Tuesday, June 11, 2013

[Q&A] Chad Davidson (Heirs to the Lost World)

[19:04] <+ChadDavidson> My name is Chad Davidson.
[19:04] <+ChadDavidson> I live in Minneapolis and have a wonderful wife and two great young kids.
[19:04] <+ChadDavidson> and I'm the owner of Obsidian Serpent Games.
[19:05] <+ChadDavidson> Right now I've got two products available.
[19:05] <+ChadDavidson> The most recent is a deck of cards called RPG Inspiration Cards.
[19:06] <+ChadDavidson> They are kind of like Tarot cards, whimsy cards (sp?) and random event generators mixed together.
[19:06] <+ChadDavidson> But my main product is Heirs to the Lost World
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[19:06] <+ChadDavidson> It is an rpg set in a mythic New World in which the Aztec Empire never fell
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[19:06] <~Dan> (Howdy, Abstruse! Would you like me to PM you what you've missed so far?)
[19:07] <+Abstruse> Please!
[19:07] <+ChadDavidson> The setting is 1665 in Middle America (Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean)
[19:07] <+ChadDavidson> Sort of a mash up of Aztec, Maya, voodoo, and pirates (all the things I was interested in as a child)
[19:08] <+Abstruse> BTW, my name is Darryl aka Abstruse and I write for Ain't It Cool News Tabletop, BTW. So the press is here :p
[19:08] <+ChadDavidson> The system is a light cinematic rules set that is tactical but encourages player stunting and narration
[19:09] <+ChadDavidson> That probably is enough for an intro.
[19:09] <+ChadDavidson> done
[19:09] <~Dan> Thanks, Chad!
[19:09] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with a question?
[19:09] <~Dan> I do have some of my own, of course. :)
[19:10] <+Abstruse> Isn't Fantasy Flight out of Minneapolis too? Any relation to those guys?
[19:10] <+ChadDavidson> Fantasy Flight is here, which is great, but no relation
[19:10] <+ChadDavidson> I do enjoy their event center
[19:10] <~Dan> Let's start with the basics. Can you describe the core mechanic and how it encourages cinematic play?
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[19:11] <+ChadDavidson> Sure, Heirs uses a dice pool with d6s
[19:11] <+ChadDavidson> You form your pool using a number of dice equal to your skill plus trait
[19:12] <+ChadDavidson> Any die that rolls a 4 or higher is a success
[19:12] <+ChadDavidson> If the number of successes exceeds the difficulty, your action succeeds.
[19:12] <+ChadDavidson> So, far this is pretty standard dice pool mechanics.
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[19:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ian!)
[19:13] <+ChadDavidson> In addition to the regular successes you generate in your roll, if any die rolls a 6, then you trigger your Mojo.
[19:13] <+ChadDavidson> This means you roll your Mojo die (I usually suggest players use a special, extra large d6).
[19:13] <+ChadDavidson> The Mojo die adds its result to your number of successes (adding 1-6) more.
[19:14] <+ChadDavidson> To encourage stunts, players may "ante" unrolled one of their dice to attempt a stunt.
[19:14] <+ChadDavidson> The player then describes his or her wild action and rolls the dice
[19:15] <+ChadDavidson> if the player triggers their Mojo (i.e. rolls any 6's), then they earn a Destiny point
[19:15] <+ChadDavidson> (I use replica pirate coins for Destiny points)
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[19:15] <+ChadDavidson> These Destiny points can be spent on any roll to automatically trigger your Mojo.
[19:15] <~Dan> (You should've called them "Pieces of Fate". :D )
[19:15] <+ChadDavidson> (I love it!)
[19:16] <~Dan> (Feel free to use that. ;) )
[19:16] <+ChadDavidson> With more Destiny points, players can attempt wilder actions
[19:16] <+ChadDavidson> So you get a positive feedback loop
[19:16] <+ChadDavidson> doing stunts gives you more Destiny points that let you do more stunts
[19:17] <+ChadDavidson> Does that make sense?
[19:17] <~Dan> I think so... I do need to clarify something, though.
