Monday, August 12, 2013

[Q&A] Brian & Matt James (Red Aegis)

[19:04] <+Vorpal_Matt> I'm Matt James, and I'm the younger brother of Brian. Brian is 7 years older, but I am 7 times cooler. We have been game designers for years now but recently started Vorpal Games to make our own.
[19:04] <+Vorpal_Brian> Hello. I'm Brian R. James, Matt's older brother, and lead designer of Vorpal Games. I've been a freelance gamer designer since 2007, working primarily for Wizards of the Coast.
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[19:05] <+Vorpal_Matt> Now: Red Aegis
[19:05] <~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion! We're just getting started. :) )
[19:05] <+Vorpal_Matt> What is it? Brian, tell us.
[19:06] <+Vorpal_Brian> Earlier this year Matt and I formed a new small press publishing company called Vorpal Games. Our first product is a strategic tabletop roleplaying game called RED AEGIS, which we're kickstarting right now
[19:06] <+Vorpal_Matt> Red Aegis is a stategic RPG that involved playing different ancestors in a single bloodline
[19:06] <+Vorpal_Matt> You start in the distant past and play through the far future
[19:07] <+Vorpal_Matt> It's all about building the lineage of your bloodline to the end of days
[19:07] <+Vorpal_Matt> There are infinite outcomes and the game is designed to be replayable
[19:07] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:07] <~Dan> Thanks, guys!
[19:07] <~Dan> Would anyone like to start us off with a question?
[19:07] <+Abstruse> Can you talk about how the bloodlines feed into the mechanics? Are we getting a new group every couple of sessions, or is it one PC reincarnated through the ages?
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[19:09] <+Vorpal_Brian> You start the game by build a clan (much like you would build up a single character in traditional rpgs). Each game session you play hero of your clan, each a descendant of the first
[19:10] <+Morrus> Does this mean a "generic" RPG rule set designed to handle all ages? How do the rules reconcile both medieval and far future gameplay?
[19:10] <+Vorpal_Matt> The traits of your bloodline carry throughout, not individual characters
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[19:10] <~Dan> (Queston pause after Morrus's question, please. :) )
[19:11] <+Vorpal_Matt> Our system can be used generically, but it is really designed to support bolstering your Clan, and then Tribe (tentative terms). Clan = Table of players, Tribe = The individual
[19:11] <+Vorpal_Matt> (brian has more)
[19:11] <+Vorpal_Brian> Your clan levels as you move from age to age. During this phase of the game you spend experience to purchase either abilities for your clan or new disciplines for your collective tribe.
[19:12] <+Vorpal_Brian> Advancement in the three disciplines of science, arcana, and faith leads to your clan being able to use more advanced weaponry, spells, and so on
[19:12] <+Vorpal_Matt> One other important aspect is that we have a system to incentivize rotation of traditional GM duties. The GM, or what we call the Arbiter, will likely change during the course of the campaign arc.
[19:12] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:13] <+Silverlion> (Allo)
[19:13] <~Dan> So does the setting vary from campaign to campaign?
[19:13] <~Dan> Or is there a built-in setting?
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[19:13] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest8! You can set your name with the /nick command. :) )
[19:14] <+Alaren> What is a typical adventure like in Red Aegis? Are there certain goals that have rammifications on future ages depending on whether they are completed or not?
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[19:14] <+Vorpal_Matt> (first answer to Morrus)
[19:14] <+Vorpal_Matt> (errr Dan)
[19:15] <+Vorpal_Brian> The RED AEGIS Corebook will include a "default" setting, but we will provide a dozen or more story scenarios
[19:15] <+Vorpal_Matt> We have a default assumption, but we are incentivizing consumers to craft their own story. It will happen naturally as the game is played (the history of the game is your past characters)
[19:16] <+Vorpal_Brian> We're also developing an optional supplement called the Hacker's Guide that will give guidance on using RED AEGIS with other rules systems like Pathfinder, FATE, and 13th Age
[19:16] <+Vorpal_Matt> "Adventures" represent an important moment and snapshot in the history of your lineage. Those are played out, and consequences are brought to bear (or not, depending on what you do)
[19:16] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:17] <+Abstruse> How do the mechanics of the system work? Are we using the same set of rules in the low-magic pre-history as we are in the high fantasy and urban fantasy and space opera time periods?
