Solo RPGs on Your Table - March 2016
Andreas
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Welcome to
Solo RPGs on Your Table - March 2016



I'm glad to have the opportunity to run this edition of the Solo RPGs on Your Table and I can't wait to see all your adventures!
It's always exciting to see what everybody is playing and I hope this list is going to grow with every month ahead.


TIPS donated to this list will be distributed for contributions.


TL;DR Rules
1. Play an RPG solo.
2. Post an entry/entries on this geeklist and tell us about it.
3. Be nice, but most of all have fun.

Optional: Likely you'll love the games you post, so a thumbsup or thumbsdown micro-review can balance this - RPGs are expensive, even in electronic form.

Long Rules
1. Play an RPG solo.
It might be a paragraph chooser or some other bespoke solo roleplaying experience, or you may be emulating the GM somehow. Alternatively you might be emulating characters or even players and you are the GM. It could be physically on paper, or on a tablet, phone or a computer. If you consider it to be a solo RPG then it really is. If your mind is constructing a narrative and or characters around your play experience, however abstract, then it counts. There is no wrong way to play and if you think it belongs here, it totally does. There is a time and place for discussing what might or might not constitute an RPG, but this is not it. I will be very grateful to anyone who feels they'd like to contribute to this list and I'm not about excluding anyone.

2. Post an entry/entries on this geeklist and tell us about it.
The RPGG database is a thing of beauty, especially given the relative complexity of RPGs. My best hope for this geeklist (and its future siblings) is that it both builds community and improves the database.

There are a number of ways we can help. Firstly, each user should add an item to this list for each RPG item they are using in their gaming. Multiple entries of the same RPG gauges popularity. Multiple entries from a user is not boastful, it gives a little bit of data-love to each of the RPG items you use; the database automatically links the geeklist item on the item's page, possibly alerting authors, publishers and fans of the item. A lot of solo RPG games will need multiple entries anyway and this is desirable too for exactly the same reasons. For instance, I might use Mythic as a GM emulator to run a RISUS game and I would add both to the geeklist. I'm thinking you probably want to be adding RPGs to this list rather than RPG items, but it's ultimately your call.

What you say about each item is entirely up to you. Feel free to summarise what happened, or even just what you enjoyed/what worked and what didn't, link out to a "script" in a blog (BGG or external) or post the script in-situ (for now at least and the list becoming unwieldy would be a lovely problem to have).

Lastly, if the RPG you are using is not on the database, please consider adding it. As I've already said, the database is complex and adding things can require a bit more effort than on BGG. Modern RPGs can use tens of artists and/or a large production team. Before you can do anything, these people need to be added first. Then you need to create the RPG as a system before you can add an actual item like a rule book. It took me the best part of a morning to add the recently released Cypher System Core Rulebook. However, mention that you added something in your description and you'll get a gg tip.

If you really can't face/don't have the time to go adding the item yourself, mention it at the bottom of the post and I (or some else) will endeavour to add it for you.

3. Be kind, but most of all have fun.
Every person fights a hard battle you know nothing about and life is short. For some reason, "You're wrong. In fact [body of opinion]" causes way more upset than "I disagree. I think [body of opinion]". Although they're functionally interchangeable, the latter owns the subjectivity of the opinion and does not invite an endless exchange of defence and counter attack. If a person opines that Fate is better than Savage Worlds (whatever that might mean), feel free to add a counter opinion to the contrary for the benefit of the audience; just don't expect to change the OP's mind. As for Ad Hominem attacks, I always feel a bit embarrassed on behalf of the attacker. Name calling? Really? I know it's never pleasant being the target, but perhaps this frame will help let it slide past; there is a very real sense in which the less someone knows you, the less weight of veracity their opinion has. If my close family think I'm a fool it might be time for a long, hard look in the mirror. On the other hand, if someone I don't know thinks I'm an idiot, why should I care about their opinion? If you see something that annoys you, click that [X] and stay on the moral high ground. Apologies if that was a bit preachy.

SROYT Resources
Solo Roleplaying Guild
SROYT Monthly Geeklist Subscription Thread - The Meta-List
SROYT Made me buy this!

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April 2016 - Simon Hunt
May 2016 - TBD
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1. RPG Item: Heart of Ice [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:894]
Dr. Cark
United States
Arizona
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I started a game (using the Kindle version) of this while at lunch today with the scientist as my character choice. Fun so far.

thumbsup no dice!

No dice required may make this a regular activity over morning coffee. Time to go searching for more diceless gamebooks...

