<+Charm_Jeff> Hello! I am Jeff Mechlinski – Co-Founder of Strange Machine Games
<+Charm_Jeff> I have published 2 RPG games: SuperAge + Age Past, and we are about to launch teh pre-sale for teh new Robotech RPG
<+Charm_Jeff> I have an upcoming Kickstarter for a game called Charm – the KS launches Oct 2nd
<+Charm_Jeff> Charm is a small format RPG. It has a small rule set and is easy to learn. It it a straight simulation type game that can replicate the effects of much more complex games, using only a tiny ruleset of about 10k words
<+Charm_Jeff> A Charm character can be made in minutes or even seconds and the game can work with almost any genre
<+Charm_Jeff> The base game comes with the standard rules and 7 5k word scenarios – each scenario has rules that modify the basic Charm rules
<+TroyEndGameGaming> Good evening
<+Charm_Jeff> Charm is interesting because your character can fit on a business sized PC sheet
<+Charm_Jeff> hey there!!
<+Charm_Jeff> and yopu just need 2 dice to play – a d6 and a d20
<+Charm_Jeff> I think that’s a basic summary
<~Dan> Thanks, Charm_Jeff! The floor is open to questions!
<+Charm_Jeff> The game is built around simple challenge ratings – similar to the monte cook style
<~Dan> Charm_Jeff: Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
<+Charm_Jeff> they go every 3 starting at trivial
<+Charm_Jeff> the GM just decides what all the checks you need are and you roll, you can spend aspect points to modify rolls
<+Charm_Jeff> yeah i’ll link you ot the KS review – one sec
<+Charm_Jeff> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2
<+Charm_Jeff> there we go!
<~Dan> Let’s see here…
<+jcfiala> Charm_Jeff: Why is the game called Charm?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Lee!)
<+Charm_Jeff> The game is simple – I consider it “charming” – elegant, but powerful
<+TroyEndGameGaming> Interesting. Your character profile sheet is the size of a business card
<~Dan> Can you describe the task resolution system?
<+Charm_Jeff> so I called it charm – it;s also a universal system, so I guess I could have used an acronym like G.U.R.P.S – but that’s bene done before
<+Charm_Jeff> sure it simple – 3,6,8,9,12,15,18,21,24
<+Charm_Jeff> thhe GM sets one of those as the challenge rating
<+Charm_Jeff> you roll and try to achieve it – by rolling both the d20 and the d6
<+Charm_Jeff> the chart is skewed easy, a roll of a 9 is hard
<+Charm_Jeff> so most rolls are around 6
<+TroyEndGameGaming> And the quick-start gaming scenarios seem to span an array of different genres
<+Lee> Sorry, was the 8 in there a typo? It progresses by threes except for that.
<+Charm_Jeff> you can reroll or add the result of the D6 by spending an Aspect point – at 1st level you get 9 points spread across 3 aspects
<+Charm_Jeff> ohh yeah
<+Charm_Jeff> lol no 8s!
<+Charm_Jeff> TroyEndGameGaming correct
<+Charm_Jeff> I wanted to show the breadth the rule system covers
<~Dan> Hmm… So are the results of the d20 and the d6 added together?
<+Charm_Jeff> so maybe
<+Charm_Jeff> you only get to add the 6 by spending an aspect point
<~Dan> Oh, I see. I misread above.
<~Dan> Is there a limit to the number of aspect points you can spend on one roll?
<+Charm_Jeff> you start with 3 aspect and each one is a term you choose that makes your character unique inside it’s archtype
<+Charm_Jeff> you also choose your chetype
<+Charm_Jeff> the limit is your level
<~Dan> Ah, it’s a level-based system?
<+Charm_Jeff> yes – level 1 to 5
<+Charm_Jeff> at level 6 you start over at level 1, but at the next power level
<~Dan> How does that work?
