Transformable Frame Rules

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Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Ajax » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:44 am

had an idle thought while tinkering with my hovertank, it would be cool if their was a transforming mechanic-wise for the game. Now, knowing full well that the MF0 is pretty good as is and really doesn't need complexity, my idea was thus..

a transformable frame has two modes.

a transformable frame can only transform during its turn.

a transformable frame has a slightly different system loadout in each of its modes, while still having a maximum of four systems.

one component that represents a swappable system does double duty and changes capability when the frame transforms.

when that system is destroyed the frame is locked into its current mode.



for example, lets say my hovertank has double direct fire, a movement and a defense system as a tank, as a battloid, it has double direct fire and two defense systems. The component that swaps is, I dunno, some kind of energy field re-distributor, it controls the cushion beneath the hovertank while in tank mode, and acts as some sort of deflector shield thing in battloid mode and is represented by a singular attachment.

my hovertank, cruising around in tank mode for the speed bonus decides to capture a base, using the green die, it gets there and transforms before attacking some nearby frame, its defensive system helping it to survive the combat. Later, it get's artilleried and loses the defensive system, not only is it hurting, but it cannot transform back to tank mode and haul its ass into cover.


obviously, it is an advantage to do something like that, so maybe allow this mechanic only if the other players agree and/or has their own transformable frames to balance things out
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Kiavahr » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:02 am

Kinda reminds me of the Land-Air Mechs from Battletech. I don't know how well they worked in the game, but in the setting they were always wildly, hilariously impractical.

I do like the idea though. You would have to declare your form before rolling dice, which would lock it in for the rest of the turn. Basically add a step to the "declare target and intent" phase. A possible way to balance it would be to have the system count as two systems when determining asset values.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby David Artman » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:13 am

It would take playtesting, but I suggest an addition:
- One system is the transforming system.
- The transforming system takes up a system system slot in BOTH forms (i.e., transforming frames have a maximum of three 'normal' systems on each form).
- The transforming system does not contribute dice in any way.
- The transforming system it must be the first system removed due to damage.
- All normal systems from both forms are counted for purposes of initiative (i.e., normal max = 4; new max = 6).

So, in essence, you have from 2 to 6 'alternate systems' and you toggle between them, for a hit in both initiative and in being quickly 'downgraded' when stuck in one form after damage.

It would take a LOT of deep math analysis (or even more regression testing) to determine if this rule expansion is balanced or not. ANd I'm sure there will be synergies that come close to breaking it; for example, imagine this transforming frame:
Form 1: d6B d6B d6Y d6Y d8G
Form 2: d8Rh d6B d6Y

Rush into melee range (weaving in and out of cover) while nearly undamageable and throwing spots all over the field, then go Ginsu on some hapless victim. :twisted:
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby darksyntax » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:51 am

As an alternate to a new type of system, how about foregoing the frames move or even requiring "X" movement points to complete a transformation.
- if transformation is tied to movement, then it can only happen on that frames turn
- the "X" movement points could be defined by the number of systems that change
- also if "X" is used and you get a high green roll, you could still transform AND move
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Kiavahr » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:46 pm

David Artman wrote:It would take a LOT of deep math analysis (or even more regression testing) to determine if this rule expansion is balanced or not. ANd I'm sure there will be synergies that come close to breaking it; for example, imagine this transforming frame:
Form 1: d6B d6B d6Y d6Y d8G
Form 2: d8Rh d6B d6Y

Rush into melee range (weaving in and out of cover) while nearly undamageable and throwing spots all over the field, then go Ginsu on some hapless victim. :twisted:

That isn't even a viable frame by your standards, much less MFZ frame design rules.

Did you mean something like d6B d6Y d6Y d8G -> d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B d8G ? That conforms to your three regular system limit and is balanced (gimped) by the transforming system containing the weapon, which means any damage at all puts an end to your ginsu dreams.

darksyntax wrote:As an alternate to a new type of system, how about foregoing the frames move or even requiring "X" movement points to complete a transformation.
- if transformation is tied to movement, then it can only happen on that frames turn
- the "X" movement points could be defined by the number of systems that change
- also if "X" is used and you get a high green roll, you could still transform AND move

I still like my way better, but if you're doing it like this (instead of the extra point cost?) then I nominate X to equal 2.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Foghammer » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:09 pm

darksyntax wrote:As an alternate to a new type of system, how about foregoing the frames move or even requiring "X" movement points to complete a transformation.
- if transformation is tied to movement, then it can only happen on that frames turn
- the "X" movement points could be defined by the number of systems that change
- also if "X" is used and you get a high green roll, you could still transform AND move

From a mechanical point of view this sounds balanced, but as far as coolness factor goes, it leaves something to be desired. Your mech can't leap backward out of a melee fight going poorly and zoom off in jet-form before it touches ground again.

