[20:30] <+Thorin> Hello. I’m Thorin Tabor. I’m the author of the new pulp alternate history RPG, “Dime Adventures,” which is currently on Kickstarter.
[20:30] <+Thorin> It’s set in an alternate 1904, with all sorts of high-action and pulp strangeness.
[20:30] <+Thorin> Dinosaurs can still be found in forgotten corners of the globe. Aliens sometimes visit the world. Ancient sorcerers wield mysterious powers. Mad scientists dream up crazy new inventions. The dead rise from the grave. Unknown cryptids lurk in the wilderness. Mustache-twirling villains tie victims to the railroad tracks. Crime-fighters battle gangs by night.
[20:30] <+Thorin> The whole nine yards!
[20:31] <+Thorin> And all this is thrown into an alternate history backdrop, where modern social movements are sweeping the globe, the remaining blank spots on the map are being explored, people are discovering manned flight and radio communication.
[20:31] <+Thorin> But history is different. The Holy Roman Empire still lingers on. The Qing Dynasty may be failing in China, but it has significant overseas holdings. The Incas resolved their civil war early and held their own at Tawantinsuyu. The Portuguese court still operates from Brazil.
[20:31] <+Thorin> In many ways this is about carving out the most interesting narrative ground for campaigns. I want GMs and players to be able to say: That’s awesome! Let’s do it! And if it’s an anachronism that’s off by a decade or few, whatever! It’s an alternate earth!
[20:31] <+Thorin> I also wanted to be able to mine real world history for interesting tidbits, what ifs, events, etc., and then present them in the book as plot hooks with a pulp action twist. And the setting chapter of the book has a lot of little sidebars like that.
[20:31] <+Thorin> All-in-all, it’s an action-packed game with a lot of interesting goings-on, both in the direction of alternate history and in the direction of pulp strangeness.
[20:32] <+Thorin> And in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, here’s the Kickstarter link: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying
[20:32] <+Thorin> (done – happy to take questions)
[20:32] <~Dan> Thanks, Thorin!
[20:32] <~Dan> The floor is open to questigns!
[20:32] <~Dan> Or questions, even!
[20:33] <~Dan> So my initial thought when reading about the concept was: Why 1904?
[20:33] <~Dan> (Howdy, MikeMyler!)
[20:33] <+MikeMyler> (Yo)
[20:33] <~Dan> (MikeMyler: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying )
[20:34] <~Dan> I mean, generally speaking, pulp action is associated with the 1930s, at least in the mind of the gamer.
[20:34] <+Thorin> It’s a interesting time, right around the turn of the century, and it lets us draw both on the tropes of Victorian literature, as well as the better-known later pulp tropes.
[20:35] <~Dan> You should call the time period “Edweirdian”.
[20:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, ZurnCentral!)
[20:35] <+ZurnCentral> (Hey guys!)
[20:35] <+Thorin> That’s awesome! I wish I would have thought of that.
[20:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, Blarghedy!)
[20:35] <~Dan> Thorin: Feel free to use it. 🙂
[20:35] <+Thorin> Thanks!
[20:36] <~Dan> (Just give me credit. 😉 )
[20:36] <+ZurnCentral> If the game is still in beta Thorin it’s not uncommon to make changes, 🙂
[20:36] <+Thorin> Point granted.
[20:37] <~Dan> How far back does the alternate history go? Is there any one main point of divergence?
[20:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:37] <+Thorin> But yeah, it’s an interesting time with a lot of stuff going on around the world. It’s really kind of the end of the old era and the dawn of the 20th century. And so there’s a lot to draw upon.
[20:37] <&Le_Squide> (Heya!)
[20:38] <~Dan> (Le_Squide: topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying?ref=nav_search)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying?ref=nav_search )
[20:39] <+Thorin> It doesn’t really have one main divergence point. Unlike a lot of rigorous academic alternate history, the world more-or-less follows the rule of cool. So we have a bigfoot civilization in the ancient past. We have the Mongolian Empire not collapsing with the death of Genghis Khan, etc.
[20:40] <+Thorin> And that fits well with the pulp themes, as pulp tended to mesh together a lot of different genre elements.
