Monday, December 10, 2012

[Q&A] Jeffrey Thomas & Mike Tresca (Punktown) Q&A Log

[19:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I'm Jeffrey Thomas, a writer of science fiction and horror books, often set in my universe of Punktown. These Punktown works are the basis for a new role-playing game in the works at Miskatonic River Press...if our Kickstarter proves successful. (done)
[19:09] <~Dan> (No hurry. :) )
[19:09] <+Mike_Tresca> More about Jeff & Punktown: (Link:
[19:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yes!
[19:09] <+Mike_Tresca> And the Kickstarter: (Link:
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[19:10] <+Mike_Tresca> And video of us waxing philosophical: (Link:
[19:10] * ~Dan watched that today. :)
[19:10] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Great!
[19:10] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, SmilingIdiot!)
[19:11] <+Mike_Tresca> Okay enough links, I'm Mike Tresca, AKA Talien ((Link:  I'm a RPG author, the National RPG Examiner columnist, admin, social media guy during the day, etc. Also a big fan of Jeff's.
[19:11] <+SmilingIdiot> Hello.  Hey Jeffrey, it's Minh
[19:11] <+Mike_Tresca> oh wait (done)
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[19:11] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Minh! Hi! Thanks for your pledge!
[19:12] <~Dan> Thanks, guys! Now, does anyone have any questions to start us off, or shall I do the honors?
[19:12] <+SmilingIdiot> Couldn't pass up the opportunity to be another character in one of your books LOL
[19:12] <~Dan> (I'll give them a minute here to see if we have any takers.)
[19:12] <~Dan> Okay, I shall proceed!
[19:12] <+SmilingIdiot> What would you say would be the biggest draw for someone who has never played a RPG before?
[19:13] <~Dan> (Oh! n/m. :) )
[19:13] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Mike, you wanna take that?
[19:13] <+Mike_Tresca> Sure.
[19:14] <+SmilingIdiot> the reason I ask is, many people I know, some are even JT fans, have never played and are hesitant to pledge.
[19:14] <+Mike_Tresca> Oh just reset my brain.
[19:14] <+SmilingIdiot> I'm trying to seperate them from their money to get this KS funded
[19:14] <+Mike_Tresca> This is easy, this is the definitive, comprehensive work on the subject.
[19:15] <+Mike_Tresca> I'm an encyclopedist by nature, a fan first, gamer second, and I wrote my contribution that way -- as I told Jeff, RPGs will sell all your secrets.  But it also helps map out Punktown, figuratively and literally, so that fans will have new contributions both in content and categorization of his envisioned universe.
[19:16] <+Mike_Tresca> It's all there, creatures and alien races that have ever appeared, everything.  I read everything -- insisted on it even -- so that the book would be comprehensive as possible.  It's a must-have guide for anyone who loves Jeff's work, and makes some interesting connections once you see it all pieced together in one place.
[19:16] <+Mike_Tresca> Does that answer your question?
[19:16] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Like Mike says! Minh, I think fans of Punktown who don't RPG might now be tempted to do so. PLus they get new fiction from me...and the book also serves as a kind of encyclopedia of Punktown.
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[19:17] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (done!0
[19:17] <~Dan> If I can offer a couple of observations on the subject?
[19:17] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Please!
[19:17] <+Mike_Tresca> Sure!
[19:18] <~Dan> Well, I'd just offer two thoughts.
[19:18] <~Dan> First, I got into gaming in kind of a bass-ackwards way. Are you guys familiar with Terran Trade Authority?
[19:18] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> No...
[19:18] <+Mike_Tresca> I'm not.
[19:19] <+SmilingIdiot> No
[19:19] <~Dan> It was a series of sci-fi books from the 70s written in "manual" fashion, statting out spacecraft and creatures as if they were real.
[19:19] <~Dan> When I saw the Monster Manual for AD&D1e, I thought it was the same sort of thing, except for fantasy monsters.
[19:19] <~Dan> So, even though I didn't know exactly what the stats meant, I loved being able to compare the critters.
[19:20] <~Dan> And second, Basic Roleplaying, the system the game will use, is very transparent when it comes to stats.
[19:20] <~Dan> So: even if you've never gamed before, I think you'll be able to look at the gaming write-ups in this book and be able to tell what's what, relatively speaking.
[19:20] <~Dan> If that makes sense.
