December 23, 2012

Halfway There

I somehow managed to eke this one out mid-December. I'll have more time once the holidays are over so I can hopefully churn out the revamp to characters and intermissions faster then. Have at you.

General Changes

-Still no ToC or Indexes because they take time and bookmarks serve the same basic functionality for online use. Yes, I will add them later.
-Moved 'The World' from Chapter 2 to Chapter 6.
-Expanded the introduction a little bit to compensate for the above two things.

Character Creation

-Four new Common Powers that encourage Weapon type specialization a bit.
-Buffed Target Lock
-Nerfed Pierce

Mecha Construction

-You may now apply your Upgrades and Weapons to any Areas without restrictions.
-Added Attribute Modules, Upgrades that provide a passive bonus to stats (like Enhancements) but can be maimed (unlike Enhancements.
-Slight buff to Battlefield Commander.
-Added Stealth Field Feature to Special Modes.
-Reinstated Terrain Adaptability Upgrades as Special Mode Variants.
-Modified Transformation and Frames.
-Buffed Expansion Pack.
-Combiners require to specify who they combine with beforehand.
-Overhauled Weapon balance.
-You can only have one each of Recharging, Technique, One-Shot and Remote Weapons for balance reasons.
-You can now give drawbacks to any of your Weapons regardless of their cost.


Playing the Game

-Disrupt halves Damage dealt instead of taking a disadvantage.
-Whenever an Area is Maimed the attacker picks which one gets taken out if the Damage dealt was odd, and the defender chooses the sacrifice when the result is even instead.

Running the Show

-Modified a few Features and added a new one, Power Armor.
-Bosses no longer gain new abilities when at low health, instead their Archetype(s) get stronger when they lose Levels and they are given new abilities after each Arc.
-Rebalanced some Boss Powers and Boss Weapons.

Playtesting was had to ensure free Beams weren't absolutely bonkers, Bosses were threatening, and Maiming wasn't mind-boggingly dull. Seriously, that table was bad. Also to compensate for Transformers no longer getting to switch their Chassis around, there are Attribute Modules which give you a small yet cheap boost.

Then there's the restrictions on limited-use Weapons (plus Remotes) and the chance to now give Weapons that cost 4 or less drawbacks. The main reason the latter couldn't be done before was because stacking dozens of One-Shots would be exploitable, to say the least, and in general the same could be said of anything that gives you ways to spam those. So now you can only have one of each of these, because you have three different ways to give color to your hissatsu wazas so make use of them all instead of just sticking to one. The nerf to Remotes is kind of necessary now that Beams are Energy free by default.

Bosses now start off a battle weaker than before (Archetypes do nothing at first) but grow exponentially stronger and they take even less effort to build this time around. Weapons have been slightly improved to make sure they can still bully PCs before they start being smacked around too.

Another thing I have in mind for the future is a small boost to Chassis stats to further differentiate them from each other and to improve general longevity, because offenses are that much stronger than defenses since 1.4 but I'm not doing anything like that until I'm sure about it. There's also one or two things about Combiners I want to sit down and see if they can be improved but that'll also have to wait.

And that's it for now! I'd like to have the next one sometime around January, so obviously you should expect it around February.


  1. Going down the list:

    The new Powers are...okay? They're not something that really needed to be in there, they kind of encourage even more of a glass cannon arrangement than is already there. I agree with the Pierce nerf, though, Target Lock buff is iffy simply due to how badly it screws over Personals but probably alright.

    Stealth Field is hilariously broken, you'd be a fool not to take it if you're an evasive type and even if you're a hybrid it's probably a must-have due to the sheer volume of Evasion it provides and not having to suffer any drawback for its use at all if you avoid getting hit. Not that a camouflage option isn't welcome, but as written it's far better than pretty much anything else.

    I'm still baffled at your decision to make Terrain Adaptabilities someone you have to turn on and off and that can only be activated once per Operation, primarily because that doesn't make even the slightest bit of sense from a narrative perspective. Hell, I'm not even sure it makes sense from a game balance perspective. What exactly is so broken about being able to fly, land, and then fly again?

