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[Misc] The Tulpa Role-Playing Game Guide V4.0
NaViAlcatraz Online
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#1
 
The Tulpa Role-Playing Game Guide V4.0
The tulpa role playing game is an experimental project I devised to help tulpamancers kill some time in the wonderland and hopefully help out with the development of the tulpa a little. In short, the game is your run of the mill tabletop RPG. It's as basic as I could make it, and I'd never claim that it's anywhere near as good or detailed as the classics of the genre. My goal here wasn't to revolutionize the genre, it was to help popularize the tabletop genre as a fun way for tulpamancers to bond with their tulpas, and as a gateway into more advanced tabletop games whose detailed rules are harder to digest, but a lot more potentially rewarding.

A small warning: I didn't design the game with beginners of tulpamancy in mind. The game requires a decent level of skill at visualization and on-demand wonderland building, and if one tries to play with a tulpa who isn't vocal yet, it could be more of a chore than fun. Not trying to imply anything definite though, just a possible risk.

Disclaimer: Portions of this guide are based on the original thread this game was inspired by. Certain portions have been ripped off. Huge credit goes to NED for writing it. The link to the original thread is available at the bottom of this guide.


There were always times when I got extremely bored in my wonderland, and I severely craved a more entertaining way to practice forcing. Looking for fun exercises or games to play became a routine thing for me. Usually, my searches didn't come up with much. Useful tips were scattered around, sure, but there wasn't much that caught my eye. Then, I stumbled on a very interesting post about a turn based game which you can play with any number of people using nothing but your wonderland, and my horizons expanded. The game was very easy to pick up, and progress on the tulpas really picked up. Most importantly, we really enjoyed ourselves playing the game. Unfortunately, the original thread has since become inactive. As a side project, I began trying to refine the game, specifically by incorporating a D&D-esque style of gameplay into it, and this is the guide I decided to write. I hope it helps you out. Suggestions are highly appreciated.

The Philosophy of The Game:
The Tulpa RPG revolves around the concepts of actions in the wonderland and the risk of the consequences. For every action, there is always a possibility of failure. For every kind of success and failure, there are degrees of severity. For every degree of severity, there can be numerous outcomes. For every outcome, you have a dynamic wonderland, constantly impacted by the consequences of your actions. And so long as the game is played, the cycle of actions and consequences repeats.

Terminology:
  • Campaign - a session of the Tulpa RPG.
  • The GM (game master) – The one who manages a campaign of the with the assistance of the tools mentioned below. They can be the host, a friend or a highly developed tulpa (because this game requires a great deal of quick thinking from the GM). It is recommended that the GM not play the game themselves.
  • Game Master's tools - a die (if desired, two dice), roulettes or a coin.
  • Players – Everybody besides the game master. Players do not require any tools. It's possible to play with only tulpas as players. Theoretically, any number of players is acceptable. Single player games are possible. Any more than 4 players sounds convoluted to me, so my personal limit is 4 players per campaign.
  • Record - (optional) something like a piece of paper or a computer file to record the campaign. Players’ actions, the outcomes of the actions and any long term changes to their characters, e.g. injuries, new clothing or scars can be recording.
Gameplay:
To begin a campaign, the GM describes the initial environment to the players. In return, the players inform the GM whether or not they'd like to use their actual body as their in-game appearance. They can choose anything to be a substitute body, anything or anybody from Jessica Alba to slenderman to a talking brick, the GM just needs to confirm if they can comfortably imagine the substitute.

The players then perform their first actions, thus officially starting the campaign. The GM is the one who decides whether or not the requested actions are allowed to occur. If the GM feels that the requested action is too powerful or too convenient, then they can reject it and ask for a more acceptable one. Examples of actions are walking, conjuring items, using objects, searching boxes, opening doors, headbutting a camel or shooting a gun.

Interaction between players isn't usually considered an action, but if said interaction will somehow affect the environment, then it will be considered an action (like pretending to argue for the sake of manipulating an NPC or one player throwing another player at an enemy like a makeshift projectile). So much as talking to an NPC, however, will be considered an action.

