[19:38] <+Craig> I am Craig Sieracki and I am the creator and author of CULT! An Elder Beings RPG. IT is a rules-lite, quick set up RPG. It was designed for people with busy lives (like myself) who still would like to hang with friends and play games. It is the same game system as our previous game CHOMP!, but with thematically different. A game can be set up and played in
[19:38] <~Dan> (Cut off at “played in”)
[19:38] <+Craig> about 20 minutes, and takes 2-4 hours to play, depending on how long you have.
[19:40] <+Craig> Players tend to go for a more light hearted gaming session as it is usually used as a break stress or as an nice break from longer campaigns. (Done)
[19:40] <~Dan> Thanks, Craig! The floor is open to questions!
[19:40] <~Dan> Can you describe the game’s setting?
[19:42] <+Craig> For CULT! it is a modern era setting about a small cult trying to summon their elder god to our dimension. It is meant to be like an everyday person being trapped in weird circumstances. As you work to foil their plans, stranger and stranger creatures breach into our world, usually ending in a climactic showdown with the CUlts Leaders or Elder Gods.
[19:43] <~Dan> So the PCs are nothing extraordinary?
[19:44] <+JamesGillen> I was kind of under the impression that you were playing competing Gods
[19:44] <+JamesGillen> Sorta like that Warhammer board game
[19:45] <+Craig> No, they are actually randomly generated at the beginning of the game, which takes about 5 minutes. Each character has 5 stats, Attack, Defense, Athletics, Survival, and Medical. And they start the game with a special tactic to help them in dire circumstances. The rest of their background is up to the players to create.
[19:46] <~Dan> Hmm. What happens if a task requires something not covered by the stats, like something science-related.
[19:46] <~Dan> ?
[19:46] <+Craig> The games we are making are in a genre we are calling “Weirdness Magnet” (also the name of our dice system) in which everyday people get thrust into strange circumstances. It is like Shaun of the Dead in a way.
[19:48] <+Craig> Survival and Medical can be used as catch-alls for those. Generally the director (game master) will determine which stat should be used for a given action.
[19:49] <~Dan> I see… And what is the task resolution mechanic?
[19:50] <+Craig> We use a system of rolling 2D6 and comparing it to a difficulty level for skills. In combat the difficulty level is set by the foes attack and defense skills. The players stats provide a bonus to those rolls.
[19:52] <~Dan> What is the damage mechanic?
[19:52] <+Craig> The math was designed to be simple as a means of speeding up play, and to help those adults enjoying adult beverages keep up.
[19:52] <~Dan> Heh. A wise choice. 🙂
[19:53] <+Craig> The damage mechanic is simple. The players roll minus the foes defense is the damage dealt. if you roll a ten and their defense is a 7, you do three points of damage.
[19:53] <~Dan> How do weapons factor in?
[19:53] <+Craig> For foes attacking players, it is the foes attack minus the players defense roll.
[19:54] <+Craig> The simple thingwith weapons is that we don’t factor them in other than for flavor text. A shattered bottle can be as deadly as a knife with a good enough hit.
[19:55] <~Dan> What if the weapon is something drastic, like a bazooka?
[19:57] <+Craig> That has not come up yet, but for explosives, which have been improvised, we usually apply the damage to a grouping of foes as opposed to one foe. If you miss fire a bazooka, there may be other unintended consequences. The director has control over those story factors. Quick character creation allows for disposable characters if things go crazy.
[19:58] <~Dan> Do the cultists have access to magic?
[19:58] <+JamesGillen> Well I guess it would have to.
[19:58] <~Dan> (Other than summoning, of course.)
[19:58] <+Craig> We designed something really stripped down of crunchy rules to allow for the directors and players to craft a story that meets their needs. It requires a lot of creativity on the directors part, but the director rolls no dice, so they can focus on story telling.
[20:00] <+Craig> Some of the creatures that are encountered attack sanity as opposed to hit points. That is as close to magic as we have ventured this far in our games.
[20:00] <+Craig> A charcter affected by a sanity attack loses one of their six sanity points and suffers a insanity effect for two rounds.
[20:02] <~Dan> All characters have the same sanity level?
[20:02] <+Craig> Yes, but some characters are more resistant to sanity attacks.
