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Sunday, December 10, 2017

How I approach the Player Knowledge / Character Knowledge Dilemma in Solo Roleplaying

I dislike separating character knowledge from player knowledge, so if I have a story premise in mind, I will frame things such that I know only as much as the character knows. Otherwise, it would be better for me to be the GM and emulate the players .

One Way To Avoid That Split As a Player

When you're trying to avoid that player/character knowledge split, I think that the #1 thing is being conscientious to avoid omniscience. Anything that your character does not know is something that can't be treated as a fact. It's only a possibility that you as a player know about.

In my opinion, you shouldn't even attempt to confirm or deny a fact until your character is in a position to find out. Just leave it hanging there until such a time.

Hardcore Immersion

If you want to be even more hardcore, consider this:

Some GMs consider in-game player chatter to be in-character chatter.What if you considered your own in-game mental chatter to be in character mental chatter? In other words, if you find yourself thinking of some possibility, you should treat that thought as something that has also entered your character's mind.

Just remember, though, just because it entered your character's mind, it doesn't mean it's a fact. How your character reacts to these thoughts is in itself an interesting roleplaying exercise. Is she/he going to dismiss them as fanciful flights of imagination? Is she going to keep them in mind as a real possibility?

For me, that's going to be informed strictly by what's already been established as confirmed fact during the initial set up of the game's situation, and in the course of play.

If any of this doesn't make sense, or needs some examples, let me know.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Elena Yamamoto vs Wan Brothers Multinational - Face Off Scene

I still followed the same format that I did for Sarah Rheita's intro scene, where I don't write the actual play as fiction but as an interaction between GM and player.

In this case, I decided to GM because I had more knowledge about the in game situation, especially when it came to what Simao Okada of Wan Brothers had found out. I try to avoid having to pretend a character doesn't know something I do, so this is a nice way of dodging the situation.  That's going to be my rule of thumb now: If I know more than the character such that I have to play it as if I didn't know what I know, I'll GM.

My approach to concordances keeps growing. I decided that in some cases it made sense to incorporate a more traditional oracle as a way to add indirection. For example, generating a random event and using those keywords as my concordance search. I added a few other things to my personal method as well which you can find out in the spreadsheet notes.

If you want to read only the actual play without notes, concordances, etc, continue reading this post. If you want to see more of the nitty gritty, take a look at the spreadsheet:  Elena vs Wan Brothers Multinational  - Face Off Scene



Thursday, November 30, 2017

#SGAM2017 - Remember Tomorrow - AIWA Entertainment - Intro Scene

The last intro scene, and my last entry for this year's Solo Gaming Appreciation Month!

Read the actual play without concordances, mechanics or notes below, or see all those things in the spreadsheet here: Remember Tomorrow - AIWA Entertainment - Intro Scene

Zach's Bestiary is still accepting entries! Roll up your NPC with UNE and share with the world!

As today is the last day of Solo Gaming Appreciation Month for this year, I wanted to remind everyone Zach's Bestiary is still accepting entries. So far, we have 17 that I can count, and it would be great to get that up to 20!

You can enter your NPCs at this link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdmJBA0YfBbOQhGsAHGGO5R3W4_m5ibcECIryCOrgChr7hC8w/viewform

You can also see what's already there (which is pretty cool) using this other link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdmJBA0YfBbOQhGsAHGGO5R3W4_m5ibcECIryCOrgChr7hC8w/viewanalytics

You can get UNE as PWYW here:
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/134163/UNE-The-Universal-NPC-Emulator-rev

But, if you don't want to go through that right now, you can access my PDF copy at this link as a convenience, so you can roll those NPCs: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7MzENQrZSxQWlNdjAyMFdNWXM/view?usp=sharing

Or this automated UNE tool by Todd Zircher: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11Aosci5JNhersXOUHpYieN7K4LhqXntwb2DmTARg52c/edit?usp=sharing

You should still download it at DriveThru in the future, because it's awesome.

Thanks!

Monday, November 27, 2017

#SGAM2017 - Remember Tomorrow - Wan Brothers Corporation- Intro Scene

Intro scenes lend themselves to narration so here is another monologue. I had a pre existing idea of which PC the Wan Brothers would oppose, so that drove my selection of available concordances somewhat. I did try to discover other ideas first, but nothing suggested itself.

Most of the other details were filled out by the first concordances that made sense.

If you want to see the actual play fiction along with the concordances and notes, you can skip to the spreadsheet here: Remember Tomorrow- Wan Brothers- Intro 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

#SGAM2017 Remember Tomorrow - Tokyo Police Department - Faction Intro Scene

Introduction scenes can be narrated or roleplayed out. It felt more appropriate to narrate an inner monologue for this Faction's representative NPC. The thing pretty much wrote itself, as the only thing I did was choose the concordances that I felt were speaking to the context, and transforming them into more readable fragments.  

