The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

[Q&A] Aaron Antonich (Demons)


[20:33] <+DemonlordAaron> Hello everyone, welcome. I’m Aaron from the designer of Demons – The Ninth Circle Of Hell Unleashed!

[20:38] <~Dan> (Not sure if you’re typing, but as a reminder, please give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂 )

[20:39] <+DemonlordAaron> Oh, sorry. Done 🙂

[20:39] <~Dan> Thanks, DemonlordAaron! The floor is open to questions!

[20:40] <~Dan> What is the game about?

[20:40] <+HT_Black> Which awards have you won?

[20:41] <+DemonlordAaron> Oh, we just started up a few months ago so we’re brand new. Our Slogan is “games with ambition” 🙂

[20:41] <+HT_Black> Oh, got it.

[20:41] <+DemonlordAaron> We have 10+ reviewers lined up though as soon as we get our first print run going

[20:41] <+DemonlordAaron> which looks like we’re going to make it

[20:42] <+DemonlordAaron> So, I guess I’m just going to talk constantly.. and then anyone can inturrupt with questions

[20:43] <~Dan> It’s your show. 🙂

[20:43] <+DemonlordAaron> I wanted to make a RPG that you could wheel down onto a table, and play with anyone.. but I wanted it to have real adventure, and story. Something that was as much fun with 2 players as it was with tons

[20:44] <+DemonlordAaron> One of the biggest issues I’ve had with the game market.. is playing with someone I’m dating, and then playing with my hard core gamer friends.. or both.

[20:45] <+DemonlordAaron> So I wanted to make something that would be entertaining for me, to play with anyone.. and that was simple enough, and quick enough to set up. So if I wanted to go on a dnd style adventure at short notice…

[20:46] <+DemonlordAaron> I could with random people.. without having to go through caricature creation

[20:46] <+DemonlordAaron> pardon my typing.. lol I’m at a friends halloween party ^^

[20:46] <~Dan> No worries. 🙂

[20:47] <+DemonlordAaron> Just got bumped into lol

[20:47] <+DemonlordAaron> I found a safe little corner at the back to hide in.

[20:47] <+DemonlordAaron> we might do some more playtesting tonight.

[20:47] <+DemonlordAaron> coming up with a “blitz” rules for the game

[20:48] <+DemonlordAaron> something that’s even faster.. so when you’re at a party with an attention span of a gold fish.. you can still play a cool RPG

[20:48] <~Dan> That’s quite a challenge.

[20:49] <+DemonlordAaron> Yeah, this is my greatest masterpiece. My first publication, but probably my 9th completed game. It works on a modular system.. so you can even play it by yourself.

[20:49] <+DemonlordAaron> add parts to it

[20:50] <+DemonlordAaron> or change it as you see fit, without really effecting the underlying game play.. so it gives me so much freedom as a designer to create whatever I want

[20:50] <+DemonlordAaron> That’s how I’m able to do all the craziness I’m doing on kickstarter

[20:52] <~Dan> I don’t think you caught my first question: What is the game about? 🙂

[20:54] <+DemonlordAaron> The story arc/

[20:54] <+DemonlordAaron> ?

[20:54] <~Dan> If that would be the easiest way to describe it.

[20:56] <+DemonlordAaron> That question could go a lot of ways.. it’s about… 6 inches across.

[20:56] <+DemonlordAaron> 6x12x5 maybe.. in the demo box.

[20:56] <+DemonlordAaron> ^.^

[20:57] <~Dan> Hmm. Well, let’s start with the basics then: Are the PCs demons?

[20:58] <+DemonlordAaron> Ah, thank you 🙂 The PC’s are Kingdoms, and your goal is build up your kingdom before the gates of hell break open and the armies of whatever demon lord flood the land

[20:59] <~Dan> So if the players are playing entire kingdoms, where does the roleplaying aspect come in?

[20:59] <+DemonlordAaron> All the classic demons and monsters from mythology from around the world. Typical biblical demons of Christianity as well as Japanese, indian, and african etc

[21:02] <+DemonlordAaron> The RPG aspect comes primarily from the instances. They throw the player, the rule of the kingdom, into a random encounter where they have to make tough decisions under a wide verity of situations.

