Why Do I Do Remembrance Day Posts?

As some of you know, I make it a tradition to write one article that has to do with Remembrance Day, be it a solo game or even write up solo rules. However, this year, I want to spice things up and instead, write an article on why I choose this day out of all holidays of the year to keep this tradition alive when all others I’ve left to the curb.

At first, I began this tradition simply because I found a neat game to play that I wanted to play repeatedly whenever the time comes to play it. Though, another part of the reason was because the holiday holds a very special meaning in my country, honoring the many people who both placed their lives on the line and sacrificed them to ensure the peace we have now to play games like the ones we have now.

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The Most Common Complaint On Solo Roleplaying and Why It Ultimately Doesn’t Matter

A common complaint seen with solo roleplaying is how the process is so isolated that there’s no true back and forth like a usual RPG. That, even with using randomized numbers with a fixed yes-to-no ratio based on either odds or situational context or even creating randomized events that your character has to overcome, you’re still just wearing the hat of a GM before switching it out for a player’s. This often leads to a question I think a lot of people will hear when talking about solo roleplaying:

“Isn’t it a lot like writing then?”

And that’s… honestly a good question. It’s definitely one that you’ll have different answers to depending on who you ask. Obviously, if you’re playing a solo game for the sake of the game, such as playing the Micro RPG chapbooks, then no. It’s not like writing at all. Same if you just play the game to get a feel for how your character or the world reacts and responds. These two aspects rely more on the crunch of a game rather than its fluff.

However, there is a serious question here if you care more for the story. You have the final say of what happens, after all, so, wouldn’t it just be the same as writing a book?

This article is here to debunk that question, and it will do so with one simple explanation: No, you don’t have a final say.

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Road to FATAL 3: What and How

So, one question that can be asked is “what am I going to do in FATAL”. Namely, what sort of story I’m going to tackle.

While it’d make sense to have a story about Abeloa rising to the top in the gladiatorial arena, I remembered that FATAL had a small adventure to get people adjusted to the game, so I figured, why not use that? The idea is that, when they’re not fighting in the arena, Gladiators are often picked out to do dangerous tasks. The more dangerous the task is, the more money they get or even some months off their service (they surrender their rights for 5 years when they become Gladiators).

Abeloa is one of the most requested gladiators due to his strength, but because Gladiators come at a first-come, first-serve basis, rather than do something cool like an assassination attempt, he’s instead hired by a kid whose entire hamlet has been abducted. Begrudgingly, Abeloa accepts (he has no choice to reject) and he prepares to go on his journey.

That’s basically it. Now comes the final question: how am I going to play FATAL. Well, as I said, I’ll be bringing a suite of my favorite Engine and Drivers, all while testing out a new one.

See, while I could play the adventure as is, I could also spice it up with a little help from RPG Tips. For those not in the know, there’s a new system for playing adventures that has caught my eye. It follows the approach of stripping the adventure down to its base elements, then restructuring it to make due with the randomness of the Engines. Now, I made a few scripts based off movies and an adventure, so I have a bit of experience with this.

To save you the nitty gritty, I’ve done the script and the link will be right here.

I’ll explain how it works when I play the game, but for now, I’ll run you through the tools I’ll be bringing to the table.

Of course, I’ll be bringing CRGE Kai to the mix, as I love it deeply. For Drivers, I’ll be bringing the Tangent Zero dice for when events are altered and the Adventure Crafter for when events get interrupted.

… Okay, this was pretty straight forward. So… yeah, bon voyage, gamers.

My First RPGs

The first time I ever played an RPG, it was solo. It was basically me playing around with some random rules for D&D that I found on the internet (little did I know that it was the SRD) and fiddled around with a story. It wasn’t major, but rather a simple story about an elf archer defending the woods.

How I got into D&D, however, is a completely different story in of itself. There were at least three major moments that I can clearly remember being core to me discovering D&D and thus creating an interest for RPGs.

