Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[Q&A] Robin D. Laws (Hillfolk)

[19:05] <+RobinDLaws> Hey everybody, I'm writer and game designer Robin D. Laws. You may know me from such fiction projects as Blood of the City and New Tales of the Yellow Sign. Or from games such as Feng Shui, HeroQuest, GUMSHOE and now Hillfolk, currently being Kickstarted in a browser tab near you. You can also catch me on my new podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. (done)
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[19:05] <~Dan> Thanks, Robin! Want to field Silverlion's question first? :)
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[19:06] <+RobinDLaws> Silverlion, I mostly wind up playing my own games in order to playtest them. Oddly enough, I find them highly tailored to the demographic that is me. My classic touchstone games coming up were D&D, CoC, and RQ. (done)
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[19:07] <&Le_Squide> I'm a big fan of the subject matter, but my taste in games runs towards sandboxes, things with hexes, and robust procedural generation. Is there anything for me in Hillfolk? (Also, is there a non-itunes place to get that podcast?)
[19:07] <~Dan> Actually, want to plug Hillfolk in general, Robin?
[19:07] <+RobinDLaws> Hillfolk offers the freedom and player-direction of a sandbox game in spades. No hexes or simulative procedural stuff. There aren't even any numbers on the character sheet.
[19:08] <+Silverlion> Awesome. Best games come from people who play what they write/love :D
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[19:08] <+RobinDLaws> To get the podcast outside of iTunes, grab it directly from the site: kenandrobintalkaboutstuff.com.
[19:08] <&Le_Squide> Thanks!
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[19:09] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, DaveW! Q&A with Robin D. Laws in progress! Likewise, DOTClaw!)
[19:10] <+mitchw> Okay, If I get too specific, just say so  :)  Here is the first one: Is the 'advantage' you get from using your distinctive talent (p.23) a mechanical advantage or a narrated one?
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[19:10] <+RobinDLaws> So Hillfolk, Dan, is the first DramaSystem game. You play members of a raider tribe in an age of hungry empires. The game revolves around dramatic scenes, in which characters seek emotional rewards from one another, as opposed to procedural scenes, where they tackle external obstacles.
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[19:11] <~Dan> (Please hold your questions until we get that "(done)" from Robin, folks. Thanks! :) )
[19:11] <+RobinDLaws> Mitch, anything with a page ref is too specific. But there is a mechanical advantage when using the optional, advanced procedural system in the back.
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[19:11] <+RobinDLaws> (done)
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[19:11] <+Drakkar> not a question but, as an SA member RobinDLaws, I'd like to thank you for posting a thread in TG about it
[19:12] <+RobinDLaws> There was a bit of culture shock at the beginning but I got over it Drakkar. (done.)
[19:12] <~Dan> What's task resolution like in Hillfolk, Robin?
[19:12] <+Silverlion> Any other games going to use the Dramasystem?
[19:12] <~Dan> (Question pause while he addresses those two, please.)
[19:13] <~Dan> (Oh, and welcome, Ettin, Ben, and neon!)
[19:13] <+RobinDLaws> Procedural scenes are de-emphasized but present in DramaSystem. The system is highly abstract, doling out good and bad fortune in accordance with the up and down beats found in stories. (As described in Hamlet's Hit Points.)
[19:13] <+RobinDLaws> Each player and the GM get three procedural tokens--red, yellow, green. You can guess which is good and which bad.
[19:14] <+RobinDLaws> They allow you to draw different numbers of cards in an attempt to match either the value, suit or color of a target card. Which one is determined by the procedural token the GM has spent.
[19:14] <+RobinDLaws> So the GM is also part of the same success economy.
[19:14] <+RobinDLaws> There are wrinkles, but that's the very basic gist. (done)
[19:14] <+Canageek> Robin: I'm a fan of more traditional games like CoC and D&D, things with traditional DM/player relationships. Things that involve 'narrative control' or that have players able to change details of the adventure tend not to be my thing. However, I've read some things about your games, and heard an interview with you, and like ideas such as players not being able to fail clue roles. Would any of you
[19:15] <+Canageek> your games appeal to someone like me do you think, and if so, which ones?
[19:15] <+RobinDLaws> Silverlion, one of our stretch goals made DramaSystem an open license (after we figure out the details and create the SRD.)
