Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[Q&A] Jason Vey (Amazing Adventures, Band of Zombies)

[19:04] <+JasonVey> Hi, I'm Jason. I'm a Leo. My turn-ons are...wait, this isn't that kind of chat, is it?
[19:04] <~Dan> Not as far as you know.
[19:04] <+JasonVey> I'm glad to talk about any of my books.
[19:04] <~Dan> (Also, please give us a "(done)" when you're ready for questions after each answer.)
[19:05] <+JasonVey> Will do.
[19:05] <+JasonVey> Um.. (done) :p
[19:06] <~Dan> Heh. :)  Can you give us a quick overview of BoZ and AA for those unfamiliar with them?
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[19:06] <+JasonVey> Sure. Band of Zombies is the LONG overdue World War II book for All Flesh Must Be Eaten. In fact, the book has been done for so long that there's stuff in Steve Trustrum's "Armageddon Armed Force" that was originally written for BoZ, which was supposed to be released first.
[19:07] <+JasonVey> Amazing Adventures is my new core pulp RPG for Troll Lord Games, which is powered by their SIEGE Engine system. It's about 99% compatible with Castles & Crusades.
[19:07] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:07] <+Geek2theRight> *coughbeyondhumancough*
[19:07] <+JasonVey> Hah. I wish I had something to do with that.  I begged George to let me take it over.
[19:08] <+JasonVey> He opted to give it to Thom Marrion.  I'm honestly not sure where that one stands at this point.
[19:08] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:08] <~Dan> Thom is (supposedly) still working on it.
[19:09] <+JasonVey> Right, I'm just not sure exactly where he is with it...
[19:09] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:09] <+Geek2theRight> CJ Carella needs to come back and save Eden.
[19:09] <~Dan> Snake_Eyes, you still there?
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[19:09] <+JasonVey> I can't say anything about that except that it's unlikely to happen. C.J. has moved on to other things. (done)
[19:10] <~Dan> What are some of the new goodies you've added to Unisystem in BoZ?
[19:10] <+Geek2theRight> I know, but that doesn't stop me from missing him terribly.
[19:10] <+JasonVey> BoZ has a shedload of new goodies
[19:11] <+Snake_Eyes> ^yes Dan, sry for not answering, i am on rpgnet2 also
[19:11] <+Geek2theRight> Nazombies???
[19:11] <~Dan> Snake: I'll PM you as to why you might find one of Jason's books interesting. :)
[19:11] <+JasonVey> In addition to the obligatory new qualities and drawbacks, there are rules for shell shock and PTSD, rules for naval combat, expanded dogfighting rules, optional tactical miniatures rules, new Miracles for Inspired, mass combat rules...
[19:12] <+JasonVey> Oh, and a complete unified campaign setting
[19:12] <+JasonVey> Yes, there are Nazi zombies. You can also play a half-zombie.
[19:12] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:12] <~Dan> ...A half-zombie?
[19:13] <+JasonVey> Yep. Or, "Captain Patriots," as the Allies like to call them.
[19:13] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:13] <~Dan> Oh, I think you mentioned that to me... A sort of zombie super-soldier experiment?
[19:13] <+JasonVey> Exactly.
[19:13] <~Dan> What can you tell us about the unified setting?
[19:14] <+JasonVey> Well, it's presented in the Deadworld format, with each area of the world having its own flavor. So you do have mummies in Egypt, Draugr in Norway, etc...but they are all tied to the same Rise event, and there's a unified timeline connecting it all together.
[19:15] <+JasonVey> And of course, once the Rise happens, history takes a sharp left turn.
[19:15] <+JasonVey> I don't want to give too much away, but I will say one thing: Zombie Hitler
[19:15] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:16] <+Snake_Eyes> can i ask what is your rule for "shell-shock"? is it from mustard gas?
[19:16] <~Dan> So is it everyone vs. zombies, or is it Axis zombies vs. Allies?
[19:16] <+JasonVey> Shell shock first
[19:16] <~Dan> (Question pause while Jason catches up.)
[19:16] <+JasonVey> No, Shell Shock is combat trauma. It's ATSD as opposed to PTSD, which is more long-term.
[19:16] <+Snake_Eyes> ^cool
[19:17] <+Geek2theRight> Highschool was a long time ago. Which is the good guys?
[19:17] <+JasonVey> Shell shock works largely on the accumulation of Madness Points, much like the rules in the Abominatino Codex for WitchCraft
[19:17] <+JasonVey> When you accumulate so many Madness Points you gain an appropriate Mental Drawback.
[19:17] <+JasonVey> Be it a phobia, cruelty, whatever.
[19:18] <+JasonVey> Okay, onto Dan's question
[19:18] <+JasonVey> It's tricky.  Most of the zombies are on the Axis side, but whenever anyone Rises, they can turn on anyone at any time.
[19:18] <+JasonVey> And the zombies specific to each area of the world have their own goals and drives, set by the legends and mythology of that country.
[19:19] <~Dan> Huh.
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[19:19] <~Dan> Are there vampires?
[19:19] <+JasonVey> You know, it's been so long I honestly don't remember if I put vampires in there.
