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  • giorgis 3:55 pm on November 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    d144 Idiom Portent Generator 

    Inspired by my latest actual play, went ahead and created a d144 Idiom Portent Generator. I’ve used many portents in the past, but the use of idioms was the most inspiring to me.

    EDIT: updated to v1.2 for improved formatting

     
    • Todd Zircher 7:06 pm on November 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Pretty cool, always like to see more love for the d12. My only gripe is the spacing on the contents of the table. It just strikes me as odd. Not sure if there is a better way. Maybe landscape to give you more room? Something to play with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 7:08 pm on November 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! Yes, I wasn’t too happy with the formatting either. My first efforts in LaTex. I’ll play around with it some more!

        Like

    • Carl White 5:18 pm on December 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Very handy, thanks for sharing this! Always nice to have a new randomiser,. I can see this working nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 10:52 pm on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    The Social Conflict Exchange 

    Most roleplaying games do not have in-depth mechanics for social interactions. In some, thought has been placed, and there are a few skills covering several types of interactions and even progress rolls, while in others it could be left out to a single personality attribute.
    This isn’t so much a problem in social tabletop RPGs where, there is a conversation between two different persons. One, the Game Master, emulating the NPC, and the other, the Player, emulating their PC.
    In solo roleplaying this missing link, is even more pronounced, since the GM and Player, both come down to the same person.
    While playing some crunchier combat systems I noticed, that sometimes, the increased effort to run them, payed off, as there was ample narrative feedback.
    So this is an attempt, to create a social interactions mechanics framework, to drive the conversation, and maybe return interesting results in the process, while reducing mental effort and player bias.
    I was very much inspired by several topics discussed in Solo RPGs: Let’s Talk About Dialogues YouTube video by RPG Tips.

    Conflict, in the scope of this framework includes major social interactions, not petty squabbles or small talk. It’s what makes or break you. Consider the equivalent of combat, but with no swords drawn.
    You try to convince someone, questioning their beliefs, lie to them about a fundamental truth or scare one into betraying their own.

    There are three dispositions with two ends of the spectrum each.
    (Defiance/Fear)
    (Hate/Love)
    (Suspicion/Trust)

    The Levels for each disposition go from 1 to 6 for Defiance to Fear, Hate to Love and Suspicion to Trust. You can write them down, but I recommend using three different colored six-side dice to represent each value as it changes through the exchange.
    I’d suggest Black for Fear, Red for Love and White for Trust, but go with whatever dice colors you have.

    Examples:

    • A town guard captain searching for fugitives in the player’s description could have the following dispositions: Trust 1, Love 3, Fear 3.
    • A fellow street urchin who saw their escape could have the following disposition: Trust 5, Love 4, Fear 2.
    • A civilian who doesn’t want to be bothered in case they find trouble, and is scared of meeting outlaws could have the following disposition: Trust 2, Fear 4, Love 3.

    Level 3,4 borders on indifference.
    Level 2,5 has strong feelings.
    Level 1,6 is a major driver. It’s what dictates the NPC’s actions towards the protagonist.

    You can choose the level of each disposition, roll randomly (1d6), or even hide it and reveal it afterwards to decrease metagaming. In that last option, you can also try to ‘read’ the disposition through the use of a skill such as perception (see further below).

    Some game systems have specialized social skills, while others could be so broad as to even have just a generic social attribute. In any case, depending on the success or failure of the attempted skill, and by how much (critical/marginal), the dispositions are modified by one level, as defined in the table below.

    ActionConCharmPersuasionIntimidation
    CS+L+L+T+F
    MS+L,-T+L,-T+T,-L+F,-L
    MF-T-L-T-F
    CF-L,-T-L,-F-T,-F-F,-L

    So a marginally successful charm attempt would both increase the Love disposition but also decrease Trust. Whereas a failed charm attempt would decrease the Love disposition.

    The exchange ends, whenever a disposition reaches (or remains at) level 1 dictating failure or level 6, dictating success. If the result is contradicting, having both 1 and 6 at the same time, then its a draw, and another attempt must be made, until the number of successes doesn’t equal the number of failures.

