Strange Machine Games Announce New Robotech RPG

Strange Machine Games have announced a licensing deal with Harmony Gold to develop and publish a brand new Robotech Role Playing Game! SMG plan to publish a core rulebook that has equipment and story elements of the Macros Saga. They also have something for backers of the failed Palladium Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter.


SMG’s Jeff Mechlinski sent me some never seen ‘just finished’ artwork for the new game to show for the first time, as well as letting me know some key features of the forthcoming game.



  • SMG has patterned with Bryan Young, who will create the background, scenario and story information.
  • Choose from any standard Career path based on the show, or make a new one.
  • Pilot any Mecha, or command any Starship from the saga.
  • Asymmetrical play: play as an Officer while your allies fight in Valkyries.
  • Choose from a large number of insertion points within 5 distinct Macross Saga based Scenarios.
  • Play with an innovative system designed specifically for Robotech that enables Personal, Mecha and Naval class combat.
  • Skills allow you to create Cinematic Events that help drive the story.
  • Hybrid simulation / narration system.
  • Francisco Etchart has been retained to create the majority of the artwork for the game.

Wave 2 Backers of the failed Palladium RPG tactics Kickstarter will be given a complete box of Robotech: Ace Pilot board game free of charge when buying the new RPG direct from SMG.

The Robotech Role Playing Game is due for release in the 2nd Quarter of 2019 and is expected to come in at between 200 to 250 pages.

For more information about Strange Machine Games, and their games, please check out their website.
 

Comments

aramis erak

Adventurer
That was what bothered me about the Palladium system. There were tweaks here and there, but it's core never changed. It always stayed rooted in the era of high-complexity 80s RPG design theory.
And yet, fundamentally, it's a fairly simple set of mechanics... lots of tables for character gen, but straightforward in play. (Frustratingly so, for many.)

It's one of several games that come out in the same timeframe that work in the same way: class gives skills, some electives can be added, all skills increase with level-up, and HP gains are low compared to starting HP.

Bard Games' Atlantean Trilogy (also know by the rules corebook: The Arcanum)has similar approaches. (I have often accused it of being "Palladium done better.")

And, without 35 years of KS hyping Robotech (and flogging the world with Rifts, which is compatible), the HG license would have been worth FAR less.

For its era, the rules in Palladium were close enough to D&D that the switch wasn't traumatic. Likewise, for RQ fans, the mechanics were familiar enough. It's a sweet spot between two of the most popular engines out at the time.

That he didn't use a new engine for new games? He made a living for the last 35 years selling games with that engine (and a few that didn't - Recon, Amber, Valley of the Pharaohs)... it still has fans. It still keeps gaining new ones, even as many older ones move on to better games.

And, despite the many corroborations that he's a hostile workplace all by himself, he manages to pay people and get product out the door.

Until the Robotech Kickstarter, at least. I'm certain he WANTED to pull it off. And I'm pretty certain he's never going to live it down, either.

If nothing else, it's forced him to let others put their rules to his settings. And Robotech, as a setting, is every bit as much his work as Harmony Gold's...
 
@aramis erak Actually there is more going on with Palladium then you think, you think things are fine and hunky dory with Palladium and that he pay's employees, he may have like 5 employees he pays, if that many and if he pays them, and many times more then that who have been screwed over or basically brow beat for their work, Palladium relies on free rules and such people send to them hoping to get credit or some such, but Kevin always has to put his name on it, saying sorry your work was nice but I had to do too much work to it to give you full credit, when in reality he did very little, he has had disgruntled employees, the only time he has put anything out in the past 5 years was thanks to the Robotech Kickstarter giving him the money to do so, which was brought up by some people who suspected he used kickstarter funds to keep the business afloat instead of producing what was owed the backers.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I played a ton of Palladium games back in the day. And they, as far as I know, were one of the earliest universal system RPG companies.

But these days, I think the rules show their age, more than ever. Game design theory has evolved rapidly in the last few years, and Palladium is still very much frozen in time.

And yet, fundamentally, it's a fairly simple set of mechanics... lots of tables for character gen, but straightforward in play. (Frustratingly so, for many.)....
 
Don’t get me wrong, I played a ton of Palladium games back in the day. And they, as far as I know, were one of the earliest universal system RPG companies.

