Post-Crowdfunding Campaign | January Roundup

Published on 6 February 2024


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


It feels longer ago, but it's barely a month since the crowdfunding campaign for the RPG closed. It ended up being MCDM's biggest crowdfunder to date. Matt mentioned that it'll probably be their biggest ever, and I'm not inclined to disagree. There's something of a "lightning in a bottle" feel about it.

Nevertheless, we don't know what the future holds. You know; something something dessert.

Here's what's new with the RPG for January 2024.


Preorder are now live for the RPG books. If you didn't get in on the campaign, you'll now be able to pick up the books in PDF or physical form, in addition to limited edition hard covers. There's a link directly to the shop in the link section.

Book releases

We known that patrons will get the two core rulebooks, Heroes and Monsters, as PDFs if they've been a patron for at least five months in advance of their release. Patrons will receive the books as soon as they're done, which means they will not release at the same time, so the five months before release will be different for each book.

It looks like Heroes will be released first, but it wouldn't be much use without enemies to fight. The plan is to release packets of monsters, not unlike how it was done with Flee Mortals!, while they're being developed. By the time Heroes drops, patrons will already have access to multiple packets of monsters to use with rules.

Patreon test packet

January has been a month with a lot of talk about the RPG. With the play test packet dropped for patrons, a lot of new people have been able to play the game. While December was dominated by news about the RPG, this month has been dominated by people reading and playing the RPG.

Patrons have been encouraged to fill out a feedback form after playing, which Matt and James are working their way through. While they likely won't share detailed data from the survey, expect to see them refer to data from it on multiple occasions.

In general the response is very positive, with Matt saying that on a scale from one to five, most responses are in the four or five range. James pointed out however that responses that deviate from the consensus are also important, saying that such responses might lead to changes in the design, just as much as a consensus.

Both Matt and James have stated multiple times that it's important to understand that the survey responses are not driving design directly. The responses are used to detect which rules and systems needs tweaking, not which rules or systems should be included.

The play test packet is still available to download and won't go away, but there will also be more packets in the future. James mentioned that there might be a packet each quarter, but that's more of a desire, and definitely not a promise.

All in all James calls the test a success. One of his fears was that there would be a sudden drop in Patreon subscribers once people got the play test packet, but that's not been the case.

Backer packets

Play test packets for the backer are scheduled for the summer. There have been a bit of back and forth, but it looks like June or July is the current goal.

The packet that's released to backers is expected to be more polished than the patron packet. Matt has stated that people on Patreon are there for the details and early information, while backers are expecting more developed and polished stuff.


Speaking of polish. There have been some tweaks to the rules this month. While some rules may change, James said in a stream that the dice will not move away from regular polyhedrals. That's what they sold to people in the crowdfunder, and it would feel like they tricked people if they move away from that now.

Chance hits

Chance hits, or opportunity attacks, were added to prevent too much movement on the battlefield. Something like this were already possible for some classes, but it's now a general feature. Testers were saying that they didn't have sufficient tools to protect squishy heroes from being ganged up on.

Damage rolls

They are testing different ways of doing damage. Regular testers, and now Patreon testers too, have been mentioning that it feels samey to only roll 2d6 when attacking.

At the moment they're testing a system where psionic powers says which dice to roll, and your kit determines which dice to roll for weapon attacks, instead of giving you an attack bonus. Improvised weapons and bare knuckles do 1d4 plus a characteristic bonus.

This system also makes it easier to scale down damage, and may lead to the introduction of more kinds of dice. The "problem" now is that critical hits are different for every type of roll: with 2d6, eleven or twelve was a critical hit, but with different dice, that doesn't work anymore. A new way of determining critical hits will be needed.

At the end of January, there was also a Designing the Game video on the evolution and the different attempts at damage rolls and defenses in the game.

Ranged attacks

Ranged attacks are currently superior to melee, but that's being worked on. James also mentioned that he thinks there will be an advantage to moving close to a ranged enemy.

Overkilling minions

The system for overkilling minions might go away for melee attacks. If you want to kill multiple minions with a single attack, you'll have to use an ability that targets multiple creatures, or an area of effect ability. Higher level characters will probably be able to make multiple attacks on a turn, making it possible to kill multiple minions.

James has written a whole Patreon post on the overkilling minions rules, and what they are currently trying out.

Extra maneuvers

While higher hero levels have not been designed yet, James mentioned an idea for a higher level ability: Heroes converting their heroic resource into an extra maneuver on their turn.

Null results

James also mentioned that it's not a goal to make sure monsters doesn't have null results turns, e.g. turns where they effectively don't do anything. The Director will have multiple turns in a round to do something, so the feeling of getting a dud turn is not as present for them.

Character customization

There have been some talk about character customization in the past month. I suspect this is because those who've tested the game want to make their own characters, not just use the pregens in the play test packet.

