Sailor Moon and Queen Metallia. Pretty Cure and Dark King. Nanoha Takamachi and Fate Testarossa.
There are almost as many examples of “beamwars” in the magical girl setting as there are entries to that genre. Someone fires an immense attack at someone else; they counter with their own attack; the two attacks meet in the middle, and the combatants strain in both directions, trying to overcome their enemy with the power of their love -- or hatred.
This narrative is inherently grounded in feelings. In a traditional fantasy setting like Harry Potter's, it is simply willpower that causes the collision point of the beam connecting his wand with Voldemort's to be pushed back and forth. They concentrate really, really hard, glaring at each other, summoning their reserves of inner strength. In contrast, Sailor Moon's (and the magical girl genre's) typical narrative has to do with belief in herself; at first she is overwhelmed by the strength of her enemy, and unsure that she can stand, much less win. Then she receives or remembers the support and love of her loved ones, is in turn reminded what it is that she's fighting for, and pours all of that emotion into her beam, overcoming her enemy.
In addition, not all beamwars are between beams! Two meleeists might clash and lock their swords together, sparks flying between them as they push back and forth -- and once again it isn't their muscles driving the outcome, but the strength and depth of their feelings at stake.
The Battle Fantasia BEAMWAR system attempts to simulate these conflicts in a fun and narratively compelling way. It replaces the former "counter-Finisher" combat system mechanic, in which one could use a Finishing Attack in a Counterattack reaction to an incoming Finishing Attack. This often created an anti-climax in which very little Fatigue damage was done on either side. Now, if an incoming Finisher is countered with a (non-Interrupt) Finisher, a BEAMWAR is automatically initiated. As with any other counterattack, normally only a ranged attack can counter a ranged attack, and only a melee attack can counter a melee attack, but an attack with the Barrier flag can counter either.
Once the BEAMWAR has begun, anyone can immediately join either side with their own attacks (which need not be Finishers, though there are compelling reasons to choose to join with a Finisher), as long as side fairness is preserved. Finisher or no, anyone joining a BEAMWAR (which is fundamentally a Finishing Attack resolution) has their Morale reset to 0 at that time. (The original attacker and defender in a BEAMWAR had their Morale reset to 0 because they both used Finishers). They can join with either ranged or melee attacks as they like, creating narratives where someone might lend their blade to help drive back an incoming beam, or conversely drop a huge blast in the path of a charging swordswoman. Exactly how they pose their involvement in the BEAMWAR is, of course, up to them.
Once everyone involved has joined the BEAMWAR, up to three rounds of mana bidding occur. Once everyone has bid, the round's results are announced. The losing side takes Fatigue damage and loses 50 Morale. The winning side gains the advantage, which makes the next round slightly easier to win. They also gain 50 Morale, and may also take some smaller amount of Fatigue damage, as keeping up a BEAMWAR is exhausting on both sides regardless of the outcome. The defending side (the character who initiated the BEAMWAR by countering an incoming attack, along with any friends) MUST gain the advantage at least once within the first two rounds of bidding (by winning either round), or they will automatically lose by Morale KO. Worse, the attacking side (opposite the defending side) starts with the advantage! Initiating a BEAMWAR is always a desperate choice.
It is possible for a BEAMWAR to end before the resolution of the third round, either because everyone on one side or the other runs out of Fatigue (0), Mana (0), or Morale (-100). However, if the BEAMWAR continues through the third round, the winners of the final bid smash their attacks through their enemies', dealing a huge (generally combat-ending) amount of Fatigue damage to their foe(s). In the event of a tie in the third and final round, the BEAMWAR ends with everyone taking 50 Fatigue damage (or proportionally more, if they are a boss).
- 1 Initiating a BEAMWAR
- 2 Joining a BEAMWAR
- 3 Bidding Mana
- 4 Round Resolution
- 5 BEAMWAR Finales
- 6 BEAMWAR Commands
Initiating a BEAMWAR
BEAMWAR replaces the counterfinisher mechanic; as such, triggering it follows the same rules as any other counterattack:
- The syntax is +counter <incoming attack>=<counterattack>
- Only a Finisher can counter another Finisher.
- A ranged attack must be countered by a ranged attack; a melee by a melee. An attack with the Barrier flag may be used to counter either melee or ranged attacks.
- A counter-Finisher with the Interrupt flag, which is by definition inherently defensive, resolves like a normal counterattack instead of initiating a BEAMWAR.
- The original attacker(s) Morale was already reset to 0 (because they used a Finisher), and now, since she is also using a Finisher to counterattack, the defender's Morale becomes 0 as well.
As soon as the BEAMWAR is initiated, several things happen automatically:
- The defender is added to the BEAMWAR opposite the attacker, or attackers, as it is possible that the defender used the counterattack reaction against a Combination Attack. Every member of a countered Combination Finisher is drawn into the BEAMWAR; this is not optional.
- The mana cost of the counterattack and the incoming attack is refunded to the defender, as well as all attackers, respectively. It is as though nobody spent any mana on either attack (freeing the resource up for the mana bidding war to come).
- In the event that the original, incoming attack was an Area Finisher, any other targets have the option to join the BEAMWAR (on the side of the defender) with the counterattack reaction, if they also have a legal counterattack (eg, an unlocked Finisher of the appropriate range). Otherwise, they can dodge, brace, or accept normally. If they so choose (and if they survive), they could subsequently join the BEAMWAR with +beamwar/join, described in the next section.
- The attacker(s) are announced to have the advantage, and their Morale is immediately increased from 0 to 50 as a result. (For more about the advantage and Morale, see the section below.)
- An announcement is made to the room, inviting people to join the BEAMWAR during the first round only.
- Participants can use +beamwar to see the current status of their BEAMWAR. Anyone can use +beamwar <target> to see the current status of someone else's BEAMWAR.
- Anyone can also use +beamwar/here to monitor the status of all BEAMWARs at their current location. It is possible for there to be more than one in a room, but any given character can only be in one at a time.
- The person who initiated the BEAMWAR with their counterattack should work the initiation into their next pose, which should be emitted ASAP. Lots of sparkles are encouraged.
Joining a BEAMWAR
Once a BEAMWAR has been initiated, and after any other targets of the incoming Area Finisher have reacted (if relevant), other people can join a BEAMWAR. In a large group scene, it is normal and expected for everyone to pile on against the boss, if it's narratively appropriate for their characters to do so. In a smaller scene, or a scene without any bosses, a little more caution must be taken to preserve fairness.
- The syntax is +beamwar/join <target already in the BEAMWAR whose side you want to join>=<attack>
- +beamwar/join targets your ally, not your enemy.
- You can only join a BEAMWAR during the first round of bidding (so it's nice for the initiators to wait and see who's joining before they bid). If you don't join in the first round, you won't be able to join at all.
- Any attack with a positive mana cost can join a BEAMWAR legally, irrespective of tier (Free vs. Special vs. Finisher) or range (Melee vs. Ranged). However, the bigger the better, in terms of both mana cost and Power Level (more on that under the Bidding Mana section). Now is not the time to hold back.
- The fairness of the sides is automatically preserved by the code. People can easily join a BEAMWAR up to the maximum number of participants on either side (modified, if relevant, by any of them being bosses). So, if a BEAMWAR begins as one on eight (or a person who used +heal/boss 8), seven more people can easily join in without any trouble. But, for example, if a BEAMWAR is currently one on one (or if a ninth person were to try to join in the previous example), the next person who tries to join will notify the room that someone else needs to join to oppose them (making the new BEAMWAR two on two, instead of two on one), or else the would-be joiner will automatically be removed from the BEAMWAR. The window is only thirty seconds long, so it behooves people to work out the composition of both sides of the BEAMWAR OOCly in advance. This is also polite, and generally encouraged on principle.
- You cannot voluntarily leave a BEAMWAR except for cases of OOC emergency when you need to leave the scene entirely. Once you're in, you're in, so be sure it's what you want!
Joining a BEAMWAR: Team Entry
TEAM-flagged attacks have to be used with +combo, under the rules of Combination Attacks. This presents a problem, since normally BEAMWARs are initiated individually by a defender, and joined individually by their friends!
If a group wants to join a BEAMWAR with their TEAM attack, they need to use +beamwar/team <target already in the BEAMWAR whose side they want to join in place of the command +combo/finish. For example:
Sailor Moon is in a BEAMWAR with Zoisite (who is bossed to 4).
Sailors Mercury, Mars and Jupiter want to help Sailor Moon with Sailor Planet Attack. They would do so as follows:
One of the three (we'll say Mercury) starts the combo as normal, with +combo/start Zoisite=Sailor Planet Attack, designating Zoisite as their enemy who is (hopefully eventually) going to get creamed.
Then Mars and Jupiter use +combo/join Sailor Mercury=Sailor Planet Attack.
Finally, Mercury uses +beamwar/team Sailor Moon, designating Sailor Moon as their ally who they wish to join in the BEAMWAR.
Not Joining a BEAMWAR
There are a few reasons not to join a BEAMWAR. If you have almost no Mana or Fatigue left, you may not be able to make a meaningful contribution (and indeed might be quickly rendered unable to battle at the resolution of the first round of bidding). There may not be enough room for you in a BEAMWAR, if there are an odd number of would-be participants. Finally, it might not feel like what your character would do.
If you're not in a BEAMWAR, however, you can still affect characters in a BEAMWAR with attacks. Specifically, you can lend moral support to a BEAMWAR participant with an attack with the Reinforce flag, which immediately grants them 15 mana. This is incredibly helpful (and likely to lead to quite heartfelt roleplay). Caution is encouraged when Reinforcing a friend who is in a one on one BEAMWAR, if there's no one on the other side to Reinforce their opponent.
You can also target enemies in a BEAMWAR with damaging attacks, but it is expected that, in the spirit of fair play, you will first prioritize enemies not participating in a BEAMWAR, and then any bosses participating in a BEAMWAR.
Note that BEAMWAR participants are immune to Taunt, Cheer, and Quip for the duration (and have no opportunity to Psych, unless they're a boss also fighting other opponents).
Bosses and BEAMWAR
It is possible that a boss will wind up in a BEAMWAR with some but not all of their opponents. The +beamwar/bid command (described below, under Bidding Mana) counts as one attack, so liberal use of +round may be necessary. For ease of code flow, it is best to use any other attacks you're planning to use in a round first, and finish with +beamwar/bid (and +round, if applicable) at the end.
Narratively speaking, a boss who is holding off one or more enemies in a BEAMWAR while simultaneously fending off other combatants is awesome, and encouraged to pose (and be posed at) accordingly, with all the usual principles of antagonist etiquette applying.
There are three rounds of mana bidding in a BEAMWAR. Each round's result is calculated using only that round's unique bids -- they do not carry over from round to round. Once everyone has placed their bid, the round resolves automatically.
- The syntax is +beamwar/bid <bid>, where <bid> is a number between 0 and the lesser of the character's current Mana and the cost of their attack in the BEAMWAR.
- Bosses get to bid extra large amounts of mana, up to the product of their attack's cost and their boss rating. Watch out!
- +beamwar/bid is your first and only opportunity to bid in the round. No take-backs!
- +beamwar/bid is equivalent to +attack in terms of being your character's combat action for a round. As such, it is generally expected that you will pose your action (presumably, pouring your strength and emotion into the BEAMWAR, while reacting to whatever just happened in the BEAMWAR) before making your bid.
- The third and final bidding round will determine the ultimate outcome of the BEAMWAR, but it isn't safe to just hoard your mana for it; if you're on the defending side, you must win one of the first two bidding rounds, or you will lose automatically, and if you're on the attacking side, you have a vested interest in not letting that happen, since it's the easiest way to win!
They're invisible, but there are a number of modifiers to a character's mana bid. These are added internally, and do not affect the amount of mana that a character spends each round.
- The Attack Flags that improve a counterattack (or strengthen an incoming attack against counterattacks) improve their user's bid in a BEAMWAR: Overpower, Accurate, and Defense Breaking.
- The Abilities that improve relevant counterattacks (Interceptor, Explosive Counterfire, Riposte and Barrier Warrior) improve their user's bid in a BEAMWAR, if they would apply to the user's attack.
- Having the advantage gives a small improvement to your bid.
- The side with the highest combined damage of all attacks gets a small bonus to all of their bids. This greatly benefits the use of attacks with high Power Levels, while Abilities that increase damage provide an indirect benefit as well. An attack that crits is also providing more damage.
Out of Character Emergencies
If you have to leave OOCly (or if you were disconnected, and don't come back within a reasonable amount of time), +beamwar/remove <target> is a useful command. You are encouraged to remove yourself if you have any warning at all, but the command is also designed to remove missing bidders if necessary. It is possible that this will lead to unfair sides, but Real Life happens. If someone wants to volunteer to drop out to preserve side fairness, they may, but no one should feel even vaguely obligated to do so. Note that this is the only acceptable non-emergency reason to use +beamwar/remove and then (since it's not an emergency, and you're still around) continue to participate in a scene, ideally by Reinforcing your former allies.
