Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Covetous Poet

Welcome back. I’m not gonna lie. Half the reason why I did this experiment is to experiment with Covetous Poet. Though the list of other GM Emulator tools out there had me curious to see how they all play out, and so, this experiment began. When we last left off the experiment, I discovered that I managed to do a bad, good, and bittersweet ending. I wonder which tone of ending will stick out more as we continue this.

We’re looking at The Covetous Poet’s Adventure Creator and Solo GM Guidebook by Frank Lee. Or as I put it for short: Covetous Poet. Like the name implies, the PDF not only lets you solo GM a game, but also create your own adventures. And by God can you create your own adventures.

You have five genre packs to choose from (two are downloadable) and they have a nigh endless supply of possible stories for you to do. To compare, Mythic had a version of the genre packs that simply edited the Event Focus tables to include events related to said genre (they had an example of a Zombie Genre where Zombie Attack was one of the random events) but everything else was the same.

In Covetous Poet, you have several thousand items related to the genre in question, so you are almost never without end. I want to give Frank Lee massive props for this, especially if he did all this himself, since it takes huge amounts of dedication to make lists that require a D1000 to generate. Yes. D1000. Don’t worry; it’s just 3 D10s instead of the usual 2.

Thing is, I already have the starting scene and some semblance of a plot in mind; I don’t need to run the usual scene/plot set up. This might be a case where I’ll revisit this with another RPG instead of a uniform scenario for the project. What this adds to the table is not just an adventure creator but also a character creator and a conversation emulator.

In short, Covetous Poet takes the Mythic GM Emulator’s Event Focus and Event Meaning Tables, puts them on steroids and rolled it into the Universal NPC Emulator. To say I am excited to play with this system is to put it lightly. As you can see, I’ve spent more paragraphs talking about how it works than I have actually playing the game. I guess it’s a sign that I’m gushing about something I haven’t even played before.

But that will all change now. Jack’s in the plane ready for action, even if it will end up with him being arrested as proven two times in a row. Witness died at least once. Next door neighbour is always shown to be trouble. Who is our stranger? Let’s consult the Character Companion. We’re going to do the first three charts for this one.

  1. Attitude: 9, Annoying
  2. Social: 98, Vulgar
  3. Character: 46, Honest

So we have our passenger. A very annoying businessman who had been ranting away on his phone prior to lift off, but at the very least, he knows how to be truthful. Alright, we actually have a good person.

Jack noticed the man who had just got off the phone with someone.

“No good [BLEEP]ers if you ask me. Stock markets tried to get me to do penny stocks… PENNY STOCKS! PENNY [BLEEP]ING STOCKS! Can you believe that!?”

And thus begins our first conversation with our next seat neighbour. It’s been four sessions, but we finally got around to talking instead of shooting first. I’m gonna roll on the conversation chart to see how the conversation goes.

[Conversation Status: Stranger. Roll… 1 + 3 = 4, Short]

“Yeah.” Jack had heard of the horror stories of the men who would get unwitting customers to dump their money into worthless stocks in order to make them richer in the process.

“Good thing I know their story! Otherwise those [BLEEP]ing mother[BLEEP]ers would have ripped me off like they were [BLEEP]ing [Insert Minority Here]!”

With that, the conversation ends, and the plane flies off over the ocean.

Alright, so that was a pretty nice scene. I guess I’ll add some action to it by having Jack say something else.

[Charm Roll: 4, 4, 3, 5, 5]

“Hey. Tell you what…” Jack tells the business man. “I’m actually escorting this witness who has dirt on one of the most notorious stock market engineers in the United States. I’m taking him over to Florida for testimony.” Jack said. The business man goes over and shakes the witness’ hand.

“Pleasure to have you here. We need brave souls like you to take care of those [BLEEP]ing assholes who rip me off faster than the Asylum at the newest blockbuster! My name is Peter, by the way.” Peter said.

First name that popped in my head when I thought “sometimes angry businessman who’s always on his phone all day and probably has no time for family.” Something tells me Shia is too obvious to be for the witness’ name so he’s just Sam. Now that we got a little more in the frame, let’s do Scene 2.

SCENE 2.

Scene rolls are done by rolling a D6. If it’s a 1, then a random event happens.

[Scene Roll: 6]

No interrupt.

The flight attendant passes by and asks if there’s anything she could help the three with.

[Conversation Status: Acquaintance. Roll…2 + 4 = 6 = Interested]

“Yes, I’ll have some water and my food please.” Peter said.

