[19:02] <+BrettBernstein> Hello. I am Brett Bernstein of Precis Intermedia. Among lots of other RPGs, I will be bringing Bloodshadows, the fantasy-noir RPG, back in a new stand-alone edition this year.
[19:04] <+Catseye> I have to ask. because I was a Masterbook player. Is rge game system different? Or is it still Masterbook?
[19:04] <+Catseye> the
[19:05] <+BrettBernstein> No, it is a different system using 2d6: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=104)http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=104
[19:06] <~Dan> Perhaps we should start with the basics… Can you describe Bloodshadows?
[19:10] <+BrettBernstein> Bloodshadows is a game that mirrors classic film noir, but in a world that evolved from wars, typically pitting monsters against humans. Many of these monsters, or Unnaturals, now live side by side with humans, but are typically treated as a lower class. Simple and more complex magic are also common – many ordinary citizens use cantrips to light cigarettes.
[19:10] <~Dan> How do humans manage to stay on top?
[19:13] <+BrettBernstein> Usually, it’s because there are more of them. The Wilderness is frightening. Without the protection of cities, humanity and most Unnaturals would not survive. Travel in the Wilderness is limited to explorers and Caravans, so most people don’t even know about other cities. Change is rare. That’s not to say that all Unnaturals are horribly oppressed…
[19:14] <~Dan> What makes the Wilderness so scary?
[19:14] <+BrettBernstein> Taxims (demon-possessed corpses) have their own unions, working as laborers and taxi drivers. Others may gain a little power with cash. Many can fit into human society, since they are very close in appearance. In the end, most citizens do not really get that much benefit from being on a slightly higher rung. It all depends on the city.
[19:16] <+BrettBernstein> The Wilderness is littered with nasty creatures, many cast-offs from the previous wars. They lie in wait or are just so powerful, like the monsters in the sea or sand that swallow their prey. There are also creatures that wait near the few portals for their victims – these portals are dimensional gateways to other locations…
[19:16] <+BrettBernstein> The two cities of Selastos and Galitia are connected by a portal.
[19:17] <+BrettBernstein> Map: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/blog.php?entry=2396)http://www.pigames.net/store/blog.php?entry=2396
[19:18] <&Silverlion> So what does one do in Bloodshadows?
[19:18] <~Dan> Are the monsters Unnaturals as well, or a different category of creature altogether?
[19:18] <~Dan> The Wilderness monsters, I mean.
[19:20] <+BrettBernstein> Players portray a wide variety of noir characters and fantasy: thugs and crooks, merchants trying to make a living, newscribes looking for their next scoop, private eyes, sentinels (cops), socialites, spellslingers, streetsingers (performers and news readers), or your average joe.
[19:21] <&Silverlion> You said the game uses 2d6 do you have sample PC sheet we can see?
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[19:21] <~Dan> (Howdy, BPIJonathan!)
[19:22] <+BPIJonathan> (Howdy all, sorry I am late. I finally made it home from Gen Con today)
[19:22] <+BrettBernstein> Anything non-human is an Unnaturals, but there are different types: pure races like humans (not many others these days), breeds (or half-breeds), demons, shifters, undead, and then the wilderness creatures. Players can portray a number of Unnaturals from vampires and succubi to face-shifters and werewolves.
[19:23] <+BrettBernstein> Sample sheet: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/blog.php?entry=2389)http://www.pigames.net/store/blog.php?entry=2389
[19:24] <~Dan> Hmm. So Magic is an attribute?
[19:25] <&Silverlion> Can you play a spellslinging werelion?
[19:25] <&Silverlion> I’m just asking, for a friend..:D
[19:25] <+BrettBernstein> No, magic is a set of pursuits (skills). There are three general types: cantrips (for basic, easy spells), casting (ten different ones that cover different aspects of magic), theory (five different ones, used in conjunction with casting pursuits to create new spells).
[19:26] <~Dan> What attribute governs magic use, then?
[19:26] <+BrettBernstein> Anyone can use magic, but spellslingers are better at it. You can play a spellslinging werewolf (adapt as you’d like for wirelion), yes.
[19:27] <&Silverlion> Cool.
[19:27] <&Silverlion> My “friend” will be happy, now to find a GM.
[19:27] <~Dan> <.<
[19:28] <&Silverlion> One who won’t mind gumshoes and noir..
