[19:39] <+Ray> My name is Ray Machuga, and I’m the owner and one of the game developers for Higher Grounds Publishing ( (Link: http://www.highergroundsgames.com)www.highergroundsgames.com ). I’ve produced a number of games and supplements and I hope folks have liked some of them. The game I’m answering questions for today (though maybe not necessarily limited to that) is for Warsong Second Edition. Like it says in
[19:41] <+Ray> the title, this is the second edition of the Warsong game line. It’s a far more distilled and polished version of the first edition, using a different system to power it. Instead of d20, Warsong 2nd Edition uses Fate Core rules. The game itself places your character in the midst of a power vaccuum for the Chrysanthemum Throne with a dying Grand Emperor soon
[19:42] <+Ray> to be succeeded, but without having left instruction as to who will succeed him. He kept the peace between the clans himself, through both magic and his own military might but since he is dying, the peace is crumbling and skirmishes have begun to break out, threatening to send the world of Lemuria into complete self-destruction. It’s up to you to decide
[19:42] <+Ray> if you’ll save it, if it’s worth saving at all. (Done)
[19:42] <~Dan> Thanks, Ray! The floor is open to questions!
[19:43] <~Dan> What is the world’s tech level?
[19:43] <+Ray> Fantastic. I’m happy to hear them. Since you ran the Q&A for the first edition, Dan, I’m sure you’ll have some good ones for me.
[19:44] <+Ray> The tech level is a mix of future-tech with a bit of a punk style twist. Firearms, vehicles and airships exist, as does a version of computer based almost solely on communication. There are specialized firearms that use energy pulses, as well as the analogue style
[19:45] <+Ray> point and click bullet shooters. One of my favorite bits of technology are the suits of power-armor, which range from something you might see in Fallout 4 or Warhammer 40k, to the Slimline 3A, which is a skin-fit suit that appears much like a skin-tight body suit but carries the tensile strength of
[19:46] <+Ray> steel. Basically, Lemuria is an ancient civilization that appears on the surface much like fuedal Japan, if that time period had pseudo-futuristic gonzo tewchnology. (done)
[19:47] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Captain_K!)
[19:47] <~Dan> Is the technology magical?
[19:48] <+Captain_K> First time, new, what’s the topic? CnC?
[19:49] <~Dan> Captain_K: We’re currently having a Q&A with Ray here regarding his forthcoming game, Warsong 2e. Want to link, Ray?
[19:49] <+Ray> Technology and magic are inherantly separate, but some technology makes use of magic in very limited ways. Chrys-Fire Longarms, for example, use condensed Flux Energy crystals to power concentrated shots. The two categories, tech and magic, grew separately, however. So technology is not magical, nor vice versa, for the most part.
[19:50] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian)
[19:51] <+Ray> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/highergrounds/warsong-second-edition-for-fate-core)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/highergrounds/warsong-second-edition-for-fate-core
[19:51] <~Dan> Ray: Is there something that magic can do that tech can’t, and vice versa?
[19:53] <+Ray> There are two types of magic in Warsong, not counting the more minor paths and some of the stuff that various creatures and character types can do. There is Flux Magic, which is what the Mages of the Five Towers call “true magic” which pulls power from a primal energy source called The Flux. The second is Thaumaturgy, or “Hedge Magic” according to the Five-
[19:54] <+Ray> tower mages as a derogatory term. Thaumaturgy uses the physical world’s elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit as lenses, controlling and manipulating those energies. Flux Magic creates those elements from nothing, which is the main thing that magic can do that technpology can’t. The impossible. Create something from nothing. It is also far more
[19:55] <+Ray> versatile. While you would need a medical kit, or something similar in order to make someone sick technologically, magic can do it basically without the need for outside help aside from the spell caster’s will. Technology is less dangerous, and can create long-term effects like flight, for example, where long-term flight for a Mage would be dangerous and
[19:56] <+Ray> time-consuming, and allow the Mage to do little else but concentrate on the spell. Technology also allows for quick communication to distant users, and return communication even if the target isn’t a mage. Technology can do things much easier than magic, and far less dangerously, but in a much more specific scope. (done)
[19:59] <~Dan> (Still there, Captain_K?)
[19:59] <~Dan> What motivated your switch in systems?
[19:59] <+Ray> As a side note, the elements are also able to be “inverted.” This is a recent development that came along with the advent of technology. It perverts the natural core elements of creation, but has some rather powerful effects for a Mage willing to put them to use. Spirit becomes Void, for example, but when that element was discovered, it created the
[20:00] <+Ray> Blight Lands, lands of toxicity and anathema to all life, and forced a sickness on the people of Lemuria called Blight. Even the undead Neverborn hate Blight. (done)
[20:01] <~Dan> (Howdy, DLB_Chuck!)
[20:01] <+Ray> To be honest, this is a BIG game, in both mechanics and theme. I’ve basically created a game that can break itself. When I attempted to use the themes and design it with the d20/Pathfinder mechanics in mind, it felt like I stuffed it into a box that the game simply did not belong in. Instead, I talked it over with some of my
[20:01] <+DLB_Chuck> Hey Dan. Thanks for the reminder
[20:02] <+Ray> associates and found that when we applied the Fate mechanics, things ran much more smoothly and felt like there was enough “room” for the game’s themes and stories of Warsong to really flourish. For example, the Destiny mechanic for d20 was incredibly complicated because there were so many variables, but with the Fate system, I could easily fit the mechanics
[20:03] <+Ray> to the story. It was a matter, all told, of what was best for the game, and what system would allow the game to really shine. For us, Fate was the obvious choice for second edition. (done)
[20:04] * ~Dan nods
[20:04] <+Ray> Plus, I mean.. a game where you guide destiny.. and a mechanic called Fate. It seemed almost too obvious. 😉
[20:05] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:05] <~Dan> Can you say more about that “guiding destiny” bit?
[20:05] <+Captain_K> sorry, stepped out. good luck, cheers.
[20:08] <+Ray> The meat of the game! So, the world of Lemuria is careening on a collision course with mutual destruction as the clans gather resources to destroy each other in a mad grab for the Chrysanthemum Throne. The players are going to have a hand in determining what happens, how it happens, and to whom it happens to. Most of the players will be able to guide fate in
[20:09] <+Ray> subtle ways, by taking action, protecting people and generally thwarting the inevitable. Then there are the Viziers. The Viziers are capable of manipulating destiny more directly, as they are the direct descendants of the Ancient Viziers, who originally made “The Deal” that created destiny itself, and broke the material
[20:10] <+DLB_Chuck> Apologies if you covered this b4 i joined but what kinds of characters do players play?
[20:11] <+Ray> world from the Flux, and the nasty creatures that dwell within it. While the current Viziers are nowhere near that strong, they can still do quite a bit. There are two major ways of manipulating destiny, Hacking and Diving, but there are also a few minor ones. Hacking is a crude method of changing up the immediate destiny of the scenario the players are in
[20:12] <+Ray> , allowing the Vizier character to mess around with the flow of action and Situation Aspects of the scenario. Diving is a secondary method, but far stronger. You take on a Fictional Persona, and delve into the events as they happen (past or future), allowing you to directly act on the events that transpire with foreknowledge of what will occur. For the game,
[20:14] <+Ray> destiny takes on a life of its own. It gets its own sheet, kept by the GM, who does not give away it’s goals, concept, aspects or any juicy details until the characters discover what they are, themselves. When and if the Viziers manage to discover the Destiny Sheet’s information, they can essentially kill it like they would a character, which in a sense,
[20:14] <+Ray> allows them to create their own destiny. One that they prefer. In turn, that destiny can be attacked by other Viziers who want something else. (done)
[20:15] <~Dan> Interesting…
[20:15] <~Dan> (I’ll let you cover DLB_Chuck’s question before we continue.)
[20:15] <+Ray> DLB_Chuck: There are a lot of character types you can play, and creation rules for them in the core book. Mortals, Flux Mage, Thaumaturge, Shape-Shifter and Undead Neverborn to name a few.
[20:19] <+Ray> Viziers are the fate-shapers, Mortals get to use cool tech like power armor. Flux Mages and Thaumaturges I explained before. Shape-Shifters are touched by the Flux, and carry it in their blood, giving them a connection to a totem animal. The Neverborn are undead in all their awesome glory and come in flavors like Vampire, Zombie and Necromancer. (done)
[20:20] <~Dan> What advantages do the various undead have?
[20:24] <+DLB_Chuck> Can mortals change destiny?
