Friday, July 17, 2009

Mecha Omega "bigs vs. littles"

I'm toying with the idea of a Buffy-like party structure for Mecha Omega.

For those who don't know, on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, Buffy was supported by the "scoobies", who were invaluable in assisting her adventures but were far less powerful.

I'm generally skeptical of anything in any RPG that puts the characters on unequal footing.

It's great for fiction, since you constantly need "damsels", weaker members of the group who need protecting. Builds tension.

On the other hand, players tend to not like being saved by anyone.

Still, I think with mechs, having a whole group of mechs might be unwieldy, so Im considering options to throw some "smalls" in with the "bigs".

One option I considered was having the player who would bond with the mech do so psychically, leaving his body unprotected.

Now, instead of waiting to be saved by the "big", the "smalls" would get to do the saving.

This would effectively divide the action into two "theaters". You'd have the mech in the air, fighting, and the rest of the party on the ground.

I like that it would give the game a different feel, but toying with the formula is almost never a good idea in my experience.

For example, what happens if the "big" loses her fight? Does the other mech just fly off? Or would it, logically, sweep down and wipe the floor with the rest of the group?

This seems like it might lead to every encounter being a potential TPK, without a lot of GM intervention.

Which is problem #2. I think this model would make things harder on the GM. Never a good design goal.

First, dividing the action would mean dividing the GM attention. Secondly, having one player with much more power than the rest of the group could lead to problems between players.

And then there would be the need to constantly monitor each theater of battle closely, to make sure the "smalls" werent in danger of being overwhelmed, or the "big". Either way, could end up in the whole group getting wiped out.

Ok, you just read me (more or less) talk myself out of this idea.

Hope it was a good read at least.

3 comments:

mikelaff said...

I'm not sold that a multiple mech battle would be more detailed or potentially overwhelming than a battle with multiple supers

Dr. Comics said...

I think what you ran the risk of doing here (and I use the past tense because you argued yourself out of it) was the old Netrunner problem from Cyberpunk. You have this whole nother world where one player kicks ass, and then another world where he sucks. And it's really hard to integrate those two worlds in a single adventure. You can do it, but it is not easy and doing it repeatedly becomes ever harder or repetitive as you fall back on a few basic mechanics. ("You have to reach the middle of the army base, hack into the computer and hold for two minutes while every guard in the place charges you.")

I know this sounds really silly, but you already admitted the game was a bit Gonzo. What about combining/transforming mech? Like, each of the "littles" has a small mech along the size of a motorcycle/car, and then they can "combine" into a big one which has the best stats of each member of the party? A lot of mechs isn't as bad if they're not too big, but you want the big one so you can blow your SFX budget.

RPGObjects_chuck said...

I am actually considering that.

In fact I'm leaning in that direction.

As someone who LOVED the Shogun Warriors Marvel Comic as a kid (they were combining mechs), the idea really appeals to me, maybe more than it should lol.

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