[19:08] <+RobertBrookes> Hey everybody (Hi Doctor Nick!) I’m Robert Brookes, freelance author for Paizo Inc publisher of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. You might’ve skimmed over my name in books like Slave Trenches of Hakotep, Occult Adventures, Occult Origins, Occult Realms, Bestiary 5, and more! Currently I’m leading one of the best design teams in the industry
[19:09] <+RobertBrookes> to create a science-fantasy campaign setting for Pathfinder, called Aethera. We’re currently on the last three days of our Kickstarter and nail-bitingly close to funding the massive 400 page hardcover we’re working on. And, like the topic says, I’m here to talk to you folks about starships, bio-mechanical lifeforms, and why Event Horizon still scares me.
[19:10] <+RobertBrookes> Maybe not that last part, but also maybe.
[19:10] <+RobertBrookes> It’s kinda’ related.
[19:10] <&Silverlion> Event Horizon was an awesome movie.
[19:10] <&Silverlion> Although its CGI didn’t fair well
[19:10] <+RobertBrookes> I don’t like introductions, so if you’ve got any more questions about who I am or why I’m rambling in your general direction feel free to exercise the Q part of the Q&A for that too 🙂
[19:10] <+RobertBrookes> And I think that’s about (done) with the intro!
[19:11] <~Dan> Thanks, RobertBrookes!
[19:11] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:11] <+RobertBrookes> Also Silverlion has good taste in movies.
[19:11] <+RobertBrookes> Just gonna’ put that out there.
[19:12] <~Dan> Silverlion is a gentleman and a scholar. (And one of your fellow game authors.)
[19:12] <&Silverlion> I realize Pathfinder is big; why else do you feel its suitable for Space fantasy adaption?
[19:13] <+master_blaster> Why coose PF as opposed to using a new rule set?
[19:13] <+RobertBrookes> It’s partly because of its size, it’s also partly because of its modular nature. Pathfinder is great at being taken apart and being put back together again. That was part of the reason why the d20 system has survived for–what, 16 years now? 17 years? It’s been a long time since the OGL was first penned, and people are still squeezing lots of life out of it.
[19:14] <+JoshR> Hi Dr. Nick! You know me (and for everyone else who doesn’t, I’m one of those freelancers on that team Robert is doting on about), but I did want to know: when you see the words “science fiction,” what examples or imagery do you immediately think of?
[19:14] <~Dan> (Question pause after JoshR’s question, please.)
[19:15] <+RobertBrookes> In top of that (and this gets to Master Blaster née Optimus Jeff’s question: It has an enormous community and following. You can make new systems up as much as you want, but at the end of the day it comes down to a couple of factors. Do you *need* to make a new system and if not will the system you use acommodate your ideas.
[19:16] <+master_blaster> so you find catering the the existing community as the most successful path?
[19:16] <+master_blaster> ie the game would be less successful if you used another rule set
[19:17] <+RobertBrookes> Pathfinder’s community is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed writing for Paizo. I’ve been out to Seattle a few times to attend the (originally fan organized) Paizocon, and I’ve never seen a more dedicated and great community of people. I want to not only bne a part of that, but contribute back to it by making OGL compatible material that other publishers can use
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[19:18] <+RobertBrookes> Plus, if you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, don’t. Make a better wheel, sure, but there isn’t always a need to start from scratch. For Pathfinder, a dedicated science-fantasy setting with some of the themes we’re exploring with Aethera was a place for development. Not only for our own ideas, but for the community and OGL publishers.
[19:18] <+RobertBrookes> Rising tide lifting all boats, etc.
[19:18] <+RobertBrookes> As for Josh’s question
[19:20] <+RobertBrookes> People who know me or have seen/heard me in other interviews know that Star Wars is my go-to science fiction point of reference. I saw Return of the Jedi in theaters when I was just 2 years old. It created a frame of reference for me that I never really got away from. Even if Star Wars is more what I’d call science-fantasy (I mean it has magic!)
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[19:20] <+RobertBrookes> As an adult science fiction became more defined by Aasimov. I read “The Foundation” at a pretty young age, and that kinda’ game me a whole new appreciation for the genre.
[19:21] <+RobertBrookes> I think we can continue again
[19:21] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Thunderhead!)
