Let’s Try Out Cactus Solo!

Alright, today, we put the rules of Cactus Solo to the ultimate test and see how fun it plays in a session. I already have a plot to play out in my mind. As an added challenge, I will try my hardest not to use any engine or driver. I will use one Story Cube as my last possible resort if I draw a blank. But I can only use each side once. After that, I’m left to my own wits. My prediction will be that the game will be enjoyable.

So, let’s begin with my character. Mike Folley is a spy. He is a mercenary for hire when the kingdom needs someone to, while not necessarily do the dirty work, snoop around, and garner clues about possible treasoners. Think of him like the Secret Police. Recently there has been some politicians turning up dead via a poison and the king’s men have hired Mike to find out who killed them and why. Continue reading

Stat It: Cactus Solo

So it has come to my attention that Cactus Games has released some Solo Rules for roleplaying. I was gonna put this off for a while, but the update has me intrigued enough to try out the old version and see if it’s worth the upgrade. One thing I want to note is the direct difference. The table of contents is found at the very end of the copy I have, while the updated copy has it in the front.

Let me repeat the warning in advance. What I have is an old copy of the Solo Gaming Rules. They are in no way the updated rules. Bare this in mind when talk about this, as there might be things that are either absent from the game or added to the game. A good example is whenever I point out a problem. Chances are, said problem is fixed.

This is gonna be a departure from other games I’ve done, as I will go through the book cover to cover, hitting points along the way to the point where it’d essentially be more of a review than a game. Besides, the game instructions on how to play are also step by step, so I’ll learn as I play. Continue reading

Let’s Try Hope Inhumanity Again

So I figured that the reason I got a total party kill in Hope Inhumanity was because I had too many characters. The game’s pacing is dictated by how many characters are in the game. The fewer characters, the faster the game goes. I even tested this out by playing with one character and after five turns, I won, albeit starved and crippled.

So, I decided to play with the minimum count of characters, which is three. Like with the other game, I’ll keep track of them via a chart that’ll update each round. Scenario will switch to Zombie Apocalypse that the party has the cure for. Our characters will be a family. A couple of newlyweds and their son, who has a secret to share with the wife.

The cast is:

  • Magnus, the Father.
  • Cyrus, the Son.
  • Yvonne, the Wife.

And with that, let’s begin. Traits will be recognized in bold text.
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Let’s Try Out Hope Inhumanity

While I did promise the continuation of Greek Titan World, I’m putting it on hold while I play a game I had just recently bought: Hope Inhumanity. To put in a gist, think Book of Eli, The Road, Fist of the North Star, the Fallout franchise, The Walking Dead, or just about any other post-apocalyptic story where heroes travel from point a to point b, and you have Hope Inhumanity in a nutshell. The Road mostly inspires it, though.

The game is unique in that it’s not exactly a roleplaying game but rather a card game with roleplaying elements. See, you have a deck of cards, each with different stuff to them like character traits or items, and you separate them according to their category. The first step to the set up is wondering how the world ended. Sure, nukes are an easy solution, but the site provides different scenarios and on top of that, you also have people to bounce ideas off of.

Though for this game, I’ll pick the bottommost scenario: Return to Earth. The idea is that wars and environmental issues (possibly economical and political problems also) caused people to flee the planet and live on Mars. Twenty years later, a group of people come back and discover that Earth has changed. To make matters worse, their landing craft is damaged and they must head to a designated point to be picked up. I like this scenario because it helps set up the characters in an environment removed from the situation, so when they’re face to face with it, they end up confronting their true colors for the first time.

Yeah, I’m going with the idea that living on Mars is sort of like the space-station in Wall-E… only with less fat people. Character creation is easy too. You draw a few cards and create a character from there. These cards are three Trait cards and one Relationship card. These cards have effects that can either help or hinder you in the game. For example, the Fate Postponed trait allows you to redraw a scene card in hopes of getting a better one, while the Newlyweds relationship, which acts as a pool for your Humanity Dice.

Yes, that’s something I forgot to bring up: there’s only one stat in the game, and that’s your humanity. Your humanity is measured out in the number of dice you have. When you perform a test, you and your friends spend Humanity Dice to roll them out. After that, you lose the Humanity dice. If you are to lose all your Humanity Dice, then you’re one “lose one humanity” condition away from being removed from the game.

How does one lose humanity? Well, the tests are usually stuff like “steal from these people” or “fight off these obviously evil cannibals” which earn or cost Humanity in their own special way. This creates some struggling situations where you want to ensure your character lives, but at the cost of going either against their character or their humanity.

So with that in mind, let’s randomly generate some characters with the random face maker so we can associate the faces of our characters to something. Next, let’s draw the relationship cards. Reed and Blair are exes. Greer is Blair’s grandfather. Both Zeke and Greer have a dark secret they share. Zeke and Pippa are best friends forever. Pippa and Sid Arthur have a mutual disgust while Sid Arthur has a rivalry with Reed.

