Solo RPG Playtests #4-6

Several more summaries…

#4 Doomed Thief

Meet Beren, daughter of murdered merchants and trained by a thief. At the tavern she heard tell of the Fabulous Ruby Nose of Nojj Dol Min, and charmed her way out of the bar just before a fight broke out. Then she deftly stole a few delicacies and a camel, and convinced a fellow named Sevan to be her guide.

As they left town, they passed through a tall field of wheat and ran afoul of two poachers with a fresh kill. Beren tried to trip them up with snares and traps, but they kept breaking free and shot her with their crossbows again and again. She had to sacrifice her camel just to escape!

Then high in the moors, they stumbled upon a hideous eldritch altar of red stone guarded by two giant scorpions. Beren dashed about the altar, setting traps and hurling knives. She manged to wound one scorpion, forcing it to withdraw. But the remaining scorpion killed Sevan with its bristling claws and then stabbed Beren with its deadly stinger… and our hero was no more!

NOTES: The game was working pretty well, but Beren kept rolling Misses! I made the Action table simpler, down to just 6 options in combat. It feels right. We just need more testing.

#5 Cruel Cudgel

Meet Kajal, a clever brute scarred by fire and desperate for attention, armed with a cudgel. He rode out in search of a fabled Silver Tongue. At the village hot springs, an elderly poisoner attacked him with toxic needles, but Kajal beat the old man to death. Then he spent a night with a camp of fur traders, where he spotted a mad zealot with four legs and five arms. The Chaos fanatic cornered him, but again his cudgel won the day.

Kajal found a path behind a waterfall to the ruined tower, where three witches tried to curse him to slip and fall to his doom. But instead he rushed in and bludgeoned them all into oblivion. Then in the dank cellars of the tower, Kajal ambushed a psychic carnivorous plant and pounded it back into the darkness. Finally Kajal ambushed the Master Runecarver of the tower, and while many enchanted tools and weapons wounded our hero, he made short work of the Villain.

He then returned home to find the Silver Tongue was quite valuable and used the money to attract a crowd of shallow sycophants.

NOTES: Again, this character kept rolling very high and cake-walked the game. I guess that’s just how dice games can go.

#6 Fearsome Farmer

Meet Liraz, a farmer mentored by a priest, who stole an old sword from a tomb. In the tavern he heard of the Bronze Ring of Animal Speech. He knocked out a drunk as he left the bar. Then he geared up and headed out of the city.

At the reservoir, Liraz encountered a drunk soldier. Not taking him seriously, Liraz was stunned when the soldier killed his camel, and then he made short work of the soldier. He then passed by a prospector’s shack, where he spotted a member of the Dancing Assassins. His ambush failed and a deadly duel ensued. But Liraz triumphed with few wounds.

At an old army watchtower, Liraz stumbled on a nest of four fire-spitting pettydrakes! They quickly surrounded him, but he slew the little dragons. He then arrived at the Ruby Gates of the ruined tower, guarded by a bald time mage. Liraz lured the mage out with a trap, and then it was steel against bubbles of twisted time magic! Eventually the mage, fell, but Liraz was hurting badly.

Inside the tower, Liraz laid an ambush for the ensorcelled blue knight. Again a terrible duel ensued. Liraz’s hired mercenary was slaughtered, and Liraz slew the knight, but only after taking terrible wounds. Now at death’s door, Liraz confronted the Artisan Glass Spellwright. He had little chance of success, but against all odds, pierced by many glass spikes and spears, Liraz defeated the Spellwright and claimed the Bronze Ring!

NOTES: I had an sudden insight about how to improve the combat system. This time, I changed how the numbers work (basically the Hit Points) and I removed one of the minor combat mechanics. So I think it’s much better now. I need to keep tuning the math, but I feel like this is super close!

Question… are these playtests sounding like a game you want to play? An easy little 30-minute solo game that lets you create a unique Conan-esque adventure?

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2 Responses to Solo RPG Playtests #4-6

  1. Björn Buckwalter says:

    These playtest write-ups make it sound like it is all about fighting, all the time. Is that the case, or is that just the part you are playtesting? It also isn’t obvious that there are many interesting decisions (sacrifice one’s camel to get out of a fight?)?

    Knowing some of your other work, I’m sure there is more to it than that?

    • Joseph says:

      So (now that the game is finished and published) I can tell you that Reavers & Rogues is structured around Encounters, and you can choose to Parley, Evade, or Battle the foe at each Encounter.

      Each choice requires at least two rolls using at least two different Traits, and each can produce multiple different outcomes, including recruiting an Ally, finding Loot, learning a Secret, Suffering a Loss, and being forced into Battle.

      So it is possible to play through all of the Encounters without combat at all (except for the final boss battle).

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