arcane" is what MGS veterans know as "Spellcraft." The multicast and MP drain that made Spellcraft so desirable have been nerfed pretty heavily, but there's still a lot of interesting metamagic to entice dedicated casters. Arcane has a lot of abilities that improve your other magic (or your allies' magic) and negate the magic of your enemies, so it's very useful in a high-magic environment and less so in a slugfest. It emphasizes active meddling rather than lasting buffs, but has some of each.
- Life is the skill group associated with biology and organisms. It differs from the Nature group in that it has much less focus on elemental effects, but it is similar in that it offers a highly varied selection of abilities. Initially Life is mostly impairment techniques, but later on it branches out into support and, finally, healing.
- Mind can neither inflict nor cure damage, but it provides an impressive array of subtler effects. Like Life, it begins with impairments, but later on it provides a number of buffs.and can ape the metamagic capabilities of Arcane.
- The Space group encompasses all those abilities that involve warping space. It allows a caster to influence the range and area of his abilities and those of his allies, and there are some interesting support effects that play with range and position. A character with extensive training in Space can learn to tear open reality, making it fairly effective at direct damage as well.
- In addition to making fools of us all, Time allows a caster to manipulate the moments at which actions happen, to effectively avoid enemies' attacks, and to make it impossible for enemies to avoid his attacks. Like Spellcraft, Time has had its "multiple action" capabilities pruned almost into nonexistence, but it still provides an assortment of defensive and support abilities and a few impairments.
- Mechanic collects all the abilities that repair, protect, and sabotage machines, and in particular, mecha. A pilot with a lot of Mechanic skills is very impressive in and around mecha, but the group has almost nothing that's useful for non-mecha, and even those come late.
- Tactics could be considered the "ally management" group. It has a handful of buffs, but most of its abilities involve manipulating your team members in useful ways and enhancing their actions. It has a few skills designed to mess with enemies, as well, but always in subtle or indirect ways. Tactics is highly circumstantial, so it is used most effectively by a character who can control the flow of battle.
- Trickery is a bit like Tactics in that it's a subtle and circumstantial set of powers, but it focuses more on messing with enemies and slipping around defenses than on fine-tuning your own party dynamic. There's some overlap in the two in that they share a number of abilities and both require finesse and care to use effectively, but Trickery is a bit less abstract and provides more interesting personal defensive options.
- Courage is the ability of stoic endurance and personal excellence. It is a highly reactive and defensive ability with a large number of self-oriented skills. At low levels it offers an array of defensive options (emphasizing damage prevention and counterattacks); later on it picks up some minor healing and support effects.
- Instinct, like Courage, is a group concerned mainly with personal defense; however, where Courage is mostly about resistance, Instinct is mostly about avoidance. It covers any ability that allows you to get out of the way of an attack. Its support effects are weaker, but it has more of them and gets them earlier -- it has several "intuition" and "insight" effects, including the ability to make your attacks more accurate and the ability to find out information about enemies.
- Panoply is the "stuff" group. It allows you to use stuff more effectively, whether the stuff in question is human equipment, mecha parts, or consumable items. It shares a number of mech-based skills with the Mechanic group, and while it's less potent than that group, it also offers a number of skills that take advantage of the items and equipment used only on foot.
- The Social skill group is primarily supportive, with a good range of buffs. It's not as good for this as most of the other support-oriented groups, but it also has a few mental impairments and a selection of teamwork and morale abilities like those from Tactics and Assist. It's not as good at any of those things as the more specialized groups, but it offers an interesting cross-section.
- Assist is all about helping others. A number of its abilities are only useful on other people, and all of them are effective in a support role. There's considerable overlap between Assist and Bless, but while Bless has some buffs that Assist lacks, Assist has a number of instantaneous enhancement effects to power up your actions and those of your allies. In the upper echelons of the group there are a few healing spells, too.
- There's nothing subtle about Strength. This is the group of brute force, for people who want to do lots of damage without having to finesse their way around whatever defenses the enemy has. Strength has no direct damage abilities, but it has skills that increase the effectiveness of other abilities, add weight to your attacks, and punch through defenses. A Strength expert can even dispel beneficial magic and launch attacks that bypass countermoves.
- Like Strength, the Precision group is almost entirely offensive. The two also share certain abilities -- both can dispel magic and bypass high defense stats. However, Precision is much more concerned with accuracy than force. It has skills that ensure that an attack will connect, that allow an attack to deal damage independent of your Attack or to deal increased damage to specific types of enemies, and to make criticals more frequent and damaging. Later on the group also includes counterattack moves.
- Defense combines the purely defensive abilities of Bless, Courage, and Assist in a single place. It is the ultimate protective group, equally effective at defending yourself and others. It has no offensive options at all, however. It can help you not to lose a fight, but it can't help you win.
- The Speed group has a variety of skills for doing things first or doing several things at once. It doesn't allow multiple actions at the same level that traditional MGS did, but it expands on the number of things you can do in combat while reducing the time it takes to do those things. Speed also has a smattering of offensive abilities similar to those from the Precision group.
- What few skills depend on highly random results are gathered in the unpredictable Chance group. It contains both fairly good direct damage magic and some other miscellaneous healing and support effects, but although it has the potential to be extremely potent it could also fail miserably. Characters who master Chance can bend the odds in their favor, wresting some of the group's power out of Fate's hands.
- Sympathy is the group for sympathetic magic, the magic of invisible bindings between like entities. With it, a mage can share her life and energy with allies and force enemies to share theirs with her. When troubled, she can learn to share her problems with her enemies, becoming more powerful when weak and turning attacks back on their sources.
