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Desert Kris

D6 Robotech

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An opportunity came up recently, when I met a willing potential player, to cobble together something of a Robotech game, using D6. I'm drawing some inspiration from the very generalized outline of the post-Apocalyptic setting that greets the SDF-1 when returning to Earth, with the Zendtraedi armada crashing down in the wake of their defeat in the face of Human Culture. I've been fascinated for years by the old RPG's broad strokes description of Earth's Reconstruction/Zendtraedi Malcontent uprising as a Texas Rangers or Wild West kind of thing. I also wanted to keep the gaming simple, because I've always had trouble as a GM, so focus on combat, less stressing about story emphasis to start with.

 

Given the desire to throw my player into combat early, I found myself looking to the day the SDF-1 knocked the Zendtraedi out of the sky, and zoom in on one location that could reflect what was happening in parallel throughout the rest of the world. Naturally, to make it more "real" an impacting, I thought I would bring Robotech to where we live, Phoenix, Arizona (and even have fun with the political landscape that I've not been keen on). Since the SDF-1 has blown them out of the sky, it's up to the military bases already on the ground to deal with the Zendtraedi who are crash landing all over the place, and I thought I would have a Zendtraedi land in the middle of the city, and have those Veritechs and Battlepods tear into each other in the cityscape that I know so well.

 

Of course, I could resist devising my home city's place in the unfolding narrative of where the Zendtraedi end up. There was mention in another Robotech sourcebook of how the old boundaries of Nation-States were gone, or changed. Coupling that with something my dad once said to me that I never understood about Native American Reservations, that these are in effect sovereign nations within the United States itself; which lead me to look up maps of these Reservations. With the idea of Native Americans taking advantage of the breakdown of the federal government by first providing asylum to refugee Zendtraedi, who later re-capture their weapons, equipment and Mecha, thus putting them in a position as a standing Army for those Reservations, and giving them more political standing. All of this is just meant to be in good fun, to examine what Robotech would look like when it's concepts are set in the American Southwest, with that Old West feel in some sense recaptured (of course, there will be some of that post-911 kind of realism mixed in, such as what I saw in the recent Man of Steel movie). I'm not casting the Native Americans as political adversaries or bad guys, mind, they will be sympathetic and empowered; with the Zendtraedi taking all of the military heat from the Robetech Defense Forces and even the fledgling Army of Southern Cross. The ASC is often associated with extreme Xenophobia, that would be great potential story material if I ever had my player having to deal with their treatment of the Zendtraedi, down the road. Putting the ASC in Arizona also provides an opportunity to play with the parallels of my State's role in modern politics with regard to the controversies of illegal immigration; now the Zendtraedi are the focus of that kind of energy.

 

As for the more number crunching game details, again I want to keep things simple. I'm using the D6 mechanic to resolve combat hits, and I'm just going to use Palladium's Hit Points and Weapon Damage to figure out how much damage my RDF player and the Zendtraedi he fights will cause each other.

 

I'm hoping to have done some gaming inside of the next week or two, just thought I would share. D6 is not dead by any stretch of the imagination, for me.

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That's really cool! I had a friend who was really big into Robotech for a while. I never got heavily involved into it, but I could definitely "appreciate" the setting. Sounds like you've got some good ideas!

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I don't really know anything about Robotech but I wish you the best of luck. I haven't had a chance to work on my d6 games in a while, so I'll live vicariously through your posts. I hope you'll occasionally post what happens; even without knowing anything about the system you're working to integrate, it's interesting to see how folks tinker with d6. I think this site is an important archive of these things.

 

Coupling that with something my dad once said to me that I never understood about Native American Reservations, that these are in effect sovereign nations within the United States itself; which lead me to look up maps of these Reservations.

