Jul 13, 2014

Spicing up the Appetizer

The game's focus and its biggest draw are the giant robot battles, so the rules for the rest of the game are rather simplistic and underdesigned to not distract from the things that matter. And yet the Character creation chapter is already longer than the Mecha construction one, even when I'm trying to deliberately keep it simpler. There's just too many things you could reasonably want your PCs to do during Intermissions for a 'universal' system to ignore. It would be a disservice to not have, say, Miracles or Deathblows just because they fit some but not all types of games.

It is tough to strike the balance between 'too much stuff' and 'not enough stuff' for Characters. A game revolving entirely around soldiers fighting in and out of giant robots then you'll want more Equipment and Deathblows, while a game about psychic monster hunters wants more Miracles and Anomalies. A PC that puts enough of a focus on combat can already defeat some Grunt Mecha without their own giant robot. I think that is cool and that it should continue to be possible, but if I were to give them even more tools to work with it might do more harm for the game than good.


Yes, this is a thing you can already do. And the world is a better place for it.
Well, okay, you can't summon mountains and skate in space... Yet.

My approach is to have just enough of everything that a GM who wants more of something can have an idea of how to write it themselves, without risking overcomplicating things for everyone else. But that does not mean I'm not always on the look for things I can add or tweak without going too far.

For example, Matches were tweaked to be more like Operations. There's more Actions to choose from, and moving 1 Zone is a thing that comes with anything else instead of taking a whole Action on its own - there's also a 'Run' Action to move 2 Zones instead of one. I figure humans can have the equivalent of 1 Speed for free. They won't be outrunning Mecha anytime soon, but making it easier to move around means you can do more things with Zones and could even downsize the Operation Terrain rules.

I tweaked some combat-oriented Traits to work better this way too. And wrote a little something that was long overdue:

Range Booster (Specialist)
Equipment Trait (10)
Effect: Choose a Skill you can use to make Offensive Tests when you take this Trait. You can now make Offensive Tests against targets up to two Zones away from you. If you have another piece of Equipment to boost the corresponding Skill, both are combined into a single item.
Bringing a gun to a knifefight might tarnish your reputation but it might also save your life.  
Possible Specializations: Sniper Scope (Combat), Drone Control System (Vehicles),Psychowave Amplifier (Miracles)

Originally all PCs were supposed to have to be in the same Zone to engage each other, but the idea of attacking enemies from longer range kept coming up. I wrote a Deathblow for it, to keep it as a rare thing, but if I'm going to allow for free attacks like this I might as well make it a passive item that is 'always on' and leave it at that. This also makes it easier to be on equal terms with Grunt Mecha, but won't outgun them.

Don't be Yoko. Get your own Mecha before the final battle. Also get clothes too.
There's a few other tweaks like this one, but there's also brand new abilities as well. This includes at least one Miracle that treads ground previously only available to Bosses. A few simple additions here and there can spice things up while leaving the meat of the game unchanged, and that's what I'm going for here.

45 comments:

  1. Hey just picked up the beta rules and I'm liking what I see. One question though, how does invincible alloy work? Do you use it then ignore any maims that round, which in the next round then become maimed. Also a comment on integrated weapons. I banned integrated weapons in my game, they simply ruined the fun of the game. Maiming seems like a critical element of the game which you can just spend 10mp to ignore. Without maiming you can't have truly epic slugfests

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  2. Sorry for double post my phone is acting weird, as I said because of integrated weapons you can't have truly epic slugfests like the one between Nu Gundam and Sazabi from Char's Counterattack. They maimed each other back and forth till they were down to default weapons, having to just punch and kick each others mobile suits. Sadly with integrated weapons this will never happen. It also seems like a bad design choice to simply let a player spend 10 points to ignore a huge chunk of the combat mechanics. It forces players to use it because not using it is a fools gambit. It's far too powerful in my opinion. It lead to my players building one trick pony builds that eschewed back weapons and strategies in favor of mono builds. It even nullifies most of the support equipment, why repair I didn't lose my only gun so why stop. I banned it and the game got significantly better, now everyone needs back up weapons and strategies and support stuff is being used.

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  3. Chris does bring up a good point. Intergrated weapons/ invincible alloy are too cheap for the benefits they give. They should be 20 XP at least.

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    1. Perhaps it should be 10 points per weapon. So 1 integrated weapon is 10, 2 integrated weapons is 20 etc.

