Thursday, July 18, 2013

[Q&A] Gobion Rowlands & Angus Abranson (Broken Shield)

[19:04] <+Angus> Hi, I'm Angus Abranson, owner and founder of Chronicle City
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[19:05] <+Angus> A British based publisher who works with a number of other companies and deisgners to help bring their games to print as well as designing or own inhouse games.
[19:05] <+Gobion> Hi everyone - I'm Gobion Rowlands, author of the Broken Shield superhuman science fiction rpg. I also write sci-fi detective novels (the wyld hunt, dead angels and soon the firestorm conspiracy) set in the same world under the pen name of Gunnar Roxen.
[19:06] <+Gobion> i also work with angus on delta14 publishing and i am the production manager for chronicle city. in a former life i made videogames for 12 years:)
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[19:06] <+Angus> (done)
[19:06] <+Gobion> (done) :)
[19:06] <~Dan> Thanks, guys!
[19:06] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with a question?
[19:07] <+borrg> Could you tell us what makes Broken Shield Unique?
[19:07] <+Tim> Goblin wasn't unique enough name to use it for your books?
[19:07] <+Tim> What is broken shield,?
[19:07] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:07] <+Tim> Gobion....
[19:08] <+Gobion> Tim: my real name is closely associated with my work in video games and games in general - for my fiction i wanted people to know that Gunnar Roxen writes sci-fi detective novels. Also i am half-swedish and Gunnar is my middle name and Roxen is the lake i gre up by
[19:08] <+Tim> Cool.
[19:09] <+Gobion> Broken Shield is a sci-fi game set in Lopndon of the far future where you play federal agents and spies.
[19:10] <+Gobion> i think the core of what makes broken shield different is how the Echo powers (super powers) work: right from word go, the players are almost unlimited in what they can do - the only limitation is how quickly they want to die
[19:10] <+Gobion> every time they use their abilities they permanently acquire wyld cancer which slowly kills them
[19:11] <+Gobion> one of the elements of game design that i have always been fascinated is in finding sweet spots of dynamic tension in games and how to shift agency to players - this is one way of doing it
[19:11] <+Tim> Nods
[19:11] <+Gobion> combined with the fact that bigger powers are easier (yet kill you faster) and finely tuned powers are much harder (yet kill you slower) and all the core decisions are in the hands of the players
[19:11] <+Gobion> they can change entire worlds
[19:12] <+Gobion> i've also built the echo system visually - that is oen of the things i really worked hard on in making videogames
[19:12] <+Gobion> how to visually represent (complex/deep) systems
[19:13] <+Gobion> i guess one of the other elements is that i actually trained as a forensic pyschologist
[19:13] <+Tim> Awesome to hear
[19:13] <+Gobion> and i try and bring that into the game world
[19:13] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[19:13] <+Gobion> it was a career i seriously considered sticking with until  um... something happened :D
[19:14] <~Dan> (You realized that you're squeamish? :) )
[19:14] <+Gobion> i've always loved world building and also using sci-fi settings to deal with real world/interesting issues in a fun way
[19:14] <+Tim> Stuff happens to all.of us
[19:14] <+Gobion> actually - it was when my co-supervisor murdered the research assistant in the department  :D
[19:14] <+BPIJonathan> (thats one of the mos interesting IRL jobs I have ever heard about)
[19:15] <~Dan> (Holy crap. O.o)
[19:15] <+Tim> Ouch
[19:15] <+Gobion> yeah :(
[19:15] <+Tim> Freaky scary
[19:15] <+Gobion> i also was the first person to track down and catch a cyber stalker
[19:15] <+Gobion> sooo... i've seen some stuff and wanted to include it in my games :D
[19:15] <+Tim> Awesome.
[19:15] <+Gobion> but that is peropheral to broken shield
[19:16] <~Dan> You're an interesting guy, Gobion. :)
[19:16] <+Gobion> at its core it is a fun game focused on saving the universe
[19:16] <+Gobion> thanks :)
[19:16] <+Gobion> (done) ? :D
[19:16] <+Tim> Ever read strike force morituri?
[19:17] <+Gobion> oooh no?
[19:18] <+borrg> Strikeforce Morituri jumped out as possible inspiration to me from what you described, exchange a clock on your life for superpowers to save the earth from aliens.
[19:18] <+Tim> It was a dark comic book series published by marvel aliens invaded and to fight them they created superpowers..which gave the wielders a year or less to live
[19:18] <+Gobion> looks interesting. actually that does remind me of another potentially unique feature - or at least a lesser travelled one - one of the core conceits of broken shield is "how do people with super abilities lead normal lives?"
[19:18] <+Gobion> nice
[19:18] <~Dan> What is the source of Echo powers?