[19:16] <+RobinDLaws> So anyone will be able to create a DramaSystem game. The main book contains a ton of what we call Series Pitches -- the very brief precis of what a game might be like that you use as a platform to launch a new series.
[19:16] <+Silverlion> Cool
[19:16] <+RobinDLaws> Stretch goals have added a large number of them to the core book, from luminaries like Ken Hite, Chris Pramas, Wolf Baur, Keith Baker and many more.
[19:17] <+RobinDLaws> Their pitches range from covert androids covering up their intelligence to pirates and ninjas to cold war duty in the CIA station in Moscow. (done)
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[19:18] <~Dan> (Let's hold questions a bit until Robin answers Canageek's question, please.)
[19:18] <~Dan> (Welcome, ArsM!)
[19:18] <+RobinDLaws> If you're more into traditional games, you might be best to start with the one that's furthest from what you're used to, because oddly enough a big jump is sometimes easier than a 10% adjustment. So try Hillfolk. It will either change your gaming or send you screaming into the Don River.
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[19:19] <+RobinDLaws> The most traditional of my games would be Feng Shui, which is a basic early 90s RPG design with some story-focused GM advice. (done)
[19:20] <+ArsMysteriorum> My wife still pesters me to run Feng Shui...
[19:20] <+CRKrueger> If you had to High Concept the difference between Runequest and Heroquest, how would you phrase it?
[19:20] <~Dan> Speaking of which... would it be accurate to say that your games have gradually grown more "unconventional" over the years, Robin?
[19:20] <+ArsMysteriorum> She doesn't play RPGs, for the record.
[19:20] <+iceemaker> Is there any forthcoming support for Mutant City Blues? I enjoy Fear Itself and Trail of Cthulhu, but the unique perspective on the superhero genre, and the always fun GUMSHOE investigation, is a great combination.
[19:21] <~Dan> (Question pause, please. Thanks!)
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[19:21] <~Dan> (Welcome, Matt!)
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[19:21] <+Matt-M-McElroy> Greetings
[19:21] <~Dan> (Heh... "Welcome Matt." See what I did there?)
[19:21] <+RobinDLaws> RQ is about robbing newtlings in the desert for their left thigh greaves. HQ is about playing the mythic historical events of Greg Stafford's fiction. (Not that there's anything wrong with getting a greave from a newtling. Those things are expensive.) (done)
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[19:22] <+RobinDLaws> Dan, I always try to explore new territory in a design and find new ways of thinking about story and gaming. (done)
[19:23] <+RobinDLaws> Icemaker, MCB has a great little following but not quite enough to justify ongoing support. But every so often it gets a sales bump, so who knows?
[19:23] <+RobinDLaws> There may be an announcement about an MCB/DramaSystem crossover in the next day or three... (done)
[19:24] <+Corvus> (*dramatic chords*)
[19:24] <+iceemaker> Understandable. Thank you
[19:24] <~Dan> (Questions may resume. :) )
[19:24] <+CRKrueger> Gumshoe has been out a while, are there any changes you'd like to make?
[19:24] <+Corvus> If I may break away from Hillfolk for just a second -- was there ever something you considered a missed opportunity? Something you wanted to do but didn't?
[19:25] <+Eynowd> Are there plans to release more setting information for Ashen Stars, as opposed to just adventures? (Pelgrane seems quite focused on adventures, unlike a lot of other companies)
[19:25] <~Dan> (Question pause while he covers those three, please.)
[19:26] <+RobinDLaws> CRKrueger, mostly I'm interested in stretching what it can do by applying it in new contexts. The upcoming GAEAN REACH game for example crosses it with Skulduggery to evoke the classic SF novels of Jack Vance. (done)
[19:27] <+RobinDLaws> Corvus, if you do a lot of stuff as a creator some of it lands and some of it doesn't. And if you wait long enough you may get another crack at something. HeroQuest 2 is the ideal iteration of something that didn't quite make it out there as I'd hoped the first two times. (done)
Session Start (gryphon.magicstar.net:#rpgnet): Tue Oct 23 19:33:26 2012 -0500
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[19:33] *** Topic on #rpgnet is: #rpgnet is: #rpgnet welcomes Robin D. Laws (Hillfolk) 10/23, 23:59 GMT! || Q&A schedule: (Link: https://​tinyurl.com/​cvr8p9y)https://​tinyurl.com/​cvr8p9y || Q&A logs: (Link: http://gmshoe.blogspot.com/)http://gmshoe.blogspot.com/
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[19:33] <+yalborap> Welcome, Dan!
