Robotech: After the Apocalypse; Building an RPG, Post #2
I started playing Robotech in 1986/87 and it has been a game that helped define what it was for me to create worlds as a gamemaster. Typically, science fiction doesn’t hold the draw for role-players like fantasy settings, and I firmly believe that is because of two key components that are absent in science fiction, those being dungeons and treasure hordes.
Robotech is no different, it simply being about giant robots fighting alien invaders, but there was something about the game that resonated with both myself and my DM Mark Timm. Mark and I became infatuated with the game, and after we’d played out the four Robotech Wars, we found that we had a mass of characters and backstories that we couldn’t allow to drop.
That is when Mark stepped in, and as a voracious reader of both science fiction and fantasy he decided to incorporate bits and pieces of his favorite science fiction writers like Alan Dean Foster, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven, Fred Saberhagen and others into our gaming sessions.
Thus, the Robotech Expeditionary Force Ikazuchi Class Carrier Ragnarok set out from Earth on a mission of discovery after the final resolution at Reflex Point, the fall of the Invid, and the loss of the S.D.F. 3.
What the ship found took our Robotech universe to a whole new level, and the more we explored the galaxy, the more crazy races, technology, and history we added into the game.
We played this game 50/50 alongside my growing D&D homebrew world of the Nameless Realms all the way through high school and college until I finally moved to Florida after graduation and for a moment I thought that my time with Robotech would be at an end. Thankfully, I worked at a B. Dalton Bookseller right next to a Software Etc. and found like-minded gamers in both places who were willing to let me DM a campaign.
Thus, I decided to bring a group together in my Robotech universe but to do that I really needed to write a comprehensive rules set for the house campaign. Lucky for me, one of my employees at B. Dalton was a manga artist, so he and I sat down and created the first book in what would become many that were set in a time I called Robotech: After the Apocalypse.
Based around the standard Palladium rules, I did some small tweaks, created new character classes, added magic, and then to top it off included my new rules concerning how Mega Damage worked so that the game returned to some semblance of balance that was lost when the game moved to Mega Damage infantry weapons in Southern Cross.
Once I had all the art and such together, I ran to a local Kinkos and bound the whole thing in a spiral ring complete with a see-through plastic guard. For me, the effect was dramatic, and a huge improvement from my corner stapled and Xeroxed copies of Future Warrior from a decade before.
Anyway, it was just another step in my role as a game creator, and I’ll share some of artist Jason Barnett’s b/w illustrations from the project.