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.

104 comments:

  1. I am a Loose Cannon gives you +5,5 tension on average but it deals 11 damage to you on average. That's a LOT. If you roll 10 you suffer 20 damage which can outright destroy your mech.

    There is another power that gives you flat +4 to tension and you don't suffer any damage in return.

    Loose cannon has 1:1 damage dealt:taken efficiency if you you use tension weapon. It's only good against bosses (and maybe rivals but not really). It's too weak compared to that power that just gives +4 tension with no drawback.

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    1. LC has two things over IS. The most obvious draw is that it is repeatable, which means two megafinishers instead of one per battle if you can tank the damage. That which you destroy does not get to hit you back, after all. It is a lot of damage, yes, but you CAN mitigate it with Abs. Barrier or the two 'survive on defeat' effects. If it was your opening move, you can also heal it up.

      The second thing it has over IS is also its main drawback: It hurts the user. With a very high threshold build designed around fighting at low health, this gets you going earlier. Not only that, but sometimes you just NEED another genre point to power up your nasty combo move, and you need it NOW because the enemy wouldn't let you survive another round even if you weren't hurting yourself.

      So yes, it is more conditional than IS, and is essentially a repeatable finisher which is somewhat of a weird concept. But it does have its uses and sometimes you will want to have this instead of the other, if not both.

      Delete
    2. To do those two megafinishers you'll need two technique weapons which is 5 more points. But I guess it can be useful.

      Delete
  2. Lightspeed Assault can hit the same guy 5 times with speed 9.
    That's 5x tension in damage.
    I don't even have to explain how broken that is.

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    1. It is really strong, yeah. That aspect of the power is the one I'm always on the verge of outright deleting.

      With that said, if you build around doing 5x Tension damage against one target once per operation, your other stats are most likely lacking. Unless this is a high power level build (which means the enemy most likely has a means of damage mitigation), you're vulnerable to the rest of the enemies.

      I've been considering making subsequent hits hit for just half tension damage though.

      Delete
    2. Speed 10 builds are kinda weak so that power might be cool for them yeah. Additional hits at half tension would bring the max damage to more reasonable 3x tension which is still good but not crazy like 5x. And you can still deal 5x if you hit 5 targets.

      Delete
  3. Jamming barrage/ interference bomb

    Way too strong. It basically nerfs the enemy attack to the point they are useless.

    You can easily use it for free with commander type for 1 EN and then reaload it with supplies in the same turn allowing it to be used every single turn for 6+ turns. The boss attacks are harmless for all those turns allowing you to kill it easily. The boss is completely trivialized.

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    1. Consider that it hits All Units in a pretty big Blast (4), so unless you have expert support (and even WITH expert support if the boss engages anyone in melee) you are also going to nerf all of your friends with every shot.

      A whole lot of bosses would be just fine with a slowroll approach, taking advantage of their various 'once per turn' powers like Die for Me or the one that sacrifices minions.

      Plenty of bosses also rely more on Systems than Might to attack, and a couple only need Speed as well.

      Delete
    2. Let that guy that is dueling the boss take the hit as well. The other 3 PC can still shoot the boss for free. Half might is only part of the power. It zeroes their tension too. That hurts almost all bosses. It has blast(4) and very long range so it can shoot swarms of grunts, rivals, etc, basically everything. A single level 0 mech that uses jamming every turn acts like x2 force multiplier for its side.

      Grunts could easily stunlock the PCs like that. Bosses have some ways to get around that like you said. What about players?

      Delete
    3. Grunts with it are very dangerous, yeah. They are even more likely to be hitting their friendlies, though, since they're almost always outnumbering the PCs.

      It is meant to be a counter to glass cannon setups and it is pretty good at that. If it only removes the tension bonus, it is too weak vs anything but technique specialists. If it only halves might then it is basically 1-2 disadvantages, which might be enough actually.

      Worth trying out with what time there is left, certainly.

      Delete
    4. How about half might half tension?

      Delete
  4. I still don't like the boost mechanics of the beam weapons that allows you to fire them unboosted without spending energy. Most weapons don't have any effects and those that do don't really need it.

    Beam Saber, Beam Ripper, Extending Blade, Beam Rifle, Charge Cannon, Double Blaster
    No effect. (the unboosted weapon is just equivalent to CQC or Fire deafault weapons)


    Reactor overdrive and radiant fist
    Those are techniques. You only get one shot. You always want to boost them.

    Incinerator
    Overheating, you always want to boost to roll two dice to avoid overheat, the extreme terrain is also significant damage boost.

    Powered rifle
    Decently useable unboosted. Still you probably want to boost it for the extra damage.

    The optional boost rule is unintuitive and adds nothing mechanically. I think beam weapons should just have energy cost to be fired at all. It's simpler and more intuitive and doesn't really change anything mechanically. And it makes the beam weapons more flavorful for me.

    Most beams are just default weapons when unboosted or are techniques or overheating.

    There is only one single beam weapon that really might be useful unboosted in a reasonable situation. Powered rifle. And it only costs 3 energy so it'll still be boosted almost always.

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    1. I'll admit the optional boosting is a bit jarring to me as well, but it gets the job done. Sometimes you just need a gun without the default's disadvantage while you dump all your energy elsewhere.

      This is also going to be more important post-expansion when there's more things that interact with energy.

      Delete
  5. Anti-maims still too cheap at 15. Still mandatory on every single build.

    Even if you have only a single weapon you'd need to take it 3 extra times to put backups in all 4 areas. That's 15 points. The same as integrated weapons.

    Of course having 4 different weapons is different than having one unmaimable one but if the one is all-rounder like assault rifle it's still pretty equal.

    And that's a silly example anyway. More reasonable one is 3 integrated weapons vs 6 normal ones. 30 points is very reasonable budget for weapons and in this case integrated wins in a landslide.

    Make anti-maims 20 points.

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    1. Invincible alloy last stand survival at 1 HP is also super strong. If you use active defense or power to reduce damage so that you're left at 2 or 3 HP that means you can get a ton of extra treshold. Like 6+.

      Delete
    2. Antimaims being mandatory is more a factor due to the rules for maiming being harsh than their cost. They would still get picked at L1/L2 with a cost of 20. I could do it, but it wouldn't change much. It is one less gun or one less stat up.

      Invincible Alloy's secondary ability is a tad too strong sometimes though, yes. I'm undecided on whether the catch-all safety net it provides is a good or a bad thing overal. It could go back to costing 1 Energy to undo all Maims and lose the secondary ability.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for all the feedback. I've been bedridden since monday and concentrating on anything, let alone expressing myself coherently, is tough. Give me a day or two and I can respond with the attention this deserves. For now rest assured that I agree with most of your observations, though not necessarily with your conclusions.

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  7. Hmm. I forgot that innate weapons always suffer disadvantage. I guess that undermines my point about beam weapons a bit. I still don't like them like they are now though.

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    1. I LIVE!

      So yes, as you've probably realized, that makes the Charge Cannon and Double Blaster more viable as non-boosted options. The former in particular is also one way for an Artillery Frame user to get a non-AoE weapon on demand.

      That might not sound like much but it will be more useful after the expansion hits.

