Feb 9, 2014

Let the Games Begin

As of today Battle Century G v1.0 Beta is available for download. Let's talk briefly about what it is and, perhaps more importantly, what it isn't.

Expect

Fully playable rules: The rules for Pilot Characters and their Mecha are complete and you can use them to play or run an entire campaign, or just to take a peek at what the finalized version down the line will look like.
Advice to help you visualize how the game is meant to be played and run: If you want to change the way the game is structured, there are also guidelines for doing that.
Three scenarios sharing a single setting: There is a pretty big setting ready for use, but because it is divided to focus in three different factions with their own battles, it is relatively simple and you don't have to worry about internalizing all of it.

Do not Expect

Art and other visual assets like Pilot and Mecha Sheets: They'll take time to get done, so for the time being you get a barebones black and white pdf.
Layouting and an index: The layout work is about halfway done, but there is the odd page here and there that could use some improvements, it also bears mentioning that there are bookmarks in the pdf and a table of contents to compensate for the lack of a comprehensive index at the end.  
Editing: The manual went through a quick editorial skim, but the comprehensive and detailed editing process will have to be later.

If you've read or played Giant Guardian Generation, and if you've been following the previews, you'll see a lot of familiar faces in there. Some things have changed slightly since the previews, but it is very much not GGG with a different coat of painting. So y'know, don't expect that. Here is a quick rundown of the manual's contents.

Chapter 0: Introduction - A more detailed version of what you're reading right now.
Chapter 1: The Rules - You'll learn how to play the game in this first quarter of the manual, this has pretty much every rule you'll need during a game session.
Chapter 2: Character Creation - This chapter has everything you need to know about your Pilot Character and what they can do. Probably the section most similar to its GGG counterpart.
Chapter 3: Mecha Construction - The same as above but for Mecha, with a big emphasis on having flexible rules to cover all types of Mecha or Mecha-like things.
Chapter 4: The Genre Master - The How and Whys of GMing Battle Century G have advice to help you pace your game, create memorable enemies, and more. There is a lot of that, to the point I actually printed it out for a friend who just needed general GM advice using an entirely different system.
Chapter 5: The Fluff - A game world divided into three scenarios each evocative of different Mecha genre conventions, plus a lot of example NPC Allies and Enemies. This one is pretty similar to the GGG version too, but it has a slightly tighter focus and tone.

That's the v1.0 Beta in a nutshell. I figure it will take half a year or so to finish it for good, maybe more, hopefully less. I will probably do one or two small updates in between to improve the layout and fix issues of clarity, spelling, or the like. But there won't be any gameplay changes until I've deemed the beta period to be over.

In the meantime, there are lots of things to talk about concerning how the game works. What it does very well, what it doesn't, what is balanced and what could get out of hand if you're not careful, and so on. Until next week it is!

59 comments:

  1. Certainly a pleasant surprise; thank you!

    Of course we wouldn't be of any use without pointing out oddities/vagueries/errors, so here be one: The way it switches between singular and plural in the first sentences, Missile Massacre is unclear whether the no-tension-to-any-weapons-for-remainder-of-operation applies to ALL enemies, or is a specific extra against the target of the technique. If the former the weapon's going to need an extra notch of power though.

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  2. Thank you very much. Missile Massacre is intended to be the latter, so I'm noting down to make that clearer. I suspect the brunt of the editing is going to be for clarity purposes like those.

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  3. Feature: Flyer: If I understand this correctly, say you've got a Variable-Fighter in Fighter mode. That would most likely be something one gives Flyer to. However, as a result, in space it is incapable of moving in this mode?

    Anti-Grav costs 2 energy and gives a 'flyer' effect that keeps defensive terrain, and can be kept off if there's anti-air around. Flyer removes cover and positive terrains as well. Would it be acceptable to simply make the flyer feature 'ineffective' in the same way in space instead?


    BTW, "vaginite" is french for a yeast infection, so my players kept chuckling when reading system descriptions.

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  4. I wouldn't be opposed to doing that for Flyer if more people think the same. The idea is that Flyer works for things that fly in the traditional sense and can only just fly, Mecha that expect to go into space would take Anti-Grav into their Transformations or Frames instead.

    I mostly don't want it to be 'Anti-Grav but free', but that's a pretty small change so I could go with it. You have my blessing to houserule it in the meantime.

    And I'm starting to think I should have listened to the guy who said it sounded like vagina instead of the guy who insisted it was better this way because it had three G's. I might end up using Gravagnium and pretend Gygravagnite never happened.

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  5. Keep the Gygravagnite. The more Gs the better.

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  6. I skimmed the doc. Pretty good job overall. I like the sidebars with totally not SRW characters talking.

    Now for the mechanics rundown.

    CHARACTERS
    - Stats are pretty balanced and all feel useful

    - Specialist skills are ok but generalist skills are in a weird place between specialist skills and attributes. For little over 10 XP you can increase the relevant attribute by 2 instead which is like an advantage but covers bigger area the the skill. You're forced to spend 30 XP on traits and skills on chargen and the 1 or 2 skills you get from that are enough to cover your character specialties. After that it's more efficient to just pump attributes until super high power level where you've basically maxed you attributes. That said skills are almost worth it with high attributes (7+) and give you reliability so it's not a big deal.

    -jaded trait is too weak. You can just bump your willpower instead which one of the most useful attributes. Consider bumping it to 2 advantages.

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  7. MECHS
    -Might and guard are more valuable attributes than speed or system but are priced the same. The diminishing returns on pumping stats kinda take care of it however.

    UPGRADES

    - Berserker upgrade is weak for the 20 XP it costs, default weapons are still bad even when you cancel the disadvantage, +5 might is nice but very hard to utilize because you need to be in last threshold which means you lost most of your weapons and other systems. Your attacks would be done with the default weapons more likely than not. It's better to take integrated weapons for 10 which lets you keep your weapons so you don't need the default weapons ever and put the remaining 10 into might. The +1-2 might always and using actual weapon is more useful than +5 with default weapon only on the last threshold.

    superior morphing - why would I pay 20 XP for 2 sets of 10 XP upgrades if I can just buy 20 XP worth of upgrades useable at all times. Only way I see it being useful is taking all weapons with it which makes the 2 sets irrelevant and makes it almost free to make transformation cost 1 energy instead of 2. It should be rolled into transformation instead of being a separate ability.

    -Support upgrades are terribly weak for things that can only be used once and take an action.
    Why use assisted targeting when I can just use assist attack?
    Why use support fire when I can just suppress myself?
    Why use airstrike when I have bombardment?
    Why use ensnaring trap when I can use finger net?
    Why use fire at will when you can attack with a weapon?
    Why use Interference bomb when I can use superheavy machinegun?
    Why use overcharge when I can just get energy instead?
    Electromagnetic detonator seems like the only remotely useful ability and even then only against bosses.

    Playing a dedicated support mech like the dynamic chassis suggests is completely non viable. You need need a ton of those upgrades just so you have anything to do because they're all single use. That requires ridiculous amount of XP. Command unit makes the support abilities not take any actions so you'll be assist attacking and missing every turn I guess because you don't have anything to use your actions for. The benefits of the support actions are very minor compared to normal actions and they're all single use.

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  8. WEAPONS

    Chainblade - kinda weak, The damage increase compared to normal attack is very small because almost everything you gain from tension is lost because unreliable. Using advantages as extra dice to choose even numbers doesn't help because extra dice are less efficient that straight +2 bonus. I'd rather have another weapon with an actual bonus that just works.

    Resonance Cannon - super good against tough enemies, unreliable doesn't matter because the main damage is from threshold destruction. I'd use it even without the base damage. For only 5 XP investment it gives you great firepower.

    Beam saber/rifle - weak, I'd rather get normal weapon that has another bonus besides the advantage from beam for 5 XP cheaper and put the spare energy and those saved 5 XP into might giving me +1 might to all weapons which is better than +2 to only this weapon.

    Charge cannon - without aiming it's even worse beam rifle which is already bad,
    with charging it's decent but I'd rather have rail bazooka and put the saved 5 XP into might.

    Powered rifle - assault rifle and 5 XP and saved energy put into might seems better

    Overall beam weapons seem weak. They already pay for the beam advantage with energy use but they also cost 5 XP more than normal weapons which just makes them too expensive.

    For low power levels beam weapons are completely inferior to normal ones because might is cheap to increase, you don't have lot of energy and the extra 5 XP cost for them is a big deal. They only become viable once you have 10 might because before that instead of paying 10 XP for beam weapon and extra energy I can get 1-2 points of might that boost all my cheap 5 XP weapons to be on the same level as beam ones.

