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.)