<+Ed_Jowett> Hi everyone, and thanks for having me back.
<+Ed_Jowett> I’m here to talk about The Era Zone.
<+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-era-zone?ref=80rq8w)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-era-zone?ref=80rq8w
<+Ed_Jowett> This is our contribution to Zine Quest, an initiative run by the Games team at Kickstarter.
<+Ed_Jowett> We’re aiming to bring some more content for all of the Era games, as well as some great setting-neutral content for the Sci-Fi fans out there.
<+Ed_Jowett> Each of the games gets something new: campaigns, for some of them, while Era: The Empowered offers some new power trees for characters, Era: Silence gets some new challenges and Era: Lyres gets a new tavern or two!
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Hitman probably has the most unusual piece – a few “Optional Targets” which you can add into any campaign for an extra reward.
<+Ed_Jowett> Anyone who wants to know more about the games in general can have a fast look at my livestream, where I spoke about them: (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql8e9nQsCEU)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql8e9nQsCEU
<+Ed_Jowett> And the setting-neutral content – Encounters on the Edge of Space – is like a Sci-Fi version of all those fantasy bestiaries you keep seeing online. I don’t see enough Sci-Fi ones, so I decided to add to what’s on offer by creating a version which can be applied to any Sci-Fi game, from our own Era: The Consortium to Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, etc…
<+Ed_Jowett> whatever universe you like.
<+Ed_Jowett> Finally, we also have some Q&As by some fairly awesome people in the Zine, covering general questions about the hows and whys of what we do…
<+Ed_Jowett> one set of which is written by our very own Dan!
* ~Dan blushes
<+Ed_Jowett> The Kickstarter was initially offering two issues (and the content will vary from issue to issue, but will continue to support all of our games, as well as Encounters), but we’ve recently reached a Stretch Goal which now means there will be three issues in 2019.
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s one more available, only a couple of hundred dollars above where we are now which will give the full quarterly offering – 4 issues in the year!
<+Ed_Jowett> So I’m super excited about all of that!
<+Ed_Jowett> And that’s me done, so please feel free to ask any questions you have!
<~Dan-brb> (Howdy, JoeBush!)
<~Dan> Thanks, Ed_Jowett! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> Can you give some examples of what we can expect from the sci-fi bestiary?
<+Ed_Jowett> It has quite a wide variety.
<~Dan> Well, why don’t we start with “generic” entries, and then discuss “unique” entries?
<+Ed_Jowett> I wrote it with a PhD in microbiology, Matthew, who did an awesome job of coming up with some great things. From mysterious, uninhabited space stations to primitive creatures to mysterious aliens to viruses, it’s all in there.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest99!)
<+Ed_Jowett> They tend to be written in the form of journal entries, research papers and the like.
<+Ed_Jowett> And they include not only a full briefing on what’s known about the “Encounter”, but also some specifics about its motivations and then some adventure seeds in many cases, which could be taken to start as much as a campaign.
<+Ed_Jowett> I’ve actually been offering Encounters on the Edge of Space slowly, over time, via my Patreon ((Link: http://www.patreon.com/SoV)www.patreon.com/SoV)… for free! So you can go on it and download those even if you’re not one of my patrons.
<+Ed_Jowett> These particular ones are two of my favourites from the whole set.
<+Ed_Jowett> The Beacon is a mysterious space station… no-one knows its purpose, but it’s almost certainly not trying to hurt anyone… whereas the Memory Eaters are exactly the opposite. Apparently genetically engineered, they seem to have been designed to do… something?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Frankto!)
<~Dan> Can you say a bit more about these “Optional Targets”?
<+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, sure.
<+Ed_Jowett> The idea is to add an extra into the missions you would normally be doing anyway, sort of like an optional side mission.
<+Ed_Jowett> The listing for the Targets offers a lot of information about them, how they act, their habits, how they might fight an opponent and what kind of allies they have – everything you could need to defeat them effectively.