To insert the element of probability into an action, the GM may choose to use one of the following tools. Just to clarify, using a tool is not mandatory every time the GM accepts action. The GM can choose to allow the action without a tool, thus giving the action a 100% success rate.
  1. Coin: If the GM gets heads, then they must allow the players to carry out their actions with minimal alteration. If the GM gets tails, they can either deny the player outright, or do something more interesting. They can bring absolutely ANY challenge to the player in the case of tails, although for the sake of fairness, the challenges should be beatable.
  2. Dice: The higher the number that is rolled, the more the GM is allowed to screw with the players. The guide further below provides more detail. This mode is much more difficult to execute than the coin flip mode, but it can be even more enjoyable with a very skilled GM.
  3. Roulette: Placing different options on various values on the roulette could be used. E.g., 'denied with no alterations', 'provide challenge, but allow action', 'allow with no repercussions' etc.
Invoking The Gods: This is the most powerful action. To Invoke The Gods is to ask the GM directly for help. Remember when I said the GM may choose to use a tool? That's not applicable here. A tool must be used when Invoking The Gods. If the tool decrees that the GM must help, then a solution is provided to the current problem, right out of the GM's mouth. It's recommended that the GM's solution not be too convenient, so as to not spoil the game. It is, however, a gamble. If the tool fails the action, then the GM must provide punishment equal in magnitude to how relieving their help would have been. Since Invoking The Gods is a last-resort action, it means that the punishment is usually massive.

Gameplay Styles:

This section essentially details the method of how the game is carried out. The two basic game modes I've come up with are:
  • Unlimited Actions
  • Round-Based Gameplay
Unlimited Actions
There are no limitations on the number or order of actions. A single player can perform a dozen actions in a row, or perform no actions for an hour. It's entirely up to the GM whether to restrain a player's action streak or to encourage a player to act at all.

Round-Based Gameplay
In this style, the game is structured in the form of rounds. Each round, every player has a limited number of actions, and are allowed to pass their turn if they don't want to act. Round-based gameplay can further be categorized based on the order of players.
  • Ordered Rounds - there is a fixed order for players to carry out their actions. The order is decided before the game starts. If you have players A, B and C, and you decide that the order is A, B and then C, then throughout the game, every round will start with A's action, then B's action and then C's action. This style can help save the time and trouble of deciding an order every single round.
  • Loose Rounds - there is no fixed order of players. In the case of A, B and C, if C wants to go first, then C goes first. If both A and C want to go first, then the order's decided by a mini-game. Rock-paper-scissors, for example. Or maybe the GM decides, either by themselves, or with a tool. This style can ensure that players act based on whether they want to act or not, rather than a preconceived order.
Loose rounds are my personal go-to. Unlimited actions can lead to a very unstructured experience, but fixed rounds can force a reluctant player to act before a willing player whose idea might not be usable once the reluctant player changes the wonderland with their action. I find loose rounds to be a nice compromise.

The End-Goal (Or Lack Thereof) of The Game:
The game only ends when the players decide to end it. There are no pre-required tasks in the game, there is no win condition and there are no limits beyond the GM and the players' imaginations. The goal of the game is to find the most creative solutions to any problems the GM throws at the players, and to weave the most entertaining story possible. It doesn't matter how random and off-track the story gets, creativity is the only rule and requirement.

Skills Required & Potential Benefits From The Game
First of all, the GM must have excellent visualization and wonderland building skills. They must be able to think on their feet and quickly conjure new challenges.

As for hosts, this game could help build creativity because quick, lateral thinking is encouraged by playing. Bonding with tulpas would be expected since a feeling of companionship develops in teamwork campaigns. This is especially true if the scenarios are very challenging or turbulent, which forces a high level of cooperation between players.

