Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Q&A] Jonathan M. Thompson (Crios)

[19:06] <+JMThompson> Good evening/morning/etc to everyone. I am Jonathan M. Thompson, owner and director of Battlefield Press and one of the chief writers on our new game currently being kickstarted.
[19:07] <+JMThompson> The world is a traditional fantasy world, only after an event known as the "god wars" magic has become unstable. In the years since the God Wars, magic has steadily waned and become unstable, giving rise in its place an industrial revolution and technologies that now do what magic once did, and at a cheaper cost.
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[19:08] <+JMThompson> All of this doesn't come without a price, now that price is they are involved in a brutal world war. Crios is a fantasy campaign setting that mashes the fantasy genre with that of Earth's First World War. This will be a complete RPG based on the Renaissance Deluxe setting published by Cakebread & Walton.
[19:09] <+JMThompson> (done)
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[19:09] <~Dan> Thanks, Jonathan!
[19:09] <~Dan> Any questions to start us off?
[19:09] <+Abstruse> Are you using a new system or a licensed/OGL one for the rules?
[19:09] <+Mitchw> I have not read any of the Cakebread and Walton stuff, what is the basic system mechanic?
[19:10] <+JMThompson> The Renaissance Deluxe system is a set of role-playing rules using the D100-based system first introduced in their Clockwork & Chivalry 2nd Edition.
[19:10] <+JMThompson> So its compatible with other d100 based systems.
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[19:10] <+Abstruse> (BTW, I didn't introduce name is Darryl Mott Jr. aka Abstruse and I write the tabletop gaming column for Ain't It Cool News and I'm the owner/producer/engineer of the Gamer's Tavern podcast)
[19:11] <+Abstruse> So magic's still around in this setting?
[19:11] <+Killyb> Mr. Thompson: what are your two favorite parts of your Crios setting that set it apart from other 'magitech' settings?
[19:11] <+JMThompson> It does exist, but its unstable.
[19:11] <+Abstruse> Define "unstable"...
[19:13] <+JMThompson> The use of magic is dangerous in itself. Everytime a spellcaster does anything, they have a chance of something detrimental happening. Magic is "wild" for lack of a better term.
[19:13] <+Mitchw> Is magic affected by the presence of tech?
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[19:15] <+JMThompson> No, it isn't.... tech came about because magic proved to be unreliable and eventually they learned to curb its usage. There are ancient magical items still around or older casters, while they are still affected by the destabilizing presence they have a better shot at avoiding something negative happening.
[19:16] <+Mitchw> WW I level, does that mean guns?  Basic Tanks, etc.?
[19:16] <+JMThompson> Yes, it means exactly that.
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[19:17] <~Dan> What fantasy races are involved, and do they comprise entire nations of their own?
[19:20] <+Abstruse> What's the adventuring paradigm? What do you have built into the setting that gets the PCs out the door and involved in the game world?
[19:20] <+JMThompson> Some of them do, some of them don't... depends on the race really. Generally speaking Elves, Dwarves, Half-lings, Goblins, Kitsune, Dragons, Gnomes, Humans, all have their own country or countries, changelings, orcs, minotaurs do not.
[19:21] <&Silverlion> Hrms.
[19:21] <+Abstruse> Kitsune? Are these anthropomorphic fox-people or something else?
[19:21] <+JMThompson> They are fox type people.
[19:21] <&Silverlion> Are the Europastiches?
[19:21] <+Mitchw> And do they have a Japanese based culture?
[19:22] <~Dan> And what does the Kitsune say?
[19:22] <+JMThompson> They have an Asian based culture, not strictly one distinct cultural influence.
[19:22] <+JMThompson> The the heck out of my face before I eat you? :)
[19:22] <~Dan> :)
[19:23] <~Dan> What are Changelings in this context?
[19:23] <+JMThompson> They are doppelgangers.
[19:23] <+Mitchw> How close do the races and countries match to real world analogs?
