This encounter serves as a prequel to the Mechageddon! Adventure Path, framed as the player characters (PCs) trying out an arcade game that doubles as a recruitment tool for the elite Daimalkan mech corps known as the New Valor Defense Force. Run this encounter during downtime when the PCs are exploring a space station or city. The PCs might be invited to play through a Valko Derby simulation at an arcade, a recruitment center, a festival, or a resort on Daimalko or anywhere in the galaxy—whatever makes the most sense for your campaign.

Valko Derby — CR (varies)

Valkopods—more often called mech pods in the Pact Worlds—are specialty game consoles found at high-end arcades, military recruitment centers, trade shows, and in the homes of some affluent collectors. The 6-foot half-globe pods are constructed of durable plastics with transparent aluminum and structural steel frames. The pods are programmed to simulate the experience of being in the cockpit of a mech, starship, or other war vehicle. Hyper-realistic terrain and foes generated by the simulation provide a challenge for the operator, and the simulation provides a score based on the operator’s reactions and maneuvers.

Valkpods aren’t just for fun. A form of this technology is used for military training in the Pact Worlds, Veskarium, and on Daimalko, where the tech was initially tested. Networking connections allow many pods to sync simulations for large-scale experiences while the simulated feeds are broadcast to viewing terminals, betting houses, and infosphere sites. Read or paraphrase the following to set the scene.

Holos blast a hypercolored message above a row of globular arcade cabinets, each large enough for a person of any conceivable anatomy to fit comfortably inside. “Mech pods—Play Now!” The signs repeating flash is accompanied by booming music and the roar of simulated laser cannons. A humanoid pilot dressed in a red and white suit stands outside the massive cabinets. A crowd of excited people bustle around her. “Hey there! Ever ride in a mech before?” She calls. “Now’s your chance. Our sponsor, Apex, installed this set of networked valkopods—you call them mech pods in the Pact Worlds. Apex engineers programmed a special simulation just for today: A demolition derby! Want to play?”

Firefight Art by Denis Medri

Art by Denis Medri

Resa “Firefight” Prosst (LN female ifrit) is a decorated pilot. After acing her training, she was promoted quickly to squad leadership and earned a role as DCVG (Deputy Commander Valko Group) of the 3rd Battlegroup of the New Valor Defense Force, a military sworn to protect the city of New Valor from rampaging colossi. She’s not just here for public relations—she’s tasked with recruiting high-scoring players to join up with the NVDF.

On Daimalko, huzkars (the local name for mech pilots) are minor celebrities as well as military personnel. Most Daimalkans regard mech pilots as heroes since many are injured or even perish defending cities from colossi, terrifying monsters that move through populated settlements like unstoppable forces of nature. Without mechs, Daimalko would be unlivable; in fact, the entire planet was decimated by the colossi’s first emergence many years ago. Rebuilding has only been possible because of organizations like the NVDF.

Derby Rules

Once the derby program loads, the PCs find themselves virtually piloting humanoid-shaped Daimalkan mechs within a massive digital stadium divided into zones by glowing markings. Each team begins the match in the goal zone that matches their team’s colors. The PCs are blue and begin in the southern zone. Enemy players’ mechs are red and begin in the northern zone.

As soon as the starting siren sounds, the teams can move around the map and engage their foes. Roll initiative to determine the order in which players and enemies act. Teams score points in two ways. If a mech makes it to the opposing goal, the pilot scores 2 points for their team. If a pilot scores a final blow on an enemy mech (destroying it), they score 4 points for their team. If a mech is destroyed, it cannot score points even if it is already inside the enemy goal, and that player (PC or enemy) is out of the battle for the remainder of the match. During the match, a glowing holographic display above the simulated stadium displays each team’s current score. Once all mechs on one team have been defeated or six rounds have passed, the match ends. The entire field glows in the winning team’s colors as a victory celebration and final scores are displayed.

The Map: This simulation uses the digital side of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Stadium. One square on the map represents 10 feet to accommodate the Huge combatants. The programmed terrain simulates a massive sports arena. Once the match begins, the tiered bleachers are filled with a simulated audience. Any mech that moves into (or is forced into) spaces outside the play area and into the crowd suffers an automatic system failure based on the chart found in Starfinder Tech Revolution page 114. Enemy mechs forced into the crowd are staggered until they return to the play area.

