[19:33] <&TimKirk> My name is Tim Kirk, I’m the creator of the quirky named superhero game, Hearts & Souls.
[19:35] <&TimKirk> Hearts & Souls is designed to focus on the important things behind heroes: Their motivations. Their reasons for being and doing things. It’s original engine was a fantastic little game, but it needs a new edition. Which is why I’ve got it on kickstarter, to help me get better graphics, better layouts, and the best editing I can.
[19:36] <&TimKirk> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1041295240/hearts-and-souls-2nd-edition-tabletop-role-playing?ref=444888&token=9271402e)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1041295240/hearts-and-souls-2nd-edition-tabletop-role-playing?ref=444888&token=9271402e
[19:37] <&TimKirk> Is the link, and I am asking for as many as possible to get the message out, about my game. Where heroes success and failure are within the player’s hands through a variety of tools which gives them power (through their characters) to do what needs to be done!
[19:39] <&TimKirk> For example in Hearts & Souls, heroes can reroll dice that “failed” by bantering with heroes or villains in character. Or monologuing and referencing their Drive. Their primary motivation. These tools allow heroes to succeed when it REALLY matters.
[19:40] <&TimKirk> No, arbitrary “you’re roll failed, you are done! Next PC
[19:40] <&TimKirk> Next Pc’s turn!”
[19:40] <&TimKirk> *your (gah.)
[19:41] <+Viktyr> So how would your Drive influence your ability to retroactively avoid typos?
[19:42] <&TimKirk> The whole game is built atop empowerment of the character. With in character methods and actions changing success or failure. Rather than a system of points.
[19:42] <&TimKirk> Sadly, it doesn’t. It seems!
[19:42] <+Viktyr> (sorry)
[19:44] <&TimKirk> But if your character were say a reporter, and their job was to write the best news article; I’m pretty sure they could monologue about how important their article is to the world, and the world needs to have this knowledge in the best manner possible, which they can deliver because they’re driven to do so by their love of the truth.
[19:45] <&TimKirk> Which would prevent the typo from ever “happening” on the page (or in the game.)
[19:45] <&TimKirk> Sadly, real life is less forgiving.
[19:45] <+Viktyr> Dude, good save!
[19:47] <&TimKirk> The game uses a currency called stress to track times when you just can’t manage to banter or monologue, and need to make it anyway. The more stress, well that’s when the player or editor can trigger bad things like my typo.
[19:48] <&TimKirk> Kickstarters can be quite stressful, by the way 😀
[19:48] <~Dan> 🙂
[19:48] <+Viktyr> The Editor, that’s your term for the game’s referee?
[19:50] <&TimKirk> Yes. The Editor, big E; he’s their to keep things interesting for the players, putting world events on the stage, making villains, and monologuing for them (because they can hold off stress for a little while, thus making them harder to fight when heroes first meet them, but fall easier later.)
[19:50] <&TimKirk> Your average thug, isn’t so lucky.
[19:52] <+Viktyr> So his role is to maintain dramatic tension for the players?
[19:52] <+Viktyr> And maintain other story elements, such as tone and pacing, as in the editorial office in a comics publisher?
[19:53] <&TimKirk> The reason I like the term Editor, is because in comics, they’re not there to mess up the stories, but to make sure it all works and flows well from writing and art, to tone and pacing.
[19:53] <&TimKirk> Yeah.
[19:54] <~Dan> Does this game have its own built-in setting?
[19:54] <&TimKirk> Pretty much. Also they can throw in little editor boxes with “back in issue XX.” If players REALLY need help with something they can also do a lot of other things like give foreshadowing, and “off screen” but not off page story elements. (So the villain in the shadows. So to speak.
[19:56] <&TimKirk> It’s built on a timeline I created, based on my love of comic books. So while there is an implied setting tied to the timeline (and there will be a pocket guide to the “main” city at the moment.) It is not set in stone–and in fact some events and many years are left open for Editors and players to fill. Or even
[19:56] <&TimKirk> run campaigns in that time.
