7:32 PM +Drewcifer: Hello everyone! My name is Drew Cochran and I have been working on The Epic of Dreams RPG for the past 7 years.
7:33 PM +Drewcifer: It is a setting neutral, rules lite game that focuses on bringing Story, Drama, and Wonder to the forefront of gameplay
7:33 PM +Drewcifer: We do this by having streamlined our rules such that minimal mental time and effort is spent on thinking about mechanics, and through ample Drama mechanics.
7:34 PM +Drewcifer: When you learn how to play the Epic of Dreams, you can use a character sheet, and dice if you want to – but they aren’t neccessary.
7:34 PM +Drewcifer: We recently launched our Kickstarter to The Epic of Dreams: Basilisk Edition this morning, and we have been floored with everyones’ response.
7:34 PM +Eric_E: that’s a good point to jump in (maybe). diceless games have never been very popular, sometimes there have been card mechanics, but even those tend to not be popular.
7:34 PM +Drewcifer: We have fully funded, and are about to break through our first stretch goal!
7:35 PM +Eric_E: what made you think of going with a “guess what numbrer I’m thinking of” mechanic?
7:35 PM +Drewcifer: You can find the Kickstarter here:
7:35 PM +Drewcifer: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drewcifer/the-epic-of-dreams-rpg-basilisk-edition)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drewcifer/the-epic-of-dreams-rpg-basilisk-edition
7:36 PM +Drewcifer: I originally thought of the game while hiking in China with some of my friends. We wanted to play DnD while hiking, and I had to figure out how to do that without using any implements
7:36 PM +Drewcifer: Through these past seven years, we have found an interesting mix of mechanics that have all worked together to really create magical game sessions.
7:36 PM +Drewcifer: The Epic of Dreams’ features include:
7:37 PM +Drewcifer: A Dice-Optional Core Mechanic called ‘The Circle of the Muse’ – a guessing game where the player will try to match or evade a number range set by the GM
7:38 PM +Drewcifer: Intuitive Character Stats- As long as you remember your Backstory, your Level (1-9), and your ‘Order Class’ (0-7), you can combine those three Core Stats to remember the rest of your character on the fly!
7:39 PM +Drewcifer: The Circle of War- An Initiativeless combat system that hones in on every moment in battle, describing dynamic combat by snaking towards the center of wherever the conflict is taking place, starting from afar.
7:39 PM +Drewcifer: Setting Neutral Magic System – Any World’s magic system can easily be hacked into our Magic System – it revolves two separate rolls that combine to come up with one of 5 results: ‘Exceed’, ‘Succeed’,
7:40 PM +Drewcifer: ‘Strange’, ‘Fizzle’, or ‘Backfire’.
7:40 PM +Drewcifer: Drama Mechanics – Our game features Gamified Soliloquies which bring both the speaker and the listener ever closer to the fantasy, as well as three forms of Drama tokens – Ardor, Hubris, and Fates’ Favor.
7:41 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse Herself: A divine character who sits besides the story at hand, that acts as a judge and an audience – The GM confers with the Muse to gain new information, and the ability to create new INSPIRED scenes on the fly.
7:41 PM +Drewcifer: Finally,
7:42 PM +Drewcifer: The Epic of Dreams is compatible with any RPG setting or adventure module- the Lore is all you need. Because the intuitive stats of the game puts Story first, and creates a language of interpretation, you can port in your favorite monsters and spells instantly, and really make them feel ‘Real’.
7:43 PM +Drewcifer: DONE!
7:43 PM ~Dan: Thanks, Drewcifer! The floor is open to questions!
7:43 PM +Eric_E: sorry, didn’t realize that was still the promo when i questioned earlier
7:43 PM ~Dan: What makes the stats so intuitive?
7:43 PM ~Dan: No worries, Eric_E!
7:43 PM +Eric_E: Good question
7:44 PM +Drewcifer: So, the maths of the game are all derived from your two numerical stats (Level or Order Class), or are just implied to be remembered (for example, 1 handed weapons give +1 damage, and 2 handed weapons offer +2) )
7:45 PM +Drewcifer: With any RPG, you’ll have some small equations that you’ll end up using ad nauseam.
