[19:11] <+JRoss> I’m Jake, but I write under the name Jacob DC Ross to differentiate myself from the Caribbean writer. I wrote and funded Kaigaku, a samurai RPG, back in September, then released in January. As part of Kickstarter’s 7-day challenge for March I’m running a campaign for Kaigaku: The Ruined Kingdom. It’s an adventure set in an ancient nation where the PCs travel
[19:12] <+JRoss> steppes, deserts and other treacherous regions to protect the homeland of the ancestors of many people from Kaigaku. Monsters are roaming about. You have to manage destroying the monster horde with keeping the representatives from other nations from making off with powerful artifacts (before you get the chance to do so!).
[19:13] <+JRoss> Think Shadow of the Colossus meets The Great Wall (minus Matt Damon). It’s for both Black Hack and WhiteBox.
[19:15] <+Will> Well, no Matt Damon, that’s a bust.
[19:15] <+Will> (sorry)
[19:16] <+JRoss> LOL, I can always tell the artist to do somethimg…
[19:18] <~Dan> (Were you ready for questions, JRoss?)
[19:18] <+JRoss> Yup, Dan
[19:18] <~Dan> Thanks, JRoss! The floor is open to questions!
[19:19] <~Dan> Are all of the PCs samurai?
[19:21] <+JRoss> Good question! Nope. The default setting assumes that you’ll probably be someone from the samurai caste, from which you can select bushi (warrior), courtier (politician), ninja (rogue) or ascetic (martial artist). Really, any of these can be from other castes. ALSO, this book is the first one to have non-Kaigaku character options. You get multiple options for
[19:21] <+JRoss> Kherin (think Mongols), Achaem (Persian) or Tian (China).
[19:22] <+JRoss> Over
[19:22] <~Dan> Did you create these as new classes, or did you adapt existing ones?
[19:24] <+JRoss> New! Though some are designed to harken back to classic archetypes.
[19:25] <+JRoss> Over
[19:25] <+Will> I’m not familiar with Kaigaku; is there magic?
[19:25] <~Dan> Yes, I noticed you didn’t mention a magic-using type.
[19:28] <+JRoss> Ah, yeah. So it’s not “Magic” but it has the same trappings. The world gets pelted by meteors bearing “kiseki”, or “miracle stones”. These things empower the ascetics class when they implant them in their bodies. I wanted to do something different, so it’s more science-y. Like there’s an ascetic school in the core book that’s very Airbender, but the “elements
[19:28] <+JRoss> ” are actually the four phases of matter: plasma, gas, liquid and solid.
[19:28] <+RayAtHigherGrounds> Heya folks!
[19:28] <~Dan> (Howdy, RayAtHigherGrounds!)
[19:29] <+JRoss> Ninja have access to some of these abilities.
[19:29] <+JRoss> Each nation/clan has their schtick, like the not-europeans make gadgets, while the not-Japanese implant them in their own bodies.
[19:29] <+JRoss> Over
[19:30] <~Dan> What sorts of gadgets?
[19:32] <+JRoss> They have more powerful guns, rudimentary steam engines, basically steampunk-level stuff. The next campaign, after this one, is going to be about the clans each trying to get the Shogun’s position while also dealing with foreign influence. Gonna have airships.
[19:32] <+JRoss> Over
[19:32] <~Dan> Ah, so firearms are a thing?
[19:34] <+JRoss> Yup, pistolas and arquebuses. Plus granadas. The next issue of the Kaigaku Chronicle, the game’s newsletter, has a “Fire Snail” school of ninja who throw bombs.
[19:34] <+JRoss> The not-Mongols have hand cannons.
[19:34] <+JRoss> over
[19:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, Catseye!)
[19:35] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about the monsters? Are they kaiju?
[19:36] <+JRoss> Some are kaiju. Those are usually te “mother” units. Some are dragons, some are shambling hords, and some are mutant humans.
[19:37] <+JRoss> The campaign will let you choose how many swarms you want to send at the players to consider things complete. Oh, and a mad scientist.
[19:37] <~Dan> What kind of mad science are we talking, here?
[19:38] <+JRoss> Some examples include terra cotta army men, “good” Asian dragons and “bad” Asian dragons, twisted versions of regular animals (think “dire” anything but with more glowiness :D). And then you get the roaming solitary titans.
[19:40] <~Dan> Why “glowy”, re: dire animals?
[19:40] <+JRoss> Oh, the mad science. Not to give away too much of the plot, but one of the Tianjin (not-Chinese) scientists is inspired by a real guy, Zhuge Liang, only “what if he made robots/mutants/war machines?”. Turns out that while many of the monsters come from mutations caused by meteor impacts (this is common in the world) that a lot of the problem was manmade.
[19:40] <+JRoss> Oh, for the glowiness. To be like Pokemon 😉
[19:40] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:40] <+JRoss> No, it’s because they’re irradiated.
[19:40] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[19:41] * +Will laughs
[19:41] <~Dan> If there’s no magic, are the terra cotta soldiers robots?
[19:42] <+JRoss> Yeah, but more along the lines of how Galactus can animate things. The kiseki gems have a measure of intelligence, and when you give them conduits for expressing their power they can animate suitable shapes.
