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B.E.S.M. Third Edition – CC

Posted by paradisio on February 27, 2008

Well, today I’ll be doing BESM better known as Big Eyes Small Mouth. I’ll be using the 3rd published by Art Haus Games/White Wolf Publishing. This game line has had a pretty rocky history, this title was done by the original group that did the two previous games, Guardian of Order; unfortunately the company went under about the time the game was supposed to be released, and was licensed out to ArtHause/White Wolf for publishing/future content. Unfortunately, White Wolf/ArtHaus printed only a small run, and the game is very hard to find nowadays. The game is still available for digital download, so the game line isn’t dead completely as long as it remains; hopefully White Wolf will give the game a second print run so more people can get a glimpse of this great, flexible game. Considering the game wasn’t written by either company though, it seems unlikely that there will be either a Fourth Edition or any sourcebooks, unfortunately. But White Wolf says they are open to contributions for either, so I can just hope they are sincere in this.

Okay, now to get down to business. For this character I’ll be using a player character from one of my campaigns and attempt to reconvert them to the best of my ability. The character is named Patrick McRee, an undead hunting cowboy who uses special pistols handed down through his family. In a pinch though, he can transform into a demon as well.

The game uses a point-buy system, so the first step is to determine the power level (GM normally would do this) of the campaign which will determine mainly how many points I get. I have a choice between Human, Heroic, Mythical, Superhuman, Superpowered, or Godlike. I decide to go with Mythical for this character, although he could probably be anything between Heroic and Superhuman, so I just went for the middle of the road. For Mythical you get 300-499 points (GM discretion really), I’ll go for a flat 400.

The game does not limit your stats like a lot of games based off a variable power level, although the game does give a list if the GM feels like using them. For the heck of it, we’ll ignore it and go with the gusto.

We already have a good idea of the characters concept, so we’ll move on to step 3, stats. The game has simply three general stats; Body, Mind and Soul. The values range from 1 to 12 (although higher is possible), 4 being the human ‘norm.’ So let’s start there, each point of a stat costing 10 of my character creation points. So that’s a whopping 120 points off the bat. While Mr. McRee is a monster shooting, demon host, his intellect is his weak point, so I buff his stats up again and come up with the following:
Body 7
Mind 5
Soul 6

That’s 180 points, nearly half of my total allotment, so we’ll leave them at that for the moment, we can always tweak later if we have spare points or need more.

Okay, the next step is easily the biggest, Attributes; this contains basically all the powers, cool abilities, etc. There is a considerable list, but I skim the list and come up with the following based off his character type:
Alternate Form
Attack Combat Mastery
Combat Technique
Defense Combat Mastery
Extra Actions
Massive Damage

Alright, Alternate Form well leave for last since it’ll depend on other things we pick.

Attack and Defense Combat mastery is basically your general to hit/to defend dice pools. The character excels in Ranged attacks over melee, but he’s not completely incompetent in melee either (he pistol whips people a lot for practice), but that’s mostly taken care of by his high body score; so we’ll just work on ranged. We’ll take 3 ranks of Ranged Attack (Revolvers) which is basically just a specialized form of Attack Combat Mastery that just applies to specific ranged weapons (there is a melee variant as well). This costs 9 points. We’ll take 2 rank of Defense Combat mastery as well since he is pretty agile at avoiding both ranged and melee attacks (20 attacks). It costs a lot more since it works against all attacks and isn’t dependant upon one category of weaponry. That leaves us with 191 points remaining.

Next is combat technique, these are little stunts and so on that you can do in combat. Since he is an expert marksman I pick up almost all the gun-related ones: Dead Eye, Extended Range, Far Shot, Lightning Reflexes (twice), Precise Aim, Steady Hand and Two Weapons. Each costs 2 points, for a total of 16 points; leaving 175 points remaining.

Extra Actions is simple, each rank lets you do another offensive/general action each turn; it is prohibitively expensive to take a ton of times. I take it once to give McRee two attacks a turn, since he is so used to dual wielding. It costs 15 points, leaving me with 160 left.

Features are general quirks, racial things, etc. They have pretty negligible bonuses, and are mostly there for flavor. Just to continue the theme I take Ambidexterity for 1 point, leaving 159 points left.

