Welcome to the final episode for series 36! We welcome back Adira Slattery and discuss the character creation process for her new game, Tension, a queer cat and mouse game for 2 players! Amelia had to sit this series out, but this episode, Ryan and Adira get into some great discussion and some really amazing fanfic that Ryan can’t stop thinking about! Join us for the finale for the most condensed character creation series to date!
Welcome to the final episode for series 36! We welcome back Adira Slattery and discuss the character creation process for her new game, Tension, a queer cat and mouse game for 2 players! Amelia had to sit this series out, but this episode, Ryan and Adira get into some great discussion and some really amazing fanfic that Ryan can’t stop thinking about! Join us for the finale for the most condensed character creation series to date!
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Adira Slattery @AdiraSlattery
Tension by Adira Slattery
Character Creation Cast:
Ryan Boelter 0:01
Welcome to the final episode of series 36. Everyone. It's out a bit later than usual due to all sorts of life happening, but we made it. I'm really excited to have you here this episode, especially the spectacular fanfic section. But before we get to that, some announcements as usual. First up, if you've been following my primary campaign on Twitch at twitch kimera dot games, you can know that this coming Friday, we will be in the final stages of our horror module playthrough, where we face the unknown, and fight a giant kaiju monstrosity, which should be super interesting. My players have all been remarkable, and I cannot wait to see how they tackle this one. You can catch all the action starting at 7:30pm Central time, this coming Friday. Secondly, if you have liked what you've heard in the series so far, the Kickstarter for tension is live until the end of the month. It's already funded within the first day, which is absolutely fantastic. And I would love to see it pushed past the 20 $800 mark to get the form fillable character sheets created. For easier online play, head on over to the show notes to find the link to that project and packet if you haven't yet. Lastly, we are always in the need for more reviews nowadays. So if you haven't had a chance to leave one, we both would really appreciate it. I know it's been just me this whole series but I'd love to get back to reading more of these with Amelia when we are able to record together again, which will likely be the next series. So if you could help us out and leave a review on Apple podcasts pod chaser stitcher or wherever else, we would greatly appreciate it. That is all for now. So please join us after the show for the call to action and the outtakes as usual on the last episode of the series are now enjoy the show everyone.
Ryan Boelter 2:53
Welcome back to our discussion episode. Last time we created a detective a murder and 20 connected characters for tension. This episode we will be discussing the character creation process. We are very thrilled to welcome back a dear Slattery, designer of this game. Do you want to reintroduce yourself again for everyone at home and tell us a little bit about the main character that you made in our last episode? Yeah. Hi,
Adira Slattery 3:23
my name is Dara Slattery. You can find me on Twitter at dheeraj Slattery. And you can get my firstname.lastname@example.org and tension itself. You can get coming to Kickstarter on February 14,
Ryan Boelter 3:39
which should have yesterday if you're listening to this the day of release.
Adira Slattery 3:43
Oh, perfect. Let's hope that it's it's smashing everything and made a bajillion million dollars. Me Dominique and Francine Erica and just piles of money.
Ryan Boelter 3:56
Yeah. Throw piles of money their way. It's fine. Yeah.
Adira Slattery 4:01
So I, the main character that I made in our last episode was the investigator. She is a journalist named Heather. She has dirty glasses and wears a leather jacket. In her pockets are often found empty pill bottles and chewed pens. And she has an obsession with chrisley accidents.
Ryan Boelter 4:24
Mm hmm. All right,
Adira Slattery 4:26
Ryan, how about your main character?
Ryan Boelter 4:28
Yeah, and I created the killer known as Alexa. She her pronouns. She is a driven killer, killing for a purpose. And her looks are she has an easy laugh. A tailored suit, piercing eyes and fun socks. And her pattern for her murders is she always leaves a flash drive with a cryptic video on it with Alexa's voice narrating
Unknown Speaker 5:07
Ryan Boelter 5:10
Awesome. Ah. So I'm really excited to talk about this game. So let's go ahead and dive right into a segment that we're calling a D 24, your thoughts, the 25th thoughts. So in this segment, we want to talk to our guests about their thoughts on the character creation process and how it relates to this system and to other games. But first, we like to get to know our guests a little better before we begin. Now, it has been a while and I can't remember if we covered this with you, when you were a guest co host. So just in case, can you tell us how you got into RPGs in the first place?
Unknown Speaker 5:52
Oh, yeah. Um,
Adira Slattery 5:53
so when I was seven years old, I watched this episode of Batman The Animated Series, where Batman gets stuck in a maze with a Minotaur. Right? Okay. I thought that was really cool. And I came up with a game around drawing mazes. Me and my friend Holden would play on the back of worksheets at Hebrew school, where I would draw a maze on the back and put some letters in there. And he would move his finger through the maze. And when he would hit a letter, if it was like a D, it'd be like, Oh, you hit a dragon. Or if it was a T, you'd be like, oh, there's a big T rex or something. Yeah, the letter would show the first beginning of the challenge. And then we would narrate it out together, the two of us, and then we'd keep going. And I show this to my dad. My dad was like, Oh, this is like this thing I played in the 80s. And he threw the 1983 basic edition of Dungeons and Dragons at me. Oh, wow. Um, and so I played a basic d&d throughout Elementary School. Three, oh, came out pretty soon there. I played that with my older brother dming for me and my dad. Then I started running games for my friends in middle school. And I kept playing role playing games. I searched and found and played every single edition of d&d I learned how to play chainmail. When I went to college, I got really into LARPing and branched out in high school, I was playing non d&d games like, like gurps and like the the Firefly cortex system,
Ryan Boelter 7:41
Adira Slattery 7:43
in college is when I like really branched out into like, Amber diceless larps. And nobilis games and Lady Blackbird and, and all sorts of things of that, that ilk. And that Yeah, and I started writing larps. I used to write like big, like 40 person, partner larps, with like, multi page backstories for every single character and things like that. And then, I started writing weird, experimental role playing games. And now we're here.
