<+VS> So, I’m Venger Satanis. I’m the guy behind Kort’thalis Publishing. The only guy. Which is why I’m the High Priest, Supreme Leader, Snidquip huzba’a of the tentacled incredulous, etc. etc.
<+VS> Right now, the project I’m focused on is a big, long-term thing called Cha’alt. It’s kickstarting now. I’ll throw a link up.
<+VS> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vengersatanis/chaalt)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vengersatanis/chaalt
<+VS> It’s a post-apocalypse, gonzo, eldritch, science-fantasy campaign setting, megadungeon, and hexcrawl.
<~Dan> Thanks, VS! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> Is the setting designed with any particular system in mind?
<&Beelzedude> What will the system be like?
<+VS> D&D. That’s everything from original D&D up to 5th edition.
<~Dan> How do you manage that in terms of game stats?
<&Beelzedude> Considering that those two are very different animals, can you elaborate on that?
<+VS> Just to clarify, Cha’alt is not an RPG. It’s everything you need to run a game once you have the system of choice picked out.
<+VS> It’s going to use all the usual suspects, cherry-picking between old school D&D and 5e. It’s not 100% ironed out what’s staying and what’s leaving, regarding stat-blocks. The playtesting will start next week.
<+VS> It’s going to assume a Basic version of 5e that will be wholly compatible with OSR games.
<+VS> I’ll probably throw in some optional rule-patches to bridge any disparity.
<~Dan> What is the premise of the setting?
<&Beelzedude> Sounds good.
<+VS> Some things gamers will probably ignore or convert or house-rule as they see fit. But it should be 90% compatible with every type of D&D.
<+VS> That’s the goal, anyway.
<+VS> It’s a fantasy world that interacted with aliens from other worlds and then went through an apocalypse.
<+VS> One backer basically told me to call it “OSR Rifts.” I suppose that’s the short version since it borrows from many different genres and will include almost everything, excluding the kitchen sink.
<~Dan> We the aliens of a sci-fi sort?
<~Dan> Were, rather
<+VS> Yes, all types of sci-fi aliens. So, if you’re wandering around the desert or exploring the black pyramid, you might encounter several different humanoids from wildly different backgrounds that look like nothing the PCs have ever seen.
<+VS> Or non-humanoid aliens, as well!
<~Dan> How did the aliens’ tech interact with the fantasy world’s magic?
<+VS> At first, it coexisted well. Then, tech started to take over, which pissed some people off and angered the gods. When the gods woke up, they took vengeance out on the people of Cha’alt. And that’s why it’s a fairly inhospitable place. The Great Old Ones destroyed much of Cha’alt civilizaton,
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest94!)
<+VS> sending many cities and kingdoms back to the stone age.
<+VS> Bronze age? Age of Obsidian?
<~Dan> So what’s the range of technology that’s available?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Kei!)
<+Kei> heya folks
<+VS> Several gateways are still open and there’s nothing to stop aliens in starships from visiting, so it’s literally everything from a femur that can be used to club your enemies to death all the way up to plasma rifles, teleportation technology, force fields, etc.
<~Dan> What keeps the low-tech folks from being overrun all the time?
<&Beelzedude> Hm, how will those technologies be balanced, considering such a wide span? If at all.
<+VS> The low-tech dudes either have to rely on sorcery or they have to be sneaky and hide, stay in large groups, ally themselves with other low-tech factions, etc.
<~Dan> I see. How powerful can sorcery get in this setting? What can it do on the high end of the scale?
<+VS> But a lot of them are still overrun. Like the lions in the jungle, if they really want to take what they want, they will… baring some unforeseen event (like the PCs) or a few well-placed fireballs.
<+VS> It’s not a low-magic setting, so sorcery in Cha’alt can resurrect people, kill multiple people at once, summon strange creatures, divine intervention, wish, the works!
<+VS> It’s not really balanced. That’s part of the old school appeal that I’m trying to incorporate into the world.
<&Beelzedude> Another system related question from me. Considering your focus on the various forms of D&D as a system, will it be possible to (easily) separate the setting from that and use another system?
<+VS> You could walk out into the desert with a few companions and get killed within an hour. On a different day, you could do the same and become King of a small territory after months of adventuring.
<&Beelzedude> And maybe to follow up the balancing question, can you give an example of the damage a sword would do compared to a plasma rifle?
<+VS> Yes, Beelzedude. I’m making Cha’alt so that almost anything can be lifted and incorporated into your own game or setting. So, you could easily use it with Rifts, Mutant Future, MCC, Gamma World, etc.
<&Beelzedude> Or Rolemaster. 😀
<+VS> Normal longsword will most likely do 1d8 damage. A plasma rifle would probably do something in the neighborhood of 4d6 damage.
<&Beelzedude> Seems reasonable.
<+VS> Are you familiar with old school D&D, OSR, etc.?
<&Beelzedude> I have never played OD&D, but have played Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I did play lots of D&D 3.5 and some 5, though.
<~Dan> I played old school D&D back in the day. When it was new school. 😀
<+VS> While the idea of “game balance” certainly seems reasonable and like it should be a good idea. I’m of the opinion that it’s potentially disastrous for game-play. So, balanced encounters, weapons, etc. I’m firmly against. But I’m in favor of balanced or equal opportunity.
<+VS> Everyone gets the same chance… but that chance might be 50% either die quick or grow strong.
<&Beelzedude> I certainly can get behind the idea of the internal logic of the setting trumping game balance.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Agamemnon3!)
<~Dan> You said that alien starships are still arriving on the planet. What draws them there?
