[19:35] <+Ken_WNG> I am Ken Spencer, co-owner and creative director at Why Not Games. Our latest release is Surail Bear Folk of the North (5e) for our Weird Races series. Surial is the second in the series and focuses on the Bear Folk of the North. The Surial are towering furry giants who were created to be the guardians of the northern wilderness
[19:35] <+Ken_WNG> (though I guess if you play a southern hemisphere focused game they could be Surial Bear Folk of the South). <done>
[19:35] <~Dan> Thanks, Ken_WNG! The floor is open to questions!
[19:36] <~Dan> What game(s) is this for?
[19:36] <~Dan> Oh, n/m… you said.
[19:36] <~Dan> (And I already knew. Just making sure that got out there. 🙂 )
[19:37] <+Ken_WNG> Surial, like all of our Weird Races is comparable with the Fifth Edition of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG.
[19:37] <~Dan> Heh. I wish you pros didn’t have to use code language like that. 😉
[19:38] <~Dan> What are the physical capabilities of the Surial? Are they as powerful as normal bears?
[19:38] <+Ken_WNG> Some day I should tell you the trouble I got into putting “space’ and ‘marine” too close togeher in the same sentence.
[19:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, HDP_Dave!)
[19:40] <+Ken_WNG> Serial were created by the Great Bear Spirit who fused the might of the bear with the cunning of man, but two other spirits interrupted. The result was a creature slightly taller than a human, but with the shorter limbs of a bear (and thus medium sized). Heavier in body, shaggy, and very bear like in form.
[19:41] <+Ken_WNG> The intruding spirits gave the Surial the gift of healing, but also the gift of spite. Depending on the tribe a Surial PC could be a potent warrior. <done>
[19:41] <~Dan> How strong are they in game system terms?
[19:43] <+Ken_WNG> On par with other PC races. Their main traits are the ability to heal or inflict critical hits, but is you use one the other become expended as well (that whole dual roles things). Stats wise, all Surial gain +2 Wisdom, but different clans have additional bonuses.
[19:44] <+Ken_WNG> We playtestes long on this one to get the right balance for the race, not over powering but with interesting traits that set up choices. <done>
[19:44] <~Dan> Huh. I would have thought bearfolk would get a bonus to Strength.
[19:46] <~Dan> Do they have any affinities for magic?
[19:46] <+Ken_WNG> Some Surial are just big they like to eat. There are three clans, the arctic dwelling Graach, the forest dwelling Nabarrch, and the warlike Sariarch. TH elater gets a onus to Strength, their focus is on defending the borders of Surial lands. The other two are hunters and craftsmen.
[19:48] <+Ken_WNG> One of our goals with Surial was to make a race that could suit different roles in the Party. With a bonus to Wisdom the Surial serve well as clerics or druids, but the Sariarch are well suited to be barbarians, rangers, and even fighters.
[19:49] <+Ken_WNG> Using 5e there are limits to what you can do stat wise without overpowering a race. We tried to stay within those limits and still make a race that is well rounded. <done>
[19:49] * ~Dan nods
[19:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ximni1)
[19:49] <~Dan> What is their culture like?
[19:52] <+Ken_WNG> Our Weird Races series places a lot of focus on culture, these races do not exist as a set of numbers on a page, they have histories, religions, food ways, marriage practices, and so forth. The Surial are very freedom loving, they live in a land that others find harsh, but to the Surial there are plenty of trees save for the tundra where the Graach live),
[19:54] <+Ken_WNG> berries, honey, trout, and game. Governance is entirely by consent and tradition, they do not have much of a hierarchy save for elders and those who voices are respected. They know their purpose is to defend the land, and most of their focus is on that, as well as preparing for the next winter. Serial covers their music, mating practices, childrearing, and
[19:54] <+Ken_WNG> other issues in detail. <done>
[19:54] <+xyphoid> got NPC statblocks for them as well?
[19:56] <+Ken_WNG> No, we wanted to include Surial as NPCs to fight, but we are trying, well I am truing as I am the writer, to keep our products within the set word counts. For Surial to be profitable it had to be around 15,000 words, to much more and the art and layout budget eats it up. The choice came down to more player focused material or NPC stat blocks.
[19:58] <~Dan> How do they get along with other races?
[19:58] <+Ken_WNG> One of the player focused bits we added was a trinkets table just for Surial characters. We had one in Caturday and the fans really loved it. Race specific trinkets tables are now going to be a thing for Weird Races (5e). <done>
[20:00] <+Ken_WNG> We intuitionally left most of the Surial relations with other races somewhat vague. We want you to be able to add them to your campaign, whatever wild fantasy trip it might happen to be. Starting with Surial we outline how the race interacts with other Weird Races, which gives hints to what is coming up in the series. <done>
[20:01] <~Dan> So how do they get along with the Caturday?
[20:03] <+Ken_WNG> Before the Fall of Catopia, Caturday traders ventured north seeking amber, furs, and walrus ivory. The Surial have an economy based on gift giving, making trade somewhat difficult but possible. Since then, Caturday refugees have drifted North as they have across the World. In the playtest we had a Caturday who rode around on the Surial’s shoulders and leaped
[20:04] <+Ken_WNG> from there into combat. The two races work well together at the table. <done>
[20:04] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:05] <~Dan> What sorts of weapons and armor do the Surial use?
[20:06] <+Ken_WNG> Most Surial can fashion basic tools, weapons, and armor out of wood, bone, and stone, and these function as normal weapons (though they can be treated as somewhat fragile if you want). Metalworking is rare except amongst the Nabarrch, and they largely work iron (the Surial consider gold to the the poison leaking form the great spirit the
[20:08] <+Ken_WNG> Granite Lord’s wounds). Metal weapons and armor are prized possessions and given to the greatest warriors. A Surial adventurer would of course have access to all manner of weapons. Also, the preferred weapons of the Surial are ones that serve as tools or for hunting as well, spears bows, axes, hammers, that sort of thing.
[20:08] <+Ken_WNG> A lot of the material culture of the Surial comes form my years as an archaeologist. Stone weapons are just as deadly as metal ones, we certainly found enough stone points embedded in bones. <done>
[20:11] <~Dan> Really? That’s cool, re: archaeologist. 🙂
[20:13] <~Dan> Do they have any alignment proclivities?
[20:13] <+Ken_WNG> Triple degrees, Geograph (focus on biogeography and GIS mapping), Anthropology (focus on archaeology), and Secondary Education (focus on history and civics).
[20:14] <~Dan> Impressive!
[20:14] <+Ken_WNG> Surial tend towards chaotic and good. They like individual freedom but understand the needs of society and the battle to protect their lands must have importance.
[20:15] <~Dan> Seems like they’d get on well with wood elves.
[20:16] <+Ken_WNG> That was my thought as well. Also most druid types, really your all around good wilderness club.
[20:16] * ~Dan nods
[20:17] <~Dan> Do the Surial have a hard time dealing with civilization?
[20:18] <+Ken_WNG> Money poses a problem as gold is considered tainted and they use a very different economy. However, they are natural healers and thus are welcomed in many places. Nothing that humans make would seem the right size for Surial. Although mechanics wise medium sized (those short stubby legs) they are still 300 pounds or so of fur and meat. Chairs suffer when
[20:19] <+Ken_WNG> Surial come to town. They also do not take kindly to authority they do not agree with. These give you some role-playing hooks for your character and set up a nice fish out of water situation, if you want to. <done>
[20:20] <~Dan> Are there any classes for which they aren’t really ideal?
[20:22] <+Ken_WNG> None of the three clans give a bonus to Intelligence or Charisma, making certain spell casters less than optimal, but as 5e does not levy penalties for races this is not that big of a problem. A cunning GM might give Surial disadvantage on Stealth checks to hide in some situations.
[20:23] * ~Dan nods
[20:23] <+Ken_WNG> Honestly, the system is geared in such a way that the question is less what class can’t this race do than what class does it do the best. <done>
[20:25] <~Dan> True.
[20:26] <~Dan> Let’s see… I’m running out of questions at the moment. What else can you tell us about the Surial that we haven’t covered?
[20:27] <+Ken_WNG> One of the things we found in the all-serial phase of the playtest was that the Gentle Touch trait (which gives a minor healing effect) meant that we did not have as great of a need for a cleric as other parties. This healing ability is lost if you use Fury of the Bear to generate a critical hit. Dual nature and good choice make good gaming.
[20:28] <~Dan> Indeed.
[20:28] <+Ken_WNG> I would like to add that Surial is available in pdf at Drive-thru RPG, alone for $4.99 or in a bundle with Caturday for $8.98. We should get the POD proof soon, and of course will have Surial at GaryCon in March.
[20:29] <+Ken_WNG> Also, we have some Rocket Age news, an upcoming product and a kickstarter for next spring.
[20:29] <~Dan> Oh? Do tell!
[20:30] <+Ken_WNG> Slaves of the Earthlings, a Rocket Age episode (adventure for those not in the know) is in layout. We should have it within a few weeks. Our cover artists, C.M. Jackson has done an fine job with both the cover and all the interior art. The episode is set on Mars and centers around helping a Tubman Battalion agent rescue slaves being
[20:31] <+Ken_WNG> kidnapped and taken to Earth. It all starts in a cafe and goes down hill from there.
[20:32] <+Ken_WNG> The rest of the art team is working on Imperial Jupiter. Our kickstarter will be something different. <done>
[20:33] <~Dan> Can’t say what?
[20:34] <~Dan> re: the KS?
[20:34] <+Ken_WNG> We have been working behind the scenes for nearly a year, since we first started negotiations to purchase Rocket Age from Cubicle 7, on ideas on how to expand Rocket Age and adapt it to a different system. For months we have been ‘auditioning’ systems and have finally found one we like.
[20:35] <~Dan> Oooh… that IS juicy news.
[20:35] <~Dan> Not ready for the big reveal, I take it?
[20:35] <+Ken_WNG> I can’t reveal what it will be yet, but the book is 90% done and playtesting has been going on for some time. We plan to make the big announcement at GaryCon next March and launch the KS shortly after.
[20:35] * ~Dan nods
[20:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, Teller!)
[20:37] <+Ken_WNG> This is not the end of what we are calling Rocket Age Classic, both product lines will go forward together, though the new system will lag behind a bit while we catch up with adapting all the books. It is not going to be a conversion, but an adaptation.
[20:37] * ~Dan nods
[20:38] <+Ken_WNG> In some minot areas change had to be made so setting and system mesh well, nothing grand but small things like how equipment is treated is different, so we made some modifications to equipment.
[20:39] <~Dan> I’m glad you recognize the system’s impact on the setting.
[20:40] <+Ken_WNG> So far we have found that we keep the Rocket Age feel, but with a different rules set the playstyle is different. A little more fine detailed and less narrative, but that is what we are going for.
[20:40] <~Dan> You really have my curiosity piqued. 🙂
[20:40] <+Ken_WNG> System and setting must match or you end up playing two different genres, and that does not always work.
[20:40] * ~Dan nods
[20:41] <+Ken_WNG> We are giving sneak peeks to our playtesters and the good folks who run events at conventions for us. I think when we have something a little more polished we can deal you in to what is now being called Project Redacted.
[20:42] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. 🙂
[20:44] <+Ken_WNG> The pitch for Con Team Alpha, or events crew: we are doing GaryCon 2018 and GenCon 2018. Why Not Games sends you the adventure, any pdfs you need to run it, and afterwards you get your choice of one pdf form the catalog and 10% off purchases at our booth. Plus, Con Team Alpha gets first chance at playtest material.
[20:44] <~Dan> Very nice!
[20:45] <+Ken_WNG> Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, through (Link: http://www.whynotgames.com,)www.whynotgames.com, or our Facebook page: (Link: https://www.facebook.com/whynotgamescom/.)https://www.facebook.com/whynotgamescom/.
[20:45] <+Ken_WNG> We also post Rocket Age newswire headlines on Facebook six days a week, each a one line story seed.
[20:46] <~Dan> Anything else you’d like to cover this evening?
[20:48] <+Ken_WNG> Why Not Games is now a Studio 2 client, so you can buy at your local game store. Right now only our Rocket Age line is in stores, but we plan to do a Weird Races compilation when the number gets high enough. Our next Weird Race should be out 1st quarter next year, we hope to do one a quarter as long as they keep selling.
[20:49] <~Dan> Cool!
[20:50] <+Ken_WNG> We have big plans and a dedicated hardworking and creative team. When we first envisioned Weird Races we playtested 14 of them. Not all are written up as full products, but all have at least a few thousand words.
[20:50] <~Dan> Quick note: Those wishing to back my Q&As can do so at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[20:51] <+Ken_WNG> Thanks for having me on, we’ll no doubt talk again as the KS gets closer and we announce the system.
[20:51] <~Dan> Absolutely! You know you’re always welcome. 🙂
[20:51] <+Ken_WNG> Until then, Rocket Rangers, Away!
[20:51] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