Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[Q&A] Ben Monroe (Magic World)

<+BMonroe> So, I'm Ben Monroe, and for the last year-ish, I've been compiling and editing the new game "Magic World" for Chaosium.
<+BMonroe> It's a BRP-based fantasy RPG; at it's core, it is the old Elric! system, and many of the supplements. A bit of RuneQuest III here and there, too
<+BMonroe> (Link: http://www.chaosium.com/article.php?story_id=508)http://www.chaosium.com/article.php?story_id=508 if you're so inclinde
<+BMonroe> inclined, even.
<+BMonroe> (done)
<~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with questions?
<+Travellingdave> He pulled together the best parts of Stormbringer, Elric other bits for a very smooth game.
<+yalborap> Can you give us a brief rundown of BRP's core mechanic, for those of us who haven't played it before?
<+smjn> BMonroe: You're a fan of OpenQuest. What sets MW an OQ apart?
<+BMonroe> Right.
<~Dan> (I'll call a question pause there, as I imagine those two will take a bit to answer.)
<+BMonroe> BRP is a simple skill-based system. All skills are rated on a percentile scale, though skills can (and will!) go over 100.
<+BMonroe> When you're trying to do something, you roll d100 against your skill, and if you roll under you succeed.
<+BMonroe> There are essentially five levels of success: Critical, Special, Success, Failure, Fumble
<+BMonroe> Attributes are rated on a 3-18 scale, and each has a figured atrribute, a "Characteristic Roll" which is the core attribute x5.  So, your "Idea Roll" is your INT x5. Agility roll is DEX x5. You use these in the times when you don't have a specific skill.
<+BMonroe> They're almost like 'Saves' in D&D.  You roll a Jump skill roll to jump across the chasm. If you fail, the GM might ask for an Agility roll to grab the opposing ledge before plummeting to your death.
<+BMonroe> I am a big fan of OpenQuest.
<+BMonroe> MW is more core BRP for one. It uses the Resistance Table, has a broader skill palette, etc.
<+BMonroe> OQ has three core magic systems, MW has only one.
<+BMonroe> If you were thinking about complexity, I'd say it's OQ<MW<RQ6
<+smjn> Yeah, I knew that.
<+smjn> Mostly interested in specifics.
<+BMonroe> OQ uses the sort of XP system, while MW uses experience checks, like core BRP
<+BMonroe> (Done)
<+Travellingdave> MW seems more Classic Fantasy to me than OQ with a "Vancian" spell-based magic. You can see the RQ roots in OQ.
<+Travellingdave> JMO ;-)
<+BMonroe> Could be.  OQ has those three different types of magic (Battle Magic, Sorcery, Divine), while MW at it's core has just the one.
<~Dan> MW magic is Vancian fire-and-forget? I thought it was magic point based Sorcery.
<+BMonroe> There are, like five different magic systems which will be in the Advanced Sorcery book.
<+BMonroe> It's Magic Point-based.
<~Dan> Ah. Good.
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<+smjn> I'm a RQ3 fan, have the BRP BGB and am getting both OQ2 and RQ6. Between them, why would I need another system book? Sell it to me.
<~Dan> So being based largely off of Stormbringer, is this something like dark swords-and-sorcery with high fantasy trappings?
<~Dan> (Question pause.)
<~Dan> (Also, howdy, egyptian!)
<+BMonroe> It can be fairly gritty.  I added some new options to it to allow for more 'cinematic' or 'epic' style of play if that's your thing.
<+Kaiu_Keiichi> Is it OK for channel members to ask questions?
<~Dan> Kaiu: It is more than OK. It's the idea. :)
<+BMonroe> To SMJN's question: I'm really not sure.  If you have all those different flavors of BRP-based gaming, it's possible that at least the Core MW game isn't something you need.  However, if you're a fan of the old Elric! and Stormbringer games, it does pull a lot of that stuff together.
<+Charles-Green> My playtest game has the 'cinematic' options all turned on, and it plays very different that bog standard BRP
<~Dan> (Please hold your question until you see a "(done)" from Ben due to the question pause, however. Thanks!)
<+BMonroe> If nothing else, the supplements will be useful in any of those games.
<+BMonroe> Advanced Sorcery would work fine with a BGB game, and could be ported over to OQ/RQ6 with minimal fuss.
<+BMonroe> (done)
<~Dan> (Fire way, Kaiu! :) )
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<~Dan> Are all the usual fantasy races at play as PC options, Ben?
<+smjn> What especially good stuff to borrow and steal for other BRP is there?
<+BMonroe> Part of the beauty of BRP is that you can play anything as a playable PC race.
<+BMonroe> Any monster in the bestiary can be used out of the box as your PC.
<+BMonroe> So, the 'usual suspects' are there: elves, dwarves, orcs, hobbits, etc.
<+BMonroe> But if you want to play a centaur, minotaur, beastman, giant, whatever, they're available too.
<+Kaiu_Keiichi> awesome.  Hey Zomben, thanks for being here.  Do you plan on any concrete setting support or did you design Magic World to be 'generic' and part of a more assumed setting?
<~Dan> (Question pause.)
