Atalia’s Adventure – A Heartfelt RPG Narrative – Part 1

In the midst of a confused sensation of cold, heat, loss of senses and temporal sense, Atalia felt the shadow of death hovering around her. It was like a black horse, but darker than the night, that galloped towards her, reaching her, could feel the cold and comforting breath of that animal, it was then that she woke up.

She didn’t know how much time had passed, or where he was, with immense weakness and severe pain, he looked around and saw himself in a bed, in what seemed to be an ordinary house, he tried to get up but he was without strength and he kept watching what he could , until some time later an elderly lady appears with a basin that apparently would be taking care of her. She introduces herself to Athaliah as Ruth, wife of Gesiel, one of the coachmen who, after hearing the agitation of the horses, went there to see what was happening, when he found her injured and fainted in the inn, he promptly helped her by bringing her home, because although he never having spoken with Atalia, had known her since she was a child working in that place. Ruth then helps Atalia to wash and changes her bandages, taking the opportunity to ask if she remembered what happened.

  • Test time! Atalia, faced with this question, resumes her memories of what she witnessed and what resulted in that information, she felt that for the sake of the coachman’s family, she should keep that information to herself, so she tries to lie to Ruth. As Atalia has never had much contact with adults, lying is not something simple, especially in the weakened situation in which she finds herself. Let’s say 0.01 – 0.10 Atalia tells a convincing lie, 0.11 – 0.20 tells a lie with holes, 0.21 – 0.40 tells a bad lie, 0.41 – 1.00 can’t resist pressure and tells the truth (now I’m going to launch the test ): 0.02 (finally a good result for her).
  • Result: Atalia says that a man was surprised trying to saddle a horse, but the animal strangely resisted, she went to see what happened when he attacked her.

Ruth hears the story and seems unsurprised, saying that those stables really lacked security and that Athaliah was lucky to survive. Ruth says that Athaliah was unconscious for almost 10 days, that she still had to rest for some more time until she could go back to her work, and her husband Gesiel was worried about her recovery. Atalia continued to rest, at night Gesiel, an elderly coachman came to check on her, he was happy to see her conscious and she recognized him by sight, as one of the coachmen she had seen coming and going from the stable for several years. Gesiel tells Atalia to rest well that night, he will take her to the stable tomorrow, but she must rest until the time for the wagon to pass and then she can go home. Atalia thanks her for her hospitality and goes to bed, but she was worried about returning to that place, because if the bodyguard or the Duchess knew that she was still alive, they could try to kill her.

  • Test time! During that night Atalia began to imagine several possible scenarios, from returning to her old life, to even fleeing forever. She began to think about the difficulty and consequence of each decision, among them, the indirect consequences it could bring to the coachman’s family. She had never done anything like it, and her health was failing, from 0.01 – 0.10 she decides to leave before dawn, from 0.11 – 0.30 she decides to tell the coachman what happened and ask him for advice on what to do, from 0.31 – 1.00 she decides to do nothing: 0.53.
  • Result: Athaliah sleeps that night, and the next morning with Ruth’s help she gets ready to go with Gesiel to the stable. Her wounds hurt, but the bandages helped a lot. Ruth left some bandages with Athaliah so she could change them until nightfall.

Athaliah went with Gesiel to her place of work, however she was afraid that someone would see her and the Duchess or her bodyguard would come to know that she was still alive. Atalia tried to cover herself with a cloth in order to make her identity difficult.

  • Test time! Atalia has no experience with disguises and also had few materials for the purpose of hiding her identity, which to make it even more difficult, she has mixed Indian traits, which made her easily identifiable. So, from 0.01 – 0.10 she makes an effective disguise, from 0.11 – 0.20 she makes a bad disguise, from 0.21 – 1.00 disguise does not hide her identity at all: 0.14.
  • Result: Atalia covers her hair with a cloth as if it were a veil.

Along the way, they passed the cemetery, an unusual landscape for her, as it was not on the route that passed by wagon. That dark place that contrasted with the light of dawn, brought her a feeling of warmth and memory of that black horse she saw when she was on the verge of death. After arriving at their destination, Atalia thanked Gesiel and said that she would wait until the time for the wagon was given.

  • Test time! Atalia was undecided about where she could wait for that day. As she grew up in the stables, she knew that place well, she could wait there, but she was afraid to go back to where she was almost killed, she also thought about waiting near the servants’ quarters, but the risk of being recognized there would be high, on the other hand, she thought. in the cemetery as a place further away and different from where he has been. So, from 0.01 – 0.25 Atalia decides to face her recent trauma and wait in the stable where she already knew very well, from 0.26 – 0.50 Atalia decides to wait next to the other servants, from 0.51 – 1.00 Atalia decides to go to the cemetery: 0.73.
  • Result: Atalia walked slowly to the cemetery, and arriving there she felt that comforting aura again, there were few people there, praying for the dead, so she decided to do the same.

Atalia couldn’t read and never had contact with religion, she wasn’t sure what people said in their prayers to the dead, but she thought about how much she missed her father and how she wanted to see him again.

  • Test time! Atalia started picking out random tombstones and talking to the person who was buried there as if she was talking to her late father, saying how she missed him and wanted to see him again. Even though it had been more than 10 years since her death, she had never spoken about what she felt and this started an awakening of latent emotions. From 0.01 – 0.20 Atalia breaks down in tears and loses herself in the pain of loss, from 0.21 – 0.60 Atalia is very emotional but manages to hold back the pain and hold back the tears, from 0.61 – 1.00 Atalia manages to stop the awakening of these emotions by moving away from the idea that he was actually talking to his late father: 0.02.
  • Result: Atalia started crying and questioning why her father had left, that she missed him, that she wanted to have him back, to have him close. In a hodgepodge of love, hate, her sincere feelings went out her first time to those tombstones she didn’t know and without Atalia realizing it, she started to speak in another language (Acquired Skill: Language of the Dead).

Atalia spent the whole morning there when she began to feel hungry, and went back to the servants’ quarters to eat.

  • Test time! Atalia was afraid of being recognized, she tried to straighten her disguise and approach discreetly without meeting anyone’s eyes. As Atalia never interacted with anyone, mainly because of the strong odor she had, from 0.01 – 0.30 she goes in and out without attracting anyone’s attention, from 0.31 – 0.60 she is recognized by a person, from 0.61 – 1.00 she is recognized by more people: 0.43.
  • Result: Atalia passed by the cafeteria and one of the servants is surprised to see her, she looks away, eats quickly and leaves.

Atalia was worried that the Duchess or her bodyguard would learn of her presence there and would surprise her.

  • Test time! Atalia was indecisive, insecure and afraid of what could happen, she had been thinking about it all day and now she needed to decide where to go. From 0.01 – 0.20 finds a safe way to return home, from 0.21 – 0.50 chooses a low risk alternative, from 0.51 – 0.90 chooses a moderate risk alternative, from 0.91 – 1.00 chooses a high risk alternative: 0.19.
  • Result: Atalia decided to wait on the road, by the way the cart would pass. She felt tired to walk, her health was failing but she felt it was safer to walk away.

After some time walking, he sat down to rest and wait for the wagon. As the wagon passed, he waved and hitched a ride. The people in the wagon were surprised to find her there, and said that some guards had come to ask for her. Arriving home, Athaliah was received by her mother, uncle and brothers worried about her disappearance, Athaliah told the version she told Ruth, about having witnessed a horse thief, the same version she told the people in the wagon to explain what the guards might want with her. After eating, Atalia washed, changed the bandages and went to bed thinking about what she would do from now on, because even if she didn’t go back to that place, the people in the wagon would come to tell that they saw her, and consequently the Duchess would send someone after her. .


Name: Athaliah, daughter of Galieu from the region of Farhes
Appearance: Indian/European Mestizo
Age: 16 years
Occupation: Stable cleaner
body clothes
poor health
strong odor
don’t feel disgust
Don’t mind odors
not very communicative
like to be alone
strong health
affinity with animals
Agile and flexible
language of the dead
Duchess of Mancini

RPG and “the forced insertion of math”

In the previous post (Atalia’s adventure, part 0) we talked about conditional probability and probability distribution, however, in today’s text I want to tell you a little about my first experiences with RPG in Mathematics Education. During graduation, I was a scholarship holder of PIBID (Institutional Scholarship Program for Initiation to Teaching), and as part of these activities I took math games to Elementary School students Final Years of a full-time school, during lunch break. As a matter of pride, I put myself together with a friend not to repeat games in any week, so due to a limitation of the existing games in the Mathematics Education Laboratory from which most scholarship holders took the games to take them, we need to start developing new games weekly. This work led us to several aspects of what we could do (and even call a game), and one of them was to bring an RPG to the students.

We took a map from the Nintendo Zelda game, gathered Chibi-style characters from various contexts to form playable characters and monsters to create the combat instances. We created powers, damage systems, restrictions on the use of skills and success conditions (basic procedures for RPG’s), but after completing these steps, we started looking for “where we could insert Mathematics in this game”. So we looked to make quests that involved solving puzzles that could yield rewards or facilitate combat contexts if solved correctly. These quests with the proposed math challenges are listed in the expanded summary that we wrote together later talking about this experience, called RPG NA ESCOLA, E AGORA? (RPG AT SCHOOL, WHAT NOW?).

At that time, I still had a very limited view of this need to “embed mathematics in the game”. In my opinion, the experience with this RPG (I say this one, because there were others that I will deal with in this blog yet) was quite weak, because despite the layout similar to digital games and the use of vivid colors, it did not follow the dynamics with which the events and interaction took place. The situation of solving the puzzles was purely solving math problems, with little to no relation to those characters the players took on. Even the combat moments were bad, as challenges would lead to combat benefits (like monster reduction), missing challenges would lead to unfavorable monster amounts and combat conditions. In a way, we ended up tweaking the characteristics of the monsters at the last minute so that the player characters could handle the combat.

Despite considering that we didn’t reach the desired interaction for the game, this experience brought many reflections that appear especially in Atalia’s Adventure part 1, such as the question of who solves a mental challenge within the game? We can think that if we played with a character like Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias from the Watchman series and considered the smartest human being in the world), in situations of reasoning and technical decisions, it wouldn’t make sense for the player to decide, but the character. Ahhhh, but then we can think that if our character is so smart, then we’re not actually playing with him, but watching him play? Also no, this is in fact an issue that I’ve discussed a lot with friends about RPG, in the sense of what is playing RPG. The decision is up to the player, the character’s reasoning is up to the character, Veidt for example in Watchman thinks of a solution to stop the Russian arms conflict with the US during the Cold War (this is a merit of the character, it is not expected that the player think of a high-level solution), but that solution involves the death of millions of innocent people (this is up to the player to decide). Similarly, a very intelligent player controlling a character of very limited intelligence could not override his advanced thoughts on the character’s actions. It would be as if Adrian Veidt controlling the character Rorschach convinced scientists from all over the world to develop a system that would stop Dr. Manhattan to see the future to come.

In the context of Atalia’s Adventure part 1, we see a similar situation, when Atalia was worried that the Duchess or her bodyguard would come to know of her presence there and would come to surprise her. At that moment I went to describe the test, without specifying what she would do exactly, just the risk involved in the decision she would take. This was a moment when the intelligence to be tested was that of the character, she needed to think of a way to return home safely, it would be useless for me to wait for the player to “think” of an alternative, such as hiding in a barrel, wait in the graveyard, stay in the stable… from the test result, I as the Storyteller would be able to tell how safe the choice she made was, regardless of the choice. This is an aspect that unfortunately I often see in RPGs associated with the player, leading to a situation where the player says “I took the road” and the narrator thinks “wow, how did he find out that this was the only safe alternative?”. This is an example where the player’s intelligence has overlapped with the character’s, and the event itself seems independent of their choices.

The same situation occurs when Athalia decides to lie to Ruth about what happened, it would not be enough for the player to invent a satisfactory lie, because then players with excellent rhetoric would automatically have characters with excellent rhetoric. This logic shouldn’t make sense, as weightlifting players wouldn’t automatically have their muscles transposed to the characters they control.

That said, I return to what I was telling you about the experience of taking an RPG to school and associating the skills of solving in-game challenges with the players, as a way of “inserting math into the game”. From what we’ve seen of Atalia’s adventure, there’s a lot of decision making and reasoning involved in assessing the context and calculating the risk of an action. Thus, there is as much mathematical reasoning to solving problems in these “real” situations as there is to solving “artificial” mathematical problems inserted somewhat forcedly into the game.

This is an understanding that took a lot of time, experience, and conversations with other players to mature. But it’s the beginning of a vision of how to work math within games without it being an element of punishment or reward 🙂

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