[19:04] <+JRudder> Greetings, all. I’m Jonathan Rudder (known to The Lord of the Rings Online community as Berephon.) I spent nearly nine years as a content designer, copyeditor, and lore-expert for LotRO. I have also published five fantasy novels of my own, and teach game design at Becker College in Worcester, MA. Tonight I’ll be taking questions about…
[19:05] <+JRudder> My Kickstarter project: The Shattered Earth PnP RPG. It’s a high fantasy rpg set in a post-apocalyptic world (Earth exploded… about as apocalyptic as it gets), themed around world mythology and folklore.
[19:06] <+JRudder> Done.
[19:06] <~Dan> Thanks, JRudder!
[19:06] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:07] <+xyphoid> what’s the KS link?
[19:07] <+Motulev> exploded? as in literally to pieces? and if so why?
[19:07] <+JRudder> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rudderhaven/the-shattered-earth)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rudderhaven/the-shattered-earth
[19:09] <+JRudder> So, the backstory (as it is cryptically alluded to in the Player Manual) is that a world war broke out, and after it escalated, the “good guys” activated a weapon that tapped the Earth’s core… only it malfunctioned.
[19:10] <+JRudder> Earth went boom, but turns out the planet sits on a dimensional nexus, so the impossible happened. The fragments of the planet were thrown into pocket dimensions, and life continued, though mutated into something resembling creatures of myth and folklore.
[19:10] <~Dan> Heh. Clearly. 🙂
[19:10] <~Dan> So how do you get from that to mythology and folklore?
[19:11] <~Dan> Whoops, n/m
[19:11] <+xyphoid> wait, how much does it cost to get the game as a PDF?
[19:12] <+JRudder> The game is not available as a pdf. (Yet, though we will likely release an e-book version as well, once the print copy is launched.)
[19:13] *** jeffszusz has joined #rpgnet
[19:13] *** ChanServ sets mode +v jeffszusz
[19:13] <~Dan> Given the post-apocalyptic aspect, is there still-functioning technology? Or is the setting 100% fantasy now?
[19:13] <+JRudder> As for print price, I can’t give that yet, as it is highly dependent on the final page counts for each manual. The goal is to start with four books: Player Manual, GM Manual, Magic Manual, and Norse Worlds Companion
[19:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, jeffszusz!)
[19:14] <+JRudder> It is 100% fantasy. I’m not a fan of mixing fantasy and sci-fi (even though Star Wars is my #2 favorite IP.)
[19:14] <+xyphoid> is the game playable with just a player book?
[19:14] <+xyphoid> it seems insurmountable for a new KS RPG to not be able to get the books until you spend $500
[19:14] <+JRudder> Actually the entire collection can be attained by $100, I believe.
[19:15] <+xyphoid> $25 for a book, $50 for another book, $75 for a t-shirt, $100 for another book and a bag?
[19:15] <+JRudder> By using the publications of choice options for the books (which have been opened to Shattered Earth books, as well.)
[19:16] *** jeffszusz has quit IRC: Ping timeout: 180 seconds
[19:17] <~Dan> Does each fragment have its own version of fantasy?
[19:18] <+JRudder> Ah, my apologies, you are correct. However, the Norse Worlds Companion would not be necessary to get going. Also, the GM’s Manual, while helpful, could be put off for a bit too.)
[19:20] <+JRudder> Yes. The Norse Worlds, for instance, are a cluster of fragments resembling the Nine Worlds, plus the Well of Urd. All of the fragments are connected by “Gateways.” (Think dimensional portals.)
[19:21] <+JRudder> There would be other clusters resembling other mythologies forthcoming. The Midgard Portal will be a prime nexus to other clusters.
[19:21] <~Dan> What other worlds are detailed in the core rules?
[19:22] <&Silverlion> What does a character sheet look like?
[19:22] <+JRudder> Currently only the Norse Worlds. (It’s a handful in and of itself.) Due to the varying sizes and scopes of mythologies, it’s likely future releases will include more than one world.
[19:24] *** Guest42 has joined #rpgnet
[19:24] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Guest42
[19:24] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest42!)
