Welcome to the first episode of series 21! Today we welcome Daniel Kwan and Patrick Keenan from Dundas West Games to talk about, and start creating characters for, their new game, Ross Rifles, kickstarting right now!
Welcome to the first episode of series 21! Today we welcome Daniel Kwan and Patrick Keenan from Dundas West Games to talk about, and start creating characters for, their new game, Ross Rifles, kickstarting right now!
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Daniel Kwan @danielhkwan
Patrick Keenan @Keenan_Patrick
Dundas West Games @dundaswestgames
Asians Represent @aznsrepresent
Character Creation Cast:
Ryan Boelter 0:01
Welcome to the first episode of series 21 everyone. Today we are welcoming Daniel Kwan and Patrick Keenan, designers of the upcoming game Ross rifles, which is both kickstarting right now. And already funded with four stretch goals unlocked. As of the time I am recording this, this game is something very special and super important. So definitely check it out if you haven't already, will actually be diving into this game starting this series. But before we get to that, some quick announcements when this episode releases, Academy con signups will be live for VIP is, which means you'll be able to start signing up for really cool events that we have going on this year. Amelia is running a garbage of the five range panel on Friday. I'm running two games of chi mera and one of my latest games, which is highly experimental. But it should be a really good time. Also Sunday morning at 10am Amelia and I will be running a Character Creation Cast panel that features some great audience participation. As we randomly create some characters together and decide what sort of world these characters couldn't have it and what sorts of zany adventures they could go on, it is sure to be a really good time. So check that out as well. Last up, we are super thankful to everyone who left us a review during our review driving the last few weeks. It meant the world to us. definitely keep those reviews coming though, because we absolutely love hearing from you. And they really do help the show a lot in the rankings, which helps us out a lot as well. It makes us feel really, really, really good. So definitely get to those links in the show notes and leave us some reviews. That's all I have for these announcements. So I am going to give my sick voice a rest and let you all get to some really great content coming up this episode. So let's get on with the show. Enjoy.
Patrick Keenan 2:41
Welcome to Character Creation Cast, a show where we discuss and create characters The best part of role playing games with guests using their favorite systems. I'm one of your hosts Amelia, and this episode, my co host Ryan and I are thrilled to welcome Daniel Kwan and Patrick Keenan, designers for Ross rifles, a world war one powered by the apocalypse RPG. The game will be covering this series and it's kick starting this month.
Ryan Boelter 3:05
Welcome to Character Creation Cast both of you we are we are really excited that you could join us and
Daniel Kwan 3:09
thanks for having us. Yeah, it's a pleasure to be on.
Patrick Keenan 3:12
Let's start by introducing you to our audience. Daniel, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and any other projects you're currently involved in?
Daniel Kwan 3:19
Yeah, so I'm Daniel Kwan. I am the co host of the Asians represent podcast, Patrick and myself and another Daniel. We're done gas West games. Well, we'll get more into rosters later, but more about me Yeah, coast Asians represent. I am the co founder and lead facilitator of level up gaming. We're an organization in Toronto that helps adults with autism and other disabilities develop their social skills through group gaming experiences. And I am a freelance writer and sensitivity reader. Right now I'm working on haunted West. That's a crisp babies follow up to Harlem and bound. What is my working on? Oh, and I'm working on something for Wizards of the Coast. But yeah, that's
Ryan Boelter 4:06
Unknown Speaker 4:08
And what about yourself, Patrick?
Patrick Keenan 4:09
I'm Patrick. I'm the other half of the writing team. I've done as much games. And I'm also the publishing coordinator. Outside of RP, jeez, I'm a student at the University of Toronto. And I studied history and archaeology, particularly 19th and 20th century European history, which is where Ross rifles comes in.
Patrick Keenan 4:30
And I also run the Royal Ontario Museum Dungeons and Dragons program for teenagers. where we come in it's educational program. We play d&d, and I teach them about topics from history and archaeology as well. in archaeology, I do field work in the Republic of Georgia, the former Soviet Union, Soviet Republic, so that's fun. Wow. I'm also a retired archaeologist. To know each other we know each other from the ron paul museum. IU used to be the teacher for the program that Patrick teaches. Yeah. Oh, wow. I would work for for a long time. And now we had hand off. This year was the handoff year. Yeah. Awesome. continuity. Ladies done. That's what's games just running the wrong DND as well.
Daniel Kwan 5:20
Patrick Keenan 5:23
Well, let's go ahead and get into this. And we will start by discussing what this game is all about. What's in a game? Since this is a new game, can you give us a quick pitch for it? The genre the setting, etc?
Daniel Kwan 5:36
Yeah. Ross rifles is, like you said a PTA hack. It's powered by the apocalypse game set in the Canadian trenches of the First World War. So it's all about the bond the relationship and the tension between members of a section like a squad of soldiers living in the Western Front living inside a trench? Yeah. Do you want to add anything to that? No, I think that covers it's like our elevator pitch.
Unknown Speaker 6:02
Ryan Boelter 6:03
Alright, so we know it's powered by the apocalypse. Is there anything that we need for this game outside of the the standard 2d? Six?
