A Quiet Year To Close Out SGAM 2020

For this year’s Solo Gaming Appreciation Month, I decided to do what I usually do and roll three of the challenges into one: try out a new game that involves map-making (possibly analog) and then review it. Well, turns out there’s a game I heard that is basically that: The Quiet Year. I heard quite a bit about this game and I feel like this would be a good time to finally play it.

It’s one of those games that have physical properties to them. In this case, a deck of cards and tokens are needed alongside the rules and dice. There’s also, as the above paragraph implies, paper and an index card required. I’ll be drawing the map on GIMP and will have a separate document for the index card.

So, the plot for this game is that, after warring with a group called the Jackals, a village is given one quiet year (hehe) to themselves before winter comes. When it comes, it will bring with it things called the Frost Shepherds. I imagine these would be akin to the White Walkers from a Song of Ice and Fire or, if we want to be obscure with the references, the Ice Jester’s forces from Feast of Legends.

Right out of the gate, the small rulebook I can keep in my pocket is a really nice, step-by-step guide for learning how to play the game. Easily a good way to help get the ball rolling for solo play. One section was very thought provoking, as it tells people to “dispassionately introduce dilemma”. This basically tells me that there’s more to this game than “hehe, draw stuff” like I had originally thought.

Speaking of, my instruction is to now draw the map based off details and already, we’re gonna need to do a variant because there’s no group, just the solo. Rather than “each player adds a detail”, I’ll instead apply it as “four details about your map”.

So, here are my four: The village is inside a naturally made crater. Man-made stairs were placed to get to the surface, alongside aural shields to protect them. The last detail is that, each house contains ten people. So, already we have protection from predators as an Abundance, perhaps what powers it is a Scarcity. Food and water, I think it might be normal levels.

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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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Can’t Catch Me, I’m The Gingerbread Man!

Now, originally I was gonna do Marvel Superheroes as my penultimate 99th game, but then I saw that there’s a new Once Upon A Time expansion. You know what this means. Another Once Upon A Mythic Time game. Which is rather fitting because one of the very first sessions I did on this site was Once Upon A Mythic Time.

The premise this time around is Fairy Tale mashups, so instead of generic characters for our story, we’re going to be encountering established characters like Snow White, Cinderella, and Goldilocks. Same rules as before, assuming you have read them, and let’s go about this.

My character is the Gingerbread Man, his aspect is Full (I’m assuming he’s stuffed with some fondant) and his three items are beans, a beanstalk, and herbs. Herbs are an Interrupt. Our ending is…

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That Time I Played Maid RPG in My Zombie RPG Campaign And Completely Changed The Story

For the next session of my zombie survival campaign, I focused on the social table and figured I would change the system to better reflect that. Enter Maid RPG, the first Japanese RPG to be translated into English. This also marked the first time I’ve done a cross-game stat change, where I take characters from one game and restat them up in another game. The only other time I tried that was when I took multiple OSR characters and plopped them into Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

The game is practically a treasure trove of new content to discover and so, at one point, I’ll have to return to this game. But for now, I should get to the basics of what happened with this gameplay shift.

For one, it’s similar to Ghostbusters in that an attribute determines a D6 result. However, whereas Ghostbusters determines the number of dice you roll by the attribute you have, Maid RPG only multiplies the single dice roll you make by the attribute you have. There’s two more attributes for this, but I managed to do the exchange rather easily. Unfortunately, I lost the sheets I made, so… Yeah.

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That Time I Ran A Zombie Survival Campaign And Got The Hang Of It

I think I’ve stated this before, but the reason why I’ve fell in love with Solo RPG games is not only does it mean I get to play all these interesting games by myself, but also because they serve as a great writing tool most of the time, but on those really rare occasions, roleplaying solo turns into… less of an RPG and more of a TV show or story you’re reading as it unfolds.

While A Flower for Mara will always be my Solo RPG darling for having a huge, unnerving narrative about grief and revenge, I want to reminisce about a campaign I played solo that felt like its own television mini-series. I even gave it a name: One More Day Before the Storm. The premise was that, taking place after my D&D 4E game where Malareth had defeated the heroes and uses a powerful skull he has to zap me to parts unknown.

I said in the last post that my writing style had become similar enough to my current writing style that I could switch between what I had said already and what I wanted to say. For this, though, I could just as easily copy-paste the entire campaign onto this site, I feel like recapping the events would make this nine-chapter story brisker. Though, if you ever wanted to read the original text on this site, feel free to request it. If I get enough (about 5 sounds good), I’ll do just that.

The major purpose of this campaign was to play with Mythic again after not being able to use it much for the 4E game. This was before I recently found out how to twist the module so that it can be used with a solo engine, but that’s another story for another time. I also wanted to test out the Mythic Variations tables, which has different random event tables for different genres. The first one was an example, involving Zombies.

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That Time I Had Mythic GM a Game for Me and Still Died Regardless

Naturally, there was a desire in me to do solo gaming. However, as my attempt to DM myself has shown, I’m prone to killing my own characters or giving myself challenges so hard, I might as well be lining up the party for the guillotine. That’s when, during my trawling through RPG.net, I came across a flash app for Mythic GM Emulator.

Had no idea what this was, but it looked cool. Then I read the forum and noticed it was a derivative of the Mythic GM Emulator so I decided to take a look at that. As soon as I got a good idea of what the rules were and how to keep track of notes and stuff, I was ready.

I set up the session as a sort of “game within a game” sort of deal. Where I, as a character, end up going to a D&D session where the GM is a large computer a la Deep Blue and two other characters play… well, characters. This was a way for me to not only introduce how Mythic is played to the audience, but also to help train myself to playing Mythic.

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[SGAM 2016] Let’s Play Chainmail! Part 1 – The Siege of Bodenberg

Alright, so we’re gonna commence this year’s SGAM Campaign. The RPG we’re playing is another war game. This one is yet another precursor to D&D: Chainmail.

Chainmail was made by Gary Gygax and was pretty much a medieval wargame that, with some tweaking, led to the creation of Dungeons and Dragons. Whereas Braunstein gave D&D its fluff, Chainmail is crunchier. Sadly, in the path of the voyager, even the crunchiest of games will become fluffy.

I’ve already thought of a starting scenario for this campaign. It’ll be the Siege of Bodenberg, the game that started the entire RPG genre in the first place. Long story short, Gygax was inspired to do Medieval wargames thanks in part to the game Siege of Bodenberg. So what better way to pay homage by playing out a scenario loosely based on it?

And I say loosely in the loosest of terms, as redundant as that sounds. My character will be the leader of a small peasant uprising. And by small peasant uprising, I of course mean in the two dozens. The scenario’s simple: peasants are pissed that they’re treated unfairly, and they turned to me to kick start the revolution/reign of terror. Continue reading