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Shop Talk (House Rules and Modifications)


Kaerri's Man. =)

Heya, folks! As the years have gone by, a lot of situations have come to pass (on both virtual and real gaming tables). This collection of house rules is simply a collection of thoughts and experiences, one part "lessons learned," another part "Hey, let's try this!" and yet another part "I just think this makes good sense." Have any ideas of your own? Feel free to share them in Fat Gandalf's Bar & Lounge (our OOC channel)!

House Rule: The Temporal Stasis Rule - All Players please read this.
Note to players: If Real Life grabs you and you have to leave our game for an unusual length of time, do go (with my prayers), but please post in Fat Gandalf's so the rest of us know. I don't need details; I do need notice.
We have no way of knowing what is going on with you if you do not tell us. Failure to comply with this risks your removal from the game. I am not kidding.

Temporal Stasis works like this. When a player is unable to attend our game due to Real Life, that person's character, along with any other creatures with that character (pet, etc.), and all items personally belonging to that character are taken out of play. This is called placing the character in Temporal Stasis. The character is therefore unable to be harmed, helped, or otherwise interacted with.
When the player is able to return, the character also returns in the same condition they were in prior to the departure. I will adjust the challenge of the game accordingly. For purposes of this online game, characters will not cease to gain experience points.
Reasoning: It's another one from the "lessons learned" category, really. If one of our players has some serious Real Life event that lasts, it's really not fair that their character suffer. Bad enough we don't have the privilege of the player's company, worse still to screw their character along with them due to circumstances the player cannot control...

House Rule - Expectations - All Players please read this.
What I expect from my Players
1. You will abide by RP Nation's rules at all times. This is not negotiable.
2. Please post once per week on average. It's understandable when things get busy during holidays and the like, because Real Life Always Comes First. However, be respectful of others' time. If you foresee that you won't be posting (for any reason), please post about it in OOC or Conversation.
3. Posts do not have to be long, but they ought to have meaning. One or two paragraphs on average is fine; more or less when you're in the mood! If you are not certain how to express something your Character is doing, hop into OOC (or Conversation with me) and ask me for help. I'm here for ya!
4. Players who go for more than 28 days (4 weeks) without a single in-game post are subject to immediate removal from play. This expectation is not up for abuse (like say, posting 4 times in 3 months).
5. Everything in the Temporal Stasis House Rule (above this post).
6. Be familiar with the game rules and how to play your Character within those rules. Good-aligned Player-Characters only. Need help? Just ask! =)
7. Respect each other. No drama. No God-modding of any kind. While you may declare that your Character is attempting some action, as your Dungeon Master, I alone decide if it takes place.

What you can expect from me as your Dungeon Master
1. Everything I just mentioned above applies to me too. I will abide by RP Nation's rules at all times.
2. If I ask you to join this game, then this is your "safe haven." No one here is going to treat you poorly or unreasonably. Sure, we have inter-player discussions where differences get hashed out (in a mature, constructive manner). In the end, this is where we all come for fun!
3. Rules that benefit your PCs most often also apply to NPCs - good and bad (with rare exception like Action Points or Diamonds of Fate). Fair is fair.
4. No favoritism. Just ask Kaerri (my lady). I play as true as I can.
5. No "Monty Haul" games ("Monty Haul" DMs heap seemingly endless amounts of treasure on their PCs as their primary way of motivating play). What you earn is absolutely yours, but be prepared to earn it in-game. I tend to level PCs slowly and allow a good deal of customization (with Signature Abilities and the like). A note on loot: Record what you have. If you don't record it on your Character Sheet, you plain don't have it! If you don't bother to loot, it won't reappear later, so loot early and loot often! =)
6. I like to provide rewards for excellent RPing, Out of Character ideas, and more (sometimes with Bonus Action Points. These are extra Action Points that do not expire when you level!)
7. I will seriously consider your wants and ideas you want in the game along with any constructive criticism you have for me. However, I run a balanced fine-tuned game and it must remain that way for my sense of fun so do keep that in mind.
8. I will attempt to praise in public, but "punish" in private (I'm not here to embarrass you, but if I bring up an issue with you in Conversation, there's good reason for it). Above all, we're here for fun and great memories so let's make the most of it - together! =)

House Rule: What's really going on when your Game Master says, "Your Character is in Mortal Danger." =)
From Kaerri in Fat Gandalf's,
See, there's this phrase Dannigan uses on rare occasions: "Your character is in mortal danger." This is the GM's hint to you that if you don't change your present course of action, your character is incredibly unlikely to survive the immediate consequences. Has everyone seen "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" and remember the boulder chase at the start? If not, click here (there's no spoilers). See that look on Indy's face at the start? The GM just told him his character's in mortal danger. ^;3^
Reasoning: From Dann in Fat Gandalf's (later in that conversation),
I've probably mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating - a good Dungeon Master lets the dice kill players or the players kill players. In my experience, characters have died due to accidents and bad things have happened due to bad die rolls and innocent decisions that just went bad. I can go on and on with examples of surprising things that happened both in favor and against the PCs, usually due to dice, but not always. Now, the word "accidents" to me covers a lot of ground. When I use it here, I mean to say that a character bought the farm because they tried something they thought they could get away with and didn't (mostly through no fault of their own).

Here's an example (one I'm certain Kaerri remembers as she was at the table when it happened). In Brendoran's original party, The Light in the Dark, the party had through much trial and hardship discovered the fabled Maul of the Titans. Now, it was a great maul by itself, but it had a true name that once discovered, would unlock its true potential. Well, the party quested and after long last, discovered the true name! Even back in 1st Edition D&D, this damned thing not only hit like a, well, titan, but it was feared every time a bad guy recognized it. You swung, that door flew off its hinges. You smashed, your opponent sometimes flew off his feet. Oh, and when that thing critically hit, it was often over for that opponent, and the party knew it and loved it!

So... The Light and the Dark are fighting this big, badass dracolich that was an army unto itself. During the course of the battle, the Fighter (who greatly favored his Throw Anything feat) reared back with both of his mighty hands and hurled the Maul of the Titans at the dracolich. The dracolich felt the maul's power as it struck it, looked down and saw the maul lying beside it...

... and what would you do in its position?

That's right! The dracolich promptly picked up the party's favorite weapon and began cleaning house with it! If memory serves, two PCs died in that fight and the party for the first time that I remember was routed! I don't mean "tactically withdrawing" but run for your lives - routed! The players around our table were just blown away, but the whole scene had made its own sort of sense. After the PCs were resurrected (costly!!), I'm glad to say The Light in the Dark went back for round 2 and with a lot more preparation, destroyed that particular dracolich!

But yeah. A player had made a decision he thought was right and it changed everything. I think after the second PC died, I used that old saying of mine, "Your characters are in mortal danger." (Kaerri, do you remember?) I just could not see how the party was going to survive the fight and I didn't feel bad telling them so. By that point, they were coming quickly to the same conclusion.

So yeah. There it is. Accidents kill in my game sometimes (and again, this has happened in the party's favor too!). It's tough, but it's fair, and so I keep doing things the way I do! =)

House Rule: Action Points (taken from D20SRD.com; also used, adored, and appreciated in Sharseya)!
Game Master Notes: We are only using Action Points for their "Add to A Roll" benefit (see website link if you want further details - I have copy/pasted and edited only information relevant to our campaign here).
Action points also make it more likely that the use of a character’s most potent abilities will be successful. For example, although its overall effect on an encounter might be minimal, few things frustrate a paladin more than missing with a smite attack—an event that becomes less likely when using action points.

Acquiring Action Points
A beginning (1st-level) character starts the game with 5 action points. A character above 1st level starts the game with a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 his current character level. Every time a character advances, he gains a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 his new character level. Game Master Note: Previously unspent Action Points are lost, not accumulated. Action Points might also be given as a reward.

Action Points and Existing Games
Adding action points to an existing campaign is easy, since characters don’t need to make any special changes. Each character simply gains a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 his character level.