[20:40] <~Dan> (wb, Silverlion2)
[20:40] <&Silverlion> Thanks dan
[20:40] <+MikeMyler> If you’re using a card deck as the core mechanic instead of dice, are there any plans for pulp decks to make available as add-ons to this?
[20:40] <+MikeMyler> *since (even)
[20:42] <+Thorin> We’ve thought about that. And that’s more viable than it used to be. DriveThruCards will print tuck-boxes now, which makes it easier to offer decks of cards as a POD product.
[20:42] <+Thorin> But right now we don’t have any concrete plans for it.
[20:42] <~Dan> While we’re on the topic, can you describe the game’s core mechanic?
[20:43] <+Thorin> Sure.
[20:43] <+ZurnCentral> ^Was just about to ask that, 🙂
[20:43] <+MikeMyler> Is there a pilot class that gets a super bonus for drawing the Ace or is it just as good for everybody? 🙂
[20:43] <+Thorin> The basic action mechanic is stat + skill + card flip vs. a target number. Higher is better. In combat the suit of the card is used to determine damage. The suit can also trigger other effects. And this is used extensively, both in player character traits and in NPC/monster special abilities.
[20:43] <+Thorin> Additionally, every player a hand of cards, called “moxie” which can be substituted instead of a flip off the top of the deck, or which can be discarded for various effects. Essentially the hand works in many ways like fate/karma/luck points do in many games.
[20:43] <+Thorin> The cards are just standard poker cards, by the way. I’ve also included an alternative dice mechanic as an appendix for those who have a preference not to use cards.
[20:43] <+ZurnCentral> ^Standard card deck reduces the cost component of starting the game – I like that a lot
[20:45] <+Thorin> We do have an “ace pilot” background, but alas, no effects from that background with the ace cards.
[20:45] <~Dan> Do you make the system “pulpier” in any way? I’m assuming it’s a little more forgiving than is Shadows Over Sol, for example.
[20:45] <~Dan> (Shadows Over Sol being Thorin’s sci-fi horror game.)
[20:45] <+Thorin> I read a lot of game design blogs, and there’s this design thought that comes out of strategy games actually, but I feel it applies equally well to RPGs. It’s called the Rule of Thirds.
[20:45] <+Thorin> Essentially, the idea is that when you create a new game in a series – beyond just giving it a new setting or theme or whatever – one third of the game should be the core, the identity of the game which doesn’t change.
[20:45] <+Thorin> One third should be trying to address complaints that people had about the earlier game in the series, and generally trying to improve upon the system. And one third should be new stuff.
[20:46] <+Thorin> And the Saga Machine games all have this. They all have a recognizable core, but the system is also always tailored to fit the genre. Really, it’s trying to strike a middle ground between using a generic system for everything and rebuilding a completely new system from the group up every time.
[20:46] * ~Dan nods
[20:46] <+Thorin> So this game has a completely different health/wound system than Shadows Over Sol.
[20:47] <+Thorin> And the round structure and action points work different.
[20:47] <+Thorin> Essentially I wanted a subsystem that would really support pulp action.
[20:47] * ~Dan nods
[20:48] <+Thorin> And as a consequence, it needed something more forgiving.
[20:48] <&Silverlion> Hrms.
[20:48] <~Dan> So is crashing through a skylight, both guns a-blazing a viable tactic?
[20:49] <+Thorin> So the game has something closer to a traditional hit point system, but rather than “dropping” at a fixed point (for example, 0 HP). Instead, beyond that point every time you take damage, you have to make an action versus unconsciousness.
[20:49] <+Thorin> Absolutely.
[20:49] <~Dan> Awesome.
[20:49] <&Silverlion> Interesting. In a lot of pulp fiction the good guys realize the bad guys have them surrounded so they put their hands up….and let themselves get taken.
[20:49] <+Thorin> And we added character traits to the game that players can buy to get abilities that support that.
[20:50] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[20:51] <~Dan> Silverlion: A valid point. Two-Fisted Tales tries to simulate that but goes a bit too far in the other direction, IMO.
[20:51] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW)
[20:51] <&Silverlion> Anything to encourage surrendering?
[20:51] <+Thorin> So in Dime Adventures, that’s actually one possible use of Moxie. Essentially, you can spend a point (GM willing) as a sort of guarantee of safety when you put your hands up. Otherwise, that’s a difficult trope to achieve, as players don’t really like losing agency over a situation like that.
