Monday, March 4, 2013

[Q&A] Cynthia Celeste Miller (Spectrum Games)

[19:10] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I'm Cynthia Celeste Miller, president of Spectrum Games, an RPG company known for genre emulation. I have some of my peeps with me tonight too...
[19:11] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> [waits for them to introduce themselves]
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[19:12] <+Barak> Barak Blackburn, Spectrum Games, writer of Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul!
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[19:13] <+BryanB> Well I am not with company, but a fan who did write Going Japanese, the amercanized anime source book for CAH
[19:13] <+Ellie> I'm Ellie, and I just started as the Social Media Manager for Spectrum. I also helped work on CCVF and the upcoming Gallery of Evil!
[19:13] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Make no mistake. Bryan may not be officially a part of the company, but he's very crucial to what we do.
[19:13] <+Barak> Concur RE Bryan!
[19:14] <+BryanB> Thanks Guys!
[19:14] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Norbert couldn't be with us tonight because he requires sleep and it's verty late in Germany. LOL!
[19:14] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> YW, Bryan.
[19:14] <+etaoinshrdlu> (Very early, at this point. 2.15am =P)
[19:15] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Errr, true.
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[19:16] <~Dan> (Okay, I'm back!)
[19:16] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Welcome back.
[19:16] <~Dan> Thanks!
[19:17] <~Dan> (Just give us a "(done)" when you're ready for questions.)
[19:17] <+Barak> So, for those interested, Spectrum will have a GenCon presence this year, and we hope to not only Gallery of Evil out the door thsi month, but have several other major releases scheduled, Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 and Retrostar!
[19:17] <+Barak> (done)
[19:17] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[19:17] <+Ellie> (done)
[19:17] <+BryanB> (done)
[19:17] <~Dan> Heh. Okay! Anyone have any questions to start us off?
[19:18] <~Dan> (I'll give them just a bit here before starting off myself.)
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[19:18] <~Dan> Okay! Let's see here... What can you tell us about your Lovecraftian game, Cynthia?
[19:19] <~Dan> (Howdy, Teylen!)
[19:20] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Ahhh, Macabre Tales. It's a pure Lovecraftian RPG, in that it excludes later "contributors" to the so-called Mythos, such as August Derleth and Brian Lumley. It's alos dominoes-based, which gives the game a slow, meticulous feel to the way the story plays out. Lastly, it's mainly designed for one GM and one player, though we have rules for adding a few more p
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[19:21] <~Dan> (cut off at "a few more")
[19:21] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> <--- slow typist.
[19:21] <~Dan> <--- patient host! :)
[19:21] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> :)
[19:22] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> that is " a few more players".
[19:22] <~Dan> Gotcha. So how does the core mechanic work?
[19:24] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Basically, the player maintains a hand of three dominoes at all times. When a check is called for, he/she spends a domino to act as the "roll". It all ties into the characters stats and qualities as well, creating a bit of choice for the player. Does he/she want to spend that big domino now or save it for something more important?
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[19:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, G2tR!)
[19:25] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[19:25] <~Dan> Can you give us an example of an action to give us an idea of what the stats and qualities are like?
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[19:29] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Sure. A protagonist has four stats, graded Normal, Good or Excellent. That determines which side of the domino you get to use when you play it. If the stat is Normal, they use the lowest side. If Good, they use the high side. If Excellent, both sides are added together. Basically, the higher the result, the better the success. Having positive Qualities result
[19:29] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> in adding more to the result. Here's an example:
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[19:31] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Let's say the character is trying to walk stealthily through a creepy old house. The GM says it's a Body check (which is Normal) and uses the Stealth aspect (of which he has Stealth 2).
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[19:32] <~Dan> (Aspects being akin to skills, then?)
[19:32] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> He must use the highest side of the domino and adds 2 (for the aspect rating). He spends a 2/4 domino, granting him a result of 6.
[19:32] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes.
[19:33] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> The difficulty was 5 for the task, so he succeeded.
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[19:33] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[19:33] <~Dan> But if he had a Normal stat, wouldn't he have used the lower side of the domino?
[19:34] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> *smacks self* Yes, you're right. Slip of the mind. Thus, the result would have been only 4.
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[19:35] <~Dan> Well, look at it this way: Your system must be really easy to learn. It's only been a couple of minutes, and I already know it better than you do! ;)
[19:35] <~Dan> (Howdy, JP!)