Once all bids are in (or all missing, disconnected participants have been removed), the bidding round will resolve, announce its result, and (if applicable) begin the next round of bidding.
- More often than not, both sides will take some Fatigue damage, because fighting in a BEAMWAR is inherently exhausting. Who takes more damage, and how much, is dependent on which side wins and which side loses.
- It is possible for one side to totally overwhelm the other with a massive overbid, in which case they will take no Fatigue damage that round.
- Anyone rendered unable to continue battle (because they ran out of Fatigue, Mana or Morale) will be removed automatically.
- If an entire side is unable to continue battle, the BEAMWAR will automatically go to its finale (see below), in favor of the surviving side.
The Advantage, BEAMWAR, and Morale
The winning side of a BEAMWAR gains (or keeps) the advantage, which will give them a small bonus to their bids the following round. Everyone on the winning side immediately gains 50 Morale, while everyone on the losing side immediately loses 50 Morale.
- Crucially, the attacking side starts with the advantage. That means that before any bids are placed, the attacking side has 50 Morale, and the defending side has 0 Morale. Therefore, if the attacking side wins again, they will have 100 Morale, while the defenders drop to -50 Morale -- and if they win a second time, the defenders will drop to -100 Morale and all be rendered unable to continue.
- Conversely, if the defending side manages to win all three rounds consecutively, then, during the finale, the attacking side will automatically suffer a Morale KO as well as taking a ton of Fatigue damage (see below). This is usually superfluous, but if the attacking side was a huge boss, can be extremely helpful.
BEAMWAR and Supercharged Henshin Modes
Per the rules of Supercharged Henshin Modes, their users suffer a once-per-round Mana cost. While participating in a BEAMWAR, this rate drops to one-third of its normal rate (such that, at the end of a hypothetically three-round BEAMWAR, they will have taken their entire usual surcharge). Bid carefully; the surcharge is applied in the Round Resolution step, not at the time of the bid!
BEAMWAR and Pose Order
Generally speaking, people will be able to pose their action (typically bidding/reacting to the previous round), then use +beamwar/bid, while other characters in the scene pose and perform their own actions in turn. In other words, there really is no change to normal combat roleplay in terms of when anyone poses.
However, if the night is getting late and everyone agrees to it, there's nothing stopping anyone from doing all the remaining bidding rounds one after the next, and then resolving the BEAMWAR in a final round of poses.
At the end of the third round of bidding (or whenever an entire side is unable to continue battle, whichever comes first), the BEAMWAR comes to an end. The winners do the gigantic combined damage of all of their attacks to the defenders (split evenly amongst the latter, with bosses taking proportionally more damage).
In the event that the third round of bidding results in a tie, the BEAMWAR ends in a gigantic explosion! Everyone takes 50 Fatigue damage (which, this late in the game, is almost certainly a KO) -- while bosses take the product of 50 and their boss rating.
If there's still a fight after all that, any survivors are free to pose and act accordingly. If there isn't a fight after all that, everyone is still encouraged to pose the outcome in sparkling detail.
+counter <incoming attack>=<counterattack> - Initiates (or joins, in the case of Area Finishers) a BEAMWAR, if it's Finisher vs. Finisher.
+beamwar - Shows the details of your current BEAMWAR.
+beamwar <target> - Shows the details of your target's current BEAMWAR.
+beamwar/here - Shows a summary of all BEAMWARs at your current location.
+beamwar/join <ally>=<attack> - Joins a BEAMWAR on <ally>'s side, with <attack>.
+beamwar/bid <bid> - Bids must be a positive number of mana points equal to or less than your current mana, and no larger than the original cost of your individual BEAMWAR attack, multiplied by your boss rating (usually 1).
+beamwar/remove <target> - Removes <target> from their BEAMWAR. Only for use in OOC emergencies (such as a person being disconnected and thus unable to bid); once removed, you are expected to leave the scene.
+beamwar/team <ally> - Joins a team to a BEAMWAR on <ally>'s side, with an attack previously defined through the +combo commands. +beamwar/team replaces +combo/finish for functionality. Despite +beamwar/team targeting an ally, the combo itself should be initiated with +combo/start targeting an enemy.