[19:31] <+Nat> Hello everyone, I’m Nat Skinner, the lead designer of Helheim Unbound.
[19:32] <+Nat> Helheim Unbound is designed as a highly customizable RPG. It’s set around simple but powerful core mechanics that are easy to learn (or to be honest, memorize).
[19:32] <+Nat> There is a dice pool involved, and hits occur ~30% of the time (5 or 6 on a D6. 8,9,0 on a d10).
[19:33] <&Silverlion> Hi Nat.
[19:33] <+Nat> What really sets the game apart is just how easy it is for players to pick up and learn. It takes about 10 minutes to explain the mechanics and get people into creating their champions. About 15-30 minutes tops to create their own champion, and you’re off to the races.
[19:33] <+Nat> Hello Silverlion.
[19:34] <&Silverlion> What is a “Champion” in this context? Are their win conditions? What kind of Champions can you make?
[19:34] <+Nat> Just about everything is open to setting up how you want to roleplay your champion. You pick the skill names, how you want to define them. Same with your traits.
[19:35] <+Nat> So we can have, mechanically, your champion (or your character if you prefer) and another player’s champion have the exact same in-game effect, but described completely differently.
[19:35] <&Silverlion> there*
[19:35] <+Nat> One is a muscle bound fighter with a big axe, the other is a fencer who uses their dexterity. They can perform the same in a fight, but each player can get into their character’s role as it suits them.
[19:36] <+Nat> No real win conditions, as it’s a roleplaying game. It’s up to you and your group. Although you do define 3 desires at a time. Completing those desires is one of the primary ways to gain Fame (our name for experience).
[19:37] <+Nat> It’s also really easy to create creatures (anything that’s an NPC or non-player character) as a GM. It takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on how simple or complex you want to get.
[19:37] <&Silverlion> So the default setting is fantasy?
[19:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, JamesGillen!)
[19:37] <+Nat> We have a few videos we recorded up on Youtube, so you can check out the process.
[19:37] <+JamesGillen> yo
[19:37] <&Silverlion> How do you handle someone who say defines their character trait/skill as “Utimate Martial Artist” vs someone “Best Kung Fu Fighter?”
[19:38] <+Nat> The default setting is historical / low fantasy (Saxon Wars 792 – 804 AD, give or take a few years). But you can play however you like. Our current campaign is set in 2102, and other players have both Skyrim and Morrowind campaigns going.
[19:38] <~Dan> (Please hold questions until we get a (done) from our guest. Thanks! 🙂 )
[19:38] <+BPIJonathan> (Im sorry, I have to go. Will try to be back before you log out.)
[19:39] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest10!)
[19:39] <+Nat> So that’s the basic outline of Helheim Unbound. Streamlined, simple to learn, easy to customize. And it uses dice pools.
[19:39] <+Nat> (done)
[19:40] <~Dan> Thanks, Nat! The floor is open to questions!
[19:40] <~Dan> Want to cover Silverlion’s second question first, Nat?
[19:40] <+Nat> Silverlion, you can do and have both.
[19:41] <+Nat> In this case both would probably be broad skills. Or as the “ultimate” or “best”, that’s looking like an excellent (+++) tier trait.
[19:41] <+Nat> Traits can be + or – up to 3 dice.
[19:42] <+Nat> Since both martial arts and kung fu are pretty energetic they can also apply to other things, like if you’re climbing a wall or trying to outrun someone.
[19:43] <+Nat> The system rewards that kind of creativity, but it also needs collaboration between the players and the GM.
[19:43] <~Dan> For those unfamiliar with the history involved, can you say a bit more about the default setting?
[19:45] <+Nat> The default setting is at the onset of the Holy Roman Empire, which was (essentially) created by Charlemagne. He unified the Franks in France, and then basically started or became involved in wars across Western Europe. Everything from attacking the Islamic Caliphates in Spain to going after the Lombards in Italy and the Saxons in North Germany.
[19:45] <+Nat> So it’s a pretty good period for adventure, spies, combat. However you want to play it, it’s a good setting with a lot of cultures, and tension within cultures.
[19:45] <~Dan> What are the fantasy elements?
