Thursday, May 23, 2013

[Q&A] Jason Holmgren (Myriad Song)

[19:04] <+JasonHolmgren> I'm Jason Holmgren, director of Sanguine Games.  Back in the 1990s, I illustrated Joe Genero, Fineous Fingers, and the occasional Knights of the Dinner Table.
[19:04] <+Abstruse> Oh, I'm hoping to meet Jolly Blackburn this weekend at Comicpalooza.
[19:05] <~Dan> (Just flagging the start of the Q&A there. Please continue. :) )
[19:05] <+BlasterKyubey210> mmm
[19:05] <+BlasterKyubey210> Looking at the stuff
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[19:06] <+BlasterKyubey210> Hostility issue
[19:06] <+JasonHolmgren> In 1999, my fearless business partners and I published our first RPG, "IRONCLAW". Since then, we've published games as diverse as NOGGLE STONES (turn of the century magic), USAGI YOJIMBO (Stan Sakai's cartoon rabbit samurai), and ALBEDO (genetically engineered warriors in space).
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[19:06] * +RichardHughes fistbumps GoldenDemon. 'Sup, amigo.
[19:06] <+GoldenDemon> yo dragonbro
[19:06] <+JasonHolmgren> We currently have, launching on Kickstarter, our MYRIAD SONG, a game of sci-fi exploration in the realms of 10,000 worlds.  You can see more about it on (Link: , and I'll answer questions here today.
[19:06] <+JasonHolmgren> (done)
[19:06] <~Dan> Thanks, Jason!
[19:07] <~Dan> Anyone have any questions to get us started, or shall I begin?
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[19:07] <+JasonHolmgren> Sounds like you should ask a question or two, Dan.
[19:07] <~Dan> Well, while we're waiting, could you give us an overview of the Myriad Song setting and what you think makes it stand out from other space settings out there?
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[19:08] <+JasonHolmgren> Sure. Myriad Song was borne out of the day that space games should be about space and exploration.  Our first goal was 'not just guys in suits....'
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[19:09] <+JasonHolmgren> ... The character choices range from your typical humans, to arachnid humanoids, to co-evolutionary dinosaurs, and even to carnivorous plants and robots.  Each option is presented with the challenges in playing something so different from what you might expect.
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[19:10] <+fantomx11> when you're ready to answer questions...what is an arachnid human?
[19:10] <+JasonHolmgren> Different levels of technology are presented, too. From manufactured items, to salvaged precursor weirdness, and even improvised machines built from other machines!
[19:10] <~Dan> NIce.
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[19:12] <+JasonHolmgren> The "Rhagia" are an alien race of spider-type beings that have been selectively breeding for generations, to interact with specific races. They have a human analogue, a giant warrior-caste analogue to fight off dinosaurs, a sneaky agile one to deal with the stealthier aliens, etc.
[19:12] <+JasonHolmgren> It's pretty crazy.  From 9' tall giants to human-type things with silky hair and extra arms.
[19:13] <+fantomx11> are they separate *species* (as in they cannot interbreed)
[19:13] <+JasonHolmgren> The artists have worked really well to give us examples of what things look like. I'm really excited about the talent involved.
[19:13] <+Richard_Hughes> Oh, their breeding cycle is even more amusing.
[19:13] <+Richard_Hughes> May I field this one, Jason?
[19:13] <+JasonHolmgren> Technically, yes, they've become more of a genus than a species.
[19:13] <+JasonHolmgren> I got it, Richard. =)  Richard's one of our writing staff.
[19:13] * +Richard_Hughes is dangerously enthusiastic. :)
[19:13] <~Dan> Glad to have you here, Richard. :)
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[19:14] <+Abstruse> What sort of rules system are you using for the game?
[19:14] <~Dan> Are the other PC races pretty self-explanatory, or do they have some neat twists of their own?
[19:15] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
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[19:15] <+JasonHolmgren> Each alien in the game is presented with long descriptoins of how its morphology affects their society. Where spiders climb and bugs fly, there's no stairs.  Where aliens see in the dark or can barely see at all, there's no signs. Where some aliens are magnetically sensitive, radios and RFID have replaced signs. The artists worked really well on it.
[19:15] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, maskedskull!)
[19:15] <~Dan> (Here for the Q&A?)
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[19:15] <~Dan> (Or, not.)
[19:15] <+JasonHolmgren> The RPG system is the 'Cardinal' one, that first debuted in IRONCLAW, the game that got us the A+ review on .   Different sized polyhedral dice.
[19:16] <+fantomx11> there are no signs because they can see in the dark?
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[19:16] <+JasonHolmgren> The better you are at something, the more sides you get, and the bigger dice you get to roll. It's not unlike Savage Worlds or the Marvels Hero RPG that was just out.
[19:17] <+GenoFoxx> ah the review by Iron LIz right?
[19:17] * +Abstruse now needs to look up who on Team Awesome reviews roleplaying games other than Spoony...
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[19:17] <+JasonHolmgren> Er, 'no signs' like you'd expect to see. Not painted billboards or the like. There are lots of alien mysteries that are hard to figure out jsut because the people who originally built the stuff didn't see or hear or navigate like you do.
[19:17] <~Dan> And is it still the case that once you reace d12, you add another die starting at d4?
[19:17] <~Dan> (reach, rather)
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[19:18] <+Abstruse> Earthdawn was the first system I remember with that mechanic....
[19:19] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, yes, the dice still roll over like that. The game's designed to be bullet-proof. A lot of games try to keep you from 'minimaxing' by putting in points of diminshing returns. MYRIAD SONG's Cardinal engine rolls with the punches -- by having dice roll over from d12 to d4, you are still raising your Average roll, but not your top roll of 12.  So it's still worth it, but it has built-in dimishing returns.
[19:19] <+JasonHolmgren> Our core design philosophy is to make the game easy to play, to not turn the players into 'rules cops' and constantly inform each other of 'whammies' where they broke the rules without intending to.
[19:20] <~Dan> And difficulty levels are rated in dice as well?
[19:20] <+JasonHolmgren> Most difficulty is measured in target numbers. Like "vs. 3" means you need to roll 4 or better. Sometimes you're scored in how many successes you need. (A la Shadowrun)
[19:20] <+Richard_Hughes> GenoFoxx - Yes, that's the one.
[19:21] <+JasonHolmgren> You might also get into a CONTEST, where you roll your dice vs. a roll of MY dice, and whoever rolls higher beats the loser.
[19:21] <+JasonHolmgren> For example, combat is a contest of your attack dice vs. my defense dice.
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[19:21] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Ospero!)
[19:22] <~Dan> So how do you represent superhumanly difficult actions, given that a 12 is the highest possible result?
[19:22] <+JasonHolmgren> More successes.  You can only get superhumanly difficult actions if you have multiple dice. You'd have multiple dice if you kept buying past d12 and rolling over into more dice.
[19:23] <+Abstruse> So combat is Attack/Weapon vs. Armor/Parry/Dodge, sort of like Shadowrun? Rather than rolling against a static armor class?
[19:23] <~Dan> But do the dice add, then?
[19:24] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, yes.  One innovation is the 'Counter' rule. If you're close enough to your attacker, and if you have an appropriate weapon, you can choose to COUNTER an attacker...
[19:24] <~Dan> (Question pause while Jason catches up.)
[19:25] <+JasonHolmgren> ...You roll, they roll, and the winner hits the loser. Combat goes MUCH faster since you can incapacitate people, even when it's not your turn.