      Delete
    2. The old way of beams having base mandatory EN cost and option to spend more for extra effects worked great too. It'd allow for the same thing.

      Delete
    3. One way would be to reduce boost costs by 1 but add a mandatory 1 energy cost to any beam weapon activation. It more words to the beam rules and is a nerf for the sake of flavor though!

      Rebalancing all weapons around this idea two months before release is not a viable idea so that's the most I'd do.

      Delete
  8. The three times faster Boss Upgrade seems completely overwhelming with 10 speed. It's way stronger than other upgrades. It's straight up better than adaptive morphology.

    Afterimages is another one that's very strong.

    A boss with both would be absolutely insane.

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    1. In a straight up fight, yes. Bosses are almost always overpowering in a straight up fight though. Halve their Speed once and the Boss gets manageable, as if they had used all those points on Might and Guard normally.

      I'm not too fond of the Level 3 bonus since it is a 15 point stat boost but it works for what it is intended to do - force you to counter or play around their gimmick, via Speed halving or damage effects that go around might.

      Delete
    2. What if the boss also regenerates HP? Can you get through that with only direct damage effects? How many reusable ways to halve speed do you have?

      I assumed that the +5 speed from Level 4 was added after your base speed is added to guard so it didn't loop back. +15 to stats, really? +10 is overkill already.

      3xfaster is also pretty much straight up better than adaptive. What do you say about that?

      Delete
    3. +15 might attack basically one shots players. What if the guy engages in a duel? He's unhittable and any attack will hit your ally because he has 15 guard less. All those direct damage blasts will hit your ally as well. And those speed reductions too.

      Delete
    4. If the boss also regenerates HP then it is a pretty high level boss and you really, really should have a repeat-support user or someone with a backup Finger Net or the willingness to spend genre points to Mid-Scene Upgrade it or something.

      Finger Net and Ensnaring Trap really do hurt this guy a lot. They're as hard counters as counters get.

      As for it being better than adaptive morphology... At level 4 yeah, it kind of is essentially better. Like I said, I'm not fond of it. Worth tossing around some ideas for it, I suppose.

      Delete
    5. Level 1 boss with merge and 3xfaster. He engages in a duel every turn. With the massive might bonus and melee duel advantage he can regenerate 5 HP almost every turn.

      The player that is engaged is basically forced to disengage because he will get hit with direct damage blasts that target the boss and he can't do anything against him with his +5/10 guard. Another player is forced to use his action to halve the boss speed(&Guard). Let's say you have two other PCs that can actually attack now.

      But remember boss is supposed to be equal to 2 PCs. You could throw two of those guys at the same time against 4 PCs. I don't see how you could win against them even if you knew that you'll be fighting them and made all builds designed to counter them.

      3x faster is also pretty much straight better than bloodlust even if you assume you get only half speed every turn.

      Delete
    6. Ok. I guess if you gave EVERYBODY reversible thrusters and slippery you could win. But anything less than that is going to have a very hard time.

      Delete
    7. Yeah that's a fair assessment. I'll tone it down to be more in line with others.

      Delete
  9. Why do you allow the target of Do you desire the power to choose himself as his own ally? Doesn't make sense both mechanically and thematically.

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    1. Poor wording, basically. Essentially it says you can take 1d10 yourself then you also hit your buddy instead of being full-on DOUBLE TRAITOR and hitting two allies for 1d10 each. I guess it didn't carry across too well, so I'll see about rewording it.

      Delete
    2. Why are you allowed to take that 1d10 yourself? Both 1d10s should be forced to other allies.

      Delete
    3. I figured that if both allies are dead then this choice is a no-brainer.

      If both allies are dead this thing already did its job though, so I can rewrite it that way then.

      Delete
    4. You shouldn't be able to choose dead allies anyway.
      And the text says you MAY choose yourself as one of the allies. So you can sill opt to choose two allies now.

      Delete
    5. "If there are no Allies alive, they hurt themselves instead."

      Delete
  10. Telekinetic Strike is missing something. It doesn't say how you spend energy on it. I'm guessing 1 EN for 1 zone moved but it needs to be written clearly.

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    1. That's a good point. I thought it was obvious but on a careful reading it is just implied and not clearly stated. Good catch.

      Delete
  11. Great job on the rules pass overall. I wanted to write about lot of things I though were unbalanced but as I was writing them it turned out that they are actually balanced after you consider them more carefully.

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    1. Thanks again for all the feedback! You've been helping me out for a long while, and I really appreciate that.

      Delete
  12. Does The Beast upgrade still work after your core ejects when you lose your last threshold? at +4 advantages?

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    1. I can't believe no one caught this until now. Shit. On one hand it is kind of cool. On the other hand it kind of makes Beast users crazy powerful suicide bombers.

      I guess this can get an errata RAI interpretation in the troubleshooting section.

      Delete
    2. It needs to clarified if internal upgrades still work after core ejects in the description.

      Delete
    3. They do, yeah. I am thinking of just ditching the rule as a whole.

      Delete
  13. Thoughts on balancing anti-maims.

    You said that they are still mandatory but making them cost 20 would just mean there is 5 points less for other stuff because they will still get taken. In that case you should still make them 20 but give more starting points.

    Anyway. There are 4 anti-maim systems and I think every single mech build needs one of those. I couldn't think of a decent build not using one at least.

    Integrated Weapons
    For beam weapon users. As pointed out earlier it should cost 20. It's 2 unmaimable weapons vs 6 maimable ones then. Both choices are viable. At 15 it's too cheap.

    Invincible Alloy
    For normal weapon users who also have active defenses. The defensive ability is worth 5 points alone. Ignoring maims for 2 EN is worth at least 15 MP since you'll have at least one defense and 2 weapons. It should be 20 points.

    Expansion pack
    This one is really awesome. The defensive ability alone is worth almost 5 points so so 15 MP unmaimable space for the remaining 5 is a steal. It's better than invincible alloy even at the current cost of invincible alloy of 15. There is no energy upkeep and 15 MP is enough for 2 weapons and defense. You can always get two for 20 to have 30 space and two defensive purges. I wasn't really considering it before but I looked into it recently and it easily replaces invincible alloy on most builds. It should be 15 MP (and invincible 20). That makes them more equal.

    Secret Equipment
    This one is hard to balance. It's essentially free because you get 30 MP worth of unmaimable stuff for 20 MP but it's only useable with tension 5. Combat length is highly variable but it should be at least 6 rounds. 8 or 9 seems reasonable as average length of scenario. That means the stuff is unavailable for the first half of scenario. That means it's worth about half normal value.
    So you pay 20 MP for 30/2=15 MP worth of stuff that is unmaimable. That's much better than any other anti maim. I know that estimate is a huge simplification but it's really easy to turtle and drag on scenario length.
    Works especially great with the new Limit engine upgrade you can get for the points you saved on the secret stuff. Might be a bit too good with limit engine.
    You can also put techniques there and use them with tension increasing genre powers from turn 1.

    Rules question:
    On turn 1 when tension is 1 can you aim your reactor overdrive you have in secret equipment so you can fire it aimed on round 2 with effective tension 6 with My Style is Impetuous. How about if you use I am a loose cannon?

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    1. There are actually two more anti-maim systems in the form of genre powers.

