[19:33] <+TomK> Hi everyone. I am Tom K Loney, Wankum is a FactuBe thingy. I have been writing Crawlspace since about 2007.
[19:34] <+TomK> Crawlspace is my answer to CoC campaigns.
[19:35] <+Catseye> How so? What sets it apart from the CoC experience?
[19:35] <+TomK> In CoC, a good story kills off too many characters for much Character development. And if you don’t, as a GM, kill enough off enough Characters, things get a little boring.
[19:35] <~Dan> (Please wait for a (done) from our guest. 🙂 )
[19:36] <+TomK> Good question, apparently great minds think alike
[19:36] <+TomK> 9To Cateye)
[19:36] <+TomK> …
[19:38] <+TomK> I was trying so hard to get my mind around it. I run a lot of games and finally after writing the end-all of horror games, the original Crawlspace, I wasn’t happy. Then it hit me…
[19:41] <+TomK> Players are actors, stuntmen, and actresses stuck in a universe of Grade B horror movies. The comedy, which I think every every tabletop RPGer is into is very much there. The scenes I write for my scenarios were eerie when I needed them to be. And the Players got Character-advancement without having to learn spells that destroyed their sanity, or develop…
[19:42] <+TomK> their “Pilot Large Boat” by driving in Cthulhu for experience every few games
[19:44] <+TomK> This, as a GM, freed me to explore RPG scenarios in all sorts of horror movies, and the Character subplots can go from the plot to “shooting” problems with stage crew.
[19:44] <+TomK> I guess I am done there
[19:44] <~Dan> So the characters are playing characters?
[19:45] <+TomK> Yeah. Or “Roles” vary from scenarios (Titles) as in the book
[19:46] <~Dan> So they aren’t actually in danger?
[19:48] <+TomK> They are in danger of their career ending if the don’t keep enough Fame, but yeah. Not really in danger, but that may change in the Deluxe Redux edition. I am working on the expansion for a 2018 release because of the new GMs and authors working with me.
[19:48] <~Dan> Is there a “script”?
[19:49] <+TomK> Yes and no.
[19:49] <+TomK> Going into detail…
[19:53] <+TomK> Each scenario is designed to have a “Roles” assignment segment. The Players draw to pick their Role after hearing what is available. Then there is an “Opening” scene, which the GM/lazy Director-Writer, controls. After a hook to catch everyone’s interest it goes into Act One, and Act Two. Each Act has little prompts to focus play, but after picking Roles…
[19:54] <+TomK> The Players are usually running themselves. By “The Climax” the GM just has to reel things in with a couple closing suggestions.
[19:54] <+TomK> (done)
[19:55] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[19:55] <+TomK> Hmm… There might be a link… Lemme look
[19:56] <+TomK> The IT department (my wife) is on it. Another question while we wait?
[19:57] <~Dan> Can you describe the game’s system?
[19:58] <+TomK> It’s my TACK (Tom’s Action Card Kit). Folks draw cards to determine success or failure. …
[20:00] <+TomK> There is not a high and low. I figure that if Armand Desante(Sp) can duke it out with Sylvester Stallone as equals in Judge Dredd, there is no need for high or low just a script and making it look good.
[20:01] <~Dan> I’m not sure I follow you there… Can you explain what you mean by no high or low?
[20:02] <+TomK> So a guy with a “Deuce” can top a guy with a “King” by being closer to a set Draw range. Easy enough mechanic, the GM states gimme a Draw at, say, “Two” and the Player(s) try to draw within two of either of…
[20:03] <+TomK> one of her STATS (PHYSICAL, MENTAL, LUCK, CHARM, and NERVE) or an “Open Draw” where the Players try to draw close to whatever card the GM lays down.
[20:05] <~Dan> I see… So are stats purely arbitrary, then?
[20:06] <+TomK> Wife says the free Character Sheet at Drive Thru RPG is down right now. So not Character sheets available
[20:06] <~Dan> No problem!
[20:06] <+TomK> STATS are based on drawn cards from a shuffled deck of them.
[20:07] <+TomK> (more)
[20:09] <+TomK> STATS are improved by Characters keeping FAME cards. With two FAME cards at the end of an adventure, the Player may buy another draw for a STAT. All STATs get two Cards each, but one of them chosen by the player, can have three.
[20:10] <+TomK> It can be hard to keep FAME cards though. They can be used to try again on failed Draws, at least the non-critical failures.
[20:11] <~Dan> Hmm… So let me see if I have the straight…
[20:11] <~Dan> By default, a PC will have two cards for an individual STAT?
[20:12] <+TomK> After advancement
[20:12] <~Dan> Okay, so you start with one?
[20:12] <+TomK> yes
[20:13] <~Dan> And in a task, the GM will say that a success is within X of a STAT, then draw a card?
[20:13] <+TomK> Yes
[20:14] <~Dan> So in the beginning, nobody is any better at anything than anyone else?
[20:17] <+TomK> Yep. It has helped opened up getting Players to try things that a set of numbers might deter. Makes for some pretty non-traditional plot twists as well. Marylin Conroe (a long time Character) has beat up mushroom-vultures from Wolf 357 after being a sex symbol for most the movie.
[20:19] <~Dan> Do your other games use the same mechanic?
[20:20] <+TomK> No. Folks have been asking me to do sourcebooks for other movie styles, but I am right now trying to flesh out the rules that I have. Horror is more interesting to me, so it keeps me focused.
[20:21] <~Dan> How do you stat up the monsters and other NPCs?
[20:22] <+TomK> Ah. Monsters and NPCs
[20:24] <+TomK> Well NPCs are just Characters sans Players. We’ve got a couple NPC Actors as running jokes among our groups. Some recurring NPC Roles were published in _Crawlspace Gothic_. …
[20:27] <+TomK> Monsters have been “defined” in the books as they have been explored in scenarios. I myself have to have a mechanism per creature to keep it interesting. I have a co-GM that is trying to codify the monsters as we speak.
[20:27] <+TomK> (done)
[20:27] <+TomK> Well actually here’s an example…
[20:28] <+TomK> (not done)
[20:28] <~Dan> Yeah, I’m a bit confused there.
[20:28] <+TomK> A Vampire.
[20:29] <+TomK> Vampires get special “Perks” (talents, abilities, skills, etc… etc..) as they mature. But they get a second Card to apply to a GM-determined STAT, and it can very from scene to scene.
[20:31] <~Dan> How do the Perks manifest mechanically?
[20:31] <~Dan> (wb, Drew)
[20:31] <+TomK> So when Count Vulgar needs to fight, he gets two cards in that PHYSICAL. So when he needs to seduce he gets two Cards in CHARM. Et al. But he is vulnerable, like a sociopathic killer is when flexibility is required.
[20:33] <+TomK> Perks are quirk things. Each Perk has its effect written by it.
[20:33] <+TomK> quirky things
[20:34] <~Dan> So they don’t involve card draws?
[20:34] <+TomK> Some do.
[20:34] <+TomK> Some allow extra Draws without spending FAME cards
[20:35] <+TomK> Some have nothing to do with Cards.
[20:35] <+TomK> example of the last:
[20:37] <+TomK> ‘Is it the Sequel Yet?” Character may appear to die (well, actually they do die), but they get to reappear two scenes later with a impromptu GM-explained flashback describing how they didn’t. Did I mention that my long-time Players have been making up Perks like people pop pain relievers for years now?
[20:38] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. 🙂
[20:39] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about Fame cards and how they work?
[20:41] <+TomK> FAME cards are rewarded during the course of play. While they are the experience mechanic, they are also the “Try-Again” convention. The GM rewards them for clever strategy in play, good role-playing, and, lastly, getting a laugh from the GM if nothing else.
[20:42] <+TomK> Scenarios are written with FAME rewards for survivors of them as well.
[20:42] <+TomK> (done)
[20:44] <~Dan> How much FAME can PCs accumulate?
[20:44] <+TomK> Dunno. I design plots to never see that many left at the end of a session.
[20:45] <~Dan> Heh. Understood. 🙂
[20:45] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:45] <+TomK> Not crunchy enough for most people…
[20:48] <+TomK> Each combatant Draws, usually within two, of their PHYSICAL. They may mutually leaven DAMAGE upon each other. Weapons, starting at fists to atomic bombs, have DAMAGE card amounts outlined in book. When someone gets five DAMAGE cards, they die. BUT…
[20:49] <+TomK> Each Character gets an “All-In Hand” at death.
[20:49] <+TomK> The five DAMAGE cards are basically a 5-Card Stud hand.
[20:51] <+TomK> If the Character has a Pair, Straight, And so on… the GM, once again, has to narrate how the Character didn’t die. But those cards are subtracted from the DAMAGE total that the Character can take during the rest of play.
[20:51] <~Dan> So what does that mean? What happens if you get a good hand?
[20:51] <~Dan> (Oh, sorry.)
[20:52] <~Dan> So if the cards are subtracted in that way, does that mean that it’s better to have a lower hand?
[20:52] <+TomK> So a guy that has three-of-kind in his first All-In Hand has only two DAMAGE points remaining until the next death.
[20:53] <+TomK> Yes.
[20:53] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:54] <~Dan> Does the game include a bestiary?
[20:54] <+TomK> I can’t say enough about the diminishing “All-In Hand” increasing the drama of games’ as they progress. Gimmicky, I know, but hey gets the folks nervous.
[20:55] <~Dan> Sure, whatever works, right? 🙂
[20:55] <+TomK> Yes. And the “Gothic” supplement has a bestiary expansion.
[20:55] <~Dan> How many creatures does the core book include?
[20:56] <+TomK> I have working on a ‘College horror’ setting as well, which has a couple of new beasties in it as well. They may all appear in Deluxe Redux
[20:56] <+TomK> Lemme look
[20:56] <+TomK> Five in the core book.
[20:57] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:58] <~Dan> What happens in the case of character death? Are they just out of action for that movie?
[21:00] <+TomK> Yes. But because of the “All-In Hand” and the “sequel” Perk death is rather forgiving. Folks generally start dropping off as I up the stakes in my Climaxes.
[21:00] <+TomK> brb… potty break and cocktail (2 minutes)
[21:00] <~Dan> No problem!
[21:04] <+TomK> back
[21:04] <~Dan> Welcome back!
[21:05] <+TomK> TY
[21:05] <~Dan> How many pages is the core rulebook?
[21:06] <~Dan> (Howdy, Teller!)
[21:07] <+TomK> 31 pages as of the _Crawlspace Deluxe_ edition. So we included the scenario “The Book that Dripped Blood” to bump it up to 55 6″x9″ pages.
[21:09] <+TomK> At the pestering of my often Co-GM Beckett Warren and my wife R. Christina Lea, the Deluxe Redux is going to be around a solid 100 pages of rules and rules and more rules.
[21:10] <~Dan> Really? It seems pretty rules lite. What are some of the additional rules?
[21:13] <+TomK> Mostly printing the quick scenario ideas that we, the GMs and the players, have had over the course of play. These new little card games within the sessions have made things refreshing. I make a point to take notes with who thought of them for credit later on.
[21:14] <~Dan> Can you give an example?
[21:14] <+TomK> Beckett calls the mis-en-scene approach I have as Rabbinical Law Space
[21:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords)
[21:15] <+TomK> Err I mean mis-en-place
[21:15] <+TomK> Sorry been a few since my humanity classes
[21:16] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:16] <+TomK> And the creatures.
[21:17] <~Dan> The creatures?
[21:17] <+TomK> Hopefully a lot of new monsters for the bestiary along with a compiling of the one already out there.
[21:17] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[21:18] <+TomK> Then there always more Perks, though as a GM, I get so tired of them. The Players love to work them out though.
[21:19] * ~Dan nods
[21:19] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:19] <+TomK> Hey if it keeps that Character coming back, all the better.
[21:20] <+TomK> I’d to boast a little about how successful Crawlspace has been over the last few years for me as a GM.
[21:20] <+TomK> Especially at GenCon
[21:21] <~Dan> Oh? Cool!
[21:22] <+TomK> When I was doing my horror games around Midnight, the rules system really invigorated the energy level of players. I’ve had things go from a tabletop to rather LARPish dimensions at 1am with my scenario “Bigger than a Breadbox”
[21:22] <~Dan> That’s always fun. 🙂
[21:23] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us this evening, Tom!
[21:24] <+TomK> Last year, we started doing LARP to accommodate large numbers of Players using the rules. This year I am sticking to the tabletop, but the ang is still doing some LARPS. Feel free to check them out.
[21:24] <+TomK> Thank you for having me Dan.
[21:24] <~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/
[21:25] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