Using Action Points (edited by Dannigan)
You can spend 1 action point to add to a single d20 roll OR skill percentile check. Each 1 on the die counts as an extra 5% toward that roll. You can only spend 1 action point per action in the round. In other words, if your character has 4 attacks/actions per round, you may spend 4 action points, but only during your action or as part of a defense.
In other words, let's say a Player Character wants to sneak up behind another PC and steal her cookie (naughty PC for not sharing the cookie!). Per the GM, the sneaking PC must make a successful Prowl roll followed by a successful Strike roll to nab dat cookie. The PC can opt to spend an Action Point on either the Prowl roll or the Strike roll, but not both.
Let's say the sneaking PC steals the cookie, but then the victim realizes it and swings her Nerf bat on the thief's face! The sneaking PC (now the defender) may NOT use an Action Point to their defense roll (usually Parry, Dodge, Roll) if they used an Action Point for their Strike or Prowl roll.

None of this would have ever happened if the other PC had just shared... Oh, those PCs! =)

Add to a Roll
When you spend 1 action point to improve a d20 roll, you add the result of a 1d6 to your d20 roll (including attack rolls, saves, checks, or any other roll of a d20) to help you meet or exceed the target number. You can declare the use of 1 action point to alter a d20 roll after the roll is made, but only before the GM reveals the result of that roll.
Depending on character level (see table), a character might be able to roll more than one d6 when he spends 1 action point. If so, apply the highest result and disregard the other rolls. A 15th-level character, for instance, gets to roll 3d6 and take the best result of the three. So, if he rolled a 1, 2, and 4, he would apply the 4 to his d20 roll.

Game Master Note: Here is the table we will be using for Robotech: Broadsword.
Levels 1-5 use 1d6 per Action Point.
Levels 6-10 use 2d6 per Action Point (best of the two).
Levels 11-15 use 3d6 per Action point (best of the three).

House Rule: Diamonds of Fate! =)
Each of you now has a special character ability I am calling the "Diamond of Fate"!

Here is how it works:
1. At any time when your character has to roll dice, you may declare you are instead rolling your "Diamond of Fate." This is a single d30 roll which replaces any die or dice you are rolling.
2. You may roll this die for virtually any one roll, be it Saving Throw, Initiative, Strike, Parry, Dodge, damage, etc. (no, not Hit Points or S.D.C./character advancement rolls! This means you, D. Rex! Ha ha! =) ).
3. You must keep the results of this roll which are then added to whatever normal bonuses or penalties your character possesses. If striking, results of a Natural 20 still count as a Critical Hit while numbers above that are simply added to your Strike results. A roll of Natural 30 counts as an automatic success and if done as a Strike performs triple damage instead of double. A natural roll of 1 on the die does not count as a Fumble and instead counts only as a miss or failure.
4. Your character may only possess one Diamond of Fate at a time. Your character has one such diamond now!
5. A Diamond of Fate does not expire.
6. How are they regained? I'm not telling! 8D
7. Please add your Diamond of Fate to your Character Sheet below "Bonus Action Points" now.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Gang!

House Rule: Attributes are gained at the rate of 1 per experience level beyond the first (with limitations).
PCs may add 1 point to any single Attribute every time your character increases in level.

Restrictions: No single Attribute may ever gain more than 3 points using this method. You may not choose the same Attribute you selected on your previously-gained experience level (so, at 2nd level, choose any). This prevents PCs from raising one Attribute too quickly (usually P.P. or I.Q.). This also allows PCs to heighten Attributes that are difficult or darned-near impossible to improve (like I.Q., M.E., M.A., and P.B.).

Reasoning: I like the idea of PCs being able to further enhance and customize their characters this way and the Palladium rules do not really offer a method that delivers satisfaction.

House Rule: Combat (all) - Cover and Cover Rating.
Here's how Cover Rating works. Similar to Armor Rating, Cover Rating adds to the Strike total needed to hit the target (in D&D/Pathfinder - think of Cover Rating as Armor Class or Difficulty Class). The bonus from Cover Rating is added to the number 5 (since Strikes of 1-4 on a natural roll automatically do no damage). Therefore, no cover means a 5 or higher is needed to Strike, but Light Cover brings that 5 up to an 8. Medium Cover makes that 5 climb to an 11, and Heavy Cover requires a Strike total of 14 or higher just to hit the target. Indirect weapons that are lobbed (grenades, mortars, but not missiles) take a lighter penalty to Strike (Cover Ratings against them are Light Cover - Strike of 6 or higher), Medium Cover - 7+, Heavy Cover - 8+). The target in Cover can still defend as normal, but they suffer in Strike rolls when they fire from behind cover. Again, this isn't based on realism; it's just a mechanic I hope is fun and fair for all.

1. GM determines if the battlefield has cover and if so, what kind, how much, and where it is.

2. Players request to use cover (simply by asking). GM describes cover opportunities.

3. Cover is provided in the 4 following types:
3a. Light Cover - Strike of 8 or higher required to hit you; you have no penalty to Strike.
3b. Medium Cover - Strike of 11 or higher required to hit you; you have a -2 penalty to Strike
3c. Heavy Cover - Strike of 14 or higher required to hit you; you have a -4 penalty to Strike
3d. Total Cover - Character cannot be seen nor do they have line-of-sight on any opponents. The character can still lob a grenade blindly or the like (using those rules).

4. Some Cover can be destroyed. GM determines how much S.D.C. or M.D.C. the Cover has. PCs with backgrounds in crafting, weaponry, and the like have a solid chance of knowing how much damage said Cover can take or if the structure is effectively indestructible (GM discretion).

Ranged combat will take a little longer, but I think it will be a bit more immersive as people begin to think of how to act toward the cover in question. Do they run up and engage in melee or point-blank range? Do they use some kind of arcing attack like grenades? Do they just blow apart the cover? I don't intend on using cover with every battle - just the ones that make sense.

Answers to Player questions and thoughts
D. Rex: Can one dive for cover as a defense action, like parry or dodge? Or must one already be in cover to get the bonus?
Dann: Yes, if someone dodged (physically moved their character, Cyclone, mecha, skateboard, etc.) and if the cover were close enough, I can imagine allowing characters to "Dodge into Cover."

D. Rex: Will being in cover effect use dodge or parry stats?
Dann: Being in Cover does not affect Dodge, Parry, or Roll.

D. Rex: Can one use a delay action while aiming at cover to wait and fire at the opponent once they peek their head out?
Dann: That's called "Preparing an Action" and this assumes the character does poke their head out. If you're inside a World War II-style bunker or the like, you're literally in Heavy Cover. But if a character pokes their head out outside that cover for any reason, a character with a Prepared Action might possibly get a Strike on them with either less to no penalties. It depends on the situation. =)

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Silanon: One request: Could you give us an example for each cover type? Does it rely on the one who is shot at (like: does a mecha get less cover than someone on foot), or solely on the terrain in itself? Do shields of any form provide additional cover? Does cover rely on the weapon that's used, apart from indirect fire? Some weapons might be better suited to penetrate cover, will that be a thing?

Dann: Good questions! Allow me to use numbers as examples? To keep it simple, it's all size-related (as in how much of a person's body or mech or whatever is in cover). Light cover, say 25%. Medium, 50%. Heavy, 75% and Total 100%. It does not rely on the terrain or the target but the sizes of target and cover in relation to one another. So, a mega-damage car might provide Total cover for a person ducking behind it, Medium cover for a Cyclone in Battloid mode, and no cover for a destroid. The car is also only good for cover as long as its own M.D.C. is intact.

So, someone shooting a typical car (300 S.D.C. or so) with a weapon that inflicts more than 3 M.D. will blow that car away while the rest of the damage either passes through the car (if the roll is below the Cover Rating) or it might hit the target behind it (with a roll above the Cover Rating - the target, if aware of the attack, would still get a Parry, Dodge, Roll to defend against the rest of the incoming damage). Plus, one can specifically target the cover itself to wear it down or destroy it.

Again, to keep things simple, shields do not provide cover (just additional protection in the form of M.D.C. and often Parry bonuses).

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Captain Hesperus: Also, if M.D.C. car is unable to be cover for Destroid, pick the car up and use it as a shield.
Dann: I'd allow that! Or better yet, put the Destroid behind something it can use as better cover (like the hull of a starship or side of a M.D. outpost or what have you - cover comes in all sorts of sizes)! =)

House Rule: Combat (hand to hand) - Combat Ranges and how they work.
Combat Ranges come up in Real Life enough that I feel they should be part of our game. Strikers depend on distance while Grapplers will often take a hit in order to close that gap to where they're most-effective. Infighters can end a fight quickly during a clinch. These Ranges do not apply to Mecha Combat; only hand-to-hand.

