[19:06] <+PaulFrack> Hey everyone, this is Paul Frack, lead writer for Silent Spirit's Redemption, a military sci fi game of Tactics and Consequences, with me are Eric Politowski and James Kottan, my fellow writers on the project. Thanks for having us, Dan. (done)
[19:06] <~Dan> Thanks, Paul!
[19:06] <~Dan> The floor's now open to questions! I'll start with one of my own. What is the setting of Redemption?
[19:07] <+TQuid> What was the inspiration to make you decide to do your own thing rather than settling down for a nice hot cup of Traveller or Star Wars or etc.?
[19:09] <~Dan> (Those both may take some answering, so I'll call for a question pause there.)
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[19:09] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[19:09] <+PaulFrack> So, redemption takes place several centuries in the future, Humanity has unified in the aftermath of what's known as the Colonial War to form the Terran Sphere Confederacy, and for many years afterward, all is sweetness and light. But, this being an RPG, we can't have that, so at the current junction the Terran Sphere has been invaded by a until recently recl
[19:10] <+PaulFrack> er, reclusive race.
[19:10] <+Eric> Clarification while he goes more into the meta-plot: maybe not quite "all sweetness and light"; we were aiming for the Sphere being a good place to live, but not some kind of impossible utopia
[19:11] <+PaulFrack> As the setting opens, the Terran Sphere has just won it's first military victory against the Shohan and there's an unsteady equilibrium in the war. That's where the players come in, of course.
[19:11] <&Silverlion> What kind of system does it use?
[19:11] <+Eric> But, also not the dystopian nightmare that happens in a lot of other Sci Fi settings.
[19:13] <+PaulFrack> Now, as to why this and not Traveller or Star Wars: I wasn't finding something that scratched military sci fi itch. Redemption is supposed to be able to handle everything from a squad of Marines to a Fleet Combat.
[19:13] <+PaulFrack> Potentially in the same "scene" even.
[19:13] <+Eric> Silver - It's an original system. At its base, it's a 3-die Roll Under system. Target numbers are static, the dice are what change: 3d6 for Easy, 3d8 for Standard and 3d10 for Hard rolls
[19:14] <+Eric> There are some interactions with Tags and Action Points that can positively affect your own dice, or negatively affect the opposition's
[19:15] <+Eric> (done - unless you want more detail. ;) )
[19:15] <+PaulFrack> (done as well, was letting Eric finish up.)
[19:16] <~Dan> How common is life in general and sapient life in particular in your universe?
[19:16] <&Silverlion> What kind of ways do you measure characters? Tags and Action points but what else?
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[19:18] <+PaulFrack> Reasonably common, there are about 8 alien races detailed in the setting with the assumption that there are more (and the rules to create them on your own.)
[19:19] <+Jim> non-sapient life is more common, found in every fifth star system or so
[19:20] <~Dan> (Actually, to help answer Silverlion's question, do you have a character sheet posted online we could see?)
[19:21] <+PaulFrack> Chiron, Kriak, Havenite, Hadiian, Mendicant, Sindiir, Abascian, Thral are all contemporaries of Humanity. The Shohan are survivors from the previous age and have been a space faring civilization for the last 10 milennia.
[19:21] <+PaulFrack> Yes, actually. Give me a second.
[19:21] <~Dan> (Speaking of which, feel free to post a link to your site for the benefit of those reading the log.)
[19:22] <+Eric> (well, since you bring it up: (Link: http://www.silentspiritsgames.com)www.silentspiritsgames.com ;) )
[19:22] <+TQuid> Dumb nitty-gritty question: is the game in PDF, and if so, does it have links? (E.g., being able to click an entry in the ToC to get to that page.)
[19:22] <+PaulFrack> First, there's this thread over at RPG.net where I attempt to create Redemption characters from song lyrics: (Link: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?711203-Redemption-Rock-star-characters)http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?711203-Redemption-Rock-star-characters
[19:23] <+Eric> TQuid - it'll be available in both PDF and hard copy when we finish it; currently, the rules beta is available in PDF format on our site
[19:23] <&Silverlion> Psychic powers in the game?
[19:24] <+GenoFoxx> more important (to me at least ;) ) any provisions for mecha?
