[8:06 AM] ilmatto: Greetings! I’m Marco Calesella from Agon (a Game of Nerds). We are a creative team of Italian writers and artists who loves ttrpg and the nerd world in general! We are the authors of Serenissima line in Storyteller Vault for VtM and WtO and of the esoteric cyberpunk ttrpg Arcana Familia. I’m here today to introduce you to Deep Sky Ballad, our new project that will open in crowdfunding in July on Gamefound. It is a Space Western ttrpg, where players play the members of a Posse, a group of adventurers, wanderers and mercenaries who wander from planet to planet in search of glory and fortune in their spaceship. The setting was built in such a way as to have all the elements of the classic frontier life, but transposed into space (isolation of the communities, very weak if not absent presence of public authorities and laws, enormous possibilities to make a fortune or to find a virgin place where you can build your own home) together with elements that encourage both physical and allegorical exploration of the game world (both human and alien ruins, a lost past, forgotten technology, many questions to dispel). The game system, on the other hand, allows, in addition to playing your character, to participate intimately in real space battles, in which on the one hand you will have to decide second by second what your vehicle will have to do tactically, on the other hand what the character himself at that time, all in a mechanism designed to be agile and simple in any case. The pure game mechanics is based on our Blackjack System, based on poker cards and which allows the player to have total control over how much potential and accuracy the character uses in the action.
[8:07 AM] ilmatto: Here is the link to the project in Gamefound https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/8pyk02zjctp6mht8yysequhr5uwDeep Sky Ballad – Space Western TTRPG by A Game of NerdsDeep Sky Ballad is a traditional tabletop role-playing game with a Space Western setting, in which a group of adventurers and vagabonds wander with their spaceship. In their quest for fortune, they face both thousands of challenges and the drama of the bonds keeping their group together, in a cinematic and theatrical experience.
[8:09 AM] ilmatto: Done
[8:09 AM] Dan Davenport: Thanks, @ilmatto! The floor is open to questions!
[8:10 AM] Dan Davenport: What is the overall tech level of the setting?
[8:10 AM] Dan Davenport: (And brb!)
[8:10 AM] Biggins342: Now this looks interesting!
[8:13 AM] Biggins342: Is this in production or pre-production? Book format or electronic format?
[8:13 AM] Dan Davenport: (back, sorry!)
@Dan DavenportWhat is the overall tech level of the setting?[8:14 AM] ilmatto: It is quite particular: there has been a strong technological regression due to a catastrophic event called the Tumor, which has completely annihilated all that is digital in the universe reached by the human race and almost condemned the existence of civilization. On several planets many things have barely been preserved and recovered, such as space engineering, but much more is irretrievably lost. In particular, given that the AI responsible for the tumor are still present, it is not possible in any way to take advantage of digital technology, and everything works through mechanical and analog computers. So many things are advanced from science fiction, others are at the level of the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, this only applies to the more advanced (and fortunate) planets: others have further regressed, some up to the Stone Age or the Bronze Age.
@Biggins342Is this in production or pre-production? Book format or electronic format?[8:15 AM] ilmatto: pre-production, and both book and electronic1
[8:16 AM] Dan Davenport: Is there FTL travel?
@Dan DavenportIs there FTL travel?[8:17 AM] Biggins342: FTL?
[8:17 AM] Dan Davenport: Faster than light.1
@ilmattopre-production, and both book and electronic[8:17 AM] Biggins342: Estimated time of completion?
@Dan DavenportIs there FTL travel?[8:18 AM] ilmatto: yes. The technology in this regard uses warp systems, similar to those of star trek as the basic concept (later in the final material we will expand it).
[8:19 AM] Dan Davenport: What is starship combat like?1
@Biggins342Estimated time of completion?[8:19 AM] ilmatto: we will start the crowdfunding campaign on Gamefound in July, and after (if we reach the minimum necessary to start the full job) we took a year to have the book ready for printing (edited)
@ilmattowe will start the crowdfunding campaign on Gamefound in July, and after (if we reach the minimum necessary to start the full job) we took a year to have the book ready for printing (edited)[8:20 AM] Biggins342: Do you need playtesters?