[19:45] <+Nat> It’s also the start (for NW Europe) of the Viking Age (792), and their raids into Britain and France.
[19:46] <+Nat> As far as fantasy elements, you can take it where you’d like to. Our ultimate vision for the Saxon Wars when it comes out later on, is to allow for both historical and fantasy elements. All the fun things like towering giants and powerful dwarfs from Norse lore, to angels and demons from the Bible.
[19:47] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Cykrus!)
[19:47] <+Cykrus> Hello
[19:47] <~Dan> (Here for the Q&A? 🙂 )
[19:47] <+Nat> The core rules include quite a few frameworks for creating magic systems, as well as 2 built-in systems – one based on miracles from the bible, and the other from the 18 spell songs of magic from the Norse Havamal.
[19:47] <+Cykrus> (Yup)
[19:47] <+Nat> Cyrkus is the one who designed the magic systems.
[19:48] <+Cykrus> Yes!
[19:48] <+Nat> I’ll out him since he just showed up.
[19:48] <~Dan> Oh, great! Glad to have you here, Cykrus!
[19:48] <+Cykrus> I’m the co-designer, sorry for being a bit late.
[19:48] <+Nat> Wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to sneak away to join us.
[19:49] <+Cykrus> Got home as fast as I could.
[19:49] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet posted that we can see?
[19:49] <+Catseye> hi
[19:49] <+Nat> So we’ve got quite a few plans on the fantasy side of things, based on what we’re working on, but in a way that lets you use or disregard as you want. It’s completely modular.
[19:50] <+Nat> (Link: https://www.helheimrpg.com/creatures/3w4oewvcexu8njv0dl6wnbefe8srd9)https://www.helheimrpg.com/creatures/3w4oewvcexu8njv0dl6wnbefe8srd9
[19:50] <+Nat> there’s a link to a sample creature.
[19:50] <+Nat> (Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/242938/Helheim-Unbound-Sample-Champion-Sheets)http://www.rpgnow.com/product/242938/Helheim-Unbound-Sample-Champion-Sheets
[19:50] <&Silverlion> I was thinking more of if two characters came up against someone…
[19:50] <&Silverlion> Cool.
[19:51] <+Nat> and we have a few sample champion sheets up on RPG Now you can download for free. We also have the free PDF champion sheets available there, and we’re working on finalizing the PDF creature sheets, so they’re not as “pretty” as Excel gets.
[19:51] <+Nat> Silverlion, if they were both fighting each other?
[19:52] <+Nat> They both (let’s say they both have the maximum martial arts skill of 12, but they each have their own +++ trait) would roll 15 dice.
[19:53] <+Nat> Whoever has the most hits wins, and gains that much advantage. Advantage can be used narratively, but normally in combat it would cause that many wounds. You then subtract any Protection (armor) to a minimum of 1, and then the loser gains that many wounds.
[19:53] <+Nat> At 10 wounds, a champion is overwhelmed, and out of the combat. If they’re not healed successfully, then they gain a hindrance (a negative trait).
[19:53] <&Silverlion> Ah. So the actual descriptor is not important, just its value.
[19:54] <+Nat> Yep. The descriptor is how you rollplay it
[19:54] <~Dan> So skills and abilities all fall under Benefits & Hindrances, except, apparently, combat ability?
[19:55] <+Nat> Skills are one thing. They set the starting number of dice. You then subtract or add hindrances or benefits.
[19:56] <+Nat> A benefit or hindrance can be
[19:56] <~Dan> Ah… I don’t see skills on those sample sheetes.
[19:56] <+Nat> anything from a characteristic (strong, smart, etc), to something environmental (pouring rain), to equipment (a perfectly made and balanced sword).
[19:57] <+Nat> Let me see if I have a better link handy.
[19:57] <+Nat> (Link: http://helheimrpg.com/s/Jahson.pdf)http://helheimrpg.com/s/Jahson.pdf
[19:58] <+Nat> There we go. Page 2 has the mechanical stuff like skills, traits, etc.
[19:58] <~Dan> Ah, yes, this is much better.
[19:59] <~Dan> Okay, so… attributes would be benefits or hindrances?