The development of participating tulpas is encouraged by the game because they are exposed to various types of actions and decisions. Their personalities can help become fleshed out based on how they approach the game, as well as their style of dialogue. Parroting is allowed for undeveloped tulpas, however it should be noted that it is rather difficult to play with an undeveloped tulpa in the first place, and it should be noted that such parroting effectively becomes a form of narration rather than a full fledged campaign. The game could also help reduce the social anxiety that some tulpas may develop because they get the opportunity to interact with people who are not part of the local system.

Multiple Coin Flips (Experimental Section)
These are some ideas that may be useful to incorporate, but which I am not sure about. A shout out to Sands who largely inspired this.

Multiple coin flips could be used in appropriate cases like the following.
  1. Asking the GM for help could require multiple heads. Double heads gets help, a head and a tail means that the GM is not required to help or punish you, and a double tails means that the GM is obliged to rain hell on you.
  2. The number of flips and number of required heads could be decided by the GM based on the character's skill. As an example, let's picture the process of baking a loaf of bread. A character who cooks casually could take two flips with only a double tails resulting in failure, and a single heads would be enough to cover. A chef character who has been cooking for their whole life could take three flips with just one head required. A character who's trying to bake for the first time would, by extension, do a double flip with double heads needed to succeed.
  3. When there are varying levels of intensity in consequences. For example, imagine if you're trying to shoot a crazed man running at you. Two flips for three levels, ie as "miss shot", "shot grazes leg" or "shot hits leg directly". TT gets you 'miss', HT or TH gets you 'graze' and HH gets you 'direct hit'
Double Dice
In short, my principle is as follows: the higher the number is, the worse the outcome. Double dice rolls are my personal recommendation since they provide a good number of outcome severity levels. The following is an outline of the outcomes under a double dice roll.
  • Snake eyes: GM provides the best possible (reasonable) outcome, even better than what the request action requests. The GM will be forced to shower you will golden rainbows.
  • 3-5: GM simply accepts the action.
  • 6: Failed action with a positive outcome
  • 7: Neutral. Either a re-roll or the GM replaces the current problem with an equally annoying one.
  • 8: Successful action with a negative outcome.
  • 9-11: GM simply fails the action.
  • Box cars: Destruction imminent. Brace yourselves, players. A 12 effectively means that the GM is now allowed to bring hell on earth. Probably best for the GM not to ruin things too much if the action under consideration isn't particularly major
In short, 2-6 are positive outcomes, 8-12 are negative outcomes and 7 makes it the GM's decision. I haven't done especially careful probability calculations for this, but I feel that it is in a playable state now.

Note:  I edited this section according to several new ideas and suggestions I received, but since this is the most complicated part of the game in my opinion, any more suggestions for the dice section would be especially appreciated.