[19:24] <+JMThompson> They have no country of their own, instead preferring to conceal themselves, often hiring themselves out as mercenaries for stealth missions.
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[19:24] <&Silverlion> So its very "D&D" versions of Changelings?
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[19:25] <+JMThompson> There are some elements that were borrowed from real world counterparts. I have a particular area of expertise in the historical period
[19:25] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, CParent! Here for the Q&A?)
[19:26] <~Dan> How traditional are the standard fantasy races?
[19:26] <&Silverlion> Is the world map ours? or another?
[19:26] <+JMThompson> It was originally developed as a d20 Modern setting about the time the last d20 crash happened. So I have been sitting on some art and a half completed manuscript searching for something to do with it until this past GenCon. So it did retain some of its D&Disms
[19:26] <+Mitchw> Do the rules cover vehicle (tank, plane, etc.) combat?
[19:26] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:27] <+JMThompson> The world is another. It is not Earth, even though some of the material has some parallels.
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[19:27] * +Abstruse hits Dan over the head with a pillow for the "What does the Kitsune say" line.
[19:27] <+JMThompson> The rules do cover vehicle combat, wouldn't be much use as a military setting if it didn't.
[19:27] <+Abstruse> (Sorry for the delay, my editor wanted to talk about the column.)
[19:28] <~Dan> :D
[19:29] <~Dan> (Howdy, KJ!)
[19:29] <+Mitchw> Do the various races have preferred tech?  Dwarven Tankers, Elf Flying Aces, etc.?
[19:30] <+JMThompson> Elves are natural born pilots, high reflexes, thin framed. Dwarves are mechanics and engineers, Orcs make natural infantry and Halflings are often sought after because they excel in the area of tactics
[19:31] <~Dan> Are there monsters, and if so, how does their presence affect the setting?
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[19:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, FaerieGodfather!)
[19:32] <+FaerieGodfather> (hey, hey)
[19:33] <+GenoFoxx> Sounds a bit like Escaflowne only without magictech mechs
[19:33] <+JMThompson> There are monsters. They do things like attack shipping lanes (because they want to) or hide from approaching armies, or even sometimes can be convinced to join up. Each creature in our creature catalog will have some data on how they might react, but frankly its the GMs world and we will suggest but its up to them to determine the exact method.
[19:34] <+JMThompson> GenoFoxx: Hi and you know, I can see the comparison. I know it wasn't a conscience influence, but it is a manga I really enjoy.
[19:34] <~Dan> What is the source of the conflict?
[19:35] <+JMThompson> What always causes a conflict, greedy neighbors and a power vacuum :)
[19:35] <~Dan> Are there any obvious good guys/bad guys?
[19:36] <+JMThompson> There are. The blurb I wrote for it reads "When the King of the Dwarven nation of Tharos suddenly dies without an heir. This is when the neighboring Goblin nation of Qual sees its opportunity to control the land it has coveted for years, an action which the other countries surrounding Tharos cannot, by treaty, tolerate. "
[19:36] <+Abstruse> I'd like to know a little more about the rules system. Can you give me a cliff's notes version of how the rules work?
[19:37] <+JMThompson> Its the child of Runequest and Call of Cthulhu. Basically  Runequest -> Mongoose Runequest -
[19:38] <+JMThompson> Open Quest -> Renaissance Deluxe
[19:39] <+JMThompson> Skills are based on a d100 system, and you roll against your percentage vs difficulty to determine success.
[19:39] <~Dan> Did I miss the answer to Abstruse's question about the adventure paradigm?
[19:39] <+JMThompson> I think I missed the question.
[19:41] <~Dan> I think he was basically asking what "adventurers" do in the setting.
[19:41] <+JMThompson> I look at adventures, as something of a combination of Lord of the Rings and Twilight 2000.
[19:42] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting mix.
[19:42] <+Mitchw> Is the war a 'popular war' where the people are behind it or just the governments war that the people tolerate because they have to?
[19:43] <+JMThompson> In the current timeline the war has a following. Its a show for Faith, King and Country. Its still in the early stages, not gotten down to like when France had nearly exhausted its supply of eligible men in WW1.
