On the thought process and decisions in the "Three Travellers" quest in ATOM RPG

To begin with let's make an introduction, that the uninvolved understand what we're actually talking about, and at the same time, to warn that I'll be hooliganism.

ATOM RPG - computer game in the genre, oddly enough, RPG, from the Russian developers, whose ideological inspiration in this case were such hits as Fallout (a healthy man, not the recent miscarriage) and Wasteland, so ancient that only veterans of the Battle of Kulikovo remember its gameplay. Post-apocalyptic game set in an alternate universe where the USSR and the United States, never waiting for perestroika, pounded each other with all nuclear weapons with the predictable result - there was no place to hold the victory parade, and no one. The setting - the wasteland in the vast expanses of the former Soviet Union, the entourage is little different from the real "wild 90s", with all the stylistic decisions that follow. In general, the very same Russian Fallout, which so long awaited a huge number of people from among the few who are still interested.


Russian Fallout or Russian Fallout 76?



The quest - let's call it conventionally "The Three Wayfarers." A random encounter, falling out with the player, after he leaves the starting location of the game - the village of "Otradnoe. Actually "quest" - the name for this adventure is loud, but that's how it is in RPGs.

Beware, further ruthless spoilers!!! Run for your lives.

THE CONDITION OF THE SINGING PROBLEM

A brief synopsis. While traveling through the wasteland, the main character comes across three travelers who stand around a campfire, looking at each other suspiciously and refusing to go anywhere, fearing to even turn their backs to each other. As we will find out later, it has nothing to do with the fear to drop the soap in the prison shower. From a conversation with one of them we find out that he is a certain businessman Vladislav Petrovich from some distant collective farm, travelling to Krasnoznamennyi village to make a profitable deal. One fine day, or quite the contrary, he took his personal driver Boris, security guard Ivan, as a guide hired a local boy Ashot, and went from point A to point "I would rather stay home. On the way, the entire honest company spent the night at the house of a certain old woman, who gave them dimedrol moonshine and told them dreadful things. She claimed that a mutant parasite lives in the local swamp, a worm system, which penetrates the human body by oral, and causes him to do obscene things: drink vodka with beer, vote for Zhirinovsky, listen to Russian rap and play Hannibal Lecter, killing other people to satisfy their original gastronomic needs. Having listened to such horrors, the driver Boris slept badly, and therefore the next day lost vigilance, and, overcoming a difficult stretch of road in difficult weather conditions, got into an accident, after which he fell into a swamp. Out of grief, Boris immediately drowned, while the others, realizing they were in THAT very swamp, succumbed to a shameful panic and scattered in different directions. When they finally meet again, they begin to suspect bad things about each other - allegedly one, or even two of them, in the absence of faithful companions, have been orally raped by an intellectual worm and now have culinary plans for the internal organs of their fellow travelers.

This is the situation the player is asked to sort out, and, having filtered out the sick from the healthy, carry out a total disinfection.


Solzhenitsyn's dream



The following is known about the worm-humanist. A man infected with the worm does not differ from his usual self, he still picks his nose and tells dirty jokes. Except that he has memory problems: he gets confused, forgets details, omits details, confuses the names and the sequence of events. In general, he behaves like a schoolboy after a sleepover. Actually, this is the key to the solution of the problem - we only need to compare the stories of the victims and determine which of them has partial amnesia. But, as it should be in good stories, not all so simple.

Let us now analyze in detail what happened and at the same time comparing versions of different participants, we will note where and who's stories coincide and where they contradict. Below we will compile all the data into a table to try to mathematically determine the winner.

IN ADDITIONAL FINE PRINT.

However, first of all, it is necessary to stipulate the conditions under which it makes sense to solve this puzzle at all.

Firstly, we assume that the parasite really exists and not the tales of an elderly horror-lover. Otherwise, this quest - no logical puzzle, but simply a trolling developers. Obviously, if the worm - a mythical animal, the key to the solution is not, which means that the hapless expeditioners simply went crazy from stress and instead of solving the puzzle need to call the paramedics. In the end, such a development is just plain boring.

