[19:33] <+Sam> Thanks, Dan, and thanks to those listening! I’m Sam Smith. I’ve been designing games for free for the past 6 years, and I just launched my first Kickstarter.
[19:33] <+Sam> This game is called “Untitled,” for better or for worse. It’s really two things:
[19:34] <+Sam> 1) a system-agnostic world generator that will help anybody create and draw and populate a dynamic fantasy world. GMs and writers have both really enjoyed it.
[19:35] <+Sam> 2) a new pen and paper RPG system so players can drop themselves right into the worlds they create
[19:35] <+Sam> The kickstarter was funded in less than a day and I’m excited to talk about it and see it through!
[19:35] <+Sam> (done)
[19:35] <~Dan> Thanks, Sam!
[19:35] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:36] <&Le_Squide> First thing, have a link to that kickstarter?
[19:36] <~Dan> How does this world generator of yours work?
[19:36] <+Mom> What if I’ve never played an RPG? How long would it take to learn?
[19:36] <+Sam> Wow, the things you learn, Le_Squide: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862586065/untitled-4/)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862586065/untitled-4/
[19:38] <+xyphoid> what’s a hard/soft/deadly move here? are hard/soft the same as in *world?
[19:39] <+Sam> It does not take really any time to learn, Mom. All the players do in the game is describe what they feel like doing and occasionally roll dice to see if they succeed. I’ve seen players walk right up to the table and get going in no time flat.
[19:40] <+Sam> Dan, the world generator is first based on a “drop map,” in which you drop dice on a piece of paper. Then, through a series of tables and questions, you draw continents and coastlines and terrain features, settlements, etc. As much or as little as you need.
[19:41] <+Sam> Dan, other similar offerings exist but none are as comprehensive. And a unique feature of this, as far as I can tell in the market, is the generator’s ability to create multi-step plots that will immediately engage your players.
[19:41] <~Dan> So it helps with the actual drawing of the map? Interesting.
[19:42] <+Sam> xyphoid, yes, the moves are very similar to *world, but there are more of them so that gameplay is always as clear as possible. And there are tweaks so that the “Overlord” always has something to do to change the players’ situation.
[19:43] <+Sam> xyphoid, deadly moves are an addition that outright compel the Overlord to deal damage. It’s there to preserve an adversarial feel and to provide additional narrative guidance. Overall the moves are similar to *world but there are differences that I think improve the system’s structure.
[19:45] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[19:45] <+Sam> Dan, yes, it helps with the drawing of the map. If you were to create whole continents, for example, it tells you where to mark your paper depending on the dice rolls and how to draw the coastlines.
[19:48] <+Sam> Dan, I’ve just been handwriting them to be honest with you. But they look like this: (Link: http://i.imgur.com/VhUsvZL.png)http://i.imgur.com/VhUsvZL.png
[19:48] <+Sam> (Link: http://imgur.com/VhUsvZL)http://imgur.com/VhUsvZL
[19:49] <~Dan> Looks like pretty standard attributes.
[19:49] <+Sam> The biography section is important because when you create your characters, you come up with fictional reasons to distribute a few extra points around your scores.
[19:49] <+Sam> Yes, I’m not smarter than Gary Gygax 🙂
[19:49] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:50] <~Dan> Can you describe the game’s core mechanic?
[19:51] <+Sam> It’s a streamlined blend of D&D and *world. You roll a D6, add it directly to your attribute score, and try to beat a Challenge Number set by the Overlord. You get different bonuses and the Overlord is allowed different moves based on the result on a spectrum from great failure to great success.
[19:53] <~Dan> No skills, I take it?
[19:53] <+Sam> Very quick to pick up. And then the game’s “title” mechanic is that instead of leveling up, the other players give you a title based on the action you just performed whenever you roll a 6, and you get bonuses for the rest of your life when referring to that action
[19:54] <+Sam> Skills are gained through titles or through pertinent sections of the biography.
[19:55] <~Dan> Don’t titles accumulate awfully quickly?
