Tuesday, January 22, 2013

[Q&A] Brandon Schmelz (Last Stand)

[19:04] <+BrandonSchmelz> Hi. I'm Brandon Schmelz. I'm here mostly to talk about my new game, Last Stand. Last Stand is a love letter to giant monster movies and goofy b-movies, with a lot of explosions. It's part of a series of games using the Fortune System, so I can cover those too. I also write third party Dungeon World content and used to freelance for White Wolf, but that was a long time ago.
[19:05] <+BrandonSchmelz> Last Stand had a successful Kickstarter and it's now available as a pdf on DrivethruRPG, with print copies coming soon. (done)
[19:05] <~Dan> Thanks, Brandon!
[19:05] <~Dan> Any questions to start us off...?
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[19:06] <&Le_Squide> So! Fortune System question!
[19:06] <~Dan> (Welcome, A_Flex! Here for the Q&A?)
[19:06] <+WinsonPaine> Brandon, theoretical question.  You are on a fishing trip with Zak S, John Tarnowski, Densmore, Raggi, and GMS.  A big wave hits and turns the craft over.  You can only save one of them and bring them to shore, there is no help anywhere.  Who do you save, and why?
[19:06] <+PostAndy> When are the Collector Boxes going to ship?
[19:07] <~Dan> (Question pause, please.)
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[19:07] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, neongrey!)
[19:07] <+BrandonSchmelz> WinsonPaine - Why am I the only one able to save someone? You didn't think that scenario through I think.
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[19:07] <+WinsonPaine> BrandonSchmelz it is a hypothetical
[19:07] <&Le_Squide> I have players who are subject to a bit of decision paralysis, makes things like 4e D&D take painfully long on occasion. Do you have any experience/play reports from people with players like that and the wagering system from Fortune?
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[19:08] <+BrandonSchmelz> PostAndy - good question. I got my first proof copy and I wasn't satisfied with the component quality, so I've been researching new options. I am working on the thank you notes and custom content already so I know that won't hold up the shipping process. If all goes well and I approve my latest order, it will be in February that boxes start shipping.
[19:08] <+BrandonSchmelz> I wanted to do it earlier, but the component quality was awful.
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[19:09] <+TrueGygaxFan> Hi everyone!
[19:10] <+EvilMastermind> It's not exactly a secret that LS is pretty heavily based on vidya games. What genres would you like to see Last Stand spread out to? Like, fighting games or Persona-based stuff?
[19:10] <~Dan> (Howdy, TGF! Here for the Q&A?)
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[19:10] <+TrueGygaxFan> Dan!  I am here for that!  Who are we Questioning for Answers?
[19:10] <+Benedict> Brandon, if last stand provided the financial means, would you retire now or continue to design
[19:11] <~Dan> Everyone, just a reminder that there's a question pause on until Brandon catches up. He'll give us a "(done)" when he's ready for more. Thanks!
[19:11] <+TactlessArmiger> I've got a question about Dungeon - I heard that the game was being split into two different last-stand based fantasy games. Can you tell us a bit about that?
[19:11] <+EvilMastermind> oh, sorry
[19:11] <~Dan> (I realize not all of you were here for the ground rules. :) )
[19:11] <+TactlessArmiger> (woops my bad)
[19:11] <+Benedict> i see
[19:12] <~Dan> No worries! Now you know, half the battle, etc., etc. :) )
[19:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> Le_Squide - I do! There's a  bit of paralysis when it comes to picking from all of the powers, and I've had a few players who get nervous about gambling up their tokens. Playtesters got used to it quickly though, and when I ran a demo at Dragon's Lair Austin the players went through everything fairly quickly. I do think if I were to redesign Last Stand I would focus a little more on fixing up
[19:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> the potential for paralysis analysis though.
[19:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> One thing that helped was rewriting the powers to emphasize that losing a gamble isn't losing necessarily. A good thing happens, and a better thing happens if you win the wager.
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[19:12] <~Dan> (I'll keep the pause on until Brandon answers all of the questions just posted, guys, so none of you will be left out.)
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[19:13] <+BrandonSchmelz> Design psychology is kind of a thing of mine, I write a lot about it on G+, so I try to design powers and write things appropriately to keep things moving along. Playtesters and new players seem to be flying along with the system.
[19:13] <~Dan> (Welcome, blinky!)
[19:13] <+BrandonSchmelz> haha, thanks Dan. Let me get EvilMastermind and Benedict and TactlessArmiger and I'll be set.
[19:15] <+BrandonSchmelz> EvilMastermind - I'd love to grab genres that don't have a lot of RPG representation. Another writer is working on Electric City, for example, which draws from things like Jet Set Radio. I'd love to do something like Mirror's Edge that is all about kinetic motion, crazy parkour.
[19:15] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think there's a lot we can learn from video games here in the RPG industry.
[19:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I would love if Last Stand provided the financial means, though it's doing well for itself. I can't imagine not designing anymore though. I've been in the industry since I was 17 and it's too much fun.
[19:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> almost done, sorry folks
[19:17] <~Dan> No problem, Brandon!
[19:18] <+TrueGygaxFan> I understand that Last Stand is a postapocalyptic game.  When designing a game like that, how important is the nature of the actual apocalypse to the themes of the game?  Would Last Stand remain the same if the way the world were destroyed was different?  (Just add me to the question pile!)