<+BMonroe> I also added in a little section on converting "Fixed INT" creatures into "Talking Beasts" for those who like such things.  I statted up an intelligent raven sorceror, and he was a lot of fun.  Be a talking bison if you like!
<+BMonroe> Okay, setting stuff.
<+Travellingdave> The Corebook includes an outline of the Southern Reaches, a gritty and/or high fantasy setting, depending on how you want to play it.
<+BMonroe> The core book has a chapter in it, the Southern Reaches.  The rest of the book is under the assumption that you'll use whatever setting you want, either your own, or the SR, or convert over an existing setting
<+BMonroe> That being said...
<+BMonroe> Everyone we've shown the SR to -loves- it. Travellingdave knocked it out of the park on this one.
<+Charles-Green> It's my favorite part of the book.
<+Travellingdave> Awww... ;-P
<+BMonroe> So, we've got more SR stuff in the works.  There's a book in development right now that takes one small area (basically a town, and a few miles around it) and details the hell out of it, with a few adventures.
<+BMonroe> Think "Keep on the Borderland", "Village of Hommlet" type thing. A place for the Adventurers to start their careers.
<+Travellingdave> Ben wanted a "Robin Hood meets Ray Harryhausen" sort of place. I tried to oblige.
<+BMonroe> I've also tried to get a little SR content in each of the other books.  So, Dave wrote a little essay about running games in the SR for the Chronicler's Guide.  There are a handful of setting-specific monsters going into the Bestiary, etc.
<+BMonroe> (done)
<+smjn> My question above?:
<+smjn> What especially good stuff to borrow and steal for other BRP is there?
<+Travellingdave> It's an Edge of the Empire province, split by political feuds, and suffering from the resurgence of an ancient race of chimeric Fae.
* +Kaiu_Keiichi has been waiting for a brp version of an OSR game for a long time.
<~Dan> As I recall, Sorcery is fairly basic and low-powered, and secular in nature. How much are you able to play around with it in terms of the setting? I take it that there are no powered clerics, per sé, for example.
<+BMonroe> SMJN: new monsters, more skills, equipment, the setting, the Sailing rules, all sorts of stuff.
<~Dan> (And how will the upcoming magic options change that?)
<+BMonroe> I imagine Sorcery as this strange, low-key sort of system of curses, and awful stuff.  So, there are spells you can use to enhance/lower your opponent's stats, or boost your abilities.
<+BMonroe> You can wrack them with pain, or create a sphere of shadow around you.
<+BMonroe> All sorts of weird stuff.  But, there's nothing like the devastation of Fireballs, and other insanely powerful D&D spells.
<+BMonroe> Except...
<+BMonroe> To do stuff like that, you have to start summoning and binding demons and elementals.
<+BMonroe> And that's dangerous.
<+BMonroe> So, instead of a fireball, you have an elemental bound into an amulet, or tattoo, or whatever. ANd then you release it at your opponent and horrible things are done.
<+BMonroe> Advanced Sorcery adds some new options
<+BMonroe> Rune Magic allows you to take a Sorcery spell, and inscribe it on something for later use. So, say you cast a "combat enhancing" spell, and paint it onto the face of your party's warrior-type.  Then he can activate it whenever he wants to, and get the benefit
<+BMonroe> Necromancy is pretty much what it says on the tin
<+BMonroe> Deep Magic is sort of like the "core concept" behind Sorcery. Rather than learning specific spells, you learn how to manipulate the elements, the raw forces that describe reality, and bend them however you want.  It's a lot like that in Mage, or Ars Magica
<+Kaiu_Keiichi> Ben, is there higher level sorcery planned that will enable casters to do stuff like what we see Elric do in the saga, like the Noose of Flesh or some of the very powerful Heroquest magic from Glorantha?
<+BMonroe> We've also got a bunch of new, more powerful Sorcery spells, a section on Herbalism, and "Arete"
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<+BMonroe> There's nothing like that planned right now, but that doesn't mean it won't come down the line.  Some of that could be done with Enchantments, vastly powerful magical doodads.
<+BMonroe> The Noose of Flesh, for example.
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<+BMonroe> If I recall, that wasn't so much a 'spell' as a magical powder that Myshella threw around the battlefield to summon the Noose, and swallow up Theleb K'arna's horde
<~Dan> Is Sorcery pretty ubiquitous, like RuneQuest magic, by default?
<+BMonroe> Not at the core level
<+BMonroe> You have to have a POW of 16 to cast Sorcery magic
<+BMonroe> Options are in the game to allow individual groups to fiddle with that
<+Kaiu_Keiichi> what about minor but adventurer oriented magic like RQ2's Battle Magic?
<~Dan> Well, let me rephrase, then...
<+BMonroe> Say, you have to have a combined INT + POW of 24. Or, do away with the restriction all together, but make casting spells take skill rolls.
<~Dan> ...is knowing Sorcery a "Big Deal" in the assumed setting?
<~Dan> (And that would be changing it to BRP Magic (as opposed to Sorcery), re: skill rolls, correct?)
<~Dan> (Question pause.)
<+BMonroe> It's something that's not completely unheard of, but rare enough to be mysterious and special.
