Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Q&A] Patric Goetz & Angus Abranson (Space: 1889)

<+Angus> Hi, I'm Angus Abranson, owner of Chronicle City Ltd, a British based games publisher. We work with a number of companies helping them bring their games to print and distribution as well as developing our own titles. Previously to Chronicle City I founded Cubicle 7 Entertainment and also worked in hobby retail for over 20 years at Leisure Games, London (UK's)
<+Patric> Hi - my name is Patric Goetz, i'm from Germany and 40 years old. I play rpgs since i was 12 or 13 (starting with the German red box D&D). I'm in the rpg industry for over 15 years now, starting as a salesman for a German wholesaler, and later publishing the German vesion of Deadlands Classic (which i still do!).
<+Patric> I now publish a variaty of rpgs both translated and original in Germany, including of course - Space :1889.
<+Patric> done
<+Angus> (done)
<~Dan> Thanks, guys!
<~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with a question?
<+Tsu> QUESTION: Now that there will be an english version, do we germans get our pdf version as well Patric? :D Perhaps even as a KS backer level?
<+Tsu> :D scnr
<+Orok> hrhr
<+from> QUESTION: Well, Ubiquity - what motivated the switch of systems?
<~Dan> For the benefit of our log readers, I'll go ahead and ask for an overview of the Space: 1889 setting. :)
<~Dan> (Question pause.)
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<~Dan> (wb, cdaniel!)
<+Patric> we definitly will do a german pdf. I know, that currently we have a lot to make up for regarding pdfs, but we are onyl a small company with a lot of stuff to do. But we opend our pdf store a couple of weeks now, and we will fill it fast, i hope
<+Patric> Space: 1889 will be one of the next books that we will do
<+cdaniel> Thx hope not to have missed much!
<~Dan> (Nope, just got started! Patric's answering the first round of questions, in fact.)
<+Patric> but the german pdf won't be part of the KS as a stretchgoal ;)
<+Patric> we switched to Ubiquity, because one of the main weak spots of the original version were the rules
<+Patric> and since i aso do the German verision of Hollow Earth Expedition, and REALLY like that game, the descission to use to ask Exile Games, if i'm allowed to use their rules for Space was easy .)
<+Patric> (sorry for the typos ;) )
<~Dan> (No worries. :) )
<~Dan> (Did you see my setting overview question? And my apologies if you're answering that now...)
<+Patric> oh - sorry
<+Angus> Space: 1889 is inspired by the works of people like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and a myriad of other Victorian science fiction writers. The world is more or less the same as ours is historically (although there are some fairly major changes in addition to Thomas Edison's invention of the Ether Propeller that allows mankind to sail to Mars, Venus Mercury the Moon
<+Angus> When man reaches Mars we find it already inhabited with a thriving civilization.
<+Angus> Venus, too, has native life in the form of lizardmen and even dinosaurs.
<+Angus> There are also hints of a past, greater, civilization...
<+Angus> (done)
<~Dan> Are you using Ubiquity as-is, or do you introduce any tweaks?
<+from> QUESTION: Steampunk is a popular genre right now, and there is a lot of nostalgia surrounding Space 1889 in particular. If the Kickstarter and sales go well, is there a possibility of further print products?
<+Patric> we changed some skills, resources, flaws etc. to fit with the Space setting. And i think you have some more points to build your character, if i remember correctly, so starting characters are a bit more experienced from the start
<+Angus> There are a number of printed products both scheduled as stretch-goals (some of which we've already achieved) as well as on the long term plan for the line beyond Kickstarter. Apart from adventures we also have plans for sourcebooks exploring Mercury and Venus for the first time.
<+Angus> The Kickstarter has already unlocked two adventures. "The Order of the Invisible Eye" by John Wick and "Thunders of Venus" by Steve Long.
<+Angus> We'll be combining them into a Double Adventure Book as each adventure is roughly 32 pages long.
<~Dan> That's good to hear, re: character points. I've always found Ubiquity characters to be a bit... underwhelming in terms of competence.
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<+Patric> same here ;)
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<+Tsu> The rulebook has different competence level u can choose to create!