[19:19] <+BrandonSchmelz> TactlessArmiger = Yes. The kickstarter reward Düngeön got split into a standard D&D dungeon crawl set and something more political, more inspired by Chinese fantasy than European fantasy. I'm working closely with a friend of mine to get it going. It's got powers more narrative in nature than Last Stand. I'll pester him to post a thing about it.
[19:20] <+BrandonSchmelz> TrueGygaxFan - Last Stand actually isn't post-apocalyptic. It's more that it takes place during what could be the apocalypse, if you can't stop it by exploding things.
[19:20] <+BrandonSchmelz> (done)
[19:20] <+[SA]I_AM_THE_MOON> Brandon: does Electric City have a Funky Dealer class? What can you tell us about Superbrother mechanics?
[19:20] <~Dan> (Everyone, just a reminder that Brandon's still catching up with questions. Please hold any further questions until you see a "(done)" from him. Thanks!)
[19:21] <+BrandonSchmelz> Sorry Dan, I think my (done) got lost in my answers. I'm ready for a new set.
[19:21] <+[SA]I_AM_THE_MOON> (he just said done)
[19:21] <+neongrey> how many umlauts would an umlaut umlaut if an umlaut could umlaut umlauts?
[19:21] <+[SA]I_AM_THE_MOON> 18:20:26 <•BrandonSchmelz> (done)
[19:21] <~Dan> Oh... Heh. My bad. :)
[19:22] <~Dan> Brandon, to back up a bit, why don't you tell us some more about the premise of Last Stand?
[19:22] <+Benedict> Brandon, are you willing to put the interest of the players ahead of your own personal interests? - as opposed to say, ryan dancey, kevin siembieda, and john wick
[19:22] <+BrandonSchmelz> I_AM_THE_MOON - Haha. I think you'll like what you see in Electric City, with those kinds of references.
[19:22] <+TrueGygaxFan> Brandon: How many of your preorders/store stocks do you owe to Kickstarter?  What's your view on Kickstarter's attempts to brand itself as "not a store" vs. the popular perception re: things like the Reaper Minis kickstarter?
[19:22] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - Last Stand is a game about giant bugs, radioactive lizards and UFOs invading Earth. A corporation creates soldiers from the corpses of the first invaders; the soldiers wear Bio-Armor. One soldier might have a suit of Spider Bio-Armor, for example, that lets them cling to walls and spin webs. Another is the Pistol Shrimp Bio-Armor, and like the actual creature they can shoot explosive
[19:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> sonic waves.
[19:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> The core thing in the system is that players can steal powers from enemies. Anything an enemy uses, the players can steal from them and use as their own.
[19:25] <+BrandonSchmelz> Most powers involve a gamble of some sort. Wagering tokens to get better results, potentially damaging your allies in explosive attacks, that kind of thing. It's why we call it the Fortune system, lots of gambling going on.
[19:25] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's a love letter to things like Godzilla, EDF, Big Man Japan.
[19:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> TrueGygaxFan: I can't talk specific numbers, but I do have deals with some retailers. Dragon's Lair will be carrying copies of Last Stand in the San Antonio and Austin locations. The kickstarter had 245 backers all told, so that's a good estimate. I've had a fair number of sales and preorders since.
[19:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I think I'm gonna skip that, sorry.
[19:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> [done]
[19:27] <+Benedict> Brandon, have you ever considered getting editorial oversight for last stand to provide a layer of distance between yourself and the core product?
[19:27] <+NewFork> Brandon, what were your guiding principles when designing the armory cards in Last Stand? In what ways did you try to make them different and unique from each other?
[19:28] <+MadRhetoric> Do you have an ETA for the Last Stand virtual tabletop?
[19:28] <+TactlessArmiger> Brandon, are you planning any community support for last stand - an SRD or a place for people to send their own custom settings or anything like that?
[19:28] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:29] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I actually have a core of freelancers and fellow writers who yell at me about Last Stand and other projects. It helps keep me honest. The content in the book is honed by having other folks work on their own settings and mechanics alongside Last Stand itself and I think it made the book a better product.
[19:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> Newfork - Fun and exciting was the main thing, but those are kind of copout answers. :) I wanted them to be recognizably goofy and like something you'd see in a sci-fi b-movie. As for the mechanics, I made sure to have a variety of ways to gamble so I could make sure each was mechanically distinct and felt like what it represented. Using explosive weapons will damage you with Collateral, using
[19:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> a Sniper Rifle does a lot of damage if you get the headshot, that kind of thing.
[19:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> MadRhetoric - that's a big question. Not yet, no. I should expand on the VTT thing after I answer TactlessArmiger because that probably brought up some new questions.
[19:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> TactlessArmiger - absolutely. I'm going to have an SRD available on my website and I'm writing a guide to hacking the system. It's going to be the same advice and processes used by the writers of the other Fortune products. I have licensing and submission guidelines as a placeholder here: (Link: http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-system/licensing-and-submissions/)http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-system/licensing-and-submissions/
[19:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> (I'll address the virtual tabletop thing, then I'll be ready for a new set)
[19:35] <+BrandonSchmelz> We're working on the Fortune Engine, which will be a lightweight virtual tabletop for playing Last Stand and the other Fortune System games. It will have singleplayer campaigns too because it seemed like fun, made it more video gamey. There's a bit of a thing here: (Link: http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-engine/)http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-engine/ but it's out of date. Once it's done, it can create maps for Fortune games and it
[19:35] <+BrandonSchmelz> handles all of the dice rolling/mechanics.