      Believe in Myself.
      You can use it every turn you're maimed. It eats up basically all your genre points but it makes you an incredible tank. If you couple it with Come at Me Bro it could make a interesting and fun build. Not sure if it's really viable to use it as your only anti-maim but fun and interesting nonetheless.
      ...
      ...
      Oh wait. It's once per operation. Scratch everything. The power is pretty bad with a limitation like that. The ignore maim effect is kinda useless since you can't rely exclusively on it and will need another anti maim system. Best it can do is save you 2 energy if you're using Invincible alloy. I think it should be made once per round. Maybe nerf the heal to 4 or 3 to keep it in line.


      Trump Card.
      15 MP of flexible unmaimable weapons every operation? Yes please. It's kinda specialized with only melee or shooting but if you can live with that it gives you basically 30 MP worth of stuff for one genre power pick and 1 genre point which is completely insignificant on higher power levels. You can even take it twice with both ranged and melee for ultimate versatility. It's pretty good at PL1 for specialist builds but on higher PLs it's just plain OP.
      ...
      ...
      Wait. How much is assistant? 15 MP? That's exactly how much worth of weapons you get from this power. Hmmm.
      COMPLETELY* FREE FLEXIBLE INTEGRATED WEAPONS FOR EVERYBODY?!
      ...
      Once upon a time in a certain game there was a certain power that just gave people extra stuff. It was SUPER OP. Turns out even if you make the equipment choice much more limited it's still VERY MUCH OP.

      *(as long as you stick with one type and buy them in packs of 3)

      Delete
    2. The upgrades themselves have enough knobs to turn down their power level without having to up costs and grant more points to compensate.

      Integrated Weapons could have a limit on the number of weapons it works with.

      Invincible Alloy could lose the survival effect.

      Expansion Pack I admit could go either way. Less than 15 MP in 'space' is probably too limiting, so maybe it'd be better off costing 20 and gaining another 5 points of space to compensate.

      Secret Equipment is highly divisive. With something like Limit Engine though, yeah, it will almost always trigger every battle. You're still spending 40 MP on something that doesn't do anything if you're ignored for 4 turns though, and unless you're at a high power level you're pretty ignorable.

      (Genre Powers that bump up Tension do work that way, yes. The RAW is questionable but the RAI goes with the rule of cool.)

      Believe in Myself could be a little bit better, yes, it is something I had in mind for a while but was neither entirely convinced how to do it in a way that didn't risk enabling unkillable builds. The antimaim effect could be made to last 3 rounds, that way it works as a backup antimaim or even a primary one if you're trying to win fights early.

      Mind Over Matter is in the same category in that could be better, but by its nature as a reactive power that stops debuffs maybe it is fine as is.

      Lastly there's Trump Card. I've been tinkering with specialist builds that only use it and, with the expanded armory, it gives a ton of versatility at basically no cost if you've got an Assistant. It'll be made to last 3 Rounds.

      Delete
    3. Cheap expansion pack with 10 MP space is not bad. You can always take two. It's even better because if you have one big pack you can't really discard it for defense bonus because you'll have no weapons and equipment left. WIth two packs you can safely use one for defense if situation gets bad enough. Especially if it has resupply or techniques inside.

      Secret equipment. People ignore you for first 4 turns? Great! That's exactly what I want.

      What do you think about putting reactor overdrive and missile massacre there? Can you take two instances of same technique weapon to be able to use it twice? 2x reactor overdrive?

      You go:
      Turn 1: Aim reactor overdrive
      Turn 2: Fire Reactor Overdrive with I am a loose cannon
      If you didn't lose a threshold from that.
      Turn 3: Aim missile massacre (or second reactor overdrive)
      Turn 4: Fire missile massacre (or second reactor overdrive) with I am a loose cannon
      If you did lose a threshold from that
      Turn 3: Aim any weapon you want
      Turn 4: Fire any weapon you want

      In any case the secret equipment activates on turn 4 (or if you roll extremely low on both on turn 5)

      You have absolute defense there to use with your increased energy to tank a lot so you can actually survive on your low threshold.

      You used the initial 4 turns of time before you had secret equipment available with 100% effectiveness even though everybody ignored you.

      This costs you 40 MP for stuff other people pay 30 MP (equip) + 20 (limit engine) + 15 (anti-maim) = 65 MP and you don't really suffer for it.

      You can also throw in the beast there to get even more out of your critical HP build. The technique spamming in the first 4 turns gets around the slow startup of the beast perfectly. It's a risky build but pretty strong one too.

      Delete
    4. Being ignored is not a good thing since you'll be faffing about with below-average weapons at first then be focus fired to death once they've dealt with the rest of the party.

      A Loose Cannon build that needs to kill itself partway through to function is going to lack the requisite defensive Upgrades/Powers to not die horribly before Secret Equipment goes active.

      If your PL is high enough to throw The Beast on top of this, the Enemy has waaaaay more tools to counter your one-note build. Speaking of which, the expansion will have a few counters to Tension raisers just to be safe.

      It is a cool build though, and Limit Engine/The Beast/Secret Equipment are intended to have synergy. But if you go for this at the start to try and exploit the system, then (as you know) the GM has a trivial time tipping the scales back to where everyone has an equal chance.

      Delete
  14. The wording on limit engine is a bit jarring. It should be
    "For each Level of Threshold you are missing you increase your available Energy by 1 and treat Tension as if it was one point higher."
    or
    "For each Level of Threshold you are missing you and treat your Energy and Tension as if they were one point higher."

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    1. I fucked up copy-pasting on the second one but you get the idea.

      Delete
  15. By RAW you can move back and delay attack because it is utility action bypassing offensive action only move towards enemy rule.

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    1. I'll see about clarifying this. Probably in the troubleshooting section since it is basically a RAW exploit.

      Delete
    2. Just fix the rules. Add a line saying delay counts as the type of action you perform after the delay.

      Delete
  16. Difficult terrain halves your speed and also costs two movement to cross 1 zone. This means that if you start your turn in difficult terrain both effects apply and you move at 1/4 speed by RAW.

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    1. Yeah, I'll add a 'This means that...' to the beginning of that last sentence. Otherwise a misreading is kind of brutal.

      Delete
  17. Synchro attack power is pretty weak. +4 to one attack for 2 genre points and 2 actions is terribad. For ranged weapons aiming gives the same benefit and it saves you 2 genre points. With two allies it's +8 for 3 genre points and actions. That's on par with aimed attack boosted with genre power. Still a bad choice. +12 for 4 genre points and actions is just meh. It's cool sounding but I'd rather take 4 attacks all with try again.

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    1. Sometimes due to maneuvering bonuses or active defenses (or both), you really really need one super attack that pushes through everything. It might not be super efficient, but Synchro Attack is there to let you force a hit through basically anything if you need it.

      If you want to optimize Synchro Attacks you play an Unison Combiner.

      Delete
  18. Come at me bro is crazy strong on a long range sniper type with 15+ range. It lasts 3 rounds and potentially gives you multiple extra attacks each round. And because you're so far back the enemy can't actually reach you. Bonus points for experimental reactor powered rifle with 20+ range.

