<+PaleoGaming> Hey everyone, my name is Dan Prisco-Buxbaum, and I am the owner of Paleo Gaming. We started out as a small esports company, but have recently branched out into ttrpg publishing.
<+PaleoGaming> We are currently working on our first ttrpg, a sci-fi game called Omega Horizon, which is currently live on Kickstarter (56% funded, with 4 days remaining in the campaign). That can be found here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paleogaming/omega-horizon)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paleogaming/omega-horizon
<+PaleoGaming> You can also find out more about us at (Link: http://www.paleogaming.com)www.paleogaming.com or for specifics about Omega Horizon you can visit (Link: http://www.omega-horizon.com)www.omega-horizon.com
<~Dan> Thanks, PaleoGaming! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> What can you tell us about the setting of Omega Horizon? What makes it stand out from other sci-fi RPGs?
<+PaleoGaming> Omega Horizon is interesting in that it is sort of 3 unique settings rolled into one, with each setting aligned to one of the three major factions.
<+PaleoGaming> The Sentenium Empire is a theocratic military state, with a space marines feel to it.
<+PaleoGaming> The Yamato Empire is a conglomerate of mega corporations with a cyberpunk feel.
<+PaleoGaming> The Free Colonies are former colonies of the two major empires who have rebelled, and now fend for themselves on the frontiers of space, with a space western feel (similar to Firefly).
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Harlan_King!)
<+PaleoGaming> Having three very distinct “flavors” within the game, makes for a lot of unique gameplay. Additionally, we have a unique set of rules for the game which we built from the ground up.
<~Dan> Are there aliens in this setting?
<+PaleoGaming> Yes, there are, but humans are the primary species in the three major factions.
<+PaleoGaming> As of right now, there are 5 playable species presented in the core rulebook, with more species planned.
<~Dan> Can you give us an overview of these 5 species?
<+PaleoGaming> The five playable species currently in the core rulebook are Humans, Androids, Rigellians, Yuanji, and Zonoans.
<~Dan> (Howdy, DLB_Chuck!)
<+PaleoGaming> Humans and androids are pretty straight forward, so we’ll gloss over those unless people have specific questions
* ~Dan nods
<+PaleoGaming> Rigellians are a race of large reptilians from a planet that is exposed to high temperatures and high levels of radiation. Rigellians are therefore resistant to fire and radiation, but are ectothermic, and therefore susceptible to cold. Rigellians also have thick scales which provide a level of protection from physical attacks.
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, kiwi_58!)
<~Dan> (kiwi_58: You can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
<+PaleoGaming> Yuanji are a species that were designed for war by a highly advances species. They have four arms, thick hide, and heightened agility, strength, and healing (including the ability to regenerate lost limbs).
<+PaleoGaming> Hi there Kiwi
<+PaleoGaming> Yuanji, however, have limited intelligence, because they were designed to be easy to control by their masters, who are now long dead.
<+kiwi_58> Not used to new format Dan. This is Mickey over at The Polyhedral Knights. So I got the nick name Kiwi. lol
<~Dan> Mickey: Just type /nick Mickey (or whatever you prefer) 🙂
<+PaleoGaming> Finally, Zonoans are a fully aquatic species which possess superior intellect, and advanced psionic abilities. They communicate exclusively telepathically, and when on land must utilize suits that have self-contained aquatic environments.
<+PaleoGaming> Pleasure to meet you, Mickey
<~Dan> Mickey is one of your fellow game authors, as is DLB_Chuck. 🙂
<+PaleoGaming> For those who are interested, we did post an update to the Kickstarter that has art for the Yuanji and Zonoans
<+PaleoGaming> Always a pleasure to meet other authors/publishers!
<~Dan> There you go, Mickey. 🙂
<+Mickey> Thanks, nice to meet you also
<~Dan> What is the status of the nonhuman species in this setting? Do they have their own planets/empires, or are they citizens of the human empires?
