Tuesday, February 19, 2013

[Q&A] Chris Birch (Achtung! Cthulhu)

[19:06] <+Modiphius> ok cool well I'm Chris, set up Modiphius a year ago and currently running the Achtung! Cthulhu kickstarter based on our mad cthulhu inspired ww2 setting for Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds
[19:06] <+Modiphius> haha Bill :-)
[19:06] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:07] <+Silverlion> Any plans for non WW2 material?
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[19:07] <+Modiphius> Yes Silverlion in fact we're re-booting Mutant Chronicles RPG later this year
[19:07] <+Silverlion> :)P
[19:08] <+Modiphius> and have a Steampunk Victorian story telling game and a hack of Apocalypse Worlds for a anime sc-fi rpg in the works
[19:08] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:08] <+Silverlion> Indeed. (Since I'm following you on facebook, and am on both net and site.)
[19:08] <+Silverlion> Awesome.
[19:08] <+Silverlion> So why WWII for Cthulhu?
[19:09] <+Modiphius> Well I love the WW2 setting - i'm also a wargamer, and Angus Abranson got me into Cthulhu when he pointed me in the direction of At the Mountains of Madness
[19:09] <+Modiphius> (angus runs Chronicle City - and used to be at Cubicle 7)
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[19:09] <+Silverlion> Yep
[19:10] <~Dan> (And is a generally cool dude. With a mighty beard.)
[19:10] <+Modiphius> I wanted to add the cool weird war ideas to a game - having loved the old Sergeant Rock comics)
[19:10] <+Modiphius> and realised Cthulhu gave it all that much more depth and storyline than just adding a bunch of zombies or werewolves
[19:10] <+Modiphius> and of course CoC is such a big system and WW2 games are very popular it just made sense
[19:11] <+Silverlion> Awesome to here. Are WWII games popular outside of video games?
[19:11] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:11] <+Silverlion> hear.
[19:11] <+Silverlion> bleh
[19:12] <+Modiphius> Yes indeed there's been a lot of popular WW2 games on Kickstarter - eg Dday Dice, WW2 wargames are growing in popularity with Flames of War, Bolt Action, Secrets of the Third Reich, Dust Tactics
[19:12] <+Modiphius> so the genre is always popular, it's just how you treat it
[19:12] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:12] <~Dan> Speaking of which, how do you treat it? How pulpy is A!C?
[19:13] <+Modiphius> It's quite serious and we drawn a lot of our weirdness out of real events, people etc - we use those as a stepping stone to create mythos events and related people that have a few grains of reality
[19:14] <+Modiphius> and that makes it all the more real
[19:14] <+Modiphius> however it's easy to play it more pulpy with Savage Worlds
[19:14] <+Modiphius> or go more darker and grim with CoC
[19:14] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:16] <~Dan> What's the status of the A!C core rules? Is that still in development?
[19:16] <+Modiphius> Well both books in the kickstarter are designed for CoC & Savage Worlds
[19:17] <+Modiphius> we are working on an intro RPG called expeditions that we have been play testing using the Mountains of Madness setting - cthulhu, nazis & antartica anyone?
[19:17] <~Dan> So will that be the subject of its own Kickstarter?
[19:18] <+Silverlion> Awesome
[19:18] <+Modiphius> it depends, if this goes really well we're going to include it - otherwise we'll hold off, there's no rush as we want to get it right but we are planning an open beta test in the summer either way
[19:18] <+Modiphius> (done)
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[19:19] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about the contents of the GM and players' books?
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[19:20] <+Modiphius> sure, the investigator's guide is all new professions, skills, equipment, backgrounds, guides to where people have come from, what happens when you get enlisted (because soldiers were usually 'something' before they learned to shoot)
[19:21] <+Modiphius> there's a cool mythos background generator that can give characters a run in with the mythos - from very minor to disturbing earlier in their life
[19:21] <+Modiphius> which can set up some cool plot ideas for the GM
[19:22] <+Modiphius> there's a timeline, info on different army forces and special forces you might be part off, and the benefits
[19:22] <+GrimGent> G'night, folks.
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[19:22] <+Modiphius> a brief section on memorials around europe and museums, further reading and links
[19:22] <+Modiphius> night GrimGent!
[19:23] <+Modiphius> The Keeper's Guide is all the secret war dossiers - the secret agencies and mythical organisations, their resources, headquarters and powers or equipment, some new creatures and WW2 versions of old,
[19:24] <+Modiphius> more equipment, plots and storylines for the Secret War including our main official plot line or tons of ideas for you own, plot generator new rules for combat on land, sea and air - but keeping it simple not pages of wargame rules, this is about fast furious fun
[19:24] <+Vapor> Have you read the Laundry files and are there any similarities?
