Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Shogun Warriors Retrospective & The Mecha Megadungeon Problem

Since I've picked up the Stars without Numbers rpg I've been busy getting a campaign together I'm putting a sector together based on 70s & 80s science fiction & science fantasy elements. One of those elements was the Shogun Warriors. A franchise of its day which was pretty damn successful..
According to wiki: 
The Shogun Warriors were the central characters of a line of toys licensed by Mattel Inc. during the late 1970s that consisted of a series of imported Japanese robots based on the then popular anime shows featuring giant robots. Originally manufactured in three sizes: the 24-inch (610 mm) plastic versions, the 3.5-inch (89 mm) diecast metal versions and the slightly taller but much more detailed and articulated 5" diecast versions, several vehicles were also offered as well as a set that could be put together to form the super robot Combattra.
I had seen the entire line at a local Bradleys department store back in the day.. The toys were a massive line really. You can see the whole line from Here
 Instead I'm concentrating on the Marvel Comics Series

Shogun Warriors were licensed in 19791980 for a 20–issue series by Marvel Comics,[1]written by Doug Moench and featuring art by Herb Trimpe. In the comic, the Shogun Warriors were created by a mysterious group called the Followers of the Light. Human operators were chosen from all around the world to operate the massive robots in order to battle evil.
Marvel was only able to license three Shogun Warriors for the comic:
  • Raydeen, piloted by Richard Carson, an American stuntman,
  • Combattra, piloted by Genji Odashu, a Japanese test pilot, and
  • Dangard Ace, piloted by Ilongo Savage, an oceanographer from Madagascar.
The series was firmly rooted in the Marvel Universe, as evidenced by their interactions with the Fantastic Four in the last two issues. Issue No. 15 was a fill-in written by Steven Grantwith art by Mike Vosburg. The series took a dramatic turn with issue #16, as the Shogun Warriors' mentors were destroyed by the Primal One and his followers. This alien force decided that Earth's technology had outpaced its morality, and so it was their duty to destroy the Shogun Warriors as well as other powerful humans, including Reed Richards andTony Stark. Between February 1979 and July 1979, Marvel had the comic book rights to both Godzilla and the Shogun Warriors. While the characters never crossed paths in their respective comics, artist Herb Trimpe (who did the artwork for both of the series) drew a variation of Godzilla and Rodan alongside DaimosGreat MazingerRaydeen, and Gaiking on the top page of a comic book ad soliciting the Shogun Warrior toys[2]Mattel Toys (who had the license to the Shogun Warriors) also had the licence to produce toys based on Godzilla and Rodan at this time[3][4].
After Marvel lost the rights to the characters, they had a huge robot called The Samurai Destroyer destroy the three robots offscreen before encountering The Fantastic Four and robot pilots Richard, Genji, and Ilongo.[5]
Though he never appeared in the comic series, Red Ronin, a robot created for Marvel's Godzilla comic), was mentioned occasionally and was frequently written about in the letters pages.

The whole thing took place in the regular 70s Marvel universe & the "Followers of Light" who were in charge of the whole affair were sort of egomaniacs who basically wanted to bring their alien blood feud to our placid little corner of the galactic community! They were going to off  Tony Star & Reed Richards!  This alien force decided that Earth's technology had outpaced its morality, and so it was their duty to destroy the Shogun Warriors as well as other powerful humans, including Reed Richards and Tony Stark 
There's a huge plot hook right there for a game. They don't sound very nice at all do they? 
            Here are the so called Followers Of Light from Wiki : 
The Followers of the Light were members of an alien race, the Lumina, who came to Earth eons ago in the Jurassic period to wage the Great Chaos Wars with Earth's alien conquerors, the Myndai. After the last Myndai on Earth were defeated and cast into suspended animation, the Followers of the Light remained on Earth in suspended animation in case the Myndai awoke and restarted the war. The Myndai did indeed revive in recent years, led by Maur-Konn, and the Followers of the Light reawakened to combat them, creating theShogun Warriors. The last remaining Followers of the Light on Earth were killed by the Followers of Darkness[1], but presumably there are more elsewhere in the universe.
Known members included Basque, Charn, Sherna, and Tambura. You can read a much more extensive background on these folks Here

