Episode 55

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Published on:

9th Oct 2023

Lonely TTRPG EP 55 - Don't Play This Game by Parable Games

You can find Don't Play This Game at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/327195066/dont-play-this-game-a-cursed-solo-rpg/pledge/new?clicked_reward=false

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Transcript
SteelStash:

Greetings weary wanderer, and welcome back to Lonely TTRPG, the

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solo actual play and review podcast.

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But this week, we're going to be doing something a little bit different.

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We are going to be talking about...

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Don't play this game by Parable Games.

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Now, the reason we're going to be talking about it is because this game

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is an active Kickstarter right now.

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We have the demo version that they kindly sent to us to drum up some hype,

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but, as you will see as we're going through it, the demo version, great for

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giving the vibes of the game, but...

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The gameplay side of the demo is a little lacking, but before we get on into that,

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let's dive on into the game itself.

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And right up front, we got some safety tools.

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This is a horror story after all, and at times it is purposefully

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distressing, designed to shock and run shivers up your spine.

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But!

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Like any other media through which horror is transmitted, there is

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always a boundary, a line where you no longer want to cross.

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So, when doing that, by all means, take a break.

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Walk away.

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Put the game down for a little bit, because, after all, it is a game.

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Now, another unique safety note in this is, at times, this game is gonna ask

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you to go out and gather some stuff.

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That's right, you have to go outside in this game.

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Who do they think they are?

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Pokemon Go?

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Regardless, when you're going outside, make sure that

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you're doing it safely, okay?

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No trespassing, no...

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Tramping around private property that isn't yours, and just be

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aware of your surroundings, okay?

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Don't put yourself in a silly situation over a game

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and then of course when you're gathering artifacts or anything like that Make

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sure that you check the item and around the item so that you don't accidentally

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pick up some other hitchhikers Like bugs, snakes, that sort of thing.

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Also, make sure that you're doing a personal check in So after you do a

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couple of events, make sure that you put the book down and ask yourself.

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How am I doing?

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Do I want to go on or do I need to take a break?

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And remember, it is perfectly fine to take a break at any time.

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Now for the meat of the story, don't play this game.

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Oh, come on, please stop reading.

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Otherwise it'll happen to you too.

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It says it on the cover for Christ's sake.

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Well, if you're reading this, it's already too late.

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You're cursed now.

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Anyone who reads this must play this game or bad things will happen.

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Trust me, because, well.

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I didn't play, and if you're reading this, then I'm dead.

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So the story of this game is there is a cursed entity who has now cursed

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you and you have seven days to play this game or something bad will

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happen and will continue to happen until you start playing and either

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defeat or succumb to the entity.

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To play the game, you're going to need a full set of role playing polyhedrals.

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So that is the D4 through the D100.

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And these are used to find the next event.

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You're also going to need something to record your journey.

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Either a journal, or word processing, or a memo app on your phone.

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Doesn't matter, you just need something to write it down.

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And you're also going to need some type of camera for the various

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images it's going to ask you to take.

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Or, a sketchbook in order to draw those images if you do

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not want to take a picture.

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And finally, you will need an anchor, which is what they

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call their character sheet.

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Now, flipping to the back of the book, you will find the character

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sheet or anchor, which is going to ask for your character name, age,

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profession, pronouns, description.

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You're going to have your life bar, which once you run out, you have lost.

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And then you have your attributes.

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Your attributes are divided up into six things.

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Talents, which is what you're good at.

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Resources, which is what you have.

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Friends that you've made along the way.

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Secrets that you were trying to hide or discover.

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Any fears that you have developed, and any artifacts you have collected.

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And for those of you watching on YouTube, yes, artifacts is spelled correctly here.

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The game designers are British, so they are using the British spelling.

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Now, before you start the game, you do get to add a couple attributes.

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You have one talent, one friend, and one fear.

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So this is your baseline, this is just what you're starting out with.

