Monday, August 26, 2013

[Q&A] Lee Garvin (Tales from the Floating Vagabond 2nd edition)

[19:08] <+LeeGarvin> Hi Everybody, I'm Lee Garvin, author of Tales From The Floating Vagabond.
[19:09] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:09] <~Dan> Heh. Thanks, Lee!
[19:09] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with a question?
[19:09] <~Dan> I'll go ahead and throw in one of my own: What is the game about? :)
[19:09] <+LeeGarvin> I have a question...
[19:10] <+xyphoid_> Are you getting the vagaband back together?
[19:10] <~Dan> Oh, yes, Lee? :)
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[19:10] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, mib_i0kf9t! You can set your name with the /nick command.)
[19:10] <+LeeGarvin> Is there any chance that oldbeetle is my old friend Sean?
[19:10] <~Dan> (If you're here for the Q&A, we're just getting started. :) )
[19:11] <+oldbeetle> Spelled Shawn, but yes. Hi.
[19:11] <+LeeGarvin> Thought that was you.  Hey
[19:11] <~Dan> #rpgnet: Bringing people together.(TM)
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[19:12] <+LeeGarvin> Actually, Dan, that's the slogan for Trask Interpersonal Magnets. You DON'T want to tangle with their legal team.
[19:12] * ~Dan chuckles
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[19:13] <+LeeGarvin> The game is about the adventures and misfortunes of a group of interdimensional barflies who hang out at the titular tavern, The Floating Vagabond.
[19:13] <~Dan> (Howdy, AncientHistory! Just getting started with a Tales from the Floating Vagabond Q&A. :) )
[19:14] <+oldbeetle> Go on...
[19:14] <+LeeGarvin> The Vagabond is a bar built into an asteroid at the center of the universe (the owner, "Spit," has been assured of this).
[19:15] <+LeeGarvin> The door of the bar has a Walker Random Dimensional Portal Generator installed on it, set to pluck people walking into any tavern, on any world, at any time, in any reality.
[19:16] <+LeeGarvin> When they arrive, they are often confronted with a very strong desire for very strong drink. Luckily, Spit takes all currencies.
[19:16] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:16] <~Dan> So this is a rather wildly multigenre setting?
[19:17] <+LeeGarvin> Oh yes. Conan the Barbarian (and Late Night TV host) can drink along side Sam Spade and Buck Rogers.
[19:18] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:19] <~Dan> Can you give us an overview of what's changed from the first edition, and why a second edition has taken so long? :)
[19:19] <+oldbeetle> When did you start writing second edition?
[19:20] <+LeeGarvin> Sometime in 1997. It's been a tough rewrite.
[19:20] <+oldbeetle> Wozers.
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[19:21] <~Dan> Ah, the press is here!
[19:21] <+LeeGarvin> One major change is that the game now takes place entirely inside a women's prison run by cats - wait a second; wrong notes.
[19:21] <~Dan> (Abstruse here covers RPGs for Ain't It Cool News. :) )
[19:21] <+LeeGarvin> Welcome!
[19:21] <+Abstruse> (The press is also high on cough syrup so may not be saying much tonight.)
[19:21] <+oldbeetle> Best be careful on the Control-V
[19:22] <+LeeGarvin> The rules are the most major thing I've changed; the old system is still there, in the skeleton, but there is brand new meat covering it.
[19:24] <+LeeGarvin> It's greatly simplified, for one. Gone are the countless modifiers, bonuses, and penalties. Now, when something is easier, you "Slide" down to the next die type. When it's harder, you "Bump" up to the next.
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[19:25] <+LeeGarvin> This makes for a breezy "one-roll-system" for everything from combat to cooking.
[19:25] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:25] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, walaka! Here for the Q&A?)
[19:25] <+walaka> hi Lee
[19:25] <+walaka> yes, for the Q&A
[19:25] <+xyphoid_> are you going to release a detailed tactical cooking supplement?
