[19:03] <+KenSpencer> I am the line developer and lead writer for Rocket Age from Cubicle 7 Entertainment, and I am here to talk about our newest supplement, Lure of Venus, a compendium of all things Venus, Venusian, and Venus-like.
[19:03] <&Silverlion> Not you again! 😀
[19:04] <+KenSpencer> I’m back and better than before!
[19:04] <~Dan> 😀
[19:06] <~Dan> (Oh… were you still typing, KenSpencer?)
[19:06] <+KenSpencer> Shall we go on to the first question?
[19:06] <+FaerieGodfather> So what’s your Venus like? Is it the Burroughsian jungle planet?
[19:06] <~Dan> Sounds good!
[19:07] <&Silverlion> Likely story! Rocket Age is still Rocking 😀 I need to buy the supplements.
[19:08] <+KenSpencer> There are really two Venuses (Venus?), the highlands are humid and hot jungle and savannah covered, the lowlands lie below a layer of mists and are increasingly hotter and under higher pressure. Even rocket ships have trouble below the mists. (done)
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[19:08] <~Dan> Any large bodies of water?
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[19:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
[19:10] <+KenSpencer> There is Green Lake in the Carmenta Savannah, several major rivers flowing down from the mountains, but no oceans. The continents and islands are separated by the mists. The habitable portion of Venus is just the tops of the mountain ranges. (done)
[19:11] <~Dan> So I take it that before the Earthlings arrived, there was no travel between the continents and islands?
[19:13] <+KenSpencer> Very little, the Eastern Venusian cultural group has long used hangliders and skylines to sail between the peaks, but other than that the landmasses are largely separated.
[19:13] <+MHolder> ken… just caught the promo video for Rocket Age and read the description for lure of venus… have to tell you… brought a smile to my face… nice work.
[19:14] <&Silverlion> What kind of conflicts are there on VEnus?
[19:14] <+KenSpencer> Thanks, the art team really went to task on this one, not that they don’t do a bang up job normally.
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[19:15] <~Dan> (MHolder has a game called Demons & Saints in KS and will be our guest on 10/1.)
[19:15] <+MHolder> what inspired you to this setting, this genre?
[19:15] <+KenSpencer> The theme for Venus is desire in all its forms. There is conflict based on competing desires. The Venusians vs. aliens, greedy nations and corporations vs. anyone who stands in their way, and of course personal hungers for riches, fame, discoveries, conquest, you name it.
[19:16] <+KenSpencer> The main themes were drawn from the jungle adventure tropes, as well as pulp sic-fi, and the real world history of exploration and colonization. (done)
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[19:16] <~Dan> (Howdy, open_sketch!)
[19:16] <+open_sketch> hi dan
[19:17] <+MHolder> can you tell me more about the mechanics of the game?
[19:18] <+MHolder> generally how its played..
[19:18] <+MHolder> seems like a pretty rich environment
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[19:19] <+KenSpencer> Rocket Age uses the Vortex system, the same system that powers Doctor Who the RPG. It is a attribute +skill game vs. a target number with a non-binary result. Lure of Venus is the second planetary supplement, and the fifth supplement in total.
[19:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lysus_!)
[19:20] <+MHolder> how close is lure of venus to the first planetary supplement… follow the same format or something new?
[19:21] <~Dan> The core book suggests some intriguing powers associated with Venusian psychic artifacts. Does the supplement go into more detail about those?
[19:23] <+KenSpencer> I originally outlines Lure of Venus to follow the same structure as Blood Red Mars, but the further I got into writing it, the more I saw that it needed to be treated as its own text and not as a mold to bang the cookies into. The chapters go: Intro, Planetology, People of Venus: Venusians, People of Venus: Aliens, Flora and Fauna, Downey Creek War
[19:23] <+KenSpencer> (the adventure), and then appendices. I wanted Venus to be more about the people there than the political climate or designs of alien conquerors. (done)
[19:24] <+KenSpencer> As far as powers, the origins of the psychic crystals is revealed, and new powers associated with them are in the new equipment part of the appendix. The major one is that some can be cut so that they will hold a psychically active charge, and realize that charge as a form of energy. (done)
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[19:26] <~Dan> Are there new psychic powers introduced as well?
[19:26] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest72!)
[19:27] <+KenSpencer> No, I think we have covered enough psychic powers between the corebook, Blood Red Mars, and Heores of the Solar System. There might be more in Imperial Jupiter as I expand upon the Europans.
[19:28] * ~Dan nods
[19:28] <~Dan> I just thought you might have some more “shaman-y” type powers for the Venusians.
