How To Play The Quiet Year Solo

The Quiet Year is a very interesting game about creating a map with a society that lives in it. However, playing solo can be rather tricky, especially given some mechanics require other people to play. This guide will teach you how to play the Quiet Year solo, or at the very least, show you how I played it solo in last year’s SGAM.

First, I’ll assume you know how to play the game already, that way I can cut right to the points where solo play comes in. Second, get yourself an NPC or Conversation Emulator. There’s quite a selection to choose from, so don’t feel too worried about picking a specific one. So long as the emulator in question does something to create a conversation, you’re fine. If you want me to specifically pick out a Conversation Emulator for you, I used the Universal NPC Emulator. However, I would also recommend Play Every Role if you want NPC responses.

When setting up your map, determine four details about the surrounding area. You may either think of this yourself or allow a Driver like Mythic Variations 2’s Detail Check or the Tangent Zero dice to generate ideas. Once you’re done arranging the map, determine its Abundance and Scarcity. After that, play begins like normal.

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How I Use CRGE Kai

This is going to explain how I use my go-to engine: CRGE-Kai.

Really, it’s just CRGE, but with Mythic and Ursa Minor attached, but I feel as though I should bring up how the process of how this works in this post so we’re all on the same page.

So, the game begins with the three factors set up: Chaos, Surge, and Turmoil. Chaos is Mythic’s Factor where it changes depending on how in control things are. Surge is CRGE’s Factor where it tracks how many vanilla Yes/No questions are asked, so as to swing the next question asked to a spicier result. And Turmoil is Ursa Minor’s Factor where it tracks uncertainty.

To give an example, the game starts at a Chaos Factor of 5, a Surge Factor of 0, and a Turmoil Factor of 2. The scene ends with the hero attracting a lot of unwanted attention from villagers and townsguard, but otherwise had the situation under control. There were also quite a lot of Yes/No answers that were vanilla, and, as a result, the Chaos Factor goes down to 4, Surge Factor goes up to 3 (as there were three vanilla yesses in a row), and the Turmoil Factor goes up to 4.

For the most part, CRGE answers the questions. When a double is rolled, either naturally or if with modifiers added, it triggers a random event, which Mythic handles. Modifiers are basically either the Surge Factor and the “odds”, which are modifiers of increments of 5 depending on how high those odds are. For example, “Has To Be” and “Impossible” are a 25 and a -25 respectively, while “Likely” and “Unlikely” are 10 and -10.

Ursa Minor activates when I either need to use something that makes long processes that require multiple rolls (i.e. combat or travel) into one single roll or when I roll an altered scene. Usually I don’t have a good idea for altered scenes, so I instead see if it triggers an incident from Ursa Minor, to which I use the incident rolls.

And… That’s roughly it. It’s simple, but at first glance, it’s understandably complex.

10 Ways To Monetize Tabletop RPGs, inspired by Microtransaction: The RPG

I’m definitely going to be taking a tackle at this satirical game because of its fun premise, in which you pay actual, real world money to the GM for dice rolls, but this post isn’t going to be an Actual Play just yet.

See, the overall premise of the game is a large middle finger to the controversial practice of microtransactions, translating them into RPG mechanics. As someone who’s watched a lot of YouTube videos about microtransactions and have been a victim of one such scam, I’m gonna create ten house rules you can put into this game to fully ensure your gaming buddies stop being buddies at a rate faster than if you put them through the Tomb of Horrors.

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Turning Storyline into a Solo RPG

I came across a board game similar to Once Upon A Time called Storyline. Picture Once Upon a Time and Apples to Apples having a baby. That is how Storyline do. To get into more detail, whereas Once Upon A Time plays as long as you want until you get to the ending, Storyline runs for 15 rounds, where the winner is determined through how many points they secured via tokens that they have to grab face down.

Storyline comes in two flavors: Fairy and Scary Tales. Obvious differences are obvious. But, this had me thinking of how to turn the assets into a driver for solo play, not unlike how I used Once Upon a Time as a makeshift Driver for solo.

Of course, this means creating a set of rules to make it solitaire friendly, since the game was intended to be played for three-to-eight players. Thankfully, I got the hard stuff out of the way thanks to overhauling Once Upon a Time.

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The Gandalflocke Challenge (Rules)

A long, long, long time ago, back during the beginnings of Solo RPG Voyages, I had hatched a challenge that I’ve decided to share with the community to see if they can try their hand at it. It’s based off a Pokémon challenge called Nuzlocke. The basic gist of a Nuzlocke is that you play Pokémon like normal, but with two stipulations: You could only capture the first Pokémon you see in every route and when a Pokémon faints, they automatically die.

Translating that for a solo RPG campaign is pretty easy. I recommend using an RPG that’s based off the D20 system, so any OSR game, D20 game, or even 5E will do. Next, either pick your favorite adventure/campaign or make a whole new one up. Create a party of four characters or less. The recommended party build for this challenge is the following: Continue reading

Cards Against Humanity Solo: You Laugh, You Lose!

So, I decided to broaden my horizons and play a solo board game instead of an RPG. The reason for this is me getting Tabletop Simulator, which allows me to play board games without having to actually clear the table to get the game out, and then have the board game lay around while I type out the play-by-play commentary.

Originally, I was gonna play King of Tokyo with the assistance of a solo card system to emulate another player, but I’m instead gonna play Cards Against Humanity. Why? Because I am contractually obligated to play it.


As you can see with the messy haired man in the leather suit holding said contract and the fairy-tale themed sample cards, we’re playing a different deck, with cards based around the TV show Once Upon A Time (not to be confused with the card game). That said, however, the two sample combinations are hilarious enough with our without the show’s context.

