2:13 PM +Miska: Hi all! My name is Miska Fredman and I’m the creator of Astraterra. Astraterra is a steam fantasy role-playing game which mixes elements from fantasy, science fiction and steampunk. The world is set in a world that is built on the remnants of a broken ringworld and the player characters are explorers who go on expeditions through far gates, sort of
2:13 PM +Miska: teleport gates, that were used by the Ancestors to travel around the ring world before it was destroyed.
2:14 PM +NiTessine: I’m Jukka Särkijärvi. I’m the project’s translator who’s rendering this all in English. My previous game translations are Stalker the SciFi Roleplaying Game and Chernobyl Mon Amour.
2:14 PM +Miska: The fargates were silent and inoperational for thousands of years, until they suddenly activated and people could travel through them again.
2:14 PM +Miska: (oops sorry) done
2:14 PM +NiTessine: done
2:14 PM ~Dan: Thanks, guys! The floor is open to questions!
2:15 PM ~Dan: You mentioned fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk. Can you touch on some elements of each that the game features?
2:16 PM +Miska: Sure. Astraterra has a lot of characteristics of a fantasy world, but the world is based on super-technology rather than magic.
2:17 PM +Miska: Steampunk elements are related to the technological age that the most civilized realms are stepping into
2:17 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, Woo77!)
2:18 PM +Miska: So, there are steam engines and some electric apparatuses, but very little industrial production (except for the Malorian Empire)
2:18 PM +Miska: done
2:18 PM +NiTessine: The steampunk influence is purely in fantastical steam engines, steam robots, steam power armour, and a prevalence of goggles. No neo-Victorianism.
2:18 PM +NiTessine: done
2:19 PM ~Dan: So the “magic” is “sufficiently-advanced technology” from a lost age?
2:19 PM +Miska: Yeah. The wondrous technology created by the Ancestors kind of replaces magic items in this world
2:21 PM ~Dan: How is such “magic” utilized, and what are some things it can accomplish on the high end of the power scale? (Other than teleporation, obviously.)
2:21 PM +Miska: And there is one character class – or “role” – called Mancer, that is the closest thing to a wizard in this game, but their powers are not magical, but of technological origin
2:23 PM +Miska: well, some minor artifacts are something that are fairly common and could be acquired as a inheritance or purchased.
2:23 PM +Miska: There are nanopotions and holoscrolls, for example, that can do some “magical” effects that allow teleportation, or turning into gaseous form.
2:23 PM +Miska: Mancers have mostly telepathic and telekinetic powers.
2:24 PM +Miska: done
2:24 PM ~Dan: Cool.
2:24 PM +Miska: Oh, I’ll elaborate a bit…
2:24 PM ~Dan: Sure!
2:26 PM +Miska: There are apparatures and other magnificient machines that are more commonly used. Many of those are reverse engineered from the artifacts and they are materials called wildsilver (for contruction) and etherium (fuel).
2:26 PM +Miska: The actual Ancestral technology goes all the way to time and space manipulation and creation of new lifeforms
2:26 PM +Miska: done
2:26 PM +NiTessine: There’s also things like ships that sail the solar winds. The solars, one of the game’s species, primarily lives in arkships, which are the size of islands. Apart from fargates, the sunsail ships are the primary mode of transportation across the world.
2:27 PM +NiTessine: Yeah, one of the player character species is the synthroid, who are artificial lifeforms.
2:27 PM +NiTessine: done
2:27 PM ~Dan: Does anyone know what happened to the Ancestors?
2:29 PM +Miska: No one knows for sure, but there is a well known saga about the Last War. It tells that the Ancestors divided into different factions and eventually started a war that resulted in the destruction of the ring world and the fall of the Ancestors
2:29 PM +Miska: done
2:29 PM +NiTessine: When you’re technologically advanced enough to construct a ringworld, having a war on that ringworld is a losing proposition.
2:29 PM +NiTessine: doner
2:29 PM ~Dan: What intelligent species currently occupy the world?
2:30 PM +Miska: There are seven playable species
2:30 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, GenoFoxx!)
