The Solo RPG Voyages Quarter Quell #3

So, here we are. 75 sessions of Solo RPG Voyages. And we’re finally here. The 3rd Quarter Quell. Alright, what game will I play this time?

The RPG is… Combat Leader!

The Engine is… CRGE-Kai!

And the Drivers are… I Ching and Insta NPCs!

Oh, wow. The last time I played Combat Leader, the entire area was lit on fire… And the last time I used I Ching, it was based around working with the very being that sunk Atlantis. So… What happens when you mix fire and water? Well, let’s find out! Today’s leader is Serov.

We were scouting the nearby area when we suddenly came across Nazis…

[Q: Do they notice us? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 35, SC goes up by 1]

They haven’t seen us… perfect opportunity to plan a surprise attack. We headed into a nearby building and informed the person inside of what we’re doing…

This is where Insta NPCs comes into play.

[How Many Traits?: 5, so 2 times]

[Traits: 74 & 64. Adventurous & Gorgeous.]

Hmm… Not a lot of things to go for this… I’ll also determine motivation and attitude.

[Motivation? 19, Boredom. Attitude? 3, Offensive]

Alright, I got something here.

The patron inside, Yegorov, was more than eager to join in the Nazi killing… Maybe a little too eager. He already had a gun and was ready to help us fight them off.

We play the waiting game. Round 1 ends, Chaos Factor going down since we got things down pat.

[Scene Roll: 5]

No scene alteration. The Nazis decide to head into their own hut to talk to a patron.

  • How Many Traits?: 3, 1 trait
  • Trait: 95, Selfish
  • Motivation: 20, Friendshi- Yeah no. Greed.
  • Attitude: 12, Critical

So, the Nazis take a turn to do… stuff with the NPC. I guess work out a deal?

Our turn, we don’t know what’s taking the Germans so long, but we ready ourselves for battle. Round 2 ends and Chaos Factor goes down.

[Scene Roll: 5, no Scene Event]

Finally, the Germans peered out of the forest as we opened fire on them. Unfortunately, our bullets missed them and they immediately knew our location. Worst still, they have a hostage.

Scene ends and chaos goes up by one.

[Scene Roll: 5, no scene event]

I came out to confront their leader. He had a poor villager at gunpoint and request that my men surrender, lest he is shot and killed. On one hand, I don’t wish to have innocent blood on my hands… but on the other, I don’t wish to follow the orders of a nation that betrayed our Motherland.

I took my knife and plunged it right into the leader’s neck. Blood flowed out as he fell to the ground, dead. I offered my hand to the hostage, only for him to get out his pistol and shoot me in the face.

Welp, he ded. New scene as we switch perspectives!

[Scene Roll: 2]

Scene Interrupt!

  • Event Focus: 17, NPC Action.
  • NPC Focus: 6, Moser.
  • Event Meaning: 46 & 11, Develop Emotions.

So, I guess Moser turns to the light?

When I saw my commander get killed, followed by the ‘hostage’ killing the Russian commander, I realized I joined the wrong side. I subtly drop a grenade on the ground and sneak off.

[Q: Does anyone notice him? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 64, SC boosting it to 66, SC going to 2]

They notice him, but another random event.

  • Event Focus: 79, Ambiguous event.
  • Event Meaning: (Using I Ching) Hex 25, Remaining Blameless.

I made it look like an accident. Many of them leaped, but it was too late… With the explosion taking out three of my former allies, the Russians opened fire. They killed all but three of the remaining soldiers. Kuznetsov, the man we picked up for our ambush mission, didn’t stand a chance as he was mowed down.

Now we do a rally phase to see if the Germans can get out of their pinned position. Only one manages to. Round over and, I have to say, things got pretty chaotic.

[Scene Roll: 0]

Another scene interrupt.

  • Event Focus: 72, PC positive.
  • PC: 1, Gunin
  • Event Meaning: 100 and 100, Change of Information

Thankfully, I managed to inform the Russians of my intent to betray the army for quite some time and I guess this is now good as ever to make the switch. The Germans never stood a chance as the Russians killed them all. Thankfully, the Russians were on route to their base. I could use a change of clothes.

And that’s it. We pretty much win thanks to open season. However, I reviewed the rules and realized that. I forgot to roll for KIA conformation first. Meaning that as I rolled to hit, I also need to roll to see if that hit killed or pinned, then needed to roll based off what hex the soldier was on to see if they were still killed or pinned.