[19:18] <+Gobion> i like that tension
[19:18] <+Tim> Indeed
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[19:19] <+Gobion> it is the Wyld - the primal reality of which ours is just one bubble. it is a chaoitic energy source channelled into and through Echoes but also used in power systems - the Echoes shape it via their perceptiosn of reality
[19:20] <+Gobion> the universe of broken shield - the Steel Alliance - is a morphic one, shaped by people's expectations and experiences
[19:20] <+Gobion> they found many habitable worlds partly because they expected too
[19:20] <+Tim> Interesting. So supernatural esque?
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[19:20] <+Cassandra> A Cassie returns to the field of battle.
[19:21] <~Dan> (Howdy, Cassie! Q&A in progress! :) )
[19:21] <+Gobion> a little - the Steel Alliance was formed by the Overlord and his disciples - a group of beings from the wyld who claim to be gods, they are followed/respected though there is a tension there
[19:22] <~Dan> About that... In your NPC download, you include clearly supernatural creatures. Are they beings from teh wyld as well?
[19:22] <+Gobion> they represent quite stark concepts - order (the Overlord), ruthless progress (Albion), procreation (ISoke) etc
Session Start (Dan:#rpgnet): Thu Jul 18 19:23:01 2013 -0500
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[19:23] *** Topic on #rpgnet is: #rpgnet welcomes Gobion Rowlands & Angus Abranson (Broken Shield) 7/18/2013 24:00 GMT! || Q&A schedule: (Link: http://​​cvr8p9y)http://​​cvr8p9y || Q&A logs: (Link:
[19:23] *** Topic set by Dan (7/13/2013 at 10:44 PM)
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[19:23] <+Gobion> the supernatural is subtle and rare - most of the abilities of the Disciples is via the Echo avatars they possess and burn out
[19:23] <~Dan> (Sorry -- Trillian crashed on me.)
[19:23] <+Gobion> no probs
[19:23] <+Gobion> does that answer your question?
[19:24] <~Dan> I'm not sure... How do creatures like reapers (IIRC) fit into the setting?
[19:25] <+Gobion> i think there might be some confusion there - i don't have any reapers :) Players can be agents in Ripper - the division tasked with dealing with Echo crimes (or one of the many other divisions in the Agency) - is that what you are thinking of?
[19:26] <+Gobion> though later sourcebooks will address the supernatural side, it is very light touch in the core game
[19:26] <~Dan> I probably have the name wrong. I'll look it up in a sec here. I know that download features several seemingly supernatural creatures, including zombies, for example.
[19:26] <+Gobion> ah! that might be an old NPC sheet from a campaign we ran :)
[19:26] <+Gobion> they turned out to have a more prosaic cause :)
[19:27] <+Gobion> yep those were from a much earlier version of the game :)
[19:28] <+Gobion> i wonder how they got out! hehe
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[19:28] <+Gobion> this is the 5th complete revision of broken shield - the first i felt ready to release to the wider world
[19:28] <~Dan> I think it's in your page.
[19:29] <+Tim> It happens. They're like gremlins
[19:29] <+Gobion> righto - that must be some older DNS entries - should point at: (Link:
[19:30] <~Dan> Ah. Well, that explains why such creatures aren't referenced at all in the core book, then. :)
[19:30] <+Gobion> :)
[19:30] <~Dan> As to that file, though: It also listed some alien creatures. What's the status of such critters in the final version?
[19:31] <+Gobion> there are non-sentient aliens, but (with the possible exception of the Disciples) there are no sentient aliens in the unvierse
[19:31] <+Gobion> (it is closer to Dune in that regard as i was more interested in the evolution of humans)
[19:31] * ~Dan nods
[19:31] <+Gobion> the nevaad are a nasty parasitic creature for instance
[19:31] <+Gobion> a bug to be encountered on death worlds
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[19:32] <~Dan> Death Worlds?
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[19:32] <~Dan> (Howdy, Squide!)
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[19:32] <+Gobion> worlds rendered actively hostile to humanity
[19:32] <&Le_Squide> (Hey Dan! Broken Shield Q&A, or...?)
[19:32] <~Dan> (Yup!)
[19:32] <+Gobion> where the flora and fauna seek to kill people - Earth is a death world aside from a scattering of cities like London
[19:33] <+Gobion> indeeed it is Le_Squide :)
[19:33] <+Gobion> (done)
[19:33] <~Dan> Ah, right! That was another thing I noted in that NPC sheet: beast-men living in the forest outside of London?
[19:33] <+BPIJonathan> I like it when the flora and fauna try to kill people.
[19:33] <+Gobion> me too :)
[19:34] <&Le_Squide> (Is there a site or link to somewhere with a synopsis of Broken Shield available?(
[19:34] <~Dan> Are they still part of the setting?
[19:34] <+Tim> I like the option
[19:34] <+Gobion> broken shield initially is tightly focussed on the Agency in London. later books will expand the scope with the metropolice, marines, the wider world and universe
[19:34] <~Dan> (Link:
[19:35] <+Gobion> it is important to me that each area is suitably fleshed out - and that groups have those options
[19:36] <+Gobion> outside the walls of London are the Wytchwoods - terraformed flora and fauna that went terribly wrong
[19:36] <~Dan> So are Echo powers essentially free-form superpowers?
