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Subject: Using Rory's Story Cubes to drive an RPG rss

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Albert Hernandez
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I already posted this in a geeklist for Solitaire Games on Your Table, but thought it might be easier to find here if someone with Rory's Story Cubes is interested in the idea.

I used the cubes to help me play Cosmic Patrol, an RPG solo using just 1 character, though it could probably be done with more characters.

The system I used to drive the adventure was simple. Each time I felt I needed some outside push (the GM), I pulled 9 random Rory's Story Cubes from a bag (not needed if you just have 9 cubes) and rolled them. I then picked three and used that to determine what might happen next.

For a more complex system offering a more structured narrative, check out The 9Qs.

First up, some comments:
1. I am having trouble finding what perspective and style to use. I jump back and forth between 1st person and 3rd person.
2. When playing an RPG solo, I believe it is important to write your adventure down as you have it. You'll slow down and capture more details than if you just play it out in your mind. I wrote this out long-hand in a notebook, but using a computer would be faster.
3. I have done some minor editing of my original writing to sound better.
4. My character is a Martian whose preferred weapon is a battle axe and the game is set in a pulp era sci-fi universe.
5. The adventure ended prematurely. I could have altered that, but decided to keep it as is.

Crash Landing
(Mission introduction. This is a story hook I found in the Cosmic Patrol source book)

[MAYDAY BEACON ACTIVATED]

[EMERGENCY! – MICRO METEOROID STRIKE!]

At 0330 hours ship time, the Rocketship Pellinore’s hull was punctured by a micro meteoroid. The ship has suffered major damage. Pressue has been restored to all sections.

Both navigation and power have suffered critical damage, rendering it impossible to change course. The Pellinore was on a landing approach at the time of impact and remains on that vector.

Impact with Unexplored Planetary Body Gamma Gamma 193114 in T-minus 2 minutes. Prepare for a crash landing!

(My adventure. Based on what I've transcribed above I decide to start with my hero parachuting out of the rocket.)

The planet turned out to be a rocky jungle. The jungles appeared to be full of gullies, streams and hills that will made travel slow.

I jettisoned shortly before we crash landed. I believe I saw two other parachutes disappear beyond the tree line, but I am not sure. I would need to find the other crew and secure our safety, then locate the crashed ship. If it is inoperable, we could use it for safety while we wait for someone – hopefully a friend. Well, at least if the rescue beacon is working.

If my bearings are right, and they always are, then the parachutes are roughly north @ 8°. Unfortunately the ship is due south @ 170°.

(At this point I rolled dice to see what fate had in store for me. I basically only knew what I had written down so far.)

(Out of reach - supplies - cave)
(Something is out of my reach and it is probably some supplies. They crash landed in a cave? It sounds a bit odd, but let's see where I go with that.)


After quickly assessing the situation, I started hiking in the direction of the crew. I expect a day’s hike to their vicinity. I’ve no idea yet, how I will find them in this jungle. Hopefully I find a good place to look out from. Otherwise, it’s like looking for water on Mars. It’s there, but it is damn hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

After only 20 minutes hiking I reached my first real obstacle. There was a deep crevasse – deep & wide in front of me. I had two choices.
1. Climb down and then up the other side. That looked easy enough but would probably take a couple of valuable hours.
2. Swing across on a vine. It looked risky but doable enough. The only problem with this idea was that I’d look like a character in a Burroughs novel and I DID NOT like that idea. The irony of it didn't escape me either.

It didn't take me long to decide as down below in the gully I spotted what was definitely cargo from the Pellinore. It looked like the crate had been opened. That was bad. That was seriously bad.

(No idea why it's bad though. Let's find out)

(sleeping - gift - steal)
(A sleeping gift? Maybe it could be a captive. I check the source book for NPCs and find an interesting one.)


Our mission had been a clandestine one. The Great Union had been attempting to form an alliance with the Annorans. This had been challenging as the Annorans had very little interest in the Great Union. Finally, we had come to a distasteful agreement with them. A mutual enemy of ours, Vena Rinkman, had taken to pirating and other vile crimes. She had recently captured a pack-tribe of Annorans with plans to sell them as slaves in the black markets. She was also wanted by us because she was a former Starship Captain and knew too confidential information which she had been using to her advantage. To make a long story short, we had captured her already and where on our way to Annora to complete the negotiations and finalize the treaty. We had Rinkman in stasis in that crate.

I began climbing down. The distance was not great, but it was a challenging climb, even for me. The last 30 feet down I was somewhat reckless when I noticed two things.
1. The crate had been opened from inside!
2. There was a cave nearby and something/someone had dragged itself into the cave – Rinkman, no doubt!

Either situation was bad. I dropped the last dozen feet and landed in a defensive crouch, my axe at the ready.

