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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Solo Role Playing IS GM'ing


So, I guess I’m not done harping about the thought experiment. I just feel like it’s confirming some obvious things, while at the same time opening me to new perspectives on this thing of ours we call “solo roleplaying”.

One obvious thing that it has driven home in a way that feels final is the fact that if you try to solo roleplay outside of the CYOA or the most basic random dungeon/hexcrawling experience(or with games that don’t require much content creation as you’re taking on a player role), you’ll have no choice but to assume the GM mantle. There is no such thing as truly emulating a GM. Each time you ask a question, and each time you interpret a pair of keywords, you are in fact assuming GM duties. The only thing the dice mechanic we call an “emulator” is doing is ratifying or denying the output that you came up with when you assumed the creative duties of the GM as you were imagining possible states of the imaginary world outside of controlling your PC.

This is pretty obvious, and many of us have touched upon it before. I still insisted in looking for ways to actually have an experience that was less like assuming those GM duties.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Un-Solo RPG G+ Forum: Mixing solo and social RPGing

This community stemmed from an idea that was itself inspired by a thought experiment. What if one could create a social RPG experience that was equivalent to playing an RPG in solitaire mode? This is an imperfect implementation of that idea, and also an imperfect answer. I am hoping that whatever it turns out to be, it is fun to do. 

 Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Solo RPG and "Just Writing": A thought experiment

Edit: I added more clarifications so as to make my intent a bit clearer (hopefully)

From the Lone Wolf Roleplaying group

I wonder if some of you would indulge me and carry out this thought experiment for me:

Imagine you have an RPG group, and that you play regularly. You actually gather physically in one place to game on an actual table. It can be any RPG you like.

Here's the twist: there are a couple of restrictions on how you can communicate.

1. You have all agreed that you will only roleplay and communicate by writing stuff down in one notebook (or electronic device) you all share at the table.

2. You can only write things in character or in an authorial voice.

3. The only OOC communication allowed are written questions to the GM. Only questions about the world and NPCs that can be answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'.

4. The GM is an actual human but wish only contribution will be to answer yes or no questions. This is the only way in which you get to know what happens in the GM controlled world. (Basically, if an idea embedded in your question matches what the GM has in mind or appeals to her, you get a 'yes' and that means the idea is true in the fictional world)

Does this still feel like role playing? Has it crossed into the realm of a collaborative writing exercise? Is that in itself not roleplaying?

Tell me what you think.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Journey To The Overland - new $45 pledge level allows you to pick two non-miniature, PDF stretch goals!

I finally broke down and pitched in $125 for the "All In" level, but now there is a $45 pledge level that allows you to get some two  PDF stretch goals of your choice. Check it out at

There are only 3 days left! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Journey To The Overland (solo game)

From the about page: 
To The Overland is a Solo Tabletop Roleplaying Game that uses a system of card driven encounters to allow a single player to do almost anything with his character alone that he or she could do in a standard roleplaying game.  There are rules for learning new skills, obtaining a job, getting married, having children, traveling, training, joining a knightly order, becoming a Dragonslayer, fighting in an arena, forming your own kingdom, usurping the king, defeating a dragon or killing the evil wizard Morcai.  All solo!

You can also see a brief description here, where the author compares the system to Barbarian Prince with some nice RPG extras added.

You can back the project on kickstarter if it sounds like something you might enjoy:

Friday, February 7, 2014

When does imitation and borrowing cross the line?

2/7/2014: I’ve had this post saved as a draft for a few days now. I have been debating whether to publish it or not.

I tested the waters by posting an anonymous opinion on another blog that will remain unmentioned unless the owner wants to say something, and I guess I’m not the only one who has the same appreciation.

I also made a comment on a stackexchange question today.

Here is the original post:

There’s a saying that goes like “Ideas are in the air”, and another one that goes like “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. In this hobby, it is obvious that many ideas are borrowed and re-used because they are just so cool. However, is there a certain line that should not be crossed? Like, say, failing to give credit to those whose ideas you explicitly borrowed, and sometimes even slamming the creative work that you, in essence, copied? Or, going beyond mere inspiration or borrowing to what amounts to appropriating their work, again without due credit, and passing it off as something different and original.

Cases in question:

I don’t know why one would feel the need to slag a product whose main idea one is copying.  

How about this:

Inspiration or imitation? No credit given either to a very original idea (and having given proper credit to other ideas does not make this failures right). 

He basically shows no love for the original work that he, in MY view, ripped off:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Solo RPG community on G+

Well, an RPGNet user named "Lee Lee" suggested that a community be created on Google +, and I went ahead and created "Lone Wolf Roleplaying", as I like the independent sound of it.

As I say on my first post there, I am hoping other solo rpg enthusiasts can enjoy this space by sharing actual plays, discussing ideas on how to enrich the solo experience, and provide recommendations of products. This is your community!

Monday, January 6, 2014

“Challenging the player” in a solo game. Is it possible?

I’ve often read the concept of “challenging the player; not the character” in some OSR blogs. Makes total sense, and I think it’s usually an aspect of RPGs that I enjoyed in the past. So, stupid question, outside of adventures crafted for solo play, like the Tunnels & Trolls or Fighting Fantasy kind, can one truly “challenge the player” when you’re playing solo? The answer would seem to be ‘NO’ in most cases as you would run into the so-called Czege Principle ( This being the case, it’s probably safe to say that during solo sessions most of the challenges will be of the “challenge your character” type, which would mean most of your enjoyment would probably come from watching the outcome of putting your character through such challenges; a little bit like playing God with your character perhaps.

However, there is a little solo game called Beloved, which shows that it is indeed possible to challenge yourself as a player: The trick here seems to be in coming up with seemingly impossible to solve challenges (in the case of that game, an invincible monster), and then as a player, trying to figure out how the challenge is not actually impossible after all by looking for holes that you may not have been aware of before setting up the challenge.