My first attempt at non-authoring solo was concordance based. My understanding of the concordance tool is that it pulls put keywords, with the reference/context from a text.
If you imagine your character looking down a valley, you could ask the concordance for ‘valley’ and it will show you a selection of references to valleys. You pick the once that fits, add it to your story and then you react to that, rinse and repeat.
I picked Mörk Borg because it is a wonderfully rich rulebook, game with every rule and reference dripping with lore and flavour.
I built myself a very simple concordance tool.
What I did was select all the text from the rules, paste it into Work. Replace all the carriage returns in the text with spaces, turning the entire thing in to one long paragraph. I then inserted a carriage return after every period, exclamation mark and question mark. This gave me a list if every sentence in the book.
To use it as a concordance, CTRL+F brings up the Find, and as you start typing Word returns.
You can see the concordance in operation in the attached image here.
This first attempt, technically successful. The concordance worked. I could see the context of each reference, and how many references there were.
As a play aid it as an unmittigated failure.
Although the Mörk Borg book is rich in style, the actual setting material is rather scant. There was not enough material or examples of play or descriptive material to make this work.
What I need is a mass text from which to draw references.
One the other hand, I made a quick set of oracles for Mörk Borg. The first iteration looked like this.
Just an ugly mass of random tables for me to roll against.
The nice thing about excel is that I can make rapid changes as I play. All my personal oracles start life this way. It is only when I get around to publishing them that I do all the writing, layout and arty stuff.
So this is an Excel vs Word battle for Mörk Borg.
There is an obvious bias towards my normal play style but that is what I am trying to overcome.
Below are a few screenshots of what my personal oracles look like now. The upgrade is all about making the oracles fit in with the core rules. If it all look and feels like the core game, the easier it is to maintain the suspension of disbelief.
My next step is to build a bigger and better concordance. There has been a lot of chat on the lone wolf solo discord about Conan recently. A lot of Conan stories are quite dark fantasy. So what I am going to do is grab all the Conan stories from Project Gutenberg, put them into Word, run the same macros to turn them into sentences, and then try again.
At the same time, I will use my own oracles to play the character using the Mörk Borg rules.
I hope to have a more successful playtest next time!