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[19:35] <+BrandonSchmelz> I don't have a release date for it though. I can say it's coming along nicely, and if there's time a bit later I might even see if FlakyBiscuit wants to talk about it a bit more. (He's the one working on it, and he's in the channel right now.)
[19:36] <+BrandonSchmelz> (done)
[19:36] <+Benedict> Brandon, if you could redesign last stand from the ground up tomorrow, completely rebuild the game, what is the one thing you would change first?
[19:36] <+ImpactVector> Could you go into a little more detail about the compatibility rules between the new Monster Hunter themed game you teased recently and the other Fortune games? I'm especially interested in how getting materials from non-MH monsters works and whether you can port the settlement building system to other Fortune games.
[19:36] <+TactlessArmiger> What role do non-human races like alfar or dwarfs play in Ragnarok?
[19:36] <+PostAndy> What have you heard of Flesh vs Steel: Envy the dead?
[19:37] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:37] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I had to be talked out of delaying the game to remove minor actions entirely. That would be the first thing I'd rip out. I'm never really content with my game design, I'm always seeing something new that I wish I had done instead.
[19:37] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think the minor actions serve a valuable mechanical niche ultimately and they don't ruin the game, but I'd love to see what it's like without them.
[19:39] <+BrandonSchmelz> ImpactVector - oh yeah, the Monster Hunter style game. To provide some context, the details are in this G+ post: (Link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117024929835204509892/posts/624zpJLnTAa)https://plus.google.com/u/0/117024929835204509892/posts/624zpJLnTAa
[19:41] <+BrandonSchmelz> I'm writing materials for the Last Stand monsters, and monsters in this new game will have powers for Last Stand characters to rip and slot. The settlement rules will be awesome for other Fortune games; I'm working on an example where it's used to represent the Bio-Armor base of operations and taking back cities that are under giant ant control.
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[19:42] <+BrandonSchmelz> TactlessArmiger - player characters are definitely human in Ragnarök, and they come from just about everywhere in the world. I'd have to talk to Andri about non-human roles to be honest. I'm only serving as editor and sounding board for Ragnarök.
[19:43] <+BrandonSchmelz> PostAndy - I'm not super familiar with it, only from seeing it mentioned in the writeup of a post-apocalyptic setting I received in email/g+
[19:43] <+BrandonSchmelz> (done)
[19:43] <+WinsonPaine> If Dan was playing last stand and managed to defeat a certain fedora wearing no face having trenchcoat DC superhero and as a prize he took his hands could he get his own card that was Question Paws?
[19:43] <+[SA]I_AM_THE_MOON> why are you so anime
[19:43] <+EvilMastermind> How hard is keeping Last Stand 100% cross-compatible? Like, if you were working on something and it turned out you couldn't bring EVERY mechanic over to something else, what would you do?
[19:43] <~Dan> What do folks do in the game when they aren't fighting kaiju?
[19:44] <+TactlessArmiger> Have you considered doing a space expansion for Last Stand that would let players take the fight to the aliens, Starship Troopers style?
[19:44] <+Benedict> Brandon have you considered providing a set of live action rules or allowing a third party to develop live action rules for Last Stand?
[19:45] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:45] <+BrandonSchmelz> WinsonPaine - Licensing is too expensive, I don't think it could happen.
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[19:46] <+Canageek> Morning
[19:46] <+Canageek> Errr
[19:46] <+Canageek> Evening
[19:46] <+WinsonPaine> Unfortunate, thanks
[19:47] <+BrandonSchmelz> EvilMastermind - It's rough, but not as rough as you'd think. The system was designed to be flexible and open to tinkering from the beginning so I try to design with that in mind. When I do run into an issue, like with this new Monster Hunter inspired thing, I've done everything I can to keep it compatible and decided to write a new system to handle the ideas that I couldn't quite get to work.
[19:47] <+BrandonSchmelz> I love designing, I can't stop doing it.
[19:47] <+BrandonSchmelz> Fortune started as a weird, modern day urban horror kind of thing that would better fit in WoD or Shin Megami Tensei so I'm used to stretching it around for new ideas.
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[19:48] <&Le_Squide> (Do you mind being circled up on Google+, Brandon?)
[19:48] <+BrandonSchmelz> TactlessArmiger - I think you'll see a bit of that in the adventure module.
[19:48] <+BrandonSchmelz> (Not at all, I actually made a post today asking for new people to follow for RPG chat.)
[19:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, Canageek! Q&A in progress. :) )
[19:49] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - sorry, didn't mean to get out of order here. There are two main modes for Last Stand I think, "goofy action hero" and "a monster I am, look into the abyss" mode. If you want to run Last Stand as the former it involves dealing with corporate sponsorships, trying to get a few minutes break from giant insects, more along the lines of Independence Day or the lighter moments of Starship
[19:49] <+BrandonSchmelz> Troopers.