    Examples:

    • The protagonist tries to Con the town guard captain that they saw the fugitives heading in another direction and fails. This means that Trust remains at 1, and the captain doesn’t fall for their ruse. He draws his sword and sounds the alarm.
    • The protagonist tries to Persuade the street urchin that if they help them escape, they will reward them, and they are successful, raising the Trust to 6. The street urchin decides to risk their skin and take them through the back alleys and lay low in his shack.
    • As they stumble upon the civilian, the protagonist draws his finger across his neck, while making a gesture to stay silent, Intimidating them successfully. Fear increases to 5 while Love decreases to 2. The civilian still considers his options. These guys look scary, but maybe his hatred for outlaws will outweigh his fear and he will sound the alarm.

    The dispositions changes are not necessarily long term.
    If for example the protagonist tried to Intimidate a close friend into abandoning their cause, and this reduced their Love, it could last only for a few days. Feeling hurt, heal over time, just like wounds in battle.
    Likewise, a conned guard who let the protagonist into the compound, won’t still have increased Love disposition once they find out the truth.

    Note:
    While performing the skills, do not forget to add any modifiers, according to the game system.
    A bribery attempt would have a bonus or penalty according to the bribe. A persuasion attempt to a close friend would have a bonus. An intimidation attempt when you are outgunned would have a penalty.

    Reducing metagaming:
    If the player knows beforehand the dispositions of the target NPC, then they can choose which skill to use or avoid the social exchange altogether, thus giving them an unfair advantage.
    To reduce this advantage do the following:

    • Before starting any exchange, do a Perception or relative roll, to see if the protagonist can ‘read’ the target’s intentions. Apply any modifiers.
    • If successful, then either decide the disposition, roll randomly, or ask the Oracle. In any case, you know. Optionally, depending on the level of success, you may know only one or two of the three dispositions.
    • If unsuccessful, or partially successful, then if you decide to go ahead with the social exchange, then, run the first round of the exchange, and roll/ask the Oracle for the dispositions afterwards. This way, there is an extra risk involved. It’s implied that after exchanging a few words, you have understood what their disposition is.

    Now I need to playtest these rules, and post the results. I’m thinking a high diplomacy, low combat one-shot.

     
    • Manfred 10:14 am on October 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Hi,
      Interesting approach. Have you playtested it and posted the results somewhere?
      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 5:20 pm on October 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi,
        Unfortunately I haven’t playtested it. It’s something that’s been sitting in the back of my head but never gotten around to doing it. My current MERP sessions are combat-heavy so I don’t know if I’ll be able to squeeze it in.

        Like

        • Manfred 10:33 pm on October 6, 2020 Permalink

          OK, no worries. Let us know when you get round to it.

          Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 9:03 pm on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    A dogfighting experiment 

    Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take One

    Intro

    Whenever I run solo space combat in theater of the mind or map grid I found myself and the system lacking.
    I could not beat myself doing anything more than rush to enemy while the enemy rushed to me, and perform bootlegger turns when we passed each other…hardly satisfying.
    I need something else, to provide functionality, food for narrative, and a level of realism, and most of all enjoyable.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this experiment is to run dogfights in theater of the mind emulating a 3D environment.

    Scope

    Using the It came from above hex flower engine as a basis upon which to set a dogfighting framework.

    Prerequisites

    I’m using a success count system instead of standard D6 addition of dice vs target number.

    Dice Definitions

    Wild Die

    The Wild Die succeeds on a 3+, explodes on a 6, and generates a mishap on a roll of 1.
    All rolls except defense rolls, have a Wild Die, which replaces a Full Die. It is denoted as W.

    Full Die

    The Full Die is the most common die roll. It succeeds on 3+. It is denoted as F.

    Note: Wild Dice and Full Dice together are denoted as D.

    Half Die

    The Half Die has half the success chance of a Full Die. It succeeds on 5+. It is denoted as +2 or H.