2:30 PM +Miska: Human, of course
2:32 PM +Miska: Then Cavens (short and strong turle-like creatures), solars (winged elves), kimeras (human-animal hybrids), gnofls (short humanoids, with a big nose) and synthroids (androids created by the Ancestors)
2:32 PM +Miska: oh, and the Druxi, insectoid creatures
2:33 PM +NiTessine: That’s chimeras and gnolves (singular “gnolf”) in the translation. :3
2:33 PM ~Dan: 🙂
2:33 PM +Miska: there are a lot of other species, more or less intelligent, but don’t have huge kingdoms or are considered uncivilized
2:33 PM +Miska: Thanks 😀
2:34 PM ~Dan: Species aside, who are the PCs? What do they do in this setting?
2:34 PM +Miska: Jukka, want to go first for a change ?:)
2:34 PM +NiTessine: Sure.
2:35 PM +NiTessine: The PCs are assumed to be explorers, perhaps members of the Explorers’ Guild, who are tasked with reactivating the fargate network. Many of the gates lead to Ancestor ruins and other forgotten and dangerous locations.
2:37 PM ~Dan: And this is a class-based system?
2:37 PM +NiTessine: The setting, of course, is large enough to support whatever, but that’s the main thrust of the game.
2:37 PM +NiTessine: done.
2:38 PM +NiTessine: Yeah. There are seven classes: the Daredevil, the Mancer, the Starknight, the Mechanic, the Scholar, the Shadow, and the Wanderer.
2:38 PM +NiTessine: Well, we call them “roles”.
2:38 PM ~Dan: You’ve already covered the Mancer. Can you briefly describe the others?
2:39 PM +Miska: They are sort of archetypes and provide characters with special feats that allow them to do things other roles can’t. Otherwise, all characters can try pretty much anything based on their abilities. Within reason, of course
2:39 PM +Miska: Daredevils are sort of scouts and all-a-around adventurers
2:40 PM +NiTessine: Mechanics are kinda self-explanatory. They also have a customizable signature tool that can double as a weapon.
2:40 PM +Miska: Starknights are an order of knights who have vowed to protect Astraterra from its enemies and prevent another Last War.
2:42 PM +Miska: Shadows are a mix of ninjas and detectives. They are members of a secret clan that protects Astraterra from invisible threats, where as Starknights protect it from visible threats
2:42 PM +NiTessine: Scholars know stuff and come up with prototype inventions.
2:43 PM +Miska: Wandered are sort of archivers who have a lose organization. They travel around collecting information about the Ancerstors
2:43 PM +Miska: *Wanderers
2:43 PM +Miska: done
2:43 PM +NiTessine: done
2:43 PM ~Dan: What sorts of weapons and armor can the PCs possess?
2:44 PM +Miska: Mostly swords, bows, daggers, staffs, etc. And leather armor or chainmail
2:45 PM ~Dan: No firearms, I take it?
2:45 PM +Miska: Jukka, do we have a translation for pasautin? 🙂
2:45 PM +NiTessine: Zapper.
2:45 PM +NiTessine: There are firearms, yes.
2:45 PM ~Dan: What kinds?
2:46 PM +NiTessine: The equipment lists are fairly concise. This isn’t the kind of game that starts differentiating polearms.
2:46 PM +Miska: There is a special type of firearms called zappers. They shoot balls of electrified plasma. They are the primary type of firearms.
2:46 PM ~Dan: Are those Ancestral technology?
2:46 PM +Miska: Zappers are like sci-fi muskets
2:47 PM +Miska: They are manufactured, but expensive to make and use, as they use wildsilver and etherium
2:47 PM +NiTessine: Zappers come in all sizes from handguns to rifles to the zunderbuss, which is the “point in the vague direction of target” kind of weapon.
2:47 PM ~Dan: I see. Cool.
2:47 PM ~Dan: Heh. “Zunderbuss”. I love that. 🙂
2:48 PM +NiTessine: And of course a bunch of the classes have their own signature pieces of equipment that also double as weapons.
2:48 PM +Miska: The are some Ancestral firearms too. Some animatons (intelligent robots built by the ancestors) use them. They are different kind of beam weapons, but there some might wrap you inside a sticky bubble
2:49 PM +Miska: Yeah, like the mechanics signature tool
2:49 PM +NiTessine: The Mechanic’s tool, the Starknight’s mightsaber, and the Wanderer’s staff.