[21:02] <&Silverlion> (nap time be well everyone)

[21:03] <~Dan> (Sleep well, Silverlion)

[21:03] <+DemonlordAaron> some of which are weather or not to sell your soul for power etc

[21:03] <+DemonlordAaron> what kind of risks you want to take, and how you’d answer your typical great questions of philosophy under duress.

[21:04] <~Dan> Oh, so the PCs are rulers of kingdoms?

[21:04] <+DemonlordAaron> Yeah, you start the game as a ruler of 1 of the two kingdoms you’re randomly dealt.

[21:05] <~Dan> What’s the other kingdom for? An ally

[21:05] <~Dan> ?

[21:05] <+DemonlordAaron> then how you choose to play and develop your kingdom from there is up to you.

[21:06] <+DemonlordAaron> You discard it. It just gives you some options on how you play and develop. So you can make more real strategic choices about your development.

[21:06] <+DemonlordAaron> I wanted to make a game with no “right answers” but real consequences from the choices you make

[21:07] * ~Dan nods

[21:07] <+DemonlordAaron> A game you could develop your play-style, weaponry, and risk you take as the game develops.

[21:07] <~Dan> Is the game largely tactical in nature?

[21:08] <+DemonlordAaron> It’s largely story based.. well I’d have to say 60% story, and 60% tactics.. 120% awesome ^^

[21:08] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂

[21:08] <~Dan> How do the mechanics work?

[21:09] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, JDickson!)

[21:09] <+DemonlordAaron> It’s not a tactics heavy game though lol, it runs off the yatzi dynamic. It’s about as much a “tactics” game as DnD.

[21:09] <+DemonlordAaron> So it’s yes and no on that question.

[21:10] <+DemonlordAaron> You build up your weapons in your kingdom, and activate them with a Yatzi style dice roll

[21:11] <+DemonlordAaron> each weapon activates for damage, and combat is pretty straight forward. They’re dead and or they’re not, then you’re dead or you’re not.

[21:12] <+DemonlordAaron> But you have to pic which monster you fight with, which exhaustibles you use, manage your money, demon stones, and risk etc.

[21:12] <~Dan> So combat takes place at the level of the kingdom, not the individual?

[21:13] <~Dan> (You there, JDickson?)

[21:13] <+JDickson> (G’day. Just wanted to keep quiet for the Q&A.)

[21:14] <~Dan> (No worries!)

[21:15] <+DemonlordAaron> So the best tactics player will win 60-70% of the time, but the games specifically made so it’s anyones game the entire time.. more often than not, people are more focused on adventuring and building an awesome kingdom then they are with winning.. until the demon lord comes out anyway. Combat takes place at the individual level and the kingdom level.

[21:16] <~Dan> Really? Hmm…. Do you have a character sheet we can see?

[21:17] <+DemonlordAaron> Based on the scenario, but you still use the same weapons you’ve armed yourself/troops with.

[21:17] <+DemonlordAaron> There’s no character sheet, just the kingdoms.

[21:17] <+DemonlordAaron> you can see them on the kickstarter

[21:17] <+DemonlordAaron> (Link:

[21:18] <~Dan> Given that fact, how do you handle individual combat?

[21:19] <+DemonlordAaron> You take a small detachment of troops that have all the same weapons you’ve developed in your kingdom.

[21:20] <+DemonlordAaron> basically you’re a little kingdom piece roaming around, that counts as you in whatever capacity the situation calls for.. Indiana Jones style robbing a tomb.. or commanding an army.

[21:21] <+DemonlordAaron> It’s kind of like playing DnD sims.

[21:21] <~Dan> I see.

[21:22] <+DemonlordAaron> And you’re the omni-present conciseness deciding everything, and making all the moral/philosophical decisions

[21:23] <&GenoFoxx> ((g’night))

[21:23] <~Dan> (Bye, GenoFoxx!)

[21:23] <+DemonlordAaron> Eventually we’ll add playable heroes/characters and stuff.. and actually.. we have some super secret plans in the works for a “build your own character/kingdom” progrm/app that you could litterally build your own playable keep to play, and choose how it plays and print it out..

[21:24] <+DemonlordAaron> but I’m not supposed to talk about that for at least 4-6 months.. but meh ^^

[21:24] <+DemonlordAaron> It’ll be our little secret.