[19:35] <+xyphoid_> So you just redraw after using a skill?
[19:35] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I know, right? That's either very bad or very good. ;)
[19:35] <+JP> (ty)
[19:35] <+Silverlion> Hi
[19:36] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Actually, in the example, I meant to say that he had "Good", but it got lost somewhere in my fingertips.
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[19:36] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes, you redraw after use.
[19:36] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Replace that domino, at least.
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[19:37] <~Dan> Does degree of success matter, or is it strictly pass/fail?
[19:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, Jonathan!)
[19:37] <+BPIJonathan> (Sorry I am late, had to take care of some publishing related stuff)
[19:38] <+Geek2theRight> What is this game with dominoes?
[19:38] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Normally, it's a pass/fail, except in tension scenes.
[19:38] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> It's Macabre Tales, my company's Lovecraftian RPG.
[19:39] <+Geek2theRight> Oh neat!
[19:39] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Thanks.
[19:39] <~Dan> I'm assuming combat would be a tension scene?
[19:39] <+xyphoid_> Do you know what your target numbers are?
[19:39] <+BPIJonathan> (Just an aside, I love the word macabre. Not pronounced like it is spelled :D)
[19:39] <~Dan> (question pause)
[19:41] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Combat is one possible tension scene. There is no real combat scenes in MT. Anything that can cause physical damage or mental damage is a tension scene.
[19:41] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Players don't know the target number.
[19:41] <~Dan> How do tension scenes work?
[19:42] <+BPIJonathan> Since I am not familiar with this game, are these stress like in Marvel Heroic, or do they work differently?
[19:42] <~Dan> (And don't worry -- we'll give you other Spectrum folks some stuff to talk about, too. :) )
[19:43] <+BPIJonathan> *stresses
[19:44] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Basically, when a tension scene begins, the player attempts to gain Momentum Points. If you drop to zero, the scene ends badly (the particulars and severity depends on which Act the game is in). If they reach a certain amount, the tension scene ends favorably for the player. You gain Momentum Points by succeeding in crucial checks during the scene.
[19:44] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> If you fail in these crucial checks, you lose Momentum Points.
[19:45] <~Dan> Do the monsters have stats, or are they treated as difficulty numbers?
[19:45] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> @PBIJonathon: MT doesn't really have stress. Tension scenes determine the effects.
[19:46] <+BPIJonathan> Ah ok. That helps. thank you
[19:46] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> They are treated as Difficulty Numbers plus some special abilities to better define them.
[19:46] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> You're welcome.
[19:46] <~Dan> Can you give an example?
[19:47] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Basically, tensions scenes create a suspenseful tug-of-war.
[19:47] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Of a tension scene?
[19:47] <~Dan> Of a monster's special abilities.
[19:47] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Oh, gotcha. Sure. Give me a sec. :)
[19:48] <~Dan> Take your time! We'll all just sit here staring at you.
[19:49] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> LOL!
[19:49] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Malleable The creature is made of slime, ectoplasm, ooze, goo or other substances that can compress in order to fit in smaller places.   First of all, the creature can move into spaces that it would not otherwise be able to (under doors, into small nooks, etc.). If the creature is huge, however, the spaces it can fit into may not be quite as small as the exam
[19:50] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> examples listed, but would still be much smaller than what a creature of a comparable size would be able to.
[19:50] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[19:50] <~Dan> Cool. What about magic and sanity?
[19:53] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> First, there are no Sanity Points in the game. When certain screwed-up things are encountered, the character simply makes a sanity check. The result, once again, depends on what act the game is in.
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[19:53] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> As for magic...
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[19:55] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> There are no spell listings and are used mostly as plot devices, which stays true with HPL's work. They were a means to an end in his tales. Basically a check must be made and if it succeeds, the desired affect occurs... but triggers a Sanity check.
[19:55] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[19:56] <~Dan> So the GM would create a spell crafted specifically for a given adventure?
[19:56] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Exactly. It's all about the needs of the story.
[19:57] * ~Dan nods
[19:57] <~Dan> Okay! Let's get your fellow Spectrum folks involved.
[19:57] <+Silverlion> Interesting.
[19:57] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yay!
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[19:58] <~Dan> What's new in Cartoon Action Hour 3e?
[19:58] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Thanks, Tim.
[19:58] <+Silverlion> Tell us about Cartoon Action Hour 3! :D
[19:58] <+Silverlion> Ah darn it dan beat me to it.
