Tuesday, July 23, 2013

[Q&A] Ken Spencer (Rocket Age)

[19:05] <+Ken_Spencer> First off, I am Ken Spencer, the line developer and lead writer of Rocket Age from Cubicle 7. Rocket Age is a retro-sci-fi RPG powered by the Vortex system. The setting is an alternate 1938 with rocket ships, RAY guns, and a Solar System full of habitable planets.
[19:05] <+Abstruse> (Oh, THAT Rocket Age! I just talked about you in this week's column!)
[19:06] <+Ken_Spencer> The corebook is due out any day now, and we plan to support it with a series of supplements begining with Blood Red Mars and Heroes of the Solar System. In addition to my writing, Jon Hodgson, Paul Bourne, and Scott Purdy have provided the illustrations.
[19:07] <+Ken_Spencer> It might be easier to address questions rather than have me just dump the info on you. (done)
[19:07] <~Dan> Thanks, Ken!
[19:07] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off?
[19:07] <+Abstruse> So I take it the game is going for a sort of Flash Gordon pulp serial feel?
[19:08] <+Silverlion> Is that in PDF or Print release?
[19:09] <+Ken_Spencer> Abstruss: yes, very pulp serial feel, but with modern touches and embellishments, as well as a good dose of history. Silver lamee pants are optional, but recommended.
[19:09] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: PDF and Print. In fact C7 has both available for pre-order.
[19:10] <+Sean> What's the page count for the corebook?
[19:10] <+Silverlion> I saw that but wasn't sure if the "imminent release" meant PDF with Print to come later, or both.
[19:10] <+Ken_Spencer> Sean: Page count is looking like around 250
[19:10] <+Silverlion> What kind of ray guns do they have? (More seriously, what is the setting like?)
[19:10] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: Both soon, PDF first.
[19:11] <+Abstruse> What rules system are you using for Rocket Age?
[19:11] <~Dan> (I'll call for a question pause after Abstruse's question.)
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[19:13] <+Ken_Spencer> Rocket Age setting. Its a huge topic, I like to think of the setting as over half the book. Its 1938 and in less than a decade after the Einstein-Goddard-Tesla rocket flight (Goddard didn't make the flight, he fell sick and was replaced by barnstorming pilot Henry Armstrong) touched down on Mars, humanity has spread from Venus to Jupiter, and is pushing on.
[19:14] <+Ken_Spencer> Abstruss: Rocket Age uses the Vortex system, modified to fit a more pulpy setting. The same system used in DWAITAS as well as Primeval.
[19:14] <+Ken_Spencer> (done)
[19:14] <+Silverlion> I love that you use Goddard, but am sad you made him miss his flight to Mars.
[19:15] <+Abstruse> But not the system you use in The Laundry?
[19:15] <~Dan> I know this, but for the benefit of our readers, perhaps you should give a quick overview of the Vortex system, Ken?
[19:15] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverion: I wanted to fit Henry in, his nephew will later be the first Earthling to set foot on an extra-solar planet (though not during the time frame of Rocket Age).
[19:16] <+Ken_Spencer> Abstruss: I believe Laundry uses a version of the BRP.
[19:16] <+Silverlion> Does that mean you'll have more games in the line?
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[19:17] <~Dan> (Howdy, Ettin! Q&A in progress!)
[19:17] <+Ken_Spencer> The Vortex system uses a 2d6 +Attribute +Skill +/- modifiers vs. a Difficulty (either static or the result of a target's Reaction). Degree of success determines if a character barely succeeds, succeeds, or does really well (and the inverse for failure).
[19:18] <+Ken_Spencer> Success is described by asking the question Did You Succeed? and answering it with Yes, but; Yes; Yes, and' No, But; No, and No, and.
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[19:20] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: The Rocket Age line will have a series of supplements. As far as something that looks at the future of the Rocket Age setting, no plans yet... (done)
[19:20] <+Silverlion> Cool.
[19:20] <~Dan> (Howdy, BPIJonathan!)
[19:21] <~Dan> Ken_Spencer: Can you give us an overview of technology in the setting? What's the bleeding edge in various areas?
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[19:23] <+Ken_Spencer> Technology varies a lot based on location, species, and income. For the rocket set, that is those whose lives revolve around zipping from planet to planet, the cutting edge of tech is 1938 +. That is to say its 1938 tech, but smaller, faster, better, plus rocket ships, RAY guns, war walkers, rocket powered cars, and all sorts of fun goddies.
