Episode 33

full
Published on:

2nd Dec 2022

Lonely TTRPG EP 33 - Conspiramancy by Biolumenescence

Conspiramancy is a single player (or solo) journaling RPG. You write journal entries describing the story of your character based on a series of abstract, inspirational prompts that bring challenges, complications, or twists of fate.

Instead of needing dice, a deck of cards, or a wooden tumbling tower, this RPG uses a book of your choice (novels are good) to help inspire the prompts, measure progression, and delineate the end of your adventure.

Thoughts: Conspiramancy is a unique game that uses its mechanic of random words from a book to generate its prompts and gameplay.

You can find Conspiramancy at https://bioluminescence.itch.io/conspiramancy?ac=pEV55vHqdvG

You can support the Lugon Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aralofcreation/the-iugon-the-grand-cross-of-four-project

Find our merch at https://my-store-d24802.creator-spring.com/

BDDC logo by https://www.instagram.com/craftyteapotfox/

You can find us on Twitter @bddc_pod or Tumblr @bddc-pod

You can support us on Patreon https://patreon.com/blackdragondungeoncompany for early releases and exclusive content.



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
Transcript
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Reading's weary wanderer and welcome back to Lonely TT, R P G,

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the Solo Actual Play and Review podcast.

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This week we are playing Conspiramancy by Bioluminescence.

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Conspiramancy is a single player journaling rpg, where you are

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guided via prompts and the book you have chosen as your inspiration to

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write a series of journal entries.

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Forming the story of a character embroiled in fighting a secret conspiracy.

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As you progress through your story, the chosen accompanying book, you'll

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encounter people, places, objects and secrets related to the battle

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against the enemy, but the enemy will become more challenging to escape as

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hazards are revealed and every turn of the page becomes more dangerous.

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By the time you've turned to the final page, you'll have documented a conspiracy.

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Your character's efforts to battle the enemy, uncover secrets, and know

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whether they've won this battle in the war, or if they must hand this

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task on to another seeker of truth.

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So, requirements for this game, you're gonna need a book with page

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numbers, something to write your journal in and something to write with.

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And the general gameplay loop on this is you're going to

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turn to the page as indicated.

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You're going to check for hazards, and if you get a hazard trigger,

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you will do what you need to do in order to accomplish that.

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If you end up at the end of the book, Your story ends.

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Otherwise, you continue to see what the story asks you to do, and then

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write your journal entries as needed.

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So the way the rest of the game book is laid out is your

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instructions on how to do that.

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Now, to start off, we are going to do our introduction, where we

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will generate a location where we begin a person to be the enemy.

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A secret the enemy is trying to suppress.

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An object that the enemy and I are in conflict over and our first

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hazard that we need to be aware of.

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So in order to generate a place, first we need to turn to.

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Page of our journal jump number now.

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Our journal jump number is just the standard number of pages.

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We are going to be jumping every time we complete a step for

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books that are 350 pages or less.

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That is going to be seven pages or books that are over three 50.

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That is gonna be nine pages and the book that I have chosen for us.

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Is going to be Legends and lattes by Travis Baldree.

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Now, if you haven't read it, you really should.

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This is a very, very cute, very cozy little book about a former adventurer

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who wants to start her own coffee shop.

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So lovely little book.

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Highly entertaining, very easy read.

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Definitely go check it out.

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Especially if you have like Kindle Unlimited, it's included in that.

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But in order to generate our first place, what we're gonna do is

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we're going to jump to page seven.

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And then pick a random word from the page.

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And if it's shorter than four letters, we're gonna pick again.

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So just randomly picking a word,

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Nights.

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All right, so to start off, we are going to write down nights, and then

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we're supposed to count the number of letters, which is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

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6, and skip forward that many words

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to get a new one.

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And we're going to do this until we have six words.

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So moving six letters from nights.

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We get now.

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Then another three words, going.

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Another five words.

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In

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two words,

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city

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and for our last one, we were skipping four words, three.

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All right, and so this is going to give us the general feeling of our first location.

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So,

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You're allowed to rearrange the words and to interpret it as you want.

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So we're actually just going to pretty much stay with it, but

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we are gonna change in to on.

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So our location is going to be now going on three nights in the city.

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So we're new to the city and we don't really know our way around.

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We're gonna assume that and seems to be a lot of night.

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Perfect for that whole noir feel.

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All right, now we're gonna move forward another seven pages

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and generate our enemy.

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So we need to find the first piece of written speech on the page.

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And if there is none, then you just keep going until you find a piece of speech and

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you're gonna write the first three words.