[19:25] <+LeeGarvin> Howdy!
[19:26] <~Dan> Perhaps this would be a good point to cover said one-roll-system?
[19:26] <+LeeGarvin> Xyphoid, pitch me something good, and perhaps we can talk. ;)
[19:26] <+BlasterKyubey210> Mmm? Sounds like ORE though this makes diepools wonky
[19:26] <+walaka> love to hear about the one-roll system
[19:27] <+walaka> i did enjoy the use of the D30 in the original TFTFV
[19:27] <+LeeGarvin> Unfamiliar with ORE.
[19:27] <+walaka> D30 rarely gets used in RPGs
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[19:27] <+BlasterKyubey210> Ok, here's the score of the diepools of ORE
[19:27] <+LeeGarvin> the d30 is still there, and I've added the d8 and d12, which were absent from the original.
[19:27] <+walaka> huzzah!
[19:28] <+BlasterKyubey210> Basically you have a pool size anywhere from 1 to (whatever the highest size you have of the dice, but all the dice must be identical)
[19:28] <+BlasterKyubey210> When you roll, you do it once and start chasing matching numbers
[19:28] <~Dan> Blaster: Probably best to hold off on that while Lee's Q&A is going. :) )
[19:28] <+BlasterKyubey210> Ok
[19:29] <+LeeGarvin> It's not a dice pool system. You roll one die of the proper size for the task you are attempting, and you want to get equal to or under your Skill Total (Stat + Skill Level).
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[19:30] <+LeeGarvin> If your Skill Total is so high that you can't miss, you can choose to forgo the roll and simply succeed.
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[19:32] <+LeeGarvin> Of course, doing that, you have no chance of a critical success, or "Chug", or critical failure, or "Spill".
[19:32] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:32] <+oldbeetle> What are the effects of those?
[19:33] <+LeeGarvin> In combat, the Chug gets you a bump to the next size damage die. In other situations, you get some other benefit, determined by the Bartender (GMs are called "Bartenders").
[19:34] <+LeeGarvin> A Spill, on the other hand, is a fumble, and usually comes with some bad stuff.
[19:35] <~Dan> What are the attributes, and how broad are the skills?
[19:35] <~Dan> (And do you happen to have a link to the character sheet? :) )
[19:35] <+LeeGarvin> Astute folks may notice that if you roll the die when you don't need to, you can still get a Spill. You still succeed at what you were attempting, but some onforeseen misfortune befalls you.
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[19:37] <+LeeGarvin> I can do better than that! If everyone heads over here: (Link:
[19:37] <+LeeGarvin> you can download the character sheets for free!
[19:37] <~Dan> Aha
[19:37] <~Dan> !
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[19:38] <&egyptian> Evenin!
[19:38] <+GenoFoxx> hi
[19:38] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian! We're talking Tales from the Floating Vagabond with Lee Garvin!)
[19:38] <+LeeGarvin> The stats are Strength, Nimbleness, Aim, Smarts, Common Sense, Cool, Luck, and Cheese.
[19:39] <+LeeGarvin> Cheese is a new stat for this edition.
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[19:40] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:40] <~Dan> Can you tells a bit about the Cheese stat?
[19:41] <+LeeGarvin> Cheese covers anything a character can do that falls outside the realm of normal human ability: Magic, Super
[19:41] <+LeeGarvin> Powers, Cybernetics, Alien Goo, what have you.
[19:41] <+Cassandra> Hrm. I do like alien goo.
[19:42] <+LeeGarvin> When creating your character, you can choose to leave any stat at 0, which simply means you have none of that stat.
[19:42] <+walaka> I like the sound of the Cheese stat. a way to cover extraordinary/supernatural abilities
[19:43] <+LeeGarvin> That's the idea. Any differences are simply special effects and preferences.
[19:44] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> Can you give us an example of how powers can be tweaked to simulate a specific power source, like, say, a magic spell?
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[19:44] <+oldbeetle> What about the shticks?
