This week, we’re going to be releasing a bunch of cool stuff to get you excited about Titansgrave (and to remind me what we’re all working so hard toward, because at the moment I’m so close to it I don’t know if I’m making the right editorial decisions any more.)
To get started, I’m sharing something from an ask on my Tumblr thing:
I’m very excited to watch the Titansgrave series. I’m not too familiar with RPG games, but would like to be. Will I be super confused watching?
We are making an episode zero that will air either before, or on the same day that we release episode one. This episode will explain the basics of role playing, the basic rules for the system we’re using, introduce the characters, and give you some background on the world we created.
If we do it right, this will give you everything you need to know so you can follow the show and enjoy what’s going on, but I worked really hard during production and editing to ensure that the gaming aspect of the show (dice, combat, stats, etc.) doesn’t get in the way of the story and narrative. Hopefully, it works.
Maybe it’s a good idea for me to put some FAQ answers here:
What’s the system?
It’s called the AGE system, and it’s from Green Ronin. AGE is a 3d6 system that powers the Dragon Age RPG. The basic mechanic is: roll three dice, add them together, apply a modifier, and see if the total meets or exceeds a target number.
For example, my warrior wants to smash a goblin in the face with her axe. The goblin is squishy and lame, so the target number I need to get is 10. I roll my three dice, and I add them together: 8. Well, that’s pretty typical for the way I roll dice, isn’t it? Lucky for me, my warrior is really tough, and her strength (which is the thing I’ll use to see how good I am at smashing things with my axe) is 3. 8+3=11, so the goblin is now a two-headed dead goblin.
There’s this thing in the AGE system that I really like, called “stunts”. It works like this: I have one of my three dice that is a different color than the other two. This is called my Action Die. Whenever I roll doubles on any of the three dice (which is almost half the time), I get to do something cool and extra. Exactly how cool is determined by the number on the Action Die; higher is better, so if I rolled 1, 1, 6 when I was smashing the goblin, I’d get to do a six point stunt, like maybe smash another goblin in the face with my axe on the same attack.
Okay, I realize that this has gone from a very simple thing to me nerding out about an RPG system I love, so I’ll get back to what I imagine are your questions.
What’s the world like? What’s it called?
We created a world of fantasy and science-fiction, inspired by things like Thundarr the Barbarian, the Heavy Metal movie, and On A Pale Horse. In our world, called Valkana, magic and technology exist side by side, so our wizards can cast mighty fireball spells against cyborg lizardfolk who are wielding swords. Valkana is a broken and wounded world, a post-apocalyptic land of science fantasy that is so much fun to create and explore.
Who are the players?
Can I get the adventure to play with my group?
Yes! We’re on track to release The Ashes of Valkana at GenCon this year. After that (either later this year or early next year, depending on scheduling and things), we’ll release a more comprehensive guide to the whole world, so you can create your own adventures and explore Valkana with your group.
Will Titansgrave be the same format as Tabletop?
Not really. Tabletop is designed to share the experience we have playing a game, explain the rules, and create more gamers in a world that is crying out for them. Titansgrave will do some of that, but we’re not going to cut to rules explanations like we do on Tabletop.
We’ll have some graphics to show what the dice rolls are during combat, and we’ll probably spell mechanics out a little in the first couple of episodes, so people who aren’t experienced RPG players will know what’s going on. But I don’t want this show to be about rolling dice and looking at charts. I want this series to be about the story that we all tell together. I want to put the ROLE back into Roleplaying, get people to stop thinking about RPGs as exclusively tactical miniatures games (not that there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just not what I’m going for), and have a season of narrative storytelling that’s as compelling and interesting and shocking and moving and exciting as any fully-scripted program on television.
Maybe you can understand why I’m so nervous about everything coming together in exactly the right way, now. I have made the stakes and my expectations very high, because I didn’t have enough to worry about already.
Can we see some art from the show?
It’s like you knew the whole reason I sat down to write this post in the first place. You sure can:
So this is one part of a full image that we’re releasing a little bit at a time over the next few days. When the whole thing is assembled, you’ll see the image I used to show the actors and crew how I imagined Valkana’s particular blend of science fiction and fantasy would look.
In this image, you can see a special wizard class we created, which I call the Desmage. The Desmages are huge and burly, like a warrior, because they use their strength to manifest their magical abilities … at great cost to themselves (in game terms, it’s sort of like a bloodmage). We didn’t end up with any Desmage PCs in this season of the show, but this artwork was created before I knew who the PCs would be, so it’s in this image.
Where will Titansgrave air?
New episodes will be on Geek & Sundry, every Tuesday.
So I can only watch it at Geek & Sundry?
Nope. It’s still going to be in an embeddable player, and it will go on YouTube later the same week, but I’d like everyone who watches the stuff I create with Geek & Sundry to get used to watching stuff there, sort of the way you watch a TV channel.
Will there be gag reels?
Will it air every other week?
No. Every week, for ten weeks, you’ll get a new episode. The final episode will air right around GenCon.
When does it start?
We planned for June 2, but I decided to push release back by one week so we can make really good decisions about the first episode’s final cut, instead of making decisions in a rush because we want to hit that release date. We’re releasing something cool on June 2, but the first full episode will be coming out on June 9. Episode 0 will be out a few days before then, or on the 9th, depending on how the edit of that episode shakes out.
I want to know more!
There’s going to be stuff on the Geek & Sundry Facebook thing, and on the official Titansgrave homepage, so that’s a link you may want to hold onto, if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s also a Titansgrave forum at Geek & Sundry, because I guess forums are still a thing?