Because I am me, I could not stop thinking about Kaijus and the things that make them so cool but applied to Roleplaying. My favorite thing is that they are huge and unstoppable, they level cities just by walking around and kill anyone caught in the crossfire. Godzilla tradition is that the only thing that can beat a giant monster is another giant monster. Sometimes one of those monsters is "good", other times it is a giant robot, but even man-made machines created to stop Kaijus will leave devastating collateral damage in their wake.
To quote another movie about giant monsters: To fight monsters we created monsters of our own.
Mecha fiction often treats giant robots as a metaphor for nuclear power, this unstoppable force that can do great good and great harm. Kaiju, by the way, represent natural disasters and sometimes the wrath of nature itself. Consider that Japan is not just the country of Hiroshima but also from where we got the word Tsunami and our silly giant robot entertainment feels a lot more culturally meaningful.
|The power to be a God or a Devil.|
One of my favorite things about giant robots in roleplaying is just how much power they put in the hands of the PCs. There are few ways to make someone feel like their PC is important and matters than giving them a walking weapon of mass destruction. The Mecha that are more down to earth diminish this considerably, but even Gundam touches on the issue a few times: If a beam weapon hits the reactor of a Mobile Suit, the Minovsky reaction causes an explosion devastating to the environment and other MS nearby. This forces Gundam pilots to engage in close quarters combat and defeat the other without hitting them there.
In summary, giant robots are (and pardon the pun) a big deal. Getting that point across when you are running a game makes everything feel more powerful, it makes your victories more visceral and your failures more crushing. It is a matter of establishing the tone and gently pushing your Players to convey the mood, then reinforcing it with rules.
I've been writing rules for essentially two years, and it has been a long while since I wrote any actual campaign material. Contrary to most other people writing RPGs, I find fluff to be harder and less fun than crunch, but it is still a thing that I like to do and I kind of miss it. The good thing is that I am getting closer to the point where I can begin exploring other facets of Mecha as a whole, facets that might not be suited to the core universal system because most games wouldn't want to touch them.
I am talking about collateral damage, or the effects that Mecha have on the battlefield. Shows like Daiguard, Big O and Evangelion put a lot of weight behind the robots themselves, destroying the city wherever they go. If you want to explore that kind of thing, it would be cool to have some advice and rules for it, wouldn't it?
|Why do you look so satisfied with the city in goddamn ruins?|
I don't quite know yet, but I've got a few goals I know I want to prioritize.
Collateral should be a long term deal. If you have to protect a city from monsters or other robots, then damage done to that city should be a lasting feature. Let's say your city can take up to 10 points of Collateral before it becomes uninhabitable If your city takes 3 points of Collateral during one terrible and devastating Operation, it should heal maybe one per Episode or one per Arc, but not more than that.
The rules should be easy to work with. I don't want to have a dozen new Terrain types to differ Urban, Industrial and Rural Zones with their own rules concerning what happens if you, say, use a Blast Weapon there. It is not about tracking how many cows are dead or which houses got crushed. It should be something simple, but I admit that is probably going to be the toughest part.
It should feel somewhat random. You should not ever feel 'safe' just allowing Collateral damage to happen thinking that you can keep it under control. Maybe you think having the school crushed is fine because it is a sunday, but what if there were kids trapped inside and you never knew? This is one of the few instances in which I would advocate the use of rolling on a table to get random results to check if those points of Collateral were worse than expected.
The consequences should be felt primarily during Intermissions. Related to the above, an unexpected consequence would be along the lines of "One friendly NPC is first missing and only found after several days of searching injured or dead." or "The Police department is destroyed leading to several days of riots and looting." It should not cut the ability to repair PC Mecha, put a PC in jail, or cause something that forces someone to sit out of the game. At least not by the rules as written. If the group thinks that should happen, then that's a different matter.
There is a lot of virgin ground left unexplored and it is going to be fun once I can start tapping all that untapped potential. For now though, I've got to focus on Battle Century G core and I should have some news on that front soon!