[19:59] <+Nat> Yes.
[20:00] <+Nat> It really lets you get into playing your character.
[20:00] <~Dan> I see… So can you describe the core mechanic using this sample character as an example, maybe?
[20:01] <+Nat> Yep. So lets say our sample character was trying to scout out a village. See how many people are there, if there is anything unusual. In a lot of other games you’d have perception perhaps.
[20:01] * ~Dan nods
[20:01] <+Nat> Here, our character is knowledgable about farming, carpentry, and blacksmithing. We could pick the highest of those skills, (Farming) and use that for their base dice pool of 8.
[20:02] <+Nat> We can then add 1 die in each for carpentry and blacksmithing. He’d know what those kinds of buildings would look like, if a village would have them and if so, how many.
[20:02] <+Nat> So that brings us up to 10.
[20:02] <+Nat> Out of his traits, it looks like Farmer (+) is the only one that makes sense, so we’ll add 1 more die for a total of 11.
[20:03] <+Nat> 24533 24241 3
[20:03] <+Nat> So in this case, we have 1 hit (a 5 or 6 since I was rolling 6’s).
[20:04] <+Nat> Since this is a scouting or a “how much do we learn”, as a GM I would run it as a complex test.
[20:05] <+Nat> So he’d find out one thing, and we’ll say that it doesn’t look like there is anything out of the ordinary. The village looks perfectly normal and as he’d expect.
[20:05] <~Dan> Hmm…
[20:05] <+Nat> We have 3 types of test. Simple is just a pass or fail against a target #. Complex has a target # (0 in this case), with increasingly “better” for each hit beyond the target number, and increasingly “worse” for anything below that.
[20:06] * ~Dan nods
[20:06] <+Nat> Opposed is where both the GM and player (or player vs player) are rolling dice, and it’s winner takes all.
[20:07] <+Nat> To flesh out the example, if I’d rolled more like we expect for 11 dice (around 4 hits), then we would have found out that the fields are slightly overgrown for the time of year, that the area where it looks like the blacksmiths are has more smoke than expected, and the roads seem to all have been recently repaired.
[20:08] <+Nat> So we’d be guessing the village is peaceful, but on a war footing with levies called up or pressed into service helping the blacksmiths with basic tasks.
[20:10] <~Dan> Okay, so… You looked for a skill that would be applicable for the base, then gave him one bonus die for every other skill that could apply?
[20:10] <+Nat> Yes.
[20:10] <+Nat> And then 1-3 bonus dice (based on any applicable traits or resources, and their tier).
[20:10] <~Dan> Tier being level?
[20:10] <+Nat> The default number (and minimum for a player character), if nothing else applies is 2 dice.
[20:10] <+Nat> Yes.
[20:12] <~Dan> And you’re rolling what kind of dice, again? D6?
[20:12] <+Nat> D6 or D10.
[20:12] <~Dan> What determines the die type?
[20:13] <+Nat> Up to the players. Everyone should use the same type, it’s the overall hit percentage (around 30%) that matters.
[20:13] <~Dan> And the target number of the die is fixed?
[20:13] <+Nat> We wanted to make it easy for people to get into the game. A lot of people have a handful of d6s laying around, or can get 10-20 d6 or d10s pretty cheaply.
[20:14] <+Nat> Yes, but like everything it’s a guideline. If you wanted to make things harder, you could increase the target, or easier would decrease the target.
[20:15] <+Nat> But it’s balanced around the 30% hit rate throughout the system, so we highly recommend sticking with it.
[20:15] <+Cykrus> Test Difficulty ranges between 1-9 target hits in Helheim Unbound, though most tests will be somewhere between 1-4 hits as the target number.
[20:16] <~Dan> What effect does skill breadth have?
[20:16] <+Nat> Cykrus raises a great point. 9 hits is designed as the “you do something amazingly/stupidly powerful.”
[20:18] <+Nat> Skills have naturally progression throughout gameplay. Each session (2-3 hours of gameplay) any time you face a challenge that would require more dice to expect to succeed than your skill, you gain a
[20:18] <+Nat> “trial”.