7:45 PM +Drewcifer: DnD proper – you subtract 10 from your Base Stat, and divide the remaining number in half to determine your ‘Modifier’, and the like
7:46 PM +Drewcifer: With The Epic of Dreams, the only real math you’ll end up doing is dividing your Level in half, and rounding up. Otherwise, you’ll just use your full Level as a modifier on your rolls
7:46 PM +Eric_E: How does a round of combat work? Is your level, or your level/2 your health score?
7:47 PM +Drewcifer: So long as you can remember, lets’ say, that you’re playing as your favorite Elf character from your favorite fantasy film, and that he’s Level 4, then you’d have his stats, as Elves are ‘Order Class 2’.
7:47 PM +Drewcifer: Your Vigor is actually your Level + your Order Class
7:47 PM +Drewcifer: A round of combat works like this:
7:47 PM ~Dan: (brb — please continue!)
7:48 PM +Drewcifer: First, the GM will place the “Circle of War” around wherever the most violence is either currently, or about to, take place. The Circle of War is just a visual cue to define where the most action is.
7:48 PM +Drewcifer: You would define positioning based on where the Circle of War is.
7:49 PM +Drewcifer: For Example, there are three knights fighting on the bridge. Behind them on either side are different allied archers, and a mystic behind the archers.The Circle of War lay above the three knights.
7:49 PM +Drewcifer: In each phase of combat – Decision, Resolution, and Consequence, the GM will go through each step,
7:50 PM +Drewcifer: ALWAYS describing whoever is ‘in’ the combat, starting from the farthest person away, snaking towards the middle.
7:50 PM ~Dan: (back)
7:50 PM +Drewcifer: So, you’d start with asking what the Wizard is going to do, then the Archers, then the Knights.
7:50 PM +Drewcifer: After you define their actions, you’d resolve the rolls, but not the outcome.
7:51 PM +Drewcifer: The outcome always happens at once – in the Consequence. Because of this, almost every moment in combat has a dynamic aftermath, with compounding problems.
7:51 PM +Drewcifer: Every time we’ve played, it has caused some of the most memorable sessions I’ve ever had the privelege to play. N
7:52 PM +Drewcifer: Nobody sits around waiting, ever, and our Drama mechanics also work in combat. Your players are always thinking BOTH tactically AND in character. In a lot of games, it’s usually either/or
7:52 PM ~Dan: Can you give us an example of that last bit in action?
7:53 PM +Drewcifer: Sure!
7:53 PM +Drewcifer: So, in one of our recent games, our party was shipwrecked by a reef, and took their dingy to shore. They found a pyrate ship on the shore, ripped in half.
7:53 PM +Drewcifer: There was a Knight character, a couple spearmen NPCs, a Bard, an Elf, and a Wizard.
7:54 PM +Drewcifer: They were spelunking near the Ship, when a wounded Manticore came out of it and attacked them.
7:54 PM +Drewcifer: The manticore mauled through the spearmen NPCs, and the Wizard freaked out, and turned into a raven to save his skin, and formulate a plan.
7:55 PM +Drewcifer: THEN, the knight, elf and Bard, who were in the forest, ran to the ship. The Knight player’s focus the whole time wasn’t to try and kill the manticore, but to retrieve the spearmen NPC from beneath it’s clutches to save his life.
7:55 PM +Drewcifer: and this,
7:55 PM +Drewcifer: was a very crazy moment. The Bard was bound to the Knight, so they ended up trying to distract the Manticore from the other, so the Knight could ferry the wounded spearmen off.
7:56 PM +Drewcifer: While all of this happened, some things went well, but a lot of unforeseen consequences came up.
7:57 PM +Drewcifer: The wizard summoned an imp to try and burn the manticore, but in doing so, the imp caused the ship to partially explode, leaving the Bard and the Spearmen beneath the Manticore, all destroyed in the rubble
7:57 PM +Drewcifer: In truth, the Bard was knocked off into the Brig, and the party didn’t know what happened to him.
