MIKE ANSWERS YOU SCREWHEADS: F.A.Q. (Updated 07/25/02)
Here's an addition to the F.A.Q. from Mike covering some questions on that hot topic: stats in DragonBall. Check-in in another week or so for some more answers to questions from all sorts of Talsorian systems. -Lisa Pondsmith
1.Q) How come you can't raise your characteristics, yet there's characters in the book who have higher/lower than 40 points? Also how would you reflect someone training for a year if they can't raise things such as physical or movement, even if they've been working out? I'm just trying to run the game the best I can using the rules. Thanks for the help!
Why do the main characters have an average total of 110 characteristic points and players can only get 40 points?
1.A) Characteristics. Hokay, in two words, here's why you're limited to 40 points. Play balance. Say I raise my Combat to 100. This means that in ONE MOVE, I have boosted the baselines for Fighting, Evasion, Weapons and Power to 100 plus whatever I have in the skills. Meanwhile, a guy who wants to boost all those skills must spend 300 points just to catch up. So why, if you could boost a Characteristic, would you EVER boost a skill? Changing characteristics is an invitation to blowing play balance all to heck and back.
Now, I COULD cheat the numbers and say, okay, boosting a Characteristic would cost a multiple of how many skills it affects (say, going up 10 in Combat effects four skills, so that would mean spending 40 points.) But that would be er--pointless, wouldn't it?
I went with the former option because frankly, when they aren't powered up, DBZ characters just don't change their base abilities all that much. Unpowered, Krillin can lift a truck, maybe. But after years of combat, unpowered, he still can't lift more than a truck. Goku in his Dragon Ball Z days is pretty much as strong and as fast as he was back in later Dragon Ball-- until he kicks into overdrive. So my choice to reflect this was to give characters a ceiling in Characterisics, but not in SKILLS.
Dragon Ball Z HEROES are another story though. They are set purposefully high so that no player character starting out the gate can hope to beat them (as it should be). But frankly, since their ceilings are also limited, you'll only need an extra few points of SKILL to make up for their "heroic" advantages; something you'll probably be able to do in your first few encounters. Compared to an almost limitless ability to increase SKILLS, the average 10-30 extra points the main characters get at the start is pretty miniscule.
Finally, in some cases (like on pg. 114, I gave players higher vaues than they could possibly have). I admit it--in my zeal to create an example, I screwed up the math (although by throwing almost everything into Combat, you COULD get over 36 points). Just divide by 10 and it'll work out fine...
2Q) How do you block energy attacks with out a deflection? Ex Goku slaps down Frieza's energy attacks with relative ease. When Goku first shows up and is about to put a major beat down on Frieza.
2A) Goku has already raised a deflection at the start of the action phase. Since his power level is so high at this point, there simply isn't any time spent raising it.
3Q) Is your power level used for anything in the game? I rolled the 2d6 thing, but I see no reason to put exp into it if it serves no purpose.
3A) It sets your baseline for how much power your character has available.
4Q) When your stats get really high, like into the 1000's like my Namek has, the chances of your stats being within 18 of each other are so low that the game becomes, "OK, you instantly hit", or "OK, there is no chance for you to hit." Did I miss something in the rules that would allow you to hit someone with much higher stats (even Gohan and Krillin hit Freeza when she was at full power, and there Power Levels are not even 5% of freezas)
4A)That's because DBZ uses FUZION, which is calibrated to cover everything from humans to gods. In SOME areas, Goku doesn't even have to THINK about doing something; his stats are so high, just like Bruce Lee wouldn't have to think about kicking our butts. But notice that Goku's Mental Characteristics are low even for an average human--you and I could beat him at checkers. This is another reason base Characteristics are frozen at a low level--to keep characters at a level that normal mortals can comprehend.
In the game you have a chart wich shows Difficulty values you have to beat using Skill+characteristic+3d6. (easy=10, so on) But in the game your stats go past these numbers so fast it doesnt seem to make any sense to have a system like that.
5Q) When is the next DragonBall Z book coming out?
5A) As soon as it comes back from approval in Japan and I can throw it on the presses. It is finished. As soon as it goes to the printers, I will put an expected release date on the Net.
6Q) Its says that for the Powers and Special Fighting Techniques you are supposed to take the extra dice amount from the fighting skill. Some the of Z fighter's techniques do 1000-2000 dice, but you only have 20-40 points. How do you defend against that?
6A) You're confusing a Fighting Technique with a Power Technique. Unlike Power Levels, Fighting Skills are the total of your Physical and Fighting Skill. Even very powerful DBZ fighters will only have Fighting Skills of 30-40, and perhaps a physical of 20 or 30. This means that, for example, Goku can throw a fighting attack much higher than 30+24=54 dice (still enough to knock Superman into next week). Even beginning characters can get Physical/Fighting skills in the 20's!
7Q) : How can I raise my DragonBall Z character's Characteristics?
7A) : You can't raise your character's Characteristics. But you can raise his Power Level, his Power Up, his Skills, his Defense or Hiis Hits. For example, Goku's Physical Characteristic will never go beyond 30. But his SKILL could go all the way up to, heck, several hundred points. Design Note: Since Characteristics can change a whole lotta stats at once, I broke that "cheat" by forcing players to improve specific areas.
8Q) : I have two DBZ questions: 1) The book says that a fighter gets 2xphys in hits back at the end of a round and elsewhere that they get 1xphys. Which is correct? and 2) Is power level the maximum power capable of being stored and used, or is it the amount a fighter starts with and can it be exceeded by gathering more energy?
8A): a) Neither. The rule is, you get back one hit each round for every point of Physical you have (pg. 70) Five points of Phys, five Hits recovered. b) Power level is the maximum amount of power a fighter can generate on his OWN. However, energy can be GIVEN to a fighter far beyond his own Power Level (this is how the Spirit Bomb works. Also, in the Freiza Saga, characters are able to loan energy to each other.)
9Q) : If all Ki actions occur in the phase AFTER they are declared, does the Ki allocated dissipate or remain available if the planned action is never used?
9A) : If you gather Ki, that power remains until either you have 1) used it, b) released it or c) been knocked out, which automatically releases it. There are plenty of moments when a DBZ fighter charges up for a big attack, has a brief flurry of hand to hand, then cuts loose. This is how Vegeta pulls off a lot of his moves.
10Q) : Do all Ki powers have the "Happens on the next phase" restriction?
10A) : Ki powers always happen on the phase after full gathering. One round isn't much of a wait, and we see plenty of moments in DBZ where ki is gathered, but lobbing the shot is interrupted. Use the rule above to store up and you'll always be ready.
11Q) : Does Namekian Multi-Fom have the "No Ki Powers" restriction?
11A) : Nameccians can split powers and use Ki, true. But they use it (as do other characters, in the FREIZA Saga and beyond. That will be a new power in the next book.
12Q) : If you Super Reflex Boost, can you have more than one power up per phase?
12A) : No, because your Powerup comes from the same pool each round. You could power up part of that pool to do something, and another part to do something else, but since you're limited in how much you can draw on at a time, it would be fairly pointless.
13Q) : Could you publish a one or two page DBZ Cheat Sheet to summarize order of battle, allocation of damage and lists of all the formulas used in the game?
13A) :Read page 97.
14Q) : Is there a published way to convert DBZ to Total Fuzion?
14A) : No. I chose to keep this out of TF to keep combat streamlined. But you can grab a copy of Champions New Millenium and the numbers cross pretty close. It's up to you.
15Q) : Is the experience in DBZ used on a one for one basis in increments of ten? In other words, does raising a skill, power level, power up, defense or hits all cost the same?
15A) :Raising any ability in DBZ is always done in ten point increments. The game is decimal based to allow for faster gameplay.
16Q) : Could you publish more DBZ books between the Saga books with more information on NPC's, rules, powers etc.
16A) : We are pretty limited by Funimation as to what we can do. We 1) can't write about anything they haven't televised yet, and 2) we can't invent anything. But nothing stopping YOU from putting your nifty ideas out there, or talking about them on the RTG website.
17Q) : About cybernetics/mutations as rewards for a tough battle. The book does not specify what they can do.
17A) : Cybernetics and mutations are part of the long awaited Freiza book. They allow characters to match many DBZ fighters, but rarely surpass them; in fact, it's not till we hit Dr. Gero's android that we get artificial abilities that match natural ones. The Frieza Saga also includes new information on Aliens, Races, Cyborgs and new powers.
18Q) : How does Dr. Slump fit into the DBZ universe?
18A) : I wish I knew how Dr. Slump fits in. All I know is that in the Dragon Ball manga, Goku visits Slump's island, and that in the big Dragon Ball books, Penguin Island is listed as a place. Any further, Toriyama isn't saying.
19Q) : Didn't you get it backwards? Did Master Roshi train Son Gohan and the Ox King?
19A) : Propeller beanies (a sign of anime specialization at R. Talsorian. Calm down, its a good thing.) to all of you who caught our mistranslation on this one. Yes, in Master Roshi's profile in the original DBZ book we said that he had trained with the Ox King under Son Gohan. After finally getting a second to check the manga, translated lovingly into English by Viz Communications, we now know that Master Roshi was the master, not the student. Go figure.
NEW!!! 20Q) : In the DBZ RPG book #1, on page 67 in reguards to using skills, we (my gm, the party and I) view a discrepency. it says you use the Characteristic+Skill+3d6. So the question is am I suppose to take the characteristic + the alloted skill points + 3d6, or the characteristic +(total of skill points alloted + characteristic) + 3d6?
20A) : This should be pretty obvious. NO, you do not use your characteristic twice.
NEW!!! 21Q) : In the DBZ RPG book#1, on page41 you state that a and I quote "Senzu Beans that restore energy and health to those who eat them. [Game Note: a handful (@10) of beans will instantly cure any disease or wound and restore all lost Hits up to the Character's original total]." For starters per the episodes you failed to mention that Senzu Beans also restore power level. And second of all in the show, all that's ever given out at 1 time is a handfull for the whole Z-team, and in the show One Senzu Bean does the effect of what you say 10 would do. Why is that?
