Currently Untitled Sky Exploration Solo Mini-TTRPG

okay, so i have a first draft (version number .02 because i changed the intro stuff a little after feedback from some people here in the first axe thread) of this thing.

here is a link

please play it and tell me about your experience! over the next few months i want to try fixing any problems it might have, and maybe then attempting to fund a print version in kickstarter’s annual zine quest promotion for small ttrpgs? maybe that’s ludicrously ambitious i dunno. it’d be nice though.

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I just played a quick game. This is really cool! That’s my only thought right now. I’m going to play another, more in-depth, game tomorrow and keep a proper journal and post it (by this weekend probably).

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i’m glad you like it, and i’m rreally interested to see your journal :smile_cat:

As promised here is my journal. Besides the stuff I came up with for my character I basically rewrote your stuff to be in a first person past tense point of view to read more like a real journal. I spoilered the stuff you wrote because discovering each of them was part of the fun for me as I’ve only been reading the ones I got from my dice rolls so there are still dozens I haven’t read yet. I added the numbers I drew for each entry and I encourage anyone curious and wanting to follow along to refer to their own copy.

My Travel Journal

Greetings. My name is Topii Tnichtlo of the tribe Tnich. My people are one of several tribes who live on a large, mountainous island in the middle of the ocean. We hunt skywhales for meat and resources and use their skins to make balloons we fill with a gas that emerges regularly from the cracks in the central mountain shared by all tribes. The balloons allow us to tether ourselves to the mountains and float higher and higher to hunt larger skywhales.

Recently the elders of the tribes all gathered and decided we would pool our resources to construct the largest, strongest balloons ever made that can float a fortified shelter on a large, reinforced platform stocked with food and water reserves, as well as a mounted telescope and harpoon. They have decided it is time for us to start exploring the world beyond our island home. A call was put out for volunteers of the most able-bodied who were willing to take the risk of venturing out and possibly never returning. The volunteers who were approved for the journey drew straws to decide who would go. I was afraid at first drawing my straw but when it was revealed to be the shortest I knew in my heart that I was meant to go on this incredible journey.

On the day of my departure all of the tribes gathered to see me off and offer up blessings and prayers. I am keeping this journal to document my initial outing.

Day 1 (52)
After floating for several hours until my island home became little more than a dot on the horizon I encounter an area of sky crackling with lightning despite there being no clouds or other signs of storms. As I got closer the source of the lightning became apparent: I saw what appeared to be two humans, clearly having cultivated within themselves incredible amounts of power, standing in midair, staring each other down in a face off, each seemingly wondering which of the two was stronger and anxious to find out int he near future.

Day 2 (23)
Came upon a vast, empty desert in the middle of which stood a tower whose height would put some mountains to shame. It seems whoever built this tower has long since lost interest in it, though, as it’s clearly fallen into ruin. It’s so tall and so dilapidated that I was actually able to fly the balloon through the tower’s hollowed-out upper echelons. The walls were decorated with stone reliefs depicting the wealth and glory of ancient kings, their names and achievements now forgotten and buried in the sand, save for this one tower.

Day 3 (51)
An enormous city below made its presence known to me via plumes of smoke and racket of alarms, explosions and general noise loud enough to be heard faintly from my position in the sky above. Looking down the city was clearly under attack by one of the largest animals I’ve ever seen, beaten only by the colossal skywhales back home. The city’s battle looked like a losing one, as the massive beast stomped around breathing fire and tearing buildings apart with its claws.

Day 4 (44)
Down below I saw an unusual forest, stretching out for miles and miles. Unlike the browns and greens of most forests, this was a forest of whites, pinks and yellows, as it was made up of huge fungi instead of ancient trees. There were no sounds of insects, birds, or anything else coming from this place, only the occasional sound of clouds of spores being released, that made me glad to be flying so high above.

Day 5 (53)
I woke up today, stepped outside onto the deck and began to panic. The balloon was far closer to the ground than it should have been! All around me was grassland with ancient, partially-overgrown stone ruins dotting the landscape as well as a tree or two here and there. Then I noticed: at a certain point the grassland just stopped and there was only open sky beyond. After some time I had passed over what was clearly an island, floating in the sky, tethered to the ground by an impossibly long chain, and with water spilling endlessly from the mouth of a river on one side.

It was at this point that I decided my journey had gone on long enough and that I should turn back and bring my newfound knowledge of the world to my people.

Day 6
Passing over the strange floating island again I began to wonder about it’s origin: the chain and the ruins suggest that its means of elevation aren’t the product of nature, though the silence and the obvious age of those ruins says whoever caused it is long gone. Maybe when I get back home I can return with a party to try and find out what makes this place tick. Perhaps even see if the technology can be replicated.

Day 7
The forest of fungus stood silent and eerie upon the landscape but not unmoving or unchanging. It was definitely bigger than it was when I last passed by, both in terms of the ground it covered, and in terms of how high the tallest mushrooms reached into the sky. Most horrifying of all, I saw a group of riders on horseback fleeing a wind-blown cloud of spores, the slowest of them being caught up in it and, within seconds, becoming a still white rubbery statue, as yet more fungus sprouted from their entire body.

Day 8
All is now quiet in the area that was once a monster-besieged city. Though only days have passed, where there were once towers of glass, brick, stone and steel, there is now only lush vegetation, almost all signs that this was once a place inhabited by humans are now overgrown. In a clearing at the centre of the late city lies the one who brought it down: curled up in a peaceful sleep.

Day 9
On my second passing through the ruined upper floors of the vast and ancient tower I decided to try and tether the balloon to the structure and get out and look around. However things did not go as planned. The wind continued to blow the balloon along even as it was tied to the tower. I made a mad dash to clamber back aboard but could not untie the rope before the balloon pulled part of the tower over. As I floated away in the direction of home I looked back at that unknowable old structure, now roughly half the height it was when you first encountered it, and thought about how glad I was that there was no one else around to witness my folly.

Day 10
As I came back to the area where the two martial artists were having their standoff, I looked through my telescope and realized I’d have to take something of a detour around them: though they still had yet to start trading blows, the sheer amount of energy coursing through the air around them made it look like it would be as safe to sail through as a hurricane.

As for the experience itself I like how much of a chill, choose-your-own-adventure-with-rng thing it is at the moment. I recall some of the discussion in the last thread when you were first talking about the idea and I don’t remember exactly how much of a game you were wanting to turn this into but there was some talk about having a few stats to keep track of like character HP, balloon/hut HP and Food/Water reserves. I think that could still be a thing that might add to the experience itself without introducing a lot of mental overhead on the player’s part but I would keep it all as simple as possible.

So each day you’d automatically subtract -1 for food/water and then roll a dice to determine if you found anything to replenish your reserve and then roll again to see how much you got if any.

But again all of that would introduce fail states and it’s really about the journey and using your imagination so I don’t know how much adding those types of rules to the game would encourage that. I still feel like I should be rolling the dice more though.

Maybe adding a dice roll each day to decide which cardinal direction you travel in for the next day and that somehow determining… something else about the world. It would imply all these things are in fixed locations though and you would be able to map them out on a piece of paper and that obviously isn’t really a thing that’s possible in its current form.

It might be that it’s just fine as it is and really only needs lots more encounter descriptions for the player to draw from so they can play for a lot longer before encountering repeats. Also instead of using two die I just used one and rolled it twice. In this manner you could keep adding new encounters and just having the player roll an extra time for each new tier you add, without requiring the use of extra dice.

Anyway great work so far! It’s a fun thing to play with.

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i really enjoyed reading your journal! and you’ve mostly come to the same conclusions as i have regarding design. the big problem is that adding more dice rolls massively expands the number of entries for each added die.

i removed the stuff like hp and food supply because i thought that a fail state might take away some of the “relaxing journey” aspect of the game, as well as possibly overcomplicating it? i definitely do want to try writing a more perilous exploration game at some point, though. hmmm, but also, it would add a little bit of “should i keep going, or is it time to go back?” tension… :thinking:

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hasanyone else tried it yet :?D

bump?