[19:00] <+GregStolze> Hi. I'm Greg Stolze and a list of my credits includes UNKNOWN ARMIES (coauthor), REIGN (author) WILD TALENTS (rules designer)...
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[19:01] <+GregStolze> ...buncha OWOD stuff (mostly H:tR and D:tF, I
was in the cores for those, a bit of V:tM), lesser amount of NWOD stuff
(V:tR, couple novels, the forthcoming M:tC)...
[19:01] <~Dan> (Welcome, ParadimKit! The Q&A is just beginning, if that's the reason for your visit!)
[19:02] <+GregStolze> ...several WILD TALENTS settings,
PROGENITOR, GRIM WAR, eCOLLAPSE, as well as the film noir game A DIRTY
WORLD, MEATBOT MASSACRE, um... EXECUTIVE DECISION...
[19:02] <+GregStolze> DINOSAURS... IN SPAAACE!
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[19:02] <+GregStolze> Other stuff too. Apologies if I missed someone's favorite.
[19:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, Anduwaithe! The Q&A's just getting started. :) )
[19:03] <+Anduwaithe> (Great :) )
[19:03] <+GregStolze> So hit me with your questions. HIT ME, I SAY.
[19:03] <~Dan> Okay! Anyone have any questions to get things rolling?
[19:03] <~Dan> (I'll wait a sec here in case somebody's typing as we speak.)
[19:04] <+Anduwaithe> How do you pronounce your last name, Greg? :)
[19:04] <~Dan> Ah! Starting with the basics.
[19:04] <+GregStolze> "STOL-zee" It's a corruption of the German word for "proud."
[19:04] <+Levi> So: Fiction. A lot of your older fiction is
game-attached. SWITCHFLIPPED, though, isn't (unless I blanked on
something) - have you considered making it become so?
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[19:04] <~Dan> (Welcome, Squide!)
[19:05] <+GregStolze> I haven't, really. I mean, it wouldn't take
long to stat up everyone in it with UNKNOWN ARMIES, which was a bit of
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[19:05] <~Dan> What's Switchflipped about, Greg?
[19:05] <~Dan> (Welcome, CRK!)
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[19:05] <+CRKrueger> Heyas
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[19:05] <+GregStolze> SWITCHFLIPPED is urban fantasy (or, if you
prefer, 'magical realism'). It's about a guy who goes looking for the
fiancee who disappeared five years ago, only to find something he likes
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[19:06] <~Dan> (Welcome back, Winson!)
[19:06] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[19:06] <+GregStolze> Here, lemme post the link to all the sell
text. Sell text is actually my LEAST favorite kind of writing, so...
[19:06] <+GregStolze> (Link: http://www.gwdbooks.com/books/gregstolze)http://www.gwdbooks.com/books/gregstolze
[19:06] <~Dan> Ah. Yes, that's handy.
[19:10] <+Drakkar> wooo
[19:10] <+GregStolze> I've also been known to describe it as
"UNKNOWN ARMIES if it got a haircut and went on anti-depressants."
[19:10] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:10] <~Dan> Would it be correct to say that Better Angels and Mummy are your current New Hotnesses?
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[19:10] <~Dan> (Assuming that's ever correct to say, of course.)
[19:11] * +Anduwaithe has only ever heard the term "new hotness" used in a Teen Girl Squad episode :P
[19:11] <+GregStolze> The setting for SWITCHFLIPPED is also a bit
broader than in the novel itself... my short story for THE NEW HERO 2 is
putatively in the same setting, as are "7 and 7" and "The Turning of
the Time" on (Link:
[19:11] * +WinsonPaine can not believe Anduwaithe has never seen Men In Black
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[19:11] <+Anduwaithe> (Winson: I have, but it's been a while.)
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[19:11] <+GregStolze> It's hard to think of them that way since I
did my work on them months ago, but those are in the 'exciting next
[19:11] <~Dan> Okay. Perhaps we should cover those first, then open things up to your work in general?
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[19:12] <~Dan> I want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck here. :)
[19:12] <+GregStolze> I'm gearing up to write some supplemental
M:tC stuff right now. We're at the stage of all the authors batting
ideas back and forth until someone drops one and it splashes his/her
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[19:12] <+GregStolze> I'm doing a fair amount of DELTA GREEN stuff too.
[19:12] <+nick3> I'll cover the annoying Unknown Armies questions !
[19:12] <~Dan> Oh, yes, you did mention that.
[19:13] <+GregStolze> Annoying UA questions? Like, "If Dirk Allen was a tree, what kind of tree would he be?"
[19:13] <~Dan> Let's see... What the heck, let's go in alphabetical order. What's the scoop on Better Angels?
[19:13] <+Anduwaithe> Spruce!
[19:13] <+Drakkar> hahahaha
[19:13] <+Gyr|Laptop> I cedar what you did there, Greg.
[19:13] <+GregStolze> (I'd have said juniper.)
[19:13] <+GregStolze> Anyhow. BETTER ANGELS. It actually got its genesis on RPGNET's TRO.
[19:13] <+ParadimKit> I wish I'd known of that kickstarter...
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[19:14] <+GregStolze> It's my setting-meditation on "why do
supervillains act like that?" in the same way that PROGENITOR is my
setting-meditation on the trope of superheroes and villains creating
their own nemeses.
[19:14] <+GregStolze> A lot of the self-defeating behavior in
comics is the result of lazy writing or, more charitably, the fairly
extreme restrictions of the monthly comic form in the Golden &
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[19:15] <+GregStolze> But the idea of a character who's at odds
with himself about his decisions is huge in, like, all that SERIOUS
LITERATURE I studied in college...
