<+GrahamBottley> Good evening everyone
<+GrahamBottley> My name is Graham Bottley from Arion Games, and we are running a Kickstarter at the moment for an RPG called “Crown and Dragon”
<+GrahamBottley> This is based upon a classic novel by the (now) acclaimed author Stephen Hunt]
<+GrahamBottley> It has been described as “Sharpe with Magic”…
<+GrahamBottley> and steam vehicles…
<+GrahamBottley> and beastmen…
<+GrahamBottley> and enchanted forests!
<+GrahamBottley> It uses the Savage Worlds rules (and is an officially licensed product) both from Stephen and from Savage worlds
<+GrahamBottley> That is the basic outline!
<~Dan> Thanks, GrahamBottley! The floor is open to questions!
<+GrahamBottley> I would be glad to answer them!
<~Dan> So let’s see… Is this considered to be steampunk?
<~Dan> Albeit with fantasy elements?
<+GrahamBottley> In a way. Stephen Hunt is now best known for his steampunk novels.
<+GrahamBottley> Here you have steam power, although it is less pervasive than in his later books’
<+GrahamBottley> A review of this novel at the time used the term “Flintlock Fantasy”, which was the first tiime it had been used
<~Dan> (Howdy, DyminoMonsters!)
<+DyminoMonsters> (Tips fadora hat, evening Dan)
<~Dan> Flintlock… So Enlightenment-level tech?
<+GrahamBottley> Pretty much
<+GrahamBottley> The real world equivalent date is about 1800
<~Dan> Is it an alt-history Earth, or a different world altogether?
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Avron01!)
<+GrahamBottley> The same as earth up to Roman times. Then they gained sorcery from a Demonic entity and things diverged from our history
<~Dan> Those darned demonic entities.
<+GrahamBottley> The major change is that in about 30AD ish the world was broken and Rome and most of central italy vanished and northern europe was changed geographically
<~Dan> (wb, GrimmgardTodd!)
<+GrahamBottley> The UK (the main setting for the book) was split into three main islands
<+GrahamBottley> The northern-most is scotland
<+eezo> Did they drag Scotland up north ?
<+eezo> Ha! 😀
<+DyminoMonsters> (Hiya Avron and Grimmgard Todd)
<+eezo> (sorry I’ll shush)
<+GrahamBottley> The westernmost is Ireland
<+GrahamBottley> And the southern is central and southern england and wales
<+GrahamBottley> Northern england has been lost, a fact that always annoyed me a little as I live in Yorkshire!!
<+GrimmgardTodd> (Thanks! Dinner showed up!)
<+GrahamBottley> That part of the world is thus known as the Triple Realm
<~Dan> What the heck caused all that? Some magical mishap in Rome?
<+GrahamBottley> The in-game history as known to the characters (and in the novel) is unclear.
<+GrahamBottley> SOme say it was the Romans over-reaching themselves.
<+GrahamBottley> They had a huge civil war just before the events and the “Demon”W withdrew himself from the world.
<+GrahamBottley> Others say that the “Tree Martyr”, now the main religion in the world (a religious leader in Palestine who was crucified on a tree) got fed up with the Romans and broke the world
<+GrahamBottley> The exact details would have been somewhat revealed in the second novel, which was written and never published
<~Dan> Really? That’s a shame.
<+GrahamBottley> [That may change hopefully…]
<~Dan> What attracted you to this setting?
<+GrahamBottley> What you have now is a patchwork of smaller states, all warring with each other
<+GrahamBottley> and dominated by a sort of Not-France (Roubaix)
<+GrahamBottley> and a not germany/russia (Thuringarian Empire)
<+GrahamBottley> I remember reading this book when it was first published back in the 90’s and thinking that it fitted an RPG perfectly
<+GrahamBottley> You have Napoleonic era armies with muskets, bayonets, cannon etc
<+GrahamBottley> You have magic in varying forms
<+GrahamBottley> Beastmen and strange creatures in an enchanted woodland that cloaks much of the land
<+GrahamBottley> steam tanks and ships
<~Dan> What what’s the nature of the airships?
<+GrahamBottley> They are steam powered, in terms of the propeller, but otherwise they are almost smaller first world war zeppelins
<+GrahamBottley> fairly rare though
<+GrahamBottley> They didn’t feature much in the first novel
<~Dan> The steam tech would seem to be anachronistic. Is there an in-setting explanation for it?
<+GrahamBottley> It is based on the Aeolipile, originally described by Hero of Alexandria
<~Dan> I’m not familiar with that.
<+GrahamBottley> It is a lidded cauldron with pipes connecting to a ball mounted above on an axis
<+GrahamBottley> The ball is hollow and has angled jets
<~Dan> Oh! I do think I may have heard of that, actually…
<+GrahamBottley> as steam is forced into the ball, it leaves via the jets, which all point the same way, causing it to spin
<+GrahamBottley> It was never actually used for anything in the real world, but in the Triple Realm the balls are harnessed via gears to produce work
<~Dan> That’s pretty cool.
<+GrahamBottley> The steam tanks in world are called Kettleblacks
<+GrahamBottley> and they come in various forms and sizes
<~Dan> How big is the largest?
<+GrahamBottley> A miniature siege tower
<+GrahamBottley> It has a firing platform, and room inside for a platoon of men
<+GrahamBottley> Battlements on top etc
* ~Dan nods
<+GrahamBottley> They are common enough that everyone knows what they are and will have seen plenty
<~Dan> That’s pretty epic.
<+GrahamBottley> but rare enough that a big battle might have a handful on each side
<~Dan> Does any nation have an edge in steam tech?
<+GrahamBottley> It gives a technological edge to the setting
<+GrahamBottley> There were of course stationary steam engines in the real world at that time
<+GrahamBottley> but they were big and used to power factories and pump out mines
<~Dan> (Howdy, WetInkBrandon!)
<+GrimmgardTodd> Do all the nations have equal tech level? Are there any war machines that are distinct to any one faction/nation?
<~Dan> (For those joining late: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2036759092/crown-and-dragon-rpg?fbclid=IwAR1tJPQFK_RM61a7llGTm18metHEsMzoxT9sMlx7de9k-d3uDRREFJUkOm8)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2036759092/crown-and-dragon-rpg?fbclid=IwAR1tJPQFK_RM61a7llGTm18metHEsMzoxT9sMlx7de9k-d3uDRREFJUkOm8 )
<+GrahamBottley> The nations are fairly similar in the main
<+GrahamBottley> Although in the novel the Thuringarian Empire does have a rather strange battleship
<~Dan> Are the ships ironclads?
<+GrahamBottley> It is a big metal platform with six huge wheels that hold it above the surface of the sea
<+GrahamBottley> high enough that smaller sailing ships can pass under the platform
<~Dan> How the heck does THAT work?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
<+GrahamBottley> I am still not entirely sure on that myself, and am having an email conversation with Stephen to try and work it out
<+GrahamBottley> It is not vital for this first book however
* ~Dan nods
<+GrahamBottley> The core will focus on the characters being “Dragon-Browns”
<~Dan> What are they?
<+GrahamBottley> The Dragon-Brown Regiments are composed of the worst scum recruited into the army
<+GrahamBottley> Murderers, thieves, highwaymen etc
<+GrahamBottley> Although they are actually called Toppers, Rufflers, Tobymen, Prancers etc in the slang of the setting
<+GrahamBottley> They wear cheap brown coats
<+GrahamBottley> and the flag of the united Triple Realm they serve is a Dragon (and a crown)
<+GrahamBottley> So the characters are in one of these Regiments
<~Dan> So sort of a Dirty Dozen type of thing?
<~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
<+GrahamBottley> Because they are “scum of the earth” they are considered expendable
<+GrahamBottley> and so can be sent on all sorts of special missions
<+GrahamBottley> they also have very applicable skills due to their backgrounds
<+GrahamBottley> Which itself works well with the Savage Worlds rules
<~Dan> Oh? How so?
<+GrahamBottley> To get extra Edges at character creation, you take on Hindrances
<~Dan> Ah, I see.
<+GrahamBottley> So in our playtest campaign, we had one character who had been hung but cut down before he actually dies
<+GrahamBottley> Another who had been a Rebel in Astolat (Northern Scotland)
<+GrahamBottley> Another who was still wanted in Tryban (Wales)
<+GrahamBottley> and another who had been in the regular Regiments but had been flogged for some disciplinary reason
<+GrahamBottley> And because almost every character will have 2-4 of these Hindrances, you can give your character that “not nice” element whilst still allowing them to end up a hero
* ~Dan nods
<+GrimmgardTodd> What classes are there for the game?
<+GrahamBottley> Savage Worlds does not have classes as such. You choose your stats, skills and Edges
<+GrahamBottley> We have included some archetypes however
<+GrahamBottley> Officer, NCO, Skirmisher, ex-Cavalryman and so forth are all options
<+GrahamBottley> As are the more mystical ones
<+GrahamBottley> Being a military game, it is about finding your niche
<~Dan> Speaking of the mystical, can you say a bit more about the magical aspects of the setting?
<+GrahamBottley> There are three main “types”
<+GrahamBottley> There is Religion, which is either of the Tree Martyr or the older Pagan Gods
<~Dan> (Howdy, DLB_Chuck!)
<+GrahamBottley> Some of these Priests are assigned to Regiments for various reasons meaning that they sometimes end up in the front line of battle
<+GrahamBottley> and indeed there is a Militant arm of the Church of the Tree Martyr
<+GrahamBottley> And then there are the “wizard” types
<+GrahamBottley> The main ones are Weirdsmen
<+GrahamBottley> These essentially are wizards
<~Dan> Great name.
<+GrahamBottley> but sanctioned and under the patronage of the Crown
<+GrahamBottley> They are used as agents, advisors and military support
<+GrahamBottley> and again can be assigned to individual Regiments
<+GrahamBottley> Then there are Mummers
<+GrahamBottley> As part of their initiation, these undergo a ritual that removes their eyes and covers the sockets with skin
<+GrahamBottley> Although blind, they can still sense the world nearby
<+GrahamBottley> And they are a kind of inquisitor, again controlled by the crown
<+GrahamBottley> They can read minds, sense emotions, control people etc
<~Dan> So basically psychics?
<+GrahamBottley> Rarer than Weirdsmen, they can still be sent out as agents to uncover treachery in the army
<+GrahamBottley> They still use “Magic” but the effect is more psionic
* ~Dan nods
<+GrahamBottley> They can act as sort of Warhammer 40K Commisars
<+GrahamBottley> Rooting out traitors and keeping the common soldier on the straight and narrow
<+GrahamBottley> So there are plenty of options for character types available
<~Dan> Is there room for nonhuman PCs?
<+GrahamBottley> There is
<~Dan> What kinds?
<+GrahamBottley> In the setting, there are numerous types of Beastmen
<+GrahamBottley> These are known as Demisapi
<+GrahamBottley> They were originally created by merging humans with animals by the Romans to create bestial legions
<+GrahamBottley> There are Demisapi created from rats, wolves, foxes, bears, boars, bulls and so on
<+GrahamBottley> In the early stages of the novel these are wild woodland creatures, living in the Tumble (the enchanted forests)
<+GrahamBottley> but later in the novel you encounter several that wear clothes, talk and are civilised
<~Dan> Are they second-class citizens?
<+GrahamBottley> We are not going to include these as PCs in the core book, but until we do the follow up that will, they would be easy to do in the game system
<+GrahamBottley> In a civilised setting they would be, although the Thuringarian Empire does use them as sailors in their navy, so less so there
<+GrahamBottley> And at least one state on the continent has a royal guard composed of bearmen
<+GrahamBottley> with huge axes and great flintlocks
<+GrahamBottley> And this all allows a Napoleonic-style game
<~Dan> Can you say a bit more about the Tumble? What’s in there besides Beastmen?
<+GrahamBottley> but opens out the types of enemies and allies
<+GrahamBottley> The Tumble has poisonous and mobile trees
<~Dan> Triffids? 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> Leucrotta, a cross between a hyena and a lion that can mimic speech
<+GrahamBottley> Prophetic birds whose droppings can cure blindness
<+GrahamBottley> Chimerae, animals that are mostly normal except that they have golden eyes, higher intelligence and psionic powers
<+GrahamBottley> and other even stranger things
<+GrahamBottley> Oh yes, one of my favourites are Eagle Moths
<+GrahamBottley> About as big as a man, they have huge serrated tails that they carry curved under their bodies and that can impale a hunting dog or person!
<+GrahamBottley> You don’t really want a flock of those flying around, even if you do have a musket!
<~Dan> Heh. I’ll bet!
<~Dan> Are there actual dragons?
<+GrahamBottley> There are, several types, although they are very rare
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> What types are there?
<+DLB_Chuck> How many creatures are you planning for the beastiary in the core book?
<+GrahamBottley> Because the setting has villages, towns and great smoky cities all separated by miles of this dense forest, there could be anything out there. We have about 25-30 creatures in the included Bestiary
<+GrahamBottley> and hope to then describe more in later books
<+GrahamBottley> But we have also put in specific musket rules
<~Dan> Loading times and such?
<+GrahamBottley> There are blackpowder weapons already in Savage Worlds, being a generic game
<+GrahamBottley> Loading, as you say, is very important
<+GrahamBottley> In the base game, it just takes a few actions to load
<+GrahamBottley> We have made it a specific skill
<+GrahamBottley> So a character who has focused on that could get off 5 or even 6 shots a minute
<~Dan> Normally, I’m not a big fan of hyper-specific skills, but this makes sense.
<+GrahamBottley> But a rank novice might only get 2
<+GrahamBottley> What it does is allows further differentiation between characters
* ~Dan nods
<+GrahamBottley> So one of the playtest characters carried a musket but then looked to close with their bayonet rather than mess about with loading
<+GrahamBottley> He came to a sticky end though!
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> In the real world, one of the reasons Wellington won his battles was that his men trained with live ammunition
<+GrahamBottley> and so got good at loading, managing 3-4 shots a minute
<+GrahamBottley> Most french soldiers, who were conscripts, managed about 2 per minute
<+GrahamBottley> It made a big difference
<~Dan> I can see how it would.
<+GrahamBottley> And so in game, you could have a soldier with a rifle
<+GrahamBottley> Slower to load because of the spiralling grooves, but accurate over a greater distance
<+GrahamBottley> Or you could use a cavalry carbine, which was easier to load but less damaging and with very little range at all
<+GrahamBottley> The main one is a musket, known in game as a Puffer
<+GrahamBottley> There are also options
<~Dan> Are there any fancy gun gadgets, like repeaters?
<+GrahamBottley> There is the volley gun, known to Sharpe fans
<+GrahamBottley> It has six separate barrels, all fired from one flintlock mechanism
<+GrahamBottley> very nasty
<+GrahamBottley> But you do have the option to load with quality powder from a horn and a leather-wrapped ball, rather than a pre-prepared cartridge
<+GrahamBottley> Slower, but more accurate and more damaging
<+GrahamBottley> Or Tap-loading, where you don’t use a ramrod to force the ball down
<+GrahamBottley> This is quicker but less powerful
<+GrahamBottley> And of course sword fighting and bayonets are still much used
<+GrahamBottley> Even fist fights cropped up in the playtest regularly!
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> You have the military edge, with assigned missions and big battles
<~Dan> How powerful is magic in this setting? What sorts of things could a really powerful Weirdsman do?
<+GrahamBottley> but also the fantasy side with creatures and sword fighting and enchanted forests
<+GrahamBottley> A really powerful user of magic could blow up a fortification wall
<+GrahamBottley> could teleport
<+GrahamBottley> could cause a whole platoon to just freeze
<+GrahamBottley> and could even create new Demisapi
<+GrahamBottley> They are not on the scale of high level D&D mages for example
<+GrahamBottley> who can change whole areas of the world
<+GrahamBottley> But they are still incredibly potent and a skilled and clever Weirdsman could certainly disable multiple Kettleblacks and end a siege, all in a few minutes
<+GrahamBottley> The nature of the rules system though means you could have a Weirdsman with a musket, pistol or sword though
<+GrahamBottley> I also wanted to mention that we have put a pdf of one of the novel chapters on the Kickstarter page
<+GrimmgardTodd> Oooh definitely want to check THAT out!
<+GrahamBottley> It gives you a good feel of the setting
<+GrahamBottley> I need to press Stephen again because it is very likely that the full novel will be re-released, certainly electronically (on Kindle etc) and hopefully in print.
<+GrahamBottley> If things go well the second novel might finally see the light of day
<+GrahamBottley> There was also a graphic novel entitled “The ruffler and the highwayman”
<+GrahamBottley> that was set in the Triple Realm, but I have been unable to source a copy of that for myself
<+GrahamBottley> I am hoping that will also be re-released
<~Dan> (Howdy, Woo77!)
<+GrahamBottley> If things go really well we may even see some brand new short stories or even a novel!
<~Dan> How interested was the author in licensing his game for an RPG?
<+GrahamBottley> Very. He started his writing career with various articles for long-defunct RPG magazines i believe
<+GrahamBottley> He has provided a lot of setting detail that was not apparent from the novel
<+GrahamBottley> I suppose from his point of view it is not much work at his end but produces another way of enjoying his setting
<+GrahamBottley> And for my part I have wanted to write this for about 25 years!
<+GrahamBottley> Not that i published games back then
<~Dan> Wow! Well, I’m so glad you finally got the chance!
<+GrahamBottley> I have enjoyed writing this and the playtest campaign was a huge amount of fun
<+GrahamBottley> We had the characters stealing Kettleblacks from rebels
<+GrahamBottley> Getting into tavern brawls
<+GrahamBottley> Defending against raiders whilst on sentry duty
<+GrahamBottley> Travelling through the Tumble
<+GrahamBottley> in big battles
<+GrahamBottley> and acting as a forlorn hope, first through a breach in a wall
<~Dan> That does sound like quite a campaign.
<+GrahamBottley> The rules allow for certain Edges to provide a leader bonus
<~Dan> Are there any obvious bad guys in the setting, or is it meant to be more morally ambiguous?
<+GrahamBottley> So one of the characters was an officer who was able to improve the abilities of the main soldiers
<+GrahamBottley> It is fairly ambiguous.
<+GrahamBottley> There are rebels in the various regions
<+GrahamBottley> and thieves and brigands etc
<+GrahamBottley> But the husband of the Queen in Roubaix is called Buonopar
<+GrahamBottley> and he has taken control of the army…
<+GrahamBottley> So who knows how that might end up!
<~Dan> Eh. They’ll just end up surrendering.
<+GrahamBottley> Mind you, one of the most senior Generals in the Triple Realm is known as “The Butcher”
* ~Dan smacks self
<+GrahamBottley> Interestingly, the Roubaix soldiers wear Red coats and are known as Lobsters
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> SO a bit of a reversal there from the real world
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+GrahamBottley> I think that is most things. I would certainly encourage everyone to read the sample chapter to get a feel for the setting
<+GrahamBottley> This KS, like sevefral of my others, will be fulfilled by DTRPG
<+GrahamBottley> So once funded, we release the pdf to all backers
<+GrahamBottley> Then print-level backers get a code and they can order a softcover or a hardcover
<+GrahamBottley> hence the pledge levels on KS being very low
<+GrahamBottley> There is a limited edition leatherbound (in brown of course)
<+DLB_Chuck> How is shipping handled?
<~Dan> Heh. That’s awesome.
<+GrahamBottley> For standard, the backer pays that
<+GrahamBottley> at the time of ordering
<~Dan> Usual reminder: If you’ve enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> but you can but several Print on Demand books at the same time from other publishers to save that way
<+DLB_Chuck> How are you producing the leatherbound copies? It’s a limited number. Are they handstitched over one of the print-on-demand copies from Drivethru?
<+GrahamBottley> They are hand produced by a company here in the UK
<+DLB_Chuck> Cool. It’s a nice option.
<+GrahamBottley> They are expensive to have done, especially in colour and there will only be about 20 produced
<+GrahamBottley> numbered and signed
<+DLB_Chuck> What size are the pages?
<+GrahamBottley> But I had a Red Leather version of Demons of Doom (Advanced Fighting Fantasy) done with black lettering and black end papers and it looked incredible
<+GrahamBottley> The book is US Letter
<+GrahamBottley> The games shops prefer that!
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us again, GrahamBottley!
<+GrahamBottley> Thank you for the invite
<~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂
<+GrahamBottley> It was fun as always, and apologies again for my terrible internet and the late start!
<~Dan> No problem!
<+GrahamBottley> Thank you and good evening!