The Dragon Knights of Io
If you’re here, it’s because you love big stompy robots. They come in many different flavors, from walking tanks, to nimble fighters, to giant robots made up of smaller robots. Each player character in CAMELOT Trigger is a knight who fights battles from inside a massive robot called armour. You can use these rules to build custom armour for your character, or as the basis for taking your favorite mecha setting, using Fate Core to adventure inside and outside the mecha—simply replace the word “armour” with mecha, and you’re set!
The Steps of Building Your Armour
• Assemble Your Armour
• Choose Systems
• Add Flavor
• Connect Your Pilot to the Armour
Step One: Assemble Your Armour Frame
A suit of armour has five equipment slots, corresponding to a specific body part. If you are using these rules for a setting other than CAMELOT Trigger, feel free to combine different slots for different shapes. These slots are mostly cosmetic, but visualizing your armour is the first step to walking around in it.
What are the five things you want your armour to do? You can decide on your own, or choose cool things from other mecha media. If your gaming space has access to media, have some inspirational clips play in the background. Take a moment or two to think about how the equipment works, like perhaps the gun on your back slot might be mounted on the armour’s shoulder.
CAMELOT Trigger features the basic design of “head, front torso, back torso, arms and legs.” A non-human design, like a snake, might be “head, front body, mid body, end body, tail.” The Emergent often use non-human designs to throw off knights trained to fight human armour. In your game, you may allow non-human designs or change the human armour configuration to something like “head, torso, left arm, right arm, legs.” The slots are there to help visualize the armour.
Example: Aaron wants to build armour for his Zodiac Templar. Since he’s taken CANCER as his call sign, he wants his armour to look like a big, upright crab. He selects a head, front torso, back torso, arms, and legs as his armour frame. If he wanted a frame that looked like a giant crab, he could have chosen top torso, bottom torso, pincers, legs and legs.
Step Two: Choose Systems
You may choose either an internal or external system for the slot. Each slot gets one major piece of equipment. Your armour has lots of cool gadgets, but the equipment highlighted in the slot is the best feature. Internal systems are things built directly into the armour. External systems are items the armour holds, rides, or wears. A gun on the arm as an external system means the armour holds it, whereas an interior version might be directly built into the arm.
Internal systems give your character a higher skill level while in your armour, replacing the skill, although you may use the character’s skill if it is higher. These skills also affect available consequences while in the armour. Each slot offers a spread of skills ranging from getting one skill at Great (1). For example, if you have Fair (1) Blast, you are better off with your natural skill.
Internal systems substitute skills to simulate two things. The first is a collection of smaller equipment that adds up to a bigger punch. Rather than working out the specifics of fire-linking weapons or protection tonnage, internal systems combine those smaller pieces into a single bonus, allowing the knight to focus on skills outside the armour. A game where everyone has a vehicle often features several characters who take that vehicle skill as their main focus. You can be a Great armour pilot by simply devoting a slot to a system that gives you that bonus—it doesn’t apply outside the armour, nor if the system is shut down.
External systems work like many stunts, such as giving you a 4) Blast and give it a weapon that adds 6) when blasting at long range.
External systems add bonuses to the pilot’s existing skill. If the skill is provided by an internal system, it adds to the internal system’s skill. External systems enable the armour to specialize in a battlefield role. These systems can be used multiple times on the same skill, so long as the specific situation for each system is different, or substitute one skill for another in a very specific circumstance.
Example: Aaron wants his CANCER armour to absorb a lot of hits. For his head slot, he takes an external system to reduce the severity of a consequence once per battle by spending a fate point. The Templars are known for their great skill at armour, so he chooses an internal system to give his knight Great armour skill. His back slot is filled by an external stunt that allows him to repair a system mid-battle. His arms slot is taken up by an internal weapons system that gives him Melee and Daunt at Fair. Finally, his legs system allow him to place a scene aspect on a successful armour defense with style with a free invocation.
So far, his armour looks like this:
Head: (Once per conflict, spend a fate point to reduce severity of a physical consequence by one step)
Front: (Great Armour)
Back: (Once per scene, spend a fate point to bring a system back online)
Arms: (Fair Melee/Fair Daunt)
Legs: (Gain a boost with two free invocations when you defend with Armour and succeed with style)
Step Five: Connect Your Armour to Your Pilot
Name your armour. It may be the model number, a classification, or even a personal nickname. Another common choice is a type of medieval weapon. This big suit is there to protect your character from hostile environments and the deadly weapons of a future war, so give it a cool name.
Also consider using one of your knight’s aspects to make a personal connection with your armour. This often comes with the high concept aspect, like Barrister the Bold, Champion of Europa! or Templar LIBRA. It could also connect with your Trouble, like Edge Knight or My Father Wants His Armour Back. Even the phase trio allows for some drama over the armour like My Mother Was A Templar? or Exiled to the Wreck.