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    1. This is a good catch. I will give it a limited range. Like say your Systems. Or a flat 5.

      It depends on what is better for tanks, who might not necessarily take Systems past 5. Then again, maybe a little encouragement to make them want to reach higher would be good.

      Delete
  19. Gotta go fast is kinda meh. How about making it just move a unit instantly. It could be used as ghetto reversible thrusters. It loses its application as boosted lance booster though (it's dubiously effective at this anyway) and can't be stacked with Lightspeed Assault (which is good because it makes it even more OP).

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    1. By RAW it does not work with LSA, since LSA just moves your speed (as a fixed value) as part of the power rather than your action itself. That means LSA does not combo with Overbooster either.

      With that said, this might be worth putting up to a vote, since I could see a 'teleport X zones' power being more useful than the current one.

      Delete
  20. You are going down is way too good. Even if the target gets attacked only twice that's +10 damage outperforming any other once per operation offensive power. Better than signature weapon, impetuous style with technique, etc. If more people attack it's just crazy +15 or +20 damage. You pretty much want to focus fire always anyway.

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    1. You are right, it is the best power against bosses no questions asked. Partly this is because I wanted to encourage less solo boss monsters and more mixed groups of enemies but that does not change that if there's a single boss and multiple users of the power in the party then it just goes down unceremoniously.

      Something simple like 'everyone who attacks the target gains an advantage' would probably work well in its place.

      Delete
  21. The power level to unit cost balancing table is terrible. Level 0 being 2x as cheap as Level 1 is super unbalanced. It's almost true in the case of grunts but For bosses it's completely out of balance. Simple fix would be to shift the table one row up so you'd have

    PL/GRUNT/RIVAL/BOSS
    0/2/4/8
    1/3/6/12
    2/4/8/16
    3/5/10/20
    4/6/12/24
    5/7/14/28

    At higher levels it's almost the same as the old one but it fixes the retardedness at levels 0 and 1

    Next thing is grunts scaling. Level 0 grunts are hilariously destitute at 50 MP but they quickly gain power and the difference between them and PC gets smaller because of diminishing returns and lesser relative difference.
    Level 0 is 50 vs 100 MP where PC can easily fight even against 3 grunts.
    Level 5 is 200 vs 250 MP where two grunts wipe the floor with the PC and he can barely hang on thanks to genre powers. Have grunts start with 70 MP and have them gain 15/20 MP per PL. This makes scaling much more balanced.

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    1. Okay so the table is primarily meant to be easy to remember (a Grunt is half a PC, a Rival is a PC, a Boss is two PCs. Simple enough.) and a slight power discrepancy in favor of the GM is intentional. The power won't be an exact match no matter what formulas we use, but if there is one person who is allowed to have more power than others at the table, that is the GM.

      A good GM will tailor encounters to the group, and that means they will not abuse this against inexperienced players who don't know what they're doing quite yet. If the other players know what they're doing, then all those heads put together will find a way to win. It is not like the game does not give PCs options to adapt strategies on the fly.

      If the GM is the only one who does not quite know what they're doing yet, then this makes it easier to challenge the rest of the group with unoptimized NPCs that lack teamwork. GMs are often trying to tell a story first and play wargames second, so this is more of an aid than a hindrance. For the same reason, if nobody knows what they're doing, all units will be so unoptimized that the odds pretty much even out slightly in favor of the PCs.

      If your GM is out to get you? You are boned no matter the system.

      Delete
    2. My fixed table retains the same property of (a Grunt is half a PC, a Rival is a PC, a Boss is two PCs. Simple enough.). The problem is the power discrepancy is very inconsistent at various power levels.

      Also there shouldn't be any discrepancy. That defeats the purpose of the table. If the GM makes a challenging encounter it should be challenging. Right now if you use grunts that same challenging encounter is pretty easy on PL1 and very hard on PL5.

      A good GM will understand where the table breaks down and doesn't reflect true power levels but he didn't need the table to balance encounters in the first place.

      An inexperienced GM will not understand that the table doesn't reflect true power levels at some point and will just buy enemies according to the table. The bigger the difference between real power level and table cost the more chance scenario will be too easy or too hard. And the bigger difference between what the GM though encounter would be and what it actually was.

      To illustrate absurdity of the table it's easy to compare grunts to rivals.

      How many XP PL2 grunt has? 110 XP. How many points does he cost on the table? 3 points
      How many XP PL0 rival has? 100 XP How many points does he have on the table? 2 points

      hmmm. rival is more powerful because he has genre points but grunt is more expensive?

      PL3 grunt vs PL1 rival? both cost 4 points and have 140 vs 130 XP.
      Again rival is clearly better.

      Party of four PL1 PCs fight 8 grunts. The grunts don't really pose a big challenge.
      Each player has 1 (PL) + 3 (tresholds) + 2-3(roleplaying) = 6-7 genre points
      50 XP difference at this stage is like +5 to both Might and Guard.
      The grunts don't really pose a big challenge and get easily defeated even though it's supposed to be challenging encounter.

      Party of four PL5 PCs fight 8 PL5 grunts.
      Each player has 10-11 genre points
      50 XP difference at this stage is like +3 to both Might and Guard.
      Everybody has much higher thresholds now so fights are longer so tension gets higher so grunts aren't at such a big disadvantage now.
      The fight is much harder.

      Basic Disabler build is
      10 commander type
      20 expansion pack with resupply
      20-30 3x disable (EMP, Jamming, ensnare, airstike, bombardment, finger net, minefield, heavy MG)
      70 points M0G4T4E2S8S4 stat array
      TOTAL 120-130 points
      That's PL 1 rival = 4 points.
      Routine is
      Turn 1: disable 1, disable 2
      Turn 2: disable 3, resupply all 3
      goto 1
      You also have 4 genere points for each of those guys useable on NOT SO FAST and DONT GIVE UP.
      You can swap 4 PL5 grunts for 6 PL1 rivals.
      6 of those guys is 9 DISABLES EVERY TURN

      You can completely lock down the player party with that.
      They're up against 4 PL5 damage grunts that are almost as good as they are but the players have their might/guard/energy/speed halved every single turn and any decent attack they manage to make gets
      NOT SO FASTd (which is super good and annoying for enemies).

      On higher PLs disables are much more powerful because they halve stuff and half of 8 is much more significant than half of 4. Also the relative XP difference gets smaller and action advantage on the enemy side gets massive. You can further increase it by taking even more lower level enemies. The action advantage is especially abusive when used on disables.

      Blasts are kinda supposed to counter swarms but they don't help that much when most of them are slow and your might is halved, you have 2 disadvantages from suppression and your roll gets NOT SO FASTd.

      IT IS HELL.
      It's another fight where you just can't win even if you know what's coming and can tailor your builds to it.

      Low level enemies are severely undercosted on high power levels. The action advantage they give and supply of cheap genre points is not taken into account at all.

      This is super GM dickery yes. But that will happen on a smaller scale if the GM uses any disablers at all on higher PLs and most will I guress. Even a single enemy that spams jamming bomb every turn cuts player damage output massively compared to his point cost.

      Delete
    3. And it's not even maximum dickery. It's just basic role specialization.

