[20:07] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Hi! I’m Mik, and I’m the layout girl, fiction writer, and lead on SPLINTER: Ugly Things, which is part of the Surprising Things Kickstarter: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things
[20:07] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Devon can tell you about SPLINTER in general 🙂
[20:07] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I’m Devon Oratz, I wrote SPLINTER back in 2008 or 2009 or so. I’ve also written loads of other stuff in the arena of games, including our own games Psionics and the Singularity System, as well as a bunch of stuff for Shadowrun 4th Edition.
[20:09] <+Devon-SPLINTER> SPLINTER is a kitchen-sink dungeon-delving science-fantasy roguelike with a twist, that twist being that all of the action and adventure that takes place serves as the Bread & Circuses that distracts the populace of a Dystopian future earth from its total lack of basic rights and freedoms.
[20:09] <+Devon-SPLINTER> This means among other things that SPLINTER is a roleplaying game within a roleplaying game (trippy, I know) and that it is a meditation on violent entertainment that is also a prime example of same.
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[20:10] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That’s more or less a variation on my oft-rehearsed 30 second elevator pitch, which is a lot easier to say not-with-vocal chords. I imagine we’ll get a lot more in-depth over the next couple of hours or so.
[20:10] <+barondutremblay> (Okay, Dan!)
[20:10] <~Dan> (Sent. Let me know when you see it. 🙂 )
[20:11] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Also joining us is one of the writers on the project, who’s been working on Sometimes Little Wondrous Things for quite some time now. He’s also done some stuff for Ugly Things as well.
[20:11] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:11] <+ETS_SPLINTER> That’d be me
[20:12] <~Dan> (You should have a PM tab, barondutremblay. 🙂 )
[20:12] <+SolutionCat> How fast is character creation and how many characters will I go through in a game session?
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[20:12] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Let me break that up into two parts.
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[20:13] <+Devon-SPLINTER> “A) How fast is character creation?”
[20:13] <~Dan> (wb, barondutremblay. 🙂 )
[20:13] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> In my experience, character creation is quite fast
[20:13] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I would say “medium”. One neat thing about SPLINTER is that you create a Player who then embodies an Avatar. Creating a Player takes around 5 minutes on average. Creating that Player’s Avatar takes around 30 minutes or less once you know your way around the system.
[20:13] <+barondutremblay> (Sorry, I got DCed… Still not seeing any PM tab thoough…)
[20:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> One thing about SPLINTER that cuts some time off of Character Creation is that there is absolutely no gear shopping phase for the Avatar. You start with nothing, since whenever you Port into the SPLINTER, you port in naked, penniless, and unarmed.
[20:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (The Player does have possessions, but these are mainly luxury goods and highly abstracted.)
[20:15] <+Devon-SPLINTER> B) How many characters will I go through in a game session?
[20:15] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I would hypothesize a mean of approximately 0 character deaths per game session with an upper end of like as many as 2 if your GM is really mean and/or your choices are very foolish and/or your luck is very bad.
[20:16] <+Devon-SPLINTER> When the Avatar dies, the Player that was inhabiting them dies also. Which shouldn’t be confused as me saying that you, the player of the Player also die: that would be a really terrible selling point.
[20:16] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It also depends if you’re playing Long Form or Short Form
[20:17] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> You can choose to play SPLINTER as a quick PVP pickup game, and there are a few modes for that suggested in the core book
[20:17] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> If that’s the kind of play you’re doing, it’s more lethal than a Long Form (read: traditional campaign) game
[20:17] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:18] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (oh, also done)
[20:18] <+Devon-SPLINTER> sorry
[20:19] <+SolutionCat> what is the core dice mechanics of Splinter?
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[20:20] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Inside the Splinter, it uses a dice pool system that’s sort of like a simplified version of Shadowrun. Every die that rolls a 4 or higher is a success, the more successes the better, and the more dice you have to roll the better your chance for successes.
[20:20] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:20] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Oh, sorry, I should have said: d6.
[20:21] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Normally every die roll is a coin toss, but if a particular task is hard, it might have a “One Step Penalty” meaning that only 5s and higher count (1-in-3 chance of success per die). A really hard task might have a “Two Step Penalty”, meaning only 6s count as successes.
