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 Post subject: Palladium Mecha gameline
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:04 am
  

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Let's say that you've been asked to pitch a gameline for Palladium Books that focuses on Power Armor and Robots. The catch is that it can't be a licensed property: Robotech and Macross are out, as are the likes of Gundam, Patlabor, and various other “giant robot” anime. OTOH, it can and should draw inspiration from such sources. Transformers and combiners are also encouraged.

You can include air force and “space navy” elements in the setting as well; in fact, it's encouraged. Aliens are also an option; but they shouldn't be so weird as to take the focus off of the mecha.

In a nutshell, I'm looking for something that would be to Robotech/Macross as After the Bomb is to TMNT: something that captures the essence of what makes Robotech and Macross great without relying on licensed material that constrains the author's creativity and risks making the material unpublishable after the license expires.

My own take on the idea is a four-stage setting:
Streetfire: inspired by “cyberpunk anime” like Bubblegum Crisis or Ghost in the Shell, you start out in a near-future dystopian world of cyborgs and power armor, along with fast bikes and fast cars. Mecha of this era tend to be small (rarely larger than cars, and usually smaller), and the environment tends to be urban.

Many stories can be told in Streetfire; but one world-changing Adventure is included as a bridge to the next era: First Contact. An alien craft approaches Earth and is shot down; this leads to a scramble as various factions compete to retrieve the wreckage and any survivors, each for their own ends.

Terraforce: set a generation later, this military-oriented setting takes place in a Solar System that's under siege by an alien armada — notably, the aliens from Streetfire's First Contact story. Terraforce is United Earth's military force, and seeks to repel the aliens. Inspired largely by the Masters Saga, Terraforce should feature all branches of the armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Spacy. In addition to giant robots and military vehicles, this era should feature an assortment of Variable Mecha: e.g., the Army's transformable tanks; the Navy's transformable “fighter subs”; the Air Force's transformable VTOLs; and the Spacy's transformable fighters.

Wolfpack takes place a generation later, on a post-apocalyptic and occupied Earth. Drawing some inspiration from New Generation and some inspiration from Genesis Survivor Gaiarth, this is something of a “sword and sorcery” setting, where the swords tend to include vibro- and energy blades and the “sorcery”, such as it is, is digital in nature. The Mecha of this era tend to be “alive” after a fashion, as the Earth is overrun by robotic fauna. This includes at least one species of steed-like mecha which transform into high-speed hovercycles.

Novarise, set a generation after that (or possibly concurrent with it), is inspired by Macross and Yamato (Robotech's Macross Saga and Starblazers in the U.S.), as well as by Battlestar Galactica and possibly Dairugger XV (“Vehicle Voltron”). Where Terraforce was confined to the Solar System and tended toward relatively hard sci-fi (except where it didn't), Novarise takes a much more “space opera” spin on things, and more of an Oddysey-like metaplot: a rag-tag fleet commanded by an experimental warship braves the dangers of hostile territory in a desperate mission to save humanity.

Anyway, that's what I'd do. What would you do?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:23 am
  

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Knight

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Wouldn't Rifts, Phaseworld or Heroes Unlimited have you covered? You might have to restrict player options, but it would seem to have you covered.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:15 am
  

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Nope. Because while Rifts, Phase World, and (to a lesser extent) Heroes Unlimited include Power Armor and Robots vehicles, they're not the focus. In fact, Heroes Unlimited only just barely allows piloted robots as one small part of one of a dozen possible character types. It's not about “can I play a robot pilot or power armor trooper?” It's about “is the gameline largely focused on playing a robot pilot or power armor trooper?”

As well, all three settings have significant elements of the supernatural. Aside from McKinney's take on protoculture and the “technology so advanced that it's functionally magic” Perytonians, Robotech doesn't have anything in it that could be called “supernatural” — that's just not a thing that it does.

Of the options you list, Phase World comes closest to a Palladium Mecha setting. But it still has its mages, psychics, Cosmo-Knights, and similar elements that the GM would actively have to ignore.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:14 pm
  

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Knight

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While the lines themselves include supernatural elements and such, a GM could elect to focus on the mecha aspect is what I am saying (and it isn't like some of the WB/SB/DBs don't have that slant going for them).


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:19 pm
  

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Right. And we don't need After the Bomb, because we can use Heroes Unlimited for a setting about mutant animals.

The point here is to build a gamelines that's inherently focused on mecha.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:24 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
Mechanoids return but humans etc now have mecha. Done.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:52 pm
  

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jaymz wrote:
Mechanoids return but humans etc now have mecha. Done.

Heh. Hardly “done” (Mechanoid Space has been “Coming Soon” for how many decades?) But it's an intriguing idea.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:34 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
You asked for a pitch. Basically you want alien invasion ale robotech with mecha. Mechanoids are the invader. Humans develop mecha based on old mechanoids tech. It's robotech without being robotech. :)

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:13 pm
  

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Yeah, I'm not complaining about your pitch (although, upon review, I forgot how heavily Mechanoid Invasion relied on psychic powers, and that the alien races included some “space wizards”, for lack of a better term). I was “complaining” that Mechanoid Space is vaporware.

