System Hack: Genesys Mecha Support Craft and Ships

Sensor technicians call out an incoming squadron of CHM-01S Space Ogos. The Captain orders all mecha to launch, all bulkheads sealed, and the cannons to begin firing. Vibrations can be felt through the deck as the first CHM-02 Dacar is hurled out into the void, and energy fire from the cruiser’s cannons begins to sear its way downrange as the distant thruster flares of the Ogos start to swirl into an attack pattern. In this month’s System Hack for Genesys Mecha, we aren’t adding any more giant robots. Instead, we’re taking a look at the vehicles that will carry them into battle!

Before we get to the actual support craft and ships, though, over the course of building them I came up with a new rule, some new Traits, and even a new Talent!

New Rule: Fuel and Despair

While on the ground a mecha can keep moving for as long as its parts remain functional thanks to its reactor (G.E.N.E.S.Y.S. or otherwise), a mecha in the air or in space can only hold so much thruster fuel. Thus, I’ve come up with a new use for Despair.

A GM may spend a Despair to have a mecha begin to run out of thruster fuel (mark ‘Low on Fuel’ on the mecha’s sheet). A second Despair can then be used to have the fuel run out completely (mark ‘Out of Fuel’ on the sheet). A mecha that is Out of Fuel can no longer make Piloting checks, move, or Accelerate/Decelerate. A mecha in atmosphere begins to fall. A mecha in space continues to move in the same direction and at the same speed it was moving before it ran out of fuel, and does so until acted upon by an outside force, such as another mecha grabbing it or a collision.

The Low on Fuel/Out of Fuel status can be removed by returning the mecha to a base or ship. If an Out of Fuel airborne or space-use mecha manages to get its feet down somewhere safely, it may continue to use Driving checks so long as it remains on a surface.

New Trait: Booster

A craft with the Booster Trait can be thought of as a hard-point-less attachment for a mecha, largely intended as a flight mechanism. When a mecha is mounted on a craft with the Booster Trait, movement and Piloting checks use the Booster’s Speed and Handling. Extra maneuvers inflict System Strain on the Booster craft or the mecha as appropriate for the specific maneuvers (GM has final say). The Booster craft count as separate from the mecha for purposes of targeting attacks.

New Trait: Catapult System

A vessel with the Catapult System trait is capable of launching its mecha into the battle, rather than forcing them to exit and fly off under their own power. Once per round a number of mecha (or Booster-Trait craft) equal to the ship’s Catapult System Rating may move from within the ship to up to Medium range from it, and are at their Maximum Speed without having to use the Accelerate Maneuver or suffer System Strain.

New Trait: Large Craft

Large Craft: A vessel with the Large Craft Trait Upgrades the Difficulty of all attacks against Mecha-type targets a number of times equal to the vessel’s Large Craft Rating. The Critical Hit Rating of any attacks made against the vessel is also counted as increased a number of times equal to the Large Craft Rating.

You build a giant ship. You cover it in guns. You make it capable of smashing other giant ships to pieces . . . so what happens when that ship sets its sights on the giant-but-still-smaller-than-the-ship robot?

In mecha anime the mecha is the primary weapon of war: while any mecha we see actually get tagged with weapons fire from a ship tends to get blown to bits, the mecha are typically quite adept at avoiding that fire in the first place. The Silhouette-based increased Difficulty is a good start but . . . didn’t seem quite like enough, so I’m giving this a try. We’ll see how it plays out. I folded in the Massive trait from the Star Wars ships as a trade-off, making it harder to score a critical hit on the ships. Still, I think this also creates some room for a brand new Talent that’ll help make having PCs crew a ship a little more interesting.

New Talent: Ace Gunner

Ace Gunner (Tier 2, Ranked): When making a Gunnery check from a vessel with the Large Craft Trait, the character adds 1 Boost Die and counts the Large Craft Trait’s Rating as one less per rank of Ace Gunner, to a minimum of 0.

Okay, now that all that’s out of the way, onto the actual vehicles!

