Tuesday, June 25, 2013

[Q&A] Troy Wilhelmson (Astounding Adventures!)

[19:04] <+TroyWilhelmson> Okay, I'm Troy Wilhelmson and I am the author of Astounding Adventures! The pulp supliment for Basic Roleplaying
[19:04] <+TroyWilhelmson> Be kind I'm quite dyslexic ;-)
[19:04] <+TroyWilhelmson> done
[19:05] <~Dan> No worries, Troy. We're a patient bunch. :)
[19:05] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with questions?
[19:05] <+Silverlion> They put up with me :D
[19:05] <+TroyWilhelmson> Good to hear
[19:05] <+Silverlion> Does Astonding Adventures change any BRP rules?
[19:06] <+Mortisune> "Pulp" in the Robert E. Howard sense? (which I like)
[19:06] <+TroyWilhelmson> It does. I have changed the Fate point system to action points which have a veriety of uses
[19:06] <+TroyWilhelmson> Mainly to keep the pulp feeling of action and excitement
[19:07] <+TroyWilhelmson> Action points also fuel powers and resources
[19:07] <+TroyWilhelmson> But the rules of BRP are still very much there.
[19:07] <+TroyWilhelmson> ,done>
[19:08] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yes, Pulp in the REH sense indeed
[19:08] <~Dan> Really? So does it cover the full range of pulp, or does it focus on 1930s two-fisted action?
[19:08] <+TroyWilhelmson> The book is very much based in the pulp magazines and serials of the 30s and 40s.
[19:08] <+Mortisune> :) awesome
[19:08] <+Mortisune> love all things pulp
[19:09] <+Silverlion> Does it have "super" powers ala the Shadows abilities?
[19:09] <+TroyWilhelmson> It covers mainly two-fisted pulp and exploration. I wanted to do a second called Astounding Space Adventures but I don't think it's going to happen
[19:10] <+TroyWilhelmson> It does have some low-level "super" powers including the power to cloud men's minds. This is where the powers come in.
[19:10] <+TroyWilhelmson> done
[19:10] <+TroyWilhelmson> Oh, my martini's here. :-)
[19:11] <~Dan> Interesting... So powers run on Action Points rather than on Power Points? Or are those synonymous?
[19:12] <+TroyWilhelmson> The power points are used in the build of the power. Action points fuel resources (sorry). They are not synonymous.
[19:13] <+TroyWilhelmson> done
[19:13] <~Dan> So is that a balancing factor between powered and non-powered heroes?
[19:14] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yeah. Sure a lot of people will want to play the Shadow or the Spider but there are others who will want to be the pilot or the journalist.
[19:14] <+Mortisune> so this would work with Conan?
[19:14] <+TroyWilhelmson> Resources can be things like an animal companion, a plane, contacts all over the world, or the ability to knock back 20 shots of whiskey and not feel it.
[19:14] <+TroyWilhelmson> done
[19:15] <~Dan> Pulp heroes are larger-than-life, but BRP uses random character generation. How do you make that work?
[19:15] <~Dan> (Oh, and you only need to give us a "(done)" after I call for a question pause, Troy. Unless you just want to. :) )
[19:15] <+TroyWilhelmson> Sorry this will not work with Conan without a lot of conversion.
[19:15] <+Mortisune> sorry hopefully that question wasn't out of turn
[19:15] <+Mortisune> ah
[19:16] <~Dan> Not at all, Mortisune.
[19:18] <+TroyWilhelmson> I kept the random BRP generation and then used the total Hit Point options.
[19:18] <~Dan> Do you use the attribute bonuses?
[19:19] <+TroyWilhelmson> I, personally do not, but there is no reason you can't. All of the optional builds in the BRP book can be used for Astounding Adventures without any problems.
[19:19] * ~Dan nods
[19:20] <~Dan> Is there a way for players to model really hyper-competent characters like Doc Savage?
