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Aleks Samoylov

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A member registered Sep 14, 2014 · View creator page →

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On another note, you should also definitely design one. That's how most of us get started, after all. "Oh, we need more of this thing. Hmm ... I am gonna make more of this thing."

I agree. There was a cool one I saw recently (so, within the last few years, since it's all kind of blur at this point), that was mainly inspired by Control.  I can't quite remember the name offhand. I'll try to dig it up and post the link, It was short and sweet, possibly a Trophy incursion/hack, and had really nice, Control inspired graphic design. If anyone else remembers better, (or if the author is seeing this) please let me know. 

But yeah, stuff like SCP provides for a lot of potential. 

Hi, DeReel, welcome aboard! It's quiet here, but we're around. Please feel free to post if you have questions or interesting discussion ideas, and reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

Yeah, that'd be great. I've tried to find groups pre-pandemic, and have found again and again that it was easy to find DnD/Pathfinder meetups and almost impossible to find anything else.  That may vary regionally, of course.

Nice to meet you, Tanya! This is still a very quiet space, but we're going to slowly try to make it a bit more active (if we can do that without tempers flaring too much). So please feel welcome to stretch out, makes some posts, and invite other chill peoples. 

Fair enough. My first instinct would have been to remove it as off-topic, so I appreciate your having taken the time to provide a justification. It's a short enough jam, seems interesting, and maybe some tabletop folks would indeed be into it (I would definitely consider it, but I am very tired lately). Good luck. I'll be looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

The question here was not which one is better or worse, or which one is right or wrong, or even what views, in the past, you have found to be inherently aggressive because certain unidentified people didn't preface their statements as I personally suggest they should have. It's not about the specific chips on our specific shoulders.

The question you posed at the top of the thread was "Can the RPG Theory well be unpoisoned?" If we are to answer that question we have to ask ourselves how to do that for everyone who comes to it in good faith (with the obvious caveats that bigotry of any kind is not tolerated). It's not about making sure that your viewpoint is accepted as truth. It's about making sure that people with different viewpoints feel comfortable and show one another courtesy, respect, and understanding. 

I am  not implying that anyone has to actually buy into my philosophy (and I am not a strict relativist, by the way - I simply think that if certain rules or systems work *for* someone, even if that's just one person, then they have a valid reason to exist, and that most configurations can work *for* either specific people or a specific purpose). My point was that even if you privately think someone is dead wrong, let them, as you put it, do the work they think they can do in peace, without being screamed at by anyone. 

Nobody should be trying to keep someone from doing what they want to do if what they want to do isn't hurting anybody, and that also means that, when you're out there talking theory, it might help to avoid "yucking their yum," so to speak. 

And let's be realistic, as passionate as we might get about the topic, game design really isn't a life or death affair - we can afford to let other people hold vastly different ideas about the process of design because at the end of the day we aren't commanding troops, building jet engines, or developing vaccines. What we do has value, but it's not something that warrants vitriol. 

Again, what I am speaking to right now has nothing to do with actual game design, because this topic was not about game design but rather about how we discuss it. This is not about what methodologies, systems, approaches, or "factions" are right or wrong. This is about making sure that when people do talk about those thing, they can do so without their blood pressure going up (because that can cause actual harm). 

And to that effect, I am more than happy to make some definitive statements. Like I said, not a strict relativist. I try to be pragmatic.

I feel that in some cases, hard lines must be drawn so that people don't get hurt. How one comports oneself among one's peers is subject to that principle for me. I am not interested in creating needless anxiety for people just because someone thinks dice pool resolution mechanics are inherently better than reading the shapes in the clouds. It's not worth it. So I am more than happy to make a strong statement on that: let them do their work in peace and if you can't simply respect one another's approaches and engage without prescribing, do not engage.

