The King is Dead

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mecha Kaiju Sensō Tai!!!:Do You Want to Build a Kaiju?



Godzilla 2000: Millennium



In previous (approximately 2 year old) iterations of Mecha Kaiju Sensō Tai!!! material, I have argued for simplifying the approach to giant monsters and robots by putting their Size and Strength (and weapons) on a Gargantuan scale (basicially, putting an asterisk after the trait in question and adding 20 points when dealing with human-sized objects). While simple, I now find that this approach feels off; crucially, it doesn’t let you roll giant handfuls of dice when your mecha or kaiju does damage.

I’ve also posted on building a Mazinger Z/Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann/Pacific Rim-style “super robot” using the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion, and that’s the approach I’d like to suggest as an alternative. This would also help with publishing Mecha Kaiju Sensō Tai!!! as one of my proposed mini-settings; players and GMs could use the Super Powers Companion to build human-scale characters ranging from kaiju-sensitive psychics like Gamera: Guardian of the Universe’s Kusanagi Asagi to costumed super heroes like Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and the Power Rangers. They’d also have access to compatible vehicles and super robot weapons.

Also, the Super Powers Companion already has an example kaiju and some guidelines. In fact, if you look in the back of the book, you’ll find the “Giant Monster” entry indexed as “Kaiju-Kin” instead.

Kaiju as Super Powers Companion characters

Baseline Assumptions

The defining feature of giant monsters is their size; anything qualifying as a kaiju has to have a Size rating of at least Gargantuan. Kaiju can and should vary in Size. Rodan is smaller than Godzilla, while King Ghidorah is larger. Setting a minimum Size as a baseline for kaiju seems reasonable. The growth power defines Gargantuan as Size 11 or more while the example Giant Monster has a Size of 16.

The growth power is a complex of related abilities; as the SPC states”[e]ach time growth is purchased, it adds +1 to Size, which is added directly to Toughness and adds one step to the character’s Strength.” Per the line about "[s]ee Savage Worlds for specific effects, we can infer that Gargantuan characters automatically gain the Heavy Weapon quality for all of their attacks and are considered to have Heavy Armor per the Gargantuan monstrous ability. This enables us to handle most of our kaiju-building needs with one power.


If we use Size 11 as our baseline for Gargantuan (per the SPC), that means a baseline kaiju begins play with a minimum Strength of d12+7 and +11 to Toughness. That would require spending 33 Power Points on growth. A kaiju should also have a Pace matching its Size; buying that means spending 2 more points on the growth modifier Long Stride. Altogether, this means the minimum cost for playing a giant monster is 33 Power Points. We can offset this slightly with the growth modifier Monster (-2).


Kaiju also scare the pants off human-sized beings (understandably so, to be honest). For this, we'll give them the fear power with the Scary and Terror modifiers. Kaiju, however, are not scared of each other (though they do try to intimidate each other), so that fear gets a -2 Major Limitation: non-kaiju only. It's a Major Limitation because Gargantuan Beings spend most of their time fighting each other. 

For a kaiju-centric campaign, I would suggest that this 34-point package be given as a starting, baseline bonus, similar in some respects to the Iconic Frameworks of Savage Rifts®. Heck, it should also be given to giant mecha as well.  

Gargantuan Being Package


You are a gigantic creature of some type (elemental, insect, reptile, robot). Your Size is 11; you have a base Strength of d12+7 and add +11 to your Toughness. Your Pace is 24.” You have Heavy Armor and all of your attacks count as Heavy Weapons. You have Charisma -4; all creatures smaller than Gargantuan must make a Fear check if you try to terrify them (this is a free action).
Customization

Giving out the Gargantuan Being Package as a free part of any kaiju-centric campaign allows the Game Master to then determine the breadth of additional powers by assigning a Power Level just like any other super-powered campaign. A campaign hearkening back to the original 1933 King Kong (where Kong was only 40’ tall and fought relatively normal dinosaurs) could be run at the Pulp Heroes level, while Godzilla and his opponents would be at the Cosmic level.
King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1933)
Novice Pulp Heroes Kaiju Wild Card
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d12+8, Vigor d10
Skills: Climbing d12, Fighting d12, Intimidation d8, Notice d6, Survival d6, Throwing d6, Tracking d6
Charisma: -4; Pace: 24; Parry: 8; Toughness: 23
Gear: --
Hindrances: Arrogant [Major], Vengeful [Major], Delusional [Minor; fixated on human females], Illiterate [Minor; unable to communicate through speech or writing with humans]
Edges: Arcane Background [Super Powers], Berserk
Super Powers:
  • Armor (0): Heavy Armor
  • Attack, Melee (5): 1d6 + 1d12 + 7 + weapon ; Armor Piercing 2, Heavy Weapon, Stackable.
  • Leaping (1)
  • Super Attribute (4): Vigor +2
  • Super Skill (5): Climbing +2, Fighting +2, Intimidation +1
  • Toughness (5)
  • Gargantuan Being Package: fear (Scary, Terror, Limitation: non-kaiju only), size (+11, Heavy Armor, Heavy Weapons, Long Stride, Monster)

