Lunar Reckoning 69
Lunar Reckoning 69 is a homebrew mecha RPG in an original setting. Set in the titular era, as mankind rebuilds after a destructive interplanetary war, players take the role of "Mages" - elite pilots who use heavily customized, 10-foot mechs known as "Armored Personnel Units". Directly inspired by the Armored Core video game series in terms of the particular style of mechanized action, while also taking inspiration from sources like Armored Trooper VOTOMS, Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01, a bit of UC Gundam material, and a smattering of Asimov and Clarke, LR69 is a relatively lightweight system that portrays the speed and brutality inherent in such high-speed, small-scale mechanized conflicts.
Several versions have been released on /tg/, and this page was created by request. The game is currently at Beta 2.5 Plus, which includes the basic game and some playtest systems. It's not a generic system per se, but people have run it as a Front Mission campaign, and reskinning for certain styles isn't terribly difficult.
The core mechanics in Lunar Reckoning 69 revolve around Initiative. In most games, Initiative is fairly static, and generally of importance only in the early stages of a conflict. In LR69, mechs are constantly boosting and rolling over the ground, quick reactions the difference between life and death - and Initiative is always increasing!
Every round, the battle order is redetermined as mechs increase their Initiative. However, Initiative is also a resource - you spend Initiative to move at the beginning of a round, you spend Initiative to make melee attacks, you lose Initiative by taking too much Systems damage, and several weapons either are improved by or require a high Initiative!
The entire system is built around the concept of speed and maneuverability. Attack and Evasion are opposed 3d6 rolls...but many weapons don't have clear 'hit' and 'miss' states. Each weapon has its Base Damage, which is dealt when Attack and Evasion are equal, and a Damage Step - an amount of damage the attack is increased or reduced by based on the difference between Attack and Evasion! High fire rate weapons are more likely to hit for some amount of damage, while low fire-rate weapons are more likely to deal their maximum damage.
While skill is always paramount, luck is always a factor - a mech's attack either autohits or criticals on a sequence of three numbers (ie, 1,2,3)...but a sequence also automatically evades attacks, as well! Sequences are common, though - even the fastest Magus is never safe. But Mages have their own tricks...special abilities known as Maneuvers, which allow a Magus to evade or deal damage more effectively than any ordinary pilot! Against another Magus, several Maneuvers counter one another, representing the clash of will as mechs jockey for position and dominance.
Combat has its own peculiarities, including Chains which trigger on a kill, Spotting to pass an attack action to an ally, and Interception to take attacks for an ally! Mech construction offers a variety of choices for the discerning pilot, including a wide variety of weapons with different ranges and effects - energy weapons must go through a layer called Laminate but have advantages in range and damage compared to kinetic weapons. A simple but fast Personal Skills system rounds the game out, emphasizing overall skill use rather than a single roll for resolution and allowing characters to specialize within similar fields.
The "Lunar Reckoning" itself began after the Lunar Revolutionary War of 2154, a massively destructive conflict which killed over one billion people across the solar system. The first war fought in space, numerous atrocities were committed by both sides, but foremost among them was the deployment of Relativistic Kill Vehicles against the Earth by Lunar Republic leader Leon Naples...mere minutes after Earth's government ATLAS surrendered and declared the Moon its own nation!
In 2155, the shattered governments that remained - ATLAS and its subset the Martian Terraforming Administration on one side, the Lunar Republic and the Jovian Dominion on the other - formed a new interplanetary government known as the Union, and declared 2155 to be year one of the so-called Lunar Reckoning. The ecological damage the Earth sustained became the focus of the Union's economic activity, and today nearly all of Earth's population lives in so-called "Megacities".
Though the Union strives for peace, war has continued unabated against nationalists, NGOs, subversives, armed warlords...but today, the game has changed. In LR 59, at the end of the Last Colonial War, an APU pilot known as the "Blue Magus" declared herself independent of any nation, corporation, or army. She began a new era of conflict, where elite pilots with modular, heavily modified APUs turn the tide of battle toward their own philosophy and ideals...whatever they may be.
In her honor, they are known as Mages.
Some more specific notes:
- Earth is where most people still live, and is slowly recovering from the damage caused by ecological neglect, conventional warfare, and the RKV attack. Almost all of the population now lives in the Megacities, self-sufficient environments which produce their own resources and stretch both vertically and horizontally. Due to the collapse of nation states during the Lunar Revolution, most Terrans think of themselves as citizens of an individual city or geographical area rather than of a nation. The Union struggles to keep the peace, nationalist forces fight for their freedom from the Union's system, and subversives seek to destroy both in favor of their own order.
- The Orbital Colonies were built in the 21st and 22nd centuries by ATLAS. Envisioned as mankind's future alongside Mars, the Colonies instead became known for their aristocracy, as the rich moved into the climate controlled, perfectly planned and maintained habitats. The machines used in colony construction eventually led to the APU. The Colonies are also known for an underclass who struggles for recognition. A series of conflicts called the Colonial Wars was directly responsible for the emergence of Mages.
