It seems silly to keep a diary at my age. I never had one before, but I realized I needed to collect my thoughts somewhere. It's been difficult going at this alone. I haven't been able to rest in what feels like years now. There are just these dreams every time I go to sleep. They fade away when I wake up, but I'm left with this sense that there's something real about them.
The same dream every night for years. I hate it. Not exactly the same, really. I can barely keep my thoughts straight. The details are different, but the basic idea is the same. I'm trapped somewhere. It feels like I'm sleeping inside my dream. Have you ever felt that? Just totally helpless while things happen around me. I used to have this feeling when I was first waking up, like a lingering dream paralysis.
I get this feeling like ants are crawling around me, or in me, too. Sometimes even when I'm awake. Maybe that's just because I'm not sleeping right. I don't want to talk to a doctor about this. Everyone's on such high alert that even if I'm just having nightmares I'll probably be locked up. That's what you're for, diary. If I can just get things in order and write about them, I can stop dreaming about them.
Then I can rest.
He stumbled down into the mine, his head pounding. He'd left the radiation badge behind him. It had started beeping incessantly, and he didn't want to be found by any of the mining drones, not that they ever came down this deep. He was the first to venture this way, guided by a sense of direction that struck him with a crystal clarity. He'd seen these walls before, with different eyes.
I'm writing to you in the middle of the night. My dreams are getting stranger. Tonight, in the dream, I was rushing through a tunnel, not fully in control of myself. I felt almost like I was being carried along in a river, flowing towards some distant end.
It wasn't until near the end of the dream that I realized I was coming out from underneath the earth, ascending in search of escape. It was a frantic dream, with the sense that I'd been searching for as long as I could remember.
At the end of the dream, I felt something at the end of a long tunnel. I rushed through the dark, and I found myself standing there in the corridor. Just as I reached for my own face with hands I could not see, I woke up.
I know what I need to do, and I don't think I can do it here.
He coughed, blood leaking from his mouth as the coughing fit passed. He was already running a fever, had been even before he'd come here. It didn't matter. This was the most important thing in his life. It was the most important thing he'd ever do, and he knew it to his core. He saw light around the corner. For a moment he was afraid he had taken a wrong turn, or he had run into a bot that lost its way.
He crept towards the glow, and his eyes went wide. A room covered entirely in glowing crystals. He remembered this. He knew where he was. A new strength filled him. He had to get there before it was too late and his body gave out. If he made it, nothing that happened to him now would matter. If he didn't... he didn't want to think about that. Would he be trapped down here for unknown ages in the dark, waiting for someone else to hear his cries for help?
He got to his weak feet and ran, the harsh light from the crystals too warm against his skin.
I decided to speak to an expert today. It was foolish of me. I thought if I found someone who could understand what I'd seen, I'd be better prepared for what I had to do. That there would be some kind of trick to it. He met with me in his office with an obvious amount of skepticism, and I couldn't blame him for that. Those who aren't gifted don't understand that we know the difference between a vision and a dream, and when one becomes the other.
I knew I'd been having visions. I knew what I had to do. What I was going to do. I thought he might help. He was supposed to be an expert! If anyone should have sympathy for the Cryptids, it's him.
After I told him what I'd seen, what I was planning on doing, I could see it on his face. He thought I was insane. More than that, he was going to stop me. It wouldn't take much – even with my gifts, I'm only one person right now. A call to the police would end my plans in a second, and might keep anyone from being able to follow in my footsteps.
He had to be stopped. I wasn't glad about it. I wasn't happy to do it. No matter what the news says, it wasn't some random, violent crime. I did it because he was trying to keep my from my destiny, and there is nothing worse you can do to a man, not even murder. I'll have to live with that guilt, but it was my own choice.
I'm leaving for the island in the morning.
The tunnel had almost stopped, but he could feel it. It wasn't much further. It had been easier in the dream. This passage was almost collapsed, leaving little more than a crack between boulders that he had to crawl between, even though the goal was just beyond. In the dream, this was always where it had started, just on the other side of this barrier, flowing through the crack with his fluid form.
In the dream he didn't have to worry about his body getting in the way. In reality, he'd never felt more tired. He was struggling to get through the crack, twisting and trying to get his shoulders and chest through a tight spot where the rock dipped. He let out his breath, the rough rocks pressing into his torso, his ribs aching from the pressure as he tried to force himself through.
He felt himself slip forwards an inch, and scraped his back against a protrusion of rock like a spike between his shoulderblades. He gasped, or tried to, the rock not letting him draw breath, crushing him. Stars started to swim in front of his eyes as he squeezed forwards, growing weaker by the second, the tunnel closing tight around him as his vision faded to gray.
There was a popping sensation as one of his ribs broke, and he was suddenly free, drawing a deep, painful breath. The stars faded, and color, what little of it he could see in this tomb, returned to the world. With slow efforts, made slower by his broken rib making him stop and struggle for breath every few seconds, he managed to get his hips through the dip.