Daniel Kwan 6:10
tokens? Just tokens? Yeah, just tokens. It could be anything glad glass beads, Smarties, coins? Yeah, coin. You can do really old coins if you want to be on him. Oh, that'd be cool. Yeah, use the tokens to represent morale.
Patrick Keenan 6:25
Okay. Do you get to eat them? If you use Smarties or m&ms,
Daniel Kwan 6:28
you could actually because you will, you're passing them to another person. So so you're sharing your snacks, and you only get to eat them as somebody shares.
Patrick Keenan 6:38
As morale goes down, you can like
Daniel Kwan 6:40
eat them. Actually, if you want to help somebody and you're giving them a morale token, and they eat it, you're actually yeah, that actually is on theme that works. Okay.
Ryan Boelter 6:52
Don't do that with all coins though.
Daniel Kwan 6:53
No, no, no.
Patrick Keenan 6:56
That's the important part forever. And takeaway from this episode, don't eat old coins. What kind of stories and themes was this game meant to explore?
Unknown Speaker 7:04
So based on the setting, the Western Front of the First World War, and especially the Canadian perspective, I think that the largest theme that we explore in the game is camaraderie, you know, the soldiers in the trenches growing to support each other, help each other get through such an awful situation. And that's kind of the story that we really wanted to tell when we sat down to play this game. And also remember, it's so big tenanted Canada and Canadian history is remembering the soldiers who fought in the First World War. And I like to think that if we're playing the game, putting ourselves into their lives into their shoes, that's a pretty powerful way to remember their sacrifice.
Daniel Kwan 7:43
Did you have anything to say, Daniel? How can I follow that? Oh, one?
Patrick Keenan 7:49
So do you want to ask you're both Canadian. So that's an sure where a lot of the heavy focus on the Canadian part of this comes from, but like, Is there something specific to that Canadian experience outside of just your ties with it that felt important to explore?
Daniel Kwan 8:03
No, I think I mean, aside from our ties, like Patrick, you have familial ties, ties as well. Yeah. And I think for us is like we're Canadian, we you don't see a lot of a big one was when we started the project, I was still teaching at the ROM. And we were, we had been working on a d&d campaign setting that we wanted to publish. And we were like, Oh, we got to put this on Kickstarter. And then we all said, Well, nobody knows who we are. And the game design world, like some people knew about me from the ROM at the time. And I was like, Okay, well, we got to do something small then to put us on the map. So we were like, well, let's just do like a world war one thing, because it was like the summer was August 2017. Yeah, we were coming up on the 100th anniversary of some date, I think. Yeah. Well, I don't remember specifically, which one? Well, we have Remembrance Day coming up. And I was like, yeah, we were using night, which is in the course to help teach kids about World War Two. And we were like, well, what if we just made a small game, but World War One? Well, we'll do a quick Kickstarter, people will know about us, then we'll do our d&d thing. And then we announced it, and it just blew up. Yeah. I would. I think there's like a mythology of the First World War in Canadian public consciousness that really was taken off from this. Like, I think a lot of Canadians, especially like, when you're growing up in school, you learn about like the Canadian experience in the First World War. But I always started to be a bit does just satisfactory because you never learn about people. You just learn about events. And so yeah, I think we were using this game as a tool for you. And I think a big thing was also like diversity, like I don't have a familial, not that I know of, I don't have a familial connection to the war. I had learned about the war, in high school and all that. But all my old podcast curiosity and focus, I did an episode, where I kind of dove into the recently unknown history of the soldier named Frederick Lee. And he was one of the, as far as I know, he is the first known Canadian Born Chinese person to fight and die in World War One. I didn't even know Chinese people fought in the war until this year, but two years ago, not until this year that we really sat. Well, we started working on the project. I didn't know Chinese people who fought in the war. And after did that podcast, I started diving into it. And I learned about the diversity of the Canadian expeditionary force, which is for me a big thing that we want to highlight with the game. And a big thing that makes it a Canadian game.
Unknown Speaker 10:22
Yeah. Yeah. That's very cool.
Patrick Keenan 10:25
Yeah, I think that's something that we don't even now get a lot of history of here in the US is World War One. I feel like there's a I remember a lot of focus on World War Two. Yeah, um, but like, next to nothing on World War One.
Ryan Boelter 10:37
got pretty much. It seems to be something that got superseded by World War Two here in the States.
Daniel Kwan 10:44
Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. I think in Canada, it's largely tied to like an idea of emerging as a country on the national stage, which is like kind of what we're talking about. So I guess that's why it's more widely remembered. Yeah. Canadian soldiers were also really well known from World War One for being outstanding. Yeah, combatants. Very cool.
