[19:50] <+JonathanGilmour> I’m Jonathan Gilmour! I’m primarily known as a board game designer ( Dead of Winter: a Crossroad game, Dinosaur Island, Wasteland Express Delivery Service), and last year I co-designed an RPG called Kids on Bikes!
[19:50] <+DLB_Chuck> It was my first. The other 2 editions and supplements were old school (aka print 2000 copies offset) about 20 yrs ago
[19:51] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, congrats on a CRAZY SUCCESSFUL Kickstarter for Kids on Bikes!
[19:51] <+BillLogan> I ❤ Dead of Winter!
[19:51] <+BillLogan> I’m quite a board gamer… have over 400 board games 😀
[19:52] <+JonathanGilmour> Thank you! We were really excited by how well the community recieved it!
[19:52] <+BillLogan> I sincerely like it. Pretty much the only co-op game I play. Hidden traitor’s been done before, but not as well as in Dead of Winter. Kudos.
[19:53] <~Dan> (Oh, just give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions, JonathanGilmour. 🙂 )
[19:53] <+BillLogan> Sorry – you’re probably here to talk about Kids on Bikes – kudos on the successful KS!
[19:53] <+DLB_Chuck> I know with Stranger Things, there’s a lot of interest in the genre but Kids on Bikes really knocked it right out of the park. Why do you think people were so eager to jump on board?
[19:54] <+JonathanGilmour> That’s pretty good!
[19:54] <+JonathanGilmour> Thank you @Bill
[19:57] <~Dan> (Hopefully JonathanGilmour is typing and we didn’t lose him again!)
[19:58] <~Dan> (wb, DLB_Chuck!)
[19:58] <+DLB_Chuck> Sorry — got the boot
[19:58] <+DLB_Chuck> Did I miss anything?
[19:58] <~Dan> Nope. I think JonathanGilmour is typing.
[19:59] <+JonathanGilmour> @DLB I think that we came at it from a slightly different perspective than Tales from the Loop, which helped. I wanted a very rules light game, with tons of conversation between the gm and players.
[19:59] <+DLB_Chuck> It’s hard for people to really get that from just a KS page though.
[20:00] <+DLB_Chuck> The game is definitely much different. I think it lends itself to the genre / sub-genre very well
[20:00] <+DLB_Chuck> Did you do much promotion of the Kickstarter for it?
[20:00] <+JonathanGilmour> Agreed, I think having the ashcan version available helped so people could see and rest the system as well.
[20:01] <~Dan> Good point, re: ashcan version.
[20:02] <+JonathanGilmour> We didn’t do much, some targeted advertising on Reddit, fb, etc, and a few live play and interviews. Luckily we had built a following in playtesting before going to ks
[20:02] <+DLB_Chuck> There seems to be a lot of games that gravitate to one of the known mechanics systems these days. Why’d you decide to do something different?
[20:03] <+JonathanGilmour> It also helps that we connected with Ivan, and decided to co-publishing it with Hunters Books at literally the last minute. He’s well connected and has a great head for promotion.
[20:04] <~Dan> Ivan… Van Norman?
[20:05] <+JonathanGilmour> Mostly because of my background in boardgame design. Every board game I design is from the ground up, so it would have felt wrong to me to use someone else’s system, even PbtA which I love.
[20:05] <+JonathanGilmour> Yes, he runs Hunters books,.
[20:05] <~Dan> Ah, cool. Ivan’s a great guy.
[20:06] <+BillLogan> JonathanGilmour – I’ve often considered going the KS route for some of my games… They certainly would be less damaging to my family’s budget that way. But one of the things that worries me is promising deliverability based on the creativity of others, like artists and writers. I see several of your stretch goals are art and module based.
[20:06] <+JonathanGilmour> Also, with Dead of Winter I tried to bring some of the things I loved about RPGing to my board game, and with KOB I wanted to bring some board game things to an RPG.
[20:06] <+BillLogan> what do you do to help protect yourself against them not delivering?
