Dec 22, 2015

One last update to end the year.

Hello ladies and gentlemen, it is time for another status report! Progress on the expansion has gone faster than expected for the most part and I've been meaning to write up an update for the past few weeks but life kept getting in the way. Expansion Previews will continue soon and I want to ask you what you'd like to hear about first. Let's start by summarizing the expansion's three chapters.

Chapter 1 has new material for PCs of all kinds, if you've seen the preview from last update, that's it. There's more mecha tropes being represented, more options for existing characters and plenty of new toys for GM's. It is pretty great and I recommend you at least take a look at it, even if you'd like to wait for the finished version of the rules to play with it.

Chapter 2 is the one we're going to be looking at next. It has optional rules to change your game of BCG into something different. The Chapter is divided into sections containing a series of Rules Modules, each of them with alternate systems that change one or more things about the core BCG experience. These Modules can be roughly divided into three categories: Magic & Fantasy, Base Management and Survival Horror.

Chapter 3 is the one primarily meant for GM's, since it has an extensive list of Enemies and a few pre-planned Operations with special rules for them. Each Enemy has rules data going from Power Level 0 to 5 and comes with tips for playing and modifying them. At the end there are five example Operations with unique Enemies, custom rules and tips to slot them into ongoing plot arcs. We'll leave this Chapter for last.

Going back to Chapter 2, each Module is independent of each other. You don't have to use all the Modules in each section and you can mix and match different Modules of the same category as you see fit, they're just grouped up like that for the sake of organization. Below is the list of Rules Modules with a brief explanation for each one.

Magic & Fantasy 
  • Rituals and Expanded Miracles: Through a Ritual, one or more characters spend considerable time and gather their strengths to take their psychic or magic powers to the next level. This way, you can use Force to make an asteroid fall on the enemy fortress, create a permanent pocket dimension with Portal and build a base of operations there, or project your mind into someone else's with Probing and switch bodies permanently. 
  • The Magic Skill: A replacement for the Electronics Skill with similar uses. This Skill covers theoretical knowledge of all things magical (monsters, artifacts, spells) including how to deal with and/or defeat them. It can be upgraded to a Miracle that can dispell the effects of other Miracles or even another Miracle user from using their own powers via counterspelling. 
  • Elemental Weapons: This Module introduces elemental attacks for Mecha, making all Beam Weapons belong into one of four classic Elements (Fire, Air, Water or Earth). All Mecha have a Weakness and a Resistance. Extreme Terrain created by other abilities can be Elemental as well but otherwise all other options are of a neutral Element. Naturally, there's new build options centered around this system.

Base Management 
  • Relationship Themes: Instead of using the usual Genre themes, you use Relationship Themes. Each of these represents one important NPC that has an influence on the setting ranging from friendly ace pilots to media celebrities. Your goal is to either recruit these NPCs and earn their sworn loyalty, gaining Genre Points when you make progress on that front. 
  • Faction Tests: Much like Characters and Mecha, the band that the PCs represent has its own Attributes (Military, Holdings and Influence) to differentiate the PMCs from the traveling merchant fleets. The PCs can delegate important duties to members of the organization who will handle them offscreen. Examples include raiding an enemy camp for supplies, developing new technologies or sending spies to find out what the enemy is planning to do next.
  • Collateral Damage: Collateral Damage represents the consequences of battling within the borders of your home city, space colony, or whatever place you are trying to protect. If you're not careful during a fight, you could end up destroying warehouses full of supplies, accidentally injuring important NPCs or even provoking the people to riot against the characters.

Survival Horror
  • Insanity & Trauma: This Module is for games with a less heroic tone. Characters using these rules get more and more messed up in the head with the passage of time, in contrast to how they usually would only get braver, stronger and solve their personal issues. As the PCs are exposed to or suffer more traumatic experiences, they lose their sanity while gaining Genre Points for doing so. Going nuts has never been this much fun. 
  • War of Attrition: This Module introduces territorial control and lasting damage rules to Mecha Operations as a sort of nightmare mode where maximum tactics are necessary for survival. Mecha must stay close to their Base Unit or from Energizing Terrain (a new category) or they are weakened. Damage taken between Operations stays instead of being automatically repaired, but each instance of Energizing Terrain is charged with one Restoration that any Unit standing on it can spend with its own Restoration Upgrades.
  • Giant Enemies: Of course, as if things weren't difficult enough already, now you have to deal with enemies who occupy multiple Zones and wreck everything on their path. These play similarily to Bosses with the Colossus Capstone, except that they must be attacked in their specific Zones representing their weak points and each gigantic limb is its own threat.

So that's the three sections of Chapter 2. I'll leave you here with a poll so you can tell me which one you'd like to hear about more in detail. The first update of the next year will be entirely about said choice. Happy holidays, everyone!

Nov 29, 2015

SRD 1.2 update

The SRD had an error where Adaptive Morphology was listed twice, featuring an earlier version alongside the final one. That's now been fixed to clear up further confusion.

The rest of the expansion has been coming along great so I'll have news for you on that front soon.

Oct 11, 2015

Here comes the errata

Welp, it was inevitable there would be things that needed fixing. There were several mistakes in the released version of BCG so here I give you a pdf to address the whole of them. The whole one page of them: Here is a link.

Yes, it is just one page, so I might as well sum it up here:

First, in a twist of irony, the troubleshooting section is not clear enough or uses pre-kickstarter beta rules text in some spots. Those have been rewritten as appropriate now.

Second, the book never actually states that you can't get both the generalist and specialist versions of the same skill. Now it is explicit that you can't.

Third, it is likewise not stated anywhere that you can't stack equipment together to get as many advantages to your skill tests as you want. Now it is made clear those don't stack, only one piece of equipment applies at a time.

Also there was a typo somewhere. Yes, really. I'm horrified too.

