Gattaibushido:FUSION! RPG Playtest Rules vA1.10

Gattaibushido:FUSION! RPG Playtest Rules vA1.10
Gattaibushido:FUSION! RPG Playtest Rules vA1.10
Gattaibushido:FUSION! Playtest Rules
By N. Phillip Cole, version Playtest a1.1
Introduction Story by Isaac Sher
In Gattaibushido:FUSION! you play a team of Mecha pilots in space battle school. You deal with conflicts
both social, physical, and interpersonal, while also trying to save humanity from giant space monsters,
among other threats. One player takes on the GM-like role of “Coach,” while the rest are a team of pilots.
The pilots must strive to accomplish their goals while maintaining team unity, so that they can ultimately
combine their robots into a final form and defeat the Giant Monster of the Week.
What you are reading is a very rough initial playtest prototype of my upcoming new role-playing game,
Gattaibushido:FUSION! It began its life as a simple “Voltron-inspired” hack of my previous game,
Motobushido, but quickly evolved into a whole new beast all of its own. This doc is an intentionally barebones, simplified, and stripped-down presentation of the core game rules, completely devoid of the
intended art and stylings that are planned for the final print draft. Very little of this text will be in that
penultimate release, although some of it is already in the process of being themed for the final product.
Needless to say, this document is very much a Work in Progress. Your feedback is both requested and
highly appreciated! If you have any input, please send it my way, through whichever channel brought this
to you in the first place.
This document was written in GitHub2-flavored Markdown, using both Ghostwriter and Smartdown on
Playtester Questions
Some very specific questions I am wanting answers to, as they come to me:
Does the document structure work for you? In this case, I’m referring to the flow of the different
sections - are rules explanations in places where you would expect to find them?
Does the “First Contact” scene work? It is derived from the “First Founding” of Motobushido, where
it serves the same purpose. What works? What doesn’t? How can it be improved?
Are there any “obvious choices” in the character, power, and Tech options? Are some just genuinely
more beneficial than others, to the point of making the others invalid or obsolete?
Is the “random d4” thing too out of place? Too common or uncommon? Need to be more prevalent?
Not used enough?
Introduction Story: “Collateral Damage”
The dust cleared, and strewn before Team Athena was the flaming wreckage of the Aegis Cargo-Carrier.
As her T-Rex mecha struggled to its feet, Misty could barely focus on her cockpit’s viewscreen. “KKenjiro? Oh no, please no – Kenjiro, answer me!”
Layali bit her knuckles, her Wombat mecha’s cockpit echoing with her labored breathing. “He blocked the
missile swarm with the Aegis, Misty. We would be dead otherwise.”
Miho shook her head. “What was he thinking? The Aegis isn’t armored at all!” Her badger-mecha’s claws
scratching at the pavement, matching her rising anger.
Nnedi donned her visor, knocked loose from the last explosion. “He was thinking of us, Miho. He always
said he wanted to be more of a help to us.” Her oversized Panda mech lumbered to a standing position,
surveying the ruins of the city.
From within a somber-hued avian mech, Bee’s voice cracked over the radio. “But not like THAT! Damn
you, Prince Galkar! You and your blasted Metal-Stalker are going to pay for this!”
The pilots’ video screens fizzled, and were suddenly filled with the image of that same prince, his
humanoid features resplendent in his purple skin, metallic gold mane of leonine hair, and eight spiderlike eyes. “What’s that Earth saying? ‘Speak the devil’s name and he shall appear?’ Oh, but Team Athena,
I’m here already, as your cowardly Kenjiro learned to his cost.” The vain prince ran his six-fingered hand
through his thick hair, reveling in the rush of his latest kill. “Luckily for you, I had to expend my entire
supply of Swarmers to pull that off, but just sit tight and wait a moment, I’ll be coming closer to finish you
off, up close and oh-so personal. My newest Metal-Stalker is named ‘Apex’, and it has this lovely new
chainsaw-saber, designed especially for you. I simply can’t wait to test the blade’s edge against your
The pilots’ viewscreens shifted suddenly to show Evelyn in Mission Control, adjusting her glasses. “I’ve
jammed Galkar’s transmission, team, but he’ll be upon you in just a few moments. I have good news and…
bad news.”
Miho’s voice was a snarl. “We just saw your fiancee DIE in front of us, and that’s all you have to say? YOU
Evelyn’s jaw clenched. “…Yes. Yes I am. And that’s the bad news. Kenjiro’s dead. Sensors confirm it. He’s
gone. He’s… gone.” She looked up, her cold brown eyes churning with a barely restrained rage, and her
voice dropped to a cold and almost mechanical monotone. “The good news is that the Neo-Xerxes missile
strike has cleared the field. There’s nothing stopping you from initiating Prime Fusion, because any
civilians that might’ve been endangered from the Fusion Shockwave have already evacuated, or… didn’t.”
As her gaze flickered across the casualty and collateral damage estimates from Galtar’s missile strike, the
ice in her voice cracked. “FORM ATHENA PRIME AND MURDER THAT BASTARD. That’s an order, pilots!”
Nnedi swallowed loudly. “Omega clearance confirmed, mission control. Athena Prime matrix is initialized.
Gold Panda, standing by. We love you, Kenjiro.” She yanked back hard on the Fusion Throttle by her side,
her clenched fists trembling.
Bee wiped away a tear. “Omega clearance confirmed. Black Phoenix, standing by. We never did get to go
to the zoo together, Kenjiro. Damn it all…” Her Fusion Throttle pulled, Bee leaned forward, ready to burst
into action.
Layali put her folded photograph, showing Kenjiro cooking at the team’s barbeque party, back into her
pocket. “Omega clearance confirmed. Red Wombat, standing by. I miss him already.” Another Fusion
Throttle activated, and the air around the team began to shudder as power built up among the five
Miho was practically grinding her teeth down to the gums. “Omega clearance confirmed. Blue Badger,
standing by, and I’m going to freaking rip out their spines for what they just did to Kenjiro-kun.” As her
Throttle was pulled back, the whine of rising energy grew louder.
Misty closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Omega clearance confirmed, Pink T-Rex ready to initiate
Fusion Call. Kenjiro, I never got to say I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” With her team’s eyes upon her, Misty
looked up, and threw open the last Fusion Throttle with a savage pull. “ATHENA PRIME IS GO! STRIDE
As the Fusion began, Prince Galkar’s Apex crested the hill above the battlefield, eagerly awaiting its next
command, a sleek blend of cybernetic chrome armor plate and glistening scaled flesh, forever obedient to
the steel cockpit embedded in its chest. A malevolent knight of twisted honor, the myriad missile
launchers on the Metal-Stalker’s back and shoulders still trailed thin wisps of smoke.
Prince Galkar took in the scene from inside his armored cocoon, smiling as he saw the familiar silverwhite shockwave burst from where those five mechanical beasts had stood only moments before. “This
time will be different, Team Athena. This time, our long war ends at sunset, and I will bury you all with
your meddling friend.” His fearsome machine drew its gleaming Saw-Saber, and charged down the hill
towards its destined enemy. “EN GARDE, ATHENA PRIME! TASTE THE STEEL OF NEO-XERXES!”
The final battle had begun.
System Basics
Gunbuster & Majestic Prince: This game is basically a love letter to those two series.
Vandread: …okay and this one too.
Voltron: Because duh
Steven Universe: I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t already planned out gem-themed team colors…
Chroma Squad: Best (and only?) super sentai game I’ve played (motorcycle chapter is best chapter)
Dai-Guard: I can’t get that theme song out of my head!
The Golden Rules
The cards are subordinate to the story. If you play, draw, discard, or affect a card in any way, you
must provide suitable in-game narration of such.
There are no Take-Backs. If you put a card down, it’s down, regardless of its source and/or facing.
Think before you play.
Card Ranks beat Card Suits. King of Clubs beats a Seven of Spades.
Card Suits break ties. King of Spades beats a King of Clubs. Spades > Hearts > Diamonds > Clubs
(reverse alphabetical).
No Cheese-Train Conflict Sequences. In other words: one conflict per conflict. If a Gambit,
Throwdown, or Rumble fails to fully accomplish what you want from the moment, you cannot
immediately start a new one to try it again. You must step back, reassess, and come up with a new
approach. If that leads to a nearly identical conflict in a follow-up scene, that’s fine, but no cheese
trains allowed.
Explicit Card-Talk is Prohibited. Players can not reveal or directly discuss the contents of their
hands with each other, unless in-game mechanics (namely Techs) explicitly state otherwise. You
must instead talk strategy in-game, as your characters, and not meta-game the conflicts with cheaty
Your Pilots, Your World, Your Story
The setting of this game is intentionally low on details. I want groups to come up with their own world
stories, and then tell me about them. Much like Motobushido had a loosely-implied post-apocalyptic
theme, Gattaibushido has a basic “Earth vs the Space Monsters!” theme to it that the players are
encouraged to take in whatever direction they choose.
The only constants are: Battle School, Color-Themed Mecha Pilots, Giant Transforming Robots, and Big
Giant Monsters. And heck, even those can be defined however you wish. Maybe your “school” is a
corporate proving arena, maybe your “pilots” are sleeve-jacked body-hopping trans-human
consciousness clones, and maybe your Giant Monsters are a metaphor for corporate war. It’s all up to
Some Major Game themes:
“I need to be friends with these other girls, or the rest of humanity will die.”
“I need to be the best I can be, but there’s all these life problems getting in the way.”
School Supplies
Make sure you have the basics:
Pencils and Paper are the core tools of every student in Battle School, and you will make heavy use
of them here. You kids might think you’re clever with those special digi-pad-whatsits, but when they
eventually suffer a glitch and the Meta-Skein crashes, you’ll be glad you kept the old standbys on
Playing Cards are absolutely necessary for play, and you’ll need two decks - one for the players to
share between themselves, and one for Coach to use on their own. They’re also great for after-hours
poker games in the barracks, but don’t let Coach find out you’ve been gambling!
Tokens or counters of different colors will be useful for tracking the fluctuating levels of Harmony
and Dissonance your Pilot will experience during play, especially during the tense chaos of
(OPTIONAL) A four-sided gaming die might be useful for certain random moments, if you’d rather not
burn through cards for them. 8-sided, 12-sided, and 20-sided also work, as they are all divisible by 4.
(Still In Development) Pilot Record Sheets allow you to keep detailed ongoing notes of your stats,
abilities, skills, and class grades. Be careful now, these are your permanent records!
(Still In Development) The Team Harmony Tracker is required to keep up-to-date stats on your
pilots’ harmonic frequencies with each other. Put one of these on the table for everyone to see.
Introduction to Play
One player takes on the role of “Coach” and leads the proceedings. Coach is responsible for guiding the
game along and keeping the team focused on their story goals. Coach is the “game master” position in this
The rest of the players take on the roles of the “Pilots” and explore the story as presented by Coach.
These player characters are responsible for driving the story forward in pursuit of their various agendas,
both personal and team-focused. Oftentimes those agendas will clash with one another - since they’re
young characters in the passion of their youth, this conflict is entirely expected. More often still, they will
face direct opposition from space monsters and other dangerous threats, they likes of which they have
dedicated their lives to fighting in order to protect the future of humanity.
When this text refers to “players” it includes all at the table who are involved in the game, Coach and
Pilots alike. For purposes of clarity, when rules are meant to refer only to Coach or the Pilots, they will
use those specific terms. The term “Pilot” is used to reference both the Pilot characters and their players.
The Pilots
The Pilots are the core focus of every game. This is the story of their life and times, their dramas and
sorrows, their wins and losses. They must balance the stresses of their schooling and social lives while
also pulling together to save the world from invading space monsters.
Pilots have a handful of core game components that you should know about. First are their
Commitments, this game’s version of “attributes.” Each Pilot has three core commitments that
frequently come into conflict with one another: to the Team, to the Fight, and to the Future. Each
Commitment is in turn a dual stat, a balance of two opposing forces. The balance of these six stats
determines the base mechanics for every extended game component.
Next, each pilot has a pair of very similar gauges that function in a somewhat similar capacity as “health”
in other games. These are called Harmony and Pulse. A Pilot’s Harmony is a 7-point gauge that
determines how in sync she is with the spirit of the team. The higher her Harmony, the stronger she is
when working with her team, and the more likely she is to be able to combine with them. Pulse is a 7point gauge that represents a Pilot’s actual health and well-being. The lower her Pulse, the closer she is to
death. Harmony and Pulse are affected by fluctuating “damage” called Dissonance and Static,
respectively. These are encountered most frequently during big battles, but the Pilots can often bring the
damage upon themselves simply by being the self-conflicted people they are.
The Pilots also have three extended empowering tools at their disposal: their Color, Power Weapon, and
Robo. A Pilot’s Color is both the color of her outfit and the greater role she plays in her team. Functioning
similarly to a “character class,” Colors provide both special mechanical Techs and extended role-playing
inspiration. A Pilot’s Power Weapon is that singular awesome tool she is most known for using in combat.
Power Weapons start with a basic form and function, but grow mightily over time. A Pilot’s Robo is that
super awesome bad-ass giant Mecha that she pilots in the field against the invading monsters. Robos each
come in different forms, and give their Pilots even more cool powers to use both on their own and when
in the cockpit. Oh, and they can also merge together to get even more powerful!
Over time, as the Pilots experience conflict and victory and more, they will learn from their experiences
and hone their abilities. By acquiring Lessons and subsequently learning from them, they convert those
Lessons into Evolutions which allow them to increase their existing powers, and learn new ones as well.
The Pilots’ Team itself is also a greater unit of play, with its own stats and mechanics. The Team begins
play with their own special Base of Operations, which starts with three core Locations: the Barracks, the
Bunker, and the Hangar. These Locations in turn provide three special Resources that the Pilots can
draw from, and must manage throughout their adventures: Fan Club, Armory, and Pit Crew. These
connect directly to their own core Commitments and extended tools, both empowering and limiting them
in turns.
Finally, the team can equip themselves with extended load-outs of Gear. These special tools and weapons
gives them minor (but sometimes crucial!) boosts in the field. As the team gains more experience and
rank, they unlock more equipment options, too!
The Cards
All aspects of mechanical concern are resolved by plays and draws from two decks of playing cards.
Coach gets his own deck, while a second deck is shared between all the players. The extended and fullydetailed card Rules are explained in the later Cards and Conflicts section of this document, but for now
there are a few core concepts behind them that you should know before reading much further.
Order and Ranking
Cards are ranked by value, with suits used to break ties and activate Block actions in Throwdowns. Suit
order is Spades (highest), Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs (lowest). Twos are the lowest value, and Aces are
the highest.
The unnumbered cards also have hidden numerical values as well, with Jacks at 11, Queens as 12, Kings
at 13, and Aces at 14 (and Jokers are special as well - see below). Additionally, Faces and Aces can be
discarded during conflicts to activate the Pilots’ special techniques. Being valuable as both high cards and
Tech-activation tools, Faces and Aces tend to be highly sought-after cards.
Twos and Aces
There is a special relationship between Twos and Aces. Aces are numerically the highest-ranked card in
the game, seemingly beating all other cards in the decks. However, when playing through a Throwdown,
an already-played Ace can be beaten by playing a Two, starting the process from the bottom again.
Each deck includes two Jokers, which serve as a combination Pacing and Escalation mechanic. Jokers are
shuffled face-up into their respective decks, and trigger special game events when they reach the top of a
deck. The Pilots’ Jokers trigger minor “Rally” boons, while Coach’s Jokers trigger special Escalation Path
events when they are revealed, in addition to granting his eventual Big Giant Monster more power.
Coach is the “game master” role in this game. He sets everything up, manages proceedings, and guides the
flow of play. Coach is largely (but not exclusively) responsible for introducing story components and
pushing along the narrative and events in a way that make for an exciting session of play. Coach is in
charge of introducing all of the other non-Pilot story characters that populate the world. Coach manages
the Factions, Threats, and Big Giant Monsters that the players heavily interact with through play.
Coach’s role is a lot more complicated than the individual Pilots’ roles, but to make it easier he actually
has much simpler mechanics to manage. While the Pilots have a tight structure of multi-layered and
multi-tiered mechanics and stats, most (but not all) of Coach’s mechanics have exactly one solitary stat
each, and a simple “stack” of enhancements.
Factions, Threats, and BGMs
The Pilots will interact with many “non-player” characters throughout their missions, but the three types
that matter most are the three that specifically have actual game mechanics: Factions, Threats, and Big
Giant Monsters.
Factions are any kind of force in the game that has motivation and agency within the scenario’s story.
Factions are meant to be courted by the Pilots, who can gain favor with them and invest external power
in them for later use.
Threats are any force that is a danger to the Pilots and their goals. These can be school bullies, oppressive
military regimes, crazed space cults, infectious zombie parasites, raging void storms, dangerous natural
environments, and yes even:
Big Giant Monsters! These are Threats that have the power to destroy great numbers of lives and cause
trillions of space dollars worth of destruction. These are so powerful that the best (and only?) hope of
defeating them is for the Pilots to get over their interpersonal squabbles and join up!
Time and Immediacy
Each mission in the game should be underscored by a sense of urgency. The enemy is forever marching
slowly toward the completion of its nefarious goals, bringing humanity closer and closer to the brink of
disaster. While there may be a number of situations where the Pilots will feel the need to lay low and
recover their temporary losses, the enemy never waits. Balancing needs of rest with the immediacy of the
looming Threat is a major aspect of play.
Session Flow
Each session of Gattaibushido follows a basic flow:
Session Setup
Team Salute
Story and Play
1. Session Setup
Set up the play space for the session. This includes setting out basic supplies (playing card decks, writing
utensils, tokens, index cards), passing out sheets (pilots, harmony tracker, etc)
Jokers: Leave the jokers of both decks out for the moment. They’ll be shuffled in shortly.
Seating Order: Seating order is important! Your seating order determines your conflict initiative and
flow order, as all action flows clockwise from Coach. If you have a few sessions under your wing and wish
to strategize the order of your team’s actions, establishing a seating order is the way to do it! For the sake
of session flow and cohesion, seating order is locked in for the session once everyone completes the
Team Salute (see below). However, Coach may allow a new group to change mid-game in the first
session or two, as the Pilots learn how their abilities interact.
Starting Harmony
First Scenario Only: At the beginning of a brand new game, each new character first enters with a base
starting Harmony of 4 (Green). Coach then draws a card to divine any modification to that baseline. If the
card is Red, discard it and leave the Harmony as is. If the card is Black, then a Club means lower Harmony,
while a Spade means a higher Harmony. The amount of modification is based on rank: Number card =
1pt, Face card = 2pts, and Ace = 3pts. Thus a Pilot who gets an Ace of Spades starts the game with 7
(Violet) Harmony, while an Ace of Clubs gives her 1 (Red) Harmony! If the Harmony is modified in this
manner at all, see also “Each Time,” below.
Subsequent Scenarios: At the beginning of each new Scenario, Coach will most likely alter your
Harmony ratings from last time. This may be due to specifications written into the scenario itself, or due
to events on the Downtime Draw Table (in Coach’s Handbook).
Each Time: If your Pilot’s Harmony is below Green, you must name one thing that the others have
recently done to piss her off (the lower your Harmony, the greater the offense). Conversely, if your Pilot
has Harmony above green, you must state one thing that’s super awesome in her life, awesome enough
that it could make others jealous. Need to breed some juicy intra-team conflicts here!
2. Team Salute
Kicking off the game with a proper team salute is a crucial part of every session. The typical team salute
involves each player first standing up around the gaming table. Coach then puts forth his hand, facedown, and the other players do likewise, stacking their hands atop each other until all are joined up. Then
as one, they throw their hands up and yell “Go team!”