[20:03] <+Craig> As Medical is closest to an intelligence stat, sanity attacks are made against it as opposed to defense.
[20:03] <~Dan> Oh? How does that work?
[20:03] <~Dan> Ah, gotcha.
[20:04] <~Dan> Is this an explicitly Lovecraftian game?
[20:06] <+Craig> CULT is, but it can be used with our previous game CHOMP, which is a zombie apocalypse, so you can mix and match foes. Really, with the simplicity of the system, any director could make up foes of any type. Currently we are more weird fiction/horror focused games because that was what interested us at the time of writing.
[20:07] <~Dan> So does it use Cthulhu Mythos monsters?
[20:07] <+Craig> We are working on a more generalized system that will have a wider variety of foe types, aliens, ninjas, secret government agent, etc.
[20:08] <+Craig> Vaguely would be the best answer. They are not named specifically, thought their is a handy “roll you own elder being name” chart in the back. If directors wanted to be more on the nose with it, they can.
[20:09] <~Dan> Do you have a bestiary
[20:09] <~Dan> ?
[20:11] <+Craig> There are about nine types of foes in the game. We usually add a new one with each adventure scenario we release. They range from people, Cultist, insane, Cult leader, to strange creature, Squidhead, Mass of eyes, Aspect of Elder Being.
[20:14] <~Dan> So you’re publishing adventures? That’s promising.
[20:15] <~Dan> Is this the start of a game line, or will you be moving on to that more generalized game you mentioned?
[20:16] <+Craig> Yes, we have a series of four, loosely interconnected adventures that are being written. They will be made into print form if we reach our stretch goal. This is the continuation of a game line that started with CHOMP. The generalized game we are working on will be fully compatible with CULT.
[20:21] <~Dan> Do you have a name for the new game yet?
[20:23] <+Craig> We have thought of calling it Weirdness Magnet, which is something several of my friends refer to me as that. I tend to attract strange people to me in public.
[20:24] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[20:24] <+Craig> Apparently I have an easy to approach demeanor and random people will come up to me and start conversations about whatever. So it felt like a natural fit.
[20:25] <~Dan> That’s a nice problem to have.
[20:26] <+Craig> I also really like the idea of a game where average people are faced with abnormal situations. The creativity that has come through from the players has been amazing. I always joke that I designed a game for lazy game masters to run as it often puts the onus of story telling back on the players. I really just describe the situations and the foes reactions to
[20:26] <+Craig> the players.
[20:29] <~Dan> What about the game do you think encourages that approach?
[20:31] <+Craig> Its simplicity. As director you are not really bogged down in remembering stats or a large amount of creature abilities. It is easy to focus on what seems to be motivating players to play and what is entertaining them. It is feasible to use this system for serious role-playing, but most players have told me that they like the light-hearted approach.
[20:32] <+Craig> It is popular at conventions for the later game sessions. People come to my table, grab a drink and unwind. The game has a pretty permissive approach to trying things. If a player can lay out a conceivable story for why their character can try something, I am usually game. SO part of that free wheeling approach is on me as director.
[20:34] <+Craig> I would not say that what I have created is an every game session game. It is best for one-shots, and as a form of pick-up game. Two of your players didn’t show up for D&D but the rest of you still want to play something, play CULT!
[20:35] <+Craig> I have played with as few as two and as many as 7 and it still moved at a quick pace.
[20:36] <~Dan> I appreciate the fact that you recognize your game’s niche.
[20:36] <~Dan> I’m always leery of folks who claim that their game can to “anything”.
[20:36] <~Dan> do
[20:38] <+Craig> I think that awareness is important in creating anything. I was not setting out to be the new Savage Worlds or GURPS. The main reason we want to generalize the game is because people have asked us to, and we are all about customer service. But at its heart, the games in this line will be about one-shots.
[20:38] <+Craig> Characters only go to level 5. Then the game is over.
[20:39] <~Dan> Oh, it’s a level-based game?
[20:40] <~Dan> How do levels affect character growth?
[20:40] <+Craig> You level up after every fight, which takes about 1 minute. You gain a new ability or your stats go up. That is about it.
[20:40] <~Dan> What are the abilities?