Ryan Boelter 11:06
So what the characters exactly do in Ross rifles then
Daniel Kwan 11:11
aside from so you have your your standard military duties you have your standing to waiting for the Germans to come at you and they'll they'll never come at you. If you have your you know, your adventures, I will say adventures with air quotes into no man's land, it could be to rescue people capture Germans, it could be to attempt to full on charge, destroy defenses, all sorts of different military stuff. So yeah, then then there's the the more lighthearted approach to it. There. There's the time you spend in your dugout, just hanging out reminiscing about time you like your time at home, reflecting on the soldiers that you lost, and trying to sort of keep your humanity and make sure that all of you make it out of the world live and how the war affects you. So there's both was both the military aspect of worrier like Patrick said, doing military things, like capturing objectives, destroying things, trying to make sure people get out alive, gathering intelligence going on sort of espionage. And then there's like the human side, where it's just five of you sitting together in the trench, trying to make sure that all of you go home. And the third part of the recent thing we've kind of been exploring at conventions, is the lighter side of the First World War with like the mascots, yeah, like, certain battalions would have certain mascots like that the 10th battalion had like a beaver or something. And there's a lot of jokes, practical jokes and stuff. So we wanted to add that into the third dimension, the game to you know, so it's not all dark and gritty all the time. We had a at breakout con two years ago, I did a play test where they didn't even want to do battle. And all they did was they waited until they were sent to the reserve trench, and then they had time off. So they went to a we did a whole play test, where they went to a farmhouse to steal cheese and wine.
Daniel Kwan 13:01
The whole thing. I love
Patrick Keenan 13:03
games that can do that kind of balance, though, that like you can have those cuz I really liked the games and exploring those really heavy emotional things. But sometimes that's so much that it feels really good to have that little bit of like, lighter part of it too.
Daniel Kwan 13:15
Oh, yeah, there was there was a play test where we had a younger, like a younger participant who's playing one of the playbooks called the scrounger. And his whole thing was that he was trying to make a robot. And I'm sure we'll get to the playbooks. But the the scrounger actually has a project that they're working on. And it doesn't say what the project has to be. Most people do like, Oh, I'm working on a water purifier. And it's made out of all these big shells. And there's layers of scraps of cloth that filters the rainwater for us. But there's one kid was like, I'm trying to make a robot. Like, okay, what is a world war one robot look like? And it's like, it's like a small tank,
Daniel Kwan 13:57
like an RC car.
Daniel Kwan 14:00
So the whole session was about trying to get parts for it.
Patrick Keenan 14:04
That's cool. So what do you feel is unique about this game? Obviously, it uses the powered by the apocalypse system, which a lot of games do. But it sounds like you've kind of changed that a lot to make it fit. telling these kinds of stories. I'm interested in hearing what you guys think you've done to really make it stand out? I think it's so if you if you look at all the world war one tabletop RPG out there, most of them, if not all of them involve the occult in some way.
Daniel Kwan 14:34
Oh, if you look at I mean, there was there were a couple of recent ones on Kickstarter, and most of them involve the occult sort of that the fear, the dread, the danger associated with no man's land is often reduced to the supernatural. Yeah, a lot of games. And we really wanted to take a full on gritty approach the war. Yeah, I think we really wanted to strive for that realism aspect and portray a sort of more realistic view of the war and also showcase that you don't really need to talk about the occult or the supernatural in order to display how horrific the virtual world was. It's quite the, you know, terrible time. And so I think that's what we were really going for, as well, to sort of showcase the sacrifice of the soldiers. Yeah. And one of the things we really wanted was I really like dungeon world as a PvP a game, but I also love games, like, you know, like night, which is, which is super historic. And night, which is really focuses on the drama on the air base and less of an emphasis on, you know, the flying and the Aereo combat. And whereas dungeon world has deep, deep combat, but less built in structure for role playing. So we kind of wanted both, we wanted to have an equal mix of drama narrative, but also combat because, you know, this is the First World War. Yeah. And we like games that have combat in them. Yeah. So yeah, we want a good combination. Very cool.
Ryan Boelter 15:58
So let's talk about a little bit about the history of the game. We know that it is brand new, we heard a little bit of where this idea came from and why you wanted to make this game. So were there specific feelings that you were wishing to provoke? With what Ross rifles will play in the game?
Daniel Kwan 16:15
Um, I'd say certainly, we said remember, remembrance is a big one. In terms of what you feel as you're a player in the game, I think dread is one. Yeah. You want to feel you know how terrible the combat is the war but you also want to feel the camaraderie and the bravery of soldiers the the morale that is given to you by role playing with these other people at the table and experiencing just a small group of people in the war. Yeah, I think another thing with the with the war is that so many soldiers who fought in the First World War, let me be a big takeaway from it was how futile everything was, like, why are we here? What are we foot? What Are We Fighting For at this point, and one of the things we wanted to capturing the world was you can, you could have these huge successful achievements as a group of players. But ultimately, what you're going to be doing won't have an impact on the war. This is not about creating alternate history. It's about creating your own history within history. So we really wanted to capture that are early in early in development. We focused on how deadly The war was, but then the game was too deadly. Yeah. And so we kind of took a step back, we it's changed significantly, since in the past two years.
Ryan Boelter 17:33
Oh, yes. Yeah. So you probably got a lot of good players posting feedback about that.
Daniel Kwan 17:38
Yeah. Yeah. Like, huge. So Daniel, and I went to, to Daniel grow our he's kind of like, he manages all the business. We would not be this far. We
Patrick Keenan 17:50
got to have that one person always was like, No, let's focus though.
