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Welcome to the Player's Guide for Triptycho! This chapter will explain just what the game of Triptycho is and give a quick look at how it's played, setting up future chapters that will go in-depth with the rules. If you're looking to jump in and play faster, try the Quick Start Guide instead.
Welcome to a world of adventurous exploration and valorous battle, of new horizons and silver tongues, of shady merchants and sly rogues. Triptycho is a card game in which you take the role of a character of your own design. The choices you make affect the adventures you will have, the style of your play, and the outcomes of conflict.
One player will take on the roles of referee and storyteller. This player, called the “Deck Master” or “DM”, takes control of the game world and its many denizens and dangers. The DM provides the backdrop and introduction for the game, presenting you and the remaining players with scenarios to conquer and decisions to make. Triptycho is largely a free-form game; you actively make decisions about what to do, where to go, and how to solve the problems and challenges presented to you.
But once conflict occurs, that's when you break out the cards and dice. Whether you're battling fearsome beasts, sneaking through a dangerous forest, or trying to convince the stubborn mayor to go along with your plans, the card game serves as the central method of overcoming challenges and moving forward.
If you're a deck-building affectionado, you'll enjoy crafting your own unique decks to supply your character with options and abilities. If that seems daunting, you can work just as well with a pre-made deck and get right into playing the game. As with everything else in Triptycho - the choice is yours!
The core gameplay of Triptycho revolves around scenarios. Scenarios come in three flavors: combat, in which you engage dangerous opponents in physical battle; exploration, in which you overcome environmental hazards or sneak through contested territory; and interaction, in which you make use of diplomacy, intimidation, lies, and trickery to influence the behavior of others. While it is common for many role-playing games to at least touch on these various elements, all three systems get equal attention in Triptycho.
Exploring and interacting are just as fun, interesting, and tactical as combat. Each system makes use of similar mechanics to keep the game from becoming overwhelming to learn, but they also have distinct elements that set them apart in both play and style. Sneaking undetected through hostile territory shouldn't feel the same as battling a ferocious beast, which in turn should feel quite different from using your silver tongue to talk your way out of trouble. In Triptycho, each of these scenes is immensely entertaining and similar enough to play, but different enough to feel right.
Within each scenario, you'll draw and play cards, make decisions, and roll dice to try to overcome the challenges before you. Each scenario can have its own victory or defeat conditions as appropriate to the story. As such, these scenarios only occur when there is some sort of conflict at hand, or if there is a notable consequence to failing a given action.
Parts of the game that don't involve conflict or consequences of failure are instead played through freeform storytelling and role-playing. Typically games begin with this sort of storytelling, and decisions you make and activities you try to perform will determine what sort of scenarios you will encounter. Following a scenario, the story will generally continue in a direction depending upon whether you won or lost that particular scene. It is rare for a scenario to result in the outright death of a character; Triptycho makes use of the “fail-forward” principle in design, where failure also advances the story, but perhaps in a manner that is bad for the players or their characters.