[20:02] <+HDP_Dave> Hello, I’m T Dave Silva lead designer, writer and owner of House Dok Productions. In 2013 we released our first game, Fractured Kingdom and we have just launched a Kickstarter for our newest game Metahumans Rising, a super powered RPG inspired by classic comics.
[20:05] <+HDP_Dave> Metahumans Rising takes it’s inspiration primarily from the Bronze Age of comics although the timeline takes us to a near modern day.
[20:07] <+HDP_Dave> The game’s engine is designed to capture the feel of these comics as well as comic book inspired television shows and movies rewarding players for drawing on their character’s history and background and allowing them to pull off amazing power stunts when the pressure is on.
[20:08] <+HDP_Dave> (Fin)
[20:08] <~Dan> Thanks, Dave!
[20:08] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:09] <~Dan> First, for those unaware, can you explain the Bronze Age of comics?
[20:09] <+ladle> Were there any specific comic books that inspired you?
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[20:09] <~Dan> wb, TQuid!
[20:10] <+TQuid> Rehi
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[20:13] <+HDP_Dave> The Bronze Age fell between the around 1970 to about the mid 80s. It was a time when writers began to explore more delicate topics such as inequality, race and substance abuse. Some of the titles that frame this time for me are probably the X-Men and Green Lantern/Green Arrow (Their combined comic.)
[20:14] <~Dan> Ah, the iconic junkie cover.
[20:15] <+HDP_Dave> Indeed, among others.
[20:16] <+GenoFoxx> Luke Cage and Iron Fist
[20:18] <~Dan> What is the premise of the setting?
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[20:22] <+HDP_Dave> The setting picks up shortly after a large alien invasion called the Terraforming Event. Where a race of arachnid like aliens attempted to claim the earth as their new home or more correctly, their world ship’s AI did, but more on that later. In the wake of the Terraforming Event many of the words heroes have been killed, gone missing or …
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[20:24] <+HDP_Dave> left the earth to help found a new colony on Mars. Unfortunately, despite the losses many suffered there are those that still seek to gain from other’s tragedy and new heroes must step forth to protect their homes, communities, even the world. from ever growing threats.
[20:26] <+HDP_Dave> I can talk about some of those ever growing threats or we can come back to that if you wanted to look at something else first.
[20:27] <~Dan> Hmm. Let’s come back to that in a moment. First, can you tell us if there is a single source for superpowers in the setting? Or is this an “anything goes” sort of supers setting?
[20:28] <+HDP_Dave> There is a common source but the field is wide open…
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[20:29] <~Dan> Do you mean that there’s one obvious source but a lot of other ones?
[20:32] <+HDP_Dave> The first modern Metahumans emerged at the tail end of World War I when a chemical agent was released on a number of US, British and German soldiers. This is known as the Strasbourg Event. Since that time more people have been born that developed super powers. However, this is also a world of Super science, high technology with a dash of magic.
[20:33] <~Dan> Are all of the superheroes humans? Or are there gods, robots, aliens, etc.?
[20:35] <+HDP_Dave> One of our signature characters is an alien and we have a robot PC in our play test game now. While there are no characters in the core book of the God status that does not mean players could not create these types of characters.
[20:36] <~Dan> Perhaps I should have said “supernatural creature” rather than “god”.
[20:37] <~Dan> Could you play a vampire, for example?
[20:37] <+HDP_Dave> There is a lot of room for supernatural heroes and villains.
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[20:39] <+HDP_Dave> Another signature hero, Bulwark gained his powers from finding the Hestaphus Circlet. This transformed him into a being of stone and fire. One of our signature villains, Michael Fhage is a powerful sorcerer with hopes to rewrite history, or unmake reality, depending on what will serve his end goal.
[20:41] <+HDP_Dave> To answer that specific question though. The character creation system easily accommodates character concepts such as vampires.
[20:41] * ~Dan nods
[20:41] <~Dan> Do you distinguish between magic and superpowers in terms of the system?
[20:41] <+HDP_Dave> Yes and no
[20:44] <+HDP_Dave> When you or creating your character one of the first questions you will answer is what is the source of their powers. Here we define things such as naturally born mutants, experiments, high technology or exceptional training. These Origins factor into play in different ways, however, when you create your powers they use the same system…
[20:47] <+HDP_Dave> This allows players to define their character and what they can do with a consistent creation method and unified resolution system.