 

Not to derail your excellent thread or begin an endless debate not relevant to your purposes... but this is an overstatement. A true sovereign state looks more like San Marino, surrounded by Italian territory but with its own government and institutions. US tribes have many and varied statuses, in some cases (like the Mohawks in NY) still able to cite rights from their original treaties with England and Washington. In other cases, tribes were "terminated" and then reorganized in the 30s or 50s, so some tribes have competing memberships both claiming to be the "real" group. Finally, you have tribes like those in CA that were agglomerated onto "rancherias" regardless of their tribal affiliation, so that identity has more or less trumped that of their original tribe/group.

 

Various state and federal laws (especially criminal laws) extend onto Indian lands in a variety of ways (particularly in the area of criminal law). So, while they have aspects of sovereignty, in most cases it's less than that of the federal government or even a state government. I had a fascinating Native American Law class years ago; it's a really vast and complex subject, probably the most complex in our legal system. And of course the same issues have cropped up in Australia, NZ, Pacific Islands...

 

Certainly more than necessary for your purposes, but I thought I should say something on it. Oh, and FWIW in the dark future-type US setting I"ve messed with, several tribes have achieved full independence :) It's an interesting aspect to add to future-type games.

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Sounds cool

 

Why not make the native Americans the only ones who understand the production and cultivation of Protoculture spores.

 

That’s gives the nations a lot of leverage in the New World Order.

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Sounds cool

 

Why not make the native Americans the only ones who understand the production and cultivation of Protoculture spores.

 

That’s gives the nations a lot of leverage in the New World Order.

 

Great minds think alike! I had a brainstorm about that the other day. I promised myself that if I ever had a chance to play with GMing a Robotech game, I would involve the Flower of Life for their enigmatic, semi-mystical properties; inspired by The Sentinels novels (though perhaps making the Flowers more vague in what kind of effects they have on people and equipment). I had an image in my head of Khyron ingesting petals, as the novels suggest that he did; and with the Native American angle drifting around in my head at the same time, the two ideas floated towards each other to say hi. The Flowers of Life seemed to be wanting to be a catalyst for visions and dreams, and vision quests (I know it's cliched, so I will do further research into the cultures before I gravitate towards something that obvious).

 

Another fun thing I came across while researching the particulars of the Reservations was a geographical feature call Shiprock and some intriguing Navajo legends that synchronized with story elements of Robotech further on in the timeline. Shiprock was a nesting place for giant Bird Monsters (like pterodactyls?), of which the adults were slain by a character called Monster Slayer because they ate humans and fed them to their young chicks. Monster Slayer then turned the adolescent Bird Monsters into an Owl and an Eagle, IIRC. This is a great set-up for when the Invid arrive, they could establish one of their regressive-evolutionary Genesis Pit experiments, and the legend would come alive again in the machinations of the Invids' alien transmutation science.

 

"Number" Crunching.

 

Regarding the broad strokes of writing up stats for characters and adversaries, I'm drawing some guidance from the RISUS system. The RISUS system has a useful philosophy that the basic stats of most people are going to be average (2D) with a handful of skills that they have quality training, and maybe one or two skills that they have at Professional Level. RISUS almost seems like a branch of D6; using the 2D for Average. I figure the human Robotech warriors will have combat and Mecha operation skills of at least trained, at most maybe a little above Professional level (a range between 3D and 4D+2). The Zendtraedi with have higher rating for their combat skills because they are lifelong warriors; that will be their advantage over the Human defenders (a range between 4D and a little above 5D). No need to go overboard with these numbers.

 

Using the Palladium numbers for the "Hit Points" of the various Mecha, which is in keeping with what I had in mind anyway, the Zendtraedi Battlepods are sort of throwaway in terms of durability, compared to the humans Veritechs. The challenge that I will invite the player to take the initiative on (without stating it outright) is to provide him with opportunities to try and minimize mass slaughter of Zendtraedi just because it's easy when you get a hit on them. So, I'll give him a clue in a military briefing that if he plays music over his Mecha's loudspeakers, the Zendtraedi will become weak kneed, and easier to subdue without further violence. Should be interesting to see if he picks up on it and takes the initiative where the all the NPC's are skeptical and don't bother to take initiative (and maybe even give his character some "Are you crazy?" looks. Another challenge is that the Zendtraedi will initially be coming in large numbers, so he can't nail them all, and they can be instigating several emergency situations at once that need responding to, so we can see if my player will try to multi-task it, or see what problems he will prioritize and taking care of first. So right now, I'm still stick with the damage numbers for Palladium, and the roll-to-hit numbers from D6 Open and SW2ndR.

