July 22nd, 2019

marcus 2013

Another RPG bundle offer - Mekton Zeta

Another blast from the past:


Mekton, the debut design by Mike Pondsmith (Cyberpunk, Castle Falkenstein), was also the first American RPG inspired by Japanese giant-robot manga such as Mobile Suit Gundam. The primordial "white box" Mekton (1984, with Mike Jones), a tactical wargame with minor character elements, was quickly succeeded by the full Mekton RPG (1985); then the 1987 Interlock-based second edition, Mekton II; and finally (so far) the 1994 Mekton Zeta. (Or, according to the katakana characters on the cover, "Super Dimension Mobile Warrior Mekton Z.")

More than some other giant-robot RPGs, Mekton goes all-in on epic anime melodrama. Its Mek design rules are robust and versatile (especially when you add Mekton Zeta Plus), and its 1d10-based "Interlock" task resolution system (adapted from Cyberpunk 2020) is effective; but flavorful Mekton experiences happen when the pilots get out of their Meks. The Lifepath character generation system, a Pondsmith specialty, sketches a backstory full of hard knocks, tragic romances, and vendettas. "Lifepath is a way of recreating the complex mental landscape of a typical anime character," Pondsmith writes in Mekton Zeta. "It doesn't take much imagination to expand a result of 'enemy pilot who hates you' into a full-blown tale of the old friend who betrayed you, jealously murdered the lover you both wanted, and changed sides, the start of a bitter grudge match that isn't going to end until one of you lies dead." And as the campaign progresses, your character's actions generate a wide range of Reputation scores you'll have to live up to -- or live down.

In several published campaign settings, the universe of Mekton widened to cover entire galaxies and many anime styles: Mekton Empire (inspired by Captain Harlock and Voltron), Invasion Terra (inspired by Macross), Starblade Battalion (a Gundam-like extrapolation of the Cyberpunk 2020 future), and Operation Rimfire (all of the above). This offer presents all these settings, plus the Zeta rulebook and several key supplements, for a bargain price. And this Mekton Bundle also marks the debut in .PDF of the two Mecha Manuals (1994-95). R. Talsorian has also rescanned several of the older titles and bookmarked every .PDF.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). These are top-quality .PDF image scans of the original 1990s hardcopies with OCR (optical character recognition) applied. Some of these books are newly scanned for this offer. Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$87. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $42.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Mekton Zeta core rulebook (retail price $15), the rules expansion Mekton Zeta Plus (retail $14), the Mekton Techbook (retail $6), and the Mekton Tactical Display referee's screen (retail $7.50).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $21.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $44.50, including Operation Rimfire (retail $8), Mekton Empire (retail $7), Invasion Terra (retail $7.50), Starblade Battalion (retail $9), and the two Mecha Manuals, big books of robot designs that debut in .PDF in this offer and are not yet available in .PDF anywhere else.

OK, let's be honest - this is a 25-year-old RPG which takes tropes from anime and manga and saws off the serial numbers. It's not going to be wildly original, and it's a clunky rules system (and was when it was originally published). There are some weird design decisions, such as getting 16 pages into the rules before introducing the system (the first 15 are the cover, pictures of various characters and vehicles etc. with game stats and no explanation as to what they mean, and the table of contents). All in all, don't expect state of the art games design...

Having said that, there's a certain period charm, some OK illustrations, and it's actually one of the better R. Talsorian games (admittedly that isn't necessarily saying much) with some historical importance since it introduced the genre to RPGs (or vice versa). But realistically, there are better alternatives out there, and if you're not a Mecha or R. Talsorian completist you might do better to look elsewhere for your giant robot combat suit fix.

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