    Switching the Evasion and Armor costs confuses me. Logically speaking, an evasive unit wishing to increase their primary defense needs to purchase just Evasion, while a tanking unit needs to purchase both Armor and Threshold. Weren't you the one who mentioned before that Evasion was better than Armor? If it wasn't true then, between Stealth Field and having the cost advantage it certainly is now.

    Expected Accuracy on turn 1 is still 5.5+3+1 = 9.5 to give Personals a 50% chance of dodging any given attack at best and more likely a 35% chance from a Missile or Ballistic weapon, so units are still extremely fragile. I was not fond of 1.33's frequent stonewalling, but this is much too far in the other direction. Of course Beams are overpowered if you're expecting units will always be hit often and by a large margin. If the expected Evasion was better you wouldn't need to be trying so hard to nerf them.

    Melee weapons getting Hungry for -3 while Beams get it for -2 makes them pretty much the only good option for finishers now. Certainly I'm glad to see Missiles get a much-needed nerf to their range, although they can now achieve an even more ridiculous 13 range, and I'm not sure why they'd be the only type to be allowed to break the cap on range imposed on every other type. The new restrictions on weapon traits, of course, chafe, and not for much benefit given it's silly to build a weapon at any cost other than 5.

    Overall, it's not much of an improvement over 1.4, almost everything I found wrong with that is still wrong here and in some cases more so.

    1. I agree that Stealth Field is too strong, but I'm not with you on your other complaints.

    2. A couple of notes before I run off to shop in a hurry:

      Terrain Adaptability -was- a thing you could switch on and off multiple times, but turning them on and off at will takes away from using them tactically, since you can just deactivate it at your convenience any time the drawback would come into play.

      If it helps don't look at it as an actual on/off switch, its more of a complicated process that is only guaranteed to work properly once.

      I am not sure what you mean by costs being switched. Armor is the one I've always said was better than Evasion, since it does the same thing but is almost twice as good at it.

      I missed taking down missile range to a max of 10. My bad there. Thanks!

  2. Never mind about the Evasion/Armor thing, I misread it. My bad.

    As for Terrain Adapatabilities, it's hard not to think of it as an on/off switch when that's what it is. If I want to switch into Getter-3 to go underwater, leave the water as Getter-1, and then dive back in as Getter-3, Getter-3 suddenly can't operate underwater anymore. That's a corner case, admittedly, but one on one of the three iconic giant robots, the ones the game should be able to replicate even if it could do nothing else. If raising the cost to make it available on a toggle is possible, that should be an option. This is another way removing Enhancements to Upgrades restricts the available gamespace, though, because now you can't have both.

  3. Much better changes this time, so more complaints on the "this needs numbers tweaked" front than actual function. I'll just go straight down the mecha construction chapter:

    -Experimental Reactor: I have a hard time envisioning anyone picking this. While it would be too powerful for it to be a 0 EN thing, I'm not even sure it would be a sensible pick even then. Its certainly in an odd place.

    -Chassis: Right now, everything [Titanic included] could probably use a +1 to Evasion. Or start tension at 0 or something. The most evasive chassis is still getting hit half the time in round 1, and those with crap evasion take damage just as easily due to the margin of success on hits, or worse if vs beam weapons.

    -Evasive Systems: The first two are basically not worth taking: They MAY occasionally turn a hit into a miss for a personal chassis in the earliest rounds but that's all. The Learning Computer is good, but is an inferior version of the stealth drive. ECS requires 2 EN per actual proper use, as otherwise its just a slightly cheaper package-deal of Tracking Systems, and, again, won't help much after a handful of rounds.

    Granted they may reduce the damage taken, but those points would have been more reliably, and more effectively, spent elsewhere.

    -Defensive Fields: These suffer from the same issues as Evasive systems, but are a bit more solid if not dealing with beam weapons. Again, its not that they don't work, but when the energy capacities got modified, a 1EN cost became a far larger percentage than before. That leaves us with deals that oughta be costing .75 and 1.5ish, but instead cost 1 and 2.

