Just a quick post saying that I changed up the colors. Gone is the orange and in with the white and bronze-gold.
Alright, let’s begin this Remembrance Day special with the opening scenario.
For those who don’t know what the Matrix is, it’s a franchise of movies set in a cyberpunk environment contained inside post-apocalyptic world. How this works is that machines have humans live in small pods that keep them in a comatose state, effectively keeping them active while they “farm” them as batteries.
In this comatose state, the humans go through a simulation of real life: The Matrix. They go about their day, knowing nothing of the true nature of their world. However, some do. And when they do find that something isn’t right, they end up finding a way out of that world and into the real world, now named Zion, where they join a resistance army. From there, they operate Hovercrafts that are armed with programs that allow them to re-enter the Matrix with what is basically a cheating device (you can ask someone to give you guns or teach you Kung Fu on the fly, for instance) whenever they wish to try and free other people from it.
Of course, this isn’t exactly easy. The Machines have what are basically administrators in the Matrix known as Agents, who can possess people and have extreme combat expertise. To face them is to dice with death. However, there is hope. The Resistance is given information in which one person will ultimately end the world and save Zion. This person is known as the One.
Our story begins during this search for the One. Many Hovercraft crews are told of the One and they all want to be the crew that says, “we found the One!”. Some of them even pretended that they already found them. Such is the case with our Hovercraft crew, the Somnambular. Continue reading
So, this is probably gonna be a short post about how I solo roleplay. It begins with me figuring out what game I should play. Most of the time, I’m following a theme or I have recently purchased it and want to play it in the only way I know it will be played. Most of the time right now, it’s the latter.
So, what happens first is that I get Microsoft Word up and running. I have my game in hand and I probably have figured out my Engine. If not, then I roll on a random chart or use CRGE Kai, basically CRGE but using Mythic’s rules for triggering random events on top of it. Usually, it’s depending on what game I’m playing. Fate games get the Fate Solo, wargames get TSS, etc.
Once that’s done, I possibly make a Stat It for the game if I feel like character creation is gonna take a while. If not, it’s mashed up into my session. I usually have a scenario in my head that I begin with, and from there, I play it out. I use Roll20 to simulate dice rolls and use character sheets if they’re available. I keep a short sheet containing my threads, NPCs, and PCs, as well as current Chaos if the engine has it.
I write out what happens, usually in narrative format. I separate mechanics in square brackets like so:
And questions are the same.
[Q: Question. Odds/Purpose: ???. A: Answer]
And if a random event happens, usually I put what happens in bullets.
- Like [Random Event Focus: ???]
- So [Random Event Meaning: ???]
And so forth. I play for about five scenes (separated by the scene rolls and the determining of Chaos) or until the game prematurely ends. If it has no means of stopping, I suspend play and resume next time.
One thing I must bring up is that I don’t play a solo game in a single sitting like most other people. I play one game out in multiple sittings. This, unfortunately, invites procrastination and delay. The problem is, outside of forcing myself to play the game in a single sitting which would possibly disrupt the quality of the game, there’s no real solution to this.
Once done, I upload the file onto my WordPress, make the usual tags, and then post it. Then I update the stats on the sheet which you can view.
And that’s basically it. Pretty short if I do say so myself. We answered two questions, and who knows, maybe I’ll answer Who, What, Where, and When next time.
So, to continue the celebration of Solo Gaming Appreciation Month, I’ve decided to write up one Question that hasn’t been established on this blog: Why do I solo roleplay?
Well, allow me to explain three reasons why I do so.
1. It allows me to try new games
Anyone who has seen my games knows that I always play a different game every so often. The reason? Because I want to try out new games. Stop me if you heard this before: you purchased a really cool new RPG and you want your friends to play it. However, they don’t want to and instead insist on playing Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder or some variant.
I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons games thanks to fifth edition’s revival and me being in an area full of gamers like me, so I don’t have the problem of not having anyone to play with. The problem though is that I believe I’m starting to hit burn out with Dungeons and Dragons. It lost its spark for me. That’s why there’s only 15% of total games so far are either D20 or OSR. I’ve already played a lot of D&D out of this blog, so playing it here isn’t changing much.
Thus, I experiment with new games all the time. Some games are flops and others are hits. It also gives my game library a chance to play the games I own, rather than collect dust because someone prefers to play another round of D&D.
2. It creates a powerful narrative
Many people have noticed that I tend to stick closer to a narrative-based playstyle, with a lot of my games focused on storytelling. There’s a reason for this. I like narrative based games. They’re pretty easy to jump into, not a lot of rules to crunch down, and you can use the fluff to your advantage.
But, perhaps the most powerful aspect of this reasoning is that I use random generators to tell me plot twists that I don’t see coming. These are stuff like a hidden German spy revealing himself to one of the heroes, a woman who turns out to be using her own deceased daughter to drive her family apart, or the world being overrun by rats.
It excites me sometimes to play these games because I don’t know what kind of crazy hijinks I run into at times. Heck, I always want to just use this playstyle to write an entire novel one day.
3. The community is what drives me to do more
I think a lot of what I do today is thanks in part to everyone who is involved in the Solo RPG Community, be they people who play solo games, people who make solo games, or people who just like to talk about them. With them, I managed to find a group that shared my interests and would make recommendations to me that ended up changing the way I play.
Without this community, I’d be stuck on a low-end forum site with these session reports and I wouldn’t have made as many as I have. So, for this, I say, thank you all. And I hope you stay with me this remainder of the year as I try hard to get to #75 before 2017 ends.
Let’s go on a grand voyage, gamers!
I begin this post with some sad news: Zach Best passed away a month ago. Zach has changed my tools for solo roleplaying for the better and I have mentioned how that is in another post.
A tradition on Solo RPG Voyages is for me to play a war-themed game for Remembrance Day. However, I’ve decided, in tribute to Zach Best, to play a game of There Is No Spoon, the first game I tested out the CRGE on.
Though I am not completely forgoing the theme of war. The scenario is that a Redpill is in a WWII simulation and that the crew is assigned to go rescue him, give him the pill, and obtain him. His war skills are desirable for fighting the Machines.
But, who are our Hovercraft Crew? Well, I’m going to be using a combination of UNE and possibly BOLD to flesh out five characters, then create them for the game. Yes, this will be a Stat It. We’ll be doing the classic 6 point rule. Continue reading
Happy Halloween! So, instead of doing something embarrassing like use an Engine to simulate a Jenga tower only to that it falls easier every single roll, I decide to do a gamebook. This one’s entitled Halloween Ghost Story. Like the other two games I played, this also follows the HP + WM system of combat. Alright, big finish, let’s do this.
So, we stand by the grave of an old enemy as we pay our respects to him. I feel like he’ll be the ghost of this game. An old lady then approaches me and gives me an empty warning. I decide to leave… but I am lost. I wander about and attack a ghost.
After a fight that I finally broke out Roll20 and made a macro to better keep track of the fight, I beat him. I then get a knife that adds +1 to my strength. The old lady approaches me again and it turns out she’s a witch. She warns us that we must face a spooky ghost.
I stumble into a zombie and beat him with a bit of difficulty. After more exploring, I end up getting some candy. Eventually I come across a ghost who asks me for some candy. I just so happened to have some and so…
Huh. The game’s over. The ghost goes away and I am able to go back home. I don’t even get a sad ending like I did with the other games, so that’s cool. Okay. Quickest game ever and I didn’t even need to TPK.
By far, this is the best written gamebooks I played of the three. There’s no constant loops with a small chance of getting to the end. This game is very linear with branching paths and different endings. For instance, if I were to eat the candy instead, I’d be eaten by the ghost. If I got the necklace, I’d have to fight a monster with six health, meaning he would almost always have a chance to hit me.
