Update 7/14/2010 - Added a Miscellaneous Tidbits 2 section with more optional rules. The More Components section has also been added, giving more options for designing your giant robot. More rules will follow.
I've always been a huge fan of mecha shows. Something about watching two (or more!) 60 foot tall robots fighting each other amazed me. Which is what inspired me to make an alternate rules set for Risus: The Anything RPG, written and illustrated by a genius by the name of S. John Ross, the rules of which can be found here.
Keep in mind you do not have to use these rules. The generic rules of Risus can still be used as is for a good, lite mecha game. These rules just add a bit more detail to mecha creation and combat as well as add a bit more tactical aspect to combat.
Character creation remains the same as in Risus. Same with personal combats between characters. The only things these rules change are mecha creation and interactions (i.e. combat) between the giant robots. However, when creating a character you will need to choose a cliché that reflects your character's piloting skill, such as Pretty Boy Pilot Who Hates War But Fights Anyway (4).
Okay. Now this is where we get into the alternate rules. Mecha creation is more complicated than character creation and you may want to have a calculator handy for convenience. There will be a lot of adding and multiplying, but nothing too serious. A calculator just makes it easier.
Also expect mecha creation to take maybe five or ten minutes longer than character creation. I know. Character creation was SOOOOO long before. And now it's like ten times as long!
Before we start creating your 60 foot tall metal monster, let's go over the “cliches” that the mecha has.
Armor - Each and every mecha has an armor cliché that reflects how, er, well armored it is. The higher this value, the more damage your giant robo can take before collapsing into a pile of scrap or, more dramatically, exploding into a fiery ball of light (Don't worry, it's equipped with an eject system). If this value is reduced to 0, the Mecha is destroyed.
Thrusters – This reflects how fast and maneuverable your mecha is. Dice put into this stat are used to close in on an enemy and to help dodge attacks (which will be described in full under Mecha Combat below). Keep in mind that your mecha's “Thrusters” don't exactly have to be, literally, thrusters and verniers. A very agile mecha like the Evas in Evangelion may have a high Thruster cliché in yet have no actual... thrusters.
Shield – Many giant robots in some series are equipped with a nice, handy shield. For instance, there are few mobile suits in the various Gundam shows that aren't equipped with a shield. Shields are not mandatory, but can be helpful. Dice put in this cliché will help towards defending against damage (Again, more on this later under Mecha Combat).
Weapons – Each mecha should have at least one weapon, and many have several more. Each weapon is represented by its own cliché. In this version of the rules, however, ranged mecha weapons have limited ammo. Close range weapons, like swords or beam sabers, are unlimited though. This adds a more tactical aspect to mecha combat.
Keep in mind that the ammo value a weapon has is pretty abstract. For instance, you may be equipped with a Machine Gun (3) with 6 Ammo. In reality, the machine gun probably has anywhere around 40 or 80 actual shots, but it can only be used for 6 separate attacks. This represents how when attacking (and even defending as well) you are constantly popping shots off at the enemy, whether to actually hit him or to hold him off.
Much like other mecha rpgs like Mekton, each mecha component costs points. The overall cost of the mecha is all of its components (Armor, Thrusters, Shield, and all of its Weapons) added together. How much each dice cost for a mecha's component is completely different than the cost of a single dice for a cliché during character creation.
Starting characters should be given around 50 or 60 points to distribute between his or her mecha's components. This does represent more of a grunt style mecha, though over time you'll be given more points to improve your mech or to “buy” a completely new one.
Cost of Components
Armor – Each dice in armor costs 10 points. So a mecha with Luna Titanium Armor (4) would already cost 40 points. The GM should limit the armor of the players' starting mecha to around 3 or 4. The norm is 4 (much like character creation) but the GM may decide that 4 is a bit much for a starting mecha.
Thrusters – Each dice put into Thrusters costs 4 points. So Thrusters (3) would cost a total of 12 points. However, you do not have to equip your suit with thrusters. A mecha without thrusters is given 10 free points to distribute to represent this. The reason for the extra point will be explained later.
Shield – Each dice put into Shield costs 3 points. So a Medium Shield (2) would cost 6 points. Shields are absolutely optional, however. But, unlike Thrusters, you are not given extra points for not having a shield equipped.
Close Range Weapons – Each dice costs 6 points. So a Beam Saber (4) would cost 24 points. Close range weapons do not necessarily have to be weapons. This stat could be represented by just how good the mecha is in unarmed combat if unequipped with an actual close combat weapon. For instance, Unarmed (1) would represent a mecha that is not armed with a close range weapon and is not competent in unarmed combat. Or Mecha Kung Fu (4) for an unarmed mecha that is competent in hand to hand fighting.