<+Angus> The adventures are being released in two editions. The first is for Ubiquity Space: 1889 the other is for Red Sands - the Savage Worlds campaign setting of Space: 1889 that Pinnacle released a few years ago.
<~Dan> Tsu: Excellent. :)
<~Dan> Can you say a bit about who the adventurers are and what they do in the setting?
<+Angus> We also have a GM Screen planned which will also contain a 32-page NPC Booklet.
<+Patric> characters won' be as focused on military careers, high social standing and beeing british as the original was. We made sure, you could build any type of adventuring character from most nations of earth and even martian characters :)
<+Patric> AND lizardmen with the venus book :)
<+Angus> You can see some pictures of the Screen, Venus front cover and also a poster sized map set we're selling of Mars, Venus and Etherflyers on the Kickstarter campaign page - (Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/440453703/space-1889-sf-role-playing-in-a-more-civilized-tim)http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/440453703/space-1889-sf-role-playing-in-a-more-civilized-tim
<~Dan> Patric: Nice! That said, how hard is it to come up with reasons for non-military characters to travel around the solar system?
<+Angus> It was quite important to make sure there was a wider range of character types, nationalities, and ideologies to play in the new version.
<~Dan> Angus: Very sensible.
<~Dan> Angus: I want to play my spacefaring American cowboy. :D
<+AWOLJoe> Space cowboys?
<+Angus> There's lots of different reasons. Everything from journalists and academics reporting and researching the native cultures or their nations involvement there.
<+Angus> To lower class workers - sailors, miners, etc, who are after work.
<+Tsu> exploration is a big Jules Verne theme :)
<+Angus> There are Explorers and glory hunters, those after making a fortune, missionaries trying to convert the locals.
<+Angus> Criminals who may be on the run from Earthbound authorities, or those who are trying to escape religious or other persecution.
<~Dan> Very true. Regarding exploration, though: one thing that's made me a little leery of Space: 1889 in the past is that I'm not clear on what there is to discover. You mentioned a past civilization on Mars, so there's that... What about on Venus and Mercury?
<~Dan> Don't get me wrong: Dinosaurs are awesome. I'm just wondering what's there to making facing them worth the risk. :)
<&Moxiane> Dinosaurs. Duh.
<+Patric> Venus is covered in dense Jungles. The Germans have their colonies there because of the new plants that are to be found there. Usable for new chemicals, medicine, biological weapons maybe...
<+Patric> mercury is full of valuable ore - but it's very hard to reach due to the extreme conditions there
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<+Angus> Big Game hunters for starters. Humankind has tended to enjoy the thrill and risk of the big hunt and the Victorians certainly very much embraced that in certain quarters.
<+Angus> Also, as Patric says above, colonies and new empire. On Earth the European nations fought over the rest of the world, and our neighboring planets are certainly no different.
<~Dan> Do Germany and Great Britain still dominate Venus and Mars, respectively?
<+Patric> yes
<+Angus> Also, mankind keeps pushing into areas that are dangerous. Just look at the Westward expansion in America. Unknown territory, some of it full of dangerous natives.
<~Dan> Angus: On that note, what are some of the forces opposing the PCs?
<+Patric> we didn't change much of the setting itself, so Great Britain is dominating Mars and Germany is the main colonial force on Venus
<+Dritz> (I still can't read PC without thinking about computers.)
<+Dritz> (oh, Q&A in progress, sorry.)
<~Dan> (No problem. :) )
<+Patric> the forces opposing the PCs would be high martians trying to get free from human oppression on mars, the ocasional mad scientist trying to hold the world for ransom with his doomsday device
<+Angus> The forces in play against the characters can pretty much be anything... there is a lot of scope for all the standard types of adventure you'd find in other Victorian games - and obviously the politics and struggles on Earth - from street level to National Diplomacy and Secret Societies - still exist. Patric can give you some info about some of the Space: 188
<+Patric> an ancient artefact awakening under the desert of mars thats causes havoc
<+Tsu> And sometimes the wildlife itself is oppoing force enough :) There are several bestiaries in the book for the several planets
<&jcfiala> (I remember a certain amount of anarchist trouble in the original game.)
<+Patric> we played one adventure were we had to fight some Brits trying to sabotage a beer shipment to Venus ;)
<&Moxiane> Bah. We'd steal it!