[19:21] <~Dan> Yup, questions may resume!
[19:21] <~Dan> So what does “science-fantasy” mean in terms of Aethera?
[19:23] <+RobertBrookes> That circles back to the Star Wars origin. So that’s like, fusing magic and science together to a degree where either they’re diametric opposites of one another. The first example that comes to my mind is the Longest Journey adventure game, where magic and science were divided into two worlds separated by a realm of dreams and imagination. On the other side,
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[19:24] <+RobertBrookes> it’s where science and magic blur to a degree where they become indistinguishable. There’s a lot of that going on in Star Wars, but also in games like Mass Effect where you have these impossible things like Reapers and Mass Relays that are basically gigantic space magic tropes. Aethera sits closer to this end of the spectrum, where science and magic shook
[19:24] <+RobertBrookes> hands and never really let go of one-another.
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[19:26] <~Dan> So are we talking about D&D magic in space, or something new?
[19:27] <+RobertBrookes> At the bare bones, it’s D&D magic. But Paizo has done so much to build a more robust version of that system. Last year they released Occult Adventures–a book I mentioned I worked on–that introduced a lot of psychic-themed and occult-flavored options. We’re really buying in to those rules, bringing a sense of pulp era mysticism and occultism to the setting.
[19:28] <~Dan> Can you delve into that a bit?
[19:29] <+RobertBrookes> So you’ll have mediums aboard starships, performing seances to communicate with the spirits of people who died in the void of space. Or psychics that scan these massive industrial arcologies for political dissidents. There was a class introduced in that book–the spiritualist–that gets this little ghost-like companion and maybe you’ll encounter a detective
[19:29] <+RobertBrookes> who uses spirits like this to help solve crimes. When you take something like D&D/Pathfinder and you put that noir/1920s lens on it, everything starts to look different.
[19:29] <+RobertBrookes> The difference in technological level alone really changes things.
[19:29] <~Dan> Is it all Vancian still, or something different?
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[19:30] <+RobertBrookes> It’s all still based on the Vancian system, yeah. Memorization or per-day uses of spells. It’s distinctly different from the work Dreamscarred Press did with psionics, and why they didn’t use the term “psionic” for their book. We don’t account for Dreamscarred’s work, but we’re going to include a sidebar that talks about
[19:30] <+master_blaster> To add to dan’s last question, since this is a PF template game… what mechanical rules changes differ?
[19:31] <+RobertBrookes> how to integrate that stuff into your games if you use their products.
[19:31] <+JoshR> Why did you choose dieselpunk (or the jazz age) specifically as a visual/cultural direction, versus, straight cyberpunk or Victorian steampunk?
[19:32] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: I wouldn’t say there’s any major changes, but there’s a lot of additional content we’ve added to help accommodate for the setting’s themes and technology level. You’re still going to have fighters, wizards, sorcerers and the like. But we’re adding rules for magic-technology hybrids called “aethertech” that runs off of–basically fossilized
[19:32] <&Silverlion> What kinds of races/classes do you have?
[19:32] <~Dan> (Question pause after Sil’s question, please.)
[19:33] <+RobertBrookes> magic, to simplify. Those rules dovetail with what Paizo released for the Technology Guide, which is all available on their PRD for free. We’re also designing a space combat system, which–to the best of my knowledge–no one has really ever done in a satisfactory way for Pathfinder. Naval combat is slow and clunky, and we’re developing a system that makes a
[19:34] <+RobertBrookes> more fast-paced combat environment. If you ever played Star Wars Saga edition, the dogfight rules in that were a strong inspiration. We’re also designing rules for building and customizing your own ships, using swap out parts, ship stats, sorta’ like building a character in itself. There’s also rules for symbionts (creatures you wear), and some expanded
[19:35] <+RobertBrookes> firearms rules (and means to *defend* against firearms) due to their inclusion in the technology level we’re shooting for. Hopefully that answers your question, but if not I’ll gladly elaborate!
[19:36] <+RobertBrookes> JoshR: Cyberpunk and Steampunk feel pretty well treaded on. Shadowrun did the whole magic/technology thing great back in the 90s and I really didn’t want to walk through those same waters. Steampunk is something that I see so much everywhere that the number of tophat and goggles wearing zepplin pilots are as uncountable as grains of sand on a beach.
