[14:33] <+GregSaunders> Hi all, I’m Greg Saunders. I’ve published a few games and done some writing for Pelgrane Press, Contested Ground Studios and a few others. I’ve had two games on Kickstarter recently – Exilium which was funded and delivered last year, and my new game, Summerland.
[14:35] <+GregSaunders> I say new, it’s actually a new edition of a game I released nearly ten years ago. It’s a game about a post-apocalyptic world where a huge forest appeared overnight, swallowing the works on humanity. Many people then succumbed to the call, a siren song that draws people into the forest
[14:35] <+GregSaunders> These people became the Lost and the Wild.
[14:36] <+GregSaunders> Player characters take on the role of Drifters, people who have scars of a past that prevents them from fitting in with what’s left of society. In the game, they exposure these traumas and in doing so heal them, eventually being accepted back into society.
[14:37] <+GregSaunders> The new edition uses the Open D6 rules, as I did with Exilium. The old edition used a custom system I’d pout together.
[14:37] <+GregSaunders> Sorry for the typos…
[14:37] <+JasonBrick> sounds interestin
[14:37] <~Dan> (No worries! 🙂 )
[14:38] <+GregSaunders> Oh, and the new edition is in full colour too!
[14:39] <+GregSaunders> The game has mechanics that you can use to ‘invoke’ your trauma, and hopefully heal it a little, at the risk of stress. Stress is healed by entering communities for a short period of time, so this creates the drive in the game.
[14:40] <+GregSaunders> The vibe of the game is mystery, a little supernatural, and horror.
[14:41] <+GregSaunders> Does that make sense? 🙂
[14:41] <~Dan> So far, so good. 🙂
[14:41] <~Dan> Ready for questions?
[14:43] <+GregSaunders> Yep fire away!
[14:43] <~Dan> Thanks, GregSaunders! The floor is open to questions!
[14:44] <~Dan> Do you (as the author) know what the source of the forest is, or is that a permanent mystery?
[14:45] <+GregSaunders> No, it’s not defined in the book at all. I have my idea when I picture the setting, but it isn’t a mystrey
[14:45] <+GregSaunders> whoops, pressed enter… a mystery to solve as such, unless that’s the way you want to take your game.
[14:45] * ~Dan nods
[14:45] <~Dan> More of just a given?
[14:46] <+GregSaunders> Yep. To me the game is about how you deal with what’s happened, and how it affects people and their relationships.
[14:46] <+GKG_Alan> so how do you change, alter, or leverage OpenD6
[14:49] <+GregSaunders> So I use the MiniSix rules from AntiPaladin games, which is a great little rules lite system for task resolution – very simple and easy to grasp. The big change in the game is the way in which traumas are invoke and resolved, which plays off the results on dice used in task resoliution. Like to elaborate?
[14:49] <+GregSaunders> like me to elaborate, not you!
[14:50] <~Dan> Please do!
[14:51] <+GregSaunders> I’ve copied the following from a message I sent a backer…
[14:51] <+GregSaunders> Basically, during play at any time characters can link an action they are trying to perform to the trauma that haunts them, e.g. someone trying to defend his friend from attack could say ‘this brings back the memory of the time I failed to help save my sister’, which might be their trauma. If they do, they get to double the number of dice they roll (so more c
[14:52] <~Dan> (cut off at (so more c))
[14:52] <+GregSaunders> (so more chance of success). Then, looking at the dice, if any ones are rolled, the character can reduce the value of their ‘trauma scale’ by one, as they have faced their trauma and partially resolved it. Once this scale reaches zero, they have healed sufficiently to join a community.
[14:52] <+GregSaunders> Yep, got that.
[14:52] <+GregSaunders> But for every six rolled the character loses a point on their stress scale. If this scale is reduced to zero, then the character has ‘cracked’ and basically lost it. They can’t then invoke traumas until their stress is healed, which can only happen if they are allowed to rest in a community.
[14:53] <+GregSaunders> So basically the player can choose when to try and heal a trauma by invoking it in a suitably dramatic fashion, but they risk losing stress and having to find a place to recover it – which usually means helping a community.
[14:53] <~Dan> So the better the roll, the worse off the PC is likely to be?
[14:54] <+GregSaunders> Yep. This drives Drifter characters to try to work with communities – they need to heal all that Stress.
[14:54] <~Dan> Do you use wounds or hit points?
[14:55] <+GregSaunders> But it is the players choice when to do this – they don’t have to invoke their trauma. I should say also that traumas aren’t defined up front. You reveal them in play, so you can make the trauma suit what you want to achieve.
[14:55] <+GregSaunders> Wounds as in the classic D6 system.
[14:55] * ~Dan nods
[14:55] <~Dan> Do the PCs have access to any unusual abilities, or are they all “normal” people aside from being Drifters?
[14:56] <+SuperAge_Jeff> if the drifters cannot function in society how to they work together as a party? what makes them want to adventure?
[14:56] <+GregSaunders> Aside from being able to invoke traumas and double the dice they roll (i.e. achieve incredible things), they are normal people.
[14:57] <+GregSaunders> Drifters stick together due to the dangers of traveling alone in the forest – the Wild are dangerous savages, their are animals natural and ‘unnatural’ (they behave in an odd way, they are not monstrous as such) and other Drifters.
[15:01] <+SuperAge_Jeff> do i have to play a drifter? can i play a Wild ro civilized dude?
[15:01] <~Dan> What supernatural threats are there, if any?
[15:02] <+GregSaunders> Well as a default you play a Drifter, who is a traumatised person, so they could be pretty unstable. But the rule set is pretty open and adaptable, so there’s no reason you couldn’t play one of the Wild if you wanted to.
