[19:32] <&NM_Alan> Hey folks! I’m Alan Bahr from Nocturnal Media. I’m here to talk to you all about Cold Shadows. Cold Shadows is a narrative roleplaying game of tense espionage, open secrets and subtle betrayal.
[19:32] <&NM_Alan> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying?ref=creator_nav)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying?ref=creator_nav
[19:32] <&NM_Alan> *see link above*
[19:33] <&NM_Alan> I will also entertain questions about whisky and scotch, or anything else! But I’d prefer Cold Shadows. We’re currently over 400% funded with 19 stretch goals on the mark.
[19:33] <&NM_Alan> *done*
[19:33] <~Dan> Thanks, NM_Alan!
[19:33] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:34] <~Dan> (Howdy, AndyC!)
[19:34] <+eezo> I don’t have any questions, I just wanted to say that I like the name “Nocturnal Media” 🙂
[19:34] <~Dan> What sort of system are you using, NM_Alan?
[19:34] <&NM_Alan> Hah, thanks. I can’t claim credit.
[19:34] <+GenoFoxx> laters
[19:35] <&NM_Alan> So, we licensed the core of the ruleset from John Wick Presents, for the samurai tragedy game, Blood & Honor. It’s a D6 based system, where the winner of rolls actually gets to narrate the outcome of the action.
[19:36] <~Dan> Got a character sheet we can see?
[19:36] <&NM_Alan> so instead of the standard RPG paradigm, the GM doesn’t necessarily tell you how you are successful, instead the winner of the roll determines
[19:36] <&NM_Alan> Actually I don’t yet! We had one done, but in a fit of “not good enough”, I totally scrapped it and we’re working up a more useable one
[19:37] <&NM_Alan> That’s like…literally the only thing not done about the game too
[19:37] <&NM_Alan> thanks Dan…
[19:37] <+AndyC> Did you keep the option for the roll winner to decide to fail?
[19:37] <~Dan> Certainly! 🙂
[19:37] <&Doctor> Perhaps you can walk us through the basic character components?
[19:37] <&NM_Alan> AndyC, yes we did. That option is still there. The roll winner can determine what the success or failure of the action looks like.
[19:37] <&NM_Alan> Doctor, certainly.
[19:37] <+AndyC> Yay!
[19:38] <&NM_Alan> There are 5 major parts of the character
[19:38] <&NM_Alan> first are Virtues: Virtues represent innate qualities about your Character.
[19:39] <&NM_Alan> Things like Resolve, violence, Intellect are all virtues
[19:39] <&NM_Alan> Then you have Roles
[19:39] <&NM_Alan> Roles represent your “job” in your spy agency. They confer 3 types of benefits. A bonus to a particular roll, a narrative ability, and a unique game ability.
[19:40] <&NM_Alan> Then you have Aspects. Aspects are special trainings, talents and benefits your Agency gives you
[19:40] <&NM_Alan> Then you have Advantages (which are a single benefit you select at CharGen)
[19:40] <&NM_Alan> and finally you have Covers, which are, as any spy knows, your ability to inhabit other personas.
[19:41] <&NM_Alan> Your Agency you work for determines some of these. Every Agency has preferred Aspects, Virtues and Covers that affect what you can have
[19:41] <&NM_Alan> *done*
[19:42] <&Doctor> So in Blood and Honor there was a real emphasis on the Clan as opposed to the individual. Does that carry over here?
[19:43] <&NM_Alan> Yes. In a large sense, the Agency and the Homeland are more important then any given Agent. Of course, not all Agents like that, so that drives some of the core conflict in the game, and the tension. Most Agents don’t join due to patriotism, so there’s a push and pull there.
[19:44] <&Doctor> How often do you anticipate an individual character getting whacked?
[19:44] <&NM_Alan> Every 5 to 6 sessions at the outside 🙂
[19:45] <~Dan> Can you talk us through task resolution?
[19:45] <&NM_Alan> The game is built to play out on a larger scale. Any given session can range from a single month or week to a year.
[19:45] <&NM_Alan> The idea is to watch plots unfold
[19:45] <&NM_Alan> over an extended period of time.
[19:45] <&NM_Alan> Dan, sure. So let’s say Agent Dan wants to jump and run from the Stazi. there’s a low brick wall in his way, but Dan is more of a desk analyst then a field op, so it might be hard.