[19:24] <+PaulFrack> Second, here's the character sheet for one of the characters created for that thread: (Link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkpymQWjdulRdFhtT0daRmx6SW1TY2U0MGJwRUU4MVE&usp=sharing)https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkpymQWjdulRdFhtT0daRmx6SW1TY2U0MGJwRUU4MVE&usp=sharing
[19:25] <+PaulFrack> @GenoFoxx: There's a comprehensive set of item creation rules. We're not taking it in the Mecha direction aside from a few specialized exceptions, but there's nothing stopping you from making your own!
[19:25] <~Dan> Hmm... Interesting attributes.
[19:25] <&Silverlion> Are the rules for spaceships/space combat the same as the core system or special?
[19:25] <+Eric> Silver - Yes, Psionics do exist in our game. Humanity is actually the most psionically active race, one of their features is a free rank of the Tag.
[19:25] <+PaulFrack> They follow the core of the combat system though there are a few special rules for things like missile swarms.
[19:26] <+Eric> The four primary Psionic disciplines would be Telepathy, Energy Manipulation, Telekinesis and Clairvoyance
[19:26] <~Dan> That's a nice twist, re: humans and psionics.
[19:26] <+PaulFrack> @Dan: Heh, I was a psych minor in college, the stats follow Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
[19:27] <+Eric> We wanted Humans to be more than just the "generically flexible and potentially okay at everything" race, we wanted Humans to have a thing that they were good at
[19:27] <~Dan> @PaulFrack: Do any of them represent brute strength? If not, how do you cover that?
[19:27] <+PaulFrack> There are also a few additional psionic skills, but they're all option and subject to GM discretion.
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[19:28] <~Dan> (Any of the stats, I mean.)
[19:29] <+PaulFrack> Kinesthetic represents a character's ability to utilize their body to it's fullest. Having a particularly strong character would probably be the domain of a tag, something like "Big Bruiser" or the like.
[19:29] <~Dan> Are tags freeform, then?
[19:31] <+PaulFrack> They are. They occupy a similar design space to FATE's tags, although they have a slightly broader power set then many iterations of FATE. the guy with the "Big Bruiser" tag for instance could use that tag to switch his Unarmed Combat target number for Persuasion when he goes to intimidate some hapless mook.
[19:32] <&Silverlion> When are hard copies coming?
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[19:32] <+PaulFrack> Tags are also ranked and a stronger tag can offer greater benefits... or risks.
[19:33] <+Jim> We hope to publish in September 2014
[19:33] <&Silverlion> Cool. Birthday present for me..
[19:34] <+Eric> A fellow September child, eh?
[19:34] <~Dan> On a scale of 1-10, 1 being totally gritty and 10 being... I dunno... four-color comics, maybe?... How gritty/over the top is the system?
[19:34] <+PaulFrack> <- throws confetti
[19:36] <~Dan> (Oh, and howdy, DrNate! Q&A in progress, #rpgnet2 open for general chat!)
[19:37] <+PaulFrack> Hm... I'd say it's fairly balanced. At it's base I'd put it at a 5. There's horrible things happening in and around the war, but the players also have the potential to change things for the better. There are also a few knobs that a GM and his players can tweak to move it up or down, maybe between a 4-6 depending on the table.
[19:37] * ~Dan nods
[19:38] <~Dan> So no John Woo stuff, but maybe Ripley-levels of competence?
[19:38] <&Silverlion> Yep Eric.
[19:38] <+Eric> Well, that probably depends largely on how the GM chooses to portray certain things. There's a few things in the book that I'd say push it more towards the 3-4 than the 6-7 end of things...
[19:39] <+PaulFrack> I'd say that's fair. A game set on the bridge of the latest Redemption class frigate is also going to play differently from one set on occupied Artemis III.
[19:39] <+Eric> ...but, we gave the players a sandbox... not a box of broken glass. ;)
[19:40] <~Dan> Speaking of which, is the game heavily oriented to PCs being in the military?
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[19:41] <+Eric> In the same way that D&D is heavily oriented on a group of adventurers delving into dungeons, or Shadowrun focuses on .. well... being a criminal. That's the main design thrust, but by no means the only thing the system handles
[19:41] * ~Dan nods
[19:42] <+PaulFrack> Over the course of playtesting, I think half the groups we've done have been military. the other half have been mercs, art thieves, passengers on an interplanetary train...