The problem is in its length. The other games, while repetitive, had some length to be had. This game can be played in ten minutes. Despite that, I say check it out.
Well, happy Halloween.
It’s the middle of the month, which means another Gamebook. This time, it’s the Cave and the Treasure. Definitely not Halloween themed, but outside of the pinball game, there were exactly three pay-what-you-want games and this is one of them. It follows the same combat rules as Ghost Manor, HP + weapon dictates the threshold you must roll to inflict damage.
No plot here. There’s a cave. There’s also a treasure chest outside the cave. I decide to explore it and pry it open with the dagger, since I feel like this is the same situation as the lady at the manor, someone who might give me a powerup. I pop open the chest, and a snake pops out. I get hit for one HP because I failed to dodge him. Now the first fight begins. Continue reading
Halloween is upon us. Which is why I decided to do three solo gamebooks within this month, two of which are dedicated to this hallowed holiday. These gamebooks are made by Penguin Comics, the same people who brought us the pinball game that I liked.
Settings in Fate seem to be very easy to make. Every so often, Evil Hat comes out with a free setting book bringing about a new era. Other times, though, some other company will make a setting for it. Today will be the latter, and for Fate’s more… accelerated rules.
Yes, today we’ll look at Fate Accelerated’s game and how it plays in a post-apocalyptic setting on par with Gamma World. Thus, let’s play Omegazone. The setting is shown through cards and this is how you both create characters and get a gist of the setting. However, there’s also a setting book for you. For this game, we’re gonna go without one.
Character creation is pretty easy. It’s akin to Gamma World where we mash up two different things together. In this case, I’m mashing up an Atomic Construct with a Brain in a Jar and a Bio Capacitors mutation. Already, I’ve decided that this man is Dr. Wheeler, a scientist from the World Before who achieved immortality by placing his brain in a jar and putting it in an atomic construct. His high concept is that he’s a Super Smart Scientist, but his Trouble is that his robot is ridiculously aged. His other Aspect is that he has a Historically Accurate Mind.
Of course, I’ll use the Fate Solo Engine to play this game. Our scenario opens up with Wheeler on an active patrol looking for a means to reach a place called the Bibliosphere. There, he finds a place called the 405, a road that can get him to anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, bandits on motorcycles are riding all around the place and patrolling it. The situation aspects are Speed Limit and Noisy Road. There’s two zones as well. Off Road (the grass), Road, and Ramp. Continue reading
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this post.
If I recall correctly, I first met Zach Best when I was doing the Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week. During it, Zach gave me a request to playtest his own engine, which you guys may remember as the Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator. I fell in love with the easy to understand rules, it’s simple resolution tables, and creative twists that resulted from it.
As a result, CRGE became one of my go-to Engine, eventually overtaking my previous go-to, Mythic. The result was me taking some materials from Mythic to create CRGE Kai. And I enjoyed solo playing with not just that, but also BOLD and UNE, which contributed a lot to several games, even without CRGE as the engine.
Thus, when I read that Zach Best, the creator of CRGE, BOLD, and UNE, had terminal cancer, I felt horrible. I haven’t really been keeping up with my solo RPG gaming, but I do tend to pop my head in the solo RPG community, so hearing that we might lose one of the nicest people I’ve seen in that community, I was pretty sad.
I may not have known him all that much compared to some of the others, but Zach Best left such a huge impact on my Solo RPG Hobby that, looking at it, I realize just now how huge it is.
Over at my Solo RPG Voyages Stats, I have used either CRGE or CRGE Kai in a combined total of 15.2% of all my current RPG Voyages. Although it translates to about ten games, keep in mind that I have about sixty-seven voyages under my belt, making it a hefty number. It makes CRGE the third most used Engine next to Tiny Solitary Soldiers with an 18.2% (12 Voyages) which I use mostly for wargame-based RPGs, and Mythic with a whopping 24.2% (16 Voyages). Like I said, Mythic was my go to before CRGE graced my presence. That’s how much I loved the system. If I had no other idea of what to use or I didn’t feel like going random, I’d go with CRGE or CRGE Kai.
Had I never been asked to beta test CRGE, chances are I would have stuck with Mythic, but possibly not enjoying keeping up with the Chaos Factor or the Threads as I had keeping up with the Surge Counter and where those Threads are heading.
CRGE was also the engine that was used in my favorite RPG session I have ever done: A Flower For Mara. The RPG gave me a lot of memorable moments. The story behind this was that I wanted to play the game, but because of it being meant to play in live-action and requiring people delving into their actual pasts, I had to get creative.
BOLD, the Book of Legends and Deeds, was used to flesh out the stories of Mara’s family, including Mara herself. This would allow the characters to have their own backstories without me having to go personal. Thus created my first memorable moment: I ended up having a character with “Harsh Power Play”, which implied they had ulterior motives. And so, after being given control of that character, I wrote that they were the villain in this story, which was kind of baffling considering how A Flower For Mara had no heroes or villains.
UNE, the Universal NPC Emulator, was used to make the conversations pop. Mainly to figure out what each NPC said to my character. It led to my second memorable moment. One of the NPCs, Thomas, was freaking out over the ghost of Mara. My PC, Ajax, confronted him on this and, soon, the two formed a pact to help people move on from Mara’s death, as it was obvious that her ghost had been appearing to several people.
Finally CRGE contributed to what may be my most memorable moment. Long story short, Mara’s daughter Zoe was actually Ajax’s daughter. The villain ended up discovering this and went to tell Zoe this. This leads to an Unexpectedly (CRGE’s version of a plot twist) so bizarre, that it remains my go-to quote for why I love using Engines to dictate the plot.
Limelit. The rest of the scene goes great for the PC’s. The estranged daughter of my character’s old flame just found out he’s her real father after all these years, is about to beat the snot out of him, and the rest of the scene goes perfectly for him.
Let me repeat that. My character’s about to get beaten up by his own daughter. And yet it goes great.
I was able to spin a devastating conflict into a moment where Zoe feigns attacking Ajax so as to fool the villain, as she found out about her true father prior to the event. This led to a complete 180 where Ajax, once a single person grieving for his role in Mara’s untimely death, now having support from her grieving family as they try to stop the matriarch from tearing them apart.
CRGE, however, gave me another surprise. Just when I thought Naomi, the villain throughout the story, would have Ajax trapped by exposing him as the indirect cause of Mara’s drug overdose, it turns out that she has no idea of Ajax’s role. However, a critical fail leading into Limelit caused what could have been a tragic ending into a more bittersweet one about forgiveness and redemption.
It felt less like I was playing an RPG and more like I was watching a made-for-TV movie unfolding. This feeling I never had with any other game I played. And it’s all thanks to Zach Best and his creations.
However, not everything in this post is sad and gloomy. There’s a way we can help Zach. On DrivethruRPG, there is a bundle in which all the proceeds will go to support Zach and his family during this difficult time. The bundle contains a lot of RPGs, some of which, like Kaigaku, I’ve heard nothing but good things about.
Let me put it to you this way: for the same price you pay for just Kaigaku’s Premium Edition, you’re essentially buying three RPGs, a 13th Age Supplement, a sandbox adventure that can be used for any RPG, a 5E supplement, two Numenera adventures, and a small book regarding Alex Yari and Jacob DC Ross’ remembrances of Zach’s work. And more stuff are being added along the way, making it a mutual gift that keeps on giving.
Before you ask, I have checked. The bundle becomes free once you purchase it, so if you bought it before new items have been added, don’t fret.
It’s a good deal that can also help out someone who gave so much to the community.
Thank you Zach, for all the support that you have given to all of us.