<+Richard> Hey all! I’m Richard, designer/author of The Dawnline and Firefighter Sharks In Space, and I’d like to present to you Rod, Reel, & Fist.
<+Richard> Should I throw down a link to the Kickstarter page?
<+Richard> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rodreel/rod-reel-and-fist?ref=4bogal)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rodreel/rod-reel-and-fist?ref=4bogal
<+Richard> Rod, Reel, & Fist is an all-ages fishing adventure rpg
<+Richard> You play as fishers voyaging into a slightly magical area to find a wish-granting fish that will save their village.
<+Richard> Along the way you catch fish, wrangle local wildlife, and overcome obstacles.
<+Richard> The game is dice-based, specifically d6s, and you do roll to see if you can triumph over certain challenges, but the game is designed so that all setbacks are temporary.
<+Richard> Failing, or getting chased off by dangerous animals, or letting a fish slip away causes you to take Exhaustion. Exhaustion builds up and makes your rolls harder, but you can discard all of it by making camp and kicking back with your friends for a little bit.
<+Richard> So the game, by default, is pretty gentle, but you can easily customize it to fit whatever level of challenge and tension your group wants.
<+Richard> Also very customizable is the setting.
<+Richard> By default, you’re playing in a sort of magical-realism 1980s countryside of Japan, but the book comes with a simple system for building your own setting, and you can make those as weird and specific as you want.
<~Dan> Thanks, Richard! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> Where did you get the idea of making an RPG about fishing?
<+Richard> Well, I think right now I’m two for two on writing games by accident.
<+Richard> Which is not to say that care didn’t go into writing them, but Rodreel happened because I was stuck outside of my apartment for the day and idly thought “I wonder if I *could* make a compelling game about fishing.”
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+Richard> I did take a lot of inspiration from an old gameboy and SNES series of games called The Legend Of The River King, where you were a boy whose mother falls sick and the only way to do it was by catching this one particular fish.
<+Richard> There’s definitely some very deliberate homage to that in the default setting.
* ~Dan grumbles
<~Dan> That’s so annoying…
<+Richard> Connection issue?
<+Richard> No worries. Did it cut me off?
<~Dan> Been doing that for over a day now.
<~Dan> Not unless you wrote something after your last “Done”.
<+Richard> Nothing after the “done for real”
<~Dan> Ah. Here’s what I saw last…
<~Dan> <+Richard> There’s definitely some very deliberate homage to that in the default setting.<+Richard> Done.
<+Richard> Ah, okay. One sec.
<+Richard> <Richard>: Er, clarification <Richard>: The only way to cure the mother is by catching a very particular fish. <Richard>: Sorry, still caffinating and getting my brain up to speed. <Richard>: Done for real.
<~Dan> Ah, gotcha. Thanks for reposting.
<+Richard> No worries.
<~Dan> So it sounds like this game has a definitive end. Is it only meant for one-shots?
<+Richard> It’s definitely better for one shots, although I’m still working on figuring out a way to make it handle a campaign elegantly. I’ve got some ideas, including an overworld map and a choice of resources to carry over from scenario to scenario, but the default mode for the game is sort of meaty one-shots.
<+Richard> Or, like, two or three shots.
<~Dan> Is it also best as a one-player game?
<+Richard> Depends on how much the players RP and interact with the world vs. how focused they are in their drive to surmount obstacles and bag a magical fish.
<+Richard> As for how many players, I think it works best with one to five.
<+Richard> I took care to add in mechanics that let other people participate when one player is fishing.
<+Richard> During fishing, which the game calls Fish Combat, both the fisher and fish build up Stress, which is a kind of penalty like Exhaustion, but more temporary.
<~Dan> Other than the wish-granting fish, what are some examples of magic in this setting?
<+Richard> At the end of a Fish Combat, all Stress goes away.
<+Richard> But during that combat, it keeps building and building.
<+Richard> One way of dealing with it is to have other players Shout Encouragement
<+Richard> Another is to have the active fisher Tag Out
<+Richard> And another fisher tag in and start wrangling the fish.
<+Richard> Sorry, that was a long response to the one player question.
<+Richard> To answer the examples of magic question
<+Richard> Some of it depends on the kind of custom setting your group makes
<+Richard> You can absolutely make a high fantasy fishing setting where, like, Spelltrout are just a thing that exists and no one bats an eye.