[19:43] <&Silverlion> So its not hyperfocused, just fuocused.
[19:43] <&Silverlion> focused.
[19:43] <~Dan> How "realistic" is space combat? For that matter, what does space combat look like in the game? Acrobatic fighters? Dreadnoughts lobbing nukes from miles away?
[19:43] <+PaulFrack> Right, We don't necessarily think you have to play Military, but we do want people to feel like the War is the final character in the game.
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[19:46] <+PaulFrack> For space combat, I'd say we're roughly around Babylon 5 in terms of realism. There are light escorts, but not fighters per say and some limited stealth, but we've tried to make it more about the intersection of maneuver, gunnery and coordination (Space is 3d, so the intersection is 3 axis. ;).
[19:48] <~Dan> On a related note, can you give us a general idea of technology in various walks of life (e.g., travel, medicine/cyber, personal weaponry, etc.)?
[19:48] <+PaulFrack> If people want fighters, we know that's fun, and we've left the door open with some of the recent developments on the Terran Sphere side, but it's not where the game starts off, it's something we'd like the players to own if they want it. :)
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[19:49] <&Silverlion> Any broad handles on the aliens you can share--ie "Honorable Lizard people?"
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[19:50] <~Dan> Man down!
[19:51] <+Xilanqui> "Sexy Blue Girls"
[19:51] <+PaulFrack> Un momento.
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[19:51] <~Dan> (wb, Eric!)
[19:51] <+Eric> Back... seemed to have a connection issue there
[19:51] <+Eric> did my answers on the military thing go through?
[19:52] <~Dan> [19:41] <+Eric> In the same way that D&D is heavily oriented on a group of adventurers delving into dungeons, or Shadowrun focuses on .. well... being a criminal. That's the main design thrust, but by no means the only thing the system handles
[19:52] <~Dan> That?
[19:52] <+Eric> ahhh... yeah, there was a bit after that
[19:52] <~Dan> Hmm... I'm afraid not, then. At least, that's the last thing I saw.
[19:53] <+Eric> yeah, definite hiccup on the connection somewhere, then.
[19:54] <+Eric> ...continuing... There are some seeds we put in the GM chapter for ideas to run campaigns centered in the non-military arena; Resistance caught behind Shohan lines, Refugees fleeing the conflict, scofflaws looking to profit, and the like
[19:54] <+Jim> Well, the Thral are called "telekinetic rock-squids", the Hadiians are "a bunch of cancer-ridden necromancers", the Mendicants are "a slave civilization so mired in pollution they don't have a word for it".
[19:54] <+PaulFrack> Alright, for technology I think someone mentioned Aliens, and I'd say in general Redemption is a less asthetically dark version of that kind of industrial future sense. There's flexible smart materials, and genetic engineering, but you're still dealing with a solid mechanical core to the technology.
[19:55] <+PaulFrack> Except for the Shohan. Who get all the scary crazy god nanotech.
[19:55] <~Dan> Necromancers? Is that a manifestation of psionics or technology, or something else?
[19:55] <+PaulFrack> Yes. ;)
[19:55] <~Dan> PaulFrack: So no personal energy weapons?
[19:55] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:56] <+PaulFrack> You can totally have a laser or a plasma rifle (standard anti Shohan side arm as a matter of fact), but you're still going to be worrying about power levels or ammo for those.
[19:57] <+PaulFrack> Or in the case of the plasma rifle, not setting the room on fire.
[19:57] <~Dan> Ah... So a bit more space opera than Aliens, but definitely not Star Wars.
[19:57] <&Silverlion> Ah. Cool.
[19:59] <~Dan> Any powered armor or cybernetics?
[19:59] <+PaulFrack> Yeah. Space Travel is generally easier than in Aliens (no cryosleep unless you're bored), and there's reliable FTL comms (which also consume measurable resources) and life sciences are a bit better (70 is the new 30).
[19:59] <+Eric> Yes, and Yes, Dan.
[19:59] <~Dan> How common?
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[20:00] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[20:00] <&Silverlion> Cool.