On top of that there was a mistake in the SRD that didn't mention how to calculate Mecha Defense (Guard + 5) which has now been added to the 'Damage and Maiming' section of Operation rules. All changes have been rolled into the System Reference Document.

Sep 27, 2015

It is that time again.

Time for playtest material! Yup. I wanted to do some previews the last two weeks but honestly couldn't pick just what of all the delicious expansion content to show, so instead here's a whole bunch of stuff!

This is basically all the setting-agnostic expansion content, the rest of the new material (to make the game more fantastic, gritty, or what have you) will come in later. Have you ever wanted a robot that could teleport? What about making a support bot that can heal over 10 points of threshold every turn? Well I have good news for you, but instead of telling, I'll just show you - in link form: BCZ Public Beta v0.3

As always, good luck and have fun.

Jul 26, 2015

I Fixed Some Things

A handful of paragraphs transitioned incorrectly between the full and srd versions. Fret not, the only one that was actual rules text in need of fixing was just the range of Supports (from twice Systems to just Systems). The download link has been fixed already, but here you go anyway.

Jul 21, 2015

Battle Century G System Reference Document is up

You can get the BCGSRD (Quite a mouthful of an abbreviation, isn't it?) here.

Like I said before, it is a slimmed down version of the book with only the rules. I've taken the various betas of the game down as well, partly so it is not a confusing mess for anybody new to the game, partly so you have an incentive to buy the full BCG manual from Drivethru when it goes live.

This is where a joke about me selling out goes but I think I've run that into the ground by now.

Sooooo on another note, this took a whole lot longer than it should have had and I apologized. At one point I was trying to make a wiki to go with the pdf, plus a GM companion to help run games and also a custom dicebot because dreaming is free, right?

It was going to end up taking way too long to be worth delaying the part that matters: the game itself. Of course, now that this is out I'm more likely to focus on other things instead (like the expansion) so all that other stuff is getting shelved indefinitely.

It's been a really long and weird ride, going through three similar yet different rulesets to end up with something I'm comfortable publishing as a core rulebook and is worth building upon, but here we are. To those of you who have been around since the beginning, thanks for doing so and I hope you feel your patience is rewarded.

We'll have some expansion previews with more Game Design Chat soon.

Jun 28, 2015

Going Gold

Backer digital copies have been sent. There'll probably be an update with whatever typo fixes still linger around sent out at the same time the print editions ship.

I'll upload the free rules-only version soon. It is not a LOT of work but it still takes time and I don't want to just toss up a bunch of text into a file and call it a day.

Jun 21, 2015

Final Tally of Changes. Part III: Bosses.

Forty minutes until Sunday ends here so I'm still on time for this one. You know how it goes by now, a whole bunch of this has been discussed in the comments section before but with a handful of entirely new additions.

Boss Powers

  • Do you Desire the Power? is now usable only once per Round per target but, if the target has no Genre Points left, they must take the second option and only if they have no Allies alive do they hurt themselves: More of a clarification than a change, really. This was more or less how it was always supposed to work.
  • Useless! now blocks 5 Damage plus the current Tension per use but may be used once per Round: So you can't toss up a 15 damage barrier up while you're about to die, but each activation itself is much stronger - twice as strong as early as  Turn 1!

Boss Upgrades

  • Adaptive Morphology now grants 5 and 10 Defense at Levels 2 and 3 but can only choose between Beam and non-Beam: So an additional five defense is A LOT, but can still be overcome by barrier-piercing effects and can't counter melee/shooting specialists anymore. It is stronger to ensure its impact is felt even at high power levels but less versatile so nearly everybody should have a way around it.
  • Bullet Hell's Level 3 and 4 triggers now deal half your Systems + Tension and Systems + Tension instead: This is the opposite of the above change, making it less extreme. The total amount of Damage is considerably lower, from around 30 to around 20, so it still hurts a lot but won't obliterate everyone standing right next to it when it goes down.
  • Eye for an Eye adds Tension to all triggers: This was okay but is now more respectable as an alternative to Bullet Hell, adding up to an extra 5-10 Damage total, but it is still lower than what Bullet Hell can put out when it gets multiple PCs in its area of effect. Still, it is direct damage against whoever needs to be protected the most right now and doesn't depend on any stat.
  • Nanoskin Shell's damage shield now adds Power Level to all triggers: A curious variable to add, I know. A 15 damage shield is juust enough for survivability at low levels, but not so much for the higher ones. The 3 or 6 extra points won't make the boss unbeatable for PCs just starting out, but adding 15 more HP to a superboss is much more noticeable.
  • Phantom Predator's Level 4 ability imparts two Disadvantages to attacks from Weapons that aren't Blasts, Bursts or Lines: Stealth Field got changed so it is only fitting that the Boss-tier equivalent does too.
  • Three Times Faster now chooses one Enemy each Round to gain against them a bonus to Might Tests of half Speed at Level 2, half Speed to Defense at Level 3, and full Speed to Might Tests and Defense at Level 4: This was just plain overpowered. Now it is comparable to Bloodlust in that you single out one target and overwhelm them with raw power. You can change the target each Round, but the bonus depends on Speed so it is lower than the baseline bonus Bloodlust gets you.

Boss Weapons

  • Suicide Swarm is a Blast 3 with Long Range and the Damage taken increases the result of the Might Test: This should be able to catch at least two PCs per attack now, and because the bonus is a flat up boost to the result of the Might Test it'll be a hit. Still doesn't have the raw power of something like Overfreeze or Merge but the controlled self-damage means it can be used to maximize the effects of something like, say, Bullet Hell to hit even harder.
  • Ultimate Bomb is a Blast 5 but gains two Advantages to its Might Test: This is pretty straightforward. We're reducing the sizes of all Blasts and the largest Blast in the game got its radius halved. The huge area of effect was its selling point though, so now it hits much harder to compensate. Ultimate Bomb still hurts the user though, so it is a double edged sword that just got a lot more vulnerable to duelist lockdowns.
  • Overfreeze loses Blast and Long Range to become a Line Weapon: As a Blast, this was just too strong against low level PCs who rarely had a way to survive a constant spam of beam attacks plus difficult and extreme terrain. As a Line, it still hurts quite a bit but doesn't spell doom for the whole of them.