Players who want to jump into the action can look in the setting section for several examples of pre-built armour. Swapping out a system or two is very easy, and moving things around requires only a bit of re-skinning. Adapting stunts to systems is also very easy.
• Focused (Great +4): These Systems illustrate a strength of the armour, like big guns, tough armour, and so on. Be careful about investing in too many Systems like these: if they are damaged in battle, the drop in skill can be the difference between life and death.
ˏˏ Quad Laser Guns (Great Blast)
ˏˏ Templar Meditation Chamber (Great Armour)
ˏˏ Plasma Chainsaw (Great Melee)
ˏˏ Fearsome Skeletal Paintjob (Great Daunt)
• Wide (1, 2): Wide Systems can be configured in two ways. An even split is a good mix of smaller Systems covering multiple areas in which the knight is found wanting. A tilted split shows something of secondary importance to the armour while shoring up a weakness.
ˏˏ ’Scout Scrambler Suite (Good Skulking/Average Mark)
ˏˏ Multi-Phase Plasma Rifle With Bounty Computer (Good Blast/Average Larceny)
ˏˏ Biosynthetic Enhancement (Fair Vigor/Fair Zeal)
ˏˏ Emergent Recognition Database (Fair Lore/Fair Mark)
• Broad (1/1): These Systems deal with weaknesses in either the armour or the knight. A Broad System boosts skills that are Mediocre when out of the armour. Knights who aren’t devoted to being crack pilots often have a Broad System to keep them alive during battle.
ˏˏ Basic Stealth Package (Average Mark/Average Skulking/Average Lore/ Average Lineage)
ˏˏ Trainer’s Loadout (Average Blast/Average Zeal/Average Vigor/Average Melee)
ˏˏ Balanced Tactical Build (Average Melee/Average Armour/Average Vigor/ Average Devotion)
ˏˏ Short-Range Attack Software (Average Blast/Average Zeal/Average Vigor/ Average Mark )
• Strategic (Overcome): These Systems give a bonus to overcoming obstacles, either built into the scene or attached to a knight.
ˏˏ Pneumatic Pitons (2 to Mark when dispelling stealth fields)
ˏˏ Streamlined Armour (Use Armour instead of Zeal when attempting to
overcome a zone obstacle)
ˏˏ Reactive Boosters (Use Armour instead of Zeal in a contest involving speed)
Tactical (Advantage): Tactical Systems create advantages on the battlefield or
assist in removing them from opponents.
ˏˏ Lockjammer Delta (2 to Mark when detecting armour that has the aspect Stealth Fields)
ˏˏ Double-Barreled Cryoblaster (2 to Melee when putting a Disarm aspect on an opponent)
• Offensive (Attack): These Systems enhance attacks in specific situations.
ˏˏ Plasma Mace (2 to Blast when attacking a target surrounded by Vassals)
ˏˏ Sonic Destabilizer (Use Daunt instead of Melee on your first attack in a conflict to inflict physical stress)
ˏˏ Holographic Sight (Use Mark instead of Blast to attack targets exactly two zones away)
• Defensive (Defend): These Systems enhance defense in specific situations.
ˏˏ Celestial Countermeasures (2 to Zeal against explosives)
ˏˏ Recognition Database (Use Lore instead of Armour to defend against attacks from Emergent opponents)
ˏˏ Knuckle Duster (On a success with style when defending with Armour, you may inflict a 2-shift hit on your attacker instead of getting a boost)
Choose “Combination Socket” as one of your Systems. When you combine with armour that also has the right Combination Socket System, the following occurs:
• The Combined Form has its own stress track, with one box for every armour that’s part of the combined form.
• The Combined Form gets a mild consequence for every pair of Combination Socket Systems in the Combined Form.
• Everyone determines initiative as usual for your game but the Combined Form uses the lowest value.
• The Combined Form gets an action for each active knight inside. Each knight may use a skill or System once in a turn.
Example: While traveling between the moons of Saturn, the GEMINI Templar are ambushed by brigands. After a round or two of battle, their stress boxes are filled, so they choose to join into their Combined Form. Any further attacks target the stress box of the Combined Form, and they may now take an additional mild consequence. After the battle, the Combined Form has taken two mild consequences of Dented Arms. When they separate, the GEMINI must decide whether each has a mild consequence, or if one takes two consequences and upgrades one to a moderate.
Siege armour is much larger than standard armour, built like a Combined Form, except it always stays in that form. Instead of a Combination Socket, the equipment slot is filled with Superstructure Pylons. The bigger they are, though…
• Siege armour has its own stress track, with one box for every segment that
makes up the massive craft.
• Siege armour gets an additional aspect for every pair of Superstructure Pylons.
A common choice is Massive Size.
• Siege armour is considered its own zone.
• Siege armour uses the skills of one commander.
• Siege armour initiative is always Mediocre (+0).
• Siege armour takes a number of actions equal to the number of segments in its
construction. Systems may only be used once per turn, but multiple Systems
of the same type may be built into different parts.