[19:21] <~Dan> (And sorry, guys -- didn't mean to hijack your response!)
[19:21] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Not at all!
[19:21] <+Mike_Tresca> Excellent summary.  Jeff can tell you about his experience with the Monster Manual...
[19:21] <+SmilingIdiot> That is good to hear. I am hoping that this book be "readable" outside of the RPG elements, as  I only have old D&D modules and they are far from readable on their own, and I just want to assure my friends that these books can be viewed as primarily Punktown books.
[19:22] <+SmilingIdiot> I haven't played an RPG in almost 25 years
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[19:22] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I feel the same, Dan. I too was fascinated by the D & D manual, though I didn't play. My son Colin has a bunch of manuals, though he doesn't play. They're fun simply seen as imaginative exercises.
[19:22] * ~Dan nods
[19:23] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> And Minh, there will be two new stories by the game scenarios will read like stories.
[19:24] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> And ARTWORK!
[19:25] <~Dan> Jeffrey, perhaps we should back up a bit. Can you give us an overview on what Punktown's all about?
[19:25] <+SmilingIdiot> Nice!  With the Kickstarter winding down, in the event that it doesn't get funded (which would suck!), do you have plans to move forward in a different route?
[19:25] <~Dan> (And question pause after SI's question, please.)
[19:25] <+SmilingIdiot> Sorry for cutting in, I type slow :)
[19:26] <~Dan> (No worries! :) )
[19:26] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Well, easier if I cut and paste the KIckstarter's description of Punktown (though not in my own words): Picture Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, Minority Report, Total Recall and the rest of the dark, not-too-distant-future genre. Now add aliens, mutants, and robots. Welcome to Punktown
[19:27] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Kind of an icky way to do it, but at least it gives a sense of similar material.
[19:28] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I started writing about Punktown in 1980, before any of those referenced films.
[19:28] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Now, as for Minh's question about if the KIckstarter should fail...gawd, I don't even want to think! (done) :-(
[19:29] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> more thing...
[19:30] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I often employ Lovecraftian themes and inventions in my Punktown work, so that's another element that would attract fans of Call of Cthulhu.
[19:30] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (done!)
[19:30] <~Dan> Actually, why don't we concentrate on the setting for a bit, then touch on the system?
[19:31] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Sure.
[19:31] <~Dan> Jeffrey, given the wildly strange setting, how do you make the Mythos elements you mentioned stand out as something more than just "more of the same"?
[19:32] <~Dan> (For example, how is a Mi-Go not just another alien?)
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[19:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, Rand!)
[19:33] <+RandBrittain> Good evening.
[19:34] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Ha, it's tricky, Dan...but I've actually written a story to appear in the fortcoming Chaosium anthology ELDRITCH CHROME in which the Mi-Go ARE just another alien race. But with a really scary agenda.
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[19:35] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[19:35] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> It's a balance between the weirdness of the Lovecraftian entities standing out as EXTRA weird, or blending in insidiously.
[19:36] <~Dan> Huh... Interesting point, re: the latter.
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[19:37] <+SmilingIdiot> I have to run (I'm still at work hahaha) but thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!  Good luck with  with this project and I look forward to reading your book!  Jeffrey, it is always a pleasure communicating with you, and I glad I can add more Punktown books to my collection!
[19:37] <+Mike_Tresca> My favorite example is Tindalosian hounds, which Jeff completely reimagines in a way that makes them both predatory and not actually hounds.
[19:37] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Thanks again for pledging, Minh, and for tuning in tonight!
[19:38] <~Dan> Nice meeting you, Minh!
[19:38] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yes, Mike...
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[19:39] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> In my work I like to feel free to do wild and unexpected things with the Mythos. In my novel DEADSTOCK, a bioengineered doll grows in size and intelligence as it becomes an avatar of, perhaps, Cthulhu himself.
[19:39] <~Dan> Clever. :)
[19:39] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I hope gamers will feel similarly empowered to go places with the Mythos that they might not in a more conventional setting. (done)
[19:40] <~Dan> Based upon what I've read about and seen of the setting so far, I'd like to share an observation I made to Brian Sammons about it recently.
[19:40] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Please.
[19:41] <~Dan> It strikes me that you make the setting quite deliberately surreal in terms of tech level. It seems like one of those settings in which you can't really tell where -- or, rather when -- you're at. It's more a matter of what "looks cool".