Added on 3/1: As I continued today I learned that I was very unprepared to accomplish the mission. My character died. Time to start over from the beginning and look around a bit more.
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2. RPG Item: Once Upon A Time In Arabia [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
It's not Christmas people, it's November!
United Kingdom
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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After a disappointing choice of adventure book last month its back to a tried and tested author this month.

Can I save the kingdom?

Probably not but it will be fun finding out.

Update 29 March:

Well it took me nearly all month but I finally got to try this out.

3 attempts this afternoon.

The first ended with me dying in the desert after defeating a djinn Lord.

The second ended with me executed by the Caliph's guards on my return to Baghdad.

The third ended with me as the Grand Vizier of Baghdad. A win.

This is the third Critical If book I've read and just like the first two it was tons of fun.

I rate this as highly as Down Among the Dead Men. Lots of variety. Sea adventures, city adventures, wilderness adventures. Monsters, wizards and treachery galore.

I love Dave Morris' writing style, the variety of choices and simplicity of the system.

If you've tried his others then this is definitely worth a look.
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3. RPG Item: Book 01: Flight from the Dark [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:258]
Andreas
Germany
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Just started this one here. Finally... I printed myself tons of character sheets and an extra map, just in case. whistle

Can't say much at this point, only read a few pages, but I really like it so far. First time experience with the Lone Wolf series but I can get the feeling why it is so popular.

Edit:
I am impressed. This one rocks! I really enjoy the diceless mechanic here. Those tables work great.

Anyway... I almost made it. Almost. I died on the way out of the onslaught after I was able to light the signal.
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4. RPG Item: You Are Maggie Thatcher: A Dole-Playing Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Oliver S
United States
Stafford Springs
Connecticut
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This is a gamebook, though it's notable more as incredibly vicious political satire than as a gaming experience. You play as Maggie Thatcher, trying to maintain control over the UK through a series of crises (many of which are brought about by your own policy decisions). As you play, you collect "vom" and "swing," based on your choices, and your totals in each category are used at key moments to determine whether or not you'll be able to hold on to power. In my playthrough, I was "successful," though I think the suffering inflicted on the nation by further Thatcher government would probably make this really "loss" for everyone. The satire here is not subtle, but it's really of the highest order, and Thatcher and her political allies are thoroughly skewered. The art is the best kind of evocative political art, and this is actually an effective use of the gamebook format to make a political point. I'm sure that some would find the depiction of Thatcher, et al. distasteful, so I'll stop short of an unqualified recommendation, but if you're looking for an example of how even basic game elements can be utilized for political critique, look no further.
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5. RPG Item: A Real Game [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Clark Timmins
United States
West Jordan
Utah
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So stop your cheap comment, 'cause we know what we feel...
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So it starts out normal, like a "choose your own adventure" set in a science fiction genre. And you even earn an experience point that you think is going to be awesome. And then before you know it you're all introspective and thinking about the nature of games, life, the universe, and everything.

What a long, strange trip it was.
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6. RPG Item: Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Albert Hernandez
United States
Greenville
SC
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I played the 1st scenario of this the other day. It's neat, but I wish the rolling and what you write had bigger impact on each other. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed doing it and sitting down to write for half an hour was a nice relaxing thing to do. I look forward to more of this.

I was thinking on an idea for a campaign game in which he results of each letter impact what kind of letters you need to write in the future. I recently listened to The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weird. I think a good campaign could be done playing Catherine of Aragon between the time she was betrothed to Prince Arthur until she marries Henry VIII. Depending on how the letters go could impact how successful the marriage is.
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7. RPG Item: Haiku Warrior [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Simon Hunt
United Kingdom
Manchester
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This is a recent acquisition from Kickstarter and actually I played a game early last month while I was feeling under the weather, but I thought I'd give it another shot before I came out with an opinion.

I spent a little time and cash pimping it out after finding the character sheets a bit unhelpful (the attributes on the character cards are listed in a different order, the fruit are not listed in order of efficacy and there's not nearly enough room to fit up 50 changes in HP, especially when I don't want to rub out).

So I got some HP counter d20s (one for the character and one for the monsters, after dispensing with "Heart Beads" as too fiddly) and tokens for Souls and Coins (I really wanted 5 Yen coins, but found them ludicrously difficult and/or expensive to get hold of in the UK, so I used some metal "pirate coins" from the lovely people at Bibelot Games). I'm not a big fan of tetrahedral d4s, so I got a thematic dodecahedral "triple d4". If it had really struck chord I might have got some mini "fruit" dice and I already made and "Onion Glaive" card (ummmmm... shouldn't that be "Onion Naginata"?), but I'm not sure I'm likely to play it enough to put in any more effort right now.

