[19:01] <+Aaron> Alrighty: I’m Aaron – I started roleplay gaming after I graduated from college, and I started first creating The Warriors of Zurn series almost three years ago
[19:01] <+Aaron> The game first started as something to help alleviate the time restrictions of our old game master; we were playing the old Star Wars D6 game by West End Games, and as his second kid was born he needed someone else to GM
[19:02] <+Aaron> None of us had much experience beyond his teaching, but I stepped up because I had been mulling over ideas for a medieval fantasy game, so I asked if people would like to test a new game
[19:02] <~Dan> (Howdy, Tobias!)
[19:02] <+Tobias> Hey
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[19:02] <+Aaron> The result was the alpha status for Zurn: it sports a D6 core (much like the Star Wars RPG), so it only uses six-sided dice
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[19:03] <+Aaron> It also means that if you have a dice app on your phone, you have everything you need to play the game, which is convenient
[19:03] <+Aaron> It is set in a medieval fantasy world, and intentionally mixes a variety of mythoses
[19:03] <+Aaron> so you’ll find greco-roman mythology, norse mythology, traditional high fantasy, and some unique stuff to the Zurn mythos
[19:04] <+Aaron> also some far Eastern mythology (as I’m party Chinese and grew up in Hawaii, so was used to Japanese/Korean myths as well)
[19:04] <+Aaron> so you get a pretty varied, vibrant world of things for your adventurers to run into
[19:04] <+Aaron> the mechanics of Zurn’s system, though, are not tied to the era: the plan is to release six eras in the future: medieval (which is what we’re currently fleshing out), western, colonial, steampunk, modern, and sci-fi
[19:05] <+Aaron> all of them will use the same core components, so when you’ve learned to play one, you’ll know how to play all of them
[19:05] <+Aaron> this is useful for guys like me who like a lot of different genres; I’m currently on a Star Wars kick (sci-fi), but I also like spaghetti westerns, traditional medieval fantasy, etc.
[19:05] <+Aaron> the game offers a style of play that can be easily modulated to what the group is currently feeling, without having to learn a new game system
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[19:06] <+Aaron> currently we’re in the process of kickstarting our first sourcebook, The Warriors of Zurn
[19:06] <+Vorthon> …What about post-apoc? Or would that be doable with the sci-fi stuff or by mashing together sci-fi and medieval parts of the system?
[19:06] <+Aaron> Ah, a good question
[19:06] <+Aaron> we’re actually, ironically, doing a post-apoc campaign book for each era – each taking a different form
[19:07] <+Aaron> so the post-apoc storybook happens on an island (so that it can face the apocalypse without destroying the timeline of the rest of the wolrd
[19:07] <+Aaron> and allows for a fun “zombie apocalypse” in the medieval era
[19:07] <+Aaron> but then we’ll have a western one (a ghost town, if you will), as well as one in modern and sci-fi
[19:08] <+Aaron> mostly this is due to the fact that a lot of the beta testers like post-apoc stories, so we’ve had a lot of ideas rolling for each of those
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[19:08] <+Aaron> it’s currently being beta tested by a bit more than 70 people from about 16 states and 2 countries
[19:08] <+Aaron> so thankfully the game has changed a lot over the past three years due to testing, 😛
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[19:08] <+Aaron> The game involves a streamlined character creation system that also allows for much wider variance in character creation
[19:08] <+Vorthon> …Will any of them be a sort of gonzo ‘reality is out to lunch’ type apocalypse? Like, what a few iterations of Gamma World had. Toooooootally not biased towards that kind of apocalypse, nope. :v
[19:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, CloakGaming!)
[19:09] <~Dan> (Please hold questions until we get a (done) from our guest. Thanks! 🙂 )
[19:09] <+Aaron> Hehe, good question – one of them is (the steampunk one), which is ironic, since we never had a steampunk era proper in Earth’s history, 🙂
[19:09] <+Aaron> But yes: the game uses a streamlined character creation system – for starters, we removed the typical class system
[19:10] <+Aaron> this means that “multi-classing” is very easy in Zurn, though you still tend to see the typical classes (mages, archers, fighters, rogues, etc.) being built
[19:10] <+Aaron> so for guys who like using a particular class, they definitely will – they just won’t feel locked in re: armor class, weapon choice, access to magic, etc.
[19:11] <+Aaron> magic is also very common in Zurn: it’s not unrealistic for everyone in town to practice some form of magic
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[19:11] <+Aaron> the result, though, is that the character in your mind is easy to build and realize on a page
[19:12] <+Aaron> and as an added bonus, if a character wants to be able to add special abilities (regeneration on a troll, health restore on a vampire, etc.), we have a simple mechanic that governs those abilities as well as the typical “skill traiting” of other games
[19:12] <+Aaron> we do it through an adjective system, very much akin (though slightly different) from the adjective system in Sanderson’s Mistborn RPG, if you’re familiar with that one
[19:12] <+Aaron> so as you tier up the adjective, you gain dice in your respective skills while also gaining special abilities that fit the character concept, with higher adjectives (i.e., more cost) resulting in better performance of those skills
[19:13] <+Aaron> so that’s what we do; typical character creation time is about 30 minutes (shorter for people who are building their 3rd or 4th character)
[19:13] <+Aaron> so much shorter than the typical building time, which is nice, as it leaves room in the first session for some gameplay
[19:13] <+Aaron> so, with that I’ll leave it open for any questions you all may have
[19:13] <+Aaron> (done)
[19:14] <~Dan> Thanks, Aaron!
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[19:14] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:14] <~Dan> Aaron: Do you think it would be easier to cover the system or the setting first?
[19:14] <+Aaron> Either way; I don’t have a preference, 🙂
[19:15] <~Dan> All righty then… Let’s start with the system! Do you have a character sheet posted somewhere?
[19:15] <+Aaron> I do in fact: you can find it here: (Link: http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h)http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h
[19:16] <+Aaron> you’ll see three free downloadable .pdfs on that page
[19:16] <~Dan> Yup, I have it up now.
[19:16] <~Dan> Let’s see what we have here…
[19:16] <+Aaron> the first shows you a typical character sheet, and then you’ll see both a page that walks you through character creation, as well as the mechanics for how you conduct a roll
[19:17] <+Aaron> so for the character sheet, you’ll note that each character will choose their race, and then within each race there is a class – this helps only to determine how good a character can be in their base aptitude in one of the four skill sets
[19:17] <+Aaron> while most game systems have 5-6 stats, we only use four: strength for physical ability
[19:17] <~Dan> Ah, I was wondering.
[19:17] <~Dan> re: class
[19:17] <+Aaron> Finesse for fine motor skills (sight, hearing, etc.)
[19:17] <+SnotLord> ooo website is bugging out on me
[19:17] <+Aaron> Charm for social interaction, and Lore for mental stat
[19:18] <+Aaron> Then you’ve got the space for your gear – you can see a bit of what gear does in the example for character creation, but items will boost the number of dice you roll
[19:18] <+Aaron> while a good number of games will simply add static modifiers (what I like to call “static res”) to the one dice you roll, Zurn simply increases the number of dice you roll
[19:19] <~Dan> Do skills stack directly on attributes, as in D6?
[19:19] <+Aaron> Ah – they add more dice to the roll
[19:19] <+Aaron> the result is a wide variety of variance – and it turns out that that’s good
[19:19] <~Dan> Sorry, that’s what I meant.
[19:19] <+Aaron> – I was running a session just before this chat session with the beta testers, and one of the elite NPC guards rolled low on the 9D that he rolled
[19:20] <+Aaron> the result is that, even though he should be around a 30 (which would be average roll of 3s and 4s), the character was able to do damage because she rolled high and he rolled lower than expected
[19:20] <+Aaron> the result is even small characters can take a chance – it encourages them to roll for the odds and try even if it wouldn’t normally work
[19:20] <+Aaron> the result is gutsy adventurers, which keeps our hearts pounding, 😛
[19:21] <~Dan> How broad are the skills? Can you give me an example of a weapon skill, for example?
[19:21] <+Aaron> Now the dragon flying overhead is still going to roll pretty well on a lot of dice, but it means that there’s always hope
[19:21] <+Aaron> Ah – good question. Weak weapons (a small knife, a club, etc.) usually adds about 1-2D, while larger, higher-end weapons (claymore sword, a Minotaur Great Axe, etc.) add closer to 5D
[19:21] <+Aaron> Weapons usually also come with a special skill tied to the weapon type, so there’s a reason to take each weapon
[19:22] <+Aaron> knives don’t do as much damage as a sword, but it can cause a Bleeding effect that slowly winnows an enemy down to size (or the target passes out form loss of blood)
[19:22] <~Dan> Well, what I mean is, how specific are the individual weapons skills?
[19:22] <+Aaron> Ah – as in, how many different weapons can you trait in using?
[19:23] <~Dan> i.e., is it more like “Melee Weapon”, “Bladed Weapon”, “Sword”, “Short Sword”, etc.?
[19:23] <+Aaron> Ah, good question – it’s as specific as the GM wants it to be
[19:23] <+Aaron> unlike most games (and this may scare people, but bear with me), there is no published skill list
[19:23] <~Dan> Really? Hmm… That has a pretty big impact on the game.
[19:23] <+Aaron> this has to do with the fact that we use an adjective system instead of just a skill list
[19:23] <+Aaron> so, for example, if I’m a “trained swordsman,” some of the beta testers said swords and knives were close enough to gain the bonus
[19:24] <+Aaron> others said, “you’re a swordsman – applies to swords”
[19:24] <~Dan> Okay, I see.
[19:24] <+Aaron> the result is that the GM and the player have a bit more room for variance – it also means that when I choose my adjectives, wordsmithing helps a lot
[19:24] <+Aaron> so you start learning more words (so that you can tier up your adjectives and add more bonuses to each), causing the player to grow in their knowledge and comprehension, just as their character is growing in skill
[19:24] <+Aaron> it’s like a win-win, 🙂
[19:25] <~Dan> 🙂
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[19:25] <+Aaron> we will be publishing a recommended set of “skills” that players can use, but that’s mostly to define the bonuses that a number of items give in the sourcebooks
[19:25] <~Dan> Now, when you say that weapons add dice, is that to damage or to the attack roll?
[19:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[19:25] <+Aaron> Ah – generally most weapons only boost STR for damage and Finesse for parrying
[19:26] <~Dan> Okay, good.
[19:26] <+Aaron> so adjectives and runes (a bonus applied to a weapon) are the only ways to increase your chance to hit
[19:26] <~Dan> Some games “front load” damage into weapon accuracy. I hate that.
[19:26] <+Aaron> the exception to this is bows: bows have a built-in to-hit modifier, mostly because they have to hit higher amounts on the to-hit roll
[19:26] <+Aaron> but even then they only add 1-2 dice, so it’s not much
[19:27] <+Aaron> magic is the one exception: instead of using Finesse to hit the target, it takes into account the target’s distance into the casting attepmt
[19:27] <+Aaron> *attempt
[19:27] <+Aaron> so if I’m trying to hit someone close to me with a fireball it’s easier than hitting someone far away from me
[19:27] <~Dan> Which attribute do you use for a melee attack? (The attack roll, not the damage roll.)
[19:27] <+Aaron> Ah – melee attacks are FIN rolls, and damage is a STR roll
[19:27] <+Aaron> so most melee characters are going to “front load” the stats of STR and FIN
[19:27] <+Aaron> mages will be heavy on Lore
[19:28] <+Aaron> as casting ability is tied to the Lore stat
[19:28] <~Dan> Good. You passed the “Ninjasaurus Effect” test. 🙂
[19:28] <+Aaron> hehe, 🙂 Go me! 😀
[19:28] <~Dan> Are you familiar with that?
[19:28] <+Aaron> I am in fact!
[19:28] <~Dan> Good man. 🙂
[19:28] <+Aaron> Recently, but familiar, 🙂
[19:29] <+Aaron> What’s more, though, the nice thing about this system is that “mage knights” are still quite common: it’s very common to see a magic caster who is perfectly content getting up close and personal with two swords
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[19:29] <~Dan> Does degree of success matter in skill use in general and combat in particular?
[19:29] <+Aaron> his casting is not as good as a guy who sits back with a staff and pounds people from range, but he is still quite dangerous in close quarters
[19:29] <+Aaron> it does – degree of success gives the victor more control over where the opponent is hit, and in the case of damage how much damage is sustained
[19:30] <+Aaron> which is an interesting thing we should talk about: we don’t use a hitpoints system
[19:30] <~Dan> Oh?
[19:30] <+Aaron> instead, the “hitpoints” of the target is their stats: you take damage against your base stats, and when you hit 0D you’re incapacitated
[19:30] <+Aaron> here’s the trick: there are attacks that hit all four stats – so if a character uses Charm as their “dump stat,” he just hopes he doesn’t run into certain kinds of people
[19:31] <+Aaron> so there’s an emphasis on different party members being strong in each stat, and covering for each other throughout the campaign
[19:31] <+Aaron> suddenly the diplomatic social character will, at times, be one of the most integral members of the party, because he can actually sustain damage (and do damage) with Charm
[19:31] <+Aaron> so it lends itself well to party cohesion
[19:31] <+Aaron> the result, though, since a good number of people are going to heavy load a few stats, is that healing is also quite common in Zurn
[19:31] <~Dan> Hmm. I’ve encountered that sort of mechanic before, and it seems to create one problem, to my mind: Everyone can take the exact same amount of damage.
[19:32] <~Dan> Unless I’m missing something there, that is.
[19:32] <+Aaron> Ah – it’s a good point
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[19:32] <+Aaron> Zurn allows for variance in how many dice are assigned to each stat – we borrow this from Sanderson’s Mistborn RPG, where there are three words you assign to the three categories during character creation (see the second .pdf on the link: (Link: http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h)http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h )
[19:32] <+Aaron> Strong – Average – Weak
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[19:33] <+Aaron> If a character opts for the optimum number of dice in the stats (i.e., the most hitpoints), they are passing on high-end gear and weaponry (which could save their lives and keep them from using hitpoints) as well as high-end spells and enchantments
[19:33] <+Aaron> but if I want better gear and spells, I’m passing on hitpoints
[19:34] <+Aaron> in this way, it’s quite common to feel like “mages are squishier than tanks,” mostly because tanks say, “All I need is some armor, a good axe, and a shield and I’m good,” while mages need a lot more stuff to get their casting power up
[19:34] <~Dan> Ah, setting priorities for categories. That does make some sense.
[19:34] <+Aaron> And since all three areas can be improved as the game progresses, it’s not uncommon to see players who start weak slowly boost their resilience
[19:35] <+Aaron> This also brings up the question of advancement and currency
[19:35] <+Aaron> in most games there’s a distinction between money and experience
[19:35] <+Aaron> in Zurn this is only partially true – it’s possible for a game master to reward a character with Experience Points – points that may be put into purchasing adjectives
[19:35] <+Aaron> but the primary currency (and you see this on the character sheet) is Advancement Points, which purchases enhancements, equipment, and stat upgrades
[19:36] <+Aaron> so everything can be purchased with AP, much like how, if I’m learning a new skill (rock climbing) I pay someone to teach me
[19:36] <+Aaron> and I pay someone else for the rope
[19:36] <+Aaron> and I pay someone else to make sure that my equipment is the most up-to-snuff ones on the market (enhancements)
[19:36] <+Aaron> so we’ve streamlined currency – this means that if what I fear is how easy it is to pound my character, I spend the same thing that the squishy mage spends to purchase armor
[19:37] <~Dan> Doesn’t that make the use of actual money in the setting a bit confusing?
[19:37] <+Aaron> Ah – not really: we assume that since each culture is using their own currency that “AP” represents the exchange of different currencies until we find something we can barter wiht
[19:37] <+Aaron> *with
[19:37] <+Aaron> so it drives the economists among us mad (as they want an exchange rate), and we told them that was too complicated, 😛
[19:38] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:38] <+Aaron> But it means that on a practical level the complete new person to RPG gaming only needs to track one thing, and the veteran can allocate with a bit more nuance
[19:38] <+Aaron> it also means that if you’ve got the character who is quite happy with his simple set of gear, he doesn’t suddenly just start stockpiling cash because he’s good on items
[19:38] <+Aaron> and the person who doesn’t think through in advance how they want to allocate experience doesn’t sit on a large hoard of EXP
[19:39] <+Aaron> but what it also means is that if a person has spent their AP before the mission, unlike a person who hasn’t spent Experience points in another game system, the unspent points still have value – they can be used as a bribe
[19:39] <+Aaron> because AP is also money
[19:40] <+Aaron> so it means GMs can be a bit stricter on “get in your updates so that I know how big to build the mission,” as they aren’t hurting the party member if they don’t get updates in
[19:40] <~Dan> Seems like this would mean that characters would need a decent in-game explanation for character improvements.
[19:40] <+Aaron> They do – this is one of the reasons I like the adjective system
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[19:40] <+Aaron> it allows us to easily see how characters are progressing
[19:40] <+Aaron> if the person wants to jump from a Tier 1 “well-shaven” to a Tier 5 “smoking hot,” for example, the GM can say, “Now hooooold on there…”
[19:40] <+Aaron> (not that this has happened before, 😛 )
[19:41] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[19:41] <+Aaron> But it also means that over time we can see someone go from being an “adept swordsman” to a “masterful swordsman” to a “veteran warrior,” and we can see that progression
[19:41] <+Aaron> and all the while the player is rewarded with more dice to roll
[19:41] <+Aaron> it’s also nice because instead of just seeing what a character is good at (i.e., skill list), we can see who they are
[19:42] <+Aaron> so while I may build a character who is good at axe wielding, I may show up on a given night and not want to swing my axe
[19:42] <+Aaron> but as the GM is preparing, he’s thinking about what I’m built to do as he builds the mission
[19:43] <+Aaron> but if I’m using an adjective system, I am telling the GM not just that I’m an axe-wielding viking, but that I’m an “unyielding” “burly” “woodsman” “pillager,” all of which tells him my MO as a character as well as how I handle social interactions
[19:43] <+Aaron> so I get more of a feel for the character as the GM because I’m not just told what he rolls well in – I’m told how he acts on a daily basis
[19:43] <~Dan> And you assign dice to the adjectives?
[19:44] <+Aaron> That’s correct: you get +1D for each tier of the adjective
[19:44] <+Aaron> so as you purchase higher tiers (“trained swordsman” to “masterful swordsman,” for example)
[19:44] <+Aaron> you get more dice
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[19:44] <~Dan> (wb, FGF)
[19:44] <+Aaron> it also means GMs can reward players for investing high in an adjective with special rules, so we can reward a veteran swordsman with more than just dice
[19:44] <+Aaron> (maybe the ability to make a counter attack after a successful parry, for example)
[19:45] <~Dan> Is that left up to GM fiat?
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[19:45] <~Dan> (wb, SnotLord)
[19:45] <+Aaron> In the main; some of the more common adjectives are spelled out in the book
[19:45] <+Aaron> mostly just to get the ideas of GMs flowing for other things
[19:46] * ~Dan nods
[19:46] <+Aaron> so the typical “trade” adjective for mages (whether they are initiate who practices one lore, or a wanderer who practices multiple lores, etc.)
[19:46] <+Aaron> as well as other adjectives (like the swordsman adjective)
[19:46] <+Aaron> but we leave it free-flowing so that you can also use adjectives for, say, a wulvern character who gorges on his foes in order to recover health (with the tier of the adjective determining how much health he gets back)
[19:47] <+SnotLord> time for a nice healthy potnoodle
[19:47] <+Aaron> but yes: in terms of the mechanics of a roll (which you’ll find on the third .pdf here: (Link: http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h)http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h ), you roll your dice using a series of D6, with the amount that you get to roll being equal to the base stat plus bonuses
[19:48] <~Dan> What (if anything) is the limit on spellcasting? For example, do you have a spell point system? A fatigue system?
[19:48] <+Aaron> Ah, a good question – for starters, we abandoned a mana system early in game design
[19:48] <+Aaron> (don’t freak out warriors – it’s safe!)
[19:48] <+Aaron> the limitation is that you can only cast a given spell once per beat (and we use a three action system)
[19:49] <+Aaron> so that means that a fire mage could cast a few area-based spells on a given turn if he wanted to, and could cast them basically every turn
[19:49] <+Aaron> the limitation on magic is the following:
[19:49] <+Aaron> 1) casting a basic, low-end spell is pretty simple – usually between a 5 and 25 in difficulty (so 8-10D will get it off reliably)
[19:49] <+Aaron> but that’s if you want a small version of the spell – boosted spells can run upwards of 100, so there is a reason to trait deep in magic casting
[19:50] <+Aaron> and since everyone gets a free attempt at a dispel, it’s not uncommon to see high-end mages trying to cast a big spell and then see someone else (who is also a good caster) step in and try to dispel
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[19:50] <+Aaron> the way we keep archers and melee warriors safe in all of this is that actions are decided first on the type of attack being used, then by initiative
[19:50] <+Aaron> so melee attacks are resolved first (in the order the GM wants them resolved)
[19:51] <+Aaron> then all the archery actions (as it takes a bit more time to draw an arrow or level a crossbow than it does to swing a halberd)
[19:51] <+Aaron> then the magic actions (as they have to recite the incantation)
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[19:51] <+Aaron> the result is that while magic is very powerful in Zurn, the mage has to live long enough to make the cast – and I’ve seen a good number of mages silenced because they weren’t adequately defended by the party tank
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[19:52] <~Dan> (Howdy, JP!)
[19:52] <+Aaron> also, to keep archery up to par with magic, we don’t count arrows
[19:52] <+Aaron> so thankfully archers don’t need to worry about “how many shots I’ve got left,” unless the GM wants to make it a big plot point to spur action for the party
[19:53] <+Aaron> mages also face a bit more danger if they fail a cast than an archer or melee warrior failing to strike a target
[19:53] <+Aaron> if the cast is unsuccessful (you shot for a difficulty you couldn’t chew) and the Wild Dice (the special D6 in the roll) is a 1, the result is a miscast – you then roll on a table to see what happens to you
[19:54] <+Aaron> on the easier side of the spectrum, you just lose some casting power for a time
[19:54] <+Aaron> on the high-end side of damage…well, there’s a big flash of light and the world is short a mage
[19:54] <+Aaron> the chance likelihood that it actually happens is less than 2% (so it’s very rare to see people die this way)
[19:54] * ~Dan nods
[19:54] <+Aaron> but it has happened, and it only happens if a character (NPC or character) bites off more than they can chew
[19:55] <+Aaron> so, as we like to think in Zurn, actions have consequences
[19:55] <+Aaron> but yes: magic is intended to be very versatile – it’s quite common to see rogues, warriors, fighters, archers, and assassins taking magic spells
[19:55] <~Dan> Quick aside: Does armor reduce damage or the chance of being hit?
[19:55] <+Aaron> It always reduces damage – there are a few that make it harder to hit
[19:55] <~Dan> Cool.
[19:55] <+Aaron> mostly those are leg armor pieces (which are the rarest ones in Zurn)
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[19:56] <+Aaron> so we’ve seen some guys who just built straight-up evade characters, and they were trusting to never getting hit
[19:56] <+Aaron> and we’ve had other guys who loaded on the max amount of armor possible, sat there behind a big shield, and then armies wail on them all day
[19:56] <+Aaron> I personally prefer the latter, if for no other reason than you’re not counting on your opponent rolling lower, 😛
[19:56] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[19:57] <+Aaron> But yes: that’s the mechanics in a nutshell
[19:57] <~Dan> Nice.
[19:57] <~Dan> So what races are available to play
[19:57] <~Dan> ?
[19:57] <+Aaron> it’s a massive game of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock
[19:58] <+Aaron> Ah – in the first sourcebook we’ve got 5 for the Order Races (Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Centaurs, and Fauns)
[19:58] <+Aaron> 6 for the Fury races (Wild Men – think Vikings and Amazons – Dark Elves, Satyrs, Minotaurs, Wulverns, and Spectres – think zombies and ghosts)
[19:58] <+Aaron> and 3 for the neutral races (giants, trolls, and sprites – little people, like pixis and imps)
[19:59] <+Aaron> but in the six additional sourcebooks that we’re testing we add new races in each, so we’re now up over 60 total playable races
[19:59] <~Dan> Holy crap.
[19:59] <+Aaron> and in each era we’ll be adding additional races, so it will not be unlikely that people will take future races and bring them back to the medieval era
[19:59] <+Aaron> yep, lots of options, and each gives unique bonuses
[19:59] <+Aaron> so some people will want to play a high-Strength, high-Finesse character – we recommend certain races to them
[20:00] <~Dan> I take it Order, Neutral, and Fury are the alignments?
[20:00] <+Aaron> That is correct – very similar to GamesWorkshop’s fantasy series, for those who are familiar with it
[20:01] <+Aaron> In the history side of Zurn (and I know this goes more to setting), you have two formative powers for the world that were used by the Beyonder (their creator) to design the world: Order to create and sustain things, and Fury to bring things to an end
[20:01] <+Aaron> so the sides naturally gravitate toward the two extremes of “it created us” and “it is the most powerful:
[20:01] <+Aaron> the exception being those too stupid to choose a side (giants), too tied to the earth to care about the cosmic war (trolls), and those too care-free to notice (the imps)
[20:02] <+Aaron> but each sourcebook is themed, so you get more water-based races (like nymphs and cyclopses) in the Mariners book, more stealth people in the Assassins book, etc.
[20:02] <+Aaron> so we try to add some order to the chaos as regards races in each book
[20:03] <+Aaron> Final thing I should mention as regards the character sheet (and this is a good thing to know about for mechanics), is Character Points and Channel Dice
[20:03] <~Dan> Oh, yes. I meant to ask about that.
[20:03] <+Aaron> Character Points are much like the “feat points” or other similar concepts in other games – they are extra dice that you can add to a roll
[20:04] <+Aaron> they can assist you on basically anything, as they represent the “umpf” and added energy exerted by the character
[20:04] <+Aaron> Channel Dice are similar, but they are restricted to only two rolls
[20:04] <+Aaron> casting magic (as some of those difficulties are very high) and initiating a dispel attempt against opposing magic
[20:05] <+Aaron> this means that, since it’s very rare to recover Channel Dice until the end of a given day, at some point dispelling power dries up, so choose your dispels well
[20:05] <+Aaron> (it also means that the mage won’t be shut down forever if he’s up against a good dispeller – he just needs to mine through the Channel Dice)
[20:05] * ~Dan nods
[20:06] <+Aaron> both are replenished at the start of the day, though the number replenished we leave with the game master – it’s possible that not getting a full night’s rest or continuing to fight for days could affect this number
[20:06] <+Aaron> so we leave that to the creative juices of the story
[20:06] <~Dan> Are there particular varities of magic in the setting?
[20:06] <~Dan> varieties, even
[20:06] <+Aaron> There are – we have five common magic lores, as well as four hidden lores, and a number of advanced lores
[20:06] <+Aaron> in faun school, everyone learns the magic lores using a wheel:
[20:07] <+Aaron> the elemental lores are on the sides and oppose each other: fire (as the highest element) is opposite water (the lowest element), and next to them is air and earth
[20:07] <+Aaron> fire and air are damage lores (one indiscriminate and good for clearing lots of opponents at once, one surgical, not harming allies in the mix)
[20:07] <+Aaron> earth and water are healing lores, one through high, single-target heals, the other through area-based, low-volume healing
[20:08] <+Aaron> fire and earth are commonly available, so any race can take it – air and water are hidden, so you can discover them during the campaign (and select races start with access to them as their special race trait)
[20:08] <+Aaron> then you have the two alignment lores: light and dark
[20:09] <+Aaron> light is good for defensive shields and a-symmetric warfare; dark magic does targeted damage that hands out hexes against the stats (so faster incapacitation)
[20:09] <+Aaron> so it is most common to see light and dark mages going at it quite vehemently, as they work well against the other lores but have a bear of a time against each other
[20:10] <+Aaron> each of these also has an advanced lore, giving a reason to invest further into them
[20:10] <~Dan> Example?
[20:10] <+Aaron> and then there are two ancillary lores: Arcane magic (a toolbox lore with a lot of cool, unique toys in it) and Time Lore (which is a heavy augment lore that boosts characters and can commonly be used outside the magic system
[20:10] <+Aaron> ah, so for example, the Earth Lore (heavy defense and healing) has an advanced lore: the Stone Lore
[20:11] <+Aaron> most advanced lores have a heavy “I boost the caster” feel to them, as it’s that character’s connection to the lore
[20:11] <+Aaron> so not as good at buffing allie
[20:11] <+Aaron> *allies
[20:11] <+Aaron> that being said, it’s a huuuuge bonus, and it’s not uncommon to see mages who go the advanced route using the new skills more heavily
[20:12] <+Aaron> that being said, though, we also give reasons for people to use the initial spells: easier casting value, and thus you can boost them higher than you could the advanced spells
[20:12] <~Dan> Is magical ability learned or innate?
[20:12] <+Aaron> Ah – it’s generally learned
[20:12] <~Dan> Makes sense, what with it being as common as you mentioned.
[20:12] <+Aaron> that being said, I had a beta tester come to me and say his character gained his fire magic ability from being bitten by a radioactive fire mage
[20:12] <+Aaron> so I told him… “sure…” 🙂
[20:12] <~Dan> …
[20:12] <+Aaron> and we rolled with that, 🙂
[20:12] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:13] <+Aaron> But yes: generally it’s learned – some people learn it in a school (usually one devoted to a particular form of magic), or they pick up a variety of spells through experience over time
[20:13] <+Aaron> So we allow for two types of mages: initiates (devotees to one lore, and generally better casters as they can focus on one set of casting abilities)
[20:14] <+Aaron> and wanderers (lower casting value as they are trying to boost casting for multiple lores), but they can mix and match lores, so they can cover weaknesses that each lore has
[20:14] <+Aaron> Fire magic, for example, can’t heal – that…can be a problem, 😛
[20:14] <+Aaron> Dark and Air magic, the other two damage lores, suffer from the same problem
[20:14] <+Aaron> so some people will pair Fire with, say, Earth magic (both common lores, so available for all races), with one doing the damage work, and the other doing healing
[20:15] <+Aaron> it’s more expensive to do this, but allows for a lot more customization
[20:15] <+Aaron> one of our first alpha testers is up to seven lores now, and he uses each to fit a particular niche that his character needs
[20:15] <+Aaron> it was expensive (he’s been playing the character for about three years), but it works for him
[20:15] <+Aaron> so a lot of variety there – the core sourcebook has over 100 spells in it, and gives ideas for how players and GMs can create their own
[20:16] <+Aaron> and then each other book will add a new magic lore to the system
[20:16] <+Aaron> other cool thought from a setting perspective: magic continues with the Zurnians through the ages, so in the western era, you’ll still see minotaurs using fire magic to boost the damage on their shotguns
[20:16] <+Aaron> and you’ll find that air magic comes in handy in outer space
[20:16] <~Dan> One would think, yes. 🙂
[20:16] <+Aaron> so there’s a lot of versatility, and the world will shift accordingly
[20:17] <+Aaron> Our aim, though, with magic (and everything, really) is to make it conducive to what the characters envision
[20:17] <+Aaron> the result is that each spell leads off with a “fluff” sentence
[20:17] <+Aaron> When a character casts a spell, he can either invoke the stat-related effects of the spell, or the fluff
[20:18] <+Aaron> so if I don’t want to do damage with a given spell, but instead want to blight the earth around a target (because we’re doing an interrogation and I’m setting the mood), he can do that
[20:18] <+Aaron> this may increase the difficulty, but it gives him room to think outside the box with this spells
[20:18] <+Aaron> it also means that if something goes wrong on the cast, the GM can use the fluff to make the story more interesting in what happens
[20:19] <+Aaron> it means spell descriptions are a bit longer, but only by one sentence
[20:19] <~Dan> Is there any sort of divine magic?
[20:20] <+Aaron> there is – on both sides of the spectrum
[20:20] <+Aaron> the advanced lore for dark lore is the Harrow Lore, or Death Lore
[20:20] <+Aaron> creepy, scary, dangerous stuff
[20:20] <+Aaron> lots of damage potential, taking possession of another person – scary things
[20:20] <+Aaron> and on the flipside the advanced lore for the Lore of Light is the Holy Lore: so lots of banishment, defensive spells, etc.
[20:20] <+Aaron> also, the power of resurrection – the ability to remove a Dead result on the Damage Table
[20:21] <+Aaron> technically dark magic can do that too – it’s called necromancy… 😉
[20:21] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:21] <+Aaron> which is another cool thing for GMs when it comes to story telling: like a good TV show, the bad guy is never truly gone
[20:21] <+Aaron> he just changes his race from (whatever it was) to Spectre (read: undead), and he’s been resummoned
[20:22] <~Dan> What is the cosmology like? You mentioned the Beyonder… Are there other gods, or is it a monotheistic setting?
[20:22] <+Aaron> so while it’s good to have closure in your stories, just because someone dies doesn’t mean they have to be gone
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[20:22] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[20:22] <+Aaron> Ah, good question – there are a few primary religious factions that people regularly worship
[20:22] <+Aaron> the cosmology proper is monotheistic (mostly because it helps with design: we don’t have to worry about the heavens being torn apart by a bickering pantheon)
[20:23] <+Aaron> but there are a host of pantheons out there (think the Valar from Tolkien’s world: lesser entities that run things)
[20:23] * ~Dan nods
[20:23] <+Aaron> perhaps the most commonly referenced of these is the god Nuffles – he’s the one that gives you a “1” on your Wild Dice, which causes the result of the attempt to be complicated
[20:23] <+Aaron> so he’s the troublemaker who gives you bad luck on your rolls
[20:24] <+Aaron> (not my creation – a player came up with it to describe why he kept rolling so many ones)
[20:24] <+Aaron> (and then another player picked it up and started a cult, hoping to get extra dice on his rolls whenever he rolled a “1” because of sacrifices made)
[20:24] <+Aaron> it was interesting to see this develop, 😛
[20:24] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:24] <+Aaron> But yes: as the Zurnians discover new worlds they also discover that there are other entities watching over those worlds, so new rules are in play on those planets
[20:25] <~Dan> How much of a bestiary are you including with the core rules?
[20:25] <+Aaron> so in that sense there’s a united cosmos (and thus some rules, like limits on the number of actions in a beat, how you roll your dice, etc.) are in play, but some of the specifics change on different planets, because there are lesser entities that govern those mechanics
[20:25] <+Aaron> Ah, a full bestiary for each race and primary creature mentioned in each book
[20:25] <+Aaron> so there will be pre-built profiles to give GMs something to go off of when they’re building NPCs
[20:26] <~Dan> How many entries is that?
[20:26] <+Aaron> it will also show the relative strengths and weaknesses of each race (zombies aren’t that great at social interaction, for example)
[20:26] <+Aaron> oh…about 40ish entries in the first sourcebook?
[20:26] <+Aaron> And then about 20-30 in each of the ones after that
[20:27] <+Aaron> most of the profiles in other sourcebooks are due to new creatures and mounts, though, so it’s more for “here’s the creature you came across in the forest or on the sands” bestiary
[20:27] <+Aaron> one of the joys of having a ton of testers from across the country is that everyone grew up liking different types of creatures, so they made a point of mentioning them all to us and asking us “what would this look like in Zurn?”
[20:27] <+Aaron> And since Zurn is a meeting of the mythoses, we couldn’t rightly tell them it wasn’t there, 😛
[20:28] <~Dan> Speaking of which, what are some Zurn twists to fantasy standards?
[20:28] <+Aaron> So the result is that we’ve had a lot of bestiary pages at the end of the sourcebooks, 🙂
[20:28] <+Aaron> Ah, a few things readily come to mind
[20:28] <+Aaron> first, as far as people can tell, there are no “wolfmen” in Zurn
[20:28] <+Aaron> there’s a race – the wulverns – but they’re not “humans turned wolf”
[20:29] <+Aaron> they’re a pure mix of wolf and man: they have their own culture, language dialects, social norms, and have an opposed thumb for their forward paws, so they can use weapons and tools
[20:29] <+Aaron> in this way you can build an actual culture around your ravenous hunters, not just build a human outcast, which is nice
[20:29] <+Aaron> other differences: unlike in Tolkien’s world, the elves are not purely good
[20:30] <+Aaron> there are two factions of elves: the elves that follow Order, and the Exiles, who were kicked out when they dabbled with dark magic (as the elves are the guardians of proselytes of light magic)
[20:30] <+Aaron> no one knows which was “right” in this decision to kick out the Exiles, but the result is that the elves fight each other quite a bit
[20:30] <+Aaron> so this is unlike Tolkien, but a lot like other fantasy systems
[20:31] <+Aaron> also, humans are not the “baseline” for other creatures
[20:31] <~Dan> That’s a nice touch. How does that manifest?
[20:31] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:31] <+Aaron> whereas in most games the human is kind of the “basic” race that everything else is modeled after, humans in Zurn are actually pretty decent at everything
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[20:32] <+Aaron> so the question for humans is, “If I can do anything pretty well, but I have a limited number of points to spend, what do I want to do?”
[20:32] <+Aaron> So while other creatures just have some limitations as a given (minotaurs are only so smart, zombies can only be so charming), humans have to make a lot of decisions (and at times sacrifices) for what they want to be good at
[20:32] <&Doctor> (could I get that link again?)
[20:33] <+Aaron> Oh yeah – right here: (Link: http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h)http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h
[20:33] <+Aaron> And on that link you’ll find a sample character sheet, as well as the basics of character creation and how to roll for a skill check
[20:33] <+Aaron> but yeah: the result is having to make choices – and Zurn is all about the choices
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[20:34] <+Aaron> we even created a mechanic where consistent in-game play gives dice bonuses to reward players
[20:34] <+Aaron> so it’s possible that a player can “make money” and advance their character even if they were not paid for any task they completed
[20:35] <+Aaron> it also means that if a person plays consistently in a certain situation, they could gain penalties to other things down the road (having a background as a bloodlust berserker can be problematic)
[20:35] <+Aaron> So we want our GMs to really be thinking with an eye toward the story, and reward characters for how they do in helping to tell the story
[20:35] <&Doctor> can you elaborate on that a little?
[20:36] <+Aaron> Sure: we mentioned that we use a system of adjectives instead of a straight-up skill list which you invest points in
[20:36] <+Aaron> GMs have the ability to hand out “Descriptions,” which are just like adjectives, except they are only given (and advanced) by the GM
[20:36] <+Aaron> so, for example: let’s say I’ve got a centaur (call it Chris’s centaur, Bellor, from the .pdf on the link here: (Link: http://media.wix.com/ugd/a985fa_43959de4dd1741c5aad43471d354db29.pdf)http://media.wix.com/ugd/a985fa_43959de4dd1741c5aad43471d354db29.pdf )
[20:37] <+Aaron> As he plays his centaur, his centaur keeps taking Willpower tests (a Lore roll) and passing them to defend innocent people from their enemies
[20:37] <+Aaron> so the GM gives him the “Dogged Defender” description, boosting his armor and resilience when defending innocent people
[20:38] <+Aaron> and as time goes by, this may get ranked up to “Stalwart Champion” or something like that, granting additional dice
[20:38] *** Dan-brb is now known as Dan
[20:38] <+Aaron> eventually, this is less of Chris trying to be good at a certain roll he makes, and more of him just doing what he does best: stand up for the little guy
[20:38] <+Aaron> the result is that we reward Chris for playing his character consistently, further showing us who his centaur is at heart, rather than just trying to purchase the things that get us dice
[20:39] <+Aaron> it also means, though, that Chris’s centaur may become a bit more “Unyielding,” not being willing to back down from a fight – even a fight that would be over his head
[20:39] <+Aaron> so it comes with a chance for nuance: if he’s challenged (let’s say by a raiding group of centaur women)…does Chris’s centaur stand up to them? Or does his desire to flirt come into play? We can now nuance him
[20:40] <+Aaron> and we can do it seamlessly by looking at consistent play, rather than just purchases
[20:40] <+Aaron> so it means a bit more thought from the GM on how their players are working – but it tries to get them to tell us what they value by seeing what they make a core component of their actions
[20:40] <+Aaron> And another thing worth mentioning: the cool thing about Zurn is it’s a modular system
[20:40] <&Doctor> How codified/regulated is this process? I like the idea but it seems somewhat subjective
[20:41] <+Aaron> so if a GM is like, “Eh, I don’t want to use this mechanic,” he can drop it
[20:41] <+Aaron> Ah – yes: we give ideas in the GM chapter
[20:41] <+Aaron> we usually say, “if he does something three sessions in a row, he gets a Tier 1 description – next three sessions raises it to Tier 2, etc.”
[20:41] <+Aaron> and we flesh that out in Chapter VIII of Warriors of Zurn, which is the core sourcebook
[20:42] <+Aaron> but it also means that if, for example, the group really likes the magic rules from, say, D&D 3.5E, you can drop the magic system in Zurn and port in the D&D system
[20:42] <+Aaron> it will mean a few changes here and there, but it’s designed to be modular
[20:42] <~Dan> How is that different from any other RPG, though?
[20:42] <+Aaron> this way if your gaming group really likes a mechanic (or a race selection, or an item), it should be pretty easily replicated in Zurn
[20:43] <+Aaron> we’re even building a D20 core system and an Ultimate (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20) system, because we believed that the D6 component was modular
[20:43] <+Aaron> but that’s a project for 2017, 🙂
[20:43] <+Aaron> right now we’re focusing on Kickstarting the D6 core (because most people own a D6 or two, and anyone can download an app)
[20:44] <+Aaron> and then we’ll move on to the traditional D20 system, probably a D10 system (as I like D10s), and an Ultimate system
[20:44] <+Aaron> Oh, by the by, link to the Kickstarter if you want to see the promo video for the project (and what I look like – though I confess it’s not much to look at, 😛 ): (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/577591872/the-warriors-of-zurn-roleplay-game)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/577591872/the-warriors-of-zurn-roleplay-game
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[20:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, BPIJonathan!)
[20:45] <&Doctor> So, I may have missed this, but aside from a deity named Nuffles (my new favorite fictional deity name), what is Zurn’s unique selling point? What’s you’re elevator pitch?
[20:45] <+BPIJonathan> (I had a game tonight, did I miss the majority of the chat?)
[20:45] <~Dan> (Yup, in the last 1/4 hour.)
[20:46] <+Aaron> Ah: Zurn’s primary selling point, in my mind, is how modular the game is
[20:46] <+Aaron> the vast majority of Zurn’s beta testers (over 80%) were people who had never played an RPG before, but they 1) quickly picked it up, and 2) have started creating their own mechanics to fit their style within 6 months of learning
[20:46] <&GKG_Alan> (I seem to have missed it too)
[20:46] <~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan!)
[20:47] <+Aaron> the result is that some of them (former D&D players) bring over past D&D experience, and then they “plug and play” in what they like
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[20:47] <+Aaron> and if there’s a mechanic they don’t like (for most it was the length of time for character creation), they axe it and use the Zurn system
[20:47] <+Aaron> what’s more, and this goes more toward Zurn as the company as opposed to Zurn the game, is that we’re the first roleplay company that’s fighting for a cause
[20:48] <+Aaron> my background, by the by, is that I work in the college industry, helping students find a good fit for college
[20:48] <+Aaron> Zurn’s devoted to helping to raise funds for a scholarship fund for college students who want to pursue storycraft in school
[20:48] <~Dan> Very cool!
[20:48] <+Aaron> thus when a person buys a Zurn product, they’re not just supporting roleplaying: they’re supporting storytellers
[20:49] <+Aaron> and I like that: I paid my own way through college (and didn’t get much in scholarships), so I know what it’s like to work full-time while being in school
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[20:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lassek!)
[20:49] <+Aaron> and I’d like to help alleviate that burden – especially since some of our first alpha testers were college students who gave their time for free to test the game
[20:50] <+Aaron> but yes: Zurn’s primary selling points, at least in my mind, are 1) super modular to meet the needs of your gaming group, 2) super easy character creation (read: you can create a character in less than 30 minutes), and 3) it’s fighting for a cause
[20:50] <+Aaron> and, as a paladin at heart, that’s probably the one I like the most, 😛
[20:50] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:50] <+Aaron> but yes: for those of you who are new, you can find info on the game here: (Link: http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h)http://www.zurncentral.com/#!try-the-game-now/c1w1h
[20:50] <+Aaron> it has a sample character sheet, the basics of character creation (which is only 2 pages – including examples!), and the basics of how you perform a roll in the D6 system we have
[20:50] <~Dan> Aaron, I’m not sure if he’s actually there right now, but you should talk to rpgresearch. He uses RPGs to help disabled and disadvantaged kids.
[20:51] <+Aaron> Oh really? Never heard of them – I’ll connect!
[20:51] <~Dan> Yeah, very cool guy. He’s building a trailer to be used as a mobile gaming site for kids.
[20:52] <+Aaron> Dude, that’s amazing – I’ve been looking for an outlet to help them too, 🙂
[20:52] <~Dan> Well, there you go. 🙂
[20:52] <~Dan> So in the time we have remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?
[20:52] <+Aaron> I’ve got a nephew who has cerebral palsy, but he likes dice (mostly for the colors and sounds), so we’re trying to find a way to reach out to him as well, 🙂
[20:53] <+Aaron> Hm, nothing in particular – if you follow us on Facebook (Zurn Central) and YouTube (same) we try to keep it updated regularly to give new thoughts on the game
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[20:53] <~Dan> Great!
[20:54] <+Aaron> And I mentioned this earlier with some of the people, but we’re currently Kickstarting the first sourcebook for production, which you can find here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/577591872/the-warriors-of-zurn-roleplay-game)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/577591872/the-warriors-of-zurn-roleplay-game
[20:54] <+Aaron> but yeah: the game has come a looooong way – a lot of broken things in alpha, 😛
[20:54] <+Aaron> so it’s exciting to see the game finally closing in on production, 🙂
[20:54] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:54] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Aaron!
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[20:55] <+Aaron> Thanks for having me on, Dan! And I look forward to listening in on future Q&As! 🙂
[20:55] <~Dan> And, as always, if any of you have enjoyed the chat and are feeling generous, my tip jar is here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[20:56] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll get you the chat long link, Aaron!