Episode 2023.11 Published on 4 December 2023

The Talent, The RPG, and the Revised Illrigger | November Roundup

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Velkommen! I'm Jon de Nor and this is Goblin Points - a podcast covering MCDM, the MCDM community, and whatever else MCDM related.

We're officially out of November, and it's time for the first monthly roundup. Let's jump right in...

The Talent

The Talent is out! It's been ready for release for a while (almost a year I think), but several other issues has pushed the release back multiple times. The ultimate obstacle was getting the right art for the product. Having finally landed on something that felt right, the Talent was released.

The Talent brings psionics, or manipulating the world around you with your thoughts and determination. The class uses it's own system for casting spells, called manifesting powers. Instead of having a limited number of spells slots per long rest, you can manifest new powers as long as you roll well.

Whenever you manifest a power you roll a die to see if you take on strain. The more powerful the power, the higher the difficulty to manifest it and the higher the chance you take on strain. The more strain you take on, the more side effects you're going to experience: disadvantages to rolls, having your speed limited, having your health limited, and if you don't stop, you die. But that's only if you roll poorly; roll well and you'll be manifesting powers all day long.

There are six academies which each specializes in a certain discipline of powers:

  • The Chronopath, which manipulates time
  • The Metamorph, which manipulates a body's chemistry
  • The Pyrokinetic, which manipulates fire and explosive energies
  • The Resopath, which manifests creatures and objects
  • The Telekinetic, which manipulates physical objects and creatures
  • The Telepath, which reads and manipulates the minds of others
  • And lastly the Maverick, the seventh option which doesn't belong to any academy, but hones their powers to become more powerful.

You can watch the launch video on YouTube and pick up the Talent from the MCDM shop. Both of which, are linked in the episode description. I've also included a few other mentions of the Talent from around the web too.

Seeing as it's almost been a month since the release, homebrew content has already started to pop up for the Talent. User Colonel17 on Reddit has made a few retainers specifically for the The Talent. Link to that can also be found in the episode description.


Moving on to the RPG. This past month has been one of focus on the RPG. It's clear more resources are assigned to the RPG as there has been more updates in November alone, than there has been for the rest of the year.

Crowdfunding campaign

The next big thing on the calendar for the RPG is of course the crowdfunding campaign. The campaign launches on December 7th on Backerkit, and there will also be a video with Matt pitching the game to potential backers. This is much like what we've seen for past campaigns.

There will not be any playable preview packet attached to the campaign. The amount of work that goes into creating, polishing and finalizing such a packet is substantial and takes time away from development. Additionally, according to James, most backers don't even look at the preview packets before backing.

The campaign will, however, include some two-page-spread examples. These are examples of art and layout on pages in the book, to give backers a feel of how the product will look in the end. While these examples have received a lot work, they are of course not final, and will probably change by the time the RPG releases.

The campaign will allegedly include two core books: a rulebook with all the rules to play the game, including a section for the Director (who runs the game); and a monster book with the monsters and at least encounter building tools.

There have been some mentions of stretch goals. Matt has said that something like a Vasloria box set could be a potential stretch goal, but this was mentioned as an example, and not a promise. Vasloria is the medieval Europe analogy in the official setting and would probably focus on conflicts between lords, building armies and engaging in warfare.


There has been a lot of questions regarding virtual tabletop support for the RPG. While the question has in large part been avoided and kicked down the road, this past month revealed that MCDM have been in talks with a developer to "build a VTT that supports our The MCDM RPG natively". This is very dependent on how the crowdfunding goes, and I think we must expect it to do incredibly well for this to even be considered. Without much in follow up information it's not clear if it's a separate bespoke VTT, or if it's an existing VTT solution that will have the RPG built in.

This will not prevent any other VTTs from supporting the RPG, but it's unlikely MCDM will spend any time on it. They've stated multiple times that VTT support for their products have not brought in enough sales to warrant much investment.

Patreon playtest packet

Speaking of playtest packets. There might be a playtest packet for Patreon supporters by the end of the year, but that's in no way promised. But I guess that we're not going to see anything before early next year.

Knowing James and Matt, they'd rather have something done properly, than release it early. With the campaign going live in December, and the holidays approaching quickly, I suspect there won't be time to polish something this side of new year's.

