[20:03] <+JamieH> Hi. My name is Jamie Hardy. I am the creator of SteamCraft. It is a steampunk RPG. I really do mean steam and punk. It is dark with dystopian elements just like cyberpunk. You can play it as pulp (like all of the other steampunk games) if you want. Right now, we are trying to fund a player’s guide for the game line.
[20:05] <+JamieH> The player’s guide has your usual splat content, but also includes some new mechanics and options for players. (done)
[20:05] <+StormBringer> Dan!
[20:05] <+StormBringer> I thought I might fire up mIRC and see how it looks these days. I hate it.
[20:06] <+JamieH> I remember IRC from the late 90’s, but I think I used AOL more.
[20:06] <~Dan> First, for those who missed the previous Q&A, can you give us an overview of the setting?
[20:07] <+JamieH> Sure. First thing, this is set on another planet. It is not an alternative Earth. This frees me and the player’s up from the burdens of history.
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[20:09] <+JamieH> Next, it is a new world situation. Colonists move to another continent and start building kingdoms there. The Commonwealth of Arcadia is essentially European based. There are other cultures there are well. In our Rusting Sands Expansion, we have essentially North African steampunk.
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[20:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, tnli!)
[20:10] <+JamieH> Instead of the UK and France being the main powers, two fictional East Asian powers and the most powerful nations.
[20:11] <+JamieH> Finally, as I mentioned. this is actual steampunk. I take the Difference Engine as my muse. SteamCraft mixes together the industrial age with the information age. There are anlaytical engines (mechanical computers) that have been invented.
[20:13] <~Dan> The setting includes a strong magical element as well, as I recall?
[20:13] <+JamieH> Since these are new nation-states, they are weak. Corporations have the most power. They have their own private security. Companies spy on each other, engage in conflictcs, etc. If you are familiary with cyberpunk you will be familiar with these themes.
[20:14] <+JamieH> Yes. An overly simplistic way to describe it would be steampunk Shadowrun. There is magic, machine, and non-humans.
[20:15] <+JamieH> However, magic and machine do not get along. Usually mixing advanced tech and magic causes problems.
[20:15] <+JamieH> There are technomages who have managed to find ways to mix the two together. You know like creating clockwork beholders and grafting saws onto zombies.
[20:16] <+JamieH> These rare technomages are viewed as a threat by many groups and are hunted down. Other groups, like some companies, want to hire them. Officially the government denies their existence.
[20:17] <+JamieH> The government is trying to grow in power both to stand up to corporations as well as other nations. Sometimes this involves locking of dissidents into mental institutions.
[20:18] <+JamieH> Finally, most travel is done by airship. People have taken wooden ships and add a coal-fired hot-air balloon to it. These are used for commerce and warfare. This, we have airship pirates. (done.)
[20:19] <~Dan> Can you give us an overview of what the player’s guide adds to the game?
[20:20] <+JamieH> FYI, the writer of a trilogy of adventures Philip A Lee is a writer for Shadowrun. He is also one of the writers on the player’s guide.
[20:20] <+JamieH> The player’s guide adds a lot of content. Ok, here I go:
[20:21] <+JamieH> First, there is your typical splat. There will be new items, spells, equipment, etc.
[20:21] <+JamieH> Next, Faster Rules for Character Creation. Additionally, players will be able to pre-select equipment packages instead of individually selecting or purchasing the items.
[20:22] <+JamieH> Next we have Alternative Fate Point Rules, New Edges and Flaws, Expanded Contact Rules
[20:23] <+JamieH> The expanded contact rules will provide guidance on different types of contacts. It gives guidance on what they can provide PCs and what they expect in return. It will introduce a Favor/Friendship mechanic by which you improve and weaken relationships. This alters how much they are willing to do for you.
[20:23] <+JamieH> The Engineer’s Notebook – This section is aimed at players who loves building gadgets. This will include suggestions for amazing steampunk gadgetry that your characters can make.
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[20:24] <+JamieH> Expanded information of Guilds, Characters, and Gangs – You know the official stories, but you do not know the real stories. This section will provide names, security force information, goals, weaknesses, allegiances, HQ locations, important people, and other details written from a mucker’s point of view
[20:24] <+JamieH> New and Expanded Information about Archetypes – The core rules give you the basic run down of common character types. The Mucker’s Guide will give you approximately 12 pages of expanded written content that brings existing and new character types to life.
[20:25] <+JamieH> There will be suggested rules for how to mix two abilities together to add bonuses. For example, you use one ability to scout a place out. That in turn gives a bonus to your thieving check later when you go to break in.
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[20:25] <~Dan> (wb, StormBringer!)
[20:26] <+JamieH> Introducing Societies – We will introduce a new mechanic to aid in character creation and development. PCs will have the option to join overt or secret societies at the beginning of the game. These societies will grant benefits to PCs but the societies will also require service from the characters. Societies is optional, but the goal of the mechanic is to hel
[20:26] <+StormBringer> (Thanks, Dan!)
[20:26] <+JamieH> but the goal of the mechanic is to help players understand how their characters fit into the world and give players and gamemasters ways to focus and structure play. Societies will provide agendas and personal goals for the characters that help develop your character’s story and the overall metaplot
[20:28] <+JamieH> There is also information about various governments, corporations, sources of conflict between groups, how to get your PCs jobs, etc. I think that hits most of the major points. (done)
[20:29] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of the societies?
[20:32] <+JamieH> Sure. There will be overt groups, say a Geographical Society. The goal of these groups is to explore uncharted lands, make maps, catalog items, and bring back artifacts. As such, they will be viewed as tomb raiders by some, come into conflict with different populations, might be targeted by pirates for treasure.
[20:33] <+JamieH> You might also belong to something like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. A secret magical organization that contains high ranking governmental members and high society.
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[20:34] <+JamieH> Then you might have people who are members of an Environmental terrorist groups or a communist society bent on using force to destroy corporations and seize the means of production for the working class.
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[20:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, Canageek!)
[20:36] <+JamieH> The goal is to give a basic description of various ones. It will include their beliefs and goals. It will say it is secret or public. There will be an internal ranking system. That system will give advice on the benefits and obligations of each rank. Suggestions for how you advance.
[20:36] * ~Dan nods
[20:36] <+JamieH> I am currently working for Chad Bowser on this mechanic. We have the frame in place, now we are in the process of detailing everything.
[20:37] <+JamieH> Oh, and (done.)
[20:37] <~Dan> Chad Bowser… Why do I know that name?
[20:37] <+JamieH> He wrote for Victoriana and is the creator of Cthulhu Inviticas (sic) (done.)
[20:38] <~Dan> Ah! Cool.
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[20:38] <~Dan> Is the gadget creation process new to this supplement, or just refined?
[20:38] <+JamieH> I brought in three experience game writing professionals to help me make this the most awesome player’s guide possible.
[20:39] <+JamieH> Neither. In the core rules there are rules for item creation. It, however, doesn’t work well for weapons. In Shadows Over Newport, I put in rules for weapon creation.
[20:39] <+JamieH> In the player’s guide, we are providing a large list of steampunk gadgets that can be built with the current rules.
[20:40] <+JamieH> Additionally, we are going to reprint the item creation rules from the other two books to make it easier for players. No more going from one book to another (done.)
[20:40] <~Dan> Good plan. Do you have any favorites from the gadget list?
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[20:43] <+JamieH> I like the frost gun, but that is in Shadows Over Newport. We will be adding in some drone like options. In Shadowrun you have riggers and other similar character types that get involved with vehicles and other mechanical contraptions. You can do that in SteamCraft as well.
[20:43] <+JamieH> However, there is no wireless technology, so you are looking at long cables. We plan to add in some of those objects.
[20:44] <+JamieH> But, Monica Valentinelli is writing up most of the new gadgetry so I really don’t know what she is going to create.
[20:44] <+JamieH> (done.)
[20:44] <~Dan> I know that name as well… Remind me of some of her work?
[20:45] <+JamieH> She is the line developer for the Firefly RPG by MWP (The current one, not the old Serenity one.) She also has written for Vampire and the new Conan RPG that is coming out. (done.)
[20:45] <~Dan> Ah!
[20:46] * ~Dan smacks himself
[20:46] <~Dan> I knew that. Sorry. Long week. -_-
[20:46] <+JamieH> Hey, I don’t mind getting into that for the readers. I like name droping impressive people that are writing for me 🙂
[20:46] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:46] <~Dan> It does seem to be an impressive crew, at that.
[20:47] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that there will be magical artifacts included as well?
[20:47] <+JamieH> The nice thing isn’t just that they are good at game writing/design, they are all good writers.
[20:48] <+JamieH> Yes. In the core rules, we did not include any type of magical item list. We will be adding in artifacts. These will be magical items that can be found.
[20:49] <+JamieH> Additionally, there used to be an ancient advanced civilization. They were more technologically advanced. We will include those items as well. Except these will be powered by electricity or the sun instead of magic. (done.)
[20:50] <~Dan> Can magical artifacts be created?
[20:51] <+JamieH> There is a possibility that those rules will be added. In the first game I wrote – a fantasy game – it includes methods for creating magical items. I have been tempted to port those over. (done)
[20:52] <~Dan> And regarding the ancient devices, how advanced are we talking here? Real-world contemporary technology, or more advanced than that?
[20:52] <+JamieH> Oh, one thing for people to know is that when it comes to the technologically advanced items, the core rules contain rules for trying to retro-engineer.
[20:53] <~Dan> Oh, that’s cool!
[20:55] <+JamieH> The tech level would be roughly equivalent to now. You might have something like a walkie-talkie. The most sought after items is an aether pistol. Think of the guns that are used on Warehouse 13. Those were items listed in the core rules. That is as advanced as things get. There won’t be spaceships or anything like that.
[20:55] <+JamieH> I would expect 2/3 to be magical and only 1/3 non-magical. Of course, PCs need to figure out how the tech objects every turn on! But, this is another part that Monica is writing.
[20:55] <+JamieH> (done)
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[20:57] <~Dan> You mentioned Fate Points earlier… How does this supplement affect their use?
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[20:59] <+JamieH> In the core rules, I repeated the mistake that Shadowrun does. It makes you choose between using XP to advance abilities or buying Fate Points. As an option, we will add in ways to recoup Fate Points through PC actions instead. Most player’s are just going to skip using XP for Fate Points and we want players to use FP during the game. (done)
[21:00] <~Dan> That makes sense.
[21:01] <+JamieH> I discovered that groups had already made up their own rules for doing this so I thought I should just make it official.
[21:02] <+JamieH> (done)
[21:02] <~Dan> The sign of a good game designer, IMO. 🙂
[21:03] <+JamieH> Thanks 🙂
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[21:04] <~Dan> (Howdy, Vorthon!)
[21:04] <+Vorthon> (Hey)
[21:05] <~Dan> How vital would you say this book is to playing the game in general?
[21:07] <+JamieH> Hmm. I will try and put it this way. All you need to play the game is the Core Rules we put out year ago. (If that is all you want, you can get those as part of the KickStarter.)
[21:08] <+JamieH> However, I think the Player’s Guide adds a lot of desirable content. I think it is so desirable that for many player’s it might qualify as a need.
[21:09] <~Dan> Is there a GM’s Guide in the works as well?
[21:09] <+JamieH> There aren’t any major rule changes. Instead, the goal is to improve the game experience. For example, the character creation rules aren’t really new or different. Instead, I am just presenting them in a way that make it faster.
[21:10] <+JamieH> One of the things we are doing is putting together equipment packages instead of choosing items one by one.
[21:10] <~Dan> Is that by profession?
[21:11] <+JamieH> We are including mechanics and roleplaying tips to help groups focus their adventures and give players a stronger feel for the game and what they can do with it.
[21:12] <+JamieH> Another thing we are doing is expanding the archetypes section. This is to give players a better feel for the type of character it is. It is make players see how cool each type is. Much like you see in other games
[21:13] <~Dan> Are those totally ready to play, or more like starting points?
[21:13] <+JamieH> As for the equipment picks, there will just be options. The roles PCs have in groups will help us guide in building them. However, there won’t be any restrictions.
[21:13] <+JamieH> We will be including sample characters, but they aren
[21:13] <+JamieH> aren’t necessarily designed for play.
[21:14] <+JamieH> The goal is simply to offer variation of types. For example, there is going to be a difference between a private investigator, a paranormal investigator, and a corporate investigator.
[21:15] <+JamieH> As for the GM guide? Maybe. It is not something we have planed. I think with adventures and sourcebooks we are already supporting GMs. I don’t think there is much new content that would just be GM exclusive.
[21:16] <~Dan> What about a monster book?
[21:16] <+JamieH> I think the player’s guide will help not only players, but GMs as well. (done)
[21:18] <+JamieH> SteamCraft isn’t D&D, so I do not think there is as much of a need for a large book on monsters. With that said, I do think SteamCraft could use some expansion in terms of various adversaries.
[21:18] <+JamieH> I am tempted to add new creatures to the Player’s Guide. However, it seems out of place. That is something much more that only a GM would do.
[21:19] <~Dan> Yeah, I wouldn’t expect to see creatures in a player’s guide.
[21:20] <+JamieH> A lot of the content in the Player’s Guide will be written in the voice of a fictional character. So I have toyed around with introducing a few types of creatures in the Player’s Guide. For example, maybe here is some advice on how to deal with a combat situation. It will then talk about a new monster. I can then include the stats in a box.
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[21:20] <~Dan> Hmm… Yeah, I could see that.
[21:20] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
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[21:20] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, CWalck93!)
[21:21] <+JamieH> It is certainly something we are considering for a stretch reward. We do not know if that would be included in the original content. (done.)
[21:21] <&Silverlion> (Allo Dan)
[21:22] <~Dan> You touched on this a bit, but how do you see the game line expanding further?
[21:25] <+JamieH> Well, here is what we have planned. I think the Player’s Guide is the most important thing to get out. After that, we have plans for some more adventures. That is all we currently have planned. We might consider releasing another setting supplement. Another possibility would be some PDF only content like monsters.
[21:25] <~Dan> Sounds like a good plan.
[21:26] <+JamieH> At this point, we are primarily focused on serving the current player base and growing the player base. (done.)
[21:27] <~Dan> As I was skimming our previous Q&A, I saw a 3d10 mechanic mentioned. Is that made official in this supplement?
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[21:27] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lassekk!)
[21:28] <+JamieH> It will remain optional. I will make sure that all weapons will be stats for both all dice and only using d10. All future RPGs we will release including and future editions of SteamCraft will just move over to 3d10.
[21:29] <~Dan> For those unfamiliar, can you describe how that works?
[21:29] <+JamieH> We haven’t talked anything about the rules, so let me go over the basics and then I will explain the 3d10 twist.
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[21:31] <+JamieH> SteamCraft is a percentile system. You roll under a skill. There are optional modifiers. There are no classes or levels. You can build any type of PC you want just be selecting abilities. It is very easy.
[21:32] <+JamieH> In the core rules, you had a basic critical failure/success. It is set at a static amount, such as role under 5 for critical success. There is no grandniece nor does being better in a skill give you a greater chance of a critical success.
[21:33] <~Dan> Grandniece?
[21:34] <+JamieH> gradient
[21:34] <~Dan> Ah! 🙂
[21:35] <+JamieH> With the 3d10 that changes. The third die is added to the percentile allowing you to determine how well you succeeded or failed. For example, if you have a 40 in ranged weapons, you will to roll under 40. A 1 on the third die would be a critical success. This gives you a 4% chance. Meanwhile, if you had a 60%, it would be a 6% chance.
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[21:37] <+JamieH> Additionally, there are ways to use this to help with role-playing. You succeeded, but barely. Thus, when you jump over you fall flat on your face. The GM may or may not imply a penalty for that.
[21:37] <~Dan> Hmm… So a 1 is all that matters on the 3rd die?
[21:38] <+JamieH> No, there are degrees. A 1 is the best, 5 is neutral, and 10 is bad. The closer you are to those numbers then the better you can judge how well it was done.
[21:39] <+JamieH> So, even if you fail, but roll a 1, the GM might give you a bonus for the next time. Or, you succeed but have a 9. You manage to open the door, but it makes a loud noise. This could alert guards that will show up in later rounds if the PCs stay there.
[21:39] <+JamieH> (done)
[21:40] <~Dan> You mentioned that affecting damage, I believe?
[21:42] <+JamieH> That is one of the possibilities. A critical success could maximize damage. If you are using a Pepperbox, all of the bullets go off and hit the target. A critical failure might reduce damage. There is a combination of penalties/bonuses as well as things that might change the storyline.
[21:43] <+JamieH> Think of it like this. In FFG Star Wars, you have advantages and threats. The GM has to interpret those. I make the comparison to reading bones. I find it a little too unguided. A lot is left up to the GM to interpret. I do like what the system is trying to do. However, I want things to be more controlled with more guidance for the GM.
[21:43] <+JamieH> (done)
[21:45] <+JamieH> One possibility is something like 1 critical, 2 advantage for PC, 9 a threat to the PC, 10 critical failure.
[21:45] <~Dan> Is there any new magic in the player’s guide?
[21:46] <+JamieH> The core rules contains 6 types of magic plus Alchemy (which is more like pharmacy/chemistry.) The Player’s Guide will add new spells and new recipes.
[21:47] <~Dan> What are the six types of magic?
[21:49] <+JamieH> There is elementalism (controlling the 4 natural elements), enchantment, Necromancy, Sorcery, Shamanism (druid type divine magic), and theurgy (cleric type divine magic.)
[21:49] <+JamieH> We will be adding around 10 pages of new magical content (done)
[21:50] <~Dan> What is enchantment in this context?
[21:52] <+JamieH> Mostly AD&D type Magic-User spells. It includes spells to create light, levitate objects, climb on walls, create acid, flatten an object, alter your appearance, as then there are damage spells using the void (negative energy). (done)
[21:53] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[21:53] <~Dan> So in the regular time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
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[21:53] <~Dan> (Howdy, willows!)
[21:56] <+JamieH> I knew this was coming, but we ended up talking about the mechanic. I would like to point out that the rules also include rules for airship combat. You can steal an airship and raid corporate airships to make yourself rich or bring about a communist state.
[21:57] <~Dan> Same basic mechanic?
[21:57] <+JamieH> Everything in the setting happens in a New World situation. I made the play area fairly small. But in it you have urban and rural areas. There are exotic locations. There are tombs to explore hidden under the sand. The Victorian era was one of exploration and exploitation after all.
[21:58] * ~Dan nods
[21:58] <+JamieH> Yes, very similar. There is a point-based system that you can use to create your own individual airship. There are basic rules for how ships move per round so you can do combat.
[22:00] <+JamieH> The only final thing I can think of to mention is that the content for the Player’s Guide is great. I have brought in some amazing talent to put this guide out. However, they are professionals that require money for their services. That is why we are doing the Kickstarter. Most of the money is going to pay them.
[22:01] <~Dan> Good man.
[22:01] <+JamieH> We really want to give our existing players new content. We also want to show people how amazing this game is and what can be done with the game. That is why this Kickstarter is so important. So please take a look. Please share info about the game so that we can get this Player’s Guide made.
[22:01] <~Dan> Oh! Want to link to the KS?
[22:03] <+JamieH> Yes. Here is it. Please share it far and wide. Trust me, if you are a fan of steampunk, cyberpunk, sci-fi, or just games, you will like this content, especially the content these writers will be adding. Here is the link: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/666449184/steamcraft-rpg-players-guide)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/666449184/steamcraft-rpg-players-guide
[22:03] <+JamieH> That is about all I can think of unless you have other questions (done)
[22:03] <~Dan> And while we’re sharing links, if any of you reading this have enjoyed yourself and are feeling generous, my tip jar may be found here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[22:04] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, JamieH!
[22:04] <~Dan> And please feel free to visit us any time you like. 🙂
[22:04] <+JamieH> The fact that you read the previous Q&A again for questions show how much time you spend doing this. Thank for you your time. I think this helps me and many other people by you being willing to do this.
[22:05] <~Dan> My pleasure. 🙂