I also feel that in some cases, drawing a hard line will in fact be counterproductive and will result in more anxiety. The example above works for this purpose too, as it contains both scenarios in one. It's not worth insisting that dice pool mechanics are inherently better, even if you think they are. The way we talk to each other has the potential to do harm, and has to be approached with that in mind. If we want to avoid toxicity, we have to draw hard lines, establish certain norms. The way we design games, on the other hand, is, frankly, our own business at the end of the day. It isn't worth it to cross the lines or violate the norms established in the previous "step" for the sake of dice pools. Let the other person do the work they think they can do in peace.

This topic, I thought, was about exchanging ideas about theory  in a way that doesn't lead people to dread reading the replies to a post they made in good faith, and your question was "can we do that."

I think we probably can. Whether or not we will is a different matter entirely. 

In any case, I'm probably going to retire myself from this particular thread going forward. When I am into a topic and passionate about it, it can be a bit of a double edged sword. I just can't keep myself from writing novellas every time. I think at this point I've articulated what I wanted to and will just end up going in a circle if I keep at it. 

Everything having been said, I really appreciate what everyone's brought to this discussion so far, and would like to thank the OP for starting it up, even if we seem to disagree on certain points.

Thanks! Those jams should give me plenty to chew on for starters.

The title more or less says it all: I'd love to hear suggestions for explicitly Play-By-Post oriented games or games that you feel fit the Play-By-Post format exceptionally well. I'm currently very interested in said format for various reasons, so I'd also very much welcome discussion of ideas for or experiences with Play-By-Post mechanics, different variants of PbP (what makes forum play different from snail mail play, and etc.), and so on. 

On a side note, I do think that the forum format has the advantage of very clearly delineated categories/sub-forums, which can help set expectations to an extent. When one goes into the DnD forum, for example, one can reasonably expect discussions of DnD, which, like all systems, has its own set of core assumptions, problems, and values. And, since I rarely have anything nice to say about DnD, I would likely not spend much time in there (except for moderation purposes, obviously). Participants should of course still always try to avoid stepping on toes, but at least they can be aware of the parameters of their discussion based on where they are posting. Now, I definitely don't think we can solve the whole issue simply by keeping things on topic by category (and this forum is not currently active enough for all of those categories to get much play), but that is still something we can take advantage of.

I can't create new sub-forums at will, but I can ask the good folks at itch if we want to make changes to the structure of the forum. They are generally fairly responsive and quick. So do let me know if there are any categories your think might be useful to have or are missing.

Yeah, I definitely agree that the two are not mutually exclusive. And the upshot of that, broadly speaking, is that I personally am not interested in "debate" (as distinct from discussion) because I feel like at the end of the day a debate on any art form, when given enough time and energy, will always devolve into "relativism vs. empiricism," and trust me I've already been made to sit through way too many hours of art school students and professors literally screaming at each other, sometimes nearly coming to blows, about that very topic, while all I wanted to do was go back to the studio and work. I feel that debate, which I essentially discussion with the specific intention of convincing someone else that you're right and they are wrong, leads to conversations getting mired in particulars and to the participants scouring the thread, the internet, and their local library (god, I miss libraries ...) for "gotchas" to spring on one another. 

(Note: the following Big Wall of Text is intentionally a Big Wall of Text. Most of it is basically just one long sentence intended to be read in a single breath. It's intended as kind of a joke about the way these conversations can spiral, in my experience. Sometimes (often) I do write too much. I kind of get into a groove, and it's just how my brain works. Sadly, this can often be interpreted as hostile online. In reality, it usually does mean that I am interested in or excited by what I am writing, but does not mean that I am feeling overwhelmed with internet rage or negative vibes or wishes of any kind. It's a curse, but I find that adding these disclaimers can sometimes help prevent people from taking my longer posts or emails as indicators of any particular kind of emotion. Yeah, I do have clinical OCD and am definitely on the spectrum). 