7:58 PM +Drewcifer: The end of the combat created a bunch of new story problems for the party to deal with. Nobody spends their turns in this style of combat saying that they’ll just ‘swing their sword’ every single time. The creative and innovative elements in your players heads can actually matter, and the consequences of failure is likewise Dire
7:59 PM +Drewcifer: The Knight’s mindset was focused on the tactical goal of minimal losses as opposed to ‘how much damage can I do this round’?
7:59 PM ~Dan: So how many actions can you pack into one round?
7:59 PM +Drewcifer: Because of both the Combat system itself, combined with the Drama mechanics, it creates for really intense scenes.
8:00 PM +Drewcifer: You only get one Action each round. It’s very close to the chest. But we have and the Circle of War can emulate pretty wide swaths of battle scenes. You usually end up focusing on where your Party is within that battle
8:01 PM +Drewcifer: We used to have Reactions as well as Actions, but we found that in this style, that they always became irrelevant or unused.
8:01 PM +Drewcifer: Choosing to defend as an action is just as tactical as choosing to attack.
8:03 PM +Drewcifer: 1sec, let me find something
8:03 PM ~Dan: Sure!
8:04 PM +Drewcifer: Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/69a6ec5adb42d424ee13220f41def207/EOD_BASILISK_QUICKSTART_1.72.pdf)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/69a6ec5adb42d424ee13220f41def207/EOD_BASILISK_QUICKSTART_1.72.pdf
8:04 PM +Drewcifer: That is our Quickstart Rules Sheet
8:04 PM +Drewcifer: on there you can find all of our most updated rules.
8:05 PM +Drewcifer: Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/8e293284500b48155ff1193907c3ea7a/image.png)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/8e293284500b48155ff1193907c3ea7a/image.png
8:06 PM ~Dan: (Looking that over…)
8:06 PM +Drewcifer: There you can see our ‘default’ combat options, but nothing in this game is restrictive. From Skills to Combat Actions. It really is, “What do you do?” and the players answer.
8:06 PM +Drewcifer: The thing that sets this all apart from other rules-light systems though is simply the fact that we use Soliloquies
8:07 PM ~Dan: How do those work?
8:07 PM +Drewcifer: In a lot of RPGs you’ll gain Experience for slaying monsters, or gaining Gold.
8:08 PM +Drewcifer: In the Epic of Dreams you gain Experience for speaking Soliloquies, and inspiring the Muse through them
8:08 PM +Drewcifer: Soliloquies are short moments where time in the adventure stops, and one character takes the stage.
8:08 PM +Drewcifer: They bare their soul in a short monologue, recanting their reflections on the events of the day.
8:09 PM +Drewcifer: Every time someone tells a Soliloquy, not only do they become closer to the mindset of their character, but
8:09 PM +Drewcifer: the rest of the table begins to believe in the story more.
8:09 PM +Drewcifer: When a Player performs a Soliloquy, they gain an Experience for the group – or, if they truly impress the Muse, they can instead gain ‘Fates’ Favor’
8:10 PM +Drewcifer: which is a Drama Token that can be spent to change any one Circle Result to the outcome they desire.
8:10 PM +Drewcifer: that directly involves them
8:11 PM +Drewcifer: Because Soliloquies are commonplace, and because they’re made to be really fun, the table dynamic cements into this place
8:11 PM +Drewcifer: where the story you’re telling becomes more real than the table you’re sitting at. Everyone is invested and engaged in the game
8:11 PM ~Dan: What makes serving as the Muse appealing? It doesn’t sound like that person has a lot to do.
8:12 PM +Drewcifer: Combining this with the quick nature of the Circle of the Muse to resolve ‘Dice’ Rolls, minimal time is spent thinking about mechanics or numbers.
8:12 PM +Drewcifer: So the Muse is more of an NPC, not a player role. If desired, a player could definitely take up the role of the Muse
8:12 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse is a character that functions as a sort of landmark for the GM
8:13 PM +Drewcifer: Based on their personal backstory, personality, and preferences, the Muse impacts the flow of the story, as well as deciding when different Drama tokens are rewarded.
