January 5, 2014

Genre Powers and Enemies in Battle Century G

It is a new year and by the end of this month I expect to have something to show of the new game. Is this a promise? No, it is more a statement of intention. So let's get started on today's post and I'll get back to working on the game. Today on exhibition we have the Genre Powers that I talked about previously but weren't quite balanced enough yet to show off and, on the GM's side of the ring, enemies and their new toys.

You've got the Touch

I mentioned before that there will be less Genre Powers to go around for Battle Century G, but that they will be stronger by comparison to compensate. Everyone has the Default six Powers, which are largely like their GGG versions, so let's move on to the Powers you get to pick for yourself. Remember, there are no packages this time around, so you can mix and match Powers suited to different roles if you'd like to do that.

Signature Weapon (Specialist)
Type: Setup Power
Effect: Choose any one Weapon you have when you take this Power. Activate Signature Weapon to make your next Offensive Action using the chosen Weapon immune to the effects of Active Defenses and increase the result of its Might Test by 5. You may use different Signature Weapons during the same Operation.
Description: “FINAL ATTACK, SKULL COLLECTOR!” The Demiurge violently tore off the head of the alien monster, and impaled it along the other 49 on its crystal-riden back. “YESSS, I AM THE BEST AT SKULLS!”

Having only one attack and defense stat instead of two, this basically doubles your offense and halves enemy defense, so it'll hit like a colony drop. On the other hand, it can only be used once per Operation and only with a specific Weapon, so you have to plan for it and time it properly. It is the go-to power of choice for Offensive specialists who just want raw power.

But it is not the only offensive option.

Got you where I Wanted
Type: Reaction Power
Effect: After dealing Damage to an Enemy through a Might Test using a Melee Weapon, you may slide the target a number of Zones in a direction of your choice equal to half the Damage dealt this way. If the target is in a Duel, this will cause them to Disengage, and if you drag them into your Zone you may force you both into a Duel. You may not use this Power more than once per Offensive Action.
Description: Isaac made his Gear tackle a Botakuri, the team was being swarmed and they had to corral the hordes one way or the other. “ORYAAAAAAAAA!!” One giant robot lifted the other, swung it around like a flail, and violently threw the Botakuri back into the killzone.

Melee Weapons are consistently stronger than Shooting ones once you've locked down your target, and this Power helps you set up that scenario. It also lets you knock an Enemy all the way across the battlefield into a patch of Extreme Terrain or the middle of your allied forces. This would be too powerful on a Shooting Weapon, but as a Melee one it works just right. Take note how it synergizes with Weapon Master too - that Upgrade already lets you bypass active defenses and makes all your Melee attacks stronger, so you're better off with this rather than Signature Weapon.

Sniping the Targets
Type: Setup Power
Effect: Gain an Advantage to your next Might Test using a Shooting Weapon. Increase the maximum Range of that Weapon by 10 for your next Offensive Action. You may not use this Power more than once per Offensive Action.
Description: The G-Bow was already at maximum output, yet the target was beyond what Charlotte already knew was her effective range. So she aimed upwards and fired, piercing the clouds with a burning arrow that struck down its target like a meteor. “I didn’t make Archery Team Captain collecting coupons, mate.”

This one is a little like an Aim Action, except it grants less power and has longer reach. More importantly, it stacks with Aiming, giving you a Range of around 20 if you combine those, and higher than that with a Long-Range gun. That is more than enough distance to let you activate Weapon Master's barrier piercing ability safely, with your four Advantages to the Might Test (one from this Power, two from Aiming, one from Weapon Master). It is perfect for brutal opening salvoes.

You've got the Power

Powers can do more than just make you hit bad guys for bigger numbers, and there are several utility and support Powers to that end. Here's a few of them:

The Tacticool Approach
Type: Reaction Power
Effect: Replace your Might with your Systems to alter the result of a Test you just rolled or replace your Guard with it to change your Defense against a single Might Test.
Description: They both knew there was no way their flimsy weapons would overwhelm the Cryptid’s forcefield, but Jo kept typing madly as a dutiful operator “I am done redirecting all power to the Helix Cannon.” Harry gulped in response “So this is it. Win big or go home.” his trigger finger sweaty and itchy. Jo just chuckled “My suggestion? Hold on to your butt.”

