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Welcome to the Mecha Quickstart Guide! Mecha is a role-playing game of
action-packed mecha anime. This quickstart guide gives you everything you
need (except friends and dice) to play out the frst episode of your own mecha
anime series. The full Mecha rulebook includes many more rules, options, and
settings, but by the time you play through the episode in this booklet you
should have a pretty good taste of what the full game is like.
What are Mecha?
Before we go any further, lets defne what were dealing with when we say
For the purposes of this quickstart guide, mecha are 20 foot tall, humanoid
robots that are the primary fghting vehicle in an inter-planetary confict
between rival factions. Like tanks, but walkier. They also possess boosters that
allow them to manuever in zero gravity situations such as the one presented
in this booklet.
Also, please note that we use the term mecha as both the singular and plural
form of the noun.
Mecha Quickstart Guide
2010 by Heroic Journey Publishing
Written by Chris Perrin and Clint Krause
Cover Illustration by Rick Hershey
Interior Illustrations by Beny Maulana
Layout by Clint Krause
Special thanks to Aaron Harmric,
Josh Chewning, Mike Silva, and
Robert Carson.
Permission is granted to photocopy any
portion of this booklet for personal use.
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What Youll Need
Youll need a bunch of standard, six-sided dice. 8 or so per person.
Youll need some sort of tokens (glass counters or loose change work
fne) to use for Overdrive.
Youll need one player who will serve as the Gamemaster. Its the Game
Masters job to guide the other players through their frst episode.
Mainly, he describes the game world to the players, sets up conficts,
and plays the bad guys. The Gamemaster is also the de facto referee of
the game (though everyone, including the Gamemaster, is expected
to play by the rules).
Youll need up to four other players to take on the roles of Mecha
pilots. These pilots are the protagonists of the episode that youre
going to play through. The players are responsible for describing their
characters actions in reaction to the Gamemasters descriptions.
Youll need photocopies of the character profles at the back of this
booklet (or you can just tear out the pages).
Youll need a piece of paper to sketch the Bullseye Battle Map, which
is shown on page 8.
Youll need to photocopy the counters at the end of this booklet and
cut them out. You could also use your favorite variety of giant robot
miniatures if youve got them handy.
Playing With Fewer Than Four Characters
It is perfectly acceptable to play through this quickstart guide without the full
four characters. Simply assume that the characters who are not present are
back at headquarters (this is just a routine patrol mission after all). All of the
references to the other characters on the character profles are still relevant and
can be used as fodder for role-playing.
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Making a Roll
Hey there, rookie! Im Hangar Chief Suki Yamato, here to whip you
into shape for your frst patrol mission. At a number of points in
the text, youll see that we refer to making a roll. A roll is used to
determine whether or not an important action attempted by the
pilot succeeds or fails. To make a roll, roll a number of dice equal to whichever
stat is relevant to the situation. During the pilots personal scenes, use the
pilots relevant stat. During combat, when the pilot is operating his mecha, use
the relevant linked stat.
For example, if a pilot were trying to solve a mental puzzle, you would use his
Intelligence stat. When a pilot is operating his mecha and makes and attack,
you would use the Attack linked stat.
Any dice that come up equal to or lower than the level of the pilots relevant
skill are considered successes. The more successes you roll, the better the
outcome of your pilots action.
Ones Explode
Any die that come up as 1 counts as a success and is then re-rolled (possibly
generating more successes). Keep re-rolling ones until a diferent number
turns up on the die. In this way, a lucky roll might give you many successes
even if youre only using a few dice.
Great Success!
Whenever a player rolls fve or more successes on a roll (before spending
Overdrive), he gains a point of Overdrive. This represents a particularly lucky
or skillful performance by the pilot. The Gamemaster also collects a point of
Overdrive whenever he rolls a Great Success for one of his NPCs.
