[20:08] <+Devon_ETG> Okay, so I’m Devon and this is Mikaela, and we’re the co-owners of End Transmission Games, creators of the DicePunk System (Psionics, Phantasm), the Singularity System, Anathema, and SPLINTER.
[20:08] <+Devon_ETG> Right now on Kickstarter, we have Systems Malfunction, a stand-alone Science Fiction RPG which reached its initial funding goal today!
[20:09] <+Devon_ETG> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg
[20:09] <+Devon_ETG> And is now climbing towards the stars, i.e. Stretch Goals.
[20:09] <+Mikaela_ETG> I’m Mikaela, co-owner of End Transmission Games, and I started playing Systems Malfunction about 10 years ago, where I met Devon and John. I do the arts and crafts stuff for the company. Systems Malfunction was once a LARP but we are taking the lore and history from years of real play and turning it into a standalone tabletop RPG.
[20:09] <+Devon_ETG> John is our resident Mad Scientist, a human REWARD on the Kickstarter (even better than being a human stretch goal), and is also our CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).
[20:09] <+John_ETG> Hey everyone!
[20:09] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[20:10] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[20:10] <+John_ETG> (done)
[20:10] <~Dan> Thanks, guys!
[20:10] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:10] <~Dan> So what is the game about? 🙂
[20:11] <+Mikaela_ETG> This is a difficult question to answer.
[20:12] <~Dan> Uh-oh. Now I’ve done it!
[20:12] <+Eric_E> Reading the KS promo, you are trying to make SM an open setting, take any tack approach. How does that differ from other sci if RPGs?
[20:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, Acenoid!)
[20:12] <+Devon_ETG> Oh boy Dan, what isn’t it about. It’s about a fractured and fractious posthumanity where you have to choose which faction–or faction–you’re willing to kill or die for.
[20:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> Systems Malfunction is, on its surface, about post-exodus humanity (as well as Xel, Celestials, and Replicants) and their various factions.
[20:13] <+Devon_ETG> To give the very, very short version, an exodus aboard an AI-controlled sleeper ship left (meta)humanity forever changed when the AI in charge went insane…because as we all know, AI is a crapshoot.
[20:14] <+Mikaela_ETG> Systems puts people who may be of differing loyalties and factions into situations where they may need to work together to survive – but betrayal is generally inevitable. Think Paranoia played for seriousness plus Firefly plus Aliens.
[20:14] <+Devon_ETG> The AI went “off script” in a lot of ways when she went nuts. She kidnapped a bunch of telepathic aliens, the Xel. She awakened as a Goddess and began creating posthuman angels (Celestials) to serve her. Then when the human resistance against her began,
[20:14] <~Dan> AI = Always Insane
[20:14] <+Devon_ETG> she created hunter-killer replicants (think The Terminator) to eliminate them.
[20:14] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest79!)
[20:14] <+John_ETG> She’s just misunderstood…
[20:15] <+Eric_E> So could
[20:15] <+Devon_ETG> When she finally was destroyed by the human resistance–lead by one of her original architects awakened from cryosleep–she crash landed humanity on a far-distant, Earthlike planet.
[20:15] <+Devon_ETG> But Silent Earth is but a memory
[20:15] <+Devon_ETG> (done…for now)
[20:15] <+John_ETG> (done)
[20:15] <+Mikaela_ETG> To answer the question about what makes it different…
[20:15] <+Eric_E> How compatible is it with psionics if I wanted to merge the?
[20:16] <+Devon_ETG> @Eric_E: Re: Psionics. Two completely different game systems. That said, two things more to say. A) Systems Malfunction entirely INCLUDES the Singularity System B) Ironically, Systems Malfunction includes substantially more individual options for psionic powers than the game we make called Psionics.
[20:16] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[20:17] <+Mikaela_ETG> Characters in Systems Malfunction have clones (a finite number), which makes decisions such as PVP, or to nobly sacrifice oneself for a cause, or murder, much different and more tactical. That is just one of the ways SysMal is different from other Science Fiction games
[20:17] <+Mikaela_ETG> Devon, do you have anything more to add about what makes Systems unique?
[20:19] <~Dan> Whoops. Lost John.
[20:20] <+Mikaela_ETG> Here’s a bit more from me – each faction in Systems Malfunction can be seen as either a force of good or a force of bad. You can easily play a member of the Fallen (terrorist organization led by an immortal transhuman) who is taking actions for reasons that they believe are morally right, but just as easily play a member of the Marines whose goal is to save
[20:20] <+Mikaela_ETG> the galaxy from terrorists, and be a good guy.
[20:20] <+Eric_E> What do you mean by “SysMal entirely INCLUDES the Singularity System”?
[20:20] <+Devon_ETG> Re: how is it different from other “broad” approach science fiction games, there’s a lot of levels to answer that on. I think you were asking primarily about the setting so I’m happy to start there. I think in part it’s in the complexity of the factions involved and the interplay between the factions and the loyalties of the PCs (more on that later).
[20:20] <+Devon_ETG> In part it’s the way the setting has been shaped by the “backstory” that makes the “backstory” feel alive for the PCs even as they play.
[20:21] <+Mikaela_ETG> The Republic as seen in different lights, can be a tyrannical dictatorship or a benevolent government, and be the same thing.