Daniel Kwan 17:53
Yeah. Oh, yeah. We, the three of us balance each other out very well. We've also been friends for like, a long time. Like, I've known Dan for over a decade. Yeah, I've known you for close to eight years. Yeah, close to a decade. And we actually, so Daniel and I drove to meta topia in 2018, with the intention of being like, Hey, we were just about to release this ash cab, right? It's going to go to Kickstarter. We had we basically finished the book, the books been done. Yeah, about a year, and we went did some really successful play tests. And then Mark DS, Truman of magpie games was like, Okay, here's where it has to change if you want it to be good.
Amelia Antrim 18:33
Daniel Kwan 18:35
all the drive back from meta topia, I was like, furiously like shouting ideas at Daniel and Daniel was furiously typing them into our text call, or like our Facebook Messenger conversation with Patrick. So we basically rewrote the vast majority of the playbooks of the system on a 10 hour drive back. A week got so into it, that we actually got pulled over several times by the police for speeding. I don't know if Patrick knows this. Yeah. But the first time we got pulled over, the police officer came and was like, Hey, you guys know how fast we go. I was like, Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. You know, we're just trying to get hold. We were just said a gaming convention. And I started, like, stammering and the officer looks at Dale and Daniel's wearing a poppy on his jacket, like a big world war one symbol. And he was like, what's that? Daniels like, Oh, this is just a, you know, this is a symbol that we were in Canada to honor veterans, the officers like, Oh, I'm a veteran. And we were like, we were actually played testing our game, which is about the the First World War and he's like, Oh, that's super cool. Carry on. Yeah.
Amelia Antrim 19:42
Daniel Kwan 19:42
The other times were less interesting. Both of them involve maybe like, I really have to go to the bathroom.
Amelia Antrim 19:50
I'm sorry, I'm not from here.
Daniel Kwan 19:52
A lot of water. Maybe a lot of that. I don't know, miles per hour.
Daniel Kwan 20:00
Daniel Kwan 20:02
we have too many ideas.
Daniel Kwan 20:05
But just to get back to play testing, we also did a lot of play testing with the military community in Canada. We organized an event at the moss Park Armory in Toronto, and we played with a bunch of people there who were very interested in our game. The whole bunch of them were Afghanistan veterans. Yeah. And they, they gave us a lot of good feedback as well on how to present a more accurate military story. So yeah, we're gonna we're going back to them for a stretch goal. Yeah. of ours. Yeah. Oh, no, actually, I think almost all of those soldiers were met. And they were all they were all medics. were one of our stretch goals is a medic, like a Canadian Army Medical Corps. Character. Yeah. But we need to talk to them about doing it justice. We also did a lot of play testing with families, like a significant amount of play testing has been with young people. Yeah, like the first ever played us. We did outside of the three of us kind of like mock playing was with at the time, my students at the ROM and it was on November 11. And we actually took them to a world war one Memorial that's near the museum. And we talked about the war. Patrick talked about the war and your family. Yeah. And then we came back. And then we all played Ross rifles for the very first time, and we kind of told taught all of his staff how to play it. We're like, let's just do me rich. And we played Ross rifles for the very first time, I guess, in public, with like, 50 people, all under the age of 15.
Amelia Antrim 21:28
Yeah. Oh, that's so cool.
Daniel Kwan 21:30
That's amazing. Yeah, that was our first play test. Yeah. And I think that speaks to the educational mission behind this game as well. And our second play test was in Ottawa. Yeah. At the lab. We went to the War Museum. Yeah. And then we did a lot of research. Yeah, a ton of research.
Ryan Boelter 21:47
That's very cool.
Patrick Keenan 21:48
Yeah, that seems to be a thing that you've taken very seriously here is making sure that not only is the like, portrayal, at least somewhat accurate, but that it like feels like the feeling correct to? Yeah, I think there's a tendency to want like the mechanics and like the story around the game to feel like, or to be accurate. You know, like, the things that you put in the book, and the backgrounds and things should be accurate, but I think it feels like you are you're trying to make what you do at the table feel correct shoe.
Daniel Kwan 22:17
Yeah, we want to make sure that I mean, a good chunk A lot of people have been asking, so I've done like three other podcasts, talking about Ross rifles. And almost every time people have asked the question of the Quick Start is so comprehensive, what's the book and a half? And a big chunk of the book is actually history. Yeah, big chunk of it is history. We've worked really hard to write a good inclusive history of the First World War, but also write a history of the Ross rifle itself. That's something that like I know, a lot of Americans don't know about, unless you're like a firearm enthusiast. When we went to Ottawa for our second play test, we actually spent like a good four hours in the armory of the Canadian War Museum. Yeah, just looking Ross rifles and other Yeah, cuz there's like 30 variants of the rifle. We were looking at the big one that stood out for me. Was those the bracelets? Yeah, yeah. Well, we can get to that for character creation. Pretty cool.
Patrick Keenan 23:13
Are there any basic terms or concepts you feel like people need to know before we actually jump into our character creation? things that people need to have an understanding of to follow along with us?
