this page contains game mastering information. if you are a player, you do not need it, so do not read it, thank you.

general notes

GM's discretion
In many places, rules only speak of 'GM's discretion', whatever that is. Well that is up to you. The rules do not try to rule everything, as such a system would be just too complicated to make or to play. So, use your common sense, fairness or favorite dice to rule situations like this. In fact, use those methods to rule ANY situation you like, but it may fasten things if you use the combat system described here.

naming and keeping track of varans
Yes, this is a different RPG. In this RPG, the gamemaster assigns the names (or better to say, identifiers) to the player characters. He may even change them when he sees fit. The identification system is free for GM to choose, but one common way is to name them according to patch/team/generation, using alphabets for patch and digits for varan number. Thus, the first varan is 'A1', second 'A2' and so on. And when the next patch is used, they are named 'B1', 'B2' and so on.
In addition to name/id of the varan, there is certain things in each varan that the gamemaster should know without need to ask them from the player each time. Such things are varan perception (sensor) modifiers and total load (clinging on walls/roof, weight activated systems etc.). For convenience, a neo-troops gamemaster player control sheet is presented (, 10kB).

spotting the varans
As long as the cybervarans stay cloaked and opposition has no very good scanners, thermographic vision or other methods, they are quite safe. Until they start shooting or fighting. So, if a varan stays mainly out of sight, in good hiding environment and does not move when someone is close, no dice should be thrown, or at least not more than once in a while to see if someone spots the almost-invisible varan.
But when the varan is firing, especially if with a high-volume automatic weapon like pulse or plasma rifle, it is not very hard to spot that where the flash is. But unless the varan itself is spotted, it is still easy to fire a a bit off-course, and thus the varan should have an armor value 6 against all targets that cannot see the varan uncloaked.

breaking things
As noted in the system/equipment, things break. Weapons might get damaged, electronics shorten and ammo boxes may explode. And defense screen systems like varan cloaking device is especially suspectible to the damage and disruption. So if the varan is in contact with water, static electricity or heat, the cloaking device may shimmer, electricity may crack on air and varan can be partially visible. In such a case the cloaking device must be turned off to prevent shortcut, but after a short maintenance, it can again be used.
And of course the system can get damaged and become inoperational in weapon fire. Luckily the varans have repair kits with them, but not all damage is repairable in field.

exploding ammunition
It is dangerous to carry around things like gas canisters, super-charged energy batteries, mini fusion reactors and belts of explosive ammunition. Althought most ammunition is quite safe and do not normally explode when hit by weapon fire or flamed, there are always a small probablity (GM's discretion) thet a weapon or ammo pack will explode when hit. Even the tank of a flame thrower is divided into multiple compartments and the liquid used is mixed just before being shot.
Anyway, if the ammunition or weapon explodes, the results are dependant on weapon type. Most weapons explode as Explosive weapon (see equipment), but the carrier of the weapon might get multiple hits from electricity or sharpnels. The more dangerous weapons/ammunition are all explosive ones, namely assault cannon and grenade launcher ammunition and sticky grenades. They may Explode in double or triple area, if there are lots of them. And if a flame thrower ammunition explodes, it causes d6 hits to carrier and may explode in double area, possibly Igniting all close. The carrier is usually automatically ignited.

between missions
After a mission, all damaged equipment is repaired and used ammo boxes filled or replaced. And if the varan was injured, all wounds are healed in the laboratory and lost limbs replaced with new vat-grown ones. And if the mission was successfully fulfilled and the GM feels very generous, he may give experience to the varans. The experience is actually a new improvement, taken from the enchancement list.

In character section a safe distance for a varan is defined to be 10 meters (+2 meters for strong legs). But if the varan is carrying much load, this is reduced. So reduce 1 meter for each full 20kg carried. If the final distance dropped is more than this safe limit, roll 4+ to-hit for each 2 meters (or part) over the safe limit. Any hit causes one damage, there is no armor save!
If the varan does not land on his prepared feet, reduce d6-2 meters from safe level.

clinging to walls/roof
Varans can climb sheer surfaces and cling to roofs, but that usually requires that they are not wearing heavy payload and the surface must endure their claws. In general, treat them as very strong humans, with built-in climbing spikes. When trying to cling to a random surface, you may roll a d6, with additional d6 for each 10kg of load. If any of these are '1' (or 1-2 for roof), the surface do not hold and the varan falls/ starts to slide.