[19:33] <+yalborap> There's a Q&A going on right now, but you can enjoy general chat in #rpgnet2 if you'd like.
[19:33] <+yalborap> (...Sorry. Had to.)
[19:33] <+ArsMysteriorum> *snort*
[19:34] <~Dan> (Sorry about that, folks! Computer froze up on me. Could someone please PM me what I missed?)
[19:34] <~Dan> (Very funny, yal. :p)
[19:34] * +Melum golfclaps
[19:34] <+RobinDLaws> They stepped on your glasses, took the conch, and put a pig's head on a stick. (done)
[19:34] <~Dan> (And I don't even WEAR glasses! Those bastards!)
[19:34] <+brehaut> Dan: done
[19:35] <~Dan> Thanks, brehaut!
[19:35] <+Melum> (I think he's calling you fat.)
[19:36] <+Silverlion> What kinds of gaming do you want to explore in the future?
[19:36] <+Canageek> RobinDLaws: Are there any games or licenses out therethat you would love to work on (regardless or not of the practicalities involved)
[19:36] <~Dan> RobinDLaws: Do you still find "traditional" games like Feng Shui fulfilling? Or do you prefer more specialized games these days?
[19:36] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:37] <~Dan> (Looks like you can cover those all at once, maybe, Robin. :) )
[19:37] <+RobinDLaws> Right now I'm focused on the innovations of DramaSystem and seeing that one make its way into the gamer bloodstream. (done)
[19:38] <+RobinDLaws> A William S. Burroughs game would be rad. For all seventeen people who would buy it. I would have said Jack Vance but I got the chance to do that. (done)
[19:39] <+RobinDLaws> I do still enjoy traditional games, absolutely. Inventing a telephoto lens does not make you hate wide-angles. You use them for different things.
[19:40] <+RobinDLaws> That said it's hard to go back to rolling for information. And now we're finding we want DramaSystem-style drama scenes in our Dreamhounds of Paris playtest.
[19:40] <+RobinDLaws> (done)
[19:40] <+Matt-M-McElroy> Not exactly RPG, but I'm really enjoying New Tales of the Yellow Sign, folks should definitely pick it up if they haven't.
[19:40] <+RobinDLaws> Thanks so much Matt. I'm extremely proud of that one.
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[19:40] <+Snake_Eyes> :) (hi everyone)
[19:34] Canageek: Robin: What RPGs do you enjoy that you haven't written? Or are you too busy playing and writing your games?
[19:34] Canageek: (Yikes, there goes the moderater)
[19:34] RobinDLaws: I really dug D&D 4e and like what we'e seen so far of DnDNext.  I'll be doing some 13th Age stuff and am stoked to give that a spin. (done)
[19:34] brehaut: What led you to decide that the player characters in Dreamhounds would be the key figures of the surealist movement, rather than the more typical player created characters?
[19:34] RobinDLaws: Seeing a surrealist exhibit a few years back at the Art Gallery of Ontario I looked at the paintings on the walls and thought, "holy @#$!, it's the dreamlands!"
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[19:34] RobinDLaws: And when you research them, there are all sorts of occult resonances and details ripe for Cthulhoid elaboration.
[19:34] RobinDLaws: Like their seance experiments, or their hated foe Cocteau's children's book about a strange multi-tentacled entity.
[19:34] RobinDLaws: Or the fact that Cocteau served as a volunteer ambulance driver at the same battle where Randolph Carter was wounded. (done)
[19:41] <+RobinDLaws> OtE is about as Burroughs as the game-o-sphere can take. (done)
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[19:42] <~Dan> This is fairly random, but when's the last time you spoke to José Garcia, Robin? :)
[19:42] <+Canageek> RobinDLaws: II'd love to see that clue mechanic integrated into BRP for CoC purposes, without other less traditional aspects. That was a great idea I've tried to incoperate when DMing.
[19:43] <+RobinDLaws> Sometime in the 90s, Dan.
