TABLE OF CONTENTS //
I. What Is Mech Wars? //
Mech Wars is a fictional setting that takes place in a future version of Earth. A natural disaster has devastated the entire planet with meteors from space impacting on Earth’s surface. The meteors themselves offer a new source of crystal power, later known as Quorus, and the remaining world powers now engage in an arms and resource race to control Quorus-rich territories.
It is heavily influenced by Japanese mecha games and anime such as Armored Core, Front Mission, and Gundam and credits most of its core ideas to these pillars of eastern mecha story and design.
I conceptualized Mech Wars back in 2013 with fellow PhLUG veteran builder Josiah Samaniego as a build challenge for the Philippine LEGO Users Group (PhLUG) with the aim of bringing together mech / robot builders. It would serve as an exercise for these builders to practice mech-based LEGO techniques and serve as a platform for discussion. We held the PhLUG version of Mech Wars again in 2014 with a new set of teams, this time with each team focusing on a period/civilization-based look.
While the first 2 years of Mech Wars was a good local event, I personally felt that there could be much more to it so by late 2014, I had been reworking the entire Mech Wars challenge to be bigger and much better, creating an entirely new storyline and remodeling the Mech Wars brand into a potential future international LEGO mech challenge. This also meant that the Mech Wars mechs had to have some sort of cohesiveness regardless of who built it so I designed the reFrame inner structure to serve this purpose. Lastly, I had designed an instructional mech building primer to introduce mech building to the participants as well as give them the whole introduction to the new Mech Wars universe. We launched the new and improved Mech Wars in 2015 and was greeted with much local success.
II. Story //
AQ0: Melchior’s Dirge
In what would be known later as Melchior’s Dirge, hundreds of meteors crash into Earth, decimating majority of the human population. The impact leaves the Earth’s atmosphere in chaos: heat against cold, nations destroyed, countries erased. Human life, in all probability, should have ended there. But mankind is known for its resilience: numerous technological advancements over the millennia allow the humans to survive the harsh environments, by sheltering in subterranean colonies, using an assortment of equipment and apparatuses to survive when on the surface. Crystals from the asteroid seed into the Earth, forming small deposits on the surface. These crystals would then be dubbed as the Quorus.
AQ5 (After Quorus)
Most of the planet’s flora and fauna managed to survive on the surface, albeit in smaller quantities, a testament to adaptation. Humans began leaving the bunkers, exploring the surface with whatever crude protection that could shield them from the hostile environment, scavenging all the resources they can find to survive. When the surface’s resources would dry up, bigger colonies would raid and pillage weaker ones. Colonies formed factions and began to arm themselves, either to defend from other factions or to raid other colonies. Alliances are formed and broken on a whim – whether on the prospect of valuable food supplies or promises of protection and survival. Quorus impact zones are ignored completely with those going near crash sites experiencing severe symptoms of radiation and eventually, death.
Crude Quorus resistant gear is made with the combined efforts of the world’s remaining scientists and engineers. These at least make Quorus radiation more tolerable especially for short durations. Prolonged exposure to Quorus with an accumulated amount of 10 hours with the crude blocking gear shows a fatality rate of 99%. Without the gear, a mere 2 hours of Quorus exposure leads to a violent demise. Despite the risk, tons of scavengers still mine the highly valuable resource just to live better the next day.
Massive improvements to Quorus resistant gear allow for almost full Quorus radiation resistance minimizing the radiation effects. Advancements in Quorus research also led to the creation of drugs that are able to remove or at least reduce Quorus radiation effects. Scientists now move to exploring the other properties of Quorus since harvesting is no longer an issue.
A substantial discovery is made regarding the Quorus which have been spreading across the planet. Over the years of integrating with Earth’s natural energies, Quorus have turned into highly radiated, but veritable wellsprings of bio-energy. The Quorus crystals grew to function as bio-electric batteries, functioning similarly to solar batteries, but taking any sort of energy from its surroundings and storing it within its molecular matrices.
With this development, major organizations began to hasten extraction of Quorus crystals to expand both resources and military strength. Quorus research shifts mostly to energy sectors and military R&D with the goal of using Quorus to power a new generation of ambitious and sophisticated combat weaponry.
Quorus research and development makes significant progress and had spread throughout most interested groups.