[19:45] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, flymolo42! Here for the Q&A?)
[19:45] <+LeeGarvin> Well, for instance, say you want to cast an old fashioned fireball. I'll wait.
[19:45] <~Dan> I want to case an old fashioned fireball.
[19:45] <+LeeGarvin> Thank you.
[19:45] * ~Dan nods
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[19:46] <~Dan> (Howdy, FaerieGodfather, jtbullet!)
[19:47] <+LeeGarvin> You simply take the "Blast" power, which has a Cheese rating of 2 (I believe), and when you use it, you describe it as a huge roiling burst of flame.
[19:47] <+LeeGarvin> Another character with the same power might be using it to represent his *ahem* "Burrito Vengeance Explosion."
[19:48] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:48] <+LeeGarvin> The Shticks! Oh yes, can't forget about those.
[19:49] <~Dan> No indeed!
[19:49] <+LeeGarvin> For those who don't know, a Shtick is a comedic effect that your character can call upon that temporarily breaks the universe to his or her benefit.
[19:50] <+LeeGarvin> Most of the shticks from the original game are still there, and a few new ones as well.
[19:51] <+LeeGarvin> Also, the rules for shticks have been standardized to make them slightly less abusive (they're still broken, though; that's the point).
[19:52] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[19:52] <~Dan> Can you give us an example or two of Shticks and how they work?
[19:53] <+LeeGarvin> The Schwarzenegger Effect allows you to ignore the shock and pain of damage, as long as you don't actually know how badly you're hurt.
[19:54] <+LeeGarvin> The Bay Effect allows you to take no damage from an explosion as long as you don't look at it.
[19:54] <+LeeGarvin> The Flynn Effect allows you to always find something to swing on, no matter where you are.
[19:54] <+flymolo42> I am a lucky owner of the first edition.  How does the second edition make my life more awesome?
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[19:55] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, mib_9slp1x! You can set your name with the /nick command. :) )
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[19:56] <+LeeGarvin> The Shticks are governed by the Shtick Track, a track of dice going from d4 to d100 (extra d4 spot for humans). Each time you attempt to use your Shtick, it bumps up to the next die.
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[19:56] <+LeeGarvin> This way, the more you use a shtick, the harder it is to use it.
[19:57] <~Dan> Rolling against what score?
[19:57] <+LeeGarvin> Flymolo, This edition is nearly three times bigger, full color, and overall, more awesome.
[19:58] <+LeeGarvin> The Shtick score is one of your Stats, doubled. Which Stat is determined by the Shtick.
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[19:58] <~Dan> Gotcha.
[19:58] <+oldbeetle> And if the stat is zero?
[19:58] <+LeeGarvin> Flynn uses Nimbleness, Schwarzenegger uses Strength, and Bay uses Cool, for example.
[19:59] <+LeeGarvin> If the Stat is zero, you REALLY shouldn't take a Shtick that uses it.
[19:59] <~Dan> Seems like someone told me that the Flynn Effect's downside is that you must enter any edifice through a window?
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[20:01] <+LeeGarvin> Yeah, EVERY Shtick has a downside. For Flynn, it's that you can never enter or leave a location the easy way if a more dramatic method is available.
[20:02] <+LeeGarvin> Crashing through a skylite, a stained glass window, swinging over the balcony, whatever is most appropriate for the locale.
[20:02] <~Dan> Ah... He must have misunderstood the Shtick from the first edition. He said the action took place inside a grain silo at one point, and he couldn't enter. :)
[20:02] <+tylor78> Are there any hints as to what the new schticks may be?
[20:04] <+LeeGarvin> New for this edition are: Bay Effect, Elfman Effect, Stewart Effect, Wood Effect, and Wu Effect.
[20:05] <+LeeGarvin> A couple Shticks have been renamed, as well. The Trenchcoat Effect is now the Harpo Effect, and the Howard, Fine, & Howard Effect is now the Groucho Effect.
[20:05] <~Dan> What is the Stewart Effect?
