Feb 14, 2016

BCZ Previews. Chapter 2: Part II.

It is time to talk about our next selection of rules modules, belonging to the Magic & Fantasy category. They are ideal for games set in a fantasy landscape with robots or about fusing magic and technology to battle eldritch deities from outer space.

Rituals and Expanded Miracles

Rituals are a new way to use Miracles. Like the name says, they’re not spontaneous shows of power but rather methodical applications of it. A Ritual is an Extended Test with one character as the lead ritualist, though other characters may also participate (in the form of a Help Test) if they are also trained in the corresponding Miracle. You can gain one Advantage to the Extended Test if you take one hour per attempt or two Advantages if you take one day per attempt. This way it is much easier to reach DNs of 20 and higher.

Battle Century G generally sticks to examples of what you can do with DNs of 15 and under, but here you will see what you can get away with DNs of 20 and over - well beyond the scope of what could be considered ‘normal’ even in the realm of anime. Activating these abilities is difficult, with good reason, their power will cast a long shadow over the game once they are made available, that’s why there’s only three such uses for each Miracle. Here's some of them:

Electricity

  • Assuming Direct Control DN (20): Take over any electronic device, including Mecha, for the duration of the current Scene. Giving them commands uses Actions, but you do not need to keep activating this Power to mantain the effect. The controller of the device may spend a Genre Point to cancel this effect.
  • Lights Out (DN 25): You release a magnetic pulse that shorts out or disables all electric or electronic devices in a radius of 1 kilometer. You can choose to preserve individual devices that are within your line of sight at the time of activation.
  • Upload (DN 30): You project your mind into a computer, transforming yourself into a digital intelligence. Your physical body becomes inert and dies within a few hours, but you are no longer tied to it. The only thing that can hurt you are viruses and data corruption or deletion, but you can make backups of yourself anywhere. You can still use your Fitness and Awareness Attributes while controlling a drone or some other kind of Proxy.

Matter

  • Fade Into Light (DN 20): You can destroy inert matter with a touch, reducing an object of a size no more than ten cubic meters into energy. The object turns into tiny specks of light that fade into the sky shortly thereafter. You can control the shape of what you destroy this way, so you could use it to sculpt statues or dig a tunnel with a maximum length, width and height of up to ten meters each.
  • The Perfect Tool (DN 25): You improve a piece of Equipment to perfection, making it grant double the number of Advantages to all Tests it usually would. If it is a Proxy, it has double the amount of Plot Armor. This effect lasts an Episode Arc.
  • Raw Creation (DN 30): You create something out of nothing. This object can be anything of up to ten cubic meters, though complex objects with moving parts made of very dense and difficult materials can be of up to five. Who needs to transmute lead into gold when you can just create your own hoard?

Portal

  • Wormhole Step (DN 20): You create two short-lasting portals, one next to you and another anywhere within your line of sight. You step through this portal and it immediately closes afterwards. You have effectively teleported.
  • Permanent Portal (DN 25): You create a Window as usual but it lasts until you dismiss it and does not count against your maximum number of Windows you may have. When you step through any of your Windows you choose which other you can emerge from. As long as you have one or more Permanent Portals active, looking through one of your Windows shows a blurry combination of all places it is connected to.
  • Super Dimension Fortress (DN 30): You create a lasting pocket dimension of roughly one hundred cubic meters. This pocket dimension may be accessed from a hidden dimensional door placed anywhere you wish. As is, there’s not a lot you can do in this area devoid of features, light and life, but you can bring your own stuff in here to make it cozy, since it seems to have breathable air. This pocket dimension cannot be seen from the outside and others need your explicit permission to cross the portal.

The Magic Skill

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. This Rules Module adds Magic as a General Skill for all PCs. This is just a knowledge Skill, it doesn’t grant any special powers and doesn’t interact with Miracles until you get the Arcanist Trait. If you want to cast spells, that’s what Miracles are for, and with this Module all Miracles are considered magic spells. This Skill can be used to identify magical creatures and objects or research a legendary curse. This often means the character has spent months, if not years, studying magic. If Magic is a suitable replacement for technology in the setting, then this Skill can be used to operate or disable magic devices.

Then there is the Arcanist Trait. Being an Arcanist lets you Test Magic as if it were a Miracle to dispel the ongoing effects of other Miracles or to counterspell them as they are being cast. Depending on your setting, the Magic Skill might completely replace Electronics. In that case, Arcanist can also replace Electricity to fulfill a similar role.

Elements System

This Rules Module introduces elemental magic to your game. There are four Elements: Fire, Air, Water, Earth. All sources of Damage are either Elemental (and attuned to one of said four Elements) or non-Elemental. All Mecha now have an Elemental Weakness and an Elemental Resistance, which must be each to a different Element. An Elemental Weakness adds one Advantage to Might Tests from sources using that Element while an Elemental Resistance adds one Disadvantage instead.

So which attacks are Elemental? The ones using Beam Weapons, now flavored as magic-powered weaponry. When you take any Beam Weapon you must align it to an
Element of your choosing. This means that all Beam Weapons are now Elemental and non-Beam Weapons are always neutral to Elements. Extreme Terrain is Elemental when it is created from an Elemental source and neutral when it isn’t. Natural instances of Extreme Terrain can be Elemental or not at the GM’s discretion.

Some other (non-Weapon) sources of Damage are Hybrids, they are neutral to Elements by default but can be made Elemental if you choose to do so. Examples include Surprise Minefield and Fire at Will. These don't use Might Tests, so Elemental Advantages and Disadvantages are instead applied to the Tests made to resist them.

The Module also adds more Upgrades to help you build around the system. You can specialize around using one specific Element, grant Resistances to allies or inflict Weaknesses on Enemies. The Element System adds depth to the gameplay of Beam Weapons and encourages Players to either build around a favored Element or to diversify their Element choices so they will always have a good option available. They may also want to use non-Elemental Weapons and ignore the problems of relying on Elements as much as possible, but in general it is more effective to take advantage of the system.

Wrapping Up

And that's the Magic & Fantasy Modules. These Modules are some of the most straightforward in the book, and you can use one or more of them without having to include the others. You might remember the Elements System from an older preview, and the only thing that has changed since then is that the effectiveness of a Weakness or Resistance was decreased from two Advantages/Disadvantages to just one. An extra 4 damage with weapons that are already full of boosts was just too much for low level PCs to endure, so it got changed from two to one.

Next week: Hardcore Difficulty.

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