[19:43] * ~Dan nods
[19:43] <+CRKrueger> BTW the old computer game King of Dragon Pass, which Robin worked on I beleive is available on GOG.com for windows :)
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[19:43] <+xyphoid_> and ipad!
[19:44] <+RobinDLaws> There are some GUMSHOEy sounding ideas floating out of the CoC7 brain trust. If we hit $50 on the Hillfolk Kickstarter and take GUMSHOE open source, they can nick them without even feeling abashed about it. :-) (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> :)
[19:44] <~Dan> I should probably have checked your FB page for this, Robin, but is writing (RPGs and fiction) your full-time gig these days?
[19:44] <+jdunnett> Do you ever get a chance to game for non-work purposes?
[19:44] <+RobinDLaws> I got re-hooked on KoDP when it went to iPhone. It's done better in that format than ever before. Ahead of its time, as no one knew what to make of it when it came out originally. Except for the Finns. (done)
[19:45] <+RobinDLaws> Every game I play feeds into my work whether I like it or not. Same with every movie, book, TV show, art gallery... (done)
[19:45] <+RobinDLaws> Dan, I have been a full-time writer since 1992. (done)
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[19:46] <+brehaut> How much does your game group influence the games you design?
[19:46] <+mitchw> And from your picture you still look like a robust healty fellow.  It must be going well :P
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[19:47] <+RobinDLaws> Brehaut, sometimes I wind up inflicting things on my group that are not necessarily up their alley. Though generally they come around. The sandboxy-ness of Dreamhounds isn't necessarily the best fit for this group dynamic. But they've fallen into a rhythm and it's really begun to gel. (done)
[19:48] <+RobinDLaws> Making a living as a creator is never easy but I'm not going without lunch, Mitchw.
[19:48] <~Dan> What is Dreamhounds, Robin? I must have missed that one.
[19:48] <+brehaut> Floating Disco Cats
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[19:49] <+RobinDLaws> Dreamhounds of Paris is the Trail of Cthulhu sourcebook in which you play the major figures of the surrealist movement of the late 20s and 1930s exploring and remolding the dreamlands.
[19:49] <~Dan> Oh, very cool.
[19:49] <+RobinDLaws> In the in-house game, umlauthuth is Dali. (done)
[19:49] <~Dan> Are there buophoths? There should be buophoths.
[19:50] <+Canageek> RobinDLaws: Just so you know, Nexus games in Kingston carries your books in hardback, which I thought was pretty cool.
[19:50] <~Dan> (Welcome, C_Edwards!)
[19:50] <+umlauthuth> Dali declares there shall be buophoths, as long as I don't have to look up what they are.
[19:50] <~Dan> (buopoths, rather)
[19:50] <+RobinDLaws> They will probably end up with drawers sprouting out of them and flaming hair. Right Dali? (done)
[19:50] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:51] <+umlauthuth> They will be our fiery oneiric storage solution
[19:51] <+Snake_Eyes> RobinDLaws how has your classification of the agenda for role-play changed since its inception? And to whom do you attribute having motivated you to forming this model?
[19:51] <+RobinDLaws> Not sure what you mean by "classification of the agenda for role-play " (done)
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[19:52] <+Snake_Eyes> your laws of role-play, the purpose in which people engage in role-play
[19:53] <~Dan> Robin, I've always considered Nexus: the Infinite City to be something like the ultimate RPG setting. What are your thoughts on that subject? And is it hopeless to wish for a new edition...? :)
[19:53] <+umlauthuth> Snake_Eyes: in reference to Robin's Laws, you mean?
[19:53] <+umlauthuth> The gamer classification thing?
[19:53] <+RobinDLaws> They do it to have fun and engage in various interconnected pleasures, from planning to character exploration to socializing among themselves. Not sure much has changed on that front. (done)
[19:53] <+Snake_Eyes> Sorry, I should have could you give a short description your writings of the various motives of rpgs?
[19:53] <+Snake_Eyes> okay thanks :)
[19:54] <+brehaut> I understand that The Esoterrorists is getting a second edition. What sort of updates/changes/new stuff will that bring?
[19:54] <~Dan> (Question pause there, please.)
[19:54] <+RobinDLaws> Dan, Nexus certainly has everything mashed up into it. I'd be surprised to see it come back but who knows? Roleplaying games come back from the dead sometimes. (done)
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[19:55] <+Guest21825> any plans to use Drama System for a Time Inc. game (e.g. "Woodrow Wilson MUST DIE!")?
