I have a serious love/hate relationship with Wikipedia! When I read an article that intrigues me, and it links to something else I want to check out, I will start reading and I don’t realize that an hour and a half has just passed until I come up for air. I can start on something innocent, like reading about reviews of a recent movie that’s released, and wind up finishing in an article about the Treaty of Versailles or String Theory.
Having grown up in West Virginia, everyone around me loved NASCAR. I never got it. You are
driving around in a circle for a few hours. That’s not really something that appeals to me. Why would I want to watch that? Who cares? Even with NASCAR being the second most watched sport in America right now, it’s still not my thing, and I doubt it ever will be. I’m not a NASCAR guy.
So I’ve never really understood the world behind NASCAR. But then I read that wikipedia article, and 77 minutes later, a lot of things changed. I saw just how closely a lot of the NASCAR teams and companies really dovetail with a lot of the fluff on Solaris VII. I grew inspired by it, and now I’m looking to try out a new S7 campaign with some ideas from NASCAR to flesh out the stable system a little more.
What do I like about it? Let’s take a look!
The team that won NASCAR’s recent Daytona 500 race is Joe Gibbs’ Racing. It was the #11 car. That car’s history is spelled out in detail, over at their website, with how it performed in various races. I love that. I’ve always enjoyed the Succession Wars era of BattleTech and it’s concept of the BattleMech as more important than the pilot. You can always get another pilot. A machine that’s destroyed is gone for good!
I really want to push that concept with my new S7 campaign. I want to create backstories of every single BattleMech and give stats and profiles of various ‘Mechs. Sure, there are a few units that already qualify, like the Centurion Yen-Lo-Wang. But that’s often the exception, not the rule. With so many MechJocks coming to the S7 games, it’d be awesome to have a spin that emphasizes the machine over the pilot.
I’d also like to step outside of the fluff and add various quirks to the machines. This would be a great way to tie into making each machine very different. A Banshee run by Tandrek Stables could be different from a similar one by Starlight Stables, in part by giving them different histories, and also different quirks as well.
And I can shift the quirks of these designs as things change, to give it an organic feel. A unit that had it’s cockpit broken on a critical hit recently and the MechWarrior died in it could develop a Difficult Ejection Quirk and a unit that was badly savaged a few days ago might not be fully up and running so it has Exposed Actuators for a while until it’s benched.
There are other takes I like from the NASCAR world as well. The recent Daytona 500 saw Furniture Row Racing get 2nd place. Why is that interesting? Because unlike a lot of other companies that are “stables” Furniture just has one car, with one solid driver. I think a Solaris VII stable that has one really good, strong, historically interesting BattleMech with a solid pilot is an interesting addition to the world. And what happens if that pilot dies tomorrow? There are some fun plot lines you can push on the world that highlights machines more than pilots. I love the potential synergy. Thanks NASCAR!
What playing field do you imagine? A 4*3 maps area with the 2 maps in the middle as “no-trespassing-area” for the racers, filled with automated turrets and opponent Mechs which try to hinder the racers when they pass a certain range of hexes while following the track.
You’re not alone! http://xkcd.com/214/
When I was a teenager my gaming group would have Solaris 7 tourneys where we’d keep the same mech for a series of battles over the weekend. We would come up with names and backstories for the mechs, and the pilots always had bad, 80s Shadowrun style names; like Drax, or Mad Dog McClure. By the end of the weekend we’d have doodled sponsors all over our mech sheets — Surge, or Nitro Cola, and Jack Daniels or Lucky Strikes.
We didn’t have rules or quirks or anything, but you just brought back some memories and I thought I’d share. :)
I was set to run a Solaris 7 RPG campaign myself set circa 3025. With the players all just a group of young adults out on the Periphery, and one inherits a run down old SLDF Mech. The story is that the players hire a washed out drunkard former Mech pilot to drive the Mech in a series of Solaris style tournament but on the Periphery where there are very few Mechs, so they are facing industrial Mechs and then an actual Mech in the finals. The winner gets transport and a Solaris 7 contract.
I was going to leave everything open as to the morality the tournament. Do they sabotage the enemy? Do they fight with honor? When they get to what they think the big leagues are, they find the they are in the lowest ranking leagues of Solaris. But they also find out they are in a lost tech Mech that everyone wants to steal and reverse engineer.
So the players will have to court sponsors, manage finances, thwart the spies and corp’s from stealing their tech as well as stay clear from all the match fixing and organised crime. Oh and all the while trying to manage a pilot who is only sober when asleep.
@Y3050hippy That’s a great idea – my RPG group is ‘Mech combat heavy, which I generally like, but I do think playing in the universe with non-MechWarrior characters is fun. I tend to push my turns as game master towards out-of-mech adventures.
You had a great story set up! But it sounds like it never came to be?