[19:23] <+Gemini> hmmm
[19:23] <+Ken_Spencer> For the poor sods stuck on Earth, much less the Martians, Venusians, or Ganymedians, tech level is a lot lower.
[19:23] <+Silverlion> Cool.
[19:24] <+Sean> What sort of threats are there for PCs to deal with?
[19:24] <+Ken_Spencer> I'll give you an example for the GenCon events playtesting last night, My Europan was armed with a RAY SMG, the Martian Maduri PC had a sunaxe (really big orante double bit battle axe) and our foes had .38 revolvers.
[19:26] <+Ken_Spencer> Sean: Smugglers, pirates, angry natives, alien animals and plants, Europan saucer ships, kilometer wide Jovian gas bags, the vacuum of space, whatever the GM draws from the game or dreams up.
[19:26] <~Dan> Nice.
[19:26] <~Dan> So I take it Earthling PCs are an elite group that have access to spacefaring technology?
[19:27] <+Alaren> You've mentioned rocket packs a couple of times and in the design notes there is this bit "rocket packs that can send a man hurtling through the void." I was curious if I was reading this right. Does this mean that personal rocket packs are capable of allowing individuals to travel between planets or does such a long distance flight require a more 'traditional' rocket type ship?
[19:27] <+Ken_Spencer> All creatures in the Vortex system have traits, and the Rocket Age corebook has traits listed that no intelligent species or wild animal has listed. These are for the GM to dream up her own nasties and allies.
[19:28] <+Ken_Spencer> Alaren; Equipeed with a US Mark III rocket pack and Rocket Ranger space armor you can make it from Earth to Mars on your own. No other nation has this level of technology, and a large part of rocket pack tech is derived from reverse-engineered Ancient Martian tech.
[19:29] <+Silverlion> That's, a bit extreme for rocket packs..:D
[19:29] <+Ken_Spencer> Also, we do not discuss the Rocket Pack Mk I and II. Oh, those brave men and women :(
[19:29] <+Silverlion> Heh.
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[19:29] <+Sean> Do the PCs belong to some organization, or is it wide open?
[19:30] <~Dan> (You can tie that in with my question if you like, Ken.)
[19:30] <+Ken_Spencer> Earthlings have access to rocket technology, but the Europans have their saucer ships and gravitic pulse drives. Everyone else hitches a ride.
[19:31] <+Ken_Spencer> Sean: It is wide open. While there are brief descriptions of organizations PCs can belong to in the corebook, we really don't explore those until Blood Red Mars. You do not have to be part of a larger organization, your serial can be base don however your group wants to explore the Solar System of Rocket Age.
[19:32] <+Silverlion> Cool. Sounds  interesting are there any system tweaks between it and DWAITAS?
[19:32] <~Dan> Is this a "secret weirdness" setting, or does the average Earthling know that the Solar System teems with life?
[19:34] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: Nope, you watch the exploits of the rocket set on newsreels, read about them in the newspaper, and listen to them on the RADIO. Martian Princesses come to New York for ticker-tape parades.
[19:35] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: We added traits to make the system fit the setting, some species related, others to bulk up combat. The vehicle rules are brand new, and we added a few things to do with Story Points.
[19:35] <+Silverlion> Cool.
[19:36] <+Sean> Does that mean rules for ship to ship combat?
[19:36] <+Ken_Spencer> Sean: Oh yes, and you better have a RAY shield if those Europan saucer ships come in disintegrators blazing.
[19:36] <~Dan> Ken_Spencer: We discussed this a bit between ourselves, but Vortex seems pretty gritty as written. Do you do anything to make it more "pulpy"?
[19:38] <+Ken_Spencer> Vortex for Rocket Age is easier to survive, reaction bidding is a big part. If your reaction to an attack has failed, you can try to bid down the result, but the other character can counter bid. You can go through a lot of Story Points that way.
[19:39] <+Ken_Spencer> Also, and thi smight just be my background in GURPS and BRP, but the Vortex System never seemed that lethal to me. It did need some tweaks. Another thing, instead of having your character points spread between categories, you get one big lump of 42 to start with.
[19:40] <~Dan> Can you tell us your reasoning behind the latter?
[19:42] <+Ken_Spencer> Sure Dan, first of all every character needs to purchase a Species package, Earthling, Venusian, Europan, Ioite, Martian (seven castes of Martians), or Ganymedian. After that you can, and this is optional, purchase an occupational package.
