Sunday, August 19, 2012

[Q&A] Chris Griesinger (Reclamation)

[19:02] <+CGriesinger> my name is Chris Griesinger. Reclamation is an RPG that I have been working on for (how embarrassing) about 7 years.
[19:02] <+CGriesinger> I completed a successful kickstarter campaign
last December and published in April of this year.
[19:03] <+CGriesinger> (Link:
[19:04] <+CGriesinger> Anyway, Reclamation is fundamentally a
post-apocalyptic horror RPG that combines sci-fi, fantasy, and
survival elements. It is a custom action system that actually plays
with a regular deck of playing cards instead of dice.
[19:04] <+CGriesinger> As a general overview of the setting: the world
succumbs to a supernatural disease simply called "The Sickness"
(insert Disturbed lyrics here)
[19:05] <+CGriesinger> Those who fall to the disease begin to lose
their sense of self. They forget their families, their morals, the
thigns they love. They are consumed by hate and the desperate need to
fulfill their darkest, most primal desires
[19:06] <+CGriesinger> In the end, that kind of world disorder leads
to a nuclear war that devastates the planet. Reclamation takes place
40 years into the future. The remaining survivors of earth have found
a way to make it r4 decades into a mutated planet
[19:07] <+CGriesinger> but people are finally realizing that simply
staying alvie is not good enough. They want to actually rebuild our
lost civilization... or "reclaim" it if you will.  So while this game
exists in a post-apocalyptic arena, survival #1 but a close second is
actually trying to rebuild the world and restore it to its lost glory.
[19:08] <+CGriesinger> Players act as the protagonists of the story;
each one is "marked" by the fallout
[19:08] *** Sapphire_Rhea is now known as Lioness
[19:08] <+CGriesinger> essentially, you have special powers, lol.
[19:09] <+CGriesinger> This is a result of A) the radiation of the
nuclear fallout and B) the supernatural element that is described in
more detail in the game's backstory. It is a little more intangible in
nature and up to the storyteller's discretion in terms of how much it
is pushed.
[19:10] <+CGriesinger> but even though people have special powers,
there is still very much a sense of "we are poorly equipped to face
the dangers of this world."  But these markings are why you are thrust
into positions of heroism and leadership over other survivors. They
have no hope and so they rely on you to forge a better tomorrow.
[19:11] <+CGriesinger> ...ok... i missed the interview on Tuesday,
lol... should I shut up and answer questions now? haha
[19:11] <~Dan> Heh. No worries, CG. You can go on as much or as little
as you like.
[19:11] <~Dan> Any questions so far, folks?
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[19:11] <+fantomx11_gmt-5> what is the system like?
[19:12] <+CGriesinger> ok, it is mean to be very flexible so that
players and the storyteller (called the FateDealer, or FD) can work
cooperatively to define the action on the fly
[19:12] <+CGriesinger> essentially, if a player does something that
merits an action check...
[19:13] <+CGriesinger> the FD will announce that one of your eight
traits are being tested (Strength, Dexterity, Speed, Resilience,
Intellect, Manipulation, Spirit, or Perception)
[19:13] <+CGriesinger> the player then flips one card off the top of
their respective 52-card "Fate Deck" and adds or subtracts the result
to their trait
[19:13] <+CGriesinger> so let's say you try to bend the bars of a
gate... the FD says this is a strength check. you have a 13 strength.
[19:14] <+CGriesinger> so you flip a card... suppose it is a 7 of
clubs, that would be +7 to your result which would bring you to 20 and
the FD would describe what happens next
[19:14] <+CGriesinger> (there are guides to help the FD determine
reasonable difficulties)
[19:14] <+CGriesinger> HOWEVER... before that check is made
[19:14] <+fantomx11_gmt-5> what happens to the card once you flip it?
[19:14] <+CGriesinger> it goes in the discard pile
[19:14] <+CGriesinger> if the player has a talent (there are 32 of them)
[19:15] <+CGriesinger> that he or she thinks would be beneficial to
the action (I'm thinking Physical Mastery in this case), they can flip
an additional card for every point that they have in that talent. So
if you had 2 points in Physical Mastery, you'd flip two more cards
(three in total)
[19:15] <+CGriesinger> and choose the best card for your result.
[19:16] <+Drakkar> I've got a friend who says that Reclamation gives
him heavy Synnibar vibes (not from a quality aspect, but just how out
there it looks) can you confirm or deny these allegations :V?
[19:16] <+CGriesinger> you can get real creative with your talents.
For example, you could use Language to read a book (use Intellect), or
read the lips of a person across the street (use Per), etc.
[19:16] <~Dan> (Question pause while CG catches up, please.)
[19:17] <+CGriesinger> i'm actually not familiar with Synnibar :$
[19:17] <~Dan> CG: It's a WILDLY over-the-top powergaming setting by design.
[19:17] <~Dan> Everything including the kitchen sink.
[19:18] <+Drakkar> it has raccoons with bazookas
[19:18] <+GoldenH> flying bears with laser eyes
[19:18] <+Drakkar> ~magic bazookas~
[19:18] <+CGriesinger> haha
[19:18] <~Dan> I could actually help you address this a bit, since I
know World of Synnibarr.
[19:18] <+Drakkar> he also says the cover looks totally metal
[19:18] <~Dan> Based upon what I've read of Reclamation so far.
