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RPG Moments of Awesome 3: Heavy Gear

12 Jun, 2020


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Dream Pod 9’s Heavy Gear RPG depicted the ongoing struggles between Terra Novan factions as that world recovered from an interregnum that followed Earth’s retreat from empire. These conflicts often focused on Gears, Landmate-like piloted mechas. I liked the game mechanics but being hooked on Masamune Shirow’s manga at the time, mostly used the rules to try to design Tachikomas with a system that was never intended for that purpose1.

The Heavy Gear product line cover designs were unusually eye-catching, unambiguously identifying the brand at a glance2. No customer ever had a problem picking out Heavy Gear products, regardless of where they were shelved. 

One day, I decided to test just how recognizable the Heavy Gear products were. I handed a copy to a customer and had him walk away from the store until I could no longer recognize the Heavy Gear rule book. 

The test failed because buildings and hills got in the way before resolution was a factor. 

1: I could have used it as an Appleseed RPG but that never occurred to me. 

2: And not in a I’d better make sure that’s not the first thing people see when they enter the store.”