[19:25] <+Abstruse> So very much like Shadowrun melee then.
[19:25] <+Abstruse> In style if not execution.
[19:25] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, dice don't add. What you see is what you get. Going back to our 'whammy' philosophy, more dice just raises your average.  This helps us avoid the lockout problem seen in many games, where you quickly become unable to do anything if someone's marginally better.
[19:26] <~Dan> Right, but does that mean that 12 is the highest possible difficult?
[19:26] <+JasonHolmgren> Something like that, yeah.
[19:26] <~Dan> difficulty
[19:26] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, yes.  Again, if something is more difficult, it will usually require more successes, not a higher target number.
[19:27] <+JasonHolmgren> One innovation of MYRIAD SONG's Cardinal engine are traits. Not only do you have attributes like Body, Speed, Mind & Will .. you also have a Legacy stat (for your alien species) and your Career stat (for your job.)  Like world of Darkness, your dice pool is based on appropriate stats + skill....
[19:27] <+JasonHolmgren> ... But since you gain broad based training simply by having a job (Career) or being an alien (Legacy), you will often have 2, 3, or 4 dice to roll.
[19:27] <+AWOLJoe> so it is almost exactly the Ironclaw system, then.
[19:28] <+Ospero> Ah, I get it. Similar to the Cortex system, but success-based rather than addition-based.
[19:28] <+JasonHolmgren> This defensive design lets you worry more about your character concept.  @AWOLJoe, almost exactly like Ironclaw, yes. Don't fix what ain't broke.
[19:29] <~Dan> Your promo text mentions the system being streamlined. Can you delve into that a bit?
[19:29] <+JasonHolmgren> @Ospero, Cortex is Margaret Weis' system for Firefly, Leverage, Marvel Heroes? Yes, like that.  But using successes lets us moderate the action.
[19:29] <+Abstruse> Don't forget about Dan's earlier question about races :p
[19:29] <+BlasterKyubey210> mmm
[19:29] <+BlasterKyubey210> Cortex
[19:29] <+BlasterKyubey210> Want to run it
[19:30] <+BlasterKyubey210> Dunno why
[19:30] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, the goal was to make everything as meaningful as possible, but in the shortest amount of time.  There's an old joke about a GM deliberately avoiding a pick-up encounter because it would take too long...
[19:30] <+JasonHolmgren> ... So the players know that they won't get into fights, UNLESS it's a big set piece battle? That lowers the tension level.
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[19:30] <+JasonHolmgren> So the game is designed to run very quickly, so you can concentrate on story.
[19:30] <+Abstruse> (Marvel Heroes was brilliant if for no other reason than their initiative system...SO friggin' perfect...RIP)
[19:30] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, SkyBane!)
[19:31] <+JasonHolmgren> There's only 15 skills.  There's no hit points. Equipment is simplified into 'outfits' and 'load-outs', so your future person can have lots of crazy stuff.   Combat is broken down into sides and assists .... and there's a built-in morale system, so you can actually chase people off.
[19:32] <+Abstruse> How do you do damage then?
[19:32] <+Ospero> Oh goodness. I think I'll call it a night - it's half past two in the morning round here, and I need to get a little sleep. Bye.
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[19:33] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, like Ironclaw, the system treats everyone like a 'minion'. Everyone, ANYONE, could be killed in one hit. Soak rolls let you reduce damage to only being hurt or being panicked ... and Player Characters, being above-average, get special abilities to reduce damage.
[19:33] <+Abstruse> Ouch...
[19:33] <+BlasterKyubey210> So basically
[19:33] <+AWOLJoe> No ultra-tough aliens that can shrug off being stabbed with a knife, then.
[19:33] <+BlasterKyubey210> Soak can only do so much
[19:34] <+BlasterKyubey210> and it takes one bad well... "Wound Save" to use Warhammer terms, to end a character
[19:34] <+JasonHolmgren> @AWOLJoe -- not necessarily. But those rules are add-ons. Rank and file 'average' people who don't have cool get-out-of-death powers will be one-shotted, but we do have super-tough 'boss fights'.
[19:34] <+BlasterKyubey210> (or Armor Save, whichever)
[19:34] <~Dan> Speaking of which, do you have a Drama/Fate/Hero Point mechanic?
[19:35] <+Abstruse> Solves the Lancelot problem, that's for sure...
[19:35] <+JasonHolmgren> This lets us write a game where there's no special rules for anyone -- one rule fits all -- and it gives players a healthy respect for the game. WHen a player uses a get-out-of-death-free power, they must tell the GM. This solves the problem in many modern-day themed RPGs where players don't know if they're winning or losing the fire-fight because the game is a one-hit kill.  "I'm fine!I've not been hit!"
[19:35] <+JasonHolmgren> @BlasterKyubey120, Warhammer was a big influence. It's almost exactly like 'Wound Save'.
[19:35] <+BlasterKyubey210> Be fair though, there' sno diff between Toughness Save and Armor Save in the Warhammer terms
[19:35] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan , we have a few mechanics for manipulating die rollls....
[19:36] <+JasonHolmgren> ... As I mentioned, there's a "Combat Save", or a get out of death free power, for combat situations....
[19:36] <+JasonHolmgren> .. and each character gets a Personality, which is like Willpower from World of Darkness -- it's a bonus die to roll if you fail a roll, based on your character's personality, with a cool-down.
[19:37] <+JasonHolmgren> Advanced characters can buy more get-out-of-bad-rolls free with XP, usually limited to certain arenas.  A noble character might gain more chances to exert nobility, for example.
[19:37] <+Abstruse> How frequent is PC death in your experience in this system?
[19:38] <~Dan> And on a related note: How gritty is the setting?
[19:38] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, well, it's a future game, so it's pretty rare. Some characters, like robots, have to be completely obliterated to die.
[19:39] <+JasonHolmgren> For regular characters, the Combat Save is the key. By giving players a 'get out of one death free', no questions asked, then when that's spent, the players take the situation seriously. Also, the game is pretty friendly in letting people leave a fight, rather than locking them into tactical maps.
[19:40] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, I'd describe the setting as 'mature'.  The Myriad Empire is gone, and now the 10,000 Worlds are full of corrupt officials, would-be dictators, and lawless zones.  It's rife for adventure, but there's also the tragedies of enslaved populations, pirate raids, organ-harvesting, etc.  Closer to Shadowrun and World of Darkness in tone than, say, Star Trek.
[19:41] <+Abstruse> Not grimdark though?
[19:41] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, Not that dark. I'd invoke the spectre of Star Wars in the earliest days, like if anyone read the Han Solo EU fiction novels.
[19:41] <~Dan> So are the PCs "Big Damn Heroes"?
[19:42] <+Richard_Hughes> Ain't we just.
[19:42] <+Abstruse> Crap, there's a moth in my room and my cats are going to break EVERYTHING to get it. BRB.
[19:43] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, I'd say they're heroes, at least. :D  Our key inspirations are the 1970s wave of realist cinema and comics, such as Ernest Bilal, Dan O'Bannon, Phillipe Druillet, Matt Howarth, and Moebius.  Where characters are often heroic but also in over their heads.
[19:44] <+Abstruse> Okay...did you seriously make Space Opera Shadowrun?
[19:44] <+JasonHolmgren> From Blade Runner, is Rick Deckard a 'big damn hero'? I'm not sure.
[19:44] <+Abstruse> If so, you just sold me.
