[Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

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Mithras
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[Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby Mithras » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:29 am

It's truly been years in the making, SOLO is a compilation of the different solo rpg techniques that I've been using this past decade to run everything from naval patrols to hunting parties, crime gangs and imperial survey scouts in unexplored subsectors! And it's pretty much version-and-edition neutral...

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/207 ... west_since

Image

SOLO is a solo add-on for Cepheus Engine and the 2D6 SF roleplaying game that it is based on.

If your players are out of town, or you want to experience your own sci-fi setting ‘from the inside’, SOLO is the answer. This isn’t the usual collection of random word tables - instead it presents an array of game types and campaign styles that you can play solo, in the company of a complete adventuring party. Exploring new star systems? Chasing pirates in a naval destroyer? Touting for patrons on one frontier world after another? Smuggling? Planning interstellar heists? Operating a free trader on the margins of profit – and legality?

SOLO allows you to pick up your favourite version of the game to run the kinds of sessions that are normally reserved for a traditional group of table-top players – led by a referee.

SOLO includes:
• Copious examples of play
• Guidelines to ease the process of character creation
• Rules for inter-character drama
• The Plan: A single, universal scene resolution mechanic
• Solid advice on tying seemingly random events together
• Fast play space combat rules
• Checklists to speed play and help understanding
• A unique space exploration sub-system
• Star system creation rules
• Record sheets

You will be surprised, enthralled and captivated by the events unfolding around your player-characters. Can you shepherd them through adversity? Will their past catch up with them?

You – and YOU ALONE – will decide.
Paul Elliott
ORBITAL 2100: Near future roleplaying within the Solar System. Go back to TL 9 - when space really was dangerous.
http://www.paulelliottbooks.com/orbital.html
rust2
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Re: [Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby rust2 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:06 am

Thank you very much - a very useful thing. :)
"Mind like parachute, functions only when open"
Mithras
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Re: [Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby Mithras » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:02 am

There will be a softback version (154 pages) coming out through Lulu at the weekend.
Paul Elliott
ORBITAL 2100: Near future roleplaying within the Solar System. Go back to TL 9 - when space really was dangerous.
http://www.paulelliottbooks.com/orbital.html
steve98052
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Re: [Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby steve98052 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:02 pm

It would be nice to see a couple of example transcripts of play with the system. I know those are often included in game books anyway, so it might just be a matter of sharing those.
Mithras
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Re: [Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby Mithras » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:22 pm

I am reticent to publish a section of gameplay, purely because it is the culmination of rules which I cannot, obviously, present here in full. However... you asked!

Before I do, each character includes three story hooks, or Life Events, which may impact on events in the game; and the Player may be called upon, or simply decide on a whim, or when the story suits, to roll for a Character Reaction (which is an intra-party problem of some kind). In addition, for important 'scenes' a scene resolution mechanic called The Plan is utilised, which provides the Player with the hardcopy-like results of a heist, action, break-in, car chase, investigation, major repair problem or whatever ....

Now... the sample play:

We start on Ninshien, a small world in a subsector of my own creation:

Ninshien D4A2634-A NonIndustrial
Ninshien is a methane world. I figure it could easily be home to Lisa Lao just after the dome tragedy that plays such a large part in her background. Since Belter Helena is her friend, perhaps the other PCs are here to take her off-planet, which means therefore the government must be trying to hold her – to try and convict her? Here then, is our In Media Res, starting the game with a mission in progress. The PCs will have to use an ATV to cross the harsh surface and reach a starship that has been chartered and is waiting at a refuelling base near a methane lake. The PCs will be pursued by local security teams in ATVs.

Now, time for the first Plan! Cassander will break into a hanger to steal an ATV, everyone boards and then Lisa will drive everyone to the starship across rough terrain she knows well. I rate the Plan as Solid (8+), but Dangerous. I award the PC team +1 for success because Lisa is a skilled ATV driver and she knows the terrain, and I award a second +1 because the back-end of the Plan (getting off world) has been covered by having a chartered starship standing by.