The creation of prototype reFrames, the official designation of these mechanical combat suits powered by Quorus, did not take too long thanks to existing Robotics research and development. All that was left to do was integrate Quorus energy research as a power source for these mechanical giants.
Most reFrame prototypes test results show limited operation times due to unstable Quorus energy output. The longest operational time was recorded at a measly 2 hours and 12 minutes by ARMaTech, a military arms manufacturer who had recently ventured into reFrame R&D.
The first batch of finished reFrames is completed and field tested for the very first time. No incidents are recorded of them participating in actual combat although news quickly spread of their use and put most military organizations at unease.
The Progenitors faction officially launch their reFX01 reFrame and is deployed to their vanguard unit. Most organizations also introduce their very first reFrame units to their military corps. This officially marks the standardization of reFrames into armies.
The New Earth Strategic Trust (NEST) and Marzan Empire engage for the very first time in actual combat using reFrames wtih devastating results. Prior to this, there’s only been small skirmishes between the two factions in areas of high Quorus concentration but have resulted in minimal damage for both sides.
Military Technology producer ARMaTech announce their very first reFrame model and joins the Quorus War by occupying yet Quorus-rich territory of the Marzan Empire. NEST backs them up under the cover of liberating a nation under an unjust Marzan rule.
Tensions between NEST and the Marzan Empire escalate with deadlier skirmishes happening all over their territories.
An ARMaTech force destroys a NEST command unit safeguarding a newly found Quorus variant. ARMaTech and NEST officially break their ally pacts and the Quorus War becomes a 3-way war.
Energy was abundant yet food remained scarce, and thus the stage was set for a full-scale conflict. Eventually, giant machines called reFrames would walk across the land – some to ensure survival, others to consolidate resources, and a depraved few to take all that they could.
Mech Wars is at hand. Choose your side, stake your claim, seize your victory.
III. Current Scenario //
As the Quorus crystals became valuable commodity, the world’s political balance took a dramatic turn. Quorus, not money, now ran entire nations. Existing factions unable to cope with this shift were easily overthrown by more resourceful powers. In the center of this strife emerged the three most powerful factions – the established order and command of NEST, the aggressive expansionist Marzan Empire, and the visionary technologists of ARMaTech.
Having overpowered its neighboring regions with the Quorus-powered reFrames, the Empire was poised to strike at the heart of NEST territory. Their units quickly took control of many Quorus deposits in the area, and were riding their momentum to chip away at NEST influence. Seeing this, NEST has launched its own counter-offensive, using their strategic satellite bases across the globe to put pressure on the Empire’s vanguard from the flank. Consolidating their massive combat forces, the Empire was forced to halt its advance, as NEST was threatening to divide their forces and retake valuable Quorus zones.
Initially selling reFrame technology to both parties to fund their own resources, ARMaTech had been keeping its own trump card hidden away, and observing the clash between the two primary forces furthered their own research and development. This allowed them to adjust existing reFrame technology to better suit the harsh battlefield conditions, prioritizing mobility to quickly dismantle enemy forces.
The time was ripe for full-scale conflict.
Quorus and reFrames
Although the Quorus crystals were already being harvested during the initial months of Melchior’s Dirge, it still took years for researchers to fully unlock the potential Quorus deposits had. Handling these new substances proved difficult as prolonged direct exposure to Quorus was found to be harmful, and eventually fatal, to humans. It wasn’t until AQ 35 that most Quorus weapon research and development groups were able to show considerable results. Research done by the Progenitors group in particular, led to huge advancement in Quorus technology and was instantly leaked to the highest bidders. Soon enough, the most wealthy factions had considerable Quorus research completed, and were being rushed for military application.The color of the crystals varied, but what was more important was the intensity of their glow. The light these crystals emitted, relative to their size, represented the amount of energy that they contained, and they were rated according to purity. Thus, they are known as ‘war diamonds’ on the black market.
Marzan reFrames generally run on exorbitant amounts of Quorus, with some schematics purposely showing off exposed Quorus cores. ARMaTech engines are far more efficient, able to run reFrames on crystals up to an entire grade lower than usual. NEST has the most versatile reFrames due to not being as reliant on the Quorus for energy, relying on hybrid engines and a lot of shell-based weaponry. Smaller organizations differ in Quorus integration into their reFrames, some coming up with new ways to harness Quorus energy and others finding ways to expend in a quick amount of time all of a Quorus engine’s stored energy. Where this is struggle, there is ingenuity.