For example, baking was a very imperfect word choice, but it was one word out of hundreds, and whether or not baking is a science or an art is ultimately going to lead down rabbit holes that might be fun to explore among friends, but can risk causing misunderstandings and irritating people when they're still essentially internet strangers if they are not extremely careful to emphasize that their perception is merely that, perception. Our discussion here was, originally, about reducing toxicity and acrimony in discussions of theory, so, *DEEP BREATH* having slid off topic, the rabbit hole becomes even less fun and more perilous, as suddenly we're in the weeds again, arguing over whether relativism goes too far or if it can coexist with the notion of "craft," and then we have to talk about definitions for the term "craft" and that's a whole can of worms, and that will probably lead us back towards value judgments, since it's very difficult to discuss craft without exploring the concepts of value, of good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant, etc. and then we inevitably end up back at baking again, and I probably say that, in my view, baking is an art form/craft that relies on the fundaments of reality, such as chemistry, to be possible in the first place (true of pretty much everything), and then someone else would make a compelling case for it being an applied science, albeit not one with utilitarian applications, and then I'd quote Oscar Wilde and talk about how "all art is essentially useless" and relate it to the concept of science, engineering, and utility, then someone would bring up the harmony between form and function, and we might get back to the aircraft analogy, so now I take the opportunity to address the argument about aircraft design as an artform (which is in itself a good argument) by pointing out that we were talking about engineering, which is, by definition, a means of solving problems for utilitarian ends, and while aircraft design overlaps with engineering (aerodynamics), it is nevertheless unrelated to any of the points made above, as the most beautiful aircraft in the world is ultimately a sculpture if it can't reliably and safely get off the ground, it has to work, and it has to work consistently, correctly, and in accordance with the laws of physics or people will die, so someone else would then come in and say that the two are not extricable from one another, and that games need an "engine" as well, and that the most poetic Sword Dream game in the world is ultimately a poem without solid mechanics, and then we'd have to talk about which mechanics are considered solid and which are considered frivolous, and someone would chime in and say that mechanics must serve the nature of the game in question, its genre, narrative intent, and the style of experience we want to encourage players to have, and now we're almost back in our own territory, where maybe we can talk about the somewhat unique challenges of making a work/piece/object the purpose of which is to facilitate the telling of stories that we ourselves will likely never hear, and that's cool for a while, at least for me, because now we're back to games again, but then we still haven't resolved the relativism issue, since the argument about mechanics serving a purpose is inherently divisive, and the Lyric Games folks are feeling  excluded again, because someone suggested that their work is less valid if it adheres to the more fundamental tenets of their very movement, and currently a sizeable contingent of Lyric Games people belong to marginalized groups, so now we're in an argument about cultural and political norms and gatekeeping, but then the OSR people start to feel like their craft is being reduced to wishy washy, structureless nonsense, and then we're back to relativism vs. empiricism / absolutism / etc., and everyone is sad and confused and offended, and everyone is tired because the conversation is going in circles and is becoming increasingly distorted and abstract with each consecutive cycle, and then someone inevitably brings up the fact that "everything is relative" is, paradoxically, and absolutist statement, and then we have to talk about dialectical paradoxes in general, and then, and then, and then, and, and, and ... *GASP*            

As y'all can see, toxicity in discourse is something that I think about a lot, and it's not really an easy problem to solve. It's a whopper of thread already, and I think there are only three or four of us here right now. And some very good points have been made by everyone, but there's so much to navigate.

Personally, I feel like the semantic "is a hot dog a sandwich" labyrinth can, again, be a fun time with close friends ... for a while (we all know how tedious that game can get after a few turns), but is potentially a minefield when talking with peers that one doesn't have a personal connection with just yet and who clearly do things very differently, and for whom doing things in that way just plain works. For me, the big challenge is in figuring out a balance between outright denying ourselves the potential pleasure and edification that can come with shop talk, discussion, theory, and exchange, both with likeminded designers and those belonging to radically different schools of thought, and pouring poison back into the well. That's the thing that I can't seem to definitively get a grasp on. There has to be a way to maintain the former without allowing it to devolve into the latter. 

