General Notes on the Mecha Action System
Like the Micro Action System developed for Thelus, the goal of the Vulcan Wolf MAS is to provide players with tactical options without having to keep track of their particular inventory of missiles or bullets or how many sandwiches theyâ€™ve got in their pocket. Aside from health, the only other things which are tracked are binary conditions. So a weapon doesnâ€™t have 16 bullets, it either has ammo or is out of ammo for some reason.
As such the game will forgo elements of realism in order to provide a fun, playable experience. Sometimes it will seem like the field of play is small and mecha are fighting house-to-house, and other times it will seem like they are spread out over kilometers. Yet, mecha will move and fire across these arbitrary squares in the same way using the same weapons. You might wonder why only one type of missile may be loaded into an 8-cell VLS, or why, being so loaded, you can fire it a dozen times.
If you are wondering about these science facts, just repeat to yourself: itâ€™s just a game, I should really just relax. With that said, the goal of the game is also to capture the general spirit in which these real world weapons are used. If you uncover some wrinkle about them that would add to the gameplay, do tell.
In spite of our attempts at simplicity, gameplay will still be relatively more granular and technically-minded than Thelus. That being so, gameplay will employ a virtual tabletop system. For various reasons, Tabletop Simulator was chosen.
The planning phase of the game will take place asynchronously on the forums in the form of a forum adventure in the vein of â€œProblem Sleuthâ€ or â€œPrequel.â€ Actions in these phases may take place in a short time in the game world, while in the real world they are played out in a leisurely fashion over the course of weeks. At the conclusion of the planning phase characters will equip their mecha with systems and enter the contact phase, where we will decamp to the Thunderdome and settle things with violence.
Systems are essentially abilities that mecha possess. In the Micro Action System of Thelus, they were called â€œAbilities.â€ Some systems are integrated into the mecha and other systems can be switched in and out of hardpoints. Some systems are unique to certain mecha and others can be traded between them on the fly. In addition to systems there are â€˜extra actions', which is a catch-all for minor systems and pilot abilities.
By default, on a pilotâ€™s turn he may use one movement system, one weapons system, and may take one extra action. They may also take any number of free actions. For example: a pilot may choose to move to cover (movement system), then use an optical camo system to establish an ideal pattern for that cover from the perspective of the targets (extra action), then launch an attack (weapons system). That would be the end of a well used turn. It is not necessary to take all of these actions on a turn, however; players are given lassitude so they can make maximum use of their turns where it absolutely counts, not so they can clog up the game with unnecessary actions when nothing is happening.
Use of Extra actions requires an Extra point. Players begin each game with one Extra point and one reserve Extra point. The Extra point recharges every turn an Extra is not used. The Reserve Extra is available at any time and may even be used out of turn, though not in direct response to an enemy action.
Other systems can be said to be passive and respond to enemy action, like defense systems. Their effects will be resolved by the ST where called for. By default, control over passive systems is whether they are off or on.
Systems that mecha can equip or which are integrated into them will be listed on their individual sheets. Systems which all mecha possess are listed in the Common Systems document. While the general rules may give illustrative examples, when it comes to the mechanics of play the system descriptions take precedent.
Health and Armor
Mecha have a single pool of health, representing the citadel. The citadel is the central core of the machine and contains the pilot seat, the Pulse Drive, the CPU, and other subsystems. More heavily armored mecha have greater citadel health pools. Generally a light mecha will have 8 health and a heavy one will have around 12 health. When citadel health is zero, subsystems inside of it become vulnerable. That includes the pilot, so perhaps you should consider advancing in the other direction. After the citadel health reaches zero, critical subsystems will begin to take damage. Though not all damage past 0 is to the cockpit, any damage to the cockpit will result in death.
Mecha also have an armor value which does not vary during play. It will be between 5 and 7. Weapons systems have a number of attack dice associated with them and must throw at least one die that is at least the armor value in order to do damage. For example: a mecha with 5 armor is attacked by a system with 2d8 attack dice. If these dice are rolled and at least one die is 5 or greater, the attack succeeds and the mecha takes all the damage. If neither die is 5 or greater, the attack fails and no damage is taken.
In play a mecha may have an Effective Armor Class (EAC) which is higher (or or rarer cases lower) than their base Armor Class, usually as a result of being behind cover or wielding a particular defensive system. Some enemies and player mecha will have higher EAC versus certain kinds of attacks or in particular situations.
Systems do not have health pools, but exposed systems may be targeted and destroyed in an all-or-nothing attack called a precision shot. Whether a Weapons System is capable of a precision shot would be outlined in its System description. Systems within the citadel or which are otherwise unexposedâ€”for example, a back-mounted system which should not be vulnerable to a frontal attackerâ€”cannot be targeted with precision shot.
Active Defense Systems
Active defense systems, such as small FELs ("S-FEL") and Super Sea Sparrow (â€3Sâ€) missiles, nullify the damage of incoming missiles by nullifying successful attack dice. Small FEL defense systems are not effective against large missiles. 3S missiles are, but typically may only neutralize one per turn.