[19:36] <+Gobion> but most people never see it - they live in London or travel to other worlds
[19:36] <+Angus> If you're interested in knowing more you can currently download the 'Dead Angels' novella free of charge on (Link: for the next few days.
[19:36] <+Gobion> with some limits - each Echo Power takes on a form such as pyrokinesis, telepathy, metasensory perception (seeing through time)
[19:37] <+Gobion> indeed! as Angus said my short novella Dead Angels is currently up there for free
[19:37] <+Gobion> the Wyld Hunt is a full length novel that has more Echo power usage - Dead Angels gives a taste of the setting
[19:37] <+Gobion> the Echo powers are very flexible allowing a huge range of actions
[19:38] <+Gobion> for instance one of the plwyers in my group realised he could potentially telepathically control 1 million people at once
[19:38] <~Dan> Ah, I see... And physical superpowers are a separate thing, IIRC?
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[19:39] <+Gobion> but every use has a risk of going out of control and 'Wylding' - releaseing a huge uncontrolled burst of energy that destroys everything around the Echo except the Echo themselves and other Echoes
[19:39] <+Heckboy> Hello.
[19:39] <+Gobion> there is also sliverware which is cybernetic, biological or nano-based implants
[19:39] <~Dan> (Howdy, Heckboy! Q&A in progress! #rpgnet2 open for general chat, as usual. :) )
[19:39] <+Gobion> a touch of cyber :)
[19:39] <~Dan> And those are Slivers?
[19:39] <+Gobion> yep
[19:40] <+Gobion> one of my main characters in my novels - the Warrior Caste Pure, Lovelace is a Sliver
[19:40] <+Gobion> they are faster, strong, but still very vulnerable to Ecoes
[19:40] <+Gobion> Echoes, rather
[19:41] <~Dan> And what about the sub-species?
[19:41] <+Gobion> (done)?
[19:41] <+Gobion> ooh good question
[19:41] <+borrg> Given the investigative parts of the game seem quite important (as you're playing agents of the government) how does the system reflect that? something like Gumshoe (and Mutant City Blues) or leaving it to the players and GM to negotiate through clues?
[19:41] <~Dan> Thank you. That's why they pay me the big bucks.
[19:41] <~Dan> (Question pause after borrg's question.)
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[19:42] <+Gobion> yep there are a number of new human species called Breeds - like the Pures. Pures are an intensively driven subspecies who try to keep control of their inner rage and who as a group tend to worship the Tattooed Man, the Disciple of Judgement (not justice mind)
[19:43] <+Gobion> hi borrg - the skill set is built around investigation, and i've written a lot about it in the book and future books will continue to develop on that theme. that said, i do love gumshoe, but i actually also like crunch - the problem that gumshoe addresses of investigations being stone walled is not one i've ever run into - i work hard to make missions that ae
[19:43] <+Gobion> that is why i am still polishing the initial introductory adventure whio i will be releasing soon
[19:44] <+Gobion> essentially - i've modelled the system more on freedom and to allow the kind of investigations i've been involved in in real life
[19:45] <+Gobion> there is a lot of focus on the reasons for things being the way they are in the game world. for instance in our world justice is built on the rule of democracy, but in broken shield justice is applied top down based on divine mandate and that gives it a different spin
[19:45] <+Gobion> broken shield missions tend to be a mix of investigations, espionage/subterfuge and action
[19:45] <+Gobion> it is a pretty crunchy system
[19:46] <~Dan> How would you place it on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is "totally gritty" and 10 is "over-the-top four-color action"?
[19:46] <+Gobion> returning to the sub species aside from the Pures there are a number of others - such as the Gethans who practice extreme transhumanism
[19:46] <~Dan> (Sorry, please continue.)
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[19:47] <+Gobion> hah! well it would depend on the mission, but i'd say 3-4 normally with the occasional 8. one important concept is that the actions of teh players can change entire worlds, yet most of the action takes place in one city
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[19:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, Gemini! Q&A in progress! (Link: )
[19:48] <+Gobion> i've run missions dealing with crimes you would see int he real world through to epic missions that caused the deaths of entire worlds. initially though i woulds ay the game is aimed more at the grittier end
[19:49] <+Gobion> Echoes always have the ability to muck that up though. Though super-powered, i would definitely say they are no 4- colour
[19:49] <~Dan> But I get the impression that even non-Echo PCs are a cut above the norm?
[19:49] <+Gobion> they live in a world that needs them and fears them. theya re intensely powerful but often die young and most don;t survive the training
[19:49] <+Gobion> definitely
[19:49] <+Gobion> all characters are larger than normal - able to punch above their weight but still vulnerable
[19:50] * ~Dan nods
[19:50] <+Gobion> i guess you could describe them as Jason Bourne level
[19:50] <~Dan> How would you describe the bleeding edge of Broken Shield technology in various areas?
