Reviewing All The Engines I Used In The Past

Back when I started Solo RPG Voyages, there were only a few available Engines one would normally need to play solo. There was at least five that most people pointed to, to which I made one of my very first posts a five-day marathon of playing the same game, same setting, same story, but the difference was how the Engines worked.

This was what I called the Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week and it was a means for me to get out of my comfort zone with the Mythic GM Emulator and try out Engines in a controlled environment so I could look exclusively at the Engines and not let any outside force like how the game plays or a plot point causing the game to drag and distract from the Engine’s overall quality.

However, as soon as I made that, I was given the request to review another solo Engine called CRGE. One month later, I find another solo RPG Engine for me to play with… and another… and another… Eventually, I wanted to do a second Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week, but I kept doing other things that occupied my time.

Now it’s almost impossible to pick just five Engines for a sequel. With solo gaming becoming more mainstream than ever before, more and more Engines are made to cater to various degrees of player. There’s even one author that creates Engines tailor made for certain RPG systems. What adds to this increase is how easy it is to make solo Engines.

For instance, I can take dice from the Genesys RPG system and use the symbols to interpret yes and no answers. Easy. I even made a system using the lowest numbered dice called the Coin, Tumbler, and Caltrop system or CTC for short. A coin is used for yes and no, a d3 (a tumbler) is used to see if it’s a “but”, “and”, or neither, and a d4 (a caltrop) would be a controller to see if a plot twist would be coming.

So now I have the situation of having so many Engines to try out and not enough games to pair them with. Granted, some are easy to pair, like PPM’s Engine or even cases like Ironsworn where the Engines come packed with their own games. However, it’s come to a point where it feels more pragmatic to read the Engine and make conclusions to how it plays rather than devote entire sessions to playing around with it.

Earlier, I made a review scale for RPG games based on how soloable they were, under the idea that any game can be played solo. The problem was that I had way too many variables and scored it on a ten-point rating. Worse still, it shot my own ideas and mission statement down and even made the system as a whole feel like more busywork than a two-paragraph review.

So, with this, I feel like it should be a little more restrained. Instead of numbers, I’d bring the Engine into a few categories based off ease of use, if the Engine is focused on mechanics or story (more on this later), and whether the game has a twist system. Rather than grading it, I feel like it’s more appropriate to see what sort of people would enjoy the Engines.

I’m not going to go into all the nitty gritty details like the odds of getting yes vs. no or how often you trigger an event, since that’d be edging towards reviewing and I’m only making recommendations for this list.

Continue reading

My Chosen Engine

I have struggled with picking a personal favorite Engine. Out of the emulators I playtested, I ranked three on the top of my list, Covetous Poet, Mythic GM Emulator, and the Conjectural Roleplaying Gamemaster Emulator. I adored these three for various reasons… but… At some point, when I have no idea what Engine to use, I need to decide on one.

However, this is where things get… spicy. Over on the Solo Roleplayer’s site, Kenneth Norris had an interview with Zach Best, the creator of the CRGE. Originally, CRGE was to be a framework to put over Mythic GM Emulator in an attempt to condense the Engine and make things less hectic.

This is the plus to CRGE. The answering is very solid, straightforward, and has an addictive system regarding keeping track of how many straight yes/no answers you have, so that when you roll again, you can get a better chance of an And, But, or Unexpectedly (CRGE’s plot twist option).

However, while I enjoy CRGE’s plot twist resolution system, sometimes I still hold a torch for Mythic’s plot twist resolution system. That’s when I realized… I could basically import that into CRGE without any fuss. I basically curb a rule or two by making all doubles, regardless of Chaos Factor, triggers for a Random Event.

So why not cut the middle man and import that (and Scene Rolls) over to CRGE? And so I will. Thus, I dub this Engine… Well, it’s not really worthy enough, since it’s just CRGE with two extra things imported from Mythic. I’m not even sure if it’ll work. Gotta give it a test run soon.

But anyways, I’m personally calling it CRGE Kai (bonus points to whoever gets the reference) but for all rights, intents, and purposes, (or TL;DR) CRGE wins the Enginebowl for me and unless I decide otherwise, it’ll be my go to Engine.