[19:46] <&Doctor> (*sings* Secret…. Aaaaaaaaaaaagent Dan… Secret… Aaaaaaaaaaaagent Dan)
[19:46] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:47] <&NM_Alan> Dan will collect a number of d6s equal to his Athleticism Virtue (let’s call it 3), and Dan has an Advantage called Quick, so that grants him two bonus d6s. Dan has an Aspect called “In the Field” which gives him 3 dice. That pus Dan at 8 d6s in his pool
[19:48] <&NM_Alan> Dan knows the target number of every roll in the game is 10. So at this point Dan has to make a choice. The game contains a mechanic called “Wagers”, which you can use by saving extra dice. In this case, he knows the Stasi probably werent’ expecting someone like him, so they’re off-guard. Dan decides to roll 5d6, saving the other 5 for Wagers secretly.
[19:48] <&NM_Alan> Dan rolls, as do the Stazi (The narrator rolls on their behalf)
[19:49] <&NM_Alan> Dan gets a 18 on 5 dice, the Stazi get a 11. Dan won, so Dan gets to narrate the outcome of the action.
[19:49] <&NM_Alan> Dan declares: I successfully leap the wall!
[19:50] <&NM_Alan> Then for each Wager Dan saved, he can declare one additional thing: I land and get a good start, so I get even further ahead. THen I round a corner, and they lose sight. Once they’ve lost sight, I duck into a open door, and find a place to hid. Luckily the occupants of this home are out, so no one knows.
[19:50] <&NM_Alan> The Stazi had no wagers, so their just stuck as Dan weaves a story with his dice.
[19:51] <&NM_Alan> Theoretically, if the Stazi had wagers, they would do a trade off. Dan would spend 1 for 1 true fact, then the Stazi would. Each participant would stop when they were out of wagers to spend.
[19:51] <+Silverlion> interesting.
[19:51] <&NM_Alan> *done*
[19:51] <&NM_Alan> the goal of the original system is to give players a chance to actually directly tell the story, instead of allowing one figure to interpret everything for them.
[19:52] <&NM_Alan> We’ve preserved that
[19:52] <~Dan> See, I like that. Seems like a lot of narrative games lack restraints on narrative control.
[19:52] <~Dan> How do you handle combat, though?
[19:53] <&NM_Alan> In a similar way. There are “Ranks” of injuries
[19:53] <&NM_Alan> and wagers can be used to increase them.
[19:53] <&NM_Alan> But wagers can be used “yes, but” things
[19:54] <&Doctor> Such as?
[19:54] <&NM_Alan> so if the Stazi player won the roll and declared, “We see Dan run, so we open fire and kill him, by spending 5 wagers to increase our Rank 1 Injury to Rank 6 (which is a killing blow)”, dan would spend a wager to say, “Yes, but as you fire, I fall over the wall, getting clipped, but not killed”, reducing the lethality of the attack by his own wagers.
[19:55] <&NM_Alan> in the example I just posted, dan’s first wager would have decreased the wound from 6 (dead) to 5 (really really wounded), and he could spend more wagers to take it even lower
[19:55] <&NM_Alan> This is obviously not a terrible detailed or intricate example, but it captures the general flow and mechancis.
[19:55] <&NM_Alan> *mechanics.
[19:55] <&Doctor> So the winner declares then the loser decides how to spend their wagers as a reaction?
[19:55] <~Dan> Do weapons matter mechanically?
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> Dan, yes, they increase your dicepool
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> Doctor, sort of. The Winner narrates the outcome, and spends their first wager.
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> Then the opponent spends one.
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> then the winner.
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> then the loser
[19:56] <&NM_Alan> and so on until each side is expended.
[19:57] <&Doctor> So the Stazi would say “I shoot Dan, for one extra damage”, then Dan says “I soak” (basically), and so on until someone is out of wagers?
[19:57] <&Doctor> (super simplified example and assuming Dan has no other intentions with his wagers)
[19:57] <&NM_Alan> Damage is the exception. When you increase damage, it *has* to be done at once
[19:58] <&NM_Alan> So they’d have to spend all 5 at once.
[19:58] <&NM_Alan> and Dan would have to spend all his soak at once.
[19:58] <&NM_Alan> There’s a few other ways to spend multiple wagers, but theyr’e very specific. Combat, and refilling a game resource called Trust.
