Full Melee Burst House Rules

Scott’s Rules for Full-Melee Bursts

Original concept: June 5, 1996
Revision 1: December 1, 1996
Revision 2: September 22, 1997

The current full-melee burst system for the Robotech RPG is rather open-ended and vague (read: NO RULES!). The only place to find reference about it is under the Mecha Combat Rules (pg. 36):

“3. Continuous fire of bursts can often be maintained for the entire melee. While the full melee burst counts as one attack and does significant damage, that particular weapon can not be used against any other targets for that full melee.”

Using a Veritech as an example, it seems to say that a pilot with, say, four attacks per melee round can fire a full melee burst with is GU-11 at ONE TARGET at the cost of ONE ATTACK. This says to me that he could launch missiles, parry, or dodge, in any combination, 3 MORE TIMES during that melee round WHILE STILL FIRING.

Put this way, it seems really odd, doesn’t it?

In the TV series, we always saw characters using what I would consider to be a full-melee burst to spray multiple targets for the greater damage. This seems more true to the spirit. Considering this is usually done Rambo-style (both hands on the gun, shooting from the hip), parrying would seem to be impossible, as would making other attacks. (I don’t recall ever seeing one done from Guardian mode – or jet for that matter.)

So, in attempting to keep with the spirit of the nifty moves seen in the TV series, my proposal for full-melee burst follows:

  1. Full-melee bursts are ONLY possible in Battloid mode.
  2. Your first action in a round must be to fire the full-melee burst. If your intiative is low, you may not take any other actions until your turn if you wish to full melee burst. However, once into the burst, you have first intiative in further cycles while you are still firing. Full-melee burst beats a 20 after the first round.
  3. A full-melee burst will count for half (round up) of the mecha’s actions for the round, and be allowed to fire as many times. Use a full-melee burst’s worth of ammo EACH ACTION.
  4. In order to hit, a natural 8 must be rolled. A natural 5-8 on the die may result in a hit, but only deals short-burst damage (4d6). No called shots, no simultaneous bursts.
  5. The remaining actions may be allocated to SIMPLE dodges, and those require a natural 8 to not fail. You must still beat your opponent to be successful. Nothing fancy. (GM discretion)
  6. No parrying (both arms occupied).
  7. No other attacks. (Period – even if no one fires at you. No exceptions.)
  8. GM should allow the player to fire on at least ½ of the targets available in his field of view. Take this number, divide by the number calculated in rule 2, and that’s how many targets he can fire on with each of his actions.
  9. The player may allocate all of his FMB shots at one target within a round. This will deal double damage (2×6x10). However, due to the single-minded nature of such an attack, one of your remaining actions is used as well, and you may not dodge during that action cycle.
  10. If the PC is completely surrounded, the GM may elect to let the PC fire at all targets. Damage will only be short burst damage per target hit, but more than a 50% hit ratio will cause some of the enemy to back off. More than 25% kill will send all running for one round.

Have I scared you off yet? I know this seems really complex.

Let me try and run through an example.

I’m going to take some artistic licenses, and then explain the rules and rolls behind it. It helps, both for players and GMs to describe as actions rather than numbers. Also, this may prove to be an insight into theatre and fudging for some out there.

Brian Elkhorn finds himself facing off against 10 Zentraedi battlepods. No problem. Having seen them on radar, he elects to change to Battloid mode before melee starts. He immediately takes stock and lays into the first three pods he sees, obliterating two.

[Brian is a 3rd level VT Pilot (5 attacks/melee). The GM has him roll an RSI to locate targets. Once he has done so, he rolls for initiative, has the high roll, and announces his intent to perform a full-melee burst. The GM looks at the number of targets and, using rule 8, rolls for the number of targets Brian can fire on (at least five). He rolls using d6+4 (giving a range of 5-10), and allows Brian to attack 8 targets. Brian must use 3 actions (5/2, rounded up – rule 3), and the GM allows attacks of 3,3, and 2 (rule 8). Brian begins his strike rolls, hitting the three targets he declares. He destroys two, but only damages the third.]