[19:41] <~Dan> As an example, I'd cite the spraypainted billboard on the cover art.
[19:42] <~Dan> Some authors might say, "Well, we're this far into the future, so billboards would be holograms, which can't be spraypainted, and they probably wouldn't be using spraypaint..."
[19:42] <~Dan> You just have a billboard. Because it works. :)
[19:42] <~Dan> Any thoughts there?
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[19:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lassekk!)
[19:44] <+Lassekk> Howdyy
[19:45] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I recall reviewer Ed Bryant in Locus made a similar observation about the stories, but appreciatively. People still smoke cigarettes, still celebrate CHristmas. I do put anything I want in -- guns that fire bullets, guns that fire ray bolts, phones on which you can speak to the dead...and so PUnktown does become more of a New WEird or surreal setting...
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[19:45] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> opposed to a SF setting strictly adhering to hard science.
[19:45] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (done)
[19:45] <~Dan> (I was being appreciative, too, just to be clear! :) )
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[19:46] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> :-)
[19:46] <~Dan> Personally, I've always loved that sort of setting.
[19:46] <+Mike_Tresca> Punktown is grounded in the petty vices of humanity despite its alien weirdness.
[19:46] * ~Dan nods
[19:47] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Me too. A similar world, I think, would be China Mieville's New Crobuzon. (Yes, Mike.)
[19:47] <~Dan> I've also compared it to SLA Industries and Chi-Chian, which probably means nothing to you, Jeffrey, but might mean something to Mike. :)
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[19:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, Zicon!)
[19:48] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Never heard of them, Dan. ;-)
[19:48] <~Dan> No worries. :)
[19:48] <+Mike_Tresca> I'm familiar with SLA yah.
[19:49] <~Dan> Now, I've seen it said frequently that Punktown is an "anything goes" sort of setting.
[19:49] <~Dan> How far does that go? Can you think of some fantasy, sci-fi, or horror trope that flat-out wouldn't work?
[19:50] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Out and out magic wouldn't work...
[19:50] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> But some PSI powers exhibited by, say, mutants would come close to that feel.
[19:51] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> One thing that really had an impact on me about the D&D MOnster MAnual way back when was how you had dragons, dinosaurs, ghosts, blobs, all lumped together. It was so intriguing! PUnktown is a crazy quilt like that.
[19:51] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (done)
[19:51] <~Dan> Does Lovecraftian "magic" fit? What I like to call "the science of the way the universe really works"?
[19:52] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yeah...but as LOvecraft wouldn't call it magic, outright, I wouldn't either. I might cloak that "magic" in some pseudo-scientific BS. :-D
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[19:53] <~Dan> Right -- Dreams in the Witch House-type stuff?
[19:53] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Exactly!
[19:53] <~Dan> Excellent. :)
[19:54] <~Dan> So psionics exist in the setting as mutant powers?
[19:54] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yup!
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[19:56] <~Dan> Let's see... What's the bleeding edge of technology in Punktown?
[19:58] <~Dan> I get the impression that cyberpunk tech is more of a baseline than the high end?
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[19:58] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> There'd be many examples of that. One example is the aforementioned "ouija phones" that allow people (teenagers mostly) to listen in on the voices of what are essentially ghosts. Another would be semi-organic buildings that are grown rather than constructed.
[19:59] <+J_Arcane> Can I summon Shub-Internet to get better prices on broadband?
[19:59] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:00] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yeah, Dan. While others speak of Punktown as cyberpunk, and it's a useful term, I was writing about Punktown before the term cyberpunk was coined (I think in 82). So I don't even really thin in terms of cyberpunk tech...though there is stuff that would be consistent with conventional cyberpunk.
[20:00] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (done)
[20:01] <~Dan> Yeah, I was about to ask about that. Is it all weird tech, or is there "normal" (by cyberpunk standards) stuff like wired reflexes, cyberdecks, retractable claws, etc.?
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[20:02] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Not specifically those things, but that isn't to say they couldn't exist there. Is that vague enough? ;-)
[20:03] <~Dan> Heh. No worries. I'll pick up that line with Mike here in just a sec. ;)
[20:03] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> People have chips implanted to enhance their use of memory...for one cyberpunk-type example.
[20:04] * ~Dan nods
[20:04] <~Dan> Oh, I almost forgot: what is the nature of mutants in the setting?
[20:05] <~Dan> Do you address what causes mutations, for example, and how powerful can they be? (And this may bleed into the system here, Mike.)