As always, my approach to using the generator has kept evolving. This time, I front loaded as many concordances as I could before I began to look for a message. To do this, I used the same method of taking keywords from the Faction's character sheet, but this time I looked for meaningful concordances before I began actual play in earnest.  I still generated some while in play, but mostly I just worked with the ones I front loaded. Maybe that detail will be interesting to someone. 


Sunday, November 19, 2017

#SGAM2017 Remember Tomorrow - Sarah Rheita - Intro Scene


This one feels a bit weird to share. 

I tried something new with how I use the concordances to write the output. The fiction in this one is not like a story, bur rather, I wrote things out as if a GM was talking to me as a player. I found it actually helped me immersion, but it makes me feel a bit silly sharing it. 

Still, I guess it's really a version of emulating other players. 

The notes were a lot more detailed and they might be interesting for some. The link to the google spreadsheet is at the end of the post.

I'm pasting a version of the actual play without the concordances or notes here, but it really makes more sense to see the actual play along with the notes and concordances to see how it all came about. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

#SGAM2017 Remember Tomorrow - Maxim Wargentin - Intro Scene

I've posted only the resulting fiction here. Though based on Neuromancer concordances, no one is going to confuse it with William Gibson. I have found a talent to mangle his beautiful prose into my own tortured crap.

Still, the prose is hardly the point; it's all about the process as a fun game. So fear not, for I am not going to force anyone to read bad fan fiction without seeing the process behind the game part. I am taking a page from Todd Zircher, and using a spreadsheet to separate the game parts from the resulting fiction. The concordance generated phrases that inspired each line are in column A, the resulting fiction in column B, and the (very) sparse mechanics in Column C.

I have some thoughts about the solo process I've been using. I feel this mode is a bit more arduous than when I wing it with an Oracle. Partly due to real life reasons that limit my time, and my energy (I feel solo play demands a fresh mind).

At the same time, I've consistently found it more fulfilling of my RPG needs. When I look at random pieces of fiction together and the suddenly they say something that makes a sort of sense, it feels like I've discovered a pre-existing message, as opposed to being inspired to create one.

I particularly feel pretty good about this scene (as I did with some of the scenes in my OLBH game), because it's not an action scene and it's a sort of interesting hook.

Link to spreadsheet with game stuff at end of post.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

#SGAM2017 Remember Tomorrow - Elena Yamamoto - Intro Scene


This is the intro scene for Elena Yamamoto. As I decided not to control this PC, I let the oracular results guide as much as possible of everything (since the Controller of the PC is in charge of all content during the Introduction scene, unless they choose to have someone help to roleplay it out).



Generated phrases are in brackets ([]). These were generated by using keywords from the PC's character sheet and/or relevant game flavor text from the RPG book itself. From the results I quickly selected any phrases that showed potential. Then, the scene is built by choosing the most interesting ones that made sense as a GM response.



In a way, it's a bit like jigsaw pieces assembled to build the scene (or maybe more like an archaeologist putting broken pieces together to recreate a picture). Whenever I got stuck or felt like it made sense, I looked for more keywords in the character sheet/game text as well as the already established fiction for the scene. The process is cyclical.


At some point, I will fix the format of this actual play to fit that of Maxim's (next post linked at bottom).


Monday, November 13, 2017

#SGAM2017 Remember Tomorrow (game prep - Factions)

These will be the entities that will most likely be opposing the PC's. There may be more (and also more PC's) introduced in-game if it makes sense.

I still have a couple of "blanks" for some details. Suggestions welcome, if not, I'll find out in-game...

Ideas are still generated with the concordance generator (text in brackets []).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

#SGAM2017: Remember Tomorrow (game prep - PCs)

Three PCs generated using the game instructions and also with the help of my concordance generator (seeded with Neuromancer).

Monday, October 23, 2017

My perfect solo roleplaying tool would...



  1. Effortlessly generate content for ALL game master responses.
  2. Generate content that requires little to no interpretation.
  3. Generate content that is easy to interpret (if interpretation is needed at all).
  4. Generate content that has as few alternate interpretations as possible (if interpretation is needed at all). My ideal number of possible interpretations for generated content is ONE, by the way.*
  5. Generate content that fits the context (or at least easily leads to an interpretation that fits).


The concordance generator I whipped up does #1 perfectly. It also approaches the rest of my wishlist more than any other tool I’ve tried or checked out (except for dungeon generators in the narrow context of a dungeon crawl), but there are some downsides:
  1.  Sometimes content is sparse and does not fit context. This either requires more lateral thinking when interpreting or it may require re-generating the response using a different keyword, which I consider bad. 
  2. When I get content that fits the context, I will often have to “curate” or search the responses for the first piece of content that works as the satisfying GM response. It's not perfect, but I find it much less jarring than having multiple ways to interpret something and then being forced to choose between them.
Just writing this down is giving me some ideas for possible enhancements. 

