I had a great set of demos at KatsuCon this past weekend with some awesome players! Highlights include the Alter Arms player who played a hero with a Stage Magician gimmick, allowing them to tie up opponents with escapology chains and use balloons to gather intel. There was also the Skrap Packs player who combined their metal gauntlet with a potato peeler to make a clawed glove they named “Can I Borrow a Peeling.”
Regarding testing feedback, notable findings include:
Players are liking the assets mechanic, since it allows them to better collaborate on actions. I need to consider how to scale difficulty as a result. There were some instances where players weren’t able to make an impact on the opponents—at least not as much as they would like—without using assets.
Assets are a mechanic where characters change the battlefield in some way (causing debris to rain down from a building that was struck, a smoke bomb thrown into the field to provide cover, or cars knocked over to provide cover). During combat, instead of interacting with other characters, players can choose to have their character alter something in the environment. The player tells the GM what they want to do, and they work together to decide what vector (stat) will be used to perform this action (The debris could have been caused by ki blast so it was a SOUL move, or they flipped over the car with brute force so it was a MIGHT move).
The value of this move is written down along with the name of the asset (falling debris +5, for example) and now all of the allies present may use this asset either offensively or defensively, adding its value to attack rolls or their defense. In both cases, it reduces the assets value, eventually exhausting it.
For example, the final battle of this session took place in a space ship hovering a mile or so above a major city that was being invaded by aliens. As the PCs were fighting the main antagonist, an asset was created in the form of a crack in the side of the ship with a bonus of +3 (Cracked Hull +3). The PCs all teamed up for a final attack, ultimately adding that +3 to their move’s value, allowing them to send the villain plummeting to the city below!
One player was able to make good use out of the possession special ability. It works by having the player declare they’re attempting to possess an opponent. That opponent then makes an attack against them of the player’s choice (they can choose to have the opponent attack them along their strongest defenses). If the opponent is successful in their attack, the PC takes damage as normal. If they fail to do damage, the possession works and allows the player to dictate what the opponent does on the opponent’s turn instead of the GM. One player used this to have a potential opponent discard their transformation device. This was fun in the moment, but I think it was too easy for the scenario, particularly if they can just steamroll through opponents by having them inconvenience themselves. Going forward, I want to try reversing it, making it so that the attack must be successful to allow possession. This opens the player up to defeat more, making it a risk/reward. It could also be thematically appropriate for the tension of a scene to have the PC be in danger for attempting this.
The major takeaway from this session was codifying consequences for losing health.
The game has PCs hold three items as on-hand (face up, ready for use) at a time. When they lose health from enemy attacks or traps, I want a consequence to be focused on the status of their items. I’ve decided on the following.
PCs have 20 total health.
If they lose 5 health in a single round of combat, they drop one of their items on-hand at random. It falls to the field of combat but can still be recovered on their turn for a penalty.
If they lose 10 health in a single round of combat, one of their items on-hand is destroyed at random. They lose it and it is given to the GM to put back into the deck of items that can be found in the game world.
If they lose all of their health, all of the items they have on-hand are destroyed. The character then returns to 10 health, but must now scrounge for new tools.
Sentimental items (which have personal value to the PC and special mechanics in different circumstances) can be destroyed in the previously mentioned methods. If at any time a personal item is destroyed in the above situations, then the character returns to full health and the opponent who caused the item to be destroyed falls to half of their current health.
Be sure to check back for updates on upcoming events and release info!