Cut Scenes
During the combat sequence, if any character rolls 8 or more successes (before
spending Overdrive) on any roll, he receives a Cut Scene. The player who
made the roll should describe his mecha doing some particularly cool stunt
or maneuver. At that point, the player can immediately take an extra action
(Move or Attack). If this extra action is used to make an attack, optimal range
penalties do not apply to the roll (though weapon cool down still counts).
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Overdrive is the most important resource in the game. Characters earn
Overdrive through suceeding at social scenes and rolling Great Successes. A
point of Overdrive can be spent at any time to gain an extra success on a roll.
There is no limit to the number of Overdrive that can be spent on a given roll.
Even more importantly, all Confgurations cost 1 Overdrive to activate (more
on that later).
Each player starts the game with one point of Overdrive. The Gamemaster
starts the game with a number of Overdrive equal to the number of players
minus one.
Use beads, tokens, or something else non-edible to represent Overdrive in the
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Welcome to the
Separatist Guard!
First, you need to decide whos going to be the Gamemaster and
whos going to play a pilot. Whoevers playing a pilot should
choose which of the four pilots in the back of the booklet that
theyre going to play. If youre the Gamemaster, follow the
instructions that I give you and read the boxed text aloud for the players. As
soon as everyones chosen a character, read the following:
You are a mecha pilot in the Seperatist Guard, an alliance of planets that are
fghting for their independence against the tyrannical Arbor Defense Force
Youre currently stationed aboard the patrol ship Odyssey, patrolling the
debris belt that surrounds the planet Abrax. The debris feld is the remnant
of a massive orbital battle that took place here at the onset of the war, but
since youve been deployed here this place has been colder than an ice
Its the start of another routine patrol and youre sitting in the Odysseys
hangar surrounded by your squadrons docile mecha. How are you passing
the time?
At this point, explain to the players that they can each have one of the following
Personal Scenes:
A - social scene, in which you chat it up with your squadron-mates or
another member of the crew.
A - feld-ops scene, in which to attempt to attain some external goal
like research, intelligence, or stealing your buddys cigarette ration.
A - repair scene, in which you attempt to repair a damaged mecha.
Starting with the player to the GMs left, each player chooses which type of
scene they would like to put their character into. Proceed clockwise around the
table until each player has had a personal scene.
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Players are free to describe the setting of their scene and which characters are
around (if any). For example, Hawks player might decide that he is going to
have a social scene with the pilot of the patrol ship. He describes his character
entering the cockpit. The Gamemaster takes on the role of the pilot and the
two role-play the scene.
Whats the Goal of a Personal Scene?
Each characters personal scene is meant to be an opportunity to develop the
character in more detail (much like a scene featuring the character in an anime
series). Each type of scene also has a mechanical goal. The scenes mechanical
goal gives the player some beneft that can be used in battle.
After a player chooses which type of scene hed like for his character. He
(with input from the Gamemaster) describes the scene and role-plays any
conversations that take place (the Gamemaster takes on the role of any non-
player characters who are present).
Once the player and the Gamemaster are satisfed with the role-playing in a
scene, the player rolls dice to determine whether or not his character achieves
the mechanical goal of the scene.
Social scenes are used to earn Overdrive. After your character participates in
a social scene, roll a number of dice equal to your pilots Will stat. If any of the
dice come up equal to or lower than your characters Social skill, you gain a point
of Overdrive.
Field Ops scenes are used to earn Tactical Points. After your character
participates in a feld ops scene, the GM chooses which of your pilots stats
best applies to the scene (based on the way you described your actions). Roll
a number of dice equal to your pilots relevant stat. If any of the dice come up
equal to or lower than your characters Field Ops skill, you gain a Tactical Point
(more on those later).
Repair scenes are used to repair damaged mecha. After your character
participates in a repair scene, roll a number of dice equal to your pilots
Intelligence stat. If any of the dice come up equal to or lower than your pilots
Repair skill you may repair one point of damage equal to the number of
successful dice.
