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Author Topic: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans  (Read 636 times)

bromides

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Mechwarrior, another old as shit game line. Mechwarrior is the Roleplaying aspect to the Battletech game of overburdened mecha combat. There's a long history with the Battletech universe, and the old rules aren't its strong point compared to newer and more drama-focused manga-style mech games. The story in Battletech's universe is why people come back, and Catalyst owns the current license.

They've launched a few boxed sets, including separate boxes for the Succession War and the Clan Invasion, plus some nice plastic miniatures to go with them. They did a good job here with these boxes, and I'm gearing up for some Succession War fun at home (before springing the Clan omnimech cheaters on them).

Catalyst also rebooted the Roleplay side with Mechwarrior Destiny... A newer take on the Mechwarrior franchise.

So, how is it? A relatively slim 240 page book that include only about 25 pages of game rules and 30 pages for character creation.

Is it sufficient? The term "rules light" definitely applies here. The basic idea is a 2d6 plus skill/attribute test. Score equal or higher than a (randomized) target and you succeed. Very clean and simple.

There's a Hero Point meta game currency for the typical extra effects, and the GM gets a pool to screw up the game in reverse.  It's nothing new, but it meets the expectations for modern gaming.

Additionally, there's a way to apply the combat rules to the mecha scale. So, if you don't want to break out the hex maps for a giant conflict, you could run it through the MW Destiny mecha rules instead... Which are the same basic idea as the personal scale rules.

While these mecha rules might not be as fancy as the full scale mecha rules, including mecha scale in MW Destiny is quite clever and inspired, I think.

The book includes MW Destiny stats for most popular mecha... Locust, Stinger, Commando, Shadow Hawk, Rifleman, Archer, Tomahawk, Battlemaster, and more. For the House Steiner fans, however, there is no Atlas. In the Clan section, you get the primary configuration of a number of Omnis. All the main ones are there, like the Timber Wolf (Mad Cat), the Mad Dog (Vulture), and the Kit Fox (Uller). Those pesky Elementals are included as well.

Most of the rest of the book is setting materials (focused on the Succession Wars and the Clan Invasion), character examples, and a few sample scenarios.

So...
Worth it?

It's a good, modern, rules light take on the universe. The 2d6 mechanics aren't difficult, and they echo the dice rolls in Battletech. The addition of mecha scale is perhaps the most interesting thing, and it works. It's not necessarily going to replace a full blown Battletech session, but it can be an option for quick encounters and single combat (dueling). Including Inner Sphere and Clan tech in the same book is also appreciated.

There are also rules for transferring Mechwarrior stats from Destiny to the various incarnations of the Battletech game.

It's just kind of light on anything other than playing Mechwarriors or vehicle Pilots (aerotech fighters, for instance) in the Battletech universe. You can have a game there, but the focus will always be on the giant mecha at the end of the day.

I wouldn't go out of my way to buy into MW Destiny if I didn't have the new Battletech boxes ready to go, but MW Destiny is a very solid addition if you do play Battletech.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2022, 11:22:19 AM by bromides »

HappyDaze

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2022, 10:55:23 PM »
Can't say as I recall the Sharia Hawk mech? Is that from the Jihad era?

bromides

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2022, 11:22:02 AM »
Ha! I was typing that on my phone... time for an edit.

Spinachcat

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2022, 08:18:57 PM »
How does the GM section address adventure creation for the Battletech universe?


bromides

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2022, 09:00:57 PM »
How does the GM section address adventure creation for the Battletech universe?
A good question.

I should step back and introduce something they call the "Cue System". I completely spaced on this because it literally is 3 or 4 pages in total over the entire book, and it's potentially so weird that I mostly ignore it.

MW:Destiny is supposed to allow for more Player-driven narrative via this Cue system where the player has license to basically narrate whatever they want into the universe. For instance, the players have full agency to introduce NPCs, describe them, describe the NPC motivations, describe the NPC actions. (Literally, Natasha Kerensky can drop with the Black Widows on top of the bad guys and stomp on them if your player decides to say that.)

In some ways, the system (as written) uses the GM as a rule arbitrator sometimes moreso than a storyteller. The PLAYERS are expected to provide more narrative than in other games, literally with the power to create whole characters on the fly.

It's something that complicates adventure creation, and you have an expectation that your best laid plans will always be derailed as a "feature" of this system (should you wish to play it this way with the degree of player control over the narrative).

That part is easy to hand-wave out, and to play it as a traditional roleplaying game where Players can't create NPCs out of thin air. -OR- you can limit this Cue System to specific points in your narrative, like specific points in the narrative (between Act 1 and Act 2) or when they reach a specific physical location (like a spaceport).

There's an inherent layer of trust involved in this level of narration.

So, adventure design.

It's a sketch system, really.
It tells you to think about theme, and in a basic way (like, courtly intrigue, big hollywood explosion action movie, etc.)

Then you set the overall Mission Objectives (i.e. what your players are supposed to do to "win").
After writing an intro, you set your own adventure Cues and tags... Tags are like meta tags ("House Liao", "Covert Operation", "Dropship Assault"), which contain the elemental aspects of the scenario you're involved in. So, if House Liao is attacking a planet that your players are defending, then "House Liao" is an obvious tag.

Cues are basic questions and ideas to spur the narrative (should your players get stuck)... like "Why does it seem like ComStar is helping them?" or "Why are their Mechs painted plain white?" or "Keep an eye on the Dropship"... and under the Cue system, both you and the Players can construct answers to these cues/questions (with the Tags in the back of everyone's mind when it comes to sketching out details around these Cues).

Yes, you can create extremely scripted scenarios this way, but the intent seems to be more free-form design.

Now... as for making it make sense within the Battletech universe? You're expected to know this stuff coming in, I guess. So if it breaks with the history of House Davion, then you've broken it and it's your universe now.

zircher

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2022, 11:07:14 PM »
That actually sounds pretty neat, at least for me - since if I played MWD, it would most likely be a solo game about a mercenary company.  I could just focus on the starting lance and build up as needed.
You can find my solo Tarot based rules for Amber on my home page.
http://www.tangent-zero.com

bromides

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Re: Mechwarrior Destiny - rules light, quality game for Battletech fans
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2022, 11:27:33 PM »
Also, to be fair, the game does give you the broad outline of the state of the Battletech universe in the 2 specific eras... 3025 (Third Succession War) and ~3050 (Clan Invasion)... so even for people with zero knowledge of the universe, the MW:D rulebook is pretty self-contained as a roleplaying book. You really don't need the billions of BattleTech supplements to play this game, and all the key battlemechs are included... so even the Technical Readout Manuals are not necessary at all.

Doing it as a solo exercise sounds like it would work. It's not a complex, bloated system (which I feel would bog down a solo experience... as was the case for me with Twilight:2000 4e. I love Free League, but that's not a solo game for me).

MW:D is just very simple and clean in its primary dice roll rules. 2d6+skill/stat is very traditional, and it works.

And, yeah, I think the Cue system would probably even play well for solo. Set up Cues and Meta tags into an Oracle, and then you have a very very functional solo experience.