[8:22 AM] Biggins342: Are there “character classes” for different players?
@Dan DavenportWhat is starship combat like?[8:27 AM] ilmatto: a simultaneous shift system is used. The ships involved are placed on the hexagonal grid by the GM, then the individual characters declare what actions they perform this turn: they can pilot the ship, make repairs in a particular section (the ship is divided into modular sections each with its own function and its own statistics ), fire weapons, use sensors to predict the opponent’s movements, move along the ship, etc. . Tests can be made in this phase, whereby the ship itself can receive one or more bonuses. In the following phases the movements of the ship are declared, the direction in which the fire is fired, the activation of shields, and finally in the last phase the actual consequences of the decisions made are revealed, with the movements of all the ships and the damage suffered. from weapons, and then you start the shift all over again. More or less, from the playtests done so far, a space combat lasts an average of twenty minutes. A peculiarity is that the aim is not to destroy the enemy ship: this is because from the setting you no longer have the technology necessary for advanced targeting systems for missiles or high-powered weapons, but you use machine guns such as those from anti-aircraft of the Second World War. The aim is to disable the engines or the cockpit and then make a boarding.
@Biggins342Do you need playtesters?[8:27 AM] ilmatto: We have already recruited several XD
[8:28 AM] Dan Davenport: You mentioned alien ruins. Are there living aliens?
@Biggins342Are there “character classes” for different players?[8:28 AM] ilmatto: No, the creation system is free. But for the sake of simplicity there will be some archetypal examples (gunslinger, guide, explorer, smuggler, diplomat, etc)1
@ilmattoNo, the creation system is free. But for the sake of simplicity there will be some archetypal examples (gunslinger, guide, explorer, smuggler, diplomat, etc)[8:31 AM] Biggins342: Although the system is free, you would need someone with piloting skills, engineering skills, gunnery skills, etc… would it be safe to say it is a little like Firefly/Serenity ish?
@Dan DavenportYou mentioned alien ruins. Are there living aliens?[8:32 AM] ilmatto: Not exactly. It turned out that there was certainly a much more advanced civilization of alien origin throughout the galaxy, but only mummified corpses (or worse) were found in the space stations and abandoned spaceships that were found. An epidemic seems to have killed them all. This does not mean that there is no life other than human in the universe: for example, in adrift ships (both human and otherwise) parasites, predators, mutants and more abound. But nothing vaguely sentient. At least for now.1
[8:33 AM] Dan Davenport: Are inhabited planets natural, terraformed, or both?
@Biggins342Although the system is free, you would need someone with piloting skills, engineering skills, gunnery skills, etc… would it be safe to say it is a little like Firefly/Serenity ish?[8:33 AM] ilmatto: Firefly/Serenity is the primary source of inspiration for the setting, so I would say yes.1
@Dan DavenportAre inhabited planets natural, terraformed, or both?[8:34 AM] ilmatto: Probably both, but no one knows anymore XD The Tumor (the apocalyptic event I was talking about) happened centuries ago, and historical documents are the first things that were lost
[8:35 AM] Dan Davenport: How Earth-like are the inhabited planets, and how common is alien animal and plant life?
@ilmattoFirefly/Serenity is the primary source of inspiration for the setting, so I would say yes.[8:36 AM] Biggins342: Excellent! I am getting more and more interested in this product!1
[8:38 AM] Biggins342: Do you know who will be publishing this?
[8:41 AM] Biggins342: I have been looking for something new for my group. Been wanting something with a western flare. This looks to be it!
[8:42 AM] Biggins342: How do player characters progress? A level system, point/buy up system?1
@Dan DavenportHow Earth-like are the inhabited planets, and how common is alien animal and plant life?[8:42 AM] ilmatto: Basically very similar to the earth, with perhaps some minimal differences (gravity, presence of particular gases, duration of the day). The animal races are kept as generic as possible in statistics (using types such as predators or prey) as we want to leave total space for the GM to include any type of creature he wishes. One of the Stretch Goals will be a random planet generator, just in case. Fixed are the mounts available to players, which include horses, giant lizards and giant grasshoppers.
