Strangers on a Train

“You know, there is something about a tangle of strangers pressed together for days with nothing in common but the need to go from one place to another, and never see each other again.”

Monsieur Bouc

That is the premise for this year’s Valentine’s Day Solo. A simple game where you’re on a train and you meet people. Using the system from Snakes on a Plane, but tweaking the game just a tad.

Instead of dying when you hit zero of any stat, you’d have to rest for the day. Time passes for each check, as always. Perhaps later I’ll release the tweak. For now, let’s get right into it. I’ll be using a combination of Anime Characters Database and Short Order Heroes to create NPCs. As for me, I’ll go as myself.

  • Strength: 4
  • Dexterity: 6
  • Intelligence: 6
  • Cool: 9

My overall goal is to find love before the train enters the station. With that, we begin with boarding the train. Everything seems to go smoothly, though this is where I’ll meet the first out of thirteen other passengers on the train.

[Boy or Girl? 92, girl]

The first person I meet is a blue haired, golden eyed woman. She seems pretty beautiful, intelligent, and even charismatic. Plus, her uniform implies she is filthy rich. Sadly, I’m not a gold digger so she is gonna get a pass from me. The scene ends with me being in control, so Chaos is reduced.

[Scene Roll: 7, no event]

I enter the train, sitting in my designated booth. The train is small and thus people would need to pair up. My partner is…

[Boy or Girl? 24, boy]

He’s a sickly man in a white robe. Because of this, he is pretty grumpy.

[Q: Is his disease contagious? Purpose: To Knowledge. Roll: 48, No. Surge Counter: 1]

[Q: Is his disease terminal? Purpose: To Knowledge. Roll: 8, decreased to 6. No, but…]

He explains to me about his disease after I prod it. He says that he is going to Dallas for a life saving surgery… But it has a high chance of him dying. I feel kinda bad and turn away for a bit. Chaos increases since I could feel a pit in my stomach. Also, his name is Yasin.

[Scene Roll: 8, no event]

I guess I can try to make Yasin comfortable. I ask him if he wants anything.

[Q: Does he? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 58, Surge Counter: 1]

Yes, he asks for some food. Preferably the soft kind, since he is too weak to eat harder foods. So, I head into the restaurant.

[Q: Do I run into the rich girl? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 94, Surge making it 96.]

Yes, and unexpectedly…

[Roll: 4, Costume Change]

She starts hitting in me.

  • Conversation Mood: 41, Neutral
  • Conversation Bearing: 2, 1: Bargain
  • Conversation Focus: 62, Rewards

Yeah, she starts bragging about her money, fame, and fortune. Her name is Vlasta. I really have no interests in her offer, so I’ll try to use my Cool to try and dip out of there. Meanwhile she’ll use her Cool to try and rope me in. We’re both evenly matched. Standard rolling works by how may fives and sixes we can roll.

[Roll: Five success vs. her one success]

Yeah, I pretty much slip past her and go to the chef, order up a salad for Yasin, and wait. Meanwhile, another person is next to me.

[Boy or Girl? Roll: 18, boy.]

He too is a fine dressed man. If anyone is deserving of Vlasta, it’s him. I talk to him and have him check out the girl, using my cool vs. his wits.

[Roll: 2 successes vs. 1 success]

He is pleased at the woman and goes to hit on her. Good. She won’t bother me now. I bring the food back to Yasin, Chaos Factor heightened because I had to get someone else to distract her.

[Scene Roll: 2]

Scene interrupt!

  • Event Focus: 91, NPC Positive
  • NPC Focus: 3, Rich Man
  • Event Meaning: 10 & 30, Communicate Possessions

Okay, so nothing for me to worry about. Let’s strike up a conversation with Yasin.

  • Conversation Mood: 73, Sociable
  • Conversation Bearing: 2, 4: Capture
  • Conversation Focus: 86, Family

He’s actually skyping with his wife about how he’s close to the station. Just another two and a half hours.

[Q: Does he want me to talk as well? Purpose: To Knowledge. A: 63, Surge Counter: 1]

He invites me to talk to her as well. I wave hi to her and ask how things are doing. She says that she’s worried about the operation, but that she’ll pray nightly and hope for Yasin to pull through. We smile and wish her good night. A valet will come to pick up Yasin shortly.

I then tell him why I came along for the trip. I wanna find love, basically. He nods and we have a nice conversation about romance and what to expect. I even told him about Vlasta.

[Q: Does he not like her? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 36, Surge brings it down to 34]

Nah, he’s fine with her, though I explain that she’s not my type after he asks why I passed up on easy money.

[Q: Does he understand? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 86, Surge making it 90]

Yes, and when I say that I was looking for someone who was nice, he knows just who might be a fit. He takes me and has me follow him. Chaos is reduced.

[Scene Roll: 6, no Interrupt]

He takes me to another room in the caboose where I see a girl with short brown hair and shimmering brown eyes. Seems that, like Yasin, she too is sickly. Perhaps they are going to the same hospital. Yasin introduces me to Nerissa. I will attempt Cool to make a good first impression.

