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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » General Role-Playing

Subject: Recommendation needed: Mech RPG rss

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Chad Bowser
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I grew up in the 80s on a steady diet of Transformers, Go-Bots, Robotech. and numerous other spin-offs. In the 90s I played the heck out of the Mechwarrior and MechCommander computer games. I've always been a big fan of giant robots. And not-as-giant robots too. Heck even power armor like in Starship Troopers (the book) or the Battletech elementals is cool.


Creating A Life Spent in Pursuit of Ephemeral Things has led me down a bit of a rose-colored lane and I realized I'm missing something...

I've never really found an RPG that's met my mecha needs. Of course, I've only really tried MechWarrior: The Battletech Role Playing Game and Robotech The Role-Playing Game and its assorted supplements such as Invid Invasion and Southern Cross. Neither one of those really met my needs. Mechwarrior was a little to archetype based for my tastes. There wasn't enough variability in characters for me. Robotech? Well, although I've played a lot of Palladium Books games over the years, I can't say I'm a big fan of the system. I even gave Doom Striders a go, but giant robots in a fantasy setting didn't do it for me.

So, here's where I turn to you, the denizens of RPGGeek. Recommend a mecha game to me. I don't have stringent criteria. Some of the things I want are:

"relatively rules light:" Rules light vs. rules heavy is a debate for another day. When I say rules like, I'm thinking Basic Roleplaying or lighter. It can be skill-based, but it doesn't have to be.

"western giant robots preferred:" I've always preferred the battle-scarred, oil-leaking behemoths of Battletech versus the shiny nicely painted Robotech versions.

Robots can be sentient or they can be pilot operated.

It can be in-print or out of print. Either is fine.
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Eric Jome
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I'm a fan of the setting of Heavy Gear. Don't know much about the rpg mechanics though.

Masamune Shirow ftw! A game with landmates would be heavenly.
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Adrian George
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Perhaps the latest version of the mechwarrior prg is more in line with your tastes? I couldn't really tell you much about it or how it compares to it's forebearers.
A Time of War: The BattleTech RPG

Or perhaps something a little more transformersish?
Origins of the Species: Transmechs
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Rishi A.
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GURPS isn't quite as rules-light as BRP, but it's not too bad. And it's a ruleset that will allow you to tell the kinds of stories you want.

The only sourcebook for GURPS that I could find that seemed relevant: GURPS Robots
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Rishi wrote:
GURPS isn't quite as rules-light as BRP, but it's not too bad. And it's a ruleset that will allow you to tell the kinds of stories you want.

The only sourcebook for GURPS that I could find that seemed relevant: GURPS Robots



GURPS Mecha is also a good resource.
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Eric Jome
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Of course a lot of mecha type things in Palladium stuff like Rifts
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Andy Leighton
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What is the time frame?

Alephtar are finally bringing out BRP Mecha near Christmas.
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Chad Bowser
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cosine wrote:
I'm a fan of the setting of Heavy Gear. Don't know much about the rpg mechanics though.

Masamune Shirow ftw! A game with landmates would be heavenly.


How could I forget Heavy Gear? I loved the computer games back in the day and got a kick out of the cartoon, too. My local Edward McKays used books usually have copies for a few dollars, I'll swing buy and at least flip through them to get a feel for the system.

Thanks for the reminder!
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Chad Bowser
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georgeofjungle3 wrote:
Perhaps the latest version of the mechwarrior prg is more in line with your tastes? I couldn't really tell you much about it or how it compares to it's forebearers.
A Time of War: The BattleTech RPG

Or perhaps something a little more transformersish?
Origins of the Species: Transmechs


I'm interested in the new Battletech RPG, but the one review I read on it mentioned how a spreadsheet makes chargen easier. Not sure if that's what I want.

As for Transmech's, thanks for pointing that out. I'll be picking that up for a read through.
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Chad Bowser
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Rishi wrote:
GURPS isn't quite as rules-light as BRP, but it's not too bad. And it's a ruleset that will allow you to tell the kinds of stories you want.

The only sourcebook for GURPS that I could find that seemed relevant: GURPS Robots


Thanks for the point in that direction. I don't keep up with GURPS, so I don't know what's out there.
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Erich Vereen
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Heavy Gear (Mostly land based military style play - Desert Punk)
Jovian Chronicles (Same publisher as Heavy Gear, but with land, air, and space battles - Gundam)
Mekton Zeta (Hard to find, but one of the best create-a-mech RPGs out there - Gundam, Voltron, Transformers, etc.)
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Chad Bowser
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cosine wrote:
Of course a lot of mecha type things in Palladium stuff like Rifts


Unfortunately it has the Palladium system attached to it.
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Chad Bowser
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andyl wrote:
What is the time frame?

Alephtar are finally bringing out BRP Mecha near Christmas.


I've been waiting for this for a while, but it keeps getting delayed. But, to answer you're question, I'm in no hurry.
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I'm yea close to putting out a revised and much prettier version of Pineapple Salad, if 3P GM-less suits you.

