Magical Burst Development Update

I have officially made it my goal to get the second draft of Magical Burst done by the 21st, in time for the airing of the last two episodes of Madoka Magica, and I thought I’d post a bit about what I’m working on for that. I am very grateful to Judgment for starting a thread on /tg/ that wound up producing some incredibly useful feedback and ideas, not to mention Kurt, who e-mailed me several pages of comments. Someone’s also running a game on IRC already too. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s feeling more and more like I’m on to something, and this may be my first original game to reach fruition. Time will tell.

The final book is looking to be pretty table-riffic. Not quite Maid RPG table-mania, but much closer than I’d have expected going into the project. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish up the “Instant Magical Girl” tables in time–they’re a low priority and they’ve been proving difficult–but I’ve also been adding more tables for stuff like developing tsukaima (and I arranged the Secrets into a table just because). It’s yet another example of the tremendous influence Ryo Kamiya has had on me as a wannabe game designer.

animated; click to be disturbed

I’m doing a considerable rework of the available Fallout effects. The major thing is that all three types of Fallout include “Changes,” permanent alterations to characters. The Magic ones are the mutations that were already in the first draft (though I’m expanding the mutation table), while Heart and Fury changes can cause lasting derangements or impulses. I’m contemplating a few other things, but this should go a long ways towards making all three varieties of Overcharge equally undesirable. I’m also contemplating a thing where high-level Heart and/or Fury Fallout can spawn a youma focused on harming someone you care about.

The combat system is getting a major overhaul too, on account of having been hastily cobbled together in the first draft in the first place. The core of the new system I’m working on is that at the start of a combat round each participant has to pick one attribute to use for attacking (which also becomes your initiative number) and another for defending. I’m still working out other details, but teamwork, helping or hindering others, etc. will definitely be a part of it.

I’ve figured out a lot of what I want to do with the relationship rules. The big change is that Relationships can take Strain, and three points of Strain will break a relationship. For relationships with normal people, any time you expose them to the unnatural effects of magic there’ll be a point of Strain, and if you harm or betray someone there’ll be Strain too. (You can’t have a relationship with a tsukaima though; they’re not emotionally equipped.) Magical girls can also sacrifice relationships to help themselves out in battle. Some forms of Fallout will also get much nastier for magical girls without relationships too. I’m not sure how I want to handle relationships with other magical girls vs. with regular people. The latter are obviously more fragile, but thematically it makes sense for them to be more important in some ways. Regardless, the text now recommends drawing a relationship map as a group.

Characters are getting both Magical Effects and Finishing Attacks, which have some specific mechanical effects. Magical Effects are things you can attach to your Magical Element or Magical Power that give a specific benefit (like healing, an initiative bonus, etc.), while Finishing Attacks are more powerful attacks you can only use occasionally (probably once per session). I’m also adding character advancement, though nothing too fancy. It’s going to be a little bit like The Shadow of Yesterday, and I may just explicitly give each character a Key.

And for a little extra Madoka-ness, I added some optional rules for playing “potential magical girls.” The way the game is set up it’s not going to necessarily be the most interesting way to play–you never get to roll dice–but the role-playing opportunities are neat at least.

Anyway, as you can see I have a lot of work ahead of me, though I’m hoping to get a whole lot more done this weekend.

Update (4/18): I didn’t get nearly as much done over the weekend as I’d hoped. That’s been a routine problem with my weekends lately… I did finish the expanded magic mutation/Change table, though for now it’s looking like it’s going to be massive compared to the Heart and Fury Change tables. I basically have all the changes I want to make figured out. Implementing them shouldn’t be a problem as long as I can make time to do so (which is going to be hard), but I highly doubt I’ll be able to finish up all the tables I want to make for the final game. The Instant Magical Girl section needs 4 or 5 D66 tables written up to be completed, and I aspire to do a bunch of sample youma, tsukaima, and maybe a few sample rival magical girls.

Also, “planefag” from /tg/ wrote a Magical Burst short story.

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