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[19:45] <+JasonHolmgren> Well, it does have a lot in common with the design ethos of Shadowrun: weird characters, with weird abilities, with guns and other ... weirdness.  The players have larger-than-life powers and abilities, but not so much that they can always go in, guns blazing, just shooting things. Stealth and diplomacy can be their own rewards.
[19:45] <+BlasterKyubey210> Mmm, speaking of Shadowrun, did PCs ever go insane over all the weirdness?
[19:45] <+BlasterKyubey210> or is there really no real sence of Sanity
[19:46] <~Dan> Speaking of which, what sorts of powers are available? I recall reading something about a sort of magic-like reality-warping power...
[19:46] <+Abstruse> I'm getting a lot of anti-hero/noir Raymond Chandler writes STAR WARS...
[19:46] <+BlasterKyubey210> Where the PCs are so far insane, they don't quite measure up to our standards of Santy
[19:46] <+JasonHolmgren> @BlasterKyubeey210: there's no 'sanity' rules per se, but we do have insane schemers who are willing to break the world in half, as long as they get the bigger piece.  When the Empire was running, there was lots of quarantined zones... with the empire gone, dangerous plants and animals are being taken to places they have NO business being.
[19:46] <~Dan> ("It was a dark and meteor stormy night...")
[19:47] <+JasonHolmgren> One of the options is to play a brain-eating monster , that not only absorbs memories from eaten brains, but also can mimic the victims.
[19:47] <+Richard_Hughes> Space kudzu.
[19:47] <+JasonHolmgren> It's up to you whether you're evil or not ... but you'd still be a contraband alien freed by everyone who has a brain. =D
[19:47] <+JasonHolmgren> Er, feared, not freed . Oops.
[19:47] <~Dan> A mind is a terrible thing to taste.
[19:48] <+BlasterKyubey210> Ah
[19:48] <+BlasterKyubey210> Run
[19:48] <+Richard_Hughes> Nonsense, they're delicious.
[19:48] <~Dan> :D
[19:48] <+Richard_Hughes> Abstruse - have you ever read the Demon Princes space opera quintet by Jack Vance?
[19:49] <+JasonHolmgren> The game is really designed for people to work together.  Skills can be pooled together for 'assist' bonuses. Superhuman challenges requiring 4 or more sucesses will be impossible unless you can all pool your efforts together to get 4 or more dice, at least.  Good planning and good inteligence will reward you.
[19:50] <+Abstruse> Nope. I played Wizards in 1st/2nd/3rd Ed D&D which makes me instinctively LOATHE Jack Vance.
[19:50] <+Abstruse> I can respect him as a writer. I've read a couple of his short stories. But what he did to my PCs via his influence on Gary Gygax is UNFORGIVABLE!
[19:51] <+JasonHolmgren> A tabletop RPG assumes you'll be a co-op experience -- a bunch of people, all randomly building characters, who are then expected to sit together and somehow work as a team.  We've designed the game so you can all be strange and diverse, but you'll all have some common ground so you can make progress.
[19:51] <+Richard_Hughes> Abstruse - Jack Vance cut with Gary Gygax just isn't as good as the pure stuff. :) I heartily recommend you check out his original work. All that aside, Demon Princes is a strong influence on Myriad Song, and it is best described as Space Opera Noir.
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[19:52] <+JasonHolmgren> To quote a demon prince: "Good ... evil ... these are imprecise terms."
[19:52] <+Abstruse> You say "Space Opera Noir", I say "Damnit, why did Jim Butcher have to do steampunk for his new novel series and not proper sci-fi?!"
[19:52] <+J_Arcane> Abstruse: Indeed.
[19:54] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse: my play-testers really pushed us to make Myraid Song a harder 'sci-fi' type game.  The concepts presented are based on extrapolated technology. We don't use  'unobtanium' or 'dilithium' or 'quantum replication' to explain what's going on.  I'm glad our player base pushed us to make for a game that feels more 'real'.
[19:54] <~Dan> So how does FTL work?
[19:54] <+Abstruse> So to go back to Dan's question earlier, what sort of PC "races" will there be?
[19:55] <~Dan> (brb -- please continue)
[19:56] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, the FTL is based on the uncertainty principle, where ships go from one place to another using a 4-d tesseract.  "Space folding", as they called it in Dune, Dorsai,e tc.  Centuries ago, the Myriad Empire set up a network of signal towers that broadcast using 4-d particles that, by our reckoning, are FTL.  This signal is called the 'song' of the empire, or the Myriad Song.
[19:56] <+JasonHolmgren> Without this signal, it's almost impossible to navigate where your jump lands.
[19:56] <+JasonHolmgren> As for the aliens, the roster is still expanding as we playtest more stuff for release. :)
[19:57] <+JasonHolmgren> So far, we have Humans, the spider-like Rhagia, the co-evolutionary dinosaur Troodons, the firefly Lampyrs, the brain-eating Morphir, the robot Synthetics, the amphibious Elvers, the poisonous-nautiloid Ishakto ... I know I'm missing a few.
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[19:58] <+JasonHolmgren> For those of you who've seen Ironclaw, you've seen how fluidly we can mix strange morphologies into our system.
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[19:58] <~Dan> (For those who just joined: Please set your name with the /nick command. Thanks! :) )
[19:58] <+Richard_Hughes> You forgot the Towser, whose biology uses the whole periodic table.
[19:59] <+JasonHolmgren> Right, the silicon-based towsers, full of rare-earth metals.
[19:59] <+JasonHolmgren> And there's a few more in development.
[19:59] <~Dan> So what is the magic-like power that's mentioned in the Kickstarter video?
[19:59] <+Richard_Hughes> We have two absolutely marvelous, but not yet finalized, species which were commissioned as part of our Kickstarter.
[20:01] <+Richard_Hughes> Please. This is the future, Dan! It's 'psionic-like'.
[20:01] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, getting back to the signal towers I mentioned earlier .. the signal towers can also be signaled to ASK for certain things to happen. When the Imperial Syndicate fell, the aliens who knew how to call this stuff down disappeared and took the secrets with them... well ,most of them. The legacy of the empire, the genetically-modified Remanences, can 'ask' for folds in space and time to open up. Often with dire consequences.
[20:02] <+JasonHolmgren> Stealing energy from suns.... or moving you to another spot in the universe, >99% of which is just empty void, etc.
[20:02] <~Dan> Richard_Hughes: *chuckle*
[20:02] <+Abstruse> Pretty please don't tell me you perpetuate the "only 10% of our brains" myth and do something cooler like nanobots...
[20:02] <+JasonHolmgren> Nope.
[20:02] <~Dan> For that matter, are there psionics in the setting?
[20:03] <+JasonHolmgren> We don't do either. The Empire came from somewhere else, possibly another universe. THey modified the brains of their servitors.
[20:03] <+Richard_Hughes> There are no 'psionics' in the setting. Counselor Troi has no place here!
[20:03] <~Dan> Ah, well. It was worth a Troi.
[20:03] <+Richard_Hughes> I regret no decision I have ever made, for they led me here, to that pun.
[20:03] <+JasonHolmgren> There aren't 'psionics', no.  Classic sci-fi novels like Dune or Foundation had 'super-psychology' in them, which might as well have been telepathy and the like, but these were observable phenomena.
[20:04] <~Dan> Hmm... So what other powers are there?
