Rabbit Punches and Tyger Stripes
See also: Mech Creation Index for a list of wiki pages useful to mech creation in the same order as the Hero Character Building Book.
How to Make a Mech
Step 1: Pick a Chassis.
Mechs chassis are divided into light, medium, or heavy. They are then subdivided again into the categories of light, medium, or heavy armor. This will give you a pretty good idea of what your mech’s stats might be. Character sheets for each of these types can be found here. Copy, paste, fill in the blanks.
Step 2: Multipower or Power Pool?
If you want to be able to switch out your equipment and weapons between missions, you want a power pool. If your mech will pretty much always have the same armament, you want a multipower. Multipowers work much better for mechs with similar weapons (all lasers, for instance).
Step 3: If you have a power pool, determine what variety
With power pools you have two choices to make. 1. Would you like to be able to use every power in the pool to create a salvo, or are you okay being restricted to one killing attack? 2. Do you want to have set secondary powers or would you like some wiggle room to change secondary powers around during combat? The different kinds of power pools can be found here. Copy, paste. For right now, enter in preliminary numbers. You will figure out reserve and control costs later.
Step 4: Determine what kind of weapons you have
The master list of mech weapons can be found here. Each weapon is one slot in your multipower or one slot in your power pool. Buy the weapon off the rack and then make minor modifications as necessary. All weapons come with Mech Tech and Arm Allocation as default. Most weapons already have their side effects determined. If they do not, you can pick side effects from here. Remember to buy duplicates of the power if you have multiple weapons. Copy, paste, fill in the blanks.
Step 5: Determine which secondary Powers your weapons will have
If you have a power pool, each weapon must have a secondary power. If you have a multipower, you may choose whether or not you want secondary powers. Secondary powers come with arm allocation as default. They do not take the Mech Tech limitation as default. The various secondary powers for each weapon can be found here. Descriptions of the powers can be reached from that list or can be found here. Remember to apply all applicable limitations and advantages of the original weapon on the Secondary power and remember also that if you have multiple copies of a weapon they do not each have to take the same secondary. Each Secondary power should be half the Active cost of its primary power. Copy, paste, fill in the blanks.
Step 6: Weapon Familiarities and Perks
Mechs using power pool need to buy Weapon Familiarities to cover the weapons in their power pool and the weapons they plan on commonly using as time goes on. Buying WF groups gives the mech a larger repertoire of weapons it can include in its arsenal later on. The cost of Mech weapon familiarities can be found here. The mech will also need a perk for its weapons, its equipment, and its secondary powers (maneuvers) . At this point the mech should, at least, buy enough perks to be able to use the equipment currently equipped in its power pool. The price of these perks can be found here.
Step 7: Determine Power Pool Control and End
Mechs using a Power Pool may, at this time, determine how much End their mech will use by generating the mech’s most likely salvo. Take the Active cost and the Endurance cost from the mech’s most likely consistent primary power (generally the highest KA) and then add into it all of the secondary powers from all of the mech’s other weapons. The total is the high end active cost to cover for the mech’s control cost of the power pool. The End cost multiplied by the mech’s speed is a the high end Endurance the mech will need to operate. Both numbers are optimal. It assumes that the mech is able to fire all of its weapons every phase. Not every mech can or should.
Step 8: Determine Mulitipower Reserve and End
Mechs using a Multipower should determine the largest salvo they hope to fire from their mechs. Add up the active points of all those powers. The multipower reserve should, optimally, be set to that number. Add up all the End from those powers and multiply by the mech’s speed. This is the amount of End the mech will need optimally.
Step 9: Pick equipment
Noting the mech’s obvious weaknesses and strengths, purchase equipment as needed. All equipment for mechs is located here. If the Active point value of the equipment exceeds the control cost of the power pool, raise the control cost. Generally, equipment is bought outside of a multipower framework.
Step 10: Get the Power Pool’s Reserve
Add up all the points of all the weapons, secondary powers, and equipment bought through the power pool. The pool’s reserve should be this number or higher.
