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WIR Robotech The Roleplaying Game

Dalillama

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Having remembered that I own this game, and having had some fun with my other readthroughs, I'm gonna give it a shot. This effort will be complicated by the fact that this book is also pretty much my sole source of knowledge about Robotech; I've never seen a single episode. There's almost cerrainly gonna be spoilers in here for the series. So let's dive in!

After the usual copyright information (which includes a large warning that the artwork herein cannot be reproduced without written permission from Palladium), title page, etc. we get the standard Palladium opening page layout starting with the
Introduction
This book is supposedly a faithful recreation of the ROBOTECH/Macross TV series, of which the authors profess themselves long time fans. It also includes "a wealth of information never before available in the English language" due to "long hours spent accurately translating" various Japanese books about Macross. (Given the quality of the Japanese seen in other Palladium books, I am dubious, but someone named Carl Macek is involved, whose name I don't recall seeing in other Palladium books, so maybe this time will be different.). Furthermore, there is original material, composed by the authors with permission (as I understand it, they actually had no such permission, a misunderstanding that later led to some difficulties. It took a while for the TTRPG industry to fully grasp the idea of copyright.) from Harmony Gold. This material details the nine years between the destruction of the SDF-1 and -2 and the launching of SDF-3. Southern Cross and Mospeada are also mentioned, and The Sentinels. Apparently the bad guys are called Zentraedi and are aliens.
Since this is an RPG, you don't have to follow the TV series any further than you want to, and the PCs can be Big Damn Heroes instead of or alongside the canon characters.
I shouldn't have started this on my phone, so I'm posting now so I can revisit it on a proper keyboard.
 

DarkMoc

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I'm not sure if you were being snarky or serious, but Carl Macek was the editor and producer of Robotech for Harmony Gold.
 

Dalillama

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I'm not sure if you were being snarky or serious, but Carl Macek was the editor and producer of Robotech for Harmony Gold.
Hey, this time will be different. Cool! (Also, he did the Lensman cartoons! I gotta track those down again, I haven't seen them since I was wee.)
 

Nate_MI

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Hrobotecc! I'm here for this, especially considering your previous Palladium WIR.
 

MemoryBeast

Can I be your familiar?
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The Robotech RPG was, believe it or not, my very first exposure to RPGs. I bought it when I was like 10 years old, because I thought the robot on the cover was cool (I, too, was totally unfamiliar with the cartoon when I got the game), and now it’s 27 years later and I’m still playing.

Still playing RPGs, that is... not Robotech. Not anything by Palladium. I definitely got interested in RPGs despite Robotech being my first exposure, not because of it.
 

Dalillama

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Readers of my previous series may detect some copy pasting in this section. It's only fair, the original material does it too.

HOW TO PLAY A ROLEPLAYING GAME:
IMAGINATION!
And also some polyhedral dice. We're told to picture a scene, like a waiting room with chairs a clock reading 3:00, and nighttime out the window. Then a setting, which is a micronized Zentraedi (I assume that a) people familiar with the series know what this means, and b) we'll get an explanation later. I'm not perfectly confident in b, though) waving a pistol at the janitors demanding money.(that's backwards, but no matter). Picture yourself there, only you're a Rick Hunter, Commander of the Skull Squadron! (I'm guessing he's [one of] the protagonists) What now?

Glossary
Attributes, Campaign, Character, Death(people in animated shows sometimes die, you might die, don't take it too seriously, it's just a game. Ah, the days of the Satanic Panic...), Dice, Game Master, Player, RPG, Roll a twenty-sided (I think people can figure that out on their own...), Roll Percentile, Run a game, saving throw, and Scenario (adventure was the more common term even then)

Creating Characters:
There are eight attributes, each of which is determined by rolling 3d6; rolling 16 or above gets you another d6 to add on. The attribute are:

  • IQ: Intelligence; we're told that IRL IQ can be found by multiplying this stat by 10. Someone was impresed by the paperwork Mensa sent them I guess. Anyway, above 16 gives you a one-time skill bonus ranging from +3% to +11% at 24, the rolled maximum. The chart goes all the way to 42, cos there's bonuses to be had, and at that level you get a +29% to any skill you learn.
  • ME: Mental Endurance. This is your will stat; need at least 12 to have psionics, above 16+ gives you a bonus to save against psionic attacks from +1 to +13.
  • MA: Mental Affinity, a measure of the character's 'charm and charisma'. High stats grant a 'bonus' to persuade or intimidate people, which is listed as a percentile rather than a bonus to something. 45% chance at 16, 99% at 36.
  • PS: Physical Strength. You can carry 10x your PS in pounds or lift 30x. Unless your strength is 15+, where that becomes 20x and 40x, 20+, 30/60x and 24+ 50/100x. That escalated quickly. Also you get bonus melee damage, from +1 to +27(!!!)
  • PP: Physical Prowess/dexterity. Bonus to strike, parry, and dodge that progresses half as fast as the damage bonus, topping out at +14.
  • PE: Physical Endurance. Determines hit points, also how long you can run at full speed or carry max weight (1 minute/point of PE), or hold up max lift (1 round/PE). Also a bonus to save vs poison and death, from +5% to +31% (Hang on, aren't saving throws d20 in this game?)
  • PB, Physical Beauty, which is apparently universal even for things that look like werewolves or sparrowmonsters or something. Gives a bonus (there's that word again) to 'charm or impress', starting at 40% and increasing till 33, when it maxes out.
  • Spd. Speed. Multiply by 20 to find running speed in yards per minute. Gives up to +7 to dodge.
Hit Points: Are PE +1d6, and another 1d6/level. These are not abstract, this is your actual ability to endure significant harm.

