Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[Q&A] Nathaniel Dean, Zeke Coughlin, Jess Shively (Clockwork: Empire)

[19:03] <+RGS-Zeke> (Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496416526/clockwork-empire-roleplaying-game)http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496416526/clockwork-empire-roleplaying-game
[19:03] <+RGSThan> Hi, I'm Nathaniel Dean, one of the designers and writers for Clockwork.
[19:03] <+RGS-Zeke> Anyone who's not yet familiar, you can check out the info about the game at the link above.
[19:04] <+RGS-Zeke> I'm Zeke Coughlin, the other primary designer of the game.
[19:04] <+RGSThan> clockwork: Empire is a tabletop roleplaying game in a victorian world of gothic horror. The setting is inspired by actual history, the the world reflects many of the beliefs, superstitions, and cosmology of the day. The game uses a completely custom set of mechanics, with a very innovative and highly flexible conflict system that covers both physical and soci
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[19:04] <+RGSThan> al conflicts, or even a mix of the two.
[19:05] <+RGSThan> The game is story-focused, and the mechanics are meant to support quick, cinematic play.
[19:06] <+RGSThan> To give players more options, we also have a robust item creation mechanic, and systems for ritual magic and alchemy built from victorian ideas.
[19:06] <+Jess_RGS> I'm Jess Shively, and like Chris/Zeke said, I was more involved in mashing the rules around before the Clockwork World setting came to be. I'm still involved, mostly as a sounding board and when Zeke gets stuck on something rules-wise, and I'm doing some writing as well.
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[19:07] <+RGSThan> With the wealth of player options, troupes can run a wide variety of game styles: anything from subtle high society social intrigues, to moody games of personal horror, or even rolicking adventures.
[19:08] <+RGSThan> We've also worked to create a "believable unbelievable world" by using actual history for inspiration, and never straying too far from it.
[19:09] <+RGSThan> Even the more unusual or - on the face of it - fantastic elements are based off of period ideas, or actual science. What we've done is take ideas and made them rarities, or rarities and made them more ubiquitous.
[19:10] <+RGSThan> Zeke will hop in to start talking a bit more about mechanics.
[19:11] <+Jess_RGS> And I'll probably chime in once in a while with tidbits, but I expect Than and Zeke'll be doing most of the talking.
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[19:12] <+RGS-Zeke> The mechanics are what really excite me. I feel like I've bled over them. :) We've got a system where social conflict can bleed into physical and then back again... a system where social characters are valuable in physical conflict. The core rules cover what most other games have whole sub-systems for (like grappling) and .. of course... we have a non-linear
[19:12] <+RGS-Zeke> initiative system that allows characters to describe conflict more like natural story-telling and less like waiting for your number to come up at the butcher.
[19:14] <+Bigby> Hi
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[19:14] <+Jess_RGS> I love the Princess Bride example for our conflict system. I think it makes everything crystal clear for anyone who's seen the movie.
[19:14] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Engine23! Here for the Q&A? :) )
[19:14] <~Dan> (Howdy, Bigby!)
[19:15] <+RGSThan> (Hi Bigby)
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[19:16] <+RGSThan> Zeke is typing up the explanation of the Princess Bride example.
[19:16] <+RGS-Zeke> Jess and I had a conversation about the Princess Bride a bit ago - the fight scene where Wesley wins the day with a social intimidation rather than a physical conflict. The system allows for physical conflict to end in your opponent backing down to your threats.
[19:16] <+RGS-Zeke> (it's a morale mechanic)
[19:16] <+RGSThan> But, the social conflict system is also used to change people's ideas and opinions.
[19:17] <+Jess_RGS> Essentially, everything Westley does (swordfighting Inigo, besting Fezzik, the battle of wits with Vezzini...and even later when he bluffs Humperdinck and can't even stand on his own) functions fluidly in our conflict system, the way social and physical conflict work together. You don't have to use a cobbled-together swap of skill checks and things and skip attacks.
[19:17] <+RGS-Zeke> ... and if you're good, social conflict can be used to persuade to take action in a variety of ways.
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[19:17] <+GenoFoxx> correct me if I'm wrong but it's like Pirates of Dark Water meets the League of extraordinary gentlemen?
[19:17] <+RGSThan> Done.
[19:17] <+RGSThan> We're happy to start taking questions.
[19:18] <+GenoFoxx> correct me if I'm wrong but it's like Pirates of Dark Water meets the League of extraordinary gentlemen?
[19:18] <~Dan> Thanks, Than! Looks like GenoFoxx is starting us off. :)
[19:18] <+RGSThan> Though Pirates of Darkwater was an awesome show, i wouldn't quite make that comparison.
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[19:18] <+GenoFoxx> with the Pontus as the Dark Dweller
[19:19] <+RGS-Zeke> Well the Pontus...
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[19:19] <~Dan> Actually, maybe a setting overview would be in order before delving into the nature of the Pontus? :)
[19:19] <+Jess_RGS> Good call, Dan.
[19:20] <+RGSThan> Sure.
[19:20] <+RGSThan> The default year for the game is 1896.
[19:20] <~Dan> Like, first, I'd be curious to know what year it is, and how things differ on the surface from real-world history. (Tech level, overt magic, etc.)
[19:20] <+Jess_RGS> I actually see Geno's question as having an "explain the setting a little if I'm wrong" implication. ;)
[19:20] <+RGSThan> As I said, the world is very historically-inspired, but there are a few important objective differences in the cosmology.
[19:21] <+RGS-Zeke> The setting's cosmological foundations are from the religious views of the British Empire - a sort of heretical take on Christianity through the eyes of "desim," a popular heresy of the day.
[19:22] <&Silverlion> Are there fantasy races? Or just humans?
[19:22] <+RGSThan> *deism
[19:22] <+RGSThan> No fantasy races per se, but it's not just humans.
[19:22] <+Jess_RGS> (Than's a Victorian history scholar and Zeke's a religious scholar...so both these bases are quite soundly covered in the setting.)
[19:23] <+RGSThan> Humans are about 99% of the population, but you do have three other bloodlines: Changelings, Nephilim, and Beastfolk.
[19:23] <+RGS-Zeke> Magic is real, but we use the Enochian tradition. As described in the book of Enoch, when the 200 Grigori (the watcher angels) fell on Mt. Hermon, they taught magic to mankind. Magic is the tool of the angels to maintain the world, it was never meant to be used by humans, but now it is.
[19:23] <+RGS-Zeke> THat being said, most people believe in magic, but aren't too terribly impressed by it.
[19:23] <+RGS-Zeke> People tend to turn more to technology and science.
[19:23] <+RGSThan> The nephilim are the descendants of the Grigori, but have been hunted as abominations since their origin, so try to hide as best they can.
