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Gunknight: Chivalry Extant

Started by Sidhain, November 19, 2002, 05:42:20 AM

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Playing around with my ITR system, I was thinking "what will I use this system for" a system without something to support is a skeleton without skin. And rather ugly to lookout, after playing around with it, I ditched it, and decided to reverse the concept.

Gunknight:Chivalry Extant is what came out of it, and while I'm just in the tinkering stages this is one of the few that is sticking and going into production (while I finish wrapping up layouts/playtests) for my other works.

Gunknight, is first and foremost a narratively supported "powered armor" (I.E Mecha in the more American usage of the term), that asks the questions:

 Can Chivalry thrive in a society beset by ill both internal (technology, discontent) and external (interfereance by other societies)?

 Can high technology be controlled by force of ethics?

And similar thematic elements.

So far I've got just very basic two page outline of what Gunknight is meant to do, and how its meant to work.

Three attributes


Each attribute will be given the following player defined elements

An Acting Tag, a Resistance Tag, and a Flaw Tag  (The first two broad, the last one narrow).

Mechanically the game rolls 1d10 to beat target number, how much it exceeds the TN returns Success or Failure Result--however a player who suceeds can narrate the success increasing it from an Average Success (default) to either a Good, or Superb! success.

Failure works similarly--a player who fails may reduce the failure by narrating the element it still is a failure but it becomes less severe from the default "Terrible" to "Poor" or even "Missed by a Hair"

Andrew Martin

I'm interested in Mecha. What do the PCs do in the game? :)

How ethics interact with the attributes and "tags"?
Andrew Martin

J. Backman

Quote from: SidhainThree attributes


How does animus differ from aura? To me, they both represent a person's spirit. Or is animus meant to be the person's "inner spirit" (i.e. how the person sees himself), and aura one's "outer spirit" (i.e. how other's see the person)?
Pasi Juhani Backman


If the game is all about mechs and mech suits, how do the characters attributes come into play?  I don't see where animus and aura meet big metal tech-suits.

Mike Holmes

Quote from: GwenIf the game is all about mechs and mech suits, how do the characters attributes come into play?  I don't see where animus and aura meet big metal tech-suits.

In lots of mecha anime, the strength of the mecha is all about the character's will to win. They drive the mech, and if they do it well, and with spirit then they win. I can very much see such stats being totally applicable. In fact, I wouldn't bother to rate the mecha themselves at all (other than perhaps a magnitude sort of thing if they come in vastly different sizes).

That said, I agree that the distinction of Animus and Aura is lost on me. That'll need to be clarified.

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Quote from: Andrew MartinI'm interested in Mecha. What do the PCs do in the game? :)

How ethics interact with the attributes and "tags"?

PC's try and uphold the ideals of Chivalry in a world that it doesn't quite fit (much like our own) taking the roles of Gunknights in the service and employ of a variaty of figures (but bound by certian oaths enforced by The Order--who control who gets Gunknight Mails (Powersuits).

I've not yet come up with an Ethical paradigm--I was focusing on the ethics as a lifestyle as aopposed to the ethics as an everday scene key (which my superhero game sort of approaches).

(Mind you I don't consider a game which mechanically demands behaviours to interact with the system necessarilly narrativist--on this level)

One which rewards the heroes players to narrate /is/.


When researching various latin variations of attributes I discovered Animus was in latin at least somehwat synonmous with intellect/sentience--in this case its the persons ability to willfully think to interact with intelligence, creative based elements/actions. While Aura represtents social actions and tests of self--the ability to influence others by presence from scaring them, intimidating them, manipulating them and calming them.

As to where they come into play well--like most /big robot/ anime' not all interaction is done entirely with the suits. Lots of interaction outside with other people, as well as somewhat extended battle of will/skill/self that transcend the actual robot self---the fact that two aces may work to psyche each other out instead ofd simply blasting each other and so on.

I guess I'mn odd in that I don't think /any/ RPG should only produce one ethical element, or one paradigm of interaction--instead they should be used to tell stories that /include/ certian elements, but without making those elements their sole focus of the game.

It's to me like the difference between Chess and Checkers--Chess has multiple levels of play, including your interaction with your opponant, your maneuvers of peices, and so on--but checkers simplifies that to focus mostly on the  attacking element.

I don't want to reduce the game to a game that only addresses one possible solution, test, or dilemma.

