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Creating “pilots” (i.e., giant robot pilots) is a simple affair. Pilots, as they stand, are defined largely by three different things -- their physique, their piloting skill, and their ability to talk trash on other pilots. Write these three things down on a blank sheet of paper, thus: Physique Piloting Skill Talking Trash Now, next to each of these three things, you’ll need to write a number. What number? Well, that depends on you. You begin with 10 points to distribute amongst these things. The more points that you allocate to a given trait, the better your pilot will be for it. The only restriction on allocating these points at the present time is that each of these three traits must have at least 1 point allocated to them. All of these traits are important, so while you may be tempted to skimp on some of them, my advice is as follows - don’t. Finally, after you have done the above two things, take a few moments to give your pilot a name and define their personality, as well as what country’s team they pilot robots for (robot combat is a bit like the Olympics). Now that you’ve created a pilot, whose role you will assume during actual play, you need to create the robot that they will pilot.
Creating robots is simple. Robots are initially defined by two different qualities - their range of motion and their structural integrity. Write these two things down on your sheet of paper, as shown directly below: Range of Motion Structural Integrity As was the case with your pilot’s traits, you’ll need to allocate some points amongst your robot’s traits, as well. Here, you have 15 points that you may allocate amongst these two things, with more points allocated to a trait indicating more X (X being said trait). Again, the only restriction on allocating these points at the present time is that each of these two traits must have at least 1 point allocated to them. Both of these traits are important, so while you may be tempted to skimp on some of them, my advice is as follows - don’t. Now, after you have allocated points to your robots’ basic traits, as described above, you’ll need to bolt some optional attachments onto its chassis in order to give your pilot a fighting chance in the arena. Here’s how customizing your robot works....
All giant robots in the world of pilots are built in humanoid form. All such units have a head, torso, two arms, and two legs by default. Each of these chassis parts has a number of spaces to accommodate equipment and/or weaponry - heads have 2 spaces, torsos have 4 spaces, arms have 3spaces each, and legs have 2 spaces each. Some players may want to customize the appearance of their robot by doing away with one or more of these body parts. If this is the case, those spaces normally attributed to the chassis parts that the player foregoes are, instead, distributed amongst the remaining chassis parts evenly (or as close to evenly as mathematics allow). By default, every robot in the pilots setting comes front-loaded (i.e., preequipped) with the following equipment, none of which takes up spaces: Cockpit Package: A suite of instruments that includes a pilot’s harness, basic HUD, and basic combat computer. Basic Sensor Array: A suite of simple radar and sensors with an effective range of 15". Past these stock features, you’ll need to choose what other armor, weapons, and tech your robot will be equipped with. What follows is a list of equipment, with specific space requirements noted. Choose equipment until you have filled the spaces available to you. .50 Gatling Gun Spaces Required: 1 (Any) Damage Rating: 2 Effective Range: 2" A large, ten-barreled, liquid cooled, rotating machine gun, the .50 Gatling Gun is largely ineffective against other robots. 60 millimeter Gauss Cannon Spaces Required: 2 (Any) Damage Rating: 4 Effective Range: 6" A large kinetic cannon (pre-loaded with 4 shots) which propels a large, steel shell down an electromagnetically charged barrel. Damage Control Unit Spaces Required: 2 (Torso) This unit is actually a suite of smaller systems that automatically sense and extinguish cockpit fires, seal cockpit breaches, and rout power to auxiliary back-up systems in case of emergency. Mechanically speaking.... Having a DCU installed in your robot adds 1 to its Structural Integrity rating and, if a given piece of equipment is Taken Offline during combat, can re-
