M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rogue Space - MECHS: Update 1

Work is coming along on Rogue Space - MECHS. Parts are missing though, and I will hold off release until I have had a chance to receive my full rulebook for Rogue Space. This has given me a chance to review several times over my current material I have written.

Meanwhile I will preview some of the things I have in mind for the 8-page pocket mod style rulebook, which is coming along great.
Mechs are bipedal battle machines 5-6 meters in height (~16-20 ft). Able to carry the firepower of a tank, with the mobility of infantry, and speed of a light vehicle. When one world power invented them, war escalated and soon all nations had to adapt or get left behind. They have now redefined warfare, particularly in the dense forests or urban city environments where large tanks have trouble traversing, and aerial support cannot reach.

The flavor of this booklet is for mechs like those in Heavy Gear, ChromeHounds, Front Mission, Armored Core, etc. Although it can be scaled to fit sizes like BattleTech, Gundam, or the titans in Warhammer 40,000. The setting for this booklet is assumed to be in a near-future war where world powers have shifted and mechs dominate the battlefield. New rules and components can be made up or altered to fit in any of your settings. Even psionics. What if a mech had a psionic node that enhanced the pilot’s abilities and allows your pilot to use them as though they were coming from the mech itself? What if pilots could control their mechs remotely via psionics?

This booklet also includes several optional rules. These are ones that aren’t necessary for using mechs, and may not all fit into your game.
Right out of the gate you can see I’m trying to provide plenty of incentive for using these mech rules. I have an assumed default tone, but as with anything in Rogue Space, things can be easily altered to fit your very own campaign. Mik’s MERS would coincide well by making a Cerberus Atlas using these rules.

This will have several optional rules. Most of them are concepts I had that I couldn’t let go, but ultimately bloated the system at its core. They are still really cool, and add an extra bit of realism if you so choose to use them.
Creating Mech Pilots
Character generation is the same as in Rogue Space. Keep in mind the theme of your character if he/she will be a mech pilot. It takes all kinds. Warriors are the trained soldiers who are sent in for assault and heavy support. Rogues are the Spec-Op pilots in the Spec-Op mechs. Stealthy infiltrators and fast reconnaissance. Technicians are the battlefield repairs, with mechs usually having maintenance gear, and able to perform with unusual levels of efficiency, even during severe damage.
Characters have limitations when inside their mechs. While inside, a character’s Acquiring and Fighting scores are reduced by 2. They cannot wear armor heavier than a Light rating, and cannot carry a weapon bigger than a Medium rating.

While this booklet concentrates on using mechs and battle, the referee should still provide challenges and parts of adventures for the pilots outside their mechs. What if their mechs got stolen? Or they’re out of fuel, having to go to get some at a nearby village that’s normally hostile to their faction.
Some of the pilot limitations may seem weird. But there is a reason for these that will become more clear later on, like the reduction to Fighting and Acquiring while inside a mech. The Light armor and Medium weapon restriction makes sense because how much room does the pilot have crammed in that cockpit?

I also don’t want referees to forget that mechs can be part of rogue space, but not all of it. There is still much adventure to be had outside your machines of war.
Creating Mechs
Mechs are built separate from their pilots. A player is assigned a certain amount of build points they can spend on mech components. It’s up to the referee for the amount of points per player. Low points mean humble beginnings or low funding (25-30), high points mean veteran team or well funded (45-50). See page 7 for detailed mech construction rules.
The point build system should be seen as a tool and not a restriction by referees. Not only does it help work to balance things, but it’s also to help gauge power at the beginning of a game and ensure that your players aren’t getting top of the line equipment right out of the gate. Later on players are awarded with build points to upgrade their mechs. So see it as sort of a leveling system if you like.
Mech Systems (TMP)
All parts have a system number. When all parts are added together, they create the mech’s 3 core systems. The TMP.
  • Targeting System: Accuracy when making range attacks, as well as sensors and detection.
  • Movement System: Speed and agility for maneuvering and evading danger. Also covers Stealth.
  • Power System: Strength and toughness of the machine. Used for melee attacking, defending, and fine manipulation.
Most supplemental rules for things like vehicles and spaceships come up with a cool acronym. But I figured since I am trying to keep things simplified to just 3 attributes for mechs, it’s easy enough to work with. This also creates a synergy you will see later on, by keeping the names appropriate to how a system would be called in real life.

When you build a mech, it consists of 4 parts. The Head, Torso, Arms, and Legs. Each part has either a 0, +1, or -1 to the 3 systems described above. When a mech is built, all those numbers are added together to make the 3 core systems, the TMP.
Parts have their own Hit Points (HP). When an attack is made and damage gets past the mech’s armor, you mark damage on the receiving part. When a part is reduced to 0 hit points, then it is destroyed, as well as the weapon or gear attached to it. Damage stops at 0 hit points, remaining damage does not carry over to other parts.
  • Head destroyed: Targeting system gone. Attached gear gone. Unable to add Targeting score to tests.
  • Torso destroyed: Mech is destroyed.
  • Arm destroyed: Arm gone, and weapon or gear attached gone.
  • Legs destroyed: Movement system gone. Attached gear gone. Mech has a speed of 1 if an arm remains. Unable to add Movement score to tests.
One major goal I wanted with RS-MECHS is I didn’t want them to be pools of hit points to be grinded through. I want a player to get the simulation of having his arm disabled, or getting his head knocked off means he actually has to look out the window to aim. I feel I have been able to achieve this in a simple quick manner. Some may be cautious because this seems dangerously similar to BattleTech’s infamous bubble sheets, but I implore you to give it a chance.

Next update I will get more into the nitty gritty of Rogue Space - MECHS. Tests are performed based on pilot skill augmented by the mech's systems. Sounds confusing, but it's done easy!


  1. Fantastic work! I love the detail added without destroying the core simplicity of the RS rules. Great Work M.J.!!

    1. Thankyou Christopher, I have more to show about MECHS that i am anxious to post. But in due time. Before i release the rules i want to be able to playtest it and cant until my Rogue Space book gets here. But i do have an adventure planned that my brothers agreed to play when it gets here.