<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Alrighty, so my name is Juan Herrera and I’m the creator of Monsterpunk, a post-apocalyptic RPG of humans, monsters and humans becoming monsters. In it, Player Characters make life-binding pacts with magical creatures to survive in a harsh world dominated by monsters. If it helps you can think of it as Devilman meets Fallout.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> The broad strokes of the rules of Monsterpunk is that they are effects-based and action-oriented. That means the focus is on what you do rather than how you do it, making it very easy to reskin characters. The roleplaying mechanics make every roll interesting and the combat rules are tactical yet have very little math. Or, well, at least as little as I can
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> get away with. Done.
<~Dan> Thanks, JMH_Monsterpunk! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> What is the cause of the apocalypse?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Excellent question! NOBODY KNOWS. One of the game’s main themes is the existential uncertainty of not knowing any 100% sure truths and being surrounded by factions each telling you entirely different versions of what really happened and who are the good guys here.
<+GenoFoxx> is it earth?
<~Dan> I see… So is there any idea of how long ago the apocalypse happened?
<+GenoFoxx> do you have power armor and battlesuits?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> It is Earth, yeah. In the given setting the world is governed by five factions that hate each other and many have entirely incompatible world views. The angels of elysium will tell you it was the rapture but the dragons of gaia will tell you it was climate change. The game is supposed to take place at least 113 years after the apocalypse when (cont)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Monsters have had plenty of time to make revisions of history as they see fit. It’s very dystopic in that fashion and one of the core themes is finding a balance between all these extremist points of view and making your own home.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> There’s a subset of characters who are humans without monster powers who use technology to keep up with the others. This includes power armor, neural implants that give powers, and other stuff.
<~Dan> Interesting. What is the overall tech level of the setting?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Mixed. If you don’t live under one of the big factions you’re struggling for resources but probably have found or seen some high tech devices. If you’re aligned with the gaians, most 1900+ era tech is plain forbidden as well. If you live with the other factions, particularly the cybernetic hivemind, you have access to near-future stuff such as (cont).
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> The aforementioned power armor, medicinal nanomachines, mind uploads to computer mainframes and so on.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> For the most part the pockets of modern technology are few and far between.
<~Dan> When you say “monsters”, are you talking horror monsters, fantasy monsters, sci-fi monsters, or some mix of these?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Yeah, it’s all of three of them. I mentioned angels and dragons before, there are also fairies, demons, undead and all other sorts of beings. Them being similar to mythological beings is a point in-universe. There’s also monsters from more modern sources, such as the chupacabra and mothman.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I’m a huge mythology nerd so this game is basically an excuse for me to put as many cool monsters in a setting and write about their lore as much as I can.
<~Dan> Nice. 🙂
<~Dan> Is there magic, and if so, is it available to PCs? Or are they limited to monster powers?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Magic in the setting is called Orgone, which is basically the same thing as Mana/Prana/Ki or whatever other name you prefer for the ‘energy of life that fuels powers’ trope. The old-fashioned monsters like to call Orgone powers Magic, while those that oppose them like to call them Psychic powers. (cont)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> The middle ground term that people have agreed to use after 100+ years is Techniques or Techs for short. Humans can learn orgone techniques, but monsters are naturals at them.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Thus why most of the PCs are assumed to be humans that have made a pact with a monster to gain their powers.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> How extensive are these monster powers? And are they effects-based, or are the purchased individually?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> They’re all effects-based and there’s a lot of them. Nearly anything you’d see in fantasy or most popular sci fi and would be balanced in tabletop form is in the game (so no stopping time, for example, at least in the core book). You have passive powers, like resurrecting after you’ve died, being super fast or possessing a familiar. (cont)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> And you also have active powers, which is where most of the fun’s at, and they include all the typical combat moves you’d expect in a RPG like fireballs, invisibility and shapeshifting… And weather control and future sight and necromancy and and and.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Because it’s all effects-based it’s easy to reskin your fireball into dragon breath or a psychoblast or a grenade launcher or what have you.
