[13:40] <+Ed_Jowett> Okay, well… hi everyone! Some of you probably know me by now, because I’ve been here more than ten times!
[13:41] <+Ed_Jowett> But for those who don’t, I’m Ed Jowett, the Lead Creator for Shades of Vengeance. I have created a few roleplaying games and I’m here today to talk about one for a second time!
[13:41] <+Ed_Jowett> About a year ago, I came on to talk to you about a post-apocalyptic survival horror game called Era: Survival.
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s got zombies, it’s got Humans turning on each other, broken technology and hidden vaults beneath the ground – everything you could want from a post-apocalyptic RPG!
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, it was very successful on Kickstarter and now we’re running a new campaign which gives everyone another chance to pick up the Core Rulebook, along with expansions.
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions
[13:43] <+Ed_Jowett> The campaign offers 3 expansions at the Funded Goal and an additional expansion in Digital Format at each Stretch Goal.
[13:43] <+Ed_Jowett> I’ve got quite a few planned, including source books for all the faction, enhanced rules for Infected, and much, much more!
[13:44] <+Ed_Jowett> (done!)
[13:44] <~Dan> Thanks, Ed_Jowett! The floor is open to questions!
[13:44] <~Dan> So what makes this stand out from other zombie games?
[13:45] <+Ed_Jowett> A few things. Firstly, the zombies come in two types… “fast” and “slow”, if you like. The Infected Mutants are more than a match for any Human and the Shamblers give you the classic “zombie horde of reanimated dead feeling”.
[13:46] <+Ed_Jowett> Secondly, this is less about the zombies, really, than about the players and their interactions with the world. Humanity has split into Factions, which all have a very clear vision of how Humanity should be trying to survive the post-apocalypse…
[13:46] <+Ed_Jowett> That is… all have a very *different* vision.
[13:47] <+Ed_Jowett> Life on Gaia is about not just avoiding Infection, mauling by Infected Bears or starvation… it’s also about trying to negotiate your way between the various factions.
[13:47] <~Dan> Are there any other monsters besides Infected?
[13:47] <+Ed_Jowett> In fact, one of the Stretch Goal reward books is a campaign which will explore creating your own town and trying to keep it safe from the various enemies which present themselves – from Infected and Humans who have gone totally raider-tastic to well-organised groups of soldiers.
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> Absolutely! We have a full Bestiary, which contains various other rather deadly creatures as well, such as Trap-Door Ants, which weaken a section of ground… you fall in to the waist as you are walking and… well, that’s the end of you in just a few seconds.
[13:49] <+Ed_Jowett> Infected can also mutate into lots of different forms (there’s an expansion which goes into that in the first 3, the Infected Manual), which can give you a huge variety of possibilities.
[13:49] <~Dan> Can you give an example of a mutated Infected?
[13:50] <+Ed_Jowett> From Infected who used to be Human but are now 30 feet tall to bears which sit in the treetops and drop onto you… yes, we have Drop Bears…!
[13:50] <+Ed_Jowett> We have sticky mucus that’s sprayed on you, sticking you to yourself and the ground, we have Humans with huge, bone-encrusted arms which are strong enough to punch through an armoured car…
[13:51] <+Ed_Jowett> The Infected Manual actually gives you 100 possibilities
[13:51] <~Dan> Impressive.
[13:51] <+Ed_Jowett> Thanks. It’s been a huge amount of fun putting all this together, really great to enhance Era: Survival one step further!
[13:52] <~Dan> What are some of the expansions that you’re Kickstarting?
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, the Funded Goal will unlock the Swarm source book.
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> That’s going to talk about the first of our factions, a massive, well-organised force of brainwashed soldiers who are inexorably pushing south across Gaia.
[13:54] <+Ed_Jowett> There’s even a unique little video for each of the first 3, actually, here’s the one for the Swarm:
[13:54] <+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://ksr-video.imgix.net/assets/016/609/028/f0b507e97be5db1a0e9b0d5d2e239d3b_h264_high.mp4)https://ksr-video.imgix.net/assets/016/609/028/f0b507e97be5db1a0e9b0d5d2e239d3b_h264_high.mp4
[13:55] <+Ed_Jowett> The Infected Manual is, as I’d said, intended to give much more variety for Infected which you encounter, providing 100 mutations and a random generation system for both species and Mutation!
