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 Post subject: Mech Encounters, CR and Exp
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:55 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:20 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Zanesville, OH
I've had the Dragonmech book for a little over a year now, and the Mech Manual for a few months. I love the setting and have managed, in short order, to convince a couple of friends to try it out. l haven't managed to get a DM game going yet, but I'll be going back to college in a month or so and I know that I can get just about any game I want together if I run it. I plan to make this a Dragonmech game. So far, after a few calls, I have two PCs already (a hairbrained gnome coglayer and a sarcastic human mech jockey who is something of a straight man to his dimunitive and eccentric companion) and I know I can get a couple more but I don't know what classes they'll be.

I plan for this to be a combination of "in mech" and "on foot" campaign but I want to immerse players in the setting so I plan to provide mechs (albeit a limited selection) to the PCs even at first level. The current mech jockey has a Viper as an inheritance from retired mercenary parents and I'm willing to allow another PC or two (depending on how many I get) to have a mech from the start. No larger than gargantuan, and the backstory has to have a justification for it (family mech, military assignment [party starts with the Stenians], etc).

But as I start to write the campaign I'm confused. How do mech encounters, both mech vs mech and mech vs infantry, affect CR? Obviously a five player party with a pair of gargantuan mechs has a distinct advantage over a pair of axe wielding orcs...but how much? And what about a pair of gargantuan mechs against a single colossal mech? What's the difference between a steam and a clockwork mech against a trio of manpower mechs of the same size? What if one of the mechs involved has extra weapon mounts? I'm pretty sure that a clockwork mech with fast legs and steam cannons would have an edge over a manpower mech with only melee weapons, but what if the manpower mech is bigger? What is the difference? I can't think of anything in the main DM book that includes this information.

How does this work?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 8:37 am 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:47 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Lexington, KY
I believe this matter was discussed earlier in the generic "Dragonmech questions" thread. If I recall, the answer was more or less: use your best judgement.

In the campaign I run, I just wing it mostly based on criteria like "how much of a challenge was it?" and "how generous am I feeling today?" You could estimate the challenge rating of a mech by perhaps finding comparable monsters, and if you determined a challenge rating for the PCs mech use that instead of the characters' levels when determining XP for encounters while in the mech.

You could also determine a challenge rating after the encounter based on how much of the characters' resources it used. I don't have the DMG handy, but it says something like four characters of the same level as the monsters CR should use about 25% of their available resources to defeat it. So if your characters are level 5 and they used about 25% of their hit points, memorized spells, etc it should be a CR 5, and you can obviously adjust that upward or downward depending on whether it was easier or harder.

So yeah, to sum up: use your best judgement. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 9:17 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse

Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 258
Location: Wichita, KS
Also you have to consider the capabilities of the crew not just the mech. A tenth lvl Mech jockey in a barbagula is probably more than a match for a 2nd lvl in a viper.


Last edited by Raptor on Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:02 pm 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 1:31 am
Posts: 290
i would suggest you use the pilots and gunners of the mech to determine the CR, and count the mech cost when you use the NPC wealth guide and equip the NPC

if they've got more mech than the wealth index would indicate, then bump the CR up a level or two (depending, of course, on the mech; if it's really expensive but not good at combat... say lots of money was spent making it able to haul lots of cargo, then don't add that cost)

if you have a copy of savage species on hand, it has guidelines for creating ECL adjustments based on species for player characters, just think of the mech as a 'species' that creates a CR adjustment to whoever is using it... just remember that this should work in reverse as well... lower the CR by the same ammount if the PCs are piloting the mech; if two people are each in a +8 CR mech and of the same level, then the modifier would cancel out (for instance, a level 1 player piloting a city mech would definently not get any XP for defeating a CR opponent without any mech at all)

of course, the CR modifier would be more or less depending on the number of HD vs. the pilot's HD (a level 20 mech jocky in a barbagula probably has more HP than his mech! )

i should go through that guide time and make up a list of modifiers and guidelines based on that section...

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