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Skip two pages, write the next three words, and do that

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until we have nine words.

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All right, so on this, our first three words are well Ansom there's.

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Skipping forward two pages, so I didn't, is our next.

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And then another two pages.

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No dialogue,

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no dialogue.

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Skipping a lot of pages to find some dialogue.

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Oh, no,

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It's nice work.

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There we go.

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We finally found.

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All right, so how to interpret this.

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Obviously it's going to be Ansom

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all right.

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So,

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Yeah, we're gonna go Ansom and we're gonna say it's nice work,

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but I didn't, well, I didn't, so,

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We're gonna say Ansom is kind of the Edison type who likes to take credit

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for others, or actually, no, he is not even taking credit because Ansom

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is admitting that they didn't do it.

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But I'm gonna say Ansom is a gatherer of.

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We're gonna say Ansom is a gatherer of fine things,

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businessman.

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All right, next up we have our secret.

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So once again, we are going to jump forward seven pages.

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Currently on page 21.

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So that's gonna take us to page 28.

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And for our secret, we're gonna take the last three words of

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the first sentence on the page.

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And the last three words of the last sentence that is going to generate our

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secrets or our first three words are

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a moon faced man.

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And our last three words are the interlocking patterns.

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All right, so we're gonna say that our secret has something to do.

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The, the interlocking patterns created

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by the moon faced.

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All right.

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Next up we have the object, which is the artifact.

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Or valuable, that it's pivotal to our conflict.

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So the secret is something that the enemy is trying to suppress,

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and the object is what we both want.

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So again, we need to skip forward seven pages,

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we're going to find the first common noun and the last common noun on the page,

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and this is where I fail at English.

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All right, so it looks like city is our first common noun

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and our last common noun.

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Be new arrival.

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So we're gonna say that the object gets actually new arrivals to

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the city, which is interesting because that also includes us.

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Finally we need to choose our hazard, which is how the enemy

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is going to be in pursuit of us.

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And there are basically four prompts.

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So we're just gonna roll a one, D four and see what we get.

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We got three.

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So prompt number three is a place you can't escape.

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So we're gonna generate a place and write it down.

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We find ourselves returning here repeatedly, and it is dangerous.

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All right, so skipping forward seven more pages.

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Need to generate another place,

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which again, is choosing a random word and doing the county, county number thing.

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All right, so hundred.

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Seven letters

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away.

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And

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lungs.

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From

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and last word, roof.

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All right.

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Hundreds away.

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And lungs from roof.

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So we are going to say that our hazard is.

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Gonna say that our hazard is going our, our place that we can't escape

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going to be some is going to be a,

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we're gonna say it's the roof of our apartment.

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Where we can't breathe well.

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All right, and then last note on that, on hazards is all hazards

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have a trigger and then an action.

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So the trigger for this is if the first letter on a page or correction,

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we do have a value that we need to establish.

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So the value's gonna be write down the first letter of the first,

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second, and third word on the page.

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And the trigger is if the first letter on the page that we land on

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is the same as one of those values, we've returned to that place.

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All right, so t b tba, our value is gonna be tba.

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That is, that is concerning as those are re, well, at least a, is a

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relatively common letter, and so it's.

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Right.

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So we're gonna move this stuff off to the side.

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Move our notes on up.

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All right, so from now on.

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From now on, we are going to use.

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an include a table to determine what we will encounter and have to face on

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our journey using the last digit of the page number you find yourself on.

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After each journal entry is written, move forward the number of pages

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determined by the jump number, again, seven in our case, and check that

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page first for hazard triggers.

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Then if the page ends with a one or five, we generate a place.

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Two or six.

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We generate a person, three or seven.

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We generate a secret, four or eight, we generate an object.

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Nine is revisiting a previous entry, and zero is generating a new hazard.

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Now for revisiting a previous entry, it says to count back nine journal entries,

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your character, Reencounters or otherwise revisits that place person's secret or

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object from earlier in their adventure.

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If you've not written nine journals yet, pick one that you would like to revisit.

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And then again, if we get a zero, we get a new hazard.

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So then we have two hazards that we have to worry.

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All right, so diving on.

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Gameplay.

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It's been three days since I've arrived in the city.

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I was spurred to come here from a note that my uncle sent me

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for your eyes.

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Only if you're reading this.

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I failed in my fight for the truth in my mission to uncover the secret.

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I must leave the battle to you now.

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There is a book in your possession that you've always suspected held

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deep knowledge, and you were right.

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That book will be your guide on the journey ahead.

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Consult it to find the hidden wisdom within, but be where the enemy is

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all around and seeks to suppress the secret and they will stop at nothing.

