[19:32] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Greetings; I’m Joshua Baker, and I’m the Director of Xaos Publishing and one of the builders of Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam our first game world built on our Xaos system.
[19:33] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The game can be found at: (Link: http://WorldOfMechanika.com/)http://WorldOfMechanika.com/
[19:34] <+Joshua_XaosPub> My achey fingers are here to attempt to talk about the game and answer any questions that might arise 🙂
[19:35] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Mechanika is a Alternative History version of our Earth circa 1890’s heavily built around the writings of HP Lovecraft.
[19:37] <~Dan> Can you tell us a bit more about the game’s premise?
[19:39] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Sure; in our world the wiping out of the dinosaurs wasn’t a simple rock hitting the planet, it was a ‘landing’ of some of the horrors of the Elder gods. They helped influence the growth of our planet, in a fairly sinister way. This continued until the arrival of the Fae.
[19:41] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The Fae weren’t really the saviors of Man, but more so the enemy of the Elder gods. The two sides, ripping apart our planet, formed armies, did battle, and then ‘departed’.
[19:41] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The inhabinates of this world refer to the time periods as BC (Before Calm) and AD (After Exodus).
[19:42] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Our game takes place nearly 1900 years after the exodus, in a world quite similar to what we would know as the Victorian period/turn of the century.
[19:43] <+Joshua_XaosPub> There are plenty of things you can still pick out from the world we know, but with the battling that took place on that world, there are new races, new dark technology, the introduction of magic, and a sense of fairly constant underlying dread.
[19:43] <+Joshua_XaosPub> (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> Hmm… So to what degree is history different aside from the Elder Gods and the Fae?
[19:44] <+Joshua_XaosPub> There is a fairly large backstory in there, but that’s the general premise to why the world is.
[19:44] <+DaveG> Question. You mentioned Xaos system. Could you elaborate on how this is different from some other system?
[19:48] <+Indi> Can you give me an example of lower and higher self?
[19:48] <+Joshua_XaosPub> DaveG: Without trying to do straight comparisons. We built the system primarily focusing around roleplaying. The advancement inside the system is done by roleplaying one of your 3 character traits: Concept, Higher Self, Lower Self. Doing this gains you Destiny points, which then let you advance your character, or can be used to re-roll dice, and even when spending enough points you can rewrite the scene your group/character is f
[19:48] <+Joshua_XaosPub> ith the permission of the GM that is since they will have to alter it as well going forward. The system playing wise as well utlizes templates for nearly everything. Allowing you to change and augument nearly any monster/scene/etc based on additional templates to tweak the difficulty or just the experience. The system is a culimination of us wanting to put all these things together into a way that we could build worlds around it
[19:50] <+DaveG> That sounds really interesting and new. Look forward to reading more about it in the future.
[19:51] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: The history diffences depend on the regions of the world you’re looking at; for example Tesla never left Russia, and Rasputin is still ‘sorta’ alive having been reanimated and rebuilt by Tesla. There are things you can pick out, but depending on the area some can differ greatly. Such as even though its’ 1890’s the Empire of the Eclipse is still being controled by ‘Vlad’. Because of his unique long life abilites.
[19:53] <~Dan> The Empire of the Eclipse?
[19:53] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Indi: A sample character would be along the lines of: Concept – Tortured Pessimistic Engineer | Higher Self – Solves any crime | Lower Self – People are merely tools
[19:53] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: The Empire of the Eclipse is what we would know in part as Transylvania
[19:55] <+Joshua_XaosPub> DaveG: The templates actually allow us to let the GM take content from the core rulebook, our serials, supplements, gazateers, and even the new game world being built, and apply them to nearly any game they are running in our system.
[19:56] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet posted that we can see?
[19:56] <+DaveG> I definitely love the idea of taking both history and legend and putting a spin on it.
[19:56] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: (Link: http://worldofmechanika.com/download/391/)http://worldofmechanika.com/download/391/ – Thats our character sheet you can see.
[19:58] <~Dan> Can you describe the game’s core mechanic?
[19:59] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Well the core mechanic is really roleplaying. But I think I see what you’re asking.