[19:57] * ~Dan nods
[19:58] <~Dan> Does this game emulate any particular era of superhero comics?
[19:58] <&TimKirk> There are organizations mentioned, and heroes and villains in that timeline–but they can be inspiration, or even leave their legacy to new heroes. At the game’s current “date” there are no big heroes.
[19:58] <+Viktyr> As a followup to Dan’s question, does the setting’s tone change with the progression of the timeline?
[20:00] <&TimKirk> It focuses on what I call modernist reconstruction. It is built on the hope of the Silver Age, but with some dark edges (death of older heroes for example so room is left for new ones.) I’d call it Copper Age, when the Comics Code Authority started getting lax, and we had stories that
[20:00] <&TimKirk> dealt with death, drugs, and more.
[20:01] <&TimKirk> Viktyr: Yes and no. There is no hard coded changes in the timeline, but if you want a Dark Age during the 90’s its pretty easy to see where to insert it.
[20:01] <+Viktyr> Would say it fits well with 21st century comics after the death of the code, but the deliberate resurrection of the idealism of earlier comics?
[20:02] <&TimKirk> Yes. Astro City for example, is a HUGE inspiration, as well as a few other modern takes. Also a lot of literary stories have had an impact as non-comic book super novels have grown heavily in the last few years.
[20:04] <&TimKirk> Many of those stories hold hope, but don’t shy away from touching darkness–and sometimes dealing with it and overcoming it.
[20:04] <~Dan> Is the game designed with any particular power level in mind?
[20:06] <&TimKirk> Nope. It’s designed so that street supers and cosmic supers, and everything in between can be played. While meshing them together might seem a problem, there are tools (taking stress) that help even street level heroes face really powerful villains for a little while, even if they suffer in story for it.
[20:06] <&TimKirk> Plus, because the street heroes will need to banter and monologue more, they in a way get more screen time.
[20:06] <&TimKirk> But don’t steal it completely.
[20:07] <&TimKirk> Though I admit I tend to keep everyone roughly “same level” most of the time. (Though I’ve playtested cosmic team ups with street tough heroes.)
[20:09] <~Dan> Is the setting an “anything goes” sort of superhero setting?
[20:09] <&TimKirk> It works. Though it means more stuff for the street heroes to have to deal with in future “issues.”
[20:10] <&TimKirk> Pretty much. Though it does focus on being big H Heroes. Good guys.
[20:10] <~Dan> Well, I meant more in terms of multiple power sources, magic, aliens, dinosaurs, etc.
[20:10] <&TimKirk> Atlantis, Mu, and Lemuria are assumed to exist in the timeline. Along with giant monsters, and more.
[20:10] <&TimKirk> Yes.
[20:11] <&TimKirk> Magic, technology, aliens, dinosaurs, atomic cyborg vampires (the latter being something the “WATCH” report, essentially our bestiary, can help someone make.)
[20:12] <~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
[20:12] <+Viktyr> Do the rules differentiate between magic and other power sources?
[20:13] <&TimKirk> No. In fact the power for “magic” and “gadgets” (you know always having the right one) all fall under the same power. It’s just some finer details that differ.
[20:13] <~Dan> Speaking of which, what’s the power system like? Is it effects-based, for example?
[20:14] <&TimKirk> Like in magic you must speak, wave hands, draw circles, something. Gadgets you can “run out of” as a Gm way of triggering stress.
[20:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Templum_Bee!)
[20:14] <&TimKirk> Or ahem Editor.
[20:14] <+Templum_Bee> Hello, guys.
[20:15] <&TimKirk> Dan: Powers are, fluid. It is built on the idea of four things powers may or may not do: Attack, Defend, Move, or Manipulate. Some powers can do all of those, some completely ignore those. Regeneration for example isn’t fitting into those categories.
[20:16] * ~Dan nods
[20:16] <&TimKirk> Pre-written powers describe what they do, options they offer, and things the Editor can allow or dissallow.
[20:17] <&TimKirk> Not a lot of power “Manipulate,” but then other powers, that is ALL they do in some form. (Change the environment in some way is generally manipulate, moving things, pushing things, building things that don’t turn into attacks or defenses.)