    Quarter Die

    The Quarter Die has a quarter chance of success of a Full Die. It succeeds on 6 only. It is denoted as +1 or Q.

    Example

    A character with 2D+2, rolls one Wild Die, one Full Die and one Half Die

    Procedure

    1. Initialization phase. Roll Initiative. This has importance only in terms of ‘who shoots first’. Determine starting distance based on circumstances. In a standard dogfight where both combatants are aware of the imminent battle, a good starting distance is the lowest sensors Scan distance of the two crafts.
    2. Declaration phase. Declare actions. Multiple actions incur penalties according to game system. Each combatant chooses an opponent. Squadrons can be considered a single unit in terms of maneuver, led by the relative command skill of their commander.
    3. Piloting phase. Roll the piloting skill of each combatant, modified by their spacecraft’s maneuverability. Count each Piloting Success. Depending on the space ‘terrain’ (e.g. asteroids) you may need to assign one or more piloting dice to evading obstacles or risk a collision. The successes that remain can be used for evasion or orientation.
    4. Orientation phase. Roll 2d6 without wild die on the HFGE. If you wish you may spend Piloting Successes from step 2 to modify the orientation by one hex face per success spent.
      Attacking craft roll as Top Down attackers. Fleeing craft roll as Bottom Feeders.
    5. Movement phase. Roll the crafts movement dice (use 1ed or 2ed conversion). Deduct the results from the distance if the combatant has a front orientation, or add it if it has a rear orientation. Reduce the moved distance by a factor of two for each additional axis offset.
    6. Support actions phase. Running jammers, communications, shields, or whatever else.
    7. Gunnery phase. If the combatant has weapons facing in the direction of his orientation, then they can shoot if they declared so in the declaration phase. Shooting happens in the order of the initiative.
      Shooting difficulty is distance OR dodge (remaining piloting successes), whichever is greater.

    Note: For the center hex (#19), the combatant is free to choose front or rear orientation.

    Example #1

    A-Wing vs TIE fighter, clear space, standard dogfight.

    1. Initialization phase.
      Starting distance: 40 space units.
      Initiative.
      A-Wing: 3D: 4
      TIE: 3D: 0

    Turn 1.

    1. Declaration phase.
      A-Wing: -2D (Piloting, Shields, Gunnery).
      TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
    2. Piloting phase.
      A-Wing: 7D: 3.
      TIE: 5D+1: 6.
    3. Orientation phase.
      A-Wing: 9: 6 (Front right flank and above). Spend one Piloting Success to move to 4 (Front right flank and level).
      TIE: 7: 2 (Front and above).
    4. Movement phase.
      A-Wing: 6D: 22. One axis offset (right flank).
      TIE: 5D: 10. One axis offset (above).
      Distance: 40-22/2-10/2 = 24.
    5. Support actions phase.
      A-Wing: Shields: 1D+1: 3 successes, they choose Front, Rear and Right shields.
    6. Gunnery phase.
      A-Wing: 5D+2: 3/6: Miss.
      TIE: 5D: 5/4: Hit: Damage: 5D/3D+2: 1/1: Shields blown (-1D).

    The A-Wing and TIE fighter target each other and approach at full speed. Each performs a large turn to try to get the advantage and they let off a burst of laser shots at each other. The TIE pilot manages to evade the A-Wing approaching from below and hits it from the right flank, blasting its shields.

    Turn 2.

    1. Declaration phase.
      A-Wing: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
      TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
    2. Piloting phase.
      A-Wing: 8D: 6.
      TIE: 5D+1: 4.
    3. Orientation phase.
      A-Wing: 3: 19 (Front).
      TIE: 7: 12 (Rear and below). Spend 2 Piloting Successes to move to 3 (Front and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      A-Wing: 6D: 21. No axis offset.
      TIE: 5D: 22. One axis offset (below).
      Distance: 24-21-22/2 = -14. (14).
    5. Support actions phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery phase.
      A-Wing: 6D+2: 4/4: Hit: Damage:
      5D/2D: 5/1: Destroyed.

