A downloadable mecha roleplaying game

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Claim a Better Future!

In a ruined and terraformed world where most of humanity is under the yoke of a brutal regime, the former workers of a once-remote factory - now known as The Collective - have risen up to create a future of freedom from oppression. You are an Ace - a highly skilled pilot referred from a Division in The Collective and assigned a humanoid combat vehicle known as a Frame. You and your Strike Team of fellow Aces must take on The Collective’s greatest threats, ensure its survival, and carve a path for its continued success.

Rules-Light Tactics

APOCALYPSE FRAME is designed to be very fast to pick up and play, and it's suitable for both one-shots and extended campaigns. Combat is quick, punchy, and deadly for Aces' enemies. This game includes:

  • A very simple three-attribute resolution system that only needs d6's.
  • Nine Frames with unique traits and abilities.
  • Tactical rules simple enough to use without a grid (though a hex grid is recommended) but deep enough to maintain interest over time.
  • A modular loadout system that provides great flexibility for your Frame with low bookkeeping.
  • A host of threats for your Aces to defeat:
    • 21 standard enemies.
    • 4 Prime enemies - deadly threats who can be used as bosses and prominent antagonists.
    • 2 Colossus enemies - enormous threats who can be the centerpiece of a battle.
  • Advice on running the game and customizing the setting to fit your preferences.
  • A campaign system with varied kinds of missions and rewards that provides texture and structure to longer-running games.

Rundown

Want a quick overview of the game? You can check out dragonkid11's excellent video here!

ACES HIGH is out!

ACES HIGH, the expansion/companion to APOCALYPSE FRAME, is now included for everyone who has APOCALYPSE FRAME! This includes:

  • 6 Experimental Armaments, 6 Experimental Modular Systems, and 3 Experimental Frames (which include new Integral Systems, Integral Traits, and Build Traits), in addition to many Superior Tags and Drawback Tags.
  • Some notes on running APOCALYPSE FRAME as a campaign, including Crisis Advances (making your enemies stronger over time, including 3 new standard enemies) and Ace Advances (new benefits and functionality to improve your Aces over time).
  • Tyrants! These are dangerous prey for a Strike Team - they’re nasty boss enemies you can use for special occasions that are meant to be treated as equals. 10 Tyrants are included, as well as advice on making your own

Other content

Ballad of Industrial Gods, an expansive mission, is out now! You can check that out here!

The Infected World, a 4-part season of content about exploration and dealing with other people, has concluded and is available here!

An Illuminated Mecha RPG

This game is Illuminated by LUMEN, based on the LUMEN RPG system designed by Spencer Campbell, Gila RPGs. This game is in no way affiliated with Spencer Campbell or Gila RPGs.

Influences

I was most influenced by:

  • LUMEN/LIGHT, clearly!
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (parts of it, anyhow) had a ton of influence on the concept and prospective missions and enemies.
  • Armored Core was an inspiration for the speed of play and modularity of Frames, as well as the moment-to-moment feel in general.
  • Battletech gave me the idea of using hexes and lent some inspiration for how initial/canonical Frame loadouts are laid out.
  • XCOM was an unexpected and unintentional (but ultimately welcome) influence for campaign flow.

Discord

If you're looking to find games or like-minded people, there's a discord for my games at https://discord.gg/vF3z2r3n29 . Hope to see you there!

Purchase

Get this mecha roleplaying game and 33 more for $10.00 USD
View bundle
Buy Now$15.00 USD or more

In order to download this mecha roleplaying game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $15 USD. You will get access to the following files:

apocalypse_frame_v0.4.1.zip 2 MB
apocalypse_frame_aces_high_v0.4.1.zip 498 kB
fari_pregens_v0.4.1.zip 51 kB

Exclusive content

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Community Copy

If you want to check this out without paying for whatever reason, help yourself to a copy here. If you like what you see, though, please consider purchasing a copy - every purchase adds a community copy to the pool for others.

Development log

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Comments

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About Drops.

They are mentioned several times, but we encounter the rule only at page 15, under GM Turn. I suggest to turn that part into a specific paragraph with its title (Drops, or something like that...).

Also, about the usage, and the meaning in fiction, let me ask if I'm getting them right. Let's say I defeat a couple of enemies (side note: defeat isn't a coded word, in the book, I suppose you could stay with Taken Out), both at Far distance. Then, it's GM turn: he activate his mecha, then at the end of his phase he rolls for the Drops. Are those Drops something not entirely rooted in fiction? Are those more meta-gamey? I mean, those Drops aren't located in the hex where I defeated the enemies, nor the Aces need to retrieve them, correct? Are they simply a sort of videogame bonus directly applied to the Aces that want them?