[19:17] <+Morrus> You mention Arcana - does that means magic sits alongside technology? What about the faith discipline?
[19:17] <~Dan> To expand a bit on the setting issue, is it the case that faith, magic, and tech have the same potential in every game? Or does that vary?
[19:17] <+Vorpal_Matt> Yes. It is the same system/mechanics. It is a modified dice pool that I am calling the Loremaster Game System.
[19:17] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:17] * +Abstruse snickers.
[19:18] <+Vorpal_Matt> The dice pool is used in multiple ways, not like World of Darkness or event Only War (40k)
[19:18] <+Vorpal_Matt> You use a pool of 7 dice
[19:18] <+Vorpal_Matt> That pool is constructed based upon what you, the player, want to put forward to try and overcome the challenge
[19:19] <+Vorpal_Matt> The combination of successes in that pool not only determine success, they help you narrate what just happened
[19:19] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Dan: Fath, magic, and tech will rise (and fall) based on the actions of the PCs during gameplay, so each campaign will turn out very different
[19:19] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:19] <+Vorpal_Brian> In one campaign, your tribe might focus almost exclusively on magic and while another your players may instead choose a balance of faith and science... leading to two totally different visions of the far future
[19:20] <~Dan> Vorpal_Brian: I see... So there aren't any axioms baked in to any given setting. The potential for faith, magic, and tech is always there?
[19:20] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus Correct, magic sits alongside technology
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[19:20] <+Vorpal_Matt> Correct
[19:20] <~Dan> Gotcha. Interesting.
[19:20] <+Vorpal_Matt> It's all in what you want to do (and actually do) with the story.
[19:21] <+Vorpal_Matt> We don't want to tell anyone how to construct their story
[19:21] <+Abstruse> You guys have one hell of a talent pool going into this game - from big names from the past (Ed Greenwood) to current stars (Miranda Horner) to up-and-comers (Enrique...ummm...crap, I can't remember NewbieDM's last name!!) How did you guys get all those names to sign on?
[19:21] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Dan Yes, though we may provide guidance in the Corebook for game masters that may not want to include one or more of the disciplines
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[19:21] <+Vorpal_Matt> Blackmail
[19:21] <~Dan> Does the system have the ability to handle, say, psionics, superpowers, and/or mutations?
[19:21] <+Vorpal_Matt> Yes, it will. Depending on what your tribe does to advance towards those areas
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[19:22] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Dan Magic (as well as science and faith) change over time. In the earlier ages of the game arcana is more primitive and elemental. As you advance in magic it gets more sophisticated until it starts to look more like psionics in the far future
[19:22] <+Morrus> So who/what is the opposition? GM Tribes? Could your tribe be magic focused while the
[19:22] <+Abstruse> I'll make sure to tell Miranda you said that next time I talk to her, Matt :p
[19:23] <+Vorpal_Matt> ;)
[19:23] <+Morrus> Theirs is tech and another is superpowers?
[19:23] <+Abstruse> (Met her last weekend at Space City Con. She's awesome.)
[19:24] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus When you start a campaign the players declare which tribe each clan (player) is a member of. We will provide a sample of 10 or so tribes.
[19:24] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus The other tribes become your rivals throughout the length campaign
[19:24] <+Vorpal_Matt> (more incoming)
[19:25] <+Vorpal_Matt> (nevermind)
[19:25] <+Vorpal_Matt> :)
[19:25] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus Of course our world also have monsters and other non-tribal threats as well
[19:25] <+Abstruse> How much room are you guys leaving for future expansions? You're not pulling a White Wolf and writing yourself in a corner with an artificial limit on tribes or anything, right?