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  4. I agree personally that they're both super good and it has been brought up several times that they're too cheap for what they do. The issue is that Maiming can be really unfair at times and it can be really frustrating for Players that don't have a lot of experience optimizing builds. I could just plain remove the various ways to get around Maiming, or make them way more expensive, and it -would- add further depth of tactics and strategy to the game. It would also be more inherently random and complex. For some that is a net positive, for others less so.

    Honestly if you can play with full consequences for Maims I applaud you and your group. CCA-esque slugfests are cool, but some people just want to be Gunbuster crushing the hordes of space monsters.

    What I am going to do, for now at least, is make them slightly more expensive. I always wanted them to cost 15 but kept the costs to 10 for simplicity's sake. If that is still too cheap, and with the extra 10 starting XP it might be, we'll see if they have to go higher or need a tweak like individual integration.

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  5. Oh and Invincible Alloy works like this:

    Your Turn starts, you may spend 2 Energy to use all your Areas as normal until your next Turn. At that point you may spend 2 Energy again to renew this fix. Basically you can keep all your Areas functional as long as you have 2 Energy to spend.

    And thanks for the feedback.

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    1. Thanks for the clarification. As far as maiming goes I like the way invincible alloy works because their is a buy in cost and an upkeep cost. I feel integrated weapons would be better on a per weapon basis. It's slightly more complicated but allows more freedom of mecha design. Sometimes I don't want all my weapons integrated only some. The other thing is that integrated weapons as is makes exspansion pack pointless. Anyway thanks for replying and listening to my feed back.

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    2. You keep defensive/other systems in expansion pack not weapons

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    3. Integrating individually could be an interesting change, but I get the impression it would be even more of an incentive to only have one or two weapons. But it merits considering it at least as an optional rule.

      I'm also going to give the Pack a small buff. If only to make it more attractive.

      I was going to bring up maim countermeasures in the next post but I figure it won't do any harm to start early since we're talking about it now.

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  6. For Component Units, when you're combined and are a sub-pilot, do you still benefit from you own internal upgrades? May be a dumb question, but it didn't seem too clear.

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    1. This is not a dumb question at all, because I've gone over which one makes more sense several times. The short answer? No. This is spelled out at the end of the troubleshooting section (p.128).

      The long answer is that, right now, as a component your internal upgrades cease to function entirely... But things change. In the future combiners will also share internal upgrades as well. So you might as well treat them that way anyway.

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  7. The main problem with removing/marking up the anti-maim effects is that, as it is, weapon shots are too powerful. At any given level, a dedicated attacker can bust down a threshold with the greatest of ease, and often without even having to roll for it (i. e. the roll is just a formality to explode one or more additional layers). You could rewrite the entire game to make this less of an issue and remove advantages left and right (or implement anti-stacking rules, even!), but it's a band-aid fix because Genre Powers will still allow you to bulldoze key targets no matter what, and a dedicated player can get himself a GP-generating build that lets him pull off this trick several times a fight, crippling key targets. It's an interesting dilemma: You can make it like GGG, where threshold breakage is a gigantic thing and forces you to go on the defensive and skip at least one turn, or you can diminish the individual impact of a hit and make it so only the finishing blow matters (which is what happens with BCG right now). I think this just begs an important question: What is the *purpose* of Layers? What are they supposed to do, at the mechanical level (that is, ignoring the mecha genre emulation they add to the game)? They make sense at the pilot level because layers represent grit and the drive and ability to stick to a conflict, due to the Willpower checks, and provide a way for conflicts to end early even if both sides stop holding back, without getting somebody killed, maimed or broken, but these caveats don't exist when it comes to the Gears. So what are they there for?

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  8. Levels do four things. Three of which are mechanical:

    1) They represent ongoing battle damage. As noted, this is a genre staple. It differentiates mecha that are made of explodium from those that lose a few limbs and keep going. Not only that, but it also makes that a natural part of the game without forcing tables of hit locations or called shot mechanics into the rules.

    2) They make it possible for character and robot mechanics to use near-identical rules. The main draw for all of you here is that it makes them easier to remember and use together. The main draw for me is that it is easier to design ways people can interact with robots and viceversa.

    3) They add an element of tension (that is, the regular sense of the word, not the Tension mechanic). You get hurt and you lose some functionality, but you also get stronger from gaining more Genre Points. Thus you are not at your strongest until you are also at your most vulnerable, which makes for more interesting fights overall.

    4) They make it trivially easy to design multi-stage enemies. Bosses get, after a few attacks, considerably stronger or gain more minions or just get some payback for the damage dealt. These are really basic but tropey effects, integrated in a way that feels natural because of the way that threshold levels work.

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    1. Another thing:

      Each of these things matters because, while the game is perfectly functional as is, I have built it from the ground up to be a skeleton you or I can modify easily.

