[19:30] <+SarahNewton> Well, hi everyone, I’m Sarah Newton from Mindjammer Press, I’m the author of games such as the transhuman SF Fate-powered “Mindjammer”, Achtung! Cthulhu, Monsters & Magic, Legends of Anglerre, The Chronicles of Future Earth, and others.
[19:31] <+SarahNewton> Right now I’m right in the throes of kickstarting a fab new RPG called “Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked”.
[19:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, EggEmbry!)
[19:32] <+SarahNewton> I say new – it’s actually originally a French RPG. I live here in France (in Normandy), and it’s a game I’ve known for a good few years and love to bits. If I was to summarise it in a single sentence, I’d say
[19:32] <+EggEmbry> Hello!
[19:32] <+SarahNewton> Capharnaum – Tales of the Dragon-Marked is is like Legend of the Burning Sands meets 7th Sea and Exalted – a fantasy Mediterranean Arabian Nights-themed RPG where your characters have been marked by the gods for a special destiny: to change the world.
[19:33] <+SarahNewton> It’s a cool game, a really solid system with some fun genre tweaks and a quite special magic system, and it’s supported by a whole range of supplements including an awesome earth-shattering campaign.
[19:34] <+SarahNewton> In the game, you play “the Dragon-Marked”, who are individuals from all the different lands of the world, who bear a birthmark on their backs in the shape of a dragon’s claw. Dragons are special juju in the setting – they’re like mystical forces, maybe even gods, and they manipulate the world (or try to) and the destinies of men and women.
[19:35] <+SarahNewton> Because you’re a Dragon-Marked, you have special powers, and you’re singled out to achieve awesome deeds. The game is all about how you deal with that destiny, how you cooperate (or don’t!) with your fellow Dragon-Marked, who may even be from enemy lands.
[19:35] <+SarahNewton> You’re all thrown together int his common yet utterly mysterious destiny.
[19:36] <+SarahNewton> Our Kickstarter’s initial target is to fund this gorgeous 400-page hardback core book, which contains everything you need to play, and which features some beautiful illustrations and spectacular maps. After that, we’re hoping to unlock stretch goals including adventures, supplements, a screen, and a massive campaign.
[19:37] <+SarahNewton> We released a quickstart introductory rules and adventure last week, called THE TEARS OF AMPHAROOL. You can get absolutely all the skinny on the game and Quickstart, etc, at the KS page at (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game.)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game.
[19:37] <+SarahNewton> I think that’s me (done) to begin with! 🙂
[19:38] <~Dan> Thanks, SarahNewton! The floor is open to questions!
[19:38] <~Dan> How much of the setting is desert?
[19:39] <+SarahNewton> Well, it’s actually a whole world. The core concept of the setting is that the focus of the action is a kind of fantasy Mediterranean, where there are all these kingdoms and nations. In the west, there are European-type nations like mediaeval Spain, France, Germany; in the north there are ancient world analogues of the Greeks, the Romans, even the Atlanteans;
[19:39] <+SarahNewton> in the south there are the civilisations of Al-Fariq’n…
[19:40] <+SarahNewton> and in the east, there’s this massive peninsula called Jazirat, which is kind of like a fantasy Arabia, where the initial action takes place. All the major peoples are there, for various reasons – the Saabi and the Shiradim live there,
[19:41] <+SarahNewton> the Agalanthians used to rule the world but now are decadent and squabbling city-states, with some cool myrmidon mercenaries and gladiators,
[19:41] <+SarahNewton> and the Quarterians are this new religion from the West, which has just fought this huge Holy Quest, like a Crusade, to recover a holy relic – the skull of their martyred hero-god, Jason Quartered.
[19:41] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong)
[19:42] <~Dan> Jason Quartered, eh? Sounds like somebody gave him what four.
[19:42] <+SarahNewton> It’s a real foment, and obviously a refraction of our real world history, but with lots of different periods meshed together. And, against the backdrop of all this clashing and conflict, your Dragon-Marked characters are trying to understand their destiny…
[19:42] <+SarahNewton> LOL they did!
[19:42] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:43] <+SarahNewton> Jason was sentenced to death by quartering in Jazirat – being torn apart by horses. But he drew upon his demi-godlike powers to resist, and survived the ordeal! He was later cut down by the hordes of the King, and martyred, but not before becoming the new god-hero of the Quarterians.
[19:44] <+Anemos> Quarterians (lol)
[19:44] <+SarahNewton> That was 600 years ago – an event that totally changed the world. Everyone’s still reeling from that, and the Quarterians are enthusiastically exporting their faith.
[19:45] <+SarahNewton> (done)
[19:45] <~Dan> So what would you say is the equivalent Earth time period, roughly?
[19:46] <+Anemos> What role do the dragons play in the cosmos, and how do peoples view them in that regard?