wasted varans
Well, varans do die. In fact, they die easily. Some missions are just that hard that maybe no one survives. Or only a few. Players must live with that. Varans are weapons, expendable things bred to do the mission. Of course they are not cheap ones to make (or otherwise they all would be filled with explosives), so they are not used recklessly, but still, sacrifices must be made. If you are using some kind of experience/improvement system, maybe you should not punish those who play they character and do sacrifices. But that is up to you. You may even waste the entire team if they miserably fail in a mission.

opposition - creatures

Here is some sample creatures of the Neo-Troops world, which can be used as opposition/NPCs. These are only samples and can be modified as needed to. Most creatures use legs to move from one place to another, have some kind of intellectual thoughs and can use all kind of items.
One common opposition is humans. Mainly because they are familiar, everywhere and are nice to kill. Or something like that.
All humans have 1 hit point, 1 melee attack (with no real damage unless armed with some weapon) and can jump 2/4 meters. Base movement is 15/30 meters. No special skills or stuff are present unless noted otherwise.

Technician: Armor value 4. Blaster.
Guard: Armor value 4. Flak armor (save 6+), Blaster rifle.
Shock Troop: Armor value 4, Accurate. Carbon armor (5+), SMG w/ grenade launcher.
Power Armored: Move 15/20, Armor value 4, Accurate, Fighter. Powered armor (3+), Plasma Gun, Combat Blades

If a very tough human is encountered, it may have 2 or even 3 hit points. Use varan critical table for them.

opposition - robots

Robots (or droids) are constructed and automated things with a program. That is, they are stupid and predictable, most of the time. The program might be a clever one or the robot may have AI, but it is still a construct. Neverthless, they are usually more tougher and durable than things made of organic things.
All robots have some kind of way to move around. Walkers move like bipedal creatures, except that they are not as agile. Wheeled/tracked robots must move in level areas. Flying robots hover in the air and move freely around.
For convenience, robot armament ammunition is usually unlimited and they have no need to reload their weapons. Big weapons are no special hinderance to them. They may usually use one weapon system at the time.
ED defense droid
This large (over 2 meter tall and weighting around 1000 kg) robot moves slowly around with its massive feet, while using its double machine guns to mowe down any opposition, when needed to.

Move 10/15, Armor value 4, Accurate, Sensors, 5 hit points, Armor save 1+, 1 melee attack (-1 armor). Double pulse rifle (10 shots when both fired), 2x mini-rockets.

MK battle droid
This car-sized tracked battle droid is used for heavy-duty combat and riot control.

Move 15/40, Armor value 4, Accurate, Sensors, 10 hit points, Armor save 1+, 1 melee attack (-2 armor, crush). Double pulse rifle (10 dice), 2x Bazooka, Flame thrower

TW surveillance/hunter droid
This flying/hovering robot is meant for crowd control/fast reinforcements. It uses antigravitic thrusters to move quickly to target area. Basic features are bio-scanner, thermographic filters and motion detectors (can detect cloaked targets more easily)

Move 30/60, Armor value 5, Accurate, Sensors +2, Fighter, 3 hit points, Armor save 2+, 2 melee attacks (saws, +0 save). Plasma rifle

generic robot critical table

scenario ideas

The art of making Neo-Troops scenarios/missions requires the idea of how to make them challenging so that varan groups without any plans prevail while those with careful plans and tactics succeed. So, here is some ideas for scenarios and situations:
no escape
Think about a mission to completely wipe out an underground laboratory crew. The problem here is not the resistance encountered, but the mission assignment, which requires, that no one escapes. So, stealth is required that all exits are covered when the slaughter begins. Immediate frontal assault will warn the rest of the crew and they may escape via other exits.

invulnerable enemy
What about an enemy, which is simply too tough to kill? Varans must find a way to make it vulnerable or perhaps they must simply ignore it, trying to complete their mission despite an enemy, which tries to destroy them and cannot be killed.

special attacks
Opponents are not limited to standard weapons. Perhaps they have radioactive weapons, which ignore target armor. Or they are acidic and when killed, splash corrosive acid all over the area. Or they have some kind of mind control things, and take a varan to their temporary control.

Not all missions should mean total destruction of the opposing side. In some cases, the varans must protect some important person or android among enemy ranks, and thus cannot shoot everything in their sight. And what about those assassins trying to kill the objective?

hostile environment
Water, sprinklers, fog, fire, steam - they all can cause problems to varans, when their cloaking system misfunctions. So they have to think other ways to deal with enemies when they cannot rely on their cloaking system.

[NEO-TROOPS © Kalle Marjola 1998-1999. All rights reserved]