    Generally builds heavily using energy are inferior on the low power levels and become only kinda ok on higher ones. Energy is supposed to provide versatility but that only becomes possible once you have various modules that use energy and they're all expensive so energy isn't very versatile at low levels which makes it bad investment.
    Energy using mechs will be inferior early game so they might want to get normal weapons to be more effective but that makes switching to energy build harder and you're left with kinda useless stuff after you do. Sensible DM can allow you to upgrade old normal weapons into beam ones but you can't always count on that.

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  9. On second look I notice just increasing might is superior to most offensive options.

    Weapon specialization. For 20 XP I can get 2 might that is like an advantage to both shooting and ranged weapons. Defense bypass is super expensive at 5 energy. Instead of getting 2 extra energy to use the bypass from specialization I'd take assistant with signature weapon. And again, energy is a bad investment at low levels.

    Take One for the Team - weak, you just split damage not decrease it. Not so Fast seems better.

    on page 22. "For Mecha, the amount of Damage they can withstand is equal to their Threshold Attribute."
    It's actually 4x threshold

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  10. Here are sample mechs I build that seem most optimal and highlight imbalances.

    Blast Attacker

    M7G5T4E0Sy1Sp3
    Expert Support (10), Integrated Weapons (10), Rail Bazooka (5), Assault Rifle (5)
    Genre power: Signature Weapon (Rail Bazooka)
    Next power level::
    M7G5T4E0Sy3Sp3
    Artillery Frame (20), +2 Sy (5), Superheavy Machinegun (5)
    Genre power: Come at me bro
    Next power level:
    M8G7T4E0Sy3Sp4
    +1M (8), +2G (13), +1Sp (4), Dueling Blade (5)
    Genre power: Synchro attack?

    This mech forgoes energy entirely and focuses on firepower. It has extremely high Might and uses blast weapons to attack the highest number of targets possible and maximize the damage output. Signature weapon bazooka deals extreme damage over massive area. It has higher than average Guard to compensate for lack of active defenses and it doesn't care about maiming at all so it doesn't need high threshold and can use the extra genre points to fuel its destructive power.

    Can you use signature weapon multiple times on the same operation? It mentions you can use different signature weapons. What about the same one?

    Can you stack synchro attack and signature weapon for an attack that just annihilates everything inside the HUGE 5 zone radius area?

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  11. Fast Dueler

    M5G4T4E4Sy0Sp5
    Expansion pack [ Boosted Lance (5), Reaction Booster (5) ] (10), Slippery (5), Antigravity (5)
    Genre Power: Signature weapon (boosted lance)
    Next power level:
    M6G4T4E5Sy0Sp6
    +1M (6), +1 Sp (6), +1E (5), Overbooster (10), 3 XP free
    Genre Power: ?
    Next power level:
    M7G6T4E5Sy0Sp8
    +2 Sp (15), +2G (11), +1M (7)
    Genre Power: ?

    The mech built on speed. The idea is that you can stack speed and it gives you both offensive power through boosted lance and defense through reactive booster. Turns out it doesn't work that well. Boosted lance is the only weapon you can use and you rely on reactive booster for defense too. It requires expansion pack to prevent those modules from getting maimed which would completely cripple you. Getting 2 speed to get 1 might and 1 guard is also more expensive because it's stacked in 1 stat. Not to mention you might run out of energy for booster and run into difficult terrain which lowers your damage considerably. Anti-grav mitigates that. Overbooster gives you option to further increase damage at the cost of energy but it might get crippled. Overall it's fun build but suboptimal. You lose a lot of xp on stacking speed and expansion pack. You don't get advantage for melee weapon in duels because you go through targets. You shouldn't have problems getting into melee range however and your damage output is good. d10+M7+half speed 4+ overbooster 2 = d10+13+tension vs def

    Overall I think any build that has speed above 6 will be suboptimal and boosted lance is weak weapon because you don't get advantage for melee in duel outside rare cases where you're at exact range.
    Reaction booster is also inferior to stacked 5 XP defenses like Custom Defense (melee+shooting). It's 5 XP more but has extra effect and doesn't require speed.

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  12. Beam Weapon Mech
    M4G4T4E4Sy4Sp4
    Lux Cannon (10), Grand Weapon (10), Integrated Weapons (10)
    Next power level:
    M5G6T4E5Sy4Sp4
    +1E (5), Experimental reactor (10), +2G (11), +1M (5), -1 XP from next level
    Next Power level:
    M6G6T4E5Sy4Sp4
    Reactor Overdrive (10), +1M (6), 13 XP for whatever

    Beam weapons aren't actually that bad at the start. You can get +8+tension on starting mech which is decent. It goes to +11 on level 2. Using energy weapons kinda prevents you from mixing non energy weapons in because you'd be wasting energy when using other weapons. Even when using energy weapons with different costs it can be problematic. Lux cannon and grand weapon both use the same amount of energy so it's not wasted (aside from turns waiting for lux cannon to recharge). Using beam weapons makes active defenses very expensive because you'd need to stack energy high. It's cheaper to just stack guard. Experimental reactor is also pretty much mandatory but it's not bad by any means. Defenses also have a tendency to get maimed so guard is more reliable. The mech only has average speed so getting into melee will be problematic.

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  13. All rounder
    M4G4T4E4Sy4Sp4
    Dueling blade (5), Zweihander (5), Custom Defense (melee+shooting) (10), Sniper Rifle (5), Riot Weapon (5)
    Next power level:
    M5G5T5E4Sy4Sp5
    Invincible Alloy (10), +1M (5), +1G (5), +1T (5), +1 Sp (5)
    Next power level:
    +1 M (6), +1G (6), +1T (6), +1 Sp (6),5 XP

    This seems like a very good build. It is very tough. With 4 energy per turn to spend only on defenses it can reduce 4 attacks by 3 damage or 2 attacks by 5. That's very good flexible defense scaleable to number of enemies. It can also ignore maiming by paying 2 energy while still keeping good defensive capability of 2 shields per turn for 3 damage each.

    Offense wise it's nothing special but it's the first mech that can utilize technique weapon as finisher. They weren't fitting with previous focused designs. Once you get the basic stuff on first levels later I didn't find anything that was necessary and just pumped stats which fits with generalist theme of the mech as most upgrades are specialized.

    The mech also can't utilize the excellent signature weapon genre power that previous designs had. I also feel like the 10 XP in systems is kinda wasted. You could drop that and swap sniper rifle for +1E and get overbooster to make more melee focused mech.

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  14. Support Mech
    M0G4T4E5Sy5Sp4
    Electro sapper (5), Jury Rig (10), Slippery (5), Gravity Territory (10)
    Next power level:
    M0G4T4E6Sy5Sp4
    Overbooster (10), Invincible Alloy (10), +1E (6), 4 XP free
    Next power level:
    M0G4T4E7Sy6Sp4
    Stealth Field (20), +1E (7), +1Sy (6), 1 XP free

    Support mech that somewhat works. You protect allies with gravity territory and patch them up with Jury rig at the same time. Once the tension gets high enough you can try hitting the enemies with electro sapper and deal minor damage. Jury rig has 1 range so you need overbooster to get close to the guy that needs help. On level 3 you get stealth field that can make your whole group pretty much invincible if they stick around the support. At worst it gives just you and one other guy +5 def. Add +3 from gravity territory and the guy can blast everything without worry even if he's glass cannon.

    I feel like every single mech needs invincible alloy or integrated weapons. You have much less upgrades and weapons than in ggg so you can't afford to lose any of them with maiming. Everything is integral to your functioning and you'll be useless without that stuff.

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  15. "Support" Mech AKA waste of space

    M0G4T4E5Sy5Sp4
    Gravity Territory (10), Electro Sapper (5), Assisted Targetting (5), Electromagnetic Detonator (5), Flash Analysis (5)
    Next power level:
    M0G4T4E5Sy5Sp4
    Jury rig (10), Command Unit (10), Airstrike (10)
    Next power level:
    M0G4T5E5Sy5Sp4
    Support Fire (5), Overcharge (10), +1T (5), Transformation (Might <-> Systems) (10)

    This mech is utterly terrible on level 1. On level 2 it gets a bit better with command unit but it's still not very effective. Once you run out of support upgrades you're stuck repairing or assist attacking and being useless.
    On level 3 you can get transformation to move systems to might when you run out of support juice to have an attack with basic effectiveness. I still think support upgrades are terrible investment.