<+BMonroe> No, the idea would be that instead of having a POW requirement of 16, anybody can cast a spell, but it calls for a skill roll.  It wouldn't be the same as BRP Magic, which allows for manipulation of the core attributes of the spell
<+BMonroe> Of course, there's absolutely no reason you couldn't port BRP Magic over and use it, too
<+BMonroe> (done)
<+Travellingdave> In the Southern Reaches, there are Mages (with a capital M), but there can also be hedge-wizards who know one or two minor sorceries. And some Fae sites may 'activate' sensitive individuals.
<~Dan> Ah... So BRP Magic is actually akin to Gloranthan Sorcery?
<+BMonroe> Right
<~Dan> (This is making my head hurt. :D )
<+BMonroe> BRP Magic was like the "RQIII Sorcery v.1"
<+smjn> I read that Advanced Sorcery has some kind of legendary/heroic abilities? Tell us more.
<+BMonroe> Right!
<+BMonroe> Arete is a system that allows your guy to do neat things when his skill in something goes over 100%.  It's based on the old "Land of Ninja" 'Ki Powers' system, if you're familiar with that.
<+BMonroe> In essence, the idea was that combat skills got to do more damage as the skill got higher, but there wasn't much said about non-combat skills.  So, in addition to a few new combat options, Arete allows you to do awesome things with your non-martial skills
<+BMonroe> Create a great work of art. Sway an entire kingdom with a speech. Things like that.
<+BMonroe> (done)
<~Dan> So how likely is an adventuring party to have what passes for a "mighty wizard", and what would that character look like?
<+BMonroe> Good question.
<+BMonroe> I'd say it's entirely within the realm of possibility that any group could have a wizard.
<+BMonroe> There's that POW 16 thing, of course. Human POW is rolled on 3D6, plus whatever house rules you choose, so there's that.
<+BMonroe> Me, (as Travellingdave can attest), I just tell my players to stat up the character they want to play, within reason. I assume many other groups do things like that, too. Or at least allow shuffling of stats to get the guy you want.
<+BMonroe> So, what would a Sorcerer look like?
<+BMonroe> At the start, he'll start with spell levels equal to his INT/2
<+BMonroe> More if you use one of the options to start with more powerful characters.
<+BMonroe> So, you're looking at a guy who has maybe 4 or 5 low-powered spells, and then one or two better ones.
<+BMonroe> The rest is really up to the player.  You'll get a few skills to start with that are bog-standard based on your occupation, and then choose some custom ones.
<+BMonroe> Really, depending on what spells you choose, your guy could look like almost anything.
<~Dan> What about starting out with bound demons or elementals?
<+BMonroe> A Sorcerer who puts all his points into things like Enhance Attribute is going to be different from one who took Bind Demon, or Bind Elemental
<+BMonroe> All you have to do is take those spells, and you can try to start binding things (emphasis on -try-)
<+BMonroe> :)
<+BMonroe> (done)
<~Dan> Hmm.
<+BMonroe> Just us, huh...
<+smjn> The cover features combat. I wonder why this is such a common theme in RPG covers and why was it chosen fow MW?
<+Charles-Green> I'm still here.
<+BMonroe> K
<~Dan> Well... in terms of setting, what separates "some dude who knows some spells" from "Holy CRAP, that's a WIZARD!"?
<+Travellingdave> I'm here
<+BMonroe> When we talked about the cover, I just wanted to get something that was really exciting, and action-oriented.
<+Travellingdave> Think movie poster
<+BMonroe> We could've had a picture of some guys sitting around talking, but that wouldn't have been as exciting.
<+BMonroe> Right.
<+BMonroe> Dave, you want to answer Dan's question about setting/magic?
<~Dan> (Or, put another way, give me "village witch" vs. "WIZARD".)
<+BMonroe> I guess if nothing else, it's because you -never- know what a Sorcerer can do just by looking at him.
<+Travellingdave> Mainly access to training. Mages will have trained at one of the Imperial Academies.
<+BMonroe> You never know if all he can do is cast a few piddly curses, or unleash a horde of demons at your face
<+Travellingdave> Hedge-wizards are usually self-taught, or trained by the village elder.
<+BMonroe> (Those Academies are a Southern Reaches thing, BTW)
<~Dan> Is binding demons and elementals the real "tipping point" there?
<+Travellingdave> So if your a MAGE, you've access to the full realm of spells from the corebook.
<+Travellingdave> A hedge-wizard can usually only use one or two, and usually at a low skill level.
<~Dan> More a matter of "quantity", then?
<+BMonroe> It definitely can be.  Problem is, summoning/binding these things is not easy.  It's not like in D&D where you cast "Summon Monster" and 1D10 Dire Squirrels show up.
* ~Dan nods re: summoning
<+Charles-Green> Summoning/binding is also very expensive in terms of character resources.
<~Dan> Oh, right... Ties up POW, doesn't it?
<+BMonroe> Summoning Demons/Elementals takes time, and resources. You have to permanently deplete your POW, etc.  You've got to have all this stuff figured out beforehand.  You can't just whip up a demon whenever you want.
<+BMonroe> Right
<+BMonroe> (done?)
<~Dan> (I think so.)
<+BMonroe> K
<~Dan> So where does Deep Magic fit into the setting?
<+Travellingdave> It hasn't ... yet. The setting was written for the basic rules.
