Solo RPGs on Your Table - June 2017
Oliver Scholes
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Stafford Springs
Connecticut
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Welcome to
Solo RPGs on Your Table - June 2017


Time marches on - unbelievably, we are into the sixth month of the year! I know that I haven't got much solo roleplaying in this year, but it's been great to see this list continue, with so many people sharing their experiences!

There used to be a big thing about rules up here at the top, but it's kind of fallen by the wayside, which is probably a good thing! The only rules that really matter are to have fun (which is easy, you're roleplaying!,) and to be kind (which frankly, we should all be doing anyway!). Beyond that, if you're roleplaying solo, feel free to add an item below and tell everyone about how it's going!

There are quite a few items that aren't strictly RPGs (particularly RPG-style boardgames) that might end up here, but if you think it belongs here then it absolutely does. Go ahead and post it!

TIPS donated to the list will be distributed for contributions. Typically, I'll divide it up evenly by the end of the month, and balance it out (if necessary) with a bit from my own supply.

You can find all of the past months here, in case you're new to solo roleplaying and want to get some ideas.

More resources for solo roleplayers (new and old) are available in the Solo Roleplaying guild - feel free to join up there and talk to your fellow games!

If you're interested in hosting a future month (I think possibly July is already spoken for?), please drop a comment at the bottom of the Geeklist. Anyone can host, no experience necessary!
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1. RPG Item: Cepheus Engine System Reference Document [Average Rating:9.38 Unranked]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
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I finally finished creating my final character for my upcoming Cepheus/Traveller adventures.

Gwen Amina started a promising career as a Scout at the age of 18, but was quietly let go when her addiction to painkillers was discovered. She moved on to work as a Belter for one of the sketchier companies, where her bosses "encouraged" her to ship large quantities of drugs to the colonies. On one of the planets her hidden cargo was discovered and she was briefly imprisoned until her bosses paid for her release. Unwilling to continue smuggling for the profits of others, Gwen quit Belting and went in search of a new future...

All that is left now is to determine the relationships between the four characters and decide which style of solo campaign I wish to pursue!
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2. RPG Item: Player's Handbook (D&D 5e) [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:5]
Luke
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I recently joined up with my friend's campaign and it got me interested in building broken level 10 characters.

5e does a pretty good job of not breaking. Simple fix was just not letting anything stack.

Still, I ended up bringing a Dragonborn Vengeance Paladin Battlemaster of Bahamut that dual wield's flails and smites just about everything. Because everything has it coming.

Bahamut is a lawful good god, and my dude is lawful neutral. They have a complicated relationship. That's why he's Paladin 3/Fighter 7.

One of my favorite parts of D&D is building the characters, so now I have dreams of a Fighter/Warlock and a Paladin/Sorcerer.

I don't know who they are yet, or what they're about.

I also don't have the 5e MM or DMG. Which is only slightly holding me back because I think I could just port in monsters from 1st edition.

Every time I think about it, I just see a mini on a white grid. Which is not a super interesting starting point.

I'm considering setting it up on Roll 20. With that and Mythic and Location Crafter and the rpgsolo.net tools, I can probably D&D in bed from the laptop.

Not bad.

Although I do miss my table, consumed with Horizon as I have been, so it might be fun to roll some physical dice again.

Seems like a lot of the play of solo rpgs is the prep to play solo rpgs. Which is not a complaint, simply an observation.
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3. RPG Item: SOLO: Solo RPG Campaigns for the Cepheus Engine [Average Rating:9.12 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Lincoln City
OR
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I am an absolute newbie to RPGs. Picked up the Solo Campaigns and Cepheus Engine System Reference Document along with The Universal World Profile to get started.
SciFi is more my thing than fantasy. So far, my first fully-fleshed out character is:

Madison Key-Wicke
11-7-8-10-39 Homeworld: Ruilara High Population / High Law
Human Female Age: 44
Personnel Goals: “Wealth and power are two sides of the same coin. I intend to win: heads-or-tails”

