Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Solo Gaming Appreciation Month

I've recently learned that November is "Solo Gaming Appreciation Month" (SGAM)--a time when a number of us Solo gamers work together to share stories that are linked in someway. 2017 is a bit of a special year, as we all come together to commemorate and celebrate the life of +Zach Best, who was not only a wonderful member of our community, but an outstanding creator as well. His work through Conjecture Games has been a major factor in many of our journey's.

While many Solo gamers will be aiming to create new games or tools to use, I will be focused on something a bit more humble, an Actual Play. I was already working on one, but I want to put that on hiatus and focus on the works that Zach had created.

The first is CRGE, the Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator.  This is Zach's take on the GM Oracle, and a bit of story framework. It is incredibly well regarded within the scene, considered by many to be superior to my beloved Mythic. I picked it up due to the comments of many, and, while I have owned this for a while now,  I have not actually attempted to play a game with it. An oversight I intend to correct with this play through.

The second is UNE, the Universal NPC Emulator. Unlike CRGE, I have had the pleasure of using UNE extensively. It's probably the simplest tool I've found for creating interesting and nuanced NPCs. Heck, it's so incredible that I've even used it create Player Characters, something I intend to do again with this play through. Whether you are engaged in Solo gaming or not, the UNE should be in every GM's toolkit. It's just that damn good.

Finally, there is BOLD, Universal PC Stories and Deeds Generator. Another of Zach's works that I have admired, but never really had a chance to engage with. Where as CRGE is a tool to play the game, and UNE is one to add depth to the game, BOLD is intended as a downtime resource. What happened to your character before play began? What happened to them when they off on their own that one night? Or, why was the character not present at the last session? BOLD is a wonderful tool to create wonderful anecdotes and clever stories

All of the above are "pay what you want" and I strongly recommend any gamer checking them out. In addition, the Zach's Book collection of material is available to continue providing support for his family.

All of the above are wonderful resources, but there's still the question of what game I intend to use them on. Part of SGAM is to have some sort of link between the various players. Part of this is an initial story seed. The one provided for me through the Lone Wolf Group is below:

I have no idea what to do with this. While many solo gamers use tools like Tarot cards or Story Cubes, this is something I am unfamiliar with. Which is good, it's always nice to try something new.

Finally, there's the question of what base game/genre should I play. The Tarot images made me thinking of something mystical, something like Mage: The Ascension or Call of Cthulhu or the like. But I do a LOT of the "urban supernatural" with my various Vampire AP's, and for this I want to do something different. Something more upbeat and positive. Something, like a superhero? And not a "grim dark deconstruction" superhero, but a proper heroic superhero.

I've tried to do some Superhero gaming before, but I've never actually managed to finish an AP for my Superhero games. So, that's my personal challenge--actually tell a Superhero story through my AP. For the system, I'm going to use Palladium Books Heroes Unlimited. Is it the best superhero game ever? Eh, that's subjective. I do, however, love the system, and I have a number of books for it. Plus, it's not a "reality simulator" and certain tools a Solo gamer might want (like social conflict systems) are lacking. Which means even more excuses to use CRGE!

In the next post we'll make our hero and get the game setup. After that, we begin playing!

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