[20:52] <~Dan> Huh. That’s pretty clever.
[20:52] <&Silverlion> Yeah there is this wierd balance you have to manage with pulp.
[20:52] <+Thorin> Dan, I thought you’d ask that. Unfortunately, I don’t have a final character sheet with a pretty design an everything, but I do have the one that was used in the beta test. here you go: (Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B17Mljc1HHs1c0dubGhkYlhRZHc)https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B17Mljc1HHs1c0dubGhkYlhRZHc
[20:52] <&Silverlion> Still its not a bad idea.
[20:53] <&Silverlion> Although I might award moxie if they surrender (to be spent on a daring escape later.)
[20:53] <+ZurnCentral> ^That’s a good idea
[20:53] <~Dan> Are attribute/skill combos variable or hard linked?
[20:54] <+Thorin> Different attribute/skill combos are viable.
[20:54] * ~Dan nods
[20:54] <~Dan> I prefer that approach, generally speaking.
[20:54] <+Thorin> Me too.
[20:54] <~Dan> What is magic like in this setting?
[20:57] <+Thorin> We have a “Paranormal ability” system that covers magic, psychic powers, supernatural martial arts, etc. Essentially these abilities are skills. They each list a number of different effects that pair with different attributes. But when you use them, they require that you play a “moxie.”
[20:57] <+Thorin> Since you only have a limited number of moxie cards in your hand, you can’t go too willy-nilly.
[20:57] <&Silverlion> I like it as well. That’s cool.
[20:58] <+Thorin> But you can earn moxie back during play.
[20:58] <&Silverlion> It also means you sometimes have to solve problems with brains and brawn. Not superpowers and such
[20:58] <+Thorin> Yep
[20:58] <~Dan> I take it that the game allows for proto-super pulp powers, then? Like the Shadow’s mentalism?
[20:59] <~Dan> Or the Avenger’s face-changing?
[21:00] <+Thorin> Indeed. There are paranormal abilities list for most of the classic pulp proto-super powers, as well as some of the other abilities you encounter in literature from the era.
[21:01] <~Dan> I’m guessing that you can play an animal-chatting Tarzan type?
[21:01] <~Dan> (I have a potential player who is dying to play a jungle lord.)
[21:02] <+Thorin> A special affinity with animals is one of the abilities, and it includes speaking with animals, as well as a howl to call upon them, etc.
[21:02] <~Dan> Sweet. 🙂
[21:03] <+Thorin> I have a player who loves playing anything with animals or pets.
[21:03] * ~Dan nods
[21:04] <~Dan> You mentioned aliens. What are they like in the game?
[21:06] <+Thorin> So the game talks about three main groups that visit the world (and notes that this may not be an exhaustive list). There are the grays, the sort of little green men with psychic powers who abduct people.
[21:06] <+Thorin> There are the Hitch’nyv, who have fled their dying homeworld and are trying to colonize the world, and are trying to form secret alliances with different peoples around the world.
[21:06] <+Thorin> And then there are monstrous starspawn, which are pretty much a direct nod to mythos.
[21:07] <+Thorin> Inhuman things with tentacles and a terrifying visage, etc.
[21:07] <~Dan> Given the level of tech as of 1904, what keeps the aliens from simply steamrolling everybody?
[21:09] <+Thorin> The starspawn are more in the lone wandering monster category.
[21:10] <+Thorin> The grays may have invasion plans. They must be studying humans when they abduct them for a reason?!? With them this is more-or-left an open question, in case the GM wants to run a War of the Worlds-type scenario.
[21:11] <+Thorin> The Hitch’nyv, on the other hand, came to colonize a world they thought was lacking intelligent life, so they brought with them something more akin to high-tech farming equipment. Which might be dangerous in its own right, but it’s primarily designed as a weapon.
[21:12] <+Thorin> *primarily not
[21:12] <~Dan> Farming equipment, eh?
[21:12] <~Dan> So they could fire tractor beams?
[21:12] <+Thorin> Gonna colonize a world, got to each something, right?
[21:12] <+Thorin> *got to eat
[21:13] <+Thorin> lol
[21:13] <~Dan> 😀
[21:14] <~Dan> Speaking of tech, is the tech level much higher than our world’s 1904? How prevalent is “weird science”?