Daniel Kwan 23:23
Yeah, so we have attributes harm and stress. You want to sort with attributes? Yeah. So the attributes, there your basic stats that you have as a character, you know, it's pretty standard for PVTA, you have four of four of them. And so the four that we've gone with our valor, I wit and brawn, valor would represent your characters bravery, you know, ability to stand up in the face of danger on the battlefield, your eye is your ability to see things spot things shoots, what would be your quick thinking on the battlefield able to get into cover quickly. And then abroad is just your physical strength. And depending on your playbook, you would assign a score ranging from minus one to two for those attributes, then you get to add one, yeah, well, to anyone you want. And then we have sort of two health tracks. So a big part of first world war was this idea of in in the history books, you see shell shock. But soldiers talk about war neuroses, and psychologists talk about war, neurosis, and how the effects of the war had a profound psychological toll on the soldiers. So we have something called stress in the game. And stress represents basically psychological damage and how experiencing the war itself has an effect on the human. And so there are two tracks, one for stress, and then one for physical harm. That's like physical damage. physical harm has four checkboxes, if you check off all for your dead, and your characters out of the narrative. Stress has six checkboxes, you check off all six, you actually are also out of the narrative because your character might be rendered catatonic and might suffer from any of the effects of, excuse me, shell shock, or Warner Bros, which are outlined in the book. But I think what what makes it interesting is that as you accumulate stress, it has an effect on your characters mechanics. So for instance, you get like a minus one to an attribute, or another minus one to an attribute, or fatigue, even escalate to the point where you're seven to nine roles, for those of you who are familiar with PVTA. count as failures. Yeah. So the stress mechanics and how how little harm you can take really force all of the players to lean on each other for support. Yeah, especially for stress removal and stuff like oh, yeah, that is a big space
Patrick Keenan 25:49
in there, then a lot of mechanics that involve like adjusting that for that stress. Mm
Daniel Kwan 25:54
hmm. Yeah, there's some playbooks that are very, very good at it. Yeah, played like playbooks, like the sky have a lot of moves that would allow you to remove stress from yourself or other players. Yep. The creative is like a morale character. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Very cool. Yeah. So those are the three ones. And I think if that's for character creation, and then for, you know, actual playing, there's a thing called ground. Ground is our sort of narrative tool for combat. So we, we didn't want combat to be resolved in like, two dice rolls. We wanted combat to feel dynamic, as dynamic as the GM and the player wants it to be. Yeah, but we wanted to have that flexibility. And ground is kind of there to represent your narrative momentum towards your objective. And ground is something that you use when you are in like, open combat. If the enemy is actively shooting back at you. You are you're going and you're, you're recording ground. So yeah, that's something that that's also worthwhile. It's worth noting, especially since some of the moves involved ground.
Ryan Boelter 26:55
Very cool. All right. Is there anything else before we happen to Character Creation Cast? I think that's it. That's all. Awesome.
Amelia Antrim 27:03
I'm so excited for this.
Unknown Speaker 27:04
Yeah, let's make some people. Let's make some people.
Patrick Keenan 27:07
Okay, so usually, we let our guests pick first. If you guys have playbooks that you particularly want to try out.
Daniel Kwan 27:15
Oh, man, no, I Are you sure you want us to pick first? What about you?
Patrick Keenan 27:19
Well, I mean, we can if you want, we just always give you the option, since you're the guest.
Daniel Kwan 27:24
That will it will let you pick first. Yeah. Okay. Do you
Patrick Keenan 27:27
um, do you at all want to run kind of run through give us like a quick? Yeah, idea of what like one or two sentences of what each of these playbooks is? So
Daniel Kwan 27:33
there's six of them. I guess we can alternate Patrick? Yeah, yeah. So the surgeon is the first one. The surgeon is someone who kind of bears the responsibility of the section, the group's actions. So if the group messes up, or you know, does something that can get them, you know, in hot water with high command, the surgeon is somebody who bears that responsibility and takes that on their shoulders. The surgeon knows also like the leader, the surgeon can rally everybody together. You Yep. Then there's the creative. So the creative is someone who, before the war, engagement, some sort of arts, they were maybe were a writer or a painter, and they found themselves on the battlefield, for whatever reason, maybe they volunteered, maybe they were enlisted. And they're just trying to use their artistic abilities to assist the war effort in any way. So by creating art and looking at the battlefield in a different way, you can raise morale for the rest of the section or relieve stress, things like that. Yeah. And the creative self, somebody is kind of holding on to who they were before the war. And also you could play it like, the creative is basically Jr. Tolkien. Yes. That's the big inspiration that we've Oh, nice. Yeah. Oh, cool. Each playbook is inspired by somebody in history. So, like the sergeant for me when we were working on it is Massoud Mitsui, who's a probably the most famous Japanese Canadian to fight in the war was a surgeon commanded like 30 men. Yeah. So after the creative is the scrounger. The scratcher somebody who's good at getting stuff. This the scrounger can get supplies from the you know, the quartermaster. The scratchers also very talented at making things from garbage. Basically, turning the inhospitable trenches into home, is this grounders job? Yeah, after the scrounger, we have the replacement, the replacement of someone who's fresh out of training, they've just been sent to the section. And there The idea is that they're replacing someone else who the section last. And they really are more open ended. Their story has just begun, as we say, but a lot of their moves are also related to stress removal and things like that reminding the rest of the section of home. Yeah, they're they're like the outsider in the section. Yeah. But then being an outsider, is also a way for them to remember who they like who they were, what they've become. And that replacement character has that really fresh perspective. Yeah, I like the replacement. Because you could be like, you could play a coward, who just doesn't want to be on this, this section, or it could be somebody who's like, Look, I want to prove myself I know you lost, you know, the person who I'm replacing. I'm not trying to be them. But I am trying to be a part of this group. Yeah, it's very open ended very open ended. There's discard that somebody who had a, you know, a hard life before the war, maybe they actually fought in the second South African war, which is Canada's like, first international conflict for the British. Maybe they were they were a veteran of that war. And they came into the war already jaded or physically scarred. Or, you know, they they had a life before the war that kind of caused them to withdraw from sort of authority. And this guard is somebody who basically bears responsibility of making sure everybody gets out alive. So while the sergeant is all about duty and responsibility to, you know, the military, the scarred is all about responsibility to the section, that small group of people, the guards like the adult of the group, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 30:57
And then finally, we have the Scouts of the scout is a bit of a lone wolf type character, I guess. They're more effective at combat than the other characters. But
Unknown Speaker 31:07
you know, that they're kind of viewed as the the person who takes charge on leading the group into the combat besides the sergeant or covering them as they leave type thing. And the interesting thing about the scout is that you can play the scout as a bit of a sniper type class or as someone who runs in charges in and gets up close and personal with all their enemies as well. Stormtrooper type. Yeah. Not like the Star Wars Stormtrooper. No, no.