While they are working on getting the core rules done, character customization is not being worked on much. Character customization are basically exceptions to the core rules, so you need the core rules to make exceptions from.

The plan is to design the first three levels of a class once the core rules are locked in, to get a feel for character progression.


Matt and James have also talked about how to onboard fresh TTRPG players into the game. They've been toying with the idea of a beginner's adventure where each combat or encounter introduces a new mechanic.

During the first combat, you might only have a basic attack, then you unlock signature attacks for the next combat, then triggered attacks for the combat after that. That way fresh players aren't overwhelmed by the amount of character options on their character sheet.

Meanwhile, fresh Directors can be eased into the role of running the game. The beginner's adventure can introduce monsters in a similar manner, and other rules in small surmountable portions.

Starting power level

Initially there was a mantra "heroes don't have zeroes", meaning that heroes don't have any characteristics that are zero. The thought has been that an average human have all zeroes. But as they tweak the power levels for first level characters, they've experimented with heroes having negative initial characteristic scores.

James have been scaling down the power of actions too for a while, but he's doing it in small decrements to prevent overcorrecting. The pregens used for testing have been too powerful, and are being debuffed in small steps.


There have been some deep talks about the characteristics in general. Matt and James have had meetings on whether they want to keep the six characteristic scores as they currently are.

It sounds like they've become more comfortable with making their own game, on their own terms and are less concerned about not moving too far away from d20 systems.

While it was never a goal to be similar to d20 systems, most players will likely come from D&D, the d20 system. Being too different might throw people off, but I think players in general are more open to something different than initially expected. And the comments about the game outside of the community have focused on how this game is different from D&D, further preparing players for something new.


Skills have previously granted a plus one bonus to ability checks, but have now been changed to a boon, e.g. a 1d4. James also mentioned that they're considering a progression system for skills, where you get better bonuses for a skill the more proficient you are at it.

Victory benefits

Victory benefits are also being tweaked. So far they've been available to heroes used in testing, but it looks like those benefits will only be available after the hero have gained a few levels. This also plays into not overwhelming players with too much stuff at first level.

James also confirmed that different encounters may grant different amount of victories, depending on how difficult it is. Also, it's not combat and negotiations exclusively that grant victories. We may see other stuff grant victories too.


There have been expressed some worries about health, and how it scales. Specifically that monsters and heroes end up being bullet sponges, where it takes forever to beat them.

James said that heroes might start with a thick layer of health, but it won't grow much when leveling up. While a hero starts off with 30 health, a level might only increase health by 5.

James also mentioned that they might rename health to Stamina.

The number of Recoveries is being lowered. Play tests have shown heroes have too many and are able to go on for too long between rests.


Negotiation have been pretty well received in the patron play test, but it's become clear people need better onboarding to the system. Players are unfamiliar with these kinds of systems, and will need extra guidelines of how to use them.

People seem to respond well to Interest and Patience, but have struggled with Motivations and Pitfalls. Matt mentioned a new setup where Motivations and Pitfalls are categories instead of specific events or subjects.

Instead of a character having a motivation that states they want to be remembered after they die, they'll have bullet point indicating they're motivated by glory, for example. Glory will be listed in the rules as one category of motivation, with an explanation of what that means in general terms.

Part of this change is also motivated to make the system feel less rigid and more open for roleplay and improvisation.

Crafting and research

I mentioned in last month's episode that crafting and research was being worked on soon, but it's now been moved to next six week work schedule. That means it won't be worked on for a few weeks still.

The grid

James has mentioned multiple times over the past month that the game assumes you're going to be playing on a grid.

If you need to translate grid units to meters, the recommendation is to use two meters for squares, mostly because of scale considerations. The squares are in reality cubes, which makes creatures that are one square very squat if cubes are only a meter on each side.

Class design

We've also had some information on classes.

Triggered actions

At the moment all classes have one triggered action. The plan is that each class have a different effect. Some avoid damage, while others might buff allies.

Higher level heroes will likely have multiple triggered actions, with a possible maximum of three at level ten. Having more than three triggered actions is too much to keep track of in combat.

Signature abilities

Matt mentioned that the Elementalist's signature abilities either target one creature and does more damage, or multiple creatures and does less damage. It sounds like this is a design that's going to show up in more classes.


Regarding specific classes, there has been a successful internal test of a prototype of the Censor. The concept for the class is that they place seals or interdictions on monsters. The Censor then uses those interdictions to power abilities: the more interdictions placed, the bigger the ability they can use.

The Censor and the Conduit have some parallels to the Cleric and the Paladin in D&D, but will feel more different from each other than the D&D classes.


Matt has been working on the Elementalist. The Elementalist will wield different elements, but they're not limited the classical Greek elements of earth, air, fire and water. In addition there's also green, rot and void.

Each element represent a concept which they manipulate:

  • Earth represents persistance and strength
  • Air represents speed and reaction
  • Fire represents destruction
  • Water represents change
  • Green represents life and energy
  • Rot represents death and decay
  • Void represents knowledge and emptiness

Matt almost started work on all 7 subclasses of the Elementalist, but James reigned him in and made him focus on one. While working on the Fire Mage, Matt realized that he, or anyone, could make a generic fire caster. Matt wanted the Fire Mage to be more than that, which is where the "each element represents something" idea comes from.

Specializing in a single element is likely not done at first level, but comes later. That also means that first level Elementalists will probably be able to mix and match spells from different elements.

The Elementalist's current heroic resource is Essence which is spent to keep spells going. As a free action on their turn Elementalists can spend one Essence to maintain spells. They can then use signature attacks to gain more Essence.

Maintained spells can be wards put on themselves or others, or ongoing effects on enemies. There will probably need to be a limit of how many spells the Elementalist can maintain, but how that limit is calculated is not yet determined.

Fire Mage

Matt has a prototype of a Fire Mage. It's going through internal testing. The current concept for the Fire Mage is that they not only do damage, but also knock people around. Both with their own abilities, but also by assisting others.

The Fire Mage's triggered action is currently extending another hero's knockback effect. All of the Fire Mage's spells have higher knock back than other abilities. The Fire Mage is defined by their high knock back.

Different fires

As part of the work on the Fire Mage, Matt also came up with the idea of different kinds of fires behave differently: psionic, or mental, fire gives you banes, elemental fire translates to knockback, while hellfire (not used by any class yet) might be sticky, and give lots of permanent effects.

Water Mage

While there hasn't been done any proper work on the Water Mage, Matt imagines that they could augment others: one idea was that the Water Mage could use Essence to give other heroes heroic resources.

Matt introduced the idea of a generic heroic resource named Clarity. Clarity have an exchange rate to each of the heroic resources, since one Focus for the Tactician is not equal to one Rage for the Fury. The Water Mage could then grant another hero Clarity which they exchange for some of their heroic resource.

Generalist mage/wizard

With this work on the Elementalist, it looks like there's not going to be a generalist mage or wizard. Matt said that role is already held by the Talent. There might not be a need for a generalist spell caster.

Name and license

It sounds like they've decided on a name for the RPG, but will not reveal until they have a license ready for the game. Along with the license they will also release a dev kit, to aid others in creating stuff for the RPG.

Setting bible

Matt mentioned there will be a setting guide for Orden for use by contractors. To be able to create stuff for Orden, contractors will need somewhere to look up specifics about the setting. The setting guide might also be shared with patrons, but this is still uncertain.


It's been confirmed that the partner for the VTT is DMHub. DMHub currently has a working VTT with in depth support for D&D 5e. According to the announcement from DMHub, the collaboration with MCDM is on a separate VTT product that leverages the core of their existing VTT.

Matt says there is some work to be done with UI and UX to make the VTT better at explaining itself to new users. And he wants a parser that can parse stat blocks so that it's possible to use the VTT for testing.


Last month's episode mentioned that Trenchworx was selling MCDM minis. They now have all minis listed, including the ones previously available in the MCDM shop. All existing stock of minis have been transferred to Trenchworx.

From the community

The community has been hard at work, and here is some of what's been created.

The Dice Society podcast

First off: we've got a sister podcast: The Dice Society. They'll also be covering information about the RPG and MCDM news. They have two episodes out now. Link can be found in the link section.

Online Retainer Sheet

erotic-toaster has created a sheet for retainers. It's a Google Sheets document for easy reference and overview.

Timescape Retainers

Colonel17 never fails to deliver. Another set of retainers from different parts of the Timescape. This time: Abyssal Wasteland, Quintessence, Equinox, and Astral Sea. They've also put all the retainers in a single resource where you can get them all.

Combat kits

DameonVee has reimagined kits from the MCDM RPG in Dungeons & Dragons 5e with guidelines on how to implement the concept in your D&D game.

Action-Oriented Creatures

unclefudge has created a list of the action oriented abilities from Flee Mortals. The list only contains a short deskcription of what eachy ability is, without the details and numbers. The goal is to aid you in homewbrewing monsters.

A more Interesting Human

Ryuu_OwO has put together a more interesting human race for D&D 5e, inspired by the humans in the MCDM RPG.

Talent Retainers

Cruye has put together seven Talent specific retainers based on the different subclasses of the Talent.

Telekinetic Talent Optimized Build

Swimavidly has put together an optimized build guide for a telekinetic Talent. It includes tips on how to build your character at first level, and what options to pick when leveling up.

Links to everything can be found in the links section in the episode description.

Around the web

As I mentioned earlier: December was a month with tons of details about the RPG, while January has been a month of people playing and talking about the RPG. The "Around the web" section of the link section is brimming with people talking about the RPG.


And that is all I have for January of 2024.

If you know of anything that should be included next time, send me an e-mail to [email protected].

Until next time. Snakkes.