[19:35] <+Drew_Cochran> Hello all, my name is Drew Cochran and I’ve produced a Roleplaying Game called the Epic of Dreams!
[19:36] <+Drew_Cochran> It’s a game that requires no dice, paper, pens, or implements of any kind when learned
[19:36] <+Drew_Cochran> Setting agnostic, focused on teaching the joys of drama and immersive roleplay
[19:37] <+Drew_Cochran> And the Core Rulebook draws upon world mythology to give a foundation and context for worldbuilders and other settings.
[19:37] <+Drew_Cochran> When you learn how to play the game, you can run it in a pinch, and even though the rules are designed such that they’re light, they still have a lot of depth of play.
[19:38] <+Drew_Cochran> We have just enough granularity to provide a sense of real, weighty progression, and the choices that players make, both in Hero creation, and in play, Matter.
[19:38] <+Drew_Cochran> (Done)
[19:38] <~Dan> Thanks, Drew_Cochran! The floor is open to questions!
[19:39] <+MK> Sounds interesting for sure. When and where will the game be available?
[19:39] <~Dan> If the game is setting agnostic, how do you make use of mythical elements?
[19:40] <+Drew_Cochran> DriveThru RPG we will be selling the PDFs at least for now, and we have a great distribution in place through the Indie Game Alliance!
[19:40] <+Drew_Cochran> We will be debuting the Core Rulebook at Carnage Con 21 in Killington, Vermont this November 2nd
[19:40] <+Drew_Cochran> And to your question, Dan:
[19:41] <+Drew_Cochran> We utilize the near endless traditions of world mythology as a base to work from. The Epic of Dreams is setting agnostic, but we look to the foundations of the fantasy genre, the mythos of premodern man, to inform them
[19:42] <+Drew_Cochran> Using this base, we can easily interpret and tinker those base forms into the unique settings one prefers
[19:43] <~Dan> Can you give an example?
[19:43] <+Drew_Cochran> The Core Rulebook also boasts 150 classic spells, 99 Omen, Dream, and Miracle prompts, and 250 Classic and Obscure Bestiary entries, all taken from world mythology
[19:43] <+Drew_Cochran> Sure!
[19:44] <+Drew_Cochran> In ‘Gygaxian’ fantasy, a staple of DnD is the Fireball spell for the wizard.
[19:44] <+Drew_Cochran> We have not too much precedent for a mystic implementing such a ritual, but they do exist!
[19:45] <+Drew_Cochran> In the Apocryphal texts of the Bible, we have a story of Daniel and the Dragon, where the prophet puts together a ball of pitch, and feeds it to a firebreathing dragon
[19:45] <+Drew_Cochran> The dragon explodes, and the conflict is resolved
[19:46] <+Drew_Cochran> Under our Alchemy skill, we have the spell ‘Wiseman’s Cannon’, where the base idea of this modern trope shines.
[19:47] <+Drew_Cochran> The Epic of Dreams uses several engines, which it interprets how different characters and effects relate to each other.
[19:48] <+Drew_Cochran> Using these engines, we can take these founding precedents of mythology, and correlate them to popular fantasy tropes that we wish to tap into, very quickly
[19:48] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[19:49] <~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
[19:49] <+Drew_Cochran> I do! Does this platform work with images?
[19:50] <~Dan> wb, Drew_Cochran
[19:50] <+Drew_Cochran> thanks!
[19:50] <~Dan> It doesn’t really support images, but you can post links to images.
[19:50] <+Drew_Cochran> okay!
[19:51] <+Drew_Cochran> Yeah, the best link I can give you is just the Kickstarter page itself.
[19:52] <~Dan> Oh, you have the character sheet posted there?
[19:52] <+Drew_Cochran> The fourth picture in the Campaign section will show a character sheet for Derien the Bewitched
[19:52] <+Drew_Cochran> Yes. It’s an older sheet, we’re redesigning them, but it’s absolutely relevant
[19:52] <~Dan> Let me take a look here…
[19:53] <~Dan> Ah, there we go.