route the power from another piece of equipment to bring the damaged equipment back online. Improved Combat Computer Spaces Required: 2 (Torso or Head) This combat computer upgrade allows pilots to aim their ranged weapons with more precision by crunching numbers faster and more accurately than stock computers. Mechanically speaking.... An improved combat computer grants pilots a +2 bonus to their Piloting Skill when making ranged attacks against another robot or other target that registers on their sensors. Improved Sensor Array Spaces Required: 1(Torso or Head) This sensor array upgrade adds both bio (i.e., life) and stealth detection capability to a robot’s basic sensor array, and increases its effective scanning distance to 30" inches. Mechanically speaking... A pilot whose robot is equipped with an improved sensor array suffers no penalty when attempting to fire on soft targets (i.e., targets that don’t register on radar, such as stealth equipped robots or living beings). Improved Servos Spaces Required: 1 per Limb Enhanced servomotors grant a robot a greater Range of Motion in the arena, making them very dangerous opponents. Mechanically speaking.... Improved servomotors add two to a robot’s Range of Motion rating and allow the pilot to make one additional attack every round spent in the arena. In order to benefit from a servomotor upgrade, new servomotors must be placed in all of a robot’s limbs. Jump Jets Spaces Required: 1 per Leg (or 2 torso) A ‘jump jet’ is powerful thruster utilized in pairs (if mounted in a robot’s legs) or as a single unit (if mounted in the back of a robot’s torso), that grants a robot more mobility in the arena. Mechanically speaking... Having jump jets installed in your robot grants pilots a +2 bonus to their Piloting Skill when checking for Initiative on the battlefield during combat. Kinetic Armor Spaces Required: 1 (per Chassis Part) A series of highly absorbent plasticine plates affixed to a robot’s chassis which protect against all forms of kinetic damage (e.g. bullets, robot melee attack, etc). Mechanically speaking.... The pilot of a robot fitted with kinetic armor, subtracts 4 from any kinetic damage dealt to it. Note that, in order for kinetic armor to be effective, the entire
surface of the robot must be protected. Laser Cannon Spaces Required: 1 (Any) Damage Rating: 3 Effective Range: 8" A small energy cannon that fires a very narrow beam of focused light. Laser Gatling Gun Spaces Required: 2 (Any) Damage Rating: 6/volley Effective Range: 8" As above, but may fire a shot from each one of its 3 barrels per round. Unfortunately, it must be allowed to cool for two rounds after each volley fired or it will meltdown, becoming completely useless. Magnetic Grenade Launcher Spaces Required: 2 (Any) Damage Rating: 3/volley Effective Range: 4" A large projectile weapon (pre-loaded with eight shots) that launches volleys of small, magnetic grenades which stick to any metal surface successfully targeted, exploding upon impact with deadly force. Missile Pack Spaces Required: 2 (Any) Damage Rating: 5/missile Effective Range: 12" Four guided missiles mounted in a pod capable of being jettisoned after it has been emptied of it payload. Pilot Ejection Assembly Spaces Required: 1 (Torso or Head) A pressurized pneumatic canister that, when triggered, jettisons the robot’s cockpit door and the pilot. If your robot is KO’d and your opponent is closing in for the kill, ejecting early could save your bacon. Mechanically speaking.... If your robot is perilously close to being destroyed, ejecting will allow you to escape your bot’s fate to fight another day (even if it costs you some fans in the process). Plasma Cannon Spaces Required: 2 (Any) Damage Rating: 4 Effective Range: 10" A large energy cannon that fires a focused stream of plasma energy.
Plasma Gatling Gun Spaces Required: 3 Damage Rating: 8/volley Effective Range: 10" As above, but may fire a shot from each one of its 3 barrels per round. Unfortunately, it must be allowed to cool for two rounds after each volley fired or it will meltdown, becoming completely useless. Reflective Armor Spaces Required: 1 (per Chassis Part) A series of highly reflective metal plates affixed to the exterior of a robot’s chassis which protect against damage from all light-based energy weapons. Mechanically speaking.... The pilot of a robot fitted with reflective armor, subtracts 3 from any lightbased energy damage dealt to it. Note that, in order for reflective armor to be effective, the entire surface of the robot must be protected. Sonic Assault Cannon Spaces Required: 3 (Any) Damage Rating: 8 Effective Range: 5" A large, bulky, experimental weapon that uses an extremely focused, high-frequency sonic pulse to structurally damage solid objects. Also.... A robot that si equipped with a sonic assault cannon must reduce its Range of Motion rating by two, reflecting the unwieldy nature of the weapon, due to its size. Sonic Dampening Spaces Required: 1 (per Chassis Part) An thin coat of experimental plasticine spray applied to a robot, sonic dampening absorbs airborne vibration, reducing damage from all sonic-based weapons. Mechanically speaking.... If your robot has been coated with sonic dampening, subtract 5 from any sonic-based damage dealt to it. Note that, in order for sonic dampening to be effective, the entire surface of the robot must be coated. Stealth Plating Spaces Required: 1 (per Chassis Part) A series of thick, absorbent, plates that are applied to a robot’s chassis, rendering it invisible to radar and forcing a pilot whose robot doesn’t have improved sensors to target it manually. Mechanically speaking.... A pilot whose robot is not equipped with an improved senor array suffers a -3 penalty to their Piloting Skill when attempting to target a robot equipped with stealth plating. Note that a robot’s entire chassis must be covered in stealth plating in order for it to function.
