[21:58] <+Jason_Pitre> Hi everyone! My name is Jason Pitre, of Genesis of Legend Publishing. You may know me from such games as the Spark Roleplaying Game, A Spark in Fate Core, Posthuman Pathways, or my current offering of “Sig: The Manual of the Primes”
[21:59] <+Jason_Pitre> I’m a designer from the frozen heart of Canada, a wildlife biologist, and a proud member of the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN)
[22:00] <+Jason_Pitre> I am here, of course, because I am currently kickstarting Sig: The Manual of the Primes. ((Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/sig-the-manual-of-the-primes)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/sig-the-manual-of-the-primes)
[22:01] <+Jason_Pitre> It’s a cosmopolitan planar fantasy setting, that is inspired by a ton of sources beyond the obvious one, including elements of “Kill 6 Billion Demons” and “Saga”.
[22:04] <~Dan> (As a reminder, please give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂 )
[22:04] <+Jason_Pitre> I was a massive fan of TSR’s old Planescape setting, and it shaped my design sensibilities pretty heavily. A lot of my games are centered around making bizzare, half-recognizable worlds, militant philosophy, and planar weirdness.
[22:06] <+Jason_Pitre> I wanted to explore some different elements in the Manual of the Primes though, and dig deep into issues of family, faith, and politics. Grounding the weird with the profoundly human. (done)
[22:06] <~Dan> Thanks, Jason_Pitre! The floor is open to questions!
[22:07] <~Dan> Would you consider this a multi-genre setting?
[22:09] <+Jason_Pitre> That’s an interesting question that could lead to plenty of pondering of definitions. There are a handful of games and books that explore similar themes and ideas, which I tend to refer to as planar fantasy.
[22:10] <+Jason_Pitre> It’s almost it’s own genre, which inherently encompasses a pretty massive variety of settings. Amber, forex, totally fits in this camp.
[22:11] <~Dan> So is there high technology in Sig as well as high magic?
[22:13] <+Jason_Pitre> Sig tends to follow the old Arthur C Clarke statement of sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic. The book presents the world through the lens of a pseudo-Victorian culture. Dikensien, really..
[22:14] <~Dan> Hmm… So firearms are part of baseline technology?
[22:14] <+Jason_Pitre> I do include references to things like “lightning-throwers” (tasers) and “choking clouds grenades” (tear gas)
[22:16] <+Jason_Pitre> Firearms are treated like strange artifacts from various prime worlds, which use this “technology” magic. Most of the Enforcers rely on clubs and crossbows to get the job done.
[22:16] <+Jason_Pitre> There is absolutely room to adjust the setting from here. I just tend to minimize technological elements in my home games.
[22:16] <~Dan> On the flipside, how powerful is magic in the setting? What can it accomplish on the high end?
[22:18] <+Jason_Pitre> So, to answer the question, I want to digress slightly to mention the core mechanics.
[22:18] <+Jason_Pitre> Basic rules are that the GM and Players propose what they want to happen, and that just plain happens if the fiction makes sense and everyone agrees.
[22:19] <+Jason_Pitre> Characters can very easily begin with access to planar magics from their heritages, such as the “Fire” magics for the Firehearts native to the Elemental Plane of Flame.
[22:21] <+Jason_Pitre> That Fireheart could light a candle, or to burn down a city block with an act of sorcery. The only difference between the two levels of intensity is the level of opposition the GM is likely to throw at them.
[22:22] <+Jason_Pitre> You are likely to run into some stiff opposition if you try some serious arson, and the GM might outright prohibit anything too extreme (like incinerating a prime world).
[22:23] <+Jason_Pitre> Most folk don’t try to magic away all their problems, but sometimes a spell can help you out of a jam. (done)
[22:23] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[22:24] <+Jason_Pitre> Yes indeed. Let me just dig it up for you.
[22:25] <+Jason_Pitre> (Link: http://www.genesisoflegend.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Sig-Player-Bundle.pdf)http://www.genesisoflegend.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Sig-Player-Bundle.pdf
[22:26] <+Jason_Pitre> That link will show you the character sheet, as well as a bunch of reference material.
