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 Voyage That Inspired The Name

Now, I told you all about why I named my site Solo RPG Voyages, but I never told you the story behind the inspiration. The session I had made out of a simple D6 system (Snakes on a Plane-style) and the Rory’s Story Cubes dice will now be told to you all. If you guys wanted a full-on session with the mechanics in tow, I apologize. This is just me retelling the story of my game.

I used Nine Questions as a driver for the game. I made my character an adventurer with these stats: Continue reading

Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Tiny Solitary Soldiers

Welcome to the final part of this five-day experiment. Now, if you noticed, I’m doing this in alphabetical order (Epic D6, Mythic GM Emulator, Oculus Trifold, Covetous Poet, and Tiny Solitary Soldiers), so this is why this is the last thing I’m trying out. As I noticed, Tiny Solitary Soldiers isn’t even the name of the system, but rather the site.

Much like Epic D6, TSS’ Solo RPG system has its roots in Mythic, but for different reasons. This system was made to be handled faster than Mythic and similar products, and it shows it in the streamlined Yes/No chart. It’s actually how I expected the Epic D6’s way of getting answers would work before I read more into it. Half of a D6 reads yes and the other half reads no. They have varying twists of the classic ‘and’ and ‘but’, and also in the form of Twist Die, in which an extra die is rolled to see if it lands on a 1, and if it does, results in a twist.

Another interesting twist for this system is that you don’t ask if a scene is interrupted or altered, but rather if the scene is quiet or full of action. There’s a small chance that you could get a different scene all together. I can see how easy I can get into this, but as for how fast, I’m not sure.

To increase the bookending of this, we’re also having a return to the Tangent Zero dice. So with that, let’s begin. For this system, each scene has a “scene goal”, which you have to complete or fail the goal to end the scene unless the game calls for something else. Let’s see who our mystery person is… 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

Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Oculus Tri-Fold

Hey everyone, welcome back. Last time, Jack got arrested by the security guards because I thought lightning struck twice and the Mythic GM Emulator proved to be just as useful as ever. Now we focus on the Oculus Trifold, which actually has two versions. For the sake of ease, we will be using the updated version by Geoff Osterberg.

This is a rather unique beast among the crowd. Reading the play test, I can sum this up as being like a mix between Winter and the Nine Questions system. Basically, you are asked questions based on scenarios rolled via a dice. I like the way Oculus writes itself out. I actually feel like this would make a tabletop version of the LSD Dream Emulator. How funny that yesterday I put down one emulator and today I pick up another.

By what I mean with that comparison is that the Oculus’ story is basically “you, with your polyhedral talisman, can see alternate universes and it’s up to you to write your experiences with the talisman down” and it has a nice bit of world building to it with the concept of Familiars (basically the focal point for all your dreams) and writing up how multiplayer would work (shared viewings). It is very interesting and perhaps I’ll be willing to give it a try on its own.

However, I’m going to see how well it works with playing in cooperation with other games, to see if can work or if it is supposed to be played on its own. Although, I think we might need to use some sort of focal point to guide the focuses and lenses. So let’s begin. We have the same scenario of a man in a plane with a witness and someone who I am hoping is not a shady man.

The game has two sets of twenty words, each labelled Focus and Lens. Focus is meant to be used first, and then Lens is used afterwards if Focus isn’t enough. Though let’s use the Focus/Lens to see through the Oculus Window and see the man sitting with Jack Jackson. Continue reading

Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week: Mythic GM Emulator

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Solo RPG Battle Royale. Last time we left off, we successfully apprehended the man who would let loose the snakes on a plane and conquered the Epic D6 system. Now onto the Mythic GM Emulator by Word Mill Games, the system I am very familiar with.

For those who don’t know, Mythic uses D10 and D100s to get answers and plot twists. Yes/No questions are answered based on a complex chart of numbers, odds, and chaos factors, and complex questions are answered with two lists of 100 words to jog your noodle. Random Events happen either when you roll doubles equal to or below the Chaos Factor or if you roll an even number in a Scene Roll, so long as it’s equal to or below Chaos Factor.

So now, let’s begin Mythic at Chaos Factor 5. The scenario’s the same as before: we have a guy sitting in a plane with someone he has to protect and a third person that is to be determined by the system. 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