[20:06] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> There are clones...flying's all there. And the mutants -- partly from the usual pollutions, but also there is a lot of disease of alien origin, and not everyone has access to proper health care. THe usual gulf between haves and have nots.
[20:07] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> And mutanys inter-breed in the mutant ghetto of Tin Town, spawning new generations of mutants.
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[20:07] <+Mike_Tresca> As Jeffrey is fond of pointing out in a few different stories...Punktown is no place to raise a child.
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[20:07] <~Dan> (Howdy, Plas!)
[20:07] <+Plastik> (yo)
[20:08] <~Dan> So let's move a bit towards the system on that point.
[20:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Yes...Mike's turn!
[20:09] <~Dan> Mike_Tresca, do you use all new rules for mutations, the rules straight out of the BRP core, or some combination of the two? I note that some Punktown mutations are a bit... out there.
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[20:10] <+Mike_Tresca> Both, started with the BRP rules for mutations as a jumping off point, but didn't want to basically reproduce all those rules, so provided specific new rules for the weirder mutations.
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[20:10] <+Mike_Tresca> And psionics as part of that as Jeff mentioned.
[20:10] <+Mike_Tresca> I make liberal use of random tables, because that fits the flavor of Punktown.  You could randomly generate an entire scenario with those tables.
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[20:11] <~Dan> So you lump psionics together with mutations for this purpose?
[20:11] <+Mike_Tresca> Yes, psionics are a form of mutation.
[20:12] <~Dan> Are Punktown mutations any more powerful on the high end than "standard" BRP mutations?
[20:12] <+Mike_Tresca> There are some psi-like abilities developed by others (there are monks on other planets that have powers), but in Punktown it's primarily through mutations.
[20:13] <&Le_Squide> Does the Punktown book cover these other examples, just mention they're out there, or ignore them?
[20:13] <+Mike_Tresca> The most popular is caro turbida, "disordered" or "confused" flesh, which allows the mutant to take on the appearance of any humanoid he studies.
[20:15] <~Dan> Are they mostly low-key powers? How close do the come to full-blown superpowers?
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[20:16] <+Mike_Tresca> The book covers everything.  I left no stone unturned, or at least as much as I could cram into the book and keep it within a reasonable word count to accommodate scenarios too.
[20:17] <+Mike_Tresca> For example, there's dimensional folding, an ability to take anything into one's own personal dimensional space (it's the subject of an entire short story).
[20:17] <+Mike_Tresca> Then there's just being a fish mutant, with all it entails.
[20:17] <+Mike_Tresca> So yes, some are superpower-level, some aren't.
[20:17] <~Dan> Interesting.
[20:18] <~Dan> (Oh, and did you see Le_Squide's question?)
[20:18] <+Mike_Tresca> Punktown is a vicious, brutal, random place.  The stronger mutants bully the weak.  There's definitely plenty of material for a keeper/GM to work with, but it will be up to him to provide a narrative balance.
[20:18] <+Mike_Tresca> Oh sorry Le_Squide.
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[20:18] <+Mike_Tresca> It covers all these examples.
[20:19] <+Mike_Tresca> I'm particularly fond of the random drug table. :)
[20:19] <~Dan> Yeah, that ties into a question I meant to ask: the degree to which you cover the universe at large beyond Punktown itself.
[20:19] <+Mike_Tresca> which goes hand-in-hand with the random mutations and random diseases tables.
[20:19] <~Dan> (I love random tables. :) )
[20:20] <+Mike_Tresca> There are several other places that go beyond Punktown, including a wonderful placed called Meatland.
[20:20] <~Dan> I'm guessing that's not a butcher shop? :)
[20:20] <+Mike_Tresca> You haven't lived until you've seen Meatland.  Then you're sorry you're alive. :)
[20:21] <+Mike_Tresca> There's also the extradimensional blue planet Sinan, that's a lot like a movie you might have seen involving blue aliens, only Jeff wrote his first.
[20:21] <~Dan> Yeah, so I've heard. ;)
[20:21] <+Mike_Tresca> There are other dimensions, other cities, other realities.
[20:21] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Right...and the extradimensional world of Sinan...but mostly other worlds (including Earth itself) are only relevant in how they relate to the ground zero of Punktown.
[20:21] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Heh...don't get me started.
[20:21] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> ...on AVATAR.