*#WritingWithDice tries to do something by attempting to narrow your possible GM responses by imposing limits to your brainstorming. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Zach Best Benefit Bundle

If you frequent the Lonewolf G+ group or the solo rpg guild on Board Game Geek, you probably have read the news that Zach Best of Conjecture Games is currently in hospice care due to cancer. Jacob Ross and other RPG designers have put together a benefit bundle for Zach's family, which you can find below:

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/218759/Zach-Best-Family-Benefit-Bundle-BUNDLE

You can find out more here:

https://plus.google.com/105656318494733199771/posts/Qeq1nze6u7e

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid- Act 2 - Final Scene: Taking on the Crisis!

Oops. Previous scene's title should have been "Act 2 - Scene 3 - Taking on the Threat". 

Anyway, Hema has made it this far to finally face the Crisis. Will the world be saved? Read on to find out at this AP link: Act 2 - Final Scene: Taking on the Crisis!


1.   Act1: Scene 1
2.   Act 1: Scenes 2 & 3
3.   Act1: Scene 4a
4.   Act1: Scene 4b
5.   End of Act 1 & Act 2: Scene 1
6.   Act 2: Scene 1: Taking on the Threat
7.   Act 2 - Scene 2
8.   Act 2 - Scene2: Taking on the Threat

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid- Act 2 - Scene 3 - Taking on the Threat

I sort of knew how this one would go since the mechanics empowered me to set much of the direction. Dialogue from Hema and MIMIC was still generated and kept things fresh.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid- Act 2 - Scene 3 - Hema & Brett

Got a little bit stuck here. Either it's my tiredness or maybe it's a weakness of the transcript or the parser. I think it's how the movie transcripts slant. Scenes where I'm not focusing on personal lives, but rather on the crisis and actions related to it have gone faster and smoother. When the focus is on personal lives and relationships, I've had a harder time finding results I can integrate.

Still, it sort of worked out here with the pauses and changes in subject (which provided surprise). Oracle questions also came to the rescue (a last resort for me).




Sunday, June 25, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid - Act 2 - Scene 2 - Taking on the Threat

This scene did not turn out at all like I expected. The game mechanics really took things in another direction. Maybe I just don't have a good sense of probability...

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?798339-Our-Last-Best-Hope-The-Killer-Asteroid&p=21188693#post21188693

Our Last Best Hope: The Killer Asteroid: Act 2 - Scene 2 - Brett & Catherine


This is a flashback scene due to circumstances stemming from the last scene.
https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?798339-Our-Last-Best-Hope-The-Killer-Asteroid&p=21186777#post21186777




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid: Act 2 - Scene 1 - Taking on the Threat

I messed up another rule regarding effects after a roll. I thought only amounts above 5 or above caused effects. we should have taken harm in some rolls, and the threats should have been reduced further in other rolls. When Black dice were added to the event pool, we should have gotten story points too, but I forgot.

So, it kinda balances out, but it's stupid, because I think I played it correctly before. I need a cheat sheet.

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?798339-Our-Last-Best-Hope-The-Killer-Asteroid&p=21179261#post21179261

Previous scenes:

1. Act1: Scene 1
2. Act 1: Scenes 2 & 3
3. Act1: Scene 4a
4. Act1: Scene 4b
5. End of Act 1 & Act 2: Scene 1


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid: End of Act 1 & Act 2 - Scene 1 - Hema & Catherine

Every character gets one more spotlight scene, so 3 scenes. Also three more Threats, which I'll roll randomly after each scene.

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?798339-Our-Last-Best-Hope-The-Killer-Asteroid&p=21168755#post21168755

Previous scenes:

1. Act1: Scene 1
2. Act 1: Scenes 2 & 3
3. Act1: Scene 4a
4. Act1: Scene 4b
5. Act 2: Scene 1: Taking on the Threat

Friday, June 16, 2017

Actual Play: Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid - Act 1 - Scene 4b - Taking on the Threat



I think this scene came out well. It was fun, in part because I got to engage more with the crunchy bits, and also got to engage with the parser (which output is the closest thing I've felt to roleplaying with someone, especially when the phrases pretty much demand no interpretation, or something close to that.)

Still using the text parser for dialogue and also now for a "Narrator" who might frame the scene. I'm using the the movie transcript text assigned to MIMIC (the MIMIC 'voice') for the Narrator and NPCs in this scene at least. 