    Both support mechs are lackluster and pretty boring. The best thing they bring is the gravity territory which is pretty good defense but it can be used by normal offensive build too with similiar results while keeping all the offensive capability. (just swap gravity territory for defenses on the all rounder build above)

    How does swapping systems attribute with transformation affect recovery upgrade use count?

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  16. Building those mechs confirms most of my observations from the first posts.
    Overall I feel that design options for mechs are very limited compared to GGG.
    I'll try fiddling with the system some more and see what else I come up with.

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  17. That's a lot of comments to sort through, but I can try to clear some misconceptions and mistakes up anyways. Assume that if I didn't mention something you said, either I agree with it or have nothing to say about it.

    A) Generalist skills are balanced with stats for the most part. You want to raise a stat to 5, then start thinking about skills because a generalist skill costs less than a stat (increasing a stat by two points from 5 to 7 costs 13 PP, a generalist skill costs 10). Never forget this, because it's something the entire math is based on. If you're going to do something a lot, a Skill may as well read 'stat points without diminishing returns'. Pretty useful and worth it at any time you're considering whether to push a stat into the top half of the spectrum or higher.

    B) Berserker is definitely terrible and really should work like a boss archetype. This was a problem in GGG with its own Berserker because it was unusable in the hands of Eagles and Dynamics. Since every machine is more reliant on dodging rather than getting hit due to the loss of an Armor stat, BCG's Berserker is flat out awful. It should probably grant you one additional advantage on your second threshold (making CQC and Fire comparable to other weapons), two on your third, and three on your fourth. This is pretty much the same as the current Berserker at the top of its power (OK, so a little stronger), but more reliable on the way there.

    C) Superior Morphing's main use, if I remember correctly, is that you can use it to acquire terrain-appropriate Frames without crippling yourself in two thirds of your battles. Terrain Specialist is a stupidly strong Feature and the basis of any good megatank, so if it works as I think it does, that is what you want Superior Morphing for.

    D) Calling support upgrades weak is laughable, because Commander Type exists. The definitive optimizer's maxim that every good minmaxer applies to a reasonably well designed game is this: "Action Advantage Is God". Commander Type + Support Upgrades equals action advantage, which means you win fights by godstomp. Don't underestimate Support Upgrades ever, because they are arguably the single most powerful thing you can buy for both offensively and defensively minded mechs once you've got your core kit set up. You also missed that they can be reloaded with the appropriate upgrade, making them wonderfully reliable ally buffs.

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  18. E) You're actually wrong about the power of 'reroll, pick better' Advantage use and I suggest you go check out a probability calculator that can supply you with averages after you read this point. The first advantage you use pushes your aeverage up to 7.5, higher than taking a flat +2 bonus. TK-31 (or GimmickMan, rather) did his homework and knew this, which is why the book suggests you spend your first advantage on picking the better of two rolls and THEN use the flat +2 increase, since pushing your average up to something like 9.1 or so with a third advantage hits diminishing returns. This goes double for the Chainblade which does a ton of extra damage when battles go long (though less than it really should because of the changes to rounding math - why was that rule changed from rounding up to rounding down again?), exceeding every other weapon for maximum damage output from Round 6 onwards. I do think it needs a buff considering it effectively applies a quarter of tension as its extra damage when you account for Unreliable, but it's not nearly as bad as you think it is. Changing it to two thirds of base tension (So that it scales a bit faster) should do the trick.

    F) Your assessment of beams is very inaccurate and almost certainly dead wrong. Past Might 5, beams automatically pay for themselves with their guaranteeed advantage and, most importantly, by being the only weapons that can trigger the extremely powerful Experimental Reactor. Take the Beam Rifle - for 20 MP you get a +4 bonus to Might, compared to the brutal 30 MP it'd take to up Might from 5 to 9. You flatly *do not care* about alternative uses of Might, because Might is used for nothing but calculating accuracy and damage. Thus, the cheapest way to get maximum damage is simply optimal and other choices are obsolete. The humble Beam Saber and Rifle are the best non-Technique weapons in the game for dealing consistent, extremely high, reliable damage, except for pie-in-the-sky scenarios with the Grand Weapon, Lux Cannon, Boosted Lance and Chainblade (we're talking '10s in multiple stats' or 'Got to Round 14 safely' levels of pie-in-the-sky here). They're arguably the two best weapons in the game for their price and should be respected.

    G) Likewise, outside of really weird ultra-long-range sniper-to-sniper slapfights, calling the Charge Cannon worse than the Rail Bazooka is a bad joke. You have to get into 'really should not be making an attack ever' levels of low Might for the 5 XP you save on the bazooka to be worth more than the Advantage you get from the Charge Cannon's beamness. We're talking Might 1 levels of badness, because if your Might is 2 or higher paying 5 XP for the Cannon is more cost-efficient than increasing Might and taking the bazooka unless you really need that energy. This is particularly true because of Experimental Reactor allowing the Charge Cannon to gain a +4 (!!!!) Might leg-up on the Bazooka.

    H) The same goes for the Assault Rifle and Powered Rifle (though it's a slightly harder sell because of the Energy cost increase, though not a terrible one). +4 Might on a weapon designed purely to crank out deeps means the Rifle is completely suboptimal unless you're just taking a backup weapon on a melee character for those times the GM is an ass and sends a billion snipers at you.

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  19. I) You're looking at the game wrong and it's making your analysis of it bad. Energy isn't *meant* to be versatile at low levels. It's meant to allow you to take a schtick you have and perform it incredibly, amazingly well. On top of that, even a Level 0 unit can use Energy to both attack and defend. Just take a vanilla across-the-board-4s unit (AKA the likely best Mech chassis setup due to perfect point efficiency), slap a Powered Rifle, Experimental Reactor, Might 5 and Reactive Boosters on it and BAM, you have an extremely reliable pain in the ass sniper that can outrun anything it can't quickly shoot down, outduel anything it cannot outrun, and outrange anything it cannot outduel. It only gets meaner with additional XP, growing faster, shootier and scarier. The value of being able to gain 'extra Might points' or Guard points without running into diminishing returns is impossible to underestimate. An unit that doesn't use its Energy is just crippling itself for no gain.

    J) Weapon Specialization is deliberately overcosted, because if it only costed 10 points it would be literally straight up better than buying Might beyond 5 in all circumstances. It's meant to be an endgame upgrade and should be analyzed with the assumption that you'll get it around the time you start to face asshole Gears who can gain 8 or 10 Guard at the drop of a hat via ECS, or resist 20 damage via Absolute Barrier. Spending 5 EN in those situations is a bargain, making Weapon Specialization worth buying around Might 7 or 8 and EN 6 or higher (particularly since Signature Weapon cannot be spammed and is a 1/Operation ability - I caught this goof a couple days back and GimmickMan has already been informed about it, bringing it back into line with the other offensive options).

    K) The Blast Attacker is bettered by a Charge Cannoneer in a very obvious way. Use the Standard Chassis, downgrade Systems to 0 to up your Might and Guard to 5, take Experimental Reactor and Charge Cannon, then take Integrated Weapons for unlimited shooting or Expert Support to ignore friendly fire. The end result is that you're 20% more likely to hit a target, can attack no matter what unless you get absolutely bombarded with energy halving abilities (in which case, pfft, you just Aim for a round and laugh).move faster and have much more room for growth. See the above note for Signature Weapon, and yes, you can activate both it and Synchro Attack at the same time, so long as your allies are willing to lend you their actions and GP. It's a neat little combo.

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  20. L) Did you seriously make a Boosted Lancer that doesn't use the Overbooster? Really? If you're going to rely on a gimmick for damage (the Lance should be your special trick, you should at least have a Beam Saber to fight when the enemy chooses to be an asshole to you and move on zone to the side to screw with you), you need to do it right. Take the Standard Chassis, lower Systems to 0 again, up Might and Speed this time, and open with a Booster Lance, Reactive Booster, Overbooster and Beam Saber for a much more reliable setup. This setup can actually outdamage a Beam Weapon user, which gives it a valuable and powerful niche on a team at the cost of unreliability since you may not have any targets to charge (or may not be able to pick who to target). Tack on GOTTAGOFAST for versatility, and Signature Weapon for a one-shot burst of carnage. I do agree though, it's lame that the Boosted Lance runs at odds with the standard Engaging tactic of Melee Weapons, or at least appears to do so. Maybe add a note that you can Engage if you can get to Range 0 and automatically disengage after the attack if you pierce through the target?

