[13:01] <+VS> I’m Venger Satanis, 42, dad, husband, long-time gamer… I started Kort’thalis Publishing at the end of 2012, I think.
[13:02] <+VS> My first scenario was Liberation of the Demon Slayer and the last release was a trio of adventures collectively called Trinity of Awesome!
[13:04] <+Dan_> (*sigh* Sorry, sorry. Connection’s worse than usual this afternoon, naturally. -_-)
[13:05] <+VS> It’s all good.
[13:05] <+Dan_> Did you say anything else after I lost my connection?
[13:05] <+VS> Yeah, I introduced myself and mentioned the new adventures.
[13:06] <+Dan_> Ah, I got that part. Okay, please proceed. Or were you ready for questions? 🙂
[13:06] <+VS> Ready for questions.
[13:06] <+Dan_> Okay!
[13:06] <+Dan_> What system(s) are these adventures for?
[13:07] <+VS> I mentioned that, too. The Outer Presence, Alpha Blue, and Crimson Dragon Slayer.
[13:07] <+VS> I figure if I force myself to do one for each, I can convince myself that all three are thriving in some manner.
[13:07] <+Dan_> Ah, I missed that part.
[13:07] <+Dan_> Heh. 🙂
[13:08] <+VS> If forced to choose only one, I’d go with Alpha Blue. But I do enjoy the variety.
[13:08] <~Dan> So maybe we should touch on those three first. Can you say briefly what each game is about?
[13:08] <+J_Arcane> (Link: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/06/01/battletech-preview-skirmish/)https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/06/01/battletech-preview-skirmish/
[13:09] <+VS> Sure. All three use an extremely simple d6 dice pool for the system. The Outer Presence is kind of like Call of Cthulhu meets The Twilight Zone.
[13:09] <~Dan> Nice.
[13:09] <~Dan> They all use the same system?
[13:10] <+VS> Alpha Blue is a mix of humor, 70’s retro-future scifi, and sleazy/sex.
[13:10] <&Beelzedude> hi
[13:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, Beelzedude!)
[13:10] <+VS> Crimson Dragon Slayer is fantasy with touches of Lovecraftian darkness and scifi.
[13:11] <+BPIJonathan> Is that a game? I think I missed something. Im sorry
[13:11] <+VS> Yes, they all pretty much use the same exact system. There are a few little changes. For instance, the combat system for The Outer Presence is even lighter than for the other two.
[13:12] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about the core mechanic?
[13:12] <+VS> Also, I should mention that there are 2 different versions of Crimson Dragon Slayer. The first is more OSR, just a bit more crunchy with even more gonzo/humor.
[13:12] <+VS> Version 1.11 is free and short PDF on DriveThruRPG.
[13:12] <~Dan> Feel free to post the link to that, if you like.
[13:13] <+VS> I wanted to go as minimalist as I could while still maintaining the traditional RPG feel. So, characters have classes/careers/professions and those tell us what the character is probably good or bad at.
[13:14] <+VS> And from there, you roll a 1d6 if your character has a disadvantage, 3d6 if he has advantage, and 2d6 is about average and the default dice pool.
[13:14] <+VS> You only count the highest result from the pool.
[13:15] <~Dan> So is it an attribute + skill system, with the difficulty dice layered on top?
[13:15] <+VS> And the success/failure ranges are fixed, so if the highest result in your dice pool is a “1,” that’s a critical failure.
[13:15] <+VS> If it’s a “6,” that’s a critical success, and so on.
[13:15] * ~Dan nods
[13:15] <+VS> No attributes, no skills, just GM interpretations based on what kind of character is attempting an action.
[13:16] <~Dan> Huh. I see…
[13:16] <+VS> If you’re a detective, it’s assumed that you’ll be good at being a detective. If you’re a bounty hunter, it’s assumed that you’re an effective bounty hunter.
[13:16] * ~Dan nods
[13:16] <~Dan> How do they improve, though?
[13:17] <+VS> If there’s a judgement call, the player can try to justify it or maybe the GM defaults to a dice pool of 2d6, letting the dice decide.