<+Richard> However, in the default setting there are also a few examples
<+Richard> One is Techniques, which are a bit like Feats in D20 systems, but often have a bit of an over-the-top style to them.
<+Richard> Man/Line Synchronization allows you to perfectly attune yourself to your fishing line
<+Richard> And other silliness like that
<+Richard> The other good example is some of the fish
<+Richard> I’d originally planned to make a *very* grounded, realistic game
<~Dan> Literally just a game about fishing?
<+Richard> And I did ultimately end up doing a fair amount of research into where different fish live and how best to angle for them
<+Richard> But then some of the magical realism started to creep into the fish
<+Richard> And so there’s stuff like the Tornado Smelt, which turns into a whirling vortex of other fish when you bring it to the surface
<+Richard> And the Panfish, which lives at the bottoms of ponds and rivers, eats scrap metal, and can be used to cook other fish if you scrub it off.
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+Richard> At its heart, it is kind of just a game about fishing.
<+JamesGillen> Is there a sharknado?
<+Richard> But what it’s trying to capture is the feeling of going on a fishing trip, of crossing from the familiar into the not-quite-so-familiar, and maybe snagging an awesome story along the way.
<+Richard> @James, not yet
<+Richard> But I would be very surprised if something of that sort doesn’t end up in the book.
<+Richard> My last game had a number of backer levels where people could add content, and I did a similar thing for this one.
<~Dan> What sorts of threats and challenges do the PCs face?
<+Richard> I expect to get some pretty wonderfully weird prompts from backers about what kinds of fish, animals, and equipment to add.
<+Richard> For threats and challenges, there are sort of three types
<+Richard> There’s obstacles in the environment, there’s animals, and there’s fish
<+Richard> Obstacles are the most straight forward. If you need to clamber over a slippery log, or you’re trying to inch along a cliff face, or you’re trying to force open the rusted door to a forgotten aquarium, you make a roll and take a consequence if you fail.
<+Richard> Generally Exhaustion
<+Richard> Animals are a bit different. Animals usually guard area or items, but can be chased off through Animal Combat
<+Richard> Animal Combat is *not* about killing an animal.
<+Richard> At least, not unless you’re playing a specific setting where that makes sense.
<+Richard> You *could* play through Jaws with this system, so that option is on the table
<+Richard> But in general, animal combat pits the fishers against an animal (such as a giant hornet, or a bear), and there’s a penalty if they lose
<+Richard> Fish Combat is sort of the opposite. The fishers vie against a fish, but there’s a bonus if they win.
<+Richard> Also, one sec. Going to step away from the computer and be right back.
<+Richard> Okay, back
<~Dan> Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
<+Richard> Not yet. I’ve got it only my schedule to spend some time prototyping it tomorrow.
<+Richard> However, I can break down what goes into a character
<+Richard> Er, should I do that?
<+Richard> So character creation is pretty direct
<+Richard> You have a Type, which is sort of like your class. It could be something like Brawler or Caregiver, and gives some insight into your character’s nature. It also gives a specific bonus. Some are passive, some activate, some trigger when the party makes camp.
<+Richard> The Caregiver, for example, whips up extra Snacks whenever the party camps. Snacks can be spent for extra dice, or to offset points of Stress.
<+Richard> In addition to a Type, fishers have a Temperment
<+Richard> In combat, there’s a mechanic called Gambits where both the players and the GM throw rock-paper-scissors. Winning a Gambit has a minor effect on the fight.
<+Richard> Temperaments modify specific Gambits. So if you’re Hot-Blooded, for example, you can inflict Stress when you win a Gambit by throwing rock.
<+Richard> This creates a little bit of a metagame around Gambits. If you know someone’s Hot-Blooded, you know they can get more effect out of throwing rock. So, do you throw paper to counter that, or are they secretly going to throw scissors and fake you out?
<+Richard> Anyway, the third part of a character is their Techniques and Equipment.
<+Richard> Everyone starts off with some fishing gear and Snacks, but you also get to pick a Technique or piece of Equipment to diversify your kit.
<+Richard> Consequently, character creation is real quick, but every character feels and plays pretty differently.
<~Dan> I know fights aren’t to the death with animals, but do the PCs get weapons? Or are they (as the title implies) using their fists?
<+Richard> You can get some weapons, and how those are handled depends on the game you’re running
<+Richard> Rodreel is built so that you can run it for a young crowd, and if you don’t want a game where people are, like, stabbing a bear, you can easily make it so that you just wave weapons to ward animals off
<~Dan> (Howdy, AmbulatoryCortex!)
