2:09 PM +Johnh259: Hello, I’m John Houlihan, a British writer of fiction, videogames and RPGs who specialises in science-fiction and fantasy. I also work as editorial overlord for the Achtung! Cthulhu RPG line at Modiphius, a setting where the chaos and heroism of World War 2 collides with the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft, “World War II with tentacles” as we
2:09 PM +Johnh259: like to say.
2:09 PM +Johnh259: You can find my own works at Amazon UK (Link: https://amzn.to/2QFc4Wy,)https://amzn.to/2QFc4Wy, Amazon US
2:09 PM +Johnh259: (Link: https://amzn.to/3k8Chen)https://amzn.to/3k8Chen or my own web site john-houlihan.net where I’ve written series like The Seraph Chronicles ‘One man dares face dread Cthulhu down the ages’ and the d’Bois Escapades ‘swashbuckling swords against Cthulhu in Napoleonic times’. I’ll also shortly be releasing a new sci-fi short story collection called the
2:09 PM +Johnh259: Constellation of Alarion
2:09 PM +Johnh259: All Modiphius’ goodies can be found at (Link: http://www.modiphius.net.)www.modiphius.net.
2:09 PM +Johnh259: Happy to chat about pretty much anything, but may occasionally have to please the Fifth on Modiphius material due to commercial or announcement reasons but otherwise AMA.
2:09 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:10 PM ~Dan: Thanks, Johnh259! The floor is open to questions!
2:10 PM +Johnh259: that should plead the Fifth of course, absolutely, fire away!
2:10 PM ~Dan: 🙂
2:10 PM +Saurbaum: Is there a personal preference for the system to run Actung! in?
2:11 PM +Saurbaum: I think the book I have is Savage worlds and Fate in one
2:13 PM +Johnh259: Well, I’ve played Call of Cthulhu since 2nd Edition and I absolutely love it, and Savage Worlds is good fun too. But having worked on the new 2d20 version for a while now, I’ve probably got to say it’s my new favourite, I guess you can’t help but like the thing you’ve put so much time into. It gives Achtung! Cthulhu a real pulp pacy feel
2:13 PM +Johnh259: and it rattles along at a really good pace.
2:13 PM +Johnh259: And I suppose you can’t help but love your shiny new toys!
2:13 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:13 PM ~Dan: Who are the main adversaries in A!C? (Other than Nazis and Cthulhu, obviously.)
2:14 PM +Saurbaum: I was very impressed that so many of the books were put out for various systems.
2:15 PM +Johnh259: Well in the new incarnation we’ve got six main factions: The Black Sun (Sorcerous Nazis) ,Nachtwolfe (Tech Nazis), Section M (faintly amateurish Brits) Majestic (bold and brash Americans), plus two major new Mythos factions, the Deep Ones and Mi-Go
2:16 PM ~Dan: What other Mythos factions are there?
2:16 PM +Johnh259: It’s a fair few, but its gives some really good internal dynamics and tension. Black Sun and Nachtwolfe (the Night Wolves) are of course nominally on the same side, but are actually bitter rivals and constantly scheming against each other to win the favour of the Fuhrer.
2:18 PM +Johnh259: Section M and Majestic are definitely a lot more aligned and co-operative, but even between these two great allies, there’s still sources of disagreement and some strain in certain theatres as their objectives don’t always align perfectly.
2:18 PM ~Dan: (Welcome to #randomworlds, kiwi_78! You can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
2:19 PM ~Dan: I take it that the game focuses on the European Theater?
2:19 PM +Johnh259: The Deep Ones have been around for millennia constantly working towards the day when Great Cthulhu himself will awaken, but certainly have no love for the alien strangeness of the Mi-Go who in this version are a symbiotic insect-fungus, who’ve come to Earth for unknown but no doubt nefarious purposes.
2:19 PM +Johnh259: (Done)
2:20 PM ~Dan: What is the relationship (if any) between the Mythos factions and the Nazi factions?