Daniel Kwan 31:35
People have asked before I can
Patrick Keenan 31:36
like actually, like, hit something. Yeah.
Daniel Kwan 31:39
Yeah. Like during. During the war, the Canadians had a very, very notorious, I guess, reputation for being excellent shock troopers and yeah, called stormtroopers. Germans called them stormtroopers.
Ryan Boelter 31:53
Oh, interesting. Yeah, that's very cool.
Daniel Kwan 31:57
If there was one more way we were awesome. It was the First World War.
Amelia Antrim 32:02
All right. Do you have a thoughts on why you want to do
Ryan Boelter 32:04
I do have my eye on one of them? For sure. The creative
Patrick Keenan 32:09
I knew it.
Daniel Kwan 32:11
Patrick's favorite? Yeah.
Daniel Kwan 32:15
How about you? Me like that
Amelia Antrim 32:15
one. Sounds sweet. That's gonna be Ryan. I know.
Unknown Speaker 32:19
I was thinking, I would like to do the replacements.
Daniel Kwan 32:25
So I know that's your favorite. That's my favorite.
Patrick Keenan 32:29
I actually get for not picking first.
Daniel Kwan 32:31
I actually based the replacement on another game designer when we were when we were rewriting it in that car. Yeah. Oh, do folks know Todd crapper? No heard of him. He wrote, high plains samurai. he's a he's another designer based in Ottawa. But at meta topia, he played a cowardly character. And all he did was he stuck in this one crater in the middle of no man's land. And the surgeon who was played by I think, was it was DC. was trying get them to go and he's like, let's go and does like no, I'm not leaving. I was like, well, we have to make a playbook with back end. accommodate that narrative. That that innocence.
Ryan Boelter 33:12
That's awesome. I really like the attribute spread for the the replacement as well. all zeros
Daniel Kwan 33:19
all yeah, it's easy. Super easy. And then you get to add one. Yeah.
Daniel Kwan 33:24
Okay. What do you what do you think of that, Patrick? I'll take the scrounger. Since it's right here in front of me. You gotta go scrounger? Yeah. Okay. There's your pencil. Thank you, sir. You know what? I guess the even though cuz we have a whole bunch of like, role playing characters. I'll go for the scout. Okay.
Patrick Keenan 33:42
Yeah, I'll do the beauty of this show is that we don't have to ever balance anything because we never have to play these characters. We can make all the worst role playing decisions, knowing that we never have to follow through, oh,
Daniel Kwan 33:54
I'm just gonna be all wit. And I'm gonna be really bad at using my gun. Okay, so for character creation? What do you both have your playbooks in front of you? Yes, yes. Okay. So for character creation, on the first page, always start on the left hand side, so the description and your equipment. So when you're doing your description, there's a little bit of information that it's kind of a narrative prompt to help you figure out who your playbook is going to be. So who your scouts going to be who your scrounger is going to be your replacement or your creative. You get to pick a uniform, your appearance and your name and play your character's name and player name. Big thing with Ross rifles. The two big things for Character creation right off the bat is the first one you do is you have no obligation to be a white person and Ross rifles. Yeah. And you don't have to be a man in Ross rifles as well. A lot of people ask you like, Oh, do I have to be a dude? And like, no, 100% not. There was an entire women's battalion of death. That's not a Canadian battalion. That was all the Eastern Front. Yeah, but it didn't exist. But it did exist. They were kind of like the night which is before the night witches, and they fought in trenches. Then, I mean, the big theme was like you do don't change the ultimate, you know, flow of the war, you have big impact to the people around you. And since we're doing these sort of, sort of alternate histories within one part of the trench, you could be whoever you want. And there were like hundreds of thousands of soldiers who fought for the Canadian military. Yeah, who's to say like, somebody didn't go, anybody can be there. So you know, when you're, when you're designing a game, there are times when you try to lean on historical accuracy. And there are times when you just say, you just throw historical accuracy out the out the of the window. And for gender, that's the one we did, you can be whoever you want. That's awesome. And then so once you have your description, you'll see under equipment, so equipment is preset because when you actually inflict harm upon an enemy, and you see seed, you kill them. Because yes, it the equipment doesn't have an actual mechanic effect. Really, except for the grenades, I guess, but a personal item and the personal item, but it's more of a narrative tool to for you to imagine who your character is what you have that kind of stuff. Yeah, so for instance, the scout I have a Ross rifle Mark three, with a 1913 telescopic site, and that that, to me indicates like I am a sniper. The Ross rifle was