<+BedrockBrendan> My name is Brendan Davis, from Bedrock Games. The game is Strange Tales of Songling, an RPG inspired by Chinese accounts of the supernatural
<+BedrockBrendan> Should I end each response with “End” Dan?
<~Dan> With (done0, and only after extended answers. 🙂
<~Dan> (done), even
<~Dan> Ready for questions?
<~Dan> Great! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> First, what is the meaning of the game’s name?
<+BedrockBrendan> Songling refers to Pu Songling, the writer of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. It is a book of anomaly accounts that inspired the game initially
<~Dan> I see… And what is the time period of the setting?
<+BedrockBrendan> It is not set to one time period in particular, it can be in any period that fits the adventures. It can take place in historical China, a dream-like world provided in the book or can be in a world the GM created.
<+Saurbaum> Do you need an appreciation of Chinese culture to get the best from the game?
<+BedrockBrendan> I think like any genre game, it always helps. But it is more inspired by movies and stories than a gritty adherence to history so there is wiggle room. I personally don’t think it is a requirement. These things can be enjoyed on a number of different levels.
<+BedrockBrendan> But I also would say much will depend on your players and their expectations.
<~Dan> Can you say some more about the dream-like world you mentioned? What are the dream-like aspects?
<+BedrockBrendan> The book actually offers a number of setting suggestions. But it is written with brevity as the aim, so unlike my previous game, Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, it doesn’t go into deep detail on the setting itself. It leaves it more for the GM to create (with a series of four adventures to illustrate what it is meant to feel like). Among the
<+BedrockBrendan> approaches we include are concepts of a world that is more focused on individual monster-of-the week adventures.
<+BedrockBrendan> It can literally be a dream world, with characters from your regular campaign adventuring their in their sleep. It can also be an afterlife (my personal favorite).
<+BedrockBrendan> It is a bit hard to describe without seeing the adventures and the GM advice section
* ~Dan nods
<+BedrockBrendan> But it is meant to be somewhat amorphous, and surreal
<~Dan> What sorts of supernatural antagonists do you feature?
<+BedrockBrendan> Most of the monsters were inspired by creatures that appear in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio and from movies inspired by it
<+BedrockBrendan> So it includes Fox Spirits, Ghosts, Hopping Vampires, various other Spirited Beasts, etc
<+BedrockBrendan> It also includes some monsters unique to the setting
<+BedrockBrendan> The monster section is pretty extensive
<~Dan> Great! As I’m sure danhunsaker can tell you, I love a good bestiary. 🙂
<~Dan> About how many entries are we talking?
<+danhunsaker> I do like telling folks about your love of bestiaries. 🙂
<+BedrockBrendan> I would have to count again. The monster Chapter is about forty pages I believe
* ~Dan chuckles
<~Dan> What sorts of people are the PCs?
<+BedrockBrendan> And there are multiple monsters on each page (Done)
<+Saurbaum> What’s the base mechanic for the system?
<+BedrockBrendan> It uses the same basic system that all our games use: The Network system. And is most closely related to our Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate System. But it is very stripped down to the basics to give it a light feel. The core mechanic is you roll a number of d10 equal to your skill and take the single highest result, then compare that to the Target
<+BedrockBrendan> Number (if you meet or exceed the TN, you succeed)
<~Dan> (Did you see my question, BedrockBrendan?)
<+BedrockBrendan> I did not Dan
<+BedrockBrendan> Now I see it
<+BedrockBrendan> The players can select from four paths: Demon Hunter, Scholar, Wandering Sword and Ritual Master. They are meant to be adventurers and the paths are intended to reflect the kinds of characters you would see in movies based on the stories (A Chinese Ghost story being an excellent example)
<~Dan> I assume the Ritual Master is the wizard type?
<+BedrockBrendan> In way. They are not very much like D&D wizards (just in case anyone has that expectation). They are more like practitioners of black magic that you see in the movies
<+BedrockBrendan> But Demon Hunters also can draw on magic too
<~Dan> Can you describe magic in the game?
<+BedrockBrendan> There are two types. There are magical abilities related to the Demon Hunters. In the book these are called magic techniques and include things like using bells to control hopping vampires or using paper talismans as wards. The Ritual Masters have Rituals and these allow for a wide range of magic (love magic, magic to cause crippling illness, magic
<+BedrockBrendan> to defend against spiritual attacks, etc)
<~Dan> How would you say the game differs from Ogre Gate?
<+BedrockBrendan> It is similar in that the basic mechanics are the same, and some of the setting details are similar. But the game is more about the horror and supernatural than wuxia (though it has some martial arts like you see in movies such as Chinese Ghost Story or Encounters of a Spooky Kind). And the system is way, way simpler. This is like the BX version of
<+BedrockBrendan> the game
<~Dan> How do you maintain the horror aspect?
<+BedrockBrendan> I think a lot of that comes down to understanding Horror as a GM and good GMing. But in terms of mechanics, the approach I took was to make characters vulnerable and make monsters lethal. Also the flavor and mechanics of the monsters of course. Horror is a pretty subjective thing, and people have a lot of different opinions about it in the hobby.
<+BedrockBrendan> The adventures in the book are intended to illustrate how I approach horror and the GM advice in it is also meant to explain how I approach it. Horror is hard to force, so I think a lot of it is allowing other tones to emerge, and then looking for opportunities to push the horror
<~Dan> How competent are the PCs as compared to PCs in other well-known horror games?
<+BedrockBrendan> I would say they are competent but squishy. They all have pretty cool abilities but all can be killed in a single hit
<~Dan> Do you plan on making this the start of a game line?
<+BedrockBrendan> No. I may put out an adventure here or there if it strikes me. But I am trying to avoid making books for the sake of making books. I wrote an adventure, and I may put it out as a module. But still not sure. Mainly I am planning on putting up adventure content on the Bedrock Blog (as part of my own campaign). So people can get ideas for stuff there.
<~Dan> Do you put out adventure content for all of your games?
<+BedrockBrendan> Sometimes. Ogre Gate has several adventures (Ogre Gate Inn, House of Paper Shadows and Tournament of Daolu). I also put up a lot of adventure material for it on the blog. Crime Network has a module (and Terror Network has a handful of them as well). But my approach is to write things that I am interested in and try to stick to a schedule of 1 book
<+BedrockBrendan> every one to two years.
<~Dan> Do you plan on sticking with your Network system going forward?
<+BedrockBrendan> Yes, but we’ve done other systems and I intend to continue doing other systems from time to time. Right now I am working with Joel Clark on a game called Schlock, one-shots with one page rules.
<+BedrockBrendan> But I like the Network System and plan to keep writing for it (though I haven’t decided if I will put out new Network systems or just support existing ones)
* ~Dan nods
<+BedrockBrendan> I still would like to do a science fiction Network game at some point
<~Dan> danhunsaker, want to ask your favorite question? (BedrockBrendan has to head out at the bottom of the hour.)
<~Dan> (Howdy, JamesGillen!)
<+JamesGillen> how DEE
<+BedrockBrendan> Hello James
<+danhunsaker> Sure! My favorite question is:
<+danhunsaker> What’s your LEAST favorite thing about Strange Tales of Pu Songling?
<+BedrockBrendan> That I couldn’t do the book in full color. Jackie and Francesca are amazing artists and I would have loved to do the whole book in color from start to finish. But that is difficult to do for a company like mine, so I keep to black and white interiors
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+BedrockBrendan> I suppose I would just add that the PDF is out now, and the print is going to be out very soon (just waiting on the proof and once I okay that, it will be sent out)
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, BedrockBrendan!
<+BedrockBrendan> Thank you for having me
<~Dan> Quick 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://ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://ko-fi.com/gmshoe . Anything’s appreciated!
<~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!