[20:18] <+Nat> Narrow skills take the least points to increase (2 trials), standard (3 trials), and broad (4 trials).
[20:19] <+Nat> The broader the skill the more points (Time Points used during creation) or Fame to gain or increase.
[20:20] <+Nat> So a narrow skill is less commonly applicable, but easier and quicker to improve
[20:20] <+Nat> A broad skill is more generally usable, but slower to improve.
[20:20] <~Dan> Why are there only three boxes for trials if broad skills need four trials?
[20:22] <+Nat> Once you hit 4, you’d increase the dice by 1, and clear out the boxes.
[20:22] <~Dan> Ah, okay.
[20:22] <+Nat> So as you’d be crossing off the 4th box, you’d be immediately erasing it.
[20:22] * ~Dan nods
[20:23] <+Nat> We were trying to keep boxes as big as we could for people who write larger or want to drop in bigger names or longer descriptions.
[20:23] <+Nat> So it was a good way to add a little more space too.
[20:24] <+Nat> *grin*
[20:24] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:24] <~Dan> Now, you said that players come up with their own skills?
[20:24] <+Nat> Yes.
[20:24] <~Dan> Does the GM decide on the skill’s breadth?
[20:25] <+Nat> It’s designed to be collaborative, and for balance the GM should look at it and help the players out.
[20:25] <+Nat> So both the player and the GM should be doing that. Also, because it’s fair game for anyone else to use that skill, including the GM for their creatures.
[20:26] <~Dan> I see.
[20:26] <+Nat> We have found that sometimes a skill ends up too broad, so we have advice for how to split the skill, or too narrow so how to balance that out
[20:26] <+Nat> I think it happened once in one of the campaigns Cyrkus is running, where they had to split out a technology skill into 3 components, because just 1 skill could be used in almost every single situation.
[20:28] <+Cykrus> Correct. I’ve run a few different campaigns at this point, a few at cons, and generally we’ve had a good idea of how to frame a skill’s breadth.
[20:29] <+xyphoid> Heh sounds like our 13th Age background issues
[20:29] <+xyphoid> that would have been useful
[20:29] <+Cykrus> The skill he’s talking about in particular was a Computers skill called Hardware, Software, and Firmware. Three areas of focus, so a broad skill. It deals with pretty much all forms of traditional computing. But, because this game is in a Cyberpunk setting, we agreed that Droneware and Cyberware were different areas of tech.
[20:30] <+Cykrus> We essentially defined the scope of the skill by fleshing out the setting a bit more.
[20:30] <+Nat> xyphoid guidance on how to split things out or combine them?
[20:30] <+xyphoid> both
[20:30] <+xyphoid> we improvised
[20:30] <+Nat> nod
[20:31] <+xyphoid> it’s tricky because choose your own skill is very useful for defining characterisation – but that can clash with applicability in play,
[20:32] <&Silverlion> Yeah, both skills and traits/aspects/ etc, are essentially flags “I want this..”
[20:32] <+Nat> Yes. I had a case where my character went outside of what their skill was (Straight Talking). Came back in the next session and used a point of wyrd (it’s a way to add 5 dice or generate 2 automatic hits) to balance out my going beyond the skill.
[20:32] <+Nat> But it does help with roleplaying.
[20:33] <+Nat> And that conflict is why we’ve described the system as a collaborative RPG.
[20:33] <+Nat> It’s not good with players who want to completely min max or the like, for those exact reasons you are pointing out.
[20:34] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:35] <+Nat> So both the player and the GM build their dice pool.
[20:36] <+Nat> To take the example here. 8 dice for axe fighter. +1 for Brawny. +1 for their Heirloom Axe. So 10 dice.
[20:36] <~Dan> (brb, please continue)
[20:36] <+Nat> I’ll use our Death Tide mob from the creature example, which has 10 dice.
[20:37] <+Nat> 45313 62164
[20:37] <+Nat> The champion has 3 hits.
[20:37] <+Nat> 26333 55361
[20:37] <+Nat> And the Death Tide has 4 hits.
[20:38] <+Nat> So the death tide wins the attack that Jahson was making, and will cause 4 wounds. Jahson subtracts his Protection (he has 0) and takes 4 wounds. A solid hit.
