Before anything else, let me get this out of the way: Remnants is a post-apocalyptic game where tribes fight for survival over scarce resources with the use of incredibly advanced armored combat robots from the times before the fall of civilization as we know it.
If that isn’t a unique elevator pitch, then I don’t know what is.
That said, Remnants presents and interesting setting, albeit one painted in broad strokes. The vague nature of the pre-history of the setting could be attributed to the fact that humanity in the world of Remnant has pretty much bombed themselves back to tribal-level civilization, but I can’t help but feel that there’s huge swaths of the setting that could have been fleshed out further.
That said the setting does paint enough to get a game started. There’s a reason for why civilization is back to warring tribes, and now there’s giant armored robot suits that require nearly zero technical knowledge to operate. Incidentally, these machines, known as the Ishin are also self-repairing.
The Ishin are rare, but they can turn the tide of battle against those who would only have spears and swords to go up against them. I can only imagine the level of unholy terror that a group of 4-5 PCs all in Ishin can strike in their enemies.
The Rapidfire ruleset used in Remnant is a solid set of rules that aspire for fast, cinematic play. The rules are simple, enough, with enough maneuvers to keep tactical players relatively satisfied, but not so many as to overwhelm more story-oriented players.
The rules also feature a nice touch with regards to the Ishin, as the mecha have an Inspiring and Terrifying Stat. I like the idea that they’ve got such a powerful psychological impact on others in the field, and the rules plays that up.
Character Creation is straightforward, and presents a skill system, as well as Advantages and Disadvantages, which are always fun to have.
An interesting fork in the character creation rules is the option to play Near Humans. This is only done with GM permission but it does give an interesting take on the various other “races” that exist in the setting of Remnants. These range from various types that have adapted to the harsh and varied climates of the setting, from the Kesantra Desert Walkers to the Tenik Ice Men.
Remnant Creation on the other hand is a separate system, and as with any self respecting mecha game, Remnant goes into it with the full intention of giving as many options to customize and Ishin to a Player’s vision of their ideal mech.
Rather than bog creation down with formulas in the manner of Mekton Zeta, I like how Remnants deals with tweaking in the form of various tradeoffs, as opposed to recalculating stats wholesale.
The Ishin also have various traits inherent to the Battle Remnants, including Environmental Protection and (thankfully) and Armored Cockpit.
What follows after are a list of traits that apply to the Ishin, from various stat tradeoffs to movement kits like Climbing or Swim to various special attacks built into the Ishin itself.
One interesting addition at this point is the use of various Drones built into the Ishin. These Ishin can deploy tiny human-sized drones to fight or patrol a given area. This is an option I rarely see in many Mecha games, and I have to admit that I’m wondering why it isn’t played up in other games a well.
The GM section of Remnants makes up for a lot of the vagueness of the start, by offering two alternative explanations for what might have happened to the setting. Admittedly most games won’t necessarily deal with this sort of thing, but in case inquisitive players pursue it, at least the GM is armed with some information to fall back on, or be inspired by.
I was also happy to see that the GM section included options for a Reputation score, as well as rules for (abstracted) Open Warfare, that simplifies mass combat while maintaining some level of tension.
Remnants Roleplaying Game is an acessible, easy-to-learn rpg set in a unique world with plenty of opportunities to stomp around in giant mecha.
The Rapidfire ruleset is well thought out, and provides plenty of options for the player characters as well as their Ishin, and as with most mecha games, half of the fun is putting together your custom mech.
The setting is broad, and the Fantasy-slash-Post-Apocalyptic premise means that one could reasonably run all sorts of games. Already I’m thinking of a campaign that is a riff of “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan” which also features people finding mecha lost from a time before while fighting beastmen, but I digress.
Overall, Remnants is a solid RPG from Outrider Studios, and should be something to check out if you’re a fan of cinematic mecha rpgs without the hexes and the heatsinks and other fiddly bits that slow things down.