[19:23] <+RGS-Zeke> (It's more reliable)
[19:24] <+RGSThan> They don't have any inherent magical abilities, and most of them look like you or I.
[19:24] <+Jess_RGS> (And more obvious. You can't not see that train.)
[19:24] <+RGSThan> It's only if they become deeply enmeshed in the purpose of the world, or fight to hard against it, that their angelic nature begins to manifest at great risk to themselves.
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[19:25] <&Silverlion> Awesome. Sounds cool so far.
[19:26] <+RGSThan> Changelings are folks who have just a touch of "fey" blood in their heritage. Fey is the generic term for things not originally part of the clockmaker's design that have wormed their way into existence due to the influence of the Pontus.
[19:26] <+RGS-Zeke> We use the "Beast Folk" (ala Island of Dr. Moreau) - they are surgically altered human beings, who are now viewed as something else entirely. Most of them are shunned by society as pariah, and they live kind of a vagabond life.
[19:27] <+RGSThan> So no elves, or dwarves, or whatnot, just people who have some odd blood that lets them do odd things.
[19:27] <+RGS-Zeke> We only use "races" that make sense to the world.
[19:27] <+Jess_RGS> So...more "supernatural" than "fantasy."
[19:27] <+RGSThan> Very much so.
[19:27] <+RGS-Zeke> exactly.
[19:28] <~Dan> What is the extent of steampunk tech?
[19:28] <+RGS-Zeke> Almost all of the tech in the game is tech that really existed in 1896. We just take what was unique and make it ubiquitous.
[19:29] <+RGS-Zeke> There are a few things we've adapted from Telsa's sketchbook that actually never existed in real life (that we know of), but they are EXCESSIVELY rare.
[19:29] <+RGSThan> With the item creation system players will have a chance to take things further if they want.
[19:30] <+Bigby> Are the Beast Folk essentially a race unto themselves now or would they have regular human children since the alterations are "just" surgical?
[19:30] <+RGSThan> It really lets you push the boundaries, but again, that's the players being exceptional individuals and it won't be commonplace everywhere.
[19:30] <+RGS-Zeke> they would have regular human children - you know, provided someone would actually want to touch them.
[19:30] <~Dan> I think there should be more Beastfolk in the setting.
[19:30] <+RGSThan> If the players make a suit of steam armor, good on them, but there's no British royal power armour corps or anything.
[19:30] <+Bigby> And were all Beast Folk experiments or do some people alter themselves?
[19:30] <~Dan> The Moreau, the merrier.
[19:31] <+RGS-Zeke> wow
[19:31] <+Jess_RGS> Ha!
[19:31] <+RGSThan> You really worked for that one Dan :)
[19:31] <~Dan> :D
[19:31] <+Bigby> Dan and his puns :p
[19:31] <+Jess_RGS> I imagine you'd get beastfolk communities much like real world carny towns, though.
[19:31] <+RGS-Zeke> In truth, the Beast-folk are the most rare. There are less than a couple thousand of them in the world, and they are relatively new.
[19:31] <+Jess_RGS> You know, given time.
[19:32] <+RGS-Zeke> Well, not really.
[19:32] <~Dan> Would it be fair to say that on the tech side, the setting is more "scientific romance" than "steampunk"?
[19:32] <+RGS-Zeke> Since they don't breed, and there are so few of them, they really just end up traveling in very small numbers.
[19:32] <+RGSThan> I'd say somewhere between the two.
[19:33] <+RGS-Zeke> I would use words like "retro-historical with a steampunk flare"
[19:33] <+RGSThan> For example, there are automata that are ambulatory. Because someone made one that could jog at up to 9 mph in the 1890s in actual history.
[19:33] <+RGS-Zeke> And someone designed a synthetic speech system.
[19:33] <~Dan> Huh! I'll be darned.
[19:33] <+RGS-Zeke> and there are optic sensors.
[19:34] <+RGSThan> There are desktop analytical and difference engines with mechanical memory. Because someone in actual history made one and presented it in Paris in the 1880s.
[19:34] <+Jess_RGS> You'd be surprised what existed and didn't get the funding to hit production.
[19:34] <+RGS-Zeke> You'd be AMAZED at what really existed.
[19:34] <+RGSThan> The only newspaper mention talks about how ugly the font was that came from the INTEGRATED PRINTER.
[19:34] <+RGS-Zeke> The French turned down a desktop analytical engine because the typeface was ugly. No joke.
[19:34] <+RGSThan> Also, vive la France.
[19:35] <+RGSThan> Je t'aime.
[19:35] <+Jess_RGS> We hired a guy to do some work on the typeface. Tada.
[19:35] <+RGS-Zeke> So in truth, there is a lot of fantatic technology - it's just all real.
[19:35] <+RGS-Zeke> *fantastic*
[19:36] <+RGSThan> If players want to really steam things up, though, that's a very, very minor tweak to how things are presented.
[19:36] <+GenoFoxx> so Bleriot was the first to fly a heavier-than-air craft?
[19:37] <+RGS-Zeke> When we say "most" - that means we do take a few liberties. We moved up zeppelin production about decade or so.
[19:37] <+RGSThan> But they're still using hydrogen.
[19:37] <+RGS-Zeke> yes.
[19:38] <+RGS-Zeke> We basically put Zeppelins out immediately following their first designs.
[19:39] <~Dan> Let's be honest: Zeppelins are a must. :)
[19:39] <+Jess_RGS> Fact: Zeke wrote most of the cosmology in 1896 in a Zeppelin.
[19:39] <+RGSThan> The adventure we unlocked in our current Kickstarter - Incident Aboard the Egret - actually takes place entirely on a ship modeled off the LZ10 Schwaben.
[19:39] <+RGS-Zeke> There are a few deviations that we went with that had some "trickle effects" - such as Thomas Edison's discovery of Etheric Force.
[19:39] <+Jess_RGS> (Take my facts with a grain of salt.)
[19:39] <+RGSThan> So he became the father of scientific alchemy, and Tesla was left to his own devices much more and was able to be more successful without Edison's rivalry.
[19:40] <~Dan> Did Tesla build his death ray? :)
[19:41] <+RGS-Zeke> It's all based on real press conferences, but in real life "Etheric Force" turned out to be electricity and magnetism (more or less) - we had it truly be what Edison thought it was in 1875. That changes a bit.
[19:41] <+Jess_RGS> I don't think he'd started that in 1896, Dan. ;)
[19:41] <+RGSThan> We can't comment on what may or may not be in the Narrator's chapter ;)
[19:41] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:42] <+RGS-Zeke> but I will say that in reality, Edison had Tesla pretty much digging ditches for a decade... our world does not have that. Tesla didn't lose that time.