* ~Dan chuckles
<+from> QUESTION: The print products themselves, the limited edition rulebooks in particular - what binding will be used? Regular case binding (glue) or some form of stiching/sewing?
<&jcfiala> Mars needs women, Venus needs beer?
<+Patric> all of the tree editon will have a stiched or sewed binding
<+from> Sweet.
<+Patric> we only use glue binding for very thin books
<~Dan> You mentioned mad scientists... Do you include mad science rules, and if so, what are they like?
<+Patric> we included only a little mad science in the main rulebook, to be honest. We plan to exporing that topic in detail in another sourcebook later on.
<+Tsu> QUESTION: You changed some of the alternative history from the original book. Can you tell us what u changed and why? ( Well i know it, but its an interesting thing :D )
<~Dan> Is it strictly NPC material for now, then?
<+Tsu> It´s possible to build a mad scientist with the background ressource system in the rulebook.
<+Patric> exactly as Tsu said. But we ourselfs want a more extensive look at mad science in the future
<+Patric> the one main change in the alternate history would be, that the american civil war hasn't ended like it did in the old version of space
<~Dan> Really? It's still going on in 1899?
<+Patric> we still have the north and south as independend nations
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<~Dan> (Welcome, mib_7fbmnr! You can set your name with the /nick command. :) )
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<~Dan> (wb, tech!)
<+Patric> no, it's not going on at the moment, but turned to a stalemate
<~Dan> Ah... Similar to Deadlands, then?
<+Patric> which is a change, FRank Cahdwick made himself in his newer material for Space :1889, so we did it too
<+Patric> yes - quite similar
<~Dan> Are the Americans minor players in space as a result?
<+Patric> no - not at all. Their overall power didn't change
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<+from> QUESTION: Ubiquity vs old system again, could you briefly summarize the major differences (Read: advantages) for those used to the old system?
<+Patric> the Ubiquity system is a very easy to learn and streamlined system
<+Patric> and it works very well ;)
<+Angus> It's been probably close to 20 years since I played with the old system, but Ubiquity is certainly a lot smoother to run and quicker to pick up.
<+Angus> (done)
<+Tsu> Ubiquity also has the option for players to "take the average" instead of rolling the dice. This speeds non risky tasks up dramatically and the result is a really fast gameplay inside and outside of combat.
<~Dan> If nothing else, having one unified mechanic for everything has got to be an improvement.
<+mib_7fbmnr> Consider that there is also Hollow Earth Exp materials in Ubiquity that could be pilfered for 1889 and vica versa
<~Dan> (mib_7fbmnr: Please set your name with the /nick command. Thanks! :) )
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<~Dan> (Thanks! :) )
<+Keith> sorry  :-)
<~Dan> (No worries. "mib-[gibberish]" is just so impersonal. ;) )
<+Patric> yes - an adventure set in the Hollow Earth chould easily be addapted as a Space adventure set on Venus for example
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<+Patric> (without the nazis ;) )
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<~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, mib_ivsp7j! Please set your name with the /nick command. :) )
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<~Dan> As I recall, Space: 1889 has always been devoid of any paranormal powers. Does that remain the case?
<+Patric> yes, that remains the same for the rpg
<+Angus> We even have a special bonus PDF for backers of both the current Hollow Earth (Revelations of Mars) and Space: 1889 Kickstarters. You get a double adventure (one set in each setting) and some quickplay rules.
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<~Dan> Do you offer any options for their inclusion?
<+Patric> that's not planed at the moment, but HEX should have the right rules for all kind of magic, sanity loss etc... you could want :)
<~Dan> Indeed it does. :)
<~Dan> You mentioned ancient Martian artifacts. Do you offer any examples of those and/or guidelines on what they can do? Or are they completely a matter of GM fiat?
<+Patric> they are in the hands of the GM only for now and will probably only be used as mayor plot devices in some bigger adventures or campaigns
<~Dan> Are there any clues as to the nature of the ancient Martians, and whether they were in to the current Martians?
<~Dan> kin, rather
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<~Dan> (Welcome, mib_9q9o1s! Please set your name with the /nick command. :) )
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<+Patric> oh thats a tricky question - there are at least two extinct races - one native to mars and probably the ancestor to modern martians, the other race is, from somewhere else...
