Magical Burst 3rd Draft

Update: The 4th draft is here now. Seriously. OMG.

It’s a little overdue, but here’s the new draft of Magical Burst. I’m not totally happy with it, but some things have definitely improved.

  • Added a set of Normal Attributes and Apocalypse World style moves. These definitely need some work before they’re fully ready, and they may have been muddled by the fact that I didn’t do the AW thing where only players roll dice. On the plus side, they rather eloquently dealt with certain things.
  • Made some refinements to the relationship rules, notably in how new relationships are formed (they effectively start with 2 Strain, so starting a new relationship isn’t better than fixing an old one) and how they’re used (I scaled back the benefits of sacrificing them, so that it’s not better than taking Overcharge).
  • I reworked the Change tables so that each attribute has a full d66 table. To do that I dropped the notion that Heart and Fury changes are mostly mental.
  • I changed the youma creation rules to make them scale to the number of magical girls they’re fighting. The idea seems sound, but it needs a little more work. I think I didn’t take magical girls’ special attacks into account, and was a little too stingy with the special boss powers the youma get.
  • Added a set of variant rules to for making the game more closely based on Madoka Magica to the appendix.

A few weeks ago I did my first playtest, which was kind of mixed, though heat and allergies did play a role in that. I’ve also been playtesting Dragon World, which has been a lot of fun, but has driven home the point that getting the moves right is really important. I need work more on how to better handle the investigation part of the game (which is my un-favorite and which I may need to find a way to sidestep or something). I also had this notion of having players take turns framing scenes, and it needs to either get developed more fully or be dropped from the game. I’m also not really happy with how the combat system has been playing out (even if I do like how the youma design system is going), and I may try to rethink it from the ground up again.

A couple of other random things I’m thinking about:

  • Tables/whatever for the origins and motivations of youma.
  • Making the magical girls just start with relationships to one another automatically. Also, clearer guidelines for adding new PCs after the game has started.
  • A turn marker that you move along the action cards in combat. It’s surprisingly easy to lose track of stuff.

In any case, this is where I start really seriously looking for feedback and generally trying to finish a damn game for once.

Magical Burst 3rd Draft
Magical Burst Character Sheet
Magical Burst Battle Cards
Magical Burst Overcharge Tokens

23 thoughts on “Magical Burst 3rd Draft

  1. You still need to include a spot for resolve and its reduction on the character sheet. Hard to play the game when we’re not sure where to put the game’s hitpoints.

  2. The Apocalyse World stuff is an interesting touch, looking forward to trying it.

    Couple things jumped out at me looking at the PDF, mainly in the Youma section:

    Mind Leech calls for a Support vs Support challenge, but youma don’t seem to have Normal Attributes.

    Minions seems a bit redundant with Minion Creation, not sure if the free pool of critters is a meaningful tradeoff vs having to spend Power to get more.

    You don’t seem to mention that youma die rolls explode even though they don’t get Overcharge.

    Finally, page 38 mentions Stay Sane instead of Stay Calm.

    1. Thanks; I’ll be working on that stuff (amongst many other things) for the next iteration of the game.

      Having run a couple sessions of Dragon World, I’m getting a better grasp of how AW-style moves work, and I think they *really* need to be dead-on for what the game is about. The ones in Magical Burst aren’t quite there yet, and they’re high on my list of things to work on.

  3. Just a few notes:

    – In the section on abilities, specify that higher abilities are better. I know, it seems common sense, but consider THAC0.

    – Homogenize these terms: Taking overcharge, giving overcharge, Using overcharge; Rolling Overcharge/overcharge dice.

    – Purely for skimming purposes, I feel as though the fallout section should have the word “overcharge” more prominently. I’ve been reading about it for nearly 20 pages, but if I skipped ahead, it would be hard to find out to what it referred.

    – Typo page 20: “The GM can roll a die for every scene and a Change them trigger on a 6.”

    – Typo page 21: A section of an earlier version of the Heart Burst ended up in the bottom of the Magical Burst section above it.

  4. Heyo! I’ve been playing this lately. It’s my favorite game at the moment. I’ve got some feedback to share, hopefully it’ll be helpful.

    One thing I notice is that the three magic stats seem to be pretty much interchangeable, with the biggest differences relating to the type of fallout they cause. I don’t have a good solution to fix this, but it’s something to consider.

    This might just be our play style, but non-magical attributes tend to matter fairly little. We’ve been using them very little, besides breaking initiative ties with Sharp.

    For Multiattacks:
    It’s not clear if “after the first” just means it doesn’t count the first one for penalties, but

    your penalized for each one and the penalties stack, or if you applies the -2 to all attacks but

    Also not clear if “after the first” applies to the defense penalty.

    Make it more clear if Magic Strike can be stacked with a finisher

    Maybe the Fury Burst should specify that Fury should be assigned to attack? When berserked, I was faced with the dilemma “do I do the IC thing and assign Fury to attack even though it’s my highest, or do I do the meta thing and assign my lowest stat to attack?”
    The +1 on the number of turns is totally unnecessary – 1d3 is harsh enough. But if you want to

    make it scale, you can add to the number of turns for every two OC beyond 8.
    It would also be good to indicate what sort of actions the player can decide, and what control the player has over OC expenditure. My group decided that while obviously things like covering are right out, the player can determine OC expenditure and type of attack; thus fellow magical girls were hit with only basic attacks (and could avoid damage pretty easily) while finishers landed on Youma.

    The change that makes you turn a different color could use some manner of determining what the color is; we rolled in the MaidRPG table.

    Increasing the number of OC that you can spend on a single roll (from three on up) by one would be a good thing to be able to spend XP on. It wouldn’t be needed often, but the times that it would help make it, in my mind, worth some consideration.