[19:55] <+iceemaker> Die or become a drunkard
[19:55] <+iceemaker> Which likely leads to death, admittedly
[19:56] <+RobinDLaws> The initiative rules have been smoothed out. Mostly it's a matter of presenting more setting material, to make it a more traditional package as a core RPG. (done)
[19:56] <+RobinDLaws> Guest, I'd have to say Ken has dibs on that one.
[19:56] <~Dan> (You can set your nick with the /nick command, Guest21825. :) )
[19:57] <+JP> Robin, off the cuff the other day Paul Czege was talking about what a new "milestone" game would look like if it appeared in gaming. Do you have any impressions of what that might look like, in your view?
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[19:57] <+mitchw> What kickstarters have you supported?
[19:59] <+RobinDLaws> Dan, it might be something that leverages the coming ubiquity of tablet computing to do all the mechanical stuff for you.
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[20:01] <+RobinDLaws> The Ars Magica computer game looks rad. I was glad to see Tremulus get funded. (done)
[20:01] <~Dan> Going back to Hillfolk for a moment: Is it a purely historical game? or are there supernatural elements?
[20:01] <+jdunnett> What effect do you think technology has on gaming?
[20:03] <+RobinDLaws> Tech and gaming have always been intertwined, since the days when the virus of D&D hit CalTech and MIT. The impact of the net in building and sustaining communities is immense. Kickstarter itself will have an immeasurable impact on how games are produced, for however long the phenomenon lasts. (done)
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[20:04] <+RobinDLaws> The main Hillfolk setting is purely historical, to wean you away from magic, super-powers and the other elements of traditional geek storytelling that would otherwise delay your coming to grips with the game's dramatic core. (done)
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[20:04] <~Dan> Do you see that as a bit of a gamble?
[20:04] <+brehaut> RobinDLaws: does kickstarter make the ideas you outlined in The Threefold Path of RPG Reading on Page XX seem more feasible? ( (Link: http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=8259)http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=8259 )
[20:05] <+RobinDLaws> I see it as something that gamers don't know they want until they get it, Dan. (done)
[20:05] <+RobinDLaws> Brehaut, it would be interesting to see if gamers thought of a customizably structured e-rulebook as an exciting enough benefit to loosen their stretch goal wallets. (done)
[20:06] <+RobinDLaws> Someone tried to implement some of those ideas with the Esoterrorists 2 draft but the process proved too difficult to automate after the fact. (done)
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[20:08] <~Dan> Assuming the answer isn't "Hillfolk," what would be your dream RPG project?
[20:09] <~Dan> And if Hillfolk is your dream project, what makes it so?
[20:09] <+RobinDLaws> If anyone wants to drop a ton of development dough on me I'd love to tackle that tablet integration question.
[20:10] <~Dan> Heh. Fair enough.
[20:11] <~Dan> With Halloween coming up, what's your favorite horror game?
[20:11] <+RobinDLaws> I am very happy with the way Hillfolk tackles a central problem of narrative we haven't paid much attention to, in a global way separated from the particular story it presents. And in fact that it doesn't present a story so much as give each group the tools to make one for themselves.
[20:11] <+RobinDLaws> CoC remains the granddaddy. The scariest games I've ever run were with Fear Itself, the creepy red-headed stepchild of the GUMSHOE family.
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[20:12] <~Dan> Speaking of genres, if you had to choose only one to write in from here on out, what would it be?
[20:13] <+brehaut> Why do you describe Fear Itself as the red-headed stepchild?
[20:13] <+RobinDLaws> What alien menace would force me to stick to a single genre?
[20:13] <~Dan> Um... The Daleks?
[20:14] <+RobinDLaws> It's not as popular in the horror category as Trail or Esoterrorists, despite its nasty charms.
[20:14] <+iceemaker> Do you have any advice for addressing and/or portraying uncomfortable real-world subjects in gaming? This is in reference to racism, torture, and other such topics.
[20:14] <+iceemaker> "IN-VEST-I-GATE"
[20:14] <+RobinDLaws> I think the Daleks want to exterminate all genres, Dan?