<+Ed_Jowett> It also adds a suggestion to the GM for what sort of reward you might get for defeating them, on top of doing your missions.
<+Ed_Jowett> The idea is just to add a bit of extra challenge, or a secondary opportunity – however the GM wants to play it, really.
<~Dan> (Howdy, dannerz!)
<+dannerz> Hi Dan!
<~Dan> What new power trees are showing up for The Empowered?
<+Ed_Jowett> So in the Core Rulebook, we offered 45 Power Trees, but you can always make more!
<+Ed_Jowett> So we’re adding 2 new ones in this issue: Invisibility and Seismic Control (think Red Volcano from Young Justice).
<+Ed_Jowett> We’re also giving them to characters, and providing some background material about those characters in case anyone wishes to add an enemy or ally to their campaign.
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s really to just give something a little different – I don’t want to just produce a book of sessions and campaigns every month, I’m aiming to produce a wider range of materials.
<~Dan> How many different things can you do with Invisibility?
<+Ed_Jowett> Well, a few things.
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s you and controlling objects or individuals’ invisibility.
<+Ed_Jowett> This character is a little like the Shadow, so they can not always hide every aspect of themselves…
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s the intangibility for brief periods you can include… hidden weapons while being otherwise visible…
<+Ed_Jowett> I managed to find quite a few different things I could include.
<~Dan> (wb, Agamemnon2!)
<~Dan> Remind me of what Era: Silence is about?
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Silence is about the quest to earn your name as a warrior on the mystical Isle of Silence.
<+Ed_Jowett> You do that by completing challenges… but you have to work together with your allies while being unable to speak.
<+Ed_Jowett> So it becomes an exercise in gesture and reading actions.
<~Dan> The players themselves can’t speak?
<+Ed_Jowett> Not in character anyway.
<~Dan> I see… And what does this zine offer for that game?
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s no need to block their ability to say “my character goes here”.
<+Ed_Jowett> It offers some new challenges… these challenges, some are riddles, some are combat… some are a combination of the two.
<+Ed_Jowett> But once you know the answer to a riddle, it hurts the replay-ability a little (although in issue 2, we’ll be offering campaign seeds for how you extend beyond the Isle – I get asked about that a lot).
<+Ed_Jowett> So we’ve added some new challenges, it means a few new riddles and new chances to challenge the audience who might otherwise know the answers.
<+Ed_Jowett> I played with a group just a week or two ago – 7 players.
<+Ed_Jowett> They had a great time and, as you might expect… some of the riddles were easy…
<+Ed_Jowett> and some totally stumped them.
<~Dan> Do the players get any sort of intelligence roll to help them, or is it all up to the players themselves?
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s all up to the players themselves.
<+Ed_Jowett> It gets better, because the players… when they meet a condition (either win or lose), if there’s a choice to be made or something…
<+Ed_Jowett> they vanish.
<+Ed_Jowett> And you don’t know, as the other players, whether they got it right or wrong.
<+Ed_Jowett> I know it sounds a bit odd… but it really works very well.
<~Dan> That makes sense.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Woo77!)
<~Dan> Can you say a bit about the new campaigns offered?
<+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, sure.
<+Ed_Jowett> We’ve got an Era: The Consortium campaign which is written up from the notes we had for a recent multi-table event!
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s got 3 missions for two parallel groups, so you can run a multi-table, or you can play one, then the other and switch it around.
<+Ed_Jowett> it’s about a new weapon which the Consortium has discovered and trying to stop its propogation.
<+Ed_Jowett> Then we’ve got the Era: Survival campaign, which was written by one of my team, Fred Harvey, who probably loves the game even more than I do!
<~Dan> (Sorry, phone)
<+Ed_Jowett> In it, you’re exploring a vault which is left beneath what the players will recognise as a theme park.
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s craziness, Potestates (who want to harness the “zombie Infection” to make themselves powerful), and a lot of chances to not get killed… as long as you look for them. Not to mention the chance to get super, super rich.