[20:21] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The classic example of a One Step Penalty is “trying to perform first aid without tools” or “trying to perform first aid on yourself”. The classic example of a Two Step Penalty is “trying to perform first aid on yourself, without tools”.
[20:21] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:22] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> There is also the Earthside mechanic
[20:22] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Earthside mechanic is currently very very simple and minimalist – roll 1 D6, add a bonus based on skill level, hit a target. It’s fairly rules-light.
[20:23] <+SolutionCat> cool cool, are there stats and skills? or just some blend of the two?
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[20:23] <~Dan> (Howdy, Mr_Rage!)
[20:23] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Kickstarter we’re running now has a stretch goal that would let us make the Earthside mechanic compatible with the DicePunk System, which is what we use for Psionics and Phantasn 2010
[20:23] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> There are attributes/statistics and skills 🙂
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[20:24] <~Dan> What is the relationship between them?
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[20:24] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> In the Splinter, the Statistics inform what the cap is for Skill levels
[20:24] <~Dan> (wb, barondutremblay!)
[20:24] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Dan: do you mean between the Earthside mechanics and the in-the-Splinter mechanics?
[20:24] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It’s also used for defaulting
[20:24] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Just want to make sure I’m answering the right question.
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[20:25] <+Mr_Rage> o7
[20:25] <~Dan> Devon-SPLINTER: No, between the attributes and skills.
[20:25] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Ah, ok. Carry on then, Mik.
[20:25] <~Dan> (Mind you, some stuff I may ask even though I already know the answer for the sake of the audience. 😉 )
[20:26] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Attributes/Statistics are also used for defaulting on Skills you don’t have
[20:26] <~Dan> How does that work?
[20:26] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Attributes in the Splinter range from 2-12 not entirely unlike D&D. When you roll an Attribute, you roll a dice pool equal to half of the Attribute score rounded down. Same goes while defaulting, although defaulting is done at a One-Step Penalty.
[20:27] <+Devon-SPLINTER> So say you have Omniscience 11, you have an Omniscience dice pool of 5 that’s used for Omniscience tests.
[20:27] <+Devon-SPLINTER> If you have Celerity 7 and are defaulting on a Celerity based skill like Stealth, you would roll 3 dice, with a one-step penalty.
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[20:27] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Skills range from 1-7 at character creation, and cap at 12 overall.
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[20:27] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:28] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:28] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet posted that we can see?
[20:28] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yep! I will grab the link now.
[20:28] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (Link: http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Character%20Sheet.pdf)http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Character%20Sheet.pdf
[20:30] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> We also have a primer PDF that’s available for folks to look at here: (Link: http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/SplinterPrimer.pdf)http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/SplinterPrimer.pdf
[20:30] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:30] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Looking at the charsheet, you can see there we have the player stats column on the left and the avatar stats column on the right on each page. (done)
[20:31] <~Dan> Do the mental stats of the Player affect their use of the Avatar?
[20:32] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Yes. Basically speaking, all of the stats of the player (Strength, Speed, Wits, and Will) act as a coefficient (I hope I’m using that word right) for determining the Avatar’s derived attributes.
[20:32] <+Devon-SPLINTER> An example:
[20:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Your Life Points (hp, basically) are equal to your Avatar’s Vitality stat multiplied by your Player’s Strength Attribute.
[20:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Another example:
[20:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Your Tuning Points (used to fuel Harmonics, put simply innate magic) are equal to your Avatar’s Conviction stat multiplied by your Player’s Will Attribute.
[20:34] <~Dan> Hmm… If the Avatars are independent beings, how does that work?
[20:34] <+Devon-SPLINTER> So, the best way to think of it, is to think of the Player as being kind of like a spirit (demon, if you like) that possesses the Avatar.
[20:34] <~Dan> I mean, what would their Life Points be when they aren’t “possessed”?
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[20:36] <~Dan> (wb, Silverlion2)
[20:37] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I had to actually look that one up. x3 is the constant used for Avatars that aren’t possessed, and for Bloodline Denizens of the SPLINTER that aren’t strictly-speaking Avatars.