In my personal view, and again, I can't claim that it's necessarily correct, whatever our opinions on the excesses of relativism or absolutism may be, we may ultimately have to function within a very relativistic space, and formulate our discussions accordingly. Again, prescription , even when presented with good intentions, feels pretty bad when it's framed in absolute terms. I don't think any one designer will ever be able to convince another designer that something that they are doing is "wrong" when it's clearly been working for them and is, in fact, a major part of their personal philosophy, design modality, or "school of thought." Or, rather, I don't think any one designer will ever be able to convince another designer of the above *without hurting them in the process:* there are many people in the field who will likely give the authority of others priority over their own inner voice and, if their own practice, wants, or needs do not align with that voice of authority, will allow their imposter syndrome to deeply discourage them. They may then end up forcing themselves to work in a way they find unsuitable and unpleasant, simply because they think it's "right," or may write themselves off entirely and leave the design space, convincing themselves that they were simply "not cut out for it."

I do think there are practical skills that are involved in the craft of ttrpgs (especially in the indie space, where we often end up having to do everything from layout to copywriting on our own), and, as I mentioned above, there are design principles that are worth passing on, teaching, learning, and applying because they may aid one in developing a particular kind of experience. But principles that may apply to most Lyric Games may very well not apply to most OSR games and vice versa. In some cases this will be true and in some cases this will be false. 

So whether or not one may personally believe that there is a prescriptible methodology for good game design, or even just a prescriptable methodology for good OSR design, or good PbTA design, and so on, I think toxicity and acrimony are best avoided by avoiding prescription in "mixed company" (so, most generalized online design spaces, including twitter and this forum and whatever else exists) and accepting the fact that everyone is going to be bringing their own theory into it, that everyone feels passionate about what they are doing, and unpoisoning the well is mostly about making sure people feel welcome and do not feel attacked on a personal or ontological level. 

I don't know. Just my two thousand cents on the matter.   

In my view, and I'm a bit of a broken record about this lately, a lot of the problem stems from the tendency to use theory as prescription. This is not unique to games, but seems to be a greater problem in media that are still comparatively young, vaguely defined, and potentially still insecure in their legitimacy. Instead of saying, "this is what works for me" or "this is what I like," people say, "this is good, that's bad, this matters, that doesn't matter." Sometimes this is an attempt to pin things down, make them less confusing and nebulous, and sometimes it's an attempt to retroactively validate one's own choices. Either way, it does have the tendency to alienate, exclude, and upset people. 

There's a reason why couples counselors and support group facilitators encourage people to use "I feel statements" during points of conflict. "I feel like I'm not being heard" and opposed to, "You are not listening to me." It seems silly and cliché, but it really does serve to frame things in a more palatable, less confrontational, and ultimately more realistic way (the other person may, in fact, be listening, but that has no bearing on the fact that the first person does, clearly, feel like they're not being heard). 

For me, the physics and aerospace engineering analogy ultimately breaks down when poked, because I see tabletop design as an art and not a science (and I also don't tend to draw a strong distinction between art and craft). A big part of the toxicity, for me personally, seems to result from the conflation of the two very disparate modalities of thought. Though I do understand why people with highly analytical minds, many of whom are in the sciences themselves, might be drawn to that approach, at the end of the day I can't effectively talk about what is essentially a free-floating miasma of dreams and wishes held together by golden string as if it were a set of concrete formulae, compounds, schematics, or equations. 

Aerospace Engineering is a field wherein certain immutable laws are impossible to ignore and must be factored in, because they make up the very foundation of physical reality. In engineering, you are trying to make something that "works." In engineering, there are things that are true and things that are false, things that will definitely work, and things that just plain won't. You can't make working jet fuel out of creamed corn and gravel. You can't make a working bridge out of marmalade. Etc. 

In the practice of ttrpg design, as in any art form from musical composition to baking, there are no immutable laws. It's basically Calvinball, and I think that that's ultimately a good thing. There are certainly principles that may make the creation of a certain kind of  "thing" easier or more reliable for a certain kind of person or purpose, just as there are techniques, for example, to effectively paint trompe l'oeil paintings or harmonious combinations of colors, but there are no Laws Of Design. Even those principles are there on a "take it or leave it" basis. There is no universal or reliable formula for a Good Game. And I strongly suspect that any attempt to find one is doomed to failure. 

