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Spicer: Okay. Welcome to another hosted chat event here on www.alternityrpg.net. Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve been gathering a list of questions from everyone that I’ll be posing to our guest, Steven Schend. If anyone would like to ask something else, please send me an instant message and I’ll work

Spicer: ...into the discussion for you.

Spicer: Before we get started, I just want to remind everyone of a few ground rules. To keep things organized, we want to make sure that we keep side chatter down to a minimum.

Spicer: Follow-up questions are okay, as well as the occasional comment, but try to give everyone a chance to participate and hold back on filling the chat stream with stuff that doesn’t further the current question posed to our guest.

Spicer: Use the instant messaging feature between individuals to hold those types of discussions outside of the chatroom itself. Above all, be courteous and be patient.

Spicer: In addition, please don’t let the discussion degenerate into an “Alternity vs. D20” debate. There’s really no value in exploring that topic in this forum.

Spicer: Our guest is here primarily to reminisce about Alternity’s roots and comment on its current longevity. This is your chance to ask him questions about how Alternity and its campaign settings were designed and why things work the way they do within the system or backstory.

Spicer: You can also ask about specific campaign settings related to Alternity and his own experiences with the game we all enjoy playing.

Spicer: For those who may not know, Steven Schend served for quite some time as an Author, Lead Designer and Editor for companies such as TSR, Wizards of the Coast, Bastion Press, and Green Ronin. He made solid contributions to the major Alternity campaign settings – Star*Drive and Dark.Matter.

Spicer: He also provided input into the design of D&D 3.0 using the D20 system for both the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. He served for a number of years as TSR’s in-house expert on the Marvel Superheroes game line as well as writing for the more recently-published Mutants & Masterminds game

Spicer: He’s a major authoritarian on the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. And he’s also written a novel for the Forgotten Realms “Wizards”-series entitled Blackstaff.

Spicer: Steven’s published credits for Alternity include the introductory adventure for the Dark.Matter campaign setting “Raw Recruits” and various elements of Star*Drive’s Alien Compendium 2. He also co-wrote the System Guide to Aegis as well as what many consider the penultimate PDF sourcebook for...

SESchend: And the upcoming Blackstaff Tower.

Spicer: Star*Drive -- The Externals ESD.

SESchend: Whoops. Sorry to interrupt, Neil. My bad.

Spicer: Steven is quite simply regarded as one of the nicest guys in the game industry, and frequently cited as such by those he’s worked alongside. He has a wealth of experience across multiple game lines and systems.

Spicer: He’s worked through some of the most interesting times in gaming history, including the TSR buy-out by Wizards of the Coast, the development of the D20 system and Open Gaming License...

Spicer: ...partnering with Jim Butler in the running of an independent third-party publishing company at Bastion Press, and he’s also worked as a freelancer, a novelist – and, according to his biography – a teacher, a landscaper, a street sweeper, and a concrete curb builder

Spicer: So without any further ado, let’s welcome Steven Schend to the third annual Alternity Game Day Chat…

Spicer: ------------------

SESchend: Thanks for that great intro, Neil.

Spicer: Yeah...I worked all week on that. :)

SESchend: And apologies again for interrupting earlier.

Spicer: No problem.

Spicer: Thanks again for coming to the chat and supporting Alternity Game Day.

Spicer: •Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the professional game design business?

SESchend: One of these days I'll get a website going to more easily be found by people. ;) And I'm very glad to be here with you all.

Spicer: I still managed to track you down...so it wasn't that hard. ;)

SESchend: Okay. I'd graduated from college with a Secondary Education of English degree and no job offers despite many interviews. After months of applying to educational publishing houses with no response, I got bored.

SESchend: Thus, I spent a day retooling my resume and cover letters and sent them to TSR on a whim--just to have more fun (and with no expectation of hearing anything on them). I applied blindly to the games division and to Dragon Magazine. Two weeks later, I had back to back interviews for two different jobs

SESchend: Two months after that, I got an editorial job in the games department and started in 1990.

Spicer: At TSR...

SESchend: Three years later, I began designing full-time and by 1995, I was also an assistant group leader of the Forgotten Realms product group.

Spicer: You can let me know when you're fully finished answering a question by typing /end...that way I want ask the next one before you're done.

SESchend: I spent most of my time in the Realms, so I wasn't privy to the starting work with Alternity, but by the time we got out to WotC, I found myself working in ALT by 1999.