[19:56] <+Sam> They do, but I don’t mind. That’s part of the fun! But some players prefer to keep one title per session, and I think that’s a fine way to do it.
[19:56] <+Sam> I’ll go ahead and post the alpha ruleset here. A $1 value! (Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wezAFqAPPrK7epr_Vh4zjrEthEcm0U-7NUeQI5nkLlc/edit?usp=sharing)https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wezAFqAPPrK7epr_Vh4zjrEthEcm0U-7NUeQI5nkLlc/edit?usp=sharing
[19:57] <~Dan> Oh, thank you!
[19:57] <+Sam> Thank you!
[19:58] <~Dan> Now, in Apocalypse World, the GM never rolls. Is that the case here?
[19:58] <+Sam> The GM only rolls to deal damage in this system. And a bunch of times to create and maintain the world 🙂
[19:59] <+Sam> I told the backers I’m cooking up something special for them for backing it early.
[20:00] <~Dan> Does that mean that it’s not possible to reflect NPC skill levels?
[20:00] <&GKG_Alan> oioi
[20:01] <~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan!)
[20:01] <+Sam> NPC skills are reflected by the challenge numbers the Overlord sets.
[20:01] <+Sam> The game has an appendix full of sample challenge numbers to give Overlords plenty of benchmarks.
[20:02] <~Dan> So if an NPC attacks a PC, the player rolls to defend?
[20:04] <+Sam> Yep. If say, a dragon’s tail was whipping towards a PC, and the PC tried to jump over it, the Overlord would say “Ok, that’s an Avoid Threat Dexterity move. The Challenge Level is 12.” The player would roll a D6, add it to their Dexterity score, and if they failed hard enough then the Overlord get a “deadly move” and roll for damage.
[20:04] <~Dan> What would be an example of a deadly move?
[20:05] <+Sam> There are only two deadly moves: Mark and Deal Damage
[20:06] <+Sam> For a player to receive damage, they have to have a Mark on them. Players get marks by incurring deadly moves and by rolling 1s. They have to take “Refresh” moves to get rid of them.
[20:07] <~Dan> Wouldn’t that mean that the first successful attack can never do damage?
[20:08] <+Sam> Yes, but it means that a potentially fatal attack would have to deal damage. It’s to preserve a sense of danger in the system, so that players don’t think that the Overlord can’t/won’t give them a hard time.
[20:10] <~Dan> I’m not sure I follow you… In the example above, the dragon swings its tail, but if it hasn’t hit previously, the player knows that the tail will do no damage.
[20:12] <+Sam> Players get Marks very easily. Players are constantly playing “press your luck” trying to perform while marked for damage. So even if that tail doesn’t do damage right away, the mechanics of the game allow the Overlord a series of hard moves and a deadly move, so the player would be knocked across the room, winded, etc…and marked for death.
[20:13] <+Sam> Death is quite common if the play is reckless.
[20:14] <~Dan> Ah, I see… So those are examples of hard moves?
[20:15] <~Dan> Knocked across the room, etc.?
[20:15] <+Sam> Yeah.
[20:15] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:16] <+Sam> Kick It Up A Notch, Abuse Flaw, Monster Move, Show Threat, Consume/Disarm, etc.
[20:17] <~Dan> I take it that the game is designed with fantasy in mind?
[20:19] <+Sam> Yes. The world generator, spell builder, equipment forge, etc. are all inspired by D&D-style fantasy.
[20:19] <+Sam> The final stretch goal is a no-serial numbers Star Wars expansion. Star Wars is so hot right now.
[20:20] <+Sam> And the two goals in the middle are Arthurian and Gothic world generators. It’s a versatile system, as RPGs tend to be 🙂
[20:21] <~Dan> Very cool.
[20:21] <+Sam> But I stuck with classical fantasy because I wanted to make a game that gave new players the old-school feel and let them play RPGs the way they play them in movies.
[20:22] * ~Dan nods
[20:22] <~Dan> Does the game use classes?
[20:23] <+Sam> No
[20:24] <~Dan> How is spellcasting ability determined?