[19:43] <+JRoss> Um, plus the terra cotta soldiers have more going on than seems to be at frist.
[19:43] <+JRoss> first
[19:44] <~Dan> What are your dragons like, given the lack of magic?
[19:45] <+JRoss> Well, they’re intentionally created by the mad scientist. His magnum opus. Some decided that they have no reason to serve man and then the fighting started. Basically think colossi or Gojira in Chinese Lung trappings.
[19:47] <~Dan> Can they fly?
[19:48] <+JRoss> Most can, yeah. Might just mean that you need to run across their backs mid-flight to stab them…
[19:49] <~Dan> Is the game that cinematic?
[19:51] <+JRoss> It’s as cinematic as you want it to be. You can just pelt them with arrows if you can reach. Or rake it with gunfire. I didn’t put wire-fu set pieces in the core book, but the core’s mission is to be somewhat generic, to serve as a starting point for the imagination. This adventure? Yeah. I want it to feel like you’re a mook in a Tower Defense game when you’r
[19:52] <+JRoss> e standing on the ramparts when the shambling horde runs at the city, or like SotC when you’re facing a kaiju. The monsters are going to have mini “hooks” in their descriptions for making them more thrilling/threatening.
[19:53] <~Dan> But do PCs have the capability to do wire fu stuff
[19:53] <~Dan> ?
[19:56] <+JRoss> Ah, okay, I see. Some are written more for that than others. Lots of ninja can leap 50 feet and so on, martial artists might be able to call thunder from the sky and so forth. There’s this bushi school, the Rising Badger, that get specific bonuses to suicidal stunts. Some folks might have problems getting up their on their own (that’s what artifacts are for)
[19:58] <+JRoss> but wit Black Hack rules it’s basically “Can I do this?” “Do you roll right?”. Range bands are abstract, PCs tend to outclass mooks by orders of magnitude and so forth. YOu can go realistic, but any martial artist or ninja is going to be at home in wire fu film.
[20:00] <~Dan> Interesting….
[20:00] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about how Black Hack works? Not to sidetrack the conversation, but for those of us unfamiliar with its core mechanic?
[20:02] <+JRoss> Oh, sure! Let me preface this by saying that the adventure is also going to be statted for WhiteBox and if we hit 5k we’ll release a WhiteBox version of the core book, too. But Black Hack is a roll-under system, where when you try and do something you roll under your stat for success. It’s got Advantage/Disadvantage. There’s no experience; you level up at the
[20:04] <+JRoss> end of important stories. When you level up you roll against each stat and increase each one that you roll over. I’ve hacked it to have a skill system similar to Exemplars and Eidolons, 13th Age or Crimson Heroes (Black Hack author David Black helped with that one).
[20:04] <+JRoss> Otherwise it’s very similar to other OSR rules, but with a streamlined design.
[20:05] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about the skill system?
[20:07] <+JRoss> Oh, sure. So you create three skills at char gen. One is your Station (your place in society), one is your Duty (your job) and one is your Passion (hobbies). Skills have low ranks that you can increase with leveling. For each roll where one of your skills would help, such as swinging a sword if your Duty is swordsman, you get to add that skill (only one) to
[20:07] <+JRoss> the stat you’re using for the roll. This makes you very good at the things you want to be skilled at doing.
[20:08] <+JRoss> @Dan, I’ve got aboot 20 minutes before I have to bounce
[20:09] <~Dan> No problem, JRoss!
[20:09] <~Dan> Tell you what… Is there anything important that we haven’t covered? Why don’t you close us out.
[20:11] <+JRoss> Okay. Hm. Well, first, thanks Dan. A lot. This Kickstarter is really close to funding, but we need some help. It’s going to have gorgeous maps from Guillaume Tavernier. If you haven’t seen his work, it’s incredible. I’m passionate about this project because I think that Mongol, Middle Eastern and other Asian cultures aren’t getting used in games like they
[20:12] <+JRoss> could be. This adventure is going to be compatible with almost all OSR systems. If you pledge at 25 bucks you get the core book when the campaign ends, plus the adventure and any other stretch goals. Oh, I’m a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books, and I feel that the GM should get a chance to play, too, so there are sections for random encounters with a
[20:14] <+JRoss> CYOA-like feel so you, the GM, can create your own character and go adventuring. I’m hoping to really make something from this line. I’m working with several bloggers right now and we’re going to have lots of reviews up in the coming weeks, and even some actual plays. This game is getting noticed more and I really want to give you guys more stuffs!
[20:14] <+JRoss> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1059971838/kaigaku-rpg-the-ruined-kingdom)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1059971838/kaigaku-rpg-the-ruined-kingdom
[20:14] <~Dan> Awesome, JRoss!
[20:15] <+JRoss> Thanks again. That’s all I can think of for now. I really appreciate this.
[20:15] <~Dan> As a reminder to folks, my tip jar is here for those so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[20:15] <~Dan> You’re very welcome, JRoss!
[20:15] <~Dan> I hope you’ll come by more often!
[20:15] <~Dan> Give me just a minute here, and I’ll get the log posted and link you.