[Q: Does Sam want anything. Odds: Even. A: 52]

“None for me, madam.” Sam said.

“I’ll have water, thanks.” Jack said. The attendant left.

[Q: Does the Security Guard do something? Odds: Even. A: 66. Nope, but…]

Questions have a simpler matrix to be answered upon than in Mythic: only five odds and no Chaos Factor to muddle things, and unlike Mythic where it’s only in Variations that doubles lead into an event, here doubles do lead into an event.

[Interrupting Event: 5 + 5 = 10 = Something Good Happens To A PC]

For genres, I’m choosing Horror, since snakes are pretty scary.

  • Action: 799 = Rescue
  • Thing: 581 = Paranoia
  • Plot Device: 664 = Official Cover-Up
  • Opposition: Snakes
  • Location: Airplane Isle

Suddenly, snakes come out as the security team rush to take care of them. One of them is wearing a black agent’s suit with black sunglasses.

“This way. Hurry.” He said in a monotone.

[Q: Does Peter and Sam go with the Agent? Odds: Even. Roll… 34 = Yes]

Peter and Sam get up to follow the Agent, though Jack felt wary of him. Amidst the fleeing crowds, Jack got ready his tazer.

Alright, so that makes for an interesting scene. Jack’s going to be pretty violent again, but then again, given how many times this happened, I wouldn’t be surprised. Especially considering the fast response the guards had when the snakes came out.

So now, let’s begin…

SCENE 3

Scene Roll. I’m going to do something I did in Winter, where I subtract from the roll until I get a random event, with the number I’m subtracting by based on how many scenes passed without a random event. Since a random event happened, I’ll roll naturally.

[Scene Roll: 3]

The Agent lead Sam and Peter over to the pilot’s cabinet.

[A: Is it a trap? Odds: Even. A: 63. No]

Surprisingly, Jack enters and the Agent has not pulled out a gun.

“So, you’re not going to betray us?” Jack asks.

[Conversation Status: Acquaintance. Roll… 4 + 6 = 10 = Short and Truthful]

“Yeah. Look, I have to protect the witness in order to bring down the Wolf. And I figured he’d have something to do with these snakes.” The Agent said.

Looks like it’s a small world after all…

I hate to actually pull a Diablos Ex Machina, so I’ll ask the Answer Oracle.

[Q: Does a snake come out and attack? Odds: Very Likely. A: 22 Yes and…]

Random event, again.

[Interrupting Event: 5 + 6 = 11. PCs asked to help or see reason to get involved.]

  • Action: 376 = Explain
  • Thing: 182 = Cursed Art
  • Plot Device: 569 = Lost Account
  • Opposition: Snakes
  • Location: Pilot’s Cabin

As soon as The Agent takes out a piece of art, a snake attacks.

[Q: Does the Agent dodge the snake? Odds: Even. A: 41. Yes]

The Agent dodges the snake, but it slithers away to attack Jack.

[Nerve Roll: 4, 5, 6, 1, 4]

Jack dodged the snake easily. It attacks the Witness and Peter next.

[Q: Does it hit them? Odds: Even. A: 21. Yes]

The snake strikes at Peter.

[Q: Is it fatal? Odds: Even. A: 98. No.]

But Peter still stands. Jack shoots at the snake.

[Cool Roll: 1, 5, 2, 6, 5]

He easily fries the snake.

“What the hell is that art?” Jack asked the Agent. He unfurls and shows a picture of a man sitting on a throne. On the throne rests many snakes, with a King Cobra stiffened up to act as a sort of staff.

“There’s a reason why the snakes are attacking. The Wolf descended from eleven generations of mystical kings. The Snake was his first. He’s tapping into the powers of his ancestor as a last resort to kill Sam.” The Agent said.

Wow, I’m doing some mystical stuff for something pretty campy in its concept alone.

“So what do we do? Is there any way we can beat this?” Jack asked.

[Odds: Very Unlikely. A: 24]

“Yes. There is. We just gotta kill the ringleader of these snakes.” The Agent points to the King Cobra. “The other snakes will die off.”

“Alright, let’s do this.” Jack said as he loaded his gun.

Holy crap, a lot of stuff happened. I actually like this. Like, so much that I’m going to the next scene right now.

SCENE 4.

[Scene Roll: 6]

[Cool Roll: 2, 4, 1, 1, 2]

Jack and the others tried to find the King Cobra, but they failed. Instead, the King Cobra found them. He struck Jack.

