[19:04] <+Zoltan> I’m Zoltan Lecei, one of the co-creators of the indie tabletop RPG “Awaken”
[19:05] <+Zoltan> Others couldn’t be present today, so I’m the only one who’ll be answering the questions
[19:07] <+Zoltan> As I stated before, “Awaken” is an indie tabletop rpg, set in the fantasy setting and world which is currently going through hard times
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[19:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, Shadest!)
[19:09] <+Zoltan> The world itself was very much like our own medieval times, without fantastical elements except in their mythology. But everything changed with the arrival of the new kind of humans who could manifest strange powers.
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[19:11] <+Zoltan> After that, various things started happening, including the arrival of the monstrous humanoids from the underground, called Vargans.
[19:13] <+Zoltan> The city states of the known world united under the name “Alliance of the Great Cities” and started a war against Vargans under the leadership of forementioned gifted humans now known under the name of Vasalli
[19:15] <+Zoltan> After the long and devastating war, the people of the land are trying to get their lifes back on track and rebuild their settlements and cities, and these are the times when the game itself takes place
[19:15] <+Zoltan> (done)
[19:15] <+xyphoid> nice art!
[19:15] <~Dan> Thanks, Zoltan!
[19:15] <~Dan> The floor is open for questions!
[19:15] <+Zoltan> Thanks, our main artist Kristina is a part of the core team
[19:16] <~Dan> So first, are the Vargans and the Vasalli the only supernatural elements in the setting?
[19:19] <+Zoltan> actually no. There are a lot of supernatural elements, which were discovered after the arrival of Vasalli and Vargans. People are still not entirely sure did they exist before and something was the catalyst for the return of the supernatural, or everything occured at once
[19:19] <+Zoltan> one of the more important supernatural elements in the game are so called “Colossi”
[19:20] <+Zoltan> They are gigantic humanoids which serve as defenders of the major cities
[19:22] <~Dan> And they are newly arrived in the setting?
[19:22] <+Zoltan> The ritual was found in the old books which describes something similar to Vasalli and the special rites which transform them into gigantic beings
[19:23] <+Zoltan> That’s one of the reasons people think that everything that arrived, at one point in history
[19:24] <+Zoltan> existed at one point in history*
[19:24] * ~Dan nods
[19:25] <~Dan> So how common are monsters in general?
[19:26] <+Zoltan> Except the old folklore, and some tales, the monsters were virtually unheard of, that is until the arrival of the Vargans
[19:27] <~Dan> But now?
[19:27] <+Zoltan> After the war, the monsters such as Vargans and other beings possibly connected to them, roam the wilderness
[19:28] <+Zoltan> So people rarely leave their settlements
[19:28] * ~Dan nods
[19:29] <+Zoltan> The main roads in the Alliance are guarded, but there simply aren’t enough leftover Colossi to protect other roads, so travellers usually take the longer routes, protected by military and mercenaries
[19:30] <+Zoltan> And that’s one of the main reasons why Alliance is in the bad situation. All the dangers are reflected on the economy and it continually alienates the bigger cities away from other settlements
[19:31] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of other creatures in the setting?
[19:32] <~Dan> (brb)
[19:33] <+Zoltan> Most of the creatures found in the wild are monstrous creatures in the servitude of Vargans, such as “Creepers” – giant squid-like creatures, but moving on the land
[19:34] <+Zoltan> There are couple of monsters which share some similarities with Vargans, and it is rumored they are something Vargans brought with themselves
[19:35] <~Dan> (back, sorry)
[19:35] <+Zoltan> And there are creatures which look similar to common animals, but have gone berserk and transformed into monstrous versions of themselves – those are actually normal animals infected with Vargan blood
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[19:36] <~Dan> (Howdy, AeonPhoenix!)
[19:36] <~Dan> What makes the Vasalli special?
[19:36] <+Zoltan> And finally, one example of dangerous creatures in the wilderness are so called “Wild Ones” – wild version of Colossi
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[19:38] <+Zoltan> Vasalli are people which manifest extraordinary gifts, such as telekinesis, telepathy, inhuman bursts of strenght and speed, mind control, regeneration and many more
[19:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, Songtress!)
[19:39] <+Zoltan> Even the weakest Vasalli is usually as strong as above average human
[19:39] <+Zoltan> but
[19:40] <+Zoltan> When Vasalli uses his gifts too much, he starts showing the signs of an addict
[19:40] <+Zoltan> The power they wield, corrupts them if they use it too much or don’t control it the way they should
[19:41] <+Zoltan> They start behaving irrationaly, become paranoid, angry, susceptible to irritation
[19:42] <+Zoltan> Their body also goes through physical change, their skin becomes bloodless and the cracks in it begin to show
[19:43] <+Zoltan> In the end, their bodies wither and they simply die because of the corruption which devours their mind and body
[19:43] <+Zoltan> (done)
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[19:46] <~Dan> It almost sounds like the Vasalli are fantasy superheroes.