[20:42] <+Craig> There are “Special Tactics” that characters gain throughout the game that are linked to their stats. Each tactic can be used once per “scene” (encounter, of which there are four or five in a game). These let you make extra attacks, heal, avoid, damage, etc. They just add some variances to the game.
[20:43] <+Craig> The players look at the tactics and can select those that they have the prerequisite stats for. The start the game with one and gain two more as they level up.
[20:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[20:45] <+Craig> Hello Le_Squid
[20:45] <~Dan> Do monsters have abilities of their own?
[20:46] <+Craig> Yes, each monster has one special ability, though some of those can be used each round. For some it is being able to make ranged attacks, for some it is ignoring some damage.
[20:47] <+Craig> Those abilities are also mostly used to provide variance between the monsters.
[20:47] * ~Dan nods
[20:49] <~Dan> So the game sounds pretty simple and straightforward… How many pages is it?
[20:50] <+Craig> What we have is really simple, yet fun and engaging. I have played with 5 people that have never role-played before, and they all enjoyed it. Several moved on to trying more complex games to see what else was out there as role-playing was never something they thought of doing.
[20:50] <+Craig> The book is about 62 pages I believe, I am not sure final cut for printing, but around there.
[20:53] * ~Dan nods
[20:53] <+Craig> The first half explains character creation and character actions. The second half explains the director’s role, the bestiary, and includes an adventure to play through to get the basics. It includes full color art.
[20:53] <~Dan> Oh, that’s nice.
[20:55] <~Dan> What are your thoughts on the value of full-color art, especially for such a small game?
[20:57] <+Craig> When we did CHOMP! it was black and white, and I loved it, but I wanted to try something new. It does raise cost of production, but I think ti will make for a nicer product. To be honest, my art comes low cost. I have many friends who are artists, and they seem pretty generous with my projects. Mostly because they know that I put the small amount of money
[20:59] <+Craig> made back into the products. I don’t know if this will ever turn into a huge money making thing, but I didn’t do it to make money. Mostly I did it to prove to myself that I could channel my creative energy and joy of gaming into something that others could enjoy. It was a challenge to myself and to be honest, fulled by curiosity.
[21:00] <~Dan> I definitely respect that.
[21:01] <+Craig> I wanted to know how these things got made. How much time and effort are people and companies putting in to this. I had to teach myself how to format, how to write instructions, how to make compatible .pdfs. When we started, we knew we wanted to make a simple zombie game that required two six sided dice so all people could try and play it.
[21:01] * ~Dan nods
[21:01] <+Craig> I had no idea the wide range of skills people needed to learn to actually make this work. Google is definitely a friend to the small time game creator.
[21:02] <~Dan> I’ll bet!
[21:02] <~Dan> What is your own gaming history?
[21:05] <+Craig> I started playing D&D second edition when I was fifteen. A guy in my Spanish class who was older than me asked if I wanted to try it out at a local library to see if I would fit in with his group. The funny part was, a kid I didn’t like was at the library playing magic and asked if he could join. That kid and I later created CHOMP! and have been best friends
[21:05] <~Dan> Heh. That’s awesome. 🙂
[21:06] <+Craig> since. We moved on to GURPS, Star Wars, Palladium’s version of RIFTS, and every iteration of D&D.
[21:06] <~Dan> Nice.
[21:07] <+Craig> And then we started getting older and it was hard to get people together and I would be frustrated if I spent several hours writing an adventure for half the players to drop out at the last minute due to work or kids. That is when the idea for our game system came up. I wrote most of it and bounced my ideas off Matt.
[21:08] <+Craig> He for his part refined combat and helped streamline the game.
[21:09] <~Dan> That’s a great story. 🙂
[21:10] <~Dan> Do you mind if we wrap up a little early this evening?
[21:10] <+Craig> That would be fine by me. This has been fun and I appreciate you reaching out to me and letting me ramble on all over your chatroom.
[21:11] <~Dan> Certainly! I hope you’ll feel welcome to hang out with us whenever you like!
[21:11] <~Dan> Quick reminder to folks: gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ :D0
[21:11] <~Dan> 😀 , rather
[21:11] <+Craig> Ha
[21:11] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Craig!
[21:12] <~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and link you!