    It would be cool to have some sort of “Overcharge sink” that lets you essentially shift the results of the fallout table by one (venting two for free, not being forced to explode until seven, bursts starting at 9, and etc). This would be a good advance that makes magical girls significantly more potent. The problem is it’s a good bit more powerful than the current listed advances. It could be made to count as two or three advances instead of just one, I suppose. But the lack of this doesn’t really detract from the game; it’s just an idea I had.

    Clashes are overpowered. With clashes and a bit of OC expenditure, it’s possible to totally shut down even youmas with really high stats. This makes only the attack stat matter, and it reduces OC expenditure since there’s no defense rolls, or not very many. Our director handled this by making clashes reduce your stats afterwards until the first turn that you don’t clash (so, minumum of one). That makes clashes only occasionally wise, instead of always the best option.

    With no natural Resolve regeneration, the Regeneration effect becomes functionally mandatory, and everyone ends up with a normal maximum of 13 resolve. My Director’s solution was to decide that resolve restores to full after each episode. This works fine, powerful youma can still destroy magical girls and straining relationships is still likely to be necessary in battle.

    I’ve been having a lot of fun with this, and the mechanical imperfections generally fail to mar the game as a whole, but it nonetheless is yet imperfect.

  5. Looking good overall. As of right now, I see these issues with the current game.

    -Possibly explaining some more of the game mechanics (especially Overcharge) prior to character creation, or in it like you did the Agro/Cool/Social/Sharp attributes would be an immense help.
    -There’s no description how to decide on terms to frame a scene. I’m unsure if there really needs to be a mechanic for that, but it might be nice to have a mechanic if players want one.
    -Dominate, when against a PC or magical being, should probably be a challenged roll, as most people would try to resist that.

    Less mechanic issues I have is the grammar (sorry, inner editor is screaming at some of the mistakes in the pdf) and the PDF composition. Bookmarks inside the PDF are godsends, and what makes PDFs sometimes superior to their paper counterparts. Use them to your advantage :D

    Overall, I really like this game! The relationships mechanic is a great twist. Perfect timing too, as I’m considering running a Puella Magi game!

    Those of you who play over IRC, using a dicebot, may find this useful; it’s a Servitor-compatible list of charts for the Magic, Fury, and Heart change tables, as well as two quick tables for Elemental Flux and Strange Element.
    Simply unzip to the custom folder in your Servitor’s files and reboot the bot to get the charts working.
    Note that Strange Element and Elemental Flux’s text includes “(or use !strangeelement/!elementalflux)”, assuming that your bot uses ! as its roll command; if you use a different command, simply edit the entry.
    Have fun.

  7. I’m a little confused about how fallout is resolved. Are you allowed to bleed off overcharge from a specific stat over several scenes with smaller fallouts, or do you need to dump it all at once. and if you are allowed to take smaller fallouts over time, when your overcharge is over 6 and you must resolve it, does that mean you need to dump it all (performing at least a change) or do you only need to bring it down to a 6 or lower.

    1. I’ll need to make this clearer in the next draft, but basically to have voluntary Fallout you have to be in between things, and especially not in the middle of a fight. Involuntary Fallout triggers any time you get 6+ Overcharge on an attribute. In either case you must have Fallout that takes up ALL of the Overcharge on the attribute.

  8. I’m pretty new to the RPG scene. I’m also busy with college classes as well, so I am not entirely focused on RPG’s. However… I want this completed and see if I can get my friends to play this. I love Puella Magi, and I hope to one day play a completed version of this.

  9. Not sure if this is the best place to post this or what, but here’s my latest batch of playtesting notes.

    It’s not clear if “after the first” just means it doesn’t count the first one for penalties, but your penalized for each one and the penalties stack, or if you applies the -2 to all attacks but 1.
    Also not clear if “after the first” applies to the defense penalty.

    Make it more clear if Magic Strike can be stacked with a finisher

    Maybe the Fury Burst should specify that Fury should be assigned to attack?
    The +1 on the number of turns is totally unnecessary – 1d3 is harsh enough. But if you want to make it scale, you can add to the number of turns for every two OC beyond 8.

    There should be rules for created magical items being less powerful than active rolls, or more difficult to create. Making a permanent effect require 20+ seems like it would work fine.

    There should be something, a sentance or two, saying that costumes are somewhat influenced by what people are wearing, for the sake of the beach episode.

    You should give us a table to roll what club a magical girl belongs to.

    The current tables help indicate why a character became meguca, but there’s no sourse of random information on how the original encounter with the tsukaima went down.

    Descriptions of relationship types should be refined so as to be broader.

    For Double Action, make it count as one attack for the limit on OC that you can add.

    To make Attack less of the god paramater in Combat and the 9/6/3 spread less unquestionably best, perhaps make initiative depend on Support.

    Relationships are needlessly complex. Just make a starting relationship be at three points, and a newly made one be at one point, cap them at five. Replace charges and strain with the same kind of points.

    I hope we see the fourth draft before too much longer!

  10. I realize this thread seems to be gone, and this may be hopeless, but can anyone explain what MG X means? I never understood it as much as i read the page

    1. It’s an arbitrary number used to scale how many opponents a youma is meant to be able to handle (MG = Magical Girls). In theory if you want an even fight you should set MG to the same as the number of PCs. In the next draft I’m planning on renaming it to Spread.

      1. In practice there’s no such thing as an even fight in Magical Burst because it comes down to how much OC players are willing to take – you pretty much never die by mechanical accident, but there can be harsh consequences nevertheless.

        Maybe the next iteration should focus more directly on that dynamic rather than the evenness of the fight?

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