And this inspired me to make a solo game out of Cards Against Humanity. The rules are pretty rough draft, so bare with me on this. You draw a Black Card face up, then flip a White Card face up. If the combination makes you laugh, you put the two cards to one side of a table where their points will add. If you don’t laugh, however, you put only the white card to the opposite side where their points will subtract. If you go through five white cards without a single one making you laugh, you then get to put the black card to the “didn’t laugh” side.

At the end of the game (when either deck runs out of cards), you tally up the points. Cards you laughed at add while cards you didn’t laugh at subtract. White cards are worth one point whereas black cards are worth two. The aim is to get the lowest amount of points possible. Alright, everyone got that? Good. Let’s begin!

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Tips for a Solo Campaign

For the last month of the year, I decided to release a list of tips regarding making a solo campaign. Not as in-depth as, say, The Solo Roleplayer’s tips on making solo campaigns a la EPIC, but these might help you think more about playing in campaigns.

We all want to do it at some point. Some of us already have. If you’re a solo roleplayer, chances are, you wanted to one day play a campaign solo. However, there’s a bit more bookkeeping to endure. I actually did a small campaign at one point and in this post, I will show you what I did and what I could have done during that campaign that might make that bookkeeping easier.

Note: This post is made with Mythic in mind. Continue reading

Stay Alive: The Extra Life Inspired RPG

Inspired by the Extra Life fundraiser in which people play games for twenty-four hours straight, I figured to make a solo RPG using the Snakes on a Plane system. The basic premise? Survive twenty-four hours while fighting off zombies. To basically put, it’s Snakes on a Plane the RPG, but on a much, much longer scale. A Macro-Game, if you will.

Your stats are as follows:

  • Guts: How strong you are.
  • Nerve: How fast you are.
  • Cool: How unlikely are you at freaking out at zombies.
  • Wits: How smart you are.
  • Charm: How charismatic you are.

You have 25 points to distribute to each stat. You also have to decide on a goal, something short-term that you have to do before the 24 hours are up. If you fail to achieve your goal, you will be bitten by a zombie and die.

Task resolution is the same. Roll a number of dice equal to your chosen stat. 1s are fails, 5s and 6s are successes. If you don’t have any 1s, 5s, or 6s, it’s called a “misstep” and you must reroll until there are 1s, 5s, and 6s. Getting damaged is also the same thing.

Much like the game, there’s a Before Zombies phase and an After Zombies phase. The basic starting scenario is that you are holed up in a spot along with some other survivors. You decide whether this would be a farmhouse, a mall, a bunker, or practically anything. You have one hour in the Before Zombies phase to properly prepare for an oncoming zombie swarm, or twelve skill checks. These skill checks can be a variety of things, like putting up barricades to talking down some of the panicking survivors.

However, if you fail one of these checks, the zombie attacks and your fight for survival begins, thus beginning the After Zombies phase. Every check you make will now have a constant threat of a zombie attack. To help you in the beginning, every successful check made in the Before Zombies phase turn into a number of times you can reroll ones, leading up to twelve times you can reroll a single die with a one.

Getting damaged works practically the same, but flavor wise, it’s different in the sense that they attack certain parts of your body (arm for Guts, leg for Nerve, head for Wits, face for Charm) or if they just menace you (Cool). As usual, you die when one of your stats hits 0.

Time passes differently in this game compared to Snakes on a Plane. Every successful skill check takes five minutes away from the total time while every zombie attack takes away fifteen. The game lasts for approximately twenty four hours in game, as any remaining minutes you had in Before Zombies when you fail a check will be added to the remaining hours.

For every hour that passes, you gain one additional stat point to add. This includes the hour in the Before Zombies phase. Achieving your goal will net your two stat points. Well, happy trails, and good luck in your fight against the zombies.

The Secret System

I wrote up a random, quirky system regarding keeping secrets separate from player knowledge so as to avert those problems of keeping GM info away from Player info. The solution? Make it so secret and random, not even the all-knowing GM knows about it. How does it work? Simple:

To start with, ask the GME “does [insert NPC here] have a secret?” at 50/50 odds. If yes, then they have a secret. What is it? Well, you don’t know. No one knows. Until a designated time in which the secret is revealed (up to you on how to determine it, but I’d probably use NPC Action ([NPC with the secret]) as the “This is when he reveals his secret” moment), you have no idea what the secret is. It helps for a good twist.

For the rest of the game until the secret is revealed, if you pick up any sort of hints that might involve the secret in question (like you think the NPC is a vampire or is the bastard son of a noble), note that. If it comes up multiple times, note how many times it comes up. This will contribute to the big reveal.

When it comes for the reveal, ask the GME what you think is the big secret from the list of possible ideas you have, with the odds ranked depending on how many times it came up (1 time = No Way!, 2 = Unlikely, 3 = Likely, 4 = Near Sure Thing, 5 = Has To Be!). If the answer comes up yes, then congratulations, you figured out the secret! If none of them are the big secret, roll on the Event Meanings or some other secret generator (not sure if Mobius has one) to figure out what the real secret is.

One-Die Twist For Tiny Solitary Soldiers Engine

So I figured, because Tiny Universal has no twist system, I figure that I’ll transplant the twist system from Tiny Solitary Soldiers. The idea being that the twist’s use of two dice would fit perfectly with Tiny Universal’s two dice system. To replace the twist system, I figured to make a simple one-die version. Instructions on triggering the twist will remain, though.

  1. New NPC/Thread
  2. Positive Thing Happens
  3. Goal/Thread Changes
  4. NPC/Thread is killed/closed
  5. Negative Thing Happens
  6. Scene Ends

Simple stuff. I apologize for not putting out a new session this week. I had a bit of a busy schedule and wasn’t able to complete it.