<+VS> Some gamers might balk at the difference between old school D&D / OSR and 3-4th edition D&D. It forces players to think “outside the box.” They can’t rely on their optimized feats and prestige classes to get them out of a jam. They’ll have to think of a way to get past that dragon. I just hope people give it a try because that’s the kind of thing I like.
<&Beelzedude> Then a question about the magic in the system. Will this be the standard D&D magic taken from whatever version you decide to use or is there magic unique to the setting?
<+VS> Resources such as crystals that can be used as energy, like starship fuel. Magic items… gold… there might be a treasure chest full of platinum credits that was rumored to still be down there on Cha’alt. It would be worth a great deal to aliens who use that currency. Slaves! Starship part salvage, etc.
<+VS> It’s a fairly lawless area, outside “the Federation” or what have you. So, aliens can go there and basically do whatever the hell they want. Lots of opportunity for adventuring!
<+VS> There will be new spells, but it’s assumed that gamers will use whatever magic system is already available to them via their RPG of choice.
<~Dan> You touched on this earlier, but can you give us an overview of what bleeding-edge tech can do in this setting?
<+VS> Sure. If we take cinematic sci-fi to its logical end-point, there will be weapons capable of destroying an entire planet. And technology that can clone humanoids or, indeed, rebuild an entire planet… Genesis from Star Trek II, etc.
<~Dan> Does the setting feature mecha?
<+VS> You might not see that in a dungeon chamber guarded by giant spiders, but it’ll be somewhere “in the universe”, and therefore potentially available to NPCs and PCs alike.
<+VS> I hadn’t thought about that. And I know there are many gamers who are big fans of that stuff. I’m not really drawn to it or opposed, so I suppose there will be something in the book about mecha.
* ~Dan nods
<+VS> I’d rather it be something like that episode of Thundarr the Barbarian where the dude put his consciousness in that really tall robot.
<~Dan> I’m neutral on the subject, really. Just curious, because as you say, lots of gamers love those things.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> How common is technology?
<+VS> Depends on where you go. If you’re in the deep desert, you’ll be lucky to stumble on any. But if you’re in the last dome-city, you’ll be surrounded by it. So, it varies. Same goes for magic, but the opposite of tech.
<~Dan> So magic isn’t common in high-tech areas?
<~Dan> Why is that?
<+VS> Learning magic takes a different kind of study. Also, there are prejudices, customs, traditions and that sort of thing. Use of magic is forbidden in certain areas where technology still flourishes. And if you go around wielding a blaster in some desert communities, you’ll be seen as a threat.
<~Dan> Are the gods satisfied that tech is no longer a major threat, or is it dangerous to be a high-tech individual on this planet?
<+VS> The gods awakened for a time, raged, and now it’s fairly quiet. Individuals won’t even be on their radar. So, they won’t care about humans wielding high-tech gear. But those gods can be momentarily used via sorcery to curse a city or turn an person into a pillar of salt, depending on the sorcerer’s whims.
<~Dan> Speaking of the gods, what is the cosmology of the setting?
<+VS> It’s pretty loose and undefined right now. Definitely leans towards Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Basically, Conan-esque Great Old Ones rule from another universe.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Are the gods and magic unique to this one planet, or do they exist elsewhere in this universe? Are there magic-using aliens?
<+VS> Cha’alt is not unlike my prior campaign settings / worlds like Razira (Liberation of the Demon Slayer and The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence), Torth, and places I never actually named.
<+VS> So, I’m assuming various planets are under their sway.
<+VS> I’d like all those things to be more or less compatible with Cha’alt.
<~Dan> Is it the case that magic depends upon the influence of the gods?
<+VS> It’s funny – sometimes I say “yes” and other times I say “no” to that question. So, I go back and forth. I’ll probably suggest things so it leaves it open to interpretation. That way people can decide for themselves.
<&Beelzedude> (Good night and thank you for the As to our Qs, VS.)
<~Dan> (Bye, Beelzedude!)
<+VS> I know some people hate stuff like that – making their own decisions – but that’s one of the things I love about RPGs. 😉
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+VS> Good night, hoss!
<~Dan> When it comes to monsters, are most of them “traditional” fantasy creatures? Alien critters? Some mix thereof?
<+VS> Lots of everything! There will be very few “traditional fantasy creatures” without some kind of twist. Some will be alien, mutated, adapted to Cha’alt, warped by sorcery, etc. Others will be completely unique to the setting.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> You need to head off at 2:30, correct?
<+VS> I can stay for another 10 minutes. Whatever.
<~Dan> Cool. In that case, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+VS> Oh yeah… Alpha Blue.
<+VS> Even though I’ve been gearing up for Cha’alt, little by little for the past several months, I keep putting out these small scenarios for my sleazy sci-fi RPG Alpha Blue. The last one was THOT Audit. And the next one is dropping a week from today, and that’s called THOT Police.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Murazor!)
<~Dan> What will THOT Police be about?
<+VS> The PCs are enlisted, or join up, with the THOT police force.
<~Dan> Hilarity ensues?
<+VS> Basically, a Federation agency that goes around picking up hos, soliciting bribes, bringing them to “justice”, etc. This being Alpha Blue, the PCs are sure to abuse their special privileges.
<+VS> Yeah, it’s meant to be comedic. So, it should be a lot of silly / naughty fun.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<~Dan> Oh, before I forget, standard reminder to folks: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 😀
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, VS!
<+VS> In fact, since I’ve been working on THOT Police and Cha’alt in tandem, there are Cha’altish hints, bits and pieces of Cha’alt, buried in THOT Police.
<+VS> Thanks for having me!
<~Dan> If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
<+VS> Hope people support the Kickstarter and keep a look-out for Kort’thalis Publishing titles.