[20:06] <+DLB_Chuck> Cool. I see advantages to both ways. My new edition of my game is using the D6xD6 mechanics because I’m mainly a solo designer and I wanted people to get access to other compatible material. Plus I love Lester’s system.
[20:08] <+DLB_Chuck> BillLogan pick your partners very carefully and pad your schedule accordingly
[20:09] <+JonathanGilmour> Yes, delivering on time is very stressful. Paying those people for delivering helps ensure it happens. We were upfront with our deadlines with the artists and writers. In fact, everything is done now, except 4 art revisions that will wrap this week. That’s 22 modules worth of writing and art in under two months.
[20:09] <+DLB_Chuck> That’s a ton of work
[20:09] <+JonathanGilmour> Good contracts make for good friends…
[20:10] <+BillLogan> wow. I get a lot of people wanting to write modules for me, but they inevitably flake
[20:10] <+BillLogan> I think people don’t realize how much work it is to write something people want to play 😛
[20:10] <+JonathanGilmour> If you don’t mind me asking, how much $ are you offering?
[20:10] <+DLB_Chuck> When I first started publishing RPGs, I hired a bunch of people who seemed very creative and I wanted to give them a break. Big mistake. Hire based on past performance
[20:11] <+JonathanGilmour> We have a few breaks, but mostly went with proven performance, especially with the art.
[20:11] <+JonathanGilmour> Gave
[20:12] <+DLB_Chuck> BillLogan people don’t realize how hard it is to just plain write anything of substance
[20:13] <~Dan> JonathanGilmour: What’s Kids on Bikes about?
[20:14] <+JonathanGilmour> KOB is about teens adventuring in sleepy towns before cell phones.
[20:14] <+FreeGamer> Goonies?
[20:14] <+FreeGamer> Stand by Me?
[20:14] <+JonathanGilmour> It’s designed to emulate the stories we love from things like Goonies, Stranger Things, Paper Girls, etc.
[20:15] <+BillLogan> I offer $0.03 per word for unknown authors, $0.05 for those who have done a few things, and $0.08 per word for those who can show me a professional publication they’ve done
[20:15] <~Dan> What sort of weirdness can the kids encounter?
[20:17] <+BillLogan> JonathanGilmour – though the artwork and theme appears to focus on children – would you consider this a game for children? Or is the theme too dark or mechanics too cumbersome for a 6-8 year old to grok?
[20:17] <+JonathanGilmour> Bill, we offered the same amount to everyone who wrote and delivered. It makes the new people feel great.
[20:19] <+JonathanGilmour> The kids can run into monsters, powered kids, conspiracies, etc.
[20:19] <+JonathanGilmour> We’ve had people pay with kids, and the system is super simple.
[20:19] <~Dan> Can you describe the system?
[20:20] <+JonathanGilmour> Sure, it may take a minute on my phone.
[20:21] <~Dan> No worries. We are a kind and patient people. 🙂
[20:23] <+DLB_Chuck> BillLogan, you should do a Kickstarter. I was pretty happy with my experience. I didn’t want to do one. Lester Smith convinced me to and I’m really glad I did. Helps with promotion etc.
[20:23] <+DLB_Chuck> There’s a whole large subsegment of the indy RPG industry that almost 100% depends on Kickstarter
[20:24] <~Dan> Very true.
[20:24] <+JonathanGilmour> Each character has one polyhedral due signed to each of their stats. So if you are bad at fighting, you’ll assign your d4, and if your smart you are your d20. Checks are set by the GM, and you have to roll above the set number. Dice explode, so you may be able to have an epic result with with your d4.
[20:26] <~Dan> Are abilities fixed, with attributes and skills, or are they more freeform?
[20:26] <+DLB_Chuck> How long did you playtest it?
[20:27] <+JonathanGilmour> Up until it goes to print in a week or two!
[20:28] <+JonathanGilmour> Though we aren’t making changes at this point, just clarifying and cleaning up things.
[20:28] <+JonathanGilmour> Playtesting RPGs is a lot different from board games because of the time investment.