Ryan Boelter 8:25
That's awesome. Yeah, this one definitely feels pretty unique in terms of what we've covered so far. So I'm really excited about this one. So what is your personal process then for creating characters in any system?
Adira Slattery 8:43
So, to me, it depends on sort of what my goals are. for, like, play at that moment. And, like, if it's, like I'm playing a bunch of Lancer recently, and that since it's a more like, traditional tactical combat sort of game, I'm thinking about, like, the specific, like, niche that my character is fitting, like, tactics wise, I've been playing a character does a lot of like, support stuff. So like mechanically, I oftentimes find myself gravitating towards filling a hole, especially in mechanically heavy systems like that. And then I just build my character from there based off of like slipping through the lore and being like, Ooh, this is a cool thing or just being like, I want to, like, play a bag and then I play it back. And yeah, I am playing like a long running campaign of masks for like the first time throughout, like pandemic now and It's, uh, that one also was less. It's different from like these like, traditional mechanical stuff. Yeah, it's it says a pvta game. There's not like tactical combat stuff like that. So when I thought about character creation there, it was less about, like filling a hole, and more about like, well, what sort of tropes and stories really resonate with me and really do I want to explore right now. Right? So I ended up making x villain. type that reformed pirate because being a pirate is fun. Yeah, it
Ryan Boelter 10:40
was illegal downloads,
Adira Slattery 10:42
huh? No, no, this is this is this is swashbuckling.
Ryan Boelter 10:47
That's, that's a, pretty much objectively, probably more fun,
Unknown Speaker 10:52
Ryan Boelter 10:54
That's very cool. So let's get into a discussion about tension itself, then. How do we think character creation in this game stacks up to other systems that we've played and created characters for?
Adira Slattery 11:10
So tension in this game? And character creation in this draws heavily from the like, glowing outside belonging? no dice, no master style? picklists? Right. Okay. So people who have played either the influences that I mentioned before, great games by Jane by Jamie, or if they've looked at trubisky dream apart. they're familiar with that sort of idea of like looking at an evocative list of options and picking from there and sort of building from there. It's designed to sort of like, have you hit the ground running, and give you a lot of room in play to, like, jump off of things? Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah,
Ryan Boelter 11:59
it was, it was very simplistic. It was it didn't require you know, like any sort of min maxing or anything like that, I don't even think that's possible in this game. Now. So it's nice because it's, it feels very, very relaxed. And the the character creation itself, feels. I want to say low stakes, until you get to the part where you realize that you're killing these characters. Yeah. I'm so having never played it before having never created characters for it before. I didn't realize that until we were almost done. And then I was like, Oh, no. Yeah. I love these people, though.
Adira Slattery 12:50
That the literal first action of the game. The killer plays one of the major arcana and that person starts out dead.
Ryan Boelter 12:58
Oh, no. Okay, we're gonna have to do this for our fanfic portion, I believe. So I am very interested to see who gets killed. Yeah, yeah. Oh, no. Oh, that's so sad. But yeah, my goodness, low stakes until you know, and then it's, then it's kind of, it's still feels like, laid back. Mm hmm. You know, it feels like okay, we're just creating a couple cool NPCs and figuring out how they relate to ourselves and relate to each other. I really like that. And I really like how a game about romance, eventually. Is, is very much has the this simplistic, but very intricate relationship system going on through it because we have relationships to one another. Pretty implicitly through all of these side characters. Yeah. Whereas like, you know, like traditional pbta, and whatnot. They've got like, Oh, your character, and this character, know each other because of this thing that happened in the past or whatever. It's like, that's all fine and good. But this is all like inferencing like everything, about our relationship to one another. And that sounds really fun to untangle during a play session.
Adira Slattery 14:31
Yeah, it's a little more like breathing, living breathing than the other sort of more. Because like, a lot of those sorts of relationship things in in your pvta game are about, like backstory, right? I'm like, sure we're doing a fair amount of backstory generation here with these relationships, but also, its its front story, too. Yeah,
Ryan Boelter 14:55
yeah, exactly. And it would be interesting to see how this would play out, like, deciding on doing a different setting, per se because we just kind of defaulted to you know, modern reality. Yeah, effectively. But this would be fun on like a, like a starship from Star Trek or, you know, space fantasy or, you know, traditional fantasy type stuff and, and kind of tweak the the different roles and, and everything. I think that would be really interesting. Oh, there's so many good, good possibilities here.
