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Pilot Your Giant Robot to Victory with The Mecha Hack: Mission Manual

Let’s make mecha! In celebration of Absolute Tabletop’s ongoing Kickstarter for The Mecha Hack: Mission Manual, let’s stat out five classic and beloved giant robots for use with the game! Each of these builds represents a level 3 mecha with the veteran ability array. We’re using options from both The Mecha Hack core book and the new Mission Manual supplement.

5 famous mecha for the bestselling rules-light RPG

You can check out the Kickstarter for The Mecha Hack: Mission Manual to snag yourself a copy of one or both books here!

VF-1 Valkyrie (Macross/Robotech)

The iconic mecha of Macross/Robotech, the VF-1 Valkyrie is a fast and capable combat-oriented machine with the unique ability to shift between three different modes: fighter, GERWALK (guardian), and battroid (battloid), each of which provides unique benefits.

Because the Valkyrie is designed using alien tech, and because it represents the “bleeding edge” of military weapons in the Macross/Robotech setting, we’re going with a vanguard chassis. The vanguard chassis allows for incredible flexibility and control over the mecha’s reactor, enabling the pilot to upgrade/downgrade their own energy and damage outputs. Because the vanguard only has a D6 hit die, we’re going to rely on our high mobility to get us out of scrapes!

We’re also going to make use of the new veriform module, which enables the mecha to transform quickly between mecha and vehicle modes.

  • Abilities: Power 12, Mobility 16, System 13, Presence 10
  • Pilot: Any
  • Chassis: Vanguard
  • Modules: Veriform, missile barrage

Optimus Prime (Transformers)

While not a “mecha” in the strictest sense, Optimus Prime remains an iconic and identifiable giant robot, and one I think we can stat out pretty easily using The Mecha Hack. Plus, Optimus is the first giant robot I remember seeing, and represents the origin of my love for mecha and giant robots in general. Nostalgia is an underestimated creative force – let’s use it!

Optimus is the brave leader of the Autobots (let’s go with the commander pilot), capable of transforming into a semi truck (another chance for the veriform module to shine). He also carries the Matrix of Leadership, which we’re going to represent here with the super reactor module. Because Optimus is a selfless character who always puts others first, we’re going to build him using the titan chassis – this allows Optimus to not only tank damage himself, but also prevent nearby allies from taking damage.

  • Abilities: Power 16, Mobility 12, System 10, Presence 13
  • Pilot: Commander
  • Chassis: Titan
  • Modules: Veriform, super reactor

Big O (The Big O)

So this might be an off-the-wall pick, but The Big O remains one of my favorite mecha properties of all time – its slick blend of super robot tropes combined with the neo-noir feel of Dark City and The Matrix and just a splash of Batman vigilantism make for a truly unique mecha show that’s stuck with me.

The titular mecha, Big O, is a towering machine of ancient origin. This is a perfect opportunity to make use of the new colossus chassis, which in addition to recreating Big O’s incredible strength, also evokes the theme of an ancient/alien creation. For Big O’s Chrome Buster “crown beam,” we’ll nab a chest beam module, and for its powerful piston arms, let’s go with rocket fists.

The pilot of Big O, Roger Smith, is a negotiator, so let’s take quipster as our pilot – an unconventional choice, maybe, but one that puts an emphasis on the Presence of the Big O and Roger’s abilities in persuasion.

  • Abilities: Power 16, Mobility 10, System 12, Presence 13
  • Pilot: Quipster
  • Chassis: Colossus
  • Modules: Chest beam, rocket fists

Evangelion Unit-01 (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Aside from the Gundam, the Eva units of Neon Genesis Evangelion are probably the most iconic mecha in the genre. Both sleek and monstrous in their design, Eva units are biomechanical – creatures in their own right, who oftentimes act without provocation from their pilots and enter “Berserk Mode.”

To stat out Evangelion Unit-01, we’re going to select the hybrid chassis, which is itself inspired by the Eva units. This monstrous melding of mecha and kaiju affords incredible damage output at the risk of going berserk when the reactor overheats. To really push that monstrous feel, and to represent the Eva unit’s ability to regenerate, we’ll use the new dismantler arms module, which will allow the mecha to cannibalize enemies to regain armor points. A super reactor module completes the package.

  • Abilities: Power 13, Mobility 12, System 10, Presence 16
  • Pilot: Any
  • Chassis: Hybrid
  • Modules: Dismantler arms, super reactor

RX-78-2 Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam)

The mecha of mecha, the most iconic giant robot in the genre, the GOAT, if you will – the RX-78-2 from Mobile Suit Gundam. For many, this is the robot that started it all, and it remains to this day a staple of the genre, informing the design and aesthetic of countless others.

The Gundam is a versatile, adaptable mecha, so let’s start with a striker chassis – this chassis provides great damage and energy output and some support abilities to help out allies. As a stand-in for the Mobile Suit’s resilient Luna titanium armor, we’ll go with the new Lodium alloy module for additional armor points. And to really push the striker chassis’ capabilities, let’s take the super reactor module to represent the powerful Minovsky reactor that makes the Gundam tick.

And of course our pilot, Amuro Ray – there might be no better choice than the new pariah pilot type, inspired by those classic anime teen protagonists thrust into war and forced to fight to survive.

  • Abilities: Power 16, Mobility 12, System 10, Presence 13
  • Pilot: Pariah
  • Chassis: Striker
  • Modules: Lodium alloy, super reactor

Make the Mecha You Love

The Mecha Hack was designed with a real reverence for the mecha and super robot genres, and that continues with Mission Manual. Whatever your favorite mecha or giant robots – Transformers, Robotech, Battletech/Mechwarrior, you name it – you can find the chassis, pilot type, modules, and equipment to bring them to life at your game table. Even massive super mecha like Voltron and the Megazord of Power Rangers are possible, as The Mecha Hack also includes rules for combining mecha, allowing for teams to link up like these titanic, iconic robots.

You can learn the game, roll up your own custom mecha, and drop into a dangerous mission within minutes of picking up the book. So what are you waiting for? Suit up, pilot!

Check out The Mecha Hack: Mission Manual and discover the pledge level that’s best for you here.

ENnie-winning freelance editor, writer, game designer Matt Click is Managing Editor of Absolute Tabletop, creators of The Mecha Hack: Mission Manual and many other terrific TTRPG products.

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