[19:17] <~Dan> So let's say I'm making a roll.
[19:17] <~Dan> I say that I want to perform a stunt.
[19:17] <~Dan> I'm assuming that this increases my difficulty?
[19:18] <+ChadDavidson> Great question. It does not increase the difficulty.
[19:18] <~Dan> Okay, so... why would you not make everything a stunt?
[19:18] <+ChadDavidson> nor does it cost you a die out of your current dice pool.
[19:18] <~Dan> Or is that the point?
[19:18] <+ChadDavidson> Stunting does have a cost,
[19:19] <+ChadDavidson> You must spend an "Effort" die to declare a stunt.
[19:19] <+ChadDavidson> Players have 5 Effort dice that they can use the fill up the "trait" part of their dice pool.
[19:20] <+ChadDavidson> You also use Effort dice to move, defend, move up in initiative order, etc.
[19:20] <+ChadDavidson> If you use all your Effort dice in a round, you will only "refresh" some of them.
[19:20] <+ChadDavidson> This means you must manage them as a resource, deciding where you will allocate your Effort
[19:21] <+ChadDavidson> To declare a stunt, you must spent an Effort die
[19:21] <+ChadDavidson> Therefore taking a potential action away (or a defense, or a move, etc.)
[19:21] <+ChadDavidson> I did not want to penalize stunting or players would not try them.
[19:21] * ~Dan nods
[19:22] <~Dan> Can you clarify what you mean by Effort dice filling up the "trait" part of their dice pool?
[19:22] <+ChadDavidson> I describe a little more of my design decisions on this stunting on my blog
[19:22] <+ChadDavidson> Regarding the dice pool
[19:22] <+ChadDavidson> In addition to your Mojo die, players have two colors of dice.
[19:23] <+ChadDavidson> 5 of these dice are Effort dice (I recommend red)
[19:23] <+ChadDavidson> and the rest are skill dice (I usually use black)
[19:23] <+ChadDavidson> Lets say you are picking a lock and you have a Thievery (skill) of 4 and a Dexterity (trait) of 3
[19:24] <+ChadDavidson> you would put 4 skill dice (black dice) in your pool.
[19:24] <+ChadDavidson> You must add between 1 and 3 Effort dice (red dice) to the pool.
[19:24] <+ChadDavidson> You must always add at least one Effort die to attempt an action.
[19:24] <~Dan> Aaaah. I think I follow you now.
[19:24] <+ChadDavidson> If you have no more Effort dice, you are out of actions.
[19:25] <+ChadDavidson> To move, draw a sword, stand up, you spend an Effort die without rolling it.
[19:25] <~Dan> So... mind if I restate, and you can tell me if I have the right idea?
[19:25] <+ChadDavidson> sure
[19:25] <+Abstruse> So I could, in that case, perform 5 actions on my turn if I only use one effort die on each action?
[19:26] <+ChadDavidson> Exactly.  If you are doing actions that have not chance of failure, you spend the dice without rolling them
[19:26] <~Dan> Is it correct to say that the trait represents the potential extra effort you can exert? So that if you have a huge trait score, you still have to pay to use it to its fullest?
[19:26] <+ChadDavidson> Exactly
[19:27] <+Abstruse> Like movement or something like that.
[19:27] <+ChadDavidson> More movement, there is a secondary stat called speed rather than a trait, but you've got the idea.
[19:27] <+Abstruse> Sounds like a very neat solution to the problem Shadowrun ran into in 4th Edition (they're doing something new in 5th to fix the same problem, but very different).
[19:27] <~Dan> Hmm. Interesting. I'll have to ponder the implications of that.
[19:28] <+ChadDavidson> Shadowrun's dice pool was definitely an influence
[19:28] <+ChadDavidson> There are some limits to the way you spend your Effort dice
[19:28] <~Dan> I have a follow-up question, but first, I think it would make more sense if we got the trait breakdown from you, Chad.
[19:28] <+ChadDavidson> the two notable limits are: combat and movement
[19:28] <~Dan> (That can wait, though. Please continue.)
[19:29] <+ChadDavidson> In combat, you cannot perform any actions after an attack (i.e. the attack ends your turn)
[19:29] <+ChadDavidson> There are some abilities that let you attack multiple times, but they are rare
[19:29] <+ChadDavidson> In movement, you can only move twice per turn (baring special abilities again).
[19:29] <+ChadDavidson> I think that does it.
[19:30] <+Abstruse> How are you handling dual wielding then?
[19:30] <+ChadDavidson> Duel wielding does not automatically give an additional attack.
[19:30] <+ChadDavidson> It first it allows flexibility on how you spend Effort dice.
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[19:31] <+ChadDavidson> In both an attack and defense, you can wait until you see the results of the roll to decide how you will spend a single Effort die.
[19:33] <+ChadDavidson> Did that answer your question?
[19:34] <~Dan> Chad: Do you have a link handy to the character sheet?
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[19:35] <+ChadDavidson> There is a download for one on my website
[19:35] <+ChadDavidson> (Link: http://www.obsidianserpent.com/downloads.html)http://www.obsidianserpent.com/downloads.html
[19:36] <~Dan> Cool, thanks. I think that might make some of my questions easier to follow for those reading this in log form.
[19:36] <~Dan> It appears that melee damage is strength-based, correct?
[19:36] <+ChadDavidson> That is right
[19:36] <+ChadDavidson> There is not too much differentiation between weapons
[19:36] <~Dan> Okay. So... does that mean that you have to expend Effort in order to do damage?
[19:37] <+ChadDavidson> You can spend Effort on damage rolls, but you get a base number of dice "free" depending on str+weapon
[19:38] <+ChadDavidson> So unarmed attacks get STR free, while a dagger gets STR+1 free
[19:38] <~Dan> Ah! Okay, that makes sense.
[19:39] <~Dan> So if you're a big hulking brute, you can take advantage of your high STR by putting everything you've got into a powerful blow.
[19:39] <+ChadDavidson> Right.  No need to save any Effort for damage because you will not need it.
[19:39] <~Dan> Now, does degree of success affect damage?
[19:39] <+ChadDavidson> On the other hand, if you are weak you may need to save some Effort for the damage roll.
[19:40] <+ChadDavidson> I'm glad you asked.
[19:40] * ~Dan beams
[19:40] <+ChadDavidson> Other than the stunts, my favorite moments of play have come from criticals and fumbles.
[19:41] <+ChadDavidson> Whenever you trigger your Mojo in a successful roll, and the Mojo die rolls a 6, then you got a ctritical success.
[19:41] <+ChadDavidson> This means that you, the player narrate what happens.
[19:41] <+ChadDavidson> You cannot narrate a death of your opponent unless the game master makes a hand across the neck gesture
[19:42] <+ChadDavidson> otherwise, you can narrate almost what ever special effect you like.
[19:42] <+ChadDavidson> As you can guess, the game has a cinematic, heroic, over the top, wire-fu, type feel. because of this
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[19:43] <+ChadDavidson> Players come up with great special effects including extra damage, trips, flips, etc.
[19:43] <+jiawen> Exploding gunpowder kegs FTW!
[19:43] <~Dan> Hmm.... So getting more successes from an attack doesn't increase damage directly, but having more dice to roll increases the chance of getting a 6?
[19:43] <+ChadDavidson> Just image jaguar knights, swashbucklers, and capoeira masters fighting it out on a deck.
[19:44] <+ChadDavidson> Right, to more dice you roll, the more likely you will get a critical.
[19:44] <~Dan> Do you get a Mojo die for each 6 you roll? Or just for getting one at all?
[19:44] <+ChadDavidson> just one Mojo die
[19:45] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:45] <+ChadDavidson> Fumbles are even more fun
[19:45] <~Dan> How do they work?
[19:45] <+ChadDavidson> If you make a roll and do not get any successes (i.e. every die was a 3 or less)
[19:45] <+ChadDavidson> then you fumble if any of the dice roll a 1.  The more 1's you roll the worse the fumble.
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[19:46] <+ChadDavidson> Just like critical successes, players narrate the results of their own fumbles.
[19:46] <+ChadDavidson> In my opinion this has lead to some of the best moments of play
[19:47] <~Dan> Doesn't that mean that more skillful attempts will result in more disasterous failures?
[19:47] <~Dan> Potentially, I mean.
[19:47] <+ChadDavidson> More dice means it is less likely to fumble at all, but gives the potential for more disasterous fumbles.
[19:48] <+ChadDavidson> I think of it as a skilled person attempting something too difficult
[19:49] * ~Dan nods
[19:50] <~Dan> I see that you have Fighting as a trait. I know why I like that, but can you give us your thoughts on the matter?
[19:50] <~Dan> (Melee, rather)
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[19:51] <+ChadDavidson> It seems like players who want to play a good fighter always figure out which stat melee falls under and
[19:51] <+ChadDavidson> pumps the stat up to the max.
[19:52] <+ChadDavidson> I wanted to pull it out so doing that does not pump up other abilities as well.
[19:52] * ~Dan nods
[19:52] <+ChadDavidson> You certainly can max out your melee, but that will not also make you a better climber.
[19:52] <~Dan> Right.
[19:53] <~Dan> I can see using this breakdown in a fantasy game as well.
[19:53] <+ChadDavidson> I think it would work well, too.
[19:54] <+ChadDavidson> My RPG background is mostly from fantasy
[19:54] <~Dan> Putting melee under strength creates some problems, but placing it under agility or dexterity screws over critters like Dwarves.
[19:54] <~Dan> Using your system, Dwarves can be not particularly agile, but damn good fighters.
[19:55] <~Dan> (Very much an aside there, sorry. :) )
[19:55] <+ChadDavidson> Right.  I wanted to be able to make swashbucklers, brutes, etc.
[19:55] <+Abstruse> Or creates a system like Shadowrun 1-3rd Ed where every single character had Quickness 6 because it pulled so much.
[19:55] * ~Dan nods
[19:56] <+ChadDavidson> Good point.  I wanted to make character creation a real choice
[19:56] <+ChadDavidson> There are not really any "throw away stats"
[19:56] <~Dan> Speaking of melee, I see that you have Blades, Heavy Weapons, and Unarmed.
[19:56] <+ChadDavidson> Nor any "power" stats
[19:56] <~Dan> Does Blades cover spears, and Heavy Weapons cover clubs?
[19:56] <~Dan> (As examples.)
[19:57] <+Abstruse> I always liked the quarterstaff, but it doesn't fall into any of those three categories.
[19:57] <+ChadDavidson> Blades really is just swords and daggers.  It also includes the macuahuitl (an Aztec sword)
[19:58] <+ChadDavidson> Heavy weapons is the catch all for just about everything else
[19:58] <+ChadDavidson> To get back to damage rolls and the like
[19:58] <+ChadDavidson> Weapons are not finely differentiated.
[19:59] <+ChadDavidson> for example, most weapons provide anywhere from +1 to +3 dice in your damage roll.
[19:59] <+ChadDavidson> The exception to this are firearms.
[19:59] <+ChadDavidson> Firearms have the potential to do 2 wounds in a shot.
[20:00] <+ChadDavidson> For player characters wounds are handled with lost Effort dice.
[20:00] <+GenoFoxx> about the setting; what is the New World's relationship with Europe?
[20:00] <+ChadDavidson> So two wounds would put a character down to 3 Effort dice.
[20:01] <+ChadDavidson> Regarding the setting, it is in alternate history 1665
[20:01] <+ChadDavidson> I tried to keep as much of "true" history intact as possible so that players could bring their previous knowledge to the table.
[20:02] <+ChadDavidson> This prevents players from having to read source books to get into the setting of the game.
[20:03] <+ChadDavidson> So the New World's relationship with Europe is fairly true historically.
[20:03] <+GenoFoxx> so the european powers are trying to slice up the Americas
[20:03] <+BlasterKyubey210> mmm, so any shenanigans ala Deadlands where you have dead historical icons rising up to cause trouble?
[20:04] <+ChadDavidson> Yes, but Aztec, Maya, and Inca empires are still active.
[20:04] <+ChadDavidson> Players are free to add historical icons to their games to add flavor.
[20:04] <+ChadDavidson> Doing so is especially fun in one-shot games
[20:05] <~Dan> Actually, regarding Blaster's question, could you give us an overview of the supernatural aspects of the setting?
[20:05] <+ChadDavidson> Sure,  the main reason the Aztecs and Maya were able to repel the Spanish is their use of magic.
[20:06] <+ChadDavidson> Magic is real, but the Church has supressed its use in the Old World, considering it devilry.
[20:06] <+ChadDavidson> So, in Europe, there are alchemists, but they must remain underground.
[20:07] <+ChadDavidson> In the New World, there are Aztec Blood mages, Mayan Sun Priests, shamans, voodoo priests, etc.
[20:07] <+ChadDavidson> Magic is not common, but people see it enough to know it is real.
[20:07] <~Dan> (Kudos for distinguishing between Mayan and Aztec religion.)
[20:08] <+ChadDavidson> Thanks,
[20:08] <+ChadDavidson> My interest in Aztec and Maya really inspire this game
[20:08] <+BlasterKyubey210> I pointed out Deadlands because well
[20:08] <+BlasterKyubey210> It's pretty much possible to pick a fight with Abe Lincoln for better or worse
[20:09] <+BlasterKyubey210> (Winning is a diffrent story but eh)
[20:09] <~Dan> What sorts of supernatural critters are there?
[20:09] <+ChadDavidson> The game includes a default meta-plot that players are free to use or ignore.
[20:10] <+ChadDavidson> The meta-plot assumes the players are members of the Order of the New Dawn
[20:10] <+ChadDavidson> an organization seeking to fight corruption and evil in the world
[20:10] <~Dan> So the PCs are Big Damn Heroes?
[20:10] <+ChadDavidson> The main source of evil and corruption these days are the Xibalbas.
[20:11] <+ChadDavidson> Xibalbans, (sorry)
[20:11] <+ChadDavidson> Yes, PCs are Big Damn Heroes.
[20:11] <~Dan> Awesome. :)
[20:11] <+ChadDavidson> Starting PCs are significantly stronger than average characters.
[20:11] * ~Dan is big on Big Damn Heroes.
[20:11] <+ChadDavidson> Standard characters are Extras (one hit point books)
[20:11] <+ChadDavidson> mooks, not books
[20:12] <+ChadDavidson> Xibalba is the Maya Underworld
[20:12] <+ChadDavidson> Azteca is at war with Spain
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[20:13] <+ChadDavidson> but Azteca has been trading with other European powers ("enemy of my enemy")
[20:13] <+ChadDavidson> There is a group of Aztec separatists who think this is a bad idea.
[20:13] <+ChadDavidson> They have joined up with a Mayan secret society to unseal the Underworld gates.
[20:14] <+ChadDavidson> This releases the Xibalbas from the Underworld who have been sealed off since the Mayan civil war and Time of Trouble 400 years ago,
[20:15] <+ChadDavidson> The PCs must deal with this new "Triple Alliance" of Aztec separatists, Mayan secret society, and Xibalbans.
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[20:15] <~Dan> The Aztexis of Evil?
[20:15] <+ChadDavidson> yeah
[20:17] <~Dan> What forms do the Xibalbans take?
[20:17] <+jiawen> Really disgusting ones. :)
[20:17] <+ChadDavidson> In Mayan myth, they have names like "Puss demons" and the like
[20:18] <+ChadDavidson> Rotting discolored flesh, pus, oozing sores, etc. but mostly humanoid
[20:18] <+ChadDavidson> They are not zombies (although there are zombies in the game)
[20:18] <+ChadDavidson> Both Aztec and voodoo religions speak of three souls in a person
[20:19] <+ChadDavidson> Xibalbans are the result of the loss of one type of soul.
[20:19] <+ChadDavidson> A condition called "fear-cursed"
[20:19] <+ChadDavidson> Loosing another aspect of the soul, usually through misuse of magic, can cause a different kind of corruption
[20:20] <+ChadDavidson> This is the source of witches, bokor (in voodoo) and nahualli (an Aztec witch)
[20:20] <+ChadDavidson> Finally, loosing the third type of soul can cause a zombi.
[20:22] <~Dan> That's really cool.
[20:22] <+ChadDavidson> In doing the research for the game, I always got excited when I found connections between the different sources of inspiration.
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[20:23] <~Dan> I can see that!
[20:23] <~Dan> Very nice.
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[20:23] <~Dan> I see that the game also features various mythological monsters.
[20:24] <+ChadDavidson> Yes, I tried to include a creature or two from various regions of the Americas.
[20:25] <~Dan> Does the setting have room for pirate mythology as well? Giant crocs, mermaids, sea serpents, etc.?
[20:26] <+ChadDavidson> Certainly.  I am working on a pirate supplement that includes such things.
[20:26] <+ChadDavidson> It will focus on Port Royal, include ship combat rules, have a adventure, and add some additional creatures and such.
[20:27] <~Dan> Granted, this wouldn't impact your setting as written, but do you figure that there are mythological creatures active in Europe, Asia, etc.?
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[20:28] <+ChadDavidson> Definitely, in the less populated regions.
[20:28] * ~Dan nods
[20:28] <~Dan> Oh! I almost forgot: Can you tell us how magic works?
[20:28] <+ChadDavidson> I think the Heirs system would work great for an Asian inspired game.
[20:28] <~Dan> (Sounds like it, re: Asian game)
[20:29] <+ChadDavidson> Regarding magic. players must build a spell caster in order to have access to powers and spells.
[20:30] <+ChadDavidson> When building the character, the player must pick a focus.  For an alchemist, this is an element  For Aztec and Maya this is a god.  For voodoo, this is a Loa, for shaman, this is a totem.
[20:30] <+ChadDavidson> The choice of focus limits what types of powers you can select.
[20:30] <+ChadDavidson> Powers are purchased in character creation like skills.  Example powers are Fire, War, Trickery, etc.
[20:31] <+ChadDavidson> The spell rules are free form.
[20:31] <+ChadDavidson> Players narrate what they are attempting with the roll, and the game master sets the difficulty.
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[20:31] <+ChadDavidson> Players make a roll just like other actions.
[20:31] <+ChadDavidson> They can roll criticals and fumbles as always.
[20:32] <+ChadDavidson> The only two changes are the risk of Drain, and of exceeding your Threshold.
[20:32] <+ChadDavidson> If a player rolls too low, the player gains a point of Drain.  This penalizes casting until you rest.
[20:33] <+ChadDavidson> If a player rolls too high and exceeds his Threshold, then he has asked too much of the Spiritworld and gains a Mark of Corruption.
[20:33] <+ChadDavidson> The player comes up with their own Mark of Corruption.
[20:34] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[20:34] <+ChadDavidson> Examples are given in the book and include: stark white hair, you gain a strange smell, your eyes are discolored, your fingernails grow too fast, etc.
[20:35] <+ChadDavidson> In other words, the Marks of Corruption start to make the character look more like a witch.
[20:35] <+ChadDavidson> Players can gain a second Mark of Corruption but it will be more severe.
[20:35] <~Dan> Is there room in the setting for supernatural powers via Christianity or other Old World religions?
[20:35] <~Dan> And that's awesome, re: looking more like a witch.
[20:36] <+ChadDavidson> If a player gains a third Mark of Corruption, the character becomes too corrupted to play and becomes an NPC.
[20:36] <+ChadDavidson> PCs can remove marks of corruption by "atoning" depending on their god/loa/totem.
[20:36] <+ChadDavidson> This usually will be a game master adventure.
[20:37] <+ChadDavidson> Regarding Old World Religions, there definitely is room for them
[20:37] <~Dan> Would they work differently?
[20:38] <~Dan> (Looking more like a witch wouldn't seem to fit.)
[20:39] <+ChadDavidson> The corruption is caused by asking too much of the Spiritworld - over using it.  "Proper" use would not cause corruption
[20:39] * ~Dan nods
[20:39] <+ChadDavidson> Voodoo would call it "left-handed" magic, "bad medicine", etc.
[20:40] <~Dan> Bokor magic, right?
[20:40] <+ChadDavidson> yes
[20:40] <+ChadDavidson> The church knows magic is real, they just consider if the devils work
[20:41] <+ChadDavidson> Despite this the Knights of Malta are secret alchemists willing to sacrifice their own souls to practice magic fighting for the Church
[20:41] <~Dan> Well, to be more specific: I'm wondering if divine/spiritual powers that aren't exactly "magical" as you're defining it would be appropriate in the setting. A priest "laying on hands", driving out demons, etc., for example.
[20:43] <+ChadDavidson> While I don't have a Christian priest with such an ability in the game, I think it could fit within the magic system with the appropriate "power".
[20:43] * ~Dan nods
[20:44] <+ChadDavidson> For example, he would have the "Life and Healing" power
[20:44] <~Dan> How flashy is magic, generally speaking?
[20:45] <+ChadDavidson> Definitely less flashy than typical fantasy settings.
[20:45] * ~Dan nods
[20:45] <+ChadDavidson> For example, no fireballs unless there is a nearby bonfire to help you out.
[20:45] <~Dan> Can it manage direct attacks in combat?
[20:46] <+ChadDavidson> Yes.  Each type of spell caster has one direct damage option the can take.  For example, a blood mage can take a blood-serpant strike.
[20:46] <~Dan> That sounds nasty.
[20:46] <+ChadDavidson> Speaking of Aztecs
[20:47] <+ChadDavidson> One of the big goals I had in this game was that I did not want to make the Aztecs just the villain.
[20:47] * ~Dan nods
[20:47] <+ChadDavidson> In the setting, there still is human sacrifice, but because the Aztec "know" it is required to keep the universe alive.
[20:48] <+ChadDavidson> They sacrifice only the truly willing, and of course, Spanish war captives
[20:49] <~Dan> That's actually more akin to Mayan human sacrifice.
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[20:49] <~Dan> IIRC, at least.
[20:49] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[20:49] <+ChadDavidson> Right.  and in Heirs, I have Maya only sacrifice the willing and war leaders (not regular soldiers).
[20:50] <+ChadDavidson> At least an attempt to make them more playable by today's sensabilities.
[20:50] <~Dan> To switch tracks for a moment: Do all characters, PC or NPC, get 5 Effort dice?
[20:51] <+ChadDavidson> Only Major NPCs would get Effort dice.
[20:51] <+ChadDavidson> It becomes too difficult for a game master to manage Effort dice os several characters.
[20:51] <~Dan> So how do NPCs without Effort dice use their Traits?
[20:52] <+ChadDavidson> Minor NPCs get two actions each turn.  They gain their full trait in each action.
[20:52] <+ChadDavidson> As if they spent their full amount of Effort dice possible.
[20:53] <~Dan> Doesn't that give them an advantage over PCs?
[20:54] <+ChadDavidson> Not really.  The only time it would mater is if the NPC was attempting two different actions that each required a skill roll.
[20:54] <+ChadDavidson> For example, perhaps swinging across the deck on a rope, and then attacking.
[20:54] <+ChadDavidson> this would require an acrobatics roll and an attack roll.
[20:54] <+ChadDavidson> In this case the NPC would have an advantage.
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[20:54] * ~Dan nods
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[20:55] <+ChadDavidson> But more typically, the NPC moves then attacks.
[20:55] <+ChadDavidson> Also, NPCs cannot save Effort dice to use on their defense.
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[20:55] <+ChadDavidson> Nor can they move up in the Initiative order with Effort dice.
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[20:56] <~Dan> So when I see a creature writeup that says it has an attack ability of 3e+1d, it's basically just 4d?
[20:56] <+Silverlion> So NPC's use a different mechanic balance than PC's?
[20:56] <+ChadDavidson> As a game master, you could play the creature as a minor or major NPC.
[20:57] <+ChadDavidson> If playing it as a minor NPC, then you have it right.
[20:57] <+ChadDavidson> The number of dice you are rolling is usually about the same.
[20:57] <+Silverlion> Ah.
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[20:57] <+ChadDavidson> The game master just does not have to try to manage several pools of Effort dice.
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[20:58] <+Silverlion> Makes some sense. Keeps NPC's from being overwhelming to handle.
[20:58] <~Dan> I should mention that you're welcome to hang out with us as long as you like and continue to field questions, Chad.
[20:58] <+ChadDavidson> SInce I am pretty familiar with the system, I have run a few encounters with several major NPCs, but it can get confusing.
[20:58] <~Dan> That said, is there anything you'd like to cover that we haven't brought up so far?
[20:59] <+ChadDavidson> I do have to go pretty soon, but I did want to mention one thing.
[20:59] <+ChadDavidson> I am in the early stages of a 2nd edition.
[21:00] <~Dan> Any big changes planned?
[21:00] <+ChadDavidson> Therefore, I am looking around for play testers.
[21:00] <+ChadDavidson> The biggest change is in character creation.
[21:00] <+ChadDavidson> We did not talk about that much here, but currently it is a point buy system with optional "paths" that work kind of like prestige classes
[21:01] <+ChadDavidson> The new edition uses bundles that greatly speeds up character creation.
[21:02] <~Dan> That's always handy.
[21:02] <~Dan> Well, I can tell you that we often spin off games from this chatroom. I'm sure you can find some takers here.
[21:02] <~Dan> I'd be interested.
[21:03] <~Dan> You might find some takers via people reading the log, too. Is there some contact information you'd like to provide?
[21:03] <+jiawen> It's really a great game. The stunt system is the best I've seen in a game.
[21:03] <+ChadDavidson> Anyone interested, head on over to (Link: http://www.obsidianserpent.com)http://www.obsidianserpent.com and email me for the details.
[21:03] <+ChadDavidson> Thanks, jiawen!
[21:04] <~Dan> I would like to say that from what I've read so far, it really does seem like a finely crafted game.
[21:04] <~Dan> Any plans on using the system for other settings?
[21:04] <+ChadDavidson> I have some very basic ideas for other settings.
[21:05] <~Dan> Anything you can share? :)
[21:05] <+ChadDavidson> I probably will just expand out the Heirs setting for now.
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:05] <+ChadDavidson> If there are any writers out their who would like to collaborate on another setting, contact me.
[21:06] <+ChadDavidson> It has been great chatting with everyone.
[21:06] <+Silverlion> I sadly missed most of the system stuff.
[21:06] <~Dan> Thanks so much for joining us, Chad!
[21:07] <~Dan> I'll send you a link to the log shortly.
[21:07] <+ChadDavidson> You can find more info on my website and blog.
[21:07] <~Dan> Also, are you on Facebook?
[21:07] <+ChadDavidson> I am not active on Facebook
[21:07] <~Dan> No problem.
[21:07] <~Dan> It's a cool system, Sil.
[21:08] <+Silverlion> Sounds like it and I like the idea of the setting.
[21:08] <+Silverlion> Google+?
[21:08] <+Silverlion> Sadly too poor..:D
[21:08] <+ChadDavidson> Not yet.
[21:08] <+Silverlion> Lots of game circle stuff on Google+
[21:08] <~Dan> Sil: Well, sign up for the playtest. Maybe we can give it a try. :)
[21:09] <+Silverlion> Sure!
[21:09] <+Silverlion> I'd love to. Sign me up Dan!
[21:09] <~Dan> You can sign up via Chad's website.
[21:09] <+ChadDavidson> Great.  I'll email, you Dan.
[21:09] <+ChadDavidson> Thanks everyone, goodbye.
[21:09] <~Dan> Good night! :)

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