Quick Start Guide

Table of Contents

There are four ways to play today. Each approach has its own section:

  1. Play by Stream
  2. Play by Comment
  3. Play by Post
  4. Run Your Own Campaign
  5. Proposing Canon

Play by Stream

Currently, the most popular way to play is also the least convenient: Follow John Vandivier on TikTok and attend his live games.

John also streams to YouTube and Twitch. You can view some of the prior gaming streams here.

You can watch or interact as an audience member. You can also contact John in advance of a stream if you are interested in joining the stream as a live player.

Play by Comment

This is a convenient approach because you can play at any time and from any location! Play a move using social media by commenting on the official Aria's Tale TikTok account pinned video. The pinned video on the account shows the current episode and you can comment to play a move or impact the world on these pinned videos.

Even if it looks like someone else already took a move - go ahead and try! The game involves multiple characters and it is community driven. If you win support for your move it will take precedence, and multiple characters can be moved in different ways at the same time.

You can also comment on the #gaming channel in the Ladderly Discord server. It should be relevant to any of the current arcs, including but not limited to the pinned TikTok video. Simply ask on the channel if you want to here about other ongoing arcs.

Play by Post

Play by post is even more convenient because you can play on any social media platform, and even using text and some other platforms besides social media!

The downside to this approach is that most social media platforms are not monitored by the game master and they do not have an active community for Aria's Tale. As a result, moves are likely to be ignored (for now, until those communities grow or monitoring is set up).

This approach is also nice because you can do more than merely comment. For example, you can post a video or an image! If you choose this approach, here are some tips to maximize the chance that it will be seen and included in the official narrative:

  1. Before posting, search for #ariastale on your platform and consider posting a reply instead of creating a new thread.
  2. When you post, include #ariastale in the caption.
  3. Bring a friend! If several people are using a platform it is often easier to get noticed and it can be more fun too!
  4. Mention your post to the community. For example, you might play by tweet and then mention your tweet on the Ladderly Discord #gaming channel. It will not be considered spam or advertisement.

Run Your Own Campaign

The first step is to study the game world lore. This is mainly accomplished by reviewing this Episode Narrative Guide. It's further recommended for the game master to review all documents in the Game Manual and to review some previous streams from other game masters. There is a playlist here that has some recorded sessions. Let the contributors know if you have a recorded session that you would like to add to the playlist!

Given the background of the game world, there are only three remaining steps:

  1. Create your campaign storyline. You can continue an open storyline or make your own!
  2. Decide which AI you will use.
  3. Assemble your players and kickoff!

In Aria's Tale you and the AI are co-game masters, and you are also a prompt engineer, acting as an intermediary between players and the AI tool.

You might choose to have a classic in-person game or you might also run your own game over social media. You can also mix and match. Have a session in-person, take a few turns asynchronously, and get back together again when convenient. See the Play by Post section for some ideas around asynchronous gaming.

For multiple sessions, it is a good idea to write up a session summary. These summaries are useful for providing context to a language model for your next session, and they also make proposing canon easier. For example, one session might translate into a single book chapter or short story.

Play using ChatGPT with GPT-4 is the current recommended language model approach. This tool supports die rolling by code which produces more correctly distributed random data compared to an ordinary language model approach. Further, GPT-4 can generate images, follows instructions better, and has a larger context limit compared to many other tools.

There are, however, a few downsides to GPT-4:

  1. Other models like Claude 2 have a larger context window.
  2. Other image-specific models can generate better images.
  3. GPT-4 is neither free nor open source.

The only essential component for gameplay is language modeling. Other items like die rolling can happen outside of the model and images are optional. Whatever model you use will have the same steps, except for the first step:

  1. If using GPT-4 or a model with a larger context window, prompt the model with the abridged language model instructions.
  2. If using a model with a smaller context window, prompt the model with the abridged language model instructions.

For both approaches, here are the recommended additional steps:

  1. Prompt the model with the campaign information for your particular campaign.
  2. Determine player turn order outside of the model, and begin prompting the model based on the actions your players take.
  3. As the game goes on, the tool may forget about the original instructions. Generously and liberally remind the tool of the relevant instructions and revise its output according to your own will, the official rules, and the Rule of Cool.

Have fun! Please let us know about your experience! We are always listening for ways to improve our documentation and the tools themselves.

Proposing Canon

Suppose you run your own game and it turns out to be an interesting story, or suppose that you didn't play a game at all but you simply wrote some excellent fan fiction. A key difference between Aria's Tale and your other favorite fantasy universe is that you can propose your story for inclusion in the official canon of the game universe!

Here's what you do:

  1. Take your raw material, such as game logs, and rewrite it into a draft narrative.

    1. The draft should use plain text or markdown.
    2. You can optionally provide image, video, and other supplementary media.
  2. Send your draft to the Aria's Tale repository maintainers in either of two ways:

    1. By filing a GitHub issue with the content included
    2. By posting on the Ladderly Discord channel

The team will review, work with you to revise as needed, and render a decision about whether you were approved. Thank you for your interest in effort, we look forward to your contribution!