[19:07] <+Ken_Spencer> I am Ken Spencer, writer and line developer for Rocket Age from Cubicle 7. Heroes of the Solar System is our newest supplement. It covers all things heroic, including four new species, several heroic organizations to join, and tons of character traits, pieces of equipment, alternate species packages, and new occupational packages. done
[19:08] <~Dan> Thanks, Ken!
[19:08] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:09] <~Dan> First off, what can you tell us about the new sophonts?
[19:11] <+Ken_Spencer> Three are actual living beings, the Lizard Monkeys of Venus, the Jovians, and Metisians. The fourth are the long awaited robomen, artificial constructs left behind by long dead civilizations such as those of Mars, Eris, and Luna. done
[19:12] <~Dan> What are they like?
[19:13] <+Ken_Spencer> The addition of robomen is an odd story. I originally hand’t even thought of adding robots to Rocket Age until I saw the first draft of the cover art and in the background is a clunky robot thing. I decided to add them since they would be on the cover, but never really detailed them. Then the cover was changed.
[19:15] <+Ken_Spencer> Robomen presented a probable with design, how do you make them unique and not just a person in a metal suit? Each roboman has a set of programming imperatives that are listed in order of importance. The player comes up with the ‘three laws’ for her character *though she can also pick from example sin the book).
[19:15] <+technoshaman> (dan you beat me to it)
[19:16] <+Ken_Spencer> These laws are the governing principles of the roboman’s life. They can be broken but only with great effort and at some risk. Playing a roboman also allows a character to take equipment traits as character traits. Finally, as they are really walking artifacts, roboman PCs have damaged circuits and thus have little memory of the past. Any roboman questions
[19:16] <+Ken_Spencer> before we move on?
[19:17] <~Dan> Do they get any attribute adjustments?
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[19:18] <+Ken_Spencer> Nothing inherent though they have the highest attribute limits of any species (10). Robomen are a very open ended species, you can build a character with a lot of freedom, but at the same time are limited by the programming. done
[19:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, CDaniel, DrNate!)
[19:19] <~Dan> That was all I had. Any questions, technoshaman?
[19:20] <~Dan> Okay, guess not. Please proceed. 🙂
[19:21] <+technoshaman> ken can expand on the other sophonts please?
[19:21] <&Silverlion> Only three laws?
[19:22] <+Ken_Spencer> Yes, three broad laws. For example, Combat Programming: 1. Obey any and all orders given by a legal authority. 2. Through action or inaction do not permit allied forces to be injured or killed. 3. Do not permit yourself to be destroyed.
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[19:23] <+Ken_Spencer> There is a restriction on the PCs actions, but at the same time I wanted the rob omen to be fun to play. Not too many people want to play a character they have little or no control over. Shall we go on to Lizard Monkeys?
[19:23] <~Dan> Sounds good to me!
[19:23] <+xyphoid> do you find the laws produce conflict within the party?
[19:25] <+Ken_Spencer> In the play test they did. One of the robomen played was a law enforcement unit and the party had to do a little breaking and entering, all in a good cause of course. In the end the roboman waited until the party was done and then reported them to the police. Hilarity ensued. In general the rob omen did not produce any greater discord in the party than
[19:26] <+Ken_Spencer> having any other character type with a strong ethical stance. done
[19:27] <+etaoinshrdlu> Merp!
[19:28] <~Dan> Any other Robomen questions?
[19:28] <~Dan> Okay! Lizard Monkeys! 🙂
[19:29] <+technoshaman> what type of chasis are their to choose from for robomen?
[19:30] <~Dan> (Keep up, people. 😉 )
[19:30] <+Ken_Spencer> You can build what you want, wheeled, tracked, legged, hover. There are four basic models given, these being the most commonly found in ruins: Combat, rescue, service, and maintenance. Beyond that, you can build as your heart desires.
[19:33] <~Dan> Any more Roboman questions, technoshaman? 🙂
[19:33] <~Dan> Going once…
[19:34] <~Dan> Going twice…
[19:34] <~Dan> Okay!