I talk a lot about how the Kickstarter rewards are coming along but not a lot about the version of the rules that is going to continue being free. So here's the brief version: If things go well this week and I don't get swamped by work at the end of the month, I'll be uploading that next Sunday. Until then!

Jun 15, 2015

Final Tally of Changes. Part II: Mecha.

Oh boy oh boy it is update time! A day late, yes. Sorry about that but I spent the whole afternoon yesterday under the weather. The good news is that we're printing test copies already so we are very close to the finish line. As usual, what you'll read in the rest of this post shouldn't be much of a surprise if you've been following the blow. I'm going to paste the main dish of the most recent Kickstarter update here, changes in italics are from the Experimental Rules PDF while changes in bold are modifications of the experimental rules or entirely new.

General Changes

  • Cores can no longer use Upgrades and Weapons after ejection: The core ejection is meant to give the PC one last chance to retreat in battle, possibly using another Genre Power or two to help their allies before leaving at most. Builds focusing on Support Upgrades and The Beast could use it to keep fighting after being defeated. Especially with the case of The Beast, this was an unfair advantage.
  • Impassable Terrain now deals damage to units that are forcefully slammed into it: There's going to be more ways to move enemies around in the expansion, this makes those better and makes Impassable Terrain something more interesting than just a barrier.
  • Shooting Weapons no longer gain a +5 range bonus from Aiming, that bonus goes to Long Range Weapons instead: This helps out the melee weapons with reach a little. More importantly, it is now possible to balance guns like Riot Weapon and Bombardment around having short range, which were never intended to be used from the safety of your side's back row.
  • All Blasts now have their own unique blast radius between 1 and 4. All other area of effect weapons have been keyworded as either Burst (those that attack enemies around the user) or Line (those that attack all units in a straight line): Most Blasts are size 2, going up to 3 with Artillery Frame. Bursts got a bit of a buff since the experimental pdf in that they only target enemies now.


  • Stealth Field is 2 Disadvantages to non-Burst, Blast or Line Weapons: This makes it function like Interference Terrain from the expansion and is a good defensive boost that does not, you know, make you completely immune to like three of every four Weapons in the game.
  • Artillery Frame works with all Blast, Burst and Line Weapons and costs 5 less but has the blast radius bonus reduced by 1: Giving the advantage bonus to Bursts and Lines means more options for your build and it is cheaper to compensate for how most blasts lost a 2-3 zone radius overall.
  • Invincible Alloy is 20 MP: As per the poll discussed a week ago.
  • Guardian of Steel has a reduced range of 1 Zone around the user: Still very strong, but now conditional since it requires proper positioning.
  • Resupply can spend multiple uses at once with one Action: As of the preview v2 it takes a while for Support types to get going, but once they do they can pull some really nasty moves and even combo them together... Once per fight. This lets them do multiple combos each Operation, making them more fun to use.
  • Supports have a reduced range to just plain Systems: Buuuuut just to be on the safe side, we don't want them pulling those combos from 10+ Zones away while they keep running away from anything threatening, so we're reducing their range to keep them from outshining snipers at their own niche.
  • Expansion Pack holds 30 MP and costs 20: I went pretty in depth into this one last update.
  • Combining takes up one Action from one participant, not one Action from everyone: It is a small buff, but one worth having for combiners that deploy without combining first.
  • Unison Combination costs 10: Just a small buff. I figure there's enough downsides to being combined that this doesn't need to cost 20.
  • Component Unit replaced with Super Combination which costs 10 for everyone involved and averages Might, Guard, Systems and Speed: This is a big one, and I'm not a fan of it, but the old Component Unit just wasn't cutting it. One Component Unit attached made your Mecha stronger than a Boss, two made it near invincible and it just got worse from there. I haven't given up on dedicated Component Units though, they are going to make a comeback for the expansion, so I can get them right.


  • Boosted Lance can no longer be used to escape from Duels: It was better than Slippery Chassis at its own job. Yyyep.
  • Antiair Missiles got a buff of an additional Advantage to their use: This more or less doubles the power of Antiair Missiles to a pretty respectable +4 against aerial targets, but it is still a very conditional Weapon. Most flying Mecha can transform out of plane form or, you know, just land. And in space or underwater this is just barely better than a Default Weapon. I'm calling this balanced.
  • Rocket Punch has a bonus +2 to its Maximum Range: This makes it useful even with a Systems of 0, even with a meager investment of 10 points into Systems 4 this gets a respectable reach of 7 Zones. This should help duelists close the distance with snipers.
  • Assault Rifle now doesn't risk hitting allies in a duel: It is half a Crippling gun now! This should make it much more effective as a general use Weapon.
  • Electrosapper Pods is a One Shot that deals bonus Damage equal to your Systems: It is stronger and much more interesting to use now, especially since high Systems builds are the ones most likely to have ways to reload it.
  • Resonance Cannon is Slow instead of One Shot: Still an inaccurate gun with short range but now a lot stronger and the bane of Absolute Barrier tanks.
  • Superheavy Machinegun is now a Line with Long Range instead of a Blast: This represents the concept much better than a Blast, and while Line is arguably weaker than Blast, having Long Range and not hitting all of your friends with a -4 to attacks is a big upside.
  • Beams now have a base cost of 1 energy to their use, but cost 1 less to Boost: This was in the previous set of three polls. 