Patreon updates

But there was a lot updates for the supporters on Patreon in November. I'm not going to share details. You'll have to subscribe to MCDM+ on Patreon, and find that out for yourself. But I will mention what the updates were about: rules for working together, details about the new kit system, the demise of the career path system, the new rules for negotiations, an example of how an NPC with negotiation details might be presented in an adventure, and they did a patron exclusive Q&A.

Patreon rewards

Speaking of Patreon exclusives: James did mention in one of his streams that MCDM is actively thinking about how to best reward their patrons, both now and in the future. Currently, it's insight into the development of the RPG, but what happens when the game is released? James mentioned the possibility of access to development updates for new stuff, a magazine akin to Arcadia or something completely different. Nothing specific at the moment, but it's on their mind.


Outside of the Patreon, some updates about the RPG has come out. Negotiations have been tweaked since the first round of play tests, and James says that the testers are liking the new iteration.

The system currently doesn't require rolling if the heroes make a good argument, that immediately speaks to the NPC they're negotiating with. They will have to roll if the argument can go either way and it comes down to how persuasive they are.

James summarized the negotiation system as: here's how many good arguments you have to make, be they with words or with dice rolls, and here's how many attempts you have to do it.


Someone asked about languages in one of James' streams. He said languages are going to be part of the game and be mechanically significant. Imagine there's four levels of skill in a language: Level zero - you don't understand the language at all; level one - you understand some of it; level two - you know it pretty well; level three - you're fluent. The thinking is that knowing a language can grant you bonuses in negotiations, during research, or while crafting.


Damage and mitigation is still being tweaked. There has been some testing of different mechanics on how damage is reduced, but the current iteration has damage being applied directly, without subtracting any of it. To mitigate that attacks always do damage, and that they do more damage, heroes and monsters now have more health. Some heroes' abilities thought, will still let you reduce incoming damage, or avoid it completely. This does mean that monsters may end up with a null results, but the heroes never do.

With this new system of constantly taking damage, the heroes will also be using more recoveries to gain back health. They're now able to spend as many recoveries as they want in combat, instead of being limited to just one. And the conduit and tactician can still do actions or maneuvers on their turn to let other heroes spend extra recoveries. At the moment for example, the conduit can use a free action to allow a hero to use a recovery.

Minions have received some redesign and at the moment they do not do static damage, instead they roll dice to do damage. They also don't make an attack as a group, but make individual attacks. James used an example of goblin minions which might do 1d4 damage each. If there's a group of 5 goblin minions, the director rolls 5d4 and add them all up to calculate damage, no bonuses, just the numbers on the dice.

Monsters in general have been getting some updates. They've not received too much focus up until now, but James has started looking at how to make monsters fun to run.

The heroes also have resistance rolls to effects from enemies' attacks, while monsters will seldom roll resistance or have properties which limits effects from heroes. The exception is bosses, which might have a forced move reduction or something similar. This ensures the bosses aren't too easily manhandled and overwhelmed.

On a question on how armor is currently handled, James answered that armor is part of the kit the hero uses, and the kit modifies the stats of the hero. A kit like the Panther kit, think Conan the Barbarian with basically no armor, might grant a small health bonus. While the Shining Armor kit, think full plate - knight in shining armor, might grant a huge health bonus.


Kits currently only grant static bonuses, and no effects. So a kit will not have effects that move targets or imbues temporary effects like setting a target on fire, or freezing them. Kits do however, grant a special ability which can be used once per encounter. The ability is supposed evoke the fantasy of the kit, and is part of what differentiates kits from one another.

Currently kits are assigned on of three types: martial, for heroes using weapons; supernatural for heroes using magic or psionics; and mixed which are used by both. There might still be a possibility that something like a title can grant a caster access to a martial kit, or a martial hero access to a supernatural kit.

James also mentioned that non-weapon kits use implements, like staves, wands, books or orbs. He reemphasized that kits are not only gear, but also a play style. So a caster kit is also about casting style. The kit might for example grant the hero the ability to hold an extra ward.

You can bring multiple kits with you and your able to switch from one kit to another after resting.

Supernatural items

Magic items currently use the term supernatural items. Psionics and magic are both part of the core rules, but they are not the same. Supernatural items can both be magic or psionic, so a separate term is needed to refer to both types.

Kits determine what kinds of supernatural weapons and armor a hero can wield, and the bonuses from the items stacks with the bonuses from the kit. If you're using a kit which specifies it uses a medium weapon, and you start using a medium supernatural weapon, like a short sword that adds one damage to your attacks, the bonuses of the supernatural sword is added to the bonuses of the kit. The supernatural items you use can also grant effects, like a fire sword that sets targets on fire.

A hero is not expected to find too many permanent supernatural items during their 10 levels of adventure. Maybe a total of three. But those supernatural items level up with the hero. So the higher level the hero is, the more power, bonuses, and effects they are able to get out of the supernatural item. For a hero at level one, the sword adds one damage, but for a hero at level three, the sword also sets targets on fire.


James confirmed on stream that powerful spells will most likely be exclusive to supernatural items. Spells to resurrect someone, or to teleport anywhere in the Timescape will be usable by anyone having access to an item with that effect. These items may be crafted by the heroes or bought from a merchant.


Regarding crafting in general. It looks like crafting is going to primarily focus on one use items, like a stick of resurrection that you break to resurrect someone, or alchemical bombs, and other items with a limited number of uses before they expire.

Core classes

Moving on to classes. The current idea for core classes, that are included in the core rulebook, are the Tactician, the Reaver/Fury (whatever it ends up being called), the Shadow, probably the Conduit, maybe the Censor, and probably something mage-like or Talent-y. The generalist mage is most likely out, in favor of more specialized casters like an Elementalist. James said that he felt six classes is the minimum that should be included in the core rulebook.

He also mentioned that the Censor class, as in someone who censors and is reminiscent of a paladin, has seen some preliminary work, but nothing substantial. It's still a ways away.

Whichever classes ends up being core, there's going to be more classes. James expressed the hope that creating new classes shouldn't be too difficult and that a lot of classes would be published after the release of the RPG, both from MCDM and from other sources.

There was also a video covering two of the core classes on YouTube.

The Tactician

First, the Tactician. Matt presents the main ideas of the Tactician, the archetypical martial class. This is the RPG's version of the Fighter, but much more tactical. The Tactician helps their allies move and position themselves on the battlefield, and might even do some healing.

The Shadow

Second, Matt talks about the Shadow, the sneaky operative that uses Black Ash magic to gain the upper hand in combat. This is the RPG's version of a Rogue, but even more sneaky. They use their magic to teleport around the battlefield to position themselves and to avoid damage.

For both classes, Matt covers a few of their abilities, how they work, and how they've been used during play in MCDM's internal play tests. Link to the video is in the episode description.


While the career path is dead, there are some pieces of the system that are still of interest; specifically incidents. They might end up in the past system, which describes a hero's background, before they became part of the adventuring party. An incident is something significant that happened to a hero, and grants a reward, favor, or advantage based on what happened. But there's also a disadvantage, some negative effect that lingers with hero.

James mentioned that if you don't want the effects from an incident, maybe you could just choose to start with a supernatural weapon instead.

Downtime activities

James has also, once again, confirmed that crafting and research will be part of the game. From what I understand though, these systems have not had any serious work put into them. James said he has some ideas, but nothing that's actually been tested yet.


Also, it's official: it's not heroic to go shopping. The expectation is that it's mostly consumable supernatural items that are traded with merchants. You don't go buy a kit, or mundane weapons. If you want to switch out your mundane weapon, it just happens, no need to sell your old one and buy a new one. Shopping is not what the game is about.

Revised Illrigger

Moving on from the RPG: the revised Illrigger looks like it might release by the end of the year. James answered a question on stream, saying that its going through layout and accessibility treatment. As we're moving through a season of holidays, small delays may happen, so it's not a definite promise.

If you pick up the current Illrigger from the MCDM shop, you'll get the updated version of the Illrigger for free when it releases.

Arcadia bundle

In time for cyber monday, MCDM released a Best of Arcadia bundle on Drive Thru RPG with a massive discount. The bundle contained the first 20 issues of Arcadia. But by the time you're listening to this, both the discount and the bundle are gone.

The Timescape

On Reddit, user Colonel17 has been sharing some fantastic retainers. The retainers are themed for the different planes of the Timescape. So far they've published two retainers for each of Arcadia, Primordius and Hell. You can find the links to those in the episode description.

Mentions around the web

I'm not going to cover them in detail here, but I've included a few links to mentions of MCDM around the web, if you find that kind of thing interesting. The links to those are also in the episode description.


And that's it for November, a month that really reflected that the RPG is getting a lot of attention. And it also marks the end of D&D products from MCDM; the Talent was the last remnant of D&D materials they hadn't released.

December will feature the crowdfunding campaign for the RPG, and I expect, a little less news. Myabe.

Until next time, snakkes.