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So last night my player and I were able to run the game for at least 40 minutes (all sessions with this player will be short out of necessity). I had most of the character prepped for him, asking him to come up with a pilot callsign. I was surprise and amused that he picked, of all things, "Ace" which I chewed him out on, good humoredly, on the grounds that I couldn't imagine a more cliche callsign. This seemed to work out well, as he got online and googled callsigns to get ideas while I brainstormed out loud for him; he eventually settled with "Timezone" which I got the impression both of us were happier to go with. I also threw out a collection of names I came up with for the figher squadron he's filying with, we both settled on Wild Hunt as our favored option.

 

And then we got into it for a mainly combat oriented playing session. The original series has the human-rebuilt ship successfully knock an armada of hostiles aliens out of the sky, and then the series cuts ahead a few years to show the reconstruction of Earth with the alien Zendtraedi as a dispossessed alien race learning to integrate with humans. I thought I would go back to the moment where that aliens all crash land, and show that although the battle ended for the SDF-1, all the local areas where the alien ships crashed around the globe had to be dealt with by military forces that didn't know what went on and so are defending any nearby populations from the Zendtraedi as they emerge, disorientated from their ships. For our game, had that ship crashed in the middle of downtown Phoenix, in the middle of the only really respectable collection of skyscrapers existed.

 

As I played through the combat attacks I devised, I unconsciously came to a decision to not let repetition bog down combat. So, I knew that the character's squadron would be fired on, but I decided on the fly to set a limit of two attack that he would have to evade before getting his craft on the ground, north of the skyscrapers. Then, as the approached down the avenues between the skyscrapers, I again restricted myself to two attack to dodge, before he reached a good position where he could fire back on the ship and any enemy troops emerging from it; from the cover of the street running between skyscrapers. And that "rule of two" became my rule of thumb for making sure that the combat situation continued to change. I had in my notes something generic about needing to take out multiple anti-aircraft gun emplacements before the Zendtraedi emerged from their ship, but after dealing with two, I realized consciously what I had already been doing, and continued to the next phase of what the enemy units would do in combat; it felt right doing it that way.

 

I did want to play up the fact that the Zendtraedi ship's crash landing had already knocked over some of the skyscrapers, so the immediate area was blanketed in a powderized debris fog, like what we saw footage of the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks (and the recent Man of Steel movie reminded me about). I included these conditions, to give the situation of these giant robots fighting each other a certain amount of real-world heft, gravitas and pathos, but not meaning for it to be overly grim. In the debriefing for the squadron, I included a mention that civilians had already been evacuated from the area, to avoid going too dark. I did have his commanding officer mention offhand rumors that music and human culture had disorientated the aliens, to give the player a chance to follow up on this option if he so chose. He didn't, but that's okay, because the combat went very well in the sense that it kept moving and the situation kept changing. I did initially think to use rules for smoke cover to simulate the cloud of debris hanging over the combat engagements, but I kept forgetting. At most, though, I just wanted that imagery in my player's mind for the surrounding environment; he didn't really seem notice and maybe just chocked it up to his and the enemy's Mecha having enhanced senses, such as heat sensors and target displays. It worked more smoothly for the first time use of the combat rules I used.