[15:04] <+GregSaunders> Supernatural is treated as an optional element that can be introduced if you like. The default in the game has the supernatural manifest as for example unnatural animals, such as a fox that steal things from your camp and replaces them with other random items, or a bear that mimics human behaviour.
[15:04] <+SuperAge_Jeff> like i am a wild mercenary that helps drifters sometimes but doesnt want to be part of cilization
[15:05] <+GregSaunders> Bit you can play this how you like, and ramp it up if you want. The book discusses presenting the setting in a horror, action or mystery light, and gives lots of adventure hooks that play on these themes.
[15:05] <+SuperAge_Jeff> is there a set number of trauma drifter must overcome?
[15:05] <+GregSaunders> Jeff – yep you could do that. Just ignore the trauma aspect of the game (it’s about five pages of the book).
[15:07] <+GregSaunders> There is a trauma scale and a stress scale. Both are derived from character stats. If the trauma scale reaches zero, you are ready to be accepted into a community if you want to be. If the stress scale reaches zero, you’ve ‘cracked’ – basically lost it. You then can’t invoke your trauma until you spend some time in a community.
[15:08] <+SuperAge_Jeff> at this point in teh timeline… whta is considered a community?
[15:09] <+GregSaunders> A group of a few people to maybe a hundred. the books contains a whole range of ‘communities’ that range from a family group to a couple of hundred people. All of them have dark secrets, exposed by the Sea of Leaves (which is what the forest is called).
[15:12] <~Dan> How much technology is left?
[15:12] <+SuperAge_Jeff> what and why do the ave secrets?
[15:12] <+SuperAge_Jeff> like eating babies?
[15:12] <+SuperAge_Jeff> they have^
[15:15] <+GregSaunders> Each of the communities have a section called ‘bizarre practices include…’. An example is a community that has a small herd of pigs as their resource. They’ve started feeding bodies of Wild killed to the pigs. And now the leader of the community is thinking that she needs to get rid of a rival who is causing trouble…
[15:16] <+GregSaunders> The idea is that these communities have been rocked by the decimation of the Sea of Leaves, and the darkness that is inside some people has come to the fore…
[15:18] <~Dan> (Did you see my tech question, GregSaunders?)
[15:18] <+SuperAge_Jeff> is eating babies a listed option?
[15:19] <+SuperAge_Jeff> (it should be)
[15:19] <~Dan> (You worry me, SuperAge_Jeff. 😀 )
[15:20] <+GregSaunders> No, sorry missed that Dan! There is some technology left, but the forest destroyed most infrastructure and ruined buildings etc.
[15:20] <+GregSaunders> Jeff 🙂
[15:20] * ~Dan chuckles
[15:20] <+Sometimes_Baby_Eating_Jeff> how fast did the forest grow? is the forest on the equator a jungle?
[15:21] <~Dan> Are people still using guns, or have they been reduced to bows and spears?
[15:21] <+Sometimes_Baby_Eating_Jeff> are there still oceans?
[15:21] <+GregSaunders> Forest appeared overnight. Default is a temperate forest, but it could be a jungle.
[15:22] <+GregSaunders> People still have guns, but ammo must be found somewhere, which limits their use.
[15:24] <~Dan> What happens when some characters in a group are ready to settle down with a community and some aren’t?
[15:25] <+GregSaunders> They have a choice to make – they can split, or they can wait until they are all ready.
[15:26] <~Dan> Would you say that a campaign of this game has a limited lifespan as compared to your typical RPG?
[15:27] <+GregSaunders> I don’t think so. The pace of resolving traumas is down to the players really, so you can go as fast or slow as you like.
[15:29] <~Dan> What sorts of challenges do the PCs face in a typical session?
[15:31] <+GregSaunders> A lot of what they do is driven by the needs of the communities they encounter – finding resources, removing threats such as rival Drifter gangs or the Wild etc. Also exploring what’s left of civilisation etc.
[15:33] <~Dan> How “wild” are the Wild?
[15:36] <+GregSaunders> They have forgotten what it is to be human, and reverted to animals. They hunt in packs, and can be real danger. But these people range from the ‘lost’ to the ‘wild’ The lost are people who seem like they have demintia – they’ve forgotten who they are and where they are. the Wild is the name given to more anamalistic types if that makes sense.
[15:36] * ~Dan nods
[15:36] <~Dan> It does.
[15:37] <~Dan> (wb, Woo)
[15:38] <~Dan> With the opposition seeming to consist of the Wild, unnatural animals, and other “normal” humans, the scope of the game seems somewhat limited. How do you keep things fresh?
[15:39] <~Dan> (Granted, I’d say the same about a basic zombie game, and I know those are popular. 🙂 )
[15:42] <+GregSaunders> 🙂 interweaving the supernatural and help to keep the game new, but in essence it is about human conflicts and dealing with the remnants of civilization. in that sense it is like a zombie game – it has a narrow focus, but that is the reason for the driver of traumas, to keep the momentum in the game.
[15:42] * ~Dan nods
[15:42] <~Dan> Fair enough. 🙂
[15:43] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[15:44] <+GregSaunders> Just that if you check the kickstarter page there are plenty of reviews of the setting that you can read to get the opinion of others, so if you fancy checking it out, that would be great!
[15:45] <~Dan> Usual reminder: Those wishing to support my Q&A series can do so at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[15:45] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, GregSaunders!
[15:45] <+GregSaunders> No worries. Thanks for hosting this Dan!
[15:45] <~Dan> You’re welcome! If you’ll give me just a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[15:46] <+GregSaunders> Cool.