[19:18] <~Dan> Do you mind, CG?
[19:19] <+CGriesinger> not at all, lol
[19:19] <+Gyr|Laptop> Loads and loads of tables, special case rules
and other weirdness, most of it unnecessary.
[19:19] <~Dan> Okay. Well, here's my impression so far:
[19:19] <+Drakkar> its all about the setting
[19:19] <~Dan> Yeah, there's a bit of a kitchen sink vibe to Reclamation...
[19:19] <+GoldenH> my 4-cycle robo fist is also unnecessary
[19:19] <~Dan> ...but it is nothing like the degree to which WoS takes it.
[19:20] <+Drakkar> hah
[19:20] <+Drakkar> still cool
[19:20] <~Dan> For one thing -- correct me if I'm wrong, CG? --
there's not really any super-tech stuff in Reclamation, I don't think.
[19:20] <~Dan> Aside from the half-machine people, I mean?
[19:20] <+CGriesinger> well... it sort of depends
[19:20] <+CGriesinger> yeah, the Host can get fairly hi-tech, but a
lot of that is more bio-tech
[19:21] <+CGriesinger> A lot of the rules in the book are designed to
be more of a template of play
[19:21] <~Dan> Well, let me put it this way:
[19:21] <+CGriesinger> for example, instead of providing a set of list
of weapons, there is a description of what would constitute a "light"
weapon like a dagger, or a screwdriver, or a glass bottle, etc.
[19:21] <~Dan> Is there power armor and starships and man-portable
energy weapons?
[19:22] <+CGriesinger> haha, no.
[19:22] <~Dan> Okay. Not Synnibarr. :)
[19:22] <+Drakkar> hahaha
[19:22] <+CGriesinger> Reclamation takes place in a dystopian earth.
Basically, the modern technology of today is the pinnacle of where we
are tech-wise
[19:22] <~Dan> (I should mention that the entire world of Synnibarr is
the planet Mars turned into a giant colony ship.)
[19:22] <+CGriesinger> because everything came crashing down in the
Nuclear Cataclysm
[19:23] <~Dan> (But I digress, sorry.)
[19:23] <+CGriesinger> The Host (one of the 'marked' classes in the
game) are sort of a hybrid of the borg and zerg; they can push the
sci-fi element a bit more
[19:23] <~Dan> Zerg?
[19:24] <+CGriesinger> from starcraft.  The Host are basically
individuals who have been cured of The Sickness through the use of
[19:24] <~Dan> Which came from where?
[19:24] <+CGriesinger> as parts of the mind and body fail to The
Sickness, these machines take over to continue normal function... but
as The Sickness takes more, so do these machines (so you end up losing
yourself to the tech)
[19:24] <+CGriesinger> but the Host are hopelessly devoted to each
other and the Host Queen (also known as the Progenitor)
[19:25] <+CGriesinger> and they can all communicate with each other
over a psychic frequency... so they sort of a share a hive mind.
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[19:25] <~Dan> (Hey there, Tommy! :D )
[19:25] <+TommyBrownell> Howdy!
[19:26] <~Dan> Actually, CG, maybe you should describe the five(?)
sorts of Marks.
[19:26] <+CGriesinger> I think the "kitchen sink" aspect of
Reclamation comes into play because you can develop almost any kind of
adventure and play virtually any kind of character because each marked
class has a detailed backstory and expansive list of powers (called
Gifts of the Fallout)
[19:26] <+CGriesinger> haha, sounds good
[19:26] <+CGriesinger> The two most straight-forward "marked" classes
are Survivors and Paragons
[19:27] <+CGriesinger> Survivors are essentially normal people who
have somehow been blessed with fortune/luck
[19:27] <+CGriesinger> They also are able to learn talents faster than
other characters
[19:27] <+CGriesinger> basically, when you are playing, if something
"bad" is about to happen to a Survivor, they can use their power of
Fortune to try and either negate that consequence or at least lesson
[19:28] <+CGriesinger> i should point out that ALL of these special
powers require you to gain radiation points.
[19:28] <+TommyBrownell> (Link:
<~~~~Reclamation review
[19:28] <+CGriesinger> radiation points are key in this game; the more
you get, the more likely that you are susceptible to The Sickness
which infects every living organism on the planet.
[19:28] <~Dan> So you might say the Marked are the nuked kids on the block.
[19:28] <+CGriesinger> yeah, a small fraction of the world's
population is "marked"
[19:29] <+CGriesinger> and tommy's review (as linked abovce) is
excellent and very thorough :)
[19:29] <+TommyBrownell> =)
[19:29] <~Dan> They always are. :)
[19:29] <+Gyr|Laptop> ... Dan, if this game ever gets run over IRC,
you are playing a frost-themed Marked.  So you can be Ice, Ice, Baby.
[19:29] <+TommyBrownell> I loved Reclamation.
[19:29] <~Dan> Nice, Gyr. :)
[19:29] <+CGriesinger> you sure can, lol
[19:30] <+CGriesinger> there is a mutation gene pool for a "Frost Champion"
[19:30] <+CGriesinger> guess i'll explain Pariahs next.