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[19:15] <~Dan> :)
[19:15] <+GregStolze> ...and I thought that would be kind of a fun
alternate explanation for supervillainy. "I put self-destruct buttons
on everything I build because I secretly WANT to be stopped."
[19:16] <+InfiniteJesters> GregStolze: Suicide by cop of sorts, then?
[19:16] <+GregStolze> It's a little bit like the stuff in various
iterations of Vampire, where you have to balance evils you feel
compelled to do.
[19:16] <+GregStolze> I wouldn't say "suicide by cop" so much as "I want to ALMOST get away with it, but not quite."
[19:16] <+InfiniteJesters> GregStolze: Ahhhh, so more like a "I
love the thrill of the chase but realize that actually succeeding would
cause a ton of problems for all involved"
[19:16] <+GregStolze> The characters in BETTER ANGELS are all host
to no-kidding, pure-evil demons. And they know that if they get
killed, it's just going to find someone else to possess... maybe someone
who doesn't want to fight its agenda or who isn't clever enough to
[19:17] <+CRKrueger> A Beast I am lest a Beast I become was meant
to be "serious", is Better Angels more a 4th wall/ironic look at
[19:17] <~Dan> (Let's hold the questions until Greg gives us a "(done)", please, folks.)
[19:17] <+GregStolze> It scales a bit, CRKrueger . You can
certainly play it as an Adam West style game with lots of camp. But
check the "Soul Catcher in the Rye" fiction, which is about demons and
[19:18] <+InfiniteJesters> Dan: (Right, sorry.)
[19:18] <~Dan> (Sorry -- I know some of you weren't here when we went over the "procedural" stuff. :) )
[19:18] <~Dan> (No worries, Jester. :) )
[19:18] <+GregStolze> So... a little more serious. It's based on
the mechanics from A DIRTY WORLD, which are what I'd go to for running a
game based on CHINATOWN. So I think it can handle seriousness. It's
going to vary from group to group, I think. (done)
[19:19] <~Dan> Greg: Want to address Jester's question before we move on?
[19:19] <+GregStolze> Yeah, lemme scroll up, I think I missed it...
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[19:19] <+GregStolze> Okay, yes, you can certainly play it with
"thrill of the chase" (or even pure evil "Yeah, and then I ate the
kitten's FACE") motivations.
[19:20] <+InfiniteJesters> Can you commit acts of comically inept or insignificant villainy?
[19:20] <+InfiniteJesters> Such as jaywalking with extreme gusto? :P
[19:20] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest28877! You can set your nick with the /nick command.)
[19:20] <+GregStolze> But there's a conflict between the human
host and the demon. If the demon gets too strong, it is compelled to
(1) try and kill everyone you love over the course of 24 hours, (2) kill
five innocent people and create a pentacle from their intestines and
then (3) drag its host bodily to Hell.
[19:21] <+GregStolze> On the other hand, if the host gets too
strong, he has the option of trying to exile the demon BACK to Hell,
thereby earning an honorable freedom, but fewer badass powers. Or you
can just balance it.
[19:21] <~Dan> Are demons (and angels, IIRC, in the case of
superheroes?) the ultimate source of all superpowers in the setting?
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[19:21] <+Drakkar> oh man
[19:21] <+GregStolze> RE: comically inept and insignificant
villainy. Yes, you can, but your character only gets stronger with his
bad stuff by doing stuff that's sufficiently BAD. And he can only
improve his ability to do good stuff by turning bad stuff INTO good
[19:21] <~Dan> (Question pause, please.)
[19:21] <+GregStolze> (done)
[19:21] <~Dan> (Welcome, Dedman_Walkin!)
[19:22] <+InfiniteJesters> (I'm finished with my questions for the moment so all back to you Greg.)
[19:22] <+GregStolze> Demons and angels are both the sources,
though I provide ways to tweak it away from straightup Christian mythos
halos and pitchforks.
[19:22] <+GregStolze> Another aspect of BETTER ANGELS is that, in a
bit of a WRAITH hijack, your demon is controlled by one of the other
[19:22] <~Dan> How much does the public at large know about that origin for supers?
[19:23] <+GregStolze> (Ken Hite once described W:tO as 'the game
so bleak, the GM has to deputize the other players to help torment you'
and I just kinda liked that idea.)
[19:23] <~Dan> (Heh.)
[19:23] <~Dan> (Oh, for those of you who just arrive: You're all
welcome to chime in with questions. We're focussing on BETTER ANGELS at
[19:23] <+GregStolze> DAN: That's mostly left to the individual
GM. If I was running a game of it, the prevalence of bat wings and
radiant halos might have caught some people's attention.
[19:23] <+Dedman_Walkin> So I came in late, but this talk about
Better Angels and the Demon/Angel on your back, I'm curious if it'd be
possible to run the characters lke the Geists from G:tSA or the Harrowed
[19:23] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Was the towering examplar of well
thought out and coherent rules design In Nomine an inspiration at any
[19:23] <+Melum> (Does that mean other things were already covered?)
[19:24] <+Sublimation> The opening fiction on Kickstarter seems to
imply that there are ways to control who will be the next host of a
demon. Is that going to be a factor in the setting?
[19:24] <+GregStolze> I've never read IN NOMINE.
[19:24] <~Dan> (Melum: Not really.)
[19:24] <+SA_WinsonPaine> It is whacky
[19:24] <+CRKrueger> So is the Demon aware of the supervillian's true motives?
[19:24] <~Dan> (Question pause while Greg answres Deman and Winson.)
