Big Eyes, Small Mouth (a.k.a. BESM) first appeared in August of 1997, billing it self as the anime role-playing game. Approximately six months later, it was nominated for an Origins Award for "Best New Role-playing System." In December of 1998 the first BESM licensed product was released, The Sailor Moon RPG And Resource Book. The game engine was now known as the "Tri-Stat System" and the company responsible was Guardians of Order, Inc. In July of 2000, the second edition of BESM was released, in which material from the original BESM rulebook was reworked, rewritten, and expanded on, incorporating material from such companion supplements as Big Robots, Cool Starships, and Hot Rods & Gun Bunnies.
BESM has now become a generic gaming engine, much like HERO System or GURPS. Aside from multiple anime related sourcebooks (Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo!, El Hazard to name just a few), GoO has also released a sourcebook for the film Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, and is releasing the Second Edition of Hong Kong Action Theater! (a.k.a. HKAT!). Many of these sourcebooks contain interesting and useful characters, and the Tenchi Muyo! sourcebook has to be one of the best-looking rulebooks to ever be released (it is just gorgeous to look at).
The following is a rough guide to converting from Big Eyes, Small Mouth to HERO System. Note that due to the nature of BESM, character abilities are somewhat more abstracted than in a system such as HERO or GURPS, so derived results are not absolutes, and are subjective to the wishes and desires of the person doing the translation. These conversion notes are based on BESM Second Edition, and the author recommends that anyone doing any BESM to HERO conversions have a copy of BESM Second Edition handy.
Note! This conversion information is only valid for people characters, not mecha. Mecha notes will have to wait until The Ultimate Vehicle is released.
BESM presumes that a normal human has a 4 in all three stats (BODY, MIND, SOUL). These three stats then are used to figure the stats of Health Points, Energy Points, Shock Value, and Combat Value.
CHAR FORMULA STR BODY x 2.5 and see "Super Strength" below. DEX BODY x 2.5 CON BODY x 2.5 (or Shock Value x 1.25) BODY HEALTH/4 but see "Damn Healthy!" below. INT MIND x 2.5 EGO SOUL x 2.5 PRE ([MIND + SOUL])/2 x 2.5 COM See "Appearance" below. PD Figured x 2 and/or BODY. ED Figured x 2 and/or BODY SPD Figured but see below. REC Figured END ENERGY/2 and see "Energy Bonus" below. STUN HEALTH/2
Level 1: 25 STR (note: this value suffers from a minor problem, a BODY of 10 equals a 25 STR, a BODY of 11 = 28 STR, a BODY of 12 = 30 STR)
Level 2: 35 STR
Level 3: 45 STR
Level 4: 58 STR
Level 5: 63 STR
Level 6: 80 STR
A base character in BESM has 40 HEALTH. Divide by 4 and one gets a HERO BODY score of 10. This formula falls apart quickly, as some BESM characters have HEALTH scores of 115 (or more). There are several works around for this:
- Everyone has 10 BODY base. Each level of Damn Healthy adds 2.5 BODY to max of 6 levels or +15 BODY.
- Use this formula: 20 HEALTH = 5 BODY, 40 HEALTH = 10 BODY, 60 HEALTH = 13 BODY, 80 HEALTH = 15, 120 HEALTH = 18, 160 HEALTH = 20 BODY (and so on).
Level 1: 12-14 COM
Level 2: 14-16 COM
Level 3: 16-20 COM
Level 4: 20-24 COM
Level 5: 24-26 COM
Level 6: 26-30 COM
Each level of Energy Bonus gives +5 END (max of six levels or +30 END).
This is a very subjective stat. The BESM game scale for combat works out like this:
A combat round is 1-10 seconds. For convenience there are presumed to be 15 rounds per minute. Thus, 1 round is about 4 seconds. This means that a character gets 3 actions per 12 seconds (one HERO System Turn), meaning that all BESM characters have a base SPD of 3. However Extra Attacks can increase the number of attacks per round up to 6 extra attacks per round (for a total of 7 attacks per round). This comes out to 105 attacks per minute (7 x 15) which is somewhat beyond the Hero maximum of 60 (12 SPD x 5 12 second Turns). A direct Extra Attacks to SPD correlation is beyond me. If we pretend that Extra Attacks 6 = a 12 SPD, and a base character has a 3 SPD, that leaves 5 levels of Extra Attack to divide among 8 SPD slots. We get this:
Base: 3 SPD
Level 1: 4 SPD
Level 2: 5 SPD
Level 3: 6 SPD
Level 4: 8 SPD
Level 5: 10 SPD
Level 6: 12 SPD
Naturally, this is very subjective, and probably not very accurate. Note that in many cases the Extra Attacks being used in BESM might be lumped into one attack in HERO (via Autofire or some such mechanic).