a fantastic sharpshooters weapon, but a very, very poor sort of infantry weapon. That's what it's known for in Canada. What do you learn about the Ross rifle? You learn about how terrible it was? They say it took like five five soldiers to operate one. Roscoe was always getting clogged with mud. And of course, there's lots of mud on the front. It was too long to use it a trench to wherever we held them. Yeah, they were big. They're huge. Yeah. And it was designed for hunting. And it was like a sportsman's, rightfully, you could like there's a variant, we could shoot it with your like, live on your back. Yeah, that was weird. But it was like, it was an excellent sharpshooters gun, but you needed perfect ammunition. You couldn't have ammunition that was like mass produced and banged up, we had to take real good care of it. And we actually learned when we went to the museum, that you could assemble the bolt backwards. Yeah. So that when you fired it, it's a blow up essentially. Yeah. So
Patrick Keenan 37:21
this is like completely and ideal for this situation. It like
Daniel Kwan 37:25
yeah, it wasn't ideal for most soldiers. But for the Scout, it is ideal because it was more accurate than the Lee Enfield rifle that the Ross rifle rifle was replaced with. So we've kind of sprinkled in that history here. And then tools and other are actually things that you would be carrying with you. So this is reference and that I think, yeah, most playbooks have different tools that they can fulfill different roles as well and not everyone can do everything right so you have to it's forces you to work together to cooperate Yeah, hundred percent and then the personal item is something that you have from home something that is instantly issue, and that's something you write and it could be like people have done like, like dirty postcards. Yeah. Like not like muddy dirty, but like, you know, adult postcards. People have done like, Bibles. Like pocket watches, rockets, chocolate bacon. I think a big one is just pictures of your family from home yet now. So while we're making our characters, we'll start with the left side because that's very much that set the tone for the rest of it. Yeah. And then I have the scout had also a lot of it also depends on the conversation that you have before you can start like when went into war Do we want this to take place? Right. If we were doing at the very beginning maybe I'm well kept. Yeah, but if you're at the end, you know, you're probably not getting the freshest looking uniform right on it'll be dirty. It'll fit in. I'm going to pick stand for me because I want to be a sniper. I picked ill fitting has my uniform because my backstory will be will tell him this.
Ryan Boelter 39:00
How about you too? I chose fresh for my uniform.
Daniel Kwan 39:03
Patrick Keenan 39:05
I picked fresh and Ill fitting.
Daniel Kwan 39:07
Oh, nice. Yeah, it's a good one. Even though it's a circle one do do whatever you'd like.
Patrick Keenan 39:10
I I'm already doing it wrong. No.
Daniel Kwan 39:14
It's not wrong. This
Amelia Antrim 39:14
is my show.
Daniel Kwan 39:18
No, it's not. There's nothing wrong.
Patrick Keenan 39:21
Yeah, I feel like coming in, like as a replacement coming in a little bit later. Like, it's a new uniform, but also probably not like, you know, for me. Yeah.
Daniel Kwan 39:32
My player name is obviously Daniel.
Ryan Boelter 39:36
Oh, I can handle that one. Yeah, the player names the easy one.
Daniel Kwan 39:39
And then one of the things we were talking about for the recording was actually using the Canadian war records. Yeah. And so actually, right now, I am looking at my own great grandfather's testament paper. And I'm going to try to see what I can get out of that for this Character. Oh, interesting. Yeah. So you could actually go to this for free. Yeah. So if you let me, let me get you the what to do. Yeah, if you just Google Canadian war records, you could find search personnel records of the First World War. And you could try searching like if you just search for given name, Robert, you see the
Ryan Boelter 40:16
thousands of Roberts.
Daniel Kwan 40:20
Like, you know, and I wonder if there's a Chang search database on a circle. Oh, yeah. And then oh, no, Chang's. Oh, wow. What about what about Chang? Yeah, so you could get this is what we went through in the beginning and actually have a note no Chang's either.
Ryan Boelter 40:35
Be nice if they had like a random
Daniel Kwan 40:38
random a random Iser. Yeah, it'd be it's pretty sweet. wonder if we should just make a section of our website and just put like a random name generator for World War One. That's not a good idea. I'll write that down. Write that down.
Amelia Antrim 40:51
Personally, because of the First World War intro our
Daniel Kwan 40:56
is there one? Is there an interim? There's an interim No. Hey, cool. Yep.
Ryan Boelter 41:02
All right now I gotta look you
Patrick Keenan 41:06
there's only one and it does not have a full first name is just
Daniel Kwan 41:08
RD Can you see the papers?