[19:24] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Oh he got me
[19:24] <~Dan> (And CRK. :) )
[19:24] <+GregStolze> Demons have 'amulets' that make it easier to
host them. If you give the amulet to that person, it's most likely
that s/he becomes the next host.
[19:25] <+GregStolze> DEDMAN: Haven't read Geist or the Harrowed in Deadlands. Sorry.
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[19:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Snake_Eyes!)
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[19:25] <~Dan> (Currently talking Better Angels with Greg Stolze!)
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[19:25] <+Snake_Eyes> :)
[19:25] <~Dan> (Welcome, OwlbearCamus!)
[19:25] <+GregStolze> WINSON: It can BE whacky, but it's... it's a
MEAN kind of whacky. It's a bit like the SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which can
be very droll and arch and witty and then all of a sudden it's creepy.
[19:25] <+Silverlion> Indeed.
[19:25] <+GregStolze> (done)
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[19:25] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Was the fabulous angel from the example of roleplay at the back of Over the Edge an inspriation?
[19:25] <+Silverlion> (If I didn't miss it) What inspired this bend in the setting?
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[19:26] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest76808! You can set your nick with the /nick command.)
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[19:26] <+GregStolze> The angel in OTE was actually Mary
Oettinger's character in the game I played in college, back when
Jonathan Tweet was selling insurance in Rock Island... so actually, that
was so long ago (TWENTY YEARS?!?) that it had pretty much slipped my
[19:27] <+GregStolze> SILVERLION: Which bend in the setting do you mean?
[19:27] <+GregStolze> (done)
[19:27] <+Silverlion> The demons as villains etc?
[19:27] <~Dan> What can you tell us about the system, Greg? The core mechanic, the powers, etc.?
[19:28] <+GregStolze> AH. Well, I've always liked writing
villains. The WOD stuff I've done, I've had a great time writing from
the perspectives of Dracula (underestimates his own villainy) Lucifer
(ditto, plus he's arrogant as all Hell) and Solomon Birch (genuinely
believes that he's the hero of a very twisted morality).
[19:28] <+GregStolze> I thought "Gamers will love a chance to chew
scenery and choke minions and rant." I know I do. (done)
[19:29] <+GregStolze> Regarding the system, it's based (as I
mentioned) on A DIRTY WORLD. If you're not familiar with it...
[19:29] <~Dan> (I'm not. :)
[19:29] <~Dan> )
[19:29] <+GregStolze> ...the essential innovation is that instead
of having hit points, you take damage DIRECTLY ON YOUR SKILLS. You get
punched, your ability to punch back may erode right away.
[19:29] <~Dan> "Ow! Right in the Basket Weaving!!"? :)
[19:30] <+GregStolze> The mechanic is consistent for intellectual
challenges and emotional assaults as well. If you roll well telling
someone, "You don't want to kill her Barney, you know you really love
her!" then you might actually make Barney less effective a killer.
[19:30] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[19:30] <+GregStolze> (Skills are quite broad. In BA, there are
all the good ones on the right side of the character sheet, and all the
bad ones on the left.)
[19:30] <~Dan> Is this a skills-only system, or are there attributes?
[19:30] <+Gyr|Laptop> So is death spiral an issue? You get hit,
you lose points off the skill that'd let you defend against BEING hit...
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[19:30] <+GregStolze> Most commonly, instead of straight up losing
ability, it transforms into its opposite. Take Corruption and Purity
for example. If someone tries to evoke your darker nature--say, she
puts on the short little skirt and says "Oh, your wife never has to find
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[19:31] <+GregStolze> With a sufficient roll, she can move a dot
from your Purity score to Corruption. This makes it harder for you to
convince people to do nice things, but makes it EASIER for you to
convince people to do SLEAZY things.
[19:31] <+OwlbearCamus> Is it alright to ask questions about something other than BETTER ANGELS?
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[19:31] <~Dan> OwlbearCamus: Let's hold onto those for just a
bit... We're going to cover Mummy, then open things up to his work in
[19:32] <+InfiniteJesters> (Wait, Stolze is working on Mummy?)
[19:32] <+GregStolze> DAN: There are attributes as well, and you
can get those clipped, but usually only when (1) they roll hella well or
(2) they're targeting a skill that's all hollowed out.
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[19:32] <~Dan> What are the attributes, and is this a skill + attribute system? What's a basic roll look like?
[19:32] <+GregStolze> GYR: Sometimes, but just as often you can
turn it into a life spiral. Take a bunch of hits on what you need to
dodge, and it can build up what you need to soak.
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[19:33] <+Silverlion> Hrms, so that Damage system is reminiscent of Traveller?
[19:33] <~Dan> (Question pause until Greg covers Silverlion's question.)
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[19:34] <+GregStolze> One last bit about the ADW/BA mechanics:
Because you take hits on Skills, you don't have to track experience
points. You can improve a skill at the end of every scene, IF you've
taken an action that qualifies. So, to ramp up your ability to tell if
you're being lied to, you need to suffer because someone lied to you.
It's "instant karma."
[19:34] <+GregStolze> In the BA version, the demon can amp up the
bad side of the sheet if the character does wicked deeds, but the mortal
can change bad skill points into good ones if he has an explanation for
why he's not such a bad guy.
[19:34] <+Silverlion> Interesting. Somewhat similar to Smallville.
[19:34] <+GregStolze> (done)
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[19:35] <+InfiniteJesters> You are working on Mummy, Greg?
[19:35] <~Dan> (Welcome, Mummy_Fan!)
[19:35] <&Le_Squide> So, are you done with ORE?
[19:35] <+Snake_Eyes> Hi GregStolze! You are known to use the
ransom method to fund your writing, what are some of the lesser known
games that you openly support?