[19:50] <~Dan> (Travel, weaponry, etc.)
[19:51] <+Gobion> well they have moved entire worlds - Mars and Venus have been brought into the same orbit as Earth (though 120 degrees before and after it). weaponry is very, very dangerous
[19:51] <+Gobion> there are tens of thousands of inhabited worlds
[19:52] <+Gobion> but msot people live a day-to-day life that is similar to our own
[19:52] <~Dan> (So clearly there's FTL travel?)
[19:52] <+Gobion> it is a jump-based system using technology derived from Echoes with teleportation
[19:52] <+GenoFoxx> so is there rules for adventures beyond London and on any other planets
[19:53] <+Gobion> yes - this is just the starting book
[19:53] <+Gobion> i've actually got several books almost finished
[19:54] <+Gobion> i've developed the universe for my writnig and games over 20 years and have well over a million words of background. that said i don't like swamping people and like to reveal it in ways that are organic and not info-dumps
[19:54] <~Dan> Gobion: I've described the setting based on what I've read so far as "superpunk". Any thoughts on that?
[19:54] <+GenoFoxx> I don't mind info dumps but that's me
[19:54] <+Gobion> i plan on releasing sourcebooks set in the techno-fetish Federate Combine, the smuggling focussed Corsair Sector and more
[19:54] <+Gobion> :D
[19:54] <+Gobion> Good to know GenoFoxx - it is a balance
[19:55] <+Gobion> where possible i try to show rather than tell
[19:55] <+Gobion> there is also more indepth looks at the legal systems of the steel alliance and a system for resolving what happens *after* you finish/close a case
[19:56] <+GenoFoxx> important question (at least to me) any provisions for mecha?
[19:56] <+Gobion> hehe
[19:56] <+Gobion> GeneFoxx there are power-armoured Echo suits called Avatars (named after the living embodiments of the Disciples)
[19:56] <+Gobion> so yes
[19:57] <+Gobion> if you are happy with those answers  then (done) on those questions :)
[19:57] <~Dan> Did you see my "superpunk" question, Gobion?
[19:57] <+Gobion> no? though i like the term :D
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[19:58] <~Dan> Ah. Well, I just said that I'd used the term to describe Broken Shield and wondered what your thoughts on it were. :)
[19:58] <+Gobion> one thing i would say and this applies to my writing and games is that i love getting input from my readers and players - i vew myself as a custodian of the unvierse and i'm not precious about them - much has been shaped by the actions of players
[19:58] <+GenoFoxx> seems more like transuperhumanism than 'superpunk' to me dan
[19:58] <+Gobion> it's a fun phrase - i tend to focus on it being sci-fi noir, but i also like that :)
[19:58] <+Gobion> ooh well i do have a massive soft spot for transhumanism
[19:59] <+Gobion> i featured it in all my computer games :D
[19:59] <+Gobion> in fact i've actually lectured on transhumanism in real life
[20:00] <~Dan> Speaking of transhumanism, how common are such abilities in the setting? Are there street-level "cyberdocs" and the like?
[20:00] <+Gobion> they are relatively uncommon for the normal person - but agents, military personnel, mercs, the rich all make use of them
[20:01] <+Gobion> one thing about the game - as far as players are concerned - there is no money - it is not about acquisition - as being with the agency you can access a vast array of tech from sliverware and genesculpting to gauss weaponry and even jump-capable ships
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[20:01] <+Gobion> there is money in universe, it just doesn't feature in the game
[20:01] <~Dan> What's the limit for them, then?
[20:02] <~Dan> (In terms of equipment.)
[20:02] <+Gobion> Talent Points (the XP/Karma of the game) and Rank within the Agency (or contacts)
[20:02] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:02] <+Gobion> also the sseverity of the threat
[20:03] <+Gobion> if you are investigating a simple murder you are more limited than say dealing with a major terrorist attack
[20:03] <~Dan> And is there any sort of limit as to the amount of augmentation a body can handle, and if so, does that vary with subspecies?
[20:03] <+Gobion> it means players get to play with a wide range of toys
[20:03] <+Gobion> yes - all sliverware is powered by and base on Echo-tech so it causes Wyld Cancer
[20:03] <+Gobion> so there is a cost in Talent Points (experience) and Wyld Cancer
[20:04] <+Gobion> but for most non-Echoes the Talent Point cost is the issue, as they are unlikely to ever use up all 500 points of Wyld Cancer
[20:04] <~Dan> How does that work, re: Echo-tech? Is it developed by Echo-powered superscientists?
[20:05] <+Gobion> yes and also derived from the wyldstone and ... um... possibly Echoes that failed training
[20:05] <+Gobion> though that is just a rumour
[20:05] <~Dan> wyldstone?