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Rhedosaurus
Novice Four Color Kaiju Wild Card
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d12+11, Vigor d12+2
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Notice d6, Swimming d12
Charisma: -6; Pace: 24 (Swim 48); Parry: 6; Toughness: 39 (10)
Gear: --
Hindrances: Weakness [Major; radioactive isotopes], Illiterate [Minor; unable to communicate through speech or writing with humans], Weakness [Minor; cold]
Edges: Arcane Background [Super Powers], The Best There Is
Super Powers:
  • Aquatic (2)
  • Armor (5): Heavy Armor
  • Attack, Melee (6): 5d6 + d12 + 12, Heavy Weapon
  • Damage Field (4): 2d6 radiation damage; Heavy Weapon, Medium Template, Permanent
  • Growth (12): +4 Size (Size 15)
  • Infection (3): radiation sickness; Carrier, Strong
  • Super Attribute (4): Vigor +2
  • Toughness (4)
  • Gargantuan Being Package: fear (Scary, Terror, Limitation: non-kaiju only), size (+11, Heavy Armor, Heavy Weapons, Long Stride, Monster)

Gojira (1954)

Godzilla

Novice Cosmic Kaiju Wild Card

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d12+13, Vigor d12
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Shooting d8, Swimming d10
Charisma: -4; Pace: 24 (Swim 40); Parry: 6; Toughness: 44 (10)
Gear: --
Hindrances: Arrogant [Major], Monologuer [Major; roars for a round instead of taking actions], Illiterate [Minor; unable to communicate through speech or writing with humans], Weakness [Minor; cold]
Edges: Arcane Background [Super Powers], Take the Hit
Super Powers:
  • Aquatic (2)
  • Armor (5): Heavy Armor
  • Attack, Melee (10): 5d6 + d12 + 13; Heavy Weapon
  • Attack, Ranged (23): atomic breath; 6d10 radiation; Armor Piercing 10, Cone (can switch between Cone Template and other uses), Enhanced Damage, Focus, Heavy Weapon
  • Growth (15): +5 Size (Size 16)
  • Regeneration (7): level 2; Recovery, Regrowth
  • Resistance (10): fire (5), radiation (5)
  • Toughness (13): Hardy
  • Gargantuan Being Package: fear (Scary, Terror, Limitation: non-kaiju only), size (+11, Heavy Armor, Heavy Weapons, Long Stride, Monster)



EDIT: I was more than a little incoherent when I wrote the original version of this post yesterday, so I’m completely rewriting it. I was very, very tired.

EDIT 2: As pointed out by Tavis Hill on Facebook, the Savage Worlds core rules specify that Gargantuan creatures automatically have Heavy Weapon attacks and Heavy Armor. This isn't spelled out directly in the entry for growth, but it does refer readers back to the core rules for "specific effects." These effects have been folded into the Gargantuan Being Package.

EDIT 3: I forgot the Super Karma rule! Updated King Kong and Godzilla's stats. (Let's face it; the Rhedosaurus doesn't need the extra Power Points.)

EDIT 4: I realized that the fear power only made sense in the context of humans reacting to kaiju. Godzilla, King Kong, and the other kaiju who fight kaiju try to intimidate each other, but they don't fear each other. I worked it into the Gargantuan Being Package with a Major Limitation of not working on fellow Gargantuan beings. This gave me the chance to rework some stats (like giving Godzilla's atomic breath some AP). Also, I moved the edit list to the end of the page.

EDIT: After playtesting some monster battles, I've discovered that 50+ Toughness is way too freakin' high. It becomes almost impossible for the monsters to hurt each other, even with Armor Piercing attacks. I've therefore dropped all the kaijus' armor values and redirected those points.



4 comments:

  1. Great work. I am wondering if I can use this for my games for Cupacabracon?

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    1. Feel free -- but before you do, I finally got some people to play a few combats with these this weekend, and it turns out the Toughness is so high on the Toho monsters that they can't even scratch each other without extremely lucky rolls. I'm probably going to take some points off Armor and redistribute it to Attack, Melee or Regeneration (maybe Size).

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  2. Replies
    1. Also, sorry I won't be able to play in your Chupacabracon game. I'd love to, but there's a brunch at that time that the guests are supposed to attend so paying VIPs can hobnob with us (not that I expect anyone to hobnob with me).

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