[20:38] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:38] <~Dan> See, we ask the hard questions here.
[20:38] <~Dan> 😉
[20:38] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Avatars that are un-possessed are actually characters you never encounter in the course of normal gameplay, unless the GM is doing something very inventive.
[20:38] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Very interesting questions, certainly!
[20:38] <+Devon-SPLINTER> If I may use an um, roleplaying analogy, it’s kind of like this:
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[20:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, GoldenH!)
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[20:39] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Gronk the Barbarian is strong and tough, a little fast but not so smart. However the in-game performance of Gronk the Barbarian is ultimately not just dependent on Gronk’s “game stats” but also on the genius and daring of Tim Wheatley, the genius asthmatic nerd that is playing him.
[20:39] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Together they are stronger than the sum of their parts, if at the expense of “roleplaying”.
[20:39] * ~Dan nods
[20:40] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The Port-Interface VR tech in SPLINTER takes this basic premise further, as a full body VR interface. (done)
[20:41] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (I’m done as well :))
[20:41] <~Dan> Now, on a related note: You said that when the Players port in, they appear in their Avatar naked and unequipped?
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[20:41] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yep! But since all Avatars turn into dangerous things that don’t really have sex characteristics, this tends to be less of a problem than one might think.
[20:42] <~Dan> How does that work, if the Avatars are independent beings who are going about their business when they aren’t possessed by a Player?
[20:42] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Different Avatars are better in their “man” form than their “middle” or “beast” forms, but one can get along pretty well in their full beast forms.
[20:43] <+barondutremblay> I’m curious about the “Color Commentary Used” box on the sheet. How does it work? Is it some kind of catch phrase that grants the Avatar a bonus when they/the Player says it?
[20:43] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I think of it as kind of a Terminator 1-esque lightning storm which leaves a naked and unarmed Avatar once the “transfer” (possession) is complete. But I will be honest: this, right now, is probably the most I have ever thought about this.
[20:43] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:44] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> If you ascribe to the idea that they are actually part of a very detailed simulation, the engine that powers that simulation would port the Avatar where it is needed, without its things. If you ascribe to the idea that it’s actually an alternate reality, the mechanics of the transfer are still somewhat a mystery both on Earth and in the Splinter, so any kind
[20:44] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> of magic could be taking place there
[20:44] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Well first I should mention that there are two kinds of Players: “Professionals” and “Amateurs”, both terms are highly euphemistic. “Professionals” choose to play the game for riches and glory: Amateurs are conscripted into the game as a punishment for real and imagined crimes.
[20:45] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That said, yes, Color Commentary works much like you described:
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[20:45] <+Devon-SPLINTER> if you, speaking as your Player, describe the action your Avatar’s attempting in a first-person soliloquy, the GM awards you between +1 and +3 bonus dice based on how awesome that soliloquy is.
[20:46] <+Devon-SPLINTER> If you then succeed that action, you receive the same bonus in extra Subscriber Points (our XP mechanic, which I’m sure I’ll describe later).
[20:46] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Some people also use one-liners or puns. It depends on the group, what kind of tone the group wants to set for the game, if that will fly
[20:46] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Color Commentary is easier for Professionals than Amateurs out of the gate, but Amateurs get to have more useful “real world” skills.
[20:47] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Mikaela is correct that Color Commentary rewards Players (and players) for having the “cool dry wit of an action hero” so to speak.
[20:47] <~Dan> But those skills only apply in the “real world”, right?
[20:47] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Correct.
[20:47] <~Dan> So the Professionals have all the advantages in the Splinter?
[20:47] <+Devon-SPLINTER> There is no penalty for attempting Color Commentary, so any one-liners or catch-phrases or stunting or cool descriptions or what have you are only to your benefit. There is a per-encounter limit on CC use, but it’s very soft.
[20:47] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Correct.
[20:48] <~Dan> I take it, then, that mixed groups aren’t a good idea unless balance isn’t a concern.
[20:48] <+barondutremblay> So, since Professionals are there to put on a show, they get a bigger Color Commentary bonus, while Amateurs gain benefits outside The Game instead?
[20:48] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Mixed groups are the default assumption, mainly because the difference is pretty slight.
[20:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> One thing we’ll be looking at if we hit our first stretch goal is rebalancing Professionals and Amateurs.
[20:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> But the default assumption is mixed groups, where Pros excel slightly more in the Splinter and Amateurs are more competent in the Real World.
[20:49] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> barondutremblay: that’s correct 🙂
[20:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> And mixed groups is pretty essential to the game’s roleplaying dynamic too,
[20:49] <~Dan> How much action takes place in the Real World, generally speaking? And of what sort?
[20:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> since you have people for whom this is a lucrative career interacting with people for whom this is a LITERAL death sentence.
[20:50] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:50] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It’s sort of up to the GM, and what kind of story they’re trying to tell, and the group of characters that are at the table.
[20:50] <+barondutremblay> Thanks!
[20:51] <~Dan> Can you describe the tech levels of the Real World and the Splinter?
[20:51] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Part of the way that people gain real power on Earth is by creating a following – people who will listen to them. So it can be a group of people working from the inside out to change the system by gathering followers, trying to aid the resistance movements without getting caught, wetc.
[20:51] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> If ETS_SPLINTER wants to answer that last one, that would be fine 🙂
[20:52] <+ETS_SPLINTER> SPLINTER tech level is literally all over the map, from pointy sticks on the low end to fabulously advanced “magical” technology on the high end
[20:52] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> I will say briefly that the tech level in the Splinter is all over the place. Since the Splinter moves, its chronological layers shift around, so you can find low tech and high tech stuff in the same room
[20:52] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The high tech stuff is really high tech, so much that the line between magic and technology is blurred
[20:52] <+ETS_SPLINTER> There’s a cross section of that variety in the core rulebook, but one of the main goals of Sometimes Little Wonderous Things is to show off the disparate tech levels in their full depth
[20:53] <+ETS_SPLINTER> I would also like to point out that there is an entire tier of exclusively steam-tech stuff in that supplement as well
[20:53] <+ETS_SPLINTER> (done)
[20:53] <~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
[20:54] <~Dan> So you can walk around with a sword in one hand and a raygun in the other?
[20:54] <+ETS_SPLINTER> absolutely
[20:54] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Absolutely.
[20:54] <~Dan> And in the Real World?
[20:54] <+Devon-SPLINTER> On Earth, the tech level is what you would expect from a pessimistic and fairly grounded projection of 2471 AD. We have gauss weapons and flying cars and some of the near solar system is colonized. But generally speaking technology is carefully controlled by a dystopian government and leveraged to keep the people both ignorant and docile.
[20:55] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The existence of a strictly enforced caste system helps this as well. The real world of Splinter is very dark, informed by things like Farenheit 451 and 1984. (done)
[20:56] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (I don’t have anything to add to that :))
[20:56] <~Dan> Going back to something said before, why is it so unlikely that PCs will encounter an Avatar that isn’t possessed by a player? (By Avatar in this sense, I’m referring to a creature capable of being an Avatar.)
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[20:57] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Ah, that’s not so uncommon then: most NPCs are exactly that.
[20:57] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, QuinlanSchultz!)
[20:57] <+Devon-SPLINTER> But the actual Avatar that is used by a Player when that Player isn’t “jacked in” to it?
[20:58] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That never happens. EBC (the Entertainment Broadcasting Consortium, or GamesCorp) doesn’t allow it.
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[20:58] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Why is a very deep in-game mystery related to to what extent the Splinter is “really” virtual.
[20:58] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[20:59] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It’s also sort of a diegetic thing: the camera goes with the Players, so the camera doesn’t really alight on their Avatar when it isn’t being used.
[20:59] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:00] <~Dan> And you mentioned that the Avatars are shape-changers?
[21:00] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yep! I can run through the Bloodlines if you like 🙂
[21:01] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Tsaetsi are snake shapeshifters – in man form, they have golden skin, and they become enormous golden serpents. They are healers and can also raw tune – directly alter the walls and rooms of the splinter itself
[21:01] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Mnemonic are robot shapeshifters – they can switch out their parts for others they find, graft weapons into themselves, and are adept at creating items
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[21:02] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Wyndlass are drake shapeshifters – they’re roguish and quick, and turn into slender drakes. they can use magic that lets them teleport briefly out of the way of an incoming attack, among other things
[21:03] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Aventine are bird shapeshifters – they are usually the rulers and diplomats in the Splinter, and their magic runs the gamut between turning into a storm crow and using electrocution powers, to a preternatural diplomacy
[21:04] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Asilos are lich shapeshifters – they can use necromancy, at later levels can perform true resurrections, and can turn into smog. they’re usually linked to the penitents, kindly ascetic monks.
[21:05] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Vryx are demon shapeshifters – they can crawl along walls and use their razor sharp tongues as an attack. They can also make treasure be more likely to be in rooms, and camoflauge themselves with their surroundings
[21:06] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> finally, the Needlekin are shapeshifters that turn into suits of armor with swords for arms, or with protruding spines. They can use a battlecry to make their enemies falter and bolster their friends, and they are built for combat
[21:06] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (i am done)
[21:06] <+Devon-SPLINTER> This is an in-depth run down with Mikaela’s art, though: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things/posts/1338163)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things/posts/1338163 (done)
[21:07] <+barondutremblay> This question might seem silly, but here goes. Sooner or later, the dictorship will likely provide expansions and DLC for The Game. Is it something the (small-cap) game could easily acccomodate into a campaign? (I’m guessing it could.)
[21:08] <+ETS_SPLINTER> The Game is in fact already infinite, so no expansion packs are needed (or in fact possible)
[21:08] <+Devon-SPLINTER> that’s a really interesting question
[21:08] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the answer goes a bit deeper than what Evan’s already said
[21:08] <~Dan> Is there a collective term for the “Avatar-worthy” races?
[21:08] <+ETS_SPLINTER> I’ll let you elaborate in that case
[21:08] <+ETS_SPLINTER> (done)
[21:09] <+Devon-SPLINTER> so what we’ve done is we’ve extrapolated the concepts of “emergent gameplay” and “procedural generation” to the year 2471, along with Moore’s law of computing
[21:09] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> They’re called Bloodlines both in and out of universe 🙂
[21:09] <~Dan> (I’m always so happy to see new arrivals jumping right in with great questions. 🙂 )
[21:10] <~Dan> Are the Bloodlines the “standard” races of Splinter? Like, baseline humans?
[21:10] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the Splinter itself, in other words, is constantly generating new content. The game is a spectator sport, as there are thousands of audience members for every volunteer or not-so-volunteer Player. It uses a subscription model, but the very richest get to “First-Hand” games live as they’re happening, all the thrills and none of the risk.
[21:11] <+Devon-SPLINTER> It’s worth mentioning that the Game is most likely a hundred or years old by 2471: it’s kept vague because knowing too much history is basically outlawed.
[21:11] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:11] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The seven Bloodlines I listed are the only playable races, at least at this time. There are lost bloodlines that still roam the splinter, but none of them are playable at present
[21:11] <+barondutremblay> Thanks, Devon!
[21:11] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> There isn’t really a “Default” though
[21:12] <~Dan> Well, I mean, are the Bloodlines what passes for “normal people” within the Splinter.
[21:12] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Oh, yes
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[21:12] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> They’re what makes up the extant society, at least in the levels that have been seen so far
[21:12] * ~Dan nods
[21:12] <~Dan> Now, who or what is the opposition?
[21:13] <+Devon-SPLINTER> yeah the seven bloodlines are our dwarf/halfling/elf/human equivalent and also our fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric equivalent. they’re both races and classes, like “Dwarf” and “Elf” were in 1E D&D
[21:14] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The opposition is usually the “monsters” that exist in the splinter. Which ranges from actual beasts, to lost bloodlines (for instance, there is a race called the Ophidian, who are mortal enemies of the Tsaetsi).
[21:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the opposition? the Splinter contains an incomprehensible menagerie of creatures that are trying to kill you. in theory, take D&D’s monster manual and multiply it by about 80 squillion. in practice, take D&D’s monster manual as written by someone on acid.
[21:14] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> But in a long form game, avatars can join up with factions as well
[21:14] <~Dan> So you dropped acid to write this?
[21:14] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> and sometimes those factions can be at odds with each other
[21:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> no, acid is one of the few drugs I’ve never done
[21:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> but it’s good shorthand for the level of weirdness
[21:14] <+Devon-SPLINTER> : )
[21:15] <~Dan> It’s the one illegal drug that I have done. 😀
[21:15] <+Devon-SPLINTER> but not everyone in the Splinter gets along either, there are numerous sects and they don’t all play nice. plus society has decayed, so there’s banditry and barbarism as well, the further you get from the core levels.
[21:15] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Levels can also be like towns, or cities, and interpersonal conflict can happen there
[21:15] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> And, other players
[21:15] <+Devon-SPLINTER> there are also greater threats everyone is worried about
[21:16] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Some upstart player might try to take you out for the bragging rights, etc.
[21:16] <~Dan> So there are creatures that aren’t “just” hungry monsters?
[21:16] <+Devon-SPLINTER> yeah, definitely
[21:16] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the Rust Cotillion are a clockwork collective machine intelligence that is spreading across the levels almost like a sapient cancer. or like formians, I guess.
[21:17] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the Fallen Empire of Haon Dor is a lost civilization of enormously powerful necromancers that eventually conjured up greater demons that devoured all of them…unfortunately for anyone trying to travel the Splinter, make that “almost all of them”.
[21:17] <+Devon-SPLINTER> so yeah, opposition is vastly and tremendously varied
[21:17] <+Devon-SPLINTER> and of course short form games pit Players against each other, Team Deathmatch style
[21:17] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:17] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:18] <~Dan> Did I read correctly that the Splinter is entirely indoors?
[21:18] <+ETS_SPLINTER> It’s worth mentioning that all of the above opposition already appeared in the corebook, Ugly Things is looking to multiply the potential threats exponentially.
[21:18] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yes and no
[21:18] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> The Splinter is all a giant dungeon
[21:19] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> But also, some levels appear to be an open sky
[21:19] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> One level is all of Earth.
[21:19] <~Dan> …
[21:19] <~Dan> Come again?
[21:19] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> There is a level that is just modeled after the Earth
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[21:20] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It is actually infiniter
[21:20] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> *Infinite
[21:20] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> So basically anything can fit there
[21:20] <+ETS_SPLINTER> As in it is a single room vast enough to hold a carbon copy of our planet
[21:20] <~Dan> Infiniter needs to be a word.
[21:20] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> It is now 😀
[21:21] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> From the secret writer’s guide:
[21:21] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> One level, level 1,220,784,962, for instance, contains functionally the entirety of 20th Century Earth. If you enter this level from below, you emerge from a staircase in an abandoned underground military bunker located somewhere beneath Groom Lake, Nevada. If you climb a certain staircase near the top of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, you will find…
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[21:21] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> …yourself on the level immediately above this one, which is a small dungeon level approximately 1800 square feet in size. Other levels have skies, stars, and skylines “in the background”, but don’t seem to actually contain them. Any attempt to wander off to explore those strange horizons is blocked by video-game style “invisible walls”, arbitrarily…
[21:22] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> …restricting movement.
[21:22] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Infinite, infiniter, infinitest. (done)
[21:22] <~Dan> Huh. Cool. 🙂
[21:22] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> We like conjugating here at End Transmission.
[21:22] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:23] <+barondutremblay> I assume one could also encounter bots, hackers, some equivalent of “gold sellers”, and other shady illegal users in the Splinter? Does the dictatorship employ mods? (And do they hit your face with a hammer, forever?)
[21:23] <~Dan> What you guys do in the privacy of your own business is your own affair.
[21:23] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That is one area that is very much up to GM improvisation, for now. We don’t provide for a lot of that kind of interaction, but I would certainly encourage it.
[21:24] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Basically, that’s not hardcoded into the core rulebook, but I think that kind of improvisation could only improve the game.
[21:24] <+barondutremblay> Neat!
[21:24] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The degree to which the EBC has the game on lockdown is entirely up to the GM’s interpretation. But yes I’d imagine the banhammer would be pretty spectacularly fatal when dealing with a heartless corporate dictatorship.
[21:24] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:25] <+Devon-SPLINTER> As you might have noticed from Mikaela’s minor spoiler above, the entire Splinter makes no sense whatsoever in terms of spatial geometry or basic physics. This is fully intentional. (done)
[21:25] <~Dan> How does combat work in the game?
[21:28] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Different skills govern different weapons/modes of attack. Most Avatar have claws, etc., that they can fight with when they are in beast form, and use the Unarmed skill for that. There is a Melee skill for swords and other hand-held weapons, Ranged for bows/guns, etc., and Technology that can also be used for higher tech weapons
[21:28] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Those are rolled as normal, against a target’s Evasion Factor (EF), which is determined by their statistics and any armor or abilities they might have
[21:29] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Damage is staged up with net successes over a target’s EF, so more successes is better
[21:29] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Various harmonics and spells can also be used in combat
[21:29] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Those are generally linked to a statistic, which would be rolled as with a statistic check
[21:30] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> That’s what makes Color Commentary more valuable, because it can not only make an attack more likely to succeed, but also allows an attack to do more damage.
[21:30] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:30] <~Dan> What are harmonics?
[21:31] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Harmonics are each Avatar’s ability to alter the fabric of the SPLINTER through will alone.
[21:31] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Harmonics are the innate “magic” that each Bloodline has at their disposal
[21:31] <+Devon-SPLINTER> If you have ever seen the oldish movie “Dark City”, it’s inspired by the concept of Tuning in that.
[21:31] <~Dan> I suspected as much. 🙂
[21:31] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Every Bloodline has access to four Harmonics. If you like, I could describe a sample Harmonic for each of the seven bloodlines?
[21:31] <~Dan> Sure!
[21:32] <~Dan> (And brb – please continue)
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[21:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Tzaetzi get Raw Tuning which is tuning in its well…rawest form. This lets them conjure fire/frost/shock and fling it. It also lets them move walls, create doors or pits where there are none, or remove doors or pits that are present.
[21:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Mnemonic can use Amputechture to “hot swap” their limbs for the limbs of creatures they find, giving them the stats and properties of the borrowed limbs. Which is cray.
[21:33] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Wyndlass have ‘Void Wind’ which reflexively teleports them out of the way of attacks as an automatic reaction.
[21:34] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Aventine have “Royal Mien” which gives them an aura of command that makes others very likely to obey them.
[21:34] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Asilos have Smog Soul which lets them turn incorporeal, ignoring physical attacks and passing through any barrier that’s not airtight.
[21:35] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Vryx can use Hoarder’s Luck to cause there to be Treasure where there was No Treasure before, i.e. to force a roll for additional random treasure in any room or zone.
[21:35] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
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[21:37] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:38] <~Dan> And there are spells as well?
[21:39] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yep! Avatars that have the Technology skill get the Sorcery skill at the same level for free, and come into game knowing some spells. They can find more in the splinter
[21:39] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Spells can be “hard cast” but it’s harder to do it that way; usually they are cast through foci that are found of crafted in the Splinter.
[21:39] <~Dan> So magic and technology are effectively the same?
[21:39] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Sometimes Little Wondrous Things will add to the spells that are already available in the core book.
[21:40] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The spells in the core rulebook is called “Sufficiently Advanced Magick Is Indistinguishable From Technology”.
[21:40] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The game plays around with this idea a lot.
[21:40] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:40] * ~Dan nodnods
[21:41] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done as well)
[21:41] <~Dan> You mentioned that armor makes targets harder to hit. How much would it throw things off if it reduced damage?
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[21:42] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I think it would basically make things a bit less “all or nothing” which is either or a good thing or a bad thing depending on your tastes.
[21:42] <+Devon-SPLINTER> There are some forms of damage reduction/damage absorption in the game,
[21:42] <~Dan> Oh?
[21:42] <+Devon-SPLINTER> the common spell Personal Shield would be an oft-encountered example.
[21:44] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Shield (Personal) creates a globe of shimmering golden force with the texture of vulcanized rubber and the appearance of semi-translucent glass around the target. While the shield is up, you ignore the first Conviction points worth of damage you take each turn. Damage over that amount comes out of your Tuning Points instead of your life points.
[21:44] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Run out of Tuning Points and the shield goes down.
[21:44] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That’s probably the most commonly encountered example: Evan, can you think of any gadgets from SLWT or the corebook that provide Damage Reduction/Absorption?
[21:44] <~Dan> Nice.
[21:44] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:45] <+ETS_SPLINTER> Well there’s at least one High-tech armor item that adds a second pool of LP on top of EF and Avatar LP
[21:45] <+ETS_SPLINTER> Which is one of at least six flavors of force field available in that book
[21:45] * ~Dan nods
[21:46] <~Dan> How extensive is the bestiary in the core book?
[21:46] <+ETS_SPLINTER> There are also some defense offerings that allow Avatars to roll couter-skills against incoming attacks in leu of evading
[21:46] <+ETS_SPLINTER> (done)
[21:47] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Less extensive than I’d like to be honest: I would say it’s monster headcount is about half of what you’d find in a D&D Monster Manual…which is actually pretty good for most RPGs, but is not enough for the infinite/infiniter/infitest world of SPLINTER.
[21:48] <+ETS_SPLINTER> It IS a good cross-section of the absolute wierdness that permiates the SPLINTER, what with the parasitic clockwork hummingbirds and inexplicably powerful housecats
[21:49] <+ETS_SPLINTER> OH ALSO the leech creatures that pretend to be adorable housepets… those are my favorite
[21:49] <+ETS_SPLINTER> (done)
[21:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> A more precise answer is: 68 monsters extensive.
[21:49] <~Dan> I’ll bet those suck.
[21:49] <+Devon-SPLINTER> The plan is for Ugly Things to add 162 more.
[21:49] <~Dan> 68 monsters is not too shabby at all.
[21:49] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> 😀
[21:50] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Yeah they’re called “Inocquiescents” and they basically appear as little bunny rabbits with hurt paws or starving puppies or mangy kittens, and then they transform into their lamprey-like true form and sting you with the deadliest venom in the game.
[21:50] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Some rooms of the Splinter really are filled with small, harmless, wounded and/or starving animals.
[21:50] <+Devon-SPLINTER> So this was really hard on Mikaela.
[21:50] <+Devon-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:51] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Yeah I’m kind of a big animal lover
[21:51] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> (done)
[21:51] <~Dan> As always, you guys are welcome to hang out and answer questions as long as you like; however, in what remains of “regular time”, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:53] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I think we’ve covered a good spread of the content of the SPLINTER. I have one last thing to say, but first I’d like to ask the sizable crowd of onlookers in here if anyone has any more questions about anything?
[21:54] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Hokays, well:
[21:55] <+Devon-SPLINTER> I think SPLINTER is the most unique game that we publish. I think it’s one of the most unique RPGs that anyone publishes. Against my initial assumptions, this hasn’t made it easy to sell. I think its high concept doesn’t fit comfortably into a graphic or an elevator pitch.
[21:56] <+Devon-SPLINTER> So this Kickstarter is really our litmus test for whether public interest *exists* in this product and whether we’ll continue to support the game line or focus on games that are a bit easier to grock. So if it sounds at all interesting to you, you should definitely check it out and forward it to your friends to check it out.
[21:56] <+ETS_SPLINTER> I’m gonna go’head and post the link to the Kickstarter again before everybody rolls out of here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/splinter-surprising-things
[21:57] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Basically, it is an anomaly and we are at the point of trying to justify its existence with public interest. We would love for this weird mutant freak of a game to have a place on people’s shelves and at their tables.
[21:57] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:57] <+Devon-SPLINTER> That’s the last thing I have to declare: we’ll be hanging out here for a while and I’ll happily answer any late questions.
[21:57] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> Thanks so much for having us, Dan!
[21:57] <~Dan> Thanks very much for spending time with us, guys!
[21:57] <+Devon-SPLINTER> Likewise.
[21:57] <~Dan> Absolutely! And you know that you’re always welcome.
[21:58] <+Mikaela-SPLINTER> 😀
[21:58] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll get the log posted and give you the link.