Mechs are giant, limbed vehicles used by individuals for a variety of purposes, from construction to war. In DSDN, mechs are rather common. All mechs need an operator, as they are not automatons capable of independent decision making or action. The operator needs to be within the mech or outside the mech using a remote controlling system.

Mechs were developed by races throughout the galaxy, but over time, as nations fell, merged, or formed alliances, only a handful of military-grade models survived. Each model has unique bonuses, penalties, and features that a skilled operator can use and build upon. Each model comes in a particular size which also determines certain attributes, such as speed and towing capacity. When choosing a mech, you must choose from one of the six available models featured below.

Operator Level

Mechs can only be operated by a creature that is within the machine or via remote control. Your character not only gains experience points to advance in character level, they also gain operator points to advance in operator level. As was mentioned in the abilities section of this manual, and further explained below, your mech has four abilities, and each ability has a score. That score is based on your operator level. An operator level determines how many points are available to upgrade your mech abilities. In the provided character sheet, this information is automatically populated based on the number of operator experience points you receive. You only gain operator experience when you operate a mech in a combat, exploration, or any other activity. You only gain operator experience when you operate the mech from within, not remotely.


The size of the mech determines its cockpit size. The cockpit of most mechs has enough room for two to sit comfortably. One or both can serve as operators. Since mechs are essentially vehicles, they can be used to carry creatures and objects. They each have a height and weight limit based on their size.


The size of a mech determines its a maximum towing capacity, which is the maximum amount of weight it can carry within it (including the operators), it can lift, push, or pull. If it carries anything beyond its maximum capacity, the mech will incur a penalty of -3 to its Engines score.

Mechs have four sizes: small, medium, large, and gargantuan.


Machines function under similar rules as any other playable character. They use four base ability scores to determine their attributes, functions, and checks: Hull, Engines, Reactor, and Systems. Your mech's ability scores are determined by your operator level times 3. Attributes refer to such things as hull points (HP), speed, program count, and evasion. Functions refer to your mech's specific capabilities based on the number of points available in each core area. Checks are used to determine if your mech will succeed an opposing or adversarial force. Ability challenge rating (CR) is determine by adding your ability score to 12 (12 + ability score = CR). To learn more about ability checks, click here. To learn more about challenge ratings, click here. Although the calculations for ability scores, CR, and points are provided below, the character sheet automatically populates this information so you won't have to calculate manually.


All machines have hull plating that covers their entire frame, it is the skin of the machine. When applying or opposing physical force and inflicting or enduring physical damage, you are to reference the Hull. The Hull ability score is used as the source of the Hull challenge rating, and the Hull ability points.


The Hull score serves as the source of the machines hull points (HP), or how much damage a machine can take before it is no longer functional, and integrity points (IP), or how much physical force it can endure. These are the hull's attributes.

All machines have a base of 60 HP. Your Hull score can make this number go up or down. Each point added to your Hull score is equal to 10 HP. If your Hull score is +1, your HP is 70. If your Hull score is -1, your HP is 50. To learn more about HP, click here.

The Hull score helps to determine your hull's physical capabilities, or functions. Hull functions include that which puts additional stress or pressure on the structural integrity of the machine, such as a mech’s melee and unarmed attacks. The hull's capabilities are based on the integrity points, or IP. Take your Hull score and divide by 3, and round down. This means that if your Hull score is +7, then you have 2 IP. The minimum IP is 0. There is never a negative (-1) IP.


All machines have engines that provide for movement. Whenever movement is involved with a machine, you are to reference the Engines.

The Engines score serves as the source of the machine's engine-related attributes: initiative, evasion, engagement, and speed. Mechs have limbs, or "legs" and "feet" that provide for minimum movement, therefore all mechs start with a base speed of 25 hexes. Gargantuan mechs have a base speed of 35 hexes. 1 hex equals 15 feet. A machine's speed is determined by its Engines score. Multiply your Engines score by 5 and add to your base speed. For example, an Engines score of 5 gives your mech an additional 25 to speed. Conversely, if your Engines score is -3, your mech suffers a -15 to your base speed. Limbs allow for a mech to move even with an Engine score of 0, but negative scores will negatively impact your mech. A machine's speed can not go lower than 0, and a speed of 0 results in an inability to move under your own power.


While within an atmosphere, mechs can not fly under their own power nor slow their descent. While in space the mech can move under its own power. Space speed is measured in kilometers (km) and it is the full distance you can move in a turn. To determine your mech's speed while in space, multiply your Engine and Reactor scores together and then multiply by 10,000.  For example, an Engine score of 1 and a Reactor score of 0 multiplied together equals 0, multiplied by 10,000 equals 0. This makes sense as movement through space would require a reactor and engines. Without either, or a 0 score in either area, and there would be no movement. You can never move at negative speed, therefore, you would be unable to move while in space with a score of 0 or a negative. To determine your speed per second, divide your space speed by 10. See here for rules on moving in space during combat.