CHV-17 Stratos Booster

Silhouette: 3

Carrying Capacity: 1 Mecha

Skill: Piloting

Hull Threshold: 5 Strain Threshold: 10

Traits: Adversary 1, Flyer, Booster

Armor: 2 Handling: -2 Speed: 4

Ranged Defense: 1 Forward, 1 Rear

Melee Defense: 1 Forward, 1 Rear

Hard Points: N/A

Weapons: N/A

Even as mecha technology advances, most machines remain incapable of independent flight, which has left them at a severe disadvantage against flying mecha and even old-style fighter craft. Although a Jump Booster-equipped CHX-01 was able to engage in a very rough version of aerial combat, it was hardly graceful or particularly safe. Enter the CHV-17 Stratos Booster. The Stratos is capable of carrying every mecha currently in the field, even the CHM-03 Peren, and aside from making them flight-capable greatly increases the speed at which mecha can be deployed long distance. While their slim profile and sloped armor make the CHV-17s somewhat difficult targets, however, they are comparatively fragile. Pilots who board one without equipping their mecha with Jump Boosters for emergency use are considered particularly gutsy, foolish, or both.

CHV-18S Kármán Booster

Silhouette: 3

Carrying Capacity: 2 Mecha

Skill: Piloting

Hull Threshold: 5 Strain Threshold: 10

Traits: Adversary 1, Booster

Armor: 2 Handling: -1 Speed: 5

Ranged Defense: 1 Forward, 1 Rear

Melee Defense: 1 Forward, 1 Rear

Hard Points: N/A

Weapons: N/A

The CHV-18S Kármán Booster is the CHV-17’s space-use equivalent, designed not just to deliver mecha to the battlefield quickly but to do so far beyond the usual flight range of the mecha themselves. Not having to worry about things like air resistance or gravity, the Kármán is faster and handles slightly better than the Stratos, and can carry two mecha with one on the ‘top’ and one on the ‘bottom’. While very useful for mecha squads ranging far ahead of their mothership, the use of the Kármán is not without danger; there have been several recorded incidents of pilots whose Kármáns were destroyed or went too far ahead, eventually running out of on-board fuel before they could return safely. Standard doctrine thus advises pilots to keep to certain distances from their ships, and to leave their Kármáns safely behind before engaging in battle. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, however . . .

Lycia-class Patrol Ship

Silhouette: 5

Crew: 20

Carrying Capacity: 2 Mecha

Skill: Operation

Hull Threshold: 20 Strain Threshold: 20

Traits: Large Craft 1

Armor: 3 Handling: -2 Speed: 4

Ranged Defense: 1 Forward, 1 Rear, 1 Port, 1 Starboard

Melee Defense: 1  Forward, 1 Rear, 1 Port, 1 Starboard

Hard Points: 4

Weapons: One dorsal and one ventral Turret-Mounted Light Energy Cannon (Fire Arc Forward/Port/Starboard; Damage 9; Critical 3; Range [Long]; Breach 2, Slow-Firing 1), Two Port and two Starboard Turret-Mounted Autocannons (Fire Arc Forward/Rear/Port or Forward/Rear/Starboard; Damage 7; Critical 3; Range [Medium] Accurate 1, Linked 3)

Lycia-class Patrol Ships are the smallest spaceborne combat vessels considered to be a ‘capital’ ship appropriate for use in fleet operations, but their typical role involves reconnaissance, perimeter patrols, lightning raids, and escort duty. Based on a pre-mecha model of ship, the modern Lycias are capable of carrying two mecha on external racks. As they’re under-strength for what’s considered a typical deployment the mecha pilots assigned to a Lycia tend to be either quite a bit more circumspect or quite a bit more hot-headed than the average. As they’re comparatively lightly armored and fragile standard operational procedures are for the Lycias to shoot-and-scoot or drop their mecha and fall back. Some notoriously daring commanders, though, are willing to trust in their gunners and helmsman to use the Lycia-class’s high speed and respectable weaponry to follow their mecha pilots right into the mix.

Etruria-class Cruiser

Silhouette: 6

Crew: 50

Carrying Capacity: 3 Mecha

Skill: Operation

Hull Threshold: 30 Strain Threshold: 30

Traits: Catapult System, Large Craft 2

Armor: 5 Handling: -4 Speed: 3

Ranged Defense: 2 Forward, 2 Rear, 2 Port, 2 Starboard

Melee Defense: 2 Forward, 2 Rear, 2 Port, 2 Starboard

Hard Points: 3

Weapons: Two dorsal and two ventral Turret-Mounted Energy Cannons (Fire Arc Forward/Port/Starboard or Rear/Port/Starboard; Damage 10; Critical 3; Range [Long]; Breach 3, Linked 1, Slow-Firing 2), Four Port and four Starboard Turret-Mounted Autocannons (Fire Arc Forward/Rear/Port or Forward/Rear/Starboard; Damage 7; Critical 3; Range [Medium] Accurate 1, Linked 3), Two Forward, two Rear, two Port, two Starboard Cluster Missile Launchers (Fire Arc Forward or Rear or Port or Starboard; Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Medium]; Blast 6, Limited Ammo 6)