    Now the A-Wing pilot no longer is distracted by trying to activate the shields and focuses on the dogfight. He spirals the star fighter and gets on the TIE fighter’s tail, who has to perform a complete loop and rotation to get the A-wing back on his sights. Before he has a chance to open fire, a salvo from the A-Wing obliterates the TIE fighter.


    Summary and Lessons learned:
    The A-Wing with superior pilots and technology won the dogfight, but easily, they could have lost.
    Now I’m not certain about the piloting success economy. I will be watching it closely.
    One thing that needs changing is the shooting arcs. Right now if you have something in Front you can shoot it with Front Weapons even if it’s offset in two axes (e.g Front Right Flank and Below). I intend to change this depending on distance. On long range you can shoot with two axes offset. On medium range you can shoot with one axis offset and on short range you can shoot only on direct (no offset).
    I would love to have narrative distance ranges and not be based on space units. It’s kind of weird how space combat ranges are implemented in RAW. I mean weapon ranges are impacting accuracy directly, as does fire control. Why have two different mechanics for the same thing? I have some thoughts in mind regarding this, regarding keeping only a maximum range per weapon type and have fixed penalties based on distance.
    Another thought that came to mind is when you get a negative distance, which means one opponent passed over the other, maybe there’s a collision chance. Or maybe you could use some piloting successes to reduce the ship speed. Or maybe one could choose any speed rating between 1D and max speed. I’m still thinking about and will playtest some variants.
    Finally I am still missing some narrative. I am thinking of implementing some maneuvers to be bought with piloting successes which will give specific effects.

    Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take Two

    Updated Rules:
    1. Shooting arc is limited to axis offset. Long range can be offset by two additional axes, medium can be offset by one axis, and close is direct shots only. Turrets are an exception. They can shoot direct on all their relative axes. Common sense applies.
    2. Distances are now
    Close (1-7)
    Short (8-15)
    Medium (16-30)
    Long (31-45)
    Far (46-60)
    Distant (61-75)
    Extreme (76-100)
    A weapon emplacement can shoot at the maximum distance range it has, but all suffer the same distance penalties. So, a Laser Cannon (max range 25, Medium) that shoots a target at Short range has the same chance to hit as a Missile (max range 15, Short).
    3. Speed is rolled as successes counts. Every additional axis offset reduces the maximum dice by one step (Full to Half to Quarter). Piloting Succeses can be assigned to increase the dice rolled for speed. Approaching combatants reduce the distance by the number of successes, otherwise the distance is increased or decreased according to the differences.
    Distance can’t be less than Close. If distance is greater than Extreme, then combat is over.
    3. Initiative needs to be rerolled every Turn. Mainly for fun factor, and because dogfighting is more abstract than grid combat. You have advantage one turn, you lose it the next.

    Additional Rules:

    1. Squadrons are lead by a squad leader. The leader uses the Command skill. Multiple action penalties apply normally. The Command difficulty is as per the skill. Any successfully commanded squaddies benefit from the combined action bonus dice to their piloting skills.
      The command test is rolled at the start of the piloting phase.
    2. Passive (Non-dogfighting) targets must roll 2d6 so that their targeter can identify their approach (for shield coverage, speed and distance, etc). The targeter can opt to spend their own piloting successes to change their target’s orientation (they pilot their craft in a way to get a specific approach).
      An example would be a squadron of TIE Bombers heading for a Corellian Corvette that are intercepted by A-Wings. If the TIE Bombers opt to continue towards the corvette, then they are considered passive targets for the A-Wings in terms of orientation. Their speed and dodge values on their dogfighting against the corvette is used against the A-Wings normally.
    3. Formations. Squadrons can fly in formations deducting 1D from Piloting and Speed, and rolling as one the speed and orientation.

    Example #2

    I’ll implement all the rules here, it’s going to be a complicated fight.