Jun 7, 2015

Final Tally of Changes. Part I: Characters.

We're 2-4 weeks away from release and that means I need to get you all up to speed on things! Today on the slate: Miracles and Genre Powers. As usual, you can read more about all these in the Kickstarter Update page, but if you're reading this blog (and, more importantly, the comments section) then much of this (but not all!) will should be familiar to you.


The biggest change here is that Miracle Specializations are getting changed rom being souce-based to being effects-based. As of the V2 Preview, the list of possible Specializations for Electricity include (but are not limited to):Thunderstorms, Powering Objects, Frying Electronics, Tesla Performances, ‘Tuning in’ to Digital Communications. Now the list is: Offensive Tests, Electronics Tests, All other uses.

Here's the list:
  • Electricity: Offensive Tests, Electronics Tests, All other uses.
  • Force: Fitness Tests, Intelligence Tests.
  • Fortune: Equipment Tests, All other uses.
  • Matter: Improving or breaking items, All other uses.
  • Phantasm: Offensive Tests, All other uses.
  • Phasing: Passing through objects, Self-Defense.
  • Probing: Telepathy, Mind-reading, Hypnotic Suggestion.
  • Sight: Investigation, other uses of Awareness.
  • Somatics: Offensive Tests, All other uses.
  • Temperature: Cold, Heat.
Notice the exception to the rule at the end. Temperature makes more sense if you divide users between fire and ice powers. There is a sidebar right below the text telling you to that it works just as well if you change both options to “Offensive Tests” and “other Charm Tests” though.

Four specific Miracles also got changed slightly:
  • Matter: It no longer makes all Craftsmanship Tests instantaneous, instead it reduces the required time for Extended Tests by one category (from one Week to one Day to one Hour to one Minute to Instantaneous) at the cost of one Disadvantage per tier you’d like to decrease
  • Phasing: Instead of making you immune to attacks on a high enough result, Defending yourself via Phasing adds your Fitness to your Defense then rolls a Fitness Test to inflict a Disadvantage to attacks against you for each multiple of 5 met with the result.
  • Sight: No longer a Help Test targeting yourself, instead it adds an Advantage to any Awareness Test.
  • Somatics: No longer a Help Test targeting yourself, instead it adds an Advantage to any Fitness Test.
The final thing to note is that the list of sample tests has gotten touched up a little too to make all miracles be closer in power to each other.

Genre Powers:

  • Believe in Myself: This Power's Antimaim lasts 3 rounds now
  • Come at me Bro: Now it has a range of 5 Zones around the user.
  • You are Going Down: No longer reduces the target's Defense by 5, instead it grants an Advantage to all Might Tests against the target within a 5 Zone radius from you.
  • Trump Card: Grants you one Weapon until end of operation but can now be repeated.
  • Mind Over Matter: It loses the Antimaim effect but, instead, it protects everyone in a radius of 5 Zones from stat debuffs.
  • Take One for the Team: It inflicts a Disadvantage to all Might Tests made against the Ally you just shielded for a Round.
That about sums it up. Next week we get a more sizable update with all the Upgrade and Weapon changes since the V2 Preview.

May 31, 2015

Well, that's a whole new record of time without updates.

Here are the results of last update's poll!

As the results say, we're going with +Movement for Gotta go Fast (so it stays as is) and a base cost of 1 Energy for all Beams (and decreasing the Boost cost by 1, naturally). But the Antimaims are not quite so straightforward.

Invincible Alloy and Expansion Pack get their cost bumped to 20 MP, the latter now also holds up to 30 MP within to compensate. Integrated Weapons and Secret Equipment stay the same.

The full explanation is in the last Kickstarter update but if you've been reading the discussion in the comments most of this shouldn't surprise you too much.

So speaking of that, I should have the next version of the rules out sometime this June. Until then I'll be posting about all the changes here.

Mar 22, 2015

Oh you thought I was done making changes?

Being a perfectionist sucks. Thank God the game is out in two months or I would keep making changes every time someone brings up something that could be better until the end of eternity. My personal hell is being cursed to forever try to please the most finicky and demanding of people: Myself.

Okay, I'm done being Tsundere for game design. I have not one or two but three polls for you all today, that's three times more democracy than a normal poll! Here is the copy and paste from the Kickstarter update:

Subject 1: Gotta go Fast
Currently, this power is a movement boost for the user or another squad member. It is a somewhat niche utility power that also grants a +3 damage to Boosted Lance users. We could change it to a teleport-like effect that instantly repositions the user (and ONLY the user) 5 Zones away. This would let it get around tricky terrain and even function as an emergency replacement for Reversible Thrusters + Slippery Chassis if you don't have them. The tradeoff is that the original works better with movement-based weapons and can be used on allies.

I can see either of them working out fine, so it is up to what you guys and girls would prefer. Vote here:

Subject 2: Beam Weapons
Beam Weapons cost energy to use, but only when you boost them. If you don't boost them, they cost no energy to use, which is a bit iffy from a pure flavor standpoint but means you can at least use them when you can't spare any energy at all. I've been thinking of changing that by giving unboosted Beams a cost of 1 Energy for flavor's sake. In gameplay terms it is strictly a nerf, but unboosted Beams rarely see use anyway and when they do you can probably spare all of 1 point.

I would not feel comfortable doing this without your approval though. So tell me what you think here:

Subject 3: Antimaim Upgrades
This one is trickier than the previous two. If you've played BCG at all you've probably realized that having one of the various Antimaim upgrades (Invincible Alloy, Integrated Weapons, Expansion Pack and Secret Equipment) is a must by the time you're Power Level 2. I see this as a good thing, since it means they are doing their job. What I'm not sure about is if they are too good at their jobs, since you want them as soon as you can spare the 10-20 points they cost.