 

There was one point early on during combat, my player was held up briefly trying to find where his Dodge skill was located. When I was doing the prep work for the game, I debated internally over the issue of having Dodge be a skill, with the RISUS approach of minimizing skills if they can be resonably assumed to be a component of a skill that contains it. When it came to actual gaming, having not made a determination, again I went with an on-the-fly that he should just roll his Combat skill, assuming that any skill at Dodge would have come hand-in-hand with whatever combat training the military had prepared him with.

 

The combination of the D6 mechanic for rolling skill and combat actions while using the hit points from the original Robotech RPG worked exactly the way I wanted, I'm pleased to say. It really seemed to be along the lines of what the original TV showed: the human Veritechs tend to take out quite a lot of the enemy Mecha before the audience sees any one of the Veritech's bite the dust. Within the game, this plays out as the tension of seeing how the enemy units are whittling away at the player's own fighter-Mecha, without knowing how much longer he's going to have to sustain the engagement. I did hold back a little with the rolls I was getting; for some fluke-reason the dice I was using kept coming up with amazing to hit rolls...I was left wondering why they didn't work for me that well more than a year ago when I was using them as a player in someone else's game. I defied the dice, because it was getting distinctly out of the ordinary, I was angry with them for not giving me as good a set of rolls when I was playing as a player, and I didn't want to put off my own player because of a disproportional wave of bad luck while playing his first RPG in a while. Weird stuff.

 

Ultimately, it seemed to go well. I had fun with it, though I was very nervous. I was happy that it seemed my player really got into it, was kept engaged.

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Been working on an alternate Robotech setting (new timeline, removed the SDF Macross mecha in favor of the Macross-like mecha from Robotech II: The Sentinels, RPG and comics from years ago) using D6 myself for a long time. Figured I would share what I have to give you some perspective (if you want). Never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes examine what I have written to find mistakes (these are all still work in progress examples).

 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByLPaXEM7S6FSmsybV9KZE9hVFU/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByLPaXEM7S6FYmk1elAwQXVCNk0/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByLPaXEM7S6FeGVTY3R2VEdacXc/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByLPaXEM7S6FV3A3MFUtNUpiSDA/edit?usp=sharing

 

http://www.robotechx.com/forums/7-robotech-games-and-media/9605-robotech-d6-using-opend6-from-west-end-games.html

 

Anyway, hope you and your players have fun! D6 is probably the best game system to represent Robotech that I've found so far (while I am a fan of Kevin Siembieda and the Palladium gang, the new edition is just awful).

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Been working on an alternate Robotech setting (new timeline, removed the SDF Macross mecha in favor of the Macross-like mecha from Robotech II: The Sentinels, RPG and comics from years ago) using D6 myself for a long time. Figured I would share what I have to give you some perspective (if you want). Never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes examine what I have written to find mistakes (these are all still work in progress examples).

 

Anyway, hope you and your players have fun! D6 is probably the best game system to represent Robotech that I've found so far (while I am a fan of Kevin Siembieda and the Palladium gang, the new edition is just awful).

 

Hey there, thanks for looking in on my thread here! I definitely agree, after just a short session of combat, I felt like the D6 mechanic (helped along by the MDC hit points from the old Palladiium because I was lazy and couldn't figure out the what the hull codes for the various mecha would be, particularly in relationship to each other) simulated rather nicely what I've seen in the TV series and read in the novels.

 

I like and am fascinated by the Palladium Robotech books, and always find myself bemused by their production model. They are useful for visual reference, their broadstrokes adventure suggestions appeals to my type of mind for filling in a lot (a lot!) of the blanks, and it's interesting to get a look at alternative ways of viewing the Robotech saga (variations in the timeline, switching Tirol/Tyrol and Fantoma around, ect.

 

As far as the Robotech Shadow Chronicles RPG goes, I can't speak towards it's ineffectiveness insofar as how it's mechanic works (or doesn't work! :) ), but good things can still come out of an object of disappointment, and I have had some positives come out of my manga-sized edition of RT: SC RPG. It doesn't seem as cut and paste as previous Rules and Sourcebooks, so I like seeing that Palladium's doing something new, even if it ends up not working. As with the other RT books, I keep it for visual reference, so I don't have to cue up my DVD of the Shadow Chronicles to get a look at how the Mospeada fleet-uniforms are innovated upon for the Shadow Chronicles sequence.