[19:54] <~Dan> Actually, I need to step away for just a sec. brb!
[19:54] <+Drew_Cochran> Sure!
[19:59] <~Dan> Back, sorry.
[19:59] <+Drew_Cochran> No worries!
[20:00] <~Dan> Using this character as an example, can you describe the system’s mechanic?
[20:00] <+Drew_Cochran> Sure!
[20:00] <+Drew_Cochran> So our core resolution mechanic is called the Circle of the Muse
[20:00] <+Drew_Cochran> It’s a guessing game that takes place on a plot of numbers between 1 and 20,
[20:01] <+Drew_Cochran> where 1 follows after 20 continuously, in a Circle.
[20:01] <+Drew_Cochran> On this Circle, the DM figure, called the Singer, and the Hero, will both choose a number on the Circle.
[20:01] <+Drew_Cochran> Each of their numbers has a modifier on it, which counts up from the original number chosen.
[20:02] <+Drew_Cochran> If any of their final numbers match, the Hero succeeds at their task. If they don’t, the Hero fails.
[20:02] <+Drew_Cochran> In Deriens’ case
[20:02] <+Drew_Cochran> let’s say he was trying to scribe down an ancient grimoire in a language from the far east that he couldn’t decipher
[20:03] <+Drew_Cochran> He would use his Scribing skill to put his pen to the papyrus, carefully scribbling out each symbol.
[20:03] <+Drew_Cochran> Before Derien tells his numbers on the Circle, the Singer would have their numbers prepped.
[20:04] <+Drew_Cochran> The Singer’s number gains Reach depending on the difficulty level of the task at hand. Larger Reach means less difficulty, smaller Reach, more.
[20:04] <+Drew_Cochran> Let’s say the Singer chooses the number 17, and gives the task a standard difficulty rating, making his Reach 5.
[20:05] <+Drew_Cochran> If Derien’s Scribing check matches with any number between 17 and 2, Derien will successfully scribe the scroll
[20:06] <~Dan> Why between 17 and 2, again?
[20:06] <+Drew_Cochran> Derien chooses 12 for his Scribing check, and has a Reach of 2 based on his Skill level. His ‘Circle Check’ is equal to 12 through 14.
[20:07] <+Drew_Cochran> It’s between 17 and 2 because the Circle is continuous. 1 comes after 20, and Reach always counts ‘up’. That being said, we’re not trying to BEAT any number to succeed, only match.
[20:07] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:08] <+Drew_Cochran> Because Derien’s Scribing check is 12-14, and doesn’t match 17-2, Derien miswrites several of the foreign symbols, and when he tries to decipher the secrets within, they reveal gibberish.
[20:08] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:08] <+Drew_Cochran> (not done)
[20:08] <+Drew_Cochran> What this allows us to do in gameplay is resolve these mechanical steps immediately.
[20:09] <+Drew_Cochran> The Hero tries to accomplish a task, and if needed, the Singer asks for a Circle check. The Hero utters two numbers, and the Singer can know in an instant what happens next, and moves forwards with the story
[20:10] <+Drew_Cochran> Because the mechanics are distilled to this state, we are able to keep and cultivate immersion naturally.
[20:10] <+Drew_Cochran> No fumbling around three pages of a character sheet filled with arbitrary numbers.
[20:10] * ~Dan nods
[20:10] <~Dan> Can the system account for degree of success?
[20:10] <+Drew_Cochran> It makes it very smooth, and with the system and engines we’ve set in place, there is still depth of gameplay
[20:11] <+Drew_Cochran> The Core mechanic doesn’t account for degrees of success, but it can be discerned and altered using a separate mechanic.
[20:11] <~Dan> How so?
[20:12] <+Drew_Cochran> We have a content generation/divination mechanic called ‘Consulting the Muse’. The Singer calls a number from one of the Heroes, and adds it to one of their own they already have.