[20:21] <+Devon_ETG> Armand Carter, humanity’s greatest hero, killed the “problematic” AI mentioned above, and in so doing became the father of a dynasty of Presidents-for-Life that rule over the Confederated Colonial Republics. In other words, the status quo.
[20:22] <+Mikaela_ETG> Eric_E: Singularity is being sold on its own now, but with Systems Malfunction we will include all the rules of play in the book so that you don’t need to buy multiple books to play the game.
[20:22] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[20:22] <+Devon_ETG> On one side of that, you’ve got the GAIA’s abandoned posthuman Celestials, very much alive, hated and feared, marginalized…and feared because of the fear that the GAIA herself is somehow still out there, somewhere.
[20:22] <+Devon_ETG> On the other side of that, you have the Fallen, lead by Sigmus the Fallen, once the GAIA’s favored Greater Celestial, who will see the entire galaxy burn at any means necessary to eradicate every last trace of the GAIA’s influence. (end)
[20:22] <+Mikaela_ETG> (John’s computer does not like the mibbit for some reason)
[20:23] <+Devon_ETG> Eric_E: All I meant to say by “entirely includes” is that you don’t need to buy the Singularity System to play Systems Malfunction. At least, that’s the aim of this Kickstarter. From 2014 until this KS launched, that was not the case.
[20:23] <+Devon_ETG> Singularity System was a setting-neutral scifi game book and Systems Malfunction was a bigger and more expensive campaign setting for it.
[20:24] <+Eric_E> Cool. Thank you for clarification.
[20:24] <+Devon_ETG> We decided, frankly, that that approach was unworkable and dumb, so we decided to try to bake them into one smaller, prettier book. (done)
[20:24] <~Dan> Is humanity stranded on that Earth-like planet, or is there space travel?
[20:25] <+Devon_ETG> The Systems Malfunction “campaign setting” for Singularity System was giant and cludgy and is now extinct: a collector’s item to anyone who can nab one, presumably. We took it off drivethru the moment the KS went live (done again).
[20:25] <+Mikaela_ETG> Oh I have one more thing to add about Systems – player characters can significantly impact the fate of worlds through their actions and choices. One player destroyed a star, which was orbited by the capital planet of the Republic… so that is something that is within the scope of the game.
[20:25] <+Devon_ETG> @Dan: there are hundreds of colonized worlds.
[20:25] <+Devon_ETG> Most of them are under the centralized control of AA-001 “Avalon”, humanity’s third home.
[20:25] <+Devon_ETG> First Exodus, Earth to Origin, then Second Exodus, Origin to Avalon.
[20:25] <+Mikaela_ETG> Dan – There are many many worlds and many ships to go between them, and warpgates to facilitate interstellar travel.
[20:26] <+Devon_ETG> But then there is Lone Star Sector, New Europa, and Nippon Sector.
[20:26] <+Eric_E> Why go with different systems between the games? Does SPLINTER have another system too?
[20:26] <+Devon_ETG> Controlled, respectively, by House Dallas, House Dresden, and House Yamamoto.
[20:26] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[20:26] * ~Dan waves a Texas flag 🙂
[20:26] <+Eric_E> (For what it’s worth, I backed the KS today and have Psionics en route to me)
[20:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> We have three distinct game lines – SPLINTER, Dicepunk, and Singularity. These game lines each have their own system and multiple products within them.
[20:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> SPLINTER is actually a kind of bridge between Singularity and Dicepunk – on Earth, the rules are Dicepunk, and in the Splinter, the rules are basically Singularity rules.
[20:28] <+Mikaela_ETG> Thanks Eric_E! 😀
[20:28] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[20:28] <+Devon_ETG> Those immediately seem like they are socioeconomic cultural blocks controlled by recognizable ethnic groups from (Silent) Earth which…they totally are. The reason for this is simple. Only a tiny percentage of Earth’s population made it off onto the Sleepership. Who got to make it off Earth alive was determined by a lottery, and that lottery was rigged.
[20:28] <+Eric_E> So how do you balance an angel with a normal nerd?
[20:29] <+Eric_E> Merc
[20:29] <+Devon_ETG> Clearchannel and Enron et al controlled about a third of the seats and eventually became Great House Dallas. The Western European Aristocracy and Defense Contractors like BAE Systems controlled another third of the seats and eventually became Great House Dresden.
[20:29] <+Eric_E> Stupid autocorrect
[20:29] <+Devon_ETG> And a collection of Japanese megacorporate Zaibatsu and high-ranking Yakuza controlled the third block of the seats, and eventually became House Yamamoto. (done)
[20:30] <~Dan> You said that the game is “posthuman”. Is that transhuman?
[20:30] <+Devon_ETG> @Eric_E: I really like that question, because it lets me talk about how Systems Malfunction improves on the Singularity System’s basic character creation while remaining compatible with it for play.
[20:31] <+Mikaela_ETG> No Player Character in Systems is ordinary. Even if you are a Great House Bureaucrat, you are still going to have cyberware or other augmentations or skills that set you apart from the rest. Different character builds will be better for different situations for sure, but politics is not to be underestimated in Systems.
[20:31] <+Devon_ETG> Basically, we have a system in place where your character is powered by Edges. You can acquire Edges by having up to two serious Problems, by having up to two Secret Allegiances, or by selling up to all three of your starting Clones.
