[19:06] <+TightropeGames> Hello all! My name is Benjamin Blanchard from Tightrope Games LLC ((Link: http://tightropegamesllc.com/)http://tightropegamesllc.com/); we are a new game design/production company of cards, tabletop games and RPGs, based out of La Habra, California. We consist of three people and between us, have almost a century of gaming experience. I want to talk about our current project we opened for cro
[19:07] <+TightropeGames> crowd funding, which is called Faction: Custodians of Dust. It is a card game for 1-5 players with a fixed deck of 80 cards, where the players take on the role of Councilors of the Ornax Empire shortly after the Emperor, Livus has been assassinated. The game takes approximately 15-30 minutes to play and has both cooperative and competitive elements.
[19:07] <+TightropeGames> The premise of the game is that in the wake of the Emperor’s assassination, the enemies of the Empire are now joining forces and making their move to crush the Ornaxi people.
[19:08] <+TightropeGames> Although the Councilors (players) must work together to answer the threat of impending doom, their goal is to take advantage of the chaos and position the rulers of the provinces they represent to be elected as the new Emperor.
[19:08] <+TightropeGames> This forces the players to strike a balance between uniting against a common foe while ensuring that not only the Empire survives, but that their individual efforts earn them the title, “Emperor’s Champion,” by acquiring the LEAST amount of victory points during the course of the game.
[19:08] <+TightropeGames> Mechanically, there are two decks; the Imperial deck from which the players draw and the Enemy deck, which is draw from at the beginning of every turn, presenting challenges (enemies and deleterious events) which must be overcome by playing Imperial characters, locations, enhancement cards and beneficial events.
[19:09] <+TightropeGames> The goal of the game is to deplete the Enemy deck by overcoming challenges and using character special abilities, discovering combinations to maximize the milling of the Enemy deck, before the Imperial deck is depleted. Players draw a varied number of Imperial cards each a turn, depending on the number of players participating in the game.
[19:09] <+TightropeGames> The game creates interesting negotiations between the players, choices and requires planning as each struggles for control for the title “Councilor Primoris,” essentially a “first player” mechanic who determines the course of action for the councilors for a complete turn (deciding which enemies if any, are attacked, and when they are defeated,
[19:09] <+TightropeGames> who receives the boons of the successful attack).
[19:10] <+TightropeGames> Councilor Primoris is determined at the end of each turn, by which player has the most unused, or “ready” characters under their control- much like the “Dominance” phase of A Game of Thrones Card game.
[19:10] <+TightropeGames> The goal of the card game is to introduce the Modnum-Di “universe,” for future products, including several expansions of Faction: Custodians of Dust, a board game and an RPG based on the lore.
[19:10] <+TightropeGames> The universe comes from years of essentially short stories and actual characters’ exploits of D&D, Pathfinder and the like; and is currently a fictional work in progress.
[19:10] <+TightropeGames> We currently have several artists working on the project; I have attached a hyperlink to their website or works by clicking on their name at the bottom of the Kickstarter page: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1669298805/faction-custodians-of-dust)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1669298805/faction-custodians-of-dust
[19:11] <+TightropeGames> Intro Done
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[19:12] <~Dan> Thanks, Ben! The floor is open to questions.
[19:13] <+Tiburon> is this a fantasy or sci-fi setting?
[19:13] <~Dan> First off, I’ll ask for your patience, Ben, as I’m not that much of a card game guy myself and may have a hard time coming up with sensible questions. 🙂
[19:13] <+Tiburon> (GenoFoxx in disguise)
[19:13] <+TightropeGames> It is a fantasy setting; there is in fact magic, however it is more “subdued” and subtle
[19:14] <~Dan> So no fireballs and lightning bolts?
[19:14] <+TightropeGames> hoping to go with more of a Hermetic, mental transmutation feel
[19:14] <+Tiburon> any plans for a sci-fi version then?
[19:15] <+TightropeGames> well, lightning comes from the sky, so yes, there are lightning bolts and fireballs when a campfire or lantern suddenly blows around
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[19:15] <+TightropeGames> the rule set of the card game easily lends itself for thematic modifications; we do have a cyberpunk board game in the works
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[19:16] <+DireNinja> is there a card that explodes a campfire into a fireball?
[19:16] <+TightropeGames> also, we have a space hulk exploration game called “The Bonus Situation” which is heavy sci-fi also in development.
[19:18] <+TightropeGames> Well, the characters are given three attributes in the game, force (military prowess), magic (ability to wield eldritch powers and magic) and cunning (planning and subterfuge). Each character is different
[19:18] <~Dan> Ah, so the players are playing individuals? I didn’t pick up on that.
[19:18] <+TightropeGames> the creatures and enemies needing to be eliminated have a “victory threshold” which needs to be met or exceeded to successfully defeat the enemy
[19:18] <+DireNinja> can you explain how the game is both cooperative and competitive?
[19:19] <+DireNinja> (pulling from your KS page)
[19:20] <+TightropeGames> yes, the players play as the councilors. They command and allocate imperial assets, i.e. characters, locations, enhancements etc. to combat the enemies and baleful events that come up
[19:21] <+TightropeGames> yes. the game is cooperative, as in they are all in the “same boat.” they are the representatives of the provinces which formulate the Ornax Empire. All players draw the Imperial deck, and therefore all players lose if the deck is depleted
[19:21] <+TightropeGames> the decks are depleted by enemy consequences and other events. additionally some of the more powerful imperial characters mill the Imperial deck.
[19:23] <+TightropeGames> the goal is to cooperate so that the Enemy deck is depleted, which means the Empire stands strong against the forces working against the Empire. This takes cooperation, planning and methodical attacks utilizing the Imperial assets each Councilor brings to the table
[19:24] <~Dan> I take it that the decks aren’t all that large, given the short play time?
[19:24] <+TightropeGames> however, there is a subtle competition: should the players successfully deplete the Enemy deck and survive, the player which has accrued the least amount of victory points during the coarse of the game is crowned “Emperor’s Champion,” essentially an MVP for the game.
[19:25] <+DireNinja> this sounds sorta like the world of warcraft card game raid expansions, is there some sort of ‘boss’ enemy that needs to be defeated or just depleting their deck?
[19:25] <+TightropeGames> Yes, the decks are 40 Imperial cards, 30 Enemy cards. there are also Nemesis cards, which give the enemy deck a “face,” providing a passive, hindering effect on the players’ efforts
[19:26] <+TightropeGames> just the enemy deck needs to be depleted, however the Nemesis card which is drawn at the beginning of play provides special rules that are present for the duration of the game. each nemesis is different
[19:28] <+TightropeGames> we have three expansion however; an Intrigue deck, which adds a second deck for use of the councilors, however are cards used to stymie and mess with other players. we have a councilor expansion, which provides more cards for the imperial deck and allows the players to play as a specific councilor
[19:28] <+DireNinja> are there are rules for a player that might want to control the enemies?
[19:29] <+TightropeGames> finally we have an enemy expansion, which provides Nemesis specific cards to be cycled into the Enemy deck, adding more customization to the game- much like the overlord deck in Descent 1.0
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[19:30] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[19:30] <+TightropeGames> that is in the enemy expansion; we do have a rule set for a player who would like to play as the Nemesis. they essentially have a hand and choose which enemy card to play instead of it randomly being drawn in order from the top of the deck
[19:30] <~Dan> That’s a nice touch.
[19:30] <+TightropeGames> additionally, in the intrigue expansion, we have tournament rules
[19:31] <+DireNinja> ahh thats cool
[19:31] <+TightropeGames> the tournament divides the players into separate tables; there are a predetermined number of rounds to be played.
[19:31] <+DireNinja> well i have to bow out, sorry i cant stick around, if you’re still around when I get home I’ll pop back on
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[19:32] <+TightropeGames> each round, a victory point score is taken from each player. after each round, players are shuffled and the process repeats; however should the councilors lose, they are penalized a number of victory points to be added to their total score. the winner is the player with the least number of VP’s at the conclusion of the number of rounds played.
[19:33] <+TightropeGames> done
[19:35] <~Dan> How is success or failure determined?
[19:35] <+TightropeGames> we are really excited about the RPG we have in the works, ironing out the details. I guess its closest to Don’t Rest your Head, Diaspora, CODA system and elements of WoD/white wolf and A Game of Thrones
[19:36] <+TightropeGames> success is determined by meeting or exceeding the victory threshold specific to the listed enemy
[19:37] <+TightropeGames> this general requires more than one character, thus players needing to work together in coordinating their assets and attacks
[19:38] <+TightropeGames> failure is determined by not defeating the enemies in play
[19:38] <~Dan> So there’s no die mechanic involved? Just playing the right number and kinds of cards?
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[19:39] <+TightropeGames> there is a Consequence Phase, where each enemy left in play (enemies not defeated in the turn for one reason or another) have a penalty associated with the specific enemy. each enemy is different.
[19:40] <+TightropeGames> some enemies for discards from the Imperial deck, kill characters in play, destroy locations, for discards, etc. some of the consequences can be used in certain situations/combinations to actually provide a short term benefit to certain players; so at times it may be prudent NOT to attack an enemy in play
[19:40] <+TightropeGames> sorry, *force
[19:41] <+TightropeGames> yes, there is no die mechanic. the most randomization we were comfortable with were the decks of cards; we wanted to really stress the importance of choice, planning and cooperation for success. nothing is more frustrating than losing because of terrible die rolls 🙂
[19:43] <~Dan> Sure, makes sense.
[19:44] <+TightropeGames> also, since each choice is crucial, we wanted to ensure good choices are not lost
[19:44] * ~Dan nods
[19:45] <~Dan> Can you tell us a bit more about the setting? What variety of fantasy would you call it, for example?
[19:46] <+TightropeGames> Well, the setting takes place in a fictional world called Modnum-Di. The book/games take place in the Near Region, on the remnants of the first society of man.
[19:48] <+TightropeGames> The first men created a society (much like an Atlantean concept) where the most prominent members have been hailed as the Ascendant One’s and are currently worshiped as “gods”
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[19:51] <~Dan> You described magic as subtle. Would you call this a “low magic” setting?
[19:51] <+TightropeGames> of course, there were two factions within the first society of man; one Ascendant named Sangrin the founder of the Circle of Magi, believed that a society’s strength can be measured by the lowest rung of society/lowest common denominator. and society needed to be brought up from the lowest ranks
[19:52] <+TightropeGames> the other faction under Agonus, was an elitist (very Nietzschean) and wanted to make the strongest stronger… they eventually turned into the Mishtaugh, really a superman type of race
[19:53] <+TightropeGames> well, magic is everywhere. the ability to wield it is very real, however it is not quite dramatic visually (sparkles and explosions etc.) however the power is unmistakable.
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[19:54] <+TightropeGames> so in a way, it is not exactly a low magic setting, its just subtle, not very dramatic
[19:55] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest63! You can set your name with the /nick command.)
[19:55] <+TightropeGames> sort of like… stretching the limits of plausibility
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[19:56] <~Dan> Something like the Scarlet Witch’s old probability manipulation powers?
[19:56] <+TightropeGames> yeah, sort of like bending fate, small occurrences and chance
[19:57] <+TightropeGames> how likely is it that your enemy will get struck by lightning as he rushes you? unlikely, but plausible with a MAGUS AT YOUR SIDE!
[19:57] <+TightropeGames> I guess, like the old writings of Robert E. Howard, the magic in the original Conan series.
[19:58] <+TightropeGames> yes, the dead rose from the grave, there were weird Lovecraftian creatures and other unexplained things, but nothing too over the op
[19:59] <+TightropeGames> *top.
[20:00] <~Dan> So it’s sort of a swords-and-sorcery setting?
[20:01] <+TightropeGames> yes, very similar
[20:02] <~Dan> You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into the setting — more than I’d think would actually be necessary for a card game, aside from flavor text. Did you always plan on using it for an RPG as well?
[20:04] <+TightropeGames> the setting again, stems from a fictional piece i have been in the process of writing for several years now. the fiction is being used to provide the flavor of some of our products. Most of the games we developed we started with the mechanics.
[20:04] <+TightropeGames> however, for the RPG
[20:05] <+TightropeGames> many of the mechanics involved have been tailored to fit the setting, i.e. the magic
[20:06] <~Dan> Oh, you did mention that. My apologies!
[20:06] <+TightropeGames> it was one of those things where the setting provided a great backdrop for an RPG, requiring some fine tuning to the mechanics
[20:07] <+TightropeGames> its alright, the setting has been one of the more enjoyable processes of our projects
[20:07] <+TightropeGames> gives the games their “soul”
[20:07] * ~Dan nods
[20:08] <~Dan> Do you have any sort of ETA for the RPG?
[20:09] <+TightropeGames> Probably winter 2015- spring 2016. We have several projects in the works currently that are in the queue; we haven’t play tested the RPG yet, aside from testing mechanics individually at this point
[20:10] <~Dan> What will the core mechanic look like?
[20:13] <+TightropeGames> well, the most salient mechanic we are ironing out right now is the narrative aspect. we wanted a game that could essentially “run itself,” frequently we have groups where gm’s get tired and want a break. almost a collective storytelling mechanic
[20:14] <+TightropeGames> the core character creation system is somewhat complicated, maybe too complicate at this point
[20:15] <+TightropeGames> at the outermost ring, there are several attributes, and a combination of other attributes create the next attribute, working its way into a concentric circle, forming core pools of health, fatigue, etc.
[20:16] <+TightropeGames> really wanted to stress the inter-connectivity of “stats”
[20:16] <~Dan> I think I follow you there.
[20:17] <+TightropeGames> and how one single attribute shouldn’t define a person, and how attributes are summations of a number of qualities
[20:17] <~Dan> Something like “Dexterity” + “Perception” = “Aim”, or the like?
[20:18] <+TightropeGames> yes, like intelligence + wisdom yields resolve
[20:19] <+TightropeGames> resolve and willpower yields strain/energy
[20:20] <+TightropeGames> willpower and vitality create your heath
[20:20] <+TightropeGames> really an attempt to mitigate min/maxing which leads to breaking the game
[20:21] <~Dan> What’s the dice mechanic (assuming that it uses dice, of course)?
[20:22] <+TightropeGames> it does have a dice mechanic. we have several options at this point. we like the use of multiple dice instead of one single die, decreasing the margin of error statistically, ensuring that higher skill is less likely to fail
[20:22] <+TightropeGames> we also were trying something new
[20:23] <+TightropeGames> still havent gotten it to “work” quite yet, but it involves rolling several dice, testing several skills with one roll. again, stressing the dynamic of a rapidly evolving and changing course of events such as combat, not being linked to a single roll/stat
[20:24] <+BlasterKyubey210> What’s the “current” preliminary attempt so far working out ot be?
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[20:27] <+TightropeGames> for example combat, we had a brawn roll, perception and equipment roll. the dice were relative to your combatant(s), trying to solve the age old SR2 problem with two untrained people standing pointblank shooting at each other unable to hit
[20:27] <~Dan> (Howdy, Rasyr!)
[20:28] <+TightropeGames> or the slog that is 2nd edition D&D and a few other d20 based systems
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[20:30] <~Dan> How monster-heavy is the setting?
[20:30] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[20:31] <+TightropeGames> there are abominations; caused by the Mishtaugh’s experimentation with Krenia/Mage’s Ore in conjunction with high magics (gene splicing?)
[20:32] <+TightropeGames> i guess the concept of krenia is a tongue in cheek reference to radiation or some other type of energy with mutation qualities and energy used to power the mental transmutation that is magic
[20:33] <~Dan> Are there non-human races?
[20:34] <+TightropeGames> variant human races, Noreedians, Ornaxi, Saardians and Zakerians.
[20:35] <~Dan> What are they like?
[20:35] <+TightropeGames> the Mishtaugh are transcendent type of “superman” like humans who have guided their own evolution so to speak, seeking perfection and the pinnacle of human development
[20:35] <+TightropeGames> but their pursuits have unleashed the magical abominations that plague the Ornax Empire, and thus are not trusted
[20:36] <+TightropeGames> they are emotionally devoid overman type of people, evolved to the point where their mastery of the Art (magic) is such that they essentially view humans as savage, unevolved species
[20:37] <+TightropeGames> they believe in the Ten Mantras of Power
[20:37] <+TightropeGames> axioms that lead to transcendence and personal development
[20:38] <+TightropeGames> “Strength through adversity, adversity through conflict.” is one the one featured on the kickstarter, “there can be no triumph without agon.”
[20:38] <+TightropeGames> following the lines of “that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”
[20:39] <+TightropeGames> they are taller than average human, pale and lithe. their eyes subtly glow green in the dark, like all things infused with “krenia” as it is said magic flows their their veins
[20:39] <+TightropeGames> they essentially have the lifespan of several thousand years
[20:42] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:43] <~Dan> How involved are gods in the setting?
[20:46] <+TightropeGames> the gods were the prominent first men of the Atlanteanesque first city, who are now known as the Ancients. Stories turn to legends, legends to mythic stories, and then myth to apotheosis; they embody the desiderata valued of humanity
[20:47] <+TightropeGames> the peasantry worships them as actual gods, who look down upon them and interact with them. the priesthood, perpetuates the fallacy (using magic to assist them with this) as a device to control the population
[20:48] <+TightropeGames> knowing the true value of their religion is taking the teachings and emulating the great men and women worshiped as “gods” as nothing more than exemplars, a compass for a fruitful and valued existence.
[20:49] <+TightropeGames> if there are actually any real gods at work, nobody knows for sure
[20:49] * ~Dan nods
[20:50] <~Dan> So in the last 10 minutes of “regular time”, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up? (And please keep in mind that you’re welcome to hang out with us and answer questions as long as you like.)
[20:53] <+TightropeGames> well, since our current project Faction: Custodians of Dust was our first attempt at crowd funding, we have learned quite a bit in the process and realized maybe we set our aspirations too ambitiously. We have several products currently in the works and a ton of ideas for future products.
[20:54] <+TightropeGames> Thanks for the opportunity to get the word out and talk about our games
[20:55] <~Dan> Absolutely, Ben! Thank you very much for coming by!
[20:55] <~Dan> If you can hang on just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link!
[20:56] <+TightropeGames> Thanks for having me