Etruria-class Cruisers are the backbone of modern spaceborne naval combat, designed from the hull out to fight their counterparts head on while delivering mecha to the battlefield. Each Etruria is capable of withstanding the crush of ship-to-ship combat for at least some time, and carries the standard doctrine deployment of a three-machine mecha team. A typical task force, then, is considered to be 3-4 Etrurias carrying a squadron of 9-12 mecha. However, while more capable of taking hits than a Lycia the Etruria depends on those mecha to keep it alive when hostile mecha are about; it can be outpaced by CHM-01S types and can’t even pull away from a CHM-03S, and maneuvers like a brick. If hostile mecha break through, the only thing keeping a Etruria alive for long will be her gunners.

Bern-class Assault Carrier

Silhouette: 7

Crew: 100

Carrying Capacity: 12 Mecha

Skill: Operation

Hull Threshold: 70 Strain Threshold: 70

Traits: Catapult System 2, Large Craft 3, Flyer

Armor: 7 Handling: -3 Speed: 3

Ranged Defense: 3 Forward, 3 Rear, 3 Port, 3 Starboard

Melee Defense: 3 Forward, 3 Rear, 3 Port, 3 Starboard

Hard Points: 2

Weapons: One dorsal and one ventral Turret-Mounted Heavy Energy Cannons (Fire Arc Forward/Port/Starboard; Damage 11; Critical 2; Range [Extreme]; Breach 4, Linked 1, Slow-Firing 3), Four dorsal and four ventral Turret-Mounted Energy Cannons (Fire Arc Forward/Port/Starboard or Rear/Port/Starboard; Damage 10; Critical 3; Range [Long]; Breach 3, Linked 1, Slow-Firing 2), Ten Port and ten Starboard Turret-Mounted Energy Autocannons (Fire Arc Forward/Rear/Port or Forward/Rear/Starboard; Damage 9; Critical 3; Range [Medium] Accurate 1, Linked 3), Four Forward, four Rear, four Port, four Starboard Cluster Missile Launchers (Fire Arc Forward or Rear or Port or Starboard; Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Medium]; Blast 6, Limited Ammo 6)

Bern-class Assault Carriers actually predate the Etrurias and the modernized Lycias, the first class of ship dedicated to mecha combat. The designers may have gone a little overboard. It is, according to more than one logistics officer, an overdesigned, overgunned, oversized nightmare class of ship to fund and build, and why did she need to be able to fly in atmosphere anyway? That makes it the rarest class of ship. It’s also the deadliest class of ship currently in service, and the original CHS Bern left just enough survivors aboard the wrecks in her wake to make sure that fact was known. While individual gunners aboard her haven’t found it any easier to hit incoming mecha the sheer number of autocannons and cluster missiles means that to take on a Bern with a single mecha or even a single team is a shaky prospect indeed, and no single Etruria can stand up to her. The only surefire way to deal with a Bern (and the way the original CHS Bern was finally  brought down) is first a willingness to take casualties, and second plenty of numbers. That last is a difficult prospect, what with the full squadron of mecha that a Bern carries into battle.


The Boosters were pretty much made from scratch; the Lycias, Etrurias, and Berns largely involved looking at a couple different ships from the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion line, stripping out various stats and weapons and other tidbits, and then welding them back together in the shape I wanted. So, what does everyone think of the new rule/Traits/Talent? How do the Boosters, Lycias, Etrurias, and Berns look? What needs to be tweaked? What other types of support craft and ships should I take a swing at building?

Before I leave off until next time, check out the Genesys Mecha Armory, which has been updated with new items and mecha stats with some very-much-appreciated help from FFG forum member Fumblemunky. Also, our patrons got to look at this a few days ago, but we’ve now got Genesys Mecha Infantry, Tanks, and Fighter Craft that everyone can check out.

Speaking of next time, we’ve reached a pretty good plateau of material. That means it’s time to look back, reconsider the Design Goals, and consider some alternate ways of doing things. Next time on System Hack: Genesys Mecha we’ll talk 1:1 pilot control, encumbrance, modular designs, hex-based movement, and more with some Genesys Mecha Alternate Rules!

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