[19:30] <+CGriesinger> to summarize, think of Pariahs like either
x-men or mythical heroes
[19:31] <~Dan> Really? I thought the Paragons were more like mythical
heroes based upon what I've read so far.
[19:31] <+CGriesinger> basically, every human being as junk DNA... the
premise here is that the "junk" is actually a series of incredible
evolutionary powers that we just never actualize because we die before
those things can manifest
[19:32] <+CGriesinger> well... by mythical i mean like you can acquire
sort of legendary powers
[19:32] <+TommyBrownell> Yeah, and the Pariahs are practically Archetypes.
[19:32] <+CGriesinger> so for example, Pariahs can manifest powers
that are closely akin to werewolves, dragons, vampires. so they are
sort of modern day mythologies
[19:32] <+TommyBrownell> In a good way.
[19:32] * ~Dan nods
[19:33] <+CGriesinger> but because Pariahs are consumed by their
powers... they are often feared by other dystopians
[19:33] <+CGriesinger> many of them live alone as nomads and as such
they are called Pariahs, Mutants, etc.
[19:33] <~Dan> So are there no outright "mutant freaks"?
[19:33] <+CGriesinger> what do you mean?
[19:34] <~Dan> Well...
[19:34] <+GoldenH> you got your techno-zombies but not half-techno-zombies?
[19:34] <~Dan> ...I mean, individuals who are horribly warped by
mutation, as opposed to gaining a set of superhuman powers.
[19:34] <~Dan> (Or maybe gaining both.)
[19:34] <~Dan> Gamma World-type stuff.
[19:35] <+CGriesinger> well...
[19:35] <~Dan> Extra limbs, tentacles, that sort of thing.
[19:35] <+CGriesinger> when a player is role-playing a pariah
[19:35] <+CGriesinger> they look normal until they gain more
radiation, then depending on their gene pool powers, they may start to
transform; sometimes this is a physical transformation, sometimes it
manifests in other ways
[19:36] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:36] <+CGriesinger> when a Pariah is lost to The Sickness... then
yeah, all bets are off. At that point they are called abominations and
sure, they could have extra limbs, snake jaws, etc.
[19:36] <~Dan> Ah. Cool.
[19:37] <~Dan> So would it be accurate to say that they devolve from
X-men type mutants to Gamma World-type mutants?
[19:37] <+CGriesinger> yeah
[19:37] <~Dan> That's awesome. :)
[19:37] <+CGriesinger> yeah, the radiation acts as the catalyst key to
turn our junk DNA into incredible power
[19:37] <+CGriesinger> but more and more and more radiation... that
destabilizes the genome and then all bets are off
[19:37] <~Dan> Actually, could ask a question on that point real quick?
[19:38] <+CGriesinger> sure thing
[19:38] <~Dan> I'm a little fuzzy on the relationship between
radiation and the supernatural.
[19:39] <+CGriesinger> sure
[19:39] <+CGriesinger> that's a bit difficult to explain without
waxing poetic over the setting and the backstory
[19:39] <+CGriesinger> (Link:
[19:40] <+CGriesinger> i linked the prologue, epilogue, and some other
short stories in the book on my blog/site.
[19:40] <+CGriesinger> basically, all of this begins with something
called Event Zero.
[19:41] <+CGriesinger> In Israel/Megiddo, a black cross is discovered
amidst blood and antique weaponry. No one knows exactly what
happened... but three days after that event... the first radiation
fissure strikes the globe. these fissures were the cause of The
[19:41] <+CGriesinger> so you have a slew of people who think that The
Sickness is all part of some End of Days scenario; that Good is
against Evil and that the supernatural is in play with everything that
happens in this alternate future of earth.
[19:42] <+CGriesinger> Others do not buy into the myth and legend.
They stand by that the radiation from the Nuclear War and the
mutations from that global incident is the genesis of these "marked"
[19:43] <+CGriesinger> so yeah, i mean, it's a bit difficult to
clarify only because i intentionally built into the backstory a
competing narrative.
[19:43] <~Dan> Cool.
[19:43] <+CGriesinger> players usually take their side in the
philosophical/scientific debate of the game
[19:43] <~Dan> Sorry, didn't mean to sidetrack you there in the
descriptions of the Marked.
[19:44] <+CGriesinger> haha, np
[19:44] <+CGriesinger> okay... so Paragons?
[19:44] <+CGriesinger> basically, Paragons are the next evolution of
humankind. The fallout has transformed them into perfect versions of
[19:44] <+CGriesinger> They have that Nietzchean "Ubermensch" mentality
[19:45] <+CGriesinger> they consider themselves highborn and above the
laws of the common man
[19:45] <~Dan> So they're the setting's "elves," so to speak? :)
[19:45] <+CGriesinger> they have five different powers that are linked
to their personal disciplines
[19:45] <+CGriesinger> haha, i can see that analogy
[19:46] <+CGriesinger> they are smarter, faster, stronger, and yes,
more attractive than the rest
[19:46] <+CGriesinger> and so people are often drawn to Paragons.
[19:46] <~Dan> How strong is "stronger," for example?
[19:46] <+CGriesinger> they lead many factions in the Dystopia
[19:46] <+Gyr|Laptop> Right.  Calling Paragon with song/music-themed
powers.  I will be the setting's Elvish Impersonator.
[19:46] <+CGriesinger> haha
[19:46] <+Gyr|Laptop> (Dan warned you about our puns, right?)
