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!