Bruce Lee broke Hand-to-Hand combat down into four ranges: Kicking, punching, infighting, and grappling. In our game, I'd like to simplify it and keep it to three - Striking (kicking and punching), In-fighting (short-range techniques), and Grappling(wrestling in any position). Here's a description of each:

1. Striking Range involves all of the attacks where the limbs of the body can fully extend themselves for the most reach. Think Boxing or Tae Kwon Do. Nearly all kicks (especially jumping kicks) and most punches are O.K. to use here. Nothing close (like a typical Elbow, Knee, or Snap Kick) will hit because the opponent is too far away. Same goes for Grappling.

2. In Infighting Range, the opponents are too close to kick or punch to their limbs' full extension, so instead, they must rely on short-range techniques like the Knee, Elbow, Snap Kick, Holds, Locks, Body Flip/Throws and other close-in fighting techniques offered by their system (like Head-butts and Combination Grab/Kicks). Think Muay Thai during a clinch. Some non-damaging Grappling (like the Muay Thai boxer's Clinch) are allowed here.

3. Grappling Range is where the wrestlers want to be. Think Jiu Jitsu or Pankration. The opponents are now touching. Their limbs are intertwined in a position that could readily result in a slam, Choke, Hold, Lock, or other "hands-on" technique.

Special note: Being prone means your character takes a -4 penalty to all rolls except for Damage. The only exceptions are if the Character has a Grappling style which trains in ground fighting (i.e. Judo, Jujitsu, Pankration, a few forms of Kung Fu, and the like). These systems have no penalties when Grappling while prone (in fact, unlike many Striking systems, Ground Fighters are at home when fighting one-on-one on the ground). Everyone still takes -4 to Striking of any kinds.

In most cases, Striking does not change the Combat Range of the opponents unless special conditions are met. Say a Striker wants to use a Called Shot to knock their opponent down a flight of stairs or a Grappler wants to Body Flip/Throw his opponent into another opponent. These are maneuvers the PC must declare in order to achieve.

So how does Combat Range work?

1. The Combat Range is declared by the GM at the start of the fight (Striking, Infighting, or Grappling). From here, either opponent can declare any technique they want to use, but Combat Range is not set until someone is successful in their attack (or counter-attack in the case of Automatic Flip/Throws and the like).

2. Once an attacker succeeds in an Attack, the fight continues in the Combat Range used by that Attack. For example, a successful Strike keeps the opponents in Striking Range, a successful Knee puts them both in Infighting Range, and a successful Arm Hold has both opponents in Grappling Range). The opponents can choose to continue to stay in that Combat Range until the fight is over (the Grapplers continue to grapple, the boxers continue to box).

3. In order to change Combat Range, one must do two things: A. successfully defend against an opponent's prior attack AND B. successfully succeed in a technique that belongs in the Combat Range the defender wants to enter. Once this is accomplished, the combatants continue in that Combat Range until one of them attempts to change the range again or the fight is concluded.

Example: Sean (Sean the Striker) and Gary (Gary the Grappler) are in a sparring match. It starts in Striking Range. Gary, being a Grappler, wants to change the Combat Range. Sean wins Initiative and lands a Kick Attack against Gary. Since Sean's attack connected, Gary must take his Action in Striking Range. Gary wants to Body/Flip Throw Aaron, but he is too far away. Instead, Gary throws a punch against Sean (whether it is successful or not, the Combat Range is unchanged).

In the next Action, Sean attempts to use a Kick Attack against Gary, but Gary successfully parries. Now, Gary has the chance to use his Body/Flip Throw and change the Combat Range. Gary's Body/Flip Throw beats Sean's Parry, Gary slams Sean for damage, and the fight continues in Grappling Range on the floor (where Sean the Striker does not want to be).

What do you do about...

...Simultaneous Attacks? Simultaneous Attacks do not change Combat Range. The opponents trade blows in the Combat Range that they are in.

...Counterattacks? Here's where things can get complicated. It depends on the type of Counterattack. Counterattacks include any defense that causes damage to the attacker or puts the attacker into a throw, hold, or lock. The Counterattacks that take physical control over the opponent's body can change the Combat Range. So, a Power Block/Parry, Combination Parry/Attack, or Reverse Turning Kick don't, but Automatic Body Flip/Throws, Automatic Holds, or Automatic Locks do change the Combat Range if the defender's attempt is successful.

...Body Flip/Throws? Body Flip/Throws are unique in that this technique, if successful, can put opponent into a Combat Range of the Attacker's choice! Furthermore, right after the throw, the Attacker can decide to either go prone or remain standing as part of his technique. For example: Judy Judo is about to successfully Body Flip/Throw Mark the Masquerader. When she executes the Body Flip/Throw, she can choose to...

...throw him away from her and into Striking Range (perhaps into something, like vehicular traffic, which may or may not do damage. GM's call).

...simply hold onto him and put them both in Infighting range where her throw does no damage (but perhaps put them into a position where she can use Mark as cover against his gun-wielding buddy).

...take him to the ground which puts them both in Grappling Range (often called a slam, which does damage). Again, the Attacker can decide to remain standing or go prone. If the Attacker goes prone, that Character gets any advantage from the two of them going to the ground (for example: Judy Judo can then get into Mounted Position above Mark and go from there).

Heya Gang! The fourth and final Combat Range belongs to melee weapons. Any weapons, improvised or otherwise, that provide some kind of reach advantage in trained hands, creates a "wall of danger" if you will. In order to attack that person, you must first get past their weapon. This Combat Range comes into effect only if the following four guidelines are true:

1. One opponent has a melee weapon that can inflict S.D.C. damage (or if in doubt, can reasonably be expected to inflict damage). If the item in-hand can't cause damage, then it is not a threat and in most cases, can be ignored (imagine someone attacking you with a long empty cardboard box).

2. The weapon must be at least 1 1/2 feet (roughly 0.5 meters) in length. So yes to pool cues, broom handles, golf clubs, bullwhips, whirling lengths of iron or steel chain (not plastic). No to knives (not enough reach), hula hoops, blown-up balloons, and pool noodles (all reach; no damage).

3. The opponent must declare they are attempting to use the weapon's reach to advantage and they must be in a setting and situation where this is possible. Put another way, yes to fighting down a moving escalator/people mover, no to trying to swing a hockey stick while fighting underwater (especially with all of the lights turned off).

Note: The armed opponent does not require proficiency with the weapon they are using (anyone can pick up a small chair and try to fend off someone else), but as always, without the proper W.P., they take a -4 to Strike rolls and cannot make Called Shots. All of these guidelines are open to GM discretion.

House Rule: Combat (hand to hand) - Any character, regardless of training, can attempt a Stun, Knockout or Death Blow. Also, how "automatic" Stuns, Knockouts, and Death Blows work in Robotech: Broadsword. =)
Any character involved in hand to hand combat may attempt a Stun, Knockout or Death Blow. Their player must first "call" this for their character and if the result is a natural 20 on the die, they have successfully performed a knockout or Death Blow.. The opponent can then attempt to defend against this attack (either by parrying or dodging also with a natural 20 on their die). Or, the opponent in question can attempt to Roll with Impact and take 1/2 the intended effect (and in this House Rule, they must equal or beat the attacker's Strike total, though a natural 20 on the die is not necessary).

Reasoning: The Marvel Comics character, Wolverine, once stated, "It takes no skill t' kill." And he's right. Try taking a screaming infant out of the hands of an enraged mother or father. Whether the parent is skilled or not, they can still try to knock out or kill the would-be child-taker. This rule gives normal human beings the chance to do... well... what many normal beings would likely attempt in such a horrible circumstance. There is nothing more dangerous than a committed opponent.

The Roll with Impact option is present because sometimes players just have rotten luck on the dice. This option (especially if coupled with the expenditure of an Action Point *hint hint!* presents a decent likelihood of the PC surviving the encounter (stunned or with a broken and bloody nose maybe, but surviving!). =)

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O.K.. We haven't covered this (in fact, there is a lot we have not covered, but I don't want to flood you guys with information but answer as it comes up). "Auto stun/knockouts" is a confusing subject in Palladium.Here is how I work mine:

1. Boxing is the only Skill in my game that provides a Knockout on a natural roll that does not have to be declared! This means the Professional Boxer (that's Liana!) gets this ability naturally. Everyone else must state that they are specifically using Boxing for the chance at the Knockout. I know this is unfair, but Palladium can get complicated reaaaally fast and this is a simple rule that's worked for me.