[21:15] <+Thorin> The tech level is assumed to mostly be the same, but weird science is a thing, and that justifies having some higher (or weirder) tech gizmos lying around.
[21:15] <+Thorin> The game even has an invention system, for inventor-type characters who want to assemble something crazy on the fly.
[21:16] <~Dan> How crunchy does that subsystem get?
[21:18] <+Thorin> It’s not super-crunchy. Basically the player describes what he wants to do, the GM assigns a difficulty to that (and optionally a cost, if it’s something very extravagant). Then the player makes two actions – one for the design and one for the prototype.
[21:18] <+Thorin> Both these flips can introduce bugs (side effects) that the GM can pick (or can optionally roll on a table for inspiration).
[21:19] <~Dan> Sounds easy enough.
[21:20] <+Thorin> We found that it works pretty well in play.
[21:20] <~Dan> Are there zeppelins?
[21:20] <+Thorin> It’s streamlined compared to the earlier version in the playtest.
[21:20] <+Thorin> Zeppelins are a thing, even if they’re not super-common yet.
[21:20] * ~Dan nods
[21:21] <~Dan> Are airplanes still at the Wright Brothers stage?
[21:22] <+Thorin> They’re a bit beyond that, but most aren’t quite to the WWI dog-fighter point yet. A few exceptional aircraft may be.
[21:23] <~Dan> What’s the story with the rocket samurai?
[21:26] <+Thorin> That was actually inspired by one of the playtests. We had this player who spent a fortune on Samauri-style Do armor. Anyway, there was this mad scientist villain in the Himalayas who has a jetpack. Anyway, he stole the jetpack. And the very next encounter was against a yeti, as the heroes are trying to make it back to civilization.
[21:26] <+Thorin> The character was actually a sort of “collector of unusual antiquities.”
[21:27] <~Dan> That’s pretty awesome. 🙂
[21:27] <~Dan> How common are dinosaurs?
[21:28] <+Thorin> They have survived the eons, in the world under the earth, and on forgotten islands in distant seas.
[21:29] <+Thorin> We had a game where one was captured and brought to the 1904 World’s Fair.
[21:29] <~Dan> I’ll bet that just went swimmingly.
[21:29] <+Thorin> It went about as well as you would expect.
[21:29] * ~Dan nods sagely
[21:30] <~Dan> So there’s a Hollow Earth?
[21:30] <+Thorin> There is, although it hasn’t been discovered yet. We’ve left that as something the players can achieve.
[21:31] <~Dan> Nice touch.
[21:32] <~Dan> Oh, I almost forgot: Congrats on funding and then some!
[21:32] <+Thorin> Thank you so much!
[21:32] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:32] <+Thorin> I’ve been very happy with the support of our backers and the Kickstarter in general.
[21:32] * ~Dan nods
[21:33] <~Dan> Speaking of the KS, the art shows Indians with frickin’ lazers. Is there a story behind that?
[21:34] <+Thorin> They have been trading with the Hitch’nyv.
[21:34] <+Thorin> The aliens.
[21:36] <~Dan> Ah. 🙂
[21:36] <~Dan> Are the Indian nations still a thing in the setting, then?
[21:37] <+Thorin> Many of them are, anyway.
[21:37] <~Dan> How have they managed to stay independent?
[21:38] <+Thorin> A technological advantage from trading with the Hitch’nyv is a big one.
[21:38] <~Dan> What are they trading to the aliens?
[21:40] <+Thorin> Some land, foodstuffs, etc.
[21:40] * ~Dan nods
[21:41] <+MonkofLords> Hmmm
[21:41] <~Dan> How in the open is the weirdness in the setting? Does the general public know about aliens and magic and cryptids and such?
[21:43] <+Thorin> Some of the weirdness is generally known about. There is some weird science out there that has been demonstrated. A few cryptids may have been caught and studied by science. But the world is much weirder than most people in it suspect.
[21:44] * ~Dan nods
[21:44] <~Dan> Do you delve into the cosmology of the setting? Are there angels, demons, and/or gods?
[21:46] <+Thorin> The book doesn’t delve into the cosmology too much. It’s more focused on the world and the exciting things happening in it, rather than other planes or gods or whatnot.
[21:46] * ~Dan nods
[21:46] <~Dan> Does the book have a bestiary?
[21:48] <+Thorin> It does. It’s got a good selection of generic NPCs, quite a few cryptids/monsters and a four or five ready-to-go villains. We’ve also (just yesterday) unlocked a cryptid/monster supplement as one of the stretch goals.
[21:49] <~Dan> Separate book or part of the core, re: the cryptid supplement?
[21:49] <+Thorin> Separate book.
[21:50] * ~Dan nods
[21:50] <~Dan> How many dinos?
[21:51] <+Thorin> I think there are five or six in the main book, and will be about the same number in the cryptid supplement.
[21:52] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:53] <~Dan> Can you describe how combat works?
[21:55] <+Thorin> Sure. Initiative is a variant of “popcorn”-style initiative, which is common these days. On your turn you get 3 action points. You can spend these to take an action, but usually only one action per turn can require a flip to resolve. So, for example, you might spend one to move, one to aim, one to attack.
[21:55] <+Thorin> Some special combat maneuvers or special abilities might also require one of those AP to activate.
[21:55] <+Thorin> Finally, you can save some – not spend them on your turn – and keep them around to take perform defensive reactions.
[21:56] <+Thorin> All characters have a Defense score, which is really two target numbers: the difficult to hit the character and the difficulty to critically hit the character.
[21:57] <+Thorin> If you hit a character you deal damage based on the suit of the card being played. Weapons will usually have four damage values listed – one for each suot.
[21:58] <+Thorin> If you critically hit a character, you get to pick a “critical effect” from a short list and apply it to the target. This often means more damage, or the target is knocked prone or something like that. Certain weapons or abilities can give an additional critical option.
[21:59] <+Thorin> Once your health drops to 0, you begin being as risk of going down. Each time you take damage below 0, you must make an action versus unconsciousness. if you fail, you drop. The target number for this is the number of HP you are below 0, so as you continue to take damage, it becomes more difficult to stay up.
[22:00] <+Thorin> I guess that’s what happens when start typing quickly.
[22:00] <+Thorin> wow, I made some typos there.
[22:04] <~Dan> How long does character creation generally take?
[22:05] <+Thorin> Depends on how long it takes you to make decisions. A determined GM can make a character in 5 minutes. I’m betting most players are going to take closer to half an hour, though. Here’s what character creation involves:
[22:07] <+Thorin> 1) Pick a background. 2) Assign your stats from an array (or point buy). 3) Assign your skills from an array (or point buy). 4) Pick a creed, idiosyncrasy and, optionally, a weakness. 5) Buy additional equipment if you want some (your background already comes with the basics)
[22:12] <~Dan> Are there any Big Bads built into the setting?
[22:14] <+Thorin> The setting doesn’t have an overarching big bad, but the book comes with a few ready-made villains that have been written to be easy to drop into games.
[22:16] <+Xaos> Can your players be the villians or is it designed more around them being the heroes of situations?
[22:17] <+Thorin> There’s nothing prevent players from being villains, especially if the GM makes the villain traits available to players to purchase. But that’s game’s usual assumption.
[22:19] <+Xaos> Oh good so you do have ‘bad people’ style traits built in if the party wants to go that way? My still most favorite game involved an entire party of monsters as players so I like to see options if possible.
[22:20] <+Xaos> What’s the line? “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
[22:20] <+Thorin> Yeah, those traits exist in the game. They’re just usually not open to players by default. There are traits there, for example, to stun witnesses characters with a fiendish monologue.
[22:24] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[22:25] <+Thorin> Not that jumps to mind, really. We’ve covered a lot.
[22:25] <+Thorin> I will throw up the Kickstarter URL again, though: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabcreations/dime-adventures-pulp-alternate-history-roleplaying
[22:26] <~Dan> Well, I have to say that I’m really sold on this idea. 🙂
[22:26] <+Thorin> Thank you for having me come do a Q&A.
[22:27] <~Dan> You’re very welcome. And you’re always welcome, for that matter. Please hang out with us whenever you like. 🙂
[22:27] <+Thorin> Sounds good. Thank you again.
[22:27] <~Dan> Oh, and here’s my tip jar, for those so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[22:27] <+Xaos> Yeah 26 days left I hope you can grab a few more of those stretch goals
[22:28] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link.