[20:25] <+Ray> They’re pretty WYSIWYG as far as advantages go. Though they do have a resistance to Blight, seeing as they’re dead. Vampires are insidious, and can really get inside a city and do some damage. Zombies can take much more punishment on their tracks before giving in. Necromancers weild death like a weapon with their own style
[20:26] <+Ray> of magic. Each type of undead has their own set of Extras that they can take, as well. The biggest boon the undead have, however, is their immunity to destiny-shaping effects like the Viziers have. Their destiny has already come and gone. (Done)
[20:27] <+Ray> DLB: Absolutely. Player characters have Free Will. Capitalizations because it’s important. While loosely bound to the Loom (the destiny dimension, basically), there is always a choice to deny their fate, unless the Destiny Sheet has its own plans for them. In which case, changing their own destiny becomes hard. As far as a mortal changing the destiny sheet,
[20:31] <+Ray> yes, but in more subtle ways. It helps if there is a Vizier in the party to act as a bit of a guide, but they can still avert and attack Destiny if they’re actively opposing it. For example, there is a plot where the Shadow Nation (Scorpion Clan) is hatching a plot to kill the other lords and take the Throne. If that winds up in your GM’s plot, then it’ll be
[20:32] <+Ray> on the Destiny Sheet. Now, there are ways of directly attacking it that the Viziers can do, but if a mortal, for example, takes out one of the squads sent to kill the Monkey Lord, then that will cause stress or consequences to the Destiny Sheet. In essence, they may not be aware of it, but they can change it, yes. (done)
[20:33] <~Dan> Are there any obvious bad guys in the setting, or is it more morally murky?
[20:38] <+Ray> I’m always a fan of moral murk. There are, however, some folks that are downright nasty. Flux creatures, for example. They’re outsider beings that are the antithesis of creation. Which is funny because the Flux is where mages get their power and, according to philosophy, where Lemuria came from. These things dont’ necessarily want to kill Lemuria or destroy
[20:39] <+Ray> it, though, any more than a ball you’ve dropped wants to fall. It simply is. Then there are the Blightlings. Tainted creatures who come from the Blightlands, and try to spread the Blight all over Lemuria. They’re mutated, ugly and very grotuesque. Some started human, some sprang from the Blight itself. Morally murkey, but leaning toward the bad guy section of
[20:40] <~Dan> (Howdy, Woo77)
[20:40] <+Ray> the stage is the Scorpion Clan. They’re a rogue clan of assassins. They kill. It’s what they do. (done)
[20:41] <~Dan> How common are monsters in the setting?
[20:43] <+Ray> They’re not uncommon. If the characters look for trouble, there’s always a village having monster problems.
[20:43] <~Dan> Do traditional fantasy monsters exist, or are they all unique to the setting?
[20:45] <+Ray> This setting is favoring Japanese mythology, but there are some monsters that might be recognised. We’re even talking about making a few of them into playable characters. Again with the moral murk. 😉
[20:45] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:46] <~Dan> Are there Tengu, then?
[20:48] <+Ray> Ah, yes! Thos ein particular have some fun stories. A breeding pair of them were the Grand Emperor’s personal guard at the throne, but as the throne is losing power with the Emperor on his death bed, they’ve “gone rogue.”
[20:49] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[20:49] <~Dan> What about Oni?
[20:49] <+Ray> We’ve gone the route of Tengu being “Heaven Dogs.” But there’s a bit of a twist to their origins and why they’re losing their tempers with the emperor’s falling ill.
[20:50] <+Ray> Absolutely, there will be Oni! Several different and distinct types of them, as a matter of fact.
[20:51] <~Dan> More than just Oni or two?
[20:52] <+Ray> Do you mean more than just one or two types, or more than one or two specific oni?
[20:53] <+Ray> Either way, the answer is yes. Haha.
[20:53] <~Dan> Actually, I was just being silly. 🙂
[20:53] * ~Dan does that from time to time… <.<
[20:54] <+Ray> Haha, quite alright. So. It really depends on the definition. So if you go by the idea that oni are spirits, then they’re distinct from what’s in the game. Oni in Warsong are more demonic and ogre-like, but the world is animistic, meaning it has a sleeping spirit in nearly everything.
[20:54] <~Dan> Going back to tech for a moment, what’s state of the art in transportation?
[20:56] <+Ray> The most state of the art is probably the Model-J. That’s a combat air transport that looks like a slimmer version of a stealth bomber, but much more techy and Star Wars-esque. It is capable of faster than sound travel, and has its own armament of weaponry.
[20:57] <+Ray> For civilians, you’ve got your every day land vehicles. Cars. Those can be pretty amazing if you’re into automobiles. Though personal civilian flight is not a common thing. It’s expensive.
[20:59] <~Dan> (Howdy, Logomachist)
[20:59] <~Dan> So is the setting pretty civilized overall?
[21:01] <+Ray> In general, no. The city of the Grand Emperor is, but outside of that massive city, it becomes very rural, very quickly. Most of your average people simply cannot afford the luxury of technology. Nearly every home might have a small trinket, or a village might have an out-dated communication device, though.
[21:01] <~Dan> Hmm. So what is the average tech level?
[21:04] <+Ray> The law of averages being what they are, it’s pretty low. In a game session, you might be the only characters with a gun, for example. A village might have a truck they share, meanwhile overhead is a Celestial Patrol of Model-J’s flying by looking for Scorpion Clan operatives. It’s a heady mix of old school and tech.
[21:05] <~Dan> Sounds a bit like Fading Suns in that respect.
[21:05] <+Ray> The closer your get to the Celestial City, however, the more technology there is, mostly because the more money there is to spend.
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:05] <+Ray> Oh? I’ve never had the pleasure of playing that one.
[21:06] <~Dan> It’s a spacefaring society, but the average tech level is around medieval.
[21:07] <~Dan> (There was a big galaxy-wide collapse of civilization.)
[21:07] <~Dan> But I digress!
[21:07] <~Dan> So can PCs with access to tech run roughshod over your typical goons?
[21:09] <+Ray> I will definitely take a look into it. I’m sure I can find a copy somewhere!
[21:10] <~Dan> (It’s kind of like a cross between Warhammer 40K and Dune.)
[21:10] <+Ray> That’s a bit of an interesting question. It depends on what your typical goon is, and what kind of challenge the GM wants to set forth for you to deal with. But, much like there are advantages and detriments to each character type, there are villains that, while you technologically overpowe them, will still find ways to beat you. For example, getting caught
[21:11] <+Ray> in a net will still disable you, and make it hard to fire your pulse rifle before someone sticks you with a polearm. It’s all about challenge level. There are goons the characters will be able to steamroll, yes. There are also tricks that villagers have to deal with bad tech-weilders.
[21:12] * ~Dan nods
[21:13] <+Ray> In other words, there are plenty of options in the core book for the GM to give all types of challenge levels.
[21:13] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[21:14] <~Dan> So does the entire world have an Asian flair, or is that just the area that’s the focus of the core book?
[21:15] <+Ray> Plus, if you come in hot into a village you think is easy pickings, and they happen to have a hedge mage born and raised in that poor village, you might be in for a bad time! Haha.
[21:15] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:16] <+Ray> It’s the current focus of the core book. We’re not dead set on keeping EVERYTHING with an Asian flair, but that’s how the themes have been leaning.
[21:17] <~Dan> I see.
[21:18] <~Dan> How much of a bestiary do you include?
[21:20] <+Ray> There is an antagonists chapter that includes everything from Clan Lords to to Oni.
[21:21] <~Dan> How many entries, roughly?
[21:22] <+Ray> right now, there are roughly two dozen entries, but the chapter is much larger because it’s quite detailed in explanations.
[21:23] * ~Dan nods
[21:23] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:24] <+Ray> We’re far more focused, as it stands, on bringing the setting to life, familiarizing the players with the mechanics, rules and setting.
[21:25] <+Ray> YES! I’ll be making the announcement soon, but hey, why not make it here?
[21:26] <~Dan> Indeed!
[21:27] <&GenoFoxx> hello
[21:27] <+Ray> I’m proud to announce that we have Steven Cummings ( (Link: https://www.facebook.com/Stekichikun/)https://www.facebook.com/Stekichikun/ ), one of the artists for Wayward comic series, by Image doing artwork for Warsong Second Edition!
[21:28] <~Dan> Oh, wow!
[21:28] <~Dan> Congrats!
[21:28] <+Ray> He’s an amazing artist, and some of his work actually inspired the original Warsong game. I’m super excited to have him on board.
[21:29] <~Dan> That’s really cool. 🙂
[21:30] <+Ray> Indeed! I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. It’s an exciting time! We’re really honored he agreed to help us out.
[21:30] <~Dan> Is he a gamer?
[21:32] <+Ray> He seems to love games, certainly! He seemed excited when I approached him about doing art for the project.
[21:32] <+Ray> Not as excited as I was, though. 🙂
[21:32] <~Dan> Well done on that. 🙂
[21:33] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Ray!
[21:33] <+Ray> Hey, no problem. Thank you for having me, Dan!
[21:34] <~Dan> As a reminder, those interested in backing my efforts can do so at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[21:35] <~Dan> And now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
[21:35] <+Ray> Absolutely. Thank you!