[20:04] <+KenSpencer> Greetings all! I am Ken Spencer, the lead writer and creator of Northlands Saga Complete from Frog God Games. NSG is currently over on Kickstarter and rapidly approaching funding. It will contain the original three published Northlands Saga adventures, plus at least six more, and an expansive campaign setting that is part of Frog God Games’s Lost Worlds. done
[20:05] <~Dan> Thanks, KenSpencer!
[20:05] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions. 🙂
[20:05] <~Dan> So, what is the Northlands Saga?
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[20:06] <+EricWebb> What’s up, anybody talking
[20:07] <+FaerieGodfather> (We’re just starting a Q&A.)
[20:07] <~Dan> (Yup! Q&A just begain. 🙂 )
[20:07] <+KenSpencer> It is a fantasy setting, available in both Pathfinder and Swords and Wizardry editions, drawn from the Norse Sagas. It is not a strictly historical setting, but one where fantasy, folklore, and legend glen with history and Sword and Sorcery tropes. done.
[20:07] <+KenSpencer> jklcvbnm,
[20:07] <~Dan> Good point!
[20:07] <+KenSpencer> Apologies, that was the cat’s contribution on her way from the desk to the bookshelf.
[20:07] <~Dan> I figured. 🙂
[20:08] <~Dan> (EricWebb: #rpgnet2 is open for general chat, if you prefer.)
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[20:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, open_sketch)
[20:08] <+open_sketch> hi dan!
[20:08] <~Dan> So is this actual Norse mythology, or Norse-inspired?
[20:08] <+EricWebb> Nah, cubicle 7 line developer is ok
[20:09] <+KenSpencer> Norse-inspired, but more than just Norse. I draw from Anglo-Saxon and other Germanic sources. It is a fantasy world, not the real world.
[20:10] * ~Dan nods
[20:10] <~Dan> What are the Lost Worlds in this context?
[20:11] <~Dan> Or is it Lost Lands?
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[20:12] <+KenSpencer> The Lost Lands I should have said. Frog God Games has their own world they are developing, and Northlands Saga fits into that. It is an out of the way part of the world, and thus across the Sea of Grass and watery oceans from the rest of the world.
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[20:14] <~Dan> So is this primarily a series of adventures, or a sourcebook?
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[20:15] <+EricWebb> Will the Lost Lands adventures be available for pathfinder and swords & wizardy as separate books or will both rule systems be addressed in the same books.
[20:16] <+KenSpencer> Both, an adventure path and a setting book. Northlands Saga began as an adventure I wrote for FGG back in ’10 that was too big for one module sized book, so they split it into two. From there I writer two more adventures and a campaign book, but was unable to finish the entire series due to work on Rocket Age. Now we have the whole thing complete and are
[20:16] <+KenSpencer> putting it out as an all in one. The Ap started off being ordered to take the jarl’s daughters out to gather flowers and goes on from there. done
[20:18] <~Dan> To what degree does the setting incorporate standard high fantasy tropes (e.g., elves, dwarves, etc.)?
[20:19] <+KenSpencer> While there are the full range of demihumans in the Lost Lands, the Northlands is largely a humans only area. A tribe of elves live to the north of the Northlands, and these Nuklanders are not like elves elsewhere (they herd reindeer and hunt). Some of the larger towns have small dwarves populations, but nothing of any significance.
[20:20] <+KenSpencer> What the Northlands does have in the way of non-humans are giant and troll blooded. People who have lineages that have been corrupted through magic, curse, or mating with the foul giants and trolls the Northlanders regularly war against. done
[20:21] <~Dan> Are the Northlands trolls the standard green regenerating types of D&D or more akin to Norse trolls?
[20:23] <+KenSpencer> They vary, this is a classic fantasy based setting after all, but there are different types of trolls and giants in the Northlands, and we cover them in the setting chapters. Most of your foes will be large animals, other humans, and of course, vile cultists who worship dark gods. This is not a setting where you plow through hordes of orcs and goblins.