[20:00] <+Joshua_XaosPub> There are essentially 4 rolls that cover nearly all aspects of the game play.
[20:01] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The game needs a set of FUDGE dice and a set of percentile dice to handle them.
[20:01] <+Joshua_XaosPub> There are Raw Rolls: Rolling 4 unmodifed FUDGE dice and add the total.
[20:02] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Modified Rolls: Rolling the same as Raw but the total is influenced by a stat/skill/attribute.
[20:02] <+Joshua_XaosPub> That’s the most common you end up with in the game.
[20:03] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Percentile Rolls: These are used the least, typically used for maulfunctions, spell lash-backs, etc. Basically its rare something good is going to happen to you if you had to roll these.
[20:04] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Then we have Opposed Rolls which are as the word implies, rolls done when 2 or more players/creatures are performing actions against one another.
[20:04] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Such as: Attack & an opposed Dodge
[20:05] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So roll wise its simple. Beyond that you advance in the game by roleplaying the 3 characteristics you choose when you made your character. When doing so the GM will award your character Destiny points which you can save until the end of the scene you’re in and then advance your character, or spending the appropiate amount you can change 1 or more die rolls, alter an effect, or even rewrite a large portion of the scene you’re in.
[20:05] <~Dan> For that second roll type, is it an attribute + skill roll?
[20:06] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, kam80kam!)
[20:07] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: Yeah; Modified Rolls would be such as you need to tumble onto a moving platform. It has a difficulty of +3. Your character has acrobatics of -1 becuase you’re clumbsy. So even if you rolled + + + – on the dice you’d fail because you had 3 (-1 acrobatics) = 2
[20:08] <+Joshua_XaosPub> In that example the difficulty is a little high but its just an example hah
[20:08] <+Joshua_XaosPub> In terms of rolling our Success & Failure scope from -6 (Attrocious) to +6 (Legendary)
[20:09] <~Dan> Does degree of success matter?
[20:09] <+Joshua_XaosPub> It does in both directions
[20:09] <+Joshua_XaosPub> We have Critical Failures and Critical Success and rules for each.
[20:10] <~Dan> Do you have nonhuman races to play?
[20:11] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Such as if you were to roll + + + + that’s a critical success. Which would then allow you to roll your FUDGE dice again and add that amount to the original roll as a Raw roll. The new roll ignores any –
[20:12] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Our rulebook contains our first 6 playable races. Humans, Goblins, Dwarves, Moreauvians, Sylvans, and Dhampyrs
[20:12] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So 5 non-human races right now.
[20:12] <~Dan> What are the non-humans like?
[20:13] <+Joshua_XaosPub> It depends on which one you’re looking at; for example Goblins are fun, but like every race they have their drawbacks. One of the goblin drawbacks being they have a hivemind.
[20:13] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So if too many goblins gather in one location they tend to start destroying things.
[20:14] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Which as a playable race can be a challenge for your player to overcome.
[20:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW!)
[20:15] <~Dan> Whoops.
[20:15] <~Dan> wb, Joshua_XaosPub
[20:15] <+Joshua_XaosPub> (well now)
[20:16] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So as I was saying each race has its own set of race special benefits, drawbacks, perks and flaws.
[20:17] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So when creating a character you can either stick with the general perks & flaws included in the character creation section, or you can choose from the race specific ones in align with your choice.
[20:18] <+Joshua_XaosPub> In terms of customization you get the greatest amount by playing a Moreauvian or a Sylvan.
[20:19] <~Dan> I’m assuming the former are beast-men?
[20:19] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Simply from the fact that Moreauvians are the result of Dr. Moreau’s experiments. The playable versions are 3rd generation from his experiments.
[20:20] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: Correct, so you’re able to create the combination of beast-man that you want to play and adjust abilities accordingly as well as visual style.
[20:20] <~Dan> How many varieties are there to play?
[20:21] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The Sylvan are the original soliders of the Fae, they intellgent plant ‘men’. So you’re able to pick a type of plant that your Sylvan is ‘crafted’ from.
