The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

[Q&A] Keith Sears (The Feylands)


[19:03] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Hello, everyone! I am Keith W Sears, owner of Sock & Buskin Games. I’m here to talk to about the Feylands project at (Link:

[19:05] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Feylands is one of three different settings that I am creating for that web site.

[19:06] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The other two are London by Moonlight, which is a modern fantasy setting, and the Outisider Chronicles, which is weird Science Fantasy.

[19:06] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Feylands itself is a medieval-ish fantasy setting.

[19:07] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I’m setting up the site as a encyclopedia of sorts for those settings.

[19:09] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, I am writing the content for upcoming game settings to get feedback on them and see where I might need to go to make the project a success.

[19:09] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> done

[19:10] <~Dan> Thanks, Keith_Sears_Feylands! The floor is open to questions. 🙂

[19:10] <~Dan> So let’s see… What is the premise of The Feylands?

[19:12] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Feylands setting itself is one I began back when I first started roleplaying. Its based on Arthurian legend and Faerie folklore as opposed to the Tolkienesque fantasy most try to emulate.

[19:14] <~Dan> Literally Arthurian, or just inspired by?

[19:14] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Feylands begins with the supposition that Arthur and his knights were brought to Avalon upon their ‘deaths’ and were able to establish a government on the island.

[19:16] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, it is literal. Arthur and his knights are derived from so many different sources, that the tales can change greatly depending on who is doing the telling.

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[19:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)

[19:17] <~Dan> Who/what are the PCs?

[19:20] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> A good question. Past players have usually been the typical rag-tag troupe of adventures. One was the entourage of a powerful duke.

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[19:21] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, RachaelBlackthorne!)

[19:21] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I am hoping to put together a secret society of sorts that will lend a little order to that aspect of the game

[19:21] * ~Dan nods

[19:21] <~Dan> Are the PCs all human?

[19:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I am planning on having all kinds…. Human and Fey.

[19:23] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Fey have a single origin, but come in an almost infinite variety of shapes, including animals.

[19:23] <~Dan> How will you handle that much variety?

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[19:23] <~Dan> (Howdy, rpgresearch!)

[19:24] <+rpgresearch> hiya Dan, How goes?

[19:24] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> A lot of that has to do with the Dream System I am designing.

[19:24] <~Dan> (Good, thanks!)

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[19:24] <~Dan> (You there, RachaelBlackthorne?)

[19:24] <~Dan> (Howdy, Songtress!)

[19:25] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Traditional roleplaying games use the Wargame model for their mechanics… they try to closely emulate the physics of the setting they are in.

[19:26] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Dream System will be primarily a Narrative game. The emphasis will be on the players stories as opposed to simulating combat.

[19:27] <~Dan> How will that work?

[19:27] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> In fact, I will be putting in a mechanic that will make it attractive to lose a conflict in certain parts of the story.

[19:30] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Conflict will be an auction of sorts. The winner gets control of the narrative and can say what the outcome of that conflict is. However, they will lose a point or more of their Plot Points in order to do so.

[19:30] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, the more you win, the weaker you get.

[19:31] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> In any good story, there is a point where the villains regroup and kick the heck out of the heroes.

[19:32] <~Dan> So do the characters even have stats of any sort?

[19:32] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yes.. they will have Freeform Traits.

[19:33] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> When you create your character, you can name the Trait…a Profession, an extraordinary Strength, Racial abilities, you name it.

[19:35] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I’m currently planning on allowing a player to have more than one character at a time, so you can make your own sidekicks.

[19:35] <~Dan> Nice touch.

[19:35] <~Dan> How do the Traits impact gameplay?

[19:36] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> They act as reusable Plot Points.. as long as they are applicable to the situation.

[19:36] <~Dan> Hmm… Interesting.

[19:37] <~Dan> How does the GM’s role work?

[19:37] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, if you bid 1 plot point in a combat situation, and have Soldier and Great Strength as Traits, you can add them on for a total of 3 points.

[19:39] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I call the GM the Writer… the main role is to keep the action moving.

[19:40] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The writer fills the traditional GM role, and he will have his own pile of Plot points. He will be able to build opposition for the players from those points.

[19:40] <~Dan> So he bids against the players?

