Ristin's Campaign Construction Center
A Robotech / Macross game concept:
Okay…this one has haunted me for a long time because I love (bits of) the setting. Where to start, though…
First thing’s first, there’s Robotech and there’s Macross. Robotech is the adapted for American children version of Macross; and Macross is the original anime. Similar to what they did with both series of Voltron. It’s a bit like comparing the 80s cartoon He-man verses Lord of the Rings, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Despite the name (above), I am thinking Macross not Robotech.
Second thing’s second, there’s the big issue with the setting which is it’s usually a big military story, with a big heirarchy and scores of mecha. There are exceptions such as Macross Plus (where the heroes are test pilots) and Macross Frontier (where the heroes are part of a small elite mercenary unit).
I am aiming for the second. A small team, and not all pilots, necessarily. A small mercenary group used as military contractors? A small expeditionary force of explorers? An remote outpost with a limited staff. A bunch of random heroic individuals who band together for a quest style adventure for some reason. Some sort of “you are the only survivors” scenario.
Third thing’s third, it’s not actually about the mecha. One strong message in Macross is that it’s the people that are the heroes. Non-pilots are important characters, and it’s the skill of the pilots not the stats of the mecha that make them remarkable. This would have to be carefully fostered.
It’s a similar problem to Star Wars not being all about the Jedi. In both cases, there are all sorts of social, diplomatic and technological challenges (among others) and not every situation is resolved by leaping into the cockpit or igniting the lightsabre.
Actually, to be blunt, I think any game should be based on more than the lowest common denominator of combat used to solve all issues.
The plot would start small and build up, in the style of anime (and most plots). Ideally with multiple plot lines converging together so that each PC provides one path to the finale.
One key feature of Macross is that multiple aspects of life affect the final outcome. In particular the development of new technology and / or reverse engineering alien technology…and more importantly Music plays a key role in establishing contact and / or manipulating newly contacted alien races. Having a final dogfight or massive climactic battle at the end isn’t really the point, usually.