13:31] <+Ed_Jowett> Hi everyone, I’m Ed Jowett, the creator of… well, quite a few different games. Some of you might be aware of others (the “Era:” games), but I’m here today to talk about my latest – Era: The Chosen!
[13:31] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s on Kickstarter right now, and it’s been selected as a “Project We Love”, which is very cool! (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-chosen-a-horror-rpg-defend-our-dimension-0?ref=5l61q1)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-chosen-a-horror-rpg-defend-our-dimension-0?ref=5l61q1
[13:32] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s actually the first project in 30 RPGs which has been chosen as a Project We Love (pun not intended!)
[13:32] <+Ed_Jowett> So this game follows the pattern of the ones I create in terms of trying to achieve something a little different. The setting is very much Horror-based, sort of a “Doctor Who meets Turok” feel is what I’m going for on this one.
[13:33] <+Ed_Jowett> To make things a little more wide-ranging, we’ve also reached into the (historical) past for the first time: Era: The Chosen lets you play in Renaissance times, the Victorian Era, or in the Modern age, with different technology, enemies and experiences available in each one.
[13:34] <+Ed_Jowett> The idea is that our universe is under siege.
[13:34] <+Ed_Jowett> Every time you thought there was a hand reaching out for you, felt that prickle on the back of your neck, you were right.
[13:34] <+Ed_Jowett> There really was something there reaching out for you, you just couldn’t see it.
[13:35] <+Ed_Jowett> But that doesn’t help the people who are grabbed by these horrible creatures.
[13:35] <+Ed_Jowett> The Anonassi are creatures from a dark and dying universe who cross a “bridge dimension” called the “Lost Lands” to reach ours. While both we and they can survive in the Lost Lands, none of us can survive in the other’s universe… yet.
[13:36] <+Ed_Jowett> The Anonassi are a biological marvel, they adapt and create new living weapons as the war continues… and Humans are forced to try to keep up with technology.
[13:37] <+Ed_Jowett> While it looks like it’s working – we’re pushing them back: they never expected to be fought, initially, and when technology leapt forwards in the middle era, and even more so in modern times, they came closer to defeat – it’s all relative…
[13:37] <+Ed_Jowett> We’ve not conquered Erebus, and we don’t know what else might exist in the depths of their world.
[13:38] <+Ed_Jowett> The game has some new mechanics, as you might expect from one of my games, but still runs on the Era d10 Rule Set.
[13:39] <+Ed_Jowett> That’s a multiple d10 dice pool system with a variable Success Threshold where you count the number of Successes to find out how well you did on any attempt. It’s got a lot of modifications to make it more playable than the obvious example of that rule set (in my opinion, anyway!), such as Kill Thresholds to allow for head shots.
[13:39] <+Ed_Jowett> But there are new mechanics in this game as well, as I said: Terror and Trophies.
[13:40] <+Ed_Jowett> Terror builds over time, causing you to react to the various horrific things that happen around you. This mechanic focuses on specific “Triggers”, which potentially cause a “Horror” reaction when you’re faced with something you are scared of, freezing you in place.
[13:40] <+Ed_Jowett> If you gain enough Terror, you must return to Aether for psychological treatment… you might never enter the Lost Lands again.
[13:41] <+Ed_Jowett> Trophies, on the other hand, represent your victories over the horrific forces of the Anonassi. Perhaps you face down a charging Brute (a giant, hulking monster twice the size of a person) and kill it.
[13:41] <+Ed_Jowett> You might take its tooth in that case and for ever be immune to the horror effects from a charging Brute – you know you can beat them!
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> These mechanics combined mean that your actions define the growth of your character, and their likelihood of survival in this cruel conflict.
[13:42] <~Dan> (brb — please continue!)
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, that’s about everything I wanted to say to explain the game…
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, haha.
[13:42] <+Ed_Jowett> Okay, here we go, I’ll continue.
[13:42] <+Firlefanz> 🙂
[13:43] <+Ed_Jowett> There are Clans of Chosen – the Humans who are able to see tend to come from one of 5 families, who emerge through the story.
[13:43] <+Ed_Jowett> In the Renaissance-style Era (Just called the First Era), there are only three: the D’Aoust, the Garcia and the Rostov.
[13:44] <+Ed_Jowett> The D’Aoust are not great people. They are “small men, standing on the shoulders of what came before to gain greatness.”