[19:19] <+JasonVey> There are ghouls in Russia
[19:20] <+JasonVey> Formed from the siege of Leningrad, when people started eating each other to survive
[19:20] <~Dan> Those Moscow ghouls really knock me out.
[19:20] <+JasonVey> If you have Atlas of the Walking Dead, you could have a field day with BoZ
[19:20] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:21] <+JasonVey> (Geek2theRight) hopefully that was a joke about who the good guys are ;)
[19:21] <+Geek2theRight> Why does mythology matter in-setting?
[19:21] <~Dan> Hmmm... How much focus is there on the new setting vs. WW2-specific stuff?
[19:21] <+Gyr|Laptop> Dan: Well, of course they do.  They have the wight stuff.
[19:21] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:21] <~Dan> (Also, *golfclap*)
[19:23] <+JasonVey> Mythology matters in-session to the point where each section of the world sees the undead of its own myths and legends rise. So in Egypt, the mummies come out of their tombs. In Norway, Draugr show up. In the Far East you have Gaki, etc.
[19:23] <+JasonVey> (Done)
[19:23] <+JasonVey> Dan, what do you mean?
[19:24] <~Dan> Hmm... Trying to figure out how best to phrase the question...
[19:24] <+Geek2theRight> Yeah I got that, but why does it work that way?
[19:25] <+JasonVey> I did EXTENSIVE research on WWII so I could be as accurate as possible to the era, and respectful to the history behind it. While this is a horror game, I felt it needed to be balanced with respect for what happened. Men and women willingly gave their lives to quite literally save the world in a way that they never had before.
[19:25] <+JasonVey> Geek, that's not a question that's answered in the text. In the setting, nobody knows why. Theories abound, and the most prominent is that the ancestral beliefs of a given area affect the way the Rise worked there.
[19:25] <+JasonVey> The Rise in this book is mystical in nature
[19:26] <~Dan> I guess I'm trying to ask how much stuff could be in any AFMBE book as opposed to a WW2 book.
[19:26] <+JasonVey> It happens when the Thule Society gets hold of some ancient texts and start playing with things far beyond their Ken.
[19:26] <~Dan> (Oh, that crazy Thule Society. Where would pulp adventure be without you?)
[19:26] <+JasonVey> Ah. Well, as far as the rules go, if that's what you mean, the rules here are very war-specific.
[19:26] <+Geek2theRight> Oh sympathetic magic of a sort. Gotcha.
[19:26] <+JasonVey> The vehicles, equipment, and such are specific to WWII
[19:27] * ~Dan nods
[19:27] <+JasonVey> The game is geared towards a specific end. If you've seen my other books for Eden, you know I don't like to go generic
[19:27] <+JasonVey> It's all geared towards genre-emulation
[19:27] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:28] <~Dan> I mentioned pulp a moment ago, but I'm guessing you're really going more for gritty combat?
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[19:29] <+Geek2theRight> Be back soon.
[19:29] *** Geek2theRight has quit IRC: Disintegrated: Bye
[19:29] <+JasonVey> In BoZ?
[19:29] <+JasonVey> Yes, it's gritty as all hell. The classic Unisystem in general is gritty to begin with. We didn't have to do much to make that happen.
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[19:29] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:29] <+JasonVey> Oh, wait, just to add one thing
[19:29] <~Dan> Nope, too late!
[19:29] <~Dan> (j/k)
[19:30] <+JasonVey> Pulp is gritty, too, if done the right way. There are different "flavors" of pulp
[19:30] <~Dan> True enough.
[19:30] <~Dan> I was speaking of "pulp" in gamer parlance. :)
[19:30] <~Dan> Doc Savage type stuff.
[19:31] <+JasonVey> Remember that Lovecraft, Howard, Chandler, Dent, and others were all considered Pulp and had a lot of different styles.
[19:31] <~Dan> So this probably wouldn't work for John Wayne vs. the Zombies, I take it?
[19:31] <+JasonVey> No, you'd want Fistfull o' Zombies for that ;)
[19:31] <~Dan> True. We'll touch on that more when we start discussing AA. :)
[19:31] <+JasonVey> Unless you mean John Wayne's war movie days
[19:31] <~Dan> Well, the Duke had plenty of WW2 movies, too. :)
[19:31] <+JasonVey> In which case I don't see why not
[19:32] <~Dan> I mean in the sense that they featured over-the-top heroics, not Saving Private Ryan grittiness.
[19:32] <+JasonVey> right, right.
[19:32] <+JasonVey> You could do it as well in BoZ as in any AFMBE game
[19:32] <+JasonVey> If I were going to do that type of game I'd ditch the Shell Shock rules, for starters
[19:32] * ~Dan nods
[19:33] <+JasonVey> ...and it looks like it's just you and me in here right now.
[19:33] <+JasonVey> :p
[19:33] <~Dan> That happens from time to time. People often let me take the lead and just chime in sporadically. :)
[19:34] <&Lolth> And some of us are borderline falling asleep. *thud*
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[19:34] <+JasonVey> Nice
[19:34] <+JasonVey> Well then, bear with me. I've not actually used IRC before now.