As I said, the relations have their own special effects, which I’ll reveal when appropriate. Same with the Trait Cards, which I will keep secret. With this in mind, here’s the sheet:

Continue reading

How To Play A Flower For Mara Solo

A Flower For Mara is a Live Action Roleplaying Game. However, it can be made into a Solo RPG like a basic tabletop RPG. It just needs elbow grease. Luckily, I’m here to provide elbow grease. I’ll assume you know the rules to the game, if not, go grab the game, read the rules through, maybe even play a game or read my two-part session of the game.

Let’s begin with grabbing the necessary tools for this game. You will need, at least:

  • An NPC Emulator
  • An Idea Generator or Driver situated towards back stories (like BOLD or Mythic’s Backstory Generator)
  • A GM Emulator

For these, I recommend all three of Conjecture Games’ systems, UNE, BOLD, and CRGE. They’re free, easy to use, and addictive. The guide will assume you’re using these three. Decide how many characters will be in the game and their ages. Next, open up your Driver/BOLD. Generate Waylays for the six characters, but don’t generate their solutions. These will become the Griefs for your characters and their backstories. Try to keep within three rules:

  1. The setting’s real life, so make it as realistic as possible.
  2. It has to do with Mara.
  3. It has to be something they’re grieving

For example, for Zoe, I rolled savage animals. While this could mean she encountered savage animals, I have to put Mara into the mix and make it realistic. Perhaps she had a pet as a kid, but was so angry and violent that Mara had to either give it away or put it down. I could also put that Mara saved her from a vicious animal, and either make that her death or the trauma from the attack is what makes her grieve.

Next, randomly determine their relation to Mara with a D6 unless the Griefs are enough information to tell you their relation. Here’s the table for help:

  1. Devoted
  2. Competitive
  3. Respectful
  4. Bitter
  5. Subordinate
  6. Detached

For example, if we go for the aforementioned Savage Animals thing, depending on what route we go, Zoe could either be bitter towards Mara for giving the pet away or devoted to her in order to honour her sacrifice.

Roll one more Waylay, this time with a solution. This will be Mara’s cause of death. Keep in the tone of the RPG and make the death as abrupt as you can. While we can do the Savage Animals thing, we’ll be generating one for Mara and use the first outcome of the Savage Animals backstory. For example, her outcome is Avoiding Meek Holdings. We’re still keeping the above three rules, but adding the new one that it has to be abrupt. So I’m assuming that she became homeless all of a sudden and disappeared downtown, presumed dead.

Take some time to get an idea of the relationships between the family members and Mara. Don’t worry about how Joshua and Zoe are getting along, just worry about how their relation towards Mara is for now. After you figure that out, you can fill in the rest. For better results, don’t hesitate to ask your GM Emulator for additional details regarding the information you’re given.

Next, decide who you will play as. Do you want to jump in the shoes of one of the characters or enter the game as a new character, a seventh wheel to the story? You can roll to determine it or choose. If you choose to play a new character, you can create your own back story or generate one the same way you generated the others. I personally recommend playing a new character, at least for your first time, because the outsider’s point of view on the situation can help you get adjusted to the game.

If your GM Emulator keeps track on threads, add “moving on from Mara’s death” as a thread. The game begins at the funeral dinner. From here, you will be following a rinse and repeat phase of the game. Use your Conversation emulator to figure out what each of the characters has to say regarding you or the situation at hand. Start everyone’s mood at neutral

For example, Zoe’s conversation mood towards me at the start will be neutral. For the conversation at the funeral dinner, so her result would be Neutral/Aid/Knowledge. This could translate into her wanting to help you with knowing something. Because this is the Funeral Dinner, maybe she’s helping you with knowledge about the concept of death or the process of a funeral, such as when an appropriate time to read the will is.

Play out the scene, soliloquies and all, and ask questions when you need to ask them. At the end of the scene, take note of who was nice to you and who wasn’t. This will let you know what to step their Conversation Mood to when determining the Conversation next time. For example, if I had Zoe talking kindly to my character, I’d take note of that and make her Peaceful for our next meeting. If she’s nice to me there too, I’ll bump it onto Friendly and so forth.

Next are the Spotlight scenes. You can do whatever method you feel is best, though if you want a suggestion, build up from the previous scene. For example, if the first scene was Zoe and my character talking about death, then perhaps it could evolve into hanging out at the library and reading up on information. If all else fails though, use the Waylay Generator.

From there, it repeats until the game ends. There’s a special rule though. When it comes to Flower Soliloquies, it’s a matter of getting characters to reveal their backstories and get them to be ready to accept Mara’s death. If they have done so, bump their Conversation Mood up to reflect that they’re being better about it.

Other than that, it’s all up to you. What I wouldn’t recommend, though, is playing with an antagonist or goal in mind. It ruins a bit of the experience and immersion since you’ll be more focused on the endgame than on the current game. Trust me, I know from experience. And that’s it. I hope you all enjoy playing A Flower For Mara solo.