[19:28] <~Dan> >.>
[19:28] <+BrettBernstein> The magic theory dictates which ability (attribute). Each spell is associated with a specific theory and casting pursuit. While the casting pursuit is used to cast the aleady-established spell, the theory dictates which ability governs it.
[19:28] <+BrettBernstein> That’s great, Silverlion.
[19:28] * ~Dan suspects that he is being prodded. 😉
[19:29] <~Dan> What is the limitation on casting? Magic points? Drain? Fire-and-forget? Something else?
[19:31] <+BrettBernstein> Difficulty and feedback. Hard spells can blow your head off. The existing rules dictate that feedback can occur for any spell cast (as with the MasterBook version)., but I’m probably changing that only to failures. Other limitations may be built into spells – range, for instance – walk outside of the range and the spell ceases unless it is specifically focused.
[19:32] <+BrettBernstein> sorry. done.
[19:32] <~Dan> No problem. 🙂
[19:32] <~Dan> Now, the new edition is genreDiversion 3e, correct?
[19:34] <&Silverlion> That’s a neat mechanic.
[19:34] <+BrettBernstein> Yes, with a few new options inspired by MasterBook and some GDi games, like bleeding, investigations, social combat, layered armor, first aid, and multiple tasks per turn.
[19:35] <~Dan> Can you describe the core mechanic?
[19:35] <+BrettBernstein> It also allows for miniatures use, but only as an option.
[19:35] <+BPIJonathan> What about conversion notes from earlier editions of Bloodshadows?
[19:36] <+BrettBernstein> It’s simple and very common: 2d6 + ability + pursuit vs difficulty (or 8 + ability + pursuit for contested tasks). Experience is used to add another die to the roll, improve armor, break ties, etc. – not so much on improvement. Exploits are used for good successes to increase damage, pull punches, grapple, gain advantage, etc.
[19:37] <~Dan> And what are Exploits?
[19:38] <+BrettBernstein> Lots of conversion notes: MasterBook, GDi (Ghostories & Mean Streets), Active Exploits Diceless, and even Pacesetter System (Cryptworld, Majus, and Rotworld).
[19:39] <&Silverlion> No conversion to default Storygenine?
[19:39] <&Silverlion> engine.
[19:40] <+BrettBernstein> Exploits are basically bonus effects you can apply to a task when you achieve a great enough success. There are general exploits that can be used for most tasks, there are combat-specific exploited, and some magical exploits (like extra targets or making illusions harder to detect).
[19:40] <~Dan> Very cool.
[19:41] <+BrettBernstein> Story Engine conversion notes are in the GenreDiversion 3E Manual. I probably won’t be including them in Bloodshadows unless I have some extra space to fill.
[19:41] <+BrettBernstein> done.
[19:42] <~Dan> Now, we’ve discussed this before, but for the sake of the readers: Can you address the thinking behind the unified “Fitness” attribute for all things physical and how you’re able to distinguish between a nimble vampire and a hulking golem?
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[19:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
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[19:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[19:45] <+BrettBernstein> First off, if you want to customize the fitness ability, you can do this with ability gimmicks – these are more-focused aspects that modify the abilities (but gimmicks do other things too). So I can apply the musclebound (2) gimmick to increase fitness for all strength-related tasks by 2 or I can add meek (1) to reduce all influence-based intimidation tasks.
[19:45] * ~Dan nods
[19:46] <+BrettBernstein> Secondly, there are other ways of performing tasks. I don’t need to use fitness to fire a gun. I use awareness to do so as an instinctive action or reasoning to try to work out the right angle to shoot to hit the mechanism that causes the door to drop.
[19:46] <+BrettBernstein> done.
[19:46] <~Dan> Ah, so pursuits aren’t “hard linked” to attributes?
[19:47] <+BrettBernstein> They are linked in a basic capacity, but the GM has final say.
[19:47] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:47] <~Dan> On a related note, how do you handle scaling? I’m assuming that some Unnatural PCs have superhuman attribute levels?
[19:49] <+BrettBernstein> While genreDiversion has a scaling system, Bloodshadows handles it in a simpler way. Ability ratings max out at 5 for human-level characters. Some nasty creatures can go beyond that, typically up to 10, but it’s rare. Some are also smaller or larger, gaining a penalty/bonus to hit, respectively (undersized/oversized gimmick)….
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[19:51] <+BrettBernstein> Finally, protection ratings (padding, armor, etc.) normally max out at 5 too. Magic and some creatures can go above that. Damage is reduced by the amount over five before making an abatement (damage) roll, which is one die per point of damage – anything over the protective rating (5 max) penetrates the protection and is passed on to the character.