[19:45] <~Dan> Is there trench warfare?
[19:45] <+Abstruse> The question was specifically about the "Adventuring paradigm". What is it that gets the PCs out the door and involved in the plot that's built into the system/setting?
[19:45] <+JMThompson> There is trench warfare
[19:46] <+Abstruse> (For example, Shadowrun's is "Mr. Johnson hires you to do a job", D&D's is "Monsters have treasure beyond imagining, we just need to kill them first", etc.)
[19:48] <~Dan> Yeah... Is the assumption that the PCs are part of the military?
[19:50] <+JMThompson> The characters are not necessarily part of the military, but would be helpful if they were all allied. That doesn't mean they have to play characters that are specifically linked to one side or the other.
[19:50] <+CParent> I think the thing to remember is that this is a world setting where it can be all of the above.  Jonathan will correct me if I am wrong, but the idea is that there are lots of options for the GM to fit the PCs into basically any type of scenario.
[19:50] <+JMThompson> Right.
[19:51] <+CParent> (I'm Craig who will be working with Jonathan on the project, by the way)
[19:51] <~Dan> (Welcome, Craig!)
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[19:51] <+CParent> (:))
[19:51] <~Dan> Is the tech capped at WW1 levels, or are there any examples of "weird" and/or magical technology?
[19:52] <+Abstruse> Is the world actively at war, or is it more of a cold war at this point?
[19:53] <+JMThompson> The world is actively at war. The tech is generally WW1 technology, and there are no examples of "advanced tech" in the core rules. That doesn't rule out the future inclusion of such in scenarios.
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[19:53] <+CParent> And like he said, it is early in the war which gives the GM some flexibility in adventure design.
[19:54] <~Dan> Do any of the races have better-than-real-world-human technology? Do Dwarves have better tanks, etc.?
[19:56] <+JMThompson> There is some of that, dwarves were the first to invent the automatic machine gun, the interrupter gear and so on. Dwarves are generally making the quickest advances.
[19:57] <~Dan> Interrupter gear being the mechanism that allows machine guns to fire through propellers, IIRC?
[19:57] <+JMThompson> Right.
[19:58] <+JMThompson> Its job is to stop the propellers rotation for the quarter second it takes for the bullet to pass through the space between the blades
[19:59] <+Abstruse> Interrupters work the other way round. They stop the stream of bullets when the propeller's in the way.
[19:59] <~Dan> So tech isn't higher than real-world WW1 tech, but are there any examples of race-specific technology? I'm thinking of weapons designed with Dwarven tunnels in mind, for example.
[20:00] <+Abstruse> Stopping the propellers on an airplane in flight is pretty much universally a bad idea ^_^;;
[20:00] * +Abstruse watched a lot of History Channel when they still talked about history...
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[20:01] <+JMThompson> Yes... true. I had forgotten where I was for a second.
[20:02] <+CParent> (You mean pawn shops and junk collectors aren't history!?)
[20:02] <+Abstruse> (No, of course not. Everyone knows history is all about how aliens built everything because humans are stupid except the Mayans who predicted the end of the world!)
[20:02] <+CParent> (HAH!)
[20:03] <+JMThompson> (liked it better when it was the Hitler channel)
[20:04] <~Dan> (Did you see my last question, Jonathan?)
[20:05] <+JMThompson> There is no reason that cant be part of your version of the setting, we will lay the groundwork for things like that.
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[20:06] <~Dan> Given its instability, how common is magic in the setting?
[20:06] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, boneguard! Here for the Q&A?)
[20:06] <+boneguard> Yes
[20:07] <+JMThompson> There are still those that insist that its not going to hurt them. So, while there are spellcasters running around and even can be pcs, there wont be more than one in a group...if that (at least as we would run it).
[20:07] <~Dan> (The floor's open to questions!)
[20:08] <~Dan> How potentially powerful is magic?
[20:10] <+Abstruse> And how dangerous?