[22:26] <+Jason_Pitre> I am considering making a handful of tweaks to the graphic design of the sheets before I go to press, but it should work for now.
[22:27] <~Dan> Let’s see here…
[22:28] <~Dan> Look fairly unorthodox. Can you describe what we’re looking at?
[22:28] <+Jason_Pitre> Ok! The top left corner shows space for three Beliefs.
[22:30] <+Jason_Pitre> Each character (and each of the Planes of Existence) are defined by subjective, controversial declarations. Things like “Might makes Right” or “Family is a Chain”.
[22:30] <+Jason_Pitre> Each character has 3 Beliefs, representing different things that the character is struggling to come to terms with.
[22:31] <+Jason_Pitre> The key activity in play is confronting these Beliefs by establishing situations that either support or refute them.
[22:32] <+User> Must a character hold the same beliefs as their native plane of existence?
[22:32] <+Jason_Pitre> That gives you a currency that allows you to win at conflicts, and to change your beliefs.
[22:33] <+Jason_Pitre> They often have beliefs that are similar to, but not identical to their native planes. For instance, the plane of Dreams believes that “Everyone is Connected”. A Cubi, from that plane, might believe that “We are stronger together” or “Strangers bring Wisdom”.
[22:34] <+Jason_Pitre> Related to, but different from, the core plane’s belief.
[22:34] <+Jason_Pitre> These conflicts are great, and drive play in interesting directions.
[22:36] <+Jason_Pitre> (done)
[22:37] <+Jason_Pitre> The right of the Beliefs are attributes, represented by the dice.
[22:38] <+Jason_Pitre> It’s a step die system, which means that you might roll a D4 (if you have a lousy attribute) or a D12 (if the attribute is fantastic).
[22:38] <+Jason_Pitre> Those attributes explain how the player can interact with the world. The Spark attribute is used when a player acts through their PC, or when the GM acts through one of the Face characters.
[22:40] <+Jason_Pitre> The Smoke attribute represents the world, and the countless lesser NPCs. If you want to punch someone with a nameless enforcer NPC, you would roll your Smoke attribute instead.
[22:40] <+Jason_Pitre> It’s kind of a narrative attribute.
[22:41] <+Jason_Pitre> The bottom right shows a series of Talents, representing various kinds of abilities and skills that the characters might have.
[22:41] <+Jason_Pitre> And the bottom left describes what groups the character belongs to: Their Heritages (family), their Faction (Politics) and their Power (Faith).
[22:41] <+Jason_Pitre> (done)
[22:48] <+Jason_Pitre> Happy to answer any questions folks might have.
[22:51] <~Dan> Can ou describe the core mechanic?
[22:52] <~Dan> Whoops… Disregard.
[22:52] <+Jason_Pitre> Certainly!
[22:52] <+Jason_Pitre> No prob
[22:52] <~Dan> How do you handle scores in excess of 12?
[22:53] <+Jason_Pitre> So, players max out at 12 normally. The only way you can go higher is through help.
[22:53] <+Jason_Pitre> So, the best person in the city might have an attribute of D12, but with help, they are able to do superhuman feats and roll a D20.
[22:54] <+Jason_Pitre> This doesn’t happen _that_ often, but does make a heck of an impact when it does.
[22:55] <+Jason_Pitre> You can often get bonuses to that roll, between +1 and +6, if you have Talents that help.
[22:55] <~Dan> Talents = skills?
[22:56] <+Jason_Pitre> Yup.
[22:56] <+Catseye> hi
[22:56] <+Jason_Pitre> Your talents are used in a mix-and-match fashion. Hi Catseye!
[22:57] <~Dan> So there are no distinct attributes? They’re all totally holistic?
[22:57] <+Jason_Pitre> They are pretty generalized, with the differentiation largely coming from the Talents.
[22:57] <+Canageek> j0
[22:58] <~Dan> (Howdy, Catseye, Canageek!)