[19:36] <+GregStolze> I'm not really seeing a TRAV comparison, but
I haven't played TRAV in probably... er... maybe 25 years?
[19:36] <~Dan> (Whoops, brb... Please continue.)
[19:36] <+GregStolze> I HAVE WORKED on Mummy, InfJest. I'll be working on it a bit more soon. I had fun.
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[19:37] <+Silverlion> Traveller takes damage to attributes. (As
does Smallville, essentially.) Just wondering. Percolation is a fun
[19:37] <+GregStolze> LE_SQUIDE: No, nowhere near done with ORE.
BETTER ANGELS is, in fact, ORE-powered, just not the WILD TALENTS
[19:37] <&Le_Squide> Oh! Ok
[19:37] <&Le_Squide> I missed that.
[19:37] <+Melum> Well, I suppose both Traveller and Mummy have death in chargen in common.
[19:37] <+GregStolze> SILVERLION: Well, there's nothing new under
the sun. I knew SOMEONE had to have thought of it before.
[19:37] <&Le_Squide> Corollary: Any chance we'll be seeing anything new for REIGN any time in the near future?
[19:37] <+Silverlion> Indeed. Far too true.
[19:38] <+GregStolze> It interacts interestingly with ORE's non-traditional success curve, I think.
[19:38] <+GregStolze> If I think of a kick-ass REIGN idea, I'll do
it, but I don't want to put out sub-par stuff just to be putting
[19:39] <+Melum> (Is BA out yet? If so, where do I get it?)
[19:39] <+GregStolze> SNAKE-EYES: I loves me some "Penny For My
Thoughts" at (Link:
[19:39] <~Dan-brb> (back, sorry)
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[19:40] <+Snake_Eyes> :) groovy, thx GregStolze!
[19:40] <~Dan> Greg: Sorry if I missed it... Did you cover the basic mechanic yet?
[19:40] <+GregStolze> Also fond of Emily Care Boss' stuff like
"Breaking the Ice" (Link:
, if for no other reason than you need a telescope to see it from the
traditional gaming demographic.
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[19:42] <+GregStolze> DAN: So, there are three pairs of attributes
(which aren't called 'attributes,' but anyway). There's Cunning VS
Patience for intellectual tasks,
[19:42] <+Snake_Eyes> Sounds good, I have heard of them both before but have not had a chance to read them.
[19:43] <+GregStolze> Sly VS Open for physical tasks, and Devious VS Insightful for social tasks.
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[19:44] <+GregStolze> Each of these pairs of 'strategies' has a
two pairs of 'tactics' under them - like Deceit VS Honest under
[19:44] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[19:44] <+GregStolze> Insightful Deceit lets you pick out the
flaws in other people's statements. Devious Deceit lets you TELL the
[19:45] <+GregStolze> In every case, you're rolling a pool of d10s
equal to Strategy+Tactic and looking for matches, standard ORE style.
[19:45] <~Dan> Oh, gotcha. I didn't realize that this is an ORE-based game.
[19:45] <+Silverlion> alas.
[19:45] <+GregStolze> SNAKE_EYES: Yeah, I've had swell times with
both. Gotten to play Tevis' "Penny" more often. Another fun indie game
is "It Was A Mutual Decision," Ron Edwards' rebuttal to "Breaking the
[19:46] <~Dan> So given these abstract stats, how do you simulate something like, say, super-strength?
[19:47] <+GregStolze> DAN: Super-strength is handled in a fairly
loose, narrative way. There's a string of examples of what you can do
with it, depending on how high your Cruelty score is.
[19:47] <+GregStolze> (And of course, thanks to the C.S. Lewis
inspiration, it's not "super strength." It's "That Hideous Strength.")
[19:47] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:47] <~Dan> Nice. :)
[19:47] <+Snake_Eyes> Thx GregStolze, I have another question pls.
What Dungeons and Dragons module is your favorite to either run or
play, and why?
[19:47] <+GregStolze> That Hideous Strength also gives you Width boosts when you clobber someone. (done)
[19:47] <~Dan> Or naughty, rather. :)
[19:48] <+Ettin> Have you ever gotten weird fanmail or requests? I
am pretty sure the Something Awful trad games forum would totally go
for a lock of your hair.
[19:49] <+GregStolze> Ach, favorite module... "Barrier Peaks" and
"White Plume Mountain" are indisputably seminal, but I actually have a
soft spot for S4, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.
[19:49] <+Melum> I'd like my ebooks signed, personally.
[19:49] <+Drakkar> I've actually stolen his soap once.
[19:49] <+GregStolze> "Queen of the Demonweb Pits
[19:49] <+Melum> Irish Spring? Dove? Or just processed animal fat?
[19:49] <+GregStolze> (oops, accidental return) "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" was pretty boss too.
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[19:50] <+Drakkar> blast i've been outed!
[19:50] <~Dan> Okay, we're one hour in, so perhaps we should
switch gears for a bit... What can you tell us about the new version of
[19:50] <+GregStolze> ETTIN: Nothing exceptionally weird, no.
Most of my fans seem to be well-groomed, articulate library science
[19:50] <+Melum> So, where can I get BA?
[19:50] <+Snake_Eyes> Cool, Tsojcanth did have a nice publication
to it, and Im very much a fan of the others you mentioned, thx for
taking the time to answer my questions GregStolze. :)
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[19:51] <+GregStolze> MELUM: Better Angels is... in the pipes.
The cash response to the KS was AWESOME, but it does mean that Shane is
pulling together a lot of full color art, which takes time. It's a
problem we love to have, however.