[19:46] <~Dan> (Howdy, DLB_Chuck)
[19:46] <+SarahNewton> Well, it’s a “fantasy Mediterranean Arabian Nights world”. So if I had to pin it right down, I’d put it somewhere like the 6th century AD. The Quarterians feel more mediaeval, a bit Don Quixote, Templars, Inquisitors; the Agalanthians are more like Jason and the Argonauts;
[19:46] <+DLB_Chuck> Hi Dan
[19:47] <+SarahNewton> but the Saabi and Shiradim of Jazirat are very much Aladdin, Sinbad, the 1001 Nights, a fantasy version of the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula.
[19:48] <+SarahNewton> Hi Anemos 🙂
[19:48] <+Anemos> Yo
[19:48] <+SarahNewton> Your question about the dragons…
[19:49] <+SarahNewton> Well, they’re very much a mystical force, and a mystery. They’re not monsters in the traditional sense – you do have draconic critters, like the “abzulim”, which are saurian steeds ridden by a warrior group called the Walad Badiya, who are in telepathic communion with them,
[19:49] <+SarahNewton> but the dragons themselves are more like gods.
[19:49] <+SarahNewton> Some say they’re the servitors of the gods;
[19:50] <+SarahNewton> others say they manipulate the gods;
[19:50] <+SarahNewton> but one thing’s for certain:
[19:50] <+SarahNewton> after the rise of Jason Quartered, the dragons receded in importance and activity in the world, and the number of Dragon-Marked reduced drastically.
[19:51] <+Anemos> Interesting
[19:51] <+SarahNewton> But since the Holy Quest for Jason’s Skull, and the invasion of Aragon by the Saabi, the Dragon-Marked are appearing in greater numbers again. People say the dragons are back…
[19:51] <+SarahNewton> The four main peoples of the setting view the dragons in different ways.
[19:52] <+Anemos> What kind of magic is available to player characters?
[19:52] <~Dan> (wb, EggEmbry)
[19:52] <+SarahNewton> The magic system is kind of cool. 🙂
[19:52] <+SarahNewton> It’s an improvisational magic system called the “Tarmel Haja”, or divine combinations.
[19:53] <+SarahNewton> It’s a little bit like the Ars Magica system, only simpler in construction and application, and IMHO more flexible.
[19:53] <+Anemos> Awesome
[19:53] <+SarahNewton> A character can know up to three “Sacred Words”, which are philosophical principles underpinning the cosmos: Create, Transform, and Destroy.
[19:54] <+Anemos> Are those the only three?
[19:54] <+SarahNewton> You can use the Sacred Words you know with “elements”, which are basically nouns describing things, often abstract things, but equally concrete: person, health, tree, love, war.
[19:54] <+SarahNewton> Yes, they’re the only three.
[19:54] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, DMEvil!)
[19:54] <~Dan> SarahNewton: What would you use to influence or control someone?
[19:55] <+SarahNewton> They’re like fundamental forces. Creation opposes Destruction, and Transformation sits in between.
[19:55] <+SarahNewton> You could use something like Sacred Word Create, plus “Obedience” and “Person”, for example.
[19:55] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:55] <+Anemos> Transform would seem to take two nouns?
[19:55] <+SarahNewton> There are particularities for the various peoples, and philosophical underpinnings and ways of viewing the elements.
[19:56] <+Anemos> Or is the subject implied
[19:56] <+SarahNewton> Yes, Sacred Word Transform has at least two elements.
[19:56] <+SarahNewton> The subject is sometimes implied – it kind of depends on the element. For example, with Create Fire, there’s no implied target, it just creates fire. If you want to burn someone, you have to specify a target, like Create Fire + Person.
[19:56] <+Anemos> So how about Transform person -> slave
[19:57] <+SarahNewton> But with Create Love, love automatically implies a target, so you don’t strictly speaking need to include one. If you know an element like “Person”, then in this case it’ll give you a bonus.
[19:57] <~Dan> That would seem to go back to Create Obedience.
[19:57] <+SarahNewton> You know a limited number of elements.
[19:58] <~Dan> re: slave, I mean.
[19:58] <+Anemos> Dan, yes, I want to see how the same effect can be created using different methods
[19:58] <+SarahNewton> Yes, Transform Person to Slave is possible. It doesn’t necessarily do the same as Create Obedience, but that’s where the fun comes in.
[19:58] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha, Anemos.
[19:59] <+SarahNewton> One of the ways the spells work is that they generate a certain number of points of “magnitude”, which you can spend to create rules effects.
[19:59] <+SarahNewton> For example, you make your Sacred Word roll, and then spend the magnitude you generate to affect multiple targets, at range, reduce or increase attributes or skills, do damage, give bonuses, and so on.
[20:00] * ~Dan nods
[20:00] <+SarahNewton> Sometimes effects may be purely narrative, sometimes they’ll have rules effects.
[20:00] <+SarahNewton> You can also have predefined spells using the Tarmel Haja.
[20:00] <+Anemos> Is the process of casting magic suitable for use in combat?
[20:01] <+SarahNewton> Often you’ll find yourself casting similar effects, etc, so they kind of become your personal spells. Also the book provides a good raft of example predefined spells to help people grok how it all works.
