Asymmetrical Warfare?

Hey, all.

Recently, I've been running a mecha game, with an unusual twist. The story's largely about a conflict between Earth and Mars, with both sides using Mobile Suit-esque giant robots in order to do battle.

The thing is, while the Martian side has a numerically greater force (i.e. they have Zaku-styled Mobile Suits), the Earth forces (the PCs) have extremely powerful machines that run on arcane scientific principles, allowing for abilities like gravity manipulation, vast plasma beams, personal teleportation, perfect invisibility and other 'weird' powers.

The concept is that the players are Apocalypse Knights - i.e. they're shock-troopers, with a small unit (up to 5 very distinct and unique machines) expect to take on and level entire cities by themselves.

I'm just wondering what could be done, game-wise, with this. I sort of aim for the fights to be equal parts curbstomping and tactical - the players are enormously powerful, but they have a really small force. (Their rules of engagement are simpler, since they're being dropped in to raze absolutely everything in their path.)

What could I do to keep this concept interesting? I'm going with the idea that the players are basically conducting massive-scale terrorist attacks, killing people in their thousands with highly destructive weapons (to break the spine of the resistance) before conventional forces flood in to finish the job.

Obviously, I'm going for a very dark, war-is-hell kind of mood here.

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Is there any reason why they are still using mechs to fight mechs, when the technology they've developed is enough to kick Martian ass on its own?

What's stopping them from wiping out Mars with invisible warheads, teleporting bombs into strategic locations or the cockpits of Martian mech pilots and whatnot? You've listed a bunch of technologies without realizing that just about all of them making conventional warfare pointless and give the Earth forces a landslide victory without ever having to utilize mechs.

Space Geneva convention

The machines are basically irreplacable. They're running off a unique power source that basically warps the fabric of reality. Also, you need a psychic pilot to power the death-machine - all the PCs are Newtypes.

Also, they don't want to destroy the Martian ecosystem. They want to conquer Mars, not turn it into a disaster zone.

Each of the super-mechs are highly idiosyncratic. All of them only have one gimmick each, and the technology can't be reliably reproduced. They're psychic powers.

Well you can just nuke the capital and be done with it no ?

I hear you, but you make me remember of an anime that had the same plot ; except that it was mars who had the upper hand.

One thing always bothered me in this anime : if Mars had such an advance in the mecha, why sink so much ressources into making shit mechas ? Just go ahead and build anti-mecha gun or shit like that.

When you are massively outgunned and out-technologized in a war, you shall not decide to build things that can't damage the enemy, just try to mimic it.

If you want some "War is hell", I'm not sure that space-magic is going to help, but I don't know your players.

Tell me, how the mechs go to their combat zones ?

>When you are massively outgunned and out-technologized in a war, you shall not decide to build things that can't damage the enemy, just try to mimic it.

I realized that my sentence didn't mean anything ; I meant :
When you are massively outgunned and out-technologized in a war, you shall not decide to build things that can't damage the enemy and that the sole principle is mimicking the enemy.

So, basically an evil version of Gundam 00?

Yeah, I saw that anime too.

Seems like Mars will be mostly using retrofitted construction mechas and everything they can throw together fast and cheap. So cheap almost frame only mechas, tanks, different kinds of aircraft with rocket engines.

Considering what players would use Mars will very fast drop using any armor - because it won't help in most cases. Unless said armor is very heavy.

Mars mechas - have enough armor to stop debris from explosions but won't come anywhere near stopping real weaponry. Armed with scrapbuild weapons. "Elite" units use all the mass that their mechas can bear to strap a heavier weapon and use actually good guns. Most of the time mars mechas try to attacks from the ambush and after attack immediately relocate using their smaller size to hide. Sometimes they engage in suicide attacks to allow for "elite" units to take firing positions and attack player mechas with best weapons available.

Heavy tanks - pretty easy to build. Have incredible armor by non-psychic standards and powerful guns that on a lucky shot can give trouble even to player mechas. But they are slow and can't manoeuvrer for shit. Martians try to use them in ambushes too or make false retreats luring players into ambushes by tanks that try to hit them at point blank range.