A mecha with no dice in a Close Range Weapon cannot attack an enemy in close range combat (explained under Mecha Combat) period.
The GM should limit how much dice a weapon can have at Mecha Creation. Generally 3 or 4 dice is good, like with Armor. This applies to Ranged Weapons below as well.
Ranged Weapons – This is the most complicated one because you have to figure the cost of dice as well as ammo then add them together. For how much dice the weapon has, cost is twice the amount of dice. For instance, a Machine Gun (3) would cost 6 points (3 * 2) without ammo. The cost of ammo is one less the amount of dice put into the weapon multiplied by the amount of ammo. So the ammo for that same Machine Gun (3) with Ammo (6) would cost 12 ((3-1) * 6) making the combined total of the weapon cost 18 (6 + 12). For the cost of a weapon that has only 1 dice, it costs one half a point for each ammo bought. So I'd recommend buying an even number of ammo if you have a weapon with 1 dice.
Here is a simple chart to show the cost of ammo:
For those still confused, I'll go through a different example to help clarify it. Let's say I want to have a Missile Pod with 4 dice. I just multiply the dice (4) by 2. So far, the weapon costs 8. Now I say I want the weapon to have 3 shots. I multiply 3 (4 – 1) by how much ammo I want (3). The ammo costs 9 points. Now I just add the cost of the dice (8) to the cost of the ammo (9) to get the total cost of the weapon: 17.
The most ammo a weapon should have is 6, though it can be higher than this if the GM allows it.
Using this point system, weapons have relatively low ammo in the game system which reflects the fact that in most mecha shows, the robot suit is usually meant to be used for short conflicts, not prolonged ones, and is routinely restocked and repaired after each fight. And they tend to run out of ammo a lot, which leads to the pilots throwing down their spent weapons and taking out their swords, axes, or whatever else they have equipped.
However, the GM can always allow the max ammo to be higher if he feels that the suits should be able to shoot more. Just remember that more ammo costs more points.
Handling – This is a very different stat that reflects how easy or hard it is to control the suit. The handling value shows the maximum amount of the Piloting cliché dice a pilot can use while piloting the mech. So for instance, if Tom is a Pilot (4) but he is piloting a mecha with Handling (3) he can only roll a maximum of 3 dice when using his Pilot cliché.
A mecha's handling starts at 4 and can be reduced for extra points or increased at a cost. It takes 10 points to increase the Handling by 1 (up to Handling 6 for 20 points). 10 extra points are given to decrease the Handling by 1 (up to Handling 1, for 30 extra points).
In games where the GM allows the player's cliches to go beyond 6, a Mecha's Handling can be increased beyond 6. However, each increase after 6 costs 20 points instead of 10. So a Handling of 8 would cost 60 points.
Example Mecha Creation
To show the creation system in action, we'll create a sample mecha.... together.
I want a mecha that has pretty strong armor, but not necessarily a tank. I decide to go with Armor (3) for 30 points.
I decide that I don't want a shield but I do want Thrusters. I go with Thrusters (2) for 8 points. So far I've spent 38 points on my mecha.
Now for weapons. I decide I want to equip my mech with a nice, medium sized sword for 2 dice, which will cost 12 points. So far I've spent 50 points.
As for a far range weapon, I'll go with a Bullpup Rifle (2) with 6 ammo. Since it has 2 dice, it costs 4 points.
And the ammo costs 6 points for a total of 10 points.
As for Handling, I'll keep it at 4 for no cost.
My suit should look like this:
Example Mecha (60 points)
Medium Sized Sword (2)
Bullpup Rifle (2) Ammo (6)
This mecha is pretty balanced for a starting mecha, though leaning towards higher armor. It has above decent armor and some thrusters, but at the cost of powerful weaponry. The two weapons it has would be enough for some grunt enemies, but this mech would have a hard time with heavily armored foes. Which is why a friend with a big gun would be a very welcome one.
Missiles – A weapon with the Missile (or something similar) descriptor can be fired in Salvos. You can fire as many times as you want, up to the amount of ammo you have left. You make separate attack rolls (and damage rolls if you hit) for each missile you fire. This type of weapon does not cost extra for now. The reason is that although it can potentially do a bunch of damage, you are using up more of your ammo in one turn. At the GM's discretion, he may decide to make this type of weapon cost more (like say 1 extra point per ammo or what have you).
Stun – Instead of damaging the suit, these weapons try to stop the suit from functioning. When you hit with a Stun weapon, you roll for damage like usual. If you succeed in the damaging roll, the target does not take damage. Instead, the target is stunned and cannot act on its next turn. Does not cost extra if the weapon does not damage. If it does damage, it costs twice the amount. So if a weapon (after figuring ammo and dice together) costs 18 points, it would cost another 18 points to add stun to it.