I roll 2D with a total result of 11: success! I now roll for consequences, they are good. Let’s say the ship captain is very sympathetic and so the team make their first contact: the 400-ton Frontier Trader ‘The Explorer’. I add it to my Contacts List. Now the team are on board, the ship takes off and we head for the jump point. Prior to jump I roll the routine Starship Encounter – the vessel passes a military ship, an 800-ton Mercenary Cruiser called the ‘Lucifer’. It asks for The Explorer’s sensor log, but everything is OK. Then we jump.

JUMP FROM NINSHIEN TO MAZANDARAN
We settle in for a week in jumpspace. I roll once on the Jump Events table. The navigator on The Explorer has a personal crisis and the captain asks Lisa to help (she has Liaison 2). Let’s say the navigator is depressed due to a past event. I invent the story that he should have spoken out in asteroid belt 29 Persei, about a mass killing by a tyrannical mining boss. Instead, he took a bribe. Lao makes a Liaison 8+ skill roll, but fails with a double 2. Oh no! I guess the navigator commits suicide! The captain is very shocked but grateful for Lao’s help. In desperation he offers Novo the navigator’s job for the next 4 jumps (to 29 Persei … I chose that location so the PCs might bump into this tyrannical mining boss at some point …) the captain offers the PCs free passage for those four jumps.

Mazandaran B785784-C Agricultural, Rich
After entering the system I roll again on the Starship Encounters table. They pass a scoutship, the Eagle’s Claw – it’s a friendly hail, and the crew ask The Explorer about Ninshien. The PCs tell them about the dome explosion and the imperial cruiser in the system. At the starport, on this hot, dusty world with its one giant, fertile river, snaking more than halfway around the globe, the PCs find that The Explorer needs urgent maintenance (I rolled on the Starport Encounters table) – let’s say there was a fusion overheat during landing. It will require a week-long repair. I decide the captain will have to oversee this repair, so he acts as Patron and pays the PCs to travel up river to the holy city of Ib, surrounded by huge plantations. There they will pay for and take delivery of a small cargo. The PCs take the Explorer’s air/raft to Ib. I roll on the World Encounters table while they’re out there and find they stumble upon a landed starship. Why not have this starship be the destination, and the cargo has just been off-loaded? Since it landed away from Kharkonal and the starport, it must be an illegal cargo … there is a secret civil way happening further up-river, but it can’t be to do with that if the PCs are buying it. I guess the mysterious ship’s crew have been stood-up by their rebel buyers and are now keen to get rid of the incriminating cargo. It must be arms, surely!

Why does the captain of The Explorer want a shipment of arms? Well, he is going to 29 Persei, site of that mining overlord. Maybe he wants the weapons to put down the rebellion… Hey, that would explain the suicide of the navigator, too, ridden by guilt and unable to face supplying him with more weaponry! Novo digs deep, and tries to get information out of the landed ship’s captain using his Broker skill. He succeeds … yes, he believes the Explorer’s captain intends to sell it to the mining boss. The PCs load the cargo onto the air/raft and fly back to Kharkonal.

I predict some kind of clash between the PCs and the Explorer’s captain (let’s call him Devar). Do we have a storyline here? Smuggling arms to a mining despot? I roll on the PC Reaction Table. Lisa is angry at the trade deal and sympathetic with the rebels (no doubt helped by her failure to save the navigator from suicide).

Back at the ship, the Explorer is fixed and both the smuggled arms and other cargos are loaded. I don’t care what they are or how much they’re worth – this is a Travellers campaign not a Star Traders campaign! Devar denies the arms are for the mining boss and (after I roll a D6 for a 50/50 result) says they are destined for the mining rebels in 29 Persei instead. They’ve got it all wrong. I don’t roll for a second Starport Encounter.

They take off. Prior to jump I roll for a Starship Encounter. They are hailed by a small craft requiring an urgent medical supply. Devar lends assistance, docking with the craft, then going on his way. I don’t want to elaborate on this any more because I think I am now in a Storyline about smuggling guns, and I don’t want to get side-tracked!

JUMP FROM MAZANDARAN TO UBAR
I roll for a Jump Encounter, but it suggests the sensors are producing false readings – this must be in normal space, before we have jumped. Perhaps Captain Devar is getting jittery and thinks he is being tracked in Mazandaran space. In jump I roll on the Reaction Table – Vilius. He tries to befriend the Belter Helena Jackson (she was diced for randomly). I roll on the NPC Reaction table and it throws up a natural ‘12’. Wow. Has he just seduced her?! One of her Life Events is that she knows his secret, that he was kicked out of the Navy for having an affair, and not highly decorated as he tells everyone. Perhaps this is how she finds out – ‘pillow talk’.