    2 Y-Wings are heading after a Lambda-class shuttle carrying a Rebel traitor. The shuttle runs on skeleton crew. 2 TIE Fighters are escorting the shuttle. Each squadron has a leader with a command of 4D.

    1. Initialization phase.
      Starting distance: Long.

    Turn 1.
    Rebels: Initiative: 0
    Imperials: Initiative: 0
    Concurrent events.

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -2D (Command, Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
      Lambda Shuttle: -2D (Skeleton, Piloting), Bottom Feeder
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing Command: 1/2: Failure.
      TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
      Y-Wing L: 3D+2: 3.
      Y-Wing W: 4D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 4D: 3.
      TIE W: 4D+1: 3.
      Lambda: 3D: 3.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wings: 11: 4 (Front right flank and level).
      TIEs: 6: 2 (Front & Above).
      Lambda: 10: 13 (Back left flank and level).
      Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 8: 4 (Front right flank and level).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wings will add 2 to speed.
      Y-Wings: 4D+2: Halved: 1.
      TIEs: 4D: Halved: 2.
      Lambda: 2D+2: Halved: 2.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
      Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Far.
    5. Support phase.
      Y-Wing L: Shields: 1D: 1: Front shields.
      Y-Wing W: Shields: 2D: 1: Front shields.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      TIEs are too close to get a clear shot.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.
      Y-Wing W Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.

    Turn 2.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 1

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Command, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
      Lambda Shuttle: -3D (Skeleton, Shields, Piloting), Bottom Feeder
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing Command: 2/2: Success.
      TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
      Y-Wing W: 5D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 4D: 2.
      TIE W: 4D+1: 7.
      Lambda: 3D: 3.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wings: 11: 9 (Back right flank and below). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 5: 6 (Front right flank and below). They spend 2 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      Lambda: 9: 14 (Back left flank and above).
      Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 10: 9 (Back right flank and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wings spend 1 to increase speed.
      Y-Wings: 4D+2: 4: vs TIE Quartered: 1.
      TIEs: 5D: 3.
      Lambda: 2D+2: Quartered: 0.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
      Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      Lambda: Shields: 1D: 1: Rear Shields.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 6/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing W Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 4/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/1: 3 Controls Ionized. Ship Disabled.
      Y-Wing W Lasers shoot at Lambda: 5D+1: 2/3: Miss.
      TIE L shoots at Y-Wing L: 4D: 2/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/3: Lightly Damaged: Ship Loses 1D speed.
      TIE W shoots at Y-Wing W: 5D: 3/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/0: Destroyed

    Turn 3.
    Rebels: Initiative: 1
    Imperials: Initiative: 2

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
    2. Piloting phase.
      TIE Command: 2/2: Success.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 5D: 2.
      TIE W: 5D+1: 2.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 8: 5 (Front right flank and above). They spend 2 to move to 19 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 7: 2 (Front and above).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
      TIEs: 4D: 3.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      TIEs are too close and offset and can’t shoot.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 4/2: Hit: 4D/2D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE W: 5D+1: 3/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 4/1: Severely Damaged: Structural Damage, will disintegrate in 1D rounds.

    Turn 4.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 3

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 4 rounds.
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 12: 10 (Rear and level). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 8: 18 (Front left flank and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 1.
      TIE: 4D: 2.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 6/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 1/0: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 3/1: Heavily Damaged: -2D Moves.

    Turn 5.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 2

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 7 rounds.
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 6.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 6: 3 (Front and above). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 9: 3 (Front and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
      TIE: 5D: 3.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 7/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 2/0: 3 Controls Ionized: ship is disabled.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 1/2: No damage

    Summary and Lessons learned: Initially I thought I overdid it. Too complicated. But then it struck me. I run a combat with 5 spacecrafts in 3 groups!
    I mean this would have taken me ages to work out otherwise.
    Okay at certain points it felt too wargamey, and maybe I need to take a look at 1ed starship combat rules. Maybe there’s something that would speed things up.
    Overall I’m quite content with the results for now, and will keep that in mind for my next Star Wars D6 game.

