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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Why I Won’t Be Playing The Other Two Worst RPGs Of All Time

A while ago, I played the worst RPG known to the Tabletop RPG industry, FATAL, and found that, even without all the offensive material, it lived up to its name. Needlessly convoluted with its skill system, its job system hopelessly broken, and the entire game is incomplete. And yet, of the three to be considered the Unholy Trinity…

This is the only game I can play. Today’s post is going to go into detail as to why I’m not going to be playing the other two entries in the “Worst RPGs Ever” category. Before you think that these are a no brainer, allow me to preface this with a question:

If it took me a while to wrap my head around FATAL’s system, how would I be able to wrap my head around these?

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Mini-Rant: FATAL’s Occupation System And Why It’s Broken

While I dunked on FATAL so hard, I would recommend anything else to play, there’s one aspect of the game I did find interesting.

Rather than generic fantasy classes like Fighter, Wizard, and Rogue, we have Occupations. I found these interesting because they allow for roleplaying in different ways. While some of them do have direct parallels to a D&D class, most are simple, every day jobs that people take. Instead of doing a simple “save the world” plot as a brave, buff warrior, you could instead be a humble basket weaver.

And that’s what I love about that concept. It allows for different stories to be woven. However, there’s a bit of a problem.

Advancement points.

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I’m A Bad DM Towards Myself

This is another musing of mine. This time, it’s around the OSR and D20 systems. The overall theme is levelling. As you may have noticed in the times I’ve played an OSR or D20 game, I might have stacked the deck in the opponent’s favor. A good example is how I ended up killing off my entire party plus one late comer in my Swords and Six-Siders game because I insisted on having them fight a monster of a higher level, or even have them be out numbered seven to one.

If you notice my past games, the reason is pretty obvious: I play a lot of games on Solo RPG Voyages that don’t have a heavy focus on scale or even have a fixed scale. What I mean is that there’s no clear indicator of how strong one person is compared to another like in D&D. Either both parties have even grounds in terms of powers or in the case of a few games like Titan World, one party is guaranteed to be stronger than the other due to how mechanics are. Continue reading

My Thoughts On Salvo! Denmark Strait

Alright, so as it turns out, Salvo also has an expansion, though dealing with the Battle of Denmark Strait. However, I’m gonna go away from the norm of how I play games and instead tell you an experience that I had. For the first time, I played a solo game with a pencil and paper.

Playing without the trusty computer to do calculations and automated die rolls was extremely different, to a satisfying degree. It helped that the game I picked, Salvo, was a quick and easy game that I could play while waiting for my D&D session to begin. Though no one managed to ask me what I was playing so I could plug the game. Continue reading

How Long Would The Battle At Balin’s Tomb Be In D&D? Let’s Found Out!

So I’ve been playing D&D lately, and I always noticed a rule of thumb when doing combat. Each round of combat represents six seconds in time. I always find this funny, since sometimes, in less than a minute, everybody who isn’t a hero is disemboweled and dead on the ground. Even more so when we have lengthy combat discussions outside of character, and yet the entire combat took place in a tenth of that time.

It doesn’t really do the epic fantasy battles justice, right? Well… I decided to take a few battles across various fantasy genres to see how well they fare in terms of combat timing and D&D rulings. D&D’s most common inspiration, Lord of the Rings, will be saved for last. However, we’re gonna look at two aspects of combat, a more grounded in reality version of combat and a more fantastical version.

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Special Announcement

Alright, so today’s session will be delayed and will be up either by the end of the day or tomorrow. Blame procrastination. However, that’s not why I’m making this.

I’m making this announcement because this session is going to be the first session I’ll censor. Now, what can possibly bring me to censor a session and how much of it will be censored? Well, thankfully, only one session right now. But I must tell you the circumstances of why.

The game I’m playing is a game set in World War II-era Russia, around the time they got backstabbed by Germany and they fought back. Due to the dwindling number of soldiers, Stalin, through the persuasion of famous female pilot Marina Raskova, created a couple of regiments containing mostly females. One of them, the 588th, are tasked with a… quite weird task.

Their mission is to go over and harass the Germans by regularly bombing them with their outdated airplanes. These are the chronicles of the Night Witches. A true, historical story. So, what scene am I censoring, you ask? Well, it’s a pretty minor scene at best, but it details a bit of sexism and misogyny in it.

Long story short, after one of the girls lies about their brother unit, the 218th, sabotaging their planes, the NKVD (Secret Police, essentially) began to crack down on 218th and coincidentally find them either undermining their sister unit or outright beating them up. And with that, you guys have found out what scene’s getting cut.

I didn’t know what it was like back in the days when the Night Witches took flight. I wouldn’t know if they just took jeers from their brothers-in-arms or if I somehow depicted something that’d happen then. Whatever the case, I didn’t feel… comfortable. I rarely get uncomfortable in roleplaying games, and when I do, I try to push through it instead and try to get out of my comfort zone.

But then the situation got worse. In a random roll, the woman who ‘ratted’ the 218th out wound up bringing some NKVD members with her and outright labeled them as committing treason through the sabotage of one of their own units. The police apprehend them and…

Well, do you know how well Russians back then took treason? I personally think they take it rather well. Isn’t that right, invisible air next to Stalin?

Okay, joking aside, they were pretty ruthless. I just came to the logical conclusion that the two guys would get executed. The end result though caused me to get a bit more uncomfortable. Especially since I wanted to steer away from that kind of Russian stuff that George Orwell warned us about in his books. But that’s not why I’m censoring it.

The reason I’m censoring it is because I fear it may make others uncomfortable. I ultimately decided to cut the scene out, and write a brief summary about the scene sans the uncomfortable bits. It still happened, but the details are glossed over. However, that isn’t to say I’m completely removing it either.

This post isn’t all gloom. I want to give you guys a sneak peak into the session I’m working on, and I figured that the deleted scene would do just fine. Now, if you don’t feel comfortable with the topics of sexism, physical abuse, and executions, I’d suggest not reading below. For those who are fine with it and want to dive right in, well, click the link below.

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