<+Ed_Jowett> Hi everyone! Ed here from Shades of Vengeance, and I’m back once again. It’s actually been 5 months since I was in your wonderful presence and this time, I’m back with a really exciting project.
<+Ed_Jowett> Era: Survival was released 4 years ago, and I’m relatively certain that I was here then, talking about the world of Gaia, with its Infected Shamblers and Mutants, its huge number of factions which have different ideas on how to survive the Post-Apocalypse and its very distopian future.
<+Ed_Jowett> I believe I was also here a year later, when I ran an expansions Kickstarter for it and we funded 3 amazing expansions: The Swarm, the Infected Manual and Tales of the Outlands.
<+Ed_Jowett> Production of books on this game has been quiet since then, but we’re back with a bang, offering multiple expansions once again, and hoping to fund even more books than last time with our latest Kickstarter! (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn
<+Ed_Jowett> We’re looking to bring this survival horror world to life in even more vivid detail, showing you what you can play, giving new options to players and focusing on GM tools to help the game run as easily as possible.
<+Ed_Jowett> I think there’s a message Era: Survival can give in this trying time – all of these factions have realised that they have to work together with like-minded people to survive, and they have come together in their society. I hope that it helps people see that unity in adversity is something that’s totally possible!
<+Ed_Jowett> So, if you want to enter a world of Infected Shamblers who roam the countryside, of Mutants with powers as extreme as their insanity, of good deeds and bad when no-one else is there to see them, and a world with more dangers than you can count, Era: Survival is the game for you!
<~Dan> Thanks, Ed_Jowett! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> And thanks to all of you who joined during the introduction! If you’re here for the Q&A, fire away with questions!
<~Dan> If not, #randomworlds2 is open for general chat!
<+Ed_Jowett> That’s not an encouraging start 😉
<~Dan> Ed_Jowett: Can you give us a quick recap of what Era: Survival is about?
<+Ed_Jowett> Of course.
<+Ed_Jowett> 100 years ago, there was a cataclysm. Maybe a parasite evolved… maybe a biological weapon was set off. No-one really knows any more, Honestly, no-one cares either.
<+Ed_Jowett> What matters is that this organism covered the planet quickly – it was airborne, infectious to any warm-blooded creature, and Humanity had no means of stopping it. Even their greatest weapons failed.
<+Ed_Jowett> This “Infection” turned people into Mutants, causing them to sprout bones from their skin and their muscles to strengthen, and reanimated the dead into zombie-like Shamblers.
<+Ed_Jowett> Humanity is doomed. In another 100 years, there will be nothing left. There’s no hope to save our civilisation – that’s long-gone. Everything is looted beyond recognition.
<+Ed_Jowett> All that’s left is to try to survive as best you can in this world. Small communities might try to build farming villages, but they have to worry about attacks from Infected or Raiders.
<+Ed_Jowett> Larger factions have formed, such as the Swarm, who burn everything in their path – to cleanse it – and the Cult of Progression, who believe that becoming an Infected is the true destiny of Humanity.
<+Ed_Jowett> Others try to heal people – the White Cross creates Injection, a drug which protects against all of this, and gives it to everyone they can for free. When taken daily, this stops normal people turning in their daily lives… and an overdose can even heal the Infection from a bite!
<+Ed_Jowett> This is a complicated world, and no matter which faction you have allegiance to, you can guarantee that it won’t be as simple as living a quiet life…
<~Dan> Also on the recap front, can you give a high-level description of the system?
<+Ed_Jowett> Of course. I mean, for those of you who don’t mind videos, the best thing is this: (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znxPiiecu_s&list=PL-Nz7KV-pFJJQ0a6J3GeV4_ZhvGD2NwrY&index=3)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znxPiiecu_s&list=PL-Nz7KV-pFJJQ0a6J3GeV4_ZhvGD2NwrY&index=3
<+Ed_Jowett> You can also get the free Era d10 Fundamentals from here: (Link: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/era-d10-fundamentals-print-ready-version/)https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/era-d10-fundamentals-print-ready-version/
<+Ed_Jowett> Era d10 is a multiple d10 dice pool system with a variable Threshold.