     
  • giorgis 12:36 pm on September 14, 2019 Permalink
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    A scout mission gone awry 

    Reflections on my first solo play adventure


    When I first heard about solo playing I was very skeptical. I decided to try it out nevertheless and my first two attempts were a disaster.

    In my first try, I tried to play without the use of an Oracle, but by being the GM and emulating the character. Didn’t work out, and my character was slaughtered by a critical hit that severed his knee in the first round of combat in the first scene.

    Second try, I used BOLD to set up a story, and started using an Oracle to set up the scene, but quickly I got lost in questions that made no sense and abandoned it.

    Both of these were set in an agnostic fantasy setting, and herein lies the first two problems I had to solve. I needed to have some meta knowledge of the setting my character lived in, and also knowledge of the game mechanics so that I won’t be losing a lot of time.

    So I chose Star Wars D6. I know the setting. I’ve watched the movies and several of the animated series episodes. It’s also a huge universe, so I could mix canon stuff with things I made on the fly through the Oracle. Secondly I have the physical books in my collection from my TTRPG days. No more going back and forth in pdf files trying to browse to the page I want.

    In retrospect, those two were excellent choices that helped drive my play forward.

    I created a scout character. I chose a scout because he is prone to solo adventuring, and I wouldn’t have to think a lot about an adventure hook. So without a second thought I used a name generator until I got something I liked and off we go.

    Here I made a mistake. I didn’t spend some time to create some proper background for Roy. Yes, he wants to explore and he wants to make a name of himself. That’s very shallow. It caused me a few headaches down the road where I wasn’t sure how Roy would react. So he acted how I would act.

    I tried to fix it later by using BOLD for a backstory, but still I have a gap there. For the future I intend to use some random roll based on Septimus and OpenD6 chargen which has several traits that will have both roleplaying and game mechanics impact. Lesson learned.

    First play session in, and I have a very bad roll in astrogation. Which destroyed Roy’s ship and has him evacuate in a hurry to survive.

    That was great! At the moment I couldn’t see it, but a story module could have been designed that way and it happened in game!

    The cinematic nature of WEG Star Wars D6 payed out. Roy’s adventure turned oh so different because of this starting event.

    Third or fourth session in, I realize that Roy won’t get far all alone. He needs assistance. I managed to bring that to him through the Oracle and UNE and bring out Luca, who would become a secondary PC-NPC later on. Balancing is important.

    Here’s how I started mixing up Oracle rolls and game mechanics. Whenever there is a game mechanic rule about something, it takes precedence. Otherwise I ask The Oracle. Pretty much how the GM would arbitrate. So Roy managed to persuade Luca to help him. Why? I assume that in the end it was Lucas nature rather than the promise of a vague unknown reward.

    A topic that came along many times was the combat maps. Theater of the mind vs grid map. I tried both, but since I don’t have a dedicated board or something similar, I went with theater of the mind. It also resolved faster. When soloing theater of the mind also has no misunderstandings. In the future I want to bring out my legos and try such a visualization.

    Now a long journey begins. With the duo jumping back and forth between systems trying to get the information on those data cores. At some point I got frustrated. I think it’s one of those moments where a GM railroads the players back into the adventure.

    I couldn’t see the big picture of how interesting this was. Thankfully the fellow lone wolves who read on my story pointed it out, and I stuck with it, and a couple sessions later, the data cores are unlocked, and the duo, accompanied by Kuna heads off to the mysterious coordinates.

    Looking back, I see that all this struggle gave the adventure depth. It has a prologue, main theme, and we’re heading to the revelation and epilogue. Another lesson learned. Never abandon the story, there are always hooks.

    Somewhere around here I decided to play around a bit with the game system. No matter how cinematic, for reasons I explained elsewhere, the addition and target numbers slowed down the pace when playing. I switched to a homebrew D6 Legends with pips success resolution mechanic and never looked back. It’s easy, fast has narrative determination if desired and success levels so that I can tell how well the character did.

    Now heading to the end one of the hardest things I had to tackle was metagaming. I haven’t solved the issue yet, but I have identified several cases where it happened, and I intend to write down some rules on how to avoid it.

    In several of my sessions I knew things my character didn’t. I fixed those cases but still, it either stole some of the surprise elements or made me feel like I was cheating, when I disregarded them to go with the story and Oracle flow.

    I also made a couple mistakes and had to trace back and delete a paragraph or two and catch the story again from there. So another rule I follow is that unless it’s written down in the cleaned up form (e.g posted here) if I made a serious mistake I can scratch it and restart from there.

    There were a couple sessions where I noticed my errors afterwards, and the consequences were dire, with the team wounded and losing their starship, but in fairness I stuck with it.

    In one of my sessions, just when I thought the team would be handed over to the Imperials, I had a player moment. I thought of something my character would do based on what he knows, which was a solution to the problem! This was very important to me as it gave me the thrill of playing the game instead of narrating or making rolls to see how well I did.

    20 sessions in, and when the dramatic outcome of saving the Amalsi didn’t occur, I knew I had to wrap things up.

    At first, I took focus away and just wrote a short epilogue on how they went to Aros and lay low.

    It just didn’t feel right. So I split it up and step by step, I played the epilogue, which gave me the closure I wanted, and some extra plot hooks.

    It feels much more fair and complete now.

    Another thing I learned was how to focus in and out. That’s another advantage of the D6 system. The skills can be for a quick action (sneaking past a guard) or a long term series of actions (sneaking through the wilderness). It assisted me when doing the repairs on the Dragonfly and in the epilogue when I wanted to wrap things up. I could have scenes with Luca meeting up the black market contacts and the data forgers, but that could have sidelined to new adventures and I didn’t want that at the time.

    Another challenge is bookkeeping. I am not great at organizing notes. I have printed the base character sheets but I don’t update them regularly. So I use a combination of paper copy and electronic notes.

    The most serious issue here is keeping track of credits and resources. In game I resorted to asking The Oracle if my character had a desired item. Much as a player would ask his GM. I am underway to using something similar to OpenD6 Funds attribute. Will see how it plays out in the future.

    I closed the adventure at a point with several plot hooks. We have Kuna with major cybernetic enhancements and a Sith artifact. Deng, a pirate captain scouring through the system, the fleet footed Kimby running away from Lligon Tuk and the Empire bringing it’s wrath down to the Amal moon. When I catch up I intend to use BOLD waylays to see what happened in the downtime.

    All in all, it was a very fun experience. I will be keeping the D6 Legends homebrew for my next games, unless I want to try something else explicitly.

    I have some new solo styles I want to try out so I am hitting pause on Roy and Luca, to catch up on them again later.

    Brief summary of story


    Our protagonist, Roy was assigned a Scout mission from his corporate employer. He set off with his ship to explore, but a disaster happened in hyperspace and he was stranded in unknown hostile territory.

    There he met with Luca, an old smuggler who agreed to help him in return of a share of the reward on whatever they find. Luca flies the Red Rancor, an Ghtroc light freighter.

    They recover the Nav data cores but they’re locked and encrypted and they set off trying to find a hacker.

    They meet with Kimby, one of Luca’s contacts, but she disappears at the first hint of trouble as she is being hunted down.

    Then they find another hacker, named Kuna, but they can’t afford to pay him, so they do a cargo run to gather the necessary credits.

    When they return, the station where the hacker resides is under pirate blockade, and they have to mediate between the pirates and the station command to get to their objective.

    They succeed, joined by Kuna who cracks the security of the Nav data cores and jump to their destination.

    There they find a frozen moon, and their first contact is with Imperial forces. Despite their small strength, probably due to the fact that this was an Imperial scout force, in the second skirmish with the protagonists, they ambush them, and the Red Rancor is destroyed.

    The team is captured by the locals, the Amalsi who intend to exchange them to the Empire in return for some of their own.

    They manage to escape and reach the frozen cavern of the abandoned ruins of an ancient Amalsi city under the glacier.