Things only "work" and "don't work" in relation to a specific individual or a group. Pathfinder simply doesn't "work" for me: to me, its design makes no sense, feels clunky, and has a tendency to direct play in what I perceive to be boring and problematic directions. I personally find Pathfinder to be a poorly designed mess - just a bad game that does almost everything poorly and isn't (to me) worth playing at all (and god knows I've tried). In my eyes, it just plain doesn't work, like a space-shuttle engine cobbled out of used soda cans and fueled by cheese whiz. 

And yet it's one of the best selling games on the market and, more importantly, one of the most played. That means that to the people happily playing it and having a grand old time, Pathfinder just plain works. Some of them might contend that it's a very well designed game that does most things well and is extremely worth playing, whereas some of them may think that it's simply good enough for their purposes: they know it, are used to it, and they don't have the time, energy, or money to learn a new system. 

And they are all correct, and so am I. No accounting for taste. At the end of the day, there is only one condition that I feel may be necessary for a roleplaying game of any kind to "work," and that's mutual buy-in. Honestly, having just typed that I immediately began to wonder if it IS in fact necessary, and, on comparing it to "willing suspension of disbelief" in other media, I'm starting to think that even that may be subverted or ignored. Some designers may want to make games that purposefully alienate the players, that use mechanics, or lack thereof, to intentionally create frustration of confusion. 

And here's the thing, all of that sort of stuff is actually really fun to talk about and theorize about, assuming we don't end up prescribing anything to anyone else, avoid making broad declarative statements about How It's Done, and start focusing on "I wonder if someone might be able to do that," or, "I personally would love to see more games that try this," and so on. "In my opinion, systems don't matter" is still a declarative statement, despite the disclaimer at the beginning. "Systems don't really matter for/to me, in my personal design practice," on the other hand, is less likely to get people up in arms, because you're not telling them that, in your opinion, they are wrong. You are simply saying "I do it this way because it works for me." There's an implied "your mileage may vary" that makes a ton of difference. 

I tend to avoid theory discussions mainly because folks often lean towards the former, and at the end of the day I prefer making games to talking about them, but I would enjoy "shop talk" a great deal more if we all just learned to use "I feel" and "I prefer" more often. Of course, on twitter, it would take more characters to type out "Systems don't really inform my personal approach to creating and engaging with the medium" than it would to say, "Systems don't matter."

So I guess, in conclusion, twitter is, as always, to blame.

PS: I don't playtest any of my games, and I sell them for money. Nothing is true, everything is permitted. 

These are very good parameters indeed. 

Makes sense. We are on the same page, for sure. And if there isn't enough meat on the bone of the latest hot topic, there is always plenty in the realm of design to dive into. These things are often cyclical, after all.

A great idea. Would definitely require a group of actively involved/engaged members, but there is definitely space for that here. If you already know some folks who'd be interested, please feel free to get this going and let me know if I can help in any specific way. I would be happy to make each week's RPG Book Club thread sticky for that week, though I guess you'd probably want to gauged interest and get some "club members" on board first.

I'd definitely be into participating in something like this myself, at least on occasion (time and money permitting). 

Good ideas all!

Hey Thomas,

This is a good idea, definitely. I do think we need to be careful of replicating the actual "hotness" (under the collar) of twitter discourse - theory discussions are great until someone makes a declarative statement, like "dice are good/bad" or "playtesting is necessary if you're a real designer" or "systems matter/don't matter" and so on, and people start feeling like others are invalidating their personal design practice or playstyle, but that should be pretty easily avoided by simply remembering to frame things in terms of personal preference as opposed to absolute truth. So falling into the twitter anger trap is probably not going to be as much of an issue with the extra space and time a forum affords, as well as the code of conduct. Hopefully just something keep mindful of, just in case.