[19:20] *** Crazy-Cabal is now known as Adam_Kadmon
[19:20] <~Dan> (Aside from lucky die rolls at character creation?)
[19:21] *** Storytelleress is now known as Lioness
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[19:22] <+TroyWilhelmson> That is not in the book per se but I have run games where I've given out extra points to begin with. Again, I suggest a 250 point point build in the book for skills but you could boost that to 300 or 350.
[19:22] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:23] <+Mortisune> Doc Savage haha, he's the man
[19:23] <~Dan> Do you touch on the inclusion of other powers in pulp games, like psychic powers and magic?
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[19:24] <+TroyWilhelmson> There are some other powers yes. Both psychic and some magic but they are limited in scope. I didn't want to see Journalists throwing fire-balls or shooting mind-blasts. It just doesn't fit with the genre.
[19:25] <~Dan> Oh, you include other powers in the book itself?
[19:25] <+TroyWilhelmson> Magic is really limited to villains. i.e. cultists and voodoo priests.
[19:25] * ~Dan nods
[19:26] <~Dan> Is Mandrake the Magician (super-hypnosis and illusions, sorta psychic) doable?
[19:26] <+TroyWilhelmson> Some refer back to the core book and some have been changed which are included in the text. There are also gadgets which work using the supers rules.
[19:27] <+TroyWilhelmson> Mandrake would be doable. I was aiming for things like the Green Lama and such.
[19:27] <~Dan> Really? Wow... The Green Lama's well into Superman range, as I understand him.
[19:27] <+TroyWilhelmson> I took a lot of inspiration from movie serials and radio shows as well as the pulp magazines.
[19:27] <+TroyWilhelmson> The radio version of the Green Lama isn't nearly as powerful. ;-)
[19:28] <~Dan> Ah, I see. :)
[19:28] <+Mortisune> I've never heard of Green Lama.  Definitely sounds like the 30-40's oriental exotica type stuff though
[19:29] <~Dan> He's a Golden Age superhero who was apparently a radio serial character as well.
[19:29] <+Mortisune> DC or Marvel?
[19:29] <+TroyWilhelmson> I actually included a random exotic location generator in the book just to help create that sense of mystery.
[19:29] <~Dan> He (and other public domain superheroes) will be appearing in Eden Studio's Beyond Human.
[19:29] <+TroyWilhelmson> Ah cool!
[19:29] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[19:29] <~Dan> Troy: I thought you'd like that. Black Terror, baby. ;)
[19:30] <+Mortisune> "public domain superheroes?" I have a lot to learn :)
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[19:30] <+TroyWilhelmson> There was a movie serial version of the Green Lama as well. Very similar to Chandu the Magician!
[19:30] <~Dan> Really? Interesting.
[19:30] <+Mortisune> is the Shadow one of those?
[19:30] <~Dan> Nope.
[19:30] <+TroyWilhelmson> You can find some of then on You Tube
[19:30] <+TroyWilhelmson> There is a Shadow one but it is very different in the end
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[19:31] <+TroyWilhelmson> He has no powers, he's just a detective
[19:31] * ~Dan nods
[19:31] <+TroyWilhelmson> I found a DVD of it at half-price
[19:32] <~Dan> What's the breakdown of the adversaries? Is it mostly monsters, pulp villians, or both?
[19:32] <+TroyWilhelmson> The other rule I added that I really love is the Mook rule
[19:32] <+TroyWilhelmson> This leads into the mooks!
[19:33] <+TroyWilhelmson> I included 60 fully stated adversaries which is about 70% villains and 30% monsters.
[19:34] <+TroyWilhelmson> The mooks are just very basic versions of the villains but they include the defense roll which is based on a number of factors. If they get hit the GM rolls against their defense and if they make it, they keep fighting.
[19:35] <+TroyWilhelmson> if not, then they are out.
[19:35] <~Dan> Does the damage they take affect that roll?