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Giving you a little something to go off of as you start the game.

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Now for the game proper, it is fueled by events that the Entity puts upon you.

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A series of experiences that deepen the mystery around it and haunt you.

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Amidst the horror of what's to come, there will be opportunities

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to gather information and help in defining what evil plagues

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you a slim chance that you can win.

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It is a game after all.

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So again, this is a demo version, there are limited events in here

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that have been selected just to give you a taste of the whole thing.

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So we're going to be going over those events a little bit, and you will see

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why we are merely talking about the game as opposed to actually playing it.

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So, Event 1, Tragedy Strikes.

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The world ticks along as normal, your day trickling along like any other as you

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go about the usual business of existing.

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Then the phone rings.

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There's been a tragedy, one that deeply affects you.

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What is it?

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Who is calling you to tell you this?

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How do you feel?

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And what have you lost?

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And there is a table at the back of the book to help define that tragedy.

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But there are two additional prompts that go with Event 1.

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One of which is making a friend, and the other is finding an artifact.

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Event two is a disturbing dream.

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You have a disturbing dream, and as you are talking about it,

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and experiencing it, you have an opportunity to make another friend.

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And you'll be asked to sketch a figure that you see within the dream.

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Event 3 is Sleepwalker.

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Falling into a deep sleep, you find yourself in a familiar location.

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Its form and logic, however, warped by the nature of dreams.

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Where do you find yourself?

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What significance does it have to you?

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And this is our first opportunity to roll a dice.

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Where you'll be rolling a d6, 4 or above.

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You lose 1 life point from the lack of sleep.

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3 or below, and you lose 3 life points.

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After that, you wander around while something is calling you.

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You find a strange relic that you gain as an artifact called the Dream Relic.

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And then you are asked to make a physical manifestation of it.

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And finally, you awake, covered in blood, holding the relic in your hand.

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Standing outside a building you recognize that is not your home.

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You gain the secret of Violent Sleepwalker.

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Go outside, take a photo of a building that represents where you awake.

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Event 4 is the library.

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Gathering your thought on the strange occurrences of the past couple weeks,

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a single element jumps out at you.

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A common thread that has run through all the bizarre encounters you have.

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What is this information?

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How are they linked?

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Reminisce on your cursed character's journey so far and connect some dots.

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At this point, you're asked to go to your local library, find a book,

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newspaper, or other piece of information, take a picture or copy it for your

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records, and add it to your resources.

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Add your research to your resources.

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Then you're going to roll a d10.

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If you roll less than a 6, then lose one life point as paranoia

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begins to fray on your nerves.

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Event 5, a panicked phone call.

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You receive a panicked phone call late at night.

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Pick a friend who this is happening to.

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As you hear the terror on the other line, flip a coin.

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Tales your friend lives, heads they die.

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If killed, remove them from your character sheet.

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Event 6, The Abandoned Place.

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Find an abandoned place, take a photo, and add it to your record.

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Then, for the game, again, do not actually go and...

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Try to make your way into abandoned places, but for the game, you can

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either expend a resource to gain access to the abandoned place, or roll a d6.

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On a 4 or less, lose one life point as you injure yourself.

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Make a note of what the injury was and how you got it.

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And then finally, as you are wandering the abandoned place and

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the desolate rooms, roll a d10.

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If you roll a 7 or under, lose one life point as panic begins to swell.

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Event 7, an exchange.

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A dark open maw stands before you, carved into the surface of

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the wall like an opened wound.

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Something whispers to you, making an offer to help.

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For a price, of course.

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If you refuse the offer, move on to your next event.

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If you accept, then continue on with the rest of this one.

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Where you will choose an artifact to exchange with the

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voice and place it in the maw.

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Roll a d4 and regain that many life points.

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And if you have a friend accompanying you, the voice in the Maw will

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ask for them to be sacrificed.