      You could have duelers with arm guards/duel blades and shielding auras there.
      Tanks with come at me bro and absolute defense.

      You're engaged in a duel with the guy that attacked you with arm guard. If you attack him it's not effective and you eat attack from come at me tank. If you attack the tank it's not effective you eat the attack from the dueler. If you attack the squishy disabler you eat attacks from both.

      There is no way to win.
      The combo and synergy potential for GM is insane. More cheap units gives you more combinations to play with and you can specialize even more.

      Right now the table just seems to assume that GM just throws some randomly generated units at he PC. The synergy and combos make the cheaper units much more valuable.
      And that's separate issue from the extreme cost efficiency of PL0 and 1 rivals. Combine them both and you can see the table needs to be shifted down to make cheap units less spammable and costed closer to their real value.

      Delete
    4. OH. I got this.

      Come at me crippling suppression tanks with overcharged absolute barriers.
      The problem with the above scenario is that the tank attacks the guy in the duel and can potentially hit him. Suppression gets around that and as a bonus it deals even more damage if the enemy disengages.

      Also only one guy can have come at me active. Overcharged absolute barrier gives him maximum survivability.

      This is GM exclusive tactic that utilizes lot of cheap units to great effect. GMs have many times more tactics available to them than the players because they can scale the enemy numbers. Players need to be versatile enough to be able to deal with one huge boss and 8+ grunts as well. Enemies are almost always up against 4 PCs and can be designed only for that.

      There are scenarios where players have allies but they are rare and you can throw in blast grunts on the enemy side then too.

      Why the hell would the table favour GM? If anything it needs to favor the players because they need to keep versatile with their builds and they can't super specialize like enemies can.

      Delete
  22. No GM is going to accidentally walk into these killer combos, they have to be designed as a method to challenge the PCs as much as possible. If the GM actually wants to achieve maximum dickery, they don't even have to get fancy. They can just do one of the following:

    1) Surround the PCs from all sides with a swarm o PL 0 Grunts using long range and area of effect guns.
    2) Make the whole battlefield lava. Give all baddies Ensnaring Trap.
    3) Colonies drop. Everyone dies.

    Any of these three things are in their right to do as GM, but they won't go through with it because they're not horrible people. If they pull this on you, they're actively trying to dick you over and you can't really write rules that say 'dont be a dick'.

    The table favors the GM because it is the job of the GM's section to make their job as simple as possible for someone inexperienced. The table lets them challenge semi-competent PCs without having to try very hard to optimize.

    If they have the requisite level of strategic and system knowledge to pull off your suggested setups, they obviously don't need the help. If they don't have it, the table gives them a good idea of how to match the PCs. I doubt someone will come up with those plans without knowing whether or not their party can handle the enemies presented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your table changes says that a PL 0 Rival is worth a PR of 4. That's not equivalent to what a Level 0 PC is worth.

      But now I realize you might have been saying to change the worth of PCs to go with Rivals too. I'm a lot more okay with that.

      Delete
    2. While we're being practical (rather than discussing theory), I have wanted to write a sidebar for a while with a list of suggested abilities that low level Grunts should generally avoid.

      More suggestions for expanding the list would be appreciated.

      Delete
    3. Well duh. Of course PC cost = Rival cost

      Delete
  23. Thoughts on boss balance.

    I feel bosses don't pull their weight on higher levels.
    PL5 boss has 175 XP for stats and 2 weapons, 2 upgrades, 2 powers and capstone.
    PL5 rival has 175 XP for stats 75 XP for equip and 5 extra genre powers.
    Both have the same number of genre points.

    The 75 XP is enough to get weapons and equip comparable to the boss loadout. The boss equip is stronger but not by much. The rival actually gets much better genre powers than the boss.

    Rival also has much more space for optimization compared to the boss.

    ReplyDelete
  24. BOSS POWERS vs RIVAL POWERS

    Die for me! - up to 5 damage but more likely 3-4. meh
    Normal powers have wide array of damage boosting powers that give you +4-8 damage. It's not freely targetable but you want to focus fire anyway so adding them to your weapon damage is almost the same.

    Behold my true power - nice but bosses have problems spending energy so it's not that good. The only thing that really benefits from it is final beam and it takes 3 turns to fire. You only get 2 boss powers so wasting one on something like that is questionable.
    Can be easily replicated by a weak grunt with overcharge which is cheaper.

    I believe this is yours - reduce damage by 3-5 and deal that much to the enemy. Pretty decent. Much better than die for me. It's 2x effectiveness and choosing melee/shooting will guarantee you can use it every turn. Maybe even twice per turn.
    Pretty good.

    That will not work again - very similiar to I believe this is yours.
    Not so fast is almost just as good.

    Useless! - weak ass shield, pretty bad but at least reliably bad
    Not so fast is better most of the time.

    You are too slow - kinda ok for ranged bosses that don't want to get into meele
    Again not so fast is on the same level.

    Your fate is sealed - eh
    Can't let you do that is almost the same.

    Offering/Grow - interesting for interactions.
    Don't give up is better healing

    The only boss power that stands out is I believe this is yours.
    Rivals have twice as many powers as bosses (+ default ones) so they can take the 1/operation ones that have very good efficiency.

    Rival genre power value is almost the same as that of a boss. That's pretty bad considered boss is worth two of those. Rivals are much more flexible too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. BOSS UPGRADES

    It Keeps Coming Back vs Nanoskin Shell
    +15 HP vs 3/5 HP regen/turn+last stand. If the boss survives at least 4 turns (which all bosses should) healing is clearly better. You can combine healing with offering power and merge weapon to create unholy regenerator.

    BOSS VS RIVAL
    DEFENSIVE
    Afterimages and Adaptive Morphology

    Only form of active defenses for bosses. Not bad but rivals can get very similar performance out of custom defense (all). They cost energy yeah but they're more reliable and work at full power from start instead of reaching their peak when you're already almost dead.

    Both rivals and bosses can get covered by a cheap grunt with shielding aura which is the best choice really.

    It Keeps Coming Back and Nanoskin Shell
    Both are very much inferior to absolute barrier. barrier uses energy and can be bypassed by some effects but it's so much more efficient that it makes up for all that.

    Phantom Predator
    Basically Electronic Cloaking System but with some extra bonuses.

    Overall rivals have very similar or superior defensive options if you count the upgrade being worth like 30 MP for bosses. They can get an active defense and energy required for it for that cost.

    OFFENSIVE
    Bullet Hell/Eye for an Eye
    15+ direct damage

    Rival can do that much with a single well placed airstrike. He can get commander type and another support upgrade too for the 30 MP this upgrade is supposed to be worth.

    Bosses suffer from not having active defenses. They can get things that count as them but they cost their precious upgrade slot.

    Their direct damage offensive upgrades are lackluster too.

    ReplyDelete
  26. BOSS WEAPONS
    Constrict - slightly better dueling blade, needs a buff

    Merge - pretty good

    Tentacle - pretty good

    Swarm - with blast(1) it's too small

    Telekinetic strike - 2x +5 damage, do you have to throw the target in a straight line? If not you can move the target around to always get 5 squares and +5 damage even if you throw him into the guy adjacent to him.

