More than meets the eye. Mechamorphosis is one of FFG’s “Horizons” series of d20 games that try to twist the basic theme fo d20 gaming into a series of different game settings. In this case, it’s “Morphing Robots Waging War on Earth”.
Robots in disguise. Mechamorphosis is a very non-subtly disguised Transformers RPG. The mechanics are familiar to just about anyone who played d20 games (like 3e D&D) and as such it can seem a little rules-heavy to a newcomer, but also seem incredibly simple to someone already familiar with the systems involved.
There’s some nice support for the game (and a great record sheet) over at Mark Howe’s website.
I want to make something robotech-like – something with scads of small missiles. Oh! That tank from G.I. Joe with the rocket launcher on the back… The Wolverine. So basically a long-distance reach out and touch someone kind of guy. Probably an armchair military strategist? Give him an unstable side (he blows up when provoked… like a missile) and we’ve got a character idea.
One of the things I like about Mechamorphosis is it steals a page from the old Shadowrun character creation system, where you have to rank your choices in five different categories of character creation. Alternate Form, Form Feats, Ability Scores, Special Powers and Gear.
For an alt form of a tank, I need to make that Priority 2 (second lowest). My lowest priority will go to Gear, my highest to special powers, then ability scores, then form feats. With ability scores as Priority 4, we get a 32 point buy – aiming for a high Dexterity and Intelligence (ranged combat, armchair strategist) and a pretty high Constitution (military).
Then it’s right on to designing Wolverine-44′s alt form. I’m aiming for the Wolverine from G.I. Joe (pictured at right). As a tracked tank, it’s size is Gargantuan, has a base move of 40′, top speed of 400′ (45 mph), Perfect maneuverability, acceleration at ground scale of 2 squares (20′) per turn, 8 points of weapons and 5 points of tech. All 8 points of weapons go into the “Missile Salvo Launcher” which deals 3d6 damage, with a minimum range of 50′ and a maximum range of 500′. With his 5 tech points he gets a winch and level 4 Long Range Visuals (40 mile range, and can use his senses on anything within 400′ of the target point).
As a gargantuan vehicle, Wolverine-44′s primary form is also gargantuan in size. This gives him a -4 penalty to AC and attack rolls, but allows him to deal 2d8 damage in hand to hand combat.
We also get 6 Form Feats to further define his abilities in his alt form. Since there’s a painful lack of cool form feats for a Soldier Vehicle… I grab Mounted Weapons (so his rocket launchers appear on his shoulders in robot form), high performance (quality treads and suspension give him a +4 bonus against road hazards) and the feat that enhances his armor class… 4 times.
Then I have to pick a class… the selections are Controller (linked to several smaller mechamorphs), Scientist, Scout and Soldier. From that selection, and my goal of being a long-distance blow-it-up character, we’re going with the classic Soldier class. As a soldier he gets d12 for hit dice, a very restricted selection of class skills and skill points, a bonus feat, and a class ability. I select “Marksmech 1″ which gives him the ability to make a ranged attack as a full round action that deals an additional 1d8 damage. He also starts with a single feat for being level 1, bringing him up to 2 feats. He picks up Point Blank Shot and Rapid Shot (allowing him to use the salvo launcher to proper effect, locking on to two targets each round). He’ll have to pick up Far Shot at level 3.
His two points of gear go towards a blaster carbine to use in his primary form. Finally we get to pick his special powers, which are drawn directly from the d20 SRD – in this case we get a total of 5 ranks of spell like abilities (basically each ability is ranked equal to it’s spell level +1). Barely managing to talk myself out of Evard’s Black Tentacles (in the form of a special rocket that explodes in a mass of gooey entangling and corrosive gunk), Wolverine-44 instead gets Mage Armor and Cat’s Grace.
Alt Form: Tank (tracked)
Weight: 24 tons
Strength: 12 (+1)
Dexterity: 16 (+3)
Constitution: 14 (+2)
Intelligence: 14 (+2)
Base Attack Bonus: +0
Melee Attack Bonus: -3
Ranged Attack Bonus: -1
Hit Points: 14
Armor Class: 17
Initiative Bonus: +3
Fortitude Save: +6
Reflex Save: +3
Will Save: +0
Athletics (STR)  +5
Build / Repair (Simple) (INT)  +6
Knowledge (Warfare) (INT)  +6
Senses (WIS)  +4
Point Blank Shot
Weapon Proficiency – Simple Archaic
Weapon Proficiency – Martial Archaic
Weapon Proficiency – Firearms
Marksmech 1: Full round action to make a ranged attack with +1d8 damage
Natural Armor Bonus: +4 AC
Force Armor (1 hour / day / level, +4 Armor Bonus)
Enhanced Reaction Systems (1 min / day / level, +4 Dex)
Alt Form: Tank
Notes: base move of 40′, top speed of 400′ (45 mph), Perfect maneuverability, acceleration at ground scale of 2 squares (20′) per turn
Weapons: Missile Salvo Launcher
Gear: winch and level 4 Long Range Visuals (40 mile range, and can use his senses on anything within 400′ of the target point).
High Performance (+4 pilot skill to avoid hazards)
Armor Boost x 4 (+4 Natural Armor Bonus)