[Q: What will be my degree of success? Roll: 4]

[Cool Roll vs Target of 4… 2 Successes]

She’s a little taken aback by my forward attitude, so we’ll probably need to simmer the relationship a bit. Yasin invites her over to dinner.

[Q: Does she accept? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 26, No. Surge Counter: 1]

She shakes her head. We decide to leave her. The scene ends with Chaos going up, since I had no control over it.

[Scene Roll: 7, no interrupt.]

So, I guess we head to dinner.

[Q: Are the rich couple here? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 76, Surge making it 78. Surge Counter: 2]

Yes. To my chagrin.

[Q: Anyone new? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 55, Surge making it 59. Surge Counter: 3]

Random event, as well as a yes.

[The Random Event is 29, Introduce a New NPC… Redundant. So I guess we add two NPCs]

[Boy or Girl?: 88 and 64, both girls.]

One of them looks to be akin to a soldier while the other seems more bookish. The soldier has short black hair while her friend has long ginger hair.

[Q: Do they take notice of us? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 63, Surge making it 69. Surge Counter: 4]

Yes, they certainly do. I’ll try to have dinner with Yasin and converse with him about… Well, I guess whatever he wants.

  • Conversation Mood: 32, Neutral
  • Conversation Bearing: 1 + 8: Arrangement
  • Conversation Focus: 93, Weapons

Erm… What?

Yeah, out of nowhere, Yasin brings up in secret that he has some weapons stowed in the caboose. If I were to live, I’d follow him and do what he says, no questions asked. Um… Yeah, no screw that.

[Strength Vs. Strength Roll: 2 Successes vs. 1 Success]

I slam his head against the table and scream out that there are weapons stored in the caboose. The soldier immediately bolts while I struggle to hold down Yasin…

[Q: Did I think this completely wrong? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 79, turning into 87]

Yes, and I just let someone get her hands on said weapons. Yasin explains that his operation was a cover story to stalk a spy that had slipped onto the train. This spy is named Jocelyn and I think I just doomed everyone on the train…

Well, not while I have anything to say about it. I chase after her. Scene ends but things are out of control and Chaos goes up.

[Scene Roll: 6]


  • Event Focus: 1 = Remote Event
  • Event Meaning: 96/84 = Guide Status Quo

Okay, not sure what that means yet, but the chase is on.

[Speed Test: 1 Success vs. 3 Successes]

I tried to run, but I run out of breath as Jocelyn speeded away. I decided to do the next best thing and bust into Nerissa’s room.

[Q: Is she in on the secret too? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 71, Yes. Surge Counter: 1]

Turns out she too was faking her illness and was preparing to strike. She loaded up her gun and busted out of the room, firing rapidly at Jocelyn.

[Speed Test: 1 Success vs. 2 Successes]

The bullets missed. The best option now is to get out of the train before she gets her weapons and begins a shooting spree. I rush back to the room and tell everyone to run.

[Charm Roll: 2 Successes]

Most of them are convinced, but the scrawny ginger isn’t. I go up to her and have Yasin explain the situation. As it turns out, I was vacationing in a country that was in a civil war, soon escalated by forigen interference. Jocelyn is said interference.

[Q: Does she buy it? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 50, Surge making it 48. Surge Counter: 2]

The ginger, Dena, shakes her head and pushes Yasin off, running to go find Jocelyn… Who emerges and fires wildly into the car.

[Speed Check: She fails]

Thankfully, the bullets went everywhere as I dragged Dena by the arm and opened the door.

[Q: Is the train by safe land? Purpose: To Conflict. A: 30, Surge making it 26. Surge Counter: 3]

Nope! It’s over a bridge into a river. I took a deep breath as I leap out of the train, praying I make it.

[Speed Roll: 2 Successes]

[Q: Do I survive the dive? Purpose: To Endings. A: 33, Surge making it 27. Surge Counter: 4]

NOPE! I land smack dab in the water and die in the embrace of Dena. … Damn. I played this expecting to find love, but holy crap did that go 180. I drew “Well-Armed” for Jocelyn and that’s what I went with. I didn’t realize that this would be the result.

I-I mean, at least I found love… right? Right?!

Speaking of, Random Event.

  • Event Focus: 26, NPC Action.
  • NPC: Vlasta
  • Event Meaning: 66 & 99: Carry Anger

Oh, and as for what happened to Yasin and the others?

[Q: Do they live? Purpose: To Endings. A: 14, Surge making it 6.]

No, but Jocelyn dies with them so it’s all sad. Really sad. I wanted this to be an adorable story…

Come to think of it, my Valentine’s Day games have been very bleak. Beloved ends with me running away because I had cold feet, Bliss Stage had a traitor and a chunk of characters dying, Holidays had us on the run from poachers, and now I pretty much got killed escaping a gun toting soldier while grabbing her supposed friend.

Wow. I really need a light and fluffy game, because holy crap.

I… I need to sit down for this. Bon Voyage, Gamers.

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