I said this one was trickier and that is mostly because, depending on your playstyle, you might even want to do away with them entirely. Negating the loss of areas means there is less luck involved in who wins, since getting your best stuff disabled early on can unfairly ruin your whole game plan. At the same time, it also means you don't have to adapt your plans on the fly as much. It is a complex issue and I'm far more interested in what you have to say about this one than the previous ones.

If we were to nerf them, by the way, it would be a small nerf like a bump to their cost or a reduction to how much stuff they can hold each. I'm not including the power or feature Antimaims in the poll because those are much weaker than their counterparts:

And now, a long summary of things I'm still trying out.

In addition to a whole bunch of stuff that got reworded for clarity's sake, which I'm not including, here's a list of potential changes straight from my workbench:

-All Miracles now have their Specializations split into different uses by mechanics rather than flavor. For example, Force has two specializations: Fitness and Intellect Tests for offensive or utility purposes respectively. This works a lot better than the previous approach, which was kind of vague.
-Streamlined the Sample Tests with a better and more balanced power curve for DNs going up to 15. Removed the DN 20 examples for now. There'll be a sidebar about those until I expand the use of Miracles in the expansion.

Genre Powers:
-Believe in Myself's antimaim effect lasts 3 Rounds. That buys you some time to finish the fight.
-Come at Me Bro affects enemies that stay within 5 Zones of you. This removes the potential exploit with taunting enemies from across the battlefield and taking free shots at them when they can't reach you.
-Trump Card lasts 3 Rounds instead of the whole Operation. Just enough time to use each of them once, but not enough to forgo buying weapons entirely.
-Mind Over Matter is a 5-Zone aura that negates debuffs for one Round. This makes it a much better option for support PCs.
-You are Going Down grants all attackers one Advantage instead of the Defense reduction. It is now very good when there's a bunch of people focus firing instead of an instant kill when there's a bunch of people focus firing.

-Stealth Field is a 2 Disadvantage shield vs non-area attacks instead of untargetability. This is both to line it up with what Interference Terrain from the Expansion does as well as to tone down how abusive Combiners with a dedicated maneuvering Stealth Field subpilot can get.
-Jamming Barrage halves Might and leaves Tension alone. This way it only really hurts the glass cannons instead of, well, everyone. The Tension raisers don't appear until the expansion and will have their own counters there.
-Superheavy Machinegun cannot be used if you cannot move at all. This means you can't mount and fire it during a Duel or if you're under like three layers of Difficult terrain. It is a small nerf meant to line it up with similar Weapons from the expansion.

-Do you Desire the Power? tweaked to only target allies with the second option. This is mostly for fluff reasons.
-Die for Me! can be used multiple times per Round but must have different targets each time. This makes it a lot more effective as a countdown timer for the PC squad without being too much for one individual PC to handle.
-Useless! is a once-per-round shield of 5 Damage + Tension. The power is meant to be a stalling mechanism and this conveys that much more clearly.
-Adaptive Morphology buffed to shield for 5 and 10 at Threshold Levels 2 and 10 vs the chosen type. This means you can expect it to block 15 damage per fight which is fairly reasonable considering all the ways to circumvent it and makes it comparable to Nanoskin Shell.
-Phantom Predator's untargetability changed to a 2 Disadvantage shield just like Stealth Field. Less likely to suddenly turn into an unwinnable battle.
-Three Times Faster makes you choose one Enemy and you increase the result of Might Tests against them by half your Speed at Level 2, your Defense against them by the same amount at Level 3, and boost up both values by your whole Speed score at Level 4. This makes it a lot less explosively good and keeps it in line with the similar Bloodlust.
-Overfreeze no longer creates Extreme Terrain. It was just too much vs low level groups and high level groups had plenty of ways around that anyway.

No pdf because I'm still not 100% sold on any of these. You know how I usually am about feedback? Yeah, that goes double now that we're potentially making changes so close to the release date. These are going to be some intense weekends to be sure.

Feb 22, 2015

Another Expansion Preview Coming Through!

I just posted a Kickstarter Update previewing one half of the Commissioned abilities. There's additional commentary that way if you'd like the full version. Here is the usual summary:

Enhanced Human (Specialist)
General Trait (10)
Effect: Choose an Anomaly when you take this Trait. Once per Episode you may gain the benefits of that Anomaly for the duration of the current Scene. If you do, you also suffer its downsides until the end of the current Episode.

I am a Loose Cannon
Setup Power
Effect: Roll 1d10 when you activate this Power. Treat Tension as if it were that many points higher for your next Offensive Action and you suffer twice that much Damage at the end of your Turn. You can use this Power once per Round.   

Lightspeed Assault
Setup Power
Effect: Move a number of Zones equal to your Speed, ignoring Enemies and Terrain (even impassable terrain) on the way, each Enemy whose Zone you cross this way suffers an amount of Damage equal to the current Tension. You may go back and forth when using this Power, hitting the same Enemy multiple times while doing so. This Power spends your Action this Turn in advance and can be used once per Operation.

Limit Engine
Internal Upgrade (20)
Effect: For each Level of Threshold you are missing you increase your available Energy and treat Tension as if they were one point higher.

Transpatial Randomizer
Internal Upgrade (20)
Effect: At the beginning of your Turn you may spend 2 Energy and choose a Support Upgrade at random. You get to use said Upgrade at no Action cost. This does not spend said Upgrades and you may use Upgrades that you do not own this way.

Point Singularity Projector
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (Boost 3). When you Boost and use the Assist Action with this Weapon you may choose to either gain an Advantage to your Might Test or to grant an Advantage to two allies instead of one. You gain the chosen Boost plus the Long Range and Slow abilities.

This is a selection with some of the most stable ones plus one or two that I'm keeping a close eye on because they're really, really strong you guys. There's more, but they're a bit rougher around the edges so I'd like to try them out for a while longer before reporting on them. I'd like to have a big expansion preview document out by the middle of the year so that's when you'd be seeing them at the latest.

