7:31 PM +maxcan7: Hi, I’m Max Cantor. My game is Maximum Recursion Depth, or Sometimes the Only Way to Win is to Stop Playing: The Karmapunk RPG. I think the long pretentiousness of that title speaks for itself
7:32 PM +maxcan7: Should I elaborate further, or point people to the kickstarter or itch.io “ashcan” edition or the file I uploaded or something like that?
7:32 PM +maxcan7: or just wait for questions?
7:33 PM ~Dan: We can open the floor to questions if you like. 🙂
7:33 PM ~Dan: Can you tell us about the setting?
7:33 PM +maxcan7: Ya, because I can definitely elaborate all day, but it might be more productive to just jump into questions, otherwise I’d just say stuff that’s already out there for people to see
7:35 PM +maxcan7: oh sorry I somehow missed that latter part where you asked if I could talk more about the setting 0.o
7:35 PM +maxcan7: and was just like, wow… it’s real quiet here lol
7:35 PM +maxcan7: ok ya, so…
7:35 PM ~Dan: Heh. No problem. 🙂
7:35 PM +maxcan7: it takes place in the “Modern” world, more or less, except that 1000 years ago Sun Wukong went to war against the Celestial Bureaucracy, and won
7:36 PM +maxcan7: and after 500 years of his childish, selfish, impulsive nonsense, things really started to fall apart
7:36 PM +maxcan7: so the Numberless Courts of Hell rose up to the Material World, our world, to try to maintain order, because Poltergeists were getting lost in the bureaucracy; left on Earth, sent to the wrong Court of Hell, given an unjust reincarnation, and so on
7:37 PM +maxcan7: but the thing is, the Devils of the Numberless Courts of Hell, they follow strict rules, they don’t really think the way we do, they’re more like robots
7:37 PM +maxcan7: so even as the system itself is falling apart, and requires change, all they can do is just entrench the status quo, so things get even more out of whack
7:38 PM +maxcan7: so cut to the present, and you have these people, Recursers, who have special Karma powers, and can auto-reincarnate by doing these reincarnation rituals, where they basically die and are reborn as themselves, as if they hadn’t left
7:38 PM +maxcan7: so, many of them become Poltergeist Investigators, who help people find their lost loved ones, or rather their lost dead loved ones, Poltergeists, and traverse the Numberless Courts of Hell
7:39 PM +maxcan7: so there’s Devils, refugee Gods, Nature Spirits, Eldritch Mu, Karma, Taoist Alchemy, Reincarnation, Superheroes, and basically anything else
7:39 PM ~Dan: Superheroes?
7:41 PM +maxcan7: Ha ya, I probably shouldn’t emphasize that too much. The game itself, at least right now, has a somewhat more narrow focus, with the players as Poltergeist Investigators, but several of the NPCs in my current campaigns are superheroes; it’s a bigger world than just what’s in the box. I don’t know how much of that stuff will make it into this first
7:41 PM +maxcan7: book, if it does well enough I’d like to do more. So I don’t want to over-focus on that, but I thought it might catch some attention 😉
7:42 PM ~Dan: It did. 🙂
7:42 PM +maxcan7: but I think it’s just to make the point that, even though the core of this setting is about Karma and the Numberless Courts of Hell, there’s just a lot of Weird in this setting, it can be anything. It’s got a bit of Rick & Morty, or Doom Patrol- you know, it’s just all that stuff.
7:43 PM ~Dan: So when you say that the Recursers can auto-reincarnate, do they just reappear, or are they literally born again as babies?
7:44 PM +maxcan7: Ya they just reappear, more or less. First of all, they have to be able to do their reincarnation ritual, so it’s still possible for them to “die”. But also, there are penalties associated with using the reincarnation ritual. You end up getting a Karmic Attachment, one that provides no quantitative change to your character’s Karma, but must be
7:44 PM +maxcan7: resolved in order to advance, so it’s not totally a get out of jail free card, but it also moves the game forward rather than just stalling out or delaying things when you do it
7:45 PM +maxcan7: so what would have been a TPK in my last session, now has the potential to turn into something really interesting in the next session
7:46 PM * ~Dan nods
7:46 PM ~Dan: So what’s involved in being a Poltergeist investigator?