[20:06] <+Gobion> a reality distorting stone that is used to power echo tech that probably exists and probably isn't made from failed Echoes
[20:06] <+Gobion> :D
[20:06] <~Dan> Ah. Heh.
[20:06] <+Gobion> it can be a tough universe
[20:06] <+Gobion> i say probably, because i like to undermine my own history - because as we know hostory and truth are rarely the same
[20:07] <+Gobion> history, rather
[20:07] <~Dan> So... is all high technology in the setting Echo-tech?
[20:07] <+Gobion> well when you have access to such incredible power it is hard not to base your tech on it. so i would say it mostly is...
[20:07] * ~Dan nods
[20:08] <~Dan> So, a bit like, say, Ghost Rock technology in Deadlands, for example?
[20:08] <+Gobion> why invent FTL when you have people that can jump through the wyld to new worlds?
[20:08] <+Gobion> yes, there is an element of that (I love Deadlands - a great game)
[20:08] * ~Dan nods
[20:09] <~Dan> As an aside, do you still have that NPC file that I mentioned, with the supernatural creatures and aliens?
[20:09] <+Gobion> but the fact that Echoes often kill those normal people around them and certainly can go out with a bang makes them a loved/feared resource
[20:09] <+Gobion> one other thing abotu Echoes is that as they get towards dying of Wyld Cancer they get exponentially more powerful, which is fun for players - i love balancing bad stuff with fun stuff
[20:10] <+Gobion> i should encourage good, epic stories that really mark the end of their lives
[20:10] <+borrg> How common are Echoes in the population? Vanishingly rare? most people you meet down the supermarket? Somewhere in between?
[20:10] <+Gobion> 1 in 50,000, of which only 25% survive training
[20:11] <+Gobion> and when they finish training they are auctioned off to organisations
[20:11] <+Gobion> so there are more in a well funded organisation like the Agency or a corp, than in the metropolice
[20:11] <+Gobion> they have to serve 5 years before they are free to choose - unless they buy their own contract out
[20:12] <+Gobion> so in the agency they are rare, but not that rare, whilst in the metropolice for instance they are so rare that they instantly get promoted to sernior officers even though they don't have the experience :)
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[20:12] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[20:13] <+Gobion> places like London tend to attract more than normal
[20:13] <+Gobion> (done) <-- i'm still getting used to that!
[20:14] <~Dan> You're doing just fine, Gobion. :)
[20:14] <~Dan> How often to you see non-human creatures becoming involved in adventures supported in the core rules?
[20:15] <+Gobion> the universe of Broken Shield is something i am hugely passionate about and love sharing it with folks - so much of how creatures like Nevaad feature will depend on what people would like :)
[20:15] <+Gobion> if people want more of that i will prioritise those books
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[20:15] <~Dan> What about creatures from the Wyld?
[20:15] <~Dan> (Howdy, Skimble!)
[20:16] <+Gobion> i've been building and revising the universe for 20 years and will continue to do so for... well forever :D
[20:16] <+Gobion> well one of the books ont he way is the book on the Disciples, their Cults and the Wyld along with a book that takes a more detailed look at Echoes
[20:16] <+BPIJonathan> (I have that same problem with my settings)
[20:16] <+Gobion> so yes that is definitely going to fature
[20:17] <+Gobion> BPIJonathan it is something many gamers like us share
[20:17] <+Gobion> feature, not fature :D
[20:17] <~Dan> Was that the source of ghosts and such in previous versions of the setting?
[20:17] <+Gobion> maybe :D
[20:17] <~Dan> <.<
[20:17] <+Gobion> the Overlord warned humanity about the Rezhadi, dark demons and disciples
[20:18] <+Gobion> are they those? i'm not telling yet :D
[20:18] <+Gobion> more accurately 0 i will give freedom to GMs to shape their own uiniverse
[20:18] <+Gobion> so i often include conflicting ideas
[20:18] <+Gobion> that 0 was meant to be a hyphen :D
[20:18] <+BPIJonathan> (I had never heard of this setting before I came to check out the Q&A, and it has now advanced to my want list)
[20:18] <+Gobion> good to hear!
[20:19] <+Gobion> i really enjoyed reading Eldritch Skies btw
[20:19] <+Angus> BPIJonathan - we'll have some copies of Broken Shield on the stand at Gen Con.
[20:19] <+Gobion> i've rolled out broken shield alongside the novels
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[20:20] <+Gobion> i love building and sharing the universe and i want to give people who find it interesting a huge amount to get their teeth into
[20:20] <~Dan> Care to say a bit about the system, Gobion?
[20:20] <+Gobion> sure
[20:21] <+Gobion> it uses D20s and D6s - it is a fraction based system that allows for success and the possibilty of increible success
[20:21] <+Gobion> most skill rolls are equal to or less than your skill, but harder difficulties require rolling less than half or a quarter or a tenth of your skill
[20:22] <+Gobion> damage uses big ist loads of D6 because i like rolling big fist loads of dice for damage :D
[20:22] <+Gobion> the system is consistent throughout and i try and avoid too many unique cases
[20:22] <+BPIJonathan> (Thanks, glad you are enjoying ES. I am pretty happy with it myself. Its up for an Ennie Award too)
[20:22] <+Gobion> the Echo powers use the Echo wheel which allows the players to quickly pick thei scope of their powers and resolve it without being overwhelmed by complexity
[20:23] <+Gobion> my wife often commented that magic systems/psionics/super powers can been slow and time consuming and unless that is the intent (say with the excellent Ars Magica) then it should be fast and easy to pick up
[20:23] <+Gobion> i am really happy with the visual approach i took to Echo power design
[20:24] <~Dan> That does look pretty handy.
[20:24] <~Dan> I'm a little concerned about relying on fractions for success levels, though. Does that slow things down a bit?
[20:24] <+Gobion> i spent a lot of time in user interface design for my computer games and it influenced my thinking on systems like Echo powers but also in how character sheets are laid out
[20:24] <+Gobion> no - it is pretty easy and quick
[20:25] <+Gobion> for instance if your skill is 18 then if you roll 18 or less it is a normal succes (normally enough) but a 9 is a difficult, a 5 is extreme and 1 or 2 is a critical. it is graduated like that to never lock out the chance of success, but if people don;t like fractions well mostly you just roll under your skill
[20:25] <+Gobion> i use sliding difficulty levels so you don't even need to work out the fractions
[20:26] <~Dan> Oh? That's good. I hate doing math in my head.
[20:26] <~Dan> Maths is hard. :)
[20:26] <+Gobion> it can take a few moments to figure out, but once ou do the flow is fast and it is powerful
[20:26] <+Gobion> hehe minimal maths required!
[20:26] <~Dan> :)
[20:26] <+Gobion> but if you are interested in the maths side: it is an exponential system
[20:27] <+BPIJonathan> Im a Liberal Arts major, so maths need to be easy :D
[20:27] <+Gobion> it is - none of my players are maths majors
[20:27] <~Dan> How powerful can Slivers become as compared to popular superheroes in terms of strength, agility, etc.?
[20:27] <+Gobion> i've run it with hundreds of players aged 12+ and no one has struggled
[20:28] <+Gobion> they can become pretty damn powerful, able to leap high, punch through walls, take far more damage
[20:28] <+Gobion> oh and they tend to be lightning fast
[20:28] <~Dan> How much can they lift, potentially? A car? A bus? An airliner?
[20:29] <+Gobion> normally in the car kind of range
[20:29] <+Gobion> lifting bigger things would be the realm of a telekinetic
[20:29] <+Gobion> speed is much more important that brute strength though
[20:30] <~Dan> Speaking of which, does success level affect damage in combat?
[20:30] <+Gobion> slivers tend to be (much) faster than Echoes and normals.
[20:30] <+Gobion> yes
[20:30] <+Gobion> the combat system can be pretty lethal
[20:30] <+Gobion> i actually provide a set of tips for new players - dive for cover, take drugs, that kind of thing :)
[20:31] <+Gobion> standing in he open slugging it out will get you killed
[20:31] <+Cassandra> So winners do take drugs? ;)
[20:31] <+Gobion> (i hope i am answering these questions helpfully! if i missed anything i am always happy to talk on email skype etc with folks!)
[20:31] <+Gobion> definitely!
[20:31] <+Gobion> winners take ALL the drugs
[20:32] <+Cassandra> I see. :)
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[20:32] <+Gobion> drugs tie into the fun stress system
[20:32] <~Dan> Can you tell us a bit about the attribute breakdown and the specificity of skills?
[20:32] <+Gobion> where CoC has sanity, broken shield has wyld cancer and stress
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[20:33] <+Gobion> there are 30 odd skills. each is broad (so all pistols, SMGs, are light weapons for instance, all ground cars and bikes are car) with an emphasis on investigative skills like evidence analysis, forensics and espionage
[20:34] <+Gobion> characters start out very capable
[20:34] <+Gobion> able to get a lot done
[20:34] <+BPIJonathan> So you can make the assumption that all your characters will eventually die from their abilities?
[20:34] <+Gobion> on average they succeed
[20:34] <~Dan> (brb -- please continue)
[20:34] *** Dan is now known as Dan-brb
[20:34] <+Gobion> BPIJonathan - Echoes yes, others it depends
[20:35] <+Gobion> there are 7 core attributes. most are familiar (dex, str etc) but with the addition of Wyld which is how connected to teh wyld you are
[20:35] <+Gobion> it tends to be a dump stat for normals and a high stat for echoes, but as it is the stat you use to resist echo powers that can be a risky move for non-Echoes
[20:36] <+Gobion> it can make it easy to be made a 'meat puppet', or have an echo with metasensory perception look back through time and see you
[20:37] <+Gobion> there is overlap between skills to try and avoid situations where no one has a skill and progress in the mission grinds to a halt - though using streetwise rather than say espionage might have a penalty
[20:37] <+Gobion> other than that the skills are probably largely familiar to gamers
[20:38] *** Dan-brb is now known as Dan
[20:38] <+Gobion> there are a few wrinkles such as Pures make use of Faith for purging themselves of excess stress.