[20:31] <+Devon_ETG> Humans are extremely powerful because they receive one Edge for free.
[20:32] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:32] <+Mikaela_ETG> (I am done with the question Dev is answering – moving on to Dan’s question
[20:32] <+Mikaela_ETG> )
[20:32] <+Devon_ETG> Edges are then spent in the following way: you can allocate one Edge to: make your Attributes better, to make your Skills better, to have more Augmentation inside you, to be Psionic, to start with a Vehicle, to have maximum Advent for your Origin, and so on.
[20:32] <+Devon_ETG> (done for now)
[20:34] <+Mikaela_ETG> Dan – when we say posthuman, we mean a few different things. Transhumanity is one of them. But it’s also sort of shorthand for post-earth. Systems is a world that is so far in the future that we have struggled through our crash landings and two exoduses and come out the other side, made a working galactic government, and megaconglomerates to boot.
[20:34] <+Devon_ETG> I revealed a few things out of order there, so I’ll review: by default, you start this game with three “Extra Lives”, but you can make your character more badass by selling back those extra lives, by having Problems that complicate your character’s life, or by having Secret Allegiances which complicate your character’s life. (done again)
[20:34] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[20:35] <+Devon_ETG> Transhumanism is nowhere near as rosy or uncomplicated as in Eclipse Phase, it is, just like present day humanity, a mess of inequality and oppression injustice. Celestials are genuinely POSTHUMAN, and that is why everyone is terrified of everyone. (done)
[20:35] <+Devon_ETG> BRB guys, PLEASE do carry on without me : )
[20:35] <+Eric_E> So nobody is really ‘low powered’. This sounds much less Firefly or Aliens, at least on the human side.
[20:36] <+John_ETG> Yeah, I would definitely not describe the PCs as low power.
[20:36] <+Mikaela_ETG> A normal person is going to be a normal person – but PCs are not normal
[20:36] <~Dan> (back)
[20:36] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[20:36] <+Eric_E> So similar to Mutant Chronicles in that there are normal folks, just not PCs.
[20:37] <+Eric_E> No parties like rifts with a glitter boy and a street rat.
[20:37] <+Mikaela_ETG> I am sad to say I haven’t played that one – which is too bad, since I’ve heard a lot of good stuff.
[20:37] <+Mikaela_ETG> No Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit, yes
[20:37] <+Mikaela_ETG> haha
[20:37] <+John_ETG> Oh Glitter boys
[20:37] <+Eric_E> Just referring to the settting in that one. Not sure of the rules on it myself.
[20:38] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that Systems Malfunction had magic at one point?
[20:38] <+Mikaela_ETG> And Eric_E if you haven’t seen it, google Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit and it is the perfect sketch about the Glitterboy-Street Rat party dynamic 🙂
[20:38] <+John_ETG> Yes
[20:38] <+Eric_E> It’s a stretch goal Dan
[20:38] <+Eric_E> 😉
[20:38] <+John_ETG> What Eric said
[20:38] <+Mikaela_ETG> Magic is one of the stretch goals that we’re hoping to go through
[20:38] <~Dan> How does that fit in the setting?
[20:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:39] <+Mikaela_ETG> Ahh I wish Devon was not AFK for this question
[20:39] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay so this goes into “ancient history”
[20:39] <&Le_Squide> (Hey Dan!)
[20:40] <+Mikaela_ETG> One of the passengers aboard the GAIA who survived the crash was a young woman named Mariah. She was a normal human except, for whatever reason, she had the ability to touch and manipulate the Aether – the ambient life energy that exists even in space. I can’t go into the metaphysics of the Aether, but it is present. One of the GAIA’s big obsessions was
[20:40] <+Mikaela_ETG> learning more about the Aether, and while she was extant on her sleeper ship, the GAIA did a lot of experiments on humans to see what the Aether could do.
[20:41] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, HayatNejem!)
[20:41] <+Mikaela_ETG> After Mariah was the first person to display Aetherial powers, more followed suit after – maybe a result of the GAIA’s tampering, or maybe something else at work.
[20:42] <+Mikaela_ETG> Aetherial Adepts are still quite rare in the galaxy. The Aether is antithetical to Machine – cyberware, Replicants, etc.
[20:43] <+Mikaela_ETG> Mariah went on to be so powerful that she was essentially immortal, and founded the Universal Church of Undying Faith, a sort of Unitarianism that takes in the Judeo-Christian religions along with Zoroastrianism.
[20:43] <+Mikaela_ETG> She’s still the head of the church today, 500 years later.
[20:44] <~Dan> What sorts of things can Aetherial powers accomplish?
[20:44] <+John_ETG> Teleportation, healing, channeling of aetherial energy as an attack, summoning dragons…
[20:44] <+Eric_E> (Sorry to keep comparing to other games) – so this now sounds more like World of Synnibar. Any inspiration come from that? Anybody ever compare them?
[20:45] <+John_ETG> manipulating emotions
[20:45] <+Mikaela_ETG> Never played it 😀
[20:45] <+Mikaela_ETG> remember, this setting was made in 2005 I think
[20:45] <+John_ETG> World of Synnibar? I’m afraid I’m not familiar.
[20:46] <~Dan> The original super-gonzo trans-genre game, re: World of Synnibarr.