[20:01] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest!)
[20:01] <+SarahNewton> In some cases, yes. Some peoples have preferred ways of using magic, which can give you a bonus, but you can always improvise, and combat magic certainly is possible.
[20:01] <~Dan> (Oh, howdy, BPIJonathan! How goes?)
[20:02] <+SarahNewton> It’s an evocative system, and very much lets the player describe how his magic works, within a certain framework usually based on his culture (or “blood”).
[20:02] <+BPIJonathan> (its okay, having some trouble with motivation so thought I would come see the awesomeness that is Ms. SarahNewton)
[20:02] <+Anemos> More specifically, does casting time make it a viable option in combat
[20:02] <+SarahNewton> What I like about it is that it hits the sweet spot between improvisation and still remaining solidly grounded in the rules mechanics.
[20:03] <+SarahNewton> Yes, it’s possible to cast a spell during a combat round.
[20:03] <+Anemos> Cool
[20:03] <~Dan> Also, what (if any) are the limits on casting? (e.g., fatigue, spell points, backlash, etc.)
[20:03] <+SarahNewton> Sometimes ritual casting over time makes more sense, especially if it’s difficult.
[20:03] <+SarahNewton> There are limits on casting.
[20:04] <+SarahNewton> There’s a “dark side” to magic, which over-reliance on sorcery can expose a character to.
[20:04] <+SarahNewton> New sorcerers will probably use magic a lot, but as they progress they’ll come to realise there’s a cost, and become a bit more cautious about how they use it.
[20:05] <+SarahNewton> But as for immediate fatigue, magic points, etc, no there’s no micro-scale resource management in that sense. It’s quite free – magic to a sorcerer is very much a tool, like fighting is to a warrior, for example.
[20:05] <+SarahNewton> Hi BPI Jonathan! 🙂
[20:05] <+Anemos> Do most player characters cast spells, or is it feasible to run a pc without doing so?
[20:05] <~Dan> Hmm. So what’s the long-term cost?
[20:06] <&Silverlion> Are their Djinn?
[20:06] <+SarahNewton> I wouldn’t say most *people* cast spells – it’s as you’d imagine for an Arabian Nights setting. But as for player-characters, it’s up to each player. It’s possible, for example, that a character might have learned some simple charms from their clan elder or grandfather or grandmother,
[20:06] <+SarahNewton> or a sword-sharpening song from their fighting school.
[20:06] <&Silverlion> and proper ghouls?
[20:07] <+Anemos> (After you answer Dan’s question: what I mean is, is a PC who doesn’t use magic in combat at a disadvantage balance-wise?)
[20:07] <+SarahNewton> OK – I’ll tackle those questions in rough order. 🙂
[20:08] <~Dan> In fact, let’s have a question pause while SarahNewton gets caught up. 🙂
[20:08] <+SarahNewton> The long-term cost is something called “shaytan”. It’s the dark side. I’m not sure how much I should give away, as it’s something cool for players to discover, but basically it’s kind of like the gebbeth in Wizard of Earthsea…
[20:08] <+Anemos> Shai-hulud!
[20:09] <+SarahNewton> Little by little, a sorcerer who overuses sorcery in the long-term finds strange tattooes growing to cover his body, his nights becoming filled with disturbing dreams, episodes of forgetfulness, lost time…
[20:09] <+SarahNewton> So, Silverlion’s question about djinn: very definitely, yes.
[20:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, TheDaftGazebo!)
[20:10] <+Anemos> And there are mechanics governing this, not merely GM punishment?
[20:10] <+SarahNewton> Djinn are a big part of the setting, there are different types, and there a lots of cool rules for mirages, which is often where the djinn live.
[20:10] <~Dan> Oh, for those just arriving, here’s what we’re discussing: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game
[20:10] <+SarahNewton> @Anemos: yes, there are mechanics, it’s definitely not GM punishment. Shaytan is an integral and powerful part of the game for a sorcerer.
[20:10] <+Anemos> Okay cool
[20:11] <+SarahNewton> Silverlion on ghouls: yes, there are proper ghouls. Or ghuls. I love me some Arabian ghuls. 🙂
[20:11] <+TheDaftGazebo> (hey dan. oh cool! couple of my buddies are backing this)
[20:11] <&Silverlion> Awesome
[20:11] <~Dan> What are Arabian ghuls like?
[20:12] <+SarahNewton> They’re feasters on the dead, spirits of the desert, often howling in the night. Sometimes they’re even referred to as doglike.
[20:12] <~Dan> Is that where Lovecraft got the idea?
[20:12] <~Dan> (Doglike, I mean.)
[20:12] <+SarahNewton> Very definitely, yes.
[20:12] <~Dan> Cool!
[20:13] <+SarahNewton> There’s a very strong link between Lovecraftian ghouls and the ghuls of Araby.
[20:13] * ~Dan nods
[20:13] <+SarahNewton> I think I might have caught up… did I miss any questions there?