[20:22] <+Joshua_XaosPub> There are no limits. If you wanted to play a Bulldog Moreauvian you can. If you wanted a Parrot Moreauvian you can do that. Hell you could make a Fish one but you had better figure out how you’re going to breath or hope your group sticks right close to the river the entire campaign.
[20:23] <~Dan> So the Sylvan are sort of the plant versions of the Moreauvians?
[20:24] <~Dan> In terms of character creation, I mean.
[20:24] <+Joshua_XaosPub> In a sense they are. They are far far older as a race that Moreauvians but in the creation of a character sense yes.
[20:24] <~Dan> What are your Dwarves like?
[20:25] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Sylvans are a choice you make if you are not a technology person. Technology really doesn’t seem to agree with them. Primarily this is because the technology of our world is dervied from the Black Tech of the Elder gods, the very people the Sylvan were created to fight.
[20:26] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dwarves are slow aging, some of the longest living races we have, usually living 600-900 years. Tough skin, fairly human looking except for the height usually 4′-4.5′
[20:27] <+Joshua_XaosPub> No one really knew the Dwarves were even there until 1803, only a few people on Earth had ever encountered one and they were usually just written off as ‘dwarfs’.
[20:27] <~Dan> I notice that you didn’t mention Elves.
[20:28] <+Joshua_XaosPub> We have no elves.
[20:29] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The closest if you really enjoyed elves would be a Sylvan in the sense of attunement to nature and flux (magic) in the world.
[20:29] <~Dan> So all human tech is based on Mythos mojo?
[20:29] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The ‘fancier’ technology yes. This is a steampunk world. There are magical wonderous machines.
[20:30] <~Dan> So anything beyond historically real tech is Mythos-based?
[20:30] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Outside of the various schools of magic that we have in the world, there is the Machina system. Which this is where you find your technology, your firearms, explosives, ‘power armor’, etc
[20:31] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Correct, anything outside of what you might expect for that period, so things too fantasic or just that shouldn’t be around for some time to come, is based from the Black Tech.
[20:32] <+Joshua_XaosPub> But just like we have schools of magic, there are the Great Houses, which are the ‘schools’ of different types of Artificing.
[20:33] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Alchemy, Clockwork, Electricity, Explosives, Marksmanship, Resemble, and Steamwork.
[20:34] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Actually speaking of that makes me think of the magic schools.
[20:34] <~Dan> Yes, what is magic like in the setting?
[20:34] <+Joshua_XaosPub> On the back of the book there is a little bit of math; 46,990,794,207.
[20:35] <+Joshua_XaosPub> That’s the number of spells you could craft using the 12 schools of magic listed inside the rulebook.
[20:36] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Mind you some of them will be horrible, kill you, kill everyone around you, turn you inside out and make your blood boil, or just require the most godly of abilities to succeed the roll, but .. you could make that many.
[20:36] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Personally I’d probably make less in a game for your character to be safe.
[20:37] <+Joshua_XaosPub> As for magic in general there are 3 ‘types’ of casters. You have Magisters, Warlocks, and Wyrds.
[20:38] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Magisters are what most people would be familar with in terms of a magic user. They study obsessivly, always want to unlock new secrets, usually focus on schools of particular magic, etc. They draw from the 12 schools.
[20:39] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Magisters perform incantations which when doing so are determined by a difficulty scale of: Incantation Tier, Flux in the area, Combat Modifiers, Stress, and Time & Material components.
[20:42] <+Joshua_XaosPub> When performing magic in an area (or scene) the amount of Flux (magical energy needed to power these sorts of things) can not only vary but can be depeleted with each casting by anyone in that scene.
[20:43] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So reducing the flux will increase the difficulty of it casting and as such increase the chance you’re more likely to have a failure. Given this is a world built influenced by Lovecraft, failure is generally not something you want to experience.
[20:45] <~Dan> So Flux is ambient magic power?
[20:45] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Yes. Flux exists, awaken by the Fae, and our ability to tap into it stemed from the original training the Fae gave to those that fought for them.
[20:46] <~Dan> So is it the case that magic is from the Fae and technology is from the Elder Gods?