But these days, I think the rules show their age, more than ever. Game design theory has evolved rapidly in the last few years, and Palladium is still very much frozen in time.
When it came to universal game rules and such I was always a fan of G.U.R.P.s (which came out about the same time as Rifts) it was always updated and new content was always added, unlike Rifts which stagnated and died too much.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Don’t get me wrong, I played a ton of Palladium games back in the day. And they, as far as I know, were one of the earliest universal system RPG companies.

But these days, I think the rules show their age, more than ever. Game design theory has evolved rapidly in the last few years, and Palladium is still very much frozen in time.
Has it? I don't think so. I mean, there are a lot of people reinventing OE D&D, and other 1st gen games, cleaning up a few inconsistencies (like which direction is better on the dice), and making money off it.

Many new games are little better than the old ones. GURPS has also been frozen in the mid-80's mechanically - the look of the books is changed, but the game's only major change is switching ST & HT roles in damage taking. Hero System and Rolemaster still sell copies.

There's been a lot of branching out, but really, game design's only real indsutry-wide improvement was each system having unified rolling mechanics, which start a bit before Palladium, but really don't hit all the mainstream until the late 80's. And don't hit D&D until 1999.

Rifts is still quite popular with the high school crowd. As is Palladium Fantasy.

Let's see the design theories used in Palladium:
  • Combat
    • active defenses in opposed rolls - Still common.
    • d20 roll high - taken straight from D&D OE, but still super common
    • Special abilities accrue with level up. Still used, albeit now either with Feats or Class Abilities, in D&D 5E, Pathfinder 1E & 2E, Hackmaster,
    • Damage to Hit Points
    • Damage rolled on polyhedrals
  • Non Combat Skills
    • 1d100 ≤ Skill value to succeed. Borrowed from RuneQuest, which borrowed it from D&D. Still commonly used: BRP, RuneQuest
    • Skills go up en mass at level up: D&D 5E, Starfinder, Pathfinder 2E, Hackmaster 3 & 4. Plus a bunch of heartbreakers and OSR games for subsets of some skills.
    • Majority of Skills granted by Class: D&D 3E 4E 5E, 40K RPG's from BI/FFG, FFG Star Wars, Pathfinder 1E. PF 2E has many by class, but not the majority.
    • Not all skills increase at the same rate per level: Not overly common, but used in many OSR games, as well as in GURPS and Hero.
  • Advancement slowing with increasing power levels: SUPER COMMON. D&D OE-5E, Starfinder, Pathfinder 1E/2E, Hackmaster, Aces & Eights, Tunnels & Trolls, FFG Star Wars, L5R, Savage Worlds... yada yada yada...

It really isn't showing its age as much as you're showing yours. It still works well for many youth, and not a few adults.

Storygames have a bunch of newer mechanics, but for the most part, the traditional side's mechanics haven't improved much at all, other than most new games in that space moving to roll high for everything or roll under percentage for everything. But storygames really aren't in the same design space as gamist games like Palladium and D&D/AD&D prior to 4E.

The most innovative mechanics of the last decade? The narrative dice mechanics of FFG's WFRP3, Star Wars, Genesys, and L5R. The "Pay you for bad stuff happening to your character" of Cortex Plus, Fate, and a few others. The Rotational GMing of Cosmic Patrol (and Valiant Universe), the Dice Pool niftiness of Cortex Plus and Sentinel Comics...
 
Dude, how old do you think I am? I mean, if you’re going to go for a dig, that’s a weird one to go for.

The Palladium system works well for you. Go for it. It does not work well for me, and I stand by my opinion.

It really isn't showing its age as much as you're showing yours. It still works well for many youth, and not a few adults.
 
Has it? I don't think so. I mean, there are a lot of people reinventing OE D&D, and other 1st gen games, cleaning up a few inconsistencies (like which direction is better on the dice), and making money off it.

Many new games are little better than the old ones. GURPS has also been frozen in the mid-80's mechanically - the look of the books is changed, but the game's only major change is switching ST & HT roles in damage taking. Hero System and Rolemaster still sell copies.

There's been a lot of branching out, but really, game design's only real indsutry-wide improvement was each system having unified rolling mechanics, which start a bit before Palladium, but really don't hit all the mainstream until the late 80's. And don't hit D&D until 1999.

Rifts is still quite popular with the high school crowd. As is Palladium Fantasy.