SESchend: Too much detail? I'm probably boring folks here, so I'll end and get ready for another question.

Spicer: •What made you decide to get involved in Alternity and how did that come about?

Spicer: Was it just another assignment...or did you seek it out?

SESchend: I got into Alternity by the odd forces that controlled my schedule. I suddenly found, for the first time in about 4 years, I had new stuff on my schedule instead of the Forgotten Realms. I was working on Marvel Saga stuff (which never came out) and Alternity. It pretty much hit my plate unbidden,...

SESchend: but it was fun and interesting (albeit terrifying in the amount of info to absorb quickly). I still can't keep all the Stellar Powers straight. ;)

Spicer: •Duane Maxell once mentioned you and he served as the primary custodians for Star*Drive’s backstory. How did you work through and keep track of all that detail?

SESchend: The first stuff I worked on was the Alien Compendium 2--I wrote up the Medurr material as well as the Cambria, Eldala, and Coulomb systems material. /end

Spicer: Ahh...the man who brought us the Medurr Imperium.

SESchend: Well, Duane as usual reduces his involvement by sharing credit where it's not greatly due.

SESchend: Ah, no. Rich created the Medurr in his novel, if memory serves. I just took his notes and built up the culture a bit more, including Clan Vys, etc.

SESchend: As for the backstory, I inherited the plans that the ALT team had all along--I just had to get it moving a lot faster, due to sales being sluggish.

Spicer: That's still seems fairly significant given that Clan Vys is the face of the Medurr to the Verge.

SESchend: I did what any writer does on deadline--focused on what I needed to tell the stories that leapt to my mind and kept the other balls in the air and told people I was juggling. ;)

Spicer: Well..on that subject, some fans liked discovering the secrets of Star*Drive over a period of time, but some also wished the big reveal was done sooner so they could plan for it in their campaigns. Was this slow reveal a deliberate plan to build dramatic tension?

Spicer: Or were you guys just pressed for time on everything?

SESchend: My main contributions to the canon was WHY the Externals were coming, What was truly behind the invasion, etc. I got to tell the big story that had been hidden (but planned) since the starts.

SESchend: The slow reveal was the original plan, but sales were slow as a result and GMs hated not being in on the whole story at the start. Thus, when I was put on the job (along with Bill Connors), we were the two most senior designers at WotC (from the TSR division).

SESchend: We just hit the gas and moved up a lot of things at once, then punched in a lot of things of our own (which we started in AC2, continued in AEGIS, and concluded (alas) in Externals.).

Spicer: Was the entire timeline for Star*Drive and the Externals planned together before the books were released, or were the Externals’ series of events added later, to expand upon the setting?

SESchend: Pressed for time would be a kind way to put it, Neil. That answer the question?

SESchend: Much of the plan was simply "Here's the great BIg Bad coming out of nowhere...we don't know what they want...and we can't stop them..." Much of what Bill & I added were reasons for why the Externals did what they did and peel back a lot of the mysteries.

Spicer: So, in your own words (beyond those penned in the Externals), how did you view their motivations?

SESchend: That's why Duane gave me one of the best compliments--he liked a lot of what I put into the Externals backstory (and he was a notoriously choosy editor who rarely complimented stuff).

SESchend: I can't give one answer, as I set them up to have multiple reasons for doing this. If you ask the Kr'lyth, they're on crusade (a modern comparison would be the Ori in Stargate). If you ask the Teln, they're out to get what they can get... Get the idea? That's what I wanted to instill--both a sense

SESchend: of menace and threat from all of them, but also individual reasons as to why any of them would go and do this.

SESchend: Most importantly, there are ways in which PCs could play one External race off another and perhaps splinter the Great Threat into smaller, more manageable threats they might stop.... :)

SESchend: In general, the External Threat was one of "We take what we want because we can....and you can't stop us." And yes, the Sifarv think that way. /wnd

SESchend: whoops. /end

Spicer: You also left a few cracks in the I'krl Theocracy...with the potential for a Klick revolt...the Teln hedging their bets at Lucullus...the Sifarv possibly returning to their roots to throw off the influence of the Thaal...etc.

Spicer: Overall, it made for a more complicated and interesting weave of stories and characters and cultures.

Spicer: Were there any plans to expand upon the information on the External species, such as the League of Nine, the Gardh Techncarchy, and the Medurr Imperium? Can you recall any details that we can weave into our own campaigns?