[20:48] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Warlocks are massively powerful, they are born infused with flux that rips at their blood. With that in mind, that is the point of their power. Warlocks each find their power in their own way, they don’t have schools, or really training. They can differ in learning their spells, in cases such as one warlock might gain new knowledge from meditation, one might gain them from killing enemies, and yet another might just find the
[20:48] <+Joshua_XaosPub> m dormant inside of themselves. But they all share a quality in that they are ‘blood mages’. Their power is inside their blood, in it is contained the flux they tap. But to use it the blood must first escape the body in some way. Which can be painful. It can spurt from their eyes, drain from their wrists, even be vomitted up if you want.
[20:49] <+Joshua_XaosPub> But it’s the fact they are walking power houses that the Misinsty of Supernatural Goverance in our world keeps all known Warlocks collared and restricted in service of the Ministry.
[20:50] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Dan: Correct. Elder gods gave us the Black Tech which we built ‘steampunk’ from, while the Fae unlocked the Flux on this world and showed us how to tap into it.
[20:52] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The Wyrds.. are weird. Magi records insist that the Wyrds don’t nor have they ever existed.
[20:54] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Where the Magi, access the 12 schools, and the Warlocks utlize what is called Daemonics, Wyrds use magic that the others can’t classify, so they call it the abominations.
[20:54] <+Joshua_XaosPub> While the Magi use the flux around them to channel the 12 schools, and the Warlocks channel their flux from their blood, the Wyrds channel flux from ‘elsewhere’.
[20:55] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Basically Wyrds summon ‘shadow’ creatures to act as their familiar and source of flux.
[20:55] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Most Wyrds end up dead or insane from trying to channel the magic.
[20:56] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Wyrds will craft totem to channel flux through and gives them a sembalance of control on their magic.
[20:57] <+Joshua_XaosPub> That’s the overview of the magic system.
[20:57] <~Dan> Can you give us some idea of the scale of magic’s potential? What’s something that magic can do on the high end?
[20:58] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Well lets look at the Magi since it’s a bit more classic in terms of trying to answer that.
[20:59] <+Joshua_XaosPub> As a magi you’d choose typically what school you want to focus in, you then have multiple tiers to select not so much spells but effects, you can combine those effects with effects from other tiers or from other schools.
[21:00] <+Joshua_XaosPub> All these choices effect the difficulty of the cast. But there isn’t anything that says you couldn’t TRY to cast a ‘top tier’ spell at the start. You’ll probably just find yourself in pieces. But if you had advanced your character enough for example let me craft a quick high tier spell.
[21:03] <+Joshua_XaosPub> In the Tier 5 School of Water we have the ability for: Your control over the tentacles you can make increases by an incredible amount. You can now create either giant tentacles or create hundreds of tiny tentacles, allowing you to now make an attack roll against all creatures within a 10 ft./level of success blast centered on the caster. The attacks are identical to the previous effect.
[21:05] <~Dan> Fairly impressive.
[21:06] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Then couple it with something from the School of Phantasms Tier 1: You can make an area appear to be full of faint sounds and images that seem to dance just outside your peripheral vision. This effect covers 50 ft./level of success.
[21:06] <+Joshua_XaosPub> This effect is a Sustained Action.
[21:06] <~Dan> What about technology? Can you give us an idea of how advanced everyday tech is?
[21:06] <+Joshua_XaosPub> To mask the tentacles you summoned at the time of summoning. but with the second effect the overall casting becomes harder, and the second effect is a sustained ability so the masking would only last as long as you continued to concetrate.
[21:11] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Okay I’m completely blanking on finding this one thats my favorite but here is another while I look ha
[21:12] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Ah here it is.
[21:12] <+Joshua_XaosPub> This ability is often used by a detective type of character, and its one of my favorites.
[21:13] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Explosives House – Time Bomb: This is one of the oddest functions in all the seven houses. Harnessing the esoteric power of flux the Artificer creates a Machina that, when detonated, actually reverses the flow of time on inanimate material. Suddenly glass reforms, charred homes are restored, and shattered statues are returned to their previous states as though whatever disaster befell them never happened at all. This function
[21:13] <+Joshua_XaosPub> deals no damage. Instead it causes an explosion in spacetime, reverting all inanimate objects to their previous state. This function will fail on any object that has had parts or pieces removed from the area. All items restored, due to being pulled back through the ocean of time and space, gain the fragile template.