[13:56] <+Ed_Jowett> The third (and final one which has a video for now!) is Tales of the Outlands, which gives players the chance to roam beyond Gaia. This is primarily an adventure seeds and lore book, which lets people know what exists beyond the places that Humanity dares to roam.
[13:57] <~Dan> Wait, what’s beyond Gaia in this setting? Are you talking other planets/dimensions and such?
[13:57] <+Ed_Jowett> All of those are unlocked at the Funded Goal, so every backer above the £1 tier gets those three in Digital Format if we’re funded.
[13:57] <+Ed_Jowett> Beyond that, we have the Campaign I mentioned, which is about trying to establish a colony, fighting off Infected and Raiders, as well as the Swarm and others.
[13:58] <+Ed_Jowett> And then our second Source Book, Aqua, which covers the sea-dwellers who seek to avoid Infection by living way out in the ocean on a floating city.
[13:58] <+Ed_Jowett> Interestingly, Aqua and The Swarm were Stretch Goals offered with the first Kickstarter which we didn’t quite unlock, but I’m pleased to be able to offer them again.
[13:59] <+Ed_Jowett> We’ve actually been able to bring back the same artist and writer from the Core Rulebook, which is great – I love to bring consistency to the Era games!
[13:59] <+Ed_Jowett> (done)
[14:00] <~Dan> Can you remind us of the game’s core system?
[14:00] <~Dan> Howdy, Maelthra___
[14:01] <+Ed_Jowett> Sure, it’s running on the Era d10 Rule Set, which powers all of the RPGs I’ve made.
[14:02] <+Ed_Jowett> It runs on multiple d10s, with a variable Threshold. You have a number of dice defined by an Attribute and Skill Combination nominated by the GM as most appropriate and a Threshold which is defined by the difficulty of the attempted action.
[14:02] <+Ed_Jowett> I have a video here if anyone wants to see it in action: (Link: https://youtu.be/znxPiiecu_s)https://youtu.be/znxPiiecu_s
[14:03] <+Ed_Jowett> This game also includes Karma Cards, which can be used to boost your actions.
[14:03] <~Dan> How do they work?
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> Good Karma Cards give you an advantage – for example, I once used one in combat. I was a long way away from my target (out of range), but had a combat knife. I decided to throw it at the target, even though the Success Threshold was 12, the GM said.
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> I then played “Bullseye”, which gives you 3 automatic hits…
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> and when I rolled damage, I actually killed the target with a combat knife, thrown, from 100 metres away!
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> (That was probably an abuse, but it’s a great example!)
[14:05] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[14:05] <+Ed_Jowett> The Evil Karma Cards do bad things to you, but you get the chance to get something out of it. For example, your weapon might run out of ammo suddenly at the start of Combat… but at the end, you get double the amount of ammo you had before.
[14:06] <+Ed_Jowett> Karma is an important aspect of this game, and one of the unique aspects of it (along with item durability)
[14:06] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s not the same as alignment – it’s not about what you mean to do, it’s about the consequences of your actions.
[14:06] <+Ed_Jowett> Let me give you an example…
[14:06] * ~Dan nods
[14:07] <+Ed_Jowett> We were playing and one of the characters found a building with people inside. He decided to use his one explosive to collapse the walls and kill them all, so he could pick through the rubble and loot the bodies.
[14:07] <+Ed_Jowett> So he blows up the building.
[14:07] <~Dan> Yikes.
[14:07] <+Ed_Jowett> As he walks up, someone escapes the rubble, coughing… and proclaims him a hero! He crushed all of the Infected that were about to get him and his 40 friends!
[14:08] <+Ed_Jowett> So they follow him like a cult for a week.
[14:08] * ~Dan chuckles
[14:08] <+Ed_Jowett> At which point he gets sick of them and decides to turn around and shoot one in the head.
[14:08] <+Ed_Jowett> Figuring, you know, evil!
[14:09] <~Dan> Man, I would not like this player in my game…
[14:09] <+Ed_Jowett> The minute he does, one of the others runs up to him and says “how did you know?! He was saying we should murder you and your party and steal everything you have!”