21A) : We've never seen anyone talk Senzu Beans just to build up power level. If we said it brought you to full Power Level in the game it would probably lead to abuse by people just wanting to keep a handful around for pumping up their power level, but that's not what they're used for in the show. They're used for damage primarily.
Probably because we don't know for sure that one brings one entirely up to full strength. If we say that 10 brings you to full it then lets the DM workout situations where if you have less than 10 beans you can get some back, or if there is more than one person who needs help you can give 10 to one person to bring them to full or split them up to bring up more than one person to less than full.
NEW!!! 22Q) : In the DBZ RPG book #2, on page 81 on the powers Read power level and hide power level, tho book says to make a Mental Feat Check to use the power. What is a mental feat. Is it using the mind skill plus 3d6, or the Mental attribute plus 3d6?
22A) : Like any another Skill check, Characterstic + Skill + 3D6.
NEW!!! 23Q) : In the DBZ RPG book#2 on the techniques Stage X page 86, Monster Form page 88, Saiyan Rage page 97 and Super Saiyan on page 98 & 99, the powers state that they all raise P. lvl, Pwr up, Skills, Hits and Defense. With the exception of Saiyan Rage which doesn't effect hits and defense. The question is, is that if these abilities increase Hits and power level how does it effect hits already lost, and power already used (i.e. Goke w/a P.Lvl of 5,000,000 and Hits of 400 goes to Super Saiyan status. let's say for example Goku's actually used 2 million of his power level, so it's at 3,000,000 even though his Max P.Lvl is 5Mil. and he's down to 200 hits out of 400. So when Goku goes super saiyan, is his Hits and P.Lvl maxed out (i.e. 15,000,000 P.Lvl and Hits of 1000) or is his adjusted Super Saiyan status his max of the P. Lvl and Hits minus what was used (i.e. a 13,000,000 P.Lvl [15-2 used] and 800 hits [1000 - 200])?
23A) : If it doubles hits or power it doubles the hits and power you had when you became enraged, became a monster, etc... not what your potential maximum is.
1Q) : The BGC rules are confusing for burst and fully automatic fire. Could you explain?
1A) : Ah, Autofire. The bane of rules mechanics. BURST is a short 3 shot attack with no penalties (the gun is preset to limit its travel in firing). If you hit, the player can take up to the maximum of 3 shots (roll a 6 sider and divide by 2) FULL AUTO allows you to cut loose with everything the gun can shoot in a round. The gun jumps around a lot though, imposing a penalty of 1 point from your accuracy for every ten shots fired. The advantage is that for every point you MAKE your attack roll by, you hit with one shot. So think of it as every ten shots takes away one shot you might have made.
1Q) :Please explain how "skin-weave" works.
1A) : Skinweave is a subdermal armor that spreads out the ballistic impact of damage. It is treated like any other type of armor, except that it has no encumberance penalty. It's grown under the skin, so it would be pretty hard to adapt it to be used in any other format (sort of like using collagen for some other purpose).
2Q) : Are the cybernetic smartlink and the COT system mutually exclusive or can their bonuses be combined?
2A) : COTS and smartlinks cannot be combined.
3Q) : Does the smartlink system require your character to have one or more cyberoptics, or will the system work without a cyberoptic?
3A) :You don't need a cyberoptic to run a smartlink. The signal is linked to a nervous reaction.
4Q) : Will the targeting reticule option for a cyberoptic combine with the bonuses from a COT like they will with smartlinked weapons?
4A) : No.
5Q) : In the Cyberpunk Pacific Rim Sourcebook the Tatsujin's special ability Geonghu allows for the Tatsujin to allow the level of this ability to his martial arts skill (Half when facing more than one opponent), but does it also allow the Tatsujin to use his level to add to his initiative and awareness? Of half of his Geonghu level since it is out of his special ability area?
5A) : Geonghu is basically Combat sense, and applies as such, boosting Inititative and Awareness, halving only when facing several opponents.
6Q) : The Geonghu special ability also says that the Tatsujin receives its bonus when using strike cast weapons including bows. Does that mean that the Tatsujin need not have a martial art that has Strike/Cast weapons to take advantage of this?
6A) : Yes, he could get the bonus, but, much as other bonuses, it won't count much against a TRAINED opponent who has trained.
7Q) : Why is it that Ninjitsu is the only martial art that can use the Katana/Monoblade as a strike/cast weapon when the Ninja never trained in the use of those weapons and instead used the Ninja-to sword?
7A) : Because a Ninjato sword is basically a katana with a square tsubo and some extra gadgets in the hilt. And Ninja did practice throwing the sword as a last resort (see the book Way of Bushido).
NEW!!! 8Q) : When will V3 be out?
10A3) : You can blame the delays on me. These are the first books since my
takeover as head of production. Its been a long and painful road. I hope to be
much better at it soon. I will certainly be more experienced. The people I've
worked with have been great. To all of our patient fans, thank you very, very
much. For all the not-so-patient fans, we will get there.
That's it for now, folks. Keep those questions coming in!