[21:14] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So recontructing a crime scene for example.
[21:15] <~Dan> But wait… If Flux is magic and magic is from the Fae, how could it work in a Mythos-based machine?
[21:16] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Flux isn’t magic from the Fae, Flux existed here on Earth. The Fae showed us how to access it.
[21:16] <+Joshua_XaosPub> It wasn’t brought to Earth by the Fae
[21:16] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[21:17] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Flux is just the ‘weapon’ of the Fae and the Earth was just another battlefield of sorts.
[21:18] <+Joshua_XaosPub> I think the clarity is that it’s not like casting fireball versus using a zippo.
[21:18] <~Dan> Does the rulebook include a bestiary?
[21:18] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Machina binds flux to mechanical creations.
[21:19] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Normal techology that you would expect in the world doesn’t nessacarily use Flux, but the Machina does. That’s what makes it powerful.
[21:19] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The rulebook does yes.
[21:19] <~Dan> How large, and what sorts of creatures?
[21:20] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The Settings Chapter covers the 15 key areas of the world in their own sections, with a follow up area for other points of interest around the world.
[21:21] <+Joshua_XaosPub> 31 speciality creatures and a few mundane ones
[21:23] <+Joshua_XaosPub> A few are Bandersnatch, Constructs, Fae Cat, Ghouls, Grench, Never Green Tree, Trog, Worg
[21:23] <~Dan> Grench?
[21:24] <+Joshua_XaosPub> When the Old Ones crashed to earth they brought with them fauna and flora from their decaying world. Among them was the Grench, “The Weakling Weed”, as they call it. The Grench appears to be a strange tree that bears large dark fruit that resemble pomegranates. These malicious creatures are intelligent, and they sense their surroundings through great black eyes that resemble knots in the tree when the eye is closed. The c
[21:24] <+Joshua_XaosPub> reature is not mobile, and seems to be unable to reproduce in any known way. It can move its branches however, and its roots can entangle and kill even the largest Moreauvian.
[21:25] <+Joshua_XaosPub> All creatures include their templates, wounds (con/stress/ego), combat stats, skills, attributes, and descriptions.
[21:25] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:25] <+Joshua_XaosPub> You can also augment a creature to add new templates for your group.
[21:25] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:25] <+Joshua_XaosPub> So say you took the Giant Rat creature. You could add the acidic template to his bite.
[21:28] <+Joshua_XaosPub> I guess if I had to cover something; it would be I feel like I talked about a lot of things, but this is just a tiny bit of what is actually in the book. This also isn’t the only part. Mechanika is published, its out there. Since then we have 4 serials in various stages of completion right now, we have specs out for 12-14 large volume gazzateers (dedicated books to give a large amount of backstory, templates, NPCs, cities, et
[21:28] <+Joshua_XaosPub> c for regions of the world), codex which are like a gazzateer but for a single city London for example. We’ve already figured out the story connection for the expansion to the game, crafted the new races, and ‘classes’ and are testing it all.
[21:29] <~Dan> Very cool.
[21:29] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Really when it comes down to it; we love making it and have so much to make. We made a game that was built around roleplaying because we’re roleplayers, we like funny voices, and playing a character and wanted to build a world people could do that with us in. We’re also just a bit twisted so we used Lovecraft haha.
[21:30] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:30] <+Joshua_XaosPub> If you don’t mind the fact you’ll probably die, we’re the game to try.
[21:30] <+Joshua_XaosPub> The back of the book says it best.
[21:30] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Joshua_XaosPub!
[21:30] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Mechanika isn’t a world you’re likely to survive. But it is a world that you’ll take that descent into death or madness with a grin and a weapon.
[21:30] <+Joshua_XaosPub> Thanks much for letting me wear down my fingers.
[21:31] <~Dan> Certainly!
[21:31] <~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/
[21:31] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