Blind – This kind of weapon tries to disorient the pilot in some way. If you hit with this weapon, instead of an opposed roll between the weapon's rank and the target's armor, the opposed roll instead is the weapon's rank and the pilot's piloting cliché. If the attacker wins, the pilot loses a dice in his pilot cliché until it can be recovered (at GM's discretion, as is stated in the original Risus rules). This opposed roll is against the target pilot's actual piloting cliché rank, which should be unaffected by the Handling of the suit the target is piloting. This kind of weapon doesn't necessarily have to blind the target. It could be anything that disorients or affects the pilot in some way, like a weapon that sucks the life out of a pilot or a suit that looks amazingly terrifying.
Area – This is a weapon that affects a group of targets. When attacking, you can target any and every enemy that is not engaged in close combat. Costs double the original weapon's point cost.
Alternatively, the GM may decide that the Area attack does not target all enemies not in close combat if there are many enemies (or if he feels that targeting every enemy is unbalanced). He may decide that an Area attack can only affect up to a certain number of enemies, like 2 or 3. Or he may choose how many enemies it affects based on the situation at hand. If the GM goes with a certain number of enemies, he should let the players know how many enemies an Area attack will affect before creating their characters and mechs. If he goes with situational, he should let the players know as well.
More Components (Optional)
The above components (such as armor, shield, etc.) are the core components and the ones that make up the majority of a mecha. However, some giant robots may have other features and abilities, which are described here. The components described below are optional, but may be used in the game to spice up a mecha.
Some suits are designed to operate in harsher environments, such as the desert, under water, or in space. This component is used in conjunction with the optional rule Harsh Environments, described under Miscellaneous Tidbits 2.
You may purchase environmental protection for an environment, such as Desert Environment (1) or Space Environment (2). Each rank costs 5 points. You may buy up to one rank in a minor environment, such as deserts or thick forests, and up to two ranks in a major environment, such as space and underwater. So for example, a suit with both Tundra Environment (1) and Underwater Environment (2) would have to spend a total of 15 points for these two environmental protection components (5 for one rank in Tundra and 10 for two ranks in Underwater).
Minor Environments - Desert, Tundra (cold environments), Thick Forest
Major Environments - Underwater, Space
More Components will be added as I type them up or think of them.
Here it is, folks. What you have been waiting for. Giant robots pulverizing each other with powerful guns and big swords made of pure energy.
The following rules for combat will be split up between Ranged Combat and Melee Combat.
The biggest difference between mecha combat and personal combat is attacking. Unlike the original combat system, mecha fighting is divided into two phases: Attacking and Damaging.
When attacking an opponent, you choose one of your ranged weapons then choose your target. You and the enemy must make an opposed roll between your piloting (or other appropriate) cliches. If the attacker wins the opposed roll, he hits his opponent and it moves to the damaging phase. If the attacker misses, nothing further happens. The enemy evaded the attack (or the attacker is just a sucky marksmen : P).
Also no matter who wins, the attacker or defender, the piloting cliché is not reduced. The piloting cliché can still be reduced during combat, but only through special means such as the Blind special weapon (see Special Weapons).
If the attacker hits his target, he must see if his weapon damages. The attacker must roll his weapon's dice while the enemy rolls his armor dice in an opposed roll. If the attacker wins, the enemy takes damage and reduces his armor rank by one (Like in normal Risus combat when someone loses). However, if the attacker loses his weapon's rank does not decrease.
Whether or not the attacker hits his target, he loses one ammo for the weapon he used. Even if the attacker lost in the attacking phase, he still loses one ammo. His shots are wasted as the enemy evades his attack.
You can only make one attack per turn. You may not fire more than one weapon or fire a weapon more than once (unless it has the Missile descriptor, see Special Weapons.)
So for example, Tom is attacking a Grunt with his Bullpup Rifle (2). His piloting cliché is rank 4 while the Grunt's cliché is rank 2. He rolls his four dice, which come up as a 4, 3, 5, and 2 (14). The enemy rolls and gets two 4's (8). Tom successfully hit the Grunt. Now to see if he damaged him. He rolls his 2 dice for his rifle and get a 6 and a 3 (9). The Grunt rolls his Armor (2) and gets a 2 and a 3 (5). Tom successfully damages the target. The Grunt reduces his Armor dice by one since he took damage while Tom reduces his Rifle's ammo by one. Remember that even if Tom missed in either the Attacking phase or the Damaging phase, he still would have lost the ammo.
Melee combat is a bit different due to the fact that the attacker must close in on an enemy to get locked into close combat before attacking. Instead of attacking on your turn, you may choose to Close In on the enemy. This takes your whole turn. If you successfully Close In, then on your next turn you and the enemy will be locked into close combat and may use your close range weapon.