[20:12] <+Drew_Cochran> The singer adds these together and sees first if the Muse is Smiling or Frowning, based on the numerical result on the circle
[20:13] <+Drew_Cochran> 1-10 is Smiling, the other half is Frowning.
[20:13] <+Drew_Cochran> We then have four partitions based on colors for successive ‘questions’.
[20:14] <+Drew_Cochran> In addition to this mechanic, the book goes on at length about the core principles of improvisational storytelling, and is aimed to equip storytellers of ALL shades
[20:14] <+Drew_Cochran> to be able to make differing outcomes interesting, and in differing shades of success with style.
[20:14] <+Drew_Cochran> However, with our magic system, there is always an element of different shades of success.
[20:15] <+Drew_Cochran> A Ritual can have one of 5 outcomes at any time; Exceed, Succeed, Strange, Fizzle, or Backfire.
[20:15] <+Drew_Cochran> And this is discerned through two specific Circles.
[20:16] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:16] <~Dan> Do you have any other systems for paranormal abilities beyond spells?
[20:17] <+Drew_Cochran> This is an interesting question!
[20:17] <+Drew_Cochran> Inside of the Epic, a major theme we introduce is the Premodern mindset
[20:18] <+Drew_Cochran> In ancient times, a lot of cultures had no differentiation in their mindset between magical and mundane.
[20:18] <+Drew_Cochran> Inside of our general engine, we have a mechanic called ‘Statuses’
[20:19] <+Drew_Cochran> These are in essence, a powerful adjective. They provide +1 or -1 Reach where they are relevant, and may also provide abilities or properties to characters or objects.
[20:20] <+Drew_Cochran> In addition to this, our Magic engine contains both long form Rituals called Ceremonies, shorter Rituals called Litanies, and inherently magical abilities called Intrinsics.
[20:21] <+Drew_Cochran> Intrinsics are very much like Statuses, but their functions are even more versatile. They can be either a ‘cantrip’ at will spell ability known to a creature, a passive aura effect, or something inbetween.
[20:21] <+Drew_Cochran> I don’t know if that answers your question fully, but what I’m trying to communicate is that there is space for every sort of mystic manifestation inside of the magic engine
[20:22] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:23] <~Dan> Hmm… Can the game handle superpowers?
[20:24] <+Drew_Cochran> Yes. Depending on the superpower, they would function as either one sort of Litany, or a specific Intrinsic, or even a Combat or Mystic Skill unto themselves.
[20:24] <+Drew_Cochran> Using X-Men as an example, Wolverine as a specific one,
[20:25] <+Drew_Cochran> He would have Regeneration, Adamantium Skeleton, and Adamantium Claws as Intrinsics. He would fight using the Underhand Skill.
[20:26] <+Drew_Cochran> The Claws bit might actually be a Litany, depending on how you’d slice it.
[20:26] <~Dan> Pardon the pun?
[20:27] <+Drew_Cochran> ; ) But that’s another feature of the magic system; depending on how tables prefer to determine how their spells are determined, they could interpret the maths differently.
[20:28] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:29] <~Dan> I don’t see anything resembling attributes. How do you cover things like strength?
[20:30] <+Drew_Cochran> We have eschewed the standard DnD attributes. Our system relies moreso on Skills than anything else for functional effectiveness.
[20:30] <+Drew_Cochran> If a character were especially strong, or especially charismatic, they would have a Status noting exactly that, and they would recieve +1 Reach for that attribute.
[20:30] <+Drew_Cochran> Whenever applicable.
[20:31] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:32] <~Dan> How does combat work in the system?
[20:32] <+Drew_Cochran> Combat is resolved through rounds of Exchanges, in which all combatants have Actions and Reactions.
[20:33] <+Drew_Cochran> Before each Exchange, there is a Deployment phase, where all combatants move and try to gain different objectives like Cover.