[19:51] <+BrettBernstein> done.
[19:51] <~Dan> Can you give an example of a PC race with superhuman attribute levels?
[19:52] <+BrettBernstein> There are no PC races with superhuman attribute levels. Just NPC creatures. They may be inclined to have high ratings, but nothing beyond human. Special powers, on the other hand, can be quite powerful.
[19:53] <+BrettBernstein> Magic is the only way to reach superhuman levels.
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[19:54] <~Dan> Hmm… So werewolves aren’t stronger or faster than humans, for example?
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[19:57] <+BrettBernstein> No. They are more dangerous due to natural protection and weapons, and can see in the dark while in wolf form, but all PCs (as was in the MasterBook version) are within human limits. The setting is a little different in that respect. Like I said, some may be more prone to higher ratings, but it doesn’t make them super-human in ability. done.
[19:57] * ~Dan nods
[19:58] <+BrettBernstein> Oh, Humbus (one parent is a succubus/incubus) can teleport within 10m or more. That’s powerful.
[19:58] <~Dan> Do human PCs need magic to keep up with Unnaturals? Or can they get by with mundane abilities?
[19:58] <+BrettBernstein> Just an example.
[19:58] * ~Dan nodnods
[19:59] <+BrettBernstein> Magic is good, but not knowing magic is OK, because you can buy magic – potions, enchanted items, and runeslugs (enchanted bullets). Not cheap though. done.
[20:00] <~Dan> What is the tech level of the setting, and how is it affected by magic?
[20:02] <+BrettBernstein> It’s about 1930s, but technology is often powered by magic. There are combustion, steam, and elemental-powered cars. Lighting is achieved through glowstones. Video can be projected with conjurevids (stones). Radio is achieved with crystal sets.
[20:03] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that there is no air travel in the setting due to the threat of flying monsters?
[20:03] <+BrettBernstein> Correct. You don’t want those monsters seeing you in the air and draw attention to yourself. Some can fly. Others will be drawn to the cities. Best to keep a low profile. done.
[20:06] <~Dan> What do you think makes genreDiversion a good fit for Bloodshadows — presumably better than Masterbook or D6?
[20:08] <+BrettBernstein> It’s easy. It’s quick. It’s flexible. I like MasterBook, but not for everything. I am revising MasterBook for the upcoming Brutes Fantasy RPG. It’s great for that, but I always felt that it kept Bloodshadows down…
[20:09] <~Dan> Kept down in what sense? Too complicated?
[20:09] <+BPIJonathan> I love MB, but yes…its not for everything. However, I loved BS in MB.
[20:10] <+BrettBernstein> I really liked Star Wars D6, but now I don’t really appreciate all the adding and some of the rules. Also, the ads/disads were a mess in both systems. Bloodshadows also needs to be a stand-alone game rather than a setting book.
[20:10] * ~Dan nods
[20:11] <+BrettBernstein> MasteBook is more complex, but it doesn’t have to be. It and Bloodshadows were written to be more complex than necessary. A good rewrite and new rule conventions (not rules, but the description and notation of them) makes a big difference.
[20:11] <+BrettBernstein> done.
[20:13] <~Dan> I notice you have alignment listed on the character sheet. Is that still the Law/Chaos division?
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[20:13] <+BrettBernstein> For anyone interested, a MasterBook playtest sheet with prototype changes is available (you need MasterBook): (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/articles.php?page=478)http://www.pigames.net/store/articles.php?page=478
[20:13] <~Dan> (Howdy, GenoFoxx!)
[20:14] <+BrettBernstein> Yes, alignments are: Order, Chaos, Oathbreakers of Order, and Oathbreakers of Chaos (although the last two are often grouped together). Alignment doesn’t do too much on its own, but when you have the allegiance gimmick, you can call for aid and it affects the difficulty of certain spells. done.
[20:15] <~Dan> Do Unnaturals lean toward any particular alignment?
[20:15] <+GenoFoxx> (hiya Dan, Brett Bernstein, everyone)
[20:16] <&Silverlion> (Allo Genofoxx)
[20:18] <+BrettBernstein> Depends on the Unnatural. Vampires are more prone to Order, for example. Many are neutral, not choosing any side, either because they don’t care or are oblivious. done.
[20:18] <~Dan> On a related note, what is the cosmology of the setting?