[21:25] <+DemonlordAaron> But I’m super excited about it. It’ll work on a point system too, so the keep you build will be balanced.

[21:25] <~Dan> What sorts of moral choices do the PCs have to make?

[21:26] <+DemonlordAaron> There are a lot at the end of the game, and one on each demon lord. Do you risk your win to save the lives of innocent people and the other players or consign them to hell for your assured safety.

[21:27] <+DemonlordAaron> Or do you allow a demon to reside within your body in order to save your own life?

[21:30] <+DemonlordAaron> each game ends with a question. The rest of the decision are mostly strategic risk management. Do you go into it blind? Do you scout it and use up an action and valuable time? etc. The rest of the choices are big scary monster thing.. what do you do? Falling off a cliff? Mermaids? On Fire? Giant spider? Clib a mountain? Set an ambush or frontal assault.

[21:31] <+HT_Black> What did your second kickstarter do that made it so much more successful than the first one?

[21:33] <+DemonlordAaron> Well we got hella sick during the first one and stopped promoting it and then got busy with a few other things.. and without us publicizing it all the time it dropped to a dead halt

[21:33] <+DemonlordAaron> This one we have more connections and everything we did from the first one

[21:33] <+DemonlordAaron> and we’re taking commissions for custom stuff to be included in the game.

[21:35] <+DemonlordAaron> So we’re more motivated, and actually know people now..

[21:35] <+DemonlordAaron> when we started.. we literally started from nothing super hermit status.. from the woods, in the mountains.

[21:37] <+DLB_Chuck> Hi everybody

[21:37] <+DemonlordAaron> Hey chuck 🙂

[21:37] <+DemonlordAaron> So let me ask some questions then

[21:37] <+DemonlordAaron> what do you guys think?

[21:37] <+DemonlordAaron> What would you like to see in this game?

[21:38] <+DemonlordAaron> It works on a modular system.. I designed it because I like designing games. So designed it with the intention of being able to add stuff to it infinitely.

[21:39] <~Dan> Hmm. I’m not sure that I’m the target market, to be honest.

[21:39] <~Dan> Howdy, DLB_Chuck

[21:39] <+DemonlordAaron> Why not?

[21:39] <+DLB_Chuck> Hi dan

[21:39] <~Dan> Well, I prefer to play strictly as an individual, I guess.

[21:39] <+DemonlordAaron> What do you like/not like? What makes a game “your kind of game”?

[21:40] <+DemonlordAaron> Hmmm so playing as a kingdom isn’t as much fun?

[21:41] <~Dan> I wouldn’t go that far… I think it could be fun. It’s just not what I, personally, look for in an RPG.

[21:41] <+DemonlordAaron> What do you like about playing as an individual?

[21:41] <~Dan> I enjoy the “immersion” aspect.

[21:42] <~Dan> Seeing a different world through the senses of an imaginary character.

[21:42] <+DemonlordAaron> What if you were a playable character instead of a kingdom? Well the whole point of this game is focused on “immersion” and story telling.

[21:43] <+DemonlordAaron> I could easily make like 1 change and you could be a playable character.. dying would present a problem.. but I could easily fix

[21:43] <~Dan> How would that work, though, since the characters themselves don’t have stats (assuming I understood you correctly)?

[21:45] <+DemonlordAaron> Well the keeps have abilities.. and play like characters.. and your “stats” are what you build into your kingdom. So I could pretty much change the artwork lol

[21:45] <+DemonlordAaron> and make the change

[21:46] <+DemonlordAaron> I am personally with you on this.. and I’ve considered it a while back, and asked a few people about it.. but everyone so far said they felt a real personal connection to their keep.

[21:47] <+DemonlordAaron> so I didn’t really need to make any thematic changes.

[21:48] <+JDickson> Forgive me if I don’t properly understand it all, but if the keeps play like characters to the point where you can change one thing to call them characters – then why are they keeps? I’d think managing a kingdom would be far different than, say, an adventurer.

[21:48] <+DemonlordAaron> It was just the original theme I started with when I was using clip art when I designed the game a few years back

[21:49] <+DemonlordAaron> Would having a “hero” character that you play as scratch that itch?

[21:49] <+JDickson> Fair enough.

