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A dalliance with Non-Authoring Solo

Nearly all the solo roleplaying I do, and my rules lean towards can be referred to authoring solo. The rules may give you a prompt, but it is down to you to filling the context and meaning of what the prompt means to you.

All these tools could be used by an author to write either short stories or even an entire novel. Non-authoring solo is different, the context and meaning is generated for you.

I have never done any non-authoring solo. I was looking into it, for a friend, and one of the techniques is called cutting up. You take a text that is in the style and genre you like and then cut it up into sentences. You then rearrange the sentences to tell your characters story. The difference between this and a literary exercise is the gamification, you are an active participant in the story telling. That last bit is one of the core parts of all roleplaying, being an active participant.

But what does that have to do with the yellow and black monster in the corner?

The friend, is into rather more narrative role play than I am. At the end of the game I like to feel I have played a recognised game. I like to be able to join in with conversations and share experiences of adventures. Narrative play denies me that camaraderie.

Despite all the hype and excitement around Mörk Borg, it is actually quite a simple game. The rules can be distilled down to a page, or little more.

Going back to the non-authoring solo, I visualised two ways of playing with this. The long answer could be to get an AI powered chat bot, teach it how to GM a game, give it a volume of books to consume and then get it to run your game for you. For example, if you gave it all the Robert E Howard books to read, the chatbot should take on the tone and style of Conan or other Weird Tales stories.

That was my first thought. My second thought was I bet that is a lot more work than I imagines, followed by, if that would work, why hasn’t someone else done it?

Overnight I had a think and the idea of cutting up came bubbling up.

I could take the text of all the Howard books and stories currently on Project Gutenburg, and then turn them into a database of sentences.

Then search those sentences for key words, like cut, stab, slash etc, and put them in a table of combat sentences. then look for movement style sentences and put them into a table. Then do the same for food and eating, and so on.

What you would see on screen would be a set of buttons for each category, and clicking button would randomly show five sentences from that table. You pick the one that fits your idea, and it gets added to a journal, as a rolling record. Maybe give you a text area where you can add your own content and add that to the journal as well.

It would not be as sophisticated a chat bot, but as there is a body of work already available in text format, it would be a much simpler task to complete this in a timely fashion.

As I said, I am not a fan of narrative play, but I am a fan of Conan, that can get pretty dark, Mork Borg is pretty dark. My challenge this week is to try and mash these two up, and see where it goes.

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