#RPGTheoryJuly 3rd Conversation

I have decided to tackle RPGTheoryJuly from a solo play point of view. It is a minority niche for the hobby but so was play by post, LARP and game books once.

Conversation in solo play sounds like a strange idea. Why talk to yourself? When you character is talking to an NPC in solo play you quite literally imagine the conversation taking place, right down to mannerisms, turns of phrase and gesticulations. You may have made skill rolls before and these colour your imagined scene. If you know you have successfully swayed the crown prince because you just rolled a fantastic Public Speaking skill test then you can play out that scene.

If you don’t give conversation its deserved place in the limelight and the game what you are left with is going through the motions until combat starts, and that isn’t role play.

I would go so far as to say that it is these imagined conversations that prove that solo role play is true role play. I have talked to people who have played solitaire modules and at no point did they contemplate thinking about what their character said, how it was said or the audiences participation beyond a dice roll to check success or failure. That is not role playing in my opinion.

About 10 years ago I used to commute to work by bicycle. It was about 20 minutes each way. I used to solo role play my character on the way to work, making any Oracle or skill tests I needed before getting on the bike. I would then play on until such time as I either got to work or I hit a point where I needed to make more rolls. I loved these ‘sessions’. Most days I have no memory of the journey. I even got to the point where I knew the oracle tables of my favourite solo engine and I could use the digits on car license plates as dice rolls, just taking the first digit under 7 as my d6 roll. What I found myself doing though was playing over the same scene multiple times, particularly conversations. Do you know that feeling when you have had an important conversation and come away and then curse because you wished you had said x, y, and z? I found myself almost striving for the ‘perfect’ conversation, the perfect speech or even the perfect witty rejoiner. You could never do that in a group rpg but for me it made the characters story better and I mean better in a fun way not a win/lose way. I would never consider playing a fight twice just because I a lost or didn’t do as well as I could. But being allowed to do the parts where you actually learn more about your character, their personality and their voice over doesn’t feel like ‘cheating’.

It is during any conversation, in character, where you will learn who your character actually is.

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