Episode 56

full
Published on:

7th Nov 2023

Lonely TTRPG EP 56 - TENSION by Lampiao Game Studio

You can find TENSION at https://cronistadante.itch.io/tension

Show notes and other ramblings can be found at https://blackdragondungeoncompany.com

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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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This week, we are playing Tension by Lampiao Game Studio, and I

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apologize to my Brazilian listeners for how horribly I pronounced that.

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So, Tension.

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In the not so distant future, humanity has developed perfect and servile artificial

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intelligence through complex algorithms.

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However, one rebel scientist has decided to create a free automation

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program with only two instructions.

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Explore and interact with the world to the fullest of its capacities.

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And return to its creator by the end of one week to relay its

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experiences, and recharge its batteries made of tachyon energized

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neutrines and subionic oscillation

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nucleus or tension,

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all of its worldly interactions will drain a bit of its tension.

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It starts at 100 percent and in order to preserve it when it reaches 50 percent the

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automation is worn by an internal sensor.

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Will it have enough tension to arrive home by the end of the week?

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Upon returning, remember what it has experienced, learned, and retell all

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that was relevant on its journeys.

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And keep moving so long as there is something to be learned.

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So, basically, this is a exploration game where you play

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as a robot, a sentient robot.

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And you have to manage your tension.

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When you come up against a obstacle, you're gonna roll

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1d6 in order to resolve it.

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Now your success threshold is going to be based on how much tension you have.

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At 100%, you only need to roll a 2 or better.

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Between 99 and 80%, you need a 3 to succeed.

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79 to 50, you need a 4.

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49 to 25.

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And if your tension is below 20%, you need a 6.

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However, you can also spend an extra 15 tension to immediately solve the conflict

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Without having to roll on your dice.

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In order to return home, you need at least 5 percent tension left.

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And if you dropped a zero, you have to be rescued and start the next

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week at only 50 percent tension.

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Now, as for the rest of the game, what you're going to do

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is you're going to roll a D8.

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And check the serendipity table.

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And each task is going to have some level of tension associated with it.

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So in order to do the task, you're going to have to do the base level of tension.

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And then in order to resolve the task, then there will be some

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more expenditure of your tension.

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And of course, they also recommend creating your own.

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serendipitous events in order to help make the game last longer.

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So they list out eight.

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You can absolutely add more, just think of your own life experiences

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or something that might be interesting to come up against,

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then decide how much tension it should take , to get to the thing.

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And what type of tension would be expended in solving it.

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But that's really the basics on the rules.

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This is a pamphlet sized game.

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So, with that, we're just gonna go ahead and dive on in.

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So first things first, we need to roll our d8 to find out what

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our serendipitous event is.

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And we got an 8.

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You find another AI in shambles, almost entirely drained.

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It too is powered by tension, although very little remains.

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So with this, we can either recover 30 tension by feeding from the AI and

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permanently shutting it down, or we can donate tension so that it can return home.

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So right off the rip, this is already costing us 15 tension.

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So we are down to 85.

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And because it's early in the week We are going to go ahead and donate

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tension in order to try and save.

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Our lost brethren, hopefully they might be able to return home and share their story,

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but let's see how well this transfer goes.

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So at 85, we need to roll a three or better, and we rolled a two.

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So we

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rolled a two.

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So there is an issue with the power transfer.

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So that's going to bring us down to 80 tension.

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And there is a failure in.

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The transfer.

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So the question is, do we think this failure is because of

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Because the AI can't the AI can't support it or because of Some other reason maybe

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something wasn't hooked up correctly.

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Maybe we didn't try and give enough

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So there's no oracle associated with this.

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So we're just gonna do a simple we're gonna use a simple oracle one

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will be One will be an absolute no, six will be an absolute yes, and

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pretty much anything above a four will be a yes, anything three and below will be

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a no, with a varying degree as we go on.

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So,

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is this AI too damaged to return home?

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Four.

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That is a yes, but we're gonna say that's a yes, but

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Is it possible to?

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fix What this issue is?

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Two that's a no.

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So unfortunately, we are going to have to leave this broken

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machine Where we have found it.

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We're gonna go ahead and mark the location maybe Maybe a repair

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crew can get out here, but there is nothing that we can do for it.

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So let's go ahead and roll and see what else we find.

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That's day one.

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Let's look at day two.

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Day two, we got a six.

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So on six, if this is your first time playing, roll again.

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Otherwise, you bump into an old friend

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who wants to know what has happened.

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So seeing as how this is our first week, we're gonna, we're gonna go ahead and re

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roll as we have not really met anybody

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So we've got a four, a colleague of your maker is throwing a birthday

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party and you're invited, engage in conversation with everyone that

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approaches you or keep to yourself.

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So upfront, it is 10 tension to get to the party and engaging with people

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is going to cost another 10 tension or keeping to ourself will cost five.

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So we are going to attempt to keep to ourself.

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And in order to do that, we need to roll a four or better.

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And we got a three.

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So not only can we not keep to ourself, but

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what might be the reason.

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All right, so this is a colleague of our maker.

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So is it the colleague?

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Is it the colleague who is pressuring us two?

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No, it's not the colleague.

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So it is somebody else at the party.

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Is this going to be a rival of.

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Our creator.

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One.

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That's an absolute no.

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So it's not the colleague and it's not a rival.

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So we are going to say that...

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We're gonna say that one of the members of the party

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had a little too much to drink and they are just absolutely fascinated with us.

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They cannot get it out of their head what we are and what we represent.

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And they're just pressuring us and pressuring us and pressuring us in

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order to find out more about us.

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Find out what we are and how we tick.

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And we are trying to, we are trying to disengage.