7:49 PM +maxcan7: that Dungeon Crawls might be thought of as the meat of D&D. So a client will call, and they’ll say “my brother died, and he was a good person, but he’s been sent to The Court of Oppressive Boredom, or something like that, and this clearly was a mistake.
7:49 PM +maxcan7: So then the party might investigate other people who knew him, or some other clues that may have been given, before eventually trying to break into The Court of Oppressive Boredom
7:50 PM ~Dan: What might the latter look like?
7:50 PM +maxcan7: and then that’s like the Dungeon Crawl, where they’ll encounter all sorts of Weird and ideally thematic stuff, other Poltergeists, Devils that they have to manipulate, Nature Spirits. Usually there’s some kind of “Bureaucratic Error” within the Court, so that adds another element of randomness or conflict
7:50 PM ~Dan: (The break-in, I mean.)
7:51 PM ~Dan: Very surreal, I take it?
7:51 PM +maxcan7: So that can depend, there aren’t necessarily hard rules on that. It may be that their clues lead them to an NPC that can get them in. Maybe they have to bribe a Nature Spirit, or trick a Devil, or just follow another Poltergeist that gets apprehended. Or they have to break into some other more general area of the Numberless Courts and see if they
7:51 PM +maxcan7: can find their way there
7:52 PM +maxcan7: Ya, that’s definitely the intention, and that’s also what makes it kind of hard to give general statements about what it’s like to do X or Y, but those are examples of how it can go
7:52 PM * ~Dan nods
7:53 PM ~Dan: Why Poltergeists in particular, rather than just ghosts?
7:57 PM +maxcan7: hey
7:58 PM ~Dan: Sorry, lost my connection.
7:58 PM ~Dan: Last thing I saw was my question: 7:53 PM ~Dan: Why Poltergeists in particular, rather than just ghosts?
7:58 PM +maxcan7: np, I was saying while you were off, I’m worried that might happen to me at some point as well, at least you’ve set a precedent lol
7:58 PM * ~Dan chuckles
7:58 PM +maxcan7: hmm having trouble c/p more than one post at a time, but I sent it in 3 parts…
7:59 PM +maxcan7: “Ya, it just kind of came to me at some point. I had considered ghosts, like, one of the main inspirations for the concept of the Poltergeists was the (in English translation) Hungry Ghosts from Chinese mythology, so I could have gone that way. However, I don’t remember the dictionary definition of Poltergeist off hand, maybe I’m making this up,
7:59 PM +maxcan7: but to me, it had a more specific meaning.”
7:59 PM +maxcan7: “Like, a ghost can be all sorts of things, but a Poltergeist is more like, this person has unresolved issues, and they’ll haunt until those issues are resolved.”
7:59 PM +maxcan7: “And that’s a core theme of the setting, so it just clicked that way.”
7:59 PM +maxcan7: that’s what I said
7:59 PM ~Dan: Ah.
8:00 PM ~Dan: Well, technically, Poltergeist literally means “noisy ghosts” and refers to the invisible sort of ghost that throws objects around.
8:00 PM +maxcan7: aah, ya, I guess that makes sense. I dunno, I guess Poltergeist just had a little more gravitas to it
8:00 PM * ~Dan nods
8:00 PM ~Dan: It’s a cool word. 🙂
8:01 PM +maxcan7: also, I like to do wordplay and things like that, and I had an idea at one point for “Polterzeitgeist”, which I did eventually incorporate into the game, so it was worth it
8:01 PM ~Dan: Heh. Nice. 🙂
8:02 PM ~Dan: Are all Poltergeist investigators Recursers?