Adira Slattery 15:32
Yeah, I wrote a whole thread on Twitter, as I published the like, first look of tension in December, because I just really wanted to show it to people. So I like put together this really quick layout. And like, throw it up with no edit. There's there's a, every time I look there's a there's a typo in the word parent. Look at it. And I'm like, this is why I pay people to edit. Yeah. But when when that came out, I made a whole thread that was like, all of like, different things that you could like, make hacks of for attention that were that were like, calling out some things and Yes, here we go. Alright, um, list of hacks. Hades in pr 70. The new normal buddy film the nice guys. Okay. Time Travel romance stories. Such as the Time Traveler's Wife. This is how you lose the Time War or Edge of Tomorrow. Okay. Oh, immortal warriors encountering each other. I'll Highlander being lovers who are in doing dog fights. Ooh, you could even push it even farther to be like, rival monarchs or like rival 1800 scientists. Yeah. And, I mean, you could also just do the classic bodice Ripper.
Ryan Boelter 17:11
Oh, yeah. Very nice. And you could you could almost take a pairing from Alex Roberts starcrossed. Mm hmm. And just transpose them as the main characters here, and I think that would be really interesting to
Adira Slattery 17:29
Yeah, I actually I talked to Alex. Because I don't know if you know, this. starcross. Like in development name was that was tension.
Ryan Boelter 17:40
Yep. Yeah. We interviewed Alex. Right, as the name was changing. Oh, so we set up the interview under tension. And, and, and we we did the actual recording under starcrossed. Which was really interesting. Yeah,
Adira Slattery 17:59
yeah. Cuz I talked to Alex about, like, why the name changed and things like that. And Alex also, like, gave me her blessing on Yeah, use the name tension. Go for it.
Ryan Boelter 18:08
That's awesome. Yeah, that was my first thought. When I when I heard the name of the game. I'm like, that sounds very familiar. But I love it. I love I love the name tension for a game of where romantic tension and and literal life and death tension kind of go hand in hand. Thanks. That's very nice. Awesome. Um, so how does the process of character creation reinforce the feel of tension and set expectations for play? So
Adira Slattery 18:44
there are like two main things that that I can think about that like, I know I was doing intentionally around the character creation of of tension to like, push play forward. One of them is the different options in the look section. I briefly mentioned the killer is a peacock in the last episode, and
Unknown Speaker 19:11
Adira Slattery 19:13
thought so hard about the look and and also the the pattern and obsession sections. Yeah. But look, sort of even more so. to like, trying to, like, push forward. This like, sort of view of this this character, right. Hmm. It was a lot of I scrolled through all sorts of images of man's Mickelson and Judy combers wardrobe for the killer. Man speckles and it is Hannibal and it is real now and scrolling through the there there co-stars for the investigator looking at all those different hallmarks and then also just like being like, I did a lot for this of just reaching out and like poking, either like my spouse or friends are especially posting in the brain trust Discord. The Pinterest podcasts is a fabulous podcast, they have a great discord that a lot of people can do some pretty cool design stuff in and I was over in that discord just being like, what are things and having all that sort of stuff rattling around in my head to be able to inspire me to, to push all that stuff. So that way I could really hone all that stuff in specifically around these different things like the empty pill bottles for the investigator, right. As somebody who is empty pill bottles, because of HRT, because of my trans status, and as empty pill bottles because of mental illness and disability.
Unknown Speaker 21:20
Adira Slattery 21:22
like, matters to me, and it also says a lot about a person who, like, keeps those pill bottles.
Ryan Boelter 21:30
Adira Slattery 21:34
Yeah, so so those picklists were very specific things that I thought about as far as pushing things forward and play. And the other thing that I thought about a bunch, as far as character creation being having play push forward is the selection of the tarot card. Okay. So, you by you picking the tower, it removes all of the other character options for the tower from being in play.
Ryan Boelter 22:05
Adira Slattery 22:08
And that changes a lot of things. It changes the the possibilities for how that sort of relationship web forms, a lot of play itself is pushing and pulling and tearing apart and rebuilding this web?
Ryan Boelter 22:26
Absolutely. I was curious, if you all both characters, both main characters are commas as a relationship to one another? Does? Does that normally like does that work the same way as with one of these NPCs? or so? or? Yeah, that special happened at that point?
Adira Slattery 22:49
So I was of sorta three different minds of that. One of them is his habit just be normal habit, that these characters had an established dynamic already, that then is changed by this encounter, that like goes forward and shows that they now know these things about each other. Right. And then there was telling you to redraw. And I went with sort of a more of the the the the redraw sort of point. I wanted to, I wanted to have the game be about the full relationship, right? It can be a lot of fun to have backstory between people. But I really like it when that stuff is all brought on screen. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. So by not allowing the killer and the investigator to have that sort of relationship set up beforehand. It really sort of pushes and reinforces that. Now, that being said, somebody who's listening to this and disagrees with my reasoning can of course, change it.
Ryan Boelter 24:17
You have that option? Yeah. Yeah. No, I really like that. I like the thought that it's through all these auxilary relationships, that your your webs, your orbits, kind of start interlacing with one another.
Adira Slattery 24:36
And it makes it feel a little more serendipitous.
Ryan Boelter 24:38
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I really like I really like the way that it works out this way. Um, gosh, it definitely could work the other way. But I like this. This happened as well. Goodness. And I really like now knowing that these characters are going to die or at least I Probably a good amount of them. Yeah. I, I don't know if I would approach it differently. But I might on a subconscious level. Because Because I know that my expectations of play are going to be. I'm going to create these darlings. And we're literally going to be killing them. Yeah. Which, which is really fun. When, especially when you you read through and you, you state pretty succinctly that this is kind of a dark humor sort of story that we're telling this isn't supposed to be like grim dark, or anything like that. Yeah. You're supposed to have a lot of fun with the, the murdering and whatnot criminality of it. All. Right. So, so I think it definitely does set that sort of expectation. Yeah. Right. Um, especially when you're creating some really cool, you know, femme fatale grandparents, yes.