[19:42] <+RGS-Zeke> *holding self back - not reveal too much*
[19:42] <+RGSThan> (I totally built a death ray when testing the item creation rules. Don't tell Zeke )
[19:43] <~Dan> So magic doesn't have much influence on the setting, at least on the surface?
[19:43] <+RGSThan> Largely ture.
[19:43] <+RGSThan> *true
[19:43] <+RGS-Zeke> It has a traditional aspect to it.
[19:43] <+Jess_RGS> That's not to say you can't use magic.
[19:44] <+RGS-Zeke> Magic mirrors the "ritual" processes of period magical texts - Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and that sort of thing.
[19:44] <+RGS-Zeke> It's useful - but it's not like D&D
[19:44] <+RGSThan> Magic takes time and an investment of resources.
[19:44] <+RGS-Zeke> It's more like a side-bar to a character than a profession to persue.
[19:44] <+RGSThan> And, if performed poorly, carries risks.
[19:44] <~Dan> So you have a bunch of hoary occultists making actual magic, with people wondering why the bother with that stuff when science does it better?
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[19:45] <+RGS-Zeke> or at least as well.
[19:45] <+Jess_RGS> More importantly, science does it more reliably.
[19:45] * ~Dan nods
[19:45] <+RGSThan> though there are some things that can only be accomplished by magic, so people keep on at it.
[19:45] <+RGSThan> To put it in perspective, in the last campaign I ran there were only three magical rituals performed.
[19:46] <+Jess_RGS> Plus, like anything, it's established so it doesn't just disappear once something else comes along.
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[19:46] <~Dan> This may be creeping more toward the cosmology of the setting, but how common (and commonly believed in) are monsters?
[19:46] <+RGSThan> One got them very useful information they wouldn't have otherwise had, and the other two let them essentially win what would have been a very dangerous encounter without any direct engagement with it.
[19:46] * +Jess_RGS turns down the lights.
[19:46] <+Jess_RGS> Monsters, you say?
[19:47] <+RGS-Zeke> Let me field this.
[19:47] <+RGS-Zeke> So can I start with the Pontus, because we have to talk about this in order.
[19:47] <+Jess_RGS> (Pontus, order, ha!)
[19:47] <+Jess_RGS> (I'll behave.)
[19:48] <~Dan> (*chuckle*)
[19:48] <+RGS-Zeke> So when the Clockmaker made the world, he made it from the primordial chaos, and now the world is decaying back into that chaos. The Pontus has no behavior, no intelligence, no reliable pattern, and no purpose.
[19:48] <~Dan> (I'm sure Zeke will Pontus in the right direction.)
[19:48] <+RGS-Zeke> It is what was, and just like iron rusts into dust - the world is decaying back into the Pontus.
[19:48] <+RGSThan> *rimshot
[19:48] <+RGS-Zeke> guys - I'm developing mood. :P
[19:49] <+RGS-Zeke> :)
[19:49] <+Jess_RGS> I already did that. I turned the lights way down low and started playing creepy music.
[19:49] <+Jess_RGS> And then I promised to behave. Go ahead. ;)
[19:49] <+RGS-Zeke> So the Pontus just creeps up, like a film on water, and is drawn to chaotic and immoral behaviors - things contrary to the design of the Clockwork.
[19:49] <+Alaren> (I'd just like to say I'm impressed with the "make the unique uniquitous" take on alternate history/steampunk technology. It looks like you guys did a lot of research.)
[19:50] <+RGS-Zeke> When it shows up, things stop being normal. Reality breaks down. Most of these events are based on historical events to.
[19:50] <+RGSThan> (Thanks Alaren )
[19:50] <+RGS-Zeke> Sometimes the Pontus devours people - think spontaneous combustion or random disappearances - The monsters that appear - are what the Pontus spits back.
[19:51] <+RGS-Zeke> except, those monsters are hybrid abominations - also from legends and folklore.
[19:52] <+RGS-Zeke> We found some newspaper articles in period about lizard men, the walking dead, and the occasional 30 foot long mutant brontosaurus.
[19:52] <+RGS-Zeke> we didn't need to make anything up.
[19:53] <+RGS-Zeke> (done)
[19:53] <+RGS-Zeke> Alaren - we use a rule: "Everything in the game must hang on a hook in real history"
[19:54] <+Jess_RGS> Now, how far down that hook it hangs, that's where the wiggle room comes in.
[19:54] <+RGS-Zeke> As for "isms"...
[19:55] <~Dan> This is really fascinating stuff. :)
[19:56] <&Silverlion> I like the idea...how much will the game be when it comes out?
[19:56] <+RGS-Zeke> We have found that when you take the sexism, imperialism, religious centrism, ethno-centrism, and and racism out of the Victorian Age - what you're left with is fancy clothes - sometimes with gears and goggles hanging off of them. We wanted more than that.
[19:56] <+Jess_RGS> The setting's much more deep and infectious because all that is still there, imho.
[19:57] <+RGS-Zeke> Silverlion - well, the MRSP is yet to be determined, but you can get a copy of the book for less than it will be over at Kickstarter. Our campaign is still going for a week or so more.
[19:57] <+RGS-Zeke> (Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496416526/clockwork-empire-roleplaying-game)http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1496416526/clockwork-empire-roleplaying-game
[19:57] <+RGSThan> That's where the punk element comes in. Those -isms are still in the world, but we're also taking the social friction that's pushing for more equality and opportunity and push that up as more present and further along as well.
[19:57] <&Silverlion> You mean "less via the kickstarter?"
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[19:58] <+RGS-Zeke> yes.
[19:58] <+Jess_RGS> Also, if you want to take a look at some of the mechanics, there's a link on the Kickstarter page that takes you to the (FREE!) Quick Start Rules, available at DrivethruRPG.
[19:58] <+RGS-Zeke> Robosnake - everyone - this is our editor, contributor, and friend.
[19:58] <+RGSThan> That actually works really well with the cosmology, because the game's core conflict is between order and chaos.
[19:58] <+RGS-Zeke> Yeah, some people forget that the "punk" in steampunk and cyberpunk is supposed to deal with unjust social systems.
[19:58] <~Dan> Howdy, robosnake! Welcome to #rpgnet!
[19:59] <+robosnake> Thanks!
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[19:59] <+RGSThan> Reactionaries argue that the pushes for change are against the divine plan, and those that argue for them muster all the historical arguments, as well as a more vigorous belief that progress must be social as well as material.
[20:00] <+Jess_RGS> Oppressive fanatics! Filthy liberals!
[20:00] <+RGSThan> We know that not every group is interested in that aspect of the struggle though, so while that's present in the setting it doesn't need to be a major theme - or even really ever come up - in any group's game.