[19:44] <+Ken_Spencer> After that, you spend character points to increase attributes and skills, buy traits, and whatnot. We found out in the playtest that most people prefer to use the occupational packages (though, again, they are an option), and it was easier to work the math with a pool, rather than a pre-allocated setup.
[19:44] <~Dan> Makes sense.
[19:44] <+Ken_Spencer> Finally, as an American, I want my stuff in one big helping :) (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[19:45] <~Dan> So this will probably call for an immediate question pause, but can you take us on a quick tour of the Rocket Age solar system?
[19:45] <~Dan> (Question pause. :) )
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[19:46] <~Dan> (wb, Seann!)
[19:46] <+Ken_Spencer> Mercury is a ball of rock that no one loves (poor mercury)
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[19:47] <+Ken_Spencer> Venus is covered in jungle, at least the highlands. The air pressure and heat, as wella s the dense clouds, prevent much exploration beyond that.
[19:47] <~Dan> (Are there dinosaurs?)
[19:47] <+Ken_Spencer> Dino like critters and giant insects.
[19:48] <~Dan> (Excellent.)
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[19:48] <+Ken_Spencer> Earth is earth, but WWII has not broken out yet, it likley will not for some time. The Great Powers divide thins up much like in the real 1930s.
[19:49] <~Dan> (wb, rayston!)
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[19:50] <+Ken_Spencer> Mars is a planet in decline, its resources largely extracted and recycled for centuries. It is a hot, dry world that has not recovered from a massive cataclysm.
[19:52] <+Ken_Spencer> Jupiter supports life, at least in the upper atmosphere. There are clumps pf vegetation that form sky islands, ephemeral solid land in a sea of clouds and deadly gases. Its moons are what draw most explorers.
[19:53] <+Silverlion> Are their sentient manta ray fliers?
[19:54] <+Ken_Spencer> Silverlion: Jovian Gas Bags (like huge jellyfish), darters that swoop in and feed on the succulent parts of other creatures, hawk worms, sky sponges, and more.
[19:54] <+Silverlion> Cool.
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[19:54] <~Dan> (wb, BPIJonathan!)
[19:54] <~Dan> (Tour of the solar system underway. :) )
[19:55] <+Ken_Spencer> Callisto is a ball of ice, but supports life. Ganymede is a forest covered moon. Europa is the mysterious home of the Europans. Io was once a fertile moon hosting an advanced civilization, but the Europans blasted it until it became a toxic, deadly wasteland.
[19:56] <+BPIJonathan> (Im having some issues with network connectivity. I may drop off again)
[19:56] <+Ken_Spencer> Saturn and the outer planets are intentionally left with sketchy info in the corebook. This provides a place for GMs to set their own serials of exploration.
[19:56] <+Ken_Spencer> As it is 1938, Pluto is a planet. (done)
[19:57] <~Dan> Excellent. :)
[19:57] <~Dan> Is Mars a bit sword-and-planet-ish, then?
[19:58] <+Silverlion> Yay Pluto deserves to be grandfathered.
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[19:59] <+Ken_Spencer> Every planet has a theme, and Mars is conflict. The native cultures are stagnate, Earthlings have brought new ideas, new technology, and new crimes to Mars. This has upset the balance of the Martian princes, as well as the caste system and religions. You can sword and planet to your heart's content.
[20:00] <+Ken_Spencer> Play cloak and dagger int eh Earthling occupied parts of Mars, delve into Ancient Martian ruins in search of lost technology, trade, fight, even set yourself up as a prince. (done)
[20:01] <~Dan> You mentioned Rocket Ranger armor.... What's the scoop on that?
[20:03] <+Ken_Spencer> Rocket Range Space Armor protects the occupant during space flight. It slike an armored, winged space suit. Once landed you probably want to dump it before going to far its heavy. The armor itself is composes of a composite layer of Earthling alloys and Martian plastics.
[20:04] <~Dan> Ah... So not really pulp Iron Man, then.
[20:05] <~Dan> Did I understand correctly that the U.S. has the monopoly on rocket technology?
[20:06] <+Ken_Spencer> If you want that, and you want the newest War Walker used by the Deutsche Marskorps, the Persönlichespanzerwanderer, a one man war walker that is much like powered armor. You just need to get a neural link (available only to the German army) and steal a war walker.
[20:06] <~Dan> Ah. Cool. :)
[20:07] <+GenoFoxx> a neural link...that's a little advanced for '38
[20:07] <+Ken_Spencer> Earthlings have a monopoly on rocket technology, Tesla- Einstein -Goddard shared it with the world
[20:08] <~Dan> Ah, I misunderstood that part. So how are the Great Powers expanding off-planet?
[20:08] <+Ken_Spencer> GenoFoxx: The neural link is Ancient Martian tech, recovered and modified enough to work with Earthlings. The process is very painful, and sedation interfers with the establishment of the neural conncetions.
[20:09] <+GenoFoxx> ouch
[20:09] <+Ken_Spencer> The Great Powers are dividing up Mars, but the Martians have a few things to say about that. There are also colonies, military bases, and research stations being established from Venus to Jupiter.
[20:10] <~Dan> So WW2 will be an interplanetary affair when/if it happens?
[20:10] <~Dan> (And on a related note, is Hitler in power as in real history?)
[20:11] <+Ken_Spencer> If the product line runs that far, there might be a First Solar War. I wanted to get rid of Hitler and the Nazis, but glossing over their crimes doesn't serve anybody. They are there, and they are bad, but the Germans are described with nuance.
[20:11] * ~Dan nods
[20:12] <~Dan> Can you describe the various races a bit?
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[20:14] <+Ken_Spencer> The sophont species are: Venusians are large, hairy, ape like creatures (do not call them monkeys) with a stone age tech and hunter -gather culture. They are the only mammalian life native to Venus.
[20:16] <+Ken_Spencer> Martians are divided into castes. The Royal Silthuri (ethereal beauties), Priestly Kastari, Warrior Maduri, and the lower castes of the Craftsman Talandri, Merchants Pilthuri, Laborer Julandri, and the wild feral Chanari.
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[20:17] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Hobbit-Scholar! Q&A in progress! :) )
[20:17] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Did I miss the Rocket Age Q&A?
[20:17] <~Dan> (In progress. :) )
[20:17] <+Ken_Spencer> The Europans are very alien, enigmatic, and have technology far in advance of everyone else. They have threatened to disintegrate other species unless certain demands are met, often conflicting or bizarre demands.
[20:18] <+Ken_Spencer> Ioites are the mutated and blasted descendants of their once grand ancestors.
[20:19] <+Ken_Spencer> Ganymedians are plant and fungus based communal organisms. They are primitive, but quick learners.
[20:19] <+Ken_Spencer> (done)
[20:19] <~Dan> Are there any weird powers available, like psychic abilities?
[20:20] <+Ken_Spencer> Some psychic powers, but they are rare (and expensive in game terms).
[20:21] <~Dan> Are they available to humans?
[20:21] <+Ken_Spencer> A rare Earthling might have them, for example those who have studied esoteric arts or strange alien religious practices.
[20:21] <+Hobbit-Scholar> What are some of the sci-fi pulps that helped inspire Rocket Age? Film, comics, movies, music, any medium?
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[20:24] <+Ken_Spencer> When I was seven I had my tonsils out, and as a present got a black and white TV. Afternoons were old Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Lone Ranger, and Tarzan serials and movies. In addition I was raise don sci-fi. Burroughs, Heinlein, Niven, Drake, and a dozen others.
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[20:24] <+Hobbit-Scholar> And my java crashes right after I ask a question...
[20:24] <~Dan> [20:24] <+Ken_Spencer> When I was seven I had my tonsils out, and as a present got a black and white TV. Afternoons were old Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Lone Ranger, and Tarzan serials and movies. In addition I was raise don sci-fi. Burroughs, Heinlein, Niven, Drake, and a dozen others.
[20:25] <+Ken_Spencer> I have drawn from pulp, sci-fi, and my background as an archeologist and geographer (done)
[20:25] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Any particular ancient societies that drove your imagination as you developed the setting?
[20:25] <+Ken_Spencer> Oh, one more thing, lots of Queen's Flash Gordon soundtrack, my alarm clock goes "Flaash, ohhh ohhh"
[20:25] <~Dan> Nice. :)
[20:25] <+Hobbit-Scholar> YES!!!!
[20:26] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Flash is my nickname. ;-)
[20:26] <~Dan> How extensive of a bestiary does the game feature?
[20:26] <+GenoFoxx> what? no Asimov or Tom Corbett: Space Cadet?