[20:39] <+Gobion> there are career skills like espionage, law enforcement to act as a catch all for calling on resources, knowing the system, etc
[20:39] <+BPIJonathan> I cant help but think of some parallels to the anime, Trinity Blood.
[20:39] <+Gobion> that keeps things moving fast and also helps players out
[20:40] <+Gobion> my anime-fu is weak - i'll have to look that one up :)
[20:40] <~Dan> Did you make skills broader as the game developed? They seemed pretty specific in that early NPC page.
[20:40] <+Gobion> not really - if anything i trimmed a whole bunch out
[20:40] <+Gobion> if they added nothing to gameplay but more complication, they got the boot :)
[20:41] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:41] <+Gobion> that was my general mantra in this version - i wanted it to be focussed and tight
[20:42] <+Gobion> games have evolved massively over the last ten years and i wanted to make sure i addressed that
[20:42] <~Dan> Does subspecies impact one's Echo ability potential?
[20:42] <+Gobion> hence things like the echo wheel (which i am really proud of)
[20:43] <+Gobion> Gethans have fewer echoes because of their desire to control everything in the genotype, Pures have more because their adopted homeworld saw some horrific echo warfare in the past
[20:43] <+Gobion> but in general everyone has roughly the same percentage of echoes
[20:43] <+Gobion> and roughly the same amount of racists and echo haters :D
[20:44] <~Dan> When the book mentions "aliens", is it talking about human subspecies?
[20:45] <+Gobion> you can probably tell, but i love answering questions like these - one of the joys in game creation / world building is thinking things through to their logical conclusions - and exploring the what-if scenarios
[20:45] <+Gobion> yep
[20:45] <+Gobion> a lot of humans consider pures, gethans, hulks etc as non-human
[20:45] <+Gobion> they are sufficiently speciated to be unable to breed with humans outside of a lab
[20:45] <~Dan> Well, I should mention that you're always welcome to hang out here and promote your game, Q&A or not, Gobion. Just ask BPIJonathan over there. :)
[20:45] <+Gobion> cool :)
[20:46] <+Gobion> like many writers i sometimes get a bit shy, but i will try and pop in
[20:46] <~Dan> Please do!
[20:46] <+Gobion> it is oen of the things i am loving about being in the rpg world is how lovely everyone is
[20:47] <+Gobion> i have loved meeting folks at conventions
[20:47] <+xyphoid_> dan is just being nice because he wasnts to inject parasites into your brain
[20:47] <~Dan> Let's see... We have about 15 minutes left in "regular" time --- you're welcome to hang out as long as you like, but I suspect you guys need your sleep --- so is there anything we haven't covered that you'd like to mention?
[20:47] <+Gobion> hehe
[20:47] <+xyphoid_> wants, even
[20:47] <+Gobion> i'll ask my existing brain bugs to make room!
[20:48] <+Gobion> blimey, well - just as i mentioned earlier i love getting folks involved and sharing my world. also - i am going to playtest the introductory mission called "snakeheads" soon, so if people are interested do send me an email
[20:48] <+Gobion>
[20:49] <+Gobion> i'm always happy to answer questions and get people involved
[20:49] <~Dan> This is kind of a random question, but how does armor work? Does it reduce damage?
[20:50] <+Gobion> yep - armour is rated between 1 and 6. when you roll the d6s for damage rolling less than the armour value means all damage is stopped, rolling equal to is means you do shock damage only and rolling higher means you do shock and wounding damage
[20:50] <+Gobion> armour piercing weapons modify the armour value down
[20:50] <+Gobion> 1 is unarmoured
[20:50] <+Gobion> 6 is power armour
[20:50] <+Gobion> characters generally tootle around in armour value 3
[20:51] <+Gobion> and there are two armour values, one for impact/physical and one for energy weapons
[20:51] <~Dan> Are there robots?
[20:51] <+Gobion> that answer your question?
[20:51] <+Gobion> yes
[20:51] <+Gobion> plenty of drones
[20:51] <+Gobion> and indeed i will be introducing the Deus in a later book - slivers who are fully interfaced with a hive mind of drones
[20:52] <+Gobion> i couldn't do them justice in the core book, so will make sure they get a good slice of space in a upcoming book
[20:53] <~Dan> Will you be posting any sort of bestiary of aliens and Wytchwood creatures online?