The Fan-Voted Quarter Quell Part 2

Alright, when we last left off our superheroes, they discovered a zombie plot going down in Serah’s own circus. They took a while to get together, but now that they have, they’re going to investigate the abandoned funhouse that seems to have all the answers they need regarding the zombies.

I noticed that I have relied too heavily on Location Crafter. From this point on, the next few scenes will be created with the other Drivers.

First scene will be made by Covetous Poet. Continue reading

The Solo RPG Voyages Quarter Quell #1

Hey, everyone. This is going to be a special Session. I figured, to celebrate 25 sessions, I’d go with a tradition that a fictional universe had for every quarter milestone. That’s right, I’m doing a Quarter Quell. For those who don’t know, a Quarter Quell is a special version of the traditional Hunger Games. Every twenty-five years, a gimmick for the games is drawn to spice up the Hunger Games. This can range from doubling the amount of Tributes in the games to even a nod to Survivor’s All Star seasons and have past winners return for a second round.

In keeping with the spirit of the Quarter Quell, I’m gonna be doing something reminiscent of the one featured in the second book of the series, Catching Fire, in which I’ll revisit an old game I played with new eyes. I’ll have a list of games, engines, and drivers on standby ready to be randomized. Whatever’s selected, I’ll use for the game. I’ve compiled the list from the past 24 sessions I’ve played. I’m not gonna bore you with the lists here, but if you’re curious, here’s a link to the lists I have.

So, without further to do, let’s do some quelling!

Our game we’ll be playing tonight is… Huh, Once Upon A Time. Not really a roleplaying game, but sure. I can shiggy dig. After all, I have come up with rules to make it an RPG. Maybe I can improve on them.

Our engine of choice is… Fate Solo! Huh, the first and last of their respective list.

And finally, the two drivers that will come hand in hand are… Covetous Poet and Tangent Zero! Well, here’s to a nice run of the mill game! Continue reading

Spies Glazing Over

Alright, now we can actually start playing Spark. If you missed last week’s post, the basic gist is that a businessman, a runaway shinobi, and a thief have all been attacked by ninjas and it results in the daughter of the businessman getting kidnapped. So, what shall happen now? Will they go rescue her? Will they try to rebuild? Well, let’s find out.

Our first step for this part of the session is to advance agendas from each of the different factions. However, you can also let their plans fail if you so choose. Normally, me and a couple of players would roll our Spark die to determine what order we pick the factions, but in this case, I’ll make this as simple as possible. Continue reading

Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Covetous Poet

Welcome back. I’m not gonna lie. Half the reason why I did this experiment is to experiment with Covetous Poet. Though the list of other GM Emulator tools out there had me curious to see how they all play out, and so, this experiment began. When we last left off the experiment, I discovered that I managed to do a bad, good, and bittersweet ending. I wonder which tone of ending will stick out more as we continue this.

We’re looking at The Covetous Poet’s Adventure Creator and Solo GM Guidebook by Frank Lee. Or as I put it for short: Covetous Poet. Like the name implies, the PDF not only lets you solo GM a game, but also create your own adventures. And by God can you create your own adventures.

You have five genre packs to choose from (two are downloadable) and they have a nigh endless supply of possible stories for you to do. To compare, Mythic had a version of the genre packs that simply edited the Event Focus tables to include events related to said genre (they had an example of a Zombie Genre where Zombie Attack was one of the random events) but everything else was the same.

In Covetous Poet, you have several thousand items related to the genre in question, so you are almost never without end. I want to give Frank Lee massive props for this, especially if he did all this himself, since it takes huge amounts of dedication to make lists that require a D1000 to generate. Yes. D1000. Don’t worry; it’s just 3 D10s instead of the usual 2.

Thing is, I already have the starting scene and some semblance of a plot in mind; I don’t need to run the usual scene/plot set up. This might be a case where I’ll revisit this with another RPG instead of a uniform scenario for the project. What this adds to the table is not just an adventure creator but also a character creator and a conversation emulator.

In short, Covetous Poet takes the Mythic GM Emulator’s Event Focus and Event Meaning Tables, puts them on steroids and rolled it into the Universal NPC Emulator. To say I am excited to play with this system is to put it lightly. As you can see, I’ve spent more paragraphs talking about how it works than I have actually playing the game. I guess it’s a sign that I’m gushing about something I haven’t even played before.

But that will all change now. Continue reading