Each group is encouraged to customize their own salute, by changing up the motion, adding a different
shout, or some other modification, including an entirely different one!
3. Briefing
If this is the first of a new scenario, Coach kicks off the story with a quick Briefing, detailing the current
state of affairs with the Pilots’ lives, and the status of their overall fight against The Enemy.
If this is another session in an ongoing Scenario, then Coach instead recaps the previous session’s events,
delegating some or all of the recollection to the other players as he sees fit.
Deal Starting Hands and Shuffle Jokers
During the Briefing, Coach deals out the Pilots’ starting Hands of cards. After this is done, shuffle the
Jokers into both decks face-up.
4. Story and Play
The majority of actual game play happens during this stage of the session. The Pilots work both
separately and together to pursue their agendas in the story, overcoming challenges both personal and
grand in scale. This part of the session continues until Coach brings things to a suitable stopping point.
5. Debriefing
Once Coach closes the session’s play, it’s time to quickly recap the events of the session as a group, so
everyone is caught up to the state of the story affairs as they are being left for the time being. All postsession mechanics occur now, including any end-of-session character analyses, alterations, and
If this marks the completion of the current scenario as well, then Coach runs the group through an
epilogue of the events thus far. This also includes tallying the team’s final Score of the adventure, to
determine if they have attained any bonus resources and/or evolutions.
6. Breakdown
Once all play and story wrap-up is complete, pack up all the materials and store them handily for next
Factions: If this is an ongoing scenario, keep any existing-and-invested Factions as they are currently,
using baggies or other such simple storage to keep their current cards invested. This way, the next time
you meet you can put them back into play exactly as they were without having to dig cards out of the
Glossary (Work in Progress)
(use hanging indent in final doc, include page refs as well)
Term: definition
Armory: a team resource that gives them cool gear
AvTE: Average Team Evolutions, a gauge of relative team power and experience
Collateral: special damage that is applied to locations
Combo Zone: definition
d4: a random number from 1 to 4, generated either by the suit of a card draw, or by rolling a four-sided
Deck: definition
Discard: definition
Dissonance: definition
Escalation Path: a predetermined series of increasingly-dangerous events that unfold as jokers are
Escalation Level: the current place on the Escalation Path that the game has advanced to, through the
revelation of jokers
Fan Club: definition
Gambit: definition
Hand: definition
Harmony: definition
Locations: definition
Pile: definition
Pit Crew: definition
Play: definition
Positions: the different locations in the final form where the robos slot in
Pulse: definition
Push: definition
Razed: a Location that has been Razed cannot be used in play, and must be rebuilt
Resource: definition
Round: one of three stages of robot-on-monster action during Robo Rumbles
Rumble: definition
Static: definition
Structure: the durability of Locations, and target for Collateral checks against them
Tarry: when the Pilots choose to spend time inactive, causing a flip from coach’s deck
Tech: Short for “Technique,” Techs are special powers you can trigger during Throwdowns and some
other game situations.
Throwdown: definition
Term: definition
Pilot Creation
Pilot creation should be done together as a group, after the completion of the First Contact tutorial scene.
First Founding
Catching Up with the World
Choose Team Ranks
Determine Initial Commitments
The Lists: Colors, Weapons, Robos, and Evolutions
Derive Additional Stats
Determine Sacrifices
Answer Establishing Questions
Assign Team Resources
Define the Salute!
First Founding
If this is a brand new campaign with a brand new team of pilots, you should first play through the “First
Contact” establishment and tutorial scene. It is extremely useful not just for setting up extended details
on your game world and campaign focus, but also for teaching new players the core basics of the rules
system. The full details on the First Contact scene are detailed in the “Coach’s Handbook” section of this
Catching Up with the World
This team creation process assumes that the new characters are a group of fresh young Battle School
mecha Pilots following in the footsteps of the events played out in the First Founding. As a group, figure
out how much time has passed. Five years? A hundred? Figure out together what has changed in the
world since then, and how the “Battle School” (if your game has one) fits into the story today.
How far removed from the First Contact characters are these new young Pilots? Are any of those original
characters still alive?
Choose Team Ranks
Next, each new team needs a leader. The players should discuss who will take on the mantle of team
leadership. Whoever steps up to that role becomes the Red Pilot.
Additionally, if anyone specifically wants to be the newest member of the team, this is a good time to
declare it. Whoever chooses to be the newest takes Green.
Everyone else can wait to pick their colors shortly.
Determine Commitments
At creation assign a spread of six points to each separate duality. Valid values are: 6/0, 5/1, 4/2, 3/3, 2/4,
1/5, and 0/6. The Commitments are described in greater detail further below in the “Extended” character
Random Option: For a more uncertain experience, use a six-sided gaming die to randomly roll your
character. Start with the first Commitment pair, and roll a d6. Assign the result to one of the stats in that
pair, and assign the difference (from 6) to the other. Repeat twice more for the following two
Commitment pairs.
The Lists: Colors, Weapons, Robos, and Evolutions
Now all of the Pilots must choose their Color, base Power Weapon, and Personal Robo. The Red color
Pilot should already be assigned from a prior step, but the rest will be open game. Take note of the social
power dynamics built into Red, Blue, and Green.
When you pick your Color, Weapon, and Robo, be sure to write down all the core abilities and techs, but
do not add any of the advanced powers. Those will come later on!
Finally, you get two “branch” evolutions for free, spread across any of your three trees as you see fit.
Branch evolutions do not include Tier evolutions. See the Evolutions section for more (p. SQUARP).
Playtest Notes: The Evolutions are still being developed as feedback comes in from my own games and
those of outside groups. For Now, Give your Pilot +1 to her Max Hand (total 2) and +1 to either of her
Buffers (your Choice).
Derive Additional Stats
Note the following derived stats:
Dissonant Buffer: Base 0 (plus Stars stat)
Harmonic Buffer: Base 0 (plus Earth stat)
Max Hand: Base 1 (plus any starting evolutions bonus)
Determine Sacrifices
For each of your three commitments, you have had to make one important sacrifice. You will answer one,
while your team will answer the other two for you. Or phrasing it differently, you must now answer three
questions: one about yourself, and the other two about two of your companions.
This process can take some time, as the entire group is directly involved. Be sure to give it the attention
and discussion it deserves, though!
**Commitment to the Team Sacrifice: Betrayal“** (Answer this for the Player to your Left) Someone else
on the team publicly humiliated her, but she let it go or otherwise sucked it up. Describe that humiliation.
Why did she not get revenge?
**Commitment to the Fight Sacrifice: Blood“** (Answer this for the Player to your Right) Name one
person she got into a fight with since joining the team. When, where, and why? Who started it? And who
**Commitment to the Future Sacrifice: Bonds“** (Answer this for Yourself) You lost someone,
intentionally or unintentionally, when you joined this team. Who was it? Why did you lose them? And
how do you really feel about that loss?
Answer Establishment Questions
There will be a number of questions the team must answer. These are still being decided as we playtest,
but some of them are here.
For the Individual Pilots to Answer:
What is the most despicable thing you’ve ever done in pursuit of a personal victory?
What is the most despicable thing you’ve ever done in response to a major personal loss?
Why are you really fighting this war?
For the Whole Team to Answer
What weird pre-battle ritual does your team have?
Which of you is known as Coach’s pet? Is it true?
What is your unit’s Motto?
What do you call your final form? Combo Drive? Ultimate Form Fusion? Meda-Dino? You can answer
this now, or wait until the fusion first happens.
Finally: What is your team name? Ultra Mega Assault Division? Team Triple Triumph? The War
Determine Starting Team Resources
In Gattaibushido, the Team is almost another character unto itself. Your Team consists of three Locations
(Barracks, Bunker, and Hangar), that give you three special Team Resources: Fan Club, Armory, and Pit
Crew, respectively. More detail on the Team Locations and Resources can be found starting on
p. SQUARP, but for now you at least need to randomly determine how your Team’s three Resources begin
Draw three cards and then lay them out in ranked order. Draw three more cards and lay them out
separately in ranked order. Repeat this a third and final time.
Pick the three cards from the middle of each of the three sets. Those are now the three values that the
team must choose to assign to the three Resources.
Define Your Salute!
Each team has their own special salute. It could be as simple as all hands in the middle, then Yay! Or it
could be something hands-off, and/or more subtle or complex. Define it together, and starting with the
next session it will open every time.
During the first session of play, as part of character creation, the Group Salute is defined. It is then used to
open each NEW session of play that follows.
With that, the Team is Complete.
Character Archetypes (Character Pregens)
(developed in a separate file, will be included in later playtest release version)
Pilot Components, Extended
Commitments (Your Base Stats)
Your Pilot’s Commitments determine the basis for most all of the character mechanics.
Commitment to the Team: Solo/Sync
Stat Mechanic: Determines bonus card Draws during conflicts.
Tied To: Team Color
Your relevant stat determines how many bonus cards you draw at the beginning of a Throwdown, based
on your approach to that conflict. Use Solo if you’re pushing your own agenda, or Sync if you’re putting
the Team’s needs first.
High-Solo Pilots have a stronger sense of self, and are not as in tune with the team’s needs, strengths, and
weaknesses. High-Sync Pilots are more heavily driven by the Team’s goals, and work harder to put the
Team first.
Commitment to the Fight: Glove/Fist
Stat Mechanic: Determines Strike Ranges in conflicts.
Tied To: Personal Power Weapon
Glove sets Strike Range when the fight is brought to you, while Fist sets your Strike Range when you are
bringing the fight.
High-Glove Pilots are stronger when standing firm against the rigors the universe throws their way, and
disfavor direct approaches to complex problems. High-Fist Pilots favor an immediate direct approach to
the greatest known foes, so much that they fare poorly against the unexpected challenges that suddenly
fall upon them.
Commitment to the Future: Earth/Stars
Stat Mechanic: Determines the pilot’s resistance to external forces.
Tied To: Personal Robo
Earth stat sets your Static Buffer, allowing you to resist greater amounts of Static. Stars sets your
Dissonance Buffer, likewise allowing you to resist greater amounts of Dissonance.
High-Earth Pilots are rooted more firmly in the realities of the past and present, and stand solidly against
the direct forces of the universe that would cause them harm. High-Stars Pilots are driven by a
commitment to venture to the stars with their team, and take the fight far and away from the people of
the Earth - as such, they have a greater resistance against forces that would degrade their team spirit.
Managing Your Commitments
Your stats will always remain in a 6-point balance, with a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 6.
Forced Shifts: Some game effects may force you to make a shift in one direction or another. TO do that,
raise the Stat you are shifting toward, and lower the other one. If a shift would ever force you from 6 to 7
in a stat pair, instead immediately reduce Harmony by 1 (and if that would reduce Harmony to zero,
instead immediately reduce Pulse by 1).
Pilot Color Roles
Sidebar: On the Classic Colors
If you’re a fan of the Super Sentai genre, you’ve probably noticed that some (or all!) of these colors stray pretty widely from classic
color tropes of that genre. The main reason for this is that I didn’t feel there was enough consistency to give each color a solid,
unique identity based solely on that genre’s tropes. My goal here is to leave things open for the addition and description of more
color roles in the future, and also allow more open interpretation by the player groups. As such, I took a lot of artistic liberty in
describing the strengths and weaknesses of the color roles here. Remember also that the Super Sentai genre is a big inspiration, but
not the only one.
Notes on Color Techs
In all the descriptions below, the variable X represents the Pilot’s highest-unlocked Color Tier (1 through
The “Advanced” Color Techs are not available for selection by new Pilots until after they have “unlocked”
them. This usually happens as a story component of the first game Scenario.
Color Template
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Actions in-game that can restore your Harmony, either in or out of conflicts.
Lesson Trigger: In-game events which can earn you lessons at Coach’s discretion.
Favored Position(s): This color’s favorite positions in the Final Form (TBD)
A short description of what drives the Pilot that chooses this Color as her own.
Dissonance Hooks: A section of text giving you tips on how to narrate your actions that fall outside of
strike ranges. When (color) takes Dissonance, it’s usually because blah…
Schism Tech: A special action or condition that takes effect whenever this Color gets into a Throwdown
against her own teammate(s).
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Techname” - A description of the Color’s unique role Tech, and how it evolves.
(Playtest Note: I’m still working on a proper final notation for these)
BLACK is both the Void and the Explosion that births it, a duality of being, a conflict of natures. She is
sometimes silent and passive, then suddenly motivated and violent. Some whisper that she’s “lost it,”
which causes her much self-doubt when she overhears them. And she just may be, or maybe, just maybe
she is in truth the Balance Incarnate, the manifestation of the harmonic line between Life and Death.
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Black gains Harmony when her actions alone are the crucial deciding factor
between success and defeat - either one!
Lesson Trigger: Black suffers most when she sees first-hand the great unexpected misfortune of her
best intentions gone awry.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Special: Black works best when seated immediately to Coach’s right. Her special Tech requires
someone else to have played prior, and that is made more likely with all the other Pilots sitting to her
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Wait for it… WAIT FOR IT!” Black works best when she times her actions to the
precise moment. This Tech requires some table configuration, and a Throwdown with at least one other
ally participating on her side. In order to use this new Main Action, first: she must have one or more cards
still in her hand, and second: the player immediately to her right in the Throwdown must have just
Pushed. When this happens, she has the option to PASS on her turn (and is in fact the only character in
the game that can do so!). When she Passes, she can draw up to X cards into her hand, and then must
place and equal number of cards back on top of the deck in any order. She can only do this once per
Throwdown. (Playtest Note: Okay this one is complicated, maybe too much so. I am eager to hear how
this works in your games.)
BLUE is uncertain - capable, but not yet aware of her strength. She’s strong - really strong, in fact, but her
self-image has yet to realize this. She’s always the second string to Red’s lead guitar, and yet not always
comfortable with that.
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Blue gains Harmony when she steps up to tighten the group’s slack, and in doing
so leads them to victory.
Lesson Trigger: Blue is not fully satisfied with her position as second, but neither is she certain
where she really wants to be. Blue suffers most when that discomfort in her place in life causes
major discord with the rest of the team.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Rank Special: Blue always starts at number 2, always just behind Red.
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “I’m not done yet!” When Blue’s hand is empty during a Throwdown, on her
turn she has a new Side action. She can take up to X Static to take an equal amount of cards from the
bottom of the current play pile and put them into her hand.
GREEN is young and scrappy, eager to prove and yet lacking in the experience to always do so. Green
leaps at the opportunity to do awesome things for her team, and chafes at the decidedly-less-exciting
things she is usually ordered to do instead. Everyone was “green” once, but Green is Green now, and she’s
dying to show her true worth. If she pushes hard enough, she may even succeed, but at what: proven
success, or dying in the process?
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Green gains Harmony when she totally kicks the ass of some extremely lame task
in a way that turns it into a great success for the team.
Lesson Trigger: Green suffers most when she defies the responsibilities of her duties (great or
small), and it damages the team.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Rank Special: Green is the New Girl, the freshest of the pilots, and the lowest on the totem pole.
She’s likely (but not necessarily) the youngest, and usually out of touch with the team’s idioms (or
maybe they’re really just out of touch with hers). Green gets the lamest duties and the least-desired
watch rotations, until she proves that she is as tough as the rest of them.
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Didn’t See That Coming, Did Ya!” Being the underdog of the team, Green has
learned to rise up from the bottom of a fight in unexpected ways, snatching victory from the jaws of
defeat. This gives her extended card-play options when she Pushes in Throwdowns. At Tier 1 she can
beat Aces with Threes. At Tier 2 she can beat Kings with Twos as well. At Tier 3 she can beat Aces with
Fours, too. And at Tier 4 she can beat Jacks and Queens with Twos, as well.
ORANGE is dedicated, passionate, and a true fan of life. Orange is the Number One Geek, and absorbs
herself in the things she loves - and those things are always changing! She is the vibrant lover of new
things, the explorer of new hobbies (that she quickly gets bored with)
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Orange gains Harmony when her obsession with something so seemingly
inappropriate actually turns out to be exactly the thing the team needed at a crucial moment.
Lesson Trigger: Orange suffers most when she puts her obsessions before the interests of the team,
especially when it brings about their harm or failure.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Special: Orange is always obsessed with something new, be it a person, a hobby, a place, or an
annoying catch phrase. Orange’s obsession must change with each new scenario - or each new
session if she prefers!
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “New Shiny!” Orange has her own special Obsession Faction that changes every
scenario (or even session). She can invest cards in it like a Faction, that only she can use. This faction
cannot be affected by Coach’s Waves and Storms, either! Starts with a max agency of 1. With evolutions
she can either increase her base obsession agency, or instead diversify, buying a new obsession at Agency
1. But with multiple obsessions, EACH must change its focus every time!
PINK is love, hope, cheer, and a head firmly planted high up in the intoxicating clouds of a distant planet
yet to be discovered. Pink is often ignored or dismissed for her vibrant excitement at the seemingly
silliest of things. but pushes ever-forward with that exuberance to keep her team in the bestest spirits she
can manage.
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Pink gains harmony when her immense cheer and support is actually
appreciated by the team, and directly acknowledged as a crucial role in a victory.
Lesson Trigger: Pink wears her beating, bleeding heart proudly on her sleeve. While she believes
this is the greatest weapon she may have. it is also her biggest weakness. Pink suffers most when her
willingness to make others happy is taken advantage of, and when her decision to wear her heart as
a fashion accessory results in it being broken.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Best Friends Forever!” Pink excels when she works with someone else. When
Pink uses the Strike-Assist action, the recipient gains additional +X to their Range. Similarly, when she is
targeted with a Card-Assist, she draws an additional +X cards.
PURPLE is silent, secret passion, amazing skill trapped in a shell of doubt. Purple can excel at keeping her
team together when she puts herself on the line, but often lets herself be overshadowed by the more
willful of her team.
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Purple gains Harmony when she brings success to the team without taking
Lesson Trigger: Purple suffers most when the things she wants fall out of reach by simple fact that
she didn’t speak up, didn’t try hard enough, and didn’t believe in herself. She must learn from these
failures if she wants to be her best.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Everybody Do Your Best!” When involved in a Throwdown with at least one
other ally on her side, Purple has a special new Side Action. She can discard a single card and take 1
Dissonance, and then the other Pilots on her side can draw up to X new cards among them as she chooses.
(Playtest Note: I suspect this needs tweaking, but it seems good to start with for now).
RED is brash, self-confident, strong-willed, and intentionally heroic. Red strives to be number one, and
puts herself out there, pushing her own limits to the max and beyond, often dangerously so.
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Red gains Harmony when she takes charge and the others follow her orders with
minimal questioning.
Lesson Trigger: Red suffers most when her go-get-’em brashness and drive to be The Hero backfire
horribly, disrupting the team and bringing about strife and failure.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Rank Special: Red is the leader, a required role in a new group.
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Hero Power!” Red rushes forward to save the day! As a Side action, take up to X
Dissonance to deliver up to X Dissonance and/or Static to your opponent, provided you describe your
awesome solo action hero attack.
YELLOW is Poise, grace, and a commitment to do what must be done. Yellow is always willing to sacrifice
the needs of self for success of the greater cause, simply because She Must, and that’s just how it is. She
gains strength from the deep connection she shares with her team, and believes they respect her
dedication whether they say so or not. The team thrives because of her, and that is a sacred commitment.
But what of her own personal happiness? Must she always set aside her deeper self to be one of the pack?
Core Components
Harmony Trigger: Gain Harmony when you turn down an opportunity for happiness by choosing to
put the team first.
Lesson Trigger: Yellow suffers most when she is put on the spot between her deepest personal
goals and those of her team. She earns lessons when her decision to stand with her team makes one
of her personal goals indefinitely unattainable.