[19:50] * ~Dan nods
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[19:52] <+BrandonSchmelz> The latter mode involves the agents alienated from the people they protect, a lot of wondering whether it's okay to become a monster to fight the monsters. It's moments of silence between combat, sharing a  bond between the rest of the squad that nobody else understands, trying to decide if your corporate overlords really have the world's best interests. Kinda like White Wolf's Orpheus in a
[19:52] <+BrandonSchmelz> way - can you trust the people who did this to you? What are they hiding?
[19:52] <+BrandonSchmelz> I'll be the first to admit that Last Stand is boardgamey and designed mostly for the fights, though.
[19:52] * ~Dan nods
[19:53] <~Dan> Nothing wrong with that. Games should be judged on what they set out to do.
[19:53] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I don't have a lot of LARP experience, though my brother is crazy about it. I wouldn't be able to get into it really, I think LARP design needs to be quite different from tabletop design and it hasn't quite broken away yet.
[19:53] <+BrandonSchmelz> A tabletop designer isn't the right way to do that, I think.
[19:53] <+BrandonSchmelz> (done)
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[19:53] <+palecur> Brandon, are any expansions to social combat/social encounters in Last Stand in the works?
[19:54] <~Dan> Are all of the creatures in Last Stand from a single source?
[19:54] <+neongrey> brandon - Is there any word yet on being able to get that sweet-ass cover image as a print?
[19:54] <+Benedict> [18:44] <+Benedict> Brandon have you considered providing a set of live action rules or allowing a third party to develop live action rules for Last Stand?
[19:54] <+Benedict> oh sorry
[19:55] <+BrandonSchmelz> palecur - yes, though I think you'll see them mostly in the other planned gamelines. There are some neat social and narrative tricks I can use with Fortune's gambling mechanics.
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[19:55] <+BrandonSchmelz> The system's origins actually had a lot more with the social encounters mechanics, it's definitely something I want to explore.
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[19:55] <+BrandonSchmelz> What do you mean by single source, Dan?
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[19:56] <~Dan> Well, as in, did one alien race create them all, for example.
[19:57] <+BrandonSchmelz> Ah, I see. It's purposefully vague in the book, both in the setting chapter and during the field reports (where a scientist writes about the monsters encountered). There are theories about aliens, about creatures rising from the center of the Earth, about the invaders being created from humanity's shared concept of goofy sci-fi movies.
[19:58] <+BrandonSchmelz> There's evidence to support any of the theories, really. For example, the giant robots have no actual circuitry or moving parts. They just kinda work, for some reason.
[19:58] <~Dan> Huh. Cool.
[19:58] <+BrandonSchmelz> The scientist writing the field reports is not happy about that last one, by the way.
[19:59] <~Dan> I wouldn't think so. :)
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[19:59] <+BrandonSchmelz> I tried to add neat setting details via the monster chapter, kinda like Creatures of Barsaive for Earthdawn or the Monsternomicons in the Iron Kingdoms books.
[20:00] <+BrandonSchmelz> I don't know that I succeeded , necessarily, but those were the inspiration.
[20:00] <&Le_Squide> Will there be a .pdf/print combo available?
[20:00] <+BrandonSchmelz> (just realized I missed neongrey, sorry)
[20:00] <+Benedict> To expand on licensing, Brandon, have you looked into possibly pairing with other successful kickstarters, such as producing a Last Stand: Sedition Wars? How about with licensed ip, Last Stand: Rock Man, Last Stand: Guyver, etc. Last Stand: Kingdom death?
[20:00] <~Dan> Hmm... Are most of the monsters giant bugs, and are all of the armors bug-based?
[20:00] <&Le_Squide> (I'll be honest, I'm holding off buying because I'm a sucker for pdf/print combos)
[20:00] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
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[20:01] <+BrandonSchmelz> neongrey - I need to ask George Cotronis, the cover author. I think he'll be up for it, and it is absolutely a gorgeous cover. I'd love to have it hanging in my living room.
[20:02] <+neongrey> cool, looking forward to it
[20:02] <+BrandonSchmelz> Here is a large version of it, if anyone hasn't seen it: (Link: http://i.imgur.com/xejah35.jpg)http://i.imgur.com/xejah35.jpg
[20:02] <+neongrey> will look perfect next to the mermaid and the gelatinous cube
[20:03] <+BrandonSchmelz> Le_Squide - absolutely on the pdf/print combo. The only reason it isn't available yet is that I still need to deliver print copies to the kickstarter backers, and it wouldn't be fair to them if I made it available to the public already. What I'm doing for now is offering a coupon for folks who order the pdf on drivethruRPG to reduce the cost of the print book.
[20:03] <&Le_Squide> Ah!
[20:03] <&Le_Squide> Well then.
[20:03] <+BrandonSchmelz> I don't want to punish people for buying the game early. I'd much rather reward it, honestly.
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[20:06] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - Kinda! There is going to be a 13th Age version of Last Stand, for example, and I'm going to release a compilation of Last Stand-inspired Dungeon World content as well. I'm always down with collaborating with other designers and systems as long as I have time in my schedule.
[20:07] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - there are a lot of giant insects, but I like to have a variety. There are also giant lizards, sea creatures, robots and UFOs, amphibians. The main rule for Last Stand is that anything creepy crawly or kaiju-like is fair game.
[20:07] <+DaviTheEccentric> You mentioned that Last Stand started as something more Shin Megami Tensei-esque than it is now. How hard would it be to take Last Stand/the Fortune System in general and make something SMT-inspired?