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Road To FATAL #1: Why?

A while ago, I said how my 100th session for Solo RPG Voyages is going to be FATAL, easily one of the worst RPGs in the world due to a variety of problems that so many other people have explained better. So, you may ask, if this is one of the worst RPGs in the world… why are you playing it?

Well, that’s going to be the topic for the first part of a four-part series called the Road to FATAL, where I prepare myself and my character for the game.  So, why FATAL? Do I have some sort of death wish? Do I just want to milk the fact that it’s bad for the cheap laughs? Well, no… somewhat.

Every 25 games, I do something called a Quarter Quell where I randomly determine my game, engine, and two Drivers to play with. This is basically a means to challenge myself and to mark milestones. However, for the big 100, I knew I had to do something very special. So, instead of randomly determining my toolbox for the session, I’ll instead pick the game, engine and drivers. I knew for #100, it had to be something momentous.

Enter FATAL, easily the most hated upon RPG in the world. People have made novels out of how bad this game is… Well, not novels, but the lengths of their reviews could rival some novellas. In a way, it’s badness is what drew my interest. Some years back, I took a look at the book and noticed how huge it is. Roughly 1000 pages of rules, charts, and math equations, all of which made to service one purpose: to make a realistic RPG.

On paper, this sounds great. However, there are thousands of problems with it, ranging from its needlessly complex system to content that is equal parts racist, ableist, sexist, and anything else ending in -ist. Again, other reviewers have pointed these flaws out. This game is to RPGs what Holy Terror is to comics. So, the entire reason for me trying to solo FATAL is one question:

Can this game be bearable without all that crap? And can this game be played solo?

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How Do I Solo Roleplay?

So, this is probably gonna be a short post about how I solo roleplay. It begins with me figuring out what game I should play. Most of the time, I’m following a theme or I have recently purchased it and want to play it in the only way I know it will be played. Most of the time right now, it’s the latter.

So, what happens first is that I get Microsoft Word up and running. I have my game in hand and I probably have figured out my Engine. If not, then I roll on a random chart or use CRGE Kai, basically CRGE but using Mythic’s rules for triggering random events on top of it. Usually, it’s depending on what game I’m playing. Fate games get the Fate Solo, wargames get TSS, etc.

Once that’s done, I possibly make a Stat It for the game if I feel like character creation is gonna take a while. If not, it’s mashed up into my session. I usually have a scenario in my head that I begin with, and from there, I play it out. I use Roll20 to simulate dice rolls and use character sheets if they’re available. I keep a short sheet containing my threads, NPCs, and PCs, as well as current Chaos if the engine has it.

I write out what happens, usually in narrative format. I separate mechanics in square brackets like so:

[Roll: Number]

And questions are the same.

[Q: Question. Odds/Purpose: ???. A: Answer]

And if a random event happens, usually I put what happens in bullets.

  • Like [Random Event Focus: ???]
  • So [Random Event Meaning: ???]

And so forth. I play for about five scenes (separated by the scene rolls and the determining of Chaos) or until the game prematurely ends. If it has no means of stopping, I suspend play and resume next time.

One thing I must bring up is that I don’t play a solo game in a single sitting like most other people. I play one game out in multiple sittings. This, unfortunately, invites procrastination and delay. The problem is, outside of forcing myself to play the game in a single sitting which would possibly disrupt the quality of the game, there’s no real solution to this.

Once done, I upload the file onto my WordPress, make the usual tags, and then post it. Then I update the stats on the sheet which you can view.

And that’s basically it. Pretty short if I do say so myself. We answered two questions, and who knows, maybe I’ll answer Who, What, Where, and When next time.

 

3 Reasons Why I Solo Roleplay

So, to continue the celebration of Solo Gaming Appreciation Month, I’ve decided to write up one Question that hasn’t been established on this blog: Why do I solo roleplay?

Well, allow me to explain three reasons why I do so.

