[20:02] <+CMichaelHall> My name is C. Michael Hall (though everyone calls me Mike), and I’m the creator of a game called URBAN KNIGHTS, which is currently funding on Kickstarter. We hit our funding goal today, actually. Here’s the URL…
[20:02] <+CMichaelHall> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/115666883/urban-knights-1970s-crime-tv-roleplaying/dashboard)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/115666883/urban-knights-1970s-crime-tv-roleplaying/dashboard
[20:03] <+CMichaelHall> URBAN KNIGHTS is a rules-lite emulation of 1970s crime TV shows. Players take on the roles of cops, PIs, and other crime-busting investigators and–as it always goes–get into all kinds of trouble and fight bad guys.
[20:03] <+CMichaelHall> It’s a lot of fun, and a real love letter to one of my favorite TV genres.
[20:04] <+CMichaelHall> I think that about sums up the basics. 🙂
[20:04] <~Dan> Thanks, CMichaelHall!
[20:04] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:05] <~Dan> This sounds like an extremely niche game. What elements do you think help define it?
[20:07] <+CMichaelHall> It IS an extremely niche game, but that’s by design. I think the defining elements are the period setting and the minimal learning curve. If you’re into the genre and familiar with its stylistic conventions, you basically know how to navigate this game world. All you need to learn is how and when to roll the dice, and that’s kept very simple.
[20:07] <+CMichaelHall> I’m a big fan of exploring genre, what it means and how it works, so my work is usually pretty niche stuff. That’s where I’m happiest.
[20:08] <+CMichaelHall> So my goal was to create an RPG that captured the genre and which could be jumped into easily…almost a pick-up game, really. And that’s what I ended up with!
[20:09] <~Dan> Well, let me rephrase: What do you think defines this particular genre?
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[20:09] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Moloche!)
[20:09] <+Abstruse> (I have slept maybe 5 hours out of the last 48, so if I’m even more incoherent than normal, that’s why).
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[20:10] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Sam_Rikard!)
[20:10] <+Sam_Rikard> Thank you, Dan. Glad to be here.
[20:10] <+Abstruse> So is this being played straight? As a straightforward mystery but no fantasy elements or anything?
[20:10] <~Dan> ( CMichaelHall, Sam_Rikard is one of your fellow game designers and a future Q&A guest himself.)
[20:10] <+Abstruse> (BTW, I’m Darryl Mott and I write the news digest column for ENWorld)
[20:10] <~Dan> (And Abstruse is a columnist for ENWorld. 🙂 )
[20:11] <+Sam_Rikard> Good to meet you, Michael.
[20:11] <+CMichaelHall> I think this genre is defined by the period setting in a lot of ways; we still have cop/crime shows, but they’re very different in tone and execution. Each decade has a different vibe in how it depicts the genre. I’d say the defining characteristics of crime TV in the ’70s is the strange blend of cynicism and heart. And the over-the-top action.
[20:11] <+Abstruse> So Spenser for Hire Roleplaying Game?
[20:11] <+Sam_Rikard> Good to meet you, Darryl.
[20:12] <+Abstruse> Or Rockford Files?
[20:12] <+CMichaelHall> And no, there are no fantasy elements. It’s not a genre mash-up like Spirit of ’77. Spirit of ’77 is a great game, and I love a good mash-up, but I really wanted to see this genre focused upon in a “purer” form.
[20:12] <+JamesGillen> there ya go
[20:12] <+CMichaelHall> Nice to meet you all, by the way!
[20:13] <+CMichaelHall> And yes, The Rockford Files is a prime example. Starsky & Hutch, S.W.A.T., The Streets of San Francisco…period shows like that.
[20:13] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet we can see?
[20:13] <+Moloche> Have you taken any inspiration from the BBC shows of the time? e.g. The Sweeney
[20:13] <+CMichaelHall> I do have a character sheet you can see. Let me get you a link…BRB
[20:13] <+Sam_Rikard> I’ll apologize in advance. I’ve not done much as far as forums or public chats, so I’m a bit out of my element.
[20:14] <+Abstruse> I’m a big fan of the Spenser novels by Robert B Parker (less so the TV adaptation, but it wasn’t bad).
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[20:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Terry!)
[20:14] <+CMichaelHall> (Link: https://www.facebook.com/470847576456711/photos/a.470848426456626.1073741828.470847576456711/470848356456633/?type=3&theater)https://www.facebook.com/470847576456711/photos/a.470848426456626.1073741828.470847576456711/470848356456633/?type=3&theater
[20:14] <~Dan> Sam_Rikard: No worries at all. We’re a kind and patient people. 🙂
[20:14] <+Terry> Hi Dan, everyone.
[20:15] <+Sam_Rikard> Hi, Terry.
[20:15] <+Abstruse> How much focus is on investigation in the game?
[20:15] <+Sam_Rikard> So, Michael, it’s a d6 system?
[20:15] <~Dan> Looking at the character sheet, it appears that you have three main attributes with three sub-attributes each?
[20:15] <+CMichaelHall> And to answer Moloche’s question, my focus has been on American shows of the era. I’m actually hoping to do a future supplement on British cop shows, so the core rulebook stayed focused on this side of the pond.