[20:08] <+BrandonSchmelz> Bio-Armor runs from ants to eels to shrimp to komodo dragons. There's also a Giant Robot armor that makes you genuinely Godzilla-sized, you are a battlefield yourself.
[20:08] <~Dan> Awesome. :)
[20:08] <+DaviTheEccentric> I only ask because finding a game that works for that sort of thing and fits the tastes of a friend of mine has kind of been a white whale for me and fuck I just interrupted someone else's question.
[20:09] <~Dan> (Mind the language, please, Davi. PG-13 room.)
[20:09] <+DaviTheEccentric> Sorry.
[20:09] <+Benedict> As a designer and a gamer, brandon, how would you rank the following products: Pathfinder, D&D 4e, D&D Next, Last Stand, 13th age, and OSRIC?
[20:09] <~Dan> (No prob. :) )
[20:09] <+BrandonSchmelz> To expand on that last part, some monsters are genuinely large enough to be the size of a battlefield. Players can climb on them and maneuver to get in a good shot.
[20:09] <+BrandonSchmelz> The giant robo armor is the same, you are a walking setpiece.
[20:10] <~Dan> I sense some Shadow of the Colossus at play in that design...
[20:10] <+BrandonSchmelz> DaviTheEccentric - Last Stand might be a stretch, but Fortune System I think handles SMT well. I have a fan submission for just that thing actually. I'll have to ask him how it's coming along. I'm a bit of an SMT nut (as some folks in here know, I can rattle on about it at a moment's notice)
[20:11] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan, you would be right.
[20:11] <~Dan> <-- genius!
[20:12] <~Dan> Two part question: What are the attributes/skills, and what is the core mechanic?
[20:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> Benedict - I won't rank my own thing really, but 4e and OSRIC are probably the top of the list. You should have included BECMI, it would be right under 4e. Everything around Basic, 1e AD&D and 4e are my sweet spot for D&D
[20:14] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - Last Stand uses four abstract skills. They are Disruptor, Leader, Operative and Tactician. They are basically the four player types - Loud, Up Front, Sneaky, Clever.
[20:14] <+BrandonSchmelz> Any action you use will be with one of those four stats.
[20:15] <+BrandonSchmelz> What means with Fortune System is we can have the stats follow that same rough framework - disruptive, bold, sneaky and clever - but tweak how things feel.
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[20:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> So Ragnarök has the same framework, but uses the gods as the names of the stats. Odin, Thor, Freyja and Tyr (I think).
[20:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> Or Düngeon uses Cleric Fighter Thief Wizard as the four stats.
[20:17] <~Dan> So none of these have attributes or more specific skills, I take it?
[20:17] <+BrandonSchmelz> They are the same conceptual space, but your every action has to be through the lens of one of those four. It gets players acting in a setting-specific way right off the bat.
[20:17] <+BrandonSchmelz> Nope, the powers have enough design space that I figured more specific stats/skills would get in the way.
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[20:17] * ~Dan nods
[20:17] <~Dan> (Welcome, InkyHat!)
[20:18] <+BrandonSchmelz> The resolution mechanic uses 2d10. You roll the 2d10, take the highest die and add it to one of your stats.
[20:18] <+BrandonSchmelz> To determine if you win wagers or blow up your allies, you use both dice - so a power might have a Wager that succeeds if either die comes up with a 1 or a 2
[20:20] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's fairly simple, but most of the complexity comes from building up a cool suite of powers and stealing abilities from your enemies.
[20:20] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's like, ah. Basically Last Stand is the game for people who buy White Wolf books and flip right to the powers chapter, or people who buy new D&D books and start in the spells.
[20:20] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's all about player options more than anything.
[20:21] <~Dan> How whacked out do the powers get? Are they all biological in nature, or is there radioactive breath and the like?
[20:21] <+BrandonSchmelz> GMs get to play with cool powers too, of course.
[20:21] <+Yalborap> Oh man I didn't miss it!
[20:21] <+Yalborap> Eeeeeee.
[20:22] <+PostAndy> Can we post questions?
[20:22] <~Dan> Absolutely, PostAndy!
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[20:22] <+BrandonSchmelz> They get pretty nuts, definitely. Radioactive breath is a thing. You can take out the fire ant queen and get the ability to split yourself into a swarm of tiny bio-armor agents. Taking out the UFO lets you create a miniature remote control version of yourself. You can build giant walls of flame or get wings or do all kinds of crazy stuff.
[20:23] <+A_Flex> I noticed that the Fortune System logo is absent from the front/back cover of Last Stand. Is that an oversight or a thematic choice where it instead appears in the front matter?
[20:23] <&Le_Squide> How do you determine what PCs start with?
[20:23] <+BrandonSchmelz> One of the playtest characters had Crab Bio-Armor, a sniper rifle, and a pair of butterfly wings ripped from a dangerous enemy.
[20:24] <+Yalborap> He was the most beautiful and graceful crab, if I recall.
[20:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> A_Flex - you'll see the logo on the print copies. There was enough call for a clean copy of the cover that I kept it clean in the pdf.
