Mechwarrior 2

Mechwarrior 2 strikes me as a relatively good roleplaying system, and I am a massive fan of the setting. Naturally, there are things I would tinker with.

When using Mechwarrior 4 I found that skill-creep was far too fast, a small expenditure of EXP after character-generation would drop the target number rapidly and make characters super-powered at key skills, and no plausibly designed NPC could match them. This would need to be avoided with Mechwarrior 2 and 4.

The Natural Aptitude advantage should be scrapped entirely, it is far too powerful.

Battle Armor is interesting, and a part of the setting, but should not be allowed to PCs when using Mechwarrior 2 (and maybe Mechwarrior 4 also) because it actually adds to the lethality of the setting for player characters and the rules are always cumbersome. There is a foundational divide between “tactical warfare” (battlemechs and so on) and the infantry scale warfare. Tactical warfare being very dangerous and unforgiving to infantry, the foundational approach is “infantry should not involve themselves in tactical warfare”,or if they do it should be in narrative not mechanical ways, for example the PCs might fire a mortar to distract oncoming battlemechs (to delay them) with no intention of offering themselves as targets to the battlemech’s weapons.

Adding to that, the weaponry and gear available to players should (I think) be limited in such a way that the character holds the power (and coolness) as opposed to the gear. For instance a character jumping from cover and opening fire with a pump action shotgun is much cooler than a player just firing off a devastating Zeus Rifle. Similarly a character strong enough to wield a semi-portable machine gun is cool…because they can carry a small machine gun not because of the damage and range of a small machine gun.

Additionally, a “grab and go” attitude to gear would be preferable, and best fostered. A character only willing to enter the fray in full ballistic plate combat armor or in powered battle armor for instance would be hard to cater for in many situation. There would be a time and place in a campaign to gear up and go-in armed for bear…not to mention that battlemechs themselves fit this category. The example of this I would give is the Star Wars movies, where the heroes did not run for the Storm Trooper Armor every time a blaster went off, or in many cases even heavier weapons (such as Blaster Rifles) and made-do with what they had at hand.

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Mechwarrior 2 Character Generation Modifications

As learned with Mechwarrior 4, there are benefits to providing the players with campaign-background items free rather than making them buy them at character generation. For instance if the players are to have military rank and an assigned ’mech, why not provide them in addition to normal character generation? This gives the player added flexibility, as opposed to restricting it with mandatory purchases.

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Mechwarrior 2 Campaign Tone

I would want the feel of a Mechwarrior 2 game to be mainly loose and narrative. Used correctly, I believe the system caters for this.

Building upon the general “mercenaries” expectation of the setting and system, I would want to emphasize the specialness of the characters as heroic individuals rather than have their equipment being remarkable.

Based upon my experience with the Hellstrom’s Hellions game, having the PCs in a military organization was a problem because they were free to keep all war salvage they acquired. Ideally they would be faced with (playfully) painful choices, do they keep or sell or trade their loot? Knowing they need to pay their repair bills, how will this alter their plans?

A further consideration is that the PCs being in a military organization meant they had personnel to call upon. Ideally the PCs should feel like they (and their ‘mech) are contracted to their mercenary unit and if they want a problem solved it’s up to them to solve it. For instance if they think that the person hiring them isn’t to be trusted…it’s up to them to investigate or find proof, or up to them to take precautions and make contingency plans.

As the campaign progresses, small hints and clues would build up and the PCs would have a pivotal role in a much larger event. For instance perhaps their mercenary company is being sought out by two main warring parties who are both sabre-rattling about the same contested area. The PCs would be free to pick sides initially and then find out that both sides are seeking the same legendary prize (such as, say, a lost Star League warship) and the reason both sides were looking into mercenaries was to try to keep their investigation low-key and off the radar.

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Mechwarrior 2 House Rules

  • No Natural Aptitude talent to PCs or NPCs
  • No Battle Armor to PCs, and only limited contact between PCs and NPCs in Battle Armor.
  • Armor and Damage… The rules could do with some clarification and/or modification although the core is solid. (WIP)
  • Armor no longer decreases movement, because that’s stupid.

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Mechwarrior 2 House Rules for armor and damage

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Mechwarrior 2 Lists

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