In the Arena
The smell of hydraulic oil, the sounds of clashing metal, the hundreds of screaming fans in the spectator box - the crux of this game is, of course, arena combat. In the far future, robot combat is the most popular form of televised entertainment (and the only job opportunity for former wartime robot pilots). Here’s how arena combat works in pilots....
Before an arena combat ever formally begins, staging takes place. During staging, the support team of each pilot whose bot is involved in a combat moves said bot to a starting position of their choice within the arena - provided that their chosen starting position is agreeable to all other pilots who will be involved in the combat being staged. If any pilot thinks that a starting position gives an opponent an unfair advantage, he may veto the use of said starting position. Pilots have a total of three such veto votes that they may enact per arena combat - after a pilot has invoked all three of their vetoes, they can no longer voice their opposition to bot starting positions during a given combat staging. After all participating bots have been assigned a starting position that is satisfactory to all participating pilots (i.e., after any and all opposition has been voiced and resolved).
The following is a detailed breakdown of an arena combat round between robots. 1. Determine Initiative Pilots determine who can act when. 2. Take Movement Pilots take movement in initiative order. 3. Attack and Defend Pilots attack or defend in initiative order. 4. End of the Round If only one opponent left standing, then combat is over. If multiple opponents remain, a new round begins.
Every pilot involved in an arena combat begins a round by rolling a number of six-sided dice equal to the rating of their Piloting Skill, plus any equipment bonuses (see also Jump Jets). After these dice are rolled, collect all
even results (e.g. 2, 4. 6) and push any odd results (e.g. 1, 3, 5) to the side. pilots take action during a round in descending order of highest number of even results rolled to lowest number of even results rolled. pilots who roll the same number of even results take action simultaneously (i.e., their players act one after another, but the action outcomes are applied simultaneously).
During a round, a robot may move a number of inches on the tabletop up to its Range of Motion rating (e.g. a robot with a ROM rating of 8 may move up to 8 inches on the tabletop per round). All movement must be taken at this time or be forfeited.
Attack and Defend
To attack another robot, a pilot rolls a number of six-sided dice equal to their Piloting Skill, plus any applicable equipment bonuses. After these dice are rolled, all even results are collected and odd results are pushed aside. Now the target gets a chance to defend.
In order to strike an opponent with an attack, they must be within the effective range of the weapon being used to make the attack. In case you’re wondering, the effective range of a robot’s punch or kick is 1".
To defend against an incoming attack (by way of parrying or dodging), a pilot rolls a number of six-sided dice equal to their Piloting Skill, plus any applicable equipment bonuses. After these dice are rolled, even results are collected, and odd results discarded. Whichever pilot rolled more even results gains the upper hand in the conflict (i.e., their action succeeds, and their opponent’s action fails). If a defensive maneuver succeeds, then no damage is dealt to the targeted robot - if an attack succeeds, however.... Damage equal to the Damage Rating of a weapon, plus the difference between the number of even results produced by the pilot who initiated an attack and the pilot who tried to defend against it, is subtracted from the Structural Integrity of the robot that the attack in question successfully hit. The good news is that, if a robot has any armor equipped, it may protect them a bit from damage, allowing the bot to ignore a given number of damage points. Such ignored damage is subtracted from the total amount of damage dealt, reducing it.