[19:25] <+Modiphius> a proper timeline of real and secret war events
[19:25] <+Modiphius> Laundry has some background in WW2 but we're got a different direction - i've read bits of it but tried not to go in to too much depth
[19:26] <+Modiphius> we have a specific timeline that leads up to a big finale in the Achtung! Cthulhu universe and gm's will then have a cool option which way they take it
[19:26] <~Dan> What do you mean by WW2 versions of CoC monsters?
[19:26] <~Dan> (I'm assuming it's not Cthulhu with a .50 cal.)
[19:27] <+Modiphius> Well A!C is still useable as recommended with the Coc rules and the creatures, however some people might wonder what those different races or entities are up to during the wartime period
[19:28] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:29] <~Dan> Is there any default assumption of what the PCs will be doing? Any sort of anti-Mythos special forces unit or the like?
[19:29] <+Modiphius> we'll still be using the usual stable if entities but occasionally might have something new - for example we'll also be introducing some inspired by the third reich germanic myths woven in to the mythos
[19:29] <+Modiphius> Yes in fact there is Dan
[19:30] <~Dan> Cool.
[19:30] <+Modiphius> we have developed a strong plot line around a couple of secret groups in the UK
[19:30] <+Modiphius> even one in Germany as the german military intelligence were actively helping the soviets and allies
[19:30] <+Modiphius> the Abwehr
[19:30] <+Modiphius> so you could even play an agent of them investigating the activities of Black Sun
[19:31] <~Dan> Given the fact that the bad guys have the upper hand in "standard" CoC, how do you help the Allies counter Mythos powers?
[19:31] <+Modiphius> in a way i see this as playing the Neutral Evil character in the party
[19:31] <+Modiphius> They'll be the usual range of spells and artefacts plus some contraptions invented by the english and american boffins
[19:32] <+Modiphius> but if you're playing Coc it's a deadly world
[19:32] * ~Dan nods
[19:32] <+Modiphius> but there's a lot of firepower in WW2 anyway and maybe sometimes you'll be forced back to back with your enemy to deal with a greater threat
[19:33] <+Modiphius> (done)
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[19:33] <~Dan> Are there any "good" or at least "neutral" spells and artifacts, or all they all of the Sanity-blasting sort?
[19:34] <+Modiphius> I can't say yet and someone else is working on that section - but I'm sure we'll see some interesting options
[19:34] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:35] <~Dan> What does the game have in terms of weird science and Nazi superweapons?
[19:37] <+Modiphius> We're extrapolating all the known super weapons and looking at what they would have likely made next if they got the on paper inventions to work
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[19:37] <+Modiphius> but we're also looking at how the mythos affects that, and the wierder technology would be directed
[19:38] <+Modiphius> there is the mythos obsessed Black Sun who are chasing artefacts, powers and allegiances whilst Nachtwolfe are obsessed with ancient atlantis and it's dark secrets
[19:39] <+Modiphius> both have deep storylines linking them together
[19:39] <~Dan> How do you make the standard Lovecraftian premise that the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods don't give a damn about humans with Nazis using Mythos powers to aid their cause?
[19:39] <+Modiphius> and a pile of weapons and 'stuff' in many forms for them to play with
[19:39] <~Dan> (How do you make those concepts mesh, I mean, sorry.)
[19:40] <+Modiphius> in fact the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods are just using the chaos of the war to further their own goals, even some amongst the allies are tapping in to mythos powers mistakenly believing it might help
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[19:41] <+Modiphius> our keeper's guide cover actually shows a french resistance girl, an american GI and in fact a german officer on the back of the motorcyle shooting the the creature as in fact cthulhu is everyone's enemy
[19:42] <+Modiphius> the Nazi's are convinced they can tap in to powers that will help them, and maybe they do, and on a grand scale
[19:42] <~Dan> So how much of the game is dealing with Mythos threats during wartime as opposed to dealing with war-related Mythos threats?
[19:42] <+Modiphius> so they allies task is all the more difficult
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[19:42] <+Modiphius> They'll be a balance it's not all battlefield action
[19:43] <+Modiphius> we want to show the investigative side as much as the wartime side - you could easily do normal investigative adventures in the mid west as much a battlefront missions in France
[19:44] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> If the former, what would A!C bring to the table that "standard" CoC would not?
[19:46] <+Modiphius> it's the background of the war, of desperate measures, of much large organised forces dabbling with the mythos, usual investigations become fraught with danger when the other side are involved
[19:47] <+Modiphius> (done)
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[19:48] <+Modiphius> Well also have a lot of new rules for updated 40's technology and wartime skills like parachuting, so you can do wartime espionage as much as classic investigation, well balanced weapons etc
[19:48] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:49] <~Dan> (brb)
[19:54] <~Dan> (back, sorry. Wife needed help with the laundry)
[19:54] <+Modiphius> no worries
[19:55] <+Canageek> Hey Modiphius: I juts wanted to say, I've backed the kickstarter and am really exited about it
[19:55] <~Dan> Do you address the possibility of game-changing events, like Nazis summoning a kaiju-scale Mythos critter to sink the Allied fleet at Normandy?