<~Dan> So given that they’re effects-based, how involved is it to put a power together?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> In the core book you pick premade powers from a list, depending on your character class and the race of your monster partner (if you’ve got one) you get access to different options. I’m a point-buy man, myself, but point-buy games are often hard for beginners to the system and I wanted Monsterpunk to be easy to pick up and play, so I’m keeping the (cont)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Power-making options to the expansion book.
<~Dan> Ah, so you take more of a “cafeteria” approach, then.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Yeah, it should be easier to play and harder to accidentally make an underpowered character. For the expansion all the training wheels are off.
<~Dan> By “effects based”, I’m talking about the sort of game in which Weather Control would involve creating a blast power for lightning, a TK power for wind, some sort of physical attack for hail, etc., etc., rather than just having a power called Weather Control.
<~Dan> I think you missed my last observation:
<~Dan> <~Dan> By “effects based”, I’m talking about the sort of game in which Weather Control would involve creating a blast power for lightning, a TK power for wind, some sort of physical attack for hail, etc., etc., rather than just having a power called Weather Control.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> …I think I just accidentally hit a combination of keys to close the server?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Right, by effects-based I mean that what you do is separate from its in-fiction description. Your power says “10 damage and the enemy is on fire”, but you can justify it with whatever fluff you want.
<~Dan> I see. So you’re talking more about reskinning than power-building, at least in the core book, correct?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I was typing something but I’ve already forgotten what it was and there’s no backlog. Curse you, mibbit.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Yeah, pretty much.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> For the expansion there’s no training wheels… Did that message get sent?
<~Dan> I don’t think so.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Well the idea with the character class+monster race approach is to make MP characters in core easy to create in just a few minutes.
<~Dan> What are the character classes?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I’ve done my best to keep the restrictions from limiting character concepts, there’s an uncountable number of combinations of available powersets. Like I said before, I’m a point-buy gamer, I can’t resist making the game feel point-buy-ish at times.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> There’s 16 classes in core and 8 more in the expansion. All the classes are based around a strong concept rather than being generic. You’ve got the dragon rider, the horseman of the apocalypse, the medic necromancer with their pet project, the power armor user without a monste, the shapeshifting assassin who is a half-human half-monster hybrid, and so on.
<~Dan> Ah, so more akin to archetypes?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Depends on the definition. I like to think of archetypes as more generic, but if by archetypes you mean very specific and backed by a strong concept,then sure 😛
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Basically there’s no fighters or rogues
* ~Dan nods
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> They’re all much more specific. At least in the core book.
<~Dan> Well, I’m thinking in terms of the old WEG Star Wars RPG, with archetypes like “Failed Jedi” and “Brash Young Pilot” and so forth.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I have no experience with that game but I get what you mean.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that you can share?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Yeah, here’s a beta character sheet. (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/o6j5cgcodvo3jmi/Monsterpunk_Character_Sheets.pdf?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/o6j5cgcodvo3jmi/Monsterpunk_Character_Sheets.pdf?dl=0 Divided by class type and with an extra sheet for the monster.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I suppose I should explain the class types now!
<~Dan> Sure. 🙂
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Hybrids are PCs half-human half-monster, when they made a pact they fused with each other and the result is now one entity instead of two. Solos are humans that use technology and training instead of making a pact. Riders are the characters that ride their monster partners to battle. (cont)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Summoners are the class that lets you control 2 units at once in the field, with the summoner acting as the monster’s support.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> There are four separate sheets because the types used to have wildly different arrays of active and passive powers. Now they’re much more samey, but we already have the four of them made so eh, might as well.
<~Dan> What do you use for attributes, like Strength, for example?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> There are no attributes. Instead you are defined by your collection of natural skills and supernatural techs.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I actually tried out attributes in a super early version of the rules.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> It was a mess, because this is a game where some characters want to have multiple units out in the field, and keeping track of most of them was a lot of work for little gain.
<~Dan> So how do you know how much someone can lift?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> You roll for it 😛
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> if you’re good at lifting you probably have the fortitude skill
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> maybe even an expertise
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> perhaps even a tech that lets you autoroll a 10 once per day!
<~Dan> So the fortitude skill covers strenght?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> if you’re a fast character, you probably have the agility skill instead of fortitude. and so on and so forth.