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They are searching for you and I can no longer keep you safe.

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Good luck.

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And this note that my uncle sent was concerning.

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I wasn't sure what he meant, but shortly, shortly after getting off the train here,

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we were all.

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Surrounded by these video ads from a Mr.

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Ansom welcoming new people into the city and urging newcomers to go to the

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visitors center and receive our, like, receive the keys to our housing and.

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Like this seemed, this seemed odd.

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Like I've never, I've never been to a place where they just gave

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housing away, but like I was given the keys to a small apartment and

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that was, that was quite interesting.

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What was even more inter, like, what stuck out though was the fact that.

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The fact that none of the other people that I went to the visitor center

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with are in the apartments next to me.

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I don't see many neighbors in this place.

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It feels like a new complex, but like a lot of the people didn't even

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end up in this complex let alone.

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Near, like near my apartment.

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It, it just seems like a, it just seems like a weird system to do that, to just

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put people in random, random apartments.

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Maybe this has something to do with my uncle's warnings.

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All right, so skipping forward seven page.

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And that ends in a nine,

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which means that we're supposed to revisit a place.

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So we're gonna go back to the, we're gonna go back to the visitor center.

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Since like, really, I only have, I just started, I only have two spots to go.

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So I go back to the visitor center and I ask it, it, it seems, it seems odd.

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It seems like horribly inefficient that.

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Everybody would just be given random housing assignments.

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And I was just wondering if there was a reason and they, they gave

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some answer something about, you know, something about that's just

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the policy or something like that.

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It, it wasn't, it wasn't horribly convincing, but I wasn't

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exactly in a position to argue.

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Go forward, another seven pages.

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Eight is going to be generating a new object,

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so, First noun, first

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notes,

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and last.

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noun

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Ring.

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Oh, and I forgot to check this for a hazard.

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Haha.

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Ah.

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So we don't even have to generate a, we don't even have

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to generate a object cause.

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Oh, we encounter our hazard.

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All right, so we need to go forward a number of pages equal to the alphabet

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position of the earliest letter of value.

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All right, so we go forward one page.

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And check to see if it is a non hazard page.

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Yes, it is A non hazard page.

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So then we would so then we would.

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So we would escape the hazard and then generate the, generate the thing there.

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So,

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but this page ends in a nine, so it would be a revisit.

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As I, you know, as I go back to my apartment and as I spend time

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at my apartment this is, this is the highest I've ever lived.

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And looking out my window and seeing nothing but open sky, just like.

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Not, not seeing the ground anywhere near me.

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It's, it's, it's too much.

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And I can't, I, I can't, I can't breathe

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and so I have, I have to go back to the visitor center

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and beg them for a new place.

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But I am, unfortunately, I am unfortunately dismissed.

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They say that I got the assignment that I was gonna get, and I'm just, I don't know.

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I don't know what to do.

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I, I'm just gonna have to try and stay away from the windows.

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Right.

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Moving on to our next entry plus seven is gonna be eight.

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No hazards.

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So we are going to generate an object, which will be first and last noun.

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So first noun

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first, no is gonna be lay lines.

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And last noun is going to be.

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So

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as I, as I try to understand, Something, anything.

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I can feel the, I can feel the weird energy in this place and

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that might explain some of the issues I have with my apartment.

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I've, I've always been sensitive to the natural energies, so, I went and I went

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and did a little research and it seems that this place has a strong connection

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to a strong connection to ley lines, and

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my building seems.

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To be on that, but like, not quite.

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It's, it's weird because, because the feelings make sense for

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ley line and ley line activity, but the placement is just off,

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so.

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I'm not entire, like, I'm not entirely sure what the, what the

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deal is, what the deal might be.

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It, it, it might be nothing but the, the vibes are just off here.

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Moving on to our next location.

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So five is going to be a place.

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All right.

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First word, truly.

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My

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and.

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grinned

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the.

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Last word she.

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All right.

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Truly my and grinned, the, she so.

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We're gonna say that this place, we're gonna say that we

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met a woman who grinned at me.

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Where, where, where would we meet?

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Where would we meet them?

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You know, probably at a, probably at a local diner, cuz I mean,

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it's one of those I need to eat.

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Right?

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You know, so I, I went to this, I went to this diner to grab some

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food and while I was waiting the, like, the waitress and I just had a

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lovely conversation and I know that,

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I know that she was just being pleasant because it was her job, but there was.

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There was just something about the way she grinned at me that she

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seemed very authentic that seemed more than just the politeness

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expected from someone in the service.

