Spectres of Brocken - Quarto Edition
A downloadable game
Your mech is a sword, letting you cleave what you cannot tear with your arms.
Your mech is a spear, letting you touch what you cannot reach with your fingertips.
Your mech is a hammer, letting you forge what you cannot bend with your hands.
Your mech is an amplification of yourself, a shadow yet larger than you could ever be.
To play you will need: these rules, a character sheet per player, the moves sheet, pencils, index cards, some tokens (roughly 3-4 per player).
This is a game about ace mech pilots meeting on the field of pivotal battles and demonstrating how their mech’s abilities reflect their personalities.
Each player begins by creating a pilot. Give them a name, describe how they look, pick out a theme song. Then choose one Trait from each of the following categories or make up your own in each category.
- Convictions are deeply held beliefs and ideals that your pilot holds – Protect Those Important to Me, Be The Strongest There Is, Outrun The Past, Hit Them Before They Can Hit You, Don’t Die, We’re Stronger Together, Make Them Pay
- Instincts are how your pilot reacts to conflicts or tense situations – Take Away An Advantage, Take a Defensive Stance, Overwhelm Them, Strike First Strike Hard, Focus On The Larger Goal, Figure Out Their Weakness, Call In Support
- Potentials are talents or skills your pilot is developing, they’re not fully realised or mastered yet. As you choose your potential, also describe how and why they aren’t fully developed yet – Speed Demon, Deadeye, Strategist, Leader, Empath, Supernatural, Engineer, Adaptable
- Flaws are weaknesses or insecurities that your pilot is struggling with – Coward, Impulsive, Cruel, Cold, Haunted, Tempestuous, Guilty, Insecure, Arrogant
Next, each player creates a final Want that links their pilot to the pilot of the player to their left. This is something that your pilot wants from the other pilot that they are unwilling to give. Discuss with the other player to flesh out details. Choose from the list below or make up your own:
- Wants from the pilot to your left, but they won’t or can’t give to you – Friendship, love, recognition, support, trust, revenge, truth, protection, forgiveness, respect, power, connections
On the character sheet, there is space to describe and draw your mech and fill out your mech’s name and systems. Each System is linked to a pilot Trait. Do not fill in any of these yet, as they will be created through play.
The game will take place over two key conflicts in a war. At the start of each conflict, randomly assign the faction cards as evenly as possible to opposing sides. Each side starts with a number of tokens in their pool equal to the highest number of players on a side (e.g. if one side has 2 players and the other has one, both sides start with 2 tokens in their pool respectively).
One side of a conflict will then define what the conflict is about. They will get to describe a Stake for each side and write it down. Stakes are what each side wants from a conflict. The Stakes should be linked, but it is also fine to have very different Stakes.
The other side of the conflict can then describe where this conflict takes place, the key locations, and what resources and forces are available to support each side. They decide which side of the conflict starts with one additional token in their pool.
Whoever first comes up with their mech’s name and Launch Phrase may begin by saying that Launch Phrase. A Launch Phrase is something your pilot says when they launch into the conflict in their mech e.g. “Triton, good to go” “All systems green, Photon launch!”. Fill out the name of that mech as you launch and take a token into your own pool.
The First Conflict
On each player’s turn, after saying their Launch Phrase, they may make a Move from the list on the First Conflict. Continue clockwise until each player has made 3 Moves. Players may not take a Move that affects the same System twice.
When you make a Move, you may also frame the scene to describe the Move.
Once all players have made their Moves, evaluate the number of tokens in each side’s pool. The side with the higher number of tokens wins the conflict and fulfils their Stake. If there is a tie, the conflict ends in a stalemate. Then each player who has less tokens in their pool than their side’s pool must choose one of their Traits with no linked System filled in and modify or change it. Other players may choose to do the same, but it is not required. Then clear each side’s pool of tokens and move on to the Second Conflict.
The Second Conflict
Repeat the setup for the conflict, and when a player says their Launch Phrase, they may also update the name and look of their mech. This could be a new name or an updated model number e.g. “Triton Mark II”, “Photon Blazing”. Players keep their tokens from the previous conflict and still gain a new token when they launch. Each player then makes 3 Moves as before but may now use the new moves in the Second Conflict.
After evaluating the Second Conflict, each player narrates a short epilogue for what happens to their pilot and faction after the war.
The PDFs below contain the Moves reference sheet, the Character sheet, and a combined document with the rules, Moves and Character sheet.
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