[19:47] <+CGriesinger> well, Paragons have built into their power
system the ability to gain additional trait points, so inherently they
become more powerful than others
[19:47] <+CGriesinger> and their five abilities are all designed to
help them succeed at any action they take
[19:47] <~Dan> So how much could a super-strong Paragon lift, potentially?
[19:48] <+CGriesinger> well, the biggest factor to the character's
strength would still in fact be the STR trait score
[19:49] <+CGriesinger> so i mean, if you gave yourself a 20 which is
the max for a starting character, you could do a lot with a good card
flip and using your powers to bump up your stats
[19:49] <+CGriesinger> but we are not talking like Superman strength
[19:49] <+CGriesinger> not like hurling cars, etc.
[19:49] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:49] <~Dan> Would that be Pariah territory?
[19:49] <~Dan> (I know hurling cars is mentioned in the opening fiction.)
[19:49] <+CGriesinger> but then again... i guess if you use enough of
your abilities and maybe an "epic action" point... you probably could
[19:50] <+CGriesinger> yeah, that's typically more of a Pariah thing
[19:50] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:50] <~Dan> So... maybe somewhere between Captain America and
Spider-man in power level?
[19:50] <+CGriesinger> again, so much of the system is designed to be
tailored to how a group plays
[19:50] <+CGriesinger> yeah, that's more in terms of how I run it
[19:50] * ~Dan nods
[19:51] <+CGriesinger> ok... two more i think
[19:51] <+CGriesinger> Magi
[19:51] <+CGriesinger> The Magi are essentially your spell-caster class
[19:51] <+CGriesinger> their backstory goes all the way back to
Ancient Egypt; think Dan Brown conspiracy s***
[19:52] <+CGriesinger> they have divined in the most primeval powers
that bind the universe
[19:52] <+CGriesinger> and they can use their words now to bend
reality to their will.
[19:53] <+CGriesinger> they hid these special rites in the Egyptian
Book of the Dead which became the foundation for many world religions.
so modern Magi today are ever zealous in their quest for this
knowledge. They study science, they read religious doctrines, etc.
They hunt for knowledge in all forms
[19:53] <~Dan> Can you give us an idea of the scope of their powers?
[19:53] <+CGriesinger> the Magi used to be a huge and secret order,
but after the Nuclear Cataclysm, the line was destroyed. So people who
play as Magi are forced to re-learn all of the ancient rites that the
order used to know but are now lost
[19:53] <+CGriesinger> sure
[19:53] <~Dan> (And I apologize if you were in the process of doing
just that. :) )
[19:54] <+CGriesinger> so like in D&D, you have different domains, right?
[19:54] <~Dan> Right!
[19:54] <+CGriesinger> so, you have that in Reclamation too... but the
domains are centered around faiths and deities that have been
"cracked" by the Magi
[19:54] <+CGriesinger> so the four domains are Osiris, Gaia, Khronos, and Odin
[19:55] <+CGriesinger> Osiris rites focus around the powers of life and death
[19:55] <+CGriesinger> so there is healing, there are powers that
hearten spirits, etc.
[19:56] <+CGriesinger> Gaia is focused around nature, controlling the
elements and wild beasts
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[19:56] <+CGriesinger> Khronos is time and the mind... so as a couple
examples, you can make people hear voices, see illusions, or you could
even cast a rite that lets you look at the top few cards of your deck
and re-order them
[19:56] <~Dan> (Howdy, Eloy!)
[19:56] <+Gyr|Laptop> Gotta confess, I'm getting kind of tired of the
post-apocalyptic games that go back to the Greek/Nordic/Egyptian well
for mythbuilding.  It'd be fun to see a riff that used African,
Sumerian or Vedic mythology for once.
[19:57] <+CGriesinger> and Odin is focused on blood and war.
[19:57] <+Eloy-3EG> hello Dan
[19:57] <+CGriesinger> well, we only delve into that for purposes of
the Magi rites; these are the most common traditions that have been
cracked thusfar
[19:58] <+GoldenH> So alot of generic games just leave the 'game' part
up to us, but what is the central game you see being played in this
[19:58] <+CGriesinger> so for example, i started working on putting
together a series of magi rites that are focused around the Trickster
deity of Native American hsitory
[19:58] <+CGriesinger> my hope is that if enough people get interested
in the game, I can pursue that kind of supplementary stuff.
[19:58] <+CGriesinger> good question
[19:59] <+CGriesinger> while obviously you can tell whatever kind of
story you want in the end (but isn't that true of any RPG?), the
backstory of Reclamation is consistent in that your characters are
often fighting to restore civilization to some capacity.
[19:59] <~Dan> (Eloy: #rpgnet2 is open for general chat if you want to
hang out during CG's Q&A.)
[19:59] <+CGriesinger> many games that I run start with the
protagonists part of a small live cell
[20:00] <~Dan> (Although if you have any questions for CG, that'd be
great, too. :D )
[20:00] <+TommyBrownell> Which is the selling point of Reclamation for
me. (The hope/rebuilding angle).
