R. Talsorian Games
136pp - [sterling]9.50
Starblade Battalion is a sourcebook for Mekton Z, setting out the background to
a star-spanning conflict of epic proportions. A century and a half in the
future of the Cyberpunk world humanity has begun to colonise the planets of the
Pleiades cluster, sponsored by the decendents of the megacorps. Back home,
Earth and the rest of the solar system are under the control of a repressive
regime of ecofanatics, determined to prevent the despoilation of other
ecosystems at any price. The stage is set for interstellar war.
Fortunately a secret conspiracy of renegades from both sides have plans of
their own, to preserve the peace, and replace both groups of despots with a
free and open commonwealth of worlds. The PCs, of course, are there to help
them do it.
Like most worldbooks, what Starblade Battalion gives you is a detailed
background in which to design your own adventures. It's cleanly and clearly
constructed, with details of both power blocs, including significant NPCs,
along with the various outsider groups which can help or hinder the heroes. As
one would expect, there are also plenty of pre-generated mektons and starships
for the PCs to play with, and, as usual, players are given plenty of in-game
excuses to produce their own customised variants.
As a gaming background, this product has a lot going for it. Though the basic
theme of interstellar war is a staple of space opera and anime style gaming,
there are enough original touches here to make Starblade Battalion stand out as
something just a little bit different. After all, when was the last time you
saw the green movement presented as the villains of the piece?
Though the kit and the NPCs are defined in Mekton terms, most of the data
presented here is descriptive rather than system specific; it could be adapted
to other mecha combat games with little difficulty. Moreover, shorn of the
mecha itself, it would still make an excellent basis for a more conventional
space opera campaign, using GURPS, Traveller, or some other suitable ruleset.
Overall: With or without adaptation to another system, it will take an
experienced and flexible GM to get the most out of this product. But GMs
wanting a suitable background for a wide-ranging campaign, with the emphasis as
much on politics as combat, are likely to find it well worth the effort.
Reviewed by: Alex Stewart