[20:46] <+John_ETG> ok I’m gonna have to check this out
[20:46] <~Dan> There are Giant Mutant Fire Clams and flying grizzly bears with laser beam eyes.
[20:47] <~Dan> But I digress.
[20:47] <+Mikaela_ETG> Yes, none of us had played it before Systems so… any similarities are purely coincedental.
[20:47] <+John_ETG> OK, that’s not quite the tone Systems Malfunction goes for
[20:47] <+John_ETG> but… I can appreciate laser bears and bear lasers
[20:47] <+Mikaela_ETG> The Aether has a strong tie in with the metaphysics of the setting – the kind of metaplot stuff that we can’t reveal here.
[20:47] * ~Dan nods sagely
[20:47] <+Mikaela_ETG> Devon is coming to answer that question too but he is grabbing a drink.
[20:47] <~Dan> Well, Aether you’ll tell us, or you won’t.
[20:48] <+John_ETG> …
[20:48] <+Mikaela_ETG> Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
[20:48] <+John_ETG> noooooooo
[20:48] <+John_ETG> puns
[20:48] <+Mikaela_ETG> Dan you should make a game that revolves entirely around making puns.
[20:48] <+John_ETG> we secretly all love them
[20:48] <~Dan> Probably. 🙂
[20:48] <+John_ETG> promises promises
[20:48] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Done with the question about magic on my end, Devon has more to add probably)
[20:48] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Are there any others that have been asked but not answered?)
[20:48] <~Dan> You mentioned dragons…?
[20:49] <~Dan> No, I think you’re caught up.
[20:49] <+Mikaela_ETG> Not really physical dragons.
[20:49] <+Mikaela_ETG> They are called Aether Nightwurms and they live in the Aether and are made of it. Lots of things are.
[20:49] <+John_ETG> They’re physical in the way that matters. They could totally eat someone.
[20:49] <+Mikaela_ETG> But those are the most… flashy 😀
[20:49] <+Mikaela_ETG> Oh yeah they can manifest if summoned
[20:50] <+John_ETG> Yeah Summoning an aetherial nightwurm could be considered the most extreme expression of aetherial magic
[20:50] <+Mikaela_ETG> But I had a summoner who liked to call down little lantern spirits that would spy on her enemies all day. So it doesn’t have to be a big spectacle
[20:50] <+Devon_ETG> Okay, so I’m playing catch up now guys, bear with me. : )
[20:50] <~Dan> We will even laser bear with you.
[20:51] <+Eric_E> Ok, so this is sci-fi, but is it sci-fi with sword fights and martial arts or sci-fi with “shoot you before you Acenoid
[20:51] <+Eric_E> Yo
[20:52] <+Eric_E> Before you can get close with a sword. Sorry, typing on iPad
[20:52] <+Devon_ETG> Let’s start with “nobody is really all powered again”. It is all relative. A squad of Armada Colonial Marines for instance are, for the most part, cyborg badasses on combat drugs, whether they happen to be humans, Xel, Celestials, or Replicants. But when they hit our equivalent of Aliens–the Praxar, another stretch goal–they will be just as pants-shittingly
[20:53] <+Devon_ETG> terrified as the Colonial Marines from Aliens (my favorite movie, BTW) and for good reason. One of the game’s understated themes is that even if your character sheet is ‘the one that says bad motherfucker on it’ there is always a bigger fish.
[20:53] <+Acenoid> hrm
[20:53] <+Devon_ETG> And sometimes the bigger fish will literally eat you.
[20:53] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[20:53] <~Dan> (Mind the language, please. Family-friendly room. 🙂 )
[20:53] <~Dan> What are the Xels like?
[20:53] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Once again Dan is reminded that clan ETG are filthy pottymouths)
[20:54] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:54] <+Mikaela_ETG> I’m going to answer ” so this is sci-fi, but is it sci-fi with sword fights and martial arts or sci-fi with “shoot you before you get close with a sword”?
[20:55] <+Devon_ETG> We’ve made a decision to keep all our updates open to the public for the time being. One reason for this is that we have a lot of Stretch Goals that we REALLY want to hit for this project. The biggest one on the horizon is full color at $20k, but The Aether (“magic”) is one that’s much closer. Between us and that we’ve only got vampires.
[20:55] <+Devon_ETG> I wrote a fun primer on both the vampires and the Aether (“magic”) right here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg/posts/1721843)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg/posts/1721843
[20:55] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[20:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> There are a lot of ways to kill people in Systems. By gun, laser gun, sword, laser sword, a subtle dagger to the back, a poison, a drone… piloting a Jackhammer (mech)… and I would say that there is balance there.
[20:56] <~Dan> You there, GenoFoxx? There are mechs!
[20:56] <~Dan> (GenoFoxx is our local mech-head.)
[20:56] <+Devon_ETG> Jackhammers are kind of a big deal in the setting.
[20:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> There. Are. Mechs.
[20:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> Mechs aplenty.
[20:57] <+Devon_ETG> Our mechs are smaller–in BattleTech (which I’m only semi-fluid in) they’d be protomechs, I believe, they only stand about 10 feet tall.
[20:57] <+Devon_ETG> It is…theoretically…possible for a humanoid PC to defeat a Jackhammer in combat, but it would be quite the event.
[20:57] <+Mikaela_ETG> Systems Malfunction takes a lot of its inspiration from the musical works of Coheed and Cambria – so when we quote the imperative: “man your own Jackhammer!” we really mean it this time.