[20:01] <+Jim> cybernetics are broadly possible, but the only really common mod is a direct neural interface for brain-computer acess
[20:02] <~Dan> Is there an in-setting reason why folks don't "cyber up"?
[20:03] <+Eric> Powered Armour is reasonably "expensive", in so far as Wealth Rating is concerned, and it's also probably fairly restricted as far as access goes. Most of it is developed by the military, after all...
[20:03] <+PaulFrack> Mostly, they don't feel the need to, the same way that most of us aren't taking illegal performance boosting steroids...
[20:03] <+Eric> ...and much like the army today doesn't just let folks buy an M-1 Abrams, the common citizen of the Sphere isn't really allowed to just go pick up a suit of Kvacha-class armour from the corner store.
[20:05] <+PaulFrack> People are more likely to get biomods that let them subsist on their planet's ecology, then the ChromeBASTER XRL.
[20:05] <+PaulFrack> ChromeBASTER, so Badass it shot the L out of the name.
[20:06] <~Dan> :D
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[20:07] <~Dan> Does humanity have any allies against the Shohan?
[20:07] <+PaulFrack> And so began the reign of Siverlion the Second.
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[20:09] <&Silverlion> It is good to be the king.
[20:10] <+PaulFrack> Well, the Thral are integrated members of the Terran Sphere, but many of the other races are terrified of going up against the Shohan, or happy to take advantage of the crisis.
[20:10] <&Silverlion> So what's your favorite part of the game/setting?
[20:11] <+PaulFrack> Of the major powers the Chirons are playing US to the Terran Sphere's Great Britain at the moment. Not quite in the war, but providing more assistance then a "neutral" party should.
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[20:13] <+PaulFrack> Oh wow, it's hard to choose.... I like starship combat! I like interplay of all the factions that make up the Terran Sphere! I really, really, like places like Mars or Artemis III have developed in the Terran Sphere. I like... well, that would be spoilers, actually. :)
[20:13] <~Dan> Heh. :)
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[20:14] <+GenoFoxx> what happened?
[20:14] <~Dan> Are the Shohan really Big Bads, or do they have a reasonable POV?
[20:14] <+Eric> Yeah, trying to narrow down an answer for you, Silver... If I had to pick one, well, I'll always be a sucker for space battles
[20:15] <+PaulFrack> From humanity's perspective they're the Big Bads and that's where we start off. We'll get into the Shohan's perspective though, don't you worry...
[20:15] <+Jim> My favorite is the setting. We set out to create a full, consistent universe in which events and lives take place, rather than one bit such as mecha or starfighters taking center stage and the universe proceeding from there.
[20:16] <+Eric> ...the search for the Shohan's motivation is pretty much the central question for the "main plot", as it were
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[20:16] <~Dan> When it comes to planets, do you do the one-environment thing, or do you create multi-faceted worlds?
[20:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, Duloth!)
[20:17] <+PaulFrack> Death to single biome planets!!!
[20:17] <+PaulFrack> I mean... We like to create multi faceted worlds.
[20:17] <+Eric> seemingly up to the instant the war started, the Sphere had good relations with the Shohan - Cordial at least, if not fully amicable. they were always a bit... aloof, I suppose.
[20:18] <+PaulFrack> Sorry, inner biology student twitching.
[20:18] <~Dan> Maybe they're just Shohan'em who's boss?
[20:18] <+Eric> ...I thought only PJ made puns that awful
[20:18] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Eric. :)
[20:18] <+PaulFrack> Shohan are not as adept at dishing out the punishment as you are sir.
[20:18] <&Silverlion> Welcome to Dan.
[20:18] <~Dan> :D
[20:18] <~Dan> I have a bit of a... reputation in that area.
[20:20] <~Dan> So a big selling point of the game is its ability to handle all levels of conflict, correct?
[20:20] <&Silverlion> What is the your chief inspirations for the game?
[20:20] <+PaulFrack> Now, some have a theme. The mendicant home-moon for instance ranges from the Northern Ash Deserts to Smog infested Jungles, but their world is fairly hot, compared to other species's worlds.