<+Ed_Jowett> The idea is that you roll a number of dice that is decided by the relevant Attribute and Skill (GM-Defined) and try to get as many dice as possible over the Threshold.
<+Ed_Jowett> What makes it remarkable is the way in which it handles Combat – something very appropriate for Survival Horror, because it offers Instant Kill Thresholds on damage.
<+Ed_Jowett> This means that any weapon can be lethal and, while armour can protect you, you’re taking a risk every time you stick your head out.
<+Ed_Jowett> Another thing unique to this game’s mechanics is the Karma system. Karma is not alignment, it’s the results of your actions, rather than what you intended going in.
<+Ed_Jowett> In this game, you get cards for Good or Evil Karma, which you can play any time, and temporary Skill Points for Neutral Karma.
<+Ed_Jowett> all together, this makes an easy-to-understand system with fast-flowing story and combat, plus the extra effect of Good, Evil or Neutral Karma.
<+Leo> kicking off the questions – what’s your preferred way to create mutants? Can the infection take on elemental/enviromental tweaks in the setting?
<+Ed_Jowett> (if you want to know more about Karma, you can ask a question, but I also made a video! (Link: https://youtu.be/iLN2crtgfPU)https://youtu.be/iLN2crtgfPU)
<+Ed_Jowett> Leo – I’m sorry, I’m not sure I totally understand “what’s your preferred way to create mutants?” – can you explain what you mean?
<+Leo> So the infection mutates as well as reanimates people – do you have a preferred ‘enemy type’ that you’ve created/like to use
<+Ed_Jowett> Oh, I see.
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s actually a lot of different options in the Infected Manual – 100 to be exact.
<+Ed_Jowett> So there are a lot of different types that you can go for!
<+Ed_Jowett> From aquatic ones if you happen to be in a river or the sea to ones which can pretend to be rocks on the side of the road, or Leapers which can jump into and then down from the trees, there are loads of choices.
<+Ed_Jowett> You also have a lot of options because any mammal or bird can be Infected – we even had a Drop Bear attack the party once, because we gave a Bear the Leaper ability with an Evil Karma card!
<+Leo> camoflage mutants sound pretty deadly D=
<+Ed_Jowett> So I think you have pretty much anything you can imagine in terms of creatures. I often use Humans, Deer, Bears, Wolves and Humming birds!
<+Ed_Jowett> (I think I’m done, if Leo feels I have answered the question!)
<+Leo> yes! thank you =D
<~Dan> Can you give us an overview of what’s in this new supplement?
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan no problem! There are three of them with the Funded goal, and one extra for every Stretch Goal!
<+Ed_Jowett> The first three are Aqua, Encounters En Route and Diaries of a Madman – A Guide to Fallout.
<+Ed_Jowett> (I should say, if anyone would like to jump ahead, you can find videos on all of these on the Kickstarter!)
<+Ed_Jowett> Aqua offers details on this mysterious faction, who live out on the ocean. There are fewer Infected out there, meaning it’s safer in some ways. If you wanted to, you could absolutely do a Waterworld session!
<+Ed_Jowett> It gives you the chance to interact with or be a character from that faction, and to build a new kind of character with unique options!
<+Ed_Jowett> Encounters En Route offers 100 options for things that could happen to the party when travelling between towns. It’s pretty much the ultimate GM guide to a survival horror setting and would, in theory, apply to pretty much any setting!
<+Ed_Jowett> From severe weather or raider attacks to Infected encounters (though not necessarily attacks!), we’ve got you covered!
<+Ed_Jowett> Diairies of a Madman is a guide to Fallout, which is one of the most dangerous and deadly areas of Gaia. Not only is the Infection rampant there, but it’s radioactive and dangerous.
<+Ed_Jowett> Even so, many people are drawn to it, as are many Infected. The secrets of Gaia and the truth of the Infection lie inside this mysterious place… it might just make it worth going inside the place where no-one comes back from, right?
