Go Go Power Ferrets!

A friend recently mentioned kinda offhandedly that he didn’t know of a decent rpg based on Super Sentai/Power Rangers or the like. That got me thinking about how you might tackle the group controlled giant robot.

The first thing I think of about giant robot shows is their particular pacing. They start the battle on foot, scuffle a bit, then jump into their individual mechs. The battle continues with the heroes being more or less successful depending on the threat and the show, then they combine into their super robot. They fight for a bit longer before they summon their signature super weapon and waste the baddie with a single swing.

This works great for a tv show, but not so much for a rpg because you run into the same issue that everyone has had watching Voltron. Why not go straight to the sword and waste the bad guy? (Admit it. You know you’ve had this same thought.)

I’ve got two rough ideas on how to deal with this, dependent on the type of system used. In a system that has some sort of currency exchange (like FATE or Cortex Plus) the group could “buy” the transformation into the super robot. It would need to be a group cost, not an individual cost (ie the group pays 15 points, not each team member pays 4) to avoid one member not holding up the group. The same method could then be used to activate the sword for the death blow.

In a system without some sort of currency, the group members could charge up by taking some sort of supplemental action. Count successes as the scene progresses and when the target number is reached the group changes into the super robot. Rinse and repeat for the sword.

Okay, so your group of brightly spandex clad and mech driving heroes have successfully joined to form their super robot. So now what? Well, now they have to pilot the damn thing. But how to do so?

One way would be to assign every member a job (weapons, piloting, defense, etc) and proceed from there. This set up has the advantage of everyone having something to do and it not slowing down play, but it doesn’t really feel correct to me. I’ve always gotten the vibe that the team was controlling the robot jointly, not splitting into individual tasks.

Another method would be to have a list of actions with corresponding difficulties that the team rolls for jointly, and leave any individual powers (like shields, flight, etc) under the direct control of that team member. Everyone would still have an active role to play and it would be more genre appropriate. The downside is that it wouldn’t be as quick and could possibly be a bit confusing. I unfortunately don’t really have a fix for those problems at the moment.

Well, that’s about it so far. I know it’s a little light on specifics, but without a definite system  it’s hard not to be.

So questions? Comments? Horrible, hate filled rants? Send them to me!

(Well… maybe not that last one.)

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5 Responses to Go Go Power Ferrets!

  1. KevinWeiser says:

    Here’s a crazy random idea. Let’s call it the Assemblatrix. It’s a diagram that looks like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ad/Pierre_ciseaux_feuille_l%C3%A9zard_spock_aligned.svg but ignore the icons inside, just look at the colors and how each node can effect other nodes.

    In order to assemble: each of these nodes must be activated (possibly by the PC of that color?) and there is some kind of interaction between the nodes, maybe something along the lines of successes or failures at particular nodes effect connected ones somehow, or maybe they have to be activated in a certain order.

    Or, each node could represent a hardship or special ability for the GM, and the players can choose to activate each one, making their job tougher, but you can’t assemble (and once assembled, can’t use the super weapon, so you have to start over with a NEW set of hardships) until all the hardships have been activated and dealt with in some way.

    • Hmm. That certainly sounds interesting, assuming I’m understanding you correctly. I think I like it better as representing hardships or complications for the team. Could easily be things like Extra Goons, Enemy Power Up, Team Member Isolated, etc etc. You’ve definitely given the brain ferret more food for it to chew on. Thanks!

  2. Brian Engard says:

    If you wanted to use C+, you could have some sort of threshold for entering mini-bots/assembling/pulling out the sword that the group contributes to. For example, say the group needs 4d8 to get into their mini-bots while they’re fighting on foot. Any given member can contribute effect dice to that threshold, but they’re doing it at the cost of not fighting the actual threat (which they can do, but they’ll be more effective when “powered up”). When they hit the threshold, everyone gets in their mini-bots and gets a whole slew of new dice to roll.

    For the giant robot, I’d have everyone take their turns as usual. A player gets to choose whether he/she controls the actions of the whole robot or contributes to the giant sword threshold. The benefit of being assembled is that other players can chip in dice to each others’ actions, allowing for a lot of synergy and teamwork.

    The giant sword isn’t a “win button”, but it does give you a big whammy of a power that you can use against the bad guy.

    For added fun, use a similar method for the bad guys, allowing them to power up throughout the fight and summon bigger and badder enemies that force the players to contribute to the various thresholds.

    • Letting each player control the giant robot in turn would certainly be a lot simpler. I’m afraid it might overwhelm the enemy though, only taking one action for every five or so of the heroes.

      • Brian Engard says:

        Not if you give the enemy a similar advantage. As the enemy grows in power throughout the fight, give it more oomph. Maybe this is a growing doom pool (if you’re using that), maybe it’s tons of bonus dice so that, when it hits, it hits hard. Maybe it’s the ability to attack the robot as a whole, effectively hitting every single character with a single attack every time. Damage mitigation would also work, and encourage breaking out the giant sword.

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