A year before I created this blog, I logged two campaigns on RPG Solo. It was a site that, much like RanDM Solo, would facilitate solo play by allowing the user to a built-in array of rollers, generators, and even custom tables. Back then, it was something that any solo player can just hop in and play. Nowadays, we have more options, like RanDM Solo and even AI Dungeon 2, the latter of which has had so many quality of life changes since I played with it.
However, there was a special sort of magic that came with having an entire suite of solo gaming at your fingertips and RPG Solo scratched a much-needed itch of mine. As a sort of tribute to it (it’s not dead, just dormant), I will retell the campaigns I had from this site, starting with my first: Being a Beat Rider is Suffering.
It seems funny that almost every one of my first attempts at Solo Playing always have the genre of superheroes. There was me reading with Marvel FASERIP’s system in my early days of discovering RPGs, one of the first solo RPGs I recorded for Solo RPG Voyages was a game of Capes, and now this is set in a superhero universe where heroes are ranked based off their… well, heroics.
Particularly, this was based off the early premise of Kamen Rider Gaim, a show that aired in 2013 (same year I logged the campaign) that had its early episodes be about teams of dancers who battle each other to ascend through a ranking board. How so? By assuming suits of armor themed after both fruits and kinds of warriors.
A similar style was done here, where I took a fruit and a kind of warrior and mashed them up to make a character: a wizard with the motif of dates. His first conflict was against a ninja based off the Goji berry. Why? Because he mistook my character for being evil and wanting to destroy the highway when, in reality, I was trying to destroy a lab underground.
One thing I liked about RPG Solo that I don’t think a lot of solo suites do is tell you about damage. You a d20 and depending on what you rolled, it’ll tell you if you got a minor, moderate, or severe injury, or just tell you that you’re outright dead. It does the same with mechanical things and, in a way, it reminds me of the Critical ratings on the FFG Star Wars RPGs.
During the battle, it’s become apparent that the ninja has been either brainwashed or manipulated by the underground lab to try and take my character out. At first. It’s then revealed to be a low-stakes competition, with the objective being to have one side be won over by the other. However, the battle ends with the ninja being killed by a fire blast from the wizard, getting him disqualified from the rankings.
And so, after much debating over whether he should re-enter the rankings, the wizard decides to instead infect old people with a virus… And now that I say that out loud, this has definitely aged poorly. A billberry-themed Spartan comes and tries to stop Dayzard, but it results in the building they were fighting in being lit on fire and said Spartan getting killed in battle.
The next thing Dayzard does is go to a high school… An empty one, thankfully, ready to confront a fellow former hero, a nectarine-themed gladiator. By killing him, Dayzard would get back into the Beat Rider rankings. He succeeds, but is demoted to rank 16 due to his acts of villainy.
The next confrontation I get into is fighting an alien who took an interest in my parents… Weird, I know. This is perhaps the weirdest session I had of the entire campaign, since it involved a family helping Dayzard out by giving him a giant floating fortress that have watermelon mechas inside it… A second alien comes to help the other alien, and then a high-ranking Beat Rider blows the fortress and kills me in the process.
I then play as this Beat Rider, his story taking place right after my previous character died, showing that he didn’t kill just my previous character, but also the alien I was trying to fight. As #2, my goal now was to take #1, which meant calling an astronaut, the oldest Beat Rider, out to fight. He refuses, but will accept a challenge where, whoever catches the person who has top-secret files of all the identities of the Beat Riders wins.
And so, the chase begins as the monstrous person is on a hoverbike, with the Underground Laboratory assisting in taking her down. After injuring her and getting her off the bike, Papou, the #1 Hero, captures her and retains his position. However, he soon finds out the reason why the Underground Laboratory helped them out and retires, thus Gaiz, our new protagonist, gains the new spot.
During another battle with the Laboratory, in which I’m trying to blow up a doomsday device, a Beat Rider helps me out and together, we destroy it. However, he then decides to fight me for the title before I just outright kill them. I lost an arm in the process, but all and all, I managed to retain my #1 spot. The Beat Rider was #3, which makes #4, a shaolin monk, a primary target to ensure no other Beat Rider guns for my position.
After dispatching said monk with ease, my next target is the Laboratory, though the battle anti-climatically ends with me being dumped in a mass grave and being left to die. Funny enough, I could have continued the game, but I instead decided that’s where he dies.
Overall, I think the campaign I had was more addicting than the overall system used to run it. RPG Solo has a unique way of generating scenarios, but most of them seem rather… mashed up. I always go for the “Get Started” command, which gives me the following scenario:
The setting is [setting] involving [keyword 1] and [keyword 2]. Your quest is to [quest]. Trying to stop you is [an NPC] skilled in [skill].
And the thing is, you could get anything with this and you have to either work it in somehow, or just discard or forget about a detail or two. Compare this to how other suites or even systems handled this. Play Every Role’s interface is a lot more user-friendly, offers a lot more options to generate (including your own lists), and its quest generations have a lot more cohesion than just slapping together keywords, with even a tension builder to make things interesting, which might serve as a better twist system.
Then there’s the systems themselves. Adventure Crafter has a plot point-based system where it generates random events depending on the tone the game is going for, advancing either current plot lines or even new ones. And if that’s not enough, Covetous Poet has a Super Hero genre pack that would fit the entire setting a lot better. I’m sure there’s a lot of other superhero themed things that would have serviced the campaign a lot better, but for what it was worth, RPG Solo gave me a pretty wild ride.
Were I to take anything away from this campaign, I’d definitely want to try the ranking system again, since that made the world feel a little more alive. … Shame most of the heroes are dead in that setting. Ah well.
Tune in next time where I cover the other campaign I did on RPG Solo, one that is surprisingly the second genre I associate my first RPGs with…