2:22 PM +Johnh259: Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/0d03ad9369624c321510a91233be091e/pasted.txt)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/0d03ad9369624c321510a91233be091e/pasted.txt
2:22 PM +Johnh259: We’ve found that over the course of the game in both 6th and 7th Edition, the European theatre and campaigns set there have proved the most popular and appealing. That’s not to say we won’t visit other settings, and we have a rather unusual US domestic mission already lined up, but the majority will probably be Europe. I guess its because
2:22 PM +Johnh259: most fans know that theatre so well. (done)
2:22 PM +Saurbaum: If you were like me someone who has had a previous version and isn’t the biggest fan of 2d20 is there much for me in this new edition?
2:24 PM +Johnh259: Ah, the relationship between the Nazis and the Mythos is an intriguing one and one that constantly shifts and twists according to circumstance. Temporary alliances are forged and broken on an almost constant basis, but certainly Nachtwolfe and the Mi-Go seem to find a lot of common causes in the first part of the conflict at least.
2:25 PM ~Dan: What sorts of technology do the Nachtwolfe have access to, and do they invent it themselves or swipe it from the Mythos?
2:25 PM +Johnh259: @saurbaum I hope so. We’ve really tried to make it fast paced and pulpy, really easy to pick up and play, but also provide some real meat in the mechanics for those who want to dig a bit deeper. I hope we’ve managed to strike a good balance between the two.
2:27 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, Dennis_Truelight!)
2:27 PM +Johnh259: Each iteration of 2d20 is custom written for each setting and I’m really quite pleased with where we’re at. We’ve learned an awful lot as a company as we’ve gone along on 2d20. The recent Klingon Source Book for Star Trek Adventures is a good example, it refines a lot of things from the original core book.
2:28 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:28 PM ~Dan: (Welcome to #randomworlds, Gabe!)
2:28 PM +Saurbaum: How’s this one fit on the scale from Conan to Dishonered?
2:28 PM +Gabe: So, is there a sanity mechanic that is tied to doom tokens or how does that work?
2:29 PM ~Dan: (Question pause, please. 🙂 )
2:29 PM +Saurbaum: (Thinking in terms of the system and complexity)
2:29 PM +Johnh259: @Dan Nachtwolfe are all about Blauer Kristall, a strange Blue Crystal which contains immense power and potential. They power a lot of their advanced technology from this strange substance. Little do they know it’s actually fragments of the scattered mind of a mythos deity, intent on putting its consciousness back together.
2:30 PM +Johnh259: Though of course they’re not above stealing ancient Mythos tech and using it when they can either!
2:30 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:32 PM +Gabe: Would Nachtwolfe and Black Sun work together or oppose each other?
2:32 PM ~Dan: (Question pause, please. 🙂 )
2:33 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe Sanity is handled through Truths and it’s not really tied into Threat (our version of Doom) as such. Characters take mental stress from mental attacks or witnessing horror and they suffer too much they get a permanent mental injury, a truth which is attached to their agent.
2:35 PM +Johnh259: So for example, an agent who witnesses something unspeakable in the middle of the night might end up suffering Nyctophobia if they receive too much mental stress.
2:35 PM ~Dan: (Questions may resume!0
2:35 PM ~Dan: )
2:36 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:37 PM ~Dan: How do the Allies stand a chance when faced with Mythos sorcery and Mythos superscience?
2:37 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe It’s very fluid, they might find common cause in certain situations, but at best it will only be a temporary alliance. They’ll always be looking to stitch each other up, as NW split from BS and there’s an underlying hatred and rivalry which won’t be denied.
2:38 PM +Johnh259: (done)
2:40 PM +Johnh259: A good question Dan. Well, the British initially turn to esoteric resources of their own. They have a vast treasury of esoteric artefacts in the British Museum and books in the Black Section of the British library to draw on. They also begin to explore Earth native Celtic and Norse magical traditions to being the fight back.
2:41 PM ~Dan: Interesting.
2:41 PM ~Dan: How powerful is the magic from those sources?
2:42 PM +Johnh259: Majestic, when they get properly into the war, rely on good old raw firepower and their vast resources to develop new weapons systems to combat the forces the Nazis have unleashed. Early research into the potential of psychic and ESP phenomena also show plenty of promise.
2:44 PM +Johnh259: Well we’ve got two kinds of magic: battlefield magic which is shorter form which is more limited and tends to provide more immediate help in combat situation. Longer form ritualistic magic is much more demanding and is used to summon or banish the gods and demons of the Mythos.