@Biggins342Do you know who will be publishing this?[8:43 AM] ilmatto: For the moment we will print the books directly, in the future we will see.1
@ilmattoFor the moment we will print the books directly, in the future we will see.[8:46 AM] Biggins342: Estimated cost? Will it be a direct purchase or will it be distributed? Does this include electronic format?
@Biggins342How do player characters progress? A level system, point/buy up system?[8:47 AM] ilmatto: The system is very particular: there will be no experience points, but the advancements in the attributes will be purchased with the Resources that are earned as a result of successful missions, and are shared throughout the Posse. In this way, the group will have to decide whether to use the money earned to train a character to pilot better or if I want to buy a missile launcher. The game is based a lot on the interpersonal relationships between the characters themselves (there are mechanics on purpose about it, in fact), as happens in the series like Firefly, Westworld and the like.1
@Biggins342Estimated cost? Will it be a direct purchase or will it be distributed? Does this include electronic format?[8:48 AM] ilmatto: 14€ for the PDF, 34€ for printed book and PDF (and then there are other pledges with additional things)1
[8:49 AM] Dan Davenport: Are there any major adversaries in the setting?
[8:49 AM] ilmatto: plus stretch goals included
@ilmattoThe system is very particular: there will be no experience points, but the advancements in the attributes will be purchased with the Resources that are earned as a result of successful missions, and are shared throughout the Posse. In this way, the group will have to decide whether to use the money earned to train a character to pilot better or if I want to buy a missile launcher. The game is based a lot on the interpersonal relationships between the characters themselves (there are mechanics on purpose about it, in fact), as happens in the series like Firefly, Westworld and the like.[8:49 AM] Biggins342: So something kinda similar to Shadowrun. I like that the group has to decide on distribution of buy-ups…1
@ilmatto14€ for the PDF, 34€ for printed book and PDF (and then there are other pledges with additional things)[8:52 AM] Biggins342: Webpage?
@Dan DavenportAre there any major adversaries in the setting?[8:53 AM] ilmatto: That is being defined; we are currently building an interplanetary syndicate of pirates and criminals, but we could add more. In itself, however, the adventures will be focused more on exploration and solving problems at the local level (in the sense of the planet). In fact, in the culture of the setting, we try as much as possible to distrust and untie ourselves from superplanetary entities and authorities (this is to create the typical atmosphere of the frontier)
[8:53 AM] Biggins342: Are there types of ballistic/composite armor for characters to purchase?
@Biggins342Webpage?[8:53 AM] ilmatto: https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/8pyk02zjctp6mht8yysequhr5uw#/section/rewards/outlaw-24683Deep Sky Ballad – Space Western TTRPG by A Game of NerdsDeep Sky Ballad is a traditional tabletop role-playing game with a Space Western setting, in which a group of adventurers and vagabonds wander with their spaceship. In their quest for fortune, they face both thousands of challenges and the drama of the bonds keeping their group together, in a cinematic and theatrical experience.
[8:54 AM] ilmatto: and this is instead the page of our group with all our works https://agameofnerds84943103.wordpress.com/Agon – A Game Of NerdsagonagameofnerdsAgon – A Game Of NerdsVisit the post for more.
@Biggins342Are there types of ballistic/composite armor for characters to purchase?[8:56 AM] ilmatto: Yes, but it’s not recommended for characters to always wear them. This is because nobody wants to talk to someone who goes around armed for war, they think they want to bring trouble XD1
[8:57 AM] Dan Davenport: Can you describe the task resolution mechanic?
[9:03 AM] Alan Tucker: What was the inspiration for combining the two genres? Cowboys and Aliens? Star Wars/Mandalorian? Or something else?
[9:05 AM] Biggins342: Weaponry… bows & arrows to firearms to ???