Favored Position(s): (TBD)
Dissonance Hooks: TBD
Schism Tech: TBD
Advanced Abilities
Advanced Color Tech: “Let Me Carry Your Burdens!” Yellow can take on the Dissonance burdens of
her allies as a free anytime action, either in a Throwdown or during open role-playing scenes. Whenever
any team member would take Dissonance in her presence, she can choose to take 1 point of Dissonance
on herself. When she does this, the other Pilot’s incoming Dissonance amount is reduced by X. This is a
single-target effect, meaning that each point that Yellow takes unto herself only shields the Dissonance
for a single Pilot. She can only use it once per Pilot per instance of incoming Dissonance, but she can use it
separately on multiple allies in the same situation, if applicable.
Power Weapons
In Gattai, you get to build your own custom personal power weapon and fighting style.
Gear Note: Your special personal Power Weapon is a vital extension of your Pilot’s core abilities, and as
such it is not considered Gear in any way. It does not function like Gear, it cannot be Activated or
Sacrificed, and does not rely on Gear rules to be used.
Building Your Power Weapon
To build your own custom Power Weapon, first start with a base weapon of your choice. Each weapon
has a core base ability giving you either a passive, constant bonus, or instead a “Finisher” tech that
activates only when you win a Throwdown with your card on top. Then once you “unlock” the privilege
during early play, you get to choose one special first Advanced Adjective Quality to add to it, giving it a
special new Tech that you can use during Throwdowns as a side action. As your Pilot evolves through
extended play, you can add up to three more qualities on top of that, each with its own new associated
Each Quality (and its Tech) is assigned to one of the four open Tier Slots on your Power Weapon, with
each slot connected to a specific face card. At the start of play, you only have the Jack slot (Tier 1)
unlocked. As you evolve, you additionally can unlock the Queen, King, and Ace slots (Tiers 2, 3, and 4,
respectively). You can assign new Qualities to the newly-unlocked Tiers, or you can even assign the same
one to multiple slots, giving you more options with the same power.
Using Core Power Weapon Abilities
Each base Power Weapon frame grants a single core power, in the form of either a constant base bonus or
a special “Finisher” move. Weapons that grant a base bonus do not need any activation or adjustments;
their bonuses are constant from day one, and do not evolve.
Weapons that grant Finishers, however, instead have an evolving power that automatically activates
whenever you win a Throwdown and your card is the final one on top. In these moments, your Finisher
kicks in and does its thing, with an output equal to your current highest unlocked
Ultimately the decision is a matter of playstyle choice. Weapons that provide base bonuses are pretty
straightforward, and require no additional effort on the Pilot’s part to use. The solid bonus is worthwhile
and beneficial, but the trade-off is that they lack the deeper specialization of a finisher. Finisher weapons,
on the other hand, require special circumstances in order to truly shine, but when they do their effects
are exceptionally (and increasingly!) satisfying.
Using Advanced Quality Techs
Once Coach has opened the option to you, you can begin adding the advanced Qualities to your Power
Weapon, giving it additional versatility above and beyond the core frame power. As your Power Weapon
acquires more Qualities, it likewise acquires additional Techs to use during Throwdowns. Each Tech is
assigned to a Tier Slot, ranked 1 through 4, and each slot is associated with a particular face card (Jack,
Queen, King, and Ace in ascending power). A quality’s Slot designates both how powerful its effect is, and
the minimum required discard in order to utilize it.
For example, if you have the “Nega-” Tech in your Tier 1 (Jack) slot, you can activate it on your turn by
discarding a Jack or higher. Doing so allows you to use that Tech at that slot’s level of effect. So in this
example, you would then be able to send the single bottom-most card of the Play Pile directly to its Trash.
Similarly, if you had that same quality slotted to Tier 3 (King), you would discard a King or higher, and
then the Tech allows you to send the bottom three cards of the Pile to the Trash.
Note that the Techs are tied to the exact power level of their slot. In the above examples, the Tier 1 NegaTech could only ever force a single card to Trash, regardless of the card you yourself discarded to
empower it. Likewise, using the Tier 3 Nega- ability sends exactly three cards from the Pile to Trash. You
can not voluntarily choose to do less than that, unless forced to by the constraints of the moment (in this
case, if you used the Tier 3 Tech but there were only two cards in the Pile, it would be a legal play, and
send them all to Trash). Nor does playing a higher card boost a lower Tech’s power.
List of Power Weapon Bases
Below is a list of available Power Weapon bases you can choose from. In each description, the X variable
equals the Pilot’s current highest-acquired Power Weapon Tier. Thus if a Pilot had evolved up to Tier 2 in
their Power Weapon, and the description says “Immediately remove X Dissonance,” then she would
remove 2 Dissonance upon use of that ability.
Axe: A solid warrior’s weapon, design to chop through to the heart of a problem with nothing but brute
strength. Finisher: Gain +X Victory Points, but bonus amount cannot exceed base VPs earned through
pile count.
Bow: An archer’s best friend when traveling through the lawless lands, its far-reaching arrows are ready
for the enemy far before normal eyes can see them. Finisher: Look at the top X+1 cards of any Deck, and
rearrange them in any order.
Cannon: A fearsome force of destructive devastation, the cannon is feared by all, human and monster
alike. Finisher: Up to X Victory Points spent on Static have times-two effect. You can take up to X
(i.e. same amount) direct Pulse damage to make it a point blank hit, and increase that effect from timestwo to times-four. (Playtest Note: possibly change to collateral damage instead)
Daggers: Shadowy and quick, the twin daggers are the ultimate hidden weapon, but users of such tools
often accompany them with even darker secrets. Finisher: Take up to X Dissonance, gain double that
amount as Victory Points.
Gauntlet: The powerful gauntlet literally strengthens the hand of its wearer. Base Bonus: +1 Max Hand
Gun: A powerful weapon that pierces through the strongest of defenses. Finisher: Ignore X points of
Static Buffer when applying Static from Victory.
Hammer: The mighty hammer beats down even the mightiest of foes. Base Bonus: The Hammer deals 1
immediate Static to an opponent with every Push.
Lance (or Spear): A long and mighty extension of its wielder’s martial will. Base Bonus: +1 Base Strike
Scythe: A farmer’s tool that can reap the wasted opportunities of the past and give them one more go in
the present. Finisher: Take up to X cards of choice from the Pile and put them directly into your Hand.
These cards do not count toward VPs, and you still must discard down if you exceed your max Hand size.
Shield: Stalwart and unyielding, a sturdy shield is the best constant companion to a Pilot under fire. Base
Bonus: +2 to Static Buffer.
Sword: The classic bringer of doom, metal forged into a perfect killing tool. Finisher: Take up to X Static,
then pick the same number of cards from the Play Pile and remove them from play for the remainder of
the current game scenario. (Playtest Note: Considering expanding this, to allow player to not take Static,
and instead only remove them for the current session. Needs to be tested)
Whip: The holder of the whip cares not for your back-talk, and clearly has no time for your derision. Base
Bonus: +2 Dissonant Buffer
List of Advanced Power Weapon Qualities
Below is a list of all the included and available advanced Power Weapon Qualities you can choose from. In
each description, the Z variable equals the Slot rank where it is assigned. Thus a description that says
“Immediately apply Z Static” would apply 3 Static if it were assigned to the third (King) Tier Slot on your
Power Weapon.
(Playtest Notes: These are a work in progress. Frankly I need more extended data on the core flow
before totally screwing with it by throwing a bunch of these into the mix. But hey, below are some ideas
to try out, let me know what you find is fun, and/or totally broken.)
ChronoE- - (energy)
Old School
Psy- - Look at cards?
Thunder TurboUltraVibroVortex
Tech Ideas:
Increase a Buffer by +Z for this battle
Increase next strike range by +Z*2
Increase next Assist Bonus by +Z
Remove Z Static (or Dissonance)
Draw Z bonus cards
Force opponent Discard of Z cards
Skip forward in time! Immediately skip to player Z spaces to the left, it’s now their turn
Hyper-: Accelerated fighting prowess mechanisms add Z to your strike ranges for the remainder of the
Throwdown. This can be used multiple times across consecutive turns to compound bonuses.
Nega-: A fairly unorthodox battle maneuver indeed, the Nega-tech removes the bottom Z cards from the
active Play Pile and sends them direct to their relative discards.
Retro-: Retro-tech weapons can literally rewrite the last few seconds of history, forming two concurrent
micro-timelines and merging them into tangible action. This allows the user to skip backward down the
action flow, and give previous participants additional actions! When used, the current turn focus
immediately moves Z spaces to your right around the table. That player now gets to take their turn again,
and flow picks up from there. No former actions are negated, mind you, only the turn order gets pushed
back a few steps allowing additional actions.
Adjective-: TBD
Adjective-: TBD
Adjective-: TBD
Adjective-: TBD
Personal Robos
Your Personal Robo is that big metal beast that you ride around the galaxy in, kicking monster ass and
generally looking awesome. Or maybe it’s a physical manifestation of your psychic training, an avatar of
your Mind-over-Everything Device that was created to fight the Star Demons. Or who knows, maybe you
even transform into it on your own!
In play, your Robo primarily provides:
Narrative Flavor
an Endurance Stat
a Core Pilot Tech
a drawback
one or more Advanced Robo Power Moves
Truth be told, aside from a small array of special abilities, your Robos are primarily story tools. Sure, they
can combine into a bigger, badder final form robot and kick some monster ass, but that is such a small
part of the greater story of this game. The vast majority of the time, your Pilots will not be in (or even
near!) their robots.
That said, your Robo can be involved in a scene however you see fit. Like any other big effing vehicle in
any other RPG, its presence in a scene is largely a matter of situation and circumstance, and what makes
sense. Think of having a personal Robo being very similar to having a cutting-edge military tank in a
modern setting. Sure, it’s super awesome, seemingly-unstoppable, and loaded with combat power, but
how often in a day are you actually going to get to use it? There are simply a great many times that it
won’t make sense to involve your Robos, such as personal scenes in tight spaces.
Your group should take the time to decide how the Robos actually work in your game world. Are they
mentally controlled at all times by the minds of the Pilots? Are they great hulking steam contraptions that
require being in a hot sweaty cockpit to control them? Are they really just physical manifestations of the
Pilots’ wills? Or maybe the Pilots themselves actually physically become the Robos? The answer to this
will greatly shape how they appear in your narrative.
Robo Endurance
Currently there is only one definite Robo “Stat” in this game: Endurance. Each Robo has a starting base
Endurance equal to 6 plus their current Robo Tier (this means that new characters usually have only 7
Endurance). Additionally there is a branch evolution that can increase that even more; without other
boosts from outside sources, a standard fully-evolved (as in all branch evolutions) Tier 4 Robo will have
13 Endurance.
Advanced Robo Power Moves
Playtest Note: Currently being tweaked on my end, this system will allow Pilots to upgrade and
customize their Robos with special self-named awesome power moves. They can either build one and
focus only on making it more awesome, or kit out their robos with an array of abilities. The math is still
being balanced, will be released in a later playtest stage.
Robo Name (Template)
Core Pilot Tech: This basic core Tech is granted to the Pilot simply because of her synergy with the
Robo’s trionic evolution drive (or whatever your group calls it). Most of these can be used even when the
Pilot is away from their Robo, although a few specifically require a present Robo. Usually some kind of
passive character bonus.
Drawback: Each Robo has a special drawback as well, which sometimes applies to the Pilot even when
she’s not in the cockpit.
How to Robo: Notes on effective play with this Robo.
PLAYTEST NOTE: In the Robo descriptions that follow, the variable “X” represents the Pilot’s current
max Robo Tier (earned through Evolutions).
Of mankind’s ambition, the first thing that many would say is that it is deeply rooted in its own pride.
That’s especially true of its history with advanced Mecha tech, as the first, the longest-lived, and the most
varied of all humanity’s many Mechas is the humanoid-shaped form, the Anthro-Guardian.
Core Pilot Tech - “Human Ambition!”: The Pilot of the Anthro-Guardian has a deep personal connection
to the great interstellar legacy of Humanity, and its drive to succeed against all odds. When you Gambit,
after the cards are revealed, you can take one point of Dissonance to flip +X additional cards and use any
one of them instead.
Drawback: TBD
How to Anthro-Guardian:
(Description) Caw, Screech! Big robot eagle of justice!
Core Pilot Tech - “Eagle’s Vision!”: Eagle sees both predators and prey far before they see her. Up to X
times per Scenario, when one of Coach’s jokers is revealed, she can choose to either send it back to the
deck (which reshuffles Coach’s trash into the deck), or let it ride and +d4 to current Team Resources as
she sees fit. She can choose to do nothing at all instead, which doesn’t use this this Tech.
Drawback: TBD
How to Eagle: TBD
(Description) The mighty lion, a proud classic!
Core Pilot Tech - “Pride Cometh Before… Everything, and Everyone!”: At the end of a Throwdown in
which Lion took Dissonance in front of her team, she can instead shift up to X points of it to any other
present member(s) of her team, without their consent.
Drawback: TBD
How to Lion: TBD
Giant Panda
(Description) PANDA!
Core Pilot Tech - “”Panda Belly Shield!: The tremendous size and massive armor of the Giant Panda
Robo can protect the Pilot from the deadliest of attacks. When you Static-Shift to the Panda’s Endurance,
each point of Endurance spent soaks X+1 Static.
Drawback: TBD
How to Panda: Panda works best matched with other abilities that convert to, soak, shift, or otherwise
affect the Pilot’s Static and Pulse. A fully tricked-out static-soaking load-out will make your Pilot
practically unstoppable!
(Description) Not quite the unicorn you were expecting…
Core Pilot Tech - “Thunder Paw!”: Whenever the Rhino Pilot would cause Static Damage, increase that
damage by +1.
Drawback: The Rhino and its pilot are both a bit reckless by nature, and more prone to laying waste to
locations and the innocents that inhabit them. Whenever the Rhino Pilot would trigger a Collateral
damage check, Coach flips one additional card for that check.
How to Rhino: TBD
(Description) We love you, Spider!
Core Pilot Tech - “Webs of Fate!”: Spider is always working angles, seeing plans unfold far in advance,
sometimes to the detriment of her own sanity. Whenever Spider would deal herself Dissonance (such as
when acting out of Strike Range), she can look at the top X cards of either deck (choose one). This is
perinstance of Dissonance accrual, and not per point. Note that Spider hates sharing secrets - she is not
allowed to share that card knowledge with anyone else unless she first deals herself another X
Drawback: TBD
How to Spider: TBD
(Description) The mightiest dino friend of them all.
Core Pilot Tech - “King of the Dinosaurs!”: T-Rex charges forth and gets what she wants. When you
initiate a Throwdown, your first card has +X strike range.
Drawback: TBD
How to T-Rex: TBD
(Description) Dammit Moon-Moon!
Core Pilot Tech - “Power of the Pack!”: The Pilot of the Wolf is unusually strengthened by her
connection to her team. When you are on the winning side of a Throwdown, remove up to X total
combined points of your own Dissonance and/or Static if there was at least one other team Pilot fighting
on your side. Do this before spending any Victory Points.
Drawback: TBD
How to Wolf: TBD
Harmony and Dissonance
Harmony is a 7-point gauge that determines how in sync you are with the Team Spirit. With a high
Harmony, you are a great asset to the team, giving greater assists and having an easier time combining
your Robo with theirs. With a low Harmony, you are increasingly out of sync, and even detrimental to the
team’s well-being.
Your location on the Harmony scale determines the following:
The Strike bonus you bestow when you Assist an ally in combat
The lowest-ranked card you can play in order to combine with your teammates.
Also, Harmony and Pulse together determine how many bonus cards a Pilot is allowed to keep during a
Throwdown - that is, the lower value of the two.
Harmony Table:
Red (1)
Orange (2)
Yellow (3)
Green (4)
Blue (5)
Indigo (6)
Violet (7)
No Card needed!
Dissonance is the currency of Stress. As you get more and more stressed out in the field, and you push
your limits too far, you take Dissonance. Dissonance builds up and can eventually directly lower your
Harmony. The primary source of Dissonance is from acting outside of your Strike Range in Throwdowns,
although several other sources apply.
Dissonance builds up and is tracked with tokens. Your Pilot has a special “Dissonant Buffer” defense that
helps ward off the effects of Dissonance. Initially linked to your “Commitment to the Future” stats, a
Pilot’s Dissonant Buffer can be increased through use of some gear, techniques, and applied character
evolutions. The Buffer doesn’t prevent the accrual of Dissonance, mind you, it merely wards off the
effects. As long as you keep that pile of tokens equal to or less than your Buffer, you will suffer no adverse
effects from Dissonance.
However, if the tokens build up higher than your Buffer, you’re in trouble. If at any time after a
Throwdown or during open play you build up more Dissonance tokens than your Buffer, you must
immediately remove the excess and directly decrease your current Harmony by the same amount.
Harmony can never be lower than 1. If your Harmony would ever be lowered below 1, leave it at 1 and
instead apply the remainder as Static. This represents your descent into self-destructive behaviours
finally taking their toll out on you physically.
Forced Commitment Shifts: Whenever you hit a Red (1) Harmony for the first time in a scenario, you
must also make a 1-point shift in one of your Commitments, as decided upon by Coach. This includes if
you somehow start a scenario in the Red already.
Restoring Harmony
(Playtest Note: Need to balance this out without enough opportunities so that Dissonance is not a total
doomsday effect for the character. Special Throwdowns against the Harmonic difference? Fall back to the
Color-based Harmonic Triggers?)
Harmony can be restored in the following ways:
Playing up your Color’s Harmony Trigger
Using your Fan Club
Using certain Gear
Using certain Techs
Winning appropriate Gambits and Throwdowns, or involvement in other narrative activities*
* Note that not all Throwdowns, Gambits, or other activities will be eligible for Harmony restoration. The
situation must make sense, and the conflict needs to be directly related to the improvement of Team
Spirit and teamwork, a matter which is ultimately Coach’s call. Examples include therapy sessions, team
spirit-boosting activities, group interventions, etc.
Pulse and Static
Your Pilot’s Pulse represents her line on life. It is literally how close to physical death she is. Pulse thus
functions in a similar fashion to “health” or “hit points” in other games.
Like Harmony, Pulse follows a 1-7 RoyGBiv scale, with 7 (Violet) being absolutely optimal, and 1 (Red)
being critically low and close to death.
(Note: not including a table here because there’s currently no need to, it’s a simple 7-point scale)
Pulse and Harmony together determine how many bonus cards a Pilot is allowed to keep during a
Throwdown - that is, the lower value of the two.
Static is the “damage” that can potentially lower a Pilot’s Pulse. Static represents anything that can
diminish a character’s well-being, be it physical trauma, mental anguish, or emotional suffering. Static is
usually applied as a result of opponent actions during Throwdowns, but other sources exist as well.
Static builds up and is tracked with tokens. Your Pilot has a special “Static Buffer” defense that helps ward
off the effects of Static. Initially linked to your “Commitment to the Future” stats, a Pilot’s Static Buffer can
be increased through use of some gear (such as armor), techniques, and applied character evolutions. The
Buffer doesn’t prevent the accrual of Static, mind you, it merely wards off the effects. As long as you keep
that pile of tokens equal to or less than your Buffer, you will suffer no adverse effects from Static.
However, if the tokens build up higher than your Buffer, you’re in trouble. If at any time after a
Throwdown or during open play you build up more Dissonance tokens than your Buffer, you must
immediately remove the excess and directly decrease your current Harmony by the same amount.
Forced Commitment Shifts: Whenever you hit a Red (1) or lower Pulse for the first time in a scenario,
you must also make a 1-point shift in one of your Commitments, as decided upon by Coach.