<+Ed_Jowett> The Era: Balam sessions are two individual ones which can be strung together into a campaign, I’ve run them both as individual sessions over the last 2 years at a single convention, and there were players who played both times as the same characters!
<+Ed_Jowett> (and if anyone else has any questions, feel free to ask! The Kickstarter link is this: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-era-zone?ref=80rq8w)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-era-zone?ref=80rq8w)
<~Dan> Remind me of what Era: Balam is about?
<+Ed_Jowett> An alien invasion of a non-Sol star system.
<+Ed_Jowett> The human colonists are all but wiped out and have to build 1-man fighters to try to fight back.
<+Ed_Jowett> against hugely bad odds, it’s their chance to be a hero.
<~Dan> Ah, right, the fighter one.
<+Ed_Jowett> You play as a squadron of fighters which each have various abilities… that’s right!
<~Dan> Does the zine address the connections (if any) between the settings?
<+Ed_Jowett> It does not… yet, anyway.
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Lyres Definitive Edition gives the first firm link between two of the games, but I’m not quite ready to reveal everything at this time.
<+Ed_Jowett> I need Era: The Chosen, Era: “High Fantasy” and Era: Lost Legend to be out in the world first!
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan’s had to brb, unfortunately, but I’d be happy to talk about any of the Era games if anyone else has a question – this campaign does cover all of them to some degree, after all!
<~Dan> (back, sorry)
<~Dan> For those unfamiliar, can you explain this Zine challenge thingy?
<+Ed_Jowett> Actually, that’s a point worth mentioning…
<+Ed_Jowett> In one second, first I just want to mention that there is a game that runs on Era d10 which is not catered for in this Zine.
<+Ed_Jowett> The Zine is designed specifically for the Era games, created by me, so the Battlecruiser Alamo RPG is not included.
<+Ed_Jowett> Neither is Era: The Chosen in this issue, although I expect to add some content into issue 2 for it (as it’s not yet been released).
<+Ed_Jowett> Zine Quest is a challenge which the Games guys over at Kickstarter came up with.
<+Ed_Jowett> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/announcing-zine-quest-a-tribute-to-rpg-zines-in-february-2019)https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/announcing-zine-quest-a-tribute-to-rpg-zines-in-february-2019
<+Ed_Jowett> The idea is to create a Zine, which has specific size requirements (mine is International A5), has one-colour printing and offers material that’s not readily available otherwise.
<+Ed_Jowett> Honestly, I leapt on the chance to support all of our games, I think it’s important to, and this is, in some ways, a lot more accessible than an expansion for a specific game – there’s something for everyone and something new to learn about any games you don’t have that we have made.
<+Ed_Jowett> I, personally, also love getting stuff through my letterbox! I think it’s really nice to have a surprise package, open it and find something you never expected… and that’s what I’m aiming to deliver with The Era Zone.
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<~Dan> What else is included with the zine that we haven’t covered so far?
<+Ed_Jowett> Just the Q&As, I think.
<~Dan> Anything of note in them?
<+Ed_Jowett> So I asked two people who I consider the best who have ever interviewed me in a text format to submit some questions about the Era games in general and Shades of Vengeance, rather than the individual games that both have grilled me on in the past.
<+Ed_Jowett> Anyone who has been here from the start will already know of course, but one of those was Dan himself.
<+Ed_Jowett> The other was Egg Embry.
<~Dan> Egg is a fine choice. 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> Both of them submitted some very challenging questions, which is exactly what I expected.
<+Ed_Jowett> (and hoped for, frankly! I don’t want the easy questions, I’ve been doing this long enough I want some challenge that makes me think)
<+eezo> embry, yo!
<+eezo> (sorry, had to make that joke)
<+eezo> Hi, I’m eezo, I’m the village idiot 😀
<+Ed_Jowett> (no problem)
<~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!
<+Ed_Jowett> Some of them did cover the same ground, so I had to pick and choose in a few cases.