[20:16] <+Terry> Hi back.
[20:16] <+CMichaelHall> Let me take these in order for a moment…
[20:16] <~Dan> Yeah, let’s have a question pause while CMichaelHall gets caught up, please.
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[20:16] <~Dan> (Howdy, Viktyr!)
[20:17] <+CMichaelHall> The investigation emphasis depends on the group. Some groups will play it as a mystery game, while others will play it like an episode of Columbo: everyone knows who committed the crime, and the entertainment is actually in seeing them figure it out.
[20:17] <+CMichaelHall> There’s a mechanic in the game where players can earn “Cutaways” that “show” them scenes that further explain the plot…stuff their characters can’t actually see. But if the group prefers to solve mysteries, they can receive clues instead.
[20:18] <~Dan> That’s hilarious. 🙂
[20:18] <+JamesGillen> Out of sight!
[20:19] <~Dan> Literally!
[20:19] <+CMichaelHall> System-wise, is uses a pool of d6s. If you roll a 5 or a 6, that’s a success. One success will do for unopposed actions; opposed actions compare the number of successes you roll. It’s super-easy and involves no serious math.
[20:19] <+Sam_Rikard> So it plays like a d10 system, only using d6s?
[20:20] <+Abstruse> How big do the pools get?
[20:20] <+JamesGillen> Reminds me of Shadowrun
[20:20] <+Abstruse> I mean I’m a Shadowrun player so I’ve got just shy of 1000d6 in various dice bags (and no, that’s not an exaggeration).
[20:21] <+Moloche> Any modifiers to the target numbers or simply the size of the pool?
[20:21] <+CMichaelHall> Yes, just like a d10 system. And pools tend to be between 4d6 and 8d6, unless players really use the heck out of their Boosts.
[20:21] <+CMichaelHall> Modifiers are applied to the size of the pool.
[20:21] <+Lord_of_Life> Maelthra_ That’s what Arneson said in an interview. From what I saw there were multiple but I have no more info.
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[20:22] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong!)
[20:22] <+CMichaelHall> I find that in a rules-lite game, it’s best to let people focus solely on what they’re rolling as opposed to thinking about what they’re rolling and a sliding difficulty scale.
[20:22] <~Dan> CMichaelHall: How do attributes and skills affect the dice pools?
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[20:24] <+CMichaelHall> You have a basic default dice pool of 2d6. To this you add 1d6 for any relevant attribute emphasis, then 1d6 per rank in the appropriate skill. You can also “invoke” your dramatic hooks and your edge to add more dice to your pool, and there’s a lot of freedom of interpretation there.
[20:24] <+CMichaelHall> Your attributes contribute directly only when you spend them to add more dice, which means that PCs can get “fatigued” over the course of play.
[20:24] <+Abstruse> Is there a mechanic in place to allow “near superhuman” levels of badassness? Like I’m hanging onto the side of a truck trying to jump through the door to the bad guy’s car that’s already been knocked off at 80MPH and the negatives have dropped me to a 0 dice pool?
[20:25] <+CMichaelHall> YES.
[20:25] <+Abstruse> Sort of like how Shadowrun lets you spend Edge even if your dice pool is exhausted?
[20:25] <+JamesGillen> Can you store a gadget pool in your Afro?
[20:25] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:25] <+CMichaelHall> If that’s how you’d crafted your Edge, yes, you could. LOL
[20:26] <+CMichaelHall> Now, roleplaying is key here, even to the mechanics…
[20:26] <~Dan> So does an attribute emphasis have its own score? How does that work?
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[20:26] <~Dan> (wb, Moloche!)
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[20:26] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest29!)
[20:27] <+Abstruse> And if I don’t have the correct Edge, is there something I can use still? Like I know I’ll never be able to perform this feat again but it absolutely positively has to be done?
[20:27] <+CMichaelHall> The PCs all share a Boost pool. Anyone can draw a chip from the pool to get another 1d6 added to their die roll. The Boost pool gets drained quickly though, but roleplaying (especially to your weaknesses) can replenish it. In fact, by activating your own subplots, you add lots of Boosts to the pool.
[20:27] <+Moloche> Sorry about that. On cell phone and in the middle of a WHFB match, but did not want to miss this session. Thanks Dan
[20:27] <+Abstruse> Sorry if I’m focusing on this, but it’s a trope of the genre…normal guys doing just flat out awesome things that are neigh-impossible using real-world physics but JUST plausible enough to be justified.
[20:27] <+CMichaelHall> In this way, the game better resembles the TV shows, because in addition to the investigation, there are bothersome personal and professional subplots everyone deals with.
[20:28] <+CMichaelHall> Abstruse, it’s all totally possible. There’s no limit to the size of a dice pool, so if you want to achieve something crazy, you can. That’s what the Boost pool is for.
[20:29] <+Moloche> The role-playing of weaknesses for effect is a great touch.
[20:29] <+CMichaelHall> And you write your own Edge. You never have to worry about having the “right” one. Think the aspects of Fate rather than a feat or a power from a crunchier game.