 

Another good thing with The Shadow Chronicles RPG book was the text that dealt with the Haydonites, and a vastly different version of The Sentinels saga (I'm mainly familiar with the novels' version of The Sentinels Campaign). In order to process the alternative version of The Sentinels Campaign, I ended up writing out two extensive outlines, one of which was a totally what-if? timeline for exploring what might have happened if the Macross/REF crew multi-tasked with their fleet: chasing down the Robotech Masters while assisting in the defense of Earth, rather than going all in with the diplomatic mission to the RT Masters. Processing these alternative timelines helped to dislodge my brain from rigid concepts of how the Robotech saga as a whole "should" unfold, structurally.

 

I don't have a definitive timeline down for the version of Robotech history happening in my game, but I do have some particulars that would clash with the official version of events. I'm going for a certain effect. The Army of the Southern Cross emerges in the gap between Macross and the Second Generation; with Anatole Leonard in charge, and the books and other supplimental material have emphasized that Field Marshall Leonard is a rabid Xenophobe. I thought that would tie in well with my sudden impulse to put the Robotech conflicts in the streets of my home city: in the wake of 9-11, there emerged a strong concern about illegal immigrants in my state, with a local county Sheriff carrying out raids throughout the city for illegal immigration. My own opinions aside, I could see the parallels as an opportunity to maybe look in on why or in what way Leonard was Xenophobic, was he simply a clever opportunist? Or did he believe idealogically that the Zendtraedi were a security threat to the safety of Earth and Humanity? Or was there a personal reason (tragedy?) for his extreme ways?

 

I felt like I would put my Robotech game close to our contemporary time, or the very near immediate future; with some of our "real world" experience. This would allow the exploration of the parallels; Zendtraedi and illegal immigrants, FM Leonard and the local sheriff, 9-11 and Dolza's reign of Death before the SDF-1 knocked his fleet out of the sky. So, 9-11 happened, sometime prior to the coming of the SDF-1. I always liked the idea of the Global Civil War that was set aside with the coming of Zor's ship, so I made a nod to it by implying that long term events stemming from 9-11 lead to the near breakout of a Global War before the SDF-1 drew energy away from it. I deliberately did not nail down a timeframe for the rebuilding and reverse engineering of the Robotech ship, in an effort to not let the timeline get too far ahead of our real world time. And finally, rather than definitely establish the SDF-1 versus Zendtraedi conflict to 2 or more years, I worded my introduction to my player in a way that leaves the timing of the conflict ambiguous; so he could interpret it in his own head as a year or two, or a couple of months of fighting.

 

Anecdotally, I didn't want to neglect the development of RT mecha that emerge for the Southern Cross era, and given how my own family has worked for years in helicopter production for the Apache, I thought it would be fun to use my knowledge of that company's production history and delve into it's production future for Robotechnology. And there was the AJACS Helicopter mecha from the Army of the Southern Cross, winking innocently at me from the book. I'm disregarding any source material about who is supposed to be making it; in my game, if I make it that far, it will be made here. :)

 

I should tell you, when I was doing research to try and figure out the particulars of what mechanic I would use, and what my available options were, I did consult the RobotechX Forum site, which I have visited numerous times and will enjoy paying continued visits to it now and in the future. BTW, though, just to give you some feedback, I'm not having much luck with those links, with the exception of the one that leads to the RobotechX Forum site. I would definitely love to look at that stuff; though I don't know what feedback I could give specific to those items, I'm a terribly novice GM and roleplayer in general.

 

Thanks again for looking in and commenting on my game concept.

 

A general comment as well, the next gaming session opportunity won't be until at least Friday night, with no guarantee that I'll be able to post right away, I will be dead tired the day after. Happy roleplaying to everyone!