[20:04] <+JasonHolmgren> There are crazy sensory powers.  There's species that can read your electromagnetic signature, or smell the cancer on your breath, or see rises in your body temperature, etc.
[20:04] <+Richard_Hughes> Some species can communicate with each other using radio waves, which LOOKS like telepathy to anyone without an antenna.
[20:04] <+JasonHolmgren> Oh, and there's the brain eating. :)
[20:05] <+JasonHolmgren> There's also cybernetics, so you can get parts of your body replaced with all kinds of machines.
[20:05] <+Abstruse> mmmmm cyberware...
[20:05] <+JasonHolmgren> We recently added the Metanoics, who specialize in cultivating obscure alien creatures for personal use, such as (shudder) living clothing.  Richard asked me not to talk about that. :`)
[20:06] <~Dan> If I could come back to the system for a moment, do I recall reading that Legacy and Career come with several "built-in" skills?
[20:06] <+JasonHolmgren> One thing that is ununsual about the Myriad Song setting is analog computing. The Empire needed infinite detail and infinite precision, so their technology is based on analog recording and playback methods.  A lot of the fancy cyberpunk computing isn't present.
[20:07] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, exactly right.  Rhagia spiders learn to cimb ... Troodon dinosaurs learn to bite ... Humans learn to say 'nice doggie' while they look for a rock....
[20:07] <+JasonHolmgren> Your character is rated in their own Legacy, from d4 (terrible) to d12 (amazing), and that gives you specific bonuses to specific skills.
[20:08] <~Dan> Do the various species get bonuses to the various attributes as well?
[20:08] <~Dan> Or is that wrapped into the Legacies?
[20:08] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, no, there's no attribute bonuses. That keeps the game a lot simpler, especially for Gms. (This is a change from Ironclaw.)  Your LEgacy trait is the bonus.
[20:09] <~Dan> So if a species is stronger than normal, that's part of their Legacy, for example?
[20:09] <+AWOLJoe> Actually, "no attribute bonus for different species" sounds like the original Ironclaw.
[20:09] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, yes.
[20:09] <~Dan> What about species drawbacks?
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[20:11] <+JasonHolmgren> Our policy was 'no sticks, only carrots'.  We didn't put any specific drawbacks in the game.  (Being a robot does mean you have to pay to get repaired; being a brain-eating alien means everyone hates you, etc.)  We do have a rule for 'Flaws' in the World of Darkness style, where you can earn extra XP if the GM uses your flaws against you, as a suggestion for people who want that.
[20:11] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, LinksOcarina!)
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[20:11] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Nellufy!)
[20:12] <+LinksOcarina> thank you.
[20:12] <~Dan> What are some of the forces that oppose the PCs, and on a related note, how extensive is your bestiary?
[20:12] <~Dan> (LinksOcarina: Here for the Q&A?)
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[20:13] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, for opposition, that depends on who you make angry with you. :)
[20:13] <+LinksOcarina> sure, im listening in
[20:13] <~Dan> (Welcome, mib_yrtwnb! Please set your name with the /nick command. :) )
[20:13] <~Dan> LinksOcarina: If you have any qeustions, ask away!
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[20:13] <+Nellufy> same here!
[20:13] <+JasonHolmgren> There are space criminals, such as the Levelers (who are anarchists who hate all authority) and the Tziganes (tramps and thieves who travel through space). You might fight them or you might bargain with them.
[20:14] <+Richard_Hughes> Or you might BE them, realistically.
[20:14] <+JasonHolmgren> The Remnants of the Empire can give you obscure tech and great wealth if you help them, or they can put you on their enemies list.
[20:14] <+JasonHolmgren> The new upstarts, such as the free-energy-for-everyone Solar Creed or the tech-will-save-us-all Concord might like you if you get them help, or they might help you if you help their enemies....
[20:15] <+JasonHolmgren> There are some people you won't throw in with, most likely. For example, the all-robot-agenda Apparat will be neutral, at best, if you make the mistake of having organs...
[20:15] <+ObjectiveTwo> They might help you if you help their enemies?
[20:15] <~Dan> Clearly, they are weird. :)
[20:15] <+Richard_Hughes> This is why I'm Rafferty's editor. O:)
[20:15] <+JasonHolmgren> @ObjectiveTwo: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, yes. :D
[20:16] <+Paris> what about the terrible secret of space?
[20:16] * +Richard_Hughes pushes Paris down the stairs.
[20:16] <+JasonHolmgren> Oh, thanks, Paris. Yes, some of the factions have Secret Unlockable Powers, but you can only learn them if you're willing to throw in with them. ... Or if you can somehow learn their secrets.
[20:17] <~Dan> And the bestiary?
[20:18] <+JasonHolmgren> ... which does bring us to the bestiary.  We have an extensive toolkit of how to make your own critters, by deciding on power level, basic tactics, and a few choices such as environment.   But that wasn't enough, so we then put in dozens of samples of how to build stuff, from attack killbots to spiny nodosaurs to my personal favorite, the Tesla Bats.
[20:18] <~Dan> (The Tesla Bats. Good band name.)
[20:19] <+Richard_Hughes> They're adorable. And horrifying.
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[20:19] <+Paris> adorrible
[20:19] <+Richard_Hughes> Then there's the Dissonance.
[20:19] <+JasonHolmgren> With 10,000 worlds, we couldn't come up with every critter. But as a tip of a hat to the late, great Ray Harryhausen,  a good monster design shoud be memorable and it should serve a purpose in the story.
[20:19] <~Dan> (Welcome, mib_rra65h! Please set your name with the /nick command. :) )
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[20:20] <~Dan> Dissonance?
[20:21] <+JasonHolmgren> Richard is referring to a memetic kind of insanity that I forgot to mention.  It's rumored that there might be some kind of hypnagogic wave that is sweeping through planets, turning people insane. The revolution wasn't successful -- instead, the Imperial Syndics fled because something WORSE is coming in behind them.
[20:23] <+JasonHolmgren> There are people who say they can hear a 'different' kind of signal, and it tells them to do ... things. Surely that's just a schizophrenia caused by genetics or pollution, isolated incidents being conflated.
[20:23] <+JasonHolmgren> It couldn't be, say, a virus or something like that.
[20:24] <+Richard_Hughes> This is usually the part of the horror movie where the screaming starts. :)
[20:24] <+Paris> (or worse, communicable madness)
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[20:24] <~Dan> (Link:
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[20:24] <+JasonHolmgren> There's rumors that precursor technology might have  a sort of polluting effect on the universe. For example, that star with the habitable worlds around it that just turned into a deadly gamma-bursting quasar? Surely that was just random, and not a side effect of all the space-warping we're doing.
[20:24] <+JasonHolmgren> SPeaking of 'grim dark'. :)
[20:25] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:25] <~Dan> (Howdy, Squide!)
[20:25] <&Le_Squide> (Heya!)
[20:25] <~Dan> To rewind a bit: Can you say a bit more about how you handle PC equipment?
[20:25] <+JasonHolmgren> MYRIAD SONG does have an emphasis on adventure and improvisation -- doing what you can with what you've got.
[20:25] <+AWOLJoe> I would not call a quasar "dark". Quite the opposite, in fact.
[20:25] <+JasonHolmgren> Sure.
[20:26] <+JasonHolmgren> A lot of games usually use 'technology levels' or the sort, to break stuff up into 'good' , 'better' and 'best.'
