[20:37] <+TC> Hi! My name is T.C. Sottek, and aside from being someone who is *always on time*, I’m a magazine editor by day and game designer by night. For the past year me & my team have been working on Quest, which is a TTRPG in the vein of D&D and PBTA that’s designed for easy entry, but deep and long-term play. We’re about to enter our final day on Kickstarter!
[20:38] <+TC> The core features of our game is an intuitive ruleset, conversational game guide, and an extensive deck of cards with all of the game’s abilities to have at the table.
[20:38] <+TC> Our website is at (Link: https://www.adventure.game/)https://www.adventure.game/ and if you’d like to know more about the rules we’ve got a rundown here: (Link: https://www.adventure.game/rules/)https://www.adventure.game/rules/
[20:40] <~Dan> (Just give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂 )
[20:40] <+TC> roger. (done)
[20:41] <+Motulev> Powered by the Apocalypse you say?
[20:41] <~Dan> Thanks, TC! The floor is open to questions!
[20:41] <+TC> it’s not a PBTA game but people will see a similarity with the core mechanic, which is a standard spread of outcomes mapped to a d20
[20:42] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[20:43] <+TC> I don’t! That happens to be one of the last things on our design schedule, since we’re hoping to make a modular one that you can configure through the website we’ll be makinng
[20:43] <~Dan> No problem. Can you describe the elements that make up a character?
[20:43] <~Dan> (Attributes, skills, etc.)
[20:43] <+TC> for sure
[20:44] <+TC> so we start with the big decision: the player’s role (which translates as “class”). We have 8 roles; some will be familiar from archetypes, but have been uniquely designed for this game.
[20:45] <+TC> the second big choice is the player’s background, which is the job or life they had before they became an adventurer; players can choose from things like Bard, Veteran, Delver, and many more
[20:45] <+TC> each background offers some of its own unique abilities, and each sets up some very personal stakes for the player
[20:45] <+TC> for example, the Rake background suggests that you stole a valuable object in the past year, its own knows you stole it, and they want it back
[20:46] <+TC> then, you build some core motivations by choosing an ideal and a flaw; aspects of your personality
[20:47] <+TC> finally, we ask players to invent their own heritage (known as “race” elsewhere). We don’t bring the “Tolkien races to this game. Instead we give players a number of attributes to choose from to create their own people
[20:47] <~Dan> Interesting approach.
[20:47] <+TC> for example, players will be asked to choose a positive cultural trait their people are known for, like “my people are known for their generosity”, or “my people are known for exploring”
[20:47] <+TC> (I’m sure there will still be pointy eared elflike folks and dwarves)
[20:48] <+TC> after that, players wrap up by choosing their role’s starting abilities and equipment
[20:48] <+TC> you advance in this game by gaining experience and spending it to learn abilities
[20:48] <+TC> so each player starts with an XP “budget” to use
[20:48] <+TC> (done)
[20:48] <+TC> oh sorry
[20:48] <+TC> I didn’t answer one of the core parts of that question!
[20:49] <+TC> there are three core “stats”: hit points, magic points (if you are a magic user), and the “bonus”, which is a standardized modifier used for making checks that applies to any of your skills and abilities
[20:50] <+TC> and each role has a set of general skills from a set of 9 (like athletics, acrobatics, sleuthing, stealth, etc)
[20:50] <+TC> now I’m done.
[20:50] <~Dan> So no attributes?
[20:51] <+TC> nope. we don’t have strength, charisma, wisdom, etc in this game
[20:51] <~Dan> How do you determine how much someone can lift, for example, then?
[20:52] <+TC> we have something called the “common sense rule” which states that if there’s no specific rule for how something is resolved, you evaluate the facts of the scene to figure out what’s possible. the practical application of this is the GM’s judgement is invoked
[20:53] <+TC> so if the GM decides it’s *possible* for someone to pick something up, but they think there’s some challenge that should be involved, they’d ask for an “athletics” check
[20:53] <+TC> roles with athletics skill will have advantage
[20:54] <+TC> (done)
[20:54] <~Dan> Can you describe task resolution in the game?
[20:57] <+TC> Sure: we have a standard range of outcomes, from critical failure to critical success. 1: crit fail, 2-5 failure, 6-10 mistake, 11-19 success, 20 critical success. This set applies to any task that calls for a check. If you have a skill that applies to the task, you add your bonus (modifier) to the roll.