2:46 PM +Johnh259: Spellcasters can be tradition-based, like a Celtic Druid or a Norse Runeweaver, who have access to magic from their own tradition. Research=based spellcasters get their dark knowledge from esoteric books and manuscripts, and dabblers… well they pick it up from wherever they can.
2:47 PM +Johnh259: often with unpredictable and/or hilarious results
2:47 PM ~Dan: In CoC, Earthly magic tends to be a pale shadow of the power of Mythos magic. Is that the case here?
2:49 PM +Johnh259: It’s certainly not quite as dangerous, you’re protected by the learning and knowledge of your tradition. It might not be quite as powerful sometimes, but it doesn’t cost you your immortal soul to use it!
2:50 PM ~Dan: Heh. That’s certainly handy.
2:51 PM ~Dan: Can you give us an idea of the bleeding-edge tech to which Majestic and Nachtwolfe have access?
2:52 PM +Johnh259: However, in practice it’s quite a flexible system. A Celtic Druid might know a version of a Summon Deep One ritual for example, or a spell which has the same effect as one from the Spellbook of Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth. But it won’t be as dangerous for them to use, as their tradition has worked out how to protect them in its casting
2:52 PM +Johnh259: (though nothing is ever totally safe).
2:55 PM +Johnh259: Sure! So Nachtwolfe have built a whole bunch of bio-enhancements into their soldiers, things like ocular or aural implants, reinforced skeletons or regeneration which make them formidable foes in close quarters combat.
2:57 PM +Jaxa: Will there be any lesser factions as antagonists? More traditional cultists? For example partisans praying to some ancient powers? More traditional cthulhu monsters?
2:58 PM ~Dan: (Welcome to #randomworlds, Jaxa!)
2:59 PM +Johnh259: They also have weapons like the HÖLLENFEUER “HELLFIRE” belt-fed repeater shotgun, force plates which their Starkmeisters use to hurl tanks or Shroud semi-adaptive camouflage armour, which makes their snipers really tough to spot.
2:59 PM ~Dan: (Welcome to #randomwolrds, Malckuss! Howdy, FreeGamer!)
3:01 PM ~Dan: And the tech of Majestic?
3:01 PM +Johnh259: Hey Jaxa, absolutely in the fullness of time. To kick off with we’re concentrating on the main structure of these six factions clashing in the Secret War to set everything up, but there’s going to be plenty of smaller one-off missions and scenarios which will explore all aspects of the war. I’d love to do one on partisans actually, I think
3:01 PM +Johnh259: that would be a great idea.
3:03 PM +Johnh259: Majestic will have access to plenty of goodies like the Wolverine Combat Chainsaw, the Coyote Grenade launcher and the Crackler M-51 Electric Bazooka!
3:03 PM +Jaxa: What about smaller playable factions? Partisans? Resistance? Russians?
3:04 PM +Johnh259: @Jaxa, definitely, but probably a little down the line in the current time frame as we have a packed launch programme to deliver
3:04 PM ~Dan: (Welcome, kiwi_60! you can set your name with the /nick command; e.g., /nick Dan 🙂 )
3:05 PM ~Dan: (Welcome to #randomworlds, SteveG!)
3:05 PM +SteveG: Thanks 🙂
3:06 PM ~Dan: (SteveG: Here for the Q&A? 🙂 )
3:06 PM +Malckuss: Apologies for being late to the party.
3:06 PM +Jaxa: Some time ago there were rumors abous Mon Dieu! Cthulhu RPG? Can we expect AC-like game during Napoleonic era? Or any other Cthulhu + Napoleonic era games?
3:06 PM ~Dan: (No worries, Malckuss! Fire away with any questions!)
3:06 PM +SteveG: Yes thanks. I’m a big fan of A!C.
3:07 PM ~Dan: (SteveG: Glad to have you here!)
3:08 PM +Johnh259: @Jaxa absolutely, Mon Dieu Cthulhu is my personal baby, and I’m definitely planning on producing a Mon Dieu Cthulhu RPG … at some point! 🙂 Actually I’ve just started work on the third novel which will be a good bit of world building as it sets up the entire Napoleonic setting
3:08 PM +Johnh259: It’s called Keeper of the Hidden Flame and I’m about two chapters in now, hopefully will be out by Xmas 2021
3:09 PM +Johnh259: Writing novels takes sooooooo long
3:09 PM +Johnh259: Welcome SteveG!