For the record, a robot’s punches and kicks have no Damage Rating.
Systems Damage Any time that a robot sustains damage as the result of a successful attack, the pilot who is piloting the damaged robot needs to roll one six-sided die - if the result of this die roll is an odd number, then one of their robot’s optional systems has been Taken Offline. When a system is taken offline, it fails to function and, if it grants any
bonuses to the pilot, they lose those bonuses. The good news is that, when it is determined a system goes offline, the pilot who is piloting the damaged robot gets to decide just what system it is that gets shut down. Bot Knock Outs If a bot’s Structural Integrity rating is ever reduced to zero (or less), that robot is out of commission - it (and its pilot) are out of the match. That said, the robot isn’t destroyed just yet - this requires that an opponent take one final, cruel, action. Where robots that have merely been knocked out can be repaired for future arena combats, destroyed bots cannot be salvaged. Destroyed bots are utterly demolished, hulks of rusted metal and burned slag.
End of the Round
After all pilots and robots have taken movement and made an attack (or attacks, if their equipment permits them) during a round, a round comes to an end. What that means depends on two things, as follow. If only one robot is left standing at the end of a given round, the combat is over and that robot (as well as their pilot) is deemed the victor, winning a few more fans and some much needed prestige. If more than one robot is left standing at the end of a round, then a new round begins and combat continues until a clear victor can be cited by the panel of judges.
On the Street
Professional robot pilots have no real personal life outside of the arena, but they do manage to fraternize with other pilots in local bars. That said, such fraternization often leads to trash talking and fist fights, pilots being the egotistical blowhards that they are....
The following is a detailed breakdown of a barroom brawl between pilots. 1. Picking a Fight A pilot initiates verbal parley. 2. Talk Trash Pilots spew some insults at one another. 3. Attack and Defend Pilots attack or defend in the established acting order. 4. End of the Brawl If one pilot has issued a challenge and another accepted it, then the brawl is over. If no challenges have been made, or if a challenge has been made,
but not answered, the brawl continues.
Picking a Fight
Less complex than initiating combat in the arena, initiating a barroom brawl is as easy as tapping a fellow pilot on the shoulder and saying “You, know Vladimir - you really suck!” or some other such offensive remark. This pilot, obviously, acts first in the brawl and the object of his ire acts second. In order to determine when other pilots act during the brawl, their players need to roll a number of six-sided dice equal to their Talking Trash rating, collect the even results, and push the odd results to the side (much as they did when determining initiative in the arena). These bystanders take action during a brawl in descending order of highest number of even results rolled to lowest number of even results rolled. Pilots who roll the same number of even results take action simultaneously (i.e., their players act one after another, but action outcomes are applied simultaneously). If you like, you may want to think of picking a fight as being the social equivalent of combat staging.
Verbal sparring is part and parcel of the pilot lifestyle - those pilots who can talk trash pull in the biggest crowds. As wrestling fans of our own time have discovered, a good off-screen enmity adds a lot to an on-screen brawl. The same holds true in this game's default setting. When talking trash, pilots issue a scathing verbal attack aimed at a given opponent, and then, to determine its impact on the intended target, roll a number of six-sided dice equal to their Talking Trash rating, collect the even results and discard the odd results. The target of such an attack is granted the opportunity to deflect it with a witty remark of their own, also by rolling a number of six-sided dice equal to their Talking Trash rating, collecting the even results, and ignoring the odd results (as per normal). Whichever pilot rolled more even results gains the upper hand, knocking their opponent down a notch, and reducing their cool.... Losing Your Cool Points equal to the difference between the number of even results produced by the pilot who initiated a volley of insults and the pilot who tried to deflect them, are subtracted from the Talking Trash rating of the pilot who got knocked down a peg. Should a pilot's Talking Trash rating be reduced to zero or less in this manner, they go off the deep end, exploding in a violent rage and attacking their antagonist with their fists. Which brings us to....