[19:35] <+TroyWilhelmson> The Defense roll usually sits around 25-30%
[19:36] <+TroyWilhelmson> Nope, because it is so low to begin with. As I look through the book now, it really is more like 20%
[19:36] <+TroyWilhelmson> oh, and they will jump in front of their masters! >:)
[19:36] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:36] <+Mortisune> cool
[19:37] <~Dan> Can you give us some highlights from the villains and monsters?
[19:37] <+TroyWilhelmson> I included 2 different adventure generators as well as 3 full scenarios.
[19:37] <+TroyWilhelmson> Oh highlights! Sure!
[19:38] <+TroyWilhelmson> There are Amazon Queens, Chinese Sorcerers, Gangsters, Femme Fatales, Tribesmen, Shaman, and Rocket men!
[19:39] <~Dan> Very nice!
[19:39] <+TroyWilhelmson> For monsters there is the obligatory Giant Ape, Animated Statue, Giant Clam (a favorite), Carnivorous plants, Robots, and the Tentacle Monster!
[19:40] <~Dan> Any dinosaurs?
[19:41] <+TroyWilhelmson> Most of the dinosaurs are stated in the BRP core book so I didn't add them in.
[19:41] <~Dan> Fair enough.
[19:42] <+TroyWilhelmson> I could have! To pad the book out ;-)
[19:42] <~Dan> There's always room for more dinosaurs. :)
[19:42] <+TroyWilhelmson> True
[19:42] <+TroyWilhelmson> Maybe if I get to write More Astounding Adventures!
[19:42] <~Dan> Indeed!
[19:43] <+TroyWilhelmson> There is a section on Hazards as well
[19:43] <~Dan> How do they work?
[19:43] <+TroyWilhelmson> Things like death traps, avalanches, whirlpools and quick sand!
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[19:44] <~Dan> I like that you yell your answers. Very pulp. :)
[19:44] <+TroyWilhelmson> I kind of don't want to say cause it gives away a GM trick.
[19:44] <+TroyWilhelmson> As long as all the players leave.
[19:44] <+TroyWilhelmson> Are they gone?
[19:45] <~Dan> Heh. I have no idea who might be a player in here. :)
[19:45] <+TroyWilhelmson> Okay. Each hazard has a list of skills that can be used to escape. In the first round players can attempt a roll but it will never succeed.
[19:45] <+TroyWilhelmson> Second round, they must choose something else to try. Again, they'll get close but unless it is a crit it won't work.
[19:46] <+TroyWilhelmson> Third time is the charm and this will allow them to miraculously escape in time.
[19:46] <+TroyWilhelmson> It is really just a way to build tension.
[19:46] <~Dan> Heh. That's kinda cool. :)
[19:46] <+TroyWilhelmson> And it works!
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[19:47] <+TroyWilhelmson> If you critically fail, then the worst thing you can think of happens.
[19:47] <~Dan> So they have to try three different skills?
[19:47] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yes, or else!
[19:48] <~Dan> You mentioned two different adventure generators?
[19:48] <+TroyWilhelmson> However, if you die in Astounding Adventures you can pay an action point to make a Luck roll. If you succeed you get to come back to life in the next scene but you have to role-play an amazing story of how you managed to survive!
[19:48] <~Dan> Excellent. :)
[19:48] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yes there are two generators
[19:49] <~Dan> How do they work?
[19:49] <+TroyWilhelmson> The first is pretty standard: Hook, MacGuffin, Villain, NPCs, Locations. It works well.
[19:50] <+TroyWilhelmson> The second we call the Mad Mayor's Thrilling Tale Generation Gizmo!
[19:50] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[19:51] <+TroyWilhelmson> You roll 5 times on a chart listed with phrases like: Finding and Idol, Foot Chase, Storm of the Century!, The doors are kicked in!
[19:52] <+TroyWilhelmson> Then you try to tie them all together. I have a fully fleshed out example in the book that...I'd really like to play!
[19:53] <~Dan> Sounds like fun. :)
[19:53] <+TroyWilhelmson> I'm an improvisor so I love using stuff like that.
