[19:32] <+DrMitch> Hi everyone! I’m Paul Mitchener, coauthor of Age of Arthur and some Mindjammer supplements, author of Starfall and Hunters of Alexandria. I’m here to talk about my current Kickstarter, Liminal.
[19:33] <+DrMitch> Liminal is a modern day fantasy game set in the UK, drawing from local history, and British and Irish folklore.
[19:33] <+catty_big> Hi Paul.
[19:33] <+DrMitch> Watcha!
[19:34] <+MarcL> (Hi, Dan!)
[19:34] <+DrMitch> The player characters are people called Liminals who do not belong in the mundane world, but also aren’t fully a part of the Hidden World, the world of the supernatural.
[19:35] <+DrMitch> (done for now).
[19:35] <~Dan> Thanks, DrMitch! The floor is open to questions!
[19:35] <~Dan> What sorts of abilities do Liminals have?
[19:35] <+catty_big> A bit like Changelings in WoD, who are no longer fully human, but aren’t 100% Fae either.
[19:36] <+DrMitch> It varies. Some Liminals are entirely human. For example, there is a branch of the police force called P Division, who deal with “Fortean crimes”. The regular police look down on them, but they still do the job, and people know to go to them when something really weird happens.
[19:37] <+DrMitch> Another possibility is a changeling- someone who has Fae blood, or was brought up as a child by one of the Fae.
[19:37] <+DrMitch> Werewolf gangs are out there.
[19:37] <+DrMitch> So are wizards- both the academic wizards of the Council of Merlin, and so-called Gutter Mages.
[19:38] <+Mordrid> My main interest in this is due to my wife (she says hi Paul). She usually does not join my groups and prefers one on one games. How friendly is the mechanics and the lore for a one on one gaming session or campaign?
[19:38] <+catty_big> What’s a Gutter Mage?
[19:38] <+DrMitch> Hello there, Mordrid’s wife.
[19:39] <~Dan> A sewersorer.
[19:39] <+DrMitch> The player characters by default are based around a crew- a group of fellow Liminals who work together and “get” each-other, forming a common goal. The crew in general has a goal and alliances or enmities with various factions.
[19:40] <+catty_big> ‘Sewersorer’ Lol!
[19:40] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:40] <+catty_big> Now it seems a bit like Victroriana.
[19:40] <+DrMitch> But an individual player character also has a Drive- their goal. And player characters can be quite powerful. One could use the faction/crew mechanics for extended resources for a single PC and their rivalries. Or have NPCs in a crew as well.
[19:41] <+catty_big> *Victoriana
[19:41] <+catty_big> Could individual players’ goals conflict, potrentially?
[19:42] <+DrMitch> A Gutter Mage is a term the academic wizards use for one who is not “properly” trained, doing magic intuitively. Some of such traditions reject this term as the insult it is. Others embrace it as a badge of pride.
[19:42] <+catty_big> Interesting.
[19:42] <+DrMitch> Player goals could conflict, sure. It’s not a PVP game, but in a way a crew is like family for the Liminals. And families can argue!
[19:43] <+DrMitch> And there can lie some interesting drama.
[19:43] <+catty_big> Do you have to ‘learn’ magic during the game, or does every character come with a set knowledge of magic and spells etc?
[19:43] <+DrMitch> So the idea is that a crew is a group of people from the Hidden World from different paths who “get” each-other.
[19:43] <~Dan> How powerful is magic in the setting? What sorts of things can it accomplish on the high end?
[19:44] <+catty_big> Sorry, I’m talking about wizards there.
[19:45] <+DrMitch> A character might or might not start with magic. There’s plenty of room for other supernatural or purely mortal player characters.
[19:45] <+DrMitch> Magic is generally fairly subtle rather than bangs and flashes.
[19:46] * ~Dan nods
[19:46] <+DrMitch> Each magical area is a method of doing things along with a few ways to focus it if you want.
[19:46] <+DrMitch> Some magicians go for a combination of methods; others will focus.
[19:47] <+catty_big> So it’s intuitive rather than mechanistic. I much prefer that to taking x number of turns to learn a spell.
