[20:02] <+EdJowett> Okay, well… Hi everyone, I’m Ed! I’m really glad to be back here again, talking to you about another game!
[20:03] <+EdJowett> My game, Era: The Consortium is a hard Sci-Fi game about a group of colonists from Earth. It contains 500 years of playable history and I spoke to you all about it for the first time quite a while ago now – nearly a year and a half ago iirc!
[20:04] <+EdJowett> Now, I’m releasing an expansion for it, “The Secret War”, which provides the opportunity to play as a Shade or Phantom – secret operatives with their own agenda, special equipment and the freedom to do whatever they need to complete their mission.
[20:05] <+EdJowett> These operatives can be any member of any team (given certain minor restrictions!) and can be included in any existing game.
[20:05] <+EdJowett> So I’m open to questions today on Either Era: The Consortium’s Core Rulebook or the expansion – both are available on my Kickstarter over at (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-consortium-the-secret-war/description)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-consortium-the-secret-war/description
[20:05] <+EdJowett> (done)
[20:05] <~Dan> Thanks, EdJowett!
[20:05] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:06] <~Dan> So let’s see…
[20:06] <~Dan> Can you remind us a bit more about the core setting?
[20:07] <+EdJowett> Sure. It follows the journey of the crew of the Kurmaja, a huge starship that leaves Earth.
[20:07] <+EdJowett> After 1000 years of journeying, they find a new world, Taranis.
[20:08] <+EdJowett> As they establish their colony, it becomes the case that financial power means political power – literally – the 200 largest companies run the Senate and the 7 biggest control everything in reality (the Senate is a bit toothless).
[20:09] <+EdJowett> They expand and discover wormholes, which allow interstellar travels to different locations, and eventually encounter several alien races.
[20:09] <+EdJowett> The first contact, with the peacful Eulutians, goes extremely smoothly – the Eulutians agree to nearly every request and demand the Humans present.
[20:10] <+EdJowett> The second First Contact, with a species called the Ximians, goes much less smoothly, resulting in a 20 year war!
[20:10] <+EdJowett> The Ximians are defeated when the Humans attack their egg chamber and burn it to the ground. Seeing that the Humans are willing to exterminate them, they surrender.
[20:11] <+EdJowett> Then follows a period of slavery for the Ximians… they are forced into labour on a remote moon that, supposedly, no-one knows about.
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[20:12] <+EdJowett> As with all secrets, this eventually goes public, and is reacted to with horror by the citizens. Afterwards, the Ximians are offered a more equal partnership in the Consortium.
[20:13] <+EdJowett> Time passes and many other events occur, which I won’t go into in huge detail – they encounter another alien race, the Vilithii, who are shape-shifting plants!
[20:14] <+EdJowett> Towards the end of the history, a Eulutian-run company is about to become the 7th most profitable company in the Consortium, which would put them into the Big Seven I mentioned earlier. The 7th member of the Big Seven is not happy with this possibility and hatches a plot.
[20:14] <+EdJowett> Using a devastating weapon, he plans to attack all life in one of the three solar systems that make up the Consortium, eliminating it
[20:15] <+EdJowett> He intends to blame it on a natural disaster – a solar flare interacting with the wormhole – and use it to eliminate his competition in that system (including the afore-mentioned Eulutian company) and regain his position of poer.
[20:15] <+EdJowett> *power
[20:16] <+GenoFoxx> (gasp)
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[20:16] <+EdJowett> As it happens, it’ll also kill 14 billion people. It’s a very secret project, but rumours leak out and a small group of people decide to oppose it, becoming the Resistance.
[20:16] <+EdJowett> Their star unit, Stiletto Unit board the ship the weapon is mounted on and eliminate it, but at the cost of their own lives.
[20:17] <+EdJowett> And then the year ends, the Eulutian company is promoted… and the Big Seven becomes the Big Eight.
[20:17] <+EdJowett> And that’s where the history in the book ends… for now.
[20:18] <+EdJowett> Then, with the expansion, we explore some other events, both during what I just mentioned and later, which led to the formation of the Phantoms.
[20:18] <~Dan> Are Shades and Phantoms the same thing?
[20:18] <+EdJowett> The Shades have existed since the founding of the largest company in the Consortium, Hayden Bank.
[20:18] <~Dan> Whoops… sorry!
[20:18] <+EdJowett> Haha.
[20:18] <+EdJowett> It’s fine.
[20:18] <+EdJowett> I was just getting tot hat.
[20:18] <+EdJowett> Hayden Bank runs the Shades, which are its special operatives.
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[20:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, consilium!)
[20:19] <+EdJowett> They have stealthed ships, a wide latitude in their actions to “keep Hayden Bank on top”, a total disregard for life, be it Human or Alien and some amazing new technology that most only dream of!
[20:20] <+EdJowett> When a Resistance Unit called Scimitar Unit discovers a Shade is actually one of their group, they manage to eliminate him and capture his technology (thanks to some heroics from an unlikely member of the team!)
[20:21] <+EdJowett> The leaders of the Resistance decide to found a brand new group, the Phantoms, to seek out and stop Shades from completing their missions.
[20:21] <+GenoFoxx> (so they’re the NSA and Hydra and A.I.M rolled into one?)
[20:22] <+EdJowett> Sometimes this means a counter-hack at the right moment, at others it means a fatal “accident”.
[20:24] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of Shade/Phantom tech?
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[20:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong!)
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[20:25] <~Dan> Whoops.
[20:25] <+GenoFoxx> Dan, guess not
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[20:27] <~Dan> wb, EdJowett2!
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[20:28] * +dormouse sniffs around
[20:31] <+GenoFoxx> 😦
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[20:36] <~Dan> There he is!
[20:36] <+EdJowett> I’m back!
[20:36] <+EdJowett> Really sorry about that.
[20:36] <~Dan> No worries. It happens.
[20:36] <~Dan> [20:24] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of Shade/Phantom tech?
[20:36] <+EdJowett> I will never ever try to add images to the chat again, IRC gods. I promise!
[20:36] <+EdJowett> (Link: http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Armour-1.jpg)http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Armour-1.jpg
[20:37] <+EdJowett> That is Shade Armour – Shades and Phantoms (broadly) share similar tech – Phantoms strip it off their corpses!
[20:37] <~Dan> Swanky!
[20:37] <~Dan> What can it do?
[20:37] <+EdJowett> Like the Stealth Suit that already exists in Era: The Consortium, it can turn invisible, and unlike the Stealth Suit, it actually gives armour bonuses as well.
[20:38] <+EdJowett> As an added bonus, it carries these in the back: (Link: http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Armed-Drone.png)http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Armed-Drone.png
[20:38] <~Dan> Nice.
[20:38] <+EdJowett> As an operative which works almost entirely along, a Shade needs someone to watch his or her back! Well, they have armed drones to do that, that fire lasers at enemies.
[20:39] <+EdJowett> Here’s an example of them in use: (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/096/803/69f99870352641c677175bc1b7af0cc0_original.jpg?v=1450515734&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=e60ffebafe5663b5646bbbec7fde2abd)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/096/803/69f99870352641c677175bc1b7af0cc0_original.jpg?v=1450515734&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=e60ffebafe5663b5646bbbec7fde2abd
[20:39] <+EdJowett> (those links are coming through okay for you guys, right?)
[20:40] <+GenoFoxx> is for me
[20:40] <~Dan> (Yup!)
[20:40] <+GenoFoxx> so are there specialist variants?
[20:41] <~Dan> Like a Hulkbuster model? 😀
[20:41] <+EdJowett> Yeah, these are Shade and Phantom only.
[20:41] <+EdJowett> One more major piece of technology – the Shade ship. It’s the only stealthed ship currently active in the Consortium, since the original tech went *ahem* missing after the Bug War.
[20:41] <+GenoFoxx> like sniper, hacker, support unit
[20:41] <+EdJowett> (Link: http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Ship.png)http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Ship.png
[20:41] <+EdJowett> They are more than that.
[20:42] <+EdJowett> They are more… a one-man army, licensed by Hayden Bank, the ultimate political power in the Consortium to do whatever is needed to keep Hayden Bank on top.
[20:42] <+EdJowett> (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/069/102/40cd400a029ab3ee9e94c93bd56f5b30_original.jpg?v=1450001835&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=ed7d65fd346b61198bbabadd2378dac6)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/069/102/40cd400a029ab3ee9e94c93bd56f5b30_original.jpg?v=1450001835&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=ed7d65fd346b61198bbabadd2378dac6
[20:42] <+EdJowett> *whatever* is necessary.
[20:43] <+EdJowett> They will often have their own methods, their own set of skills – they may be hackers or snipers… they may pretend to be normal, harmless middle-aged women so they can get close to a child as their nanny and then abduct them!
[20:43] <+GenoFoxx> (death to the Bank!!!)
[20:43] <+EdJowett> Whatever works for that situation and for that individual.
[20:44] <+EdJowett> THe other difference between Shades and Phantoms…
[20:44] <+EdJowett> is that Shades are all Human.
[20:44] <+EdJowett> Hayden Bank doesn’t trust non-Humans.
[20:44] <+EdJowett> (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/150/977/97c6056293be86d761dda3933e822eab_original.jpg?v=1451998663&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=cda423749410ce06da06331a8c691b7b)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/005/150/977/97c6056293be86d761dda3933e822eab_original.jpg?v=1451998663&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=cda423749410ce06da06331a8c691b7b
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[20:44] <+EdJowett> Phantoms, on the other hand, can be any species.
[20:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
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[20:45] <+EdJowett> The Shades are at work, disintegrating people now…
[20:45] <+EdJowett> 😀
[20:45] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:46] <+EdJowett> I should take this opportunity to say that there is *loads* more Backstory on the Era: The Consortium website: (Link: http://eratheconsortium.shadesofvengeance.com/backstory/)http://eratheconsortium.shadesofvengeance.com/backstory/
[20:47] <+EdJowett> I’ve only touched on what happens in the 500 years briefly… there are many, many more events… I just didn’t want to take up the whole 2 hours explaining everything!
[20:48] <~Dan> No problem!
[20:49] <~Dan> Do Phantoms do anything other than oppose Shades?
[20:49] <+EdJowett> They oppose the Consortium in general (well, the immoral acts some parties within conduct), like the rest of the Resistance
[20:50] <+EdJowett> While they primarily focus on Shades, they may well have a special objective on any given mission.
[20:50] <+EdJowett> They claim to be better than Shades and perhaps to begin with they are…
[20:51] <+EdJowett> but as time goes by, they begin to slip. Maybe they’ll sabotage something to hurt Hayden Bank… or another company.
[20:51] <+EdJowett> they are constantly walking closer to the line that separates them from Shades…
[20:51] <+EdJowett> But they are working for the Resistance, who obviously want what’s best for everyone… so they have to be good anyway, right?
[20:52] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
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[20:52] <~Dan> Are Shades meant to be PCs, or are they strictly NPC bad guys?
[20:52] <+EdJowett> Oh, absolutely you can play as a Shade.
[20:53] <+EdJowett> Shades have been present since the very start of the Consortium, as I said, and when you look back on some of the events, it makes a lot more sense.
[20:53] <+EdJowett> They were supposed to be in the Core Rulebook, but pagecounts and such meant that they ended up on the cutting room floor…
[20:53] <+EdJowett> so it might have made a few events a little confusing in the way they turned out in the original history!
[20:54] <+EdJowett> They were planned in from the start, though, so I’m glad to be able to bring this expansion and restore them to their position.
[20:54] <+EdJowett> Actually, in our gaming group, we’ve had a joke for a while “Shade? what’s that?” – because, obviously, they officially don’t exist!
[20:55] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:56] <~Dan> Do Shades have any redeeming qualities, or are they for players who enjoy playing ruthless scumbags?
[20:56] <+EdJowett> The majority of the Consortium population believe both Shades and Phantoms to be just wild rumours – nothing that sinister could exist.
[20:56] <+EdJowett> Shades do whatever it takes to keep Hayden Bank on top, but that won’t always be horrible, negative things, and they are all individuals.
[20:56] <+GenoFoxx> (Men and Aliens in Black)
[20:56] <+EdJowett> I could imagine a Shade that prefers not to kill whenever possible.
[20:57] <+EdJowett> Genofoxx – but Phantoms wear white! 😛
[20:57] <+EdJowett> So Shades don’t have to be pure evil, no, they could be people who are genuinely trying to bring a better Consortium into existance.
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[20:58] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about the size of the supplement and the contents?
[20:58] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snoof!)
[20:58] <+EdJowett> Yeah, no problem.
[20:59] <+GenoFoxx> so do the Phantoms pass down the job from from generation to generation, wear cool rings and swear to fight Piracy and Injustice in all it’s forms?
[20:59] <+EdJowett> The Expansion is not very long – a little under 30 pages. It contains a number of stories about Shades and Phantoms, all the character creation information you need, the special equipment I linked earlier and more and a GM section that talks about what Shades and Phantoms do and don’t do.
[21:00] <+EdJowett> It’s all laid out in the same way as the main Rulebook and in the same Parts.
[21:00] <+EdJowett> There aren’t any new rules (not including the character creation or equipment, which arguably have new mechanics).
[21:01] <+EdJowett> The same team returned to create the expansion, so it’s the same writers (there will be a familiar feel to the history!), the same artists (you’ll already have noticed the implants are the same style as the main Rulebook if you’re familiar with the art there) and also the same me!
[21:02] <+EdJowett> I did also get the chance to write another story about Benjamin Hayden in the expansion – in the Core Rulebook, we only ever saw him before he obtained power. We saw a little of him in the comic we wrote, Counting Down From One, but that was still before he was head of Hyaden Bank.
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[21:03] <+EdJowett> I had the chance to base a story in 5CE, when he’s bringing Hayden Bank to power, which was brilliant.
[21:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, BrunoCarvalho!0
[21:03] <~Dan> )
[21:03] <+BrunoCarvalho> Heya
[21:03] <+GenoFoxx> I don’t think I ever got the comic as part of my rewards 😦
[21:04] <+EdJowett> Well, no need for a 😦 – it’s an addon on the current Kickstarter!
[21:04] <+EdJowett> £4
[21:04] <+EdJowett> Under Addons.
[21:05] <+EdJowett> There’s another comic as well, which we’ve had for a while, the Last Stand of Stiletto Unit, for £2. That covers the unit that gave their lives to stop the weapon. It doesn’t quite reach the point when they do, but it talks about them fighting their way onto and through the Orion…
[21:05] <+EdJowett> and then talks about how they each ended up there!
[21:08] <~Dan> How well do Shades and Phantoms mesh with more general groups?
[21:09] <+EdJowett> They can slot in very nicely – most people don’t know they exist, so it’s very easy for them to join a group if needed.
[21:09] <+EdJowett> You’ll never look at a “Hayden Bank Accountant” in the same way again!
[21:10] <~Dan> How would they stash and deploy their armor, though?
[21:10] <+EdJowett> As it happens, the first Shade was exactly that – a nice older woman with an apparent obsession with accounting and the tendency for everything to go brilliantly well around her!
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[21:11] <+EdJowett> Well, armour in the Consortium is not actually too bad to carry – it’s designed to flatten and minimise. a PackBack implant (from the core rulebook) would hide it very nicely.
[21:11] <~Dan> Ah, cool.
[21:12] <+EdJowett> Not only that, but if you were heading on a hard contact mission, where you expected to see combat, wouldn’t you expect even an accountant (ostensibly there to check money is spent properly) to be armoured if they were accompanying you?
[21:13] <+EdJowett> And, equally, Phantoms… they could explain away their abilities by claiming to have invented experimental technology and being an engineer, for example.
[21:13] <~Dan> That’s true, but I wouldn’t expect him to be wearing armor that nobody believes exists. 🙂
[21:14] <+EdJowett> Ah, but it’s just black armour…
[21:14] <+EdJowett> you won’t know it turns invisible unless he turns invisible in front of you!
[21:14] <+EdJowett> (and he really should be smart enough not to do that!)
[21:15] <~Dan> Okay, fair enough. 🙂
[21:16] <~Dan> So what’s next for Era: the Consortium?
[21:16] <+EdJowett> Well, I have a lot more planned… If the Kickstarter hit it big, I was going to bring my next expansion along early… but that looks like it might not happen now, sadly!
[21:17] <+EdJowett> However, I’m aiming at mid-year for the next expansion.
[21:17] <+EdJowett> It is called “The Fifth Race” and it brings a 5th playable alien species into the mix.
[21:17] <+EdJowett> They carry news of some rather unsettling goings-on, and a mysticism that doesn’t really exist at the moment in the rather cold and calculating Consortium society.
[21:18] <+EdJowett> Beyond that, there’s another expansion planned, a larger one which will bring loads more equipment and implants into the game, expanding the options you have by a significant amount.
[21:19] <+EdJowett> (working title is RTFM – but I probably can’t actually call the book that, right?)
[21:20] <+EdJowett> But there’s loads more potential for Era: The Consortium. I’m already working on roughing out the next 500 years of history – some of which I’d planned in detail and some of which I had not.
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[21:21] <+EdJowett> I’ve got two other games underway which will happen before Era: The Consortium gets another Core Rulebook, though – Era: The Empowered, the superhero game which I came and spoke about before and Era: Survival, which I imagine I’ll be speaking about before too long!
[21:21] <~Dan> I certainly hope so!
[21:21] <+EdJowett> Both of those are underway at the moment, with Era: Survival a little closer – I’m aiming for a release by the end of May.
[21:22] <+EdJowett> If you’re curious about that, you can find some information on the game’s subsite: (Link: http://erasurvival.shadesofvengeance.com/)http://erasurvival.shadesofvengeance.com/
[21:22] <~Dan> Hmm. I’m a bit tapped out for questions. Do you think we should call it early (and let you get to sleep), or is there some aspect of the supplement we’ve yet to cover?
[21:23] <+EdJowett> Just that I strongly believe that adding a new dimension to the game is vital when creating an expansion – whether that’s new equipment, a new playable species or whatever. I am happy to say I really think I’ve done that with Era: The Consortium – The Secret War.
[21:23] <+GenoFoxx> so is there nanotech involved in the secret war?
[21:23] <+EdJowett> I think it’s a worthy addition to the Consortium universe, and I hope that it helps spread the word about this game that little bit further!
[21:23] <+EdJowett> Actually, GenoFoxx, there is!
[21:24] <+EdJowett> 1 sec, I even have an implant image!
[21:24] <+EdJowett> (Link: http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Repair-Nanite-Implant-3.png)http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Shade-Repair-Nanite-Implant-3.png
[21:25] <+EdJowett> This implant – one application on nanites – actually contains repair nanites that fix broken machines
[21:26] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:26] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, EdJowett!
[21:27] <+EdJowett> Thanks for having me along!
[21:27] <+EdJowett> Always happy to talk about my games, as you know!
[21:27] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll get the log posted for you.
[21:27] <+EdJowett> One last reminder: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-consortium-the-secret-war/description)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-consortium-the-secret-war/description is the location of the Kickstarter and we could really use your support!