[19:51] <&Le_Squide> Did you actually find That Hideous
Strength readable? Perelandra is one of my favorite books, but I just
could not get through THS
[19:52] <+GregStolze> Right: MtC. I actually spent a couple days
poring over the text starting, like, last Friday, looking for errant
grammar and spelling stuff. (In one of my sections, I describe
something as 'slorious.')
[19:52] <+GregStolze> LE_SQUIDE: (THS was weird, but yeah, I liked it.)
[19:53] <~Dan> (Oh, and what's the "C" for? I should know that, but I don't. *sheepish*)
[19:53] <+Melum> Slorious should be a word.
[19:53] <+Melum> Cursed?
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[19:54] <+GregStolze> So! Some of the cool things about Mummy:
the Curse are the ways it handles flashbacks. Since the characters CAN
die and come back (though it's a hassle) and because they canonically
have suppressed memories, you can now do flashback scenes that DON'T LET
[19:54] <+GregStolze> (When I read this in the actual MS, I had to take a moment.)
[19:55] <+GregStolze> The standard RPG, flashbacks are tough to do
well because (1) you know the dude survived, so clearly there isn't as
much at stake and (2) there's the risk of establishing something in the
past that is maybe at odds with how the character behaves now.
[19:55] <+GregStolze> In M:tC however, maybe you DO die in
flashback. Well, sucks to be you, but that doesn't mean you can't keep
[19:56] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. :)
[19:56] <+GregStolze> AND, maybe you do something that doesn't
make sense in terms of your current characterization. Hm, I guess
you've changed and/or forgotten, eh?
[19:56] <+Silverlion> Heh. Sounds interesting, any cool reveals of the "groups?" in Mummy
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[19:56] <+GregStolze> I really don't want to get Colin mad at me by oversharing, but I think I can be sufficiently vague.
[19:57] <+GregStolze> If the M:tC groups were high schoolers,
you'd have the M**-K**, who are really friendly and involved and help
everybody study for tests, but are also snitching to the principal.
[19:59] <+GregStolze> (Hold on a moment, I have to look up the names...)
[19:59] <+Melum> You have to look up the names to not share.
[20:00] <+SA_Hikaizer> He needs to make sure he doesn't accidentally share them!
[20:00] <+GregStolze> The M****-N*** are the prom queen--bitchy,
rich parents give her everything she wants, and you still have a
grotesque crush on her ANYHOW. She's just that hot.
[20:00] <+SA_Hikaizer> (Sexy mummies...:S)
[20:01] <~Dan> (I know there's only so much you can tell us, Greg. After all, it's a mummy game.)
[20:01] <~Dan> (You have to keep things under wraps.)
[20:01] <+GregStolze> The S****-H**** are the prissy class valedictorians who run the school council.
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[20:02] * +Anduwaithe golfclaps
[20:02] <+LuckyFour> *rimshot*
[20:03] <+GregStolze> The S*-M**** are that really quiet, deeply
religious kid that everyone kind of picks on and then one day he just
FREAKS OUT on the class bully at lunch time and sticks a fork clean
through his cheek.
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[20:03] <+Anduwaithe> Wow, I'm glad I was homeschooled.
[20:03] <+Anduwaithe> ;)
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[20:04] <+GregStolze> And finally, the T**-A**** are like the
snotty junior who can't understand why the seniors don't treat him as an
equal, even though he's a starter on the football team, gets straight
As and has the lead in the class play.
[20:05] <+GregStolze> Hm, other neato M:tC stuff... it really does
upend the typical WOD dynamic where you start out as this mewling
weakling and get stronger with agonizing slowness.
[20:06] <+SA_WinsonPaine> This *** business is making me fill in some pretty vile profanity as a matter of habit
[20:06] <+CRKrueger> What's the essential difference between the Mummies and the Purified from WoD:Immortal?
[20:06] <+GregStolze> (Did we talk about that in the RPG.NET thread? I REALLY shouldn't break that before CAS is ready.)
[20:07] <+CRKrueger> So the nature of the Curse is offlimits? :)
[20:07] <+tablehop> Is M:tC based primarily on Egypt or is it like
the content in the oWoD Mummy player's guide that drew from other
cultures or some other, third option?
[20:07] <+GregStolze> Not all of it. There's a whole LOT of curse in M:tC.
[20:08] <+GregStolze> (WINSONPAINE) The *** does not, in fact, reference cursing in this instance.
[20:08] <+GregStolze> M:tC has a heavy emphasis on objects of
power that bear terrible curses, and people think that they're cursed
because their creators were paranoids who set these occult booby-traps.
[20:09] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Yeah I know, it is just years of reflex are hard to break
[20:09] <+GregStolze> But that's like thinking that Ford put a
curse on my Focus station wagon, making it so that it would forever
force me to stop at gas stations.
[20:09] <~Dan> Can you tell us anything about the nature of mummy powers?
[20:09] <+SA_Hikaizer> After playing Star Control 2 too much, I read S*-M**** as Sa-Matra
[20:19] <+Anduwaithe> Winson: I think Greg was making a pun about "cursing" there ;)
[20:20] <+GregStolze> Cursed objects create bad mojo because
they're DISTORTING REALITY. Hell, the guys who made them probably
wished they could build curseless gear (though that's obscure even in
the text I'VE got). The mummies, however, are able to feed these
objects themselves, lessening their curses.
[20:20] <+ProfessorCirno> So when one guy I knew made a Mummies
game where all the PCs were RAD SKATEBOARDERS and the whole thing was
pretty much an after school sports movie (except everyone was a mummy
and they were fighting evil anchient Egyptians instead of rich preppy
[20:20] <+ProfessorCirno> This would be...the correct way to play M:tC?