<+Travellingdave> But it wouldn't be hard to integrate it at all.
<+BMonroe> Right
<+BMonroe> Nope.  It's just sort of this "thing that some guys have figured out how to do".  It's purposefully written to be rare and exotic.  So, it's easy enough to drop in to a game after it's begun
<~Dan> How powerful is it, relatively speaking, and would a practicioner of Deep Magic be considered a capital-W Wizard automatically?
<+BMonroe> Would be totally simple to just say there's a monastery of weirdos up in the mountains that'll teach you this stuff, if you pay 'the right price'. Whatever that may be.
<+Travellingdave> And I'd love to tap it in future expansions. :-)
<+BMonroe> It can get pretty powerful.
<+BMonroe> The thing is, you're given building blocks, and then you assemble them however you want. As long as you're powerful enough to cast the spell when it's done, you can do all kinds of crazy stuff.
<+BMonroe> And there are fairly easy ways to get the POW together to cast big spells like that.
<+BMonroe> Chain of Being (a sorcery spell) allows you to link together with a bunhc of other Sorcerers, and pool POW. "Brazier of something or other" allows you to store POW for future use.
<+BMonroe> Etc.
<+BMonroe> (done)
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<~Dan> In the setting, how to the gods relate to magical prowess?
<+Travellingdave> There is no specific divine magic in the setting at this point.
<+BMonroe> The gods are left vague in the core rules.
<~Dan> So as things stand, there's not really a "practical" reason for worship?
<+BMonroe> Instead, we focus on the three 'aspects' of the universe: Light, Balance, Shadow
<+Charles-Green> You can hand-wave Sorcery into being the result of divine intervention.
<+BMonroe> There are gods listed in the Southern Reaches, but we don't go into a lot of detail.
<+BMonroe> -However-
<+Travellingdave> But I like that you can be an atheist and cast spells.
<+BMonroe> Charles wrote a marvellous piece "The Philisophy Engine" that'll appear in the Chronicler's Guide.
<+Travellingdave> Yes.
<+BMonroe> This is a tremendous essay on taking the three Allegiances, and using them as the core building blocks for gods, cults, etc.
<+BMonroe> It's -great-.  It's honestly one of the things in the supplements I'm the most excited about right now.
<+Travellingdave> Agreed
<+Charles-Green> Ah shucks...
<+BMonroe> But, at their core, the three Allegiances are sort of like flipping the old three-tier Alignment system from D&D on it's head.
<+BMonroe> You don't start a guy and say "I'm allied to Shadow!" like you would "I'm Chaotic!"
<+BMonroe> Instead, you start off with a fairly even-ish spread of rating points in the three Allegiances (one at 25, one at 15, one at 5).
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<+BMonroe> Then, as you play in the game, your actions score you points of Allegiance in each of the three categories.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Rasyr! Q&A with Ben Monroe in progress!)
<+BMonroe> Over time, your guy starts growing in certain directions. If you do bad stuff, you ally toward Shadow. If you do good stuff, you ally toward Light.
<+BMonroe> As you get higher and higher in those ratings, you can choose to become a Champion of one of those three axes, and get some cool abilities.
<~Dan> If you just sit back and have a beer, you're neutral? :)
<+BMonroe> And, again, this is all expanded on in Charles' essay.
<+BMonroe> :P
<+BMonroe> You get points in Balance for maintaining some semblance of order in the world.
<+BMonroe> So, in your example, let's say you're sitting back and drinking a beer, while witnessing a murder taking place, and doing nothing about it. Bam, you earn Shadow points.
<+BMonroe> (done)
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Could you describe MW's take on the "standard" fantasy races?
<~Dan> (and brb)
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<+BMonroe> So the idea is that your actions determine your 'alignment', rather than the other way around.
<+Travellingdave> I really like that.
<+BMonroe> Yup
<+BMonroe> Guys, I've gotta log-off/disappear for about ten minutes.  Dave and Charles, can you field questions while I'm gone?
<+Charles-Green> Sure.
<+Travellingdave> As work allows.
<+smjn> What's coming after Advanced Sorcery?
<+Charles-Green> To address the point about fantasy races, characters are assumed to be human unless the GM allows for others.
<+Charles-Green> There are right-ups for Southern Reaches versions of Elves and Dwarves, and other races can be found in the bestiary.
<+Travellingdave> A GM game pack (with screen) is in the works and a Companion may be down the road.
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<+Travellingdave> And, yes, we have Elves and Dwarves in the Southern reaches.
<+Travellingdave> Although the Dwarves are subtly different, almost earth-elementals..
<+Charles-Green> They do differ a bit from standard: Elves have an innate ability to see magical energy.
<+Charles-Green> Dwarves can move through stone and earth at a really slow rate.
<+Travellingdave> And the Elves are linked to the Fae, an ancient and ruthless race of shape-chnagers.
<+Travellingdave> And we have the Fae themselves, that can change form anytime the enter an new reality.
<+Charles-Green> Dave, can you say more about the Fae? I find them one of the most interesting aspects of the setting.
<~Dan> Now, are these the standard Dwarves and Elves, or are they specific to the Southern Reaches?
<+Travellingdave> I give guidelines for creating them, although I'm not sure i'f recommend them as PCs.