Here's the game set to go:

An here I am 2/3-ish of the way through. I'm doing pretty well having upgraded to a top-of-the-range Spirit Glaive (d8+1), acquired both a hat and (the all important Phoenix) boots and 7 souls. I changed my mind about which colour HP counter to use for the hero and monsters. I also trade the cubic d6 for a dodecahedral double d6 as I was using the box as a dice tray and the cube wasn't rolling properly. I loves me a dodecahedron.

Final endstate - victory with 11 souls.

Conclusions:
I really wanted to like this game, but maybe my expectations of how thematic it would be with all those Haiku were unrealistic and I've found it far too long (over an hour) and frustrating for what it is. I died 5 times and only exceeded the 10 souls victory total because of a lucky find of the Phoenix Boots (which allow two "free" half-HP resurrections - usually there's a one soul penalty, or two if you want to be resurrected with full HP). The look-up table for monster behaviour is a neat idea, but the flavour text for rolls of 1-3 are exactly one word and the attack roll, which would have easily fitted in the boxes on the card, streamlining the game. The other rolls often cost equipment and 1HP. Given how punishing the game is in terms of damage, losing equipment is often a relief. Also, I can't help feel that your character dying is inevitable because the monsters never give you enough money to heal all the damage they do, especially as you need to focus on getting a better weapon fairly early to have some chance of surviving the easy encounters. It also made what should've been an epic ending a bit of a damp squib as the Boss Dragon (the "Ancient One" card) quite easily killed me, but as I had 11 souls, and one more "charge" in the Pheonix boots I still "won" by resurrecting with no penalty (even if I hadn't had them, I still would've won as the solo victory threshhold is 10 souls) and there is no requirement to face the monster that defeats you again.

I think ultimately the necessity of multiple deaths on the path to victory is a real immersion breaker for me and (as proved back in August) I frankly find Dungeon Solitaire more thematic as I know I'm expected to do all the work. Here, there's enough chrome to define what is happening, but it just ends up feeling like a series of random encounters.
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8. RPG Item: Necklace of Skulls [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Oliver S
United States
Stafford Springs
Connecticut
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Took my first stab at this tonight - I thought I was going along fine...and then I ended up being sacrificed as part of some kind of ritual without so much a a by-your-leave! It sort of snuck up on me, and I had to go back and forth a few times to figure out exactly where I'd gone "wrong." Alas for the warrior...maybe I'll have more luck next time!
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9. RPG Item: Book 24: Creature of Havoc [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:854]
Eric Dodd
New Zealand
Martinborough
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I've just started this Steve Jackson penned entry in the Fighting Fantasy series. You start as an unreasoning creature with no language skills, and with no idea of your goals. Initially you even have to make choices by random die roll! But gradually hints of a former life poke through...

This one is tough, featuring Steve Jackson's patented death mazes and endless unbeatable combats. It also has secret passages found only by certain items, but only some of which are safe to take. You also get to eat Hobbits, surprisingly named that without fear of action from Tolkien Enterprises Ltd.

I'll need to do a full map to get out of this one, I think.
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10. RPG: Mythic Role Playing [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:113]
Hiroo Onoda
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I was inspired by
jay white
Canada
Bowen Island
British Columbia
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to pick up the Mythic solo rules and give a run at my stack of RPGs that aren't getting any joy.

I'm new to the site but heartened to find other solo and non-traditional rpg'ers.

First up with Mythic will likely be Pathfinder but I'm mulling my 1st ed AD&D or something more recent like Torchbearer.

Fun awaits.
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11. RPG Item: Twisted Journeys #10: The Goblin King [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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I really wanted to like this series - the idea of a graphic novel CYOA is a neat one - but I found the execution here lacking. I "won" the game in about 3 minutes with about the same number of choices made, and in such a way that I had no desire to go back and try a different path.

Aimed at a much younger audience than my 40+ years, but I'm not sure I would have got much more out of this as a preteen . . .
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12. RPG: Swords of the Skull-Takers [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Oliver S
United States
Stafford Springs
Connecticut
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Don't wait. Go download this. Don't even read this entry, just go download this right now. This is an incredibly cool thing, the more so for having been a submission to a 48 hour (Edit - the time period was longer than that - I was mixing it up in my head with another RPG that I've been reading) contest that doesn't seem to have received substantial revision. I'm working on a full session report and review, so I won't get into details too much here, but this is a really neat premise that I wish had got a proper expansion into a more developed ruleset, because there's an enormous amount of promise. It's similar, conceptually, to Quill, but even better in terms of the "game" elements, and it's well worth the time of a lot of people who use this list, I think.