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After each of the players has played out a scene featuring their character,
its time for the Gamemaster to introduce a confict. Read the following text
The monotony is suddenly interrupted by a buzz from the patrol ships
intercom system. Its Manny, the pilot, and he sounds excited. Weve got
an anomalous scanner reading from an object in the debris feld! Command
wants you guys to check it out. Mount-up boys and girls, its time to earn
your paychecks!
Once everyone has climbed into their mecha and run their power-up protocols,
the cargo door opens, allowing the pilots to exit the patrol ship. Manny pulls
up a waypoint on the pilots HUDs that marks the location of the anomalous
object. Describe the environment of the debris feld and let the players describe
their pilots actions. Once the pilots approach within visual range of the object,
read the following:
You see a sleek looking mecha among the battle-debris. Hi-tech stuf.
Much more advanced than the patchwork rigs that youre piloting. Its
marked up with ADF insignias and serial numbers . . . probably some kind
of prototype.
As you get closer, the mecha seems to become translucent and form into a
bizarre double image. It looks like youre looking at it through a kaleidoscope
thats bugging out. It begins to rapidly oscillate between solidity and
Allow the players to describe their pilots actions. Add more strange details
to your description of the prototype. Build tension. No die rolls are needed
during the investigation scene, just narrate and allow the players to narrate. As
soon as the time feels right, read the following:
Contact! Weve got contact! shouts Manny over your comms. Before hes
even through shouting, your HUD blazes with the tell-tale blips of incoming
hostiles. Its an ADF strike team, and it looks like theyve come for their
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The Strike Teams Assault
Use the following procedure to resolve the fght with the ADF strike
team. Think of Mechas combat mechanics as a tactical mini-game
that will help to determine which direction the story will take next.
Both the players (as their pilots) and the Gamemaster (as the ADF
strike team) should play to win.
The ADF strike team consists of a number of ADF Grave Hounds equal to the
number of player-characters, plus a single ADF Howling Dragon.
Sketch out the Bullseye Battle Map (the crosshair outline shown below) on a
piece of paper and place the game counters in the following confguration:
Grave Hounds Howling Dragon
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Victory Conditions
After each character has had a single turn, if any character begins his turn in the
same sector as the objective marker, his side wins the battle and may narrate
the defeat of their opponents (which could involve capturing, killing, or routing
them). In this case, the objective marker represents the rough location of the
ADF prototype and by beginning a turn in that sector the character manages
to secure the prototype from his opponents.
The other way to win the battle is by destroying all enemy mecha involved in
the fght.
Step One: Spend Tactical Points
If any of the players earned a Tactical Point during their personal scene, they can
now spend it to move their mecha, an enemy mecha, or the objective counter
one movement point from its starting location. For more on Movement Points,
see Making a Move below.
Step Two: Roll Initiative
Initiative is used to determine what order the pilots act in during combat.
Acting before your opponent can be crucial to victory.
Each player rolls a number of dice equal to his mechas Engineering
linked stat. Each die that comes up equal to or lower than his pilots
Mecha Combat skill adds one to his initiative. This is just like any
other roll in the game, so re-roll ones, and keep an eye out for Great
Successes and Cut Scenes.
The Gamemaster rolls once for the ADF Grave Hounds (which, because
theyre statistically identical, all act on the same initiative) and once for
the ADF Howling Dragon. Use the same procedure as the players used:
roll a number of dice equal to the mechas engineering stat and count
up successes based on the Mecha Combat skill of the ADF pilots.
Finally, the Gamemaster creates a list, putting all of the combatants in
order from the highest initiative result to the lowest. If there are any
ties, the mecha with the highest Engineering stat goes frst. If theres
still a tie, the players of the tied mecha each roll a die and whoever
gets the higher result goes frst.
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If any character gets 8 or more successes on their initiative roll (a Cut Scene),
they can immediately take a Move or Attack action (as described below). This
action is resolved before the normal initiative sequence begins.