He is only fired on by two pods, and one misses. Brian, knowing the general capabilities of his opponents, chooses to take the hit.

[With rare exception, Battlepods suck – so in this case, play them that way. None of the three that Brian hit chose to dodge, and the one that hit got lucky – both on the roll, and the fact that Brian didn’t dodge.]

[Melee action count – 1 of 5 used, body count – 2 of 10, 1 damaged]

Brian fires again, choosing to fire on two new targets and pick up the one he damaged earlier. All three are hit, all three die. He is fired on by three pods. One will clearly miss, two will hit. He elects to dodge only one.

[Same story – Brian’s playing by the rules – these Battlepods just suck]

[Melee action count – 3 of 5 used, body count – 5 of 10]

Last chance, and Brian only has two attacks this time. He picks off two more. The remaining three fire on him, and all three miss!

[blah, blah, blah]

[Melee action count – 4 of 5 used, body count – 7 of 10]

All three battlepods attack, and two will strike. Brian dodges one.

[Brian is out of options at this point. His full melee burst discounts further attacks (rule 7), so his remaining action may only be used to dodge, which he does to good effect. He may continue.]

[Melee action count – 5 of 5 used, body count – 7 of 10]

Brian is too busy watching the two battlepods and officer’s pod that will soon enter the fray, and suffers two solid hits before destroying two of the three remaining original opponents.

[Brian rolled really bad on his initiative, so the GM gave him a percentile chance to see the new opponents entering the fray. Because of this, the GM allows him up to six targets. Using rule 8, he declares that Brian can attack 5 targets – 2, 1, and 2. He waits, suffering serious damage, but gets his kills and sets up his later initiative supremacy (rule 2).]

[Melee action count – 1 of 5 used, body count – 9 of 10 (original), 0 of 3 (new)]

The new combatants enter the fray, and Brian destroys one of the new battlepods. The remaining pods fire to no effect, and the OP is on target but for Brian’s last second dodge.

[Brian easily picks off one of the inbound pods, and luckily only the officer’s pod will hit. Brian’s dodge beats the attack roll by a bare margin of one, thus the description.]

[Melee action count – 3 of 5 used, body count – 9 of 10 (original), 1 of 3 (new)]

Brian goes for the gusto and unloads into the officer’s pod. The OP, completely off guard, is caught head on and destroyed, the shrapnel taking out its companion. The remaining pod makes a half-hearted shot that misses – thankfully – as it retreats before the scarred, yet victorious techno-knight before it.

[Brian uses rule 9 and looses both remaining shots into the OP, losing his last dodge in the process. It has the desired effect, dealing enough damage to destroy the OP. The GM makes a percentile roll and deems that the BP escorting was close enough to catch shrapnel and diee. The GM fudges a morale check and the remaining pod takes a shot at -4 as it retreats, leaving a heavily damaged, yet victorious PC to gloat.]

[Melee action count – 5 of 5 used, body count – 9 of 10 (original), 3 of 3 (new)]

Questions? I bet. Here’s one that came to mind while I was originally typing this:

What if the gun jams? I don’t know why this thought came to mind… perhaps it’s my history with critical fumbles (natural 1 on strike rolls). Take all actions you haven’t used, and good luck.

Comments are welcome – thanks for reading!

Revision history

Revision 1 – as of this revision, I had been GMing my first group for close to 6 months. The revisions are flaws that I found, as a GM, that I didn’t see as a player. My original system was too easy (Player Overcompensation Syndrome), so I elected to tone it down.

Revision 2 – as of this revision, my campaign went on indefinite hiatus, and I’ve let a former GM of mine look at these. These revisions are his suggestions. Thanks, Colin! I also expanded the example to showcase a few more rules and show how I try to take the numbers out of the battle once they are rolled.

Full Melee Burst House Rules

Robotech Cadet Corps Elkhorn Elkhorn