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And I mean, of course, of course I didn't do, like, I didn't act on it because it.

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Never, never hit on anybody on the clock.

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That's just, that's just awkward for everybody.

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But you know, maybe for the, maybe for the first time in, maybe for

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the first time since arriving in the city, I actually feel like I

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might, I might be making a friend.

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Right.

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And then last, one last thing that we'll do tonight.

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Skipping ahead.

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Another seven pages.

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So 75 plus is 82,

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and that starts with an S, so no hazard, and it is a two, so we're

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gonna be generating a person.

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All right.

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Should just get.

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Skip ahead to pages.

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If you stop in.

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So,

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I think,

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I think that this is going to be our I think that this is gonna

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be our moon faced man because,

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Because I, I'm still ha like I still can't get comfortable in my apartment.

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The anxiety of the height is just getting way too much for me and.

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Like finally, I was like, finally I was turned away from the visitor center.

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They told me if I had an issue, I needed to bring it up to

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the housing administration.

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So I went down to city hall to speak with housing and I was getting a

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run around and I was getting the run around and like finally, finally,

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I just, I just found the directors.

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Office and kind of made my own appointment.

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I, I, I just, I just walked in and behind this desk was a, was a pale

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man with a very, a very round face and it reminded me of the moon.

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And I went to, like, before I could even walk up to even introduce

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myself, like he, he looked up and he was like, what are you doing?

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You shouldn't even be here.

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You know?

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It's, it's time for you to get out.

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But as I was like, as I was being ushered out of the office before I

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could even bring up my concerns, I did, I did see the map of the city

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which, you know, would make sense for the housing director to have.

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And, you know it had several pins on it that, you know, one

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of which was my apartment and.

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These pins had yarn running through them, forming this really interesting

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pattern that was very reminiscent of, very reminiscent of the ley lines

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that the ley line diagram that I saw.

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It wasn't quite, it it was just, it was just off,

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but.

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Like the similarity was uncanny but be like, before I could really like look

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at it or check it or do too much study to it, I was, I was quickly ushered out

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and that is where we're gonna call it.

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So that is conspire mancy.

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And I, I really like this.

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I really like that is a very, a very unique system.

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Of course, I really enjoy getting random prompts and trying to use those random

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prompts in order to figure out how to tie it together and how to link it all in.

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The, the biggest weakness, I think is,

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is the secret, because on the one hand,

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on the one hand, you want to not know the secret, especially as a solo player.

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You want to not know the secret.

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You want some way to discover that.

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But on the other hand, like the premise of this is you're, you're

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trying to uncover this truth

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and if you know the secret, it really ends up guiding a lot of your.

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Guiding a lot of your movements, not necessarily trying to uncover the

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secret, but trying to prove the secret.

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So it's, it's one, like, I don't, I don't hate having it, but calling

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it the secret just feels off.

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You know, calling, like, like just simply renaming it, the conspiracy.

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So it, so it already is a known thing to you and now what you're

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trying to do is prove it, I think

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might make that feel a little bit better.

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The other piece that was a little sad was

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like, you're generating these people in places and prompts, but.

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Like, there's really no, there's really no mechanism for,

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there's really no mechanism for determining unsure outcomes.

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Like along the lines of, Hey, do I see something like this?

SteelStash:

Or, you know, there's, there's no, there was no Oracle for answering

SteelStash:

questions, which, you know, this is very narrative focused.

SteelStash:

And I think that, I think that part of it is if you like, again, if you play

SteelStash:

secret more as conspiracy, then that mechanism , doesn't need to be there

SteelStash:

because you are going to be biased by your attempt to prove this conspiracy.

SteelStash:

So everywhere you go, if it is a plot relevant thing or if you make

SteelStash:

it a plot relevant piece is going to.

SteelStash:

Confirm your conspiracy in some way.

SteelStash:

You know, maybe, maybe some type of mechanism for making the scene

SteelStash:

a positive, negative, or neutral.

SteelStash:

You know, so like you roll or you generate a new place, but this place is

SteelStash:

negative to your conspiracy or positive

SteelStash:

something like that, that that might be, that might be something to help out, but

SteelStash:

as is, it's a, as is, you know, again, I just have to, I just have

SteelStash:

to assume that everywhere I go is working out for what I want, you know?

SteelStash:

And then my final gripe is the standard jump.

SteelStash:

Because like once you generate everything and you start like, I can do math,

SteelStash:

I can do math, so I can pretty much figure like I pretty much know the order

SteelStash:

that I'm gonna be doing things, you know, I'm gonna generate this and then

SteelStash:

I'm gonna generate this, and then I'm gonna generate this because I know what

SteelStash:

seven plus my current page number is.