[20:21] <~Dan> Speaking of other planets, did I read somewhere that teleportation has replaced space travel?
[20:22] <+Mike_Tresca> Yep.
[20:22] <~Dan> Completely?
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[20:22] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest64!)
[20:22] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Mostly, Dan.
[20:22] * ~Dan nods
[20:23] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Depending on the race.
[20:23] <~Dan> Mike, how do you handle cybernetics in game mechanics terms? Are they purchased like equipment? Any drawbacks?
[20:24] <+Mike_Tresca> That's actually going to be handled in detail by Tom's contribution, who has developed a cybernetic system for BRP.
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[20:25] <+Mike_Tresca> I provided an outline for the cybernetics that appear in Jeff's stories, but Tom will be fleshing that out.
[20:25] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:25] <~Dan> So Punktown will be the first book to feature cyber rules for BRP?
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[20:26] <+Mike_Tresca> I believe so yes.
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[20:26] <+Mike_Tresca> My version isn't nearly as fleshed out as Tom's, it's basically stat bonuses at a cost, so he'll add his contribution that's a full system.
[20:27] <~Dan> What character options are there in terms of race/species and so forth?
[20:28] <+Mike_Tresca> There are lifestyles: corporate life, gang life, and my personal favorite the Wedling Way (hedonistic immortality)
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[20:29] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, SJ_fnord!)
[20:29] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Ahh...hedonistic immortality...
[20:30] <+Mike_Tresca> And then the races: the wide-mouthed natives of Punktown, Choom; clones of all varieties; the jet-black skinned Kalians; the blue-skinned Sinanese; the tentacle-eyed Tikkihotto...
[20:30] <+SJ_fnord> :waves. Steve Jackson here. Thought I would start by making sure I could connect.
[20:30] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Hi, Steve.
[20:30] <+SJ_fnord> Unless we are all imagining this, that's a yes.
[20:30] <+Mike_Tresca> Hi Steve!
[20:30] <~Dan> Welcome, Steve! Please stick around if you'd like to watch how a Q&A works. :)
[20:30] <+SJ_fnord> (waves all around)
[20:31] <+SJ_fnord> :is sticking!
[20:31] <+SJ_fnord> I have to get used to not automatically using MOO chat commands, is all. OK, done interrupting. Go on!
[20:31] <~Dan> Steve: Here's what we're discussing: (Link:
[20:32] <+Mike_Tresca> Lots of professions too, ranging from Child of the Elders to Corporate Drone to Hitman to Forcers, Health Agents, and Gang Members.
[20:33] <~Dan> Is it possible to be a Lovecraftian sorcerer right out of the box?
[20:34] <+Mike_Tresca> Yes, there are characters who cast them at no small cost.
[20:34] <+Mike_Tresca> "Magic" is dangerous to cast even if you think you know how.
[20:34] <~Dan> Speaking of which, do you have your own take on Mythos magic, or is it right out of CoC?
[20:35] <+Mike_Tresca> it's similar to CoC
[20:35] <+Mike_Tresca> Basically, it's a tradeoff, you don't mess with it lightly.
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[20:36] <~Dan> (Welcome, jeffszusz!)
[20:36] <+Mike_Tresca> There's entire stories about the consequences of messing with magic, even when you think you know how to control don't.
[20:36] <~Dan> Does it always cost Sanity?
[20:36] <+jeffszusz> hiya folks
[20:37] <+Mike_Tresca> Welcome.
[20:37] <~Dan> jeff: Talking Punktown: (Link:
[20:37] <+Mike_Tresca> We don't commit to the system so that's optional, you can have it cost -- one thing that Tom has pointed out is that just living in Punktown is a sanity-draining experience, so we still have (in process) a form of "sanity resistance" as well as sanity loss for being a citizen.
[20:37] <~Dan> jeff: Also, we have a surprise guest in the form of Steve Jackson over there. :)
[20:38] <+Mike_Tresca> (I wanna interview Steve Jackson, heh).
[20:38] <+jeffszusz> what? where?
[20:38] <+Mike_Tresca> There are fun things called hate receptacles that absorb SAN loss.
[20:38] <~Dan> Mike: Yeah, I was wondering about that, re: the sanity cost of being a Punktowner at all.
[20:39] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> (It's cost me sanity just writing about the place!)
[20:39] <~Dan> :D
[20:39] <~Dan> Did you create new Punktown-specific spells?
