As Luxx the Thief, native of Vértique, bids a tearful goodbye to his one hit point and first level - in the good way, by leveling up! - I am wont to reflect.
+Zach Marx Weber , DM of Vértique, has stated that stealing mechs was supposed to be something only high level PCs could do, and as far as I can tell, his assessment should be accurate for most situations. As Luxx discovered (and has related to whoever's holing up in Ward's Haunted Mansion), mechs have a "Soul Battery", the spirit of a powerful warrior (usually an ancestor of the family) bound inside. Once you put on the psychic driver's helmet? That spirit can kill your ass if you wouldn't be able to defeat them in the physical realm.
Luxx would have died pretty quick. How'd he survive and get the mech? A history of doing dangerous things that no one else wanted to do. A high DEX didn't hurt.
In his first adventure:
-While happy to take other risks, the other PCs had been sufficiently frightened by the dissolving properties of Witch's Jelly in the past that the back and forth about who should gather it was taking some time. Luxx volunteered to ladle it into the special urn, sneaking back and forth to avoid the watchful eyes from the guard tower we intended to use the Witch's Jelly on.
-Thankfully, the more fighty PCs were able to cover Luxx under fire while he ladled the stuff onto the Guard tower legs. Spilling any would have been the end of his 1 HP, but sometimes being Dexterous and "brave" is better than having HP.
In his second adventure:
-There were some weird walls with runes that absorbed into you when you touched them. One PC got zapped a little from it, and it was clear that not everything the runes gave you was beneficial. Luxx touched it for awhile, absorbing a curse, a spirit, a spell, and a ritual.
*The curse was absorbed by a door that opened by sucking runes off you.
*The spirit was an ancient warrior that tried to kill me in a shared dreamscape to take my body. Luckily Luxx had badass DEX in dreamland, too, and evaded his attacks until the Merrowman PC from H.M.S. Apollyon game that was with us tasted my dreams and woke me up. I probably would have died the next round.
*The spell was Color Spray, cast DCCRPG style. I rolled really high the first time casting it, getting rid of one of the bad results. So far I've rolled great every use, and it's saved Luxx's bacon at least 3 times. AS soon as I fail with it, it goes away though.
*The ritual is a way to transfer the PC's mind into someone else's body or make him functionally a lich (I think one or the other). We don't have the components yet, but Luxx convinced the spirit warrior to lay off trying to take his body by convincing him I could use it to put him in a more badass body if heis just patient.
I had no idea how true that would be!
So we heist a noble's house, with half a mind to kidnap an heir and put Luxx's mind into them, but one of the other PCs was in love with the daughter and the other PCs were in love with gold and blood so a dinosaur was summoned and other PCs hacked and slashed and my guy backstabbed some folks. Then I put on the heir's cloak, covered my face in gore, and ran for the mech as the other PCs fled the cavalry (they didn't have gross disguises, it was the right move on their part).
I get to the mech, and as lady-spirit-ancestor is about to slay me, she's distracted by something behind me. I have just enough time to roll out of the way as her blade and dreamscape-guy's blade meet where I (well, my PC) was just standing. I try to stall, Luxx turning up the charm, but they are pretty eager to get rid of me first. Color Spray! Thankfully, it works on whatever mental plane we're on, and I roll high, so they're both knocked out.
Slit the ancient dream warrior woman's throat (she wasn't gonna let anyone outside her family pilot the thing), and I had a little back and forth with dream-warrior guy. Eventually I get tired of debating and just kick him into the crevasse, locking him in as the Soul Battery for that mech.
So, how to get a mech at 1HP and first level? Get cursed, do things other people are afraid of, and don't die.
I owe Luxx's survival every single game to the awesome skills of the other players and their characters.
Of course, the next question was, where do you hide a stolen mech? Our troubles were not over.