Metal Catgear Solid

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What I played . . .

. . . what I expected . . .

. . . what I got

Setting

It is 20XX and the world is at war. Not the big wars of fiction pitting tank corps against tank corps on massive frontages, but dirty little intercine conflicts as the world collapses under the pressures of continued globalism, nationalism, capitalism, socialism, accelerationism, conservatism and a dozen other -isms, all fueled by advanced technology. What will the Earth be like when it emerges from this? Nobody knows, certainly not you.

To be a great power is to be at war. To be a great power in the second half of the twenty first century is to be in decay.

The world has become global, the barriers between states breaking down through trade and communication. The world has become poor. The economic and environmental mismanagement of the early twenty first century have left the industrialized world a series of rickety titans, empowered by the steady march of technology but bought low by their apparent inability to understand what they have built. The super rich live in their bright palaces, looking out in despair at the land around.

Between the great powers stand the states of the periphery, impoverished by the failure of the global economic order. Resentful, desperate and often willing to engage in new and destructive technological advancement. The great powers fear those of the periphery will exploit their seemingly continual weakness and rise against them.

In this environment, what powers need more than anything is soldiers. Skilled, augmented, disposable, these troops are the weapons of the great powers, sometimes working for them, at other times mercenaries.

For many years you were part of this system, one of the elite of the elite. Then you found that even a queen is just a piece. Sacrificed to politics, you found new companions among your former enemies. Now you fight for yourselves and your sisters, soldiers without borders. You might die, but you'll never be slaves again.

Character Creation

This is what you should look at

MCS semiofficial system


Archetype

All characters have an Archetype. This is what is special about them and their core competencies (beyond shooting people, anyhow). In addition to skills and skill points, archetypes also grant Affinities; these multiply the effect from spending character generation points on the field in question.


Supersoldier

The simplest and most familiar archetype is the Supersoldier. These men and women are highly-trained and highly-skilled, often the veterans of elite national military formations. With minds and bodies honed to razor edges, they are in effect living weapons and are home on the battlefields of Sudan as they are of Camden, New Jersey. Many will have picked up some minor cybernetic ugprades or replacements.

Skill Points:  ?
Attribute Affinity: 4
Skill Affinity: 2
Cybernetic Affinity: 2
Equipment Affinity: 2
Power Affinity: 1

Themed Superpower

Nobody is quite sure what to make of these - unscientific nonsense like telepathy, unnatural luck, the ability to speak to animals or the dead . . . some people speak of nanomachines, others of ancient mysticism, still others of recessive and dominant genes. Most simply consider them mass delusions of the battlefield, especially since they seem to difficult to capture on recording devices. They may even be right.

Skill Points:  ?
Attribute Affinity: 3
Skill Affinity: 1
Cybernetic Affinity: 1
Equipment Affinity: 1
Power Affinity: 4

Cyborg

Cyborgization (also known as mechanization or simply 'borging) has become a mature science by 2050 and many fighters - and wannabe fighters - have replaced much if not all of their bodies with machinery. These posthuman warriors are stronger and faster than any meat body, but they are also often unfit for civilized company - it is all but impossible to disguise the fact that one is a 'borg.

Skill Points:  ?
Attribute Affinity: 2
Skill Affinity: 1
Cybernetic Affinity: 4
Equipment Affinity: 1
Power Affinity: 0

Hardsuit Pilot

Using much of the same mechanical technology as cyborgs, hardsuits are armored exoskeletons, ranging from power armor to miniature multiped AFVs. Most carry heavier weapons and stronger armor than regular foot toops, at the price of being bulkier than cyborgs and requiring more dedicated training to use. More importantly, you can walk into a bar without having half a dozen guns pointed at you.

Skill Points:  ?
Attribute Affinity: 2
Skill Affinity: 1
Cybernetic Affinity: 1
Equipment Affinity: 1 (5 Hardsuit)
Power Affinity: 0

Spook

Sppooks are the knowledge brokers, the intelligence operatives and shady characters that surround and bind together the myriad conflict zones of the 21st century. Some operate entirely from the shadows, others fight from the front lines with their own pet drones.

Skill Points:  ?
Attribute Affinity: 2
Skill Affinity: 3
Cybernetic Affinity: 1
Equipment Affinity: 2
Power Affinity: 1

In Depth

Powers

The source and nature of Powers is intentionally left unclear; they are meant to represent both the concrete superpowers found in fiction and the mythmaking, exagerration and 'I knew a guy'-ing that happens in real life; for example it is obvious that a man, no matter how beefy, cannot carry and shoot half a ton of Vulcan cannon and ammunition. However, with the appropriate Power, he can - and perhaps later, when the official records are written, it turns out it wasn't a Vulcan cannon at all, but a .50 caliber machinegun, and he only fired it in single shot. But for those there on the battlefield, it was a Vulcan. And that is what matters. Don't sweat if it's consensual hallucination, badly-edited memoirs or reality warping - it just is.

With this in mind, an important element for Powers is Banality - how likely your power is to work, based on the general acceptance of those around you to bullshit. Banality (at least in MCS terms) generally correlates inversely with proximity to fighting, with first-world cities full of those who've internalized the processes of informed skepticism highest of all - not to mention ubiquitous streaming Youtube uploads. Banality affects the blatantly implausible the most (gratuitous superstrength, necromancy, etc), affecting the merely unusual less if at all (surviving a surprising number of bullets, escape artistry).

Powers are also Themed - one does not get to simply pick a smorgasbord of whatever seems cool. Everyone with Powers must select one - and only one - Theme and can then select powers from that Theme. This limitation exists because MCS is not a superhero game, but a war game - Powers are simply one facet of that, not the focus.

Themes (incomplete!)

Minor

The Minor theme is a grab-bag of 'peak human' abilities; things that stretch the boundaries of just what humans can do, but do not break them. All of the powers from the Minor theme suffer from little to no penalty due to Banality.
Associated Powers: Snake Eating, Peak Sense, Healing, Hunch, Suppressed Presence

Superhumanity

This theme is mainly concerned with blatantly superhuman feats of athleticism.
Associated Powers: Peak Sense, Healing, Regeneration, Superstrength, Superspeed, Superjump, Limit Break, Iron Shirt

Animal Ken

Animal Kinship is a theme that centers around man's relation to animals, though it also includes the adoption of some animals traits as well.
Associated Powers: Peak Sense, Hunch, Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals, Empower Beast, Snake Eating, Beastial Form, Suppressed Presence

Mysticism

With this theme, the sublime and mysterious powers of the supernatural are yours to command - sometimes, for a price.
Associated Powers: Precognition, Illusion, Necromancy, Spirit Speech, Possession, Ressurection, Lay Hands

Psychic

This powerful and versatile theme offers a variety of mental powers at a high risk of Banality and mental illness.
Associated Powers: Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis, Precognition, Suggestion/Dominate, Telepathy, Mind Read, Illusion, Hunch, Limit Break

True Faith

You are clearly the inheritors of the crusading spirit - or a modern day Saladin.
Associated Powers: Ressurection, Lay Hands, Animal Friendship, Conversion, Iron Shirt, Synergy

Martial Arts

Orientalism is alive and well with this theme of powers imported from the highest peaks of the Himalayas.
Associated Powers: Chi Balance, Iron Shirt, Peak Sense, Healing, Regeneration, Chi Blast, Snake Eating, Superjump