[20:26] <+JasonHolmgren> We avoided that in MYRIAD SONG.  Instead, technology is grouped by where you got it. Manufactured tech is bought from the store, Remanence tech is from the days of empire, Primitive tech is made from the rocks and trees outside, etc.
[20:26] <+JasonHolmgren> Each technology is implemented slightly differently in the rules.
[20:27] <+JasonHolmgren> Manufactured tech uses bullets or other resources.  Alien tech never runs out of power (where DOES that come from?), but it's harder to use and requires special training (possibly even geneitcs....)
[20:27] <+JasonHolmgren> Primitive technology is muscle-powered; it's far less effective against modern tech, but it can still kill someone as dead as they can get.
[20:28] <~Dan> So all energy weapons are Remancence tech?
[20:29] <+JasonHolmgren> No, there's also Exciter tech.  In the future, power is not a problem -- we just drop a polonium isotope in your reaction chamber, and poof you have your own chemical laser!
[20:29] <+Paris> I'm guessing not, but batteries and cells fall under "other resources"
[20:29] <~Dan> Ah. But manufactured energy weapons can run outta juice.
[20:29] <+JasonHolmgren> There's actually the opposite problem: precursor tech doesn't overheat or melt like our stuff does.
[20:29] <~Dan> Ah. *nod*
[20:30] <+JasonHolmgren> An Exciter Laser's power is good for 400 years, until it finally meets half-life... but fire it too much and you'll overheat the weapon.
[20:30] <~Dan> Do you cover space combat?
[20:30] <+JasonHolmgren> The Myriad Worlds are in some far off future, where SALT IV and nuclear-bans don't exist. THere are atomic-powered planes. There's polonium powered TRUCKS.
[20:31] <+JasonHolmgren> Space combat is broached, but because of the 'hard sci fi' nature of the setting, it's not very EXCITING. it's mostly 8 hours of jockeying for position and a few seconds of deadly missile combat.
[20:32] <~Dan> So no space fighters or the like?
[20:33] <+JasonHolmgren> Playtest showed that space combat is often very boring for player characters. The PCs often don't have the skills necessary for fierce dog-fighting, nor do they have the patience for taking positions on a giant battleship and obeying ORDERS.
[20:33] * ~Dan nods
[20:34] <+JasonHolmgren> While there are fighting ships, we made a stretch goal to release the talent trees for those things. Right now, the game has six tech-trees, eight alien-trees, dozens of careers, and even mutations and cyberware ... there's already a lot to do.  We do have extensive vehicle rules for combat. We mostly cover terrestrial vehicles, but there's provisions for air and space.
[20:34] <~Dan> What is the bleeding edge of manufactured tech and Remanence tech, respectively?
[20:35] <+Richard_Hughes> Manufactured tech's bleeding edge is Exciters, which use exciplex alloys.
[20:35] <+Paris> remanence tech doesn't seem like it would really have a bleeding edge given that it's all, leftovers from someone else's dead empire
[20:35] <+Richard_Hughes> Exciplex alloys use heretofore unknown combinations of rare earths and enormous power supplies to create compounds which become massively stronger when energized.
[20:36] <+LinksOcarina> im lame terms? Laser guns?
[20:36] <+Richard_Hughes> They also enable, yes, death lasers.
[20:36] <+Richard_Hughes> Good examples include the ribbon sword and the cyclotronic rifle, which will cut you in half and vaporize you, respectively.
[20:36] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, the 'bleeding edge' depends on who you ask. The Concord are a group who advocate fission and fusion power. Their Exciter technology uses alloys and gasses that change properties when electricity is introduced.
[20:37] <+JasonHolmgren> The Solar Creed prefer collected energy such as solar power.  Their power-sats beam free electricity down to planets with far less waste heat and radiation.
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[20:38] <+JasonHolmgren> The Metanoics argue that planets should be terraformed and populated by specially engineered plants. Living houses! Living clothes!
[20:38] <+JasonHolmgren> Living spaceships, wheee....
[20:39] <+Richard_Hughes> Dogs with bees in their mouths, which shoot bees at you when they bark.
[20:39] <+JasonHolmgren> And each have their positives and negatives.
[20:39] <+Paris> living houses?
[20:39] <+Paris> like albion?
[20:39] <+JasonHolmgren> The Concord have the best WMDs, which also makes them scary. The Solar Creed require a huge infrastructure to keep their power flowing. And the Metanoics might just be crazy, they've ruined at least one world with invasive species.
[20:39] <+JasonHolmgren> @Paris, I was thinking of the Houses of Ism. (There's Jack Vance again!)
[20:40] <+Paris> aaah
[20:40] <~Dan> What do you see the PCs doing by default?
[20:40] <+AWOLJoe> If it's a literal tree-house, I'm down with that. If it's a bit more... fleshy, count me out.
[20:40] <+Paris> show me a organic phone ala eXistenZe and I'll sign up
[20:41] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, our starting adventure has the players as down-on-their-luck vagrants, united when a common event affects the world they're on, and how they react to it.  As play goes on, our Big Damn Heroes will be Forces to Be Reckoned With -- because PCs have bigger numbers, they can succeed where low-level characters can't, so they will often be employed by various patrons and factions who have mone money than skill....
[20:42] <+JasonHolmgren> ... As the game continues, the players may be in places to make greater moral choices. Sure, your fetch quest ends when you turn over the package to your employers, but what's in the box might be so dangerous that you can't ethically turn it over. Would you escort someone if you knew that they would go on to commit atrocities? Etc.
[20:43] <~Dan> So to add yet another comparison: space opera Firefly?
[20:44] <+Richard_Hughes> Yes, although - as in Firefly - having a ship of your own is a big deal.
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[20:44] <+JasonHolmgren> Firefly is largely inspired by old-skool Traveller, the quintessential tramp space freighter game. So yes.  But stories like Foundation, or Star Wars, have people from humble beginnings getting sucked into greater causes.
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[20:45] <+JasonHolmgren> With MYRIAD SONG, we know that players are full of great ideas. At character creation, every player gets to pick one Goal for their character. Make anything up! From "survive an adventure" to "discover a secret" to "Capture Big Zedddie and bring in his bounty" to "to regain my throne" to "find true love".  If the player-character can accomplish this goal, they gain XP.  So every player has a shot at making up one adventure.
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[20:47] <~Dan> What determines the degree of PC's resources?
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[20:48] <+JasonHolmgren> At first, the players are largely limited to goods labeled 'cheap' or 'affordable'.  Certain character creation options will give PCs extra 'load-outs', such as expensive cyberware, contraband weapons, or exotic gear.
[20:49] <+JasonHolmgren> Money will certainly open up new gear. But the best stuff in the game either has to be crafted, or gifted from those in the know.
[20:49] <+JasonHolmgren> Yes, the game has crafting rules. :`)
[20:49] <~Dan> How elaborate are those?
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[20:51] <+JasonHolmgren> Simple things, complex combinations.  We present the basic gear, vehicles, and weapons in the game ... but we also have modifications that can be done to the basics.  When you make it yourself, you can put as many mods as you want.
[20:51] <+JasonHolmgren> One of our players modified a nail-gun to not only shoot with deadly force, but to have built-in recoil stabilization and smart ladar range-finding. HIs weapon was notoriously unreliable but when it worked ... youch.
[20:51] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:51] <+JasonHolmgren> MYRIAD SONG is designed to reward high levels of talent and skill.  The best results aren't locked in gear, but in the talents to use them.  Our nail-gun friend not only had crafting talents, but he had talents to make crafted weapons even more powerful in his hands alone.