[20:14] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:14] <+iceemaker> "WE-MUST-HAVE-IN-VEST-I-GATE"
[20:15] <+RobinDLaws> At the heart of the Esoterrorists is the idea that real world events, including the geopolitical, and the atrocities they spawn, are much more horrible and frightening than ghosts or slashers.
[20:15] <+RobinDLaws> Sometimes people are perturbed if you bring real life horror into their safe escapist horror. But perturbing people is what the genre is all about. (done)
[20:16] <+RobinDLaws> So it seems like the crowd has quietly headed for the exits. Any final questions?
[20:16] <~Dan> What do you have lined up after Hillfolk?
[20:16] <+ArsMysteriorum> (Totally buying Fear Itself)
[20:17] <+iceemaker> Well, "How did you become so kewl" was already addressed in the previous podcast...
[20:17] <+brehaut> The book of unremitting horror is remarkably perturbing. i was not expecting as much unremit as it provides
[20:17] <+iceemaker> Yeah, it's on sale at rpgnow.com
[20:17] <+RobinDLaws> Dreamhounds, a fiction thing for a company I do fiction things for, and some 13th Age, and continuing to oversee the Pelgrane fiction line, Stone Skin Press. (done)
[20:18] <+RobinDLaws> One review docked the Book of Unremitting Horror a point for being too unremitting.
[20:18] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:18] <+brehaut> i am not surprised. i had literal nightmares
[20:18] <+RobinDLaws> Brilliant work from Adrian Bott and Dave Allsop.
[20:18] * &Lolth pokes her head in, waves at RobinDLaws -- no RPG questions, but I do remember your visit to Ropecon!
[20:18] <+Melum> That's practically a compliment.
[20:18] <+RobinDLaws> I also remember my visit to Ropecon, most fondly!
[20:19] <+brehaut> I would quite like A Book of Mildly Remitting Horrors
[20:19] <~Dan> You seem to be near the top of everyone's list of game designers, Robin. Who would be at the top of your list? The top 5, maybe?
[20:20] <+umlauthuth> My Fear Itself character sheet noted, "The Horrors Do Not Remit"
[20:20] <+brehaut> lol
[20:20] <&Lolth> Oh yeah and thanks for your work for WotC's Fiendish Codex II -- currently using it in our tabletop game :) Still got the dead tree version with your autograph. :)
[20:20] <+RobinDLaws> I hate these favorites questions, because I'm bound to leave someone out. There are way more than 5 great designers. If you want to see whose work I dig, check out the stellar list of stretch goal writers for the Hillfolk Kickstarter. That was a huge benefit from the crowdfunding process...
[20:21] <+iceemaker> Sorry, I didn't phrase my question properly, I meant moreso how the Game Master goes about addressing those topics while overcoming one's own reluctance to reflect upon those topics. Racism in Trail of Cthulhu, for example.
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[20:21] <+iceemaker> (Not that it is in any way, shape, or form relevant to my current campaign)
[20:21] <+RobinDLaws> ...getting to collaborate with so many great folks. Some I've never worked with, some I haven't for a long time, and others are frequent collaborators in a new context. I'm also very proud of the breadth of the list.
[20:21] <~Dan> Ah, a good answer, Robin. :)
[20:21] <+RobinDLaws> From classic era folks to the cream of the story game crowd, to emerging designers.
[20:22] <+RobinDLaws> You have to gauge your players' sense of detachment. I'll occasionally nod to the endemic racism of the period but mores have changed so much it's hard to do.
[20:23] <+RobinDLaws> We're trained to see racist characters as inherently villainous but in the classic Lovecraft era not being racist was the vast exception.
[20:23] <+RobinDLaws> HPL of course included. (done)
[20:23] <~Dan> What was your first gig in the RPG industry, Robin?
[20:23] <+iceemaker> Hm. Thank you, Mr. Laws
[20:24] <+RobinDLaws> Roughly at the same time, additional material for Over the Edge and GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands. (done)
[20:24] <~Dan> Really? Huh... I didn't know that. Cool. :)
[20:24] <+k-rich> You have mentioned attaching other procedural systems onto DramaSystem, and same for GUMSHOE, like Lorefinder. So would it be excessive to plug GUMSHOE + DramaSystem + a crunchy procedural ruleset?
