[19:31] <+KenS> I am Ken Spencer, long time freelance RPG writer and currently one of the founders and co-owner of Why Not Games.
[19:31] <+KenS> We are a collection of creatives who just want to make games, and turn a profit while doing so. We believe there is value in creative work and in playing games.
[19:33] <+KenS> end? it has been so long I forgot how this works.
[19:33] <~Dan> (done) 🙂
[19:33] <~Dan> Thanks, KenS! The floor is open to questions!
[19:34] <+KenS> Thanks (done)
[19:34] <+GenoFoxx> what happened?
[19:34] <~Dan> For those unfamiliar, can you give an overview of Rocket Age?
[19:34] <+GenoFoxx> why did you have to buy back Rocket Age?
[19:35] <+KenS> Last fall I left Cubicle 7 and decided to strike out on my own. I took a few freelance gigs while I sorted things out, and met up with some artist friends. We conspired and decided we wanted to make games and get paid to do it. (done)
[19:36] <+KenS> Ah Rocket Age is a radium punk retro0future sci-fi RPG of two fisted action, gleaming rocket ships, and deadly foes in a 1938 that never was and a Solar System that should have been. (done)
[19:37] <~Dan> (You don’t have to use (done) for short answers unless you just want to — it’s more for extended answers. 🙂 )
[19:37] <+KenS> I had to purchase Rocket Age because the contract for it was work for hire. Cubicle 7 paid me a fee and I produced Rocket Age material for them. They had all the rights.
[19:38] <+GenoFoxx> So what’s next for Why Not Games?
[19:40] <+KenS> Right now we are getting all of the Rocket Age pdf’s back up for sale. They need to be rebranded with our logo, have the copyrights and credits pages updated and resubmitted to DTRPG. At the same time, we are finishing up production of Caturday, the first title in our Weird Raes series for 5e. After that, it is on to Imperial Jupiter for Rocket Age. (done)
[19:41] <+KenS> That should be Weird Races series for 5e, we do not publish anything on Raes.
[19:41] <~Dan> You’ll continue to use the Vortex system, I assume?
[19:41] <~Dan> (Howdy, Brian!)
[19:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[19:42] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Sam!)
[19:42] <+KenS> Absolutely, Rocket Age will remain Vortex, we have a license for it for the life of the product line.
[19:43] <+Will> Love retrofuture stuff
[19:44] <~Dan> KenS: Do you need art? Will here is an excellent artist.
[19:44] <+KenS> Just a note, our art director, Sam Parish, just joined the chat.
[19:44] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[19:44] <+Sam> hey!
[19:44] <~Dan> Great to have you here, Sam. 🙂
[19:45] <+KenS> Our two main interior artists, Sam and Brian, are excellent at black and white pencil work, so we go black and white with our interiors. It is genuine and forthright, classic and modern.
[19:45] <~Dan> Ah, Brian is with you as well?
[19:45] <+Brian> yep
[19:45] <~Dan> Welcome, Brian!
[19:45] <+KenS> He’s the tall guy in the back.
[19:46] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:46] <+Brian> waves
[19:47] <+Will> (Well, if you ever need more, sample of stuff that’s less over the top retrofuture: (Link: http://willbear.deviantart.com/gallery/63227954/Yesterday-s-Tomorrows)http://willbear.deviantart.com/gallery/63227954/Yesterday-s-Tomorrows )
[19:48] <~Dan> Do you have any plans beyond Rocket Age and 5e?
[19:49] <+KenS> Right now we have the next twelve months mapped out. Imperial Jupiter, episodes, and Saturn for Rocket Age. Caturday, Surial (bear folk), and Little Grey Aliens for Weird Races 5e.
[19:50] <~Dan> Are the Little Grey Aliens meant for scifi settings?
[19:50] <+KenS> There is also talk about short fiction for Rocket Age, and maybe a few other things as well.
[19:51] <+SolipstryAlex> Was there an impetus behind bear folk? I’m all about the bear folk.
[19:51] <~Dan> Yes, give us the bear facts.
[19:51] <+Sam> I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of the bear puns
[19:51] <+KenS> All of our Weird Races are intended to be dropped into any campaign. Little Grey Aliens are sadly stranded on a fantasy world and just want to take some samples and go home.
[19:52] <+KenS> Sam, you do not have to watch Brian play a Surial in the Friday night games, it is unbearable.
[19:53] <+KenS> The inspiration for the Surial lies in a blend of the mythology about bears from a variety of real world cultures, both existing and extinct. They are protectors of the wild, gentle and kind healers, yet can be enraged to terrible bouts of violence. Admittedly, a lot of the Surial came from reading about bear attacks.