8:14 PM +Drewcifer: At any point in the game, the GM can ‘Invoke the Muse’, either by asking for a Circle Check, or by visualizing the Muse’s face.
8:14 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse’s eyes will be colored either Red, Yellow, Green, or Blue. Likewise, the Muse’s lips will be Laughing, Smiling, Frowning, or Gasping.
8:14 PM +Eric_E: Ok, just made it through the section above. You were talking earlier about nobody just swinging their sword. And talking about how the player becomes closer to the mindset of the character. But I’m just not seeing it. If a group is prone to “i swing my sword” and “my fighter will tell a story”, then I’m just not getting anything that sells me
8:14 PM +Eric_E: on it changing.
8:15 PM +Drewcifer: (You can infer this by either rolling on the Circle, or by just imagining it)
8:16 PM +Eric_E: I get that your goal is for more immersive rp and gameplay and becoming attuned to your character, but this is really feeling more like just how your group plays (and how you GM), and less about what makes the game do it.
8:16 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse’s face is always reacting to something that the Muse has seen in the future, that the GM hasn’t seen yet. So, by knowing their personality, the GM can gain new information and points of reference to build new scenes and conflicts from.
8:17 PM +Drewcifer: Thanks friend. We have a lot of information in the Kickstarter, and we have a lot of live plays where what i’m talking about takes place.
8:17 PM +Eric_E: I’m not doubting that it takes place
8:18 PM +Eric_E: I just don’t see how what I have seen/read so far really makes it happen any more than in my 13th age game
8:18 PM +Drewcifer: Sure!
8:19 PM +Drewcifer: Yes, the Soliloquy dynamic really makes it happen.
8:19 PM &Silverlion: Sort of how H&S has monologues and banter to help you succeed, I guess its similar in spirit
8:19 PM +Drewcifer: And it’s more of playing over time, and having the mechanics designed in specific ways to not have the Rules of the game get in the way of the Immersion
8:20 PM +Drewcifer: There’s a lot in how the rules work that they reinforce this style of play, and makes those scenes end up very strong. Very memorable.
8:20 PM &Silverlion: Yep.
8:20 PM &Silverlion: Sounds cool to me.
8:21 PM +Drewcifer: Lol, thanks. We have had so much fun, and the Circle of War has really been the icing on the cake.
8:21 PM ~Dan: So I’m still a bit confused… Is the Muse an actual person?
8:22 PM +Drewcifer: Going from turn based to ‘moment to moment’ has really just flipped the switch. Every time we play it’s just fire. Our combats with our Vigor and Wounds system makes it so that each combat can become very lethal quite quickly, without neccessarily being that way EVERY single time. If they can tactically get around a lot of problems, think
8:22 PM +Drewcifer: creatively, and get the Muse on their side, they can get through on top. And by incentivizing those things, the combat scenes just end up wild
8:23 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse is an NPC Character that sits next to the story. They aren’t in the story, but are the embodiment of the Rules of the game itself
8:23 PM +Drewcifer: The GM decides who their Muse is before starting a campaign.
8:24 PM +Drewcifer: That Muse characters’ traits and personality, and details about their life impact how the story can go, and the Muse helps the GM create more scenes on the fly
8:24 PM +Drewcifer: It’s a very relational mechanic.
8:25 PM ~Dan: I’m having a difficult time visualizing that happening. So the GM consults with a mental image of the person he perceives the Muse to be?
8:25 PM +Drewcifer: Yes, just like any other NPC.
8:25 PM +Drewcifer: They can be a historical person, a mythological entity, a PC from a prior campaign, etc
8:26 PM +Drewcifer: The GM can roll to determine what the Muse sees happening in the future.
8:26 PM &Silverlion: Are their charts for that?
8:26 PM &Silverlion: Or another method to guide the GM?
8:26 PM +Drewcifer: The Muse’s face reveals their reaction to what they have seen, and the different faces inform GMs of story plots or various details needed
8:27 PM +Drewcifer: There are charts, yes
8:27 PM &Silverlion: Alright, so their guides essentially, cool.
