|RPG published by
|Rule System||Shadow of the Demon Lord derivative|
|No. of Players||2+|
|Session Time||10+ minutes|
|Authors||Miguel Lopez and Tom Parkinson-Morgan|
- For the mounted unit and/or their primary weapon of choice, see: Lance
- For the Imperial Knight pattern, see: Cerastus Knight Lancer
"You dig giant robots!
We dig giant robots!
CHICKS dig giant robots!"
Lancer is a free-ish RPG about customizing, upgrading (and sometimes destroying) your very own mech from scratch. The player starts with a pilot, with a set of skills, stats, and talents, and a mech, composed of a CORE, which provides the base ratings of your mech ranging from HP to how good you are at aiming your massive underside cannon, and a SHELL, which is the external hardware covering the core. This can be anything from armor, weapons, and different sorts of fun systems (including a memetic virus that leaves those who see it stunned with brain damage or a gun dubbed Omnigun that is a "... piece of experimental hardware so advanced that it does not classify as any weapon...").
TL;DR: Humanity fucked itself, slept it off for about five millennia, then woke up, punched itself, and decided to form a hegemony called Union. They discovered godlike AIs on Mars and had them crunch the numbers on the best way for humanity to not fuck itself over again. 3000 years later, they thought a tech-god AI called RA unto existence, who promptly fucked off with Deimos. Picking up the pieces left behind, humans harnessed blinkgates, galactic wi-fi, and AIs. 1500 years after that, humanity discovered the first sentient alien life. Union tried to peacefully contact them, and they got cholera and everything was fucked up. So Harrison Armory invented a whole new type of war fighting technology for the sole purpose of stomping on these bugs. And thus was the birth of the mech. Humanity spent a good long while in a state internal civil war, giving birth to a handful of micro-internal factions. The current ruling group of humanity invented Post-capitalism, Plunging the core worlds into a Utopian dream. The Core worlds still heavily rely on every other member of their Union to protect them from a group of lost colonists seeking to take back the core-worlds. That is where the main characters come in, the exceedingly rare Lancer Pilots.
The chief classifications for the mech frames and gear are twofold in Lancer: The first is their role, which is pretty self-explanatory (Striker, Defense, Support, Controller, Artillery), and the other is their manufacturer. Each manufacturer has very distinct types of mechs with particular specialisms, even among similar roles.
- GMS (General Massive Systems): All pilots start here. GMS is pretty much the generic-name manufacturer, having built mechs since the dawn of colonization. GMS has weapons for everything to fill in the openings for your build. They also produce your starter frame, the Everest - a super-modular model that's actually quite zippy.
- IPS-N (Inter-Planetary Shipping - Northstar): One of the hugest megacorps, having started with building spaceships. Their models tend to specialize in CQC and carry quite a bit of armor.
- Smith-Shimano Corpro: One of the oldest of the megacorps, SSC were quite quick to secure deals in subspace vessels. Their bigger research involved merging man and machine into one seamless entity, but that's been mostly abandoned to conform with moral and legal accords. SSC Mechs are really fast and sneaky, being made to avoid getting hit rather than taking them. They also have plenty in the way of sniping.
- HORUS: It's not really clear what the deal with this manufacturer's deal really is. Is it a collective of master hackers who like fucking with things, or is it the product of a rogue AI? Whichever the case, it's got mechs named after mythical creatures and specializes in electronic warfare and AI management.
- Harrison Armory: Originally dealt exclusively with guns, but they eventually decided to make their own mechs and embrace their own brand of imperialism. HA's mechs tend to be durable, capable of managing themselves and getting the most out of their gear and their fun guns.
The core system is pretty basic; 1d20 versus a target number (10 for skill checks, and a defensive stat for attacks) with up to 3d6 (taking only the highest) as Accuracy and Difficulty penalties granted by talents, circumstances, etc. The pilot side of the game is lightweight storygame-y stuff, usually based on how you plan to get some advantages and assets for combat, while the mech side is 4E-like tactical combat on a hex grid.
As you level up, you can improve both how your pilot and mech operate, gaining talents to specialize in mech combat, skills for managing downtime, and License Levels in order to buy new wargear and frames for your mech.