Jan 14, 2018

BCZ Retrospective XI: Limit Powers.

This is the last category of new Genre Powers and it has slightly more history than the others. A long, long time ago I wrote a series of blog posts about adapting anime to the BCG rules. The two series I picked for this were G Gundam and Gurren Lagann. For Gurren Lagann I decided the game should care about Tension more than the usual, and among the results were the prototype versions of these Powers. You can read more about them here. See if you can spot what else from that post made it into the expansion!

A small bit of trivia: In the early drafts of the BCZ, these were called Spiral Powers and the Rush Powers were called Limit Powers instead. I needed a new, setting-agnostic name for these, and 'Limit' sounded just right. I think Rush Powers got the short end of the stick in the end, but "Limit" fits these three much better than the other trio.

I Am Helping!
We begin with a Power that was commissioned very early on, it came in the form of the name plus its flavor text, meaning the mechanics were up to me. The idea of a Power that makes things easier while also making them harder is very amusing, but it took some effort to make it fun to play with and not just fun to read. This went through many iterations, during which it was a General Power most of the time. Sometimes it did bonus Damage but caused a Blast, other times it created Extreme Terrain under the enemy and you. It was an okay flavor fit, but it felt a bit forced. The final version is very weak on paper, especially under Tension 5, but the mechanics click together in a way that makes them larger than the sum of their individual parts. Suppressing the toughest enemy around is one of the easiest ways for anyone to contribute to the fight, but also makes it harder to move. Using this when Tension is 5 or higher means that forcing the enemy in place hurts a lot more than usual. Even if you only get the second effect by using Tension boosters, it is still a nice extra chunk of Damage. Of course, the problem is that Extreme Terrain doesn't distinguish between friend and foe, and one of the most effective ways to lock an enemy in place is to Duel them. This means that this Power is often going to hurt a friend (or yourself, if you're the duelist) on top of causing a nice chunk of collateral Damage. With this final version the flavor felt more natural and less forced, which I rather like.

I really like the idea of making your enemy's Weapons carry the Overheating/Unreliable drawbacks as a defensive ability. Unfortunately, doing that in place of just boosting up your Defense or punching the enemy harder is a bit weak. Luckily, I had to make three Powers that had very weak base effects but got considerably stronger after Tension 5. Coincidentally, they both hurt much more when Tension is high than when it is low. This all together meant I had to give a Power like this a try. Sadly, while it is conceptually cool, it suffers from a fatal flaw that is obvious in hindsight: It is a Defensive Power that needs you to survive to Tension 5 in order to get full benefit from it. If everyone is packing Limit Engines or spamming Tension-boosting Powers then it is great... Otherwise it comes online a little too late to be reliable, which is what you want from your Defensive Powers. Whoops!

Pierce the Heavens
This one is a straight up copy and paste from the Gurren Lagann post. I feel it is the best of the original bunch (that's why it has the best name!), embodying everything that the mechanic is good at: Punching things very hard. I don't have much else to say about it, it is easily the most straightforward to use and probably the one that makes you feel the most like a badass.

And that's the last of the Character abilities from Chapter 1. You are now entering Robot Land, Population: All The Animes.

Next: General Upgrades.

Gimmick Out.

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