Thinking about Kaiju, Mecha, D6, and Savage Worlds
One of the things Savage Worlds does not do well is mecha. Most mecha have personalities of some sort; the most basic way this works is in each mech being more or less agile, strong, or tough than another but there’s also a component in how they interact with the pilot. Heck, there isn’t really anything built into SW to do interactive vehicles – by which I mean vehicles that assist their pilots through AI, navigation computers, targeting systems, etc. – at all. That was, however, part and parcel of space ships in the old WEG Star Wars game so it could easily translate into doing the same for mecha.
Another things Savage Worlds does not do well (for me) is scale. Since the dice range tops off at d12+x, the Strength and Vigor Attributes for giant monsters wind up getting expressed in terms like d12+24 or d12+36 and other absurd numbers like that. I can’t explain why that bugs me so much, but it really does; I think it might be simple aesthetics. The D6 variants, on the other hand, have different scales to allow the same dice range to represent differently-sized objects. I was looking for an explanation online and found an amusing D6 page that actually references mecha and Voltron, but I remember the Star Wars version of the scaling mechanism being more streamlined and intuitive.
…Actually, the version of D6 scaling I linked to above could work pretty easily with Savage Worlds. Stealing the Star Wars D6 ship interaction stuff would be pretty easy too. In fact, I think that while I’ve been writing this I’ve figured out ways to overcome most of my complaints and actually do mecha and kaiju for Savage Worlds. Just scale it all up; map inches turn into measurements of yards or meters or something, add and subtract the scale modifiers to Powers like Blast and Bolt, allow mech pilots to use their own Combat Edges (the pilots in “Pacific Rim” and most modern Gundams are all awesome martial artists as well as ace pilots), etc. Remind me to get back to this after I finish By Light, By Night.
Also, remind me to include kaiju disciples/masters/riders/trainers/whatever. As a fan of giant monsters first and giant robots second, it really, really annoys me that “Pacific Rim” does not end with the heroes supplementing their giant robot squad with tamed kaiju. I know you watch the ‘90s Gamera movies, del Toro! That was a giant missed opportunity!