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Started by Jack Spencer Jr, July 10, 2001, 10:05:00 AM

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Matt Machell

On 2001-07-11 22:14, Jamie Thomas Durbin wrote:
Ahhh... Someone was actually seriously considering doing Magnamund for D20 on the Homebrew forum there, but I think that idea eventually died down... But to do a freeware Magnamund RPG, it would be extremely simple...

Ages ago there was talk of a stand alone Lone Wolf RPG. It was in an interview Joe Dever did for Valkyrie or Roleplayer Independent (I forget which). Never saw the light fo day though. Shame.


Jack Spencer Jr


I believe so.  There called Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books or other such variable plot novels which don't have a dice mechanic.  You just choose what happens.

Or you make decision and then those decision move the story along.

Personally, I'm trying to think of a solo game without thinking in terms of solo books.  That format has been pretty well mined out and where it hasn't been mined out it is fairly constrained because of the format.

Side Note:  I come to the forum after being up til 2 and this topic is burning with one post(!)  Is that how the forum is supposed to work?  I thought it had to be 15 new posts to get the flaming folder.


::drooling:: Solo adventures? Hell I do that all the time on the ride in. I look around and imagine which other drivers I'm firing my dual .50 cal trunk mounted machine guns at. :razz:

Seriously though.. my two cents on this subject are..

How about exploring a writing option?
I know this is sort of (only slightly) away from the initial subject.. but what about a game where -

You read passages of prose, then write up character interactions. I'm not sure how this could be done (or I'd already be working on it) but it sounds interesting. Perhaps somehow the mechanics could be worked out... then people could [play] the [game] and post thier works online somewhere. (would be great for comedic adventures).

I dunno.. just though it would be intersting.



On 2001-07-10 16:16, Ron Edwards wrote:

I was a big fan of the Fighting Fantasy series, which was composed of a bunch of little paperbacks and one great digest-sized, four-book series. Anyone remember these? The system was called "Sorcery!" and had a VERY interesting magic system, as well as a "clash" combat system rather than a hit/hit one. The titles were The Shamutanti Hills, Khare: Cityport of Traps, The Seven Serpents, and The Crown of Kings.

I love the Scorcery! series. It still stands, in my opinion, as one of the best "dark fantasy" solo game series ever. The flavor and the art was just right. I'll always remember the dark elf trading post in the third book, and the inn trap in the second book.

For those of you not familiar with it, the magic system Ron is referring to is what I would call a "true memorization" system. Basically, you were allowed to look at the list of spells as much as you liked before you started any given book in the series. Each spell had a three-letter designation, like FOF for the forcefield spell or YAP for the spell that let you talk to animals --- but once you were playing you weren't supposed to look at the spell list. When given a chance to cast a spell, you were give a list of potential three-letter codes -- some of which weren't actually spells. If you picked a fake code, you lost Stamina (hit points) and nothing happened. Even if you picked a correct code you had to spend Stamina to cast the spell and many spells required exotic components, like a green-haired wig.


However ... and this is a big however ... I *hated* actually playing any of these, mainly because they were designed back in the day when "whoops, you're dead" was a damn likely outcome, but also because I would often find a given NPC or situation more interesting than the options permitted me to check out.

At the time, I didn't mind, but you're right, they're pretty brutal that way. Certainly I'd love to see what could be done with the gamebook genre by the current indie RPG crowd, with perhaps a more Narrativist bent in with all the Gamism. Video games like Torment have shown that you can actually have pretty interesting conversations using a "pick what you say from this list" method which lends itself well to gamebooks.

Tho in a homage to the Sorcery! series I think it should be a genre convention that giving gold to a beggar always gets you vital game-useful information, and that they're always amazed to get a WHOLE GOLD PIECE -- even tho there isn't any other currency available for use by the character. ;-)


What I liked was the STRUCTURE of the adventures, and the way that (in the titles I mentioned) one's personal decisions often had ethical weight. I spent a lot of time mulling over the material and wondering how group play could yield the kind of personal story, like that found in Grailquest or Sea of Mystery, without railroading like a fiend to do it.

Amen. Isn't Seth Ben-Ezra sort of working on this idea? ;-)

[ This Message was edited by: xiombarg on 2001-09-04 17:40 ]
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT


Wow.  Solo games.  I had a lot of fun with "Choose Your Own Adventure" type games when I was a kid, and they're what kept me going when I first got D&D.  I even dabbled with the Lone Wolf series, and found it to be quite fun for what it was worth.

Initially, I found the old AD&D Adventure Gamebooks in a used bookstore--one from Dragonlance, one from Forgotten Realms.  Both were surprisingly decent, as those things went.  I have a 3rd, but it was lacking the bookmark (which, since I don't recall seeing it mentioned, was what had the primitive character sheet printed on it).  Then I got my hands on the oversized "Dragon leaping forward" cover D&D boxed set, where I ran myself through the learning adventure until I had a handle on the rules.  I also had a module called "Rage of the Rakasta" that worked well on the same lines in solo play--I just took a character and ran it through the D&D cards, then through the module.  It was a fun module, too.

In any case, there is a future for this sort of things.  To me, the solo module has its future on the World Wide Web--set it up as a suite of webpages to be viewed, perhaps account locked if you wish to make it a for-profit deal.  Those things took up quite a bit of paper for not as much story, and didn't generally have masterpieces of storylines.  Now it's no difficulty to set up webpages with conditional links--you can even include little extras, and the like.  That's where I think the solo game is headed...away from the less profitable print world, and ever to the future!



I was thinking about solo games and the current Internet trend in indie RPGs, and the comment that computer games had killed the solo RPG as a genre, and I realized something, connecting two of my hobbies suddenly.

There's actually a highly creative, art-oriented community of fans working in this genre, and not on the Web, per se. And it might be a good idea for people on this board to check *that* community out for inspiration as to what can be done with the solo genre.

What am I talking about? Stick with me here, even if you don't like computer games. I'm talking about the Interactive Literature community. No, I'm not talking about the US freeform LARP community, though checking them out isn't a bad idea. (The ILF is now the LARPRA,">check it out.) I'm talking about an active and intense group of people who are working on Infocom-style text adventure games, "Interactive Literature".

Remember those? KICK GRUE WITH LEFT BOOT? But the fan-produced stuff has moved as far beyond that as Sorcerer is beyond AD&D. Plus, they've learned how to put a lot of emotional impact into a short game, which is good for those of us who don't want to spend all day on puzzles -- tho those sorts of games, of course, still exist, much as D&D still exists, tho that's more the style of the modern, graphical computer "RPG". Such "short" works remind me a LOT of, say, Jared's work, actually.

Check it out. Even if you think you hate text adventures you won't be disappointed.">SPAG tells you what you need to get started -- one needs an interpreter for the wierd Interactive Fiction languages to run a game. The best place to find the creme of the crop is to check out the annual">Interactive Fiction  Competition. Especially good are the games from Adam Cadre, which can be found">here. "Varicella" has wonderful NPCs and a background that begs for stealing; nearly every "puzzle" has more to do with personal interaction and realpolitik than anything else. And his "Photopia" has that emotional punch I was talking about.

And the advantage of solo RPGs is you don't have to learn an odd computer language in order to create it, tho the genre has its own limitations. But I point to Interactive Literature as an example of the untapped potential here.

[ This Message was edited by: xiombarg on 2001-09-04 22:46 ]
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT

Mike Holmes

I know Ron will remember this.

For The Fantasy Trip, SJ put out several adventures that were written in the "chose your own adventure" style. You'd make a selection and then arrive at a room or scene in which there would often be a combat or a trap or something. For combats, you could just play them out solo as the tactics for the enemies were fairly straightforward.

I think the first, and for me the most memorable, as it was my introduction to dungeon crawls, was called Death Test (followed subsequently by Death Test II). The simplistic plot was that a king had stocked a series of rooms with monsters as a test of skill, and the characters would simply go from room to room and try to hack their way to the end. Slain monsters often guarded treasure, which was the reward for taking the test. Very simple, but played well solo, nonetheless.

These were followed by a few others, the Silver Dragon, and Golden Unicorn, IIRC (which had clues in them which supposedly could lead you to RL silver and gold models hidden somewhere in the US or something). These had a bit more plot, but still it was mostly just a vehicle to get you from one combat to another for the most part. I remember one scene where you had a contest of archery with an elf, the result of which determined where the character went next, for example.

These certainly had quite a bit of solo playability in that they wer an engine to get you from one battle to the next, which is mostly what the game was about anyhow. Just thought it might be interesting to mention.

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