      Stack power suit on top of regular maims, then remove antimaims, and the game just got a whole lot grittier with minimum effort. Make a superboss with a bonus threshold level after being defeated, and it comes back from the dead with stage 3 buffs for a terrifying final attack just when the PCs thought it was all over.

      Neither of these is written in the core rules. They are subversions of the rules, in fact, which goes to show how much you can get out of just a tiny little leeway from the system. Just imagine what a whole book full of ideas like that could do.

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  9. ...My inner GM is hype for that.

    But yeah, that's enlightening and helpful because it lets me aim my criticisms and ideas a little bit better. I went back to the GGG corebook to give it a quick look-see, and check out how it and BCG differed. My reading produced a few conclusions which I feel are worth thinking about.

    A) In GGG, Maims were a Big Deal. You lost a threshold and you had to go on the defensive immediately, because otherwise you could bite the dust on the next turn. In BCG, an individual threshold isn't such a big loss...assuming you have anti-maims, mind. Else you're just fucked (see conclusion C below).

    B) On that note, GGG had a very elegant system to balance anti-maims that I think is better than any price hikes: Anti-Maims had an opportunity cost, because they took up an Archetype/Sidekick slot and you only got three of those, period...and since each Archetype/Sidekick was a massive power boost, you had to be *really really sure* you wanted antimaims to go for them. Introducing 'Awesome Slots' back into BCG would at least give people some pause before they rushed for another one...

    C) ...Assuming some bounceback mechanisms were put into place. It's staggering just how shitty the comeback mechanics for BCG are. Unless you have a party medic who is OK with being a healbitch (not even a healbot!), you're just plum fucked when it comes to recovering threshold. The costs are just too high and the options practically nonexistent. Who wants to get one, maybe two, at most three uses of Regeneration when you could just spend that energy on an Absolute Barrier or Custom Defense and prevent damage instead of healing it? In what world is the team glassy deeps taking a turn off to self-heal and then get exploded again better than just going full #YOLO and investing resources into more killy to shoot down the people inflicting damage to him? BCG sorely needs better comeback mechanics that aren't 'have a team medic who is on full time healbot duty'. Something like the Micromanage action would be super duper handy.

    D) Because stat advancement was mostly slower and smaller in GGG as opposed to a huge sink of points in BCG, it was much easier to get redundancies to deal with maims without any great loss of effectiveness. The cap on stuff you could stack to boost your offense/defense (especially offense though) was much, much lower, unless you counted in Sidekicks or God Combinations, so there wasn't a huge gap between someone who had gone all-in on one department and someone who hadn't. Redundancies in BCG delay your very very long process of advancement, and thus are not such a great deal.

    That's what I found on a reread. Do you think any of this rings true and could have any implications on BCG going forward?

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    1. A) You generally had more weapons in GGG than BCG so maims were much less painful in that regard

      B) In GGG the only viable anti maim was old expansion pack. The rest were too weak/expensive.

      C) Genre point for threshold loss is the comeback mechanic. Micromanage would be useless int hat regard since it's free for everybody so it'd have to be weaker that jury rig. If you say jury rig is not enough then micromanage would be even more inadequate.

      D) Stats were even more important in GGG than BCG. And because there were added from multiple sources you could stack them in broken ways. The cap on stacking was actually much, much higher. The difference between going all-in and balanced approach was absolutely crazy. That was the main reason GGG was replaced by BCG.

      The only kinda redundant thing in GGG were weapons. Everything else was even more important and losing it in maim hurt more because you had less points to spend.

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  10. I agree with most of your observations but have a different perspective to my conclusions.

    The balance of GGG hinged on opportunity costs and enforced rates of growth. I'm going for something more open ended and easier to modify, so doing either of those would take away from it.

    But that's the point of having a core version and mods. A mod written around having them would be a different matter. Mind, I don't have any concrete plans for the idea, but it sounds interesting.

    On healing. My opinion is that, in a turn based game, healing is the equivalent of going back in time and undoing one (or more) of your opponent's turns. It is a rewind button, and it needs to be treated with the respect that going back in time deserves. With that said it is a subject worth many more words than that, so I'm going to note it down as a topic for the future. I hope the analogy is good enough for now.

    Redundancies and 'what should I do with my XP' are a Power Level and playstyle matter. You can go all out from the start, but that gives you obvious weaknesses. You can take your all-roundness all the way to PL 5 and be good at everything, but you won't be the best at anything. I've been trying to make it possible to do either style at all levels, but obviously at some points it is a better idea to go more for one thing and viceversa.