[19:58] <~Dan> :)
[19:58] <~Dan> That's why they pay me the big bucks.
[19:58] * +Geek2theRight 's eyes sparkle with interest.
[19:58] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I'll let Barak handle this one.
[19:58] <&egyptian> We actually do have some very large dollar bills that we pay him with.
[19:59] <+BPIJonathan> I better put back this 12pt-er I was going to give him :-/
[20:00] <+Barak> CAH:S3- we are finishing up Gallery of Evil, and then going to launch a kickstarter, BUT, the cool thing is, there has already been a whole bunch done on season 3, from artwork to writing to playtesting, none of that is to say that there will not be changes, as with anything, but things are looking pretty great!
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[20:00] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Basically, we're looking at a lot of streamlining. Character creation will now be ridiculously simple and easy.
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[20:01] <+Geek2theRight> Is it going to be like a revised 2e or a whole new system again?
[20:01] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Originally, it was going to be a whole system overhaul, but that has changed over the last year.
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[20:02] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> There are changes, to be sure, but it's not going to be a huge leap from S2 to S3.
[20:02] <+BryanB> I say closer to revised, but there are plenty of changes and steamlining
[20:02] <+BryanB> Converting is pretty easy for most characters
[20:03] <~Dan> Remind me of the core mechanic?
[20:03] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Bryan just ran a long Skype playtest game.
[20:04] <+Geek2theRight> Got any sample artwork? That was one of my favorite parts of s2.
[20:04] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Basically, roll a die, add the most appropriate Trait rating to the roll and compare to target number.
[20:05] <~Dan> Is the die still a d12?
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[20:05] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> We have TREMENDOUS art this time. We post p[reviews on our FB page a lot. (Link: Look in the Photos section. You'll find a lot.
[20:05] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes. It will forever be a d12. :)
[20:05] <+Geek2theRight> s2 is easily one of the best looking books on my shelf. :D
[20:05] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Thank you.
[20:05] <~Dan> And are the stats freeform?
[20:06] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Wait 'til you see the two-page spread in S3. It's... amazing.
[20:06] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes. Very freeform.
[20:07] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I should shut up and give the others a chance to talk. LOL!
[20:08] <+Barak> I think Bryan nailed it pretty concisely. And I am certain there will be fun new series in S3 as well!
[20:08] <~Dan> So there's no distinction between skills and attributes?
[20:09] <+BryanB> No distiction between skills, attributes or special gear (excluding vehicles)
[20:09] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Everything uses more or less the same rules. It's very unified.
[20:09] <+Silverlion> So how would one do say Thundarr's Sunsword :D
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[20:10] <+Barak> One would pay a lot of money to the license holder...
[20:10] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> LOL! We're pursuing one major license, but I can't say more.
[20:11] <+Silverlion> Hehe
[20:11] <+BryanB> I would do sun sword as high rated trait
[20:11] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> You can essentially add stuff to how a Trait works by adding different special rules to a Trait.
[20:12] <~Dan> So do traits stack?
[20:12] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Like for the Sunsword, I'd give it the modifier, "+2 vs. metal objects".
[20:12] <+BryanB> Only through a limited system inspired by CC&VF
[20:13] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Stacking is something we're actually hashing out. There won't be as much of it as in CC&VF, but there will be a bit of it.
[20:13] <~Dan> So how would you go about hitting something with a sword, mechanically? What traits would be involved?
[20:15] <+BryanB> Well you could use sword trait, sword fighitng trait or sword fighting + bonus form sword or many other combos
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[20:15] <+BryanB> It is very freeform system
[20:15] <~Dan> And what would determine the damage done?
[20:16] <+Geek2theRight> Will Clock Stoppers be an official setting this time around? So much want.
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[20:17] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> There is no damage done. Characters are dealt Setback Tokens to represent damage, hindrances (being trapped, etc.), or frustration ("Blast you, He-Mannnnnn!"). Characters are "out of the fight" on their fourth Token usually.
[20:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> A Setback Token is dealt when an acting character beats another in a check during an action scene.
[20:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Clock Stoppers, eh? :)
[20:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
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[20:19] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I uploaded some sample art from CAH:S3.
[20:19] <~Dan> So does the rating of a weapon just add to the chance to hit?