I've still had to occasionally dig deeper into the parsed text for phrases that fit the context, especially when the conversations relate to relationships between characters. Chalk that down to the downside of randomness and the contents of the movie transcripts. A well chosen or constructed text to parse might fix this but I'm committed to the texts I assigned. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Actual Play: Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid - Act 1 - Scene 4a

Turns out I overlooked one rule of the game that says Threats should always equal the number of players. I don't know that it really affects me much, since I've been rolling randomly for what threats to take on.

As for whether I'll go beyond this last upcoming Threat before moving on to Act 2, I'm not sure yet. I can say that spotlight scenes keep my interest afloat as I dig into the personalities of the characters (with the help of the text parser for Hema and Catherine).

Speaking of the parser, for this session, I had to dig a bit deep into the generated content at times to find something that fit the context. It wasn't too bad, though, and the phrases that made sense in context still surprised me.

Interestingly, it took me more time for me to think about what I wanted to say as Brett, which requires no parser. Had this been a social game, I wouldn't have had the privilege to think about it so much. Yay for solo gaming.

Let's see how it goes when I take on the Threat next session.

p.s. I don't have a precise visualization of the character's environment. It's just vaguely the inside of a spaceship, though it feels somewhat big. Big enough that these two were able to have a short conversation with pregnant pauses and everything on the way to see Catherine. I'm pretty sure that if I really thought about it, it'd be ridiculous...but i"M not going to think about it.

------------------------ Act 1 - Scene 4 - Brett & Hema ---------------------------

(on the way to check on catherine...) 

brett: "when we get there, maybe it's better if you check on her." 

hema: ([ i would be grateful to her]) "i'll be glad to." 

brett: "thanks. it's just that things are a bit awkward between her and i right now." 

hema: ([throughout the day any second now]) "they've been awkward throughout the day." she smiles. 

brett: "oh, so you have noticed." 

hema: ([have picked up another splinter ]) "i pick up things here and there." clearly meant as an understatement. 

brett chuckles. 

after a brief pause, hema says: ([involved in construction of such an])"so i heard you were involved in the construction of an orphanage." 

brett nods. "in tibet. an old girlfriend and i always talked about adopting a kid from tibet. i guess it stayed in my mind." 

a pause. hema: ([before the disaster in the minds])"before my illness, i had children in mind too...([took him to a hospital six]) Then I was taken to a hospital and found out I had six months to live."

brett: "i'm sorry." 

hema: ([sorry to do this to you ]) "No. It's me who should be sorry for bringing you down."

Brett puts his hand on her shoulder. "No, please. I'm here for you." 

Another pause. Hema: ([ mind signing it sir thank you]) "Thank you."

Brett: "Don't thank me. Just promise me you'll come see the kids with me when we blow this asteroid to hell. 

Hema: ([ hello - will do as i]) "Yes...I'll go and say hello." She smiles. 



------------------------ END SCENE--------------------------


https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?798339-Our-Last-Best-Hope-The-Killer-Asteroid&p=21149012#post21149012

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/solorpgs/T4Br-4kMd6s/1fy6Zgw4AgAJ



4. End of Act 1 & Act 2 Scene 2
5. Act 1: Scene 1: Taking on the Threat

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Actual Play: Our Last Best Hope - The Killer Asteroid - Act 1 - Scenes 2 and 3


I found myself losing a bit of steam and interest when resolving the Threat of Scene 3. I'm chalking it up to a lack of crunch when resolving threats. The mechanical bits lack distinction, other than the window dressing you put around them. 

Also, there was a lack of mechanical progress towards Act II due to the Event Pool mechanics. Part of it is my fault for not moving a White die during my first threat when I had the chance, because I did not remember the rules. Still, you won't always get a roll where you can do that. 

Scene 2:


Scene 3: 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

[Actual Play: Our Last Best Hope] The Killer Asteroid

Started a solo session of "Our Last Best Hope" using a combination of Mythic Game Master Emulator and keyword generation (inspired by predictive text apps). I seeded the keyword generator with portions of a cut up and jumbled version of the 1998 movie script Armageddon

The cut-up job itself was done by an online app called "the cut-up machine." It's an implementation of a writing technique used by Burroughs and others. My use of it is meant to make the movie script a little less familiar.

So far, though it's only the first scene, it's turned out pretty fun. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Predictive text inspired tool (work in progress)

I've been using predictive text apps to delegate some of the decision making in the creative writing parts of solo gaming to something outside me. Just having suggested words out there already picks a direction for me, so I've found that satisfying. Now I have it available on my browser if I want. :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Lone Wolf Roleplaying forum at Google Groups



In my search for a better forum format, I've created a new Lone Wolf Google Groups forum. This one supports traditional forum discussion and Q&A formats.