[20:57] <+TC> Some things you try to do will have specific consequences for failure, for example, the fighter’s “wild attack” ability tells you exactly what happens if you land in any of those ranges
[20:57] <+TC> otherwise, we give the GM advice about how to interpret the results based on the difficulty and the stakes of the situation
[20:58] <~Dan> So if you have even a single point in a skill, it’s impossible to crit fail?
[20:58] <+TC> instead of creating moving targets for checks, we advise GMs to alter the consequences to match the context of the task and the stakes involved
[20:58] <+TC> oh, sorry no — 1 and 20 are exceptions. natural result of 1 or 20 automatically triggers that result
[20:59] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[21:00] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[21:01] <+TC> we have a free-flowing turn based system where the GM decides the initiative order based on the context of the narrative. usually they will give everyone equal turns, but it’s a flexible system where the turn order can be interrupted if it makes sense to do so.
[21:02] <+TC> during each turn players can perform a single action, and action is broadly defined as any discrete task you want to accomplish
[21:02] <+TC> they can perform that action + move to be able to perform it
[21:02] <+TC> distance in this game is talked about in relative terms, so you can quickly resolve whether something can happen or not during your turn — it’s not measured precisely
[21:02] <+TC> we have 3 categories of distance: “reach” “near” and “far”
[21:03] <+TC> reach means you can hit or touch something without moving or with a trivial amount of movement
[21:03] <+TC> near means you can move to reach it within a single turn
[21:03] <+TC> far means it’s beyond your reach in a single turn
[21:04] <+TC> we’ve designed our melee-based roles to be able to “dance” in combat, meaning it’s possible for chains of events to happen
[21:04] <+TC> for instance, fighters have the ability to parry and counterattack, and this ability is triggered when an enemy scores a mistake or failure on an attack
[21:05] <+TC> some of these abilities can trigger consecutively, meaning you might exchange a few blows during a single turn, rather than hacking and slashing once per round
[21:05] <+TC> we think it makes things feel a little more natural and fluid
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:05] <+TC> (done)
[21:05] <~Dan> So unlike PbtA, NPCs roll for attacks?
[21:05] <+TC> correct
[21:05] <+TC> and GMs roll in public in this game!
[21:05] <+TC> we’ve found it adds a lot to the experience at the table
[21:06] <+TC> players have told us they think it makes things feel more consequential and exciting
[21:06] <+TC> GMs can still of course fudge other things only they know
[21:07] <+TC> but rolling at the table has been a great dynamic
[21:07] <+TC> (done)
[21:07] <+MonkofLords> 0/
[21:07] <~Dan> Well, I’d also say that this allows for enemies to have skill levels — something that PbtA games don’t.
[21:08] <+TC> that’s true
[21:08] <~Dan> Interesting.
[21:08] <+TC> we have a pretty cool creature creation system too 🙂
[21:08] <~Dan> Oh? What’s that like?
[21:09] <+TC> so creatures have some of the same core base stats as players — hit points and bonus
[21:09] <+TC> they also have something called “attack rating”, which is a standardized number that describes its average damage
[21:09] <+TC> (there are no damage dice in this game period)
[21:10] <+TC> but the attack rating lets you use the creature to attack in really any way you can think of to make the narrative more flavorful without having to look up a bunch of different attacks
[21:10] <+TC> for example, a Hill Giant might have an ATK of 20, and when it slams you, kicks you, or tosses you through the air it’s going to do thatt much damage
[21:11] <+TC> beyond that we give GMs basically a buffet of creature features, each that adds to the creature’s deadliness
[21:11] <~Dan> Does degree of success affect damage in combat?
[21:11] <+TC> when you’re finished adding things to your creature you’ll see a deadliness rating based on what you chose
[21:11] <+TC> and you can figure out its difficulty relative to your party
[21:12] <+TC> it does — critical hits double damage, mistakes halve it
[21:12] <+TC> successes deal the standard damage
[21:12] <+TC> all weapons and attacks have a standard damage rating
[21:12] <+TC> e.g. a traditional two-handed sword deals 12 damage
[21:12] <+TC> the high probability of average success in this game and the standard damage system makes combat pretty fast and consequential
[21:13] <~Dan> (Howdy, Nat!)
[21:13] <+TC> things can get serious quickly, making tactics pretty important
[21:13] <+Nat> (Hey all)
[21:13] <+TC> even if this at first glace might not seem like a highly tactical game
[21:13] <+TC> hi there
[21:13] <+TC> (done)
[21:13] <~Dan> What is magic like in the game?
