Tuesday, 10 May 2016

First Law: Override - CODE BLACK Part 2

Greetings friends!

Ok so following on from yesterday's post, I realised today that there are a few things that I left off. So without too much ado, let's get into the meat!

Encounters, Turns, Rounds, & Belief
So as with many RPGs, combat plays a big part of Code Black. A single situation from where Combat starts, and Combat ends is called an Encounter.

An Encounter is comprised of a number of Rounds.

A Round is comprised of a number of Turns.

A Turn is all the Actions and Reactions for a single character.


Remember our example from yesterday? With Bonney and her team vs the Shadow Jacks? Let's use that again.

Turns are determined by each character's Initiative Stat. Those with the highest Initiative basically go first (it's a little more complicated than that, but that's fine for now).

The team has been ambushed by 3 Shadow Jacks. One of them is right up in Bonney's face.

Bonney has the highest Initiative, so she goes first. Her Belief Pool (BP) is 10.

Bonney backs away quickly, this costs her 2BP taking her total to 8.

The Shadow Jack in front of her Reacts to this action by shooting her as she backs away. He deals 2 Shadow Damage. This takes her BP down to 6, with 2 of the lost unable to regenerate for now.

Bonney then casts the Miracle Exorcism for 2, her party member Nirvan, a Hydan funnels into her cast. Nirvan has a BP of 14, so he uses 4 to increase Bonney's cast by +2 taking her total to 4. Exorcism's damage is double against Shadow Agents, and this kills the Shadow Jack.

One of the other Shadow Jacks react to this by shooting Bonney again. This time it deals only 1 damage taking her to 3BP, of which 3 can't be regenerated.

Bonney ends her turn.

Now it is Nirvan's turn thanks to channel king 4 belief now has 10BP left.

Nirvan charges into melee with one of the nearest Shadow Jacks. The Jack in question reacts by trying to punch Nirvan in melee. This misses and for 1BP Nirvan's superior melee stat does a whopping 4 damage to the Shadow Jack. Nirvan currently has (14 -4 for channel, -2 for charge, -1 for his follow up melee) 7BP and he follows up by casting his miracle of Flurry of Fury for 4BP leaving him with 3BP left, where he spins around with his glaive and causes a tremendous amount of damage. Flurry of Fury can not have a melee follow up, but it can be Reacted to. This deals enough damage to kill the Shadow Jack, to which the 3rd Shadow Jack Reacts to the miracle cast and shoots Nirvan in the face. The shot lands him square in the forehead and takes him down to 0BP and Nirvan is booted from Mantic Space.

It is now the turn of the last surviving Shadow Jack.
NPCs don't have a BP, only a Health Pool, and they can React for free. The counter is that they can only perform 1 Action in their turn.

The Shadow Jack aims his weapon at Bonney and pulls the trigger. The shot hits her in the shoulder and she spins to the ground on 1BP. At this amount, she doesn't want to React as doing so would boot her from Mantic Space.

The Round ends, and Bonney recovers what she can from her BP (she took 5 Shadow Damage, meaning of her 10 total she regenerates 5).

She has the initiative, she knows that she needs to deal with the Shadow Jack in one go, any more Shadow Damage and she is going to be starved of Belief. She pumps 4BP into Exorcism and blasts the Shadow Jack into oblivion.

The Encounter has ended

- Ok so 2BP for a charge and quick back away? Why?
There's 3 types of movement.
1). Casual 1BP - You walk casually somewhere.
2). Urgent 2BP - You are moving quickly
3). Miracle Based - Super Speed, Flight, etc.

- Next, 1BP to respond to a melee attack?
Ok this is something I'm just playing with at the moment. No idea where I'm going, but I want to use the 'persistent melee' of Override. Not sure how it should work truth be told, but I just used 1BP as a number.

- What happened to Nirvan after being Booted? He was out! He rolls for injury (did the disconnect fry his brain or what not) and he can't reconnect until the next game unless a surviving player is able to reach a Stabilising Beacon to pull him back in. These are locations within Mantic Space which can be operated by players (Jacks) to make a note in the fabric of Mantic Space, so when a Jack reconnects, they are pulled to the Becon (think of it as like a static respawner).

- What happened to Bonney after the encounter?
Luckily Shadow Agents (the minions of the Shadow) are rare, and when encountered are normally in the form of small fang-toothed dogs or bugs. Shadow Jacks (other users who have been corrupted by the Shadow) are rarer still, so these two were not only unlucky to encounter 3 at once, but super lucky to survive.
Her Mission was to eradicate the Shadow Agents from the area, and thankfully that did it. She can now safely disconnect from Mantic Space, and in doing so cast off her Shadow-Taint that prevented her from refreshing her BP to full.

- Why can NPCs react for free but PCs need to pay BP to do so? Quite simply, it's a thing of balance and challenge. Players will tend to have higher Initiative than NPCs (remember, they are the 1%) and this stops a party of players alpha striking the NPCs. Plus it makes it easier to remember who has done what. The trade off is that in their own turn, the NPC can only do 1 thing such as move or shoot.

What's Next?

Missions & Agendas
Ok, so we've already seen an example of a Mission. In the above case it was to eradicate all Shadow Agents from an area.

Missions are tasks that are set by the Code Black governing body. They can be anything from escorting a person of interest to a certain location, snuffing out a terrorist hiding in Mantic Space, or even stopping the Shadow from gaining ground in the Human Sector.

Missions can take multiple game sessions to play out, but most should be complete within a couple of hours.

When completed they reward the players with a generous amount of rewards (Notoriety?) to allow them to purchase better stats, better equipment, new miracles etc.

Completed Missions have the best rewards.


In comparison to Missions, Agendas are applicable only to the player they are assigned to.

Unlike Missions, Agendas do not come from Code Black, but from your affiliated organisation such as UEF, Red Claw etc.

Agendas are always resolved at the end of a game session. If a Mission is due to take 3 sessions to play out (3 days) then each player gets a new Agenda every session.

Agendas are randomly allocated from a deck of cards with multiples of each Agenda. At the end of each session the players hand their Agendas back to the GM one at a time, and the GM reveals if it is successful or not. The GM does not reveal what the Agenda is however, that is 100% at the discretion of the player.

In our example, Nirvan who was associated with the Accord Wraiths was assigned the Agenda 'Olive Branch'. His Agenda was to promote good relations with organisation's who are opposed to his. Bonney was a Reaver Raider, and her survival meant Nirvan achieved his Agenda.

Bonney's Agenda however was 'Back Stab'. This Agenda required the rival organisation's to hers to be booted from Mantic Space. Which is exactly what happened to Nirvan.

All that is revealed is that they both achieved their Agendas, and Nirvan was none-the-wiser, that had he survived the Encounter, Bonney was ready to literally shoot him in the back of his head.


So there we go!

I hope you are interested in what I've done so far. I particularly like the Agendas, and I think the Belief Pool idea has legs, it's just no where ready yet.

Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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