SESchend: Yup. That was all my nefarious way of allowing the PCs a way to influence greater events normally way out of their league. If your team was the one who helped one group vs the other..... :evil:

SESchend: No real plans, as by the time I was finishing the Externals, the numbers had pretty much determined that the line wasn't too long for the world, unfortunately. That's why I packed all that into the Externals--I wanted people to know where the Externals came from (and who else might be out there to

SESchend: help).

SESchend: I would have loved to have done more with all the Perseus races I introduced, but by timing, I only had the one chance to introduce and hopefully give you enough to make them all playable. That's what I learned from the Realms--

SESchend: Open more doors than you close. Since we exposed the mysteries of the Externals, I gave you more mysteries in the Gardh Technarchy and the League, etc.

Grey_Knight: Hey guys. Just dropped to say hi to everybody, including Mr. Shend, and stay for a few minutes :)

Grey_Knight: Schend*, excuse me.

SESchend: As for more for the campaigns, any specific ideas were lost other than dealing with robot AI ships that might take offense if anyone didn't respect techanity as much as humanity (or whatever race we spoke of). :)

SESchend: /end

Spicer: The lessons of world-building...basically. Well, on that subject, were their any unfinished projects or ideas for future products that you recall...or, at the very least that you would have enjoyed writing to further the campaign setting?

SESchend: I would have loved doing more expansions like the System Guide to Aegis. I would have had a blast doing that for Cambria or some of the worlds in the Perseus Arm (League Space, Sifarv Demense, etc.).

Grey_Knight: ...why did everybody stop when I came in?

SESchend: And someone's guess on the boards was correct--the 121 systems of the I'krl Theocracy were JUST the Class 1 worlds. Square that number and you get a better idea of the size of the I'krl space. :evil:

SESchend: /end

Spicer: Yikes! A lot of folks have also been really curious about the Gardh Technarchy. That whole veil of secrecy once they shut off the outside world and shunned the Evrem...and how they cast out the Gardhyi...it left folks wanting more. Can you tell us anything more about the Technarchy?

uncle_jimbo: Impressive, considering the estimates of Class 1 worlds we've discussed.

uncle_jimbo: (for the Stellar Ring)

SESchend: Not too much, due to rusty memory. I do recall that the Technarchy is really two different empires/spaces--the landed Gardh worlds connected by stargate tech, and the space above/around them dominated by their AI and robot offspring.

SESchend: Thus, you end up discussing two really truly different things, though both are dominated by really wild and advanced tech at least a degree higher than humanity and at least equal to (or more advanced in some ways) evrem tech. And that's both for the Gardh and the Techans.

Spicer: Can you give us a sense of the power-level of the Gardh Technarchy? Are they a sleeping beast ready to awaken and smash everyone else in the aftermath of the Exeat? Or are they on par with the I'krl Theocracy? Where would they fit in compared to all the other powers-that-be?

SESchend: That help? /end

Spicer: Well, the mere fact that you've now given us a name for the AI-controlled starships...Techans...is a big aha!

SESchend: The Techans are probably on par with the Theocracy in terms of numbers and strength; the Gardh, on the other hand, are isolationists in extreme fashion. If they are forced to action, they'll only use as much power as it takes to get rid of the problem. I always wanted to set up the Gardh as the true

SESchend: danger in space. Don't mess with them, and you're fine. Poke them, and live to regret it.

SESchend: Think of it as the PCs poking a sleeping dragon. You MIGHT be able to take it out, but you'll pay heavily for it.

Spicer: Wow. So potentially more dangerous than the I'krl Theocracy and their ilk. Awesome.

SESchend: Does that open a few doors for folks?

Spicer: Yes. And I believe some Star*Drive fans were taking things in that direction. So it sounds like they were on track.

Spicer: Can you shed any further light on the Precursors...their relationship to the I'krl...and the backstory behind the backstory?

uncle_jimbo: It's a very interesting twist.

SESchend: If you think about how much damage a single Gardhyi can do, imagine a group (or a ship load) of them without the limitations.....

SESchend: Not really--I'm a fan of the "We can't truly know what happened in the depths of the past" type of story setup. It leaves more room for individual GMs to play.

SESchend: I looked at it all more as the backstory of Babylon 5--we know of the First Ones, the Shadows, etc. We'll never know EVERYTHING about why and how and what they did, but we know enough.