<~Dan> Oooo. :)
<~Dan> Are there any signs of the former on planets other than Mars?
<+Tsu> Your really dipping deep into existing adventures :D don´t spoil yourself :)
<+Patric> ^^
* ~Dan chuckles
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<~Dan> Is the asteroid belt still the outer limit of space travel?
<+Patric> there may be signs of martian settlements on other planets, but how they get there, no one knows for now. Might even be a hoax, who knows....
<+Patric> yes - the asteroid belt is currently the limit, the aether propelers can reach using boilers and sunlight for energy
<~Dan> Is there any possibility of that changing as the line continues, or is that hardwired into the setting?
<+Patric> but i think there already were hints of better engines in the original rulebook to be invented by the characters, so we might explore the planets beyond the asteroid belt in the future also
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<~Dan> Great. :)
<+Tsu> *cough* mad cience *cough* You want to play Voyager 1889 ? There u go...
<~Dan> (Howdy, SmittyB! Space: 1889 Q&A in progress! :) )
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<+SmittyB> 'lo Dan
<~Dan> Tsu: Well, my concern there would be stepping on the toes of the authors and what they may come up with themselves.
<~Dan> Is space combat possible in the game? I can't recall.
<+Patric> no - space combat is not really possible, since the travelling speed is to high. It MIGHT be possible in orbit around a planet though.
<~Dan> So spacecraft aren't usually armed?
<+Patric> not to attack other crafts. Orbital bombing could be possible though...
<+Patric> and liftwood ships and zeppelins are a whole different story of course
<~Dan> I seem to recall the Moon holding a few surprises in the original game... Is that still the case in this edition? Or can you say? :)
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<+Patric> we didn't changed anything there ;)
<~Dan> Cool. :)
<~Dan> Is that still part of an intro adventure?
<+Patric> no, i'm afraid not
<~Dan> Is it mentioned in the core rules at all?
<+Tsu> there is a "GM´s Secrets" section in the rulebook, it is mentioned there :)
<~Dan> Perfect. :)
<~Dan> Are you associated with the game, Tsu, or are you just in the know? :)
<+Tsu> Sorry, just a german fanboy, talking to much and should let the devs answer sorry
<~Dan> I don't mind if they don't. :)
<~Dan> (I wasn't complaining, just to be clear. :) )
<+Patric> its okay with me too ;)
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<+Angus> I certainly don't mind. The book is almost finished translating so I've not had a chance to read it all myself yet ;)
<~Dan> Now, this isn't so much a question as an observation to which I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
<~Dan> I don't think that Space: 1889 is a "steampunk" game, per sé.
<+Angus> I have a copy of the German edition next to my desk, but my German is, er, slightly better than my High Martian!
<~Dan> First, because it predates the term...
<~Dan> ...but also because the mood is very different from steampunk.
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<~Dan> To me, it's more like Victoiran scientific romance on steroid.
<~Dan> (Victorian, even)
<~Dan> I don't get any gloomy retro-cyberpunk feel from Space: 1889 at all.
<~Dan> To the contrary: It seems rather hopeful.
<~Dan> Thoughts?
<+Angus> The Steampunk term was first used in the late 80's I believe - but has only become much more common in the last ten years.
<+Angus> I've never really thought of Space: 1889 as 'steampunk' but have always thought of it as 'Victorian Science Fiction'
<+Patric> you are absolutely right with that - i only use the term steampunk for Space: 1889 out of lazyness ;)
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<~Dan> (Howdy, Sil!)
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<+Angus> Your comment of 'Victorian scientific romance on steroids' is a good one.
<~Dan> Thanks. :)
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<~Dan> I say that because it seems to take the premise of Victorian sci-fi -- that someone, somewhere creates some technology before its time -- and makes that the state-of-the-art technology for the whole setting.
<~Dan> So you have entire fleets of the Nautilus and the Albatross.
<+Angus> There are lots of 'steampunk' games around these days - I've been involved in publishing a few myself in the past - and whilst Space: 1889 certainly falls into that 'alternative Victorian Age' category and will have a lot that will attract 'steampunk' fans to it, I wouldn't call it that.