Meaning that the kills shouldn’t have been that easy to obtain. There’s a 33.33% chance of your shot having the possibility of killing, then depending on the hex, you have as high as a 83% chance or as low as a 16% chance. In short, you could either have 25% chance of actually killing someone if they’re in the woods or a 58% chance if they’re out in the open.

I’m not sure if I forgot or if I had subconsciously ignored thay part of the rules. Whatever the case, though, this was a fun ride. And hey, I didn’t get terrified for once!

Well, we’re now on the road to the 100th Session. We need something special to commemorate the occasion. We can’t just leave this up to chance. We need something…

FATAL.

Bon Voyage, Gamers.

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Carolina Death Crawling In My Skin

So for the penultimate session before the Quarter Quell, I decided to go a little unorthodox. A while back, I purchased a game that I wanted to play for so many years. This is dating back to when I was doing the Hope Inhumanity games. Life and other such problems got in the way, though. But now? I can try this. The game? Carolina Death Crawl.

I’m gonna be brutally honest with you all. I’m going into this game blind. Whereas almost every other game, I had an idea of what I’m gonna play, either because I heard someone else talk about it, or I saw a demo, or I have played it before. Here? I have no such prior context. To give you an example, I had this idea the game’s gonna be about cross-country horseback racing a la Steel Ball Run, but instead, it’s about the Civil War…

The one about the blue and white soldiers fighting over the legality of slavery, not the one with the armored billionaire duking it out with the personification of America over superhero regulation.

So, yeah. I’m gonna learn this game as I play it. What I know is that the game is played through cards, much like Hope Inhumanity, and that there’s three kinds of cards: Kill, Disgrace, and Destroy. Thankfully, the rules that come free with the DrivethruRPG page explain the premise. Basic gist is that it’s Civil War, we’re left behind enemy lines, only one person can live. Our character is a soldier for North Carolina and is loyal to the Union despite North Carolina being a Confederate State.

Character Creation seems to be very cool. There’s two halves of a character. The first half has their first name, rank, and title whereas the second has their last name, placement in the North Carolina Army, and the second part of the title. Naturally, I went with Charles Comfort, Lieutenant of the 1st NC Cavalry, Officer & Ass-Kicker.

Well, I’m ready to play, though I’m not sure if I will need additional players or if I can just wing it. In either case, I will have Henry Dunham, Private of the 1st NC Cavalry, Swamp Rat & Imposter, on the ready in case I do. For now, I will need to answer my main question: Whose ass am I going to kick the moment I slip your leash? This question does not necessarily have to be answered right away and can be answered during the game, it seems. So, on with the game.

Skimming the game does reveal that I would need at least three other players for this game. They will act as extensions of myself rather than use an Emulator to simulate them. So, after Henry Dunham is Isaac Eager, Corporal of the 1st NC Calvary, Intellectual & Criminal. And after him is Lemuel Maybank, Sergeant of the 1st NC Calvary, Veteran & Aristocrat. Already we have some interesting combinations. Almost everyone has a beef with each other. Maybank is in debt to Eager, Eager is loathed by Dunham, and Dunham is hiding from Comfort. Continue reading

The Gandalflocke Challenge (Rules)

A long, long, long time ago, back during the beginnings of Solo RPG Voyages, I had hatched a challenge that I’ve decided to share with the community to see if they can try their hand at it. It’s based off a Pokémon challenge called Nuzlocke. The basic gist of a Nuzlocke is that you play Pokémon like normal, but with two stipulations: You could only capture the first Pokémon you see in every route and when a Pokémon faints, they automatically die.

Translating that for a solo RPG campaign is pretty easy. I recommend using an RPG that’s based off the D20 system, so any OSR game, D20 game, or even 5E will do. Next, either pick your favorite adventure/campaign or make a whole new one up. Create a party of four characters or less. The recommended party build for this challenge is the following: Continue reading

Omegazone II: City of the Apes

So, I kinda lied. I’m gonna stick to Omegazone for just a little longer before going into Call of Cthulhu. The reason being that I haven’t covered other parts of the Omegazone Deck that I wanted to show you guys. Not only that, but there’s also a supplement to the deck that tells you a little bit more about the lore of Omegazone.