    -Battlefield Commander: Does this extend to the additional one you'd get with a subpilot? Probably yes, but deserves mention.

    -Stealth Field: Its too good. Not because it, itself, is too good, but because its exactly the kind of expensive super-ability that so many other current options fail to be. This is what ECS should be. This is the kind of thing G-Territory oughta be.

    Two special things here that I believe oughta not be 'modules':

    Terrain Specialist: There's almost no point in even writing the drawback section here. You just... don't turn it on if not in that terrain. Why would I actually waste time activating penalties in space because of land specialist? Even if a Z'Gok crawls out of the water, it can just turn it off.

    The other is Antigrav, but only half the time.

    Both of these [well, 1.5?] should be basic design decisions along with part of the Chassis. Antigrav is a fine optional module for a land or underwater unit, but the 'once per operation' is at its most odd there. However, the value of it is in being able to switch only: The drawbacks are pretty much a direct counter for the advantages. Toss in 'regenerative' terrain [bases, stations, etc in SRW] that doesn't work for a flyer, and you've a serious choice to make.

    tldr; Terrain Specialist should be like picking Chassis and Archetype: you either made a specialized unit or you didn't, and in an atmosphere its either a flyer by default [Space specialists need to decide whether they get cover or free movement...] or it isn't, and if it isn't you can purchase antigrav so it can switch at will between two fields.

  4. to continue [longwinded eh?]

    -Frames: Make it +2 per extra slice, above ten rather than @10.

    -Transformation: Not worth it. Not at that cost with the lack of space limitations. Transforming is nice, but we're looking at using 10 points to swap one upgrade plus a cheap weapon; points you'd have nearly as many of to just buy the damn things for the base chassis otherwise.

    -Expansion Pack: This is one of two things [its unclear] and has one of two problems as a result:
    1] All these upgrades are without a 'location', and so, so long as you never purge them, for 5 points, you've just gained immunity to maiming.

    2] They still have a location[arms/etc], so you get a one point weapon [probably a Blast one-shot or technique], and for 6pts you get to halve damage once after its been fired. But why would you ever put more points into it than that? You'd be shooting yourself in the foot.

    Custom Beams: Why can't they be Heavy or Recharging? Think that mega-beam cannon "He is a Char" used in Zeta, attached to zakus for its power-feed, or any other number of bigass beam weapon?

    Custom Missiles and Ballistic: Reliable's way too expensive here. For one thing, they're already reliable half the time. Why wouldn't you just... buy accuracy for those points?

    Again, overall, love the work and the new version. Mostly just small tweaks, but I'd rather explain myself instead of screaming "no I don't like this make it that".

  5. The effort gone into explaining your point of view is very much appreciated, thank you. I would love to respond faster and generally write more but my ISP is evidently not in a cooperative mood these holidays.

    I basically either agree with you on most points in some way or another, so I'll point out a few things that aren't quite HUGE POST worthy of themselves (yet?).

    Experimental Reactor is powerful. Very powerful and, more importantly, easy to abuse. It is very close to necessitating a nerf, but the energy hogging keeps it where it is.

    It is easy to forget that Evasion doesn't just null low accuracy attacks, it also weakens the ones that do hit. Even if you activate an Evasive System and didn't roll high enough to negate the incoming attack you are still taking less Damage.

    Permanent Terrain Adaptability Upgrades already exist in the form of Features. What I'm going to do for the next version is move the ones that make sense for PCs (Base Unit, Flyer, etc.) and move them to Chapter 2, keeping more questionable things like Squad and Biological in the GM's section.

    Regarding Weapon modifiers, the only reason Beams cannot be heavy or recharging is that they would eclipse ballistics and missiles way too easy. Reliable costs about as much as a +3 to Accuracy, which is roughly what an Advantage boils down to, but skews the math a lot more towards your own favor - specially with things like unreliable and overheating in the mix. Trading two Advantages for a bonus d10 is also one hell of a benefit.

    I should have most of this stuff addressed sometime this month.


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