[19:37] <+RobertBrookes> The Jazz Age (I like that!) feels a little fresher, creates a visual style that reminds me of one of my favorite movies (Metropolis!) and helps ground the technology in a more analog environment.
[19:38] <+JoshR> Yeah. To me it’s Great Gatsby meets Rocketeer meets World War II. Which are all really interesting things.
[19:38] <+JoshR> (And a little bit of Downton Abbey. I like that show. Tell no one.)
[19:39] <+RobertBrookes> Silverlion: So sorta’ like I said back earlier, if it exists in Paizo’s published books it’ll have a place in Aethera. All of the core, advanced, hybrid, and occult classes have a defined space in the world. In fact we spend quite a few pages talking about the *roles* those classes play in the myriad societies of the setting. Actually, I talk about that a
[19:39] <+RobertBrookes> little in one of the Kickstarter updates I did: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/89095698/aethera-campaign-setting/posts/1396080)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/89095698/aethera-campaign-setting/posts/1396080
[19:39] <+RobertBrookes> However
[19:39] <&Silverlion> That seems like a very cram packed thing.
[19:40] <+RobertBrookes> We are adding *one* new class. The cantor. On the surface it’s as simple as a divine spellcasting bard, but the details become more distinct the closer you look. The cantor isn’t about buffing your friends, it’s about affecting the world around you. Their music is divine in nature, drawn from the power of a cosmic “song” emitted from one of the system’s two
[19:40] <+master_blaster> Why did you go with classes as opposed to using a freeform build system? Was balance taken into consideration regarding the classes, b/c PF classes tend to have balance issues… now with so many especially?
[19:41] <+RobertBrookes> suns. They have two new class features: verses and hymns. Verses are kinda’ like the hexes of the witch class, they’re quick-to-use abilities that are fired off during a “divine performance.” The hymns are more like a domain (cleric) or a mystery (oracle) where its a suite of powers, except the cantor chooses which hymn they prepare at the beginning of each
[19:42] <+RobertBrookes> day, so they have a lot of flexibility in the party role they serve.
[19:42] <+RobertBrookes> Silverlion: 400 pages of jam-packed stuff, actually 😉
[19:43] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: Again, it’s about reinventing the wheel. One of the first tenets of being a writer also applies to game design, after a fashion: write what you know. I’ve been playing with the d20 system and by extension Pathfinder for a very long time now, so that’s where my system mastery lies. Building a whole new setting for that was kind of a natural
[19:43] <~Dan> (master_blaster is another of your fellow game designers, just for the record. 😉 )
[19:44] <+master_blaster> i try
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[19:44] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest11!)
[19:44] <+RobertBrookes> evolution. Creating something like, I guess GURPS? We could’ve done that, but then you’re devoting even more of the book to reinventing the wheel. Then you’re not really affording the *story* material or the setting material, you’re creating a whole new rules set. Then you can’t leverage existing material. For example: we wanted some pain-worshipping sado-
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[19:45] <+master_blaster> In the book how many pages are dedicated to the story? How much do I need to read to understand the setting?
[19:45] <+RobertBrookes> masochistic otherworldly terrors (hi Event Horizon, hi!) we have those. They’re kytons, and they’re in Bestiary 1 – 5. We didn’t have to devote page count to explaining how they work, just how they fit into the setting as a whole. It’s an economical use of resources. It’s also a good way to avoid the hubris of becoming Bender from Futurama:
[19:45] <+master_blaster> Is thre like a quick catch up guide?
[19:45] <+RobertBrookes> “I’ll build my own ____, with blackjack, and hookers!”
[19:45] <+RobertBrookes> Etc.
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[19:47] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: I’d have to dig through the outline to get you an exact page count, but it’s close to an even split (so about 200 pages of in-universe content, if not a little more in favor of story-related topics.) The setting has several worlds, each with their own distinct histories, cultures, civilizations, and threats. The book covers them all in
[19:47] <+master_blaster> ahh gotcha, I was asking b/c in the PF core book I think half the book is dedicated to classes and spells, and there’s literally no story of any sort
[19:48] <+RobertBrookes> significant detail. I’d say it has no more entry-level difficulty than any other tabletop campaign setting. Pathfinder’s Inner Sea World Guide (effectively the setting book for their Golarion world) clock in at over 200 pages alone.
[19:49] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: Yeah, that’s just all rules content and setting-agnostic, so it can be used in virtually any environment. Their “Campaign Setting” line contains all their worldbuilding. Our book leans more towards that, but by merit of introducing new technological and magical concepts we need to add additional rules support to cover it.
[19:49] <+RobertBrookes> As for a quick reference thing
[19:49] <+RobertBrookes> We do offer this, for free: (Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpy9i4w?Aethera-Campaign-Setting-Preview-Guide)http://paizo.com/products/btpy9i4w?Aethera-Campaign-Setting-Preview-Guide
[19:49] <+RobertBrookes> It’s a 27-page preview guide that gives a really high-level overview of the setting, its people, and its core conflicts.
[19:50] <+master_blaster> When you say any other TT setting you mean the larger books like Monte Cook stuff and Shadows of Estern?
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[19:51] <+master_blaster> ohh forgot eclipse phase…
[19:51] <+RobertBrookes> I haven’t read Shadows of Estern. I’m thinking of some of D&D’s stuff, like their Forgotten Realms line, Eberron, old classics like Ravenloft and Dark Sun, etc. The Strange probably is a good estimate of density of story content, though I’m not as intimately familiar with that book.
[19:51] <~Dan> (Howdy, Frankto!)
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[19:52] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Raddu!)
[19:52] <+master_blaster> gotcha… b/c most RPG aren’t 200 pages long let alone 200 pages of world history.
[19:52] <+RobertBrookes> Did I miss anything in there? Sometimes I go down conversational rabbit holes and forget to look back 😉
[19:53] <~Dan> No worries, RobertBrookes. 🙂
[19:53] <+RobertBrookes> Yeah. Most also don’t cover more than one small geographical area. With a handful of entire planets, we need to consume a lot more space. The good thing about that, is that you don’t really have to have a full understanding of each world to play. You want to just play on one? Go for it, ignore the rest and have a huge adventure there. It’s designed for
[19:53] <+RobertBrookes> modular play. But if one of the players asks, “so what’s X like?” There’s answers.
[19:54] <~Dan> Can you describe the tech level of the setting?
[19:54] <+RobertBrookes> Totally
[19:56] <+RobertBrookes> So, like I’d mentioned upthread a bit, it’s a bit of a mix of things. Focusing on the human experience, it’s a little retro-futuristic. You’ve got a rather 20s-30s vibe for their society, flappers in asteroid colonies singing about rebellion and war, private detectives solving interplanetary cases, etc. So you’ve got bolt-action firearms, revolvers, etc. The
[19:56] <+RobertBrookes> kinda stuff you saw coming out of World War I. This rush towards industrialization and militarization. But then there’s the magic aspect that warps everything. That’s what aethertech is. To explain aethertech we kinda’ need to backpedal a little and talk about one of the core conceits of the setting.
[19:56] <+RobertBrookes> The Progenitors.
[19:57] <+RobertBrookes> So, Aethera is what you’d call post-post apocalyptic. The world ended, then it got better. Civilization fell, and fell hard, in an event called the Collapse. This pretty much destroyed everything to the point where there’s hardly a record of the world that was. The entities that pretty much sculpted interplanetary society were gone without a trace, and their
[19:59] <+RobertBrookes> advanced technology they left behind simply ceased to function anymore. Ultimately, people figured out how to reverse-engineer that technology by using magic to kinda’ spackle in the gaps. What was once powered by fusion, or whatever advanced power sources civilization lost was now powered by magical pieces of highly toxic crystals. This stuff has naturally
[20:00] <+RobertBrookes> telekinetic properties, and building engines that rendered things weightless was on the simple end of the spectrum once people figured out how to build the stuff and not either die or turn into a horrible monster from exposure. This aethertech boom brought with it new kinds of weapons, guns that shoot lightning, ships that can travel through space by
[20:00] <+RobertBrookes> telekinetic propulsion, and the like.
[20:00] <+master_blaster> So if I don’t like PF, what would make me like this game?
[20:00] <+RobertBrookes> But this resource is finite and–for a while–felt scarce. That led to a conflict that’s core to the setting, which, I suppose if you check out the Preview Guide you might find out a little more about it. I suppose if people want to hear more about the Century War I can dig into that too.
[20:02] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: Well, that’s the beauty of half of the book being worldbuilding stuff. You can take that setting and slap it down in a system of your choice. See, with Pathfinder a lot of stuff is really iconic. So the setting talks about wizards, are there people who use magic in the game you like? Bam, that’s who it’s talking about. While you might not get
[20:02] <+RobertBrookes> the same amount of use out of the mechanical stuff, you can still use the chassis of the storytelling in a system you *do* enjoy. Tropes translate pretty well across system lines.
[20:03] <+RobertBrookes> Whether the actual story grabs you, that’s personal preference. You can check out the preview guide for free and kinda’ get the jist of the setting, and apply it however you like. A lot of people who play 5E have asked me if there’ll be a conversion, and to that I say: not yet?
[20:04] <+RobertBrookes> There seems to be a market for it, but I’d need to put together an entirely different team to ensure that it’s a good conversion. I don’t know 5E well, and I won’t put out a sub-par book.
[20:04] <+master_blaster> What stuff in PF is really iconic? How is that icon stuff leveraged in your game?
[20:06] <+RobertBrookes> I’d say the concept of wizards, rogues, fighters, and clerics are pretty iconic. You can find them in pretty much any fantasy setting that has ever existed. Everything else is basically just a variation of that to some degree. Slayer? Melee focused rogue. Shaman? Weird druid. Etc. These concepts aren’t anything new, and in a non-pathfinder system they’re
[20:06] <+RobertBrookes> going to have analogues.
[20:06] <+RobertBrookes> In Aethera?
[20:06] <+RobertBrookes> We give those concepts places in society. I can talk about that more if you’re interested.
[20:06] <+master_blaster> absolutely
[20:10] <+RobertBrookes> So there’s two major cultural distinctions to talk about in Aethera. Human-centric, and erahthi-centric. There’s other cultures, but those two are the largest. I’ll talk about what human-centric means first, because that’s simpler.
[20:14] <+RobertBrookes> Humans recognize the use of magic, but their society is largely a totalitarian one. There’s a lot of societal and political control that strangles the ordinary people. Most of this is done out of fear of losing power resulting from an absolutely too-long war human civilization just got out of. To that extent, a lot of control is placed on who has magic and
[20:15] <+RobertBrookes> what they do with it. It’s not to say you can’t find ways around it, but if say: a child is born with a natural magical gift, and the “Hierarchy” (the term for the largest human government) finds out about it, they’ll want the child catalogued, registered, and the like. There’s some comic-book tropes in there, mutants and the like, and that’s intentional.
[20:16] <+RobertBrookes> So classes that use magic fit uniquely into human society. A dangerous gift that governments want to control, and some people just want to be free with. I think magic is the most interesting example of how classes have societal roles, so I’ll keep with that theme for the erahthi.
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[20:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, open_sketch!)
[20:17] <+RobertBrookes> The erahthi are one of the new races we introduced. They’re plant-like creatures with a really advanced society that centers around biological engineering of plant-based symbionts that replace a lot of the roles of advanced tech. In their society, their race is groomed from pre-birth, when they’re still hanging in amniotic sacs on huge trees.
[20:18] <+RobertBrookes> Someone sculpts them into the role they need to fill in society. So in erahthi culture, a mage is someone who is *given* their gift, and its intended to serve the greater good. Doesn’t always work out that way, what with free will being a pesky thing, but there’s a direct intentional design there.
[20:18] <+RobertBrookes> We previewed a little erahthi story on our website: (Link: http://www.aetherarpg.com/2015/09/aethera-preview-iconics-oemathra.html)http://www.aetherarpg.com/2015/09/aethera-preview-iconics-oemathra.html
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[20:18] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
[20:20] <+RobertBrookes> I’m open to more questions, or clarifications, too!
[20:20] <+master_blaster> Did you use factual historical models / events to help create the world?
[20:21] <+master_blaster> What kind of research did you do if so?
[20:21] <~Dan> What places do the standard D&D races have in the setting?
[20:21] <+RobertBrookes> Sometimes, actually. I mean, this goes way back to the setting’s genesis about a decade ago, when the core team and I first batted around the concepts. We wanted the human society to have a “Constantine” kind of figure who was really important in their religious development in the years immediately following the Collapse. But by and large that was stuff from,
[20:22] <+JoshR> Here’s a tangentially related one actually. I have some friends, some new to tabletop RPGs, others not so much, all new to Pathfinder. I don’t want to have to design a whole adventure for them from scratch, so what low level Pathfinder APs or modules do you recommend?
[20:22] <+RobertBrookes> the really early days of development. There’s no “space egypt” or really easily identifiable proxies. I wanted to stay away from that, especially because Pathfinder does that pretty heavy with their Golarion setting that basically has a stand-in for every ancient culture on the face of the earth. We tried to avoid any cultural appropriations and build new
[20:23] <+JoshR> (For brownie points, I did actually pick up Twilight Demesme and Frozen Cage last year. :p
[20:23] <+RobertBrookes> wherever we could. I’m a pretty big history nut for World War I, though, and some of the pre/post war history helped inform my decisions about how cultures reacted to the first real “big” conflict in their recorded history.
[20:24] <+RobertBrookes> Dan: None, really. Humans, sure. But we don’t account for the elves, dwarves, and halflings. They’re just not around. Some of the more exotic races (elemental-touched things) have a peripheral role we call out in the race section, but we spend the most time developing our new races and ideas. We wanted everything to feel really new and different with the
[20:24] <+RobertBrookes> setting. Elves in space has been done.
[20:25] * ~Dan nods
[20:26] <+RobertBrookes> JoshR: That’s actually a kinda fun question and I have a great answer
[20:27] <+RobertBrookes> JoshR: So, (Link: http://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Pathfinder_Modules)http://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Pathfinder_Modules has a great sortable module database by level/theme/etc. If I had to recommend one, it’d be Dragon’s Demand. Goes from 1st to 7th and is a great introductory story with lots of memorable NPCs.
[20:28] <+JoshR> Hmm, I’ll check it out. Since a couple of them are really new, I sort of want to them to hit the ground running in the thick of action, yet I don’t want them to get overwhelmed.
[20:28] <+JoshR> But I’d say they’ll probably have more people who are experienced at the table than not to be helpful, so there’s that…
[20:29] <+RobertBrookes> There’s also the Beginner’s Box, which strips out a lot of the more complex rules and comes with a pre-packaged adventure.
[20:29] <+RobertBrookes> You can find that with a pretty quick search on Paizo.com
[20:29] <+RobertBrookes> Great for first-timers.
[20:30] <~Dan> What is space combat like? How are spacecraft armed?
[20:30] <+RobertBrookes> We’re still building that system, but I can talk in some detail about it.
[20:31] <+RobertBrookes> So for those familiar with Pathfinder, it’s a grid-based combat system. Lots of tactical positioning, 5-foot incremenents, etc.
[20:31] <+RobertBrookes> All that goes out the goddamn window when you’re flying at great speed through space. You either have to scale up the grid, or–as we did–get rid of it.
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[20:32] <+RobertBrookes> Space combat uses relative distance positioning (short, medium, long) which happens to coincide with spell range categories as well. In space combat you’re in one of those ranges, or you’re out of combat. Since there’s no real long distance scanners, you don’t have people firing tungsten rods from three light years away.
[20:33] <+RobertBrookes> So space combat otherwise resolves like regular combat. Ships have AC, attack bonuses, stats, gear. You buy a “frame” which is a basic set of stats around an archetype like heavy, medium, light, etc. Then you buy engines, weapons, armor, etc. It’s the same way you’d outfit and build a character, and we have some “prefabs” too for people who don’t want to
[20:33] <+RobertBrookes> build their own.
[20:33] <+RobertBrookes> The interiors of ships can have their own maps, if they’re big enough. Boarding does come into play. Some of the ship enhancements are tools that allow you to grapple another ship and forcibly board it. Or maybe the party’s wizard teleports the barbarian onto the enemy’s bridge.
[20:34] <+RobertBrookes> Those go grid-based, but the round-by-round stuff still resolves. Ships move on their initiative, the people inside move with them. It’s a team-based dynamic, so you’re not going to be sitting on your hands while the guy playing the ace pilot does everything.
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[20:35] <+RobertBrookes> Sure, the whole party could have their own single-pilot ships and fight in formation. Or you have a cruiser, and the gunslinger is on the turrets, the wizard is casting spells through windows or other openings (or for line-of-effect spells using “mage turrets” that channel their spells out of the ship.)
[20:35] <+RobertBrookes> Everyone has a role they can play.
[20:35] <+xyphoid> how do you build encounters for that kind of layout
[20:35] <+RobertBrookes> The Star Trek RPG had some great ideas on that topic.
[20:35] <~Dan> How are ships armed?
[20:36] <+RobertBrookes> Same as you would in a regular Pathfinder game with the CR system. Ships will have CR sorta like how animated objects do. There’s also going to be detail on how to adjucate ship vs. people on ground, etc. It’ll fit right in to the normal CR and encounter design system.
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[20:37] <+master_blaster> SO there are two completely different battle levels?
[20:37] <+master_blaster> warship and personel
[20:37] <+RobertBrookes> Dan: Lots of ways. There’s traditional ship-mounted firearms, aethertech weaponry like gravity guns, lightning cannons, etc. Grappling arms, boarding claws, hull saws. Ships have a certain number of enhancement slots (like how characters have equipment slots) and some items take up more space than others.
[20:38] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: Pretty much, though they can happen simultaneously in the same initiative tracking.
[20:38] <+RobertBrookes> So you can follow the ship fight while people are fighting aboard them.
[20:40] <+Raddu> Is space still space? Will hull saws opening hulls kill everyone inside?
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> Space is still space. Hopefully your crew has a space suit on (or a lifesuit symbiont) and a backup plan. Hull breaches are serious business, and space combat is understandably dangerous for all parties. There’s radiation, vacuum, void-krakens.
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> Okay, maybe void-krakens is a bit more than normal space, but it’s all there.
[20:41] <+master_blaster> How is crew handled? I assume these large ships need to have more than the PC’s running them.
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> We talk about dying in space on our blog: (Link: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwijhJ2R_Z3JAhWGcj4KHQOVArIQFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aetherarpg.com%2F2015%2F11%2F6-reasons-you-are-going-to-die-in-space.html&usg=AFQjCNEHCo_44GC4dMQm_yJ1qGAThe1ngw&sig2=WhKPuFeuCkmZHZiqEIrfnQ)https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwijhJ2R_Z3JAhWGcj4KHQOVArIQFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aetherarpg.com%2F2015%2F11%2F6-reasons-you-are-going-to-die-in-space.html&usg=AFQjCNEHCo_44GC4dMQm_yJ1qGAThe1ngw&sig2=WhKPuFeuCkmZHZiqEIrfnQ
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> Ugh
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> (Link: http://www.aetherarpg.com/2015/11/6-reasons-you-are-going-to-die-in-space.html)http://www.aetherarpg.com/2015/11/6-reasons-you-are-going-to-die-in-space.html
[20:41] <+RobertBrookes> There we go
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[20:42] <~Dan> (wb, JoshR!)
[20:43] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: The aetherships in this setting aren’t wholly technological things. They have no circuitry, no sensors, no electronics. Everything is analogue. Ships navigate by dead reckoning (stars, planets, celestial bodies, and math) and use analog controls to handle thrust, yaw, etc. You can have a ship piloted by a single person (like a fighter plane)
[20:43] <+master_blaster> are there rules for fire control or exploding engine reactors?
[20:44] <+RobertBrookes> or a huge warship that covers a crew of hundreds. The crew would take care of maintenance, etc, more so than “manning the rigging” as it were. Most players won’t have city-sized ships, as they’re prohibitively expensive. But I suppose there’s always piracy.
[20:44] <+RobertBrookes> master_blaster: There are. Basic rules for how fires spread is baked right in to the Pathfinder core rules. Damage to the aetherdrives, what happens when they’re breached, and how to circumvent/prevent a meltdown are all a part of the aethertech rules.
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[20:45] <+RobertBrookes> Since they’re powered by magic, stuff that inhibits/dampens magic also negatively affects them, to which countermeasures were developed. You have to strike a balance between offense and defense when customizing a ship.
[20:45] <+master_blaster> fires on spacecraft are worse then on regular ships
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[20:46] <~Dan> (Howdy, BPIJonathan!)
[20:47] <~Dan> Do you include a bestiary, and if so, how large?
[20:49] <+RobertBrookes> We do! That I can talk to in some more detail.
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[20:50] <~Dan> (Howdy, consilium!)
[20:50] <+RobertBrookes> So our Bestiary is 45 pages long
[20:51] <+RobertBrookes> 10 pages of that is dedicated to fully-statted NPCs of each of the playable races, so you can drop them right into an adventure.
[20:51] <+RobertBrookes> I’ll give some teasers of the other content from the briefs directly from our design bible and outline:
[20:52] <+RobertBrookes> Amerta (2 pages): A colossal dragon-like, serpentine plant creature composed of a gestalt mind of erahthi souls. ; Azaka, Introduction (1 page): The psychic hive-mind bugs. Introduction needs to include rules for their collective intelligence ability. (and there’s two more pages of examples of their kind); two templates (insectile-creature and aether-warped);
[20:53] <+RobertBrookes> several pages of the Taur, one of the primary antagonists of the setting. They’re basically cannibalistic minotaur in space, in these giant maze-ships. A minotaur’s inherent inability to be lost becomes real handy when navigating in space. We also introduce wood elementals, which some are shown in the preview guide.
[20:53] <+RobertBrookes> There’s also “corrupted” elementals, which are polluted versions of the standard counterparts: Bone (wood), blood (water), vacuum (air), radiation (fire), ruin (stone), void (aether)
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[20:54] <+RobertBrookes> and then there’s several pages of new kytons (the previously mentioned masochistic pain-worshiping devils) who’re in a lot of other Pathfinder books.
[20:54] <+FaerieGodfather> You mentioned becoming mutated by exposure to the magic rocks. You got any player-side support for that, like prestige classes or feats?
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[20:56] <+RobertBrookes> Ha! Yes, actually. So, aetherite is the “fossil” fuel of the setting. It’s the crystalized remains of ley lines destroyed during that apocalypse I talked about. This stuff is inherently poisonous and dangerous, in that exposure can separate the bond between body and soul. Prolonged exposure can leave a person as an empty husk, and maybe some other incorporeal
[20:57] <+RobertBrookes> force crawls into that husk. Or maybe they walk away exposed but with bizarre telekinetic powers. The aether-warped template talks about how that happens. There’s actually a whole race called the infused. They were supposed to be super soldiers, intentionally exposed to aetherite to give them superhuman powers.
[20:58] <+RobertBrookes> All it really did was give them some minor abilities and shorten their lifespans by decades and render them infertile. They are, however, connected by a psychic consciousness that allows them to communicate with one-another over vast distances. If you’ve seen the show Sense8 its actually quite similar, though we’d designed that long before the show came out.
[20:58] <~Dan> In what remains of regular time, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[20:59] <~Dan> (And please know that you’re welcome to hang out with us and discuss your game as long as you like.)
[21:01] <+RobertBrookes> Well, I definitely want to give a shout-out to my team. One of the things I wanted to do when I created this book was bring together a really diverse group of people. I’m giving a lot of first-time authors their first chance in the spotlight, and I’m passing their names on to other publishers as I help develop their skills. Making Aethera is about
[21:02] <+RobertBrookes> more than just creating a book, it’s about improving the quality of the industry in my own little corner. It’s also about giving people who’re normally marginalized or have a hard time getting heard in tabletop design a space to share their ideas, be seen, and be represented. I just want to help people and also give people tools to tell
[21:02] <+RobertBrookes> a cool story along the way.
[21:02] <+RobertBrookes> I also totally want to plug the Kickstarter again, because we’re SO CLOSE to funding: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/89095698/aethera-campaign-setting/)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/89095698/aethera-campaign-setting/
[21:03] <~Dan> Best of luck! 🙂
[21:04] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, RobertBrookes!
[21:05] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll post the log and get you the link!
[21:06] <~Dan> And just a reminder that for those interested, my virtual “tip jar” is available on the right side of my blog’s menu. 🙂
[21:06] <+RobertBrookes> Thanks for having me, Dan. I really enjoy talking about all of this.
[21:07] <+RobertBrookes> It was a trip doing this and #rpgchat on Twitter at the same time.
[21:07] <~Dan> Certainly. I hope you’ll join us again whenever you like. 🙂