<~Dan> strength, even
<~Dan> Can you describe the task resolution mechanic?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Yes! And to do that I will use this picture. (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9kcr8kh1tjgtvru/core%20mechanic.png?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/9kcr8kh1tjgtvru/core%20mechanic.png?dl=0
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9kcr8kh1tjgtvru/core%20mechanic.png?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/9kcr8kh1tjgtvru/core%20mechanic.png?dl=0
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> i can’t tell if the link shows in mibbit
<~Dan> I see it.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> i’m going to assume it does
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Okay so depending on the context of the roll (combat or noncombat) there’s different possible results. Let’s start with noncombat.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> You roll 1d10 and if you’re trained in an appropriate Skill you get to roll an additional 1d10 and choose the better result. An expertise in a skill gives you another extra d10. Then you check the number on the table to see the result.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Agamemnon2!)
<~Dan> So there are only three levels of skill?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Success: You know what this means. Twist: Something went wrong. You failed and, worse, now you have an unexpected complication to deal with. Success with Twist: You accomplish what you were trying to do but also an unexpected complication arises. Success with Bonus: It’s an exceptional success where you perform even better than expected.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Two levels and untrained, yeah. It’s cinematic, after all.
* ~Dan nods
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> So for how those results play out in practice. The system is weighted towards Success with Twist being the most common result. To illustrate how Twists and Success with Bonus work, here’s an example using only a series of Success with Twist results: You sneak into a building avoiding the guards but get spotted by the cameras, then you successfully escape(cont
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> escape from the guards but take damage when they shoot you, then you get out of the building safe after your job is done but drop one of your items getting out. That’s what having three success with twist looks like.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Success with Bonus gives you, well, a bonus on top of what you were already trying to do. You do the job so well you gain reputation with NPCs, you do it super fast in a situation where you’re pressed by time, you find extra loot in the supply cache, etc.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Important to note: Players pick the twists and bonuses they get with their own rolls. They must be approved by the group, obviously.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> This gives you room to describe not just how you succeed but also how and why you fail or exceptionally succeed at things.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Oh right, there’s the combat results too.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Those are much simpler to explain. The lowest possible result is the Base Effect and everything higher gives you Bonus Effects. There are no misses in this game. You always do *something* with your turn. If it’s a damaging move, then you do a bit of damage. If it’s a restraining move, you lock the enemy in place. If it’s a fire-based move then the enemy (cont
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> is on fire, etc. What you get from rolling high in combat is almost always extra damage for attacks or extra healing for support moves. Basically how well you roll affects how strong or effective your move is, but there are no wasted combat turns.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Incidentally, removing misses makes combat brutal and wears PCs out of resources very quick, which I like.
<~Dan> (Sorry, got pulled away for a sec. Scrolling back to catch up…)
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> That was a lot of text! It’s ok.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> I’m a mechanics-minded designer so while I care about the setting and themes and all that this is the stuff that can get me talking for ages.
<~Dan> So given the small scale, how do you reflect superhuman levels of ability?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> That’s just parts of the effects-based nature of the system. You don’t need rules text that says “You are as strong enough to lift a house”, you simply do it and leave the justification up to whatever is appropriate to the story and your character.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> As you get better and have more bonuses and techs you can more consistently roll 10’s to show that you do impossible things not just sometimes but regularly and with ease.
<~Dan> I see.
<~Dan> So! Question for you: I need to run for now. Since I shorted you 30 minutes, would you like to come back for 30 more minutes tomorrow or some other day, perhaps?
<~Dan> While you’re pondering that, I’ll remind folks that tips are welcome at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe , if you’ve enjoyed the Q&A. 🙂
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> That’s a shame, I didn’t get to talk about mechanics at all, but I’ve booked most of the week with errands at this hour, unfortunately. The later slots are much better for me but those are taken for this month I remember, right?
<~Dan> Hmm. Well, let me take a look here…
<~Dan> When does your KS end?
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> The 6th
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Of May, I guess I should clarify. Most don’t go over a month but it COULD be the 6th of June and I COULD be a crazy person.
<~Dan> Okay. How about Friday the 3rd at 8:00? We can run as long as you want to then, if you’re available.
<+JMH_Monsterpunk> Sure, we can book that for now. Thanks for having me Dan.