[20:25] <+BrandonSchmelz> Le_Squide - players start with a suit of Bio-Armor and six powers. The default way to do it is actually by card draft; each player picks a power from a hand of cards and then passes the hand to the left, continuing until they have a set of powers. You can also select powers or roll for them randomly. Regardless of generation method they will be balanced mechanically
[20:25] <+BrandonSchmelz> hey yalborap, I was hoping you'd make it
[20:26] <+Yalborap> As was I.
[20:26] <+BrandonSchmelz> The drivethruRPG copy comes with printable copies of the cards, and I have a box of about 100 decks sitting in my closet right now.
[20:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> Most of those are for the kickstarter, but now that drivethru offers POD for cards I'm going to offer that too.
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[20:28] <+BrandonSchmelz> I'm up for more questions, by the way. Don't know if I did the (done) thing or not
[20:28] <+PostAndy> So far we have Last Stand, Ragnarok, Dungeon, Electric City, Youxia, as stated, were any more mentioned?
[20:29] <+BrandonSchmelz> Oh yeah, let me do a roundup.
[20:29] <+InkyHat> I'm not sure if it's too off topic, but which Kamen Rider series do you think would be easiest to run with it? From that statement about the powers, it sounds like Fourze or OOO.
[20:30] <+BrandonSchmelz> I wrote Last Stand and Düngeön already. Andri Erlingson (Sub Rosa) wrote Ragnarök, it's in layout and art direction but the writing and mechanics are done. (I'll link a playtest thing once I find it.) Electric City and Youxia are another set of writers and they have made strong progress.
[20:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> Since I wasn't writing anything, just focusing on the business end of things, I'm currently writing the MH inspired thing I linked earlier.
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[20:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> There are also some fan submissions. It's kind of crazy.
[20:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> I didn't expect Last Stand to get quite so much attention, to be honest. I'm working some long weeks.
[20:33] <~Dan> How high-tech is the setting overall?
[20:34] <+MadRhetoric> What's the silliest pitch you've gotten for a Fortune System game?
[20:34] <+Yalborap> Can't be much sillier than one of the ones I sent him.
[20:35] <+TactlessArmiger> Do you have any advice for new rpg authors who want to try kickstarter?
[20:35] <+PostAndy> Will fan submissions, both free and for pay, be a large part of the Fortune Multiverse eventually?
[20:35] <~Dan> (Question pause, please.)
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[20:36] <+BrandonSchmelz> InkyHat - I'm not as familiar with Kamen Rider, I've only seen bits of OOO and Black RX. I think Guyver was more of a visual inspiration overall. I'm semi-fluent in japanese and most of my tv watching is in goofy comedies like Tiger&Dragon or things like IWGP, I haven't had a chance to watch a whole lot of tokusatsu.
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[20:37] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - It's mostly modern day, with infusions of high tech from the company behind the bio-armor. All techological innovations are from studies of the invaders.
[20:37] <~Dan> So no blaster pistols or the like?
[20:37] <+BrandonSchmelz> MadRhetoric - I wrote an Iron Chef Cooking Battle thing as a response to a forum post, so probably that.
[20:37] <+BrandonSchmelz> Only if you rip a robot's arm off and attach its blaster pistol to your armor, Dan
[20:38] <+BrandonSchmelz> Which you can totally do.
[20:39] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:39] <+BrandonSchmelz> TactlessArmiger - It's all about publicity. Kickstarter is not your marketing campaign - ideally, you need an existing base of support (which I had from something awful's traditional games forum and my freelance contacts) and the ability to sell yourself like crazy. It's a lot of work! You can't just be a game designer, you need to be a businessperson too.
[20:40] <+BrandonSchmelz> Running a kickstarter is a full time job if you want to do it right, and it's not something to do lightly.
[20:40] <+BrandonSchmelz> A lot of folks (me, I'm talking about me, it's me) made mistakes already and new designers looking to do a kickstarter should ask everyone they can get in touch with what mistakes to avoid.
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[20:41] <+BrandonSchmelz> PostAndy - I certainly hope so. A system only gets stronger as more people bend and break it.
[20:42] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[20:42] <+BrandonSchmelz> I do want to avoid some of the pitfalls in the d20 OGL thing, but as small as Fünhaver is I don't see that being an issue really
[20:42] <+BrandonSchmelz> (done)
[20:43] <~Dan> Could you see using Last Stand as a superhero game?
[20:44] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think so. Bio-Armor Agents basically are superheroes, just with a gross way of gaining powers. It would probably be better served with a set of cards and powers specifically for supers though.
[20:44] * ~Dan nods
[20:45] <+BrandonSchmelz> This is the Ragnarök playtest/preview, by the way (thanks A_Flex): (Link: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_fjE3YbgwOIZm02X1NrN2gwQVk)https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_fjE3YbgwOIZm02X1NrN2gwQVk
[20:45] <+PostAndy> Now I want to make a superhero setting for fortune.
[20:45] <+Yalborap> Doooo iiiiit.
[20:46] <+BrandonSchmelz> Yeah, I say go wild.
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[20:46] <+BrandonSchmelz> I'm hoping the hack guide ends up helping people, I have a lot of good advice from the folks who wrote the other games.
[20:47] <+Silverlion> Allo!
[20:47] <+Silverlion> Awesome. :D
[20:47] <~Dan> (Howdy, Sil!)
