[19:02] <+NathanRMaher> I’m Nathan Reese Maher. I am an indie author of fiction and tabletop RPGs. I’ve produced, “Spooks! Welcome to the Great Beyond”, and co-authored “Mortal Intrusion”.
[19:03] <+NathanRMaher> For the last year I’ve been working on “Lights Out – The Tabletop Role-playing Game” which is based off the children’s chapter book series of the same name – sans the ttrpg part. haha.
[19:04] <+NathanRMaher> It’s a post-parent apocalypse where the children of Applewood wake one Tuesday and find that all the adults have disappeared and they themselves have mystical patches stitched onto their souls
[19:05] <+NathanRMaher> which allow them superhuman like abilities. Now they must band together to survive a world that has lost electricity and all other modern conveniences.
[19:05] * +xyphoid wakes up and pays attention, now that’s a game hook
[19:06] <+NathanRMaher> They learn that once they turn 18 they devolve into monsters, on top of the monsters that already roam the night, it’s pretty hard out there.
[19:07] <+NathanRMaher> Players may play pregenerated characters from the book series or make their own child.
[19:07] <&Silverlion> (Allo Dan)
[19:07] <+NathanRMaher> The rules are all inclusive and are also compatible with “Spooks! WTTGB” and “Mortal Intrusion” if you wish to do crossovers.
[19:08] <+NathanRMaher> Ready for questions. 😀
[19:08] <~Dan> Thanks, NathanRMaher!
[19:08] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:08] <~Dan> Do you consider this a game for children as well as about them?
[19:09] <+NathanRMaher> This game is all ages. A lot of the rules were scaled back for further simplicity. Not to mention, the game will be published in open dyslexic font and larger font size than most books.
[19:10] <~Dan> For those unfamiliar, can you describe the core mechanic?
[19:10] <+NathanRMaher> Additionall…
[19:11] <+xyphoid> what’s the publishing model – are you KSing it or is it releasing?
[19:11] <+NathanRMaher> *additionally… Traditional weapons have been discarded for things children would be more accustomed too such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, jump ropes, and so on.
[19:12] <+NathanRMaher> Core mechanics are based on 2d6 plus the ability score. Each level grants +5 points to distribute between ability scores. Every time an ability score reaches a 5 position…
[19:12] <+NathanRMaher> they gain 1 skill point to distribute between that ability’s scores related skills.
[19:13] <+NathanRMaher> Every decision in game is 2d6 + ability score + skill (or other bonuses).
[19:13] <+NathanRMaher> For storytellers, the average character level = the difficult rating with a table of +/- to help gauge what is a hard challenge and an easy challenge.
[19:14] <+NathanRMaher> There is also a playing card element to the game. Only 1 deck is needed and you can use your own or get a free one with purchase of the game. (pending funding)
[19:14] <+NathanRMaher> I’ll use kickstarter just as I had before and print copies through drivethrurpg.com
[19:15] <~Dan> What are the cards used for?
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[19:16] <~Dan> (Howdy, AmyL!)
[19:16] <+NathanRMaher> The card deck is called the “synergy deck”. You get a hand size based on your level. Cards can be used to boost rolls (which subtract from Synergy points) and they have another purpose…
[19:16] <+AmyL> Hey Dan, what is going on?
[19:17] <~Dan> (Q&A just getting rolling. 🙂 )
[19:17] <+NathanRMaher> When a child is reduced to 0 hit points she may sacrifice a card and heal that many points back in hit points. Then the child takes a wound. Wounds prevent the drawing of a card and take longer
[19:17] <+NathanRMaher> to heal.
[19:18] <+NathanRMaher> Once a child has 0 wounds and 0 hit points she is out cold. There are dying rules but most can be thwarted by storytelling narrative.
[19:19] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[19:19] <+NathanRMaher> I’m glad you asked! I have a rough draft thrown together that needs some artistic skills later down the road.
[19:20] <+NathanRMaher> (Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B04f3zxXi7D8dGRPRTBDUGcwaEU)https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B04f3zxXi7D8dGRPRTBDUGcwaEU
[19:20] <~Dan> Let’s see here…
[19:21] <~Dan> What is Aura?
[19:22] <+NathanRMaher> Aura represents the good and the bad that characters have done. It can be sensed by certain powers, creatures, locations and objects.
[19:22] <~Dan> I see… And what are the Kid Types?
[19:22] <+NathanRMaher> Some doors may bar good from entering but allow bad. Some magical items may require a certain aura levels to use them.
[19:23] <+NathanRMaher> There are 14 kids types, each with a resource bonus, a patch type affinity and a bonus to bravery.
[19:24] <+NathanRMaher> There’s the bookworm, caregiver, creator, dreamer, eternal, explorer, the firebrand, the leader, the nerd, the nature child, the orphaned, the sweetheart, the warrior and the wounded child.
[19:24] <+NathanRMaher> In summary, tropes.
[19:24] * ~Dan nods
[19:25] <~Dan> What is Bravery in this context?
[19:25] <+NathanRMaher> Kids get scared. When the lights are off, they are investigating a graveyard, there are scratching noises at the door, the encounter a monster, all these things compile scary points.
[19:26] <+NathanRMaher> If a child’s bravery does not exceed the total scary points she starts taking damage to her synergy points every round.
[19:26] <+NathanRMaher> Once the synergy is drained, then fear takes over and she runs.
[19:27] <+NathanRMaher> So storytellers could have a party of characters right at the scary brink and then have thunder hit and it briefly eats away at their synergy points.
[19:27] <~Dan> And what does synergy do?
[19:27] <+NathanRMaher> There are means to increase bravery such as leadership skills, badges (which are kinda like patches) and other items.
[19:29] <+NathanRMaher> Synergy Points are like Hit Points. Everyone has them. They measure personal energy, adrenaline, and ability to push herself to the limit.
[19:30] <+NathanRMaher> Unlike some super-heroesq games, Patches (which give superpowers) do not use up synergy and can be used at will.
[19:32] <~Dan> What are those slots for Fire, Frost, etc.?
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[19:33] <+NathanRMaher> That is part of your protection, or also known as resistances. Certain attacks, powers or natural elements can inflict damage types. Badges and items can offer protection against those elements. It’s like armor.
[19:33] <+NathanRMaher> With a high enough Fire resistance, a child could walk through a blazing inferno and be unscathed.
[19:34] <~Dan> Hmm… So what’s Misc.?
[19:34] <+NathanRMaher> Miscellaneous bonuses if you care to track them outside of your inventory.
[19:36] <~Dan> What are the Kid Type Talents?
[19:37] <+NathanRMaher> Those are your resource bonuses, patch affinity and bonus to bravery. For example, Shelly Wynn, who is the protagonist of the chapter series, is a Warrior kid type. She gains a
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[19:37] <+NathanRMaher> +1 bonus to her Bravery for physically pushing herself in the last 24 hours and gains a +1 additional bonus every 10th level on top of that.
[19:38] <+NathanRMaher> She also gains a +2 bonus on all energy powers and provides +1 security to the clubhouse.
[19:39] <~Dan> And Traits?
[19:40] <+NathanRMaher> Traits are part of your circle. Kids tend to break themselves down into 5 different groups: The popular kids, fringe kids, athletic kids, nerds/geeks, and loner kids.
[19:41] <+NathanRMaher> Each circle has 6 different bonuses to pick from based upon that circle. These can be rolled randomly (characters get 2) or they can be chosen.
[19:41] * ~Dan nods
[19:41] <~Dan> What is Background in this context?
[19:42] <+NathanRMaher> For example, Popular kids could be Pretty, making all NPC moods 1 higher when interacting with just her.
[19:42] <+NathanRMaher> Background points to the Circle the kid belongs to, though honestly, I’m on the fence on whether I should just call it circle or background.
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[19:44] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest21!)
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[19:44] <~Dan> Let’s see… Each ability covers the four skills to the right of it, correct?
[19:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, Mike_Myler!)
[19:45] * +Mike_Myler (waves).
[19:45] <~Dan> ( Mike_Myler: Topic: (Link: http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy)http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy )
[19:45] <+NathanRMaher> Correct! Though you’ll notice that there are skill focuses beneath it like Sports, Athletics, Rope, Schooling, Arts and Leadership.
[19:46] <~Dan> Right… What determines which skills get focuses?
[19:46] <+NathanRMaher> Those are skills that have more than one attribute. When you place a point in Sports you have to choose what kind of sport. If you place it in Rope, you can be good at roping (lasso) or tying knots.
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[19:47] <~Dan> How do you distinguish between Sports and Athletics?
[19:48] <+NathanRMaher> Athletics covers jumping and leaping, running or swimming. You pick one of the three. Sports there’s a lot more to choose from.
[19:49] <+NathanRMaher> And what’s interesting about Sports (and a few other skills) is that if you take a focus in Baseball, then you add your skill bonus to attack with baseball bats and baseballs.
[19:50] <~Dan> Speaking of throwing, what normally covers ranged combat?
[19:51] <+NathanRMaher> Depends on the skill. To keep things simple, most throws are the Skill roll in squares. So if you roll a 23, you can throw 23 squares away.
[19:52] <+NathanRMaher> Which means, if you find a strength badge on top of specializing in strength, you could throw pretty far.
[19:53] <~Dan> But which skill would you use in that case?
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[19:54] <+NathanRMaher> Well… I have a table for most items. For example, if you want to throw a volleyball you could use Sports (Volleyball) or if you are throwing a flying disc (cough frisby) it’s Sports (Flying Disc)
[19:54] <+NathanRMaher> But lets say you want to throw a rock
[19:54] <+NathanRMaher> or a street lamp
[19:55] <+NathanRMaher> or a car
[19:55] * ~Dan nods
[19:55] <+NathanRMaher> It’s Muscle.
[19:55] <+NathanRMaher> If there are 2 skills that could work for the same item, then it’s whatever gives the highest bonus and makes the most sense. Storyteller rules of course.
[19:56] <~Dan> Now, I know you said that the kids would be limited to “kid weapons”, but what would a kid use on the off chance he found a gun?
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[19:56] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei_Kenobi!)
[19:56] <+Kei_Kenobi> hey, what was going on earlier?
[19:57] <~Dan> (Earlier?)
[19:57] <+Kei_Kenobi> (everyone was muted and practically nobody was here)
[19:57] <~Dan> (Huh… No idea.)
[19:57] <+NathanRMaher> There are no guns and there’s a reason for it. There’s an antagonist at work who calls itself the Master. He finds guns to be unsporting and has eliminated them.
[19:58] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:58] <+NathanRMaher> It’s also a means not to encourage children to pick up guns.
[19:58] <+NathanRMaher> 😛
[19:58] <~Dan> What about archery?
[19:59] <+NathanRMaher> If they are playing. If you want a brutal campaign with guns, knives and bombs I’d suggest picking up a copy of the mortal intrustion to go along with the game. 😀
[19:59] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:59] <+NathanRMaher> There is archery but the arrows are practice tipped but can still be dangerous.
[19:59] <~Dan> What skill would cover that?
[19:59] <+NathanRMaher> Sports (Archery) or even Martial Arts.
[19:59] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:00] <~Dan> So let’s talk about powers… What sorts of powers can kids have?
[20:01] <+NathanRMaher> Powers are unique. When I played superhero games the one things I got bored with was getting stuck with the same power.
[20:02] <+NathanRMaher> In Lights Out the kids have the option of trading their patches, like pokemon cards, by going to a SOK Market and having it stitched on. It’s like a tattoo, but it hurts more.
[20:02] <~Dan> SOK Market?
[20:03] <+NathanRMaher> (Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B04f3zxXi7D8ckRFLTVHSVdGd1E)https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B04f3zxXi7D8ckRFLTVHSVdGd1E
[20:03] <~Dan> O.o
[20:03] <~Dan> What’s the SOK part mean?
[20:04] <+NathanRMaher> SOK markets were introduced back in Spooks! WTTGB, but they are owned by The Master, who has children working for him.
[20:04] <+NathanRMaher> No one knows (not even the author) except it was a play off “Sock Market” as Dolls in Spooks! WTTGB would find them and could sell them to the SOK markets.
[20:04] <+NathanRMaher> The socks were valuable – and later turned into patches.
[20:05] <~Dan> Heh. Cool.
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[20:05] <~Dan> Can you give us some examples of powers?
[20:05] <+NathanRMaher> Only certain ones though. So if you’re missing a sock. It’s because a Doll in the Great Beyond pulled a sock as her magic card draw and likely sold it to the SOK Market.
[20:05] <+NathanRMaher> I’ve lost so many socks…
[20:05] <+NathanRMaher> And yes!
[20:07] <+NathanRMaher> There is the Sun patch, which allows the owner to put objects in motion, and each action power it up with the power of the sun. It can then be used as a weapon, cut through things, or even add speed to a pair of sneakers or when pedaling a bicycle.
[20:08] <+NathanRMaher> There’s hopscotch hop that allows one to travel through the dimensions. There’s Clapping that can boost ability scores for a scene. There’s Infinity that allows one to both heal and raise from the dead.
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[20:09] <+NathanRMaher> There’s even one that allows you to create explosive rainbows and build rainbow roads, or one that can bring toys to life.
[20:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, XON2000! Topic: (Link: http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy)http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy )
[20:10] <+NathanRMaher> There are 52 powers in the book but there is room for expansion.
[20:10] <~Dan> Wow! That’s quite a lot.
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[20:10] <+NathanRMaher> The thing about patches though…
[20:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong!)
[20:10] <+NathanRMaher> Is that everyone would want them right? But you can’t willingly steal them from another child, not while they are stitched on – it wouldn’t be fair, says the Master.
[20:11] <+NathanRMaher> But…
[20:11] <+NathanRMaher> If you have too many patches, then you can descend into your shadow self – which can make the kind mean, or the happy, depressed, and overall can be destructive if left unchecked.
[20:12] <+XON2000> (Hi, everyone! [Sorry for the delay])
[20:12] <~Dan> What’s considered a “safe” number of patches?
[20:13] <+NathanRMaher> And 1 child who has descended into her shadow self spells for huge negatives in happiness if you have a club house. Which could mean the children exile the child or leave.
[20:14] <+NathanRMaher> It’s based on the child’s heart. A patch is like a bandaid, it’s placed on the soul where there are holes – holes created by losing your parents for example. The higher your Heart ability score, the more patches you can have. Each patch has its own
[20:14] <+NathanRMaher> ranking of “heaviness”.
[20:14] <+NathanRMaher> If you exceed your Heart with heaviness, then you descend into your shadow self.
[20:16] <~Dan> How powerful are the patches? You mentioned that they’re akin to superpowers, I believe?
[20:16] <+NathanRMaher> Well… I keep using Shelly Wynn as an example, she has the Sun patch. She is level 11, and at her top most speed she can run approx. 65 miles per hour.
[20:17] <+NathanRMaher> You start at level 7.
[20:18] <+NathanRMaher> You points as you gain in levels, enough points where it’ll be close to, if not more so, than your ability score. So rolls will tend to be higher.
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[20:19] <+MonkofLords> Mah gerd
[20:19] <+NathanRMaher> (but not by much)
[20:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords, Maelthra__!)
[20:20] <~Dan> How much could a child potentially lift with super-strength?
[20:21] <+NathanRMaher> Believe it or not, a child’s ability for super strength is found in Badges which are smaller, non-soul invasive super upgrades, that as long as the child has the badge on them, they gain the bonus straight out of the wrapper.
[20:22] <+NathanRMaher> So if you have a Strength badge that offers +20 Strength… well… pretty high. The sky is the limit and is left up to the storyteller to distribute them.
[20:23] <~Dan> Hulk levels?
[20:23] <+NathanRMaher> The best part, that I feel, is that the game is limitless. You can be level 5739 if you want to. That’s a lot of math, but meh, what’s a calculator between being awesome?
[20:24] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:24] <+NathanRMaher> Higher levels grant more points to place in ability scores and the higher level you are the higher recommended the items will be.
[20:24] <+NathanRMaher> And even better (besides the math at first) it won’t slow down game play.
[20:25] <+NathanRMaher> Reason being is that everything is based on averages. As the characters increase in difficulty so too do the monsters, but the math is simple and you don’t need to spend hours panning over a book to do it.
[20:26] <+NathanRMaher> 4782 would be the average ability score for level 5739 and you distribute points as you see fit.
[20:26] <+NathanRMaher> Though I’d worry about the horrors you’d have to make up at that level. 😦
[20:27] <+NathanRMaher> Not the mechanics, more the nightmares you base them off of.
[20:27] <~Dan> (back)
[20:28] <~Dan> Speaking of nightmares, what’s the opposition?
[20:28] <+NathanRMaher> Though I imagine most games to be in the 7-100 range.
[20:30] <+NathanRMaher> Bullies – other children with powers of their own who aren’t phased by smashing you through a wall to take your lunch you found. Faeries, demons, spooks, and monsters. Faeries, demons and spooks have their own agendas.
[20:31] <+NathanRMaher> Monsters on the other hand want one thing… to devour children.
[20:31] <+NathanRMaher> There are monster creation rules and hopefully 30+ monsters to pick from.
[20:31] <+NathanRMaher> Well 30+ combination of faeries, demons, spooks and monsters.
[20:32] <~Dan> Are spooks the same as the spooks in, well, Spooks?
[20:32] <+NathanRMaher> The Master is an unopposable character, too far ahead in level for mere children to defeat physically.
[20:32] <+NathanRMaher> Exactly – ghosts, ghouls, dolls, vampires, mummy’s, bhoots – all of them.
[20:33] <~Dan> What are faeries and demons like in this setting?
[20:33] <+NathanRMaher> In Spooks! WTTGB there is the Spirit Realm a foggy borderlands between the great beyond and the land of the living. Places that are haunted create shadowverses or copies of themselves in the Spirit Relam where spooks flock to (land ho!)
[20:34] <+NathanRMaher> Applewood is one giant shadowverse.
[20:34] <~Dan> Oh… So is whatever happened limited to the one town?
[20:34] <+NathanRMaher> Faeries can be kind or cruel, hateful of children or tolerating them. There’s several (that I haven’t made yet) but some will play off the Mortal Intrusion races and others will be new.
[20:35] <+NathanRMaher> Demons are fresh from the Hellfire Lands seeking to escape the brimstone forever or interested in taking a few souls back.
[20:36] <+NathanRMaher> It’s the entire world, but the children aren’t able to discover this right away unless somehow they get a hole of a long range radio and happen to reach someone else (provided they can find electricity to power it)
[20:36] <+NathanRMaher> Applewood appears to be the center of it. Storytellers could, in essence, use their own city if they wanted as a setting.
[20:37] <~Dan> You mentioned that kids devolve into monsters when they turn 18… Is there anyway to avoid that?
[20:38] <+NathanRMaher> Story wise? No. But people don’t have to follow it. Storytellers could make their own reasoning on how they could avoid it… well… actually…. there is one way.
[20:39] <+NathanRMaher> There is a patch that stops a child’s aging.
[20:39] <+NathanRMaher> So you could be 12 forever.
[20:40] <~Dan> Seems like that makes the setting exceptionally bleak.
[20:40] <+NathanRMaher> The Chapter Book Series will one day address that…
[20:41] <+NathanRMaher> It’s frightening. And it does seem like something or someone has put a timer on children. The Master has something to do with it. The reason is, he needs the children to be ready. He needs them to be in conflict. He needs them to be trained.
[20:41] <+NathanRMaher> Because something far worse is coming and they need to be ready for it. They can’t sit and be complacent – “no, that simply won’t do”.
[20:42] <~Dan> Something Lovecraftian, perchance?
[20:42] <+NathanRMaher> It’ll be something old, something big, and something extremely powerful.
[20:42] <+NathanRMaher> I know that much.
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[20:43] <~Dan> So the Master is the source of the patches?
[20:43] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ampersand!)
[20:44] <+NathanRMaher> It depends how well the Chapter Series goes. Which reminds me, with the KS I do plan to offer 2 additional chapter books (approx. 20k in words each) so that there will be 3 fiction books at the end.
[20:44] <+NathanRMaher> (of it)
[20:44] <+NathanRMaher> He’s the one who made them.
[20:44] * ~Dan nods
[20:45] <~Dan> Does the Master bear any relationship to Nyarlathotep as seen in Spooks? (Or would that be a spoiler? 🙂 )
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[20:48] <+NathanRMaher> Actually he’s descended from the lines of boogiemen, his race is detailed in the Mortal Intrusion.
[20:48] <+NathanRMaher> Though I’m sure Tobias would prefer it to by Nyarlathotep 😛
[20:48] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
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[20:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, Nicotine!)
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[20:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, HDP_Dave!)
[20:49] <+HDP_Dave> Hey, hey, how is everyone tonight?
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[20:50] <~Dan> Can kids use magic, or are they limited (so to speak) to the patches?
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[20:50] <~Dan> ( HDP_Dave: Q&A in progress: (Link: http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy)http://www.nathanreesemaher.com/#!lights-out/sozsy)
[20:51] <+NathanRMaher> They are limited to patches, but if perhaps a storyteller wants to add magic to the realm, such that a child is descended from a magi, then she could use the Relic Deck which would use Synergy points to cast.
[20:51] <+NathanRMaher> The rules are similar.
[20:51] * ~Dan nods
[20:51] <+NathanRMaher> Or ritual magic – which is also in Mortal Intrusion, but for this game I wanted to keep it focused on the Patches.
[20:52] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:52] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
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[20:53] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[20:54] <+NathanRMaher> Light is very important in the game as it can keep monsters away. Much like kids, monsters too have Bravery scores and they are kept at bay when the lights are on. Getting a clubhouse set up with power and lights, using battery operated lanterns, or having a child who can produce electricity…
[20:54] <+NathanRMaher> all those can help secure a place to spend the night.
[20:54] <+NathanRMaher> The game has a lot of other surprises. I’m thinking late August or September for KS launch.
[20:54] * ~Dan nods
[20:55] <~Dan> It sounds seriously cool. 🙂
[20:55] <+NathanRMaher> Just for backing it, no matter the reward level, everyone gets a free copy of digital Chapter Book before the KS even ends.
[20:55] <+NathanRMaher> So even if the project doesn’t get funded, you get stuff.
[20:56] <~Dan> Nice!
[20:56] <+NathanRMaher> That’s about all I got (for now) 🙂
[20:56] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, NathanRMaher!
[20:56] <~Dan> As always, if anyone is 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] <+NathanRMaher> Thanks for having me!
[20:57] <~Dan> Certainly!
[20:57] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[20:57] <+NathanRMaher> I appreciate it thanks!