    M) I think I see why you see Beam Weapons as being godawful - you think Level 1 only gives you 30 MP to spend. *Every* Gear, including Level 0 grunts, has 30 MP to start with, which GimmickMan confirmed. This means that a Level 1 Gear has 60 MP to spend as he sees fit, which means Beam Weapon users can pick up Experimental Reactor and a beam and still have 40 MP to take off like a rocket. Regardless, a good level 0 beam weapon build is Standard Chassis (you got this right at least), Powered Rifle, Experimental Reactor, and either Integrated Weapons or Might 5 + Reactive Systems, your choice. Add a Beam Rifle, EN 5 and further customization with the level 1 MP. No reason to take the Grand Weapon and Lux Cannon before either the Infinite Blade and Powered/Beam Rifles though - that's a piss-poor setup that ensures you'll spend a bunch of turns Aiming when you could be delivering a payload. Remember that every turn spent Aiming is a turn where you do not deliver your Tension in damage, meaning you really don't want to Aim when you can shoot.

    N) I suggest picking up Assistants with the All-Rounder. Genre Points are an incredible resource, and being able to spam, say, Cool Your Jets, Come At Me Bro or Sniping The Targets can be solid gold. You can also 'cheat' the weapon budgets by getting Trump Card to just pick the weapons you need, when you need them this way.

    O) Taking a Weapon on a Might 0 mech is kind of defeating the purpose, especially one that does not grant an Advantage. The rest of the build is a little rough, but more or less workable. Not a bad job, overall, though I do not see Slippery Chassis as being too useful.

    P) Going to dismantle this build with just 7 words: Resupply + Commander Type = Support BnB. That's all. Resupply very clearly says it restores a one-shot weapon *or support upgrade*. You're supposed to spend your turns using a Support upgrade, reloading with Resupply, and repeating next turn. This is supremely energy efficient (meaning you can spend a lot of Energy Jury Rigging broken machines) and very very powerful. If you want the Support BnB for Power Level 1, it's to save your supports until you're in range of a big and dangerous enemy, chain Ensnaring Trap and Fire At Will via Commander Type, Commander Type Assisted Targeting on the next round while reloading Ensnaring Trap, Electromagnetic Bomb on the round after, and do it all over again. This is a downright obscene combo that will chew through any enemy not immune to Difficult Terrain, and provide awesome assists to allies while reloading it. So much for support Gears being worthless.

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  21. There's a lot of well reasoned and thought out arguments, and I thank you both for sharing them. Even in the instances where I disagree with your conclusions it is either because I think things will work better than how they read on paper (meaning I agree with your surface readings because I've read them like that myself, but changed my mind later) or I've just expressed myself poorly and the way something works didn't quite come through. Either way I am taking it all to heart.

    For instance, I will state again at the beginning of chapters 2 & 3 that you start with 30 XP for abilities on top of the power level XP, I will make it clear that each instance of Signature Weapon can be used once, and will have a neon sign pointing to Resupply for Support-oriented Mecha.

    Likewise, Jaded will probably see a simple buff, Berserker could also see one if triggering it is just too inconvenient in practice, and Chainblade depends on how effective long-term strategies are. Nothing is getting rushed this time around, so I'll give them a little push if only to make them more attractive but I'll make sure to know how much to push them.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the game's PL changes the balance of options considerably. This is partly because of how Attributes are costed, because more combos are available, and because at some point raw power without utility loses its effectiveness. It is one of the big things mentioned at the end of the post and deserves one of its own, so I'll be writing my take on it soon.

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  22. A) Generalist skills is still narrower than attribute. Boosting int is much better than getting one of science, medicine and electronics because it boost all those 3 skills. Only after getting attribute to 7+ generalist skills become somewhat attractive.

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  23. D) Even with resupply support upgrades are weak. You need command unit and resupply for 15XP just to get started. But again you're just using your action to resupply yourself and use support upgrades for 1 energy which isn't that different from using an upgrade as an action because you're limited by resupply speed. Now let's compare support upgrades with simliar actions.

    Assisted targeting. - comparable to using assist attack that is free on normal mech. Once the tension gets higher it's much better to have 2 attacks than 1 attack with aim. Decent choice for use with charge cannon and sniper rifle. But then again why not just get one yourself. You double the fire rate in both cases.

    Support fire - Why the hell would you use this upgrade when you could just supress yourself. Main benefit of supress is the disadvantage the enemy gets.
    Again you pay for something that can be done for free with very similiar effects.

    Airstrike - bombardment does the same thing and can also deal normal damage at the same time. I guess you can't spam it every turn but It's still like 3x damage of airstrike because you add full tension to normal damage and then get extra 50%. You want to use it with high tension too which means that bombardment base damage would most likely hit. It's also cheaper.

    Ensnaring trap - why not use finger net that is cheaper, has AOE and also deals damage? Again you can't spam it every turn but why would you really?
    Halve enemy speed? What does that do?

    Fire at Will - extreme terrain doesn't do shit, With systems and speed of 4 and average roll of 5.5 you deal a whooping 0.5 points of damage. Half the time you won't deal any damage at all and the most you can do is 5. If the enemy has abysmal values of speed and systems of 1 the average is 3.5. Such power. You can get higher average on normal attack with tension at 3 no problem. If you really want a weapon for mechs that put ALL their XP into guard just get incinerator.

    Interference bomb - superheavy machinegun gives 2 disadvantages for -4. You'd need tension 8 for this to be better. Did I mention that it's cheaper and also deals damage?

    Most of those "just do it yourself" options require you to have basic might value but you can just put the 15 XP you saved on resupply and command unit to boost your might from 0 to 5 in the worst case. Might 5 is decent value to at least hit the guard of enemy for the effect to trigger. Also most of the alternatives I proposed are cheaper than the support upgrades so all the xp you save on them can also be put into might giving you good chance to not only hit but also deal damage. It also adds up very quickly (like 5 XP for each upgrade) so you could end up with very good might value.

    Support upgrades can be spammed on the same turn at start giving you a nice boost but once you run dry it's back to 1/turn because resupply. Once you run out of resupply after 5-6 turn then what? They are only slightly superior to "do it yourself options" in their effects and sacrifice all damage for it.

    It's not viable at all to use any support upgrades. Just put all that XP into might and do the things yourself instead.

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  24. E) I'd suggest YOU check your math instead.
    http://anydice.com/program/3476

    higher of 2d10 gives you average of 7.15 which is + 1.65 from 5.5 base of 1d10
    flat +2 always gives you +2, duh
    How the fuck did you went from 7.5 to something like 9.1 just by adding a flat +2 I have no idea?

    The point is if you just go by raw numbers the flat +2 is always better. EVEN ON THE FIRST ADVANTAGE!
    The value of multiple dice is more control and reliability. Sometimes you just need to roll higher than 4 to finish off the enemy or don't want to overheat at all cost or just barely beat enemy guard to trigger some effect. That' when you take multiple dice. But when you just want to deal max damage, flat bonuses all the way.
    Adding extra half tension only increases your damage by roughly 50% let's say.
    Unreliable cuts all damage in half, half of the time. So you have average of 112% damage in the end assuming equal might and guard. Not as bad as I though. I guess it's a ok weapon for mechs with weak might. If you have lot of might the damage increase from extra tension is less than 50% but all your damage gets sometimes cut in half so it becomes worse. With very high differences the damage can even go below 100%.

    Utilizing the multiple dice to avoid unreliablility means you sometimes take lower of 2 dice which further reduces the power and is in no way worth it on low tension. You break even around tension 6 or something. In the end the damage hovers around 100% so there is no real increase in damage.

    It's also not good by any means because having low might to take advantage of the niche is bad. Waiting until very high tension before it's decent. I'd rather take a weapon with a normal bonus.


    As a side note:
    Dueling blade is like the best melee weapon. Why would you not engage an enemy in duel when you attack with melee weapon outside of the rare case when you are 1 speed short to reach his square. You can get the extra advantage pretty much all the time.

    Rocket punch is kinda useless. Why would you use it over shooting weapon? If you're melee specialist your systems should be at 0 so you can't benefit from long range anyway.

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  25. F) Beam weapons pay for themselves when you compare it as the only weapon mech has. You pay extra 5 XP for the beam property for every beam weapon and it adds up because might just works on all your weapons. Most mechs would want at least 2 weapons.
    So you compare 2x 5 cost weapon +10 XP in might vs 2x 10 cost beam weapon.

    10 XP in might is not enough to get 2 points but close. Also don't forget that normal weapons also have special bonus. (let's say it's worth +1 dmg) while beam saber/rifle only advantage is beam property. Normal weapons look better even disregarding the energy cost.

    When you add experimental reactor the normal weapon guys gets another 1 point of might with xp to spare, when you add his energy savings you can get it to 2 points which again equalizes the damage.