<+PaleoGaming> The Zonoans are primarily found in the Sentenium Empire, who were the first Interstellar civilization to contact them. The Rigellians had their own empire, but after a brief and bloody war with the Sentenium Empire their society was broken, and most of the survivors joined the Yamato Empire or Free Colonies, swearing vengeance against the Sentenites.
<~Dan> (DLB_Chuck is the author of Don’t Look Back, a conspiracy/horror game. Mickey is the author of Dark Times, a cyberpunk/superhero game, among others.)
<+PaleoGaming> The Yuanji do not have a united empire, but are comprised of clans which maintain their own sovereignty. However, Yuanji are commonly found among the great human empires, selling their services as mercenaries, etc.
* ~Dan nods
<+PaleoGaming> The only alien species currently in the game that can rival the size and power of the main human empires is a species known as the Rugosians; insect-like aliens with a hive mind, who are not currently playable, but serve as a foil to the great human empires.
<~Dan> Can you give us an overview of the setting’s tech level? Is there FTL travel, for example?
<+Mickey> just watched the video. Nice production.
<+PaleoGaming> Thanks, Mickey!
<+PaleoGaming> Yes, the game is a high sci-fi setting with FTL travel. In fact, that’s the primary reason why humans are the predominate species in the galaxy; we are one of the few who developed FTL travel (for various reasons).
<+darancha> FTL travel, cybernetic enhancements, robotic power suits. All that good stuff
<~Dan> That’s an interesting twist. Do the Rugosians have FTL as well?
<+PaleoGaming> Yes, and the major factions achieve FTL travel in different ways
<+PaleoGaming> The Sentenium Empire uses an element called gravitonium, which they use to create micro-singularities to bend space-time around their ships.
<+PaleoGaming> The Yamato use an element called Aurelium which breaks the first law of thermodynamics and produces more energy that is put into it, allowing infinite acceleration for FTL travel
<+PaleoGaming> The Rugosians, however, tear literal holes in space time, allowing instant movement between great distances by making them momentarily coexistent.
<+PaleoGaming> However, this mode of travel has rippling and damaging effects on the star systems they travel to.
<+Mickey> What was your inspiration/ influence ?
<+PaleoGaming> Honestly, there are SO many. I have been a sci-fi fan since I was a child. However, to pick a few which left a lasting mark on the major factions: Starship Troopers was a big inspiration for the Sentenium Empire (propaganda, space marines, etc.)
<~Dan> (Howdy, Akyla!)
<+PaleoGaming> The Yamato Empire was inspired by Bladerunner and other cyberpunk titles
<+PaleoGaming> The Free Colonies were largely inspired by Firefly, and similar “space frontier” titles full of scavengers, smugglers, and survivors.
<~Dan> What is personal weaponry like? Do folks primarily use energy weapons or slugthrowers, for example, and are there powered melee weapons?
<+PaleoGaming> There are both energy weapons, and slugthrowers, and there are also powered melee weapons! In some instances, weapons can actually have more than one “mode”.or instance, the Sentenium Empire has a class of soldier called “Clerics”
<+PaleoGaming> Clerics use “Plasma Lances” which are massive sledgehammers that can swap to handheld cannons that fire energy beams that damage all enemies in a line before them.
<+darancha> Note: This is in a Golem. A robotic power suit that a human or other species drive
<+PaleoGaming> That should be “For instance” not “or instance”
<~Dan> Is a Golem more like power armor or a mecha?
<+PaleoGaming> Thanks for clarifying darancha, yes, the plasma lance is a large weapon, meant to be utilized by a golem, which is what most people would call a “mech”
<+Mickey> are you the primary writer on this or do you have other writers?
<+PaleoGaming> Its a mecha. Humans sit in the chest cavity and pilot it (something more in line with the suits from Matrix Revolutions than a Gundam, for instance; but larger than a power armor suit such as the suits featured in Warhammer)
<+PaleoGaming> I am the primary writer, but I have also hired Chris Allen who has done a large amount of work for Onyx Path Publishing on their Chronicles of Darkness game lines, and who is also one of the primary writers for Aeon Trinity.
<+PaleoGaming> I am considering bringing on additional authors as well, but for now its is just Chris and I.
