Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thoughts on Solo Roleplaying

I've managed to make it through my first Solo adventure, and I wanted to take some time to talk about what it's been like and what my thoughts are on it.
First of all, it's fun! It's a different kind of fun than one gets either playing or running a standard tabletop RPG, but this is unsurprising. It's also not the same kind of fun as one has developing a new game--creating a setting, NPC's, plots, mysteries, etc. It's not like a "choose your own adventure" or writing "fanfic." It's still a game, and that means it's still unpredictable and that you can still fail. Believe me, if I was writing fanfic, Andrei would not have been slapped around by every lick with Dominate....

Secondly, is see now why some people were warning me about being overly "random." You really do need to treat a Solo game as you would any game. You obviously don't need to develop plots, but settings and characters and themes are still key to it. I initially planned on making up the setting as I went along, and only use a published setting in a pinch--and even then, mostly for stats. Well, that changed real fast--you need a living, breathing setting as much in a Solo game as you do in standard one. Maybe even more so.

Third, I was surprised how quickly the Emulator (the tool used to replicate the GM in a Solo game), faded into the background. By the time I was playing the second session, it was pretty much intuitive and didn't alter the flow anymore than rolling any skill check in the game. I've been using the Mythic GM Emulator, and it's been very solid.

Having said that, there are other options out there I'm interested in playing around with.

Conjecture Games has a couple of different products out. and their Emulator looks interesting. I'm particularly intrigued by their  NPC Emulator, the UNE.

Larcenous Designs  has a system called ALONe. It looks a tad more complicated than Mythic, but at the same time providing even more useful information. It's not mathematically more complicated, as it's card based.

Both of these have "pay what you want options" and I'll be looking to pick them up and give them a whirl soon. In fact, I'm currently waiting on Larcenous Designs Horror deck.

There are a few other changes I'd like to make, though. First off, I hate basic Masquerade combat. Any edition. It's just...boring and painful. In fact, I've never really enjoyed combat in any White Wolf game. This is probably the main reason I fell out of Werewolf--for a game that's supposed to be bloody, raw, and action packed, the game just died every time I've ever had to roll for initiative. So, I'll be using the "Narrative Combat" rules from the 1st Ed Storytellers Handbook. I've talked about it before here.

I also want to change around how backgrounds work. I haven't done a lot of LARPing in my time, but I do recall liking how the LARP books handled backgrounds. I'm just not sure which one to get? The Original Masquerade? Laws of Night? Laws of Night (revised)? Or go with the latest from By Night Studios?

Can you tell how much I
love this book?
I also need to make some tweaks to the Random Events, particularly for the initial adventure idea. Chicago by Night has it's own take on "random events" in the appendix, and there's in broken down by Theme--betrayal, romance, etc. I'm going to see if I can effectively mash that up with Mythic, to better hit the Vampire element in the game.

But, again, solo roleplaying is pretty darn fun! If you ever find yourself with a quite night ahead of you, and you can't play your normal game with your friends, I highly recommend giving it a shot!

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