[20:19] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (Link:
[20:19] <+Geek2theRight> Yeah. I know it's been a few years but I never forget. I loved the write up on the old forums.
[20:20] <+BryanB> The weapons can add if they are a trait, but not all weapons are traits
[20:21] <+Geek2theRight> He-Man-at-Arms vs. Skeletordak!
[20:21] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Everything really depends on how you set up your character. There's a lot of leeway.
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[20:21] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (Link:
[20:21] <+Kei> I am here to upload my Swords of Cydoria character!
[20:22] <+Kei> CCM! I haven't seen you in ages!
[20:22] <~Dan> She's doing a Q&A. :)
[20:22] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> How are you? :)
[20:22] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes, I am. :)
[20:22] <+Kei> oh! >.< (I'm great and hope you are too! carry on!)
[20:24] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (Link:
[20:24] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (done)
[20:24] <~Dan> So do weapons not really "exist" mechanically if they aren't traits?
[20:24] <+BryanB> Yah, weapons do not exist uf they are not traits, though you can do setback tokens from just yelling at someone
[20:24] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Exactly.
[20:25] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes, "combat" in CAH is a very loose thing. Most often, in the retro-toons, characters were beaten through cleverness as opposed to being shot.
[20:25] <~Dan> (brb)
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[20:26] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Okay. :)
[20:27] <+Geek2theRight> Watch secret of the sword. Three evil guards. Three conveniently placed barrels. How could this scene possibly end? ;)
[20:28] <+Melum> You shoot the barrels, they explode.
[20:28] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes, the conclusions to such scenes were always pretty obvious. :)
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[20:29] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> And the explosions usually just knock characters into walls and such instead of a direct hit. This is represented in the game.
[20:29] <+BryanB> There are mechanics for players influecing what is in a seen to make it even more fun!
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[20:30] <&egyptian> In the Transformers the fight wasn't over until a robot was picked up and then dropped on the ground. :)
[20:30] <+Geek2theRight> I am Toss'Or. I throw villains into conveniently useful scenery!
[20:30] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> (Link:
[20:30] <~Dan> (back)
[20:30] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> LOL!
[20:31] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> WB
[20:32] <~Dan> Thanks! Great to be here.
[20:32] <~Dan> So, shall we talk Capes, Cowls, and Villains Fowl for a bit?
[20:32] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Heh. :)
[20:32] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> *paging Barak and Ellie* :)
[20:33] <+Barak> Villains Fowl!
[20:33] <+Ellie> Woohoo!
[20:33] <+Barak> They prefer the name "Freedom Fowl"
[20:33] <~Dan> *sigh* Foul. I must not be getting enough sleep...
[20:34] <+Melum> I like fowl better.
[20:34] <+Barak> I make the mistake myself sometimes, not a single worry!
[20:34] <+Geek2theRight> A whole supplement for evil pet birds.
[20:34] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> The funny thing is that we have a free PDF that has a group jokingly known as "Villains Fowl".
[20:34] <+Barak> But surely, the homonym was the main inspiration for the DLC.
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[20:36] <+Barak> And, as Cynthia said, it is free, I think folks might be surprised, as it is both everything you'd expect at the same time as nothing you'd expevct.
[20:37] <~Dan> Want to recap the game's core mechanic?
[20:37] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> But, yes, we're always willing to talk CC&VF. :D
[20:38] <+Barak> We have Gallery of Evil v1 coming up soon, and it is chock full of unusual villains and plot seeds.
[20:38] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> A guy with a living, demonic baseball, for example.
[20:38] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> And a bitter ex-boy band singer.
[20:39] <+Barak> Core Mechanic- a character uses a Trait and possibly links several other Traits to get a total, and the defender defends.
[20:40] <+Barak> But, an "Attack" might not have anything to do with punching/ blasting/ etc.
[20:40] <+Barak> And each character is unique, even if "on paper" they might be similar.
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[20:41] <+Ellie> I'm excited about the variety of villains and plot hooks we'll be providing!
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[20:41] <+Ellie> The system is fun, fast, and really captures the feel of a comicbook.
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[20:42] <+BryanB> I agree the system is fast, note it was inspired by CAH season two, but very quickly gained its own quirks
[20:44] <+Ellie> I think the way Complications work makes the game feel especially unique--the use of them is (almost) totally up to the player, and gives them a chance to tap into their "dark side" as it were.
[20:44] <~Dan> Example?
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[20:46] <+Barak> Example- a character is gimpy and blind in one eye. Does this mean that he suffers a -4 to certain roles. No. In comics, it means that every once in awhile, this proves to be a hindrance for the character, and in exchange for their troubles, they get some more Editorial Control later in the game. An Editor can activate a Complication, but it is often more
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[20:47] <+Kei> did I miss something? I thought we were talking about CAH2 but now I keep seeing references to comics. I'm an oldschool fan of CAH but haven't kept up in awhile.
[20:47] <+Barak> interesting to let the player activate their own Complication and make their story more compelling. So, Wolverine decides when he goes Berserk, or Spider-Man decides when Aunt May is in danger. It is these Complications that make for some of the most compelling moments in comicbooks.
[20:48] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that the game has no trait score cap?
[20:48] <+jtbullet> I'm interested in the comics aspect as well
[20:48] <+Barak> No Trait score cap.
[20:48] <~Dan> (Kei: We're talking about Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul now. :) )
[20:48] <+Barak> comics aspect?
[20:49] <+Kei> (thanks, Dan)
[20:49] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Sorry for the confusion, Kei. :)
[20:49] <+jtbullet> Im just getting in, I assumed you were describing a system and how to run a supers game with bad
[20:50] <+jtbullet> As opposed to a purely supers system
[20:50] <+Barak> So, not to just push our upcoming product, but each villain in Gallery of Evil was designed to really show off different applications of Traits. Some characters have a very small number of Traits, and this seeming inconsistency is addressed and why.
[20:50] <+Barak> This is a (for now....????) strictly supers system.
[20:51] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> @Jtbullet. No, we're discussing our superhero emulation RPG, "Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul"
[20:51] <~Dan> How does the game address Batman/Superman team-ups?
[20:51] <+Ellie> In terms of feeling like a comic: You have the chance it have epic "2 page spread" of heroes fighting, alongside pages that might involve hunting down a villain, searching for an item, etc etc
[20:51] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Ahhhh, the old Batman/Superman question, eh? Nice!
[20:52] * ~Dan bows
[20:52] <+Barak> Bats/ Supes was a key part of the design, as was Luthor. Bats and Supes should be built with the same number of points.
[20:52] <+Ellie> It's great because characters all get to be special in their own way.
[20:52] <+Ellie> Superman can fly, but Batman is the brains of the operation.
[20:52] <+jtbullet> How do you make relationships with vulnerable non powered characters or npc desirable as opposed to just having to save them, I.e. them being more than liabilities
[20:53] <+Ellie> I can definitely talk to the idea of relationships with non-powered characters and npcs.
[20:53] <+Barak> Supes may indeed have SUPER-STRENGTH 15 and that will do what SUPER-STRENGTH does, and is very impressive, but Bats is bats and does what Bats does.
[20:53] <+Ellie> In terms of stat-ed characters, everyone is powerful in their own way (see above, as Bats is not powered)
[20:53] <+Barak> Making relationships with NPCs desirable- well, two things I'd suggest. 1) Complications. 2) Roleplaying.
[20:54] <+Ellie> But NPCs and non-powered characters kind of make the "world" go round.
[20:54] <+Ellie> For example, maybe your character has a girlfriend or boyfriend who is non-powered
[20:54] <~Dan> Can non-powered heroes have the equivalent of "super-skills"?
[20:54] <+Ellie> She/he can be a Complication, or simply a bonus you get for good roleplaying
[20:54] <+Barak> There is no non-powered heroes. The system makes no distinction.
[20:55] <+Ellie> Another really cool thing about that is that traits have rough definitions, but there's no solid line saying "this is for super powered characters only"
[20:55] <+BryanB> The system uses freeform traits for powers, skills, attributes, sidekick, gadgets ect
[20:55] <+Ellie> Hawkeye is just a really good archer. Batman is just really smart. Traits don't limit them in how skilled or smart they can potentially be.
[20:55] <+jtbullet> I've always thought players have to have a vested interest in normals for a supers game to work, relationship maintenance or lack thereof having positive and negative effects on play
[20:55] <+Barak> So, batman, nightwing, etc.... They are superheroes, that is all that matters. I don't buy into the fact that Hawkeye is weak because he's just human. Hawkeye does not spend each action scene standing around wondering what to do. He fights alongside cap, thor, iron man, etc. Same with Batman.
