Although the idea of ‘cheating’ in solo games is often debated, this tip is not about cheating and skipping past challenges.
Like yesterday’s tip, it is about playing out the most interesting, and fun parts of your games, and not playing the less enjoyable parts. If you love killing orcs and goblins, then you can ignore the rest of this as it isn’t going to work for you.
When you have run a few encounters you will have an idea of how many resources each one is going to cost you, how much ammunition, how many hit points, how many spell slots, and so on.
If you have ‘yet another skirmish’ you can use your oracle and ask questions along the line of ‘Does the fight go my way?” If you get a yes, then cool, you can follow up with something like “Can I take one alive that I can question?”, and a second yes is also great, and you then imagine the scene with this goblin cowering before you and its companions lying around, as you wipe the blood from your sword. But, you also deduct the resources that the fight would have cost you.
If you get a no, the fight isn’t going your way, you can either jump in and play out the fight, but put yourself in a bad position, or use a second question, such as “Do I turn the tables on them?”, or “Can I flee the fight?” depending on how you see your character. Take the result of that and play out the consequences. But you still deduct the resources that the fight would have cost you.
The role these minor fights play in any game is nearly always twofold. The first is to demonstrate the ecology of the adventure site. It could be orcs, goblins, and ogres, it could be flying monkeys and animated broomsticks, or storm troopers and battle droids. What you fights or run away from still tells you about what to expect later in the adventure.
The second element is all about expending resources. The final conflicts are much tenser when you are out of healing, low on ammunition. Resources give you options, limiting your resources forces you into finding more creative solutions that maximize the limited resources that you have left.
The first encounter when you don’t know what you are facing, or how much danger you are in, that is worth playing out in full, the second when you can approach it with a little more confidence, that is also meaningful, but once you know you are going to win, all baring a disastrous run of dice rolls, these may not add much to your game.
If the battle is going to be decided by 20 failed to-hit rolls, why not decide it in two oracle rolls? The amount to the same thing, but take less time.
This can work for goblins and hoodlums to tie fighters, until you meet the one with the funny bent wings.