Feb 15, 2015

So this is Spiral Power...


adjective, Also, epical

1. noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style:

Homer's Iliad is an epic poem.
2. resembling or suggesting such poetry:

an epic novel on the founding of the country.
3. heroic; majestic; impressively great:

the epic events of the war.
4. of unusually great size or extent:

a crime wave of epic proportions.
5. Slang. spectacular; very impressive; awesome:

Their burgers and fries are epic!

Ah, Gurren Lagann, if I had to summarize you in only one word that would be "Epic". The Internet's tendency to run that word into the ground has almost made it lose all meaning for me, but I can make an exception just this once. It helps that the definition of the term actually fits this show.

Like I did for G Gundam, I will elaborate a little on what I would take from Gurren Lagann to use as inspiration for your own games then give some custom rules to help out with that. In case it wasn't obvious, here is your warning: Spoilers below.

Your Drill is the Drill that will Pierce the Heavens

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity is forced to live in isolated subterranean villages by Lordgenome, the ruler of the Earth. Lord Genome and his armies of genetically engineered Beastmen kill all humans that dare rise to the surface using giant robots called Ganmen Gunmen. Our plucky band of do-gooders is the Gurren Gang, led first by Kamina and then later by our protagonist Simon, who hijack Gunmen for their own use.

With the efforts of the Gurren Gang and Simon mastering the power of his Core Drill, they defeat Lord Genome only to realize that he was trying to protect the Earth from an even greater threat - that of the Anti-Spirals! The Anti-spirals are an alien race that will annihilate all life on Earth to stop their Spiral Power from evolving out of control and destroying the universe.

But what is it about? Well, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is about many things, but three themes stand out above others for our purposes: Rebellion, Mortality and Identity.

Rebellion. Every major antagonist (and plenty of minor ones) in Gurren Lagann is some kind of authority figure trying to tell the protagonists what they can and can't do. From the chief of Jeeha village who wanted to stop Kamina from breaking through to the surface to the Anti-Spiral who would suppress the free will of every other Spiral Race to keep the Spiral Nemesis from destroying the universe.

And how do our heroes defeat those authority figures? By doing the impossible and kicking reason to the curb, of course. They do the impossible, see the invisible, touch the untouchable and break the unbreakable row row fight the power. They break every rule, including the rules of physics, and beat the crap out of the antagonists stuck thinking inside the box. That's how the Gurren Gang rolls.

Mortality. Spiral Power technology is powered by hope, and hope in this series is at its strongest when the characters are reminded of their own mortality. Kamina activates the Gurren after coming face to face with his father's remains and unlocks the Giga Drill Break with his last ounce of strength. Kittan hits the peak of his power when he decides to sacrifice himself for everyone else and that sacrifice allows Simon to transform the Arc Gurren Lagann into the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann.

But there is more to it than that. The Anti-Spiral has achieved functional immortality, but in doing so has given in to despair and wants to preserve life in the universe at the cost of growth and freedom. Likewise, Lord Genome and the beastmen were immortal but lacked the power to evolve into something greater. The heroes do not use their powers to escape mortality, Simon won't use his powers to bring Nia back and passes on his legacy to the next generation, embracing the blessing and curse of mortality.

Identity. Like every other Gainax show with giant robots, Gurren Lagann is a so-called "Coming of Age" story about growing from youth to adulthood, and that involves figuring out who you are. When hope does not grow from staring death in the face, it does from reaffirmation of the self through others. The thing that gets Simon to move Lagann at first are Kamina's words to "Believe in me who believes in you." and when that no longer works (because Kamina is dead) it takes Nia's naivete to make him understand that he does not need to be anyone but himself.

Identity is also visually represented by the series' Mecha, the Gunmen, who are basically giant walking faces. Each Gunmen is unique and visually distinctive from the rest. The Anti-Spiral, by contrast, is an entity born from a hive mind with little in the way of facial features. A strong sense of individuality is a source of Spiral Power.

The unifying motif to all these is Hope, but Hope as a concept is so general that I wanted to divvy up what (I think) Hope specifically means within the Gurren Lagann universe. There is more to it than this, though. The central conflict of Gurren Lagann could be said to be a conflict of population control for instance, but we're ignoring things that don't apply as well to roleplaying.

Figuring out the symbolism behind drills is likewise left as an exercise for the reader.

How the Gurren Gang Rolls

Gurren Lagann sits in a unique position within the Battle Century G ruleset because the game already has in-built mechanics for all sorts of super robot shenanigans and thus for Spiral Power. We already have Tension, Genre Points and Powers to naturally make things more exciting with time, roleplaying and getting beat up. We also have Combinations, Synchro Attacks, Mid-Scene Upgrades... Yeah, we pretty much have all the bases covered.

But we do have a problem in that the most distinctive thing about Gurren Lagann is that it is not satisfied with covering the bases. No, Gurren Lagann escalates things to the extreme and breaks all the rules while doing so. Simon punches bad guys into another dimension, looks for the hidden Anti-Spiral home base in all existing times and places at once, then chucks whole galaxies like shurikens because why wouldn't he do that, who the hell do you think he is?

Battle Century G could be said to go with the rule of cool, but Gurren Lagann takes it a whole step further, and it breaks all the rules you thought had been firm a moment ago while doing so. Our problem with breaking all the rules is that a roleplaying game is a manual with rules (and guidelines) for roleplaying. Thankfully BCG's rules are robust yet flexible. The system won't collapse on itself if you decide to fluff a Radiant Fist as transforming into a giant drill that rams the enemy so hard it punches a a hole through time and sends the other guy literally into next week. You also aren't breaking any rules while doing so, though! So it is lacking a little of the "this is off the wall" feeling present in the source material.