8:03 PM +maxcan7: Hmm, you know, I hadn’t actually thought about that really lol, good question. I don’t think that necessarily has to be the case, I mean I could imagine ways that I could make it that way, but I don’t think I want to. There’s not necessarily support in the game for a PC Poltergeist Investigator that is not a Recurser, at least not yet, but in terms
8:03 PM +maxcan7: of the setting more broadly, I suppose it’s possible
8:03 PM +maxcan7: So ya, not sure if you meant in terms of the game, or the setting; for the former, definitely no (at this moment), for the latter, maybe (?)
8:04 PM ~Dan: I meant in terms of the setting. 🙂
8:05 PM +maxcan7: Ya, if it’s an NPC, sure, you could imagine a Batman-type in this setting. Or someone who is maybe a Taoist Alchemist, or who is a Sage of the Celestial Bureaucracy, or is a Cyborg or Alien or something, sure.
8:05 PM ~Dan: Aside from reincarnating, do Recursers have any supernatural abilities?
8:07 PM +maxcan7: Ya, they have what I am unimaginatively calling “Poltergeist Features” on the Poltergeist Forms. But I think those are more suggestions than hard rules. Or rather, while they affect what a player can do strictly speaking in Conflict, generally I encourage players to do things that it would make sense for their Poltergeist Forms to be able to do.
8:07 PM +maxcan7: Maybe I make them make a Saving Roll, but ya, I like to play fast and loose.
8:07 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, Zack!)
8:07 PM +Zack: Hey hey!
8:08 PM ~Dan: Hmm. I’m not certain that I’m following you there… Recursers have the powers of Poltergeists?
8:09 PM +Zack: Sorry I’m late, got lost in shower thoughts 😂
8:09 PM +maxcan7: Ya, so Recursers have Poltergeist Forms, those are basically the character classes. A Poltergeist Form has Quirks, Starting Karmic Attachments, Reincarnation Rituals, and Poltergeist Features. You randomly roll on the tables (or just pick if your GM is cool with that)
8:10 PM +maxcan7: but the idea is, based on that collection of rolls, you sort of form a picture of who your character is
8:10 PM +maxcan7: I’ve actually been really happy with how it’s worked out so far, the characters come together in pretty interesting ways just with a few rolls
8:11 PM +maxcan7: Within the setting- I’ve been intentionally vague about this in my campaigns lol, but I don’t think people necessarily think of “Poltergeist Forms” within the setting per se
8:12 PM +maxcan7: like, a character with Ghost in the Mirror doesn’t necessarily say “my Poltergeist Form is Ghost in the Mirror”. I mean, I dunno, maybe if you want to go a little more anime with it, like My Hero Academia
8:12 PM +maxcan7: but I won’t hard-code that in, there’s a bit of anti-canon for you
8:13 PM ~Dan: How many Poltergeist Forms are there?
8:14 PM +maxcan7: Currently there are 6 (although two of them are still very WIP). If my first Stretch Goal is met, Fiona Geist will also do a guest Poltergeist Form (also, talk about a perfect name to write for this setting…)
8:14 PM +maxcan7: I would like to make more down the line, and also I would encourage GMs and Players to make their own
8:15 PM +maxcan7: but those 6 will have the pretty art and my hopefully fairly interesting and evocative words, and also a lot of my neuroses and weirdness
8:15 PM ~Dan: Who are the adversaries in this game?
8:15 PM +maxcan7: you are
8:15 PM ~Dan: Me? What did *I* do? D:
8:15 PM +maxcan7: It’s Karmapunk- you can fight the system, but you’re a product of it, so the more you fight it, the more you entrench it
8:15 PM +maxcan7: lol
8:15 PM +maxcan7: that’s another core theme of the setting!
8:16 PM +maxcan7: Ya, you’re rebelling against the Celestial Bureaucracy and the Numberless Courts of Hell, but you’re also trying to face your own flaws and failings, and better yourself
8:16 PM +maxcan7: to divest your Karma, to break the cycle of Reincarnation. Or, you just get worse and worse, and then you hit Maximum Recursion Depth.
8:17 PM ~Dan: Interesting premise!
8:18 PM +maxcan7: so I have been developing a handful of factions, that likely won’t be fully featured in this book unfortunately except to the extent that I can squeeze them into the module, but there’s a lot of room to make it your own
8:18 PM +maxcan7: thanks 🙂
8:19 PM ~Dan: So I take it that the cosmology is Asian?
8:19 PM +maxcan7: decidedly no, actually
8:20 PM ~Dan: Really? Huh. The naming conventions sound Asian to me.
8:21 PM +maxcan7: I mean, yes there is Sun Wukong, and Buddha, and it borrows heavily from Buddhist and Taoist thought. But that wasn’t the culture I was raised in, and while it did affect me profoundly at a young age and I think I’m relatively well educated on these subjects, at least by non-academic standards, I don’t necessarily think it’s my story to tell. I
8:21 PM +maxcan7: mean, I wouldn’t discourage someone from adding those elements into their MRD Campaign, and I have some of it, but it’s decidedly not the main focus. It can just as easily be Dante’s Inferno, or Greek Mythology, or all of them. That’s maybe part of why I made the Superhero comment before. Because Superhero universes have pulp heroes, aliens,
8:21 PM +maxcan7: cyborgs, interdimensional beings, mythological gods, lovecraftian entities, etc., all mish-mashed together
8:21 PM +maxcan7: I see Maximum Recursion Depth as being more like that
8:22 PM +maxcan7: of the six Poltergeist Forms I’ve currently written, only one of them directly references Chinese mythology
8:22 PM ~Dan: Gotcha. Fair enough.
8:23 PM ~Dan: Can you share that sample Poltergeist sheet that you posted prior to the Q&A again?
8:23 PM +maxcan7: I should also say in this case, even to the extent that it’s Buddhist, it’s more so Buddhism as it developed in China, and how it interplayed with Taoism and Confucianism, rather than the original Indian Buddhism and how it related to Hinduism. But even then, that’s more a vehicle for satirizing the issues of today, which is actually exactly what
8:23 PM +maxcan7: Journey to the West was doing in the first place
8:23 PM +maxcan7: Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/ea109ff83c1c9a367abadaf4dd4db246/001%20ghost%20in%20the%20mirror.pdf)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/ea109ff83c1c9a367abadaf4dd4db246/001%20ghost%20in%20the%20mirror.pdf
8:25 PM ~Dan: Perhaps using that character as an example, can you describe the elements that go into a character?
8:25 PM +maxcan7: hmm, in what regard? Like the mechanics of it, or something else?
8:25 PM +maxcan7: (takes a closer look at his own work 0.o…)
8:26 PM ~Dan: The mechanics. Like, attributes, skills, that sort of thing.
8:27 PM +maxcan7: Ah ok
8:27 PM +maxcan7: So the attributes are Nature, Wisdom, and Propriety. I don’t want to rehash too much what’s already out there, but just for quick reference:
8:27 PM +maxcan7: Nature: This is sort of like force of will, or exertion, or effort. It can be physical or mental.
8:28 PM +maxcan7: Wisdom: Noticing things, critical thinking, observation, being able to control ones thoughts and emotions.
8:29 PM +maxcan7: Propriety: Somewhat like charisma, but a bit broader. It’s the ability to get the edge- to navigate society and circumstances and get what you want out of life, to understand the system and work within it or against it
8:29 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, Akyla!)
8:29 PM +maxcan7: So you roll for those ones, or point-buy if your GM wants to do it that way.
8:29 PM +maxcan7: Also, each attribute serves as its own HP
8:30 PM ~Dan: What dice do you roll for them?
8:30 PM +maxcan7: and each attribute can have Conflict dice associated with it, so you can be just as powerful with a sword as a legal document, if you leverage it correctly
8:30 PM +maxcan7: if you’re randomly rolling it’s 3d6
8:30 PM +maxcan7: because attribute Saves are roll-under with a d20
8:31 PM +maxcan7: then there’s Karma. You do a Karma roll alongside Saves, roll-under with a d6 (all characters start with 3 Karma). So the more Karma you get the better… except, if your Karma exceeds 6, you become an Ashura, a Karma Devil
8:31 PM +maxcan7: also, in order to advance, you have to divest your Karma to 1
8:31 PM +maxcan7: so that’s a big part of the gameplay loop, is accruing and divesting Karma
8:32 PM +maxcan7: so from there, you also roll a career, this is a broad category, like Healthcare, Government, Science, etc.; no real gameplay mechanics, just some context
8:33 PM ~Dan: So the attributes govern all task resolution?