[20:00] <+CGriesinger> a live cell is basically a group of survivors
who have holed themselves up somewhere to hide from those who are lost
to The Sickness
[20:00] <+CGriesinger> but instead of just poking around every day and surviving
[20:00] <+CGriesinger> you try to take your cell to the next level
[20:01] <+CGriesinger> maybe lead your people to a better place, join
up with other cells and create a small city
[20:01] <+Eloy-3EG> good call. he's a busy one. :-)
[20:01] <+GoldenH> you have different 'tiers' of cells then, kinda
like Hunter: the Vigil?
[20:01] <+CGriesinger> join the Protectorate or some other faction
looking to revitalize a ruined city or campaign against the
mortis-horde (another name for people lost to The Sickness)
[20:01] <+GoldenH> or maybe rules for building a keep and get henchmen
like oD&D?
[20:02] <+CGriesinger> yeah, i mean you might have a group of 10
people, or maybe you are the politicians trying to bring order to a
population of 5000 people on the verge of civil war
[20:02] <+CGriesinger> but regardless of how you try to "reclaim" the
world... again... everyone suffers from The Sickness, that dark part
in your soul that wants to drag you down.
[20:03] <+CGriesinger> and so even the most peaceful city can be
ruined when a couple people fall to The Sickness; it causes a domino
[20:03] <+CGriesinger> in the end, you're trying to build something
incredible, something that can stand the test of time, but in most
cases you're just grasping at smoke and shadows
[20:03] <+CGriesinger> (at least in my games, lol)
[20:04] <+CGriesinger> for example, at Origins, I was running a couple
different mini-adventures
[20:04] <~Dan> Let's see... Did you touch on all of the Marked?
[20:04] <+GoldenH> sounds interesting :)
[20:04] <+CGriesinger> ah... no, lol
[20:04] <+CGriesinger> well, sort of
[20:04] <+CGriesinger> survivors, paragons, magi, pariah
[20:04] <+CGriesinger> last one is the host
[20:05] <+CGriesinger> i sort of talked about them in one of my other tangents
[20:05] <+CGriesinger> they are cured of The Sickness, but they share
their consciousness with these sentient machines
[20:05] <~Dan> Yeah, why don't we keep rolling, then. :)
[20:05] <+CGriesinger> so you have a lot of "free will" roleplaying with them
[20:06] <+CGriesinger> but they their powers are called evolutions;
they can trigger temporary mutations to their minds and flesh to help
adapt and survive
[20:06] <+CGriesinger> for example, they can turn their hand into a
sort of biological pistol where the muscles contract to shoot calcium
[20:06] <+CGriesinger> they can download the memories of other hosts, etc.
[20:06] <~Dan> Creepy.
[20:06] <+TommyBrownell> And you can combine two Marks in a single
character, right?
[20:06] <+CGriesinger> yes, you can create hybrid classes
[20:07] <+CGriesinger> have Host, half Magi, etc.
[20:07] <~Dan> Sorry... you were about to talk about an example adventure?
[20:07] <+CGriesinger> but back to the question about types of games,
at Origins i ran a game where the players were convicted criminals who
had been sentenced to die.
[20:08] <+CGriesinger> however, they were purchased by the CDC (which
has become a radical, ultra-religious sect hellbent to destroy anyone
suffering from The Sickness)
[20:08] <~Dan> (That's cool. :) )
[20:08] <+GoldenH> oo
[20:08] <+GoldenH> do they have secret underground facilities built by FEMA?
[20:08] <+CGriesinger> and the CDC conscripts the group to take up a
mission where they must travel to the dystopian and mutated remants of
the Cincinnati zoo to make contact with a live cell that has been
presumably lost to The Sickness
[20:08] <+CGriesinger> haha
[20:09] <+CGriesinger> one of the factions in the game is called The Masonry
[20:09] <+CGriesinger> they are a guild that helps build structures
that can house large numbers of people and protect them from the
horrors of the Dystopia
[20:10] <+CGriesinger> but they build secret passages and rooms that
no one knows about. They have their own agenda in everything they do.
[20:10] <+CGriesinger> There are a lot of short stories in the book as
well and descriptions of factions and organizations. All of it is in
the hopes that someone will get inspired, come up with a cool game
idea, and then build a story centered around one of those groups or
what have you
[20:11] <+GoldenH> nice
[20:12] <~Dan> On a related note... could you say a bit about
antagonists? The Mortis-Horde, mutated critters, etc.?
[20:12] <+CGriesinger> so take the CDC and combine them with a few
members of the Masonry, and suddenly you have a suburban area that has
been converted into some kind of fantastical super-manse. It might
feel like a dungeon crawl, but each room would be like a normal room
in a house, the kitchen, a living room, the living room of the next
house, a bedroom, etc.
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[20:12] <+CGriesinger> sure thing
[20:12] <+CGriesinger> the most common, universal enemy is the mortis-horde
[20:13] <+Crazy-Cabal> Zombies?
[20:13] <+CGriesinger> essentially.
[20:13] <+GoldenH> (and that last bit sounds kind of creepy)
[20:13] <+CGriesinger> these are the men, women, and children who have
been lost to the last stage of The Sickness
[20:13] <+CGriesinger> called The Black Dream.
[20:13] <+CGriesinger> this is where you completely lose yourself to
the hate in your soul.
[20:13] <+CGriesinger> now there are different kinds of mortis creatures.
