December 22, 2013

The Secondary Attributes of Mecha in Battle Century G

The last few posts have been about straight up combat specialists and the toys they get to play with, but Battle Century G has more diverse combat roles to offer. Giant robots are fine as primarily bruisers or snipers with an utility option or two, but other types of heroes have dedicated support characters to provide healing, weaken enemies, and empower allies. And you know what? Mecha can have some of that, too.

With the addition of Systems and Speed plus naturally regenerative Energy, there's tons of things you can do if you choose to skimp on the other Attributes. There are three Upgrade lines going by the names of Restoration, Mobility and Support which exist exclusively for the sake of PCs that choose to focus on those stats either as their primary or secondary Attributes. They're ideal for units that don't want to be frontline attackers or defenders and would rather help from the safety of the back lines.
Victory on the Heals of Defeat

Restoration Upgrades let you heal, resupply or otherwise fix up yourself or your Allies. They can be used an amount of times per Operation equal to your Systems, and that goes for all of them together, not individually. They are very similar to Support Upgrades from GGG, though the name has been reassigned to a different line of abilities. We'll talk about those in a bit.

Name: Resupply
Type: External
Cost: 5
Effect: As an Action, you may restock a single One-Shot Weapon or Support Upgrade after it has been spent. You may use Resupply on yourself or an Ally within 1 Zone.
Description: You have a comically big backpack with all the supplies you and your team could ever need to keep their weapons functional. It does not slow you down much, but it does stick out like a sore thumb so be careful with not letting it get caught in the crossfire.

Name: Jury-Rig
Type: External
Cost: 10
Effect: As an Action, you may spend any amount of Energy to restore that much Threshold to yourself or to any one Ally within 1 Zone.
Description: You carry a dispenser of fast-repair nanomachines and enough metaphorical (or literal) duct tape to keep allies from falling apart.

Notice how Jury-Rig is more deterministic now - what you get is what you put in. It is also deceptively powerful. Consider that an average Energy and Systems lets you share 16 Threshold among your Allies - that's the HP total of someone who has an average Threshold! You can extend the lifespan of your team considerably if you specialize on Energy and Systems, but you need to put yourself at risk by getting close to the battle then spend your precious Actions there. And yes, I promise we'll get to Support Upgrades soon.

But first let's touch on Mobility Upgrades, which increase your... well, your mobility. They're pretty self explanatory and don't really have any unifying rules to them so let's get to the examples:

Name: Anti-Gravity
Type: External
Cost: 5
Effect: At the beginning of your Turn, you may spend 1 Energy to ignore the effects of any hindering Terrain and be able to shoot through a Zone occupied by an Enemy to reach another behind it as if they weren’t there. These benefits last for a Round. This Upgrade has no effect underwater or in space.
Description: Even though many Gears can jump inordinarily high or carry long-range Weapons to make up the difference. The ability to fly and move in three dimensions provides a lot of advantages that can easily turn the tide of a battle. Do not underestimate it.

Name: Reversible Thrusters
Type: External
Cost: 10
Effect: Anytime you take an Offensive Action, you may Move in any direction with it. The target must remain within a valid range after moving.
Description: With reversible thrusters you can move at full speed back where you came from without having to turn your back on the enemy. Put all that targeting equipment to use while pulling back with the dogfighter’s top pick as far as system improvements go.

Anti-Gravity is very similar to the version GGG uses except it has no downside because is not a special mode, and most of GGG's special modes received a similar treatment. They lost their downsides, became part of the general game rules, were rolled into other abilities or had a fate along those lines.

More interesting are the Reversible Thrusters, favorites of anyone who is not a fan of getting shot in the face and wants to let their friends take the heat for them. With slightly above average Systems, plus a Long-Range Shooting Weapon, you can fire away from as far as 15 Zones.

But just how strong is it? 15 Zones in Range sounds sounds like a lot when you can run away and shoot at the same time. Surprise surprise, it is far from unbeatable. With slightly above average Speed (5) and a Shooting Weapon you can already reach a target 10 Zones away from your starting position in a single Turn, if your Shooting Weapon is Long-Range and your Systems is 5, then you are pretty much set.

