[20:33] <+Slade> Alright. I’m Slade. Long-time TTRPG-er and designer, in the last few years of some micro games and some macro games. The first real success I had was with The Indie Hack, which is a story-game-y spin on The Black Hack.
[20:34] <+Slade> I spent most of highschool and much of college playing Whitewolf games and D&D. I got into Apocalypse World and stranger stuff in 2010.
[20:35] <+Slade> My current game is now kickstarting at (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg/)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg/ It’s called “Dust, Fog, and Glowing Embers”
[20:35] <+Slade> It’s all about these societal outcasts finding shelter with a patron who asks them to do nefarious things for them.
[20:35] <+Slade> They are granted powers from alchemical essences that they inject into their blood.
[20:36] <+Slade> The setting takes a “willing suspension of disbelief” as its core. Every kind of non-science is real there: astrology, feng shui, leeches for medicine, etc.
[20:37] <+Slade> The setting is proto-industrial, so you have horses and muskets and such as the main technologies.
[20:37] <+Slade> (done)
[20:37] <~Dan> Thanks, Slade!
[20:37] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[20:38] <~Dan> Is this an alt-history Earth, or a different world altogether?
[20:39] <+Slade> That’s not totally clear. The city is called “Stome” (which doesn’t exist to my knowledge) and the country is called (euphemistically) “Our Commonwealth”. In my mind, it’s Europe around 1400-1600.
[20:39] <+Slade> So it’s an alt-Earth-ish place.
[20:40] <+Slade> (done)
[20:40] <~Dan> What sorts of powers do the essences produce?
[20:41] <+Will> (Walk through of basic combat and what’s involved?)
[20:42] <+Slade> There are three kinds of essences, alcohol, salt, and sulphur, and each one is tied to the incorporeal form that you take when you use them, namely, mist, dust, and smoke, respectively. In an incorporeal form, you can slide under doors, hide in plain sight, absorb crazy damage.
[20:43] <+Slade> The higher level ones get a bit more specific. Someone with mist powers can freeze things or fly. Someone with dust powers can blind enemies and sharpen blades. Someone with smoke powers can light everything on fire!
[20:43] <+Slade> (done for that question, on to combat)
[20:44] <+Slade> The dice mechanic is kinda neat: you roll two dice, one dark (for you), one light (for the ‘badness of the situation’). You add your stat to the dark die.
[20:45] <+Slade> When you are in combat with an enemy, you roll your die and hope that the dark result is greater than the light result. The amount by which you are over indicates the amount of narrative control that you get, which is quantized into something called a “detail”.
[20:45] <+Slade> I’ve been told that “details” are like FATE aspects, but I haven’t played FATE.
[20:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, Rogueliker!)
[20:45] <+Slade> Anyhow, these details can be wounds to your enemies, use of the environment, lending an ally a hand, etc.
[20:46] <+Rogueliker> (Hello Dan!)
[20:46] <+Slade> You might end up rolling twice or three times before the end of combat, because you can only take 3 or 4 ‘wound’ details and a roll can grant 1 or 2.
[20:46] <+Slade> (done)
[20:47] <~Dan> Do any modifiers add to the light die?
[20:48] <~Dan> (Oh, Rogueliker, topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg )
[20:48] <+Slade> Pretty rarely, there can be a powerful enough enemy that the light die gets a +1
[20:48] <+Slade> But, in general, I want to keep the math pretty basic.
[20:49] <+Slade> I don’t like having to collect 3 or 4 modifiers to a roll.
[20:49] <+Slade> (done)
[20:49] <~Dan> Hmm… Does that mean that you really don’t have stats for NPCs?
[20:50] <+Slade> NPCs don’t have stats like the PCs, that’s for sure. Typically, the NPCs have details that they can exploit to get a temporary advantage.
[20:50] <+Slade> The “tech” of it is that you can temporarily check off a detail to adjust the light die by 1 (up or down) based on the situation.
[20:51] <+Slade> So, an enemy got the detail “Bleeding from a gash to the right leg” during our fight and somehow escapes; when I try to track this enemy, I follow the trail of blood. Mechanically, I exploit the detail “Bleeding…” to get a -1 to the light die; I’ve made the situation easier, so the roll is easier.
[20:52] <+Slade> NPCs can, however, have alchemical powers just like the PCs.
[20:52] <+Slade> (done)
[20:53] <~Dan> What are the respective advantages of the three types of alternate forms?
[20:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, TQuid!)
[20:56] <+Slade> I suppose they take the place of classes in some games. The mist form is all about wind and cold, so flying and freezing things. The dust form is about honing and battering things, so sharpening melee weapons and missiles. The smoke form is about throwing fire all around and filling rooms with smoke.
[20:57] <+Slade> I guess the word “advantage” kinda confuses me. They are like toolboxes, really. If you can find the right application, each one has its advantage.