I transcribed my journal and submitted it as a session report. Review also forthcoming.

The review came forth. Here it is!
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13. RPG: Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:11]
James Hron
United States
Crystal
Minnesota
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I have two solo RPGs I've played in March. The first I was able to play was a playtest of a solo rpg I'm designing, because I wanted a mix between Traveller and Star Smuggler.

The second one I picked up on Saturday, at my FLGS. Dungeon Crawl Classics. I had walked by it several times over the last year, and on a whim (a really big one, I came looking for a board game and left with this), I bought it.

I was not disappointed. Holy cow, this is an awesome book, and for only 40$! Even if I never played the system, it would be a great resource. But the system is spectacular, and at the very least a breath of fresh air. Three quick highlights:

1-Really cool funnel system, where death is (as it should be) a natural consequence of adventuring.
2-Even cooler magic system. I always hated rping magic users because it felt flat, but they add so much flavor without complexity.
3-Tons of random tables. It lends DCC to a certain type of game, but this makes it great for solo play.

I had a lot of fun. I started with 15 level 0 guys, and brought them through the adventure in the back of the book. By the end of the adventure, only 4 had survived. Those four characters became heroes, and I sent them to a level 1 adventure I purchased online. I ran the adventure at half-strength (it was suggested that 8 level 1 characters are used), and the heroes beat the big bad! But then they got greedy, and went after the loot, and two of them died in the first room of the crypt. The other two decided to head back to town, and wait until another group of adventurers arrive...

Yes, I will be playing this again. Hopefully soon.
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14. RPG Item: Conservation of Ninjutsu [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Oliver S
United States
Stafford Springs
Connecticut
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A 48-hour RPG by our very own Jacob Wood (aka Munkwunk) that tries to put a solo spin on the ninja genre - and also has you play as the evil emperor! I had to dig out a bunch of dice for this, and rolling them all was very satisfying. I was barely able to defeat the hero, but defeat him I did, and I can now get back to crushing the peasantry under my heel! I liked how this game played with the conventions of the ninja/kung fu genres to produce an interesting game experience.

Session report and review almost definitely forthcoming.

Here's the session report.

And here's the review.
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15. Board Game: Epic Solitaire Notebook Adventures [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:10575]
Paige Watson
United States
Snohomish
Washington
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Cross-posted from Solitaire Games on Your Tables - March 2016
I found Epic Solitaire Notebook Adventures last week and it has filled the last two evenings with solo "Create-As-You-Go" RPG enjoyment.

This all ended last night when my character was jumped by 5 Swarming Fire Monkeys. I was able to kill two before the other 3 crushed my skull in a combined attack that took me from 46HP to 0HP in a single attack.


There's a bit lacking in the rules, and randomness that comes with card draws, but I am able to forgo those issues for an evening of imagination.

A set of cards is used to create kingdoms, creatures, settlements and dungeons, along with that the same cards are used to resolve event, combat and looting/treasure creation.

I really enjoy this type of game and look forward to trying the rules for including magic.

Edit #1:
<summary>A great "Create-As-You_Go" game. I got killed by a clutch of Swarming Fire Monkeys</summary>
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16. RPG Item: Book 01: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:389]
Pete G
United Kingdom
Daventry
Northamptonshire
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Wow! I bought my youngest son a box set of FF books to help him read.
After he had finished a couple I thought you know what I'll give this one a go as I'd never played it before...

Wow!

Couldn't put it down...

Without spoiling things I've just been hit on the head, ended up in a room of shambling Zombies, silly decided to fight, survived...just (honestly no page flicking)... then a blinking Vampire!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Had to stop... couldn't take anymore... for the moment...

The icing on the cake my eldest used his pocket money to buy a copy too so now we are comparing our fates cool

These game books are awesome!
Will be asking for Trail of Champions for my birthday later in the year as that is pretty much the only one I remember having as a kid (didn't complete it).
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17. RPG Item: Down Among the Dead Men [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Andreas
Germany
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Great weather outside and I decided to give this one another try.

I played the Adventurer this time but I remembered too much and wanted to go a completely different way this time.
Well... fastest read ever I guess. I died on the big ocean. Nothing spectacular.

Last time I was hung for being a pirate. This time I died because we had nothing to drink or eat.

This book creates a really good atmosphere. I really like it.
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18. RPG Item: Book 01: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:389]
Andreas
Germany
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Let's see if have more luck with this one here...

Well... I created a character named Jola. I was happy with my die rolls but did I made it far? I don't know. What I know is that I was totally lost inside that dungeon only to be killed by a Minotaur! Groovy.