2. When someone is on the receiving end of a Stun/K.O./Death Blow - good news! They (usually meaning you) get a Saving Throw! A Saving Throw vs. Pain with P.E. modifiers added in (if any) vs. Pain. Beat a 14 or higher and you're still conscious!

3. On top of this effect, damage is also done normally (big surprise; the Knockout Blow causes S.D.C. damage just like any normal punch)!

Reasoning: Nothing disrupts a game in progress (especially a tabletop game) than the dreaded "Death effect." As the Game Master RPing a PC opponent, I roll a die. It comes up Natural 20 and then your beloved character (who I like too, by the way!), failing to defend against it, is now out cold, helpless, or even killed. I have never liked this "one shot" game mechanic and I try very hard not to use it in any game I play.

Basically, in hand to hand combat, using strikes, there are two ways to knock out an opponent:

1. Declare that you are attempting a Called Shot to the head to knock an opponent out. Declare which technique from your Martial Arts system in you are using. Roll whatever natural number is provided by your Martial Arts system (for some systems it could be a Natural 18, 19, or 20). A Called Shot typically comes with a penalty to Strike somewhere around -3.

2. Declare that you are using only your Boxing skills to knock the opponent out using punches only. Roll a Natural 20 on the die. No Called Shot is necessary.

In either case, if the Strike is successful, the character rolls damage normally and the opponent must make a Saving Throw versus pain. A failure means they are knocked unconscious (typically for 1d6 minutes).

Understand that declaring a Stun, Knockout, or use Death Blow attempt on an opponent is basically a long shot maneuver and you're hoping the dice roll in your favor. Some people use this to show off, other people as an act of desperation.

Now to answer your specific questions:

Silanon said:
Question 1: Is this read correct? As an example, can I declare that I wish to knock someone out with a well-placed kick to the temple, or does it have to be a fist that hits the target?
You can declare a Knockout with any technique you want but you only get bonuses with attacks that your character is trained in. If using Boxing, The Knockout attempt must be done with a punch.

House Rule: Combat (mecha) - Damage from Hand to Hand skills apply to melee damage. Grappling skills can be used.
I will allow damage bonuses from Hand to Hand skills to be added to mecha melee combat. Also, if common sense is kept firmly in mind, grappling is also possible under many circumstances. Furthermore, because melee weapons in the hands of a skilled practitioner are essentially an extension of that practitioner, damage bonuses from weapon-based Hand to Hand systems are now allowed too.

Reasoning: It's fun and it's fair as it applies to good guys and bad guys, dedicated martial artists and those with a simpler form of Hand to Hand skill. My brainstorm on the subject is in Fat Gandalf's, near the bottom of Page 5.

House Rule: Combat (mecha) - Missiles fired at a target other than yourself can be shot down using a Called Shot.
A missile (single or salvo) launched at one target can be struck by another combatant if they perform a Called Shot (special rule: a total Strike roll of 12 or higher is required). On a special note: the combatant can attempt to launch a missile at the incoming missile(s), thus increasing the chances of destroying an entire incoming salvo. This is the only time a missile can be used in a Called Shot.

Reasoning: It is likely to come up sooner or later, so we may as well have a ruling on it here and now. =)

House Rule: Combat (mecha) - Range for most weapons has been effectively doubled.
1. I like the idea of doubling the range of mecha-based and power armor-based guns only. Not starship guns. Not personal weapons (small arms or anything with a W.P. attached to it). I think the ranges given in the books should be used as a base range and everything beyond that is basically your Character "eyeballing it" (not using computers for accuracy). For example: A GU-11 has a "book" range of 4,000 feet (1,219 m). It can shoot out to that range with full bonuses. It can also fire out to 8,000 feet (2,438 m) but anything above 4,000 feet (1,219 m), come with no computer-based bonuses. Just the PC's Physical Prowess Attribute and Skills alone (Weapon Systems +1 to Strike if they've got it. No Weapon Proficiencies).

2. None of this applies to missiles or rockets.

3. The only two mecha-based weapons I can think of that I don't want doubled are the MAC II's guns (both particle and projectile) and the particle beam cannons on the Tomahawk. They've got plenty of range.

House Rule: Combat (S.D.C firearms and explosives) - Firearms and explosives and the like do a portion of their damage to hit points (and the rest in S.D.C.).
In another idea I'd like to try, a portion of the damage taken by "lethal" S.D.C. weapons is taken as hit point damage. For each die of damage caused by a firearm or the like, one point of the damage dealt is delivered to hit points. Example: A character is shot by a rifle that inflicts 4d6 S.D.C. causing 14 points of damage. That character takes 4 hit points of damage and 10 S.D.C. damage.

Notes: Bursts count as a single wound for purposes of tallying up hit point damage. Both hit point and S.D.C. damage are doubled upon a critical hit (the aforementioned bullet inflicts 8 hit points instead of 4). Armor-piercing rounds, unlike their missile counterparts do not cause triple damage on a critical hit. When figuring damage for items that do not use d6s (i.e. 1d4x10, 1d6x10), use their equivalent in d6s (7 hit points of damage for a 1d4x10 weapon and 10 hit points of damage on a 1d6x10 weapon).

Reasoning: It doesn't take a martial artist to tell you there see a huge difference in the power of a punch and the power of a bullet. While no one wants to get decked by a baseball bat, chain, or anger-laden kick to the face, most folks would quickly take this if the alternative were someone pointing a loaded gun at you and pulling the trigger. In Palladium rules, all these attacks do S.D.C. damage, and yes, guns usually do more (as they should), but regardless of how much S.D.C. a person has, things like pistol rounds, explosive shrapnel, rifle rounds, and other clearly-lethal items should have an extra "fear factor," both medically and psychologically. I think bullets and explosives should be game-changers when they're used in combat. Just like in Real Life. There should be some heads turning when someone yells, "Oh, shit! He's got a gun!" This way, I think they will.

And if this doesn't work, we will just go back to the old way. That's the beauty of roleplaying. All this damage isn't real! =)

Note: At this stage, I do not want to include other obviously lethal melee weapons (swords, chainsaws, sledgehammers, etc.); just guns and explosives and the like.

House Rule: Dice are nice... (and we roll mine until we get a dice roller we're happy with!). =)
Folks, as you know, we have no RpN dice roller. As your fair and fun-minded Game Master, I require a method in which I can verify every roll made. This means I cannot use dice rollers from across the Internet as there is no way to doubtlessly prove the result. Why? Mainly because a person, if they so chose, could roll 12 times until they got the result they wanted and everyone in this game would be none the wiser. Not that I expect any such behavior, of course, but it remains my way to verify die rolls with my own two eyes.

So... as we've done in Sharseya, so shall we do here. I am the proud owner of a great deal of real dice. Each of you pick a color and I'll roll the one you picked here at my computer desk.

Doing this enables me to doubtlessly (there's that word again) verify the results of your roll while giving you some kind of choice in the tool deciding your character's success or failure.

It was difficult to choose 10 out of the dozens that I own, but it got done. So, without further ado, here are your d20 selections from left to right, top to bottom:

Dice Are Nice 0218172043.jpg
1. White
2. Silver
3. Yellow
4. Orange
5. Red/White
6. Smooth Red
7. Purple
8. Blue
9. Aquamarine
10. Green/Black

I'll post this in Shop Talk now, and in the future, I'll do the same for your percentile dice choices. =)

House Rule: Equipment - If it's not on your character sheet, your character probably doesn't have it.
This rule covers any obvious non-essentials. So, sure, each of your characters has things like their military I.D., a purse or wallet, their driver license, debit card, cash, a pen, smartphone, car and house keys, etc. No worries there. But anything that really isn't typically found on most people?

As the player, please request these things if you want them. Sunglasses, tablet, pocket knife, binoculars, walking cane, etc. These are things most people don't just reasonably carry around.

Reasoning: When your characters get into a bad situation, no one just "magically whips out the device that they happened to be carrying" and save the day. "Well," you may argue, "my character is an electronic engineer! Of course, he carries a high-end laptop everywhere he goes!" Then I ask, "Does that include the river you guys just swam through in the last scene? What condition do you think that laptop's in now?"

