October 23, 2012

Let's Talk Stats

More or less everything is in place by now regarding the mecha rules update, it'll just be a couple more rounds of testing with some editing passes until it is done. I can only really sit down to work on it during weekends and during the rare all-nighter in the middle of the week, so it'll be a handful of weeks more until it is here.

In the meantime, let's have a look at some of the content I've been hinting at but not actually sharing beyond super vague statements, starting with Mecha Attributes!


The six returning stats are divided into two sets. The first set is slightly weaker, so they tend to start higher and be cheaper to raise, consisting of Evasion, Threshold, and Penetration. The second set is slightly stronger, so they tend to start lower and be more expensive to enhance, consisting of Armor, Energy, and Accuracy.

Enhancement costs are 1/2/3/4/5 and 2/4/6/8/10. You can get enhancements during character creation with your starting 30 UP, but that is still not enough to top out an unit. Fully enhancing all your stats used to cost 40, now it costs a whooping 135. Suffice to say that is way over what one is expected to get over the course of an entire, super long campaign spanning months.

By contrast, most Upgrades are cheaper (they are bought fully enhanced, and often cheaper than at the current cost of the upgrade and enhancement combined) Weapons remain more or less the same as far as costs go, but you're probably going to get a handful of  Cost 5 ones and call it a day.

Why such a radical change from before? Because getting all the enhancements was a crazy good idea earlier, to the point it wasn't much of a choice - unless you had tons of stuff to enhance, you just did it. These modified costs mean that you can get anything but not everything. You want to be the fast guy, or the glass cannon, or the energizer bunny, you can do it and it is your thing. You're special, not just a little bit better than the rest at something.

The Mecha Attributes Themselves

Evasion is very good early on, not so good later on. Tension is harsh on dodge tanks, and of course they live by trusting on the edge by the luck of the dice that they won't get hit. It is cheaper than Armor because it just isn't as reliable at nullifying incoming damage.

Armor is great at this whole keeping you alive business at all stages of the game. In a vacuum it is the best of all stats, but against real opponents there are just too many ways to punch through or counter high-Armor builds. It remains more expensive than Evasion, though, simply because most of the time it is better.

Threshold still equates to four points of health per point in it, which sounds good on paper until you realize having 40 total Threshold is worthless if you are getting attacked for 20 in round 1 because you can't soak for crap. It is a good supplement to the other defensive stats, so it belongs in the group of the cheaper ones.

Energy is probably the most surprising change here, as one of the most expensive stats. Each point of Energy is now that much more valuable, but in turn the things that do require Energy have been strengthened considerably. Abilities that restore Energy are more widely available now, but are not as reliable.

Accuracy, more expensive compared to Penetration because effects that grant the full rollover to it are more common. It is therefore a slightly better offensive stat, since a high enough bonus in it can counter both Evasion and Armor, though it can be replaced by lucky dice rolls.

Penetration is the other guy getting a big makeover, mostly because it is no longer rolled. As such, each point of Armor is that much better. But Penetration is super cheap to pick up and there's very little they can do to counter that if you go crazy with it.

Maneuverability is our seventh stat. Wait, what? Well yes, it is there as the 'skill' stat to handle what the other Attributes don't, things like Initiative, Jury-Rigging, and miscellaneous things such as using your sensors or managing Gear subsystems. It is rarely rolled, though, and is not a stat proper but instead uses your Genre Points as a base. As an optional mechanic, you can replace Genre Points with one of your pilot stats to actually let your PC do the fine manipulation of their Gear.

Chassis Models

Currently Chassis types are going from one extreme of the speedy and energy-based type to the other extreme in being tanky and... tankier. That's gone. Every Chassis type has its own niche now. Personal is about speed and precision, Destroyer is about firepower, and Titanic is king of endurance. Dynamic gets to be the all-rounder of the bunch.

Kinda sorta. Destroyer can also be a pretty good all-around tank, Dynamic can be almost as good as the Personal model as a dodgy type, Personal can do better artillery than the Destroyer and Titanic... Well, they're really good tanks.

Now, some numbers: Non-Titanic starting Evasion values range from 5 to 10 (Titanic has 0), Armor goes from 2 to 7. Threshold is more or less as is now, Energy is at 5 or 6, and both starting Accuracy and Penetration go from 0 to 3 depending on the Chassis model.

You might have noticed that Hybrid is gone, and if you didn't then I am making sure you do right now. Yes, Hybrid is no more. It effectively got displaced in nearly every meaningful way by Dynamic, and so it went to a nicer place. A minute of silence please.

Okay, moving on.


What does this all mean? The summary is that the rock-paper-scissors effect of hyper-specialization is diminished, because doing so actually takes effort now. But at the same time if you do pull it off, by picking the specialized Chassis and sucking up the increased costs, you stand to reap better rewards from it because when you're good you're good.