Example: The Medusa Moon makes a surprise attack against Avaluna Base. All armour attacking it get to go before it does, but then each section takes an action on Mediocre. The first segment rolls to attack an armour with Blast, then the second rolls to attack with Melee. The third launches escort Vassals, and the fourth creates an advantage using nearby wreckage. Finally, the fifth moves the siege armour to sit inside a different part of the battlefield.
Armour uses the knight’s stress track and consequences. Instead of tracking armour damage on its own stress, damage to the armour is represented by shutting down
Armour absorbs stress like consequences. The player chooses when the armour absorbs stress in this manner and which Systems to shut down. Shut-down Systems no longer provide their bonus or benefit: they are damaged or out of ammo, or power needs to be diverted to other systems. The armour can be used to absorb stress once per hit. The player may also choose to take regular consequences as well. Stress absorbed by the armour does not create a consequence. Depending on how much stress is absorbed, one or more Systems shut down for the remainder of the conflict. Stress applies to the character and not the armour, unless the knight chooses instead to shut down systems.
• Armour absorbs 2 stress: Defender chooses a System to shut down.
• Armour absorbs 4 stress: Attacker chooses a System to shut down.
• Armour absorbs 6 stress: Defender and attacker each choose a System to shut down.
BIG STOMPY ROBOTS VS. TINY SQUISHY HUMANS
The robots are the main focus of the battles in the mecha media that inspired the game. Ships, starfighters, and other vehicles of war are there to be stomped, or used as a momentary distraction for an opponent to strike at. Even the giant mecha that inspired siege armour aren’t much better. They may look big and impressive, but are just as susceptible to a hero’s “saving-the-day” laser blast as any bad guy. Without systems to shut down and absorb stress, anything attacked by armour is at a severe disadvantage. A battle between opponents of vastly differing sizes can be run with Fate Core rules without worrying about scale or extra modifiers. The smaller opponent can set up aspects like Hiding From View or Clinging to The Armour’s Side. The larger opponent can do the same with aspects like Rumbling Footsteps and Your Puny Blasts Are No Match for My Tellurian Armor! Ha! Ha! HAAAA! This makes uneven contests more interesting and manageable for aill involved. Alternatively, a scene of knights sabotaging an opponent’s armour could be run as a tense challenge. Skulking to get inside the armour undetected, Zeal to climb up the armor, Smithy to know what lines to cut, Vigor to get past the power core without harm, and so on. In the world of CAMELOT Trigger, attacking an unguarded opponent is considered a violation of the rules of knightly warfare. Knights are far more valuable as the subject of a ransom; those who engage in dishonorable conduct will be shunned by other knights.
Repairing Systems is a Smithy roll, with a difficulty equal to the number of shutdown Systems. If the Smithy roll ties, one of the Systems is tagged with the Aspect
Unreliable for the next battle.
Example: In his duel with Sir Melissa, Sir Byron shut down three systems. To repair all the systems, he must make a Good Smithy roll. If his total is Good, he must choose one system to give the Unreliable aspect.
While armour usually clashes one-on-one, there are often other ships, cruisers, and fighters on the battlefield. These Vassals can be used to keep your armour fighting longer. A Great (+4) battlecruiser has four boxes of stress. Each member of a starfighter squadron offers one box of stress. The GM may assign Vassals to zones or to armour at the beginning of a battle. These Vassals serve as extra stress boxes the enemy must punch through. When they suffer stress, they mark it in consecutive boxes rather than a single box.
Example: Sir Boris is accompanied by his honor guard into battle. The guard is made up of two small starfighters. He will take a 3-shift hit. Instead, he describes how the starfighters are destroyed by the massive blast and his armour only takes one stress.
These rules are included as optional ways to make the setting more deadly and gritty, as well as adapting the rules to other mecha settings.
Mecha transforming into vehicles is common in other mecha media. You can simulate transforming armour by selecting one or more Versatile Systems.
• Versatile: This System can switch between Focused, Wide, or Broad. Switching
between systems costs the pilot a fate point. You can turn a Great (3)/Average (2) Melee/Fair (+2) Blast,
and so on. You must pick one Skill that must always be part of the mix.
ˏˏ Bozon Pulse Array (Variable Blast)
ˏˏ Seneschal Autopilot (Variable Armour)
ˏˏ Multi-Blade Arm (Variable Melee)
ˏˏ Banshee Protobeam (Variable Daunt)
Not only does winning the battle advance the war, but to the victor go the spoils! The repair rules assume that armour will be restored to its original form after every battle with a quick Smithy roll. These rules also make it possible to take equipment from your fallen opponent for your own use.
Keep track of all consequences caused in a battle. Each mild consequence is one Salvage Point, a moderate consequence is worth two Salvage Points, and a severe consequence is worth three Salvage Points. Repairing a System requires one Salvage Point. Spend two Salvage Points to attach an aspect to a functioning System like Boosted that lasts for the next battle with a free invocation. Swapping in a new system requires three Salvage Points.