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cjbowser wrote:
cosine wrote:
I'm a fan of the setting of Heavy Gear. Don't know much about the rpg mechanics though.

Masamune Shirow ftw! A game with landmates would be heavenly.


How could I forget Heavy Gear? I loved the computer games back in the day and got a kick out of the cartoon, too. My local Edward McKays used books usually have copies for a few dollars, I'll swing buy and at least flip through them to get a feel for the system.

Thanks for the reminder!

Another vote for Heavy Gear (1st & 2nd Editions). If you have the chance, take a look at the Storyline Book series: often overlooked, all-fluff-no-crunch books that really add to the whole HG universe.
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Paolo Robino
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To expand a bit:

cjbowser wrote:
"relatively rules light:" Rules light vs. rules heavy is a debate for another day. When I say rules like, I'm thinking Basic Roleplaying or lighter. It can be skill-based, but it doesn't have to be.

I'd say that, RPG-wise, HG is just that, "relatively rules light". Things tend to get a bit more complicated if you tackle the pure tactical system, but only because you're managing 15-20 Gears at a time. If you just do the RPG, the crunchiness is in my opinion BRP-like.

cjbowser wrote:
"western giant robots preferred:" I've always preferred the battle-scarred, oil-leaking behemoths of Battletech versus the shiny nicely painted Robotech versions.

The Gears appearance owes a lot to the manga style, but they're really camo-painted battle-worn machines, spewing out exhaust fumes from their v-engines!

cjbowser wrote:
Robots can be sentient or they can be pilot operated.

A bit of both, really. Gears are pilot operated, bur sometimes they develop quirks of their own (IIRC, not mechanically represented in the basic rulebooks, but there should be something about it in some supplement).

cjbowser wrote:
It can be in-print or out of print. Either is fine.

OOP, readily available on the secondary market, and fully available as pdfs.
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Chad Bowser
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I'll definitely check out Pineapple Salad when it comes out. Keep me posted.

And it looks like Heavy Gear with three votes is definitely something I need to check out. Any preference for version?
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It's not my genre and I've never seen this game, but John Wick has been making the podcast rounds talking about The Aegis Project.

YMMV!
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Paolo Robino
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cjbowser wrote:
And it looks like Heavy Gear with three votes is definitely something I need to check out. Any preference for version?

2nd edition was the best in my opinion.
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cjbowser wrote:
I'll definitely check out Pineapple Salad when it comes out. Keep me posted.

It's now available: Pineapple Salad (revised version)
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Chris Fee
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belirahc wrote:
Mekton Zeta (Hard to find, but one of the best create-a-mech RPGs out there - Gundam, Voltron, Transformers, etc.)


My favorite mech game. And, if PDF is OK, it is available at RPGNow (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=25403&it=... and http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=1556&it=1).

Not really rules light, but if you go with pre-made designs, the game play is not too complex (of course, I am very familiar with Interlok, the core of the system). And for making your own mechs, the design system is phenomenal.
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stephen
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Heavy Gear is very good, but as a long time collector of the rpg I have a couple of issues with it.

Firstly it uses a d6 system which means that players are often very similar to each other stats wise. A naturally talented gear pilot will have virtually identical stats to a veteran gear pilot who got good over a long career. There are some conversion notes somewhere on the net about using d8 which is probably a good idea and if the stories are true were how the system was originally envisaged.

Secondly I have never really got on well with games that try to be tactical wargames and rpgs at the same time, either the tactical side or the rpg side lose out at some point and I`m not sure Heavy gear really solves thats issue.

There is also a developing game world angle too, there is an arc to the game world, some npcs in the game setting are supposed to live on in the world as important historical mover and shakers.However there is no overall framing of the history of the world so you can see where its all going so you can work with it and it can be difficult to work games in such a way that a character who the players fall with and want to kill survives because he is important to the world, apparently, but you dont know why because they dont tell you.

The final issue is that there is no firm starting place for campaigns, players can be from the norther or the south (enemies of each other in the game) or from badlands or one of the other independent nations. The Gm has to decide where the game will be set and that means that a quantity of the setting information will be pretty redundant because your players are unlikely to go there.

But it is a good game and the players had great fun being part of it.
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Maurice Tousignant
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Mekton - Road Striker II even included rules for transformers and combiners.
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GilvanBlight wrote:
Mekton - Road Striker II even included rules for transformers and combiners.

Mekton Zeta Plus contains all that stuff updated for the Zeta rulebook. The booklet in the Mekton Zeta Tactical Display has the errata and the two or three pieces of equipment left out of the Plus manual. If you can score copies of all three, you have all the mecha resources you will ever need.
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Brian Cooksey
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cjbowser wrote:
I'll definitely check out Pineapple Salad when it comes out. Keep me posted.

And it looks like Heavy Gear with three votes is definitely something I need to check out. Any preference for version?


I've got a copy of 2nd Edition I'll send you.
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