Or here's an old favorite. "Hey, we're locked in a room and can't find an easy way to get out!" "That's no problem! I'm playing a younh woman! Of course, she has several bobby pins in her hair to pick that pesky archaic lock in our way!" Really? When was the last time you saw anyone in their twenties nowadays using bobby pins to hold their hair? I'm not saying it's not possible, but items should be reasonable.

This sort of thing has happened enough times in some of my past games to cause headaches and thus it becomes a House Rule here. =)

House Rule: Fumble charts are active in-game (includes "Fails and Fumbles 1.0").
(GM Note: These are revised rules from those mentioned in our private conversation during the creation of Robotech: Broadsword.)

When any character (PC or NPC, enemy or ally) rolls a 1 on a d20 in combat, a second roll is made. If the second roll is 1-4, the result is a fumble! During skill use, the same is also true if anyone rolls a 96% or above on a percentile check for a skill roll, a second roll is made. If the second roll is 80-100, the result is a fumble.

In either case, the player then rolls percentile (or at the player's request, the Game Master will make the roll). The same fumble table is used for good guys as well as bad. The higher the roll, the worse the results, but some of our fumbles in our tabletop game have been more memorable than our critical hits. =)

Below is our combat-related "Fails and Fumbles 1.0" chart. Skill-related fumbles are left to your friendly neighborhood Game Master's imagination. =)


(Last revised 4 Feb 2017, loosely based on Palladium's "Good Hits and Bad Misses").
Fumbles are conducted using the following rules:
1. The attacker in question must roll a "natural" 1 on a d20.
2. The attacker rolls a second time; if this "natural" roll falls between 1-4, the attacker has fumbled.
3. Roll percentile with the following results:

01-09 - Goof up mildly and everyone sees it. 3d6 damage to personal ego. =)
10-19 - Slip and wobble (or the like). Lose your action while recovering.
20-24 - Become off-balance; -2 to all actions until the beginning of the next melee round.
25-29 - Spectacularly slip and bust your tail in front of everyone (or the like). Lose your action and fall prone (or in a similarly awkward position).
30-34 - Win an Oscar Award for Best Slip and Face Plant in front of everyone and their friends (or the like). Lose your action and the next and fall prone (or in a similarly awkward position). These are the kinds of eye-catching and humiliating "fails" popular on today's YouTube. =)
35-39 - Your attack strikes something that can only benefit the enemy (no damage to self or friends, but perhaps your strike causes the friend or ally nearest you to have a -2 to their next strike as they question your judgment, luck, or loyalty. Have fun with this one). =)
40-45 - Mild weapon targeting malfunction. Only P.P. bonuses (if any) and Weapon Systems skill bonus (if any) to Strike are allowed for that weapon for 1D6 number of attacks.
46-49 - Serious weapon targeting malfunction. Saving throw (DC 12 or higher) applies. If failed, the attacker may only use their P.P. bonuses (if any) and Weapon Systems skill bonus (if any) to Strike for that weapon until repaired (can be field repaired with a successful Basic Electronics skill roll or the like and 10 minutes of work inside the mech).
50-55 - Mild weapon misfire. Save vs. Misfire (DC 14 or higher, P.P. bonuses apply), failure means the weapon jams or is otherwise inoperable for 1D6 number of attacks (weapon returns to normal after this time has elapsed, either through a mech's software correctly fixing the malfunction or plain dumb luck).
56-59 - Serious weapon misfire, possibly resulting in a damaged weapon. Save vs. Misfire (DC 16 or higher, weapon bonuses apply if any), failure means the weapon jams or is otherwise inoperable until minor repairs can be completed (can be field repaired with a successful Basic Mechanics skill roll or the like and 10 minutes of work outside the mech).
60-65 - Serious weapon malfunction. No saving throw. Weapon is broken until repaired (can be field repaired with a successful Basic Mechanics skill roll or the like and 10 minutes of work outside the mech).
66-69 - Very serious weapon malfunction. External weapon is knocked away d100 meters in random direction. If weapon is internal, it fires, completely misses its target, and locks up until repaired (can be field repaired with a successful Basic Mechanics skill roll or the like and 10 minutes of work outside the mech).
70-74 - Debilitating weapon malfunction. Weapon suffers major electrical short or mechanical breakage (or both). No saving throw. Weapon is broken until repaired (repair requires mecha hangar with technical staff and proper resources).
75-79 - Attacker possibly stunned. Slip or suffer a hit or jolt and look dumb doing it; Save vs. Pain (DC 14 or higher, P.E. bonuses apply), or fall and be stunned for 1D4 attacks.
80-84 - Attacker possibly stunned. Stumble badly and suffer a hit or jolt; Save vs. Pain (DC 16 or higher, P.E. bonuses apply), or fall and be stunned for 1D6 number of attacks.
85-87 - Attacker knocked cold. Trip and fall or otherwise suffer a bad hit or jolt. No saving throw. Attacker is knocked out cold for 1D6 number of attacks unless revived by another player (reviving the attacker requires a successful First Aid roll or the like).
88-89 - Attacker knocked colder. Trip and fall or otherwise suffer a bad hit or jolt. No saving throw. Attacker is knocked out cold for 1D6 melee rounds (15-90 seconds) unless revived by another player (reviving the attacker requires a successful First Aid roll or the like).
90 - Hit self; half damage.
91 - Hit friend; half damage. If alone, hit self for half damage.
92 - Hit self; normal damage.
93 - Hit friend; normal damage. If alone, hit self for normal damage.
94 - Critical strike, self.
95 - Critical strike, friend. If alone, hit self for normal damage.
96 - Hit self and friend for half-damage. If alone, hit self for normal damage.
97 - Hit self and friend for normal strike.. If alone, cause critical strike to self.
98 - Hit self and friend for critical strike. If alone, cause triple damage to self.
99 - Roll twice, adding effects together. Rolls of 99 or 00 result in a reroll but not any more than two effects total. One can only roll once per effect. For example: If a fumble resulting in "weapon break" is rolled twice, ignore the second result and roll again until the result is a fumble with a different effect (become off-balance, slip, hit self, etc.).
00 - Roll three times, adding effects together, Rolls of 99 or 00 result in a reroll but not any more than three effects total.. One can only roll once per effect. For example: If a fumble resulting in "weapon break" is rolled twice, ignore the second result and roll again until the result is a fumble with a different effect (become off-balance, slip, hit self, etc.).

House Rule: Hit points (maximum hit points at 1st level, reroll results of 1 when levelling).
A new 1st level character automatically has 6 hit points plus their P.E. Attribute (maximum). Upon gaining an experience level, PCs may reroll results of one when rolling for hit points.

Reasoning: My games can be deadly enough as it is... plus this is an old house rule used back in some 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons games and I like it. =)

House Rule: Initiative - Ties and established party members.
When two allied characters end up with the same Initiative result (which is not necessarily the result of the die rolls), I have a House Rule that says those two may decide between them who goes first. This only applies in teams that know each other well ("established"). This is a benefit born of experience through teamwork.
If the two want to roll off instead of decide, they may do so. The result puts the winner up a decimal point in the Initiative ranking.
Here is an example: Two PCs get an Initiative result of 10. They roll off (straight d20 roll only - no modifiers). The winner's result is a 10.1, not 11. This way, there are no roll-offs with anyone whose Initiative resulted in 11. The loser of this roll-off stays at 10.
Note: The page I had this linked to got eaten when we transferred to RpN 2.0, so I'm rewriting the rule to make it clear and easy to use.

House Rule: Initiative (Rule of 1, Rule of 20).
Rule of 1 on Initiative. Any roll of 1 on Initiative means your character goes dead last (regardless of bonuses). Yes, this applies to bad guys too. This is in effect so creatures and characters with outrageous Initiative modifiers can still fall to the luck of the draw.
Rule of 20 on Initiative. Regardless of modifiers, any character or creature that rolls a natural 20 on Initiative goes first. In the case of two such rolls, characters roll off.

House Rule: Mecha (changes to the standard mecha/veritechs found in the books).
1. All mecha (including the Logan and Veritech Hover Tank) are two-seater vehicles. Like their trainer models, the pilot sits up front while a co-pilot or E.W.O. (Electronic Warfare Officer) takes the back seat. Unlike Real Life aircraft, I am allowing the back seat to both act as an E.W.O. and be able to pilot the mech should something happen to the pilot. The Logan is the only exception; in that mecha, the pilot and co-pilot sit side-by-side.
1a. All two-seater mecha have two storage lockers instead of one.

