Episode 18: Commanders & Conventions
Hello again, dearest robot fans. It's time for another A.E.G.I.S. Update! Last time, we had just launched our Pledge Manager for all you backers out there, and before that we launched the Tabletop Sim and Print&Play demos! In the last few weeks we've seen a lot of games and got some great feedback. Continue to tell us what you think here, or the survey!
The End-Year Convention Rondo
Recently we've been at GeekGirlCon, SHUX and are soon heading to Metatopia!
Who's going to PAX Unplugged? We are! Come see us at the Copper Frog Games booth where we will be showing AEGIS, alongside our friends' game Pigment! It's launching on Kickstarter soon, give it a look!
The Big Chart
Those last updates didn't have a formal progress check-in, so let's revisit our friend here...
As you can see, the majority of things are now in the fabled ~*Column 3*~, meaning they're mostly done/received and are just going under rounds of tweaking and finishing before they're approved.
Let's look at the project's progress in motion:
Of course we would love for more things to be in column 4, but we're still on schedule for an early Winter release, so that's great.
Board Art: We've got some passes on Board Art! The four-player board art on the back of the main game board, and the 6-player neoprene mat. The brunt of the work here is done but we're going to be passing them back a few times for adjustments. Here's a peak.
Box Sleeve/Box art: The main development here is that I've realized that I'm too inundated finishing the rest of the game to do these crucial aspects in a timely manner, so I've reached out to our pal from the north, Stephen Gibson to assist with the glitz and glam on the box so it'll shine on the store shelves. As you can see from his work on Champions of Hara, the box is going to work great!
Robot Art: All 100 robot arts for the game are finished. Now the task is to finish updating some of the older art and finishing art for some of the Commander Variant robots. Not only is the bulk of the work here done, but we have some robot art in from the aforementioned stephen Gibson, which was unlocked at $51,500 of the Campaign.
Commander Art: Oh boy do we have Commander Art, it's all done! There are 18 Commanders in the game now, 10 of which are new. Today we'll take you through them after the progress recap.
Graphic Design Progress
Box Sleeve/Box Art: See above.
Ancillary Cards: Seldom brought up, but there are cards in the game besides robots, and they do require design and prose. These include cards for each Commander, Cover Cards for each deck that contain the pre-built team lists, and of course, Reference Cards with quick-peek ability definitions. They're mid-way through being done.
Robot Tokens: One of the last major things to overhaul are the Robot Tokens that you actually play with. Look forward to seeing these in the next update and/or at PAX Unplugged.
Game Design Progress
Wooo yeah! The core set is getting closer to done!
Overall robot balance: Keep the feedback coming! We are making adjustments to several robots in the demo in response to comments and internal testing, including but no limited to:
- Etwal's EXCEL-100's two actions are now one action that has more reliable damage
- Tigre Bros' GERR-022 getting more movement, less range to be a better vanguard
- Stell's SOL-100 laser is getting cheaper to use
- Sheriden's SALV-900 range getting +1 range on both attacks
- Accuracy buffs on various robots getting cost adjustments
- ARK-INADE is getting redesigned
- ARK-infinity (non-variant) getting a change so that Infinite ARK Blade rolls 9 dice instead of "pay 9, deal 9" - didn't feel climactic to use the attack
New Commander Abilities: We've been testing the five Kickstart Dawn Commanders right along, but the five other Commanders have no been implemented in the demo yet. Well, here they are.
All abilities and names subject to change - these are Abilities that can be equipped onto various Basic robots - each of these commanders favors one of the five Classes.
Mika the Red
Ability: Mirror Duel: This robot loses all Action Attributes. Whenever it targets an enemy, it gains AIMED if the target has an Action with AIMED. The same is true for CRITICAL, PIERCING, STUN and DISARM. This ability does not go away if the robot combines.
Equips onto A-Class robots.
Dominion Runaway Kal
Ability: Shaderunner: If this robot is adjacent to Terrain, it gains Jamming 2.
Equips onto E-Class robots.
Ability: Lootbreaker: Whenever this robot does damage, add that much Energy to your Energy Pool.
Equips onto G-Class robots.