Spicer: Fair enough. So did you have any favorite alien species or nation that you had developed?

SESchend: I like a lot of the things I've read on the boards about the I'krl banishment ala being sent to Hell, and that fits as much as necessary. /end

SESchend: Favorite nation? The Concord. Sue me for being a Captain America and Superman fan too, while you're at it. ;) I like the good guys.

Spicer: And from the Perseus Arm of the galaxy? Who were your favorites there? The Evrem?

SESchend: Fave alien? I can't remember all of what I did, but I'm a sucker for the easily underestimated races. That's why I made the edanweir and pushed a bit more backstory onto the blix. And the pafal. :)

Spicer: ::shudder::

Spicer: Edanweir = not my favorite species

Spicer: But the Blix and Pafal were cool.

SESchend: Of the Perseids, I loved the Payans and would have had a blast writing them up more.

Spicer: I just have an aversion to teddy bears in space. :)

SESchend: That's why I made the edanweir--they were supposed to be the nastiest elements of any aboriginal culture in an Ewok sized body with Bucky Badger's face. :)

Spicer: So...if the External War's timeline had continued forward, how did you see things breaking down as the author/designer? Does the Verge Alliance survive? Do the I'krl break out?

SESchend: They're not nice--as anyone who'd call them a teddy bear in space would find out. ;)

SESchend: Sure, the Verge Alliance survives--I hate apocalyptic stories, and I've confessed to erring on the side of "the good guys." That's not to say it wouldn't take a lot of work, but I suspect the Verge might've had to ally with the League of Nine to end the war. Or at least, they could help broker a

SESchend: peace and the Alliance might have to concede some planets to the Theocracy. Only later does the VA link with the League and/or work at fomenting dissent back in the Theocracy to force the retreat of the Exeat.

SESchend: /end

Spicer: Okay...what more can you tell us about the Deepfallen and their mysterious power to open a gateway to another dimension for their Glassmaker creators?

SESchend: So am I burned in effigy in places for having inflicted the edanweir on folks? Mea culpa....

Spicer: Was it really possible for those early Orion colonists to mistakenly invoke a Vanishing? Or did some other entity (a Precursor? a Falkri?) show up and invoke one while the colonists were on Bluefall?

SESchend: Not a whole lot--the Deepfallen were really Bill Connors' story more than mine. And since he was in Wisconsin and I was in Washington at the time, we didn't get too much of a chance to share info that often.

dblade: I liked the edanweir. But I'm a sucker for the underbear.

uncle_jimbo: I like the story as written: that the deepfallen just _misunderstood_.

SESchend: I think the key on the Deepfallen was in their line "We misunderstood." They did it--I'm not of the opinion that they're just puppets for whomever can push their buttons. At least not anyone of less than Glassmaker status.

Spicer: I've always felt the same. But I guess we'll need to draft Bill Connors into the next chat and put him through the ringer for an official answer. :)

SESchend: But that's my opinion. You'd have to ask Bill for more of what he'd planned/expected. That said, I suspect that if you had enough krl'yth on Bluefall, you might have been able to do something akin to the Vanishing....as a defensive reflex more than anything (again, IMO). /end

Spicer: Okay. Hence, the full-on attack during Year One of the Exeat. So what about VoidCorp and its CEO? Are we really looking at an AI in the ZZ position?

SESchend: Quick query--I can't recall what the Falkri are....

SESchend: Yup--VoidCorp is run by vacuum tubes. :)

Spicer: Falkri were beings of pure psionic energy...alied with the Evrem in order to lock away the I'krl in their prison...a species of Ancient status, more advanced that the Evrem, but not quite Precursor level yet. They mysteriously disappeared according to the Evrem.

SESchend: I never had too much to do with their development, but they (and the Thuldans) were easy guys to make the human bad guys in league with the Externals. And yes, they deserved every bad thing I

SESchend: hinted might happen to them in potential plots in the Externals product. :)

SESchend: Aha. Thanks. I'd forgotten that (re: Falkri).

SESchend: /end

Spicer: Awesome. Okay. I've kind of wandered through many of the prepared questions. And we still haven't opened up the floor to everyone else. How are we doing on time? You okay with going a few more rounds with the attendees' questions?

SESchend: Don't mean to sound dismissive of them--they had a lot of story potential. But for me and what I had to do, the Thuldans as Nazis (and everybody hates Nazis, right?) worked as an analogue.