<~Dan> What is the source of the radioactivity? Or is that a mystery?
<+Ed_Jowett> No-one really knows.
<+Ed_Jowett> I should say, while I said (done), there are 6 expansions announced and 20 planned, so I could go on for ever, I just thought I’d give people a chance to ask questions!
<~Dan> (wb, PuppycatProductions!)
<+PuppycatProductions> Just watched Jumanji: Next Level
<+PuppycatProductions> Anyone else see that?
<~Dan> Regarding the Aqua, are the Infected less common there because there are fewer mammals and birds?
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan Exactly so! While that’s true, bear in mind that most of the mammals out in the sea are on the large or fast side.
<+Ed_Jowett> Imagine a water-based floating city being attacked by a crazed whale…
<~Dan> (wb, Beelzedude, and welcome to #randomworlds, teuthordae!)
<+Leo> If It’s not too selfish I’d love to ask another question about factions – do source books like Aqua give potential players a look into possible (uneasy) alliances between them?
<+Leo> (them being the various gaia factions)
<+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of information about how they interact with others in these source books. When we do a book about people like Potestates or the White Cross, there will be a fair amount of space devoted to that.
<+Ed_Jowett> As it happens, the Swarm and the Citizens of Aqua are fairly isolationist, so there’s a lot less of that, but I think that no-one reading the Swarm Source Book is left in any doubt as to how they interact with other factions!
<+Ed_Jowett> (mostly, they burn everything in sight!)
<~Dan> I assume that Mutants can’t be PCs, correct?
<+Ed_Jowett> I have built the game intending that you do not play as a Mutant. You have everything you need, but I would recommend against it – I think there’s little to do when you are a mutant except running around killing things.
<+Ed_Jowett> It becomes a kill-fest – like a mad supervillain with the ability to kill everyone. It’s not a route I would choose to make good stories.
* ~Dan nods
<+Ben> So you did speak about the factions a little bit – but how do they interact with each other? Is it always hostile or do alliances (due to necessity) form to hold a front against the infected?
<+PuppycatProductions> I’ve played that game.
<~Dan> Are the reanimated dead also mutated, or are they “normal” zombies?
<+Ed_Jowett> Ben Actually, there are quite a few factions who have alliances.
<+Ed_Jowett> Pretty much everyone who works with the White Cross, for example does so completely voluntarily.
<+Ed_Jowett> They give medicine and Injection to everyone – it’s their mandate. All life is important.
<+Ed_Jowett> Others, like Potestates, who hope to harness the infection and become superhuman (but without the insanity!), ally with people who have aligned goals – the Cult of Progression want to become Infected, so why not use them as test subjects?
<+Ed_Jowett> There are many alliances, as well as many bitter rivalries, between factions. Some want to be left alone and others want to rule the world… so I think it’s inevitable.
<+Ed_Jowett> PuppycatProductions awesome! We’re doing a Q&A for it right now, so if you have any questions you never got answered, just tell me, I’ll be happy to answer 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan you have a choice, really, as the GM.
<+PuppycatProductions> Sorry. I mean I’m familiar with a party member who is just a psycho out to murder everyone.
<+teuthordae> This may’ve been answered before I arrived, but are there any plans for a living campaign similar to the Consortium one?
<+PuppycatProductions> (And I apologize for my earlier Jumanji comments. Didn’t realize there was a Q&A going on at first.)
<~Dan> (No worries! They aren’t common at this time of day.)
<+Ed_Jowett> You can make them normal zombies without any special abilities, or you can add mutations, just like for the Mutants. In the Infected Manual (which already exists, but is also a reward on the Kickstarter), you have all of the options for both Mutants and Shamblers.
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s a variance in the way they are applied – pretty much no matter what, you don’t get a fast Shambler, so the abilities might result in something differenty.
<+Ed_Jowett> Some abilities will actually be stronger in Shamblers because they’ve had longer to… “gestate”!