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[20:52] <+Richard_Hughes> My character uses glass knives - like Raven, from Snow Crash.
[20:52] <+Richard_Hughes> He makes them himself. Each one is destroyed when he throws them, but by sacrificing them, they become much more powerful.
[20:53] <+JasonHolmgren> One major problem with crafting is that it often takes time ... time that people who DON'T craft can't be arsed to take. So crafting rules are often ignored.  MYRIAD SONG has tlaents that let you have equity in crafting you can exhaust later -- in other words, you make the crafting roll NOW, to see the quality of your item, we just assumed that you'd spent hours earlier, making it.
[20:53] <~Dan> So I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around difficulty levels. Let's say we're talking about trying to lift a heavy rock. If it's really heavy, the difficulty goes up to 12... but to go beyond that, you have to start requiring more successes. But then you can't really keep the difficulty at 12. Am I missing something?
[20:53] <+Richard_Hughes> Jason, may I field this one?
[20:53] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, you're thinking of target numbers as difficulty, when actually SUCCESSES are the primary difficulty.
[20:53] * +Paris recalls using a leftover weapon from the empire that was confounding to use, but horrifying if you knew how to use it correctly.
[20:53] <+JasonHolmgren> I think I gots it.
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[20:54] <+Richard_Hughes> That you do.
[20:54] <+JasonHolmgren> Most of the time, the TN will be 3 -- fours or better are successes.
[20:54] <+JasonHolmgren> Stuff anyone can do takes 1 success. Stuff only trained specialists can do requires 2.  Stuff that only the best can do takes 3 or more.
[20:54] <+JasonHolmgren> For example, we might say, 'it takes 2 successes to lift this rock.'
[20:55] <+JasonHolmgren> Well, everyone has one die at least, by default. But one Body die won't be enuf.
[20:55] <~Dan> I think I follow you.
[20:56] <+JasonHolmgren> Now, if you have bonus dice from talents -- and 'Strength' is a talent -- then now you have 2 dice, you can roll the 2 succeses to move it.  ... In this way,  people without the right skill might be 'locked out'f rom stuff they have no business doing.  (If it takes 4 successes to pick this lock, come back when you have four dice.)
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[20:56] <~Dan> A couple of quick notes here...
[20:56] <+JasonHolmgren> We usually don't use sliding TNs. It's vs. 3 if it's against the uncaring universe. Now, if you oppose someone else -- say, you push the rock while I push it right back -- then it's a contest. If I roll a 6, you have to roll 7 or you don't win.
[20:57] <~Dan> First, while our scheduled time is almost up, you guys are more than welcome to hang out and continue to field questions as long as you like. Or just hang out, even.
[20:57] <+JasonHolmgren> Thanks. =D
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[20:57] <~Dan> Second, I should mention that both Abstruse and I are reviewers. Just let us know if you'd like us to review Myriad Song when it's ready. :)
[20:58] <~Dan> And third, is there anything that you'd like to bring up that we haven't covered so far?
[20:58] <+JasonHolmgren> Sure thing. Drop me a line at , and don't forget to visit (Link: -- we're in the home stretch!
[20:59] <+JasonHolmgren> I'd like to thank the community for their support for our game. We're trying to launch a new property, not just bring back a legacy, and we are taking all the dollars you put into the game and using those for more art, more writing, more GAME, and all delivered in the next few months.
[20:59] <+Richard_Hughes> We have a gun in Myriad Song which shoots hypergolic compounds akin to ClF3. It will light your enemies, or you, on more fire than anyone has ever been.
[20:59] <+Richard_Hughes> That's all I gotta share. :D
[21:00] <+GoldenDemon> I'm just sad I couldn't contribute more to the KS! :/
[21:00] <+GoldenDemon> Also, I do have one question, if that's alright, and I apologize if this was already covered while I was out.
[21:00] <+JasonHolmgren> I used to pitch these games to other companies, and they would tell me no one was interested. Just go make yet another game about dwarves and gnomes or whatnot.  Our goal has always been to bring people new and exciting games that push the envelope of what's possible. MYRIAD SONG wouldn't have been possible without support from the community.
[21:00] <+JasonHolmgren> @GoldenDemon, any contributor to the KS gets their questions answered. =D
[21:01] <+Richard_Hughes> Ladel your questions upon us, GoldenDemon!
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[21:01] <+Richard_Hughes> s/Ladel/Ladle
[21:02] <+GoldenDemon> Obviously, there's not a whole lot of information floating around yet about the backer-designed races from that one KS pledge tier - Rich, I believe you mentioned that one of them was some sort of tentacled cephalopod race, and that's all I know on the matter.
[21:03] <+GoldenDemon> Any tidbits on that front you think might be interesting to share, or is it too early in the process/all under wraps?
[21:03] <+Richard_Hughes> Yes. We mentioned them briefly earlier - the Ishato, the desert squid.
[21:03] <+GoldenDemon> ahhhhhh
[21:03] <+GoldenDemon> this is what i get for leaving to get dessert with friends
[21:03] <&Le_Squide> :>
[21:03] <+JasonHolmgren> @GoldenDemon, I'll have some more to show off in future updates. I've handed the output off to our creative teams and I'm waiting on the art assets to come back.
[21:03] <+GoldenDemon> i miss exciting things
[21:03] <+GoldenDemon> Well, in that case I shall eagerly anticipate future teasers! ^______^
[21:03] <+Richard_Hughes> Jason, I think we should give em' a brief rundown of the two other Kickstart species. :)
[21:03] <+JasonHolmgren> People who contributed to our kickstarter made such awesome stuff. Like a desert-dwelling nautiloid with poison stingers...
[21:04] <+Richard_Hughes> Spoil em' a little.
[21:04] <+GoldenDemon> ngl that does sound awesome
[21:04] <+JasonHolmgren> A bat-like humanoid that has a fungus living on its back.
[21:04] <+GoldenDemon> :O
[21:04] <+JasonHolmgren> And an avian-type that has sensory organs in its tail.
[21:04] <+ObjectiveTwo> is it Ishato or Ishakto?
[21:04] <~Dan> A bat-fungus? So... a Mi-go? :)
[21:04] <+Paris> you might want to specify it's a symbiotic fungus
[21:04] <+Richard_Hughes> No, no. The fungus and the bat are two different critters.
[21:05] <+Richard_Hughes> The bat just has very poor hygeine. :)
[21:05] <~Dan> (I know. Just being silly. :) )
[21:05] <+GoldenDemon> sloth-baaaaaat
[21:05] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan: it's a mammal with a symbiotic food source it grows in its hump. (A Mi-go is a fungus alien.)
[21:05] <+Richard_Hughes> Slothbat!
[21:05] <+JasonHolmgren> I thought it was pretty neat.
[21:05] <+Richard_Hughes> I like that.
[21:05] <+GoldenDemon> slothbat sounds fresh to death also
[21:05] <+GoldenDemon> i am very excited for all of those, they sound cool
[21:06] <+JasonHolmgren> We'll keep people updated. We were able to get more art assets for the book. I'm excited about our newest contributors, Rick Griffin and Egypt Urnash.
[21:06] <+Richard_Hughes> We're so excited we're puttin' out lasers.
[21:07] <~Dan> Do you have any supplements planned yet?
[21:07] <+AWOLJoe> Rick Griffin's that guy who does the Housepets webcomic, right? Or is this a different guy with the same name?
