[19:42] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Okay. Hello everyone. I’m Brian Crenshaw, creator of Survive the Night, a beginner-friendly one-shot horror RPG
[19:43] <+SurviveTheNight_Megan> Hi! I’m Megan, and I’m the Art Director on Survive the Night’s print book.
[19:44] <+Survivethenight_Brian> …(Done)
[19:44] <~Dan> Thanks, guys! The floor is open to questions!
[19:45] <~Dan> Does the game have its own setting, or is it a generic horror game?
[19:46] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The game is organized by scenario. While we have experimented with games set in the future, by and large the games take place in places and times that are believable and modern for the players, and the characters are assumed to be in a world where they believe in the same things that you and I do.
[19:47] <+Survivethenight_Brian> So, when something supernatural comes screaming for them from beyond the grave, they are as surprised as their players would be.
[19:47] <+Survivethenight_Brian> (Done)
[19:48] <~Dan> So the game is designed specifically for one-shot game sessions?
[19:50] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Indeed. It takes some of the sting out of character death (a common occurrence in the game), and helps to maintain the core structure which is that of a horror movie, where danger increases as the story goes on.
[19:51] <~Dan> How does the game facilitate one shots in particular?
[19:51] <+Survivethenight_Brian> We have found that this also helps keep the barrier to entry low, as new players have to invest less in an experience that only requires their attention for 2-5 hours rather than multiple days of gaming.
[19:52] * ~Dan nods
[19:52] <+Survivethenight_Brian> I’m not quite sure how you mean. You’re asking how it works to support a one-shot structure vs. a campaign structure?
[19:52] <~Dan> Yes.
[19:53] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Game mechanics and character creation are quite simple. We have done our best to make starting a game even easier by providing twelve sample characters at all of our demos.
[19:54] <~Dan> (The widget is back up now, btw.)
[19:54] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The emphasis on just jumping in means less investment up front, and less concern when a character–especially one that is reused across many games–meets an untimely end.
[19:54] * ~Dan nods
[19:54] <+Survivethenight_Brian> I would say more than anything though that death is what facilitates the one-shot format.
[19:54] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Death is a tragedy in a year-long campaign.
[19:55] <+Survivethenight_Brian> It’s an expected step toward a thrilling climax in a two-hour horror story.
[19:55] <+Survivethenight_Brian> (Done)
[19:56] <~Dan> How long does character creation take?
[19:56] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Our upcoming book will come with twelve premade characters, which of course means that you can spend whatever time you like deliberating between characters and start playing as soon as you want to.
[19:57] <+Survivethenight_Brian> But character creation itself can be as short as five minutes if you are familiar with the system and know what you want, or fifteen minutes if you’re brand new and reading the rules for the first time.
[19:57] <+Survivethenight_Brian> (Done)
[19:58] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet or sample character that we can see?
[19:59] <+Survivethenight_Brian> I don’t know how to do that in this chat room, but we do have the pages we have used for our demo characters. Currently our art team has been working on character art and character sheet formatting, but at this precise moment we do not have the latest art on a finished character sheet.
[20:00] <+SurviveTheNight_Megan> By art team, he means me, haha.
[20:00] <~Dan> Do you have a URL for the demo characters? You can post that.
[20:01] <+SurviveTheNight_Megan> (Link: https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/021/548/135/d2f4c67e427ff9cafa43d2d501378195_original.jpg?w=680&fit=max&v=1528765172&auto=format&q=92&s=f8e574cd5375110b86f7da347a92136b)https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/021/548/135/d2f4c67e427ff9cafa43d2d501378195_original.jpg?w=680&fit=max&v=1528765172&auto=format&q=92&s=f8e574cd5375110b86f7da347a92136b sorry for the long link! here’s the prototype sheet I did for biff.