[20:53] <+Gobion> yes
[20:53] <~Dan> Good man. :)
[20:53] * ~Dan loves bestiaries.
[20:53] <+Gobion> i'll try and make many things available for free where i can, and in paid supplements where i can't (so i cans eat more noodles!)
[20:53] <+Gobion> :)
[20:53] * ~Dan nods :)
[20:54] <+Gobion> and i am also letting some folks write sourcebooks to broaden the world
[20:54] * +BPIJonathan is a fan of bestiaries too
[20:54] <+Gobion> i'm also talking about some cross over books with Mischa Thomas and his Cold & Dark universe
[20:54] <~Dan> Oh? Now that would be interesting.
[20:54] <+Gobion> as he and i share a common hivemind it seems
[20:54] <~Dan> He's a cool guy.
[20:55] <+Gobion> like i said i'm not preciious about my universe - i love to see it grow and evolve and players/readers/gamers do that with me
[20:55] <+Gobion> mischa is awesome - we spend many hours talking and scheming
[20:55] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:55] <+Gobion> i'm a big fan of cold and dark
[20:56] <+Gobion> one of the perks of working with chronicle city as part of my my varied hats is getting to see some awesome books and meet more great folks
[20:56] <~Dan> Is there any "Big Bad" in the Broken Shield setting?
[20:56] <~Dan> Yeah, I'm a big fan of Angus as well. :)
[20:56] <+Gobion> i wrote my first adventures for blue planet back in the day with gar hanrahan
[20:57] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:57] <+Gobion> angus has been instrumental in helping ym novels and games see the light of day
[20:57] <+Angus> Flattery wwill get you everywhere... ;)
[20:57] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:57] <+Gobion> there is a big bad, but i am going to reveal it piecemeal - there are clues encoded into the covers, logos, and contenst of the books
[20:57] <+Gobion> i like to hide hidden messages :D
[20:57] <~Dan> I was lucky enough to have a beer with Angus back in... GenCon '05, maybe? Or was it '07?
[20:58] <+Gobion> yeah Angus' passion for games is infectious - when i was burned out from videogames he helped relight that fire for games design and writing in me
[20:58] <+Angus> Could have been either or both... maybe '12 too ;)
[20:58] <+Angus> Sorry '13... I'm losing track of the years!
[20:58] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:58] <+Gobion> i've yet to make it to a gencon - hopefully next year!
[20:59] <~Dan> Yeah, I'm planning on going back next year.
[20:59] <+Angus> We're going to try and see if we ship Gobion over somehow. I've already started looking into crates...
[20:59] <+Gobion> i do fold for easy storage
[20:59] <~Dan> Oh, by the way: If you're able to stop by during the day my time, you'll be able to chat with our Euro-folk contingent, Gobion.
[20:59] <+Gobion> ok will do
[21:00] <+Aeolius> I have been playing D&D since 1979 and have yet to make it to Gen Con.
[21:00] <+Angus> Gen Con is certainly one of the conventions to attend at least once if you can.
[21:01] <~Dan> Gobion, Angus, as I mentioned, you're more than welcome to continue hanging out with us, but do you need to get to bed? :)
[21:01] <+Gobion> thank you to dan and angus for organising this and to everyone for the questions and for taking the time to ask me along - i hope i answered them well :)
[21:01] <~Dan> You did a great job, Gobion. :)
[21:01] <~Dan> I'll have the log posted momentarily and will message you the link via FB.
[21:01] <+BPIJonathan> I appreciate the answers, and thanks for adding yet another game to my vast growing collection :D
[21:02] <+Angus> Thanks for the offer Dan but it's gone 3am here and I need a few hours sleep before diving back into Kickstarter duties and also prepping for Gen Con :)
[21:02] <+Gobion> hehe the collection grows ever bigger - i have well over 1,000 rpgs
[21:02] <~Dan> I figured as much. :)
[21:02] <+BPIJonathan> I do too. And I love each one of them
[21:02] <~Dan> I really appreciate you guys staying up so late!
[21:02] <~Dan> (Or getting up so early, whichever. :) )
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[21:03] <+Gobion> i think i should also go to bed - it is now officially my 10th wedding anniversary - i'd best not keep my lovely wife waiting :)
[21:03] <~Dan> Congrats, Gobion!
[21:03] <+Gobion> thanks! i am a lucky man - she is one of my most regular gamers too :D
[21:03] <+BPIJonathan> Congrats, tell her we said thank you for her allowing you to visit with us
[21:03] <+Angus> Dedication - staying up for an interview on the wedding anniversary eve!
[21:03] <~Dan> No foolin'! :D
[21:03] <+Gobion> :D
[21:04] <+Gobion> catch you all later  and thanks once again for being so lovely :)
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[21:04] <~Dan> Our pleasure! Take care!
[21:04] <+Cassandra> Woo.
[21:04] <+Cassandra> Byee peoples. :)
[21:04] <+Angus> Thanks again folks :)
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