[19:00] <+APKlosky> So, I’m Andy. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, but now live just north of Dayton. I teach high school English by day, but design and edit tabletop games by night.
[19:01] <+APKlosky> I just founded Blackfall Press, LLC this year in the hopes to publish “Cold Steel Wardens”, which is currently being Kickstarted
[19:01] <&Thanaeon> ( (Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/apklosky/cold-steel-wardens-roleplaying-in-the-iron-age-of)http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/apklosky/cold-steel-wardens-roleplaying-in-the-iron-age-of )
[19:02] <+APKlosky> I’ve done a fair amount of work earlier with GameWick Games (WEGS Old Skool and Pittsburgh 68) and Cubicle 7 (The Laundry: The Mythos Dossiers)
[19:02] <+APKlosky> (Thanks Thanaeon)
[19:02] <+APKlosky> I started working on CSW in 2010, though the foundations for it were a few years earlier
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[19:02] <+APKlosky> the Watchmen movie had just come out, and I wanted to run a sort of “alternate timeline” game at my alma mater of Wittenberg
[19:03] <+APKlosky> but, I couldn’t find a system that I was pleased with
[19:03] <+APKlosky> M&M, Champions, didn’t appeal…I eventually settled on a heavily house-ruled version of Heroes Unlimited with a grafted-on sanity system from Call of Cthulhlu
[19:04] <+APKlosky> in 2010, I decided to take the foundations of that game–the setting, the characters–and start working on my own system
[19:04] <+APKlosky> one that would really capture the feel in those street-level, Iron Age comics
[19:05] <+APKlosky> by the end of 2011, I had a full system, ready for playtesting–i’ve been refining and working on it ever since, and opened the Kickstarter with some basic concept art at the end of November
[19:06] <+APKlosky> I wanted a system that really focused on heroic flaws and personal struggles, particularly in terms of the philosophy of justice
[19:07] <+APKlosky> what did it meant to be a superhero? is violence justified in the name of good? that sort of thing
[19:07] <+APKlosky> but i wanted that to be echoed in the mechanics–not just paid lip-service in the setting info
[19:07] <+APKlosky> hence, a new game
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[19:07] <+APKlosky> so…I guess with that, we can open it up?
[19:07] <~Dan> Certainly!
[19:07] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off?
[19:08] <&Thanaeon> From the Kickstarter page, reading between the lines, the game seems to be dice pool based. Care to comment a bit on the system?
[19:09] <+APKlosky> it’s sort of a unique animal, with elements of both a dice pool and and a “Roll vs. dc” system
[19:09] <+APKlosky> skills and powers are represented by a series of d10s: a roll of 6-10 result in 1 hit (2 on a 10), with a roll of 1 taking away a hit
[19:10] <+APKlosky> those hits are added to the hero’s applicable Vital–one of eight core stats–and compared to a difficult
[19:10] <+APKlosky> y
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[19:10] <+APKlosky> hit the difficulty, and you succeed. hit the difficulty by 5+, and you achieve a “total success” (a crit, in combat)
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[19:11] <+APKlosky> Skills are given definition through Specialities, which provide free dice in more specialized areas based on the amount a hero spends on the given skill
[19:12] <+APKlosky> (i.e. Scientific is a fairly broad skill, made more specific through specialties like Medicine or Computing)
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[19:12] <+APKlosky> the same thing is true of Powers, though instead of Specialty dice, Powers gain optional effects
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[19:13] <+APKlosky> in writing the system, i wanted it to be fairly easy to understand, so as to fade into the background–as such, nearly everything in the system has a parallel elsewhere within the game
[19:14] <&Thanaeon> Cool.
[19:14] <+APKlosky> 4 mental stats, 4 physical stats.
[19:14] <+APKlosky> mental strain and physical strain follow the same track and same formula
[19:14] <+APKlosky> 5 categories of 5 skills–Physical, Investigative, Social, Knowledge, and Technical
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[19:15] <~Dan> (Connection problems, Will?)
[19:16] <+APKlosky> keep ’em coming, if you’ve got more
[19:16] <&Thanaeon> (I’ve got another one lined up, but I’ll give others a bit of time to shoot theirs first.)
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[19:17] <~Dan> What can you tell us about the setting?
[19:17] <+APKlosky> well, I grew up in the Rust Belt, so a lot of the feel for me came from my experience there
[19:17] <+APKlosky> driving through Pittsburgh, living now in Dayton
[19:18] <+APKlosky> there are lots of abandoned areas, old factories, lots of unemployment
[19:18] <+APKlosky> and i really found a parallel in depictions of Hub City and Gotham in DC’s world, and Hell’s Kitchen in Marvel
[19:19] <+APKlosky> but, I wanted to give the setting enough of a sandbox feel that a GM could really make their own impression on it
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[19:19] <+APKlosky> it’s one of the reasons I chose a very non-descript name for the setting: Greensburg
[19:19] <+APKlosky> if it’s in an Iron/Dark Age comic, you can probably find it in Greensburg
[19:20] <+APKlosky> organized crime
[19:20] <+APKlosky> gangs
[19:20] <+APKlosky> occult threats like cults and mystics
[19:20] <~Dan> (CantTypeInTheIRC: If you really can’t type, try Mibbit if you aren’t already. If you’re using Mibbit, try (Link: http://www.magicstar.net.)www.magicstar.net.)