2:49 PM +NiTessine: (ok, the mightsaber doesn’t double as a weapon, it is a weapon. It can also be a shield, though. It’s versatile like that.)
2:50 PM ~Dan: What is a mightsaber? 🙂
2:50 PM +NiTessine: done
2:51 PM +NiTessine: The Starknight’s signature weapon. Upon being inducted in the order, a Starknight receives wildsilver implants on their wrists that they can manifest as a sword and a shield.
2:51 PM +Miska: MIghtsabers are Ancestral technology and only the nanosmiths of the Starknight know how to make them or repair them.
2:52 PM +Miska: done
2:52 PM +NiTessine: done
2:53 PM ~Dan: Are there any main antagonists?
2:53 PM +Miska: sure there are 🙂
2:53 PM +Miska: But it’s not so black and white always, depends a bit from the point of view.
2:54 PM +Miska: I’ll sidetrack a bit, if I may, In general the world of Astraterra is built in layers. You can play it as simple adventure game with your stock baddies, but there are also political tensions and conspiracies behind it all.
2:55 PM +Miska: One large group of antagonists are called lunars. They have separated from solars and mutated into something else.
2:56 PM +Miska: But behind everything are the scheming snek that is driving the Malorian Empire into war with all the other large kingdoms of Astraterra.
2:57 PM +Miska: Then there is a number of smaller creatures that are often used by the forementioned as mercenaries or slaves.
2:57 PM +Miska: done
2:59 PM +NiTessine: Just noting that “snek” may or may not be the final name for that particular species. It’s a bit on the nose in English.
2:59 PM +dannerz: yay, finally here again
2:59 PM +dannerz: thanks dan
2:59 PM ~Dan: I assume that there are “monsters” in the setting?
2:59 PM ~Dan: (Welcome back, dannerz! 😀 )
3:00 PM +Miska: Good point Jukka. It’s the Finnish name, but as Jukka said, we will probably change it to something else.
3:00 PM ~Dan: (dannerz: The topic is (Link: https://www.astraterra.fi/en/home/)https://www.astraterra.fi/en/home/ . If you prefer general chat, you /join #randomworlds2 🙂 )
3:00 PM +Miska: There are reptilian creatures. Many of them hundreds or even thousands of years old.
3:01 PM +Miska: Yeah, there are monsters ranging from dragons to giant robots 🙂
3:01 PM ~Dan: Oh? What are the dragons like?
3:02 PM +NiTessine: The bestiary has all kinds of dangerous beasts, giant insects, flying sharks and a carnivorous tree that tickles you unconscious before eating you.
3:04 PM +Miska: The dragons are mysterious and ancient treasure hoarders as the trope goes, they are actually creations of the Last War, but this is not general knowledge.
3:04 PM ~Dan: Are they flying fire-breathers?
3:05 PM +Miska: Fire, but also electricity and acid breathers.
3:05 PM ~Dan: And they have wings?
3:05 PM +Miska: Yes.
3:06 PM ~Dan: Cool. 🙂
3:06 PM +Miska: They can also be main antagonists as they often might emply other creatures.
3:06 PM ~Dan: Now you said pre-Q&A that you have a character sheet that you can share with us?
3:06 PM +Miska: *employ
3:07 PM +Miska: Yeah, one sec…
3:07 PM +Miska: (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/an9aip1yroj03f3/AT_EN_charsheet-v05.jpg?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/s/an9aip1yroj03f3/AT_EN_charsheet-v05.jpg?dl=0
3:08 PM +NiTessine: Incidentally, there’s also a map of the world on the homepage. The translation is based on an earlier draft so it’s not entirely final, but it’s also not going to change drastically: (Link: https://www.astraterra.fi/wp-content/uploads/astra_kartta_7-en.png)https://www.astraterra.fi/wp-content/uploads/astra_kartta_7-en.png
3:08 PM +Miska: The abilities have those icons because the development of Astraterra started back in 2013 with my kids and all of them could not read.