<+Richard> Hi AmbulatoryCortex!
<~Dan> (Richard, want to re-post the URL for AmbulatoryCortex?)
<+Richard> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rodreel/rod-reel-and-fist?ref=4bogal)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rodreel/rod-reel-and-fist?ref=4bogal
<+AmbulatoryCortex> I spotted it on facebook already 🙂
<+Richard> oh man
<+Richard> I didn’t realize it had spread that far
<~Dan> I suspect he means one of my Q&A announcements. 🙂
<+Richard> It’s weirdly generating more buzz than I’d expected
<+AmbulatoryCortex> It hasn’t, I’m a member of the randomworlds facebook group
<+Richard> whew, okay
<+Richard> I was going to be sort of worried if my weird fishgame had gotten that much exposure
<~Dan> Why? Because reality wouldn’t be working like you’d expect? 😀
<+Richard> I *do* think it has pretty broad appeal, but at first pitch the concept is really niche
<+Richard> I mean, yeah. I always get a little bit concerned when I’m doing something and it’s going smoothly.
* ~Dan chuckles
<+Richard> Any questions, Ambulatory?
<~Dan> That’s kind of a gloomy outlook for someone who’s written such a whimsical game. 😀
<+Richard> Nah, not gloomy.
<+Richard> It keeps me on my toes.
<+AmbulatoryCortex> No, I haven’t even finished reading hte pitch yet
<~Dan> Heh. Fair enough. 🙂
<+Richard> No worries
<~Dan> So how do you handle task resolution?
<+Richard> It’s pretty simple
<+Richard> 1d6, target number
<+Richard> With a minor catch
<~Dan> Pardon the pun? 🙂
<+Richard> oh man, I have been stumbling over inadvertent fish puns the whole time I’ve been developing and testing this thing
* ~Dan snickers
<+Richard> I’ve sort of stopped noticing when I’m making them
<+Richard> But, to get back to task resolution
<~Dan> Well, you’ve wandered into Pun Central. I’ve just been restraining myself. 😀
<~Dan> Yes, sorry about that. 🙂
<+Richard> No worries! There are a fair few deliberate puns in the book
<+Richard> Anyway, 1d6 vs TN
<+Richard> But certain factors can give you more dice
<+Richard> And some TNs can go up to 7
<+Richard> Extra dice don’t all add together
<+Richard> If you roll a 1, 4, that’s a 4 total, not a 5
<+Richard> But multiple dice with the same number do stack
<+Richard> It’s not quite as crazy as 4, 4 equals 8
<+Richard> But when you roll multiples of the same number, you add the number to the amount of times you rolled it
<+Richard> So 4, 4, 4 is 7
<~Dan> Huh. Interesting mechanic.
<+Richard> The number 4, plus the number of times it was rolled, which is 3
* ~Dan nods
<+Richard> A sort of standard TN is 4, but that standard TN can become a lot more interesting when you start accumulating Stress and Exhaustion
<+Richard> Each point of Stress or Exhaustion raises TNs by 1
<+Richard> So eventually you hit a point where you have to Tag Out of combat, or Make Camp, and ditch those penalties
<~Dan> And failure earns you even more Exhaustion?
<+Richard> Depends a little on the circumstances, but yes.
<+Richard> In combat, most of what you take is Stress, which washes away at the end of combat
<~Dan> Man. That’s a pretty steep… well, not death spiral… Tiredness spiral?
<+Richard> It sort of depends on how hard your groups wants to push
<+Richard> You can always Make Camp and get rid of all your Exhaustion
<~Dan> How do you earn those extra dice?
<+AmbulatoryCortex> So run us through that slip of a girl trying to fend off that crocodile. How would that go?
<+Richard> Haha, that’s an illustration for one of the Techniques
<+Richard> Techniques let you bend certain rules of combat in certain directions
<+Richard> The exact text for that one isn’t specifically about levering crocodiles’ mouths open, but the concept for the illustration was too good for me to pass up
<+Richard> @Dan, extra dice can come from your type, your equipment, or from Techniques or Gambits
<+Richard> You can also spend Snacks
<+Richard> Snacks are sort of a currency in how they work
<+Richard> If your group’s Snack supply is ever too low and you Make Camp, you generate a few Snacks to keep going
<+Richard> But you can also convert caught fish into Snacks
<+Richard> And there’s other ways of getting them too
<+Richard> I *really* like spendable resources in my design, and they’re a way the players can hedge their bets on important rolls
<~Dan> Since death isn’t a concern, what’s to keep PCs from just returning to fight a tough animal again and again, stopping to Make Camp as needed to recharge?
<+Richard> It depends
<+Richard> If you’re running a gentler game for a younger audience, nothing
<+Richard> Setbacks are temporary
<+Richard> However, if you’re running the game for a group that prefers more of a challenge, it’s pretty easy
<+Richard> Just limit the number of Make Camps they have before time runs out and they fail the scenario
<~Dan> You mean they can…
<~Dan> …camp out?
* ~Dan snickers inanely
<+Richard> A group can camp for resources
<+Richard> But if they’re playing with a limited number of Make Camps, that becomes a risky strategy
* ~Dan nods
<+Richard> They end up burning time on the scenario clock to try and amass resources
<+Richard> Which can work, or it can fail, depending on how wisely they spend those resources
<~Dan> Can you give an example of a PC attempting a task, complete with hypothetical extra dice sources?
<+Richard> Sure, one sec
<+Richard> Let’s say we have Finn Troutbane, goliath minibear, who’s trying to climb up the side of a rocky incline.
<+Richard> The SB sets the Target Number at 4, average.
<+Richard> Finn is the Pet Type, which gets bonus dice on nearly everything, but can’t use Equipment
<+Richard> So he’d normally roll 3 dice, trying to get at least a 4
<+Richard> Finn’s owner is nearby and tosses him a Snack, which he eats for +1 die
<+Richard> He rolls that die too and it comes up a 6, which beats the 4 TN
<~Dan> Hmm… I get that he got a bonus die from his Type… Where did the 3rd die come from?
<+Richard> I think the chat hiccup might’ve cut off some stuff
<~Dan> The last thing I saw before the hiccup: <+Richard> So he’d normally roll 3 dice, trying to get at least a 4
<+Richard> ah, gotcha
<+Richard> <Richard>: Which should pass the TN no problem <Richard>: But let’s say the dice clatter down and he gets a 1, 2, and 3 +++ ChanServ has given voice to Dan_ <Richard>: Finn’s owner is nearby and tosses him a Snack, which he eats for +1 die *** Dan_ is now known as Dan +++ ChanServ has given owner to Dan +++ ChanServ has given op to Dan <Richard>: He rolls tha
<+Richard> <Richard>: He rolls that die too and it comes up a 6, which beats the 4 TN <Richard>: Done
<~Dan> I’m still not getting something here… one die by default, one for Type, one for the Snack… I’m missing the source of one die.
<+Richard> Ah, okay. I see it.
<+Richard> In Finn’s case, it’s 1 default, +2 for Type, +1 for Snack
<+Richard> Pet Type’s a bit weird.
<+Richard> +2 dice, but no Equipment
<~Dan> Oh! Okay, gotcha.
<+Richard> Pets end up being better at navigating environment hazards than other fishers
<~Dan> And it’s interesting that you can play nonhuman PCs in this game.
<+Richard> But other Fishers can get bonuses and options that pets can’t
<+Richard> Harpoons, Fishing Nets, things like that are all in the Equipment list
<+Richard> So are rods and tackleboxes
<+Richard> Which give passive bonuses to fish combat and animal combat
<~Dan> Harpoons, you say? That’s some hardcore fishing!
<+Richard> So a regular fisher and a pet are generally evenly matched in combat, but a regular fisher might be better than the pet if they take equipment for it
<+AmbulatoryCortex> So if we want to go after that angler fish down in the midnight zone, what does that look like?
<+Richard> And the pet’s probably going to be better at environmental hazards, even if the fisher takes equipment for that
<+Richard> @dan, the harpoons are there because sometimes a fish combat turns into an animal combat, depending on what you hook
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+Richard> Again, the tone can be tweaked to be gentler if needed
* ~Dan nods
<+Richard> @Cortex, I’m still in the process of adding fish, so I don’t quite have a benthypelagic fish roster yet
<+Richard> But a usual fish combat follows a particular flow
<+AmbulatoryCortex> You had one on your page, which is why I asked 🙂
<+Richard> The game started out as a freshwater only thing, but I’ve been slowly expanding the fishtiary in all directions
<~Dan> So how does Fish Combat play out?
<+Richard> Fairly straightforward
<~Dan> (Howdy, Akyla!)