[19:48] <+DrMitch> For example, one area of magic is Wards. Anyone with Wards can create a ward which alerts them or damages someone who activates it. One who focuses in wards can create wards quickly, for example, or do more
[19:49] <+DrMitch> Oops, do more such as create specific wards against ghosts or compel people to tell the truth.
[19:50] <+DrMitch> Or to give another example, any necromancer can see ghosts and speak with the dead. But a focus lets them use necromantic energies to do damage or animate revenants.
[19:50] <+catty_big> Do you have classes as such? So like a Gutter Mage or a Dhampir will have such and such benefit inherent to that type of character, etc.
[19:50] <+DrMitch> Probably the flashiest form of magic is that of the weathermonger. A general weathermonger can slowly control the weather. One who is skilled can cause rapid changes over a wide area, and summon lightning during a storm.
[19:50] <+DrMitch> There are no classes.
[19:51] <+catty_big> So foci are kind of like specialisms?
[19:51] <+DrMitch> Yep.
[19:51] <~Dan> Is magic “hidden” in this setting?
[19:51] <+DrMitch> A player character is described mechanically by a Drive, a few skills, and a few Traits which grant supernatural or exceptional mundane powers.
[19:52] <+DrMitch> Magic is “hidden”. One faction in the setting is the Order of St.Bede, a group dedicated to both fighting supernatural evil and hiding all evidence of magic.
[19:52] <+catty_big> Are all Liminals scorned by mainstream characters on either side of the divide?
[19:53] <+DrMitch> Well, Liminals combine humanity and a connection with the Hidden World. That connection might be just knowledge it exists and some of its rules.
[19:54] <~Dan> Does one have to be a Liminal to perceive the supernatural, and if so, what keeps normal folks from being helpless victims all the time?
[19:54] <+DrMitch> The thing is, any Liminal will be human or have lots of humanity. They’re going to struggle to understand the alien Fae, and be as horrified as anyone by vampires.
[19:54] <+Mordrid> Are you looking at expanding the setting in the future to touch on say French, Dutch or German lore?
[19:54] <+catty_big> If magic is hidden, do you take some sort of penalty if you allow your magical abilities to be witnessed by mundanes?
[19:56] <+DrMitch> But its about being part of a group who also don’t fit into society, and making a family that way. About finding one’s own way and doing some good for people at the same time. There’s room for angst, but it’s not *about* the angst if that makes sense.
[19:57] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[19:57] <+catty_big> How does a typical game start? Is there an Inspector Nightingale figure who calls everyone in and explains some situation he wants them to investigate?
[19:58] <+DrMitch> Most supernatural beings are either invisible to those without the Sight, or can appear human. For example, most of the time, ghosts are ordinarily invisible. Vampires look like people until they strike. The Fae, when they walk the Earth rather than their own realms, appear human.
[19:58] <+DrMitch> Of course any being or magician could openly reveal magic- but other people would be very annoyed with them, and work hard to discredit any witnesses.
[19:59] <+catty_big> Gotcha.
[19:59] <+DrMitch> The truth of the existence of the Hidden World is sort of easy enough to find, but most people don’t. So there’s no penalty for performing magic in public. But there will be consequences.
[19:59] <+DrMitch> And a crowd of people unaware of magic who suddenly see something real…they’re likely to riot.
[20:01] <+DrMitch> I’d love to expand the setting to look at lore from different countries. That’s way in the future though. Of course, there’s always bleed in folklore and beliefs from place to place.
[20:02] <~Dan> Did you see my character sheet question, DrMitch?
[20:02] <+DrMitch> As for a typical game, the crew has relationships with various factions, and around the crew are a number of hooks. Each hook is a case which matches the crew’s interests.
[20:02] <+catty_big> How does a case get taken on by a crew? And who assigns them it?
[20:02] <+DrMitch> Ah, sorry Dan, missed that.
[20:03] <+DrMitch> I don’t have a blank character sheet yet. But I do have an example player character on the last Kickstarter update: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/9257403/liminal-rpg/posts/2124882)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/9257403/liminal-rpg/posts/2124882
[20:03] <+catty_big> My last question was a re-statement of my previous one. You’ve now answered it, thanks.