Initiative is calculated by dividing the Engines score by 3 and dividing the Systems score by 3 and adding the two results together. If your Engines score is -5 and your Systems score is 8, then your initiative is +1 (-1.7+2.7=+1).

Evasion is calculated by dividing the Engines score by 2 and rounding down. If your Engines score is +3, your evasion is 1. You would then add +1 to the D20 roll to determine if you successfully evaded an engagement.

Engagement is equal to the Engine score. Add your engagement score to all engagement rolls.


All machines have a reactor that serves as its primary source of power. Whenever a machine's energy use or power output is involved, you are to reference the Reactor.

The Reactor score determines how fast a machine can move through space, and how powerful its artillery and energy-based armaments will be. These are the attributes of the reactor.

A Reactor point (RP) determines just how well the mech can carry out functions as it relates to the use of the reactor, or how much power can the machine draw from its reactor to produce an effect. Take your Reactor score and divide by 2, and round down to determine the Reactor points. This means that if your Reactor score is +5, then you have 2 RP. The minimum RP is 0. There is never a negative (-1) RP.


All machines require a computer core to carry out all of its functions. All machines get their instructions from a computer core loaded with several programs. These instructions allow the machines to carry out even the most basic tasks. Whenever a machine's actions or programs are involved, you are to reference the Systems.

The System score determines the machine's scanners, if equipped, how many program slots it has, and its initiative. All of these are the attributes of the computer core and reflect its resilience and power. Program slots equal two times the System score. If your Systems score is 4, you will have 8 program slots.

A Systems point (SP) determines your computer core's capabilities. Generally Systems points are used when attempting to use a program. Take your Systems score and divide by 2, and round down. This means that if your Systems score is +3, then you have 1 SP. The minimum SP is 0. There is never a negative (-1) SP.


Most machines, including all mechs, have scanners that allow its operator to perceive things around them while they are inside of it. Scanners essentially extend a machine's line of sight, and although they can “see” in all directions simultaneously, they do so in a straight line. This means that scanners are unable to scan around objects, only through them. Mech scanners have a maximum range of 100,000,000 kilometers while in space (less than half the average distance between Earth and Mars), however the Architect can reduce or increase the range depending on other factors, such as signal boosters or interference. While on a planet, moon, or planetoid, scans are severely reduced to 100 kilometers without the support of additional technology, such as drones or orbital satellites. This is due to the curvature of a planet and the natural interference of its magnetic fields and solid core. If a mech is on the surface of a planet trying to detect objects in space, the mech can scan up to 1,000 kilometers upwards. Such a scan can not detect an object in space on the opposite side of the planet, for that would require a curved view and not within the mech’s line of sight.


Passive scans can detect creatures and objects (including other machines). It can determine the number, the type, and their location. It doesn't require a roll of the die. It can't penetrate the hull of any machine, heavy metals, or any other form of interference. Specific information such as stats can't be detected with passive scans. Passive scans are equal to your Systems score +10. If your Systems score is a 5, then your passive scan is a 15.

Active scans can detect the same thing as passive scans, but require a D20. The roll will determine if the scan can overcome the challenge of penetrating interference, which should have a determined challenge rating. Active scanners can determine specific information, such as stats. The Architect will determine the challenge rating in order to gain whatever knowledge you seek. Add your Systems score to the D20 roll in order to determine the result of a scan.


All machines are capable of performing special actions. These actions utilize your machine's ability scores to determine the outcome. These actions are carried out through the activation of programs. The number of programs a machine can carry is determined by their Systems score. Multiply the Systems score by 2 to determine the number of programs your machine can install. You are able to swap out programs when you shut down. You can swap out as many programs as you would like with each shut down. Programs can be acquired in a number of ways, but most will probably be purchased from a vendor, given as gifts, or stolen. List your programs on your character sheet under the Mech Inventory section to keep track of programs you own. Use the "equipped" checkboxes to indicate which programs are loaded into your computer core and ready for use.

Click here to learn more about machine programs.

Machine Ability Points

Just as explained above, all machines have ability scores (Hull, Engines, Reactor, and Systems), and all of the scores, with the exception of Engines, generate ability points. Similar to specialty points used by creatures with a profession, ability points allow machines to carry out special functions and equip artillery. Most machine functions are dictated by their programs. Unlike specialty points, all programs use the same pool of ability points. For example, if the mech has a Reactor score of 7, it will have 3 Reactor points. Smite Cannon uses 2 points. In order for the mech to use Isyan Blitz, which is 4 points, the mech would need 3 additional Reactor points. Be sure to check each program carefully, as some require ability points from multiple abilities. Equipping artillery is similar, if you have only 3 Reactor points, you can only equip Boom Tube, which requires 3RP. With 3 Reactor points, you have the option to equip multiple light artillery, such as a Disrupter Cannon (1RP) and a Xenorian Deflector Grid (2RP).

All machine ability points are recovered after a shutdown.