[20:02] <~Dan> Looking it over here…
[20:02] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Indeed, the closest thing we have to date. The name of certain stats have been changed to lean away from traditional swords and sorcery terminology, but this should give some indication of the kind of things get to flesh out with a character
[20:03] * ~Dan nods
[20:03] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Stats indicate those attributes native to a character, Build (size and strength), Coordination (reflexes and speed), and Perception (how aware the character is of their surroundings)
[20:04] <~Dan> So Perception replaced Intelligence?
[20:04] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Skills are those things which they have learned that might prove useful in a life and death situation, Gear lists what items they have brought with them and Traits allow for any attribute which does not fall within the first three sections.
[20:05] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Correct, though it is not a perfect analogue. The Hunter class gets a bonus to its Perception rolls, but that does not make its members more intelligent than other classes.
[20:05] <~Dan> So what do you use for intelligence?
[20:07] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Ha, Perception is the stand-in. All three stats cover a wide variety of situations. Perceptiveness is how aware you are of your surroundings, but it can also function to show how quickly you pick up concepts.
[20:07] <~Dan> I see.
[20:07] <~Dan> Do Traits and Skills come from predetermined lists?
[20:09] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Yes and no. There are predetermined lists for both skills and traits, but innovation and creativity are encouraged. Our premade character Walter is one of the five ‘official’ party members for the game, and he has a trait not on the list, called ‘Stiff Jab’
[20:09] <+SurviveTheNight_Megan> (Link: https://78.media.tumblr.com/7c168d0db19a86323749d68ae1a95a0a/tumblr_pbmlrunPzW1rnmpspo1_1280.jpg)https://78.media.tumblr.com/7c168d0db19a86323749d68ae1a95a0a/tumblr_pbmlrunPzW1rnmpspo1_1280.jpg
[20:11] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Walter is a Sleuth, a would-be detective who likes to bring his brass knuckles along into dangerous situations. ‘Stiff Jab’ helps him specifically because of the weapon he chooses to use, allowing him to stack damage, but it probably wouldn’t be taken very often by characters with different builds.
[20:11] <+Survivethenight_Brian> As long as the Narrator (GM) is okay with it, you can take any trait or skill at the agreed upon price.
[20:11] * ~Dan nods
[20:12] <~Dan> Are all traits rated at either +1 or -1?
[20:13] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Often. You begin character creation with 10 points, and most pros or cons you take for your character run 1 or 2 points, or return 1 or 2 points back to you.
[20:14] <~Dan> And are skills always rated at a flat +2?
[20:14] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The Brave trait costs 1 point and gives a character +1 to all of their Fear rolls, an important mechanic in the game which determines whether the character maintains their composure in terrifying situations. Courageous, on the other hand, costs 2 points and grants +2
[20:16] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Yes. With the exception of those buffed by the ‘Training: Mastery’ skill, +2 is flat. Gradations of skill make a lot of sense in campaign-based games where characters level up and get stronger. In a game like Survive the Night, it is more prudent to note whether a character is good at a task or not, and move on from there
[20:16] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[20:16] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:16] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The Mastery skill allows you to get that +3 if you really want it, though.
[20:19] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Well, given the temporary dearth of questions, I’ll take the opportunity to flesh out the game’s description a little bit more.
[20:20] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The simple design allows people at any level of experience to dive into a horror story that they can interact with and influence to affect the outcome
[20:21] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The core rules fit on only a few pages, with the bulk of that section being filled with details on the various classes and how different characters differ from one another. Balance is achieved through differing access to skills, class-specific bonuses and–occasionally–equipment
[20:21] <~Dan> (back, sorry)
[20:22] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The rules for the Narrator are just as simple, but rather than mastering a character he or she will spend time familiarizing themselves with the scenario and the characters they control within that. While we’re very proud of our widely accessible game system and its extremely friendly mechanics, most of what makes the game special is in the atmosphere
[20:22] <+Survivethenight_Brian> as well as the ‘feel’ of the game. A lot it wrapped up in its art, and in its story.
[20:23] <~Dan> You mentioned classes… What are these classes?
[20:23] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Megan can answer a lot of questions based around how we’ve approached the art of the game. Questions regarding the mechanics of the game or the stories in our library (four of which will feature in our book) I can answer
[20:24] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The classes are designed to provide archetypes that players may have seen in various horror movies. They fit roughly into four categories: Athletes, Intellectuals, Survivalists, and Team Players
[20:25] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The twelve classes are: Heavy, Runner, Ballplayer, Bookworm, Paranormal Investigator, Sleuth, Camper, Doomsday Prepper, Hunter, Leader, Wingman, and Follower
[20:25] <~Dan> How does class affect the character?
[20:26] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Each one has its own feel and its own advantages. Some classes bring bonuses to the table that only they have access to, such as the Sleuth’s ‘Observation’ skill is is like an enhanced Perception check and very helpful in revealing story clues in-game.
[20:26] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The Doomsday Prepper has its own gear list that other classes cannot buy from, allowing these characters to spend points to take a gun from the outset
[20:27] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Notably, the Follower class has ‘Lucky Breaks’ which can be cashed in mid-game to secure rerolls for bad results, or before the game starts to allow the Follower to copy skills from other classes for free.
[20:27] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:28] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Each one brings something unique to the game, has its own preferred answers to various dangerous situations, and contributes to the party’s well-being in different ways.
[20:28] <~Dan> What can the Paranormal Investigator do?
[20:30] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The Paranormal Investigator gets an enormous bonus to any knowledge roll that hinges on the paranormal. Like the other Intellectuals, they receive +1 Perception by default. They have access to skills no other class can take (such as Exorcism) and their own special gear list which includes an EMF recorder
[20:31] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Bear in mind that they don’t /need/ to take all of these options, a lot of character balance comes from access rather than auto-purchasing advantages. It is completely reasonable to take a Paranormal Investigator as a base class just for their +4 to Paranormal Knowledge rolls, and then
[20:31] <+Survivethenight_Brian> spend all 10 points on stat bonuses and skills or gear from the common lists.
[20:33] * ~Dan nods
[20:33] <~Dan> Do any PCs have access to supernatural abilities?
[20:35] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Not generally, but there are exceptions. The setting for Survive the Night is very much life-as-we-know-it until bad things start happening. However, that isn’t to say that the story has never taken odd turned with characters getting bitten, possessed, or using dark magic found in occult books!
[20:36] <+Survivethenight_Brian> odd turns* sorry for the typo!
[20:36] <~Dan> Does the game include a system for dark magic?
[20:38] <+Survivethenight_Brian> No. We encourage creativity a great deal and many stories have taken unexpected directions with characters gaining access to things intended for the antagonists, but this is a pleasant surprise more than the rule. When characters start being able to buy fireball or raise dead spells, the tone of the game definitely changes.
[20:39] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[20:39] <~Dan> Oh, I meant to ask this earlier: What is the game’s task resolution mechanic?
[20:41] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Difficulty rolls. The Narrator chooses a difficulty/result that must be met, and the players rolls a d6 and adds any/every bonus that applies. Which ones apply may differ from Narrator to Narrator, but it is often fairly obvious.
[20:41] <~Dan> Sounds simple enough.
[20:42] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Character A tries to hold a door shut with a raging psychopath on the other side, make a Strength roll. Narrator sets the difficulty at 7, character A rolls and adds any Build bonuses (size and strength), as well as the Weightlifter or Mr. Olympia traits (traits that increase strength) if he has one of those.
[20:43] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Indeed, we want people to feel comfortable with the system almost immediately. I would hazard a guess that fewer than a dozen people have actually read the rules prior to playing their first session with one of our Narrators. All of them got the hang of it early in the playthrough.
[20:44] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:44] <~Dan> (wb, Woo!)
[20:45] <+Survivethenight_Brian> I’m about to be disconnected gentleman, internet issues. Brb
[20:46] <~Dan> No problem!
[20:48] <+Survivethenight_Brian> And back.
[20:48] <~Dan> wb!
[20:48] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Combat is the same principle, except that difficulty is standardized rather than thought up on the fly.
[20:50] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Dodge Value is determined by adding Coordination to a default value, usually 3 for human characters. This becomes the difficulty that an attacker needs to meet when they make an attack up close or at range. Bonuses to this hit roll, the accuracy of the attack, is determined by skill alone, unmodified by stats. This keeps non-stat heavy characters relevant.
[20:50] <+Survivethenight_Brian> To clarify, all players are playing human characters, but the Narrator may control several that are inhuman depending on the story.
[20:51] * ~Dan nods
[20:51] <~Dan> How is weapon damage handled?
[20:52] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Damage is determined by the weapon used, the stats of the attacker and how the attacker is being made. A strong character will do heavier damage in melee. A more coordinated character will do heavier damage at range. The weapon determines how many dice are rolled, the only time in Survive the Night where you need more than 1d6.
[20:52] <+Survivethenight_Brian> how the attack is being made* sorry, I am making a lot of typos tonight!
[20:52] <~Dan> No worries. 🙂
[20:53] <~Dan> Do characters have hit points? Wounds?
[20:54] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Indeed, they have a total of hitpoints usually referred to simply as ‘health’ in the rules. Characters with higher Build have more, and the traits Iron Constitution and True Grit increase this as well.
[20:55] <~Dan> Are there wound penalties?
[20:57] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Not formal ones. I have experimented with official wound tables in the homebrew game that preceded this one, but decided ultimately that in Survive the Night, the story is paramount. The Narrator has the right to enforce a realistic penalty on a character who has taken a lot of damage, or to ignore it, allowing for some internal reserve of strength
[20:57] <+Survivethenight_Brian> to keep them on their feet
[20:57] <~Dan> You mentioned a fear mechanic earlier. How does that work?
[20:58] <+Survivethenight_Brian> We have had instances where players became so invested that they enforced wound penalties on themselves without any prompting by the Narrator
[20:59] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Players control what their characters do and say, except in those instances where their composure is broken from the situation they are in. These psychological breaks are represented by failing a Fear roll.
[20:59] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Fear rolls are triggered when characters encounter something horrific or unexpected. Sometimes the penalties of failing a Fear roll are fairly benign, but usually, the penalty is to force the player to roll on the Panic! table
[21:00] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The Panic! table temporarily forces an action on the character, filling up their turn. Sometimes these are as simple as shouting or gasping, giving away their position and little else. At its worst, this entails the character being rooted in place, screaming at the top of their lungs.
[21:01] <+Survivethenight_Brian> There are character classes, specifically the Leader and the Wingman, that give support bonuses to themselves and other players to resist Fear and the results of the Panic! table. There are also traits available to all characters to assist with this hazard
[21:02] * ~Dan nods
[21:03] <~Dan> Whoops! Lost Megan.
[21:04] <~Dan> wb, Megan!
[21:04] <+SurviveTheNight_Megan> Hello ^^
[21:04] <~Dan> Does the game include a bestiary?
[21:06] <+Survivethenight_Brian> No, though the rules for every creature are in the relevant scenario section for the Narrator. The various scenarios do not take place in a unified world, so as much as the Paranormal Investigator characters would love it, there is not a definitive list of beasties that can be encountered in every game.
[21:06] <+Survivethenight_Brian> For the record, Megan is still here, I believe she may be facing some internet trouble, though.
[21:07] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[21:07] <~Dan> How many scenarios are included in the game?
[21:08] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Four, two short sessions perfect for beginners, and two longer ones for gamers who are prepared for a 5 hour session. There are nine in our library, but we’ll be rolling out the others in future expansions.
[21:09] <+Survivethenight_Brian> A fifth scenario for our first book is proposed in our stretch goals, but we’re a fair ways out and only two days remain, so I’m feeling fairly confident of four at the moment.
[21:09] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The link is here for anyone who hasn’t seen the Kickstarter: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/596296150/survive-the-night-a-horror-rpg)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/596296150/survive-the-night-a-horror-rpg
[21:09] <~Dan> Congrats on funding, btw!
[21:10] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Ah, thank you! We were very impressed with how quickly the fans rallied to fund the project. Origins was a very good week for us.
[21:11] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:13] <~Dan> Do you have monster creation rules?
[21:14] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Hm. We do not, but that might be worth looking into! The Narrator’s Guide (included in the book) has extensive guidelines on how to structure the story and how to handle running a game where it is your job to kill most of the cast, but no specific rules for balancing monster construction.
[21:15] <~Dan> I would strongly recommend that, since you don’t use a bestiary for critters.
[21:16] <~Dan> IMHO, naturally. 🙂
[21:16] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The mechanics are simple enough, and death is not a situation to be avoided as it is in most games, so you have more wiggle room than you do in a game like D&D. Running is an ever-present alternative to standing and fighting. But it is worth considering for sure.
[21:16] * ~Dan nods
[21:16] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Well, thank you for your humble opinion then, sir! It is appreciated.
[21:17] <~Dan> Certainly! I’m just all about the monsters, as anyone who hangs out here can tell you. 🙂
[21:17] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Tell me about it. How do you think I got to this point? =P
[21:17] <~Dan> 😀
[21:17] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:18] <+Survivethenight_Brian> The nature of sandbox and how huge it is for horror gaming.
[21:19] <+Survivethenight_Brian> One of the biggest things that has kept StN fresh since its inception is the replayability of each scenario. Railroading is a well-known phenomenon in roleplaying games, and it can be difficult to get away from it completely, especially if you want a satisfying narrative
[21:20] <~Dan> Interesting. Sandboxing seems rare in horror games.
[21:20] <+Survivethenight_Brian> But any game where characters are allowed to die gives you that much more freedom when dealing with choice. While our book offers guidelines on how to handle this…we’ll call it humanely, it can lead to a lot of wonderfully diverse outcomes based on differing problem solutions
[21:21] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Well, I won’t necessarily assume that you and I have the exact same definition of ‘sandbox’ in mind, but you can imagine how unfair it feels if your character dies and the event where he or she dies was /scripted/
[21:21] * ~Dan nods
[21:21] <~Dan> Certainly.
[21:22] <+Survivethenight_Brian> People benefit from free choice in every RPG, and it’s a constant trade-off with how much story complexity the GM can put in vs. how much freedom they can provide
[21:22] <~Dan> Agreed.
[21:24] <+Survivethenight_Brian> In Survive the Night, the setting and surrounding area may be predetermined, but how the group sets about resolving the situation generally will not be. There is an exception or two, especially in our scenario Aqualung which is built to be an easy first outing for new Narrators, but no two games are identical, even if played with the same characters.
[21:24] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Unholy Trinity, our touted 3-in-1 game, maintains the same map, but different antagonists based on decisions made in-game, and most map locations undergo changes depending on which antagonist has been triggered.
[21:25] <~Dan> That’s cool.
[21:26] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Over the course of our demo sessions, we have run many of these games dozens of times. You really start to appreciate the flexibility in scenario design and in player approach after you have run the same villain on the same map for the twentieth time.
[21:27] <+Survivethenight_Brian> One of the better things about having so many character archetypes and each one being so easy to customize. It makes the experience new, even for players who know where most of the hazards are going in.
[21:27] * ~Dan nods
[21:27] <+Survivethenight_Brian> But I digress, I can talk about these things for a long time if no one stops me
[21:28] <~Dan> No worries! That’s what you’re here for. 😀
[21:28] <~Dan> Thanks so much for joining us, Brian and Megan!
[21:29] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Thanks for having us, Dan
[21:29] <~Dan> Standard reminder for readers: My tip jar is here, if anyone is so inclined: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:30] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[21:30] <+Survivethenight_Brian> Sounds good!