Thursday, July 25, 2013

[Q&A] Jonathan M. Thompson (Gaslight Victorian Fantasy 2nd Edition)

[19:02] <+JonathanMThompson> So, if you dont know me I am Jonathan M. Thompson, president and founder of Battlefield Press, Inc. Tonight we are here to talk about our latest release, Gaslight Victorian Fantasy 2e.
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[19:03] <+JonathanMThompson> But I will be open to any questions concerning other BPI products.
[19:03] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
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[19:03] <~Dan> Thanks, Jonathan!
[19:04] <~Dan> Unless anyone has any questions to begin, perhaps you should give us an overview of Gaslight?
[19:05] <+JonathanMThompson> Gaslight is a Victorian setting as the name implies, and it has roots in traditional fantasy...complete with magic and non human characters. In our case magic is a waning resource and the non humans come from Victorian literature. The big thing about Gaslight is the organizations, some secret and some not so secret, but they are all trying to get power.
[19:06] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[19:07] <~Dan> And this is a d20-based game, correct?
[19:07] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes, there is also a Savage Worlds version (which should be released next week according to layout)
[19:07] <+Silverlion> Are the non humans "Faery" in the classic sense, or what/
[19:09] <+JonathanMThompson> The non humans are Vampires, Werewolves, Beastmen, Wildings and Ratlings. Ratlings were the only ones that really didnt have a literary origin in the Victorian. Those came from a different source. Wildlings are based on JM Barries Lost Boys, Vampires are based on Stoker, Beastmen are from Moreau, and Werewolves were mostly from fragmented reports of the
[19:09] <+JonathanMThompson> period.
[19:10] <+JonathanMThompson> And besides you know you cant have Vampires in a setting without werewolves, did we not learn anything from WW :-)
[19:10] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
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[19:11] <~Dan> I assume Ratlings are rat-men of some sort?
[19:11] <+JonathanMThompson> They are, they are the mortal enemies of the Wildling.
[19:11] <+JonathanMThompson> They have warred against each other far back as either race can remember.
[19:11] <~Dan> Can you give us a quick rundown on the various powers of the races?
[19:16] <+JonathanMThompson> Beastmen in three immediate playable types, Cat, Dog and Bear. They exist mostly like uplifted animals, but are human sized (roughly) and contain the powers of their animal type from claws to dexterity to the ability to track by scent.
[19:18] <+JonathanMThompson> Ratlings have the ability to talk to normal rats, and are skilled at getting through the tunnels. Wildlings are immortal and usually great spies or thieves. They are often found in organizations like the Baker Street Irregulars. as they are often mistaken for children
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[19:19] <+JonathanMThompson> Vampires are blood sucking creatures, needing blood to survive, and they have some invulnerabilities and some enhanced senses. Though their weakness to sunlight only takes away their abilities not turn them to ash.
[19:20] <+JonathanMThompson> Werewolves are immune to damage, but vulnerable to silver. they are strong and fast and as they get more experienced they can make the change themselves without the moon.
[19:21] <+JonathanMThompson> Unlike in other games, Vampires and Werewolves can not transmit that to another person.
[19:21] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[19:21] <~Dan> Wow... Werewolves are totally immune to non-silver damage?
[19:22] <+JonathanMThompson> No, not totally immune...they have a resistance to damage from non silver weapons.
[19:22] <~Dan> Ah! I was about to say, that's awfully powerful!
[19:23] <~Dan> Is this an "open" or "hidden" weirdness setting?
[19:23] <+JonathanMThompson> Typo :(
[19:23] <+Silverlion> Grns
[19:24] <+JonathanMThompson> It is open, people know Vampires and Werewolves exist, they created organizations to hunt them down. Beastmen work side by side with humans in the work force. Ratlings are rumored to exist, most people dont believe it when they see a giant rat come up from the sewers, and Wildlings are generally mistaken for children.
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[19:26] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
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[19:27] <~Dan> What advantage is there to being human?
[19:29] <+JonathanMThompson> They are accepted everywhere, they usually have the control over things (Heads of state, corporatations, etc.) Beastmen being the most open of the races, are treated in most places as second class.
[19:29] <+JonathanMThompson> Also mechanically they have a bonus to the skills they can take.
[19:30] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[19:30] <~Dan> Is this a steampunk setting, or is it strictly supernatural Victorian?
[19:32] <+JonathanMThompson> Its not really steampunk, even though there is room for inventor type characters. Its really more a supernatural Victorian setting. (done)
[19:33] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about how magic works?
[19:34] <+JonathanMThompson> Magic is a known element, passed down from the Sumerians. It was practiced at its height during the Old Kingdom Egypt, but something happened and it began to wane. Now the casting of magic is a taxing thing, as you have to gather your focus and energy with the possibility of being fatigued or worse from spellcasting.