[20:47] <+BrandonSchmelz> They had to learn it while I did and they are probably kinda grouchy about it, it will be much easier for new folks.
[20:47] <~Dan> How does damage work in the game?
[20:47] <+BrandonSchmelz> Poor guys had to deal with a lot of revisions and changes and second guessing.
[20:48] <+BrandonSchmelz> You actually use the stats to represent damage; your stats handle your competence and your ability to take injury. You always roll the full value though, there's no death spiral.
[20:48] <+Silverlion> How adaptable is its core as it stands?
[20:48] <+BrandonSchmelz> Until a stat is at 0, then you are in for some hurt.
[20:48] <+Ettin> Is there anything nobody's suggested as a Last Stand conversion yet you'd think would work well?
[20:49] <+Silverlion> I so want the game but I'd be wealthy enough :D
[20:49] <+Silverlion> yet to be.
[20:49] <+Silverlion> :D
[20:49] <+MadRhetoric> zombies
[20:49] <+BrandonSchmelz> Silverlion - Pretty adaptable, I think. It was designed to be stretched into a lot of different settings and scenarios. We're using it for everything from giant bugs to wuxia to electronica jetskates to ragnarök
[20:50] <~Dan> Do they all use the same scale?
[20:50] <+BrandonSchmelz> Ettin - Hmm. Let me think on that for a minute.
[20:51] <+BrandonSchmelz> Dan - scale in the sense of power levels?
[20:51] <~Dan> Well, that, and attribute/skill levels.
[20:52] <+BrandonSchmelz> Yeah. It's expected that a wolfskinner, a bio-armor soldier and a Mantis-style monk can pal around without issue.
[20:52] <+BrandonSchmelz> You can also mix and match.
[20:53] <+BrandonSchmelz> There's nothing stopping the bug armor guy from deciding to take up judo and learn how to smite things like Thor.
[20:53] <~Dan> Quick general pause...
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[20:54] <~Dan> Just a note that while the official Q&A ends in a few minutes, Brandon, you're welcome to hang out and answer questions as long as you like.
[20:54] <+BrandonSchmelz> Sure, I can stick around for a bit.
[20:54] <~Dan> And all of you who are new here are always welcome to hang out. :)
[20:54] <~Dan> That said, is there anything we haven't covered yet that you'd like to mention, Brandon?
[20:55] <+BrandonSchmelz> Hmm, let's see. I also publish new classes for Dungeon World, which is a neat process. Sage and Adam have been awesome with helping out there.
[20:56] <+TactlessArmiger> Maybe you could tell us a bit about your work with Exalted?
[20:57] <+BrandonSchmelz> It was a long time ago TactlessArmiger. I was a moderator and editor at the WW fansite Ex Libris Nocturnis, and I contacted Michael Goodwin (Nephilpal) for an interview. We got to talking and he taught me quite a bit about writing for RPGs, writing in general. I got to help a little with 1e Fair Folk, and then got my first credit in 1e Alchemicals for working on the charms with Neph.
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[20:58] <+BrandonSchmelz> I owe just about all my industry success to working with Neph back in the day though, I even thanked him in the Last Stand credits.
[20:59] <+Silverlion> Cool.
[20:59] <+TactlessArmiger> So you basically got your start with writing powers. That certainly fits with Last Stand!
[20:59] <+BrandonSchmelz> Haha, yep. It all comes back to the beginning.
[21:00] <+BrandonSchmelz> I haven't worked with Exalted or White Wolf since the Exalted 2e corebook though, I was one of the playtesters.
[21:01] <+BrandonSchmelz> These days I mostly freelance only as a favor to an old friend or for a really neat project. I did a clan for Wu Xing, for example, since Eloy is a friend from back in the Ex Libris Nocturnis days.
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[21:02] <+BrandonSchmelz> I am tentatively excited to see what happens with the third edition of Exalted.
[21:03] <+WinsonPaine> Are you gonna exalt up LS
[21:03] <+Silverlion> Surprisingly I only recently played my first Exalted game, it could use a new edition with tight editorial reigns
[21:03] <+WinsonPaine> it seems oddly appropriate
[21:04] <+BrandonSchmelz> I still have a lot of love for Exalted, since it got me in the industry and it was a big part of my high school group, but I don't know about tackling rules for the setting again. It's a lot of work.
[21:05] <+BrandonSchmelz> Also a matter of available time, I've got a lot of projects going that I want to publish.
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[21:06] <+BrandonSchmelz> Even doing design full time there's still only so much time to work on things.
[21:07] <+WinsonPaine> How much of a priority is getting stuff into brick and mortar stores
[21:08] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's nice, but it's not something I focus on yet. Most of my retail deals are at the individual retailer level. I mean, I definitely enjoyed running demos at the Dragon's Lair event and I'd love to see books on retail shelves but right now it's more realistic to focus on handling things online.
[21:08] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's been great working with the retailers who will carry Last Stand, though.
[21:09] <+PostAndy> Thanks for the rules, I need to go.
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[21:10] <+Silverlion> Wheee.
[21:10] <+BrandonSchmelz> Oh, and I'm doing a playtest for the next setting/rules set I'm writing, as mentioned in the G+ post I linked. Comment on the post or email me if you want to be a part of it.
[21:11] <+Silverlion> I missed it...
[21:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> Ah, sorry. Let me do a link roundup.