[20:01] * ~Dan nods
[20:01] <~Dan> I thought that the first edition of Victoriana went way, way overboard with that.
[20:01] <~Dan> Something that the authors acknowledge, in fact.
[20:02] <+RGSThan> We do want everyone to know that no matter what color, gender, age, orientation, or whatever else you want your character to be, there's a way for them to be that in the game.
[20:02] <~Dan> That's good to know!
[20:02] <+RGS-Zeke> We try to allow the punk to be there for people who want it, and let it fade into the background for people who don't.
[20:02] <+RGSThan> Whether or not that's contentious in-game is up to each group to decide.
[20:02] <+Jess_RGS> Yeah, you're free to push buttons as hard as you want. I mean, it's your game session.
[20:03] <~Dan> That seems wise to me.
[20:04] <~Dan> Personally? Games that make real-world politics objectively good or evil in their settings turn me off.
[20:04] <+RGSThan> Same here.
[20:04] <+RGS-Zeke> That's one of the reasons I like the "airship pirate" campaign - which plays a bit less fantasy-like in our world. - or outlaw campaigns in general - they allow for anyone - whether they are a green haired strong blooded changeling or a man with ape hands.
[20:04] <+RGS-Zeke> (or a minority)
[20:05] <+RGS-Zeke> (or you know - whoever people aren't liking at the moment)
[20:05] <~Dan> On the flipside, I like the fact that you've created a monotheistic theology and have made Order vs. Chaos closer to Good vs. Evil.
[20:06] <+RGS-Zeke> The Chaos/Good/Evil/Order scale is a bit integrated.
[20:06] <~Dan> Oh?
[20:06] <+robosnake> Yeah, in the setting there is the potential for presenting it as an objective good/evil dichotomy, or not, which is something I like
[20:07] <+robosnake> Or it can be a grey area, with the danger and horror coming from the extremes, which is my preference most of the time
[20:07] <+RGS-Zeke> It's more to do with the divine plan. If it's part of the plan, it's good. If it undermines the plan, it's bad. The Clockwork world  IS the plan.
[20:07] <+RGS-Zeke> Most actions are grey.
[20:07] <+RGSThan> There are some things though - murder, torture, etc - that are objectively evil and will have consequences.
[20:07] * ~Dan nods
[20:08] <~Dan> Yeah, I'm all for that.
[20:08] <+RGSThan> Basically, anything that is unnecessary harm is still morally indefensible.
[20:08] <+RGS-Zeke> you're all for murder and torture?
[20:08] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:08] <+Jess_RGS> Let's waterboard him!
[20:08] <+RGS-Zeke> Dan, you might not last that long in the Clockwork. Something's going to eat you.
[20:08] <+Jess_RGS> We can murder him later so he doesn't tell anyone.
[20:08] <+RGSThan> We do have a Corruption mechanic.
[20:09] <~Dan> But no -- I'm all for objective morality in a setting.
[20:09] <+Jess_RGS> Wait, wait, no. We're guests here. I _guess_ that would be impolite.
[20:09] <~Dan> :)
[20:09] <+RGSThan> If you do a bunch of terrible things, your Corruption will start stacking up and then you start running the risk of being the source of a pontus event.
[20:10] <+RGS-Zeke> You basically break down the Clockwork around you through chaotic/evil behavior and a Pontus Event occurs with you at the center.
[20:10] <+RGS-Zeke> It can be minor or major or devastating.
[20:11] <+RGS-Zeke> Breaking the divine plan is like throwing acid on the metal girders that are holding you up. There's a chance you're gonna fall.
[20:11] <+Alaren> So would Jack the Ripper be an example of a monster spawned by a Pontus event or if not what kind of Pontus event could such a guys actions be expected to generate?
[20:11] <+RGS-Zeke> Possibly.
[20:11] <~Dan> Now, you mentioned that magic comes from the angels. Is there "black magic" as well?
[20:11] <+RGS-Zeke> Well sorta.
[20:12] <+RGSThan> It goes back to the grand design.
[20:12] <+RGS-Zeke> There is "pure" magic - magic that is as it was intended for use by angels - and "impure" magic (which some call black magic) which has been added to and corrupted by people.
[20:12] <+RGS-Zeke> but it's all the same system - and is also the same system used by the rituals of the Church. It's all the same.
[20:12] <+Jess_RGS> Since Jack the Ripper isn't precisely known historically, it could be he was just a bad person, who would've probably served as a focal point for Pontus Events. Think of the Pontus as pushing on everything all the time, and that kind of behavior makes you kind of like a wet spot on a paper towel. Might not break there, but it's much more likely than somewhere less compromised.
[20:13] <+RGSThan> And then there's sorcery, which is when you do magic but try to cheat the cost and requirements. it tends to go...poorly.
[20:13] <+RGS-Zeke> Sorcery is bad.
[20:13] * +Jess_RGS handwaves their protests.
[20:13] <+Jess_RGS> Sorcery is fine. I'm not mad.
[20:13] * +Jess_RGS cackles.
[20:14] <+RGS-Zeke> What's that opening up beneath your feet?
[20:14] <+Jess_RGS> A grave. I needed some parts for my new idea.
[20:14] <+RGS-Zeke> but no tentacles... we're really trying to stay away from the whole Cthulhu thing. we have our own brand of horror.
[20:14] * ~Dan nods
[20:15] <+RGS-Zeke> I like to say that the Pontus is a little like "The Nothing" meets "Global Warming"
[20:15] <~Dan> You mentioned the Pontus spitting out chimera type creatures. Are these singular "creations" by definition?
[20:15] <+RGSThan> In the sense that there's no "race" of them, yes.
[20:16] <+RGSThan> You might have creatures that are changed by the same pontus event come out similarly, but there's no group of horrible rat amalgams waiting in a line anywhere.
[20:16] <+Jess_RGS> That sounds like another game entirely.
[20:17] * +Jess_RGS starts scribbling.
[20:17] <~Dan> And all of the creatures are mutated "natural" creatures?
[20:17] <+RGS-Zeke> well sorta... there are legends and reports of "species" of monsters - they breed once they emerge. but the Pontus doesn't have a list of things it produces.
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[20:17] <+RGSThan> Not always, sometimes the pontus will spit out things that never existed.
[20:18] <+RGSThan> Or things will be changed in ways that couldn't ever happen.
[20:18] <+RGS-Zeke> There is no rhyme or reason to the Pontus.
[20:18] <+RGSThan> Narrators can get as off-the-wall as they want with abberations and chimera.
[20:18] <+RGSThan> Which actually leads into the antagonist creation system.
[20:18] <~Dan> I know you want to stay away from Lovecraftian stuff, but the Pontus reminds me of Abhoth.