    The firepower is very similar but the normal weapon guy gets much bigger flexibility because he can just slap another weapon or 2 for more options. If the beam guy wants a third weapon he will have to overpay for beam weapon again and give advantage to normal weapon guy.
    If the beam guy want to use normal weapon it will be at -3 damage disadvantage compared to his beam weapons with reactor so that option will be subpar.

    After that energy weapon guy has advantage over normal guy when increasing his might but normal guy has spare energy for defenses so he has effectively cheaper guard.

    Looks like beam weapons are better for offense on higher levels while normal weapons are better for defense. Mixing weapon types is not very effective.

    Splitting energy between weapons and defenses doesn't allow you to utilize either to the fullest and you'll have troubles when some of your stuff gets maimed. Better option for beams is integrated weapons because it doesn't cost energy and you can forgo defenses totally and just put all energy into weapons where you have the advantage. For normal weapons invincible alloy is better choice since you have energy to space and it makes your defenses immune to maiming too, you can keep them working although with reduced effectiveness.

    I still think beam saber and rifle are bad. Defenses on beam mechs are at risk of maiming and thus unreliable. It's easier to just pump everything into high energy weapons like grand weapon or lux cannon.

    Even if you want defenses you'd need to have one cheap weapon to use and it would most likely be ranged one with melee being the high consumption one.
    Grand weapon allows you to move all your energy to damage easily while not having any additional disadvantages. Lux cannon is slow compared to rifle and you might want a cheap ranged weapons so it's closer call.

    I still think beam saber is terrible and you'd want grand weapon over it in almost all cases. Beam rifle might be ok.

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  26. G) You need to aim charge cannon to get blast. For bazooka you can attack with different weapon in between turns. With high might and tension getting a second attack is much better than the +4 from aim. That's a BIG difference. It's also long range and again and doesn't need energy.

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  27. K) Except you attack every other turn and don't have long range. I'd rather take extra attack over +2 bonus. You get the point in M) but completely miss it here.

    L) You need to increase speed for lance and reactive booster to scale. The lance will completely outclasses the saber soon enough and make it obsolete. You need to protect the reactive boosters from maiming too. You can swap slippery and anti grav for booster at level 0 or get it with first 10 xp.
    Difficult terrain and engaging in duels kills your speed so you need those things.

    hmm. overbooster gives you flat bonus to move and difficult terrain only halves your speed so you'd be mostly unaffected. I guess you can maybe drop it in this case.

    Overall the concept has lot of problems and I feel it's on the weak side

    Also you can charge diagonally. Assuming that straight line counts only along the 4 directions of squares is silly. When you move diagonally your mech doesn't move in zig zag. It still counts as a straight line as long as there are no obstacles between you and the enemy that you need to go around. That'd be like only allowing charges in 4 directions in D&D.
    But then again, map weapons work like that in srw. Can Elipzo clarify what constitutes straight line?

    M) Lux cannon kinda sux for being slow yeah. I wanted to get another weapon to fill those turns but it didn't work out. You can swap it for powered rifle I guess.

    O) What are you going to do when enemies will engage you in a duel? They can lock you down and you'll be unable to do anything. If you can't kill the guy that has engaged you slippery is a must. 5 Xp for having an option to do some damage when tension gets high is not a bad deal.

    P) Doing all that has barely any effect.
    1. Fire at will + ensnaring trap is average of 1.5 damage on average mech (ULTIMATE KILLER COMBO!!!)
    2. Aim assist is +4 on ranged weapon (I can even give you +6 on sniper rifle)
    3. EMP - let's say +5 damage due to disabling defenses
    Average of 4 damage per round.
    The damage doesn't scale with tension at all and you run out of supplies on turn 7 and are completely useless
    All that for the low low price of
    command 10 + supply 5 + aim 5 + emp 5 + snare 10 + fire 10 = 45 - 10 for 0 Might = 35 XP

    best build

    For that investment I could just blasted the guy yourself. See D)

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  28. p. 126 "If Ensnaring Trap halves your Guard from 6 to 3"
    Difficult terrain reduces speed not guard.

    Also on same page it says commander type only allows single support upgrade per turn. So much for superior action economy.

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  29. Replying again...

    A) This assumes you're going to actually use all those skills. This is not a sure thing by any means, and in fact you probably won't have to make tests covered by them often. Skills are a calculated gamble - you assume you won't have to roll X too much and thus choose to gain higher returns for Y. This doesn't make them bad, it means you're choosing to specialize. Their numbers are good and right where they should be.

    D) Assisted Targeting is better than you think it is on ranged weapon users, because it adds two advantages. What makes it particularly useful is that *it does not cost an action*. Seriously, this is key: Never, ever forget that the true power of Support upgrades lies in the fact that you can do two things in one round. It doesn't *matter* if the costs are high, because few things will win you a fight more surely than, say, opening by throwing Assisted Targeting on a beam spammer so they can pretty much blow up a threshold instantly and following up with Electromagnetic Detonator so that the target can't even retaliate. What seems bad in theory can be proven in practice to be stupid good again and again. I ran a Sidekick+Remote spammer in GGG - it was costly as hell and a pain in the ass to set up, but when it went off, the result was absolutely nuclear. It was such an abusive amount of damage that it inspried the creation of the optional rule for 'Mk. II' bosses that can only lose one threshold at a time. Action Advantage Is God. No price is too high for it if you have the points. This also covers Support Fire - it's unavoidable damage (or action advantage) when used against a melee enemy who needs to close in from afar, which is outstanding. Airstrike is probably weak, but that's more because it has a wonky-ass scaling rather than because support upgrades in general are bad. It could use some kind of buff so it isn't a literal waste of space until round 6 or so, really.

    As for Ensnaring Trap, I think it's a victim of changes made to it for legibility - it was supposed to reduce Guard AND Speed, but because it got changed to Difficult Terrain, it got indirectly nerfed got Difficult Terrain was limited to just halving speed. I wouldn't be surprised if it was restored to its old wording of 'halve speed, halve guard', which would make it an outstanding ability, to say the least. Incidentally, I thinka similar fate befell Fire At Will - it was 'half the test result vs 10' at some point IIRC, but got changed for reasons unknown. It probably should be returned to that, to keep Extreme Terrain actually usable and provide a fun incentive for boosting Speed and Systems higher in response to its usage.

    Lastly, Interference Bomb has three big advantages: One, it can have a really long range that Superheavy Machinegun doesn't have, two, you can move while using it (you can move backwards, even! Since it's not an attack action, it allows free movement), and three, you don't need to hit a target to pull disads on him. It still probably shouldn't be tension based though, because half-tension abilities scale very slowly and it's disappointing to be unable to use an effect and have it be impactful until really late in a fight. Rolling a Systems test to apply straight disadvantages would probably work better.

    Bottom line, though: Never ever underestimate the impact of Commander Type. It's pricy to build for Support Upgrades, but totally worth it because it lets you give your side more actions, and having more actions will win you the fight. Some of the upgrades could possibly use fine-tuning, but the basic idea of them is sound.

    (cont.)

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  30. At higher power levels, can Fire at Will do ... anything? It stays TN10. The giant difficult or half-energy areas are decent with artillery frame and expert support, but I'm wondering if one would not simply be giving the party more total damage with a railzooka or charged shot instead.

    Seems to me the best use of a Commander Type is to back massive blast weapons by a few extra AoEs (or adding the assist support to a blast if that is doable?), using resupply when low on energy, reloading the slow ones, or for some reason out of range.

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  31. E) No arguments from me, except a clarification: the Chain Blade adds 37.5% Tension to damage after factoring in Unreliable, or something like 42/43% if you use an advantage to roll twice and keep the better roll. It's not as bad as it looks, as you noticed, but it IS undertuned. It'll probably be pushed up before the final release somehow.

    With regards to the Dueling Blade, I consider it the 'cheapskate option'. You take it if you're too cheap to buy beams and optimize them, but still want to do damage. The other melee weapons don't have such an easy damage boost, but have very strong effects to compensate, like Whirlwind Attack possibly catching enemies in an AoE. Some could probably use tuneups though, specifically the Whirlwind Attack and Stun Rod. The Rocket Punch is just fine, though - not only does it have great Systems synergy to make for a nice sniping option if you don't want to use the Infinite Blade, it more importantly combos with Got You Where I Wanted to catch slippery targets. That's its niche - making sure that cackling asshole who runs away and shoots you doesn't get to escape under any circumstances.