[19:40] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yep..

[19:41] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, if a player wants to do something silly.

[19:41] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Like kill the king while he is asking for their help with a problem.

[19:42] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Normally, the GM would need to either do a lot of fudging to stop this if he did not plan for it.. or the entire story could get derailed.

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[19:43] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The points allow the GM to improvise without overwhelming the players.. or overwhelming them legally within the game.

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[19:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)

[19:44] <&Silverlion> Hi not here really.

[19:44] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I hope that makes sense.

[19:44] <~Dan> I think so.

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[19:45] <~Dan> I gather that Traits aren’t rated? You either have one or you don’t?

[19:46] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> If you buy a Trait, it automatically has a level of 1. They will have ratings.

[19:46] <~Dan> Ah, good.

[19:47] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> All you need do is increase it.. I haven’t figured out how I want to do that yet, though.

[19:49] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The system itself is in the pre-alpha stage.

[19:49] <~Dan> And is conflict all a yes/no matter? For example, does one round of bidding determine success or failure in combat?

[19:50] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Good question! A single round would be fast, but boring.

[19:51] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> It is possible to add more to your bid, but you need to add more action/description to what your character is doingl

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[19:52] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> For example, you and I are boxing… I we both have point tokens out and I push another one out and describe that I am swinging a haymaker at your head.

[19:53] <~Dan> Hmm. So what determines when the bidding is “closed”?

[19:53] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> When neither opponent has anything to bid.. its a matter of how badly you want something.

[19:55] <~Dan> So extended actions would involve increasing bids based on additional actions, and the action would be resolved when one side gives up or has nothing left to bid?

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[19:56] <~Dan> (Howdy, open_sketch|2!)

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[19:56] <~Dan> (wb, egyptian!)

[19:56] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yes.. and the winner gets to tell the outcome.. and the winner may actually decide their character loses the conflict.

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[19:57] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lassek!)

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[19:58] <~Dan> Is failure purely narrative? How much power does narrative control convey?

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[19:59] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> It can be anything.. as long as it fits into what just happened and doesn’t break the genre of the story.

[20:01] <+xyphoid> do you have a character who’s ‘yours’?

[20:01] <~Dan> So you can narrate death, or example?

[20:01] <+xyphoid> or is it more like a Once Upon A Time style of narrative

[20:01] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> It is something that will need to be playtested in order to make sure the rules are both fun and fair. A lot of narrative games seem to rely heavily on a social contract between the players.

[20:02] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Yes, you can have your one character, just like in a regular roleplaying game.

[20:04] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Death can be narrated. Not certain what I would want required for that to happen, though. I don’t like the idea of major characters having the lifespan of a soap bubble.

[20:05] <~Dan> Well, the alternative would seem to be narrating individual wounds, which wouldn’t seem to be a definitive ending for a combat.

[20:06] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Well, in Universalis, which is an inspiration for this system, you need to buy off the cost of a character to destroy it.

[20:07] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So, mooks that cost just 1 point to build… easily destroyed. Major characters may never die because it would be too expensive.

[20:09] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Xyphoid, when you asked about Once Upon a Time, are you referring to the card game?

[20:09] <+xyphoid> yeah

[20:11] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> hmm….not really. There would be some elements like that, but the point is to have characters that you can keep and grow over the course of time.

[20:12] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> One of the goals is to create a roleplaying game that plays as very much like a boardgame, but continues to have the unique elements of an RPG.

[20:13] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I hope that answers your question.

[20:16] <~Dan> So given the strong narrative elements, will you even bother with defined fey species?

[20:17] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Yes, because that’s one of the things that makes them interesting.

[20:18] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> For example, I play Johann, a Cait Sith (Faerie Cat) in freeform roleplay.

[20:20] <~Dan> How would you stat out such a creature, then?

[20:20] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> One of the things he is good at is Purrkour.

[20:20] * ~Dan laughs

[20:21] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Traits I would use for him,… without the ratings.. is 1.) Cait Sith

[20:21] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> 2) Secret Agent

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[20:22] <~Dan> (brb – please continue)

[20:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> 3) Magic Scholar

[20:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> 4) Master of Purrour

[20:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Purrkout

[20:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Purrkour

[20:22] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> 5) King of the Cats

[20:23] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> and that roughly it in a nutshell.

[20:24] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> You can read about Johann at (Link:

[20:25] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> And King of the Cats at (Link:

[20:27] <~Dan> (back)

[20:28] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The Traits are open-ended. The main point is to provide flavor and define the character,.

[20:28] * ~Dan nods

[20:28] <~Dan> So will the fey races have certain Traits that are pre-determined?

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[20:28] <~Dan> (wb, Bill!)

[20:30] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Sort of. One thing I have found is that people will often prefer a limited number of choices over “Get whatever you want.”

[20:31] <~Dan> Yeah. Well, I think baring that, fey races would be too fuzzy to matter.

[20:31] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Like Dwarves… if you were looking for a Tolkienesque one, just having that Trait dooms you to having a beard and digging in the dirt.

[20:32] * ~Dan nods

[20:33] <~Dan> Actually… Based upon what you said about your Cait Sith, would the fey species be a self-defined Trait?

[20:34] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Pretty much…. Cait Sith.. your a talking cat.

[20:35] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> and the Trait could be used if you want to use sharp claws and teeth.

[20:36] <~Dan> Could they be drawbacks as well? As in, you’re a talking cat, so you’re small and hence more easily injured?

[20:36] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yes.. and since you are Fey, you would be vulnerable to Cold Iron.

[20:37] <~Dan> So… would that manifest as a free bid for your opponent?

[20:37] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yes.. I want the Traits to be reversible.. so an opponent can actually twist one against you.

[20:38] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> For example.. your love for Sweet Mary may make you lose if the villain is using her as a shield.

[20:38] * ~Dan nods

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[20:39] <+RachaelBlackthorne> Or if you have Enhanced Senses, that can be turned against you by someone using ultra bright light, for example.  Right?

[20:39] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Correct.

[20:40] <~Dan> Oh, there you are, RachaelBlackthorne! Welcome to #rpgnet! 🙂

[20:40] <+RachaelBlackthorne> Thank you, I’ve been listening. 🙂

[20:41] <~Dan> Here for the Q&A in particular?

[20:41] <~Dan> Keith_Sears_Feylands: Will you include a bestiary?

[20:41] <+RachaelBlackthorne> Yes.

[20:41] <~Dan> RachaelBlackthorne: Cool. Glad to have you here. 🙂

[20:42] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Sort of started on that with the entry on Jenny Greenteeth.

[20:42] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> The variety of Fey creatures is incredibly low. Most of copies of earth creatures or humanoid.

[20:44] <~Dan> I thougth you said there was a lot of variety.

[20:44] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Yes.. for the people.

[20:46] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> To me.. a bestiary in a traditional RPG translates to “Things you can Kill.”

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[20:47] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> So.. in the case of this game… these will be mostly descriptions of races.

[20:47] <~Dan> So there aren’t that many “monsters”?

[20:49] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Depends a lot on your point of view.. the Cait Sith could count as a “monster” because its an animal.

[20:49] <+RachaelBlackthorne> Wouldn’t monster be subjective?  Yes, like that.

[20:50] <~Dan> Fair enough.

[20:50] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> But there could be Dragons, sea serpents.. Thunderbirds, if you get into American creatures.

[20:50] * ~Dan nods

[20:50] <~Dan> Yeah, that’s the sort of thing I mean.

[20:51] <+RachaelBlackthorne> But you could have a heroic Dragon and a “monster” Human, right?

[20:51] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?

[20:51] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> yes, you could have a reversal like that.

[20:52] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Not that I can think of, Dan.

[20:52] <~Dan> No problem. And to be clear, you’re welcome to hang out with us and chat about Feylands as long as you like. And whenever you like, come to that.

[20:53] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Love to.

[20:53] <~Dan> Oh, and a quick reminder to everyone that I do now have a link to my tip jar up on my blog, where I post the logs, if anyone is so inclined. 🙂

[20:54] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> I thank you for inviting me. Does anyone have any other questions?

[20:54] <~Dan> Speaking of which, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link. 🙂

[20:55] <+Keith_Sears_Feylands> Thank you.

[20:55] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Keith!