[20:57] <+Devon_ETG> Easier for a combat Replicant or a telepathic Xel juggernaut than an ordinary person.
[20:58] <+Devon_ETG> Somebody just asked me a question about “swords in science fiction” so I want to nerd at that for a second
[20:58] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay after that I will talk about what Xel are.
[20:59] <+Devon_ETG> One reason that swords remain in common use is that they will never jam or cause explosive decompression on a spaceship and space station. The other reason is that “closing the distance and cutting the other guy’s face off” before he can shoot you to death with his gun becomes a lot more plausible when you are a cyborg.
[20:59] <+Mikaela_ETG> Mostly that we are sometimes in zero g.
[20:59] <+Devon_ETG> And Systems gives every PC 100,000 Credits worth of cyborg (that buys quite a fair amount of cyborg) for free out of the gate. (done on that score)
[21:00] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay, Xel.
[21:01] <+Mikaela_ETG> The leading theory in universe about the Xel is that the GAIA made a pitstop on the Xel homeworld and kidnapped them, adding them to her collection on the sleeper ark.
[21:01] <+Mikaela_ETG> A Xel was Armand Carter’s best friend and they worked together to destroy her. But now, the Xel that arrived on Origin with the rest of the humans (and Celestials) have no idea where their home planet is or how to get there.
[21:02] <+Mikaela_ETG> It’s been 500 years, so they’ve assimilated into human culture. Some of them prefer to live in enclaves that are Xel-only, because they believe that they are just a naturally superior species – which may be true, considering their longevity and natural psionic talents.
[21:03] <+Mikaela_ETG> They also believe that the Xel homeworld was a place of unbroken peace because everyone was empathically linked to one another in perfect harmony.
[21:03] <+Mikaela_ETG> Today’s Xel are all very different – they can be punks who run with human gangs, they can be CEOs at companies, or they can be civil rights leaders trying to find the way back home.
[21:04] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done with the Xel)
[21:04] <+Eric_E> What is a Xel? Just an alien?
[21:04] <~Dan> What do they look like?
[21:05] <+Devon_ETG> They look somewhere between the pokemon Mewtwo and a typical “grey” alien. Mikaela can probably scare up an art pretty quick.
[21:05] <+Devon_ETG> All Xel are telepathic and most should be assumed to be extremely powerful psionics.
[21:06] <+Mikaela_ETG> Any way to upload images directly here?
[21:06] <+Devon_ETG> I’d say the important thing about the Xel is that they’re all assimilated and they have no clue where their homeworld is. One of the first questions we were asked was how SysMal differs from “standard kitchen sink scifi”. One of the best answers is that there is only one alien species, and even they are culturally more human.
[21:06] <~Dan> No, just links.
[21:06] <+Devon_ETG> All of the other playable Origins are offshoots of humanity–humans, posthumans (Celestials), and Replicants designed to look like humans. (done)
[21:07] <~Dan> Are there NPC alien races?
[21:07] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Link: http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Images/xelsamcolor.png)http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Images/xelsamcolor.png
[21:07] <+Mikaela_ETG> here’s one i drew
[21:07] <~Dan> Nice!
[21:07] <+Eric_E> Cool
[21:08] <+Eric_E> Both art and idea
[21:08] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Link: http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Images/movieposter.jpg)http://www.endtransmissiongames.com/Images/movieposter.jpg
[21:08] <+Mikaela_ETG> this is Mariah, Xenos (the first Xel) and Armand Carter and Sigmus the Fallen
[21:08] <+John_ETG> Dan, yes, there are NPC alien races.
[21:08] <+Mikaela_ETG> since we’ve been talking about the “history”
[21:08] <+Mikaela_ETG> so that’s another representation of Xel, and now you know what Mariah looks like too
[21:08] <+Devon_ETG> Dan: there are/were/will be the Praxar, but that unlocks on the stretch goal we’ve got paired to $90,000, so there will not be this time around without a LOT of help.
[21:09] <+Devon_ETG> That said, Mikaela can you bust out a link to ‘Sharing of Gifts’ please?
[21:09] <+Mikaela_ETG> roger roger
[21:09] <+Devon_ETG> I want to show everyone what a Praxis Hunter Killer speaks like.
[21:09] <+Devon_ETG> Since they’re biomechanical aliens designed to murder starfighters.
[21:09] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Link: https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14902785_691346884356751_5983142028728480312_o.jpg)https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14902785_691346884356751_5983142028728480312_o.jpg
[21:09] <+Mikaela_ETG> oh there’s a xel in this one too
[21:11] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done with Xel on my end)
[21:11] <+Devon_ETG> With 20 days left (about to be 19), we’ve got stretch goals planned out to six figures. Some of the stuff we’re most excited about–like the setting book with the Praxis incursion Malkuth, and the Bethelhem War–are very likely not to materialize, which is very sad.
[21:11] <+Devon_ETG> That said, if the game itself sells well, there will always be time to expand the universe in later books. (done)
[21:11] <+Mikaela_ETG> Malkuth is my pet
[21:12] <+Mikaela_ETG> storyline
[21:12] <+Mikaela_ETG> I am still holding out hope for that book 😛
[21:12] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:12] <+Mikaela_ETG> Are we caught up on questions?