Reasoning: To be blunt, because it's my game and I want it that way. Also, this makes a lot of future adventures possible. What happens if everyone's flying single-seaters and a squadmate gets taken down? In Real Life, they might send a helicopter; in this game, I'd like the option of that pilot being able to hop inside a squadmates' mecha and be done with it (that's also a lot safer for any Search & Rescue helicopter crews, I might add).

The addition of an armor locker also improves survivability if the PCs have to run butt-naked into their mechs; well, I'd hate to be the poor VHT pilot driving around in Transport mode (in the open) without any armor! Wouldn't you? =)

2. All Valkyries begin as VF-1S models. The VF-1A and VF-1J are hereby considered older vehicles from the First Robotech War. Valkyries made after this war are VF-1S by default. HOWEVER, I am creating two types of VF-1S - the standard (VF-1S) and the command variant ("VF-1SC"). The command variant has the extra sensors and IFF suite described in Macross Saga. This version is rare.

Also, a co-pilot/gunner in the Valkyrie Veritech with the Weapon Systems skill may use the head lasers as a gunner during combat (to shoot down missiles or engage any target under 2,000 feet). They can also fire missiles with the pilot's permission (the pilot simply clicks a button providing the option of both pilot and co-pilot to have access to different missiles on the mecha).

Reasoning: What I'm looking for here is for all PCs stuck in the backseat of a Valkyrie to have some minor combat abilities (the ability to use the head lasers. And since they can do this, I'd like for there to be four head lasers - having only one or two just seems like a waste of time). That said, I don't want every Valkyrie out there to be the command variant. The variant can even further increase the already-formidable combat bonuses of the PCs. I'm seeing 1st level characters already with +15 or more on their defense bonuses, thank you very much. =)

3. The Valkyrie Veritech has the following wing-mounted hardpoint options: Each hardpoint can carry 2 long-range missiles, 5 medium-range missiles, 10 short range missiles, or 15 mini missiles or (if available) an ECM Jamming Pod (see spoiler).

4. The AJAX Veritech has the following wing-mounted hardpoint options: Each hardpoint can carry 1 long-range missile, 4 medium range missiles, 7 short range missiles, or 15 mini missiles or (if available) an ECM Jamming Pod (see spoiler).

5. The Logan Veritech has the following wing-mounted hardpoint options: Each of its two hardpoints can carry 2 medium-range missiles, 4 short-range missiles, 8 mini-missile/rocket MLOP or (if available) an ECM Jamming Pod (see spoiler). Unlike the missiles that prevent a Logan mech from safely transforming to guardian mode, the ECM is both light and flat enough to remain on its wing(s). I am upgrading the Logan because I'd like it to have this kind of firepower and because if I don't, it might get overlooked in the future for lack of ordnance.

(Paraphrased from the Macross Saga Sourcebook, big version, page 49 from the ES-12A Stalker aircraft).
ECM Jamming Pods

Making full use of electronic attack capabilities requires the Advanced Electronic Warfare (AEW) skill. Players can operate these systems without the AEW skill, but are at a disadvantage. Players with only the Electronic Countermeasures skill will be at -15% to operate the EWAR systems, and those with only the Sensory Equipment skill will be at -40%.

In game terms, electronic warfare is debilitating to enemies and players alike. To disrupt radar, communications and targeting systems, the player first declares what he's jamming, then rolls his Advanced Electronic Warfare skill. A successful roll jams one system (comms, radar, targeting, etc.) for 2D6 melees, and a player can jam as many systems as he has jamming pods up to his number of attacks with a range of 100 miles (160 km). A mecha or ship that is the victim of an EWAR attack sees its combat bonuses reduced more and more with each system jammed. One system jammed reduces all combat bonuses by 25% and the target loses one attack and (as) they scramble to compensate for the jamming. Two systems jammed reduces combat bonuses by 50% and the target loses two attacks. Three or more systems jammed eliminates all combat bonuses, reduces the target's attacks by half and the pilot is reduced to visual aiming of all weapons and can only fight what he can see with his eyes.

Reasoning: I do not like the "weight method" in The Masters Saga Sourcebook (at 5 pounds per mini-missile, an AJAX can hold 200 mini-missiles per hardpoint?!). It indicates that each of the four AJAX hardpoints can carry 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of ordnance; I am not about to sit down with a scale and a list of missile weight just to figure this out. While we were about to use Sherwood's method (AJAX and Valkyrie can hold the same amount of ordnance; 3 MRMs, 5 SRMs, 15 MLOP, Valkyrie can hold 2 LRMS, 0 for AJAX if memory serves), the longer I look at it, the more "unfair" it seems to both vehicles.

So... this tweak is my attempt at balance.

House Rule: Missiles and rockets are two different weapon types.
For purposes of our game...
All weapons that are defined as missiles (computer-guided rockets) have a bonus to Strike (+3 minimum, depending on the type). This includes mini-missiles.
All weapons that are defined as rockets have no bonus to Strike, though the device launching them might (like a scope on a rocket-propelled grenade). This also means rockets, unlike missiles (which always hit the main body of its target), rockets can be used to attempt Called Shots.
Also, it should be noted that because rockets lack internal computerized targeting, the rule of "Four or more missiles cannot be dodged" does not apply to rockets (any number of rockets can be dodged under most circumstances). Furthermore, unlike missiles, Automatic Dodge does work against rockets. As rockets do not have a guidance system, they cannot be fooled by chaff or flares.
Reasoning: A flying projectile without a computer guiding it to its target should not get the same bonuses as a flying projectile that does have a computer in its nose telling it precisely where to go and how to get there. Also, if a target moves, a missile can attempt to follow said target. If a target moves against a rocket, the rocket (just like a bullet) just keeps on going towards the next physical object in its way.
Plus... I just don't like the 2nd Edition rules where most missiles have no bonuses to hit whatsoever! Why not just call them rockets?

Important Notes: Zentraedi mecha do not use rockets, only missiles.

Just in case there are any misunderstandings here, for purposes of our game,

this is a rocket (specifically, a RPG or Rocket-Propelled Grenade):

And this is a missile (specifically, a Javelin missile):

House Rule: Missiles - Armor-piercing missiles cause triple damage upon a successful Critical Strike.
In Shadow Chronicles, page 241, in the Missile Combat section, right side of the page, this is stated. Since it is a hard-to-find rule, I am posting here that it is in effect.
Reasoning: Because Psychie asked and it's a rule I want to use. =)

House Rule: Missiles - Automatic Dodge does not function against missiles (except for Female Power Armor and Logan mecha).
Automatic Dodge does not work against missiles (except for incredibly nimble or small, flight-capable Mecha - the only two of which are the Zentraedi Female Power Armor units and the Logan Veritech). If attempting to Dodge a missile (or salvo of missiles), one must use an action.
Automatic Dodge does work against rockets (RPGs and the like).
Reasoning: I would like to try this and see how it works. =) I have excluded Female Power Armor units for their feared and legendary nimbleness. I added the Logan because I felt a mech on the "good guys" side should also have this ability and the Logan made the most sense for its small size and agility.
In this game, enemies have the chance at dodging bullets, lasers, etc. I think dodging a projectile that has a computer guiding it should be a little tougher to evade. I like the tension of missile fire (especially in Real Life, like when a surface-to-air missile is fired at an enemy aircraft). In the Macross Movie, during the Max vs. Miriya battle, Max definitely has to use up his concentration and time to evade one of Miriya's missile salvos. That was exciting to watch. Lastly, missiles already have lots of counter-measures (chaff/flares as free actions with 75% chance of success, shooting it down with another missile or with guns, having a buddy do the same, etc.). This can work in the PCs favor. If the PCs are cunning in their teamwork, they might run an enemy out of actions by firing missiles at it and once the enemy's actions are completely exhausted, BOOM! =)

House Rule: Missiles - Missiles fired in greater numbers increase the accuracy of the salvo.
For every four missiles fired beyond four, add a +1 to Strike to the entire volley. In other words, a salvo of 1-4 (normally-guided) missiles have a +3 to strike, 5-8 missiles have a total of +4 to strike and 9 or more missiles in a volley get a +5 to strike which is the maximum possible bonus. Reflex missiles fired in such a way use the same formula and have a maximum strike bonus of +7.
Reasoning: Each missile contains a small computer intent on flying into something or someone. I feel the more computers aimed at that target, the more accurate the salvo should be as a whole. Plus, I want large missile salvos to be just a little more accurate and therefore a little more scary. =)

House Rule: O.C.C. (Marine) Mechanized Infantry and Veritech PIlot receives two additional "O.C.C. Related" skills (instead of none).
I am adding 2 "O.C.C. Related" skills at first level instead of zero. This does not count the 2 other bonus "O.C.C. Related skills I've given all 1st level characters, for a total of four.
Reasoning: Just about every other O.C.C. I've seen thus far gets some "O.C.C. Related" skills. This O.C.C., as it reads, gets two M.O.S. (which is fine), but zero O.C.C. Related and 1 secondary skill. How is a player supposed to make a customizable character with only 1 secondary skill and no "O.C.C. Related" skills?

