<+Gregory> Quick intro… I’m Gregory Israel, creator of Between Sun & Shadow 2e which is currently Kickstarting. Between Sun & Shadow 2e is a sandbox-style campaign setting (for use with Tiny Dungeon 2e) infused with advanced alchemy, clockwork technology, and a powerful new magic system.
<+Gregory> Here’s the KS link, just in case… (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/913109781/between-sun-and-shadow-second-edition-for-tiny-dun?ref=discovery&term=between%20sun)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/913109781/between-sun-and-shadow-second-edition-for-tiny-dun?ref=discovery&term=between%20sun
<+Gregory> As we say a lot at work, “What questions might you have?”
<~Dan> Thanks, Gregory! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> (wb, Lyon-O!)
<+Gregory> Hi, Lyon-O
<~Dan> How would you categorize the setting in terms of high fantasy/low fantasy/dark fantasy/etc.?
<+Gregory> I think it can play well as both low fantasy and as high fantasy, depending on what GMs and players decide to do with Carving, the magic system in BS&S.
<~Dan> I see… And what can you tell us about Carving?
<~Dan> (Lyon-O: Here for the Q&A? 🙂 )
<+Gregory> If people want to keep things a bit gritty, they can keep Carving as something rare and low powered. Or that can really open it up and use it like powers from a supers game.
<+Gregory> There are 18 carving traits. Each one allows players to manipulate a different “area of focus”. A group of adventurers could form a team of Carvers, each with a different area of focus to compliment each other.
<+Gregory> Carving also introduces a new special Action: Charge. When a Carver chooses to Charge, she gathers magical energy and stores it temporarily in order to produce a more potent Carving effect. There is, of course, a Test to see if things work out and there is a risk of losing a Charge.
<+Gregory> It is up to the Game Master to decide what exactly can and cannot be done with each of the Carving Traits and how big a Charge is needed to fuel a powerful use of an ability. This is intentionally left vague to allow Game Masters to adjust the power level of their game as they see fit.
<+Mustard> Are there any new non Carving related traits? Shamanic Warrior was a favorite of mine from your Spirit World microsetting.
<+Gregory> My play-testers have enjoyed the flexibility in the Carving Traits. Lots of room for creativity.
<+Gregory> Yes, Mustard, we have a bunch of new non-Carving traits!
<+Gregory> Glad you liked Shamanic Warrior!
<~Dan> For those who missed my previous Tiny-based Q&As, can you give us an overview of the system?
<+Gregory> Mustard, we have over 30 new traits and prestige traits.
<+Mustard> Very nice.
<+Gregory> Sure, Dan. BS&S uses the TinyD6 system. Is core mechanic involves rolling 2d6 to check for success. If you roll a 5 or 6 on any die, you succeed.
<+Gregory> Sometime you get to roll 3d6 if you have “advantage” and other times you only roll 1d6 if you have “disadvantage”.
<+Gregory> The game plays really fast. And there is very little time spent looking up rules. It has become by go-to gaming system as a GM.
<+Gregory> There are no “classes”. Players pick a Heritage and some Traits to create the character they want to play.
<+Gregory> BS&S adds five new (make that six with the unlocked stretch goal!) to the mix. Players can also choose any Heritage from TD2e.
<~Dan> Six new Heritages?
<+Gregory> Yup, six new heritages. Cogor, Eku-uke, Muaj, Utarok, Zlax’xan, and now Shadow Fey.
<~Dan> What impact do Heritages have on the game?
<+Gregory> It defines the basics of your character. It similar to “race” or “species” or “background” in other games. It determines your starting HP and one of your four starting traits.
<+Gregory> In BS&S2e, I’ve also added a bit of information about each Heritage’s culture to give some role-playing options.
<~Dan> I see… Can you describe these new Heritages a bit?
<~Dan> (Howdy, GKG_Alan!)
<+Mustard> g’night, gotta go
<+Gregory> Cogor: Diminutive four-armed masters of clockwork technology who make up for their small size with brains and battle armor.
<+Gregory> Eku-uke: Winged bird-men with a penchant for patterns and symmetry who search for their true purpose in life.
<+Gregory> Muaj: Sentient carnivorous plants resembling a humanoid-shaped collection of twisted vines with multiple enzyme-squirting mouths.
<+Gregory> Utarok: Tattooed creatures known for their raw physical strength who have raised their traditional body art to the next level with alchemical tattoos.
<+Gregory> Zlax’xon: Militaristic intelligent insects with a history of service and a strong sense of community.
<~Dan> (brb — phone)
<+GKG_Alan> Yay! I made it for part of the Q&A
<+Gregory> Shadow Fey: Still working out the details of this one… They are found primarily in the Everlasting Shadow and use their bioluminescent skin to communicate – and do cool tricks/attacks. This is not set in stone.
