[19:33] <+ScottAWoodard> Good evening, everyone! I’m Scott Woodard, the brand manager and lead writer of THE SAVAGE WORLD OF FLASH GORDON Roleplaying Game from Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Flash Gordon uses the Savage Worlds ruleset at its core.
[19:34] <+ScottAWoodard> We recently completed a very successful Kickstarter in early December and the PDF of the core rulebook is now available through Pinnacle’s website for those interested in checking it out!
[19:35] <+ScottAWoodard> For those interested, I was also the lead writer on THE SIXTH GUN Roleplaying Game from Pinnacle, based on the Oni Press comic series and published back in 2015.
[19:35] <+ScottAWoodard> (done).
[19:35] <~Dan> Thanks, ScottAWoodard! The floor is open to questions!
[19:35] <+ScottAWoodard> I hope some of you have had a chance to check out the core book already…
[19:36] <~Dan> So is this game based upon the comic, the movie serials, the 80s movie…?
[19:36] <+ScottAWoodard> I know some people have actually already run some adventures and I ran a one-shot on Saving Throw’s Twitch channel this past Tuesday night.
[19:36] <+ScottAWoodard> Great question, Dan…
[19:37] <+ScottAWoodard> So the license covers a LOT of ground and while we focused much of our energy on the original source material (going back to the comic strips that originally premiered in newspapers back in 1937), we also included material from the radio serials, the film serials, the novels, the cartoons, and YES, the 1980 movie!
[19:37] <+ScottAWoodard> In fact, the core rulebook features a foreword from Sam J. Jones himself (the actor who played Flash in the 1980 film).
[19:37] <+ScottAWoodard> (done.)
[19:38] <+ScottAWoodard> Correction… premiered in 1934!
[19:38] <+ScottAWoodard> 🙂
[19:38] <~Dan> One game author who couldn’t make it tonight asked me via FB: How did you guys get the license?
[19:39] <+ScottAWoodard> Actually, the first comic premiered January 7th, 1934, so Flash just celebrated his 84th birthday (if I have my math right…) 🙂
[19:40] <+ScottAWoodard> I don’t know all the details (you’d have to go to the man himself (Shane Hensley) for more about that), but I suspect it was the standard process… A good pitch, an impressive body of work to show, and a fee or two, of course. 🙂
[19:40] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[19:40] <~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan!)
[19:40] <+GKG_Alan> (oi!)
[19:41] <+ScottAWoodard> Evening, GKG_Alan
[19:41] <+GKG_Alan> am I here in time to ask questions about Flash? I hear he’ll save everyone of us
[19:41] <+GKG_Alan> Hey Scott! Glad to *meet* you again!
[19:41] <+ScottAWoodard> You are and HE WILL! 🙂
[19:41] <+GKG_Alan> Most excellent.
[19:42] <+GKG_Alan> Got my PDF, it’s amaaaaaaazing. Well justified in my eyes. So, what is your FAVORITE thing about Flash Gordon Savage Worlds?
[19:43] <+ScottAWoodard> Yay! Glad you’re enjoying it!
[19:43] <~Dan> GKG_Alan is one of our “resident” game authors, by the way. 🙂
[19:44] <+ScottAWoodard> Well, I’ve joked with Shane from the beginning that instead of the standard Savage Worlds mantra of “Fast, Furious, Fun!” I’ve been saying “FLASH, Furious, Fun!” To me, the system lends itself beautifully to an IP like Flash Gordon… Pulpy, over-the-top, science fiction and adventure.
[19:45] <+ScottAWoodard> I couldn’t think of a better system to use for the game…
[19:45] <+GKG_Alan> What was the hardest thing to adapt from Flash to SW?
[19:46] <+ScottAWoodard> So I suppose my FAVORITE thing about it is what lies at its core… Now that said, we have introduced some really fun new things to it (and Savage Worlds in general) including the Cliffhanger mechanic and token and Cliffhanger cards, and I’m really happy with how those are working.
[19:46] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[19:46] <+ScottAWoodard> Hardest thing to adapt? Hmmmm… Lemme think on that for a sec… 🙂
[19:46] <+ScottAWoodard> Oh, I know…
[19:48] <+ScottAWoodard> The original Flash Gordon strips, though gorgeous (the art by Alex Raymond is absolutely amazing), were produced during some unfortunate times in our history… This means that the source material does include some stereotypes and things like that.
[19:48] <+ScottAWoodard> Obviously, we needed to gloss over and even purge some of that material for today’s audiences, but I think we came up with some nice solutions.
[19:48] * ~Dan nods
[19:49] <+ScottAWoodard> That might have been one of the most difficult things to deal with and adapt… Not a mechanical/rule thing at all…
[19:49] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[19:49] <+ScottAWoodard> If I think of anything else (mechanically) while we’re chatting, I’ll chime in…
[19:49] <+GKG_Alan> makes sense.
[19:49] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about that Cliffhanger mechanic?
[19:49] <+GKG_Alan> Who is your favorite non-Flash character?
[19:51] <+ScottAWoodard> Yeah, the Cliffhanger mechanic is a player-controlled option for saving hides. In other words, to emulate the cliffhangers of the original strips, as well as the radio and film serials (the ones with Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon), we introduced a new mechanic whereby the players can agree to flip a specialized token and declare a cliffhanger.
[19:51] <+ScottAWoodard> This can then be resolved either by GM design, player creation, or prompting from a series of cards.
[19:52] <+ScottAWoodard> In other words, let’s say an imperial pursuit rocket gets a lucky shot and disables the PCs rocket ship. It’s going down into Volcano World! The players opt to flip the Cliffhanger token and come up with a wild way out!
[19:53] <+ScottAWoodard> If the cards get used, they offer rewards depending on the type of method of escape… They can get Bennies or a new token we call Conviction.
[19:53] <+ScottAWoodard> Conviction tokens work similarly to red Fate Chips in Deadlands Reloaded (an extra d6).
[19:53] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[19:54] <+ScottAWoodard> As for your question, GKG_Alan Do you mean in the Flash Gordon universe or beyond?
[19:54] <+GKG_Alan> Oh inside the universe
[19:56] <+ScottAWoodard> I’ve always been a big fan of Thun, the Lion Man! When I was a kid, the Filmation version of his character was just freaking awesome! I had a great time designing the Lion Men as a playable race and also writing history about them and their kingdom.
[19:56] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[19:57] <~Dan> Speaking of which, how many playable races are there?
[19:57] <+GKG_Alan> Oh awesome. Good answer
[19:57] <+GKG_Alan> I’ve got to bounce. Scott, it was good to talk to you. Flash Gordon lived up to my hope as my most anticipated RPG of the year 😀 SO THANK YOU!
[19:58] <+ScottAWoodard> Thanks Alan! I appreciate your choice! Was happy to promote it in the Pinnacle news!
[19:58] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[19:59] <+ScottAWoodard> As for playable races… In no particular order… Earthling, Mongonian, Shark Man, Lion Man, Hawkman, Robot, Giant, Lizard Man…
[19:59] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:00] <~Dan> Nice!
[20:00] <~Dan> What makes Mongonians stand out?
[20:00] <+ScottAWoodard> Oh, and Dwarf! Whoops!
[20:00] <~Dan> Don’t give Dwarves short shrift!
[20:01] <+ScottAWoodard> LOL
[20:01] <+ScottAWoodard> Mongonians get both a Free Edge (like a standard Human in most games) and two racial traits.
[20:01] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:02] <~Dan> Do you mechanically address the utility of swords in a setting with ray guns?
[20:04] <+ScottAWoodard> I don’t think we did anything particularly “new” in that regard… Still Fighting skill for melee, Shooting for ranged (ray guns, light guns, water pressure guns, etc.)
[20:04] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:05] <~Dan> Well, I mean, would you say that swords are as useful in the game as they seem to be in the setting?
[20:06] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
[20:06] <+ScottAWoodard> Yeah, I think so. I’ve certainly run Flash demo games where the most effective attacks were made with melee weapons!
[20:06] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:06] <~Dan> What weird abilities are available in the game?
[20:10] <+ScottAWoodard> Since Flash leans more towards fantasy with science fiction elements, we have no issues with “weirdness.” 🙂 For Arcane Backgrounds, we offer Magic (in the form of Mongomancy), Weird Science, and Psionics. And almost all are derived/based on the use of power crystals known as white sapphires.
[20:11] <~Dan> Is that based on the source material?
[20:11] <+ScottAWoodard> I’m happy about the Psionics stuff we did because I actually drew a lot of inspiration from the 1980 movie! Now you might be saying, “what???”, but I look at Klytus and General Kala as being resident psions in that film. When you read the book, you’ll find out more!
[20:11] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:11] <+ScottAWoodard> Also…
[20:12] <+ScottAWoodard> There are a number of strange racial abilities that make each race unique (and fun to play), as well as an extensive bestiary of monsters and NPCs, most of which were lifted right from the source material.
[20:12] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:13] <~Dan> Are white sapphires from the source material?
[20:14] <+ScottAWoodard> They ARE! Azura, the Witch Queen of Kira uses one and later in the serials, there are references to “black sapphires”… I certainly expanded their uses and value in the game, opting to feature them as an option for ammunition and energy.
[20:14] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:15] <~Dan> What time period did you go with for the setting?
[20:15] <~Dan> (Earth time, I mean.)
[20:15] <+ScottAWoodard> I went out of my way (over two years) to derive and adapt material from all the various sources for inclusion in the game. There are a LOT of Easter Eggs in there!!!
[20:17] <+ScottAWoodard> While we don’t really dwell on it much in the book (the focus at this time is on the planet Mongo), I like to think that it is contemporaneous to the original strips and a trip back to Earth would deliver the players into the heart of World War II. I actually would LOVE an Earth Sourcebook and I would hand pick Teller (who wrote Weird War II for Pinnacle)
[20:17] <+ScottAWoodard> to do it!!! 🙂
[20:17] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:17] <+ScottAWoodard> The tech (certainly the Earth tech presented in the books) is clearly more based on the 1930s/1940s.
[20:17] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:18] <+ScottAWoodard> But with little effort, a clever GM could drop Mongo into their Last Parsec campaign. 🙂
[20:18] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:18] <~Dan> Did you go with the kingdoms of Mongo being moons (as in the movie) or as regions on the planet?
[20:20] <+ScottAWoodard> Regions… The map of Mongo that we used (and dramatically updated) is based on one that was originally done by Arlene Williamson several years ago. In some of the later Flash Gordon strips (the dailies) they introduce a couple moons… Exila is one and I’m forgetting the name of the other… I would love to do something with those down the line!!!
[20:20] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:21] <~Dan> How much space travel is involved in the setting?
[20:22] <+ScottAWoodard> Not really any at all at this point. All rocket ships and other flying vessels in the game are for atmospheric travel (although you could tweak that if necessary).
[20:22] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:22] <~Dan> That being the case, how do Earthlings get to Mongo?
[20:22] <+ScottAWoodard> Well, they DO travel there via rocket, but we kinda’ sorta’ gloss over that… 😉
[20:23] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:23] <+ScottAWoodard> Perhaps in a future supplement, we’ll give everyone proper space travel.
[20:23] <~Dan> Ah, I see. 🙂
[20:23] <~Dan> What (if any) rulebooks are required to play?
[20:24] <+ScottAWoodard> We just figured that Mongo is a world of so many diverse biospheres and cultures (with adventures possible under ground, under the water, etc.) that there’s enough to keep players busy there for a long while!
[20:24] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:24] <+ScottAWoodard> The core rulebook and a copy of Savage Worlds as per most Pinnacle RPGs.