SESchend: I'm good for at least another half hour if you need me.

Spicer: And/or...if there's a particular question on the one's I sent you in advance that you're itching to answer, go ahead and hit us with it. No need to wait on me to ask everything. :)

SESchend: I'm afraid I forgot to print them out and keep the questions at hand. :red:

Spicer: Cool. One of the things Rich Baker mentioned about the Thuldans was that he expected them to secede from the Galactic Concord first...in order to defend the Verge and their holdings there from the alien incursion. In many ways, he set them up as the potential saviors.

SESchend: One thing I'm curious about and want to know from the assembled--was there enough info in Externals to do useful and fun things with the League of Nine races and the Exeat races?

Spicer: Well, let's open up the floor and let folks ask their own questions of you.

blacksunrunner: Well the Nazis saw themselves as the saviours of all things German...

SESchend: I always worried that not enough folks ever knew of the Externals release online and thus missed out on some of my best world building.

Spicer: I'll answer for myself and say, yes...for the most part. I could have used more information on the League of Nine, perhaps...and the Gardh Technarchy...but you've already helped with some of that tonight.

dblade: I think the Externals blew the door wide open for the campaign setting. It would have been nice to see more info on everything though.

uncle_jimbo: Exeat, definitely. Though I have to admit I skimmed a bit, it was a bit hard to grasp the League of Nine as a concept.

Tolen Mar: I found out about it when I got ahold of a stack of books cheap and hit the 'net for more. Unfortunately, I haven't read it all yet, so I can't really answer that for myself.

Malnical: I got into the star drive setting really late(basically the begining of last year) but up till i got ahold of the externals it seemed like alot was misssing

SESchend: If you want a really kinky idea, imagine a corner of the Gardh Technarchy where Gardh and Techan work together. Think Babylon 5 if Kosh's suit was independently sentient as well as being a cloak for a powerful being. :evil:

uncle_jimbo: On the Thuldans, I'm not sure that a Thuldan task group in the Verge would count as saving the place, exactly.

SESchend: Well, it would if you were a Thuldan, Uncle Jimbo. ;)

SESchend: The League of Nine was my United Nations meets the Legion of Superheroes--funky aliens working together for the betterment of the galaxy. :)

Spicer: All I know is that the Thuldans are the guys you love to hate until the chips are stacked against mankind. Then, they become one of your strongest allies in taking the fight to the enemy.

uncle_jimbo: I was just thinking earlier about an aftermath to the war with several systems in the hands of either sifarv or kadarans,

uncle_jimbo: who might not be averse to a deal. The thaal wouldn't care about planets and nobody in their right minds would ally with teln.

SESchend: "He's a savage, but he's OUR savage." Right, Neil. (Working with the Thuldans is exactly like working with Stalin in WW2.)

Spicer: The Kadarans just seem horribly, wickedly wrong...but in a good way. :)

SESchend: You need him, and you hate it, but you'll never like him. Respect, perhaps in a limited way, but never like him. ;)

SESchend: Yeah, the Kadarans were the love children of Shelob and Joseph Mengele. :evil:

Spicer: LOL

Malnical: Question.. at what point time line wise would you say the League of Nine would have stepped in with the war on the verge?

SESchend: The only races I felt any fun toward in the Exeat were the bareem. They were my wookies, and if they weren't so indoctrinated by the Sifarv, they'd be great allies like the weren.

Spicer: I really, REALLY wish the Tequila Starrise website was still around for you to check out. That was THE definitive Star*Drive fansite on the web, but it sadly closed shop awhile back.

SESchend: I was wondering why I couldn't access the links from these boards to TS....

Spicer: I always viewed the Bareem as very much inspired by Planet of the Apes...just a bit more alien-esque...and of course, subjugated by the Sifarv, who then asked them subjugate everyone else.

SESchend: Maniacal--if the Verge had officially approached the League, they'd consider it (but they'd look to the Evrem for guidance and their okay). I suspect, though, that to protect League territory from Theocratic blow-back, they'd have to keep their support back channel and secret.

Spicer: I'm still trying to work out something with the former webmaster. He's searching for backup copies of the website, but I haven't heard from him in a really long time.

SESchend: You could have a great Battlestar Galactic parallel of Vergers escaping the Exeat and trying to get to League space.....

Spicer: What about the Medurr, Steven? What plans would you see for the dragons?

Spicer: Another, the enemy of my enemy is my friend...for now...kind of situation?

