[20:02] <+ValorAustin> Hey everyone, my name is Austin MacKenzie, I’m one of the original designers of Valor: the Heroic Tabletop System
[20:03] <+ValorAustin> It started off as a college project between my former college roommate and I, and morphed into a full-fledged system over the course of about 7 years and the expulsion of copious amounts of money from our bank accounts
[20:04] <+ValorAustin> In terms of the system, we designed Valor to be both highly cinematic and extremely flexible, it draws a lot of inspiration from Japanese Anime and Manga, especially the high-action shounen series such as Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, and Fullmetal Alchemist
[20:05] <+ValorAustin> We’re a point/level hybrid system so instead of choosing a race/character class/sword or ax, you get to specialize in two to three out of five attributes and build a character organically from there
[20:05] <+ValorAustin> The points are also segregated so you don’t have a lot of the issues with pure point systems, you’ll always get stronger in some of your preferred attributes, you’ll always get points to spend on skills to customize characters, and you’ll always get points to build techniques, your custom special moves
[20:06] <+ValorAustin> In terms of play we’re pretty simple, you’ll spend a lot of time making your characters but since you built all their abilities yourself it’s pretty easy to jump into the game with them and once you get a feel for it it goes pretty quick
[20:07] <+ValorAustin> Valor is also a special stat pool that slowly builds over the course of a scene and lets you do cool things like boost a roll after the dice land, you can get more Valor by doing cool/funny things at the table like screaming an attack name or dramatic monologuing
[20:07] <+ValorAustin> So we really encourage active roleplay as well
[20:07] <+ValorAustin> I think that’s the basics, I’ll turn it over to Jenna who can introduce herself as well
[20:07] <+ValorJenna> Hi there, I’m Jenna MacKenzie, and I’m the lead writer for Valor: Villains, Creatures and Foes. I’ve been with the game since the early beta days, as a play tester and general creative spring board. I’m the person who brings a lot of the flavor and personality to the Foes in this newest edition. On top of that, I’m also one of the setting designers for Valor.
[20:08] <+ValorAustin> (Done)
[20:08] <+ValorJenna> (Done)
[20:08] <~Dan> (Welome to #rpgnet, NotADeer!)
[20:08] <~Dan> Thanks, guys! The floor is open to questions!
[20:08] <~Dan> Does the game have a setting?
[20:10] <+ValorJenna> Currently we do not have a fixed setting, however most of our heroes that we use for book depict general fantasy, modern and sci-fi settings. We do have a few settings in the works for the future, particularly a modern and a fantasy setting, but as of now Valor is an open system. So players are encouraged to come up with what works best for them.
[20:10] <~Dan> Hmm… So given the lack of setting, how did you create the adversaries for the latest book?
[20:11] <+ValorJenna> We took a lot of inspiration from urban legends, stories, mythology, things like that.
[20:11] <+ValorJenna> But we also have a number of what we call Valor Originals, which take some inspiration from our upcoming settings.
[20:11] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:12] <~Dan> Can you give some highlights from the book?
[20:12] <+ValorAustin> The core book or the new book we’re Kickstarting?
[20:12] <+ValorAustin> Or both, we can do both
[20:12] <~Dan> The new book. Examples of creatures and so forth.
[20:13] <+ValorAustin> Sure
[20:13] <+ValorAustin> The big one is the Mother of Life and Death, which is kind of the grandmaster boss of the game
[20:14] <+ValorAustin> She’s a level 22 Master, which means she’s 2 levels higher than the system is designed to go to, and she has a new Foes-specific ability that lets her basically be two builds in one, so she’s got a Death form which is about high-burst DPS and she has the Life form which is a more supportive/harrier form that she can swap between
[20:14] <+ValorAustin> A very complicated and dangerous build, that one took forever but we’ve gotten some of the design work on her done and I’m super happy with
[20:15] <+ValorAustin> Another fun one is the Leviathan which is the naturally largest creature in the game, it has a grid coverage of 15×21
[20:15] <+ValorAustin> And can pretty much mess up anything around it
[20:15] <+ValorAustin> We also have the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot
[20:15] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:15] <+ValorAustin> Which are both pretty fun
[20:16] <+ValorAustin> (Done)
[20:16] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet we can see?
[20:16] <+ValorAustin> I do! One sec
[20:17] <+ValorAustin> (Link: http://valorousgames.com/promotional/valor-character-sheet/)http://valorousgames.com/promotional/valor-character-sheet/
[20:17] <+PikaBot> You’ve said a bunch about how customizable the system is for the players. Can you give us any examples of how Valor supports and encourages creativity on the GM side? Encounter design, etc. (Uh if I’m understanding correctly and just anyone can throw in questions)
[20:17] <+ValorAustin> You can download the character sheet there
[20:17] <~Dan> Absolutely, PikaBot!
[20:18] <+ValorAustin> Certainly! One of the biggest things I’ve seen in the games that have been run in Valor is because the system is so open and customizable, you can really do a huge variation of game types
[20:19] <~Dan> Can you explain the attributes I see here? Base, Active, Attack, Statistics, and Increments?
[20:19] <+ValorAustin> So that right there is very freeing, the game is much more about a certain feel than it is about a very specific setting
[20:20] <+ValorAustin> In terms of encounter design, all enemies are built more or less like PCs – PCs themselves have a huge amount of options and because of that the enemies can do all of that as well
[20:20] <+ValorAustin> With the different classes of enemies, the Flunky, Soldier, Swarm, Elite, and Master, you can really adjust up and down the power of a prospective enemy to hit the right tone, it also balances pretty easily
[20:21] <+ValorAustin> Since those classes have a rough equivalency to a standard PC, 2 soldiers = 1 PC, an Elite is exactly 1 PC and a Swarm is in much the same boat, and a Master = 2 PCs
[20:21] <+ValorAustin> Flunkies being about 4-8. These numbers might increase a bit at higher levels but it makes balancing encounters very easy
[20:21] <+ValorAustin> And you can do a lot with them
[20:21] <+ValorAustin> For Dan’s question, attributes
[20:21] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Nerdo!)
[20:22] <+ValorAustin> Base Attributes are your core, they define a lot of your other abilities
[20:22] <+ValorAustin> When building a character you’re going to pick two to three of those to specialize depending on your build, most people do 2 but there’s a special (somewhat pricy) skill called “Balanced Fighter” that lets you do 3
[20:23] <+PikaBot> What do you think is the most interesting or unique encounter you’ve seen someone design in Valor?
[20:23] <+ValorAustin> And those will affect your Active attributes which are your rolling Attribute, so your Active Attribute Muscle is defined by your Strength, and if you have a high strength you can probably use that to make attacks with
[20:24] <+ValorAustin> In general gameplay you’ll probably for example be using a strength-based attack and when you attack someone you will roll your Muscle to hit them and they will roll their Muscle to defend or substitute at a small penalty if their Muscle is garbage
[20:24] <+ValorAustin> The attack stat is used to calculate the damage techniques do, all damage numbers are pre-calculated so you’re not rolling for damage
[20:24] <+ValorAustin> It’s also what you add to your damage if you crit someone by exceeding their roll by 10 (which you usually do by using the Valor I mentioned earlier to boost your roll)
[20:25] <+ValorAustin> The Statistics line is a lot of your basic variables, your health, your stamina (mana, in some cases, you spend that to use Techniques), your defense and resistance which protect you from physical and energy attacks, and the amount of spaces you can move on a grid
[20:25] <+ValorAustin> We’re both hex and square optimized so the system will work equally well in both
[20:26] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest20! You can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
[20:26] <+ValorAustin> Increments are special values that help with the flow of game, a health and stamina increment are recovered at the end of any scene, whether or not combat occurred, critical health is a certain point where you’re almost down
[20:26] <+ValorAustin> But might gain bonuses from skills… or penalties depending on how you built yourself
[20:27] <+ValorAustin> Finally damage increment is the “I did a cool thing” stat, so if, say, you blast someone into a wall you can apply an extra damage increment to them
[20:27] <+Kaja> I ran a battle in hex as an one-off gimmick. It worked well enough.
[20:27] <+ValorAustin> OK next question was… most interesting or unique encounter, yes?
[20:27] <+PikaBot> Yep.
[20:28] <+ValorAustin> While I’m personally fond of my colossus battle where you actually have multiple maps and get to climb on top of and stab a giant thing
[20:28] <+ValorAustin> My co-creator actually ran a really cool combat scene where he used darkness and a swarm of Soldier-class baddies to force the players into a desperate situation
[20:29] <~Dan> Does the system require a grid?
[20:29] <+ValorAustin> He had also fiendishly kidnapped their healer so they were forced to get creative, by means of a low-level summon casting a healing spell which was then mimicked by a PC and thus became significantly stronger
[20:29] <+ValorAustin> Yes it does, we’ve very much based on spacing for the combat
[20:30] <+ValorAustin> Although Challenge Scenes typically don’t require one
[20:30] <+ValorAustin> Unless they’re made by me in which case I can get very elaborate with them sometimes
[20:32] <+PikaBot> Can you elaborate on challenge scenes, for people who don’t know what they are?
[20:33] <+ValorAustin> Yep, Challenge Scenes are what we call anything that isn’t particularly combat-centric (although within a Challenge scene you might, say, knock someone out as part of it and could run combat entirely in the system)
[20:33] <+ValorAustin> A standard Challenge Scene will have what we call meters, and the goal will be to raise or lower those meters to a certain point to achieve your objective
[20:33] <+ValorAustin> While preventing them from reaching a different point
[20:33] <+ValorAustin> So for example you might go into a diplomacy scene where the King’s persuasion meter begins at 1 and needs to be raised to 10 in order to clear the scene
[20:34] <+ValorAustin> But the King might also have another meter, patience, which starts at 10 and starts declining if you say or do something he doesn’t like
[20:34] <+ValorAustin> So you’re trying to be persuasive and get the King to agree to what you want, but your blunders will cost you and may cause you to be ejected from court without obtaining your objective
[20:38] <~Dan> What is the die mechanic?
[20:38] <+ValorAustin> D10 Opposed Rolls
[20:39] <+ValorAustin> I mentioned the Actives earlier, basically, when you attack someone you roll your Active and they respond with their own Active, ties go to the aggressor
[20:39] <+ValorAustin> It’s possible to get some additional modifiers to that roll of course but you’re usually at around +/-2 of each other
[20:42] <~Dan> Do the dice open-end?
[20:43] <+ValorAustin> They do not
[20:43] <~Dan> What is the scale for humans?
[20:44] <+ValorAustin> 1 space, we don’t really define what that space means
[20:44] <+ValorAustin> Especially since you could, for example, be playing a game about giant mecha
[20:44] <+ValorAustin> So that 1 space is the equivalent of a standard humanoid mecha as opposed to a person
[20:49] <+PikaBot> What kind of gamer do you think would most enjoy Valor? And, conversely, what kind of gamer would you not recommend it for?
[20:50] <+ValorAustin> I think Valor is most ideal for a player who wants a mechanically “crunchy” game but doesn’t want to be burdened by overly specific rules. The game is made to play fast and uses a lot of narrative abstraction in terms of flavor and feel
[20:51] <+ValorAustin> If you’re someone who really has to have everything defined in terms of plot and have mechanics specifically designed around that flavor, we’re probably not the best system
[20:52] <+ValorAustin> On the opposite end if you want a really narrative-driven game that doesn’t have that tactical combat aspect, that might also not be the best
[20:52] <+ValorAustin> In essence we try to split the difference between games like Fate Core and games like Dungeons and Dragons – enough mechanics to make it interesting, enough narrative freedom to play the kind of game you want
[20:53] <+ValorJenna> That being said, we’ve had a wide variety of different types of players enjoy playing our system, both at events as well as games we’ve seen being run online
[20:53] <+ValorAustin> Definitely, the response we get at the table is very heartening. We’ve gotten a guy to rap at the table, it was epic
[20:56] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:57] <+ValorAustin> We run off a standard initiative system, so at the beginning of the scene players roll off and get sorted based on their initiative
[20:57] <+ValorAustin> On their turn, a character can use 3 actions, a Move action, a Support action, and an Attack action
[20:58] <+ValorAustin> Move actions, obviously, are moving up to your movement stat
[20:58] <+ValorAustin> Support actions are for special skills and abilities, as well as buff, debuff, healing, and other Techniques
[20:58] <+ValorAustin> Attack actions are used for damage techniques
[20:58] <+ValorAustin> And can be swapped for either another Support or Move action (so your support-focused character might choose to drop a buff and a heal and not even do any damage that turn)
[20:59] <+ValorAustin> A Support action can also be traded for half a move action (rounded up, we always round up in Valor because bigger numbers are exciting)
[20:59] <+ValorAustin> But you can’t trade anything else for an attack action, a lot of our balance is very much hinged on this Action Economy
[21:00] <+ValorAustin> And there are of course reaction abilities you can acquire through skills and abilities, so you might get a Counterattack ability that lets you spend an Attack action to prepare a Counter which you can unleash when someone else does something
[21:01] <+ValorAustin> So a standard turn in Valor might be, for example, a character burning a support action to Transform into a more powerful form, using their move action to run up to somebody and using their attack action to drop a blast of fire around them that hits everyone in 3 spaces
[21:01] <+ValorAustin> Which is followed by a second enemy character using a support action to heal themselves, an attack action to blast said character 7 spaces away and into a wall, and then a move action to get the hell out of dodge
[21:02] <+ValorAustin> And since the Technique system is so modular and customizable, you can really get a huge variability of different attacks
[21:02] <+ValorAustin> The “move someone 7 spaces” for example might be given some range, or hit in a line, and all of that can be done, just at the expense of more damage
[21:05] <~Dan> How does armor work in this game?
[21:06] <+ValorAustin> In terms of if your character wears armor or not, and indeed most equipment (unless you’re using some optional rules), you kind of decide when you build your character what they are like
[21:07] <+ValorAustin> So you could be running a big dude in full plate and that’d be your core concept
[21:07] <+ValorAustin> Mechanically, that’d be defined by Defense, so that’d kind of inform how you want to build a character
[21:07] <+ValorAustin> Defense can be raised with a skill, Iron Defense, as well as by each point you place into Strength and Guts, so if you want to be a big armored swordsman you’re probably looking to invest heavily in all three of those things
[21:08] <+ValorAustin> Equipment rules generally formalize things a bit, like letting you take a skill that defines a certain weapon you wield and modifies a bit of your core function accordingly
[21:13] <~Dan> How do you build powers?
[21:14] <+ValorAustin> Power building, or Technique building in our system lingo, is… I won’t say a simple affair because it takes some getting used to, but once you master it I like to think it’s pretty intuitive
[21:15] <+ValorAustin> Basically, you have what you call a Core, which defines the base of the Technique
[21:15] <+ValorAustin> So if you’re building a Damage technique, you start with a Damage Core
[21:15] <+ValorAustin> From there, you can either do one of two things, enhance the Core Power to make it better at what it does, or add modifiers to change how the Technique functions
[21:16] <+ValorAustin> Modifier examples are things like Line Attack, which makes the technique attack everyone in a line in front of you, or Blast Radius, which makes the Technique target everyone around you
[21:16] <+ValorAustin> And you can combine them too, so if you used the Ranged Technique modifier with either the line or the blast you could cast it at a distance from you
[21:17] <+ValorAustin> You get a base amount of Tech Points which can either increase the core power or use modifiers, and modifiers have a certain special cost, so your basic modifiers might be 1 TP for 1 level of the modifier but you can put as many of them as you want on the Technique
[21:17] <+ValorAustin> Or it might cost 3 Tech Points and be a powerful one-off ability that you can’t level up, like knocking someone down
[21:17] <~Dan> Is magic of the flashy, cinematic sort?
[21:17] <+ValorAustin> Magic is completely based on the Technique and how you make it
[21:18] <+ValorAustin> Our general recommendation is if a Technique is made with either Mind or Spirit, it’s prooobably magic (or Sufficiently Advanced Technology)
[21:18] <+ValorAustin> So using the example above, say you built a Spirit technique, gave it 2 levels of Ranged Attack, 1 level of Blast Radius, and had that all attached to a level 1 Damage core
[21:19] <+ValorAustin> You have a level 4 Technique that targets a space within 8 spaces of you and hits everything around that space as well
[21:19] <+ValorAustin> What it looks like though is up to you
[21:19] <+ValorAustin> That could be a fireball, that could be a ball of lightning
[21:19] <+ValorAustin> That could be you summoning a giant Slime from the heavens and dropping it on people
[21:19] <+ValorAustin> So your Techniques are exactly as flashy and cinematic as you want them to be
[21:20] <+ValorAustin> Also on the Technique creation end, the higher level it becomes the more stamina it costs to use
[21:20] <+ValorAustin> So you can also apply limits to it, it makes it harder to use but reduces the stamina cost
[21:20] <+ValorAustin> So if our big beefy Strength/Guts tankman wants to build a powerful sword attack
[21:20] <+ValorAustin> He probably wants to attach limits that require things like him needing to have a certain amount of Valor to use it, or not being able to use it again for a turn or two, in order to offset the cost
[21:21] <+ValorAustin> Since Mind and Spirit are the attributes that raise stamina, he’s going to be severely lacking in that department
[21:21] <+ValorAustin> Techniques also function a bit differently depending on the attribute you’re using for it
[21:21] <~Dan> (brb)
[21:21] <+ValorAustin> The big example is Strength attacks taking the Ranged attack modifier have a range of 2, Mind attacks have a range of 3, and Agility or Spirit attacks have a range of 4
[21:22] <+ValorAustin> This can also apply to some of the bigger modifiers as well, for example the Accurate Strike mod requires 4 tech points/is a level 4 modifier, but if you’re using Agility for it it only costs 3/is only level 3
[21:23] <+ValorAustin> That gives each of the various attributes a certain personality and profile that really helps determine how the character works
[21:25] <~Dan> (back)
[21:25] <+ValorAustin> (wb)
[21:26] <+PikaBot> What kind of progression do characters make over the course of a campaign?
[21:26] <+ValorAustin> Characters progress at a pretty consistent, visible pace
[21:27] <~Dan> (wb, Nerdo)
[21:27] <+ValorAustin> Leveling up allows your techs to be higher level which is huge in that it lets you do more and more crazy things with them
[21:27] <+ValorAustin> The game is divided into “Seasons”, with each season encompassing a set of 5 levels
[21:27] <+ValorAustin> This is also a good way to inform the GM of how they should be thinking of their adventures, with each set of 5 levels being an arc in a story
[21:27] <+ValorAustin> As you increase in season, you gain access to more powerful skills
[21:28] <+ValorAustin> You also gain access to Ultimate Techniques at the end of every season – big powerful abilities that can do a lot of damage, or Transformations that let you take on a more powerful form for the rest of a scene and gain a big boost in power
[21:28] <+ValorAustin> So, put simply, the progression you make is significant
[21:29] <+ValorAustin> Even at level 1 you can make a character who will feel really awesome and satisfying
[21:29] <+ValorAustin> By level 20, that character will feel incredibly powerful
[21:31] <~Dan> How powerful, compared to popular superheroes?
[21:32] <+ValorAustin> I think popular superheroes are absolutely in our wheelhouse
[21:33] <+ValorAustin> Outside of Superman who’s given me some issues because he’s amazing at everything, most popular superheroes I’ve been able to figure out a good stat block in Valor
[21:33] <+ValorAustin> And usually you can make at least a reasonably accurate interpretation of them by level 10
[21:34] <+ValorAustin> But Spiderman, for example, could probably be attained Season 1, same with Batman for that matter
[21:34] <+ValorAustin> Just due to his raw speed Flash might want to be a bit higher level
[21:36] <~Dan> Lost my connection.
[21:36] <+ValorAustin> no problem
[21:36] <+ValorAustin> Did you get all my response or did you need me to repeat anything?
[21:37] <~Dan> The last thing I saw was the comment about the Flash.
[21:38] <+ValorAustin> Got most of it then, this was my last comment
[21:38] <+ValorAustin> But I think you can get most mid-to-high end supers in Valor
[21:39] <~Dan> What the heck…?
[21:39] <+ValorAustin> Makes him a bit more fragile but in my admittedly limited recollection of him Superman’s general toughness in a fight against other people of roughly equivalent strength isn’t one of his major talked up assets
[21:41] <~Dan> Going back to the new book for a moment, what categories do the adversaries fall under?
[21:41] <+ValorJenna> Do you mean genres or..?
[21:42] <~Dan> That, or if you have them divided into categories like cryptids, undead, faeries, that sort of thing.
[21:44] <+ValorJenna> So Foes are split up into five different types. Flunkies, which are extremely weak and usually go down in one hit. Soldiers, which are a small step up but are not able to accumulate Valor. Swarms, which are essentially large groups of less powerful Foes but take up a larger space on the grid.
[21:44] <+ValorJenna> Elites, which are essentially like enemy PCs, and are able to accumulate Valor. And Masters, which are essentially your bosses.
[21:45] <~Dan> Oh! Sorry, I didn’t realize those power levels were how you’d divided them up.
[21:45] <+ValorJenna> We also have Behaviors and Tactics, which further dictate how a Foe might act during a scene.
[21:45] <+ValorJenna> In the book itself, we also have some special groups of similar Foes, such as the Kitsune or the Angels.
[21:47] <~Dan> Do you include classic monsters like Dracula?
[21:48] <+ValorJenna> We do have a group of Vampires which pay homage to well-known entities like Dracula, but for trademark reasons we try to avoid directly using these as Foes.
[21:49] <+ValorJenna> You’ll see a number of call backs
[21:50] <+ValorJenna> For example, we have a Foe called the Noble Vampire in the book. That would be the closest example to a formal Dracula
[21:51] * ~Dan nods
[21:51] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:51] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:51] <+PikaBot> What about Godzilla, does the book have Copyright-Safe Godzilla?
[21:52] <+ValorJenna> Unfortunately we don’t have Godzilla for the reason mentioned above, but you could use one of our Dragons. They would work pretty well.
[21:53] <+ValorAustin> Mostly just if the system sounds good to you, please support our Kickstarter!
[21:54] <+ValorAustin> Which can be found here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1789695441/valor-villains-creatures-and-foes)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1789695441/valor-villains-creatures-and-foes
[21:54] <+ValorAustin> We’ve got about a week left and we’re hoping to make a last minute push between here and the convention to get full funding for the Foes book
[21:54] <+ValorAustin> There’s a lot of awesome content we’ve been working on and I’d love to get this funded so we can get it out
[21:55] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:56] <~Dan> As a reminder to my readers, my tip jar is here, if you’re so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:56] <+ValorAustin> Thanks also for having us, this was fun!
[21:56] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, guys!
[21:56] <+ValorJenna> Yeah, this was fun!
[21:56] <~Dan> I hope you’ll stop back by any time you like!
[21:57] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll log the chat and get you the link.
[21:57] <+ValorAustin> Awesome!