Monday, August 29, 2011

Dark Heresy Sessions, Part One

Here is the next installment of my Dark Heresy solo games.  I pick up the story right where my previous character ended.  While it's not totally necessary to read that first, it might help.  Again, familiarity with the Warhammer 40,000 setting will help with some of the visuals.  The document encompasses multiple sessions and the completion of the first "act."  I didn't intend to create acts, but GME is helping with that!

The session reports are at this link.

This time I included all the questions that I asked GME.  I gave my probability estimates and the outcome (though not the number, in most cases).  For scenes or complex questions, I gave the results I rolled on the GME tables.  All the other stuff is basically what I typed up as the game proceeded.  Generally one scene per session was enough for me, though some scenes lasted longer.  I think totally I played about six hours or so.

I assume everyone reading the blog so far is familiar with GME and some methods for playing a solo RPG.  If this is not clear, I can post up about the basics. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Encouragment and a Session Report

I was quite surprised to see comments on my last post so soon.  This really encouraged me.  So to get things moving during my "inaugural" period of blogging, I thought I'd post up a solo RPG session report.

This write up is my first forays into solo RPGs.  Prior to this, I'd never tried anything, assuming it was impossible to play an RPG solo.  I used Mythic's Game Master Emulator (GME or sometimes seen as MGME) to create the story.  With one exception, I did not include anything from using the GME in my write up.  Neither did I include any of the game mechanics in the write up.  I've tried to approach it like narrating the game to myself as I played.  I typed the session notes as I went and fixed them later.

I'm still new to solo RPGs and haven't found the best method to "actualize" the game as I play it.  By this I mean, how I experience the game play.  I could just imagine it all, or act it out verbally, or type it up like I've been doing.  My more recent session notes have become a mish mash of things, including the GME questions and narrative and even dialog.  I plan to take those raw notes and craft something more coherent so the story becomes the focus.

Here is a link to the session report.  I am playing Fantasy Flight Games Dark Heresy RPG.  This is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  As such, to really understand the write up you will probably need to know something about this setting.

I was also learning the game mechanics at the same time.  I won't give the ending away, but it should be obvious that what happened was because I didn't really understand some things about the game.  In any event, these sessions became the prologue to a longer story that I'm playing through currently.

I hope you will enjoy my weak first attempts at a solo RPG.  I'm planning more to come, both in this story line and other RPGs.  (I'm getting dangerously close to starting a Pathfinder game!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why Play a Multiplayer Game as a Solo Game?

I think this is a question for which most people have an answer.  A quick Internet search will show that some people think it's anti-social, shameful, and somehow destroying the fabric of society.  Let's put those people into the misguided bucket for now.  The rest of your search results should've yielded a variety of blogs and forum posts ranging from curiosity to advocacy of the solo gaming experience.  These people all have their reasons for playing a multiplayer game by themselves.   I'm certain you have your own reasons as well.
I can't answer the question posed in the subject of this post, not in a universal way.  All I can answer is why I personally play solo, and what I choose to play solo.   I think that makes a solid topic for my first post on this blog.  Let's see where this goes.

To being with, the games I play solo are table top miniature games and role playing games (RPGs).  The miniatures games probably didn't raise any eyebrows.  But I'm sure the RPG game play is already coming under suspicion.  I've been doing solo miniatures games on and off in some form for years.   However, the RPG solo games are new territory for me.  In fact, the solo RPG experience is the genesis for this blog.  But I'll get to that in a moment. 

Table top miniature games are probably the easiest games to play solo.  At the most elemental level, you line up opposing armies and run them at each other.  The game mechanics take care of just about everything else.  Back in the late 1990s when I started assembling  the starter box content of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battles, this was how I played.  My Empire army was on one side and my Orc army was on the other.  I rolled dice until one side collapsed, usually the Orcs.  This was not very fulfilling, to say the least.

I now actively play many different miniatures games with a great group of friends.  However, I still do a lot of solo miniatures gaming.  Not everyone wants to play the game I want to play.  Not everyone has the time to play when I'm free.  Additionally, solo games allow for events or scenarios not strictly covered in the rules.  I don't get that out of regular games with friends.  I'm not even sure I want that, to be honest.  My solo miniatures gaming has evolved from running Orcs to their deaths to trying to evolve a story from game to game.  This is a theme I hope to cover in this blog.

Now to consider the RPG.  I've been an RPG gamer all my life.  I found Dungeons and Dragons back in 1979 and became an addict.  I played multiple times a week, straight until the day I graduated college.  After that, I played White Wolf's World of Darkness RPGs up until my son was born in the late 90's.  But probably unlike a lot of other people, I mostly played with a single DM (also my best friend) who filled out the party with an NPC or two.  When I relocated across country, we still kept our game sessions going via chat rooms or even the telephone!  (That got costly, let me tell you.  It was the days before unlimited long distance.)

After my son was born, I went on a 14 year hiatus from RPGs.  This hasn't really been my preferred choice.  I still wanted to play RPGs.  For years I refused to look at the cool new books, read the blogs, look at the pretty pictures, etc.  However, quite by accident, I started to find people on the Internet who play RPGs as solo games.  I was amazed and immediately interested.  I gave it a shot, and found it can be done.  Now I feel myself coming back to my roots.

A few paragraphs ago I mentioned solo RPG game play as the genesis for this blog.  I want to play my games, but I also want to share them with someone.  I don't care if I have an audience of one person.  I enjoy creating the story, and want to have a venue to share it.  In many ways it's like painting.  I can create a painting and put it in my closet.  It was fun to do, but if it was any good wouldn't it be better to hang it where someone might see it?   

This community of solo gamers seems fairly small to me, especially solo RPGers.  So more sharing of information and ideas can't be far off from a good thing.   I'll be putting up both my miniature and RPG solo game reports and techniques I've used to realize a good solo experience.  In many ways, you will become my gaming group.  Welcome to the table!