Monday, October 26, 2009

Smooth Criminals

While there are plenty of new Perks and Flaws, and a number of refinements to them, one a lot of you may appreciate is the revised Ranged Perk. What's so great about it? For one thing, it's free!

Well, sort of. Ranged has been split into two separate Perks. The first is simply Ranged, which does what you expect it to: allows Attacks and other Abilities to be used in a distant-y fashion. In the old game, this Perk tacked on a +5 Endurance cost. The most obvious consequence of this was it made making grunts with handguns problematic. They can barely afford +1 Abilities, much less be saddled with Endurance costs. But even for full-fledged heroes, I found you didn't get very much bang for your buck. Since OVA assumes that everyone in a given scuffle can reach anyone and deliver a beatdown barring some satisfying excuse (sniping from a building, dropping stuff from a zeppelin, or otherwise being justifiably far away), it just wasn't worth the Endurance expense for such a marginally useful Perk.

Of course, the new Ranged didn't get off exactly scott-free. It's now made expressly clear when you use this Perk that you do not get to add any Strong bonuses. Also, unlike hand-to-hand attacks, ranged fighting is guaranteed to mess up the surroundings, which pending on the locale, can be a very bad idea.

But if you like your attacks with a little muscle, you can purchase the Ranged, Strength-Powered Perk, allowing you to put your full might into it in exchange for the +5 Endurance cost. Overall this seems a little fairer, and it certainly settles once and for all what Ranged Attacks get to add Strong and which do not.

These two use the Ranged perk in both of its new facets. Ancel knows all about attacking his opponents from a distance using a grand arsenal of weaponry and his expert skill. Zurkrieg's raw power is evident in everything he does, but he certainly exhibits it when using his length-changing cane. But with their stylish suits and unassuming day jobs, you may not see the danger until it is much too late.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Black Magic Woman

For those of you who remember Yuu's introduction a while back, you've probably been eagerly awaiting what other new face is in store for OVA. Enter: Carol*!

Carol is a mish-mash of quite a few archetypes, which befits her mixed heritage of an African-American father and a Japanese shinto priest. Despite her inherited talents for seeing spirits, Carol spent most of her life shunning it in favor of the glamor of stage magic.

But the death of her teacher at the hands of a malevolent spirit caused her to adjust her view on things. Now accepting her mother's talents more openly, she runs a paranormal detective agency. It's a pale facade for her real goal: to someday meet up with the spirit that had changed her life forever – and do more than simply send it back to where it came from.

So, basically, you have a gumshoe-shintoist-stage magician that can use playing cards like ofuda, traditional Japanese paper talismans. Only in anime!

* Name is subject to change. What can I say, I'm indecisive.

Monday, October 12, 2009

More than Meets the Eye

So readers, those of you who have been with us for a while may remember a rather stellar idea that I've decided to run with: Dust Jacket as GM Screen. If a dust jacket proves to be a feasible, economical addition to the book, you'll see the backside littered with extra information for budding and veteran Game Master's alike.

Of course, let's not kid ourselves. OVA is no Rolemaster, so there's not exactly a bounty of things that have to be kept within eyesight at all times. So then, what would you like to see on such a screen? I think the Difficulty Chart is a shoe-in, and I'm also considering a small multiplication table for those of us less comfortable with the Damage mechanic. But what else? Most of the oddball Ability Endurance costs would've been a nice fit, but now that such things have been done away with...Likewise, what few tables are left are pretty consistent and easy to remember. So what will it be? What do you all wish you had at hand at all times? I'd love to have more nonstandard stuff like the multiplication table, things that have no business in the book proper but nonetheless might prove convenient to gamers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Information at Your Fingertips

In the old OVA design, the black bar on the side was originally intended to vary in length to signify the current chapter, making them easy to skip to when the book's edge is looked at askant. But once put into action, the idea didn't work at all, resulting in a bar too short to fit chapter titles in later chapters and absurdly long in early ones. It was in general odd-looking and tossed in favor of the uniform look we're all familiar with.

But I think quick thumb action is always a good thing in an RPG, and this time around there are little white markers that clearly signify the number of the chapter. Need Abilities and Weaknesses? That's chapter 3, and thus signified by three marks.

Of course, given the relative simplicity and short length of OVA, I'm not entirely sure its actually necessary. What do you guys think?