- A Weapon Skill Group:
There are actually seven weapon skill groups. All weapons are classified into one of these seven categories according to its "descriptor," which pigeonholes it as one of Rounded, Fast, Brutal, Defensive, Elegant, Mystic, and Shot. Unlike traditional MGS skill groups, these don't force you to use a particular type of weapon. By default, you can use your Weapon (Elegant) group with any weapon, not just Elegant weapons. However, specific weapon type restrictions do still exist, they're just optional. These will be described in the next section.
If you have a need that isn't filled by these groups, I'm not against coming up with new groups to suit characters with unusual powers. Keep in mind as you browse the skill file, however, that in many cases you can simply "rebrand" an existing group to put it more in theme. For example, Irving's Song magic is expressed through the Social group, rather than through a separate Song group that would do almost the same thing anyway.
Choosing skill group Foci comes next. Each skill group that you know skills in, whether it's a natural group or not, needs a "Focus," a method of channelling its magical energies. Presumably you plan to get skills for all your natural groups, so now is a good time to pick the Foci for those groups.
Skill Foci don't matter when piloting a mech, but when you're on foot they determine the requirements for using skills of the given group. There are five:
- Litany: The skill requires that you speak a complex mystical sentence (not an English sentence or catchphrase, but one that contains the essence of the power). It fails if you are Addled, because you cannot remember or properly compose the incantation. For setting reasons, this is the most common Focus for spellcasting.
- Ritual: The skill requires that you perform detailed motions. It fails if you are Bound, because you lack the freedom of movement to complete the ritual.
- Formula: The skill requires physical components which are expended during its use. It may be a kind of folk magic or some sort of gadgetry, for example. You can only carry a small number of the required reagents at a time, and replenishing them requires that you buy or scrounge more during a rest period. All skills in the group share the same pool of reagents, but if you have multiple groups with Formula Focus, each uses a totally different type. Formula abilities can't be used if you lack the inredients.
- Weapon: The skill requires that you be using a specific type of weapon. This is the most common Focus for weapon skills, obviously, but it needn't be the only one -- a character with broadly applicable weapon skills might take Ritual to represent the elaborate katas he performs or the fact that he has to run around like a maniac before attacking. Only weapon-oriented skill groups are compatible with the Weapon focus, and then you can only take a group whose type matches the weapon's descriptor. For example, Axes are Brutal and Sabers are Rounded, so you could take Axe Focus for your Weapons(Brutal) skill group, but not Sabers.
- Self: The skill can only be used on yourself (if Action or Spell), can only be used on actions that target you alone (if a Mod), or must be a Reply-type skill. Reply-type skills can't be used on others' behalf. A skill with this Focus can always be used, but its targeting restriction is a substantial drawback. Although Self can theoretically be used with any group, only a few groups have enough abilities that are useful on yourself to justify it -- Bless, Courage, Instinct, and Healing are the obvious choices.
There's some terminology in there about skill types that won't make sense yet, so let's get into that now, so you can keep it in mind when you browse the skill listing. There are five types of skill in the game. Of these, Spell- and Action- type skills are what you'd expect when you hear the word. On your turn, you activate them (usually by paying MP), and they have some effect like shooting fire at someone or whatever, and that's your action. The only difference between these two types is that some effects (like Reflect Magic) only work on Spells, not Actions.
Mod-type skills are one of the ways that this game differs from other MGS games. You activate a Mod on your turn, but it's not your action. Instead, it improves or supplements your action in some way. The type of action that the mod supplements will be listed in its description. For example, the "Strong Attack" mod is a Mod Attack skill. You use it when attacking and it causes the attack to do more damage. Many Mods are Mod Spell skills, which only enhance Spell-type skills. Usually you can only use one Mod per action, but you can expand this limit with Edges.
Reply-type skills are activated in response to enemy (and sometimes ally) actions on you. You have to announce that you're using these during other people's actions, and the game won't stop and wait for you, so you have to keep on the ball if you want to use them effectively! Most Replies are defensive abilities that protect you from harmful effects, but counterattacks are also Reply-type. To keep things from getting silly, you can't Reply to another Reply, so you can't (for instance) counter a counterattack.
Special-type covers any weird other stuff that's left over. These are activated abilities that don't use your action but aren't invoked during your action or in response to someone else acting upon you. For example, the Act First skill is invoked at the start of a fight, and allows you to take the first action during that fight.
Strategy: Go through the separate skill listing and try to pick selections that will fill out your options. Skill groups are generally either collections of all skills of a particular type -- good for a specialist -- or eclectic cross-sections of thematically related abilities -- good for generalists, or for filling out a character. Note what Rank the skills are listed as for the different groups -- a high Rank means that you can't learn the skill until you already have a lot of skills in that group. You should get about 15 SP per level, and a new skill from one of your natural groups costs 10 SP, as does "forming up" an existing skill to make it stronger. If you don't plan to put at least 40 SP into a group you should probably spend the aptitude point on something else and just take the skills out-of-group at increased cost.
Step 3: Pick Starting Edges
A starting characters gets four Edges for free. Edges and their effects are listed in a separate document. Note that although you can take an Edge whose minimum stats you fail to meet, it counts as two of your picks. You must take at least one Fighter Edge and at least one Pilot Edge. If you traded aptitude points for extra Edges in the previous step, you can take those now, too: three additional Edges per aptitude point traded. You may want to skim the section on rules at the end of this document just so you know what the different derived stats do and how combat works, since many Edges muck about with these things.