    F) The trick to Beam Weapons is that they're such useful all-rounders that you don't really need more than two of them, three at the utmost if you want to have a stupid strong Technique (both Radiant Fist and Reactor Overdrive can get a whopping +4 to Might over the Zweihander and Missile Massacre with Experimental Reactor, which makes it so they're guarantee to blow up at least one threshold from Round 3 onwards). A shooty Gear can just make do with a Beam Rifle and Lux Cannon, both of which pay for themselves with their reliability in their own ways (Lux Cannon has super long range and delivers a +6 Might payload, Beam Rifle is very cheap to use and does excellent damage). Spending 30, maybe 40 MP to have all the weapons you'll need and make them insanely good is a bargain. That's still 30 MP to buy a defensive system, upgrade Might to 6 or 7 and EN to 5 and buy Integrated Weapons or Invincible Alloy just for insurance. Everything beyond Power Level 1 will just go towards giving you an entire secondary role and capping out your stats, something the other weapons can't brag about. It's really hard to outperform a Beamer if he builds right because as you noticed, he has a much higher damage ceiling and that matters when you're building for deeps and only deeps.

    G) This doesn't make the Charge Cannon bad, though - you just admitted that you're paying for two weapons instead of one because the Rail Bazooka is insufficient compared to the cannon, and nothing prevents the Cannoneer from just firing with it twice if he needs to finish a target off quick. Since he'll be dealing +8 damage compared to the Bazooka/Other Weapon pair, this is actually likely to just finish a target off easily, which is a major plus in the Cannon's favor - it can cripple weak units easily with Aimed shots, but when it needs to go for the kill, simply switching to normal attacks will down a boss quickly, something the Bazooka and Friend can't brag about.

    K) As you noticed, I did indeed just stick within the build's confines instead of focusing on the most optimal move. Generally speaking, attacking twice is straight up better than attacking once in an AoE. If you've playe D&D 4e, this is the classic 'Ranger vs Sorcerer' scenario, really. It's why support upgrades are good IF you have Commander Type, and why I wouldn't use the Rail Bazooka over the Superheavy Machinegun if you can secure an advantage for the latter. Half damage is better than no damage after all, isn't it?

    K) The Boosted Lance needs clarification on what a straight line counts as. Does charging like this (----__) trigger the bonus or does it only work if you charge like this (------)? One interpretation makes it pretty great, the other one makes it more of a gimmick. GimmickMan pls

    (cont.)

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  32. M) The Lux Cannon is a liiiiiiittle bit better than it looks if you're sure you can snipe a target with impunity, because it does the highest damage of any non-Radiant Fist/Reactor Overdrive weapon from really really long range (and in fact, assuming your Might is equivalent to the enemy's Guard, an Aimed, Reactor boosted, energy-burning Lux Cannon shot is the only attack that is 100% guarantee to blow up a target's threshold from level 1 onwards no matter what. That's really pretty useful, if only in specific situations). It's just that it requires such a massive investment of either MP or party effort that it feels kind of dissatisfying to use. It's probably one of those weapons that could use a quality-of-life change to make it less abusive in its ideal situation where you fire it off-CD and blow up at least one threshold each time, and more fun when you just picked it up to do sick-ass long range shots.

    O) In theory, you shouldn't be in range to get locked down, because any support mech will start with at least Systems 5 and thus be able to use his stuff from range 10 or more while retaining the ability to move backwards even without Reversible Thrusters. In practice, yeah, it's a pain in the ass if some asshole charges at you and puts in engagement range, ruining your groove. I'd say you want Systems 7 or 8 before Slippery to have really long range support skills, but you DO want it at some point.

    P) This is definitely something that needs some fixing. As it is now, Extreme Terrain is hot garbage and making it the basis of a build's 'damage contribution' is really lame. Some of the changes made from the blog versions to the stuff that is in the beta really gutted the Support schtick. I do believe the numbers are good if Ensnaring Trap halves Guard again and Extreme Terrain uses half the final result of the roll, though?

    As it is now, though, Fire At Will does indeed do absolutely jack shit at higher power levels, which is very lame indeed. It's particularly bad because...well, go to the Bosses section and look at the Bullet Hell Archetype. A long range sniper with that trick and high Speed is an absolute pain in the ass because you can't hit him, can't use Extreme Terrain to get past his ability to stay out of weapon range and he generally just makes your life completely miserable. Extreme Terrain really should not be as bad as it is when against big bosses. That or, Airstrike should just do the current Tension in damage and replace it as the damage option. It's not like it's gonna break anything if you can inflict Tension's worth of true damage once per round, is it?

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  33. Honestly the 'straight line' part of Boosted Lance is mostly there to forbid exploits with the weapon using it going back and forth or to using it to run away while attacking without getting Reversible Thrusters first. But if we're going to get technical, then what constitutes a straight line depends on the type of board you are using. In a chess board it means any move you could do with a Queen. In a hex board there is no such thing as straight line movement so it has to be somewhere you can zigzag directly towards.

    I kept Extreme Terrain as 'two rolls at DN 10' from the start so it would not outright replace conventional attacks, Fire at Will is an ultra-long range utility action that you could use to snipe with impunity if it were much stronger than it is right now. I think of Extreme Terrain as something that wears you down little by little but only really hurts if you don't have invested in the secondary stats.

    If general consensus is that it is not deadly enough and buffing it doesn't make FaW spammers insufferable by consequence, it could go up in power. Similarily, Airstrike and Interference Bomb could get boosted to using straight Tension if they need it.

    Also what page 125 says about Commander Type is that you can only get one non-Action Support out of it, you can still use a second one the regular way. Difficult Terrain is supposed to halve both Guard and Speed, so that's quite the goof on my part there. A well timed Ensnaring Trap is much more effective that way, because it acts as a damage boost for your entire party and not just your own attack.

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    1. Correction: There are straight lines in hex boards, but you either can't go straight up and down, or you can't go left and right so that's what I was talking about with the zigzagging.

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  34. Well, assuming Extreme Terrain targeted a Standard Chassis for a second...that'd be (1d10+4)/2, which is an average of 4.75. That'd make Extreme Terrain a little too strong, since even the best possible roll results in you taking 5 damage or so, twice per turn. However, if it just halved the average of Speed and Systems, that'd be 1d10+(4/2), or 7.5 average, doing more or less a threshold's worth of damage to the Standard Chassis after accounting for both instances of damage. That's actually not too bad, and probably right where it should be - a character with maxed out Speed and Systems would on average take no damage from Extreme Terrain, but would have a chance of taking a couple points on each roll if he rolls below 5. Combined with Ensnaring Trap, said character would have an average of 1d10+(7.5/2), or 8.75. Still pretty good, but at least not immune to Extreme Terrain anymore. I think switching Extreme Terrain to the 'halve the attribute before adding to the d10' formula would keep it at least vaguely useful at all levels without it being overpowering early on either. Thoughts?

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  35. A) Let's see
    Fittness covers: Athletics, Combat, Finesse, Stealth, Vehicles, Repair?,
    Intellect covers: Science, Electronics, Medicine, Humanities, Survival, most Crafting
    Charm covers: Presence, Diplomacy, Deception, little crafting
    Awareness only has investigation but it also increases your defense

    It's 10 XP for one of those skills and like 13+ XP for stat that covers 3-5 of those skills

    For athletics and I'd easily take stats over general skill (maybe except combat) even if it costs 15+ XP instead of 10. Possibly even go to 10 fitness before getting any skills. Action character will need to do all of those things.
    Combat is better taken as specialist for 5 XP anyway.

    For intellect general skills looks a bit better but you'd still be using at least 2 different skills very often so just int is better until 7 at least.

    For charm there are only 3 skills and you usually go only one of diplomacy or deception so skills are good here.

    Bottom line:
    Almost all of the int and fit skills are useful in some way and when stat gives you 4+ skills and is only 50% more expensive it's kinda lopsided.


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  36. D1) Assisted targeting gives +4 from aim. But for 15 XP I can get 1,5 points of Might AT WORST (more likely 2). I need to hit 3 attacks for it to be better than the one time boost.
    It's +4 ONCE vs (lost might x number of hit attack)



    "Oh, but you can assist others"
    You just give the +4 to somebody else while losing 2 points of might yourself (or forgoing your attack completely).
    You know what else does something similar?
    An assist attack action! You don't even need to hit. It's also free!

    Two attacks are better than 1 attack with aim. You yourself said that.
    Why do you consider a mech firing lux cannon only every other turn inefficient but are completely ok with losing your turns giving aim to somebody else? It's the same thing.

    If you bring resupply into it any action advantage you got is gone because you waste your turns on that. You get the effect and can do the action later yeah, but the bonus is so minor and the cost so high that it doesn't matter.