The New Earth Strategic Trust is a faction built around the former allied powers and controls the largest battle forces across the globe. With a ruling security council of Overseers, they aim to restore order to the splintered world, as unifying it under one banner is their duty. Their reFrames are exceptionally tuned, boasting both superior firepower and unmatched defense capabilities.
Led by a brilliant yet merciless empress, the Marzan Empire plans to mold the world according to its Absolute Mandate. Having seized the initiative in the war, they control a majority of Quorus resources, which they skillfully utilize to exercise their Right to Rule. Full-scale experimentation on these resources – as well as their pilots – have resulted in demanding Quorus-reinforced reFrames capable of quickly tearing down foes, whether from a distance or up-close.
The Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Technologies is a technological pioneer turned war conglomerate. ARMaTech boasts the most sophisticated reFrame technology, putting them on par with the other two major powers despite their smaller scale. They carry out their missions with a primary focus: to remake the world into their ideal utopia.Their machines are lethally efficient, combining enhanced mobility, cutting-edge weaponry and frequency-jamming technology to overwhelm superior numbers.
The Ascendant Lords are comprised mostly of highly influential old-Earth aristocrats who were able to quickly establish military authority during the early years of the Quorus Wars. With social systems similar to that of medieval and feudal lords and social organizations, Ascendant Lord armies are highly rigid and very traditional.Most of the reFrames in these factions opt for melee based combat with deadly skill and accuracy, taking down even the most well-equipped modern reFrames.
Ragnarsdóttir holds the reputation of being one of the most ruthless military organizations in the region that was previously known in old history as Northern Europe. Their most known trait though is having all female members in their ranks. Practicing strict military code accompanied by superior tactics and skilled warriors, these battle maidens or Valkyries ride highly customized reFrames that excel in close quarter combat skirmishes.
The Progenitors were one of the first few organizations that utilized and harnessed reFrame technology in the early years of the Quorus conflicts. Most present-day organizations would credit the first models of the Progenitors as basis for current reFrame technology as they were the first to properly harness Quorus energy as a power source for such huge machines. You can still sometimes hear reFrame scientists and engineers refer to the Type A and B units when talking about Quorus integration for reFrame research and development.
A group of reFrames and their pilots who excel in non-combat construction-based work, the Construct Organization basically owns reFrames as a means to get work done faster and easier. ReFrame units are normally equipped with digging, excavation, mass-hauling, construction, and even search and rescue loadouts. Their flagship model, the ADV-GIGAS is treated as a non-combatant, doing mostly excavation and digging operations but could easily be put into combat if needed.
Not much is known about the Deities except that the reFrames that have been attributed to their organization have looked like reincarnations of revered spiritual beings. Locals who have sworn spotting these mysterious reFrames hold them in high regard but skeptics say that they are actually part of a global organization, maintaining peace and order where they can via their machines.
|Non-aligned / Others|
Many other key players exist in the reFrame wars – mercenaries, cultists, peacekeepers, salvagers, and basically anyone and everyone who can get their hands on a reFrame with the right amount of cash and the proper science.There are even lone wolves – from soldiers gone AWOL to the occasional freedom fighter, these pilots are unpredictable elements in the war. While very few of these individuals last, the ones that do – and stand tall – are fearsome indeed.
V. reFrame Development //
The reFrame is essentially a mechanical skeletal framework that was designed to take in Quorus energy as a power source. Prior to the development of the reFrame system, massive robot and mech design that was meant to be for military use suffered from using up too much energy. Using energy sources such as nuclear fusion for war machines had been banned by a global arms treaty due to a certain nation’s failed mech test that detonated near a highly populated area.
When Melchior’s Dirge happened and humans went underground, a ton of research went into the new crystals that crashed into the Earth’s surface. These Quorus crystals eventually displayed a totally new power output with and had promising stability developments just after a few years of being buried in the Earth’s surface . Due to increased military pressure on most scientific groups conducting Quorus research, most practical applications went into developing weapons for a Cold War and the reFrame system was born.