[20:56] <+Ellie> Maybe try using NPCs to play the roles of Snapper Carr, Victoria Hand, and the like
[20:56] <+Ellie> Basically non-powered NPCs can be the heroes' "handlers"
[20:57] <+Ellie> Character interaction is what the GM wants to make it.
[20:57] <+Barak> JTBULLET- I am trying to understand your question. I think I would really say this is very much between the GM (Editor) and players, and their roleplaying and interactions. If you can, as Editor touch on what each player wants, I think you will find that they do care about the NPCs.
[20:57] <+Ellie> As a CCVF player, the shining moments of our campaign (for me) have often been the romantic and "human" interactions of the game.
[20:58] <+Barak> I think of the story told about a famous actress when she had to audition for a part and she put some of awards hardware on the producers desk (oscar, tony....) and said simply "some people call it acting"
[20:58] <+jtbullet> Barak: that's great, I'm just always searching for the best handling of tis problem. To me it's the key to supers games. I love seeing how others do it?
[20:59] <+xyphoid_> so how does this complications thing actually work?
[20:59] <+Barak> Well, from a big picture GMing standpoint, it's all about connecting with the players. I've been very lucky.
[21:00] <~Dan> Just FYI, everyone: While the Q&A is technically wrapping up, you guys are welcome to stay and answer questions as long as you like. :)
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[21:01] <+Barak> Complications- it is kinda nebulous, but essentially, when a compliactyion is activated, it takes the character out of the scene for a bit, but gives them more Editorial Control later in the Issue. So, for instance, the character who activates their Berseker Rage has no say how that plays out, the Editor does, but, it should make for a good story:
[21:01] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> And before we wrap up, I'd like to plug Retrostar as well. :)
[21:01] <+jtbullet> I've always wanted a supers game where the key stats are the innate values and treat physical and powers as skills
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[21:01] <+Barak> "so, you ended up almost killing your fiancee, she is in critical condition in the hospital, but you did manage to take out all of the minions of the enemy"
[21:01] <~Dan> Why don't you tell us about Retrostar, Cynthia? :)
[21:02] <+Ellie> I think, essentially, innate values (goodness, justice, truth) come from the players you have. It's hard to stat up ideas like that, but you can easily create a character who has "Goodness" as their highest trait.
[21:03] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Sure thing. Retrostar is our upcoming RPG that emulates the 1970s-era sci-fi television shows like Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Space 1889, Bionic Woman, etc.
[21:03] <+Ellie> *create a character in CCVF, that is
[21:04] <~Dan> What's the system/
[21:04] <~Dan> ?
[21:04] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Here's our Retrostar teaser: (Link:
[21:05] <+Barak> Retrostar is in the early stages, and I think it is safe to say we are all kind of giddy about it, having fun thinking about what made 70s sci-fi so unique and how to handle that in a game. We are not trying to make a scifi heartbreaker game, we are looking to make a game that touches upon all the great philospocal moments of 70s sci-fi, along with all the
[21:05] <+Barak> craziness of the 70s.
[21:05] <+Ellie> Retrostar is shaping up to be a lot of fun, with nice nods to the in-jokes that you find in 70's era sci fi.
[21:05] <+jtbullet> Ellie: I'd use them as penalty based stats...act against your stat, you get whacked
[21:06] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> The system is still being worked on, so I can't get too specific. However, it's a limited dice pool system in which the goal is to roll sequential numbers (e.g., 4, 5 and 6). The more of these you roll, the better you do.
[21:06] <+Ellie> You get the battles and epic moments, but you also get the romance and maybe even a hint of space disco!
[21:06] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> There are rules specifically for implementing disco sequences.
[21:06] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I'm not even joking. LOL!'
[21:07] <+BryanB> Focus more on characters and feeling then on tech or world building
[21:07] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> In those old shows, disco scenes were prominent.
[21:07] <+Barak> and, IIRC, stuff like discos are even encouraged!
[21:07] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Mechanically, even.
[21:07] <+BryanB> Yep disco was everywhere
[21:07] <+Ellie> From the space Catina in Star Wars to actual dancing.
[21:07] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> :)
[21:08] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> The early playtesting has been extremely encouraging.
[21:08] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Norbert even ran a series that was a cross between Buck Rogers and the Love Boat.
[21:09] <~Dan> (back)
[21:09] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I enjoy touching upon genres or sub-genres that have never really been explored in RPG form... and I think Retrostar does exactly that.