Tips For The Game Master
The GM's role can be difficult for two main reasons. First, deciding whether to accept an action request is often a complicated judgement. Secondly, it can be difficult to conjure spontaneous challenges to the players in the event of a failed event. This section should hopefully help.
  • Try to account for the characters in the request when deciding whether or not to accept an action. A 6'5" battle-maiden is likely to be able to lift a boulder and throw it off a cliff. A pet seahorse is not.
  • It can be helpful to use a 'buff' system. Players can get 'buffs' at certain points in the universe. E.g., strength buff at a gym, the ability to build bombs at an underground resistance army etc. They can then perform these actions without needing the GM to use a tool. Note, however, that the GM can still use a tool if they wish.
  • The GM's goal is to shake up the story and keep it interesting. If, however, the story is going in a good direction, then it's best not to interfere with the players very much.
  • Using a tool for simple actions is tedious, and deciding to use a tool for all actions, even impossible ones, makes the game unrealistically based on chance. I'd recommend saving tools for actions where the fun would be enhanced by luck. For example, 'defuse bomb', 'snipe target' or 'knock out target by bashing shield against head' are actions that could go either way because they are heavily affected by factors external to the players (unknown bomb model, wind speed changing the course of the bullet and whether you can hit a good spot on the dude's head, for example). These are good places to use a tool, in my opinion.
  • Another place to use a tool is on characters whose personalities are undecided. For example, to bribe a bartender, a coin could be flipped to decide the action, and as a side consequence, the bartender's honesty, greediness, wealthiness etc. are also decided. If the action fails, some of the bartender's personality traits are decided along with the consequence: the bartender is either honest (bartender rejects bribe) or avaricious (bartender demands more money). If the action succeeds, the bartender's personality is fleshed out in other ways: they accepted the bribe because they're maybe dishonest, greedy (but not so greedy that more money is demanded) or poor (but usually moral), so they accept the bribe. These qualities will remain in the bartender for the rest of the game, and the important thing to note here is that the tool played a large role in deciding the bartender's personality, not the GM alone.
  • You might want to pause the game for a little while if you need time to think up a development in the game. No shame in not immediately coming up with something to put behind that giant door that the players spent half an hour trying to open. It's better to make sure their efforts weren't in vain by taking some time to work on a great idea.
Example Scenarios:
Here are some examples of starting scenarios to help illustrate how the game can be played.
  • A murder mystery in a European Mansion
  • A snowy forest at midnight
  • A niche in a mountain
  • Deep in a copper mine
  • As a member of a medieval army
  • The moon
  • A windy desert at night, a full moon in view
  • A blank, white world that the players slowly fill up with objects
  • In a locked room
  • A haunted house
  • As a vampire in a coven
  • Buried alive in a coffin
  • Dead in a previous campaign then brought back to life as a ghost so you can haunt every NPC you loved and every enemy you hated from that campaign!
Text Based Gameplay:
I most often play this game with a certain friend online, and we developed a notation system specifically for that purpose. If multiple people from the same system are playing, then use initial: or name: to differentiate. The rest of the notation is as follows:
- action
: speech
[GM announcements]

For example,
T - run towards tree
Host: Let's find some shelter for the night.
[Tails, you fail to convince the shopkeeper, he shouts, "Get out before I call the guards!"]
[Twelve, an asteroid falls on the city, destroying it. You must seek shelter elsewhere.]

Post Your Gameplay!
Despite my love for this game, I haven't been playing it much lately, and none of the campaigns I did play seem like very good examples to post here. That's why I'm urging anyone who decides to play this on text to post their campaigns here! I'll try to post some example games as soon as I can. Doesn't matter if you think yours was boring, I'd love to see any gameplay at all. If you'd use an online text storage site like pastebin, I'd be more than happy to keep the links up for everyone to see.

Final Notes:
This is a link to the post that inspired mine. I must express how much grateful I am to the original author for thinking this up. Some of the campaigns the tulpas and I have played were among the best bonding experiences we've had, and it'd be an understatement for me to just describe the game as 'fun'. Here's to hoping you guys feel the same once you've given the game a try!

Thanks for reading, and happy playing!

Changelog & Future Plans

System Members: NaVi (Host), Clarissa, Lily, Aoi & Haru, As of Yet Unnamed aka "U"
Familiars: Northern Goshawk, Raven, Genet, Clouded Leopard, Siberian Husky Pup, Chimpanzee
(This post was last modified: 1 minute ago by NaViAlcatraz.)
05-28-2017, 12:55 PM
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Lumanatrix Offline
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#2
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
This will be really fun to play with my two tulpas once the new one is more developed.

Heaven if you sent us down
So we could build a playground
For the sinners,
To play as saints.
You'd be so proud
Of what we made.
05-29-2017, 10:35 AM
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Beatles Offline
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#3
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
Ooh, this looks like something I can do that incorporates all of my tulpas!

Should probably go in the Submissions forum for Tips and Tricks.

I'm the host of the system, Lyra.
Tulpas: Apollo, Piano, Tacio, Indigo.
05-29-2017, 01:04 PM
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Sands Offline
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#4
 
Default  RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
(05-29-2017, 01:04 PM)Beatles Wrote:
Should probably go in the Submissions forum for Tips and Tricks.

There's just one submission board, we figure out where the submissions should go as we review them.

The last gaming guide was in Resources, so I'd put this one there too. It had the Forcing tag, so it might fit here. If not, then Misc.