[19:35] <&Lolth> Yah, it is not you, it is 3:30 am.
[19:35] <~Dan> No worries. You're doing fine. :)
[19:35] <+JasonVey> Wow, where are you, Lolth? It's only 8:35 here
[19:35] <~Dan> (brb, just a sec...)
[19:36] <&Lolth> Finland.
[19:36] <~Dan> We have an obscene number of Finns in there.
[19:36] <+JasonVey> Ah! The home of one of my favorite bands.
[19:36] <~Dan> in here, rather
[19:36] <+JasonVey> Aside from "it's dark half the year" and "beautiful spoken language" that's about all I know about Finland, I'm ashamed to say.
[19:37] <~Dan> Well, now you can add "Lolth lives there." :)
[19:37] <+JasonVey> Indeed!
[19:37] <~Dan> Let's see... How much space do you add for vehicle combat?
[19:38] <+JasonVey> We're still on BoZ?
[19:38] <+JasonVey> Let me look. It's been awhile.
[19:38] <~Dan> Yup, but we can shift gears whenever you like. You are our guest. :)
[19:38] <~Dan> Lolth, you're a pulp fan, right?
[19:38] <&Lolth> To limited degree; REH, HPL and CAS.
[19:39] <+JasonVey> About 6250 words for Aerial and Naval combat
[19:39] <+JasonVey> Land vehicle combat is covered pretty well in the core AFMBE rules, so I didn't really expound upon that much.
[19:40] <+JasonVey> OH! There are environmental rules, too
[19:40] <+JasonVey> Extreme weather, that sort of thing.
[19:40] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:41] <~Dan> How much are zombies involved in otherwise "mundane" combat? Do you have zombies driving panzers and piloting Stukas?
[19:41] <+JasonVey> Yes. Yes, I do.
[19:41] <~Dan> Good man.
[19:42] <~Dan> Zombie tanks go where other tanks fear to tread.
[19:42] <&Lolth> All I can think of right now is that this will give Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Skies" a completely new meaning.
[19:42] <+JasonVey> Zombies in Zeros give a whole new meaning to "Kamikaze."
[19:42] <~Dan> No foolin'.
[19:42] <~Dan> Oh...
[19:42] <~Dan> ...and now I'm reminded of that sequence in Heavy Metal that always scared the pee-pee outta me.
[19:43] <+JasonVey> And I'll just say also, in the jungles of the Pacific Islands?
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[19:43] <&Lolth> Are zombies deployed like plague-bombs in middle-ages? That is, do cities get bombarded with zombies that shamble out to infect others?
[19:43] <~Dan> (wb, G2tR!)
[19:43] <+JasonVey> The zombies move through the trees like freakin' monkeys
[19:43] <~Dan> That's pretty scary.
[19:44] <&Lolth> Dan: I am relieved (pun intended) that I'm not the only one who had that reaction to that sequence.
[19:44] <+JasonVey> Lolth, they can be used that way. Like I said it's been a long time since I read through the book itself, but iirc, the zombies that retain their intelligence don't spread the plague. Those that are mindless do.
[19:44] <~Dan> No, not at all. That HORRIFIED me. Being trapped on a plane with those things? *shudder*
[19:45] <+JasonVey> I believe what I did was have a random chance of any given body retaining its intelligence when it Rises.
[19:45] <~Dan> What can the half-zombies do?
[19:45] <&Lolth> So basically, you can do double-whammo of medieval corpse-bombing: not only people get their dead back, but they come back undead.
[19:46] <+JasonVey> Yes you could.
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[19:46] <~Dan> "Bring out your dead! Bring out your... Oh, nevermind. Here they come on their own."
[19:46] <+JasonVey> Half-zombies get a lot of stat boosts, can pick up Zombie Aspects with XP, but always stand a chance of losing control and succumbing to the virus
[19:47] <~Dan> How superhuman are we talking? What would a maxed-out half zombie look like?
[19:47] <+JasonVey> AH, that's what I did!
[19:47] <+JasonVey> Okay, sorry, looking back over the manuscript
[19:47] <~Dan> Not tank-lobbers, I'm guessing?
[19:47] <+JasonVey> So the Nazis find a formula in an ancient book they dug up in the Arabian Desert
[19:47] <+JasonVey> This formula allows them to create "unkillable" soldiers...zombies.
[19:48] <+JasonVey> Russia captures a bunch of these zombies, and starts injecting its own troops with their blood
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[19:49] <+JasonVey> At some point, due to the Thules messing around with the book, cracks between the worlds open up, letting the energies of the Outer Dark in
[19:49] <+JasonVey> This causes random mindless undead to start rising all over the world.
[19:49] <+JasonVey> The U.S. and Britain find themselves at a loss--with the Nazis and the Russians able to create zombie troops, they want a way to fight back.
[19:49] <+JasonVey> Hence, the Captain Patriot program.
[19:50] <~Dan> "Uncle Sam wants YOU... to be an undead freak."