If this is the way, then you could add a little bit of details about their nature, and/or put an optional rule that root them more in fiction, ie. the Drops are described as real useful stuff really... dropping... on the battlefield by the wasted enemies, and the Aces at least need to move to that hex to retrieve/use them. Useful? Or maybe not in the spirit with the simple, low book-keeping, nature of the game? However, more info about them should be useful, imho.

PS: about the Ace Turn and GM Turn. I suggest to call them Aces Turn, and GM Turn. Also, while English isn't my mother language, I think that, at the start of GM Turn paragraph, page 15, this phrase could be explained better, or put it down in a different way: "After each Ace has taken their turn, the GM has one enemy Activation per Ace."
From what I understand, all the Aces does their turn (so, Aces Turn), then GM does. I'd put it as: "After that all the Aces has taken their turn, the GM has one enemy Activation per Ace." In the original description, I could take that "each" as: 1st Ace Turn, GM Turn, 2nd Ace Turn, GM Turn, 3rd Ace Turn, GM Turn etc. Am I the only one having that doubt, reading that phrase?

(1 edit)

PS: page 18, under Colossus and under Running Enemies, and at page 27, under Ace Upgrades, "drops" is worded low-case. Very minor thing, at page 27 some row has "." at the end, some other don't.
PPS: should I give Drops every time I take out a Prime enemy, even if he "regenerate" himself with Restorations? On the contrary, they are really stingy dudes 😆. Also, about them, at page 18 I'd rephrase their paragraph, to something like that:

Prime enemies are special enemies. They have 6-8 Vigor and often have Armor or Shields.
They have an additional attribute, Restoration (usually 1 or 2, as shown in the enemy stats). When they hit 0 Vigor, they’re temporary taken out until the next GM Turn. At the start of the GM Turn, they remove a point of Restoration to regain full Vigor and Shields, lose any conditions or effects, and make a Move before the GM Turn starts as usual (this Move can be an Attack, and doesn’t prevent the Prime enemy from Attacking again if Activated during that GM Turn).
Once they have 0 Restorations left, they become Desperate. This means any move they make on the GM turn may be a Desperation Move, and they are being taken out definitively if defeated again.

A last bit about them: Prime enemies obviously feel like the enemy elite character, better defined in a campaign style game, and USUALLY recurring characters along the episodes / missions (the Antagonists at page 26, maybe), more than specific kind of mecha-models. So, probably could be cool to have all the enemy models like standard enemies, and a quick, easy add-on to turn them to Prime (when used by elite enemy characters, or simply when they are critical for the specific mission). The add-on could be:

Vigor: +4 □□□□ Armor: +1

Restorations: choose: □ / □ □ 

Create those Desperation Moves to the standard ones:

• ____ (a raging attack)

• ____ (a rally move, a defensive tactic)

• ____ (a maneuver that change the combat, a modification in the battlefield)

Is this interesting? Too complicated?

Finally, I'd put a nice mechanical way to manage the recurring enemy characters, ie. When temporary taken out, they can use a point of Restoration to make a tactical retreat (describe it in fiction). That enemy is safely removed from the mission, to be met again in a successive mission or encounter. The point of Restoration used for the retreat is lost forever (so, after a few safe retreats they'll have to fight and meet their destiny).

Is this cool? Maybe it could be an addition to the Adversaries at pag.26.

You can feel free to write that up as your own FBTA supplement! But I’ve written the game I wanted to write and that’s unlikely to change.

(+1)

Sure thing! Of course I'm just giving feedback / inputs.

(1 edit)

Page 28, Crisis Clocks

"A Crisis Clock is advanced by risky actions, shirking responsibilities, or failed missions."

I suppose this is more like "advanced by foolish actions gone wrong, ..."

I mean, all Aces should try risky actions, and impossible missions, all the time 😁

(1 edit) (+1)

Hi Binary! (can't easily find your name, mr. Author 😉)
I'm reading the book, and I think I have issues with the "Move" term, and a particular paragraph:

So, we have "moves" that are "GM actions" (and, from what I understand, they are almost interchangeable with "GM enemy activations"). Then, the word Move is used also for the Move Move (!), that here I will call "Relocate", so there's no confusion about it (and, of course I humbly suggest you to find another term for the move-activation and/or for the move-move).

Said so, I read that I can activate a single enemy multiple times in my GM turn (and, of course, also as "reactive moves" from a Ace consequence). So, why to put the last part of the paragraph "The first time any given enemy is activated on the GM Ture, it may use two Moves instead of one"? I mean, if I want to make my enemy to do a couple of things in a single GM round, I could simply activate it two times (I can virtually do it infinite times). If, instead, you were meaning that with a single Move I can do 2x Relocate move, then of course it's a different thing, and in this latter case it's unclear from the paragraph.