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[21:07] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, if the game takes off, yes. I think outer-space combat deserves its own full-fledged book -- it's the kind of thing people ask for, but only a select few want, and you can't really work with it until you have experienced players.
[21:07] <+ObjectiveTwo> He's the Housepets guy
[21:07] * ~Dan nods
[21:08] <+Richard_Hughes> We're lucky enough to have an astrophysicist and rocket engineer on - well, they aren't resources PER SE, but we know how to go bother em'.
[21:08] <+Abstruse> Ooh, real science...always like that...
[21:08] <~Dan> Do you have any other genres to which you'd like to apply the system?
[21:08] * +Abstruse had to tend to the kitties.
[21:08] <+Richard_Hughes> Cyberpunk.
[21:09] <+Richard_Hughes> Myriad Song is analog.
[21:09] <+Richard_Hughes> But we also want to go digital.
[21:09] <+Richard_Hughes> Abstruse - if the space book does happen, you can expect it to be AT LEAST as well informed as any GURPS book. :)
[21:10] <~Dan> What would you use as a Legacy analog if all of the characters were human, as in a cyberpunk game (presumably)?
[21:10] <+Abstruse> Never got into GURPS...if I wanted rolling thunder dice rolls, I'd play Shadowrun :p
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[21:10] <~Dan> (Welcome, JoeGenero!)
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[21:10] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, there are lot of genres that I'd love to see games in, that have under-served potential. Myriad Song has gone through several game systems, but we decided on Cardinal because it's great for handling crazy powers.
[21:11] <~Dan> (Oh, n/m. :) )
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[21:11] <+JasonHolmgren> I personally love modern-day horror games, but that market has always had lots of popular offerings.
[21:11] <+Abstruse> Is there a big overarching metaplot to the game, or is it independent of any particular fiction? If so, are you going to develop it via sourcebooks or adventures?
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[21:12] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, we prefer to avoid 'meta-plots' in our games, because the players should be the stars of their own story.  We do have seeds for meta-plots, such as the previously-mentioned mystery of the Dissonance ... but the big climax of your campaign should be something you and your fellow players come up with, and not a story dictated from without.  (Not to say that all meta-plots are like that, but that's why we stick to story
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[21:13] <+JasonHolmgren> I can't think of a better example of 'seed over meta-plot' than Firefly/Serenity's Reavers.
[21:15] <+JasonHolmgren> I personally love true-historical gaming. (Ars Magica FTW!)  Such products tend to have niche appeal, which translates to low sales.  With crowd-funding, though, it might be possible.
[21:16] <~Dan> Do you think the system can be over-the-top enough to handle pulp or supers?
[21:17] <+JasonHolmgren> Oh, definitely.  NOGGLE STONES already has a lot in common with the penny-dreadfuls and dime novels.  I personally love superhero gaming, but the word 'super-hero' brings up everything from Batman to Spiderman to Superman to Deadpool to Sandman to Ambush Bug.  It's a mine field for game design.
[21:19] <~Dan> What is/was Noggle Stones?
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[21:21] <+JasonHolmgren> NOGGLE STONES is Wil Radcliffe's young-adult series about magic and steam.  Evil lost the battle for the world of Faerie... but there are cross-over points into other worlds, and what place is more rife for greed, fear, and death than 1901 America?  (Link:
[21:21] <+JasonHolmgren> We made the RPG spinoff. It's like Shadowrun, only it has Teddy Roosevelt.
[21:21] <+Richard_Hughes> In the second novel, they SHOOT THE PRESIDENT.
[21:21] <+Richard_Hughes> It's pretty decent. :D
[21:21] <+JasonHolmgren> Someday we'll make the NG-SR tie in, and we'll have the fight between Dunkelzahn and Teddy Roosevelt. My money is on Big Bully. :D
[21:21] <~Dan> Sounds cool! Why isn't it on your products page?
[21:22] <+JasonHolmgren> That's a good question! I'll talk to my web guy.
[21:22] <~Dan> It's not out of print, then?
[21:22] <+Richard_Hughes> Print on demand, baby!
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[21:23] <+Richard_Hughes> Actually I'm not sure it has that.
[21:23] <+Richard_Hughes> Oh, nah, we got it. (Link:
[21:24] <+JasonHolmgren> It's going into a second printing.  I know this because I have to approve it.
[21:24] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:25] <~Dan> Your art seems to have a bit of anime flavor. Is that intentional?
[21:26] <+JasonHolmgren> When we made Ironclaw in 1999, we wanted to be different, so we went with a specific anime/cartoon look, such as REDWALL or SAMURAI CAT or the like.
[21:26] <+Abstruse> You shoot Roosevelt, he just laughs it off and continues his speech.
[21:26] <+JasonHolmgren> ALBEDO and USAGI were comic tie ins.
[21:26] * ~Dan nods
[21:27] <+JasonHolmgren> For NOGGLE STONES, Will Radcliffe chose the art direction, and he wanted a young-adult look, such as the comics Ernie Colon used to make. (I don't know if anyone remembers Amethyst from its earlier, non-cartoon run.)
[21:28] <+JasonHolmgren> I personally like those old friendly comics, and I thought it was a good choice for NOGGLE STONES' material, especially because things like walking corpses can grim, and the harsh goth has been done so often.
[21:28] <~Dan> This is true.
[21:28] <+JasonHolmgren> It's certainly different, and that's a primary goal with us at Sanguine -- doing new things.
[21:28] <~Dan> An admirable goal. :)
[21:29] <~Dan> Oh, by the way: I should mention that game authors are always welcome to hang out here and pimp their games at will.
[21:29] <~Dan> You just have the floor to yourself during a Q&A. :)
[21:30] <~Dan> In fact, we have a number of game author "regulars".
[21:30] <+J_Arcane> i just kickstarted Arcana Rising.
[21:30] <~Dan> There's one now!
[21:31] <+JasonHolmgren> Excellent. :D
[21:31] <+JasonHolmgren> Oh wow, the KS just finished.
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[21:33] <~Dan> I get the impression that NPCs are pretty easy to whip up in this system.
[21:34] <+Richard_Hughes> Oh, extremely.
[21:34] <+Richard_Hughes> Pick a species, pick a career, boom, done.
[21:35] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, NPC generation is designed to be super-simple, with as much or as little detail as you want.
[21:35] <~Dan> Cool. That's important to me in any game, but especially in one with a whole universe to explore.
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[21:36] <+JasonHolmgren> Especially because Career is strongly tied to survivalability.  (1) Everyone gets a Career trait. (2) Career Traits give you skills. (3) Skills determine lethality in combat. (4) Everyone's a minion.
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[21:37] <~Dan> What advantage is there to being a human?
[21:37] <+JasonHolmgren> ALl of those together mean that an NPC from a combat career is far deadlier than one from who is from a non-combat career.  They both have skills, they're both viable people, but the combat one is scarier. Now you don't need separate rules for noncombatants.   If the evil pirates threaten the local laborers, by nature of the Skill Dice they have in play, the pirates dish out far more damage.
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[21:38] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, in MYRIAD SONG, humans have very specialized eyesight. The more introspection we did into alien morphology, the more we asked, how do humans stand out? Turns out humans have both eyes -- they can judge distances, they can see motion in periphery, and they can see a lot of colors. So they're the best shooters in the game.
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[21:38] <~Dan> Now, see, that's cool.
[21:38] <+JasonHolmgren> The artwork reflects a strange alien environment, where colors look garish and strange to humans, but that's because most aliens can't tell the difference.
