Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Badass Kung Fu Demigods: Progress Report

So, you know how it is. You intend to make a blog post talking about the 6th draft of your RPG, but along the way you start working on the seventh draft...and you forgot to actually post anything about the 6th draft. 

Well, we're on to the seventh draft, available here: Badass Kung Fu Demigods

Some pretty big changes, unsurprising considering there's been two whole versions since the last BAKFDG post. I'll see if I can summarize some of the most notable ones.

  • External Traits are just gone. I realized that they were, ultimately, extraneous and were part of the old style "Exalted Heartbreaker" design of Badass Kung Fu Demigods, attempting to emulate things like artifacts and the like. So all Traits are just Traits now. You want to take a big ol' sword as a Trait, that's fine but in all but the most exceptional cases they're best handled as Knacks.
  •  Combat (and rolling in general) has evolved with the use of something called Strikes. When you beat an opponent's roll by 5 you earn a Strike (plus one for each additional 5 points). Strikes are flexible bonuses that can be used to inflict damage on opponents, grant a bonus to your next action, inflict a penalty on your opponent's next action or create Declarations. You can earn Strikes on every roll, which means a very good defensive roll can penalize or damage your opponent.
  • Speaking of...Declarations are basically the ability to take a bit of narrative control over a situation. That's things like grabbing your opponent, disarm them or set everything on fire. It's an evolution of the "Seizing Control" option from the previous draft. 
  • Fighting Spirit has evolved, functioning as a general combat bonus (adding to attack and defense) and the bonus increases with the number of opponents you're fighting, the damage you've taken and (optionally) if you're wielding a Deadly Weapon. 
  • several combat options have been tweaked or simplified and a special option is introduced: Psych Out, which allows you to build up Tension, for your big powers. 
  • The Mortal power level has been ditched entirely, if you don't qualify as at least Heroic you're only going to be a Weakling at best. Energy has also been increased for the lower Power Levels with Heroic characters getting 2 EP/round and Awakened characters getting 4. An extra Power Level (Monstrous) has been introduced between Awakened and Unleashed power levels. 
  • interaction with higher-powered opponents is a bit less devastating. A higher level character no longer doubles their roll and instead gets a bonus Strike on any successful roll. 
  • Powers are no longer limited by Power Level, instead everyone just has access to a selection of Basic Powers, limited only by their Energy. Several of the previous universal powers are now "converted" to Signature Powers or been removed entirely (replaced by things like Declarations). 
  • Combos have been replaced with a new Signature Power: Trumps (look...I came up with it before November). Trumps are super-moves that give access to a Tension meter which starts at 0 at the beginning of combat and increases by 1 for each round in the fight (although things like Psych Out let you increase it faster). Activating a Trump lets you "cash in" your Tension rating for an equal amount of free Energy that can be used to fuel the Trump. 
  • More detailed discussion on creating settings and setting the theme for them. A few new mini-settings as well and a few other changes (Against the Darkness is now set in the 80s and features super-powered arthurian knights, and is called Neon Knights, because everyone likes a Black Sabbath reference.)
Still a long way to go before things are complete, but things are definitely coming together. I'm particularly pleased with the Fighting Spirit rules in action, because they helped immensely with one of my initial philosophical problems with the game...in order to deal with a full gaming group of kung fu demigods you need an even bigger group of crazy powerful opponents. However, the fighting spirit rules mean that a single powerful opponent (Rival or Champion level) can effectively fight either a single opponent or an entire team, without any special changes or rules.