[21:15] <+TC> magic is generally pretty powerful. we’re trying to design a lot of the spells to serve as interesting story prompts. we have very little “marginal stat bonus” type abilities and spells in the game — usually they do something tangible and flavorful
[21:15] <+TC> we use a basic resource-cost system for casting spells (magic points) — every spell has an MP cost
[21:15] <+TC> so players have flexibility in which spells they cast. no spell slots or “daily” style spells
[21:16] <~Dan> Right.
[21:16] <+TC> we’re also designing a bunch of spells to have unusual interactive elements that ask the party to do some out-of-character stuff
[21:16] <+TC> here’s an example:
[21:16] <+TC> (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/021/480/418/befd94fb379d57f60e7905bfe603114b_original.png?w=680&fit=max&v=1528226294&auto=format&lossless=true&s=8743566afe30f7e0c0f764d97da8d821)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/021/480/418/befd94fb379d57f60e7905bfe603114b_original.png?w=680&fit=max&v=1528226294&auto=format&lossless=true&s=8743566afe30f7e0c0f764d97da8d821
[21:16] <+TC> for this spell to take effect you have to play a game of charades at the table
[21:17] <+TC> in terms of the flavor there’s a lot of high fantasy in the spellbook, but we prefer for spells to be very consequentiall
[21:17] <~Dan> So powerful and rare?
[21:17] <+TC> so something like a fire bolt costs a *lot* of magic power. this isn’t a game where a bunch of mages are running around throwing elemental spells everywhere
[21:18] <+TC> yes; powerful and rare. every time you use a spell we want it to require some thought
[21:18] <~Dan> Is magic ability learned or inherent?
[21:18] <+TC> the most powerful spells in the game also have an XP cost, which is a scarce resource
[21:18] <+TC> (XP activation cost)
[21:19] <+TC> good Q! that’s not part of our system; it’s more of a roleplaying and world building choice
[21:19] <+TC> we leave that idea up to the players
[21:19] <+TC> but the implication of choosing a non-magic using role is that those roles *don’t* learn it eventually
[21:20] <+TC> otherwise that distinction isn’t important to our rules
[21:20] * ~Dan nods
[21:20] <+TC> (done)
[21:20] <~Dan> So the game doesn’t have a built-in setting?
[21:21] <+TC> we’re making an original adventure format to release with the game, called The Reach. it’s based on the West Marches theory of play
[21:21] <+TC> so we’ll be creating overarching environments, characters, factions, and stakes — but we’re going to let players and GMs fill in some of the particular details of the world
[21:22] <~Dan> How do the players fill in world details?
[21:22] <+TC> the format expands on the West Marches idea by establishing a single city as the main character of the story; something your players can interact with and improve over time
[21:22] <+TC> we’ll be giving GMs and players some prompts to fill in story details at certain points
[21:22] <+TC> each session will be a “mission” they embark on
[21:24] <+TC> so we’ll provide some things like characters, their motivations, and some background, but the world will be partially metaphorical — meaning you could adapt it to various time periods and settings
[21:25] <+TC> most of that will be choice for the GM but we’ll build in some specific prompts for the players at points to allow them to make some choices about the world
[21:25] <+TC> part of that will be that they get to choose which missions to go on
[21:25] <+TC> (done)
[21:27] <~Dan> Does the game include a bestiary?
[21:28] <+TC> yep — we’ll be making a bestiary, and our Adventure Deck for GMs will contain 150 cards with magic treasure and creature cards
[21:28] <+TC> GMs will have cards with creatures & stat blocks to use at the table
[21:28] <+TC> and loot to hand out to players
[21:29] <+TC> the bestiary will contain some totally unique creatures of our own design, and also some generic creature formats in case GMs want flexibility while being able to quickly reference a creature of a certain difficulty level
[21:30] <+TC> (for example, the GM could use the same humanoid warrior format for a town guard or a highwayman)
[21:30] <+TC> the bestiary will also feature narrative text that GMs can use to introduce the creatures in the story
[21:30] <+TC> (done)
[21:32] <~Dan> Do you have any plans to do a setting at some point?
[21:36] <+TC> yes, I have a setting in mind! after we finish our first adventure format my goal is to get some prominent writers together in a room and come up with a setting that we can build on with adventure modules
[21:36] <+TC> we’ll also be making a little one-shot unrelated to The Reach that we’ll release with the game next year
[21:37] <+TC> the one-shot will do some more hand-holding for people who are brand new to the game, including new GMs
[21:37] <+TC> (done)
[21:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, Frankto!)