3:09 PM +Malckuss: What would be the best product to ‘jump on’ the A!C wagon? The product line looks very interesting, but I’m not certain were to start for me and my crew.
3:10 PM +Jaxa: It is great to here. There aren’t many good Napoleonic-era RPG, especialy with magic and monsters!
3:11 PM +Johnh259: @Malckuss well we hope to have the Quickstart ready for you before too long
3:12 PM +Malckuss: That would be awesome!
3:12 PM ~Dan: It’s my belief that a change in system can’t help but change the “feel” of the setting in some way. Do you agree, and if so, how has 2d20 changed the feel of A!C?
3:12 PM +Johnh259: We’ve decided to split the new books into GM’s and Player’s Guides and they are finished text wise, but we really want to bring a whole wealth of spectacular new art for this version and it takes time, That said there are some amazing pictures already
3:15 PM +Johnh259: @Dan I think it has Dan, and I believe it’s definitely made it more pacy and pulpy which was one of our aims. There’s still depth and mystery and cosmic horror, but in its action scenes we want it to play like a seat-of-your-pants rollercoaster Indiana Jones adventure and I think 2d20 helps deliver that.
3:16 PM * ~Dan nods
3:16 PM ~Dan: Can you give an example of how that’s the case?
3:16 PM +Gabe13: can we expect any big campaigns for the new version?
3:18 PM +Johnh259: The interplay of Momentum and Threat encourages players to be bold and audacious, constantly pressing forward, taking risks to earn rewards, to pull off one in a million shots, defeat the Nazi menace and surviving, often by the skin of your teeth to live to fight another day
3:20 PM ~Dan: In CoC, Sanity is a strong drag on the willingness to take risks. Does A!C 2d20 have an analog of the Sanity mechanic, and if so, how does it work?
3:20 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe – Definitely. We’re hoping to have two major campaigns ready. The Forest of Fear set in the Ardennes in 1944 the Battle of the Bulge which is already written for veterans who want to plunge into advanced late war action, plus a streamlined rework of Shadows of Atlantis to bring new players in at the beginning of the war in a big starter
3:20 PM +Johnh259: campaign.
3:21 PM +Johnh259: Plus a host of one-off standalone missions for GMs to slot into their existing campaigns much like the STA Missions
3:23 PM +Gabe: Amazing! Never got to run the original shadows of Atlantis! Looking forward to that!
3:24 PM +Johnh259: @Dan Sanity is handled through Truths, there’s no Sanity Characteristic or rating as such. Characters suffer mental stress from mental attacks or witnessing sanity-defying entities. If they suffer too much mental stress they get a permanent mental injury, a Truth which is attached to their agent, for example like arachnophobia.
3:24 PM ~Dan: Ah, I see.
3:24 PM ~Dan: (brb — please continue.)
3:25 PM +Johnh259: I will also brb, but please continue with any questions!
3:25 PM +Gabe: Will the old Achtung! line be re-released under the 2d20 flagsahip or exist alongside it?
3:27 PM +Johnh259: I think we might convert some of the old ones eventually, possibly if there’s a strong demand for them, but I really want to bring loads of new stories, campaigns and content to the game, so probably the focus will be on new material
3:29 PM +Johnh259: I’ve got some massive late war campaigns already mapped out, incuding Fall of Wewelsburg Castle, Ashes of Berlin, and the Siege of Fenrir’s Seat
3:29 PM +SteveG: :] (y)
3:30 PM +Saurbaum: At any point in your plans does Cthulhu get nuked?
3:30 PM +Johnh259: But also some early ones too, including a big North Africa one…
3:32 PM +Johnh259: @Saurbaum you should know “That is not dead, which can eternal lie” 🙂
3:32 PM +Saurbaum: “Take off a nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure”
3:33 PM +Malckuss: I would definitely hope some of the more popular A!C adventures would get at least a 2d20 rules addendum; 2d20 A!C sounds like a blast, though.
3:33 PM +Johnh259: Well all I’ll say is that the end of the war is only the beginning…
3:33 PM +Malckuss: What ‘flavor’ of 2d20 are you using, and is there anything new it adds to the mix?
3:34 PM +Malckuss: (I apologize if that was covered earlier)
3:34 PM ~Dan-brb: (Sorry, guys. Dealing with a rush job from work.)