House Rule: O.C.C. Veritech Test Pilot (Valkyrie) automatically receives Mecha Elite Combat Training for Valkyrie.
This O.C.C. is an M.O.S. found in Macross Saga Sourcebook, page 118. This O.C.C. does not provide Mecha Elite Combat Training for the Valkyrie. Consider it added.
Reasoning: I don't think the PC should have to spend one of their few "O.C.C. Related" skills to receive MECT in the aircraft they are supposed to be skilled-enough to be a test pilot in. I imagine many test pilots who test combat units come into that field with combat experience, hence my including MECT in this skill package. Perhaps this does not mesh with Real Life, but in my game, I just want them to have the combat skill.

House Rule: Perception (this Game Master makes silent checks).
I have been rolling "silent" (GM-only) Perception checks for the players in Sharseya.
Reasoning: I do this because I see it both as a time-saver (no one has to wait on rolls or sit on a stopped story until the results are in) and because asking
PCs for a Perception check is a clear way of warning them something they don't know is out there and is hiding from them. Plus, when the PCs roll, they instantly know their result. Player One sez, "Oh, I got a natural 20. No one else needs to bother to check since I rolled that high. Let's have the other people in the party do something else while my character is searching." That is both not cool and not fair to the spirit of the game.
And so, I often roll PC Perception checks myself. There are exceptions (sometimes when they specifically request to examine something that requires such a roll. It depends on the situation; sometimes, I'll make the roll; other times I will ask the PC to roll in the post for all to see.

House Rule: Skills - Characters that start with "high-tier" skills also receive their prerequisite skills at no cost.
(Added 1 May 2019 in Chapter Five: A Show of Hands, Fat Gandalf's Bar & Lounge, post #311 and post #313).
Characters whose O.C.C.s begin the game with high-tier skills like Mechanical Engineer and Medical Doctor also come with the skill prerequisites, in writing or implied, for the skill in question. Some examples include:

Electrical Engineers need not select Basic Electronics.
Locksmiths possess the skills Pick Locks and Basic Electronics.
Mechanical Engineers start the game with Basic Mechanics, Basic Mathematics, and Literacy.
Medical Doctors begin with Biology, Pathology, Chemistry, Basic Mathematics, Literacy, and (in my game) Paramedic and First Aid.
Navigation: Space includes the skills Basic Mathematics, Computer Operations, Sensory Equipment, and Literacy.
Protoculture Engineers come with Biomechanical Maintenance.
Robotechnology Engineer contains in it the Reflex System Mechanics skill (as the latter is designed and engineered by the former).
Weapons Engineers begin with with Recognize Weapon Quality.

And so forth. All skills start at their base percentage in addition to any "Other" skill and I.Q. bonuses. This also goes for skills not mentioned. As always, the use of good sense is required for skills not listed here.

House Rule: Skills - Awareness (New Skill!)
Thanks to Psychie for the solution to Perception-based improvements! (See Post #192 in Fat Gandalf's: Chapter Two.) =)

Characters in Broadsword can select the skill Awareness to improve their character's Perception Rolls. Improvement works just like our House Rule involving Weapon Proficiencies. See the following description.

Awareness (Espionage skill)
Awareness. This training enables the individual to actively use their five senses in gathering information from their surroundings. Training includes trusting one's senses to accurately identify sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch sensations in situations where the character can reasonably make use of their senses.
Note that this skill is not passive in nature; Player Characters must declare when they are using it.
Base Skill: None. Provides a +1 Perception bonus at 1st level proficiency and +1 at every 3rd level until 15th.
Bonus: +5% to the Detect Ambush and Detect Concealment skills.

Reasoning: The idea of characters being unable to improve their Perception skills has irked me since I first learned about Perception in Robotech 2nd Edition. I don't like the idea of characters automatically improving (the vast majority of people in Real Life lack Awareness training). I do like the idea of the Awareness skill. Awareness is a skill, after all. Ask any police officer, medical examiner, K-9, detective, Boy or Girl scout, search and rescue pilot, astronaut, military reconnaissance soldier, etc.

As for Awareness not being a passive skill, in Real Life, people can only be in "Yellow Alert" for so long. Awareness takes concentration. Plus, everyone drops their guard sooner or later.

House Rule: Skills - Boxing's Extra Attack per Round now has a couple of friends. =)
Concerning Boxing's extra attack per round, taking any of the following skills: Boxing, Kickboxing, or Wrestling, results in a character receiving that one additional attack per round. This can only happen once (you don't get three additional attacks per round for choosing all three; you just get one for choosing any of the three. But the choice is yours; you're not stuck being a boxer if you don't want to be).
Reasoning: Not everyone is a striker, much less only a puncher, so why set such unreasonable and crystallizing limits?

House Rule: Skills - Combat Driving & Combat Flying question answered.
(This is from Post #256 in Fat Gandalf's, Chapter Four: High Stakes)

Re: Combat Driving/Combat Flying applying to dodging in combat in VHT tank mode. I'm afraid it doesn't apply here. After rereading it over and over, the benefits to these skills take place while attempting aggressive and dangerous maneuvers while in a vehicle "mode". I'm talking about the kind of driving/flying civilians are taught to avoid but fighter pilots and race car drivers are taught to embrace. Hairpin turns, bootlegger reverses, loop-de-loops, etc.

Concerning vehicle "modes," these get the green light - VHTs in transport mode, veritechs in helicopter or guardian or jet mode, Shirley's Corvette "Baby", etc. I say all get the bonuses. Destroids or Battloid modes do not qualify as they lack a vehicle shape as described by those skills. Nor does the VHT in Tank Mode with its top speed of 8 mph (I mean, how many dangerous and aggressive daredevil maneuvers can you make at speeds easily topped by someone riding a bicycle?). So I think Sherwood is right in that the skill works in transport mode only, but while in in that mode, it basically works all of the time.

Furthermore, I would also add a roleplaying element. Folks with Combat Driving/Flying can attempt dodges or maneuvers that are out of the realm of folks who lack those skills. Remember Han Solo flying through the asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back? Less-skilled pilots could not survive in that environment even in their smaller and more agile T.I.E. Fighters. Use your imagination. =)

House Rule: Skills - Gymnastics and Acrobatics keep their Climb and Prowl bonuses (as in 1st Edition).
In 2nd Edition, Gymnastics and Acrobatics provide the Climb and Prowl skill at a flat percentage. I don't mind PCs using that as a base percentage with +5% bonus per experience level.
Reasoning: So a 1st level acrobat and a 15th level acrobat have the same Prowl and Climb skills? I can see where Palladium rules are going with this (why bother purchasing Climb and Prowl separately?), but I honestly don't mind this alteration.

House Rule: Skills - Hand to Hand: Commando receives automatic dodge at 1st level.
Characters who have chosen Hand to Hand: Commando receive automatic dodge at 1st level.
Reasoning: HtH: Commando has automatic dodge. In the Shadow Chronicles main book, HtH: Commando states at 5th level, the character receives a +2 to automatic dodge. Well, that's great! But the book fails to say when they receive it. I figure the only reason a character gets a +2 to something is because they've been practicing it. So, why not provide the skill at 1st level? This keeps things simple and improves the attractiveness of HtH: Commando as a fighting system. Besides, the other HtH systems do not receive automatic dodge and I would like for at least one of the non-dedicated martial systems here in Robotech: Broadsword to have it as an option (albeit at the cost of 3 skills).