[21:10] <+Barak> And, not every series had disco specifically, but certainly, they all had some crazy 70s stuff going on, and in order to emulate that, we encourage folks to embrace that, through mechanics.
[21:10] <+Silverlion> I want to cross over Star Trek and Love Boat
[21:10] <+Barak> And, we are also dealing with the Budgets of these shows and movies.
[21:11] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Plus, the players share a pool of Budget Points that they can spend to add bigger-budget stuff to an episode.
[21:11] <+BryanB> and stock footage
[21:11] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Nice, Tim!
[21:11] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Yes, stock footage will play a big role in the game.
[21:11] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. :)
[21:12] <+Ellie> jtbullet: I'm not 100% sure what you mean, but CCVF doesn't exactly run that why. Complications are pretty close to that, though.
[21:12] <+Ellie> Say Spider-man lets someone die; the player (or the Editor) can say that he activates his "Guilt" Complication, which puts him out of the battle for all intents and purposes.
[21:12] <+jtbullet> Interesting
[21:13] <+Barak> But, it is important to note that some of the most memorable scifi came from that era, exploring fascinating ideas, and this game wants folks to be part of that too, so it will not be all just kitsch, or, translation, it will not be all Buck Rogers Season 2.
[21:13] <~Dan> So will Retrostar have a setting of its own?
[21:13] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Buck Rogers season 2 was just abysmal.
[21:14] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> It will be much like CAH, in that it will have numerous setting available for it... but not one specific setting.
[21:15] * ~Dan nods
[21:15] <+Silverlion> Aimed at kids...
[21:16] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Those old shows had a surprising amount of sexual innuendo.
[21:16] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> So, not all of it was aimed at kids. That said, we do cover the '70s "kidvid" stuff like Ark II.
[21:17] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> And Space Academy, etc.
[21:17] <+jtbullet> By name? Are there legal issues you've had to confront?
[21:17] <~Dan> (As an aside, that tentacle alien thing on Space: 1999 scared the living crap out of me when I was little.)
[21:17] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> No, we can't use those series. We create our own, though there are plenty of nods.
[21:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Me too, Dan. Holy moley!
[21:18] <+jtbullet> I see
[21:18] <+Silverlion> No I meant season 2 of Buck Rogers was..
[21:18] <+Silverlion> les dark :D
[21:18] <+Silverlion> less dark
[21:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> We mention them in the introductory chapter and maybe use some quotes throughout, but nothing solid.
[21:18] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Ohhh, yes, I agree, Tim.
[21:19] <+jtbullet> That's good
[21:19] <+Silverlion> name
[21:19] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Thank you. Two people suggested it in our "name the game" contest.
[21:21] <+Silverlion> <--is horrible at naming games :D
[21:22] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> It's a hard thing to do.
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[21:23] <+jtbullet> I like any stab at supers or era specific sci if
[21:23] <+jtbullet> Sci fi
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[21:24] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> I hope you dig what we do. :)
[21:24] <+Silverlion> I love both. I can't wait to see more though
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[21:25] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Thanks. :)
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[21:26] <~Dan> Oh, before I forget, I'd like to thank Cynthia and the Spectrum gang for stopping by this evening. :)
[21:26] <+jtbullet> Sci fi movies like Super 8 would be a good emulation to try
[21:26] <+jtbullet> Thanks all you game designers!
[21:26] <+Barak> Thanks so much!
[21:26] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> You're very welcome. It was a pleasure to participate.
[21:26] <+BryanB> Glad to be here!
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[21:27] <~Dan> Since you have so many games going, you guys are free to come back and cover them one at a time if you like.
[21:27] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> That would be fantastic, actually. I'd love that.
[21:27] <+Barak> Thanks, that would be pretty awesome!
[21:28] <~Dan> You have the link to the schedule. Just let me know whenever you want to snag a date. :)
[21:28] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Well, gang, I'd better split. I have layout work to do for "Gallery of Evil".
[21:28] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> Sounds good.
[21:28] <+BryanB> By everyone!
[21:29] <~Dan> Have a great evening, Cynthia!
[21:29] <~Dan> Bye, Bryan, Barak, Ellie!
[21:29] <+CynthiaCelesteMiller> You too, Dan. Bye!
[21:29] <+Barak> Thanks so much Dan!
[21:29] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted shortly.
[21:29] <~Dan> My pleasure! :)

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