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  37. D2) Electromagnetic Detonator

    Halving energy doesn't do shit.

    Mech with 4-5 energy still has 2 left It can still fire most beam weapons no problem. Maybe without experimental reactor. WOW you just reduced the enemy damage by 2. It it has 6 energy it doesn't even do that.

    If the enemy wants to fire a beam weapon he will do it, EMP or not.
    Best you can hope to do is weaken active defenses.

    EMP is super situational, useless agaisnt grunts and only decent against bossts.

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  38. D3) Support fire

    It's the same shit as with assist targetting
    You get bonus 4-6 damage IF the enemy moves but lose damage from your own attack.

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  39. E) A chain blade adds 50% tension but on unreliable it halves ALL damage.
    Assuming you'd only match enemy guard without tension:
    you deal 150% damage if it's reliable and 75% damage if it's unreliable. It's 50/50 so the final damage is average of the 2 so (150+75)/2 = 112.5%

    But if you have an advantage over enemy guard it's much worse. Let's say you have +4 over enemy guard (without tension) and tension is at 4.

    With normal weapon on average roll you'd expect to deal 8 damage. Chainblade adds 2 damage. So the damage increase is 10/8 = 125%.
    But unreliable cuts your might advantage in half too while not multiplying it like tension.
    So it's average of 125% and 62.5% so 125+62= 93.75%. Expected damage is lower than attack with normal weapon!

    Don't forget that other weapons have different bonus like dueling blade.
    So if you compare it against that, it is 10/10 = 100% damage so same damage without even considering unreliable. It's 75% effectiveness with that.

    Getting +4 might advantage is not that hard. You get 0.5 just from average of dive over defense and +2 for melee when engaging. Maybe you're a specialist or it's a beam weapon, or the enemy is just weaker. The difference can be much bigger in some cases.

    Bottom line.
    Chainblade is just straight out inferior to dueling blade until tension 6+. On tension 6 expected damage becomes equal. If you have any might advantage it pushes that point even further. But and might disadvantage makes it catch up faster. It's also worse on turns with odd tension because rounding.

    That's assuming both hit at the same rate while in reality dueling blade hits more often. If you account for that it'd make the break even point tension 8+.

    Overall it's a weird weapon that doesn't really increase your damage much and can even decrease it in some (a lot of) cases.

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  40. G) If you go all in blasting with artillery frame and expert support you need to use blast every turn.

    Blaster
    bazooka, minigun, assault rifle, dueling blade = 20 XP

    Charge Cannoneer
    reactor, cannon = 20 XP you're paying the same cost for 1 weapon that the blaster pays for 4

    Blaster
    -two blast attacks at +2 (one long range)
    -two single attacks (long range)
    -suppress option
    -dueling blade

    Cannoneer
    -one blast attack at +10 (long range)
    -two single attacks at +4

    Well fuck me, cannoneer looks pretty good indeed.

    Blaster is more versatile and would be better against lot of weak grunts because might advantage. It will also be tougher on higher levels because it has energy to spare for defenses and has systems.

    Cannoneer has better single target damage (less range though), good against tougher grunts, better mobility.

    Charge cannon is versatile weapon that can replaces 2 normal ones and avoids the pitfall of overpaying 5 XP for each beam weapon when getting multiple ones.

    Experimental reactor changes the beam weapon balance by a lot. I'd say it's mandatory for like every beam weapon build. It's just too good. Compare it so specialization that gives advantage but to only one weapon type. Reactor gives advantage to both melee and ranged weapons for 1 energy which is negligible. It should cost more. Right now it's a no brainer for anybody using beam weapons.

    Changing default power level perception changes the balance a lot yeah.

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  41. O) This mech has NO support abilities. It supports by repairing and protecting others with gravity territory and stealth field. It needs to be in close range to do all that. Slippery is a must.

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  42. Regarding straight lines.

    Let's say you're fighting in space. There is absolutely nothing around. I want to shoot a guy with riot weapon. But I can't do that because he's not aligned with lines on some imaginary grid. I could shoot him if he was a little more to the left but nope, he's a bit on the side so I can't shoot him. I couldn't just turn to face him to shoot him. That's too hard.

    Limiting attack angles to grid lines is retarded in tabletop rpg. It works in video game but in rpg it completely breaks the immersion and makes no sense. People have been charging and firing line effects at weird angles on grid maps for a long time. It's not like it's problem. Just draw a line between you and target and see which zones it goes through.

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    1. It is a general problem with boardgame physics, which is why I only consider grid-based straight lines to be correct in a technical sense. As long as you can draw a line from Point A to point B without it exceeding your range there should not be a problem. We're basically in agreement there.

      The technicalities do matter a little because what looks like 5 Zones to you can look like 6 to someone else depending on the angle and type of board you are using. Generally speaking though, it should be trivial to reposition so that you are correctly aligned in a way that makes it clear you have the necessary reach.

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  43. Z) Experimental reactor is broken yeah.
    It's like weapon mastery for beam weapon users.
    They couldn't afford the 5 energy for barrier pierce anyway.
    And it gives advantage to all their weapons not just melee or ranged.

    ALL the examples evernaut posted to counter my claims about beam weapons assumed they were used with experimental reactor. And why wouldn't they? It's really good.

    For melee, normal weapons are kinda saved by the very good dueling blade.
    For ranged they come out much less favorably.

    powered rifle vs sniper rifle - powered rifle can be fired every turn and gets the advantage always not only when aiming, It's better

    powered rifle vs assault rifle - close call, I'd say assault rifle is a little better

    charge cannon vs rail bazooka - see G)

    AA missiles vs beam rifle - situational advantage vs guaranteed advantage

    Resonance cannon vs Lux Cannon - resonance cannon always blows threshold level but it might miss, lux cannon has long range and will almost always hit, unless you rolled super low it will blow threshold level too, it's also not one-shot altough still slow. Lux needs lot of energy too but I'd still pick it. Resonance is only better against super tough battleships and fortresses and even then you risk missing. Lux will hit pretty much always but deal little damage on low roll. Still better than missing.

    Riot weapon could actually be good if you can reliably hit 2 targets with it. That's assuming free aiming not the silly 8-way only aiming.

    I assumed the 5 XP extra cost was just beam tax but now I see that beam weapons are more versative and can perform roles of 2 different normal weapons. So the 5 XP cost is justified.

    The exception to this are beam rifle and saber. They don't have the versatility and the 5 XP beam tax is not justified in their cases.

    dueling blade is clearly superior to beam saber
    assault rifle vs beam rifle is also very tough sell, only worth it for mechs with 0 systems
    beam rifle vs powered rifle - powered rifle is better except with 0 systems again

    Beam weapons are balanced with normal ones without experimental reactor.
    But when you add that in they go to another level and just become plain better.
    Even with single beam weapon the reactor makes it into a extremely powerful weapon that covers a lot of areas because of its versatility. When you split reactor cost by getting 2 weapons it becomes even more powerful.

    They cost energy but it's a small price to pay for such power. You can skip active defenses and just go for guard. A guy with gravity territory can protect you when necessary. You'd also have problems with the defenses getting maimed.

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  44. Y) Technique weapons - beam weapons have problems with techniques because paying beam tax on a weapon that is only used once is just not worth it

    radiant fist (as cool as it is) is weak. Beam weapons already have high damage. Adding tension again doesn't increase the damage that much % wise.

    grand weapon vs radiant fist - grand weapon that is more versatile and for only 1 energy more has extra advantage. radiant loses another 2 points of damage for taking 2 dice to not blow yourself up. Let's say it reaches the power of grand weapon on tension 4. So to get any benefit you need to use it later than that. Even if you wait until tension 8 which is super late you'll only get +4 damage compared to grand weapon. You also need to pay 10 XP for the weapon. Instead you could get 1 point of might. If you hit at least 4 times you'll also have +4 damage over time.

    charge cannon vs reactor overdrive - same problems as radiant fist, a bit better because charge doesn't have extra advantage but blast is better than line effect and you already have +4 from aiming so the extra tension is worth less % wise. You also have less attacks with charge cannon so you get less bang for just getting extra might instead. Still pretty bad. Charge cannon all the way.

    Missile massacre/zweihander - pretty decent choices

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  45. Y) Removing speed/power split and having just might and guard flattens the game a lot. It makes it easier to balance yeah but also gives you much less options.

