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Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-17 12:51 PM
Wonderful! Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-17 04:19 PM
One of the levels of gameplay in the setting is mecha level combat. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-20 07:36 AM
If there is going to be an intervention, it should probably be based on the amount of booze I consume through the midnight to 3AM writing jags that create these submissions. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-21 07:20 AM
I am pleased with it, I am generally pleased with the Cosmic Era setting, I do however have a semi-serious concern about how much I am drinking in the process of creating it. At times I am a machine that turns madness (insanity, not anger) and bourbon into 4000+ word submissions on mecha. I enjoyed writing this sub, and there are several others in work that I have done the same on. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-21 04:48 PM
Axle makes very good points on both sides and I am going to take his comments info full consideration and do an edit and second draft of this submission. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Cheka Man's comment on 2014-02-17 12:45 AM
Thank you for writing this, a delight to mech gamers everywhere. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Dozus's comment on 2014-02-20 09:18 AM
Great details on this one. I like that it's not just mechanical or combat situations but some sociopolitical too. Fits well into your setting, but could be easily modified for others. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 06:16 AM
I am a mech gamer. That line is usually uttered before I speak at my support group meetings. And after reading this ~4,000 word write up I was unsure what to say, but perhaps we need an intervention.

Oh and I am delighted? Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 10:07 AM

Five reasons why we need mecha design flaw list.

1) Is it fun?
It is fun to disrespect authority and the mecha has carried lot of authority and momentum in the popular sci-fi of the last 40 years. By taking some air out the mech in your game you can appear thoughtful because you are not kowtowing to the conventions of mech supremacy. Also if you are getting tired of fiction and/or games that try to refresh themselves and keep their fans interested by tossing out more powerful or rule bending mechs a list of rules that undercut this by adding problems to mechs may look like your definition of fun.

2) Is it another stick (the opposite of fun)?
Can a gamemaster have enough ways to hamstring their players? Of course not? Well there is nothing that tangles up your players more than stopping their actions at the gate with hyperdrive misfires, counter spells or weapon jamming (#1 on this list). This will teach your gamers to read their handouts and could stop them from winning a battle they were supposed to loose.

3) It is kind of like solving a puzzle?
In the 1980s, when the cosmic era was born, there was a video game called Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. In MTPO you played a skinny white kid who trained under the statue of liberty and you systemically beat up a chorus line of ethnically varied boxers that were five times your size. The key to beating these guys was not learning the controls or even really reaction time. Each boxer had a tell (the jewel in their turban would sparkel, they would wink at you or something). When you saw the tell you knew to throw a punch or go on the defensive. Mike Tyson’s punchout was about learning the ‘flaws’ in the opponent’s technique. I suppose you could use this list like this, and every time your players come up against a mech they could check their hand outs and decide how to min-max their tactics.

4) Conceptual Possession or Verisimilitude?
Battlemechs are fictional technology (as of this writing) and in that way nobody really knows anything about them cause there is nothing to know. Except what the author of the game or our arrogant fanboy intuition about physics and technology tells us. Thus by learning the esoteric points of mech design we may find a deeper intellectual possession of the fiction and our roll in it.

5) It doesn’t need a specific game reason, a well written, creative and amusing post is worthy in its own right?

Am I missing anything?
Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 10:09 AM
That retort reads like you are uncutting your submission or making an excuse. Are you not pleased with this submission? Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 09:03 PM

1) Shadow Sigil of Insanity:

You may call it a flaw or unfortunate coincidence, others may call it a brilliant statement on the fruitlessness of war, but the designer thought it evidence of his own cleverness. And clever he was until in his hubris and pride he looked at his own piece of walking shadow art.

When light hits this mech at just the right angle and the mech is standing in the correct position the shadow cast is the sigil of the being known as Penemue. Penemue is described by those familiar with him as a fallen angel and is known as the scribe of the damned. Gazing upon this sigil instills in mortal man knowledge of life’s own futility and his own mental and physical weakness. Those who have seen it grow depressed, despondent and lethargic.

“Hey Covergirl check out this sunset its…woah. You know what? I am pushing 40 and I am still playing with these f**king mechs. What is the point? I’m going to get a calzone or ten.”

2) Small pointy feet:

The feet of this mech do not distribute the machines weight well and instead of distributing weight over the entire foot, weight is forced into three tiny prongs on each leg. This means that road ways and surfaces that would normally tolerate the number newtons per square centimeter produced by a mech of this weight walking or running along it will become broken or damaged. There are other problems as well.

“Staff Sarg-ant! How many times have I told yee to wheel dose mechs out of my hanger? Them feets on da metal floor panels…worse than biting into tin foil.”

3) It looks kind of like giant bird

The birds think so too. Specifically, Megateron Dalvus, this awakened terrestrial bird weighs in at between 20 and 30 tons and is descended from the African green pigeon. The mech design in question resembles, strongly, the female of the species. If you happen to be marching this mech through the Serengeti during mating season you will be set upon by male Megaterons and subjected to their courtship dances.

“You know when said quickly over the comms, Megatron and Megateron sound a lot the same. My bad. Can you scrub the missiles?”

4) Chiral steering

The designer of this mech’s guidance system had a little known and rarely diagnosed mental abnormality. When a normal human brain signals to move the left side of the body, it fires a set of neurons on the right side of the brain and vice versa. This designer fires the left side of his brain for the left side of his body and the right for the right. Normally people with this condition are undistinguishable from people with typical brain geography and the differences are only detected in the case of stroke or brain injury. Unfortunately the mech designer used his brain as a template for the neuro-interface. Thus, when you get into this mech for the first time, you must make every action backwards. A mech operator can learn this skill no problem, but it can really throw a pilot that wasn’t expecting it. There are can also be other side effects”

“Sweetheart, you are sleep walking backwards again.”

5) Bouncy walk

The artificial muscles fibers in this mech’s calves and feet are a little tight. The pilot will not notice any physical jostling because of the excellent gyros and the smooth neural interface of this model. But anyone watching this mech walk through a treeline will notice the profile rise and fall two meters with each step. This will also make precision foot and ankle movement with this mech difficult.

“If they told us the moon had only 0.1 Gs, we may have sent a different compliment of mechs.”

Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-21 01:09 PM
Disclaimer: Before reading this know that this is not an attack on Scras. Scras, like all of us, should be able to post these self-indulgent lists and rants on this website. Yet this list has been exalted, via the votes, as a near perfect submission. If we want to reward and praise Scras for his writing and creativity he has been kind enough to give us numerous opportunities to do so on this website. This is list is a not a genuine opportunity for such praise and indeed praising this list calls into question the other high scores and positive remarks that Scras has received from the current panel on his other posts. Hell. Even part way through the author admits to giving up.

Why this list missed the mark.

1) It fails to illuminate the subject matter (mechs and the cosmic era). We all understand that there is nothing new under the sun and "great writers steal". But the above post is a not creation but a catalog of other items. Not all posts need have to a magnus opus quality to them or even need have a lot information in them. Yet this one has ton of information and why? That information has not be fused to the concept of the mech in an enriching manner. Instead we get a laundry list of things that you may apply to cosmic era mechs.

Example: The M-16 could jam mech guns could jam,

Example: There was an aircraft with a bad ejection seat a mech could have a bad ejection seat,

Example: In Battletech the scorpion fluff describes a rough combat-well it could true for the cosmic era quad mech as well.

Thus this list could just be a list of vehicle problems. Dozus says this expands the usefulness of the list. He is right. But this post is not more than a list of vehicle problems.

It would be a greater creative exercise to take the above list and then reshape into a mech specific list. Also, by failing to bridge the gap between the real world and the imagined world it also does not deserve to be a cosmic era post. Never do we get pulled into the cosmic era with this post, and we cosmic era 'facts' are mentioned they are jarring. You could take the word mecha out of this post and replace it with vehicle and not lose a thing. Also, only when discussing the LAI do we get any real science fiction. If my imaginary mech and my real life car are having the same problem where has your game taken me? The list brought the mechs down to the level of cars, which is fine if it then raise the mechs or the world back up.

2) The original content lacks any human element. The short blurb about the M16 could be used to extrapolate a lot about the nature of the war in Vietnam and has human elements as well. We have a list 30 items that purports to be about mech design flaws but I don't think there was one mention of mech designers. What the designers intent was and what the reality turned out to be would have given each point a small narrative. With the life and death drama of mech combat, could not each these flaws included a vignette on how those flaws played out on the field? You could mix and match these as well.

But it doesn't have to be an in-game human approach. One could discuss these flaws as they relate to the players and the role-playing experience. The closest we get to this is some discussion of what the modifiers should be and how they should be applied.

3) It does not have a consistent voice and tone.
I get that these are the ramblings of drunk amateur military historian. In fact I would prefer a post with that title to this one, hell just drop the mech aspect and write a post called 'Broke Guns: the ramblings of drunk amateur military historian (episode 1)'. Scars even admits that around number 21 he was just running rough shod over his content. In that last group he discusses a bunch of in game modifiers and how these things should be applied to the game. At times even in earlier points he discusses how Logistics cost are 10% more or parts cost 10% more. I assume he is talking about the cosmic era but he talking about on meta-level. Because unless there is one universal mech supply company in the cosmic era than realism demands a little uncertainty in that department. The list lacks a voice.

This is a sad point cause the post starts out kind of amusing and flippant, but it doesn't keep that up. If this had been 30 mechanical problems and the whole write up had been intended to just be an amusing than we would have something awesome. But instead we get a scatter shot of tones and a poorly defined voice. Is this a technical gaming document or piece of literature? Are we supposed to read this in order to learn how to play a game or are supposed to read in order to be entertained and inspired?

4) Numbers 8,9, 10 and 28 are pretty much the same thing.

5) It does not have the slipstream, genre bending or fantastical elements of the cosmic era. As a subtler point it does not the touch on any of the modern fantasy elements of the cosmic era.
Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
valadaar's comment on 2014-02-17 01:33 PM
This listing made me want to see what a homebrew battletech game with all of these modifiers available. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Gossamer's comment on 2014-02-21 07:52 AM
Very nice, got me in the mood of a mecha pbp. Go to Comment
Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-12 08:42 AM
Rehabbing: A mixture of chemical and conditioning therapy, a deviant clone is brought back into operational status. This technology was pioneered on criminals, and military clones have predisposition to accept this form of therapy.

Decommissioning: also known as deactivation, or liquidation. The clone is humanely terminated and sent back to a clone creche facility for a post mortem examination of the cortex to determine what changes are needed.

Operational Decommissioning: military euphemism for suicide mission. If several clones are in questionable condition, it can often be cheaper and more expedient to use a group of such clones on a throw away mission and order replacements. Also used when there is a clone surplus and there is a Reduction in Forces order. Go to Comment
Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
Dozus's comment on 2014-02-16 06:06 PM
Only voted Go to Comment
Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-21 01:12 PM
This is a fun list. Go to Comment
Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
valadaar's comment on 2014-02-19 10:46 AM
A great assortment of clones, and I like the use of euphemisms. Go to Comment
Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
Kassy's comment on 2014-05-06 10:49 AM
Pretty sweet list.

Some interesting reading, if you haven't came across it already is Stephen L Kent's The Clone Rebellion.

Well worth the read. Go to Comment
30 Cosmic Era PC Occupations
NPCs  (Scenario Based)   (Technical)
Scrasamax's comment on 2014-02-19 08:17 AM
Started putting this together with an eye towards PC concepts, ala the sample characters that are included in the game core books, since that is where I am heading with the Cosmic Era. I was thinking that I might should address the Race option, since there are humans, modded humans, clones, droids, etc. Go to Comment
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