[20:24] <+KenSpencer> It is also a setting where the shield wall is a crucial tactic, a troll is nasty, eight stout warriors in a shield wall are terrifying. done
[20:24] <+EricWebb> I visited the kickstart page and there are seperate hardbacks listed for pathfinder and swords n sorcery. These will include on one ruleset or both?
[20:26] <+KenSpencer> Each ruleset has its own book, no blended stats out wasted pages for a system you are not using. Plus, imagine if every stat block was doubled in a book that might break 800 pages?
[20:27] <+EricWebb> Kickass, that’s what I wanted. Swords and sorcery is the game I want.
[20:28] <+KenSpencer> Then we will sell you a book so large it will choke both of Thor’s chariot pulling goats!
[20:28] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:28] <+EricWebb> What made you all decide to release the adventures for Swords & Wizardry system?
[20:30] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:30] <+KenSpencer> It is part of Frog God’s general plan. Just about everything they do is dual stated for Pathfinder and S&W. They are an OSR company after all. I write in Pathfinder and then they translate the system. Honestly, after stating up a gigantic evil weasel for one of the adventures I really wanted to be the S&W guy. done
[20:31] <+EricWebb> What level Pathfinder characters are suggested and S&W too, if you know
[20:33] <+KenSpencer> The Ap starts at 1st and goes up from there, I believe the last adventure is in the 17-20 range (I didn’t write that one, it was after I left for Cubicle 7). You start as young men and women freshly in the service of a jarl and rise through the world from there. Or not. Failure is always an option. done
[20:34] <~Dan> (back)
[20:35] <~Dan> Are there any twists on classes in the setting?
[20:35] <+EricWebb> What new projects are in the works at Cubicle 7
[20:38] <+KenSpencer> For Pathfinder, there are new archetypes for Barbarians (Bearsarkers and Ulfhandar) that are divinely inspired battle ragers. The fighter sees the Huscarl, the bard has the Skald. Two of the new options are female only, Spear Maidens are the Northlands version of a paladin, and the Cunning Woman bloodline for the sorcerer is the only arcane casters the
[20:39] <+KenSpencer> people of the Northlands will put up with. Their are also character traits, feats, magic items, and equipment. done
[20:39] <+KenSpencer> I don’t want to tale about C7 stuff right now, but will be happy to at the end of this chat. Just keeping the freelancing clients separate.
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[20:40] <~Dan> How many new monsters do you include?
[20:45] <~Dan> Still there, KenSpencer?
[20:46] <+EricWebb> Keeeen!!! Oh god they got Ken Spencer!
[20:46] <+KenSpencer> Only 19, but they are drawn from all manner of Norse and Germanic myth. The one I like the best Erdhenne, a demonic ghost hen that foretells death. One monster is not from myth, but a nod to the old classic Beastmaster movie from the 80s. The nachtjager is a bat winged humanoid that swoop in and eats villages.
[20:46] <+EricWebb> Whew, glad you’re ok. Will there be any new classes or character enhancements for S&W?
[20:46] <+KenSpencer> Sorry, this old macbook is dying and froze up. Not a lot of new monsters, but Frog God is the company that published tome of Horror.
[20:48] <+KenSpencer> No idea on the S&W side of the project, Greg Vaughn is the line developer and sees to that. I usually don’t see the S$W stats until my copy shows up. I can say for sure that the optional rules for hack silver and death curses will be translated. done
[20:48] <+EricWebb> When did this launch. It’s already funded
[20:49] <+KenSpencer> It launched Monday night, oddly while we were setting down to playtest one of the stretch goal adventures. It is not funded all the way, yet, just about halfway.
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[20:50] <+EricWebb> Half way funded, my mistake
[20:50] <+KenSpencer> You can pop over and bring it all the way up if you like…
[20:51] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:51] <+EricWebb> What stretch goal will I get for that?
[20:52] <~Dan> Do you have further plans for the setting?
[20:52] <+KenSpencer> A Long Winter’s Night 1: Teeth of Winter. Think viking horror story. Lots of suspense, some NPCs to protect or kill, that sort of thing.