What about those poor Melee specialists? Are they doomed to curse this Upgrade and swear revenge on the bloodline of the user? As a duelist you can just invest in Speed and Boost during your Turns. The Enemy will get a couple of free shots, sure, but you will inevitably catch up soon. Incidentally, this could lead to Benny Hill chase scenes, so we'll need a new type of Terrain to put limits on that: Impassable Terrain, which you cannot walk or fly over, blocks line of sight, and grants cover against attacks from that direction.

Speed and Reversible Thrusters add a new dimension to combat: Managing your Range. Usually Melee specialists have the upper hand against Shooting experts, because once the former catches up to the latter it all goes down pretty fast. With this ability thrown into the mix, the odds are more even. Sure, they may still be able to Rocket Punch you, but by keeping your distance you are effectively disabling their strongest Weapons.

The Battlefield Commanders

Our last Upgrade line for today is for dedicated support units who want to do more than heal and resupply their allies: Support Upgrades. These are the replacement for Sidekicks and Remote Weapons, representing NPC allies in battle. The way they work is much like the Reinforcements I wrote up a while ago for the never-to-be manual of supplemental GGG material. How similar are they? See for yourself.

Name: Assisted Targeting
Type: Separate Upgrade
Cost: 5
Effect: One Ally gains the benefits of the Aim Action to their next Offensive Action this Round.
Description: With some help from your friends in the sidelines working the supercomputers, you can mark and track targets in a fraction of the time it would usually take for you to pull it off.

Name: Electromagnetic Detonator
Type: Separate Upgrade
Cost: 5
Effect: All Units within a target Area the size of a Blast have their remaining Energy halved for this Round.
Description: Most Gears these days are shielded from electromagnetic pulses, and trying to disable them that way is usually a fruitless effort. But that does not mean they are immune, and a well-placed EMP can still ruin their battle plan.

Name: Ensnaring Trap
Type: Separate Upgrade
Cost: 10
Effect: One Enemy halves their Guard and Speed for a Round.
Description: The overconfident always walk into their doom. The problem is that they usually don’t stay there waiting for it to come and get them. Enter this entrapment system, thinly disguised as part of the background, webbing down and trapping foes with wires made of reinforced Element G. With any luck it will hold them in place just long enough to fall prey to whatever other devious ploy you have in mind.

Name: Fire at Will
Type: Separate Upgrade
Cost: 10
Effect: One Enemy suffers the effects of Extreme Terrain during their next Turn. Anti-Gravity and Flyer cannot be used to avoid this ability.
Description: Friendly battleships, VTOLs, and tanks are no replacement for giant robots, but boy does their sheer volume of fire help.

How do they work? Support Upgrades require an Action to activate and have a Range of twice your Systems Attribute - way longer than most Weapons will reasonably reach. They are spent after use though, so while they are pretty powerful you do have to think about using them, which is fine if you just want to have one or two of them for emergency uses. But the dedicated Support User has something else to work with...

Name: Commander Type
Type: Internal Upgrade
Cost: 10
Effect: You may use any Support Upgrade you own at the beginning of your Turn by spending 1 Energy instead of using an Action.
Description: You’ve got a special neural interface for a faster, yet more refined manipulation of all AI Units directly under your command.

If you've been paying attention, you will remember that Resupply can restock your Supports. That means you could spam the same Support for as many Turns as your Systems Attribute allows, continuously spending it at the beginning of your Turn then Resupplying it with your Action. You can grant yourself an Aim bonus and shoot during the same Turn, or Ensnare an Enemy right before Fire at Will to make it really hurt, because Speed is now a factor in surviving Extreme Terrain. There's a myriad of uses for Supports, specially if you can use them without having to spend an Action.

And that is a wrap for this week. We still have to take a look at all the rules for fancy robots like Transformers, Multipilots and Combiners, which we'll do right before the end of the year. Now if you excuse me, I have presents to buy, because I'm told I need some of those to celebrate a Merry Capitalism Day.

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