[20:19] <~Dan> How would you model weather control?
[20:20] <&TimKirk> Well, if all you do is change weather, then its manipulate. But if you can control it to cause sleet over a specific area to deny movement it would have a movement effect. If it creates lightning to attack a foe, then it has an attack option, and so on.
[20:21] <&TimKirk> Obscuring the area with fog? Manipulate.
[20:21] <&TimKirk> Create a whirlwind to deflect bullets? Defense.
[20:22] * ~Dan nods
[20:22] <&TimKirk> The power may allow ALL of these. But the editor should discuss if they want limits on the power. Certainly how powerful it is via the Rank and Scale system has a big impact.
[20:22] <~Dan> Actually, I was just about to turn to the system, but perhaps first we could look at a character sheet?
[20:23] <&TimKirk> (Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ddV7oaRg4bufe5pv–nC9wk_k2wZumaj/view?usp=sharing)https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ddV7oaRg4bufe5pv–nC9wk_k2wZumaj/view?usp=sharing
[20:23] <&TimKirk> This is an older one though, the Targe Numbers need to be fixed.
[20:23] <&TimKirk> Target*
[20:26] <&TimKirk> Stress is kept track of in two places. The Wheel of Doom, and on the relationships, players create for their characters. Putting stress in the Wheel is typical, pushing it into relationships leads to bad things happening in, to, or from those relationships.
[20:27] <~Dan> I see attributes, but I don’t see a spot for skills. Are there skills in the system?
[20:31] <&TimKirk> Not as such no. Skills are covered by Capabilities (what you called attributes), they’re built into that score already. Because superheroes tend to be good at a lot of stuff. Agility and Knowledge cover most of the “Skill” roles. Though if someone wants to be REALLY good, they take the “power” Superskill. Which covers things like Cardsharps (a villain), ability to make a normal playing card a lethal edged weapon.
[20:31] <&TimKirk> OR All-American Archer’s Skill with a bow.
[20:32] <~Dan> I see. Super-skills are an important option in a superhero game.
[20:33] <&TimKirk> Yes. They can be. They let masters of a skill–gymnast, shooter, whatever reach super levels.
[20:34] * ~Dan nods
[20:34] <&TimKirk> A friend of mine played an acrobat with that as a superskill. His taunting kept them shooting at his character, but they never hit.
[20:35] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:35] <~Dan> What is the game’s task resolution system?
[20:37] <&TimKirk> All capabilities and powers have a rank, and a scale. The scale determines the die type that’s being used, and the rank determines how many are rolled, but only the best die matters. It’s pretty simple. Someone with say Superskill: Acrobat (Rank/Scale: Spectacular Superhuman) would roll 3d8 and take the best (Rank gives us the 3, and scale gives us the d8)
[20:38] <&TimKirk> Humans use a d6, Superhumans d8, Planetary heroes a d10, and Cosmic a d12. Ranks are Average, Exceptional, and Spectacular. So no hordes of dice. Just a few.
[20:39] <~Dan> Are the dice rolled against target numbers, or opposed dice rolls?
[20:40] <&TimKirk> In the case of dodging say Cardsharp’s lethal cards (His ability is Exceptional Superhuman, which has a Threshold of half the die value he uses so 4) Then our Spectacular Superhuman acrobat has to get at least one die above that 4.
[20:40] <&TimKirk> Nope. Fixed opposing target numbers.
[20:41] <~Dan> So the Editor doesn’t roll?
[20:41] <&TimKirk> That may seem easy, but I’ve witness many many times in play someone never get a roll above 3, with 3d8. So banter, and monologues.
[20:41] <&TimKirk> Nope.
[20:42] <&TimKirk> The Editor has to be thinking three steps ahead for master villains, bogging them down with dice rolls just gets in the way.
[20:42] * ~Dan nods
[20:43] <&TimKirk> Plus, he’s keeping track of more than one character a lot of the time.
[20:43] <~Dan> True.