If the enemy does not want to be locked into close combat, he may choose to evade. Both you and the enemy make an opposed roll using your Thruster score. If the attacker wins, he successfully closes in and will be locked into close combat with that enemy on his next turn. If the attacker fails, then he is not locked into close combat on his next turn and has effectively wasted his turn.
Whether or not the target being Closed In on failed, he can still make a ranged attack against the attacker on his next turn before they are locked into close combat. Keep in mind that the two are not locked in close combat until the attacker's next turn after Closing In.
The target can decide not to evade. In which case, the Closing In attempt automatically succeeds.
Combatants locked in close combat cannot make ranged attacks against anyone and can only make close combat attacks against others they are locked in combat with. If you wish to break away from close combat, then you may spend your whole turn Disengaging (you can't attack and Disengage). This uses the same rules as Closing In. If the enemy does not want you to Disengage, he can try to close in on you while you are retreating. You both roll your Thruster dice. If the Disengaging combatant wins, he is no longer locked in close combat. If he loses, he is still in close combat and has wasted his turn.
Other than the above rules for Closing In and Disengaging, melee combat is resolved in the same way that Ranged Combat is. The attacker and defender roll their Piloting dice. If the attacker wins, he rolls his close range weapon's dice while the defender rolls his armor dice.
So for example, Brian wants to get into a melee with an enemy Grunt. He uses his turn to Close In. The enemy tries to evade, so they both roll their Thruster dice. Brian has Thrusters (2) so he rolls two dice, getting two 3's (6). The Grunt only has Thruster (1) and rolls his one dice, getting a 5. So he loses. On Brian's next turn, they will be locked in a melee. However, the Grunt can still fire on Brian or any other enemy suit on his turn coming up since he is not locked in close combat until Brian's next turn.
More Than Two Combatants in Close Combat
This is where the close combat rules get a bit more complicated, but bear with me.
Anyone can engage into close combat with a close combat already in progress. For instance, let's say Brian is locked into close combat with an enemy Grunt. Tom wants to help him out. So on his turn, he Closes In. The enemy Grunt cannot choose to evade by using his thrusters because he is too busy holding Brian off. Tom automatically succeeds. On his next turn he will be locked into close combat with the Grunt alongside Brian.
Keep in mind that a target cannot evade a Closing In attempt only if he is already locked in close combat. For instance, if Brian used his turn to Close In on the Grunt and succeeded, the Grunt is not locked into close combat until Brian's next turn. So if Tom decided to Close In on the Grunt before Brian's next turn, the Grunt can still try to evade. If Tom fails to close in on the Grunt, Brian will still be locked into close combat with the grunt on his next turn but Tom will not.
If the target is no longer locked in close combat on the charging combatant's next turn, the combatant still succeeds on Closing In. To clarify, let's say we go with the first example where Tom Closes In on the Grunt which is already locked into close combat with Brian. Then the next turn is the Grunt's turn. He decides to Disengage from Brian and succeeds. Even though the Grunt is no longer locked into close combat with Brian, he will still be locked into close combat with Tom when Tom's next turn comes around.
No Close Combat Weapon
Keep in mind that a mecha without a close combat weapon cannot attack an enemy when locked in close combat. If you want your mecha to not have a close combat weapon equipped but still be able to fight unarmed in a melee, you'll have to spend at least 6 points to buy at least one dice in an “unarmed” close combat weapon. The only action a completely unarmed mecha can do while locked in close combat is Go All Defensive, go All Evasive, or Disengage. If the mecha has no shield or thruster equipped, than it cannot do anything during its turn.
Shooting Into Melee
You should not be able to target an enemy engaged in a close combat with an ally. The risk of hitting a friend should be enough to discourage such an act.
However, I know there might be a few devious players out there. Not only that, but a situation may rise where you may want to fire into a melee. Your friend may be locked in close combat and can't get away before you can fire your big effin gun. He could be willing to potentially sacrifice himself so that the enemy can be stopped. That or you may be willing to sacrifice him for the greater good (see, devious players...).
If you wish to fire into a melee, roll to hit as normal. If you successfully hit the enemy by beating his pilot skill with your own, just like in a normal ranged attack, you hit the enemy and can now roll for damage. If he wins the opposed piloting roll, you automatically hit your friend. Due to how close the combatants are and due to the fact that they are actively grappling and fighting with each other, you either hit the target or your friend. No missing completely.
If you hit an ally, you must roll for damage like usual with your weapon's dice versus your ally's armor dice. Good going hero.