Aircraft - scout flyers and gun- missile-boats. No armor to speak of, incredible speed, a lot of weapons. Before every mission martians treat pilots to a good meal as best as they can scrap together because their chances of survival are really low. Especially for scouts that must constantly be on the battlefield from start to finish giving information on Earth forces.

Martians will probably sooner or later nuke one of their own cities while players will be there. If they won't be able to stop them any other way.

Considering that players will engage in wholesome slaughter of martian population it's a very probable outcome.

That really doesn't seem asymmetrical it is just steamrolling. Like sending a tank to kill a village in Africa.
For Asymmetrical combat there should be something beside shear numbers the martians have up on the PC forces especially if the pc goal is just cause as much destruction as possible.
Unless your players are super into that power fantasy that kind of needs to be addressed.

Well, there's no much you can do to make things interesting while they're on the offensive. Put them on the defensive. Assuming the Martians aren't stupid, they're gonna be using scorched earth tactics. Blowing up their cities with nukes as soon as your troops get within range, emplacing minefields, and potentially using civilians as cover...assuming there are any civilians and they're not partisans.

Also, attack their supply lines. Even if their 'mecha are using all energy weapons, they're going to need fuel and repairs eventually. Have the Martians attempt to intercept or sabotage any supply drops, and make especially vicious focused attacks on the most vulnerable units.
But do the Martians care? They may be willing to do massive damage to the ecosystem if it means victory, or forcing Earth to the negotiating table to prevent total defeat. If you want 'war is hell', have the enemy side willing to make -any- sacrifice for victory.
gets it.

As an addendum, if cockpit breaches are a thing, or your players ever have to leave their 'mecha, introduce them to biowarfare, gas, radiation, or weaponized nanotech.

Intercept Martian broadcasts about their actions and have them listen to their effects in setting. If they're supposed to be levelling everything, it doesn't even have to be propaganda. Gonna be lots of dead kids for them to angst about unless they are complete sociopaths in character and out.

> Tell me, how the mechs go to their combat zones ?

Mostly by orbital drop.

To be fair, the concept was very much inspired by the comic Uber, the part where a Battleship razes most of London.

The PCs are similarly there to fuck shit up.

Never read it, so I can't be 'fair'. Maybe try another example, or ditch referential examples entirely and just say what you want. If you don't want to challenge them at all, then making this thread was a waste.

Strike Legion.

>ctrl+f "Aldnoah"
Aldnoah Zero results


The Geneva Conventions are already a fucking joke, I can only imagine how flaccid and ineffective the galactic equivalent would be.

Jesus, these posts make me feel really fucking bad for the Martians. Why are you oppressing the colonials OP

Basically imagine a 20 level evocation based cheesed to the brim sorcerer going on a rampage in a modern city. With spells levelling whole city blocks. Lightning dancing through the buildings burning or even vaporising people, cutting walls in half with bricks flying everywhere and shrapnel killing more people.

By the end of the day around half the city lies in ruins and other half burns. Dead people around epicentres of attacks look like blood stains and a little further you can find them in all kinds of horrific states. Some of them are still alive, though not for long.

Because Earth is the Bad Guys.

>references a comic
>"ditch referential examples"
>references D&D/PF



OP here. The idea is that the Martians started the war with a colony drop. A large proportion of Earth's armed forces were wiped out, because it was dropped on America.

The Apocalypse Knights are reprisal attacks. The PCs are there to disrupt Martian industry and defenses, but also for revenge.

So far, the four PCs are drone swarm carrier, electricity absorber / discharger, gravity manipulator and dark matter generator.

It's actually very accurate.

He made progress, baby steps user.
I assume your players are gonna be less squishy than a wizard, because the answer in that particular context is a precision missile strike from outside his spellcasting range, an artillery barrage, or a nuke.

Again, everything posted in and remain valid unless the GM is just trying to fellate his players.