[19:47] <+Zoltan> Yes, in a way they are, but not everyone looks at them that way
[19:48] <+Zoltan> Since they are a fairly recent novelty in the world, not everyone supports the idea of a race of “ubermench” which appears seemingly from nowhere
[19:48] <+Zoltan> But most of the Vasalli themselves are pretty confused with what starts happening with them when they start experiencing changes
[19:50] <+Zoltan> Imagine a young farmer working on the field. Not being the sharpest tool in the shed, other kids tease him and provoke him. One day he goes through the fit of rage and he looses control. In the next moment he finds himself lifting an ox and a cart and throwing them towards other children
[19:51] <+Zoltan> He is ostracized, his own family is frightened
[19:51] <+Zoltan> The word about him spreads
[19:51] <+Zoltan> Then, one day, someone knocks on the door. Well look who it is, a friendly cleric from nearby city
[19:52] <+Zoltan> And he offers the family to take the farmer to city and school him, releasing them from the burden and sending them some money every month
[19:53] <+Zoltan> The young farmer goes to the big city where everyone tries to attract him to their cause
[19:53] <+Zoltan> There are a lot of situations which can develop from there
[19:54] <+Zoltan> The politics of the world is merciless; the classism slowly shifts from favoring the noble families to favoring the Vasalli
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[19:55] <~Dan> Howdy, DrNate!
[19:55] <+BlasterKyubey210> So the Vasalli are well, a curiosity at best
[19:55] <+BlasterKyubey210> To walking disasters at their worse?
[19:55] <+Zoltan> Right
[19:55] <+Zoltan> Yup 🙂
[19:56] <+Zoltan> The main difference between “superheroes” and Vasalli, is that Vasalli aren’t that rare in that world
[19:56] <+Zoltan> And as every ordinary human, they have various urges and affinities
[19:58] <+Zoltan> So, in the end, possibly the worst antagonists in the game are the Vasalli themselves
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[19:59] <+Zoltan> There are a lot of organisations and various cults which gather Vasalli and their supporters, steering them towards various goals
[19:59] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snoof!)
[20:01] <~Dan> Do they Vasalli fall into various categories, like the vampire clans of the World of Darkness, for example?
[20:01] <+Zoltan> actually no
[20:02] <+Zoltan> the character building allows any character to “unlock” any skill or gift
[20:02] <+Zoltan> balancing them out of course
[20:02] * ~Dan nods
[20:02] <+Zoltan> but a Vasall with mind control and regeneration for example, isn’t unheard of
[20:03] <+GenoFoxx> seems like the Vasalli are a lot like ‘Trinity and Aberrant’s’ Aberrants
[20:03] <+GenoFoxx> only without the eventual physical deformities
[20:04] <+Zoltan> Possibly, I must say I haven’t tried out the game 🙂
[20:04] <~Dan> Well, actually, Zoltan mentioned them gaining physical deformities from abusing their powers.
[20:05] <+GenoFoxx> ok, yeah like Aberrants
[20:05] <+Zoltan> Yes, they show some degree of deforimities, but nothing debilitating except in the final stages of corruption (the mechanics reflects it as the low health treshold actually)
[20:06] <+Zoltan> Since the game is heavily influenced by slavic and mediterranean lore, we imagined Vasalli as mythological heroes resurfaced
[20:06] <~Dan> Now, does spell-based magic exist in this setting, or are all magic powers inherent, like superpowers?
[20:06] <+Zoltan> That would be the main inspiration
[20:06] <~Dan> I can see that, re: mythological heroes.
[20:07] <+Zoltan> We are toying with the idea of adding the ritual based magic accesible to non-Vasalli, but as you stated, most of the powers are inherent
[20:08] <+Zoltan> The lore in the game presents those powers as “Gifts” as in gifts from Azimoth, God of Light from the dualistic religion which is the main religion in the setting
[20:09] <+Zoltan> The before mentioned rites of Colossi were found in old scriptures devoted to that god
[20:10] <~Dan> Ah, so you said. So there is an example of ritual magic in the setting already.
[20:11] <~Dan> So let’s turn to the system for a moment. Do you have a character sheet we can see?