[9:06 AM] Dan Davenport: (Question pause after @Biggins342’s last question to allow our guest to catch up, please. )
@Dan DavenportCan you describe the task resolution mechanic?[9:07 AM] ilmatto: The mechanics are based on the Blackjack System that we have already used for Arcana Familia. A deck of poker cards is used and the aim is to reach with the sum of the cards a value between the limit of the difficulty of the action and 21. The GM tells the player the necessary values for the test (Attributes and Skills) and the difficulty (eg Physics / Combat medium difficulty). Then the player draws two cards, and then he can draw a number of cards of his choice (one at a time) up to the maximum of his value in the Attribute. He can then remove a number of drawn cards of his choice up to the value in the Skill. If the result is between the limit of difficulty (in this case 18) and 21 the test is successful, otherwise it fails, for too much effort if over 21 and for too little if below the limit. Then there are several modifiers in case the test is opposed, if you want to give more intensity to the result in exchange for a penalty to the test or something else, but basically this is the system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRrXOhGg808YouTubeLacrime di Sangue GRVBlackjack System DSB1
@Alan TuckerWhat was the inspiration for combining the two genres? Cowboys and Aliens? Star Wars/Mandalorian? Or something else?[9:08 AM] ilmatto: Mainly, as already mentioned, Firefly. Other than that, Westworld, The Expanse, Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Plus many other things XD
[9:09 AM] Alan Tucker: Ah, sorry if that was already covered. I tried to catch up since joining late but missed that
[9:09 AM] Dan Davenport: No worries.
[9:10 AM] Dan Davenport: How does combat work?
@Biggins342Weaponry… bows & arrows to firearms to ???[9:11 AM] ilmatto: The weapons are modular: you have starting bases to which you can add power-ups of various kinds to add effects and abilities (the cost increases exponentially, so entire sessions can be dedicated only to recovering them XD). Let’s say that, as a variety, there may be flamethrowers that can also throw acid or liquid nitrogen, or crossbows with missile-style explosive warheads. It all depends on the configurations you install.
@Dan Davenport(Question pause after @Biggins342’s last question to allow our guest to catch up, please. )[9:11 AM] Biggins342: No problem
@Dan DavenportHow does combat work?[9:18 AM] ilmatto: Combat takes place in classic D&D consecutive turns. the initiative is established with a simple comparison between the Mental attributes (no roll), and on his turn the player can choose an action from those available (move, do an action, move AND do an action but with penalty, particular maneuvers). Since the game wants to have a cinematic representation of the action, the characters have no injuries but they have Vigor, that is, the fatigue and tension they feel due to opponent attacks (including scratches, smears, etc.). When they run out of Stamina they must pass a test called Grit Teeth, and if this is lost, you acquire the Injured status, with which you can no longer remove cards in tests until it is removed. If you are further harmed you become Helpless, fall unconscious and begin to bleed to death if you are not rescued. At the end of the fight, you regain all Vigor, but the Injured status requires extensive medical treatment and rest to remove.1
[9:19 AM] ilmatto: You can use a grid or Mind Theater, your choice
[9:19 AM] Dan Davenport: How is damage determined?
@Dan DavenportHow is damage determined?[9:25 AM] ilmatto: Each weapon has a Damage value. If the attack hits this, it lowers the Vigor by that value plus any modifiers if you gave yourself penalties to the test for striking or for particular combat maneuvers and minus the Protection value of the opponent’s armor. If the Vigor reaches 0 or if it is already at 0 it takes other damage (it cannot go below zero) the character must take the Grit Teeth tests or if already Injured, in order not to become Helpless.
[9:26 AM] Dan Davenport: How does armor function?
@Dan DavenportHow does armor function?[9:31 AM] ilmatto: You wear armor, and it gives you a Protection value in the covered parts. The player decides whether to wear full armor or not, this based on the speech I mentioned before that if you go around town in full armor, people distrust you and refuse to talk to you. Each armor (as well as the weapons) have a value of Occultability, or the difficulty in the tests that the character has to hide the armor under clothing or other. Finally, each armor has its own peculiarities, such as penalties to the Dexterity and Crafts skill tests if it is particularly bulky.
[9:32 AM] Dan Davenport: Does armor reduce damage?
@Dan DavenportDoes armor reduce damage?[9:33 AM] ilmatto: Yes, as I said earlier you subtract the Protection value from the Damage value of the attacks.
[9:34 AM] Dan Davenport: Ah, sorry. Missed that.
[9:34 AM] ilmatto: No prob XD
[9:35 AM] Dan Davenport: Is it assumed that the posse will have its own spacecraft? If so, generally speaking, what manner of spacecraft can a posse afford?
@Dan DavenportIs it assumed that the posse will have its own spacecraft? If so, generally speaking, what manner of spacecraft can a posse afford?[9:38 AM] ilmatto: In character creation, players will be able to choose a ship model from among several indicated (basically the two present in the quickstarter and the Mosquito model, a fighter). Later by spending Resources they can either upgrade their ship module by module or buy larger (and expensive) models. There are currently seven standard templates, plus a way to create your own custom template.1
[9:40 AM] ilmatto: Let’s say that the basic dimensions are that of Firefly’s Serenity and later the Millenium Falcon, but the custom system allows you to build even bigger ships, if the characters earn so much money (edited)
[9:40 AM] Dan Davenport: How big do spacecraft get overall? Are there Star Destroyer-scale capital ships?
@Dan DavenportHow big do spacecraft get overall? Are there Star Destroyer-scale capital ships?[9:42 AM] ilmatto: Not among the standard models written so far, but in the setting they are present. Due to technological problems, however, they are used only for commercial purposes, as there is no advantage in having large warships (you do not have aiming systems for large-caliber weapons)
[9:43 AM] ilmatto: Those that are encountered more of large dimensions are ships adrift due to the Tumor, therefore more similar to dungeons than to means of transport XD
[9:43 AM] Dan Davenport: In the time remaining, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
@Dan DavenportIn the time remaining, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?[9:45 AM] ilmatto: As I mentioned earlier, one of the themes of the game is the very bond that is established between the various characters of the Posse, just like in the Firefly-style TV series. This is done mechanically through the Drama System
[9:45 AM] Biggins342: Will we be able to get updated on discord?
[9:45 AM] Biggins342: Drama System…
[9:47 AM] Dan Davenport: Yes, what is the Drama System?
[9:48 AM] ilmatto: In practice, each character starts and develops relationships with other characters in the game (only through the actions in the game, they cannot be purchased in other ways), which can be of affection, hatred, rivalry, loyalty, resentment and trust. Each of these has different levels of intensity and confers peculiar cinematic abilities (for example: the enemy is about to shoot at your rival, you activate your Bond to appear from off screen and shoot the opponent’s weapon before it kill, because only you are destined to defeat your rival).1
[9:48 AM] Dan Davenport: Huh. That’s pretty cool.
@Biggins342Will we be able to get updated on discord?[9:49 AM] ilmatto: we have our discord server https://discord.gg/Dt6pu9J8YOU’VE BEEN INVITED TO JOIN A SERVERAgon6 Online30 MembersJoin
@Dan DavenportHuh. That’s pretty cool.[9:49 AM] ilmatto: is still under development, but it looks promising XD1
[9:51 AM] Dan Davenport: Does anyone have any final questions before we wrap up?
[9:52 AM] Dan Davenport: Okay! Thanks very much for joining us, @ilmatto!
[9:52 AM] Dan Davenport: 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 https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe. Anything’s appreciated! Ko-fiBuy Dan Davenport a Coffee. ko-fi.com/gmshoeBecome a supporter of Dan Davenport today! ❤️ Ko-fi lets you support the creators you love with no fees on donations.
[9:52 AM] Dan Davenport: If you’ll give me a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
@Dan DavenportOkay! Thanks very much for joining us, @ilmatto![9:52 AM] ilmatto: Thank you very much!