So, in short: use different terms could be useful, AND, if I can activate infinite time an enemy, then it's redundant to specify I can do two moves with the first single one activation.

Thanks for the attention, and the eventual clarification. PS: I think you did a cool, pretty light, mecha-game; I love the exact amount of crunchiness you put in, and the usage of the tags. I hope it will stay fast at the table, I'd love to test it with my friends sooner or later. 

Andrea

(1 edit) (+1)

Thank you so much, I appreciate the kind words! (And yes, I’m weird about putting my real name all over stuff. Might get over it, might not. We’ll see.)

I actually completely agree with this, Move (a thing an enemy can do) vs. Move (literally moving) is one of those things that’s been rubbing at me for awhile. I’m in the middle of editing/etc for v1.0 so I’m probably going to clarify that in one direction or another.

As per your distinction, for the purposes of answering this question I’m going to call the first kind an Action and the second kind Relocate.

How this works is:

  • You can activate one enemy per PC on the GM Turn (including activating the same enemy multiple times).
  • The first time you activate an enemy on the GM Turn, it can take two Actions (Attack, Relocate, etc).
  • Every time past that, it can take one Action.

This means that if activated once, the enemy will take two Actions. If activated twice, the enemy will take a third action that GM Turn, and so on. This is a significantly diminished return if the GM has to activate an enemy multiple times, and if players don’t bother to move out of enemies’ range it also gives the GM the ability to do something else in addition to attack (like Endure, Shield, Reinforce, etc) without spending another Activation.

Does that make sense?

(+1)

Ok, thanks for the fast answer. Nice, understood. Indeed, those are the rules I find at page 15. While I'm usually a fan about the rules being repeated along the pages, in this case probably you could simplify the Moves paragraph at page 17, and eventually put a link to page 15 if someone want to deepen the whole activation part.

And thanks for the clarification about the "Relocate" part.

Where do some of yall find games?

(+1)

God learning Roll20 and trying to do this at the same time is not recommended, would love to share this with my other TTRPG friends though!

(+1)

It’s a lot! I did write this up if you haven’t seen it, hopefully it helps: https://binary-star-games.itch.io/apocalypse-frame/devlog/333016/how-to-run-apocalypse-frame-on-roll20

When using hexes for combat, is there a limit to how many units can share a hex?

Nope, no limit to that.

(+1)

In Apocalypse Frame, you play as mecha pilots in the apocalyptic future, rising up against a brutal regime and fighting for your freedom. It is an Illuminated by LUMEN game with fast-paced, action-packed mechanics.

Hi! I think both 0.3.9 PDFs are spreads, could be wrong but can't make them into a single page

(+1)

Fixed, download it again. Sorry about that!

Probably I'm blind, but I can't find the Ace High file. Apparently, it seems included with the standard game, isn't it? 
I searched outside (here too: https://binarystar.games/docs/apocalypse-frame/aces-high/#expand-your-game ) but I can't find it.

(+1)

I think I accidentally deleted it when adding the fixed 0.3.9. It’s up now, sorry about that!

I think your screenshots don’t have a white background and are just transparent because there’s a gray background on the screenshots (with the exception of the cover and the specifically white text on the “Background” and “Frame Overview” pages)

Good looking out! I’ll fix that in a bit.

there's not much written about out of frame gameplay, how would combat work when not in a frame?

There isn’t, no. I would treat it as a noncombat roll: use an Attribute roll (Drive/Speed/Control depending on how they’re approaching a fight) and determine an outcome narratively from there.

Is it possible to use the mechanics of this game for a different setting and beside another system that uses a d6? Planning to solo play this with a merc-type character.

Setting-wise, you could run something like Armored Core with this, sure!

Other system-wise, possibly. Give what’s there a try if you haven’t already though! It’s pretty versatile as it is.

I don’t have support for solo play yet, unfortunately. It’s in my backlog though!

(+1)

Hi, I have a question.

In the combat example(p.16), the Ace has spent 2 Tension.

Why is his remaining Tension 0 point?

 

(+2)

Because they’ve spent 3.

The Ace spends 1 Tension to attack the other one and rolls a 6 again, taking out both.

One Tension spent on attacking the damaged ones.

The Ace then spends the rest of their Tension to make Assault Rifle attacks towards the Legionnaires at the top right, succeeding without consequence on one (5) and taking it out. They roll a 4 on the other, which is a success with consequence: that Legionnare is activated to attack, dealing 2 Harm to the Ace, but is taken out.

And two tension spent on two Assault Rifle attacks, one of which is a 5, one of which is a 4.

(+1)

Oh, I have misunderstood that Assault Rifle has splash tag. Thank you!

(+1)

No worries! I’ve had to rewrite that example nearly every new version so I had to double check myself, haha.