Mekton Zeta – System Mastery 123

Longtime friend of the show and fan-favorite guest Claire comes by to discuss Mekton Zeta with Jon, who knows nothing whatsoever about your precious animes.  This episode sadly concludes Jef’s paternity leave, so we’re afraid he’ll be back next time.

12 responses to “Mekton Zeta – System Mastery 123

  1. I noted a few years back that the cover art of the Mekton editions follows very much the trend of mecha anime at the time of release: the first Mekton was very much inspired by super robot anime, like the “Shogun Warriors” era of Mazinger Z, Combattler V, Grendizer, Danguard Ace, Voltron, etc. 2nd edition was very ’80s Gundam inspired, Antarctic Press’ Ben Dunn illustrating the cover with a very Gundam looking mecha as the centerpiece. 3rd edition, the Mekton Zeta reviewed, had the Japanese artist famous for painting box art for the Gundam model kits for Bandai, with the interior art clearly traced over characters from the Gundam OVA series, 0083: Stardust Memory, which was an early ’90s favorite among the anime set. It could be anyone’s guess what a new edition would feature, since robot anime heavily focuses on characters now than robot action. I’ve joke that a fourth edition would probably be pretty boy pilots with the mecha small in the background.

    Mekton was always inspired by Gundam and it’s space war scenario, which is primarily why rules for ships exist. I do think that there’s rules for popcorn ships, where the ships basically exist to haul mecha around and get popped whenever a mech closes in and beam sabers the bridge, which is a thing that happens a lot in Gundam, or the Yamato style of combat where they’re major centerpieces and hella tough. It seems that you have issues with the later style, since it does bog down into a lot of minutia.

    The rules system, especially with the Mekton Zeta Plus splatbook, could cover a large range of mecha genres, with the scale going all the way to personal-sized for your landmates, Garlands, Mospedas, and VOTOMS powered armors and transforming bikes, to giant SDF-1 city starship robots, and everything in between. Mekton Zeta was before stuff like Evangelion came out, but you could possibly make Eva Units, since they had stuff like mental control and organic mecha, but it was never a primary focus like Gundam or Macross, that was more for Five Star Stories type stuff (which is what my friend who ran a whole lot of Mekton campaigns used it for once).

    Speaking of which, my gameplay experience was that the mecha was built by the GM or with heavy supervision to match setting. My friend had years-long campaigns, too, so that crunchiness definitely appeal to our group and held their attention for awhile. Even after the group broke up, it was still played among individual friends who started new groups.

    Also, you’re damn right that combat takes awhile. One of my fondest memories when playing the game was a session going from 7pm on a Friday night, with pre-game being watching Brisco County Jr. (which should tell you how long ago this was), to finishing up around 9-10am the following Saturday. During this, I think my character had lost two mechs to combat, having floated in space after ejecting out of my first mech and then commandeered another mech then losing that in a kamikaze attack against the Big Bad. I believe the “game” time was something like relatively 3 minutes, but took something like 8 hours to finally go through all of it.

    Also, your gay anime show wouldn’t be pretty boy yaoi, I’m pretty sure you’re describing “bara”, which is the Japanese equivalent of those Tom Of Finland beefy, hairy dudes.

  2. Pingback: The Mistakes of Mekton II – Refereeing and Reflection·

  3. I know it’s kind of dumb to have two stats where one is strictly better than the other, but it does make some sort of sense, if you roll randomly for each stat. Even though Education is worse than Intelligence, the fact that it’s two different rolls will tend to normalize the total, so you’ll have an average number of skills regardless of whether or not you’re smart.

    Rolling randomly for each stat (and re-rolling ones) is also somewhat balanced against rolling 10d10 for your point total, because assigning points manually will let you synergize to build an effective character. Even if rolling randomly gives higher total stats, you’re very likely to end up with good stats in weird places where they don’t help as much.

    There are better ways that it could have been designed, to achieve similar effects, but it’s not a bad attempt at balance for such an old game.

  4. Since you brought it up, the last Gundam series had a confirmed bisexual Gundam pilot who spent a lot of time shirtless.

    A recent poll put him as the 68th most popular character in the series. Which sounds much less impressive before you remember they’ve been making new shows with massive casts since ’79.

  5. Hey all, I’m the madman who made the automatic Excel sheet. Friend of mine mentioned you guys were doing this system in your show, and I’m kind of amazed it even got a mention here, but apparently my sheet got around pretty well. There’s a link to it on the Mekton Zeta 1d4chan page, and the sheet has a handy readme in it. I’ve run a campaign to completion over the course of about 2 years, played in some games that lasted a while, and have another game that’s still technically going but just on hiatus. I love the system, the crunch, everything about it. I’m always down to talk shop about the system or just help people get into it. There’s even a Discord server I made dedicated to the system that’s somehow blown up to over a hundred bodies.

    Point is, it’s awesome to see people still know Mekton exists, and all the more so that my sheet is apparently becoming common knowledge.

    • Holy shit, you made that sheet?! Dude I absolutely need to thank you. Mekton Z was the first ever long running campaign I completed and it’s a game near and dear to my heart. I wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as much with out your sheet, for real thank you.

      • I’m more than happy to have been of help! The sheet’s definitely lacking and a little rough around the edges, to put it generously, but it makes the process of creating Meks well above workable. But really, thank you for the validation. I always wonder how much the sheet gets around, so it’s nice to see it getting attention from sources I’d never expect, and all the nicer to know it’s having a positive impact. I always just assume it’s some kind of obscure thing nobody looks at or uses, but the Discord channel I made begs to differ. Almost makes me feel like I saved the system from extinction sometimes.

  6. nteresting review. You do realize you add Intelligence+Education+1d10 for general knowledge skill checks. I would agree that the game has a lot of math but it’s no worse that 3.5 or Pathfinder in complexity. I disagree with not enough points for character. You can get way more points if pick the same profession for 2 years over and over again up to age 30. That is potential +35 extra points. Professionals also get to pick a starting template like rookies as well. Most of us that play Mekton do not let players make mecha. The build system is mostly for referee only. There is simplified build system in the Referee screen that reduces the mecha to one simple Structural Integrity stat for easier book keeping. Spaces are not used in the cinematic system. There are pre-made mecha in the sourcebooks. The new edition fixes most the issues you pointed out. It unfortunately has been shelved until Cyberpunk Red comes out.

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