Go green, friend an orc.
Tears of a Machine is a mecha RPG by Russell Collins released in 2013 that focuses on a rather specific subset of the genre, which is the "volatile teens piloting monstrous war machines that their own creators only somewhat understand against powerful and horrifying invaders." So, this is your game of Evangelion, Gunparade March, whatever. Russel Collins has also released the book in screen-readable text to speech formats for the visually impaired as well, which is also worth mentioning.
No point to delaying, so here we go.
Chapter 1: Welcome
Just a general, "what this RPG thing is about" segment. There's nothing in here that isn't covered in more detail elsewhere in the book.
Chapter 2: Setting, or "How Earth was totally fucked but managed to pull a complete 360"
So, seventeen years before the setting's present, Earth had managed to dig itself into a hole that was one shovel away from going full Road Warrior. Famine, peak oil, and other miscellaneous problems that were causing a slow but noticeable descent into total chaos.
When the aliens came, they didn't arrive from space, but the call was coming from inside the house. Calling themselves the Legulus (gatherers), they promised to fix all of the food and resource problems in exchange for being allowed to set up settlements in various parts of the world. They could walk their talk, and while powerful nations held off, the destitute regions of the world were like "Hell yeah food!" The aliens could settle anywhere, and soon build their own little gleaming enclaves which became the world's Open Door. Trying to reverse engineer or steal their shit proved pointless, so they just let them be. For a little while.
The Legulus started to take small number of people into their settlements, but a much larger number started to form cults of worship around the extraterrestrials, who were preaching equality shared burdens within a communal whole. This was largely ignored until more established religions started to feel the pinch and issued directives condemning worshiping the Legulus, and soon more conventional fanatics started throwing bombs at the alien settlements. A US Senator didn't want to risk terrorists, so he decided to try to evict the aliens who had set up in his home state.
In response, the Legulus packed up their stuff and left, launching their numerous settlements into space. The cults remained, as they tend to do, but the resources that the Legulus had left Earth gave humanity the ability to enact a more sustainable recovery.
Ten years later, they came back in a ship built out of a Voltron'ed combination of all the settlements they had built on Earth, and they were all like "Okay, we tried doing this the nice way, now we're doing it the hard way." So it started spewing out dropships targeted at major cities and filled with insectoid robot tanks called the Locusts, which demolished defenders in advance of swarmers, smaller robots that captured survivors and carried them back to their dropships to be taken to the mothership. While the first wave was a devastating surprise, Earth's military forces were able to drive back the Locust raids with overwhelming firepower, sometimes even preventing them from grabbing any abductees. That's when the invaders, now designated the Mayzor (from the Latin Messor, harvester), unleashed their real war machines, hundred-foot tall angelic giants of silver and porcelain called the Magnas.
These seemingly invincible titans lashed out with powerful energy weapons, spewed toxic gases and rampaged in pure, literal howling rage, thrown into the teeth of the fiercest human resistance to crush the defenders. However, as an extra-special giant middle robot finger, they dropped a hundred Magnas on Jerusalem and the nearby region and turned it into a smoking hole in the ground, not even bothering to take prisoners. Magnas that had been fought and damaged in previous battles appeared with new limbs and even heads grown out of their wounds, their regeneration turning them into misshapen cybernetic horrors.
After blowing up the holy land and leaving many survivors beginning to believe that the end times had come at last, the Magnas returned to their Mothership, which then retreated to the dark side of the moon, and mankind got a brief reprieve, though the surviving nations were at a loss of what to do with it other than organize and wait for the next attack. It's then that the Swiss introduced the rest of humanity to the highly secretive Cloistered Research Council. Their representative, whose appearance and even true voice were entirely concealed, explained that they had been studying the invaders and their tech since the condemnation from the Vatican, and discovered two things. First, the Mayzor operate on a collective telepathic network that they were looking to expand with new members, but their plans beyond that remain a mystery. The second was that the CRC could totally X-COM the Mayzor's shit and built a fighting force that could protect humanity, but only on two conditions. First, the new force would answer only to the UN and the CRC would be a part of its creation, and second that the CRC would be allowed to continue its research in absolute secrecy and without question- otherwise they'd destroy their tech and leave humanity at the mercy of the invaders.
With no choice to agree, the United Forces for the Preservation of Humanity, or Preservation Forces, for short, was born, and the CRC proved their worth immediately by furnishing humankind with gigantic walking robot tanks, Robbies for short, built on the same scale as the Magnas with prototype nanotech. The next attacks were just as apocalyptic as the first, but somewhat less one-sided, as the Robbies were able, in numbers to actually kill a couple of the Magnas, which were hauled off by the CRC for research and experimentation. Whiel the Robbies proved effective against the Locusts, they were still not much of a match for the Magnas,whose maneuverability and psychic abilities made them too strong and quick to reliably overcome.
The results of this research was the SAInt.
The CRC managed to unlock all of the secrets of the construction of the Magnas and managed to build- or more accurately, grow- their own, based on the Magnas itself. However, the Magnas were rage-filled cybernetic war machines of violence and destruction, so in order to make them controllable, the CRC scientists effectively lobotomized their home-grown monsters, and looked elsewhere to find a means to replace what they had taken.
The CRC researchers discovered that younger brains that had not fully-developed were the most capable at controlling their new machines, as their new creatures were able to more easily influence the development of younger minds and help them become suitable for use in controlling the vast and terrifying power of the SAInts, so named after their control system, the Sympathetic Android Interface. However, it is a fact that pilots age out of being able to control a SAInt once they reach the age of 18, so pilots are at the age of 12 to 17. Launching from massive aerial carrier bases called the Arx, these pilots are launched forth to respond to Mayzor attacks wherever they may fall to fight back against the might of the enigmatic invaders.
And one of those pilots is you. No pressure.
May the SAInts preserve us.
NEXT: Chapter 2 Continued- You, the world, and what's left of both.