[19:35] <~Dan> So it's not Vancian?
[19:36] <+JonathanMThompson> It is...but with additional elements added. The Vancian casting system fit what we wanted to do here -- a limited ability to cast spells.
[19:37] <~Dan> How will the Savage Worlds version work?
[19:38] <+JonathanMThompson> in the d20 version they make a fortitude save or drop one condition level, in SW they have to make a trait test or the same thing happens.
[19:39] <~Dan> So it's fire-and-forget and it causes fatigue?
[19:41] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes
[19:42] <~Dan> Man. That's pretty harsh.
[19:42] <~Dan> How flashy are the spells?
[19:42] <+JonathanMThompson> Its the price of being a magic weilder
[19:43] <+JonathanMThompson> There are some things like Fireball, Magic Missile, but the high level spells do not exist. There are no spells above 5th level
[19:44] <~Dan> What are the non-PC supernatural elements?
[19:45] <+JonathanMThompson> The undead,fairies, evil sorcerers, the usual :D.
[19:46] <~Dan> What are fairies like?
[19:47] <+JonathanMThompson> They will be talked more in detail in later books, but basically the Fae are pretty much right out of Shakespeare, with elements of the legends thrown in. They are honorabe and will keep their word if promising, but will do their best to try to trick whoever into letting them out of it. There are many different types, but mostly what is seen are a few human
[19:48] <+JonathanMThompson> sized and of course the smaller ones (like tinkerbell)
[19:49] <+JonathanMThompson> It is rare to hear from the fae races, except of course the Wildlings, because the courts are currently involved in a war. Which threatens to spill over to the neighboring worlds.
[19:49] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[19:50] <~Dan> Is there a bestiary?
[19:51] <+JonathanMThompson> The bestiary is currently in editing....It is titled Darwin's Guide to Creatures, Mythical and Mundane.
[19:51] <+JonathanMThompson> We just typically refer to it as DG or Darwins Guide when we discuss it. (done)
[19:52] <~Dan> Can you give us an idea of the scope of the bestiary?
[19:55] <+JonathanMThompson> It has an entry for about 100 or so different creatures, from armadillos to Golems and the undead all with entries written by Darwin (actually was penned by Tim Brannan who also wrote Ghosts of Albion, but he has done a decent job of capturing Darwins style).
[19:55] <~Dan> Armadillos? Really?
[19:56] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes, of course. They are all over the American South and West, so why not include them? :D
[19:57] <~Dan> Heh. Fair enough. Does the setting expand beyond Victorian England, then?
[19:58] <+JonathanMThompson> It does, we discuss a bunch of different countries in the descriptive text, also the upcoming Challenger's Guidebook to the Lost Worlds will feature even more places that the party can explore.
[19:58] <~Dan> Oooo. Dinosaurs?
[19:59] <+JonathanMThompson> Absolutely, cant have Challenger and Lost Worlds without dinosaurs roaming around
[20:00] <~Dan> What about Martians?
[20:00] <+JonathanMThompson> One of the things we set out to do was to make a world that had just enough information for you to play, but not too much stuff where you cant put in your own thing to make the world your own.
[20:01] <+JonathanMThompson> The timeline covers a period from about 1840 to 1901 and the last entry in the core book states that the Earth is invaded by creatures known as Martians and the fate of the world is unknown.
[20:02] <+JonathanMThompson> That being said, in the upcoming The Great Wars sourcebook we discuss the Martian War and what happens afterwards.
[20:03] <~Dan> Huh. Cool.
[20:03] <~Dan> Would you expect a tech spike at that point?
[20:04] <+JonathanMThompson> Ah, that would be telling :D
[20:04] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:04] <+JonathanMThompson> Need to keep something for you to look forward to in the future :D
[20:06] <~Dan> Indeed. :)
[20:07] <+GenoFoxx> magic missile vs martian heat rays
[20:07] <+JonathanMThompson> One of the things we did with this edition was that we also added about 30% more content to the book, including new organizations, new classes, a couple of new spells and a reliquary containing a few artifacts that can be found around the world. These artifacts are not for personal use for the pcs, but mainly there as a plot element.
[20:07] <~Dan> So what do you see as the game's selling points over other Victorian/steampunk RPGs out there?
[20:08] <+JonathanMThompson> To me Gaslight is closely related to the old Masque of the Red Death box set for AD&D2e (written by William W. Connors).
[20:09] <+JonathanMThompson> I was trying to envoke that feel when you opened the book, and to me its not just another Victorian game. Its premise and setting are different. Its less Verne and more Doyle in its concept.
[20:10] <+JonathanMThompson> The big thing about Gaslight is that all the players work for an organization, the same or different ones depending on the GMs plans and they are after goals that further the organization more than themselves.
[20:10] <~Dan> What sorts of organizations are there?