[19:58] <&NM_Alan> any other time, it’s a back and forth
[19:59] <&Doctor> So, for example, if they were trying to follow him… “I follow” / “I lose them” / “I follow” / “I lose them”
[20:00] <&Doctor> obviously with more interesting narrative descriptions and consequences
[20:00] <&NM_Alan> in a sense. It’s not so binary, but in a sense. you can’t directly contradict. The game uses the term “Yes, but” to describe soemthing
[20:00] <&NM_Alan> “I duck the wall and lose them”
[20:00] <&NM_Alan> “yes, but you drop a micro-fiche that will help us find you later”
[20:01] <&NM_Alan> So you can’t say, “No you don’t.”
[20:01] <&NM_Alan> But you can say, “Yes, but”
[20:01] <&Doctor> Okay, so it’s not a bid of “I spend X to follow you” “well I spend Y to make sure you don’t”
[20:01] <&NM_Alan> the goal is to push a narrative, not just a back of forth of spending dice.
[20:01] <&NM_Alan> exactly.
[20:01] <&NM_Alan> It’s “I do X”, “Yes, but X leads to Y”
[20:01] <~Dan> So it sounds like creativity has a mechanical application in the game.
[20:02] <&NM_Alan> Very much so!
[20:02] <&Doctor> So basically the wagers build the scene up with layers of narrative complexity
[20:02] <&NM_Alan> Exactly.
[20:03] <~Dan> I’m mulling over the implications of weapons giving you more dice.
[20:03] <&NM_Alan> Obviously, giving each player power in the game can be risky, so I’d strongly recommend you choose who you play with.
[20:03] <&Doctor> Now how much leeway do you have with characters… Can I say “I seduce your PC?” and can they in turn say “well then you reveal the location of the files during pillow talk?”
[20:04] <&NM_Alan> Doctor, by a strict reading of the rules yes.
[20:04] <~Dan> So… if you rolled all the dice, your base damage would just be 1?
[20:04] <&NM_Alan> However, we recommend each group set out how they want that to be at the start of the game.
[20:04] <&NM_Alan> If they don’t like that, we have recommendations on how to manage that
[20:04] <&NM_Alan> (using our Trust mechanics)
[20:04] <&NM_Alan> Dan, yes. Wagers increase damage.
[20:05] <&NM_Alan> Bigger / better weapons give more dice, which means more wagers
[20:05] <&Doctor> The TN is always 10 though yeah?
[20:05] <&NM_Alan> Always.
[20:05] <~Dan> Right, right…
[20:05] <~Dan> So… that avoids what I call the Bazooka Sniper.
[20:05] <&NM_Alan> Exactly.
[20:05] <&Doctor> So, tell me about Trust.
[20:06] <&NM_Alan> Trust is a team resource used to represent the “depths” you can push your team in their trust of you
[20:06] <&NM_Alan> Trust sits in a bowl in the middle of the table, and can be spent to gain bonus dice on rolls, or power special abilities
[20:06] <~Dan> In other words, some games that conflate accuracy with damage make it so that using the heaviest weapon is best for accuracy.
[20:06] <&Doctor> How do I build up the Trust pool?
[20:07] <~Dan> In Cold Shadows, if you used a bazooka to make yourself more likely to hit, you’d lose the damage.
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> But it’s a limited resource. By relying on and straining trust too much, you can reduce the pool of Trust.
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> Dan, yes!
[20:07] <~Dan> Have I got that right?
[20:07] <~Dan> Cool… That’s pretty slick.
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> Doctor, it’s hard to replentish
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> sigh. I spelled that wrong
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> but you get my drift.
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> You have to take an action that really shows the team they can trust you
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> usually burning a Cover is the default
[20:07] <&NM_Alan> but the narrator can reward you with trust for other actions.
[20:08] <&Doctor> How often does the pool refresh?
[20:08] <&NM_Alan> never 🙂
[20:08] <&NM_Alan> It’s a very *limited* resource
[20:09] <&Doctor> Hm, seems like it will run out fast…
[20:09] <&NM_Alan> it is only refilled by Player actions the Narrator rewards, or burning covers.
[20:09] <&NM_Alan> It’s designed to be a resource you have to carefully consider straining
[20:09] <&NM_Alan> as a spy, damaging trust is a huge mistake, so the game makes you consider each spend.
[20:09] <+AndyC> I remember (I think) a similar trust mechanic in Cold City. Good stuff there.
[20:10] <&NM_Alan> AndyC, I confess I don’t actually know Cold City, so I can’t speak to that.