It also raises this question: If I have a mech that transforms into a jet, going from d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B to d6Rd d6Rd d6Y d6G, then it needs 3 movement to transform all three systems... if I only roll a 2 for movement then can I still transform, even if partially? Going from d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B to d6Rh d6Rh d6Y d6G d8G seems to be far more felxible for the cost of only two movement.

Adding both sets of systems to the initiative count doesn't seem fair either, since only three of them are ever available at one time. I would also change would be the "lose the transforming system first" part; instead, I would say that each system in one form is tied to a system in the other form and they are lost simultaneously. No cherry picking that way, and it leaves the potential for some dynamic play later on.

Or perhaps not even call the transforming part a system; it has 3 systems and two white dice and once they're all gone, then the frame is out. The only difference between it and other frames is that it can only change configurations on its turn and its systems are linked. That's probably how I'd handle it.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby David Artman » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:37 pm

Kiavahr wrote:Did you mean something like d6B d6Y d6Y d8G -> d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B d8G ?
Doh! Yeah, right, I meant more like:
Form 1: 2 defense, 1 spot (gains move d8 for having no ranged weapons... or is that a Mechaton rule I'm confusing?)
Form 2: 2 melee (d8+2d6, IIRC), 1 defense (gains move d8 as above).

Total systems: 6 (for initiative purposes) The "transforming system" has nothing to do with another system; it stands alone, and it's the first to be removed with damage, preventing any further transformations. (I don't like it being epiphenominal to another system.)

It's just brainstorming, anyway. I wouldn't add the complexity to any of my games, but then I mostly run demos....
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby David Artman » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:45 pm

Forgot to add: I like my suggestions because they do not increase math or fiddling at the table, only during team assembly. In play, it's just an additional option during declare activation (i.e., 'declare activation and select form'). The movement-based system is mathy; and the OP system depends on remembering or designating the system with which transformation is associated (potential confusion/cheating; and player can ensure the frame can transform until the last system is lost, so the system correlation is actually a bit toothless as a limitation).
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:35 pm

Ajax wrote:a transformable frame has two modes.

Okay.

Ajax wrote:a transformable frame can only transform during its turn.

Okay.

Ajax wrote:a transformable frame has a slightly different system loadout in each of its modes, while still having a maximum of four systems.

I'm kinda with you on this.

Ajax wrote:one component that represents a swappable system does double duty and changes capability when the frame transforms.

I don't really understand this.

Ajax wrote:when that system is destroyed the frame is locked into its current mode.

Ah, so you're saying one system is the Transforming Attachment? Why not make it a Transforming Attachment like the Environmental Attachment in the optional rules section?
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Foghammer » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:19 pm

David Artman wrote:Forgot to add: I like my suggestions because they do not increase math or fiddling at the table, only during team assembly. In play, it's just an additional option during declare activation (i.e., 'declare activation and select form'). The movement-based system is mathy; and the OP system depends on remembering or designating the system with which transformation is associated (potential confusion/cheating; and player can ensure the frame can transform until the last system is lost, so the system correlation is actually a bit toothless as a limitation).

By making it so that taking a single hit of damage removes entirely the frame's ability to transform, you make it a target (because it's flexible and your opponent should want to remove those options), and it may be able to transform maybe a single time during the whole game. To me, this doesn't sound fun and it defeats the purpose. You take a hit to initiative for something that, with a single scratch loses additional playing power; it's like giving bonus damage to the attacker.

Setting it up so that a player has to link his systems (not a difficult set of choices to make prior to gaming, honestly) and counting them as single systems adds a layer of realism where a part that is destroyed in one form is destroyed in the other. Part A serves as the movement system in vehicle mode, but as a direct fire weapon in battle mode; Part B serves as the spot system in vehicle mode, but the dish becomes a shield/armor in battle mode; etc... Removing the "transforming" system removes a "hit point" from the frame as a handicap for having a greater number of options available.