[20:47] <~Dan> So does a sorcerer simply have a variety of powers?
[20:48] <+HDP_Dave> Actually, most characters have a single power, that they are able to use in different ways.
[20:49] <~Dan> Really? That’s an unusual approach.
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[20:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:50] <~Dan> Does that mean there are few characters with weird power combinations, like, say, the Vision or the Martian Manhunter?
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[20:52] <+HDP_Dave> Metahumans Rising introduces Willpower to the Open Action System. Willpower can be used to create power tricks depending on the story. For example, Bulwark, who I mentioned earlier has defined his power as Volcanic Body. This power as the player defines it makes the character super tough, strong and able to glide through the earth. The core concept is …
[20:53] <+HDP_Dave> he isa living volcano. To by expending willpower he can pull off tricks that were never originally defined, such as erupting and sending molten lava and rock everywhere.
[20:54] <~Dan> So are all powers player-defined?
[20:56] <+HDP_Dave> A character like Martian Manhunter would also have a singular power, Green Martian Physiology, the player would define that as granting super strength, telepathy, shape shift and the ability to become intangible. Forgive me if I didn’t get all of his abilities there.
[20:56] <+HDP_Dave> Yes, powers are all player defined. Actually, there is something else I would like to touch on there.
[20:57] <+HDP_Dave> There are no traditional combat skills in Metahumans Rising.
[20:57] <~Dan> Oh?
[20:58] <+HDP_Dave> Instead, if the player decides to give their character a fighting style, they are able to name it and define how it works.
[20:58] <~Dan> (brb — please continue)
[21:01] <+HDP_Dave> For example, lets say we both study Karate, you might focus on protecting yourself, blocking, dodging, getting out of the way and then striking back. This would be defined as a defensive fighting style with a secondary offensive role. This means the main advantage for you is for defense…
[21:01] <~Dan> (back)
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[21:02] <+HDP_Dave> Where as I focus more on striking and taking down a foes quickly. For me this is an offensive style that may not even provide a defense bonus. So even though we both have “Karate” they are very different based on who we are.
[21:02] <~Dan> Are all skills player-defined like this?
[21:05] <+HDP_Dave> There are a number of Talents to get players started and give everyone a working framework. More often players will define specialties within a given talent. Although, there is an example of how to create new Talents.
[21:06] <~Dan> I see. Actually, before we get any deeper into the system, is there a posted character sheet we can see?
[21:06] <+HDP_Dave> Sure
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[21:08] <+HDP_Dave> Let me introduce you to Crossfire (Link: http://housedok.com/hero-spotlight-crossfire-ii/)http://housedok.com/hero-spotlight-crossfire-ii/ he is a former US Army Ranger turned super hero. Although he doesn’t possess super powers he has honed his skills with a bow to super human levels.
[21:09] <~Dan> Hmm… So this is an attribute + skill system?
[21:10] <+HDP_Dave> That’s correct
[21:10] <+ladle> (hey i’m back)
[21:10] <~Dan> What is the core mechanic?
[21:10] <~Dan> (wb, ladle!)
[21:11] <+ladle> I’m also curious as to how you maintain balance, if most of the abilities are player defined
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[21:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei_Kenobi!)
[21:13] <+Kei_Kenobi> (Dan! you rock!)
[21:13] <~Dan> (Thanks!)
[21:13] <+Kei_Kenobi> (of course!)
[21:13] <+HDP_Dave> When a Roll is called for the GM will state what the Difficulty is and what the generally Attribute or talent should be, such as if Crossfire was attempting to hide the GM would ask for a Stealth Roll. The player would then Roll their Dexterity + Stealth and 3d6. If they did not possess Stealth they would instead Roll Dexterity + 2d6.
[21:14] <~Dan> So the base is stat + 2d6, and each skill adds both its score and an additional d6?
[21:14] <+HDP_Dave> Players can also earn extra dice for a roll if they possess a Specialty or power that can be applied. So if Crossfire had a specialty for say hiding in the woods he would be able to add that as well + an additonal d6.
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[21:15] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snoof!)