[21:12] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet posted somewhere?
[21:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> I personally have not had time to make a charsheet yet
[21:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> Too busy herding artists
[21:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> Devon made a worksheet for playtesting
[21:13] <+Eric_E> Oooooh. I like a good character sheet.
[21:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> I don’t know if he wants to share it
[21:13] <+Mikaela_ETG> I prefer to take my time on charsheets, hopefully this time I will be able to design it at leisure so that it’s got form and function.
[21:14] <+Mikaela_ETG> Right now, the Singularity charsheet I am not happy with – I think I didn’t include space for too many things.
[21:15] <+Mikaela_ETG> So it’s going to be a kind of start from scratch process for me. I’ll be building off of the worksheet devon’s making and what we get through playtesting to make sure it’s user friendly.
[21:15] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[21:16] <~Dan> How did you tweak the Singularity System in Systems Malfunction?
[21:16] <+Devon_ETG> Most of it was the entire Edges system I described above: how you build up your Edges via having Problems, having secret Factions, and NOT having Clones (Extra Lives).
[21:17] <+Devon_ETG> In Singularity Core, you get 28 AP to spend on 7 Attributes and then 50 + Intelligence SP to spend on a lot of skills plus things like personal gear, vehicle credits, and starship credits.
[21:17] <+Devon_ETG> Singularity Core took a somewhat more “default military scifi assumptions” approach, it was kind of my answer to Traveller.
[21:18] <+Mikaela_ETG> Races have become Origins, which tickles me a lot because that was the planet we landed on after the GAIA crashed… and the functionality of Origins is different and in my opinion slicker than the Advent Adjustment in core Singularity.
[21:18] <+Devon_ETG> SysMal is totally compatible with Singularity Core, but it tends to build more powerful characters in what I think is a much cooler and definitely much less kludgy way.
[21:19] <+Devon_ETG> SysMal is Singularity Core with all of the options (cyberware, psionics, personal combat maneuvers) turned on, and in some cases, turned to 11. So far, it seems to be tending to output MUCH more powerful PCs on average, but it’s still a WIP in that respect. (done)
[21:19] <+Mikaela_ETG> Yes – we have a big soft spot for the original campaign and setting book because of all the lore but a lot of the mechanics Devon has discovered easier and better ways to implement.
[21:19] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[21:19] <+Eric_E> So how many skills are there?
[21:19] <+Devon_ETG> while you’re actually running a Kickstarter is probably the worst part time to actually design the game you’re crowdfunding, but nonetheless I’ve been doing exactly that, because it helps keep me sane. i love making things, and i hate selling things (done)
[21:19] <+Mikaela_ETG> This is a question for Devon because he’s changed that a lot.
[21:19] <+Mikaela_ETG> Devon_ETG what’s doin with the skills?
[21:20] <+John_ETG> 28 iirc
[21:20] <+Devon_ETG> skill list went down from around 33 to around 28
[21:20] <+Devon_ETG> there were two skills that we evaporated because we couldn’t see them coming up
[21:20] <+Devon_ETG> another three I morphed into “Perks” instead
[21:21] <~Dan> What is the core mechanic?
[21:22] <+Devon_ETG> the interesting thing about the “buying Edges” system is that you can build your character everywhere from “extremely” milquetoast to HAM (Hard-as-a-Mofo). so a human could have no Problems, no secret factions, and all their starting three extra lives and be built on just the 1 starting Edge they get for being a human
[21:22] <+Mikaela_ETG> D6 dice pool: Roll a number of D6 equal to your skill (plus or minus modifiers from perks or problems etc.). A normal test you are looking for 5s and 6s, on easy test you want 4s 5s and 6s, and hard only 6s.
[21:22] <+Devon_ETG> or alternatively you can have a human that’s a triple agent, that’s startlingly incompetent at melee combat and being hunted by really dangerous people, and that sells back all three of their extra lives. that human gets 8 edge to build their character on, because they’re going “the full retard”
[21:23] <+Devon_ETG> it’s an enormous difference
[21:23] <+Mikaela_ETG> That is a music reference by the way
[21:23] <+Mikaela_ETG> not a reference to the film Tropic Thunder
[21:23] <+Devon_ETG> a lot of games–HERO System, Shadowrun, etcetera–let you fuel your character’s power level by complications and disadvantages. this is my favorite way I’ve ever seen it done. (done)
[21:23] <+Devon_ETG> it’s also a tropic thunder reference : P
[21:24] <+Mikaela_ETG> Yeah but that song is very systems
[21:24] <+Devon_ETG> truedat
[21:24] <+Mikaela_ETG> We like music at ETG. Music plays a huge role in the games we make, their inspiration, etc.
[21:24] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:24] <~Dan> Does the game have a bestiary?
[21:24] <+Mikaela_ETG> Systems comes from Coheed and Cambria and At the Drive In and Mars Volta, if I am correct
[21:25] <+Mikaela_ETG> Hold on a second
[21:25] <+Mikaela_ETG> Devon will know about the bestiary, such as it is
[21:26] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay so we have a preview PDF
[21:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> i am asking Devon if it’s cool to show it to you guys
[21:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> (you will be the first to see it!)