[20:24] <+brehaut> Dan, you need to listen to the podcast ;)
[20:25] <+RobinDLaws> k-rich, I wouldn't do that but I bet somebody wants to. And with DramaSystem going open license, and GUMSHOE doing it if HIllfolk hits $50k, that someone may get the chance. (done)
[20:26] <+Drakkar> ..oh man
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[20:27] <~Dan> Do you have to turn down many writing offers, and if so, how many in, say, a given month?
[20:29] <+RobinDLaws> There's no constant rate. In this field you tend to work with a handful of clients at a time. Over the years some rotate in and others out. With enough lead time I can usually fit in the projects I really want to do. (done)
[20:30] <~Dan> Given what you've learned over the years, what would you most like to have as a "do-over"?
[20:31] <+jcfiala_> RobinDLaws: For your new podcast, how much of your chatter is pre-written?  And do you surprise Kenneth Hite with his time travel tasks or do you give him some time to prepare? :)
[20:31] <+RobinDLaws> I sometimes wonder if I could have navigated the politics of Marvel Comics more adroitly, but it's probably better that I didn't.
[20:32] <+RobinDLaws> The intro and outro are scripted. Ken knows the topics ahead of time.
[20:33] <+RobinDLaws> Although hearing him do a time travel rap on the health care system around Simon Rogers' table in London was a big part of my desire to push for the podcast.
[20:33] <+brehaut> hahaha
[20:33] <+RobinDLaws> Although the first time around it didn't have the even better ending it does in the actual episode. (done)
[20:33] <+jcfiala_> Well, god bless Simon Rogers' table, then.
[20:34] <~Dan> Hmm... I've got a Feng Shui question for you, Robin.
[20:34] <+RobinDLaws> It is a place where many plans have hatched.
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[20:34] <+RobinDLaws> [Ducks behind fish tank, draws twin 9mms.]
[20:35] <~Dan> I get where most of the junctions came from, but what inspired the Buro junction? Anything in particular? It seems to come a bit out of left field compared to the others.
[20:35] <+brehaut> Is a Hawaiian shirt a good choice for a gun fight?
[20:35] <~Dan> (Mind you, it's very cool.)
[20:36] <~Dan> Juncture, rather
[20:36] <+RobinDLaws> There are a few SF HK things. Mostly it's there to add color to the time travel motif, a unique element to the IP, and a cool villain to channel when playing the card game. Though the new Shadowfist phases them out... (done)
[20:36] <~Dan> (Sorry -- long day)
[20:36] <&Le_Squide> Why 1d6-1d6, anyway?
[20:36] <+iceemaker> I believe Sam Axe would feel so.
[20:36] <+RobinDLaws> Hawaiian shirt dazzles the enemy eye, prompting him to shoot wide of the target.
[20:38] <+RobinDLaws> The +/- setup is a feature of the basic rules created by Jose Garcia for NEXUS. In Feng Shui, they give each point of AV a very measurable impact on success, emulating the clear gradations of bad-assedness around which so many fight films revolve. (done)
[20:38] <~Dan> Speaking of Nexus, does Jose own the rights to it?
[20:38] <+RobinDLaws> Yes.
[20:38] <~Dan> Darnit. :)
[20:39] <+RobinDLaws> Or as far as I know. He could have sold them to someone else I suppose.
[20:40] <~Dan> Is there an author in the industry with whom you've never worked but with whom you've always wanted to work?
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[20:41] <+RobinDLaws> Again I don't want to play faves. There's a ton of great people I hope to collaborate with someday.
[20:41] <+Melum> (Did we reach the random questions portion?)
[20:41] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[20:41] <~Dan> (Fire away, Melum!)
[20:41] <~Dan> (And welcome, Justinm!)
[20:42] <+Justinm> Thanks!
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[20:42] <+brehaut> Lion or Wolf?
[20:42] <+Melum> So I see you wrote some Cthulhuy fiction.  What horror fiction have you read recently?
[20:42] <+RobinDLaws> I would never show favoritism between Wolf and... oh, who am I kidding? Lion. (done)
[20:43] <+Silverlion> I'm rather fond of Lions myslf. :D
[20:43] <+Silverlion> myself.
[20:43] <+Silverlion> Rather
[20:43] <+RobinDLaws> Methland is pretty damn horrifying, but that's not what you mean. The Dark Chamber is a really fascinating and eccentric work from the weird fiction era by a guy named Leonard Cline.