Items are pretty simple, they basically let you put powers into them at half cost, and the obvious downside is that you can lose them. Fortunately, the remaining powers are exactly what we need for this. So we’re going to make one weapon and then just double the cost since they are the same. The heavy pistol in the book has level 4 weapon and level 2 range, so we’ll go off those. Weapon is just a fancy word for damage, since his pistols are blessed by the devil will up them to level 6 weapon and level 3 range; costing 15 (weapon is 2/level and range is 1/level). In addition his guns are extra powerful against the walking undead, so we’ll give them massive damage. Massive damage basically adds a multiplier onto the damage; this is probably one of the powers where the system breaks since you can start blowing small moons up with enough ranks in it. But I am going to put 2 ranks into the version ‘Targeted’ and pick undead. So the massive damage will only work against undead. All in all this comes to 23 points = 15 (weapon) + 8 (targeted massive damage). Now if you remember, since its an item the cost is cut in half, rounded down; so each of our pistols cost 11 points. Doubling that for the second pistol, it costs 22 points total; leaving us with 137 points remaining; we’re doing pretty good so far here.

The last power we have is Alternate Form; basically each level of alternate form costs 9 points, but gives 10 to spend on the alternate form. These 10 points stack on top of the regular character, but also allow the character to mix up their powers a bit. Obviously, this is only a one point gain, but basically having a secondary character is kind of its own reward. I am going to leave out the making of the alternate form since for the most part it would be exactly the same and would be confusing to understand. I give him a whopping 10 ranks in this power, which would typically cost 90 points, but I plan on reducing the cost.

Like a lot of power-list type games you can modify the powers with some variable to make them better/worse/etc. In this case I’ll be applying some restrictions to gain some points back on the power. The first one I take is Charges so the power can only be used once per day, this gives me 9 points back. I also take Equipment, which requires me to have a certain item. While the transformation is not generated by his guns, they are required for him to transform; they are portable though, so this gives me 1 point back. Those are the only ones that really fit, but that got me a whole 10 points back, lowering the cost of alternate power to 80; which leaves me with 57 points left for everything else.

Next up is skills, because this is a generic game, the game uses a variable cost skill system. Basically what this means is that the cost of skills is dependant upon the setting of the game (the more useful skills being more expensive in that setting). The game comes with several lists, including a simple all-genre one (which is the default), which is what I’ll be using since the game this character is in is a multi-verse traveling type game. It’s pretty simple aside from that, I end up with the following:
Acrobatics 2
Animal Training 2
Climb 2
Drive 2
Interrogation 2
Intimidation 3
Riding 2
Sleight of Hand 3
Stealth 3
Swim 1
Wilderness Survival 2

All that costs me 47 points, leaving with 10 remaining, but all that is really remaining is Defects, which give me points. I pick up the Owned at -6, since the inter-dimensional organization basically controls his life, then Significant Other since he has a wife and child that might be in danger but that won’t be often, so it is at -1, and the last is Involuntary Charge, since the demon can come out at its own, but its rare, so -1 point. So after the defects I have 18 points remaining, I just dump them into Alternate Form for two more ranks.

All that’s left is to figure out my health and so on; so here they are:
Base Combat Value: 6
Damage Multiplier: 5
Health Points: 65

There is also Energy Points and Shock Value, but they are completely optional and up to the GM if they want to use.

That’s it, I hope you enjoyed!


2 Responses to “B.E.S.M. Third Edition – CC”

  1. sendoshin said

    I was wondering if you had been able to find any numbers for how large a print run 3E actually had. I happen to be one of the lucky ones with a print copy in addition to the PDF from DriveThruRPG (the official site for getting any White Wolf PDFs, BESM included), and I’d like to know just how rare my copy is.

    – Sendoshin

  2. shikenkan said

    Nice review. I’ve recently been playing BESM 2e revised and it’s perfect for emulating most Anime genres and character archetypes however, despite the review I probably will never play 3e simply because I prefer hardback to pdf. I wanted to give 3e a try but as you said in the review there wasn’t many printed so the cheapest I could find a copy was for around £60.

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