Amelia Antrim 41:11
Daniel Kwan 41:13
mystery. Yeah. Is that the papers show?
Patrick Keenan 41:17
Ryan Boelter 41:19
Go back to Mitsui. Oh, there's bolters without ease, though.
Amelia Antrim 41:23
Oh, yeah. This is very exciting.
Daniel Kwan 41:26
Yeah, it's, it's super cool to see it. Because if you if you actually look at their papers, you can you could see like, where they're from the next of kin, their address. And actually what's really cool as like, what they did before the war, their their their trade or calling is actually there. Oh, wow. Yeah. And this actually, you know, kind of leads into the middle of the character sheet. If you finish, you know, your description, your personal item. There are some questions. I didn't know because so massively Mitsui who was a who's a star in the war? His grandfather was a samurai. And he lived in Canada. He was born in Japan. And he was probably he's, like I said earlier, he's the most decorated Japanese Canadian to find the war. Yep. And I did not know that before the war. He was a waiter. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. He was a waiter, and he consented to being vaccinated
Daniel Kwan 42:21
is one of the questions.
Ryan Boelter 42:23
This is interesting. There is a Thomas bolter, whose birthday is two days before my birthday, obviously, centuries prior. And their wife was named Mary, which is my mom's name. Dang. Whoa.
Amelia Antrim 42:40
Yeah. There's lots of people with my mom's maiden name in here. They were a bridge builder. Cool. Lieutenant.
Ryan Boelter 42:46
Thomas Frederick bolt. I feel
Daniel Kwan 42:49
like you kind of have to go with that name.
Ryan Boelter 42:51
I know. It's a great name is this is really great.
Daniel Kwan 42:54
Yeah. So like, I think one of the things with character creation Ross Ross is is this experience kind of just learning about the war? Yep. And learning about the actual people who fought in the war. This is great is almost almost every single play test that I've done. everybody at the table, pulls out their phone and starts reading about the war. And I think that's awesome. Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 43:13
Oh, this was really cool. For the questions. I like the vaccinated then there's like, do you understand the nature in terms of your engagement? Are you willing to be a tested to serve in the Canadian overseas expeditionary force? Like, I like that? That's an optional thing there. Yeah.
Patrick Keenan 43:32
What is your trader calling farmer?
Daniel Kwan 43:35
That was the common one. That was a common one.
Unknown Speaker 43:38
While my great grandfather the sheet says he was an adding machine mechanic. What does an adding machine I don't know. I think it might be like,
Patrick Keenan 43:46
super old school. Like it's like a super old school like calculator.
Daniel Kwan 43:51
handle and that's all he were learning. I have to look this really fits with the scrounger to that really?
Ryan Boelter 43:58
Oh, yeah. I was born in the England
Daniel Kwan 44:01
adding machines are used to really well, that's
Ryan Boelter 44:04
Oh, that's so cool. Cream. Middlesex England.
Amelia Antrim 44:07
Yeah, this is. Cardiff,
Ryan Boelter 44:10
that's cool. Let's go on in Ontario.
Daniel Kwan 44:13
Yeah, so a lot of people who fought in the Canadian Expeditionary Force were actually born in Great Britain. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That emigrated, or even in other countries in Europe as well. Yeah. A lot of Eastern Europeans. Yeah. And some of them are even treated as enemy aliens.
Ryan Boelter 44:28
Yeah. Yeah. So it's awesome.
Daniel Kwan 44:30
Yeah, it's like I I love Character.
Daniel Kwan 44:35
What a good name. Oh, you know, that's a great name.
Amelia Antrim 44:38
algernon. Thank you for joining us for part one of this character creation series. We'll be back in part two picking up right where we left off.
Ryan Boelter 44:49
Character Creation Cast is a production of the one shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot Character Creation Cast calm. head to the website to more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can also be found on Twitter at Creation Cast or on our Discord server at discord Character Creation cast.com i one of your hosts, Ryan bolter, and I can be found on twitter at Lord Neptune or online at Lord Neptune calm or other host Emily Antrim can be found on twitter at ginger reckoning. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast they originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. Our main theme music is hero remix by Steve combs, and it's used with a Creative Commons license. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by Ryan bolter. Further information for the game systems used and today's guests can be found in the show notes. If you'd like to leave us a rating or review. We have links to various preview firms out there including Apple podcasts in our show notes. Also, check the show notes for links to our other projects. Thanks for joining us. And remember, we find that the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people. We will see you next time.
Amelia Antrim 46:35
We got to read some show blurbs show blurbs.
Unknown Speaker 46:40
Amelia Antrim 46:41
Ryan Boelter 46:43
Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one chat podcast com where you will find other great shows like one shot.
Patrick Keenan 46:54
The most fun way to learn about new games is to play on one shot you can discover the amazing variety in RPG geez by listening to actual play every week, James d'amato brings you a new episode with a talented cast of improvisers, game designers and other notable nerds. At least once a month one shot features a new system exploring a wide variety of genres. The stories are self contained, so you can jump in anywhere. It's a great way to find your new favorite game. Discover the magic of RPG with one shot and your favorite podcast app.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai