I have been hard at work at SSMH, actually trying to create a readable “draft” of the manual while also working out all the mechanics.  Today I wanted to talk about the Structure of Play as well as the things that Inspired me in both design and theme.

First, let me show you a screenshot of my “Structure of Play” section from my draft.

And yes, I am calling the GMs Section of the game “On Next Weeks Episode”.  As you can see, I am trying to focus on narrative driven action and drama.  I don’t want the players nor the GM to focus on shopping trips, or tracking every day of travel, or anything like that.  Part of this was inspired by listening to the Podcast “Protean City Comics” where every episode of the podcast is treated like an issue of a comic book.  I am unsure if Masks by design is setup that way but I want SSMH to go with a TV Show styled format.

As you can see however I make sure to mention how you can connect each session together to create a full narrative.  I am also trying to use plain language to describe and go over all the mechanics.  Less is more in my eyes.  I want to guide but not force people to feel like they have to play a specific way.  I mean, if you want to have a long trek played out day to day you totally could and the game would work that way, but I don’t feel that it would be the best use of the game.

Now, I want to take a minute to talk about the media and games that inspired me to create this and the kind of design and style I want to promote.

Super Sentai Shows (Power Rangers!) – The archtypical mecha show for me growing up was the Power Rangers.  I loved watching the kids from Hill Valley go to high school, get into hijinks, help their town, and then eventually go into Ranger mode to fight some goons, and then get in their big ass robot.  I even had a few actual Super Sentai Show episodes on VHS from when I lived in Japan (I was born on a naval base over there, but moved back to the US when I hit 1 year old).  One of the ones I remember was Space Sherrif Shaider although I had no idea what this was when I was a kid.  I had subtitles and that was it!  The other was Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan.  I only remember cause the part where they yelled animal names.

Pacific Rim – If you dont see what I am trying to do here as being directly inspired by Pacific Rim I cannot help you.  Giant Robots fighting Giant Monsters?  YES PLEASE.

Armored Core – Back in the day I played the absolute crap out of the Playstation 1 series of Armored Core.  These games started as mission focused mercenary mech pilot games in the first two, but the 3rd (Master of Arena) was my favorite which was more focused on 1v1 arena battles, with missions to earn cash.  But all of them worked in a very similar way to what I am doing here.  You could swap out arms, torsos, heads, legs, weapons, and so one.  A lot of what I want to accomplish with my mech systems are based on this game.

Anime Mecha like Evangelion – Seriously.  Mecha anime are a thing.  I like particular ones but others I do not.  I was never into Macross or Gundam for example, but loved Gun X Sword (yes I am weird).  I still remember Van of Thursday saying “Wake up….Dann”.

So there you have it.  A little more about my weird little game.  Hopefully you all continue to find it interesting.

Thanks for reading, and Stay Nerdy.

Steel Strides & Mechanical Hearts: A Mechanized Tale RPG – Structure of Play and Inspirations
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