[20:38] <+Nat> Combat is simultaneous and resolves at the end of the turn, so now the death tide attacks.
[20:38] <+Nat> 53526 12522
[20:38] <+Nat> 4 hits for the creature.
[20:38] <+Nat> 13342 56614
[20:39] <+Nat> and 3 hits for Jahson. So he loses again, and takes 4 more wounds, for a total of 8.
[20:39] <+Nat> The turn is over, and Jahson is critically wounded, and will be at -3 dice.
[20:39] <~Dan> (back)
[20:40] <+Cykrus> This helps represent the importance of Wyrd, as Jahson could spend one to gain 2 hits on either of those tests.
[20:40] <+Nat> And that’s why we have Wyrd, excatly.
[20:40] <+Nat> In both parts of that turn, he could have used 1 wyrd each, which would have given him 5 hits, and (if he had done that), the Death Tide would be dead (again) at the end of the turn.
[20:41] <~Dan> So wyrd is your hero/fate/drama points?
[20:41] <+Nat> Yes.
[20:42] <+Nat> Each champion starts with 4. They can gain more points by using Fame. And they typically refresh at the end of each session.
[20:42] <~Dan> How does Fame work?
[20:43] <+Nat> They can do quite a few things. 1) Let you roll 5 more dice at any point. 2) Turn 2 misses into hits. 3) Give a helpful encounter. 4) Turn 2 enemy hits into misses. 5) Remove 5 dice from the enemy’s pool before they roll.
[20:43] <+Nat> Fame is gained primarily through completing Desires. Desires are what you character wants out of the world. The bigger the desire, the more Fame it gives when completed.
[20:43] <+Nat> We generally say 1-2 fame per session that generally works towards completing the desire.
[20:44] <+Nat> You then can spend fame to gain or improve a trait or gain more wyrd (point costs vary)
[20:44] <~Dan> Does the GM determine how much Fame a Desire is worth?
[20:44] <+Nat> You can also use 1 point of wyrd to count as if it was a trial. So it can accelerate skill growth. Or you can use it to gain a new skill.
[20:45] <+Cykrus> 1 point of fame*
[20:46] <+Nat> So typically 1 Fame per session it takes to work towards the desire. Then 1 Fame if it has a small impact on the world, up to 3 fame if it has a large impact.
[20:46] <+Nat> Yes, 1 point of fame.
[20:47] <~Dan> So has Jahson already achieved his first Desire?
[20:47] <+Nat> We also recommend fame if the character completes a trial publicaly. So if Jahson there killed that Death Tide right outside of the village and everyone saw (since it was rolling as many dice as he was), he’s become a little more well known, and would gain 1 Fame, in addition to completing the trial on his axe skill.
[20:48] <+Nat> and in this case (just realized I was looking at the wrong skill so he would have had 4 dice not 8), he would have completed a trial.
[20:48] <+Nat> Probably not quite yet. 4 dice in a skill is the “Journeyman” or average skill. 8 dice is “Master”, so I’d say he’d be looking at needing 6 dice to complete that desire.
[20:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, FreeGamer!)
[20:49] <+Nat> So if he used the fame gained from winning the fight to count as a 2nd trial, he’d increase it to 5 dice after this fight and be halfway there.
[20:50] <+Nat> I’d say it would be worth 2 Fame for completing it once he gets there.
[20:51] <~Dan> So you don’t only get Fame for completing Desires, but also for any big achievement?
[20:51] <~Dan> (Like beating the Death Tide?)
[20:52] <+Nat> Anything that makes you more noteworthy. In this case he’d get a point of extra fame for killing it since a lot of people in the village would have seen and heard the fight.
[20:52] <+Nat> If it was off in a dark cave with no one around to hear the story…. well, maybe he just dug up some graves and brought the bones to scare people.
[20:53] <+Cykrus> On that note, “infamy” also counts. So even if no one knows you raided the evil villain’s lair but the villain, the GM could still award fame.