[19:55] <+Canageek> I just wish I could afford the adventures
[19:55] <+Modiphius> That's great Canageek!
[19:55] <+Modiphius> We'll if you're on the £35 pledge and up you're just scored a free 98 page campaign!
[19:56] <+Modiphius> we hit the surprise stretch goal on monday for Shadows of Atlantis part 1
[19:56] <+Modiphius> Dan, yes we will be discussing major events later on, but at the moment the 'Secret War' is the events taking place to make sure history happens as it di
[19:56] <+Canageek> Modiphius: No, that is $50 Canadian, and I don't start my new job until May. I'm only at the 35 pound shirt.
[19:57] <+Modiphius> did, however it's quite possible for GM's to go that way, and see what happens!
[19:57] <+Canageek> (Are you done?)
[19:58] <+Modiphius> was it the £35 pdf master Canageek?
[19:58] <+Modiphius> (done)
[19:59] <+Canageek> Modiphius: 20 is PDF master, 35 is PDF master bounus.
[20:00] <+Canageek> Question: How will you combat the feeling of inevitability that comes with games set in well known historical periods, such as WWII? The "But we know how this turned out" effect?
[20:01] <+Modiphius> Ah yes Canageek, well we're running till april 2nd if that helps - hopefully it will become super valuable and who knows what we'll be able to offer as things hot up
[20:02] <+Modiphius> Well the GM has the ability to take it any way they want, and we do recommend that it's better to be playing behind the scenes not knowing how events they're involved in will work out
[20:02] <+Modiphius> the GM should always be prepared to push them if they don't succeed
[20:03] <+Modiphius> Of course you can go after hitler or himmler but you can bet it's going to be super dangerous doing so as could be expected
[20:04] <+Canageek> Cool, I like that answer
[20:04] <+Modiphius> exactly and in Coc with guns...that's downright deadly
[20:04] <+Modiphius> and it should be
[20:05] <~Dan> Do you give any reasons why the Nazis haven't sicced a shoggoth on Patton's army or sent a dimensional shambler after Roosevelt?
[20:05] <+Modiphius> maybe in Savage Worlds players might have a less than stupidly deadly time doing that but even so it would be the hardest thing you can imagine with treachery, terror and powers you cannot imagine at every step of the way
[20:06] <+Modiphius> Dan, because probably they are still exploring and discovering those things yet, they're possibly still forging alliances, and the secret war is to ensure those things don't come to pass
[20:06] * ~Dan nods
[20:06] <+Modiphius> but equally so in Three kings you could have a shoggoth turn up
[20:07] <+Modiphius> in which case all hell breaks lose and the Germany army would have a mess to clean up - which maybe just maybe they might be able to - and it's doubtful anyone would be the wiser given the state of communications and beliefs at the time
[20:07] <~Dan> Does your timeline include the sorts of things the Nazis will figure out as time passes?
[20:08] <+Modiphius> it includes a lot of the secret war plot and things going on that the allies will need to deal with
[20:08] <+Canageek> Modiphius: Can you say done, so I know when it is safe to ask questions, so Dan stops jumping me?
[20:08] <+Modiphius> the plot line will also introduce loads of leads for you to explore
[20:08] <+Modiphius> done
[20:08] <~Dan> Whoops. Sorry, Canageek.
[20:09] <+Canageek> No worries
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[20:09] <+Canageek> Will you be focusing a lot on larger battles (Operation Market Garden, Battle of the Buldge, D-Day), or will you go for some lesser known ones that the players might not have heard of?
[20:11] <+Modiphius> they'll be a cross section of key events as well as odd happenings around the world, the separate campaigns will also dig deepers in to battles and events in different regions
[20:11] <+Modiphius> but we the focus will be balanced on events on the home fronts and behind enemy lines, as much as out with the armies in the field
[20:11] <+Modiphius> berlin will be a focus as a hot bed of intrigue
[20:11] <+Modiphius> as much as london, new york, cairo, instanbul etc
[20:13] <+Canageek> Will there be anything on the Eastern Front? We tend to forget it in the west, but 8 out of every 9 German soilders died on the Eastern front.
[20:14] <+Modiphius> Yes the next stretch goal after the hardbacks is the Eastern Front, then the North African front, then Pacific plus some big campaigns and much more
[20:15] <+Canageek> Nice! *cheers the next Strech goal on*
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[20:15] * +Canageek wishes he had a gaming group he could hit up for donations
[20:15] <+Modiphius> :-)
[20:16] <~Dan> Despite the name, is Cthulhu really that involved in Europe? He's on the other side of the globe, after all.