[19:53] <~Dan> I do, too, when the system facilitates it.
[19:54] <~Dan> I am, too, rather.
[19:54] <+TroyWilhelmson> Hopefully, you'll find this book does.
[19:54] <~Dan> (Speaking of which, let me know if you'd like me to add the book to my review queue.)
[19:55] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yoiks, that makes me nervous.
[19:55] <+TroyWilhelmson> ;-)
[19:55] <~Dan> How much space do you devote to life in the 1930s?
[19:55] <~Dan> (Heh. I'm a Teddy bear of a reviewer. :) )
[19:56] <+TroyWilhelmson> Only a little bit. There are a lot of books and websites where you can find that info. I just have a time-line of events that give a simple overview of the era.
[19:56] <~Dan> (And besides, my reviewing "avatar" is a pulp detective. :) )
[19:56] <+TroyWilhelmson> Okay, feel free.
[19:56] <+TroyWilhelmson> :-)
[19:57] <~Dan> Heh. Well, that will depend upon whether the Chaosium Powers That Be decide to send me a review copy. ;)
[19:57] <+TroyWilhelmson> I do spend some time on equipment of the era but mostly on things that are for flavor.
[19:58] <+TroyWilhelmson> Running boards and rumble seats. These are things young gamers may never have heard of.
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[19:58] <+TroyWilhelmson> I was lucky, my neighbors had a Model T in the garage!
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[19:58] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[19:59] <~Dan> Is there a default setting?
[19:59] <+TroyWilhelmson> Not really.
[20:00] <+TroyWilhelmson> I was only given so many words so I had to make it a bit more generic.
[20:00] <+TroyWilhelmson> It would have been fun to make it San Fran though
[20:01] <~Dan> Well, let me rephrase a bit... Is there an implied setting?
[20:01] <+TroyWilhelmson> Nope.
[20:01] <+TroyWilhelmson> :-)
[20:01] <~Dan> In the sense of whether magic exists, for example? Or is it more of a toolkit?
[20:01] <+TroyWilhelmson> It can be anywhere
[20:02] <+TroyWilhelmson> I would say it is more of a toolkit, yes
[20:03] <~Dan> What are the adventures like?
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[20:04] <+TroyWilhelmson> One is in Sumatra, one deals with a mad scientist, and the final one is about an insane radio drama writer who summons a long forgotten god!
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[20:05] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:05] <+TroyWilhelmson> And there are Nazi's in the first one.
[20:05] <+TroyWilhelmson> I hope people will like it.
[20:05] <+TroyWilhelmson> It's been a bit stressful considering the state of Pulp Cthulhu
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[20:06] <~Dan> I was going to ask you about Nazis. Some purists don't think they fit, others demand them.
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[20:06] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, ForceflowX!)
[20:07] <~Dan> What is the state of Pulp Cthulhu, anyway?
[20:07] <+TroyWilhelmson> You know, we can't look at the pulp genre these days without including the movies and tv shows. It just doesn't work. There are expectiations and Indy has set the bar pretty high.
[20:08] * ~Dan nods
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[20:08] <+TroyWilhelmson> From what I know, I think it's nearly done but it was a over a year ago that I heard that.
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[20:09] <~Dan> Were you given any instructions about avoiding stepping on the toes of that book?
[20:10] <+TroyWilhelmson> Actually, no. I was given a lot of freedom. I just knew this was BRP and not Call of Cthulhu so I just approached it that way.
[20:11] <+TroyWilhelmson> But, you can't talk about Pulp stories and not mention Lovecraft. He's just part of it.
[20:11] <~Dan> True. How much crossover is there?
[20:12] <~Dan> In the book, that is.
[20:12] <+TroyWilhelmson> Oh, just mentions here and there. But there is no reason you couldn't use this book as a CoC companion.
[20:14] <~Dan> How do gadgets work? I know you mentioned the superpower rules...
