<+Audrey> Hi, all, I’m Audrey Stolze, one of the two creators of Spaceships & Starwyrms. We’re a science fiction game based on 5e foundations and we’re in the final week of our Kickstarter for print versions of the Core Sourcebook in addition to some new content.
<+Audrey> Can I post links here? I can share the project for folks who want to browse.
<~Dan> Of course!
<+Audrey> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ladytabletop/spaceships-and-starwyrms-a-5e-sci-fi-game)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ladytabletop/spaceships-and-starwyrms-a-5e-sci-fi-game
<+DiegoPisaArtworks> Backed 🙂
<+Audrey> Thank you!
<~Dan> (Just a reminder to give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions, Audrey. No rush, though!)
<+Audrey> my apologies
<~Dan> Thanks, Audrey! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> No problem. We are a kind and patient people here. 🙂
<~Dan> First, is this a self-contained game that includes everything you need to play (other than dice and so forth)?
<+Audrey> Yes. Thanks to the OGL, the core sourcebook includes everything you need with the exception of 5e spell descriptions.
<~Dan> Can you describe the setting a bit?
<+Audrey> Sure! The Nacora Galaxy is a superluminous spiral galaxy. It is divided into three parts: the core sectors, which lie nearest to the center of the galaxy, the frontier, which lies in a ring beyond the core, less populous, and the outer reaches, which encompasses all the space to the edges of the galaxy, even unexplored space.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest04!)
<+Audrey> We’ve populated the galaxy with a multitude of planets, species, and organizations. A mix of magic and technology fills the Nacora, and the many worlds and stations are a colorful, multicultural backdrop for a variety of sci fi/fantasy adventures
<~Dan> What kind of magic exists?
<+Audrey> Magic originates from dark matter particles, both charged and inert. Spellcasters come in a few types. Oracles are divine casters who connect to a mysterious force in the universe that isn’t completely understood. Psions use technological implants to channel dark matter particles. Scientists create inventions that mimic spells.
<+Audrey> Additionally, there are bards, paladins, and other familiar 5e magic-users!
<~Dan> Sci-fi paladins, eh? Interesting…
<+Audrey> Yes, their oaths take on a different flavor in S&S
<+Audrey> rather than swearing to a deity, they make a promise of some sort, whether in the presence of others or alone. any entity powerful enough to grant power can do so, so long as the oath is upheld. While this can be attributed to deities, it also can come from a variety of mysterious forces and powerful entities
<~Dan> Are there any traditional D&D classes that are not available in this setting?
<+Audrey> Wizards and Warlocks are not currently available, as the scientist fills their roles. Likewise, clerics have been relatively displaced by oracles, although we do include optional rules for including clerics.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Guest44!)
<&Le_Squide> Do you modify or provide additional options for nonmagical classes like Fighters and Rogues?
<+Audrey> Yes, there are new archetypes for Bards, Fighters, Paladins, Rogues, and Sorcerers! The Fighter, for example, has the crackshot and myrmidon archetypes, while the rogue has hacker and mechanist archetypes.
<~Dan> Does the Scientist “just” use science to mimic magic, or does he use magical technology?
<+Audrey> We define it as “pseudomagic” and their inventions (spells) can’t typically be interacted with in ways that spells can, so it is technically all science, but it should feel reasonably like magic. Sufficiently advanced science indistinguishable from magic and all that.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> How has the presence of magic affected the development of technology?
<+Audrey> On some planets, such as Hanadar, magic and tech are inseparable and most advancements are specifically designed to use both. Other planets have extremely high levels of dark matter particles and they usually rely very minimally on science. Planets with very low levels of dark matter, conversely, trend more toward tech
<~Dan> So Hanadar has magical technology?
<+Audrey> They are the pioneers of magitech, yes. There are other places and organizations that have jumped on that bandwagon, but Hanadarians remain the foremost experts on the stuff.