[22:58] <+Jason_Pitre> Now, those Talents can do a lot.
[22:58] <+Jason_Pitre> Any pure Giant will have the talents of Stone, Huge, Strength, and Irresistible Force.
[22:59] <~Dan> (brb)
[22:59] <+Jason_Pitre> So, they can sculpt stone, rip buildings off their foundations, and hurl people through gates with remarkable power.
[23:00] <+Jason_Pitre> By contrast, other folk who are descended from the Plane of Order have Patterns, Time, Prediction, and Mental Symbiosis. Totally different ability to act in the world.
[23:02] <~Dan> (back)
[23:04] <~Dan> How narrative are these abilities? Is there an upper limit to Talents?
[23:06] <+Jason_Pitre> The Talents are absolutely narrative and subjective. Typically, the table will naturally determine what level of power they are collectively comfortable with in the fiction.
[23:06] <~Dan> Given that, how do they work in combat?
[23:07] <+Jason_Pitre> Some settle on low-power settings, where the Giant is 8 feet tall and can carry someone with ease. Other games has them as 20 feet all, throwing buildings. Both work in the end, so long as you are consistent.
[23:08] <+Jason_Pitre> So, combat is treated like another kind of conflict. Two people declare what they want to happen in the fiction.
[23:09] <+Jason_Pitre> The most that anyone can do to a PC is to declare that they are taken out; unconscious, or perhaps tossed to another plane.
[23:10] <+Jason_Pitre> Players may choose to retire their characters, but it can’t be forced on em.
[23:11] <~Dan> So combats are only one roll affairs?
[23:11] <+Jason_Pitre> Now, the stakes tend to balance themselves. If the giant wants to crush a merchant, I am likely (as the GM) to propose equally harsh stakes if they fail.
[23:12] <+Jason_Pitre> Most combats are one roll affairs, though they can expand out to multiple rolls in certain circumstances. They tend to be resolved in broader strokes, and follow dramatic pacing rather than blow-by-blow details.
[23:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, rpgresearch!)
[23:12] <+Jason_Pitre> You can zoom in if need be, but it’s often unnecessary.
[23:14] <~Dan> Can you describe the nature of the setting a bit more, and what the PCs do in it?
[23:15] <+Jason_Pitre> Certainly. The setting is the great planar city of Sig, home to gods, monsters, and travelers from throughout the multiverse.
[23:17] <+Jason_Pitre> The city itself is bound by planar tethers to three different Planes at any point in time. For instance, Sig might be bound to the Elemental Plane of Ice, the Ideological Plane of Freedom, and the Conceptual Plane of Death.
[23:18] <+Jason_Pitre> When a plane is tethered to Sig, the planar magics flow in and reshape the city. Refugees, mercenaries, and explorers flood into the city from each of those planes.
[23:19] <+Jason_Pitre> So, the city will be covered with ice, the streets might reshape themselves periodically in a chaotic way, and a third of the buildings might be ephemeral.
[23:20] <+Jason_Pitre> You will get plenty of Polari (Ice elves), Feral (animal-human hybrids), and Revenants (wights), wandering the city.
[23:20] <+Jason_Pitre> Some of the political factions will be backed by those planes, and will be stronger because of the tethers.
[23:21] <+Jason_Pitre> Some of the Powers (Gods/Demons) are also strengthened by those tethers.
[23:21] <~Dan> (Howdy, bofh__!)
[23:21] <+Jason_Pitre> The Goddess of Blinding Snows is quite happy with the tether to the Plane of Ice, for example.
[23:23] <+Jason_Pitre> Now, those tethers shift periodically. The Plane of Death might be replaced with the Plane of Shadows, and reducing the number of undead in the city and replacing them by sentient illusions and gnomes.
[23:24] <+Jason_Pitre> The city would become less macabre, the dustkeepers would be weakened, and the Artificers’s might be strengthened.
[23:25] <+Jason_Pitre> This constant shifting of the status quo disrupts the peaceful demeanor of Sig, and leads to dramatic conflicts between factions, families, and ancient gods.