[20:53] <+EricWebb> Cool
[20:53] <+EricWebb> Viking horror, I love the sound of that
[20:54] <+KenSpencer> I hope 800+ pages fills any need for Northlands. If not, well, Greg will call me up and ask about my availability. Like all things, if you want more Northlands, buy more Northlands. Frog God is really good about listening to their fans and crunching their sales numbers.
[20:55] <+EricWebb> 😳 800pg
[20:55] <~Dan> How do alignments work in the setting?
[20:56] <+KenSpencer> Alignments work as per the rules system you are using. They are not heavily addressed, and as the Northlanders are not fond of magic, even clerical magic, there are not a lot of people checking up on your AL. I am a sword and sorcery style of fantasy fan and usually ignore alignment, it shows in my writing.
[20:58] * ~Dan nods
[20:58] <+KenSpencer> I don’t use Al in my home games unless absolutely necessary to fulfill a system requirement such as axiomatic weapons and such.
[20:58] <~Dan> You’ve touched on this a bit, but who are the big bads of the setting?
[21:00] <+KenSpencer> First off, there is the ongoing feud between the two largest clans, the Gats and the Hrolfs. An entire campaign can be based around the political battles (and occasional raids). Then there is nature, which is deadly in the North, and comes in three sizes, normal, dire, and run away! Third, there are the cults of forgotten gods, such as
[21:01] <+EricWebb> 😜
[21:02] <+KenSpencer> Althunak the Lord of Winter and Cannibalism (he features in the AP). Fourth, you could always go a-viking along the coast of Seagestreland for gold, furs, timber, and amber. I try to be big with my settings and let the reader go where they want to. An entire campaign could be about establishing your own hall in Estenfird, exploring the Far North, or
[21:02] <+KenSpencer> battling the Jomsvikings. done
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[21:03] <~Dan> Is Althunak akin to the Wendigo?
[21:03] <+KenSpencer> Althunak taught the Wendigo to suck eggs.
[21:03] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:04] <+EricWebb> Is Surtr in it?
[21:05] <+KenSpencer> Maybe yes and maybe no, there are figures from the sagas, but not too many.
[21:06] <~Dan> Who’s the head of the Northlands pantheon?
[21:06] <+KenSpencer> Wotan One-Eye, the Allfather.
[21:06] <~Dan> Is there a Thor?
[21:07] <+KenSpencer> Donar. I changed the names of the most well known in order to give them some mystique, going with Anglo-Saxon or other Germanic names.
[21:08] <~Dan> Makes sense.
[21:09] <+EricWebb> Sounds like something I’ll need. Do you know what it will retail for after the KS?
[21:09] <+KenSpencer> It may be just me, but when I think of a cleric of Thor I picture a certain dwarf from a certain webcomic. It was lucky though, as the first adventures were written before the Marvel Thor movies.
[21:10] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. 🙂
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[21:11] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW)
[21:11] <+KenSpencer> No idea on the retail. The KS is looking at a Dec 2015 delivery date, so sometime after that I would assume. Or you could KS it, the funding period runs until the end of the month.
[21:12] <+EricWebb> Yeah, I can’t wait until past dec I doubt
[21:12] <~Dan> Hmm… I’m a bit tapped out of questions at the moment. Is there anything key taht we haven’t covered?
[21:16] <+KenSpencer> I use a lot of Kennings form the sagas, the whole thing reads and plays like you just stepped into a warm hall out of the cold air, the jarl and his huscarls are feasting at the table, well met stranger and give us a tale, hammering cups and pounding shields, two shield walls crashing in the morning air, screaming Bearsarkers throwing themselves down the
[21:16] <+Lin_Chong> Kennings are great.
[21:17] <+KenSpencer> throats ofThings From Beyond. That sort of thing. Very atmospheric and thematic, not just a fantasy viking game. I bring a lot of research to the table, and a lot of diactirc marks. All those umlauts and lines through O’s.
