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.

It begins simple enough; the game instructs me to make a character by naming myself and the character I play. It even dates when I made the sheet. Then it asks for a random stat generation, done with 2d6s.

[Roll: 7]

Alright, so I got a seven, which results in me having above average Willpower. The game gives me a Basic D&D feel, where rolling low is a good thing. However, instead of a d20, I have to roll on 3d6 or less and I roll when being attacked instead of attacking. I like this feel, but I’m sort of confused with the example.

Your character has a ‘Willpower’ score of 9. He is attacked and must defend himself so he needs to roll a 9 or less on 3d6 for his ‘To Hit Roll’ to hit.

The way the rule implies, in order to successfully defend yourself, you need to roll more than 9. I think the game means to succeed, as hit tends to be synonymous with succeed. Other than that, it’s all good.

Seems there’s two stats in the game, Willpower and Knowhow. They are a mash up of the first three and last three stats of D&D respectively. So far, I really like the creation system.

[Roll: 8]

This makes my character very intelligent. Now I take my two stats together and mash them up to make my hit points or “Killpoints” in this game. They become 14. Next, I’ll roll my Physical Appearance and Luck.

[Rolls: 4 and 7]

So while my character’s pretty ugly, he’s decently lucky. The last stat to generate is a catch all stat. It’s how much additional weight you can carry during a burst, being able to catch stuff, holding your breath, unravelling clues, hearing noise, and detecting poisonous via smell all rolled into one.

[Roll: 6]

This gives me a plethora of stats, but now my character’s halfway done. We now get one free adventuring skill. But let’s do random generation again, because that’s always fun.

[Roll: 74]

My character is streetwise and has a contact by the name of Zay-J that I can talk to for information. Meanwhile, I can also check to see if my character starts with a magic scroll, which is what the game had instructed.

[Roll: 7]

And I do not. If I had rolled a 2, I would have gotten a scroll, which the game has a bit of lore about. Sadly, I don’t we’ll cover spell casting in this game considering my character seems more to be like a rogue than anything else. However, I may come across a scroll that will enable me to cast a spell as many times as I like, provided I have enough mana to spend. Mana in this case being my Knowhow.

They also have rules for when you fumble a spell. They even have rules for Mental Powers which is a very nice touch. So far, I’m enjoying this game. But this is only character creation. We have yet to put these rules into execution. Heck, we haven’t even generated our money.

[Roll: 11]

Well, the Rogue life is confirmed, as I am loaded with 100 gold or Glory Dollars as the game puts it. There’s some really nice world building to this game, like how currency are all metal coins with a hole in them so that it’s easier to carry or how there’s different pieces that equate to their American currency.

However, my next problem lies in the fact that there’s no prices listed for weapons and armor. Instead of raising a fuss, I’ll generate my own price. Each weapon and armor has a rating. Weapons will be multiplied by 20 while Armor will be multiplied by 5. The reason being is that the rules regarding armor makes them easily fragile. To give you an example, if I take seven damage on my chainmail armor, it’s destroyed.

My character will buy a dirk/dagger for 40 Glory Dollars. Expensive, yes, but I like to think of it as a black market. Next he’ll buy a Kevlar Vest which will take up the rest of his Glory Dollars. And lastly, Languages. Because my character has a 7 Knowhow, he is able to learn one language after Standard English. I’ll pick Trader’s Tongue.

With that, I’m done Character Creation. It’s at this point that I discover that this game is more of a Corebook. A lot of the PDF contains rules regarding character creation, items, spells, monsters, and even Psionics. So it’ll play like any basic RPG. Reading the rest of the PDF, there’s only a specific mention of playing the game solo.

Compare this game to Scarlet Heroes, which has an entire section dedicated to solo play, complete with charts to roll on. If there’s one major flaw I have to point out for this RPG, it’s that the only solo part it has can be summed up in a message saying “you can play this solo”. If you’ve seen my past posts, you can make most, if not all, RPGs playable solo, even if it ruins the fun of the game sometimes, A Flower For Mara and Hope Inhumanity being prime examples.

There are parts of the game I find weird on paper, such as a universal stat when some of the stats can be applied to either Knowhow or Willpower and the initial confusion towards “To Hit”, but I think I got the game patted down.

I have heard one complaint regarding the Random Character Generation, that it can make the character randomly super powerful or the dumbest person in existence. Well, for what it’s worth, the generation was easy and simple enough.

However, this is not the end. We have to play the game after all, since reading the rules is quite different from putting them in execution. And don’t worry, I have a bit of an idea of how to start the game off. See you all next week where we’ll dig into this RPG.


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