Overall this one's fine. Few odd phrases and stuff:

Quote:Can be human or a highly developed tulpa.

Creepy implication. Say host rather than human.

Quote:Hosts will have greatly enhanced creativity…

Why? When? What is the basis for this claim? I think you might want to look at this paragraph again and rewrite it to be a bit more like the tulpa one right after it.

Quote:Tulpas who are not fully developed can much more quickly gain independence…

A bit of a wonky sentence. "Tulpas who are not fully developed can quickly gain independence…", perhaps?


Choosing one pronoun to use for an unknown person is fine, though often "they" is used instead of he or she as a gender neutral option in English. Up to you if you want to use that.

For the dice section, usually in PnP games it's nice to also have a great success that has better outcome than expected, not just a normal success. Right now your d6 has 1/6 chance of succeeding without any issues in any case, too. Is that too harsh?

The THE SUBCONCIOUS ochinchin occultists frt.sys (except Roswell because he doesn't want to be a part of it)
06-01-2017, 02:38 PM
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Beatles Offline
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#5
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
Lol, I know there's only one submissions forum, I was just saying which category it should be put up for approval for ^^

I'm the host of the system, Lyra.
Tulpas: Apollo, Piano, Tacio, Indigo.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2017, 02:55 PM by Beatles.)
06-01-2017, 02:55 PM
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NaViAlcatraz Online
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#6
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
+Sands Thanks for the advice. I was feeling the same about the dice portion in all honestly, and I plan to get back to it later. I'll edit the other portions you mentioned. Also, I hadn't realized that there were gender specific pronouns at all. I suppose I missed a few while editing, because I actively avoided them. Thanks for pointing that out.

To Beatles and Lumanatrix, I'm glad you found it interesting!

System Members: NaVi (Host), Clarissa, Lily, Aoi & Haru, As of Yet Unnamed aka "U"
Familiars: Northern Goshawk, Raven, Genet, Clouded Leopard, Siberian Husky Pup, Chimpanzee
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2017, 06:56 PM by NaViAlcatraz.)
06-01-2017, 03:21 PM
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tulpa001 Offline
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#7
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
The dice part got me thinking. As you know, in most RPGs the players roll for their own success, and usually use a twenty sided die.

The first thing I noticed, is that higher numbers were worse instead of better.

I immediately thought that what I would do is have one and six be critical failure and success respectively, with the numbers in between being success or failure depending on a 2-5 arbitrary difficulty rating selected by the DM. If the roll lands on the exact difficulty rating, then you throw in a complication, as I imagine it would actually get rather boring to have a complicated plot twist or frustration nine times out of ten.

Host comments in italics. Tulpa's log. Tulpa's guide.
06-01-2017, 07:56 PM
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Sands Offline
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Default  RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
Well, not sure if I'd say most of them use a d20 and most of them don't have higher being better, either. Though usually it is the case. You get to use a wide variety of dice if you play plenty of systems.

Did make me think... About your coin flip method. You could have an alternative where depending on how good a character is at something, they get to flip the coin multiple times and count the heads as successes which are then compared to a target number. A bit more interesting than a 50% chance, in case they don't have a die on hand. Could also be throwing more than one d6 if you want more outcomes. Could have the fabled snake eyes and boxcars be something extra special failure and success wise. You wouldn't need something different for each possibility, though.

The THE SUBCONCIOUS ochinchin occultists frt.sys (except Roswell because he doesn't want to be a part of it)
06-02-2017, 10:59 AM
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tulpa001 Offline
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RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
Eh... approved.

Host comments in italics. Tulpa's log. Tulpa's guide.
06-13-2017, 06:20 PM
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Stevie Offline
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#10
 
RE: The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
This isn't a new idea, couldn't anyone just re-purpose DnD rules? Seems like this guide just exists for the sake of existing, anyone that was already interested in a tabletop game experience with tulpas could look at thousands of other resources.

We're all gonna make it brah.
06-13-2017, 10:36 PM
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