[19:32] <+Gareth> First, here’s the link to the Kickstarter: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starlitgames/pythos-tabletop-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starlitgames/pythos-tabletop-rpg
[19:32] <+Gareth> My name is Gareth Johnson, and I’m the creator of the tabletop roleplaying game called Pythos.
[19:34] <+Gareth> I started this project several years ago, when I was inspired to create an rpg that utilized simultaneous action combat mechanics. Over the past few years, many things have changed about it, but that core idea remained.
[19:36] <+Gareth> For the setting, I created a mythological fantasy world. I took pieces of mythology and cultures from the ancient world. Notably, I specifically sought out inspiration from ancient cultures that are outside the usual Greek, Norse, etc. Though I also included them.
[19:38] <+Gareth> Some things in the setting can be identified if you know your ancient history and myths. Other influences are more subtle. And some things are entirely new.
[19:39] <+Gareth> Depending on what people are more interested in, the game mechanics or the world, I can talk about either more in depth, so that’s all I have for a basic introduction.
[19:39] <+Gareth> (done)
[19:39] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about the world as a whole? What sort of fantasy (high, low, dark, etc.) would you call this, for example?
[19:41] <+Gareth> High fantasy. Magic is common, often very powerful, but usually mysterious and not well understood by mortals.
[19:42] <+Gareth> Technologically, some regions of the world are in the bronze age, while others are still in the stone age. The most advanced places even have complex tools and devices, such as rudimentary crossbows.
[19:43] <~Dan> So overall, definitely pre-Medieval.
[19:43] <+Gareth> In general, yes.
[19:43] <+GenoFoxx> so any borrowing of African myths?
[19:44] <+Gareth> Yes. Let me dig out an example…
[19:47] <+Gareth> I included several different varieties of spirits or elementals, one of which is called a Jengu, which is a type of water spirit.
[19:48] <+GenoFoxx> cool
[19:49] <+Gareth> It ties in with spirit worship, which is a common theme.
[19:50] <+GenoFoxx> is there only humans as PC’s or are there other races?
[19:52] <+xyphoid> what do you actually do in this game?
[19:52] <+Gareth> All playable “races” belong to the ‘mortal’ category, and are described as human. They have mostly human traits. Instead of races, I use the term “heritage” which I believe is a better way of describing someone’s ancestry.
[19:54] <+GenoFoxx> do the different heritages use the various pantheons you borrowed or do they use there own unique ones?
[19:55] <+Gareth> xyphoid: Being a tabletop rpg, it is a shared story that a game master (aka GM) facilitates. In this game, the story is usually an adventure dealing with slaying monsters, surviving catastrophes, and defeating villains. My favorite example of the type of story this game is suited for is Moana, except imagine more players and more combat..
[19:50] <+Gareth> Genofoxx: Some borrowed pantheons, some unique. And whenever I borrow, I try to stay fairly true to the original material, rather than the popularized versions in modern media.
[19:51] <+Drew> What about stuff from Greek epics? Would Pythos adventures resemble that at all?
[19:54] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of the sorts of things magic can accomplish on the upper end of the scale?
[19:54] <+Gareth> Drew: They would quite a bit actually. The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Monkey King. Those types of adventures are well suited to Pythos.
[19:57] <+Gareth> Dan: The most powerful magic is out of the reach of mortals of course, or at least incomprehensible. The most powerful things players can do at the upper end of things is like create a raging storm in a localized area. Or travel to another plane of existence.
[19:58] <~Dan> Still pretty impressive.
[19:59] <+Gareth> One example of powerful magic in the world itself is a key site, called “The Acragaia”, which is a city-fortress that exists in several physical locations at the same time. Each of its many gates opens to a different region of the world. Because of this and other magical wonders, it has become a cultural and technological nexus.
[20:00] * +Gareth nods
[20:02] <~Dan> Are there different varieties of magic?
[20:05] <+Gareth> When characters learn magic, they learn a subset of magic (like a school of magic) such as Sorcery, Telekinesis, Illusion, Elementalism, Regeneration, Exorcism, etc. Each of these has one or more (usually 3-4) spells associated with it.
[20:06] <+Gareth> These spells are often flexible and scalable, meaning a player can put more “mana” into the spell to get a more powerful effect (up to a limit defined by their character features).
[20:07] <~Dan> What distinguishes Sorcery?
[20:07] <+Gareth> For example: Telekinesis includes the spell Telekinetic Throw, which is an attack. The character or creature using that spell can spend more mana to throw a larger object.
[20:09] <+Gareth> Sorcery is the manipulation of raw magical energy. The spells you learn with sorcery are an energy shield-type spell, a basic energy attack spell, and a spell to transfer mana into an object or someone else. It’s one of the simplest raw power sorts of magic.
[20:11] <~Dan> Can PC magicians enchant items?
[20:12] <+Gareth> It is high-level magic, but yes eventually they can learn to do that.
[20:13] <+Gareth> Essentially, any magic with a permanent effect is very difficult.