[20:21] <+Eric> @Dan - Yes, the scaling mechanic is one of the big features we wanted to emphasize in the system. There's 3 major Scales: Firefight, Battlefield and Space. We wanted to make sure the three scales could interact with each other without bogging down the system
[20:21] <~Dan> Eric: How does that work?
[20:22] <~Dan> In fact, how does the damage mechanic in general work?
[20:23] <+PaulFrack> Hm, ok, so I started reading Military Sci Fi with Elizabeth Moon's work, but I'd say: David Weber, Babylon 5, the Lost Fleet series, the Risen Empire, John Scalzi, Homeworld, Freespace, David Drake and a few others I'm probably forgetting all went into the mix.
[20:23] <+Eric> well, earlier I referenced that it's a roll-under mechanic; 3d6 for an Easy Roll, 3d8 for a Standard, and 3d10 for a Hard? at base, making an attack into another scale steps the difficulty of the roll up or down...
[20:23] <+Eric> IE; making a Firefight level attack against a Battlefield scale opponent becomes a Hard roll, rather than a Standard
[20:24] <+Eric> whereas firing a Battlefield scale attack into a Firefight is Easy, rather than Standard... also, it becomes Area Effect
[20:24] <~Dan> Really? I'd think the chance to hit would go up with the scale rather than down.
[20:24] <~Dan> Or is the chance to hit linked directly to damage?
[20:25] <+PaulFrack> It's hit and do damage, rather than pinging against the armored hull. ;)
[20:25] <+Eric> yeah, it's meant to reflect the ability to score a meaningful hit, not just hit the target
[20:25] <+Eric> like, i'm sure it's easy to hit a tank with a handgun, but will the tank care?
[20:26] <~Dan> Hmm... Well, that sort of mechanic always leads me to ask how you handle clumsy-but-powerful and accurate-but-weak attacks.
[20:27] <+PaulFrack> That comes down to tags again. Want to boost your damage on an attack? burn the tag and add it's ranking to the damage multiplier. Want to do a lot of attacks? turn the tag into action points and spend them on extra attack rolls.
[20:28] <+Eric> Additionally, if you're talking about inherent properties of items; gear can and often does have Tags as well, as well as possible skill modifiers for the operator
[20:29] * ~Dan nods
[20:29] <~Dan> I see.
[20:29] <+Eric> what that physically means about the item is up to you, our construction rules only handle the nuts and bolts, not the final aesthetic. like, a gun that comes with a Firearms skill bonus could just be a scope, or something more exotic
[20:29] <+Eric> errr...Sidearms, rather...
[20:30] <~Dan> Do you go into much detail regarding flora and fauna, and if so, how much of a threat do they pose to the typical (presumably military) character?
[20:31] <+PaulFrack> Heh. We have an item template in the current beta rules called "Fluffy"...
[20:33] <+PaulFrack> Mechanically, I'd say a fully kitted out Terran Sphere Marine is not going to have much trouble with the local fauna and flora, but other less well equipped characters might have a few issues though. Jim wrote most of the places with really interesting ecologies though...
[20:33] <+Jim> Most of the wild life is left to GM discretion. Of those we do detail, only the largest are a mortal threat to people, and even those pose little threat to a fully armored marine
[20:34] <~Dan> Do any of them reach Battlefield scale?
[20:35] <&Silverlion> Are there mechanics for morale? Since real animals tend to run away when hurt?
[20:35] <+Jim> well, we do have a lobster analogue that gets up to 110 meters in length. I don't know if it would consider humans as worth fighting or eating though..
[20:36] <~Dan> I now must find a way to name a character Lobster Analogue.
[20:36] <+Eric> They already sound delicious
[20:37] <&Silverlion> Sounds like a band name.
[20:37] <+PaulFrack> That's something we'd tend to leave for GM to play out, but there Strength on Mass Combat units encompasses the unit's morale and fighting spirit.
[20:37] <+Eric> ...Crab Shrapnel is already taken, as band names go. we totally called it
[20:38] <+PaulFrack> I'm thinking a techno-electronica B-52s cover band.
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[20:38] <+Eric> But, on a more serious answer to your question... No, we don't really have a "morale" stat for exotic fauna
[20:39] <~Dan> How long would you say it takes to create a character?