Systems-users have several tricks up their sleeve to fight head to head with Might and Guard specialists. This is one of them. It is not as strong as the others, and requires a specific build, but it can be used multiple times to compensate.The best part is that nothing about it is random, and because it works at Reaction Speed you can just activate it when you know you need an extra one or two points to negate an enemy attack or to bypass their defense.

This is my Trump Card (Specialist)
Type: Setup Power
Effect: Choose a combination of External Upgrades or Weapons that Costs no more than 10 MP when you take this Power and assign it to a compatible Area. Activate This is my Trump Card to gain those Upgrades or Weapons until end of Operation. You may not use more than one instance of This is my Trump Card per Operation.
Description: “Give up, you’re out of ammunition and surrounded, be reasonable!” The enemy shouted.  “NO, I REFUSE!” Came the reply from the silver-coloured Gear. It flew into the air and began bombarding its enemies with a rain of fireballs. “I TOTALLY HAVE ICE MISSILES TOO!”

That whole thing about GP being worth 10 MP comes back full circle here. This only gets External abilities, so you cannot use it to get an Assistant. Other than that, it is notable for being weaker than its GGG equivalent, mostly because the original was ridiculous - now you get one third of a Power Level, not a full Power Level.

Cool your Jets
Type: Setup Power
Effect: Any one Enemy has their available Energy halved and will suffer a point of Damage per Energy point they spend for a Round.
Description: Kao dodged another hit from the immense Outsider, and another, and another. He kept dodging until he found an opening to slide the G-Drain underneath the enemy’s feet. The device activated and began to drain the power away from the monster’s Gravagne Field. “Ever heard of fighting smart, not hard?”

In a game where Energy is a resource that regenerates consistently, just losing a few points vaguely counts as a nuisance. At the same time, just shutting down someone's entire Energy reserves is often a death sentence, so there's gotta be a balance somewhere. With this, you can still potentially ruin their entire battle plan, though not destroy them outright - which is fine, you are playing a support role after all!

Mind Over Matter
Type: Reaction Power
Effect: You or an Ally get to treat Maimed Areas and halved Attributes as normal for a number of Rounds equal to your Power Level. Mind over Matter will also stop effects that halve your available Energy, even if the Attribute itself remais untouched.
Description: The Cryptids netted another ally with their labryinthine restrainments, capturing the Paladin much like a spider would web a fly. Russell drawled “You know what I call people who rely on all this fancy bullshit instead of giving their enemy a good scrap?” After a short wait, he spilled the punchline “Cowards.” With a flex of their synthmuscles, he and his comrades broke free.

This is one of the weaker support Powers in that it doesn't give any hard bonuses, it only cancels penalties. But boy does it stop those penalties hard. Enemies relying on debuff gimmicks can be quite nasty if you're unprepared, so as a reward for your foresight you get to shut them down for potentially the entire battle! And yes, there's a few more mechanics that draw from Power Level for strength, though they're mostly support-oriented because the stuff meant for direct combat uses Tension or half-Tension instead.

Enemies and Power Level

Much like with GGG, I want GMs to be able to populate whole encounters full of diverse enemy NPCs in a way that is quick and fun. The general idea behind enemy design in BCG is going to be pretty similar to that of GGG, we'll have Grunts, Rivals and Bosses. Because of the Power Level system, we can scale them to have hordes of mooks made out of explodium and superbosses that take on entire parties on their own, as well as elite mooks and minibosses to go with it.

Grunts lack Genre Points and have Attributes corresponding to one Power Level below PCs. Bosses have special abilities and Attributes corresponding to one Power Level above the PCs. Rivals are the equivalent of PCs but without Themes.

You'd think that creating a high-level Boss would take a whole lot of math and time with all those points to spend on Attributes. You could take your time getting Bosses just perfect, yes. Or you could grab one of the templates below, maybe switch some Attributes around, and call it a day.