After entering the Ubar system I roll again on the Starship Encounters table – no encounter in this frontier system.

Ubar D330656-6 Desert, Poor, Non Industrial
Ubar is a poor desert world with a very thin atmosphere, apart from ranchers and miners exposed to cosmic radiation, most inhabitants live at the bottom a huge impact crater so deep that the air at the bottom is breathable without a compressor. The crater has its own weather system, and the floor is farmed extensively. A vast industrial elevator connects the floor with the starport, on the crater’s rim.

At the starport the Explorer is refuelled and cargoes offloaded and on loaded. The PCs move into the Rock Canyon Hotel, with rooms and corridors carved out of the sandstone rock, for a couple of days. I am not keeping track of expenses or costs unless it gets serious. The World Encounter table tells me that the PCs come across a ruined structure. Maybe they spotted it during the approach to the starport, they do some research at the hotel and find out that it is ‘enigmatic’. I want to get the PCs there, I sense an ‘adventure’ on the way. Cassander asks around and I decide that he is told that the locals know about it, but no-one knows what it is – natural or perhaps even alien. It is a rocky spire, with spiralling rock tunnels within, a bit like a giant termites’ nest. Worth a visit? Cassander’s source tells him not to stay out after dark or the six-legged hunting skreens will get him. I figure Helena and Vilius will just want to stay in bed and order room service, so Lao and Cassander hire a rugged Ubar jeep and set off on a day-long trip.

I decide to create a Plan. The two characters will explore the ruin with torches and attempt to find something of use inside. It’s a bit vague, I know. This is Fool proof (6+) and Safe. I award them +1 for Lisa’s fantastic survival skills. They succeed. Now… what do they find? After 20 minutes (I went to make dinner and have a think) I decided on two options, either the body of a murder victim OR the lair of hunting skreen. I let the D6 decide and it decreed … animal lair! They disturb hunting skreen, or come across them in the tunnels. They must get to the ATV fast. I create a Plan – Get back to the ATV alive and safe. I add the extra problem of a sandstorm coming in to cause more complications. The Plan is Solid (8+) but Dangerous. I award the PCs with a +1 for Lao’s shotgun and survival experience. The roll is failed! And yet, there is a Good consequence – maybe they picked up something from the lair.

What happened? Lost in the tunnels, the two fight off a couple of the huge skreen, and emerge from a passage into a dust storm. This wasn’t the way they came in … but they can’t retrace their steps. Following the edge of the ruin they try to find the ATV, but the sounds of skreen force them away from the ruin and they stagger around in the storm. They find a few rocks as shelter where they try to weather out the storm and the night. As the sun comes up they find the ATV and drive back towards the starport.

That was cool! I roll for a Colourful Locals Encounter and discover they are pulled over by local enforcers on patrol. I decide they will be arrested on suspicion of supplying weapons to rebel miners, mutated by the lack of atmosphere, here on Ubar. Back at the starport I make a Liaison roll for Lao and she talks her way out of it. They are free to return to the hotel. So… what did they find? I decide to amalgamate both possibilities from the search of the ruins; they found a half-eaten corpse in the lair, perhaps an explorer or scientist, with a map to a set of unknown tunnels – some kind of treasure map. There are references to ‘cache’, ‘supplies’, ‘alien’ on the map. I think the PCs will decide to give this a go and explore this new set of tunnels. That means they cannot continue on the Explorer with Devar and so say goodbye to him.

The PCs descend to the crater floor to the city where they can buy equipment and do some research for their expedition. Whilst they are in this new city, in a new hotel, I wonder if their recent adventure has had an impact on Cassander’s ‘secretly in love with Lisa Lao’ Life Event. I check on the NPC Reaction table for Lao and with a ‘9’ result it looks like she might return his affections, much to Cassander’s delight. So, the PCs have split into two couples. I’m sure it won’t last!

Now… the next part of the game sounds contrived, maybe too good to be true … but I promise, good reader, that I rolled honestly and checked the tables accurately. To get out of the crater, the PCs would have to either drive their rented ATV up the zigzag hairpins on a 12 hour nerve-wracking journey, risking rock-falls and road collapses that kill drivers every year. Or they could travel the Big Lift. This is a gigantic, building-sized elevator carrying people, cargoes and vehicles vertically up from the crater floor to the crater rim ... and to the starport. It is built deep underground, reached by a long tunnel, and it is big, 50m wide and 15m deep, capable of lifting 200 displacement tons at once, perhaps 40 vehicles. Imagine it as a vertical car ferry! Huge steel doors clang shut, the monstrous motors begin to work and drive the lift up its rack-and-pinion rail. It’s safe, just slow, noisy and dark!

Once on the rim, Lisa drives them out into the desert to find the tunnel complex, hopefully loaded with forgotten alien artefacts that they can sell for a profit off-world. I create a Plan: To find the secret tunnels in the desert by ATV. This is Solid (8+) and Safe. I award them +1 (for having a Belter who is from a desert world). The result is double ‘6’. Is this too good to be true? They find the rock outcrop marked on the rocks and camp for the night. Cassander and Lao are on the look-out for hunting skreen. Everyone must wear respirators. As the sun comes up I decide to roll for a World Encounter and the result is a local contact, a surprise visit to their camp. I roll for the NPC’s reaction – again a double ‘6’. Wow. This contact will ally with them. This all seems to be too much of a co-incidence, so it must be part of a new Storyline. What if the contact says she is the daughter of the missing scientist that Cassander and Lisa found in the ruins? She has the same maps and is following in his footsteps, in an attempt to find him. I like this, but I still think it is too much of a co-incidence, so I look back at my notes, at that reference to mutated miners fomenting revolt. Perhaps this young girl is a scientist, a geologist who mixes with the miners and who is sympathetic to their cause. Her movements by ATV across the desert are a cover for shipping arms and aid to these rebels. She is in league with them – which suggests the tunnels are active and occupied! She pretends to be the daughter of that missing scientist, and pledges to help the PCs.

A new Plan: To search the tunnels for a cache of artefacts of alien origin, as the map suggests. I guess this is a Shaky (10+) and Safe Plan. I award the PCs +1 because they have brought all the equipment they need for exploring ruined tunnels. However, unbeknownst to the PCs, the Plan is actually Dangerous, due to a potential shoot-out with mutated miners – in addition the outcomes are different to what they are expecting, instead of ‘find the artefacts’ or ‘not find the artefacts’, the results are ‘get caught by the miners’ or ‘not get caught by the miners’. I roll the dice, it is a Fail, but with a Good consequence.

So … I need to narrate the events … the girl, Melissa, leads them in and she pretends to carefully study her copy of the map. She leads them into an ambush that is so swift and overwhelming that the miners immediately overpower the PCs and disarm them. Melissa suspects that the PCs are government agents and so they are thrown into a cave, behind a locked-door. At this point, Melissa reveals her true identity and allegiance. She says the miners want to kill the PCs and steal their ATV. After talking to the PCs she realises they are only treasure hunters and talks the miners into sparing them – for now. Left alone, locked in a cold, dark cave, the PCs must come up with an argument to save themselves. I am at a loss here and ready for bed. I decide to quickly roll on the PC Reaction Table to see if everyone is coping: Novo loses his temper with Belter, Helena Jackson, whilst Lisa Lao stands by her long-time friend. The girls probably blame Novo for the whole trip. I decide to go to bed and think about what plan the four might come up with tomorrow. Will they try to make a break for it? Or will they try to talk their way out? What kind of Plan will I create tomorrow? The player characters might soon wish they’d stayed with Devar on The Explorer!
Paul Elliott
ORBITAL 2100: Near future roleplaying within the Solar System. Go back to TL 9 - when space really was dangerous.
http://www.paulelliottbooks.com/orbital.html
steve98052
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Re: [Zozer Games] SOLO - The Solo Roleplaying Option!

Postby steve98052 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:36 am

Thanks for the example of play. It looks like the system can do a surprisingly large number of the things that happen in regular games. Nice work!

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