If there is more than one enemy locked in close combat with your ally, you still hit your ally if you miss. If there is more than one ally, you could roll a dice to see which one you hit. For two allies, it could be 1-3 to hit Ally 1 and 4-6 to hit ally 2. For three allies 1-2 to hit Ally 1, 3-4 to hit Ally 2, and 5-6 to hit Ally 3. And so on. Or it could be up to the GM which ally is hit.
Alternatively the GM may decide that there is still a chance to hit another enemy if one enemy is missed. If so, then roll a dice. 1-3 another enemy is hit. 4-6 it's an Ally. I recommend having the missed attack hit an ally regardless, though, in order to discourage players from firing into a melee, but it is up to the GM.
Also the GM may decide that especially powerful weapons (such as those with 5 or more dice) or weapons with a descriptor that implies that it is an explosive (like “missile,” “rocket,” “grenade,” etc.) will affect all combatants locked in close combat. If so, then the attacker rolls his piloting dice. Each of the combatants in the melee roll their piloting dice as well. Those that roll under the attacker's roll are hit. The attacker then rolls his weapon's damage dice while every combatant hit rolls their armor dice and compare. Note that the attacker only makes one pilot roll and one damage roll, not a separate roll for each combatant.
Thrusters and Shields
If a mecha is equipped with thrusters, it is more evasive. To reflect this, when being attacked you may roll your Thrusters dice along with your Piloting dice, only adding sixes just like the Teammate rules described in the original Risus rules.
Shields are used in a similar way. When being damaged, you may roll your Shield dice along with your armor dice, adding only sixes. However, if any sixes come up, your Shield dice decreases by one to reflect damage to your shield. Optionally, the GM may decide that EVERY six that comes up decreases the Shield rank by one. So if a Shield (3) rolls two sixes, it is decreased to Shield (1) and can only roll one dice from now on. If a Shield is reduced to 0 dice, it is either destroyed or too damaged to be used.
Also, on your turn you may decide to go All Evasive or All Defensive instead of attacking. If you are attacked while going All Evasive, you add every dice you roll with your thruster dice, not just 6's. So if you had Thrusters (2), when attacked you would roll your Piloting dice and your two Thrusters dice, adding them to it no matter what number comes up.
Going All Defensive works differently. If you go All Defensive, you are basically focusing on using your shield to defend from attacks as opposed to aiming at an enemy and just actively using it. If you are hit by an attack, you roll your Shield dice instead of your armor dice to see if the enemy damages you. If you succeed, you take no damage to armor but your shield takes one damage. If you fail, your shield takes two damage but you still take no damage to armor even if the shield only has one dice left.
A Mecha Without Thrusters
Remember how I said that you are given 10 extra points if you don't spend any points on thrusters earlier? Here is the reason. If you do not have thrusters equipped on your suit, then you cannot Close In on an enemy. Furthermore, you cannot Disengage from an enemy either. You can still be Closed In on, however. And you may have a close range weapon equipped for just such an occasion. But if locked in close combat, you will not be able to willfully get out of it.
Alternatively, the GM may decide that a Mecha without Thrusters can Close In and Disengage if the enemy being Closed In on or Disengaged from allows it. If they try to evade from the Closing In mecha or try to stop the Disengaging Mecha, the Mecha without thrusters fails automatically.
Character and Mecha Advancement
Character advancement should remain the same as the original rules or by however you handle character advancement (whether a house rule or some rule you found online made by a fellow Risus fan).
Mecha Advancement comes to us in the form of more Points to spend on said Mecha. After every adventure, the players should be given more Points to spend. If a player roleplays exceptionally well, the GM can decide to give them even more Points.
The amount of Points distributed should be based on how fast your group wants to advance. You could give them one or two points after every adventure or session. Or you could give them as much as 10 for really fast games. I recommend somewhere between 2 and 5 points for every session and 1-3 points for roleplaying well during that session.
The player does not necessarily have to spend points on the mecha he already has. He can scrap the current mecha and buy a completely new one using his total points. This is why you should keep up with how many total points you have. For instance, if you start off with 60 points and gain 13 points throughout a few adventures, you have a total of 73 points. You can improve the mecha you already have by 13 points or you can create another mecha from scratch costing up to 73 points. You never really lose these points. They are just there to show you the max amount of Points your mecha can cost.
Repairing, Refueling, and Rearming
Just like damage in personal combat as described in the original Risus rules, damage to a Mecha should be recovered at a rate determined by the GM. However, unless you happen to be playing in a setting with nanomachines or beast/mecha hybrids that can heal themselves over time, mechas should really only be recovered when they return from their mission so that their mechamen (or the player characters themselves) can repair the suits. Generally, the mecha should be fully repaired before the next mission, but the GM can decide that if the Mecha is seriously damaged then it'll take longer.