SESchend: I suspect the League would truly only step in with the Evrems' okay, and they'd probably let the Verge get taken totally (since there are so many humans back in Old Space). If the Exeat made moves toward that (and the extinction of humanity), then they'd step in. At best, I'd say the League might cu

uncle_jimbo: To me the great thing about the Medurr is that they're not a unified force. They're so individualistic and feudal that you could easily have different matriarchs

SESchend: cut supply lines and do black ops, but not much more.

uncle_jimbo: taking different sides.

SESchend: As for the Medurr, I don't know what I'd do with them. I suspect they'll keep whatever they can (on Cambria or elsewhere) and make that a Medurr (or Clan Vys specifically) homeworld. They get more interesting when another Medurr clan comes along and tries to poach territory from Vys... :)

SESchend: Feudal is exactly right. The Medurr aren't a homogenous and single-driven people....any more than humanity is in the Verge.

: A.Net Forums has been made a moderator by conference.jabber.alternityrpg.net.

SESchend: Did I miss any queries there?

Spicer: Not that I can tell.

SESchend: As you can guess, I'm more a story-style designer rather than one to work on the mechanics and rules. Give me a story any day....

Malnical: is there any part of the externals you would change now, that you can look back at it?

SESchend: Any questions on Dark Matter?

Spicer: You wrote Raw Recruits, the start-up adventure in the back of the Dark.Matter sourcebook. Did you design anything else for that campaign setting?

SESchend: I'd probably not have done all those powers for the krl'yth and added more stories and potential plots for the Exeat and the Perseus material.

SESchend: Less crunch, more "fluff" (and may I go on record as hating that term, which implies that the story and details are less important than the rules)?

uncle_jimbo: Krl'yth FX was interesting, I think, as a canonical example of what level of supernatural stuff might be possible in the Star*Drive setting.

Spicer: I kind of liked the inclusion of the krl'yth powers...if for no other reason than it kind of opened a door for justifying "clerics" in Star*Drive, by having their powers originate from a patron species in another dimension.

Spicer: If the I'krl can empower the krl'yth, then why not have the Glassmakers or Falkri do the same for some good-aligned followers, too?

uncle_jimbo: It raises questions about the Hatire, for example.

SESchend: Alas, nothing else for Dark Matter from me beyond that intro module. I'd have had fun working on a conspiracy theory laden adventure/source, if they'd let em, but no one else liked my wacky ideas to set up a 500 year old conspiracy with the Crown of England, John Dee, and esoteric cultists in the

SESchend: modern day taking control of a number of governments through old engineered bloodlines and such. It would have been an entirely different take to link Dee and Rennes la Chateau and other stuff....but alas...

uncle_jimbo: Nice, an Enochian link.

Tolen Mar: I think more than one of us would have liked to see that

Malnical: yeah

Spicer: So, you mentioned that you had checked out some of the discussion threads here at A.net. Any thoughts, opinions, feedback on your observation of the Alternity culture still living via the Internet?

SESchend: Neil, that's exactly why I put that in there--to draw the lines and show people where they might go on the other side of the line. And imagine if the Evrem revealed they might be able to do that (or had once had that done to them via their Precursors).

Spicer: :grin:

SESchend: I think it's marvelous that you folks are so passionate about the material, the hobby, and the worlds we had to abandon due to the vagaries of the market. It's great that the Internet keeps so much of the old material alive and keeps fans in touch, so no one feels like they're alone in loving an

SESchend: old system or game.

SESchend: I'm very grateful that I didn't see something here that I've seen on too many message boards--people assuming that they can read/intone the intent of the designers on why they wrote something.

SESchend: Very few people guess correctly as to why some of us write what we write, etc. (Heck, even we can't always tell you why we wrote something or did something a particular way.) It's great that this community is more focused on the material and what they've done with it, rather than second-guessing why

SESchend: it was written the way it was to begin with (or complaining about how it didn't fit their campaign). You folks have made Alterntiy your own--which is exactly what you should have done. Congrats. :)

uncle_jimbo: I had a question earlier: If Alternity had have continued, what other adventures and supplements might have been next released?

SESchend: Well, is there one last question? I've got time for one more here and then I'm off to party with the blix (who make the best stillls....). ;)

: The topic has been set to:

Spicer: And I imagine they know how to hide them, too. ;)

Spicer: Like leprechauns with a pot o'gold.

uncle_jimbo: (unless there's anything else on the list?)