[21:50] <+DemonlordAaron> So, the weapons your soldiers have, could very easily be the equipment your carrying or the weapons/skills you have.

[21:52] <+DemonlordAaron> What I’d be interested in.. is how many people would rather play as a character than a kingdom?

[21:52] <+DemonlordAaron> What are some of the most important things in an RPG for you?

[21:53] <+DemonlordAaron> Do you want to build your character? Or would you okay with picking one?

[21:53] <~Dan> I’m often fine with picking one.

[21:53] <+DemonlordAaron> Would having a base model that you build on be sufficiently interesting?

[21:53] <+JDickson> To me? I really like some solid crunch in an RPG. Strong rules that evoke lots of choices without lots of complexity. But that’s just me, I know plenty who are in to the far fluffier side of it – as far as building characters are concerned I love to build my own.

[21:54] <+DemonlordAaron> So the way this is designed, you build your own through out the game, by choosing what abilities and synergies you build

[21:55] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snoof!)

[21:55] <+DemonlordAaron> How long does this go btw?

[21:57] <~Dan> Until 10:30, unless you need to wrap up early.

[21:57] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Morgenstern!)

[21:57] <+DemonlordAaron> What I’d really like from this.. if I could my email is If 5 people.. could send me the 5 most important things they want in an RPG

[21:58] <+DemonlordAaron> What makes an RPG something you’d be like “oohhh” I’d really like to play that.

[21:58] <+DemonlordAaron> What’s the essence of a fun RPG?

[21:58] <+JDickson> I’m not sure you’re gonna find any one answer to that, as a lot of different things are fun to different people.

[21:59] <+DemonlordAaron> Also.. if your character dies.. should he be all the way dead?

[21:59] <~Dan> Or just “mostly dead”? 🙂

[21:59] <+DemonlordAaron> Just looking for some input

[21:59] <+DemonlordAaron> Yeah ^^ or maybe your general will take the bullet for you or something. So you’re not too heart broken when you die

[21:59] <+JDickson> I see value in both, depending on who you’re playing with – and how much consequence you wanna have to your actions.

[22:00] <+JDickson> I wouldn’t say ‘all the way dead’ is a great thing on a very luck-based game.

[22:00] <+JDickson> Because dying due to no fault of your own is pretty universally unfun.

[22:00] <+DemonlordAaron> ^ Good answer. I already have a system for either. I’ll just have Normal and Hard Core rules.

[22:00] <+DemonlordAaron> But in this game, there are ways to get unlucky with an instance

[22:01] <+JDickson> Having multiple sets of rules can help but that can certainly increase the cognitive load, so be careful.

[22:01] <+DemonlordAaron> There are two that are just dangerous and low odds of living unless your lucky or happen to be carrying escape stuff.

[22:02] <+DemonlordAaron> The difference would be death one way.. you have to pic a new hero and discard some stuff.

[22:02] <+DemonlordAaron> the other way you’d just discard a life token instead

[22:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, Akyla)

[22:04] <&Akyla> (Hi)

[22:05] <+Kei> I am back

[22:05] <~Dan> (wb, Kei)

[22:05] <+DemonlordAaron> So I guess I just want to finish with a discussion question for you dan.. that leads to an email with your answers in it. I’d really like to hear 5 of your regulars top 5 most important things in an RPG to them. What makes an rpg fun.. what do you see that makes you really want to play the game?

[22:06] <+DemonlordAaron> I have a feeling.. they’re going to be 5 pretty similar and important lists.. it’ll also be fun think about ^^

[22:06] <+DemonlordAaron> or anyone in here that wants to 🙂

[22:06] <+DemonlordAaron>

[22:07] <~Dan> I’ll have to give this some thought…

[22:08] <+DemonlordAaron> Please do 🙂

[22:08] <+DemonlordAaron> I’m totally going to add playable characters.

[22:09] <+DemonlordAaron> so stay tuned for that update, probably before this kickstarter ends.

[22:09] <+DemonlordAaron> (Link:

[22:12] <~Dan> So, question for you…

[22:12] <~Dan> What about the game as written encourages story creation?

[22:15] <+DemonlordAaron> the game tells the story and does the story creation, so no game master, the story comes together modularly

[22:16] <+DemonlordAaron> so choose your own adventure style board game ish.. with 50 instances and 9 endings