I made 24XX: BANDIT a while back for Pretendo Games’ 24XX Jam on itch. Of the two 24XX games I’ve made (BREACH being the first and simplest), I’ve run BANDIT many more times and its rough edges are more apparent now after a fairly lengthy online campaign.
Like the Super Sabre, Super Hornet, and Super R-Type, this new game will be Super Bandit. Here’s what’s in the pipeline.
Spaceframe vs Loadout
In BANDIT you get a starfighter with 2 upgrades, and as you advance you can choose between upgrading your fighter or increasing your skills. In play, however, that created some odd situations where one pilot would have their own jumpdrive but have to hang around for everyone else to take the jumpship. It lessened that upgrade. Plus, after several sessions players would have so many upgrades they could shrug off numerous hits by breaking spare systems.
Super Bandit starfighters have a spaceframe with different options, which are permanent (at least not without significant downtime) upgrades that determine the type of vehicle you fly. Then, before each mission, you choose a loadout customized to your squadron and the threats you think you’ll face.
When you only have a handful of skills and only a few increments before maxing them out, a longer campaign sees a tremendous spike in character competence. I don’t necessarily want to slow advancement, but currently it does feel like everyone has focused on their dogfighting skills (Piloting, Gunnery, and Sensors) over anything else. Doing something to break that up, or at least acknowledge that it’ll be a priority while making room for growth elsewhere, is on my list.
I had no idea that tracking who had the most enemy kills would be so important, but here we are. Like Glory in AGON or kills in 3:16, there’s definitely a feeling of competition when my players enter a dogfight.
I don’t really have anything bad to say about Bonds, except that how the text is written is misleading. Bonds were meant to be a helping die, like how in 2400 a helping character would roll their skill die alongside your own. In BANDIT you roll your skill die, and if you’re getting help from someone who has a bond die with you, they roll that bond die as well.
In play, people want those bonds because two dice is so much better than a single die in this system. Plus, all you have to do to increase them is to roleplay, and isn’t that what we’re doing anyway? You’re doing great, bonds, keep it up!
There’ll be little changes, like how the Loose Cannon has Camaraderie and Smartassery but in practice, those are essentially the same thing. Or making the various strike packages single-use/break for effect – one player loaded anti-starship and orbital strike packages and was essentially a Death Star until we nerfed it.
It Might Not Be 24XX
Not entirely, at least. I don’t want to stray too far from escalating polyhedrals (dice hangups are one of my most endearing qualities after all), but if I come up with something that works a little better for handling swooshing starfighters and thirsty pilots I don’t want to cut myself off from that option.
But It Might
If I can keep these revisions within the 24XX form factor, Super Bandit will get rolled into the regular game as a major version change. Even if Super Bandit varies wildly, I’ll probably try to incorporate the easiest changes into the original document.