[20:06] <+oldbeetle> As in Sir Patrick?
[20:06] <+LeeGarvin> The Bylaw Effect has been removed entirely, but it's benefits can be gained by simply choosing to join a union.
[20:06] <+LeeGarvin> As in Jimmy.
[20:07] <+LeeGarvin> The Stewart Effect says that you are just such a nice guy that people almost never want to harm you. If Shoot-On-Sight orders are issued against your party, they will want to capture you.
[20:08] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:08] <~Dan> That's awesome.
[20:08] <+LeeGarvin> The downside is that you have to find something nice and positive to say about EVERYONE you meet.
[20:08] <~Dan> :D
[20:09] <~Dan> So what sorts of critters can you play?
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[20:09] <+LeeGarvin> "You blew up twelve planets and enslaved an entire species in one day? My gosh, you have a lot of energy; I can't even make it to the bank and the barber in the same day."
[20:10] <~Dan> Nice. :)
[20:10] <+LeeGarvin> Including humans, there are twelve (count 'em) different races in the core rules, and guidelines to build your own race.
[20:11] <+oldbeetle> I have a question when you are <done>
[20:11] * ~Dan counts'em
[20:11] <~Dan> 12!
[20:11] <+LeeGarvin> The races are drawn from both sci-fi and fantasy: Big-Head Aliens, Canoids, Elves, Pixies, Orcs, Disgustingly Cute Furry Things, etc.
[20:12] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[20:12] <+oldbeetle> Lee, why did you choose Kickstarter as a vehicle to launch Floating Vagabond and how did you decide on the goal level and backer levels?
[20:12] <~Dan> Disgustingly Cute Furry Things! You can play Rocket Racoon!!
[20:13] <+LeeGarvin> I chose KickStarter because I wanted it out there and I figured there might be folks who shared that desire.
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[20:14] <~Dan> I'm assuming that some races have unusual powers. How do races relate to Cheese powers?
[20:15] <+LeeGarvin> The goal I set includes printing, art, editing, layout, coasters, dice, and beer mugs, and I'm probably forgetting something that's going to come around and bite me, but I finally have a wee bit of a financial cushion, so I can take on any unforseen expenses myself. I just couldn't quite get it all DONE myself.
[20:17] <+LeeGarvin> Some of the races do get a bonus to Cheese (the big-head aliens, for example), and the race building rules allow you to grant some minor Cheese abilities as a racial bonus. Past that, though, and you really should be using the straight Cheese rules.
[20:17] <~Dan> Ah... so, like, seeing the dark wouldn't require Cheese?
[20:18] <+LeeGarvin> The Backer levels include the retail price of the items plus the shipping. I'd heard too many horror stories of KickStarters that undervalued the shipping costs and nearly went broke.
[20:19] <&Silverlion> Yeah. That's always a problem
[20:20] <+LeeGarvin> Actually, Dan, it depends. If you take the Improved Sight Cheese Power as a racial ability, then no, no Cheese required. But if you take it as a power by itself, yes, it requires 1/2 point of Cheese.
[20:20] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[20:20] <~Dan> Oh, sorry -- I meant as a racial ability
[20:21] <~Dan> So do you have some mad science for us? :)
[20:21] <+LeeGarvin> Yeah, anything up to a 1 point power can be taken as a racial ability.
[20:22] <+LeeGarvin> Well, there is a skill called Invent, another called Fiddle With Gadgets, and one called Mess With Goop. Take all of those and you're well on you way to being MAD! MAD I TELL YOU!
[20:23] <~Dan> Heehee. :)
[20:23] <~Dan> How do they work?
[20:23] <+LeeGarvin> And if you Spill on a roll with one of those, you have to roll on a table that makes me shudder to look at.
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[20:24] <+LeeGarvin> Fiddle With Gadgets covers electronics, mechanical, clockworks, magical artifacts, or anything you probably shouldn't twist the knobs on.
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[20:25] <~Dan> (wb, walaka!)
[20:26] <+LeeGarvin> The difficulty of a roll is determined by the Bartender: trying to increase the range on a cellphone? Call it a d12.
[20:27] <+LeeGarvin> Trying to turn said cell phone into a taser? Call it a d30. You can modify your chances, for instance, by stating that you want it to be a one-shot item, never to be used again. That slides it down to d20.
[20:28] <~Dan> Is there any bonus for seeking out rare materials, or a penalty for not doing so?
[20:28] <+LeeGarvin> Having a set of super-duper tools on hand brings it down to a d12. Unfortunately, you are chained up in a dungeon and have to use your feet, so that bumps it up to d30 again.
[20:30] <+LeeGarvin> That will depend on the task. Having rare materials would certainly be handy if you're trying to invent an alien thought detector/descrambler, but not if you are trying to build an inside the shell egg scrambler.
[20:30] <~Dan> So it's pretty freeform and based on GM guidelines?
[20:31] <+LeeGarvin> Absolutely. The main guideline the Bartender has is: will this move the story along or make people laugh? If it does one, that's okay. If it does both, that's better, and should probably be easier.
[20:32] <+LeeGarvin> (done)
[20:32] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:33] <+LeeGarvin> Combat is done in turn order, with the highest Nimbleness combatant going first (or a roll-off if there's a tie). Attack rolls always start at d10, but can be slid or bumped as needed.
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[20:35] <+LeeGarvin> For instance, if you are facing ten Space Nazis in full battle regailia, you might want to make quick work of them. Say you have a Hurt People total of 9 (Strength 5, Hurt People 4). You're most likely going to hit every time, but it could take awhile.
[20:37] <+LeeGarvin> If you choose, you can attack the WHOLE GANG by bumping the die up three times (once for 2, again for 5, and three for 10) to d30. Now you have slightly less than a one-in-three shot at hitting, but if you do, you apply the damage to all ten of them!
[20:38] <+LeeGarvin> You can also choose to spend a luck point before the roll to slide down to a d20.
[20:38] <+LeeGarvin> With Hurt
[20:39] <+LeeGarvin> People, you do d4 damage, bumped up by your Strength bonus.
[20:39] <+LeeGarvin> with a 5, that's going to be 2 bumps, so d8. you roll the d8 and get a 4.
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[20:40] <+LeeGarvin> 4 is greater than the Space Nazis' Strength score, so they all have to roll equal to or under their Strength (2) on a d10. If they fail, they are knocked unconcious.
[20:41] <+oldbeetle> Would you say Tales is more RP heavy than combat heavy?
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[20:42] <&Le_Squide> What's your favorite character you've seen a player or GM come up with over the years?
[20:42] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[20:43] <+LeeGarvin> Like many things, that depends on the group. It's entirely possible to get through an entire adventure without firing a shot. But you let Space Nazis show up, and I DARE YOU not to want to shoot them.
[20:43] <+LeeGarvin> Ooh. Tough one.
[20:44] <~Dan> (You vill zhoot zem, UND you vill LIKE it!)
[20:45] <+LeeGarvin> In the early days, someone played Stephen Seagal ("Coming this Christmas: Stephen Seagal in 'Three Word Title'"). He had a Bullet-Proof Attitude.
[20:45] <&Le_Squide> XD
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[20:46] <+LeeGarvin> Another player, a friend of mine, played Flipper Buzzbomb, a shape-changing alien sociopath.
[20:46] <~Dan> Did the latter require Bar Wars to create?
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[20:47] <+LeeGarvin> The same player had a ninja who lacked any throwing skills at all, so he was more likely to kill his enemies by getting them to hold his poison-coated throwing stars.
[20:47] <+LeeGarvin> Yes, it did.
[20:47] <+LeeGarvin> This was how the legend of the "Ninja Holding Stars" came to be.