[20:11] <+JMThompson> Are you familiar with Wild Magic from D&D?
[20:11] <~Dan> Nope.
[20:11] <+Abstruse> Vaguely.
[20:11] <+boneguard> Yes
[20:12] <+Abstruse> Cast something, roll on a random table to see what you get.
[20:12] <+boneguard> And magic can be weaker or more powerful then normal
[20:12] <+JMThompson> And this happens every time a spellcaster casts a spell.
[20:12] <+Abstruse> Sometimes your fireball comes out lightning, sometimes it blows up in your face, sometimes it hits like a Zippo lighter, sometimes it's a subtactical nuke.
[20:13] <~Dan> Sounds a bit like hexes in Deadlands.
[20:15] <+boneguard> ouch
[20:15] <+JMThompson> That's the reason why they quit relying on it and only the brave and/or foolhardy take it on as a profession
[20:15] <+Abstruse> That's what it was like in D&D anyway....
[20:16] <+JMThompson> The idea remains the same.
[20:17] <~Dan> So magic is unstable, but does that affect magic creatures?
[20:17] <~Dan> Things like ghosts, demons, etc.?
[20:18] <+JMThompson> They do not seem to be affected for some reason. Theory is that the closer that being is to being magical in nature, the more stable it becomes for them.
[20:19] <+JMThompson> As Dragons do not seem to suffer any ill effects
[20:19] <+boneguard> Not sure if it was covered (Can't see what was typed before I came in), but how advanced is technology? and do they have A combination of Tech and Magic?
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[20:20] <+JMThompson> They do not have a combination , magic is too unstable for them to rely upon. Its straight up tech and they are WW1 level of technology.
[20:23] <~Dan> Do gods have influence over the setting?
[20:24] <+JMThompson> No, they exist... they have temples built to them, but they have no direct influence say like the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance.
[20:25] <~Dan> No miracles or the like?
[20:26] <+JMThompson> No. years back in their history the races were created to be sport for the gods. They decided they didn't like this and made their own destinies.
[20:26] <+JMThompson> There is not really anything ruling miracles out, but they would be uncommon.
[20:27] <~Dan> You mentioned dragons having their own country. Do they use technology?
[20:27] <+JMThompson> They don't typically, they can but when you are generally bullet resistant, breath fire and can fly all on your own...then why would you need it?
[20:29] <+JMThompson> brb
[20:29] <~Dan> Is it an entire nation of dragons, or are the dragons just in charge?
[20:29] <+boneguard> Overall how many factions are there? A couple nations are mentioned in the Kickstarter, but obviously it's not the whole of it
[20:33] <+JMThompson> Nation of dragons. There are five types, the head of each gets a vote and majority rules.
[20:34] <~Dan> How powerful are individual dragons? Could you compare them to dragons in other settings?
[20:34] <+JMThompson> There are about 25 country entries.
[20:35] <+JMThompson> Dragons can range from small dragons to ancient ones (though the older ones don't tend to do much in the way of fighting abroad.
[20:36] <~Dan> (Do they fight a guy instead?)
[20:36] <+Abstruse> What are your dragons like?
[20:36] <+boneguard> Kind of remind me of Earthdawn/Shadowrun Dragons
[20:36] <+Abstruse> I mean are they more bestial or are they more like Shadowrun where the older they get, the more puppetmastery they are?
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[20:37] <~Dan> (Howdy, Aeolius!)
[20:37] <+Aeolius> evening all
[20:37] <+JMThompson> They are not bestial, they have their own agenda in this war. Which may or may not be the same as their allies.
[20:37] <+boneguard> (hi)
[20:37] <+Abstruse> The 25 countries, is that all the countries on the planet? Or just on this continent?
[20:38] <+Abstruse> Or is it just the big ones with smaller nationstates fluttering around?
[20:38] <+JMThompson> Just on this continent, other continents will be flushed out in future sourcebooks.
[20:38] <+JMThompson> We have a whole world to explore.... we start where the action is centralized and then fan out.