The one other problem is that Gurren Lagann is all about escalation. Each threat that the Gurren Gang faces is bigger than the previous one and not just figuratively; There is a reason that Gurren Lagann holds the record for largest Mecha in anime We can handle enemies figuratively bigger through the Power Level rules, sure, and we have Colossus for enemies that are literally bigger. But those aren't planetary, let alone galactic,  scale enemies. There's no reasonable way to handle multiple units the size of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann or Grand Zamboa other than to make them regular units and say that each Zone is a whole solar system or something. It works but it is a bit of a shame that you cannot truly do justice to one of Gurren Lagann's most iconic achievements.

When everybody is the biggest, no one is. Sorry friends but Syndrome wins this one.

To Hell with Gattai

We can give a game of BCG that extra Gurren Lagann flavor with a few rules touchups and, surprisingly enough, none of them involve combination shenanigans! No, instead of making everyone Simon, we'll turn all the Yokos and Kittans into proper Spiral Warriors on the level of Kamina and Lord Genome instead.

Spiral Warrior is a Megafeature with components to it. To play a Spiral Warrior, you apply all four of these modifications to your character. It is all or nothing, no in-betweens.

1) Gain a new Upgrade: Spiral Engine.

Spiral Engine
Internal Upgrade
Effect: For each Level of Threshold you are missing you increase your available Energy and treat Tension as if they were one point higher.

2) Replace Live Another Day with Who the Hell do you Think I am? as one of your Default Powers.

Who the Hell do you Think I am?
Setup Power
Effect: Treat Tension as if it were 2 points higher for one Round and restore an amount of Threshold equal to the current Tension. You can use this Power once per Round.

3) Select one of the following six Spiral Powers and add it to your list of known Genre Powers.

Pierce the Heavens
Setup Power
Effect: Your next Offensive Action this Turn gains an Advantage to its Might Test. If Tension is 5 or higher, it also ignores the effects of Active Defenses. You may use this Power once per Round.

Grit those Teeth

Setup Power
Effect: You and another Ally treat all Maimed Areas as normal for one Round. If Tension is 5 or higher, your Ally also gains a Genre Point. You may use this Power once per Round.

Do the Impossible
Setup Power
Effect: You mimic any Power that an Ally or a Rival has already used. If Tension is 5 or higher, you can mimic a Boss Power as well. You don't need to spend additional Genre Points to use that Power and may use it in a different way than the original user did. If you mimic a Specialist Power this way, you must abide by the same choices, and if you would not be able to you may not mimic said Power. You may use this Power once per Round.

See how Easy they all Fall Down
Setup Power
Effect: You inflict a bonus Disadvantage when using the Suppress Action this Turn. If Tension is 5 or higher, you may push the target up to 5 Zones away from you in a direction of your choice. Should it be sent in the direction of another Enemy whose Defense you’ve also beat, they both crash and suffer 5 points of Damage then the movement halts. You may use this Power once per Round.

Into the Eye of the Storm
Setup Power
Effect: You createa Blast (2) sized area of Difficult Terrain around yourself that lasts one Round but only affects Enemies. If Tension is 5 or higher, it also counts as Extreme Terrain for Enemies. You may use this Power once per Round.

I Know I got what you Need
Setup Power
Effect: Use a single Support Upgrade with a Cost of 5 you own without having to spend an Action. If Tension is 5 or higher, you also restore said Upgrade after use. Once per Round. You may use this Power once per Round.

4) Lastly, the GM adds +2 to your Power Rating, effectively treating your PC as if it was a whole Power Level higher for the purpose of determining enemy Power Ratings.

Spiral Warriors are stronger than other PCs and these changes turn BCG's super robot flavor up to eleven. There is no Live Another Day so you have to go all in all the time, and if you want to run away, you'll need to do it using your legs. But real Spiral Warriors don't run away! No, they take advantage of all those Tension bonuses and their Genre Points to punch the other guy deader first!

This makes our PCs more persistent in the face of death and gives them something unique that no one else can do (unless two people pick the same Spiral Power) to cover two of our themes. What do we do about Rebellion? I'm glad you asked!

I may not know the names of half these guys but that does not mean they don't deserve to row row fight the power.

Kicking Reason to the Curb

How do you let your PCs kick reason to the curb and break the rules without ruining the point of having rules in the first place? By having your antagonists break the rules first. Here are two very simple ideas for making Bosses on the level of the Anti-Spiral memorable by giving them an extra twist.

Why won't you DIE?: Just when you think you have felled the enemy, they stand up again one last time. Not willing to let them have the last laugh, you and your allies gather their last ounces of strength pushing themselves to the limit. After the Boss is defeated for the first time, they immediately restore all of their Threshold but do not refresh any other spent resources like Genre Points or Upgrades that trigger only once. All PCs still standing gain a Genre Point and all defeated PCs are returned to function with 1 point of Threshold left.

The Spiral Labyrinth: You defeat the big bad and earn the most disgustingly saccharine happy ending imaginable. The dead are miraculously alive thanks to spiral energy, the whole of the world caters to the whims of their saviors. Do a timeskip to 10 years in the future and make everybody hook up and have the most beautiful and well behaved kids ever if you have to. This is obviously an illusion and anyone who realizes this and wants out of it can escape from it and help the others do the same. As soon as everyone has left the illusory world, they can narrate the (for realsies) final defeat of the big bad with a synchro attack or something like that.

If the group is really, really dense, you should ask for Intellect, Awareness and Willpower Tests from everyone at the end (they are bound to have at least increased one of those) and give hints of something being wrong to anyone who rolls over 10. People act in inconsistent ways, they don't remember the details of the past few years, and catch a glimpse of the big bad staring at them from a monitor before it goes back to the news.