It might be easier to compare a transforming frame to a split-range weapon. A rifle with a bayonet might be d6Rd / d6Rh but you can only roll 1 of those dice on any given round, after you declare the range you're attacking in. With a transforming frame, you declare which form it is using and you can only roll the dice associated with that form. It can change from round to round, but you have to give up a system for that. Perhaps another factor you could use to balance it if that proves too much is to say that any round in which you change its form, you have to give up one white die as well (only for the round).
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:10 pm

Building off of Ajax's framework, here's what I've come up with.
  • A transformable frame has two modes.
  • A transformable frame can only transform during its turn.
  • It has to have a Transformer System. When that system is destroyed the frame is locked into its current mode.
  • A transformable frame has a different system loadout in each of its modes, while still having a maximum of four systems.
  • A transformable frame cannot have more than two systems and the Transformer system in each mode.
Okay, how this works is this, we'll make a Soldier archetype into a transformer. It has d6Rd d6Rd d6B d6G d6Y d6W d6W d6W. The third White Die is the Transformer system. In Mode 1 it has d6Rd d6Rd d6B d6W d6W d6W, and Mode 2 is d6G d6Y d8G d6W d6W d6W. See how that works? You could also go d6Rd d6Rd d6Y d6W d6W d6W and d6B d6G d8G d6W d6W d6W, or any number of other combinations. This gives us a reason to have two forms -- beyond the coolness factor of transforming -- and simulates the different capabilities of each mode. It also forces people to make choices about which mode they want to be in for the turn which is one of the main purpose of the rules of MFZ.

Technically a transforming frame can have five systems but, since it has no more than three in any one mode, I think we can handwave that away.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Xero010 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:44 pm

Hmm. Mantis, I think I prefer the transforming system allowing to different options, Meaning somthing with d6Rd d6Rd d6B d6Y d6W d6W d6W can turn into d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B d8G d6W d6W d6W because the frame isn't mitigated to splitting it's systems, making it slightly less effective in my opinion. The three normal system rule also seems to be a natural nerf to this system by taking away a "normal" system. So a d6Rd d6Rd d8Rd d6G d6W d6W d6W can now become a d6Ra d6Ra d6B d6G d6W d6W d6W Cool!!
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:35 pm

Xero010 wrote:Hmm. Mantis, I think I prefer the transforming system allowing to different options, Meaning somthing with d6Rd d6Rd d6B d6Y d6W d6W d6W can turn into d6Rh d6Rh d8Rh d6B d8G d6W d6W d6W because the frame isn't mitigated to splitting it's systems, making it slightly less effective in my opinion. The three normal system rule also seems to be a natural nerf to this system by taking away a "normal" system. So a d6Rd d6Rd d8Rd d6G d6W d6W d6W can now become a d6Ra d6Ra d6B d6G d6W d6W d6W Cool!!

That first one has access to five different systems and the second has access to six. I see nothing nerfed about that.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Ajax » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:57 pm

nice to see a discussion happening here :D

i mused over using one of the white die's to represent the transforming system, and eventually decided that it might be best to try to keep the loadout as similar as possible to normal frames to lessen any possible confusion and instead have one of the other mounted systems represent the transformative aspect informally.


I do however, like the idea of using one of the white dies to represent the transforming system, not so much adding a third white die, rolling additional wild dice feels like too big an advantage, although, you also lose out on possible bonus effects for having double systems.


I may not have outlined it well enough but I was originally thinking that only one system is able to swap, so between forms, only one system changes capability. Allowing multiple systems to swap seems hugely advantageous.

Tank mode = d6Ra d6Ra d6B d6G d6W d6W
Battloid mode = d6Ra d6Ra d6B d6B d6W d6W

as far as restrictions against the transforming frame, I personally dont like the first hit removes the transformative ability option suggested, as it would negate the fun of transforming very quickly. It would be more interesting to me to be able to choose to keep the transformative system if I should ever want to keep it over something else.

another thought that occurred to me initially was hard restrictions against what system can swap to what, but i felt it would lessen the tactics and fun of designing a transforming frame.

also, it would definitely be cool to transform in reaction to being attacked, but also way advantageous. Kinda meh on having the transformation cost part or all of your move, would just slow down the game and would most likely get your frame killed. I'm unsure of how i feel yet of restricting the maximum amount of systems mounted as a drawback.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Xero010 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:10 am