Step 4: Spend SP
Now you can spend your starting SP. When creating a new character you get 15 SP per level, and you're level 3, so that's 45 SP. Costs are as follows:
|Ability||SP Cost||Max Supermove |
|Learn New Skill or|
Form Up Old Skill
|Learn New Skill or|
Form Up Old Skill
(if below stat
|New or Improved |
|New or Improved |
(with 1 level of
|New or Improved |
(with 2 levels of
The Skill and Supermove files contain more information about learning new abilities of that type. You must have at least one skill when you begin the game, but otherwise you can spend your 45 SP however you like. These costs are the same as the ones you'll face during play, so you can save any SP you don't want to spend right now. If you choose to start with supermoves, you may want to just note down how many levels of them you're buying and wait until your mecha is designed before you choose them.
As with skill groups, skills can be customized if nothing suits your needs. I have specific ways of doing things here, so I might make your custom skill a little differently from how you'd make it for gameplay, balance or consistency reasons, but as long as you can put up with that you can probably get anything by me. Note that magic powers that don't interface with the system at all (like, "magically opens any lock") should be taken as Proficiencies rather than Skills.
Step 5: Proficiencies!
The last step in designing your character (aside from building his mech, which is a separate process) is to pick Proficiencies. Proficiencies are things that your character can do well or special advantages that he has, but that don't influence the game system. They're included both to encourage and remind the GM to let you be awesome at specific things, and also to stop you from deciding that your character is awesome at everything there isn't a stat behind. Now, I know you wouldn't do that, but there are some people on Lunarnet who would! You know those people.
There are three main things that a Proficiency can represent:
- Areas of Expertise: Your Primary Stats can be used as a loose guideline for the things you're good at ("he has a high Agility, so he can probably run fast"), but that's not the greatest system. You may want a character who runs fast but has a low agility to represent that he's imperceptive and slow to react, or you may your character to know a highly specialized skill like lockpicking or blacksmithing that the Primary Stats don't really cover. In either case, a Proficiency is clearly the easiest solution! Taking a proficiency means that your character is extremely good at the thing in question. If you want, you can take it twice, which means that you're one of the best in the world.
- Social or Material Advantages: This covers things that your character has, rather than things he can do. For example, a character with lots of connections in Project Frontier might take a Proficiency to reflect that, and a character who can pull strings to get a mech workshop to himself for a day might likewise take that as a Proficiency. You can take material wealth this way, but the assumption is that it's tied up in ways that make it difficult to access, so while it may benefit you indirectly, it doesn't just let you begin the game with tons of Silver.
- Noncombative Magic Powers: If you want to have minor powers related to skill groups you know, you don't need to buy those as Proficiencies -- someone with fire magic is going to know how to start little fires or light cigarettes or whatever. On the other hand, if you want to have limited precognition, or be able to change your appearance to look like anyone you've met, or talk to animals, that's pretty significant. Powers like that can be modelled by a Proficiency. Really impressive powers like the shapeshifting thing or the ability to fly might take multiple Proficiencies and/or cost MP -- the GM has the final say on that sort of thing. For a single Proficiency, you can know the basic survival magics that teams use in the wild to purify food, protect their campsites, and stabilize regions. For two, you can know all magical survival techniques and a number of other eclectic warding tricks.
There're no definite guidelines about how broad a Proficiency should be. I mention "Lockpicking" above, but "Infiltration" would probably be a fine Proficiency too, and I'd probably allow a character who had it to pick a lock. Does that mean that Infiltration is just better than Lockpicking? Well, it could. The expectation is that you will not try to minmax these abilities out of a combined sense of basic decency and a realization that they don't matter that much. They're expressions of your character's nature above all else. The GM retains the power to veto overly broad Proficiencies, of course: "Athletics" is probably a bit too potent, but "Sports" or "Acrobatics" would be fine.
You have four Proficiencies to allocate. Don't feel that you have to encompass everything your character is good at in these four -- focus on the things that are central to the character, his iconic skills. If even after that you still want more Proficiencies, you can get more with the Talent and Polymath Edges. Conversely, if you want less, you can hang onto some until you've decided where your character's talents lie or until he learns a new skill.
Step 6: Starting Gear
You don't begin with very much stuff! You can pick one type of weapon you know how to use and one type of armor you know how to use, and you begin with a no-frills version of each. You also start out with 500 Silver (which isn't actual silver but a substitute currency made of paper or cheaper metal) to spend on other things. You can browse through the gear and items document to see if there's anything else you want -- generally you can only begin with items of rarity 0, but if you have a good story behind something the GM might make an exception.
All items except skill group reagents are kept in a common pool, but characters track money independently. Characters that have chosen the Formula focus for some of their skill groups begin with the maximum number of reagents (6) for each group that uses it.
Step 7: Mecha Design
You're done! Now all that's left is for the GM to plug all that info into the Character Whizmatron and get your sheet out the other end. But this game is called Lunar Mecha, and there is that one little detail left to deal with.
Designing a mech is a fairly involved process, so I'm putting it in a separate file.
How the Game Works
The document so far has only included the information that you needed to design your character, but now that you have a character you'll want to know how to play. This section will give an overview of the game system. For more detailed information you can see the separate system spec.
Combat in this game goes in a continuous loop, with characters acting immediately after choosing their action (like in Final Fantasy) rather than declaring and then having to wait (like in Dragon Quest).
The initial Action Order is determined using the Reaction stat. Characters go from highest to lowest, with no randomization and arbitrary tiebreaking. Once the last person in the Action Order acts, it loops around so the first person has the chance to go again, and so on. You can delay your action on purpose, in which case you sort of become "unstuck" in the action order and you get re-inserted wherever you finally chose to act.
A disabled character stays in the same place in the action order, since most disabling effects have a duration that goes down one each turn. A character who is KOd falls out of the order. If subsequently revived he's reinserted right after the person who revived him, but he doesn't get to act until the next turn cycle -- being KOd takes you out of commission for a long time even if you get revived right away!