Step Three: Take Turns
Using the Gamemasters initiative list as reference, each player takes a turn in
descending order of initiative (the highest initiative acts frst, and so on . . .). In
this case, the Gamemaster will end up taking two turns (one for the ADF Grave
Hounds and one for the ADF Howling Dragon).
On a players turn, his pilot can Move and Attack (in either order).
Making a Move
To move his pilot, the player rolls a number of dice equal to his mechas
Movement Linked Stat. Each die that comes up equal to or lower than the pilots
Mecha Combat skill generates one Movement Point. The player may then spend
these Movement Points to move across the Bullseye Battlemap.
It costs 1 Movement Point to move from sector-to-sector (across a curved line)
and 2 movement points to go from one quadrant to another (across a straight
line). There is one caveat: a mecha cannot cross two quadrants in a row in the
same turn. So on turn one, if the player crosses a quadrant, she must then cross
a sector or wait until turn two to move across another quadrant.
As with all rolls in the game, keep an eye out for Great Successes and Cut
Making an Attack
To make an attack, the player chooses one of his mechas weapons to attack
with. When a weapon has been used to make an attack it must cool down
(spend a turn unused) before it can be used again.
Each weapon has an Optimal Range (which is the number next to the weapon
on the profle sheet) and a Damage Type (which is the word next to the weapon
on the profle sheet).
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Once the player has chosen which weapon to attack with, he chooses which
enemy mecha he will target.
Count the number of Movement Points that it takes to get from the attacking
mechas sector to the target mechas sector using the most direct path. This
number is the Range of the attack.
The attacking player then rolls a number of dice equal to his mechas Attack
linked stat, minus one die for each point of diference between the range of
the attack and the optimal range of the weapon being used. For example, if
Hawks player attacks an enemy mecha that is 2 Movement Points away with
his Arming Cannon (range 3), he will roll one less die on the attack.
Each die that comes up equal to or lower than the attackers Mecha Combat skill
counts as a success.
In response, the target of the attack always makes a Defense Roll. The player of
the targeted mecha rolls a number of dice equal to his mechas Defense linked
Each die that comes up equal to or lower than the defenders Mecha Combat
skill counts as a success.
Once the attack and defense results have been determined, players can bid
Overdrive back and forth to modify the results.
Successful Attack
If the attacking player rolls more successes than the defending player, the
player of the targeted mecha checks one of the boxes on his mechas damage
track and must make a Stability Roll to remain in the battle (see below).
In addition, the attacking player can move the damaged mecha a number of
movement points equal to the diference between the attack and defense
results. For example, if Hawks player rolls 6 attack successes and his opponent
rolls 3 defense successes, Hawks player can move his opponent up to 3
movement points away from his current location. This knockback efect is
very important for moving opponents out of the same sector as the objective
marker (and thus preventing them from winning).
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The Stability Roll
Each time a player marks a box on his mechas damage track, he must attempt
a Stability Roll.
The player rolls a die. If the result is higher than the number of marked damaged
boxes, the mecha manages to hold together and stay in the fght.
If the result is lower than or equal to the number of marked damage boxes,
the mecha is destroyed and removed from the fght. The mechas pilot is not
necessarily killed, but is unable to continue fghting. The GM is responsible for
describing what happens to a pilot and his mecha if a stability roll is failed.
The mecha anime genre revolves around exciting visuals of the mecha running
across terrain, dodging missiles and laser blasts, and using a variety of amazing
weaponry to dispatch their foes.
As such, it is highly encouraged that instead of just rolling dice and comparing
numbers, players narrate how their mecha is moving and attacking. Is the
mecha blazing toward the enemy in a cyclone of speed lines? Does a pilot
maneuver behind a piece of foating debris to avoid an attack? All of these
details add immersion and excitement to the game.