Those are just two different ideas. Maybe the big bad's second form destroys your Mecha and you need to fight it on foot. Perhaps the boss locks down Tension or the PC's at 0 except for their own personal modifiers(Spiral Engine/Who the Hell do you Think I am?). Maybe it is invincible except for Diplomacy Tests that refute its logic. You get the idea; Take the rules in unexpected directions.

If all else fails, just be really creepy and unsettling. Seriously, this has got to be the anime equivalent of HEERE'S JOHNNY.

Happily Ever After

One of the (many) reasons that this post took so long to get here is that one of the first commissioned mechanics for the expansion was Gurren Lagann-themed. I wanted to include it in here as a sneak preview (hint: it is the first one) but also decided I would write the rules half of this post around it. I had to make sure its power level was right before presenting it here.

I'll talk more about our spiral-themed one and other upcoming stuff next week. Until then!

Feb 11, 2015

I Keep Wanting to Add Stuff to the Gurren Lagann Post

Not only that, a lot of the points made really want to be posted along with some mechanics, which is what the second post was supposed to be about. So I'm going to compile the material for both of them and make an extra-long post this next weekend.

Feb 1, 2015

BCG Experimental Rules 2015

It is time for the second and final BCG Experimental Rules document. This is the last wave of changes before release, meaning that your feedback is more crucial than ever. I'm fairly confident this stuff is solid enough that it will make the game better as a whole, but I've been wrong before. Let's not waste more words and get right down to business, hmm?

Here is your download link and below is your summary of tweaks:

General Changes

-Impassable Terrain now deals damage to units that are forcefully slammed into it.
-Shooting Weapons no longer gain a +5 range bonus from Aiming, that bonus goes to Long Range Weapons instead.
-All Blasts now have their own individual blast radius. All other area of effect weapons have been keyworded as either Burst or Line Weapons.

Upgrade Changes

-Artillery Frame works with all Blast, Burst and Line Weapons but has the blast radius bonus reduced by 1.
-Guardian of Steel has a reduced range of 1 Zone around the user.
-Superior Morphing now includes Features along with External Upgrades and Weapons.
-Duelist Model works only with Melee Weapons.
-Resupply can spend multiple uses at once with one Action.
-Housekeeping updates to all Upgrades that need to reference Blasts, Burst and Lines. Of note is that Interference Bomb got its name changed to Jamming Barrage.

Weapon Changes

-Assault Rifle and Rocket Punch got minor buffs.
-Boosted Lance got a minor nerf.
-Electrosapper Pods and Resonance Cannon have been tweaked to make them more enticing.
-Housekeeping updates to all Weapons that need to reference Blasts, Burst and Lines. Of note is that Finger Net’s debuff has a longer duration and smaller radius.

Enemy Changes

-Colossus affects units that fly if the user can fly as well.
-Energy Drain steals one half of the target’s Energy.
-Possession now is clearer and simpler to use, though it only works with Default Weapons now.
-Housekeeping updates to all Enemy abilities that need to reference Blasts, Burst and Lines.

We have two months and change left to make alterations to the game itself. Let's make the best of them, Gimmick out!

Jan 25, 2015

The February Schedule

I was about to write a thing but it is 35 degrees Celsius, my AC is busted and the fan just started to cough up smoke with its last dying breath. The situation is, to say the least, unpleasant. So instead of watching my fingers melt while I type, slowly coming to the realization that the Dali painting in the wall is actually a mirror, I'll let you know what is in store this next month.

February 1 - Experimental Mechanics 2015 edition. An extra pdf with a series of small tweaks to various rules that might make it to the final version of the game.
February 8 - Adapting Anime, chapter Gurren. A look at Gurren Lagann and what a game based around it might look like.
February 15 - Adapting Anime, chapter Lagann. As above but with custom mechanics to give the game that extra 'kicking reason to the curb' feel.
February 22 - Commissioned abilities status report. A look at all the awesome ideas I've had sent my way and how they're coming along.

The hard part of these is already done, but it does take time and concentration to explain them coherently, so that means we're starting next week. And we're opening with the big guns!

Jan 4, 2015

Solomon, I have Returned.

This is the first weekend since forever in which I've had reliable access to the world wide web, almost as if the new year needed to roll by to make it happen.

Anyhow, I just wrote a little something about the upcoming Element system. As usual, here are the highlights:

Just the Four classic Elements. Using only four Elements means that, assuming every enemy has at least one weakness and one resistance, you have a 50% chance of any elemental shenanigans will be either more effective (or shall we say super effective) or less effective than normal. Because if I'm going to add an optional subsystem to the game, I want it to be relevant more often than not, dang it.

An Elemental Weakness grants two Advantages to all Might Tests made using the corresponding Element and an Elemental Resistance has the inverse effect, giving two Disadvantages instead. In the case of Elemental Damage from sources like Extreme Terrain, the Advantages and Disadvantages are applied to the Test made to resist their effects instead - A Weakness means two Disadvantages to the Test and a Resistance means two Advantages instead.

All characters, PC or NPC, start with one Elemental Weakness and one Elemental Resistance by default. They can have more than that, but no less. This means that everyone will want to engage the system somewhat, even if only to mitigate its effects. Covering Weaknesses through temporary Resistances is fine, but passive Weaknesses stay.

All Beam Weapons are now Magic Weapons and must be aligned with one Element, chosen when purchasing said Weapon. Surprise Minefield, Fire at Will and The Beast can be made Elemental (The Beast alters your Default Weapons) when taken but otherwise remain neutral. This basically means that Elemental Weapons are some of the hardest hitting in the game, and through Weaknesses they can hit even harder, but you have to build around having access to them. Element-neutral physical builds have a place, and have a much easier time surviving attacks on their Weaknesses.

An Element of Surprise

One more thing. The January-February period will be sparse in terms of stuff I can actually show, but I do want to take advantage of that and get started on doing a thing I promised before...

It is happening.