[13:17] <+VS> The results are also based on GM interpretation.
[13:17] <+VS> That’s not for everyone, obviously, but it’s my preference.
[13:17] * ~Dan nods
[13:17] <+VS> Improve?
[13:18] <~Dan> Right… If it’s 1d6/2d6/3d6, how do you show that one character is better than another at the same activity?
[13:18] <+VS> As they go from adventure to adventure, Health (HP) gets better. That’s about it, except for acquiring items, equipment, etc.
[13:19] <~Dan> Gotcha… Mind if we delve into the games a bit more as we look at the adventures?
[13:20] <+VS> The character advancement is not granular. Characters just seem to get better as they go. The GM recognizes what they’ve been through, what they’ve learned, and hopefully that is displayed in how the player plays that character.
[13:20] <+VS> Sure.
[13:20] <~Dan> Okay, so let’s take the adventures one at a time, then. Which one would you like to cover first?
[13:20] <+VS> His Flesh Becomes My Key
[13:21] <~Dan> (Howdy, Teylen!)
[13:22] <+VS> I had been watching two shows which sort of influenced me – Millennium and Castle. Pretty different, but both investigate murders, contain mysteries, etc.
[13:22] * ~Dan nods
[13:22] <+Teylen> (Howdy Dan)
[13:22] <+VS> And I wanted to throw some Lovecraftian stuff in there, too.
[13:24] <+VS> Anything specific you want to know/ask?
[13:24] <~Dan> Hmm… Can you say how much supernatural is involved without spoiling?
[13:25] <+VS> If there is another IM you want to use, let me know… I feel bad for you at this point.
[13:26] <~Dan> Nah, it’s my connection, not the client. -_-
[13:26] <~Dan> We’d have the same problem regardless.
[13:26] <+VS> Makes sense.
[13:27] <+VS> Anything specific you want to know about that scenario?
[13:27] <~Dan> Yes, can you say how much the supernatural factors into the story without spoiling anything?
[13:28] <+VS> With adventures that are supposed to take place in a version of the real world, I don’t want to overload it with supernatural elements from the get-go. I prefer to ease into it.
[13:29] <+VS> So, it doesn’t have much in the beginning, but by the end, it’s just one supernatural thing after another. The PCs wind up in a kind of Lovecraftian version of Hell.
[13:29] * ~Dan nods
[13:29] <~Dan> Ah, cool.
[13:29] <~Dan> Sort of mirroring a sanity death-spiral?
[13:30] <~Dan> (Whoa. Sudden clap of thunder scared the bejeezus out of me!)
[13:31] <+VS> Yeah. Deeper down the rabbit hole.
[13:31] * ~Dan nods
[13:31] <~Dan> Nice approach.
[13:31] <~Dan> Is there a sanity mechanic, while we’re on the subject?
[13:31] <+VS> Thanks. I really try to vary it up. I do so few adventures (considering the world has millions) that repeating myself just seems lame and a waste of creativity.
[13:32] <+VS> The core rules has one. I didn’t include any special sanity rules into the adventure. Though, I did put in a random table for weird stuff that might happen to PCs.
[13:33] <~Dan> What’s the investigation-to-violence ratio, would you say?
[13:34] <+VS> Violence is undervalued or minimized because it is so deadly.
[13:35] <~Dan> Is that peculiar to this adventure, this game, or all of your games using this system?
[13:35] <+VS> For instance, if you were playing a mercenary and rolled 2d6 for your attack dice pool and rolled a “6” on one or both of them, your target would just be dead (assuming you were using a weapon, and not just punching).
[13:35] <+VS> That’s peculiar to The Outer Presence.
[13:36] <+VS> The other games are more combat-heavy.
[13:36] <~Dan> How does combat differ between them?
[13:37] <+VS> When playing Call of Cthulhu (I’ve done so for many years), combats were fun, but when there was more than 1 or 2 short ones, the mystery and horror parts of the game just seemed… noticeably diminished.
[13:37] * ~Dan nods
[13:38] <+VS> Dudes have Health (like Hit Points) in both CDS and AB. So, characters can take multiple hits, damage is calculated and applied, the usual. With Outer Presence, there’s no such thing as Health or Hit Points.
[13:39] <~Dan> Really? Are you either alive or dead?
[13:39] <+VS> If someone scores a “5” on your in OP, you’re knocked unconscious and that’s it. So, combat lasts one or two rounds… maybe three if it’s a big battle.
[13:39] <+VS> There’s a couple paragraphs explaining the details in the rules.
[13:39] <~Dan> That’s a nice feature.
[13:40] <~Dan> (brb — restroom break)
[13:40] <+VS> Thanks. Some people like it, some think it’s too deadly. But if you’re facing a man with a gun in a dark alley, it’s probably going to end quickly in real life.
[13:45] <~Dan> (back — sorry about that. If the men’s room were any further away, it would be an outhouse.)
[13:45] <+VS> Haha, no prob.
[13:45] <~Dan> So shall we move on to the next adventure?
[13:45] <+VS> Yes!
[13:46] <~Dan> Okay, what’s next?
[13:46] <+VS> Alpha Blue and… High Stakes Q’uay-Q’uar!
[13:46] <~Dan> What’s the premise there?
[13:48] <+VS> The premise of Alpha Blue is… what if the original Star Wars trilogy was really sleazy? It takes all those late night rip-off movies and porn parodies and emphasizes the humor, along with the sex, of course.
[13:48] * ~Dan nods
[13:48] <+VS> With the scenario, there’s a big q’uay-q’uar tournament AND a pickup artist convention happening on Zeta Minor. The PCs have various reasons (there’s a random table) for going there and getting involved.
[13:49] <~Dan> Dare I ask what “q’uay-q’uar” is…?
[13:49] <+VS> PCs can play in the tournament, play side games of q’uay-q’uar or smuggler’s quarry, they can get involved with several NPCs – women, gamblers, pimps, pick up artists, the works!
[13:51] <+VS> Q’uay-q’uar is a game of chance I invented one day when I was being silly with my kids. It’s evolved over time. It’s like a board game that lasts about 5 minutes. The adventure comes with a hi-rez color version of the board and rules.
[13:51] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. 🙂
[13:52] <~Dan> Sounds like this one is more about interaction than violence.
[13:52] <~Dan> (Howdy, Moxiane!)
[13:52] <+VS> I playtested it with my two older girls. We’ve probably played the game about 25 – 30 times. It’s fun, but also in a dumb way. Sometimes you win or lose for ridiculous reasons.
[13:53] <+VS> Yes, there’s a lot of interactions, but sometimes those interactions do end in violence. I’d say, there’s a couple of combats each adventure. And those can last anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes per battle.
[13:55] <~Dan> Is there any “endgame” to the scenario?
[13:55] <&Moxiane> Kaor, Da’nport Dan
[13:56] <+VS> Not a specific endgame. Survival… try to win the tournament… get laid a bunch… hunt down those in the Federation who want you incarcerated or dead.
[13:57] <~Dan> So pretty open-ended.
[13:57] <+VS> And simply interacting with other lifeforms can be an end itself.
[13:57] * ~Dan nods
[13:57] <~Dan> Sure.
[13:58] <~Dan> Is the overall tone consistently humorous?
[13:58] <+VS> Oh, are you aware of the SNL sketch/character of David S. Pumpkins?
[13:58] <&Moxiane> (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq4m3yAoW8E)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq4m3yAoW8E – damn, now that is a moustache!
[13:59] <~Dan> I’m not, sorry. I haven’t watched SNL in ages.
[13:59] <+VS> There are humorous touches all the way along. It’s not supposed to be super silly or a laugh riot. Kind of like the TV show Red Dwarf. It’s serious scifi (up to a point), but little bits of comedy happen throughout.
[13:59] <+VS> You should google it or look for it on youtube. Let me try to find a link…
[14:00] <~Dan> Gotcha. How much of the comedy is built into the game, and how much is dependent upon the players?