The GM is the primary person responsible for narrating what happens in the
battle, but the players should feel free to add their input as the mood strikes
When one side has won the battle and described their victory, its time for the
Gamemaster to set up the situation for the next episode. The story should fork
here depending on who won. If the players won, theyve managed to secure
the ADF prototype. Ask them what they plan to do with it. The Separatist
Guard would surely beneft from such technology.
If the ADF won, the player characters might be captured, or simply driven of.
The ADF has managed to protect its secrets, for now . . . Perhaps Separatist
command will send the players on a clandestine mission to infltrate the ADF
and collect intelligence about the prototype. The possibilities are endless.
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The Story Continues . . .
Now that youve played through your frst episode, you have an
idea for how the game is structured. If you want to keep going
from here, just follow the episode cycle as presented above. In
The Gamemaster sets up the initial setting/situation that the characters 1.
are in.
Each player gets a personal scene. 2.
The Gamemaster introduces a confict. 3.
The Gamemasters confict eventually leads to a climactic combat 4.
The Gamemaster improvises a new direction for the story based on 5.
the outcome of the combat.
Once you get used to the games pacing cycle, youll fnd that its actually
very fexible and allows for a wide variety of conficts and intrigue. The typical
episode only takes about 30 minutes to play, so a night of dedicated gaming
could result in 6 to 8 episodes.
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Whats Different in the Full Version?
This quickstart guide is intended to provide a quick demonstration of Mecha
as a role-playing game. As such, its been simplifed a bit from the full version.
Here are some of the things that are diferent in the full version of the game.
Character Creation
Character creation is an important aspect of the game that is completely absent
from this guide. Players build their pilot and mecha simultaneously and, just
like in the source material, a mecha is a refection of its pilot. Choosing your
mechas Confgurations also determines the personality and disposition of your
pilot. All of this ties in to an intuitive character advancement system (which is
also omitted here) that rewards players for role-playing their characters traits.
Scenes and Goals
In the full game, players can attempt role-playing goals during their characters
personal scenes (in addition to the mechanical goals that appear here). This
allows the players more control over the emerging story and provides the
Gamemaster a lot of fodder for improvisation.
The full version of the game is not setting specifc. The material used in this
guide is based on Steel Gunner: Destiny Tomorrow, which is one of the three
settings included in the full version. The other two settings included with the
book are Revolution Deity Godblind (The Big O meets Dark City meets 1984) and
Special Research School (American Grafti with mecha). There are also rules and
copious advice for how to create your own mecha settings and how to adapt
the setting of your favorite mecha anime series.
In summary, the material here is only the tip of the iceberg. If you like what you
see, youll defnitely want to check out the full version.
Demond Thompson (order #5498719)
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Game Counters
Photocopy and cut out these counters to mark the positions of the various characters
during the battle. If you wanted to get real fancy, you could even mount them on card-
board. Feel free to substitute cool looking mecha miniatures if youve got some handy.

Player Counters and Objective Marker
ADF Enemy Counters
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Mecha role-playing done right.
If you like what youve seen here,
make sure to check out the full ver-
sion of MECHA, coming soon from
Red Moon Medicine Show.
The full version includes:
- Expanded rules, allowing you to
play any kind of mecha game that
you can imagine.
- Three complete settings! Join the
Godblind Revolution in the Living
City, choose sides in an epic mecha
space opera, or fght for pink slips in
a mecha-obsessed high school.
- Unique turn-based mechanics that insure each player gets the spotlight
and each episode is well paced and action-packed.
- More mecha models, archetypes, confgurations, weapons, and
- Detailed information about the mecha anime genre, including a massive
- Rules and guidelines to help you translate your favorite mecha anime into
a game setting.
- Fantastic new artwork by Nick Bradshaw, Beny Maulana, and more!
- Full developer support. A forum community, supplementary material, and
one-on-one contact with the developers of the game.
Demond Thompson (order #5498719)
Demond Thompson (order #5498719)