[20:10] <+JonathanMThompson> The organzations are really the "power behind the throne."
[20:11] <+JonathanMThompson> organizations.
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[20:13] <+JonathanMThompson> We have the Baker Street Irregulars (started by Sherlock Holmes but have branches in every civilized country) that assist Law Enforcement, The Van Helsing Society which hunts the supernatural, MI7 which is the British Governments secret division whose only job is to return to the UK all that they believe should be in the hands of the Government.
[20:13] <+JonathanMThompson> The Invisible College who has taken it upon themselves to try to hide elements that are appearing thinking Man really isnt meant to know.
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[20:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Aeolius!)
[20:14] <+Aeolius> evening!
[20:14] <~Dan> (Q&A in progress! #rpgnet2 open for general chat. :) )
[20:15] <+JonathanMThompson> We have the Knights of the Round Table who believe they are the descendants of ... well you can guess, they have one goal to find Excalibur (which is currently in the hands of Oberon) but other organizations think this is bad and are trying to stop them
[20:16] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[20:16] <+JonathanMThompson> (Howdy Aeolius)
[20:17] <~Dan> You mentioned artifacts. How powerful are they, in general?
[20:17] <~Dan> (brb)
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[20:19] <+JonathanMThompson> Mostly they are very powerful, they are artifacts. They exist in the book for a couple of reasons 1) to show everyone that these artifacts are there and what they can do, with their histories and etc. 2) they are excellent for plot devices. The artifacts in the book range from Excaliber to the Mace of the United States to Shermans Torch to Ben Franklins
[20:19] <+JonathanMThompson> Bifocals.
[20:20] <+JonathanMThompson> (done)
[20:21] <+GenoFoxx> How many pages will it be?
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[20:21] <+JonathanMThompson> The OGL version comes in at 350 pages (which with the improved layout comes out to be 25 pages less than the 1e, but with 30% more content)
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[20:22] <+JonathanMThompson> We dont have the exact page count on the SW version yet, but I suspect it will be somewhere around 100 pages (done)
[20:24] <~Dan> You mentioned Sherlock Holmes. Are there many fictional figures that exist in the setting?
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[20:25] <+JonathanMThompson> There are a few, both Holmes (as Mycroft is the head of the British MI7 and answers only to the crown and the PM), Sherlock and Watson, Challenger will be presented in his book (along with his cast), Frankenstein and the monster will also can make an appearance.
[20:25] <+JonathanMThompson> *can also make...
[20:26] <~Dan> But I'm guessing not Verne's characters, for example?
[20:26] <+JonathanMThompson> When we launch the KS for Darwins of our stretch goals is a bonus bestiary called Friends and Foes that detail stats for all these people.
[20:27] <+JonathanMThompson> No, Vernes characters have a place... Nemo is very anti magic.
[20:27] <~Dan> Ah. So there are the trappings of scientific romance, but they're unique items rather than ubiquitous steampunk gadgets?
[20:29] <+JonathanMThompson> Right.. Nemo builds his ship, and its all scientific...going as far as warring on magic using characters when he sees them. Where as Victor von Frankenstein is not only a Scholar (scientist) but also a Necromancer...merging his two skill sets into a machine that will give life to the lifeless.
[20:31] <+JonathanMThompson> Jekyll invents a polymorph potion, but it goes awry
[20:31] <~Dan> Oh, speaking of which, what are the classes in the d20 version?
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[20:34] <+JonathanMThompson> There are three tiers of classes, Basic, Advanced and Prestige -- you have at the basic level Apprentice  (magic user), Acolyte (cleric), Rogue, Explorer, Scholar, Personality, Sensitive, Investigator, Everyman (a jack of all trades type character),Martial Artist, Officer (military) and Gunslinger,
[20:34] <+JonathanMThompson> Advanced classes build on the basic classes, and prestige build on advance classes. (done)
[20:35] <~Dan> Sensitive... So there are psychic powers?
[20:35] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes, there are. They are skill and feat based and open to every class as long as the prerequisites are met...however the sensitive gets a couple of ones from the get go.
[20:36] <~Dan> How powerful are they?
[20:37] <+JonathanMThompson> Basically like magic, but they are tougher to gain. The only player I ever had to play one basically played him like Jeff Goldblum in Vibes. :)
[20:38] <~Dan> So not just medium-type powers? They include TK, for example?
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[20:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, CC! Q&A with JonathanMThompson in progress!0
[20:38] <~Dan> )
[20:39] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes, but like magic, Psychic abilities are fatiguing.
[20:40] <~Dan> And regarding Acolytes, what are clerical powers like in the setting, and how are the perceived?
