October 14, 2012

A Small Speed-Bump

The rigorous playtesting phase is still going strong and entering the final stretch, things are starting to be set in stone. As far as the robots go, that is, because Intermissions aren't quite so lucky. Only the content related to Operations will be implemented anytime this year.

On the plus side, this was originally going to be a gradual series of changes (that got a bit out of hand with the domino effect) so I guess they can now be gradual-er and less sudden in general. It is also pretty cool that the robots are definitely going in first, since they are what people generally care about the most.

So what happened? Well, beyond life getting in the way and things simply taking longer than expected, I have something of a funny relationship with the rules for Intermissions: I would be fine not having like half of them at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud that it is simple but still crunchy, I love that it does not get in the way of but in fact enables the real meat of the rules, and its great to see how empowering it generally is while still presenting relatively balanced options. I like how it came out, flawed as it may obviously be - I am rewriting it after all.

But that does not change that I would be fine with just rolling base attributes for everything, with a couple advantages or disadvantages maybe, and calling it a day.

This is, obviously, not as fun a prospect for everyone else as it would be for me, so it takes a little bit more work than asking myself "What would be really, really awesome if I were this PC?". Worse, that approach works great for the robots but there's a lot of playstyles and design concerns to juggle in what is a 'generic' roleplaying system that has to stand on its own and do a little bit of everything but not lean too far in any direction.

Without going too much into detail, right now (as in, v1.33) the rules for Intermissions are longer than those for Operations, after taking into account that a lot of the rules for Intermissions are shoved into the Character Creation chapter

I am expanding them, I'm not actually taking out content, nor just changing it.

And when I have to get playtesting done? I would rather playtest the Mecha about 90% of the time because that is the part where spot-on rules matter the most. So when something doesn't play as well as it reads or has some other issue, it better not be fundamentally game-altering because boy there's a lot to change afterwards.

Well, I have to change something pretty fundamental, so it is going to take some time to get it right.

I could throw what I have together and slap it all on top of the cool new stuff that I know works, but I would rather take some extra time to get it done properly. So don't expect anything groundbreaking there (beyond Themes/Powers, which are more on the giant robot side of the equation anyway) yet, but if you want the real crunch of the game to be more fine tuned, expect something badass coming your way next month.


  1. I have a question concerning Halt action. If a weapon posesses Blast quality it beforementioned status effect affects one target, or everyone unfortunate enough to be in Blast radius?

  2. Halt can affect multiple targets within a Weapon's area of effect, as long as it beats their Armor that is. Any enemies within the blast that evade or soak it will not suffer any consequences.

  3. I'm rather fond of most of the Intermission rules as they are, actually, they cover skills in the right amount of depth and offer a good level of customization to make the system very flexible even on its own. Rules for opposed tests could use some reworking, but otherwise they're very strong.

    On the mech side of things, one thing I was wondering was if Beam weapons will receive any kind of boost. Beam Cannon in particular is pretty much worthless due to its energy consumption mixed with its terrible accuracy, such that for a decent ranged beam weapon you really have to consider Bits or Gunbarrels instead. Ground Zero, Scattering Beam, Lux Cannon, Incinerator and Giga Blaster are all excellent for what they do, as are Gunbarrels and Bits, but Beam Cannon and to a lesser extent Beam Rifle are distinctly underpowered compared to and less flexible than their Ballistic counterparts. There's also no "eye lasers"-type weapon with comparable stats to a Vulcan.

    The best solution I've been able to find so far is to say you can swap the type on an existing weapon, such as giving Vulcans Beam instead of Ballistic and otherwise keeping the stats the same, but outside that case this results in beam weapons that don't cost EN, or in sillier cases guns and missiles that do. Beam weapons have the array of interesting specialty weapons covered nicely, but they really have a terribly weak base, it would be nice to strengthen the bread-and-butter guns a bit and add some more variety to them.

  4. Also, regarding incremental costs to Basic Enhancements, would 1/1/2/2/3 or 1/2/3/4/5 be a more appropriate sequence? The former takes maxing all stats from 40 UP to 80 assuming weapons continue to cost twice as much, the latter from 40 to 120. If weapons cost 1 UP more than non-weapons of the same rank, their progressions would instead be 2/2/3/3/4 or 2/3/4/5/6, raising the total costs to 64 or 88.

  5. Don't worry I'm not going to do away with the simplicity of ground level mechanics that I myself like so much, the bulk of it is to make conflict there more interesting.

    Beam Weapons did get stronger. You have no idea how much I just want to upload the reworked mecha rules already, but I need to make sure everything is just right first.

    As for Enhancements, I am about to go there.


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