Inquisitor Whitehelm, AKA Steven
Ability: Propaganda: At the end of each of your turns, choose an enemy. That robot has -1 Accuracy until your next turn. This ability does not go away if the robot combines.
Equips onto I-Class robots.
Retiree Cyborg Nolan
Ability: Fusion System: Whenever you combine, this robots Actions are free until end of turn. This ability does not go away if the robot combines.
Equips on S-Class robots.
Commander Variants: The other major thing not included with the current demo is the expansion of Commander Variant Robots. These 10 robots come with every Deluxe Box and can otherwise be added onto any tier as an Add-On. They are variant versions of robots already in the game, and use pieces that are already in the box.
Check them out!
The full list is here:
Featuring art by Emily Hancock
A robot representing the folk tales of Ainer's heroism, with the new ability Inspire
SSM-3000 [Sunset Mode]
Gamound's take on everyone's favorite GS missile-launching goat robot!
Stell's take on the AROZ-3000, now equipped with an Arcing Laser, and a powerful arrest ability that can be used on allies and enemies alike!
ELL-2000 [Duchess Mode]
Poppet's take on the EG flying bomb dragon!
Ryos' personal energy burning GI-Class tank - similar to the current GECL-2000, which is being reworked to do physical damage instead.
ION-5000 [Thunderbolt Mode]
Ryos's AGI electro-punching titan gets some grappling moves and reroll to punch better
ENDER-5000 [Super Mode]
Featuring art by Stephen Gibson
The Allied Provinces called for a hero, and down from the sky came this AES-Class machine. It hurts, it heals, and still packs quite a kick!
EXCEL-GAN [Super Mode]
Featuring art by Stephen Gibson
Our main villain Etwal is furious things aren't going his way, so he pulls out his AEG Excel-Gan's most powerful form!
ELL-GEL-ION [Berserker Mode]
Ryos and Poppet's tandem AEGI monstrosity enters the fray with a powerful new Commander Ability! But what does this mean for the world?
ARK-INFINITY [Warrior Mode]
Featuring art by Stephen Gibson
You'll just have to stay tuned to the monthly stories and see this one!
That's 110 total robots for all Deluxe backers! All this new content will be added to the demos in the next update.
AND NOW... Kickstart Dawn!
Here's yet more meat for today's update - art for the 10 new backer Commanders. These Commanders are found in the Kickstart Dawn expansion, the 5th of five sealed decks in the Core Box. Each Commander adds entirely new angle to the way you play and build your robot team. Shout outs to the amazing backers and Daniel Olsen who helped these characters come to life - some of the greatest ideas can only be found from outside input.
The Kickstart Dawn story takes place alongside and after our main Stellar Ascent storyline, in the Eastern plains of the Great States.
While the five nations are waging a bitter war, some people are just trying to get by, or make a profit off those just trying to get by. In a distant town in the middle of a vast plain, there's gold to be made digging up dormant robots. It's there we meet our resident hero and his hometown gang...
JURLON AND THE BRIGADE
Likes: Hard work!
Dislikes: Dexterity games
Jurlon is not a talented man, but is an incredibly nice guy with a lot friends. Being the most powerful warrior isn't always about strength, it's about having no enemies! Originally field worker, Jurlon's township has been nearly destroyed by nameless encroaching forces digging up all the land. So he, his girlfriend, his best friend, his coworking pals, the local mechanics, some entertainers, his cousins and his manager all got together and decided to fight back! They dug up some robots, fixed 'em up, tricked 'em out, and Jurlon installed the mysterious Nakama System he bought from overseas (putting him in crippling debt) - and so the Jurlon Brigade was founded. They fight as one, against many.
Luxiana is not very social; she’s considered to be a witch by those who've lived around her. She is one of the last remaining people who understands how to repair and work with robots dilapidated robots, being a descendant of those who held that knowledge ages ago. Covered in body markings that aid in her work, she was sought out by and now works for Vatis because of the opportunity to help rebuild robots and practice the art of her ancestors. Her profound ability to reconstruct robot materials earned her powers the title Dread Salvage.
THE TIGRE BROS, GUAPO AND GORDOAges: 32 and 35
Heights: 6' and 5'9"
Likes: Freedom and great deals!
Dislikes: Upper management
The former West Border Generals of the Great States, Guapo and Gordo! Before Gamound took over their job, these two brothers were known as the most powerful duo of fighters in the Great States military. But they also bore easily, and grew restless soon after taking their post, and ultimately quit. However, due to Great States clerical errors, they're still on payroll. These days they travel across the plains, salvaging and selling rare robot parts back to the government for big payouts. Guapo handles the offense, and Gordo handles everything else. The tag team's first tussle with Jurlon leads him to think they're also working for the malevolent Vatis, but what's the true nature of that connection?
SCHEMING VISCOUNT VATIS
Dislikes: Not being in control of everything
Dastardly Vatis, the man of many get-rich-quick schemes, even though he's already rich. Once a wealthy statesman, now a wealthy entrepreneur. This is the man responsible for tearing up the plains across Jurlon's homeland, on a quest to obtain and sell off as many functioning robots to the Iris Dominion as possible before a more lucrative business draws his attention elsewhere. Vatis is a man with a sharp eye for style, and loves squids, a creature not even found on Sigaea. At risk of dying from boredom at all times, Vatis keeps his fingers in many ongoing machinations and thus very good at multitasking and maintaining control over complex situations. His Shifty Business instincts shine through whenever he finds me himself in a leisurely battle. What is the Iris Dominion doing with all those robots, though?
Age: A lady never tells!
Likes: Helping others!
Dislikes: Those who bite the hand that feeds them!
The Sector Authority is split into two clear areas: the terrestrial islands, and their massive station in space - The two are joined by a monolithic space elevator. Despite flying under the same flag, these two societies are run nearly independently, the former of which is Sheriden's realm. Sheriden is a financially keen and noble woman who oversees many of the economic policies and trade negotiations with the surrounding nations and it's through this guidance that the lower Sector Authority is a hub of pop culture and creativity, mostly separated from the strife enveloping the rest of Sigaea. Sheriden herself has many vested interests the world over - from businesses to individuals. When she learned of her distant niece Poppet's fate, Sheriden reached out to help her. Similarly, when she was reached out to by Jurlon and his friends, she couldn't help but use her Benevolence to try and turn the tides against what was obviously an Iris Dominion plot. But what exactly is the Nakama System she bestowed on Jurlon?
This story and more will be covered as playable scenarios in the digital AEGIS Campaign Book.
The Machineless Commanders
Our other five new Commanders, detailed above, are all unique in that none of them have personal robots to call their own for a number of reasons. These characters are all wayward adventurers caught between the conflicts engulfing the five nations. Except for Steven.
MIKA THE REDAge: 24
Likes: Flashy entrances
Dislikes: Indirect combat
Mika the Red lives up to his namesake, dressed in all red, identity concealed. He is a duelist who travels the world seeking to hone his skills and always fights foes on equal footing, copying their techniques. Because of this, Mika tends to push his robots too hard and they rarely last more than a handful of battles. However, without any robot weighing him down, he is free to move about the world untethered.
DOMINION RUNAWAY KALAge: 14
Dislikes: Being inside
Kal is on the run. She's the only person ever to escape Iris Dominion territory and live to talk about it. Or sing about it, as is her hobby. Born and raised in Dominion territory, Kal is one of many children conscripted to become Possessors - the country's covert infiltration force. However, she was always enamored with the oceans and the outside world. After the chaos of Five Nations War died down, a curious, sentient robot washed ashore in the Dominion, no bigger than her, and it was immediately seized. Both Kal and the robot sought freedom, and together they escaped. Kal's existence isn't acknowledged by her homeland, but it certainly wants her silenced.
Dislikes: Being alone
Cyndane is the famous courier captain of Sigaea's extremely treacherous ocean currents. Like others, her goals were to strike it rich on the booming robot parts market, but only she chose to make her living on the stormy waters of this world. Or at least, she did. At dusk, her ship was attacked and destroyed on its way to deliver a mysterious small robot to the Sector Authority some distant islands. The ocean opened up and in an instant and a flash, everything was gone. Cyndane awoke in the Great States days later, crewless and with nothing to her name. She now seeks to strike back and rebuild her life from the ground up.
INQUISITOR WHITEHELM, AKA STEVEN
There is really nothing known about the Iris Dominion. Its government, its military and its culture are all a mystery to outsiders. The one thing, the one person, people across the world know however, is Steven. It was one day in the tensest part of the Five Nations War: a man of extreme stature and booming presence announced the daily status of the Iris Dominion's affairs across all broadcast waves. It was always light on details, and thought to be code by some. One thing specifically was not made clear: his name. And so Ainer identified him as White Head. An Empyreal spy told the royal court, and they dubbed him Whitehelm. When a Great States spy's word got back to the West Border, Gamound stated to the still-present Stell that the man's name was Steven, because it was funny. And so, an eager Stell took that information and the Mediation Bureau put out a global message to be weary of all words and activities related to Codename: Steven. But even as the whole world turned him into a meme, only these things were certain: Whitehelm was from a nation founded on secrecy, whose presence was very clear to everyone with eyes and ears. People laugh in the times of greatest unease.
NOLAN, CYBORG RETIREE
Long before the robot arms race began, the Sector Authority was experimenting with AEGIS Robot technology in numerous ways: one was to create human-machine hybrids that could sync with and control the dormant fighting machines. Nolan spent years in that program: studying the technology, and ultimately he became the subject of his own experiments. All the joy in his work went away when the war started though, so Nolan retired to the surface world, having no interest in being part of global conflict. His machine parts are now used to sync with music systems, producing sounds heard in music the world over. Will there come a day where his vast knowledge is used against the world?
What will the future hold for these characters as Sigaea's power struggle continues?
Stellar Ascent Story, Interlude
Last time on AEGIS, the battle between in the North was about to reach its climax, with Etwal now solo against the forces of Ainer and Diane. Meanwhile on the southern border, Gamound and Stell are holding off a pair of rogues. The time is dusk and the war is about to reach a major turning point. But today's story several months ago...
She was raised on top of the world. An independent country, now nameless, on the outskirts of the Empyreal Realm is her her pedestal stood. She never had to know how to create anything, and everything was replaceable. Toys, clothes, rooms, pets, friends - she would always get something new if she just ruined what you she currently. Her name is Poppet, and her world was always one of destruction.
It was the dawn of her first day as a Commander - ever since she had seen the Empyreal Sky Forces in action she had wanted a machine of her own. she knew robots were rare and expensive, so the young duchess tore up and dismantled everything she owned, hoping that one day all of it would be replaced with not many small things, but the object of her biggest desires to date. And it came.
As she flew her first lap around her castle to clapping and revelry, an enormous figure flew by her, followed by a swarm of missiles. It was the legendary hero Etwal! And his Excel-Gan! It dashed elegantly through the air, but ultimately was struck dozens of times by the salvo of explosives, sending his machine like a meteor into the courtyard of her home. She was dazzled, and after a moment, lights flashed and engines roared as he shot back up into the sky, bathed in a cyan light. Poppet's eyes followed the massive humanoid as it slashed enemy after enemy out of the sky, extending its blade like a silver ribbon. Soon after, there were no more explosions, and the smoke cleared. Poppet exuberantly motioned to Etwal as he disappeared into the clouds in the distance.
Poppet turned back towards her home. She landed and ran to express her excitement at seeing such a feat of power. She danced around in the fire and smoke where her castle once stood, calling for her butler to put her coat away, but no one came. She called for the maids to make her something to drink, but there was no longer a kitchen. She waited for new maids and butlers to come with dinner, but they didn't.
Her extended family soon dispersed, followed by the township at the base of the now-ruined castle. She wondered when new citizens would come, but they didn't. She waited for the new castle to be built, a grand, gorgeous struct to rival the Empyreal Sky Cities. So much had been destroyed, so even more had to replace it - That's how she got her robot, after all. The castle never came.
How much more had to be ruined before the life of Poppet's dreams would surround her? She beamed with impatient excitement, still on top of the world.
Remember to party with us on the Discord server!
And catch us weeky on Twitch, every Wednesday! Play AEGIS with us!
Until next time!
Fight and Unite