I have set myself a small challenge and that is to create solo rules for, and play three Cthulhu inspired games before 20th of August, H P Lovecraft’s birthday.
The first up is Dark Streets & Darker Secrets.
This game borrows heavily from a number of sources and I can see a lot of solo potential in it. There is a lot of emphasis on GM improvisation, which is good for both OSR style play and training potential future soloists.
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The idea of yes, but… as a way of handling situations is built in, and I can see parts that appear to have come from Kevin Crawford’s Scarlet Heroes.
Random Tables Everywhere
DS&DS contains 20+ random tables for everything you can imagine for running a grim dark contemporary setting, That includes Old Ones, necromancers, and corrupt politicians to random sights, sounds and smells from the city. It is a treasure trove of inspiration for the solo player.
All I need to add to this is the scene structure and oracles, and then try and pull it all together into a more coherent whole. There are almost too many prompts for you riff off of.
Who Did It?
What I am trying to do this time is something a bit different with the adventure structure. Normally, in solo play you are either freestyling where no one knows ‘who done it’ until the final scene and the answer comes to you as inspiration to a prompt.
The other alternative is where you are taking a published adventure or module and you turn it into a flow diagram style structure, allowing you to play the key scenes as long as you hit the critical points required for the adventures story to flow. In this case you know who did it right from the start.
DS&DS has a random adventure generator that reveals the primary antagonist and any minions in response to dice rolls before game play starts. This is fine for GM lead play, but not for solo. I am rejigging the adventure builder so that it is not all rolled up front, but parts are rolled as your adventure progresses. Using location changes as triggers to reveal more information.
I am hoping that this will keep some of the suspense back. The big bad will still be a surprise as it is created by the game, but it is not revealed before you even start play.