[19:20] <+xyphoid_> woo artemis for iOS is out
[19:20] <+xyphoid_> whoops
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[19:21] <+Will> Testing…
[19:21] <+APKlosky> hey Will
[19:21] <+Will> Alright! I’m good now
[19:21] <+APKlosky> also Kit 😀
[19:21] <+Will> Hi APKlosky!
[19:21] <+Kit> 😀
[19:22] <~Dan> Welcome, Kit!
[19:22] <+Will> The web client on RPG.net/chat doesn’t let you type anything in
[19:22] <~Dan> Oh, yeah. That thing is prehistoric.
[19:22] <+APKlosky> alack, alack
[19:22] <+Will> Oh. They should take it down then and have new instructions
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[19:22] <~Dan> Well, they disowned us a very long time ago.
[19:22] <~Dan> The page is a holdover.
[19:23] <+Will> It was the only one I could find. I couldn’t find the instructions on the main page, so I googled RPG.net IRC and found that
[19:23] <&Thanaeon> Klosky, are you done with the last question?
[19:23] <~Dan> Andy: Please bear in mind that some of the stuff I may ask I already know based on our discussions. 🙂
[19:23] <+Will> Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand!
[19:23] <+APKlosky> absolutely, brother–i expected it
[19:23] <+APKlosky> is there more you’d like to know, Thanaeon?
[19:23] <&Thanaeon> Dan told me that in the game, characters with major superpowers are restricted as NPCs while players are restricted to lower-powered characters. Is this something that could easily be house-ruled around, or is it more of a system weakness thing? (Not saying that to be judgemental, either.)
[19:23] <+APKlosky> i can get more specific, if you’d like
[19:24] <~Dan> Ah… that was actually what I was about to touch on. 🙂
[19:24] * ~Dan high-fives Than
[19:24] * &Thanaeon high-fives back
[19:24] <+Will> You mean like Dr. Manhattan would be an NPC, right?
[19:24] <+APKlosky> well, the game is meant to be one in which you play more street-level heroes. Luke Cage, Daredevil, Batman….these are all right in the wheelhouse of CSW
[19:24] <+APKlosky> Yes, Will. Dr. Manhattan would absolutely be an NPC
[19:24] <+APKlosky> someone on the level of Superman or the like is outside the realm of our rules
[19:25] <+APKlosky> they can absolutely be recreated, but really only as NPCs.
[19:25] <~Dan> So no fudging would be necessary — the PC creation rules just don’t allow for them?
[19:25] <+APKlosky> heroes in CSW are meant to be vulnerable, with fairly gritty, painful combat
[19:25] <+APKlosky> bingo, Dan.
[19:25] <+Will> Do you have a good idea of where that dividing line between playable character and NPC is? Like what would be the most powerful comic book hero it could replicate?
[19:26] <+APKlosky> I’d say that the uppermost level would probably be right the Fantastic Four level
[19:26] <+APKlosky> elasticity and invisibiility are both in CSW
[19:26] <~Dan> And, to follow up on Than’s point, is there anything preventing a GM from giving players a boatload of points to create a Superman-level character?
[19:26] <+APKlosky> there’s no real “transformative” power, though there is Elemental control
[19:27] <+APKlosky> Dan–absolutely not. If you give a hero a boat-load of points, you can build pretty much anything, using the powers, skills and masteries included.
[19:27] <+Will> As a corollary to Dan’s question, do you just give them whatever you think they should get and call it a day?
[19:27] <+Will> The NPCs I mean
[19:27] <+APKlosky> for an NPC, the guidelines are pretty fast and loose–GMs are encouraged to break the rules to fit whatever they need at a given point
[19:28] <+Will> So creating stats to fit the general story, rather than trying to create a “balanced” encounter?
[19:28] <+APKlosky> precisely.
[19:28] <+APKlosky> in fact, the majority of NPCs won’t even require most of the stats necessary for a PC
[19:28] <~Dan> Why’s that?
[19:29] <+APKlosky> only a “Mastermind”–a campaign-spanning villain or the like–really requires that level of detail
[19:29] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:29] <+APKlosky> I broke my NPCs down into three primary categories–Mooks, Made Men, and Masterminds. Most of what the PCs will take on in a given session will be Mooks, led by the occasional Made Man
[19:30] <~Dan> To once again touch on something we discussed previously, I’d like to discuss the scope of the setting as a whole.
[19:30] <+APKlosky> sure thing
[19:30] <~Dan> We know what the focus of the game is…
[19:31] <+Will> First, could you finish up about hte Mooks, Made Men, and Masterminds? It soudns to me like the Mooks are kind of semi-characters.
[19:31] <+Will> Since they don’t need all the stats
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[19:31] <~Dan> …but to what extent is it merely one part of a larger superheroic universe? For example, how common are Justice League-scale superheroes?