[21:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> but on the table of contents it seems that the final chapter is called:
[21:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> Robots, Monsters, and Worse
[21:27] <+Mikaela_ETG> so that should tell you a bit about that 🙂
[21:28] <+Mikaela_ETG> In the LARP many creatures appeared on many different planets
[21:28] <+Mikaela_ETG> Since we’re paring down a lot I have no idea how many will be removed.
[21:28] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Link: http://endtransmissiongames.com/SystemsMalfunctionSamplePDF.pdf)http://endtransmissiongames.com/SystemsMalfunctionSamplePDF.pdf
[21:29] <+Devon_ETG> Mikaela_ETG: I’d have posted the B&W interior PDF instead,
[21:29] <+Mikaela_ETG> Oh, I didn’t have that one handy
[21:29] <+Devon_ETG> since we’re still the better part of 15 grand away from having a full color book. : (
[21:29] * +Devon_ETG shrugs
[21:29] <+Mikaela_ETG> Well… think of it as incentive 😛
[21:30] <~Dan> What are some of the NPC races?
[21:31] <+Devon_ETG> When we we hit our $7500 SG, The Aether, we get to add the horrifying glowing dragon thing on the placeholder cover the bestiary, along with a variety of Aetherial elementals. If we actually unlock the Praxar Incursion (REALLY reaching for a star) we get to add a few REALLY nasty biomechanical alien monsters.
[21:31] <+Devon_ETG> Other than that, the bestiary is going to be heavily biased in favor of a wide variety of killer robots.
[21:31] <+Mikaela_ETG> The Praxar are a hive mind and said to be the ancient enemies of the Xel
[21:31] <+Devon_ETG> Ranging from little hunker/scrapper bots through matte-black cyborg assassins with glowing red eyes through autonomous walking tanks. : ) (done)
[21:32] <+Mikaela_ETG> Are there going to be any of the monsters from Iron Gaia in there, Devon_ETG?
[21:32] <+Devon_ETG> Good point: yes, Slow Mutants, Energy Suckers,
[21:32] <+Devon_ETG> I’d forgotten about those.
[21:32] <+Devon_ETG> No good reason not to include them
[21:32] <+Devon_ETG> depending on page count
[21:33] <+Mikaela_ETG> So to answer Dan – there will be monsters! Of some kind!
[21:33] <+Mikaela_ETG> There are secret “races” that existed in the LARP
[21:33] <+Mikaela_ETG> that I don’t know if we will put in here
[21:33] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[21:33] <+Devon_ETG> @Dan: The only other NPC races are like, OMEGA LEVEL HFS spoilers. They’re there, but we can’t tell you anything about them. You and I have gone back and forth on the whole spoiler versus selling point thing in the past, but in this case I’d like to stress I have to stress that Systems Malfunction is about the fractured future of *humanity*.
[21:34] <+Devon_ETG> (done)
[21:34] <~Dan> Fair enough. 🙂
[21:34] <~Dan> How cinematic is the game?
[21:35] <+Mikaela_ETG> Can we define cinematic for this?
[21:35] <+Mikaela_ETG> I want to make sure I am answering the right question 🙂
[21:35] <~Dan> I mean, how over-the-top is the action?
[21:36] <+Devon_ETG> I would say it is cinematic as f-…I would say it is cinematic as all get out.
[21:36] <~Dan> Are the PCs Big Damn Heroes who go in with both guns blazing?
[21:36] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:36] <+Mikaela_ETG> If we’re talking about crazy action sequences, definitely
[21:36] <+Devon_ETG> I would say heck yes–unless that’s not that particular PC’s style, of course.
[21:36] <+Mikaela_ETG> Well Dan – this is actually another mention about the Clones.
[21:36] <+John_ETG> Yeah, blowing up stars is pretty cinematic
[21:36] <+Mikaela_ETG> It’s a lot easier to be a big damn hero if you know you have an extra life waiting for you
[21:37] <+John_ETG> hero insurance?
[21:37] <+Devon_ETG> Some of my favorite moments of my twelve years of playing the LARP that’s the precursor for this tabletop game didn’t involve our boffer weapons or nerf guns being used at all
[21:37] <+Devon_ETG> they involved talking and scheming and planning.
[21:37] <+Devon_ETG> and then because of all that scheming, when someone did get did
[21:37] <+Mikaela_ETG> A lot of mine involve fight scenes.
[21:37] <+Devon_ETG> it was more John LeCarre than Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer.
[21:38] <+Devon_ETG> I love that systems has room for both of these things (done)
[21:38] <+Mikaela_ETG> There was plenty of Bruckheimer.
[21:38] <+John_ETG> Jerry Bruckheimer was not harmed in the making of these products
[21:38] <+Mikaela_ETG> I played a cyborg space pirate who climbed a sniper tower with a cutlass in my mouth
[21:38] <+Mikaela_ETG> then dueled an outlaw replicant terrorist to the death
[21:38] <~Dan> Nice!
[21:39] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay, one note about Systems – I have had many characters over these years and they are all very very different
[21:39] <+Devon_ETG> Then again, if you play videogames and you’re old enough to remember the moment in Halo 2 where John-117 “gives the Covenant their bomb back”, Systems can EASILY support that level of *cinematic* play.