SESchend: That I could not tell you, as I can't remember any more. I suspect we'd have drawn out a longer source on how the External War played out and perhaps map out and detail more of the stuff revealed in Externals. we'd also have continued the System Guides, I suspect, but which planet would have been ne

Spicer: Just a mix of stuff here and there. Go with Jim's question. Everyone wants to know the answer to that one.

SESchend: ext, I can't recall.

blacksunrunner: no secret unfinshed symphonies?

Spicer: Hopefully, the Tendril system...gateway to the Verge.

uncle_jimbo: That's not a bad choice. Or Dewi.

SESchend: Sorry to hedge on the answer folks. If it were up to me, and the numbers had allowed Alternity/Star*Drive to continue, I'd have provided a lot more details and adventures for the War, sourcebooks on the races, rather than the planets (as you can tell more stories with people than with planets), etc.

Spicer: I think Jim mentioned they'd intended to focus some energy on the Stellar Ring. And thus, the folks working on the fan project for the Stellar Ring Netbook rejoiced.

SESchend: No real symphony here. I suspect you could have easily seen a war among the human powers with the Thuldans at the heart of the conflict, especially if their collusion with other enemies came to light.

Spicer: You mean VoidCorp?

Spicer: I thought they were the colluders...not the Thuldans...unless you've got more inside info on the Nazis?

SESchend: That may be, but those discussions went on without my input (as I was busy on my Externals deadline ;)).

SESchend: Whoops. VC, yup....well, AND the Thuldans, if you ask me. ;)

uncle_jimbo: Thuldans _against_ Voidcorp sounds good.

SESchend: That too, Jimbo.

Spicer: Steven, we didn't really get around to talking about any of your current projects. Anything you want to mention for folks to check out?

SESchend: Well, thanks for having me here, folks. It's been a lot of fun. Sorry I couldn't cover every question with as much detail, but my memory's old and fuzzy like a decaying peach.

Spicer: Ewww...sounds messy.

SESchend: Current projects--Blackstaff Tower comes out in early September, my 2nd novel; I've also got short stories out in anthologies (Fellowship Fantastic, out since January, and Dimension Next Door, due out in July). The short stories will also have a 3rd followup next year in a 3rd antho

terrox.alternity: t'was a good chat

blacksunrunner: yes, thank you

Cy413: Thank you for spending your time with us.

SESchend: and I hope to get a novel written with that contemporary fantasy universe and characters finished and sold soon.

Spicer: Are you much more focused on fiction these days rather than gaming products?

Spicer: Doing the Alliterates proud, I suspect? :)

SESchend: If anyone can attend, i'm teaching a game design seminar/workshope for 12 weeks, starting two weeks from tomorrow here in Grand Rapids. Anyone who needs to know more can get my email from Neil.

uncle_jimbo: Sounds intriguing. Dimension Next Door, noted.

SESchend: Yes, I'm focused more on fiction than on gaming, as that's where my heart is these days.

SESchend: DND and FF should be findable by title in Amazon.com or among the anthos at your Friendly Local Book Shop. :)

Spicer: There's nothing wrong with that. We certainly don't begrudge you a novel or short story here and there...not after you gave us some wonderful RPG worlds to play in. ;)

SESchend: Well, time I shifted down into Drivespace. Thanks again, Neil and everyone. I had a blast here tonight.

blacksunrunner: :awe:

RobJN: Thanks for taking the time tonight!

Spicer: It was our pleasure. Glad we could take you down memory lane just a bit.

uncle_jimbo: Thanks!

SESchend: Thanks, and take care, all. Be good, be well, and be yourselves, always. :D

RobJN: myself ... AND good...? :whistle:

: SESchend has left the conference (Disconnected).

Spicer: And there he goes...

Spicer: Thanks for coming, folks!

Cy413: Thanks for setting that up, Neil

RobJN: Good event, like every year, Neil

blacksunrunner: That was cool guys, now I must go to bed, goodnight all! :D

Spicer: Thanks, guys. It's my primary contribution to Alternity Game Day every year. Hopefully, someone logged this thing so the folks who couldn't attend can read through it as well.

uncle_jimbo: Thanks, some very interesting new (or remembered) directions as usual. I'm off for lunch soon.

Tolen Mar: Man, I'd love to go to his workshop...I don't live anywhere near enough though.


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