<+Charm_Jeff> so power levels are used to loosely describe the genre
<+Charm_Jeff> like if we were all playing noir gumshoes – our power level would be mundane, that means that the PC and the NPC are all basic people
<+Charm_Jeff> at enhanced, charactrers start to act superhuman
<+Charm_Jeff> but there’s lots of ways to use powerlevels
<+Charm_Jeff> going to the next class in school from freshmen to sophmores
<+Charm_Jeff> or cadet to soldier to officer
<~Dan> (Howdy, GrimmgardTodd!)
<~Dan> (GrimmgardTodd: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2 )
<+Charm_Jeff> hey, this for context —-> (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1625564009/charm-universal-role-playing-game?ref=ewxny5&token=53ba2ce2
<~Dan> Can you give an example of the impact of power level? I’m still unclear on that.
<+Charm_Jeff> well like Robin vs Batman
<+Charm_Jeff> 2 different powerlevels
<+Charm_Jeff> or a child and a teenager
<~Dan> Right, but I mean in terms of mechanics.
<+Charm_Jeff> there are none
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s based on the concept of how hard a challenge is to complete based on Archtype, Aspects and power levels
<+Charm_Jeff> so 2 characters in the wild west, one is a sharpshooter, and the other is a miner
<+jcfiala> So, if you were playing a Harry Potter game, it would be the difference between year 1 and year 2?
<+Charm_Jeff> the GM declares to shoot the coin at 100′ requires the sharpshooter to roll a 9 and the miner to roll a 15
<+Charm_Jeff> it could be, sure
<+Charm_Jeff> the scenario would specifiy how to apply power levels
<+Charm_Jeff> but it’s agreed upon by the players and the GM
<+Charm_Jeff> before play starts
<~Dan> Hmm… So you adjust the target number rather than the PC’s ability level?
<+GrimmgardTodd> That’s really innovative.
<+Charm_Jeff> like I said, it will do anything any other simulation-based RPG will do
<+Charm_Jeff> you can also use aspect points to enact powers
<+Charm_Jeff> like feats
<+Charm_Jeff> or spells
<+Charm_Jeff> so in fantasy land, a barbarian hits things with axes, and the caster shoot fireballs
<+Charm_Jeff> spending an aspect point allows you to do a special thing
<+Charm_Jeff> so a wized = archtype
<+Charm_Jeff> and aspects = fire, earth, water
<+Charm_Jeff> so spend 1 Fire Aspect point to make a fireball
<+Charm_Jeff> or spend 2 at once to make a disintegration ray
<+GrimmgardTodd> Are these points expended during the course of a game session? Can they be gained back?
<+Charm_Jeff> what’s nice is it plays off things we already know… we dont need a 40 skill list to tell us that the bard is a better negotiator than the barbarian
<+Charm_Jeff> yeah, you spend aspects to do 3 things:
<+Charm_Jeff> 1. reroll
<+Charm_Jeff> 2. add teh charm d6 to the d20
<+Charm_Jeff> 3. make a power
<+Charm_Jeff> 4. go in another character’s turn
<+Charm_Jeff> i forgot the 4th – lol
<+Charm_Jeff> you get them back with rest
<+Charm_Jeff> there are guidlines, but depending ont eh type off dmaage you take, you might gain them back faster or slower
<+Charm_Jeff> like if you are a cyborg and you take electo-shock damage, some of your electrical-based aspets might taker longer to regenerate
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s all story driven or based on fictional positioning
<~Dan> Are the target numbers based on the GM’s judgment calls regarding the PCs’ capabilities?
<+Charm_Jeff> basically like how they are now
<+GrimmgardTodd> Right, so the rules are very adaptable given the story elements.
<+Charm_Jeff> we know in DnD the checks are static and the players get mechanical mods… but the GM can always alter things
<+Charm_Jeff> you just play it and things happen
<+Charm_Jeff> and it’s a simple push pull mechanic – you spend points and gain points, you get more points – spend too much and you risk running out
<~Dan> So tell me if I have this right here…
<+Charm_Jeff> the basic rule set doesn’t use bennies, but the GM can provide points back based on good RP
<~Dan> Let’s say we’re talking about an archer.