[20:16] <+Modiphius> We're looking in to alternative shipping as well Canageek that might help
[20:16] <+Modiphius> no promises but if we can reduce the costs so people can bump up their pledges we will
[20:16] <+Modiphius> done
[20:17] <+Modiphius> Dan, his influence through his minions is common
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[20:18] <+Modiphius> so we can expect to see all manner of troubling plans afoot
[20:18] <~Dan> Ah, good point.
[20:19] <+Modiphius> Wow we're £460 from the keeper's hardcover
[20:19] <+Canageek> Modiphius: Will you have anything about Canada, Juno beach, the D-Day dodgers or the Norway campaign?
[20:20] <~Dan> So let's say someone's a big BRP fan, a big WW2 fan, but lukewarm on CoC. How much do you think he'd get from the book?
[20:20] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[20:20] <+Modiphius> Canageek we'll be touching on all kinds of campaigns and the many different commonwealth as well as allied forces
[20:20] <+Modiphius> they'll gradually get included in campaigns - we have an adventure in norway coming out soon for example
[20:21] <+Modiphius> Dan, I'm not an expert on how close BRP and CoC are but I'd suspect they'd find it very useable
[20:21] <+Modiphius> done
[20:22] <~Dan> Well, I mean, how well would it serve as a WW2 sourcebook for BRP? (And yup, CoC is fully compatible with BRP in general.)
[20:24] <+Modiphius> well we aren't replicating easily available historical material, but we are giving insight in to live, and characters in the 40's, common units and special, equipment and skills,
[20:24] <+Modiphius> typical backgrounds of characters, effects of enlisting on characters abilities/skills etc
[20:25] <+Modiphius> for the keeper's guide it's the rules on combat, fighting vehicles, dog fights, the vehicle stats and info, the typical secret services and special forces
[20:25] <+Modiphius> there's obviously a lot more fictional material in the keeper's guide but i think overall they'd find it very helpful
[20:27] <~Dan> How much do you offer in the way of vehicle stats?
[20:27] <+Modiphius> We'll be providing the main classic vehicles for the allies and third reich
[20:28] <+Modiphius> plus simple guides to tweaking them to make other vehicles you need
[20:28] <+Canageek> How many writers do you have working on this? Is it just you? Can you tell us a bit about your team?
[20:28] <+Canageek> (or yourself)
[20:28] <+Modiphius> there will be a more detailed vehicle supplement but most GM's will have plenty for what they need
[20:29] <+Modiphius> We have a good team - Lynne Hardy, Adam Crossingham (sixty stone press), Alex Bund, Bill Bodden, Dave Blewer (Triple Ace)
[20:29] <+Modiphius> all have a passion for WW2, which was vital, and all have experience delivering good product
[20:30] <~Dan> Good to hear. :)
[20:30] <+Modiphius> that's just the core books writing team, there's other people who'll be working on the main stretch goals so we hopefully won't be delivering the extra books much later
[20:30] <+Modiphius> done
[20:30] <~Dan> Can you give some examples of the classic vehicles you mentioned?
[20:31] <+Modiphius> Sherman 76mm, Panzer IVH, Tiger, Panther, Cromwell, SDKFz 251 Halftrack, M3 Haltrack for example,
[20:32] <~Dan> I'm a WW2 aircraft fan. What have you got for me? :)
[20:33] <+Canageek> Dan: Same question as mine: Will there be Lancasters (My great-uncle was a tail gunner in one)
[20:33] <+Modiphius> oh so say the spitfire, hurricane,messcherschmidt etc
[20:33] <+Modiphius> probably a bomber or two yes :-)
[20:35] <+Modiphius> Okay guys it's 2.30am here going to have to jump off
[20:35] <~Dan> No worries, Chris. Thanks so much for staying up late to talk to us!
[20:35] <+Canageek> Oh, spinning off that, do you have anything in store for the navel side, given Lovecraft's hatred for the ocean?
[20:35] <+Canageek> Damn
[20:35] <+Canageek> Have a nice
[20:35] <+Canageek> night
[20:35] <+Canageek> I'm looking forward to this more now
[20:35] <+Canageek> This is the most quite I've seen one of these :(
[20:36] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted shortly, Chris!
[20:36] <+Modiphius> yes they'll be some patrol boats, submarines and other stuff!
[20:36] <+Modiphius> thanks let me know a link and wiill post it my end!
[20:36] <+Modiphius> thanks gus!
[20:36] <+Modiphius> guys
[20:36] <~Dan> :)
[20:36] <~Dan> Our pleasure!
[20:36] <+Modiphius> don't worry it's all cool - we'll do another - maybe daytime GMT will bring in all the euro crowd
[20:37] <+Modiphius> night all!

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