[21:39] <+Mikaela_ETG> like Systems doesn’t pidgeonhole characters into “the rogue” or “the brick”
[21:39] <+Devon_ETG> But that said, one of my favorite things about Systems Malfunction is its layers of secrets within secrets. A lot of people take a very snobby attitude towards the idea of even having a “GM’s Only” chapter, “like that’s so 1990s”. One possible title for our own GM chapter is “In Defense Of Keeping Secrets”…
[21:39] <+Devon_ETG> one reason for this is that a huge part of the game–unless you don’t want it to be–is PCs keeping secrets from each other.
[21:40] <+Devon_ETG> John talked about clones as “heroism” insurance but “treachery insurance” is an even more important purpose they serve. Remember that one of the things that makes characters awesome is that potentially, any number of them are secret traitors.
[21:40] <+Devon_ETG> (done?)
[21:41] <+Mikaela_ETG> Over the years I played a lost Replicant who became the queen of a nation of outcasts; a celestial sniper from the armada who participated in a bloody civil war; a sociopathic vampire with a redemptive arc; a space pirate; a terrorist
[21:41] <+Mikaela_ETG> all of these things are things you can be in Systems, and more.
[21:41] <~Dan> Oh, yeah — what’s the deal with the vampires?
[21:41] <+Mikaela_ETG> (done)
[21:42] <+Mikaela_ETG> Verkulaks
[21:42] <+Mikaela_ETG> When baby Devon in college decided he wanted to make a sci-fi LARP, he had a friend who insisted that there be vampires, and he named them Verkulaks.
[21:42] <+Mikaela_ETG> That friend is now no longer with us – taken away to Oregon.
[21:42] <+Mikaela_ETG> But he is in our hearts.
[21:43] <~Dan> So what are they like?
[21:43] <+Mikaela_ETG> I was busy doing a lot of graphic design stuff today but Devon_ETG and John_ETG discussed verkulaks in this version of systems
[21:44] <+Mikaela_ETG> over the years we’ve tinkered with the idea of them being a mutation of humanity, of it being a virus, etc.
[21:44] <+Mikaela_ETG> What devon came to on the subject is here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg/posts/1721843)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg/posts/1721843
[21:45] <+Mikaela_ETG> i will try to cliffs notes that for you
[21:46] <+Mikaela_ETG> Okay so – there are Prime Verkulaks and Sub-Dominant Verkulaks.
[21:47] <+Mikaela_ETG> In earlier editions, Primes are the much rarer “masters” – they can sire Sub-Dominant Verkulaks who are then bound to them like your traditional vampire.
[21:48] <+Mikaela_ETG> They lived in secret since silent Earth, but “came out” when they took over the prison colony Midgard.
[21:49] <+Devon_ETG> Verkulaks are some scary crap.
[21:49] <+Devon_ETG> The powers that be somehow missed these blood drinking freaks on Earth, through the entire Exodus from Earth to Origin, and then through the second Exodus from Origin to Avalon.
[21:50] <+Devon_ETG> Then all of a sudden, nearly four hundred years later, they take over a prison planet and announce themselves to the galaxy.
[21:50] <+Devon_ETG> The Republic Armada tries to contain them there on NS-13 “Midgard” but presumably fails, because of the hundreds of sightings elsewhere throughout the galaxy, not all of them are fakes.
[21:50] <+Devon_ETG> The information the galaxy has at large about Verkulaks is limited.
[21:50] <+Mikaela_ETG> Like traditional vampires, All Verkulaks must drink living blood to sustain themselves: human, Celestial, and Xel blood all contain enough nutrition to sustain them. Verkulaks that have fed become even stronger, faster, and tougher than they were before
[21:51] <+Mikaela_ETG> They are rumored to be “contageous”
[21:51] <+Devon_ETG> But they are our very first Stretch Goal that we’re going to hit, at which point they will become the fifth playable Origin.
[21:51] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:52] <+Devon_ETG> Advent, maybe? But I’ve got to run to the bathroom, so I’ll let Mikaela_ETG and John_ETG cover that.
[21:52] <+Mikaela_ETG> I think we talked a little about Advent
[21:53] <+Mikaela_ETG> Advent can be used to do things to change your play experience tactically. You can spend an Advent in personal combat to have rolled the maximum Initiative you can roll, to take an extra action out of turn, to add your Advent score to a roll, to reroll failures, or to make a test Easy.
[21:54] <+Mikaela_ETG> In Starship combat, Advent is pooled – each player gives up as many Advent as they want and it all goes into one starship Advent pool, that can be used with consensus from the table.
[21:55] * ~Dan nods
[21:55] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:55] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us this evening, guys!
[21:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> I don’t know if we are going to bring it into a more broad use for narrative – one rogue Singularity game has the GM with a group of amnesiacs, and they can spend an Advent to regain a lost memory if it’s triggered by seeing something.
[21:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> It might be something we codify, or it might be left to GM fiat, as the design moves forward.
[21:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> Thanks everyone for having us!
[21:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> I think John and Devon have maybe passed out.
[21:56] <+Mikaela_ETG> It’s been a crazy day for us here 😀
[21:57] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:57] <~Dan> No worries.
[21:57] <~Dan> Here’s my tip jar, if anyone’s so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:57] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[21:57] <+Mikaela_ETG> Should I post the KS link one more time?
[21:57] <~Dan> Sure!
[21:58] <+Mikaela_ETG> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/endtransmissiongames/systems-malfunction-sci-fi-rpg