Game Fu 6: Robotica

Posted on September 8, 2009

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I dilly-dallied way too much for this version of the contest. Stormhunters was a great concept, but I kept picking at myself, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted the focus to be, and how I was going to do certain things. As usual, I started with far too grandiose a vision, and by the time I narrowed it down to Ghostbusters-style action in the wake of tornadoes, I’d burned far too much time and energy.

So I went back to the ingredients list and started again. I liked the idea of shapeshifters, but I wanted to do it in a different fashion. A friend had been talking about BattleTech a lot, and inspired by the idea of the Clan OmniMechs as well as the Alchemical Exalted and their modular Charms, I decided that the characters would be robots that “shapeshifted” by swapping equipment modules. I also kept the “archetypes” ingredient, and soon realized that I was looking at a very old-school setup, with four basic “classes”. The difference is that the robot’s archetype can be swapped, changing the basic stats. The game is all about the robot characters performing missions and gaining credits to buy better equipment and upgrade themselves. Straight to the essence of old D&D, if you ask me.

I had only about four days left when I actually started writing, and even then I couldn’t concentrate for more than an hour at a time. I did manage to squeak in a complete, if bare-bones, document, but a lot is missing. The document contains the basic concept, the dice mechanic (1d10, blackjack roll-under), the four basic archetypes, nine or ten modules for each of the four attributes, quick and dirty rules on mission and credits (which serve as XP and money all rolled together) and some stats for hazards. It is available for download in two places:

Robotica on Raven Feathers

Robotica on Box.net

I was working at very high speed to finish the document late last night, so the prices for modules are instinctual and not anything resembling balanced. Ideally I’d like to go back and put some more work into it, preferably with some help. It’s an idea I’d like to share.

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