[13:23] <+Robert> Here we go (again). First off, thanks for having us. I’m Robert Hamberger, author of the tabletop role playing game “Contact”, and SilentPat is my publisher (Clockwork Publishing). We are from Germany and have just published the Contact RPG as an english-language PDF. As I understood, this is meant as Q&A/discussion of the game.
[13:24] <+Robert> We didn’t do much advertising yet and hardly anyone outside of Germany knows about this one, so any exposure is greatly appreciated.
[13:25] <+Robert> 4 Minutes and counting … ^^
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[13:26] <~Dan> (You’ll want to give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂 )
[13:27] <+Robert> erm… 3,2,1 (done) !
[13:27] <~Dan> Take it away, GKG_Alan. 🙂
[13:27] <&GKG_Alan> So what’s the elevator pitch of the game.
[13:27] <+Robert> In one sentence or in several?
[13:28] <&GKG_Alan> as many was you want
[13:28] <&GKG_Alan> *as
[13:28] <+Robert> I can do three words
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[13:28] <+Robert> 🙂
[13:28] <&GKG_Alan> whatever sells me on your game :_)
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[13:30] <+Radijs> The kingdoms are all involved in a brutal prolonged war. The peasantry is being press-ganged in to army, forced out of their homes or sold as slaves to pay for mercenary troops. Will you fight for those who cannot fight themselves?
[13:30] <+Robert> More verbose version, for riding the elevator from the basement to the top: Basically, it’s the near future. The world in in a politically charged state. UFOs have started to show up more and more frequently on earth, and the governments are becoming scared. They call to life a shady agency that is supposed to deal with the alien threat.
[13:31] <+Robert> Short version: It’s classic X-COM, the the tabletop role playing game.
[13:31] <&GKG_Alan> aah
[13:31] <&GKG_Alan> so why are the aliens a threat? What is threatening about them?
[13:32] <+Robert> There’s a couple of factions of bad guys, some of them being less than a nuisance, others making the impression they are just a few steps away from a full-on invasion.
[13:32] <+slyphic> one minor but serious gripe about the preview file you have up on DriveThruRPG. The first page is “what is an RPG”. If there was ever a demographic that doesn’t need to see that page, it’s DRRPG customers
[13:33] <+Robert> For instance, there’s the Grays. Also called Zetas. They have been popularized through the Roswell mythos.
[13:34] <+Robert> yeah, sylphic, we didn’t choose that preview. It was generated automatically. I would have chosen a more random selection of pages, except that one.
[13:34] <+Robert> slyphic*
[13:34] <&Doctor> Preview?
[13:34] <&Doctor> *missed things*
[13:34] <+Robert> hold on,
[13:34] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185975/CONTACT–Tactical-Alien-Defense-RolePlaying-Game)http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185975/CONTACT–Tactical-Alien-Defense-RolePlaying-Game
[13:35] <+Robert> Doctor, you didn’t miss anything, I forgot to post any links. Also, we just started.
[13:35] <+slyphic> I’m pretty sure you can specify the preview file
[13:35] <+Robert> hear that, Pat? We gotta do that.
[13:36] <&GKG_Alan> Robert, message me about that seperately and I cna walk you through that.
[13:36] <&GKG_Alan> So is this game focused on using minis?
[13:36] <+Robert> Alan: There are no special rules for the use of minis, but it works well with them right out of the box.
[13:37] <+Robert> I, for my part, am too lazy to get proper minis, so we use whatever serves the purpose best.
[13:38] <&GKG_Alan> makes sense. So tell me about the mechanics. How does the game play and what sort of resolution system is it?
[13:38] <+SilentPat> we certainly can change the preview file
[13:39] <+Robert> It’s a percentile resolution system for the largest part. You have your basic attributes (10 of these), a fixed skill set (meaning all characters have entries for all existing skills, which are 30) and roll under with a D100.
[13:40] <+Robert> In combat, action points are used to perform actions, which greatly differ in cost.
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[13:40] <&Doctor> Ah percentile dice…
[13:40] <+Robert> Each combat participant has a sequential score, which makes up the action points that can be used. They are subtracted from the score as the battle goes on.
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[13:41] <+Robert> Basically, the sequential score also doubles as initiative. Who is highest goes first. If you perform a larger action, you get set back by more action points.
[13:42] <+Robert> That’s the basic meat of the resolution system and combat.
[13:43] <+Robert> GKC_Alan: Will do so shortly
[13:43] <+Robert> GKG_Alan’
[13:43] <&GKG_Alan> interesting. So do you have a sample character sheet?
[13:43] <+Robert> can I post files here?
[13:43] <+Robert> 🙂
[13:43] <&Doctor> yep
[13:43] <+Robert> we really need that preview fixed
[13:44] <+Robert> how do I post files?
[13:44] <&Doctor> Oh you mean direct? no.
[13:44] <&Doctor> Dropbox etc
[13:44] <&GKG_Alan> a link would be awesome 🙂
[13:44] <+Robert> alright, one sec
[13:44] <&Doctor> I thought you meant “is it permitted”
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[13:45] <+Robert> gotta get an english one, we only have the german ones online for now 😀
[13:45] <&GKG_Alan> Got ya
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[13:47] <+Robert> syncing… syncing… man, I hate this
[13:48] <+GenoFoxx> will mankind eventually be able to field mechs as the the story progresses?
[13:49] <+Robert> Yes! There is military-type exos, or rather mechs, as these are in the small mech range rather than in the personal powered armor size range.
[13:49] <+Robert> More advanced models are researched and developed as the game progresses.
[13:49] <&GKG_Alan> Interesting.
[13:50] <&GKG_Alan> How is that handled?
[13:50] <&GKG_Alan> Do you have a timeline mechanic?
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[13:50] <+GenoFoxx> I’ve been waiting for a translation for years since seeing some the art for it on deviant art
[13:50] <+Robert> There is an established timeline up to the point where the first campaign starts.
[13:51] <+Robert> but there is no timeline mechanic. Instead, the story progresses organically. There is full R&D mechanics however, which is used to advance the technology.
[13:52] <+Robert> Finally… (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/21l7m12fwl0vv5v/new%20sheet%20X.jpg?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/21l7m12fwl0vv5v/new%20sheet%20X.jpg?dl=0
[13:52] <+Robert> (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/21l7m12fwl0vv5v/new%20sheet%20X.jpg?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/21l7m12fwl0vv5v/new%20sheet%20X.jpg?dl=0
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[13:52] <+Robert> Hmm, it’s invisible, but it seems to be clickable
[13:53] <&Doctor> It happens if you’re using the mibbit client. Most of us see at least clickable boxes
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[13:53] <+Catseye> hi
[13:53] <+Robert> Hi!
[13:53] <&Doctor> Hit locations…
[13:53] <&GKG_Alan> So how many alien types do you have?
[13:54] <&Doctor> In your playtests, how long does combat take?
[13:54] <+Robert> In the core book, theres around 8, if I remember correctly.
[13:55] <+Robert> Do you mean a quick exchange of fire between some goons and the player characters, or a full-on invasion scenario?
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[13:55] <+Robert> It ranges from 20 Minutes to one and a half hours and more.
[13:55] <&Doctor> I mean a combat which you would consider the “major combat for a session”
[13:56] <+Shader> squad of 10 vs. medium sized saucer of Mutons?
[13:56] <+Robert> About one hour, for most battles I used to set up
[13:56] <+Robert> squad of 10 won’t happen, unless you have 10 players. In that case: Good luck. I wouldn’t want to micromanage that one 🙂
[13:57] <+Robert> It’s a rather detailed battle system, I won’t lie about that.
[13:57] <+GenoFoxx> Does earth have any extraterrestrial allies?
[13:58] <+Robert> It does. In the core book, there’s a type of intelligent alien slime that quickly evolved to human-level intelligence. It reacts to its surroundings by adapting a behaviour that will make it accepted, for the most part. These creatures may become allies and can also be played by fitting them in a robotic body.
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[13:59] <+Robert> Then there’s the Children of Mu (CoM), an ancient species of genetically altered humanoid. All girls, all weird, all dangerous.
[14:01] <&GKG_Alan> very cool. So what sets your game apart from other Alien invasion style games?
[14:01] * +Robert doing a voice impression of the TV announcer from Starship Troopers:
[14:01] <+Robert> would you like to know more?
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[14:01] <+Robert> Hmm, let me think
[14:04] <+Robert> well, the r&d part is rather extensive. Then there’s the battle mechanics that allow for some deeper-than usual tactics and require planning. Also, the game is designed to be quite deadly. Just like the computer game that served as its main inspiration.
[14:04] <+Zond> In the description the shadowy nature of OMEGA is mentioned and that you’re also fighting corrupt or panicked governments and corporations. Could you tell me more about that part of the setting?
[14:05] <+Robert> Sure. In 80% of cases, the PCs will be facing humans as their enemies.
[14:05] <+GenoFoxx> Is there an ID4 scenario?
[14:05] <+Robert> There’s the usual type of greedy, ruthless cyberpunk-era megacorps that will do anything for a new piece of tech that will make them tons of money.
[14:06] <+Robert> then there’s crazed cultists who wish to escape with the UFOs or even do some deranged heaven’s gate-type suicide stuff.
[14:07] <+Robert> last but not least, some organizations have been infiltrated by the invaders and become powerful antagonists.
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[14:08] <+Robert> We also have a type of alien creature that might remind you of John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. This one makes for a great surprise-type enemy, if it is not overused.
[14:09] <+Robert> GenoFoxx: Such as in the movie?
[14:09] <+GenoFoxx> yes
[14:10] <+Robert> Not in the core book. There is one major contact, however, one that becomes very and that cannot be denied. The main invasion, however, is not set off, yet.
[14:10] <~Dan> What are the relationships like between the alien antagonists?
[14:10] <+Robert> However, a full-scale invasion is where the setting is definitely heading.
[14:11] <+Robert> There’s alien factions that are allied or at least exert a certain degree of influence on each other, and there’s the ones that want each other’s blood 🙂
[14:12] <+Robert> For instance, the Grays are pretty much haters 😀
[14:14] <&GKG_Alan> I see. Interesting. How do the mechs work? What do they function like?
[14:16] <+Robert> your basic military exoskeleton is about 4 meters (12 ft) tall. characters board them like vehicles and can operate them by manual controls, which is more difficult, more slow and clunky, or by a datajack-type connection called UNIP (universal neural interface port). game-mechanics-wise, these vehicles handle more like oversized characters.
[14:16] <&Doctor> “All girls, all weird, all dangerous.” Sounds like my last neighbors
[14:16] <+Robert> heheh
[14:17] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/169-opar)http://www.contactrpg.de/169-opar
[14:18] <+Robert> here’s an advanced exo in the background of the cover
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[14:18] <&GKG_Alan> Oh awesome
[14:18] <&GKG_Alan> and when do you expect the book to fully come out in the US
[14:19] <+Robert> as a printed hardcover version?
[14:19] <+Robert> and: are we talking the core book?
[14:20] <&GKG_Alan> yes, and yes?
[14:20] <+Robert> Let’s ask the boss.
[14:20] <+Robert> SilentPat, wake up 🙂
[14:20] <+SilentPat> waht? where am i?
[14:21] <+jcfiala> What game are you discussing?
[14:21] <+Robert> you are… here
[14:21] <+SilentPat> i see
[14:21] <+Robert> This is the Q&A for CONTACT – a Tactical Alien Defense Role Playing Game: (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/171-con-eng)http://www.contactrpg.de/171-con-eng
[14:22] <&Doctor> It seems pretty tactical, but that’s not a bad thing
[14:22] <+Robert> SilentPat, folks wanna buy the printed version. When can we ship it?
[14:23] <~Dan> Doctor: Well, “Tactical” is right there in the title. 😉
[14:24] <+Robert> Doctor: The tacticality may come at the price of some speed, but I always enjoyed the slower, more cerebral type of games. Which is the main reason I went with more details instead of fully streamlining everything to a degree where it becomes abstract.
[14:24] <+SilentPat> well… i have to recalculate everything because of the weak pound (we are distirbuting our books thru Modiphius), but i really hope that we can do a printed version end of this year, beginning of next year.
[14:24] <+SilentPat> unfortunately its to late already to think about a release for Gencon this year
[14:24] <+Robert> whoohoo! I didn’t know that! 😀
[14:24] <&GKG_Alan> oh sad 😦
[14:25] <+SilentPat> the main problem at the moment is the uncertain value of the british pound for us
[14:25] <&Doctor> Robert: You’re talking to the guy who played the rigger/tech mod guy in shadowrun… detailed mechanics don’t scare me 🙂
[14:26] <+Robert> yeah, something weird went down in the UK a few days ago. Hold on. The irc rules state “no politics”. Ma bad.
[14:26] <+Catseye> I think that this game is a bit too “one note” for me.
[14:27] <&GKG_Alan> so what types of campaigns can you run with this game?
[14:27] <+GenoFoxx> so is Contact more like X-COM or more like Gerry Anderson’s UFO?
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[14:28] <+Robert> Doctor: I played SR, third Edition a lot, and it sure had some influence on me. Still, I kept specialized rules for hacking and vehicle battles a little simpler. Hacking is not handled in the core book, btw. It doesn’t play much of a part in the missions included there.
[14:28] <+Catseye> That it sounds like fine for an individual campaign. But to base a whole RPG around it? That seems really limited.
[14:28] <+Robert> GenoFoxx: Style-wise, it is certainly more like UFO, as in set in the near future. But I watched the Gerry Anderson TV series and do love it.
[14:29] <+Robert> sorry, more like X-COM
[14:29] <+GenoFoxx> 😦 aw no Sky-one subs
[14:31] <+Robert> Catseye: The main plot holds potential for much more than the usual invasion scenario. The campaign from the core book barely scratches the surface of a greater mystery. Won’t spoil any of it, tough.
[14:31] <+Robert> GenoFoxx: hold on
[14:32] <+Robert> There IS some UFO-stuff in it. For the die-hard fans
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[14:32] <+Robert> there’s an entire 80-page adventure module (separate product) dedicated to the moon base set up by OMEGA
[14:33] <+Robert> And there definitely are flying subs. In the sea-themed expansion book.
[14:33] <+Robert> It was too much to cram in the core book, however. It’s pretty hefty at almost 300 pages already,
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[14:34] <~Dan> Are there psionics in the game?
[14:34] <+Robert> (we really need to get these translated, fast)
[14:36] <+Robert> Dan: Absolutely. Called Psi-Users, they can do the funky mind stuff. No fireballs or other whacky physical effects, though. Psi is also the only Attribute determined by chance in the game. At character creation, players won’t be able to know it. But as soon as their characters gain access to a Psi-lab, they can find out. There’s various degrees of ability.
[14:36] <&GKG_Alan> Huh
[14:36] <~Dan> What sorts of things can psionics accomplish?
[14:36] <+Robert> The best of them can expand on their Psi skills, while “normal” Psi-dudes are stuck with what they have and cannot evolve.
[14:37] <+Robert> Psi-users. Well, there’s the usual range of telepathy, mind control, cause pain, soothe pain, use another character’s senses for relaying one’s own, create illusions in another character’s mind, and so on.
[14:38] <~Dan> No TK, I take it?
[14:38] <+Robert> There’s plenty of powers in the core book. The more esoteric (and arguably less useful ones) are supplied in later books, as I didn’t think of them first.
[14:38] <+Robert> what’s TK?
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[14:39] <~Dan> Telekinesis
[14:39] <+Robert> No. Definitely. And there won’t be.
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[14:40] <+Robert> Sounds weird from a guy who writes about aliens with deathrays invading earth, but telekinesis and other physical effects are just too far out for the rather “hard” sci fi setting of the game.
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[14:42] <&GKG_Alan> so what sorta expansions are there?
[14:42] <+Robert> let me show you
[14:44] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/169-opar)http://www.contactrpg.de/169-opar this one’s the latest, out for a few months now. It’s an equipment compendium that adds more guns, more vehicles, more armor, more gear, also expanding the normally 4 tech levels by a fifth that uses the most advanced alien technologies.
[14:44] <&GKG_Alan> is your plan to translate all of them into Englihs?
[14:44] <&GKG_Alan> the language I can not spell?
[14:45] * ~Dan chuckles
[14:45] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/157-abenteuer-krater)http://www.contactrpg.de/157-abenteuer-krater This one (translated to: Crater of Doom) is a larger adventure module, but also contains expansion material for the moon bases, space travel, fighting in zero gravity and so on.
[14:46] <+Robert> heh. Well, we got nothing better to do, so we’d better translate those. If the core book is even moderately successful, logic demands it.
[14:46] <&GKG_Alan> heh
[14:46] <&GKG_Alan> kickstarter, or just releasing it?
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[14:47] <+Robert> methinks just releasing them. Pat has the last word on that.
[14:48] <~Dan> How advanced is human technology, both in “normal” terms and in terms of stolen alien technology?
[14:48] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/150-der-schrecken-aus-der-tiefe)http://www.contactrpg.de/150-der-schrecken-aus-der-tiefe this one is basically X-COM – Terror from the Deep in tabletop form. Uses the same setting and the core rulebook as a basis, but adds deep sea aliens, subs, aquanauts, the works.
[14:50] <&GKG_Alan> folks I’ve gotta bounce to a work meetnig
[14:50] <&GKG_Alan> Robert thanks, I look forward to hearing more
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[14:51] <+Robert> regular human technology is available in three tech levels: obsolete, which is old cold-war era weapons, for example. Standard technology is very comparable to what we have now. Then there’s cutting edge tech developed by humans without alien tech that is more advanced. Still, everything is quite unspectacular compared to any alien tech.
[14:51] <+Robert> cya, GKG_Alan! Have a good one
[14:51] <~Dan> (I’ll do my best to keep things rolling while I work, unless someone else would like to take over running the show…?)
[14:52] <~Dan> How are humans able to compete with aliens, given their lower tech level?
[14:52] <+GenoFoxx> it’s about time for me to head home
[14:52] <+GenoFoxx> so laters
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[14:54] <+Robert> GenoFoxx: Take care.
[14:54] <+Robert> Dan: humans have the advantage of having access to vast resources, while the aliens have not. They can also muster greater numbers. Then there’s the ultimate goal of downing the UFOs and getting their toys.
[14:54] <+GenoFoxx> thanks for dropping by Robert
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[14:54] <+Robert> very welcome
[14:54] <~Dan> How difficult is it for humans to take down a UFO?
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[14:57] <+Robert> At first, quite. Weaker UFOs hold little valuable technology, as they are rather expendable extensions of the larger ships and cannot operate long on their own. OMEGA uses regular fighter craft at first, which have trouble downing most UFOs and usually get their afterburners handed to them in return.
[14:57] <+Robert> OMEGAs best chances of capturing a larger UFO is raiding it after it landed to perform a ground mission.
[14:57] <+Radijs> Why aren’t the aliens just waiting in orbit until their whole fleet arrives?
[14:58] <+Robert> Because they… – I can’t spout out spoilers.
[14:58] <+Robert> Let’s say they have to gather information before they finally strike.
[14:59] <~Dan> Did you already cover what the various alien races are?
[14:59] <~Dan> I know you mentioned the Grays.
[14:59] <+Robert> Also, if they waited in orbit they would be found out more easily.
[15:00] <&Doctor> I don’t mean to sound cheap, but this game sounds very intricate and $30 is a lot to pay for a pdf I might never use. Is there a quickstart or something similar?
[15:00] <+Radijs> Depends on where they orbit. I hear Neptune is nice this time of year.
[15:00] <+Robert> They might be hanging around there, waiting for the signal. Or behind mars.
[15:02] <+Robert> Doctor: We have a quickstart PDF available for free – in German. Unfortunately only in German. So for now, there is only one way to know. Also, I’m here for your questions.
[15:04] <~Dan> Robert: Did you see my question about the aliens?
[15:04] <+Robert> Yeah, Aliens: Grays will strike quite a familiar tone with most people who have heard about the UFO mythos. They are the scientific type of aliens, and might appear hostile to some, less-than hostile to others.
[15:05] <+Robert> Dan, I did.
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[15:07] <+Robert> More aliens: Raiders are another spacefaring faction that consists of a multitude of species. The most prominent ones are spawners (snakelike lower body, four arms, many, many eyes, tentacles all over their face, also with bad cases of acne and a putrid smell), jabberwocks (think floating, bulging gas bladders with psi powers and the ability to cloak)
[15:07] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW`!)
[15:08] <+Robert> Voltoids are their maintanance crews. These artificial beings, small, with lots of appendages and… well, balls. They roll around on those. Stop picturing them!
[15:08] * ~Dan snickers
[15:09] <+Robert> Raiders are basically space scum, pirating, marauding evil bastards with no sympathies for anybody. Also probably slavers. Real sweethearts.
[15:09] <+Robert> Grays and Raiders hate each other’s guts.
[15:10] <~Dan> Any particular reason?
[15:10] <&Doctor> Robert: Please link me to the German QS? I don’t speak it but my GF is both fluent and a nerd 🙂
[15:11] <+Robert> Well, let’s say Raiders have been around for a looong time. There was a great cataclysm in antiquity on earth, one after which they eliminated all evidence by scavenging any technological remains. Grays have just arrived back from a very, very long exile, and are now faced with both humans (who have evolved a lot), and Raider scum circling the earth like
[15:12] <~Dan> A Nerman!
[15:12] <+Robert> …vultures would do with something that is about to die.
[15:12] <+Robert> they both have a problem with territoriality.
[15:12] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha.
[15:13] <+Robert> doctor: hold on
[15:13] <~Dan> brb
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[15:13] <+Robert> (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/downloads/contact-2-go/senkrechtstarter-das-schnellstartheft-zu-contact)http://www.contactrpg.de/downloads/contact-2-go/senkrechtstarter-das-schnellstartheft-zu-contact
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[15:15] <+Robert> guys, I’m about to take off, as well. Are there any questions left that I should not leave uananswered?
[15:15] <+Robert> whoa, look at my spelling
[15:16] <&Doctor> Not at present, I assume there is some way to reach you or the company if we have one later?
[15:16] <&Doctor> (or you could always hang out here now and then, we don’t mind 🙂 )
[15:16] <+Robert> contact data (no pun intended): (Link: http://www.contactrpg.de/impressum)http://www.contactrpg.de/impressum
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[15:16] <&Doctor> got it
[15:16] <+Robert> I can do that 🙂
[15:17] <&Doctor> It’s actually a good place to be, a lot of devs and authors milling about Thanks for coming. Did Dan get you the chatlog?
[15:17] <+Robert> Not yet.
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[15:17] <+fantaland> Heyo
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[15:18] <&Doctor> Well if you have to jet before he gets back, I’ll remind him to send it to you via that link
[15:18] <~Dan-brb> Sorry, was afk for a moment.
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[15:18] <+fantaland> question: can someone tell me about Pathfinder?
[15:18] <&Doctor> Hello Fantaland
[15:18] <~Dan> But yes, I have the log and will post it to my blog.
[15:18] <&Doctor> That is a loaded question
[15:18] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, fantaland!
[15:19] <+Robert> great. I’ll make sure to get it
[15:19] <+Robert> doctor: heh, yeah
[15:19] <~Dan> Thanks for coming by, Robert!
[15:19] <~Dan> Please come by any time!
[15:19] <+Robert> Thanks for having me, guys.
[15:19] <~Dan> Absolutely!
[15:19] <+Robert> Have a good one. Also: Watch the skies.
[15:19] <~Dan> 🙂