The glowing circle in the middle of the arena temporarily boosts a mech’s movement speed. Whenever a mech begins its turn inside the circle, the mech’s base speed increases by 10 feet.

PCs and Mechs: This encounter is designed for four 1st-level characters. The mech pods are programmed to use simulated representations of dozens of different mechs, but for this program, all players use the same type of mech: the duello class valko. For the duration of the simulation, the PCs’ mechs have blue glowing stripes to differentiate them from their opponents, which are red. If you’d prefer to adapt the simulation for different mech models, the PCs can instead build tier 1 mechs using the rules in Tech Revolution.

The basic duello class mech is detailed below.

Duello Class Valko — Tier 1

Huge skirmisher
Operators 1; PP 1 (2/turn, max 6)
Speed 60 ft.
Senses blindsense (vibration) 30 ft., darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision

HP 19; SP 5; Hardness 0
EAC 19; KAC 20
Fort +3; Ref +4
Immunities construct immunities

Base Attack Bonus +8
Melee scythe (upper limb—1d6+5 S)
Ranged laser rifle (frame—1d6+1 F; critical burn), missile battery (frame—1d4+1 F&P)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with scythe)
Strength +4

Creatures: The simulation always pits teams against their each other in even numbers. So, for each PC, one opposing duello mech appears with red glowing stripes inside the opposing goal. The enemy mechs are piloted by other players in their own valkopods networked together with the PC’s valkopods.

As soon as the sirens denote the start of the derby, the two duello opponents on the outside edges of the opposing team run up the sides of the arena. They intend to get to the blue goal as fast as possible and lend fire support to their allies from there. The remaining enemy mechs choose individual targets, focusing on PCs who lead the charge across the arena. They use up as much ammo as possible from a distance before switching to scythes for melee combat. All enemy mechs fight until destroyed.

Red Team Duello Mech — CR 1

XP 400
N Huge construct
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +5

EAC 12; KAC 14
Fort +1; Ref +1; Will -1
Immunities construct immunities

Speed 60 ft.
Melee scythe +9 (1d6+5 S)
Ranged laser rifle +6 (1d6+1 F; critical burn 1d4) or missile launcher +6 (1d4+1 F&P)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with scythe)

Str +4; Dex +2; Con -; Int +1; Wis +0; Cha +0
Skills Athletics +10, Piloting +5
Languages Common
Other Abilities unliving

Development: If either team moves all surviving mechs into the opposing goal zone, the simulation ends and that team wins. If either team defeats every enemy mech, they win by default. If both teams end the derby with an equal number of combatants in the opposing goal, the simulation resets, allowing all players to return and try again.

When the match ends, the PCs exit their valkopods and notice a crowd watching a holovid of their match. Firefight’s eyes are intent on the screen as she takes notes on a datapad. She gets the PCs’ attention as soon as she notices them.


Firefight takes note of players who show enthusiasm and skill during the simulated battles. She sees the PCs’ potential and eagerly tries to recruit them. If the PCs beat their opponents, she plays to their egos, praising them and saying that “New Valor needs your help,” or “all of Daimalko is in danger!” If they lost the match, she asks if they’d like another shot at winning, but “for real this time.” She answers the PCs’ questions about her organization, explaining that they’re a military corps who defend the city of New Valor from colossi attacks. They’re based on the distant planet Daimalko (unless the PCs begin this encounter on Daimalko, they’ll need to take a shuttle there for further training). If the PCs are interested in joining, she sets up an appointment for them at a nearby recruiting office where they can fill out formal applications and complete their physical assessment.


If players are interested in using the Valko Derby rules for PVP matches, replace the NPC mechs with even teams of players. If there’s an odd number of players, include an NPC to fill the empty slot.

Map: Firefight specifically programmed this Valko Derby to reference her love of the sport kaijuball, but any map can be holographically recreated for a battle. Throwing in cover and level-appropriate hazards or traps isn’t just an option, it’s encouraged!

Mechs: The duello class valkos are perfect mechs for low-level PCs, but if your players want to customize their own, build mechs appropriate to the average level of the PCs using the rules in Tech Revolution. Both sides should build their mechs with the same amount of Mech Points in their pool and should limit movement to ground based for a fair challenge.

Map by Damien Mammoliti

Map by Damien Mammoliti

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