[19:53] <+Brian> Beary just lost his pony you leave him alone
[19:54] <+KenS> Plus, I grew up in the Bear Republic, they are near and dear to my heart. (done)
[19:55] <~Dan> What can you tell us about Saturn in Rocket Age?
[19:56] <+KenS> It is very different from Jupiter in some ways. A gas giant, but with a different ecology and very different feel. Very much the far edge of the unknown. Big sign on rings says, “Here be Dragons.”
[19:58] <~Dan> (wb, Brian)
[19:59] <+Brian> (droped phone)
[20:00] <~Dan> Are there intelligent races there?
[20:00] <+KenS> Caturday, our first Weird Race, are small cat like folk whose homeland has been overrun by hobgoblins. A generation after the Fall of Catopia, they find themselves having to make what lives they can wherever they can. (done)
[20:02] <+KenS> Back to Saturn, there are two on Titan, they are mentioned in the Rocket Age corebook. I am not keen on adding more races to Rocket Age, we are up to 17 species in total (not counting the ones on Titan). Enough for a bar or saloon, I think.
[20:02] <+KenS> However, as we push out and cover the rest of the Solar System, I might come up with an idea or two and just have to use it. (done)
[20:05] <+KenS> Just to be clear, we have no plans to put our Weird Races into Rocket Age, the two are different genres.
[20:05] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:06] <+KenS> Plus, Rocket Age does not have much in the way of anthropomorphic species. The inspiration for the species of Rocket Age has largely been that I design the planet, and then think what would live there.
[20:06] <+Will> I’m not familiar with Rocket Age, so I’d be curious how the planetary environment is spun from realism and if there’s a consistent point of departure.
[20:06] <+Will> Or is it just sort of fabricating a bunch of stuff in a theme
[20:08] <+KenS> The planetary environments of Rocket Age are pulpy, they are meant to take the Pulp Era sic-fi tropes and reconstruct them along the lines of, what would a dry, hot Mars actually look like? If the atmosphere of Jupiter was breathable, what would live there? Think of it as hammering a little more reason into the genre. (done)
[20:10] <~Dan> Rocket Age is an interesting setting. It might be called “retro-realism”.
[20:11] <~Dan> It’s almost like Ken created a pulpy sci-fi past, then asked what such a world would “really” be like.
[20:11] <+KenS> I prefer radium-punk, but yes. Why is a ray gun a ray gun and not a laser pistol? What happens when Earthlings go to other worlds? If you want a decaying, decadent Mars, how did it get there?
[20:11] <~Dan> Not sure if that makes sense or not…
[20:11] <~Dan> But yeah, radium-punk is a great term.
[20:13] <+KenS> It is much like the approach we have at Why Not Games. Our games have simple conceits that sit atop a lot of depth of thought. With Rocket Age you can grasp the concept right off the bat, two-fisted action in an alternate history. Yet, there is much more there, stories you can tell, places you can explore, beyond that simple concept. With Weird Races we are u
[20:13] <+KenS> using anthropomorphic races in order to establish something a person can picture right off the bat, but going into detail on the race’s history, psychology, mythology, and culture for those who want more. A hook + depth is what we aim for.
[20:13] <+KenS> (done)
[20:13] <~Dan> Are the Weird Races meant to be humorous on some level? ‘Cause I can’t help but snicker at “Caturday”. 🙂
[20:15] <+KenS> Caturday is a bit humorous in places. I mean, they are cats walking around waving swords and wearing hats. You can play them for laughs, but also go deeper and see the drama behind the humor. Imagine being cast out of your homeland, forced to live
[20:16] <+KenS> along side foreign, even alien peoples. There is a lot of the immigrant experience, there, a lot of the refugee experience as well. By building the race as hook + depth we allow both to be valid play styles. You can go swashbuckling puss n boots if you want
[20:16] * ~Dan nods
[20:17] <+KenS> or you can have some pathos of the outcast. Pine of the home country or purr and quip at your enemies. The choice is yours, we don’t want to tell you how to play our games, just that you should. (done)
[20:17] <~Dan> Do you have any other plans for 5e products?
[20:17] <+KenS> One brief note on the Caturday, the six dieteis in the pantheon are all based on cats I have owned or currently tolerate.
[20:17] * +Will laughs
[20:19] <+KenS> Yes, Weird Races is just the start. We have some plans for monster focused books that offer bizarre monsters all within a theme. Then there is Grade School Monsters a monster book co-written with my son and Brian.
[20:19] <+Will> awww
[20:20] <+KenS> You want to ask about Rocket Age and 5e, don’t you?