<~Dan> Right. Elric and Lord of the Rings both share the trappings of fantasy, but they certainly aren't the same subgenre.
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<~Dan> Are there any real "bad guys" built into the setting? I seem to recall the flying Martians being close...
<~Dan> (Howdy, Ken!)
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<~Dan> (wb, Sil!)
<+Patric> yes - the high martians will remain the bad guys mostly. no political correctness for mars ;)
* ~Dan chuckles
<~Dan> Speaking of whom, what are the technological capabilities of the High Martians?
<+Patric> they have the same tech-level they had in the original setting. They do have liftwood ships, but generally are a little more primitive than the other two martian races
<~Dan> And what are the other two?
<+Patric> canal martians and hill martians
<+Tsu> The High Martian Kings own the majority of he liftwood... they are really rich. So... if they feel like it, they even buy gunpowder weapons, even if not able to produce them themselves...
<+Patric> hill martians are nomads, roaming the deserts of mars
<~Dan> I remember them having... boulder-firing cannons or something similar?
<+Patric> canal martians are the most civilized of the three
<+Patric> yes - they have primitive mortars and muzzle-loader canons
<+from> QUESTION: The technology, again - does the "tech tree" in 1889 fully diverge from "real world" technology, or are they complementary?
<~Dan> What sort of technology do the Canal Martians have?
<+Patric> thats a difficult one - the canal martians are a civilization in decline. They can still use the remaining technologie of their ancestors
<+Patric> but are not capable anymore to reproduce that technologie
<+Patric> they are mainly farmers and craftsman now
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<~Dan> And that includes the technology that operates the canals?
<+Patric> yes - the pumps that keep the water flowing in the canals are ancient technologie
<~Dan> (I have another question, but I'll let you address from's question first. :) )
<+Patric> oh - i missed that
<+Tsu> @ Dan: There is another fact that influnces the tech level of mars a lot: there is nearly no iron of the tech to smelt it there. So even a sword can be a very rare thing for martians
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<&Moxiane> ...but iron is why Mars is red. You just have to melt the dirt.
<~Dan> Tsu: Ah... So that's why their cannons fire boulders?
<~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, mib_gy8amh!)
<+Tsu> Dan : yes...
<~Dan> (You can set your name with the /nick command. :) )
<+Patric> its complementary - earthly technology is more or less the same as in the real 1889 with the addition of changes liftwood and the existence of the aether did to that technology.
<~Dan> So people are still riding horses rather than driving steam automobiles?
<+Patric> weird steampunk tech are unique specimen for now
<~Dan> Except for military applications, I'm assuming?
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<+Patric> right - as in real life, the military has the most advanced technology years before it gets to the common people
<+Patric> like tripods, for example :)
<+Patric> or an expeimental raygun
<~Dan> So you still have super-dreadnought ironclads?
<+Patric> yes
<~Dan> Good, good. :)
<~Dan> Are submarines still one-off inventions?
<+GenoFoxx> Landships?
<+Patric> i think submarines should be a little more common than in the real world at that time.
<+Patric> no landships, as far as i know. Tsu? ;)
<~Dan> I remember airplanes as being examples of mad science in the original game. Is that still the case?
<+from> QUESTION: Lower gravity on Mars - is it ignored, does it affect construction/weaponry, does it affect humans staying there for a long time and make it difficult/impossible for martians to visit Earth?
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<~Dan> (Howdy, LW`! Space: 1889 Q&A in progress!
<~Dan> )
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<~Dan> (Howdy, Lassek! Q&A in progress!)
<~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, neetha!)
<+Tsu> Partic no landships as far s i know.. but hey, your have airhips even on earth due to the import of liftwood... only venus is a problem
<+Patric> lower gravity is ignored for now (as they were in the original setting). Having gravity influence humans is more a John Carter - thing ;)
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<+Patric> i know, thats why the Germans rule over venus ;)
<~Dan> (Which makes me wonder if Jeff Combos addresses that in Revelations of Mars... :) )
<+Patric> good question...
<~Dan> What is the Martian environment like? Something like Egypt, with desert interspersed with canals?