[20:04] <+DrMitch> Cool. Sorry catty_big, I was answering lots of questions. The crew chooses which hook to investigate.
[20:04] <+DrMitch> That should tie with their goals.
[20:04] <+DrMitch> Factions can give them jobs.
[20:04] <+DrMitch> And if you want a Rivers of London style set-up, an Inspector Nightingale figure could easily offer the PC crew a job.
[20:04] <+catty_big> Ah, that was going to be my next question, thanks.
[20:05] <+DrMitch> Coolio.
[20:05] <+DrMitch> I think I’m currently caught up with the questions. If not, please shout if I’ve forgotten you!
[20:05] <~Dan> Am I correct that there are no attributes, only skills?
[20:06] <+DrMitch> That’s right Dan.
[20:06] <+DrMitch> Though some Traits to an extent might substitute for attributes, such as Tough and Brawny.
[20:06] <~Dan> How do you handle attribute-like abilities, such as brute strength?
[20:07] <+DrMitch> The Brawny Trait gives a bonus to any tests of brute strength and to damage in hand to hand combat. Actually, that one comes in two levels; the first level is a strong ordinary person, the second level is supernatural strength.
[20:08] <+DrMitch> To an extent, the Athletics skill also measures strength.
[20:09] <+DrMitch> Similarly there are Traits such as Tough and Quick Reflexes for innate physical abilities.
[20:10] <+catty_big> Ah, now that’s interesting. In my current fantasy/adventure WIP I have a bunch of abilities the PCs can roll against, some of which are attributes, others of which are skills, and I’ve been taken to task for that.
[20:10] <+DrMitch> Attribute+Skill is a classic and it works in an awful lot of games, but it’s not the only way to do it.
[20:11] <+DrMitch> I kind of like having for example a Brawn skill rather than Strength which adds to stuff.
[20:12] <+catty_big> That’s my opinion, but I’ve been warned to expect pushback on it. Anyway, slightly OT, apologies.
[20:12] <+DrMitch> Not at all.
[20:13] <+DrMitch> And there are quite a few systems which don’t distinguish. Fate and Gumshoe for instance.
[20:13] <+catty_big> Actually, on those lines, is there anything in the system you have concern that some people might not ‘get’?
[20:14] <+DrMitch> The main twist with the base system is that any player character (but not NPCs) can spend Will on a one to one basis to improve results after a dice roll.
[20:14] <+DrMitch> Though Will is a finite resource. And if you fail by lots, you might not have enough Will to turn it into success or not be willing.
[20:15] <+catty_big> I wouldn’t see that as contentious. Can you somehow generate more Will if you run out?
[20:16] <+DrMitch> It’s also not a particularly crunchy game. Magic is broad areas you can do magic in rather than lists of spells. But it’s still mostly “trad”.
[20:16] <+DrMitch> Yes! Once per session, if you engage your Drive, you get Will back.
[20:16] <~Dan> Can you describe the system?
[20:16] <+DrMitch> You can also take time out for rest and relaxation. If you run out of Will, your character is shattered!
[20:16] <+DrMitch> Sure: 2d6 +skill vs target number.
[20:17] <+DrMitch> Target number is 8, or higher for a challenging task. For an opposed roll, the target number is 7 plus the opponent’s opposing skill.
[20:17] <+DrMitch> That and the spending Will to boost dice rolls business above. That’s it for the base system.
[20:18] <+DrMitch> Traits provide some crunchy bits to add or further bonuses.
[20:18] <+catty_big> Shaken but not stirred?
[20:18] <+DrMitch> But it should be fairly clean and intuitive.
[20:18] <+DrMitch> catty_big indeed!
[20:19] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:21] <+catty_big> I’ve also got ‘recieve a Blah Point for displaying your Trait’ type thing, but I’m aware that not everyone likes this. I’ve heard people call it ‘reward for roleplaying’.
[20:21] <+catty_big> *receive
[20:21] <+DrMitch> At the start of a battle, each PC rolls Awareness vs a target number depending on the highest NPC Awareness.
[20:22] <+DrMitch> Those who succeed in that roll go before enemies, those who fail go after them.
[20:22] <+catty_big> Ooh, that’s really neat!
[20:23] <+DrMitch> Attacks in combat are just like other skill tests, only using skills such as Melee Combat and Shoot. The target number depends on the NPC’s defence skill…Melee Combat or Athletics vs melee attacks, Athletics vs ranged attacks.
[20:23] <+DrMitch> If an attack succeeds, it does d6+damage bonus of the weapon to be subtracted from an enemy’s Endurance.
[20:23] <+DrMitch> So fairly traditional.
[20:23] <+DrMitch> (Thanks catty_big)
[20:24] <+DrMitch> A critical hit (one which succeeds by 5 or more) gives a choice of funky extra things to do,
[20:25] <+DrMitch> There’s also rules for mobs- groups of weak opponents where the main threat is numbers.
[20:25] <+catty_big> It’s funny, I’m the indy hippy game designer, but my first foray into these waters is WAY more trad than yours :D.
[20:26] <+DrMitch> Yeah. I still think of Liminal as a trad game by and large, but there are funky bits.
[20:27] <+DrMitch> For example, Experience is more player-led than an award GMs give out.
[20:29] <+catty_big> Is Endurance like Hit Points, in that a character gradually gets whittled down to -1 or -2 to rolls, then conscious but unable to peform actions, then unconscious, then dead?
[20:29] <&Karn> Yay another game that uses Drive as something important!
[20:30] <+catty_big> Ah good, XP/advancement was going to be my next question.
[20:30] <+DrMitch> Yeah, basically. Injuries are superficial until you’re at zero.
[20:30] <+DrMitch> Below zero, you’re in trouble and need medical aid. Any action requires you to spend Will.
[20:31] <+DrMitch> At -10 you’re dead. Thud.
[20:31] <+DrMitch> XP/Advancement: A player character has five experience boxes and three advancement boxes on the sheet.
[20:32] <+catty_big> Talking of being dead, do you have Necromancers in the game?
[20:32] <+DrMitch> At the end of a case, you earn XP for learning more about the Hidden World, advancing the crew’s goal, resolving a case, or learning something new and important about the crew itself.
[20:33] <+DrMitch> During a case, you get an XP for engaging a Drive if you don’t get the Will benefit, or rolling double 1 and not boosting with Will.
[20:33] <+catty_big> What does xp give you? More abilities?
[20:33] <+DrMitch> When all five boxes are ticked, erase the tick, and tick an advancement box.
[20:33] <+DrMitch> When you tick an advancement box, you can raise a skill by one up to a maximum equal to your skill cap.
[20:34] <+DrMitch> When all three advancement boxes are ticked, erase the ticks, and either add one to your skill cap, take a Trait, or give your crew a new asset.
[20:35] <+catty_big> Why is there a skill cap?
[20:36] <+DrMitch> Skill increases are linear; you can always increase a skill by one level with an advancement, and the same is true for character generation.
[20:36] <+DrMitch> Much easier.
[20:36] <+DrMitch> But I don’t want a starting combat monster with Melee Combat 7, for example, or a magician with Lore 8.
[20:37] <+DrMitch> It’s a “skill rectangle” rather than “skill pyramid”.
[20:37] <+DrMitch> How much longer do we have by the way?
[20:37] <+catty_big> Good analogy.
[20:39] <+catty_big> Well, earlier this evening I lost the ‘s’ and backspace keys on my laptop, so I’mma have to bow out soon 😦
[20:39] <+DrMitch> Yikes. Not good.
[20:39] <+DrMitch> Thanks for sticking with it.
[20:40] <~Dan> Yes, thanks, catty_big!
[20:40] <~Dan> What sorts of fey are available to play as PCs?
[20:41] <+DrMitch> PC Fae will be changelings- humans with Fae blood or Fae upbringing. They might know how to use Glamour, and will certainly have the Sight.
[20:41] <+catty_big> No worries, it was good chatting with you Paul, and best of luck with the game. Btw, it’s now up to £6’000 :).
[20:41] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:42] <+catty_big> And thanks for hosting Dan.
[20:42] <+DrMitch> But pure Fae are going to be out of reach for player characters. No humanity. Fae commoners are almost automata, under control of their courts. Then there are Fae monsters- instinctive predators the Fae nobles set loose.