BESM states that a character can run at BODY x 5 meters per turn. Thus, a normal human can run 20 meters in 3-5 seconds. If we pretend that a round is 4 seconds, we get 60 meters every 12 seconds. A SPD 2 normal runs 48 meters in 12 seconds (6" Running x 2 Non-combat x 2 Phases x 2 for inches to meters). A SPD 3 Hero character runs 72 meters. This means that basically, we can figure a character's running as [BODY x 5]/2 to get HERO inches of Running. The only drawback is that any strong character is automatically a fast runner.
Movement is also altered by such things as the Speed Special Attribute. In this case, look at the kph of the attribute and convert from there based on the character's speed. For example a base normal with a BODY of 4 and 1 level of Speed can run at BODY [i.e. 4] x 7 kph an hour, or 28 kph. This is about 45" per HERO Turn. If we presume the base SPD of 3, then this comes to 45/3 = 15" noncombat, or 8" per Phase. The same formula can be used for Flight or Swimming.
Note that based on this conversion, one may not want to alter a BESM character's Running from the HERO System default of 6", unless they have the Speed Attribute.
For Swimming, a BESM character can swim at BODY x 1 meters per round. For a baseline human, this is 4 meters per round, or 12 meters per 12 seconds. In Hero, a baseline normal can swim at 8 meters per Turn (2" x 2 Noncombat x 2 Phases), and a three SPD character can swim at 12 meters. This matches up fairly well, and shouldn't altered unless the character has the Swimming Attribute.
On a final note concerning Movement, BESM states that if a character that can move at X kph out of combat, then they move at that same value in meters per round in combat. For example: if a character can fly at 75 kph, they move at 75 meters per round. This can help determine over all Flight speed and Noncombat multiples when translating to Hero.
DAMAGE AND DEFENSES
Damage in BESM breaks down in 5 point increments (usually). For example, a pistol does 5 points of damage, a katana does 10, and so on. This damage is modified by the character's Combat Value (it is added to the result) and any special attributes and/or skills the character may have. Note that a character's Combat Value increases the damage from both Hand-to-Hand and Ranged attacks.
A rough conversion of BESM damage to HERO System is as follows:
5 Points = Light Pistol = ~1d6 RKA (3-4 Damage Classes)
10 Points = Heavy Pistol/Katana = ~1 1/2d6 - 2d6 RKA (5-6 Damage Classes)
15 Points = Assault Rifle/Light Machine Gun/Huge Sword = 2d6+1 - 2 1/2d6 RKA (7-8 Damage Classes)
30 Points = Heavy Machine Gun = 3d6 - 3d6+1 RKA (9-10 Damage Classes)
45 Points = Light Autocannon = 3 1/2d6 - 4d6 RKA (11-12 Damage Classes)
60 Points = Medium Tank Gun or Anti-Tank Rocket = 5d6 RKA (15 Damage Classes)
75 Points = Heavy Tank Gun = 6d6 RKA (18 Damage Classes)
90 Points = Battleship Main Gun = 8d6 RKA+ (21+ Damage Classes)
As an example, Ryoko (from the Tenchi Muyo! sourcebook) can do 60 points of damage with her beam sword. This equals about 5d6 of Hand Killing Attack. If we take her 30 STR into consideration, this means her beam sword is about 3d6 HKA base.
Let's compare these numbers to the values for the Heavy Armor Special Attribute:
Level 1: Stops 10 points, equal to an APC
Level 2: 20 points, light tank
Level 3: 30 points, WWII medium tank
Level 4: 40 points, 1960's MBT
Level 5: 50 points, modern MBT, battleship
Level 6: 60 points, advanced mecha
(Note: The Force Field Special Attribute has the following gradation: 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90.)