That, and I'm still concerned that the Mecha would be more “tacked on” than being the prime feature. Still, I could see Mechanoid Space being reworked to serve as the Mecha RPG.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:37 pm
  

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i'd rather see a new threat. we have some examples of threats that have bee name dropped in character back grounds or dimension descriptions that could be mined for ideas easy enough, if you don't want to invent one whole cloth. like the pure-robotic 'swarm' mentioned in Arrak chrome's background in Mercenaries. or the world overrun by giant insectoids mentioned as one of the dimensions Cibola has portals to. etc.

though i would prefer something less robotech like setting wise.. space opera is fine, but the generational "we must defend earth from alien invasion.. over and over and over" could be a bit meh.
i'd rather such a setting put more effort into developing details about factions and plot hooks within a single era, rather than try to cover multiple ones.
so if you are going to use earth, perhaps you could do something where the super-powers of the world have built starships and colonies.. so you could have wars on earth in the 3rd world (and the threat of world war), as well as fighting going on in the offworld colonies, including some nations formed from colonies tat rebelled from earth control. any aliens you add wold just make for an interesting variety. sorta like the setting for the Hammer's Slammers novels, or the like.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:15 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
Dataweaver - simple fix. With the focus on tech they slowly lost the magic and psionic capabilities (though iirc robotech has them in lesser levels as well)

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:41 pm
  

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glitterboy2098 wrote:
i'd rather see a new threat.
I tend to agree.

glitterboy2098 wrote:
though i would prefer something less robotech like setting wise.. space opera is fine, but the generational "we must defend earth from alien invasion.. over and over and over" could be a bit meh.
I tend to agree about the repetition thing; and you'll note that in my pitch, it wasn't four waves of aliens, one per era. It was the same aliens every time; and in only one of the four eras were they alien invaders.

That said, I find the generational aspect to be one of the more interesting parts of Robotech, along with the notion that each era has its own unique characteristics. In my pitch, each era was designed to evoke a different style of science fiction: Cyberpunk, military sci-fi, post-apocalyptic pseudo-fantasy, and space opera.

glitterboy2098 wrote:
i'd rather such a setting put more effort into developing details about factions and plot hooks within a single era, rather than try to cover multiple ones.
so if you are going to use earth, perhaps you could do something where the super-powers of the world have built starships and colonies.. so you could have wars on earth in the 3rd world (and the threat of world war), as well as fighting going on in the offworld colonies, including some nations formed from colonies tat rebelled from earth control. any aliens you add wold just make for an interesting variety. sorta like the setting for the Hammer's Slammers novels, or the like.
That sounds a lot like Battletech.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:05 pm
  

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Knight

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jaymz wrote:
Dataweaver - simple fix. With the focus on tech they slowly lost the magic and psionic capabilities (though iirc robotech has them in lesser levels as well)

Yes psionic and magic are part of the Robotech RPG (1E and 2E). Tirolians have psionic powers in both editions (and even hinted at in the show). Sentinel races (at least in 1E, can't comment on 2E) had magic and psionic powers. Even the Invid are painted as having psychic capabilities (in the show, 1E and 2E RPG).

The psychic ones in the show though are more limited in terms of Palladium psionics to Sensitive Category.

dataweaver wrote:
The point here is to build a gamelines that's inherently focused on mecha.

Great, fine. The question is could Palladium really support another game line or would it end up getting a Core Book and maybe a SB or two before languishing? Palladium has what 11 lines in the store (not counting RT or Recon)? How many of those lines have sat without any new material at all* for years (N&SS, BtS, AtB, Splicers, Mechanoids, there also used to be a Y2K one I can't recall the name of but isn't in the store anymore) and the remaining ones get very little compared to Rifts (HU, PF, RCE, DR, Nightbane).

Really probably the best way to market something like this might be to attach it to Rifts (or Rifts DB specifically) or HU with the Book focused on the orientation you desire. Rifts w/superheroes is basically DB4. So why not a Rifts Book w/mecha orientation like DB4 is for superhero? Maybe even a twist to the setting to limit SN aspects (which probably requires a DB). Ironically the closest setup wise to what you seek might be Rifts Mutants in Orbit.

*outside of the Rifter


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:13 am
  

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Rifts Dimension Book. A world with a human or near human race that had a God/Goddess living among them in their early history(Think Oni or even PF Wolfen as examples. Ancient tech is found by archeologist, leads to transformable mecha and PA designs. Colonized the local group of stars, encounter aliens and the space wars have begun.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:27 pm
  

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How about a post apocalypse, set in the HU game the advances in tech lead to an arms race as well as the development of bio weapons and some slap nuts some where unleashed a genetic based bio weapon that was slipshod and after killing a large amount of the human race the virus unwent a bunch of mutations and started to mutated a large number of the human survivours as well as plants and animals so you have purse strain humans with science, mechs, power armer and the like vs the mutant humans, plants and animals.

Sort of like a cross between Hero Unlimited, Dead Reign and After The Bomb, also in the HU game verce it has been hinted that there would be a conflict between mutants and humans so it should be safe to say that the war between human and mutants was taking place before the killer bio weapon was unleashed either by the humans to kill off the mutants or the mutants to kill off the humans and like I said the bio weapon was slipshod and there was such as mass die off of humans and mutants a like that human civilization has been reduce to a Mad Max 2 world full of mutants and humans with HU tech.

I have been tinkering with a post apoc setting for HU and I'm sure if I can find the motivation to put some serious work into it I could come up with something.

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