[20:29] <~Dan> A buddy of mine has an Iron Age superhero game that uses that sort of mechanic.
[20:29] <+CMichaelHall> Thanks, Moloche!
[20:29] <+Abstruse> Awesome. Trying insane stuff to get out of a tight situation seems to be core to this style of fiction in my experience.
[20:29] <+CMichaelHall> And that’s what this engine excels at doing.
[20:29] <+Sam_Rikard> I like the idea of a shared boost pool. Means the players have to work together. Sometimes, it seems that’s half the battle.
[20:30] <+CMichaelHall> It is.
[20:30] <+JamesGillen> Knowing is half the battle
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[20:30] <+CMichaelHall> Now, each PC also starts play with a few Luck points they can use as Boosts, too.
[20:30] <+GenoFoxx> COBRA!!!!
[20:30] <+CMichaelHall> That way they have a few they can spend in case someone else at the table burns through all the Boosts crazy-fast.
[20:31] <~Dan> How do Luck point replenish?
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[20:31] <+CMichaelHall> That’s the trick: they DON’T. Once you’ve spent them, you don’t get anymore that Episode (that session). They’re a safety net, but they’re not a crutch.
[20:31] <+CMichaelHall> But they will be back at the beginning of the next Episode.
[20:31] <~Dan> (welcome to #rpgnet, Guest35! You can set your name with the /nick command. 🙂 )
[20:32] <~Dan> Cool. So your Luck can literally run out.
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[20:32] <+CMichaelHall> EXACTLY. Thank you for spotting that, Dan. 🙂
[20:32] * ~Dan bows
[20:32] <+JamesGillen> Are Episodes broken into sections like Quinn Martin Productions?
[20:32] <+Sam_Rikard> so many puns could be applied to that!
[20:32] <~Dan> Not my first rodeo. 😉
[20:32] <+Abstruse> So if I’m the tech/forensics guy, I can still use Maximum Effort for a long shot roll to do something if I’ve got no other options…like escaping from the ropes I’m tied up with even though I’ve got next to no points in escape artist and my physical stats suck.
[20:32] <+Abstruse> But I HAVE to get out so I can warn my partner about the bomb that’s about to go off that the bad guy just expositioned to me about.
[20:33] <+CMichaelHall> Yes.
[20:33] <~Dan> (Howdy, ARThompson. 🙂 )
[20:33] <+Abstruse> (Again, sorry if I’m repeating myself…I’m very low on sleep…)
[20:33] <+Abstruse> How does combat work?
[20:34] <+CMichaelHall> The mechanics stay out of the way. You don’t need anything like Maximum Effort. Just state you intention and roll dice, using Boosts as needed. If you lack the aptitudes in question, it just means that you’ll burn more Boosts than someone who has the relevant skills.
[20:34] <+CMichaelHall> It’s all very rules-lite.
[20:34] <+Sam_Rikard> Operating like a d10 system, I’d imagine is based on opposed rolls.
[20:34] <+CMichaelHall> Combat works the same as basic actions, only there are more opposed rolls.
[20:34] <+CMichaelHall> It takes literally just a few pages to explain the mechanics in the rulebook. It’s not a crunchy game. At all. 🙂
[20:35] <+CMichaelHall> Damage is even dependent on how impressive your weapon is.
[20:35] <~Dan> Meaning how cool, I presume?
[20:36] <+Viktyr> How impressive can these hands get?
[20:36] <+ARThompson> “How impressive your weapon is”? sounds like we’re talking about rules for 70’s porn not 70’s cop shows
[20:36] <+CMichaelHall> That’s the kind of game this is. There’s no difference between a .38, a .45, and a switchblade, but when someone whips out a samurai sword or a long-barrel Magnum pistol? WOW.
[20:36] <+SnotLord> Z Cars the roleplaying game. :p
[20:36] <+CMichaelHall> But most importantly, the PCs can’t die. EVER.
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[20:36] <~Dan> (Howdy, CraigCampbell!)
[20:37] <+CMichaelHall> But they’re expected to roleplay as if they can!
[20:37] <+Sam_Rikard> How do you motivate them to continue with caution, if they’re unable to die?
[20:37] <~Dan> So what happens if someone, say, falls out of a helicopter?
[20:38] <+CMichaelHall> Instead of dying, PCs get taken out of the Scene, and if it’s bad enough, taken out of the whole Episode. Which gives the other players opportunities for narrative asides that will help refresh the Boost pool.
[20:38] <+CMichaelHall> If a situation arises in which someone should rationally end up dead, then there has to be a pretty cool story as to how that didn’t happen.
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[20:39] <+CMichaelHall> And I mean, informs the plot in a pretty big way.
[20:39] <+CMichaelHall> That level of cool.
[20:39] <+Sam_Rikard> I suppose if their “Luck” replenishes between sessions, it only makes sense they were saved by luck.
[20:40] <+Abstruse> “It’s a 50 caliber. They used to use it to hunt buffalo with… up close! It’s only legal in two states. And this isn’t one of them.” Armed and Dangerous, 1986
[20:40] <~Dan> CMichaelHall: I’m still fuzzy on how an attribute emphasis works, as opposed to an attribute.