8:33 PM +maxcan7: you also roll a Special Item, which is just a random item that has some cool abilities, just to give your character a little something extra. Ideally items can come and go pretty freely, but it just gives you more to work with
8:33 PM +maxcan7: aah, so there are two kinds of task resolution
8:33 PM +maxcan7: There are Saves, which were what I described before, where you roll a Save for a given attribute and do a Karma roll, and you get degrees of success that way
8:34 PM ~Dan: The Karma roll gives you degree of success?
8:34 PM +maxcan7: so succeeding on both is a full success, just succeeding on the save is a partial success, just karma is partial failure, and failing both is a full failure. Obviously the difference between partial success and failure can be somewhat arbitrary, that’s ok, it just gives you a bit more variability if you need it in a given situation
8:35 PM +maxcan7: I prefer a “fail forward” approach to things, so the partial success/failure just gives you a way to keep things interesting regardless of how the dice roll
8:35 PM * ~Dan nods
8:35 PM ~Dan: Can the system handle superhuman attribute levels, and if so, how?
8:35 PM ~Dan: (I’m guess the answer is yes, given the presence of superheroes!)
8:36 PM +maxcan723: got disconnected
8:36 PM +maxcan723: I’m back!
8:36 PM +maxcan723: what’s the last thing I said? Oh, I see I got renamed…
8:37 PM ~Dan: No problem. I’ll repeat my last question.
8:37 PM ~Dan: 8:35 PM ~Dan: Can the system handle superhuman attribute levels, and if so, how?8:35 PM ~Dan: (I’m guess the answer is yes, given the presence of superheroes!)
8:37 PM ~Dan: (The last thing you said: 8:35 PM +maxcan7: I prefer a “fail forward” approach to things, so the partial success/failure just gives you a way to keep things interesting regardless of how the dice roll )
8:37 PM +maxcan723: ok ya, that’s the last thing I said, thanks
8:39 PM +maxcan723: so ya, like I said before, I prefer to play fast and loose. I’m the GM, so if I generally understand the system, which in this case I’d hope I do, power-scale is kind of arbitrary anyway, right? Like, if I want my players to be more powerful, I can just make their opposition less powerful, or give them arbitrary bonuses or whatever. Rather than
8:39 PM +maxcan723: trying to manipulate their power through attributes per se, I prefer to just give them more lateral approaches to things
8:40 PM ~Dan: How does combat work?
8:40 PM +maxcan723: so if you want to play things in a more OSR-y kind of way, I mean the system is based on Into the Odd, it can be like that. But then there are other ways where it’s more PbtA-ish I guess, like ways to manipulate your Karma to make you more or less likely to succeed
8:41 PM +maxcan723: the core combat is Into the Odd, so you have damage dice, and you roll them. No attack roll, no misses! However, where MRD significantly differs is that each attribute is its own HP pool, and different kinds of weapons do specific damage. so a weapon with Nd6 does d6 Nature damage, Pd8 does d8 propriety damage, etc.