<~Dan> The archer is trying to make a trick shot of some sort.
<~Dan> The GM makes a judgment call on the target number, taking into account the fact that the PC is an archer.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Ded1!)
<+Charm_Jeff> yes,and also the aspects
<~Dan> How so, regarding the aspects? I think I missed that part. I know how the aspects are used, but they factor into the TN selection as well?
<+Charm_Jeff> the GM can take thos in consideration as well
<+Charm_Jeff> like a hedge
<+Charm_Jeff> but the archetype is the main factor
<~Dan> Okay. So…
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s to help if 2 players ahve very similar archetypes
<~Dan> …let’s say that the archer is at the lower power level.
<~Dan> Later, he goes up a power level, and he tries the same shot.
<~Dan> The TN goes down because of his power level?
<+Charm_Jeff> it should yes
<~Dan> Okay, I think I follow you… My concern would be trying to stay consistent.
<+Charm_Jeff> so, I think this is an issue with any check-based RPG – which is most of them
<+Charm_Jeff> unless you are following a chart closely that’s been pre-designed – check values are always judgement calls
<+Charm_Jeff> in Charm I tried to ameliorate this issue with the check levels
<+Charm_Jeff> if you are off. it’s not going to be by much
<+Charm_Jeff> trivial = 0, easy = 3, moderate = 6, hard = 9…
<+Charm_Jeff> just pick one
<+Charm_Jeff> at a certain point character stop rolling for the easy stuff
<~Dan> How well does the game handle superheroes?
<+Charm_Jeff> the game starts to not work as well with really asymmetrical play
<+Charm_Jeff> i specially designed my superage game to do just that… do very powerful and very assymmetrical… but it took lots of top down design
<+Lee> Quick question on the KS Beta, please? On page 16, step 6 – Create your Aspects you wrote “Gain 4 Ability points for the first, 3 for the second, and 2 for the last.” Below that on the sample Hero Sheet you have a level one sample character (Vextriss) with Activations: 5, 3, 1. Can the initial 4, 3, 2 be shifted around or is that an error?
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s hard to know the exact point it starts to waiver – but probably around superman level strength, most of the marvel stuff seems very plausable
<+Charm_Jeff> it might be an error
<+Charm_Jeff> the orignal design was 5-3-1, but the testers wanted more out of their last aspect
<+Charm_Jeff> so i changed it to 4-3-2
<+Charm_Jeff> also when you level you gain a new aspect with 1 point in it and all previous aspects also gain +1 point
<+Charm_Jeff> you can use your archetype and nature to pass a failed check at minimum results as well
<~Dan> Would superhuman power levels be based on judgment calls as well? By that, I mean that being a high-level skill-based hero isn’t going to be the same as being a high-level super-strength character.
<+Charm_Jeff> so it’s about pushing your luck and managing resources
<+Charm_Jeff> Dan, yes – it’s all about how easy the task is to perform
<+Charm_Jeff> so a skill based hero has little chance of punching though a concrete wall, but a strength based might have no trouble at all
<+Charm_Jeff> unless the skill based is packing some explosives
* ~Dan nods
<+Charm_Jeff> all your gear is considered intrinsic
<+Charm_Jeff> many RPG have moved away from discrete gear – like 13th age
<+Charm_Jeff> eclipse phase… tyo name a couple
<~Dan> And the differences between heroes of different strength levels would just be agreed upon before play begins, so that you can distinguish between, say, Spider-man and the Hulk?
<+Charm_Jeff> the system breaks down some at hulk level
<~Dan> Because you can only drop the TN so low?
<+Charm_Jeff> because basic world checks phade away and you only worry about fighting stuff
<+Lee> Do the totals for wounds ever increase? I notice both sample characters have the same 12 (split three ways) total.