<+Richard> The round starts, the fish or the fisher sets the target number for something called the Round Roll.
<+Richard> On an odd numbered round, the fish sets the TN. Even numbered, the fisher does.
<+Richard> Then the fish and fisher declare their Gambits (i.e. throw rock-paper-scissors)
<+Richard> On a typical Gambit, the winner knocks dice out of the loser’s Round Roll
<+Richard> Both fish and fisher than make the Round Roll, and if either one fails they take 1 Stress and have to make a Lose Combat Test
<+Richard> Lose Combat tests start at TN 3, but remember that Stress adds to that difficulty, and so every time you fail a Round Roll and have to make a Lose Combat Test, your chances of failing that second roll get a little bit higher
<+Richard> Failing a Lose Combat Test does what it sounds like it does
<+Richard> If the fish fails it, they’re caught. If the fisher fails it, they take Exhaustion and the fish gets away. If both fail it at the same time, the fisher takes Exhaustion and the fish is caught.
<+Richard> There’s other mechanics at play too. Straining lets the fish and fisher take temporary penalties to their dice pool to penalize their opponent’s pool.
<+Richard> Tagging Out lets a fisher swap someone else in.
<+Richard> And techniques, temperaments, and equipment can all modify these rules slightly
<+Richard> If no one fails the Lose Combat Test during a round, the round ends and a new one starts.
<~Dan> So do NPCs (such as fish) have a full roster of traits, just like the PCs?
<+Richard> NPCs work a little bit differently
<+Richard> Fish and Animals have unique abilities, as well as bonuses for catching them (for fish) and penalties for losing to them (for animals)
<+Richard> So, that Tornado Smelt has an ability where once you catch it, it turns into a fish vortex and fights you in Animal Combat
<+Richard> In general, fish and animal abilities are nothing like player character abilities
<+Richard> They have a very different design philosophy behind them
<~Dan> (Howdy, Jack!)
<+Jack> (Hey hey)
<+Richard> Hi, Jack!
<~Dan> Are there any magical threats?
<+Richard> Sort of
<+Richard> Depending on how your setting comes together, you can end up re-fluffing the animals in the core book as things that better match your setting
<+Richard> Which could be extremely high-magic, depending on what you and your group create
<+Richard> At present, the animals in the book are all pretty grounded, but I expect that to change with backer content
<+Richard> The fish, meanwhile, can often be a bit magical
<+Richard> And the Fish Of Legend especially so
<+Richard> The Fish Of Legend is functionally the final boss of a scenario
<+Richard> It might be an earthquake catfish
<+Richard> Or a Sekiro style koi
<+Richard> Or a sea serpent
<+Richard> I may or may not be working on a scenario where it’s cthulhu
<~Dan> Awesome. 🙂
<+Richard> And the Fish of Legend is a fight where the players are supposed to use everything they’ve learned and accumulated to, as a group, wear it down and eventually force it to fail a Lose Combat Test
<~Dan> “I’m not sure I have the right rod for this…”
<+Richard> That is a part of the aforementioned scenario
<+Richard> Also fish tranquilizers
* ~Dan chuckles
<~Dan> How many animals and fish are in the book?
<+Richard> One sec. I need to do a quick count, since I don’t think I have the brain-ability to roughly ballpark it right now
<~Dan> No problem!
<+Richard> 18 fish are currently implemented
<+Richard> The fish of legend is also a bit variable
<+Richard> It comes with a system for building your own, so you can customize very different boss encounters
<+Richard> 15 animals are currently implemented
<+Richard> Both of these numbers should go up
<+Richard> Partly from backer content, and partly because I expect to keep adding stuff
<+Richard> But this was a number that felt like it gave some variety to early testing, without adding so many variables that I was rushing to patch everything every time a mechanic got tweaked
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+Richard> I think it’s been pretty comprehensive, but I did sort of want to go back over how the custom settings work
<+Richard> As a group, by going around in a circle and answering questions, you create a village, the world around it, a tragedy happening to that village, the fish that can reverse that tragedy, and the mysterious and forbidden region where that fish dwells
<+Richard> It’s collaborative, so sort of like a stone soup everyone adds something they like, and the result has been (at least in playtesting) extremely tasty every time
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us this evening, Richard!
<+Richard> Thank you for hosting!
<~Dan> My pleasure!
<~Dan> As a reminder to folks, 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 🙂
<~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!