Mekton is a role-playing game which 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 seminal mecha anime series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam) being first published in 1994. The first edition of Mekton was the first anime role-playing game available in North America (although the anime influence was muted compared to later editions). The use of katakana to represent the title of the game begins with the "Zeta" edition and may or may not be carried over into future editions. A "fourth edition," usually referred to as Mekton Double Zeta and assumed to be using the Fuzion System rules (Mekton II and Mekton Z use the older Interlock System), has been rumored to be in development by publishers R. Talsorian Games since 1997. According to designer Mike Pondsmith, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the introduction of a new edition is a lack of a true "generic" pre-made campaign setting for the game. Mekton is a moderately supported system (though no new official material has been released since 1996), with a very active albeit small fanbase, centered around the Mekton Zeta Mailing List, an ezmlm based mailing list active since the fall of 1996.
The intricate detail of the mecha that can be built in Mekton is both the game's biggest strength and biggest drawback; while nearly anything can be built with the game's construction system, from personal armor to gigantic spaceships, it is very time-consuming and can make it nearly impossible to play a quick "pick-up" game.
Within the context of the RPG, mecha are referred to as "mektons," abbreviated as "meks" and sometimes alternately called "suits". Several official settings have been published.
Mekton II is an important historical artifact in that it was among the first RPG books to use the then-new technique of desktop publishing. Mekton Zeta has a more pronounced anime influence than the previous two editions; the full cover title of this edition if read in Japanese and translated into English reads "Super Dimension Mobile Warrior Mekton Z", the title of the game referring to both Macross (The Super Dimension Fortress Macross) and Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam).
So I became aware of this RPG a couple days ago whilst browsing through 4chan. Mekton Zeta's a roleplaying game that's been around for quite a while. The original edition came out back in 1984. Overall, the game attempts to capture the kickass cinematic action of sci-fi mecha anime badassery seen in such shows as Macross, Gundam, Megazone 23, VOTOMS,
etc. I went ahead and got Mekton Zeta and Zeta Plus off DrivethruRPG.
The system itself is split in two ways. Character creation and stat-wise, it very vaguely reminds me of something akin to White Wolf's stuff. You have about 9 or so stats and a crapload of skills to take care of plus an optional Lifepath system to make use of if you want to make up a character concept on the fly or just make up a challenge for yourself. Characters start off at 16 years of age and can either go in one of two ways: Young and Inexperienced or Seasoned Badass. The first one gives you access to a list of templates that offer you different skill bonuses and starting items. They offer archetypes as the classic mech anime hero, the badass, the little annoying kid, the celebrity, etc. Y&I characters also earn 3x Direct Experience, which is earned on the fly for accomplishing tasks and such. Seasoned characters can be up to 30 years old and represent character archetypes such as Roy Fokker (Macross) and Kai Kitamura (Super Robot Wars OG). Every two years you age your character lets you take one level of a profession (Stuff like Mech Jock, ship pilot, etc.). Each profession offers 7 skills to take a level in, but you can only pick five; I also think you get some cash. I forget. The upside is that Seasoned badasses start right off the bat with higher skills. The downside is that they don't get the 3x experience boost or free gear that newbie kids get. Not like they'd need any anyway.
Mech creation, on the other hand, is the most intimidating task to undertake this side of Palladium if you don't equip yourself with handy helper programs and tables. However, it's INCREDIBLY rewarding. The system pretty much lets you design things ranging from Cyclone-styled motorcycle power armor to hulking Eva-sized super robots.
Mekton Zeta Plus, the main supplemental book, gives you a fuckton more options to flesh out mech and character creation. Without Zeta Plus, mech creation is pretty challenging in itself but it isn't anything too hard to figure out. Once you attempt to incorporate what Zeta Plus offers, though, be prepared to spend hours on your creations. Zeta Plus also has rules and guidelines for creating Psionic characters (Read: NEWTYPES), techno-organic organisms (Evangelions, stuff like the Guyver, etc), and ginormous (And I mean ginormous
capital ships/creatures. ).
From what I've read, the combat system is hex-based. Seems to be fairly straightforward and the complexity rises and falls depending on what you want to do. It gets a bit tricky if you make use of the more esoteric stuff in Zeta Plus. It pays off in the end, I think. Just a matter of getting used to. Here's the wiki for it:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mekton