[19:31] <~Dan> (And sure, please feel free to finish up Will’s question first.)
[19:31] <+APKlosky> Mooks are the nameless, faceless goons, gangers, and ninjas that Iron Age characters beat down with regularity. they can potentially get lucky and take down a ‘mask’ but it’s going to be a rarity
[19:32] <+APKlosky> made men are the “in-between” stage. they might be a mafia underboss or a rival vigilante
[19:32] <+APKlosky> one of the big things that set them apart is the fact that they get a name, access to specialties, and access to masteries
[19:33] <+APKlosky> Masterminds are written up just like a PC except, since they’re made by the GM, they don’t have to follow typical rules of character generation
[19:33] <+APKlosky> (though the GM can obviously break the rules with the other two types, it’s just probably not as common)
[19:33] <+Will> Okay, so they are represented differently mechanically
[19:34] <+APKlosky> primarily in the Size and Scope of their stats
[19:34] <+APKlosky> mooks fit in a few lines
[19:34] <+APKlosky> masterminds….well, they take a while
[19:34] <+Will> Makes sense. If they’re just going to get killed, we don’t need to worry about much beyond what their Fighting dice are.
[19:35] <+APKlosky> precisely–their three fighting Skills, Notice, and Stealth are pretty much the extent of their listed skills, though there are guidelines for how to adjudicate other skills if they’re needed
[19:36] <+Will> Awesome. Reminds me of the old Star Wars d6 system with the dice pools. I’d write Stormtroopers and such as “Blaster 4D, Stealth 3D, all else 2D” or somethign like that
[19:36] <+APKlosky> precisely
[19:36] <+APKlosky> i wanted it quick and easy, so the GM could focus on the action and the story
[19:36] <+Will> Cool, thanks for answering that! Feel free to answer Dan’s question now!
[19:36] <+Will> Very important
[19:36] <+APKlosky> lol—okay then
[19:36] <&Thanaeon> Back to the rules: how do rolls not dealing with skills work? (Say, something to do with pure strength, or pure memorisation, or something like that?)
[19:37] <~Dan> (Question pause after Than’s question, please.)
[19:37] <&Thanaeon> (Sorry, if Dan asked someting first, do that first.)
[19:37] <+APKlosky> as for Justice League style characters: that’s left intentionally vague. Within the scope of the setting, the Nornsby Act specifically outlaws vigilantism as a subsidiary crime, so there really aren’t any “legal” superheroes out there
[19:37] <+APKlosky> that’s not to say that there aren’t government sponsored masks out there–The Comedian and Suicide Squad come immediately to mind as inspirations
[19:38] <+APKlosky> but, one thing to keep in mind for this game is that even though PCs might not have a Superman-level array of powers, powered characters are still incredibly powerful in the grand scheme of things
[19:39] <+APKlosky> I’m reminded of watching Senator Kelly in the first X-men movie, talking about mutants in the “real world”
[19:39] <+APKlosky> how do you defend against someone who can walk through walls? how do you secure a school against a teenager who can throw fire from their fingertips?
[19:40] <+APKlosky> those are the sorts of societal and philosophical questions I hope that CSW can explore, particularly in terms of an inherently corrupt society
[19:41] <+APKlosky> (I think I might have skirted your question, Dan. Did I?)
[19:41] <~Dan> (Well, I think “intentionally vague” pretty much covers it. 🙂 )
[19:41] <+APKlosky> (good…ish? lol)
[19:41] <~Dan> Well, let me rephrase:
[19:42] <~Dan> Is it left up to the GM whether powerful superheroes are Dr. Manhattan-like anomalies, or whether Superman and Thor are constantly flying overhead on missions of their own while the PCs are down in the muck?
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[19:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[19:43] <+APKlosky> Yes, precisely. It’s totally GM prerogative. The assumption is that they’re not there, but they can absolutely fit well at the NPC level
[19:43] * ~Dan nods
[19:43] <+APKlosky> i’m reminded of how Daredevil reacts to the Avengers arriving in “Born Again”
[19:44] <~Dan> Which was how?
[19:44] <+APKlosky> “He speaks with a voice that could command a god…and does.”
[19:44] <+APKlosky> (Daredevil narrating about Captain America)
[19:44] <~Dan> Ah, I’ve seen that.
[19:44] <+APKlosky> (Link: http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&tbo=d&authuser=0&tbm=isch&tbnid=ebugImFniz8ywM:&imgrefurl=http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_holiday_features_ng_suat_tong_on_writing_collaboration_and_superheroes/&docid=N35BgUfvzzb_JM&imgurl=http://www.comicsreporter.com/images/uploads/ngBornAgainAvengers1a.jpg&w=335&h=503&ei=s-HHUKuCM4Ki2QW49YDI)http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&tbo=d&authuser=0&tbm=isch&tbnid=ebugImFniz8ywM:&imgrefurl=http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_holiday_features_ng_suat_tong_on_writing_collaboration_and_superheroes/&docid=N35BgUfvzzb_JM&imgurl=http://www.comicsreporter.com/images/uploads/ngBornAgainAvengers1a.jpg&w=335&h=503&ei=s-HHUKuCM4Ki2QW49YDI
[19:45] <~Dan> But yes, this is what I like about what I’m hearing about CSW:
[19:45] <~Dan> It has a focus without limiting the scope of the setting as a whole.