    Needle Storm - ok

    Leeches - ok

    Bomb - very good

    Boss weapons are good but rival can get a normal weapon or two + specialist type upgrade which gives him additional advantage. It makes him almost on par with the boss.

    ReplyDelete
  27. CAPSTONES are pretty good

    Possesion inow uses default weapons but against a plyaer with The Beast it's still the power of their main weapon.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Overall Bosses have the problem that they don't get their power at a constant rate.
    Upgrades are worth more than weapon or power so it's like.

    PL 0 - basic boss, not that good, too fragile
    PL 1 - very good and cost efficient
    PL 2 - extra weapon gives more versatility but most builds are workable with only a single weapon
    PL 3 - the extra genre power barely increases the value of the boss
    PL 4 - second upgrade, good
    PL 5 - capstone great

    Overall the optimal PL for bosses are 1 and 5. Level 0 and 4 work ok too. Level 2 and 3 are weak.

    On levels 2,3 and 4 rivals are about 75% power of a boss instead of 50%.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The biggest problem I see is overvaluation of damage shields (nanoskin, useless)
    They are supposed to be for tanking weapons/abilities that hurt yourself but as a boss you will be taking other fire anyway. So if you deal 10 damage to yourself and get 10 damage from player weapons the shield is much less effective. The ratio doesn't even need to be 1:1. Even if you deal 10 damage to yourself and only get 5 damage from player weapons other defenses are still better than direct shields.

    And of course they are just so much worse than absolute barrier.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I pretty much agree with you, my main issue with Bosses is that it is hard to make them stronger at Levels 0, 2 and 3 without risking making the other levels too strong. Those levels could have slightly higher XP, but a big draw of Bosses is that they're really simple to build.

    I can try a few tweaks here and there with the time we have left though.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Things to do:
    1. buff boss genre powers (They have the same number of genre points as a rival, they should be just plain better than normal ones, right now they aren't really, also a lot of them rely on systems, severely limiting you if you dump them, which all low PL bosses will)
    2. Tweak upgrades. (Nanoskin is just weaker than regeneration, 3x faster OP)
    3. Weapons are mostly fine. Just buff swarm and constrict.
    4. The cost balancing table is hard to fix. Maybe make an optional table with stat XP shifted to levels 2 and 3 where they get 20 XP but levels 4 and 5 get only 10 to compensate. Or even 25/5 split.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Also I have two great ideas for expansion content.

    Best Defense is Good Offense (genre power)

    When you are attacked instead of defending with your guard make an attack.
    You replace your defense with the result.
    If you beat the enemy roll and they are in range of your weapon you deal damage to them instead equal to the difference.
    You lose your next action.
    Probably 1/operation

    Needs balancing and better wording but it would be super cool power.


    Quantum Capacitors (internal upgrade) (20)

    You can store unused energy at 2:1 ratio to be used at later turns. Maximum you can store is half of your energy stat.

    Again needs better wording and balancing. You can save your energy and have 150% available next turn. Alternative to overcharger.

    ReplyDelete
  33. When do you plan to get new preview out with all the recent changes?
    Will there be any at all before the release?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll post a bunch of stuff next week and leave it up for discussion for a month, then lock it down for good right before May starts.

      Delete
  34. HYPERSONIC STRIKER
    "Anytime you take an Offensive Action, you may also
    Move in any direction with it."
    Needs clarification if it's in addition to the normal move you can make or it just reversible thrusters allowing you to move in any direction.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I did some combat simulations and it confirmed my thoughts about high level bosses being too weak.

    THE BOSS
    FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER

    M8G8T8E4S8S6
    TENTACLE+ I BELIEVE THIS IS YOURS (SHOOTING) + AFTERIMAGES + OVERFREEZE + WHATEVER POWER + KEEPS COMING BACK + COLLOSUS

    The boss has tentacles with high range and he wants to force enemies to move close by taking colossus capstone which reduces ranged damage and reflecting shooting weapons. After he's close he attacks all of them with tentacles and moves onto them to force them into extreme terrain of his body. It also regenerates.

    THE PLAYERS
    ZA BEASTO
    M8G10T10E6S1S6
    THE BEAST + LIMIT ENGINE + SECRET EQUIPMENT
    SECRET EQUIPMENT (ABSOLUTE BARRIER + RIOT WEAPON + 3x OVERDRIVE)
    Powers: My Style is impetuous, Signature weapon (overdrive), My defense is impregnable, I am a loose cannon. +1 other

    With 189 MP in stats they are stronger than even PL5 boss. Strategy is spamming aimed overdrives boosted with genre powers as much as possible while tanking backlash damage with on high threshold and absolute barrier. Impregnable defense should be used on a high loose cannon roll.

    FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER VS 2x ZA BEASTO
    Starting distance is about 20. Assuming boss always hits both players with AoE.

    Turn 1: everybody aims and moves closer
    SPAGHETTI 32/32 BEAST1 40/40 BEAST2 40/40
    Turn 2:
    SPAGHETTI: OVERFREEZE +8 MIGHT +2 TENSION + 4 AIM + 2 BEAM = +16 vs 10 GUARD (6,5 expected damage)
    extreme terrain vs 13 deals expected 2,5 damage

    BEASTS
    2x IMPETUPUS OVERDRIVE: +8 MIGHT +12 TENSION + 4 AIM +2 BEAM =
    +26 vs 10 GUARD +4 REFLECT (2x12,5 expected damage= 25)

    Let's say one beast overheats and the other doesn't.
    Total daamge (6,5 overfreeze + 2,5 extreme + 4 reflect [+6 overheat])

    SPAGHETTI 7/32 BEAST1 21/40 BEAST2 27/40

    TURN 3
    SPAGHETTI: REGENERATES 5 HP
    TENTACLES + 8 MIGHT +3 TENSION + 2 COLOSSUS = +13 VS 10 guard
    (expected damage 3,5)

    BEASTS: AIM

    SPAGHETTI 13/32 BEAST1 17/40 BEAST2 24/40

    TURN 4
    SPAGHETTI: REGENERATES 5 HP 18/32
    TENTACLES + 8 MIGHT +4 TENSION + 2 COLOSSUS = +14 VS 10 guard
    (expected damage 4,5)

    BEASTS:
    ABSOLUTE BARRIERS (14/16 damage shield)
    SIGNATURE OVERCHARGES: +8 MIGHT +10 TENSION +4 AIM +2 BEAM +5 SIGNATURE= +29 VS 10 GUARD + 4 REFLECT (expected 2x 15,5 damage)

    first overcharge kills the boss but it regenerates and second one finishes it off again. If you roll low on the first one just try again or use loose cannon to be 130% sure. Overheat gets absorbed by barrier.

    SPAGHETTI DEAD/32 BEAST1 12/40 BEAST2 20/40

    ReplyDelete
  36. Now it's a very simplified simulation but let's consider some things.

    1. Once absolute barrier triggers the boss is basically unable to damage the players without rolling 10 on attack. His only edge over player guard is tension and there are no ways to increase it at all.
    a) Might 10 is too expensive and you have to gimp yourself in some other area to take it.
    b) Boss powers only deal direct damage.
    c) Upgrades are mostly defensive. The only one that really works is 3x faster but it's getting nerfed.

