[20:01] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Good evening everyone, my name is Stuart Yee and I’m the co-creator of the Star Ascension RPG now on Kickstarter!
[20:01] <+StarAscension-Stuart> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiantgamingsystems/star-ascension-a-gritty-sci-fi-rpg-for-open-d6)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiantgamingsystems/star-ascension-a-gritty-sci-fi-rpg-for-open-d6
[20:02] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Star Ascension is a science fiction adventure RPG with themes very similar to Firefly, Starship Troopers, Dune, Ender’s Game and a few others
[20:03] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We’ve taken the Open D6 System and given it a bit of a make over to make gameplay even more streamlined
[20:04] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Star Ascension is unique in that Player Characters are not much more powerful or extraordinary than normal people
[20:05] <+StarAscension-Stuart> That said, Character death is much easier
[20:05] <+StarAscension-Stuart> If you stand out in the open without armor and get hit by a gun, that’s very bad news for your character!
[20:06] <+StarAscension-Stuart> It’s also the only D6 System game I know that incorporates a system like RPGs using XP and Levels
[20:07] <+StarAscension-Stuart> But as your Character advances and gets more powerful, very likely the accumulation of traumatic experiences has taken some psychological toll leading to your Character getting PTSD!
[20:08] <+StarAscension-Stuart> It’s also a medium for exploring a lot of other science fiction concepts like cybernetics, genetic modification, cloning and space exploration
[20:10] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We explore philosophical quandaries like the ethics of cloning and whether or not that clone is a free person.
[20:11] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We also explore the humanity and loss of humanity with excessive cybernetics- at what point is there more machine than person? At what point is the person completely replaced by machine?
[20:13] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest13!)
[20:15] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So our system involving cybernetics has a game mechanic in which there’s a risk of a psychotic break with certain cybernetic implants that interact with the higher nervous system!
[20:16] <+Will> Alo
[20:16] <~Dan> (Howdy, Will!)
[20:16] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Hello Will!
[20:17] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So we have a game based on a fairly simple core mechanic (for skill checks, combat, just about everything) and we can get a lot out of it
[20:18] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Even in our established setting, you can play in a lot of sci-fi subgenres including sci-fi horror, cyberpunk, military fiction, and good old space opera
[20:19] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In a nutshell, if you like science-fiction, this is a really fun game to play. We have a lot of fun with it and are continually creating new plotlines, setting material, technology and themes
[20:22] <~Dan> (Just a reminder to give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂 )
[20:22] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Oh, my bad! I was just reading the Q&A guide to make sure I was following the right format
[20:22] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So yes, pretty much done with my intro!
[20:23] <~Dan> Thanks, StarAscension-Stuart!
[20:23] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Oh wait, we have miniatures with some of our rewards
[20:23] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:23] <+Drew> How do you handle the psychological damage? sanity loss like in some other games or something else?
[20:23] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So the rules are formatted to used miniatures because I like running games with miniatures
[20:24] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Drew, excellent question
[20:24] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Every time a Character experiences something traumatic, they get a Trauma Point
[20:24] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Each time, a Willpower check is made
[20:25] <+StarAscension-Stuart> At any point the Willpower check is less than the number of Trauma Points, a Character Flaw is added to the Character to reflect the psychological attrition
[20:26] <+StarAscension-Stuart> At this point, the Trauma Point count is reset to zero, and an appropriate Character Flaw is either randomly selected or chosen by the GM depending upon the circumstances of the Trauma earned
[20:27] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Several examples of Character Flaws are Shell Shock, Flashbacks, Substance Addiction, Crisis of Faith (neutralizes most religion based perks), Night Terrors, Twitch, Paranoia, and a handful of others
[20:27] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Each Flaw has a particular game effect and also narrative roleplaying effect
[20:28] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Trauma Points are often earned when witnessing a death- including any NPCs the Party may want to use as meatshields
[20:28] <+StarAscension-Stuart> This is in effect a mechanism to abate murder-hoboism!
[20:28] <+sendoshin> I imagine Flaws can be taken more than once, as appropriate. Say, Flashbacks (event 1) and Flashbacks (event 2)…
[20:29] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Exactly, Flaws (like Perks) will often have a variable Rank and/or can be taken multiple times
[20:30] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW!)
[20:30] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In your example sendoshin, each time the Flashback Flaw is acquired, each one may have a different trigger
[20:31] <+sendoshin> *nod* Seemed like the most obvious example in this case.