Ammo should be completely refilled before the next mission as well. The GM can also allow the players to try to salvage ammo from the field after a battle if they won't be coming back from the mission for awhile. For instance, Tom and Brian just took out a squad of Grunts, but they know that more are coming their way. So they try to salvage what they can on the battlefield. The GM decides how much ammo they find.
Also keep in mind that while clip fed weapons like machine guns might be easy to find ammo for, it should be hard to find spare missiles or rockets on the battlefield to refill a mecha's missile pods or rocket launchers.
Real Robot vs Super Robot
This was written with Real Robot style shows, like Gundam or Macross, in mind. However, these rules can still be used for Super Robot style games as well. Just give the players more points to spend on their mecha at character creation. This goes well with Mecha vs Monster below.
6 Foot Tall Idiot Hero vs 60 Foot Tall Metal Monstrosity
I do not currently have rules that involves some brave idiot to face off against a mecha. Because that is absurd. But a lighter and softer game may have a character try to face off against a mecha in desperation (or maybe to impress some girl). I leave it up to the GM to decide how this should go about. In a really serious game, the dumb hero should fail right off unless he happens to be equipped with a very big gun (or a nuke, in which case he wins but quite likely dies as well. Unless he fired it from really really far away). But in a softer or more over the top game, you could easily have someone go toe to toe with a mecha.
Mecha vs Monster
Some mecha shows have the characters face off against monsters as opposed to other giant robots. Enemy monsters can be created in just the same way that mechas are created. They should have an Armor rating to show how resilient their natural (or unnatural) armor is. They could have a few ranged weapons to represent their supernatural abilities, like beams of energy, fiery breath, toxic spit, etc. And of course a close range weapon to show how savage they are in a melee. Monsters don't generally have shields, but they can have something that works like one. And their Thrusters stat would just represent how fast and agile they are, not how well equipped with thrusters and verniers they are. They would have the equivalent of a Piloting cliché, as
well, to represent how well they are at fighting and evading.
Multiple Piloting Cliches
The GM may decide that just one generic Piloting cliché is not enough. In order for the Players to spread their points more across their character, he may decide to have one Piloting cliché for evading attacks and making close range attacks as well as a cliché for ranged attacks. So a player who is a Pilot (3) and a Mecha Marksmen (4) would roll three dice when trying to evade attacks and for making close range attacks and would roll 4 dice when making ranged attacks. This, of course, is optional.
Sometimes, things go very wrong. Sometimes the dice are just not your friend. And sometimes the GM himself is not your friend. There may come a time when your mecha is destroyed. However, it should be assumed that you eject safely out of your mecha just before it blows up.
But for players who want a more dangerous and risky game, then the player should make a Piloting cliché roll against a target number of 10 to see if he ejects safely. If the mecha was destroyed due to a Critical Hit or One Hit Kill, then the target number should be raised to 15. If he fails, the pilot could be injured and out of action for the next mission or worse, he could be dead.
It is up to the group which way to go with this. If they players don't mind making new characters to replace previously killed ones, then the pilot dies. If not, then he just walks away with an injury healed at the GM's discretion.
I do not recommend the GM to make a grunt squad of mecha suits, unless the you are playing a Super Robot style game (or the players come across a borderline Super Robot suit in a Real Robot setting) and he wishes to allow the players to feel completely epic facing off against a squad or even an army of enemy suits.
A grunt squad works just like a single suit. Even though it has the same rules of a single suit, it is still described as several suits. You roll against piloting skill and armor just as you would in normal Mecha Combat. If the GM is making a grunt squad of an already established suit, just bring the dice of the armor and the weapon up (a little for a small squad and drastically for a big squad). Keep the Thrusters the same. You can choose to keep the Shield the same or bring that up as well if the suit has a shield. Also it should be assumed that every pilot in the grunt squad has the same piloting cliché. You do not have to increase the piloting cliché at all for a grunt squad.
You may want to have a non mecha fight a mecha in a grunt squad. For instance, you could have a Platoon of Anti Mecha Infantry (3) as an enemy. Since there are many of them and well equipped, they are more likely to be even a little bit successful against a mecha than just one idiot (see 6 Foot Tall Idiot Hero vs 60 Foot Tall Metal Monstrosity above). To resolve this, whenever you roll to hit you roll piloting dice versus the grunt squad's dice. Then, if you hit, you roll your weapon's dice against the grunt squad's dice. If the grunt squad attacks a mecha, then they roll their dice against the piloting dice to hit then roll to damage against the armor dice like normal. The difference is that the grunt squad does not have an armor cliché or a weapon cliché. It uses it's grunt squad dice for both of these.