    The best boss can really get is 10 might +2 beam effect or melee duel bonus. = +12 Every player can very easily get 8 guard +5 custom defense = +13. The boss is at -1 and he took very expensive might 10.

    The bosses are just terrible at doing weapon damage. The weapons have cool effects and all but they just don't do damage. The boss has to aim to do any damage at all but then it only works with ranged and he gets the extra effect only every other turn.

    The only weapons that can deal any reasonable damage at all are overfreeze and telekinetic strike. And it's only because extra damage effects, the base damage is still terrible. Overfreeze gets AoE extreme terrain and Telekinetic strike up to 2x5 crash damage.

    This is not only PL5 issue. It's the same on PL2 and maybe even PL1. Basically as soon as players get active defenses the boss attacks are basically useless. Any player with absolute barrier can tank the boss attack without any problem on it. I know that's what absolute barrier is supposed to do but bosses virtually no active defenses piercers.

    The solution might be to use higher PL bosses against low PL players. Something like PL5 boss against four PL2 players. Because the boss has much high might advantage AoE attack are much more effective. The damage he receives is also split into more attacks so guard advantage is multiplied too. PL5 SPAGHETTI would be at least some challenge for four PL2 players.

    Meanwhile the players can use turn 2
    TRY AGAIN IMPETUOUS LOOSE CANNON SIGNATURE AIMED REACTOR OOOOOOOVEEEEEEERDRIIIIIIIVEEEEE!!!
    for 3d10+8+4+8+5+4+2+2= 3d10+33 = about 49 attack - let's say 15 defense = 34 damage

    It's doable on PL2 albeit with slightly lower values. PL3 and you can do this exact thing.

    The burst value there is insane. You can wipe out basically any boss with two of those on turn 2. Even that PL5 boss with his guard advantage and defensive upgrades has no chance against attacks like that from PL2 players.

    ReplyDelete
  37. 2. The boss was AoE against single target players so the matchup was bad. But even if you make it two SPAGHETTIS VS 4 ZA BEASTO and assume SPAGHETTIS hit all 4 players with all attacks they will still lose hard. Players will get damaged faster and invincible barrier will unlock on turn 3. Once it's up the bosses are basically helpless again. They deal 4,5 damage on turn 4 which even when doubled isn't enough to get though barrier. Not to mention the beasts can focus 4 overcharges on turn 2 which will certainly kill any boss.

    3. The same boss could be made EXTREMELY dangerous by swapping one upgrade for bullet hell and taking You're too slow as the second power. That's 4+8+16= 28 AoE damage. It's insane. The boss has pretty good shooting defense and will close in on you extremely fast with You're too slow. WIth this power he can also position himself perfectly to hit maximum number of targets. And that's with systems 8. Systems 10 boss deals 5+10+20=35 damage with all stages. He can wipe out the party with just the damage from that upgrade. Anybody without absolute barrier and/or reversible thrusters is guaranteed dead.

    Of course 2x Za Beasto combo has barriers and can survive it but if it was 2x BULLET HELL SPAGHETTI then even the ZA Beasto team would be hopeless. Against two Bullet Hell bosses victory is impossible without everybody having reversible thrusters and absolute barriers. Best part is bullet hell doesn't hit allies. It needs to be nerfed. Make Level 4 1.5x times systems for starters for sure. Or even make it 1/4, 1/2, 1 for 175% systems damage per target. With systems 8 it's 14 and with systems 10 it's 17. It's still very strong but at least you can tank it with absolute barrier somewhat. 20 damage at systems 10 blasts through absolute barrier and still hits you hard. If you don't have it it just destroys you. It's also somewhat comparable to eye for an eye. Before it was 3 times better. 15 damage to ONE target or up to 35 damage PER target. hmmm

    ReplyDelete
  38. 3. Za Beasto is pretty strong. Might even be OP. Only 60 MP in equip with the rest pumped into stats means they have incredible raw power. Absolute barrier is amazing at keeping them alive on low HP. They don't care if their energy is halved because they have 6/2=3 then and can get +2 from limit engine which isn't halved so they can still use overdrives. They don't even need the beast now that I think about it. 210 MP in stats on PL5 and just spam overdrives all day every day. You can fit four in secret equipment with absolute barrier. That's 8 turns if you aim each. Should be enough for basically every battle. I don't think there is anything that can survive 4 aimed overdrives. Be it two grunts, a rival or half a boss. Two should be enough for most cases. Unfortunately removing the beast means the name needs to change too. It will be named OVERDRIVER now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol
      It's even viable on PL1.
      M6G7T8E5S0S4 = 110 MP
      SECRET EQUIP (ABSOLUTE BARRIER + 4x OVERDRIVE)
      LOOSE CANNON POWER

      You have 32 HP and 7 guard which is crazy for PL1.
      1. AIM
      2. LOOSE CANNON OVERDRIVE
      goto 1

      only problem is you can roll 1 or 2 on loose cannon on turn 2 but it's only 20% chance. It gets fixed when you take impetuous on PL2.
      Or you can start with it and instead waste turn 3 and fire the second overdrive on turn 5. That might be better option I think.

      Delete
  39. Generally there is this imbalance where a higher PL boss is very effective against lower PL players and lower PL grunts are effective against high PL players.

    Seems weird when you fear the big PL5 boss when you start but later when you're stronger you roll over those bosses easily but are deathly afraid of massed low PL grunts that use synergistic combos and supports/disables.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Actually even four PL2 players vs PL5 tentacle AoE boss is lopsided in favor of the players if they have supports that can keep the boss disabled every turn. He's not scary at all with half might and guard and no tension.

    Seems that action advantage is king still. That's why it's so important to shift the cost table so it's taken into account.

    ReplyDelete
  41. There is one thing I was considering adding to the Houserules section but might merit being standardized.

    The rule is this: Damage that spills over between threshold levels from Grunts to PCs is halved, and PC damage against Bosses that spills over is also halved. It improves PC survivability vs Grunts (mostly at low levels, though) and should grant a Boss another 1-2 turns of activity.

    This is a significant nerf to burst builds, of which The Beast/Limit Engine users are a subset. I haven't looked hard enough at how it would interact with same-level enemies yet to say whether or not it would be balanced in all cases, so it was going to just stay as a houserule, but it might be better off as a regular thing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Grunts don't really have big bursts because no genre points so all it does is give the players a few extra HP.
    For bosses it's huge and makes them much more scary and fixes the burst problem. It also gives them extra survivability which they really needed.

    It kids of sucks when there is only 1 HP left on treshold because it means almost all your damage is halved but players get the same protection from grunts so it should even out. Overall it nerfs the action advantage a bit so it's good. It should be implemented as official rule.

    Another thing I was thinking about is limiting genre powers that can be applied to a single attack so you can't stack all of your powers for a single attack at +50.

    The half damage spillover rule protects bosses very well but rivals and grunts are still getting wiped out with those maximum alpha overdrive bursts.