<+Travellingdave> The basic Elf and Dwarf are in the rules. We tweak them a bit for the Southern Reaches.
<+Travellingdave> We wanted to show how GM's could cutomize races to fit their own images.
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<~Dan> Are those powers you mentioned the difference between the standard and SR versions?
<+Travellingdave> Yes. The dwarves can move through rock and the Elves have an ninbred Witch sight that helps them identify the Fae.
<+Travellingdave> Pardon my poor typing.
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<+BMonroe> Okay, back.
<+BMonroe> Where were we?
<~Dan> Talking about fantasy races.
<+BMonroe> Right
<+BMonroe> Yup, we got those
<~Dan> Are the Fae based on "traditional" fey creatures -- brownies, sprites, etc. -- or something different?
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<+BMonroe1> Sorry, I got bumped somehow
<~Dan> Did you see my Fae question?
<+BMonroe1> Yeah, so an elf, dwarf, etc. is about the same as in most games
<+BMonroe1> No, I didn't. Resend?
<~Dan> <~Dan> Are the Fae based on "traditional" fey creatures -- brownies, sprites, etc. -- or something different?
<+BMonroe1> But, MW allows you to chose other ones. Trolls, centaurs, beastmen, whatever.
<+BMonroe1> The Fey...
<+BMonroe1> Well, 'the Fey' is a term used in the Southern Reaches as an overarcing set of weird creatures that are loosely-allied.
<+BMonroe1> Travellingdave can hopefully add more, since he wrote them, but I'll carry on
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<+BMonroe1> "Fey" in the SR chapter, is essentially a system that allows for building custom weird monsters
<+Travellingdave2> Sorry. Got completely bumped.
<+BMonroe1> You can start with a standard bestiary critter and 'fey them up', or make one up from scratch
<+BMonroe1> no worries. I did too
<+BMonroe1> Dave, can you talk a little bit about the Fey in the SR, and how that system works?
<+Travellingdave2> Or create them from scratch using dice pools based on INT (Mind) and POW (Will).
<+BMonroe1> right
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<+Travellingdave2> You can them use the dice to buy attributes (STR, DEX, etc.) or powers off the Chaos Traits list.
<+BMonroe1> And there are cool drawbacks, "geases" for the Fey.  Can't be around iron, have to stay within a certain area, etc.
<+BMonroe1> It's really like a simple version of the modular demon creation system you'll see in Advanced Sorcery.
<+Travellingdave2> Yes. So you can customize each one, but the power levels are consistent from incarnation to incarnation. NAd each will have a unique vulnerability.
<+BMonroe1> Right.
<+BMonroe1> And, as things go along, we'll see more 'traditional' fairy critters.  I've got a bunch of them in the Bestiary: Redcaps, Brollachan, Voughs, Children of Lir, etc., ad nauseam.
<+Travellingdave2> An intelligent Fey is very tough to kill though, and typically just retreats across the Veil into it's home realm when defeated.
<+Travellingdave2> Yes, these will often be simpler Fey, with lower INTs and POWs who stick with one form.
<+Travellingdave2> The really powerful ones, like the White Count or Lady Nauriel, can be akin to Oberron or Titiana.
<+Travellingdave2> But a LOT more ruthless.
<~Dan> I'm getting almost a Lovecraftian vibe off of them.
<+BMonroe1> There can be, sure.
<+BMonroe1> If the GM wants to do such.
<+Travellingdave2> They were intended to be ALIEN.
<~Dan> Do their powers manifest as sorcery, or something more specific?
<+Travellingdave2> With motivations that the GM can choose for themselves.
<+BMonroe1> But, that being said, I've really tried to draw a distinction between MW and CoC. Obviously they're cross-compatible, but I wanted to make sure they were seen as their own things.  So, there are no direct Lovecraft references in MW.
<~Dan> Oh, certainly.
<+Travellingdave2> Generally, although some of the Chaos powers they can manifest are unique.
<+Travellingdave2> Agreed. I love my Lovecraft, but that was not our focus here.
<+Travellingdave2> They are also from 'elsewhere' which means the GM can give them additional abilities as they see fit.
<+BMonroe1> right
<~Dan> You mentioned some more cinematic options for the game. Can you touch on those a bit?
<+BMonroe1> Sure
<+BMonroe1> There are a couple of different ways to deal with Hit Points, for example.
<+BMonroe1> Standard is (CON+SIZ)/2
<+BMonroe1> We present the option for having HP be equal to the total of CON+SIZ
<+BMonroe1> which means PCs don't have to deal with Major Wounds as often.
<+BMonroe1> There are suggestions for 'one-hit' or 'mook' NPCs.
<~Dan> (Oh... maybe you should touch on Major Wounds, there?)
<+BMonroe1> Simple systems for starting PCs out at higher levels of competence.
<+BMonroe1> Ah!  Right, so Major Wounds are devastating blows that cripple and maim.
<+BMonroe1> If you take a single hit which does damage to you equal or  more than half your Hit Points, you take a Major Wound.  You roll on a table to find out what happens next. Normally you take characteristic loss: a shattered legbone results in a loss of DEX, slashed face reduces APP, etc.
<+BMonroe1> You then get to make a Luck (POW x5) roll to see whether or not the characteristic loss is permanent.  If it's not, you'll heal those points back over time.
<+BMonroe1> Finally, there's a chance you might just fall unconcious after a MW. These are blows that break bones, sever limbs, pierce organs. Lots of pain involved. So, you've got to make a test to remain standing after takiing one.
<+BMonroe1> (done)
<~Dan> Are you incorporating the Fate Point mechanic?
<+BMonroe1> We are not.
<+BMonroe1> I'd toyed with it, but couldn't find a solution I was happy with.
<+BMonroe1> There's a Hero Point system in the BGB you can use, or just grab them from OpenQuest, or something like that.
* ~Dan nods
<+BMonroe1> Frankly, I'd just use the one from OQ/RQ6. Nice and simple.
<+BMonroe1> (done)
<~Dan> Speaking of the BGB, you took your own path when it came to relating attributes and skills. Care to say a word about that?
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<+BMonroe1> it was a constant balancing act between "how I do things in my own game", and "how most people seem to like BRP"
<+BMonroe1> I liked the skill categories from RQIII, but thought they were sort of fiddly
<+BMonroe1> Also, I wanted Attributes to have a greater impact on play.
<+BMonroe1> So, each Atrribute (STR, DEX, CON, etc... except SIZ) influences one broad 'category' of skills
<+BMonroe1> STR for Agility skills, DEX for Manipulation, APP for Communication, etc.
<+BMonroe1> Further, there's an option to allow your Attributes to influence experience rolls for the associated skills.
<+Charles-Green> I need to bow out. Have fun without me!
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<~Dan> (You should have had SIZ govern competitive sports. Go big or go home!)
<+BMonroe1> So, STRong guys get an easier chance to raise Agility skills, while INTelligent guys have an easier time with Knowdledge stuff.
<+BMonroe1> Heh.
<+BMonroe1> (done)
<+smjn> So its a simplified version of the RQ3 categories.
<+smjn> Sounds good to me.
<~Dan> What is the default tech level? I recall that there were no crossbows in Elric!/Stormbringer, for example.
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<+smjn> But they had ballistas, funnily. :-)
<+BMonroe1> Right. It uses the 'simple categories' system. Each Attribute influences one skill category, and you get half that attribute as a bonus to all skills in it.
<~Dan> (Howdy, TF! Q&A with Ben Monroe about Magic World in progress!)
<~Dan> (#rpgnet2 open for general chat. :) )
<+BMonroe1> The weapons/armor/shields is pulled right out of Elric!/SB, but I did add in a couple varieties of crossbows for those who want them.
<~Dan> You're lucky someone noticed that they were missing!
<~Dan> ;)
<+BMonroe1> The RQIII skill category system is great, but I always thought it was grainier than it needed to be.
<+BMonroe1> Yes!
<+BMonroe1> (done?)
<~Dan> (I think so.)
<+BMonroe1> K
<~Dan> Any plans to up the tech level any with black powder and so forth?
<~Dan> (Oh, as an aside: last time I looked "sea axe" was still listed.)
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<+BMonroe1> Not at the moment, but there's no reason  you can't pull that in from the BGB.
<+Travellingdave2> I like the sea axe ...
<~Dan> I do, too, but it's a Young Kingdoms-specific weapon. :)
<+BMonroe1> MW was really meant to be a streamlined 'intro' game.  There's lots of other tech, skills, professions, etc. that -could- be pulled in, but you may as well just get the BGB for that
<+BMonroe1> Not anymore! :)
<~Dan> Fair enough. :)
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<+BMonroe1> Considering we included an entire chapter on boats, seafaring, etc. I figured 'what the hell' and left it in.
<~Dan> Heh. :)
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<+Ithaeur> Good evening, peoples.
<+BMonroe1> If D&D can add in those stupid double-headed orc axes, I can have a sea axe and wooden armor.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Ith! Q&A in progress!)
<+BMonroe1> :D
<~Dan> So given that this is the "flagship" fantasy game for BRP...
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<~Dan> ...were there any concerns on basing it on a setting-specific variant like Stormbringer?
<+BMonroe1> Nope.
<~Dan> (As opposed to, say, one that could simulate D&D classes, for example.)
<+BMonroe1> We all agreed that at the core, the system is great, works, and people love it.
<+BMonroe1> I just went through and scoured out all specific references to Moorcock stuff.
<+Travellingdave2> And is flexible enough to recreate most of the classic tropes.
<+BMonroe1> I mean, go on web forums and you'll see people have hacked Elric!/Stormbringer to use in anything from a neolithic stone age setting, to Middle-earth, and beyond.
<+BMonroe1> It's just a good, core fantasy system
<+smjn> Many people keep on saying Elric! is the best iteration of BRP. I wonder why that is?
* ~Dan nods
* +Serah tumbles in, head over heels, bumps, barn owl.
<+smjn> What makes it better than RQ or even versions of Stormbringer?
<+BMonroe1> I think because it's simple well-presented, and easy to understand, while still having enough of the 'flavor' of BRP to have cool options.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Serah! Just finishing up a Magic World Q&A. #rpgnet2 is open for general chat. :) )
<+BMonroe1> Well, it'd be hard to say it's better than 5th edition Stormbringer, because the core of the system is the same.