[20:29] <~Dan> I’d imagine so.
[20:29] <+JonathanGilmour> So we broke up different subsystems to test at conventions like Metatopia, and gencon.
[20:29] <+JonathanGilmour> So pretty much every month we’d get 3
[20:29] <+DLB_Chuck> You have to test the rules as well as interest in the setting
[20:30] <+JonathanGilmour> Or more tests in, but only three full game a few times in between.
[20:31] <+JonathanGilmour> Definitely, but with KOB we went setting independent, and players create their own during setup.
[20:31] <+DLB_Chuck> Now that the KS is over and you’ll be going to print soon, are you going to have it through the distribution channels in stores or mainly things like DriveThruRPG?
[20:32] <+JonathanGilmour> Well, two days ago or so, it was announced that Hunter’s books signed a deal with Renegade games, so it will be in mass distribution!
[20:33] <+BillLogan> Playtesting RPGs is indeed a long and arduous process… you not only need patience but also thick skin
[20:33] <~Dan> Awesome!
[20:33] <+DLB_Chuck> That’s awesome
[20:33] <+BillLogan> Dude that’s fantastic
[20:33] <+JonathanGilmour> Thank you!
[20:34] <~Dan> Did you see my question about the abilities, JonathanGilmour?
[20:35] <+JonathanGilmour> Nope! Found it!
[20:36] <+JonathanGilmour> Abilities are independent from skills / attributes.
[20:36] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, I’m a geezer so bear with me. Most RPGs are 8.5×11″. Why did you decide to make KOB 6×9″?
[20:37] <+JonathanGilmour> We love the form factor of the PtbA games, so mirrored that.
[20:37] <+BillLogan> Three of the four games systems I published and support are 6×9 too. It helps promote the lite-ness of the game
[20:37] <+BillLogan> 🙂
[20:37] <~Dan> JonathanGilmour: So are abilities player-defined?
[20:38] <+FreeGamer> It’s increasingly common. Look at the Savage Worlds and Fate Core books.
[20:39] <+DLB_Chuck> It’s definitely more common these days
[20:40] <+JonathanGilmour> If you mean like special abilities, they are only given to the powered character, which all the playwrs share control of.
[20:41] <+JonathanGilmour> The stats are on the character sheets.
[20:41] <~Dan> JonathanGilmour: No, I mean are abilities pre-defined things like “Strength” or “Melee Combat”, or do the players come up with… ah, gotcha.
[20:42] <~Dan> I won’t ask you to link us to the character sheet, since you’re on your phone, but can you tell us what the stats are?
[20:43] <+BillLogan> So – how does KOB work long term? I mean… I can see it for episodic games maybe a trilogy or so, but if your kids get too capable/skillful through development/XP, doesn’t that take away some of the theme where they’re innocent kids bravely working together to barely succeed against the unknown and paranormal?
[20:43] <+JonathanGilmour> Yes, those are the stats that all characters have. Fight, flight, brains, brawn, charm, and grit each get a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, or d20 assigned to them.
[20:43] <+BillLogan> Or do you have a clever way to scale things to keep the sense of wonder, innocence, and youth
[20:44] <~Dan> Are there skills as well, or is everything attribute-based?
[20:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, HDP_Dave!)
[20:45] <~Dan> ( HDP_Dave: Tonight’s topic is (Link: http://huntersbooks.com/kidsonbikes/)http://huntersbooks.com/kidsonbikes/ )
[20:46] <+JonathanGilmour> (Link: http://huntersbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Ashcan-1106.pdf)http://huntersbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Ashcan-1106.pdf
[20:46] <~Dan> Ah, thanks, JonathanGilmour!
[20:46] <+JonathanGilmour> The character sheets can be found at the back of that.
[20:48] <+JonathanGilmour> Campaign play is really similar to followup seasons of a show like Stranger Things, the kids haven’t really learned anything, there not that much progression in real life. Especially if multiple games take place over the same summer.
[20:48] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour did you give hardcopies of the Ashcan out or did you mostly offer it up online?
[20:49] <+JonathanGilmour> Almost exclusively digital.
[20:49] <+BillLogan> so there’s not much statistical development over time?
[20:50] <+JonathanGilmour> Very little. Almost all story / possession development.
[20:51] <+JonathanGilmour> Build an awesome fort, etc.
[20:52] <+HDP_Dave> How do you envision the format for games? Long term campaign, one shot, or something in between?
[20:53] <~Dan> Given the dice progression format of stats, with the max at d20, how do you handle stats for adults and monsters?
[20:53] <+JonathanGilmour> We wanted it to work great for both. I tend to only get one shots in. While Doug does more campaign play.
[20:53] <~Dan> (Oh, and JonathanGilmour, meet HDP_Dave, yet another game author who hands out with us regularly. 🙂 )
[20:55] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, how does progression work?
[20:56] <+DLB_Chuck> More accurately, is there any progression based on what yous aid before about story / possession development?
[20:57] <+JonathanGilmour> Adults really aren’t that much different than kids IRL. They get the same set of one each of the polyhedrals. Kids get an inherant bonus to charm and flight. Teens flight and brawn. Adults brains and grit.
[20:58] <~Dan> And monsters?
[20:59] <+JonathanGilmour> There is no stat development. You only can eventually gain new strengths.
[21:00] <+HDP_Dave> How do strengths work?
[21:03] <+JonathanGilmour> They give the players unique abilities, and ways to spend perseverance points (which you get for failing).
[21:04] <~Dan> You automatically get points for failing?
[21:06] <+JonathanGilmour> Sorry, adversity tokens.
[21:08] <+JonathanGilmour> Yes, you get a token every thing you fail. You can spend them on your strengths, or to add to rolls.
[21:11] <~Dan> Looks like we lost him again…
[21:12] <~Dan> (wb, JonathanGilmour)
[21:13] <~Dan> You mentioned shared control of powered kids. How’s that work?
[21:22] <+DLB_Chuck> did we lose everyone or did i drop off again?
[21:23] <~Dan> We lost Jonathan.
[21:23] <+HDP_Dave> Here, just didn’t want to interrupt.
[21:23] <+DLB_Chuck> Did it end?
[21:23] <~Dan> Nope, sadly.
[21:24] <+DLB_Chuck> I couldn’t tell if I had lost my connection or if it was just very still for a long time
[21:24] <+HDP_Dave> Connection issues maybe?
[21:24] <~Dan> Yeah, he’s on his phone.
[21:27] <~Dan> Howdy, Silverlion!
[21:31] <+DLB_Chuck> still nothing?
[21:31] <~Dan> Nope, not a thing.
[21:33] <&Silverlion> Allo Dan.
[21:33] <+DLB_Chuck> It’s dead Jim… I mean Dan
[21:33] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:34] <+DLB_Chuck> BillLogan… I just picked up Bare Bones Fantasy
[21:34] <+BillLogan> Sorry was afk
[21:35] <+DLB_Chuck> Since the paperback copies are on DriveThru does that mean it’s POD?
[21:35] <+BillLogan> thanks DLB_Chuck! That was my first game
[21:35] <+BillLogan> yes
[21:35] <+BillLogan> it’s POD
[21:35] <+BillLogan> it’s not horrible
[21:35] <+BillLogan> 😛
[21:35] <~Dan> Howdy, Crazy-Cabal!
[21:35] <+DLB_Chuck> Scanning through and it looks good
[21:35] <+BillLogan> It’s really lite
[21:36] <+Crazy-Cabal> Hello all
[21:36] <+BillLogan> We can do product swaps in the future -just hit me up via email wlogan[at]dwdstudios[dot]com
[21:36] <+DLB_Chuck> I’ll give it a more thorough read through. What’s your favorite of your games? I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites.. but we usually do… 🙂
[21:37] <+BillLogan> FrontierSpace is my current fave cuz it’s the most recent. The d00 system I created in BBF evolved quite a bit. Sci-fi is my jam
[21:37] <+BillLogan> haha
[21:38] <~Dan> What is d00 like?
[21:39] <+BillLogan> it’s a percentile based system. Kinda-old-school. Roll d100, roll <= a score on your character sheet. Modifiers from Gm
[21:39] <+BillLogan> 00 is zero though, not 100
[21:39] <+DLB_Chuck> As percentile is it similar to Call of Cthulhu?
[21:40] <+BillLogan> If you roll doubles and succeed, you’ve critically succeeded. If you roll doubles and fail, you’ve critically failed. That way, probability of crits are proportional to your chance of success
[21:40] <+BillLogan> probably yeah
[21:40] <+BillLogan> and a lot of other games of yesteryear
[21:41] <+BillLogan> the system also uses a skills-as-class type system. They’re skills, but named like you’d expect a character class. So there’s a Thief skill, which lets you try anything related to being a sneaky thief
[21:41] <+BillLogan> And a Spellcaster skill
[21:41] <+BillLogan> which lets you do magic
[21:41] <+BillLogan> etc.
[21:41] <+DLB_Chuck> Dan, you get a lot of us “little guys” on here. How important do you think Kickstarter is for the indy RPG market?
[21:42] <+BillLogan> I’m gonna run – tata ya’ll
[21:42] <~Dan> Bye, BillLogan!
[21:42] <+DLB_Chuck> BillLogan, that’s cool. One of the things I like a lot about the D6xD6 system is that it uses occupation as an uber skill
[21:42] <+DLB_Chuck> Later Bill
[21:42] <~Dan> Pretty important, I think.
[21:43] <+DLB_Chuck> I see games like Kids on Bikes and they did more than $90K in the kickstarter. There’s no way a relatively unknown primary author would see anything close to that on DriveThru.
[21:45] <+DLB_Chuck> One of the biggest changes I see in the game industry compared to when I used to publish 20 years ago is that the distribution to store channel system is just plain broken. It used to be that was the only way to get something out and in a lot of ways they were gatekeepers plus this was pre-POD so you were talking easily 6-10K in upfront investment to produce
[21:46] <+DLB_Chuck> and ship a product before seeing a single dime of income
[21:46] * ~Dan nods
[21:48] <~Dan> wb, JonathanGilmour!
[21:48] <+DLB_Chuck> The only problem is that for a completely unknown designer, KS can be a little like shouting in a crowd of other people who are also shouting. It’s hard to get attention. I think the partnership he did with Hunter Books probably helped an awful lot.
[21:48] <+JonathanGilmour> Sorry! I could not get it to reload on my phone, but luckily my officer internet is back up.
[21:48] <~Dan> Ah, good!
[21:48] <+DLB_Chuck> I did this a couple times by phone and I feel your pain
[21:49] <+JonathanGilmour> DLB_Chuck – It is very hard to get noticed on KS. I agree. I think I also brought a very larger number of board gamers who wanted to try RPGS to the KS with my success in that field.
[21:49] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, I’m sure that was a big help too
[21:50] <+DLB_Chuck> Still, being relatively untested as an RPG designer, kudos to you. You made people believe and they supported you. Great job!
[21:50] <~Dan> Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up, JonathanGilmour?
[21:50] <&Akyla> I’ll admit I saw your kickstarter and dismissed it as I had already been introduced to BubbleGumshoe
[21:50] <+JonathanGilmour> Thank you, and that was definitely a big worry, with it really being a different field.
[21:51] <&Akyla> Are you familiar with that, and if you are, how does your system stand out?
[21:51] <+JonathanGilmour> Yes, I am familiar with PtbA, and have a copy of bubblegumshoe on my shelf of shame.
