My Games

Monday, April 20, 2020

Batteries Not Included Unofficial Expanded Content!

Batteries Not Included is a game by Spwack of Slight Adjustments (and formerly Meandering Banter) that I instantly fell in love with. I have not had a chance to play it yet for myself, but I nonetheless felt compelled in my foolish ignorance to write a series of hacks and expansions for this game! I have a very rough setting idea and if it ever comes together I'd like to try it out.

I had posted a review a while back about Gamma Knights, an expansion for Gamma World which added power armor. I had said that I felt it was perhaps a bit too crunchy and fiddly for my tastes, but had some cool ideas, and that I would like to conceive in the OSR / DIY fashion a stripped down version of Gamma Knights for power armor and mechs. And then I never did. And then Spwack did it better than I ever could have anyway.

So below I outline suggestions for how to play the game without cards (I love the card idea but don't like being obligated to do work like print out cards!), how to integrate BNI into a more traditional OSR-style game as a sub-mechanic, and an adaptation of some Gamma Knights concepts using BNI rules. I was originally also going to include a Weird & Wonderful Hack with a set of modules using my own ideas, but I might save that for a future post instead.

One last side note: I was recently featured on the titorpg blog and I wanted to give him a plug now because that was super awesome of him. I would like to give him a more dedicated plug down the line because he deserves it, but for now hopefully this will suffice. He has produced a few books available on drivethrurpg such as sacrebleu, an open-ended module with WW1 weapons and plenty of Weirdness, for the OSR-adjacent game Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells which you all know I'm a fan of. One of my favorite posts from his blog is Bargain Bin Mindflayers. I had intended to do a followup post of it but almost a year later I still have not done so, so if I can find the inspiration I will try to make that a priority.

Anyway, on to BNI!

I love Evangelion and recently got addicted to an eva mobile game

No Cards Hack

This isn't so much a hack, as just a list of suggestions for how to play BNI without cards.

  • Randomly roll a die or use a random number generator on the modules list(s) for randomly rolling modules, oracle rolls, or treasure.
    • If you want to add my module lists to the full module list, you can either append the numbering from Spwack's list or roll first to determine which table to roll on and then a second roll for that table.

  • Track Damage and Heat for each module on character sheet using pips, in a text chat if playing online, written on a table-facing index card, or with dice.
    • For dice, use two dice for each module, one for tapped/damaged and one for Heat. Ideally use the same size dice for all Damage and Heat, and different colors for each module.

OSR Compatibility Hack

This hack is intended for using the mechanics of BNI for Power Armors or Mechs in an OSR-style game. It's not necessarily going to be compatible with all versions of OSR or OSR-adjacent games, and has not been playtested (I haven't even played BNI!). It could maybe also be used for a BNI robot class. This is just a proof of concept.

  • Power Armors are considered Large, Mechs come in various sizes greater than large. 
    • Power Armors and Mechs will be referred to as BNIs going forward.

  • BNIs cannot be damaged by non-BNI creatures of their size or smaller unless special circumstances e.g. a character has a special anti-mech rifle, or they're made of super magic.

  • BNI attacks always succeed. Treat OSR attributes or equivalent as modules, where BNI attacks deal damage to those attributes by their Damage Track, starting where 0 Damage (ramming or "unarmed" attack) = 5 attribute damage, and increase by 5 attribute damage for every step up the BNI Damage Track.
    • How does a BNI attack do charisma damage? I dunno don't worry about it. You're clever you'll come up with something sensible. It hurts their morale and by extension their outward disposition? Whatever it's just to make the fucking game work.

  • For non-BNI creatures capable of attacking BNIs, attacks automatically succeed and treat every 5 points of damage as a BNI Damage Track. If the creature would deal less than 5 OSR damage, they deal no BNI Damage, if they would deal OSR 5-9 damage, they deal BNI Damage 0, OSR 10-14 damage deals BNI Damage 1, etc.

  • As a robot PC class, use the same way except ignore the rule that only larger non-BNI creatures can damage them, and also robot PCs may be of any size. Robot PCs get no traditional advancement; advancement works by acquiring or enhancing modules.

Qubeley, one of my favorite mecha designs from Gundam

Gamma Knights Hack

This hack adds some modules or mechanics from Gamma Knights, the Power Armor expansion for Gamma World. It is also intended to be compatible with the OSR Compatibility Hack above. Note that some of these assume there is a pilot, as opposed to being a robot, so just ignore those if you're playing as a robot.

Also just a caveat, it's been t least a couple weeks since I first read BNI, and while I've discussed it with Spwack, especially having not played it, I may be misremembering or misinterpreting certain rules, or there may be certain modules here which are redundant with ones on the original list that I somehow missed. If you catch any mistakes please let me know!

  • If you roll Sensor Array or Tracking Array on the BNI modules list (22 and 23 respectively), re-roll for below:
  1. Spectrometer (light and energy use, 1P)
  2. Telescopic Lens (distance and close-up, 1P)
  3. Infrared Scanner (infrared and heat, 1P)
  4. Life-Scan Array (amalgam of sensors trained by computer models to scan for life signs, 1P)
  5. Motion-Sensor Array (amalgam of sensors trained by computer models to scan for motion, 1P)
  6. Radar Scanner (radar, 1P)
  7. Radiation Array (amalgam of sensors scanning for various kinds of radiation, 1P)
  8. Sonic Scanner (sound, 1P)
  9. Ultraviolet Scanner (ultraviolet, 1P)
  10. Underwater Array (fish-eye lens and sonar, 1P)
  • If you roll Energy Shield on the BNI modules list (88), re-roll for below:
  1. Energy Force Field (for each P used on the force field, mitigate up to 2D. Persists until cumulative D taken exceeds P used)
  2. Kinetic Force Field (for each P used on the force field, mitigate up to 1D. Persists until a single attack's D exceeds P used)
  3. Repulsion Force Field (-1P, mitigate all 0 or 1 D)
  • Additional new modules
  1. Cloaking Device (invisible in the visible light spectrum, 1P and 1H)
  2. Computer Scrambler (scramble a computerized device, 1P)
  3. Ejection System (cockpit ejected from BNI as an escape pod, 1P)
  4. EMP Generator (shuts down all computer systems in short range, including self, maxP)
  5. Energy-Emission Filter (makes the BNI invisible to any kind of energy sensor array and protects occupant from energy or radiation attacks, 1P)
  6. IR Absorption (protection from infrared radiation and heat to the occupant, 1P)
  7. Life Support System (provides air, temperature control, pressure control, etc. for occupant for 1 week for large BNI, 1 month for huge BNI, 4 months for gargantuan BNI, and 1+ years for colossal BNI, 1P)
  8. Light Filter (darkens dangerously bright lights and +1 defense against light attacks, 1P)
  9. Medikit (treat minor injuries of occupant as Cure Light Wounds, 1P)
  10. Autosurgeon (treat occupant who has suffered grievous injury, maxP)
  11. Radar Scrambler (scramble radar, 1P)
  12. Radio Scrambler (scramble radio or microwave signals, 1P)
  13. Self-Destruct Mechanism (an explosion which deals maxP in D to all creatures up to short range, completely destroying the BNI. 1 in 10 chance it fails)
  14. Silencer (+1H to make a loud weapon quiet)
  15. Smoke Generator (generate vision-obscuring and noxious smoke, 1P)
  16. Sound Filter (attenuates loud sounds and +1 defense against sonic attacks, 1P)
  17. Suit Sealant (protection in harsh environments such as underwater or outer space)
  18. UV Absorption (protection from ultraviolet radiation to the occupant, 1P)
  19. Water Circulation (can filter water to produce fresh, drinkable water, 1P)
  20. Flying Blade Launcher (1D, silent, area range, one-time use per combat)
  21. Fusion Rifle (3D against non-Force Field protected targets, 1D against Force Field protected targets, 1F, 1H if used twice in a row, 1P)
  22. Gravity Gun (use anti-gravity to manipulate an object, 1P)
  23. Lamprey Disk (when attached to a target module, drains 1 from maxP from target BNI per round cumulatively unless removed by tapping the module, accruing 1H, damaging the module, or detaching/destroying the module. After removal, full maxP is restored next round)
  24. Micromissile Array (1D, homing, 1A, 1P)
  25. Jet-Assisted Jump (ballistic long-range jump, 2P)
  26. Rocket (Takeoff into outer space 3P, maneuverability in space 1P) NOTE: Not a Gamma Knights module but I still wanted to include this
  27. Computer System (automatizes a given module and increases its efficiency, giving it one benefit per turn such as -1P to use, allowing it to be used while tapped, auto-reloading, etc.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Super Blood Harvest is awesome!

A "real" post should be coming soon, just haven't had the time or energy but I'm sitting on a million ideas and they keep coming so hopefully some day soon I'll have some good stuff incoming.

Anyway, here's a not-review for Super Blood Harvest, which I just read in its entirety just now.

I don't really have anything particularly insightful to say about this game, except that it is awesome, and I don't understand why more people aren't talking about it. I'm pretty sure I had heard of it, but there are certain games that get brought up all the time and I don't understand why this isn't up there as one of those.

It's by Dirk Leichty who was also the artist on Silent Titans, and like Silent Titans it's doing a very unique brand of Weird Science Fantasy using a system derived from Into the Odd. The first two issues are in a setting vaguely reminiscent of Vampire Hunter D set on a Space Hulk with all sorts of weird science, vampires, eldritch things, and I'm not doing it justice with that explanation but its very cool. Dirk's art is amazing, and he infuses a retro video-gamey style that makes it feel as much like Castlevania or Doom as Vampire Hunter D.

The third issue is set in the far future of the first two issues (I think) and really takes things to a whole other level. At first glance it's a Barsoom meets Terminator pastiche, kind of, but that really does not at all do justice to how disturbing, Cronenbergian, Orwellian, generally dystopian, and Weird this setting is. It's kind of like the Matrix too, or at least Zion, except not shitty. It would not be possible for me to describe it in a way that does it justice, but it is unlike anything else and also I'm reasonably confident there is much more going on there than I had the mental bandwidth to fully comprehend as I was reading it.

I realize I don't have a whole lot of professional RPG work to my name aside from this blog, but Dirk, if you're reading this, I'd love to work with you some time!