[20:11] <+AndyC> Berlin, 1946, occupation and hunting Nazi monsters, competing agendas among the agents.
[20:11] <&Doctor> I guess my concern there is what if I have a PC, Agent Mook who is a selfish jerk and, in a fit of sudden (but inevitable) betrayal, burns through all the Trust. Justifiably, my compatriots snipe Agent Mook. I come back with a new Agent… The reason why trust was blown is dead, but the team doesn’t get Trust back from dealing with the problem?
[20:11] <&NM_Alan> ah. I’ll have to look it up
[20:11] <&NM_Alan> Doctor, in that case, I’d say trust your Narrator to fix the issue (and i’d hope they’d consider helping you out)
[20:12] <&NM_Alan> but in a Narrative sense, if someone burned you that badly, would you immediately fully trust their replacement?
[20:13] <&Doctor> Oh I get it. I am just trying to feel out the Trust system
[20:13] <~Dan> Do you not Trust it?
[20:14] <&Doctor> what determines the starting size?
[20:14] <&Doctor> Trust No One
[20:14] <~Dan> You mustn’t diss trust.
[20:14] <&NM_Alan> Each player starts with Bonds of Trust in the group, and that determines the starting size. Various character building things impact it, but generally it’s 2 per player
[20:14] <+AndyC> And not just Mook V2. This thing has happened, and trust between the surviving agents is strained. “If Mook was bad, and I didn’t know it until now, what about Le Carre and Lustbader and Nix?”
[20:14] <~Dan> Wow. That IS a limited resource.
[20:15] <&NM_Alan> Dan, yes. It is very limited on purpose
[20:15] * ~Dan nods
[20:15] <&NM_Alan> This is a game of subtle paranoia, inevitable betrayal, and plans what will go wrong
[20:15] <&Doctor> Seems like a high cost for an extra die… can trust do other things?
[20:16] <&NM_Alan> It’s 4 extra die 🙂
[20:16] <&Doctor> Well that helps
[20:16] <&NM_Alan> it also automatically downgrades a death to not dying.
[20:16] <&Doctor> also nice
[20:16] <&NM_Alan> or can be spent to speak an absolute truth about the game
[20:16] <&NM_Alan> Trust serves a lot of benefits.
[20:16] <&Doctor> So it’s powerful and versatile
[20:16] <&NM_Alan> very.
[20:17] <~Dan> You know, generally speaking, I don’t care for narrative games, but this is sounding fun.
[20:17] <&NM_Alan> Yay!
[20:17] <&NM_Alan> I impressed Dan! (that’s *hard*)
[20:18] <&Doctor> Looking at the KS, you have a ton of cities. I noticed Bogata… How well do the rules translate to a criminal enterprise?
[20:18] <~Dan> Well, I don’t know how hard I am to impress, but thanks. 🙂
[20:18] <&NM_Alan> pretty well. There might be some renaming of Roles and Aspects, but the base mechanics will stand on their own
[20:19] <&Doctor> So, are there any mechanical incentives to betray your fellows?
[20:19] <&NM_Alan> You could easily run a “Cartel” game with this, and for the most part it’d work. Some of the add-on rules (around gadgets and gear) might not work so well
[20:19] <&NM_Alan> Only Narrative.
[20:19] <&NM_Alan> We don’t force player betrayal, and it should be in service of a compelling, interesting, and emotionally powerful narrative.
[20:19] <+Lin_Chong> (was someone looking for me)
[20:19] <~Dan> Yeah, about gadgets and gear… How do such things work, given the narrative nature of the game?
[20:20] <&NM_Alan> Dan, they tend to give access to bonus dice, special actions you could not otherwise undertake, or more
[20:20] <&NM_Alan> Dan, actually Doctor here wrote those chapters for the Kickstarter as a stretch goal
[20:20] <&NM_Alan> why don’t I let him handle that 🙂
[20:20] <~Dan> Oh?
[20:20] * ~Dan swivels the spotlight onto Doctor
[20:20] <&Doctor> Oh hai.
[20:21] <~Dan> Can you give us an example of a gadget and its mechanical effect?
[20:21] <&Doctor> Yeah so… Gadgets partially take the place of “magic” in the sense that they allow for three major advantages; bonus dice, narrative advantages, and special actions
[20:22] <&Doctor> One sec
[20:22] <&NM_Alan> (everything Doctor shows is not final yet, as note. It’s still pending playtesting and approval)
[20:23] <&Doctor> So, Alan will talk more about various tones in the game (Bond is not Le Carre etc)…
[20:23] <&Doctor> some devices are very serious and specific, others are general
[20:24] <&Doctor> Intimate Weapon Cost: 1 per Rank Effect: From the classic poisoned lipstick to knockout gas stored in a bracelet, an intimate weapon is any concealed device that requires contact or extremely close proximity to be effective. If you declare a Strike with an Intimate Weapon, you may make a seduction risk as the initial attack roll. Intimate Weapons gain one f
[20:24] <&Doctor> free wager per Rank which can either be used for additional Injury or incapacitation. One wager spent toward incapacitation can reduce the benefit of one Virtue by one die for one hour. If a Virtue bonus is reduced to zero, the target is rendered unconscious. Intimate Weapons cannot be used in Mass Murder.
[20:24] <&Doctor> that can cover all kinds of things and can flex pretty easily between tones
[20:25] <~Dan> So speaking of tone, I’m assuming that more outlandish gadgets are reserved for Bond-tone games?
[20:25] <&NM_Alan> Dan, indead.
[20:26] <&Doctor> Well, the thing is that the difference between a real world hidden microphone and Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone isn’t really in mechanics
[20:26] <&NM_Alan> The core game is very le Carre (all tension, low on physical action, high on intrigue), but we have rules that support everything from Bond, to Get Smart, to UNCLE, to xXx
[20:27] <&Doctor> so there’s very little that just -can’t- translate.
[20:27] <&Doctor> Like Bond’s submarine Lotus Esprit, Wet Nellie… not really great in a Le Carre game.
[20:27] <&Doctor> Okay, back to Alan 🙂
[20:28] <~Dan> What mechanical effects do tones have?
[20:28] <~Dan> (If any.)
[20:28] <&NM_Alan> Dan, they’re mostly in the stories told
[20:28] <&NM_Alan> But some gadgets, gear and roles are specific to tone
[20:28] <&Doctor> (chimes in one last time) One sliding variable that is mechanic is the prevalence of Gadgets
[20:28] <&NM_Alan> for example, in a le Carre story, you likely won’t have a “Q”
[20:30] <~Dan> So there’s no difference in PC competence across tones?
[20:30] <&NM_Alan> Not at all.
[20:30] <&NM_Alan> PCs are equally as competent in all genres here.
[20:31] <&NM_Alan> and not at all superhuman
[20:31] <&NM_Alan> a trained spy will obviously be better than an average joe in some things, but not necessarily stronger, faster, or smarter.
[20:32] <~Dan> You mentioned special abilities earlier… Can you give some examples of those?
[20:32] <&Doctor> (question) There are a lot of levers you can pull though, to change that sort of thing. What mechanics do you think give the most “flex” to the system?
[20:32] <&NM_Alan> MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
[20:32] <&NM_Alan> – Once per game session, you can reroll a single risk.
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> To answer Doctor, just the strength of the system to support any form of the genre with only minor modifications
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> some games require you to learn whole new mechanics
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> when you want to flex it in a unique direction. Cold Shadows moves easily. The narrator setst he tone and it goes from there.
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> Dan, this one is my favorite Advantage
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> OATH
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> Your character has made an oath. He has vowed to accomplish some important task. Your character will not die until he reaches his goal. Literally. Your character cannot die until he gains opportunity to accomplish that task. But your character will die if he accomplishes the goal or if he fails. The goal cannot small; it must be something… epic. No guarantee your character will succeed, but he won’t die until he g
[20:33] <&NM_Alan> ets the opportunity.
[20:34] <&NM_Alan> my absolutely favorite thing about the system is Tobie Abad’s 2 player version.
[20:34] <&NM_Alan> it’s a spy vs spy mode of the game that requires no Narrator
[20:34] <~Dan> Oh? Do tell!
[20:35] <&NM_Alan> We actually preview pieces of it here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying/posts/1797971)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying/posts/1797971
[20:35] <&NM_Alan> It’s *very* good
[20:36] <~Dan> How does it work?
[20:36] <&NM_Alan> each player as a “Goal” and there’s a mechanic called “The Rope” which shows how far along you are to your goal
[20:37] <&NM_Alan> the Rope guides roleplayign by informing how desperate, successful, or close to the end you are.