[19:50] <+JasonVey> now, Dan, as for how tough they are, when we playtested one of our group who is a real min-maxer played one
[19:50] <+JasonVey> It was definitely not remotely unbalancing
[19:50] <+JasonVey> The nice thing about Unisystem is that points are points.
[19:50] * ~Dan nods
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[19:51] <~Dan> How would you compare them to, say, Marvel superheroes?
[19:51] <+JasonVey> And I shouldn't fail to mention that our playtest (in which I played and didn't run), the game ended with me shooting everyone else in the head and riding away into the sunset with a little Jewish orphan girl I'd rescued.
[19:51] <+JasonVey> Not even in the same class. This isn't a supers game.
[19:52] <~Dan> Well, right, but can they be superhumanly strong, for example, and if so, how strong?
[19:52] <+JasonVey> Looking them up. give me a minute
[19:53] <~Dan> Sure.
[19:53] <+JasonVey> Oh, there's a sidebar for optionally playing characters as full-on zombies if they should succumb to the Rise.
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[19:54] <+JasonVey> Among other things, Captain Patriots get +1 to Str and Con, and become Damage Resistant per the Zombie Aspect
[19:54] <+JasonVey> So it's not like they're getting +6 to Strength or anything
[19:54] * ~Dan nods
[19:54] <+JasonVey> (and no, I'm not going to spell out the whole Quality package for you) ;)
[19:54] <+JasonVey> Done
[19:55] <~Dan> Okay, shall we move on to Amazing Adventures?
[19:55] <+JasonVey> If you like
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[19:55] <~Dan> (wb, Squide! You may be interested in this one. Pulp!)
[19:55] <&Le_Squide> (ooo)
[19:56] <~Dan> What tricks did you employ to make Castles & Crusades pulp-worthy?
[19:56] <+JasonVey> I streamlined the core SIEGE Engine first of all
[19:56] <~Dan> How so?
[19:56] <+JasonVey> Instead of two Challenge Bases of 12 and 18 depending on Primes, I made it a flat CB of 15. Primes now give you a +5 to checks.
[19:57] <+JasonVey> I also included a lot of character customization in here. We now have an optional section of the book entirely devoted to things like Traits, Backgrounds, Knowledge Skills, and Generic Class Abilities.
[19:57] <+JasonVey> This section, like I said, is optional, so people who like their games more vanilla can stick with the standard classes and levels
[19:58] <+JasonVey> Classes are also pulp specific: Arcanist (with a new magic system), Gadgeteer, Gumshoe, Hooligan, Mentalist (psionics), Pugilist, Raider, and Socialite
[19:58] <+JasonVey> (done)
[19:59] <~Dan> Any questions, Squide?
[19:59] <+Geek2theRight> I just got C&C so this is relevant to my interests.
[19:59] <~Dan> Ask away, G2tR!
[20:00] <+JasonVey> Well, this is a game that, if you're a fan of C&C, you can pick up and play in 15 minutes. There's very little learning curve to it.
[20:00] <+JasonVey> I know that's been a fear some people have voiced considering how different from C&C StarSIEGE is.
[20:00] <+JasonVey> One of my design goals was "this has to work with C&C."
[20:00] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:00] <+Geek2theRight> Doesn't the new way just effectively shift the cr to 15 and 10?
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[20:01] <+JasonVey> No more so than the original way was CC 12 with +6 for Primes
[20:01] <+Geek2theRight> Cb I mean.
[20:01] <+JasonVey> There's an important difference
[20:01] <+JasonVey> With a flat CB, you can easily compare die rolls
[20:01] <+JasonVey> The final difficulty is the same, regardless of whether or not you have a Prime
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[20:01] <+JasonVey> The Difficulty of a CL 3 task will be, for example, 18. Whether you have a Prime or not, the target is 18
[20:02] <+JasonVey> It's not 15 if you have a prime and 21 if you don't
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[20:02] <+JasonVey> That means any two people who are rolling against a task can easily compare results to see who was more successful, just by the total roll.
[20:02] <+Geek2theRight> So why not just leave it as 18 with +6 to primary? Why move the numbers around?
[20:02] <+JasonVey> 15 and +5 is more intuitive, first of all
[20:02] <+JasonVey> We are trained to think in multiples of 5 and 10
[20:03] <+JasonVey> Second, it lowers the base difficulty a bit, making things more pulp
[20:03] <+JasonVey> If you wanted to use 18 and +6, or even stick with the 12 and 18 split, you could, no harm done. I even have a sidebar addressing that in the game.
[20:03] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:04] <+Geek2theRight> Ok. That now makes sense.
[20:04] <~Dan> You mention a change in magic. Care to expound on that a bit?
[20:04] <+Djones> So apparently
[20:04] <+JasonVey> Sure. Vancian magic just isn't very pulp. I think everyone could agree on that
[20:04] <+Djones> rpgent is a bit quieter than rpgnet...
[20:05] <+JasonVey> The magic in AA is based on a spell point and SIEGE check mechanic
[20:05] <~Dan> Agreed.
[20:05] <+JasonVey> Spells cost a number of Manna Energy Points (MEP) equal to their level plus one to cast.