[19:26] <+Vorpal_Matt> No limits. We have no plans for expansion.
[19:26] <+Vorpal_Matt> This book should give you what you need to do what you want with it. Also, our Hacker's Guides will help you to integrate with other known Systems
[19:26] <~Dan> Can you tell us what makes up an individual character?
[19:27] <+Abstruse> So this is a one-book, self-contained deal? No endless sourcebooks and PDF add-ons and whatnot?
[19:27] <+Vorpal_Matt> (one sec, we have a mock character sheet) NOT FINAL :p
[19:27] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:27] <+Vorpal_Brian> You character is comprised of three major components (attributes you gain from your tribe, your lineage, and your hero)
[19:27] <+Vorpal_Matt> No endless books. We will have digital support, but not sure exactly how much. It depends on how well received it is. We plan to have some great digital tools that will be developed
[19:29] <+Vorpal_Brian> The attributes of a your dynasty currently include caste, bloodline, totem, vice, and virtue
[19:29] <+xyphoid_> So how do you build adventures for this kind of setting - it sounds like quite a different style of design to the usual
[19:29] <~Dan> (Question pause light is "on", xyphoid. ;) )
[19:29] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
[19:29] <~Dan> (Ah. n/m. :) )
[19:30] <+Vorpal_Matt> The Arbiter (GM) will have a set a parameters they can use to construct and officiate the adventure
[19:30] <+Vorpal_Matt> The arbiter is also a player, so keep in mind that the political intrigue aspect will be present
[19:30] <+Vorpal_Matt> There is no traditional "GM says a rock falls on your head" type of dynamic here.
[19:30] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:31] <+Vorpal_Brian> We game master chapter will have a lot of advice on how to officiate a game of RED AEGIS. It's just different enough from D&D to warrant a deeper explanation
[19:31] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
[19:31] <+xyphoid_> by parameters do you mean mechanical parameters? so you get a bunch of 'here are the things to build your adventure around'
[19:32] <+xyphoid_> that are different each time based on the history?
[19:32] <+xyphoid_> that's pretty sweet
[19:32] <+Morrus> Can you explain the title, Red Aegis?
[19:33] <+Vorpal_Matt> Yes, Xyphoid. There will be limits based on fairness and story development. Remember that we want to stay out of the way (we = game creators of the game) and allow you to write your own history. The changing dynamic of the GM (arbiter) is to allow for a very unique style of play. It is competitive, but you must also work together. If you don't, (cont....)
[19:34] <+Vorpal_Matt> (cont...) you will surely fail when it comes to the story's overarching plot.
[19:34] <+Vorpal_Matt> That plot will be provided for you (examples, thereof) in our core books
[19:34] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done> (brian is answering Morrus)
[19:34] <+Abstruse> So you've got Ed Greenwood of Forgotten Realms fame writing a short story for you. Any other Red Aegis fiction plans?
[19:34] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus: Red Aegis loosely alludes to the thirteen mysterious monoliths that populate our implied setting, Namarune. The catalyst for the entire campaign is sparked when the players encounter one of these monoliths during the game's first age. What exactly happens to the PCs is left the the Arbiter's discretion.
[19:35] <+BlasterKyubey210> Sounds like "The Space Oddessy"
[19:35] <+BlasterKyubey210> or at least the opening act
[19:35] <+Morrus> Namnumenera? :)
[19:35] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus The Red Aegis might be the physically embodied by the monolith itself, or the Red Aegis might be in your characters bloodstream when they touch the monolith, and so on.... it's different for each campaign
[19:35] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
[19:35] <+Vorpal_Matt> At 50k, we have Forgotten Realms author Erik Scott de Bie writing a similar project. As well, game design legend Matt Forbeck will join the fray at 65k
[19:36] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:36] <+Morrus> So the Ref Aegis is a force of some kind?
[19:37] <+Abstruse> No plans for novels or anything like that though?
