When I first created the concept of Twilight Galaxy for Alternity, I had envisioned mecha as being an important part of that campaign design, which I referred to as Footprints of Thunder. When I decided to scrap Twilight Galaxy and integrate the best parts into Arcanum of the Stars, the concept of mecha was one of the first things I chose.
Then the hard part reared its ugly head.
At the time, the D20 System was still brand new and there weren’t any hard rules for including mecha as part of my Dragonstar campaign. I toyed with the idea of converting BattleTech, which had been the originally basis for mecha design in Twilight Galaxy. The design was clunky to say the least. Then came D20 modern and the DUNGEON Magazine mini-games, specifically Mecha Crusade. I really like the set of rules designed for the mini-game. It won’t be too much work to convert the material in that mini-game to be compatible with the Dragonstar universe.
Another reference that will ultimately influence where mecha design goes for my Dragonstar campaign is the D20 Mecha Compendium created by Dream Pod 9. The mecha in the book were created using the D20 Mecha Rulebook published by Guardians of Order, Inc, which I still don’t own. However, GOO has provided a D20 Mecha SRD for free on their website, so I might not have to buy the book right away (or at all).
Several other mecha sourcebooks and campaigns have come out since I decided upon a hybrid of Mecha Crusade and D20 Mecha Compendium as the “rough” basis for mecha in Arcanum of the Stars. There is Mongoose Publishing’s Armageddon 2089: Total War, which I’m not as interested in as I use to be (it looks too complex for what I want). There is also still the idea of converting BattleTech material as I had originally planned for Twilight Galaxy. I bought the DragonMech campaign setting by Goodman Games published through Sword & Sorcery Studios but quickly became disenfranchised with it. It will not be a part of Arcanum of the Stars.
NOTE: Since writing this section, I have sold away my copy of D20 Mecha Compendium. I could not find a copy of the D20 Mecha Rulebook, at the time, and I decided against using the D20 Mecha SRD as well. For now, mecha design will be based on Mecha Crusade and anything that I can glean from Neo’s web site (see below).