Atalia’s Adventure – A Heartfelt RPG Narrative – Part 4

Atalia woke up the next morning extremely weak. Her whole body ached a lot, she felt extreme tiredness and an unparalleled thirst. Dragging herself, she went to look for the drops of water from the dew, while trying to reason about how she would survive in that state. Then she remembered the firefly and that made her forget for a moment the pain and fatigue, when she went to look for it she found it exactly where she was lying. She thought he was dead, but then she touched him and he lit up, held him with his hands and smiled excitedly about it but he didn’t react or move. She then started to push him with her finger so that he would walk a little, but only then would he lift his paws a little, move until he regained stability from the push and then stop. She then threw him in the air to see if he could fly, and he spread his wings, flew and then landed in front of her.

  • Test time! Atalia noticed that there was something strange about that insect, as it was expected that it would act more agitated, however tiredness and a sense of survival began to dispute space with its curiosity. From 0.01 – 0.90 it leaves it aside for a while and goes on looking for resources, from 0.91 – 1.00 it ignores hunger and fatigue and continues investigating the insect: 0.84.
  • Result: Reluctant about the insect’s behavior, he feels that it is not his real priority, leaving it aside a little and going to look around for what’s left of that house, something that could help him survive.

He found a well, which appeared to have water in it, but had no rope or bucket to catch it.

  • Test time! After checking with a rock that there was water at the bottom, Atalia thinks about how she could pull it out. Her idea was to improvise a rope by cutting strips of her blanket, but it couldn’t be too thick, as she needed it to resist the cold, and not too thin, as she would have the chance to break. With a sharp stone, tired hands and her low dexterity for manual work, she tried to make these bands. From 0.01 – 0.10 makes the bands just right, from 0.11 – 0.50 makes the bands a little wide, reducing the width of your blanket more than necessary, from 0.51 – 1.00 makes the bands too wide, thus compromising the power of the blanket protect it from the cold at night: 0.32.
  • Result: After cutting a few crooked strips, her blanket was already much smaller, but still wide enough to protect a small girl like her.

Tying the bands, he threw that rope until he reached the bottom, and pulling that wet cloth to the top, he wrung it and drank its water as if it were the most wonderful thing in the world. She would begin to feel the life flow through her body and she would repeat this process until she was satisfied. She then gathered some wood that wasn’t too burned and tried to fit them in the corner, making a protection where she could be safer during the night.

  • Test time! There was a lack of equipment and experience on how to do that, and also the woods were a bit heavy, he tried to support them in the best possible way as if he were building a hut. From 0.01 – 0.15 he can make a well closed hut with a firm structure, from 0.16 – 0.40 he makes a hollow hut but with a firm structure, from 0.41 – 0.80 he makes a hollow hut with a loose structure, from 0.81 – 1.00 he makes a leaky hut with unstable structure: 1.00.
  • Result: Working with wood was not Atalia’s forte, after a time of dedication and immense effort, her hut was horrible, it didn’t seem to protect from the cold and threatened to collapse at any moment, but it was the best she could do in those conditions.

Disheartened by the state of her hut, Atalia went to sift through the ashes looking for something that might be of use to her. Digging through the ashes, she found some burnt rags, some broken clay objects, a piece of metal that looked like the base of a hoe, and some bones.

  • Test time! Atalia had only seen animal bones until then, she didn’t imagine that those would be human bones. That way, she wasn’t surprised by them, following her search without imagining what had happened there. From 0.01 – 0.10 Atalia feels a chill and senses that there has been a murder there, from 0.11 – 0.30 Atalia feels a chill related to those bones, but does not understand what it could be, from 0.31 – 0.60 Atalia has the slight sensation that there is something strange in the air, from 0.61 – 1.00 Atalia doesn’t even suspect what might have happened and continues her search: 0.56.
  • Result: Atalia feels something strange, a kind of discomfort in that environment, as if there was a heavy load there, but she associates this with her state of tiredness and exhaustion, ignoring this feeling and continuing her search.

Gathering some not so broken clay objects, I thought of using them to store some water, and with that hoe base, I could cut more easily than using a stone. Certainly the difficulty was not over, but at least now he began to feel his chances of survival increasing. He took advantage of the hottest moment of the day to wash himself and take care of his wound, whose pain was beginning to bother him.

Carefully removing his bandages, he saw that the wound was still tender, it hurt just to touch it around, and he felt that inside it was still bad. With great care she washed herself thoroughly, and also tried washing the bandages, wringing them out and letting them dry before using them again. While waiting there in the sun to dry off she went to look for her firefly, which was right where she had left it that morning. This was very strange, as he appeared alive, but without reacting naturally to anything. Time passed quickly until she was completely dry and so were her bandages, she redid the bandage and then got dressed. He went looking around for what he could eat, some time later he had gathered a good amount of possibly edible things, but he decided to be more selective, not eating what left him in doubt. He also brought some dried leaves to make his hut more cozy.

It was already the end of the afternoon, when he decided to try to rebuild his hut, now with more energy, with the frustrating experience of the last attempt and the possibility of making some cuts in the wood with his hoe tip.

  • Test time! From 0.01 – 0.25 he can make a well closed hut with a firm structure, from 0.26 – 0.50 he makes a hollow hut but with a firm structure, from 0.51 – 0.90 he makes a hollow hut with a loose structure, from 0.91 – 1.00 he makes a hollow hut with unstable structure: 0.66.
  • Result: Working with wood really wasn’t easy for Atalia, after a time of dedication and immense effort, her hut was well hollowed out but the structure was no longer so unstable. She could risk spending the night there without so much fear of it collapsing on top of her.

Soon night fell and Atalia covered herself and leaned against the corner prepared for the cold that would come, even with some fear of the wood falling, so with the arrival in the darkness she remembered to look for her firefly. Crawling, she searched with her hands where she had left it and then picked it up. Bringing it close to her, she asked if he wasn’t going to turn on that little light? And then he started to glow. That did her good and the night passed more lightly, falling quickly to sleep.


Name: Athalia, daughter of Galieu from the region of Farhes
Appearance: Mixed Indian/European
Age: 16 years old
Profession: Wanderer
body clothes
hoe tip
poor health
strong odor
don’t feel disgusted
Not bothered by odors
likes to be alone
strong health
Affinity with animals
agile and flexible
language of the dead
Reanimate Coleoptera
Duchess of Mancini

RPG and growth curves

How did we get to where we are today? Of course, there are exceptions where jumps occur that change everything overnight. But in most cases things build slowly and gradually. Even in our academic background, sometimes we have contact with a scientific event or project in high school, so we go to graduation where things continue for a few more years, adding a participation in congress, a co-authorship in short, an experience in design and for there you go. Analyzed individually, they seem to be very simple actions, which contribute little to the academic curriculum, but then we start adding them up and more significant values begin to appear.

In today’s adventure everything may seem very banal, Atalia woke up and stayed in that burned house until the end of the day. But if we are to see what really happened to our character, it is that after a long and wounded journey, of not getting space with merchants who passed her on the road, she finally found a place to lay her head. Since this is intended to be a heartfelt adventure, the protagonist wants nothing more than a little security and boredom to fully recover. She is thriving on this adventure, learning to survive on her own, finding food, improvising a hut, gathering resources wherever she goes. Actions that until then were never a concern for her, but that are now starting to change the character. Even your little zombie firefly, we have already begun to notice an unconscious dominance over him, when asking if he would turn on the little light, and have his command obeyed. Atalia does not know that she is a necromancer, nor did she have mentors who identified these skills in her, but the first clues that there is something different about her are beginning to appear.

However, the topic of today’s discussion is the growth curve. This is a topic that I’ve discussed a lot with Pavel, and we always fall into a dilemma about how people learn/develop and how this can be modeled within an RPG.

We certainly can’t restrict a player from wanting their character to learn something new, because in life we learn new things all the time. Although there’s also the issue of how good you are at something, and how that might affect your actions. After many discussions on this topic, and experiences in RPG’s in which this was prohibited and in which it was allowed, I find it interesting to talk more about what happened in these contexts. When there was a clear rule about not acquiring new skills except through points awarded with leveling up, players would just go about their lives, and out of nowhere would appear with a whole new skill out of nowhere (Neo to Morpheus: I know kung fu!) . In scenarios where gaining abilities through training was allowed, players literally spent all of their character’s free time training. Social interactions or any other actions were ignored, and the whole focus was on training, including training so they didn’t feel like they were wasting time on nonsense. There were also intermediate contexts, in which the gain was associated with a mentor, in these cases, players always sought to find mentors who could give them the desired gains. In all contexts, I feel that the issue always hangs on the idea of gaining something or a thirst to improve yourself all the time.

If I needed to answer that today, about how I see the evolution of skills in an RPG scenario, I think the best answer would be a rhetorical question: what do you want to develop for?

Until the end of June, he was working as a Calculus III teaching intern, during this period he needed to teach a content that he felt he had little mastery of. So, I was studying to give a good class, and to be able to answer questions from my students. This was my intention, and it motivated and concerned me enough to dedicate myself to learning, for that, giving up other activities.

For an RPG the situation follows analogous, if a character wants to win a martial arts tournament, it is natural that he tries to train daily for that. But if he simply wants to live comfortably and his gun is instrumental in ensuring his personal safety, it might be wiser to sleep in single rooms at inns rather than camp around town.

Regarding numbers, points, how much you win, how much you lose… I believe this always ends in confusion. Because once we insert a numerical rule to model a gain/loss/improvement, we mentally start (sometimes involuntarily) to try to maximize our gains or minimize our losses. Even for very complex rules, at their extremes we will probably have absurd situations that do not correspond to a sustainable model. It’s that story:

  • If a mason builds a house in a year, can 365 masons build a house in a day?

I believe that the greatest weapon to avoid inconsistencies in the plot, and which even adds to the development of the story itself, is the story itself as a basis. Atalia tried to build her hut, spent time, energy and effort to do something good. But luck was against her, and the result was terrible… some time later, she decided it was worth trying again, contenting herself with the new result a little better than the previous one. If this is a baseline criterion, it is up to the players to maintain an awareness of what has already happened to their character throughout the adventure, and to make use of these experiences to demand better conditions for the tests (that is, a sign that they are no longer the same as when they last tried it).

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