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Solo Adventuring

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I'm not sure if this is the best place to post what is a query really, but here goes.

I used to have play WFRP way back in the days of the 1st edition, and I'm really keen to get back into the genre, particularly after reading reviews of the latest 'boxed set' version.  However, for various reasons I much prefer to do my gaming solo now.

There were always some issues with solo'ing Warhammer, what with the underlying intrigues and deceptions associated with the spread of Chaos, but is the latest version suited to solo play, and which adventures are best to try as a lone gamer (albeit playing 2-4 characters)?

Any answers or views much appreciated, as I hesitate to stump up for Warhammer only to find it doesn't fit the way I intend to play.

 

Thanks!

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 I cannot imagine any RPG being workable (or enjoyable really for that matter) with just one person.

 

One person and a GM, sure, not as fun but it's workable.  One person total?  I'm not sure any tabletop RPG is going to be all that great.

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Well, it's definitely feasible for some games (Traveller solo is relatively common for example) but I can understand it's not everyone's cup of tea.  Of course, in the 80s almost all the gamers I knew would have scoffed at the idea that roleplaying with other gamers remotely, as is now possible with the Internet, was anything like a comparable experience to meeting face-to-face.

Ultimately it depends on what you're wanting from the gaming experience.  For me, it's the escapism angle (nothing new there I'm sure), being able to spend time on those aspects of the game that I most enjoy without fretting that I'm being selfish or 'stealing' other people's time simply to satisfy my likes, and lastly it provides the opportunity to play exactly the style of game that I prefer to play.   

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If you are truely looking for a SOLO experience, i'll go out on a limb here and suggest WFRP3 is not a great solution for you.

My reasoning is that a solo experience requires a pretty strong and rigid rules system to drive the experience and maintain structure when playing both a GM and PC at once.  WFRP3 leaves a LOT to the imagination and plays at a pretty high level, in that it doesnt get into the nitty gritty details which i'd imagine are needed to have a structured solo experience. 

On the other hand, i think WFRP2 would work quite a bit better as it relies far less on abstract concepts to glue the game together.

But i mean, hey, if you really want to do it, you'll find a way to make it work.  I'd never considered it until i read your post, but im seeing it being a possibility now that i break it down in my head.  Just WFRP3 doesnt seem like the ideal option.

Gitzman

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So how would you play any rpg solo i really dont get it..MY brain cant comprehend how you can gm and play by yourself, you would always know whats going on where is the "roll playing"   do you just make characters and just roll dice and have them fight??

Sorry i just dont get it pls explain

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angrydragon said:

So how would you play any rpg solo i really dont get it..MY brain cant comprehend how you can gm and play by yourself, you would always know whats going on where is the "roll playing"   do you just make characters and just roll dice and have them fight??

Sorry i just dont get it pls explain

 

Yea seems pretty odd, and an expensive way to play a game by yourself when there are many cheaper and better suited mediums.

 

I could see teaching yourself the rules by setting up a 'solo' fight between some characters and NPCs, or a social encounter progress tracker, and so no.  But a whole game?  Just read a book :)

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angrydragon said:

So how would you play any rpg solo i really dont get it..MY brain cant comprehend how you can gm and play by yourself, you would always know whats going on where is the "roll playing"   do you just make characters and just roll dice and have them fight??

Sorry i just dont get it pls explain

Well, for example I'd play through an encounter as a normal GM would, but handle the character's actions as best I can based on only what they could know. In a typical game the GM would do this for his NPCs - I simply extend the process to include character actions and motivations too.  Gamers have to do this to an extent too, since they'll often know a lot more than their characters could but they have to play them in line with the character's motivations, not their own.  

This method often works to my own disadvantage if all I'm interested in is keeping the characters alive, or getting them rich, etc.  Fortunately I'm looking to get much more from the game than that.  

As to the alternative of 'just read a book', in a way I am.  Except I get to write it as I go along.

 

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Good discussion all!  I too prefer solo wargaming.  I do occasionally play Wings of War or Tide of Iron with my grown son I really like solo.  I like to be able to leave a game set up and come back to it again and again.  I like thinking about the game as I am driving or running.  It makes for good mind exercise.

As someone mentioned if you don't really mind having a rather superficial game then I think WHRP is well suited to solo.  For instance one of the convenient things is that the game is chock full of cards and figure stand-ups.  Although many of the cards are double-sided to reflect the aggressive or conservative stances they lend themselves to random selection.  In other words pick a card, any card.  If you are picking from a stack of the aforementioned double sided cards just close your eyes and make a random selection.

Using the location cards your player could be walking down a forest path and he draws another location card telling him that he's arrived at a graveyard or a bridge.

Also, making this game a good solo vehicle is all of the counters suppled in addition to the stand-ups.  The GM doesn't have to tell the player, for instance,  how many stress points to take, just how many tokens to pick out of the stress token cup.  Same wtih cooruption points.

One of the newer boxed expansions, I believe it is the GMs Vault, contain a bunch of character and monster cards.  You can generate chance encounters using these cards.  A more meaningful way to use the deck would be to, based on your scenario, eliminate a lot of the cards leaving you with a deck that is more realistically pertinent to your storyline.  In other words,  if you are in tunnel network you are unlikely to encounter wood elves or flying beasts to any extent.

Yes, I think for a creative person, and most of us are or we wouldn't be playing this game,  WHFRP is a good, if not ideal vehicle for solo gaming.

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valvorik said:

Mythic Roleplaying is supposed to support solo play by using tables to generate "surprises" etc.

It's interesting (and spark creativity solo or no) but will never equal a decent GM.

Rob

Thanks valvoric, I looked Mystic up.  It looks interesting and I may just get it since it's so inexpensive but I've decided to take the plunge and get the Warhammer box set anyway.  To be honest, it looks so pretty and I really like the setting so even if I can't make it work I'm sure I'll be able to use bits of the system or background.

Thanks too for your comments SFMajor.  It's nice to virtually meet another kindred solo spirit!  What you were saying about Warhammer being quite abstract works in my favour, since I think it'll give me more opportunity to concentrate on the elements I enjoy - the setting, characters and storyline.

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 It's not quite solo, but it is close -- a buddy of mine and I have been running 2 email games.  He runs one for me and I run one for him.  We each control 3 characters (they are not together, these are two separate threads).

Thinking about this probably causes you 1 stress, as several negative thoughts shoot through your head, "its too slow", "controlling more than one character is bad",  "playing with a group at the table is far better" ... and trust me, all these thoughts were going through our heads as well.  But we were so desperate to play, and getting together was next to impossible, we were lucky to visit once a year, and finding other players was even more difficult (although I am now running a 3rd email game with 3 players that are awesome).  At first we tried Fantasy Grounds and Vent play -- this was great but it still proved too difficult to get everyone's schedule lined up to get on.  We wanted to play so bad, I said "screw it, let's play through email!"  

We started playing through email and now we are hooked!!  In many ways it is BETTER than playing with a group.  I don't know if you guys know of the early days of the internet, with AOL (and paying for every minute you were on) and hearing "You've got mail" every time you logged on, but for me it was almost like a drug hearing that, sending chemicals of goodness through my brain.  I now get that feeling again every day when we do our turns of Warhammer.  And we are covering a lot more ground by little steps in email, instead of doing rare, 3 hour stents over vent.

Here is why its cool:

As a GM:

* You really get to think through everything and take your time, double check your notes, surf the net to find out where the spleen is after drawing the 'ruptured spleen' card so you can describe it better; keep track of all damage, stress, fatigue right there in the email or hidden in a text file on your desktop.

* You can really WRITE the NPCs just like if the player were reading a book.  No more trying to come up with what they say right on the spot and sounding stupid half the time.  You can have a really cool discussion in writing and not have to worry about your poor acting skills (just your poor writing skills).

* Everything is logged permanently right there in your email. From the first day the characters met, till today.

As a player:

* You get to try out 3 different careers and character concepts.

* If one of your characters die, you have 2 others and can slowly replace the dead one.  I've lost 2 characters, one died and one walked away.

* You can spend all the time you want thinking about what you are going to do, look at the cards, come up with a dramatic quote, etc.

* All the adventure notes you should be taking are already recorded.  Forget what that NPC's name was? Scroll through the emails and find his name.

* All the great moments are permanently recorded in email.  

All in all, we both agree, and are surprised at how fun it is.  If we could meet once a week with a group, we would do it for sure, but this has easily sated our appatite for playing.  

The 2 other players in the 3rd game have also sent emails saying how much they like it. Even though it is even slower with more players, they enjoy it.  The cool thing about that game is none of the players know each other, and there is no meta gaming going on. They send their actions directly to me and the other players have no idea what the others are thinking or going to do.

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 Someone PM'ed me asking for samples of PBEM:

Here is an example of what I send out as GM:

(Player character Arz, who is being debriefed by a witch hunter, has brought into question the Baron's actions, who is also in the room.)

Eldred stands straight up and slams his hand flat on the table, "You dare! Get out of my home this instant!"

Matthias Krieger, raises his hands, "Gentlemen please,"

Eldred blurts out, "Clearly the swamp has affected his mind to speak this way in my presence! To insult my family, my competence ... my home! They did not know their place at dinner, and they clearly still do not! "

For the first time you see Krieger perplexed as to what to do, he side glances at his scribe, who has stopped writing and just watches.

Krieger then grabs hold of the situation, "Enough! Baron Eldred has been kind enough to volunteer the use of his home for the duration of this crisis, for which I thank him. Clearly there is a rift that has grown here. But I need calm minds, gentlemen!" Krieger is truly fierce at this moment, not to be crossed. His voice is clear and stern, "everyone here is important to getting this problem solved. Now ... Arz, if this rift is a misunderstanding, or something more, it will have to wait until we can talk about it further, I will clearly have to get both sides perspective on this. Right now, I want to hear the rest of your investigation."

 

Sample player email -- can be as simple as an action or a complex description:
(A few emails later, outside, Arz speaks to the Baron)


Arz will try to privately speak to Baron Eldred, "I am well aware that my comments offended you, and I admit to being crass of the tongue and unskilled with words. I merely am concerned for your village. I by no means wish to pass judgement. The poverty here may be completely out of your control and I have been here such a short time that it would be wrong for me to pretend that I know all of your past efforts to remedy the situation."

Then, before the baron can respond, Arz's eyes will narrow and he'll lean in closer, "I care not for glory. I do care about the men with me and the Empire's people in general though. When we travel into the swamp, you may stay far back if you choose and boost the morale of your villagers, but do not interfere with myself and my colleagues. Any victory achieved will be praised as due to your leadership, by us as well."

 

When combat is happening I list out important tracking info below the description of combat:

[4d daunting Observation rolls are made. All fail]

The haunting sound filling the air grows stronger. Kesh sees the men scatter before the beast.  It looms forward and does not seem slowed at all by the marsh.  Kesh positions himself with his shield up, and takes several deep breathes in preparation for the unavoidable fight. [Player stated he was doing Assess the Situation]

The men are startled and backing up, Baron Eldred tries to rally them, "Men, think fast or we are all dead, get in formation! Use your spears!" He grabs his personal spear from the Soldier next to him [He cannot play Inspiring words, so he does Guarded postion engaged with soldier 1.]

The creature looms forward quickly. Its arm raises high in the air and seems to span the full height of a man easily. It comes crashing down on one of the hunters as he tries to get away.  Right in front of Kesh, the man is flattened into the mud. You can only guess that this is the thing that crushed the dead hunter found at the witch's hut.

[Party Tension goes up 1, which puts it at 1 since it has reset to 0 last round]

[initiative]
3 NPC
2 Hero, NPC,
>1 Hero, Hero,
0 Hero,NPC, NPC

[2 heroes can go]

Desolate Swamp location card:
* Each additional Manoeuvre costs 2 fatigue instead of 1
* Any Boon effect that allows a recovery of fatigue requires 1 additional boon
* All Physical actions here gain <chaos star> = Suffer 1 fatigue in addition to any other effect

Hunting Party -   Fortune: 1
Tension 1 / Tactic: Flanking Ma. / Focus: Clear Minded / Reputation: Protective /
On the Trail: While in close range of another party member, add [w] to Observation and Nature Lore checks.

Arz [will Spend Fortune vs Disease the next time he rests]
Wounds 2 Stress 3 Fatigue 6 Fortune 3
Terrifying Visions (3): during recover, you recover 1 less stress and 1 less fatigue than normal.

Kesh
Wounds 0 Stress 4 Fatigue 2 Fortune 3
Footwork Adding +1 Defence
[  ] Favoured by Fortune
[1] Reckless Cleave
[1] Improved Parry
[1] Block
[1] Dodge
 

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COPY (login issue): I would say that the system needed for more group detail even D&D, is usually too clumsy for solo aka CYOA kinda works. There is a reason, why Fighting Fantasy & Lone Wolf series held it simple, and that reason is NOT that the authors were dumb or sloppy.

 

I had to cut-down the D&D 5 rules, getting rid of time-wasters and superfluous extras, much like two decades ago with the WoD system spammed by desperate officials trying to renew their only successes.

 

Here is legally free stuff you can download, some meddling with the official, predefined Fighting Fantasy system (Like The mysterious case of bodies in the docks by Simone Osborne).

 

http://www.ffproject.com/download.htm

 

Rolemaster had a thief adventure for one player plus GM. I never played it, but considered it a possible shortcut to 'initiate' a newbie player into a decently useful rogue (trap disarmer, ambush spotter, and loot-box opener).  😉

 

Chaosium SHOULD have some free downloads for the Call of Cthulhu system, as even their cost-free section is pretty filled.

 

RISUS - The Anything RPG offers some cool solo-adventure ( I remember a halfling aka hobbit thief vs alchemists of Evil sect), and group potential.

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