[20:40] <+PaulFrack> Hmmm... This is probably a biased answer, but in the Rock Star Characters thread, I got to the point where I was doing one an hour, from start to finish.
[20:40] <~Dan> Not bad at all.
[20:41] <+PaulFrack> And that's with some really hard concepts!
[20:41] <~Dan> Are there any obvious professions? Any "package deals" or the like?
[20:43] <+Eric> Not in the GURPS-style O.C.C. sense, no. We don't have character classes. The three of us collectively liked the more freeform character creation mechanics.
[20:43] <+Jim> We encourage players to create their characters together, in order to promote party cohesiveness and avoid stepping on the toes of any specialty someone wants to claim
[20:43] * ~Dan nods
[20:44] <~Dan> Do you offer any ready-for-play archetypes?
[20:45] <~Dan> (brb)
[20:45] <+PaulFrack> One thing that I do want to mention is that we have group tags and skills, abilities that reflect a shared background between the characters, and help form the group's foundation.
[20:46] <+Eric> We'll have a good selection of sample characters in the final version of the book, yes, if that's what you mean by Archetypes
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[20:47] <+PaulFrack> A group of marines for instance might have sidearms and tactics among their group skills to reflect to their shared military background along with a group tag like "So Much for Subtlety" to reflect their.... particular fighting style. ;)
[20:47] <+PaulFrack> Then the characters can focus on want makes their individual marines different from ye olde bad asses.
[20:48] <~Dan> (back)
[20:48] <+PaulFrack> excuse me, bad affef.
[20:48] <~Dan> It is (re: archetypes).
[20:49] <~Dan> In the time we have left, is there anything you'd like to bring up that we haven't covered?
[20:50] <~Dan> (And again, you're welcome to hang out with us as long as you like.)
[20:52] <+PaulFrack> Well, I can't speak for the others, but my brain feels thoroughly picked clean. :)
[20:52] <~Dan> Heh. My work here is done. ;)
[20:52] <+Eric> I think you've hit on most of the major points... Unless you feel you'd like more detail on anything in particular?
[20:53] <~Dan> Any more questions, folks?
[20:54] <~Dan> Well, then! I shall extend a couple of offers to our guests, then!
[20:54] <&Silverlion> I think I've done mine :d
[20:55] <+PaulFrack> dundunDUN
[20:55] <~Dan> First of all, I do hope you guys will come by again soon and hang out with us. We love having game industry folks around. *waves to Silverlion*
[20:56] <&Silverlion> Tiny tiny groove in the record of gaming..
[20:56] <~Dan> And second... you are cordially invited to the All-Star Q&A on Thurs. 1/23. :)
[20:56] <+PaulFrack> Heh. :) We're very junior as far as industry folk go.
[20:57] <~Dan> (Link: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?712836-Q-amp-A-rpgnet-All-Star-Q-amp-A!-Chat-with-your-favorite-game-authors!)http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?712836-Q-amp-A-rpgnet-All-Star-Q-amp-A!-Chat-with-your-favorite-game-authors!
[20:57] <+Eric> ...is it bad if i admit it feels pretty awesome to be referred to as "industry folks"?
[20:57] <~Dan> I know it would make me feel awesome, so no. :)
[20:58] <+PaulFrack> If I can make it I will be more than happy to come...
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[20:58] <~Dan> Cool. It's an open invite.
[21:00] <&Silverlion> I'm just invisible to everyone BUT Dan..:D So
[21:00] <~Dan> So, shall we call the chat for logging purposes?
[21:00] <+Eric> Your chair, your rules, mate.
[21:00] <+PaulFrack> Last thing from us, I think: Redemption is in open beta, and we're going to start reviewing the rules as a prelude to getting things ready for publishing these next couple of months. If you're interested please check it out, we love feedback, good or bad! :)
[21:01] <+PaulFrack> And there's the direct link: (Link: http://www.silentspiritsgames.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=57)http://www.silentspiritsgames.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=57
[21:01] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[21:02] <~Dan> Thanks, Paul, Eric, and Jim for coming by and talking to us!
[21:02] <+PaulFrack> No problem, thanks for having us!
[21:02] <+Eric> Indeed, thanks much for the chat
[21:02] <+Jim> And a good time was had by all.