His head emerged from the other side of the crack, and he could see the vast cavern beyond, the walls lined with cracks. There was something in the center, a vast crystal pulsing slowly with light, veins of Element G growing from it and sinking into the rocks like arteries leading away from a heart. He tried to pull himself free, his chest emerging from the crack, and his leg twitched as he banged his knee, kicking something. There was a rumble.
He didn't have time to react before the boulder above him dropped down, crushing his lower body.
I am leaving this as a final entry. I've included my sketches and notes in the rest of this book, collected so that some day, someone can make sense of this if I cannot. I won't deny that I know that this is a dangerous, foolish path to take.
If I succeed, everyone will know my name. I will transcend my weak human form, and blaze a path for those others who are worthy to follow me. They will awaken when I shake the bones of this old world.
The man tried to cough, but something was broken inside him, and it only came out as a gurgling hiss. Blood trickled from the rock, and he watched as it pooled under him, crawling along a groove in the floor. It started to flow, curving around in a thin stream towards the crystal heart.
It should have hurt. It didn't feel like anything. He knew he was broken, but he just felt cold. Maybe he was too badly broken to hurt. The blood crawled uphill, impossibly, towards the heart. It touched, and a spark shot through the man. His body collapsed, a final breath leaving his lungs.
An earthquake shook the island, the soil freeing itself as the entire island moved, waves crashing against the shoreline. It rose up, a head of rock and crystal breaking free of its bonds, stretching and roaring with the force of a volcano. Something exploded against the side of its face, near its great lens-like eye. The beast turned to see ranks of foes arrayed against it, pitiful things that were as ants to it. The Others had come to stop them.
The beast - their name was Hiva - roared. Somewhere deep inside its alien intellect, the man looked out, his disintegrating sense of self awash in a torrent of power and joy. He was finally free. With a sweep of an arm like a landslide, the beast scattered the ranks arrayed against it, explosions chipping away at its rocky body and exposing the framework of crystal below. It pulled itself free from the earth, taking a first mighty step from the stone womb it had been born in. The earth shook around it, the shockwave carrying some of the scattered enemies out to sea and knocking the rest from where they stood. They were nothing. Just toys and twisted mockeries of the greatness that was them.
He slammed a talon down, crushing one of his foes as they tried to escape. The great beast started to sing, the crystals in its maw resonating and creating pure pitches like tuning forks. From somewhere beyond the sea, far away over the horizon, it could feel a response, another song waiting to join his. The man inside the monster rejoiced, though there was little to distinguish them now, their consciousnesses rapidly merging.
A beam of intense heat and light slammed into the mountain of a beast, burning across its face and leaving a scorch mark of molten stone, the beam straying into its mouth and shattering crystals, cutting off its song. The monster turned, enraged, to the being that dared to strike it so. Just under the surface, a whirlpool of crystals circled a floating core, energy crackling between them, holding them together in a matrix of energy and power. A bead of light grew in the focus of the spiral of shards before erupting again, the heat of the beam momentarily splitting the ocean and burning the seawater into steam as it struck the geological monster in the chest, carving out a deep crater.
Hiva was angry. The man inside it remembered pain. Power welled up inside the beast as it let out a gutteral roar that ended in an eruption of molten, radioactive rock, a pyroclastic flow directed at the Outsider that attacked it. The seawater offered no sanctuary from the blast, crystals blackening and shattering from the heat as the whirlpool of shards. The glowing core at the center of the vortex pulled away, dragging the rest of the mass with it in an invisible web of force, quickly retreating down into the abyss.
The island-beast watched it go, violet-tinged magma dripping from its jaw. It still remembered where it had felt the response to its song. It would take time before the crystals in its mouth grew back enough to sing again, but it had time. The world was waking up, one piece at a time, and its distant cousin would be the next part.
Deep inside, the human part of its mind, little more than a distant whisper, remembered the name of the island they were striding towards. Hiryu. That was it. There was something important about that island, but the fading mind was finding it difficult to recall, the facts slipping away as the human mind burned away in the raging power around it.
He was finally at peace as he evaporated like dew in the summer sun. The first peace he'd felt in too many years. Now he could rest, in the belly of the beast.
Hiva had risen and soon Hiryu would join both of them.
Introducing the Giant Feature
Size in BCG is largely abstracted for simplicity's sake, everything is treated more or less the same to keep things simple. There is only one exception: the Colossus capstone for Bosses and Make my Monster Grow, which can make Grunts temporarily into a Colossus. This limits them to being either superbosses or beefed up superminions, because giant enemies need to be rare and come in low numbers or navigating around the battlefield would be impossible.
This does have the unfortunate limitation that there's no way to have giant Rivals... And I intend to fix that in the expansion. The Giant Feature is meant primarily for Enemies, but it is technically compatible with PCs. It changes many rules, to the point that it is more like a collection of small Features rather than a single big one, so make sure you know what you are doing.