Doing a little research among various Hero resources (such as Golden Age of Champions and Danger International) gives us the following results (Note: the DEF numbers have been averaged together to produce a workable result.):
10 = M113 APC: 8 DEF
15 = 10 DEF
20 = M-2/M-3 Bradley APC: 11 DEF
30 = M4A1 Sherman Tank: 13 DEF
40 = M60-A3 MBT: 16 DEF
45 = 18 DEF
50 = M-1 Abrams MBT: 20-21 DEF
60 = 26 DEF
75 = 32-34 DEF
90 = 40 DEF
Note that in BESM the armor stops X number of points of damage, much like a HERO Force Field or Armor. But BESM doesn't use STUN, so the DEF results here really only apply to BODY damage. For Armor, one should use the results as given (i.e. a character/mecha with Heavy Armor 6 has 26 DEF Armor). For Force Field, one might want to multiply the DEF x 1.5 to get a result. Note that this would give someone with a Level 6 BESM Force Field a 60/60 DEF Force Field in HERO terms! However, Ryoko in BESM can do a max of 60 points of damage with her energy sword, so she couldn't touch the character with that 90 point Force Field anyway. Thus, the numbers may work. As always, your results may vary.
These DEF numbers allow us to double check the damage values for attacks. As stated, Ryoko can do 60 points of damage with her beam sword. In BESM she can damage a Abrams M-1 MBT (for 10 points) as it has 50 points of Heavy Armor. Thus, in HERO System her attack has to be able to do at least 21 BODY, as the M-1 has about 20 DEF. 6 dice of Killing does 21 BODY on average. A 5d6 Killing Attack will do 17 BODY on average, more if Ryoko gets lucky. This comes out just about right.
These are "normal" skills and talents that don't require high-technology, magic, or esper/psi powers to explain. When converting read over both the character write-up and the power in the BESM rulebook in order to get an idea for the exact method to convert the Attribute. The following are only suggested translations for the Attributes.
Animal Friendship Skill: Animal Handler, PRE "Only vs Animals" Art of Distraction Skill: Oratory, Persuasion, Seduction, extra PRE Aura of Command Skill: Oratory, extra PRE Combat Mastery Combat Skill Levels Divine Relationship NA (Allows PC to reroll dice via "divine favor," GMs may want to allow HERO PCs to buy Luck in order to simulate this. Recommnded value of 1d6 Luck per level. Max of 6d6 of Luck.) Flunkies Followers (not combat capable) Focused Damage Talent: Find Weakness, or extra damage or Armor Piercing (Note: Focused Damage only affects a single attack.) Gun Bunny Dead Eye Combat Skill Locations vs Hit Locations and/or Range Modifiers Lightning Draw Fast Draw One Bullet Left Allows PC one last shot after they have run out of ammo. A suggestion would be dice of RKA equal to the PC's pistol with a single recoverable charge, and a Trigger: "Runs Out of Ammo." The charge is recovered and the Trigger reset by sliding in a new clip. Portable Armory Variable Power Pool of guns Steady Hand Combat Skill Levels to counteraction modifiers due to being in motion. Two Guns Skill: Two Gun Fighting Weapons Encyclopedia Skill: KS: Firearms on a 16- to 18- Heightened Awareness Danger Sense Highly Skilled NA (Allows more skill points) Kensei (Japanese: "Sword Saint") Blind Fighting Combat Sense Chambara Master Levels with Move By, or all Martial Arts maneuvers with the FMove element. Judge Opponent Skill: Analyze Style (Note, this skill works without seeing your opponent fight, and is based on such elements as posture, GMs might want to allow a form of Detect) Katana Space Allows PC to keep his sword hidden somewhere on his person. Concealment on an 18- (or greater) "Melee Weapon Only" is one suggestion, as is reducing the Foci Limitation. Lighting Draw Fast Draw Precise Stroke Combat Skill Levels vs Hit Location modifiers. Two Weapons Skill: WF: Off Hand, Two "Gun" Fighting Massive Damage NA (Increases damage with all attacks.) Mechanical Genius Skill: Electronics, Mechanics, Inventing. Also, possible Transform vs Gadgets (broken to repaired). Organizational Ties Perk: Rank, Perk: Contacts, Well Connected Personal Gear Possible Variable Power Pool of Gadgets.
Special Attributes need to be examined on a case-by-case basis and translated depending on the specifics of the character and the Attribute in question. Most of the Special Attributes are fairly self-explanatory, but the exact mechanics depend on the character with the Attribute.