[20:14] * ~Dan nods
[20:15] <~Dan> Are there any obvious bad guys in the setting?
[20:19] <+Gareth> There are your typical sorts, usually rulers, warlords, and mages. Sometimes gods can become villains, or at least their worshipers. The biggest scariest things though are the titans. Titans are not really “bad guys”, but more just destructive forces of nature that awaken occasionally and go on a rampage. Adventures in Pythos tend to revolve around them.
[20:20] <~Dan> What are the titans like?
[20:20] <+Gareth> Maybe a madman is trying to wake one up. Or maybe one is already awake and is rampaging towards the PC’s hometown.
[20:22] <+GenoFoxx> so Godzilla as a mythical beast?
[20:22] <+Gareth> Titans vary quite a bit, but most of them are colossal in size. Examples include: Jormungandr, Kilauea (basically a living volcano), Typhon, etc.
[20:22] <~Dan> Wow… And PCs are supposed to take these guys down?
[20:22] <+Gareth> Yes, Godzilla would make a great titan, though he is not included in the core book.
[20:26] <+Gareth> PCs are not supposed to kill them. They are unkillable. Even a god would have a hard time killing one. Imagine Thor vs Jormungandr. Instead, PCs are supposed to A. Survive, B. minimize colateral damage, and C. perhaps find a way to subdue it or encourage it to sleep. Again, think about Disney’s Moana if you’ve seen it.
[20:26] <~Dan> I have.
[20:27] <~Dan> What other monsters are common?
[20:30] <+Gareth> Types of creatures in Pythos: Mortals (humans and monstrous humanoids), Beasts (think animals, though many are legendary – i.e. Sabertooth Tiger), Spirits (ghosts, elementals), Unliving (risen dead, golems), Mythological (unicorns, vampires, dragons, etc.)
[20:31] <~Dan> How large of a bestiary do you include?
[20:35] <+Gareth> The bestiary is one of the few things still being edited. I expect the final list will be around 70-80 creatures, taking up about a quarter of the book. With even more to be included in adventure modules as needed.
[20:35] <~Dan> Awesome. I love a good bestiary.
[20:35] <~Dan> What are your dragons like?
[20:37] <+Gareth> Dragons vary based on their habitat. Mountain Dragons are your typical fire breathing European style dragons, while Ocean and Sky Dragons are more oriental in design.
[20:38] <~Dan> And the vampires?
[20:42] <+Gareth> I put them outside of the “unliving” category because they are self-sentient and have a body of their own. I take their traits from some of the earliest myths, and even include the ability to stop one by putting a fishing net or the like over your door/window.
[20:43] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:43] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[20:44] <+Gareth> What’s the best way to share a pdf?
[20:44] <~Dan> Post a link to it if you have it posted somewhere.
[20:45] <+Gareth> (Link: https://drive.google.com/a/sgkeep.com/file/d/0B4M0hJ4ZtG2_Q0RDT1otTzd2bDA/view?usp=sharing)https://drive.google.com/a/sgkeep.com/file/d/0B4M0hJ4ZtG2_Q0RDT1otTzd2bDA/view?usp=sharing
[20:46] <~Dan> Says I need permission.
[20:46] <+Gareth> try it now
[20:47] <~Dan> There we go.
[20:48] <+BPIJonathan> That looks nice.
[20:48] <+Gareth> That is the current version, though there are a couple tweaks I already plan on making. And it may get spiffed up a bit with subtle art.
[20:49] <~Dan> This is a class system?
[20:50] <+Gareth> “Class” has to be changed to “Archetype” because of a recent terminology change. But yes, this is a class system.
[20:51] <~Dan> What are the archetypes?
[20:51] <+Gareth> The core archetypes are Hunter, Magus, Monk, Sage, Trickster, and Warrior
[20:51] <+Gareth> Any additional archetypes would be possible, pending a supplement of some kind.
[20:52] <+Gareth> Multi-classing is easy as taking a level in a different archetype
[20:53] <~Dan> What is the Sage in this context?
[20:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, Scoundrel!)
[20:54] <+Gareth> The Sage is a skilled spellcaster. They focus on a particular area of study and are very good at it (as opposed to Tricksters which are jacks of all trades).
[20:54] <+Scoundrel> Hello, all.
[20:54] <~Dan> What is the Magus, then?
[20:55] <+Gareth> The Magus focuses on magic. They have a lot of mana at their disposal.
[20:55] <~Dan> How is the Magus different from the Sage?
[20:57] <+Scoundrel> (OMG my freakin’ day has been… interesting. In the sense of the Chinese curse.)
[20:57] <+Gareth> The Magus learns more spells and has more mana. The Sage is more skill-based, getting large bonuses in its specialty talents.
[20:57] <~Dan> (Soundrel: Want to talk about it in #rpgnet2?)
[20:58] <~Dan> Gareth: Gotcha.
[20:58] <+Scoundrel> (sure)
[20:58] <~Dan> What is the core mechanic?