[Damage Roll: 3]

Jack dodged, but he was freaked by the attack.

[Cool: 4]

Crap, he’s putting up a fight. Jack tries to taze it, because he’s only brought the tazer.

[Cool Roll: 1, 4, 1, 1]

[Damage Roll: 3]

The Cobra strikes again and again Jack dodged.

[Cool: 3]

I’m running it.

Jack decides to run out of there.

[Nerve Roll: 3, 3, 1, 5, 4]

Jack easily gets away, but goes back to attack.

[Guts Roll: 5, 2, 4, 2, 4]

And he easily smacks the Cobra.

I figure since he’s the ringleader, he’s gonna need at least six shots to kill it. Five left.

Peter tries stomping on it as the Agent tries to shoot it.

[Q: Do they succeed? Odds: Even. A: 54]

[Q: Does at least one succeed? Odds: Even. A: 21]

While Peter tries in vain to stomp on the King Cobra, the Agent manages to shoot the Cobra in the face. The snake bites Peter in retaliation.

[Q: Is the bite fatal? Odds: Very Likely. A: 97]

Peter still makes it and does one more attack.

[Q: Does Peter hit the snake? Odds: Even. A: 30]

And manages. The King Cobra seems bloodied. He strikes at the witness.

[Q: Does he hit? Odds: Even. A: 78]

But Jack tries to swat it away…

[Guts Roll: 4, 2, 1, 1, 2]

[Damage Roll: 5]

The King Cobra strikes Jack on the face. He starts to hurt.

[Charm: 4]

So now is a very good time to run. Jack tries to see if he can talk the others into retreating.

[Charm Roll: 5, 2, 2, 3]

“Let’s get out of here! Set up a more fashioned holding bay for the fight!” Jack said as he ran off from the others. The others complied and followed.

[Q: Does the snake succeed in his last bite? Odds: Even. A: 37]

The King Cobra makes his strike at Sam.

[Q: Is it fatal? Odds: Very Likely. A: 4]

Sam starts to die slowly and surely. Jack goes back and fires wildly at the King Cobra.

[Cool Roll (x3): (6, 2, 3), (4, 4, 6) and (6, 3, 5)]

And with those three shots, the King Cobra dies. All the other snakes dissipate, but Sam begins slowly dying.

Ending the scene, but we’re doing the final scene so as to have a denouement.

SCENE 5

[Scene Roll (-1): 4]

Jack and the others look to Sam.

“Is there any way to save him?” Jack asks.

[Odds: Very Unlikely. A: 100. Random event]

[Interrupting Event: 4 + 2 = 6 = PCs accosted, attacked, or run into trouble.]

  • Action: 461 = Haggle
  • Thing: 833 = Suicide(s)
  • Plot Device: 419 = Hidden Crypt
  • Opposition: Snakes
  • Location: Pilot’s Cabin

“Well… There is one way, but it’s worth the risk. Someone has to give their life for him.” The Agent said.

“… I’ll do it. Make sure that bastard pays, alright?” Peter asked. You nod. The Agent nods and takes him to a secret chamber upstairs while you take Sam there as well. You perform an operation where Peter’s life was transferred over to Sam’s. Sam is revitalized, and ready to take down The Wolf, having thwarted his ancestor’s devices.

And with that, I figure that’s a good place to end off today’s session.

I love the Interrupting Events thing, though I find that the overtly-simplified Yes/No table seems very stiff. The Mythic GM Emulator had varying degrees of yes or no depending on how likely the question will be yes and how chaotic the things are. However, the problem with that is if you have it too low, you won’t get anywhere and if you have it too high, even the impossible will be possible.

Thing is, Covetous Poet does the exact opposite. If you notice, I always rolled with Even odds, but if I had to not do so, I’d pick one of the Very options. I suppose that’s a good thing in of itself, but it just has me consider just doing Even if there’s a 25% increase/decrease on Very. I especially love the endless options you can have. I had no idea so much can be done.

The problem with that, though, is that it depends on Genre Packs. And while it hits all the general niches of Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Superhero, and Mystery, the other niches aren’t covered. I heard there’s a Spy Genre Pack, but I’m not sure if it came to fruition. Though, after a quick Google search, I have found that not only is there a Spy Genre Pack made, but that more packs will be on the way, as the Spy Genre Pack was made around October of last year. Fairly recent, if you ask me.

Well, tomorrow is going to be the final session. Let’s see how the small soldiers handle big battles.

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