<+Gregory> Hi, GKG_Alan!
<+Gregory> Thanks for stopping by!
<+Darketower> When I hear words like “advanced alchemy” and “clockwork technology” together, my mind wanders to anime like Fullmetal Alchemist. Some of what I’ve read on Carving and Alchemy makes me think magic in the webcomic “Unsounded.” When you visualize the setting at your own table, what other media serves as inspiration or resonates as familiar points of reference?
<+Gregory> Good question, Darketower…
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest96!)
<+Gregory> To be honest, the whole clockwork thing was inspired by Men in Black. There’s that little alien riding around in a human-sized “suit”. I wanted to be that little guy.
<+Gregory> It took off from there.
<+Gregory> The alchemy stuff grew out of the trait in TD. I thought to would be cool to have alchemists get into transmutation of substances.
<+Gregory> I also added Alchemical Tattoos, which were inspired by some d20 Modern stuff.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest35!)
<+Gregory> Orginally, in BS&S1e, it was all just a bunch of stuff. One of the big changes in BS&S2e was to have a reason for them to exist in the setting.
<~Dan> (Back, sorry. Let me scroll back here…)
<+Gregory> I decided to remove standard magic traits from the setting. This created a void to be filled by alchemy and clockwork tech. And allows Carving to be something special when and if GMs introduce it to their games.
<~Dan> How advanced does clockwork tech get?
<+Gregory> Without magic, people developed better alchemy and clockwork, and combine them – clockwork items built with transmuted materials.
<~Dan> (Howdy, GrimmgardTodd!)
<+GrimmgardTodd> (Thanks for the heads-up there was Q&A tonight)
<~Dan> (I think you’ll like this one, GrimmgardTodd. It’s fantasy with clockworks and alchemy!)
<~Dan> (Gregory: Do you mind re-sharing the KS link?)
<+Gregory> It’s really wide open. First, there’s battle armor. But with the right combo of traits, players can create anything they can imagine (with GM approval, of course). This can be a great start to a series of adventures.
<+Gregory> The GM can give approval, but require the player to acquire a list of materials (insert quest here).
<+Gregory> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/913109781/between-sun-and-shadow-second-edition-for-tiny-dun?ref=discovery&term=between%20sun)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/913109781/between-sun-and-shadow-second-edition-for-tiny-dun?ref=discovery&term=between%20sun
<+Guest35> With clockwork and alchemy, would you describe BS&S as a fantasy steampunk?
<~Dan> So I’m surprised that GenoFoxx hasn’t asked this already, but can you have clockwork mecha?
<~Dan> (Guest35: You can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
<+Gregory> It could definitely be played as fantasy steampunk. Since it’s a sandbox style setting, I’ve tried to lay out options and possibilities for GMs and players. If steampunk is your thing, you can go all in.
<~Dan> (Thanks, Stumpy!)
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest29!)
<~Dan> What sorts of things can alchemy accomplish?
<+Gregory> You could do a clockwork mecha! If we can unlock Alan’s kaiju stretch goal, I’ll be adding one to get you started! But even without the stretch goal, you could use the Mecha rules from Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters.
<+Stumpy> Of all the KS stretch goals, which one would you be most excited to see unlocked?
<+GenoFoxx> so Knights and Magic by way of Full metal alchemist?
<+Gregory> In addition to the basic potions and such of the alchemy trait, the new traits allow players to combine “features” from different substances – like creating glass with the strength of steel.
<+Gregory> There’s also a trait to turn alchemical potions into temporary tattoos which can be activated later.
<+Darketower> Based on the potential stretch goals, it’s obvious that you’ve thought up more of the world’s locations, people, and mysteries than are currently committed to page. If you had to estimate, how much of the setting’s sandbox is presented for Players and GMs who crack Between Sun & Shadow open for the first time?
<+Gregory> Realistically, I’d be excited to get to SG#4. The ones beyond that would be amazing additions, too.
<~Dan> I realize that the setting is a sandbox, but are there any assumptions regarding the sorts of things that the PCs do?
<+Gregory> As currently written, I’d say all of the core of the setting is there, with some expansions from the unlocked SGs. It’s ready to be played in it’s current state. The setting expanding SGs are adventure hooks that went from hook to full description (with more hooks).
<+Gregory> Assumptions about what PCs can do. Well, yes and no. They can do standard TD magic. Potions are very common, as is basic clockwork tech. Players want to buy, find, create these should be able to do so without much difficulty.
<+Gregory> If they want to build a clockwork flying machine, I would turn that into a series of adventures to make them earn it.
<+Gregory> Some goes for the more advanced alchemy.