[21:16] <+ladle> huh
[21:16] <+ladle> that is very cool, and potentially very complex
[21:17] <+HDP_Dave> Almost, only the first characteristic of a different type applies. So if Crossfire was hiding in an area where he could dusguise himself he would get to add the Value of both Stealth and disguise but just 1 bonus die as they are both Talents.
[21:17] <~Dan> Regarding ladle’s balancing question, I’m also curious as to how much leeway players have in determining the scope of custom powers.
[21:18] <+ladle> aaaaaaah, i see
[21:18] <~Dan> Like, what keeps a player from saying, “My guy can do THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and…”
[21:19] <+ladle> “My guy is Kryptonian, he’s basically Superman” <– terrible player
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[21:21] <+HDP_Dave> Sure, before players start making their characters they will agree on a general power level. This gives the player a number of selections they can make in defining their powers, or other Boons the character possesses.
[21:22] <~Dan> I see. Cool.
[21:22] <~Dan> And is it always the case that all powers have the same rating?
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[21:22] <~Dan> (wb, willows!)
[21:25] <+ladle> i would imagine that powers can be “down-” or “upgraded” at will. super strength either means lifting a train, or diverting a meteor
[21:26] <~Dan> Well, what I mean is that while Spider-man is both super-agile and super-strong, he’s much more agile than his is strong.
[21:26] <+HDP_Dave> A character like Superman is going to have a number of different things baked into their core power of Kryptonian spreading them out. Other character may focus on doing one thing or a small number of things…
[21:26] <~Dan> If he would just have one rating for being Spider-man, I don’t know how you’d do that.
[21:26] <+HDP_Dave> I’ll add that powers can be used to give characters bonuses to Rolls and that bonus to lifting heavy things does not automatically give a bonus to issuing punches to the face.
[21:27] <+ladle> ah, good point dan
[21:27] <+ladle> @dave hmm i see, that too is interesting
[21:28] <~Dan> Do you mean in terms of actually connecting with a punch?
[21:28] <+HDP_Dave> Dan, I don’t ant to get too deep into spidey lore but I do believe the wall crawller can tote a few tons. 😉
[21:28] <~Dan> Oh, he can. 10 tons, last time I checked. But I’d say he’s even more insanely agile. 🙂
[21:29] <~Dan> In any case, I’m just using him as an example.
[21:29] <+HDP_Dave> He is and his style of combat utilizes his wit as well. This was a major point I wanted to be able to incorporate.
[21:30] <~Dan> Speaking of which, how does combat work?
[21:32] <+HDP_Dave> Let me address this from a high level first and we can drill down depending on where you want to look.
[21:32] * ~Dan nods
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[21:37] <+HDP_Dave> Combat uses the same basic Rolls, generally an Attribute + a power or fighting style versus a Defense Value set by the opposing character. Initiative is done bottom up with slower characters acting first and faster characters able to interrupt or actively defend…
[21:37] <+ladle> huh
[21:37] <+HDP_Dave> This allows us to create a lot of classic comic book scenes such as the hit squad attempting to shoot the heroes and a speedster taking their guns away before they can pull the trigger.
[21:38] <+ladle> that is actually a really really fantastic idea
[21:38] <+HDP_Dave> It also helps to keep players engaged as they are no longer just waiting for their turn then going to pick up the pizza.
[21:39] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:40] <~Dan> How is damage determined?
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[21:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[21:45] <+HDP_Dave> Damage is a fun, at least if you are a wrecking ball. Each characteristic you use on a Roll gives you a flat +2 to damage. Some powers are Devastating giving them bonus damage based on the power’s Value. On a successful roll you inflict this set amount of damage – the target’s armor.
[21:45] <+HDP_Dave> Of course that’s a bit too static for a comic book. So for every 6 you Roll you get a bonus to Damage.
[21:47] <+HDP_Dave> Characters can also pull off maneuvers such as a Heavy Blow that sacrifices accuracy for damage. This may be a wild powerful swing or going for a head shot.
[21:48] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:49] <~Dan> How powerful would you say starting characters are by default? Or… you mentioned multiple power level options, didn’t you?
[21:52] <+HDP_Dave> It depends on your level of play. A classic hero can generally has a set of abilites that let them do a number of things. Most characters of this power level will be facing off against other super powered beings or foes with tech you don’t find on the streets.