On the GM/Designer side of things a lot of discrepancies with the combat math have been issued, and it is a lot tighter now. It used to be that all rounders would die horribly even against highly specialized attacks, but now they last about the same as defensive specialists against most things, and of course defensive specialists are shot down faster when they do get countered.

And that's a wrap for now, next up are Weapons.


  1. If you're dropping EN values that drastically and dropping means of restoring it, I certainly hope you'll be reducing costs. I can't see a Beam or even a Melee-based build in the current system working without Supercharged. And I'm very fond of Supercharged as the ideal for what a 10-point Upgrade should look like, so I hope you're not touching that one. Reliability is far more important than availability, none of the other energy-restoring abilities are particularly attractive in the current system precisely because they're unreliable.

    1. In other words, I hope I don't need to buy five different abilities just to represent that my machine never runs out of juice.

    2. Most things cost 1 and -sometimes- 2 energy to use, with like three overpowering premade weapons going a bit higher.

      Just to be clear, part of my intent is to disallow builds that -never- run out of juice (or never run out of anything, actually) but there is enough reliability built into the various options that having two of them might as well make it 'never' as long as you don't try to go 3x fast, barrier everything, and shoot death beams every round.

    3. See, I have a problem with that because it -really- cripples beam-based builds, and those are many of the iconic machines including virtually every Gundam, Orbital Frame, etc. Unless the majority of beam weapons will now cost 0 EN to use, there becomes absolutely no reason to use them instead of just picking up a solid-state gun and never having to worry about ammunition. Unless you're introducing ammunition, which I think would also be a mistake.

      The concept of the regenerating power supply is extremely common in any work of fiction that elects to make a limit on power supply an issue in the first place, I feel it would be a major mistake to remove it from the game. Especially since, as I said, all the other options are virtually unusable for how unreliable they are, dealing unpredictable amounts of damage to you or requiring you to spend a valuable turn for potentially next to no gain.

  2. If its to cover things like jury-rigging, and other things that don't involve, say, dodging or crit-avoidance, I'd rename maneuverability to something like 'flexibility', especially as if its based on your GPs, it'll go up and down.

    As for Energy, I actually expected it to go up, not down. Even at 2-per, that's THREE shots of your bits or beam cannon before you run out if your new tanks are just 6-deep. Previous EN was fine for those banking on it for shields or a few rounds of boosted evasion and accuracy, but you absolutely had to combine Experimental Furnace and Supercharged if you wanted to actually use beam weapons regularly.

    Unless of course you expected the fight to just last two or three rounds AND to have maxed your accuracy so the beams can actually be worth the expenditure.

    So what kind of regeneration are we looking at by default, that would make a small tank reasonable? Has "supercharged" been turned into the basic generator of all mechs?

  3. Yeah, the name of Maneuverability might end up changing, it needs to be something that gets the meaning across and doesn't sound too dull. The rationale for Flexibility is good though, I'll keep it in mind.

    As a note, I'd like to say that Limiter Release as exists currently is anything but bad, it is overpowered as a very solid and rather easy to abuse engine.

    Now to actually answer without having to dump walls of new content here (the thing that makes it the hardest for me to actually make these posts is figuring out what I can actuall talk about that won't be too easy to misunderstand without the rest of the game as context) for somewhere between 7 and 10 UP you're looking at a regeneration of fifteen energy, as a fixed value, at no action cost to yourself. There's more ways but those are arguably the best.

    I can't emphasize enough just how important those points are, though, when I say that Energy is powerful I do mean it. And that's why I want to talk Weapons next.

    1. But you said above, the maximum starting EN for a mech is 6, with +5 for upgrades, and +5 for the new Supercharged makes a maximum possible of 16. So why would you WANT to regen 15 energy? If we're just missing context, thats fine, but as things look from this distance, it doesn't seem to add up.

    2. Actually, with Exceptional Aptitudes no longer providing stat cap increases (a decision that's somewhat irrelevant with how much more it costs to boost stats now, but one I do support due to the impossibility of damaging 22-Evasion or 24-Armor machines for turns upon turns), it's only 11 maximum. As I said, it had better no longer cost energy just to fire a common beam rifle anymore or beams will decidedly be a sucker's choice, even more so than they are now.

  4. If you're allowing energy to be recovered at that quantity, though, then that makes me understand the removal of Supercharged even less. For almost any battle that amount of energy should be enough to last you, and in fact Supercharged will probably grant you a lot less over the course of a typical combat, but it's also a lot more faithful to large swathes of the genre than a one-time refill, which I can only recall about three shows utilizing outside one-off events relating to the monster of the week.

  5. Looks like Energy might warrant a post on its own. Suffice to say, active defenses are a thing everyone would like to have a couple uses of, and beams are not limited-use bullets.


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