Rune Stryders The ORIGINAL Fantasy Mecha Roleplaying Game

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Stryders are towering constructs of wood, metal, leather, rock, bone, or chitin, created by humanity for the purpose of waging war. Certainly, Stryders have been put to use in other, less militaristic occupations. Lacking large beasts of burden in most parts of the world, people have used Stryders to plough fields, tear down trees and raise the walls of homes and castles. In other areas, Stryders have taken on an almost mythic stature, as with the Kantarin, who revere their Stryders, formed of living wood, as deeply as they revere the forest in which they dwell. Among the Myndwar, Stryders are put to the task of burrowing beneath the earth, hewing stone and steel from the ground itself much faster than human hands could manage. And for the Sivatagi, whose Stryders are very much alive, the relationship between man and mount takes on a whole new meaning.

Yet despite the exceptions, there can be no doubt that the primary purpose of Stryders is waging war, whether the intent is to conquer one's enemies or defend one's homeland. These constructs are built to destroy, and to withstand destruction, and for that reason they are at once treasured, feared, loved and reviled by all who encounter them. Well-built Stryders literally carry the stench of battle with them for years, the blood and smoke of conflict lingering about their bodies long after the war has ended. No one who has encountered one in battle can ever forget the experience.

A Stryder without a Pilot is not a Stryder. It is merely an empty shell, devoid of life (except among certain nations), much as a suit of armor or a crossbow is powerless and useless unless wielded by an expert warrior in combat. The Stryder Pilot is responsible for initiating all of the Stryder's actions, acting as its brain, nervous system and, some would have it, its soul. But despite the common moniker, the Stryder Pilot is much more than a driver or taskmaster. If all he did was steer, anyone could hop in the seat and take it for a spin. On the contrary, becoming a Stryder Pilot involves much more than study and practice. It involves an ability to more deeply bond with the Stryder itself, achieving a symbiotic relationship in which the Pilot becomes a part of his Stryder, and vice-versa. The Pilot's own consciousness and heart extend to the Stryder itself, bestowing it with a sort of shared intelligence, and creating, in a sense, a new form of life that is greater than either the Pilot or the Stryder on their own.

Stryders of the Confederated Nations

Having built an empire spanning the continent, the Divaros learned that standardization was the key to effectively equipping and maintaining a larger army. The Divaran engineering tradition was built on a process of construction, fielding, and repair that needed to be sustainable regardless of distance. Therefore, Divaran Stryders tended to be (and still are) utilitarian and uniform in construction. The Divaros have the advantage of larger forces and widely available spare parts to repair damaged Stryders. On the other hand, the Divaran military's engineers are the most dogmatic and conservative, and shun innovation outside a careful, derivative progression. After hosting the armies of Divaros on their path to conquest, as allies, and at times even as foes in battle, the Myndwar and the Zokili were heavily influenced by the Divaran way of Stryder construction. The Myndwar and Zokili learned most of what they know about modern Stryder construction from the Divaros. Many years have passed since their first Divaran-copied Stryders were built, however. While the Divaran influence is still obvious, over time both nations gradually evolved their own distinct traditions, and learned a few things on their own.

Confederated Nation Stryders have in common their general use of a central body, with articulated limbs for locomotion. The Pilot almost always resides in an internal Rune Chamber, which is designed to facilitate the runic magic-based link between he and his Stryder. Confederated Nation fighting Stryders are almost all humanoid, while other types of supporting and siege Stryders often follow loosely turtle or spider-shaped constructions. These may or may not have a head; if one is present it is mainly aesthetic.

Stryders of the Outcast Nations

The Stryders of the Outcast Nations vary greatly in size, shape, and function, straining and in some cases breaking the "rules" to which the Confederated Nations adhere in the construction of their own Stryders. The Kantarin use living trees as their Stryders, their Pilots (called Melded) literally bonding with the Stryder in a way well beyond what other Pilots experience. The Sivatagi do not build or grow their Stryders, instead taming and training the giant insects that roam the deserts they call home. And the Draslander make their Stryders from the cast-off materials of other Nations, putting together piecemeal Stryders that are as fearsome and unpredictable as they are likely to fall apart in the midst of battle. Many citizens of the Confederated Nations refuse to acknowledge that the Stryders of these other Nations are truly Stryders at all. For all intents and purposes, however, they are treated as Stryders, and considered as such by the people that use them.

Confederated Nations Black Dog

Confederated Nations Iron wolf

Sivatagi Shin Spider

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