Giant is divided into four parts:
Unnatural Disaster: You occupy a size between 4 and 9 Zones, chosen during creation, but the number must be your Power Level plus four or lower. Your size can be increased when you go up a Power Level as well, but once increased it may not be reduced. All Zones occupied by your body count as Extreme Terrain for Enemies in them. Abilities that can usually ignore the effects of Extreme Terrain will not help against you if you have a similar ability that works in the same kind of Terrain.
Raw Power: You cannot Engage or be Engaged in 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. When measuring the maximum Range of your Internal Upgrades or Weapons you may use any part of your body as the origin point.
Segmented Areas: Your four external Areas are distributed across your body each with its own separate Zone. Each Area has a single Level of Threshold having to be targeted and damaged individually. Other body parts are impervious to damage, and excess damage from breaking through a Threshold Level will not carry over into a different Area. When you restore lost points of Threshold, you choose how to distribute each point individually.
Exposed Weak Points: Abilities that let you treat Maimed Areas as normal have no effect. Replacement Maim effects like those of Biological still function as normal. Offensive Actions that target multiple of your vulnerable Areas gain an Advantage to their Might Tests for each additional Area affected. Any time you would take Damage to more than one of your vulnerable Areas at once, only one Area of the attacker's choice receives Damage, but if the Damage is more than enough to break past that Level of Threshold then the remaining Damage will transfer to another Area of your choice.
Some of these are extensions of what the Colossus feature already does, and this obviously works quite like Colossus but with a few key differences. The big one is that a Giant is much weaker against area of effect Weapons, but it takes more individual hits to kill them as well because all Levels are separate from each other. Most Active Defenses do very little to help with survivability, since they only protect one Area, but defensive powers and healing abilities can keep them alive for a looong time. Almost as if by coincidence, all they need to do to hurt enemies is to stay near them and outlast them.
Just remember that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
This can be quite a bit to process all at once, so let's have a quick round of Q&A.
Giant Mecha FAQ
WIll Anti-Gravity protect me from the Extreme Terrain that Giants have? Yes... Unless they have Anti-Gravity or Flyer themselves, and only if you are not underwater or in space. Likewise, if you are in space and using Terrain Specialist (space), the Giant can use Terrain Specialist (space) to cancel your ability to avoid Extreme Terrain.
Can a Giant use Shielding Aura to protect multiple Areas with a single Active Defense? Yes. It is the only Active Defense that works well for Giants in Core, but the Expansion will have more of them.
If I heal 10 points of Threshold to an Area with only 4 points missing, can I redistribute the 6 points to a different Area? Yes. You choose where each point goes individually, so you could spread 4 to the first Area and 6 to the second or even restore all 10 Threshold to the second instead.
Can I attack the Areas of a Giant that aren't the glowing weak points? Yes... But you automatically fail all Might Tests against them so you will never deal any Damage this way. You can still hit them with something like, say, Finger Net to slow them down though.
What happens if I attack a Giant using an area of effect that hits multiple vulnerable areas? If it is an Offensive Action, it gains an Advantage to the Might Test for each weak spot it hits after the first one to a maximum of three Advantages if it hits all four Areas. No matter how many Areas you target with your attack, the Damage goes through them in order - like a normal attack against a non-Giant foe would. You always choose the order in which the Areas get hurt.
Can Giants use abilities that let them survive a lethal hit to 'tank' individual Threshold Levels? No. Invincible Alloy and I Cannot be Defeated only work against lethal hits, so they will only trigger when the final Area would be destroyed.
Can Giants use Expansion Packs? Yes. The Expansion Pack goes into any other part of the body as a fifth Area. You can purge it to boost your Defense against any Offensive Action though, it does not need to include the Pack within its area of effect.
Are Giants hurt by Extreme Terrain? Yes... But only one instance of Extreme Terrain at a time. Like with any area of effect Damage, only one of their Areas will get hurt... But if the Damage is enough to break through a Level and they have multiple vulnerable Areas within Extreme Terrain, the excess does spill over into the next.
Can I give this Feature to Grunts and Bosses? This is meant for Rivals or PCs, not Grunts or Bosses. Primarily this is for balance reasons, Grunts would flood the battlefield with unavoidable Extreme Terrain and Bosses don't care about most of this Feature's weaknesses making it, arguably, better than Colossus. So technically yes, you can, but the resulting Enemies will have higher Power Ratings to compensate.
As you can see, they've got a lot going on in terms of rules. Colossus works just fine if you want to keep things simple, but Giant has a little more personality to it and gives more options to GMs... As well as to entrepreneurial PCs.
The expansion does not shy away from this kind of complexity, but at the same time this is about the most complex I want any individual mechanic to get. There might be one or two more mechanics just as complex as Giant, but nothing more complex than it.