8:27 PM +Drewcifer: Very much so Guides, and ‘the audience’
8:27 PM +Drewcifer: the Heroes and the GM play to both their own enjoyment and discovery, as well as the Muse’s
8:28 PM +Drewcifer: and this creates a dynamic where everyone at the table is incentivised to give it their all
8:29 PM +Drewcifer: You can download the Basilisk Edition Playtest stuff right here, it goes in depth on alot
8:29 PM +Drewcifer: (Link: https://despicable-gentlemen-inc.itch.io/basilisk-playtest/download/SE3LRKdiI4twEaw7gNkNhNVFWeOCYjvLfqiNQAlf)https://despicable-gentlemen-inc.itch.io/basilisk-playtest/download/SE3LRKdiI4twEaw7gNkNhNVFWeOCYjvLfqiNQAlf
8:31 PM +Drewcifer: We’ve had a great turn out on our first day with the Kickstarter, and I have been just humbled by the response!
8:31 PM +Drewcifer: We funded in the first three hours, and we’re tipping the scales on our first Stretch goal right now!
8:31 PM ~Dan: That’s great, Drewcifer!
8:31 PM ~Dan: What do you think is attracting so many people?
8:32 PM +Drewcifer: haha I’m not sure exactly. We’ve had a lot of great support from friends and word of mouth, and we’ve been able to do a lot of shows in the last month or more, and I think we’ve been able to show the ‘proof in the pudding’, so to speak
8:33 PM +Drewcifer: I also think our Alternate Art Hardcover art has been particularly grabbing.
8:34 PM +Drewcifer: Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/5029b2d08231d072befee7eaf9be017d/Basilisk-Hard-Cover-Single-NO-BACKGROUND.png)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/5029b2d08231d072befee7eaf9be017d/Basilisk-Hard-Cover-Single-NO-BACKGROUND.png
8:34 PM +Drewcifer: We’re printing that version of the book only for this kickstarter. It’s looking like the book will end up being around 200 pages or more, but as it stands, I think it’s going to end up around the 230 mark
8:37 PM ~Dan: Very respectable.
8:37 PM ~Dan: So did I understand correctly that this is a class-based system?
8:37 PM +Drewcifer: So, we have a very laissez-faire sort of approach to characters.
8:38 PM +Drewcifer: You usually play through your Heroes’ formative moments to build their character sheet – searing their core memories into your mind.
8:38 PM +Drewcifer: Classes in their traditional sense don’t exist – it’s more of a skill based system. But
8:39 PM +Drewcifer: You do have these things called Titles, which describe your character through Epithets and key descriptors.
8:39 PM +Drewcifer: These determine some of the difficulty of different tasks for your character, as well as what you can ‘Boost’ your rolls on.
8:39 PM +Drewcifer: So, you can definitely play to a classic archetype of a knight, or a bard, or a cleric,
8:40 PM +Drewcifer: but you can also play to much more specific archetypes, such as a Dervish, or a Samurai, or a Guru, and because the story and lore define the numbers, your character comes out robust, rounded, and unique.
8:41 PM ~Dan: What impact does race/species choice have?
8:41 PM +Drewcifer: Species likewise are described through a Title
8:42 PM +Drewcifer: And both your ‘profession’ and ‘race’ will award you with different things – usually ‘Statuses’, which are basically adjectives that have great bearing on your character.
8:42 PM ~Dan: How so?
8:43 PM +Drewcifer: So, a Dwarf Sorcerer could have both the ‘Statuses’ of Invisibility, or ‘Dragon-Blooded’
8:43 PM +Drewcifer: In Norse Myth some Dwarves could turn invisible naturally, using illusion to hide themselves.
8:44 PM +Drewcifer: A Dwarf Sorcerer would have access to this ability in the form of a Status, and the Dragon Blood would offer him different peripheral bonuses – dependant on the defined setting.
8:44 PM +Drewcifer: We have a dragon-blooded sorcerer in our Playtest who can sense body heat like a snake can, as well as some other specific abilities.
