I mentioned yesterday that Knave Solo, working title ‘A Lonely Knave’, had thrown up some interesting problems.
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The biggest problem stems from the system being almost too simple but at the same time, unnecessarily complex.
What that means in real terms is that the game has very few game rules but every rule uses a different game mechanic.
Character creation uses 1d6 for stats, 1d20 for traits through to misfortunes and gear.
NPC encounters use 2d6.
Saving throws and combat use 1d20, except when it uses 2d20.
Morale is 2d6
Hitpoints and healing are 1d8.
Spells are d100.
Normally, when I try and make solo rules that fit in nicely with a game I am trying to make it work using the games overriding game mechanic. It is so you don’t have to stop thinking in one set of game terms and move to another every time you hop between core rules and my add on rules.
But what happens when there is no core mechanic?
This time around I have invented a mechanic that feels like it could have been native Knave, but clearly isn’t.
The yes-no oracle is fairly straight forward. It is d20, ones are generally not good, 20s generally much more positive. Knave has a magic Target Number at 15, so I have used that as well. All good here.
It was the open question mechanic that caused the headaches.
For open questions you want lots of options.
I could have gone d100 + d100. That is 10,000 combinations, but Knave does not feel like a ‘massive table’ type game. Another option was d20 +d20. There are plenty of d20 tables in the book. It would have worked but that only gives you 400 combinations. The chances of something coming up twice is relatively high.
I am also not a big fan of Roll, look up, record, roll, look up, record and use. Rolling the same die twice slows the game down and feel more intrusive. What I decided upon as a handful of dice. You roll a d20, d8 and d6 all at once. Three small tables and you put three options together. 20 x 8 x 6 gives 960 combinations but it is much faster. All three dices are in common usage in Knave.
The most complex part of the rules ends up looking something like this, which I don’t think could be described as rules heavy or overly burdensome.
If you are familiar with Knave and the way that the tables look and work, you should recognise that as being very much in keeping with the style of the game.