    Maybe make it so you can only apply one boost power to every attack and defense not counting rerolls. So you can get something + try again/not so fast.
    It's still a pretty strong attack but not completely crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I also have refined overdriver build. There are two variants. Defensive and Offensive (both are very offensive though so it's more like offensive and even more offensive)

    OVERDRIVER D
    M7G8T7E10S4S4
    2x epansion pack (absolute barrier, 4x overdrive), sniper type, experimental reactor
    The main problem of the old build was wasted energy during first turns and backlash from loose cannon. This build has absolute barrier available from the start with 10 energy. It is basically invincible during turns where it aims. (20 damage shield) and can tank up to 12 damage from loose cannon on absolute barrier. It only has 7 threshold and 8 guard but much higher offensive power thanks to reactor and sniper type. 18 range is nice too.

    OVERDRIVER A
    M8G8T8E8S6S4
    secret equip (absolute barrier, 4x overdrive), sniper type, experimental reactor, limit engine
    Full offense build. It doesn't have absolute barrier at first so the first shot on turn 2 should be with impetuous not loose cannon. Absolute barrier should come online on turn 4 just in time for the second shot. More might and bonus tension means an extra +1/3/5/7 damage. Also has 22 range to stay out of trouble during the first turns before absolute barrier kicks in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OVERDRIVER D
      Turn 1: aim
      Turn 2: d10 +40 (aimed + loose cannon + impetuous)
      Turn 3: d10 +30 (loose cannon)
      Turn 4: d10 +32 (loose cannon)
      Turn 5: d10 +34 (loose cannon)
      OVERDRIVER A
      Turn 1: aim
      Turn 2: d10 +32 (aimed + impetuous)
      Turn 3: aim
      Turn 4: d10 +41 (aimed + loose cannon)
      Turn 5: d10 +39 (loose cannon)
      Turn 6: d10 +43 (loose cannon)

      Overheating is not a problem because you can roll 3 dice with all the advantages you have. Or you can roll 2 and try again if necessary.
      The burst values here are extremely good. Even if the target has 20 defense. (10 guard + active defense). He gets 10-20 damage per shot.
      Total damage from 4 overcharges against target like that is
      OVERDRIVER D: 56 damage
      OVERDRIVER A: 75 damage
      There is just no way to survive this.

      Engaging in a duel does nothing because overdrive is line so the you can attack the target it wants and hit the dueler as a bonus.

      Of course the obvious counters are EMP and Jamming.
      EMP halves energy, that means they can still fire the overdrive but won't have shield to take the backlash. They can then just aim or fire it without loose cannon or just tank the damage. It's still 1:1 trade.

      Jamming kills their tension which means that they lose all their damage. It's very effective but then again it works against everybody who uses weapons. There is no way to deal any real damage with weapons with your might halved and no tension. The only damage source in this situation is airstrike. Jamming is too strong and needs a big nerf.

      Delete
    2. The idea is that loose cannon allows you to basically convert 1 energy into 2 damage through absolute barrier hp to loose cannon damage. Of course there is the setup cost and it uses genre points but it's extremely effective offensive build. 1 EN : 2 DAMAGE is excellent ratio.

      Delete
    3. Absolute barrier has the same 1 EN : 2 DAMAGE ratio and yeah a 10 EN build with sniper rifle and absolute barrier beats overdriver with a fair margin 1v1.
      But make it 2v2 and overdrivers focus fire and blast through the absolute barrier with ease. All that energy is wasted if you're not being attacked but when attacking you always use up the energy.

      Another thing is stacking.

      What contributes to your defense?
      Guard, threshold and active defense (energy).

      What contributes to your offense?
      Might, weapon, aiming, beam(energy), type specialization, reactor, limit engine.

      There is much more sources of offense and a lot of them have flat costs. For defense all of them have scaling costs. It's split into 3 attributes so it's not that noticeable and it gives you incredible value on low PLs where the attributes are cheap. But on high PLs it gets more and more expensive to get tankiness because it's all based on attributes. Normally defense has an advantage because it is split into 2 or 3 attributes (guard and threshold and maybe energy) while might is concentrated only in might. The scaling costs for might rise very quickly while defense is split into 2 or 3 so you can get more for less. energy can be used for offense too in the form of beam bonus but the 3-5 energy required to fire the weapon is quickly filled and the ratio isn't that great compared to defenses. Using loose cannon gives you the same energy conversion as absolute barrier. So now offense has 2 attributes and defense has 3. It's much closer than the previous 1v2.

      Offense has the specialist upgrades to help with might scaling but the price is versatility. You're limited in weapon choice when taking them. Overdive is wonderfully versatile weapon however. It's good in basically all situation.

      Long range aimed sniping - check
      Mid range single target damage - check
      Dueling - check
      AoE to pierce stealth and hit multiple units- check

      It's not as good at any of those roles as a weapon specialized in the area but it really covers pretty much all situations. It really is amazing weapon.

      I mean you could take powered rifle for sniping, double blaster or charge cannon for AoE, radiant fist for duels and incinerator for close range. Or you can take 4x reactor overdrive and cover all those areas as well with massive damage to boot.

      Also I now realized that you don't actually need to boost it if you don't need AoE and long range. The 2 damage you lose is nothing when you're rolling +30 or + 40 anyway and the saved energy gives much more durability. You can easily win even against the absolute barrier pure tank 1v1 then.

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  44. Last thing is genre powers.
    Offensive powers:
    1/op: signature weapon (+10), impetuous style (+8), you are going down, you can do better, this is my battlefield (half guard)
    unlimited: loose cannon (+2d10), breaking through (+5)

    Defensive powers:
    1/op: Impregnable defense (half damage), believe in myself (-5), don't give up (8-10), Can't let you do that (0 tension)

    The only two that really stand out are impregnable defense and can't let you do that. Don't give up is ok but you need high systems.

    Of course defense has not so fast which is better than try again so that gives it some edge. Overall I think offense has a slight advantage here.

    Mainly thanks to loose cannon. It really is amazing when coupled with absolute barrier. The setup cost is quite big and it starts off a bit slow but at PL5 the build is just crazy.

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    1. The need for better defensive powers in general is also something I've been trying to address in the expansion, yeah. Speaking of which and, as a note, consider that since LC is expansion material, it is not going to show up anywhere without having ways to counter it also available.

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  45. I was tinkering with boss builds and found a potentially broken combination.

    BOMBERMAN [PL5]
    M7G7T7E5S6S10
    ULTIMATE BOMB + TOO SLOW + 3x FASTER + MERGE + WON"T WORK + PREDATOR + HYPERSONIC

    It has 16 range on the bomb and since it's blast 10 it can reach targets up to 26 tiles away. With too slow it can move up to 20 tiles per turn. Even speed 10 with overbooster can't catch up.
    3x Faster adds a ton of extra might and predator bypasses active defenses.

    He can kite the players from 26 range and they can't do anything. Thanks to boost to guard from 3x faster and +10 maneuvering he's extremely tough to damage. Since only AoE long range aoe weapons can damage him the player arsenal is very limited. He can use it won't work again because the players will use the same long range weapon all the time.

    HYPERSONIC STRIKER
    "Anytime you take an Offensive Action, you may also
    Move in any direction with it."
    Needs clarification if it's in addition to the normal move you can make or it just reversible thrusters allowing you to move in any direction.

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    1. I forgot to mention it last time. Yes, it is getting a clarification that it works like reversible thrusters.

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