Adira Slattery 26:12
Now, because also, the interesting thing, also to the point of characters dying and things like that, is that since you're like drawing cards from a deck, you might not even draw the card for a character to show up in a session. Yeah. And you have to someone has to show up for them to die.
Ryan Boelter 26:28
Okay. I mean, that makes sense. So, so it's, it's pretty. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. So some of the ones that you love could go and the ones that you're not, so you're like, I could deal with this person, you know, biting the bullet, so to speak.
Adira Slattery 26:46
Yeah. Once, once a character is introduced into a session, they don't get like discarded after the scene they're in, they hang out a little Tableau in front of the players, you pass it to the other player, unless the ensemble is there, then the ensemble just starts hoarding all of them. And they get just start popping up in more and more and more scenes throughout, like an episode. And so there can be characters that you might not like, you might be like, I could take or leave. Like the the workout, buddy. But then the workout buddy shows up in like three or four scenes. And it starts building off this whole thing. And it's
Ryan Boelter 27:34
Yeah, not now. You can't live without them. And then, and then they then they aren't there anymore. Yeah.
Adira Slattery 27:44
And also to that end, dead characters. You can do little flashbacks with them. Oh, fun. All of the dead characters hang out in this little sub poker. And you can flip them face down to like, have little flashbacks about them.
Ryan Boelter 28:01
Oh, very cool. Yeah. Oh, that's really neat. Awesome.
Adira Slattery 28:06
Yeah. So even though you might be killing your darlings, they're not being fully removed from the story entirely.
Ryan Boelter 28:11
Adira Slattery 28:12
There's also a mechanism for if you're playing in a campaign to reveal that someone who you thought was dead wasn't.
Ryan Boelter 28:18
Oh, fun, huh? Nice, classic. So proper or telenovela move there.
Adira Slattery 28:25
Exactly. I like that.
Ryan Boelter 28:29
All right. Um, so what do you think? I asked this of everybody and I get the most joy out of asking the developers of the game this question. What do you think is one of the biggest flaws of character creation in the system? And what do you think is one of the best parts?
Adira Slattery 28:48
biggest flaws? I think there's just a lot of writing.
Ryan Boelter 28:55
Yeah. Like, so many names.
Adira Slattery 28:59
Yeah. There's so many names. There's so much writing. Like, there are like multiple worksheets. There's, there's a lot of, like, front loading bookkeeping. Yeah. And like, in play, it goes very smooth. But it definitely can feel very daunting on the Character Creation Cast side. And it can lead you to, like rush. Or to be like, well, I don't know if it's worth it to go through all the trouble of making 22 people, right. Yeah, so so there's definitely a bit of a climb at the start.
Ryan Boelter 29:45
Yeah, well, I can definitely see that. I did enjoy creating all those people on just because I mean, Character Creation Cast. That's what we do. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And I I really do enjoy naming people. And it was it wasn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be. No,
Unknown Speaker 30:07
Ryan Boelter 30:10
Which is nice. And I think for me is these are. And I know this would this would come through in play these, these are very almost two dimensional characters side characters that we're creating. And I'm sure they get, you know, another dimension in play. Yeah, right. But just going through the character creation system, I think the two dimensionality of it is, it's not really a flaws. It's just a I almost want it to be longer. Oh, yeah. I mean, I am kind of a little sadistic, or whatever, in that, in that sense, because I just love the I just want to know more about these people. And I might be a little greedy, I guess. Because I know it would come in play. And, and I know, I'm not going to be able to play this game right now. But, uh, goodness, there's, there's so many interesting people that we've created here. But what do you think is one of the best parts then?
Adira Slattery 31:20
You're, you're making a lot of discrete choices, right? Like of like, Alright, I pick this orbit for this person that's or for this person. But it's all very, like, guided and contained. Yeah. Like, when you're picking your character, you never have to do any amount of picking moves from a list, right? You just get all of them when you're looking at all these different orbits. Right. They are these like tropes, right? Yeah. And, like, the, one of the things that I I really like the best about, like, tension, character creation is that you can make, like, a lot of really cool complicated stuff. Yeah. Like,
Ryan Boelter 32:12
Adira Slattery 32:14
French game. Rene Lucia, Roman, Rene. I haven't said this out loud and not typed it in so long. Run Angela's show romantic. French is atrocious. It's a severe apologies to any French person hearing me. Or anyone who even just took French in high school. Yeah. I know it. rinella dilla. Rome. romantic. Yes, that is the name of the game. Okay, there you go. And in it, you play generally like weird, crazy nobles, and you're trying to get married. And you have stats like rage and despair and things like that. And when I would run this for friends of mine, I would always try and make this like big family tree. Right? Yeah. And it, it. It sometimes failed
Ryan Boelter 33:13
Adira Slattery 33:15
Trying to do that. Yeah. But I have yet to. Not not saying it's impossible, obviously. But I've yet to see somebody go through and make all of the characters intention and not at least have like, a good foundation to go forward from
Ryan Boelter 33:34
right. When when I when we finished this process with all of these pairings? My my, one of my first thoughts was, I'm going to need a murder board. To keep track of all I want, which is very fitting for this type of game. Honestly, yeah. And I'm sure it probably exists, but I would love it. If anybody wants to give a shout out to me about this. I would love to have like a resource where I can input a bunch of names and relationships and and just to have it auto create a murder board for me. I think that would be really slick.