[20:37] <&NM_Alan> The Rope always ends climatically
[20:37] <+AndyC> Okay sold.
[20:37] <&NM_Alan> and you can do a short Rope (9 segments is one night) or a longer rope (30 segments) would be three to four nights in a two player campaign
[20:38] <&NM_Alan> wonderful! Glad AndyC!
[20:39] <~Dan> I’m unclear on how you’d handle NPCs in this version of the game.
[20:39] <+AndyC> (Disclosure: Came from Top Secret/SI in high school. Wrote some stuff for Spycraft and Spycraft 2. This is a whole other way to do one of my favorite gaming things. I’m intrigued.)
[20:40] <&NM_Alan> Dan, it’s collaborative, so the other player would run them
[20:40] <&NM_Alan> AndyC that’s awesome! I love those games, so I’m glad you think this is great!
[20:41] <~Dan> Have you thought about applying this system to other settings and genres? Seems like it has a lot of potential.
[20:41] <&NM_Alan> Well it was taken from a Samurai RPG
[20:41] <&NM_Alan> as we licensed it from JWP, we’d have to license any other genres
[20:41] <&NM_Alan> but yes, I have a few ideas!
[20:41] <+AndyC> I really, really like the sound of this. HotB is good stuff, and I’m glad to see its ideas getting more use.
[20:42] <&NM_Alan> but the focus is getting Cold Shadows done and making sure it has staying potential
[20:42] <&NM_Alan> if it does, we have a few other ways I want to explore it!
[20:42] <+AndyC> Tell us more about the storypath cards?
[20:43] <&Doctor> Yeah, this is actually something I know very little about
[20:43] <&NM_Alan> so the Storypath cards are actually an existing Nocturnal product inspired by the Whimsy cards White Wolf originally produced
[20:44] <&NM_Alan> the owner of Nocturnal (my boss Stewart) is one of the founders of White Wolf
[20:44] <&NM_Alan> so the Storypath cards are an updated version of Whimsy cards.
[20:44] <&NM_Alan> as part of their Hellywood Kickstarter, they originally did a Path of Shadows, a Noir themed Storypath deck
[20:44] <&NM_Alan> as part of Cold Shadows we have an expansion for it, called Path of COLD shadows
[20:44] <&NM_Alan> you give each player a storypath card at the start of the session
[20:45] <&NM_Alan> each card has a prompt on how it can be used to twist, influence and move the story
[20:45] <&NM_Alan> the players will play them to change the story
[20:46] <&Doctor> Do they have specific effects or are they open ended?
[20:46] <+sendoshin> (finally here and caught up – my self-imposed Kickstarter ban is probably going to get lifted for a moment tonight…)
[20:46] <&NM_Alan> they are guidelines.
[20:46] <&NM_Alan> YAY! sendoshin and andyc like my game
[20:46] <&NM_Alan> (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/015/297/180/0c5234e77edb7b7ffa5fdeca8145ff83_original.jpg?w=680&fit=max&v=1485454361&auto=format&q=92&s=323e39fb663107db2019a2fd52d0999c)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/015/297/180/0c5234e77edb7b7ffa5fdeca8145ff83_original.jpg?w=680&fit=max&v=1485454361&auto=format&q=92&s=323e39fb663107db2019a2fd52d0999c
[20:47] <&NM_Alan> those are good examples of the Path of Shadows (noir)
[20:47] <&Doctor> Mmmmm Kafka
[20:47] <+sendoshin> It sounds awesome even before the 2-player mode, but I *love* Spy vs Spy, so …
[20:48] <&NM_Alan> yeah, I’m very proud of this game
[20:49] <~Dan> Do you have any thoughts about future products in the game line?
[20:50] <&NM_Alan> We’ve bounced around doing some more cities, and we’ve received some pitches for extra things
[20:50] <&NM_Alan> one being a “RED” style game
[20:50] <&NM_Alan> one being a “John Wick” (movie, not game designer who made the ruleset), style game
[20:50] <+Lin_Chong> retired, extremely dangerous by warren ellis?
[20:50] <&NM_Alan> yes
[20:50] <+Lin_Chong> excellent i love that one i will subscribe to your newsletter
[20:51] <&Doctor> Someone on the KS asked about the Dracula Dossier; how much room do you think there is for Narrators who want that kind of game?
[20:51] <&NM_Alan> Wonderful!