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Second Session

 

My player took the time to ponder possible tactics and strategies for combat with the Battlepods; I also wanted to open up a little with their capabilities. Turns out this meant that we were both wanting to make combat more 3rd dimensional. So, for the follow up combat action with the Battlepods flooding out the Zendtraedi ship crashed in the middle of downtown Phoenix's tallest building, my player took his Gladiator-mode figher into a hover at a higher altitude. I was already thinking along those lines anyway, so I had one of the Battlepods leap up and fire. A brief exchange of fire followed, and my player missed on one of his combat rolls, which I interpreted as him not tracking the Battlepod after it hit the peak of it's jump arc and fell back down. While he was airborn, I had the Battlepods overrun the defenders position and move out into the city, trying to escape.

 

The remainder of the session I was going to have him try and herd Battlepods away from more populated areas, or streets with a high volume of civilians evacuating; and maybe troubleshoot some of the problems that might arise from property damage (and ambulance gets boxed in by traffic and debris, needing a lift out so it can continue on it's way, stopping a bus from tumbling over the edge of a blasted gap in the freeway, ect.) but my player ended up running low on hit points, so I just let him deal with stopping a final trio of Battlepods from blowing out the crowded freeway and then had the Zendtraedi survivors surrender. I got myself confused over how to work the Zendtraedi attack on a freeway overpass, and spent time trying to figure out what kind of damage resistance a freeway is going to have. Now that I'm writing it down here, I'm thinking that maybe I could have just skipped trying to figure out the numbers and simple said that the Zendtraedi hit the freeway, and chaos ensued...and then let my player troubleshoot solving the crises mentioned above. Missed opportunity, but hopefully something I'll remember for the near future.

 

As my player's Veritech fighter got so low on hit points, I took the opportunity to make use of combat option rules for the significant vehicle damage. I didn't have any of the D6 rulebooks, as I've been mainly relying on the the notebook/scrapbook that contains all my extensive cross-genre notes for D6 rules and options. I also had the old Palladium Robotech RPG book, for reference to the non-crunchy capabilities of Veritechs and other RT vehicles, because I wanted to the keep the character write-up simplified; the Robotech book is also a very thin paperback making for light weight access. The Robotech book had vehicle damage options, on a percentage-roll chart; but since there were 10 options for additional damage options spread almost evenly anyway, I just went ahead and had him roll the D10. The roll indicated that the hit his Veritch received knocked out his video monitors, leaving him to rely on visuals only; so I ruled that this would effect his combat attack rolls by losing the +2 pip bonus, simulating the loss of the fighter's targeting aids.

 

A side note regarding the extra dice: as much as I love D6 and even it's philosophy of just relying on easy to acquire 6-sided dice, I've played a fair amount of other games and I think maybe it's just in the nature of gamers to accumulate all those other funky dice in the course of all the other games they play. I must say that it is still nice to have the opportunity to make use of dice that I've had. My player has got into the spirit of things by digging out some of his own dice rather than relying on dice I've loaned him; it's subtle things like this that encourage me with non-verbalized feedback that he's coming ready to play.

 

As I said, these playing sessions have been very short, so with the end of combat, my player took the Zendtraedi into military custody, and received orders to escort them to a holding area several miles south of the city. I had some fun with describing briefly how he meets up with other Robotech pilots escorting their own Zendtraedi prisoners and seeing the kind of battle damage they've been taking from sustain combat operations. My next playing session will pick up directly from that, with a much needed pit stop back at the base for a hasty patch-up of the damage and a weapons reload. This will be good, since he used up all his missles. I thought I would have fun with the idea that a quick patch up is not going to bring his fighters damage capacity back to full, as a source of suspense for what might happen next, even though I'm planning for the next session to be less combat heavy and more of a troubleshooting set of circumstances.

 

That's all I've got off the top of my head for the write-up of this week's session. Next session will be Friday or Saturday night.

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