[20:27] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: most of my work as an archaeologist dealt with prehistoric North America and the early contact era. Also, Ancient Rome, Greece, China, and India. A bit of Africa and colonialism, and the plains wars.
[20:27] <+Hobbit-Scholar> With the resurrgence of pulp in the past few years with the rising in popularity of comic book and sci-fi films that now have the special effects to create believable scenes, do you feel that this has helped create an ideal environment for a game like RA, given that there have been so few traditional sci-fi pulp rpgs on the market?
[20:28] <+Ken_Spencer> The bestiary has samples from all over the Solar System, more to come in each planet's sourcebook.
[20:28] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:28] <+Ken_Spencer> GenoFoxx: Some Asimov, but mostly Heinlein. Starship Troopers was read to me as a bed time story. My dad was, odd.
[20:28] <+Hobbit-Scholar> By "odd" he means "Awesome."
[20:28] <~Dan> :D
[20:29] <+GenoFoxx> My dad is too set in 'mundania'
[20:30] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: I don't watch a lot of movie sci-fi, I prefer television series as they give a chance for the setting and characters to be developed. As far as special effects, imagination is always in HD.
[20:31] <~Dan> Are the Europans the "Big Bads" of the setting?
[20:31] <+Ken_Spencer> Sci-fi RPGs have been a niche of the hobby for some time, I hope to change that. I just hope my wife never tapes me doing the housework while singing "Sci-fi Back" (to the tune of Timberlake's "Sexyback")
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[20:32] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I think it is "coming back," but more in the sense that today's adults never "grew out" of their childhood fantasies and hobbies. We carried them into adulthood. What made you decide to use Vortex for your system, instead of creating an original mechanic for RA?
[20:32] <+Silverlion> Heh. I think you are great Ken
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[20:33] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: The Europans are a threat, but also a playable species. They are at once dangerous, random in their desires (as a people, not individuals) and also somewhat humorous. They have paused their threat of total destruction of the Earth while they study the situation.
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[20:33] <~Dan> So powerful space weirdos? :)
[20:33] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei! Q&A in progress! #rpgnet2 open for chat!)
[20:34] <+Ken_Spencer> Europan Emissaries have fanned out across the Solar System, particiapant-observing other species.
[20:34] <~Dan> Oh, speaking of fanning out, how fast is space travel?
[20:34] <+Hobbit-Scholar> So they're very objective, seeing themselves as removed from the Solar System, even with the chaos the create?
[20:34] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: Not so much weirdos as very, very unsettling and unpredictable. Do you laugh or run from the guy with the disintegrator pistol?
[20:35] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: More like above the lesser species.
[20:35] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Arrogant. Ahh...
[20:35] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: very fast, freighters can lug along at 250,000 km/h in a vacuum.
[20:36] <~Dan> I notice that you put "RAY" in all caps. Acronym?
[20:38] <+Ken_Spencer> Radiation Accelerating weaponrY
[20:38] <~Dan> Nice. :)
[20:38] <~Dan> How common are RAY guns on Earth?
[20:40] <+Ken_Spencer> They are the weapons of the wealthy, elite soldiers, and brave adventurers. On Earth RAY weapons are in the hands of the best troops a nation can muster, and elite police departments. The FBI certainly has some.
[20:40] <~Dan> And you mentioned RAY shields...?
[20:42] <+Ken_Spencer> RAY shielding is a new invention in use by some ships of the US Rocket Corps. RAY shields can block beams weapons for a limited time before the system burns out. The power requirements are so great only rocket ships can have them.
[20:43] <~Dan> What sorts of weapons do rocket ships have? Just bigger RAY guns, or are there missiles and the like?
[20:44] <+Ken_Spencer> Rocket ships have RAY cannons, rocket pods, conventional cannons, and of course a long plume of super hot radioactive exhaust.
[20:44] <~Dan> And Europans have disintegrators?
[20:45] <+Ken_Spencer> Yep, zap, you're dust.
[20:45] <~Dan> Nasty.
[20:45] <+Hobbit-Scholar> How do you handle such a lethal weapon in pulp settings, which traditionally have more hardy heroes?
[20:45] <~Dan> Now, as I mentioned earlier, you're welcome to hang out as long as you like; however, with about 15 minutes left in "regular" Q&A time, is there anything about Rocket Age that you'd like to cover that hasn't come up?
[20:46] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Any word on a release date?
[20:46] <+Hobbit-Scholar> (Dangerous question, I know)
[20:47] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Schoalr: A grazing hit from a Disintegrator will 'just' take a chunk out of you. A solid hit will kill you. However, Story Points (of which your character will have 12) can be used to increase your chance of dodging, reaction bid, or cheat death (which would lead to a Bad trait in exchange, like only one hand).
[20:48] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Oooh, a trait exchange mechanic - that sounds interesting...
[20:48] <+GenoFoxx> g'night
[20:48] <~Dan> (Bye, GF!)
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[20:49] <+Ken_Spencer> Release date is officially Summer 2013, pre-orders are open, and my guess would be very, very, very soon.
[20:51] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Oh yeah. I pre-ordered mine already. :-) Assuming there are resources, what are some future products we might see in the future - if you are allowed to discuss that kind of thing.
[20:51] <~Dan> Where does the game fall on the serious/humerous scale? Are the flashy movie serial trappings played "straight"?
[20:52] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: We have planned: Blood Red Mars, Heroes of the Solar System, (title still in the works) Venus, Imperial Jupiter, Edge of the Solar System. Plus some episodes.
[20:53] <+Seann> Episodes?
[20:53] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I love the idea of "Episodes".
[20:53] <+Silverlion> Awesome.
[20:53] <+Silverlion> I've got to run. Goodnight
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[20:54] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: Mostly serious with some humor. You can deal with the darker stuff as much as you want, or stick to the lighter fare in the setting. As far as pulp tropes, campaigns are serials, adventures are episodes. There are some pulp style traits as well.
[20:55] <~Dan> How about where it falls on the gritty/cinematic scale? Are the PCs "Big Damn Heroes" in the movie serial tradition?
[20:56] <+Ken_Spencer> I have tried to create a setting that plays with the tropes, but does so in a serious manner. Rocket Age is a real sci-fi setting, not an homage, pastiche, or send-up of the past. Something meaty, but with a touch of humor.
[20:58] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: your characters are yours, they can be Big Damn Heroes, lying scum, soldiers stuck in a war they don't want, natives fighting off invaders, square jawed Rocket Rangers blasting off into adventure, dirt covered explorers, anything.
[20:58] <+Hobbit-Scholar> <squares his jaw>
[20:58] <~Dan> So the setting doesn't have a "built in" moral compass?
[20:59] <+Ken_Spencer> I see it this way, I am giving you the sandbox and shovel, the castles are yours.
[20:59] * ~Dan nods
[21:00] <~Dan> So let me ask you this...
[21:00] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: The moral compass might be inclusion. As Jon Hodgson says, "Everyone is invited to the fun". The old serials had heroes who spoke of justice, equality, and freedom. I am taking them at their word.
[21:00] <~Dan> ...Would it be correct to say that you've created a setting with pulp sci-fi tropes that's treated as a serious sci-fi setting, with all the nuances that implies?
[21:02] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: Yes, I would love it is players asked themselves questions about what is a human, who are we in the greater universe, what are the risks/ rewards of technology. Rocket Age doesn't have clear good and evil, nor does the real world.
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[21:03] <~Dan> That's an interesting approach to a pulp game.
[21:03] <+Ken_Spencer> Also, colonialism is a big issue in Rocket Age, how do we treat the alien other and what are our rights and responsibilities. Good sci-fi asks questions and posits outcomes, I would like to think Rocket Age is good sci-fi. (done)
[21:03] <~Dan> Or would you even call it a pulp game at heart?
[21:04] <~Dan> In tone and themes, I mean.
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[21:06] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: At heart Rocket Age is Space Opera, a form of pulp. But pulp is broad, and can challenge and entertain. Also, rocket ships with fins. In tone Rocket Age ranges from funny, thought action packed, and on to a little sad. I do not like grim-dark games. As bad as, for example, Nazi Occupied Mars is, there are heroes who can make it better.
[21:06] <+Ken_Spencer> To me, the heart of pulp sci-fi is hope. Hope for the future, for Humanity, for the heroes. (done)
[21:06] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Well said!
[21:06] <~Dan> Excellent. :)
[21:07] <~Dan> Would you like to hang out longer, Ken, or do you need to head out?
[21:08] <+Ken_Spencer> I can stay a little longer, but it is getting late and I need to spend some quality time with my son playing Lego Star Wars. or watching TOS Star Trek.
[21:09] <~Dan> (Oh, and I sent you a PM, by the way.)