<+Travellingdave2> Agreed. RQ was always a bit too crunchy for me. SB hit the sweet spot.
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<+BMonroe1> What makes it 'better' than any of those, is really subjective. I played and ran a ton of RQIII back in the day. Love it. But over time I got tired of Strike Ranks, Hit Locations, etc.
<~Dan> We've got about 12 minutes left in regular Q&A time, although you're welcome to hang out as long as you like... Anything you'd like to mention that we haven't brought up?
<+BMonroe1> Stormbringer was also a great game (note: I worked on 4th edition, editing it, and writing the Demon system for it), but I thought it could use a bit more detail on the character end.
<+BMonroe1> So, with MW, I took elements I liked from RQ, adapted and bolted them on to SB, and MW is the result.
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<+smjn> So the best of both, in your estimate.
<+BMonroe1> For example, I loved the idea of your character's culture influencing your skills and background in RQIII, but going through all the careers and skill points was a hassle.
<+BMonroe1> So, I used that, but streamlined it.
<+BMonroe1> "the best of both"?  Well -I- like to think so. But, obviously other people will have a different opinion.
<+BMonroe1> I know there's one guy on the Basicroleplaying.com forum who said he won't buy the game just because we didn't include Hit Locations.  Doesn't seem to be a big deal to others, though.
<+smjn> How does the culture / background work then, in the streamlined MW way?
<+BMonroe1> So, my hope is that MW will serve as a good core fantasy game, as well as a 'gateway' game to BRP in general.
<~Dan> (The marijuana of BRP?)
<+BMonroe1> We've kept something equivalent to the four culture groups, but they've been renamed: Tribe, Band, Chiefdom, State
<+BMonroe1> You choose your guy's culture, and there's a list of skills associated with that culture. You can then choose three of those skills to start with a +15% bonus.
<+BMonroe1> Then, there's a listing of suggested occupations that could be found in that culture. You just pick one, and continue along.
<+BMonroe1> (done)
<~Dan> Anything else you'd like to cover in the time we have left, Ben?
<+BMonroe1> I guess I should also mention that the game's almost done with layout. I sent in 'final' edits last week.  Hopefully it'll be available as a PDF soon-ish, and then a print version will follow in a couple of months.
<~Dan> And what are the follow-on titles?
<+BMonroe1> I'm really excited about this game.  I've been a BRP fan for nearly 30 years, since first discovering RuneQuest. I'm hoping that it appeals to old fans like me, as well as introducing new players to the BRP family of games.
<+BMonroe1> So far we've got: Advanced Sorcery, Chronicler's Companion, and the Chronicler's Screen written.
<+smjn> What's in the Companion?
<+BMonroe1> In various stages of development are the Monster Book, and the setting book I mentioned way up at the beginning. And then more ideas for things are fermenting in my fevered brain.
<+BMonroe1> The Companion includes most of the text (revised slightly) from the old RQIII Game Master's Book. It also features a collection of instant NPCs, a system for using Allegiance to create religions and cults, and a chapter on running games in the Southern Reaches.
<+BMonroe1> (done)
<~Dan> Want to hang out in "overtime", Ben, or do you need to wrap things up?
<+BMonroe1> I'm probably going to have to take off soon, but I can stick around for a few more minutes
<+Travellingdave2> I have to go. It's been a pleasure, folks.
<~Dan> Thanks, Dave!
<~Dan> Likewise!
<+BMonroe1> Thanks, Dave!
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<+smjn> All in all sounds quite good. I may not get MW myself, at least first, because of the competition, but I really hope it succeeds and sells well.
<+BMonroe1> Thanks!
<+BMonroe1> I hope you at least take a look at it, and if you do pick it up, you find something in it that you like.
<+BMonroe1> :D
<+smjn> Yes, I'll check it out.
<~Dan> Are dragons based on Stormbringer dragons?
<+smjn> Advanced Sorcery I will most likely buy, it seems so good.
<+BMonroe1> No, I used the RQIII versions of dragons
<+BMonroe1> and there'll be a few new dragony things in the Bestiary
<+BMonroe1> Advanced Sorcery is a great book.  There's tons of cool stuff in there.
<+BMonroe1> What's exciting to me about this game line, is that we had the ability to pull together all the 'crunch' from the Elric!/Stormbringer books, and pull it all together.
<~Dan> How far afield will you be going for monsters in the monster book?
<~Dan> (And will there be dinosaurs?)
<+BMonroe1> I didn't have to worry about only having the one "Sorcery" system in the core book, because not only did I pull in all the spells from the supplements, but was then able to pull together all of the different magic systems for the game, and put them all in one book
<+BMonroe1> The monsters in the Bestiary range from completely made up, to very European.
<+BMonroe1> We seem to have an overabuncance of Celtic monsters. Some cool Norse/Slavic things, too
<+BMonroe1> I've been collecting stats for lots of dinosaurs together, but I'm not sure what to do with them just yet.  I don't feel like they really fit the flavor/feel of the game right now, so I'm hoping to have them available as a freebie PDF of some sort.
<~Dan> Cool. :)
<~Dan> How big is the bestiary in the core book?