1.    It allows me to try new games

Anyone who has seen my games knows that I always play a different game every so often. The reason? Because I want to try out new games. Stop me if you heard this before: you purchased a really cool new RPG and you want your friends to play it. However, they don’t want to and instead insist on playing Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder or some variant.

I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons games thanks to fifth edition’s revival and me being in an area full of gamers like me, so I don’t have the problem of not having anyone to play with. The problem though is that I believe I’m starting to hit burn out with Dungeons and Dragons. It lost its spark for me. That’s why there’s only 15% of total games so far are either D20 or OSR. I’ve already played a lot of D&D out of this blog, so playing it here isn’t changing much.

Thus, I experiment with new games all the time. Some games are flops and others are hits. It also gives my game library a chance to play the games I own, rather than collect dust because someone prefers to play another round of D&D.

2.    It creates a powerful narrative

Many people have noticed that I tend to stick closer to a narrative-based playstyle, with a lot of my games focused on storytelling. There’s a reason for this. I like narrative based games. They’re pretty easy to jump into, not a lot of rules to crunch down, and you can use the fluff to your advantage.

But, perhaps the most powerful aspect of this reasoning is that I use random generators to tell me plot twists that I don’t see coming. These are stuff like a hidden German spy revealing himself to one of the heroes, a woman who turns out to be using her own deceased daughter to drive her family apart, or the world being overrun by rats.

It excites me sometimes to play these games because I don’t know what kind of crazy hijinks I run into at times. Heck, I always want to just use this playstyle to write an entire novel one day.

3.    The community is what drives me to do more

I think a lot of what I do today is thanks in part to everyone who is involved in the Solo RPG Community, be they people who play solo games, people who make solo games, or people who just like to talk about them. With them, I managed to find a group that shared my interests and would make recommendations to me that ended up changing the way I play.

Without this community, I’d be stuck on a low-end forum site with these session reports and I wouldn’t have made as many as I have. So, for this, I say, thank you all. And I hope you stay with me this remainder of the year as I try hard to get to #75 before 2017 ends.

Let’s go on a grand voyage, gamers!

Definition: Eskimo Nutkicking

Origin of Term: From a very old Spoony Experiment

Term Definition: When two characters boil down to simply hitting each other.

Example of Term: I’m fighting a Kobold and I roll to hit. I miss. He then rolls to hit me and he misses. We continue doing this without changing up our strategy or anything else. In the end, it just boils down to who drops first.

Qrigin Of The Day: Why Is It Called Solo RPG Voyages?

Hey, I want to announce that there are no actual plays for a while. I’m working on two projects for this site. One is for Valentine’s Day and another is going to be a secret for now. In the meantime, these are simple anecdotes related to my past of solo Roleplaying akin to the Counter Monkey series. They’re pretty brief, as my time as a solo roleplayer is pretty brief. I like to call this Qrigin of the Day, as they are both questions and origins to my life as a solo roleplayer prior to Solo RPG Voyages.

I guess the first and easiest story is why I have the name Solo RPG Voyages. Well, it’s simple. The day I began to consider making a WordPress for my exploits in solo RPGs was the day I purchased the Rory’s Story Cubes Voyages edition. I began to test out the Nine Questions game with these dice and had an enjoyable time. All I did was look at the cubes as they were present and based on the questions weave a story about how a man, dying from Mad Elephant’s Disease, journeyed to the Fountain of Youth to heal himself of the disease.

It was pretty tense and I enjoyed it. By the end, I decided to create an NPC based on the Clow Cards from Card Captor Sakura, and I think that was when I decided to get a WordPress going so I could share the rules for both this and how to involve the card game Once Upon A Time (not to be confused with the TV show) into Mythic GM Emulator. When figuring out the name for the site, I simply used Voyages in tribute to the dice I used for my own voyage.

After all, when I solo roleplay, I’m essentially going on a voyage to another world. And yes, the orange you see is a nod to the original Story Cubes’ orange packaging.