[19:46] <+APKlosky> it’s admittedly a hard line to walk
[19:46] <+APKlosky> I wanted to build a game to emulate a specific era and feel in comics writing
[19:46] <+Will> I like that too
[19:46] <+APKlosky> but, those same comics still have to fit within greater gestalt universes as a whole
[19:46] <+APKlosky> Batman still talks to Superman in “The Dark Knight Returns”….even fights him
[19:47] <+APKlosky> even as he’s trying to take down The Joker and The Mutants gang
[19:47] * ~Dan nods
[19:48] <+APKlosky> Thanaeon, I missed your question earlier: regarding rolls not applied directly to skills
[19:48] <+APKlosky> in those occasions, you’d simply roll your Vitals as dice, tally the number of hits, and compare to a (much lower, comparatively) difficulty
[19:48] <+APKlosky> things like lifting a bar, getting noticed in a crowd….those would be Vitals tests
[19:49] <&Thanaeon> Right, that makes sense.
[19:49] <+APKlosky> the nice thing is that Specialties can apply to these
[19:49] <+APKlosky> so if you take a specialty in “Power-Lifting” per se–that might apply to certain Vitals rolls
[19:49] <+Will> In one of the Spiderman movies, he stops a train by using his webbing and pulling really hard. Would you just roll the Strength vital or do something else because a power is involved?
[19:51] <+APKlosky> i’d probably say that he’d use his Adhesion power (to stick enough webbing to the walls), then follow that up with a pretty tough Force (vitals) test
[19:51] <+APKlosky> he’s probably also pulling from the Hero Pool in doing so
[19:51] <+APKlosky> but luckily, he’d just gotten some dice in the Pool from losing his mask in front of so many people
[19:51] <+Will> That’s cool that movie scenes like that can be played out in this system pretty easily
[19:52] <+APKlosky> that was the plan 😀
[19:52] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:53] <~Dan> What sort of purchase method do you use for superpowers? Cafeteria-style? Effects-based?
[19:53] <+Will> What are those?
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[19:53] <+Will> Cafeteria-style and effects-based purchase methods, I mean
[19:54] <+APKlosky> well, the idea is that Powers are purchased at character generation from the same pool of points that Skills and Masteries are purchased from
[19:54] <+jeffszusz> ello
[19:54] <+Will> Hi jeffszusz
[19:54] <+APKlosky> Powers have varying costs, based on their effects–something basic like Blast costs a lot less than something like Alter Emotions, which costs less than Sorcery (the most expensive, “I have all the powers” power)
[19:55] <~Dan> Will: Cafeteria-style means there’s a “menu” of ready-to-use powers.
[19:55] <+jeffszusz> What’s this we’re talking about?
[19:55] <+APKlosky> When you purchase a Power, you gain access to it just like a Skill–you put dice into it just like a Skill, and it has a linked Vital just like a Skill
[19:55] <~Dan> Effects-based means that you build the powers based upon what they do.
[19:55] <+APKlosky> Jeff–this is “Cold Steel Wardens: Roleplaying in the Iron Age of Comics” I wrote it! 😀
[19:56] <~Dan> So it sounds like we’re talking “cafeteria-style” in this case.
[19:56] <+APKlosky> The powers are left fairly vague to start, but gain Optional Effects for every three dice that you buy into a power (just like you get Specialties for Skills)
[19:56] <+Will> Can you give us an example of a power and how optional effects would modify it?
[19:56] <~Dan> So you can go from a generic Blast to a Blast that sets things on fire, for example?
[19:57] <+APKlosky> So, if you pick up Mind-Link (a telepathy-type power) and put 3 dice into it, you could choose to target multiple foes…or maybe you want to dominate a single foe, or maybe you’d rather read objects with it
[19:57] <+APKlosky> Dan–you’re right on with what i’m going for
[19:57] <+APKlosky> every 3 dice, you get a new Optional effect
[19:57] <~Dan> So it’s sort of a modified cafeteria system — you start with a base power and add effects to it.
[19:58] <+APKlosky> that’s a fair analysis of the system
[19:58] <+Will> Can you have negative effects to free up points? Like it’s part of a device and it can be damaged, or it only works in the night or something.
[19:58] <+APKlosky> You start with your Roast Beef, and add side dishes
[19:58] <+APKlosky> yes!–those are Flaws, which you can buy to free up points in general
[19:58] <+APKlosky> which can go towards skills, masteries, or powers
[19:59] <+APKlosky> Now, some powers do have specific weaknesses that they Always have (Mind-Link doesn’t work on mindless creatures, for example), but you can add weaknesses to Powers as Flaws
[19:59] <&Thanaeon> Something about the Kickstarter; you mention that the game is finished, just not polished, production-values-wise, and that all backers will receive the beta PDF after the Kickstarter finishes. Does this apply also if the Kickstarter doesn’t work out? I note you’re about a third of the way there, and I’m planning on pledging.
[20:00] <+APKlosky> I’m debating doing so, Thanaeon. I can’t help but note that Fate Core is doing so, as are a few other systems
[20:01] <+APKlosky> I do want to hold off until the end of January, however, as I want to be able to add in the edits that I and my editors have been working on
[20:01] <+Will> It gives an incentive to pledge. Whether it gets funded or doesn’t, backers receive a fully functional rules system right away.
[20:01] <&Thanaeon> For the record, I wouldn’t hold it against you if you did. Just curious. Obviously I hope the KS succeeds.
[20:01] <+APKlosky> and, truth be told–this month is beyond hectic for me. I just wrapped up the two online classes I was taking today for professional development, and I’m teaching full time….and doing the KS….and freelancing for a few companies
[20:01] <+APKlosky> Thanks, brother–that does mean a lot
[20:02] <+APKlosky> this whole process has been especially nerve-wracking, as it’s my first time out of the gate
[20:02] <+APKlosky> and i’m not exactly one to hold back
[20:03] <+APKlosky> The biggest worries in my mind–and my entire reason for doing the Kickstarter–have been art and layout
[20:03] <+Will> It’s nerve-wracking for pretty much everyone creating their first product.
[20:03] <+APKlosky> I can barely draw stick-figures 😛
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[20:03] <&Thanaeon> Yeah, I have the same kind of issue with my now-mostly-finished game.
[20:03] <~Dan> You mentioned earlier about how gritty combat is… Care to discuss how it works in practice?
[20:03] <+APKlosky> That means discussing Strain
[20:04] <+APKlosky> As I mentioned earlier, i wanted parallel elements in this game, so they’d be easy to understand
[20:04] <+APKlosky> every Hero has a Physical Strain and a Mental Strain threshold–a representation of how much punishment they can take before giving up the ghost
[20:04] <+APKlosky> Physical is based on Nerve. Mental is based on Psyche.
[20:05] <+APKlosky> each threshold also has a Breaking Point–that certain point where a Hero just isn’t able to stave off the punishment any more
[20:05] <+APKlosky> glancing blows become painful Injuries
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[20:05] <+APKlosky> fear and paranoia becomes lasting Psychosis
[20:06] <+APKlosky> As long as Hero stays above that Breaking Point, they can relatively shrug off their Strain pretty easily.
[20:06] <+APKlosky> Bandages, ice and painkillers take down Physical Strain. A few days of downtime or the like can take down Mental Strain
[20:07] <+Will> I imagine doing something rewarding, like rescuing a baby or saving the world also reduces Mental Strain?
[20:07] <+Teylen> How is the stuff relating Psychosis’es or something more mundane like difficult moral choices (like they happen in Watchmen) handled?
[20:07] <+APKlosky> but when that Breaking Point is hit? Recovery takes longer, both in terms of time and investment…and a single gunshot (on a crit, mind you) can take a character well past their Breaking Point
[20:07] <+APKlosky> Teylen–great question!
[20:08] <+tnli> Oh, accidentally nasty little hobbitsies.
[20:08] <+etaoinshrdlu> NASTY LITTLE HOBBITSES
[20:08] <+etaoinshrdlu> THEY STOLE IT FROM US
[20:08] <+etaoinshrdlu> 😀
[20:08] <+APKlosky> Flaws (including Psychoses), factor into the Hero Pool along with Memories, Motivations, and Stances. The more that a hero challenges these elements (or has them challenged by the GM), the more dice are added to the Hero Pool
[20:09] <+APKlosky> Hero Pool dice provide an in-game cinematic economy: dice can added to rolls, used for re-rolls, or even to take narrative control from the GM
[20:10] <+APKlosky> however, all of these uses must have the FULL table’s consenus–everyone at the table, including the GM, must agree on the use of the dice from the Hero Pool
[20:10] <+APKlosky> if the GM takes advantage of a Hero’s Psychosis, for example, the GM must toss dice into the pool to compensate
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[20:11] <+APKlosky> if the player puts themselves in a compromising position, those dice get Doubled in the pool
[20:11] <&Thanaeon> Does the game use wound/stress penalties?
[20:11] <+Midwoka> Daaaaaaaan!
[20:12] <~Dan> Middy!
[20:12] <+Teylen> ah, okay. From your description in this parts it sounds a bit like Fate or the use of Bennies within Savae Worlds
[20:12] <+APKlosky> There’s no penalty in combat unless the Hero passes their Breaking Point…that said, doing things like running or being intimidated do incur Strain, which pushes the Hero closer and closer towards that Breaking Point
[20:12] <+APKlosky> To a degree, Teylen. Though I think that the Hero Pool is a little more flexible than the Bennie economy of SW.
[20:13] <+APKlosky> Fate is a bit closer
[20:13] <~Dan> I note that you can’t reduce damage with Hero Points, however.
[20:13] <+APKlosky> I loved ICONS, for what it’s worth
[20:13] <+Midwoka> Dan: Guess who has a half-sister now?
[20:13] <~Dan> (Congrats, Middy! 🙂 )
[20:13] <+APKlosky> nope–no reducing Strain during combat. It’s meant to hurt. 😀
[20:13] <&Thanaeon> Yeah, definitely going to pledge.
[20:13] <+WonderRat> ( : D )
[20:14] <+APKlosky> 😀 Much obliged, brother.
[20:14] <~Dan> Can you give us some idea of how deadly, say, a typical pistol is?
[20:14] <+APKlosky> Well, a medium pistol deals 6d which you’d roll just like any other dice–the pistol shot deals strain equal to the number of hits
[20:15] <+APKlosky> but, on a crit/total success, those dice become automatic 10s, resulting a total of 12 Strain automatically
[20:15] <&Thanaeon> So 3 points on average?
[20:15] <+APKlosky> considering that most heroes have between 12 and 24 Physical Strain to start with….that’s a fair piece
[20:15] <+Will> Similarly, what’s keeping heroes from not all taking up pistols because they’re better weapons? (Saw one supers RPG that had that problem).
[20:15] <+APKlosky> and a single crit can push them past their breaking points
[20:16] <+APKlosky> well, fists become just as lethal–instead of a set damage point, you use your Force Vital. for a melee hero, that can be easily just as good as a pistol shot
[20:16] <+APKlosky> melee weapons add to that Force Vital. a sword, for example, is Force + 2d
[20:17] <+APKlosky> and Power damage (both Mental and Physical Strain) is based on the Rating you have in that Power. A Blast of 5 deals 5d damage, and is easily achievable with 0xp, if not higher
[20:18] <+APKlosky> and you can do that Every Round, without regard to ammo or anything of the sort
[20:18] <+APKlosky> no power economy in this game–if you have a power, you Have it. no power points to keep track of or resource management
[20:18] <&Thanaeon> You mentioned psychoses as a result for passing the mental breaking point… What happens at the physical breaking point?
[20:18] <~Dan> How does Sorcery work?
[20:18] <+Teylen> Is there a approach for nonlethal force forseen? Like Batman who normally doesn’t kill but take his foes out to unconsiusness.
[20:18] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[20:19] <&Thanaeon> (Wow, question flood! 😀 )
[20:19] <+APKlosky> Physical Breaking Point = Injury, which is based on how much Strain the hero takes overall
[20:19] <+APKlosky> There are 4 categories for Injuries and Psychoses: Minor, Moderate, Severe, and Terminal
[20:19] <+APKlosky> Sorcery–Sorcery allows you the use of ANY power in the game, but costs you either Physical or Mental Strain each time you use it (your choice as the user)
[20:20] <+APKlosky> practiced Sorcery characters might take Optional Effects that provide a Power that doesn’t cost them Strain (maybe a Blast or such) or provides them a pool of “virtual strain” they pull from first
[20:20] <+APKlosky> among other effects
[20:20] <~Dan> Can you take Flaws that mandate incantations and the like?
[20:21] <+APKlosky> Non-Lethal Force: non-lethal attacks are difficult (intentionally) and incur a -4 dice penalty. Such attacks cannot cross a character’s Physical Breaking Point, and will only incapacitate, not kill
[20:22] <+APKlosky> Unfortunately for a would-be Sorcerer….incantations (or science devices or the like) are part and parcel of the Sorcery power. It’s a mandatory drawback
[20:22] <+APKlosky> One of the neatest things in the game, though, is the mechanic for the Stealth Takedown
[20:23] <+APKlosky> if you can succeed at a heavily penalized Stealth roll (-4 dice), you may attack at +4d on attack and damage. If you incapacitate the foe in that single hit, you can immediately make a Stealth test to hide the body and slip back into the shadows.
[20:23] <+APKlosky> There are Masteries that make this tactic easier, naturally
[20:23] <&Thanaeon> Cool. 🙂
[20:23] <+Teylen> Sounds nice 🙂
[20:24] <+APKlosky> I had a character just this sunday take great advantage of this
[20:24] <~Dan> Let me guess:
[20:24] <~Dan> He kept striking from the shadows to take out a bunch of hapless thugs?
[20:24] <+APKlosky> he was playing a female riff on Nightwing–he dropped down out of the rafters of a warehouse, landed on a mook and downed him in one shot, then tossed him away into the crates with his escrima sticks
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[20:25] <&Thanaeon> Do you happen to be familiar with the supervillain webfic Worm? Reading it put me in the frame of mind that I got interested to find out more about your game when Dan mentioned it. 🙂
[20:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Serah!)
[20:25] <+APKlosky> i can’t say that I am, Thanaeon
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[20:25] <+APKlosky> I’m googling now 😀
[20:25] * +Serah weak little wave
[20:26] <+APKlosky> hiya Serah
[20:26] <+Serah> o/
[20:26] <&Thanaeon> ( (Link: http://parahumans.wordpress.com/table-of-contents/)http://parahumans.wordpress.com/table-of-contents/ )
[20:26] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest48! You can set your nick with the “/nick” command. 🙂 )
[20:26] <&Thanaeon> From the sound of it, your system sounds like it’d also work for urban fantasy with a bit of tweaking.
[20:26] <+APKlosky> (bookmarked–I have some reading material for later 😀 )
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[20:27] <~Dan> (Alternately, you could just quit…)
[20:27] <+APKlosky> Actually, Thanaeon, I would LOVE to get a hold of The Walking Dead license
[20:27] <&Thanaeon> I came at the thought from Dresden Files, but sure. 🙂
[20:27] <~Dan> I’m told there might be a zombie or two in CSW…
[20:27] <+APKlosky> with a few tweaks here and there, it’d be spectacular
[20:27] <+APKlosky> Yup yup–zombies are Mooks in the stat blocks
[20:28] <+APKlosky> along with ninjas. Everyone loves beating up ninjas
[20:28] <+APKlosky> wouldn’t be an Iron Age comics game without ninjas
[20:29] <~Dan> Speaking of monsters, you mentioned to me that monstrous PCs don’t really fit the game, correct?
[20:30] <+APKlosky> Not particularly, though that’s more of a setting concept, truth be told
[20:30] <+APKlosky> someone like Beast or Nightcrawler could easily be made in CSW
[20:30] <+APKlosky> but they’re going to stand out like a sore thumb and, most likely, end up like The Morlocks
[20:31] <+Will> Why’s that? Just that in a Watchmen style universe they’re freaks?
[20:31] <+APKlosky> A character like Blade–half-vampire–could easily be replicated with a set of flaws to represent his partial Vampirism. Addition, for instance, or Sinner: Wrath
[20:32] <+APKlosky> well, people fear what they don’t understand. And, following our comics inspirations–particularly X-Men–they’re just not going to be trusted
[20:32] <+APKlosky> I think about storylines like Days of Future Past, where mankind is actively hunting mutantkind with Sentinels
[20:33] <~Dan> What is the public’s view towards superheroes, while we’re on the topic.
[20:33] <+APKlosky> (and a Sentinel would be a great example of a NPC that would break the ‘rules’ of character creation…but still would fit in perfectly)
[20:34] <+Will> Obviously, we’re talking about the default generic setting. The GM can do whatever he’d like, I’m guessing.
[20:34] <+APKlosky> the public fears and mistrusts ‘masks’ by and large. In the default setting, the Nornsby Act (and the deaths surrounding its passage) really turned the populace against the vigilante/superhero community at large.
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[20:35] <+APKlosky> A superpowered brawl outside of a Catholic school resulted in the deaths of several bystanders, which included a nun/schoolteacher. The public was out for blood after that.
[20:35] <+APKlosky> and yes, this is the default setting–the GM should feel free to change whatever they bloody well feel 😀
[20:35] <+APKlosky> I’m not hung up on metaplot
[20:36] <&Thanaeon> Are skills tied to specific vitals inherently, or do you switch them around based on the situation? (Say, a strenght-based intimidation.)
[20:36] <+Teylen> Sounds a bit like the thing that happend before the Civil War, even though it’s not Iron Age ^^
[20:36] <+APKlosky> Teylen — you’re right. when writing that section, I pulled a little bit from Civil War and tossed in the riot scenes from Watchmen for good measure 😉
[20:37] <+Teylen> Sounds like a good idea 🙂
[20:37] <+APKlosky> Thanaeon — I have almost a full page talking about alternate Skills-Vitals links, actually. While there are default Vitals for each Skill, the GM can (and should!) use different vitals depending on the situation
[20:37] <+APKlosky> the best example i can give is Athletics, which is keyed to Force
[20:37] <+APKlosky> however, if a Hero is tumbling or using Acrobatics, Agility is obviously more important
[20:38] <&Thanaeon> How easy/hard is it to hit an “average” mask with a gun compared to melee, and how much damage does it do, comparatively? (Thinking about how dangerous a group of gangers packing heat would be, for example, compared to brawling thugs.)
[20:39] <+APKlosky> well, any physical attack difficulty is abstracted into Defensive Value–a combination of the Nerve and Agility vitals
[20:40] <+APKlosky> most starting CSW characters have a DV around 9-10, depending on how combat-focused they are
[20:40] <+APKlosky> a mook usually has trouble hitting that–they’ll get something like 4d+4 on their Unarmed or Armed Ranged skills
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[20:41] <+APKlosky> a Made Man, a little tougher…also has access to Specialty dice, which increase the dice rolled for the Skill usually
[20:42] <+APKlosky> Masterminds? they’re not to be messed with–and that’s why they’re campaign-spanning villains and crime lords
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[20:43] <~Dan> (Howdy, Logo, TQuide, Squide!)
[20:43] <+APKlosky> ahoy all 😀
[20:44] <~Dan> You mentioned zombies… To what degree do other supernatural creatures fit in the default setting?
[20:44] <&Thanaeon> Thinking back to the webfic that got me into the mood to check this game out… How would you represent in the game a character who has the power to cause involuntary nervous twitches (say, make your legs collapse from under you, misdirect a gunshot, etc.) or who can change dogs into monsters?
[20:45] <+APKlosky> Dan, they fit, but subtly so. I have items built into the default setting dealing with French expatriate Templar knights and cults of cthulhian horrors….there’s plenty of room for supernatural elements, especially in terms of Powered characters
[20:45] <+APKlosky> i don’t really define where Powers come from in the book–there’s a ton of options, which the player and GM are free to pick from
[20:46] <+APKlosky> Thanaeon, that would be the Affliction power 😀
[20:46] <~Dan> About how many powers did you include?
[20:47] <+APKlosky> the affected character would have to make a Nerve test to avoid a seizure, essentially
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[20:47] <+APKlosky> the total list is around 20-25. It’s fairly short, all told, because there’s a good deal of overlap, and some really intense powers (transformation-based powers, invulnerability) aren’t really fitting for the sub-genre
[20:48] <+APKlosky> i’m counting 23 if my excel sheet is up to date with my beta draft
[20:48] <+Ximni> Is it possible for PCs to have the Power to call/summon creatures (animals, spirits, etc) and, if so, how are they handled in the system?
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[20:49] <&Le_Squide> (Heya!)
[20:49] <+APKlosky> That would be an optional effect for the Animal Control power
[20:50] <+Will> The optional effect being that they materialize out of thin air?
[20:51] <+APKlosky> lol–unfortunately, no. They get summoned over the course of 1-5 minutes, depending on the proximity of such creatures
[20:51] <+Will> Or fly in or whatever
[20:51] <+APKlosky> summoning wolves in the middle of Central Park isn’t going to be that effective
[20:51] <+APKlosky> but cockroaches? they’ll be there in seconds
[20:52] <~Dan> Can you handle weather control?
[20:52] <+APKlosky> Elemental: Wind or Lightning
[20:52] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:52] <~Dan> In the time we have left, is there anything you’d like to cover we haven’t brought up?
[20:53] <+APKlosky> yup yup–couldn’t have an Iron Age game without being able to make punk-rocker Storm
[20:53] <+APKlosky> whew…well, I do have a big announcement
[20:53] <~Dan> (And you’re welcome to hang out as long as you like, btw.)
[20:53] <+APKlosky> (I was figuring on staying till 10:30, if people have follow-ups and the like)
[20:53] <~Dan> (Cool. 🙂 )
[20:53] <+APKlosky> (EST, that is–it’s 9:54 here now)
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[20:53] <&Thanaeon> (I was going to ask.)
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[20:54] <+APKlosky> I’ve just gotten the okay from a good friend of mine that I can reveal some news:
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[20:54] <+APKlosky> I’ve reached a tentative agreement with Angus Abranson at Chronicle City for a print/publisher partnership, pending the success of the CSW Kickstarter
[20:55] <~Dan> Hey, congrats!
[20:55] <&Thanaeon> Congratulations!
[20:55] <+Will> Congratulations!
[20:55] <~Dan> Angus is a great guy. You’re in good hands. 🙂
[20:55] <+APKlosky> the funds for the KS would now be able to go solely towards art and layout, rather than splitting those with an initial print run
[20:55] <~Dan> That IS good news!
[20:55] <&Thanaeon> Even better!
[20:55] <+APKlosky> Angus was my first point of contact as an rpg freelancer, when i was working on The Mythos Dossiers for Cubicle 7
[20:56] <+APKlosky> he’s been nothing short of invaluable through this whole process, and I’m really looking forward to working with him to put forward a quality book for Cold Steel Wardens
[20:56] * ~Dan nods
[20:57] <+Will> Awesome, so 100% of Kickstarter funds go towards making it a better product, instead of just printing it
[20:57] <+APKlosky> naturally, this is all moot if the CSW kickstarter doesn’t go off, but if we hit our funding goal, I can ensure a fantastic product
[20:57] <+APKlosky> precisely, Will
[20:57] <&Thanaeon> I certainly hope it will, though my financial situation won’t allow a large pledge!
[20:58] <+APKlosky> You do what you can, brother. Anything you donate is absolutely appreciated
[20:59] <&Thanaeon> Say, how long would you estimate a fight between a PC and say three gangers would take with a GM and player using the system for the first time?
[20:59] <~Dan> (Just FYI, I’ll be going into semi-lurk mode at this point.)
[20:59] <+APKlosky> (np, Dan)
[20:59] <&Thanaeon> (No worries, I can moderate if the need comes up.)
[21:00] <+APKlosky> well, let me put it this way: this Sunday, I ran a demo for 7 players. Only one of which had ever played before–my wife.
[21:00] <+APKlosky> they took on a Made Man and 10 mafioso mooks in a warehouse
[21:00] <+APKlosky> we did an overview of the character sheet, we set the scene, and they took out all the mooks in less than an hour and a half
[21:01] <&Thanaeon> Not bad.
[21:01] <+APKlosky> one PC against three mooks? probably 5 minutes. maybe 10 if they put up a stiff fight.