[19:24] <+JRudder> The character sheet is in flux right now. I can say that it is more of a character portfolio. One thing I want to avoid is the practically unreadable sheets most commonly seen. It will also allow for better inventory management and push a lot of the stat calculation to an idle page.
[19:24] *** Guest42 has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[19:25] <+JRudder> So that what players can focus on are the final numbers.
[19:26] <+JRudder> There are 8 primary stats (Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Endurance, Intelligence, Wisdom, Presence, and Perception.)
[19:26] <~Dan> If the Norse setting is the only currently defined world, how can the game be used without the Norse book?
[19:27] <+xyphoid> what other RPGs have influenced this game?
[19:27] <+JRudder> I wouldn’t recommend it, except for those who generally like to run their own campaign anyway.
[19:27] <+JRudder> But for the advanced user, it can be done.
[19:27] * ~Dan nods
[19:27] <+JRudder> Influences…let’s see….
[19:29] <&Silverlion> What is the system like? I.e how does a character do things?
[19:29] <+JRudder> I’ve been a long-time D&D player (though 4th Edition ended that for me), but I’m not sure I could say it was an influence beyond learning general mechanics. Shattered Earth uses a custom percentile system.
[19:30] *** LW` has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: http://www.mibbit.com)http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client
[19:30] <+JRudder> The mechanics on the surface are basic. Die roll + modifiers vs. Defence/Difficulty. However, the end result is determined via a color-coded chart (if you are familiar with the old Marvel Super-heroes RPG from then-TSR, it will likely look similar, though the function is different.)
[19:31] <&Silverlion> I love old MSH/FASERIP. How is it “different?” from that then?
[19:31] <+JRudder> Damage (excluding modifiers) is determined during the attack roll (based on the color of the result.) Basically, most effects are determined in a single roll.
[19:32] <~Dan> Is this a roll-under or roll-and-add system?
[19:32] <~Dan> I like that, re: damage from the attack roll.
[19:33] <&Silverlion> Me too Dan.
[19:33] <+JRudder> Additionally, the intent is to release a custom 12-sided die which would act as the 10s die…numbered 0-9 + Crit Success and Crit Failure.
[19:33] <+xyphoid> you’d need this to play?
[19:33] <+JRudder> The effect of the crit would be determined by the ones die, if a CS or CF is rolled.
[19:35] <+JRudder> It would not be necessary. The rules do allow for standard 2d10. Basically 01 becomes Crit Failure and 00 becomes Crit Success, but requires an additional d10 roll to determine the effect. Simply loses a slot on the table.
[19:35] <+JRudder> Rather, a slot on either end.
[19:36] <+xyphoid> are you going to provide a rule quickstart or anything like that for the kickstarter?
[19:37] <~Dan> Is this an attribute + skill system, and if so, how broad are the skills?
[19:38] <+JRudder> I have not considered that (and as I am acting as the author, not the publisher, that decision is actually not entirely in my hands.) I may see if I can convince my partner to allow a pdf copy of the rules to be pre-released to funders of the appropriate level.
[19:40] <+JRudder> It is an attribute + skill system. Skills are vast. Weapon skills are broken into Edged and Blunt (Light, Medium, Heavy, and 2-Handed), Polearms, Ranged, and Thrown. Non-combat skills are extensive (too many to list here.) And there are Weaknesses.
[19:41] <~Dan> So when you roll, are you adding your attribte + skill + 1d100?
[19:41] <+JRudder> Currently, Primary Stats are capped at 10 (excluding modifiers), Skills are capped at 3 (excluding modifiers.)
[19:41] <+JRudder> Yes, plus additional modifiers as appropriate (such as size, environmental, magical, etc.)
[19:42] <&Silverlion> Does that give you a column or row to roll on?
[19:43] <+JRudder> One of the goals of this system is to eliminate a problem that I have personally experienced more than I like: having a character die (or a new player join mid-campaign) and having to spend the rest of the session re-rolling a character and leveling it up to match the rest of the party.
[19:44] <~Dan> Seems like with that 10/3 cap for attributes/skills and a 1d100 roll, character ability doesn’t count for much. Am I missing something?
[19:44] <+JRudder> While players can certainly do this, the system also allows for characters of any level to quest together. It also has the means to completely randomly roll every aspect of a character to quickly jump back in.
[19:44] <+JRudder> Well, aside from the character’s name. No random name generator here.
[19:45] <+xyphoid> does it have a level system?
[19:47] <~Dan> (Question pause after xyphoid’s question.)
[19:47] <+JRudder> Yes, it does have a level system, though it’s purpose is slightly different. As stated before, characters of any level can quest together (though there will be noticeable difference in power, it isn’t so pronounced that the lower level characters feel utterly useless.)
[19:48] <&Silverlion> (Gonna go nap..later)
[19:48] <+JRudder> To touch on Dan’s question, on paper it looks like it wouldn’t make that much difference, but in early Alpha testing, it has actually shown to have effect. Of course, there will be more testing (we’re still a year away from launch, barring catastrophe.)
[19:49] <~Dan> (Sleep well, Sil!)
[19:49] *** Monochrome_Tide has joined #rpgnet
[19:49] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Monochrome_Tide
[19:49] <+JRudder> Don’t snore too loudly. 😉
[19:50] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:50] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[19:51] <~Dan> It sounds like this is pretty solidly a skill system. What function do levels serve?
[19:52] *** Ettin has joined #rpgnet
[19:52] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Ettin
[19:54] <+JRudder> There are advancement bonuses, based mainly on class. Skill points improve, new abilities emerge, etc.
[19:54] <+JRudder> Which leads to classes…
[19:56] *** egyptian has joined #rpgnet
[19:56] *** ChanServ sets mode +ao egyptian egyptian
[19:56] <+JRudder> One of the thematic elements of the story are the Guilds. (i.e., Wizards Guild, Thieves Guild, etc.) Each of these has a basic class (Wizard, Thief, etc), which is a jack-of-all-trades, plus three or more specialized classes, which are significantly more powerful in a particular aspect.
[19:57] <+xyphoid> so a paragon path style situation?
[19:57] <+JRudder> Example: Elementalist is a Wizard specializing in elemental magic.
[19:57] *** Silverlion is now known as Silver-sleep
[19:58] <~Dan> Does this format hold true for all of the worlds?
[19:58] <~Dan> And if so, why?
[19:59] <+JRudder> I’m not sure. A character can jump right into one of the specialist classes. They have balancing cons to their pros, so to speak. There are also non-Guild classes (players actually begin as a non-Guild class, barring GM intervention 🙂 )
[20:00] <+JRudder> It does hold true for all worlds. As noted earlier, the worlds are all connected via the Gateways. The Guilds have been established by a universal agreement.
[20:01] <+JRudder> To note, this does not mean there won’t be variations based on the worlds (some worlds may introduce new classes or class variants, based on their culture.)
[20:01] <~Dan> Right, right.
[20:02] <~Dan> What is magic like in the setting?
[20:02] <+JRudder> But generally fit into one of the Guilds (or a non-Guild class.)
[20:02] *** |7hs| has quit IRC: Client exited
[20:03] <+JRudder> Magic, yes. So, unlike D&D where not everyone and everything is magical, in the Shattered Earth, everything is touched by magic (which, reading between the lines, is basically the residual radiation of the explosion.)
[20:03] *** Lassek has quit IRC: Ping timeout: 180 seconds
[20:04] <~Dan> (brb — please continue)
[20:05] <+JRudder> Everyone and everything is attuned to one or more magic types (and can learn to detect and manipulate others.) Different types of magic are represented by different colors. Materials (all materials) of a given color can absorb and retain magical energies related to that color.
[20:05] *** Snoof has joined #rpgnet
[20:05] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Snoof
[20:05] <+JRudder> Any material can be crafted into any item (all crafting is magically performed), so it is entirely possible to craft an entire suit of full diamond plate armor.
[20:06] <+JRudder> That said, not everyone is necessarily a spellcaster. The ability to detect magic does not necessarily translate to magic user.
[20:06] *** GentilBoulet has quit IRC: Ping timeout: 181 seconds
[20:06] *** GentilBoulet has joined #rpgnet
[20:06] *** ChanServ sets mode +v GentilBoulet
[20:08] <+JRudder> Spells generally do not require material components. Though some do require motions and/or verbal components. These can be trained out, though, as they are more or less psychological constraints.
[20:08] <~Dan> (back)
[20:09] <~Dan> How powerful and “flashy” is magic?
[20:09] <+JRudder> Spells require a certain amount of ambient magical energy to cast, which can be a hindrance or a bonus: Say you are a Life Magic expert who goes to Helheim… oops, only Death and Shadow Magic there. Better have an item(s) charged with Life Magic with you.
[20:10] <+JRudder> But that Necromancer you’re facing has a 100% bonus… ouch.
[20:11] <+xyphoid> does your game include any narrative control / storygame elements?
[20:12] <+JRudder> Magic is definitely powerful and flashy. It is, in fact, one of the cornerstones of the game. Hence, the ability for everyone to impact and be impacted by it.
[20:12] *** revoltorb|afk has quit IRC: Disintegrated: WeeChat 1.4-dev
[20:14] <+JRudder> There will be some pre-fabricated campaigns to get folks started with the system, but eventually I would expect groups to start running their own campaigns. I personally favor a GM who has a general storyline created, but is talented enough to change tracks when players decide to do something that doesn’t mesh with his/her story.
[20:15] <~Dan> I think xyphoid is referring to fate/drama/hero points.
[20:15] <+xyphoid> oh, I mean mechanics for players to influence what happens outside of their characters doing things
[20:15] <+JRudder> The GM Manual will include some charts for random encounters, etc, as well (which GMs will be encouraged to allow players to roll for… this has been fairly popular with the internal testers. Keeps the players engaged.)
[20:15] <+JRudder> Not so much on the hero point side.
[20:18] <+JRudder> At least right now. As the Kickstarter states, we do want to have a round of public beta testing prior to release. If feedback dictates the inclusion of a fate/drama/hero point type system, it will likely find its way in.
[20:18] * ~Dan nods
[20:19] <+JRudder> The nice thing about our publication system is that modifications to the books is really easy.
[20:19] <~Dan> Can you talk us through how combat works?
[20:21] <+JRudder> It is traditional turn-based. Initiative is probably going to be on stats or skills, rather than die roll. mini-figs/counters are encouraged, but not necessary. Actions are performed in order of initiative (the exact term we’re going to use is up in the air. Trying to avoid initiative.)
[20:23] <+JRudder> GMs are encouraged to allow players to make enemy attack rolls when the encounter is sizable (to avoid players being static and generally bored for lengthy combat.)
[20:23] <+JRudder> It’s also fun to watch party members crit on their fellows. <grin wickedly>
[20:24] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:24] *** Lassek has joined #rpgnet
[20:24] *** ChanServ sets mode +ao Lassek Lassek
[20:24] <+JRudder> To note, there will be a hit chart included for rolling what body part is hit (and potentially lopped off.) Body parts can be intentionally targeted for a penalty.
[20:25] <+JRudder> As a side story…
[20:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lassek!)
[20:26] <+JRudder> One of our internal testers in a very early iteration of the game has a pegasus-like character who got the lower half of her jaw lopped off. Healer managed to keep her alive, but could not regenerate the jaw, so the character had a jaw magically crafted out of wood.
[20:26] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:26] <+JRudder> Led to many jokes at her expense.
[20:26] <~Dan> I can imagine. 🙂
[20:28] <+JRudder> Another fun testing story is of the player who randomly generated a mercenary who had the Mute weakness. The character ended up (randomly) finding a sword imbued with the power to speak (of its own accord. It was very snarky.)
[20:28] <+JRudder> Come to think of it, it was the same player… Man, she had terrible luck.
[20:29] <~Dan> Sounds like it. 🙂
[20:29] <~Dan> What PC races are available?
[20:30] *** Snoof has quit IRC: Disintegrated: Snoof
[20:32] <+JRudder> Ah, too many to name here, but we are shooting for a broad variety at launch (and not just from the Norse Worlds. The first round of player races will be in the Player Manual, so it is not limited by the companion.) Human, of course, as that is the stock race of practically all mythologies. Ljosalfar and Duergar, from the Norse Realms, for certain
[20:33] <+JRudder> Brownies, Pixies, and Fairies (the teeny winged ones, as opposed to Faeries, which represents everything), Knockers, Leprechauns, Dwarves, Tuatha de Danaan, Giants, just to name a few more.
[20:34] <~Dan> Impressive.
[20:34] <+JRudder> My hopes, beyond launching with a large variety, will be to eventually release a compendium of playable races (the world is a big place), as well as a creature compendium.
[20:35] * ~Dan nods
[20:36] <~Dan> How big of a bestiary do the core rules include?
[20:38] *** Snoof has joined #rpgnet
[20:38] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Snoof
[20:38] *** LW has joined #rpgnet
[20:38] *** ChanServ sets mode +v LW
[20:38] <+JRudder> The core rules will not have a huge bestiary. I felt it was more important to have one well-established world (cluster) to get players/GMs familiar with the ruleset and universe. Eventually, world companions will likely gravitate towards settings and campaigns, while a larger bestiary is released for open play.
[20:40] <+JRudder> I expect the bestiary and race books to follow relatively closely on the heels of the first release, with a couple more world companions coming a bit later in that year.
[20:41] <+JRudder> The main hiccup with the bestiary and races books is art. Decent art is not cheap, and good art is gut-wrenchingly expensive.
[20:41] <~Dan> What game or games would you consider your main competition? Or, from the opposite perspective, what games have fans to whom the Shattered Earth might appeal?
[20:41] *** |7hs| has joined #rpgnet
[20:42] *** ChanServ sets mode +v |7hs|
[20:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, |7hs|!)
[20:43] <+JRudder> Well, of course, D&D (is everyone’s main competition), Pathfinder (which seems to be the alternate of choice among my students)…
[20:44] <~Dan> So mainly D&D-based games?
[20:45] <+JRudder> The Shattered Earth, however, could have an appeal to a different group. A few of my internal testers had never played an RPG before… now they game regularly. That’s another goal of TES: be comprehensible for new players, while still maintaining enough complexity to entertain veterans.
[20:45] <+JRudder> In essence, I’m shooting for a complex game, not a complicated one.
[20:45] * ~Dan nods
[20:46] *** Serami has quit IRC: Disintegrated: ChatZilla 0.9.92 [Firefox 42.0/20151029151421]
[20:47] <+JRudder> It could also attract students of mythology and folklore, who may or may not be familiar with RPGs. Though not quite the same style of gaming, Lord of the Rings Online initially launched with a large percentage of players who were fans of the books, never having played an MMO before.
[20:48] <~Dan> You’ve touched on this a bit, but how do you see growing the game line?
[20:48] *** TigerWolfe has joined #rpgnet
[20:48] *** ChanServ sets mode +v TigerWolfe
[20:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, TigerWolfe!)
[20:48] <+TigerWolfe> Hola, Dan
[20:50] <+JRudder> In more than one way. The most direct route is expanding the world (not just setting, but smaller elements like races, creatures, spells, etc.) The long-term goal, though, is to expand into tabletop TCG, digital TCG, single-player digital RPG, and MMO. The system is being designed to port to nearly any story-based game genre.
[20:50] <+xyphoid> so do you have an alternate plan for this game if the KS doesn’t go through
[20:51] <+JRudder> The off-hand comment in the Kickstarter about having stretch goals outlined up to $300 million basically covers all of the long-term goals. 😉
[20:51] <+xyphoid> (from my point of view it seems a really hard sell as presented due to the high barrier to entry)
[20:51] <+JRudder> All that happens if the Kickstarter doesn’t go through is that the book release is delayed.
[20:52] <~Dan> In what remains of regular time, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[20:53] <+JRudder> I think I’ve covered the main points.
[20:53] * +TigerWolfe wonders if someone has the kickstarter link
[20:53] <+JRudder> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rudderhaven/the-shattered-earth)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rudderhaven/the-shattered-earth
[20:54] <+JRudder> (Still on my clipboard from previous question.)
[20:56] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, JRudder! I hope you’ll hang out with us any time you like. You’re always welcome. 🙂
[20:57] <+JRudder> My pleasure. If anyone comes up with anymore questions, feel free to message me through KS, Facebook (RudderHaven or Jonathan Rudder), or Twitter (@Berephon).
[20:57] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you.