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The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
NaViAlcatraz Offline
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#1
 
The Tulpa Role-Playing Game
Version 3.1

There are always moments when it seems like there's nothing to do with my tulpas, or when I feel like I need a more entertaining way to practice tulpamancy, so I often looked for fun exercises or games to play. Typically, my searches came up with nothing. Then, I stumbled on a very interesting post about a turn based tulpa game which you can play any number of people in your wonderland. Unfortunately, the thread has become inactive. As a side project, I've been trying to refine the game, specifically by incorporating a D&D style of game-play into it. Here's the latest version I've written. Some portions of this have been taken from the thread this game originated from. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Terminology and Requirements:
  • The GM (game master) – The one who manages the game 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 coins flips
  • 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.
  • Campaign - A session of the Tulpa RPG
  • A detailed wonderland or scenario. This will be the setting of the game
  • (Optional) a place like a paper or a computer file to record the players’ actions, the outcomes to the actions and any long term changes to their characters, e.g. injuries, new clothing or scars.
How to play:
The GM describes the setting of the campaign and the players describe their character’s appearance. If any of the player’s faces are not known for whatever reason, use a substitute model (can be anything or anybody from Jessica Alba to slenderman to a talking brick, the GM just needs to be able to picture the model clearly).

Based on the setting, the players perform an ‘action’. The GM decides whether or not the action is acceptable. Examples of actions are walking, conjuring items, using objects or searching things. 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. 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). Even talking to an NPC, however, will be considered an action.

Upon the accepting of an action, the GM can choose to use one of the following tools:
  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 have to 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.
The most powerful action is asking the GM directly for help. A tool MUST be used in such a case. If the tool decides that they must obey, then the GM provides a solution to the current problem (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 powerful the request was. Since asking the GM for help should be a last-resort action, it means that the punishment is usually massive.

Note: just to clarify, using a tool is not mandatory every action. It is the GM's choice in all cases except the above mentioned case.

The Goals of The Game
The game only ends when the players decide to start a new campaign. There is no specific task 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 interesting story possible. It doesn't matter how random and off-track the story gets, creativity is the only rule and requirement.

Skills Required and 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. It also becomes easier to bond with your tulpa by quickly building a feeling of companionship in campaigns. This is especially true if the scenarios are very challenging or turbulent, which forces a great deal of teamwork between players.

The development of participating tulpas is encouraged by the game because they are exposed to various actions and choices. Their personalities can help become fleshed out based on how they approach the game and their dialogue in the game. 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 such parroting effectively becomes a form of narration rather than a full fledged game. This game can also help eliminate 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.

Game Mode:
I personally prefer the turn based approach where each player gets exactly one action and gets their action back when all the other players have used their actions. I dislike unlimited actions as it can make games too difficult to keep track of. The GM can make it so that the players must play in a particular order, but that method can overly restrict creativity by forcing a reluctant player to act even if another player has a better idea up their sleeves. Regardless of game mode, communication between players should always be allowed if it does not affect the wonderland.

Coin Flip (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 some cases
  1. Asking the GM for help could require multiple heads
  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 take baking a loaf of bread. A character who cooks casually could take two flips with only a double tails resulting in failure. A chef character who has been cooking for their whole life could take three flips with one head required. A character who's trying to bake for the first time could take a double flip with double heads needed to succeed.
  3. When there are varying levels of quality in the action. E.g., two flips for three levels of quality, such 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'
Dice
The higher the number is, the better the outcome. Double dice rolls are recommended. The following is an outline of the outcomes under a double dice roll. Just to be clear, this section is still a WIP.
  • Snake eyes provide the best possible outcome, even better than the requested action
  • 3-5 simply accepts the action
  • 6 is a failed action with a positive outcome
  • 7 is totally neutral, with the GM becoming allowed to re-roll or simply declare the outcome themselves
  • 8 is a successful action with a negative outcome
  • 9-11 simply fails the action
  • Box cars effectively mean the GM is allowed to bring hell on earth for the players. 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 particularly careful probability calculations for this, but I feel that it is in a playable state now. The next version of the guide will probably include an edit for this section with probability taken further into account.

Note:  I edited this section according to some provided suggestions, 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 nuanced. Secondly, it can be difficult to spontaneously provide challenges to the players in the event of a failed event. This section should hopefully help.

For decision making,
  • Try to account for the characters in the request. A 6'5" battle-maiden is likely to be able to lift a boulder. A summoned seahorse is not.
  • In the case of a fantasy world where character appearances don't matter, 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 using a tool for all actions, even impossible ones, makes the game too based on chance. I'd recommend saving tools for actions where the decision making 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 the resilience of the target respectively, 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,  the bartender becomes honest (reject bribe) or avaricious (demands more money). If the action succeeds, the bartender is either dishonest, greedy (but not so greedy that more money is demanded) or poor, so they accept the bribe. These qualities will remain in the clerk for the rest of the game, and the important thing to note here is that the tool mainly decided the clerk's personality, not the GM alone.
Scenario Ideas
Here are some examples of settings to provide a better picture of how the game can be played. In the ones marked with a '~', I'd recommend for the GM to plan ahead.
  • ~A murder mystery
  • 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 blank, white world
  • ~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
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.]

Final Note:
This is the link to the post that inspired me, and I must express how grateful I am to the author for thinking this up, because the game has become one of the greatest bonding activities me and my tulpas have tried, and it is so much fun.

Thanks for reading!

Changelog And Future Plans

Host: Navi
Tuppers in order of birth: Clarissa, Lily, Aoi & Haru, As of Yet Unnamed aka "U"
Familiars: Northern Goshawk, Raven, Genet, Snow Leopard, Siberian Husky, Chimpanzee
(This post was last modified: 08-11-2017, 10:18 AM 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
Lyra & tups
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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 this system, Lyra.
Tulpas: Apollo, Piano, Luxi, Luci, Tacio.
Our Tulpa Endeavor - System Discord: @Beatles#8733
05-29-2017, 01:04 PM
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Sands Offline
And Roswell
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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
Lyra & tups
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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 this system, Lyra.
Tulpas: Apollo, Piano, Luxi, Luci, Tacio.
Our Tulpa Endeavor - System Discord: @Beatles#8733
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2017, 02:55 PM by Beatles.)
06-01-2017, 02:55 PM
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NaViAlcatraz Offline
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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!

Host: Navi
Tuppers in order of birth: Clarissa, Lily, Aoi & Haru, As of Yet Unnamed aka "U"
Familiars: Northern Goshawk, Raven, Genet, Snow Leopard, Siberian Husky, 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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#8
 
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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#9
 
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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