3:09 PM ~Dan: Let’s see here… I see attributes, but not skills. Do the latter fall under Traits & Feats?
3:10 PM +Miska: Yeah, you can try a lot of different things using just the abilities. Feats (roles) and traits (species and roles) are something that add special rules or allow you to do things like create a little mechanical helper (Scholar)
3:11 PM +Miska: And the system is a simple d6 dice pool with a few twists
3:11 PM ~Dan: Can you describe the task resolution system?
3:11 PM +Miska: Results of 4+ are successes and sixes allow you to roll again
3:13 PM ~Dan: What do you roll against?
3:13 PM +NiTessine: If you were looking for a separate skill list along the lines of “Acrobatics”, “Swim”, “Ride”, and so on, Astraterra doesn’t have that. The system is meant to be accessible to fairly young children so there are certain virtues in simplicity.
3:13 PM +Miska: You try to get successes at least equal to the difficulty or opposing successes. There are three levels of success. (Draw, Win by 1-2, win by 3+)
3:14 PM +Miska: (Draw is a marginal success)
3:14 PM ~Dan: And how does combat work?
3:15 PM +Miska: Combat uses opposed rolls and you deal damage equal to your successes above the opposing roll + weapon’s damage.
3:15 PM ~Dan: What Abilities are used in combat?
3:15 PM +Miska: The damage is first deducted from Armor Points and from Vigor when you are out of Armor Points.
3:16 PM +Miska: Mostly Strenght, dexterity and Agility.
3:16 PM ~Dan: Which is used for what?
3:17 PM +Miska: But, I must mention that even though the game has rules for combat, I’ve heard a lot that people have less use for them than you might expect. Same thing with my own games. Often times the conflicts are resolved by other means
3:17 PM * ~Dan nods
3:17 PM +Miska: Strength for melee strikes and parrying, Dexterity for shooting and Agility for thrown weapons and dodging
3:19 PM +Miska: done
3:19 PM ~Dan: Okay, it’s time for danhunsaker’s favorite question, but he’s unavailable today, so I will do the honors…
3:19 PM ~Dan: What is your LEAST favorite aspect of Astraterra?
3:23 PM +NiTessine: There’s a subtle but elaborate pun about the Soviet Union and Druxi hive cities that has thus far frustrated my attempts to render the joke in English without it sounding forced.
3:23 PM ~Dan: Ha!
3:24 PM ~Dan: How about you, Miska?
3:24 PM +Miska: By and large I’m very satisfied with the world and rules of Astraterra, but what I’m constantly worrying about is the diversity of the world and that I probably never will have time to expand it as fast as I’d like to 😀
3:24 PM ~Dan: 🙂
3:25 PM ~Dan: In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
3:25 PM +Miska: Sure, there are some things with the Finnish edition, but they are mostly related to the production, but now I have a perfect opportunity to fix those mistakes/errors with the English edition 🙂
3:25 PM ~Dan: Heh. 🙂
3:27 PM +Miska: Hmm. I’d like to mention that as mentioned, I started developing the game with my kids and it was supposed to be a kids’ game, but it ended up being something different. It turned out to be more complex world and very soon to the development I noticed that I really should not underestimate my kids or childer in general
3:28 PM +Miska: So, Astraterra is a game for all ages, and it seems to work very well for kids and adults alike.
3:28 PM ~Dan: Very cool!
3:28 PM ~Dan: Anything to add, NiTessine?
3:28 PM +Miska: Last fall my 12-year old son ran Astraterra for 8 adults in a local convention 😀
3:29 PM +Miska: (done)
3:29 PM +NiTessine: Though it really is in all levels suitable for kids, and very young ones at that. Even the rules are, to a degree, modular. It can be run as a very simple game and then there’s “advanced” mechanics you can tack on. Meanwhile, the setting has enough depth and complexity to retain the interest of adults.
3:29 PM ~Dan: Impressive!
3:29 PM ~Dan: Oh, 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! 🙂
3:29 PM +NiTessine: Also I love the art.
3:29 PM ~Dan: Thanks for joining us, guys!
3:29 PM +NiTessine: Thank you for having us!
3:30 PM +Miska: Thanks for having us!
3:30 PM ~Dan: If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!