If you are interested in versatile, easy to use RPG’s, which are highly adaptable for many different settings, and if you don’t like overly complex mechanics Heroes in Time my worth a try. Now, that it’s new expansion, Mecha Clash is released a week ago we take a look at this RPG and it’s new expansion
Exactly a week ago, Starbright Illustrations released a new expansion for the Heroes in Time roleplaying game. Written by Brett Fitzpatrick, the Mecha Clash sourcebook expands even further on the very extensive setting in the core rulebook by adding rules and statistics for mecha to the mix.
How much extensive ? Well, the core Heroes in Time rules enable us to play any character from it’s world many time period/setting to form a player group. Even listing these eras are somewhat majestic : Primeval, Fantasy, Swashbuckling, Steampunk, Modern, Cyberpunk, and Space Opera.
The concept of the Heroes of Time RPG that heroes recruited from across the timeline of the game’s world to form a problem-solver group. As member of the Temporal Guardians they are ready to be deployed in any point of history.
For each setting, the core rulebook contains a detailed history and timeline, possible occupations and abilities for the characters, as well as equipments, adversaries and adventure hooks. Hovewer, many of these lists are without details, leaving things mostly to the Game Master in the end.
The system for Heroes of Time is very simple. As the developer formulate it, the theory behind the systems is that everything could simulated with simple percentile rolls, based on the chance for success. In my opinion it works nicely for skills, but somewhat abstract for combat. Especially since chance to hit/damage seems completely merged together.
So what we get in the new book ? Mecha, and lots of it !
First, we receive a great description in Mecha Clash about mecha in general, and also their usage in Heroes in Time‘s world. We get to know which armies use them, how they are deployed, equipped, and what are their uses. I guess nothing surprising here, but it’s good to recap the different uses nevertheless. As you may guess mecha are used for war, police, construction work etc., or some combination thereof.
The meat in the book is the detailed rules to create mecha on our own based on the rules provided. We receive a lost of options here, from basics like size, speed and weapons to more exotic features as tractor beams and transformation module. Overall I think this chapter is nicely detailed, and executed well, with only some parts I don’t like.
For one, it’s the different mecha sizes. They have only one in-game mechanics attached : they have an increased chance to hit smaller foes, and i think it’s not really explains their relatively high cost. At least I would rather add +100% to the on-board computer’s gunnery skill, than increase a 1 story high mech to 3 story tall for a simple 10% bonus. Also, having very big mech with otherwise identical stats seems more than a hindrance than help, but maybe I overlooked something. By the way, the smallest mech is microscopic size, and the insect size comes next. I’m not sure if these sizes are really suited for mecha, but building robots with the provided rules seems possible.
My second concern, that the simplified system for to-hit/damage there is no in-game differences left between different weapons apart from their range. My recommendation is to combine this with the weapon salvos rule on page 17 of the Mecha Clash sourcebook (increasing build cost accordingly), therefore simulating more and less powerful weapons.
We also receive some sample mecha with both detailed statistics and point cost, which is a great help is you want to build your own mech, or you just need some ready to use adversaries for your Heroes in Time campaign. as the rules provided for mecha use and combat are easy to learn, the whole sourcebook is easily connectable to an existing campaign.
Heroes of Time fans out there should definetly take a look at it if they are like mecha.
If you would like to take a look, both Mecha Clash and the Heroes in Time core rulebook are available on DriveThruRPG.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros