SMS considering new Tal options

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SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Big Mac » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:04 pm

One silver lining on the cloud of unauthorised Talislanta Print on Demand books is that people have been asking SMS if he could do Print on Demand stuff for Talislanta and he has been talking to Jerry Grayson and is actually considering some options. Here is what SMS posted at the Facebook group for Talislanta:
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Okay, new subject: possible new Talislanta product(s). I've had a couple of discussions with Jerry about possibly running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Khepera to publish one or more new Tal products. Nothing serious yet - we're just talking about some ideas. Some of the possibilities we've discussed include: a full-color Tal edition, set in the New Age as per previous editions; or, a new full-color sourcebook covering an earlier era of Tal history, tentatively titled Talislanta: The Savage Land, which would be set in the dark chaotic age that followed the Great Disaster (all knowledge of spell casting lost, no cities or nations, just warring tribes); and/or a Talislanta graphic novel or series of graphic novels (either illustrated versions of some of the Tales of Talislanta, the illustrated Travels of Tamerlin, or something new). Jerry ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Atlantis, and he told me that he believes a Tal Kickstarter campaign would be even more successful. So, my questions to all of you here on the list: would you take part in a Tal Kickstarter campaign, and if so, which new Tal product(s) would you like to see Khepera publish? All comments and suggestions welcome, pro or con.


There have been over 200 replies so far, and I'm still catching up. But it looks like there is some genuine interest in this.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Havard » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:35 pm

Wow! :)

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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:09 pm

Holy Cow! I don't get on FB much so I really appreciate you posting this here :mrgreen:. This is fantastic news :o
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Big Mac » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:12 am

Mulsiphix wrote:Holy Cow! I don't get on FB much so I really appreciate you posting this here :mrgreen:. This is fantastic news :o


There is far too much there to explain everything that is happening, but we were looking at a future Kickstarter based on a new Talistlanta product called The Savage Land:

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Doug, you're right about Jerry having other commitments, and about his approach to Kickstarter campaigns - also that this is mainly a discussion about concepts for a possible new Tal product. On the other hand, the discussion here has definitely gotten me thinking about the Savage Land idea, about what it might consist of, and about what might be entailed in getting a product like this out. It might be possible to produce SL the way Midnight Realm was produced: i.e., I wrote a fairly detailed outline of the milieu ands did some design sketches, then contacted a handful of writers and artists to help develop the product, which Shooting Iron then published. It's possible that a product like Savage Land could be written and (roughly) designed without a lot of involvement from a publisher like Jerry. A solid first-draft of the product and some good design sketches could then be used as a basis for a Kickstarter campaign, which if successful would then allow Jerry to focus on completing the actual product. The timeline for an approach like this is not short, but neither is it exceedingly long. More about that later.


I believe this is supposed to work as a new entry point to Talistlanta, for people who have not played before. I believe it is going to be zero-magic or low magic. But things are not set in stone, so this may change. But here is the current overview:

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Talislanta: Savage Lands overview -

PART 1

I'm definitely leaning towards the Savage Land idea, as I think it offers many potential advantages over some of the other ideas that have been discussed here. The biggest plus, I think, is that SL would be all-new material: I think Tal-fans have had more than enough recycled art and text , and for all they've put up with over the years, they deserve better.

Another plus: SL would have numerous connections to the original Tal milieu and mythos, which I think will be interesting to experienced Tal players and GMs. There are a number of mysteries/legends/rumors that were hinted at in the original Tal that will be incorporated into SL. For instance, SL would have connections to the Unknown Lands (thanks to the folks here for that idea). Conversely, players and GMs wouldn't have to know anything about Tal to play SL - it would be a self-contained world and game, which would make it easier for new players to get into it.

Another plus: I think SL would take a lot less time to develop than another version of the original Tal game, for the reasons explained below. That's important, as a really big project like Tal 4 or 5 could take many years to put together, and would probably cost a lot, too.

Here's a quick overview of the projected contents of the Talislanta: Savage Land book, derived from my old notes plus some new ideas proposed by folks on this list. Much of what follows is speculative, and subject to revision.additions/deletions - so far, these are just ideas. More detailed explanations of the overview can be found below:

CONTENTS
- intro to the SL milieu - overview of the post-Disaster world of Talislanta, with a rough map of the known world and a description of the immense magical maelstrom known as the Gyre
- game rules - as brief and simple as possible
- Encounter & Event Tables (explained below)
- Peoples of the Savage Land - the main tribes and humanoid races, with illustrations and a brief but (hopefully) vivid explanation of each group's appearance, mode of dress, customs, traditional allies/enemies, and general worldview.
- Artifacts - a listing by category of numerous items that may be found in SL, including magic items and weapons.
- Places of Note - a listing of some of the many ruined cities, plus topographical features
- Bestiary - extensive section on SL flora & fauna


...and...

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Steve Sechi PART 2

The SL Game System
As I envision it, SL would have a simple rule system, likely using the Action Table, customizable archetypes, a smaller number of Skills (non of those civilized skills in this milieu), no Magic system per se (more on that in a sec), and possibly a Level-based advancement system (I like that old idea). Ideally, I'd like the SL game system to be one that could easily handle anything from basic individual actions to at least a basic form of mass combat - all using the Action Table and the simplest of modifiers. That's the goal, anyway.

Compared to the original Talislanta, the SL milieu would also be a lot easy to get into. Because it's a post-apocalyptic setting, there would be no nations, cities, or civilized cultures. Accordingly, there would also be a lot less archetypes, as SL will be populated by the "root races" who later branched off into the many peoples of the Tal New Age.

This would also make SL a lot easier for potential new players and GMs, many of whom have in the past been more than a little intimidated by the huge number of archetypes in the original And having less archetypes to deal with will also allow those "root races" to be developed in ways that just weren't possible in the original Tal game.

Magic in SL
It was my original intention to leave out spell casting altogether, as I really liked the idea of making SL like the medieval Dark Ages, when so much of what had been known before was lost and forgotten. Also, Magic was always somewhat problematic in the original Tal, which went went through several different Magic systems in various editions. Some people liked one system, and some liked others. So the idea of removing spell casting from SL seemed like a good idea.

I still feel that way, but thanks to some of the comments posted here, my thinking has changed some. While I don't want to include an actual Magic system (with magical professions and spell lists) in SL, I think I want to make it possible for characters to cast spells, but only from written materials like books, scrolls, etc. I think this would be cool, because: 1) characters would need to find those materials by hunting for them in ruins, bartering for them, stealing them, etc; and 2) to even attempt to use such materials, characters would have to know how to read, an extremely rare talent in a post-literate, post-apocalyptic setting. And as with any Skill, attempting to read a spell from a book or scroll would entail a roll on the Action Table, with possibly unpredictable results.

I also liked the suggestion that there could still be some "lower magic"-type abilities practiced by the shamans of certain tribes. I see these being more along the lines of primitive magical rituals and the ability to concoct certain types of potions, antidotes, etc, rather than spell casting per se.

One more thing about Magic: even though there wouldn't be much spell casting in SL, there would be a LOT of enchanted artifacts, weapons, and the like, including many that were not in the original Tal - for example, battle golems, iron dragons,and other mechanical constructs dating back to the sorcerer wars at the end of the Archaen Age. There are a lot of ruins to explore in SL, including some of the fallen sky cities, which unlike in the later New SAge haven't yet been scavenged by hundreds of generations for Talislantans.


...and...

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:PART 3

The SL Milieu
The actual world-setting of SL would be a lot bigger than Talislanta, as it would incorporate territories that later later sank into the sea, were inundated by rising ocean levels, or (possibly) broke away from the mainland and drifted out into some other part of the Omniverse. And yes,this could include some of the Unknown Lands.

Unlike NewAge Tal, however, the SL milieu would be almost entirely unmapped and almost entirely unknown to the average character in the game. Only a sketchy map would be available, most of it showing uncharted regions, the territories of various tribes & creatures, and even some possibly legendary locales. Starting characters would know the area around where they were born, and where they lived and (possibly) traveled. But the only way for them to learn more about their world would be to get out and explore.

In game terms, the same would apply to both the players and the GM; i.e., they wouldn't know much about the SL milieu either, because that information wouldn't be in the sourcebook. In place of a detailed map of the continent, I would substitute a series of flexible and creative Encounter and Event Tables (remember those?), covering encounters with living beings or creatures (including various tribes, flora & fauna, monsters, etc), territories (terrain types and features, ruins, natural resources, obstacles,etc),weather (a big deal in world of SL, which is even more prone to magical anomalies than New Age Tal),and various types of discoveries (artifacts, tools, enchanted items/weapons, writings of various sorts, etc).

These Tables would have to be extremely well-designed, with hundreds of entries and secondary rolls that would allow each result to be unique, unpredictable, and entertaining, rather than repetitive and boring. Results would be keyed with page numbers allowing the GM or players to find more detailed information on any entry.

If done well, I think this simple system would:

1) make it easy for GMs to create adventures in advance, or to run games on the fly…
2) let the players go wherever they want to and do whatever they want to do…
3) have the players fill in the map of their world as they go…
4) make each gaming group's "campaign" unique
5) and also even have the potential for solo-play

Of course, GMs would not have to use the Encounter Tables if they didn't want to. They could ignore the Tables and just create their own adventures from scratch, using the considerable information on Tribes, flora & fauna, magic items, legendary artifacts, etc that would be included in the Sourcebook. And the rough map provided in the sourcebook would show a number of known/major terrain features and territories, so they would have at least some solid info to go with, if they prefer.

The reason I think an Encounter Table system would be well-suited to SL is that the milieu itself is so permeable and even chaotic. With no cities or major settlements, most of SL's humanoid and animal populations are nomadic or transient by nature. Most are constantly on the move in search of food and resources, or to hunt, or to avoid being hunted. Even when they do seek to establish settlements or strongholds, these places are inviting targets for the hordes of war-like tribes and creatures that roam the continent.

Another factor is the Gyre, a massive magical maelstrom that moves in a random fashion across the continent. The chaotic magical forces of which the Gyre is comprised are capable of altering the nature of almost anything it comes in contact with, from tiny creatures to vast stretches of terrain,with utterly unpredictable results (the Gyre may have its very own Random Event Table). Taken all together, these factors make the SL milieu a place that can change dramatically from year to year, or even minute to minute.


...and...

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:PART 4

Cool Stuff
The main goal of SL would be to include as much cool stuff as possible. First off, the look of SL is going to be very important. As was the case with the original Tal, the visual elements will need to be vivid, colorful, and evocative. If we do SL, it's my intention to handle the art direction, as I did with the first Talislanta books. While SL will definitely be influenced by Tal, it will have its own look. And if done well, that look will reflect both the savage nature and faded glory of a post-apocalyptic version of Talislanta.

There will be a long list of things for players to explore, from legendary places to mysterious peoples, including:

- the locations of the Unknown Lands of Celadon, Temesia, Draknar, and the Midnight Realms…
- the Drakken ,last of the giant dron-men of old…
- the existence of the last floating city to survive the Disaster, which some say still drifts on the winds (thanks to the comments on the list for that idea)
- the Withen, who live in a vast labyrinth and are said to be the only race who still know all the secrets of the lost art of Magic…
- the Vandar - ancestors of the Thralls…?
- the Drune - ancestors of all the nomadic tribes of Talislanta…
- the Undermen - pale-skinned humanoids who live far below the ground, coming out only at night to snatch unwary prey from he world above…
- War Golems and Siege Golems, and the legendary Collossus, massive metallic constructs left over from the Last War...
- Radian crystals - fiery-colored stones from the Volcanic Hills, sued by the Archaens as power sources for their war-machines…
- Archaen Biomantic vats - remnants from the age of sorcerers, these vats were used to grow artificial and hybrid lifeforms., and can sometimes be found in the ruins of the fallen sky-cities. Many were damaged,and their contents destroyed during the Disaster, or by scavengers or would-be tomb-robbers. But others may contain viable lifeforms, such as prototype humanoid peoples (presenting an opportunity for the GM to add races to SL that are not currently extant in this milieu but are present in the New Age milieu), mutations (benign or not), or monstrosities.
etc. :)


There is a team!:

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Happy to announce that we have started to put together the TSL creative team. Here's the list of writers and editors so far :

Doug Bramlett: editor
John Harper: game system
Mark Williams: Writing, Cartography
me - Creative Director, art direction


The Savage Land is go!:

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:BTW, I spoke to Jerry Grayson of Khepera Publishing today,and it's safe to say that we can remove the word "proposed" from our discussions of a new Tal-based product. TSL is officially on, baby.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:27 am

Yup. I was coming here to post this, but I was waiting til things were a bit more official.

Hi! I'm Doug. And I've already got SMS's first draft of the T:SL 'bible' that I'm reading over now.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:36 pm

:o ...

Holy cow! I never thought something like this would ever happen! I figured after it was all released for free that was the end of it. Just... WOW :shock:. Congratulations Doug!! Way to get involved right off the bat ^_^. I need to let this simmer for a bit. I'm completely blown away :x.

Thank you both for keeping me updated! This is really nice to have here for the folks who don't visit FB too often. I sincerely appreciate it ;) .
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:05 pm

Mulsiphix wrote::o ...
I'm completely blown away :x.

Thank you both for keeping me updated! This is really nice to have here for the folks who don't visit FB too often. I sincerely appreciate it ;) .


I'm putting some stuff up on Tal.com, too, but the copies from above pretty much say more than I said on Tal.com


However, I will offer this tantalizing tidbit:

If the news about a new Tal book blows you away, wait until you see the hidden histories of some Talislanta's favorite races.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:09 pm

:facepalm: :shock: :o I CAN'T WAIT!!! :lol: ^_^ :mrgreen:
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:22 pm

Big Mac wrote:
There is a team!:

Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Happy to announce that we have started to put together the TSL creative team. Here's the list of writers and editors so far :

Doug Bramlett: editor
John Harper: game system
Mark Williams: Writing, Cartography
me - Creative Director, art direction


And as of this morning, we've got Colin Chapman on board as well.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:15 pm

writermonk wrote:And as of this morning, we've got Colin Chapman on board as well.
Ooooooh :lol:! That is fantastic news ^_^
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:07 pm

As of right now, we've also got Adam Black and Rich Wallace on-board for art. Both gentlemen worked on the Midnight Realm book, so if you liked the art in that, you'll (hopefully) like what they do for the Savage Land.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:04 pm

It is crazy how this just took off out of nowhere. Now so many folks are apart of the project and its chugging ahead at full speed. The way this has all come together is beyond impressive.

