This is where you design your mech! I'm assuming that you've already built a PC using the main chargen rules and have a good idea of how you want your mech to function. If you haven't decided what kind of mech you want yet, there are two schools of thought. Either you should work it all out independent of the system, then try to find rules that fit your mental image, or you should look over the Features and Parts and see if they inspire you.
Just to repeat, mecha have the following important attributes:
Again, I'm presenting a step-by-step walkthrough for designing a mech, but you don't need to follow these steps exactly. You might start out by seeing a particular Feature you want to build your mech around, then setting the stats and traits to accomodate that, for example.
Each mech gets three traits from the following list, which I assume is self-explanatory. Traits separated by a slash are mutually exclusive -- you can be Large and Light, for example, but not Heavy and Light or Large and Small. You may want to look at the Features document before you pick these out, as they'll influence your choices there. Beyond limiting your Feature choices Traits have no effect on the game system.
MECHA TRAITS: Large/Small, Heavy/Light, Strong, Mobile, Tough, Modular, Generic, Fighter/Gunner/Caster
Now, you have to decide what order your Breakage Thresholds are going to go in. The final threshold, the Wreck Threshold, is always 12. This represents the amount of Breakage that totally destroys your mech. The remaining five thresholds are each keyed to a particular hit location (Head, Body, Arms, Legs, and Wards). When you reach the threshold for a particular location, that location is considered permanently broken until breakage is reduced.
Your five location thresholds are 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. However, you can order them however you want. The low thresholds represent parts of the mech that will break quickly, so you should give those to the areas that you consider least important, and save the largest threshold for whatever part you consider critical. Just as a reminder, the five break effects are as follows:
Strategy: You may wish to leave the trait selection until you're ready to pick out Features, if you're trying to fine-tune your mech's abilities. Your choices should still make sense, of course!
Beyond the general principle of "give the stuff you value the most the highest thresholds," Body Break has what's probably the most severe consequences, followed by Ward Break.
Starting mecha are at Level 5 -- the bottom of the barrel for military mecha, but much better than the civilian equivalent.
How effective a mech/pilot team is depends half on the pilot and half on the mech. During character generation you chose your three Pilot Primary Stats. The other half of this equation comes from the three Mecha Primary Stats, which you're going to pick now. You have 45 points to divide between Frame, Handling, and Enchantment. As usual, stats must fall between 1 and 30.
Humans are very balanced and thus have the same rating (1) for all their elemental defenses. Mecha, on the other hand, are often strongly skewed toward particular elements, so they can vary much more.
Your mech's Physical Defense is 5. Its elemental defenses average 5, but they can vary considerably. You have 40 points to split among the eight elemental defenses (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Nature, Thunder, Light, and Darkness). No value can be set to less than 0 or more than 8 during this step.
The number of Features a mech can support depends on its level.
PC mecha begin with the maximum number of features they can hold. Since your mech will be Level 5 to start out, you can select 6 Features. Features for which you lack the required traits and stats count as double against this limit.
Features cover an extremely broad range of benefits. Although you get to pick quite a few, you'll find that your options get used up quickly -- each skill group you want to be able to use while piloting requires a separate Feature, for instance.
You get to choose a few Parts for your mech for free: you can pick out a single basic weapon for it, and you also get to choose two non-weapon Parts, each with a single Rarity 0 trait (except the Enabler trait, which is its own thing). For a list of such traits as well as more info on parts, consult the separate gear file.
In addition to the stuff you get free of charge, you can buy more. You begin with quite a bit of money (500 S) to split between your personal gear and your mech's equipment. Just remember that most mech parts are too big to carry around on missions, so buying way more parts than you have slots might be a bad idea.
HP are not as important to mecha as they are to living creatures. While a person is dead or near death at HP 0, a mecha is simply battered and low on power. Modern mecha have sophisticated self-repair systems and can continue fighting even at 0 HP if their pilots are willing to subject them to the strain. However, mecha's self-repair systems are much more limited than those of living creatures, and they can't repair many kinds of severe structural dama ge. A mech that is knocked to 0 HP, damaged while already at 0 HP, or damaged by an amount in excess of its Armor rating takes a level of Breakage. it's even possible for an extremely powerful blow to inflict multiple points of Breakage at once, though this can only happen if it leaves the mech with 0 HP.
As described above, a mech that sustains breakage equal to its Wreck Threshold is totally ruined. A wrecked mech is designed to be salvageable and can usually be piloted back to base very slowly and carefully, but any further damage it takes disables it for half an hour and adds even more breakage. Breakage beyond the Wreck Threshold doesn't matter in combat but increases the amoun of repair work needed. At the GM's option, really severe breakage (say, twice the Wreck Threshold) might destroy a mech beyond repair, but since a wrecked mech generally stops taking damage this is unlikely to come up.
Mecha breakage demands time-consuming repairs. Without the aid of specialized magic it can't be done in battle, and even then only the most rudimentary repairs are possible without proper facilities and equipment. Worse still, pilots are trained only to perform simple repairs and maintenance. If a mech is seriously damaged in the field it needs to return to the base for servicing. Even a mecha that has been utterly ruined can be put into emergency mode to limp back to a nearby base or transport vehicle, but during this time it is incapable of battle and any further damage harms the pilot and puts the mech out of commission for another half hour.
Fixing a single point of breakage is more difficult the more breakage there is. Minor scrapes can be repaired in the field by pilots with basic training, but you can't even begin repairs on a badly broken mech without facilities, equipment, and expertise. One consequence of this is that the first points of breakage repaired are the most difficult, while the remainder get progressively easier as the total breakage decreases.
The following table lists the materials and repair time required per point of breakage fixed. Three levels of expertise and equipment are given: the first (Basic) assumes rudimentary training and a field kit, the second (Good) assumes engineer training, appropriate tools, and an assistant, and the third (Ideal) assumes talented engineers with state-of-the-art equipment and a team.
|1-2||none/1 hour||none/30 minutes||none/15 minutes|
|3-6||1 part/6 hours||1 part/2 hours||none/1 hour|
|7-10||3 parts/2 days||2 parts/4 hours||2 parts/2 hours|
|11-15||impossible||4 parts/1 day||3 parts/6 hours|
|16+||impossible||impossible||4 parts/12 hours|