[20:21] <~Dan> Me? I honestly hadn’t thought about that, but it’s a good question! 🙂
[20:22] <+KenS> The answer is yes and no. We are pretty far out from it, but we are working on adapting a portion of Rocket Age’s past for publication as a regular Vortex supplement and possible as a 5e setting book. At first there was the idea of launching straight into a Rocket Age 5e. However,
[20:23] <~Dan> (Howdy, tnli!)
[20:23] <+KenS> as much as that would bring in a wider audience, my experince has shown that as robust as 5e is, it might not be suited to all genres. Many of us can remember the d20 boom and the shoehorning of everything into one system.
[20:23] <~Dan> Indeed.
[20:24] <+KenS> It did not always work. Instead, we are approaching the idea of 5e and Rocket Age from two fronts. First, we do not want to give up on Vortex or our existing fan base. Second, what stories can we tell in the Rocket Age setting that would benefit from 5e rules?
[20:24] * ~Dan nods
[20:26] <~Dan> Seems like we discussed this at some point, but do you have any plans for an Earth sourcebook?
[20:26] <+KenS> Now that we have solved those directives, the rest is falling into place. Something that existing fans will love and new fans will be interested in. We only have a working title so far, and it is on the production schedule, but will take a year to write, playtest, and illustrate while we work on our main projects.
[20:27] <+KenS> I might be thinking of an Earth book, but I really want to get the Outer Planets done first. Those will be small books and each will look at one planet. Form the get go the Outer Planets have bene meant to be a free area for GMs to flesh out. They will remain that way, but there has been enough fan interest that some details are called for. (done)
[20:28] <~Dan> (wb, Frankto)
[20:30] <+KenS> Speaking of cats, Sunday, er, San’day the Goddess of Wealth and Luxury, is currently trying to pull the tablecloth off the dinning room table.
[20:31] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:31] <~Dan> Any plans to use Kickstarter?
[20:33] <+KenS> We are exploring that avenue. My co-owner, Krystal Spencer (also my wife, the layout and graphic artist, and business manager) is looking into it. Right now the question is what product do we want to do, and when, if we even want to do Kickstarter.
[20:33] <~Dan> (Howdy, Blarghedy!)
[20:34] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[20:34] <+KenS> There is money in them that hills, and also rattlesnakes. We want Why Not Games to be around for some time and to grow from these humble beginnings. That calls for a calculated and measured approach. Which is hard when you are a bunch of gamers who want to do fun things right now!
[20:35] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:37] <~Dan> So is this your day job now, KenS?
[20:39] <+KenS> This is it. I am still a full time writer, there is usually something social media I need to do on a daily basis, and there are business related e-mails I field while the wife is off at her day job.
[20:40] <~Dan> Good for you, man. Way to follow your dream.
[20:41] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:42] <+KenS> It is a risk, but one we can tolerate for now. With Rocket Age back in my hands I can leverage the IP towards other things, such as comic books, miniatures, a boardgame. There are talks going on in the background.
[20:44] <+KenS> Any questions while Dan is away?
[20:46] <+Sam> As a side note from one of the artists point of view I’m not sure what possessed Ken to give Europans hands with 2 thumbs and 7 fingers with five joints in each, but they are about as hard to draw as you think they might be.
[20:47] <+KenS> Wait to you see the Little Grey Aliens, ten fingers, twenty thumbs, toes not their heads! Bwahahahaha!
[20:49] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:49] <~Dan> Yeah, I can imagine, re: drawing Europans.
[20:50] <+Sam> I know where you sleep Ken *glaring intensifies*
[20:50] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:51] <~Dan> You said there are discussions about comics?
[20:51] <+KenS> My dog doesn’t like you. *counter glare*
[20:51] <+Sam> Your dog doesn’t like anyone
[20:53] <+KenS> Yes, I am talking with an old friend from my Vampire LARP days in the ’90s to discuss comics. We will try to be a pair of spooky, aging, bald men and talk Rocket Age comic books.
[20:54] <+Sam> I’t will probably be a little down the road if we do them, since illustrating Rocket Age and the Weird Races is taking up a lot of mine and Brian’s time
[20:54] <+Sam> That and unlike Ken, Brian and I still have our day jobs to worry about 🙂
[20:54] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[20:55] <+KenS> No, draw faster, draw harder!
[20:56] <~Dan> Can you tell us what to expect from Imperial Jupiter?
[20:57] <+KenS> Seriously though, we are looking into licensing those things we cannot produce in house, for example, miniatures. We don’t have a sculptor, we do not want to deal with the production aspect, nor the warehousing and distribution.
