Talking Bastard 0 Solution

How It Works

The Fire Lake salespeople were what we call "Talking Bastards", a class of puzzle that involves interacting in constrained ways with an actor. Violating any constraints causes the actor to start over, and the constraints aren't made clear to the teams in advance, so solving the puzzle amounts to a trial-and-error observation process to figure out what the rules of the interaction are.

The following notes were what were distributed to the actors for this interaction with the teams, the first of four total.


Talking Bastard is the showroom salesman who converses with the teams, and the teams need to get data from him. Rules, however, are imposed on their interactions and anytime they break a rule, they're forced to reset. Overall, there are some Taboo-style words - saying any of them is a rules violation. The Taboo words are:

  • "Name"
  • "Location"
  • "Who"
  • "Where"
  • "Boss"

If they violate one of these, the failure phrase to use before you reset is to chastise them for swearing or using offensive language. For example, "I'm sorry, we don't allow obscene language here." Consistent use of a failure phrase is important to help teams learn the rules they're breaking in a reasonable amount of time.

The Talking Bastard happens in four segments. In general, each segment works as follows:

  • There's an introduction phrase which is said when they start this phrase (when the teams give an answer to the gate question from the last segment), which also is used to signal a reset.
  • There is a new rule introduced for the segment, which is enforced for this segment along with all the rules from previous segments. Note that new rules aren't enforced on previous segments. So the second time they see the Talking Bastard, for the repeat of the first section, there's still only the first rule. Only start enforcing the second rule when you enter the second segment.
  • There is a piece of information that they're trying to get. Vignettes will hint at the fact that they need that information.
  • The interaction should actually be like a smarmy salesman trying to chat up a client, so it's not just waiting for them to ask a question and answering, add some conversation elements during which they have to slip in the info that they're trying to get. Don't make this too arduous or long, but make them have to actually know the rules to actually make it through. Goal is about 15-20 minutes.
  • Once they get the piece of information, they have solved that segment and they get asked a gate question, which they don't know the right answer to. When they get the answer wrong, they are sent out on another loop instead of starting over.
  • The loop will tell them the answer to the question such that next time they get back, they'll know how to get into the next segment.

Team Logistics

  • GC will be in touch with the talking bastards to inform you when teams are on their way, and what hub puzzle they should be sent to when they complete the talking bastard. Have that envelope ready for them to arrive.
  • When the team arrives, verify which team it is so we know we're giving them the right envelope.
  • When they finish solving, hand them the envelope and remind them that they may want to use the facilities while they're available.

Other Notes:

  • Each time they encounter a talking bastard "from scratch" (after a loop), there's no state remembered, as they're considered a new customer. Thus, they must clear the segments they already cleared again. That said, after each segment is cleared, the "reset" point advances to being after the last segment they cleared. So, they are assumed to have learned what they already learned during this interaction with the Talking Bastard.
  • After enough time goes by, start hinting more strongly at the nature of the rule they broke.

Previous Segments:


New Segment:

Visit 1:

  • Intro/Reset: "Welcome to Fire Lake Resorts!"
  • Goal: Figure out the salesman's name. (Pat)
  • New Rule: Same team member can't say two things in a row. (Failure: "Don't hog the conversation", "Give other people a chance", etc ...)
  • Banter: Talk about how great Fire Lake is and how they're about to experience a great presentation.
  • Gate question: Once they figure out your name, ask, "Are you excited by our properties yet?" No matter what they answer, you should say, "I don't think you're excited enough, and I know how to solve that!" and hand them an envelope. In this case, all envelopes are the same - they lead to the KeyboardQuickPuzzle rather than to one of the Hub Puzzles.


In this case, the goal was to figure out the salesperson's name ("Pat"). The name itself wasn't relevant, but discovering it caused them to provide to you an envelope with the next location listed on it.