It turns out to not be the Mad Maxian setting that I made it out to be in the first post, rather the opposite. Nature has grown out of control, plant life growing everywhere. Then aliens and radiation took hold, effectively turning the world into the hot mess we’re in. The lack of communications results in the fact that rumors are now truth.

There’s a large, in depth story about how the world became the world we know now and why the game’s called Omegazone. If I were to summarize, aliens known as the Kreen invade Earth. The resulting battle and breaking out of the OmegaForce (think of them as a sort of X-Com task force) caused the world to change, ground zero being L.A., now known as the Omegazone.

That’s the basis we know now.

Instead of resuming our adventures with Dr. Wheeler, I’m instead gonna focus on a new character. A cat-spider hybrid named Spicat, who lived in the Vineland, a city overrun by vines and ruled by gorillas. It’s there that we see Spicat catching and killing a strange panther that, up to this point, had been evading her by teleporting away. It had teleported up to a roof, to which Spicat invokes her Super Sticky Skin. Continue reading

Update on Injawara

I just got Injawara going again, so let’s see what I can do with this game. I’m going to take the game nice and slowly. Each action will have its own paragraph as I carefully plot this out. So right from the start, there’s two challenges needed to be solved. If I’m gonna Sophie’s Choice this, I’m going to tackle the HIV/AIDs problem first.

I get a question regarding Malaria and I answer wrongly… Huh, could have sworn it had decreased in the last few decades. With the maternity problem now on the doom clock, I decide to tackle that next. Thankfully, I managed to answer correctly. Doing so unlocks Education’s special power. I then get another question about HIV/AIDs which I also answer correctly.

Now I must start moving the resources around to solve more challenges. Unfortunately, I fail to answer several questions about education, even using the powerup I got. I use another powerup to buy myself some time to answer more education questions. Thankfully I managed to answer the next question. I then began to answer questions willy-nilly before I failed each one.

So far, I am having fun and learning more about the situation at the same time. I do like a bit of foresight on the developers’ part. One of the questions asks “what is the most deadliest year in terms of international conflicts” and one of the options is 2001. People are bound to pick that without having studied the topic because of the infamous War on Terror kicking off in 2001. And yet, spoilers, it’s not the correct answer. That’s clever.

I soon managed to solve the problems of all eight regions in the game and won with a hefty 227 points. That said, I couldn’t play the game again. But, I managed to play it again and beaten it. That’s all that matters.

Dark Agent: Trial and Error By Fire

So after Injawara flopped, I had to play the next soloable game on Board Game Arena and pray that the infrastructure was better made than Injawara. This game is called Dark Agent, and like before, I will play three times: the first being an initial look at how to play, the second is after learning how to play, and then a third and final play.

After picking an agency and color, I begin the game. Most of the first game is spent swapping satellites and clicking on wherever columns my satellites are on. I got a good idea on what I need to do for the game, namely to take out the opposing spies and earn points that way. Graphics are pretty good looking. I really like the detail and the aesthetic of the game.

Thankfully I found a video educating me on how to play the game in under five minutes. The thing I got wrong is that I won’t be fighting opposing spies, but rather terrorists. Other than that, it seems like I got the right idea with the satellites, so I try again. My second attempt is somewhat better, though I had trouble trying to actually pick a fight with the terrorists.

My third and final attempt at this game had me lose again, but I finally managed to get the hang of the game, for a little bit. This is a pretty advanced game and it’s gonna take a while for me to learn solo. I decide to go for a fourth game where I manage to get a better understanding of how to play, even getting my agents on the map and taking out a bunch of people in one go. I still lost, but I got more than 9 points so that’s okay with me. It’s not as straightforward as Thermopyles, but it’s something.

Okay, screw it, one last game after watching another video on the game. I tried one more time, perhaps with the most understanding of how to play that I had, and I lost, but I lost with twelve points and was able to nab a powerup for three points. After the sixth game, I finally managed to get the hang of the game and managed to get up to thirty points in the process thanks to recognizing how to put spies on the map, how to best grab the Aims (the objectives of the game), and what I need to knock the bad guys off the board.

Overall, this game was much more enjoyable than having to get Injawara to work. Hell, I can even say it’s kinda addicting. I swore to play three games, and yet I played twice that because I learned something new each time I played and got better. This game is a good example of learning how to play firsthand with only two gameplay videos. Hell, I can say this is more enjoyable than Thermopyles.

With that, I am done for the day. Bon Voyage, gamers.

Injawara: The OneShot of Board Games

So, I’m going to do another solo game on Board Game Arena. This time, it’s going to be a game I never touched: Injawara. I have no idea how to play the game, so I will tackle the game at least three times. The first time will be blind, the second time will be with knowledge on the rules, and then the third time being a final “I know everything now” game.

Alright, so the look of the board when I began play looks very amazing and detailed. Looking at the resources I need to move and the eventual challenge pieces I have been given, this game looks at third world country problems, such as child mortality and AIDs. The mechanics indicate a co-op game akin to Pandemic, where you all play against the board, hence why the game is soloable. An interesting mechanic is that to solve a problem, you must answer a trivia question regarding the challenge at hand. As I began to understand the situation, I get hit with a game over.

Now I’m going to look at the rules and see how much I got right and what I need to do overall to beat the game. So, I was correct that this was a co-op game and that it plays like Pandemic, only instead of it being a disease ravaging the world, it’s third world country problems ravaging the third world. So, with that idea in mind and knowing what I can do to fix the problems, I try again.

Unfortunately, it appears the game doesn’t want to load for me. Despite loading it again and again, it doesn’t fully load and allow me to play. I tried just one more time, but I got locked out. And I know it’s this game in particular because I opened up Thermopyles thrice and got it going just fine. What a poor case of programming. And unfortunately, that is where I’m going to have to end Injawara. Because for some reason, Board Game Arena just doesn’t want me to play it. There seems to be only one way to fix it and that’s by going into Hotseat mode, but the second time I tried, Board Game Arena conveniently made it a premium feature. So, yeah, it’s as though I am not allowed to play this game again and I’m pretty frustrated and disappointed at Board Game Arena. This game gets so little Google search results that I’m convinced it’s a game that time forgot. At this rate, playing Cactus Solo would be a better use of my time than trying to get this to work. Because at least that I can play!

Maybe Injawara is supposed to be played this way. You only have one chance to save the world. You fail? Too bad. It won’t fix itself. Damn… Legacy Games don’t even have that claim to fame since you can always just buy another board game or use a Virtual Tabletop. Perhaps it’ll be fixed one day, and I’ll return to it with a fresher perspective. Until then though, I’m just gonna assume that I had destroyed a world because of my experimental playing.

The bottom line: game is interesting, just wished I can play it some more.

I’ll get a different game going in just a bit.

Tomb Voyager

So, I’ve been enjoying Geek Gamers’ videos and, recently, Geek Gamers released rules for a solo game of Tomb Raider. I tend to experiment with solo options and one of my very first sessions was based around testing out my own Solo Rules (on top of testing out rules for a Pathfinder solo campaign), so I decided to play the rules. You can read up on them here and you can hear about it from the creator of the rules herself here.

So, I’m gonna be using the premiere card set for this game to start off with understanding the rules. Using all six card sets (the three canon and the three fanmade ones) would create a night of me sorting through the sets, something that my experiments with Once Upon A Mythic Time has taught me can get tedious if you decide to use more than one set. Besides, the game tells me that an average difficulty is about twenty location cards and given how my idea for my location deck is all the Tomb cards mixed with the generic cards, that leads to about 25 cards. Another reason may be that the expansions have different rules to play with. For instance, Slippery When Wet, the second card set, mentions something about “oxygen rules”, which heavily implies a new rule.

Speaking of rules, I decided to locate the rules for the vanilla game just so that I can use it as reference in case the solo rules don’t tell me anything. Now, funny enough, the vanilla game has its own solitaire rules, but it’s not as expansive as the one I’m using. And so, we begin our game by shuffling every deck thrice and picking out my character at random. I pull out Lara Croft the Spelunker and my game begins. Continue reading

5 D20 Games I Wanna Play Here

I never do a lot of D20 games, and the reason for that is that its successor, D&D 5E, has been almost what I always play nowadays. The reason is obvious: everyone knows how to play D&D at some degree or another and most likely wouldn’t put in the time to learn a new game. Apart from one weekly game, CanGames, and of course, here, D&D is all I play.

That said, there are some settings/games that I do wanna tinker with at some point later down the line. With that said, here are 5 D20 games I wanna try out for Solo RPG Voyages at some point, in no particular order. I’ll be discounting Testament, since I did two sessions on it and I’m planning out a third down the line.

#1: Broncosaurus Rex

Now, dinosaurs in space would be enough to be a selling point. But the setting takes a step further by involving the Civil War into it. Yes, that Civil War. The long story short of it is that dinosaurs are discovered and futuristic versions of the North and South sides of the war vie for control of the planet. It is essentially Jurassic Park set in the wild west except in space. Very exciting premise in of itself so I’m definitely gonna play it at some point.

#2: Mutants and Masterminds

The D20 game for superheroes. Superhero roleplaying games are always my favorite kind of game (ironic given how little of them I play here) and aside from Heroes Wear Masks, which is a similar D20 Superhero game, that alone has me interested. Add in a unique character creation system akin to GURPS and you have me going “Why am I not playing this yet!?”

#3: D20 Modern

Very rarely do you have RPGs set in contemporary settings. Most games are set in fantastical lands or outer space, or if it is set in modern day, there’d be some paranormal gimmick added like superheroes or vampires. While there are additional magical rules to D20 Modern, you can play this with zero magic whatsoever.

#4: Star Wars D20

While I heard less than favorable opinions on this as well as there being better alternatives for Star Wars games, I still wanna play this and see just how well it plays. Of course, there is another Sci-Fi game for me to consider…

#4.5: Starfinder

I heard many great things about Starfinder, so I have to try this out at one point. I don’t think anything needs to be said about it: it’s Pathfinder in space, using the same rules you’d use for Pathfinder.

#5: Legend

Legend is a weird one. Technically I already played it to write a story. And it plays pretty well all things considered. The premise is basically 5E before 5E came out: a huge emphasis on class archetypes. How it works is that each class has three “Tracks”. All of them are interchangeable with other tracks, even ones that don’t have their own class. It’s pretty intriguing and just talking about it makes me want to play it again.

So there you have it, five (well, six) D20 Games I wanna try out… And maybe even Cthulhu D20.

Onirim Review

So Tabletop Day is approaching us, which means I should get around to doing some solo board gaming. Now, it may be cheating to use a Steam game for this, as it’s pretty cheap to just launch a game, play against computers and say “hey, I’m solo playing!”, which is why I never talk about Roguelikes despite having a collection of them.

But this game in particular is very notable and I just can’t let it pass by me. Onirim is a game that is explicitly solitaire. Its Steam version is free to play and the expansions are dirt cheap. But what is this game about? How do you play?

Well, it’s a card game where you must unlock eight to thirteen doors by matching three colored Location Cards. Now, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as there are many complications to this, ranging from playing the cards in a way where the symbols on the upper left corner don’t match, the occasional Nightmare Card that you draw that forces you to hamper yourself in some way if you don’t have a Key Card, and drawing cards that all have the same symbol.

You do get some help with this in the form of the Key Card. On top of being a Get Out Of Nightmare Free Card and being able to automatically unlock a door provided you draw it and it’s the same color as the key, you can also discard the card to get a peek at the top five cards, rearrange them in any order you wish, and discard one of them… But that’s all the help you can get. Personally, the expansions add to the gameplay experience, since they give you more variety in play options. The Glyphs expansion add a new kind of card called Glyphs which, not only adds one more symbol so that you have a little more breathing room, but like the Key, draws the top five cards, but puts them at the bottom and if there’s a door, automatically opens it. Another expansion adds two new kinds of cards: Crossroads give you multicolored cards that you can use for any row of cards while Dead Ends are just that: dead cards that you can’t discard on their own and need something else to discard it, namely a Nightmare Card to discard your entire hand. Lastly there’s the Door To The Omniverse expansion which adds a multi-colored door to the mix while also adding Denizen Cards which, at the cost of discarding a card, will be added to your arsenal and will help you do things you wouldn’t normally do, such as being able to play the another symbol in a row, trading one location card for another, or being a Get Out Of Nightmare Free Card.

Overall, the game is engaging, and I recommend playing it at least once. I will say that this game definitely requires some card counting if you want to be really good at the game, but thankfully the game does help you somewhat by counting how many cards are in the discard and how many Nightmares and Dead Ends are still in the deck. It is very hard to master and win, I will admit, but once you win for the first time, it will feel satisfying. Go ahead and check it out.