Expansion Mechanics II
Combat is a big portion of the BCG experience, and the grand majority of PCs are going to spend every combat turn using a weapon to shoot or slash at one or more baddies, so having a varied armory to keep things from getting repetitive is quite important! Currently, BCG has a total of 30 weapons for PCs (32 if we count the default weapons augmented by The Beast) which is a considerable number but there's certainly room for more.
I thought 30 would be a good starting number, not too few but not too many. There are just enough to represent the most common genre conventions, but because there aren't too many of them I could focus on getting them all just right then take some time to make sure any new weapons would be up to standards.
Expanding the number of available weapons up for grabs is, probably, the part of the expansion I've been most looking forward to designing. Half the reason for that is is because I had ideas for weapons that didn't make it to BCG - I couldn't figure out how to keep them simple or they would be too niche or something else would keep them at bay. The other half of it is that weapons are just plain fun to come up with.
My goal is to double the size of BCG's armory, which is easy to do if we go the route of Dueling Blade or Anti-Air Missiles and add a conditional +2 to every little recurring scenario we can think of, then throw in a few more Techniques for good measure. The proper way to do this means striking a balance between having more of those and having quirkier weapons that make you want to build around them like Boosted Lance and Sniper Rifle.
Like with the last update about Genre Powers, design-in-progress disclaimers apply: There is a chance that the final versions of these will be very different but I'm fairly confident they won't need any major changes to them. Also we're keeping it to rules text only for now.
Effect: Long Range, Slow. When you pass the Might Test with this Weapon you may have the target dragged all the way to your own Zone and force them into a Duel with you.
Hook Launcher won't be winning any damage races for you, because its role is to play utility. It needs Systems, so you can't just slap it on top of your average duelist build either, but once you do have the Systems to make it work it becomes a thing of beauty. It makes for great opening moves when you have the initiative and seals the deal on baddies that are struggling with their positioning. I want to have more ways to mess with enemy movement, either by pulling them towards you or pushing them away.
The trickiest part of the design was figuring out how to make it useful without making it an auto-inclusion for any kind of duelist build with 5 MP to spare. If I don't keep the innate range or attack bonuses to a minimum, then it is pretty much better than Rocket Punch and Extending Blade. If I compensate with tougher drawbacks like One-Shot and Unreliable then it just becomes a niche weapon. Ultimately I settled for an okay range plus Slow, that way the other options are better at taking out individual grunts and generally at hurting things but Hook Launcher still has better tactical value.
Effect: Blast, One Shot. This Weapon turns all Zones affected into Extreme Terrain for one Round.
This is essentially a variant Bombardment, stronger in most cases but considerably weaker in others. It potentially hits for three times the current Tension instead of two, but the lack of range makes it harder to get the most out of it. Radiation Bomb is really, really good if you can box in the opposition and keep them in there, but that requires more setup than just using Bombardment with My Style is Impetuous and blasting everything in the area.
Blast weapons are difficult to design because they are fundamentally a force multiplier, if you hit two targets instead of one the weapon essentially deals double the damage of other weapons and it only gets better from there on with each additional enemy you hit. The problem is that the ability to hit multiple targets is either invaluable (because you are outnumbered) or an expensive way to get around things like Electronic Cloaking System. Furthermore, some encounters will make it really hard to use them properly because of the terrain layout or the way the enemies are spread out, so they can't be overestimated either. That's why Blasts tend to have big drawbacks like One Shot and Slow but also big damage bonuses to emphasize their all-or-nothing nature and guarantee that they will have an impact when they do see use.
Effect: Beam (Boost 5), Technique, Overheating. This Weapon attacks all Zones within Range and turns the one you are standing on into Extreme Terrain. When you Boost Ground Zero it gains the Long Range ability but you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
Hooo boy talk about strong. When Ground Zero happens it hurts everyone involved, especially your enemies, but you have to be even more careful with it than you would be with other Techniques. As far as finishers go this is pretty much what you would expect out of a forbidden last-ditch supermove, and the drawbacks won't matter if you outright win with it, so I'm pretty confident about it working out well.
Techniques are interesting to design because they have high power at a price, usually lowering your defenses or taking damage somehow. I am starting to think that being able to use multiple Techniques per operation (if you have more than one of them) is probably a change worth making to buff them up just a tiny little bit... But that's talk for another time.
Effect: Beam (Boost 5), Long-Range, Slow. When you Boost this Weapon it ignores the effects of Active Defenses.
Lux Cannon is an oldie from the first version of BCG that I couldn't quite figure out how to fix until relatively recently. The new version costs a ton of Energy and is not a very good primary ranged weapon, but as an assassination tool to be used every other turn it works wonders. The ability to ignore barriers is around 5 extra points of damage, and unlike other high-damage beam weapons it doesn't Overheat so you should be able to afford using it whenever it is up.
Because its effectiveness depends on the enemy's build (if they don't have any active defenses then Lux Cannon is pretty bad) and it is Slow, a dedicated sniper will want to have another gun to use as a primary weapon. Lux Cannon is an excellent secondary weapon though, and you will be glad to have it against the tankiest bad guys out there - you know, like the Bosses with Afterimages or the stubborn Rivals that dump like 8 points of Energy into Absolute Barrier.
That ends this round of peeking behind the curtain. This update and the last one have been about making more of things that already exist, but the next one will be about new mechanics introduced in the expansion.