[19:29] <~Dan> What Earthling nations are most active on Venus?
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[19:30] <+Ismellzombies> what up dan!
[19:30] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ismellzombies!)
[19:30] <+KenSpencer> Not a bad idea, where were you eight months ago? For Lure of Venus I concentrated on adding things that not just Venusians, but different types of characters could use. One range of traits allows for characters other than those with Fighting Man to act more often and preemptively in the action sequence. For example, Smooth Talkers can act twice in the Talking
[19:30] <+Ismellzombies> not much, glad I found a way to be in here on time now!
[19:31] <+Guest72> Does the rest of the Solar System know about the Erisians?
[19:31] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:31] <+MHolder> i would like to stay longer but… thanks for sharing ken and I’ve bookmarked the Rocket Age page where everything is found. look more into it this weekend!
[19:31] <+KenSpencer> Phase or spend a Story Point to use a Talking action (social combat in other words) out of phase. (done)
[19:31] <~Dan> (Guest72, you can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
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[19:32] <~Dan> Take care, MHolder! Come by any time! You’re always welcome. 🙂
[19:32] <+KenSpencer> Adios MHolder.
[19:32] <+MHolder> thank you… bye guys
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[19:33] <+KenSpencer> The US is probably the most active Earthling nation on Venus, but other nations have taken an interest. The Soviets have their secret People’s Army of Venus, and Nazis have a colony and a secret base, and smaller nations are busy colonizing the planet. I listen to the fans and took their suggestions to mind, which is why Brazil and the Netherlands have a
[19:34] <~Dan> (Cut off at “Netherlands have a”)
[19:34] <+KenSpencer> presence, as do Turkey, Greece, and Mexico. Finally, Japan is more active on Venus, focusing its limited resources on building a Venusian Co-Prosperity Sphere in the Ishtar Range. (done)
[19:34] <~Dan> (brb – please continue)
[19:36] <+Ismellzombies> lol how did mexico afford the trip?
[19:36] <+Ismellzombies> jk
[19:36] <+KenSpencer> The Erisians are a weird sort of ‘secret’. I thought I had made it clear in the corebook and the first published episode that they were the ancestors of the Venusians, but it seems that the fandom has been speculating about that on their own. The Erisians and their history are not well known in Rocket Age, that is something for PCs to uncover in play.
[19:36] <+KenSpencer> All those scientists and archeologists need to have some sort of grand discovery. (done)
[19:37] <+Ismellzombies> how many modules are planned for it?
[19:38] <+KenSpencer> Currently Rocket Age has a backlog of around a half dozen episodes before we get to support for Lure of Venus.
[19:38] <+Ismellzombies> neat stuff
[19:39] <&Silverlion> Heh. Cool.
[19:39] <&Silverlion> You should always come talk to dan about Games he loves, he’ll give you ideas 😀
[19:39] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:40] <~Dan> On Mars, it seems like World War 2 — or, rather, Solar War 1 — might start at any time. Is Venus as much of a tinderbox?
[19:43] <+KenSpencer> The Green lake War which saw the US, Japan, the White Spire Venusians, Germany, and corporate interests war with the Green Lake Venusians over territory. While this unlikely alliance proved able to deafen the Green Lakers, tensions remain high on the Ishtar Plateau.
[19:44] <+KenSpencer> Everyone wants something from Venus, and the terrain allows the natives to have a great advantage. Where Mars is looking at a major conflagration of colonial powers and allied natives, Venus might just be a series of brushfire wars. (done)
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[19:45] <~Dan> It almost seems like Mars and Venus are akin to North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively.
[19:46] <+KenSpencer> More like India and Sub-Saharan Africa in influence, though I drew from the colonial histories of the Americas and Asia as well.
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[19:47] <~Dan> (Howdy, AlmazDisciplina!)
[19:47] <~Dan> I kinda got the impression that Ganymede was more like the American West.
[19:47] <~Dan> (That’s the one with the weirdo plant people, right?)
[19:49] <+KenSpencer> The comparisons won’t match up too well. Venus has the wildcatters, free ranging miners that operate outside of governmental and corporate oversight. The mining on Venus owes a lot to the gold rushes of California and Alaska. Ganyemede will have a native vs. invader theme, but all of the Jovian System will be tied up in the Europans’ plans. (done)
[19:51] <~Dan> Just skimming the bestiary, it looks like you went lighter on the dinosaurs than I’d have expected. Any thoughts on that?
[19:52] <+KenSpencer> While there area lot of dinosaurs to choose from, the diversity, at least game rules and roles wise, are no that great. I wanted to add in some giant insects, strange primate like lizards, and deadly plants. For the mist dwelling creatures, I just went wild and dreamed up the oddest things, such as flying corners snails. (done)
[19:53] <+KenSpencer> Carniverous snails that is, but they can corner nicely.
[19:54] <+Ismellzombies> not owning the game, is there a beastiary online that I can take a look at?
[19:55] <+Ismellzombies> *hey dan, Ive got to sciddaddle but now that I can access this from work, you can expect me in here more often. gttg
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[19:55] <+KenSpencer> Cubicle 7’s Rocket Age webpage ((Link: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/rocket-age-2/)http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/rocket-age-2/) has a lot of images to peruse, but no online bestiary.
[19:56] <~Dan> How extensive is the Venus bestiary?
[19:57] <+KenSpencer> There are 23 entries, a list of all the Venusian critters from other sources (corebook, supplements, episodes), and a reprint of the swarms rules from Trail of the Scorpion.
[19:58] <~Dan> Does it contain the stats for the creatures from other sources, or just page number references?
[20:00] <+KenSpencer> Just references. Lure of Venus was one of those projects where I had to keep going to my managing editor and making for a larger word count. In the end he gave me a rock solid limit and joked not one word more or less. I was tempted to street out that last fifty words to fit.
[20:02] <~Dan> Given the nature of the setting, is it a challenge to figure out how best to divvy up information regarding specific locations?
[20:04] <+KenSpencer> There are four big concerns First, the information in any given sourcebook needs to be playable, having great ideas and fancy words is one thing, but if no one actually plays the game and has fun, it is a little bit of a waste. Second, the information needs to fit the theme of the work, and with Rocket Age that means a little serious and a little silly
[20:06] <+KenSpencer> at the same time. Third, and this is the hardest, new character traits, equipment, and such must be worth playing and paying for. I do not want to just give someone a new trait because new traits are in the outline. Finally, if there is something that comes out of playtesting and needs to be addressed, I put it in. Take the swarm rules They should have been
[20:06] <+KenSpencer> a corebook feature, but I did not think of them at the time. Likewise the mini-rocket ships from Lure of Venus. My groups needed a smaller ship that they could crew without the extra crew that larger rocket ships require. (done)
[20:08] <~Dan> Mini-rocket ships, you say?
[20:09] <+KenSpencer> Yes, they are small, cramped, and if anything goes wrong everyone will die. However, they are cheaper, can be crewed by two people, and hold up to six people or an equivalent amount of cargo (the main cabin can be configured modularly).
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[20:11] <~Dan> Are they like space PT boats?
[20:12] <+KenSpencer> A little, but also like a clapped together puddle-jumper plane or old island hopper. Now I want to do a McHale’s Navy in spaaaaaace game.
[20:13] <~Dan> 😀
[20:14] <~Dan> How feasible is exploration of the Lowlands?
[20:14] <~Dan> And is there a reason for trying?
[20:17] <+KenSpencer> There are a lot of fun things and horrors in the lowlands. Exploration is not terribly feasible, but there are diving bell like apparatus as well as hard hat like diving suits. The problem is dealing with the pressure and heat. Officially, no one has made it past the mist layer and made it back. Many PCs have taken one way trip though. (done)
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[20:17] <~Dan> “Fun things”?
[20:18] <+KenSpencer> Gigantic psychi crystal aliens that are thankfully unaware that there is any other life in the Solar System, and that have a really dislike for fleshy things.
[20:20] <~Dan> Wow. O.o
[20:21] <+KenSpencer> Wait until the psychic crystal entities find out what Venusians do with dead psychic crystal entities that are brought up in tectonic upheavals.
[20:22] <~Dan> Oh, so that’s where the crystals come from!
[20:22] <~Dan> Double wow. O.o
[20:22] <+KenSpencer> Oh yes.
[20:23] <+KenSpencer> I wanted to though in something really big that I could drawn upon latter if needed, something that could change the balance of power if it ever got loose.
[20:23] <+open_sketch> my lasers and feelings hack got me my first 1-star review on DriveThruRPG
[20:23] <+open_sketch> ;(
[20:23] <~Dan> Are these creatures potentially capable of planetary travel?
[20:24] <+KenSpencer> They don’t survive long outside of the incredible heat and pressure of the planet’s surface. Then again, the are psychic…
[20:24] <~Dan> Or are they just so powerful psychically that they don’t need to?
[20:25] * ~Dan nods sagely
[20:27] <~Dan> How would you compare the ability of the Venusians to resist invaders to that of the Martians?
[20:29] <+KenSpencer> The Venusians have several advantages. First of all, they are massive, over 3m in height and built like gorillas. Second, they are partially arboreal, they think and fight in three dimensions. Third, they are ready adaptors of new technology, something the Martians are struggling with.
[20:30] <~Dan> Does the latter stem from their background?
[20:30] <+KenSpencer> Finally, and this might just be my personal view having grown up in the desert, fighting a war in a desert seems like it would not be as hard as in a jungle. The disadvantages the Venusians have are a lack of order and consistency, easy travel and communication between regions, and a lower level of technology.
[20:31] <+KenSpencer> And yes, the problems that Martians have are largely tied to the stagnation of their culture, the Venusians are more active and assertive. (done)
[20:32] <~Dan> I think we discussed before that there doesn’t seem to be much stopping Earthlings on Mars from just using rocket ships to roast primitive Martian troops.
[20:33] <~Dan> That wouldn’t be as feasible in a jungle environment.
[20:34] <+KenSpencer> It is a numbers game. That and if you want to occupy a place and loot any resources you find, having it all be irradiated and melty is a bad idea.
[20:37] <~Dan> True.
[20:38] <~Dan> Does Lure explain how the Erisians changed to become the Venusians?
[20:39] <+KenSpencer> They didn’t, they lost their technology without having the infrastructure to maintain it. Eventually, skills and knowledge pass into myth and legend and are forgotten. The culture changed, the bodies did not. However, Erisians shaved their bodies in order to better fit in their powered armor and space suits, thus the difference in appearance.
[20:40] <~Dan> Didn’t Erisians have horns?
[20:40] <+KenSpencer> Plus, the populations that became the Venusians were small, not a lot of genetic diversity. I like to think that the modern Venusian doesn’t represent the full diversity of Eris.
[20:41] <+KenSpencer> Some did, Lure of Venus only gives some hints about Erisians. I wanted to focus more word count on the Venusians than introduce a whole planet’s worth of new species and cultures that were not Venus based. There will be more on the Erisians in the future, including all the lost colonies of Eris. (done)
[20:44] <~Dan> Venusians are phsycially and psychically powerful. Why wouldn’t someone want to play one?
[20:44] <~Dan> (From a purely mechanical standpoint.)
[20:47] <+KenSpencer> All those powerful traits come at a cost, and that is flexibility. A Venusian will cost you 10 CP, that’s a quarter of your budget. To do that you have to really want to play something that focuses on a Venusian’s strengths. Compare an Earthling, which is a 1 CP investment.
[20:48] <~Dan> Good point.
[20:49] <+KenSpencer> My game design philosophy is that good games are about choices right form the start. Choices in character creation, balancing trade offs on what you want and what you can have. Adventures, settings, it all needs to be about fostering decision making.
[20:49] <~Dan> So in the time we have remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?
[20:49] <+KenSpencer> All that said, I think we will see a lot more people playing Venusians with the release of Lure of Venus, there is just so much cool information.
[20:51] <+KenSpencer> One thing I really like about Lure of Venus is that the Venusians have different cultural groups. I did not want them to develop into a one hat species. Monoculture works for some settings and some species, the Ganymedians are a small population on a small moon and should have one culture, but Mars and Venus are large, they needed to have multiple cultures
[20:51] <+KenSpencer> native to them.
[20:51] * ~Dan nods
[20:53] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of the Venusian cultures?
[20:55] <+KenSpencer> The one that is presented in the corebook and Heroes of the Solar System are the Western Venusians, the ones that have the most contact with aliens. There are the lizard riding and grasslands dwelling Grathik tribes, the matriarchal North Mountain Women, the aforementioned sailplane flying Eastern Venusians, and many others.
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[20:57] <~Dan> Dino-riders. Cool. 🙂
[20:57] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
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[20:58] <+MonkofLords> Yo
[20:58] <+KenSpencer> There are Venusians that have kingdoms, others that build plazas and temples, and some isolated groups have a tighter hold on their Erisian past (cultures built around the survivors of a crashed spaceship). There area also few surviving Erisians that have managed to stick around in isolation and using stasis pods. (done)
[20:58] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[20:58] <~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
[20:59] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us this evening, KenSpencer!
[20:59] <+KenSpencer> As aways it was a pleasure. I love to talk about my work.
[21:00] <~Dan> You’re always welcome to do so here. 🙂