<+BMonroe1> But, I do have lots of those.  Probably at least a couple of dozen different dinosaurs and early mammals. Everything from allosaurs to glyptodonts and titanotheres
<+BMonroe1> I want to say about 60 monsters, but I could be wrong
<~Dan> Very nice.
<+BMonroe1> the Bestiary will probably have close to twice that
<+BMonroe1> I think I've already got nearly 70 in the Bestiary, and haven't received all the submissions yet. Plus, I've got a ton to convert over from some old, obscure BRP books.
<~Dan> Are you including Chaos critters?
<+BMonroe1> Like from Stormbringer/Elric?
<~Dan> No, like Gloranthan.
<~Dan> Gorp, for example.
<+BMonroe1> Ah, no.  We're not using any Gloranthan content.
* ~Dan nods
<+BMonroe1> We do have the RQIII "Broos" basically as-is, but they've been renamed "beast-men".
<~Dan> Are demons pretty much Stormbringer demons, or are they actually "evil" in MW terms?
<~Dan> (As opposed to just Chaotic.)
<+BMonroe1> They're Stormbringer demons
<~Dan> So is messing with them a Shadow-worthy act?
<+BMonroe1> I believe summoning/binding them earns you Shadow
<+BMonroe1> I think it loses you points off of Light, too.
<~Dan> Hmm. So is it not really possible for a "powerful" magician to be aligned with Light?
<~Dan> brb
<+BMonroe1> It'd be tricky. You'd probably have to delve into the Deep Magic for that
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<~Dan> How powerful are bound elementals, and do you get Shadow for using them?
<+BMonroe1> Elementals are tied to Balance and Light.
<+BMonroe1> So, if you summon/bind an Elemental, you can either gain one point of Light, or lose a point of Balance.
<+BMonroe1> Demons you get Shadow for.
<~Dan> Hmm. Any plans on introducing angelic beings of some sort?
<+BMonroe1> Angels are in the core rules. :D
<~Dan> Are they? Cool. Are they bindable?
<+BMonroe1> I believe summoning them is the same as for Demons. I honestly can't recall if they're bindable... it's never come up in my games; I'd have to check
<+Charles_Green> I mention Angels in the Philosophy Engine article. There, I have them summonable, but impossible to bind.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Are angels and demons aligned with gods, or just with Light and Shadow in general?
<+BMonroe1> Light and Shadow in general
<+BMonroe1> In the core book, we don't presume any sort of pantheon.
* ~Dan nods
<+BMonroe1> We do talk a little bit about "Lords of Light", Shadow, and Balance, but we keep them clearly, and purposefully vague.
<+BMonroe1> There's a sidebar for that, talking about 'What do we mean by...?'
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<+BMonroe1> And leaving it up to the Chronicler to decide how, or even -if- gods work in his own setting.
* ~Dan nods
<+BMonroe1> And then, as mentioned earlier, Charles' essay helps to break that down further, and give you a system for using Allegiance to create your own religions.
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<~Dan> (Howdy, Randy!)
<+Randy> Danny!
<+Randy> What's up, m'man?
<+Randy> Besides me declaring mah love for you? :D
<~Dan> Oh, just running into a little Q&A overtime regarding Magic World with Ben Monroe over there.
* ~Dan chucklle-s
* ~Dan chuckles, even
<+BMonroe1> Which, I suppose, was really one of my core themes in the game: give options, give concepts, and give players the ability and encouragement to make up their own stuff.  There's -tons- of material to get you started, but some things were left up to the players to decide
<+Charles_Green> In my playtest game, that encouragement to add player-generated stuff has been a big success.
<+Randy> whoops, sorry :( didn't know important stuff was going on :o
<+smjn> Charles_Green: How exactly did it succeed?
<~Dan> No worries! The "official" Q&A is over anyway. Ben was just kind enough to hang out a while longer. :)
<+Charles_Green> It has made my players more invested in the game.
<+Randy> Oh, coolio
<+Charles_Green> It's one thing to defend a town from invading orcs, and quite another to defend The University, designed and staffed by an enterprising PC, from the invaders.
<+Ithaeur> That all sounds pretty cool.
<~Dan> (brb)
<+smjn> That sounds very good.
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<+BMonroe1> Right
<+BMonroe1> One of the things I want to try with Charle's "Philosphy Engine" stuff, is to give the onus to the players to come up with their own gods.
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<+Charles_Green> Two of my players are using it right now.
<+BMonroe1> I think it'll make for a more interesting environment if a player creates a religion that's really important to his guy, rather than just picking one from a list that gives the best bonuses
<+BMonroe1> awesome
<+smjn> So that Philosohy Engine thingie is in the core book?
<+BMonroe1> Chronicler's Companion
<+smjn> Oh. Have to wait for that then.
<+BMonroe1> Inch by inch
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<+BMonroe1> Okay folks, I gotta run.  Thanks again for giving me the soapbox, and letting me chat about the game.
<~Dan> Thanks for coming by, Ben!
<+smjn> Thanks, Ben!
<+BMonroe1> I hope you all enjoy it when it finally comes out.
<~Dan> The log will be posted momentarily at my blog.
<+BMonroe1> Later, gators!
<+Charles_Green> Thanks Ben!
<~Dan> (The link is in the subject line.)
<+BMonroe1> excellent.
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