Let's see the design theories used in Palladium:
  • Combat
    • active defenses in opposed rolls - Still common.
    • d20 roll high - taken straight from D&D OE, but still super common
    • Special abilities accrue with level up. Still used, albeit now either with Feats or Class Abilities, in D&D 5E, Pathfinder 1E & 2E, Hackmaster,
    • Damage to Hit Points
    • Damage rolled on polyhedrals
  • Non Combat Skills
    • 1d100 ≤ Skill value to succeed. Borrowed from RuneQuest, which borrowed it from D&D. Still commonly used: BRP, RuneQuest
    • Skills go up en mass at level up: D&D 5E, Starfinder, Pathfinder 2E, Hackmaster 3 & 4. Plus a bunch of heartbreakers and OSR games for subsets of some skills.
    • Majority of Skills granted by Class: D&D 3E 4E 5E, 40K RPG's from BI/FFG, FFG Star Wars, Pathfinder 1E. PF 2E has many by class, but not the majority.
    • Not all skills increase at the same rate per level: Not overly common, but used in many OSR games, as well as in GURPS and Hero.
  • Advancement slowing with increasing power levels: SUPER COMMON. D&D OE-5E, Starfinder, Pathfinder 1E/2E, Hackmaster, Aces & Eights, Tunnels & Trolls, FFG Star Wars, L5R, Savage Worlds... yada yada yada...

It really isn't showing its age as much as you're showing yours. It still works well for many youth, and not a few adults.

Storygames have a bunch of newer mechanics, but for the most part, the traditional side's mechanics haven't improved much at all, other than most new games in that space moving to roll high for everything or roll under percentage for everything. But storygames really aren't in the same design space as gamist games like Palladium and D&D/AD&D prior to 4E.

The most innovative mechanics of the last decade? The narrative dice mechanics of FFG's WFRP3, Star Wars, Genesys, and L5R. The "Pay you for bad stuff happening to your character" of Cortex Plus, Fate, and a few others. The Rotational GMing of Cosmic Patrol (and Valiant Universe), the Dice Pool niftiness of Cortex Plus and Sentinel Comics...
I'm sorry to disillusion you but you are wrong, Palladium is not played anywhere within 100 miles of me, and that includes high schools, nor is it carried in few if any stores in the same distance, and we are talking Central California and the Bay Area here. most online businesses do not even carry Palladium Products, furthermore for resales of gaming product i'm looking at someone in one group trying to sell Palladium Books in the $5-$10 range and not takers and yet he had some Gurp's books in the same price range which sell for that and more, hate to say it but you are what is called a Palladium White Knight who thinks Palladium Books are gods gift to the earth, they are not they are a stale stagnant system and company ran by an incompetent owner, with a rule system that was relevant for about 5 years till it got old and stale, meanwhile other game systems have upgraded their play systems, while Palladium continues using their flawed gaming system, furthermore if Palladium was as good as you claim it is, why did they need the Kickstarter money to keep the lights on? why are they always on the verge of bankruptcy? why is Kevin always begging for money from his super fans? from crisis of treachery and such, it is time you took those rose colored glasses off and wake up to reality.

Just to give you a clue how dead Rifts is, they tried to do a Rift's Boardgame with miniatures and such, it failed and it had a low goal point of only $100K and it could not make it it couldn't even get $70K. in fact the only Rifts product that could pass muster, was not even put out by Palladium Books but another company, even Palladium's own fans are not happy with the system and swooped in on another companies products with an upgraded play system.
 
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Is it possible to leave palladium out of this conversation? Does ANYTHING palladium did in the past matter to this game? Honestly, they don't have the license anymore so their involvment is really zero - other than SMG saying sorry to any kickstarter backers of the robotech rpg tactics.

Honestly, I am sick of hearing about palladium and Robotech in the same sentence. Let's instead talk about how SMG has implied that they are doing a system that could effectively allow multiple play styles and splitting the party. They have said that you can play Mech pilots, bridge officers and entertainers all together - I'm curious as to how they will pull this off.
 
Is it possible to leave palladium out of this conversation?
Probably not, no. Much like the Star Wars RPG is inextricably linked to West End Games and Wizards of the Coast, due to their past handling of that license, the Robotech RPG will always be linked to Palladium Games. Any discussion of Robotech will inevitably include mentions of Palladium.
 

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