[20:51] <&NM_Alan> The “player” control mechanics make that harder
[20:52] <&NM_Alan> I think you’d have a hard time adapting it over like that, but it could be done
[20:53] <&Doctor> Do you have any Missions (adventures, etc) that help Narrators get a handle on the flow of the game? Some of us (me, Dan) don’t run narrative games often and it’s certainly different than planning a dungeon crawl…
[20:54] <&NM_Alan> Yeah, we include a set up and sample adventure “which is more a collection of linked narrative prompts and plots”
[20:54] <&NM_Alan> and there’s a stretch goal for a campaign in the same style
[20:55] <&Doctor> any plans for actual play transcripts or something like that?
[20:55] <&NM_Alan> We will be doing a live-stream of a game near the end of the campaign as part of a charity
[20:55] <&NM_Alan> seats are being auctioned off
[20:55] <~Dan> Oh, that’s cool!
[20:55] <&Doctor> Well that’s pretty much awesome
[20:55] <&NM_Alan> and the game will be online, and you can bid online
[20:56] <+sendoshin> How flexible is it as far as time periods go? Pretty sure it already fits 1940-2020 or so, maybe back to 1920 with Noir flavoring. How about further back or forward? How well would it handle, say, medieval spies? Cyberpunk espionage?
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> all the core team of designers will be involved (baring schedule issues)
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> It could! You’d need some tweaking. Cyberpunk would be easy, just reskinning and names
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> Medieval would be more work
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> but you could totally do it
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> I ran it with Roman spies 🙂
[20:56] <&NM_Alan> as a playtest
[20:58] <+sendoshin> Quite awesome.
[20:58] <&Doctor> From a gadgets perspective, it’s easier to go forward than backward. The transistor was invented in 1947 by Bell Labs, the Bronze Goddesses ran on vacuum tubes…
[20:58] <&NM_Alan> sendoshin, entirely. It works well
[20:59] <&Doctor> But cyberpunk is very very doable.
[20:59] <&NM_Alan> infact there *might* be a cyberpunk stretch goal
[20:59] <&NM_Alan> but who knows.
[20:59] <~Dan> Would you treat cyber as gadgets?
[20:59] <&NM_Alan> Yup! Just rename them a bit, and you could totally do a cyberpunk heist game
[21:00] <~Dan> Do any of the stretch goals add any “weirdness” to the setting beyond gadgets?
[21:01] <&NM_Alan> Dan, no. The game is played very realistic aside from gadgets
[21:01] <&NM_Alan> but it wouldn’t be hard to add
[21:02] <&NM_Alan> there’s been some talk of post KSer expansions to take the game in a more X-Files bent
[21:02] <+sendoshin> Time travel!
[21:03] <~Dan> Oh, that could be fun, re: X-Files.
[21:03] <+sendoshin> Spies from the future exploring the past!
[21:03] <&NM_Alan> Yup. There’s lots of ways to go.
[21:04] <+sendoshin> OK, that might be a bit silly, but I’d have fun with it.
[21:04] <&NM_Alan> you totally could!
[21:05] <~Dan> Does the game have the equivalent of a bestiary? A collection of stock NPCs?
[21:05] <&NM_Alan> Yup!
[21:05] <&NM_Alan> one of the rewards on the KSer is a extra book of enemy agencies, agents, and more
[21:06] <&NM_Alan> it’s full of foes, enemies, types of enemy equipments, adn such
[21:06] <~Dan> Good to know!
[21:07] <~Dan> So to what degree to you plan out Cold Shadows adventures?
[21:07] <&NM_Alan> When I run the game, I tend to highlight a starting plot, and 3 twists I want to throw in
[21:08] <&NM_Alan> my starting plot always involves an NPC, a McGuffin, and a lie.
[21:09] <&NM_Alan> and then I go from there. The players usually run and do enough twists on their own they don’t need my help
[21:09] <~Dan> Hmm… Speaking of which, how do you prevent players from defining the solution to puzzles presented by the GM?
[21:09] <&NM_Alan> I don’t
[21:10] <&NM_Alan> I find the players will define a far more interesting twist 99% of the time than I will
[21:10] <&NM_Alan> and they’ll get excited and run away with it
[21:11] <~Dan> Is there a way for PCs to seize narrative control outside of challenges?
[21:11] <&NM_Alan> Trust tokens
[21:11] <&NM_Alan> that’s about it!