<+Patric> the deserts are more like the prairies in north america, i would say -  maybe a bit dryer and hotter, but not like the sahara for the most part.
<+Patric> a little more freindly for local life :)
<~Dan> :)
<~Dan> Speaking of which, how extensive is the game's bestiary?
<+Tsu> not everything is desert. The Steppes for example are more like grasslands. The nearer your to an active canal you are the greener it can get :)
<+GenoFoxx> I'm forced to head home now :(
<+GenoFoxx> laters
<~Dan> (Bye, GF!)
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<+Patric> we do have some creatures for mars, venus and earth in the book. Enough for the gm to have fun with the group. But there will be more in the particular sourcebooks for the planets
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<~Dan> As I mentioned earlier, you're welcome to stay and chat as long as you like. That said, in the "official" time we have remaining, is there anything you'd like to mention that hasn't been covered?
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<+Patric> one thing that was very important to us with the new edition was, that we depicted every major culture of earth as realistic as possible
<~Dan> Does that mean Germans don't all wear pointy helmets anymore? :(
<+Patric> we wanted to go away from the british-centered setting
<+Patric> not ALL of them, no ;)
<~Dan> :D
<+Angus> Although you'd be tricked into thinking so if you've checked out the Kickstarter video ;)
<&Moxiane> Patric: Why, when Britain's is obviously the superior culture? :)
<~Dan> (Which I did. Brilliant. :D )
<+Patric> ^^
<+Angus> You should see some of the outtakes Dan ;)
<~Dan> I'll bet. :)
<+Patric> tzatz not funny! :P
<~Dan> Oh, I do have another question, which relates a bit to the "steampunk" issue: How would you describe the feel/mood/theme/whatever of Space: 1889? How can you tell if players are getting it right?
<+Angus> If they're having fun they're getting it right.
<~Dan> Well, yes. :)
<+Patric> oh -thats a matter of tast to some extend. I always depicted the Space: 1889 setting as a positive setting (nlike most "-punk" settings)
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<+Patric> but i also know of some guy in who's opinion Space: 1889 is only done right, if you do military camapigns with it
<+Patric> i'm starting to unlearn how to type... o.O
<~Dan> Good point.
<+Tsu> I know that guy guy AS WELL
<+Tsu> :D
<+Patric> i know you know ;)
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<~Dan> This is probably far afield at this point, but could you see any sorts of crossovers in the future for Space: 1889? I recall someone doing an online Mythos version, for example...
<+Patric> nothing planed at the moment, but you never know. For now, we would like to explore the pure Space: 1889 setting further. Maybe later on, when every book is published - who knows...
<~Dan> Certainly. :)
<+Silverlion> Afternoon
<+Shader> hello
<~Dan> Does anyone have any more questions before we end the "official" Q&A?
<+Patric> oh one thing - we reached the "additional artwork" stretchgoal two hours ago - so the book will be full-color and will get a lot of new artwork :)
<~Dan> Great!
<+Angus> (does the snoppy dance ;p)
<&Moxiane> Question - are you going to tackle the outer system at all?
<+Angus> Potemtially ;)
<+Angus> But not in the initial book.
<+Patric> we certainly will
<+Patric> but with a big adventures, where exploring the space beyond the asteroid belt is the main plot
<~Dan> Will that be the first time that's been addressed in the game?
<+cdaniel> Sorry my connection is on and off all the time, I guess I'll finally have to read the entire Q&A once you put it somewhere,Dan
<+Patric> yes, i think so (but i don't know every challenge text for Space - there might be something, but i doubt it)
<+from> Thanks Angus and Patric for remaking and releasing Space 1889 in print, and thanks for taking the time to answer questions from us fans!
<~Dan> cdaniel: No problem. It will be posted shortly at the link in the chat topic.
<+Angus> Thanks for having us and I hope you enjoy the game :)
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<+Patric> Thanks for letting me talk about Space: 1889 in my broken english here ;)
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<~Dan> Yes, thanks very much, guys! Please know that you have an open invitation to stop by and discuss your games, or just to hang out. :)
<+AndrewRPG> hi to ALL
<~Dan> Howdy, AndrewRPG!
<+Patric> i certainly will do that occasionaly :)

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