<~Dan> Can you give some examples of magitech?
<+GenoFoxx> can a world drain it’s dark matter?
<+GenoFoxx> (hiya eezo)
<~Dan> (Howdy, eezo!)
<+Audrey> Sure. We don’t have a lot of items currently built that are specifically intended to be magitech, but some notable examples are Dark Matter Cores, which power scientist inventions and roboticist robots, and then there are Runic Ensouled Cores, which are essentially magical AI units that can autopilot ships
<+Audrey> Yes, a world can be drained of dark matter, though it is a process that takes a long time and only happens if the natural cycle of recycling inert and active dark matter particles is halted or slowed significantly
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomwords, Guest06!)
<+Audrey> We also have the equivalent of magic weapons in the form of magical talismans that can be fused to weapons such as plasma rifles, which would be considered magitech
<+GenoFoxx> so a campaign event?
<+Audrey> Oh, certainly!
<~Dan> What are roboticist robots?
<+Audrey> So the roboticist is a companion class entirely focused on building a customized robot, or a mech suit
<~Dan> (Howdy, James! Welcome, Guest12!)
<~Dan> (Audrey, meet James, who did a Q&A for his 5e sci-fi game last night. 🙂 )
<+James> Hi Audrey, your game looks sweet!
<+Audrey> Hey James! Thanks! What’s your game, if I may ask?
<~Dan> Feel free to post your KS link, James.
<+James> GeneFunk 2090! (Link: http://bit.ly/genefunk2090)http://bit.ly/genefunk2090
<+James> Garmbreak had nice things to say about you too. 🙂
<~Dan> Ah, feel the love. 🙂
<+Audrey> Oh hey, I love Garm! He’s great.
<~Dan> Audrey: Can you compare the overall tech level of the setting to that of a well-known scifi setting?
<~Dan> (wb, luc!)
<+Audrey> In all honesty, my experience with sci fi settings is relatively minimal. We don’t fit into hard sci-fi, I would say. Most comparable to Shadowrun in terms of tech vs magic, I think?
<~Dan> Hmm. Well, Shadowrun is relatively low-tech in the grand scheme of sci-fi settings. How would you describe space travel in S&S?
<+Audrey> A series of regulated wormhole gates facilitiate space travel. Unregulated wormholes *can* be used, but they’re incredibly dangerous. No warp tech currently exists.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, BenQuiggins!)
<+Audrey> There’s my cocreator!
<+BenQuiggins> tardy to the party
<~Dan> Ah! Glad to have you here. 🙂
* ~Dan adds Ben’s name to the Q&A log
<~Dan> Are there cybernetics in this setting?
<+BenQuiggins> There’s a whole section of the equipment dedicated to it.
<+BenQuiggins> We are avid lovers of cyberpunk so we have everything from cyber limbs to built in weaponry, datajacks, cybercomputers and so on
<~Dan> Are there any nasty side-effects to cybernetics?
<+BenQuiggins> Only if you’re replacing too much of your body. After you get too much cyber you gain vulnerability to Thunder damage. You can also be affected by certain spells and abilities that wouldn’t normally affect a flesh creature
<~Dan> Thunder damage?
<+BenQuiggins> Yeah, it started in design as Lightning, but we switched to Thunder during the playtests
<+BenQuiggins> Turns out there was too much Lightning damage running around the game, and spells like Shatter already used thunder as effective against constructs
<+BenQuiggins> Thunder turned out to be more balanced
<+BenQuiggins> as a drawback
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> How many species are available to play?
<+BenQuiggins> There’s 13 in the Core Sourcebook and one more in the Galactic Primer on Natural Environments
<+BenQuiggins> Plus thanks to 5e compatibility you can easily port any 5e race into a S&S species
<~Dan> Are they classical fantasy races? Aliens? Some mix of the two?
<+BenQuiggins> There are elements of the classical fantasy races in there, but other than Humans all of them have minimum one twist that brings them to new light
<+Audrey> 2 more in the GPNE, actually!