    Maybe it is because I am used to party splits and small groups but I think that allrounders are just as good as specialists, and flat out better early on.

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    1. "but obviously at some points it is a better idea to go more for one thing and viceversa."

      Man what the hell happened to me here. I was trying to say that some levels encourage specializing or spreading out more. Early on it pays off to cover your bases, later on you can reap better the benefits of super specialization while minimizing the chances it'll turn on you.

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  11. If using GPs to heal threshold losses is the comeback mechanic, that should be a default power. Comeback mechanics are not character-specific, or should never be at least. They're universal. I actually do think that a Default Power that was something like 'Spend a Genre Point, regain Systems' worth of TP' would be a pretty good idea. Pretty elegant way to solve the problem of how hard it is to come back from a deficit in BCG. Because the first strike matters so much in it, it heavily encourages stacking the deck until you basically don't fight at all and the game becomes a fast-draw contest. When Threshold can't be easily regained without a specialist, it means that Alpha Strikes become superdominant, in effect invalidating the purpose of Area Maims because they stop being 'mecha takes a licking and keeps on fighting' and become 'mecha gets mission killed and summarily ignored until much later, unless they have antimaims in which case we oneshot them instead'. And I don't think that's the way they're supposed to work. Is that correct?

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    1. You don't necessarily use GP to heal. You use them to come back from behind. It might be through healing but it might as well be a powerful attack that will bring the enemy even lower than you so you'll come out ahead of him. Or you can reduce the effects of next enemy attack in half. Or any other thing the genre points do.

      Healing can't be even close to efficient as attacking because then the battles against healers would take ages.

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    2. Alpha strikes work on PL1 when you have 4 threshold.
      On higher power levels when you have all bases covered, diminishing returns kick in and energy spending on defenses being more efficient than offenses mechs are tougher and battles take longer. At that point you need tension to do any noticeable damage it's very hard to blow a threshold with an alpha strike.

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  13. I'm not so sure that is true, actually. Let's assume you're a Might 10 attacker, hitting someone with Guard 10 and Threshold 10 at PL5. Let's say you're using a Beam Rifle, too, for simplicity's sake. You have one advantage from Beam Rifle, you could get another one from Experimental Reactor (plus it makes your rifle super cheap energywise!), another from Sniper Model (which will work with other options as well, so hey, it's all good), and two from Commander Type Assisted Targeting. That gives you 50-50 chances of blowing up a threshold. But I know what you're thinking right now - what if the target has a defensive barrier? At PL5, you have options to overcome those - Signature Weapon, possibly with Assistants (which actually turns your attack into a guaranteed threshold destroyer that can pop two threshies even - not a bad deal, overall!), I'm Breaking Through, This Is My Battlefield with Difficult Terrain, and so on and so forth. It's not infinitely sustainable like PL1 alpha strikes are in theory, but in practical terms it's pretty easy to make it work. PL1 alpha strikes can't destroy an enemy in one turn either, usually it's two to three...so honestly it seems like things work the exact same way at high levels. Tension's a nice benny, but less important when everybody is tougher because it adds a smaller percentile increase to the damage you need to do to put a target down. I'm not so sure defensive expenditures are as good as they look at high levels. Their primary purpose seems to be GP-draining or deterrence, not really actually protecting you from harm like it happens at low threshold values. Which is odd, and interesting, but not necessarily a bad thing.

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    1. You can destroy a threshold with signature weapon sure. But if you're using genre point the enemy can use Impregnable Defense. Believe in Myself or Not so Fast. After that single shot you can't go through active defenses anymore and are at a disadvantage.

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  14. Actually that gets me thinking.

    Rivals are pretty much equal to PCs. One rival has the same power rating as a PC so he's supposedly appropriate challenge.

    So 4 rivals are a match for 4 PCs. But since rivals have exact same power as PCs it's a mirror match and the outcome depends on dice. It's 50/50.

    How is an encounter where players have 50% chance of losing appropriate challenge?

    That's a super high stakes battle not a usual encounter.

    I understand that the loss doesn't mean all PCs die. But losing about half your battles is pretty brutal. You'd expect to win more often than not.

    I guess the players have a small edge in the form of more genre points for role playing but that pushes the margin of victory to maybe 60% tops (and that's very generous).

    It can very easily be negated by GM building the enemies to counter usual player tactics. It's trivial to overwhelm the players with "level appropriate" challenge.

    I won't even mention grunts on high PLs that are only barely weaker than PCs but come 2 vs 1 PC.