<+Charm_Jeff> but practically speaking, the Hulk in a human world is a major mismatch – if you had 4 heroes at that level: Brains, Brawn, Charisma, and Speed – you knock out world checks
<+Charm_Jeff> wounds are static
<+Charm_Jeff> you have 10 brawl woulds or 5 critical wounds or some combination, damage is based on your archetype and the type of attack
<+Charm_Jeff> thios is where the game excels at teh super hero stuff
<+Charm_Jeff> because you can mix and match checks and dmaage based on the fictional positioning
<+Charm_Jeff> vulnerabilities and nemesis are easy to manifest
<+Charm_Jeff> like the hulk trying to hit antman… very hard
<+Charm_Jeff> unless he uses an aspect point to make a power – hand slap shock wave (we’ve seen this a few times before)
<~Dan> How many powers can a character have?
<+Charm_Jeff> you make them up, based on your archetype
<+Charm_Jeff> and spend a point or mroe points for bigger effects
<+Charm_Jeff> so you are done when you run out of points
<+Charm_Jeff> powers are based on power level
<~Dan> Sounds like the game requires a lot of trust between the PCs and the GM.
<+Charm_Jeff> I think all simulation based games do
<+Charm_Jeff> fixing that takes hundreds of pages of mechanics
<~Dan> Really? I’m not sure I follow you there.
<+Charm_Jeff> so if you have a really bad player or GM the best way to fix it is to get rid of the player from the group
<~Dan> I mean, in a more conventional game, there would be a specific number of powers a PC could have, for example.
<+Charm_Jeff> the next way to deal with it is write lots of rules, but how many rules?
<+Charm_Jeff> right, and the mroe powers youy add the more mental load the players assume
<+Charm_Jeff> if you could manage 100 powers, it would be really fun
<+Charm_Jeff> but to cover 100 power for 15 archetypes, you have lots of poages of text, and a mental load that most players coulnd’t handle
<+Charm_Jeff> so games are designed around a few powers
<+Charm_Jeff> because fewer is easier to produce and manage
* ~Dan nods
<+Charm_Jeff> my age past game pushes the limit of this actually… but you can choose more or fewer powers, because it’s an open build system
<+Charm_Jeff> so in this case the power cards come really in handy
<~Dan> But I think that gets back to the trust issue. I mean, if you decide to play someone like Dr. Strange, you can justify damn near anything.
<+Charm_Jeff> right, but I think you’re hitting some cgnitive dissodence
<+Charm_Jeff> Dr. Strange would be more or les simpossible to play in any game
<+Charm_Jeff> im fact charm at least lets you have infinite powers
<+Charm_Jeff> so that’s closer to being able to play Dr. Strange over any other game
<+Charm_Jeff> I mean you could write a 400 page book on Dr. Strange and it not be enough
<+Charm_Jeff> in 5E how long would his class description be? top everything he does in the comics?
<~Dan> And I agree with you there. I just mean that you’d need good communication between player and GM to do it properly.
* ~Dan nods
<+Charm_Jeff> but that’s a good use of the downtime between games
<+Charm_Jeff> the game is weak dealing with crappy players or GM
<+Charm_Jeff> it just is
<~Dan> Yeah, I can see that.
<+Charm_Jeff> but the fix is a less dynamic game – with lots of rules, most are uselss expect to deal with poor players
<~Dan> I think what you’ve done here is pretty clever, actually.
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s very elegant
<+Charm_Jeff> we should make some characters
<+Charm_Jeff> lets say we are interstellar aliens
<~Dan> Give me just a moment, though. I need to step away for just a sec.
<+Charm_Jeff> no, bounty hunters – from different planets, and we chase criminals across the void
<+Lee> Just finished reading the Beta – love the settings!