[20:31] <+StarAscension-Stuart> The Addiction Flaw has ranks, meaning the higher the rank, the more severe the addiction and/or substance
[20:32] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So even though we’re dealing with flashy sci-fi concepts, we still have some esoteric problems each character has to defend against
[20:32] <~Dan> Can you describe humanity’s status quo as of the setting?
[20:33] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Good question Dan. Casually in one sentence, I like to describe it as “We’ve advanced in technology and have gone out in to space but are still pretty shitty to each other.”
[20:33] <+StarAscension-Stuart> To be more specific, there’s a lot of war going on somewhere in Known Space
[20:33] <+StarAscension-Stuart> The primary starting faction, the Earth Hegemony Systems just got out of a war not too long ago
[20:35] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So here you have the central planets mainly within the Earth Hegemony Systems, then you have this broad region of Known Space society ranges from mega-cities and high tech to lots of a planets which are almost at the Mad Max level of society
[20:36] <~Dan> Are there aliens?
[20:37] <+StarAscension-Stuart> There are no sentient aliens written into our material yet, but there are a small handful of creatures of extra-terrestrial origin
[20:38] <~Dan> Do you have any plans for introducing sentient aliens?
[20:39] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We’re avoiding this for a number or reasons as long as we can. Primarily because if we publish content on first contact with sentient aliens, the players will not have the depth of mystery and excitement from the experience
[20:39] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So we’d ideally like to set it up that it’s up to the GM to introduce sentient aliens they’d write themselves so that the players will truly have no idea what’s going on!
[20:40] * ~Dan nods
[20:40] <+StarAscension-Stuart> At some point we may write material involving sentient aliens, but we will write them for Star Ascension to be VERY alien
[20:40] <~Dan> That’s good.
[20:41] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Very alien to the extent that the people first encountering them wouldn’t realize they’re intelligent right away
[20:41] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In a reverse scenario, that was one of the clever things I liked about Ender’s Game….they didn’t know we were intelligent!
[20:41] <~Dan> Wouldn’t technology use be a dead giveaway?
[20:42] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Okay, this is a bit of a spoiler, but one of my affiliate writers is toying with the idea of introducing a mysterious intelligent alien entity that doesn’t even have a body as we know it
[20:43] <+Will> There are some concepts in SciFi contemplating the possibility of nonsentient aliens developing technology
[20:43] <+Will> Just as an aside.
[20:43] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Good point Will
[20:43] <+Zaleramancer> So would you provide guidelines for GMs to construct their own aliens?
[20:43] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Again, citing Ender’s Game, apparently our use of technology didn’t clue the Formics into knowing we were smart
[20:44] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Zaleramancer, I certainly would have a rough guideline
[20:44] <+StarAscension-Stuart> but frankly, once Star Ascension is in their hands, it’s their sandbox to shape and reshape
[20:45] <+StarAscension-Stuart> A big thing we’re avoid are aliens that are too humanoid much like you see in Star Trek and Star Wars
[20:45] <~Dan> Do you include psionics?
[20:46] <+StarAscension-Stuart> To be a hundred percent honest, I’ve been going back and forth on that
[20:47] <+StarAscension-Stuart> To the point, I’m not sure if we’ll include it in the core rules, but we’ll eventually have a supplement for psionics
[20:47] <+StarAscension-Stuart> But psionics in general will be very rare and not super powerful
[20:48] <+StarAscension-Stuart> A good example would be River Tam – she clearly has some sort of ESP, but her abilities don’t completely make her superhuman or extraordinarily more powerful than the other characters
[20:49] * ~Dan nods
[20:50] <+Will> I’m not sure of format of asking questions, but… how about cyberware that looks psionicy?
[20:50] <+sendoshin> Star Trek did go rather overboard on that concept rather early on. Though, to be fair, at the time it was considered far more feasible, scientifically speaking.
[20:50] <+Will> (Since you mentioned cyber)
[20:50] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[20:50] <+Will> (I’ve always been partial to the gloss of psionics but it’s basically brain radio)
[20:51] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Will, excellent point. I did not think of it like that, but cybernetics can definitely confer abilities that are kind of psionicish
[20:51] <+sendoshin> (Will: That’s the format right there, actually – just ask away.)
[20:51] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Yeah, Dan will do a good job moderating, but otherwise just jump right in with the questions!
[20:52] <~Dan> Yup! Unless I call for a question pause, ask away!
[20:53] <+Zaleramancer> So the game is set up to have dangerous and lethal combat correct?