- The Moon, better known as Luna, has declined since the Revolution. Most of its inhabitants live in domed cities or deep subterranean habitats for protection against solar rays. The colony predated ATLAS and the emergence of this autocratic authority caused the Lunar citizens to suffer more and more, especially as ATLAS used it as a dumping ground for 'undesirables' in Earth's population. Even though its heyday is gone, there are still those who fight for the Republic that barely was, and Its citizens are known largely for being unusually tall, graceful in low gravity, and general exuberance.
- Mars was the focus of ATLAS' efforts and the birthplace of the APU. Still undergoing the terraforming process, Martians live in towns and suburbs and cities, travel along immense freeways in cars and 'cycles, and come into conflict - street gangs, modern-day cowboys, and thieves prey the Martian frontier. A group called Free Mars desires independence and comes into conflict with MarsSec, the Martian police and military organization...but the two of them as often work together as not to protect the Red Planet from threats!
- Jupiter and the asteroid belt are the frontier of mankind's future, and the lynchpin of its resource gathering efforts. The beginnings of the Jovian colonies are shrouded in mystery, as the Jovian Dominion hid themselves for decades before revealing their existence to Earth and ATLAS. Today, Jovians are known for their eccentric natures, the extravagance of their colonies in orbit and on the Galilean moons...and the hard life they lead in the Belt, full of pirates and secret organizations that prey on asteroid miners!
The Mechs & More
- The Armored Personnel Unit was made from a colony work mech known as the General Purpose Work Suit. Manufactured by Oncari Industries and its subcontractors, and ranging from 8 feet tall for the lightweight APU-02 "Thief" model to 10 feet for the APU-03 "Magus" - the origin of the Blue Magus' moniker via the color of her Modular APU prototype - the APU has grown from an insurgency weapon on Mars, to a support weapon for infantry, into a full-blown infantry replacement. Using a microfusion engine block in the rear and hover jets in the feet, APUs can move at incredibly high speeds during combat. The emergence of the Modular APU has allowed much greater customization of the machine's chassis, and with it, the emergence of Mages.
- Chickenwalkers are about the size of an APU, but much cheaper. Built in machine shops across the solar system for anyone who can pay, Chickenwalkers are named for their prominent reverse leg joint. A better term would be "walking coffin", fitting both shape and function, as Chickenwalkers can only truly threaten APUs en masse.
- ESD Troopers - or infantry, put more simply - have lost some currency in an era of APUs, but they can go places no mech can and a well-trained fireteam can outperform an APU, assuming the terrain is favorable. Bearing advanced weaponry and suits of artificial muscle, Troopers use an alternate damage system, making them less effective as they lose more men.
- Main Battle Tanks and other self-propelled artillery are battlefield terrors. APUs fear them, and rightly so - should their reaction time or speed ever waver, they'll find themselves on the business end of a powerful cannon! Tanks have the heaviest armor of modern combat forces, which many weapons can't even scratch. However, a fast machine can run circles around them, and energy weapons are a true tank-killer.
- Sportwalkers are primarily a civilian machine, the first to use artificial muscle and one of the Neucom corporation's most successful products. Standing only a little taller than an APU but with a much larger footprint, Sportwalkers have four large, powerful legs, a cockpit 'head', and electrically-powered 'free rollers' under the feet for speed. Today, in addition to sport and hobby uses, the Sportwalker is often used as a guerilla "technical" and replacement for more traditional self-propelled artillery among those who cannot afford proper armored fighting vehicles.
- Variable Helicopters are the modern evolution of the attack helicopter. While they're about the size of a 21st century Apache in their normal form, they have a major addition - deployable legs with massive, electrically-driven tires, allowing them to offer support close to the ground and make incredible landings and strafing runs. Infamous as the "Scourge of the Colonies" during the Colonial Wars, VH units are fairly common in various models both military and insurgent.
- There's more to come, too, including Variable Tanks, Linear Pods, Motorcycles, their siblings Guardians, and the mysterious Earth Walker.
What Needs To Be Done
- A major rewrite is planned, and also required. The presentation isn't a complete mess, but it's far from perfect, and both the setting and system have evolved since. The first chapter in particular needs to be completely scrapped.
- Balance changes need to be made, and more playtesting needs to be done.
- More statblocks need to be made; there's several concepts ready but just not on the paper.
- Art! Art and design work! I've made attempts myself, but see those pencil scrawlings over to the left? That's my art. One of the logos is just a font thing in Photoshop, the other is done by someone else.
- Promotion, to get the game out to more people to test before this thing is polished and finished off, someday in the distant future.
- Homepage for LR69
- The game's forums
- IRC channel
- Beta 2.5 Plus Full Package - contains all the rules PDFs below, shitty art, non-shitty logos, an Excel spreadsheet to automatically calculate characters, links, and a character sheet
- Update Package for the old Beta 2.5, has everything new for Plus
- Main Rules PDF Direct Link
- Prototype - Personal Skills PDF Direct Link
- Prototype - Movement & Range PDF Direct Link
- Preview - APU Variants PDF Direct Link