<+Fuzzy> oh what is this
<+Charm_Jeff> let’s say our power level is Enhanced – we can do stuff just beyond the limits of human capability
<+Charm_Jeff> Charm Q/A
<+Charm_Jeff> so choose one of each: Archetype and Nature
<+Charm_Jeff> then choose 3 aspects: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Fuzzy! Howdy, Quindiesel!)
<+Charm_Jeff> I am going to be an Elusian Slothman who is a Helmsman
<~Dan> Which one of those is the archetype? Helmsman?
<+Charm_Jeff> with aspects: Steadfast, Prescience, and thick fur
<+Charm_Jeff> all of it
<+Charm_Jeff> Archetype: Elusian Slothman – Helmsmen
<~Dan> Can I stop you there for just a sec?
<+Charm_Jeff> so in this case, for this scenario – we could add race as an extra slot or just smash it in with the archetype
<+Charm_Jeff> so some scenarios modify standard rules a bit to make them work better
<~Dan> So wouldn’t “thick fur” be a given for a Slothman?
<+Charm_Jeff> sure, or he could have extra thick fur even fro a slothman
<+Charm_Jeff> the sloth ladies love it
<~Dan> Heh. Fro. 🙂
<+Fuzzy> a literal walking afro
<+Charm_Jeff> oohhh yeah… he has his own theme music too
<~Dan> They say my man Sloth is one bad mother-
<+Charm_Jeff> so, I chose thick fur, because I want to use it as armor
<~Dan> I see.
<+Charm_Jeff> and to get sloth ladies
* ~Dan nods sagely
<+Charm_Jeff> so these are things the scenario would point out, or you review with the GM
<~Dan> Now are aspects distinct from powers?
<+Charm_Jeff> powers are generated from the aspects
<+Charm_Jeff> when I spend a point of Thick Fur, I can use it to re-roll, or add the charm dice, or make a power
<~Dan> Okay, so using the Dr. Strange example, “Sorcery” would be an aspect with essentially infinite associated powers?
<+Charm_Jeff> as long as it relates to thick fur
<+Charm_Jeff> so when I say infinite I mean literally, but you could certainlly categorize them through discritization
<+Charm_Jeff> so can thick fur entange someone? maybe, could it stop a laser beam? maybe
<~Dan> Okay, sorry. Please proceed. 🙂
<+Charm_Jeff> so lets say I am level 2 – this means I can spend 2 aspects per action
<+Fuzzy> entangle the ladies 😉
<+Charm_Jeff> if I want
<+Charm_Jeff> My slothman is in some backwater planet’s trading bazaar
<+Charm_Jeff> he wants to buy something but doesn’t have enough $$, so he uses his prescience to look arounsd and find out what seems to be hot ticket items
<+Charm_Jeff> buy low and sell high
<+Charm_Jeff> so the GM sets a check of 9, and he rolls a 5+4 = I use my prescience aspect to add the D6 to teh 20 for a total of 9
<+Charm_Jeff> if i try to do this with thick fur, the GM should not allow it
<+TheChairman> There we go
<+Charm_Jeff> because the fictional positioning doesn’t support it
<~Dan> (wb, TheChairman!)
<+TheChairman> Thank you
<~Dan> How does combat work?
<+Charm_Jeff> but lets say when I go to trade, I want to use my thick fur, as it can be sued to make wigs or rope or whatever, maybe there’s value there
<+Charm_Jeff> same – GM chooses check values for you and the NPC based on fictional positioning and you roll, you get 1 action per turn basically, but can spend aspects to go in other people’s turns
<+Charm_Jeff> so I attack with a big slow weapon, and I am trying to hit a pixie – the GM should set a high check value
<+Charm_Jeff> but if i manage to hit, I’ll do more damage then someone with a rapier, even though its easier for them to hit
<+Charm_Jeff> same for getting hit
<+Charm_Jeff> they GM decides how easy it is to hit you
<+Charm_Jeff> and rolls
<~Dan> How is damage determined?