[21:38] <~Dan> And mum’s the word. 😉
[21:38] <+TC> heh
[21:38] <+TC> yeah nobody specific to announce yet but we’ve had a lot of folks reach out in the last month who want to work with us
[21:38] <+TC> I’m pretty excited about some of them!
[21:39] <+TC> I really want to build a community of creators for this who make their own modules to share
[21:39] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:39] <+TC> ideally in the long-term we’ll have a marketplace where people can share their adventures
[21:40] <+TC> any other Qs?
[21:40] <~Dan> Hmmm… let’s see….
[21:42] <~Dan> Minor point: does armor reduce damage, or does make combatants harder to hit?
[21:42] <+TC> great Q
[21:42] <+TC> going to give a roundabout answer here
[21:43] <+TC> we have a design principle called “the single check rule”, which means that for every system in the game we design, we only want there to be one roll of the die to determine the outcome — and only one modifier to apply. no moving targets; no negative modifiers. no saving throws, etc
[21:44] <+TC> when we starting thinking about armor it really threw a wrench in this principle — we played with a bunch of different approaches that all broke this simplicity
[21:45] <+TC> eventually we decided we could actually just ignore armor and make it cosmetic. which seemed counter-intuitive and weird! but once we did it it seemed really obvious and our testers really liked it
[21:45] <+xyphoid> (i’m curious since armor is one of the worst bits of Dungeon World for example)
[21:46] <+TC> so the way the single check rule applies here narratively speaking is — when you score a success in the game, it assumes *you were successful against any potential impediments*
[21:46] <+TC> the single check determines the whole outcome
[21:46] <+TC> when looking at it in that light, a success means you were able to bypass the enemy’s armor, meaning we can think about it cosmetically
[21:46] <+TC> still, traditional armor wearers should have some sort of advantage — so we simply gave them increased hit points
[21:47] <+TC> since hit points are metaphorical to begin with (like a doomsday clock), having more HP is a way to assume higher average durability over time
[21:47] <+TC> like what you might get from wearing armor
[21:47] <+TC> also, we found active defenses way more interesting as a mechanic than armor, which is passive
[21:47] <+TC> so we focused on that dance of combat I mentioned — giving fighters more ways to actively block or counter attacks
[21:48] <+TC> (done)
[21:48] * ~Dan nods
[21:51] <+Nat> I dropped in late, but can you give an example of how an active defense works?
[21:54] <+TC> hi Nat — yes, we give some melee classes the ability to parry and counterattack as a reaction to incoming attacks
[21:55] <+TC> so if an attacker rolls poorly on an attack, some of these reactions may trigger and you can decide how to counter
[21:56] <+TC> some more advanced abilities allow you to prepare to intercept an incoming attacker making an attack on an ally
[21:57] <+TC> for example
[21:57] <+TC> an advanced parry ability lets you disarm an opponent or take their weapon
[21:58] <+TC> on a failed attack
[21:58] <+TC> (done)
[22:01] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[22:03] <+TC> Thinking…
[22:05] <+TC> I think I’d just mention we’re really putting a lot of thought into the physical design of our book and cards. Rules and systems are great, and we’re putting a ton of work into those — but I think what makes this game different is execution. I think you’ll enjoy reading and looking at our stuff!
[22:05] <~Dan> Very cool. 🙂
[22:05] <+TC> We’ll be making the rounds next year to gaming events, and our first appearance this year will be at XOXO 2018 in Portlannd
[22:05] <+TC> so if you happen to be there stop by!
[22:06] <+TC> we’ll also be doing more streams and hopefully seeding the game to folks to use for their own real play podcasts
[22:06] <+TC> (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N36nbIssJVs)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N36nbIssJVs
[22:06] <+TC> here’s the first session we aired
[22:06] <~Dan> Nice.
[22:07] <+TC> thanks a lot again for having me, and sorry I was late… twice!
[22:07] <+TC> I had fun chatting 🙂
[22:07] <~Dan> You’re welcome! Glad you could make it. 🙂
[22:07] <+TC> I’m @chillmage on Twitter, feel free to holler at me any time
[22:07] <+TC> always down to talk about spells
[22:07] <~Dan> Quick reminder to readers: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[22:08] <~Dan> Now if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