[14:00] <+VS> (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS00xWnqwvI&t=198s)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS00xWnqwvI&t=198s
[14:01] <+VS> It depends on what the people playing find humorous. Does it make you laugh to imagine yourself in a red mankini like Sean Connery in Zardoz?
[14:01] <~Dan> Heh. Understood.
[14:02] <+VS> What if your character was wearing a brown and tan suede uniform with fringe?
[14:03] * ~Dan chuckles
[14:03] <+VS> If players find sex and sleazy situations amusing or cool, then it’s their type of humor. If it’s a huge turnoff, then Alpha Blue is not for them.
[14:03] <~Dan> Right.
[14:03] <~Dan> So let’s turn to Crimson Dragon Slayers. What’s the premise for the adventure for that one?
[14:03] <+VS> It’s a love it or hate it sort of game, I think. Very little middle ground.
[14:03] <+VS> Yes!
[14:04] <+VS> For this adventure, Stairway of V’dreen, the players find themselves in a situation where they could be transported to some other world, a realm forgotten by the gods.
[14:05] <+VS> It’s a weird place and there’s some conceptual things going on that some will (hopefully) enjoy. Also, factions, NPCs, monsters, treasure, magic items, etc.
[14:05] <+VS> But this world is also dying, and the PCs have a chance to save it… or see it destroyed.
[14:05] <~Dan> Is it worth saving?
[14:07] <+VS> That depends on the characters, I think. There are people living there, so saving them is worthwhile from a moral or Law standpoint. And there are a few areas worth exploring.
[14:07] <~Dan> You mentioned there being scifi aspects to the setting. Are such things present in this adventure?
[14:07] <+VS> For instance, a monolith. If you leave an item at its base, there’s a chance it could become magical or more magical if it already was.
[14:09] <+VS> Yep, there’s a machine for monitoring dimensions and moving the realm into other dimensions. The whole place has a weird vibe like the 70’s Land of the Lost. If that show seems scifi to you, then so will V’dreen.
[14:09] <~Dan> Awesome. I love that sort of thing.
[14:10] <+VS> When I’m not being influenced by the Cthulhu Mythos or Heavy Metal, then it’s probably Land of the Lost…
[14:10] <+VS> Yeah, me too (obviously).
[14:10] <~Dan> At the risk of spoilers, can you give some examples of the sorts of creatures the PCs might encounter.
[14:10] <~Dan> ?
[14:11] <+VS> There’s a 3 part table for creating new, off the wall hybrid creatures. But the coolest one that’s already written down is The Beast – basically a cross between a T-Rex and giant spider… with tentacles and a breath weapon.
[14:11] <+VS> It’s gnarly!
[14:12] <~Dan> Now if that isn’t a kitchen sink creature, I don’t know what is. 🙂
[14:12] <+VS> Yeah, with CDS I like to go there. It’s meant to be kind of gonzo and over the top. Not everything is like that, but The Beast is just one cool thing piled onto another and another. Haha.
[14:12] <+VS> Again, not for everyone.
[14:13] * ~Dan nods
[14:13] <+Motulev> why does make me think of Atomic Robo vs. Doctor Dinosaur?
[14:13] <+VS> I’m not familiar with that.
[14:13] <+Motulev> and incase you dont know what that is, it is awesome
[14:13] <+VS> Ok, cool.
[14:14] <+VS> All 3 scenarios have awesome artwork, as well.
[14:14] <~Dan> Is the threat to the survival of the dimension something that the PCs must deal with?
[14:15] <+VS> Yeah, they pretty much have to try and fix things or leave soon after.
[14:16] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[14:16] <+VS> But once they reach the stairway of V’dreen, it’s probably still a bit of a mystery to them.
[14:17] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[14:17] <+VS> Who knows what’s going to happen. I don’t like over-writing scenarios, railroading and providing detail upon detail. My philosophy is to give the GM about 85% of everything he needs to run things. The last 15% is up to him to provide.
[14:17] <+VS> I think that’s about it. Check out the scenarios and RPGs, if interested.
[14:17] <~Dan> Awesome. Thanks very much for joining us, VS!
[14:18] <~Dan> As usual, for those so inclined, my tip jar is here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[14:18] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