[20:14] <+CGriesinger> for example, if a player (called a protagonist)
loses his or her character to The Black Dream
[20:14] <+CGriesinger> they would become a "fiend"
[20:14] <+Crazy-Cabal> Ah, are there different types? Like the special
infected from L4D or Necromorphs from Deadspace?
[20:14] <+CGriesinger> fiends are capable of a certain degree of
thought and reason
[20:14] <+CGriesinger> they can use weapons, use strategy, etc.
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[20:15] <+CGriesinger> however, fiends are consumed by rage
[20:15] <+CGriesinger> so they don't take care of themselves, and
eventually they atrophy
[20:15] <+CGriesinger> over time a fiend becomes a dreg
[20:15] <~Dan> (Howdy, Squide! Q&A in progress, #rpgnet2 open, yadda
yadda, you know the drill. ;) 0
[20:15] <+CGriesinger> dregs are like zombies... they move in awkward,
jerky motions
[20:15] <+CGriesinger> they cannot really think, strategize, etc.
[20:15] <+CGriesinger> an abomination is any beast that is lost to The Sickness
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[20:16] <+CGriesinger> and mind you, things can get mutated
[20:16] <+CGriesinger> the last major type of mortis creature
[20:16] <+CGriesinger> is called an archon
[20:16] <~Dan> So is there a difference between a critter that's been
mutated and an abomination?
[20:16] <+CGriesinger> or a horde-thane, lich, etc.
[20:17] <+CGriesinger> hmm?
[20:17] <+CGriesinger> well, there can be any number of mutated creatures
[20:17] <~Dan> Sorry -- I just wanted to clarify whether all "mutant"
creatures are abominations by definition.
[20:17] <+CGriesinger> but if a critter goes into The Black Dream,
they become ultra-dangerous and therefore an abomination
[20:17] <+CGriesinger> i gotcha
[20:17] <~Dan> Gotcha. Sorry -- please continue.
[20:17] <+CGriesinger> it's all good
[20:18] <+CGriesinger> yeah, you could have a mutated deer that's
three times its normal size, but it wouldn't be an abomination unless
it was lost to The Sickness, but then it would be a crazy bloodthirsty
deer that could detatch its jaw like a snake and spit poison, lol
[20:18] <+CGriesinger> archons are my favorite
[20:18] <+CGriesinger> basically, these are fiends that were lost to
The Sickness from an incredibly tragic event
[20:19] <+CGriesinger> maybe they watched their family get butchered
before them--something horrifying that would qualify for a horror
[20:19] <+CGriesinger> these people become archons; they are the dread
leaders of the mortis-horde. They have the power to shepherd the
actions of other mortis creatures (even mindless dregs)
[20:19] <+Crazy-Cabal> Ah so being an abomination turns you into a
frong tongue strangling monster who pounces on people.
[20:20] <+CGriesinger> they hate hate hate but they can control that
hate instead of being mastered by it. So for example, an archon could
pass himself off as a regular survivor, infiltrate a live cell, and
then kill them all from the inside (or horrify them to draw them into
The Sickness as well)
[20:20] <+CGriesinger> and so this creates an incredible amount of
distrust amongst the people, because everyone is afraid of how far
others have gone to The Sickness
[20:21] <~Dan> Cool. Supernatural Terminators. :)
[20:21] <+CGriesinger> and why certain groups like the CDC Witch
Hunters are so wildly radical in their beliefs and action.
[20:21] <~Dan> What are the powers of the archons like?
[20:22] <+CGriesinger> well... that is left open, even in the book
[20:22] <+CGriesinger> presumably, they have the powers that they had
before they were lost to The Sickness
[20:22] <+CGriesinger> in addition to the ability to cause people
nearby to inexplicably gain radiation
[20:22] <~Dan> So they were all Marked?
[20:22] <+CGriesinger> and to control the actions of other mortis creatures
[20:22] <+CGriesinger> yeah
[20:22] <~Dan> Check.
[20:23] <~Dan> Oh, question about your bog-standard mortis-fiend and dregs...
[20:23] <~Dan> ...are they zombie-like enough to be hard to kill like
"real" zombies?
[20:23] <+CGriesinger> dregs are easy to kill
[20:23] <+CGriesinger> they are like goblins, in effect
[20:23] <+CGriesinger> fiends are more challenging.
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[20:24] <+Crazy-Cabal> Are fiends fast zombies?
[20:24] <~Dan> Well, I mean, are they as easy to put down as a normal
human as far as the amount of damage they can take.
[20:24] <+CGriesinger> there are both kinds of zombies
[20:24] <+CGriesinger> Dawn of the Dead style, and Dawn of the Dead
remake style ;)
[20:24] <~Dan> Ah... so they can take abuse like undead zombies?
[20:24] <+CGriesinger> generally speaking, yes
[20:25] <+CGriesinger> there are rules to amp up any given enemy to
make them a little bit more like a boss
[20:25] <~Dan> Okay, so speaking of damage...
[20:25] <+CGriesinger> yeah, fiends can take some abuse
[20:26] <+CGriesinger> but again, all of the stats for these enemies
are in the back of the book as generalized templates
[20:26] <~Dan> robust are PCs in the game? How much damage can
they take? Can one shot from a pistol take one out, for example?
