Fate Core Mech(Warrior) Hack

The title says “Mech(Warrior)” because this could be any general mech hack where you get into huge robots and stomp around (although it borrows liberally from +Rob Wieland‘s CAMELOT Trigger!). This idea was inspired by +Addramyr Palinor, who mentioned the idea of a Mechwarrior hack for Fate Core. Now, I played plenty of Mechwarrior video games in the past, but I know very little about the fiction. So this is just a generic method of making mechs work, since that’s what I do know, that you can plug into your setting and play with.

Chassis
Every chassis is allowed a single aspect and a stunt. The aspect should say something about the chassis (size, emphasis in combat, etc.). Something like B2 Scout Series Chassis or MechCorps Series 2 Juggernaut Chassis. You can invoke your chassis aspect whenever its size, function, etc. would be helpful; compel the aspect when you’re out of your element (like a colossal mech on a scouting mission) or the mech is otherwise a hazard for you.

The chassis stunt should be a mechanical representation of something implied by your chassis aspect (like scouts having increased speed or combat mechs having increased armor or the like).

Modules
The chassis aspect grants justification for the basic abilities of a mech (immunity to small arms fire, walker-type movement, etc.) but it doesn’t grant mech-level weaponry (but it can make normal attacks against non-mech targets with Fighting or Shooting) or special defenses against anti-vehicular or mech-level threats (although in some settings the mechs are so large that even standard anti-vehicular weapons are not powerful enough to affect them). For that, they need special equipment.

Modules are mission-specific mounts that attach to the chassis. They come in two types: modifications to the chassis and those that tax the capacitor. Every mech has 4 module slots. (A possible rules exception stunt for a character is to retrofit their chassis to accompany another slot.)

Chassis modifications are stunts that represent internal systems that enhance the mechs normal modes of operation. Such as improvements to the mech’s sensors and communications, armor, capacitor heat sinks, motor-servos that affect movement, etc.

Example Chassis Modifications
Advanced HUD. Gain a +2 to Notice rolls made to track or identify targets.
Heat Sink. Gain a +2 bonus to overcome rolls to remove Overheated-type aspects.
Structural Reinforcement. Gain Armor 2 vs. physical attacks.

Capacitor-linked modules are stunts representing mounts on the mech that tax the capacitor for energy beyond the normal demands of operation. Such as mech-level weaponry, deflector shields, flight or jumping boosters and the like. Continual use of such systems can cause the capacitor to become overheated. Because of the danger to internal systems (including the pilot) from heat build-up, safety protocols activate when the capacitor’s heat reaches a certain level, shutting down system access to the capacitor. Because of this limitation, capacitor-linked stunts are built with 3-shifts of effect, replace one skill with another at a +1 bonus or allow a rules exception without cost where it would normally merit one.

Whenever you score a success (or perform a rules exception) with a capacitor-linked module, you gain an Overheated-type of aspect. Redundant energy reserves will kick in to allow the mech to continue sub-standard operation (normal modes of movement and chassis modifications), but you can’t access any of your capacitor-linked modules until you remove the Overheated-type aspect. If you succeed with style while using a capacitor-linked module, you can immediately spend a boost to prevent heat build-up, thus avoiding the placement of the Overheated-type aspect.

Example Capacitor-Linked Modules
Blaster Cannons. Gain Weapon 3 on Shooting attacks.
Deflector Shields. Gain a +3 bonus to Athletics rolls to defend vs. Shooting attacks.
Jump Jets. Move to any zone as part of free movement, ignoring scene aspects that would normally hinder you.

Damaging Mechs
When a mech takes a hit, the player has to make a choice: take the hit himself (dealt to his mental stress or consequences), allow the mech to absorb the damage or spread the damage between the two. When the mech absorbs damage, it represents a module being destroyed or out of ammo and the player chooses to shut that module down (losing access as though it were overheated). The player can use their own stress or regular consequences to lessen the damage to the mech (or absorb it all themselves). Which modules take the hit depends on the damage dealt:

  • Mech absorbs 2 stress: Defender chooses a module to shut down.
  • Mech absorbs 4 stress: Attacker chooses a module to shut down.
  • Mech absorbs 6 stress: Defender and attacker each chooses a module to shut down.
Repairing Mechs
Once you return to base (or otherwise gain access to a mech repair facility), you can repair damaged modules by making a Mechanics (Crafts) roll with a difficulty equal to the number of modules that have been shut down +1. If you fail the roll, you leave the repair facility with one module still damaged (or removed) as repairs were still underway or replacement parts or ammo couldn’t be found in time for the next mission. If you tie, you leave the facility with an Unreliable aspect on one of your modules.
Character Consequences and Mechs
If you take a consequence that relates to your mech’s chassis being damaged (and thus in need of your character, or an ally, to repair it) you can use Mechanics (Crafts) to make the recovery check.

4 Replies to “Fate Core Mech(Warrior) Hack”

  1. Does “Blaster Cannons. Gain Weapon 3 on Shooting attacks” mean you add 3-shift to a successful attack? Or add 3 to the initial Weapons roll?

      1. Also, can the mech be effectively “taken out”? for example, when all modules are down…

        or only the pilot can be taken out? as in Fate Core rules

  2. Sorry, I replied but it didn’t post.

    The base ruling is that you take out the pilot, as in Camelot Trigger, but I would make it relevant to the action. If you want a scene where the character can still act, but can’t use anything in the mech, then when the character is taken out in mech form, he can no longer affect anything on the mech “scale” during that scene.

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