[20:21] <+BrettBernstein> Nothing specific. Man was born, became smart, went to war. There are numerous cults with different beliefs. That’s what caused all the great wars (the Godwars).
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[20:22] <~Dan> (Howdy, Cassiemouse!)
[20:22] <~Dan> So do the gods definitively exist?
[20:23] <+BrettBernstein> Maybe 🙂 Portals can lead to other worlds. Demons came from these other worlds. Powerful demons could also be seen as gods. done
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[20:24] <~Dan> What does a typical Bloodshadows adventure look like?
[20:24] <~Dan> (Howdy, BlasterKyubey210!)
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[20:26] <+BrettBernstein> It could be anything. It could be the Maltese Falcon with a book that can bring the end of the world. It could be The Big Lebowski as film noir. It could be Cast a Deadly Spell. Take any noir film and add magic. Take any expedition film and add horrible monsters. Take Pulp Fiction and turn the Gimp into a spellslinger who cast one too many spells. done.
[20:27] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:28] <~Dan> So are expeditions into the Wilderness possible? Or are they certain death?
[20:30] <+BrettBernstein> You can survive. Merchants pay caravans to trade between some cities, rare though it is. You can travel from Galitia to Dela on a ship via the River Skorn. You can have some good adventures in the Wilderness if you equip properly. done.
[20:31] <~Dan> How advanced is the military? Are caravans protected by tanks, for example?
[20:32] <+BrettBernstein> There really isn’t a military. In most cities, their sentinels protect the peace and the walls. There are no tanks. An armored truck is probably the best you’ll find. done.
[20:33] <~Dan> How extensive of a bestiary do you include?
[20:36] <+BrettBernstein> I’m still working on it. There’s probably going to be around 40 – between demons, shifters, undead, and wilderness creatures – plus magical creations like homunculi and golems. And plus the PC races. done.
[20:37] <~Dan> On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how cinematic would you say the action is in the game?
[20:40] <+BrettBernstein> That’s tough. It kind of depends on how you play it. On a scale with high-flying pulp, maybe 6 — 8 with more magic use. I can just as easily see it as 4 with more social conflict. done.
[20:41] <~Dan> Well, let me give you a specific example. Busting through a skylight with both guns blazing: effective or suicidal?
[20:42] <+BrettBernstein> Without magic, you’re going to feel some pain when you hit the ground (of course, it depends on the GM) and may hit something. Use magic and you can maybe float to the ground and take out a bunch of people, if you don’t blast a crater in the ground. done.
[20:43] <~Dan> How powerful can PC-scale magic be? What’s an example of what it can accomplish on the high end?
[20:46] <+BrettBernstein> PC-scale magic is the same as NPC magic (except for weird story-based rituals). It’s hard to say, because the more-powerful a spell, the harder it is to cast. The alleviate the difficulty, the spell can require special components, incantations, gestures, inscriptions, and a week’s worth of concentration…
[20:48] <~Dan> Can it flatten entire towns, for example?
[20:48] <+BrettBernstein> Scrying 25 years into the past, for instance, might require some components and gestures, as well as 3 days of ritual. Or the same power level could boost an ability by 12 points. done.
[20:48] <+BrettBernstein> Well, for 20 seconds at least. done.
[20:49] <+BrettBernstein> The feedback is more likely to level a town. Only spells intended for a plot element should be able to level a town. done.
[20:51] <~Dan> So as you know, you’re always welcome to hang out with us, and as such, you’re welcome to stick around as long as you like. That said, in what remains of “regular time”, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[20:53] <+BrettBernstein> Just a reminder that I’m also doing reprints of the original MasterBook Bloodshadows books. MasterBook, Bloodshadows, and a number of the supplements are available now in PDF and Softcover. The MasterBook Companion is also available. And for Shatterzone fans, the core book and a number of supplements are also back in print. Here are the links:
[20:54] <+BrettBernstein> genreDiversion 3E: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=104)http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=104
[20:54] <+BrettBernstein> Shatterzone: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=109)http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=109
[20:54] <+BrettBernstein> MasterBoook: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=107)http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=107
[20:54] <+BrettBernstein> Bloodshadows: (Link: http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=108)http://www.pigames.net/store/default.php?cPath=108
[20:55] <+BrettBernstein> Unless you have any more questions, I’m going to grab a bite.
[20:55] <~Dan> Excellent. 🙂
[20:55] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link. 🙂
[20:56] <+BrettBernstein> Surely.