For example not every battle will focus on Chilvalry--some will be battles of wits, or will--while Chivalry should be followed for the heroes it's not the only thing the game needs to deal with.


Hi Sidhain,
I'm afraid I don't have any real insights for you as to mechanics and what not, but I feel a need to post to this thread.  Reason being, every time I see 'Gunknight' I accidentally read 'Gunk night' which is probably undesirable and counter to your intentions. :)  I would suggest either hyphenating (Gun-Knight) or capitalizing (GunKnight) your title to prevent confusion.

Spelling and grammar aside, it's a cool title for a game, and I like your concepts.  Good luck!


Eeek, we don't want that I was doing this Gunknight because I read as "gunite" or "good night" said really fast *L* but GunKnight is fine.


Superb idea, I would love to see someone tackle the mecha genre properly.   I have been hugely disappointed with the western rpg's emphasis on technofetisism and wargames – they seem to put a saddening amount of time into heat sinks, ammunition rates and tonnage of their mecha, missing the point entirely.  It should be all about anguished boys with spiky hair and the metaphysical dilemmas they face about the nature of war and suffering!

I once heard someone (mis)describe Patlabor as "top gun with big robots" who was then totally nonplussed by the second movie ("It was boring").   All too often western gamers and game companies seem to have picked up on this weird reading of the genre and obsess about the penis substitute aspects, missing the big picture.  Guess I shouldn't be surprised...

I applaud the de-emphasis of the machine, but I think technology should have some influence.  One of the running themes seems to me the ability of new technology to protect the 'little guys' (such as the prototype Gundam's ability to protect the inexperienced Amuro) contrasted with the personal toll this takes on those using the technology.  Perhaps the suits could have some simple stats  and perhaps a pilot's "seasoning" (I'm avoiding the word 'experience' coz xp annoy me) could interact with these somehow?

Anyway, I think a game mechanic for ethics or at least some kind of themes are vital to the setting.  Perhaps characters could develop themes as an alternative to spending experience points on skills?   "Prove myself to my comrades" or "Avenge myself against the Shabbi Family", or "Do the lesser evil to protect others from the greater" or "the value of chivalry in the modern war"  could  really be important, particular as many of the mecha battles really reflect the fight between competing ideologies or at least personal codes (Amuro vs Char) rather than the sides of the battle.   This also might allow for rapidly shifting loyalties and lay out the map of the series conflicts.

What I like about series such as Gundam is the lack of external moral compass, we really don't know if Jion or the Federation are the "good guys" – at the end of the day the pilot has only their own integrity and demons, and those of their rival pilots.

You could start with a big theme and develop subthemes.  So "Prove myself to my uncaring father" could develop subthemes such as:
"I will not run away"
"Compete with my colleagues, particular the bossy girl"
"Untapped reserves of unfocussed rage"

Could these work in pairs like Pendragon, I wonder?
So "Prove myself" is opposed to "Don't draw attention to myself"
"I will not run away" to "Save my skin"
"Compete" with "Teamwork"
"Rage" with "Love", and so on...

Anyway, I'm excited already.  Can't wait to see what sort of setting you are developing -Scott


Thanks for the concepts. In fact I've been working on including ethical challenges (Vengeance, Expedience) into the character write ups, whenever a PC overcomes one of the challenges to their ethics in a Chivalrous way they earn some advantage--I'm not sure yet how I want to handle it, whether as social accolades, Technical Advances granted by The Order, or simply a pool of points used to purchase/alter scene elements (Such as the characters finding out that the Wolfhead bandit leader is his long lost brother, or discovering his hated foe is also a rival for the affection of his "lady" and so on..)

Creating Ethical challenges for ones own character is going into PC generation I think.

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Quite a while ago, a fellow decided to adapt the Sorcerer rules to Gundam Wing. He anticipated a lot of add-ons, extra rules, mechanics for the mechanical stuff, and more ... and to his surprise, the system was already a perfect fit.

Sorcerer is only one way to go, though. There's a lot of room for new games like these.

What I'm saying is that once the ethical dilemma aspect of characterization is there, and especially if it's tied into the reward system of play, wham - the robot stuff just becomes "material" and stops being important, or very important at least, to the mechanics of play. I think it sounds like you're on the right track.

Spiky hair and angst, indeed. Don't forget the shower scenes.