[21:12] <~Dan> Hmm… I can see players taking advantage of challenges, then.
[21:12] <&Doctor> Today’s solution is tomorrow’s problem
[21:12] <&NM_Alan> Yes. I totally recommend you choose players who will embrace story over challenges
[21:12] <&NM_Alan> plus as the narrator, you can “yes, but” them to twist their success into a risk or disadvantage
[21:12] <&NM_Alan> don’t forget, the Narrator gets Wagers too
[21:13] <~Dan> Well, what I mean is, it seems like a player could deliberately turn a mundane situation into a challenge in order to gain narrative control.
[21:13] <~Dan> For example…
[21:14] <~Dan> …instead of just opening a door, the character could try to kick the door down in order to try to define what’s on the other side.
[21:14] <~Dan> Or am I missing something?
[21:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, stewartwieck!)
[21:15] <+stewartwieck> Hello, Dan. Hello all.
[21:15] <&NM_Alan> Dan, that’s a risk, yes. But don’t forget, you get Dice as the Narrator. If that’s the case, you could just keep all your dice (no wagers) so you out roll them
[21:15] <&NM_Alan> (stewartwieck is the fellow who runs Nocturnal Media!)
[21:16] <+stewartwieck> Very pleased to be offering this game from Alan.
[21:16] <~Dan> Ah, cool! You’ve been here before, haven’t you, stewartwieck?
[21:17] <+stewartwieck> Absolutely.
[21:17] <+stewartwieck> Mainly lurking right now. Alan’s the expert.
[21:17] <&NM_Alan> But Dan, while that concern is very real, I found when I let the players roll those sort of challenges, they often choose to fail to make it more interesting. For example, they might fail to break the door, and alert the suspect on the side, so a cool rooftop chase in Berlin occurs!
[21:18] <~Dan> Fair enough. 🙂
[21:19] <&NM_Alan> For a game with a stringent and limited amount of trust, it asks for a lot of social trust around the table 😉
[21:19] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:20] <&NM_Alan> Well, we’ve unlocked a LOT of stretch goals (we’re over 400% over funded), and we have some really cool stretch goals coming up. Improving components in the game, adding more books, a premade campaign with a NYT bestselling author, and more! There’s a lot we have planned and I’d love to get there. All I can ask is that if the game interests you, feel free to back (even at the PDF level).
[21:20] <&NM_Alan> I’ve delivered 2 Kickstarters early, and this one will be on time. I’ve never delivered late, and I don’t plan to start right now.
[21:21] <&NM_Alan> The game is fully written and done, (minus stretch goals), and all the components are ready to go!
[21:21] <&NM_Alan> It’s a great game, and I’m so very proud of the team and what we built.
[21:22] <&NM_Alan> (also feel free to share it on your favorite social medias!)
[21:22] <&NM_Alan> *done*
[21:22] <&Doctor> Oh, got a second to mention the art?
[21:22] <&Doctor> any cool plans? I love the Path of Shadows noir style
[21:23] <&NM_Alan> So the art in the game is actually real life photographs, used under license to create a evocative but real feel in the book
[21:23] <&NM_Alan> We want you to flip open the chapter to Vienna and literally be looking at Vienna
[21:23] <&NM_Alan> these are real, beautiful, evocative places and we want to showcase that
[21:24] <~Dan> (Howdy, Drew!)
[21:24] <&NM_Alan> The Path of COLD Shadows will mirror that book in that sense Doctor
[21:25] <&Doctor> Nice.
[21:26] <&NM_Alan> Any more questions? I know we’re closing in on the end of our two hours!
[21:27] <~Dan> I think I’m good.
[21:27] <&Doctor> I thin the others went off to the KS page 🙂
[21:27] <&NM_Alan> Once more for the end: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying?ref=creator_nav)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallantknightgames/cold-shadows-narrative-espionage-roleplaying?ref=creator_nav
[21:27] <&NM_Alan> Kickstarter link above!
[21:28] <~Dan> Speaking of links, here’s my tip jar: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:28] <~Dan> For those so inclined. 🙂
[21:28] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, NM_Alan!
[21:29] <&NM_Alan> It was my pleasure! Thanks for all the questions and interest!
[21:30] <&NM_Alan> (as a side note, this Q&A went exactly as long as the 2015 version of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)
[21:30] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll log the chat and link you. 🙂
[21:30] <&NM_Alan> awesome! *Q&A guest hat off!*