[20:24] <+Sam> “Then, add 1 to any two scores of your choice. In the Biography section, note how your character’s history contributed to the bonuses.” that’s the class system, plus titles you accumulate through your actions
[20:25] <+Sam> You choose whether or not to be a spellcaster. It’s based on your INT/WIS scores. If you choose not to be, you get to boost your scores again.
[20:26] <~Dan> What is the spellcasting mechanic?
[20:26] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:26] <+Sam> If you choose to cast, you get to build spells using the spell builder. Pick spell type, range, area of effect, prep time, duration of effect, ritual required, etc, and pay a few points for each choice. The final total is the “Spell Level” and is the base challenge number you need to meet/exceed to cast the spell.
[20:27] <+Sam> Or you can buy them from a set list of cantrips if you are looking to jump into the game more quickly.
[20:27] <+Sam> But if you make a particularly successful casting roll, you can buy from the spell builder on the fly to increase various properties of the spell.
[20:33] <~Dan> (back)
[20:33] <+Sam> Hi again!
[20:33] <~Dan> Hello!
[20:34] <~Dan> So you have a custom spell-building system as well as a pick-and-choose “cafeteria” style… but high rolls on spellcasting let you buy new elements to the spell?
[20:34] <+Sam> Yes, hit the nail on the head.
[20:34] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:35] <~Dan> Is all magic the same, or do you have schools of magic?
[20:36] <+Sam> It’s all the same in service to simplicity. Schools of magic are pretty darn cool. But I think they can be satisfactorily added in by narrative choices.
[20:37] <~Dan> Are there any limits on spellcasting?
[20:38] <+Sam> What kind of limits?
[20:38] <+Sam> You can’t change people into rabbits willy-nilly, if that’s what you mean.
[20:39] <~Dan> Oh, like magic points or backlash. That sort of thing.
[20:39] <+Mom> Can an old fashioned wargamer enjoy this one?
[20:41] <+Sam> The higher the effect of the spell, the higher its spell level. And you’ll get a lot of backlash from big failures. If you want to lower a spell’s level, you can stipulate that it takes a ritual, sacrifice, reagent, or moment of demonic possession.
[20:43] <~Dan> Ah, I see. That’s pretty elegant.
[20:43] <+Sam> Hey Mom! Yes, I definitely think an old fashioned wargamer can enjoy it! I am one myself, thankfully, after all. The system is built to give new players every single tool and piece of guidance they need to tell a story together.
[20:45] <+Sam> Thanks, Dan! It has worked well in playtesting.
[20:45] <~Dan> (Welcome back, Guest25Warhammer!)
[20:46] <+Guest25Warhammer> Thank you. How about an old fashioned warhammer player?
[20:47] <~Dan> (You can fix your name by typing “/nick Warhammer” (no quotes) )
[20:47] <+Sam> Well you already have great pieces to use for your monsters and heroes, Guest25Warhammer!
[20:48] <~Dan> Do you offer fantasy races to play?
[20:48] <+Sam> If you can handle Warhammer, you should fear no system! This is a cakewalk compared to Warhammer, as is most Russian literature 🙂
[20:49] <+Mom> That’s right! No 50 page rule books, I guess.
[20:49] <+Sam> I offer a list of suggested races, but the way races work is that players just pick one and give themselves a title and a bonus at their discretion. They just have to explain why their chosen races contributes to the bonus. To generate more lore from the players.
[20:50] <+Sam> *by bonus I mean +1 to one attribute score
[20:51] <+Sam> So in that way I think it will adapt especially well to sci-fi and completely alien races, actually.
[20:52] <~Dan> Does that mean that nonhumans are automatically superior to humans?
[20:52] <~Dan> Or do humans get the title and bonus, too?
[20:52] <+Sam> Humans get the title and bonus, too.
[20:53] <~Dan> I see. Cool.
[20:53] <~Dan> Do you include a bestiary?
