I’m very proud to announce the first public test release of LANCER, a Mech combat RPG.
Play as an upcoming mech pilot in the tumultuous year of 5014. Fight extra-galactic threats. Fire up your tachyon lances, and prime your kinetic hammers.
You can pick up and download the test copy here totally for free. A full release, with a GM section for stories, characters, and NPCs, as well as a fully playable starting module is planned for the future, but we need your help and valuable feedback to make that possible.
Thanks for playing. And good luck out there, pilot.
I am currently working on the character creation rules. For games where not every character is human and races have clear distinctions, the Races & Traits chapter will have a list of prepackaged traits and talents that represent races common in fantasy and science fiction games. Traits help define outstanding qualities your character possess. These traits augment a character’s combat, exploration, and social dispositions by either enhancing the use of a skill, adding a talent or giving special qualities such as the ability to fly, see in the dark, breathe underwater, and so on.
Plot Twist, because I’m an asshole: the massive treasure chest at the end of a murderously difficult and expansive dungeon is entirely empty. Inside the box there is some flowery prose that hints at friendship or something being the “true treasure.”
Subsequent Plot Twist, because I’m an even bigger asshole: the chest itself is actually a long-lost non-magical artifact with massive historic value, and there are plenty of museums, nobles, historical societies, etc. that would pay an insane amount of money for it.
For Chimera, i wanted to implement something like alignments but that it was actually useful when developing characters and also during play. This is what i came up with:
Choose Your Principles
Principles represent your character’s inherent beliefs, morals, and individual attitudes towards particular situations. Principles are not meant to be a straining jacket for your character, they are there to help you guide your character’s actions and define what is important to them and what isn’t, however, principles are also there to be challenged. In play, you get regarded if you stick to your core principle and get Action Points to help you achieve whatever task you undertake that involves one of your principles.
Principles make a statement about what your character believes, wishes to believe, or aspires to be (whether your character admits it or not, or is aware of). They are a tool for you to consult when you don’t know how your character should act. A principle cannot contradict another principle, it cannot be too vague, it must be challengeable, and it must lead to action or refrain you from acting under certain circumstances. For example, on a fantasy setting you might choose to play a knight that is honorable to its core. You choose to write “I am always honorable” as a principle for your character but it is not a good one because it is too vague. Instead, let’s distill what it means to be honorable. An honorable person is honest, just, and worthy of respect, so let’s use these aspects to write down at least three principles for an honorable character: “I tell the truth, even if it puts me in danger”, “I am fair, even to my enemies”, and “I always keep my word”. These statements have all the requirements to be good principles; they can be challenged during play, they are not too vague as to encompass too many aspects, and they spring the character into action, even when it is not advantageous to do so.
You start the game with up to 3 principles which you can write on your own or choose from the list below. If you write more than one principle (maximum 3), choose one of them as your core principle (see using principles). Always consult with your GM before choosing or making an instinct.
I always keep my word.
I always turn tail when things go south.
I enact revenge on those who do me wrong.
I defend those weaker than me.
I don’t steal from others.
I help others less fortunate.
I am loyal to my friends.
I am fair, even to my enemies.
I tell the truth, even if it puts me in danger.
I put reason over emotions, even if it puts others in danger.
I never allow others to take the blame for things i’ve done.
Besides serving as a guide for the actions of your character, you also get rewarded when you stick to your principles. You start the game with 3 Action Points which you can use to lower the number needed to land a success on a by 1, this means that if you need a 4 or a higher to get a success, you only need a 3. You can only use Action Points on an action that helps you stick to one of your principles. If you have “I defend those weaker than me.” as a principle and an enemy is about to hurt an innocent bystander, you can spend 1 Action Point to lower the success rate on a Defend roll to shield the bystander or maybe on a Melee roll in the hopes of striking down the attacker before it harms the innocent bystander. The GM has the final say on whether an Action Point can be spent on a certain roll or not.
At the start of a new session, you reset your Action Points to 3 regardless if you had any previous unspent Action Points from the last session. In addition, if at the end of the session you stuck to you core principle, you get to mark 1 additional Milestone.
I remember when I was in Middle School and were learning about The Cold War, my teacher had a picture of The Vault Boy on the slide notes. Y’know, this dude:
Well, me being the nerd I was, I was pretty shocked to see it on the notes, given that I didn’t think that my teacher was a gamer. Turns out, he’s not, he had no idea about what the Fallout franchise was or anything of the sort. Now I don’t know how a teacher educated in social studies and history managed to fuck up this bad, but he went on to discuss and explain that it was an American symbol during The Cold War, and that the reason that Vault Boy had his thumb out was to gauge the size and distance from a nuclear explosion, and asses the danger as such.
Now while I’ve heard the “thumb” thing a bit more commonly, I had never seen Vault Boy being related to it before or since, outside of the world of Fallout. BUT, this dude, who actually lived through The Cold War, insisted that this was a symbol that was used during that time, and that its usage in Fallout (of which I informed him of after class) was an example of media referencing this, and taking the concept and running with it. Blew my mind, and I thought it was super neat.
And for years, I believed that. Until I decided to take a look into it, and found…that that is completely false, and not even remotely the case. Vault Boy has, was, and always will be, an original creation from Fallout, and was never used outside of it in the real Cold War. YET! This dude was teaching us that it was indeed fully real and true, and believed it himself.
He always said he got into teaching for the fun of it, as he had previously owned a successful restaurant, and wanted to teach because he enjoyed it, and liked working with kids. And indeed, he was a great guy (sadly passed away a few years ago, he was young!), made it a point to introduce himself to me and get to know me when I transferred to that school mid-year…so it makes me wonder…was he secretly a hardcore shitposter, so undercover that he was doing this shit with the most utmost stealth to just fuck with us? Fallout 3 had only come out a few years prior, like, about a year and a half, and it put the franchise back on the maps for a lot of people, so who knows?
Either way…now there’s gonna end up being countless kiddos out there who think Vault Boy was a real symbol of American History because of this dude.