[20:21] <+GregStolze> CIMO: Damn, where were you eight months ago
when we were doing primary composition?!? We totally spaced on the
[20:21] <+Melum> People don't use skateboards any more. It's all segways.
[20:22] <+Drakkar> hey ey
[20:22] <+Drakkar> hey*
[20:22] <+GregStolze> RIGHT: The Purified from Immortals. Not
very much like the Arisen at all. The Arisen start out pretty inhuman -
a real "ordinary people are bugs and I am the Windscreen of Eternity"
attitude. Their powers are given to them by absolute authorities whose
mindset truly is Bronze Age.
[20:23] <+GregStolze> There's this real "blood conquest/divine
right of rulership/slave taker" mentality at the base of the Arisen's
circumstances. I actually got the line "Immortal god-kings don't have
to appeal to 'values voters'" in there.
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[20:24] <+GregStolze> The Arisen ARE 100% Egyptian, without the
bog mummies and Aztec pyramids and Tibetan preserved corpses (though I
did put in a bog-mummy shout out).
[20:25] <+GregStolze> (done) whew.
[20:25] <~Dan> Who are the adversaries in M:tC?
[20:26] <+GregStolze> A lot of it is mummy-on-mummy violence.
(Hey, why NOT settle things with your stony, crashing fists when both of
you can just come back inevitably anyhow?)
[20:27] <+GregStolze> I guess you could make a corporate
metaphor. As a mummy, you're not at the top of the ladder, but you're
[20:27] * ~Dan nods
[20:27] <+GregStolze> Your boss may want you to do some things you
do NOT want to do. Your co-workers may be trying to stab you in the
back, get you fired, or chisel you out of that promotion.
[20:28] <+GregStolze> Or the people working underneath you may
have unreasonable demands, or go out of control, or just suck at what
you're telling them to do.
[20:28] <+Drakkar> wait do mummies have a lethal equivalent of boxing or some other martial sport with betting?
[20:28] <~Dan> So there's not a "built-in" adversary?
[20:28] <+GregStolze> ALL THAT is on your plate before you even
leave the building and deal with your competition in the marketplace.
THOSE guys want to eat your lunch, sleep with your wife and
hostile-takeover your whole division.
[20:29] <+SA_Hikaizer> Air-conditioning is a mummy's true
adversary. It's just so hard to keep themselves even slightly
[20:30] <+GregStolze> There's an array of build-in adversaries:
Monsters that feed off you; rebel mummies who hate you; perversions of
magic that REALLY hate you; and a group of mortals who look at you the
way the guys at Florida's Natural look at an orange.
[20:31] <+GregStolze> (done)
[20:31] <+GregStolze> DRAKKAR: Naw, it's all down to who has the best toys.
[20:31] <+Drakkar> blast
[20:31] <+GregStolze> (done)
[20:31] <~Dan> Where do your mummies fall in the "raw power" scale?
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[20:33] <+GregStolze> Hm, raw power... well, you can do a fair
number of things pretty well (most subtle, some blatant), or you can
optimize your starting character for a single, narrow, bigass... THING.
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[20:34] <+GregStolze> If you go the 'narrow bigass thing' route,
you won't do it often, you won't do anything else comparable, but
starting characters from other games would (in theory) step quietly back
and say "Well I don't know what THAT was but I just remembered a
pressing engagement across town."
[20:35] <~Dan> So they're not as flexible as mages, but can be more powerful if they specialize?
[20:35] <~Dan> (For example.)
[20:35] <+SA_Hikaizer> (Can anyone be as flexible as a Mage?)
[20:36] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Well, I dated someone once...
[20:36] <+GregStolze> It's a bit of apples and oranges. I would
say their power levels fluctuate more drastically than other splats.
[20:36] * ~Dan nods
[20:37] <~Dan> How, say, strong are they by default? Is the typical mummy a physical powerhouse?
[20:37] <+GregStolze> One day, they get up and say, "Hm, I think
this round I'ma crank my Strength to 10 and burn Willpower like a kid
[20:38] <+GregStolze> A month later, they're sneaking around hoping the landlord doesn't chew them out again.
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[20:39] <~Dan> Ah. So it's a bit like vampires buring blood to pump themselves up?
[20:40] <+GregStolze> DAN: Yes, only more or less efficient depending on... well, where they are in their journey.
[20:40] * ~Dan nods
[20:40] <+LuckyFour> What motivates a mummy? Why mummies in general?
[20:40] <+LuckyFour> (wait, can I speak>)
[20:40] <~Dan> Okay, as promised, why don't we open the floor to all of Greg's works?
[20:40] <~Dan> Sure, LuckyFour!
[20:41] <+tablehop> Greg, what RPGs are you playing these days?
[20:41] <+GregStolze> I predict the powers that people are going
to really dig are "Dust Beneath Feet," "Dreams of Dead Gods" and "Power
[20:41] <~Dan> (Question puase, though, while Greg catches up.)
[20:42] <+GregStolze> LUCKYFOUR: What Colin wanted to dig at (heh)
with mummies was the idea of this ancient, primeval power that makes
the modern era look weightless and inconsequential. Real "out of the
[20:43] <+Numanoid> How would you feel about working on a video game/computer RPG?
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[20:43] <+GregStolze> They're motivated in opposite directions.
Well it's the World of Darkness, of course they are: They can be good
agents of the Immortal Powers that forged them in the crucibles of
prehistory, or they can attempt to re-knit their broken memories and
reclaim something of the 'self' that (turns out) even death couldn't
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[20:44] <+GregStolze> Do you want to be Good Soldier Hans and
sacrifice yourself for the Greater Good? (Well, the Greater SOMETHING
anyhow.) Or do you want to be your own man at the cost of flipping the
bird to undying powers that BROKE TIME?