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    1. A few things worth taking into consideration:

      -Characters have extra Genre from roleplaying. That's basically 15 more XP, which adds up fast.
      -Characters can build around coordinating with each other to work well together. Enemies CAN do this, but it takes a lot more effort to do it time and time again as GM.
      -The characters heal after every operation. A very tough operation that forces them to use everything they've got is fair enough because they don't need to save up resources for the next battle.
      -Four heads are better than one. Or however many PCs you have. They can adapt better to circumstances than the most bloodthirsty GM.

      When the assumption is that the odds are evenly split, it is easier for GMs, particularly new ones, to challenge the PCs. It takes less effort to dial down on challenge than to come up with a non-bullshit way to amp it up.

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    2. Let's say payers get 2 GP for role playing.
      Assuming that in a evenly matched fight you're likely to lose at least 2 thresholds. That gives you 2 GP from thresholds.

      Rival GP vs Players GP
      2 + PL vs 4 + PL
      So we have anything from 3 vs 5 to 6 vs 8

      The difference is there but the for victory is very thin.
      I'd say you come out with 60-65%. Losing one in 3 times is still quite a lot.

      Healing after operation doesn't mean anything. Both sides always start healed so it's irrelevant.

      Why would you think PCs have better cooperation? It's obvious that a single person can stick to the plan better than a group of 4 players where each has their own vision and doesn't want to take orders from the others. And players argue all the time about what to do. Sometimes they make something resembling a plan where everybody tries to work together but its quality and execution is far from what a single person that has perfect control over all his units can come up with.

      Sometimes the players make it so their builds complement each other but just as often you end up with weird and unbalanced party because everybody does what they want and think it will work out somehow. It's much easier for GM to make enemies that work together.


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    3. If the group DOES know what they are doing and there's a degree of teamwork in the party, they will find a way around anything you throw at them unless you are deliberately trying to make it unfair.

      But why would you do that? The GM's job is to offer a challenge, not to kill them all.

      If they wanted to wipe the PCs, they could make a mockery of the Power Rating rules by stacking unfair terrain conditions, doubling the PR of the opposition, or just saying that meteors fall and everybody dies period.

      Assuming that they don't want to do that, PR gives a fair approximation of what ought to be a challenging but not impossible fight. Like I said, it takes less effort to dial down on challenge than to come up with a non-bullshit way to amp it up.

      Power Rating is ultimately a guideline. If things need to be easier or harder the GM can adjust as necessary. By default an Operation is going to slightly favor the PCs, so it takes only a little effort to make it either very easy or very hard.

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    4. It's obvious that the GM can kill the players if he want. And while experienced GMs only use power rating rules as guidelines and know that there are various other factors beyond them that make the challenge easier or harder.

      But a lot of people don't understand that.

      They will just take enemies that match the players in power rating and just throw them at each other assuming it's level appropriate challenge.

      The only real advantage players have is 1-3 extra genre points. That increases their chances for victory to about 55-65% up from the coin toss 50/50.

      Both players and GM forces use teamwork and tactics but GM can execute the plan easier. There is more players and only one GM so players can have more ideas. Let's say it evens out.

      Players sometimes build their mechs to synergize but most often everybody build by themselves and it just sorta happens. Very often each player will choose a different archetype like melee, sniper, support, healer, all-rounder. That creates balanced team that can deal with variety of situations which is good, because the players will face a wide variety of situations and need to be able to deal with them.

      Enemies however just need to deal with this single encounter so they can be much more specialized. Specialized force is MUCH more powerful that versatile and balanced force. Like a team of all snipers or all melee will outperform general team because in general team not everybody performs at their peak efficiency and some people are out of their element but in specialized force everybody is
      on the same page and works in their best conditions.

      GM can also tailor the build of the mechs to their strategy. Even doing a basic combo like snipers + mechs that create difficult terrain to make getting to the snipers harder and create a shooting range. Players can't do something like that because it would fuck over the melee mech player in the party and he'd complain and it would require a very specific and inflexible party setup. Players can't use specialized tactics like that to the extent the GM can.

      Enemy forces will have advantage in composition and tactics even if the GM doesn't try. When creating encounters it's natural to think about the tactics the force will use. The GM would have to intentionally make enemy composition ineffective to match the level of players.

      Add to that non standard mission objective beside "destroy all enemies". Players face objectives that require extra work and make things harder much more than the enemies. Of course enemy forces should be adjusted if the players have a hard objective but for simple objectives the GM might not think about adjusting enemy power. That's another disadvantage for the players. Not a big one but it is there.

      So in this group that just uses the power rating system normally players will lose at least 35% of the time. That's a lot.

