If wishes were ‘Mechs…

I have been running Catalyst’s ‘A Time of War’ for a few months now. As the 4th Edition of the Mechwarrior RPG, I find the book to be absolutely packed with information, clearly written, and easily integrated into Battletech. This post is not a review of the system, however. It is instead, more of a wish list for what sort of things I would like to see appear to expand the line in the future.

 

Life Paths:

Now that I am comfortable with character creation and have a better sense of character strengths and weaknesses fresh from generation, I will probably shift away from the life paths toward the purely point-based option for most things, except clearly defined occupations. That said, I would find a small folio or chapter of another sourcebook with standard life paths for each of the major timelines representing the same core backgrounds as are presented in AToW very useful. Mostly for reasons of nostalgia, I set my campaign in the 3025-3039 Era. It has not caused problems per se to not be running the game in the assumed present of the game line, but it has slowed things down or caused small points of confusion for the younger or newer players – particularly in character generation.

To be fair, examples of these life paths are already starting to appear in new releases, but I think it would be beneficial to have them compiled all in one easy to find place – following the design philosophy of the current edition of Battletech’s corebooks.

 

Example of Play:

I think the surest sign that I am growing old and my brain is ossifying is that I want to read detailed examples of play before I run a game for the first time. I never used to read them or even think about them. It isn’t usually a matter of using them to learn the system; rather more of an insight into the assumptions made in design, and increased sensitivity into which ways standard rules should be applied in standard situations.

When I first started my current campaign, I would have really appreciated an example of play which took characters through a brief physical trial and even briefer physical combat as they tried to get into their ‘mechs to deal with an enemy lance. Rounding the whole thing out with a fade to a brief social influence/combat scene after a few rounds of ‘mech combat using the Tactical Addendum would have put the chrome on that particular mechanical…cake.

More precisely, I think having such a sequence portray the flow of skill and attribute rolls in and out of combat, consciousness and recovery checks, and the interpretation of Margins of Success and Failure, would be of immense value to new players.

 

Creature Creation Guide

It is not hard to stat out a new creature in A Time of War and a number of example creatures are provided to help provide scope and limitations for that purpose, but I think to encourage a greater degree of consistency across tables around the world, and even from creature to creature in the same campaign, having a section devoted to appropriate ranges of attributes for set increments in size and biological niche would be a handy thing to have. In my campaign I have introduced a sort of giant crab of prodigious size. I am comfortable with the stats I have generated for it, but spent much more of my time comparing the listed creatures in the RPG and figuring out how to interpret and apply that information in my design process than I would have liked.

I guess that is another sign of growing old… I just don’t have the time to spend on my hobbies that I should!

 

Conclusion

So – it would seem that if this entry has taught us anything it is that I hope to see three sections expanded upon for increased ease of the already exceptional game play in A Time of War, and that I am growing old. Having just re-read Michael Stackpole’s Blood of Kerensky trilogy I can be glad that I am not of the clans.

 

 

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