Kenny Norris [Cabbage Games] collected together 26 solo RPG blog posts from 2015/16. I get the feeling that we are poles apart, he is a Mythic GME fan, I find it too crunchy, he prefers a few generic tools to use with any game, I like to feel immersed in the game I am playing.
This first article highlights a few things that were not as prevalent in 2015 as they are today. Games like Wretched & Alone are massive now. Simple standalone games combining solo into the experience. Wretched is big, Ironsworn is bigger! We no longer need to have a game AND a set of solo tools, because we can have both together as a unified whole. I did this with Into The Rad, a hack of Into The Odd. I put the game into the near future and nuked St. Louis.
Something else that was certainly less common are Cut Up/Blackout Poetry and AI writing tools.
There are some really cute blackout tools. Take a business card or postcard, cut half a dozen slots in it. Place it over any peice of text and it will reveal a selection of words are near random. You then try and read meaning into the selection. As a tool, you can keep the card in your wallet or bag and use it as your oracle whenever you want, using any printed material.
AI Dungeon and many of the AI text generation tools are also getting a workout as a solo RPG tool. This not something I am into, so I have no valid opinion, but they certainly were not big in 2015.
When Kenny gets to his top five solo tools, this is where we massively disagree. I really cannot get on with the Location Crafter. Nothing kills a game dead faster than having to stop to write lists. My most common random table has just 4 items, because that I can normally create with out killing the dynamic. The idea of having to create three lists of many items is work not pleasure.
The same goes with UNE. It is a fantastic tool for many people, but it is too invasive for me tastes. Even Kenny admits that some of the results are a bit weird. I find that the results are too detailed and do allow me to grow into the NPC and learn about them as I play.
There are two tools on the list that I simply don’t know. Instant NPCs and Covetous Poet.
Finally, Mythic GME. Kenny loves his GME and this is going to be his go to tool.
2016 is when I released 3Deep and it had a massively cut down variation of Mythic built into it. I ditched the big yes/no table in favour of a simple 2d6 and +/- for probability. There are bits of Mythic still in there, but the following year I revamped the oracles as part of No GMs Sky to an even more rules light iteration.
Could I build a list of my top 5 solo tools? Probably not. Every game I play I rebuild my toolbox. Every toolbox I build is an iteration showing micro improvements. No two are the same.