<+Darketower> A clockwork flying machine, you say?!? Finally, my dreams of “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang: the Roleplaying Game” have arrived!
<+Gregory> I tend to use Carving as something to be discovered during the campaign, but it does not have to be that way. It would be fun to create a group with Carving form the get go.
<~Dan> Sorry, I wasn’t clear… I meant the sorts of activities that the PCs engage in. Are there any obvious “bad guys” to fight, for example?
<+Gregory> Oh, bad guys…
<+Stumpy> With dick van dyke piloting a clockwork mecha. Oh yeah, that is SO going into my BS&S setting.
<+Gregory> Yes, there are potential bad guys in the setting. The land of Siran is ruled by the One True King and is opposed by the Rebellion. The rumors in the game (which function as the adventure hooks) leave reality unclear. Some people love and support the King, while others despise him. Same goes for the Rebellion. It’s left a bit gray and fuzzy on purpose.
<+Gregory> In my current game, I’m going to have players encounter both sides and let them decide for themselves. They may end up defending the King, working against him, or trying to avoid the whole thing.
<+Gregory> There are also adventure hooks which lead to exploration, dungeon crawling, and so forth. Lots and lots of options on where to go.
<+Gregory> I think that grew out of my time behind the GM’s screen. I like to have options that I can flesh out as I see fit for my particular campaigns.
<~Dan> Can you describe the setting’s cosmology? Are there gods/demons/etc.?
<+Gregory> Ideas to get be excited, with the room to do it that way I want to do it. That’s why I love the TD6 system – really flexible to do what you want.
<+GrimmgardTodd> (Question for the queue: Talk more about the morality scale in the game. It seems that the setting doesn’t polarize the factions as starkly good vs. evil. How did you come to that decision as far as worldbuilding, and what story options do you feel that opens for gamemasters?)
<+GKG_Alan> Gregory has done awesome work and his new rules are amazing.
<+Gregory> It’s light on gods and such. The only two mentioned are the God of Light and the God of Darkness. Since Siran is in a tidally locked world (some side of the planet always faces the sun – no day and night), the split between light and dark is central.
<+Gregory> The Lantern Monks of Tumuzara worship both of these Gods and see them both light and dark as necessary for life. They try to bring the light to the Everlasting Shadow and the dark to the Unblinking Sun.
<+Gregory> Well, GrimmgardTodd, I think that decision was really about letting players and GMs decide who’s bad and good. Maybe even based on what their characters would think and do. It’s an opportunity for role-playing. Getting into the headspace and motivations of a character.
<~Dan> How common are monsters in this setting?
<+Gregory> Oh, there are monsters!
<+Gregory> In the main cities (the Seven Jewels of Siran, all of which are covered in the book, with adventure hooks for each of them), monsters are not so common. But traveling between the cities can be dangerous.
<+Gregory> The King has constructed the Royal Road which is (sometimes) patrolled by Imperial Guards to provide some protection from monsters.
<~Dan> Are these monsters more akin to animals, or are there armies of orc-like creatures as well?
<+Gregory> But this also offers an opportunity for players to escort NCPs.
<+Gregory> The monster definitely lean towards the animal/beast side of things. Lots of carnivorous plants, too.
<+Gregory> The constant sunlight of the Unblinking Sun has allowed plants to “evolve” into things that blur the line between plant and animal. One the the Heritages – the Muaj – is like this.
<+Darketower> You mentioned previously that you ditched the existing TD magic rules in BS&S to make way for your Carving, Alchemy, and Clockwork systems. From a purely mechanical standpoint, can those traits still play well in a game that chose to use both systems, or does the overlap become “one or the other” by necessity?
<+Gregory> I think, Darketower, that using both would work fine. For me, it was a stylistic choice for the setting. But it does not have to be one or the other. While there is some overlap, there’s enough differentiation to allow room for both.
<+Gregory> (Back in one sec…)
<~Dan> (No problem.)
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Magnus!)
<+Darketower> In a world where half is perpetual light and half is perpetual darkness, does most “civilization” exist on the light side, or is it distributed fairly equally between the two halves? How different are the two sides? (For instance, you mentioned that constant daylight has given plants the opportunity to evolve, but clearly that’s just on the light half.)
<+Gregory> And I’m back
<~Dan> (Magnus, are you the Magnus of Titan Hunt? 🙂 )
<+Magnus> yes, that is me!
<~Dan> (Great! Q&A in progress, but I’ll open up a PM with you. 🙂 )
<+Gregory> Civilization (and life in general) has learned to live throughout both sides. There are creatures which have adapted to the constant darkness, too. People living in the Everlasting Shadow make use of alchemy to provide light and even “sunlight” to grow food and such. One city in the Unblinking Sun is primarily built underground to avoid the constant sun…
<+Gregory> … but used dwarven and cogor ingenuity to create large skylights which are opened and closed to create periods of light and dark.