3:35 PM +Johnh259: Malckuss NP we’re using a custom version of 2d20, which all the games get to bring out the flavour of each setting. It’s pulpy fast paced, but still has a decent amount of crunch I’d say
3:36 PM +Johnh259: NP Dan
3:38 PM +Malckuss: So would you say this version of 2d20 is closer to say, Conan, or is it a bit looser, like Star Trek Adventures? Is there a lifepath for character gen?
3:40 PM ~Dan: (Back, sorry)
3:40 PM ~Dan: Do you have a character sheet that we can see?
3:41 PM +Johnh259: It’s probalby a bit looser like STA and there’s definitely some quite cool character creation options which mix Archetype, Background, and Characteristic to give you a really diverse set of values and real flexibility in how you create your character
3:42 PM +Johnh259: Plus a host of unique talents which add a little style 🙂
3:42 PM +Johnh259: @Dan ah, sorry nothing I can share just yet, but you will see some good examples in the Quickstart
3:42 PM +Gabe: Will players have access to mind-shattering mythos magic?
3:43 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe They will, but quite possibly at the cost of their immortal soul!
3:43 PM +Gabe: Good trade-off 🙂
3:43 PM +Johnh259: Research based PCs can access Mythos magic definitely, but it can be a perilous undertaking for sure
3:43 PM +Gabe: Will Nachtwolfe and Black Sun be opposed to each other?
3:44 PM +Johnh259: Dabbling in Nyarlathotep’s spell book is not for the faint hearted
3:45 PM +Johnh259: Gabe definitely, even though they’re nominally on the same side, they’re arch rivals and will do anything to undermine each other
3:45 PM +Gabe: But would they ever work together? And then at some point backstab the other? 😀
3:46 PM ~Dan: How does a PC start out with magic or psychic powers?
3:46 PM +Jaxa: 2d20 in AC. More STA or more Dishonored? STA is lighter than Conan but heavier than Dishonored?
3:47 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe absolutely, they’re a real duplicitous bunch!
3:48 PM ~Dan: Johnh259: How much of a bestiary does the game feature?
3:49 PM +Johnh259: @Dan you select an arcane path during character gen, which has the spellcaster keyword, which puts you down a path to sorcerous knowledge, some other PCs have a passing acquaintance with magic but that’s the most direct path
3:49 PM +Gabe: Johnh259 if you’re making a new GM screen for the new version please make it a 4-panel one! 😀
3:50 PM +Johnh259: @dan It’s big there’s a massive chapter on the Heroes and Villains of the Secret War in the GM’s Guide and it has all six factions, plus assorted monsters, beasts, gods and monstrosities, with all your favourites included
3:50 PM +Johnh259: and a few you might not have encountered before
3:50 PM +Johnh259: Gabe, I shall pass that on!
3:51 PM ~Dan: Awesome, re: bestiary!
3:51 PM ~Dan: In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
3:53 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! 🙂 Half of all tips this month go to (Link: https://rpgresearch.com/)https://rpgresearch.com/
3:53 PM +Johnh259: Well we haven’t touched much on the fiction I write, but that’s fine, if you like a dose of Achtung! Cthulhu or Mon Dieu Cthulhu fiction check out my author’s pages at Amazon UK (Link: https://amzn.to/2QFc4Wy,)https://amzn.to/2QFc4Wy, and Amazon US
3:53 PM +Johnh259: (Link: https://amzn.to/3k8Chen)https://amzn.to/3k8Chen
3:54 PM +Gabe: Ooohhh, any new fiction books for the new version planned?
3:54 PM +Johnh259: Thanks to everyone for your questions, it’s been real fun to answer them and share some of the stuff we’ve been working on. As a special treat if you’d like a free copy of one of my ebooks, just mail firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to send you a copy!
3:54 PM ~Dan: Thanks very much for joining us, Johnh259!
3:55 PM ~Dan: And for those of you who are new here, please know that you’re always welcome!
3:55 PM ~Dan: We’re always open for general chat when a Q&A isn’t going on. 🙂
3:55 PM +Johnh259: @Gabe definitely and keep an eye out for the Constellation of Alarion a new book of sci-fi short stories before Xmas!
3:55 PM ~Dan: Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!