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If you agree, cross your friend off of the sheet as they are consumed by the Maw.

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If you refuse, the Maw will shriek and writhe in anger.

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Roll a d12.

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If you roll a 6 or lower, lose 1 HP as you flee the room.

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Event 8, The Tunnel.

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You are running down a tunnel.

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If you wish to restore some life points, if you have a resource or

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artifact that could feasibly be used to do so, now is the time.

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Cross it off your character sheet and restore one life point per item.

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Event 9, Facing the Nightmare.

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The entity swirls around you, warping what you see, twisting everything

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within its grasp into a withered, crawling version of what it should be.

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Whether it's real or not, you can feel it trying to warp your form too.

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Roll a d10 three times.

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For each result under 7, you will lose one life point as the

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entity has you in its grasp.

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And finally, Event 10, Fighting Back.

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This is a dice challenge, where you start off with a d4, attempting to roll a 4,

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then trying to roll an even number on a d6, trying to roll 6 or higher on a d8,

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trying to roll 10 or higher on a d12, and trying to roll 18 or higher on a d20.

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The only way to move up the chain is to succeed.

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And every time you fail, you lose one life point.

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Now you can always sacrifice a resource in order to try to improve your role.

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You can use a resource to either add or subtract three from your role.

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You can use the artifact Dream Relic if it's in your possession

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to reroll a failure or sacrifice a friend to the entity.

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This triggers an immediate success and allows you to move on to the next dice.

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However, your friend is lost forever.

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Finally, you have life or death.

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Did you survive your encounter and how did you face off against it in the end?

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If you survived, you proceed to epilogue one.

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And if you died, you proceed to epilogue two.

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So, that is Don't Play This Game.

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So, like I said, in the demo version, the game aspect seems very,

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very slim.

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This feels, this feels very akin to a tabletop version of a visual novel.

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Like, you have a little bit of agency, you can choose a little

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bit of stuff, you have some effect on what's going to happen, but...

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Ultimately, the story is going to progress in a very linear fashion.

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And this isn't a bad thing.

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I know that there are a lot of people who are like, oh, but railroads.

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Look, I like railroads.

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I like railroads.

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I like when a specific feel or vibe is trying to be conveyed.

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And that's what this game is trying to do.

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The demo version is something like 30 pages and the first 10.

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The first 10 or 12 are all straight story.

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So, this game definitely knows the vibe that it's trying to go for, and

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it's definitely committing to that.

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Even throughout the rest of the game, it feels very much in line

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with, Hey, I'm the last person who played, this is what's happened, and

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here's me trying to explain things.

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So, from a vibe standpoint, this game is succeeding.

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And...

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Again, the linear, the linear progression, your, your mileage

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is going to vary with that.

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It really is going to depend a lot on what you enjoy from your gameplay.

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Like I said, I don't mind.

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I think that this game has a lot of promise.

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I am looking forward to more events and some of that payoff of

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finishing an event, and.

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rolling to see whether you go forward or backwards.

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I think that will do a lot to help out with length and overall replayability.

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As now you have options for missing events and getting different things as

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you go through them and different orders.

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You know, maybe you luck out and get stuck in a bit of a loop that allows

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you to gather more resources before you end up in that final rundown at

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the end.

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So I am definitely looking forward to seeing what the final version

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of this game is going to be.

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But like I said, the vibes on this, the vibes on this are, are pretty good.

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I am.

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I thoroughly enjoy what they have done already.

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And I'm looking forward to what the finished product is going to be.

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And if you want to check out the finished product, then good news.

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This project is already fully funded.

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However, I am going to drop the link to the Kickstarter down below

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For about 15 pounds or 20 American.

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You can back this project and get the digital copy.

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If you're looking for the physical copy, that is going

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to be about 30 or 37 American.

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But yes, go check them out.

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If you do back the project, tell them Steel Stash sent ya.

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And remember, I mustache y'all to stay awesome.

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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