[13:44] <~Dan> (Bear with me — heavily multitasking here. 😉 )
[13:44] <+Ed_Jowett> They salvage materials from the Lost Lands, a specific area known as the Salvage Fields, and from that they begin to develop the kind of metallurgy and technology that we associate with the modern world.
[13:45] <+Ed_Jowett> Where this technology came from is doubly a mystery, because technology does not work in the Lost Lands – there’s a lot of electromagnetic interference.
[13:45] <+Ed_Jowett> But they return it to Aether and have been able to become rich and powerful from that.
[13:46] <+Ed_Jowett> The Garcia are the absolute opposite: They are fighters. They run in, guns blazing, swords flashing and fight… because that’s just what they do.
[13:47] <+Ed_Jowett> The Rostov are tacticians and information experts. While they do fight, they also train the other clans, work to hold the information back from the general population and work with the native tribes of the Lost Land, teaching them to fight back against the Anonassi as well.
[13:47] <+Ed_Jowett> In the Second Era, two more clans emerge: the Nakamura and the Chike.
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> The Nakamura were banished from their homeland for various reasons, but join the fight in Harbour City (the primary location in the Aether side of the setting) eagerly when they realise they have allies.
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> They favour stealth tactics, primarily, and are extremely well-trained.
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> Finally, the Chike…
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> They are scientists, and they were not initially Chosen.
[13:48] <+Ed_Jowett> They were attempting to cure a disease which ravaged the population of Harbour City for many years, and accidentally made themselves Chosen… and more.
[13:49] <+Ed_Jowett> Whenever they get close to an Anonassi, they shapeshift, changing into a half-Human, half-Anonassi form until it’s killed.
[13:49] <+Ed_Jowett> Of course, that brings a question about whether the Chosen are already infected with Anonassi DNA somehow… but no-one has ever been able to answer that yet…
[13:50] <+Ed_Jowett> Each Clan brings with it special training and special technology.
[13:50] <+Ed_Jowett> From the D’Aoust Army Knife to the Garcia heavy weapons and the Chike shapeshifting, every Clan has some very unique abilities open to them!
[13:50] <+Ed_Jowett> And now I think I’m done!
[13:50] <~Dan> Thanks, Ed_Jowett! The floor is open to questions!
[13:51] <+Firlefanz> Nice. 🙂
[13:51] <+Firlefanz> I need to get some writing in… apologies. I love your setting, even though I’m not a horror fan.
[13:51] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, there’s an Audio story here for anyone who is interested! (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmujjBVEIxQ)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmujjBVEIxQ
[13:51] <~Dan> Is this a truly supernatural setting, or is it more of a sci-fi/horror setting? It’s sounding like the latter on the face of it.
[13:51] <+Ed_Jowett> Thanks very much, Firlefanz
[13:52] <+Ed_Jowett> Good luck with the writing!
[13:52] <+Firlefanz> Thanks!
[13:52] <+Ed_Jowett> Dan, it varies from the first to the second, depending on the era.
[13:53] <~Dan> Can you expound on that a bit? Are the Anonassi supernatural creatures?
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> The first era is really quite supernatural. There’s the chance for “Princess Bride”-esque adventures where you rescue the girl and face down horrible monsters… and there’s the chance for the true horror of not understanding.
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> If you remember when I said “Doctor Who” earlier, I characterise that show as being “Horror until you understand what’s going on”.
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> Primarily the lack of understanding is what’s truly terrifying.
[13:53] <+Ed_Jowett> To me, anyway.
[13:54] <~Dan> What forms do the Anonassi take?
[13:54] <+Ed_Jowett> And that’s very much the case in the first era. They don’t have the capability to explain what’s happening, so it is assumed to be supernatural.
[13:54] <+Ed_Jowett> Many and varied! They mostly have dark skin with glowing eyes, but some are Humanoid, some are flying tentacle monsters, some are spider-like creates over 4 metres tall!
[13:55] <+Ed_Jowett> Some are even tiny insect swarms about the size of wasps.
[13:55] <+Ed_Jowett> In the second era, you get to have a bit more “Frankenstein” kind of horror – science running amok, people trying to understand the Anonassi now that science has just about got far enough.
[13:56] <+Ed_Jowett> That’s roughly when they realise about parallel universes and that the Anonassi hail from a dying one.
