Feb 7, 2016

BCZ Previews. Chapter 2: Part I.

As per the results of the poll, we're going to talk about Base Management, now called Faction Management. Why did the name change? Because the focus of the rules changed during development. I'll go more into it later, for now let's look at the Modules themselves:

Relationship Themes

The first Module of Faction Management is Relationship Themes. Relationship Themes are a replacement for the normal Genre Theme rules. Instead of having a thematic character trait to guide their roleplaying, PCs have an NPC that they interact with on a regular basis. The goal of these Relationship Themes is to recruit the designated NPC or to otherwise earn their trust and loyalty, gaining Genre Points when working towards this goal. Successfully convincing a Relationship Theme NPC to join up makes the Faction permanently stronger.

Since this Module is mostly roleplaying and relatively light on rules, the rest of it consists of GM advice and example NPCs. Some of the examples are the kind that can occassionally contribute in battle like friendly aces and scheming officers, others are mad scientists and spies who could be just as dangerous as anybody with a giant robot. There are also pop idols and peace princesses in there too. It is a genre thing.

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage is a Module that comes up when the PCs fight within their home city, space colony or other such location they are trying to protect. PCs that fight recklessly (using area of effect Weapons or creating Extreme Terrain are obvious examples) or can't contain the Enemy from rampaging on the area will have to... *dramatic pause* Roll on the table for Collateral Damage Consequences. That's right, we now use table-based dice rolling technology. Don't worry, we're not rolling for 1d666 random civilians killed or anything silly like that.

Example results in the table include:

-The warehouses of major food providers are destroyed and there is a shortage of food for a month.
-Fires break out. An NPC’s home is almost consumed entirely by flames.
-The newspapers decide the damage is your fault and begin a smear campaign against you.

If you're using the Relationship Themes Module, the NPCs affected by this are, of course, the Relationship Theme ones. Nothing to strain an alliance like irradiating someone's home with beam weaponry.

The Collateral Damage rules are pretty simple and are mostly a way to add some roleplaying-based constraints to Operations and facilitate drama during Intermissions.

Faction Attributes and Faction Tests

The last Module of Faction Management are Faction Attributes and Faction Tests. Each PC Faction has three Attributes: Military, Holdings and Influence. All PCs can delegate important tasks to their minions subordinates comrades nakama to be solved offscreen while the PCs handle more pressing matters. This is done via Faction Tests, which are rolled using Faction Attributes.

If you're using Relationship Themes, then recruiting an assigned NPC grants a permanent boost to one of the Faction's Attributes. An ace pilot grants a Military bonus while a psychic who can see the future can either grant Holdings or Influence depending on how you use their talents.

Let's have a look at the Attributes and what they can do:

Military is a Faction’s sheer war prowess outside of the PCs themselves. This covers the Faction’s available troops, their organization, equipment and even their morale. Military is an abstract measure involving a lot of factors, so a militia corps with a handful of Mecha can have the same Military score as a single ace backed by a well-prepared support crew. With low Military, the Faction lacks manpower, equipment and reliable leadership. With high Military, they're an elite force of renown and the favorites of would-be supervillains that need the raw muscle to help them take over the world.

Military Tests can be used to raid enemy supply camps for resources, stage diversionary attacks to divide and confuse enemy forces before an Operation, or to assist in battle with Reinforcements.

Holdings represent the Faction’s available budget and whatever reserves they have, as well as the territory and workforce that helps them grow. Holdings can originate from your Faction’s raw treasury, the goods that it does business with, and fertile land it protects. With low Holdings, people may not even have a roof to sleep under and it is a miracle the Faction is still together. With high Holdings, the Faction is its own independent nation and a world superpower that other countries will turn to for financial support.

Holdings Tests can make Military or Influence Tests easier by hiring mercenaries or bribing/blackmailing enemies. Holdings can also be used to fix the Consequences of Collateral Damage, if you're using that Module.

Influence is the most abstract of all Faction Attributes, representing political power and espionage skills. It measures how well it knows about what is going on behind closed doors and how many strings it can pull to control things behind the scenes. The Faction with low Influence has no political relevance whatsoever. At best, they’re aware of this. At worst, they will just be taken advantage of a lot. The Faction with high Influence is the kind of thing that paranoid people make up conspiracy theories about... Except all too real.

Influence Tests are some of the most straightforward. The Player asks the GM a question and receives an answer with varying degrees of detail and accuracy based on the result of the Test.

Wrapping Up

And that's Faction Management. The Modules started out as Base Management and was about acquiring resources then choosing how to spend them, taking inspiration from simulation or strategy games. They evolved very quickly into having a focus on roleplaying politics and leadership, phasing out the last remnants of Base Management entirely during the last few weeks in lieu of more depth for the options presented today. This change in focus works much better for a system like BCG, in my opinion.

I should write someday about subsystem ideas that were attempted but didn't work out and got scrapped, there's a lot of those. But for today, that'll be all.

Next week: Magic & Fantasy!

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