Normal combat (combat on foot versus human-sized enemies) uses the traditional Middleground rows system: each party has a front row and a back row. As long as there are mobile characters in your party's front row, your back row is untargetable by enemies' close-range attacks, but back-row allies can't use close-range attacks on enemies either. The enemy backrow receives similar protection against your close-range attacks. Note that it's possible for the entire front row to be KOd or immobilized via impairments (Bind, Stone, Leg Break, etc), in which case the back row is vulnerable.
Stances and Formation
Rows only apply to normal combat! Mecha combat is more dynamic and involves a lot of jostling for position and flying around, so a positional system as rigid as rows can't represent it well. Instead, mecha combat uses more abstract notions of position: you have a Stance, representing your attitude toward the battle, and your party may be in Formation, which can be thought of as a sort of "group stance" that describes your positions relative to each other. These both provide specialized benefits, like making you immune to close-range attacks or improving your defense.
You get to choose your Stance when the fight begins, and you can change it as a combat action. While disabled you no longer receive the benefits of your Stance, but you remain in the Stance and slip back into it the moment you regain your feet. It's uncommon for a character to be totally without a stance.
Formation is trickier. By default, everyone is in the Random (unordered) formation, which provides no benefits. To change this, someone in your party (it can be anyone) must use a Formation Change action. Everyone in the party then must choose to either take on that formation or stay Random. You can't have two "real" formations in one party -- you all need to be in the same formation, or you can have a mixture of in-formation people and Random (out-of-formation people). What you can't do is have, say, half your group in Tight formation and half of them in Skirmish formation.
Once you're in formation there are a lot of ways to fall back out again! Any of the following things will cause you to revert to Random formation:
The following things cause a character to lose his formation and fall back to Random:
- Being rendered immobile, as by Bind, Stun, Sleep, Petrify, KO (for kaiju), Leg Break, etc.
- Having fewer than the minimum people in formation (varies by formation type)
- Opting out of a formation change
- Vetoing a formation change (this causes everyone to fall back to Random!)
A list of Stances and Formations and their benefits is provided in a companion document. Some Formations require special training; anyone can adopt them, but only a trained tactician can issue the Formation Change command for them.
KO versus Breakage
When a living thing falls to 0 HP, it is KOd (or killed, according to the demands of the plot). It falls out of the Action Order and can't act anymore unless revived, but it also can't be targeted for further damage. If left alone, it will revive automatically with 1 HP at the end of the fight.
Mecha are different! They can continue fighting normally at 0 HP. Instead, they have a scale of permanent (well, semipermanent) damage called Breakage that they accumulate over time. A mech gets Breakage when it is hit for a lot of damage, when it is dropped to 0 HP, or when it is damaged while at 0 HP. It's wise to keep your mech healed above 0 HP even though you don't have to, because otherwise every single hit is going to add to its Breakage, and you're going to have a hell of a time repairing all that! More information about mecha and Breakage will be included in the separate mecha design document.
Healing and Rest
At the end of a fight, all temporary effects wear off, KOd characters are revived with 1 HP, and mecha regain their full HP. A longer period of rest restores all HP and MP to living things, but mecha can only regain MP if a human recharges them during downtime, spending 2 of his own MP for each one given to the mech.
You can do most of the sorts of things you'd expect on your turn: attack, defend, cast a spell, use an item, and so forth. Additionally, there are a few actions you might not expect. Your options differ depending on whether you're in normal combat or mech combat. The following is a list of possible combat actions, followed by the body part they involve. You can't take that action if suffering from the appropriate [Location] Break effect. Note that, by default, you can only use a single Mod-type skill to enhance a given action.
These actions can be used by humans, small-scale monsters, mecha, and kaiju alike.
- Attack (Varies, but usually Arms)
- You can't go wrong with hitting stuff. Attack is a (usually) close-range action to whack somebody within range with whatever you've got in your hands, or with your fists if you don't have a weapon. Mecha with multiple weapons equipped must pick one to use, and the body part involved is whatever one the weapon is equipped to (usually Arms). Alternatively, mecha can always use their Arms or Legs to attack unarmed. Like most other abilities, attacking has a chance to fail, but unlike other abilities it might also land a critical hit for double damage.
- Defend (Arms)
- Defending halves all damage you take (except from stuff like Poison and Taint) until your next action. This halving is applied after all other damage effects are considered, and after the original damage has been checked against Barrier. That is, you can't reduce damage below your Barrier by defending.
Normally the "until next action" part of defense is fairly straightforward, but there are a couple complications. Firstly, you stop defending when you have the chance to act; it doesn't persist for as long as you delay. Secondly, if you're put to sleep, turned to stone, stunned, knocked out, or otherwise get disabled, your defending stops prematurely.
- Use Skill (Varies)
- Specifically, use a skill of the Action or Spell type, since other types don't require an action to use. The mechanics of the skill vary enormously -- different skills have different targeting rules, some are close-range, MP costs are all over the place. This will be outlined in the separate skill file.
To use a skill group in a mecha you need to buy a special mecha Feature and associate the skill with some part of the mecha. Whatever body area you pick is the one necessary for skills in that group.
- Intercept (Legs)
- A character who is delaying can choose to intercept any single-target action aimed at an ally, provided the ally is willing. He declares this once the action is declared but before the hit roll. The attack is then resolved against him as though it had been against him all along, even if he isn't normally a legal target for it. Even if he dodges, the original target is still safe.
- Lend Mods/Replies (Varies)
- A character who is delaying can use his action to apply his own Mod-type skills to an ally's action, or to use one of his Replies on behalf of an ally being targeted. Full rules are given in the "Teamwork" section below.