[20:45] <+Melum> Sounds promising.
[20:45] <+RobinDLaws> Mostly I've been reading Jack Vance Gaean reach novels and non-fiction about surrealists. And ever since Continuum in July I've neglected my reading terribly. You can find what I'm reading on Goodreads if you so desire. (done)
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[20:46] <+Melum> Oh, follow-up.  You ever check out that Slenderman stuff on Youtube etc?
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[20:46] <+umlauthuth> If GUMSHOE does hit open licensing, is there anything that you'd be interested in seeing people tackle?
[20:46] <+Melum> Reminded me a bit of Esoterrorists.
[20:46] <+umlauthuth> Melum: Splendorman!
[20:47] <+RobinDLaws> I am not familiar with Slenderman or Splendorman. I don't tend to watch a lot of YouTube.
[20:47] <~Dan> Seems like DramaSystem will be used for a wide variety of genres, and GUMSHOE already has been. Are there there any genres you think these two system should not be used for?
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[20:47] <+RobinDLaws> I'm interested in seeing what people choose to do with it, absent my wish list.
[20:48] <+umlauthuth> How long is the wish list?
[20:48] <+RobinDLaws> Somebody pitched a heist thing for DramaSystem; it had to be heavily adjusted to turn it into a family-based crime drama.
[20:49] <+RobinDLaws> GUMSHOE is terrible at anything non-investigative: costume dramas, mecha battles... (done)
[20:49] <~Dan> So I take it you would be in the "system does matter" school of thought?
[20:49] <+RobinDLaws> If there's something I want to see done with GUMSHOE, I can do it. I'm curious to see what ideas others bring to the fore.
[20:50] <+brehaut> When you first created GUMSHOE would you have been surprised to see it do Ashen Stars or NBA ?
[20:50] <+RobinDLaws> Of course it does, just like film stock, lens type, composition, lighting et al matter in film.
[20:50] <~Dan> I agree. I'm always amazed at people who think otherwise.
[20:50] <+RobinDLaws> It took a then member of my gaming group, Alex Johnston, to point out that Star Trek was a procedural show and that GUMSHOE was thus perfect for it.
[20:51] <~Dan> Huh. I never thought of it that way, re: Star Trek. Cool.
[20:51] <+RobinDLaws> Always excited to see what Ken wants to do with it. I'm not sure how many copies of his postwar werewolf counterinsurgency game he could sell, but would love to see the result. (Says the guy who's not in charge of the spreadsheets.) (done)
[20:52] <+RobinDLaws> Dan, I think what they mean is, "I can bend any rules set to my iron will, and thus never have to learn a new one and besides am tired of hearing you guys argue about it all the time."
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[20:53] <~Dan> We're coming up on 2 hours... Robin, is there anything we havent' covered that you'd like to mention? (And you're more than welcome to hang out as long as you like, by the way.)
[20:53] <~Dan> And probably, re: what they mean. :)
[20:53] <+k-rich> Wish I had DramaSystem a few months ago when I ran a Jane Austen game.
[20:54] <+RobinDLaws> I should split, to give my lovely wife some face time and get out of this chair for a while. Before I go, though, I'd urge any of you who haven't checked out Hillfolk to do so. If it's not your cup of tea, think about recommending it to someone you know who will dig it. And for any pledge of $10 or more you get access to a fully playable draft of the game.
[20:55] <+RobinDLaws> So you can get going right away and help shape the community around it. (done)
[20:55] <+k-rich> Thanks Robin.
[20:55] <+RobinDLaws> There might be something Austen-y in the wings, k-rich.
[20:55] <~Dan> No worries! That being the case, I'd like to thank you again for taking the time to chat with us, Robin! It's been a true pleasure and honor to have you here!
[20:55] <+brehaut> And back the lion tribe
[20:55] <+ArsMysteriorum> Thanks, Robin!
[20:55] <+RobinDLaws> Thanks everyone for hanging out. Catcha at the gaming table... Over and out.
[20:55] <+Justinm> Huzzah Robin!
[20:55] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted shortly and will send you the link.
[20:55] <+Melum> Adios, thanks for coming
[20:55] <+RobinDLaws> Excellent!
[20:55] <+RobinDLaws> Seeya!
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