      If you include the enemy force composition and strategy bonus advantage it might get to as high as 50% completely negating the extra genre points PCs have.

      That's kinda good on one hand because equal power ratings = 50/50 outcome. But that should NOT be a recommended "level appropriate challenge". Normal mission shouldn't have 50% risk of failure.

      In D&D a level appropriate challenge with CR equal to player levels has 99% chance of victory. You have to use CR 3 higher than players for a challenging boss fight and that still has higher than 50% chance of victory. Penalty for losing in D&D is much harsher so the safety margins need to be higher but it's not like losing half the time would be acceptable in BCG.

      Power rating system works pretty well considering equal power ratings on both sides give 50/50 chances. The recommended encounter strength should be toned down a bit, to like 3/4 of player force. Equal power ratings should be reserved for epic final battles.

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    5. See I personally think it is more fun if things are difficult all the time, but I understand where you're coming from.

      I'll add a table with PR conversions to various difficulties. The Power Ratings page was going to have a big blank space, so this is one of those rare instances when adding a suggestion doesn't force some reformatting.

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  15. Regenerative/defensive powers are good enough to counter one activation of one offensive power. They COULD be much better, and healing COULD be a thing that everyone does naturally, but that would make offensive powers mandatory rather than optional and we run into this same exact issue except mirrored.

    Instead the idea is that, in a straight up match between highly specialized opponents, there is a defensive power to counter each offensive power and viceversa. Thus it would come down to who has more tricks up their sleeve.

    You're unlikely to have ALL OF THEM for obvious reasons, and they all do different things, so there's more variance than that. Active defenses are a GP drain... IF everyone else has signature weapons and I'm breaking through. Entire attack rolls too can be reduced to a GP drain if all you can do is stack advantages or don't have allies to coordinate with.

    Yes, you are going to be taking damage more often than not in any single attack roll, but you have two defensive stats to mitigate that while there is only one offensive stat. It is true that making a character that is near impossible to take down is, well, near impossible. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, Zeorymer is not all that fun after the first few times you've seen it in action.

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  16. The issue is that if defense and offense are evenly matched, offense suffers. This is because offense is gated by defense, as you cannot attack with weapons that have been Maimed, but can still Maneuver and get defensive boosts no matter what. You can acquire anti-maim equipment, of course, but that puts you some MP in the hole compared to the defensive character, who can just buy 'do my job better' equipment instead of 'allowed to actually do my job' stuff. That's why I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to introduce some sort of 'fallback heal' ability for players to use that you only want to employ when you're desperate to save yourself or keep your gravy train going, like Biological (though probably with less mission-killy penalties for maims, because it makes the game turn to 'break the Arms/the Torso/the Whatever' depending on the targeted Gear). Just as Defensive Gears always have the option of attacking with Default weapons and Maneuvering to up their defense even if maimed, Offensive Gears should have some sort of way to regain their attacking capability that isn't going into MP debt through a Mid-Scene Upgrade. Don't you think that's fair?

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  17. Offense scales naturally through the course of the battle via the Tension mechanic. The 1d10 will also, on average, dish it out better than what most barriers can block. Maneuvering will improve the defender's odds, sure, but that's a stalling tactic at best. If we're talking about stealth field maneuver shielding, now we're involving multiple characters into this and that opens the door to things like charge cannons with assisted targeting.

    Weapons can be disabled, yes, but so can barriers. If your MP is going 'in the hole', so is theirs. Even if they don't get invincible alloy, they still had to get the beast, stealth field, etc. To compensate for their lack of external weapons.

    With that said, I don't oppose a fallback default genre heal, it just would have to be really weak to not overshadow the other default powers. And that kind of ruins the point.

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  18. I honestly don't think making the Systems heal usable any number of times per operation and a Default power would break things. That's a power level about on par with Try Again and Synchro Attack - strong, repeatable, but not something that you'll want to save up for over using This Is My Battlefield when the situation's appropriate or the like. As a bonus, it also makes the Healer and Technician archetypes be more capable of using it well and gives Systems a better value, which it sort of lacks right now - a lot of Melee characters willingly dump Systems because it does literally nothing for them except help fight Extreme Terrain, and that's honestly pretty dumb. Every stat should have use for everyone to a degree, and making Systems healing a bit easier helps achieve that.

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    1. Only slightly above average Systems and 4 GP means potentially 20 more Threshold Points on demand. That's a lot. It would be better than Believe in Myself, for one.

      I think it is fine if people want to dump Systems in the same way that Support specialists can dump Might. They can't hit anything over ten Zones away and even getting there makes them jump through a hoop like investing a chunk of Energy, Sappers hurt a lot more and Extreme Terrain hurts slightly more.