- Something else! (Varies)
- Circumstances may demand other actions that aren't worth listing separately or aren't a part of the formal system (for example, trying to hack into a computer system while the rest of the party holds off guards). The GM should adjudicate these on a case-by-case basis.
NORMAL COMBAT ACTIONS
These actions can be used by the characters who typically partcipate in "normal combat" -- humans on foot and human-sized monsters.
- Use Item
- To use a consumable item it has to be in the party's immediate collective stash. Virtually all items work on a single target and have a fixed, automatic effect. If someone really wants to avoid having an item used on him, he can try to dodge as if it were an Accuracy-based attack.
- Equip Change
- A character can change his weapon and accessories as a single action. Unequipped stuff all goes in the pool, but I assume characters know whose stuff is whose and are not likely to steal someone else's sword unless circumstances require it.
- Armor Change
- Changing armor is much harder than changing other kinds of gear. Removing your current armor takes only a single action, but putting on new armor requires three consecutive actions (not counting the one to remove your current armor), and the character isn't considered armored until the last. The character can resume gearing up if she is disabled in the middle, but she can't do anything else or she has to start over. Worse, she is a sitting duck for the entire time she's doing this: when a character performs an armor removal or equipping action, she is immobile (Evade 0) until she next has a chance to act.
- Row Change
- Characters can switch between the front and back rows as an action. Mecha combat doesn't use the row layout, so this action is irrelevant there.
MECHA COMBAT ACTIONS
These actions are either only available to mecha, or are only relevant in mecha combat.
- Use Supermove (Varies)
- Activate any supermove that's legal for your current pilot/mech pairing, assuming you can afford the Will cost. If the supermove is a combo, all participants have to delay so that they can act simultaneously, at which point they're inserted back into the Action Order in whatever order is convenient. Supermoves can't be modded.
- Stance Change (Legs)
- Mecha-scale combat doesn't have rows, but a character's overall "position" is reflected in his stance. Characters begin combat with whatever stance they want, and they can change from one stance to another during battle with this action.
- Formation Change (Head)
- A mecha party as a whole has a formation. To change formation, any character may use this action, at which point the party is split into a group that is in formation and an optional group that isn't (which necessarily includes anyone who is disabled or can't move). Any ally can veto the formation change, in which case everyone falls out of formation and the action fails. Note that only the person initiating the change needs to have a functioning Head. Head Broken allies can still fall his lead by adopting the formation.
- Recover (Body)
- A mech can use a Recover action to engage its self-repair systems and shake off superficial damage. Recover restores HP equal to its Toughness. Outside of combat, mecha can use Recover to regain full HP in a matter of seconds.
- Leave/Enter Mecha (None)
- Getting out of a mecha takes one action, after which point the pilot is in the battle on foot and the mecha is immobile and incapable of acting but can still be attacked. Getting into a mecha takes one action, but the mecha remains immobile and incapable of acting or using Replies until a second action is spent engaging its systems.
What Stats Do
This section provides a rundown of the various derived or secondary stats that a character has, and explains what they're for.
- You know what these are. On foot, HP are derived from Stamina; in a mech they are derived from Frame. A living character loses HP as he takes damage, and when he gets to 0 he
dies falls unconscious. Mecha can continue fighting at 0 HP, but doing so risks more serious damage. HP have a current and maximum value; obviously the maximum has to be higher than 0. HP are much higher than other derived stats, and grow more with level than the others do to accomodate the more damaging skills that high-level characters know.
- MP are derived from Talent for characters and from Enchantment for mecha. Most skills use MP, reflecting the fact that they are either innately magical or require great force of will (which may be the same thing given that the human spirit is inherently magical in this setting). MP are hard to regain, unlike HP, and the system is designed for several battles to come between breaks, so a character with few MP needs to make careful decisions about skill use. A pilot can replenish his mecha's MP from his own reserves, but this process is time-consuming.
- Will is only relevant in mecha combat. It starts every fight at 0 and accumulates gradually over time, to a maximum of 10. To activate a supermove, you need to spend Will equal to twice the move's level. Under some circumstances you get a discount to Will requirements; this is the only way to use supermoves of above level 5.
- Attack is derived from Muscle when on foot and from Frame and Kinesthesia when piloting. It determines how much damage a character's strikes inflict. Almost all characters and mecha have an equipment modifier for Attack, as this is the main benefit offered by weaponry.
- Wisdom is derived from Intelligence when on foot and from Enchantment and Harmony when piloting. A higher Wisdom generally yields more impressive magic; the power of most spells is based on the caster's Wisdom, though he must still aim the spell correctly for it to have any effect.
- Hit is derived from Dexterity when on foot and from Handling and Kinesthesia when piloting. It determines a character's chance of striking an enemy with an attack.
- Accuracy is derived from Dexterity when on foot and from Enchantment and Awareness when piloting. It determines a character's chance of successfully using an offensive ability (whether an attack spell or an impairment) on an enemy. For characters fighting on foot, Accuracy usually has the same rating as Hit.
- Evade is derived from Agility when on foot and from Handling and Awareness when piloting. It is the defensive counterpart to Hit/Accuracy; a character uses it to dodge physical strikes and attack spells.
- Fortitude is derived from Muscle when on foot and from Frame and Harmony when piloting. It is used to resist physical impairments (Poison, Blindness, Bind, and Stone), and aids in recovering from such impairments. Mecha resist certain kinds of crippling effects with the better of their Fortitude and Spirit, but the two are usually identical for them.
- Spirit is derived from Intelligence when on foot and from Frame and Harmony when piloting. It is used to resist mental impairments (Addle, Sleep, Taint, and Stun), and aids in recovering from such impairments. Mecha resist certain kinds of crippling effects with the better of their Fortitude and Spirit, but the two are usually identical for them.
- Reaction is derived from Agility when on foot and from Handling and Awareness when piloting. At the beginning of a fight, characters act in descending order of Reaction.
- Only giant monsters and mecha have toughness, not small monsters and characters. Huge monsters (kaiju) calculate it based on their Stamina, while mecha calculate it based on their Frame. Toughness determines the amount of damage a hit must do to harm the target at all (its natural Barrier trait, described later on), and for mecha, Toughness is used in calculating how much damage an attack needs to inflict to cause lasting structural damage.
- Barrier is a character's damage threshold. If a character takes direct damage equal to or less than his Barrier rating, it is reduced to 0. Mecha and giant monsters have a Barrier rating equal to their Toughness, but humans and small monsters generally have none.
- Not actual armor (which is something else), but a stat called Armor! Only giant monsters and mecha have the Armor stat, not small monsters and characters. It is based on Toughness and determines how much damage a single hit needs to do to inflict breakage. Living things don't suffer breakage, but giant monsters still have an Armor stat that they use to resist certain effects.
- Defense is actually 9 separate values, one for each element and one for Physical. The value ranges from -10 to 10. A defense of 10 blocks 100% of damage of that type, while a defense of 5 blocks 50%, and a defense of 0 blocks none. Negative defenses increase damage, so if you have Fire Defense -3 you take 130% base damage from fire.
Humans have a Weapon slot, an Armor slot, and two Accessory slots, which work more or less how you'd expect. Unlike most games, this one doesn't require that you constantly upgrade equipment to maintain par. An awesome Sword won't be that much better than a normal Sword, so sticking with your original weapon for the entire game to save money is a legitimate possibility.
Mecha slots are tied to specific body parts rather than to the type of thing that goes there. Mecha have one Head slot, one Legs slot, two Body slots and two Arms slots, and can buy more as Features.
Elements and Damage
Damage comes in 10 "flavours" in this game. One of these is Physical. Normally, weapon attacks are physical and spells are elemental, but that doesn't always apply. In addition to Physical damage, there's a type for each of the eight conventional elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Nature, Thunder, Light, and Darkness. Most beings partially resist all nine of these types, though magical beasts are often to one or two elements. The last type of damage is Pure. No one has a defense value against Pure so it is never reduced, but at the same time no one is weak against it. Pure damage is very powerful because it cuts through the high defense of mecha and giant monsters.
Will and Supermoves
Skills use MP, as you'd expect but Supermoves rely on a different stat: Will. Will need only be tracked when piloting a mech (or when in dragon form, for dragons), since supermoves can't be used on foot. It begins every battle at 0, and climbs slowly, to a maximum of 10. Normally, to activate a Supermove, you must spend Will equal to twice the move's Level. When activating a Combo Supermove, every participant must spend Will equal to the twice the move's level. In some fights, characters will find their Will requirements lowered, allowing them to use moves at reduced cost, or even free.
Characters gain Will under the following circumstances:
- A character gains 1 Will every time he acts. "Lying there disabled" doesn't count as an action for these purposes, but lending mods or replies to teammates does.
- A character who suffers 2 or more Breakage from a single attack gains 1 Will.
- Specialized Skills, Edges and mecha Features enable other methods of Will gain.
Will Requirement Reductions
The following factors modify the Will cost to activate supermoves, and can even reduce the cost to 0. Unrelated factors are cumulative, though the maximum reduction is -10. Obviously factors like Boss Battle and Pivotal Boss or Personal and Thousand Year Bloom don't stack since they're just degrees of the same thing, though. In practice, there will almost always be a reduction of at least -1, since most battles are going to be significant to the plot.
|Boss Battle||A challenging battle against important foes||-1|
|Pivotal Boss||A critical perilous fight; a major story climax||-2|
|Ultimate Boss||This is the moment of truth! Mother, Father, watch over me. YGGDRASIL ENGINE, ACTIVATE!||-3|
|Spotlight||You have a deeply personal stake in this battle.||-2|
|Thousand Year Bloom||This is the climax of your story arc; either it's your most important moment in the game, or very close to it||-4|
|Grief||You just suffered terrible tragedy at the hands of the enemy.||-1|
|Impossible Odds||A battle that you seem to have no chance of winning.||-1|
In a combo supermove, your personal reductions only apply to the portion of the cost that you have to pay.
Enemies get these bonuses too, as appropriate: if fighting you is challenging and significant to a boss, for example, the boss gets to treat you as a boss, and if you team up to vastly outgun a foe, that enemy gets the Impossible Odds bonus. This means that, during the final battle against a major enemy, he's likely to get the Thousand Year Bloom bonus and the Pivotal Boss bonus, or even the Ultimate Boss bonus. Better be careful!
You have a right to know just what your Will reduction bonus is for the given fight, and what the enemies' reductions are. Ask the GM if it's not obvious.
The Escalation Principle
Supermoves don't cost MP because they are powered by pure awesomeness. Using any Supermove is at least slightly dramatic, and the big, high-level ones are incredibly dramatic. The Principle of Escalation ensures that the awesomeness of a fight, as measured by the supermoves being used there, only goes up.
When fighting in a mech (or as a giant monster), you have a stat called your Escalation. This begins at 0, like Will. You can only use Supermoves of Level greater than or equal to your Escalation. For a combo supermove, each participant's Escalation must be equal to or less than the combo move's Level. When you use a Supermove, your Escalation is set to the Level of that move. That means that using your best move right off the bat stops you from falling back on your weaker moves. There are Skills, Edges, and Features that modify these rules, but that's the gist of it.
Status Effects and Break Effects
There are no general stat debuffs in this game (like, "-25% to Attack" or what have you.). Instead, most negative effects are either status effects (which represent impaired conditions like being poisoned or blinded) or break effects (which represent body parts being disabled). Living things suffer from status effects, while huge things (mecha, kaiju, etc) suffer from break effects. Huge living things like the beastkings have to deal with both!
The physical status effects, which are resisted by Fortitude, are:
The mental status effects, which are resisted by Spirit, are:
- A Poisoned character loses one-third of his current HP every time he acts. The effect comes after his action is resolved. HP loss from Poison doesn't count as damage and so most effects that reduce or prevent damage are powerless to stop it.
- A Blinded character finds his Hit, Accuracy, and Evade halved. This halves the final values rather than simply applying a -50% modifier. Furthermore, the character never lands a critical hit -- criticals he rolls are resolved as ordinary hits.
- A Petrified character can do nothing, but on the upside, he's essentially invulnerable: all effects on him fail except those that would remove ongoing effects (including the petrification). He can't be healed, buffed, harmed, or further impaired.
- A Bound character is stuck in place, whether by ice, tangling vines, or something else. He can't change rows or intercept attacks in battle, is rendered immobile (Evade 0), and can only use ranged abilities or those that affect him personally. Spellcasting methods requiring elaborate movements (the Ritual Focus) are blocked by Bind.
In addition to the eight status effects, there are also five break effects that represent disabled body parts. Although small creatures and humans have these body parts too, only mecha and giant monsters can suffer the break effects, because...because. These are resisted by Armor if applied by called shots, or by the higher of Fortitude and Spirit if applied via impairment (blight) skills.
- A Tainted character's soul is infused with burning energy that leaks out when he uses magic. For every MP he spends, he loses 2 HP, and as with Poison this damage can't be reduced or prevented by most methods. The damage comes after the action is resolved. Effects that cause MP loss do not trigger Taint damage.
- An Addled character is dazed and has trouble doing otherwise simple combat actions. Addle prevents you from delaying your action, using Reply or Special Skills, coordinating actions with other party members (including using combo supermoves), or using more than one Mod Skill at a time. An Addled character can receive the benefits of other characters' Replies, but not their Mods. Spellcasting methods requring incantations (the Litany Focus) are blocked by Addle.
- A Sleeping character can't act and is immobile (Evade 0), but unlike a Petrified character he receives no protection from the attacks of others. If he takes any damage, Sleep is instantly cured. Poison and Taint damage don't apply, though!
- Stun is a little different. It has a fixed duration; you lose your next action, but no others. A Stunned character can't act and is immobile, as with Sleep, but damage doesn't remove the effect. However, Stun is cured automatically when the character's next action comes up. He isn't allowed to act then, but the immobility goes away and he can act again the next chance he gets.
Stun lasts one turn only; all other status effects last a variable number of turns based on the attacker's and defender's stats. Break effects last until the end of the fight unless cured, or until KO in the case of giant monsters. In addition to effect immunity (which makes you immune, natch), you can also have effect resistance, which doubles your resistance stats against the effect.
- Head Break
- The mech's head is damaged, and with it the sensory array. A Head Broken mech can't perform actions based on the Head, and finds its Hit/Accuracy/Evade penalized as though Blind.
- Body Break
- The mech's chassis is severely damaged -- not enough to injure the pilot, but enough to put the fear of God into him. A Body Broken mech can't perform actions based on the Body, is at -3 Physical defense, and loses HP constantly as though Poisoned.
- Arm Break
- The mech's Arms are broken or severed. For giant monsters this may correlate to wings rather than arms. An Arm Broken mech can't perform actions based on the Arms (which includes most attacks) and is thrown off-balance and constrained, impairing it as though Addled.
- Leg Break
- The mech's Legs are broken or severed, crippling it. A Leg Broken mech can't perform actions based on the Legs and is immobilized as Bound, which has the incidental effect of knocking it out of formation and preventing it from adopting new formations.
- Ward Break
- The mystic Pilluan wards inscribed into the underside of the mech's armor have been compromised, throwing its magical energies out of balance. Kaiju and Dragons lack wards and so are generally immune to this condition. A Ward Broken mech pays double the MP for all skill activations and is at -3 to all elemental defenses.
In addition to the status effects and break effects there are a variety of miscellaneous weird things that can happen to you and don't follow particular rules. Most of these last until you're KOd, until the fight ends, or until they're removed by magic, but some last X number of turns. This is by no means a complete list -- it's expected that the GM will come up with weird special effects during the game, and the players might do likewise.
- Immobile isn't an effect in and of itself, but lots of other effects can render a character immobile -- Sleep, Stun, Bind, being ambushed, etc. The mechanical effect of this is that the immobilized character has an effective Evade of 0. No attacks or attack magic will ever miss her, and foes' strikes are very likely to be critical hits.
- A character can only be Provoked by another character in the opposing party, and who the effect came from is important. Provoke works like this: if the Provoked character uses any action on an enemy that could target the person who provoked him, it must target that person. Multi-target attacks are OK, but they have to include him as a target if possible. This is a little complicated, so I'll give an example.
Bob provokes Alice. When Alice's turn comes around, she has the following options: 1) She can use an action that does not involve the enemy party in any way; 2) she can use an action that can't legally target Bob in any way she pleases; 3) she can use a single-target action that could target Bob on Bob; 4) she can use a line-target action that could target Bob's row on that row; 5) She can use a party-target action on Bob's entire party.
A character can only be Provoked by one person at a time; new uses overwrite old ones. Provocation only functions between characters of opposing parties.
- Defense Boosters
- This is a category of effects rather than a single one. Effects of this sort increase the character's Defenses (explained in the next section). A character has 9 separate Defenses, and different boosters affect different ones. These bonuses stack with armor, but not with each other. Only the best magical boost to a given Defense counts.
Protect raises the beneficiary's Physical Defense by 3. Geo Shield raises Earth/Dark/Water/Nature Defense by 3. Heaven Shield raises Air/Light/Fire/Thunder Defense by 3. Hearth Shield raises Fire/Light/Nature/Earth Defense by 3. Storm Shield raises Water/Dark/Thunder/Air Defense by 3. Fury Shield raises Dark/Thunder/Fire/Earth Defense by 3. Grace Shield raises Light/Nature/Water/Air Defense by 3. Other Defense Boosters exist, but these are the main ones.
- Stat Boosters
- Various stat improvement effects can raise your derived (secondary) stats. The main ones are outlined here:
Attack Up and Wisdom Up raise their respective stats by 50%, while Hit Up raises both Hit and Accuracy by 100% and Evade Up raises Evade by 100%. If you have two different buffs that raise the same stat they stack, but two of the same buff don't.
- Forcefield gives someone a Barrier trait (damage negation) equal to twice the caster's Wisdom. This doesn't add to an existing Barrier or other uses of the skill; only the highest Barrier counts.
- Temper doubles the Attack bonus innate to a character's equipped weapon. For the purpose of dispelling the Temper buff is considered to be on the character, but it's tied to his weapon, and fades if the weapon is removed or changes hands. A mecha with multiple weapons equipped simultaneously can have Temper cast separately on each but only gets the bonus for Tempered weapons. Although it's possible to have an Attack bonus for fighting unarmed, Temper doesn't improve that bonus. It stacks with Attack Up.
- There is an Edge called Synergy that allows you to work especially well with a particular person. A character with the Unity effect gets the benefits of Synergy for all his allies, and this effect stacks with the actual Synergy Edge.
In brief, the effects of Unity are:
- When lending mods to anyone else or having mods lent to you, the modded action is +1 PL.
- When you Reply for someone else or someone else Replies for you, the Reply is +1 PL.
- When you use a combo supermove, the move's Will requirement is reduced by 1 for each other person involved.
- Held Reply
- Some characters can transform their Replies into buffs that "go off" the next time the Reply could conceivably benefit the buffed person. The Reply activates then on that person's behalf, and the buff goes away.
- Lasting Reply
- Lasting Reply is a form of Reply-based buff like Held Reply, but the buff lasts a fixed number of turns, and during that time the Reply goes off whenever it would be useful for it to do so.
A lot of factors beyond just Hit/Accuracy and Evade can influence the hit roll used for attacks and offensive abilities.
- If the target is immobile, his Evade is 0.
- If the attack is Line, Party, or Global ranged, the target's evasion stat is halved.
- If the attack has the "Accurate" property, the target's evasion stat is halved. If a Line, Party, or Global ranged attack is also Accurate, evasion is still only halved once.
- If the attack has the "Flawless" property, the target's evasion stat is 0.
- If the attacker is huge (mech-sized) and the defender is small (man-sized), the defender's evade stat is doubled.
- If the attacker is small (man-sized) and the defender is huge (mech-sized), the attacker's hit stat is doubled.
- If the attacker is blind, his hit stat is halved and he can't critical.
- If the defender is blind, his evasion stat is halved. This does stack with Accurate or wide-range attacks.
There are two main forms of teamwork, not counting combo supermoves. Both require one character to delay his action, and both kind of suck (though there are Edges to improve them).
Lending mods: A character who delays until an ally's action can use his mods on that ally, assuming he is taking an appropriate action. He can use however many mods he could normally apply (usually one), plus the ally can use his own mods to further enhance the action. The downside of this is that it consumes the helper's action, wheteas if he'd just modded himself he could have acted on his own. If someone lends a mod to someone else, he ends up right before that person in the action order.
Replying for others: A character who delays until a person or effect targets an ally can execute a legal Reply skill on behalf of that ally, in addition to any Reply skill the ally may use himself. If you Reply on someone else's behalf it generally uses your stats, not his, but your friend receives any special benefits. Again, this uses up your action.
A mech that accumulates breakage begins to suffer permanent break effects, which will be covered in the damage and maintenance section of the mecha design document. Additionally, mecha can pick up temporary break effects from Blight spells, as usual. However, there's another way to add temporary break effects.
Any damaging single-target (S-area) action, including attacks, Supermoves, and skills, can be declared to be a called shot. In this case, you declare what body part you're aiming at when you declare the attack. Called shots don't inflict extra Breakage for doing more damage than the target's Armor, but if they do inflict more damage than his Armor, he suffers a temporary break effect in the location you hit. If he's resistant to the effect, you have to do more damage than twice his Armor. In practice, this is usually harder than just using a Blight spell, but it doesn't require any special skills or equipment.
Generally, battles are going to involve either humans and small monsters or mecha and kaiju, but not mix the two. However, it's certainly possible for the two to mix, which is why the systems are interoperable. Basically, the rule for handling this is that the mecha and kaiju act like they're in mecha combat, with Stances and Formations and all, and the characters and small monsters have their rows and what not.
If you have mixed types in a single party, the little guys divide into the two rows, and the big guys go off on their own with an optional formation. Party-based attacks hit everyone in the party but Line-based attacks have to choose between hitting some of the little guys or some of the big guys. There's one final consideration: a small-scale character attacking a large-scale character has his Hit and Accuracy doubled for the roll (for damaging effects only, not impairments), and a small-scale character being attacked by a large-scale character has his Evade doubled likewise.