View Full Version : [4e] Eberron with Giant Robots (rough draft)

2010-03-03, 01:48 AM
So, as like three people might know, I was once a player (and spin-off GM) in a freaking awesome campaign of D&D called Eberron with Giant Robots, originally created by Magnus_Samma, which postulated the idea of huge magical construct suits of armor as major weapons of war in the near future of the Eberron setting. The campaign (and my lame spin-off) is over now, but my favorite thing about it was always designing new crazy-ass mecha ripped off from various TV shows and video games for it. I also once considered upgrading said rules to 4e, and now, like a year later, insomnia has struck and I'm going to throw some together.

Approximate flavor justification:

In the years since the end of the Last War, the arms race between the nations of Khorvaire (and other factions) reached a fever pitch. In an effort to capitalize on this, House Cannith vastly increased its research into ancient Giant schema found in Xen'drik with the aim of mass-producing arms and armor for Khorvaire's armies at a fraction of the cost of standard forging techniques. Unfortunately, the arms produced with the knowledge from these Schema, while quite inexpensive to forge in bulk, were of a size completely insuitable for humans and the similarly-sized intelligent races that populated Khorvaire. While Cannith designers despaired, the infamous Baron Merrix d'Cannith had one of his characteristic flashes of brilliance - he could make giant weapons and giant freestanding armor. Rather than trying to make them smaller, why not just design a control system that would translate a "wearer's" movement into larger sizes and keep the advantages of being really, really huge? And thus was the Auto-Mobile Suit of Armor (Mobile Suit for short, or mech if you want to be generic) and a new age of arms race born.

Mecha work like magical armor in many ways. While exceedingly large and durable, the sophisticated enchanted harness systems inside translate a user's motion directly into armor motion, making the freestanding armor into something of a larger version of the warrior inside. Mecha mainly effect the scale of combat and absorb damage for the pilot rather than the specifics - in most cases, characters treat them as they would any suit of armor. The following are exceptions:

1) It takes a full-round action to "don", or rather mount and start up a mech

2) Mecha have their own Maximum Hit Point, Bloodied, and Surge values - while a character is piloting one, all damage he would normally take is applied to the mech, accounting for the pilots' resistances and vulnerabilities.
2b) Effects with the [Healing] keyword can effect a mech normally, but cannot effect the pilot inside the mech - just like damage, healing is applied to the mech instead.
2c) When a mech reaches 0 hit points, it becomes unusable, and the pilot must leave it (a full-round action) in order to take any other actions. Player Character Mecha with 0 or fewer hitpoints are considered Dying and must make Death Saving throws as normal - if a mech "dies", it explodes fantastically, dealing its Bloodied value in damage to its pilot if he has not escaped yet. An attacker may not choose to render a mech "unconscious" when reducing it to 0 or fewer hit points unless his name is Kira Yamato.

3) Mecha have their own Size listing - while piloting a mech, its user is considered this size in all respects, including the ability to wield weapons of that size (and inability to wield weapons of other sizes).

4) Mecha have their own Movement speed - likewise, a character uses this movement speed instead of his own.

5) People piloting mecha cannot use Medium-sized weapons held in their own hands, but they can use implements as normal, or implements held by the mech.

6) Minions given mecha as equipment are still considered to have 1 hit point, and their mecha are destroyed as soon as they take any damage no matter the mech's normal hit points.

7) The Area and Range of Ranged and Close powers and weapons are increased by a factor of the Mech's size: x2 for large, x3 for Huge, and so on. Melee powers are given additional reach as normal for size increases.

Other than that, mecha work as normal magical armor. They do not effect abilities, powers, healing surges per day, or Non Armor Defenses (usually). Any powers with the [Weapon] keyword may be used with weapons held by the mech. Mecha may have any effects, properties, and item powers a DM deems permissible - "unique" mecha often have multiple properties and should be priced accordingly. As a designer, I encourage people to mix and match properties and descriptions to create their own mech.

One final word - mecha can be any type of Armor, light or heavy. "Cloth", "Leather", and "Hide" mecha are not actually made of these materials (usually), but these categories give an indication of how sturdily constructed the mech is vs. the amount of mobility it allows to translate from the user.

