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.

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Revisiting Epic D6 and Making Corrections

Hey everyone. This is going to be a redux of the rules for the Epic D6 System. During the Battle Royale Week, I’ve been notified by Roryb, the author of the system, that I had indeed got the system wrong and told me how to properly use it, which you can see in the comments. I thank him for the clarification and feel a rerun would be in order. However, I’m not going to do Snakes on a Plane again, rather what I think is its base inspiration: Ghostbusters.

The test length is One-shot, so when I complete the story, the session’s done. One thing I liked about Ghostbusters is the multitude of Adventure Seeds and NPCs you can have. Rather than use one of the Adventure Seeds, I’m going to make a scenario based off the first NPC I see, as well as a two-part episode from Kamen Rider Drive. Just for context sake, the story of the Ghostbusters RPG is that, after the defeat of Gozer, the Ghostbusters branch out and become a franchise.

So the opening scenario is this: There is a Ghostbusters station down by Portland, Maine. The member count is roughly a dozen due to a recent outbreak of ghost hauntings, requiring more members to tackle the threats. This resulted in my character, a college graduate, being forced to apply for a job to there, because it was either “get accepted by those ghost-whispering quacks” or flipping burgers. Well, the pay was roughly better with the former.

So I get the job, and after a day of orientation, the President of Ghostbusters Portland, a.k.a my boss, tells me I have an assignment involving the haunting of an art museum. With some training of how to operate the Ghost Trap and Particle Thrower, the boss shoved by butt into an Ecto-1 and sent me on my way to the museum where our game begins. Continue reading

Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Epic D6

Alright. This is going to be the most ambitious test yet. As you can see from the title, I have five Solo Emulators capable of generating scenes (Epic D6, Mythic GM Emulator, Oculus Trifold, Covetous Poet, and Tiny Solitary Soldiers) that I will be play testing. The idea is to have a contest of what is the better system. This is going to be a week-long thing, so for the rest of the business week, I will be taking a look at a different Solo RPG system.

The RPG I’ll be doing this experiment on is a simple one: Snakes on a Plane by Deacon Blues. The scenario there is fixed. You’re on a plane. And there are snakes. I’ll have the same setup as well so as to present the same scenario to the Emulators. The only difference is in the random events. For a good measure, I’ll ensure any condition that results in random events will be met, for example, double numbers will always result in a random event in Mythic, regardless of current Chaos Factor. This is to ensure maximum randomness and shows me just what will be curvebally enough.

Let’s play! My character will have average stats and his goal will be the same: Protecting a witness for a trial. I’m only going to go through five scenes for each emulator or if my character/escort dies. I’m demoing the engines, not doing a full blown campaign or session. Let’s start off with the Epic D6 System from No One To Play With. For reference, all story-based talk will be in italics and all mechanics-based talk will be in normal.

The Epic D6 System has the same ebb and flow of Mythic. Chaos Factor, yes/no questions, and random events. However, the difference is the fact that you use a number of D6’s to add to the answering of questions. It’s a tad confusing to me, but I’m gonna try and sum it up. Forgive me if I butcher the summary.

To answer a question, you need to roll 5d6. You add more based off the Chaos Factor (going from 0 dice to 4 dice) and the odds. The odds and Chaos Factor cancel each other out (for example, if you have a Chaos Factor of 3, but odds of No Way, they cancel each other out). You need to roll a minimum of five, though it could also become six if you have a Chaos Factor greater than zero.

After rolling your dice, you make a hand of five dice and count the odds and evens from that. You count up the results based off the difference between odds and evens and that is how you get the result. I’ll deviate from this system and count the difference from the entire roll, though for now, this is a trial-by-fire, so let’s just do this! Continue reading