[14:09] <+Ed_Jowett> So they get even more infatuated with him!
[14:09] <+Ed_Jowett> In the end, he had to sneak away from them to escape!
[14:10] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s great because it gives you the chance for not only good or evil characters who want to be that way, but also a chance to be a character who wants to be good, acts in a good way, but an evil thing he did once by mistake makes him have evil Karma.
[14:10] <+Ed_Jowett> A character I played accidentally blew up a helicopter that would have taken medicine to thousands… he was trying to repair it and failed.
[14:10] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s one of only three in existence and it was an honest mistake.
[14:10] * ~Dan nods
[14:11] <+Ed_Jowett> And he went out, trying to be an adventurer, to be a good person, but the stigma of his bad Karma followed him everywhere.
[14:11] <+Ed_Jowett> It lets you have these characters who aren’t just what they seem on the surface, which is an aspect I’m really proud of.
[14:12] <~Dan> Very nice.
[14:13] <+Ed_Jowett> (done)
[14:13] <~Dan> What level of civilization has been re-established? Are there city-states, for example?
[14:14] <+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, there are a few. Most places are pretty primitive, to be honest… again, visual aids, 1 sec…
[14:15] <+Ed_Jowett> So there are a few places where technology exists and people maintain it.
[14:16] <+Ed_Jowett> Probably chief among those is simply known as “City”, which is considered a bit of a den of scum and villany, but has huge defences and represents one of the most powerful factions.
[14:16] <+Ed_Jowett> They have electricity and such, and their upper elite have some of the greatest luxury on Gaia.
[14:17] <+Ed_Jowett> There is also the White Cross, which distributes the only drug which can be used as a defence against Infection, which has helicopters.
[14:17] <+Ed_Jowett> The Sisterhood of Pyrus and the Swarm are also worth an honourable mention, as they have high technology also.
[14:17] <+Ed_Jowett> Most of these are pretty totalitarian regime-wise, though.
[14:18] <+Ed_Jowett> I feel that’s probably realistic – a stricter regime is more likely to survive when survival is very difficult.
[14:18] <+Geek2theRight> Is there any magic in this setting, or a presented way to add it in?
[14:19] <+Ed_Jowett> There is no magic in the Core Rulebook.
[14:19] <+Ed_Jowett> However, all of the Era d10 rulebooks are compatible, and the unique elements are modular.
[14:20] <+Ed_Jowett> That means you could get hold of, for example, Era: Silence or Era: The Empowered and be able to add magic or superpowers.
[14:20] <+Ed_Jowett> You could also grab Era: The Consortium and introduce cyberpunk-like implant changes to factions.
[14:20] <+Geek2theRight> Do you have a later faction book planned that could be used to add it without going to another game line?
[14:21] <+Ed_Jowett> I’m not planning to add magic into this setting, no. In my eyes, it doesn’t fit with the vision that I have planned. However, if there’s demand for it, anything is possible!
[14:21] <+Geek2theRight> Just curious if this is being developed as a more modular setting, or more as a cohesive hole.
[14:21] <~Dan> So the source of the infection is purely scientific?
[14:21] <+Geek2theRight> Ah, so more cohesive. Cool.
[14:22] <+Ed_Jowett> The source of Infection is totally unknown, actually, Dan. It happened 100 years ago and, for some reason, record-keeping isn’t a priority.
[14:23] <+Ed_Jowett> Might have been a biological weapon… might have been a parasite evolving… might have been… well, practically anything.
[14:23] <+Ed_Jowett> But I’d say that, in general, this setting is fairly grounded in harsh reality, so there probably is a scientific explanation.
[14:23] <+Geek2theRight> If the White Cross has a medicine that works and some level of tech, how do they not know how the infection works?
[14:25] <+Ed_Jowett> They know how the Infection works, just not where it came from. The White Cross focus only on distributing the drug, not on trying to improve it or destroy the Infection.
[14:25] <+Ed_Jowett> There is another faction which works to destroy the Infection, but they think the White Cross is wasting its time trying to save lives…
[14:25] <+Ed_Jowett> They might care where it came from, but it’s basically not possible to find out any more.