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  19. Didn't the Sappers get changed to 'deal half your Systems in bonus damage', not taking the Systems of the target into account? I think they did. At that point the only requirements are A) Gotta invest in Overbooster (doing that anyways if you're melee, gottagofast is important to you) and B) Be prepared for Extreme Terrain (this is an actual hindrance, but your high Speed should compensate some). It's just a very lopsided tradeoff in favor of dumping Systems, whereas even pure-supports still have to think about dumping Might because it means they're pigeonholed into certain Genre Powers or Bombardment + Supply Delivery.

    PS: Also, Believe In Myself has always been garbage because it doesn't just restore a threshold's worth of TP, instead filling you up to max. I actually got to spectate and rule-ref another group playing BCG this week. One of their most notable complaints is how terrible Believe In Myself felt to use, especially compared to Who The Hell Do You Think I Am, which made the tanky men feel actually tanky.Why would you want to restore up to 9 TP (and this only if you're a lumbering supertank or super-high PL, at PL1 it was more like four TP) when you could just no-sell super killshots instead? Believe In Myself is a power you can only use properly in very limited circumstances, whereas Who The Hell Do You Think I Am is always gonna apply when you most need it to. If 'I can spend five GPs to regain a little over twice as much as the ultra rare best case scenario for Believe In Myself' is a problem, the issue lies on BIM being so shitty that spending five GPs on a mediocre heal eclipses one good use of it so thoroughly. It needs to do something more. Something unique. Maybe it should be a predictive heal instead of a reactive one? Like once per operation temporarily restoring you to full TP for a round (after which you return to your previous value). This would give it immediate utility as a spot Maim-overcomer and KO-preventer, instead of just 'if I get super duper lucky, maybe, just maybe I can use this right and restore a bit of TP. Yay?'.

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    1. Sappers won't do half Systems damage. A gun that always deals 3-4 bonus damage with no drawbacks is essentially better than everything else.

      Really though, going to the trouble of not having any Systems whatsoever also pigeonholes you into compensating for it with Energy and very specific Upgrades.

      And you're talking about Don't Give Up there, which is going to heal your Systems in TP. Believe in Myself is the one that heals yourself for 5. This repeatable self-healer would still be better than both of those. As a default power, no less.

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  20. Ah, so sappers are getting changed, OK. I personally disagree that they're particularly overpowered in their current form (Boosted Lance does even more damage and has infinitely more synergy with a melee build), I just think they're kinda boring, but whatever, nobody cares about them.

    As for Genre Powers, yeah, I'm talking about Don't Give Up...because what I'm suggesting is to lift the 1/op cap and make it a default power. Just take it out of the normal list and integrate it into the basic mecha combat mechanics instead. Default powers are, as a rule, more useful than pickable powers anyways, because they have fewer restrictions, so I don't see the issue there. Like just look at it honestly. If you had to pick between Trump Card and Mid-Scene Upgrade, which would you take? What about Signature Weapon and Try Again? Not So Fast and Can't Let You Do That? There's instances where the pickable power outperforms the default, but that's the thing - they're not standard, and the defaults can always be used again and again. Default powers being your big ticket effects is the, well, default, not the exception. Powers like Tacticool Approach and This Is My Battlefield are major exceptions to the rule. It's particularly shocking to me that there's such a resistance to baking in a reasonable comeback mechanic into the Defaults arsenal because I'm still part of a game of GGG, and if I remember correctly one of your stated goals for BCG was to make Genre Powers more impactful...and yet, every time I compare the BCG powers to stuff like Keeping Up, Pierce, Where'd He Go and Strength In Union, they just seem weak. Not just directly comparably weak, but also weaker relative to their own environment. It's very telling that the powers that got the least tweaks (Try Again!) are some of the most powerful in BCG. Loosening the restrictions on power usage and simplifying access to key abilities is something that would make the game more dynamic instead of making it worse, I think.

    PS: To bring up the example of your closest competitor, in mechanical style - there's a reason D&D 4e dispensed with the concept of 'healing that undoes an action should cost an action' that was prevalent in previous editions of D&D. Unless you can pull off OMG CLUTCH PLAYS that won't get immediately nullified right afterward by another enemy action, *it just doesn't feel good to burn a turn on undoing what an enemy has done*. That's why all the Leader heals in 4e are minor actions, and what Standard Action heals are there have enormous, super powerful effects like 'heal you for half maximum HP without consuming heal resources', or 'heal the entire party for 25% HP once a day costlessly', or even 'you've got max HP again and no more negative conditions, I got your back bro'. Healing should always be limited, yes, but also more impactful than an attack. Regaining 5 TP is not as good as adding 4 damage and piercing active defenses, which in turn isn't usually as good as just rerolling that 1 into a 10 and adding +2 for a total of +11 damage. Healing needs to have a greater burst effect to have the appropriate visceral impact, or else the game is better off just avoiding the mechanical pitfalls of trying to have it, period.