<+Gregory> There’s even a standard time for the Kingdom to help keep everyone on the same waking/sleeping schedule. But some cities ignore it.
<+Darketower> I’m glad you mentioned that, because that’s where my mind was wandering next. “The City that Never Sleeps” takes on a whole new meaning in perpetual daylight.
<+Gregory> Another sunny city has taken to growing rooftop gardens to provide cooling shade to much of the city.
<~Dan> How does nature function in perpetual light or darkness? Aside from magical assistance, how to plants grow in the darkness, for example?
<+Darketower> I look forward to visiting the lush fungal gardens of the Everlasting Shadow.
<+Gregory> Plant life in the darkness is less like a forest, and more like what one would find in a cave. More fungi, mosses, and algae. Small plants, too. Some of the plants of the dark side (no pun intended) have evolved to feed off of animals. Blood is their main source of energy.
<+Gregory> “lush fungal gardens” ha!
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest35!)
<+Darketower> You’ve mentioned the Eternal Empire under the One True King, and you’ve mentioned the Rebellion. Is the political atmosphere of BS&S divided primarily into those two groups? Is the Eternal Empire more-or-less THE ruling faction over the entire world?
<+Gregory> The Eternal Empire rules Siran, the primary location/continent/really big island of the setting. Other locations outside of Siran are mentioned in some of the adventure hooks. The fey/elves have a treaty with the EE and are not under its control. Same with the dwarves, though they actively trade with the Kingdom.
<~Dan> You mention elves and dwarves. Do you offer any unique twists on these races, or are they what you’d expect from a “standard” fantasy setting?
<+Gregory> The fey are getting concerned with growing cities/settlements of the EE. Very limited trade and interaction. Rising tensions.
<+Darketower> Ah, I see. So Siran is the primary location, NOT the name of the world itself. The opening paragraph of the Kickstarter left room for interpretation. But Siran itself also lies in both sun and shadow?
<+Gregory> The elves and dwarves are standard – straight outta TD2e. A new trait or two for them. Which reminds me… some of the new traits can only be taken by specific heritages.
<+Gregory> The same Siran is used to refer to the land and the world by the people of the EE. Kinda confusing (and self-centered… as if their land is all the land).
<+Darketower> And in one fell swoop, you convinced me of the righteousness of the Rebellion. (Just kidding… MAYBE.)
<+Gregory> Siran – the location – it also split between light and dark. As is the entire world.
<+Gregory> I think there’s a rumor in the book that suggests that the Rebellion is a fake – that it’s a ploy of the One True King to raise more support for his rule.
<+Gregory> But that’s one of many rumors about the King and the Rebellion.
<~Dan> How large is the game’s bestiary?
<+Gregory> There’s one that suggests that the King himself is a fake – that the kingdom is run by a group/council and that any appearances made by the king are done by an actor.
<~Dan> What if both sides are fake? O.o
<+Gregory> Currently at 28 monsters. There may be a few more.
<+Gregory> Both could fake! The whole campaign could be about exposing the truth about the fake king and the fake rebellion.
<~Dan> That would be amusing. 🙂
<~Dan> Are the monsters predominantly fantasy standards, creatures unique to the setting, or a mix?
<+Darketower> Siran is secretly run by a clockwork printing press that achieved sentience centuries ago. It prints laws and proclamations when needed, and distributes a “State of the Kingdom” letter to the citizens every year to keep the status quo going.
<+Darketower> Speaking of centuries… how deep is the history/lore of the setting? How far back does the book let readers glance?
<+Gregory> I’ve tried to include some new, unique monsters (so many out there already). Some were clearly inspired by some classics.
<+Gregory> Sentient printing press. I like it.
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+Gregory> The history does not go back too far. There Carving used to be common, but now it’s not – no one is sure why. The One True King has been in charge for as a looong time. The history is pretty light.
<+Gregory> Left uncovered…
<+Gregory> As far as the setting goes, not much really. We’ve definitely hit the highlights.
<+Gregory> And some if the details, too.
<+Gregory> Good questions were asked 🙂
<~Dan> Excellent. 🙂
<+Gregory> Makes me want to go play a session of BS&S right now.
<~Dan> Standard reminder: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
<+Darketower> Good answers were received!
<~Dan> Thank you very much for joining us, Gregory!
<+Gregory> Thanks, Darketower.
<+Gregory> Thanks for having me, Dan. It’s been great!
<~Dan> I hope you’ll feel welcome to hang out here whenever you like!
<~Dan> That goes for those of you who joined us for the Q&A as well!
<~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
<+Darketower> Was good being here. Thanks for hosting the Q&A.