[20:44] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:47] <&TimKirk> Villains act, unless opposed. If opposed the heroes respond with their actions. So Cardsharp throws a card at our acrobat, Escuirel, he chooses to dodge with his skill. If he beats a 4 on one of the 3d8, fine, he’s safe from that throw. If not, he can banter “You know for someone with your skill at cards, maybe you should take your act to Vegas!” “I got thrown out for cheating!” Cardsharp replies, and Escuirel
[20:47] <&TimKirk> rerolls. Or Escuirel could monologue, “I cannot allow this violent villain to go free, their are too many innocents he may hurt with those edged cards! I must protect them from harm!” and rerolls
[20:48] <&TimKirk> If Escuirel’s player can
[20:48] <&TimKirk> can’t think of anything, he can take stress to reroll. (That happens a lot when someone is on the spot.)
[20:50] * ~Dan nods
[20:50] <~Dan> How does damage work?
[20:51] <&TimKirk> Stress builds up, typically over more than one fight/conflict (social, and mental conflict count.) and well, the Editor or player can then cause Fallout, so this time, despite his valiant effort, Escuirel gets a razor sharp card in between two ribs. That’s an Injury (Fallout is equal to stress triggered) so the more stress, the worse the injury.
[20:52] <&TimKirk> Or worse…it could MISS still and hit a civilian, forcing Escuirel to have to leave the fight to get them to safety.
[20:53] <&TimKirk> Or if he dropped it into a relationship? Maybe his wife asks why he has a razor sharp cut between his ribs when he should have been at work, in a mundane, safe, job?
[20:55] <&TimKirk> Alternately, maybe the card misses, and hits a powerline–causing a blackout, and panic. Making Escuirel have to deal with looters, fearful people. Or maybe the card hits someone he cares about?
[20:55] <&TimKirk> Fallout is ALL about making life miserable, but interesting, for the hero.
[20:55] <~Dan> How many Injuries can a character take?
[20:56] <&TimKirk> Effectively? It depends on how much stress they have. A sprained wrist, isn’t fallout when you’ve got a fractured tibia.
[20:57] <&TimKirk> So new injuries must be worse than old ones to matter, and they can cause a hero who tries to act with CERTAIN injuries, more stress.
[20:57] <&TimKirk> Like trying to block a blow with a broken arm.
[20:57] * ~Dan nods
[20:58] <&TimKirk> But to be honest it depends on the Editor, there is a point at 10 Stress when a character is just DOWN. If that fallout is all injury.
[20:59] <&TimKirk> In fact if it Stress hits 10, REALLY bad things happen automatically. Though the nature is up to the Editor. Coma’s, character death, etc. (Depending on the tone of the game, and players willingness to play where death is acceptable. It isn’t for some games.)
[20:59] <~Dan> (wb, Templum_Bee)
[21:00] <&TimKirk> Here’s a nonlethal example to wrap up.
[21:00] <&TimKirk> In the Futurians graphic novel, Terrayne, sinks the supervillains evil fortress, to the center of the Earth! He’s gone “page wise” for days or even weeks.
[21:01] <&TimKirk> He comes back to the surface with “Oooh my aching feet!”
[21:01] <&TimKirk> But he’s been gone a while.
[21:01] <&TimKirk> So that’s a solid example of 9 Stress, being blown before it got worse.
[21:03] <&TimKirk> And a special trick in H&S2E, at 9 stress, you get a heroic triumph! But end up with 10 Stress worth of problems.
[21:03] <~Dan> I see. So it doesn’t sound like a PC being taken out by Injuries is all that common, what with the other options for Stress.
[21:03] <&TimKirk> A lot depends on the games tone, which we discuss. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a teen/young adult cartoon or comic.
[21:04] <&TimKirk> On the other hand, if Viktyr wanted to run a Dark/Iron Age game? Well…
[21:05] <~Dan> How do weapons work in terms of damage?
[21:05] <&TimKirk> They’re generally given a Rank/Scale. Unless the shooter has better natural abilities to USE the weapon.
[21:06] <&TimKirk> Or fencer, or…what have you.