[20:24] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:25] * ~Dan nods
[20:25] <+ScottAWoodard> We also have The Kingdoms of Mongo sourcebook coming soon (it’s all written and in final layout), but that isn’t required to play, but it’s PACKED with material and we hope people will check it out!
[20:25] <~Dan> (How are you doing for time?)
[20:25] <+ScottAWoodard> I can do a little more 🙂
[20:26] <~Dan> You mentioned the bestiary. How large is it?
[20:26] <~Dan> (Howdy, EggEmbry!)
[20:27] <+EggEmbry> (Hey, Dan!)
[20:27] <+ScottAWoodard> If I remember right, in my original draft I had over 80 new monsters! Also, the Kingdoms of Mongo sourcebook includes a number of new beasties, as well.
[20:27] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:27] <+ScottAWoodard> Hey EggEmbry
[20:27] <~Dan> Impressive!
[20:27] <+EggEmbry> Hey, Scott!
[20:27] <~Dan> How large is the book itself?
[20:28] <+ScottAWoodard> 192 pages for the core book… An additional 192 for the Kingdoms of Mongo sourcebook… We’re also releasing a 32-page adventure with the GM screen… In other words, there’s a good amount of support material coming your way!
[20:28] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:28] <~Dan> Does the core book include a plot point campaign?
[20:29] <+ScottAWoodard> It does… “The Ultrabrain” and we also have a few Savage Tales in there, as well.
[20:29] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:29] <~Dan> Does the game allow for playing the signature characters?
[20:30] <+ScottAWoodard> They are all statted up in the book and if you want to use them as PCs, have at it! 🙂 We also have a packet of 9 fully realized “archetype” pre-gens available (gloriously illustrated by Aaron Riley).
[20:30] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:31] <+ScottAWoodard> But yes, you are welcome to play Flash, Dale, Zarkov, Vultan, Barin, Aura, etc.
[20:31] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:32] <~Dan> How does the game deal with the presence of those signature characters in relation to the PCs?
[20:33] <+ScottAWoodard> They are all there and all working for the same organization… The Freemen! Basically the “Rebel Alliance” of Mongo. Flash & Co. have already been having their adventures on Mongo and they can even contact the PCs with missions, etc.
[20:33] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:34] <~Dan> So the various princes of Mongo are already “playing nice” with each other by default?
[20:34] <+ScottAWoodard> That said, if a GM wanted to set his/her game prior to Flash’s arrival, it’s certainly doable with a little tweaking. We discuss “The Great War for Mongo” in the books…
[20:34] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:36] <+ScottAWoodard> Yep. It was just easier to do that and have the focus be Freemen versus Ming and his imperial allies. We also include some stuff from further along in the timeline, though… For example, in the original strips, Ming “dies” (it’s pretty vague) and his son, Kang starts causing trouble, so Kang is statted up (as he would be alive during those earlier strips)
[20:36] <+ScottAWoodard> so you could play POST-Ming, as well, if you wish.
[20:36] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:37] <+ScottAWoodard> But I cover a lot of ground and expand the timeline a bit in the books with the intention of presenting it all to GMs and players as more of a sandbox or a Flash Gordon Adventure Toolkit. Very flexible.
[20:37] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:37] * ~Dan nods
[20:38] <+ScottAWoodard> As I said earlier, I drew material from ALL the various sources… I hope that some of the tiny little Easter Eggs and things will be spotted by the hardcore Flash fans. 🙂
[20:39] <+EggEmbry> This question is about the current renaissance, if you will, for pulp sci-fi RPGs. Between your Flash, Onyx Path’s Cavaliers of Mars, and Modiphius’ John Carter of Mars, there’s a lot of interest in these types of pulps making their way to the gaming table. Do you have any thoughts as to what sparked this widespread interest now?
[20:40] <+ScottAWoodard> There is even at least one extremely vague reference to something from the soft-core porn film, Flesh Gordon! 🙂 Nothing at all offensive, just one tiny little thing for the true fans. 😉
[20:40] <~Dan> You touched on this earlier, but how do you deal with the “Yellow Peril” aspect of Ming?
[20:41] <+ScottAWoodard> I think a lot of it has to do with Star Wars! For those who may not know this, George Lucas originally wanted to do Flash Gordon back in the 1970s, but it was already tied up with another studio, so he wrote his own version… Star Wars owes a LOT to Flash, Buck Rogers, John Carter, etc.
[20:41] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:42] <+EggEmbry> That’s an excellent point! 🙂
[20:43] <+ScottAWoodard> All that stuff is just… gone, Dan. There was just no reason to try and adapt those things. And if you look at Ming’s evolution in the original strips, he eventually becomes far less the Fu Manchu character and more a militaristic dictator. Even his look becomes less “Asian” as time goes on.
[20:43] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:44] * ~Dan nods
[20:44] <+ScottAWoodard> One of the worst stereotypes in the old strips was the dwarfs, actually… They’re (unfortunately) referred to as “brown dwarfs” in the original strips. Ugh… We abandoned that too. 🙂
[20:44] <~Dan> Probably wise. 🙂
[20:45] <+ScottAWoodard> Instead we opted for “mountain dwarf” “forest dwarf” “death dwarf” etc.
[20:45] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:45] <~Dan> Death dwarf?
[20:46] <+ScottAWoodard> “Some of the caves of Kira are occupied by primitive death dwarfs, a diminutive race of hairy, gorilla-armed horrors that prefers to remain beneath the surface due to hypersensitive eyes and a constant fear of the dreaded tunnel clinging dactyl bats.”
[20:46] <+ScottAWoodard> (done)
[20:46] <~Dan> Ah. 🙂
[20:47] <+ScottAWoodard> Nasty…
[20:47] <+ScottAWoodard> 🙂
[20:47] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:47] <+ScottAWoodard> Hopefully you had a chance to see all the additional support products we’ll be releasing… They were all unlocked during the Kickstarter.
[20:48] <~Dan> I’m not surprised. I think it’s safe to say that your KS was a rousing success. 🙂
[20:48] <+ScottAWoodard> Everything from dice, custom action cards, metal miniatures, full-color poster maps, a GM screen, Bennies, etc.
[20:49] <+ScottAWoodard> Thanks! We were happy for sure! Of course I still ran into people after the fact who told me that they didn’t know about it, but that’s the glory of social media and online promo in a nutshell.
[20:50] <~Dan> Indeed.
[20:50] <+ScottAWoodard> I can do another few minutes, but then I have to run, run away… 🙂
[20:50] <~Dan> No problem!
[20:50] <~Dan> Actually, in the time you have remaining, is there anything you’d like to bring up that we haven’t covered?
[20:52] <+ScottAWoodard> Sure… For those in the Pacific Northwest, I will be the Gaming Guest of Honor at RadCon in mid-February and I will be running a couple Flash demo games there and sitting on some panels. Hopefully some of you will make it to the con and maybe get into those games!
[20:52] <+ScottAWoodard> Also, I’ll likely be running Flash games at KublaCon in the Bay Area at the end of May and then the plan is for me to run a big Flash event at GenCon.
[20:52] <~Dan> Awesome!
[20:52] <+ScottAWoodard> So lots of opportunities to meet up, chat about the game, and play.
[20:52] * ~Dan nods
[20:53] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us this evening, Scott!
[20:53] <+ScottAWoodard> And everyone is welcome to follow me on Twitter @sawoodard or over on Facebook. Happy to answer questions, etc.
[20:54] <+ScottAWoodard> Thanks for inviting me along, Dan! I had fun!
[20:54] <~Dan> Standard reminder: Those wishing to support my Q&As can do so at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/.)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/.
[20:54] <~Dan> And now, if you’ll give me just a minute more, I’ll get the log posted and link hou!
[20:54] <~Dan> link you, even
[20:54] <+ScottAWoodard> Superb! I’ll share the heck out of it!