Monday, June 26, 2017

Savage Robotech

Thoughts on Savaging Robotech

When I was about 9 years old, my older brother Rob, introduced me to the Role Playing Game. My first experience was with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. After my friend and I concluded our short campaign I wanted something different. As I looked around my local comic book store I saw a book with two robots on the cover in a snowy landscape.

The SENTINELS in large print on the cover drew my attention. Upon closer examination, I discovered it was a Robotech book by Kevin Siembieda. I immediately recognized the name as I routinely watched the cartoon and thus this was the very first RPG book I ever bought. Thirty years later I eventually got back into RPGing. Like most people, my first thought was D&D. I found a local game group and got back into it. Then I started to get bored with D&D and d20 in general. So, I started scouring YouTube for live plays of different RPG’s and came across one called The Enigma Equation: The Last Parsec.

Ever since entering this rabbit hole known as Savage Worlds, I’ve been trying to figure out how to translate Robotech into Savage Worlds. When I heard that Pinnacle convinced Palladium to allow them the opportunity to create a Savage Worlds Rifts setting I was hopeful that it would allow me to make Savage Robotech a reality. My first thought was to look at the Rifts: Savaging Your Favorite Rifts Ideas. Specifically converting O.C.C.’s to the Savage World’s platform. It was recommended in that 17-page pdf to use the Custom Race’s section of the Rifts: The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide. It also states that “For O.C.C.s based on the use of Power Armor or even Robot Armor, you’re much better off going the M.A.R.S. route.”. At first, I looked at the custom races option and a friend of mine told me that the custom races in The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide is very similar to the Science Fiction Companion’s custom races. So, I decided to compare the two.

Custom Races Comparison
Science Fiction Companion (SFC) and Savage Rifts: The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide

Everything in the SFC is included in the Rifts players guide except the section on how to incorporate Super Abilities which references the Super Powers Companion.

The Rifts player guide added Bad Reputation, Cyber Resistant, Distinctive D-Bee, Non-Standard Physiology, and Restricted Path negative racial modifiers.

Well, Eric Lamoureux was right. They are very similar.

Mercenaries, Adventurers, Rogues, and Scholars. This is the framework that I think is best suited for Robotech and is located on page 27 of the Rifts: Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide (I need to find an acronym for this). It does include a Robot Armor Pilot package but that would only cover the Destroid Pilot O.C.C.. I would still need to make a Veritech Pilot O.C.C. which I think would be doable with the Personal Concept Option package on page 28. Ok, so now I’ve decided to use the M.A.R.S. approach, I have to figure out which edition of Robotech to use.

Palladium’s Robotech RPG
Yep, you guessed it. There are two versions of Robotech RPG from Palladium. The first version which ran from 1986 to 1998 consists of 8 source books, 4 adventure books, and 2 Robotech II source books. The second version of Robotech titled, The Shadow Chronicles, runs from 2008 to present and consists of 6 books total. This newer version appears to have renamed and condensed some of the O.C.C.’s from the original version. The Shadow Chronicles starts you out somewhere around 2038-2039 with the Invid occupation of planet Earth. The human race has been betrayed by an unexpected traitor and there is now a new threat to contend with. I think I’ll start with this newer version but also use the older version as a resource. I like the starting timeline of The Shadow Chronicles because I think the Invid are a better enemy for player characters. The Zentradi and the Robotech Masters are just giant humans after all. The Invid aliens provide a much richer aspect to the game. Just in case you didn’t know, Palladium Books has started to release their older RPG books on OneBookShelf, the parent company of DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. Welcome to the third millennium Mr. Siembieda. Unfortunately, The Shadow Chronicles is not yet available as pdf.

Final Thoughts

As much as I love the Robotech universe, I don’t know if I’ll actually get around to seeing this come to fruition. It’s been over a year since getting into Savage Worlds and Fantasy Grounds and I still haven’t completed this pet project of mine. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, Pinnacle Entertainment Group will persuade Palladium to make Robotech. If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on savaging Robotech I’d love to hear them. 

I'd like to take this time to thank Jamie Pierson for inviting me to join the Nerds-International community. Jamie is the remarkable host of a show/podcast called The RPG Brewery on Twitch and in his next episode he will be interviewing the acclaimed author Margaret Weis. Go check out his YouTube channel.