Robotech (role-playing game)
Front cover of the Robotech RPG core rulebook, illustrated by Kevin Long
|Years active||November 1986
– July 1998|
March 2008 – present
The Robotech Role-Playing Game, based on the Robotech and Robotech II: The Sentinels series, was originally published by Palladium Books from 1986 to 1998. A new series based on Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles was released starting in 2008.
First edition (1986–1998)
- The Robotech RPG sourcebooks
- Book One: Macross (November 1986)
- Book Two: Robotech Defense Force Manual (March 1987)
- Book Three: Zentraedi (March 1987)
- Book Four: Southern Cross (September 1987)
- Book Five: Invid Invasion (June 1988)
- Book Six: The Return of the Masters (July 1989)
- Book Seven: New World Order (April 1995)
- Book Eight: Strike Force (July 1995)
- The Robotech RPG adventure books
- Ghost Ship (February 1988)
- Robotech Defense Force Accelerated Training Program (March 1988)
- Lancer's Rockers (December 1989)
- Zentraedi Breakout (May 1994)
- Robotech II: The RPG
- The Sentinels (September 1988)
- Robotech Expeditionary Force Field Guide (March 1989)
Books one through five covered the three segments of Robotech as aired. Book six and Lancer's Rockers took place after the series ended, and books seven, eight, and the rest of the adventure books took place during or shortly after the Macross segment.
The initial five volumes were written by Kevin Siembieda with other Palladium regulars and freelance authors contributing to the later sourcebooks and adventure books. Illustrations consisted of line art taken from original Japanese source material in addition to new black-and-white line art done by Palladium artists such as Kevin Long.
Palladium also published a separate RPG based on the Macross II anime, but this was entirely unrelated to the Robotech continuity.
The original Robotech RPG by and large followed the TV series storyline, attempting in its own way to fill in gaps just as the novelizations by Jack McKinney did. Several of the sourcebooks covered different parts of the world during or shortly after the Macross era, where there was the most room for expansion. However, the RPG diverged from the McKinney stories after the events covered in the Robotech series ended. Where McKinney followed Scott Bernard and the others in their search for Admiral Rick Hunter, leaving behind a peaceful planet earth, Palladium posited the Invid returning to earth a few months after they were driven away.
The books Return of the Masters and Lancer's Rockers were set during this second Invid invasion, and introduced concepts and events not suggested by the original material. Return of the Masters, set in Asia, features a system of gladiatorial mecha martial arts combat called Mecha Su-Dai. Lancer's Rockers concerns a network of travelling performers following in the footsteps of New Generation rock star Lancer/Yellow Dancer, carrying protoculture-powered musical instruments that double as powerful weapons (reminiscent of, but unrelated to, similar developments in the Macross sequel Macross 7).
The Sentinels RPG also diverged in some respects from the story covered in the Sentinels novels and comic books, having been developed independently based on the same incomplete source material provided by Harmony Gold. The two primary differences are the idea that the SDF-3 left with an entire fleet of REF ships accompanying them, and that the REF and the Sentinels joined in a protracted war against the Invid Regent. The game also suggested that members of the Sentinels' races would openly join the REF.
The Robotech RPG used a modified version of the rule system used in the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game introduced several years earlier. Clearly patterned after Dungeons & Dragons, the Palladium Fantasy RPG used a very similar rule system based around physical and mental statistics generated by rolling 3D6 (three six-sided dice), and the use of a D20 (20-sided die) in combat. Percentile dice (two ten-sided dice, one read as a tens column and the other as a ones column) are used for skill resolution. The Robotech RPG introduced the concept of mega-damage—"super" hit-points that are equivalent to 100 ordinary-person hit points—to simulate the toughness of the heavily armored mecha. This concept would become widely used in Palladium's Rifts game.
The creators of the Robotech RPG originally lacked access to the complete source material, working against deadlines based on what could be seen from show footage and limited-scope translations. As a result of incomplete availability, compounded by animation and dubbing errors, some descriptions of mecha and weapon systems given in the First-Edition books are inconsistent with either the animation or subsequently uncovered source material. The confusion is particularly strong in Southern Cross, where the many humanoid robots, battloids, and suits of armor are often confused for one another. These inaccuracies are genuine errors and distinct from creative choices that Palladium writers made to elaborate on the Robotech storyline as discussed previously.
Contractual issues in the wake of Harmony Gold's aborted Robotech 3000 project, as well as a general refocusing of the company on production of its flagship Rifts line, caused Palladium to forgo renewing the Robotech license. The Robotech RPG line went out of print as of June 30, 2001.
Second edition (2008–present)
On August 26, 2006, a post on the company forums  stated Palladium's intent to reacquire the Robotech license capitalize on the publicity of the anticipated feature film Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Contract negotiations lasted longer than anticipated, and it was September 6, 2007 before Palladium was able to announce the deal had been finalized.
The return of Robotech to the Palladium catalog was warmly received by fans of the previous editions, but a subsequent decision to publish the new line of Robotech books in a 6x9 "manga" size drew mixed reactions. Some fans were attracted to the portability of the smaller form factor, but others observed that not only the older books of the Robotech RPG but also the entire catalog of other Palladium titles (such as the popular Rifts series) continued to be printed in the 8.5x11 size. Palladium addressed these concerns by offering the Shadow Chronicles sourcebook in two hardcover editions (standard and "gold") printed in the traditional 8.5x11 size as well as a standard edition in the new manga size. This option was initially not offered for the follow-on sourcebooks for the Macross Saga (2008) or The Masters Saga (2009) sourcebooks, however.
In late 2011, Palladium Books reversed course on its commitment to the manga sizes and announced that the New Generation sourcebook and all future Robotech RPG books would be released in the traditional 8.5x11 size. The announcement also promised that any reprints of the already released Macross and Masters books would be in the traditional size. In August of 2013, the Macross Saga sourcebook was reprinted in full size, leaving only The Masters Saga unavailable in 8.5x11.
Robotech RPG Tactics (2013)
On April 18, 2013, Palladium Books initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise $70,000 needed to develop a new miniature wargaming system called Robotech RPG Tactics. The campaign raised $1,442,312 from 5,342 backers by its close on May 20, 2013. The funded game is scheduled to ship in December 2013.
- Meadows, Chris (2007-02-19). "Kevin Siembieda Interview, Part 1" (mp3). Space Station Liberty. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- Bundy, Stan; Brian Myers, Robert McDaniel, Dustin Ramsey, Rodney Stott, et al. (2002-09-01). "Section 5: The Anime-Based Games: Robotech & Macross II". The Palladium FAQ. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- Siembieda, Kevin (2006-08-26). "Palladium Survival Strategies". Forums of the Megaverse. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- Rali (2007-09-20). "Manga Sized Manuals?". Forums of the Megaverse. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- Palladium Books (2013-05-20). "Robotech® RPG Tactics". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Robotech role-playing games official discussion board at Palladium Books Forums of the Megaverse
- The Robotech Role-Playing Game at RPG Geek Database
- Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles at RPG Geek Database
- Robotech role-playing games at RPGnet Game Index
- Robotech: The Role-Playing Game - Extensive fan-created role-playing game based heavily on Palladium's Robotech RPG.
- Robotech Bibliography - Listings of RPG books in and out of print.
- Robotech Research - Extensive Robotech role-playing game site.
- The Original Palladium FAQ - by Stan Bundy
- Robotech RPG Review - Macross Saga Revised edition VS Original