SteelStash:

The only, the only thing that really changes that any is if

SteelStash:

you run into a hazard, which surprisingly I only ran into one.

SteelStash:

A lot of legends and latte starts with like character names.

SteelStash:

So I kind of lucked out on that.

SteelStash:

But at the same time, you know, I think, I think maybe rolling.

SteelStash:

Rolling a dice or like some other, some other mechanism of, some

SteelStash:

other mechanism of moving forward,

SteelStash:

you know?

SteelStash:

And that can be like, that can be tied with whatever it

SteelStash:

is you're generating, cuz.

SteelStash:

You know, it could be like move forward, number of pages equal

SteelStash:

to the last words you generated,

SteelStash:

or something like that.

SteelStash:

Like it, it's not hard to home brew, but you know, like, again, like I

SteelStash:

said, the standard, the standard jump seven or jump nine, like I get it.

SteelStash:

It ensures that.

SteelStash:

It ensures that the story ends at around the same spot for everybody

SteelStash:

every time, which is good game design, don't get me wrong.

SteelStash:

That is, that's, that's, that's great game design.

SteelStash:

They, they put a lot of thought into how many turns they think they wanted

SteelStash:

the game to last, and I'm willing to bet that's how that number was generated.

SteelStash:

But, As a, as a player, it makes it fall kind of flat.

SteelStash:

But despite all of that, despite all of that, like this is still, this is

SteelStash:

still just like a really fun way of really fun way of generating this stuff.

SteelStash:

And maybe I like it more as a tool for generating the, like

SteelStash:

generating the random things.

SteelStash:

But I really, I really did enjoy, I really enjoyed the initial setup to this

SteelStash:

the generating our enemy, generating our conspiracy, generating all of this.

SteelStash:

Like I really enjoyed all of that.

SteelStash:

And then,

SteelStash:

The like, and then tying in the random generations after that into all like,

SteelStash:

like, I enjoy that type of stuff.

SteelStash:

This is definitely, this is definitely something I would see myself more like

SteelStash:

just sitting down and doing for myself.

SteelStash:

This, this is a hard one to do, kind of public, not gonna lie, but.

SteelStash:

This, this is just kind of like right up my, this, this

SteelStash:

is niche and it is my niche.

SteelStash:

I, I, I just, I just love that piece.

SteelStash:

You know, and I love get, like, I love the solo games that look for those

SteelStash:

interesting mechanics to generate the play, such as using a book.

SteelStash:

I've only encounter, like, we've only had one other game on this

SteelStash:

podcast so far that also used a.

SteelStash:

To help generate that stuff.

SteelStash:

And that was grimoire.

SteelStash:

So go check that out if you haven't.

SteelStash:

But yeah, fun time.

SteelStash:

Very interesting.

SteelStash:

I would be somewhat interested to see how different gameplay ends up

SteelStash:

with different books and genres.

SteelStash:

I almost feel like it wouldn.

SteelStash:

Just because of the random gen, like, just because of the, how this stuff

SteelStash:

is generated, but, you know, still might be fun and that might be an

SteelStash:

additional challenge for you to put on yourself to conform your story to

SteelStash:

the genre of the book that you chose.

SteelStash:

But again, great great little game.

SteelStash:

Really enjoyed.

SteelStash:

And if you enjoyed this review of it, make sure you go check it out on itch at

SteelStash:

bioluminescence.itch.io/conspiramancy.

SteelStash:

I don't know how much the game is, unfortunately, I can't give you that

SteelStash:

because my itch screen is not telling.

SteelStash:

But yeah, go check it out.

SteelStash:

If you pick it up.

SteelStash:

If it is free, make sure that you take the option to throw a couple bucks at

SteelStash:

the creator, because after all, creators deserve at least a little bit of income.

SteelStash:

And make sure you let 'em know that SteelStash sent ya.

SteelStash:

And remember I mustache y'all to stay.

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About the Podcast

Lonely TTRPG
A Solo Play Podcast
Lonely TTRPG is a show where I play and review solo TTRPGs.

Every other week, we play another solo TTRPG from across the indie community.

So join us as we roll, draw, and journal our way through some fantastic games.

About your host

Profile picture for John Stum

John Stum

Black Dragon Dungeon Company is a TTRPG podcast. We do weekly actual play podcasts and bi-weekly discussion podcasts where we talk about certain things about the TTRPG world.

You can reach us at blackdragondungeoncompany@gmail.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bddc_pod