To do: figure out how the hell to price these damn things, create "canon"/sample mecha based on my favorite Japanimation.

Questions, Comments, Flames?

2010-03-03, 01:49 AM
Example Mecha

Kothar (Mech) Level 5+
The first Mobile Suit design sold to and mass-produced by Breland. Unremarkable, but cool-looking. Higher enchantments of this armor are often given to commanders.
{table]Lvl 5|+1|?|Lvl 20|+4|?
Lvl 10|+2|?|Lvl 25|+5|?
Lvl 15|+3|?|Lvl 30|+6|?[/table]
Armor Equivalent: Chainmail
Enhancement: AC
Size: Huge (3x3, Reach 2)
Speed: 10 (9 total)
Hit Points: 40+4*level

Standard weaponry for Brelish military Kothars is Huge Flaming Battleaxe +1 (2d6 damage) and a Huge Magic Crossbow +1 (1d10 damage)

OOC notes: the Kothar is intentionally not terribly good and meant as an example, or something to give your players in a campaign that doesn't have them fighting things with HUGE GUTS in general. It's also suitable to give to Minions in mech campaigns.

Credit to Magnus_Samma and Kunio Okawara

Caex (Mech) Level 5+
A heavier mass-produced mobile suit designed for close-range combat and defense. Carries an internally-mounted weapon designed to overload the arcane matrices of enemy mechs or simply fry large natural creatures. Not a Kothar.
{table]Lvl 5|+1|?|Lvl 20|+4|?
Lvl 10|+2|?|Lvl 25|+5|?
Lvl 15|+3|?|Lvl 30|+6|?[/table]
Armor Equivalent: Scale
Enhancement: AC
Size: Huge (3x3, Reach 2)
Speed: 10 (9 total)
Hit Points: 52+4*level
Power (Encounter): Heat Rod
Standard Action.
Ranged 5. Target: One Creature. Strength vs. Reflex.
Hit: Level 5 or 10: The Target is Dazed and Immobilized (Save Ends both)
Level 15 or higher: The Target is Stunned (Save Ends)

Standard weaponry for Brelish military Caexes is a Huge Flaming Greatsword +1 (2d6 Damage), a Huge Magic Crossbow +1 (1d10 damage), and a Huge Bashing Shield (Heroic Tier)

OOC notes:

Credit to Magnus_Samma and Kunio Okawara

More to come.

2010-03-03, 01:10 PM
I like what I've read so far, but I think the mechs should have another 'typing' rather than 'cloth, leather, and chain.' It's just ridiculous.

edit: I get what you meant though. Maybe name it 'armor equivalent' or something?

2010-03-03, 01:12 PM
Makes sense to me. Done, in the example stat block.

2010-03-03, 01:18 PM
It make sense mechanically, but I don't like how heal spell work on mech. They're construct, like an armor. Why do healing spell work on them?

And this is just fluff, but I'd love to have new terminologies on them, however confuse-inducing they might be....

Like... Healing surge is damage containment system... and Bloodied is... scrapped or something...

2010-03-03, 01:48 PM
I used the normal 4e terminologies for the sake of not being confusing. If I was writing this up in a sourcebook, and definitely in actual practice of using it in a game, I'd be sure to provide sensible flavor and give a glossary of equivalent terms.

Mando Knight
2010-03-03, 02:27 PM
HP should increase with mecha level.

I had actually thought of doing something like this, myself.

Of course, we've got to cover the basics.
Size Large (though short and stubby)
HP 25+5*level
Speed 7, Overland Flight 10
Armor Equivalent Leather
Equipment: +X Drill (+2, 2d6 brutal 1, spear, High Crit)
Property: The pilot adds his Charisma score to Lagann's HP.

Size Huge
HP 30+6*level
Speed 9
Reach 3
Armor Equivalent Chain
Equipment: Boomerang Shades (+2, 1d10 heavy blade, heavy thrown, 20/40)

Gurren Lagann
Size Huge
HP 40+7*level
Speed 10 (regardless of armor equivalent)
Reach 3
Armor Equivalent Hide or Plate
Equipment: Boomerang Shades, Drill (+2, 2d8 brutal 2, spear, High Crit)
Property: Current pilot adds his Charisma score to Gurren Lagann's HP.