[20:19] <+RGSThan> Just like items, rituals, etc, we've got a very quick but robust system that focuses on exactly what you want something to do mechanically, and you can describe it however you like.
[20:19] <+RGSThan> A bit.
[20:19] <&Silverlion> Was Fullmetal Alchemist an inspiration? I'm getting that kind of vibe from it.
[20:19] <+RGSThan> The critical difference is that there is no big bad. There's no boss monster/god/alien entity at the center of it directing its actions.
[20:20] <&Silverlion> (For the record, I've been looking for a steampunk game with no "fantasy" races per se, and I'm liking this a lot.
[20:20] <+RGSThan> Creation is built up and around and of the pontus.
[20:20] <+Jess_RGS> (@Silverlion: Clockwork's alchemy is decidedly not FMA alchemy, but we'll get into that in a bit. Let Than give a bit of item stuff.)
[20:20] <+RGSThan> It's just leaching out and breaking things back down.
[20:20] <&Silverlion> That's fine. FMA is a bit "magic superpowers" for some.
[20:20] <+RGS-Zeke> on to alchemy...
[20:21] <+RGSThan> brb.
[20:21] <+Jess_RGS> Oh, I guess he was done. Don't I look silly. I was worried we were spreading out in too many directions at once there.
[20:21] <+Jess_RGS> (AFK a bit, checking on food.)
[20:21] <+RGS-Zeke> Alchemy is based largely on the history of real alchemical research... if it really worked. Thomas Edison had his press conference in 1875 saying he discovered Etheric Force...
[20:22] <+RGS-Zeke> Etheric Force is treated as the missing criteria that allows alchemy to be reliable... so it's more like a science (like the way it's treated in FMA, at least in that regard).
[20:23] <+RGS-Zeke> It basically transmutes matter from one substance to another. You can alter the size/bulk, complexity, structure/durability, and value of an object by transmuting it.
[20:23] <+RGSThan> Which can lead to some pretty interesting uses in item creation too, btw.
[20:23] <+RGS-Zeke> and then you can also control the transmutation to use the energy that comes off of it in various ways - but it's not fantastic D&D magic. It's very methodical.
[20:24] <+RGS-Zeke> There is no flashy supernatural power in the game (except for maybe a very few Charisms and Glamours)
[20:25] <+RGSThan> Or if you go all-out crazy and perform months-long magical rituals with a cult of followers.
[20:25] <+RGS-Zeke> yes, then you can do some amazing things - if you succeed.
[20:26] <+RGS-Zeke> The magic system feels a little like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me - heavily influenced by Victorian manuscripts.
[20:26] <~Dan> You mentioned angels. Are there demons?
[20:26] <+RGS-Zeke> Yes.
[20:26] <+RGS-Zeke> I'm glad you asked.
[20:26] <+RGS-Zeke> So it turns out that demons aren't fallen angels. That's from Paradise Lost, which is fiction.
[20:27] <+RGS-Zeke> the real theology of the Church, ala theologians like Tatian, is that demons are the souls of the Nephilim.
[20:27] <+RGS-Zeke> So if a nephilim dies, his soul becomes a demon.
[20:27] <+RGSThan> Fallen angels are still angels...just not ones you'd ever want to have anything to do with.
[20:27] <+RGS-Zeke> Hence the Church doesn't like to kill them - they mostly pour building foundations around them or sink them into the ocean.. or other things that make them really angry if they get loose.
[20:28] <+RGSThan> Nephilim are immortal.
[20:28] <+RGSThan> It's one bit of their angelic heritage they retain.
[20:28] <+RGSThan> Each one has a specific substance or circumstance that allows them to be permanently killed, though, as the clockwork tries to get rid of them since they were never meant to be.
[20:29] <+RGS-Zeke> There are legends that some nephilim can become angels... but who's to say.
[20:29] <+RGS-Zeke> We really pull from the original writings of everything - including the Church.
[20:29] <+RGSThan> It's worth noting that nephilim aren't inherently good or evil, though. They're people.
[20:30] <+RGS-Zeke> yep.
[20:30] <+RGS-Zeke> well... sorta people.
[20:30] <+RGS-Zeke> people with angelic blood
[20:31] <+Jess_RGS> (back)
[20:32] <~Dan> What about ghosts?
[20:32] <+RGS-Zeke> We have shades.
[20:32] <+RGSThan> There is more info on Nephilim and the benefits of the bloodline in the Quick-start rules and adventure, which you can download for free here: (Link: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/115838/Clockwork-Empire-Quick-Start-Rules?term=clockwork%3A)http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/115838/Clockwork-Empire-Quick-Start-Rules?term=clockwork%3A
[20:32] <+Alaren> I'm liking how a lot of this is based, however tangentially, on actual things.
[20:32] <+RGSThan> Shades and abberations too.
[20:32] <+RGS-Zeke> I'll talk about shades -----
[20:32] <+RGSThan> *in the QSR
[20:33] <&Silverlion> (Push that product! :D )
[20:33] <+RGSThan> We made it free for a reason - we want you to have it. :)
[20:33] <&Silverlion> Indeed!
[20:33] <+RGS-Zeke> The cosmology of the game does not have a mind/body split. So you aren't a soul in a body. You are a complete person that is a body and a soul. A soul without a body is no more a complete person than a body without a head is a complete person.
[20:34] <+RGS-Zeke> So a "shade" is a shadow of a person. If a soul stops resting (i.e. resltelss dead) and it moves away on it's own - it exists as sort of a partial person.
[20:34] <&Silverlion> I'm seriously considering buying it, I don't know about the KS though. (8 days may be too soon for me to get into it alas)
[20:34] <+RGS-Zeke> usually they go mad.
[20:35] <+Jess_RGS> No worries, Silverlion. Follow us on Twitter or FB and you'll know when the core book gets released.
[20:35] <~Dan> Are there zombies?
[20:35] <&Silverlion> It really sounds like an interesting game world. Did I miss mechanics talk?
[20:36] <+RGS-Zeke> Silverlion - there are 12 days left in the KS, and we're 200% funded. It's the best way to ensure a copy at this point, we're not sure what they plans will be after production. I mean, we will produce the game, but when and for how much is up in the air.
[20:36] <+RGS-Zeke> Zombies -
[20:36] <+RGS-Zeke> zombies exist, but they are very rare. We got them from a newspaper article out of Vicksburgh mississippi.
[20:37] <+RGS-Zeke> we like to call them "unquiet dead"
[20:37] <+RGS-Zeke> they just keep coming until you literally dismantle their bodies.
[20:37] <~Dan> Actually, that's a good point, Sil... We've been so wrapped up in the setting, we neglected the mechanics! Can you describe the core system?