[20:45] <+GregStolze> TABLEHOP: I'm playing NOTHING. It makes me
crazy. I keep meaning to try and set something up. There's this new
bookstore starting up in Aurora, I'm thinking I might investigate
running games there. If I did, I'd have Delta Green stuff to playtest.
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[20:46] <+tablehop> A depressing answer. Sorry to hear it.
[20:46] <+GregStolze> NUMANOID: I have worked on video games.
Lessee, I wrote some dialogue for PROTOTYPE and DAWN OF WAR II - not
sure how much of it ever got used. I also did a bunch of stuff for
FORGE OF HEROES, a Facebook game that's going to be out in the Not Yet.
[20:46] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Do you have any memories/stories/anecdotes about Over the Edge?
[20:47] <+Numanoid> cool
[20:48] <+GregStolze> Ah, OTE. I have a few. I mean, a lot of
what happened at Tweet's gaming table was kind of my paradigm of how
RPGs worked being disassembled, with Tweet dropping the pieces in my lap
and saying, "Hey, this is YOUR stuff, YOU deal with it."
[20:48] <+GregStolze> Tweet would run games using Whimsy Cards,
which are these inexpensively printed cards with plot developments on
them - "Something Hidden is Found" or "Unexpected Help" or "Love
[20:49] <+GregStolze> He'd give us three of those at the start of
each session and say, "If you use this to help your character out of a
tight spot, it's gone. If you use it to make the game more...
INTERESTING for another player, you get it replaced."
[20:49] <+Sublimation> Sounds a bit like Torg
[20:50] <+SA_WinsonPaine> That is pretty rad.
[20:50] <+GregStolze> ...and the Edge just got more and more
weird. That particular memory probably explains both (1) why I thought
plot control was such a powerful tool for comedy with ...IN SPAAACE! and
(2) why I thought it would be fun to set players at each other's
throats (in a limited way) in BETTER ANGELS.
[20:50] <+GregStolze> (done)
[20:50] <+LuckyFour> As it seems to be a core of your creative
oeuvre, how passionate are you about postmodernist thought and
[20:51] <+GregStolze> I have not made a thorough study of
postmodernism or poststructuralism... in many ways, I'm a retrograde
old-style thinker who believes that things mean things and that
communication is not, inherently, doomed.
[20:53] <+GregStolze> But man, it's hard to be born in 1970 and
read stuff and not be a postmodernist to some degree, I think. The most
powerful tools for slicing up ideas, recombining them, and then passing
them around like the bong at a Grand Funk Railroad concert.
[20:53] <+GregStolze> (sorry, lost my train of thought there for a moment)_
[20:54] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:54] <~Dan> If I can call a pause for a moment?
[20:54] <+GregStolze> The most powerful tools for slicing up
ideas, recombining them, and then passing them around were developed
during my lifetime, pretty much growing up as I did.
[20:54] <~Dan> We're coming up on two hours. However, Greg, you're
more than welcome to hang out as long as you're able. How are you doing
[20:54] <+GregStolze> (pauses)
[20:55] <+GregStolze> I'm OK for a while more, maybe 20 minutes?
[20:55] <~Dan> Okay, sounds good. That being the case, would you
like to throw anything out there that we haven't covered yet?
[20:55] <+GregStolze> Mm, I'll wait for questions. Surprised no one's asked anything about DELTA GREEN.
[20:56] <~Dan> Fair enough. What's in the works for Delta Green? :)
[20:56] <+Melum> Unknown Armies. What was your favorite School?
[20:56] <+Sublimation> What is your least favorite (a more polite way of saying most disliked) type of game mechanic?
[20:56] <+GregStolze> MELUM: I'm kind of leaning Narco-Alchemist at the moment, but I love all my children equally.
[20:58] <+GregStolze> SUBLIMATION: I don't think LARP is bad, but
I'm not sure I'd enjoy it. I may be too shy. People may not realize
I'm shy because I compensate well, but... yeah. LARP never really made
me think "Oh, now THAT sounds fun!" I know people who love it like
candy, but... not for me.
[20:58] <+nick3> What influence do you think Unknown Armies has had on your work ?
[20:58] <+GregStolze> DAN: Right now, I'm trying to build a DELTA
GREEN campaign that teaches you how to play the game, step by step.
It's a series of one-shot adventures that are only THEMATICALLY
[20:58] <+Ettin> What if it were a LARP about being game designers and you could roleplay as Greg Stolze?
[20:59] <+GregStolze> The theme is "sole survival."
[20:59] <+GregStolze> NICK3: Well, it did attract the attention of
all those witty urbane librarians. It probably got me horror
credentials. It caught Ken Hite's eye, which (indirectly) led to all
the White Wolf work that followed.
[21:00] <+GregStolze> ETTIN: I can do THAT any day.
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[21:01] <+Melum> Hmm. What did you not like about UA? Or what would you change?
[21:02] <+GregStolze> Hm, I'm sure I could read through it now and
pick out a lot of rookie mistakes. There was some stuff in the early
supplements that I wish I'd edited.
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[21:03] <+GregStolze> But I also wish I could go back and tell
UA-era Greg "Look, it's only your game in the pages, it's their game at
the table. People are going to do weird stuff with it. It's like when a
father has to accept that his daughter is having sex with her husband.
Let it go."
[21:03] <+nick3> Do you feel UA could have benfit from more examples of how to play ?