Step 11: Buy Mech Tech skill
Do a control-F to find the words “Mech Tech.” Record how often the word occurs (note, a mech will have one mech tech score for each sense group so count all Radio Group powers, for instance, as 1 power for the purpose of mech tech). Next, find the power with the designation Mech Tech with the highest Active Cost. Add to your previous notation, one for every 30 Active points in that power. Add 14 to this number. This amount represents the number or less you should buy for your mech tech skill. The skill costs a base of 2 points for 11 or less, and costs an additional point for every point the roll is raised by.
Step 12: Determine Power Pool Reserve
Simply add up all the weapons, secondary powers, and equipment bought through the power pool. The pool’s reserve must be that number now. If you feel like you might want more equipment later, you may want to raise it.
Step 13: Add it all up.
Stripped bare, the mech will have Mech Tech, a Dex skill, an Int Skill, a Presence skill, Powers, Perks, and Characteristics. This should all add up to 650 points.
Dealing With a Mech That Costs Too Much
In general, a mech that costs too much has too many weapons figured into its typical salvo. The mech simply may not be able, at 650 points, to fire everything all at once. Salvo size determines Multipower Reserves, Power Pool Control, and Mech Tech. By lowering the mech’s salvo size, all of these are lowered as well.
Another possible reason for a mech costing too much is that it has covered too many defensive bases. In this case, the solution is simple but painful: something’s got to go!
If a mech is only slightly over the 650 point total, the player always has the possibility of manipulating somewhat fluid limitations. Mech Tech, for instance, is generally bought at its most innocuous level. The limitation can be raised by incurring larger penalties for lower active points. It will not affect the mech consistently, but when it does, it will probably prove a significant hindrance. Likewise, allocation can be made sensitive or detrimental so as to make it make it more dangerous for the mech to arm the weapon. A player should feel allowed, within reason, to add to a weapons limitation bonus by taking more crippling penalties.
Finally, a mech with a disparate group of powers is cheaper if bought through a power pool. Mechs with lots of equipment probably would be better bought through a power pool. On the other hand, if all of the mech’s weapons or equipment are similar, a mech will cost less through a multipower than a power pool. Occasionally, the points saved by buying weapons alone through a multipower can offset the cost of buying equipment outside of a power pool. Best case scenario: try the mech both ways without giving up any powers and see which variety is cheaper. Just remember, Power Pools change. You’re stuck with the multipower. It’s the cheaper option for a reason.
Mech Doesn’t Cost Enough
In general, a mech that costs to little is either offensively weak, defensively weak, or both. Either way, the solution is the same. Check the ways in which mechs can be removed from play. Is your mech able to exploit one or more of those methods. Is the mech particularly vulnerable to any of those methods. Use your points to shore up any deficiencies.
If you feel that this method of improving your mech’s combat capability is too pat, consider these other options.
Resistant Defense Instead of rPD and rED: Having Resistant Defense basically makes the character immune to drain PD or drain ED. Moreover, resistant defense can be bought with an adder so as to protect carried equipment. Replacing PD and ED with enough Resistant Defenses is, however, costly, especially if the resistant defenses are hardened, inherent, or impenetrable.
Characteristic Based Skills: Mech skills are not based on characteristics. This is generally fine for most mechs. Some mechs, however, want skills and would rather not have to buy them all up through skill levels or through the expensive method of purchasing bonuses for each characteristic. The easier way is to simply buy off the limitation on the characteristic. It’s not particularly expensive, but its probably more points than are available to spend if points are needed elsewhere.
Useful Skills: There are a number of skills more useful than Bureaucracy to a mech. Rapid Fire, Defense Maneuver, Combat Skill Levels, and Autofire Skills have a way of making a weak mech more powerful. In any case, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the list of skills as they pertain to mechs. That can be found here.
Defend the Foci: When mechs are armed with penetrating, area affecting Body Drains, a focus’s defenses are unlikely to be enough without augmentation. There are obviously many things to spend points on during character construction, and many advantages that are worth more than making sure your HRRP can survive a transformation attack. At the same time, a mech that is vulnerable to having its equipment chopped away is almost as an assault mech without movement or a long range mech without telescopic vision.
More Intelligence: Intelligence is Perception and perception is OCV and offensive capability over a long range. As a rule, long range mechs ought to have 30 points of Intelligence higher than their short range counterparts.
Power Defense: Quite a few secondary powers are defended by power defense. Extra power defense is, therefore, never a bad idea.