Resources for solo play?

edited October 2010 in Story Games
I am currently converting my Traveller solo campaign over to Starblazer Adventures. Last year I was playing Traveller solo while traveling in Europe. And since I will be a Dad very soon, I figure my live gaming opportunities are going to be hard to find for a bit:)

Actually I had a lot of fun with old-school Traveller. I created four characters who were in a Free Trader, and had several systems worth of fun SF action. I used some solo Traveller add-on rules that someone on S-G had posted. I'm playing Starblazer Adventures because it seems to have a lot of the old-school Traveller flavor with the easy FATE rules and the fun Aspects.

And I am collecting links to random SF tables to generate content on the fly.

Anyone have links to content, tables, or even interesting discussions or posts about solo RPG play? I know 90% of it is for fantasy solo, but I figured there was some cool SF stuff as well.


To start things technique I found useful for getting "into character" in solo play was writing Ships Logs. In between systems, I took some time to get into each character's head separately and write the version of what had happened from their standpoint. Consider it Rashoman solo play:) But it helped me to understand more about each character, and it always created more ideas to use for personal encounters and conflicts for the future.

Here are a few links I found:
Chaotic Shiny has a nice collection of random generators. I especially like the Futurist Spare Part Generator!
Serendipity has a lot of name/place/thingy generators, like the Plot Twist Generator.
Age of Fable is built for fantasy, but lots of these tables would be great for SF (or anything), such as the Dramatic Situations taken from George Polti.
And of course, there's the Space Opera Oracle.

What else am I missing? Anything out there that generates lists of Aspects for FATE play?


  • Here are a few more I found on Abulafia:
    Diaspora System Aspects
    Traveller Mission Generator

    And from the FATE wiki.

    This is an interesting discussion of tweaking the FATE rules for GM-less play.
  • You really, really need to get the Mythic GM Emulator, Caesar X!

    If you don't believe me, talk to Elliot about it.
  • Thanks, Bob. I already got the Mythic GM Emulator. I just didn't want this thread to be a conversation about it:)

    I'm trying to find more cool content generators for solo play. It's nice to see that Starblazer Adventures already has some baked in.

    Anymore ideas?
  • Paizo's new Plot Twist deck. It's intended for fantasy but 99% of the ideas in there could work in SF.

    Now, when you're playing, and you decide it's time for some randomly generated idea, how do you decide which random generator to go to?

    And how do you defeat the Czege principle?
  • Jamie, thanks for the heads-up on the Plot Twist cards. I'm definitely getting these!
    Posted By: jdfristrom
    Now, when you're playing, and you decide it's time for some randomly generated idea, how do you decide which random generator to go to?

    And how do you defeat the Czege principle?
    You know, honestly, I just play it by ear. What seems right, what seems fun, how tired or energized am I for a short or long combat scene?

    And there's no defeating the Czege Principle here. But really, I think that is more relevant when there are other players at the table.

    Instead of trying to recreate the feeling of playing with 3-4 other people, I'm just trying to create some "structured lonely fun" if you will. A more nuanced version of how I played at the age of 12:)

    I suppose some better tables of how NPCs react could help here. There was a tiny bit of that in the Traveller rules.
  • One of my favorite topics :)

    For starters
    Quick and Easy TNS for when your ship drops out of two weeks of jump space

    Cool cargo generator that could lead to stories

    One take on solo Traveller

    Other things I like:
    Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #13 pg29 as a great article on running Traveller in real time. Very cool way to do things if you have blog or place to post.

    Gygax wrote the article on solo dungeoneering in SR. One piece of advice was to have friends mail dungeon sections and/or challenges for you to deal with. Not quite pure solo but it's pretty awesome. So basically you'd put out a request like "Hey all I just dropped out of jump space what's going here???" and folks snail mail you something. Guess you could go electronic but it's much cooler to have an artifact of play.

    That reminds me I need to get that solo dungeon thing going here.

  • Thanks for chiming in, Ara!

    I actually used 'One take on solo Traveller' as the basis of my LBB solo play last year. Simple and useful.

    And I really like the Gygax advice about asking your friends for challenges. I bet that would work good over forums/Twitter/Facebook. And once your friends have offered up the content, as a solo player you can just sit on it until you need it for play.

    Would love to read the Journal of the TAS but don't have a way to buy the pdf:(
  • Posted By: jdfristromNow, when you're playing, and you decide it's time for some randomly generated idea, how do you decide which random generator to go to?