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[21:39] <+Abstruse> If you had to pick a soundtrack for the game, what would it be?
[21:39] <~Dan> Kudos for thinking outside the box on that point.
[21:39] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, thanks.
[21:40] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, I personally go more towards progressive-rock music.  Space rock musicians such as Klaus Schutlze or Hawkwind.  Longer pieces of Yes or Genesis.  Those musicians were often inspired by the same science fiction that inspired us.
[21:40] <+Richard_Hughes> WE
[21:40] <+Richard_Hughes> ARE THE PRIESTS
[21:40] <+Richard_Hughes> OF THE TEMPLE OF SYRIIIINX
[21:40] <+Richard_Hughes> etc
[21:40] <~Dan> Speaking of which: Shame on you for not making "Starship Trooper" one of the pledge levels. :D
[21:40] <+Richard_Hughes> Wrong genre!
[21:41] <+Richard_Hughes> It would be misleading.
[21:41] <+Abstruse> You're not military hard sci-fi?
[21:41] <~Dan> There's no power armor in Myriad Song? :)
[21:41] <+Richard_Hughes> We added powered armor when we hit 5K.
[21:42] <+Richard_Hughes> It's pretty awesome.
[21:42] <+Abstruse> Speaking of, have you ever used Kickstarter before? How has it treated you?
[21:42] <+JasonHolmgren> @Dan, there's an allusion to Starship Troopers in one of our updates: (Link:
[21:42] <+Richard_Hughes> But powered armor is actually extremely unusual in most of the media that inspired Myriad Song.
[21:42] <+JasonHolmgren> You'll have to make do with that. :)
[21:43] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, This is our third crowd-sourcing endeavor. We actually did one aaaaaaaaaaaaages ago in 2006 with '', which was shut down a few years later, but I understand it's back.
[21:43] * ~Dan chuckles
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[21:43] <~Dan> Abstruse: Did you see Jason's email to request a review copy?
[21:43] <+Abstruse> Why'd you go with that model again? Has it been advantageous to you, or just better for the fans?
[21:45] <+Abstruse> Who's a what now?
[21:45] <+JasonHolmgren> @Abstruse, I  fear a lot of people are mis-using crowd-funding.  It shouldn't be wholly a marketing endeavor, it should be a judge of customer interest. ... Before crowd-funding, you had to get all your venture capital (VC) together, make your product, and then HOPE it sells enough to recoup investment.   ... With crowd-funding, you can how see that, yes, this many people would actually buy this thing.
[21:46] <+GenoFoxx> someone mentioned power armor?
[21:46] <+Richard_Hughes> Powered Armor!
[21:46] <+Richard_Hughes> It's big, and it's powered!
[21:46] * +GenoFoxx ears perks up at mention of mecha
[21:46] <+xyphoid_> The game sounded very Cordwainer Smith-y
[21:47] <~Dan> Abstruse:
[21:47] <+JasonHolmgren> I worry that people will hold it against a developer if their crowd-funding fails.  To me, that just shows there wasn't enough interest in the product for that much investment.  I think Arcana Rising is an excellent example of this responsibility -- it's a small game, by a small time developer, but it's clear that 91 people want it.
[21:47] <+GenoFoxx> xyphoid...some of his stuff was trippy especially for the time period
[21:48] <+JasonHolmgren> It's why I avoided tchotchkes such as 't-shirts' or 'posters' or other things. Crowd-funding should be for making the product first, and ancillary stuff second.  There's horror stories of products being DELAYED because they promised MORE than they could deliver.... and that's the exact OPPOSITE of what should be happening.
[21:49] <+Richard_Hughes> We want to give you the product SOON, especially because you've already given us your money.
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[21:49] <+GenoFoxx> good point
[21:49] <+JasonHolmgren> @Genofoxx -- because we reached the $5k layer, we added Exosuits (unpowered armor) and Battlesuits (powered armor).
[21:49] <+JasonHolmgren> Wait..
[21:49] <+JasonHolmgren> Exosuits are powered non-armor, sorry. :D
[21:49] <~Dan> Speaking of which, do you have an ETA for the game?
[21:49] <+Richard_Hughes> August.
[21:50] <~Dan> Excellent.
[21:50] <+JasonHolmgren> Yes. August 2013, in time for GenCon.
[21:50] <+AWOLJoe> Like the power loader from Aliens?
[21:50] <+Richard_Hughes> Yes.
[21:50] <+Richard_Hughes> It's still good for tearing people in half, mind you.
[21:50] <&Le_Squide> I already have so many space games...
[21:50] <&Le_Squide> But this one is so cool
[21:50] <+BlasterKyubey210> Mmm
[21:50] <+Richard_Hughes> Put this one with the others, Le Squide!
[21:50] <+BlasterKyubey210> Power Loader
[21:50] <~Dan> There's always space for more!
[21:50] <+Richard_Hughes> There's a chance they'll breed.
[21:50] <+BlasterKyubey210> That other M boss
[21:50] <+BlasterKyubey210> :|
[21:50] <&Le_Squide> XD
[21:50] <+GenoFoxx> battlesuits are sleeker while exosuits are like the power loader from Aliens
[21:50] <+Richard_Hughes> Battlesuits are for battle.
[21:51] <+GenoFoxx> hence the term 'sleeker'
[21:51] <~Dan> Exosuits are for Exo?
[21:51] <+GenoFoxx> :D
[21:51] <+xyphoid_> If I put Myriad Song and Apocalypse World in a cage and play some barry white, what kind of RPG will show up
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[21:51] <+JasonHolmgren> I'll be excited to see the art results. Matt Howarth (Changes, Das Loot, Those Annoying Post Brothers) and Rich Veitch (Swamp Thing, Abraxas & the Earth Man, Greyshirt) are contributing comics to our book.
[21:52] <+Richard_Hughes> Myriad Worlds, which is an Apocalypse-World riff based around the tropes of Myriad Song and with an emphasis on crafting shenanigans.
[21:52] <+JasonHolmgren> @Xyphoid: you'd get Adrian "Brute" Hughes.
[21:52] <+GenoFoxx> or Apocalypse Song
[21:53] <+Richard_Hughes> Vox Termini.
[21:53] <+xyphoid_> (anyway you sold me)
[21:53] <+Richard_Hughes> Thank you, Xyphoid.
[21:53] <+Richard_Hughes> We will do our best to make the game worthy of your faith in us.
[21:53] <+Richard_Hughes> Every customer's satisfaction is important to me. :)
[21:53] <+JasonHolmgren> I really liked how Apocalpyse World sets people up with character archetypes, then emphasizes your role in the setting, how you deal with stress.
[21:54] <+JasonHolmgren> By its nature, AW is more about losing resources and about survival. It's on message that way.
[21:54] <~Dan> I should probably turn in for the night, but you guys please hang out as long as you like! Any final thoughts you'd like to get into the log, though?
[21:54] <+JasonHolmgren> Myriad Song is more heroic. You usually have more resources than you can use, but using them correctly is a matter of crafting, of planning, and of opportunity.
[21:55] <+JasonHolmgren> I can't thank people enough for their interest and their support, Dan. =D  Thanks for this opportunity.
[21:55] <+Richard_Hughes> It's very appreciated. ^^
[21:55] <+Abstruse> How long is the Kickstarter going for?
[21:55] <~Dan> My pleasure! I'm going to post the log now and will send you the link.

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