[20:34] <+Drew_Cochran> It is focused on being again, just crunchy enough to emulate phalanx warfare, and dungeon crawls of old. It is done in the theater of the mind, and it is deadly.
[20:35] <+Drew_Cochran> We have 5 Combat Skills in the Core Rulebook, and each of them has a perk that works with the main tactical mechanics. The Skills themselves are Cavalry, Infantry, Dueling, Underhand, and Martial Arts.
[20:36] <+Drew_Cochran> The main mechanic in combat is Advantage and Disadvantage. One can gain these different statuses through achieving or blundering different moments in the battle.
[20:36] <+Drew_Cochran> Combat is very tactics focused.
[20:37] <+Drew_Cochran> And the main form this takes is player agency. They can try to do anything, and they will be judged based on their creative solutions to the different problems they face.
[20:37] <+Drew_Cochran> When attacking, we only roll to attack, and damage is more or less static. We have an Armor stat that reduces incoming damage,
[20:38] <+Drew_Cochran> and we have the option to ‘Boost’ an attack, expending the Vigor resource for a more all-out attack, dealing more damage, and a Parry Reaction, which one can try to stop an incoming blow
[20:39] <+Drew_Cochran> Combattants can usually only attack during their Action, but when a foe is Disadvantaged, they can be attacked by using Reactions, which is a major turning point
[20:39] <+Drew_Cochran> There’s a lot going on at once, even with just a few variables. Whenever someone learns how to play the game and becomes initiated, then things really explode.
[20:40] <+Drew_Cochran> Bottom line, combat in the Epic of Dreams is warfare. Deadly, cunning, deceptive, and devastating if pursued too far.
[20:40] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[20:41] <~Dan> I see that there’s a Damage stat… How do weapons function in the system?
[20:42] <+Drew_Cochran> Weapons provide a bonus to Damage, depending on whether or not they are Light, One Handed, or Two Handed.
[20:42] <+Drew_Cochran> Furthermore, depending on the type of the weapon, the weapon also provides its’ own perk in combat, much like the different Combat Skills do.
[20:43] <+Drew_Cochran> So, with just those two different options, a lot of different kinds of martial characters can be made.
[20:43] <+Drew_Cochran> Several permutations, even without considering the REST of what goes into a character.
[20:44] <+Drew_Cochran> Otherwise, they function as any other object would, and they may have Statuses of their own which again alter their effects when utilized. (done)
[20:44] <+Drew_Cochran> We’ve taken a lot of time trying to get the rules set so that it’s not only organic to play, but seamless in its approach
[20:45] <+Drew_Cochran> In this text communication format, it may be pernicious to try and completely convey this without simply bringing the book itself out.
[20:45] <+Drew_Cochran> (really done, sorry)
[20:47] <~Dan> How is character creation handled?
[20:47] <+Drew_Cochran> We utilize a cross between a structured conversation and roleplaying out development scenes.
[20:48] <+Drew_Cochran> Because one of the driving ideas behind the Epic is being able to play without needing much mechanical boundaries,
[20:49] <+Drew_Cochran> we have designed it such that there are two kinds of Attributes that characters have: Primary Attributes and Discerned Attributes.
[20:49] <+Drew_Cochran> The Primary Attributes are Story, Level, and Order Class. If one can remember these three stats, which is their literal backstory (with a little amplification)
[20:50] <+Drew_Cochran> their Level, which is a number between 1 thru 9, and their Order Class, which is a Static number based on their Race,
[20:50] <+Drew_Cochran> they can use these three signifiers, mixing and matching their values to remember quickly what all of the rest of their Discerned Attributes are, which is what you see on Derien’s character sheet now.
[20:51] <+Drew_Cochran> So
[20:51] <+Drew_Cochran> When we approach Character Creation, we want to create vivid memories. We want the Cavalry specialist to know the name of their army instructor, remember the relationship they had both to their mentor and their first horse
[20:52] <+Drew_Cochran> so that they can remember like the back of their hand their whole character when they need to summon it. We use roleplay to create these founding memories, for most of those factors.