[23:25] <~Dan> Why gnomes?
[23:26] <+Jason_Pitre> Players, who are attached to the various factions/families/gods, are naturally drawn into the conflicts.
[23:26] <+eezo> What are you gnome-a do about it, Dan ? 😛
[23:26] * ~Dan chuckles
[23:26] <+Jason_Pitre> Gnomes happen to be natural to the Plane of Shadow. Or at least. they _look_ like gnomes.
[23:27] <+Jason_Pitre> (plane of shadow is a plane of illusions)
[23:27] <~Dan> Ah.
[23:27] <+eezo> (Nevermind me, I’m just being a goofball)
[23:28] <~Dan> So the game is heavily political?
[23:29] <+Jason_Pitre> I tend to run it that way. I mean, the politics can be as simple as “My guild hates their guild”, or as complex as you like.
[23:29] <+Jason_Pitre> I also love putting relationships at the forefront.
[23:30] <+Jason_Pitre> One of my best sessions had a player interacting with their deadbeat, divine father.
[23:30] <+Jason_Pitre> “Why were you never there for me”? “I was creating a world” “You loved that world more than you loved your own son?”
[23:31] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[23:31] <~Dan> How powerful are the PCs relative to the setting?
[23:32] <+Jason_Pitre> The juxtoposition of the mundane and the planar weird is great, and it works delightfully with a dusting of black comedy.
[23:33] <+Jason_Pitre> The PC’s are to the setting, what we are to the real world. One person can make a difference, but they are still pretty small compared to the infinite multiverse.
[23:34] <~Dan> So they are the everyday Joes of the setting?
[23:34] <+Jason_Pitre> Joes, Janes, and Jubliexes.
[23:35] <+Jason_Pitre> Yup!
[23:35] <~Dan> How long does character creation take, generally speaking?
[23:36] <+Jason_Pitre> Usually about 15-20 minutes, if everyone has access to a book.
[23:36] <+Jason_Pitre> I have a stretch goal that I hope to unlock which speeds up the process even more.
[23:37] <~Dan> How so?
[23:39] <+Jason_Pitre> Tis a secret, that can be unlocked if we get a few more backers. 😛
[23:39] <+Jason_Pitre> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/sig-the-manual-of-the-primes)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Jagash/sig-the-manual-of-the-primes
[23:40] <~Dan> Does the game include a bestiary?
[23:41] <+Jason_Pitre> It doesn’t include a bestiary per-say, but rather it provides a host of groups, heritages and powers which describe some of the inhabitants. There are a number of Key NPCs who wander around the place.
[23:42] <+Jason_Pitre> In terms beasts and monsters, they are easily for the GM to introduce and use in play, in an improvisational way. No need for stat blocks in this setting.
[23:43] <+Jason_Pitre> When you are trying to describe an infinite multiverse, making it improv-friendly and focused on the narrative is super important for usability purposes.
[23:44] <~Dan> True enough.
[23:45] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[23:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide!)
[23:46] <+Jason_Pitre> A couple things. First of these is that I’,
[23:47] <+Jason_Pitre> I’m extremely happy to be publishing my first full-colour hardcover book. This should be absolutely beautiful, and I am excited to put it in people’s hands. Also pretty affordable, thanks to the cheap Canadian dollar.
[23:48] <+Jason_Pitre> The second, and more important thing, is that I had some really fantastic writers on the project. Alex Roberts, Emilig Griggs, Hannah Schaffer, Kira Magrann, Liz Chaipraditkul, Renee Knipe, and Whitney (Strix) Beltrán did amazing jobs in writing compelling prime worlds in the book.
[23:49] <+Jason_Pitre> Honestly, half of my motivation for the kickstarter is to get their words in people’s hands!
[23:50] <~Dan> 🙂
[23:50] <~Dan> I’d like to thank you for joining us, and to thank you again for your extraordinary patience with me this evening.
[23:50] <+Jason_Pitre> Beyond that, just want to thank you and all the folks on the chat for listening to my rambling
[23:51] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you!