[20:55] <+Sam> Mom, nope, no 50 page rulebooks! This one will clock in at around 70 pages, but the vast majority of that is just stuff that makes the game easier–move options, random generators, sample challenges, etc. The rules themselves are very simple.
[20:55] <+Sam> Dan, yep, that includes a bestiary.
[20:55] <~Dan> How large of a bestiary?
[20:57] <+Sam> Around 100 monsters and other foes.
[20:57] <+Sam> Not that it’s hard to create a monster on the fly, of course, but player service is a big feature of what I’m trying to provide.
[20:58] <~Dan> That’s pretty impressive for a 70-page rulebook! How much space do the writeups take?
[21:00] <+Sam> I’m able to fit 5-6 on a page. I go longways, so to speak 🙂
[21:00] <+Sam> A monster is basically a collection of moves, sample challenge numbers, and HP. Not hard to run.
[21:01] * ~Dan nods
[21:02] <+Sam> Can I ask, Dan, what do you think of the system as described so far? Any concerns or comments?
[21:02] <~Dan> Did you have any other influences besides D&D and PbtA?
[21:03] <+Sam> Well I grew up playing old wargames, so that permeates everything I do In this case, it is in the crunchiness of the system and its simulative aspects.
[21:03] <~Dan> Honestly, the only aspect I’m dubious about is the lack of damage on any first attack. Everything else sounds quite slick to me.
[21:04] <+Sam> Within the RPG world, I was also very influenced by Pendragon, Savage Worlds, Lasers and Feelings, and a number of other indies.
[21:04] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest66!)
[21:05] <+Guest66> Thank you.
[21:05] <+Sam> Glad you like it, Dan!
[21:05] <~Dan> (Guest66: You can set your name with the nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
[21:06] <+Sam> For the KS backers, I’ve drawn up a supplement that allows them to roleplay even as the Overlord.
[21:06] <~Dan> Sam: I really do. And I say this as someone who doesn’t care for PbtA games.
[21:07] <+Sam> The idea being that the Overlord is an agent of deities, grooming souls for the afterlife. Based on which deity the Overlord chooses to represent, they get to use special moves during the session.
[21:09] <+Sam> And Dan, if you want to throw those damage dice around more freely, more power to you 🙂
[21:09] <~Dan> Huh. That’s something I don’t see that often.
[21:10] <~Dan> Does that make the Overlord an adversary to the players?
[21:11] <+Sam> Like, if you chose to represent Khorne, Lord of Skulls (shout out to the Warhammer fans), for example, you would get a little set of additional moves. Soft – enrage a player or nearby entity/Hard – summon a fire demon/Deadly – deal extra bleeding damage
[21:13] <+Sam> Not an adversary, no, but I am not opposed to that concept at all. Each deity has its own threshold for appeasement. So if you run a bloody session while representing Khorne, you would get a few extra points that you could spend to represent a more powerful deity. If anything I wish a GM was able to be more adversarial.
[21:13] <+Sam> Or if you ran a wise, strategic session representing Athena, maybe next time you could represent Aphrodite.
[21:15] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?
[21:17] <+Sam> Well I would certainly like to thank you again for the opportunity. We’ve raised almost $100 since the Q&A began! For my final note, I would like to say that this is a complete product that is ready for any tabletop. Offering a quality product and delivering on time is very important to me, because I love gamers!
[21:19] <~Dan> You’re very welcome, Sam. Congrats again on funding. I hope you’ll be hanging out with us here in the future!
[21:20] <+Sam> Absolutely! Yes, in a short time you’ve shown that you have cultivated an exceptional community here!
[21:20] <~Dan> Aww… Thank you very much!
[21:21] <~Dan> As a reminder to folks, my tip jar is here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:21] <~Dan> For anyone so inclined. 🙂
[21:21] <~Dan> And now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link, Sam!
[21:21] <+xyphoid> there’s a lot of goodwill for kickstarters that have the rules written in advance haha
[21:22] <+Sam> Of course, Dan! Now, has anybody been burning to talk about something other than my damn game? 🙂 Final link: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862586065/untitled-4/)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862586065/untitled-4/