8:41 PM +maxcan723: but also, another “big” “innovation”, is that I encourage players to approach any kind of problem as either a Save or a Conflict
8:42 PM +maxcan723: since “combat” can be literally anything (if you have the right gear for it), the distinction becomes more arbitrary
8:42 PM +maxcan723: so in that case, you do a Save if you just want it to be “all or none”, I mean not really all or none since as we discussed, there are degrees of success, but basically, it’s not something you want to dwell on too much, it’s just going to get you from point A to point B
8:42 PM +maxcan723: Conflict will be more involved, and gives you more flexibility, but it can also put you at potentially greater risk
8:43 PM +maxcan723: that’s more just a “quality of life” mechanic rather than something intrinsic to the game or setting, I guess. Because, as much as we all think we love combat in TTRPGs, actually, I find that often I like the idea of it more than the practice
8:44 PM +maxcan723: so this way, you only really have to do it when you actually want to, and because it’s not just “I swing my sword!”, but “I tap into his deep neuroses and make him feel really bad about himself”, it’s just a little more intrinsically fun, I think, because you have to think about it a bit more
8:44 PM +maxcan723: or I dunno, maybe that does not speak well of me…
8:44 PM * ~Dan chuckles
8:45 PM ~Dan: Nah. 🙂
8:45 PM +maxcan723: so ya, we kind of ran away a bit from the discussion about the Poltergeist Form lol, but we can go in whatever direction
8:46 PM ~Dan: Hmm… Well, what are the Poltergeist Forms?
8:47 PM ~Dan: (Howdy, Lee!)
8:48 PM +maxcan723: I think I already gave my non-answer on that front lol :p. They’re just a framework. They have a little flavor text at the top, you roll a Quirk which is just like a supernatural physical characteristic. The Reincarnation Ritual is how you kill yourself to auto-reincarnate. The Starting Karmic Attachments sort of give you some stuff to work with
8:48 PM +maxcan723: for your character’s background, and the Poltergeist Features are the actual special abilities.
8:49 PM +maxcan723: I guess we didn’t really talk about Karmic Attachments yet, but basically, whenever you make a Karmic Attachment, you accrue at least 1 Karma, but when you resolve it, you divest at least 1 more Karma than you accrued from it, so again, that’s just part of the core gameplay loop of how you advance
8:50 PM +maxcan723: and it’s meant to reflect the Buddhist idea of Karma- that the Material World is this inherently corrupting place, and the more you embed yourself within it, the more corrupted you become. So it’s enticing, because it’s literally how you involve yourself in the world, and in a mechanical sense higher karma means more likely to succeed on your
8:50 PM +maxcan723: rolls, but if you want to advance, you have to resolve those attachments and divest your karma, only to do it all over again
8:50 PM +maxcan723: but ya, so a Poltergeist Form is just a framework for doing all of that
8:51 PM +maxcan723: they each have some kind of inherent meaning to me, sometimes I worry they’re too obvious and other times I worry they’re too obscure
8:52 PM ~Dan: So the PCs are their own worst enemies, but what sorts of creatures might they face off against?
8:53 PM +maxcan723: it’s actually hard to think about how best to answer this question, because again, many times the encounters in this game aren’t really “combat” per se, although they can be. Let me kind of think through and put down a few of them, maybe go through my notes a bit…
8:56 PM +maxcan723: In one session, the party encountered a sentient pile of hay in a Court of Hell. The sentient pile of hay was a Buddhist Monk in its last life. They had the brilliant idea to put the hay in a little cut up sack, and he became Hay Boy, instantly Best NPC. Hay Boy at some point acquires a sniper rifle and becomes a bit of a drunk, and befriends Rat
8:56 PM +maxcan723: Jack, a rat-like Poltergeist, who offers to help the party but later betrays them. I thought it was super obvious, but they trusted Hay Boy so implicitly that they trusted Rat Jack implicitly as well despite imo it was obvious that he was “a rat”
8:56 PM +maxcan723: Rat Jack is an illegal poltergeist selling college drugs for Chester, a Cheetah-like Nature Spirit
8:56 PM +maxcan723: but then in another campaign, it turns out that Rat Jack is also part of The Council of Jacks, and that’s a whole thing
8:57 PM +maxcan723: there’s a mysterious red-skinned Escalator-headed Devil
8:57 PM +maxcan723: in one Court of Hell they met “The Worcestershire”, a half-anchovy half-lemur “Artiste”
8:57 PM +maxcan723: There’s Soft Mother and Wire Mother
8:58 PM +maxcan723: One time they went up against some SWAT military-police, and specifically a duo called Redlight/Greenlight, who would yell “redlight” or “greenlight” to lock down nature-based moves or propriety-based moves respectively, or “darklight” to knock out wisdom
8:59 PM ~Dan: Huh. That’s kinda cool. 🙂
8:59 PM +maxcan723: there’s Moon Marine, the TikTok superhero who is actually a proponent of a bunch of fringe white nationalist stuff as part of this larger international organization
8:59 PM +maxcan723: ya, I dunno if any of that makes sense, but I think it’s cool
9:00 PM +maxcan723: I’d have to go through my notes more and lay it all out, I realize I’m leaving out a lot of details on a lot of those
9:00 PM ~Dan: How much does the public know about all the weirdness?
