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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dystopia and Giant Robots: TPK??



Well, I finally crossed that line, more or less. I only barely avoided a Total Party Kill in this latest session of Mecha. It was rough, seriously. I'm one of the GMs who doesn't fudge or re-do dice, and I had an unfortunately lucky run of the dice, to the point where I was seriously holding back. I think it turned out well in the end, though. I learned a lot about how combat runs in this system, and that'll help a lot.


The fight opened with a number of Protectors (the City's police force) closing in on the characters, along with a squad of soldiers wearing powered armor. One of the mechs was red and grey, with a sharp design and vicious, agile movements.

Katsuo: Heavy Rumble
He scanned the line of enemies. "Okay...what weapons do we got..." He glanced around at the control panel. "Test test test? Anyone hear me in the other mecha?" Maybe they knew how to drive these things. He looked at what appeared to be the weapons array. "Sonic knife...right arm minigun...right shoulder cannon..." he muttered to himself. Katsuo took a breath, then gripped the controls. Time to fly by the seat of his pants. He pressed his goggles to his eyes and gripped the controls. "Lets do this!"

Poor Katsuo took a pretty heavy beating during this fight. Panicking left and right, he rushed into the fray, and got quickly pounced on by the red-and-grey mech. I had equipped this mech with a special ability called Ripper, which dealt double damage on a hit. After the first hit, I realized just how devastating it would be in practice. It's a nasty ability. Katsuo, unfortunately, never managed to roll well enough to score many hits.

He went down eventually, with his entire damage track filled. In Mecha, as you take damage, you make Stability Rolls; if you beat the damage you've already taken, you're good to go; otherwise, you get knocked out of the fight. Usually, you drop out of the fight before your damage track fills up. Katsuo went down swinging.

Janice: a Crazy Good Time
Janice stared at the red and grey mecha, "You're all mine, pretty. Let's have a slashin' good time, yes?" She pulled out another laser sword, swinging it down and up to slash the front of the enemy mecha. A flashing sign appeared over her head, and she glanced at it in aggravation. She blinked, seeing "Overdrive Activation?". She grinned, "That sounds nice. Let's do that. Activate Overdrive friend." Her mecha suddenly blurred out, appearing on the other side of the field. A missile launcher on the back of her mecha came to life, and settled on her shoulder. "BURN IT UP!" Janice laughed, and launched the missiles at the mecha.

Janice, meanwhile, found something of a fascination with this strange red-and-grey mech, especially because red is her favorite color. She spent a lot of time zipping around the map, and even downed a Protector in one shot. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite as lucky with the dice for the rest of the fight. I had to send out some of the enemies, and introduce an NPC, and finally the fight ended, with the players barely scraping through.

The NPC was serene, not one for much words, and she had a compactly-designed mech. She encouraged the others to go on, to find an outcropping of the Free City to heal themselves with, and perhaps to go onwards....

Paige: Meeting Up
Paige froze, whimpering in anticipation of the attack. A roar came from her mech; far off, but strong. A large panel unfolded and absorbed the energy ray. She was...unhurt. Paige looked around in wonder and blushed, running her hand against the side of her cockpit wall. "Thank you..." she said quietly.

Paige ran into the enemy forces that I sent away from the other fight. She somehow managed to polish them off with reckless abandon...and a giant fireball gun. You should have seen Kureaa get excited about the prospect of a huge fireball-shooting gun. That done, she continued onward, and ran into the combat scene left by the other players.

The NPC I introduced to the earlier combat was still standing in front of the red-and-grey mech; the pilot was still knocked out. The NPC dragged the pilot out, and killed her with little emotional reaction. That freaked Paige out, of course. She ran down the road that the others had followed, and eventually caught up with them...

In Hindsight
Well, now I know better how combat works. I know how to make it run faster. I know what Configurations (special mech abilities) to avoid. Hopefully it runs faster, and hopefully I don't roll nearly as well next time. Still, it gave me the chance to introduce an interesting NPC, who's going to be featuring in future story threads...

Next time...down to the heart of the Free City...

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