Site News & Fill our FAQ

I blogged about the Schlock Mercenary RPG projectand mirrored that under the comic, and lo! This site has traffic. We’ve already had to do a bit of cleanup, (the spamtrap plugin wasn’t enabled, for starters) but it’s handling the load easily.

We don’t have a proper FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page yet, so if you’ve got questions, ask away! Here’s some high-level info, though:

  • Tabletop, pencil & paper. Not video game. Just so we’re clear.
  • The core product will be a 208-page hardback book, 8.5″ x11″ (pretty standard in the RPG market) and a deck of 50 cards.
  • The cards are the “complications” deck. Certain die rolls, especially successful ones, will require that the player draw a card. In improvisational comedy terms, this is the “Yes, but…” mechanic. It’s Howard’s idea, and it’s how we will seed your role-play session so that it has some of the wackiness inherent in the comic strip.
  • We do plan to offer electronic support. Specifically, a DRM-free PDF with each copy of the book, electronic versions of character sheets, and perhaps some other goodies.
  • We’re using Kickstarter because we don’t know what demand will be like. Kickstarter lets us do market research in parallel with pre-orders.
  • It’s way too early to talk about stretch goals.
  • We won’t be doing miniatures. Yes, they’d be awesome. That’s not our area of expertise. Maybe at some future point we’ll partner with the right folks, but it’s far too early to make any sort of promises there. (Note: If you think YOU are the right folks, talk to us at GenCon in 2015.) 
  • We intend to provide ongoing support and development for the game. “Splatbooks” with additional character races and roles, or adventure books with new locations, plots, and missions are already on our mind.
  • We’re doing “stat+3d6” because while Howard loves having a fistful of multifaceted splattrohedrals, Alan was able to woo him away from a D-everything system with the elegance of the 3d6 bell curve.
  • Splattrohedrals is totally a word that Howard just now made up.


44 thoughts on “Site News & Fill our FAQ”

    1. Sorry. He’ll be in there.

      Why? So that GMs and players have a baseline from known stories for all the numbers they’re looking at on character sheets. Also, some game groups will just want to write their own Schlock Mercenary adventures, and that’s the sort of behavior I don’t mind encouraging.

      That said, if Sergeant Schlock isn’t a character you want to allow in your game, you don’t have to. It’s all on you.

  1. Will you provide conversions to other popular systems with a different asthetic? (I’m not sure what esthetic you’re focusing on, now, but Fate Accellerated if you’re focusing on sim in the main game, or Gurps or D20 if you’re a bit more nar)?

  2. Was hoping for a D-everything splattrohedral system but a fistful of splattrohedrals, even if they are all cubes, is still fun.

    (One of the things that attracted me to D&D back in the day was the variety of dice.)

  3. Talk to me about how the GM will be offered advice to emulate the tone of the comic at various points in time – early slapstick, to the more sophisticated dry humor of recent comics and everything in between.

    How will the xp system incentivize humor over simple mayhem and steal the payroll? Or do it so you can get both?

    The mercenary chartered company (MCC) as a character – is this like some of the FATE games where the players can contribute elements of their character creation and experience to the MCC?

    How do you get the players to bring the funny to the table? And for the players and GM’s to come to a consensus?

    1. Trey,

      We will have a GM section and a random mission generator. However, the tone of the game will be something that the players will have to impart, along with the GM. We’ll provide advice, and Howard will be providing a story section, but in the end, it’s on the players/GM to play their game their way.

      The XP system is innovated and emphasizes rewarding players for their play over anything else. Good roleplay will have other rewards in game.

      FATE is a good analogy, but it’s not quite the same. The MCC (as you call it), has stats and information that affects how your characters play, and your missions do affect the health of the MCC. If the MCC is in “poor health” you might not be able to afford equipment, medical care, or get the best jobs. Think of it as a gauge of how “successful” the business of being a mercenary is for you.

      Like above, tone and humor are on the players and the GM. We just provided the Complication deck to help out a little 😉 That being said, I think you’ll be satisfied. Several of the rules allow for that level of humor.

      1. A house rule just popped into my head: if a player can drop a Howard-esque one-liner or punchline, then I as a DM/GM grant them an auto critical.

  4. “We won’t be doing miniatures.”

    You could include a lump of green play-dough with every book and call it a Schlock miniature.

  5. How can we get involved in the play-testing if a)we live in/around the Orem/Provo area or b)we don’t live anywhere near you?

      1. Spencer and Trey:

        This is something I’m handling. At this point we’re closed beta mode, but soon we’ll be opening it to local playtesting, and then to online once we have the balance sorted out and the documents are ready to go!

  6. A thought occurred as I was swearing at another computer: Can you play low level AIs like the early Ennesby? Or Tailor?

    1. Short answer? Yes

      Long answer? Yes, but it’ll be at a time and place we deem the AI/Computerized player option is balanced enough to be fun, with engaging limitations to drive storytelling.

      So yes, but.

      1. Another cool. I’m usually of the opinion that “Yes, but …” or “We’re working on it at this phase” is frequently the best kind of answer.

        BTW, thank you both Alan and Howard. I’m looking forward to this product and watching it develop. And I appreciate you both letting me peek into the process and ask questions.

    1. Hi back Daniel. Drop me a line the email is still the same. Won’t be available by phone until Thursday night.

  7. Hello,

    What are your plans regarding a digital release? I know you said there will be a PDF with the book, but will you be able to get the PDF on it’s own?

    Me being both european and a student usually makes stuff that needs to be shipped over from the US unaffordable. But i am also a big Schlock fan and would really like to play this, so will there be any way to get this in Europe at an affordable pricepoint?

  8. Any word on playing a Gav as a race?
    now that he’s started changing his sex and other features should be easy to incorporate into any of the classes.
    Are you calling them classes or O.C.C or Jobs ?
    How many different “classes” will be available?
    Specifically roboticist like Ventura or mad scientist like Kevyn.
    I respect your decision to use 3d6 system, But I have a chest full of polyhedral goodness and I weep for future generations that won’t know the joy of confusing non-gamers with Multifaceted Splattrohedrals.

    My favorite characters to play are mechanics will there be details on the various ships? as well as other mechanical devices? Nothing like curling up with a good tech manual.

    Will new content that occurs in the strip be considered canon for the RPG or would we have to wait for a supplement?
    Any consideration to the trend of living campaigns for conventions and what not?
    Will you be following the model of most RPG’s, put out a set of core books and then a googolplex of supplements and *cough Rifts* *coughShadowrun* not to mention any names or anything.

    1. Gav is more of a class or role than a race. His race is human. His/her suite of abilities, gender, physique, etc are all whatever background the Diversity Engineering Institute provided.

      1. I would have to respectfully disagree. It’s like being German or Japanese. Human but a different race. If you put it as a class. Then you have to further define what class you are.
        A Gav and an operator or a Gav and a pilot. For the game mechanics it would be easier to list him as a race then have class just for occupations. Besides he is a population, he has demographics. The line about what he’s been up to, can only be explained in percentages.

        1. Be that as it may, Gav is still a Human and thus his statistical values will most likely be as Human.

          In a setting where you’ve got lots of different /species/ you can play, the differentiation between one race within the same species is going to tend toward the irrelevant.

        2. We’re not breaking out “human” by nationality, skin color, or anything else like that. Gavs are baseline humans for the purpose of game mechanics. EOT.

  9. Will UNS classes be available? Could a group play key roles of a Battleplate? Then go rogue and terrorize the multiverse MUAHAHAHHAHA. *ahem* just curious.
    o.O or any Tausennigan Ob’enn races available? we find things we thought were extinct every once in awhile here on earth perhaps there is a lost colony of fuzzy, cuddly, warlords available for PC characters

    1. and if they happen to have a thunderhead superfortress laying around. all the better.
      hmm I had always assumed the ob’enn were no more since we had only seen petey. I had forgotten about the bounty hunter. perhaps there are more ob’enn out there.
      Hmm a group playing a crew of a thunderhead superfortress. Gloriously wiping the galaxy clean of the filth and vermin. basically everyone else.

  10. Sooo, what level of “setting” detail do you think we can expect in this book?

    I confess that the main thing that has prevented me from just learning Gurps or figuring out a way to adapt it to Mutants and Masterminds in order to run Schlockverse is the fact that finding setting information seems to involve a detailed archive trawl while taking notes, and I’m just far too lazy for that 😀

    1. You’ll have both high level and low level. At the time this come, it’ll be the most consolidated resource about the Schlockiverse. Plenty of detail, and plenty of room to play around in the spaces between details.

  11. I see people not involved in this project talking about classes or levels. But the only mention I’ve seen from anyone involved is that Howard said Gav is more of a class or role than a race.

    That doesn’t actually mean he’s using a class based system, saying “class or role” might even imply that its not. It just means that being a Gav is more a matter of training than race.

    For the FAQ: Are there classes? Are there levels? Is there point buy?

    The problem with balancing Schlock and AIs implies the system is not pure point buy, as pure point buy tends to (a) not be simple and (b) people building such systems usually assume that races can be balanced by point cost. But that doesn’t really tell us what it is.

    1. There are not classes, there are not levels, and there is a sort of “point-buy” but it’s pretty limited and only relates to a particular part of your character.

      Roles, species, and professions are all a sort of template that works together to modify your character.

      I’m a huge fan of modular game design and part of our goal with Schlock is to establish a modulated game where Hosts can pull and plug parts they want/don’t want with ease.

      Adventures and splatbooks will follow that same principle.

  12. Will there be an eras of play discussion? I can see my set of gamers wanting in on the terraforming wars with the Oatmeal Peacekeepers.

    How will the division between ship and personnel actions play out? Same systems? I’ve had to do some juggling in the past in, like Star Wars d20 to keep non pilot characters involved in starship action time. I’ve also run simultaneous ground and space action and keeping the narrative time synched up has been a challenge.

    Where are AI’s going to fall out? Playable? Software character sheet that uses ships and robots as equipment?

    1. An Era of play discussion is a good idea, and that’s something we’ll certainly consider.

      This RPG has a very different mechanic around ship to ship combat and how that works. We’re really focused on keeping all the players involved. I’ve played the Star Wars RPG, Traveller, Serenity, and the Decipher Star Trek RPG, so I understand the frustration of not having that level of interaction. We already have a way in place to provide that.

      As for AIs, you’ll just need to wait and see :)

      1. There will be, in the core book, sufficient information to play in at least two different eras:

        1) Pre-Teraport
        2) Post-Teraport

        I’m hoping to be able to provide story seeds that will allow game groups to play the turbulent transition between these two periods.

        Longer historical reach (Terraforming War, for instance) will have to wait for a splatbook. Deep history (the Oafan age, 12 million years prior to the current story) may require even more material.

  13. You (Howard) mentioned the character generation as being ‘modular’. Will there be mechanics to build modules from scratch, or are you (collectively) set on providing authoritative modules?

    The complications deck sounds interesting. I’m assuming they’re short, pithy chinese-fortune kinds of things that are generally applicable and are triggers for roleplaying more than buff/debuff mechanics?

    Thanks in advance!

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