Adira Slattery 34:17
be super slick,
Ryan Boelter 34:18
especially for a game like this because my goodness. I I have a five player pvta game that I'm running. And I did a relationship web. Every player was connected to every other player. So it was four connections per player. Yeah. Um, and that was messy as heck. This is just next level.
Adira Slattery 34:46
I have some programs that I use for database diagramming. Ooh. My day job is I do like data work and visualization and stuff like that. Okay. None of them would do that automatically. Right. But a really good free one is called Miro. Miro. Okay. Am I wrong? Yeah. Mira boards are great for that sort of motherboard mapping. There's also like draw.io. And some other ones that cost money. Oh, yeah. And are more specifically databases. But yeah,
Ryan Boelter 35:23
I know, I used Google's offering to create mine, which worked out really well. Whatever flowchart generic Google thing that they have there. That worked out well, but still a manual process. Yes. I'm lazy sometimes. And I want programs to do things for me.
Adira Slattery 35:47
Yeah, um, yeah. There was an initial draft of the worksheets, the major are kind of worksheets that looked more sort of murder body. Oh, but it got a little too complicated. I went with the more sort of pared down approach for the initial one. Yeah. But I'm very excited for everything that Francis EDA has planned.
Ryan Boelter 36:16
Absolutely. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that. Yeah. Um, so let's get into one of my favorite sections of the series, The fanfiction portion of the show. So we have to ask ourselves, how is this game going to theoretically play out? And it's kind of interesting, because you mentioned the first thing that kind of happens is we draw a card, and that person gets murdered by the murderer, which would be my character.
Adira Slattery 36:53
Well, what happens is each of us gets five cards. Oh, and if you have multiple Major Arcana, in that hand, you pick from them. Okay, so I just used a digital tarot deck to deal out some cards. And in your hand, there are two major arcana Oh, to give you options for who you want to kill. Okay. They are. They are the Emperor. Okay. And the devil. Oh.
Ryan Boelter 37:26
So the Emperor is one of your Yeah, connections. James Belkin,
Adira Slattery 37:32
the boss's boss, who's an RP buddy with judgment? Oh,
Ryan Boelter 37:39
it's probably the GM being being the boss's boss. They like to be in charge. Yeah. So probably the GM should probably be the GM. That's that's next level brutality.
Adira Slattery 37:55
And then Your other option is the devil. who's one of yours the workout buddy? Who is a workout buddy? Yes. Who is workout buddies. Also with my character spouse.
Ryan Boelter 38:04
Okay. But all Yeah, okay, so workout buddies with me and your character's spouse. I would I kill my word go, buddy. Oh, or am I working out with them to get close to them to build trust so I can kill them? Oh, no. I'm a bad person. Um, let's Yeah, let's go. Oh, goodness. Let's Okay. Let's go with let's go with the workout buddy. Charlene Diego, pour Charlene.
Adira Slattery 38:45
So if we were playing that card would be put up in the poker. And we would mark the area of that characters a bit on the worksheet with a little exclamation mark to show that they're dead. And you would narrate like how and perhaps sort of why they died. But ultimately, this is someone you killed? Yes. And then after that, I would play a minor arcana for my hand that would sort of display the tenor of how I found out about it and how I came involved in it.
Ryan Boelter 39:21
Adira Slattery 39:22
which would be based off of the associated moods with the suits. So we have coins associated with obligation and bureaucracy and access and uncertainty cups, which is like introspection and sadness and yearning and connection. swords is fortune wrath, decisiveness, power and wands is inspiration intuition revelation and passion. Oh,
Ryan Boelter 39:44
yeah. Goodness. So so I'm imagining that my character needed to take out the workout buddy Charlene. Gosh, cuz has my character's drive is that there's, there's people in the world that need to be taken care of, to put a PG spin on it. Sure. And in order to better society as a whole, interesting, and so there is a, like a list ish of people that I have calculated that if they were to, uh, you know, cease to exist within the world anymore things would get better. Maybe not right away but over time. Which, which is like evil genius meets like, I don't know, almost almost like a future site sort of deal. Yeah. Which that sounds like a really interesting, you know, tagline for a cool TV show about this.
Adira Slattery 41:15
Yeah. And I mean, nobody said that we couldn't be a modern setting. And you could be a wizard.
Ryan Boelter 41:19
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I think some sort of like, innate, like view of the future based on probabilities of who lives and who dies of what the future is going to be kinda like. Interesting.
Adira Slattery 41:34
Ryan Boelter 41:36
So I'm thinking that this person, this workout buddy, eventually would, but let's just go weirdly butterfly effect here saying they eventually would have ruined someone's day. Which hat which would have been a complete strangers day, which would have cascaded into like, I don't know, some sort of like, weird, like, multiple step thing that would have either crash the stock market or, you know, something, something like enormous, right. Yeah. I'm thinking along that sort of lines, right. Yeah. So I saw I had to pick the lesser of two evils. Mm hmm. Oh, son, you
Adira Slattery 42:30
had to kill your friend. Wow. I
Ryan Boelter 42:31
had to kill my friend. Yeah. Okay.