[20:53] <+Nat> So they’d get the fame because we know as players he did the deed, but the broader world doesn’t really know. On the other hand, even if you kill the dragon in the cave, you come out with all the treasure and everyone goes and finds a dead dragon, well who is going to argue with a dragon slayer?
[20:54] <+Nat> Absolutely.
[20:55] <+Nat> and then your new “champion” type foe for the players to face is born.
[20:56] <~Dan> Sounds like the game requires a lot of judgment calls from the GM when it comes to PC rewards.
[20:57] <+Nat> Player honesty across the board. How much do you think this is worth? is a good question for the GM to ask the player.
[20:58] * ~Dan nods
[20:58] <+Nat> But the guiding motto is “sure, why not”. The system is designed for characters to take risks, but be rewarded for them.
[20:59] <+Nat> I’d say generally we’ve found people are just having too much fun getting into character to pay too much attention. We’ve had quite a few sessions where we end up saying “Yeah, you basically did that, and here’s 3-5 fame for completing it because we know it’s been a goal for your character for a while.”
[21:00] <+Cykrus> It can, though there is a structured approach. Trials when the challenge is greater than the champion’s usual means. Fame can generally be looked out in a “1 fame per 2-3 hours of play” lens. There are judgement calls to make, but there are some general guidelines for GMs to follow when considering rewards as well.
[21:00] <+Nat> The other way we suggest it is just give 1-2 Fame per session, and use the desires as roleplaying tools but without the Fame mechanic directly tied to it.
[21:00] <~Dan> Am I right that all benefits in combat are “front loaded” into the attack roll?
[21:01] <~Dan> Weapon damage, strength, agility, what have you?
[21:01] <+Nat> Generally. We leave open special rules which may apply afterwards.
[21:01] <+Nat> The axe Jahson had was a good example. If it hits (so you win the combat roll) and it’s a full moon, it causes 2 extra wounds.
[21:02] * ~Dan nods
[21:02] <+Nat> That was the player’s broad request when they asked us to whip up an example, and that was how we came up with a way for the special rule to apply. It also adds +2 dice during the full moon to the dice pool itself, and +1 otherwise.
[21:03] <+Nat> Another good example would be someone charging on a horse. Charging doesn’t mean you’d hit better, but if you do hit, the blow is likely to be devastating.
[21:04] <+Nat> So we might say just charging causes +2 wounds if the attack hits, while charging with a lance and stirrups and all that jazz causes +4 wounds, and gives +1 dice to the pool because it’s easier to control the mount and brace yourself as you charge.
[21:04] <~Dan> That’s good to know… I’m always concerned about “front loaded” systems, because they make clumsy-but-powerful attacks impossible.
[21:04] <~Dan> Or weak-but-accurate attacks, for that matter.
[21:04] <+Cykrus> There are definitely special rules to accommodate that.
[21:04] <+Nat> Our resident danish viking Hagar, had the brawny trait (or something like that), and that’s how we played it out. Not better at hitting, but if he did connect, then +1 wound.
[21:05] <+Cykrus> One creature I designed had a dice pool of 18, almost near the cap.
[21:05] <~Dan> Ah, good. See, that’s how I’d like it to work, re: Brawny.
[21:05] <+Cykrus> But it’s blades are razor thin, so it can only deal 1 wound at a time.
[21:06] <~Dan> So let me break out an example that I haven’t used in a while: the big, clumsy giant with a huge, unwieldy club. How would you stat him out?
[21:06] <+Nat> We wanted the system to be easy to get into, so a lot of those things fall into the “special rule” category for once you’re more familiar, start piling them on. I think at one point during play testing we had knives use the “weak” special rule, so -2 wounds when they hit. But the “Knife Master” trait eliminated that penalty.
[21:07] <+Cykrus> The interesting part is that Nat and I could have different approaches to this. So It’d be cool if both of us tried and gave our interpretations.
[21:07] <+Nat> I’d say give 6 dice (account for the clumsy and unwieldy), probably 30 health. 2 special rules: Big Smash (attacks hit everyone in melee), and Whomp (+3 wounds if the attack hits).
[21:08] <+Nat> What’s your take Cyrkus?
