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Running Mobile Suit Gundam in Mekton Zeta

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The following are rules modifications to the Mekton Zeta roleplaying game designed to allow it to more accurately emulate Gundam. These were written in 1997 by Mekton Zeta co-designer Ben Wright. Mister Wright is also the editor of the as yet unreleased English translation of the Gundam Senki Role Playing Game, which uses the Mekton Zeta system. Note that, when and if R. Talsorian releases the English translation of Gundam Senki, these rules may be superseded.

by Benjamin Wright


Campaign Voice: Serious.

Tech Level: Gundam is generally Tech Level 5, plus or minus 1 (depending).

Mecha Combat Skills: In Gundam, the seem to be only three truly relevant skills for MS combat. Gunnery, Melee and Piloting. Hand-to-hand and missile combat do occur, but they are sufficiently rare as to be absorbed into Melee and Gunnery, respectively.

Optional Rules

Anime Leaps: Not allowed.
Stats Above 10: Not allowed.
Skills Above 10: Allowed.
Missile Travel Time: Strictly enforced.
G-Factor: Always applies.
Extra Actions: (MZ+ p49) Is not used; use "Extra Crew" method.
Fuel: Always used.
Let's Active!: Not used.
Missile Priming: Not allowed.


Stat Generation: Stats can be generated however the Ref likes, but Cinematic Priamry Characters (with 70 points to distribute among INT, EDU, REF, COOL, EMP, TECH, LUCK, ATT, MA, BOD & NT) is recommended.

Skills: Characters can be Rookies or Professionals.

Psionics: Newtypes are handled very differently from MZ+ ESPers. Use "Psi Potential Stat" as Newtype ranking (non-Newtypes may have 0 in Newtype). Psi Points are not used. Active/Latent rules apply (especially Bonding), but Wild Talents do not. Note that some Refs prefer using EMP as an indicator of Newtype level, while others like to add NT to EMP. In any event, the character's Newtype level (NT) has the following abilities:

+NT to all Initiative rolls.
+NT to Awareness for combat situations only.
+NT to Piloting Skill only for determing Maneuver Pool (but you can only add as many points as your NT to any one roll).

Newtypes are also notorious for throwing psychic fits, with unpredictable results. Hence, the referee can grant a Newtype character "Newtype special effects," but only under special circumstances. Whenever the referee feels it is dramatically appropriate, he can allow a newtype character to exercise a Psi-skill. There are two ways this can happen: if the character wants to consciously perform a "Newtype special effect," and the Ref feels it is appropriate, the character may choose a psi-skill (again, approved by the Ref) from the list and then rolls his (Stat) + NT + 1D10 vs the defender's (Stat) + NT + 1D10 (+Luck, if added). "(Stat)" refers to the Statistic the psi-skill is associated with (Mind = INT, etc.). The results a re always left up to the Referee; whatever skill-level result the Ref likes is allowed. The other way such skills can be used is when the character is in an extreme situation. Then, the Ref can (if he wishes), tell the character to roll 1D10. If the result is lower than his (COOLx2 minus NT), then the referee can allow the character to choose a skill from the list of Psi-skills and then use it. Again, the results are up to the referee. Certain Skills are not appropriate to Gundam and should never be used:



Interpreting Stats

Height: Head Height (not overall) in meters/1.8 = Torso's Kills.
Dry Mass: If Mass Ratio number is not available, but this number is available, then build MS without fuel, ammo, missiles, external weapons & ditchable shields (note: Beam Sabers ARE included in Dry Mass, but shields and rifles, bazookas, etc. are NOT). Next, use Weight Efficiency to match Dry Mass. Next, buy ammo, external weapons & ditchable shields and apply same percentage of weight efficiency to them as was used for Dry Mass. Add the efficient weight of the ammo, external weapons & ditchable shields to the Dry Mass. The rest of your mass is fuel. This method is less precise than using the Mass Ratio number (below).
Loaded Mass: This is the mass you will use to calculate Fuel load, land MA and flight system cost/space.
Mass Ratio: This number represents mass of MS to mass of its fuel. If this number is available, divide Loaded Mass by Mass Ratio to get Unfueled Mass. Then build MS without Fuel, and use Weight Efficiency to match Unfueled Mass. Loaded Mass minus Unfueled Mass tells you how much fuel you have.
Generator Output: (Generator Output in KW / Mass in Tons) = Bonus to Maneuver Pool, thereby determining level of powerplant; if the amount is less than 0, then the powerplant is Underpowered. 0 - 16.6 = Standard, 16.7 - 33. 2 = Over, 33.3 - 66.6 = Super. If the bonus is greater than +66.6%, buy ACE to cover the remainder. Always use the exact modifier to MP that you get from the calculation (MSs can have HUGE Maneuver Pools); all Powerplants are Hot.
Rocket Output: Use normal propulsion rules to determine flight MA. Try to determine how much thrust is in each location, and assign Thruster spaces accordingly.
Verniers (or Apogee Motors): # of verniers / 5 = bonus to MV (nearest). # of verniers = spaces (use exact number of verniers, and try to figure out exactly how many are in each location). Important! If the MS has Magnetic Coating, consider the MS to have another +1MV worth of verniers (yes, you do have to pay for this, but the 5 Spaces taken by the extra MV bonus are Space Efficiencied -- 2.5 CPs -- to zero). Also note that Magnetic Coating grants "Efficient Transformation " (yes, you must buy this too).
180-Degree Turn Time: If the number of verniers (Appogee Motors) is not listed, but 180-degree turn time is (as with 0083 MSs), then use the following formula:
1. Divide 4.2 by Turn Time
2. Divide Total Rocket Thrust by Loaded Mass
3. Find square root of the result of step 2.
4. Subtract the result of step 3 from the result of step 1.
5. Multiply the result of step 4 by the Loaded Mass.
6. Divide the result of step 5 by 10.0; that's the number of verniers!
Armor Materials: Anything made from steel and/or titanium is Standard armor; Lunar Titanium and Titanium-Ceramic Composite is Alpha; Most Gundarium is Beta. Only Gundarium Gamma, its composite derivatives, and the armor of x10-Scale Mobile Weapons (such as the BigZam) are rated at Gamma.
Sensor Range: Buy Sensors with closest possible Range to what is listed, but use MS' listed Sensor Range.


Ranged energy weapons (Beam Rifles, Mega-Particle Cannons, etc) have their damage (and thus range) determined as follows: if the megawattage of the weapon is 10 or greater, 1mw = 1 Kill. However, if the megawattage is less than 10, find the "log" of the megawatts, then find the square root of the result. Take this number and multiply by 10 to determine Kills (always round nearest). Almost all Beam Rifles have a limited number of Shots and are clip-fed; the ZZ's Double Beam Rifle and the Gaza series' Knuckle-Busters have their own dedicated generators, and thus have Infinite shots. Scattering Mega-Particle Guns usually have a60-degree Wide-Angle effect, but note: Many beam weapons are tagged as "mega" or "hyper;" however, just a weapon is called a "Mega-Particle Cannon" or "Hyper-Megalauncher" does not necessarily mean it's a Mega-Beam Weapon (or a Hyper-Beam Weapon -- possible through cross-pollinating the EMW effect with a Beam Weapon; the SMT "Special Effect Weapon" modifier of x1.33 weapon cost could be used to do this). There is no hard and fast way to set whether or not a weapon is Hyper, Mega, Hex-effect or vanilla--inconsistencies abound; the Gaza-D has a Knuckle-Buster of 8.5mw, but the Ga-Zowm's "Hyper Knuckle-Buster" is only 4.1mw. Go figure; maybe the Hyper Knuckle-Buster should actually be given the Hyper effect... Anyway, remember that unless the beam actually engulfs the MS (like the ZZ's Hi-Mega Cannon and the Type-100's Mega-Bazooka Launcher), it's probably not a Mega-Beam Weapon.
Energy melee weapons (Beam Sabers, etc) add 0.1 to their Megawatts, then multiply by 10.0 to determine kills of damage. Almost all Beam Sabers have a limited number of Turns In Use and are rechargeable. Projectile weapons (Head Vulcans, Zaku Machineguns, etc.) take their millimeters of bore diameter divided by 8.0, then use the square root of the result to determine kills of damage (and thus range). However, very large-bore weapons (primarily, Bazookas of all types) have specially-loaded ammo (blast-radius, scattershot, nuclear, etc.).
Projectile weapons (Head Vulcans, Zaku Machineguns, etc.) take their millimeters of bore diameter divided by 8.0, then use the square root of the result to determine kills of damage (and thus range). However, very large-bore weapons (primarily, Bazookas of all types) have specially-loaded ammo (blast-radius, scattershot, nuclear, etc.).