Skills:
•Melee Combat 3 – Highly skilled in the use of Slashing weapons: swords, axes in personal combat. Trained and proficient with martial arts, brawling, and wrestling.
o Subset Competence: Gun Combat – Energy Pistol
• Carousing 2 – Interpersonal relationships and socializing. Skilled in small talk and making others feel at ease. Can artfully direct social interations: from an impromptu party, to an State dinner, from a Presidential inauguration to bar-hopping and pub crawls.
o Subset Competence: Broker, Advocate, Bribery, Gambling, Liaison, Streetwise
• Comms 2 – Use, repair, and maintenance of Comm and Sensory devices. Can hack and interpret overt and covert data and transmissions. Can boost, jam, locate, assess and analyze signals.
• Gunnery 2 – Skilled in activation and use of ship’s screens: both nuclear dampers and meson shields.
•Jack-of-All-Trades 2 – Reduces unskilled penalties
o Subset Skills (Level1) : Engineering, Zero-G,
o Subset Competence: Navigation, Piloting, Space Sciences

1) Qualified for the Merchant Service at 18. Surrounded by the sons and daughters of wealthy merchant families with better social, economic, and political connections, she just scraped by to become a Steward-1 after basic training and a rather mediocre first term.
2) Consistently held back from advancement by her lack of formal education she was determined to succeed but became increasingly resentful and cynical. Her engaging personality, quick wit, and ability to exert her will in every social setting however, served her well. Inside, she seethed through 16 years as Fourth Officer while younger, less talented but better connected members of the service seemed to rise effortlessly.
3) Commodore Huygen singled her out as the essential key to success in a particularly lucrative trading mission after it became known that her back-channel communications and liaison work not only allowed the deal to close but avoided an interplanetary disaster that could have exploded into armed conflict. She expected this recognition to result in faster advancement in the service.
4) Instead, better-connected rivals falsified evidence that resulted in criminal and civil charges including: currency manipulation, insider-trading, black-market profiteering, and corporate espionage. A lengthy trial resulted in a hung jury when assistance from Commodore Huygen failed to appear. Prosecutors chose not to re-try the case but her career in the Merchant Service was over.

I know. I know. Way too much detail but hey, it's my first time and man, this is fun.
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4. RPG Item: Our Last Best Hope [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:3845]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
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Played a solo session of this RPG tonight using the Horror-themed version of The GameMaster's Apprentice.



This is a storytelling, dice-pool, one-shot RPG that recreates the "small team of heroes facing down an apocalyptic disaster" genre. Think Armageddon, The Core, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, The Walking Dead, Godzilla, The Happening, etc.



I built 3 characters, played one as myself and used the GMA deck to drive the other 2 characters. In the game you have a secret and a fear that you write down and pass to another player, who can trigger it later for story points. I wrote down mine, used the GMA to determine the ones from the other character that I was given at the beginning, and left the ones the NPCs passed to each other unknown and used the GMA through the game to determine when they would be played and what they were.

You also take a death card which is hidden from the other players. This game kills of a lot of characters on the way to the final showdown, your death card allows you to choose the moment of your death so you can increase the other players chances in the final showdown. Characters who die still get to do scenes, but they are flashbacks to earlier in the story.

I left the NPC's death card's undetermined until it was possible for them to play them. Left a lot of fun mystery for me.

The game has several mission sets, I chose Zombie Apocalypse because that's just who I am.

The world faced an outbreak of violent behaviour from formerly normal people. Turned out it was the result of a plant in the Texas desert that grew once every 10,000 years and emitted spores that travelled thousands of miles and turned people into mindless predators. As the outbreak continued, the "zombies" began to use tools and weapons, regaining some of their intelligence but losing none of their viciousness. If the plant wasn't destroyed soon, humanity would be destroyed.



My group were a bunch of white-collar criminals who had escaped from prison after the outbreak had wiped out most of North America and had begun spreading along the Jet Stream towards Europe. The survivors had a beat down car, some walkie talkies and a map that showed the location of the deadly plant.