[21:09] <+Nat> And that’s basically all we need to create this creature. Toss in a wound profile (basically how do their hindrances increase as they take more wounds), give a name (“Grog SmashSkull”), and a brief description (“A 12 foot tall giant, with dull eyes.”) and you’ve got your creature made.
[21:09] <+Cykrus> So I agree with the dice amount. 6 sounds about right. 30 health with 1 protection. Two Special rules: Titan’s strength (All hits deal +2 wounds) and Crushing blow (All hits ignore 2 points of the target’s protection).
[21:10] <~Dan> (As an aside, the best giant name I ever saw was something like Heinrich Armripperoffer.)
[21:10] <+Nat> Maybe add in a 4 dice ranged attack (“Big Rocks”), that we’ll give “Whomp” as well.
[21:10] <+Nat> heh
[21:11] <+Nat> Cyrkus’ can be Heinrich Armripperoffer the Second.
[21:11] <+Nat> 🙂
[21:11] <+Cykrus> Ah, you type a bit slower and you’re number two.
[21:11] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:12] <+Nat> So as you can see, creating creatures is really really easy.
[21:12] * ~Dan nods
[21:12] <+Nat> No stat blocks or anything else to slow things down.
[21:12] <~Dan> Right…
[21:12] <~Dan> Reminds me a bit of HeroQuest.
[21:12] <~Dan> In general approach, not in dice mechanic.
[21:14] <+Nat> The first GW game I played without realizing it…
[21:14] <+Nat> It’s not too bad of a comparison.
[21:15] <~Dan> So the Ranged and Melee thing is just for NPCs?
[21:15] <+Nat> it’s a simplification for NPCs.
[21:15] * ~Dan nods
[21:15] <+Nat> For player’s its a bit more open, and depends on the setting.
[21:15] <~Dan> Right, I follow you.
[21:16] <+Nat> For ye olden days, generally 2 different skills there, but you do have some with a blend to them (like spears).
[21:16] <~Dan> How much support is there for other settings and genres beyond the default one?
[21:16] <+Nat> A firearm based setting, I’d probably use just the one firearm skill, or increase it’s breadth to account for using it as a club.
[21:17] <+Nat> So we’re starting to put together the Saxon Wars setting. After that we’re turning to the dystopian near future setting.
[21:17] <~Dan> Or as a spear, with a bayonet?
[21:17] <+Nat> Yep.
[21:17] <+Nat> We have one group who is playing using Skyrim as the setting, and one of the players last week started up their own gaming group with the player as a GM doing a Morrowind setting.
[21:18] <+Nat> Another person in the UK is setting up a setting based on some point of time in England when Mercia was around.
[21:19] <+Nat> The Skyrim folks said their magic system took about 10 minutes to create and set up. And they’ve been throwing around shield spells, ice bolts, freezing dragon’s snouts shut.
[21:19] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about those two pre-made magic systems you mentioned?
[21:19] <+Nat> We want people to play whatever setting they’d like to, and the system is flexible and strong enough to hold up to that.
[21:19] <+Cykrus> And we’ve included a few examples from the near future setting in the core rulebook.
[21:20] <+Nat> I’ll let Cyrkus speak to the divine magic side. I cooked up the runic magic side.
[21:20] <+Cykrus> Sure, you want to go first?
[21:20] <+GKG_Alan> hey folks. (Q&A going on?)
[21:20] <+Nat> So Runic magic is designed to be very rare, and hard to learn. So how much of it you can do it limited to how much Wyrd you have. How many dice you can have in your pool is based on how good of a Runic magic trait you have.
[21:21] <~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan! Yup, just at the tail end.)
[21:21] <+Nat> The spells then require fame to learn, which was reflective of needing to go find someone who knows what they are doing.
[21:21] <+Nat> Otherwise the spells are drawn almost directly from the Havamal (the sayings of the All-Father from Norse lore), with a few tweaks to make them actually work in a game play setting
[21:22] <+Nat> So there’s a spell to undo knots or open locks. Another one to calm storms or have helpful tides.
[21:22] <+Nat> But it’s also designed to make failure punishing in many cases.