House Rule: Skills - Hand to Hand: Savate receives 3 attacks per round at 1st level instead of 2.
Savate begins with 3 attacks per round at 1st level instead of 2.
Reasoning: Savate fighters throw combinations equal to professional boxers and Tae Kwon Do artists and they start with 4. I've seen enough YouTube videos of this fast and combination-heavy striking system to be convinced of this. I do however think that giving Savate 4 attacks at 1st level is too much; their level advancement bonuses give them enough in the early levels of the game.

House Rule: Skills - Language. Characters raised in a multicultural atmosphere receive a bonus literacy and language skill.
Characters who are raised in a family where English is a second language (or one of two languages commonly used) receive one bonus language appropriate to the family background. Selections include literacy in the chosen language. Language & Literacy begins at 90% + 2% level of experience.
Reasoning: I don't like the idea of "charging" a PC for a skill that they likely won't use, but is clearly part of their character's background. For example, Hercules was born and raised in Greece, so he speaks Greek. If he didn't speak Greek, he wouldn't be Herc, but if he didn't speak English, he would have a major disadvantage in-game until he did. I don't mind an extra language if the player has put in the effort to make the character's background strong enough to support it. I think of it as a little reward for making a good background. =)

House Rule: Skills - Language. Characters receive two languages with literacy when they use an O.C.C. Related skill to purchase it.
This includes O.C.C. Related skills gained after the 1st level of experience. Plus, one language can be chosen at the time of level gain while the second language slot can be retained until the PC has another language in mind. Selections include literacy in the chosen language. Language & Literacy begins at 90% + 2% level of experience.
Reasoning: PCs are more inclined to select languages and therefore broaden their culture; I like using these rules as incentive.

House Rule: Skills - Learning a second martial art system.
(From Chapter Five, Fat Gandalf's, Post #39).

How to learn a second martial art system
1. You will need 4 or 5 skills depending on which martial art system you're going for. As always, they are listed here. You may take these skills only from the following pools: "Other" O.C.C. skills, Secondary Skills, and skills learned after 1st level. You may not take them from your O.C.C., R.C.C., M.O.S. or the like. If you have two identical skills from different skill packages, you may not take from those skills either.

1a. If you take skills that provided attribute and character bonuses (i.e. Gymnastics, Running, etc.), you must take away everything the character gained. If you rolled dice to determine a benefit (like S.D.C. or Speed, etc.), you must take away the number you rolled. You do not roll a second time. You are giving back exactly what your character gained.

1b. On your character sheet, please Strike Through each of the skills you have selected to swap (please do NOT erase them). Add the text "Swapped at <insert character level> for <insert name of martial system here>." I.e. "Bubble Blowing. Swapped at 5th level for Supa Funkay Monkay Dung Foo.

2. Martial Art systems are learned at the level they are chosen. For example: Bubba da Bruiser has Hand to Hand: Commando at 1st level, but at 3rd level he decides to swap out 4 previously-learned skills for a Tier 1 Martial Art system and thus gain a second, different, martial art system. That system starts at 1st level proficiency while his Hand to Hand: Commando skill remains at 3rd level proficiency.

In-game Mechanics
1. The PC declares during her first action of combat which Martial Art system she is using. She cannot switch mid-round. When the next round begins, the PC can either stick to their initial system or swap systems. If they swap, they then take on all of the combat bonuses, attacks per round, etc. for that system. Technique bonuses (Strike, Parry, etc.) do not stack (there is only one exception). Attribute and character bonuses (+2 to P.S., +20 to S.D.C., +4 to Speed and the like) do stack.

2. The PC can only use techniques from the martial art system they selected as mentioned above. This includes special attacks, defenses, weapon katas, and the like.

House Rule: Skills - M.O.S. Marine Close Air Support Pilot gets a bonus to Mecha Pilot: Veritechs.
The skill Mecha Pilot: Veritechs receives a +15% bonus instead of no bonus.
Reasoning: I am guessing this was an omission on the part of Palladium games, because as far as I can tell, every percentage-based skill in the Marine UEEF Expeditionary Force M.O.S. gets a bonus while the very piloting skill that Marine C.A.S. Veritech pilots rely on for flight has no bonus whatsoever. Isn't that what C.A.S. pilots do? Right there in the description, it states, "Unlike those trained for fleet duty, the Marine Veritech Pilots trains specifically for close air support of ground forces." If that's their duty, and every other M.O.S. skill gets a bonus, this one should too.

House Rule: Skills - M.O.S. Marine Close Air Support Pilot gains Combat Flying skill and loses Boarding Spaceships skill.
The M.O.S. Marine Close Air Support Pilot gains Combat Flying skill and loses Boarding Spaceships skill. The Combat Flying skill can be found in the Macross Sourcebook on page 120.
Reasoning: I am swapping out these skills because it makes no sense to me that a Close Air Support pilot would lack the Combat Flying skill. However, I did not want to beef up the M.O.S. by adding a skill, so I took out the least-likely skill, Boarding Spaceship for balance. Besides, as I understand it, Close Air Support pilots bomb and missile their targets so others can do the boarding. Also, Combat Flying is a skill found in Macross Saga Sourcebook and as such, might not have been considered when Palladium was writing up the Expeditionary Force Marine Sourcebook.

House Rule: Skills - Sensory Equipment, Weapon System, and Navigation skills are provided free (no skill cost) to military Mecha pilots (only).
All military mecha-piloting characters receive Sensory Equipment, Weapon Systems, and Navigation as free O.C.C. skills. If your Other O.C.C. Skills provide a bonus to "Pilot Related" skills, add this bonus to both skills.
No, if you already have the skills, you may not replace them with others; this is a benefit only to those Mecha pilots who do not come with the skills (I just bet someone somewhere in our game is going to ask this...). =)
Reasoning: I want all Mecha pilots to have these three important skills. In previous Palladium games, situations would arise where these skills were needed and mecha pilots were not trained in their use... By the rules at the time, all pilots could do is fight and drive. If they had a weapons or sensor malfunction or the like, they had to roll their piloting skill. This makes no sense to me, hence the change. =)

House Rule: Skills - W.P. Paired Weapons (Ranged) - New skill!
The W.P. Paired Weapons (Ranged) skill works like this:
1. Character must be 3rd level or higher to select the skill.
2. Character must possess either W.P. Pistol or W.P. Energy Pistol (it does not work with any other W.P.)
3. Benefit provides no penalty for main hand firing and -4 for off-hand firing (instead of -2/-6) when firing on two different targets. (Addition on 7 Sep 2019). When in mecha, there is no penalty when shooting both guns at a single target (nor is there one implied on the Ajax or with a Logan with two EP-20s).
4. Benefit also applies to mecha combat (again, pistol type weapons only like the AJAX arm cannon or the Logan's EP-20, but not the Spartas Tank's EU-11 rifle).
5. (Addition on 7 Sep 2019). In my game, characters without this skill shooting both guns at once cannot attempt Called Shots. Characters with this skill can.
Reasoning: Psychie asked and I liked the idea. The brainstorm is in Fat Gandalf's (Chapter One) on page 6. =)

House Rule: Skills - All Weapon Proficiencies (W.Ps) scale at the same rate of experience.
All Weapon Proficiencies that provide bonuses receive +1 bonus to Strike at levels 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15. All Ancient W.P.s that gain Parry bonuses accrue them at the same rate (thanks, Sil!).
Reasoning: This has saved me from having to remember which W.P. levels up and when. On top of that, I really like the idea of having that +1 to Strike happen at the level of skill selection (as opposed to having to wait an entire experience level to see a bonus). I will be adding that to Shop Talk. Thanks to Sherwood for bringing up the subject (Fat Gandalf's OOC, Chapter 2, post #90). =)

House Rule: Special Aptitude - The "Fearless" aptitude now increases M.E. instead of saving throws to Horror Factor.
(Found in Expeditionary Force Marines Sourcebook, page 19)
There is one selection among the Special Aptitudes that adds only to Horror Factor ("Fearless: 81%-90%).
Reasoning: I don't imagine we'll be using Horror Factor much (if at all), so if someone rolls that, instead of adding +1d4+2 to save vs. Horror Factor, I will instead add the result of that roll to the PC's Mental Endurance Attribute. Horror Factor will still be included on (my) character sheets as bonuses can come from other sources (like Hand to Hand: Commando).

Whew! =)
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