Easy and fast gameplay. I really like this! The idea with the random die rolls printed on each page to play the game without any dice at all is really cool! I also like the idea of the random monster creation. thumbsup

Second try... I was reading for quite a while until I finally met and managed to kill that Warlock. But guess what... I only found 1 of 3 keys needed to get the treaure. Anyway... great little gamebook! I really felt lost in that dungeon until I started to write down where I already was. The tons of short numbers are able to get you lost in there really fast.
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19. RPG Item: Book 02: The Citadel of Chaos [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:712]
Andreas
Germany
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Just started this one. Created a sorcerer named Waldemar aaaaand he is about to go after Balthus Dire. Keep you posted...

Well.....

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Second try. New character, only a few different spells now. And I won't use them as fast as I did last time. The sword is a good weapon too.

Ganjees. Ganjees... took my magic powers and killed me.

Third attempt. Compared to Book 01: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain I remember much more after each play. Is that good? 50/50. It makes the Warlock really feel like a Dungeon crawling gamebook which is really cool, but it makes me stay away from the Citadel for a while now because I don't really like that I know too much that lies behind a number.

Anyway... did I make it to the bad guy this time? No. I just can't find those items needed to get to him. Which is a good thing too. But sometimes I wish I just could go back instead of picking one of the choices, which I was able to do in the dungeon. At least most of the time.

Citadel, I will be back!
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20. RPG Item: Book 06: Deathtrap Dungeon [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:269]
Andreas
Germany
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Dungeon, you say? I'm starting this one in a few moments. I loved the dungeon feeling in Book 01: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and I hope for the same here. Let's get lost! And die of course...




Entering that dungeon 3 times! I died two times because of nasty traps and the third time I was turned into stone by some old giggling man. If I catch that freak next time, I cut him into pieces! arrrh

Anyway this is the best of the three Frighting Fantasy books I've played so far, and it's so good I would even say it's one of the best gamebooks I own. Really. I hear you! The dude plays it three times and names it one of the best he owns? Yes.

Why is that so? The background story itself sucks you right into the story. When you enter that dungeon you really feel like your doing it. It's a great read I must say. The story itself is nothing special but I like the writing style. And the artwork of course:





I will definitely give this one another try later. I felt like I was in that dungeon, I got lost (just a bit compared to the Warlock) and the traps and monsters are just what I want from a dungeon. Awesome!

This one here is really good!

Another step into the dungeon. I think I made it far. I teamed up with a Barbarian but died in another nasty trap room. zombie



A few plays and tons of notes and wounds later I managed to get out of the Deathtrap Dungeon. This book is so good I kinda regret my win. Awesome experience! I guess the next gamebook I will read can't keep up to this one.
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21. Board Game: Warrior Heroes: Legends [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Kurt
United States
The Great Silicon Valley
California
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This is a continuation of my campaign in a quest to recover an artifact, some kind of monkey mask.

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/198998/item/4263864#i...


At dawn Turk and Iain headed for the town of Pete's Creek which was only a day hike away. Nobody was out at this early morning hour, except one person, hanging out on the road to Pete's Creek. "Hey I heard you guys are on your way to Pete's Creek. I want to come along too."






"Why"

"I fantasize hitting people. I think that's what you guys are about to do."

"Okaaay. Join us. What's your name?"

"Kpock."


The three heroes arrived in Pete's Creek in the late afternoon. The owner of the artifact said to contact a shop owner for more information. By asking around they found out that the shop owner liked to carouse the local tavern so that's where they headed.

They had to cross the government area to reach the commercial area where the tavern was located. They met several people along the way. Turk met a long lost friend, named Werner. The group almost got arrested when the wife of a Baron called for the Watch. Maybe she didn’t like the way they looked.

Unfortunately once inside the tavern Turk, Iain and Kpock were unable to locate the shop owner.

They headed over to Werner's for the night where he served them fish cakes with crack corn and red cabbage for dinner.


In terms of game play my characters had to locate an NPC and question him to solve the first clue out of a total of six clues in order to complete the quest. In this game locating a person or object will never be a 100%. On the way through the government and commercial areas, my characters ran into several NPCs. There is a table that determines how they will react to being met. Most just "exchanged pleasantries" and moved on. The Baron's wife became belligerent and called the Watch. She had a positive modifier because she was of Nobility and my characters were commoners. The other NPC was "swept off his feet" which resulted in him being a "long lost friend." This long lost friend will come to my aid in future encounters as well as let my characters stay at his house for the night. I'll need to roll up another location to explore and solve that first clue.


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