[21:23] <+Nat> There’s a lot in the Norse Sagas about want to be rune magic users really messing up. A prime example were runes of healing that was making a girl sick. The parents go searching, come across Egil, who comes and takes a look. He breaks the bad runes, writes the right ones, and the girl wakes up the next morning, fully healed.
[21:24] <+Nat> So quite a few of the spells are designed around complex tests, which reward going beyond just what is needed, but which cause negative effects for the more poorly you do.
[21:24] <+Nat> Hey GKG_Alan
[21:24] <+GKG_Alan> *wave* oi
[21:24] <+Nat> So, with that, I’ll turn it over to Cyrkus.
[21:24] <~Dan> (GKG_Alan is one of our “resident” game authors.)
[21:24] <+Cykrus> Hello
[21:25] <+GKG_Alan> Congrats, I just backed for the “Make a Champion” Pledge. Spells from the Havamal? Breaking bad runes? Speaking to my heartstrings.
[21:26] <+Nat> We have the core rulebook sample available as a free download, it’s about half the core rulebook. All of the core rules, all of the champion creation, and then some excerpts from the other chapters. (Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/242720/Helheim-Unbound-Core-Rulebook-Sample)http://www.rpgnow.com/product/242720/Helheim-Unbound-Core-Rulebook-Sample
[21:26] <+Nat> And wow, thanks Alan.
[21:26] <+Cykrus> Right, so Divine Magic draws from the miracles of the time, primarily drawing from religious tales and things along those lines. It’s a bit of old testament, a bit of new testament in flavor. Like rune magic it requires a few things and has a few limitations.
[21:27] <+Cykrus> You need to know how to speak latin, and spend about 10 seconds, or a turn in combat, to chant a litany before you can attempt to perform a miracle. You can perform a certain number of miracles per session, and need a holy object (which are resources of increasing potency, rarity and cost) to perform divine magic.
[21:28] <+Cykrus> But it has no backlash, unlike rune magic, so it’s safer to use. And nearby faithful allies are inspired by a chanting priest, so they can get bonuses while the priest is performing the litany.
[21:29] <+Cykrus> Divine magic uses miracles like healing the wounded, curing the sick, and even resurrecting dead champions.
[21:29] * ~Dan nods
[21:29] <+Cykrus> Then there’s some fire and brimstone, using the awe of god to rebuke would be attackers.
[21:30] <+Cykrus> It’s focused around support mostly, with a little of calling down some divine wrath.
[21:30] <+Cykrus> Fire, plagues, blessings the like.
[21:31] <+Cykrus> And we include the rules we used as a guide to make our systems, plus some more in case any GM would want to draft their own framework.
[21:31] <~Dan> Right.
[21:31] <+Cykrus> From there it’s about making cool spells to fit into the magic framework.
[21:31] * ~Dan nods
[21:31] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:32] <~Dan> So before we wrap up the official Q&A — and I should mention that you guys are welcome to hang out with us as long as you like — is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:34] <~Dan> And I’ll just mention that gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ , if anyone is so inclined. 🙂
[21:34] <+Nat> I think that about covers it. We’re on Kickstarter for just about another 74 hours, so there’s still time if anyone wants to check it out. We’ve got quite a few free downloads, links to our videos of creating champions and creatures, and links to Encounter Roleplay, who have done 2 sessions so far (about 6 hours) of gameplay.
[21:35] <+Cykrus> I’m usually bad at last minute lines, hah. Based on the games I’ve run, I’d just want to say that Helheim Unbound is really good for rule of cool and improvised play. In my main playtest group they used grapnels, an armored industrial Exo-suit and a whole lot of gumption to hurl an android character at an attack helicopter like a ballistic missile.
[21:35] <~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
[21:36] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Nat and Cykrus!
[21:36] <+Cykrus> Thanks for hosting!
[21:36] <~Dan> Oh, what is your full name, Cykrus? I want to give you credit in the chat log title.
[21:36] <+Cykrus> Oh right, sorry. Cameron Reed.
[21:37] <+Nat> And thank you Dan, xyphoid, and Silverlion for your questions.
[21:37] <~Dan> Got it. Give me just a minute here, and I’ll get the log posted and link you.