[20:40] <+boneguard> Now the KS started strong, but now has been slow in the last week or so. What is the plan B, in case you don't get fully funded? (sorry if it has been asked before)
[20:43] <+JMThompson> Plan B is to continue to work on it, and re-launch the kickstarter again in the future. Obviously without funding it will take longer to get ready. The project wont die, its survived this long and I forsee it being out eventually. Its too cool of a project (if I do say so myself) to just ignore it.
[20:44] <+boneguard> I fully agree with you, ity's a great concept, and not enough RPG explore WWI era (or in this care WWI-like Era).
[20:45] <+Abstruse> (Kickstarters tend to run on an inverse bell curve...there's a lot of interest the first few days when it launches and the last few days before it ends. Also, send me an email with a link to it and I'll put it in my next Ain't It Cool News column.)
[20:45] <~Dan> Is there any room for exploration in the setting, or is it all about the war?
[20:45] <+CParent> That's why people should share the heck out of it!  Help us get the word out.  :)
[20:46] <+JMThompson> My desire is to make this a stand alone game (which is why I picked renaissance) able to stand on its own where all you need is the one book, friends and dice and a night of fun and excitement.
[20:46] <+JMThompson> There is room for exploration. there is still some terra incognita aroudn
[20:47] <+JMThompson> *around
[20:49] <+JMThompson> There are some fairly large (powerful) nations and some smaller ones that are drawn into it one way or another.
[20:50] <+JMThompson> (Abstruse: You've got mail)
[20:50] <~Dan> How common are zeppelins in the setting?
[20:51] <+JMThompson> They exist, and make great targets for airplanes :D
[20:51] <+JMThompson> They are common enough that the sight of one doesn't awe people
[20:52] <+Abstruse> (Yes I do, thanks!)
[20:52] <+Abstruse> Hydrogen or Helium?
[20:53] <+JMThompson> It would be helium if it was Earth.
[20:54] <+boneguard> Hydrogen would be more fun with Dragons around :P
[20:54] <~Dan> Is naval tech equivalent to WW1 as well? Battleships and U-boats?
[20:54] <+JMThompson> Yes.
[20:55] <+GenoFoxx> any plans to progress the setting to WWII and beyond?
[20:56] <+JMThompson> There are none at this time, but depending on the popularity of the setting that's not an impossibility.
[20:57] <+JMThompson> Its something I would like to see happen
[20:58] <+GenoFoxx> goblin-Franco
[20:59] <+boneguard> I don't know WWI era tank and u-boat are cooler...but that just me
[21:00] <+JMThompson> Then we will see where we are when the war ends :D
[21:00] <+Abstruse> Does the war end?
[21:00] <+JMThompson> Im sure it has to sometime.
[21:01] <+Abstruse> Or does it just pause for a decade until some radical anarchist gets lucky when the Archduke's car breaks down as he's eating a sammich?
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[21:03] <+JMThompson> I guess the answer to that question is really....that depends on how we decide the war goes. And I am looking at using some player feedback for directionality, though not going to be dependent on it.
[21:05] <~Dan> Is there anything we haven't covered about the game that you'd like to bring up, Jonathan?
[21:06] <+JMThompson> I cant think of anything, can you Craig?
[21:06] <+CParent> Not that I can see.
[21:06] <+boneguard> It could go both way
[21:07] <+boneguard> Drag for a long time like the 100 years war
[21:07] <+JMThompson> Which had a lot of
[21:07] <+JMThompson> "peace times" in that period too.
[21:08] <+boneguard> I know, period of intense battle followed by a tense 'Detente' flaring into more intense battle
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[21:09] <~Dan> I'll go ahead and log the discussion here if it's okay with you guys?
[21:10] <+boneguard> yeah
[21:10] <+JMThompson> That's ok with me
[21:10] <~Dan> Thanks so much for coming by, Jonathan and Craig!
[21:10] <+JMThompson> It was my pleasure. Oh KS link: (Link:

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