Restoring Pulse
(Playtest Question: How can Pulse be restored? Conflicts? A Throwdown against the Wound level as a
pseudo-threat? Hmmmm…)
Pulse can be restored in the following ways:
Using certain Gear
Using certain Techs
Winning appropriate Gambits and Throwdowns, or involvement in other narrative activities*
* Like with Harmony, these are ultimately Coach’s call. Examples include med bay visits, heavy gym time,
Pulse Death
If a character is ever dropped to Zero pulse, they are critically close to Death.
Playtest Considerations:
Can she be “stabilized” by a Conflict?
If not Stabilized by that conflict, however, they die. End of Pilot.
Of course “Heroic Sacrifice” needs to be an option…
Team Setup
In addition to the individual Pilots, the team as a whole is almost a character unto itself. The team has the
following components.
Team Name (descriptor): What is the team called?
Derogatory Nickname (descriptor): What is the team called by its haters?
Average Team Evolutions / AvTE (derivative): The average amount of character evolutions earned
by the entire team
Three Home Base Locations: Barracks, Bunker, and Hangar
Three Team Resources:
Fan Club: The general reputation of the team in the public eye
Armory: how well-stocked the team’s gear reserves are
Pit Crew: the size and skill level of the team’s Mecha support crew
The Names are simple enough. Your group should come up with a team name during the creation session.
Likewise, the Derogatory Nickname is what people call them behind their backs - or to their faces even, if
their rep is super low! Fail Force Four, The Suck Seven, Lame Kitties, Losertown, etc. The group can come
up with their own, or let it emerge during play.
Average Team Evolutions (AvTE) is the average of all the team’s total earned Evolutions. It’s used to
determine their relative field experience, and a few background factors are based off it (such as Threat
suggestions, Gear availability, etc). To determine this, total the team’s combined evolution count and
divide by the number of team members, rounding up. At the very beginning of the game, a new team will
have an AvTE of 2, since every new Pilot starts with two free evolutions.
Team Base Setup
Every new Pilot team starts play with a basic Home Base, which consists of three Locations: Barracks,
Bunker, and Hangar. Each Location begins with a Structure rating (max and current) of 8. Each Location
also comes with a single associated Boon, in the form of a special Team Resource.
The Barracks Location is where the Team rests, relaxes, and lives. The Barracks provides access to the
Fan Club Team Resource as its Location Boon.
The Bunker Location is where the trains and keeps their special gear, and where they retreat to when in
need of protection. The Bunker provides access to the Fan Club Team Resource as its Location Boon.
The Hangar Location is where the Team’s Robos are stored and maintained during downtime. The
Hangar provides access to the Pit Crew Team Resource as its Location Boon.
The Home Base can grow out over extended play, with new Locations (and Boons!) added and existing
one upgraded to be more resilient to enemy attacks.
The Resources are explained immediately below. For more details on Locations, see page SQUARP
(Locations section).
Team Resources
Finally, the Resources provided as Location Boons are an extended management tool that can empower
the Pilots in a number of ways. Each Resource is represented by a numerical stat from 0 to 15, ranked as
Threatened: basic scraps, minimal team, low rep
Subsistence: maintenance of standard team ops
Surplus: lots to spare, high rep, solid support crew
Bountiful! Will be converted to Score at end of Scenario
Each specific stat uses these numbers differently. For the most part, the three middle ranks are mainly
there for narrative color, while the lowest and the highest have the most direct mechanical effects.
With a 0 in any of the three team stats, the Pilots are locked out of using one of their core abilities. On the
flip side, zero is the absolute lowest a stat can go, and any resource loss below zero is ignored.
Any resource that reaches 15 or higher during a scenario is considered to be in a state of great bountiful
surplus. If the team doesn’t otherwise make use of this bounty, any points in this range are directly
converted into final Score.
Resource Conversions: When in a narratively-suitable position, the Team and convert resources with a
2:1 conversion rate. This can represent donating gear or services to their Fans, recruiting new Pit Crew
members from their fanbase, sending their crew on shopping runs, or however else they can describe it.
Fan Club
The Fan Club resource represents your team’s general reputation out in the civilian world.
The Fan Club can take any form your game wishes, but by default they are considered to be real people
active in your game world. You are encouraged to flesh them out with names and stories, and even
involve them directly in your games, possibly even as direct plot hooks!
Spending Fan Club: You can spend your Fan Club in two ways. First is intel: you can spend points from
the Fan Club to hit up your fan network for insights and data in the field. Provided the situation gives you
access to them somehow, you can spend 1 point to gain 1 “clue” into a current mystery, filtered of course
through the credibility of random online fans. Use these sparingly, though, because your fans don’t like
having to do all your work for you!
Second, you can draw on your Fan Club to raise your spirits. If you have an evening or so of downtime
available in the game, you can invoke a Tarry action to spend time socializing with them, maybe via live
net chat or even IRL at a local hangout. Doing so allows you to spend 1 point of Fan Club to do one (and
only one) of the following:
If you currently have any Dissonance at all, that point allows you to remove d4 Dissonance.
If you do NOT currently have any Dissonance, instead restore 1 Harmony.
But don’t do this too long; your fans love hearing from you, but they love seeing you kick ass even more,
and too much idle time leads to a loss in fans!
Depleting Fan Club: If the Fan Club is depleted, you cannot restore Harmony at all! You’ll need to find a
way to restore your credibility somehow before your Harmony can be improved.
Location: The Fan Club is directly tied to the Pilots’ Barracks Location. If that Location is Razed, Fan Club
points can not be spent or restored.
The Armory represents your Team’s collection of stockpiled goods, including extra weapons and other
valuable Gear that they can make use of on their important missions battling against the enemy.
Unlike the other two resources, the Armory is an actual place within the game, and subject to the
Locations rules (still in development). This means an unprotected Armory is very much at risk of being
hurt by Collateral damage!
Spending Armory: Your Armory points allow you to check gear out for missions. Each point spent
equates to one point of Gear rating (aka Gear Tier) checked out. The points are spent immediately,
however if the Gear is returned safely the points are restored.
Pilots can generally acquire Armory Gear at any time their character would be considered to have easy
access to their base of operations. If Coach allows it, the pilots can requisition gear in the field for an
additional cost per item, at his discretion.
Depleting Armory: If the Armory is ever depleted, you cannot make use of your Power Weapons’ active
Location: The Armory is directly tied to the Pilots’ Bunker Location. If that Location is Razed, Armory
points can not be spent or restored.
Pit Crew
The Pit Crew represents the Team’s support crew, the guys and gals who work on their Robos and keep
them in optimal operational condition. Like the Fan Club, the Pit Crew consists of an actual team of
additional characters that are there to help the Pilots on the sideline. You are encouraged to give them
names, personalities, and back-stories.
Spending Pit Crew: You can spend points of your Pit Crew to repair damaged Robos. It costs 1:1 repairs
while you’re in your Robo Hangar, 2:1 if you’re making repairs in the field, and 3:1 if you’re calling on
your Pit Crew in what Coach deems to be an “emergency situation.”
Depleting Pit Crew: If the Pit Crew is depleted, you cannot use your Robos at all! You can’t combine, you
can’t use their Techs, and you won’t stand a chance against the BGM!
Location: The Pit Crew is directly tied to the Pilots’ Hangar Location. If that Location is Razed, Pit Crew
points can not be spent or restored.
Gear is acquired via the Armory resource. Unused Gear at the end of a Mission can be returned to the
Armory for a restoration of points.
Sometimes Coach may let the Pilots find new pieces of Gear out in the field, too. This is entirely up to his
Gear has four tiers of availability, based on the team’s AvTE stat. The team has to meet certain AvTE stats
to make new gear available. I’m thinking there are four tiers, ranks are 0, 5, 10, and 15. Keep in mind that
a fresh starting team has AvTE 2.
Gear Tier
AvTE Required
Things Gear needs to note:
Activate Effect: Basic effect when Activated. (default: +1 card draw)
Sacrifice effect: Special effect when Sacrificed (default: +3 card). Sacrificed Gear is destroyed
any additional actions?
Possible gear effects (X = gear tier):
Armor: +X to Static Buffer
???: Remove X Dissonance
First Aid: Remove X Static
Apply +X Static
Using Gear
Mostly, Gear is used in Throwdowns, on Side actions. It is either Activated for a small bonus, or Sacrificed
(and destroyed) for a greater bonus.
Pretty much every single piece of Gear in the game can be “Activated” for a single +1 draw bonus in a
Throwdown, or “Sacrificed” for a +3 draw instead. This requires both a very cleverly-narrated statement
of how you wish to do make use of the gear, and of course Coach’s approval.
Coach may rule that some Gear can be used outside of Throwdowns as well. In such a case, consider every
item to have a “once per-scene” activation limit, with Coach being the final arbiter over what qualifies for
a “scene.”
Remember, can only activate gear once, even if it has multiple actions associated with it! And you can’t
both activate AND sacrifice the same item in the same Throwdown/scene!
Gear Lists
Tier 1 Gear: Basic Kitting
Some possible Gear selections for the basic team. In these notations and all following, the “A:” means
“Activation effect” and the “S:” means “Sacrifice effect.” A “Passive” effect is always active.
First Aid Kit: A: remove d4 Static from any Pilot / S: restore 1 Pulse to a Pilot
Happytime Stim: S: Burn 1 Pulse, gain 2 Harmony (no activation effect)
Overdrive Stims: S: Burn 1 Harmony, gain 2 Pulse (no activation effect)
Basic Training Armor: Passive: increase Static Buffer by +1.
Friendship Bangles: Passive: increase Dissonant Buffer by +1.
Pocket Pistol: A: Deal 1 Static to enemy / S: Deal d4 Static to enemy
Patch Kit: S: Restore 1 Endurance to Robo (no activation effect)
Tier 2 Gear: Seasoned Supplies
Tier 3 Gear: Advanced Technology
Tier 4 Gear: Top Secret Experiments
Character Evolution
Pilots increase their abilities through Evolutions to their character sheet. There are currently three
planned Evolution Tracks, each following a “three diamonds” vertical layout. Each track has four core
“tier” advances, and in between each tier are two optional “branch” advances. When you advance on a
track, you can easily fast-track to the next tiers by skipping one of the side branches, but by doing so you
leave those branches (and their evolutions) locked away forever. Basically, you can advance “Down” or
“Across,” but never Up. See page two of the Motobushido character sheet to get a visual idea of this threediamonds layout.
A Pilot’s current Tier in any one evolution track is the basis for many of that track’s associated Techs.
The First Evolution: Unlocked Advances
Freshly-made Pilots begin play with only the basic array of character abilities. The “Advanced” set of
Color Techs, Weapon Qualities, and Robo Power Moves must be unlocked through playing out their very
first scenario. Coach has details on accomplishing this in his chapter of the book (see page SQUARP). At
some point during the first Scenario, or possibly instead at the very end of it, he will inform you when it it
time to write one or more of them down on your character sheet.
When it’s time to record your Advanced Color Tech, simply turn to that section (p. SQUARP) and jot yours
down. When you unlock either your Power Weapon Quality or your Robo Power Move, turn to that
section and follow the instructions for putting them together.
Regardless of the mechanics, this “unlocking” in the story will be a pretty dramatic moment, so take the
time to experience it in motion before putting pencil to paper.
Lessons are the currency of evolution, and the core of the character advancement system. As the story
plays out, the Pilots can “earn” Lessons from various in-game events.
In every session, Pilots should have multiple opportunity to earn Lessons. For starters, Every Color role
has a built-in suggestion for ways in which that character earns Lessons. Additionally, the Schism techs
frequently involve them, should the Pilots ever get into fights with each other. Additionally, at the end of
every session, Coach will allow players to nominate others for spontaneous lessons, based on events of
that session.
Lessons have two phases of life: Earned, and Learned. When a Lesson is earned, the player writes it down
on their Pilot record sheet. When a Lessons is voted as having been learned, she erases it, and unlocks a
new character Evolution.
Not every Lesson will (or should!) be Learned from! This is important! Some Lessons might linger for
multiple sessions before the group believes they’ve been learned from. Others will never be Learned
from, and can be crossed off the list. This works best when you think of your Pilots as people and not
merely as game tools.
The Lessons Vote
At the end of every session, during the “Debriefing” stage of play, Coach will run the Lessons vote. Start
with the earned lessons, and then move to nominated lessons.
Going around the table clockwise from Coach, each player takes turns naming one of their earned lessons
that they believe they have Learned from. She must pitch her case, and state aloud why she feels that
Lessons was earned during tonight’s play. If the group majority agrees, then she can erase it and earn an
Evolution. Go around the table and repeat until there are none left.
Next, each player (including Coach!) who wishes can choose to nominate one Pilot other than herself for a
whole new previously-unrecorded lesson she might have learned in that session of play.
Buying Evolutions
When a player earns an Evolution, she has three choices of what to do with is:
Fill in an evolution dot on her “three diamonds” graphs.
Make up to three points of Commitment shifts on her own
Fully restore all lost Harmony and Pulse
Note that the last two do not get marked on a player’s evolution tracks, and as such they also do not count
towards the team’s Average Team Evolutions (AvTE)
The Evolution Diamonds
Commitment to the Team
Commitment to the Team
Major Tier Evolution: Color Techs
Minor Side Evolutions
a. Base Hand Size
b. Base Dissonant Buffer
Commitment to the Fight
Commitment to the Fight
Major Tier Evolution: Power Weapon Techs
Minor Side Evolutions
a. Base Strike Range
b. Base Static Output
Commitment to the Future
Commitment to the Future
Major Tier Evolution: Robo Techs
Minor Side Evolutions
a. Base Static Buffer
b. +1 Robo Endurance
Factions are other groups, parties, individuals, or even esoteric external forces that have narrative
agency in a particular scenario - in other words, any non-Pilot force that has power within the story
(including the types of characters that would be called “non-player” in other role-playing games).
Factions that are uncovered during play can be wooed for Favor, allowing players to invest cards in them
for later use. The Faction mechanic is primarily a way for the Pilots to increase their future versatility by
externalizing their power.
Anatomy of a Faction
A Faction in play is usually represented by an index card put out in the middle of the table, or possibly a
sideboard, for all involved to see. During play, stacks of the Pilots’ playing cards may build up on these
Every Faction has the following core components:
Agency Rating: How much relative story power the Faction has (higher = stronger)
Tolerance Rating: How hard the Faction is to offend (higher = more tolerant)
Favor Trigger: Several ways the Pilots can gain the Faction’s favor
Disfavor Trigger: Several ways the Pilots can piss the Faction off
Agency Rating
Every Faction has a primary numerical rating that represents their Agency in the story. This number can
be as low as 1 for a relatively weak force, or as high as 7 for an extremely powerful and useful force. The
Pilots rarely know any given Faction’s Agency rating until either that investment limit is discovered, or
Coach uses their Agency against them in a Throwdown.
The Faction’s Agency does two things. For the Pilots, it limits the maximum number of favor cards that
can ever be invested in the Faction at one time. For Coach, it also determines that Faction’s relevant
Threat Rating should it ever turn against the Pilots (see Threat details in the Coach section).
Tolerance Rating
A Faction’s Tolerance is a numerical representation of exactly how much of the Pilots’ shit that Faction is
willing to put up with. This rating is given as a number value from 1 (one step away from being enemies)
to 13 (best friends forever), setting the target number for Disfavor checks (see below)
Favor Triggers
Favor Triggers are (usually narrative) Faction-specific ways that the Pilots can get on the Faction’s good
side. When Coach feels that the Pilots have performed one or more of these deeds (among others), he will
allow them to invest Favor. Examples of things that might woo a Faction include:
Giving them money
Rescuing a missing ally/relative
Providing them defensive assistance
Assisting around their Community
Taking in one of their young as a recruit
Disfavor Triggers
Similarly, Disfavor Triggers are Faction-specific ways in which the players can upset that Faction. When
this happens, Coach flips a card to check for Disfavor (see below), potentially lowering the Faction’s
currently-invested Favor cards, or even turning it into an active Threat!
Example Factions
Yoshi the Flower Boy (Agency 1)
Agency: 1
Tolerance: 12 (Queen)
Favor Triggers: Buy his flowers, treat him kindly, invite him out
Disfavor Triggers: Insult his profession, humiliate him, spit on his flowers
That adorable kid from the slums who sells flowers and keeps an ear open to the word on the streets…
Belle Bug Banger’s Crew (Agency 3)
Agency: 3
Tolerance: 5
Favor Triggers: give them intel, help them smuggle, give them a good deal
Disfavor Triggers: Sell them out, renege a deal, be too pushy
A team of local smugglers who have an angle on all local goings-on…
The Salient Witch (Agency 5)
Agency: 5
Tolerance: 7
Favor Triggers: Offer them first salvage rights, compliment captain’s outfit, get them drunk
Disfavor Triggers: fight them, sell them to authorities, be too goody-goody
A famous space cruiser piloted by a famous space corsair…
The United Galactic Fleet (Agency 7)
Agency: 7
Tolerance: 10
Favor Triggers: Defend earth, respect protocol, assist their crew
Disfavor Triggers: Cause too much destruction, get in their way, suck at your duties
The grand fleet of the Galactic Government, here to enforce the martial will of Earth!
Introducing a New Faction
Coach will have a number of Factions pre-written and ready for use as part of his scenario design prep.
Whenever the Pilots are made aware of a particular Faction’s existence, Coach sets that Faction’s detail
card out on the table for all to see. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate ritual, but for the purposes of
efficient play it is important for the Pilots to know when they’ve met or otherwise discovered valuable
potential allies.
“Predisposed” Factions
A not-uncommon event in a story is the introduction of a Faction that comes pre-loaded with some
amount of Favor. The sudden arrival of a fleet of homeworld allies, the group of kids they rescued five
sessions ago, the Official Mecha Pilot Fan Club, and so on. If Coach feels that a newly-introduced Faction is
predisposed to favor the Pilots, then he may allow them to immediately invest one or more Favor cards
as a group when that Faction is placed out on the table.
Courting a Faction
To gain power from a Faction, the Pilots must first narratively gain that Faction’s trust. This can be done
however the players see fit, really. It’s all role-playing. Once Coach feels the Faction has been sufficiently
impressed, he may allow them to invest Favor.
Investing Favor
Pilots who have sufficiently gained the trust of a Faction may be given the opportunity to invest one or
more cards into that Faction as Favor. To do this, take a card and place it face-up on that Faction. If there
are no cards currently on that Faction, you can use any card at your disposal.
However, if there are currently cards invested, your card must beat the topmost card already on that
Faction. When that happens, flip down the topmost card and place your new one face up on top. In this
fashion, the stack of cards grows with the topmost card growing ever higher in rank. However, 2s beat
Aces and thus a 2 can be placed on top of an already-invested Ace, starting the count from the bottom
When you are given the option to invest a Favor card into a Faction, you can use any card from:
Your current Hand
Any other existing and invested Faction that is relevant to the situation
Investment Limits
A Faction can never have more invested Favor than its Agency rating. Players can still invest higher cards
into maxxed-out Factions, but each card they add over its limit forces the bottom card to be discarded.
Investment Strategy
Since there’s no maximum value when investing Favor, it may be tempting to just throw in a high card
immediately and bank it for later. However, the higher the card on top, the fewer the options for
investments. This text recommends starting with a lower card and building up a nice stack, especially on
high-Agency Factions.
Using Favor
Favor cards that are face-up on a Faction represent potential power that that Faction can lend the Pilots
during conflicts. Face-up Favor cards can be played by a Pilot in any situation where the rules demand
that the Pilot play a card, with the added requirement that she spontaneously narrate aloud how that
Faction is assisting her at that moment. This includes Gambits, Throwdowns, and Rumbles.