[20:42] <+DrMitch> I do love the Fae though. Some of the nicest setting bits for me!
[20:43] <+DrMitch> And Fae nobles with courts not all in this world, with
[20:43] <+DrMitch> with odd agendas, some metaphysical, some almost representing natural features.
[20:44] <+DrMitch> Not to mention a Fae market one can visit to trade things which shouldn’t normally be traded. Years of one’s life, memories, talents…
[20:45] <~Dan> (back)
[20:45] <~Dan> Speaking of creatures, do you have a bestiary?
[20:45] <+DrMitch> Oh yes!
[20:46] <~Dan> How extensive?
[20:46] <+DrMitch> Different sorts of Fae, various ghosts, vampires, werewolves.
[20:46] <~Dan> What are your vampires like?
[20:46] <+DrMitch> Ordinary people who might cross the PCs’ paths. And people who are a part of the Hidden World.
[20:47] <+DrMitch> Vampires are pretty traditional. They feed on blood, they seek control, they’re thoroughly evil.
[20:48] <+DrMitch> There’s a faction called the Sodality of the Crown which controls cells of vampires, each led by a vampire lord, up and down the country. And the Sodality of the Crown wants to rule the country.
[20:48] <~Dan> What powers do your vampires have?
[20:49] <+DrMitch> Vampires have a range of possible powers. A “typical” vampire will be strong, fast, and tough- more so than a human, but then there’s room for other innovations on top of that.
[20:49] <+DrMitch> Some have an immense hypnotic presence, some can shapechange, some can control the weather, some can do necromancy.
[20:50] <~Dan> I assume that given the “thoroughly evil” thing, there are no vampiric PCs?
[20:50] <+DrMitch> Different bloodlines have different powers.
[20:50] <+DrMitch> In terms of PCs, there’s an incredibly rare creature type called a dhampir- one who has been turned into a vampire, but retains their humanity- maybe their soul according to some accounts.
[20:51] <+DrMitch> And that’s a fine PC option.
[20:51] <~Dan> Ah, cool.
[20:51] <~Dan> I assume they aren’t very popular with vampires?
[20:51] <+DrMitch> Oh heavens, no. They *hate* them.
[20:51] <+DrMitch> Or at least want to turn them into “proper” vampires.
[20:53] <~Dan> What limitations are there on spell casting?
[20:56] <+DrMitch> Most magic is quite subtle. The flashier effects tend to cost Will.
[20:57] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:57] <+DrMitch> But overall, it’s relatively open to a magician to cast lots of magical effects.
[20:58] <+DrMitch> Hello Le_Squide
[20:58] <~Dan> (Howdy egyptian!)
[20:58] <&egyptian> (hi!)
[21:00] <+DrMitch> (I’m going to have to go to bed soon if that’s okay. But are there any other questions?)
[21:01] <~Dan> That’s okay, DrMitch! We can wrap up. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:02] <+DrMitch> Thanks Dan for hosting and everyone else here. I suppose really the big thing I’ve not mentioned is the setting and the factions.
[21:03] <~Dan> What are the factions?
[21:04] <+DrMitch> Factions include the magical thieves of the Mercury Collegium, the traditionalist academic mages of the Council of Merlin, the werewolf gangs, the most powerful Fae in the land, Father Thames and Mother Severn, the Queen of Hyde Park and the Winter King…
[21:04] <+DrMitch> And those are wrapped into places in the UK. For example, the Council of Merlin maintains a secret magical college in Oxford University.
[21:05] <+DrMitch> Anyway, I wanted to at least mention that part of the book.
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:05] <~Dan> wb!
[21:05] <+DrMitch> Sorry- the system logged me out!
[21:06] <~Dan> 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/
[21:06] <+DrMitch> I’m absolutely thrilled with how the Kickstarter has done on its first day or so.
[21:06] <~Dan> Indeed! Congratulations on that!
[21:06] <~Dan> And thanks very much for joining us!
[21:07] <+DrMitch> Anyway, thanks very much for hosting and inviting me on.
[21:07] <+DrMitch> Good night everyone.
[21:07] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
[21:07] <+DrMitch> Cool!