[21:03] <+Anduwaithe> Good analogy, lol
[21:04] <+GregStolze> NICK3: UA1 sure could... a lot of what we
tried to do with UA2 was say "You can do this with it! Or this! Or
maybe this is more your style?"
[21:05] <+Torquemada> DG newbie campaign? Sounds great! For new DGRPG, BRP or both?
[21:05] <+GregStolze> The strong current in present-day game
design is "make your game do one thing and do the hell out of that
thing." I mean, look at the indie games I name-checked earlier,
"Breaking the Ice" and "Penny For My Thoughts." They're extremely narrow
in their focus. UA is more sandboxy.
[21:05] <+J_Arcane> GregStolze: I find that an admirable attitude
for a designer to take, especially for RPGs. I try to keep it in mind
on every page. :)
[21:05] <+GregStolze> New DGRPG is based on open-license BRP.
[21:06] <+GregStolze> J_ARCANE: Which, that some greasy stranger
is going to come and seduce your darling girl in the backseat of his
White-Castle reeking SUV?
[21:06] <+Torquemada> Forgot that. Doubly great then!
[21:07] <+J_Arcane> GregStolze: I think of myself as more of a
pimp than a father. I like to make sure she's dressed up nice so all
the guys at the prom will want to have their fun. ;)
[21:07] <+Melum> Unknown Armies is simply amazing, I wish I had discovered it sooner.
[21:07] <+Melum> It retroactively ruined Mage for me, since it did everything I wanted from it better.
[21:07] <+GregStolze> TORQUEMADA: Yeah, the argument of "X is
really popular and works great and people love it and we should do
something different" is pretty hard to sustain.
[21:07] <+GregStolze> Don't forget, you younger people have HEARD about New Coke, but I LIVED THROUGH IT.
[21:08] * ~Dan high-fives his fellow codger!
[21:08] <+J_Arcane> It's why I stopped working on my World of
Warcraft game. That style of design expects too much designer fiat,
everyone's looking to the Man Who Made It to keep it Balanced, instead
of just making it their own.
[21:08] <~Dan> Never forget!
[21:08] <+GregStolze> MELUM: Aw, you ol' honeydripper.
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[21:08] <~Dan> Howdy, Brad!
[21:08] <+Brad_Elliott> Dan! Good to see you!
[21:08] <+CRKrueger> Do you think narrow focus games are hitting their peak? BTW, another New Coke survivor here. :)
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[21:08] <+Torquemada> Hey, New Coke wasn¡t that bad. It just tasted a lot like Pepsi. :)
[21:08] <+Brad_Elliott> Only not entirely unlike Pepsi, Torque.
[21:09] <+Melum> I vaguely remember new coke.
[21:09] <+SA_WinsonPaine> oh man is it misc question fest time
[21:09] <+Sublimation> Could there be a game made around New Coke? If so, what system should it use? ;)
[21:09] <+Brad_Elliott> Enh, you didn't miss much. It was an attempt to take up more shelf-space.
[21:09] <~Dan> Winson: Yup!
[21:09] <+Melum> It is, it so is.
[21:09] <+GregStolze> I think narrow focus is the way to go
sometimes, and other times you want to define a broad set of resolution
mechanics and just let people do their thing. Different groups have
different preferences, is all.
[21:09] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Marry/Bang/Kill: Mike Mearls, Steve Jackson, Robin Laws?
[21:09] <+SA_WinsonPaine> On it dan
[21:09] <+Melum> UA managed to do pomo magic just a million times better than Ascension. It's true.
[21:10] <~Dan> Pomo magic?
[21:10] <+Brad_Elliott> I'm not sure about that, Melum. I think UA does Tim Powers magic pretty well, though. ;)
[21:10] <+GregStolze> SA: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.
[21:10] <+Brad_Elliott> Post-Modern Magic, Dan.
[21:10] <~Dan> Ah.
[21:11] * ~Dan makes a mental note to learn all this fancy lingo.
[21:11] <+Torquemada> Wise
[21:11] <+GregStolze> Heh. I guess that means M:tC is doing pre-mo magic.
[21:11] <+Brad_Elliott> Meh, it's just jargon.
[21:11] <+Silverlion> Jargon?
[21:11] <+Silverlion> What did I miss?
[21:12] <+SA_WinsonPaine> What is post modern magic?
[21:12] <+GregStolze> The pre-modern magic of Mummy, a bit of
DELTA GREEN stuff, me yelling at kids to take their New Coke and get off
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[21:13] <+Brad_Elliott> Heh, Greg. SA: Post-Modern Magic is magic
that is not limited to the old conceptions of Magic, like Golden Dawn or
Hermetic traditions in general.
[21:13] <+GregStolze> SA: Post-modern magic is the idea, I would
say, that the secret levers moving the world behind the scenes are, in
fact, moving targets.
[21:13] <+Silverlion> Changing paragigms...
[21:13] <+Brad_Elliott> Ah, yes, and now we're getting multiple
answers to the same question, and they're not wrong... just different
takes. Which is very Po-Mo. :)
[21:14] <+Brad_Elliott> But forgive me, not my show. I'm listening now.
[21:14] <+GregStolze> All right folks, it has been a treat, but I think I have to sign off now. Thanks all for coming.
[21:14] <+SA_WinsonPaine> Yay
[21:14] <+Melum> Adios, thanks for chatting.
[21:14] <+Sublimation> Thanks for talking
[21:14] <+J_Arcane> Awww. Shame I slept through it, I'll have to dig into the logs for more about Better Angles.
[21:14] <~Dan> Thanks very much, Greg!
[21:14] <+GregStolze> Ta.
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