These tables are made assuming you spend around 60 MP on Upgrades and Weapons, and everything else on Attributes - you can adjust the Power Level used to compensate around changing that around. There is no Power Level 0 listed because that is just three stats at 4 and three stats at 0.

This should keep enemy generation quick, and also help out anyone who wants to start a game at a higher Power Level than normal.

Bosses Then

I like the way GGG did Bosses conceptually but obviously a lot of the rules won't translate very well (or at all) to BCG. Not only are the various stats different, but the reduced HP totals mean that it is more likely for a Boss to get blown up before they show off their Level 3 abilities.

To fix this they have higher Attributes than normal and most of their special abilities improve their survivability, or are designed around getting beat up. Bosses are a special case in that their Attributes go up while they still get more special abilities with every Power Level. This basically means that they grow twice as fast as PCs do.

What about Boss abilities? Glad you asked:

Your Fate is Sealed
Type: Setup Power
Effect: One Enemy loses the benefit of Tension to Might Tests and may not have any lost Threshold restored for a number of Rounds equal to your Power Level.
Description: Her Gear was unresponsive no matter how much she tried to steer it out of the monster’s way. It wasn’t until Bunny looked into the Cryptid’s piercing eyes for herself that she realized her Gear was frozen in terror. And so had she.

Bullet Hell
Type: Internal Upgrade
Level 2 Effect: When you enter this Level, Enemies within an amount of Zones equal to your Systems must Test Speed against a DN of 10, taking the amount the fail the test by as Damage.
Level 3 Effect: As above, but the DN is of 15 instead.
Level 4 Effect: As above, but the DN is of 20 instead.
Description: When you’ve got more enemies than limbs, it is a good idea to pack several dozen energy cannons. A neat bonus is that your ever-growing colorful patterns of destruction are almost hypnotic to look at.

Ultimate Bomb
Type: Shooting Weapon
Effect: Long-Range. This Weapon is like a Blast but with 10 Zones in radius. If you are within its area of effect, it will cause you to attack yourself.
Description: The UEF’s mighty 3G-Bomb is one of the most fearsome tools of mass destruction ever devised. Preferably do not launch it against anything less than a dozen kilometers away. In fact just do not launch it.

Your Fate is Sealed is nasty. It shuts down Techniques and Regeneration-based defenses pretty hard, forcing you to come up with a new plan or to fall back and play a supporting role until the effects fade away. Bullet Hell is one of a number of Upgrades that trigger special abilities after their Threshold Level was breached. And Ultimate Bomb is horrible to deal with when the enemy has Terrain on their side or bulky Grunts to block your way. Units don't usually hit themselves with Blasts, but with this one they will, so get up close and force them to change their plans.

By the way, Boss Weapons cannot be Maimed, but you can still gain benefit from Maiming certain Bosses

Type: Internal Upgrade
Effect: At the beginning of your Turn you may spend any amount of Energy to restore half that much Threshold to yourself. Whenever one of your Areas gets Maimed, one of your Attributes is halved. Losing the Head halves your Systems, the Torso halves your Guard, the Arms halve your Might and the Legs your Speed.You ignore the Ejection rules, and losing the fourth Level of Threshold kills you.
Description: Both Outsiders and Cryptids have very unique physiologies. The bad news is that they are relentless and will heal any wound that is not fatal in time. The good news is that their bodies are unstable, paradoxically reacting the most violently to Element G, the substance they seem to be made out of.

This serves two purposes in making Bosses harder to kill while not rendering them completely immune to the whole Maiming mechanic. Giant monsters have longer fighting matches on their side so you can't afford to let them live for long, but blowing up the right body part can be a deciding factor in ending the battle with fewer casualties.

Any good sequel knows what things to keep from from the original, and Enemy creation possibly changed the least from GGG to BCG as far as big things go. For the most part it is just a refinement and adaptation of the old version to fit better the gameplay of BCG. The Power Level system lets you get away with encounters that were kind of hard to set up before, and there's going to be a sidebar with suggestions to make Enemies going beyond Power Level 5. Mostly Bosses, because that's what you want to do with them anyway.

But this is not over yet.

Bosses Now

Of course I'm not just stopping there when it comes to Bosses. Bosses have new toys to make not just more threatening and effective enemies, but also more interesting ones. For instance, if you think you can make easy pickings of a Boss while they're vulnerable out of their robot, then you'll be surprised when you find out they can read your every move.

Combat Profiling
Type: Boss Trait
Effect: At the beginning of your Turn you may ask one Player a single yes or no question about what their PC will be doing during their next Turn. If the Player abides by their answer, you also gain double benefit from Tension against them for a Round. If they do not, they lose a Genre Point. You may not use this ability more than a number of times equal to your Power Level per Episode.
Description: You have magnificent observation skills and put them to use during battle, and can read movement patterns from your enemies like they’re an open book. Just stay away from reckless savages who act crazy and break their mold.

As expected of Dark Overlord-sama, he is on a whole different level from the average PC!

Boss NPCs get one Boss Trait for each of their Power Levels, so expect the high tier NPCs to present a legitimate threat if faced early on.

Specially because you can't even overpower them with Mecha.

Giant Slayer
Type: Boss Trait
Effect: You do not halve the Damage you would deal against Mecha while on foot and they no longer deal double Damage against you. You increase your Defense by twice your Power Level against Mecha and may use Deathblows against them.
Description: You can fight toe to toe with giant robots, which is every bit as superhuman as it sounds. Enemies regard you as more monster than human, and they might even be right.

The first sidebar ever written for GGG was about fighting Mecha on foot and how much of a terrible idea it was. Also about how I wasn't going to include rules for playing Master Asia in the name of balance. While I still very much think that this should not be an option for the average PC, it is a perfectly valid thing for Boss NPCs to do.

But that is not enough power yet. If Boss Mecha of a high Power Level are going to be endgame encounters by their own, they need something more, something special and beyond regular Boss abilities. A Boss Capstone, if you will. One like this.

Type: Internal Upgrade
Effect: You occupy 9 Zones in a shape of your choice, chosen when you take this Capstone. All Zones occupied by your body count as Extreme Terrain for Enemies in them. You cannot Engage in or be Engaged into a Duel, but all your Melee Weapons gain an Advantage to their use, and Shooting Weapons used against you suffer a Disadvantage to their Might Tests.
Description: Giant robots are huge, yet you make them look like ants. You could raze a city to the ground in minutes just moving around, and without having to fire any of your Weapons.

Just standing near them is enough to make them swat you like a fly, and good luck outrunning a guy who is almost ten times your size. This is what you call a Boss Capstone, an ability so powerful you have to be of Power Level 5 to have just one of them. But a genuine final boss who flies solo will need more than one Capstone, because there's baddies, there's big bads, and then there's the vast and unknowable entities whose pure hatred for you and your friends cuts into your soul like a knife through butter.

Embodiment of Evil
Type: Internal Upgrade
Effect: Enemies must spend two Genre Points instead of one to activate Genre Powers.
Description: Your hatred for everything that lives is pure and relentless, flowing through all of your being. The heroes think they can face you with their clever plans, dramatic speeches, and great sacrifices. But you hate them so much that none of those things will matter. In the end, there is only hate.

Bosses of Power Level 5 get to have a single Capstone ability, but if you want a single enemy who can take on parties larger than 4 then you'll have to increase their Power Level beyond 5, upping their Attributes and granting them one more Capstone each Power Level. This in addition to, you know, having to deal with the regular assortment of Boss Powers, Upgrades and Weapons.

High-End Bosses with multiple Capstones should make for some really memorable boss fights. Add some Boss Traits for the on-the-ground encounters and you're a long way into making bad guys that Players will love to hate.

Anyway, that's all for today, join me next time when I make a more general theory post about the principles of game design I'm going for and show off some more stuff.


  1. Combat profiling
    "You may not use this ability more than a number of times equal to your Power Level per Episode."

    Don't use negatives in rule descriptions like that. Stick to the normal formula.
    "You may use this ability a number of times equal to your Power Level per Episode."

    1. Good catch. Thanks.

      This is why I'm going to need a dedicated editor to do quality checking.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.