Calculating MV and MR

In Gundam, MSs tend to limit their pilots' reflexes rather than modify them. Thus, the rules regarding MV and MR are handled differently. Subtract the MV from 10 (in the case of positive MVs, a dd to 10); this number is the MR, or Maximum Reflexes, the MS will accommodate. Compare to the pilot's Reflexes; in MS combat, always use the lower of the two numbers. Hence, a slow MS will hinder a hot pilot, and a hot MS will not meet its full potential with a slow pilot. A Positive MV (aka, an MR over 10) can only be utilized effectively by a Newtype.

Prohibited Systems

Refer to list below:

Energy Absorbers are not allowed.
Disruptor Melee Weapons and Ammo are not allowed.
Smart Missiles are not allowed; nor are Scatter and Hypervelocity.
Spotting Radars are allowed, but are visually-based.
Gravity Lens & Magnetic Resonance Lens are not allowed.
ECM & ECCM are not allowed.
Morphable Energy Pools are not allowed.
Reactive Shields may only be Interference-type.
Remote Control must be wire-based, unless a Thought Control system (see the Thought Control system's Entry) is used. Note that the second Psycho-Gundam, Puru II's Qubeley and the Queen Mantha had a "Psycho-Control System;" this allows a Newtype to operate the MS from outside the cockpit. Design this as a Remote Control System with a CM of 0.5 -- also add a dedicated Thought Control system (on top of the one already present, so +x0.1) to raise the CM to 1.
Gravitics are limited to less than 8 MA and cannot be efficient. Only the V2 has true gravitic propulsion.
Powerplants are always Hot. Splitting is common.
Controls are Screen or Virtual (Linear Seat); improved Linear Seats (such as those in the Z, ZZ and S-Gundam) are considered "other;" Controls are Reflex in G-Gundam.
Internal Automation is apparently present in all mobile suits (since all GMs were programmed with Amuro's reactions at Jaburo), but we only see a couple of MSs acting independantly: the Gundam and the S-Gundam, to be precis e. I'd give the Gundam a really good Internal Automation system, and I'd give the S-Gundam Internal Automation (with Thought-Control for the IA system) to represent ALICE. The only other MSs I can think of which have IA are the Zephyr Phantom, and Reon (both imitation Gundams from some sidestory comics) and the Blue Destiny, from the manga/games of the same name, which has a dead Newtype's brainwaves linked to the computer.
Cloaking and Stealth are not available.
Shadow Imagers are only balloon-Type.
ESPer Lens is used to simulate the Psycoframe, so only the Nu-Gundam and the Sazabi have this system (well, OK, maybe the F91's Biocomputer does this too).
Thought Control has many different breeds: the classic Psycommu system is a pure Thought-Control system, but usuable only by Newtypes. Quasi-Psycommu is exactly the same, but can be used by non-Newtypes (consider the Lafressia's Neo-Psycommu to be the same thing). The Biosensor (found only in the Z, ZZ and The-O) seems to be a big special effect -- stack an extra Thought-Control function (ie, +x0.1) and let the Referee meddle with the MS' affairs whenever appropriate; if you must, you might be able to rationalize this as a Turbocharger system, but I doubt it...
Techno-Organics and Lightspeed are not available
Teleportation is only available for the F91.
Transformables are available (As of 0087 in the Universal Century timeline:) Fighter, Hybrid and Submersible forms have all been seen. Note that by the Zeta period, all Transformables have Magnetic Coating, thus granting them Efficient Transformation.
Stupid Mekton Tricks: Special Effect Weapon is allowed, but very rarely used.
Scaling: It is important to note that Armor NEVER scales up (although its DC does).

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