Thursday, January 21, 2016

Character creation for Alone: A Solo Game Engine beta version

Solo Gaming

Many people use solo gaming for different reasons.

Some people can't group up with anyone because of living conditions. Some use the systems to test out games before playing in groups. Some GMs use them to pretest game settings and adventures. Writers use them to create stories. Some just prefer less hassles and enjoy solo gaming.

Whatever the reason, solo gaming engines are becoming more popular as time goes by.

First Solo Gaming Introduction

As a tool for testing out content and game systems is the reason that solo gaming websites, blogs, groups, and hangouts caught my attention.

While making my way to the Google communities for Lone Wolf Roleplaying, I came across the beta testing plug for Alone: A Solo Game Engine. A few weeks prior to this post I had seen a November gaming video showing the use of the author's prior product The GameMaster's Apprentice decks.

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/168609/ALONe-A-Solo-Game-Engine-BETA

Cover

The cover is a art piece by David Tanimura which may be one or similar to one of the collages found the artist's site http://www.musashimixinq.com/. If so, collages are juxtaposed pre-existing images rendered in transformative ways, to create new meaning - in this case the figure and the world seem added and the cityscape seems filtered almost cartoon-like.

Introduction

I don't know why, but I had a rough time with the five concepts shown in the introduction: beats, downtime, fragments, descriptors, and vignettes. My troubles could stem from the fact that these appear like colorful grammar terms. Something inside me recalls the struggles that I had learning English grammar.

Downtime reminds me of transitional scenes.
Fragments remind me of sentence fragments at first, but they seem to be fate/fudge points.
Descriptors remind me of grammar term or a computer term which has something to do with data. I guess they are like Fate Aspects.
Beats remind me of poetry.
Vignette, I had heard before and am unsure of what it meant. It sounds like a scene changed by fate points.

Once my mind turns the mechanics into Fate terms, I have an easier time using the system, since I already know Fate somewhat. I'm not sure why the Fate terms weren't used since they are OGL from what I have seen at their game site.

Card Mechanics

After the somewhat rough time I had with that first section, things picked up with the system. The card mechanics was easy to learn or come up with ways that I could use the half-card-deck included in the beta game.

I found myself reading the included Game Master Apprentice GMA book and applying those mechanics mixed with the Alone system.

I do like the Likely Odds system, which from what I have read in other posts is similar to the Mythic engine. I do realize now looking back at my first two sessions, that I didn't use the Elemental Symbols to interpret the ! results. Next time I play, I will have to utilize them. When they came up in game, I had interpreted the ! as meaning 'and' because of the demo scene. I forgot about the Elemental Symbol mechanics mentioned in the section.

The Random Event system seems clear enough. I found myself in game play using it together with the sensory info, catalysts, and Runes. Less used for me was the tag symbols, though I did use them twice at least.

The Tension Level?

The tension level was mentioned, but I am not sure how it affects the game mechanically. I don't know it's purpose. Maybe something like chaos amount that I have heard about in Mythic, but I don't see it applied to the game mechanics.

The Answering Questions

This section is easy enough to understand.

The Flowchart

I do like the Drawing a Random Answer section of the flowchart. I used the Narrative selecting Odds method rather than the Mechanical methods so far. I would like to test out the mechanical method next gameplay.

Alone: Testplay
Ken Wickham


12/30/15


Setting: The World of Aioskoru


Character Creation

Using the GMA system
A.) Character: Draw two cards Verb and Noun
(2) Trap/Graceful/Pandemic
(13)Bargain/Arrogant/Aura


I don’t like Bargain for a character but do like Trap. So, graceful trap or arrogant trap.


Graceful trap seems interesting.


Dictionary lookup: Graceful or elegant; trap, catch, or retain


It might be a female, male, or androgynous character that draws in others, maybe controlling or blackmailing.


One question that comes to my mind is, “does this character come from a wealthy background? [G: No RE: Deny Active Dream].


It sounds like this character is actively pretending to be wealthy, and denying the past poverty. I also notice Butcher on the card. Maybe this is a child of a butcher who has dreams to be well off and rise to the top of society.


B.) I also look at the virtue and vice section as the GMA rules suggest. Mercy/Treachery and Mercy/Wrath. I like Mercy and Treachery.


Mercy as a virtue is okay. Treachery seems to fit in better with the trap. Treachery involves betrayal, backstabbing, deceit, and deception. 

So this character is merciful, compassionate, and forgiving but can backstab, control, blackmail, and trap those that they feel betray their trust.


C.) Draw a card for Belongings. The first one I don’t like. The second one is a Lucky Charm. This interesting to me. I’ll hold off on saying what that lucky charm is. Lucky Charm: ________?


D.) Drawing a  card for name, Andra.
I choose an androgynous name for this probably male character.


Now I go to the backstory.



Family Members
[Draw Sun/Sword/Shield = Idolized them, at least for a time, Were demanding of you, Were protective of you.]
Growing up, Andra idolized his older siblings. They demanded that he strive to be great, to own his own business in the future. Even when he got into trouble, they were there to stick up for him..


Childhood
[Draw Heart/Skull/Sun = Felt loved, Felt abandoned; may have lost one or more family members, You were precocious and stood out from your family.]


Andra felt loved as a child, but something happened to cause loss of family members


[What event happened to loss one or more family member? [RE: Alter/Diabolic/Trap], I also notice the target symbol. The sound: tick, tock, tick, tock, see: thick fog, a stomach-tilting lurch, smell: an odd fragrance. I also notice the symbol Othala for birthright, home, safety, bloodline and the symbol for fire which is chaos and dynamic nature.… ]


It sounds as if someone plan something which attacked the family, maybe the butcher shop for some reason, killing one or more family member.


So, maybe because the loss of the family, Andra creates his own family, but quickly disperses of those adopted family members that seem to turn on him/her based on the events that happened in the past.


Andra leads a band of misfits, which are now his family.


Youth
[Drawn Wand/Sword/Shield = Uncovered a family secret, Lived dangerously, possibly for fun or to protect friends and family, Lived carefully, thought it may not have helped you or your family and friends.]


I take this to mean that the family had some secret, maybe a secret that caused that attack at the butcher shop.

I also notice Exhaust Advanced Parent and the symbol Wunjo for gaining fame and glory


Coming of Age
Drawn Sun/Sword/Target = Gained fame, earned or otherwise. Involved in major conflict. Left home and struck out on your own.


[RE: Arrogant/Aura]

[Because of the experience, Berkano = birth, rebirth, new beginning, family, renewal of new family]

At coming of age, Andra gained fame. During this time, Andra found solace with a group of friends, which became his family after the disaster and loss of family.


Best Friend
Jiffar
[hear beat of sword and shield = fighter or warrior
[RE: Move/Artificial/Time], Gebo = gift, exchange, partnership, team,
Belongings: jewelry, gold,
Diligence & pride]


Met backed into corner? What event?
[Drawn [Beguile, Restrained, Lookout], Hear: Horrible gnashing, grinding, Badluck: squelching steps into in something nasty. Hagalaz: terrible weather, crisis before harmony]

I read these as Jiffar saved Andra one stormy/rainy night when backed into the corner somewhere by a gang, robber, or thief. Andra was being mugged, beaten, and attacked. Jiffar heard the commotion and saved Andra, after which they have become the foundation of their family. Jiffar comes from a wealthier family and Andra leached to the wealth. Jiffar reciprocates because he feels something that he always lacked - a place of his own in a created family.

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