[19:37] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus lol yeah. Namarune is actually a play on the term Faerûn from the Forgotten Realms, a name I came up when I was a kid. Though similar sounding it's not related to Monte's Numenera :-)
[19:37] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Abstruse: Yes, I REALLY want to support getting a novel, or anthology, written. That, however, would take a higher Stretch Goal
[19:37] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:38] <+Abstruse> Also, because he keeps saying "I don't have my assignment yet", what are you guys going to have Enrique doing? I ask only so I can shut him up about that :p
[19:38] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus Correct, the Red Aegis is the "something" that makes the PCs (aka their dynasties) special
[19:38] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Abstuse Enrique will be opening fan mail, mostly. Kidding! We won't have his exact assignment ready until after the Kickstarter ends and we formalize our project plan moving forward
[19:38] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:39] <+Morrus> Will you have anything to show at GenCon? Or is it too early for that? (I realise the Kickstarter isn't even done yet!)
[19:39] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus Too early for that I'm afraid!
[19:39] <+Vorpal_Matt> Way too early. I don't want to show something that will likely change
[19:39] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:39] <+xyphoid_> Is this kind of thing going to handle swapping players in and out? (I wish i had a consistent group for hte lifespan of the campaign, BUT)
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[19:40] <~Dan> (Howdy, AncientHistory! Q&A in progress! #rpgnet2 open for general chat! :) )
[19:40] <+Abstruse> If I can go off-topic for a sec, Matt, how is AMERICAN SOLDIER going? Have you released it yet?
[19:40] <+Vorpal_Matt> Well, we have a default assumption that 10 sessions will be played. We don't want to have this last any longer than necessary
[19:41] <+Vorpal_Matt> American Soldier is being rewritten. The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs DENIED my application to Film on location. That set me back, personally. The film will be completed.
[19:41] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:41] <+Abstruse> Well that's some <expletive deleted>...
[19:42] <+Vorpal_Matt> (it's a whole other story. I'll tell you about over beer.)
[19:42] <~Dan> (brb -- please continue!)
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[19:42] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Xyphoid If a player drops out of a campaign, the arbiter can explain that in between the time jump from one age to the age that player's bloodline died out. A player introduced into the game will need to interact with the Red Aegis in some manner
[19:42] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
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[19:43] <+Abstruse> How much time are you expecting any specific character to last?
[19:43] <+Abstruse> FINALLY got him in here...
[19:43] <+Alaren> So you said about 10 sessions. How many distinct ages are there? Is it one session per age?
[19:44] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Alaren 9 ages (3 majors) and a 10th one that is a climatic event.
[19:44] <+Vorpal_Matt> So 10 total is our assumption
[19:44] <+Vorpal_Matt> If you want to play 25, there's nothing to stop that
[19:44] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:44] <+Morrus> So.. Each session a player plays a character from his bloodline, which could be magic, tech, or faith oriented. And each session is a one-shot with a new character from that bloodline as time progresses through ages. Do I have that right? S what sort of adventures would the players be expected to play? Do they work together?
[19:45] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Abstruse Each game session you play a new hero, a descendant of your bloodline. If your hero dies during the course of a single session, you call up another descendant to take his or her place
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[19:46] <+Abstruse> How much of my character sheet is going to change with each new hero?
[19:46] <+Abstruse> Am I going through a full chargen every week?
[19:46] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Morrus Correct. Though each player is controlling a unique clan, collectively they are all part of the same tribe. RED AEGIS is a cooperative storytelling game. Not PvP (though we have a Tactics skirmish game for that)
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[19:47] <+Morrus> Could you have us examples of adventures from different sessions along the line?
[19:47] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Abstruse The character sheet has three sections (a section for the tribe, another for your clan, and another for your specific hero)
[19:48] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Abstruse Leveling up give you new abilities to each (like adding new feats or spells in D&D). You're not rerolling your character
[19:49] <+Abstruse> Are there classes or roles in the game? Can I switch easily between sessions? Like Generation A was a mighty warrior while Generation B was a frail spellcaster?