<+BenQuiggins> 2, but 1 is optional 😀
<+BenQuiggins> Then again, I’ve never seen optional stop a player and GM hahaha
<~Dan> Can you give some examples of these twists?
<+Audrey> For a better idea of the spread in the core book, there are 2 plant species, 1 insect species, one-eyed technodwarves, goblin and orc analogues, yeti-people, and 2 flavors of android
<+Audrey> My personal favorite are the Piranthi, an amphibious species with axolotl tendrils on their heads, flat noses, flippers, and a gel they can secrete and shape into fins in the water. It melts in atmosphere.
<~Dan> What are the two androids like?
<~Dan> And cool, re: the Piranthi!
<+BenQuiggins> The first are entirely inorganic. They are most akin to popular media like Data or Isaac (from the Orville). These are your robotic AI run people and are called the Proxy.
<+BenQuiggins> The other are the Wireborn, these are more of an organic android creature with a body infused with nanomachines, but are otherwise much like their parental species
<~Dan> So sorta like the Borg?
<+Audrey> Yes, that’s an apt comparison
<~Dan> What’s the story with the one-eyed technodwarves?
<+BenQuiggins> The W’uther are a species from the now radioactive wasteland planet of Vres’na. They became focused on tech on purpose because the other species on their planet, the Luonn Tua absorbed all the magic for their usage
<+BenQuiggins> Vres’na had high densities of dark matter in the skies, but not on the ground, so being grounded as they were they had to find their own innovation. Funnily enough they made it to space as a culture before the Luonn Tua managed to!
<+BenQuiggins> The Luonn Tua are as species of bird-like people, so flying magictech powered cities and the link
<~Dan> You should have named the Luonn Tua the Knot.
<~Dan> Then when you visit Vres’na, it would be a matter of W’uther or Knot.
<+Audrey> *groan* haha
* +Motulev golfclaps furiously
* ~Dan bows
<+BenQuiggins> That was art Dna
<~Dan> I’ve been known to make the occasional pun in here…
<+Audrey> Well, the W’uther do seem to inspire puns.
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<~Dan> What is state of the art for personal weaponry, melee and ranged?
<+BenQuiggins> According to our playtests they have a bad habit of naming things after their species hahaha. If I had a dime for everytime someone mentioned W’uber when needing aride
* ~Dan chuckles
<+BenQuiggins> State of the art. Kind of depends what part of the Galaxy you’re in
<+Audrey> The core is a lot of plasma weaponry.
<~Dan> Well, let’s talk in general terms. For example: energy weapons or slugthrowers?
<+Audrey> The frontier tends to be more ballistic weaponry.
<~Dan> Ah. Well, that answers that. 🙂
<+Audrey> Outer reaches is more melee + whatever you can get your hands on since ammo is scarce and recharging is sporadic at best
<+BenQuiggins> Melee is still a viable and great option from plasma swords to old fashoined axes and dueling sabers
<~Dan> (wb, DiegoPisaArtworks!)
<+GenoFoxx> how do you seperate yourself from StarFinder?
<~Dan> If the Outer reaches are so primitive, what lures people there?
<+BenQuiggins> Aside from Pathfinder being a very different base than 5e, we’ve made some definite mechanical choices that separate us from them. Our equipment system and abilities run in line with the accessible focus of 5e that we’re based on and our classes and species are quite different. Outside of the mechanical shift (including how we do everything from spaceships
<+Audrey> The draw of the unknown is a strong appeal! People was to explore the whole galaxy. Plus, there’s some resource-rich planets out there, not to mention rare creatures. It’s less that it’s primitive and more that it’s very very sparsely populated and so vast that travel takes a long time.
<+BenQuiggins> to spells) we also have an entirely different setting from them.
<+BenQuiggins> One of the biggest shifts in our setting vs. their has to do with the scope of the galaxy.
<+Audrey> Plus, the outer reaches is a great place to conduct research and experiments that might be frowned upon in more populous/regulated sectors.
<+BenQuiggins> We really wanted Nacora to be massive and offer a lot of different ways to play and stories to tell while StarFinder really hinges on its particular system and planet.
<~Dan> No Imperial entanglements?
<+Audrey> Well, not entirely. The Luon Tua have a history of imperialism, and they’re not the only species that has done some colonizing. But we tried to make that just one piece that could potentially be explored in the game, rather than the default.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Since GenoFoxx hasn’t asked this, as is his wont, I will: Are there mecha?
<~Dan> How would you describe them?
<+BenQuiggins> to elaborate, there’s a class in the game called the Roboticist
<+BenQuiggins> As the roboticist you get to build a robot companion, but you can built that companion to be a mech instead!
<+BenQuiggins> Everything from an Iron Man sized suit to the bigger mechs are available to you
<~Dan> Ah! That’s cool.
<+BenQuiggins> And there’s rules for mechs that can fight spaceships like in Gundam as well if that’s the type of game you’re interested in
<~Dan> Cool. I’m all about the flexibility.
<~Dan> Speaking of fighting spaceships, what is ship-to-ship combat like? Is it highly cinematic and 2-dimensional like, say, Star Wars, or is it more realistic like The Expanse?
<+BenQuiggins> Generally more like Star Wars, while we tried some things to make it more realistic they added complexity to the game that we were trying to stay clean of in order to skew closer to our 5e style roots
* ~Dan nods
<+BenQuiggins> Star Wars gives a feel more like what people imagine anyway rather than the more militaristic realism
<~Dan> So you have fighters and capital ships and what not?
<+BenQuiggins> Yup, when you build your spaceship you pick a chassis from a long list that range from fighters to freighters to pioneers to battleships to cruisers to assault stations (and many more!)
<+BenQuiggins> Then you add in a defense system, weapons, and then grab developments to customize your spaceship and make it feel like home
<+BenQuiggins> At very high levels it wouldn’t be unusual for a party to travel in a big ship with a hangar bay of fighter ships and shuttles
<~Dan> How do you keep space combat interesting for everyone involved?
<+BenQuiggins> But more often you end up with a Firefly style crew on a medium to small ship as they go about adventures
<+BenQuiggins> In combat everyone rolls initiative like normal. Across the ship, there’s lots of jobs to be done! There’s skill checks to be made with the ship Computers for scanning and hacking. There’s guns to fire. The piloting of course. And down in the engines the mechanic can repair barriers and shift ship systems around for optimal fighting
<~Dan> Are there magical spacecraft?
<+BenQuiggins> Depending on the size of the ship people even move from one station to another.
<+BenQuiggins> Definitely magical ships
<~Dan> What are they like?
<+BenQuiggins> One of the main developments you can grab are the Dark Matter Thrusters and Dark Matter Sails which change how your ship operates from technical to magical in nature. There’s pluses and minuses but let magical characters use Arcana to fix the ship and can even make it more resilient against hacking
<+BenQuiggins> You can also acquire Runic Ensouled Cores that let you have magical intelligence to control the ship
<~Dan> So what are Starwyrms?
<+Audrey> space dragons, if you want the short answer
<+Audrey> long answer?
<+Audrey> Big dragon-like creatures that naturally consume and recycle inert dark matter particles. They drift through the galaxy with draconian intellect and are a protected species, generally. They can inflict radiation poisoning with their breath. They fly via vents that give off propulsion energy, rather than wings.
<~Dan> So space farts?
<+BenQuiggins> pretty much hahaha
<~Dan> Speaking of creatures, how much of a bestiary do you feature?
<+Audrey> The Core Sourcebook has a minimal bestiary ~20-30 creatures, but the Galactic Primer getting released with our Kickstarter has over 100 more monsters.