[20:39] <+Mike_Tresca> Yep, from the books.
[20:40] <+Mike_Tresca> Detective John Bell encounters quite a few, as does cult hunter Christopher Ruby.
[20:41] <~Dan> Now, as folks around here can attest, I'm a sucker for a good bestiary. How extensive a bestiary does Punktown have?
[20:41] <+Mike_Tresca> It almost consumed the book.  Jeff is prolific. :)
[20:41] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I love my beasties.
[20:42] <~Dan> Hooray! :)
[20:42] <+Mike_Tresca> If this Kickstarter is really successful we kicked around a fleshed out "monster manual" idea.
[20:42] * ~Dan high-fives Jeff!
[20:42] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> *Slap!*
[20:42] <+Mike_Tresca> As it is we had to make some decisions about which critters to include.  I tried to include every one of them, but there's a LOT.
[20:42] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Oooh...Monster Manual!
[20:43] <~Dan> ("Fleshed out" sounds rather creepy in a Punktown context.)
[20:43] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> You got yer snipes...yer benders...yer Harvesters...and don't forget Ugghiutu.
[20:44] <+Mike_Tresca> That was Jeff's response last time when Tom brought it up.
[20:44] <~Dan> You guys mentioned this in the Lovecraft eZine interview a bit, but the setting seems ideal for "sandbox" gaming. On the other hand, it seems like it could be a bit overwhelming. Any thoughts on that?
[20:45] <+Mike_Tresca> Punktown does noir, street violence, paranoia, small personal stories very well.  Entire stories take place in apartment buildings.  In fact, it's so dangerous outside that some people never venture out at all.
[20:46] <+SJ_fnord> Aha. LARP potential there.
[20:46] <~Dan> Steve: Especially if all concerned took a mandatory hit of acid.
[20:47] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> That would be cool, Steve.
[20:47] <+Mike_Tresca> It's a sandbox in the sense that you can expand it how you like.  Punktown can accommodate fine cuisine, a crazy extradimensional circus, an entire underground subculture, multiple subway systems, and unexplored ruins.  Jeff expanded it as he thought up the stories, which is compatible with how game masters expand their own campaigns.
[20:48] <~Dan> Do you think you've provided enough "goodies" that a GM could wing it if the PCs decided to zig when the GM thought they were going to zag? As in, "Hey, let's see what's down this alley over here!"...
[20:49] <+Mike_Tresca> Yes, that's what the random generators are for.  We have a random crime generator, a random thug generator, a random plot generator.
[20:49] <~Dan> Awesome.
[20:49] <+Mike_Tresca> I tried hard to make the book as flexible as possible, the way I would want it written if I wanted to use it.
[20:49] <+Mike_Tresca> In an existence Call of Cthulhu/BRP game.
[20:50] <+Mike_Tresca> some other fun tables...
[20:50] <+Mike_Tresca> "What's on the VT?" (TV)
[20:50] <+Mike_Tresca> "Musty Tomes in an Arcane Bookstore"
[20:50] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> VT = TV. Yeah...I'm brilliant. ;-)
[20:51] <~Dan> :D
[20:51] <+Mike_Tresca> And my personal favorite.
[20:51] <+Mike_Tresca> "Punktown Will Kill You"
[20:51] <~Dan> LOL
[20:51] <~Dan> Ah, but do you have a random prostitute table?
[20:51] <+Mike_Tresca> A list of crimes to randomly inflict on the investigators if the Keeper sees fit.
[20:51] <+Mike_Tresca> Prosties are a part of life in Punktown so yes they're part of that table.
[20:52] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:52] <~Dan> So just a couple of quick notes here:
[20:52] <+SJ_fnord> :just read both the stories online. Scary vision, Jeff, scary. Do you ever deal with the ultra-rich out there, happily leeching off the proles?
[20:53] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Thanks, Steve, I'm honored!
[20:53] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I deal with that struggle every day. ;-)
[20:53] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> That conflict is big in Punktown.
[20:53] <~Dan> Since we're creeping up on the end of regular Q&A time, do you have anything else you guys would like to cover? And on a related note, you are more than welcome to hang out and answer questions as long as you're willing and able. :)
[20:53] <+Mike_Tresca> The rich vices are most present in cloning, which is taken to insane levels.
[20:54] <+Mike_Tresca> Clone yourself as a sex toy, as art, to cover up a crime, to commit one, to reenact an event, to give yourself immortality, switch your gender...if you've got enough money Punktown is a willing mistress.
[20:54] <~Dan> Isn't the first Punktown story about a guy who makes "art" out of his own clones?
[20:55] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> own favorite of my PT short stories.
[20:55] <+Geek2theRight> As a sex toy??? Dude, gross. O_o;
[20:56] <+SJ_fnord> Aww, we haven't gotten CLOSE to gross yet :)
[20:56] <~Dan> Brings all new meaning to the phrase "go **** yourself"...
[20:56] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> You took the words out of my mouth, Steve.
[20:56] <+Mike_Tresca> We haven't even touched on sex in Punktown.
[20:56] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Gross is my genre.
[20:57] <+Geek2theRight> Oh dear.
[20:58] <+Mike_Tresca> Punktown is unflinching in combining cultural mores in all sorts of interesting ways, including the physical, between races, gender, species...
[20:58] <~Dan> Mike, other than the Punktown-specific additions, are the rules straight out of CoC, or did you use any BRP rules options?
[20:58] <+Mike_Tresca> You can play an adult game, an action game, a horror game, the ingredients are all there.
[20:59] <~Dan> (And brb -- please continue)
[20:59] <+Mike_Tresca> Call of Cthulhu as a base, with BRP to stretch the boundaries for rules, particularly the alien races who have a variety of unique characteristics.
[21:01] <+Mike_Tresca> I've been typing a lot Jeff, anything you want to add?
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[21:02] <~Dan> Well, I meant in terms of, say, Fate points, or attribute adjustments to skills. That sort of thing.
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[21:03] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy, 'nessie, LW!)
[21:04] <+Mike_Tresca> Ah no, not specifically, but we'll be looking at the manuscript again once we make the Kickstarter goal (I hope, I hope!) as we'll be revisiting it to accommodate Tom's cyberpunk rules and that will likely stretch it in different BRP directions as well.
[21:05] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Actually, I'll be needing to bow out shortly (work tomorrow, alas).
[21:06] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> But as Mike says, I pray that we make our KIckstarter goal...only 8 days remain!
[21:06] <~Dan> Well, before you leave, I'd just like to thank you both for coming by to talk to us about Punktown!
[21:06] <~Dan> I'll have the log of the Q&A posted shortly.
[21:06] <+Mike_Tresca> Thank you for the opportunity!
[21:06] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Thank YOU so much, DAn, for your kindness in having us! :-)
[21:07] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> May I? (Link:
[21:07] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> I want to thank Mike for being here to answer all the gameplay questions...this game would absolutely not exist without Mike. He’s done a brilliant job...put tons of work into the foundation for this.
[21:07] <+jeffszusz> i didn't catch much of the discussion but the kickstarter sure looks interesting
[21:07] <~Dan> Absolutely! I should also mention that you guys are always welcome to stop by any time and talk about the game. Or anything, for that matter. :)
[21:07] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Very generous of you, Dan.
[21:08] <~Dan> In fact... Feel free to stop back by for Brian's Q&A.
[21:08] <+jeffszusz> and as a CoC fan and a cyberpunk fan you can be sure i'll be picking this one up - there have been attempts at melding CoC with cyberpunk before but i didn't think they were very...successful (CthulhuTech cough cough)
[21:08] <+Plastik> pokerdice
[21:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Thanks, Jeff...I hope this one satisfies!
[21:09] <+Mike_Tresca> Punktown IS Jeffrey Thomas.  His work is brilliant -- if the Kickstarter does nothing else, I hope it interests people in his work.
[21:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Oh...DAn...Brian will be doing a Q&A? When is that?
[21:09] <~Dan> Thursday.
[21:09] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Same bat-time?
[21:09] <+jeffszusz> from the preliminary artwork and the fact that it has grown out of some actual fiction rather than someone's ideas for COOL POWERS, i think it will satisfy :D
[21:09] <~Dan> Same bat-channel!
[21:10] <~Dan> And he'll be talking Punktown as well as his other stuff.
[21:10] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> GREAT! I'll do my best to be here!!!
[21:10] <~Dan> Please do!
[21:10] <+Plastik> PunkTown sounds neat, hope y'all make the kickstarter goal, the lip service Dan has given it has piqued my interest in it and Jeffreys books
[21:11] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Excellent, Plastik!