Alternatively, you can decide that a non-mecha grunt squad has a weapon as well. For instance, a nice anti-mecha squad might look like this:
Platoon of Anti Mecha Infantry (3) Anti Mecha Bazookas (2) Ammo (3)
You can also give your grunt squad an armor cliché so that their attacking isn't affected by how much damage they've taken. But I feel that for infantry at least I'd rather them not have an armor value. Their grunt cliché taking damage is like a representation of the squad losing men. And the less people in their squad, the less likely their weapons are going to hit.
The creation rules can be used for creating vehicles as well. However, keep in mind that most vehicles do not have close combat weapons. And even if they do, most should not have a Thrusters stat to reflect how they can't really maneuver very well against a mecha. But there are some bizarre vehicles out there.
This could be an example of a suitable vehicle:
Type 42 Tank (25 points) Armor (1) Double Cannons (4) Ammo (4) Mini-minigun (1) Ammo (6)
After adding the points up you may notice that it should cost 35 points, not 25. But remember that a mecha without a Thruster stat is given 10 extra points. That includes vehicles.
In many mecha shows, many of the suits are equipped with super powerful weaponry that could easily destroy another suit with one shot or at least severely damage it. But because of the way the Risus rules work, you really only take one damage (unless it's inappropriate damage, which is kind of hard to apply to mecha combat). That's why I've made these rules for Critical Hits. There are two ways to go about Critical Hits, which I will explain.
Method One: MORE DAMAGE!
This method is simple. Whenever you roll for damage and you roll twice as high with your weapon than your opponent's armor, you score a critical hit and the enemy's armor takes 2 damage. So if your enemy rolls a 10, you'd have to roll a 20 or higher to get a Critical Hit. If your roll is three times as high or more, you score a One Hit Kill. The enemy is automatically killed, no matter how much armor it had. So going with the previous example, you'd have to roll a 30 to get a One Hit Kill.
Method Two: Structure Damage
This method is a bit more fun. If you score a Critical Hit (i.e. two times as high as the enemy's roll for armor) you hit a specific part of the enemy mecha. Roll a dice and look at the chart below for what happens.
If a mecha's legs are hit, it falls to the ground and can no longer use its Thrusters cliché. Which means that it cannot roll it's Thruster dice while evading, cannot go All Evasive, and it cannot Close In on an enemy or Disengage. Narrative-wise, the mecha should not be able to move.
If an arm is hit, roll one dice. On a 1-3, the right arm is destroyed. On a 4-6, the left arm. If the GM plans on using this method, he should tell the players to say where the weapons of their suit are mounted and whether or not it is a handheld weapon. If the mecha has absolutely no handheld weaponry, then the GM can decide that the Arm Hit result is just a Weapon Hit result. Or he can keep it in and just give the mecha a freebie if it happens to roll a three.
If the weapon is handheld, then the player should let the GM know which weapon is in which hand while in combat. Keep in mind that most handheld weapons can be holstered or stored elsewhere when not in use. So if an arm is destroyed while the weapon was stored on the body, that weapon is not destroyed. If the mecha attacks with a weapon during their turn, it is assumed that they are holding the weapon until their next turn.
If a close range weapon is destroyed and the mecha has no other close range weapon, then the mecha has Unarmed (1) as a close range weapon until the other weapon is returned or fixed. If the mecha didn't have a close range weapon to begin with, it cannot use Unarmed (1) unless it was bought (for 6 points) like any other close range weapon. So for example, Tom's suit is hit and his Beam Blade (3) is destroyed. Now he can only attack in close combat using Unarmed (1).
So for example, Brian says that his right hand is armed with an Autocannon. On his turn he fires at a Grunt suit. The Grunt's turn is next and he fires back at Brian, scoring a critical hit. He rolls on the chart and gets a 3. Then he rolls to see which arm is hit and gets a 2. Brian's right arm is destroyed. And since he used his Autocannon on his last turn, that weapon was still in his right hand and was destroyed as well.
For the Weapon Hit result, the GM can either roll a dice to see which weapon is hit at random (such as 1-3 for weapon 1, 4-6 for weapon 2 if only two weapons) or he can let the attacker decide.
If the damage roll is three times as high as the armor roll, then the targeted mecha is destroyed right off, just like in Method One.
Risus Mecha In SPAAAAAAACE!
The same rules can be used for space warfare. The only modification to the rules would be if you use Method Two of the Critical Hits. If a Leg Hit result comes up, Thrusters are halved instead of reduced to zero. This could either represent the shot hitting a thruster or vernier instead of a leg or represent the fact that legs generally house a lot of the thruster power for the space faring mecha. If this result comes up again, the Thrusters value is reduced to zero.