    And how do you defeat the Czege principle?
    I played a little today so wanted to lay out the process to answer your question better. Honestly, some of this is a creative writing exercise with me. And I am comfortable writing in the voices of the different characters while I am rolling dice and engaging with the game mechanics.

    I rolled up a system (Noctocol) in Starblazer Adventures based on the last planet they were on when I was using Traveller. I had come up with the planetary aspects:
    -Government: Oligarchy
    -Parent Star Classification: Binary Star System
    -Not much of a starbase

    And using a random aspect generator (for Diaspora) I also had the aspect
    -Methane Breathers

    So I started out writing up a short Captain's Log for Starrider to get the lay of the land and describe the rudimentary starport and the strange economy built around collecting methane from volcanoes and shipping it offworld. Then I switched to the Pilot's Log as Zenith is a bit of a hacker and would want to get into the local computer system to find out what was really going on.

    Zenith (the Pilot) made a solid Science roll so I had him write up how a corporate manager named Luther Solis was covering up the deaths of some Swarm Birds being abused in collecting methane from the many volcanos on the planet through feedings of synthfood mixed with increasing doses of narcotics. Both from his company Vega Augmented Engineering and from the local Sovereign Dynasty that ruled from the orbiting moon of Vulcan. I used various random sci-fi name generators for most of this content. Zenith also added the Tag "Shoddy Computer Security" to the scene.

    I decided it would be fun to Compel Zenith's Aspect "There's Not a Computer Made I Can't Hack" to get him to really hack into the system in exchange for a Fate point. This time he used his Hand Computer for a +1 bonus along with the +2 bonus from grabbing the "Shoddy Computer Security". Adding that to a solid roll, and no only did he really get the goods on Solis, but he also saw the suspicions of the Sovereign Dynasty and their investigator Freeman Dunn. And Zenith was able to totally cover his tracks in the system.

    Another solo technique I like to use is the conversation around the dinner table, ala Firefly. Like the Personal Logs, it gives me a chance to converse through the different characters, while developing their interactions and relationships. For example, Carl Rosenstar tends to say whatever is on his mind first. Leonard Zenith is very curious but a bit naive. Baron von Earthshine is always looking for the angle. And Captain Starrider tends to listen to what everyone has to say before making a decision. In this case, to send Rosenstar and Zenith to find out what the word is on the ground in the starbase while the Captain and the Baron take a trip up to the moon to chat with Freeman Dunn and see if he is open to trading something "interesting" for the proof they have in Zenith's Hand Computer.

    It seems like a reasonable discussion for them to have. And by inserting themselves into a charged situation, I can already see lots of interesting ways this story might go the next time I am able to "play".

    Does that explanation help at all?
  • edited November 2010
    I bought Mythic because of this thread and thanks for pointing it out to me.

    Now every session can be like a Tarkovsky film. Hurrah!!!
  • Someone compiled Marc Millers notes on starports and other folks contributions. Lots of nifty tables for generating random encounters and traffic.

    Starport pdf

  • Posted By: jdfristromAnd how do you defeat the Czege principle?
    The Czege principle can be defeated by making the generation of opposition mechanical and out of your hands. Ex. a wandering monster table.

    I was actually experimenting the other night with a solo game of Apocalypse World. I made some simple rules for Fronts/Threats, and I turned the Moves into a random table. When an MC would normally be prompted to make a move against me, I would roll on the table. It wasn't perfect and there is obviously a significant degree to which you have to play interpreter, but it takes the opposition out of your hands enough that it makes things unpredictable and interesting and prompts your creativity.
  • I recently played through Jason Morningstar's The Plant>, which is a modern solo game. I would encourage you to take a look at it, even if it weren't free.
  • Bret,

    Could you please tell us more about your Random Moves Table?
  • The GameMastery Plot Twist Cards have been nice to pull out during solo encounters.

    Also, Johnzo linked to some great old-school starship concept art. Really nice when you don't have a table-full of players to describe color!
  • Why there is no dedicated Traveller solo play book is a mystery to me.
  • Ooooh! Ooh! What about "the smoke dream"? There are a couple of really fun sessions in there for you!
  • Posted By: ccreitzOoooh! Ooh! What about "the smoke dream"? There are a couple of really fun sessions in there for you!
    I played that on the flight out to Italy before I started the Traveller game:) Had some nice fun w that!
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