[21:18] <+KenSpencer> Also, Northlands Saga, well the first adventures, were a thrill to write, but the best part was seeing a module on a game store shelf with my name and an alphanumeric designation. NS-1, NS-2, and such. It was like a went back in time and wrote for TSR. done
[21:18] <~Dan> Very cool. 🙂
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[21:19] <+EricWebb> Can you tell us the names of the ones already out. I want to pick them up
[21:19] <~Dan> Howdy, ladle
[21:19] <+ladle> hello dan
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[21:21] <+KenSpencer> NS-1 Vengeance of the Long Serpent, NS-2 Beyond the Wailing Mountains, NS-3 The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist, NS-4 Blood on the Snow. All still available in pdf in both Pathfinder and Swords and Wizardry.
[21:21] <+EricWebb> Thanks
[21:22] <+KenSpencer> NS-1 is PF levels 5-7, Northlands Complete will include Spring Rites and Spears in the Ice, both prequels that take PCs from 1-5.
[21:23] <~Dan> (brb)
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[21:27] <+EricWebb> This sounds like a really cool scenerio Mr Spencer, not the normal cliched scenerio
[21:27] <+GregV> Hi Ken! What have I missed?
[21:27] <+KenSpencer> Shall I carry on then? My favorite part about Northlands Saga Complete is the work I did on the setting. Greg gave me free region to do what I wanted, and the end result is heavily along the lines of Howard and Leiber. This is not another Tolkeinified fantasy setting.
[21:28] <+KenSpencer> Hey Greg, just talking about how awesome we are. You might be able to scroll up and answer some of the Swords and Wizardry questions and a few of the higher level publishing queries.
[21:28] <~Dan> (back)
[21:30] <~Dan> Do you have any plans to apply other systems to the setting?
[21:30] <+GregV> Hmmm. This is my first visit to rpgnet, so I’m still trying to figure it out. When I scroll up, the first line I see is Eric Webb saying it sounds like a cool, non-cliched scenario. I can’t see any of the other questions.
[21:30] <~Dan> Yeah, you won’t be able to scroll up past the point at which you joined.
[21:30] <~Dan> And welcome to #rpgnet, GregV!
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[21:31] <+GregV> Ah, I see. I
[21:31] <+KenSpencer> How about, What new character options for S&W?
[21:32] <+GregV> I’ll be happy to answer any questions anyone has that the masterful Mr. Spencer has not already tackled. 🙂 As for systems, it’ll be Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry this go-round. We’ll be evaluating the market for a possible future 5e release.
[21:32] <+EricWebb> 5e, drool
[21:33] <+GregV> Lol! Ken goes straight for the throat! I actually don’t know the answer to that one. I haven’t seen Matt’s Finch’s S&W converted manuscript yet. I’m 0 for 1 already!!
[21:33] <+EricWebb> Where is Frog God HQ located?
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[21:35] <+GregV> Frog God HQ (you make it sound so OFFICIAL) is Bill Webb’s farm on Bremmer Island across Peuget Sound from Seattle. It’s technically in a town called Poulsbo but you couldn’t tell it from looking. Frog God is very much a hobbyist’s company with Bill in Seattle, me in OKC, and Matt in Houston, and various other folk scattered all over.
[21:36] <~Dan> Oh, that sounds lovely.
[21:36] <+GregV> Our warehousing is a number of climate-controlled barns and outbuildings scattered around the property. It’s really pretty picturesque. 🙂
[21:36] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:37] <+EricWebb> Hey, I’ve lived in all three of those cities.
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[21:37] <~Dan> Do you plan any crossovers betwen the Northlands and the other Lost Lands?
[21:38] <+GregV> Haha! I would say that you’re well traveled, but two of those are Houston and OKC so maybe not so much… 😉
[21:38] <+EricWebb> 😓 I understand…
[21:39] <+GregV> Dan, Northlands is absolutely a part of the Lost Lands. In fact, one of the AP adventures actually goes beyond the area of the Northlands and delves into areas on the Gulf of Akados and another explores the eastern ocean beyond Libynos. Both areas that we haven’t revealed yet for the Lost Lands!
[21:40] <+GregV> I’m not saying we predicted the recent viking settlement discovery in Australia with this book, but we totally did.
[21:40] <+KenSpencer> And the Sea of Grass, the Northlanders are exploring down rivers in that direction, so there are hints.
[21:40] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:41] <+GregV> Absolutely. The Sea of Grass is actually what you can see the southernmost portion of at the northern edge of the Gulf of Akados Region Map.
[21:41] <+EricWebb> Although, OKC is much more sophisticated and dare I say cosmopolitan than Bartlesville which I’ve frequented often during my youth. Whew was I glad to blow that pop stand 😎
[21:42] <+GregV> So we’ve very nearly reached the Northlands with our existing products.
[21:42] <+GregV> Eric, you’ve got to be kidding. I’m from Bartlesville!
[21:42] <+EricWebb> Whaaaat! You’re kidding
[21:42] <~Dan> 😀
[21:43] <+EricWebb> I’m….sorry Greg.
[21:43] <+GregV> Nope. Born there and a proud graduate of BHS. Go Bruins!!
[21:43] <+GregV> LOL!
[21:43] <+EricWebb> I spent 30 years of torture in Tulsa and its environs
[21:44] <+EricWebb> Bartlesville, broken arrow, sapalupa…the works
[21:44] <+GregV> I only logged 18 there…though I’ve got another 20 or so in OKC, so I’m not sure how it adds up…if there are multipliers and such.
[21:45] <~Dan> The funny thing is that EricWebb only just joined us this evening. 🙂
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[21:46] <+GregV> Anyway, that’s a really weird coincidence considering the size of Bartlesville. So, as I was saying, we’ll eventually release another region map that will include the Northlands and will connect up to the top of the Gulf of Akados map, but we just didn’t have time to get it through development in time for this Kickstarter.
[21:46] <+EricWebb> Dude, I’ve been knowing people since I walked in the door. Tim Kirk was the first person I met and I just bought High Valor last week
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[21:47] <+EricWebb> Oh, so this land is the northlands of the normal campaign world.
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[21:49] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you guys would like to bring up?
[21:49] <~Dan> (Mind you, you’re more than welcome to hang out with us as long as you like and whenever you like.)
[21:49] <+EricWebb> I’m about to buy Quests of Doom Volume 1
[21:49] <+GregV> Yes, it is. When Ken first pitched it, it was it’s own thing, but I was already pondering a mega campaign world of all the old Necromancer Games books and new FGG books (we hadn’t bought NG yet, so this was still a pipedream for me), but I knew if we could I’d want to put Northlands there.
[21:50] <+GregV> IN fact I even had Ken switch the orientation of the original area map from east to west to fit my early idea for the Lost Lands.
[21:51] <+EricWebb> Had no idea you guys already have four 5ed books out, I’m going to buy them all
[21:52] <+EricWebb> It’s better for you if I buy direct rather then Amazon?
[21:52] <+GregV> Sweet! We’re running a pre-order campaign for QoD2 right now. I think we’ve almost reached the threshold to be able to print the book. It’s actually got one of Ken Spencer’s adventures in it as well. A desert adventure called Death in the Painted Canyons.
[21:52] <+EricWebb> Oh on KS
[21:53] <+GregV> It’s definitely better for us if you buy from us, but if you get it from Amazon that’s cool too. We want to be able to get our books out through as many venues as possible.
[21:53] <+GregV> Its not a KS, but just a small preorder. Its not a big enough book cost-wise to warrant a KS we didn’t think, so we wanted to try out a new model thorugh our website.
[21:53] <+EricWebb> I’ll purchase direct then.
[21:54] <+GregV> We certainly appreciate it. 🙂
[21:55] <+GregV> Due to a quirk of the original 5e KS with 5e Foes, QoD, and Book of Lost Spells, QoD got divided into Vol 1 and Vol 2. Both of those are separate than QoD2 that we’re taking preorders now.
[21:55] <+GregV> It was kind of poor market anticipation on our part that caused that. [facepalm]
[21:57] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, guys!
[21:58] <+GregV> Thank you. Sorry so late to the party. I had call tonight and couldn’t join until the end. I hope it went well.
[21:58] <+KenSpencer> Great to be here, Northlands Saga is one of my favorite projects to work on and I am always happy to talk about it.
[21:58] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll post the log and get you the link. 🙂