When it comes to more topical/news stuff, specifically in relation to bad actors in the industry, I don't want to stifle discussion of that sort of thing so long as it is in keeping with said code of conduct, but would likely leave that up to individual members to start up their threads on. I am personally not one to espouse the "positivity at all costs" mindset, and sometimes the unpleasant things are best exposed to the light, but I'd definitely want to strive to cultivate less of a "hell-site" vibe on here.

That said, what would you say is the hot design/play topic this week (or last, since I agree that keeping too current is not necessary)? I've been a bit out of the loop in terms of the disk horse lately (I am aware of the most recent kickstarter fracas, of course, but that's more in the breaking news/bad actor category).

Hmm, might also be a good idea to have a thread for people to promote their most recent ZineQuest projects? 

Hello, zombie forum. As part of an effort to make better use of this space, I would like to start posting discussion prompts once or twice a week specifically for the purpose of having a low-pressure "activity" for folks to participate in without necessarily having to come up with their own thread (unless they want to, in which case, I really do encourage it).  These will likely vary widely in topic and overall heft.  

Do folks have other ideas for additional types of structured content / community building / general internet ice-breakage? If so, please feel free to make suggestions here or just go ahead and get it started in its own thread.

Hey. That looks cool. I moved the topic to Original Systems, as that's probably a better/more appropriate place for self promotion content. Good luck with the launch! 

The code of conduct already established during the optimistic early days of this forum covers the Essentials, but I would like to both formalize some additional guidelines and reiterate some of the most important existing rules, so that, should life return to these shores, this space can remain a pleasant and inviting place for pleasant and inviting humans.

Rule One

First and foremost, a simple reminder. Bigotry of any kind is not tolerated. Period. And no, refusing to tolerate bigots is not a form of bigotry in its own right. We don't buy that line. We don't play that game. This includes dog-whistles, concern trolling, "just asking questions" about the validity of ethno-states or whether or not trans people should be allowed to use bathrooms, and so on. This hasn't been a major issue on here that I know of, but it always bears repeating, just in case.

Sir, This Is A Wandie's (sic) Drive Through

This is a tabletop roleplaying games community forum. The community part of the equation is, of course, important. Certain sub-forums are more appropriate for off-topic and topic-adjacent discussions, but I don't want to discourage anyone from bantering with buds and the like. Similarly, self promotion is totally acceptable on here, especially in the correct "channels." Anything that is too obviously spam and/or off-topic in a manner that clearly doesn't contribute to the local esprit de corps, however, will generally be deleted as soon as it is discovered.  

Disk Horse

Discourse is great. Many of us love a bit of discourse with our supper or breakfast. However, there is no one True and Correct way to design or play tabletop roleplaying games, so please try to refrain from language that may suggest otherwise. The only exception to this guideline is if the methods or practices being criticized are directly pertinent to and in violation of Rule One. For example, it's okay to criticize Big Name Elf Games for the ways in which they may perpetuate violent colonialist constructs, but you may want to avoid telling your fellow indies what they SHOULD do in their mechanical design practice, and instead try to focus on what works for you and your particular aims. Playtesting is not for everyone. Some people really like dice. Systems simultaneously matter and don't manner. I think we'll all have more fun if we intentionally cultivate a respect and a healthy curiosity for the methodologies of our fellow players, gms, and designers, so long as those methodologies aren't racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc.

Thanks, I appreciate it, All of the above makes sense. Will do!

Yeah ... in 2019 I published like 14 ttrpg projects of varying sizes, but in 2020 and 2021 (so far) I've published 1, and only because I started it in 2019, so I imagine a lot of people are probably feeling like they aren't "active" as designers right now and don't have much to share from their own work. 

But as for theory and discussion, maybe something a bit more structured could help? Like, a new topic or prompt every Thursday ... something like that.

On a side note, I am not sure how I feel about outright "debates" in this scene/industry/field, just based on my experience witnessing "discourse" on twitter. I personally never want to engage in discussion where any one person or group is prescribing any one "correct" practice or methodology for design (I think there is definitely space to discuss more effective and objectively more ethical business and labor practices, but that's a different area entirely). In the end, stuff like "do systems matter" or "is playtesting necessary" ends up in the same broad territory as "what is art" and suchlike, except it's less abstract, even less interesting to push in any one direction, and much more likely to alienate and gatekeep designers ... unless it's DnD bashing, because DnD is objectively bad and everyone knows it, obviously, though I do think that horse has been beaten deep underground by now. So when it comes to theoretical discussions it'd be good to emphasize the subjective and highly individual nature of these practices instead of focusing on intentionally provocative "are dice bad, actually" prompts. Like, instead of "are dice bad, actually" we can ask  "what is your experience (if any) designing for diceless play, and what challenges and advantages have you encountered in the process?" I dunno. Just rambling now. But I guess this is one of the reasons I would be keen to move some of the "discourse" away from twitter and back towards a medium without a strict character limit.  

Honestly, for now I'd just start with weeding out off topic spam threads and trying to find uses for this forum with feedback on twitter from the ttrpg design community. Maybe gamify it a bit, do some play by post, see if They will come back. I think people wanted this to be a replacement for Google Plus, but most of us weren't even around for those halcyon days of community and exchange, and now the indie tabletop scene is much bigger and more active, so it's probably unrealistic to expect a new, centralized mecca to emerge in a decentralized time. So, baby steps, I guess.

Hi forum. Make me a moderator please. I will tend to this garden, and maybe they will come? And even if they don't, I will tend to it anyway, alone but hopeful that someday the robins will sing again. 

Sir, this is a Wendy's drive-through ...

No, but seriously, that sounds kind of familiar, but maybe in a weird archetypal kind of way. I have no idea if I've actually encountered this game or if your description of it has activated some concept of an "ur-game" buried in the collective subconscious. 

Yes

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If you aren't currently able to afford it at its full price but really want to play it, there are community copies and a discount code available to low income and marginalized players.

The discount code knocks 50% off the price for those who need it, and can be accessed here:

https://thealeks.itch.io/asabovesobelow

The community copies are a limited but regularly updated (every purchase at regular price adds a new community copy) pool of free copies specifically for people experiencing financial hardship. At the time of me writing this, there are still 3 free copies available. 

To get a community copy, simply scroll down on the game's main page until you see the words "Community Copies" in bold. There should be an indicator there as to how many free copies are currently available and a button to Claim one. No strings attached and no questions asked. More copies do become available periodically, but if for some reason there are none left when you go to check (doubtful, as this game is pretty obscure, but who knows) just let me know and I'll add a few just for the heck of it, as I am sometimes known to do.

Hope this helps, and thank you for reaching out!

Honestly, your solution to opening the door is perfectly valid. You went above and beyond even :) ! Thank you so much for all your kind words and the wonderful review!

Thanks! I am glad you loved it! 

Again, sorry for the issue. I'd be happy to send along pdf copies or codes to my commercial tabletop games as an apology offer. Just let me know where it would be best to send them. 

Welp, it seems I either done goofed or made the puzzle more complicated than it needed to be and assigned the reverse ordinal gemantric value to the Light glyph. At this point I can't remember if I did this on purpose, but if I did, I strongly disagree with past-0me's decision to do that. 

Anyway, the correct answer for the Light glyph SHOULD be 1250, but the current build of the game thinks it is 1353. I'm currently in the process of patching it (and doing some mild optimization in the process), but you've more than earned entrance into the ending area if you want to just plug 1353 into that second slot and have been wondering why the solution you'd arrived at after converting to base 6 wasn't working.

I am super sorry. I can't offer much in recompense, but I'd be happy to send along some free pdfs of or codes to my commercial tabletop games as an "I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking" gift. Just let me know where it would be most convenient to send them.  

I have no idea how I could make so basic a mistake after hours of meticulously assembling this dang puzzle ... I'm super sorry about that... thank you for essentially playtesting it for me ... Your original combination seems to be correct, but try 1353 for light.

Oh boy, I think it's possible that the light one actually uses the reverse ordinal gemantric conversion instead of the regular one for some reason...and that reason is probably that I messed up and need to release a patch asap.

Yep. That should be it