Astral Projection Desolidification, Leaves Body Behind. Note that this power is really several linked powers in one (it includes Flight and Life Support) and the exact speed a character can move while Astral varies on the level of the power. Contamination Transform Dimensional Portal Extradimensional Movement: "Pocket" Dimension Dynamic Sorcery Variable Power Pool Elasticity Stretching, also Combat Skill Levels in hand-to-Hand Electronic Counter-Measures The exact nature of this power depends on the translator's wishes. Suggestions include Change Environment, Flash, and Images. Environmental Control Change Environment Exorcism The exact nature of this power depends on the translator's wishes. Suggestions include Extradimensional Movement, Drains, Dispel, and do on. Extra Arms Extra Limbs Features or Accessories Depends on specific Feature or Accessory Flight Level 1: 120" per Turn Level 2: 360" per Turn Level 3: 1050" per Turn Level 4: 2100" per Turn Level 5: 4000" per Turn Level 6: 8000" per Turn See BESM entry for specifics. Force Field See Damage and Defenses above. Note: Force Fields may have various advantages attached - see BESM entry for specifics. Ground Speed Level 1: 80" per Turn Level 2: 160" per Turn Level 3: 360" per Turn Level 4: 480" per Turn Level 5: 1050" per Turn Level 6: 2100" per Turn See BESM entry for specifics. Healing Healing Aid. Can restore lost limbs. Note: all Healing is at a "per minute" basis Heavy Armor See Damage and Defenses above Heightened Senses Various Enhanced Senses Illusion Images Insubstantial Desolidification. See BESM entry for specifics. Note: at high levels this power comes with "Variable Special Effects." Invisibility Invisibility. See BESM entry for specifics. Item of Power Special Focus Jumping Superleap Life Support Life Support. See BESM entry for specifics. Light Armor Level 1: 2-3 DEF Level 2: 5-6 DEF Level 3: 7 DEF Level 4: 8 DEF Level 5: 9 DEF Level 6: 10 DEF Magic (Psionics) See BESM entry for specifics. This usually means the character has a framework of some sort. Meld See BESM entry for specifics. Personally, I'm not 100% clear on how to define this power. Metamorphosis Either: Shapeshift, Multiform, or Transform (other). Mind Control Mind Control Mind Shield Mental Defense. A character with Mind Shield adds the bonus for the shield to their MIND or SOUL (which ever is higher) and then does the following: [Result x 2.5]/5 + 5 to determine total Mental Defense. Natural Weapons Hand Attack or Hand Killing Attack Own a Big Mecha See BESM entry for specifics. Place of Power Character has a location that gives them an END Reserve that they can use instead of their own END (i.e. END UBO). This is an immobile area. Precognition Clairsentience, Precognitive Regeneration Regeneration Reincarnation Possible if Fuzion/Hero Creator/Creation Workshop/5th Edition Regeneration rules are used. Sensors Telescopic Enhanced Senses. See BESM entry for specifics. Servant Followers (Combat Capable) Shape Change Shapeshift and Disguise. See BESM entry for specifics. Shield Focused Heavy Armor. See BESM entry for specifics. Sixth Sense Detect: (Various) Size Change Growth/Shrinking. See BESM entry for specifics. Level 1: 1 Level Growth/0 Levels Shrinking Level 2: 2 Levels Growth/1 Level Shrinking Level 3: 3 Levels Growth/2 Levels Shrinking Level 4: 6 Levels Growth/3 Levels Shrinking Level 5: 27 Levels Growth/7 Levels Shrinking Level 6: 32 Levels Growth/10 Levels Shrinking Space Flight Flight useable in Space. See BESM entry for specifics and range of speeds. Special Defense See BESM entry for specifics. May include Life Support. Special Movement See BESM entry for specifics. This type of movement is usually an altered form of Flight. Speed See Movement Above. Note that at Level 5+ this Attribute may make one faster than someone with the Ground Movement Attribute. Spirit Ward Energy Blast or Ranged Killing Attack Only vs Supernatural. Also Force Wall vs same. Star Flight FTL. See BESM entry for specifics. Stealth Increased Stealth Skill. Super Strength See Characteristics Above Swarm See BESM entry for specifics. Probably a form of Desolid/Flight or Multiform. Telekinesis Telekinesis Level 1: -23 STR Level 2: -8 STR Level 3: 10 STR Level 4: 28 STR Level 5: 48 STR Level 6: 60 STR Telepathy Telepathy. See BESM entry for specifics. Teleport Teleport Transmutation Transform Tunneling Level 1: ~1" per Minute Level 2: ~1" per Turn Level 3: 2" per Turn Level 4: 16" per Turn Level 5: 48" per Turn Level 6: 160" per Turn See BESM entry for specifics. Water Speed Level 1: 24" per Turn Level 2: 48" per Turn Level 3: 96" per Turn Level 4: 200" per Turn Level 5: 400" per Turn Level 6: 800" per Turn See BESM entry for specifics. Weapon Attack Allows for a "special attack." See Damage and Defenses above and the BESM entry for specifics.