[20:53] <+Drew_Cochran> This way, each of those details has emotional weight and history to both the character AND the player. Each of the values on their character sheet aren’t just numbers.
[20:54] <+Drew_Cochran> That’s not -just- a knife on Deriens’ sheet, it’s the knife he stole from the Bishop of Wales, after they had a drunken bout in the church hall on winter solstice. It is a symbol of his defiance and pride.
[20:54] <+Drew_Cochran> etc. (Done)
[20:55] <~Dan> Is this the start of a game line?
[20:56] <+Drew_Cochran> The Core Rulebook contains all of the rules content that is needed to play the game, but we are planning on releasing several unique setting books, and expansion material.
[20:58] <+Drew_Cochran> So, yes. We have a lot of content that’s already prepped and doesn’t need too much more development to be released; but we want to deliver a nuanced experience, and we’re going to release them as we think they’ve reached full bloom.
[20:58] <~Dan> Can you say anything about these settings?
[20:58] <+Drew_Cochran> The Core Rulebook we have here has been the product of 5 years of playtest and revision.
[20:58] <+Drew_Cochran> We have the Seas of Ayil, an epic space fantasy setting, where we delve into what it might look like for premodern man to traverse the stars
[20:59] <+Drew_Cochran> We have Uaelnosque, the World Without Skies, an immortal underworld where all are welcome, but none may leave
[20:59] <+Drew_Cochran> And we have The Czar’s Urn, a diverse and colorful land where many wars have been waged, and many families have mourned.
[21:00] <+Drew_Cochran> These we plan to release intermixed with a very large original Bestiary, a book devoted to stretching the boundaries of our magic system, and a treatise on warfare.
[21:00] <+Drew_Cochran> And several adventures.
[21:00] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[21:02] <~Dan> Speaking of a bestiary, does the core book include one?
[21:03] <+Drew_Cochran> Yes. We have a Bestiary in the Core Rulebook that contains 250 entries, all hailing from the classic and obscure from world mythology.
[21:03] <~Dan> That’s an impressive number!
[21:04] <+Drew_Cochran> Thank you, we’ve sweat over it for awhile. We are committed to bringing everything we’ve got, so that epic stories may flourish.
[21:05] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of the obscure entries??
[21:05] <~Dan> -?, sorry
[21:05] <+Drew_Cochran> lol
[21:05] <+Drew_Cochran> Sure!
[21:06] <+Drew_Cochran> allow me to drum up the bestiary itself…
[21:07] <+Drew_Cochran> I have really come to fall in love with the diversity of stories the world has to offer throughout this process.
[21:08] <+Drew_Cochran> We have tried our best to cover each continent, and dive into the hidden nuggets, and we’ve found some really cool things.
[21:08] <+Drew_Cochran> One such creature is the Ramidreju, from Spain.
[21:09] <+Drew_Cochran> It is a lucky weasel, with a long serpentine body and green fur. It bears the nose of a hog, and is a deft burrower. It can sense all manner of gold and treasure with its nose, and its pelt is said to be an effective cure-all. However, they are very speedy, rare, and hard to tame.
[21:09] <+Drew_Cochran> Notice, that this creature is not necessarily a fiend to slay!
[21:10] <+Drew_Cochran> Rather, a bystander, which may or may not be treated as an adversary (or means) by Heroes of different minds.
[21:10] <+Drew_Cochran> Another entry…
[21:11] <+Drew_Cochran> The Menmenu
[21:11] <+Drew_Cochran> This is a demon from Egyptian myth.
[21:12] <+Drew_Cochran> It bears three powerful serpent heads, each crowned with fourteen stars. It also bears fourteen quick hands which it catches its’ prey, and on its’ back there dwell fourteen suns.
[21:13] <+Drew_Cochran> There’s more info about him in the book, but there’s a lot for an initiated Singer to draw from, even from this passage
[21:14] <~Dan> How do you stat up something that epic?
[21:14] <+Drew_Cochran> The beast is an army unto itself, and commands the power of suns, and potentially fire. Because of its three heads, it is hard to corner, and we can keep going on.
[21:14] <+Drew_Cochran> We stat these by the Order Class mechanic mentioned prior. The same rules that apply to Hero creation apply to monsters. We use this engine to discern their stats.
[21:15] <+Drew_Cochran> An average Heroic race would have an Order Class of 2, and this bad boy would have an Order Class of 5.
[21:15] <+Drew_Cochran> Order class directly affects a creatures’ Vigor, Wounds threshold, and their Damage output.
[21:16] <+Drew_Cochran> To be dealt 5 Damage in one blow is hefty, and lethal to many. If this creature was then angered, it could boost its attack, and deal even more damage.
[21:16] <+Drew_Cochran> For the trickier things, we apply Statuses.
[21:16] <+Drew_Cochran> The Menmenu is a humongous creature.
[21:17] <+Drew_Cochran> thus, it would have ‘Huge’ as one of its’ statuses, and the mosquito stings that mortal blades would bring would need to be placed perfectly in weak spots of the creature in order for it to mean much
[21:17] <+Drew_Cochran> Thus, until these weak points are discovered, the damage of the mortals, unless they were so valiant in and of themselves, would do little to no harm.
[21:18] <+Drew_Cochran> Because we have the base idea for the creature, and we know the rules (once we’ve read the book), we can know how it functions for when numbers are important
[21:18] <+Drew_Cochran> When numbers aren’t important, however, this is where the story thrives, and we simply play the game, and tell the vicious tale.
[21:18] <+Drew_Cochran> (done)
[21:19] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:19] <+Drew_Cochran> Yes!
[21:19] <+Drew_Cochran> In addition to all of these things, we have another unique mechanic which we’ve skirted in discussion, but haven’t talked about directly: The Muse.
[21:20] <+Drew_Cochran> The Muse is an embodiment of the rules of the game; Homer was the Singer of the Illiad, and his Muse was Calliope.
[21:20] <+Drew_Cochran> With her power, Homer sung the rage of Achilles, and both men became immortalized throughout all of history.
[21:21] <+Drew_Cochran> Inside of the Epic of Dreams, the Singer also has a permanent character, whose form affects how the stories develop.
[21:21] <+Drew_Cochran> This is the Muse. The Muse who rules the Circle, and determines the success and failure of each act of risk.
[21:21] <+Drew_Cochran> The thing about the Muse is that she (or he) is whoever the Singer knows them to be.
[21:22] <+Drew_Cochran> The Muse could be the imagined portrait of a legendary poet, hero, or prophet. It could be a god. It could be David Bowie’s ghost.
[21:23] <+Drew_Cochran> It could also be a Player Character of the Singer’s past who they have longed for many moons to play as again.
[21:23] <+Drew_Cochran> Regardless of whoever their Muse is, whenever the Singer asks the Muse what happens next in the epic saga at hand
[21:23] <+Drew_Cochran> It is determined by that Muse’s tastes and preferences.
[21:24] <+Drew_Cochran> The Singer will oft have a conversation with the Muse to try and divine where the ‘dice’ fall and what those values mean.
[21:24] <+Drew_Cochran> By this, the ‘DM’ figure has an interesting form of agency again, something similar to how players do.
[21:25] <+Drew_Cochran> And also, fate itself may judge heroes differently based on who the Muse is. Sappho would favor lovers, and scorn warlords. Lu Bu, on the other hand, would be the diametric foil.
[21:25] <+Drew_Cochran> I think that’s all the rambling I have for now, Dan!
[21:26] <+Drew_Cochran> Let me know if you have any questions on that!
[21:26] <~Dan> Okay then! Thank you very much for joining us, Drew!
[21:26] <~Dan> Reminder to folks: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:27] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
[21:27] <+Drew_Cochran> Sure!