[20:37] <+Bigby> So are they more like the traditional voodoo zombie?
[20:37] <+RGS-Zeke> Sure.
[20:37] <+RGSThan> We're always happy to talk about that.
[20:38] <+Jess_RGS> Well, it being nearly Halloween, the weird and creepy bits of the setting are a natural focus.
[20:38] <+RGS-Zeke> The core mechanic (which uses cards, not dice) is a basic Apptitude+Skill based system. Aptitude + Skill - Difficulty + Card value = degree of success.
[20:38] <+RGS-Zeke> it's fairly simple.
[20:38] <+RGS-Zeke> the real robustness of the system comes with the conflict engine and the initiative sequence.
[20:39] <&Silverlion> So the weight of the system is on the difficulty side?
[20:39] <+RGS-Zeke> not sure what you mean Silverlion
[20:39] <+Jess_RGS> It's worth pointing out that when Zeke says "degree of success" that's exactly what he means. You can succeed at something just barely or amazingly, rather than just a binary result.
[20:39] <+RGS-Zeke> initiative is non-linear and involves a bit of resource management with the cards - it allows character to overextend to act at any moment, and doesn't go round robin at all. It really keeps players engaged.
[20:40] <&Silverlion> Well you have a fixed Aptitide+Skill and then You subtract the Difficulty+Card that means the DIFF is the weighty side rather than the Aptitide side..
[20:40] <+RGS-Zeke> No more "I'm getting up to grab a smoke, I've got two people before I go"
[20:40] <&Silverlion> That's cool. I always worry about that with card mechanics--but I love them when they work.
[20:40] <+RGSThan> Actually not quite Silverlion.
[20:41] <+RGSThan> Difficulties can start at 0, so some or even many tests will be pretty low on difficulty.
[20:41] <+RGSThan> The cards have both positive and negative modifiers from -5 up to +5, so it depends on relative skill.
[20:41] <+RGSThan> If you have a high combination, you could get remarkable successes on routine/easy tasks regularly.
[20:42] <+Alaren> I'm trying to quit smoking anyway, so maybe I can convince my wife to let me pitch in on this kickstarter on the grounds that this will be a good cessation aid.
[20:42] <+RGSThan> And you have a lot of insurance against even a bad card flip.
[20:42] <+RGSThan> The reason we're using cards rather than dice is that we're able to control the outcomes in the deck.
[20:43] <+Jess_RGS> Instead of using really wonky combinations of dice, we can have a customized curve with the cards.
[20:43] <+RGSThan> So there are only 3 each of the -5 or +5 cards, and a dozen cards at +0.
[20:43] <+RGSThan> it's also cool because combat becomes more about relative skill between opponents.
[20:43] <+RGSThan> instead of luck of the dice.
[20:43] <+RGS-Zeke> Cards also allows us to use "Conditions" - which are simple mechanical effects of conflict. When you "flip for damage" you can choose one of the card's conditions and place it on your opponent. Conditions are things like "Outmaneuvered" or "Unbalanced" - which can affect a character's ability to fight.
[20:44] <+RGS-Zeke> It allows the minor damage outcomes to be more story based rather than number based.
[20:44] <&Silverlion> Do you have a hand giving you a choice of effect?
[20:45] <+Bigby> So what all is on each individual card?  A value of +/- 0-5, a Condition, anything else?
[20:45] <&Silverlion> Ah..sorry i'm behind :d
[20:45] <+RGS-Zeke> Silverlion - No hand. You just flip over a number of cards equal to your damage rating of your weapon. You can choose one card from the cards flipped and use the Condition on that card.
[20:46] <+RGSThan> You normally only flip one card to determine an outcome of a test.
[20:46] <+RGSThan> Though there are some mechanics that let you re-flip, or require you to flip more than once and use the best or worst result.
[20:46] <+RGSThan> But those are infrequent at best.
[20:47] <~Dan> Speaking of damage, can you address the way it relates (or doesn't, rather) to a character's strength?
[20:47] <+RGS-Zeke> Bigby - A Card Value (that's your -5 to +5 value for test resolution), A Card Number (a unique number from 1-100 that breaks ties and allows for percentile numbers for story telling purposes), a Condition Name (described above), and a Condition description (to tell you what it does).
[20:47] <&Silverlion> Still I like that. (My favorite card powered game is Marvel Saga so.)
[20:47] <+RGSThan> It doesn't directly relate.
[20:47] <+RGS-Zeke> Silverlion - I don't usually say things like this - but I'm not familiar with that game.
[20:48] <+RGSThan> If you're making an attack that uses your Vigor and you have a high vigor, you're much more likely to get a high degree of success and be able to place a condition.
[20:48] <+RGS-Zeke> sorta.
[20:48] <+RGSThan> The game doesn't use hit points.
[20:48] <&Silverlion> Well this is your Q&A so we'll talk about that if you return to chat.
[20:49] <+RGSThan> So you aren't trying to knock off so much of a person's math.
[20:49] <&Silverlion> I like the curve of the game and yes cards are easier for some things
[20:49] <+RGSThan> Instead, in physical conflict characters raise their Guard.
[20:49] <+RGSThan> (which is based partly on your physical aptitudes).
[20:49] <+RGSThan> Once a character's guard is down, they can be wounded.
[20:50] <+RGSThan> Wounds are serious business. You do not want to be wounded.
[20:50] <+RGS-Zeke> There's no real "Strength" attribute like you're used to. Grace is all graceful movement including applied strength through dexterity - and Vigor is like a mixture of robust, strength and constitution. The game is designed by a team of martial artists, so we know that brawn rarely beats agility - but we allow for special assets and mastery abilities so that
[20:50] <+Alaren> How many cards are in the deck?
[20:50] <+RGS-Zeke> you can create those rare characters.
[20:50] <+RGS-Zeke> there are 100 cards in the deck.
[20:50] <+RGS-Zeke> The game is played with one deck for all players.
[20:51] <+RGSThan> though if you run a big group and want to use one deck for the narrator and one for the players you can.
[20:51] <~Dan> So would a dinosaur use Vigor-based attacks?
[20:51] <+RGSThan> I've run as many as 7 players + my npcs off a single deck just fine.
[20:51] <+robosnake> A small dinosaur would probably use Grace
[20:52] <+RGS-Zeke> Dan - you're still trying to insert a strength Aptitude. :)
[20:52] <+RGS-Zeke> We invite you to think of the whole character make-up differently. :)
[20:52] <+RGS-Zeke> but yes, a Dinosaur would use Vigor.
[20:52] <+RGS-Zeke> :)
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[20:52] <~Dan> Nah. I'm just curious to see how the system handles certain things. :)
[20:52] <+RGSThan> Vigor is a blend of stamina, strength, and durability.
[20:52] <~Dan> (Howdy, DulothX!)
[20:53] <+Bigby> Wait, is there dinosaurs, Lost World style?
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[20:53] <+RGS-Zeke> No.
[20:53] <+RGS-Zeke> Just an example. :)
[20:53] <+Bigby> Aww...
[20:53] <+RGS-Zeke> But there was a mutant brontasaurus in bolivia.
[20:53] <+RGSThan> Who knows what the pontus throws out, though.
[20:53] <~Dan> Although, to be fair, you did mention a 30' mutant dinosaur earlier. :)
[20:53] <+RGSThan> Yup.
[20:53] <+RGS-Zeke> The king of boliva hired a band of adventures to go kill it.
[20:53] <+RGS-Zeke> you can't make this stuff up.
[20:54] <+RGS-Zeke> it had three heads.
[20:54] <+RGS-Zeke> no joke.
[20:54] <+RGSThan> It was printed in international newspapers.
[20:54] <+Bigby> That's pretty epic.
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[20:54] <+RGS-Zeke> We thought so.
[20:54] <&Silverlion> Hehe. Awesome.
[20:54] <+Jess_RGS> Bronto-burgers for all.
[20:54] <+RGS-Zeke> The game does delve a bit into cryptozoology - we had to in order to keep our historical approach.
[20:55] <+RGS-Zeke> It only had to exist once for us to use it.
[20:55] <~Dan> Are cryptids Pontus-spawn, then?
[20:55] <+RGS-Zeke> usually.
[20:55] <+RGS-Zeke> We try to keep it up to the play group.
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[20:56] <+RGS-Zeke> It would be a great adventure to send players out to kill a bunch of pontus creatures only later to find out that they were an anomalous normal creatures. Depends on how much you like your players.
[20:56] <+RGSThan> ...and conservation.
[20:56] <+Alaren> hehe
[20:57] <+RGSThan> From the right angle, most animals in Australia are like pontus creatures.
[20:57] <+RGSThan> don't forget the male platypus' "mating claw" on its rear flippers is poisonous.
[20:57] <+RGS-Zeke> Especially teh one that lures you in with a sheep-shaped appendage only to eat you once you get too close.
[20:57] <+RGSThan> Because...obviously.
[20:58] <+RGS-Zeke> (didn't make that up either)
[20:58] <&Silverlion> hehe.
[20:58] <&Silverlion> Awesome.
[20:58] <~Dan> We're creeping up on 9 Central. As I mentioned earlier, you guys are welcome to stay as long as you like, but is there anything we haven't discussed that you'd like to bring up?
[20:59] <+RGS-Zeke> Unless there are any questions - I'll touch on a relatively minor mechanical point: Purpose.
[20:59] <~Dan> Certainly.
[20:59] <+RGS-Zeke> There are two point pools that a character has access to - one to represent his adherence his place in the divine plan (Purpose), and one to represent his ability to act against it (Ether).
[21:00] <+RGS-Zeke> Ether lets you redraw cards when you draw poorly, etc.
[21:00] <+RGS-Zeke> Purpose allows you to take MINOR temporary narrative control of the story.
[21:00] <+RGS-Zeke> you can basically spend a point of purpose to add something plausible to the scene (plausible not possible). It's the Clockwork's way of helping you out.
[21:01] <+RGS-Zeke> The best example I have for this involves a chandelier.
[21:01] <+RGS-Zeke> A character was fighting an enemy in a ballroom - and the chandelier was above his head. The player said, "That chandelier's got to be tied to the wall somewhere. Is it plausible that's tied right by me?"
[21:02] <+RGS-Zeke> Yes - that's plausible. He spend his point of Purpose, added the change, and then cut the rope.
[21:02] <+RGS-Zeke> It allows players to really add to the story.
[21:03] <+RGSThan> Purpose can also allow an automatic defense against an outcome you want to avoid - such as a wound, or being convinced/persuaded of something.
[21:03] <~Dan> Interesting. So each serves a different "hero point" function.
[21:03] <+RGS-Zeke> But it ties a bit more into the cosmology.
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[21:03] * ~Dan nods
[21:03] <~Dan> That's rather cool.
[21:03] <+RGSThan> Thanks.
[21:03] <+RGS-Zeke> We tried to not have anything vestigial. All things are tied into the game world.
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[21:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, Abstruse!)
[21:04] <+RGS-Zeke> I think Than is staying for a bit longer - but I need to turn in. Are there any other questions for me before I head out?
[21:04] <+Abstruse> (Hello...sorry I missed everything)
[21:04] <+RGSThan> I can hang out for a little while longer.
[21:04] <+RGSThan> I will try not to cry myself to sleep tonight Abstruse.
[21:04] <+RGSThan> I may not succeed.
[21:05] <~Dan> I'd just ask where you'd put the game on the "cinematic" scale, from 1-10, with 1 being totally gritty and 10 being over the top action.
[21:05] <+RGS-Zeke> Abstruse - you can download our Quick-Start Rules and catch up :)
[21:05] <~Dan> Abstruse here is the gaming columnist for Ain't It Cool News. :)
[21:06] <+RGSThan> By default it's about a 5, but the mechanics can let you run it out at either end if you like.
[21:06] <+RGSThan> I wasn't joking about crying myself to sleep.
[21:06] <+RGSThan> I remember Abstruse asked some great questions.
[21:06] <+RGS-Zeke> As for cinematic-ness - I'd say we really tried to have it "feel" gritty - while having the outcome be more cinematic.
[21:06] <+RGS-Zeke> We tried to have combat feel real - but not necessitate character mortality to do so.
[21:07] <+Abstruse> (I did? When was that? Are you sure it was me? I was probably drunk...)
[21:07] * ~Dan nods
[21:07] <+RGSThan> I'll be hanging out for a while Abstruse, so feel free to ask away.
[21:07] <+Jess_RGS> The flow of combat is definitely more like an interative story than stop-and-start crunchiness.
[21:07] <+RGS-Zeke> the action/reaction conflict resolution lets combat be told in vignettes.
[21:08] <+Bigby> Sounds interesting.  I got the free download and will be taking a look at the Kickstarter.
[21:08] <+RGS-Zeke> awesome. thanks.
[21:08] <+Bigby> You guys have a good night.  I gotta jet.
[21:08] <+RGSThan> Cool, let us know what you think Bigby
[21:08] <+RGSThan> Night, thanks for stopping in.
[21:08] <+RGS-Zeke> that's all for me, folks. Good night!
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[21:08] <~Dan> Thanks for coming by, Zeke!
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[21:09] <+RGSThan> So one thing we haven't gotten into much yet is social conflict.
