14 August 2015

LISTEN TO MY SONG: Or how do play the Minmei in BRP Mecha?

I'm stumped on how to model the power of song  in Macross using BRP.

As I am focused on following the fleet of Megaroad-01, I could simply ignore it as Lynn Minmei is on board and that allows me to place it in the background and wholly GM fiat territory. This is not satisfactory because then noone can start out as a wannabee pop idol who eventually has a massive impact on the relations between the fleet and soon to be former existential threat.

This leaves me wanting something mechanical. I could simply leave it in the realm of the mundane Perform/Sing skill, as is shown in SDF/DYRL?, and thereby ignoring the Song Energy shenanigans of 7 with Basra and Fire Bomber/Sound Force, and I can easily ignore the specifics of Frontier as it's based on a bacterial infection. If I do leave it as a mundane skill then power song would by implication only affect uncultured Zentradi, which leaves for a boring and already done threat. I'm still not even sure how the Sharon Apple Incident happend, was it just mass hypnosis? But even then that still falls into mundane, and only affecting humans and Zentradi. Zero was simply a specific blood-line and a specific song being a key, so I'm inclined to partially ignore that.

But the fact that Zero had a specific song being a key, and DYRL? ending Space War 1 with a translated Protoculture pop song does open up the possibility as mundane song and music as a method of communication with aliens that are also derived/created by the Protoculture, or their artifacts. This changes the focus from music being used as a weapon like the bulk of the franchise.

I could model the power of song as a power. The most likely candidate is one or more psychic powers, specifically a modification of Emotion Control, if I were to favor the Basara Song Energy view of music as a power. The downside is the lack of mass influence that is shown with Minmei and Ranka/Sheryl. Using Song Energy as a psychic power works with the one or a very small number of enemies, such as the individual protodevlin that Sound Force fought, and it might also work alongside the more mundane mass culture shock style influence shown on Zentradi and mind-controlled Varuta.

I don't think mutations or super powers would be suitable for modeling the power of song. The sample magic and sorcery in the BGB also don't look right. I might be able to do something with Spirit Magic from The Magic Book, which by the way gave some ideas for a potential alien species to run into.

10 August 2015

Macross Flashback 2012/Megaroad-01 Colonization Fleet campaign

Pros and Cons of using various rules systems at my disposal to run a Macross Flashback 2012/Megaroad-01 Colonization Fleet campaign.

Palladium Megaversal
Pros-
It's AD&D with an assload of KS's houserules.
There are 4 series of games devoted to Robotech/Macross (1e Robotech, Robotech II, Macross II, and 2e Robotech)
The rules are 30+ years old, so people I am more likely to game with will have passing familiarity with the game.
2e Robotech is currently in print and expanding at the glacial rate PB is known for.
There are official guidelines for converting characters to Robotech RPG Tactics.
There is at least one person sharing his unofficial Robotech and Macross mecha stats. To include the VF-4 series of veritechs. http://worldofjaymz.wikia.com/wiki/Worldofjaymz_Wiki
There is a whole lot of other Megaversal games to steal material from.

Cons-
PB rules books are still notorious for being difficult to reference combat rules, and the combat rules have a widespread reputation for being confusing.
There are no official stats for the YF-4/VF-X-4/VF-4 Lightning III.
Robotech is focused on magical plant fuel power.
No rules for Minmei/Minmay style using music to culture Zentradi or other aliens. The closest to rules for using music offensively is the Mardook Emulator OCC in Macross II. There might something to steal from other PB games.

Basic Roleplaying with BRP Mecha
Pros-
Level-less
Everything is a percentile skill.
D&D style attributes.
Loose-guidelines on how to take official technical specifications and turn them in game stats.
I've already done up stats for several SDF-1 Macross mecha, and created a spreadsheet to automate the stat creation process.

Cons-
I have problems with some of the rules in BRP Mecha such as: any weapon capable of burst or automatic fire has it's range reduced heavily, which flies in the face of my personal experience with automatic weapons; the heavy reliance on a collection of Motivations, which are treated like skills which give you Fate Points that allow the PCs and important NPCs to do a lot of "cinematic" things like bump up skills and avoid death.
You have to do you own mecha stats, and if you can't find certain official specifications you need to just whole cloth make things up.
There are no other mecha specific supplements for BRP that I am aware of.
There are again no explicit rules for Minmei style music stuff, but it is likely it could done using super-powers, sorcery, psychic powers, or other magic rules.

OVA
Pros-
Explicitly about emulating anime.
Has rules for making mecha and using mecha.
There is probably some way to do the Minmei music stuff hiding in the abilities.

Cons-
Extremely generic because anime and manga are diverse sea of genera unified basically by a large number of stylistic choices in the art and country of origin.
Have to make all the mecha stats up, and do so in a very hand-wavey way. 

Stars Without Number
Pros-
Has rules for mecha
It's an OSR game

Cons-
No transforming mecha
No Minmei music stuff

Cthullhutech
Pros-
Mecha
Lists the Robotech series as inspiration al material
Has a lot obvious references to Macross

Cons-
All the Cthullhu stuff
I don't like the rules
No transforming mecha
Again no Minmei music, unless it gets fluffed as psychic power or sorcery.

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