November 4, 2012

Its the Same Genre with Different Flavoring

One of the goals I was aiming for with GGG was to make combat not feel repetitive, and a big part of that was making Genre Points a thing that took a while to replenish, making Genre Powers a thing you can only use one of in a single Round and not being able to repeat them in the same Operation. It added a lot to the tension of when to use any, and if to use them at all, in an ideal world this would have been a good thing.

For a variety of reasons this particular aspect of that noble goal was not as good in practice as it was in theory. I kept the basic concept of Genre Points and Genre Powers, but rewrote them almost entirely.

Earning Genre

Characters start not with three, but with a single point now, and earn more during Intermissions through Themes as before. The key difference is that points are reset in between sessions now, which should encourage their use. Additionally, Indomitable Colossus has been integrated into every PC Unit, you gain one more Genre whenever you lose a Level of Threshold during combat. After every Episode Arc, the Points that PCs start with every session increases by one. So during Arc Two you would start off each Episode with two GP, and after Arc Three is over you'd begin with four. This adds a sense of progression and makes it easier to wipe out mooks like they're trash.

Passive Benefits

These are more or less the same. Genre adds to your Defenses on the ground and to your Initiative at both scales, plus a few things make use of your Genre points as a seventh stat of sorts representing fine piloting skill and management of systems.

General Power Changes

Because there's less Points to go around now, Powers all have an universal cost of 1 Point now. Since you could potentially deploy with more Points than you have Powers (not a thing that should be common, but it -is- possible) you can use as many as you want in a given Round and can repeat a single Power in the same Operation. Some have special restrictions, like not being able to boost the same attack twice or against the same enemy, but for the most part you can use them as much as you can afford to. Add all these changes together and at the end of the day some of them got powered up, and mostly a lot of them have been toned down.

Power Selection

PCs start with six default Powers instead of three: The returnees Try Again, Mid-Scene Upgrade and Not so Fast, and the new cool kids that got a promotion Data Scanner, Live Another Day and Synchro Attack (!!!) because those things should be available to everyone at all times.

Instead of having a pool of Common Powers and giving each Nature ten exclusive Powers to themselves, there's eight Packages of Genre Powers. All Natures have a preference for two Packages, but you are not restricted in having to take them - they are just preferences. You pick two of those Packages during character creation and can grab anything that is from the Common Pool or from both of those Packages for your Powers.

As before you start off with your Default Powers plus three of your choice, and get a new one after every Arc. By the way, the special Traits each Nature gets related to Genre Powers are gone. Let's take a look at the kind of stuff we can get.

Common Powers: These have generally useful stuff, mostly ways to make your attacks stronger, plus energy replenishing and countering Enemy Powers.
Champion Powers: In the Champion Package you have ways of improving the user's survivability and long term resilience.
Trickster Powers: The versatile ones of the bunch, they are not as straight forward as the rest, but they really shine when you face something you were not expecting at all.
Assassin Powers: These are all about offense, as the name should make it plainly clear. It should be noted that while Common Powers have a variety of good stuff for improving your attacks, Assassin Powers are less general and more specific, so they are more powerful against the targets they're intended for.
Scout Powers: All about mobility, either in the form of evasion or extra movement.
Supportive Powers: With these you can buff up and, well, support a single Ally to great effect.
Protective Powers: The tank's favorite, great for redirecting the heat to themselves and paying it back double.
Director Powers: For the team leader that wants to support everyone at once. Usually the effects are weaker or more specific than the ones the Supportive types get.
Controller Powers: While these debuff and nerf enemies, single or group.

Overall these went through a bit of give and take, and should be a lot more balanced now that they've been standardized. I really did like the resource management aspect of the current version, and do think it managed to make each power more memorable, but I'm trying to do something that is actually good and not a vanity project here.

There is even a sidebar with rules for making use of the Default Powers during Intermissions. So I did more or less a full turnabout with this, in that Powers are cool and everyone should want to use them when possible. Like with anything that doesn't work, even the new stuff coming up in one week or two, there are no truly sacred cows.

And speaking of things to be slaughtered, the next thing I will be talking about are enemies.


  1. Sounds great. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

  2. I'm still not certain I like the idea of your Genre Point total being a stat that affects other things. I understand the concept of introducing tension between spending and not spending, but in my experiences such system just frustrate the player, as every time they're 'forced' to spend a point they're 'gimping their stats' because the dice were unfair or the GM 'put them in a tough spot'.

    Theres also the imbalance between campaigns where intermissions are more important and have greater impact on the story, and ones where Intermissions are just roleplaying oppurtunities to gain Genre for fights. These would have very different 'economies', as it where, and what might be balanced for one might be too tight or too lenient on Genre for another.

  3. The seventh stat isn't really that important unless you go out of your way to pick stuff that features it. It is entirely possible to play a full campaign only rolling it for initiative, and there's also an optional rule to replace it with a character stat, so you would be rolling fitness instead.

    The balance issues between different styles of games is a reasonable concern, I choose to look at it as the GM being able to manage the power levels more tightly. You know what they say about features and bugs? It is a little like that.


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