[20:26] <+CGriesinger> i like to keep players guessing, so i'm always
tweaking the stats. some fiends can take a beating, some are a little
[20:26] <+CGriesinger> protagonists are beefy
[20:26] <+CGriesinger> a player has Pain Points and Injury Points
[20:26] <+CGriesinger> basically, when you take damage, you lose Pain
Points first.
[20:27] <+CGriesinger> Pain Points are recovered at the end of a
fight; this is the damage you just shrug off because you are a marked
[20:27] <+CGriesinger> Injury Points on the other hand recover less
frequently. Once you gain so many Injury Points you havce to make an
action check to remain conscious
[20:27] <+CGriesinger> and once that is failed, to stay alive
[20:28] <+CGriesinger> but players are privileged in terms of health;
they won't go down to a single gunshot unless they have a very low
resilience score and they get hit REALLY hard
[20:28] <~Dan> Does degree of success affect damage?
[20:29] <+CGriesinger> it does for ranged weapons
[20:29] <+CGriesinger> damage is a bit different between melee and ranged
[20:29] <~Dan> Hmm.
[20:30] <~Dan> No swashbuckling, then?
[20:30] <+CGriesinger> that's probably worth talking about
[20:30] <+CGriesinger> combat is very different
[20:31] <+CGriesinger> okay... so in a fight... there is standard
initiative stuff to decide who goes first, etc.
[20:31] * ~Dan nods
[20:31] <+CGriesinger> But for a lot of RPGs, when you go to strike an
enemy, you have some base "to hit" score
[20:32] <+CGriesinger> however, in Reclamation, each time you make an
attack, you get to decide just how aggressive you are with the strike
[20:32] <+CGriesinger> this is a number between 1 and 20
[20:32] <~Dan> (I need to go afk for just a sec -- please continue.
I'll scroll back as needed.)
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[20:32] <+CGriesinger> 1 is insanely aggressive. You are swinging for
the fence with reckless abandon; you are making no attempt whatsoever
to protect yourself. all offense all the time.
[20:33] <+CGriesinger> a 20 would be a weak weak attempt. You are all
defense and not really making much of an effort to wound your foe.
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[20:34] <+CGriesinger> so... let's say you just take your knife and
make a swing at the dreg's throat; not too aggressive not too
defensive, so a 10.
[20:34] <+CGriesinger> the dreg now has to REACT
[20:34] <+CGriesinger> he can defend himself.
[20:34] <+CGriesinger> in which case the dreg adds his "Defend" score
to the aggression.
[20:34] <+CGriesinger> so if the dreg had a 4 defend... 4 plus the
aggression of 10 would be a 14.
[20:35] <+CGriesinger> You would make a DEX check trying to score a 14
or better. if you succeed, you wound the dreg.
[20:35] <+CGriesinger> However, the dreg could also choose to
counterstrike you; the best defense is a good offense.
[20:35] <+CGriesinger> in which case, the dreg adds his "counter"
score to the aggression.
[20:36] <+CGriesinger> dregs are slow as mud, so the counter score
might be like a 15.  10 + 15 is 25.  The DREG makes a DEX check trying
to score a 25. If he hits, he counters and wounds you. If he fails,
you automatically wound the dreg.
[20:36] <+CGriesinger> so basically, each time you get attacked in
Reclamation, you can choose how you want to react. If you make a
character that is very speedy and dextrous, you might be quite the
ninja in combat, reversing attacks, wounding enemies on their own
turns, etc.
[20:37] <+CGriesinger> or maybe you are a slow tank with lots of
armor, in which case you probably defend more.
[20:37] <~Dan> (back)
[20:38] <+CGriesinger> But what this does is it creates a sort of
"combat dance" so to speak. You are trying to figure out that sweet
spot of how aggressive you should be with an enemy.  If you are too
aggressive, they will keep counterstriking you and wounding you.  If
you are not aggressive enough, they defend themselves and you can't
seem to break through their defenses.
[20:38] <~Dan> Interesting.
[20:39] <+CGriesinger> some people that I play with swear by
countering and being super aggressive; others choose to hang back, use
ranged weapons, and just defend themselves from enemies.
[20:39] <+CGriesinger> if you wound an enemy, you flip another card
from your deck and the suit determines the amount of damage dealt.
Different weapons have different Damage Scales.
[20:40] <+CGriesinger> Ranged weapons are a bit different because you
don't flip a damage card. The degree of your success determines the
amount of damage.  So ranged weapons are trying to punch through armor
harder to do more damage.
[20:40] <~Dan> And how does strength affect melee damage?
[20:41] <+CGriesinger> if your strength is high enough, you get a
bonus to melee attacks
[20:41] <~Dan> To the attack? Not to damage?
[20:41] <+CGriesinger> sorry, to the damage
[20:41] <~Dan> Ah, good.
[20:43] <~Dan> Now, we discussed this the other day, but armor
increased the difficulty to hit. How difficult did you say it would be
to change that to damage reduction?
[20:43] <+CGriesinger> well, you know, I was thinking about that again.
[20:44] <+CGriesinger> and here's the thing, when you are shooting
with a gun, again, it's about punching through the armor... so if you
wanted to have a weapon that had more "impact" you could simply give
the gun a bonus to hit because that would equate to larger amounts of
[20:44] <~Dan> Yeah, I was thinking about an "armor piercing" bonus.
