Righto. Much like There Is No Spoon, this is all about d6s. 1-3 is a fail, 4-6 is a success, and generating successes is what it’s all about.
Unlike There Is No Spoon, sixes explode (count the success and re-roll, keep rolling if you keep getting sixes), because this shit is OFF THE HOOK.
Make up your character by picking a name. Just a name. That gets you one die.
Pick someone around the table. They make up your co-pilot, and your relationship to them. That gets you another die.
Here’s the thing: do not make up anything else about your character yet. Keep it VERY VERY VAGUE. If you have an idea, keep it a secret. Maybe pick a nationality at most. One tiny thing if you need to hang your performance on it. A quick surface attribute like “Cocky” or “Russian”.
Now, pick something cool and unique about your Jaeger, like “Third Arm” or “Nuclear Engine”. That gets you another die. Your co-pilot also gets to name another cool thing, for another die.
Raleigh Beckett, Golden Boy d6 + Mako Mori, Dutiful Student, d6 in Gypsy Danger – Nuclear Heart d6 + Strong Where It Counts d6.
Neural Handshake is complete. You’re ready to fight.
Now, here’s the thing. When you’re fighting, you only get to roll two dice, max. Since you don’t know much about your PCs to start with, these dice will come from your Jaeger most of the time. Problem is, kaiju roll as many dice as their Category. Category threes are common in these end times, and fours are not unheard of. That sucks for you. Better bring a boat. Adding a cool detail like that can get you an extra die for one roll. So is adding a thing about your surface personality, like “Driven” or “Cocky”. But here’s hurting: every time you do it, the GM can do it next round too, like It was Hiding Behind the Skyscraper or Now It Can Spit Acid.
So, basically? You’re dead. We all are.
No. Didn’t you hear? We’re cancelling the apocalypse!
You want more dice, though, you have to earn them. And the way to do that is go into the Drift. You have to look your co-pilot in the eye and reveal the truth. You want a die, point to your co-pilot and have them ask you a question. A deep, hard-core, painful question about who you are and where you come from. Then you have a choice. You can hide from the answer, lose yourself in the pain and go Drift-crazy. Bad luck for you. Kaiju gets a free shot.
Or you can answer the question and face your pain. And then you find out something about who your character is. And now you get a third die. The third die can be something about you (“Revenging My Fallen Family”) or something we didn’t know about your Jaeger until now (“Sword Arm”) or a new move you just decided to do (“Cook The Sucker On Your Jets”).
Want the fourth die for another upgrade? You have to ask your co-pilot your own question.
The more questions you ask, the more dice you get. One per round maximum, of course. And if it’s not a deep confession of inner pain, it doesn’t count. You have to make your fellow players weep if you want that die. Your co-pilot can help though. She wants that die to keep her alive, so she should cut deep, help you dig down into the pain. These dice last until the end of the combat. Next combat you’re gonna need new issues. After a while, you’ll need new characters. Keep it short and punchy.
Sounds easy? Well no it ain’t because damage is done in dice too. Attacks are roll and compare. If you get more successes than the kaiju, it loses dice equal to the difference. If it gets more? You lose dice too. Your Jaeger is gonna lose an arm or have its reactor shut down or power cut. To keep up you’re going to constantly need new tricks – coolant to vent, chest guns. fist rockets. But to get them, you have to Drift. So you better be ready to face your fears. If you want to win, you have to believe not just in yourself, but in each other.
Optional Rules: If you want to do non-Jaeger scenes/characters just shift the Jaeger rules to exterior parts of your character like Mathematical Genius or Major Player in the Kaiju Black Market. Pick a name – but nothing else. If you want to hand your biologist friend an extra die to go drifting with a kaiju, we need to know how bad the school bullying was. Who made you cry and why your parents didn’t care.
Now get out there and save humanity.