[21:09] <+RGSThan> Anyone have any particular questions or would you like a quick overview?
[21:10] <~Dan> (Please continue -- need to step away for just a sec.)
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[21:11] <+RGSThan> Well, at the basic level we wanted to make sure it was a system that was meaningful and still realistic.
[21:11] <+Jess_RGS> (Sorry so quiet, been ducking in and out, dealing with dinner.)
[21:12] <+RGSThan> Way too many games allow for a binary pass/fail on a single test to try to make some complicated social interactions.
[21:13] <+RGSThan> So to make the conflict more flexible and give some real options to manage it we made it a full conflict system that mirrors and winds into the systems for physical conflict as well.
[21:13] <+RGSThan> The only difference is that instead of working through someone's physical guard, you try to change their disposition towards whatever point or belief you're arguing for.
[21:15] <+RGSThan> Once their disposition is favorable, if you make another successful attack, you've convinced them of a belief, or persuaded them to take a course of action.
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[21:17] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:18] <+RGSThan> So any other questions?
[21:18] <~Dan> So how does it work in combat?
[21:19] <+RGSThan> Even if you're in physical conflict, characters can and very often will want to make social attacks.
[21:20] <+RGSThan> Since you're trying to work through someone's guard, if you can distract or intimidate them, it can lower their guard.
[21:20] <+RGSThan> You're dividing their attention and making them less able to defend themselves.
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[21:20] <+RGSThan> So social attacks can't cause physical wounds, but they can certainly enable them. And social attacks and physical attacks both allow you to place conditions, so they can be very influential.
[21:21] * ~Dan nods
[21:21] <+Jess_RGS> A convincing feint in a swordfight is very much a social attack.
[21:21] <+RGSThan> Also, you could try to make social attacks to change your opponent's morale, potentially making them surrender or retreat.
[21:22] <+RGSThan> You want characters with a mix of skills, since if you have someone that's incredibly skewed one way or the other, they're vulnerable.
[21:22] * ~Dan nods
[21:22] <+RGSThan> A character who's lethal in a fight but has a pathetic social defense will be able to be manipulated into exposing themselves in a fight...
[21:23] <+Jess_RGS> I love that you can work in-fight banter into the fight and have it matter. "Why are you smiling?" "Because I know something you don't know." "And what is that?" "I...am not left-handed." *switches hands*
[21:23] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:23] <+RGSThan> and someone who's incredibly persuasive but has no combat skills might go down in only two or three punches if it came to blows.
[21:23] <+RGSThan> Exactly.
[21:24] <+Jess_RGS> That's why I love that example, Than. It ties everything together so perfectly.
[21:24] <+RGSThan> We've been really thrilled at how well people have responded to the social conflict options.
[21:24] <+RGSThan> You can realistically, meaningfully sway the course of the game socially.
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[21:25] <+RGSThan> I even ran one con scenario that didn't have any physical conflict. The critical conflict was exclusively between the pcs, when they were split into two groups using a social conflict to resolve which course of action they would take.
[21:25] <+RGSThan> the players loved it.
[21:26] <+Jess_RGS> Conflict is much more of an interactive story than it is in a lot of games.
[21:26] <~Dan> So who are the enemies, generally speaking?
[21:26] <+RGSThan> it depends on the game.
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[21:26] <~Dan> Are there cultists actively encourating the Pontus?
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[21:27] <+RGSThan> An usual assortment would be criminals, pontus-touched abberations and chimera, and members of organizations opposed by the characters.
[21:27] <+RGSThan> If you were running a highly social game with lots of intrigue, it could be a rival family or debutante.
[21:28] <+RGSThan> If you're playing high adventure it could be strange animals, pirates (airship or naval), foreign spies, rogue alchemists, or a magical cult with a fell purpose.
[21:28] <+RGSThan> There quite likely are individuals who are insane enough to think so.
[21:29] <+RGSThan> Most people in a cult are likely being manipulated by their leaders for some other purpose, usually magical.
[21:29] <+Jess_RGS> And depending on your characters, things open up further. If you're an nephilim, for instance, there are elements of the Church you're going to have serious trouble with.
[21:30] <+RGSThan> The game does also have organizations - the Witchfinders in the empire, or the Inquisition of the Magisterium - that actively fight and attempt to thwart anything that courts too much pontus activity.
[21:30] <+Jess_RGS> Well, I led into that one nicely. ;)
[21:30] <+RGSThan> Indeed.
[21:30] <+RGSThan> They do also go after non-pureblooded mortals.
[21:30] <+RGSThan> Anything that might be a supernatural threat.
[21:31] <+Jess_RGS> Also you could just be in a regular war against regular opposition. I mean, stranger things have happened in the British Empire.
[21:31] <+Jess_RGS> They've been known to have trouble in the colonies now and again.
[21:31] <+RGSThan> Military campaigns are absolutely possible.
[21:32] <+RGSThan> There were quite a lot of conflicts - both official and unofficial - that the empire was involved in during the 1890s.
[21:32] <+RGSThan> We're also making sure that the core book details several cities throughout the empire that you can use as the settings and centers of gravity for your games:
[21:33] <+RGSThan> London (of course), Edinburgh, Scotland, Melbourne, Australia, and Shanghai, China
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[21:33] <+RGSThan> All part of the empire, all major centers of culture and commerce, and all dealing with wildly different circumstances in 1896.
[21:36] <~Dan> What about the U.S.?
[21:36] <+RGSThan> Boston will be in there as well.
[21:36] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[21:37] <+RGSThan> I don't want to say too much, as it's a longer conversation than I have time for, but there are some slight tweaks to history there as well.
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[21:37] <~Dan> Can you give an example?
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[21:37] <+RGSThan> Again, we're keeping one step from history, but Boston is in slightly different circumstances.
[21:39] <+RGSThan> To be brief, England is still a bit more involved in the area than in actual history.
[21:39] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[21:39] <+RGSThan> The US exists, they still won the war for independence and in 1812, but some of the details are a bit different, and some lines on the map didn't end up the same.
[21:41] <+RGSThan> And with that, highly cryptic response I'm going to have to give last call for any other questions.
[21:41] <~Dan> Heh. I love that sort of thing. :)
[21:41] <~Dan> Actually, I should turn in as well. Anyone have any last questions?
[21:42] <~Dan> Okay then! Let's put this Q&A to bed as well. :)
[21:42] <~Dan> Jess, Than, thanks again for coming by to chat with us!
[21:42] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted shortly.
[21:42] <+RGSThan> Thanks for the opportunity Dan, we really appreciate it.
[21:43] <~Dan> Absolutely!
[21:43] <+RGSThan> Have a great night!
[21:43] <~Dan> You too!

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