(Things are pretty odd right now, but the story is falling together nicely for me. I need some guidance. I don't want to just decide what the scene looks. It would be more exciting for me if a GM told me.)

(crash - snake - mystery)
(I love the crashed spaceship icon on the die. It's so appropriate. Snakes could be the Uth, these guys are an alien lizard-like race from Cosmic Patrol. Not sure what to do with the question mark. Maybe something suspicious is going on here.)


I stood still and tense long enough to realize there was no immediate movement. I took a meditative crouching posture. This is a Martian martial arts technique in which a person can focus on the surroundings and in a state of heightened awareness. When done properly, the person is not only defensive and “listening” to the environment, but also resting the mind and body.

I was able to discern a few things:
1. The crate was opened from without by, almost definitely, Uth – probably 2 or 3, but as many as 5.
2. They had carried Vena into the cave.
3. They had left the cave and were headed south in the direction of the crash.

You are probably wondering how I could tell all these things. The meditation heightens awareness and senses greatly. I could discern faint tracks around the crate & cave. I would hear, in the far distance, the footsteps of the Uth and one lighter set of footsteps.

I was worried about my crewmates, but stopping Vena from escaping was much more important right now. I started my climb out of the gulley the way I came. It was slow work. No doubt the Uth where able to do it much faster as their bodies are suited for that sort of climbing. I would lose time here, but I would probably make it up once out of the gulley. My body is better suited for the long distance hike, especially if I could find some level ground. Once out of the gulley, I started hiking due south-ish with my mind set on finding level ground. I figured I had about 20 hours of hiking to reach the vicinity of the shipo. Once in the area, I could use my homing device to find the Pellinore, if it was broadcasting it’s short-range distress call. I estimated Vena and her Uth started 6 hours before me but would take 24 hours to get there. That gave them about a 2 hour lead.

As I moved along, I occupied myself with thoughts of everything so far. One thing really bugged me. How did they Uth know we would crash land here? Could they somehow be responsible for a micro meteoroid? It seemed unlikely, and yet…

(The long walk back just can't be uneventful. Let's roll some dice and see what hazard I encounter.)

(rain - dragon/creature - locked)
(The weather tuns ugly. I like that. A dragon could represent any monster but I decide to go with something dragon like. The keyhole must mean something is locked (but I never get to find out what)


The skies where darkening and I realized quite some time had passed. It might have been 30 minutes but could also easily have been 2 hours. We hadn't had any time to research the planet before the crash landing, but the planet had been covered in clouds as we descended through the atmosphere. It had been grey since I got here. I assumed the darkening was nightfall, but then it started to rain – heavily. I wasn’t so sure anymore. It would slow me donw. Hopefully it would also slow down Venna & the Uth.

(At this point, I jump into the Cosmic Patrol rules to see how my encounter goes)
(Perception roll D12 + D6 vs D20 (2 + 4 vs 16) – I failed badly.)


With the bad weather, I didn’t see the creature attacking from behind. I got knocked off my feet by the unfair blow but managed to roll out of it without much damage. I landed crouched and facing my enemy. It was a, well, a dragon or at least a dragon-like creature. He was a bit larger than me, so he was massive.

(The combat is also handles using the Cosmic Patrol rules. It was a close match but I had a small advantage. I was rolling a D10 vs his D8. Unfortunately, I had plenty of bad rolls and actually lost the fight. I could have done something to change things. Cosmic Patrol rules allow for that sort of thing. However…)

The story ends. I could not defeat this creature. No doubt, I made a fitting meal.
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Morten Lund
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Cool post!
I'll have a think about trying something like what you did
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Mike Beiter
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Very fun! Thanks for sharing.
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Rich Smithston
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Great Stuff!

I recently bought Cosmic Patrol on a whim and love it even though it doesn't seem to have sold well. I also have recently bought some Rory's Story cubes to help me get into solo role playing. Then I find this post. Magic!

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The War Chief
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Cosmic Patrol is lots of fun.

Too bad Catalyst Games seems to have abandoned it.

No hardback release at Gen Con this year and the forum is a joke.

Almost all of the most recent posts consist of me asking where everyone is.

And Rory's Story Cubes are great. You can get the 3 newest mini sets directly through the Creative Hub site.
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Albert Hernandez
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crinklechip wrote:
Great Stuff!

I recently bought Cosmic Patrol on a whim and love it even though it doesn't seem to have sold well. I also have recently bought some Rory's Story cubes to help me get into solo role playing. Then I find this post. Magic!


I hope the post is useful. There is a new geeklist over on the RPGGeek regarding solo roleplaying. You may want to post your experience on there. I'm sure it will be a useful resource.

Solo RPGs on Your Table - August 2015
 
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