[20:13] <~Dan> I think you’re caught up.
[20:13] <+Anemos> Are non-caster combatants viable?
[20:13] <+SarahNewton> Cool! 🙂
[20:13] <+SarahNewton> Very much so, yes.
[20:14] <+Anemos> Alright
[20:14] <+SarahNewton> There’s a limit to skill points, etc.
[20:14] <~Dan> How monster-heavy is this setting?
[20:14] <+SarahNewton> And each character belongs to a “path”, which is kind of like a special school, cult, secret society, what have you, which gives you special abilities, which you activate when you “light up a constellation” by rolling triples or above.
[20:15] <+SarahNewton> If you’re a dedicated fighter, you can do some serious damage.
[20:15] <+Anemos> Cool
[20:15] <+SarahNewton> The Walad Badiya guys who ride these saurian Abzul into combat are phenomenal. There’s one on the cover of the Quickstart.
[20:16] <+SarahNewton> I like the balance between character abilities. There aren’t fixed classes per se, but there are eight “archetypes” which represent different vocations, like Poet, Prince, Sage, Warrior, etc.
[20:16] <+SarahNewton> You rank them in order of importance to your character, then combine them with your blood (your people) and your path to home in on your character concept and identity.
[20:17] <+SarahNewton> Non-caster PCs are *very* viable. 🙂
[20:17] <+Anemos> :3
[20:17] <+SarahNewton> @Dan: re Monster-heavy
[20:18] <+SarahNewton> The core book focuses on the Jazirat peninsula, and comes with a core bestiary of 20 very evocative Arabian-themed critters, ranging from the intelligent and cunning djinn to the uncanny waswas and fearsome abzul.
[20:18] <~Dan> Waswas?
[20:18] <+SarahNewton> There’s also a bestiary supplement called Fables and Chimeras which takes the concept to the other lands around the Inner Sea and beyond, with a lot more critters.
[20:19] <+Anemos> Are non-human PCs an option?
[20:19] <+SarahNewton> It’s monster-heavy like Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts are heavy. Your adventures are often based around passions and patrons, wars and conspiracies, but equally you can be out pillaging ancient ruins or coming across haunted oases or malevolent djinn.
[20:19] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:19] <+SarahNewton> It’s very much a sandbox setting, so you can dial the monsters to hit your sweet spot. I like both. 🙂
[20:20] <+SarahNewton> BTW the Waswas is a terrifying spirit of sandstorms which devours souls… nasty.
[20:21] <~Dan> That does sound nasty.
[20:21] <+SarahNewton> Capharnaum has some quite unique critters, very much tailored to the setting, derived from Arabic and Middle Eastern legends and folklore.
[20:21] * ~Dan nods
[20:21] <+SarahNewton> Regarding non-human PCs, there aren’t really elves or dwarves and such.
[20:22] <+SarahNewton> Or, rather, there *may* be elves and dwarves, but they probably live in the forests and mountains of Orkadia in the far cold north.
[20:22] <+Anemos> It sounds like some of the monsters have intelligence comparable to humans, though
[20:22] <+SarahNewton> Capharnaum is initially focussed on the Jazirat peninsula, and the usual role played by nonhumans in, say, D&D, is played by the “peoples”, the various cultures, which give you special abilities. The “standard” PC race/culture is the Saabi of Jazirat.
[20:23] <+SarahNewton> But you can play Aragonians (like mediaeval Spanish hidalgos and campeadors), or Orkadian berserkers (Scandinavian / Germanic viking types).
[20:24] <~Dan> To what degree will the game eventually cover other parts of the world?
[20:24] <~Dan> (I’ll bet you didn’t know that Eggs could bounce.)
[20:24] <+SarahNewton> There’s a nonhuman race called the Krekhin, who come from the wastelands of Krek’kaos beyond the Steppes of Noxera – they look a bit like the Thing from Fantastic Four, maybe they’re elemental, perhaps even draconic. They’re savage, a bit Hyborian / Hyperborean themed, and playable as PCs.
[20:24] <~Dan> Release the Krekhin!!
[20:25] <+SarahNewton> Capharnaum can cover other parts of the world even in the core book, it’s more that the focus is Jazirat, so the other parts of the world appear “foreign”. But you can definitely play Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, the Thirteenth Warrior, and so on.
[20:26] <+Motulev> weak Dan, weak
[20:26] <+SarahNewton> We’re releasing scenarios set elsewhere around the Inner Sea, there are some gorgeous maps in the core book with gazetteers of Inner Sea locations, and the Atlas of the Known World, one of the supplements, covers the other lands in detail.
[20:26] <~Dan> They can’t all be winners. 🙂
[20:26] <+Anemos> Is the use of a grid for combat required or encouraged?
[20:26] <+DLB_Chuck> lol Dan
[20:26] <+SarahNewton> There’s also a massive campaign called the Kingdom of Heaven which spans the known world… and beyond.
[20:27] <+SarahNewton> You don’t need a combat grid.
[20:27] <+Anemos> woot
[20:27] <~Dan> Before we turn fully to the system, is there a character sheet that we can see?
[20:27] <+SarahNewton> That said, there are some nicely crunchy bits in combat. You have a limited number of actions, movement is clearly measured, etc. Moving into range, engaging and disengaging, etc, are all tacticla options.
[20:28] <+Anemos> Is there an analog for India?
[20:28] <+SarahNewton> You don’t have to use them, but I do. I like using tokens or sketches to show where everyone is, as it adds some nice crunch.
[20:28] <+SarahNewton> Yep, Dan, there’s a character sheet in an update. Hang on, I’ll get the link.
[20:28] <~Dan> Excellent.
[20:28] <+SarahNewton> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game/posts/2048564)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/328469751/capharnaum-the-roleplaying-game/posts/2048564
[20:29] <+SarahNewton> There you go for the character sheet. This is one of the pregens who appears in the quickstart “The Tears of Ampharool”. As you can see, he’s one of the Walad Badiya, a rider of the saurian Abzul and a heckuva warrior.
[20:30] <~Dan> Let’s see here…
[20:30] <+SarahNewton> @Anemos: Yes, there are analogs for India and China – Nir Manel and Asijawi respectively. You often find traveller from those far-off lands in the port cities, especially on the shores of the Ocean of Lamentations.
[20:31] <~Dan> Looks like there are five attributes?
[20:31] <+Anemos> Awesome
[20:31] <+SarahNewton> Yes, there are five attributes, pretty traditional: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma. Average is 2; the usual range is 1-5, but max is 4 for beginning characters, and you can get higher.
[20:32] <+SarahNewton> Skills work on a similar scale.
[20:32] <~Dan> And the skills appear to be broken down by… what was the term you used for Adventurer, Poet, etc.?
[20:33] <+SarahNewton> They’re the “archetypes”.
[20:33] * ~Dan nods
[20:33] <+Anemos> When you say the average is 2 and the usual range is 1-5, is that for all humans, or just PCs?
[20:33] <+SarahNewton> It’s mostly a categorisation thing; archetypes affect your initial skill scores, etc.
[20:34] * ~Dan nods
[20:34] <+SarahNewton> The theoretical range for humans is 1-5, but most people are 1-3. PCs are a bit more awesome, especially with the Dragon-Mark. But you’ll come up against foes with equivalent or better stats from time to time.
[20:34] <~Dan> The skills appear to be pretty broad. Are there specializations available?
[20:35] <+SarahNewton> Yes, there are. They’re not used in the Quickstart, but there’s a system of specialisation: you can be a specialist, an expert, etc.
[20:35] * ~Dan nods
[20:35] <+SarahNewton> In general the skills are fairly broad, and you can also combine them with different attributes, depending on what you’re trying to do. That can be quite cool – it gives a lot of scope for players to chew on.
[20:36] <+Anemos> How do Attribute and Skill advancement work?
[20:36] <~Dan> I see just one “Fighting” skill. Is that used for both melee and ranged?
[20:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ)
[20:37] <+SarahNewton> Advancement works via “Adventure Points”, which you can spend on various improvements to skills, attributes, but also things like moving forward in your chosen path, and also acquiring things like “Dragon Dice” and learning new magical elements.
[20:37] <+SarahNewton> There’s a default recommendation for awarding AP, but it’s pretty dialable depending on how often you play, how quickly you want advancement to happen, etc.
[20:38] <+SarahNewton> There’s a single Fighting skill used for both melee and ranged, but again there are specialisations.
[20:38] <+SarahNewton> Also your path can colour how skills get used, such as your Fighting skill, etc.
[20:38] <&Silverlion> Neat.
[20:38] <~Dan> Can you describe the core mechanic?
[20:39] <+SarahNewton> Absolutely. 🙂
[20:39] <+SarahNewton> Basically it’s a modified roll-and-keep mechanic. You total up your scores in an attribute and a skill (usually – other combos are possible), and roll that many dice.
[20:40] <+SarahNewton> Then, you keep a number of dice equal to your attribute. These are usually the highest dice. They’re called your “Result Dice”, and you total them to get a Result, which you compare to a Dififculty, which you have to equal or exceed to succeed in a skill roll.
[20:40] <+SarahNewton> However…
[20:41] <+SarahNewton> The dice you don’t keep in your Result Dice are also used. They’re called your Magnitude Dice, and they go towards figuring the magnitude of your success or failure. Remember we talked about spending your magnitude on spell effects earlier? That’s where this comes in, for example.
[20:41] * ~Dan nods
[20:41] <+SarahNewton> In combat, magnitude adds to your damage, and can generate critical effects like ignoring your Soak, or natural resistance to damage.
[20:42] <+SarahNewton> That’s the very basic core mechanic.
[20:42] <+SarahNewton> Then there’s something called Swaggering.