[20:48] * ~Dan laughs :D
[20:48] <+BPIJonathan> :)
[20:48] <+LeeGarvin> (I forgot to mention, they were very sharp, and the opponent had to make a Nimbleness roll to avoid getting cut)
[20:48] <+oldbeetle> If I used emoticons, I would insert one here.
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[20:49] <~Dan> As always, Lee, you're welcome to hang out as long as you like; however, is there anything that you'd like to bring up that we haven't discussed?
[20:51] <+LeeGarvin> Well, lets see, I just added a new backer level to the KickStarter so that you can get YOURSELF or the person of your choice, written into the game as a patron of either the Floating Vagabond, or the Crane's Nest (a rival establishment)!
[20:51] <~Dan> Cool!
[20:52] <+LeeGarvin> For a paltry $1000, you can be immortalized in the pages of the game.
[20:53] <+LeeGarvin> Does anyone else have any questions before we call it a night?
[20:53] <~Dan> How big of a bestiary does the game feature?
[20:53] <+LeeGarvin> Anything at all.
[20:54] <+oldbeetle> Is there a proposed release date for Tales?
[20:55] <+LeeGarvin> There is a chapter entitled Freaks & Weirdos that includes npcs, organizations, and monsters. TF2V has never really been about monsters, though, so we tend to focus on foes with agendas (and thumbs).
[20:55] <+LeeGarvin> Sometime next Spring is the target.
[20:56] <+oldbeetle> Will the limited edition be available then as well?
[20:57] <+LeeGarvin> Yep, provided there are any left after the KickStarter. The Limited Edition is still being designed, but I am attempting to get it made with a light-up neon sign on the cover!
[20:58] <+oldbeetle> I have no response to that.
[20:58] <+LeeGarvin> It should actually be pretty epic.
[20:58] <~Dan> Sweet. :)
[20:59] <+oldbeetle> OK, off to work with me.
[20:59] <+oldbeetle> Later.
[20:59] <~Dan> Now you need a TF2V microbrew.
[20:59] <~Dan> Bye, oldbeetle!
[21:00] <+LeeGarvin> If anyone knows a brewer with a sense of humor and a willingness to do it, put 'em in touch with me.
[21:00] <+LeeGarvin> Later Shawn1
[21:00] <+flymolo42> Bye everyone!
[21:00] <+oldbeetle> Lee: New Albanian
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[21:00] <+LeeGarvin> Who dat/
[21:01] <+LeeGarvin> dat?
[21:01] <+oldbeetle> (Link:
[21:02] <+LeeGarvin> I'll take a look at them. KickStarter has fairly strict rules about alchohol, though, so it'll have to wait.
[21:03] <&Le_Squide> No drinking and kickstarting. :|
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[21:05] <&Silverlion> Indeed that leads to bad places.
[21:05] <+LeeGarvin> Almost forgot! Among my stretch goals are: an adventure written by Matt Vancil of The Gamers fame. He's really excited to do this, and I really don't want to let him down.
[21:05] <~Dan> Matt's awesome. :)
[21:05] <+oldbeetle> I am excited that he is excited. Did you get to see him at GenCon?
[21:05] <+LeeGarvin> Yeah, the whole ZOE crew is pretty cool.
[21:06] <~Dan> ZOE?
[21:06] <+LeeGarvin> Yeah, we had a couple a drinks after the con and hung out at their screenings.
[21:06] <+LeeGarvin> Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
[21:06] <~Dan> Ah!
[21:07] <+LeeGarvin> I tossed them each a copy of my card game, Badass Zombie Killers, to take home with them.
[21:07] <~Dan> That was nice of you. :)
[21:08] <+LeeGarvin> No, that was shamelessly self-promoting of me :]
[21:08] <~Dan> I need to log off for the night, but I'll have the log posted shortly and will send you the link, Lee!
[21:08] *** oldbeetle has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: ajax IRC Client
[21:08] <~Dan> Thanks again for stopping by!
[21:08] <+LeeGarvin> G'night! Thanks for the questions, everybody!

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