[19:34] <+technoshaman> not now
[19:34] <+Ken_Spencer> OK, Lizard Monkeys are the true natives of Venus, as opposed to the Venusians who are just refugees (though not very many know this). The monkeys could be considered primitives, they live lives of ease, eating, foraging, mating, hanging around. Their vocal apparatus is unsuited to the languages of other species.
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[19:35] <+Ken_Spencer> and thus they cannot easily communicate. In fact, for the most part they do not want to. The affairs of others are their concern, and Lizard Monkeys live the sweet life. They see no need to get involved or collect wealth, or even build tools for more than the most simple of tasks. All this sounds like a poor idea for a playable species, but there is more
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[19:37] <+Ken_Spencer> going on. A religious faction amongst the Lizard Mokeys called the Second Hatching feels they are required to go out and Name and Behold all things, and since Venus has been Named and Beheld, they must find a way to get out into the Solar System. They do this by stowing away, letting themselves be captured and made into pets, or just hanging around rocket
[19:37] <+Ken_Spencer> travelers until they are taken along. These Namers try to keep their intelligence secret, but their primary function is to Name and Behold everything, return home to spread their stories, and go back out again. done
[19:38] <~Dan> Interesting.
[19:39] <~Dan> I’m assuming these lil’ guys should stay clear of a fight?
[19:40] <+Ken_Spencer> They are not terribly strong, but they can make good shots, and then there is the poo flinging 🙂 One Lizard Monkey in the play test was the loader for a Venusian machine gunner. Another dressed as a old west sherif and had a pair of silver handled RAY pistols.
[19:41] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:42] <~Dan> Wouldn’t packing heat give away their intelligence? 🙂
[19:43] <+Ken_Spencer> One would assume so, but then again he was just so gosh darned cute most folks thought they were toys. I mean, would you assume a one meter tall critter everyone thinks is a pet wearing a kid’s costume would be armed?
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[19:43] <~Dan> Heh. No, I suppose not. 🙂
[19:43] <~Dan> (Howdy, Seramit!)
[19:44] <~Dan> (Er, Serami!)
[19:45] <+Serami> (!)
[19:45] <~Dan> Can Lizard-Monkeys be psychic?
[19:46] <+Ken_Spencer> It is possible, but rare.
[19:48] <~Dan> So let’s see… Jovians?
[19:49] <&Silverlion> Any perhaps “lost” Ionians? Is it, of the old kind hidden somewhere?
[19:50] <+Ken_Spencer> Jovians are natives of Jupiter. They are winged creatures that evolved in the upper atmospheres. Centuries ago they lost a war with the Europans and retreated into the deep bands of the gas giant. Recently, one clan made accidental contact with a British exploration craft and
[19:51] <+Ken_Spencer> they have began to come up from the depths. Jovians are not mammals or birds, but like all Jovian life something that doesn’t fit terrestrial taxonomies very well. They are divided into clans that live in vast domed floating cities. There are two broad groups of Jovians, divided along philosophical lines.
[19:53] <+Ken_Spencer> The Pragmatic see survival of the clan as of utmost importance and all ethics are judged by that. The Martial clans have a strong sense of honor and military bent, and consider mere survival to be secondary to ethical concerns. done
[19:55] <~Dan> Do they have any issues existing outside of the Jovian environment? Or is that quietly swept under the rug along with planetary gravity issues? 🙂
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[19:57] <+Ken_Spencer> Heroes of the Solar System gives the environmental ranges for all the species, both new and old. There is an overlap zone that everyone is comfortable in (something Earthlike) but the Jovians prefer higher pressures and a bit of ammonia and methane in their air.
[19:57] <~Dan> Ah! That’s an unexpected touch. Cool.
[19:57] <+Ken_Spencer> Oh, and nothing is swept under the rug, it is studiously ignored. As in get over there win the corner physics and stop nagging me.
[19:58] <~Dan> Understood. 🙂
[19:58] <~Dan> What is the nature of Jovian technology?
[20:00] <+Ken_Spencer> They have advanced tech in some areas, mostly around repulser float technology (anti-grav). However, most of their tech is on par with cutting edge Earthling tech in Rocket Age. Their weapons do use their repulsion float technology to shoot streams of needles. During the War with the Europans they had higher tech, but they have fallen somewhat since their
[20:00] <+Ken_Spencer> flight into the depths of their planet’s atmosphere. done
[20:01] <+AWOLJoe> Ooooh, needlers! Very cool.
[20:01] <~Dan> Do they have the capacity for space travel?
[20:02] <+Ken_Spencer> Not anymore, but they are rapidly trading and otherwise acquiring it.
[20:02] <&Silverlion> You have any art of the Jovians?
[20:02] <+Ken_Spencer> I missed a question about lost Ioites. Not yet, but the Jupiter book is a few titles off and who knows where things will lead?
[20:03] <&Silverlion> Ah cool.
[20:03] <~Dan> That’s pretty cool. I was of the opinion that RA needed another high-tech species.
[20:03] <&Silverlion> Lost Atlanteans with laser-crystals?
[20:03] <~Dan> So that brings us to… Metisians?
[20:04] <+Ken_Spencer> As far as Jovian art, yes, there is a nice portrait in Heroes, it is one of my favorite pieces. It shows their clothing as well as the proboscis they feed with. Jovians eat liquid meals, though they can cut solid food up and choke it down.
[20:04] <+technoshaman> are the jovian wings on their back or part of ther arms?
[20:05] <+Ken_Spencer> On their backs, they have a pair of arms, two legs, and two wings.
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[20:06] <+MonkofLords> Yo
[20:06] <&Silverlion> Hiya Monk…
[20:07] <+Ken_Spencer> Are we ready for Metisians, or are their more Jovian questions?
[20:07] * ~Dan checks out the Jovian pic
[20:07] <~Dan> Holy crap, those are cool-looking freaks. 🙂
[20:07] <&Silverlion> I want to see….:(
[20:07] <&Silverlion> Hehe
[20:08] <&Silverlion> I was thinking they might be more pulpy Hawkmen or something
[20:08] <~Dan> No… More like a mutant elephant crossed with a vulture. 😀
[20:09] <+Ken_Spencer> I wanted to avoid the hawk men look, as much as Prince Vultan is a hero of mine.
[20:09] <&Silverlion> Yeah…mine too..:D
[20:09] <~Dan> Ken_Spencer: Congrats! You succeeded! 😀
[20:10] <~Dan> Shall we move on to Metisians?
[20:10] <+Ken_Spencer> The art never looks as how I picture it, but the great thing about Jon Hodgson as art director is it ends up better.
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[20:11] <+technoshaman> is there a pic of them? i want to see also
[20:13] <+Ken_Spencer> Metisans are mother species form the Jovian system of moons. They hail form the small moon of Metis and evolved from forest hunting cephalopod like creatures. A plague ripped across the surface of Metis and the Metisains retreated underground into sealed colonies. There they lived in rigidly controlled societies where even reproduction was controlled. Only
[20:14] <+Ken_Spencer> a few ventured out on to the surface of their moon, and then in sealed environmental suits. Their technology was barely able to keep them alive, and tight rationing, as well as the instability of Metis, reduced their numbers. They even lost the ability to reproduce normally, relying solely on mechanical means.
[20:15] <+AWOLJoe> So another higher-tech species, relatively speaking.
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[20:16] <+Ken_Spencer> They have recently appeared in the Solar System as the clients of the Europans. They serve the Europans as a warrior caste, making up a growing percentage of the Europan military. The Europans are helping the Metisians to upgrade their tech, as well as provide supplies and medicines. In exchange, the Metisians are to serve as the Europan shock troops and
[20:16] <+Ken_Spencer> bodyguards. done
[20:18] <~Dan> How tough are they?
[20:20] <+Ken_Spencer> Not so much strong as fast and agile, as befits a tree dwelling hunter. They will hunt you down and shoot you, and you might not see them coming. In their armored environmental suits and armed with second hand granitic pulse weapons given them by the Europans, they are rather deadly.
[20:20] <+Ken_Spencer> Gravitic, not granitic. Hmm, rock shooting guns…
[20:21] <+technoshaman> ahh so squid-men like? close to mindflayers or way different?
[20:22] <+Ken_Spencer> More like a fleshy brain in a domed suit with flopping tentacles. Not bipedal at all.
[20:22] <+Kzar> Are their suits bipedal?
[20:23] <+Ken_Spencer> No, they match their bodies.
[20:25] <+technoshaman> ahh i see, something like the Qin from Trinity or the Vorlons fron Babaylon 5
[20:25] <~Dan> Can you give us an overview of the other elements in the book?
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[20:27] <~Dan> (Howdy, Gemini, Ettin!)
[20:27] <+Ken_Spencer> Each species has expanded information giving biological and psychological, as well as material culture. Ever wanted to know if Martians were lactose intolerant? The preferred temperature range of a Venusian? Julandri laborer arts and crafts? We cover that and much more.
[20:29] <~Dan> Are there any new psychic powers?
[20:29] <+Ken_Spencer> Each of the species form the codebook gets a write up and something new. New equipment, new species specific traits, alternate species packages, or occupational packages. Every species has something new mechanically, but nor everything from the list.
[20:31] <+Ken_Spencer> There are a host of new character traits (and some equipment traits), including a few new psychic powers such as Anti-psi, nightmare projection, and resistance. There are also new organizations builindg off the organization format from Blood Red Mars, only these are pan-solar system in scope. done
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[20:31] <+technoshaman> any new occuptaions in Heroes?
[20:32] <+Oddsod> I have an awesome drink mix involving Fireball that actually tastes good and not like burning death.
[20:32] <~Dan> (Oddsod: Q&A in progress. #rpgnet2 is open for general chat. 🙂 )
[20:33] <+Oddsod> Ah.
[20:35] <+Ken_Spencer> There are new occupational packages for the organizations such as Interplanetary Commintern Agitator, Metisian Guard, Second Hatching Namer, Field Reporter, Test Pilot, and Private Detective. In the species chapters we have such goodies as Silt Sea Harpooner for the Chanari.
[20:36] <~Dan> Ah… I was wondering if there are critters in the Silt Sea. 🙂
[20:36] <+Ken_Spencer> Some of the new species traits are Silverback for the Venusians, Retinue of the Silthuri, and Mutant of Io for the lowly Ioites.
[20:38] <+Ken_Spencer> The Silt Sea Harpooner hunts large silt creatures such as silt dragons. Modifying the occupational package you could easily take Inexperienced (a new trait in Heroes) to represent a young harpooner just starting out, or Experienced for an older one. There really aren’t too many in between as their life expectancy is fairly short.
[20:38] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[20:38] <~Dan> Are there any noteworthy new details about the Rocket Rangers?
[20:40] <+Ken_Spencer> Rocket rangers have a write up as an organization, but no new traits or equipment. They can take the Man or Woman form Earth species trait, or use any of the new Earthling tech such as rocket launchers. We have an all Rangers pdf supplement in development right now.
[20:41] <~Dan> Hey, cool! I’m sure that’s a popular organization. 🙂
[20:41] <+Ken_Spencer> Some of the Rocket Age fandom are calling themselves Rangers.
[20:41] <~Dan> As well they should. 🙂
[20:43] <~Dan> What does Man/Woman from Earth get you?
[20:43] <+Ken_Spencer> I think that about rounds out an overview of the book. There is also an essay on sex, sexuality, and aliens. Nothing risqué, but a lot of games don’t talk about these topics and I felt it needed to be addressed. Also, I wanted to underline that there are no hybrids.
[20:45] <+Ken_Spencer> Man or Woman from Earth lets you find a contact or ally wherever you go, provided that person is an Earthling. Earhtlings can be found everywhere dint he Solar system, even the most unlikely places. There wis a risk though, as that one Earthling who lives in an Ioite tribe might turn out to be an enemy.
[20:46] <~Dan> Nice. 🙂
[20:47] <~Dan> On a scale of 1-10, how vital would you say Heroes is to run RA?
[20:49] <+Ken_Spencer> You can run the game without it, but as a resource for players and GMs, it expands the setting and adds new options. My goal was to make something more than just a book of new mechanical or system add ons, but a well rounded book that brings aspects of the setting to life. I would say a 10 in importance, you can run Rocket Age without it, but we in
[20:50] <+Ken_Spencer> the play test groups have been using it for months and it really adds depth to the species. The organizations are also very important. Until Heroes if you wanted to tie your character into an organization you had the ones in Blood Red Mars and a few words about the Rangers. Heroes goes beyond that, including information on the Europan Emissaries. done
[20:51] <~Dan> Very cool.
[20:51] <~Dan> In the time we have left, is there anything you’d like to cover that we haven’t touched on?
[20:53] <+Ken_Spencer> As should be expected, Heroes is dripping with Story Hooks, character creation hooks. It has been a blast to write. There is also a section in each species write up that tells their views on the other species, including the newcomers. My overall aim with the species in Rocket Age has been to create something more than people in rubber masks, but to try to
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[20:55] <+Ken_Spencer> think as alien as possible. I feel the Lizard Monkeys get there as they eschew just about everything most Human cultures consider important. I also wanted to make sure there was depth to the species and none of them wore the tired ‘hats’. this is the smart species, this is the funny one, this is the warrior species (though the Maduri are kind stuck as
[20:56] <+Ken_Spencer> warriors). Even the Lizard Monkeys, as cute and quirky as they are have a dark side, the Second Hatching wars with the traditionalist over religious dogma. I hope that Heroes expands the possibilities of Rocket Age and gets more people excite about the playground we built. done
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[20:57] <~Dan> So it sounds like Heroes continues the underlying vibe of a “realistic” look at a retro scifi setting.
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[20:58] <~Dan> (Howdy, Geno!)
[20:58] <+Ken_Spencer> As realistic as it can get. You still have the Europans and their new neural linkage system that lets them improve their psychic powers. Just hold still while they use the drill that has replaced one of their fingers.
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[20:59] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
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[21:00] <~Dan> Do you have time to hang out with us longer, Ken, or do you need to run?
[21:00] <+Ken_Spencer> I can stay a little bit longer if there are more questions.
[21:01] <~Dan> I think you covered my questions about Heroes in particular… Are you able to tell us about anything else coming down the pike for RA?
[21:03] <+Ken_Spencer> We are wrapping up work on the first campaign sized episode series, Trail of the Scorpion. This will be six linked episodes in both pdf and print. One big series book. After that is the Lure of Venus, I wrote 2,000 words on Venusian insect life today. After that will be Threats to the Solar System, a book of bad guys, npcs, critters, and dangerous
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[21:05] <~Dan> Awesome! I’m looking forward to all of those. 🙂
[21:05] <+Ken_Spencer> organizations to oppose. We have two pdf supplement sing he works, one on the Asteroid Belt and one on the Rangers, plus several more pdf episodes. There is a lot of work still to be done and it looks like Rocket Age will keep blasting off. Far off books will deal with Jupiter, Technology, and the Outer Planets. done
[21:06] <~Dan> Can you give us any idea of how sales are going with RA products?
[21:06] <+Ken_Spencer> Keep an eye on the playtesting threads on the C7 forums to see sneak peaks of stuff we are developing.
[21:07] <+Ken_Spencer> As far as sales, we don’t release those figures, but the product line is doing well enough for us to plan six more books after Heroes, plus pdfs.
[21:07] * ~Dan nods
[21:07] <~Dan> I think that says quite a lot, actually.
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[21:08] <~Dan> Any other questions, folks?
[21:09] <~Dan> Okay, then! I’d like to thank you for coming by once again, Ken!
[21:09] <~Dan> The book looks great!
[21:10] <+Ken_Spencer> Thanks for having me, as always it has been a pleasure and I am glad you like Heroes of the Solar System.
[21:10] <~Dan> Certainly!