I played Miranda, an ex-soldier with a stolen gun who had put her violent temper behind her and was intent on leading the party to their destination. She was accompanied by Rachel, an engineer with a toolbox and no hope left who was determined to keep moving no matter what, and Clarence, a Doctor with a superiority complex who had left his morals far behind. He was intent on keeping the group alive for his own selfish reasons.

Their plan was to head to the desert by the most direct route possible and destroy the deadly plant. They heard rumours that the bridge necessary to take that route all the way was down, but decided to try anyway, as the alternate would take them through an unimaginably large horde of zombies.

In Act I the party faced attacks by other desperate survivors...



a brutal car accident...



and had to sneak past a massive horde of zombies that had gone into some kind of stasis.



Rachel's secret wish to give up and become one of the mindless horde was revealed. It also turned out that Clarence had not "drugged" the guards when they made their escape, he had poisoned them. Clarence's fear of being revealed as a fraud almost cost him his life. Miranda's fear of lacking the strength to complete the mission turned out to be unfounded.

At the end of Act I, they reached the bridge which was destroyed. They continued on foot, and without their walkie talkies as the batteries had died.

In Act II, after revealing that she had killed her husband in a fit of rage, Miranda tried to make up for it by giving her life to get Clarence and Rachel through the edge of a raging forest fire...



Clarence gave his life to hold off a truly massive horde of zombies so Rachel could complete the mission...



Rachel found an abandoned car, but failed to get it started before the zombie horde caught up with her and tore her to pieces.



Needless to say, without their help humanity was doomed.

Great game, easy to play solo, well-designed to encourage the development of a vivid story, and works really well to draw out the underlying themes of sacrifice and heroics that are essential to this genre.

Highly recommended.
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5. RPG Item: SOLO: Solo RPG Campaigns for the Cepheus Engine [Average Rating:9.12 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Lincoln City
OR
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Moving ahead with my first attempt at SOLO RPG using the guidelines:

Trying to scale my efforts to suit my amateur status I carved out a small segment of the sub-sector Hex Map I’ve named, “Adam’s Rib.” For each hex in the segment I roll on D6: 1,2,3 = no or 4,5,6 = yes to designate whether or not that hex will contain a star system. I get 9 star systems in a 17-hex map.

For each star system I roll for the initial characteristics of the homeworld beginning with Size. My D6 rolls range from 2 = 3200 km to 6 = 9600 km. Planet size and density leads to Atmosphere so using the formula from the UWP [ (2D6-7 + size) = Atmosphere ] for the homeworld in the star system in Hex 0103, I roll a 4, subtract 7, and add the size 4 to get a Level 1 Atmosphere. Described in the UWP chart as: Trace, Requires Vacuum Suit. A second example from Hex 0106 yields a roll of 9, subtract 7, add size 4 and get a Level 6 or Standard atmosphere. These two levels make up my extremes. This round produces 3 homeworlds with only traces of atmospheric gases requiring vac suits; 4 worlds with very thin atmospheres requiring respiration equipment; 2 with standard breathable air; and 1 with a standard atmospheric pressure but one tainted by toxic chemicals.

Size and atmosphere are used as DRMs during the establishment of each homeworld’s hydrographics. Dice rolls and a chart give me 3 Desert, 2 Dry, 4 Wet, and 1 Water World.

Size, atmosphere, hydrographics are then DRM’s used to generate population figures for each homeworld. My dice chucking produces everything from 0 on a small desert planet with a trace atmosphere in Hex 0103 to 1.2 million souls jamming the riverbanks and shores of the terminal basins of the dry world in Hex 0302.

I could stop at this point and move onto rolling for type of Star Port and Law Level which contribute significantly to the development of SOLO Campaign storylines but I am feeling my SOLO RPG oats now and decide to create my own little detour into producing some geographic detail for each world. The explanatory text in the UWP offers examples of various planet types ranging from the real to the sci fi imaginary. Picking what I like from each planet type I create four potential landscape descriptors for desert and dry worlds and three for wet and water worlds. Using these as column headings I make quick D6 no-yes rolls for each planet putting an X under the geologic descriptor for each ‘no’ or an O for each ‘yes.’

