Mekton is a role-playing game made by Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian Games, the same studio that made Cyberpunk 2020. It centers on the conventions of mecha anime and science fiction (although it can easily enough be adapted to other genres like police drama or high fantasy). It has seen several editions since its introduction in 1984, the most recent, Mekton Zeta (メクトン Z; a reference to the influential mecha anime Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam) being first published in 1994.
Mekton is batshit crazy
As you read through the most recent book (Mekton Zeta Plus), it might seem as a normal, if modular, RPG. The weapons seem a bit silly but well within the bounds of what you see in your Japanese animes. There's energy weapons, projectile weapons, missiles; just like BattleTech except there's also shields and more melee weapons. There's all sorts of modifications to be found, ranging from drones and extra armor to EWAR and ECCM. But around the time you hit the Thought Control rules (plugging your brain directly into your mech) you might start to suspect there's something going on. Then you hit the rules for Lightspeed and Teleportation, where you realize this is not just a real robot game. Then you hit the Transformation and Combiner rules (including turning into motorcycles and what the guy in Not-Voltron's left leg does when they're in the big robot form).
And then, Stupid Mekton Tricks.
This pulls out all of the anime stops. Hammerspace, merging with your Mekton, super jumping skills, hijacking other Mekton, absorbing and reusing parts from other mechs you just tore off, transforming into buildings, gadgets, guns (yes, there are specific rules for building Megatron), rules for super-deformed Mektons including the new "Kawaii" and "Kowoi" stats and even for building yourself a moe robot waifu.
So in other words, you can build a robot girl who leaps across the battlefield and turns into a gun to hijack kawaii enemy mechs by holding their pilots at gunpoint, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann style. Yes, you just read that.
Suffice to say, Mekton is Batshit Crazy.
As such, it is STRONGLY advised that its GMs clearly define the do's and don'ts, lest you get a batshit crazy game consisting of several mechs that should not exist, alone or in a group.
Actually, screw it. Give your players the book, a number of points and let them go to town. Then GM that shit. It will make for the most memorable game of your life.
Automated Mekton Zeta Mek Sheet Maker
An Excel sheet on Google Drive which functions with entirely too much horribly put together code to automatically calculate all the things needed to make a Mek for Mekton Zeta (plus Technical Manual), so you have to do as little work as possible in making a Mek and even less math. No autism required here!
And you'll want this if you wish to use the above properly.
Additionally there is a Mekton Zeta character sheet as well. Supports stats up to 20. It automatically tallies hits, EV, weight and everything.
Finally, a Mekton Zeta Beast/Animal creation sheet. Beast creation is located on pages 129-132 of the Advanced Technical Manual. Useful for statting out those alien dogs.
Also, for those that wish to use an interactive PDF they have been created and compiled on google drive.
Editions of Mekton
- "White Box" Mekton (1984) - this was closer to a board game than to the RPG we know today. It had a large hex map representing the terrain of an entire planet.
- Mekton (1984) - softcover book using a custom percentile-based task resolution system.
- Roadstriker (1986) - rules for human-scale transformable vehicles and power suit mecha, more advanced transformable mecha design options, and a police drama adventure
- Mekton II (1987) - converted Mekton to run on the Interlock System, later used in Cyberpunk 2020. Cover art by Ben Dunn.
- Mekton Techbook/Mekton Technical System (MTB/MTS) (1991) - a major conversion of the mecha-building system of Mekton
- Mekton Zeta (メクトン Z) (1994) - general update and improvement of Mekton II. Significantly more animu. This is very much an improvement.
- Mekton Zeta Plus (メクトン Z プラス) (1994) - general update and improvement of the Mekton Techbook
- Gundam Senki (2000) - Japanese language Mobile Suit Gundam RPG using the Mekton system. A US release is in development hell.
Another edition of Mekton has been announced and funded on Kickstarter. According to the head designer, this game will be the game that he originally envisioned Mekton to be. It will be what Mekton was like when it was a homebrew he and his buddies went nuts with before its animu-ness was watered down for a commercial release for the then-uninitiated western public, hence its name, "Mekton Zero". Hunt up a deck of cards or something, youre gonna be waiting awhile.
- Algol - A "grab bag" setting in an alternate universe, mixing many different styles of anime together. This setting originated with the first edition of Mekton, but fell into disuse after line editor Michael MacDonald left R. Talsorian. Algol was the default setting for Mekton and Mekton II, and remains in Mekton Z for legacy purposes. Algol is a long-lost human colony of the Bendar Galactic Empire, where the various factions are locked in a cold war and must deal with an impending ice age and the possible return of their ancient alien enemy, the fearsome Aggendi lizard warriors.
- Mekton Empire - A space opera setting taking hints from Captain Harlock, Gundam and Voltron, set in the distant Bendar Spiral Galaxy. It added rules for playing aliens (including non-humanoids), space combat, psionics and creating new alien creatures.
- Jovian Chronicles - A heavily Gundam-inspired licensed setting created by Dream Pod 9, set in the 23rd Century. This would later become a separate game using Dream Pod 9's Silhouette System, a system that constantly reassures you of how simple it is whilst providing you even less context then the do it yourself manual for a helicopter.
- Invasion Terra - A Macross-like setting in the future of 2105. Inasmuch as there is a default campaign setting for Mekton Z, this is it.
- Imperial Star - Very similar to Mekton Empire but set in the Milky Way Galaxy.
- Quicksilver Blues - Unreleased as of 2004 (complete since at least 2000). As of 2005, Quicksilver Blues is being reworked into a new and separate role-playing game called "Era³" by its original developers, Atomic Rocket Games.
- Starblade Battalion - Another Gundam-like setting, set in the far future of the Cyberpunk 2020 world (AD 2180).
Notable Fan Settings
Because Mekton has a relatively low amount of official support, and because it is designed as a universal "tool kit" role-playing system rather than being themed around a particular anime series (though fans of the system note that it is decidedly skewed toward "hard SF" type mecha anime, like Gundam and Macross), many fan settings have appeared for it since its release. Some of the most notable are indicated below.
- Metal Storm 2380 - Mark Chase; a particularly notable early fan setting, including an original story based on its campaign setting.
- Nova Team Arcol - Christian Conkle; based on the official Algol campaign setting.
- Mekton F: Dragon Knights (Bubblegum Conundrum 2050) - Christian Conkle; based on Bubblegum Crisis.
- Powersuit City; based primarily on a cross between Galaxy Fraulein Yuna and Teenagers from Outer Space.
- Virtual Mekton - A semi-official setting created by the Mekton Z Mailing List and its spin-off, the Virtual Mekton Mailing List. Loosely based on the video game Virtual On and the manga Break-Age.
Chat with Mektonners!
Players, GMs, creators, and people just interested in the system are welcome to join the Mekton Discord chat. The insane man who made the Mekton auto-calculation excel sheet above is the one running it.
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