A Preview of the Commissioned Abilities
While the art & production side of the core book is entering the final stages, work on the expansion is still in the middle of the early design phase. There's a plethora of new skills, traits, powers, upgrades and weapons getting tweaked on a weekly basis while playtesting goes on.
But the most fun to work with are the commissioned ones!
You've come up with ideas that would have neveroccurred to me, or that I wanted to do but couldn't figure out how to approach until you inspired me to think outside the box. They are also the hardest part of the expansion to get right, for pretty much the same reasons.
And that is awesome, because that's the kind of content that the expansion needs. I am really excited about all the different things the expansion does and can't wait until I can show you more of it. For now we'll have a look at how six of our special unique snowflake abilities are coming along.
Enhanced Human (Specialist)
General Trait (10)
Effect: Choose an Anomaly when you take this Trait. Once per Episode you may gain the benefits of that Anomaly for the duration of the current Scene. If you do, you also suffer its downsides until the end of the current Episode.
This was originally "Mysterious Origin" and would either boost one Attribute temporarily by using your secret mysterious talents -or- be a permanent Anomaly that gave you the boost but had roleplaying consequences of some kind. The fluff and effect were somewhat generic (the boost was an Advantage to Tests) so I thought hey, why not combine them to make you an Anomaly user temporarily and end up with something more unique? I pitched the idea (name change included) to its owner and it worked out. It has a very powerful effect and interesting roleplaying implications so I expect it to be popular.
I am a Loose Cannon
Effect: Roll 1d10 when you activate this Power. Treat Tension as if it were that many points higher for your next Offensive Action and you suffer twice that much Damage at the end of your Turn. You can use this Power once per Round.
The seed idea we had to work with for this one was a tribute to an old character who would solve any kind of problem through excessive use of violence (and lucky dice rolls). Said character usually got their Mecha wrecked as a result. This could have been a Trait, but as we discussed how to go about this, a Power looked like a much more exciting prospect. The result we got is really, really cool and we're not entirely sure if the power level is right or not but the randomness of the damage given and taken somewhat helps to keep it in line. It is hard to abuse something you don't have direct control over!
Effect: Move a number of Zones equal to your Speed, ignoring Enemies and Terrain (even impassable terrain) on the way, each Enemy whose Zone you cross this way suffers an amount of Damage equal to the current Tension. You may go back and forth when using this Power, hitting the same Enemy multiple times while doing so. This Power spends your Action this Turn in advance and can be used once per Operation.
The request was for a Power to dash through enemies at teleport-like speeds and hit them in the process (think Zero Shifting from Zone of the Enders). With the side effect of hitting one guy multiple times at super speed being implied in the description. Both are cool genre conventions that the game was missing and, as one of the Powers that use up an Action using expansion mechanics, would be waaaay more balanced than a Weapon that hit multiple times or something like that. It is still very, very powerful though, and we're likely going to have to go back and forth on it some more to balance it further.
Internal Upgrade (20)
Effect: For each Level of Threshold you are missing you increase your available Energy and treat Tension as if they were one point higher.
"I want Spiral Power." was how the conversation started and I knew it was going to get tricky at that point. You already get stronger the more you get beat up and the longer the fight takes, you replenish your energy naturally and there's already an Upgrade for self-healing. So there is not much room left for a mechanic that does all of these things. So I figured, hey, why not use the existing mechanics to represent this kind of thing as the solution and emphasize them? Limit Engine covers three of the four things that Spiral Power does mentioned above in just one sentence. It is an elegant solution and I like elegant solutions.
Internal Upgrade (20)
Effect: At the beginning of your Turn you may spend 2 Energy and choose a Support Upgrade at random. You get to use said Upgrade at no Action cost. This does not spend said Upgrades and you may use Upgrades that you do not own this way.
"A button that makes something random happen." This was inspired on the crazy cockpit of Megas XLR that had a button for everything. I didn't want to add a table of random effects to the game, though, so.I looked at lists of things in the game we could choose randomly. Supports seemed to fit the bill, as there were exactly 10 of them (one d10 roll to choose one randomly) and their effects are always useful but choosing one randomly guarantees it can't be used to set up killer combos at whim. A sidebar next to it lists all 10 Support Upgrades and assign them numbers from 1 to 10 for your convenience.
Point Singularity Projector
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (Boost 3). When you Boost and use the Assist Action with this Weapon you may choose to either gain an Advantage to your Might Test or to grant an Advantage to two allies instead of one. You gain the chosen Boost plus the Long Range and Slow abilities.
I was given pretty much what you can see up there to work with, but with a Boost 5 cost and without Long Range. I buffed it a bit and now it is two Advantages for 3 Energy once every other Turn, which is a pretty good deal. There's plenty of tricks to pull with Aiming and Suppression, but a Weapon for dedicated Assists is something I hadn't thought of. Conceptually, it holds enemies in place with a mini-black hole, which is pretty cool too.
That's half of them! The others are, for now, a secret between their owners and myself. You'll get to see them soon enough along with more of the expansion in the next few months, don't worry.