[20:45] <~Dan> Might be a rules option to post on your web site?
[20:45] <+CGriesinger> basically, every firearm has a nick/graze/wound
damage scale
[20:45] <+CGriesinger> maybe that's 2/5/8 for a handgun
[20:45] <+CGriesinger> 4/7/10 for a shotgun (i'm throwing out numbers atm, lol)
[20:46] <+CGriesinger> so if you barely hit an enemy, a handgunw ould
deal 2 damage and the shotgun would do 4
[20:46] <+CGriesinger> but if that shotgun is really meant for more
impact, or maybe you're dealing with armor piercing bullets, you add a
+5 to the strike check of the weapon... this means it's more likely
that you'd hit for a higher level of damage
[20:47] <+CGriesinger> and that's fine, guns should cause some damage,
because bullets are rare
[20:47] <~Dan> Actually...
[20:47] <~Dan> ...I'd suggest negating armor rather than increasing
the chance to hit. Because armor piercing bullets wouldn't make you
more likely to hit a nimble target.
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[20:48] <+Mostlyjoe> Hello.
[20:48] <+CGriesinger> you could do that as well
[20:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, Mostlyjoe! Q&A in progress. #rpgnet2 open for
general chat.)
[20:49] <~Dan> Does anyone have any more questions in the time we have
left? If not, I have one of my own.
[20:49] <+CGriesinger> again, all of the weapons are set up as
templates. You can add and implement bonuses/penalties however you
[20:49] <~Dan> Okay, thematic question.
[20:50] <~Dan> The PCs seem to be, as I've mentioned, something akin
to post-apocalyptic superheroes.
[20:50] <~Dan> How do you make that jibe with the horror aspect you're
going for?
[20:50] <+CGriesinger> it makes for an interesting dichotomy
[20:50] <+CGriesinger> here's how i deal with it
[20:51] <+CGriesinger> while the protagonists are gifted with special powers
[20:51] <+CGriesinger> in many cases, these abilities have been thrust
upon them.
[20:51] <+CGriesinger> they don't understand them, they don't know
their full potential.
[20:52] <+CGriesinger> whereas what you face in this world, the
mortis-horde, radical sects, wild abominations, they are equipped and
they know their potential
[20:52] <+CGriesinger> it's like Frodo and the company heading for Mordor
[20:52] <+CGriesinger> they are heroes, but they are going to turn on
each other, they are going to doubt themselves, and they are woefully
unprepared for what's coming.
[20:53] <+CGriesinger> another element is the lack of adequate supplies.
[20:53] <+CGriesinger> like, there are rules for AK-47s, etc.
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[20:53] <+Silverlion> Did I make it in time?
[20:53] <+CGriesinger> but a lot of times, the protagonists are armed
with letter openers and tire irons. They make their armor out of book
bindings and PVC pipes
[20:53] <~Dan> (For Eloy. Chris is just wrapping up.)
[20:53] <+Silverlion> In what?
[20:54] <+Silverlion> Sigh. I missed the one I wanted.
[20:54] <+Silverlion> Reclamation.
[20:54] <~Dan> (Reclamation)
[20:54] <+CGriesinger> also... these special powers
[20:54] <+Silverlion> Darn it.
[20:54] <+CGriesinger> they all require radiation to activate
[20:54] <+CGriesinger> which is a path that leads to The Black Dream
[20:54] <+Silverlion> Interesting.
[20:54] <+CGriesinger> so the more "epic" you try to act... the more
you lose your soul to The Sickness
[20:54] <~Dan> (Actually, all's not lost, Tim. Just a sec.)
[20:55] <+CGriesinger> Radiation Points act as sort of a cap on how
much while "power" stuff the players try when dealing with a hostile
[20:55] <~Dan> Do they fade?
[20:55] <~Dan> Sounds like they're almost like reverse magic points.
[20:55] <+CGriesinger> as you rest, you recover radiation points and
injury points
[20:55] <+Silverlion> Recover: Charge or Lose?
[20:55] <+CGriesinger> you can activate your powers as much as you
want... but you gain radiation points each time
[20:56] <+CGriesinger> You gain radiation points when you use your
abilities, and you lose them when you rest.
[20:56] <+CGriesinger> more is bad, lol
[20:56] <~Dan> Does anything cause you to permanently gain radiation points?
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[20:56] <+CGriesinger> haha, funny you should say that
[20:56] <+CGriesinger> nothing is mentioned in the book on that.
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[20:56] <+CGriesinger> but i have done that before, lol
[20:56] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:57] <~Dan> Howdy, Rakshasa!
[20:57] <+RakshasaSkipp> Hey again.  How's things?
[20:57] <~Dan> Okay, just a few minutes before Eloy's up... Any final
thoughts, Chris?
[20:58] <+CGriesinger> hmm... well again... i really appreciate the
opportunity to talk about my game. It means a lot. So thank you, Dan,
and thanks to everyone who sat in and listened.
[20:58] <~Dan> Things are good, Rak. Chris is just finishing up
talking Reclamation, and Eloy Lasanta is about to come in to talk
about gods, demons, ninjas, and mermaids. :)
[20:58] <+CGriesinger> i think you showed the link to the game earlier
[20:58] <~Dan> Absolutely, CG! I'm really liking the game so far.

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