I see your point Mantis. It makes me wonder, would players have to establish which form the frame starts in? Or what its base form is? Also, instead of immediately being able to transform, the player roles a d2 to see of the frame can transform at the beginning of a round. 123-Somethings gone wrong, 456-Transformation successful. Or even rolling a die to see how many systems you can change. It seems like transforming frames could be good in theory, but I'm not sure how to balance out the advantage of additional systems. I'd also suggest some kind of affect on initiative, but I don't want to make the game anymore complicated. I changed my mind on Mantis's idea, although I'm still a little iffy on what a transformed frame can get done. I'd need to test it in a game I suppose. The only thing I'd changed is allowing a fully loaded out frame to have a transforming system. There might be too much utility, unless we decide to have the "Transforming system dies first" rule. That, or some kind of impact of initiative, like counting as an extra system, otherwise all load-outs would benefit from a transforming system.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:13 am

Xero010 wrote:I changed my mind on Mantis's idea, although I'm still a little iffy on what a transformed frame can get done.

That's the problem. You need a reason for them to be in the game beyond, "They're cool." And so far I haven't figured one out. It will probably have to be setting specific.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:28 am

Xero010 wrote:I see your point Mantis.

Okay.

Xero010 wrote:It makes me wonder, would players have to establish which form the frame starts in?

The one it's in when you start rolling dice.

Xero010 wrote:Or what its base form is?

Does it matter?

Xero010 wrote:Also, instead of immediately being able to transform, the player roles a d2 to see of the frame can transform at the beginning of a round. 123-Somethings gone wrong, 456-Transformation successful. Or even rolling a die to see how many systems you can change.

Ugh, more dice rolling. Bad.

Xero010 wrote: It seems like transforming frames could be good in theory, but I'm not sure how to balance out the advantage of additional systems.

Then don't give them additional systems.

Xero010 wrote:I'd also suggest some kind of affect on initiative, but I don't want to make the game anymore complicated. I changed my mind on Mantis's idea, although I'm still a little iffy on what a transformed frame can get done. I'd need to test it in a game I suppose. The only thing I'd changed is allowing a fully loaded out frame to have a transforming system.

Which is what I do.

Xero010 wrote:There might be too much utility, unless we decide to have the "Transforming system dies first" rule. That, or some kind of impact of initiative, like counting as an extra system, otherwise all load-outs would benefit from a transforming system.

If you limit what systems are available in each mode, I think that evens out the addition of the Transformer system.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Ajax » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:07 pm

it seems i erred on understanding the extra white die thing, it being only a representation, not an actual additional white die.

so far the options i see here as far as representing the transformitive qualities are


the system that swaps capabilities between forms, being essentially being three systems in one,( d6G / d6B /transformation system), takes the space of one of the four systems. white die are untouched.

one of the white dice is taken away, and in its place the transformitive system sits, thus providing a hitpoint but no wild die roll.

the white dice are kept, but the frame can only mount three additional systems, with the fourth slot devoted to the transformitive system, with no die roll attached.



i like the first 'cause you keep all four systems and white dice, no fuss

second seems balanced but losing the white die roll is going to suck

third is growing on me, as it makes sense that a mech that transforms would not be able to mount all the doodads that a normal mech would, but also concerned it would suck when facing normal frames with maximum systems.




i also think its unneccesary to worry about what form the frame starts the game as or giving it a base form, shouldnt matter really.

still think only one system should swap between transformations :D

and thinking more on it, the only hard rule i can get behind for what systems a transforming frame should get is a motive system for the appropriate form, jet, hovertank, transport etc, as all the transformable mecha that i can think of had a form that was more mobile then the other.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Foghammer » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Ajax wrote:...the white dice are kept, but the frame can only mount three additional systems, with the fourth slot devoted to the transformitive system, with no die roll attached.

This, because the trade-off for that missing 4th system is flexibility. The only problem with this method is that in order to maintain balance, the frame has to give up one system from each "mode" per damage it takes. Now, either you can link them as I suggested before, or you can just choose two systems to remove when you take damage (one from each of the frame's modes). The "missing" 4th system should also count as a system for determining assets, even though it doesn't add dice. But it's just one system.

Linking them makes the most sense to me from a simulationist standpoint, however, if there are partial transformations going on then it makes a little less sense.
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Re: Transformable Frame Rules

Postby Mantisking » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:24 pm

Ajax wrote:...the white dice are kept, but the frame can only mount three additional systems, with the fourth slot devoted to the transformitive system, with no die roll attached.
Foghammer wrote:This, because the trade-off for that missing 4th system is flexibility. The only problem with this method is that in order to maintain balance, the frame has to give up one system from each "mode" per damage it takes.

So you take two points of damage for every one hit?
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