[20:15] <+TroyWilhelmson> They use a point budget to build them using the superpowers rules. Powers which can have multiple effects are limited to just one.
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[20:16] <+TroyWilhelmson> For example, with emotion control you would have to pick just one emotion, like fear.
[20:17] <+TroyWilhelmson> Once that is stated out, the gadget can only be used a few times a day to represent limited supplies or small fuel cells.
[20:17] <+TroyWilhelmson> Oh, and I forgot to mention that every power and gadget comes with a "Catch".
[20:18] <~Dan> (wb, Sil!)
[20:18] <+TroyWilhelmson> If you decide to take a power you must take a Catch, and that can be things like "Wanted", "Secret Identity", or "Do no Harm".
[20:19] <+TroyWilhelmson> It makes the cost for powers a bit higher than for Resources.
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[20:20] <~Dan> Do you place any limitations on the scope of gadget-based powers? I'm assuming you don't want Iron Man or Green Lantern zooming around your pulp setting.
[20:21] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yes, they are limited to 20 points only. Any more than that and you are in Super-hero land.
[20:21] <~Dan> Sounds about right.
[20:21] <+TroyWilhelmson> And the type of powers are limited as well
[20:22] <+TroyWilhelmson> Just to be clear, you can have a ray-gun. ;-)
[20:22] <~Dan> Good, good. :)
[20:23] <~Dan> Do you have any nods to improvised one-shot gadgets?
[20:24] <+TroyWilhelmson> If I recall there is something in there about it.
[20:24] <+TroyWilhelmson> You'll have to forgive me. I haven't been able to re-read the book since I turned it in a year ago.
[20:24] <+TroyWilhelmson> :_)
[20:24] <+TroyWilhelmson> :-)
[20:24] <~Dan> Heh. Forgiven. :)
[20:25] <+TroyWilhelmson> So there you go!
[20:26] <~Dan> Are gadgets by their nature unique items?
[20:26] <~Dan> Is there a built-in reason why mad scientists don't change the world, I mean.
[20:26] <+TroyWilhelmson> Absolutely.
[20:27] <+TroyWilhelmson> Not built-in. Pulp tends to be pretty black and white when it comes to morality.
[20:27] <+TroyWilhelmson> So the truely Mad Scientists are evil and will fail.
[20:28] <+TroyWilhelmson> At least that's how it is in the serials.
[20:29] <~Dan> What about idealist scientists like Doc Savage? Again, is it just considered a setting trope that his inventions don't change the world?
[20:30] <+TroyWilhelmson> Yes. The trope is that the gadgets need to be kept in the hands of the creators least they get into the wrong hands.
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[20:32] <~Dan> Do you see the limitations on PC gadgets as universal, or is there room for Doctor Evil's Horrible Earthquake Machine?
[20:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[20:32] <+GoldenH> man
[20:32] <+TroyWilhelmson> Oh, Doctor Evil has an Earthquake Machine!
[20:33] <+GoldenH> I was playing Borderlands: The Armory of General Kox
[20:33] <+GoldenH> and there was a laundry room
[20:33] <+TroyWilhelmson> That kind of thing is in the second scenario
[20:33] <+GoldenH> so I reenacted the freeze ray song from Dr Horrible
[20:33] <~Dan> Is it actually an Earthquake Machine? :)
[20:34] <+TroyWilhelmson> It's a giant lightning gun pointed at New York City!
[20:34] <+TroyWilhelmson> Close enough ;-)
[20:34] <~Dan> Awesome. Lightning gun was my second choice. A classic!
[20:34] <+TroyWilhelmson> I need to cut this short if that is okay?
[20:34] <~Dan> Sure, Troy. No problem.
[20:34] <+TroyWilhelmson> I'm needed by me wife. :-)
[20:34] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted shortly.
[20:35] <~Dan> Thanks for coming by! Have a great evening!
[20:35] <+TroyWilhelmson> Well thanks for having me Dan
[20:35] <+TroyWilhelmson> You too!

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