[21:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> I posted this large version of the cover: (Link: http://i.imgur.com/xejah35.jpg)http://i.imgur.com/xejah35.jpg
[21:12] <+BrandonSchmelz> This is the G+ post in question: (Link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117024929835204509892/posts/624zpJLnTAa)https://plus.google.com/u/0/117024929835204509892/posts/624zpJLnTAa
[21:13] <+BrandonSchmelz> This is the Ragnarök teaser, Fimbulwinter: (Link: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_fjE3YbgwOIZm02X1NrN2gwQVk)https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_fjE3YbgwOIZm02X1NrN2gwQVk
[21:14] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:14] <+BrandonSchmelz> This is the company website and licensing guidelines: (Link: http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-system/licensing-and-submissions/)http://www.funhavergames.com/fortune-system/licensing-and-submissions/
[21:14] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think those are all the links.
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[21:15] <+BrandonSchmelz> Oh, might as well add this. This is the cover artist, George Cotronis: (Link: http://www.ravenkult.com/)http://www.ravenkult.com/
[21:15] <~Dan> He really did a great job.
[21:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's funny too, I always loved his work but figured I wouldn't be able to get him for the cover.
[21:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> I made a post in one of the SA threads mentioning the game, and someone I'd never heard of posted "hey I do art, are you looking for artists?"
[21:16] <+BrandonSchmelz> I told him to email me, maybe it will be good, and it ends up being George.
[21:17] <+Silverlion> Cool
[21:18] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think he was a bit of an odd choice for Last Stand, admittedly, but the cover turned out amazing.
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[21:19] <+Yalborap> It is really a slick cover.
[21:19] <+Silverlion> Indeed.
[21:20] <+Yalborap> I would have perhaps done something a bit less abstract with the background and stuff, but it's definitely eyecatching and it'd get me to take a second look over all the White People, White Fantasy Races, And A Beastly Dude In A Cave covers.
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[21:20] <~Dan> Are there "normal"-sized monsters in addition to kaiju?
[21:21] <+BrandonSchmelz> It's kinda funny you mention that yalborap, but you know about the issues I ran into with the cover (more specifically, the choice of cover  character) already.
[21:21] <+BrandonSchmelz> Yeah Dan, they start around the size of a bus or so and scale up to city crashers.
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[21:22] <+WinsonPaine> I heard that is why you were doing Ragnarok, it is all white people all the time
[21:22] <+WinsonPaine> brb gonna start that rumor
[21:22] <+Yalborap> The choice of cover character was definitely the right one.
[21:23] <+BrandonSchmelz> Winson =\
[21:23] <+WinsonPaine> awwww
[21:23] <+WinsonPaine> FINE
[21:23] <+Yalborap> Here's a question for you: Any plans on any kind of rig for simplified NPC bio-armor fighters?
[21:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> The reaction to the cover has been amazing yalborap, everyone loves it. I got a lot of flak for that cover otherwise though, ugh.
[21:24] <+Silverlion> Alright later people.
[21:24] <~Dan> Bye, Sil!
[21:24] <+Melum> I think it's a great cover
[21:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> They'd be about the same as regular monsters I think, just grab any four powers you want and assign some stats.
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[21:24] <+Silverlion> Well hang on my wife is waffling over the movie.
[21:24] <+Canageek> So, whats up?
[21:24] <+BrandonSchmelz> Thanks Melum.
[21:25] <+WinsonPaine> Yeah I still can't imagine giving you actual static over the cover
[21:25] <+WinsonPaine> and I love giving you static
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[21:26] <+Silverlion> I liked the cover. Honestly.
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[21:26] <+BrandonSchmelz> Yeah, reception for the cover has been excellent. Most of the static I got was during the kickstarter and when talking with other designers/writers, they thought I should go with something that "appeals more to the demographic"
[21:27] <~Dan> Howdy, MormonStarWars!
[21:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> It was just, ugh. It was frustrating.
[21:27] <+Yalborap> The demographic being old white dudes who can't shave their neck?
[21:27] <+BrandonSchmelz> The appreciation makes it all worth it though, I've gotten a lot of email in support of the cover.
[21:27] <+Melum> You should've done the 18th rendition of a dnd group decorating a golem.
[21:27] <+Silverlion> I don't get it...
[21:28] <+Silverlion> Then again i've women warriors in High Valor, and they're not scanitly clad nor "petite"
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[21:28] <+BrandonSchmelz> I think it's a case of old attitudes and small vocal groups more than anything.
[21:30] <+Silverlion> Possibly.
[21:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> And it all worked out; the people (and there were an unfortunately large amount of people) who recommended against having our heroine on the cover are vastly outnumbered by the number of folks who think the cover is great.
[21:31] <+BrandonSchmelz> I didn't think it would be such a big deal.
[21:32] <~Dan> I should probably log out for the night, folks.
[21:33] <~Dan> Thanks for coming by, Brandon! Hang out as long as you like!
[21:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> I probably should too, it's 9:30 and I need to finish up a playtest packet. Thanks for having me, Dan.
[21:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> And thanks to everyone for all the great questions.
[21:33] <+BrandonSchmelz> I had a lot of fun!
[21:33] <~Dan> Sure thing! I'll have the log posted tomorrow.
[21:34] <~Dan> Good night, all!

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