Secondly, we assume that the solution to the problem is within the same location in which we encounter these frightened idiots. Technically, this quest - a chance encounter, which means that if we leave the location in search of clues - we can not go back. And because it may occur immediately after leaving "Otradnoye" - the starting location of the game, the player simply will not have time to visit the right place to find a solution and not to meet important for this character. Of course, the clue may be in the "Otradnoye" itself, but if you do not know that you need it, it is easy to miss. Playlog has no record of conversations, and the location itself has about a half dozen NPS, and to remember what each of them is - an impossible task for the average gamer. So we rely on the developers' conscience, in the sense that we will find everything we need to solve the problem on the spot.

And finally, for the solution it is essential that the healthy, uninfected character himself does not suffer from amnesia due to excessive impressiveness or as a result of mental retardation. That is, we are confident that if someone is healthy, they are describing events as they actually occurred.


"Do you remember how it all started?"



PARSING WITH A MICROSCOPE

Let us specify the actors once again for the further text to be perceived without any tension.

Vsevolod Markelov is a representative of small and medium-sized businesses from the time of initial accumulation of capital. Security guard Ivan - personal guard of Vsevolod Petrovich. Ashot Kasparov, a local guide, works for food. The driver Boris is invisibly present in the scene, since shortly before his death. The car is made by UAZ company of domestic assembly of unknown year.


Vsevolod Petrovich brings us up to speed. And he's too damn chatty, he was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet in his "past life".



Let us now proceed to parsing. All three of them assert that before the stop the trip passed without incident. In truth, Vsevolod Petrovich and guard Ivan mark, that they rode at lack of roads, but very confidently and for this reason they praised skills of the driver. What exactly lack of roads is meant - is not clear. Was it the absence of the road, as such - rough terrain, steppes-hills, or a road unsuitable for driving due to bad weather or sawing out the repair budget by the local authorities. And it could be important. Conductor Ivan did not say anything about lack of roads - did he consider it unimportant, or he forgot?

All right, let's keep moving. They're staying overnight at a certain grandmother's house. And all three of them had a complete disagreement and lack of consensus about the name of this grandmother. That is everyone called grandmother differently, thankfully not with swear words. The first conclusion can be made here: either all three are infected or only two of them are, i.e. only one of them can be healthy. Really, two healthy people's stories must coincide completely, or at least not contradict each other. And here we have a complete disorder. Further on, when making a decision, we will have to make an assumption at this place, because it is impossible to determine reliably whether one of the company is telling the truth or all three of them are mistaken, without a third-party help.

The next point is the place where this grandmother lives. Ashot says, that it is a petrol station, Ivan, that granny lives in the hut, and Vsevolod Petrovich has problems with registration of granny's residence. First he says that babka lives in a hut, and then he calls her "the queen of the petrol station". This inconsistency is alarming. Of course, if we consider a hut as an architectural structure that has walls and a roof, then in this sense the petrol station is the same hut. On the other hand, a hut is also a special case of a small house, so it is problematic to identify coincidence and contradiction here. We hope that the authors did not expect that all the players studied Vinogradov's textbook, and we do not need to determine the amount of judgments and the relationship between these judgments. Let's agree that the gas station looks more definite than the vague analogy house-hut. After all, the log cabin was an iconic building for Russians and a part of national culture, and only a foreign spy could not recognize a log cabin. And all spies by this moment, taking into account post-apocalyptic character of what is going on, have probably died out for lack of use.

Let's go further. Grandmother, and everybody agrees with this, had a pet. Ashot asserts, that it is Tobik, at that he marks, that he is funny - superfluous detail in this case can be decisive. Vsevolod Petrovich, that it is a cat Petyka, and Ivan simply says, that the grandmother was a catwoman. There is a coincidence in the testimony of the speculator and his security guard. To tell the truth, the guard was too shy to tell his cat's name.

Further we spent the night, during which a pensioner tempted the tourists with her stories - nothing interesting.


Ashot's version of events as narrated by Vsevolod Petrovich. On the contrary, he's very taciturn. Probably because he did not do well in school.



The next important point is the reason of the accident. Here, as well as in case with grandmother's name, we observe total randomness. Vsevolod said, it was a terrible fog, Ashot said, it was raining heavily - visibility was zero, driver Boris used his instruments and as a result his car hit a snag and crashed heavily into the swamp together with the passengers. The guard, Ivan, said, that it was commonplace mud and the UAZ had slipped, what caused the slip into the ditch.

Here it makes sense to separate the readings. First, the weather. Here, as I have already told, is a natural fable of Krylov - there is no agreement in comrades.

Secondly, the reason why the UAZ ended up in the swamp. A blow on a snag - according to the version of conductor Ashot and dielectric Vsevolod, and a banal slipping in a ditch from the private security guard Ivan. Ivan's version looks a little strange. We know, that Boris used to drive off-road before, if it is the same - we have argued above about it, and managed as a hell of a professional - and here he suddenly relaxed. As if granny had cast a spell. And this strangeness extends to the next point of our analysis, namely the reason for the drowning of Boris.

In the case of Ashot and Vsevolod everything is clear - when hitting the stump, Boris hit his head on the steering wheel, he lost consciousness and simply could not get out of the car when it was sinking. Ivan, on the contrary, it is not clear - if the car just slid into the swamp, why was Boris sitting on his ass while the others shouted "Half-undra!"? Was it the real captain (we know nothing about his past, right?) decided to go to the bottom together with the ship?


A view on what happened from the security guard Ivan. He somehow does not demonstrate the due equanimity necessary in his profession.



Let's move on. I understand that we're all tired, but we don't have much time left to go. Vsevolod Petrovich told, that the car had not sunk at once - it had been blowing bubbles for half an hour, while he stood on the bank and counted the losses. Then they only understood where they were and that scribe in guise of radioactive worm could approach them, and then, of course, they rushed to disperse. Ashot claimed that he was the smartest and ran away from the cursed place as soon as he got out of the car. It is not clear from Ivan's account how quickly they left the place of the crash, may be it is the evils of fiction, but he certainly did not say anything about how they had admired the beauty of the Grimpen bog while their car was imitating "Titanic". In theory, he should be just as savvy as Ashot. After all, he is a guard, his sense of danger should be developed on a professional level and he should feel worm man-eaters literally with his heel. On the other hand, we cannot rely on chance in such a case, so we will take his laconicism as a refusal to testify.

And finally, the last thing is the order in which the travelers who shit their pants left the scene. It is very difficult to catch any contradictions here. Ashot rushed forward at the speed of a tribal Arab horse, bodyguard Ivan fell down, and the body of Vladislav Petrovich guarded by him, leaving his fighting partner at the mercy of the marsh creature, disappeared into the nearest bushes. Again to his job duties guard was able to begin only ten minutes later, when all three gathered where they are found by our protagonist. Since the guide has left the escorted people far behind, he naturally can neither confirm nor deny what the out-of-town delegation was really doing. So all this tumultuous activity has no practical value for our calculations. It makes sense to compare only what the complete set of participants of this unsuccessful business tour took part in. It's agreed that Kasparov ran the fastest - that's good. That's the end of the analysis.


Three in a boat, not counting the worms.



Oh yeah, there's also the ear. The problem is that Ashot and Vsevolod Petrovich claim, from the words of the old woman, of course, that the worm enters the human body through the mouth, while the ill-fated Ivan, says that through the ear. It is possible, of course, to doubt the value of these data, as they only retransmit other people's information, and there - who learned how. Maybe Ivan was just picking his ear at that moment. On the other hand, there is a clear contradiction, and it would be death to ignore it in the current extreme conditions. It's easy, by the way, to pin the whole solution on this ear. It's like babka's theoretical researches Ivan refutes by practical experience. However, if the clue is in the ear alone, why bother with the rest of the garden? All right, let's put this data in the table on a general basis. That's it now.

CALCULATIONS IN COLUMNS.

So, let's summarize directly into a table, assigning mathematical values to the obtained data. At this point I was at a split opinion - how to actually count? This calls for a proven system of "false-true", according to which coincidences should be assigned one, and noncoincidences - zero. On the other hand, equating apparent contradictions with cases where a character is simply silent about something did not seem right to me. So another "lie-true-uncertainty" system was invented, where coincidences get a point, contradictions get a point taken away, and defaults get zero. Since this know-how of mine is in no way theoretically grounded and based on no real methodology, I made a managerial decision to calculate using both methods, and see what happens.

Before we start counting, it is necessary to note some more oddities. The stories of Vsevolod Petrovich and his securiti not only contradict the other participants of the competition, but also, to some extent, do not agree with themselves. The speculator confuses the lodge with a petrol station, and the security guard describes the accident very vaguely. And these discrepancies at first strike the eye so sharply that I almost did not consider them the main criterion, and hotly not appointed a course of medicinal therapy in the form of crushing blows to the head of both of them with a shovel (I had no other working weapon at the time). Perhaps it is all the same expense of fiction - the developers had to imitate the speech of living people. As a result, the most consistent of them at first seems conductor Ashot, just because of his reticence.
Now let's fill in the table.



TOTAL OR NOTHING

Here, before announcing the results, it is necessary to make the same assumption about which I wrote above

.

Given that there are irreconcilable differences of opinion on a number of points, it is up to the player to decide if there is, in principle, even one uninfected camper. If you have not found any additional clue up to this point, it is not possible to determine this experientially. I have not.

Next is solely my view of this dilemma. Of course, we are free to brand all three as walking worms, but that, as in the case of deciding that the parasite does not exist, is just another way of avoiding making a decision. There is no moral choice in this. If we take this option, our protagonist will say something like "Men, I'm afraid of you," and run away, leaving potential cannibals to solve their problems in a tight corporate circle. And vice versa, by determining who is infected and who is healthy, we, quite possibly, decide who lives and who dies, that is, we make this very moral choice. And, sooner or later, we will have to face its consequences, at least, the developers promise us so. Who knows, maybe those, whom we saved will meet again on our way, as well as the "ghosts" of those, who thanks to us were left to rot on the marshes? And, perhaps, this meeting will not bring us anything good. But isn't that why we love RPGs? After all, having choices and their consequences is what sets an RPG apart from all others. A good RPG. And in my opinion, that's exactly what "we're all here for today". Although, of course, calling everyone worms and scrambling is also a roleplaying option.

But we'll go a different way. And declare a winner.

Ba-bam! And as a result of a brief struggle with a table of me Excel, wins a confident rural oligarch Vsevolod Petrovich. In addition, the table revealed a curious thing. If to look on marks according to the system "Lie-True-Indeterminacy" it would be clear, that the version of events presented by Vsevolod Petrovich either coincides with others, or contradicts them, and it means, if to simplify a little, that he didn't forget about anything. Moreover, if to omit those facts, on which all three do not coincide at all (I have highlighted them in red), then on the other points local Abramovich has solid coincidences and no contradictions. That is, the stories of the guide and the guard are consistent exclusively with his version, but not with each other. As it seems to me, this serves as indirect evidence and adds considerable confidence in the correctness of our choice.


The head of the Moscow sub-division of cleanup at work

.

It's unsanitary, you know.



Epicrisis... I.E. Epilogue But

we won't be allowed to verify its correctness

.

After we inform Vsevolod Petrovich that his fellow-travellers no longer belong to Homo sapiens species, he will thank us for our observation and ask us to leave, to deal with this problem without strangers. Suspicious shyness, by the way. And there's a sequel, apparently. Well, we resign ourselves to our fate and retreat into the unknown to await the promised consequences from the developers.


The finale? Or the end of the first series?

Either

way is slightly disappointingPOST



DONE - POST SCREPTUMS Having made

my choice, I exhaled with relief



.



I did not want to call Markelov a parasite, in medical sense, not in ideological one. And not because I felt any sympathy for him. On the contrary, as a proletarian, I think he is a parasite in the ideological sense, not the medical one. Vsevolod Petrovich is a central figure in this story. In fact the story is based on him. He is, if I may say so, the best spelled out, he has a motivation other than the banal "don't eat me". We even know what he'll do after the problem is resolved in his favor - he'll get to the Red Banner, hire people, get back to the swamp, pull out the car with the goods, and finally make the ill-fated deal. He has at least some definite future in this game and is potentially more interesting for our further adventure. What will the rest of them do we can only guess - they'll scatter in terror to their corners and you won't lure them to these swamps anymore, not even with Jennifer Lopez's bare ass (or whatever it's quoted now). Not much is known about them, and they're essentially in this story for a round-robin account. You can easily replace them - for example, instead of the guard, revive the driver Boris, and the conductor in general is forgotten with a hangover at his grandmother - nothing will change. And it seems to me a disappointing omission of developers. If they made the other characters a bit more interesting - more likeable or, on the contrary, repulsive - and the process of solving the problem would play with more colors, and the result would leave less indifferent.



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