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[20:44] <+JonathanMThompson> Acolytes are basically apprentice priests. They were written with the thought in mind that not everyone is going to want to play a Christian priest (even though our art is slanted to Catholicism which was just because thats what was available). Players get to choose whatever deity they want from pretty much any book (though I always limit it to real world
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[20:44] <~Dan> (Cut off at "real world")
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[20:45] <+JonathanMThompson> deities). They have the ability to turn undead, bless, etc. pretty much anything any priest can do in any other setting...except heal people). We wanted to make Gaslight a deadlier game so we eliminated healing magic from the setting.
[20:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, Squide! Q&A with JonathanMThompson, a.k.a. BPIJonathan, in progress!)
[20:45] <~Dan> Really? Wow.
[20:45] <+JonathanMThompson> (I know, was finishing up the sentence on another line)
[20:46] <~Dan> So they don't have the full range of clerical spells?
[20:46] <+JonathanMThompson> They have quite a few ranging from 0 to 5, but no cure spells.
[20:47] <+JonathanMThompson> And no one has any spells above 5th level. However with some metamagic feats the spells can act like spells at higher levels, so we have a chart ranging to level 30 for divine and arcane casters.
[20:48] <+JonathanMThompson> So with the addition of firearms and no magical healing  a firefight can turn deadly quickly.
[20:48] <~Dan> I'd think so, yup.
[20:48] <+JonathanMThompson> We eased up a bit though, instead of using touch AC for firearms we used standard AC.
[20:49] <+JonathanMThompson> We didnt want to have an immediate TPK, that gives the players and the GM some breathing room.
[20:49] <~Dan> Speaking of which, does AC pose a problem in a setting with little in the way of armor?
[20:51] <+JonathanMThompson> Not really. mostly the AC is built as a class bonus. So each class has a bonus and then it increases as they go up in level. If they decide to wear armor though it doesnt stack, they can opt for one or the other. It makes things comparable to characters getting better armor in other games, but keeps the spirit of the setting
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[20:52] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:52] <~Dan> Looks like we have about 10 minutes left. Is there anything you'd like to cover that we haven't already?
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[20:53] <~Dan> (Howdy, FaerieGodfather, GeminiPad!)
[20:54] <+JonathanMThompson> There is a Savage World version of Gaslight being released in the next couple of weeks, additionally we will have print versions on sale of the OGL version in that same time period (both via DTRPG). I will be at Gen Con if anyone is going to be there and would like to discuss this or anything else we publish more in detail.
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[20:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, AnthonyHoltberg!)
[20:54] <+JonathanMThompson> And I can stick around a bit if anyone thinks of anything they would like to cover.
[20:54] <~Dan> Absolutely. You know you're always welcome. :)
[20:55] <+JonathanMThompson> Thanks. I am here mostly when i need to be working :D
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[20:55] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about how the existence of the supernatural has changed Victorian society?
[20:56] <~Dan> (Howdy, Logomachist, Catseye!)
[20:58] <+JonathanMThompson> It hasnt changed it too much, but the world itself is altered slightly. Like one of the entries in the timeline reads "1879 (October) The United States Supreme Court decides that Beast Men are protected under the 14th Amendment and are given suffrage. The United States is the first country to recognize Beast Men as an independent race."
[20:58] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:59] <+AnthonyHoltberg> Hello, Dan!
[20:59] <+AnthonyHoltberg> Whoops!
[21:00] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[21:00] <+JonathanMThompson> So we slightly alter the timeline and put in the events to make it seem more real. Tech is still churning along, but sometimes at the help of the arcane. Like the UP is hiring elementalist to capture and bind fire elementals to their locomotives
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[21:01] <+JonathanMThompson> Which is actually the plot of an adventure I am about to start :D
[21:02] <~Dan> (Howdy, Pony_Knight!)
[21:02] <+JonathanMThompson> The great universities have "magic majors" as well.
[21:03] <~Dan> So there's both a bit of magic tech and anachronistic Victorian sci-fi tech?
[21:03] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes.
[21:03] * +AnthonyHoltberg is a 'magic major...'.
[21:03] <+JonathanMThompson> Depends on the faction you are with, which way you go. As for the setting there is room for all of it because of the nature of the setting itself.
[21:04] <~Dan> Are there any rules for building gadgets?
[21:04] <+JonathanMThompson> Yes, they are in the book *under the equipment section I think*
[21:05] <+JonathanMThompson> They SW setting doesnt have them in the book, because they are in the core SW book...there were things that we didnt really need to port over. The OGL book is a complete RPG so its bigger with more rules.
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:06] <~Dan> Any final thoughts before I save the log? (Again, you're welcome to hang out and talk about your game as long as you like.)
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[21:07] <+JonathanMThompson> No, cant think of any. Thank you for having me, I enjoy talking about this is one of my favorite of the ones I have written.
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[21:08] <~Dan> Excellent. I'd say "thanks for stopping by," but that seems odd to say to a channel regular, so thanks for discussing your game! :)
[21:08] <+JonathanMThompson> You are welcome

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