9:00 PM +maxcan723: but my hope is you see all of these fragments and are just like “woah- I don’t know what all this means, but I feel like it means something and I want to know what”
9:01 PM +maxcan723: ya, so in my canon, it’s all pretty laid bare
9:01 PM +maxcan723: not necessarily all of it, but most of it
9:01 PM +maxcan723: the Numberless Courts of Hell, Poltergeists, Devils, Nature Spirits, Recursers, are all just a fact of life
9:02 PM +maxcan723: there certainly are mysteries and secrets and stuff, but even then, it’s often out there in plain sight
9:03 PM +maxcan723: I mean we live in a world where some people seriously believe the Earth is flat. There’s some awful, messed up stuff on the internet, stuff you can’t make up. But then there’s also ASMR, or furries, or whatever. You know, stuff that people think is weird, but is not inherently bad, is mostly innocuous, or actually kind of interesting and cool
9:03 PM +maxcan723: there’s what we’re doing right now
9:03 PM +maxcan723: it’s a weird world
9:03 PM +maxcan723: Maximum Recursion Depth is just a filter on that
9:03 PM +maxcan723: so to say it’s all “hiding in the shadows”, I mean I understand why some settings do that, I get the narrative advantages of doing that
9:04 PM +maxcan723: but I think, for me, for what I’m trying to do with this setting, it would be disingenuous
9:04 PM +maxcan723: maybe that’s being too dramatic, I dunno
9:05 PM ~Dan: I like your approach.
9:05 PM +maxcan723: thanks 🙂
9:05 PM +maxcan723: ya, I don’t know what I’m allowed to say here, so I’ve been avoiding profanities or certain stuff, but there’s a lot of personal stuff in here, and reflections on the world, either directly or indirectly. I want it to be more light and escapist, but still able to go to those dark places
9:06 PM ~Dan: But going back to my earlier question, what sorts of monsters (external) might the PCs face?
9:07 PM +maxcan723: I thought that’s what I was doing lol. I wasn’t being facetious before, I mean I might say “ok that guy has X HP”, or “that guy does Nd8”, but that’s all kind of secondary
9:07 PM +maxcan723: as the situation warrants, maybe they have to fight some generic goons, but that’s usually not the way things shake out
9:08 PM +maxcan723: but I think, because you can use Conflict mechanics and Saves interchangeably, after a little bit, I think it becomes obvious in play, it just all becomes seamless
9:08 PM +maxcan723: you stop thinking about “what’s the next monster I’m going to fight”, and it’s more just, “ok, this situation is weird, I’m staring at a living dimension, I can’t swing my sword at this, I’m just going to have to deal…”
9:10 PM ~Dan: I think I see what you’re saying there.
9:11 PM +maxcan723: I’m going to significantly flesh out the Module for the main book, but you can see an example Court of Hell in the “Ashcan” Edition. As written, I don’t think it really does justice to what I’m saying, but I think I’ve learned a bit more and gotten better at laying it out, so I hope in the main book it’s more clear what I mean, but I would
9:11 PM +maxcan723: encourage people to look at that for just some kind of rough idea
9:11 PM * ~Dan nods
9:12 PM +maxcan723: that being said, there’s nothing stopping someone else from running it that way
9:12 PM +maxcan723: I mean, it being more about, like fighting monsters and that kind of thing
9:12 PM ~Dan: How large is the book?
