The Gandalflocke Challenge (Rules)

A long, long, long time ago, back during the beginnings of Solo RPG Voyages, I had hatched a challenge that I’ve decided to share with the community to see if they can try their hand at it. It’s based off a Pokémon challenge called Nuzlocke. The basic gist of a Nuzlocke is that you play Pokémon like normal, but with two stipulations: You could only capture the first Pokémon you see in every route and when a Pokémon faints, they automatically die.

Translating that for a solo RPG campaign is pretty easy. I recommend using an RPG that’s based off the D20 system, so any OSR game, D20 game, or even 5E will do. Next, either pick your favorite adventure/campaign or make a whole new one up. Create a party of four characters or less. The recommended party build for this challenge is the following:

  • One tanky/damage-based class (i.e. Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, Monk)
  • One speedy/skill-based class (i.e. Bard, Druid, Ranger, Rogue)
  • One magic-based class (i.e. Cleric, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard)

And with that, begin the game with the following stipulations:

  1. You may only recruit the first (named) NPC you encounter in each new area your party explores, even if they have no interest in joining the party (though you may fudge this a bit). If there is no NPC to encounter in the area, then you may roll up a new character.
  2. If a party member dies, they stay dead. No rituals, no healing, no Phoenix Downs, nothing. They are dead and gone. Total Party Kills usually means game over.

After that, add any rules you like, if any. Here’s some example rules I had made long ago:

  • Each member of my party has to have a unique race and class. For example, a human fighter and an elf wizard are acceptable, but not a human fighter and a human wizard, or an elf wizard and a human wizard.
  • You can recruit an NPC if only to replace a deceased character, but you must make sure that you have a deceased character by the time you encounter the NPC, otherwise, you can’t recruit them.
  • you must make sure that when you recruit/roll up a character into the party, you must ensure that they fit within the “unique class/race” rule
  • In order to recruit the NPC, you must be able to make their allegiance with the party to be the equivalent of allied or higher. If you can’t or wind up angering him enough to attack us, then you can’t recruit him.
  • you start with seven characters, and seven characters is the limit of how many to have in your party. If you have seven characters and you come across the first NPC in a new area, you can’t recruit them unless one of my characters dies and you encounter the NPC again.

I call this the Gandalflocke Challenge, after Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, the first member of the Fellowship to die, albeit temporarily.

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