<~Dan> (brb – phone)
<+Mickey> nice. For me it is primarily me and my editor Richard
<+Mickey> Lot of work. lol
<+Mickey> We are on our 5th game right now.
<+PaleoGaming> Yes, haha. It is a lot of work. Congrats!
<+PaleoGaming> We currently have approximately 170k words written for the Core Rulebook currently. I have a rough outline for Expanded Horizons also, but have not done much actual writing for that yet.
<+Mickey> I was doing revisions on our latest supplement when Dan invited me.
<~Dan> (back, sorry!)
<+PaleoGaming> Welcome back!
<+Mickey> welcome back
<~Dan> The boss was just letting me know that she’s treating me and the wife to dinner tomorrow evening. 🙂
<+PaleoGaming> Do you guys have any questions for the playtesters? They’ve been playtesting the game for the past two years.
<~Dan> (wb, Jdorffer!)
<~Dan> Sure. How cinematic is the game play?
<~Dan> Like, on a a scale of 1-10, 1 being totally gritty, 10 being over-the-top gonzo action.
<+Mickey> have you tested it with people beyond your test group? I always found take it to a convention and get total strangers to test the engine and see how it works.
<+Jdorffer> It’s as cinematic as you make it, could have lots of cutscenes or lots of fighting and action
<+PaleoGaming> We haven’t playtested at conventions just yet, but our group of playtesters is comprised of 10 players who we have previously split into smaller groups to playtest various rules.
<+darancha> The system is built in a way that allows both. I’ve run a campaign using the more gritty rules. I’ve played in a campaign that was more cinematic
<+PaleoGaming> The base rules of the game are honestly very crunchy, but one of the hallmarks of the game is our “variable complexity rules” which can slide between slower, more tactical play, and more narrative faster-paced action.
<+PaleoGaming> If you play exclusively with our “Cinematic” narrative rules, you can expect over-the-top action
<+PaleoGaming> Playing with the standard rules, the game can be grittier, and more exacting.
<+Mickey> having a mix of crunchy and narrative is good. We aimed at our games being that way.
<~Dan> If you had to compare your systems to other games in terms of complexity, what would they be?
<+PaleoGaming> We find it works well, and being able to slide the scale back and forth really helps appeal to a large number of players because some people really like crunchy rules, while others prefer more narrative play.
<+PaleoGaming> The standard rules are more crunchy than DnD 5e, but less crunchy than Warhammer 40k. While the game system is nothing like DnD; simply in terms of complexity I would rate it somewhere around DnD 3.5
<+PaleoGaming> The Cinematic rules variant we include in the core rulebook is similar to Star Trek Adventures in terms of complexity.
<~Dan> How are the Free Colonies able to maintain their independence? Are they powerful enough to resist the two empires, or are they just not worth the trouble to conquer?
<+Mickey> I gotta boggie guys. I need to take care of my little one and promised myself I’d get my revision writing at least to the half way point. Nice to meet you and good luck. If you need to pick my brain anytime and need advice I’d be happy to help. I’m on Facebook Mickey Barfield. Also check us out at (Link: http://www.thepolyhedralknights.com)www.thepolyhedralknights.com
<~Dan> Take care, Mickey!
<+PaleoGaming> That is a very good and nuanced question. The Free Colonies are not actually united; they are a scattered coalition of self-governed worlds. Some have teeth, so to speak, and some aren’t worth the trouble, and some have learned to play the major empires against one another to have a modicum of protection.
<+PaleoGaming> Thanks for stopping by, Mickey!
<+darancha> Think of Star Wars. The Empire was the dominating force in the galaxy, but there were still worlds like Tatooine that was controlled by gangsters like the Hutts
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Do you have a character sheet posted that we can see?
<+PaleoGaming> I actually have not publicly posted it yet, but I will do that now actually. Our character sheet was designed by Chris Leland (a.k.a. “Mr Gone”) and will be a form-fill PDF for those who prefer to use digital character sheets.
<~Dan> Are you going to do that while we wait?
<+PaleoGaming> I’ll link it in a moment 🙂 feel free to keep asking questions!
