It is not often that I become a fan of an RPG by reading the introduction (truth be told I usually skip the intro and go straight to character options) but Lancer the Mecha RPG from Massif Games did just that. This simple statement “Lancer believes in a future where a better world is possible, has been achieved, and is expanding” made me intrigued. I am a fan of cyberpunk but sometimes you want to play a game set in the future where there is hope and that most discrimination is a thing of the past. Now there is still conflict and room for adventure, but the world exists on the fundamental theory that things will get better and that is refreshing.
Once I got into the meat of the book I continued to be intrigued. The setting of the game is a mix of gritty, mud-and-lasers military science fiction and mythic science fantasy that allows for a range of play from a Gundam Ost style combat unit to a group of explorers looking for weird things in the outskirts of the galaxy. The system is divided into a very customizable tactical mech combat and a rules-lite role-playing section.
The pilot section lets you build a character with a background and a handful of skills that give a bonus a to a basic skill roll to determine 90% of what happens from breaking into a citadel to a bar brawl. Truth be told I am going to have to play a couple more times before I know if I am sold on this take as I am used to much more detailed skill systems, but it does make a roll, shout, and see what happens style that makes it easy to jump into and keep the story moving forward.
The opposite side of this is the Lancer combat systems (Lancers being the name for piloted mechs in this setting and where the game gets its name). This is highly detailed with a variety of options you can take in combat. The thing I love the most if the mech building at first level you get a basic frame a couple of corporate licenses that you can pick gear from. As you level up you get more frames and more licenses till you can craft a completely unique build and even kit out your suit to fit the mission you are going to go on this week. The end result is you always have some new toys to look forward to and scratches that itch of having your personal loadout.
This seems a really great system and while I have only dipped my toe into it I feel like it could become my new obsession and even produce some homebrew. This is also a great time to check it out because they have recently partnered with Darkhorse comics to launch a hard cover version of the rules set.