[21:06] <~Dan> Hmm. Not sure I follow you there… The weapons get their own attack rating?
[21:07] <&TimKirk> They can. Yes. A handgun in an average thugs hands is more lethal than the thug is normally.
[21:08] <~Dan> So what happens if the character is a better shot than the weapon’s rating?
[21:08] <&TimKirk> You use the best rating.
[21:08] <~Dan> Then how is damage determined?
[21:09] <&TimKirk> How much stress has the hero accrued?
[21:09] <&TimKirk> It’s all about the stress.
[21:09] <&TimKirk> IF he has none, then he’s pretty safe from a handgun.
[21:09] <~Dan> Well, I mean, does the weapon effectively become meaningless if the character has a higher rating than the weapon?
[21:10] <&TimKirk> Yes.
[21:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, Le_Squide!)
[21:10] <&TimKirk> Because they know how to use it to REALLY cause hurt.
[21:10] <~Dan> I see…
[21:11] <~Dan> So you don’t have weapons that are inaccurate but powerful?
[21:12] <&TimKirk> Sure, but it still comes down to the situation.
[21:14] <~Dan> How does armor work?
[21:14] <&TimKirk> It is rolled against an attack, like a dodge. If successful no stress.
[21:15] <~Dan> So if you dodge, armor has no effect?
[21:15] <&TimKirk> Nope, whichever defense you use is sufficient. It’s an abstraction.
[21:15] <+Viktyr> (I’m not an Iron Age guy. You just have to decon before you can recon.)
[21:16] <&TimKirk> Some characters will dodge an attack, others take it on their armor.
[21:17] <+Viktyr> Is it useful to have armor and evasion in situations where one or the other won’t work? Like when you are immobilized, or when the attack is simply too massive for armor to absorb?
[21:18] <&TimKirk> Yes.
[21:19] <&TimKirk> Plus there are cases where a superstrong character will say tear up the street, to put a barrier between herself, and an oncoming attack, she’d rather NOT hit her.
[21:21] <&TimKirk> (Just watched a cartoon where that happened)
[21:21] * ~Dan nods
[21:22] <+Viktyr> Hey, mind something from left field?
[21:23] <&TimKirk> Then of course there is the “Power Armor” issue, where often Power armor is getting torn up, but absorbing the attacks. So that hero may dodge attacks to avoid armor abuse (That armor takes damage it blocks, is a possible stress trigger)
[21:23] <&TimKirk> Yeah? (Though we’re running way over time…:D)
[21:23] <+Viktyr> I’ve got six minutes left. 😛
[21:23] <+Viktyr> Majority of your Kickstarter budget goes to art. You got samples of what we’re paying for?
[21:24] <+Viktyr> (That aren’t on your KS page, natch.)
[21:24] <&TimKirk> Yes! I’ve been posting them on Twitter, Instagram, and the Silverlion Studios FB group.
[21:24] <&TimKirk> (Link: https://www.instagram.com/silverlionstudios/)https://www.instagram.com/silverlionstudios/
[21:25] <&TimKirk> (Link: https://www.facebook.com/SilverlionStudiosRPG/)https://www.facebook.com/SilverlionStudiosRPG/
[21:25] <&TimKirk> I’ve trouble with instagram not letting you just upload…so..
[21:26] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:26] <&TimKirk> Twitter @SilverlionRpg
[21:27] <&TimKirk> Nope. Other than I hope everyone gives it a look. Thank you for your time! I appreciate it.
[21:27] <&TimKirk> (I’d love to get to those stretch goals, I’ve awesome stuff planned, but well…we’re not there yet.)
[21:28] <~Dan> You’re welcome, TimKirk! Thanks for joining us!
[21:28] <~Dan> As usual, gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:28] <+Viktyr> Hey can I bug you?
[21:28] <&TimKirk> Of course!
[21:28] <&TimKirk> Thank you
[21:28] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
[21:28] <&TimKirk> I’ve got to run an errand, but if its quick! 😀
[21:28] <&TimKirk> Thanks Dan!