8:45 PM +Drewcifer: But the Status “dragon-blooded” is more open, and could have different interactions with other things in the given setting.
8:45 PM +Drewcifer: In the same way, there are a lot of potential effects given from one Status
8:45 PM ~Dan: Do the players and GM just come to an agreement on those abilities?
8:45 PM +Drewcifer: Yes, but it would happen first during your regular discussion of setting and character creation
8:46 PM +Drewcifer: Just like any other game.
8:46 PM +Drewcifer: But they may come to discover new things together, and those definitions don’t need to be as rigid as they would be described in lets’ say, Pathfinder
8:47 PM +Drewcifer: because there isn’t the mechanical weight that throws off other number systems that in the case of the Epic of Dreams, aren’t at play
8:47 PM ~Dan: So does the rulebook stipulate anything about what it means to be a Dwarf or an Elf, for example?
8:47 PM +Drewcifer: The rulebook assumes that the GM will bring their own setting to the table, and uses just mythological tropes set up as examples.
8:48 PM +Drewcifer: So we do have racial abilities listed for Dwarves, Elves, and other classic and obscure demihumans, like Tengu
8:48 PM +Drewcifer: And all of these can certainly be used in a pinch if desired in a low fantasy game out of the box
8:49 PM +Lee: You said above that the book would likely be about 200 – 235 pages – what is the bulk of that page count? A lot of what’s being discussed here seems to be what the GM and Player decide upon, and the sample of rules above is only a few pages.
8:49 PM +Drewcifer: Yes!
8:49 PM +Drewcifer: Most of the book is actually filled with resources that go over mythology, coded in the games’ rules
8:50 PM +Drewcifer: We use Mythology as a measuring stick to compare what we would want to make in our games
8:50 PM +Drewcifer: We have a Mythological bestiary that has over 300 entries in it, as well as a survey of magic from around the world
8:50 PM +Drewcifer: And those are all used for both Player Options and GM Fodder
8:50 PM ~Dan: That’s a pretty impressive bestiary!
8:50 PM +Drewcifer: We have scoured many a library lol
8:51 PM +Drewcifer: But yes, the Rules content of the book will end up being perhaps a quarter of the volume, with the rest being player options and GM resources, with the Mythology content
8:52 PM +Drewcifer: As you can see on the Kickstarter page itself, our core rules all fit onto one page.
8:52 PM +Lee: Excellent – thanks! Seems like it’d be a good system for Greek Myth, with the Muse and all…
8:52 PM +Drewcifer: Yes, out of the box you can definitely have your own Titanomachy
8:53 PM +Drewcifer: We’ve been running Norse myth with some Gaelic elements mixed in for this playtest, and it’s been a lot of fun
8:54 PM +Drewcifer: I think that’s all the time I have tonight Dan, I could take a couple more questions though!
8:54 PM ~Dan: Where do you see the game line going from here?
8:54 PM +Drewcifer: That’s the golden question my friend
8:55 PM +Drewcifer: We have been working for the past three years on building some RPG settings that I can’t wait to bring out.
8:56 PM +Drewcifer: We have a Picaresque Space Fantasy setting called ‘The Seas of Ayil’, where you can travel through space on a medieval caravel, exploring ancient waters and new worlds as a host of different characters,
8:57 PM +Drewcifer: as well as our Romantic Underworld Setting called ‘The World Without Skies’, which will come out a bit farther off.
8:57 PM +Drewcifer: In this Kickstarter, one of our stretch goals is releasing an adventure module in the form of a Zine in the World Without Skies.
8:58 PM ~Dan: Very nice.
8:58 PM ~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! 🙂
8:58 PM +Drewcifer: We plan on releasing a lot of evergreen content focused on telling new stories.
8:58 PM ~Dan: Thanks very much for joining us, Drewcifer!
8:58 PM +Drewcifer: Thanks so much for having me Dan! It’s always a pleasure
8:59 PM ~Dan: If you’ll give me a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
8:59 PM +Drewcifer: And hey! We just broke our first stretch goal!
8:59 PM ~Dan: Congrats! 🙂
8:59 PM +Drewcifer: sounds great!