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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:29 am 
Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer

Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:47 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Louisville, KY
Hello, and welcome to another installment of DMB Designer Diaries! We
haven’t been around much lately, we know…after sending DMB off to be
edited, we lapsed into a creative torpor from which we are only just now
stirring. Before I start discussing mech design in DMB, I have to answer
the question I’m sure you’re all asking: there is still no release date set
for DMB. Mr. Goodman has a lot of other things on his plate right now
(*cough4Ecough*), but be assured that DMB hasn’t dropped off the face of
the planet.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s have some fun! Let’s take a look at the
DMB stats of a classic mech: the Barbagula.

Source: Steam      Lance 5 (left arm)   
Maneuver: 3      Changler 5 (right arm)
Armor: 11 (iron)      Maneuver +1
Speed: 6         Speed +1
Hold: 15         

Lance 5   0   +8*   L. Arm   1   -   +13 Damage if mech moved this turn
Changler 5   -1   *   R. Arm   1   -   Trip +5 vs. target

Min Crew: 3      Total Crew: 5      
Structure: 75      
Dmg Bonus: +3      
Unused Hold: 0      
Base Cost: 30      Total Cost: 53

This quick mech is favored by the Irontooth Clans, but sees use by other factions as well. Barbagulas are very effective in hit-and-run tactics. Normally they will charge with the lance, then trip the opponent with the changler. Once the opponent is down, it will usually be lance-charged repeatedly by other Barbagulas.

A classic design, the Barbagula is also an example of how mechs have changed in the last 20 years. The modern Barbagula has a crew of three, enough to man both of its weapons while still running the steam engine at full capacity; the original was a one-person mech. Barbagulas have also gotten larger, as have most mechs. The technology of Highpoint becomes larger as it gets more powerful, so engines and gear-and-pulley drives and even enchanted runestones take more space than they once did.

Irontooth purists complain about how these new mechs are ruining the next generation of mech jockeys. You’ll become soft and weak, they say, if you have to rely on two others to do something you should be doing for yourself. Younger Irontooth reply that working together means you can get more done, and only a fool turns their back on friends. Campfire discussions of this point sometimes turn heated, and if nothing else, it’s been shown that someone with two friends usually does better in a brawl than the lone wolf.

First we have the mech’s primary stats: its power source, maneuverability,
armor, speed, and hold size. The power source and hold size determine many
of the mech’s secondary stats (such as crew size, structural integrity, and
damage bonus). The hold size also gives a rough idea of the physical size
of the mech; even though the new Barbagula is larger than the original, it
is quite small for a DMB mech.

To the right of the primary stats are all the mech’s weapons, gadgets, or
other enhancements. The Barbagula has a couple small weapons, plus it is
slightly faster and more maneuverable than other mechs of its size and
power source.

Below that is a table detailing the Barbagula’s weapons. It has only two
weapons, a lance and changler (short for “chain tangler”, it’s meant to
trip or immobilize opponents). You’ll notice that each weapon has a number
after its name. This is the weapon’s size. The size tells you how much of
the mech’s available space (the hold) is taken up by the weapon, and some
weapons also have a special effect tied into their size. The Barbagula’s
lance, for example, normally does +8 damage when used to make a melee
attack. However, if the mech made any forward motion this turn before
attacking the lance’s size of 5 is added to the normal damage of 8 for a
total of +13. The changler’s size determines its bonus when making trip

The mech’s secondary stats come next. Though the Barbagula only requires 3
crew members, this particular Barbagula has 2 extra just in case. Each crew
member takes up one hold, so 5 crew plus two size 5 weapons takes up every
bit of the Barbagula’s 15 hold.

DMB mech creation is entirely point-based, and so the base cost of the mech
(determined by the power source, hold size, and armor type) is listed
first, and the total cost (base cost plus all the extras) is last. So that
is DMB mech schematics in a hopefully tantalizing nutshell. Join us next
time when we talk about…well, what would you like us to talk about?

Dieter Zimmerman
[[Faceless Minion of the Dark Master]]

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:23 am 
Wild-Eyed Zealot
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:09 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Brooklyn, NY
I'm very curious to see how boarding actions are carried out. Can you maintain nifty flavor of the running fights in the tunnels on the mechs while not slowly down the 'battle at large?"

Also, will the game focus on a narrowed range of mech sizes, or will it support play Nedderpick down to vipers?


-Chuck Smith

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:26 pm 
Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer

Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:47 pm
Posts: 783
Location: Louisville, KY
cssmythe3 wrote:
Also, will the game focus on a narrowed range of mech sizes, or will it support play Nedderpick down to vipers?

The game as is can support a fairly wide range of mech sizes. Citymechs are not covered in the core rules, but we hope to include them in a future supplement.

Dieter Zimmerman
[[Faceless Minion of the Dark Master]]

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:30 am 
Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:57 pm
Posts: 144
Interesting... I like what I see. I think it's a little risk to change the classic, but the fluff reasons for it make a lot of sense. Will DMB rules still allow for a classic Barbagula? I may have to play out a battle to test that claim - can classic compete with the new model? If I work it into a campaign, the classic would probably go to a higher level (old school) mech jockey, while the new and improved goes to an up-and-coming mech jockey, who is then taught not to place too much stock into always new-and-improved. Learn to use one model well - plumb it for hidden wellsprings of strength that many overlook. Superior tactics can allow David to take down Goliath.

Clearly I've taken this fluff as a challenge. But a good-spirited challenge.

I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:45 pm 
Deft-Handed Cutpurse

Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 4:48 pm
Posts: 276
Location: Wichita, KS
Just make sure to check your designs, the original set had a number of significant errors in the mech designs (insufficient crew sizes, etc.)

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