<+Ed_Jowett> PuppycatProductions you arrived late, so you missed the briefing, but if you’d like to know more about the game, you can find info here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn
<+Ed_Jowett> teuthordae great question!
<+Ed_Jowett> I have some things I want to do, but I’m currently held back by how few factions have enough info out there. I’m hopeful that this Kickstarter will take us a few steps closer to that, because I think this is a really interesting world and there are some events which offer huge potential.
<+Ed_Jowett> Imagine, for example, that the Swarm meet the Sisterhood. Two of the most powerful factions.
<+Ed_Jowett> And that they do so in the region of City.
<+Ed_Jowett> Directly involved, you have The Swarm, the Sisterhood of Pyrus, the Organisation of Friends, the Defenders, the Raiders and the White Cross
<+Ed_Jowett> There’s no way you don’t get Nihilists, Potestates, Cult of Progression, Vault Hunters and various others drawn to that, looking for opportunity.
<+Ed_Jowett> Wherever there are that many people, there are Infected.
<+Ed_Jowett> You’re immediately in an incredibly complex and exciting situation!
<+Ed_Jowett> I’d love to do that. We’re just not quite there yet, I think 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> For anyone who is unaware of the Era: The Consortium Living Campaign, (Link: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/era-the-consortium/living-campaign/)https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/era-the-consortium/living-campaign/
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s open to everyone, so if you’re an Era: The Consortium fan, you should try it out.
<~Dan> Generally speaking, which are more common: Mutants or Infected?
<+teuthordae> Thanks! 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan I would say that, at the moment, it’s Mutants. But it’s an interesting question.
<+Ed_Jowett> We have plans for an expansion based 100 years in the future.
<+Ed_Jowett> I imagine that would be the opposite – the Shamblers (dead) would far outnumber the living!
<+Ed_Jowett> They are hard to kill, due to being already dead. You need to do a lot of damage to them, or hit them in just the right place.
<~Dan> Does the Infection create Shamblers from pre-existing dead bodies, or does it reanimate anyone who dies? (Although I guess it would be splitting hairs at this point in the timeline.)
<~Dan> I mean, did the dead literally rise from their graves?
<+Ed_Jowett> No-one really remembers from back then.
<+Ed_Jowett> Now, the dead, as long as they are buried, don’t tend to rise.
<+Ed_Jowett> If there are enough airborne parasites, they may reanimate if they are on the surface (there are various levels, from Low to High!)
<+Ed_Jowett> And, of course, if a Mutant is killed but the parasite is not killed, then they will definitely come back as a SHambler.
<+Ed_Jowett> Mostly, people try to just get away, there’s not a lot of thought to the future, as a rule.
<~Dan> Wow. How do you kill the parasite?
<+Ed_Jowett> A few ways. The Swarm actually has it right – immolation is good.
<+Ed_Jowett> Do enough damage to the nervous system of a Mutant and they won’t come back as a Shambler, but that’s far from easy.
<+Ed_Jowett> Mutants are still capable of reproduction, as well, so the birds, bears, etc multiply still.
<+Ed_Jowett> The Injection also kills the Parasites, so if you used that on a Mutant, it would eliminate them (and also eliminate the actual Mutant from poisoning)
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Greg!)
<+Ed_Jowett> I suppose there are a few other ways!
<+Leo> So baby mutants are a possibility?
<+Ed_Jowett> Yes, they are, Leo
<~Dan> (Greg: Topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2)
<~Dan> Do animals come back as Shamblers?
<+Ed_Jowett> Any creature or human can be a Shambler or Mutant.
<+Ed_Jowett> Obviously, birds tend not to fly when they are Shamblers 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> They are more kind of ground zombies.
<+Ed_Jowett> Hi Moxiane! We’re discussing (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=3atnbn
<+Ed_Jowett> Oh, sorry, I’m (done)!
<~Dan> What are some of the further additions that may be unlocked?
<+Ed_Jowett> Well, there are quite a few. It includes the Foundation Campaign books, which are led campaigns where you have to try to build a community.
<+Ed_Jowett> Everyone seems to feel it’s super easy to do, so I thought I’d show them it’s really, really not!
<+Ed_Jowett> Next, we’ve got a guide to settlements and people. This one came from a conversation between myself and Fred Harvey, who is working with me on these expansions and has probably run more convention games of Era: Survival than I have!
<+Greg> What do people to do build a community?
<+Ed_Jowett> I mentioned I struggle to name people, but never to come up with Settlements or their details, or even details about the people. He said he was the opposite – pulling a name out of the air is never a problem, but coming up with details is a problem. So we decided to make a GM-facing book (though it’s fine for players to see it too) which would give
<+Ed_Jowett> details of 20 or 30 settlements around Gaia and the sorts of people you might run into!
<+Ed_Jowett> Greg They have to clear the area of Infected and Raiders, face down the various factions who want a piece of their resources as they build, decide on various structures to build (you can be a military-focused settlement, focused on defence, or a diplomatic/trade settlement, depending on your choices) and then make sure that it stays safe.
<+Ed_Jowett> There are quite a lot of minor mechanics around these various things, they give benefit on a more global level, as well as a direct effect on the characters.
<+Greg> Yup, sounds like a whole campaign right there 🙂
<+Ed_Jowett> Greg 20 sessions written and counting!
<+Ed_Jowett> Yeah, I’m wanting to do as much as possible – this is about producing games, not about trying to make the minimum possible to bring in money. We love this universe and we’re going to use all the support we have to make the most amazing things that we can!
<+Greg> Can’t argue with that!
<+Ed_Jowett> We’ve got decent form on this – a previous time we ran a campaign like this, we changed a 50-page book into a 150-page book because we liked it that much!
<+Ed_Jowett> That was a campaign too, we bulked it out, gave it maps, a Bestiary it changed from 5 sessions to 13.
<+Leo> So is Settlements and people is a little like the Homebase rules in Consortium? or is it a campaign guide?
<+Leo> and on top of that once factions are fleshed out – could PCs rise to the top of a certain factions?
<+Ed_Jowett> Neither, really. It’s a setting guide, offering details about towns and villages, what makes each one unique and interesting, what the population is like, what they mayor is like, etc.
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s more a toolkit than a campaign, though it will help with any game someone wants to run!
<~Dan> Are PCs generally part of a faction?
<+Ed_Jowett> Factions… well, I suppose it’s possible. I would consider it very difficult in almost every case. Most factions are vast, with no real opportunity for advancement to a leadership position. This isn’t a group of 50 people, it’s thousands in each faction. Those that are smaller tend to be very disparate.
<+Ed_Jowett> So I would say leading the Swarm, Sisterhood or Organisation of Friends? Probably impossible.
<+Ed_Jowett> Being head of a Raider gang? absolutely! But that doesn’t make you the head of all Raiders.
<+Ed_Jowett> Being head of the Nihilists or Vault Hunters? Impossible because they don’t have that type of organisation.
<+Ed_Jowett> Those last two don’t really have an organisational structure you can be a leader of.
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan I think that’s up to the GM.
<+Ed_Jowett> I generally run games where the players are Vault Hunters, Defenders or Raiders.
<+Ed_Jowett> I’ve occasionally run games where they are villagers without any particular alignment – the Foundation Campaign is arguably that!
<+Ed_Jowett> But I think the options are there and a lot of the uniqueness in this game can be brought in by the way factions interact with the players – are they afraid of the Swarm? Drawn to a safer life on Aqua or with the Sisterhood?
<+Greg> Sorry, got to roll. Good luck with the Kickstarter. This sound good 🙂
<~Dan> Bye, Greg!
<+teuthordae> The foundation Campaign, is that more setups and random encounters, or a more scripted campaign sort of thing?
<~Dan> (wb, Beelzedude)
<+Ed_Jowett> teuthordae it’s a full-on campaign with specific missions divided up into groups of 5.
<+Ed_Jowett> These will mostly focus on factions (the first is Infected and Raiders, the second is the Sisterhood, etc).
<+Ed_Jowett> but the overall story should lead the party through many of the dangers that a settlement will face!
<~Dan> What is the tech level of the setting?
<+Ed_Jowett> I’d describe it as “Modern, but withering”.
* ~Dan nods
<+Ed_Jowett> All of the older technology is no longer functional, or very hard to use.
<+Ed_Jowett> There are a few continuity of government bunkers (known as “vaults”) which have long-term nuclear reactors, and some computer technology.
<+Ed_Jowett> Most guns were made a hundred years ago and have been patched up and reengineered constantly, or new ones made with substandard materials.
<+Ed_Jowett> Literally everything is falling apart.
<~Dan> No cars, I assume
<+Ed_Jowett> There are some. Again, they tend to be on their last legs, and they are pretty rare.
<+Ed_Jowett> Most transport is walking.
<+Ben> As a general idea, how much of the population has been lost until where the game starts?
<~Dan> Are there horses? How common are non-Infected animals?
<+Ed_Jowett> Ben that’s a hard question to answer.
<+Ed_Jowett> Let’s say that the Gaia we have mapped is the size of the UK, for example.
<+Ed_Jowett> Let’s say the population was the same – about 65 million.
<+Ed_Jowett> I’d say there are maybe 1 million or 2 million people left in this region?
<+Ed_Jowett> Dan There are no non-Infected mammals
<+Ed_Jowett> Lizards are a source of food, and it’s said that larger ones are used as beasts of burden in some areas.
<+Ed_Jowett> They aren’t fast, however.
<~Dan> Really? What keeps all humans from being Infected?
<+Ed_Jowett> The Injection that’s created by the White Cross.
<~Dan> What lizards are big enough to be beasts of burden?
<+Ed_Jowett> Gaia is not exactly Earth, and there are a few pictures of lizards about the size of crocodiles which are built for faster movement.
<~Dan> Ah, I see.
<~Dan> What other differences distinguish Gaia from Earth?
<+Ed_Jowett> It’s very likely I’ll be doing more on this in the Settlements and People expansion!
<~Dan> danhunsaker, you around?
<+Ed_Jowett> That’s an interesting one. I’m not sure we know enough about Gaia to know that any more. I’m also not sure I know enough about Earth to estimate the density of Continuity of Government bunkers.
<~Dan> Okay, danhunsaker doesn’t appear to be here, so I’ll ask his favorite question for him.
<~Dan> What is your LEAST favorite aspect of Era: Survival?
<+Leo> You mentioned the Aqua expansion would be ideal for a ‘Waterworld’ campaign – Is there anything else upcoming that lends itself to another Core inspiration for a campaign or session?
<+Ed_Jowett> I think it’s the leaning it sometimes has (with some GMs) into a Western. It’s supposed to have this “I’m in danger of death” feel, and some people don’t track it, don’t do that feel.
<~Dan> Good answer!
<+Ed_Jowett> While Westerns can have the danger of death and frontier feel, I think there’s more to Survival Horror, and I try to maintain Era: Survival as different.
<+Ed_Jowett> (I should say, nothing against Westerns. I’m working on a Western game right now!)
<+Ed_Jowett> Leo there are some many sub-genres and aspects to the Survival Horror genre, I could probably give you about 15 answers. If you wanted to do Fallout, maybe the Future expansions (100 years later) would help you.
<+Ed_Jowett> If you wanted to do Paranoia, maybe a detailed guide to Vaults?
<+Ed_Jowett> (but seriously, if you want to do that, play Paranoia, it’s awesome.
<+Leo> ooooh, thank you!
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+Ed_Jowett> I don’t think so. This Kickstarter is about expanding this world – we love it and want to build it up.
<~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 . Anything’s appreciated! 🙂
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Ed_Jowett!
<+Ed_Jowett> Thank you again, Dan, as always.
<~Dan> Give me just a minute, and I’ll link you to the log! 🙂