To play a Favor card, take the topmost card from its Faction and play it in front of you, per the rules of
the moment that are demanding your play. If there is a face-down Favor card beneath the card you just
took, flip it and leave it on that Faction for later use. No matter how many cards are invested in that
Faction, you can only ever play the topmost card on its stack.
The narrative assistance can be direct, such as a member of that Faction taking immediate action in the
Pilot’s stead. It can instead be indirect, such as someone in the Faction having provided the Pilot intel
before this conflict.
Checking for Disfavor
When the Pilots distress, offend, or piss off a Faction according to their Disfavor Triggers, Coach performs
a Disfavor Check to see just how upset that Faction is. To do this, Coach flips up a card from his deck. If
the card’s numerical rank is less than or equal to the Faction’s Tolerance rating, the Pilots are safe for
now. However, if the card’s rank is greater than the Faction’s Tolerance, they have earned Disfavor.
When Disfavor is earned, one of two things may happen. If there are currently any Favor cards invested
into that Faction, discard the topmost Favor card and flip-up the card that was beneath it, if applicable.
However, if there are not any Favor cards on the Faction when its Disfavor is earned, that Faction is
converted into a Threat instead (see Threats in the Coach chapter).
If the Pilots committed multiple simultaneous offenses against the Faction, Coach may choose to flip
multiple cards, one card for each “act” of offense, and resolve them each separately. Usually, however,
flipping just one card is fine.
Hurting/Destroying Factions
Factions can be hurt by some Threat Techs, which can either reduce their Agency or outright remove
them from play. However, this probably won’t be that often in your games. And if it ever gets to the point
that the Pilots are trying to take out a Faction, that Faction is probably already a mechanical Threat with
its own rules for defeat - and if it isn’t, it’s time to make it one.
Locations and Base-Building! (WiP)
Locations are mechanical representations of “places where things happen” in a game of Gattaibushido.
Locations give valuable Boons and abilities to the Pilots, who must do their best to protect them from the
ravages of their enemies, as well as their own reckless actions.
Anatomy of a Location
To build a Location, first give it a backstory and determine how it will be important to your current tale.
Then give it a Structure Rating and at least one Boon, and you’re ready to use it in play.
Structure Rating
A Location’s Structure rating is a dual-purpose number that determines both how much total Collateral
damage it can suffer, and how resilient it is to suffering that damage in the first place. Coach makes all
Collateral checks (explained further below) against this target number, and additionally reduces it when
those checks fail.
Structure ranges from 13 (maximum, almost impervious) to 0 (Razed, useless). When assigning Structure
to new Locations you create, use the following to eyeball an appropriate rating:
A rickety old shed; a crumbling ruin
A simple rural town; a serene hot springs
An active city block; a border watch station
A frontier raider colony; an undersea research facility
A hidden science base; a small military bunker
A military training facility; a corporate arms depot
An impregnable military base; the Doom Planet
It’s important to keep track of a Location’s maximum and current Structure ratings. The maximum
number determines how well it can be repaired, while the current number can decrease as the Location
takes damage. If the current Structure ever drops to Zero, the location is considered Razed. A Razed
Location provides no Boon, and takes considerable effort to rebuild.
Each Location provides a special game effect called a Boon, which the Pilots can utilize while engaged
with that Location. As long as the Location isn’t Razed (i.e. has at least 1 current Structure point), the
Boon can be used whenever the Pilots are present at that location, or otherwise in a capacity to make
special remote use of it.
Many Boons make use of the Tarry mechanic, which allows Coach to push time forward, and along with it
the danger of threat escalation. When a Tarry action happens, Coach flips a single card from his Deck to
its Trash.
Example Location Boons
Barracks, Bunker, and Hangar: These three example locations are default to every new team, and
described on p. SQUARP. Each provides a Boon in the form of a special Team Resource.
The Barter Bunker: Once per session, the group can Tarry here to exchange any of their other Resources
for Armory points on a 1:1 basis.
CyberDome: An elite technological training center, the group can Tarry here to get prepped for coming
battles, allowing each Pilot present to discard and draw 1 card.
Hope Monument: During any conflict at the Hope Monument, each Pilot has +1 Dissonant Buffer.
Medical Bay: A single Pilot can Tarry here to restore 1 Pulse.
Otaku District: While visiting the Otaku District of the city, all Fan Club actions have double the outcome.
Sacred Hot Springs: By Tarrying a turn at the Hot Springs, each present Pilot removes 1 Dissonance and
1 Static.
TacOps Center: If the group Tarries here, they can each swap a single card from their hand with others
in the group.
Ultralopolis IV: With all the buildings and human shields, it’s easier to avoid getting hurt here. During
any conflict here, each Pilot has +1 Static Buffer.
Collateral Damage
Locations can (and usually will) be damaged by the actions of the Pilots and their enemies. Potential
damage to locations is called Collateral Damage. There are two important terms to remember when
working with Collateral, as they are referenced at specific times. When Collateral is triggered it refers to
the call for a Collateral Damage check, explained below. When Collateral is caused it refers to the actual
application of damage that results from a failed Collateral Damage check.
Any in-game action that has the “Collateral” label triggers a Collateral Damage check after that action is
resolved. Some Pilot abilities (such as Power Weapons) will have Collateral damage as a side effect, while
it’s almost guaranteed for most Robo powers.
Playtest Note: Maybe Robo attacks do +1, and different stages of Rumbles increase as well?
Checking for Collateral Damage
Whenever game play triggers a Collateral Damage check, Coach flips an appropriate number of cards
from his deck. Some checks involve multiple cards (such as late-stage action in Rumbles), and each card
has a chance of causing Collateral!
For each card so flipped, if the card’s numerical rank is less than or equal to the Location’s current
Structure rating, then the check has Succeeded and no Collateral Damage is caused. If the card’s numerical
rank is greater than the current Structure, then the check has Failed and the Location suffers 1 point of
Structure damage.
Any involved Pilots may choose to discard any cards from their own Hands instead of Coach’s flips. They
can choose to make this decision before or after Coach flips a card, using the value of their own card
instead. Choosing to do so before Coach flips can be advantageous if you want to limit the number of
cards burning out of Coach’s deck. If a Pilot chooses to do this, she draws a replacement card into her
hand after each such discard.
Repairing Collateral Damage
As long as the Location isn’t Razed, restoring damage is a matter of successful conflicts and application of
proper victory points. A Location cannot be restored to a higher Structure rating than its maximum (but
that maximum can be increased through Upgrades, below).
A Razed Location requires additional effort to repair. Before any Structure damage can be restored, the
foundations must be rebuilt. There is no mechanical method for doing this, however. Instead, Coach will
determine a suitable mission or “quest” that must be completed if the team wishes to rebuild a Razed
Location. Once that mission is completed, the Razed “status” is removed, and the Location is restored to a
single point of current Structure.
The actual mission itself can be as quick or as involved as Coach deems appropriate. Restoring a Razed
Location can even be the core focus of an entire new follow-up scenario.
Upgrading Locations
Upgrades include:
Increased Structure max
Increased Occupancy (such as +1 Pilot at the med Bay)
Increased Boons (from 1 to 2, from 2 to d4 Random, or such)
Team Base-Building!
Involves using post-scenario Score to add more locations to their base.
Threat Locations
Playtest Notes: One obvious option for this system is to provide Locations that primarily benefit Coach’s
Threats. These would have Boons of their own, which benefit only the Threats. I’m still considering this.
One consideration is that I’ve planned a number of drawbacks in the system that damage locations as
unfortunate consequences of the Pilots’ actions. As such, the option to turn those unfortunate
consequences into assets when attacking the bad guys might be too powerful and broken when dealing
with enemy Locations. I need to get more feedback before delving deeper into this idea.
Cards and Conflicts
In this main section are all the extended details of how the cards work in play. Well, almost all of them the rules for Final Form Rumbles are wrapped together in the next main section.
Basics of Cardplay
Card States
During the course of play, the cards will cycle between the following places in the game space:
(TBD: include diagram!)
the Deck (from which you draw, face-down); the Players have a deck that they share, while Coach
has a deck all their own.
the Pile (where they are played, face-up); Piles are sent to respective Trash after each conflict
the Trash (where they are discarded, face-up); each Deck has its own Trash
your Hand (which you hold during play, facing you).
one or more Factions (as Favor, in a stack with one card face-up on top)
the Robo Rumble Combo Zones (5 on each side; where the cards are played during the three rounds
of Rumbles)
certainly not your Sleeve, because that’s cheating.
and occasionally the Floor, where we all inevitably drop them from time to time.
There are two Decks of 54 playing cards each: one for Coach, and one shared by the Pilot players. These
are placed face-down in the middle for everyone to see. Jokers are always shuffled in face-up, however.
Factions are sources of external power that the Pilots uncover through exploration and role-playing.
When a Faction’s favor has been acquired by the Pilots, they can invest a card from their hand into that
faction, keeping it on the table for later use.
Your Hand is a collection of cards that you keep to yourself, hidden from the rest of the players.
Only Pilot Players actively maintain their card Hands between conflicts. Starting Hand Max size is fairly
small, with most new Pilots getting at most 1 or two cards to hold onto. As the characters are evolved
through extended play, their Hand Max will grow.
If they would ever have more cards in their Hand than their Max at the end of a conflict, they must
discard down to Max. Likewise, if they ever have less than their Max at the end of a conflict, they must
draw back up to Max.
Coach does not maintain an active Hand of cards between conflicts. Coach only draws hands at the
beginning of Throwdowns and Rumbles, and discards/invests any remaining cards when those are
completed. Outside of those conflicts, Coach’s plays are always “blind.”
During Throwdowns, a Pile of cards temporarily exists in the middle of the table. Whenever a participant
plays a card, they play it on top of the Pile. Long Throwdowns with many participants can create huge
piles indeed.
Each Deck has an associated Trash heap, which is a stack of face-up cards next to it on the table. When a
card that came from that deck is discarded during play, it goes on top of the relevant Trash heap, face-up.
Combo Zone
When the Pilots combine to fight a Big Giant Monster, both sides have five play zones where they
assemble their best “spreads” of cards against each other.
Card Terminology
When the rules call for a card to be discarded, you must remove the card in question from its current
place in play and place it face-up on top of the relevant Deck’s Trash.
When you are told to draw a card, take the top card of your respective deck and put it in your current
active hand of cards. Sometimes you may be told to “draw and immediately play” - in this case, that card
skips your hand and is played directly to the table. However, most of the time when you draw a card, it
goes into your hand before any subsequent actions or plays follow.
The mechanics sometimes instruct you to flip one or more cards. If it’s a single card, just flip it in place so
that the side that was previously facing the table is now facing up. So if you’re told to flip a card that is
“face up” on the table, flip it so it is now “face down” in the same place.
If you are told to flip a stack of cards, first straighten up the stack in place, then flip the entire stack as a
single unit. Do not flip each card individually.
When the rules tell you to play a card, you take a card from your Hand and place it on the table in front of
you. Unless otherwise stated, all card plays are performed face-up.
Sometimes you may see the sub-terms Play-up and Play-down in the test. These mean “play a card face
up” and “play a card face down,” respectively. Similarly, if the rules say that you “play down” a card, or
that Coach “plays up” a card, those signify the orientation of the to-be-played card. But to repeat: unless
otherwise stated, all Plays are performed face-up.
If the rules call for a “blind” play, you must play that card directly from the top of the deck. Pull the card
and immediately play it. Outside of active Throwdowns, all of Coach’s plays are blind.
Random d4
Some effects may call upon you to determine a random number from 1-4, called just called d4 in the
game text. By default this is resolved simply by drawing the top card of your deck, and using the suit
order to determine the outcome (Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades = 1, 2, 3, and 4). Whenever the
rules call for this, you can always choose to discard a card from your hand or a faction and use its suit
Alternatively, if your group doesn’t wish to burn through the deck that quickly, you can instead use a
four-sided gaming die.
Very occasionally the rules will call for a card to be Removed from Play. When this happens, take the
card(s) in question and set them aside entirely. These cards do not go to Trash, and do not get reshuffled
into their decks. These cards remain out of play for the duration of the current session or scenario,
whichever is specified by the effect at the time.
The game’s time and escalation mechanics will occasionally call for a Tarry action, usually when the
Pilots make use of certain Location boons. Tarry is a Coach-specific card action. When the Pilots choose to
Tarry, Coach simply flips a single card from his Deck, bringing it ever closer to the revelation of another
The Jokers serve as a special meta-game pacing-and-escalation mechanic. As stated prior, Jokers are
always shuffled into their respective decks face-up.
When a Joker is revealed (by reaching the top of its deck), different events may occur based on the Deck
from which that Joker was pulled. Before any of it is resolved, however, if it is revealed during an active
Conflict of any kind, set the Joker aside and wait until after that conflict is complete to resolve the Joker
If the Joker was from the Pilots’ deck, the Team gains a quick Rally action. Each Pilot can take one of
the following actions:
Purge all current Dissonance or Static
Add 1 to a single Resource
Place a Power Token on any one of the Final Form Positions (giving a boost in power when the Final
Form is activated later)
If the Joker was from Coach’s Deck, it triggers one of Coach’s escalation events (see Coach’s section for
more details on Escalation events).
Once either outcome is resolved, put the Joker into its relevant Trash and then reshuffle that Trash back
into the Deck.
Playtest Note on Jokers
These have changed and changed and changed so often I sometimes forget which version of the Joker
rules I’m using. The core idea is that they provide an escalation mechanic, but also a minor boon toe the
players from time to time. A prior version had the escalation path advance on ALL joker reveals, but I just
recently changed it to only Coach jokers. Still might need to be tweaked…
Conflict Type 00: Just Say What Happens
Not every conflict needs to involve the cards. If there’s a conflict at hand and you (any of you) can get
away with it, just say what happens and move on. This applies to all players, Pilots and Coach alike. If
either side feels that an action taken by the other should be contested, they should say so and bring the
cards out, otherwise just keep role-playing and push forward with the scene.
In fact, as a Pilot it’s generally a good idea to keep this approach in your mind at all times. Instead of
asking Coach if you can do something, just tell him what you’re going to do, and even how you want it to
go down. If Coach feels that your actions are contested enough to require card play, then he’ll tell you as
such, otherwise he’ll let is slide and you get the results you were seeking. In other words, take the
initiative and actively push your agendas, and don’t ask permission for every single action you wish to
Conflict Type 01: Gambits
The Gambit is the simplest (and probably the most common) card-based conflict in the game, used when
the outcome of an event is uncertain, but Coach doesn’t feel it necessary to involve the full Throwdown
rules. Gambits tend to mostly be uncontested feats of the Pilots’ abilities, or otherwise are micro-conflicts
where Coach feels that the Pilot’s attempt at action may cause interesting and unforeseen story
To initiate a Gambit, Coach states some variant of “that action’s going to require a Gambit,” letting the
Pilot know that if she pushes forward with her plan, cards are going to be involved. As an alternate, more
tangible method, Coach may simply take a card from the deck and lay it down, indicating to a more
experienced player that their action is going to require some minor card-play. The Pilot should consider
whether or not she wants to take that risk. At least when Gambits are concerned, the choice is always the
Pilot’s - in other words, Coach can never force a Gambit.
To play the Gambit, Coach plays down a card from his deck, while the Pilot plays down one of her choice
from her own hand (or instead she flips one from her Deck, if she’s feeling lucky or doesn’t want to waste
her cards). Both are flipped simultaneously and then compared, with the results as follows:
Pilot’s card is higher - “Yes, and…”: You succeed, and get some additional boon.
Coach’s card is higher - “Yes/No, but…”: You get to choose: You fail but get an unexpected boon, or
you succeed but suffer an unexpected consequence.
The extended details are below. Once the cards are revealed and outcome determined, discard the cards
and move on with play.
“Yes, and…”
With a “Yes, and…” result, the pilot has gone beyond what was needed, and attained unexpected rewards
for her gamble with fate. The Pilot’s immediate goal is attained, and Coach additionally adds a bonus
“consequence” to the action. This should be some kind of helpful or otherwise positive boon to their
situation. Positive Consequence examples:
A positive narrative effect, such as a new clue, a newly-revealed ally, or the discovery of some new
avenue to attain a personal.
Pilot removes a point (or more) of Dissonance or Static
Pilot can invest a card in a relevant Faction
Pilot can restore a point of Structure to a damaged Location
(these need to be playtested)
“Yes/No, but…”
“Yes, but…” and “No, but…” results represent unexpected consequences to the Pilot’s actions. The former
indicates that they attained their goal but suffer a negative consequence. The latter indicates that the
Pilot has failed at their task, but gained another unexpected positive consequence instead. Similar to the
consequences from “Yes, and…” results, in either case the consequences should be “lesser” in nature, not
intended to be total game-changers. Negative Consequence examples:
A negative narrative effect. such as an in-story setback to the Pilot’s goals, possessions, or current
A Threat activates a Wave
(these need to be playtested)
(and see above for Positive Consequences)
Conflict Type 02: Throwdowns
A Throwdown is played out to resolve any in-game conflict that has larger stakes than those a Gambit
would cover. Usually this involves active opposition from one or more Threats against the Pilots, but
there are other situations where a Throwdown may make more sense than a simple Gambit. Basically any
time there are big stakes in play, and you want to get tensions running deeper, play a Throwdown.
Examples of when to Throw Down:
The Pilots are trying to break into a secure bunker while a team of anthrosaur minions is clawing at
The Pilots are trying to convince an unflinchingly stubborn planetary governor to give them aid.
The Pilots are trying to cross the Great Spectral Sea unharmed while a void storm rages against
TL;DR Version
(Playtest Note: keep revisiting this to make sure it’s up to date across revisions)
You wanna rough this jerk up and teach him not to mess with you and your sisters anymore. So you
throw down a card and say “Dude, I’m gonna break your face!” And he downs down a card of his own and
says “Bring it, bitch! I’m gonna humiliate the shit outta you in front of the whole school” Clearly, blood
and bruises are on the line, so you’re gonna have to work hard not to take Static.
You both flip cards and yours is higher, but shit, it’s like WAY higher than his, outside of your Strike
Range and then some, so you take a Dissonance token (this shit had better be worth it). Anyway, you
think you got him where you want him, when he throws down a better card and kicks you square in the
ribs, so hard you think they’re cracking. You then thrown down your own card in response and grab his
leg, pulling it down hard and snapping a bone. Not just that, though - you threw in your Gai Kee Gan
Flare! and took it to the limit (delivering painful Static to your foe), almost ripping the asshat’s leg right
out of the socket! But your card was too high again, and that means another Dissonance token added to
the count.
He relents. You have four cards in the final Pile, and put them all toward hitting this jackass with as much
Static as you can. He crawls back to his dorm, crying the whole way. Thankfully he was just some pissant
bully with no common sense and no real strength to back it up. The Static you took in the process was
easy enough to soak, you’re a tough gal and this was barely a fight worth remembering. But that
Dissonance is gonna hurt your Harmony meter, because you just know the team is gonna be pissed at you
for going off on your own and getting in another fight…
Basic Concepts
The Goal of a Throwdown: To win a Throwdown, you need to have the highest card on top of the Pile
when the last action is played. And if you want to “win big” and get the most results from your effort, you
want there to be a lot of cards in that play pile when you do eventually win.
Strike Range
One of the most crucial things to remember is your pilot’s Strike Range, which is based on her Fight!
Commitment. This sets the maximum “safe” difference in numerical ranks that can exist between the lastplayed card and your next-played card. For example, if you have a Strike Range of 4, and the last-played
card is a 5, then you can safely play any card up to a 9. If the last-played card is a 9 instead, then you can
safely play up to a King (13).
Strike Range is a “soft” limit, and you can play cards higher than that range, but doing so risks damaging
your Harmony with the rest of the team. By playing outside that range, you are pushing your limits and
stressing yourself out. In mechanical terms, each time you play outside of your Strike Range, you take
Dissonance is the currency of Harmonic corruption. Dissonance builds up through a Throwdown, and if
unresolved it can cause Harmonic loss to the participants. Dissonance is best tracked using a pool of
colored tokens.
A number of affects in a Throwdown can “Inflict Dissonance” on a character, or cause her to “take”
Dissonance. In every case, these effects are cumulative and compounded, and designed to blossom
dangerously. The first time you are inflicted with Dissonance, you take a single Dissonance token. The
second time, you take two more, then three more on the third, and so on. Dissonance tokens are not
immediately bad, but if you build up enough of them, they can seriously hurt your pilot once the
Throwdown is concluded (see p.SQUARP).
See p. SQUARP for more details on Harmony and Dissonance (Playtest: see further above in this
Static is the currency of direct personal harm in a Throwdown, and can directly diminish your Pilot’s
Pulse track. Static is best tracked using a pool of colored tokens, of a different color than those used for
Dissonance. Static isn’t applied until the end of a Throwdown (usually the losing side takes a base amount
equal to the number of cards in the Pile), and risks being potentially converted into direct character Pulse
damage (and sometimes even Commitment loss). See p. SQUARP for more details on Pulse and Static
(Playtest: see further above in this document).
Playtest Note: Collateral Damage is a mechanic still in the works. It represents damages to locations (and
civilians!) based on some highly destructive weapons and fights. Description pending as that mechanic
gets finalized.
Basic Flow
Someone kicks things off by issuing a challenge to action, and then anyone who wants in plays initiative.
Once a winner is determined, a quick round of initial card-drawing happens, and then the action starts.
The players go around the table consecutively one-upping each other with grander, zanier, more
dramatic, more intense, and more descriptive narration of action. Those narrations are accompanied by
special powers and involve playing cards onto a central play pile.
On the one hand, this is definitely a Process. On the other hand, it’s pretty darn fun, and you really only
need to play it once to figure it out. There are probably more words here than are really needed to get it
down, but there are a lot of side questions that I chose to answer in the flow of things, to provide clarity
into the why of things.
Flow Table:
Initiate with simultaneous cards
Establishment Questions
Draw Bonus Cards
Take Turns and Actions
Determine Outcome
Step X. Initiation
To challenge another player to a Throwdown, the procedure is as follows, with minor differences for
pilots and Coach.
Throwing the Gauntlet
Pilots: To initiate a Challenge, play (or even slam!) down a card on the table in front of you, adding
immediate declaration of Challenge (Bring it, It’s on, Come and Get me, Let’s do this, etc). Narrate what
your pilot is doing to start the action, and set your Stakes (see sidebar).
Coach: To initiate a Challenge, take the top card of the Coach Deck and play it down. Narrate how your
Threat is moving against the pilots, and set your Stakes.
Once you’ve initiated, you are the “challenging player” for the rules that follow.
Accepting the Challenge
With the gauntlet thrown, the others at the table must choose if they’re involved. Starting with the player
sitting to the challenging player’s Left, and proceeding clockwise around the table, each player with an inscene character (or Threat) must choose if they are going to accept the challenge, join in to assist either
side, or sit this one out and watch (or cheer).
Pilots: To accept a challenge, likewise play down a card and add your narrative flair in response (Oh
yeah? That the best you got? You want summa this? You don’t know what you’re messing with! Etc ).
Narrate your action, and set your own counter-stakes.
Multiple pilots may work together if they wish. The process is the same as accepting. They must set
stakes as well, but are allowed to merely parrot other Pilots’ stakes if they’re working together.
Coach: To accept a player-initiated challenge, play down a card from your Hand, and likewise narrate
your Threat’s response to (and acceptance of) the challenge.
Refusing the Challenge
If you initiate a challenge and no one steps up to it, then your goals (aka the Stakes you set) are achieved
without conflict. This is a fairly simple concept: if someone moves against you, and you relent, then they
get exactly what they want. Consider this next time someone challenges you.
Teaming Up
Teaming up is simply done by allies “accepting” the challenge and joining your side. See “Accepting the
Challenge,” above.
Winning Initiative
To determine the winner of the challenge, flip all the played cards face-up, then stack them stack them
face-up in numerical order, with the lowest on the bottom. At this point, the only cards that matter are
the one on the top and the one directly beneath it.
If your card is on top, then you are the winning Challenger and also the current leader of the Throwdown
(and if no one else plays afterward, you even win!). Compare the value of your card to the one beneath it.
If it’s within your Strike Range, then you’re good. It it’s outside your Range, you take Dissonance per
normal Strike Range rules.
Initiative Card Strategy
The base strategy when choosing your initiative card is hoping yours will beat all the others, and that the
next-highest card will be just within your character’s Strike Range. Pilots working together may find it
useful to try and play lower cards to give the “leader” of the fight a better chance of padding out their
Strike Range. Contrarily, either side may choose to “fake out” their opponent and play as low a card as
possible, with the hopes that their opponent played high and will thus suffer from playing outside Strike.
Remember that Coach’s initiative is totally random, so it can be harder to plan against.
(Stakes Sidebar)
Stakes are a simple statement of what you want to happen when you win the Throwdown. Stakes need to be single-subject, concise,
and focused in scope. They should also be feasibly realistic, of course. “I’m going to Kill the Lord Governor, activate the explosive,
rescue the captives, escape the planet, and win the game!” is definitely bad form. Focus in on the immediate, such as “I’m going to
beat up the Lord Governor!” or “I’m going to activate the explosive!” and let the other things emerge in different conflicts, or even
freely through narrative play.
They also can’t override mechanics. “I’m going to kill this bitch!” isn’t valid (although is is nicely emotive), because it likely requires a
tangible application of Static, which isn’t always guaranteed even when you’ve won. Something like “I’m doing to beat that bitch
down!” is more acceptable.
Step X. Establishment Questions
Identifying the Scope
When and where is this taking place? Is this a heated argument in the Debate Club room? A dangerous
battle on the tar plains of Aegilius VII? A stealthy infiltration job in the enemy’s server core? A high-NRG
round of competitive love-making? This system covers all of these and more. It’s just a matter of making
sure everyone’s on the same page with the who, what, when, and where.
Identify the Location. This is important for Location Boons and the application of Collateral Damage.
This is also when you state of the Robos are already present and involved. If it’s just the Pilots
outside of their robos, it’s important for everyone to know. Don’t worry: if it makes sense to summon
them mid-fight, there’s an action for that.
Identifying Motives (Bonus Draws)
Why is each of the Pilots involved? Are they fighting for their team’s agendas, or instead for their own
individual personal goals? The decision is up to Coach based on the information presented thus far. This
is an important variable to identify, because it directly determines how many cards each Pilot gets to
draw in the next step.
Who started this fight? (Strike Ranges)
This determines Strike Ranges for the Pilots. If they started the fight, they all use their Fist stat as their
base Strike Range. If the fight was started by their opponents, they use their Glove stat instead.
The Strike Ranges for Coach’s Threats are determined by their Threat Ratings.
Step X. Draw Bonus Cards
Each side now draws additional bonus cards into their hands from their respective decks.
Pilots: Draw a number of bonus cards based on your relevant Commitment to the Team stat: draw Solo
if you’re pushing a personal agenda, or Synch if you’re fighting in the interests of the team (it’s Coach’s
decision). Then you get to Keep a number of those cards equal to either your Pilot’s current Harmony or
her current Pulse, whichever is lowest. Add any kept cards directly to your Hand, then discard the rest.
Some Gear or character effects may directly alter your draw/keep amounts, as well.
Coach: Draws one card for each Pilot opposing him, plus additional cards = the Threat Rating of the
opponent. If there are multiple Threats combined, he only draws the max TR for the highest-TR Threat
present, and one additional card for each assisting. So if he has three Threats combined and the highestrated one has a TR of 4, he’d draw 6 cards (4+1+1). Coach keeps all drawn cards.
Step X. Turns and Actions
With the challenge victor determined, play now begins with the player to the victor’s left. Play moves
clockwise around the table, with each participant playing cards and taking one or more actions. Play
concludes when the last participant has the highest card on top and everyone else has folded.
There are two Types of Actions: Main actions and Side actions. On your turn you can (and must) only
take one Main action, but can take any number of Side actions before taking your main action. You can
perform multiple Side actions, but you can’t perform the same Side action twice in the same turn.
Once you have chosen and performed a Main Action on your turn, it becomes the turn of the next
involved player to your left.
Main Actions:
Beat-Back: Play a same-ranked card as is on top, flipping both over and under
Card-Assist: Discard a card, and give a card to an ally (if present)
Fold: lay hand face-down and concede
LET’S RUMBLE!: Combine Robos and fight a Big Giant Monster!
Push: play a higher card, narrate
Special: use an available special Main action, if any
Strike-Assist: Discard a card, and Increase next ally’s Strike Range (based on Harmony)
Side Actions:
Activate Gear: Use a piece of Gear and draw a few extra cards
Sacrifice Gear: Destroy a piece of Gear to activate its sacrifice effect
Special: use an available special Side action, if any
Static Shift: shift static tokens to Robo, causing Endurance loss
Summon Robo: bring in your personal Robo if it isn’t already involved
Trigger Wave/Storm: Coach activates a Wave or Storm of an involved Threat
You may have noticed that there is no basic “pass” or similar option, and this is intentional. If you’re going
to join a Throwdown, then you’re going to Throw Down or you have no reason being there.
Activate Gear (Side, Both)
(Note Still in Development) You can Activate a piece of carried Gear as a side action. Doing so gives you
that Gear’s card draw bonus, letting you immediately draw that many cards into your hand. Any single
piece of Gear may only be activated once per Throwdown.
Beat-Back (Main, Both)
A Beat-Back action happens when you play a card that is of the same rank and an equal or higher suit as
the highest card on the Pile. In this case, both cards are flipped face-down and placed on the very bottom
of the play pile. The card beneath the last one should now be on top.
Narration of a Beat-Back should involve the clear turning of the tide, albeit temporarily. The enemy has
been pushed back down the chain of action, possibly even negating their last narration. Clearly then, it’s
not really a good idea to play a Beat-Back when one of your allies’ cards is the one on top, unless you
really know what you’re doing. Not only is it rude, but it actively works against you and your team.
Why Beat-Back at all? It keeps you in the action if it’s all you can play, and it also pushes the top card
down to a lower value. This can possibly give your side more play options if all you have left are lower
cards. It can also restrict your enemy’s play options if they only have higher cards, forcing them to risk
playing our of Strike Range if they want to keep Pushing.
Card-Assist (Main, Pilots)
The Card-Assist action allows you to pass a card to an ally in the Throwdown. To do this, you must first
pick a card from your Hand and discard it (which means that it does not go into the pile). Then pick a
different card from your Hand and pass it directly to one of your allies in the conflict, who then adds that
card to their Hand.
Fold (Main, Both)
To Fold you take your current Hand and place it on the table in front of you, face-down. This signifies that
you are either out of options, or otherwise no longer wish to push the conflict. You are now out of the
Throwdown, and if it continues then you are no longer factored into the turn rotation.
Note that if you’re out of cards and have no special actions available to you, all you can do is fold.
LET’S RUMBLE! (Main, Both)
The LET’S RUMBLE! Main action is a special trigger that stops the current Throwdown in its tracks and
escalates the action to a Giant Monster sized scale. When triggered, a number of complicated things
happen that are described in greater detail in the “Rumble* chapter further on.
Any side of a Throwdown can initiate a Rumble, using the rules outlined in the extended Rumbles
chapter, further on.
When either side initiates a Rumble, they must do so in a dramatic way, calling out their side’s custom
battle cry or monster name aloud.
Push (Main, Both)
The Push is the primary and most common action of a Throwdown. When you Push, you play a card faceup on top of the pile. That card must beat the card currently on top, using the standard core card ranking
rules of the game. Even if the last-played card is your ally’s, you still must beat it, otherwise you can’t
When you Push, you must narrate how you are pushing the action. You must provide verbal statement of
action, counter-action, or other such direct involvement in the moment that changes the course of the
action. This narration is up to you, and can involve your own direct action against your opponent, or
instead your assisting of an ally in the conflict.
Remember your Strike Ranges! When you Push, you want your card to beat your opponent’s by a
difference no greater than your Strike Range. You can play any card you like, but if the difference is
greater than Strike you will take Dissonance.
Sacrifice Gear (Side, Both)
(Note Still in Development) Instead of Activating a piece of Gear, you can Sacrifice it by destroying it in
a sufficiently cool and useful way. This grants you the effect of that Gear’s sacrifice effect, but also
permanently destroys it. You cannot both Activate and then Sacrifice the same piece of Gear in the same
Special (Special)
Depending on your Techs, Gear, or other resources, you may have other unique Main or Side actions
available to you on your turn. Keep aware of your character’s abilities to make sure you always know if
these options are open to you on your turn.
Some special actions require the expenditure of Faces or Aces from your Hand in order to activate. In
these cases, the expended cards are always discarded, skipping the Play Pile entirely.
Static Shift (Side, Pilots, Robo-Required)
Pilots who are fighting in or with their personal Robos have access to a special damage-shifting side
action. When used, the Pilot can shift any of their currently-accrued Static tokens to their Robo, provided
they acquired those tokens during the current Throwdown. Static shifted to the Robo lowers its current
Endurance score. This represents the Robo taking the damage instead, by reinforcing or otherwise
shielding the pilot from harm.
Strike-Assist (Main, Pilots)
The Strike-Assist action allows you to boost your next ally’s Strike Range. To do this, you must first pick
a card from your Hand and discard it. The ally closest to your left in the flow is now the recipient of an
Assist from you, and for their next action their Strike Range is modified by an amount determined by your
position on the Harmony meter.
It is even possible to chain assists! If you just received a Strike-Assist from your ally, you can then pass it
on again to your next ally, should there be more of you in the Throwdown. Likewise, you must also
discard a card. Your own Assist score is added to the mix as well, and as such your next ally gets the
combined bonuses! An assist-chain like this ends if it makes it back around to the start, however, wasting
all the invested actions in a missed opportunity.
Some Pilots may be in the Red with their Harmony, and actually have a negative assist modifier. It rarely
makes sense for them to Strike-Assist, but there are some cases where it can happen.
Summon Robo (Side, Pilots, Collateral)
If your Robo isn’t currently involved in the Throwdown, and the situation makes enough narrative sense
that it could be, you can use the Summon Robo action to call it into play. This results in a really short
dramatic description of how your Robo enters the scene, and is largely based on the way your group has
flavored that aspect of your World.
However the narrative method of Robo-summoning may be described, it is always a big and dramatic
event, and causes a Collateral check.
Trigger Wave (Side, Coach)
The Trigger Wave/Storm side action allows Coach to use the Waves and/or Storms of any of his
involved Threats. Like the Power Weapon Techs of the Pilots, Coach must discard cards from his hand in
order to use this action. To Trigger a Wave, Coach must discard any card from his Hand. To Trigger a
Storm, Coach must discard a Face or Ace.
Triggering each individual Wave and/or Storm is considered a separate action, meaning Coach can
trigger more than one in a turn, but cannot trigger the same one twice in the same turn. If is it Coach’s
turn and he has a hand full of cards but no feasible strategy, it is entirely legal for him to blow his hand
triggering Waves and Storms and the immediately Folding.
Step X. Resolution
Play essentially continues until all but one of the participants have Folded. Whoever’s card is on top at the
end ultimately wins the Throwdown.
When you win, your narrative stakes are achieved. Additionally, you get to apply mechanical effects.
Count the cards in the Play Pile - all of them, both face-up and face-down.
First Choose the Rewards…
The victor of a Throwdown gets a number of victory points equal to the final size of the pile. VPs can be
used for the following:
(Playtest Note: These are initial costs that will very likely be tweaked!)
Deal Static or Dissonance = 1:1 each
Remove accrued/pending Static or Dissonance = 1:1 each
Restore lost Harmony or Pulse = 3:1 each (Special circumstances must apply for this to be an option)
Add a point to a non-depleted Team Resource = 1:1 each
Restore a depleted Team Resource to 1 = 3:1 once
Restore Location Structure = 2:1 each
Add minor additional narrative statement 1:1 each
(Coach) Activate Threat Waves 1:1 each
(Coach) Activate Threat Storms 4:1 each (Note: conversion needs playtesting)
In each of the above cases, you must be able to narrate how this acquisition is coming into play. Coach is
the final arbiter on whether a purchase makes sense in the context of the situation. Not all options will be
available in all situations - for example, it wouldn’t make sense for you to be able to restore structural
integrity in a conflict where all you did was play space-basketball as a team-building exercise.
…and then Apply the Results
Once all the rewards have been chosen, then apply all of them in any order. The winner is allowed to
choose the most advantageous order of application.
After all of the rewards are applied, If any involved parties have leftover Static or Dissonance in excess of
their relevant Buffers, then those excess points are converted directly to Pulse and Harmony loss,
respectively. See p. SQUARP in the Harmony and Pulse section for more details on how to manage that.
Card Play Strategies
Use your Faces and Aces wisely! They are valuable as trumping cards when Pushing, but they are also
useful for activating your Pilots’ special Techs. Don’t play them unless you have to.
Also remember that Twos are the lowest, and Aces are the highest, but conversely Twos beat Aces. Hold
onto those Twos until the right moment, as they can be quite valuable!
PVP Throwdowns
Pilots should be able to fight each other using these rules with no required procedural changes. Just make
sure to clearly choose sides at the beginning!
Final Form! Rumbles!
How to form up and fight the big giant monster!
So When Do We Get to Form Up, Anyway?
Playtest Note: This whole sub section!
So that’s a good question! I had initially wanted to artificially limit it to being based on some combination
of Escalation, Jokers, “unlockable” game events in the story, and so on. But really, that might be gameifying just a bit too far. I want this to be fun, and I’m already breaking other rules of the genre, why then
do I need to stick to classic formula?
Truth is, I don’t. So to answer the question: Any time!
The catch is: there’s really no reason to until the Big Giant Monster is revealed. At least as of the current
alpha alpha alpha draft of the rules, there’s literally no mechanical reason to combine other than to beat
up a Giant Monster. Since the Robos themselves are primarily narrative tools, the players can have their
Robos whenever they like, provided it makes sense. Much like the classics of the genre, the combination
is an intense action, and quite destructive. You can easily narrate that it just takes too much power (hence
one three rounds of Rumble), we must wait until it’s our only option, and so on.
Additionally, there are some mechanical limitations. First is Harmony. You gotta be able to throw down a
card to combine, and your Harmony limits your options there. If it’s too low, you have to sacrifice a higher
and higher card, and those may be useful later for other reasons! So you need to spend some time soulsearching in order to get to a point where you can combine easily (if not freely) and hold onto those good
Next is Resources. The battles you get in with your Robos can really put a beating on them. You need a
good Pit Crew that’ll keep your team’s giant steeds in tip-top shape.
The Final Form
The term Final Form in this text refers to the ultimate assembled mega-bot that the team creates when
they combine their Robos into a greater fusion.
Every group will have their own description of what the union process looks, sounds, feels, smells, and
even tastes like, as well as their own description of that actual final assembled form. For the purposes of
tension, we encourage new groups to not go into any details at first, and instead wait until the first time
in play that it actually happens to describe everything. This makes that first union all the more awesome
for everyone.
By default, the rules just assume that the Pilots can full or even just partially combine, and even swap
positions. If your group doesn’t want to do that, they don’t have to, the mechanics are identical either
way. In either case, the term “Final Form” is used to describe any assembled union of two or more Pilots’
The Final Form ultimately consists of a set of Positions that the Pilots take up as their robots combine
with each other. The actual act of assembling only happens at the beginning of Rumbles, and as such that
process is described further below, in the Rumble outline.
Final Form Positions
There are X core Positions based on their function within the assembled structure. Each position gives a
special Rumble action option, and has suggestions on its incarnation within your form. Each of the
Actions can be done once per Round, by discarding a card of a certain value. The value of the card
discarded determines the effect of the Tech. The variable “X” is equal to 1 ix the card is a number, 2 if the
card is a Face, or 3 if the card if an Ace.
For tangible play at the table, we recommend using a set of index cards to represent the Positions, with
each Pilot’s player actually taking that index card into their play region when they assume that position
during the union process.
Currently Unused Tech Ideas:
Look at X cards in hand or on table
Strategy (“The Head”)
Suggested Forms: Head, Brains, Eyes
Action: “On My Mark!:” Each other Pilot in the Final Form may choose to pass you up to X cards from
their Hands. You may then choose to keep any of those passed to you, and pass them up to X cards back.
The amount they passed you and the amount you pass back do not need to be the same.
Offense (“Right Arm”)
Suggested Forms: Right Arm, Chest Laser, Blazing Sword
Action: “(INSERT ATTACK NAME):” Each time you use this, you must shout out a new attack name. You
cannot use the same attack name twice in the same Rumble, but you can recycle them across Rumbles.
You can then force a random discard of up to X cards from Coach’s hand.
Defense (“Left Arm”)
Suggested Forms: Left Arm, Shell, Power Shield
Action: “(INSERT MANEUVER NAME):” Each time you use this, you must shout out a new defensive
maneuver name. You cannot use the same maneuver name twice in the same Rumble, but you can recycle
them across Rumbles. First draw a card into your hand, and then play a card (same or different) facedown in front of an already-played BGM card. When the cards are revealed at the end of the Round, if
your card Beats theirs, immediately discard both (it does not score).
Suggested Forms: Heart, Spine
Action: “Rejuvenation!:” Each other Pilot in the Final Form draws X more cards into their hand.
Suggested Forms: Legs, Tail, Wings
Action: “Action Name:” TBD (Not certain on this one yet, but need a fifth to fit the theme…)
Okay, Let’s Rumble!
The final mode of conflict is the Robo Rumble, wherein the Pilots’ sync their Robos and join up to build
their Final Form, and (hopefully) kick some Big Giant Monster ass!
A Rumble is played out in exactly three Rounds of action. The Pilots join together on one side of the fight,
and Coach
Pilot Robo Final Form!
The Monster Appears!
1. Round 1
Pilots Draw Up
Coach Draws Up
2. Round 2
Coach Draws Up
3. Round 3
Coach Draws Up
Determine Outcome
Step 1: Initiating the Rumble
The Rumble is a special final conflict type that pushes the scale WAY WAY up into the sky.
A Rumble can be activated either within an active Throwdown, or outside of one, based on the following
From Within a Throwdown
To activate within a Throwdown…
Pilot: On your turn, use the “Let’s Rumble!” Main action. When you do this, you must have a card in your
hand equal to or higher than your Combine Card based on your Harmony. Set that card aside, it’s going to
get used in a second…
Coach: Once the appropriate escalation stage is reached, Coach can initiate at any time during a
Throwdown involving a Threat that has the BGM quality. This also uses the “Let’s Rumble!” main action,
but requires no card play.
In either case, once the Rumble has been initiated, the Throwdown is officially over. Quickly resolve it
with the highest card determining the victor as usual. Then discard the play pile, but leave existing
Hands as they are! Now begin Step 2.
From Outside a Throwdown
A Rumble can be activated in “open play” mode by either the Pilots or Coach.
Pilot: Simply narrate that you are starting the fusion, and put forth a fusion card, as above.
Coach: Same as if done within a Throwdown.
In either case, Immediately begin Step 2.
Step 2: Assemble!
Now each side assembles at the same time. When both are ready to go, move to Step 3.
Pilots: Building the Final Form
For some, this may be the most exciting part of the game: the team finally gets to assemble into their
megaultramagnatron-bot, yeah!
To form the bot, each Pilot who wishes to join the Final Form must put forth a card - chances are one or
more already has a card out simply by way of having Initiated the Rumble in the first place. The card a
Pilot puts forth must equal or exceed the “Combine Rank” of their current Harmony, otherwise they can’t
join the Union. You can put forth cards from your Hand or from any of the available Factions.
Next, each Pilot in the union claims one of the available Positions of the Final Form. In larger groups,
there may be more Pilots involved than available Positions, but that’s fine: once all the core positions are
claimed, remaining pilots can “double up” in a claimed Position, effectively claiming it a second time (and
also making that Tech available for two uses in a Round!). However, doubling up is not allowed if there
are still core positions remaining unclaimed.
when you claim a Position, if there are any Power tokens on that Position, you immediately draw one
more card into your hand for each token.
Then, each Pilot in the union contributes to the description of the combination! This can be quite a vivid
and spectacular event, so the players are encouraged to go wild, especially on their first union (and
Coach, this is a special Pilot moment, so don’t butt in unless they need assistance with imaginative ideas
or prodding). For best dramatic impact, we advise starting with the “lower” Positions (legs, tail, etc) and
working up until you bring in the uppermost Position (usually the Head) last - “…and I’ll for the HEAD!” is
a classic trope of the genre.
What if I can’t Put Forth a Card?
Please Note that sometimes not everyone will be able to assemble. This will most likely be because they
have crappy Harmony, but maybe other circumstances apply as well. That’s actually to be expected!
Pilots DO NOT have to Assemble in order to Rumble! That’s right: they can totally rumble just fine in
their separate Robos, they just don’t get to participate in the actual Union process, nor do they get to
choose Final Form Positions (and their associated Techs).
That said, if they can’t use their Robos, they can’t Rumble! When the BGM attacks, you’d better get to
those Robos if you can!
Coach: Assembling the Playing Field
While the Pilots are describing their Union, Coach should prepare the playing field. Just clear out a space
in the middle for each side to lay out two rows of up to five cards each. Don’t put any cards there yet
(that will happen during the Rounds), just make sure there’s space to play. These play spaces are called
Combo Zones, and each side has five of them.
As for the monster itself, Coach doesn’t really have to do anything special to assemble the BGM other than
describe how totally sweet it is. The BGM Techs should have been predetermined during the Scenario
Design process. Just wait for the Pilots to assemble, encourage them to be super descriptive, and then
move on the Step 3.
Step 3: Rumble!
Now you fight! This is a set of three “Rounds” of action. Each Round is broken down into ten Turns of the
sides using Techs or building power combos. It’s a back-and-forth flow, with one side taking a turn, then
the other, then back, and so on until each side has taken five turns. At the end of a Round, you total a
score based on card combos and multipliers, then proceed to the second Round and repeat. Repeat a
third time, and it’s over. Highest total score wins!
Three Rounds, ten turns in each Round, five turns per side back and forth.
Round One: FIGHT!
At the start of Round 1 Only, the Pilots Draw additional cards equal to their current Robo Tier. Pilots do
not need to discard anything at the start.
At the start of each Round, Coach Draws up to a total Hand equal to the BGM’s Threat Rating plus the
current Escalation Round (plus any other bonuses he may have from specific Threat Techs). If Coach
somehow already has more than that in his hand, he needs to randomly discard down to the max size.
After initial draw, the first turn goes to the side that initiated Rumble Mode. When you bring it, you act
Initiator takes a turn, then the opponent, back and forth until each side has taken five turns. If there are
multiple players on a side, they can act in any order or quantity they want - meaning if there are five
Pilots in a union, they can even just have one player choose and declare all the actions. They only get five
turns, but they can do whatever they want with them.
On your Side’s turn, you can either play a card face-down in one of your side’s five Combo Zones, or you
can instead activate your special Position/BGM Tech.
To play a card in a Combo Zone, take a card from your hand (or a Faction) and place it face-down in an
empty one of the five zones for your side of the battle. This will get revealed at the end of the round, and
count toward your score combo.
To Use a Tech, Play a card from your hand (or a Faction) face-up and sideways on an empty Zone on your
side. This activate yours chosen Position/BGM Tech and empowers it with the card: the better the card
you play, the more effective the Tech (see Tech descriptions, earlier). Apply the effects immediately.
Remember: using a Tech is done instead of playing a card, and that directly limits the number of cards
your side can play, so do so wisely!
Also, each such Tech can only be used once per side, unless your side has it otherwise duplicated (such as
doubled-up Pilots, of BGMs with multi-use Techs).
Finally, once all ten turns are complete, determine the Round 1 scores for each side. Both sides flip over
their played Combo Cards, face-up. A side’s score is equal to the total value of all the non-sideways
cards in their Combo Zones, times the Combo Multiplier (see the sidebar). You will keep a running total
across all three rounds. Remember: sideways cards were used for Position/BGM Techs instead, and do
not count toward this play combo.
Whoever has the highest score “Wins” the Round. If there’s a tie (unlikely), draw off until someone has a
higher (and discard those cards). Discard all cards from the play area, and move to Round 2.
SIDEBAR: Building Combos
Okay, so your real ultimate goal in each Round is to build the best damn hand of up to five cards that you
can, using the cards available to your team. While Coach is limited to ONLY the cards in his hand, he’s got
a lot of them, and he redraws every turn. Meanwhile, your team must use all the cards they have between
them, and they don’t get the same redraw options as Coach. In fact, the only draw-ups you get are at the
start of the first Round, and through the applied use of the Heart’s Position Tech.
Adding to that, you aren’t allowed to actively discuss your hands, either! On the plus side, by the time
you’ve come to this point, you probably have a lot of good cards out in those Factions, and a few other
tricks up your sleeves.
A solid strategy is to make strategic use of both the Heart’s draw-up Tech and the Head’s pass-over Tech
to buff up the “leader’s” hand with good combo cards. Then let the Leader handle the actual Combo plays,
unless your team has such a good real-world synergy that you can pull off good combos together with
minimal communication.
The Combos you play directly multiply your end-of-Round score, so play well!
High Card
1 Pair
2 Pair, 3-Straight
3-Kind, 4-flush
4-Kind, 4-Straightflush
Full House
The combos are not in the same Poker order, this is intentional. Remember, you are potentially giving up
valuable actions in order to just go for points, thus the more difficult 5-card combos are more valuable.
That said, this definitely needs some testing!
Round Two: YOU CAN DO IT!
Almost exactly like Round 1, but:
Coach draws back up to full Hand (TR + Escalation + Other) at the top, but the Pilots do not.
Whoever scored highest in the previous Round gets to choose if they want to play first, or instead force
their opponent to play first.
Combos scored at the end of the Round are worth DOUBLE (x2).
Round Three: FINISH IT!
Exactly like Round 2 (Coach draws, Pilots do not, last Round’s victor decides who plays first), except that
Combos scored at the end of Round 3 are worth TRIPLE (x3).
When Round 3 ends, the Rumble is over!
Step 4: Determine Outcome
At the end of Round three: Whoever has the highest score across all three Rounds wins!
If the Pilots’ total is greater than or equal to the monster’s:
Basic Success: They Just barely Survived (Final Scenario Score +X)
Double Score or More: They had a challenging Victory (Final Scenario Score +YY)
Ten times the enemy’s score or more: They Stomped the Shit out of the Monster (Final Scenario
Score +ZZZ)
However, if the monster’s points were greater than the Pilots’:
Basic Loss: The monster forced their retreat (Final Scenario Score -X)
Double Score or More: The monster wrecked them (Final Scenario Score -YY)
Ten times the Pilots’ score or more: The Monsters obliterated the Pilots, and Humanity is on the
brink of destruction… (Final Scenario Score -ZZZ)
The variables above will come as I finalize play flow and balance the math on the end-of-scenario scoring
Extended Considerations
Playtest Notes: This whole sub-section!
Once the Location rules get officially added (again, pending further playtest results from the base
package), Collateral Damage rules will get added to the different attacks and actions.
The basic idea is that when an “attack” style action is performed, the actions do extra collateral damage to
the Location where the fight occurs. Collateral is bad not just because it destroys locations, but it also
lowers public opinion of the team, which can damage their funding, ruin their scenario score, and more.
Collateral is intended to be kind of a big deal.
Pilots can avoid collateral from their own actions by sacrificing higher cards in their attacks. So a plain
number card would do 1 “damage” effect but 2 collateral, a face would do 1 damage and only 1 collateral,
while an Ace would do 2 damage and no collateral at all. Likewise defensive actions would prevent some
or all of the BGM’s collateral effects.
Collateral also escalates by the round! Unblocked collateral in Round 1 ix x1, in Round 2 is x10, and in
Round 3 is x100!
This will make more sense when Locations are added. But for now, I want to focus on the core and see
how much tuning it needs.
Royal Rumbles: Pilot vs Pilot!
PLAYTEST NOTE: This whole sub section!
While unlikely, it is certainly possible for two or more pilots to square off against two or more other
pilots in semi-combinative Rumbles. I’ve yet to try one out for myself, but I can see it being technically
possible, and potentially fun. I don’t see much need to alter the process for it, either.
Rumble Final Thoughts
PLAYTEST NOTE: This whole sub section!
One thing I’ve considered is if personal Techs and such can be used inside Rumbles. It seems like a cool
idea, but I’ve not even really begun toying with those ideas yet. It would certainly require some deeper
consideration, and right now I just want to make sure the core idea works on the skeletal level before
adding anything extra to it.
Coach’s Handbook
This whole section is a big ol’ Work in Progress. Essentially the “How to GM” section of the text.
Coaching 101
Storytelling Tips
Does Everyone Have to be a Faction or Threat?
Easy answer: No, they don’t! In Gattaibushido, the only characters that have game mechanics are the
Pilots, the Factions, and the Threats. But there are many other characters and creatures in the universe
that don’t need to fall into these categories. The vast majority of these exist primarily as little more than
narrative color, but sometimes you can use them as the components of other game mechanics.
The easiest way to bring in non-mechanics characters is as narrative power behind a Gambit. For
example, if a Pilot has offended the locals of a backwoods colony and they are trying to lynch her, instead
of statting them out you can just use them as the crux of a Gambit. Can she talk them out of their furor?
Can she run away? Can she call on her friends’ help in time? Play out a quick Gambit and find out!
Or instead, you can just “say what happens” and move on. If a Pilot is out on a shopping trip in the
Enzirian Bazaar and wants to find something interesting, role-play her interactions with the locals, and
describe the fancy new scarf she gets from a pleasant off-world trader. There’s no need to bring numbers
and mechanics into play unless it’s important to the greater story.
Coach’s Basic Mechanics
(Still in Development) Most of the in-game rules that Coach uses have already been detailed in their
relative sections prior. This section here is meant to serve as a quick collection of page references to
those bits and pieces.
Coach’s Cards
Coach’s Deck: The Coach deck is separate from the player Deck, and should be visibly different.
Coach’s Hand: Coach doesn’t carry a Hand of cards between conflicts. You will only hold a Hand
during the turns of an active Throwdown.
Coach and Throwdowns
Initiative: Unlike the Pilots, you always initiate your Throwdown Challenges from the top of the Deck.
This is quite intentional, to maintain “fair unpredictability” in the challenge mechanic. The intent of the
challenge mechanic is not for Coach to beat up on the pilots, but instead for the pilots to rise up to a
challenge, no matter how unpredictable that challenge may be. Once you have drawn your actual Hand,
you have more freedom in bringing the pain.
Coach’s Common Tasks
(this will end up being a master reference list of Coach’s common tasks)
How to…
Build a Big Giant Monster: p. SQUARP
Check for Faction Disfavor: p. SQUARP
Create a Threat: p. SQUARP
Introduce a Faction: p. SQUARP
Run a First Contact: p. SQUARP
Run a Gambit: p. SQUARP
Run a Lessons Vote: p. SQUARP
Run a Throwdown: p. SQUARP
Coach should keep track of:
Each player’s various Triggers (from Color)
Current Average Team Evolutions (AvTE)
Current Team Resources
Threats (and Threats with Pulse/Static)
Time Management
Time and Urgency of Mission are important aspects of play. The Pilots can choose to go off and do
whatever they ultimately want, but if they linger inactive for too long, the enemy grows more powerful in
their inactivity. Occasionally if you feel the Pilots are screwing around too much with unimportant stuff,
or turtling up too much, you can invoke the Tarry mechanic. Simply flip a card from your Deck to the
Trash, representing the ever-moving actions and motives of the enemies as the threat of a new Joker
draws ever closer.
Sometimes the players can actively invoke the Tarry all on their own, as well, usually through the use of
Location boons. In any case, if you ever feel that time needs to move along, invoke a Tarry and keep
playing on.
Running the Game
Most of the rest of this text talks about mechanics and numbers and math and gee whiz, but this section
here is about managing the greater flow of play.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably figured out that Gattaibushido has a somewhat different
approach to a lot of the same tasks as other RPGs. As with Motobushido however, the biggest hurdle for
new players tends to be figuring out the expected flow of process. Hopefully this section can help you get
over those bumps and smooth out your play experience.
Session 1: First Contact and Creation
In Campaign play, you are all expecting to play this story for multiple sessions. I’ve found that 13 sessions
or so tends to be a good story arc, and with proper adjudication of Lessons and evolution votes, this can
see the original Pilots (provided they live that long) grow into very capable characters.
Start with a Blank Slate
This means story and rules! Don’t pre-write the story details, and likewise don’t front-load the rules!
Trust in the First Contact scene to kickstart both story and rules knowledge, and you’ll be good to go.
Run the First Contact
The First Contact kicks off the game and the grander story. It is both tutorial and world-building session.
Every game should begin with one before the actual player character Pilots are even discussed at all.
Run Team Creation
After the First Founding, run the Team Creation process. Your involvement with this will largely be one of
mechanical guidance and “story wrangling,” as you ask questions of the group and encourage them to add
more details to the world.
When determining the details of the time between the First Contact and the start of the game, help them
bridge that story gap with more questions and ideas.
Keep in mind that the game intends for the characters to all be young neophyte Pilots fresh in Battle
School. Especially if this is a brand new group of Gattaibushido players, I highly encourage everyone to
play young neophyte Pilots, so they can all experience the new developments together. However, if you
have some veteran players, you might consider letting them play more established Pilots, possibly even
those who survived the First Contact, if it was recent enough.
If you do end up allowing veterans to play more experienced characters, you might also consider allowing
them to go ahead and take the Advanced Techs for Tier 1. This might make them a bit more mechanically
powerful than the others, however, so we don’t recommend this unless you are sure it will work out.
Sessions 2-4: The First Mission
Things to cover:
Unlocking the Pilot’s Advanced Techs (needs to happen during play)
One-Shot Games
TBD (extended advice on running one-shot sessions and convention games)
The First Contact
The First Contact scene is a crucial part of every extended campaign, and even pretty fun in one-shots,
too. It establishes the background of your game world, while also serving as a tutorial to the game rules
for new players.
First Contact Flow:
Give a real quick explanation
Details and Establishment Questions
Pass out FC Character Templates
Draw Sides & Deal Hands
Ask the Question & Set the Stage
Bring to a Close
The basis of this scene is the question: “Do you stand and fight and defend your loved ones? Or do you
run to bring message back to command, so they know that there’s a danger?”
The outcome should will the lives of the Pilots later in the game proper. One or more could be descended
from the people in that encounter. Are the Pilots living under the shadow of their predecessor’s shame?
Or are they instead being expected to fill the gigantic shoes of martyr heroes?
Quick Explanation
Read Aloud:
“The following scene takes place during a war some time ago. On an off-world colony, the protagonists of
this scene are all members of the special Colonial Defense Force. They all are involved in a crucial
moment when The Enemy first reveals itself from space, and attacks the colony. The survivors of this
scene will be a legend told by the Mecha pilots for many years to come…”
Establishment Questions
Now ask the group to start establishing aspects of the setting. Try and get each player to contribute at
least one fact. Facts include things such as: Steam-powered starships, alien allies, No More Children,
Everyone has Green Skin, Still haven;t master Gravity Tech, Planet-Destroying Weapons, and so on. Try
and build out cool sci fi elements of your group’s game world, and offer suggestions to make things
awesome and unique.
During this flow, you need to try and answer the following questions. Some of them may be answered
through the players own volunteered ideas, while others you may end up just having to directly ask for:
How far in the future is this?
Where is this colony? What is its name
What is so important about this particular colony?
What is known about The Enemy?
What was it about the enemy that made them so unstoppable?
Pass Out the Templates
There are eight basic character templates, each a different archetype of a character that would be present
in this scene. Lay them out and let the players choose.
Mention aloud that it helps if at least one of the players takes the Commo, and another takes the LT, but it
is by no means required.
the LT
(description) The lead officer.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 4 / Sync 2 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 3 /Fist 3 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 2 / Stars 4 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Sarge
(description) The good ol’ Sarge.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 1 / Sync 5 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 2 /Fist 4 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 5 / Stars 1 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Conscript
(description) Not the most well-trained, probably a new recruit.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 5 / Sync 1 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 4 /Fist 2 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 4 / Stars 2 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Engineer
(description) All tech and gears and computers and stuff.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 3 / Sync 3 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 2 /Fist 4 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 2 / Stars 4 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Commo
(description) The Communications Specialist
Commitment to the Team: Solo 2 / Sync 4 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 3 /Fist 3 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 3 / Stars 3 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Gropo
(description) The foot soldier, infantryman, ground-pounder, etc.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 1 / Sync 5 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 0 /Fist 6 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 3 / Stars 3 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Sniper
(description) Lone wolf with a really powerful gun.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 5 / Sync 1 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 2 /Fist 4 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 3 / Stars 3 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: (TBD)
Reason to Run: (TBD)
the Medtech
(description) Medical Tech on the team, dedicated to keeping everyone alive.
Commitment to the Team: Solo 0 / Sync 6 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Fight: Glove 5 /Fist 1 - (flavor text)
Commitment to the Future: Earth 5 / Stars 1 - (flavor text)
Reason to Fight: We have to do what we can to save these people!
Reason to Run: If we don’t take word back, millions more may die!
Draw Sides & Deal Hands
Prepare a special hand of cards as follows: from one deck, draw X red cards, where X = the number of
Pilot players, minus one. Then draw X black cards as well. You should then have a hand with an equal
number of black and white cards. Shuffle them, then deal one to each player, face-down.
Have each player look at that card secretly, and remember it.
Shuffle the remaining cards into the deck, then deal each player two more cards.
Ask the Question and Set the Stage
Time to finally set the scene and ask The Question. The final printed version of this is still pending
playtesting, but the basic flow is:
By now, everyone knows the colony is being attacked!
Enemies - from space!
The enemy has overwhelmed the outer defenses and taken out the communication satellites before
any message could be sent!
The commander has sent word to your unit (address the Commo here if present): attack it with
everything you have! Defend the people!
Communication with commander was cut off! (If LT or Sarge is present, present the next bit to them)
Those who received RED cards are in favor of murdering these alien bastards.
Those who received BLACK cards believe that the unit needs to escape and take word to the
homeworld, so they will know of the attack.
The unit can maybe succeed at one, but only if it acts together!
…and go!
(TBD: add in Faction explanations a la Motobushido First Founding)
Begin Play
Play through the scene, try and introduce a Throwdown between the players, get them used to fighting
each other (muah hah hah), etc.
Mainly let them run with it, so they open up and get a hang of role-playing if they’re new. Bring in a
Throwdown and a Gambit if you can, so they can see how the real basic mechanics work. They don’t have
any powers or Techs to use, so there aren’t many options to confuse them or complicate things. If anyone
uses the Strike-Assist action in a conflict, just give a default value of 2 and go with it.
Bring it to a Close
Once it’s clear which decision is holding true, draw the scene to a close. There’s no need to play through
the entire battle to the bitter end. All we’re interested in here is establishing what decision was made.
Gather up all the playing cards. The players can keep their template sheets if they like, but they may or
may not actually become characters. Next: on the character creation!
Scenario Design and Management
(major development in progress)
Prepare a Faction card for each Faction of the scenario, to be placed on the table when it is discovered by
the Pilots. Similarly prepare behind-the-scene Threat stats for any Faction that may potentially be a
Threat to the players.
To develop a scenario (unordered):
Come up with a situation
Add additional intra-team conflicts
Develop Factions
Develop Locations
Develop Threats
Develop Escalation Path
Develop a Downtime Draw Table (or use the standard)
Write team buy-in questions
Downtime Draw-Table
(TBD: a draw-table of events that happen between scenarios and potentially alter team Harmony, threats,
and more. Should be an equal balance of good and bad things. 13 total options, one for each rank, with
each option giving four different outcomes based on suit)
Scenario Threats
The Threats present in your scenario directly affect its design. Every Scenario should have a “Total Threat
Rating” which is an “X/Y/Z” number. X = total number of Threats, Y = Average Threat Rating of those
Threats, and Z = number of Threats designated as BGMs.
Running Your Scenario
Final Score
At the end of every completed scenario, calculate a final score for the party, to determine possible
additional post-adventure rewards.
I highly recommend not telling new Pilots about the scoring system in advance, so that they play their
first scenario without the potential pressure of feeling that they need to maximize their score. Let them
experience it later, as a lesson of play, so that they may experience their first story “raw” and develop
strategies on their own down the road.
Playtest Note: This is definitely a work in progress. The idea is inspired by a number of genre video
games which provide adventure scores based on how well the heroes performed. I wish to use that as a
direct component of character evolution.
Factors which work against the Pilots:
Total Collateral damage involved, amplified by number of Razed Locations
Factors which work in their favor:
Total invested Favor cards, amplified by any still remaining unused
Excess points of Team Resources
Threat Management
Threats are the vast majority of the opposition in the game. Monsters, bullies, mean teachers, natural
obstacles, and even Big Giant Space Monsters.
Threats give Coach a number of game options to use against the Pilots
Threats are by nature very different than Pilots, and as such use different mechanics. For example,
whereas Pilots have many numbers, Threats all have only one: their Threat Rating.
Threat Basics
Every Threat has a singular number, called its Threat Rating (TR). Threat Rating does the following:
Determines number of bonus cards Coach draws at start of a Throwdown involving this Threat
Sets an allowance of Threat Build Points (TBPs), for kitting the Threat out with Qualities.
Serves as an overall gauge of that enemy’s power within the scenario
Threat Rating is an exponential gauge, mind you, meaning that rating 2 threats are significantly more
powerful than rating 1, and so on. There’s a color scheme to match this, and at the risk of conflicting with
more established color schemes from MMOs, I’ve chosen instead to keep it in line with the standard
“RoyGBiv” color scheme used throughout the rest of the game, so as to keep everything uniform within
the scope of the text. Note that the colors here are the reverse of those the Pilots use, and this is
intentional. In every one of the game’s seven-point color scales, Red is the worst for the Pilots, and Violet
is the best. Thus a Violet Threat is small beans for them, while a Red Threat is earth-shattering doom.
Threat Color
Threat Rating
Weakest, basic enemy, a standard starting challenge
World-shaking threat, greatest non-BGM enemy robos.
* Recommended Minimum Average Team Evolutions: The recommended minimum total cross-team
character Evolutions that should be in play before this Threat is considered a “normal” challenge for the
players. This is very much still a work in progress that requires extensive playtesting.
** Defeat Conditions: The number of defeat conditions that must be determined when designing this
During play, Coach should try and refer to Threats by their colors over their numbers. This keeps the
narrative and themes in play.
Threat Design
The Threat design system is intended to be fairly straightforward and modular.
Start with the basic Threat Template, give it a Threat Rating, then assign Threat Qualities.
Basic New Threat Template
Every Threat, regardless of complexity, has the following base rules.
Threat Rating: Every Threat has a numerical rating, minimum 1, maximum 7. Threat Rating
determines Threat Build Points (TBP)
Default Wave: Deal 1 direct Pulse damage to one Pilot, bypassing buffers
Default Storm: Deal 1 direct Pulse damage to all Pilots, bypassing buffers
Default Defeat Condition: A single Narrative statement of how this Threat can be
defeated/neutralized. Higher-rating Threats have more required conditions.
When designing a Threat, take into account just how powerful you want this Threat to be.
First start with the template above. Every Threat must have a TR, a Wave, a Storm, and a Defeat
Defeat Conditions
Each Threat must have at least one scripted narrative defeat condition. This can be something as simple
as “Pull the ‘Destroy Bob’ level in room 414B of the secret complex” or as involved as complex puzzle
solving involving a prophecy, a sunken temple, seven British grandmothers, and the letter Q. No matter
how complex or simple, however, there must be one. Something like “Shoot it until it does” is a classic
stand-by, but we encourage having some solid unexpected round-about ways for the Pilots to defeat
things with a bit of applied creativity and narrative exploration.
At TRs 4 and 7, the minimum number of required defeat conditions increases.
Threat Qualities
Your Threat Rating gives you an equal number of Threat Build Points (TBPs) to spend on additional
You can swap out the default Wave and Storm options for others. Sacrificing the defaults gives you +1
TBP each, to spend as you wish, but with one important caveat: your final Threat must have at least 1
Wave effect and 1 Storm effect.
Below is a table of all the available Threat qualities, along with their Threat Build Point (TBP) costs and a
quick description of what they do. These are all explained in much greater detail further down.
Quality Name
Big Giant Monster
Bolster Allies
TBP Cost
Designates the Threat as a BGM
+STORM: increase TR of existing Threats
+WAVE: force pilot discards
BASE: Uses Strike Range
BASE: Deals +1 Static with each play in a Throwdown.
Reinforcements Summon X+1
+DC: Can be destroyed via Static
+WAVE: Summon new lesser Threats.
BASE: Makes Pilot discards Random.
*This can be selected multiple times
Unsorted Other Qualities Ideas:
1, Side: Draw 1 Card
Base Mods
Wave Actions
Storm Actions
Cause Collateral Damage
Burn d4 from a team resource vs deplete a team resource
Discard Top card of a faction vs discard ALL favor
redoce Faction agent -1 vs eliminate a Faction
Basic Notes:
+ACTION: Threat gains a new Action for use on their turn in a Throwdown.
BASE: A base mechanic is directly modified for that Threat
+DC: Threat gains a new Defeat Condition
+STORM: Threat gains a new Storm option
+WAVE: Threat gains a new Wave option
Big Giant Monster (BGM)
This quality designates the Threat as this scenario’s Big Giant Monster (or BGM), subject to all the
extended rules of the BGMs. See the next section for BGM rules.
Bolster Allies
Bolster Allies: 1 TBP; +STORM: Increase TR of any scenario threat by +2, OR Increase TR of any two
scenario threats by +1, (see description for special notes)
When designing a Threat with this quality, you should make sure that every planned Threat in your
scenario has a predetermined “upgrade path” in place. This will save you a lot of time during play, as it
lets you quickly decide what new Threat qualities to add to each of your Threats, should they be boosted
by this Tech.
1, +WAVE: “Debilitating” Force a discard from each Pilot not in a Throwdown, or 1 Pilot in a Throwdown
Heavy-Handed: 1 TBP; BASE: Deals +1 Static with each play in a Throwdown.
Can be selected multiple times!
A “mortal” threat is one that can be destroyed directly, through the application of Static delivered by the
pilots in Throwdowns. Mortal Threats have an effective Pulse and Static Buffer both equal to their TR,
subject to standard Static rules. When The Threat’s effective Pulse is eliminated, the Threat is destroyed.
This quality can make Threats extremely squishy, yes, but to compensate this they effectively double
their TR when purchasing Qualities. We definitely do not advise making a Threat both Mortal and BGM,
unless you want that BGM to be easily defeatable outside of Rumbles.
Reinforcements Summon: X+1; +WAVE: Generate 1 one new Threat-X of predetermined details and
add to Scenario. TBP cost of this Quality is based on X = TR of new Threat. When building base
Threat, you must predefine the Threat that will be summoned.
Tactical: +2 TBP; BASE: Threat must abide by a Strike Range = TR.
A Tactical Threat is one that over-relies on precise tactics in its actions, often to a fault. They follow
patterns and tend to telegraph their actions, making them easier to defeat with well-coordinated
teamwork. These Threats are constrained to use of a Strike Range when playing in Throwdowns, just like
the Pilots. It’s range is equal to its Threat Rating. Unlike pilots, when this Threat plays outside of its
Range, it does not suffer Dissonance. Instead, the lowest-Harmony Pilot opposing it gets to immediately
gain +1 to their Harmony tracker, as she finds her tactics working against it in ways that bolster her
synergy with her team. If multiple are tied for lowest, they must choose who gets the boost.
Urgency: 1 TBP; BASE: When a Pilot would Discard in a Throwdown against this threat, that Pilot’s
discard is always Random.
Building Custom Qualities
If you want to build custom qualities, here’s a loose system for doing so.
Basic 1-point Quality adds a single Wave or Storm effect. Why are Waves and Storms the same cost,
despite Storms being way more heinous? Because Waves are more immediate, while Storms are delayed
and have setup conditions. Waves are weaker, but they are easier to activate. So while a Storm may be
more disastrous for the players, its rarity balances that out.
Threats and Factions
There may likely be some confusion over the difference between Factions and Threats in play, and this is
understandable. They both represent external forces within the scenario, and their mechanical scopes
have some definite crossover.
Indeed, some Threats are also Factions, even. However, not every Threat can (or should) be a Faction. A
Threat that takes the form of a Raging Galactic Void Storm, for example, narratively has no actual will or
intent, and thus makes no sense as a Faction.
Think of them as completely different realms of mechanical sway. Factions are mechanics for the Pilot
players, while Threats are mechanics for Coach.
While not all Threats are Factions, every Faction does have the potential to become a Threat if the Pilots
invoke its anger. As such, it helps to consider having a “Threat conversion” worked up in advance on each
of your scenario Factions. Given how easy it can be for the Pilots to each a Faction’s disfavor, this is a
good practice to make common for all your scenario design process.
When Disfavor ends up turning a Faction against the Pilots, that Faction becomes a Threat. Its prior
Agency at the time of conversion becomes its new Threat Rating. Like any other Threat, you can then use
that TR to assign it Threat Qualities, and then use them against the players.
Threats and Player Awareness
This should be needless to say, but anyway: the pilots and their players should not know anything about
the Threats’ mechanics prior to a scenario (other than maybe the overall scenario X/Y/Z rating, and
usually only during cons games and demos). This means they have no way of knowing of enemies are
weak, powerful, mortal, or otherwise. They must discover this through play!
Playtest Note: Perhaps knowledge of one or more Threat Qualities can be narratively imparted through
successful Throwdown goals…
Big Giant Monsters! (BGMs)
The big mega bosses that you’re all here to fight!
Mechanically, a BGM is little more than a Threat with the BGM quality, which gives it a few extra Techs to
use specifically in the flow of Robo Rumbles.
Since BGMs are technically base threats, you can include them in the main scenario as opposing forces.
This is a common trope in the super sentai style of shows, where the end boss doesn’t actually grow to
full BGM size until the end of the episode. You can also just leave them unrevealed until they show up to
destroy the heroes at the end, if you like, it’s your call.
The BGM Threat cannot initiate full-size Rumble combat until the proper escalation point has been
reached. However, if you design your scenario to accommodate such, the Pilots might seek out and
encounter the BGM much sooner and go into Rumble on their own. In such a case, your BGM is able to
return the favor.
BGM Rumble Techs
Each BGM threat gets a number of special Rumble Techs equal to (you guess it) it’s Threat Rating. Like
the Pilots’ Position Techs, most of these require a card activation from Coach’s hand, with better cards
resulting in stronger powers.
Playtest Notes: These require a lot of extended testing. This is a completely new take on the prior
Rumble mechanic, and as such most of these have not even seen lab testing. They don’t have cool
monster-y names yet, either. Bear with me, it’s a work in progress. =)
Base Techs*:
Extend Hand: (Passive) This Tech increases the BGM max hand by +1 card. Can be taken multiple
Power Up: (Active) Draw X more cards into your hand this Round.
Tech Name: (Passive/Active) Template…
* Active Techs require a card sacrifice similar to Pilot Position Techs. For each of the techs listed, X is
based on the value of the card sacrificed to empower the Tech: Number card = 1, Face Card = 2, Ace = 3.
Escalation Path
The Escalation Path is a pre-scripted series of event triggers that occur as the Jokers are revealed during
play. Each step on the path is triggered by a Joker reaching the top of the Coach deck.
The standard path is seven steps, alternating between waves and storms until the BGM finally makes an
appearance at the end. It’s meant for a standard single-session game, such as a pick-up game or a
convention session. If you have new players, you might want to reduce this to 5 or 6 steps, while
experienced players who push through decks quickly might warrant extending it to 8, 9, or even 10. Note
that the length of the Path is directly related to both the length of the game and the power of the final
“boss” monster, so this is an important consideration.
A “Standard” default path is:
BGM Attacks!
A “Steady and Hard” more difficult path is:
Storm + Wave
Storm + Storm
BGM Attacks!
Playtest Note: You can add whatever you want to your Path, really. As more playtest data is received, I
hope to be able to codify this, and have a greater formula for overall Scenario difficulty. Until then, play
around with these, try different combos, and see what works and what doesn’t.
Escalation and the Big Giant Monster
The current Escalation has a direct impact on the power of the Big Giant Monster, whenever it is
eventually encountered, because the BGM’s hand is directly increased in size by the escalation level.
Additionally, “by the book” the BGM can’t attack (as in initiating a Rumble) until that level of the
escalation has been reached. You can always push it lower on the path if you like, but that remains to be
tested in play.
Waves and Storms
Waves and Storms are Coach’s special actions that he can take at predetermined times in order to make
the Pilots’ lives more complicated and dangerous. Waves tend to have smaller and/or more direct and
localized effects. Storms are much more heinous, and frequently broad-reaching.
Waves and Storms come directly from the Threats in any particular scenario. High- and/or Multi-Threat
scenarios will likely have multiple options.
When the rules call for a Wave or Storm, you can only trigger one of those available to you, unless the
rules specifically say “all.”
Waves and Storms are triggered by:
Escalation Path Steps (aka Jokers)
Throwdown “Trigger” Actions (require discards)
Some Threat actions
Regardless of the mechanics, every wave and storm must have a suitable narrative description. Coach
can’t just say “Okay, I do a Wave, so Janys takes 1 damage” and move on. You must describe what exactly
is happening in the story that is causing this damage. This can be tricky for those unexpectedly triggered
by Escalation Path events, but by keeping aware of your Threats and their abilities, you should be able to
come up with some ideas.
The Basic Wave effect is a 1 Pulse damage effect direct to 1 Pilot. The Basic Storm effect is 1 Pulse
damage effect direct to all Pilots.
To craft new ones, use these basic guidelines. Waves can do a minor effect, while Storms can do a Major
effect. A minor effect can do something small to one player. A major effect can do something heavy to one
player, or something small to all players. A minor effect can have a lesser narrative effect. A major effect
can have a drastic story-changing narrative effect.
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