[20:05] <+Geek2theRight> I might steal it in a modified fashion if I ever run C&C and find chars failing to a not fun extent.
[20:05] <+JasonVey> You also have to make a "Spellcraft" check, which is a SIEGE check based on your Spellcasting Attribute (you choose this at char gen--Int, Wis, or Cha--and it affects your spell list)
[20:06] <+JasonVey> The CL for the check is equal to the spell level
[20:06] <+JasonVey> So to cast a first level spell you need to make a SIEGE check against a difficulty of 16 and spend 2 MEP
[20:06] <+JasonVey> If you fail, you can take damage from spell burn
[20:07] <+JasonVey> There's also a mechanic that lets you spend Constitution to cast a spell if you run out of MEP and need that one last jolt.
[20:07] <~Dan> Is this related to the spell point mechanic I read is in the C&C GM guide?
[20:07] <+JasonVey> I think whoever wrote the mechanic in the CKG probably saw my rules online and adapted them.
[20:07] <+JasonVey> They're similar, but not identical.
[20:07] * ~Dan nods
[20:08] <+JasonVey> But that reminds me, the Fate Point rules in the CKG are mine, and they're in Amazing Adventures as well
[20:08] <~Dan> And how do psychic powers work?
[20:08] <+JasonVey> Psychic powers work off of a SIEGE check.
[20:08] <+JasonVey> Each power works off a given Ability Score. You make a SIEGE check to use them.
[20:08] <~Dan> Oh? Cool! Please tell us more about the Fate Points when you have a sec.
[20:09] <+JasonVey> The Fate Points were adapted from Mongoose's Conan RPG.
[20:09] <~Dan> (After you're done with psychic powers, I mean.)
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[20:09] <+JasonVey> They're very similar to what's in there.
[20:09] <+Damiar> heya folks
[20:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, Damiar! You're a Castles & Crusades fan and a pulp fan, aren't you?)
[20:09] <+JasonVey> Psychic powers have a CL generally set by the GM, with some guidelines based on the effect you're trying to achieve. They tend to be very open and freeform
[20:10] <+JasonVey> Like magic, if you fail to activate a psychic power, you take backlash, which is a stun effect and temporary damage.
[20:10] <+Damiar> (of course, and I recognize Jason's name! welcome to the channel!)
[20:10] <+JasonVey> Thanks, Damiar
[20:10] <+Damiar> np. which game are we discussing currently?
[20:10] <+JasonVey> Amazing Adventures, my pulp game for Troll Lord
[20:11] <+JasonVey> It was "pre-released" at Gen Con. It's set to hit distribution in a few weeks, here.
[20:11] <~Dan> (using the SIEGE mechanic from C&C.)
[20:11] <+JasonVey> I believe PDF copies are available, but I could be mistaken about that.
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[20:12] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:12] <&Le_Squide> How's lethality compared to normal C&C?
[20:12] <+JasonVey> A bit less lethal, due to Fate Points
[20:12] <+JasonVey> And the fact that all characters start with max hit points at first level
[20:12] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:13] <+JasonVey> There are ways, I should add, to scale the game, though.
[20:13] <+JasonVey> For example, I included an optional Sanity system in there
[20:13] <+JasonVey> In case you want your Pulp Lovecraftian
[20:13] <~Dan> (wb, Snake!)
[20:14] <+Damiar> (that makes perfect sense, I know my sanity is optional ;p)
[20:14] <+JasonVey> (there are also fish-men, shoggoths, and Spawn of Shub-Niggurath in there)
[20:14] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:15] <~Dan> That brings up a point: with all the variations of "pulp" that exist, what would you say is the "default" setting?
[20:15] <+JasonVey> There really isn't one.
[20:15] <+JasonVey> I designed the game with two major goals in mind
[20:15] <+JasonVey> 1. It's 99% compatible with C&C (the 1% being mostly because it's more modern)
[20:15] <+JasonVey> 2. It's extremely modular
[20:16] <+Geek2theRight> Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?
[20:16] <+Snake_Eyes> ^ty Dan, interwebz probs :(
[20:16] <+JasonVey> I have a (very) brief essay at the beginning about the different uses of the term "pulp," from Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe to H.P. Lovecraft to Robert E. Howard to Lester Dent
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[20:16] <+JasonVey> To Indiana Jones as a representative of a modern take on "serialized" pulp
[20:17] <+JasonVey> the monsters span the range from Lovecraftian horrors to saucer-men from mars
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[20:17] <+JasonVey> (done)
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[20:17] <~Dan> Wouldn't saucer-men be more 50s sci-fi?
[20:17] <+JasonVey> Yes, but I include that under what I term "serial" pulp
[20:18] <+JasonVey> The pulps were alive and well into the 50's
[20:18] <+JasonVey> Look at Amazing Stories, for example
[20:18] <~Dan> Speaking of monsters, are there dinosaurs and giant apes?
[20:18] <+JasonVey> Yes, absolutely
[20:19] <~Dan> Good, good. :)
[20:19] <+JasonVey> And giant eagles, giant rats,
[20:19] <~Dan> Zombies? :)
[20:19] <+JasonVey> Ghouls, golems, werewolves, zombies, vampires
[20:19] <+JasonVey> ghosts, shadows, spectres
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[20:19] <+JasonVey> Snake men
[20:20] <+JasonVey> the bestiary runs the gamut
[20:20] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:20] <~Dan> Sounds like the bestiary definitely isn'
[20:20] <~Dan> oops
[20:21] <~Dan> isn't an afterthought.
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[20:21] <~Dan> (wb, Wondy!)
[20:21] <+JasonVey> No, not at all
[20:21] <+JasonVey> I did a lot of planning when I put this book together.
[20:22] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:22] <+WonderRat> (thanks)
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[20:22] <~Dan> Now, we've discussed this before, but you've said there really aren't any proto-superpowers in the game, correct?
[20:22] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Shojin! Here for the Q&A?)
[20:22] <+JasonVey> I did. but you actually pointed out differently ;)
[20:23] <+Shojin> Q&A
[20:23] <+JasonVey> The Gadgeteer class COULD be re-skinned to serve as a supers character.
[20:23] <+Shojin> Q&A?
[20:23] <~Dan> Yup. Question and Answer session with Jason Vey, author of Band of Zombies and Amazing Adventures.
[20:23] <~Dan> Just here to hang out, then? :)
[20:23] <+JasonVey> You would just describe the gadget effects as superpowers, rather than as functions of gadgets.
[20:23] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:23] <+Snake_Eyes> Jason, what was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[20:24] <+Shojin> Heh. I'm idling here cause the savage Q&A is tomorrow
[20:24] <+JasonVey> The adventure in the back...LOL
[20:24] <+JasonVey> I SO hate writing adventure scenarios
[20:24] <~Dan> Shojin: Ah! No problem. Just FYI, general chat is going on in #rpgnet2 while the Q&A is going on.
[20:24] <+JasonVey> I can write adventures for my home group all day and all night long. When I have to write them for a general audience I agonize over them.
[20:24] <+Snake_Eyes> do you only have one adventure? or are there adventure hooks and plots?
[20:24] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:25] <+JasonVey> There's one complete adventure in the book, preceded by a detailed essay on how to quickly construct pulp adventures, modified from Lester Dent's advice on writing a pulp story
[20:25] <+JasonVey> We already have another adventure module in production, and I'm working on a third as we speak.
[20:25] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:25] <~Dan> What sort of pulp did you focus on for the included adventure?
[20:26] <+JasonVey> It's Indiana Jones meets the Cthulhu Mythos
[20:26] <+JasonVey> There are Nazis, lost cities in Saudi Arabia, a buried gem with legendary powers, and a side-trip to New Orleans to powwow with Marie Laveau.
[20:27] <+JasonVey> And I couldn't resist throwing an appearance in by the Necronomicon and Abd Al-Hazred himself.
[20:27] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:27] <~Dan> Nice. :)
[20:27] <+Snake_Eyes> cool, ty for answering, it sounds good, esp the part on advice for writing adventures, sometimes it is helpful to have a formula to follow for novice referees
[20:28] <+JasonVey> Yeah, it occurred to me that there's no reason Dent's essay on writing pulp stories couldn't adapt to writing adventures for RPGs
[20:28] <~Dan> Snake here has trouble finding players for anything other than D&D. I thought AA might serve as a nice middle ground.
[20:28] <+JasonVey> I tried to avoid the usual drek in the GM section and really focus on adventure design and running the game.
[20:28] <+JasonVey> So there's advice on what happens when your players go off the rails and you have to adjust for their actions.
[20:29] <+JasonVey> There's advice on not being tied to history
[20:29] <+JasonVey> There's the adventure construction formula for the four-act plot
[20:29] <+JasonVey> Tidbits on what makes pulp, pulp.
[20:29] <+JasonVey> (hint: it's 90% flavor you add yourself)
[20:29] <+JasonVey> Stuff like that
[20:29] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:30] <+JasonVey> Yeah, the Trolls and I were talking about running side-by-side demos of C&C and AA next year at Gen Con, which just may include a surprise that shows how compatible the games can be.
[20:31] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:31] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:31] <~Dan> How deadly are guns?
[20:31] <+JasonVey> As deadly as swords
[20:31] <+JasonVey> Just like they should be
[20:31] <+JasonVey> It's a fallacy that guns are more devastating than melee weapons
[20:31] <+JasonVey> They just shoot more and faster and at a longer distance
[20:32] <+JasonVey> The game reflects that; guns have a rate of fire and an accuracy modifier
[20:32] <+Snake_Eyes> ^sry for the delay Dan, I am mostly looking for an internet campaign where i dont have to be 100% reliable, but I will check out AA some more, as I am always eager to look at new games
[20:32] <+JasonVey> But damage-wise? a .32 pistol does the same damage (d8) as a long sword
[20:32] * ~Dan nods
[20:33] <~Dan> Which is about on part with what it does in BRP, I believe.
[20:33] <~Dan> Oh, and speaking of damage, would you like to discuss your armor mechanic?
[20:33] <+JasonVey> I point out in the game that if you think about it, compare a shot from a pistol to the chest with the impact from an overhand swing by a broadsword at the collar bone
[20:33] <+JasonVey> The sword does a lot more damage, actually
[20:34] <+JasonVey> It's arguable, but that's where I was coming from with it.
[20:34] <+JasonVey> Anyway, yeah, armor
[20:34] <+JasonVey> I'm especially pleased with the concept I came up with for that
[20:34] <+JasonVey> You need AC boosts in a d20-based game.
[20:34] <+JasonVey> It's just that simple.
[20:34] <+JasonVey> But you don't want characters running around in the 20's wearing chainmail hauberks
[20:35] <+JasonVey> So what I did was base AC on the "coolness" factor of your costume
[20:35] <+Snake_Eyes> ^just my two cents, but i have seen some worse injuries from small knives, and some minor ones from guns (both handguns and longarms) so im not going to disagree with your statement (sry for interuppting)
[20:35] <+JasonVey> essentially, you create a pulp costume for your character, and the GM assigns an AC bonus based on the combination of clothing pieces you have.
[20:36] <+JasonVey> A fedora, trench coat, gloves, and mask, for example, would give +5 to AC
[20:36] <~Dan> Doesn't that naturally favor proto-super types?
[20:36] <+JasonVey> This is neatly modular as well, because if, for example, your characters are at a formal dinner when the fit hits the shan, the GM can say, "you're not wearing your costumes. You are, however, all wearing formal wear, which gives +3 to AC, so adjust your scores accordingly."
[20:37] <+Snake_Eyes> does it reduce the damage taken?
[20:37] <+JasonVey> I don't see that it favors anything, especially because if your GM doesn't want proto super types in his game, they won't bei n the game ;)
[20:37] <+JasonVey> No, it doesn't
[20:37] <+JasonVey> I didn't want to mess with DR
[20:37] <+Snake_Eyes> ^okay ty
[20:37] <+JasonVey> I am a big proponent of these types of games being an abstract.
[20:38] <+JasonVey> They don't try to perfectly model reality. Hit points don't represent damage; they're an abstract of your overall combat efficacy, which dwindles as you get tired, make lucky dodges, etc.
[20:38] <+JasonVey> AC is the same..even moreso in a game like this where it reflects your character's cool look.
[20:38] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:38] <+Snake_Eyes> what would you say are your biggest gaming influences on your game?
[20:39] <~Dan> (brb)
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[20:39] <+JasonVey> I've been gaming since 79. I started with AD&D first edition.
[20:39] <+JasonVey> Played that for years, then did some twilight 2000 and a lot of Palladium stuff in the 80's.
[20:39] <+JasonVey> Got into Vampire for awhile in the 90's, then Shadowrun, the Unisystem, tastes are all over the place
[20:40] <+JasonVey> I've enjoyed every edition of D&D except 4th.
[20:40] <+JasonVey> That includes OD&D, Basic, 3, 3.5, C&C, Pathfinder, some of the retro-clones...
[20:40] <+JasonVey> I like the open-ness of rules-lite games, which is what drew me to this
[20:40] <+JasonVey> This game actually grew out of my C&C house rules.
[20:41] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:41] <&Le_Squide> This is a pretty specific question, so apologies; what retro-clones do you like?
[20:41] <+Snake_Eyes> groovy
[20:41] <+JasonVey> My favorite retro-clone hands down (not including my own Spellcraft & Swordplay) is Labyrinth Lord
[20:41] <+JasonVey> It best captures the feel, spirit, and play of the original games, and I love that he put out sourcebooks that let me turn it from Basic to Advanced to Original.
[20:42] <+JasonVey> And they all make near-perfect clones.
[20:42] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:42] <~Dan-brb> (back)
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[20:42] <+Snake_Eyes> What is your favorite D&D module?
[20:43] <+JasonVey> Great question
[20:43] <+JasonVey> We don't use modules as often as you'd think--we like to do our own stuff. But I'd have to go with Ravenloft and Ravenloft II: House on Gryphon Hill.
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[20:43] <+JasonVey> I dig them because you can play them a dozen times and they change every time.
[20:43] <+JasonVey> (done)
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[20:44] <~Dan> Another mechanics question, Jason...
[20:44] <+JasonVey> Go for it
[20:44] <~Dan> ...generally speaking, I've found that D&D-based combat is relatively bland.
[20:44] <~Dan> A lot of "I swing" and so forth.
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[20:44] <~Dan> How does AA change that for over-the-top action?
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[20:45] <+JasonVey> Well, I think a lot of that is on the heads of the players and GM.
[20:45] <+JasonVey> I didn't bog down the game with combat maneuvers and such, as I think they slow down play.
[20:45] <+JasonVey> But in a lot of ways it really is on the players and GM to describe the action beyond "I swing."
[20:46] <+JasonVey> That being said, if the GM sets a good scene, players will try things, and I think the SIEGE mechanic, with its embedded SIEGE checks, lends itself to description by its nature.
[20:46] <+JasonVey> A player is more likely to try to leap over his enemy and come down in a somersault roll knowing that there's a simple mechanic ("give me 2 dex checks," or whatever) that will allow him to do it.
[20:47] <+JasonVey> The SIEGE engine is based on, in some ways, the opposite principle of latter day D&D.
[20:47] <+JasonVey> (meaning post-second ed)
[20:47] <+JasonVey> In D&D, you have a character sheet that tells you what you can do.
[20:47] <+JasonVey> If you don't have a feat or the right ranks in tumble, you can't attempt action x.
[20:47] <+JasonVey> In the SIEGE engine, if you're not expressly FORBIDDEN to do something, you can try it.
[20:48] <+JasonVey> ...if that makes sense.
[20:48] <~Dan> Good point.
[20:48] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:48] <~Dan> Yes, it does. Two-Fisted Tales does that, too.
[20:48] <+JasonVey> The most important advice I could give to a new GM running AA is, "learn to say 'yes' to your players."
[20:48] <~Dan> Hmm... So do you allow multi-actions, for example?
[20:49] <+JasonVey> Multi-actions, not precisely.
[20:49] <+JasonVey> Like, you couldn't attack four times in melee
[20:49] <+JasonVey> You could, however, attempt a complex action if it could be done in the space of the 10-second round.
[20:50] <+JasonVey> So if you want to charge up, leap at the wall, spring off, and come behind your opponent to strike at his rear, why not?
[20:50] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:50] <+JasonVey> There is, incidentally, a 2-fisted Generic Class ability
[20:50] <+JasonVey> If you want to have that "2 guns blazing" or "sword and dagger" type.
[20:50] <~Dan> And really, who doesn't?
[20:51] <+JasonVey> You'd be surprised how many of my players have opted NOT to take Generic abilities
[20:51] <+JasonVey> They like the structure of the classes as they stand.
[20:51] <+JasonVey> I should probably clarify, here:
[20:52] <+JasonVey> Generic Abilities are class abilities that anyone can pick up by sacrificing (with the GM's approval) an equivalently powerful base class ability
[20:52] <~Dan> Does strength govern melee attacks, and if so, how do you simulate strong-but-clumsy attackers like dinosaurs?
[20:52] <+JasonVey> The Gumshoe, for example, could give up his Deadeye Shot ability to pick up 2-fisted instead.
[20:52] <~Dan> (Sorry, please continue)
[20:52] <+JasonVey> Yes. Strenth governs melee attacks.
[20:52] <+JasonVey> No, no worries. I was done :)
[20:53] <+JasonVey> Strength governs melee attacks for PCs
[20:53] <+JasonVey> Monsters get an attack bonus equal to their hit dice.
[20:53] <+JasonVey> So PCs have their BtH bonus + Str (for melee) or Dex (for ranged). Monsters have their hit dice.
[20:54] <~Dan> Do they both get a strength bonus to damage?
[20:54] <+JasonVey> No, since monsters don't list specific attributes, they only roll their damage code as listed.
[20:54] <+JasonVey> This is offset, however, by the fact that a monster just might have 3 attacks (such as the infamous claw/claw/bite)
[20:54] <+JasonVey> (done)
[20:55] <+JasonVey> Melee combat in AA works almost identically to C&C.
[20:56] <+JasonVey> Guns are a bit different.
[20:56] <+JasonVey> Guns have a rate of fire, a recoil penalty, and an accuracy bonus
[20:56] <~Dan> We have about 5 minutes left for the official chat... anyone have any last questions? And if not, would you like to cover anything we haven't mentioned yet, Jason?
[20:56] <~Dan> (And you're welcome to hang out as long as you like, btw, Jason.)
[20:56] <+JasonVey> I think we've got a pretty good overview. I hope everyone's willing to give it a look when it hits the stores!
[20:57] <~Dan> I certainly know someone who would happily review it... ;)
[20:57] <+JasonVey> I'd love to have you do so...but what's your backlog these days? :-p
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[20:58] <~Dan> Hard to say, honestly. I never promise "quick," only "thorough". :)
[20:58] <+JasonVey> Hah
[20:59] <+JasonVey> Oh! Hey, can I throw in a quick plug?
[20:59] <~Dan> Sure!
[20:59] <+JasonVey> A buddy of mine is running an AWESOME tabletop gaming news and reviews site called Play Unplugged.
[20:59] <+JasonVey> It's been up for about a year and a half or so, now, and is really, really worth a look.
[20:59] <+JasonVey> I do some reviews for him from time to time, for old school stuff.
[21:00] <+JasonVey> (Link:
[21:00] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[21:00] <~Dan> Oh, and please feel free to hang out here any time, Jason. We'd love to have you. :)
[21:00] <+JasonVey> sure thing.
[21:01] <+JasonVey> For now, though, I'm going to hit the bricks. It's 10PM and while I normally don't go to bed till 11:30 or so, I went to a concert last night and didn't sleep well after, so I'm beat
[21:01] <~Dan> Sleep well, Jason!
[21:01] <+JasonVey> Thanks, all!  Please give the games a look when they hit the shelves!

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