If you are using Method Two of Critical Hits and you get a Reactor Hit result, the mecha, of course, explodes. If the mecha was engaged in close combat, all combatants locked into combat with it, whether friend or foe, must make a piloting check against TN 15 to evade the explosion. Any pilot that fails this test is damaged with an Explosion (4). Roll for damage like normal (i.e. mecha rolls for armor against the explosion). If the mecha was not engaged in close combat with anyone, then no one is hit by the explosion.
The GM may decide to make destroying mecha a bit more dangerous. Whenever a mecha is destroyed, roll a dice. If a six comes up, the mecha explodes and anyone in close combat with it must see if they are hit by the explosion. This is optional, however, but could make for some interesting situations.
The GM may decide that especially big or powerful mecha may make a bigger explosion or a smaller mecha could make a smaller explosion. The TN and the Explosion dice can be increased or decreased to represent this.
If you wish, you may spend 20 points to give your suit a separate form. This other form has the same Points your first form has (not including the 10 points used to give it the form) and you may spend the points however you wish. For instance, I want a suit that can transform into a Jet. I already spent 76 points on the mecha's main robot form. That means that I can spend up to 76 points worth of components for the jet form as well. The total cost of the suit is 96 points (adding 10 points for the transformation). If the GM allows it, you may add even more forms. Each additional form costs 10 points.
Damage to armor carries over between forms. So if both my forms have Armor (3) and it takes one damage to it, both forms are now down to Armor (2). For forms that have different armor values, a mecha cannot transform into a form that already has depleted armor. So let's say my robot form has Armor (3) while my jet form has Armor (2). If while I'm in my robot form I take 2 damage, I cannot change into my Jet form.
If the mecha is currently in its lowest armored form and its armor is reduced to 0, the mecha is destroyed outright regardless of how much armor the other form has left.
Example Transforming Mecha at 96 points:
Armor (3) Thrusters (1) Shield (2) Heavy Autocannon (4) Ammo (4) Heat Blade (2)
Armor (3) Thrusters (3) Autogun (3) Ammo (5) Missiles (5) Ammo (2)
I may one day try to implement funky dice into this game somehow. But... eh.... Not right now. I like it staying at the d6 scale. But you could probably implement it easily by increasing the cost of the components that use funky dice.
I am still working on this game and if I find that something seems unbalanced, I may go back and revise it. Also, if you come across something off (especially if it has to do with the cost of components) let me know of your thoughts. This is still a work in progress.
Also, if you find that I worded a few segments in a confusing way that needs clarification, let me know and I'll try to reword it.
Miscellaneous Tidbits 2 (More Optional Rules)
As I said, I am still working on this little project. And I'll continuously add more and more optional rules that the reader may or may not want to use in their game.
Multiple Close Range Weapons
Though it is nearly pointless, you may have as many close range weapons as possible. Generally, you only need one normal, damaging close range weapon. However, some people may want a spare in case their weapon or the arm holding the weapon is destroyed (if method 2 of critical hits is in use). Yet it would be recommended to have a spare with less dice than the original, or it could be a very expensive spare.
However, you may want to have a normal close range weapon that does normal damage as well as a close range weapon that can blind or stun. For instance, you could have a Beam Sword (3) and a Stun Rod (2). The beam sword would be a normal close range damaging weapon while the Stun Rod would not be able to damage, but be able to inflict stun (See Special Weapons).
Some environments are harder to fight in than others. To represent this, a mecha's handling decreases when fighting in such an environment. A minor environment, such as the desert or thick forest, reduces the handling by 1. A major environment, such as space, reduces the handling by 2. So for instance, a Grunt with Handling (2) fighting in the desert would effectively be at Handling (1). This means that the pilot can only use one dice when using his Piloting cliche. If that same Grunt was fighting in space, his handling would be reduced to 0.
If the handling is reduced to 0, the mecha cannot function in that environment.
Minor Environments - Desert, Tundra (cold environments), Thick Forest
Major Environments - Underwater, Space
To counteract these environments, a mecha can buy Environmental Protection (See More Components). Each rank in the component brings the Handling reduction down by 1. So a mecha with Space Environment (1) would only take a -1 penalty to Handling when fighting in space instead of a -2. A mecha with Underwater Environment (2) takes no Handling penalty when fighting underwater.
More optional rules will be added as I type them up or think of them
Ta Ta For Now
These are all the rules I have for now. I'm planning on writing up some rules for a Mobile Suit Gundam setting for Risus using these house rules for the mecha sometime soon. So if you are a mecha or a Gundam fan, keep your eyes open for that.
If you wish to contribute to my rules, feel free to. If you have an optional rule idea or an idea for a new component, you can let me know. Either make a thread for this page or send a message to me personally to email@example.com.