Road To FATAL #1: Why?

A while ago, I said how my 100th session for Solo RPG Voyages is going to be FATAL, easily one of the worst RPGs in the world due to a variety of problems that so many other people have explained better. So, you may ask, if this is one of the worst RPGs in the world… why are you playing it?

Well, that’s going to be the topic for the first part of a four-part series called the Road to FATAL, where I prepare myself and my character for the game.  So, why FATAL? Do I have some sort of death wish? Do I just want to milk the fact that it’s bad for the cheap laughs? Well, no… somewhat.

Every 25 games, I do something called a Quarter Quell where I randomly determine my game, engine, and two Drivers to play with. This is basically a means to challenge myself and to mark milestones. However, for the big 100, I knew I had to do something very special. So, instead of randomly determining my toolbox for the session, I’ll instead pick the game, engine and drivers. I knew for #100, it had to be something momentous.

Enter FATAL, easily the most hated upon RPG in the world. People have made novels out of how bad this game is… Well, not novels, but the lengths of their reviews could rival some novellas. In a way, it’s badness is what drew my interest. Some years back, I took a look at the book and noticed how huge it is. Roughly 1000 pages of rules, charts, and math equations, all of which made to service one purpose: to make a realistic RPG.

On paper, this sounds great. However, there are thousands of problems with it, ranging from its needlessly complex system to content that is equal parts racist, ableist, sexist, and anything else ending in -ist. Again, other reviewers have pointed these flaws out. This game is to RPGs what Holy Terror is to comics. So, the entire reason for me trying to solo FATAL is one question:

Can this game be bearable without all that crap? And can this game be played solo?

In this site’s entire span of solo plays, there are only five games I didn’t like, but most of them had the same reasons: they were tedious in dice rolls. Every other game, I either had a blast playing or I wouldn’t mind playing again. Hell, two of the games I didn’t like I wouldn’t mind giving another whirl because they had some value of fun.

That leads to this experiment: If I were to excise the crap that made FATAL the worst RPG, starting with the sexual content for obvious reasons, would this game be playable and would I enjoy playing it? I seemed to have enjoyed all the other games, so I might as well give it a whirl.

And that’s what it boils down to: a question of whether or not FATAL can be played solo and if I can enjoy it. Well, next time I will figure out who to play as… Bon Voyage…

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The Sheets I used for Shifter Bots and Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

So, I tend to play on Roll20 for easy access, as most of the sheets can automatically be calculated into rolls. However, I sometimes make character sheets when I can’t find a sheet on Roll20 that has a game I want to play.

So I used to make character sheets by taking a screenshot of a character sheet and using GIMP to write on it. I stopped this once I moved fully to Roll20, but the unfortunate thing is that you guys don’t get to see the sheets. At the request of Lino Pang, I’m going to post the sheets of my characters.

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Shane and Sinclair, Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells

SGAM 2017 had a challenge that I unfortunately didn’t undertake due to a combination of not being aware of it and not having the overall time for it. It involved using Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells’ adventure generator. This year has a variant where we use the Zero Tangent dice to randomly generate a quest, though I have done two so far.

So instead, I’m gonna just play Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells. Functionally, it’s similar to the OSR-style Shifter Bots, but there’s quite a few variants. Not to mention it has a built-in adventure generator to spice up your campaign. However, I already had something in mind, so I sadly won’t be able to touch upon this, but perhaps for a later game?

And, just to further spice the game up, I’ll be taking a look at a new engine: Ursa Minor. It has a mechanic similar to CRGE’s Surge Counter or Mythic’s Chaos Factor where it increases or decreases during certain events. This is called Turmoil and it increases and decreases with set conditions. The usual “if things go without a hitch, it goes down, but if things go to pot, it goes up” schtick. However, it also changes depending on random events as well and it even changes if you critically fail or succeed on reality-bending powers like spell casting. It then plays a role in determining random events or even adding to Yes/No answers.

On paper, it seems that Turmoil is Chaos Factor and Surge Counter’s love child, hooked up on steroids. As such, I may take great pleasure in testing this. With that out of the way, we’ll begin our game with Shane Swosh and Sinclair Spears, two private eyes who have a self-employed company by the name of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. They have begun to offer half-priced quests due to their increasing debt to the Baron of Huldra. Recently, they had undertaken a quest to investigate the disappearances of two dwarves who had went to go explore the Ruins of Pelgar. Continue reading

Destrox, The World Killer

For the second week of Solo Gaming Appreciation Month, we’re to turn a board game into a driver for another RPG. This is good, because trying to wrap my head around and playing WorldKiller would be a rather tough challenge. Instead, I’ll play a sci-fi game using the setting of WorldKiller as the basis… Which one though is a huge question. One I already know the answer to: Shifter Bots.

To briefly sum up what Shifter Bots is, it’s an OSR/Black Hack-style game based off Transformers. It’s made by Thunderegg Productions. If the name’s familiar, that’s because they’re behind Kaigaku and the Exodus System. I decided to pick this game over Exodus’s Sci-Fi edition due to the fact that, while reading up on the rules and lore behind WorldKiller, I recalled the battle of Yavin IV in the climax of A New Hope and I had thought of Unicron, a planet-eating Transformer whose alternate form is a giant planet akin to the Death Star.

And so it has come to pass that I stat up my character, Destrox, along with his leading officer, Domix, as the two robots that lead an invading force over to a distant planet, all while two other robots, Outrider and V-Duster, struggle to protect it.

Let the battle begin.

Continue reading

It’s Always Sunni In The Middle East

For this year’s Remembrance Day, I figured I’d be a little more modern with my war games. Like, current year modern. The War on Terror has been a crazy saga over the past decade or so, spanning tales of revenge, ethical warfare, evolving technology, and a bunch of other stuff. And like most of the other wars, someone made a game about it. The game is called ISIS Crisis and it’s been utilized by militaries to improve on their strategies. Some say the origins of roleplaying can be tied back to people using war games to better their military might, so it makes sense for me to try my hand at this.

The situation is this: ISIS declared itself as a caliphate to every Muslim across the world and wants to control the Muslim-dominant countries, starting with Iraq, Syria, and the Levant region, the latter causing ISIS, then standing for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to become ISIL or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or even Islamic State. For the sake of this game, we’ll refer to it as IS or Islamic State, as that is what they renamed themselves as after naming Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as their Caliph, now named Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim.

Unfortunately for the Islamic State, the United Nations deemed them to be a terrorist organization due to the war crimes it’s been accused of causing. It didn’t help that the Islamic State themselves are violent in their conquest, prompting retaliation from Sunni Iraqis and constant attacks on civilians across the globe that they claim responsibility for. With the Islamic State declaring their intent to obtain Baghdad as their next nation to annex, the events of this Matrix Game begins.

A Matrix Game, from my knowledge, plays almost like Braunstein. You have multiple factions in a wargame setting, but you’re not necessarily fighting like a wargame, but rather playing out scenarios like a roleplaying game. The name comes from a Matrix of keywords that serve as a framework, even though it eventually dropped from later editions. Resolution is solved through basic arguments like “I hit you because I can punch and you’re too busy talking to me”. An Umpire would then judge how likely the situation is and the player rolls a d6.

There’s a lot to process for this game, so let’s just begin. I’ll be using Tiny Solitary Soldiers for this game. There are six factions, each with their own agendas. The Islamic State, for instance, wants to control the Middle East by crushing Shiites and Kurds and overthrowing Baghdad which they believe is controlled by a puppet of America. America, meanwhile, just wants to make things as politically stable as it is, weaken the Islamic State’s grip, and keep Iran separated from Iraq, all while avoiding direct interference by deploying ground troops. Each faction has their own story for why they do what they do. They also have current conflicts that affect how they play. America is hesitant to use direct military action, so anything they do will be at a -1.

Due to the title of this session, I’m going to be playing as the Sunni Opposition. They’re a faction who have allied with the Islamic State because they were denied a fair share of wealth after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Making matters worse is that their government is ruled by a corrupt, hostile, and repressive prime minister. A cool thing to note is that while they ally with the Islamic State, they consider just how dangerous they could be. Continue reading

Cal Arath, the Barbarian Prince

We have arrived onto the Solo Gaming Appreciation Month. This is the month where it’s dedicated to solo roleplaying as people do challenges for their RPG games. The challenges for this month seem simple enough for me to do, especially since most of the games I picked are of the “two birds, one stone” kind of game.

One of the challenges is to play a game you have never played before. The other is incorporating a board game into the gaming. From the conversation we had regarding what counts, I managed to pick two of the four games devoted to this month. The first of which is Barbarian Prince. This seems to be one of those “RPG in a box” kind of games, where it plays more like a board game but with RPG elements. How much? Well, that’s where we will find out. Continue reading

Spotlight: Welcome To Sand Hands

This will be a brief shout out. There’s a site called Botnik which has this really cool system where you feed it text files and it becomes a virtual keyboard where you can mix around the words to make your own story. It’s really fun and I have had a hand in it. You might have already heard of it with “Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash”. That was made by feeding the system Harry Potter books.

In a way, it’s like having those three words that appear on your phone when you text someone, only this time it knows stuff like Shakespeare. Anyways, today’s focus is gonna be on their new book: Welcome to Sand Hands. If you remember Goosebumps, then you might remember the “Give Yourself Goosebumps” series, which is essentially the Choose Your Own Adventure line, but with that R. L. Stein aesthetic.

As it isn’t your ordinary gamebook, I won’t be covering it lest I put out major spoilers, as it’s essentially a book with alternating paths, but I do recommend you guys have a read. This was made with fusing all the other Give Yourself Goosebumps books and the result is a nice puree of horrors.

Halloween may be over, but fear doesn’t end.

Don’t Let Me Sleep (Part 1)

To celebrate Halloween, we’re going to be playing Call of Cthulhu using the characters I stated up. I had the liberty of statting up just one more character, who you’ll see as we begin the game. For this kind of game, we’re going to use the ever so trusty CRGE-Kai, but we’ll use the Horror variation of the Mythic Fate Chart. The major twist about this is that Chaos Factor can only go up. Scene Events are also changed. Instead of Odds and Evens to determine scene alterations or interrupts, 1 to 3 are alterations whereas 4 to 9 are interrupts. With this in mind, let’s begin! Continue reading

Doki Doki Curse Club

Erm… Hello.

I know you’re expecting the Voyager to write this but he’s been too busy with his new girlfriend. So he had me write this Actual Play up. M-my name is Enterprise, and I… Um… Well… I like more nicer RPGs. Something that doesn’t require killing. L-like My Little Pony…

Anyway! I was told that I need to play a H-Halloween game… and it’s kinda disturbing. It’s called After School Curse Club a-and… Look, I’m gonna be honest. Halloween scares the crap out of me. Everyone makes creepy videos and talk about creepy stuff. I just want to play something nice and fluffy. But no!

Still… I’m only doing this for the sake of my friend. So… Here goes.

The game’s plot is that the school’s local occult club ended up summoning something called a Yurei into their realm and the aim of the game is to banish her because if you know anything about Japanese horror, you know they’re just one neck rotation away from killing everyone in the room. You do this by going around the room, kinda like Clue.

So, the game can be played with one to four players, so I’m deciding to play with three. The names I’ll go with are Sayori, Yuri, and Natsuki. Next, we need to find out what skills they’re good at. We pick one for each and they get a +2 bonus. So, I’m going with Sayori having Spirit, Natsuki having Will, and Yuri having Investigation.

After marking off the grayed-out markers on the map, we roll to see where our characters are. After rolling, we see Natsuki is in Commons while Sayori and Yuri are in the Gym. And now we roll for Initiative. It seems Natsuki’s going first. Continue reading

Oh No! I’m A Werewolf!

Normally I only do one Halloween game and leave it at that, but I was informed of two Halloween themed games on top of the one I had planned. One of which is the newest game from Penguin Comics: Random Solo Adventure: Halloween II – Oh no! I’m a Werewolf!

Given how small the book is and the fact that it’s a gamebook, expect either a short game, me dissecting the book (and thus spoiling it), or both. As such, if you have any interests in this game, this is your last chance before I dive right in. Continue reading