[20:12] <+Zoltan> Yes, that’s why it’s only logical to allow for some existing rituals
[20:12] <+Zoltan> Just a moment please
[20:16] <+Zoltan> I made a screenshot since the current pdf is a little bit large for upload (Link: http://prntscr.com/5a7gzz)http://prntscr.com/5a7gzz
[20:17] <~Dan> Let’s see here…
[20:18] <+Zoltan> That’s a full version of the sheet, the Quickstart available for download on our page has the pregenerated characters and sheets
[20:19] <~Dan> What is the core mechanic?
[20:19] <+Zoltan> We designed the core mechanic, instead of taking some of the available options
[20:20] <+Zoltan> it’s based on the d6 dice
[20:21] <+Zoltan> to succeed in an action, the player rolls the number of the dice which corresponds to the sum of the attribute and skill needed for the action
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[20:22] <+Zoltan> and if he rolls any fives or sixes on the dice, he succeeds in the action
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[20:23] <+Zoltan> for instance: a player wants his character to dance
[20:23] <+Zoltan> he sums up the points in “social” attribute and “performance” skill
[20:24] <+Zoltan> let’s say he has social 2 and performance 1
[20:24] <+Zoltan> The player rolls 3 dice and has the results of 2, 4 and 5
[20:25] <+Zoltan> The character dances without making fun of himself 🙂
[20:25] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:25] <~Dan> Do the number of successes matter?
[20:26] <+Zoltan> one success is usually enough to do the action, but of course, with more good numbers, the result is exponentionaly better
[20:27] <+Zoltan> normally, it depends on the Narrator, but we have the “exceptional success” rule
[20:27] <~Dan> How does that work?
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[20:27] <~Dan> (Howdy, ArdentPurple!)
[20:28] <+Zoltan> if 5 or more successes are rolled, the Narrator must describe the most favourable outcome for the character, and in addition, one will point is regained
[20:29] <+Zoltan> and the will points can be used to boost the results of the dice in future rolls
[20:29] <~Dan> How are Luck and Courage used?
[20:31] <+Zoltan> Luck is used similarily to will, except they can’t be regained except after a good night’s sleep, and it makes the action an instant success
[20:32] <+Zoltan> will adds one success on dice (commonly used for combat, as we’ve seen in playtests)
[20:33] <+Zoltan> Luck and Will can also be rolled instead of spending, when the Narrator requires it, to withstand mental attacks or survive unlucky situations
[20:33] <+Zoltan> And courage can only be rolled, and it is required to hold the composure in the face of great horrors
[20:34] <+Zoltan> If a character fails the courage roll, he freezes in fear or flees in terror
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[20:36] <~Dan> It appears that some of the skills are what would be considered attributes in other systems — Perception and Agility, for example.
[20:37] <+Zoltan> Yes, we tried to keep the attributes (which are primarily innate abilities) as simple as we could
[20:37] <+Zoltan> And opted to expand the skill tree with the skills which are more likely to be trained and focused upon
[20:37] <~Dan> That leaves me wondering about how you handle pure strength.
[20:40] <+Zoltan> Pure strength is handled depending on the situation, character can mix physical and agility while trying to move a boulder with a lever, or physical and fray when arm wrestling, or even pure physical when trying some other feats of strenght
[20:41] <+Zoltan> strength*
[20:42] <+Zoltan> We tried to keep the mechanic simple and give the players enough freedom to use their imagination rather than dice results
[20:42] <~Dan> So if a character has superhuman strength, does he just have higher Physical?
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[20:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
[20:42] <+Zoltan> Yes, the physical rating of a common human is 2, 3 max
[20:43] <+Zoltan> Vasalli can go up to 5, and the gift which allows them superhuman strenght is activation based
[20:43] <~Dan> Do NPCs (including creatures) have the same stats as PCs?
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[20:45] <+Zoltan> Depending on the NPC. Vasalli NPC’s have same stats, and some other creatures such as Vargans, usually have higher stats. But no extra skills or attributes were added
[20:45] <+Zoltan> Only difference (mechanic-wise) between a perceptive human and hawk is that a hawk has a perception specialization in sight, for instance
[20:46] <~Dan> That leads me to a follow-up question, but first, I’d need to find out how combat works.
[20:46] <+Zoltan> we left the skills open enough for people to devise their own specializations
[20:47] <+Zoltan> the combat progresses in rounds, with each player acting at the same time
[20:47] <+Zoltan> rounds have 4 phases
[20:47] <+Zoltan> Declaration Phase, Maneuver Phase, Engagement Phase and Resolution Phase
[20:48] <+Zoltan> in declaration phase, everyone decides and declares their intention during the following 2 phases
[20:49] <+Zoltan> maneuver phase is reserved for movement, Gifts and combat maneuvers – everything that isn’t a direct confrontation or attack takes place in this phase
[20:49] <+Zoltan> then comes the engagement phase
[20:50] <+Zoltan> there are combat pools positioned right of the skills on the sheet
[20:51] <+Zoltan> they represent the ability of the character, weapons and defense ability
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[20:51] <+Zoltan> the player divides the pool in 2 parts- attack and defense, depending on what he wants to do
[20:52] <+Zoltan> let’s say he has 7 total
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[20:52] <+Zoltan> he decides to fight more defensively, so he reserves 2 dice for attack and 5 for defense
[20:52] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:52] <+Zoltan> player then rolls the dice and counts the successes
[20:53] <~Dan> (brb — please continue)
[20:53] <+Zoltan> every success is the point in attack or defense, depending on the division of the pool
[20:54] <+Zoltan> for instance, if he rolled 5 and 5 in attack and 2,2,3,5,5,6 in defense it comes to 2 points in attack and 3 points in defense
[20:54] <+Zoltan> in the same time other players and Narrator roll their dice for their characters and NPC’s
[20:54] <+Zoltan> and then they pit the successes one against another
[20:55] <+Zoltan> the damage equals to defense points minus attack points
[20:55] <+Zoltan> and that’s it
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[20:59] <~Dan> (back)
[20:59] <+Zoltan> 🙂
[20:59] <~Dan> So your armor can add to your offense?
[21:01] <+Zoltan> armor is a special situation and it can be used only for defense, except if used very creatively or if it is modded with spikes or something similar 🙂 and defense dice can’t be lower than armor score
[21:01] <~Dan> Ah, that makes sense.
[21:01] <+Zoltan> on the other hand, weapons can be used for defense unlike armor/offense situation
[21:02] <+Zoltan> even bow and arrows, such as trying to deflect someones flail with the bow etc.
[21:02] <+BlasterKyubey210> Must make for a good laugh when it goes right (not nessary the number of successes)
[21:03] <~Dan> So given that weapons and the Physical attribute make an attack more likely to succeed, rather than adding to damage, is it possible to make a creature that is clumsy but does massive damage if it hits?
[21:03] <+Zoltan> yes, the combat is usually very dynamic and short
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[21:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, RandBrittain!)
[21:03] <+Zoltan> playtests have shown that people enjoy the situations which arise from throwing the dice in the same time
[21:03] <+RandBrittain> (good evening)
[21:06] <+Zoltan> well, we never approached combat in that way, since usually (in real situations) clumsy creatures don’t stand a chance 🙂
[21:06] <~Dan> I’m thinking of a Colossus, for example.
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[21:07] <+Zoltan> and clumsy creatures with massive damage are usually huge (as colossus, right) and their overwhelming size would pretty much force the player to run and decide on a different strategy rather than attack it directly
[21:08] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[21:09] <~Dan> My apologies — I just realize that we’re running late here. I would, though, like to give you a chance to bring up anything that we haven’t covered so far.
[21:09] <+Zoltan> we had such situations with Creepers (squid-like creatures I mentioned) and despite their clumsines, the sheer size and number of tentacles forced creatures to retreat
[21:09] <+Zoltan> not creatures, characters 😀
[21:09] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:10] <+Zoltan> well, I pretty much said most of the important points. I’d only like to share something more about The Picture Rule we added to the game
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[21:10] <~Dan> Certainly!
[21:11] <+Zoltan> since we imagined the game to be open and to allow freedom to players and narrators alike, without enforcing many rules, we skipped all the statistics such as sturdines, hardness of the materials, necessary strength to lift something etc, and left it to be decided by narrator
[21:12] <+Zoltan> in the same time, we tried to give players incentive to be creative and imaginative with the Picture Rule
[21:13] <+Zoltan> so, when a player describes the situation vividly or devises a creative way to solve something, Narrator should reward him with extra dice for the effort
[21:13] <~Dan> I’m a fan of that approach. 🙂
[21:13] <+Zoltan> in some situations he can also decide that the action is an instant success, if it is logical
[21:15] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:15] <+Zoltan> of course, it shouldn’t mean that players should go into elaborate treatises on how to pluck an feather from the mountain hawk (I had that situation in a play test 🙂 ) but rather give them more options to think about
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[21:16] * ~Dan nods
[21:16] <+Zoltan> Anyway, thanks for having me, it’s been a pleasure 🙂
[21:17] <~Dan> Absolutely, Zoltan! Please come by any time you like!