<+Ed_Jowett> But broadly, both took a very different approach, Dan (honestly, as I expected) was more practical about the games themselves (at least in the ones I answer in the first issue).
<+Ed_Jowett> Egg… went a little more abstract with his questions, asking not about what gameplay is like (or whether a crossover is coming :P), but why I do what I do and why I’ve made the choices I have.
<~Dan> Sounds like an excellent mix. 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> I think between the two of those, it makes a really interesting set of questions with a broad variety.
<+eezo> Dan: surely you mean eggcelent
<+Ed_Jowett> And I finally got to answer the question “How cinematic are the Era games?” once and for all!
<+Ed_Jowett> (but you’ll have to get the Zine if you want to know the answer!)
<+eezo> (I’ll shush, sorry)
<+Ed_Jowett> I didn’t anywhere near exhaust their questions, I only got about 4 of Egg’s and 5 of Dan’s, so there are plenty left over for the next issue(s), though I may have to come back to both of the guys if we unlock the fourth.
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s fine, eezo. No worries. Puns are as important (if not more so) as facts.
<+eezo> clearly you don’t know me very well
<+Ed_Jowett> I know your puns, sir. What more do I need to know?
<+eezo> my general mode of operation is “a few cans short of a sixpack”
<+Ed_Jowett> I’ve been accused of similar, simply on the basis of publishing 60 books in 5 years.
<+Ed_Jowett> I wouldn’t worry!
* ~Dan chuckles
<~Dan> Ed_Jowett: Not exactly related, but what’s next for Era?
<+Ed_Jowett> Well, it is sort of related, I think, I’ll let you off 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> Well, I’m currently in production more in a big way.
<+Ed_Jowett> Battlecruiser Alamo RPG books are still arriving with me so I can deliver that Kickstarter.
<+Ed_Jowett> *production mode, apologies
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Lyres Definitive Edition is being proofread, so is the first issue of the Zine.
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: The Chosen is being edited (it’s quite a big job, that one!)
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Survival – Colony is being sent out to backers (a card game based in our zombie apocalypse universe where you have to help your colony survive and thrive!)
<+Ed_Jowett> I’m also dealing with one of our Era: The Consortium comics which is being sent out and setting up for a new Era: The Empowered comic which launches on the 14th (Blue-Shift #2, our first sequel!)
<+Ed_Jowett> But the thing I’m really building up to is something truly spectacular… miniatures for Era: The Consortium.
<+Ed_Jowett> I’ve had some made and painted and they will be going up on the 5th Anniversary, which is the end of this month!
<+Ed_Jowett> We also have several other Consortium-related things going on this year (it being the 5th Anniversary).
<+Ed_Jowett> We’ve got 2 audio dramas (one recorded and being edited, and one being written)
<+Ed_Jowett> We’ve also got a card game in the works (nearly there!)
<+Ed_Jowett> I have Era: Lost Legend that I’m working on at the moment… think Final Fantasy and you’re not far off.
<+Ed_Jowett> Plus Legends and High Fantasy to scratch that “High Fantasy / monsters” itch you’ve all had for so long on the Era games.
<+Ed_Jowett> (yes, High Fantasy is still the working title… sorry. I’m working on it)
<+Ed_Jowett> We’ve certainly got a lot more to do and a lot still going on even now.
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s very busy over here!
<~Dan> Sounds like it!
<~Dan> (wb, JoeBush!)
<~Dan> Is there anything else we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up? (Sorry… Kind of working in the dark here. 🙂 )
<+Ed_Jowett> I think you’ll be seeing me a few more times this year.
<+Ed_Jowett> I don’t think so this time, I think that’s the lot.
<~Dan> Alrighty then! Thanks very much for joining us, Ed_Jowett!
<+Ed_Jowett> Thanks for having me!
<~Dan> Usual reminder: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
<~Dan> Give me just a minute here, and I’ll get you a link to the Q&A log. 🙂