[21:12] <+Plastik> :D
[21:12] <~Dan> jeffszusz, Plas, think you can make it for the Thursday Q&A? I feel bad that you guys didn't have a chance to ask questions.
[21:12] <+Plastik> I tend to sit back and watch anyway
[21:12] <+jeffszusz> what time does it start?
[21:12] <+Plastik> and who knows, you know how my schedule is a bit chaotic Dan
[21:13] <~Dan> 7:00 Central, jeff
[21:13] <+J_Arcane> Phew.  Proofreading pass #1 complete.
[21:13] <+J_Arcane> Time to render a PDF and make with the playtest release.
[21:14] <+jeffszusz> i'll try to make it then Dan
[21:15] <+Plastik> I guess I should probably pick up the BRP core again at some point
[21:15] <+jeffszusz> i didn't quite catch - punktown is just BRP plus a flavorful setting yes? doesn't depart much from BRP?
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[21:16] <~Dan> That's my understanding, jeff
[21:16] <+jeffszusz> that's excellent, as i can know what to expect from the system before purchasing
[21:16] <+Plastik> I like how I bought the BRP corebook when it first came out and liked it
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[21:16] <+Plastik> then got bored with the releases
[21:17] <+Plastik> and when I look away BRP gets all sorts of cool crap
[21:17] * +Plastik grumbles
[21:17] <+jeffszusz> lol
[21:17] <+Plastik> now I need to invest in it again
[21:18] <~Dan> Well, do you have CoC?
[21:18] <+Plastik> that'd be a negatory, I sold all my CoC stuff as well
[21:18] <+Plastik> when I switched to all PDF
[21:18] <+jeffszusz> wtf would you do that?
[21:18] <+Plastik> I sold all physical books I had
[21:19] <+jeffszusz> i shudder at the thought of doing that
[21:19] <+jeffszusz> i could never give up my dead tree books
[21:19] <+Plastik> needed cash, went to all PDF, didn't bother to rebuy them on PDF because well
[21:19] <+Plastik> my group wasn't too fond of CoC
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[21:19] <+jeffszusz> do you have a fantastic tablet?
[21:19] <+Imaginos> Hello folks
[21:20] <+Plastik> jeff no I run things off a laptop usually
[21:20] <~Dan> Howdy, Imaginos!
[21:20] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Hey peoples, I must now bid adieu...I thank you all once again! :-D Good night!
[21:20] <+Imaginos> Heya Dan!
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[21:20] <~Dan> Sleep well, Jeffrey!
[21:20] * +Plastik waves to Jeffrey
[21:20] <+Imaginos> Doh!  Missed it didnt I?
[21:20] <+Plastik> yup
[21:20] <+Jeffrey_Thomas> Thanks, Dan! Tomorrow: work. The REAL scary setting.
[21:20] <+Mike_Tresca> Heh.
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[21:21] <~Dan> :)
[21:21] <~Dan> Hey, Mike? How tough are Punktown PCs?
[21:22] <+Mike_Tresca> It really depends on the lifestyle and race you choose.  Corporate hacks are considerably less powerful than say, cultists, and some alien races are more powerful than others.
[21:22] <+jeffszusz> so i'm on the amazon, looking at kindle editions of jeffrey_thomas books
[21:23] <+Mike_Tresca> His stuff is awesome.
[21:23] <+jeffszusz> not sure what i should get
[21:23] <+Mike_Tresca> Monstrocity if you like Call of Cthulhu.
[21:23] <+Mike_Tresca> If you're more cyberpunk, Health Agent or Blue War.
[21:24] <+jeffszusz> is there not an order?
[21:24] <+Mike_Tresca> And if you want some crazy stuff, Everybody Scream! is balls-to-the-wall insane.
[21:24] <+Mike_Tresca> I have a timeline in the book.
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[21:25] <+Mike_Tresca> Start with Punktown in that case, then Monstrocity.
[21:25] <+Geek2theRight> I have a friend who tries to get back at me in other games because I abandoned her character to die in a CoC session.
[21:25] <+Mike_Tresca> But beyond occasionally mentioning each other, the setting can be joined from any book.
[21:25] <+jeffszusz> hmm
[21:27] <+Mike_Tresca> And on that note I'm out too, night all, thank you for the opportunity.  Once again the Kickstarter is: (Link:
[21:27] <+Mike_Tresca> Thanks again!
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