[20:42] <~Dan> Hmm… Pondering the implications of that mechanic. Interesting…
[20:43] <+SarahNewton> This is when you swing on chandeliers, slide down tapestries, or brandish your espada de valladon sword and cry “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”
[20:43] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:43] <~Dan> How does that work in terms of the system?
[20:43] <~Dan> re: Swaggering
[20:44] <+SarahNewton> When you swagger, you can declare that one or more (there’s a limit) of what would be your result dice should instead become your magnitude dice. You do something crazy and risky, which reduces your chance of success, but which, if you succeed, will increase the magnitude of that success.
[20:44] <+SarahNewton> …but if you fail, of course, it’ll increase the magnitude of that failure!
[20:44] <+SarahNewton> You can declare as many Swagger Dice as you have points of “Heroism”.
[20:45] <+SarahNewton> Heroism is the average of your three heroic virtues: Bravery, Faith, and Loyalty.
[20:45] <+SarahNewton> These again are usually from 1-5, but can go above; at character creation, they’re usually about 3.
[20:45] <~Dan> Okay, so…
[20:45] <+SarahNewton> You can spend them when you fail to roll a constellation (triples or more) on a dice roll, which you need to activate a path ability.
[20:46] <+SarahNewton> Sorry, go ahead Dan. 🙂
[20:46] <~Dan> …higher skill levels lead to higher magnitudes.
[20:46] <+SarahNewton> That’s correct, yes.
[20:47] <+SarahNewton> You get “bigger” in terms of scale, but the stakes get bigger alongside that. Everything gets weighter, more consequential, as you increase in power.
[20:47] <~Dan> Cool… I like how you’re rewarding high skill levels without having to calculate degree of success.
[20:48] <+SarahNewton> It’s a neat system. It’s also got this kind of gambling mini-game built into the core mechanic, where the odds actually vary depending on your skill and attribute total. Gauging swaggers is a key part of the game.
[20:48] <+SarahNewton> As is something called your “Dragon Dice”…
[20:49] <+SarahNewton> Only the Dragon-Marked have Dragon Dice. Your character starts with just 1. It’s a die, a d6, that looks different from the other dice. When you make a dice roll, you replace one of the dice with your Dragon Die. The Dragon Die explodes on a 6.
[20:50] <+SarahNewton> You can count your Dragon Die either in your result or in your magnitude, after you roll it, your choice.
[20:50] <~Dan> To clarify, when you Swagger, you’re taking the dice that would be covered by the “keep” part of roll-and-keep — the dice covered by the attribute — and converting them into the dice covered by skill alone?
[20:50] <+SarahNewton> As you get more powerful, you can get more Dragon Dice.
[20:51] <+SarahNewton> When you Swagger, you’re moving dice from your result dice into your magnitude dice, but you’re deciding *before* you roll. So, you’re voluntarily reducing the number of dice that you’d add up to compare to the difficulty, in return for an increased magnitude of success – or failure.
[20:51] <+SarahNewton> Maybe a quick example?
[20:52] <~Dan> Certainly!
[20:52] <+SarahNewton> Let’s say you’re in combat, and attacking with a sword. You have DEX 3 and Fighting 2. You roll 5D6. Normally, you’d take the highest three dice, total them, and compare them to the difficulty (which in this case is the Passive Defence of the target, or a rolled Active Defence).
[20:53] <+SarahNewton> If you equal or beat the difficulty with the total of those three dice, then you succeed in your attack and do damage.
[20:54] <+SarahNewton> The 2D6 remaining, which you didn’t add up to get your result total, are instead used to figure how well you succeeded. In general, you average a magnitude equal to the number of your magnitude dice (it varies). So, on average in this case you’d get a magnitude of 2.
[20:54] <+SarahNewton> That’s a good solid success. A critical requires a magnitude of 6. In combat, you add your magnitude to your damage – so in this case, you’re already doing +2 HP damage.
[20:54] <+SarahNewton> Now, when you Swagger…
[20:55] <~Dan> Can I pause you a sec there?
[20:55] <+SarahNewton> Certainly, Dan. 🙂
[20:55] <~Dan> Thanks. 🙂
[20:56] <~Dan> So the total on the magnitude dice don’t matter? It’s just the number of “left over” dice that matters?
[20:56] <+SarahNewton> The total does matter – that’s the “it varies” bit. 🙂
[20:57] <+SarahNewton> Basically, if a magnitude die is a 1, it doesn’t count towards your magnitude; if it’s a 2-5, it adds +1 to your magnitude, and if it’s a 6, it adds +2.
[20:57] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:57] <+SarahNewton> It tends towards a result of 1 magnitude die = 1 magnitude, but the outliers modify that. If you have 3 sixes on your mag dice, that’s a crit.
[20:58] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[20:58] <+SarahNewton> Or if you have 6 mag dice that roll between 2-5, that’s a crit too
[20:58] <~Dan> Okay, please proceed, re: Swagger. 🙂
[20:59] <+SarahNewton> Cool. So, yes, when you Swagger, on that 5D6 for DEX + Fighting, you can decide, in advance, that you’re only going to add up the highest 2D6 to compare against the difficulty, and instead you’re going to count 3D6 towards your magnitude.
[21:00] * ~Dan nods
[21:00] <+SarahNewton> On a roll of 5D6 in combat, you’re obviously going to be pretty confident that you’re opponent is pretty puny to do that! But if you succeed, you’re going to do more damage and increase your likelihood of a critical, etc.
[21:00] <~Dan> I see…
[21:01] <+SarahNewton> To be honest, if you’ve got 5D6 in combat, you probably don’t want to swagger too much. If you’re a competent warrior, you might be rolling 7 or even 8D6, and then Swaggering starts to get very consequential.
[21:02] <+SarahNewton> Really powerful characters can be rolling 10D6 or more. That’s “high-level” in Capharnaum, and it can be carnage. 🙂
[21:03] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:03] <+Anemos> Thanks for the answers, I’m gonna go.
[21:03] <~Dan> Take care, Anemos!
[21:03] <+SarahNewton> Awesome – thanks, Anemos! 🙂 (Y)
[21:03] <+Anemos> I’ll donate later
[21:03] <+Anemos> Is that a butt
[21:03] <+SarahNewton> Thank you!
[21:04] <+SarahNewton> Lol it’s meant to be a thumbs-up. I’ll try again (y)
[21:04] <+SarahNewton> nope lol
[21:04] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:04] <+Anemos> Oh, I don’t think my client converts those
[21:04] <+SarahNewton> 😀
[21:04] <~Dan> Yeah, it varies. 🙂
[21:04] <+SarahNewton> I’m forewarned for the future!
[21:04] <+Anemos> Seeya later
[21:05] <+SarahNewton> Cool – I think I’m up to date on those questions?
[21:05] <~Dan> See, again, I like how you make skill matter without adding degree of difficulty calculations, which I normally like.
[21:06] <~Dan> (And yes, I think you are.)
[21:06] <+SarahNewton> It’s a neat system.
[21:06] * ~Dan nods
[21:06] <+SarahNewton> It’s had a very good kicking about in the French Capharnaum community.
[21:07] <+SarahNewton> The first edition came out appx 10 years ago, and the guys over here are in the process of releasing the second edition, which incorporates streamlining and some refinements.
[21:07] <~Dan> Are those reflected in the English version?
[21:07] <+SarahNewton> We’re incorporating all that good stuff into the English version.
[21:07] <+SarahNewton> Yes, absolutely.
[21:07] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:07] <+SarahNewton> It was good timing 🙂
[21:08] <~Dan> How does armor work in this system?
[21:08] <~Dan> Damage reduction?
[21:08] <+SarahNewton> I know the guys well, and we talk a lot about the rules and setting. I wanted to be able to grok the nuances thoroughly to be able to convey them in the English rules.
[21:08] <+SarahNewton> Armour is damage reduction.
[21:08] <+SarahNewton> You have a characteristic called Soak, which is your natural damage resistance, also damage reduction.
[21:09] <+SarahNewton> Then your armour gives you additional damage reduction.
[21:09] <+SarahNewton> A critical success in combat can ignore Soak, but usually won’t ignore armour.
[21:09] <+SarahNewton> It’s a key survival tool for PCs!
[21:10] <~Dan> Can characters actively defend?
[21:10] <+SarahNewton> If you’re up against a powerful enemy, things can go bad pretty quick.
[21:10] <+SarahNewton> Yes, they can.
[21:10] <+SarahNewton> Basically, you’re rolling the same as your attack roll, with some subtle differences.
[21:10] <+SarahNewton> It costs you an action to make an Active Defence.
[21:10] <+SarahNewton> You can always use your Passive Defence, which is lower, but less variable.
[21:11] <+SarahNewton> You have 2 actions per round.
[21:11] <+SarahNewton> If you’re surrounded by foes, then it’s bad.
[21:12] <+SarahNewton> However, your path abilities can help you defend, if you’re a fighterly type.
[21:12] <+SarahNewton> Also, there are different levels of foes. There’s this type of minion called a “Babouche-Dragger”, “babouches” being those curly-toed slippers that the hordes of yelling minions always wear in Sinbad films.
[21:13] <+SarahNewton> You can mow through Babouche-Draggers in an impressive manner if you’re a skilled fighter! 🙂
[21:13] <+SarahNewton> Higher-level opponents include Valiant Captains and Champions; Champions are basically the equal of Dragon-Marked PCs.
[21:15] <~Dan> What’s the mechanic behind the Babouche-Draggers?
[21:15] <~Dan> What makes them easier to take down?
[21:16] <+SarahNewton> Essentially they don’t have Hit Points, and you can take out one of them per point of magnitude on your attack. They usually attack as a single group of 6 individuals, so they’re like a “group foe” with 6HP, in a sense.
[21:17] <~Dan> I see.