Adira Slattery 42:37
Yeah, um, so,
Ryan Boelter 42:39
Adira Slattery 42:41
Yeah, I have the page of cups in the hand that I dealt to myself, which is what I would play to talk about how my character got onto the thing, which is through my spouse, right? Yes, my spouse and this person worked out. Maybe my spouse is the one who discovered the body. Oh, but yeah, lots of lots of sadness. Yeah. And that would then spiral into my character trying to look into your character. Yeah. Because we would have, the first thing that you do is you play out a totally mundane encounter, like, like standing in line for coffee together. Yeah. And then you both realize who the other is.
Ryan Boelter 43:33
bump up. Whoa, interesting. Yeah. Interesting. Okay, so is it is it a matter of like, you your character knows I did it. Yeah. And my character knows that, you know? Yeah. Oh, fun. Yeah. Okay. This is very Moriarty and. And Sherlock Holmes sort of, yes. Dynamic here, then.
Adira Slattery 44:01
Yeah, you definitely can can do that if you want to.
Ryan Boelter 44:05
Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting. Yeah. Okay, cuz I imagine that my character would still like, casually workout with your character spouse after this, because they're still technically workout
Adira Slattery 44:22
buddies. And then if I'm like, Oh, I talked to my spouse about it. And it's like, well, but they probably don't believe me. Yeah. Yeah. Like what motive do you have? You're, you're a good you're not you're not a murderer. You're, you're a criminology professor. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, she's nice. Why? Why would you think that?
Ryan Boelter 44:47
Oh, my goodness. She tries to see the best in the world. Which is technically true. Yeah. Oh, Lord. I want to watch this TV show.
Unknown Speaker 45:00
It's a good show.
Ryan Boelter 45:02
Wow. Okay, goodness gracious. So um, okay. Well, we went we went places there.
Unknown Speaker 45:12
Adira Slattery 45:15
Yeah. And so then gameplay would be us going through a number of scenes with these prompts. And all the scenes all focus on the two of us, right? Yeah. And then at the end, there'd be a sort of crescendo cliffhanger. Which if we're doing a one shot would probably be very large and bombastic. And if you're doing a campaign, it's probably still largely bombastic. Let's be real. But it like flows into the next episode effectively. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And in future sessions, the first scene instead of focusing on the two of us, we would pick one of the orbiting characters. And we would have a scene focusing on that orbiting character. Oh, interesting about their life, and then that character would show up more in that episode. Oh, very cool. And that's also the way you would say that someone isn't dead when you thought they were.
Ryan Boelter 46:17
Yeah. Oh, I like that. Yeah. Very cool. So where, where does, I guess we can talk about this in our advancement session, but I wanna, I want to kind of know where the story ultimately goes. Which is going to be interesting.
Adira Slattery 46:35
Yeah. Is this definitely feels like a sort of thing where my character probably begins helping yours a bit. But in a way, where it's like, Sure, I'll help you do this, but I don't agree with your methods sort of thing. Yeah. Yeah. And there's that sort of friction, and then there's the romantic tension. And then we've already instituted strife between my character and the spouse in that my spouse isn't believing. Yeah, they're about the murder and things like that. So probably wouldn't believe her about any sort of future vision either.
Ryan Boelter 47:16
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So which is so interesting, because like, I'm assuming that our characters don't murder one another. No. in this
Adira Slattery 47:31
game. Yeah. That that only can happen in in one of those confrontation things at the end of an episode.
Ryan Boelter 47:36
Yeah. So I can easily see like my character. I'm seeing your character's future. And seeing that none of this would matter if you were gone. Mm hmm. which adds a really interesting layer. Yeah. Wow. Once you're once you're in, you got to go all in. Exactly. Oh, wow. Okay. Very cool. Um, let me get back to my notes here. All right. Um, I yeah, I think that's a that's a really good amount of fanfic that we have started here. And my brain is just teeming with excitement for a show that will never exist probably.
Adira Slattery 48:22
Well, maybe we can get somebody to pay us do an actual play.
Ryan Boelter 48:26
Oh, there you go. All right. Well, let's go ahead and get into our advancement discussion, and take it up level to level. In this segment, we normally cover character advancement and growth in the system. But this game doesn't appear to have any sort of character advancement. So instead, instead, can we talk a bit about how the story advances through play.
Unknown Speaker 48:57
Adira Slattery 48:57
So I briefly talked about this before. In that we have the encounter in the very first session, that that mundane encounter. And then we have the path scenes, and then we have the confrontation. And then in later episodes, we have the opener, the thing that focuses on one of the side characters, and it's even I I was thinking a lot about TV shows right? Like this is a game heavily pulled out of my love for for two TV shows.
Ryan Boelter 49:35
Adira Slattery 49:36
So thinking about the opener, it's it's, you have the open and then it's title card and then game. Yeah. But how the story progresses, is basically, action is always rising throughout play. Okay? There's nothing In, like, there's there's no mechanic for, like, lowering the amount of energy, the amount of the amount of tension in a scene, except for ending a scene. Okay? You only just keep building and building. All right. One of the basic moves is called crescendo for that reason. Hmm. And so it's a lot of it is about just sort of like riding along the edge of your seat until you get to the end.
Ryan Boelter 50:39
Okay. Very cool.
Adira Slattery 50:42
Yeah. So characters relationships can change, which is what you have that relationship section of your character sheet for. If you notice, there's there's a whole bunch of extra blanks that we didn't use. Yeah. And, yeah, like, through as sort of shown through like, the immediate strength of the little fanfiction that we did. It's really easy to get pulled along.