<~Dan> Ah, no problem! Just making sure. 🙂
<~Dan> Are the PCs aligned with any group by default, or is it anything goes?
<+PaleoGaming> That’s really up to the PCs. They can align themselves to a faction, or operate independently.
<+darancha> The first page of the character sheet has been posted to the kickstarter
<+PaleoGaming> (Link: https://twitter.com/Paleo_Gaming/status/1233592508799578112)https://twitter.com/Paleo_Gaming/status/1233592508799578112
<+PaleoGaming> I posted the first page of the character sheet to twitter for now. I’ll be putting together an update for the Kickstarter this weekend
<+darancha> Well up to PCs/GM. For example I ran a Sentenium campaign
<+darancha> In theory there COULD have been Yamato/Free Colony PCs in the campaign, just would have required some creativity to justify why a PC from either of those factions would be allowed to function with Sentenium forces
* ~Dan nods
<+PaleoGaming> I’ve always believed in flexibility. Ultimately, ttrpgs are about collaborative storytelling. If it makes for a good story, I believe in “finding the yes”.
<~Dan> Can you describe the game’s task resolution system?
<+PaleoGaming> So, first, the GM sets a Target Number (TN) for the task in question, based upon a general idea of the complexity of the task, modified by any environmental factors or conditions.
<+PaleoGaming> Then, players make an appropriate roll using an applicable skill group (such as Athletics) which determines how many dice they roll, with modifiers provided by a corresponding skill specialty (lets say, Climb), keeping a number of dice equal to the ranks in an associated trait (Strength in this example). of dice
<+darancha> It is a d6 roll and keep system
<+PaleoGaming> So if a character has 6 in Athletics, and 4 Strength, they would roll 6 dice and keep 4, adding their specialty ranks in Climb (let’s say 3) which would look like this: 6k4+3
<+PaleoGaming> They would compare their result to the TN, and if they reach or exceed the TN, they succeed!
<~Dan> I see that psionics are their own skill group. Is there any additional factor to using psionics?
<+PaleoGaming> If you mean do you need to take a specific advantage or need to belong to a specific species, no. If you invest in the Psionics trait and Psionics skill group, then your character has psionic powers.
<+PaleoGaming> Some species are naturally psionic, though, such as the Zonoans.
<~Dan> Actually, I was thinking more in terms of whether there is any limit to psionic use, like “magic points” or the like.
<~Dan> (wb, TheBulkster!)
<~Dan> Or fatigue, or what have you.
<+PaleoGaming> Ah, good question. The answer is NO! There is no energy limiting the use of psionic powers. However, psionics do have inherent limitations (such as being completely ineffective against androids or other non-biologicals) and have what I would consider an “up front” limitation, in that it is an expensive trait/skill group to invest in,
<+PaleoGaming> Psionic powers also have a fairly limited range, meaning you need to get pretty close to targets to use the powers, which poses an inherent risk to your character, who likely isn’t the most combat ready given the aforementioned cost of investing in psionics.
<~Dan> What is the Psionic blank in the Mind section for?
<+PaleoGaming> Psionics have both an associated trait and skill group. The Psionic skill group determines the number of dice rolled, while the Psionic trait determines the number of dice kept.
<~Dan> I see… And the Cybernetics blank?
<+darancha> So for example if I wanted to try and detect sentience, I would make a roll of Psionics (skill group) keep Psionics (trait) + Detect Sentience Rank
<+PaleoGaming> Cybernetics is another trait. Both the Body and Mind hubs have 5 associated traits
<+PaleoGaming> Each of these hubs has 3 “basic” traits and 2 “advanced traits”
<+PaleoGaming> The Body hub’s basic traits are Strength, Agility, and Constitution, and the Mind hub’s basic traits are Intellect, Wits, and Charisma. These traits can be increased directly through the expediture of character points (CP)
<+PaleoGaming> The advanced traits work a bit differently, with the exception of Psionics, which can be increased directly (albeit at a higher cost to advance)
<+PaleoGaming> Cybernetics, Augment, and Genetics are not advanced directly through CP, but rather, are advanced by purchasing enhancements for your character (using CP) that provide abilities in addition to trait ranks
<+PaleoGaming> For instance, a character can have “Ocular Implants” which allow them to see in multiple wavelengths, allow them to zoom in across distances, etc. and these implants also add to a character’s “Augment” trait.
<~Dan> That’s not cybernetics?
<+PaleoGaming> The sum of the 5 traits determine a total for the associated hub, which also determines the character’s associated health pool
<+PaleoGaming> Cybernetics are strictly based around the mind in Omega Horizon- data jacks, cerebral stim implants, and other tech related to interacting with cyberspace.
<+PaleoGaming> Cyberspace is a fully interactive digital reality, similar to the Matrix in Shadowrun
<~Dan> Ah, I see.
<~Dan> So do Genetics cover genetic enhancements, rather than mechanical?
<+darancha> I’m actually playing a character that has genetic enhancements. A human that has been spliced with Eagle, Spider, and Frog DNA
<+darancha> Gives him enhanced vision, climbing and swimming capabilities
<~Dan> That’s cool.
<~Dan> How large are the lists of augmentations, genetics, and cybernetics?
<+PaleoGaming> We are shooting for about 10-12 options for each for the core rulebook, with plans to add additional options in the supplement books to follow.
<~Dan> How does combat work in this game?
<+PaleoGaming> That depends a LOT on whether you are playing with standard vs. cinematic rules.
<+PaleoGaming> Standard rules use is an initiative driven turn-based system, where players receive action points that can be used to attack, move, use skills, etc. When attacking, players make a skill roll (based on what type of weapon they are using) against an enemy’s Defense TN. If their attack is successful, the player rolls and keeps a number of dice determined by
<+PaleoGaming> the weapon they are wielding.
<+PaleoGaming> For cinematic play, a single dice roll is made at the start of the encounter to determine which “side” will win. Once that is determined, the GM and players will describe in detail *how* the players win or lose the battle.
<+PaleoGaming> We have time for one more question, before we resume playtesting for the night!
<+danhunsaker> Well, then.
<+danhunsaker> What is your LEAST favorite part of Omega Horizon?
<+PaleoGaming> Is that question for me, or for the playtesters, or both?
<+PaleoGaming> I love that question, it is challenging and thought provoking. Thanks for asking it 🙂
<~Dan> It’s his trademark question. 🙂
<+PaleoGaming> I’m going to think about that one for a moment
<+danhunsaker> It’s meant to be a challenging question, yeah.
<~Dan> While you’re thinking, 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 . Anything’s appreciated! 🙂
<+darancha> Hmm. I think my least favorite part of it would probably be the Wounds system
<+darancha> The BP ranges and MP ranges are based on your Body and Mind values and divided into the 4 ranges
<+darancha> To me it is a bit clunky, but I’ve seen it in other systems before
<+PaleoGaming> That’s a fair assessment!
<+Jdorffer> Least favorite part for me is no healing items,
<+PaleoGaming> For me, my least favorite part of the game is our current starship combat system. That is sort of a cop-out answer, because we are in the process of thoroughly revising that system to balance it based on changes we made post-playtesting, so I anticipate I will enjoy the system much more once it is overhauled.
<+PaleoGaming> However, as it stands now, I feel that is the weakest part of our system.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Oh, do you have time for one more quick question?
<~Dan> Does the game have a bestiary, and if so, how extensive?
<+PaleoGaming> Yes, the game does have a bestiary. We are still filling it out at the moment, but I feel it offers a decent number of options for potential antagonists. Specifically, the previously mentioned Rugosians come in a number of varieties, which are described in detail in the core rulebook. As with the cybernetic enhancements, etc. we plan to add more to the
<+PaleoGaming> bestiary with supplement books after the release of the core game as well
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, PaleoGaming! And to your playtesters as well!
<+PaleoGaming> Thanks for having us! It was a pleasure, and we would love to stop by again some time 🙂
<~Dan> Please do. You are all always welcome here. 🙂
<+darancha> Glad to participate:)
<~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!