[20:57] <+Will> Oh god. I had a customer do something like that
[20:58] <+Will> Even more fun to try to pull off two thumbs with CGI based stuff
[20:58] <+KenS> There is a lot in Imperial Jupiter, but the parts that stand out are the Anglo-American Air Docks and the chapter giving some of the secrets of the Europans.
[20:59] <+KenS> We also cover the major moons, with a lot of space given to Io and Ganymede, those being the two most suited to adventure.
[20:59] <~Dan> Io’s the blasted moon, right?
[20:59] <+KenS> The book is 90% written, I need to change out the adventure as at one time IJ was going to be the end to the product line.
[21:00] <+KenS> Io is the blasted moon, and in IJ it is a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by mutants, monsters, and buggy riding raiders.
[21:01] <~Dan> That’s cool… Seems like in the core book, Io was said to be home to nothing larger than a rat other than the sapients.
[21:02] <+KenS> The truly nasty things are underground, at least most of the time. There are also left over artifacts form the height of Io’s greatness that are nearly invisible and very, very hungry.
[21:03] <~Dan> Nearly invisible?
[21:03] <+KenS> Living glass is hard to see through, except when it has recently fed. Draw that, Sam!
[21:04] <~Dan> Wow…
[21:04] <~Dan> And on Ganymede, all of the creatures are plant-based, IIRC?
[21:05] <+KenS> Yes, the forests move. Plus, we learn what happens to old Ganymedians. Had to break out the rocket ship scale rules for that one.
[21:06] <~Dan> Wow… Do they turn into Ents?
[21:07] <+KenS> Bigger, slower, less talkative, and very angry when disturbed.They also become osmtheing of their own ecosystem.
[21:08] <~Dan> Wow… How common are those things?
[21:08] <~Dan> And have the miners encountered them yet?
[21:08] <+KenS> They are rare, and no miners have reported an encounter with them.
[21:10] <+Sam> The living fauna of Ganymede is probably my favorite part of the book, artistically at least. It almost makes me sad that its all in black and white, because it’s quite a colorful moon
[21:11] <~Dan> There are no animals on Ganymede, right? Just mobile plants of various sorts?
[21:13] <+KenS> The line between plant and animal is blurred. They have cell walls, chlorophyll, and such, but are mobile, intelligent, and gregarious (some at least). How do you define life when it is not as you know it? When it violates the cladistic charts you have?
[21:14] <~Dan> And Jupiter itself has the unstable floating islands, IIRC?
[21:15] <+KenS> Yes, and we add some more to that ecosystem as well. Giant whale like filter feeders for starters.
[21:16] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:17] <~Dan> What are the Anglo-American Air Docks?
[21:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
[21:18] <+KenS> The Anglo-American Air Docks are a floating station high in Jupiter’s atmosphere, just at the upper edge of the habitable zone. They are a port of call, a base for American and British militaries, and the main Earthling habitation above Jupiter.
[21:20] <+KenS> Think your standard pulp port city, but hanging above a drop of thousands of miles. You have all your city of adventure tropes, but done up Rocket Age style. For example, the undercity is literally underneath and is composed of scrap lashed to the framework of the docks and swaying below. (done)
[21:20] <&Silverlion> Uh. Not to be bothersome come alling it Anglo-American doesn’t that imply a somewhat racist take? (Unintentionally)
[21:21] <~Dan> Man, I’m getting dizzy just thinking about the undercity. O.o
[21:22] <&Silverlion> Also is this for Rocket Age? Or a seperate thing? I missed the beginning.
[21:22] <+KenS> No, it was built as part of the growing British and American alliance, not as a slight on Anglo-Americans (which, for the record, I am not American but not Anglo).
[21:22] <+Sam> it’s for Rocket Age, Imperial Jupiter
[21:23] <+KenS> That is American, but not Anglo.
[21:23] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:25] <+KenS> Check out our website: (Link: http://www.whynotgames.com,)http://www.whynotgames.com, follow us on twitter: @WhyNotGamescom, and we have a Face Books page as well. There is also an unofficial Rocket Age FB group that I regularly post to.
[21:26] <&Silverlion> Ok. Dok. Just don’t want any blowback 😀 for a term.
[21:26] <+KenS> Plus, we have events at GenCon this year and some open seats for Red Spot Blues (a Rocket Age episode) and Fall of Catopia (for Caturday 5e).
[21:26] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, guys!
[21:26] <&Silverlion> <–still loves Rocket Age
[21:26] <+Will> Best of luck with your projects!
[21:26] <+KenS> Thanks for having us!
[21:26] <~Dan> As a reminder, my Patreon for Q&As and reviews is here: (Link: https://www.patreon.com/GMshoe)https://www.patreon.com/GMshoe
[21:27] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you!