Doug do you think this was all sparked by the incident with Scott or do you think SMS would have started throwing around ideas on FB with fans all the same?
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:39 pm

I'm not entirely sure of the timeline with the events concerning the POD books. From what we've been told, SMS and Jerry found out about the POD books because someone bought a POD Atlantis book (the old Morrigan edition) off of Amazon and then went to Jerry about it (there's an obvious difference in the editions). In the course of investigating on his own, Jerry found out that the Tal books were still up for order, too. So he ordered one of each (a Tal book and an Atlantis book) and they came in from Amazon with the date printed on the back. A current date.

So, that whole thing blew up and I guess that the germ of the idea of books being available POD was brought up - there's been a demand for Tal books in POD for years, as you know, but it's never really progressed.

SMS has re-iterated that the stuff that is up on tal.com is still free for personal use and will remain that way. When asked directly about future POD Tal sales, his response this go around has been 'let's wait and see.'
So, that's a different response from the 'no' of previous years.

SMS has said that he's excited to be back thinking about gaming stuff again and pouring over the creative ideas.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:59 pm

Thank you for laying that all out for me :mrgreen:. It sure is an exciting time to be a Tal fan. Who would have though SMS would get "the bug" again, and so soon after the release of the Tal line!
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Big Mac » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:20 am

writermonk wrote:Yup. I was coming here to post this, but I was waiting til things were a bit more official.

Hi! I'm Doug. And I've already got SMS's first draft of the T:SL 'bible' that I'm reading over now.


I just wanted to help start lighting a fire for this. Sorry if I jumped the gun, Doug. (That Talislanta group on Facebook, is an open group. So everything posted there is already accessible to non-members. If that is an issue, you might want to have a chat with the group admins to see what privacy settings would be best.)

BTW: I can't remember if I said this to you before, but you might want to look at using your forum signature to point to one or more of your RPG projects, to help your fans find your work. That might be helpful if you ever work on something that goes out as a Kickstarter, as people need to find those things before they expire.

You can find your signature in: User Control Panel > Profile > Edit signature.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:51 am

Is it possible to link to individual Facebook conversations? It would be nice to see those made available here for folks who aren't aware.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby writermonk » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:52 am

Mulsiphix wrote:Is it possible to link to individual Facebook conversations? It would be nice to see those made available here for folks who aren't aware.


It's a horribly ugly https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211928311/permalink/10152705063858312/?stream_ref=8, but try that. You'll probably have to tell it to expand the number of responses showing as it's now well over 400.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:11 am

Here it is nice and short. Thanks Doug!

http://goo.gl/xm1cnr
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Big Mac » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:36 pm

writermonk wrote:
Mulsiphix wrote:Is it possible to link to individual Facebook conversations? It would be nice to see those made available here for folks who aren't aware.


It's a horribly ugly https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211928311/permalink/10152705063858312/?stream_ref=8, but try that. You'll probably have to tell it to expand the number of responses showing as it's now well over 400.


You can chop the "?stream_ref=8" off of the end of that to get this:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211928311/permalink/10152705063858312/

Mulsiphix wrote:Here it is nice and short. Thanks Doug!

http://goo.gl/xm1cnr


There is no real need for short URL services on a forum like this one*, so long as you can work out how to use the URL tag. You can put descriptive text into the middle of the link, and people don't even need to see the URL. For example this code:
Code: Select all
[url=https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211928311/permalink/10152705063858312/]SMS posted this in the Tal Facebook group[/url].


Gives you this human-readable link:
SMS posted this in the Tal Facebook group.

* = Some people actually dislike short-URL services, because you don't always know where you are going to be redirected to. You two are cool people, but some unethical people misuse short-URL services to trick people into visiting pages they would not normally click on.
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Re: SMS considering new Tal options

Postby Mulsiphix » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:17 pm

Very good points Big Mac. I'll be sure to use the URL-fu in the future :mrgreen:
No Elves! Talislanta released for FREE Apr 1st 2010! - - - - - - - - - -1980's Talislanta Gencon Ad and Poster
20yr RPG, 30 books @ approx 5,000 combined pages! - - - - - - - - - Interview with creator Stephan Michael Sechi
Download the Talislanta library or take a Virtual Tour! - - - - - - - - -The Tal Scanning Project needs your help!
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