Their opposite number was the Myndai - A humanoid race which appears very similar to Earth humans. The Myndai were once members of the federation of alien races called the Charter (along with the Lem, Lumina, and Nanda). They were engaged in a galaxy-wide war with the Lumina, and some were placed on Earth in suspended animation eons ago as sleeper agents. First seen in Shogun Warriors #1 (Feb 1979). Also Here

 Who Were The Followers Of Darkness / Light & Why They Are A Menace To Your Children 
I'm going to go out on a limb here & say that both groups were pawns of a greater war that has been raging across the universe & multiverse for eons. That is that these two groups were using advanced technology that was left over from the Celestials! That's right both of these groups were nothing more then dupes in the old Eternal vs Deviant conflict! For a game like Carcosa or Arduin they make perfect fodder! Grab your nearest weird artifacts, Lovecaftian mechas & go. These folks might be the weird religion fad of their day. You want to see a huge tentacled Lovecraftian mess that almost destroyed the Earth check these Here 

 Could these folks be on Carcosa right now converting the natives into their latest cult of rabid eyed followers?  Could they be battling right now for the amusement of their Celestial masters right now?  Short answer yes!   

The Mecha Megadungeon Problem 

The biggest problem I'm having right now is a size issue. Stars Without Numbers mecha is small roughly the size of a hard suit from Bubble Gum Crisis. The largest one is something out of the smallest scale of Battle Tech.
 This isn't really an issue accept what do you do with a guy in a mech? Well you give him something on the scale of a stellar object to explore. That's right stellar sized mega dungeons! There not that hard to imagine at all. In fact both Stars Without Numbers & Terminal Space has this style of game built right in.
Where does this fit in with the Shogun Warriors? Oh that's simple a massive dungeon based inside a dead wreck of a Shogun Warrior's hide.

 A nice overview of the toys can be found right Here

The Public Domain Equivalent 

Metal monster sharp.jpg
 Surely I can hear you saying that there can't be a public domain equivalent that doesn't violate the trade marks of Mattel, Marvel, etc. Well actually there is a public domain story about changing robotic life forms that came out decades before the Shogun Warriors & Transformers. Marvel has been raiding the public domain for decades & so can you.
The Metal Monster is by 
 is an Abraham Merritt fantasy novel.
The epic adventure starts with a foreword where Merritt is assigned the duty to relay Dr. Walter T. Goodwin's incredible tale of his encounter in the Trans-Himalayan mountains to the world, to let everyone know the terrible fate Goodwin's group barely escaped and the possibility of other such monsters out there. 
The Plot With Spoilers Ahead! 
Dr. Goodwin is on a botanical expedition in the Himalayas. There he meets Dick Drake, the son of one of his old science acquaintances. They are witnesses of a strange aurora-like effect, but seemingly a deliberate one. As they go out to investigate, they meet Goodwin's old friends Martin and Ruth Ventnor, brother and sister scientists. The two are besieged by Persians as Darius III led when Alexander of Macedon conquered them more than two thousand years ago.
The group is saved by a magnificent woman they get to know as Norhala. She commands the power of lightning and controls strange metal animate Things, living, metallic, geometric forms; an entire city of sentient cubes, globes and tetrahedrons, capable of joining together and forming colossal shapes, and wielding death rays and other armaments of destruction.
They are led to a hidden valley occupied by what they name "The Metal Monster", a strange metal city occupied by the metal animate Things Norhala commands. This city is governed by what they call the Metal Emperor, assisted by the Keeper of the Cones.
Ruth is slowly being converted by Norhala to become like her; her little sister. Martin, her brother, tries shooting the Metal Emperor, who retaliates with a ray blast, putting Martin in a comatose state.
Closed in between the Metal Monster and the Persians, it falls to Goodwin and Drake to find a way to escape their predicament.
If you own Terminal Space, Mutant Future, Carcosa, Arduin,Human Space Empires or any of the other science fantasy Rpgs that are out there. You can create your very own robotic life form menace ! You can read the whole store right here 


  1. I loved the Shogun Warriors, and had a lot of those issues :)

  2. Awesome! You did it up in style. :)

  3. Thanks Simon Forster! There's more Shogun Warrior stuff to come.. At some point! I'm about to turn it up to "11" this coming Thursday! You know that there was a movie in the works right?
    Trey I did the Shoguns up as best I could there's a lot of ground to cover with them!

  4. I had a few of the toys, and absolutely loved every issue of the comic series. Thanks for this post!


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