Recovery of Hit points
You can do first aid on yourself if most of your bits still work, and anyone with medical skills can try to help someone else. Someone receiving basic first aid recovers 2 hp/24 hours (This probably assumes that they're also resting and not jumping over rooftops or getting in fights, but that's not specified til SDC).
Professional care "From a doctor, clinic, or hospital" is the same as first aid for two days, then jumps to 4 hp a day (Relatively minor injuries don't need professional care as much).
Surviving Coma and Death (the phrasing makes it sound like surviving death is an option...)
When you reach 0 HP, you're in a coma and will die in PE hours without care. If you are reduced to -(PE) HP, you're just plain dead. Due to awkward phrasing and sentence construction, that takes 3 paragraphs and 2 headings in the book. Blood loss is going to be particularly relevant here, but that's not called out; if someone's down, you've got at most PE minutes to get them some first aid before they're gone.

Recovery from a Coma (isn't this surviving?)
Every hour you can roll percentile to stabilise, meaning you're at one hp and not actively bleeding. You need to succeed on two out of three rolls, and I think the rules mean that every hour you roll percentile three times, and if two of them succeed you're good. Personally I think that 1 roll per hour, need 2 consecutive success, would be a better rule, but whatever. Someone who's just getting first aid (the person needs some actual medical skill on their sheet) has an 18% chance of success, an 'Intern or RN' (What's that on the skill chart?) boosts it to 32%, a doctor without proper facilities gives a 46% chance, +10% for a clinic, +20% for a hospital, +4% more for a 'Large, major' hospital. High PE gives a bonus to these percentages, starting at +5% and increasing slowly.

Also the optional rules for lasting damage after losing much of your Hit Points is here, I can't find it in my earlier thread and don't feel like typing it all the way back up again, so refer to there if you're really curious.

Structural Damage Capacity, Mega Structure, and Mega-Damage
Structural Damage Capacity: SDC is the more abstracted kind of hit points. This is your pool of lucky marginal escapes, shaking it off, it was only a flesh wound type of stuff. You can have lots of SDC, and losing it doesn't accrue any kind of penalties. Each OCC (This term really should have been in the glossary. I'm familiar enough with Palladium to know it's how they say character class, but some random Robotech fan ca. 1986 probably doesn't) has a starting SDC: 30 for Military Specialists, 25 for Veritech and Destroid pilots, 20 for everyone else. You get more from physical skills.

Inanimate objects also usually have SDC. Artificial armour has an Armour rating and an SDC rating; rolls to hit below the AR damage the armour and not the wearer. There's a note that people playing other Palladium games have complained that things are fine until their SDC is gone, then fall apart. The authors hasten to assure us that this is not the case, and that the GM should describe increasing damage appropriately.

MDC or Mega Structure and Mega Damage
There's all kinds of super high technology involved in Robotech, and stuff made of futuristic alien supermaterials sheds bullets like rain. Things with MDC include all mecha and spacecraft, as well as most war vehicles generally. One MDC point is equivalent to 100 SDC points, but SDC weapons can't hurt Mega-Structures. Conversely, Mega Damage weapons will tend to casually obliterate SDC structures (and people).
Example: Thirty rebel bandits (rebels against what?) encounter a single Gladiator mech, and for some reason stand and fight. They do 400 total damage with their guns and grenade launchers, and have no effect because it was in a bunch of penny packet hits. Some of them sensibly run for their car to flee, but the mech pilot zaps it with a 1d4 megadamage laser and blows it in half. Then a full sized Zentraedi with a megadamage weapon pod steps out from behind a building (I guess they're pretty big). These shots do a total of 7 megadamage, which isn't very much for a big mech, and the fight is on, on much more even terms.
 
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Kettlehelm

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These early books lose their specialness when the guns and armor of an average RIFTS party can wipe the floor with them.
Although these book do underpin whatever the hell Mega-Damage is.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
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Readers of my previous series may detect some copy pasting in this section. It's only fair, the original material does it too.
Kevin Siemebieda made a dark pact with the demon lord MegaDamage and must now fit its dread name in as many fictional universes as possible.
 

MemoryBeast

Can I be your familiar?
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I remember that my first exposure to the idea of "genre emulation" in RPGs (not that I'd have used that term at the time) was when I first saw the actual Robotech cartoon as a teenager, and was somewhat startled to discover that the battles were fast-moving and lethal, with mecha on both sides getting one-shotted by hits from the other side's weapons. I'd assumed that the mecha battles would be slugfests where the mechs on each side have to pound on each other for a while, weakening each other's armor and taking each other apart piece by piece, because that's more the experience that the RPG creates, at least in my limited experience with it (remember, I was playing around with this game as my very first RPG, when I was 10-12 years old, and its rules are a fucking nightmare, so who knows if I was even doing it right). But that was one of those big "click" moments for me in how I thought about RPGs - the idea that the rules create the "feel" of the game, and that you can easily have a game trying to be one thing and end up being something else entirely because the rules don't actually emulate the thing it's trying to be.
 

Octiron

Pariah
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Well, If it did emulate the show, new veritech pilots would get picked off like flies and everyone would drop the game.

For what it's worth, the zentraedi pods were made of papier-mâché, comparatively.
 
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