Wednesday, September 26, 2018

SOLO RPG: the simplest Ruleset of the world!

Since I started practicing the solo rpg, I have been trying to play ever faster without sacrificing the narrative quality of my adventures. After exploring the world of the dungeon crawling, for which I have already proposed rules, I turned to a more narrative style of play with Shorts Adventures At LunchTime. The basic idea was to orient my game sessions towards a more dynamic scene resolution style.


Today, I offer you a minimalist set of rules designed to play the scenarios I propose.

solo rpg world simplest rules


These rules are not derived from a commercial game and are specially written to perform solo role-playing while respecting the following conditions:

  • solve actions extremely fast for solitary players who don't have time
  • emulate an entire team

For those who already know Rocket Dungeons, you will find some similarities. Indeed, I started from this first book of rules and I have simplified the existing concepts to keep only the essential.
These rules are easy to understand, they may be the simplest rules in the world. They will be perfect for beginners but I also hope that the more experienced will discover another side of the solitaire rpg by trying them out. In any case, don't forget that the real challenge doesn't come from the rule, but from what you do with it (I will write an article on this subject very soon)


Philosophy of the world's simplest solo rpg rules

The mechanism can be summarized as follows: one single roll to determine the adventurer's destiny: he lives or he dies.
The game philosophy I'm trying to explore with the SAALT’s solo role-playing game series range is to simulate only scenes that reflect a specific degree of tension. Thus, each scene that brings this degree of peril and must require a roll. But only danger scenes require a roll:  other scenes are solved by the narration.

Putting your life on the line - simple, fast and funky

During a fight or trap, you must choose only one adventurer who will put his life on the line. The other characters will survive no matter what and can move on to the next scene. To determine the adventurer's fate, throw a D6 and refer to the table below:

  • 1-3: Death!
  • 4: Injury
  • 5+: Safe

A character who receives a second injury dies.

That's all.
solo rpg world simplest rules


I told you these are the simplest rules of the world, didn't I?

Quick example of the rules: The team is looking for Gothyl's tomb.
Scene 1: They meet a group of the Zhentarim on horseback. (we will see in a future article how to play and describe scenes quickly, millions times faster than Mythic, no offense please).
They fight = Describe the scene by highlighting a specific character. This character must put his life on the line. D6=5: he lives without damages. If D6=1: he dies in agony, but his friends can move on to the next scene. The rest is up to you: did they defeat the opponents? Did they run away? No dice required.

Scene 2: The entrance to the tomb is trapped? Choose a character. 4? He's a lucky man. From memory, it was the apprentice who had crafted the trap, which explains why the character was only injured.

But then, all threats have the same dangerousness with these fast rules?.....

You should not lose sight of the main objective of playing alone. It's not a dungeon crawler, but a guide to tell a story (otherwise go see 4 against the darkness, Pocket Dungeons or Diablo!). For example, the scenario I propose in Short Adventure At Lunchtime brings a background, a beginning of adventure.The management of equipment, gold or the optimization of statistics takes a lower priority. The only purpose of each micro-adventure is to stimulate the imagination to get you to tell a story quickly.

....or not: Show off your Big Bad Bosses!

Remember that you are the master of the narration. It is therefore up to you to highlight the obstacles of your choice. For example, a dragon should be the object of several scenes and therefore several perils's rolls.

Character creation: The rules for creating a complete team in five minutes

The solo rpg rules are fast enough to allow you to create an entire team of heroes in minutes! Find a name, motivation and character trait. Then, you have the possibility to award a talent point. Examples are not exhaustive:

  • Fighter: in a combat situation, the adventurer adds 1 to the dice result
  • Evasion: in situations involving traps, explosions, the adventurer adds 1 to the dice result
  • Magic: the magician has one magic point. This magic point is used to give a bonus of +1 to whomever he wishes.
  • Healing: once per adventure, the character can heal a point of injury: the injured adventurer becomes uninjured, the dead character becomes injured


That's all.

The rest is decided during the narration. Some of you may ask me:
and intelligence? I have never personally made an intelligence roll against death
and the charism? use narration
and the mental strength to resist a psionic attack? This point is open to discussion.
In general, you are free to adapt these solo rpg rules as you see fit. But remember, if you adopt them, they should be kept simple. The advantage of playing with the world' s simplest solo rpg rules is that they are easy to remember. They also have the advantage of being totally epic. At each scene, you will hold your breath before rolling the die because one of your characters may die!


Quick Example of application
The group is under attack. The warrior is designated by the narrator to put his life on the line. As a fighter, he has a bonus of +1.
The magician decides to use his magic point to throw a fireball that will destroy part of the threat. To survive, the warrior must roll a D6+2

solo rpg world simplest rules


Leveling: no danger, no reward!

In this version of minimalistic rules, only heroes who have put their lives on the line will be able to reach the next level.
To reach level 2, you must have put your life in danger at least once. The adventurer will receive 1 point of fate. This point of fate is for single use only and allows the dying character to survive. The adventurer will no longer be able to participate in the current adventure. His return to a subsequent scenario must be justified by the narrative.

To reach level 3, you must have put your life at risk twice more (3 times in total). The adventurer will be able to add a talent point where he wants. Example: A fighter may receive a +2 bonus in combat or decide to learn 1 magic point. The maximum bonus of a feature is +2.

To reach level 4, you must have put your life in danger 3 more times (6 times in total). The adventurer will receive 1 additional point of fate

To reach level 5, you must have put your life at risk 4 more times (10 times in total). The adventurer will receive 1 additional talent point.

Here are the survival statistics according to the bonuses:



Death
Injury
Safe
0
50%
17%
33%
+1
33%
17%
50%
+2
17%
17%
67%



This system is not flexible enough? try the variant of the solo rpg rules D12!


  • 1-5: Death!
  • 6-8: Injury
  • 9+: Safe

This variant is my favorite on rpg adventures without gm longer than the ones I propose in SAALT. It allows to incorporate an equipment management and allows a more rhythmic progression. In this variant, review the leveling proposed above.
The adventurer gains 1 talent point at each level and 1 destiny point every 2 levels. Give the wizard 3 magic points.
Limit the bonus to +6 and consider a result of 1 to mean death in all circumstances.
Here are the statistics of the D12 rules:




Death
Injury
Safe
0
42%
25%
33%
+1
33%
25%
42%
+2
25%
25%
50%
+3
17%
25%
58%
+4
8%
25%
67%
+5
8%
17%
75%
+6
8%
8%
84%
Note that the variants work for all types of dice. If you are one of these D20 addicts, the system works too!
In longer campaigns, these variants make it possible to introduce a more marked rise in level and to introduce a finer equipment management:
You can assign magic objects +1 or even +2
Characters will be able to achieve a more constant progression
The allocation of experience points will no longer need to be conditioned by the success of death rolls.
As I said earlier, this is not my way of approaching the fast solo rpg. I prefer to focus on history and reserve the jeopardy jets for particularly significant events. Nevertheless, these variants can be a good alternative for players who want to keep a place in consumable management, combat strategy or a less significant but more regular progression.

solo rpg world simplest rules

A remedy against bad luck with dice: the heroic trick!

Solo rpg player: "Oh no! All my adventurers are dead! What should I do? Go back to §1? My solo session is ruined..."
Author of the solo ruleset "Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Don't you know that real heroes never die?"

Solitaire role-playing games are not Fighting Fantasy: you don't start the adventure again if you lose. Whatever happens, the show must go on! The real heroine of your scenarios is your story. But, I must admit, it is sometimes penalizing to see his entire team dying. So, and unless this is the last scenario of your campaign, you can't afford to lose everyone without taking the risk of breaking the link with the rest of the story.
That is why an adventurer must be designated as the hero of the adventure. This choice can be made at the beginning of the game or during the game (for example, it may be the last survivor). The hero of the adventure cannot die: if he has any companions left, someone sacrifices himself in his stead. If the hero is the last survivor and dies, he remains alive (to be justified by the narrative) but the quest is a failure. Note that the adventure may also fail if the last roll is failed (at your convenience). The background will have to adapt to this new situation.
The hero of one adventure is not necessarily the hero of the next, and former heroes may die.


If you liked this article, take a look at my solo adventures Everybody wants the ring and The Isolated Island


2 comments:

  1. I remember the #topic of simplified, quick & easy rules. Decades ago I found the clumsiness of Fighting Fantasy a spoiler, or tried to find a solution for Lone Wolf (by Joe Dever) being more flexible.

    I think your base idea is pretty solid, are you content with that, or are you aiming on writing & publishing your own solo-adventures aka CYOA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Andrè.
      First, I would like to publish an additional article on how I use these rules. Because I am one of those people who discovered role-playing when they were children and now I don't have much time to play, I have to produce a lot of narrative content quickly. So exit Mythic, CRGE and other systems too complicated.

      Then, I will continue to propose solo adventures (I already do it with SAALT), but I think I will change the format:
      1 - because the current format takes me too long to write
      2- because I want to propose a "play and throwaway" content

      Delete