[19:49] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Morrus We will have examples in the book, but we don't have them right now
[19:50] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Abstruse During character creation tour clan will chose a caste. Current castes include warrior, diplomat, healer, scholar, and outcast) Names are not finalized
[19:50] <+Morrus> I meant sort of the scale of them. Is a medieval adventure searching a tomb and a space adventure catching a smuggler ship, or is it more medieval is winning a war, space is conquering a star system?
[19:51] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Morrus Larger scale. Which means our integration rules with other systems (Fate, 13th Age, etc...) will make for some awesome epic tales.
[19:51] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Abstruse Depending on which discipline your tribe is focusing on, your caste has three different specializations.  For example, the warrior cast has fighter (science), warlock (aracana) and templar (faith)
[19:52] <+Vorpal_Matt> @Morrus You could just as easily just use the LGS to play Red Aegis too, if you want
[19:52] <~Dan> Can you go into some more detail about the core system? Maybe give us an example of task resolution?
[19:52] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:52] <+Abstruse> How - for lack of a better term - "crunchy" is the system? Is it more narrative-based or rules-based?
[19:52] <~Dan> (Question pause.)
[19:53] <+Vorpal_Matt> The system is more narrative in nature, but we have our own crunchiness. The system uses a modifed dice system that not only counts success for a variable of task completion, but it also can determine other factors, such as a dominant skill. For instance...........
[19:53] <+Vorpal_Matt> .....using D&D as an example, if you have more successes with your Strength, rather than CON, you can narratively describe HOW you chopped down the orc (simple example)
[19:54] <+Vorpal_Matt> This, however.....
[19:54] <+Vorpal_Matt> easier shown than described here. It works out to be very fun and enjoyable. Initial internal tests have shown some real unique tableplay
[19:54] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done>
[19:55] <+Vorpal_Matt> (also, it helps out non-roleplayers in describing things)
[19:55] <+Vorpal_Matt> <done, really)
[19:56] <~Dan> But you always roll seven dice?
[19:56] <+Abstruse> You guys can describe a round if that would get it across better, Brian as GM and Matt as the player.
[19:56] <+Vorpal_Matt> yes, that is a core part of this. I, personally, don't like dice pools that exceed a large amount of dice.
[19:56] * ~Dan nods
[19:56] <+Vorpal_Matt> It also plays into the math of how our target numbers will work
[19:56] <+Vorpal_Matt> ALSO
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> AND THIS IS IMPORTANT
[19:57] * ~Dan listens!
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> Our pools are constructed from different die-facings ;)  This gets cool, and further defines our system
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> d6, d8, and d10 are primarily used, based on skill ability and the tasking at hand
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> It gets wild
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> in a good way
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> :)
[19:57] <+Vorpal_Matt> SO
[19:58] <+Vorpal_Matt> Think of tasks as being handled by Proficiencies, Specializations, and Masteries
[19:58] <+Vorpal_Matt> d6/d8/d10
[19:58] <+Vorpal_Matt> d4 and d12 are reserved for...well... it's a secret (okay, I dont know yet)
[19:58] <~Dan> d4 = Stupidities?
[19:58] <+Vorpal_Matt> could be
[19:59] <+Vorpal_Matt> :)
[19:59] <+Vorpal_Matt> or non-proficient
[19:59] <~Dan> Clumsies
[19:59] <+Abstruse> Oh, I know, when the players piss you off, you throw the d4s on the floor and tell them its their turn to go get drinks from the fridge :p
[20:00] <~Dan> What are the character-specific attributes?
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[20:00] <+Vorpal_Matt> Caltrops = d4
[20:00] <+Vorpal_Matt> (Dan, answer is incoming from Brian)
[20:01] <~Dan> (Cool. And sorry! Shouldn't have violated my own question pause. *slaps self on hand*)
[20:01] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Dan Attributes (currently) are Brawn, Dexterity, Cunning, Intellect, Charisma, and Luck.
[20:01] <+Vorpal_Matt> Brian is going to stick around. On the East coast, I get up early and have to dip. Thank you for having me! I really appreciate the opportunity
[20:02] <~Dan> Our pleasure, Matt! Please come by any time!
[20:02] <+Abstruse> (Reminds me of the old days. I was young and asked what caltrops were. The game store owner threw a handful of d4s on the floor and said, "Like stepping on those only they're metal.")
[20:02] <+Vorpal_Brian> :)
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[20:03] <~Dan> (Sorry, Brian... Were you caught up?)
[20:03] <+Vorpal_Brian> Yep. I believe so
[20:04] <~Dan> Cool. :)
[20:04] <~Dan> Are skills involved as well, and if so, how broad are they?
[20:04] <+Vorpal_Brian> We don't currently have a skill system. All checks are attribute based
[20:05] <~Dan> Does that mean that anyone can, say, pilot a starship?
[20:06] <+Vorpal_Brian> Correct. This is an example of something that we didn't want to marry to a specific caste. Though public playtesting may tell us differently
[20:06] <+Abstruse> Or cast spells? Or both? Oooh, Han Solo casts Fireball!
[20:07] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about how magic, faith, and tech function?
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[20:08] <+Vorpal_Brian> Haha. In a sense yes. Every caste has a spellcasting specialization. For the warrior cast its the warlock. For the diplomat caste its a beguiler. Han Solo would probably be an outcaste. Their spellcasting specialization is the sorceror
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[20:10] <+Vorpal_Brian> each of the three disciplines have a level (from 1-9). Every time you advance in one of the disciplines you unlock abilities (like more advanced weapons, spells, etc...)
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[20:11] <+Vorpal_Brian> To cast an arcane spell you need to have chosen the arcane specialization for your caste plus your tribe must have unlocked the level of the spell you're attempting to cast
[20:11] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
[20:12] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, BrianC!)
[20:12] <~Dan> I'm assuming that Faith is for miracles?
[20:12] <+Vorpal_Brian> Correct
[20:13] <~Dan> How do you distinguish miracles from magic?
[20:15] <+Vorpal_Brian> @Dan In our current thinking arcane magic physically manifests in the world, while faith based magic does not. So for example, an arcane user would summon a fireball while a faith spellcaster would mentally compel you. That sort of thing
[20:15] <+Vorpal_Brian> <done>
[20:15] <~Dan> Hmm. Interesting approach... Wouldn't that make miracles look a lot like psionics, though?
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[20:17] *** Topic on #rpgnet is: #‎rpgnet‬ welcomes Matt James (Red Aegis) 8/12/2013 24:00 GMT! || Q&A schedule: (Link: http://​​cvr8p9y)http://​​cvr8p9y || Q&A logs: (Link:
[20:17] *** Topic set by Dan (8/9/2013 at 6:08 AM)
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[20:18] <+Dan_> (Sorry about that. I missed your answer re: psionics, if you posted it.)
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[20:18] *** -NickServ- This nickname is registered and protected.  If it is your
[20:18] *** -NickServ- nick, type /msg NickServ IDENTIFY password.  Otherwise,
[20:18] *** -NickServ- please choose a different nick.
[20:18] *** Vorpal_Brian has quit IRC:
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[20:18] *** -NickServ- Password accepted - you are now recognized.
[20:18] *** ChanServ sets mode +qo Dan Dan
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[20:22] *** ChanServ sets mode +v M47314
[20:22] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, M47314!
[20:22] <+Abstruse> Where'd Brian go?
[20:23] <~Dan> Netsplit.
[20:23] <+M47314> hi
[20:23] <+M47314> i newbe !
[20:23] <+M47314> im*
[20:23] <+Silverlion> Allo M47314.
[20:24] <~Dan> What brings you by today, M47314? :)
[20:24] <~Dan> Hmm. Brian says he's going to go ahead and bow out for the night.

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