[14:26] <+Geek2theRight> So the WC basically has their hands full with containment?
[14:26] <+Ed_Jowett> Maybe deep inside Fallout (an area of desert, extreme Infection levels and radiation in the centre of Gaia) there is an answer… but no-one has survived long enough to find out!
[14:26] <~Dan> Is the pre-apocalypse tech level analagous to modern day?
[14:26] <+Ed_Jowett> Correct, they produce and distribute Injection virtually free to any Human they can find.
[14:27] <+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, roughly. Military helicopters, rocket launchers.
[14:27] <+Ed_Jowett> Perhaps the computer tech is a bit older, but very few people are able to use it and when they encounter it, it tends to be more in the underground vaults, so who knows how old those might be!
[14:28] <+Ed_Jowett> I think, with no electricity or internet, the computer tech is kinda open to the GM’s own interpretation.
[14:29] * ~Dan nods
[14:29] <~Dan> Did I read, though, that one of the expansions features cybernetics?
[14:29] <~Dan> Or am I misremembering?
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> No, you’re right, I had intended that as a new faction which isn’t yet known.
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> How do you survive Infection? Replace everything with machines.
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> That equipment still exists, and could enhance you… all it takes is one slightly ambitious individual to find it…
[14:32] <~Dan> What are its limitations (cyberpsychosis, etc.)
[14:32] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, it’s going to have some downsides, but I’d be lying if I said I’d firmly planned that out at this stage.
[14:33] <+Ed_Jowett> The more you replace, the less you’ll have certain advantages… or perhaps every part will reduce your Stamina…
[14:33] <+Ed_Jowett> There are a few options.
[14:34] <+Geek2theRight> I think more mental disadvantages makes sense. Not sure why less stamina, but the neural interface could be a strain on the brain. Just a thought.
[14:35] <+Ed_Jowett> There are quite a few options – I’ve not really playtested anything yet, this is quite a long way off as a Stretch Goal, so I’ve got a few other things to handle before I get to that!
[14:35] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha.
[14:36] <~Dan> Do you have more in store for the game, or are these expansions it for now?
[14:36] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, I always have more ideas. I was speaking to someone just earlier today about how creative people usually have more ideas than they can ever practically create.
[14:36] <+Geek2theRight> Actually, the stamina thing could be from part and chip overheating. That’s one of the main issues with current prosthetic limb neural interfaces. How to get needed power without overheating.
[14:37] <+Ed_Jowett> Geek2theRight I was more thinking about the physical trauma the body indergoes when you cut off a limb and replace it.
[14:37] <+Ed_Jowett> *undergoes
[14:38] <+Geek2theRight> Well, anesthesia helps a lot with that. And I assume your neural interface would be advanced enough to work well, which should help with adjustment.
[14:38] <~Dan> Ed_Jowett: I just found out that we’re leaving early today, so I’m going to have to wrap things up on my end. Would you be up for taking over, Geek2theRight?
[14:39] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, that’s probably true… assuming, of course, it’s operated by an experienced and high-skilled technician which… shouldn’t be that hard to find, right? I mean, it’s only 100 years since all technology became useless on Gaia.
[14:40] <+Geek2theRight> Um, I’m on my phone and about to head home myself.
[14:40] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s okay.
[14:40] <~Dan> Hmm… Want to schedule another hour at a later date, Ed_Jowett? Or do you think we’ve covered everything?
[14:40] <+Ed_Jowett> If you guys both can’t stay, I guess I’m done for the day!
[14:40] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, unless anyone has any more burning questions, I’m good.
[14:40] <+Geek2theRight> Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to copy paste the conversation for your records.
[14:41] <+Ed_Jowett> If anyone wants to ask me anything else, then feel free to hop on the KIckstarter or our Facebook page!
[14:41] <+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/)https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/
[14:41] <+Agamemnon2> Will do, thanks. 🙂
[14:41] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Ed_Jowett!
[14:41] <+Geek2theRight> Sorry, I’d have gone home before getting lunch if I’d known about this.
[14:41] <+Ed_Jowett> Thanks for having me, Dan, I know this time of day isn’t the most convenient for you!
[14:42] <~Dan> I manage. 🙂