    Weapons like resonance cannon lose out on this the most. It's supposed to be used against slow tough enemies and in GGG it was amazing at this. But here a slow, tough enemy is no different from dodgy one. If the enemy is so tough that you can't damage him normally, using resonance cannon means that you'll just miss completely the same as with normal attack. If you have a chance of hitting the enemy you can also damage him well enough with normal weapons. Of course it's good against enemies with low guard but high threshold. But normal weapons are also extremely effective against them too.
    Generally having low guard is suicide and having might advantage over enemy is deadly.

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  46. ad E) I factored in what happens when you turn the advantage into second die.
    You can still get 2 odd results and trigger unreliable but it's only 25% not 50% and you pick the higher odd result. The average die value is 6.325 then.
    You can pick high die even if it's odd like when you have 9 and 2 to choose from so let's say that it goes to 6.5 and you lose 1 point from 7.5 on flat 2.

    You get (150*3+75)/4 = 131% of tension so +31%
    but reduce any might advantage by (100*3+50)/4=87.5% so -12.5%
    And you lose a flat point for lower dice average.
    You also lose a point for not having ability other weapon have (dueling blade is worth basically 2 points)

    So you trade 2 flat points and 1/8 of might advantage for +31% tension
    On tension 6 you are still below because of the 2 flat points you lost.
    On tension 8 you are above and deal a bit more damage
    On tension 10 you reach the power of dueling blade

    When you don't take extra dice but just flat +2 It's 50% for unreliable so
    (150+75)/2=113% so +13%
    and lose (100+50)/2 =75% of might advantage so -25%
    You only lose 1 flat point for not having other weapon bonus.

    It takes even longer to make up that one point though.
    You need tension 8 to get to the power of another weapon.
    Tension 16 to match dueling blade.

    YES! IT REALLY IS THAT BAD!

    EXAMPLE
    Let's assume tension is 4 and I engage with the weapon with only the advantage from melee in duel. Might=Guard

    Scenario 0 - it's a normal weapon that gets +1 bonus on average (lance or stake or whatever)
    I deal 0.5 from dice average + 2 advantage bonus +1 from weapon +4 from tension = 7.5 damage

    Scenario 1 - It's a chainblade and you take flat +2
    On even you do
    0.5 dice + 2 advantage + 2 bonus 50% tension +4 normal tension = 8.5
    on odd you do half that so 4.25
    When you average it
    (8.5+4.25)/2=6.375
    less that normal weapon

    Scenario 2 - It's a chainblade and you take extra dice

    75% reliable
    1.5 dice + 2 half tension + 4 tension = 7.5 (same as normal weapon, not a good start)
    unreliable is half that so 3.75
    average is (7.5*3+3.75)/4= 6.56 (very slightly better than previous example but still less than normal weapon)


    Try it for yourself

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  47. ad E) let's see what happens if it gives 100% tension as a bonus

    no advantage
    (200+100)/2 = 150% so +50% effective tension bonus
    still the same -25% might advantage
    you still lose a flat point for not having other ability

    So now it takes
    tension 2 to match other weapon
    tension 4 to match dueling blade

    assuming no might advantage. If you have any it needs one more turn for each 2 point of advantage

    with 2 dice
    It's (200*3+100)=175% so +75% effective tension bonus
    still -12.5% might advantage
    but we lose 2 flat points

    Tension 3 to match normal weapon
    Tension 4 to match dueling blade

    I don't know how long usual battles last but around 8 turns seems reasonable
    Bumping the bonus to full tension on chainblade would make it pretty good but not too OP. I'd still take dueling blade because front loading damage is better to cripple enemies. You also have zweihander for when tension gets high.

    Unreliable really is terrible quality for a weapon that's supposed to deal damage

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  48. ad E) Oh wait. You need to actually hit to get the bonus tension in damage. That means the damage is even worse than the numbers show here. You can easily bump the tension bonus to full from half.

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  49. ad E) On second though you want to use the weapon with high tension so the miss chance should be almost irrelevant.

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  50. Beam weapons are indeed tied to the Experimental Reactor like a ball and chain. Trying to use them without investing in the Reactor just ends in failure, as it's their definitive edge. In general I think the theory behind Beams is that you take just one or two of them and use them in as many situation as possible, whereas a non-Beamer takes a weapon tailormade for each specific situation and hopes that is enough to overcome Beams' Might advantage. The Beam Saber and Rifle aren't meant to be versatile compared to normal weapons, but rather reliable compared to beams. The theory is that when you use them, 'they work'. It's practically impossible to deny you the use of them + Experimental Reactor unless you get spammed to holy hell with energy drainers, at which point your team appreciates your sacrifice anyway. If you just need a weapon you can use at any time, they're your best choice. That said, I haven't run any analysis of how important that -1 Energy is compared to the Powered Rifle, particularly if you have 5 EN or more. I may get a chance to playtest the two builds side by side and bring back a report later this week, we'll see. I do wonder if Beam weapons shouldn't just have an 'overcharge' function that folds in the Experimental Reactor and standard weapons should be balanced around having to provide sufficient utility to beat the 'spam them with advantages' power of Beams. Is there really any reason for the Jackhammer Stake to exist in the current state of the game, after all? Just compare it to the Beam Saber + Experimental Reactor - there is literally no upside, AND you can only attack half the time with it because you have to Reload it to add the same amount of advantages. In general, Beams are, I think, at the right power level. It's the vanilla weapons that have had their effects vastly overestimated and just look awful when compared to 'I can snipe you from fifteen squares away with two advantages on a melee weapon', or 'If I engage you I will roll to hit you at +8, suck on this'. There's just no way for stuff like the Rocket Punch to measure up to that. Gimmickman buffs pls

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  51. The stake is a backup weapon for mechs like blaster to discourage people from engaging them. They just fire the stake at them and don't worry about reloading but again, slippery costs the same.

    Normal ranged weapons seriously feel underpowered compared to beam.
    Dueling blade is the only good melee weapon too.

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  52. You'd think it's meant for that job, but knowing what the inspiration for it is, the stake should be anything but:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsKtVdt2VaQ

    It'd probably be a better weapon if it ignored Active Defenses when using the One-Shot function or something. Just going up to 'I'm a oneshot Beam Saber!' is just awful.

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  53. While the Alt's certainly better known, the "killer counter" image of the pile bunker may come from R-Type's Kenrokuen. Particularly the massive, slow, resilient hyper-pile-bunker form of it in Operation Bitter Chocolate.

    For those more inclined to use this system to build R-1's instead of R-9's: rare are opportunities to fire a charged up stake outside of something accidentally smacking its face into it thanks to a friendly jamming field, However the average capital ship screams about how it's too big, it'll never fit, and proceeds to snap like the titanic when the DP3 fires it off inside.

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  54. I just want to say a lot of this is 'bigass post' material and I need to figure out which issues to focus on first. Rest assured none of this is going unnoticed.

    On a more positive light, these are relatively simple issues and nothing fundamentally broken that needs a major rewrite. I caught on to something a lot more dangerous recently (I'll probably mention it next post) which even then is a thing that can be fixed easily.

    Above all, and once again, thanks for the feedback and support.

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  55. E) Here is my proposed fix for chainblade
    Give it innate disadvantage and full tension in bonus damage.
    It makes it hard to hit the attack but when you do you doeal a lot of damage.

    You're at -4 to hit vs other weapon (-5 vs dueling blade). On tension 4 you deal the same damage on hit but still have lower overall damage because of miss chance. On tension 6 you match other weapons. And on 6+ it becomes stronger.

    The weapon is bad before tension 4 because you miss it most of the time. After that it becomes ok and picks up quickly around tension 6 when you approach 100% hit chance.

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  56. Maybe I'm just crazy, but doesn't Speed 1 and Guard 2 put Destroyers at a ridiculous disadvantage vs. most all other mechs? The game seems much more concerned about mobility and damage mitigation now, so having them be slow and vulnerable makes it seem like Threshold 5 isn't really enough. I understand you were trying to make them more akin to long range, ultra-damage glass cannons, but I think you went a bit too far into the glass part. It seems that Destroyers will have significant difficulty getting away without a large attribute investment. Would it be possible to consider upping Guard to 3 or 4 and then upping Speed to 2?

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  57. You are not crazy. Here is my reasoning:

    The short answer is that they are an example of power with little flexibiity and that you're supposed to want to change it at least a little.

    The long answer is that since Attributes are fully customizable, the four templates are half there to save you time by having very defined roles and half there to teach you how to make your own Attribute spreads from scratch. The final lesson would be realizing you don't have to keep them as is and that hey,maybe you should switch Systems with Guard and sacrifice some of that long reach to defend yourself better, or do the math on your own and get your giant robot just how you want it.

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