Special: Can hold two pilots comfortably (one in Gurren, one in Lagann). Coordinating movements is difficult: while either pilot can move the entire mech, it takes two move actions to switch control between pilots.

Level 11+: The pilots gain the Giga Drill Breaker power, which can be used once per day, and Gurren Lagann gains Fly (clumsy) 10.
Level 21+: Giga Drill Breaker can be used as an encounter power. Gurren Lagann's Fly speed improves to Fly (hover) 12.
Level 30: Giga Drill Breaker may be used at will. Gurren Lagann's Fly speed improves to Fly (hover) 15.

Giga Drill Breaker Gurren Lagann Attack 11+
Special * Weapon
Standard Action, Melee Weapon
Target One creature
Attack Strength or Charisma vs AC
Special: This attack scores a critical hit on a roll of 18-20.
Hit 4[W]+ pilot's Strength modifier + pilot's Charisma modifier +5 damage.
Miss 2[W]+ pilot's Charisma modifier damage.
Effect Your drill becomes the Drill That Pierces The Heavens. Until the end of your next turn, attacks with Gurren Lagann's drill gain a +2 power bonus to attack and damage rolls, and the drill's weapon damage dice increases to 2d10.
Special: When charging, this power can be used in place of a melee basic attack. This power can only be used while wielding the Gurren Lagann's drill.

2010-03-03, 02:38 PM
I can think of a few variations on this.

1> PCs aren't heros, but rather pilots. The kind mech they know how to pilot is determined by their class. Out of their armor, they ... well, they suck.

2> PCs are heroes, and heroes are needed to pilot giant mechs. Mechs have HP on the scale of 10 times normal creatures. Your mech ends up being just you, scaled up by a factor of 10.

3> A hybrid of the above. You have two classes -- one mech, one player -- that interact, where your mech class works while in a mech.

2010-03-03, 02:46 PM
Those are all interesting. The first two are things I considered, and the last is how my friend Tengu does things in his 4e Alternate History with Giant Robots game over on plothook.

Mando Knight: I agree HP should increase with item level, didn't think of that (it's going to make writing Bloodied and Surge values a headache, but I guess I could just make people do their own math). Your stats for Gurren-Lagann look pretty good, even if covering everything that thing can do is outside the scope of 4e. Stats for the drill look good also, as long as it's a Superior weapon.

2010-03-03, 04:30 PM
I see no good reason for a mech to inherit its pilot's resistances and vulnerabilities.

2010-03-03, 05:39 PM
Primarily, I'm trying to make these things as simple and close to "real" equipment as possible. I also wanted people who can gain resistances and vulnerabilities through Powers and other effects to be able to apply them while in mechs.

Really, there's no reason why these things shouldn't increase Strength, Con, and possibly Dex either, but I wanted them to be useful to everyone (and +Con would mess with HP on top of that), not just classes that main physical stats. This is also why I allow "Light Armor" mechs.

I did think of something, though. AoE Powers should probably be scaled up the same as the mech (i.e. x3 size in a Huge mech). This makes AoE Powers eseful against other mechs.

Mando Knight
2010-03-03, 05:54 PM
Stats for the drill look good also, as long as it's a Superior weapon.

The idea is that it's an artifact. I started by trying to make it balanced as an item, but then kicked that idea to the curb since there's only one Gurren Lagann.

Of course, Gurren Laganns larger than the base model can't be described using terms for D&D sizing... I'd have to switch to SW SAGA's starship scale for the Arc Gurren Lagann, and Chouginga Gurren Lagann is too large for even that scale, let alone Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann or Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. At the point you reach any of the larger models, you just throw away trying to show anything the size of the previous model, since it's the relative size of an action figure compared to the next higher-order Gurren Lagann.

2010-03-03, 07:03 PM
Oh right, artifact weapons have unique stats.

/still has half a brain in 3.5.