[20:53] <+StarAscension-Stuart> That is absolutely correct Zalemancer
[20:54] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Much like in real life, getting shot with a gun is something you won’t simply shrug off
[20:54] <~Dan> How do you tweak D6 to make it more lethal?
[20:54] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So longevity in combat depends on good tactics, acquisition of armor and shielding
[20:55] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Dan, that was easy. We just made our own damage table.
[20:55] <+StarAscension-Stuart> When a weapon hits, Damage is rolled
[20:55] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Once Damage is rolled, it can be “soaked” by the dice pool in shielding and or armor
[20:56] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Leftover damage can then be soaked by the Character’s PHYSIQUE dice pool
[20:56] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Anything leftover that determines the damage actually done– 9+ indicates instant death
[20:57] <~Dan> How would you describe the tech level of the setting?
[20:58] <+StarAscension-Stuart> For lack of a better analogy, it’s a bit better than the tech in Firefly, but not as good as the tech in Star Wars
[20:59] <+StarAscension-Stuart> So things like computers and information sharing and even holographic projectors is really well developed
[20:59] <+StarAscension-Stuart> proper FTL technology is still rather new
[21:00] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Although cybernetics and genetic engineering have been around for a while, there’s still a lot we don’t understand about life science making these technologies a bit dangerous still
[21:01] <~Dan> Are there energy weapons?
[21:01] <+StarAscension-Stuart> And advance power cell technology make hand held laser weapons feasible along with heavier weapons such as Particle Accelerator Cannons (PACs)
[21:02] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In fact, Laser Weapons have specific game mechanics that allow people to adjust the power setting
[21:02] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Laser weapons don’t have a proper “stun” setting, rather they just become less lethal at lower levels. Reducing the power level also increases the number of shots
[21:04] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In general, there’s about a 50/50 mix between laser weapons and ballistic weapons when it comes to guns in Star Ascension
[21:05] <~Dan> How would you describe starship combat?
[21:06] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Starship combat focuses more on what the Characters are doing in the ship during combat and what stations they’re at
[21:07] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Running a starship combat sequence is much like watching starship combat in the original Star Trek series. The exact precise location and speed of the ships weren’t as important as where the crew was and what they were doing
[21:08] <+StarAscension-Stuart> It runs in some ways like Submarine combat- you can’t directly see the other vessel (combat often takes place at extreme distances making visible light identification impractical)
[21:09] <+StarAscension-Stuart> You first have someone operate sensors, this telemetry is relayed the gunner’s station who then makes a to-hit roll based on that and other factors
[21:09] <~Dan> So no cinematic space dogfights, right?
[21:09] <+StarAscension-Stuart> There’s a finite amount of power and shielding, so other crew members are stationed to optimize both
[21:10] <+StarAscension-Stuart> There are dogfights and they are run a little differently
[21:10] <+StarAscension-Stuart> but we stick with a more abstract system to keep the action flowing
[21:11] <+StarAscension-Stuart> The core principle we wanted to adhere to involving space combat (and in fact everything else) was to make it as close to REAL SCIENCE as possible
[21:11] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Thus an abstract method of rules was the way we chose to accomplish that to keep the fighting accurate as much as possible to Newtonian physics without being rules heavy
[21:12] * ~Dan nods
[21:12] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In addition to the starship “submarine like” combat and dogfights, there are also mixed situations where smaller faster spacecraft go on strafing runs on the slower, larger ships
[21:14] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet available?
[21:15] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Let me see what I can come up with
[21:15] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We have several simplified Character Sheets we released with the Quick Start, but I’ve been redesigning the full character sheet
[21:16] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Here’s a look at the simplified Character Sheet for the Quick Start:
[21:16] <+StarAscension-Stuart> (Link: https://radiantgamingsystems.com/#jp-carousel-248)https://radiantgamingsystems.com/#jp-carousel-248
[21:17] <+StarAscension-Stuart> The full Character sheet has more Skills on it and sections for writing in an inventory and recording XP and Trauma data
[21:18] <~Dan> You distinguish between Dexterity and Agility. Nice.
[21:19] <~Dan> I see level. Is this a level-based system?
[21:19] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Yes, we felt there was a bigger difference between Dexterity and Agility than there was between Strength and Constitution (which are both reflected under Physique)
[21:20] <+StarAscension-Stuart> It is a level based system. In fact it’s the only D6 game I know of that uses levels. Traditionally WEG’s D6 System for Star Wars among their other products did not use levels
[21:20] <+StarAscension-Stuart> I think it’s important for a person to be able to look at a Character sheet and get an instant idea via a Character Level how powerful that Character is
[21:20] <~Dan> Are there classes as well?