<+Charm_Jeff> same – based on archetype and the fictional positioning
<+Charm_Jeff> so a big sword does mroe damage then a little sword
<+Charm_Jeff> same with guns
<+Charm_Jeff> oops – there’s actually weapon damage guidelines
<+Charm_Jeff> but you have 5 boxes, each box can take 2 brawl wounds or 1 critical
<+Charm_Jeff> brawl heals quickly, critical doesn’t
<~Dan> And you said that equipment is treated as part of the character?
<+Charm_Jeff> yes, in general
<+Charm_Jeff> anything you list as equipment is basically disposable
<+Charm_Jeff> once again, based on the scenario
<~Dan> How does armor function?
<+Charm_Jeff> if you find a magic sword – then it might be an upgrade forever
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s part of your archetype
<~Dan> So it’s part of the judgment call about how difficult you are to hit?
<+Charm_Jeff> there are no guidelines for armor – the gm will give you less damage or make it harder to hit you
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s all the same procedures
* ~Dan nods
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s not meant to be combat simulator as much as a game about meaningful desicions and roleplaying
<~Dan> In the time remaining, would you like to mention the settings included?
<+Charm_Jeff> there are 7 settings:
<+Charm_Jeff> 1. Deep Sea Salvage Crew: you play as a team collecting salvage from the abyss
<+Charm_Jeff> 2. Asylum Reflections: Mirror people are taking over victorian london by replacing their human counterparts
<+Charm_Jeff> 3. Mystery Solvers INcorporated: Play as a group of kids and maybe their very smart pet to solve mysteries
<~Dan> (Howdy, Woo77!)
<+Charm_Jeff> 4. Dustbound: Play as a godling in a decaying wildwest, filled with demons and vampires
<+Charm_Jeff> 5. Onitech: You must navigate a cyberpunk world ruled by demons in a walled city you cannot escape
<+Charm_Jeff> 6. The Pact of Night: Small town woes meet big monster drama. Play a Vampire or Werewolf as you balance your life with the humans during the day and beasts at night.
<+Charm_Jeff> 7. Action News Team 5: You are the city’s most elite local news team! It isn’t easy staying on top. You’ll need to pull together all your guile and charisma to keep the number 1 spot.
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<+Fuzzy> combine 6 and 7 and you have a good reality tv drama
<+Charm_Jeff> each modifies the basic rule set just a little bit
<~Dan> Fuzzy: Indeed!
<+Charm_Jeff> do it! stretch goal!!
<~Dan> Charm_Jeff: Can you give an example of one of the rule tweaks?
<+Charm_Jeff> so for Pact of the Night
<+Charm_Jeff> you have aspects that are specific – they onyl work at night though
<+Charm_Jeff> so if you choose to take a listed aspect, you get vampire powers that work at night and at a higher power level
<+Charm_Jeff> if you choose anything else, it works all the time, but weaker
<+Charm_Jeff> so this is a design desicion to curate the game space
<+Charm_Jeff> it’s also works the the theme of vampires and werewolves
<+Charm_Jeff> or just a regular person
* ~Dan nods
<+Charm_Jeff> we have some Charm games lined up for the future – like mecha pilots – so you might get 2 characters, once for your mecha and one for the pilot
<+Fuzzy> what about NEETs they only come out at night and are weaker during the day
<~Dan> (Howdy, Akyla!)
<~Dan> Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention, Charm_Jeff?
<+Charm_Jeff> I think it’s been a good discussion – Robotech calls… 😉
<+Charm_Jeff> October 2nd – spread the word
<~Dan> Fair enough. 🙂
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Charm_Jeff!
<+Charm_Jeff> thanks fro having me and we need to schedule that Q/A for Robotech too!
<~Dan> As a reminder, if any of you have enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://ko-fi.com/gmshoe
<~Dan> Anything’s welcome! 🙂
<~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