So hey, now that I'm Watchtowering (Earth Commanding?) a Smallville series grounded in mecha anime, I've got a lot of little rules questions coming up. I will ask them here, ongoing. We played our first full episode this week (Pathways formed a sort of mini-episode, since I snuck in a rules tutorial bit with brief roleplaying attached for each Pathways step), and here's what got us brow-furrowin' and head-scratchin':
1. Check me on this: You can always roll, for free, one Value, one Relationship, one Asset, one Resource, and one Opponent's Stress. (and the first two are mandatory.)
2. Does it cost a Plot Point to roll one of your own stress dice?
3. When an Asset Trigger instructs you to Give a die to your opponent, when does the opponent use the die, and how long does it last? For a contest? For the scene? In our game I enticed a Lead player to pay a PP to activate my such a Trigger, during dialogue between Contests, and after the second Contest the Scene ended and he'd forgotten to use it. It hung around in front of him for several scenes until we remembered it and realized its moment had long passed.
4. Speaking of Triggers, it seems to me that some Triggers are simply No Good for Features. Some require the players to activate with a PP, but that's fine, if a bit awkward--you have to stop and ask, rather than just continuing to play the scene. But those aren't the REALLY awkward ones: some basically have effects that are nigh-meaningless to a Feature: "Spend a PP to gain a D8 Relationship with a Feature for the rest of the scene"? Sure, I guess I could, but it's not really the Features' job to explore their Relationships with non-Lead characters. "Spend a D6 from Trouble to Reveal you have access to someone who owes your family a favor, allowing you to buy your way out of a situation"? Uh, as Watchtower can't I just SAY she has someone who owes a favor, without spending anything at all? Is there anything I'm missing with these, or is that just how it is?
5. Can a Test target multiple Leads and force them to each roll a reaction separately, basically like a Sweep effect? For instance, if a squadron of enemy Mobile Frames (D8 Extra, plus Trouble pool) are attacking the space frigate Arbalest, and Officer Welker and Commander Zhang (Leads) are opposing them, the former from his Meta Frame and the latter from the bridge of the Arbalest. If they EACH have to answer the Test separately, the attacking forces are pretty formidable. If it's just one Test and one of them can Aid the other, they can generally make mincemeat out of the enemy unless my Trouble pool has swelled considerably.
6. Should Features ever be targeted by Tests, or Contests with other Features? For instance, Hiro Kobayashi, Franz Welker's buddy, flies into battle alongside him, and has a thing going where he's overprotective of his naive and sensitive friend. Franz, meanwhile, feels guilty all the time about everything, including any time he gets Hiro hurt or in trouble. So it makes sense for Hiro to face real opposition in battle, to give robust voice to all the nuances of Hiro-shields-Franz and Franz-pushes-past-Hiro-to-do-it-on-his-own. Now naturally, when they're actually DOING the jostling over who faces danger, it's a Contest between them; we had just such a Contest this ep. But if Hiro can't ever really face the enemy mechanically, that issue loses some punch. (Mind you, when they face the vile traitor Richard Medeyev--aka the other Lead, this won't be an issue! But that won't be the case in every engagement.)
7. How do Stress Relief scenes happen, in terms of narrative authority? Watchtower frames all scenes except Tag scenes, but the Lead players are the ones with a vested interest in Recovery. Do they just have to jump on the opportunity themselves to facilitate Stress Relief in whatever scene the Watchtower puts them in, or do they request relief scenes, or what?
8. Exactly what priority do SFX have over the normal game mechanics? I know you spend the points and they just happen, unless someone has an appropriate Ability to oppose them, in which case you have a Contest to see if the SFX works. But can SFX pre-empt or cancel a Test or Contest? For instance, after seeing his buddies blown to smithereens before the awesome might of the prototype Meta Frame Sophocles, the last remaining enemy pilot makes a desperate suicide run on the Arbalest. This is going to require a Test to stop... except Franz has the Ability Arclight Rifle, with the SFX "Spend a Plot Point to fire with pinpoint accuracy and disable specific systems or precise targets." So, can he just toss a PP, disable the enemy pilot's propulsion systems, and cancel the Test then and there?
9. You can gain Relationships, Extras and Locations temporarily, by spending PPs during a scene. To keep those on your sheet for next episode, you need to spend Advancement on them, yes? And does this mean you spend Growth dice and bam, they're on your sheet? Or do you have to roll for them?
That should be enough to go on with. I have some further stuff to discuss, like hacking the Advancement system, but let's just start with the rules-as-written clarifications.