[21:09] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Proper parenting. What are your hopes, your dreams for Rocket Age?
[21:09] <+Hobbit-Scholar> If the world was a perfect place, how would RA be recieved and where would the game line go?
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[21:12] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: If the line does well, I would love to add an Alien Lifeforms book, maybe a tech or ship books, and a series sized book that brings Einstein back from his journey (he left the Solar System in a trans-relatvistic rocket ship). Then maybe a Rocket Age 2038 that advances the timeline and opens up extra-solar travel, with less of a pulp feel
[21:13] <+Ken_Spencer> and more of a sci-fi of the 50's and 60's vibe. (done)
[21:13] <~Dan> That would be interesting... The future of a retro-future setting.
[21:15] <~Dan> Kind of a random question, but how "weird" is Earth in Rocket Age?
[21:15] <+Ken_Spencer> How alternate history would that be? All that is just a pipe dream right now, I have at least a year's work to get the five supplements out. What I am most excited about, other than the soon to be released corebook, are our GenCon events and my elite playtesters.
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[21:16] <+Hobbit-Scholar> Love your playtest posts on the C7 forums, btw.
[21:16] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: I haven't covered Earth much, after all if you have the whole Solar System why spend time on the most familiar planet?
[21:16] <~Dan> A fair point.
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[21:17] <+Ken_Spencer> Hobbit-Scholar: Thanks, since we are doing the GenCon events, we can't let too much out about the episodes. Hopefully when we swing into Heroes testing after GenCon we can reveal more.
[21:18] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I'm ridiculously excited for this game, Mr. Spencer. I've been hoping for something like this for at least 20 years.
[21:18] <~Dan> :)
[21:18] <~Dan> I'm glad you made it to the Q&A, then, Hobbit-Scholar. :)
[21:18] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I walked in the door, saw the post on the RA Facebook and immediately hopped over. Sorry I missed part of it.
[21:19] <~Dan> No worries, Hobbit-Scholar. I always post the logs to my blog. The link is in the topic line.
[21:19] <+Ken_Spencer> I hope everyone is as excited about Rocket Age as Hobbit-Scholar is.
[21:19] <~Dan> I know I am. I thought Vortex would make for a great pulp game as soon as I played it.
[21:20] <+Hobbit-Scholar> My wife has been so annoyed by me watching Flash Gordon and talking about this game that's not released yet. She's like "You'll get to run it, sweetie, calm down."
[21:20] <+Abstruse> Sorry I've been out of it. I was interviewing the lead designer of Dark Nova and I couldn't focus on two space opera based games at once :p
[21:20] <+Seann> I can't wait to see it. Thanks, Ken.
[21:20] <+Ken_Spencer> If you are going to GenCon, I will be at the Cubicle 7 booth from 2pm on.
[21:20] <~Dan> I wish I were. :(
[21:21] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I'm with you there, Dan.
[21:21] <+Seann> And thanks, Dan. Gotta go.
[21:21] <~Dan> Bye, Seann! Don't be a stranger!
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[21:22] <+Ken_Spencer> OK, I'll need to blast off in ten minutes, any last minute questions?
[21:22] <~Dan> I think I'm covered. Anyone?
[21:22] <+Abstruse> Will you have the game at GenCon?
[21:22] <+Hobbit-Scholar> I'm good to go. :-)
[21:23] <+Ken_Spencer> Abstruss: Yes, at least the soft-cover version.
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[21:26] <~Dan> Did you have Rocket Age's setting in mind before you knew you'd be using Vortex?
[21:27] <+Ken_Spencer> Before I need to go (there appears to be a light saber related incident in the living room, wife is responding) thank you for having me to your chat, it was fun and I always like to hear from fans. If you pick up  a copy of Rocket Age, let me know what you have done with it on the Cubicle 7 forums.
[21:27] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Ken! It's been great. :)
[21:28] <+Hobbit-Scholar> We will! Thanks again, Mr. Spencer!
[21:28] <+Ken_Spencer> Dan: Real quick, yes the setting came first before the system was modified and applied. Originally Rocket Age was going to be a FATE book, but that system was not working well with what I wanted to do with the setting. Vortex fits nicely, and has enough room to build the system I wanted for Rocket Age.
[21:28] <~Dan> Gotcha, thanks!
[21:29] <+Ken_Spencer> Good Night all! Rocker Rangers, Away!
[21:29] <~Dan> Good night! :)
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