Ryan Boelter 51:08
Yeah. Yeah, all because I didn't want to kill a GM.
Adira Slattery 51:14
Ryan Boelter 51:18
Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah. And then how does? How does a game and then
Adira Slattery 51:26
yeah, so there are the seven facedown cards in the center or smaller if you if you're doing a shorter game. But you flip them all up. And once all of those cards have been flipped up, you've done all of the scenes based on those prompts. You do one final scene, the confrontation, and each of the scenes and when somebody has run out of cards in their hand, introducing NPCs playing those crescendos. So it is just your ratcheting, you're not allowed to progress until you've ratcheted more. And the confrontation is very, like loose. Okay. Both players reveal a minor arcana from their hand and then just talk it out. I'm really leaning into that sort of GM full stance. It's it's an amount of, of epilogue if you're doing a one shot. It's a like, final cliffhanger for a long running game. And it's specifically very open to like, give players as much option as possible.
Ryan Boelter 52:48
Yeah. I like that a lot. I can see how the the tension kind of builds and builds and builds here. When what is is that last scene the point where potentially like the the the lesson plied romance tends to happen then or?
Adira Slattery 53:15
Yeah, um, it is a popular place to put it for sure. Okay, but I have played games where characters have made out the third scene.
Ryan Boelter 53:29
Okay. Throw it wherever you want.
Adira Slattery 53:31
Yeah. Yeah, I I had a game where the characters had sex, the last path scene. And then the crescendo. confrontation at the end was sort of like the the epilogue like, Oh, interesting. Now, like, what was what was the fallout of all of these actions?
Ryan Boelter 53:52
Yeah. Oh, that's really interesting. I really enjoy especially with with the stuff that we kind of put down for for our characters. And in our just, just wild idea of, of this future Butterfly Effect site. And having these characters falling for one another. And, and kind of the the quote unquote, good guy, kind of skewing towards the quote unquote, bad guy. Yeah. You know, and in, in a in an attempt to do something for the greater good. Which is just so wild. Yeah. Yeah.
Adira Slattery 54:42
It's so interesting, because like, the the pace of the romance is, like, fully controlled by the players, right?
Ryan Boelter 54:51
Adira Slattery 54:52
there's no, like, I write a lot of games that involve kissing and all of that and In a lot of those games, there are like, explicit like, and now is when you do the thing. Yeah. But intention, it's much more like up to the story that you're telling. Yeah. It's less restrictive. Like Like if you're doing a slow burn enemies, two lovers sort of thing. Shout out to people who read that. Obviously don't know anything about any of that. Then you have the option to do that.
Ryan Boelter 55:35
Yeah. Oh, that's good, huh? Oh, goodness. Yeah, I really like that that's in your control. And you can go almost full starcrossed I guess. And and not have that sort of it until the very end. Yeah. Or just go full in on it from the get go. Yeah. And and up and these these fine folk slaves?
Adira Slattery 56:03
Yeah. if, if, if the people playing when I have the two main characters rip each others clothes off in the first scene. Go right ahead. more power to you.
Ryan Boelter 56:14
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Oh, goodness. I really love everything that we've been talking about. In this game. I'm really excited for this Kickstarter. Can Can you tell us a little bit? Is there anything special that we want to keep a lookout for on this, this Kickstarter.
Adira Slattery 56:35
Um, so there is a deluxe tier. And I will assign the Xen, wipe my tears with it, sleep a night with it under my bed and put on some bright lipstick and kiss it.
Ryan Boelter 56:53
Adira Slattery 56:55
And I will also take one of the major arcana from one of my personal Tarot decks and write a bespoke poem on it. Oh, wow.
Unknown Speaker 57:05
Ryan Boelter 57:06
that sounds very cool. That's a that's a very personalized tear at that point. Yeah.
Adira Slattery 57:15
bespoke is maybe a little strong, but unique, unique. You know, I, I, I will probably internet stock whoever backs us, just to just to warn you.
Ryan Boelter 57:29
It makes in a good way. Yeah. And again, because I'm writing a poem for you.
Adira Slattery 57:33
But I also might just write you a more unique thing about my own personal relationship with that tarot card. I like it. Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 57:42
That's very cool. Yeah, yes. Well, I'm very excited. I know the Kickstarter just started yesterday. If everything goes according to plan Hello, future us.
Adira Slattery 57:55
Ryan Boelter 57:58
So let's go ahead and wrap things up here. Is it is there anything else that you want to say about tension before we head out?
Adira Slattery 58:11
The game means a lot to me.
Ryan Boelter 58:14
Adira Slattery 58:16
I am overjoyed that I got the reception that I got. That pushed me to have this be on Kickstarter.
Ryan Boelter 58:25
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's very cool.
Adira Slattery 58:30
Yeah. And I am, like, ecstatic about the art and layout that francy De Soto is doing. It's fabulous. Dominic Dickey is doing the editing, dealing with all of my terrible spelling mistakes. And their touch on the game will make it obviously better. Just like plainly,
Unknown Speaker 59:01
Adira Slattery 59:03
Yeah. And I am really excited.
Ryan Boelter 59:07
Absolutely. I asked him I. So we'll have a link to the Kickstarter, in our show notes. When that is available, which be by the time this comes out. Yes. So a dear, thank you so much for joining us to talk about tension.