    There they learn the story of the moon, how an evil wizard who landed there terraformed the planet in his attempts to mine out some crystals.

    They fight off some beasts and manage to find the wizards starship. They bring it back to operation and fly out of the city.

    The team then assaults the Imperial outpost and obliterates it. The Amalsi join in the attack, but when they meet with our protagonists later, there is an incident with Kuna and the team had to escape with their hides intact.

    Finally they reach back civilized space and Kuna goes his own way, taking one of the wizards artifacts that he found as his share.

    Review of tools and systems


    WEG Star Wars D6:

    The core rulebook and setting I played the adventure. I will definitely be returning to it.

    Pros: Low amount of crunch, Skill and in-game mechanics descriptions for most situations, NPC stats easy to eye-ball, Easy Wounds system with quick resolution.

    Cons: Target numbers hard to choose fairly, Adding up dice pools can slow down solo play, Combat can become stale shootouts, Rules can be missing at places.

    Additional books used: Galaxy Guide to Scouts, Pirates and Privateers, Tales of the Jedi Companion.

    D6 Legends Homebrew

    Homebrew rules to solve some issues I face. I will be keeping it and evolving it as I play more.

    Pros: Can be used with D6 systems without conversions, Fast success result resolution.

    Cons: Can’t be used in 100% of the cases, resulting in regression to the original D6 system

    MUNE

    Light, few page oracle with fast resolution and low bookkeeping.

    Pros: Easy, Fast, Intuitive

    Cons: The ‘buts’ can be difficult to narrate all times, regressing to simple Yes/No

    UNE

    Universal NPC emulator. Worked great for the cases I turned to it.

    Pros: NPC on the fly, NPC backstory

    Cons: The result may not fit the NPC.

    BOLD

    Book of Legends and deeds. What I loved about it is how easily it helped unleash a story when I was still learning my first baby steps in soloing.

    Pros: Produces great backstories. Can fill in in-between mission gaps.

    Cons: Can be difficult to combine the different story parts.

    GMA from beta Alone release bundle

    Had to print it out to use it, but it was worth the effort. It has great potential and is a quick assist at hand without having to search my online bookmarks for tools.

    Pros: No need for dice, no need for online portents, tailor-made for rpgs, solves multiple issues with one card.

    Cons: I don’t have the entire deck 😀

    donjon

    This site has a ton of resources from fantasy to cyberpunk to scifi. It’s my go to resource when I want something generated. I only head elsewhere if I don’t find what I need.

    Pros: Generators for almost every need

    Cons: Some generators enhance metagaming (System generators)

    Simplenote

    A cross platform note taking app that I use as an intermediary from paper to publishing.

    Pros: Cross platform (web, windows, Linux, iOS, Android), Note sharing, Markdown, publishing, export function.

    Cons: There are no folders so browsing can be a hard.

    Many thanks to the wonderful solo rpg community for all the knowledge sharing and support. It’s what inspired me to get on this endeavor.

     
  • giorgis 5:28 pm on August 8, 2019 Permalink
    Tags: Tools   

    Putting a Face to the Name 

    When I was first introduced to the world of roleplaying games, it was through Dragon Quest by TSR.

    I would spend a lot of time just looking at the gorgeous artwork of the books.

    The red dragon pictured inside, was so vivid that I can still recall it, and it’s how I imagine red dragons up to this day.

    I find that visualization is an important aspect in roleplaying, and anything that helps in visualization, is a great aide to the game in general.

    Alas, my drawing skills are nowhere close to good (maybe someday I will practice them along with other things I would like to learn to do better but never had the time). So I have to resort to software tools to help me- and here are the tools I stumbled upon to create faces for the protagonists of my Star Wars D6 sandbox solo play.

    First I used the face generator in http://thispersondoesnotexist.com until I found a result I liked (lots of rerolls, mind you).

    Then I used a sketch filter (my personal choice- Heisenberg from Prism app) to give a cartoonish look.

    So here is Roy

    ..and here is Luca

     
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