If the Martians were pissed off enough to colony strike America... Well, let me put it this way, anything that complete wipes out the country is gonna be an ecological disaster on the scale of the Chicxulub strike 60-odd million years ago. Might wanna dial that back a bit, or have the Martians make multiple strikes to completely wipe out Earth as stopping there just makes zero sense strategically.

So the nerve of the war will be space control, and everything else will be just fiddling around. The outcome is pretty clear and this invasion is just busy work, a large war of attrition.

As such, like already said, with that kind of setting, all that the Martian can do is scorched earth tactics.

Should I be a Martian, my primary concern would be to obliterate Earth Navy in orbit : they lose their air support and principal way of transportation. Just nuke the rest and be done with it.

Of course, with this kind of technology, it will call for an escalation that will lead to an all-out WMD war in my opinion.

So, my 2-cents opinion : the PCs must imped the Martian Space production and nuclear industry before the space fleet, their only mean of transportation and resupply, gets blown off in the sky.
You could also make it blow off in order for them to work their survive on Mars

I mentionned it here, but did not name it here :

If you're going for that elite commando strike force feeling then you have to remember that while your guys should easily win a 1v1, they win by fighting smart with right tools. If the plan is obliterate the city, why is the weapons of choice not always MOAB, nerve gas, or orbital kinetic strike? Even factoring in the rule of cool, it sounds like your strike team has too much firepower and support to ever really be threatened for real.

Now if they are the ONLY team on Mars and have to shatter the cities, hardened military installations, and maintain morale, supplies, and medical concerns for months? It starts to work. After they burn a few cities to the ground, Mars Command will want them dead and start pouring resources into eliminating them.

You might as well bring in the Minovsky particles and make this totally just a Gundam game, because otherwise everyone's question about why you can't just use conventional weapons is fatal to your concept.

The weaponry of OP's players is too absurd for Gundam. It would fit in better as something over the top like SRW.

If you can recall in MSG, Zeon was doing fairly well with their Mobile Suits until the RX-78-2/Amuro as a Newtype started wrecking their shit.

After that, the Zaku starts falling off in favor of whatever new Mobile Suit was being mass-produced at the time (Gouf, Rick Dom, etc).

Maybe try something like that? Have the Mars military throwing all sorts of wacky suits at the players in desperation to stop them. That at least gives you an excuse for your players to go visit/destroy a suit factory or something similar.

What system?

Did anyone ever play "The Fist of Mars: Zone of the Enders" on GBA? It's this scenario in reverse. The player controls a group of Martian resistance fighters against an Earth forces occupation.

Conceptually, the player is on the defensive and on the move, which explains why they are engaging with enemy mechs and not using other conventional arms; you can hide mechs whereas hiding the infrastructure for missiles or something is much harder, and you wouldn't want to use them anyway because your objective is to fuck up as little as possible.

The Earth forces want to effect an occupation, so, while they have fewer qualms about burning everything to the ground, they still don't want to wreck it all. It's also the case that the players are emerging onto the battlefield quickly, either because they are on the attack or because the players have been lured, so combat is immediately in close quarters.

It helps that the mechs themselves are powerful, but not world-altering so.

I'd also suggest, as an aside, that OP sizes down the mechs. Asymmetric urban warfare is complex, and oens up more tactical possibilities, because it takes place in 3D; you have a roughly flat plane at your level, but also have to contend with enemy movements and positions below and above, and your lines of sight are constantly restricted. Given big enough mechs, even big cities are essentially flattened to a 2D plane, because things are too big to move below and unless there happens to be a huge amount of very tall skyscrapers there's no way to move above nor anything but momentary impediments to line of sight.

So basically players land on Mars but martians fuck up their support fleet with some missiles and they are left on their own.

And from the Earth comes the order:"Kill them all".

Now players must survive and fuck up martian shit while Earth sends the second fleet. They'll also need to find and destroy martian anti-orbital installations so that second fleet won't get the same treatment as the first.