[21:21] <+StarAscension-Stuart> There aren’t classes as you’d find in D&D and Pathfinder, rather we provide a number of Character templates that are similar in function to a Character’s class
[21:22] <+StarAscension-Stuart> However the scratch build system effectively allows a Player to construct their own custom template- effectively creating their own Character class
[21:23] <~Dan> What does level effect?
[21:23] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Essentially you get a lot of the benefits of having a character class but with virtually no class restrictions
[21:24] <+StarAscension-Stuart> After accumulating enough XP to level up, you get a pool of Skill Points that you can use to improve Skills, increase Skill levels and acquire new Character Perks
[21:25] <+StarAscension-Stuart> A Character Perk can be anything from enhanced strength from a cybernetic move, to a special set of martial arts technique to special sniper training
[21:25] <~Dan> How outlandish can genetic modifications be?
[21:26] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Ultimately, you can’t be good at everything and you naturally improve your character that helps define their function
[21:26] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Well the genetic engineering technology of the 24th Century is still highly experimental, so enhancements will usually be subtle
[21:27] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Think Miranda from Mass Effect – she’s billed as being genetically optimized, but it doesn’t come across in obvious ways
[21:27] <~Dan> Can you give some examples?
[21:27] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Pheromones – your Character is good at seducing others 😉
[21:29] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Genetic Modifications can give you certain types of immunity, or give you slightly better strength or intelligence
[21:30] <+StarAscension-Stuart> But animals are a different story- people have gone beserk trying to enhance and optimize earth creatures
[21:30] <+StarAscension-Stuart> This has sometimes lead to horrifying results which has effectively stymied the research into modifying human genes
[21:36] <~Dan> You mentioned horror. How would you do that in this setting?
[21:38] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Quite easily. One example which takes a lot of inspiration from Alien would be the use of creatures (be they genetically modified or extraterrestrial) as the primary threat stalking and killing the Characters
[21:39] <+StarAscension-Stuart> In this case, Characters would very easily start accumulating Trauma Points from their experience with such a creature
[21:39] <+StarAscension-Stuart> And as with sentient aliens, we really encourage GMs to create their own creatures so that the Players in the game session will have the full experience of not knowing what they’re dealing with
[21:40] <+StarAscension-Stuart> The flavor of horror comes in when it turns out a given creature is invulnerable to conventional weaponry
[21:41] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Another aspect of horror in the game is the concept we developed that we nick-named “wire-heads”
[21:42] <+StarAscension-Stuart> “Wire-heads” if you haven’t guessed are people who just aren’t people anymore because they’ve had too many cybernetic implants. There’s very little human left and mostly machine
[21:42] <+StarAscension-Stuart> These guys are sort of like zombies, maybe techno-zombies? Ha! Just thought of that!
[21:43] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:43] <+StarAscension-Stuart> And while this falls more under the category of military fiction, we also want the horrors of combat to be palpable
[21:44] <+StarAscension-Stuart> That’s why we’ve made combat deadly in addition to being a situation where you can start accumulating Trauma Points
[21:45] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Combat in Star Ascension is meant to be much more like real life-it’s not some casual affair you walk into and then brush it off and laugh at the local tavern. Constant combat is meant to affect you.
[21:46] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:47] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Well, we have gone over quite a bit and there’s always something i forget until afterwards =O
[21:48] <+StarAscension-Stuart> But I think if I can sum it up, Star Ascension is really fun because the rules don’t get in the way and you’re able to just jump right away into the action
[21:49] <+StarAscension-Stuart> We ran quite a few demo events where people who had never played an RPG before were able to sit down and play Star Ascension with us in just minutes of looking over a rule cheat sheet
[21:49] <~Dan> Thanks for joining us, StarAscension-Stuart!
[21:49] <+StarAscension-Stuart> That said, it’s actually a very good introductory RPG for people who have never played one but always wanted to.
[21:50] <~Dan> Quick reminder: My tip jar is here for those so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:50] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Thank you very much Dan!
[21:50] <~Dan> Certainly!
[21:50] <+StarAscension-Stuart> Roger that on the tip jar
[21:50] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link.
[21:50] <+StarAscension-Stuart> And our KS is: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiantgamingsystems/star-ascension-a-gritty-sci-fi-rpg-for-open-d6)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiantgamingsystems/star-ascension-a-gritty-sci-fi-rpg-for-open-d6
[21:50] <+StarAscension-Stuart> And we’ve got just a little over a week left