[21:54] <~Dan> But would you compare them to, say, street-level supers? X-men? Avengers?
[21:54] <+HDP_Dave> A High Powered hero is probably ready to take on global threats. Things even millitary forces would not be able to stand up to, or would take major losses if they faces off.
[21:55] <~Dan> Very cool.
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[21:55] <~Dan> (Howdy, sharpe! Long time no see!)
[21:56] <+HDP_Dave> Classic Heroes would probably be on par with characters like Spider Man ,most of the X-Men, or Fantastic Four. Although, depending on which timer periods you look at this can vary.
[21:56] <~Dan> Not that you need to run off, but in what remains of “regular time”, is there anything you’d like to mention that we haven’t covered?
[21:58] <+HDP_Dave> I would like to go back to character Backgrounds.
[21:59] <~Dan> Sure.
[22:00] <+HDP_Dave> I mentioned towards the start that character backgrounds matter. At the start of creation the player will answer a few basic questions. What is the source of the character’s power, why are they are hero and what pushes them to go beyond their limits.
[22:02] <+HDP_Dave> These questions help to define who the hero is and can come up in play making a major impact on the story. Depending on the narrative players are able to pull in these elements or add them to a scene.
[22:05] <+HDP_Dave> For example, Bulwark has the Drive Prove he is not a monster. When in a battle with a super villain he might say that an energy blast that missed him actually knocked the ledge of a building loose and there are people that will be crushed underneath if he does nothing. So to prove he is no monster he will sacrifice himself shielding the people…
[22:05] <+HDP_Dave> taking the blow to his back.
[22:05] <~Dan> Huh. Cool.
[22:06] <+HDP_Dave> Mechanically the player has chosen to take the damage from the attack to gain a willpower. But doing so creates this added level of narrative that would not have existed without the player or the character’s motivations.
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[22:09] <+ladle> very cool
[22:09] <~Dan> Indeed.
[22:09] <+ladle> i suppose this allows for morally gray characters?
[22:10] <+HDP_Dave> This also has a strange effect on some of the classic super hero dilemmas. A character can have a Drive of Protect my girlfriend from my heroic life.So when the GM says Chimera is abducting womem the player can then add that his girlfriend was one of those abducted.
[22:13] <~Dan> Nice. 🙂
[22:13] <+ladle> i like how those choices are built into the system
[22:14] <+HDP_Dave> Depending on how you set up a character’s drives you could play a game that brings morality to the forefront. It really depends on the player’s choices and how they choose to pull them into the story.
[22:14] * ~Dan nods
[22:16] <+HDP_Dave> Actually, while Metahumans Rising works on bringing you the feel of comic books the first step in character creation involves discussing the tone of the campaign. Depending on the group this is set up to bring everyone together and create a shared feel for the world you will inhabit.
[22:17] <+ladle> i like that
[22:17] <+HDP_Dave> As part of this, the timeline and factions within the setting are designed to be modular. Allowing the group to customize the setting to their needs. Be it swapping how heroes from events in the timeline to setting certain villain groups at the forefront.
[22:18] * ~Dan nods
[22:18] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[22:18] <+ladle> this sounds like a story that would do very well with parallel universes
[22:19] <+HDP_Dave> In the Kickstarter video I talk about turning a reality shaping sorcerer into a high school teen. This isn’t just meant to be funny. Each villain discusses core concepts so that you can change their origin and stay true to the character to fit your campaign needs.
[22:20] <+HDP_Dave> Speaking of (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/housedok/metahumans-rising)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/housedok/metahumans-rising for those that don’t have the link.
[22:20] <~Dan> Ah, yes, I was going to remind you about that.
[22:21] <~Dan> Can you give me just a moment to post the log and get you the link?
[22:21] <+HDP_Dave> ladle funny you should mention parallel universes. One of our stretch goals is an adventure written by Eloy Lasanta (Part Time Gods, Amp: Year One, API) that deals with that subject.
[22:22] <+ladle> that’s awesome
[22:22] <+HDP_Dave> Our other stretch goal author is Sam Chupp (Many World of Darkness books)
[22:22] <+HDP_Dave> Dan, sure
[22:22] <~Dan> Excellent! One moment…