[21:52] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, I think it may have helped you. A lot of industry folks write things assuming everyone else knows games and they are almost all usually written (and designed mechanics wise) the same. I think you being a slight outsider helped you look at this from fresh eyes
[21:52] <+JonathanGilmour> Oh totally. I approached the design from a very board game perspective, which is where you are reteaching the players the game every new thing you design (unless it’s an expansion)
[21:54] <+JonathanGilmour> Akyla KOB is definitely inspired by PtbA in a lot of ways. We tried to take some of the things we really loved about it, and build those into the system. As far as setting and BGS specifically, we are focusing more on telling stories in pre-cell phone times, and with more weirdness happening. One of the things we felt was really different was the shared
[21:54] <+JonathanGilmour> control of the powered character (which there was a question about earlier, so I’ll go more into that).
[21:55] <+JonathanGilmour> When Doug and I started on the game, we definitely wanted powered characters in it. We really wanted to hit the Stranger Things vibe heavily, so it was core to the concept. But then we said “Crap, everyone is going to want to be a powered character, and no one will want to be a average teen”.
[21:56] <+JonathanGilmour> So we came up with the idea of everyone getting to control a different aspect of the powered character. We didn’t want it to be just something the GM got, or just one player got.
[21:56] <&Akyla> Ah, I’m guessing my introduction to BGS was the GMs discretion then as she set it in the 80s with a stranger things villian feel.
[21:57] <+JonathanGilmour> So each player has a card with something about the powered character on it. And if any player wants to bring that into a scene, they just tap / point at the card in front a player, and that player has to narrate the powered characters actions.
[21:58] <+JonathanGilmour> It morphed a lot over the course of the design, where originally each character had some secret information about the powered character, and controlled a very specific thing like “How the powered character interacts with adults” and “The what the power is targetting”.
[22:01] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[22:02] <+DLB_Chuck> It’s a neat concept
[22:02] <+JonathanGilmour> Thanks. We felt it was a pretty neat idea.
[22:02] <~Dan> Does KOB include a bestiary?
[22:02] <+JonathanGilmour> And it’s lead to lots of great moments in play, which is what good mechanisms are supposed to do.
[22:03] <+JonathanGilmour> No, it doesn’t. Though, through the KS we funded 22 modules, and each module features some suggestions for Monsters, Evil Corporations, etc.
[22:03] <&Akyla> I can see the appeal. I’m the odd one out who tends to chose the most underpowered races or characters for the challenge, but that’s not true of most the other people I’ve played with.
[22:04] <+JonathanGilmour> Akyla totally! I like to play odd characters myself, but I know players overall will go for awesomely powered.
[22:04] <~Dan> JonathanGilmour: Before we wrap up, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[22:05] <+JonathanGilmour> Dan I don’t have anything specific, were there questions I missed while I was dropping in and out?
[22:05] <~Dan> I don’t think so.
[22:06] <~Dan> Oh, reminder to folks that those interested in backing my Q&As can do so at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/
[22:06] <+DLB_Chuck> JonathanGilmour, I sent a PM earlier with a question about the rulebook. Did you get it? I was dropping on and offline too.
[22:07] <+JonathanGilmour> I didn’t, but I may not have seen it on my phone.
[22:07] <+DLB_Chuck> I’ve got the PDF but I don’t see a copyright or trademark notice anywhere. I was wondering if that was on purpose
[22:08] <+JonathanGilmour> The one that was just released through the pledge manager? Yeah, that was a mistake, and a new version is coming. The legal information, as well as the Infectious Play, Hunters Books, and Renegade Games logos all got left off.
[22:08] <+DLB_Chuck> Cool. I didn’t see contact info either
[22:09] <+DLB_Chuck> I knew it was just going to backers so I didn’t think it was a big deal. just wanted to mention it
[22:10] <+JonathanGilmour> Thank you! Updates should be coming early next week I think.
[22:10] <~Dan> I need to log off for the night, but please feel free to hang out as long as you like, JonathanGilmour!
[22:10] <+JonathanGilmour> Hope you are enjoying reading over it!
[22:10] <+DLB_Chuck> Definitely. I like it a lot!
[22:10] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[22:10] <+JonathanGilmour> Cool! I’ll stick around for a bit since I was so slow before.
[22:10] <+JonathanGilmour> Thanks Dan for hosting!
[22:10] <~Dan> Absolutely! You’re always welcome.