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We, we're not used to this situation.

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After all, we're only, we're only two days old.

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And yeah, we don't really want to be in this conversation.

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So Are we able to get out of it?

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This will be another challenge roll.

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And we will say that if we cannot get out of this, then we will take the full

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ten that we would have lost for engaging.

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So that'll be an additional loss of five tension.

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And at our current level, we need a four or more to succeed.

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We got a two.

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I'm not rolling well tonight.

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So at the conclusion of day two, we are currently at sixty percent of our tension.

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Day three.

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Got a six again, so we're going to re roll.

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Three.

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You enroll in a robotic philosophy course.

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The professor, used only to students who have plenty of free time,

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demands that you read an impossibly long syllabus in just one week.

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So do we put in maximum effort or do we take it easy?

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So first of all, this cost us ten tension, so we are currently at fifty percent.

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And

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I'm going to say that we have not Because of how new we are, and because of our

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directives of experiencing everything,

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we don't know how to take it easy.

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Like, we haven't been put in a situation where...

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We haven't been put in a situation where

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our...

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our resolve, our...

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motivation, our ability to accomplish a task has been challenged yet.

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This is the first real one.

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So we are, we are of course going to put in maximum effort

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because we don't know any better.

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We don't know how to, how to skim, how to do any of that stuff that experience

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will do to just help you survive.

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So that is a loss of 15 tension, which brings us down to 35.

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And as we are trying to As we are trying to get through this syllabus,

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our internal alarm starts beeping at us.

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It started beeping when we got to the philosophy course.

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But as we attempt to understand the syllabus, it's just getting

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louder and louder and louder.

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As our attention drops down.

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And, I wonder...

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Would we be concerned and attempt to return home at this point?

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1.

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No, absolutely not.

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Alright, well, like I said, we, we don't know any better.

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So, we continue to, we continue to drive on as we put in maximum

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effort into this college course.

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But, the course is a week long.

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But, it is a week to read the syllabus.

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So,

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would, would we forego any other...

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Exploration to focus solely on the syllabus

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six.

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That is an absolute.

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Yes.

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So, I mean, the bright side is we would not continue to explore as we focus on

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the syllabus, which is going to round out our week and we return home for recharge.

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Of course, this happened on day three.

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So on day three of week two, we would return to the college course

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in order to start and show that we've read the syllabus because

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that's what we were told to do.

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But for the remainder of the week, we will not engage in anything else,

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but that is tension.

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Like I said, really short game, a very easy, a very easy experience,

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single pamphlet, very easy rules.

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The wording.

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The wording might be a little wonky.

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After all, this is a Brazilian company.

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This is the first game that they've translated to English.

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So there are a couple things that just kind of stick out as odd phrasing, but

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it's not, it's not distracting at all.

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So don't, don't worry about that.

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Their, their ability to write and translate this into English is

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better than my ability to even pronounce their game studio.

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So this is a...

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This is not a criticism of that.

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This is just more a warning that, you know, if you're, if you're reading

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through it and something seems off, that's why it's, it's the language barrier.

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Outside of that, no, this is, this is a good game.

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I like this.

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This is definitely a fun little look at the AI.

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trope, the robot trope.

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I think that the, I think that the mechanics of tasks getting

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more difficult as your tension goes down, as your power depletes.

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I think that's an interesting mechanic.

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I really enjoyed that.

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The serendipity table is nice.

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This is definitely something that you're going to want to build out though, because

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as is the, as is the gameplay gets.

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Really small, really fast, because it's only a D8 table.

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One of those choices you can't even really engage with.

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And

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you know, some of the choices definitely feel very one off, you know, for example,

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the robot philosophy course, yeah, I'm only going to, I'm only going to read the

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syllabus once, and I, I mean, I'm probably not even, if I rolled that again, I would

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definitely not be doing the syllabus.

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I would change it to some type of coursework or something like that.

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And then I would have to adjust the, I would have to adjust the tension

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requirements on the resolution mechanics.

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There are some options I can make for an interesting world when you stop when

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you stop and start to think about them.

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For example, running into more broken down AI would definitely be interesting

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just as you start to think, Oh, wait, how many, how many came before me?

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Or,

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or, you know, there's another one where a concert is interrupted by

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cops showing up to oppress the locals.

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You know, you, you run into that a couple of times and it's okay.

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What type of, what type of dystopian world are we, are we actually in right now?

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So, you know, there, there are a couple options that leave in, if

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you roll it multiple times, it could create an interesting world, but.

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Like, again, for the most part, most of these prompts feel

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very one and done type things.

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So, very quickly, you're going to want to start adding more stuff to it.

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And, you know, you're definitely going to want to play with some type of

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oracle, because once you, once you get past the initial prompt, you know, what

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are you going to do for the rest of it?

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You know, you don't want to end up in a situation where it's, hey...

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I showed up, I did the thing, and now I'm done, because that would make for,

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that would make for very boring gameplay.

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Now, I got it, again, this is a one page RPG, so there's only so much that

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you can put on there, and there's only so much flavor that you can create.

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I know I've done it.

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I've written a one page RPG.

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It is a challenge,

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but it's also one of those

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You definitely need a little bit more to go on but all in all like all in all this

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is a great game Like this is a great game.

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This is a fun game again.

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The strongest part of this game is definitely the the success mechanics

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of Getting more difficult as your tension goes down So if you decide to

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play this, definitely lean into that.

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And I do recommend checking it out.

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If you want to check it out and pick it up for yourself, you can find

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it on itch at the link down below.

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It is available for 5.

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And if you do get it, make sure you tell them that Steel Stash sent ya.

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And remember, I must ask 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