This lets me create venues like Hex 0103: small Desert planet characterized by pebble strewn bedrock plains alternating with a few fields of windblown dunes. Contrast this with Hex 0302: a Dry planet with small oceans, polar dunes and sandy plains dotted with large boulders and Hex 0304 a Wet world with multiple climate zones, extensive equatorial jungles and island chains in its oceans.

I really like the way the SOLO system and UWP can combine to add layer upon layer of detail to these homeworlds. This will allow for a much richer series of contexts that my poor weak imagination could produce. I am having a blast and look forward to a lot more fun when I set my 4 travelers free to seek mischief and mayhem in their shiny new imaginary sandbox.
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6. RPG Item: Book 22: Robot Commando [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5365]
Eric Dodd
New Zealand
Martinborough
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Another Steve Jackson (US) gamebook for the Fighting fantasy series. This one really appeals to the inner 12 year old. Pilot robots that change into vehicles! Fight dinosaurs! Fend off an entire enemy army! There are three ways to win and some subtle elements, but this is generally easy to track and quite easy to win. The lack of friendly NPCs make it seem a little dull and unexciting, but it is well designed.
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7. RPG Item: SOLO: Solo RPG Campaigns for the Cepheus Engine [Average Rating:9.12 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Lincoln City
OR
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After spending far too much time (and having way too much fun) prepping for my first SOLO campaign:

Four travelers, four unique backgrounds, twelve critical life events, coming from four different directions have all decided to answer an ambiguous (but potentially lucrative) call for adventurers. The starport on NyX, home to Scout Station MacKenzie, finds them all boarding the same large unarmed free trader: OB101.

Unknown to one another before their treks across this small, unimportant backwater of the Adam’s Rib subsector, the two women have become acquainted on the surface while waiting to board. Two men boarding the same vessel have been travelling on at least parallel paths for the last three jumps. While not friends, they have engaged in semi-regular conversations if for no other reason than for each to keep a wary eye on the other. The individuals all carry light arms undercover. Two longer projectile weapons are stowed in gear bags.

This final leg of their journey begins uneventfully until they are within spitting distance of the jump point. The captain of the OB101 announces to passengers and crew that they have been intercepted by an armed Pirate Scout Craft, Citadel, currently in the hands of The Forsaken. They may choose to be boarded in 15 minutes or obliterated by a full salvo of missiles.

This is the SOLO system’s In Media Res manner of getting a scenario underway. The player is immediately required to begin making decisions. I begin with a “Reaction Rolls” because the current situation involves a significant degree of stress. Because pirates are involved in the life events of one of my PC’s I assign the results to Joa Coffey who has a terrible reaction of anger – the kind of anger that could get everyone on board killed. She tells Madison Keye-Wicke that she would rather die than submit to anything at the hands of the band responsible for the death of her spouse.

The SOLO system relies on Plans, Resolutions, and Consequences. The story can be enhance with random results, skills checks, nonPC encounters, ship encounters, local law enforcement and the like.
I develop plans for each of my PC’s:

Coffey plans a daring Extra Vehicular Assault on the pirate craft. She will attempt to enter the engineering section Citadel and secretly take over scout ship’s controls. This plan is judge to be very Shaky and highly dangerous. Successful resolution requires +10 on a 2D6 but I assign a +1 DRM to account for JC’s legendary Zero-G abilities honed to a fine edge during 5 terms as a asteroid belter.

Madison Keye-Wicke intends to engage the boarders in a negotiation leaning heavily on braggadocio, and distraction with an eye toward bribery. A solid +8 plan that does not involve significant risk of physical injury. +1 DRM for MKW’s Carousing skills.

Char Gallo and Robert York independently plan to lay low, play it cool and hope the pirates will find themselves content with whatever they choose to plunder from the trading ship. Safe enough for a normal +8.

A Colorful Local Encounter roll tells me the boarding party, while competently led, is comprised of some very shaky, unstable characters. They enter, secure the weapons locker next to the airlock, and move everyone in the OB101 into one of its cargo bays. Not sensing any danger from the passengers or crew and feeling cocky they drop their guard a bit and start assessing the ship’s manifest.

With plans complete and the scene set it’s time for Resolutions and Outcomes. All hell breaks loose when one of the pirates is startled and fires on the 2nd officer who foolishly was trying to sneak away to hide. MKW having accurately determined the competence level of the pirates draws her laser pistol and kills the pirate leader. A very wild firefight ensues. RY and CG fire auto pistols, killing one and putting the other two to flight. One pirate drops his weapon. Meanwhile JC has successfully entered the Citadel and gained control of the ship without alerting those on the bridge.

Resolution rolls tell the player whether plans are successful or not and to what degree. The player gets to imagine how things what happened and why. Each resolution, success or failure, also requires a Consequences roll. 2D6 for each plan shows that JC is not known to be on board Citadel. MKW is very impressed by CG’s calm under pressure, and that the PC’s recover a pirate weapon and more importantly one of their communicators. The officers and crew of the OB101 are ungratefully neutral and have alerted local law to what has taken place.

So, now SOLO requires at the end of every scene, the player is faced with options:
1.Our adventurers can scuttle the pirate craft and continue on their (more or less independent) journey to Kaitos and that strange help-wanted ad.
2. They can cooperate and try to gain possession of the scout ship for their collective benefit.
3. And what about those pesky pirates?
4. Will involvement by local law enforcement lead to good things, or bad?

Decisions to be made, plans to be formulated, resolutions discovered, encounters and consequences to be faced. I have to this point used the rules and charts from SOLO as a sort of Cepheus-lite venture into RPG solitaire and have found it a ton of fun. My intention going forward is to gradually fold in more and more of Cepheus’ realism as the campaign continues and I gain experience.
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8. RPG: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:7]
Carl White
United Kingdom
London
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Back in 2013 I started a solo RPG experiment. I’d heard of a thing called the Mythic Emulator (note this will only open in IE these days, being Flash-based), and wanted to see where it could take me.

I decided to start with just a couple of characters and a micro RPG system (USR, the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying System). I had no idea where it would go, or even if it would work. But what the hell, I figured. Let’s pop it on my (very occasional) blog site and see what happens.

Four years later it’s still going strong. As time has passed I’ve moved from USR to Microlite to customised Microlite to 5e D&D. I’m up to around sixty session posts now (there was a long lull in the middle there). The story has continued to excite and surprise me as it has evolved. This June alone I’ve posted twelve times so far; I just can’t wait to see where the campaign goes next.

And it’s not like I’m starved of RPG action. I have a fantastic, mature (OK, that's only occasionally true) and funny RPG group that meets weekly at my place. I usually DM a homebrew 5e game, but duties get shared, and we play a wide range of different systems. I play plenty of boardgames with other friends, my family and solo. I am, by any definition, a fulfilled gamer. No, the lure of my solo campaign has nothing at all to do with a lack of gaming stimulation. It’s just that it’s fun. It’s compelling. It just works.

I’ve been blogging the adventures of Lisandra, Rufus and the companions they've met on their travels, since that first post back in 2013. I hope to continue for a long time to come.

But there has been something missing, if I’m honest. The solo game is so much fun I’m increasingly compelled to share it. To have others experience the unexpected twists and turns, and perhaps even provide feedback and commentary that can help steer it, or improve the mechanics that sit beneath the story. I want other people to share my enthusiasm with. My site gets a handful of of daily hits. A few people out there are reading what I’m writing, but whoever they are, they are not talking to me.

Four years after starting this mad little experiment I’ve discovered BGG’s Solo Roleplaying Guild. And in so doing I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in plowing this furrow. There are countless (well, 456 at last count) others out there who get it. Who share that same enthusiasm. Who are my kind of mad.