<+GenoFoxx> so are they more Space Godzilla or Gigan?
<+GenoFoxx> or Ghidora?
<+BenQuiggins> closest to a mix between Ghidora and Godzilla
<+Audrey> One features on our cover: https://cdna.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/014/746/890/20181219214139/smaller_square/kurt-ian-ferrer-update2.jpg?1545277299
<+BenQuiggins> Our cover art shows one of them flying by a ship! 😀
<~Dan> That’s one big critter. O.o
<+GenoFoxx> so could you have one as a patron?
<+Audrey> That’s a galaxy starwyrm, the biggest stage of their growth
<+Audrey> and theoretically? heck yeah
<+BenQuiggins> If you wanted to be a warlock I don’t see why not
<+BenQuiggins> They are mysterious creatures, you could even use the Old One pact to connect to them I’d imagine
<+GenoFoxx> Cthulhu is a Starwyrm
<~Dan> How do you handle armor? I find that AC falls apart when applied to games with powerful weaponry.
<+BenQuiggins> The armor in the game is built to protect from the guns and has a modification available called a Personal Energy Barrier that absorbs damage from Plasma and Ballistic weapons
<+BenQuiggins> So the armor at its base is handled just like 5e with the AC values determining how hard you are to hit.
<+BenQuiggins> But they have modification slots where you can add in tech to help you out
<+BenQuiggins> Classes that can’t wear armor like Sorcerers can use Shield Bracers to access Personal Energy Barriers
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Do you use alignments?
<+BenQuiggins> They are in the book in the same way they are in 5e and monster stat blocks have them listed. Like 5e, there’s not a major focus on them and people can highlight them or not at their leisure
<~Dan> And speaking of alignments, are there any major bad guys in the setting?
<+Audrey> The Veerux!
<+Audrey> They’re a theocratic empire of humans who may or may not be from beyond the Nacora Galaxy.
<+Audrey> They eat other sentient species as part of their religious rituals and believe that humans are the only true sentient species, chosen by their deity, Xaldin Truthspeaker
<+Audrey> They are the primary antagonists we’ve written in the setting, though there are plenty of groups that can be used as enemies if you so desire.
<~Dan> Are there any big supernatural evils?
<+BenQuiggins> We don’t include any in particular in the Core book, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any
<+BenQuiggins> Why leave those open to the players as they make games, but also as we publish more content and make modules I’m sure they will start cropping up
<~Dan> Does the setting have an established cosmology? Are there actual gods and demons and such?
<+Audrey> So the planes of the galaxy *do* contain a plane known as the Eternal Prism, which is made up of heavens and hells. The beings there are, of course, known as celestials and fiends, respectively.
<+Audrey> Different cultures across the galaxy worship different pantheons.
<+Audrey> Proof of their existence? difficult to obtain. Doesn’t stop people from trying, or believing.
<+Audrey> And you could very easily be paladin who gets their power from a deity, for example, although whether or not the deity is truly communicating with you is up for interpretation. We tried to leave a lot of space for individual tables to determine the “realness” of deities.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up? 🙂
<+Audrey> Just thanks so much for having us and for all the interest! We’ve had a blast making this system and have some prewritten adventures out there for free if folks want to give the system a try before investing in the full core book.
<~Dan> Would you like to link to those?
<+Audrey> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/262604/Spaceships-and-Starwyrms-Beginners-Kit)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/262604/Spaceships-and-Starwyrms-Beginners-Kit
<+Audrey> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267593/Spaceships-and-Starwyrms-Demo-Module)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267593/Spaceships-and-Starwyrms-Demo-Module
<+Audrey> Those are the two I would recommend to get started!
<~Dan> Speaking of links… If any of you have enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee, you can do so at (Link: https://ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://ko-fi.com/gmshoe ! Thanks! 🙂
<+Audrey> Thanks for hosting, Dan!
<~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
<~Dan> And thanks very much for joining us!