[13:56] <+Ed_Jowett> All the stars have gone out in their universe… they are fleeing the end, not sure how to survive it… until they found the Lost Lands.
[13:56] <+Ed_Jowett> Of course, not all Anonassi see it the same way – some see the very touch of our universe as a taint.
[13:57] <+Ed_Jowett> …until they become truly desperate.
[13:57] <+Ed_Jowett> And in the third era, technology and understanding has advanced even further. They understand now, what they are fighting… but have no concept of what might exist on the other side of the portals at the Erebus end.
[13:58] <+Ed_Jowett> If you are reading this and would like to know more about Anonassi forms, I’d recommend checking out the Facebook Group: (Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/erathechosen/)https://www.facebook.com/groups/erathechosen/
[13:58] <+Ed_Jowett> There have been posts going on in there for months, with huge amounts of information about all of the different types of Anonassi!
[13:59] <~Dan> If the Anonassi can’t survive in our world, what threat are they at the moment?
[13:59] <+Ed_Jowett> They can’t survive permanently.
[13:59] <+Ed_Jowett> But they can survive 5 minutes or so…
[13:59] <+Ed_Jowett> And they can grab you and pull you through a portal into the Lost Lands.
[14:00] <+Ed_Jowett> They can also infect you with Dark Fever – it turns out that that’s directly linked to the Anonassi having contact with you… only, for some reason, Chosen are immune.
[14:01] <+Ed_Jowett> And the tribes who live in the Lost Lands, as well – they are also immune.
[14:01] <+Ed_Jowett> No-one is sure why.
[14:01] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
[14:02] <~Dan> So the majority of the action takes place in the Lost Lands?
[14:02] <+Ed_Jowett> It depends on how you want to play.
[14:02] <+Ed_Jowett> If, for example, you wanted to have a small team of detectives investigating some disappearances in Harbour City, you could play there.
[14:03] <+Ed_Jowett> The games I run, I usually place in the Lost Lands, however. There’s a lot of scope in that region for adventures… and terrifying monsters could be lurking under every rock!
[14:03] <~Dan> What are the Lost Lands like?
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> Grey.
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> There’s no loss of light, but not much filters through.
[14:04] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s hard to tell the difference between the sand and the sky at the horizon.
[14:05] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s got rocks, plants in some places.
[14:05] <+Ed_Jowett> The nearer Aether you are, the lighter it is, and the nearer you are to Erebus, it is darker.
[14:05] <+Ed_Jowett> I have a wonderful image to illustrate this, actually, 1 second.
[14:06] <+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3Worlds-websafe.jpg)https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3Worlds-websafe.jpg
[14:07] <~Dan> There are cities there?
[14:07] <+Ed_Jowett> Villages would be a better name for them.
[14:08] <~Dan> What’s that on the left, then?
[14:08] <+Ed_Jowett> The city in the image is Harbour City.
[14:08] <~Dan> Ah.
[14:08] <+Ed_Jowett> The left-most quarter is Harbour City, then the middle bit is the Lost Lands and the far right quarter is Erebus
[14:09] <~Dan> I see. Cool.
[14:09] <~Dan> So who are the Lost Land natives?
[14:10] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, there are various tribes.
[14:10] <+Ed_Jowett> The Falling Rock Tribe are probably the most-mentioned.
[14:11] <+Ed_Jowett> They are relatively friendly, independent, they live on a plateau, and the only entrance is guarded by a rock which is poised to fall on anyone uninvited.
[14:11] <+Ed_Jowett> The idea is to seal it off and escape through another route if the Anonassi attack.
[14:11] <+Ed_Jowett> The Shadow Runners are another tribe. These ones tend to keep moving, and live further into the Anonassi end of the Lost Lands than anyone else dares.
[14:12] <+Ed_Jowett> For the most part, they are pretty primitive, although the Rostovs work with them to arm them and teach them tactics.
[14:12] <+Ed_Jowett> The D’Aoust have introduced some tribes to the idea of “fine living”, so some of their societies have changed as a result.
[14:13] <+Ed_Jowett> And they are almost universally fierce: you have to be to survive in the Lost Lands.
[14:13] <+Ed_Jowett> (done)
[14:13] <+Kei> yo
[14:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei!)
[14:14] <~Dan> Are they human?
[14:15] <+Ed_Jowett> They are, yes!
[14:15] <+Ed_Jowett> No-one really knows where they came from, exactly… but, the assumption is they were grabbed and ended up living there for whatever reason.
[14:16] <~Dan> So they’re all primitive by default, given the no-tech thing?
[14:16] <+Ed_Jowett> Initially, yes. However, they are given technology by the various Clans
[14:17] <~Dan> But I thought you said technology doesn’t work in the Lost Lands.
[14:18] <+Ed_Jowett> That’s true, but only electrical technology. And it’s more like “is very unreliable” than “doesn’t work at all”.
[14:19] <~Dan> Ah. So firearms work, for example?
[14:19] <+Ed_Jowett> So there are options… I wouldn’t recommend flying a plane, but you do have the chance to electrocute your opponents… and yes, firearms work.
[14:20] <+Ed_Jowett> Just the electrocution thing… probably only has a 50% chance of working.
[14:20] <~Dan> Are the Anonassi vulnerable to mundane weapons?
[14:21] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, yes, the bleed…
[14:21] <+Ed_Jowett> However, many of them have naturally thick skin or armour.
[14:21] * ~Dan nods
[14:21] <+Ed_Jowett> *they bleed – sorry! Typo!
[14:21] <~Dan> Do they have any sort of technology of their own?
[14:22] <+Ed_Jowett> So yes, Flamethrowers, swords and so on do work.
[14:22] <+Ed_Jowett> They don’t have technology per se, no. How they get creatures so suited for battle is very much a question that people might be able to answer if we could scout Erebus… but right now, that’s not possible.
[14:22] <+Ed_Jowett> We simply can’t exist in their universe, our molecules fall apart.
[14:22] <+Ed_Jowett> even faster than theirs do in ours!
[14:23] <+Ed_Jowett> Don’t be fooled, though… their lack of technology is made up for by their superior height, strength and powers.
[14:23] <+Ed_Jowett> Some of them can’t even be touched, just moving through objects… unless they choose to step inside a Human and possess them.
[14:24] <~Dan> What sorts of powers do they have?
[14:24] <+Ed_Jowett> Others use their size to their advantage.
[14:24] <+Ed_Jowett> Bearing in mind technology is quite restricted in the Lost Lands, they are still very much a threat.
[14:24] <+Ed_Jowett> Some burrow beneath the ground or fly through unknown means.
[14:28] <+Ed_Jowett> Dan seems to have been called away, so I’m going to answer his favourite question:
[14:28] <+Ed_Jowett> “Is it cinematic?”
[14:28] <~Dan> Sorry, still here. Just fixing something. 🙂
[14:28] <~Dan> But yes, is it? 🙂
[14:28] <+Ed_Jowett> Admit it, you were going to ask that question 😛
[14:28] <~Dan> At some point, probably so. 🙂
[14:28] <+Motulev> I though Dan’s favourite question was how does the system deal with someone being really strong 🙂
[14:29] <+Ed_Jowett> It is indeed very cinematic, giving amazing opportunities for open vistas of the Lost Lands, huge, epic battles against the Anonassi… right the way down to the tiny moments which shape your characters.
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> Motulev – do you mean a player character or the enemies?
[14:30] <~Dan> Well, that’s usually reserved for games in which strength governs the chance to hit. 😉
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, right.
[14:30] <+Ed_Jowett> Yes, that’s not the case in this game, necessarily.
[14:31] <+Ed_Jowett> It depends on which is the most appropriate Attribute for what you’re trying to do. If I was a GM, and I was faced with someone who had piled on Strength, I’d be looking carefully at whether it really should be Strength and Melee or if, maybe in this case, Dexterity was more appropriate.
[14:31] <~Dan> What special abilities do the Chosen have?
[14:31] <+Ed_Jowett> Or if he’s responding to a sneak attack, Wits.
[14:32] <+Ed_Jowett> Chosen can have abilities and technology unique to their Clans.
[14:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, Agamemnon3!)
[14:33] <+Ed_Jowett> For example, the D’Aoust Clan gets some special abilities relating to salvage.
[14:33] <+Ed_Jowett> The Garcias can choose to have cool weapons which do a lot of damage, and even spend a Speciality (you get 5 by level 10) to have a limited number of Explosive Shells for it!
[14:34] <+Ed_Jowett> Nakamuras get bonuses when saving people, whether teammates or innocents.
[14:34] <~Dan> (Howdy, Drew!)