So here’s my contribution to SROYT, the Devil’s Riddle.

If you fancy going way back to the beginning and reading it from the start please be my guest. You can see the whole thing here (lots of scrolling down required!), or just go to the first post and work your way forward.

If you would like to see posts about how the game works mechanically you can find an early one here, an “anatomy of a post” here, an annotated post here and a more recent post about the tools I’m now using here.

If you want a fairly recent jumping on point to get a flavour you can find one here.

Throughout I use the comments to provide commentary on the narrative, providing insight into what's going on in my head and behind the scenes.

I guess I’m just hugely enthused by how enjoyable I find the experience of writing this solo RPG to be, and would love to share that with others. I hope, if you have the time to read it, you’ll find it of interest too.
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9. RPG Item: Solo 04: Naked Doom [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:3833]
Ron A
United States
Coronado
California
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I started out playing the Pax South adventures on the MetaArcade app. Died twice without getting to do anything other than miss a couple saving rolls. Very off-putting.

Switched to Naked Doom. Rolled up a character and made it an elf. Keeping this spoiler free, I found a couple good rooms, made some smart decisions, and got out--ALIVE!

Oh wow, I now have a level 3 character! To tell the truth, I am afraid to use him anyplace else for fear of his life. Solo dungeons just have way too many 'miss a SR and you're dead' moments. I may save this guy for the chance at a FTF encounter.
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10. RPG: Our Last Best Hope [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
 
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I have been playing a game of Our Last Best Hope, using the Space Mission set. I've creatively named the game "The Killer Asteroid".

I had started by using a combination of Mythic GME and an n-gram based text parser that spits out sentence fragments based on the keyword I give it (usually the last word of a sentence, though it can be any word I choose).

I am almost done. The last spotlight scene is going to be next, followed by the last Threat. After that, if we survive, it'll be time to face the Crisis.

My writing tends to omit a lot of visual details that I vaguely see in my head. It's mostly back and forth dialogue, heavily inspired by whatever the parser throws at me; oftentimes, dialogue is really partly written by the parser. I like it, because I don't have to strain to interpret things, and it throws me many surprises.

Act 1

Setup and Scene 1: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/02/actual-play-our-las...
Scenes 2 & 3: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/05/actual-play-our-las...
Scene 4a: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/actual-play-our-las...
Scene 4b: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/act-1-scene-4-takin...

End of Act 1: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-last-best-hope-...

Act 2:

Scene 1a: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-last-best-hope-...
Scene 1b: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-last-best-hope-...
Scene 2a: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-last-best-hope-...
Scene 2b: http://solorpggamer.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-last-best-hope-...
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Paolo Robino
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The PCs were investigating an illicit drug deal on Nar Shaddaa, that could possibly be something more sinister, when they are targeted by a Gank bounty hunter that tries to reclaim the droid PC to the "legitimate" owner, Troonol the Hutt. A hail of triumph results on the PCs dice keeps the droid free, but the mystery of the drug is still unresolved, and now the PCs must deal with a captive – but still dangerous – Gank. Will they make to their secret base?

I can't honestly say where this adventure will go – and this is good. laugh
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12. RPG: The Savage World of Solomon Kane [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:78]
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I played Savage Worlds for the first time today. I chose to go with Solomon Kane because I am a pretty big fan of Robert E. Howard.

I played a scenario that I had written myself and used Mythic sparingly. I was just testing the system and I knew all of the plot points I wanted to hit already. I put it in a session report (my first!) and it is now pending, so keep an eye out if you are interested in that.

Overall it was a lot of fun. Combat was a bit slow, with attack after attack missing or not penetrating toughness on both sides until someone gets lucky enough to ace and land a devastating hit. On the plus side, my character wasn't as fragile as I had feared he would be--especially just being a lone character without a party.

This was the first time I had played a real RPG game in about 15 years (besides just messing around with Mythic to see if and how it actually works) and I had a blast! I hope to continue the adventures of my puritan witchfinder soon!

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