[20:58] <+Gareth> Scoundrel, sounds like a good plot hook for a Pythos adventure.
[21:00] <+Gareth> The core mechanic for determining success of an action is roll a d10 add a number (attack or talent total) and comparing it to a target number (defense or something chosen by the GM). Meet or exceed. If exceeds by 5, counts as an extra success and may have extra benefits (such as more damage with an attack). Exceed by 10 is even more.
[21:00] <+xyphoid> so, why this game and not one of the other class/level fantasy games with monsters and spells – what’s your unique selling point
[21:02] <+Gareth> Xyphoid: Simultaneous Action Combat. Instead of initiative and taking turns, everyone decides their actions at the same time, and then actions resolve in a simple priority system. Let me link you to a video or two.
[21:03] <+Gareth> (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6S8S56qEzI)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6S8S56qEzI
[21:03] <+Gareth> (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-teGZUBwCw4)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-teGZUBwCw4
[21:07] <~Dan> Are Combat and Skill like holistic attributes?
[21:08] <+Gareth> Dan: Yes. They feed into the other numbers on the character sheet.
[21:09] <~Dan> How do you rate something like strength in this system?
[21:12] <+Gareth> Strength is represented by the Athletics talent, which feeds off of Combat. There are ways a character or creature could get a bonus specifically on tasks that involve lifting and pushing for example, but generally stats are defined broadly, rather than having a lot of specific stats.
[21:13] <~Dan> I see.
[21:13] <+Gareth> Characters are simple enough that new players can learn to play quickly. Yet the combat system is tactically complex enough that veterans of rpgs can really enjoy something new and exciting.
[21:13] <~Dan> Speaking of which, how does combat work?
[21:15] <+Gareth> If you haven’t already, I recommend watching the videos I linked, but I’ll hit on the key points here…
[21:15] <+Gareth> Each round (about 6 seconds), there are four steps: Description, Decision, Declaration, and Resolution.
[21:16] <+Gareth> Description is when the GM describes the scene to the players. They can ask questions and make knowledge checks and things like that. If not much has changed since the last round of combat, this step can be very brief.
[21:17] <+Gareth> Decision is when everyone (including the GM) decides what actions their characters will take this round. If their using Action Cards, they can lay those face down on the table.
[21:17] <+Gareth> *they’re
[21:27] <+Gareth> Once everyone has done this, the Declaration step begins, everyone flips their cards face-up and the GM asks each player for clarification on the general intent of their actions (i.e. the action their taking, targets, intended movement direction, etc.). The GM may share some information about their creatures as well.
[21:28] <+Gareth> Resolution is when the actions are resolved in phases: 1. Defense actions, 2. Attack Actions, 3. Utility Actions, 4. Move Actions, and 5. Other Effects
[21:29] <+Gareth> Defense actions are usually simple buffs to defense. Attacks are self explanatory. Utility actions are environment manipulation, grapple, using items, some types of spells. Move actions are also self explanatory. And other effects are things like falling damage and environmental effects like fire and dungeon stuff.
[21:31] <+Gareth> One of the keys to this is that all actions of a phase are resolved before moving onto the next phase. And things within a phase are resolving simultaneously. Meaning if you are killed by an attack, your attack still resolves, because they happen at the same time.
[21:32] * ~Dan nods
[21:32] <+Gareth> The order of resolving actions within a phase is mostly arbitrary. And in the few cases where there is a conflict of actions, there is guidance in the book for the GM to handle it.
[21:33] <+xyphoid> do the players get to coordinate their actions?
[21:34] <+Gareth> For example, the most common conflict is with movement. If Bob attempts to jump out a window, and Sally attempts to move in the way of Bob to block his escape, then whoever has the most movement remaining at the window gets priority.
[21:35] <+Gareth> xyphoid: It depends on the group. I usually run casual games and let the players coordinate as much as they want. But to up the difficulty and tension, the GM could limit the amount of communication between the players, which would give the combat an entirely different feel.
[21:36] <+xyphoid> how does the attack then move thing work? like, i’m across the room from a critter, i want to stab it
[21:36] <+Gareth> The book offers guidance to the GM for either case.
[21:36] <+xyphoid> do i move there this turn, then attack next turn
[21:36] <~Dan> Whoops, time got away from me…
[21:37] <~Dan> Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up, Gareth?
[21:37] <+Gareth> xyphoid: yes. You move this round to get within range, then attack next round.
[21:38] <+Gareth> Well, I could talk about the combat system in detail all night, but I need sleep. I encourage anyone who’s interested to check out the kickstarter (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starlitgames/pythos-tabletop-rpg.)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starlitgames/pythos-tabletop-rpg.
[21:39] <+Gareth> I am also on Facebook and Twitter. In both cases, please look up @PythosRPG for the FB page and Twitter account.
[21:39] <~Dan> If anyone is interested in supporting my efforts, whether via tip or Patreon, you can do so here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:40] <~Dan> Thanks for joining us, Gareth!
[21:40] <+Gareth> Thanks for having me Dan!
[21:40] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!