[20:57] <+Slade> (done)
[20:58] <~Dan> Are those powers that the forms automatically grant?
[20:58] <~Dan> Or are they like learned “spells”?
[20:58] <+Slade> You’ll spend units of essence to activate them. I’d say they’re more like disciplines in Vampire.
[20:59] <+Slade> You do need to learn them. But from there, you need to spend essence to activate them.
[20:59] <+Slade> (done)
[21:01] <~Dan> You mentioned other forms of pseudo-science being real in the setting. Are other powers available as a result?
[21:03] <+Slade> I will leave that up to players to investigate. Having a small hole drilled through your skull MIGHT allow more oxygen to the brain, resulting in increased intelligence. But there might be drawbacks.
[21:04] <+Slade> However! I have a collaborator, for example, who is writing powers based on the zodiac signs of characters, which will have real mechanical benefit.
[21:04] <~Dan> Ah, that’s cool.
[21:04] <+Slade> I would say that I’m covering the alchemy in the rules, and leaving the others to be discovered in play.
[21:05] <+Slade> (done)
[21:05] <~Dan> Are there monsters in the setting?
[21:06] <+Slade> Only those within our souls.
[21:06] <+Slade> Nah. There are lots of monsters!
[21:06] <~Dan> Very poetic. 🙂
[21:06] <+Slade> Both kinds, I would say.
[21:07] <+Slade> So, there is the monstrousness of being essentially forced to work for evil people.
[21:07] <+Slade> And there are people who have succumed to the various kinds of strangeness of the setting.
[21:08] <~Dan> So all of the monsters are former humans?
[21:08] <+Slade> A vampire is made when a person’s body can no longer filter the alchemical essences properly, and has to steal blood.
[21:08] <+Slade> A werewolf is formed when a smoke-form person absorbs a wolf bodily.
[21:08] <+Slade> Former humans… I hadn’t thought about it.
[21:08] <+Slade> I guess you’re right. They are all former humans.
[21:09] <+Slade> I don’t know why I never thought of that before……
[21:09] <+Slade> (done)
[21:10] <~Dan> Smoke-form people can absorb other living things?
[21:10] <+Slade> If you go too far down that path, you might think up all kinds of strange ways of modulating your body.
[21:10] <+Slade> Maybe you inject a wolf with the essence also, but trap it.
[21:11] <+Slade> Then you become smoke and mingle with its rarefied particles.
[21:11] <+Slade> When you force yourself back into physical form, who knows?
[21:11] <+Slade> (done)
[21:13] <~Dan> You mentioned the tech level early on, but is there any anachronistic gadgetry?
[21:14] <+Slade> I think the spagyric manifold, the complex device of syringes, tubes, and vials that injects essences into your body, is pretty anachronistic.
[21:14] <+Slade> The level of tech of the wheellock pistols is a bit advanced for an early industrial period.
[21:15] <+Slade> Other than that, it should feel like the 1500s
[21:15] <+Slade> (done)
[21:18] <~Dan> Is there anything special about the individuals using essences, or are they simply the people desperate enough to work for the people with access to them?
[21:19] <+Slade> I think you’ve answered your own question there, Dan. What kind of person would be crazy enough to inject something into their blood that turned them into mist? I guess that person would be pretty desperate. I guess they’d have to have a reason to be so cavalier.
[21:19] <+Slade> I leave a lot of suggestions in the book about the ways in which you’re outcast.
[21:20] <~Dan> Well, to be more clear, I was wondering if the essences will work for anyone, or only for certain individuals?
[21:20] <+Slade> In addition, your Patron marks you. Maybe with a physical brand scarring your flesh, maybe with (essentially) gang colors, maybe with something a subtle as a verbal quirk.
[21:21] <+Slade> Oh! I see.
[21:21] <+Slade> In the fiction, anyone could do this. But not everyone enjoys it, and not everyone can control it.
[21:21] * ~Dan nods
[21:22] <+Slade> And, what’s more, it’s very difficult to get a hold of this stuff.
[21:22] <+Slade> It’s like saffron, gold.
[21:22] <~Dan> Is it illegal?
[21:22] <+Slade> Although, now that we can turn lead into gold, that’
[21:22] <+Slade> s less of an issue.
[21:22] <+Slade> Very! Because ruffians would use this tech to mug people, or assassinate the powerful.
[21:23] <+Slade> (done)
[21:23] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[21:24] <+Slade> Hmmm. Let me do a bit of formatting. How would you like to see it?
[21:25] <~Dan> Oh, doesn’t really matter, so long as we can get the basics. Ideally, it would be posted at a URL.
[21:25] <+Slade> Alright. Give me a sec to log into my server and upload it.
[21:26] <~Dan> Sure.
[21:31] <+Slade> Just to warn you, it’s ugly. It’s for playtesting purposes. My artist will be doing something much nicer in the next few weeks.
[21:32] <~Dan> No problem!
[21:33] <~Dan> (Howdy, SilverBolt!)
[21:33] <+Slade> (Link: http://scablandspress.com/art/DFaGE_CharSheet.xlsx)http://scablandspress.com/art/DFaGE_CharSheet.xlsx
[21:34] <+Slade> (done)
[21:34] <~Dan> So the attributes are Tough, Precise, and Clever?
[21:35] <+Slade> Yep. Just those three. They cover mostly what you expect. Precise is a little bit like Dex mixed with Perception. Clever is a little bit like Int mixed with Cha.
[21:35] <+Slade> (done)
[21:35] <~Dan> Do these three combine with skills?
[21:36] <+Slade> Not in the typical sense, no. They can be used with aptitudes, but only once per scene.
[21:36] <+Slade> The aptitudes are a little strange too.
[21:37] <~Dan> What are they?
[21:37] <+Slade> Forage, Hunt, Shoot, Chart, and Sing; Reckon, Ride, Brawl, Craft, and Intimidate; are Pilfer, Politics, Duel, Art, and Trade
[21:38] <+Slade> This is the most “trad” part of the game.
[21:38] <~Dan> What’s the significance of the semicolons there?
[21:38] <+Slade> (done)
[21:38] <+Slade> They separate the three “Origins”: Forest; Farm; City
[21:38] <+Slade> (done)
[21:39] <+Slade> Maybe not done.
[21:39] <+Slade> The origins are where the character grew up. They can learn from outside their origin, but at a higher cost.
[21:39] <+Slade> (done)
[21:40] <~Dan> Hmm. Seems like the City origin aptitudes lean toward the upper classes.
[21:41] <+Slade> I think that’s fair. Except maybe Pilfer and Politics. Nothing dirtier than politics.
[21:41] <+Slade> I’ve broken rule (1).
[21:41] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[21:42] <~Dan> I think we can let that slide. 😉
[21:42] <+Slade> Thanks.
[21:42] * +Will snerks
[21:42] <+Slade> And trade is haggling also.
[21:42] * ~Dan nods
[21:42] <+Slade> So it’s not strictly upper class applications of those skills.
[21:42] <+Slade> (done)
[21:42] <~Dan> Right, I see your point there.
[21:43] <~Dan> What are the humours?
[21:43] <+Slade> They’re my favorite part of the game!
[21:43] <+Slade> They replace alignment or nature/demeanor of other systems.
[21:44] <+Slade> You have, as you know, four main humours in the body, black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm.
[21:44] <+Slade> Whichever of these is most prominent, most abundant, is what dictates your personality.
[21:45] <+Slade> However! You are a complex person. And you contain the three others (if less of them). So your personality has hints of other aspects. These aspects, you only show to those close to you.
[21:45] <+Slade> You write the names of NPCs under these “secondary humours”.
[21:45] <+Slade> Well… Just those NPCs that you truly trust.
[21:45] <+Slade> (done, for now…)
[21:46] <~Dan> (wb, TQuid!)
[21:46] <+TQuid> (Rehi)
[21:46] <+Slade> It’s something that evolves mechanically, and can cause you a personality crisis.
[21:46] <+Slade> (done)
[21:50] <~Dan> What are the Spagyric Arts? The special uses of the essences?
[21:51] <+Slade> Yeah, those are the abilities granted by the essences. In effect, it’s a spell list.
[21:51] <+Slade> You list the ones that you know
[21:51] <+Slade> Then spend alcohol, salt, or sulphur.
[21:51] <+Slade> (done)
[21:57] <+Slade> I feel like it’s mainly you and me here, Dan. Is everyone just too polite to ask questions or… ?
[21:59] * +Slade whistles
[22:00] <~Dan> They may just not know what to ask.
[22:01] <~Dan> They get that way sometimes.
[22:01] <+Slade> I see.
[22:01] <~Dan> How about it, folks? Anyone watching?
[22:02] <~Dan> What does Fallen mean on the character sheet?
[22:03] <+Slade> It’s your HP, in essence. Once you get 3 wounds, you become “Fallen” and are out of the combat.
[22:03] <+Slade> But it doesn’t have to be a combat. It might be a particularly difficult social situation as well.
[22:03] <+Slade> It just means, you’re out of the spotlight for a good bit.
[22:04] <+Slade> Maybe 75% of the time, that’s from being stabbed and shot and such.
[22:04] <+Slade> (done)
[22:04] <~Dan> How deadly is the game, generally speaking?
[22:05] <+Slade> Very. You’ve got just those 3 wounds, and a single die roll might result in 2 wounds against you.
[22:05] <+Slade> If you do very badly two rolls in a row, you’re probably down.
[22:06] <+Slade> There are a few powers than can mitigate that a little.
[22:06] <~Dan> Like what?
[22:07] <~Dan> (wb, rpgresearch)
[22:07] <+Slade> So, you could make yourself more dust-like, and the enemy’s blade cuts through a thin cloud of rocks.
[22:07] <+Slade> And you take one less wound.
[22:07] <+Slade> (done)
[22:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, Josh!)
[22:08] <+Josh> Hello
[22:08] <~Dan> (Josh, topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676237438/dust-fog-and-glowing-embers-an-rpg )
[22:09] <~Dan> Are there any problems with long-term essence use?
[22:10] <+Slade> Oh yes.
[22:10] <+Slade> Are you familiar with Apocalypse World?
[22:10] * ~Dan waggles hand
[22:10] <+Slade> as-in “so-so”?
[22:10] * ~Dan nods
[22:11] <+Slade> As you use these powers, you have to metabolize them. If they remain unmetabolized the GM basically makes a hard move.
[22:11] <~Dan> Never played it, but I’ve had Q&As with several people who use it in their games.
[22:11] <+Slade> Maybe you float away.
[22:11] <+Slade> Maybe you can’t seem to not start fires with your touch.
[22:11] <+Slade> Maybe you can’t hold your shape.
[22:11] <+Slade> After a few of these, they make harder and harder moves.
[22:12] <+Slade> You might end up a vampire.
[22:12] <+Slade> Or you might end up floating away to the burialmounds.
[22:12] <+Slade> (done)
[22:12] <+Slade> (I just wanted to borrow the term “hard move”)
[22:14] <~Dan> What determines how much essence you need to maintain your powers?
[22:14] <+Josh> Is alk the art black and white? Or is this just concept art? Not a critique i think it sets a certain mood
[22:16] <+Slade> Each power has a simple cost of 1 or 2 or 3 essence that you pay to activate it. They remain in effect until you metabolize them. But there is a limit on that. So if you don’t rest, you’ve got these unmetabolized essences that are trying to destabilize your phyrical form.
[22:16] <+Slade> Re: Artwork. It’s all b/w, and by the amazing Dirk Leichty.
[22:17] <+Slade> It reminds me of Vampire, mainly.
[22:17] <+Slade> (done)
[22:18] <~Dan> What sorts of actions do the PCs get assigned?
[22:19] <+Slade> Break the legs of the rival politician. Steal the wine of the local merchant. Kidnap the general and his retinue. Burn the library.
[22:19] <+Slade> Essentially whatever stands in the way of the ego of your Patron.
[22:19] <~Dan> Sounds like a pretty bleak premise. Is there any hope at all?
[22:19] <+Slade> The fun part comes when you have the weekend to yourselves, with a bit of essence left over. Then you make your own missions.
[22:20] <+Slade> I suppose there probably is.
[22:20] <+Slade> If your characters can manage to destroy your Patron.
[22:20] <+Slade> But then, where can you get your essences?
[22:20] <+Slade> It’s a tough nut to crack.
[22:20] <+Slade> (done)
[22:20] * ~Dan nods
[22:21] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[22:21] <+Josh> Can you play as a Patron?
[22:21] <+Slade> Josh makes an interesting point.
[22:21] <+Slade> You can’t start as one, in the rules as-written. But you could take their power, if you’re very careful.
[22:22] <+Josh> Sweet
[22:22] <+Slade> But I don’t think it would be much fun to play such a greedy character to start.
[22:22] <+Slade> If you wanted to follow the arc of The Godfather, I guess, eventually, you could do that.
[22:23] <+Slade> I think you’d have good intentions at first, but that they’d get corrupted over time.
[22:23] <+Slade> So.
[22:23] <+Slade> Yes! But you’d probably want to make your way there via the story itself.
[22:23] <+Slade> As far as other things we haven’t covered, I’m not sure.
[22:24] <~Dan> Do players tend to play this game assuming that their characters are going to end up meeting a grim fate?
[22:24] <+Slade> In this game, I think you will probably end up dead in a ditch. It’s not really a hopeful game. It’s gritty.
[22:24] <+Slade> It’s grim.
[22:24] <+Slade> You’ll probably be killed off by your Patron when your power rivals theirs.
[22:25] <+Slade> If you escape that, maybe you can find your way back into a position of power somewhere.
[22:25] <+Slade> It’d be tough though.
[22:25] <+Slade> (done)
[22:26] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Slade!
[22:26] <~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/
[22:26] <+Slade> Thanks so much for having me!
[22:27] <+Slade> It’s always nice to get to chat about this.
[22:27] <~Dan> Sorry folks were so quiet. Friday nights can be that way sometimes.
[22:27] <~Dan> That said, you’re always welcome to hang out with us and discuss your work whenever you like.
[22:27] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you.
[22:27] <+Slade> Sounds fun.
[22:27] <+Slade> Alright, sounds good.