What follows are campaign-specific modifications and clarifications to the rules stated in the Magical Burst manual. They’re listed below in the approximate order the subjects are covered in the manual.
I hate leaving words untranslated for no good reason, so here are the translated equivalents I’m using for some Japanese terms in the manual:
Well, that was easy.
Creating Your Magical Girl (pp. 8–11)
What is your wish? (p. 8)
Characters make their wishes at the same time they make their respective contracts, much like in Madoka; thus, they come into play with their wishes already granted, and Oblivion Seeds are not part of this campaign.
Magical Effects (p. 9)
Players can use the Healing Touch and Magic Shield special effects in battle whenever they can Clash; doing so takes up their turn for that round, just as electing to Clash does. Opportunities to use the other effects should be self-explanatory.
Relationships (p. 10)
Relationships are not explicitly constructed. Instead, players start with 9 relationship Strain capacity. See Relationships in Play for details.
Playing the Game (pp. 12–29)
Challenges (p. 13)
A maximum of three Overcharge points can be taken on any given magical challenge, whether they are voluntarily taken by the player or involuntarily given as the result of rolling a 6. Should a player that cannot take any more Overcharge on a magical challenge roll a 6, no additional dice are granted. This effectively limits the result of any given challenge to 24 (three 6s that carry Overcharge, plus one 6 that does not), plus the base attribute and any applicable modifiers.
Initiates not under the supervision of a familiar who roll for magical challenges gain an additional point for each Overcharge die.
Moves (pp. 14–15)
Witches do not have Resistances or Vulnerabilities; as a result, the corresponding Read an Enemy ability is not used.
The possible uses of the charges that are granted by the Bond move have been changed; see Relationships in Play.
Battles (pp. 16–17)
Any magical initiate whose Resolve reaches 0 or below is forced out of his or her magical form. The character will only die if he or she takes damage while in this non-magical state.
Resolve resets to its base value at the end of each episode.
Relationships in Play (pp. 17–18)
All player characters start with implied positive relationships with all other player characters. Characters instead take Strain as necessary after negative interactions with each other, up to a maximum of 3 Strain on any single relationship. Once the total amount of Strain on a character’s relationships reaches his or her Strain capacity, that character is considered isolated, and is subject to the effects that a character without any relationships would be vulnerable to in stock Magical Burst. Note that Strain on any given relationship counts against the Strain capacity of both characters involved.
By default, any relationship charges obtained from performing the Bond move go towards removing Strain from the user’s relationship with the move’s target. If that relationship has no Strain, spare charges go towards increasing the player’s Strain capacity.
Characters that have a broken relationship with each other (i.e., one with 3 Strain) cannot participate in the same episode unless narrative concerns dictate otherwise.
Fallout (pp. 18–21)
Overcharge is tracked and resolved separately for each attribute.
Fallout can be taken at the player’s discretion, with two exceptions:
- Once a character has discharged Fallout on a certain attribute, he or she cannot do so again in the same episode until at least one additional point of Overcharge is accumulated on that attribute. This keeps players with large amounts of Overcharge from taking multiple minor Fallout consequences, instead of a single major one.
- A character that accumulates 6 or more points of Overcharge in any given attribute must reduce that Overcharge count below 6 by taking appropriate Fallout before the end of the current scene or battle.
For initiates without a familiar, the amount of Overcharge needed for each type of Fallout decreases by one. Such initiates cannot remove one free Overcharge point at the end of each episode, and must take immediate Fallout at 5, instead of 6, points, in any given attribute.
The Magical Burst ReWrite manual has some words of wisdom on taking Fallout that you may want to read.
Experience and Growth (p. 29)
Experience Points are not used. Instead, each player will be able to purchase at least one Advance at the end of each arc, with the possibility for an extra Advance if story concerns warrant.
The Base Resolve Advance increases that stat by 2 points, not 4.
Magical and Normal Attribute values may not be raised above 9 via Advances.
The Game Master's Job (pp. 30–39)
Youma (pp. 34–37)
The Power Point limits that witches have for actions that would otherwise require Overcharge only apply to voluntary rolls; extra dice on 6s do not count against the limit.
Appendix 2: Addendum (pp. 47–49)
Seeds of Grief (p. 49)
As of episode 5, I will no longer be using the Corruption mechanic. The reasons for this are threefold:
- The rules weren’t particularly well thought-out. For example, the number of charges in a
Despair DiademGrief Seed was not dependent on the associated witch’s power level or the number of magical girls it fought.
- Transformation at 100 Corruption runs counter to the narrative of an episodic, open-ended campaign. There’s no particular reason that a player should be forced to make a new character every few sessions, but that would have been inevitable with the way Corruption was structured. I, too, don’t want to be in charge of playing all the resulting witches.
- Character deaths should ultimately be in the hands of the respective players. The rest of Magical Burst wisely gives a lot of leeway in this regard. As Fiora noted, you can essentially take Overcharge to avoid unwanted character deaths; on the flip side, players who want to kill off their characters can take one of the two Fallout effects that result in the character’s transformation into a witch. Since players can elect to take less severe Fallout well before reaching 8 Overcharge points (barring the minuscule chance of someone rolling a ridiculous number of 6s on a magical challenge, in which case I will certainly intervene), such an action will always be voluntary.
I have a feeling nobody will miss keeping track of an extra stat; I certainly won’t.