Attack and Defend
To attack an opponent, a pilot rolls a number of six-sided dice equal to their Physique rating. After these dice are rolled, all even results are collected and odd results are pushed aside. Now the target gets a chance to defend against this attack. To defend against an incoming attack, a pilot rolls a number of six-sided dice equal to their Physique rating. After these dice are rolled, even results are collected, and odd results discarded. Whichever pilot rolled more even results gains the upper hand in the conflict (i.e., their action succeeds, and their opponent’s action fails). If a defensive maneuver succeeds, then no damage is dealt to the pilot - if an attack succeeds, however.... Damage equal to the Damage Rating of a hand weapon (if any), plus the difference between the number of even results produced by the pilot who initiated an attack and the pilot who tried to defend against it, is subtracted from the Physique rating of the pilot that the attack in question successfully hit. The good news is that, if a pilot has any armor equipped, it may protect them a bit from damage, allowing them to ignore a given number of damage points. Such ignored damage is subtracted from the total amount of damage dealt, reducing it.
Common hand weapons in the default setting of this game include knives (DR: 1), laser pistols (DR: 4), and slug guns (DR: 3). The fists and feet of pilots lack a Damage Rating.
Pilot Knock Outs If a pilot’s Physique rating is ever reduced to zero (or less), that pilot is laid out on the floor of the bar. Delivering such a public beating is considered tantamount to issuing an arena challenge, and receiving such a public beating is considered tantamount to accepting said challenge (See Below). Note that a pilot who has been laid out isn’t actually dead just yet - this requires that an opponent take one final (and illegal) action. Although it may be barbaric, the default setting of this game still has no place for cold-blooded murder - there’s no honor in killing a defenseless man. If one pilot should ever murder another outside of the arena, they’ll only be piloting a robot one more time - in a match versus Mary Sue; a colossal bot equipped with numerous secret weapons specifically designed to mete out punishment upon criminals.
End of the Brawl
After each pilot involved with the brawl has talked some trash and at least one of them has lost their cool and taken a swing at their foe, then the brawl may be over, provided that one of the parties issued a challenge during the action (i.e., dared their opponent to step into the arena). If a challenge has been both issued and accepted, then the brawl is over the pilots involved rush off to the arena. If a challenge has been issued, but not accepted, then the brawl continues, possibly sucking in a number of bystanders (if they haven’t been involved by this point in time already).
Finally, if no challenge has been issued or answered, the brawl continues until these conditions are met - in this game's default setting, honor can only be redeemed in the arena!
When two opponents have the same number of even die roll results generated on their behalf, a stalemate occurs (i.e., for the time being, neither side of the conflict being resolved gains the upper hand).
After a brawl or an arena combat has been resolved, all reduced traits (e.g., Trash Talking, Physique, Structural Integrity, etc) are fully replenished (provided that a given pilot or robot hasn’t been killed or destroyed). Additionally, the victor of a given arena battle (i.e., the pilot whose bot is left standing when the dust clears) is awarded a point of Prestige. These points may later be “cashed in” by a player in order to boost the traits of their pilot or their robot, with an increase of one point in either costing an amount of Prestige equal to the trait’s current rating.
This game was originally designed in just a little under five hours to provide some entertainment following the cancellation of a regularly scheduled game session. Since that time, this game has undergone several revisions, including the one that you are currently reading. Here, this game has been further expanded and released, in part, under the Open Game License (Version 1.0a) to promote said license as being viable for games not based upon rolling a single d20 and as being the only explicitly defined open license in circulation. As a license, the OGL does not restrict or inhibit the circulation of games if they fail to implement a d20-based mechanic, nor does it demand that games released under it make use of such a mechanic (of course, if you’re looking to maximize your profit margins, doing so is a good idea). Further, the OGL very specifically spells out the terms of its use, rather than defaulting to extremely vague legalize or the deliberate non-definition of terms such as “according to terms to be determined by the licensor”. Once content is released under the OGL, it stays open - period. This isn’t the case with many other popular “open” licenses. When you buy or download a product released under the OGL, you can rest easy knowing that the open content therein won’t (and can’t) be yanked from the market in the future. Additionally, the terms under which you can use such content are very specific - which protects you from frivolous lawsuits.
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