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  21. Healing will always be weaker than attacking because otherwise battles would drag on too long.

    Default powers are versatile because everybody needs to be able to use them.

    Specialist powers are much more powerful but limited in use and situational, but you pick ones that suit you and that you can use to the greatest effect.

    That's the idea yeah. Working as intended.

    Any comparison to 4e is invalid because players and monsters use different rules and statistics there. Imagine what would happen if monsters had access to second wind?

    Try again is pretty good yeah. But your average result when re rolling that one is 5.5. So you get +6.5 damage not +11. And that's assuming you use it on 1s only which is completely out of your hands. It's super unreliable. The second roll might be a 1 too.

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  22. Monsters do have Second Wind access in 4e, last I checked. They just have way fewer surges, one per tier.

    As for the rest of the post, that's kind of the issue, really. The specialist powers SHOULD be stronger and better, but most of the time they don't feel stronger and better. Keeping Up in GGG was an incredible boost. Strength In Union turned an entire battle on its head. And so on and so forth. BCG powers mostly don't do that. It's why I'm not really opposed to healing being equal to damage, as it is in 4e (or better, depends on the healer), but having less opportunity cost. Battles could afford to last longer and be less swingy in BCG. I'd personally love it if the average fight length was 8 rounds if both sides were evenly matched and fighting for keeps instead of, say, 5.

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    1. Monsters do have healing surges but they can't use second wind so they can't really use those surges in combat outside of rare cases.

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    2. Every specialist power is stronger than default one if used correctly. It some of them aren't then they are too weak and shouldn't exist or should be buffed.

      Keeping up basically increased your defense or offense. Lot of powers do that. It could be pretty good but other powers were good too.

      Strength in union restores 5.5 damage on average. Don't give up always restores 5. It's more reliable so you know for sure that you will restore that threshold. I'd say don't give up is better.

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  23. Strength In Union restored 5.5 damage on average...to three people. There is no world in which Don't Give Up is better. It's simply a worse power, period. The numbers just say so. It's kind of a good example of how BCG powers tend to be far more uninspiring than GGG ones, with a couple exceptions. I mean, look at I'm Breaking Through, for instance. What's the big draw there? 'I'm trading 1 GP to nullify a 5 MP upgrade and a 2 EN investment. Yaaaaay'? That's just uninspiring. If there was an offensive power that granted two advantages and was repeatable, nobody would take I'm Breaking Through except maybe to deal with Absolute Barrier spam. There's a whole lot of powers like that in BCG, powers that are only not trashbin tier because there simply isn't anything actually outstanding to steal their thunder. It's kind of disappointing because a giant robots game can do much better than this.

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    1. Ok. I missed the three people part. It is better.

      But now that I actually look at the GGG powers most of them aren't very spectacular either.

      You have the beforementioned Strength in Union
      There is target lock but it was kinda necessary because evasion was kinda broken in GGG.
      There was synchro attack but it was terribly broken too so it's good it was nerfed. You could one shot bosses from 100% to 0 with it.
      Cool under pressure made you unhittable for a turn and was pretty OP. Evasion was rolled into guard so it doesn't really work in BCG anyway.

      Other powers are similar to GGG equivalents (sometimes exactly the same). BCG has lot of new powers that weren't in GGG.

      Strength in union was pretty good too. Maybe too good. Restoring 15 damage is much better than dealing +5 or so damage on the attack other powers give you or reducing the damage you take by 5. It was much stronger than other options. The nerf was deserved.

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  24. I remain by my statement that healing is the equivalent of reversing time and undoing entire enemy turns. When you look at it that way, the power of the various healing abilities is fine as is. One day it will be a topic worth several hundred words, but that day is not today.

    Powers are a lot more comparable and close in power to each other than those of GGG. I -did- make them stronger, but I also removed the ones that seemed fun until you saw them on the other side of the table. Yeah, Strength in Union and Keeping Up were cool, but the moment that NPCs started to use them too you were going to end up hating them.

    Which is not to say that you don't have a point when you say that specialist options sometimes take too much effort to make better than generalist options. I've taken this into consideration and I think you'll like some of the tweaks to make said options more enticing.

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