9:13 PM +maxcan723: Still figuring that out, and trying very hard not to over-scope it. The “Ashcan” Edition was 4 Poltergeist Forms, less than 20 Special Items, the basic rules, and a very inadequate module. The full game will be six poltergeist forms, over 100 special items, the core rules, and a significantly more fleshed out module which will hopefully be
9:13 PM +maxcan723: implicitly sort of also a bit of a setting primer, factions primer, and bestiary, but more just a sample, to give you an idea of what it’s all about
9:14 PM +maxcan723: but I don’t necessarily have a great sense yet of how many pages, exactly, that maps to
9:14 PM +maxcan723: but the “Ashcan” Edition is technically a complete game unto itself, so this new game is mostly just a prettier, better written, and expanded version of that
9:15 PM +maxcan723: and if it does well enough, I’d like to keep it going, with more Poltergeist Forms, expanded setting content, more modules, maybe a “true” bestiary (probably more like FIre on the Velvet Horizon than anything else but still), stuff like that
9:15 PM ~Dan: What sorts of creatures would be in the bestiary?
9:17 PM +maxcan723: Ya, I mean I think it would be more stuff like Hay Boy, The Worcestershire, Escalator-Headed Devil, Wire Mother… it’s not going to be “Bear Nature Spirit”, “Spider Devil”, you know, that’s stuff anyone can just kinda do themselves.
9:17 PM ~Dan: Cool. 🙂
9:17 PM ~Dan: What is your *least* favorite aspect of Maximum Recursion Depth?
9:18 PM +maxcan723: It’s going to be, here’s a non-integer dimensional space, here’s a living system, here’s the abstract concept of mortality
9:18 PM +maxcan723: hmm…
9:18 PM +maxcan723: that is an excellent question, and one that is so, so appropriate for everything MRD is about
9:19 PM ~Dan: I can’t take the credit for it. danhunsaker came up with it but is seldom around to ask it himself these days.
9:20 PM +maxcan723: I think my least favorite part, is that, you ask totally reasonable questions like “what the f*** do I actually face off against in this game”, and I can’t give you a straight answer. I mean, that’s what I love about it, that’s what allows me to make it mine, that’s why it’s weird, that’s why I care about it, that’s what I care about. But, it is
9:20 PM +maxcan723: so, so, so hard to express that, and even if I could express it adequately, there are only so many other people who appreciate that kind of thing, so it’s working twice as hard for half as much, you know? Like, if you read MRD, you’re either going to come out of it being like “well I still have no idea what to do with this”, or, it’s just doing the
9:20 PM +maxcan723: kinds of things you were already doing, but hopefully well enough to inspire you and make you want to explore it more
9:21 PM ~Dan: I can see that.
9:21 PM ~Dan: In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
9:24 PM +maxcan723: well, hmm, a few things. One, I just want to thank you for this opportunity, I really appreciate it. I know that’s such a generic, nothing thing to say, but I mean it. Like I said right, this whole thing, it’s all kind of a personal expression, as with my blog (weirdwonderfulworlds.blogspot.com), and it’s hard to express coherently. I really
9:24 PM +maxcan723: thought the Kickstarter was just going to completely bomb, but here we are just a few days in, and it’s already at 94% (and driving me nuts just sitting there, not quite over the finish line >.<)
9:24 PM +maxcan723: and that’s just crazy to me, that that many people saw that and were like “ya, this”
9:24 PM +maxcan723: I really don’t want to take this for granted
9:25 PM +maxcan723: I said one as if there was a two, but I think that’s it lol. Check out my blog, check out the Kickstarter, check out the “Ashcan” Edition. Reach out to me wherever, let me know your thoughts. It seems like a given that, in the next 20-something days, it should hopefully meet its funding goal, but if you want to be the one to get it over the finish
9:25 PM +maxcan723: line 😉
9:25 PM ~Dan: Excellent. 🙂
9:26 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! 🙂
9:26 PM ~Dan: Thanks very much for joining us, maxcan723!
9:26 PM +maxcan723: Thanks for having me :)!!
9:26 PM ~Dan: If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!