[20:41] <~Dan> Like, I see Nimble, Strong, and Sturdy as possibilities under Physical.
[20:41] <+CMichaelHall> Any time you attempt an action, if you have a relevant emphasis, it will add 1d6 to your pool. You can use one such emphasis per action.
[20:41] <+Sam_Rikard> Sounds to me, like your attribute that is applied to the action is added into your die pool. An attribute of 3 would be three additional d6?
[20:42] <+CMichaelHall> No, hang on. Let me explain. It takes a moment…
[20:42] <~Dan> I think I see now, but please do.
[20:42] <+Abstruse> So I fall out of the helicopter, I’m in a coma and they don’t know if I’m going to make it through…but I make a miraculous recovery at the end of the episode after the rest of them defeat the bad guys?
[20:42] <~Dan> Just in time for a freeze-frame group laugh!
[20:42] <+CMichaelHall> The attribute value is a form of currency. You spend that value as you invoke it to add dice. Emphases and skills are ALWAYS available, but attributes are a finite reserve.
[20:42] <+Sam_Rikard> You fall out of a hellicopter and by chance land in a open topped truck full of cotton.
[20:43] <+Abstruse> Only if you make a bad pun. “Looks like the Candy Killer got his just desserts!”
[20:43] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:43] <+CMichaelHall> Actually, bad jokes are a mechanic in this game. 🙂
[20:43] <~Dan> Oh? I shall kick ass at this game.
[20:43] <+JamesGillen> 😀
[20:44] <+CMichaelHall> You can actually add a d6 to your pool with a one-liner that makes at least half the table give it a thumbs-up.
[20:44] <+Abstruse> Oh god, Dan can never play this game…
[20:44] <+SnotLord> no
[20:44] <+CMichaelHall> And I mean a literal thumbs-up.
[20:44] <+Abstruse> It’d be like MLG Pro Gamer vs. a bunch of 4 year olds in Counterstrike…
[20:44] <~Dan> 😀
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[20:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, Alaren!)
[20:44] <+Sam_Rikard> Whats to stop the party from boosting each round with “Thumbs up”?
[20:44] <+SnotLord> Oh memories.
[20:45] <+CMichaelHall> There’s still a GM, and if the GM thinks the players are abusing the spirit of the rule, he/she can reign them in.
[20:45] <~Dan> That would be a shame, too.
[20:46] <~Dan> Sounds like you’d have a larger problem of players missing the point if that were happening.
[20:46] <+CMichaelHall> A game that emphasizes narrative tricks and genre conventions like this requires a sort of social contract. People have to agree not to try to power game it, because that’s not the point. Genre emulation is the point.
[20:46] <+CMichaelHall> This isn’t a game for everyone, and that’s OK!
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[20:46] <~Dan> You know what? That’s a very good attitude for a game designer to have.
[20:46] <~Dan> Should be common sense, but it isn’t.
[20:47] <+CMichaelHall> Mike Selinker told me that, actually.
[20:47] <+Sam_Rikard> I think it sounds interesting. I’m sure my group would have a good time. At least once per session we get distracted by a bad pun or joke of somekind.
[20:47] <~Dan> That name doesn’t ring a bell.
[20:47] <+CMichaelHall> It was something I’d had in mind for years, and had always embraced in my comics work, but it was Selinker who just told me, “No. No game will work for everyone.” It was very liberating to stop worrying about that.
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[20:47] <+ARThompson> Does the game come with a recommendation on where to buy bell bottoms, flare collars and bad shades?
[20:48] <+CMichaelHall> Google him, Dan. He was a big figure in D&D 3/3.5, and has designed a TON of games. He’s very prolific.
[20:48] <~Dan> Cool!
[20:48] <~Dan> ARThompson: Heh. 🙂
[20:49] <+CMichaelHall> If I had a line of a steady supply of ’70s clothes, I would totally share it! Alas, I live in Portland OR, where all the hipsters have already bought them all. 🙂
[20:49] <~Dan> I may have missed this, but how do attribute pools refresh?
[20:50] <+CMichaelHall> In the simplest way possible: A good night’s sleep. Which makes those long, tiring stakeouts an actual problem for our heroes!
[20:51] <+Sam_Rikard> So in a sense, attributes act like hitpoints.
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[20:51] <~Dan> Kinda funny that last night’s Q&A guest uses that same sort of attribute-as-resource mechanic, with the same sort of recharge method. 🙂
[20:51] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:51] <+CMichaelHall> Seriously? Ha! I guess that’s just part of the zeitgeist right now, then.
[20:51] <+CMichaelHall> And yes, Sam, in a manner of speaking.
[20:52] <~Dan> Yup. You should check out his game. It’s pretty rules-light, too. Hellywood, a film noir RPG with demons.
[20:52] <+CMichaelHall> They’re a finite resource and your effectiveness can dwindle if you don’t recharge ’em.
[20:52] <+CMichaelHall> Oh, I intend to back it. I read the page yesterday.
[20:52] <+Abstruse> Mike Selinker worked on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, the Marvel-published RPG based on their characters (the one after FASERIP but before Margaret Weis), Betrayal at House on the Hill, Lords of Vegas, and that’s just the board games.
[20:52] <~Dan> How is damage rated in this game?
[20:53] <+CMichaelHall> He also writes puzzles and collaborates on designs with a lot of people.
[20:53] <+CMichaelHall> URBAN KNIGHTS characters have a Wound limit; each time they’re hit, they take a Wound (or two, if the weapon is impressive), plus additional Wounds if the dice roll that hit them was full of successes.
[20:54] <+Sam_Rikard> Sounds like an impressive guy.
[20:54] <+CMichaelHall> Exceed your Wound limit, and you’re out of the Scene.
[20:54] <+ARThompson> So in the spirit of 70’s cop shows, do we make up a city that doesn’t exist and get Heather Locklear as the token Female cop?
[20:54] <+Sam_Rikard> About the biggest job I’ve done was a contract on a Castles and Crusades expansion.
[20:55] <+CMichaelHall> Sam, I have NO IDEA how he generates as much material as he does. It’s impressive.
[20:55] * ~Dan chuckles re: Heather Locklear
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[20:55] <+CMichaelHall> Ah, that brings up a point I’d like to make…
[20:55] <+Sam_Rikard> Perhaps I’ll meet him one day. It’s that sort I prefer to surround myself with.
[20:56] <+ARThompson> All of your Sgt’s should be over acted? 😉
[20:56] <~Dan> So if an ordinary attack does 1 Wound, how do you distinguish between a normal weapon and an unarmed attack?
[20:56] <+Abstruse> He also worked on Titansgrave, at least seven D&D books from 2nd to 3.5, some work for Kobold Press, and a book on poker strategy.
[20:57] <~Dan> ARThompson clearly knows this genre. 🙂 )
[20:57] <+CMichaelHall> The main area where the game is just plain ahistorical is that it’s not sexist, and it’s not racist. The ’70s were still a pretty problematic time in those regards, and the rulebook makes plain that in THIS alternate reality, the ’70s were a more enlightened time. I don’t want anyone sitting down to play the game and feeling belittled or satirized.
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[20:58] <~Dan> How far do you take that, though? Does that mean no flambouyant pimps?
[20:58] <+Abstruse> So sort of like Warner Bros warning on their old cartoons? “This era of history existed and to ignore it would be to pretend these attitudes never happened” but specifying that it doesn’t happen in this game?
[20:59] <+CMichaelHall> Dan, it really doesn’t. Did you ever play Feng Shui, or Feng Shui 2? Robin Laws designed that game so that unarmed combat is as effective on-screen as guns.
[20:59] <+CMichaelHall> At least at the simplest level.
[20:59] <+ARThompson> Yeah, I was going to ask if the rules allowed you to play a pimp, like S&H’s CI
[20:59] <+Sam_Rikard> Well, I’ve got to run. Michael, thanks for enlightening me a bit about your game. I’ll look into it when I have a few moments to spare. Dan thank you for inviting me and I’ll be back next Thursday for my chance at the spotlight.
[20:59] <+CMichaelHall> You can play whatever you like; there are no character classes.
[21:00] <~Dan> Take care, Sam_Rikard!
[21:00] <+JamesGillen> good
[21:00] <+CMichaelHall> Have a good one, Sam! Thanks for the questions.
[21:00] <+Sam_Rikard> Any time.
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[21:00] <+Abstruse> A standard police special .38 does the same damage, but if you pull a “This is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off.”, you’d get a bonus?
[21:01] <+CMichaelHall> YES.
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[21:01] <+CMichaelHall> That is exactly how it works. Because the Magnum is more impressive on screen.
[21:01] <+JamesGillen> (thumbsup)
[21:01] <~Dan> Do you get the same sort of bonus if you’re a martial artist fighting unarmed?
[21:01] <~Dan> (Howdy, Teller!)
[21:01] <+Abstruse> Kato to the Green Hornet?
[21:02] <+CMichaelHall> Yes. By describing sweet techniques, or even cool “slide across the hood of the car to kick the guy’s gun hand” stunts, you get bonuses.
[21:02] <+Abstruse> Bruce Lee should immediately get all the bonuses in a 70s game.
[21:02] <+CMichaelHall> All hail Saint Bruce. 🙂
[21:02] <+ARThompson> Do you get intimidate bonuses for going “Joe Friday” on someone?
[21:03] <+CMichaelHall> That would be using your “Scary” specialization under the Social attribute. So yes. 🙂
[21:03] <+Abstruse> ARThompson: Are you spying on me? I’m watching a Linkara video in the other window and LITERALLY when you said that, a Dragnet clip played.
[21:03] <+ARThompson> ROFLMAO!
[21:03] <+CMichaelHall> There’s also a “Bully” skill if you really want to stack the intimidation effects.
[21:03] <~Dan> Speaking of which, is there any sort of social combat mechanic?
[21:04] <+Abstruse> What’s the difference between Scary and Bully?
[21:04] <+Abstruse> Wait wait…I think I’ve got it…
[21:04] <+CMichaelHall> Scary is an attribute specialization. Bully is a skill. You can have one without the other. If you have both, you’ve clearly spent some time cultivating that area. 🙂
[21:05] <+Abstruse> Dragnet, the 1980s movie when they’re interrogating the guy…Bully is when Joe says “I’m going to go get some coffee…” and Scary is when Pep threatens to slam the guys joy department in the desk drawer…
[21:05] <+JamesGillen> mm
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[21:06] <+CMichaelHall> And yes, there’s social “combat.” Simple stuff: opposed rolls, compare the number of successes.
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[21:06] <+CMichaelHall> There’s really only one system in this game. It’s just applied to all situations with a few minor tweaks here and there.
[21:06] <~Dan> How do you handle vehicles?
[21:06] <+CMichaelHall> The rest is all based on narrative and genre.
[21:06] <+Abstruse> Is there corruption in the default setting, or is that up to the GM to decide?
[21:07] <+CMichaelHall> That’s up to the GM.
[21:07] <~Dan> I wouldn’t think you’d have corrupt PCs in a 1970s cop show, personally.
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[21:07] <+CMichaelHall> I’m more into toolboxes than sandboxes. There will be a number of settings provided as ready-to-play scenarios, but there’s no default campaign setting.
[21:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[21:08] <+JamesGillen> More like corrupt NPCs. Serpico,
[21:08] <+Abstruse> Not PCs, but possibly the brass in the department or judges…I guess it’s how noir you want to get with it. You’d usually see that when the detective left the city and went to the small town nearby with a bully as a sheriff.
[21:08] <~Dan> Yeah, that I could see.
[21:08] <+CMichaelHall> The book tells people how to build their own and offers some examples. We’ll be releasing more as time goes by, too. But your game is going to look totally different from mine, and that’s cool.
[21:09] <+CMichaelHall> If you were doing ’70s FILM, you can go a lot darker.
[21:09] * ~Dan nods
[21:09] <+CMichaelHall> If you’re doing ’70s TV, standards and practices will allow only so much of that. But again, it’s up to the GM and the players.
[21:09] <+CMichaelHall> Like I said, I like to make toolboxes, not sandboxes.
[21:09] <~Dan> Are the players expected to keep their language clean? 🙂
[21:09] <+Abstruse> I was always more of a Robert B Parker fan…
[21:10] <+CMichaelHall> Ha! Up to them.
[21:10] <+Abstruse> Noir-influenced, but still definitely of the 70s/80s post-McBain era of mystery.
[21:10] <+CMichaelHall> But at my table, yes, because it’s HILARIOUS when you take away people’s freedom to swear.
[21:10] <+JamesGillen> Shucks!
[21:10] <+CMichaelHall> I ran a 1930s campaign once, and the creative substitutes for profanity were side-splittingly hilarious.
[21:11] <+CMichaelHall> IRL, we all swear like sailors, but when we’re doing genre, darn it, WE DO GENRE!
[21:11] <+CMichaelHall> 🙂
[21:11] <~Dan> Good for you. 🙂
[21:12] <+CMichaelHall> So after that campaign we all walked around for months saying things like, “Aw, raspeberries!”
[21:12] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:12] <~Dan> Oh, I think my vehicles question got lost.
[21:12] <+CMichaelHall> Ah, yes. Vehicles are treated a lot like weapons. They’re relative utility is based heavily on cool factor.
[21:13] <+CMichaelHall> *their
[21:13] <+Abstruse> So a car is a car, but a 1967 Shelby Mustang is a different beast…
[21:13] <+CMichaelHall> A sweet muscle car is obviously going to add dice to your pool in a chase scene. An AMC Pacer will not.
[21:13] <+CMichaelHall> Right, Abstruse.
[21:14] <~Dan> This makes me miss my 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury. 🙂
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[21:14] <+Abstruse> I was thinking Ford LTD for the generic cop car, but again that might be more 80s…
[21:14] <+CMichaelHall> Also, it’s possible that players will build “signature vehicles” into their Edges. For example, the “Striped Tomato” would probably be Starsky’s Edge, if he was actually IN the game.
[21:14] <+Terry> Is it mostly cops and robbers style play or is there some Private Investigating stuff as well? I always liked The Rockford Files. I’d like to play like a Jim Rockford. On the side of the cops, but sometimes getting in their way and in trouble sometimes.
[21:14] <+JamesGillen> El Camino!
[21:15] <+CMichaelHall> PIs, cops, medical examiners, reporters, whatever.
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[21:15] <+CMichaelHall> It’s about crime shows in general. Most of those are about cops or detectives, but players can play any role that fits.
[21:15] <+CMichaelHall> I expect many groups will be mixed. All the playtest groups are.
[21:16] <+CMichaelHall> One group has a VERY obvious riff on Quincy, M.E. starring Jack Klugman. 🙂
[21:16] <~Dan> On a related note, how many players do you recommend? SWAT aside, seems like most of the source material shows featured solo heroes or buddies.
[21:16] <+JamesGillen> Group play would seem to be more like CSI
[21:16] <+Abstruse> So is there a stretch goal for a supernatural sourcebook? I’m thinking Kolchak as an optional campaign….
[21:17] <+CMichaelHall> Really, 4 players plus the GM is the most I recommend. Like Fiasco, the game is best with a small group.
[21:17] <+Abstruse> JamesGillen: Spenser and Hawk…
[21:17] <+CMichaelHall> That MIGHT happen, Abstruse. I based one of the illos in the book on Kolchak. I’m a fan.
[21:18] <~Dan> Speaking of stretch goals, I see that one of them is for the 80s. What tweaks do you include for that change?
[21:18] <+CMichaelHall> If you check out the Facebook page, there’s some art from the game on there. It gives you a sense of the game’s look.
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[21:18] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Terra-49!)
[21:19] <+CMichaelHall> The bulk of the ’80s material is just toolbox stuff: ideas for campaigns, major news and social stuff going on…it’s about immersion. There’s also talk about how the grit of ’70s crime TV gives way to a more slick, polished product in the ’80s. The thematic emphases are different.
[21:19] <+CMichaelHall> It mostly narrative. There’s really no need to tweak the mechanics!
[21:20] <+CMichaelHall> The core book has a whole chapter on the ’70s as a historical period. The ’80s expansion, should we hit it (and since I’m already writing it, you can tell I’m confident we will) does the same thing.
[21:21] <+Abstruse> In the novels, Spenser usually ended up with Spenser, Hawk, and 1-2 others (either Vinnie if they were more on the grey side of the law, or one of the detectives if they were on the up-and-up)
[21:21] <+CMichaelHall> Here’s the Facebook page, if anyone wants to see some art. (Link: https://www.facebook.com/Urban-Knights-1970s-Crime-TV-Roleplaying-470847576456711/)https://www.facebook.com/Urban-Knights-1970s-Crime-TV-Roleplaying-470847576456711/
[21:21] <+Abstruse> I think 80s detective, I think Magnum PI.
[21:21] <+CMichaelHall> I think most of that art is on the Kickstarter page too, but as the campaign goes on I will show more.
[21:21] <+Terry> I’d play this game as a sort of hip M.O.D. Squad group session. Sounds like a cool game genre to explore.
[21:22] <+CMichaelHall> That would be a great approach, Terry.
[21:23] <+CMichaelHall> And yes, Abstruse, Magnum is a good example of how it works in the ’80s. Honestly, pretty good as a ’70s example, too, as it focuses on 1 or 2 main characters and has a couple ancillary characters as well.
[21:24] <+CMichaelHall> A big group just wouldn’t really work for this game. That’s good for dungeon-crawling, but not this kind of thing.
[21:24] <+CMichaelHall> 2-4 PCs, one GM.
[21:24] <+CMichaelHall> And honestly, you could do it with 1 PC and a GM, though most people don’t like a game that short on people.
[21:25] <+CMichaelHall> (It does put a lot of mystery-solving pressure on the 1 player.)
[21:25] <~Dan> Heh. That could be anticlimactic.
[21:26] <~Dan> “Welp! I got nuthin’.”
[21:26] <+CMichaelHall> Exactly. Now, it would be possible thanks to those Cutaways I described earlier, but yeah…not everyone would enjoy playing that way.
[21:26] * ~Dan nods
[21:26] <+CMichaelHall> I’ve run some solo games, but those players were roleplaying rock stars.
[21:27] <~Dan> How well does the game play as a straight shoot-em-up like SWAT?
[21:27] <+Terry> You mentioned a Kolchak scenario. Would there be much Sci-Fi or Horror elements or even Super Hero elements to your game eventually? Maybe a time cop from the future intruding on the 70’s crime scene?
[21:28] <+CMichaelHall> Honestly, it’s not ideal for that, Dan. It’s not a tactical game. While SWAT is an influence, of course, the game is more about investigation and problem solving PLUS action. Not just the action alone.
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[21:29] * ~Dan nods
[21:29] <+CMichaelHall> Terry, that would be further down the line. I don’t think you were in the room yet when I said it, but I wanted to build the game in a pure form first, without any genre mashup. Later on, though, we shall see!
[21:30] <+CMichaelHall> It all depends on how successful the Kickstarter is and how big an audience the game develops.
[21:30] <~Dan> I think genre mashups would be more of an 80s thing.
[21:30] <+CMichaelHall> And there’s already a game doing ’70s mashups, and that’s not what I set out to do. Spirit of ’77 is a great game, but I think you actually lose the charm of the ’70s setting when you start mixing genres.
[21:31] <+CMichaelHall> Why set a game in the ’70s if it feels like the far future, you know? I dig that game, but URBAN KNIGHTS is about a much more specific experience. And the period is at the heart of that experience.
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[21:31] <+JamesGillen> Sorta like a kung fu street cop traveling through time to stop Hitler.
[21:32] <+CMichaelHall> Not to sound all philosophical about it. 🙂
[21:32] <~Dan> Nah, I know what you’re getting at.
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[21:33] <+CMichaelHall> Forgive my ignorance, but is there a way to paste a pic here?
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[21:34] <+CMichaelHall> I was going to give everyone a peek at an image nobody else has seen yet.
[21:34] <~Dan> Nope, just links.
[21:34] <+CMichaelHall> OK, hang on…
[21:36] <+CMichaelHall> (Link: https://www.facebook.com/470847576456711/photos/a.470848426456626.1073741828.470847576456711/472025759672226/?type=3&theater)https://www.facebook.com/470847576456711/photos/a.470848426456626.1073741828.470847576456711/472025759672226/?type=3&theater
[21:36] <+CMichaelHall> That’s from the rulebook itself. A familiar face indeed. 🙂
[21:37] <~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
[21:39] <~Dan> I realize that this wouldn’t really apply to this particular genre, but do you offer any sort of “bestiary” of bad guys?
[21:40] <+CMichaelHall> I do include a “rogues gallery” of sorts. Just some stock bad guys, then some bigger “Special Guest Star” villains that GMs can use, or use for inspiration. The scenario packs will have default casts–including baddies–for folks who want to use them.
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[21:41] <+CMichaelHall> The book also talks a lot about how to create compelling bad guys.
[21:41] <+JamesGillen> Special Guest Star: Florence Henderson (thud)
[21:41] <+CMichaelHall> LOL!
[21:41] <+CMichaelHall> The bad guys actually have their own Boost pool they can draw on, so a cool enough Special Guest Star can be a real threat to the players.
[21:41] <~Dan> Are NPCs statted up just like PCs?
[21:42] <+Abstruse> About how many of each type do you have?
[21:42] <+CMichaelHall> They can even become a focal point of the series. Like Wo Fat in Hawaii Five-O…they chased that dude for YEARS.
[21:42] <~Dan> Which seems odd, since they were on an island.
[21:42] <+CMichaelHall> Major NPCs are statted up. Minor ones can be summed up in just a few values.
[21:43] <~Dan> Do you have any sort of “mook rule” for dealing with extras?
[21:43] <+CMichaelHall> Oh, yeah. A mook takes 2 Wounds and he’s done. Period.
[21:44] <+CMichaelHall> The only way he can avoid that is to draw on the GM’s Boost pool, so a mook will OCCASIONALLY be a problem, but only when the GM is deliberately ratcheting up the drama.
[21:45] <+CMichaelHall> Boosts can be used to shrug off Wounds, see. They’ve got multiple purposes.
[21:45] <+Abstruse> About how many of each type of NPC do you have?
[21:46] <+CMichaelHall> For mooks, about 6. Customization of a mook takes literally seconds, so that’s all that’s needed. Then there are a few major villains. Probably only 3, maybe 4. It’s a short book!
[21:46] <+CMichaelHall> And each series pack thereafter will have more.
[21:47] <+Abstruse> Basically looking for stuff like beat cop, street thug, mafia thug, security guard, bodyguard, stuff like that. I hate when games don’t give me enough varied poen NPCs.
[21:48] <+CMichaelHall> And you’ll see stuff like that. Not a lot, but the book will tell you how to fill any gap you need to on your own. That’s one of the advantages of a rules-lite game. What traits really matter for this character the PCs will see for this Scene only? Those are the only traits you need.
[21:49] <+Abstruse> Granted, beat cops in this genre are pretty much just redshirts…
[21:50] <~Dan> In the time remaining, CMichaelHall, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:50] <+CMichaelHall> A good comparison here would be the Feng Shui RPG again. It doesn’t need a ton of mooks, because really, mooks are all basically the same. The only difference between most bit characters is the one skill the have that isn’t noticing you, fighting you, or resisting being tricked by you. 🙂
[21:52] <+CMichaelHall> I think we’ve actually covered quite a lot! I would suggest liking the Facebook page if you haven’t already, because I’ll be showing off more art there and talking about the campaign. The campaign is going great, and stretch goals are almost a given at this point, so there’s zero risk for anyone interested in pledging!
[21:52] <+Abstruse> How much longer do you have?
[21:53] <+CMichaelHall> We funded in 3 days. We’ve still got 27 to go!
[21:53] <~Dan> Nice!
[21:53] <+CMichaelHall> Yeah, I was pretty happy. My last campaign took a lot longer (totally different kind of game) so it was nice to hit 100% quickly this time.
[21:54] <~Dan> Before we wrap up, I’d just like to mention that if any of you have enjoyed the Q&A, my tip jar is here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:54] <+Abstruse> What was your previous campaign?
[21:54] <+CMichaelHall> It was for a card game called Pickle Pickle Pepper. I’m actually 3 for 3 on Kickstarter now!
[21:54] <~Dan> Good for you!
[21:55] <+CMichaelHall> Thanks! I have a good social network that helps me get the word out.
[21:55] <+CMichaelHall> Thanks for inviting me to do this, Dan. It was a lot of fun! I hope I was able to answer some questions.
[21:56] <+CMichaelHall> If I missed any big ones, I apologize. The ol’ chat skills are rusty. 🙂
[21:56] <~Dan> Absolutely, CMichaelHall! Please know that you are always welcome here, whether to chat about your game or to just hang out. We have plenty of game authors who do so. 🙂
[21:56] <+CMichaelHall> It won’t be the last you see of me!
[21:56] <~Dan> Excellent!
[21:56] <+CMichaelHall> Have a great night!
[21:56] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll log the chat and get you the link!
[21:56] <+CMichaelHall> Cool!