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[Battletech] Making a better Mechwarrior

Aliexster

Master Mech Mechanic
Validated User
The group I'm in have gotten to grumbling on needing some big stompy robot action lately, and I have to agree. I do seem to have the most experience with the setting and most of the books so it'll likely fall on me to run. The problem is that the Battletech rules are easy enough, Mechwarrior crunch is not so much. The learning curve is pretty step and there are a lot of weird things going on with the setting, like the 'Swift Learner' perk that gives you discount on your experience and how character creation is very fragmented with +x experience to a certain stat.

So I'm asking the vast knowledge base of RPG.net, is there a way to clean the system up or convert at least the on ground stuff into something not too dissimilar to Battletech. I have seen several conversions to FATE, but I feel that might not give me the proper crunch that would mesh well with the whole mech customization of the base game. The group is well experienced with Shadowrun which shares many of the stats and mechanics, with some reduction in cybernetics and tearing out the magic system, that might work. Then there is the system they use from Death from Above, they use some of the DX (a sort of middle ground between BESM 2nd & 3rd edition) skills and traits which might be a middle ground in there.

Is there any suggestions into make this something that would be cohesive and fun to play?
 

Praetorian

Go Rangers!
Validated User
If you are more interested in stompy robots and aren't married to the idea of the Inner Sphere and Battletech, may I suggest checking out Heavy Gear? It's a system that integrates the rpg and the tactical stuff *much* better with the added bonus of a wonderfully detailed setting. (Go with 2e if you give HG the thumbs up)

There are other options out there, too. Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters is really good and boasts a much simpler system than Mechwarrior or even Heavy Gear. You could also check out Mobile Frame: Firebrand. It's PbtA and has a very didetent tone than MW and HG, but really cool with an underappreciated setting.
 

GaoGaiGar

Is anyone REALLY a
Validated User
Which version are you using? A lot of people prefer using Mechwarrior 2nd edition to the later ones. Shadowrun could work, and probably more smoothly than actual Shadowrun with no magic, hacking or cyberware involved. GURPS has a strong real life tactical feel to it and is a bit more on the detailed side as far as customization and combat options. I'm pretty sure that all the Mechwarrior weapons have GURPS versions too.
 

Aliexster

Master Mech Mechanic
Validated User
If you are more interested in stompy robots and aren't married to the idea of the Inner Sphere and Battletech, may I suggest checking out Heavy Gear? It's a system that integrates the rpg and the tactical stuff *much* better with the added bonus of a wonderfully detailed setting. (Go with 2e if you give HG the thumbs up)
I personally like Heavy Gear, though I have tried to run it before and it didn't work out too well. I do like it, though my players are asking for something a little more customizeable, where Gears generally have a few load outs you can pick up, plus they want to visit more planets and get some space opera type thing. The fact they have had no experience with that but plenty of Battletech either in a few games or video games.

There are other options out there, too. Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters is really good and boasts a much simpler system than Mechwarrior or even Heavy Gear. You could also check out Mobile Frame: Firebrand. It's PbtA and has a very didetent tone than MW and HG, but really cool with an underappreciated setting.
I'm just wondering if Tiny Frontiers would end up in the same boat as the FATE problem, in being not crunchy enough to give us some proper variation and uniqueness for each character. IE have someone being far more of a a sensor monkey and master of the missile volley. Does that make any sort of sense?

Which version are you using? A lot of people prefer using Mechwarrior 2nd edition to the later ones. Shadowrun could work, and probably more smoothly than actual Shadowrun with no magic, hacking or cyberware involved. GURPS has a strong real life tactical feel to it and is a bit more on the detailed side as far as customization and combat options. I'm pretty sure that all the Mechwarrior weapons have GURPS versions too.
I've been looking at the Time of War which is the most recent one, which is even more messed than 3rd edition, which isn't too stellar truth be told. Second is alright, though I do like the options you get in the later editions. Personally I am leaning towards Shadowrun, though I would like to have a bit of hacking and cyberware in there, if just to show that tech hasn't completely gone away. Personally I don't like to play Battletech as a neo-feudal future full of tech loss and endless war, personally 40k does that a lot better. I like Battletech for it's heavily used future type thing, where there is shiny new lasers and mechs being manufactured, the fact is that you're not going to get them unless you join one of the House's Royal Guards, Knightly Order, or Comstar. The stuff hitting the mercenary market are beat up old cast offs, refits of Star League stuff when it was still mass produced in numbers to police the sphere a few times over, or things scrapped from the battlefield from a battle containing one of those three factions.

Might have to try GRUPs though I have no real experience with that.
 

Poisson Resistance

Registered User
Validated User
ATOW is billed as doing a lot of stuff other than stompy robots, so MW2 with some tinkering might be better. I'd suggest providing more skill and advantage points at each priority and splitting up intuition and maybe one or two other Attributes so that you don't have single super-important Attributes and you aren't mathematically inferior for not taking Attributes at the highest priority. You might also need to adapt some traits like rank; I'd consider it something you can swap out for the clan phenotypes on the priority chart, since those tend to come with the baggage of being a clan phenotype in the clans and might not even be present in some campaigns.
 

LCDR Seamonkey

Urban Monkey Warfare
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I played in a short-season Mechwarrior game which adapted Shadowrun 3E for it's ruleset. It worked very well for us. We admittedly did more vehicle piloting and brutal alleyway fighting than Mech piloting though.
 

Capellan

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
If stompy robot action is really all you care about, I've run perfectly functional campaigns using just Battletech's rules, with a rudimentary XP system bolted on for lowering base gunnery and piloting numbers. ("Every X successful missions you can lower one of them by 1; they can't be more than 3 apart")
 

GaoGaiGar

Is anyone REALLY a
Validated User
I've been looking at the Time of War which is the most recent one, which is even more messed than 3rd edition, which isn't too stellar truth be told. Second is alright, though I do like the options you get in the later editions. Personally I am leaning towards Shadowrun, though I would like to have a bit of hacking and cyberware in there, if just to show that tech hasn't completely gone away. Personally I don't like to play Battletech as a neo-feudal future full of tech loss and endless war, personally 40k does that a lot better. I like Battletech for it's heavily used future type thing, where there is shiny new lasers and mechs being manufactured, the fact is that you're not going to get them unless you join one of the House's Royal Guards, Knightly Order, or Comstar. The stuff hitting the mercenary market are beat up old cast offs, refits of Star League stuff when it was still mass produced in numbers to police the sphere a few times over, or things scrapped from the battlefield from a battle containing one of those three factions.

Might have to try GRUPs though I have no real experience with that.
You'd ideally need at least the two books of the Basic Set, Characters and Campaigns, High Tech (modern firearms and gear guide with extra shooting rules) and Ultra Tech (The sci-fi weapon catalog). If you've got Shadowrun, that would be the more economical choice.

Adapting the many personal weapons from BT to SR might be a smidge involved. Hmm, a standard SR cyber limb provides physical stats of 3. Battletech doesn't have enhancing cyber limbs, so the stats would be fixed at that. Cruder limbs might have lower stats, and cut into running speed if a leg.

Gyrojet weapons could be standard ones that fire EX Explosive rounds, while normal firearms can't use them. Working in lasers and anti-laser armor would be a bit tricky (Could be done like an environmental protection), and the general ablative nature of Battletech personal armor would have to be abandoned.
 
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