[21:17] <+SarahNewton> They’re ideal for mass combats, running through the streets of Jergath the Great with the city guard trying to head you off before you get to the gate, or trying to escape from the Temple pursued by hordes of animated skeletons. 🙂
[21:17] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:18] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:18] <+SarahNewton> The one thing I’ve been really impressed with in Capharnaum is the depth of the setting.
[21:18] <~Dan> And thank you for being such a trooper, re: the time!
[21:18] <+SarahNewton> Lol no problem! Thank you for having me. 🙂
[21:19] <+SarahNewton> It’s been a game I’ve loved and wanted to bring to English-language gamers for years – it’s awesome to have the opportunity at last.
[21:19] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, PhilippineGamer!)
[21:19] <+SarahNewton> Hi PhilippineGamer 🙂
[21:19] <~Dan> Oh, and a quick reminder that those wishing to support my Q&As can do so here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:19] <~Dan> I’d love to review it when it comes out. 🙂
[21:19] <+SarahNewton> Awesome 🙂
[21:20] <+SarahNewton> Definitely! Did you get chance to check out the Quickstart? We had a blast putting that together, working on the new layout, etc. It’s a full playable thing.
[21:20] <+PhilippineGamer> Hey there! Saw the Kickstarter and am stoked for the game. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy middle eastern settings and after Mindjammer, this one has me very excited.
[21:20] <~Dan> I haven’t yet, but I will!
[21:21] <~Dan> We still have a bit of time, PhilippineGamer. Did you have any questions for SarahNewton?
[21:21] <+SarahNewton> Thanks PhilippineGamer! That’s awesome! Thanks very much for your support – it’s a cool setting, very deep and great fun. 🙂
[21:21] <+PhilippineGamer> I just downloaded the Quickstart, will see if I can’t grab a few friends to try it. I’m pretty certain this has been asked already, but what kind of Supplements are we looking at for the game?
[21:21] <~Dan> (Mind you, she’s welcome to stick around as long as she likes, but I suspect that she may be getting a bit weary at this point. 😉 )
[21:22] <+SarahNewton> BTW one thing I wanted to mention, Dan, is that the core book is actually already translated and ready to go. We’re expecting to have the PDF ready in March and shipping the physical book in April. 🙂
[21:22] <~Dan> Great!
[21:22] <+SarahNewton> Regarding supplements, there are a good number already available in French which we’re teed up to translate, and we also have the license to create our own, which I’m *itching* to do (I have three things I’d love to write…).
[21:23] <+SarahNewton> The existing supplements are: Arcana of Adventure, the player’s guide; The Secrets of Al-Rawi, a screen and GM companion; Fables and Chimeras, a bestiary…
[21:23] <+SarahNewton> The Atlas of the Known World; The Kingdom of Heaven mega-campaign; and two collections of adventures.
[21:23] <~Dan> Impressive!
[21:24] <+SarahNewton> It’s cracking stuff – the Kingdom of Heaven alone is 300 pages of world-spanning and world-shattering action. Real zero to hero stuff.
[21:24] <+SarahNewton> The production values are very nice, and the whole Burning Sands + 7th Sea + Exalted vibe really rocks
[21:25] <+PhilippineGamer> That’s a LOT. Speaking of heroes, the dragon-marked sort of remind me of the Exalted, in a way. Does being dragon-marked carry some sort of supernatural burden to go out and be a hero?
[21:25] <+SarahNewton> That’s a good question!
[21:26] <+SarahNewton> If you’re Dragon-Marked, then somewhere, mystically, the cosmic dragons have an eye on you. You have at least one Dragon Die, which represents the dragons interfering in your destiny.
[21:26] <~Dan> (Howdy, Monochrome_Tide)
[21:26] <+SarahNewton> On top of that, you have this Dragon-Mark, a birthmark on your back, which sets you apart. You *know* that you’ve been Chosen – you’re just not sure what for, and you’re not sure you want it, but you feel that itch, that call to greatness.
[21:27] <+SarahNewton> Whether you deserve to be chosen, and what you do with the opportunity… that’s one of the themes of the game. With great power, etc. 🙂
[21:27] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:27] <~Dan> The game really does sound great. 🙂
[21:28] <+PhilippineGamer> That’s good to hear. It’s a theme I tend to run very strongly when I GM Exalted, so I feel this will suit me very well. Oh, does “Greatness” here apply to villains as well?
[21:28] <+SarahNewton> I think the comparison with Exalted is valid. The vibe is different, more mysterious, it’s less clear what’s going on, but the potential for greatness is there. Plus it’s more directly reflecting and refracting our own history in its themes. 🙂
[21:29] <+SarahNewton> Yes, greatness definitely applies to villains! The Dragon-Marked are good and bad, and there are some very powerful Other Forces in the game, too. There are some major players acting in the world, and the Dragon-Marked will doubtless come to their attention… 🙂
[21:29] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:30] <+SarahNewton> It’s been a blast, Dan! 🙂
[21:30] <+SarahNewton> Thank you again for having me.
[21:30] <~Dan> Yes it has! Thanks very much for joining us!
[21:30] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