These are fairly normal, everyday skills. Interestingly enough, in BESM the cost of these skills varies on the genre. For example, in a martial arts campaign, and and all combat skills are expensive, while in a teenage romance game it's cooking and sports (among others). Note that a BESM skill is often several HERO skills and that BESM skills can be specialized into a specific aspect of a certain skill. The suggested HERO skills are just that, suggestions. Note that having just a single level in a skill is about equal to a HERO 11-.
Acrobatics Acrobatics and/or Breakfall Animal Training Animal Handler Architecture KS/PS Architecture, Construction, etc. Artisan PS: Specific Skill Biological Sciences SC: Specific Skill Boating TF: Small Water Craft Burglary Lockpicking and/or Security Systems Business Management PS: Business Management, also SC: Accounting, etc. Computers Computer Programming Controlled Breathing Talent: Simulate Death Cooking PS: Cooking Cultural Arts KS: Specific Skill Demolitions Demolitions Disguise Disguise Driving TF: Ground Vehicles, Combat Driving Electronics Electronics Forgery Forgery Gaming KS: Specific Skill Interrogation Interrogation and/or Talent: Resistance Intimidation PRE bonus Law KS/PS: Specific Skill Linguistics Extra Languages Mechanics Mechanics Medical Paramedics, KS/PS: Specific Skill Military Sciences Tactics, and/or KS/SC: Specific Skill Navigation Navigation Performing Arts Acting, Oratory and/or KS/PS: Specific Skill Physical Sciences SC: Specific Skill Piloting TF: Air Vehicles, Combat Pilot Poisons SC: Toxins Police Sciences Criminology, Forensics Riding TF: Horses, Riding Seduction Seduction Sleight of Hand Sleight of Hand Social Sciences SC: Specific Skill Sports PS: Specific Skill Stealth Stealth Swimming Swimming and/or PS: Specific Skill, or TF: SCUBA (etc.) Urban Tracking Shadowing Visual Arts PS: Specific Skill Wilderness Survival Survival Wilderness Tracking Tracking Writing PS: Specific Skill COMBAT SKILLS Archery WF: Bow Gun Combat WF: Small Arms Heavy Weapons WF: Varies Melee Attack WF: Common Melee Weapons, Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons Melee Defense Combat Skill Levels: DCV Only, Only with Weapon Ranged Defense Combat Skill Levels: DCV Only, Ranged Attacks Only Thrown Weapons WF: Assorted Thrown Weapons Unarmed Attack Combat Skill Levels: OCV HTH Only Unarmed Defense Combat Skill Levels: DCV HTH Only
This are normal, everyday problems and disadvantages. As will all other Attributes and Skills, the following is only a suggestion, and examination of both the character in question and the rulebook is a must.
Ageism Distinctive Feature and/or Physical Limitation Attack Restriction Psychological Limitation Awkward Physical Limitation and/or DEX minus Easily Distracted Psychological Limitation Girl/Guy Magnet Physical Limitation Inept Physical Limitation, Reduced Combat Value Marked Distinctive Feature Nemesis Hunted and/or Rivalry Not so Fast Reduced Running Not so Strong Reduced STR Not so Tough Reduced BODY One/No Arms Physical Limitation Owned by a Megacorp Physical Limitation Phobia Psychological Limitation Physically Unappealing Distinctive Feature, Reduced COM Recurring Nightmares Physical Limitation Red Tape Watched Sensory Impairment Physical Limitation Significant Other DNPC Skeleton in Closet Secret ID Wanted Hunted
These are more unusual Defects, and more associated with paranormal characters (or vehicles).
Awkward Size Growth and Distinctive Features Bane Susceptibility Cannot Talk Physical Limitation Cursed See character's write-up Diminutive Shrinking and Distinctive Features Hanger Queen Physical Limitation Involuntary Physical Change Accidental Change Magical Restrictions Physical and/or Psychological Limitations One-Way Transform Accidental Change and/or Multiform Restricted Ground Movement Restricted Running Restricted Path Physical Limitation Vulnerability Vulnerability
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