[14:34] <+Ed_Jowett> Rostovs get bonuses related to tactical experience – things like the ability to go first in the Initiative order.
[14:35] <+Ed_Jowett> The Chike get to choose one of four half-Anonassi forms… and then boost them when getting a Speciality.
[14:35] <+Ed_Jowett> There are also Clan-neutral Specialities that anyone can learn.
[14:35] <+Ed_Jowett> You even get a bonus… if you take a Trigger as a Level 1 character, you can have an extra Speciality, which spreads the options out even more.
[14:36] <+Ed_Jowett> So there are loads of different options – no two characters are likely to be even close to the same in any group!
[14:36] <~Dan> So the Chosen don’t have paranormal powers, per sé, aside from the Chike?
[14:36] <+Ed_Jowett> Correct.
[14:37] <~Dan> You mentioned some plants living in the Lost Lands. What about animals?
[14:37] <+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, a few. The Tribes survive there.
[14:38] <+Ed_Jowett> There’s water, there are some animals, but there aren’t cattle running across the plains or anything.
[14:38] <~Dan> Any weird or dangerous animals?
[14:38] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s mostly reptiles, well-adapted to the environment.
[14:39] <+Ed_Jowett> Well, Anonassi and animals don’t look hugely different all the time… (Link: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Worms_Final.jpg)https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Worms_Final.jpg
[14:40] <+Ed_Jowett> I mean, yet another setting with giant worms that live in the sand… it’s an amazing coincidence, isn’t it? 😀
[14:40] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[14:41] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[14:42] <+Ed_Jowett> I do, I need a moment to upload it, 1 sec.
[14:43] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s slightly low-res, but here it is! (Link: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/the-chosen-character-sheet-revised-websafe.jpg)https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/the-chosen-character-sheet-revised-websafe.jpg
[14:44] <+Ed_Jowett> You’ll no doubt notice that it’s very similar to the character sheets from our other Era Games. As with the others, the Rule Set is fully inter-compatible (That’s definitely a word!)
[14:44] <~Dan> I know you’ve covered this in previous Q&As, but for those unfamiliar, can you give us a quick rundown of your system?
[14:45] <+Ed_Jowett> I did that at the start 🙂
[14:45] <~Dan> Oh? Jolly good, then. 🙂
[14:45] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s a multiple d10 dice pool system with a variable Success Threshold where you count the number of Successes to find out how well you did on any attempt. It’s got a lot of modifications to make it more playable than the obvious example of that rule set (in my opinion, anyway!), such as Kill Thresholds to allow for head shots.
[14:45] <+Ed_Jowett> You combine an Attribute and a Skill of the GM’s choice, count the number of points and roll that number of dice.
[14:45] <~Dan> Does the game include a bestiary, and if so, how extensive is it?
[14:46] <+Ed_Jowett> It does, and I would describe it as “extensive, but not exhaustive”.
[14:46] <+Ed_Jowett> There’s definitely room for more, and I have more planned if people are interested in the game!
[14:47] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[14:47] <~Dan> So is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[14:48] <+Ed_Jowett> Just about the Stretch Goals, I suppose! We’re going to be writing some awesome campaigns for this setting, one in each era, and then turning them into a book… but we have a lot more planned.
[14:49] <+Ed_Jowett> It’s probably worth mentioning also that your own dwpearce was one of the writers on this project! It was the first time I worked with him, and we both had a great time.
[14:49] <~Dan> Oh, that’s right! I forgot about that. Cool!
[14:49] <+Ed_Jowett> We actually were working on this a year ago – the game has been in development for 2 years overall, and we’ve come out with something really special, I think!
[14:50] <~Dan> Sure looks that way. 🙂
[14:50] <+Ed_Jowett> Thank you very much!
[14:50] <~Dan> You’re very welcome!
[14:51] <~Dan> Oh, before you go… Do you know Steven Noll?
[14:51] <+Ed_Jowett> I don’t, no.
[14:52] <+Ed_Jowett> Why do you ask?
[14:52] <~Dan> I’ll PM you his Facebook info. He hosts live plays of games on his YouTube channel and is very interested in hosting your game!
[14:52] <+Ed_Jowett> Oh, I’d be more than happy to work with him on that!
[14:52] <~Dan> Cool! Sent!
[14:52] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the transcript posted and link you. 🙂