Unknown Speaker 59:27
Yeah. Thank you for having me.
Ryan Boelter 59:29
Yeah. Can you go ahead and remind everyone where they can find you online? and any other things you want to plug? This last minute of the series? Yeah.
Adira Slattery 59:39
My name is Dara Slattery. You can find me on Twitter at dheeraj Slattery. You can get my games at a dheera.h.io you can back tension on Kickstarter. And you can give someone a hug. Yeah, yeah. Especially yourself. Yes. whoever else whoever's listening, you deserve a hug. Give give yourself one.
Ryan Boelter 1:00:08
Yeah, yeah. You're special. Yeah. So So treat yourself. Exactly. And speaking of listeners, thank you so much listeners for sitting down to tune in to us. Thank you dheeraj for sitting down to do this. With me, it's been an absolute joy, learning about this game and, and creating these characters. And now I'm going to have a fake TV show on my brain for the next. Who knows how long it's like Hollywood. Come on. Make this already.
Adira Slattery 1:00:48
You were calling it the fanfic section. So I do expect to see you put something up on a oh three.
Ryan Boelter 1:00:55
Oh, I'll quote unquote, get right on that.
Adira Slattery 1:01:00
And no pressure. No pressure, please.
Ryan Boelter 1:01:03
Oh, amazing. Well, thanks, everybody. We will see you next series in March by thoroughly enjoyed this game and cannot wait to give it a try. Sometime. I was hoping to have the suggested name of this TV series recorded that a deer had come up with because it was fantastic. But alas, it was not in the waveforms. I do remember, though, that she had said foresight would be a great name, and I thought it was phenomenally fitting. And now I am going to continue to pine for a TV show that will likely never exist. But before we head out and get to the outtakes, just a few reminders. First, remember to check out my camera stream this coming Friday at 7:30pm Central email@example.com era dot games. We are having a lot of fun in the horror module and themes have not led up since our heroes fell into the last undercity. But we are so close to the end to a point where they can actually relax with one another for a session. I'm very excited for that. Another reminder is to check out a deer's Kickstarter for tension, which is linked in the show notes. And finally, if you have a moment after this episode, feel free to leave us a rating or review on Apple podcasts pod chaser stitcher or the like. And help us out in the rankings to help even more people find the show. Also, these reviews really make us feel great every time we read them. And that's it's absolutely something that we both need right now. So feel free to leave a review for us and help lift our spirits. It'd be really helpful. I think we're gonna keep it fairly short for the time being a sense of life has been laughing at us hard lately. So enjoying the outtakes and have an excellent week off everyone. Take care of yourself, stay safe and keep making those amazing people. We'll see you next time.
Ryan Boelter 1:03:45
Character Creation Cast is a production of the one shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot Character Creation cast.com add to the website to get more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can also be found on Twitter at Creation Cast or on our Discord server at discord dot Character Creation cast.com is one of your hosts Ryan Boelter and I can be found on twitter at Learn Neptune or online at Lord neptune.com. Our other host Amelia Antrim can be found on twitter at ginger reckoning. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast they originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. Our main theme music is hero remixed by Steve combs and is used with a Creative Commons license. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by Ryan Boelter. Further information for the game systems used and today's guests can be found in the shownotes. If you'd like to leave us a rating or review, we have links to various preview platforms out there including Apple podcasts in our show notes. Also check the show notes for links to our other projects. Thanks for joining us. I remember we find that the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people. We will see you next time.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:32
Now we got to read some show blurbs show blurbs.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:36
sjoberg shuttler blurbs.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:39
Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot podcast.com where you'll find other great shows like design Doc,
Ryan Boelter 1:05:50
join hosts Hanna Shaffer and Evan Rowland as they redesign the role playing game design doc is an experiment in public participatory analog game design. It's fun, it's messy, and you're invited along for the ride.
Adira Slattery 1:06:07
There we go.
Ryan Boelter 1:06:07
Yeah. Oh, wonderful. This is a this is definitely breaking from our normal format. But it's interesting because it's a two player game that we're doing it for
Adira Slattery 1:06:17
what is technically optionally three players.
Ryan Boelter 1:06:19
Yes. That's very true. Doesn't, but we'll get into that. All right. Now, the last time you were on the show, I already talked about that just now. So I'm going to strike this from the record. Um, alright, so we can go ahead and click on stop on this recording. He wonderful. Okay, cool waveforms. I like those. Whoo.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:56
Ryan Boelter 1:06:57
if I could only hear out of my right ear proportion to my left ear. I'm not sure it's probably it'll probably pop into place at some point soon.
Adira Slattery 1:07:09
Yeah, it's probably fine.
Ryan Boelter 1:07:14
I'm sure it is. Okay, so
Adira Slattery 1:07:18
I say that and I can't think of any of the things that I said at the time. But I know that I can just find the thread really quick. Oh, yeah. Especially if you want to edit out me not remembering my own words.
Ryan Boelter 1:07:36
No, we'll just we'll just keep that all in. I say quality in the silence. Yeah, of just typing away trying to find stuff. I'm sure I'm sure our listeners are fine with it.
Adira Slattery 1:07:47
Ryan Boelter 1:07:50
are ever patient listeners. Ryan, why did you leave 10 seconds of silence.
Adira Slattery 1:08:05
Having to use the advanced.
Ryan Boelter 1:08:08
Wonderful. Alright, so we can go ahead and stop our recording.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai