The Collected Archives V Getting Started in Solo

I share a lot of ideas with Kenny Norris, but we diverge a lot as well. I suspect that I would consider his style a lot crunchier than mine, and he would think of me as being more narrative, rules-light, or both.

When I try and assist people in getting started, I tend to suggest playing a single scene, if that works, play another scene that follows on and keep adding scenes. I think this is a bit like teaching a child to ride a bike. They pedal once and don’t fall over, so they keep pedaling. As adults, we can solo a scene, and then reflect on how did the rules work, what made things harder or easier. Did the solo rules or engine help or hinder your game? Was there enough input to make this not just an imagined story, but a real game where you didn’t know what was going to happen?

As you reflect, you can revise and tweak what you are doing and make the game tools work the way your mind works.

Scenes become game sessions, game sessions see the completion of adventures or character deaths, whichever come first.

Kenny’s campaign plan I found very daunting, and the more I think about it, unclear how I would get from the cluster diagram to a campaign outline. What would I do with the campaign outline once I had it? Is it a scaffold to help answer future questions? Is it the outline of the entire story and a self-imposed railroad?

I like to build that style of diagram organically. As I establish facts I record them and make the connections. I create them from the character’s point of view, not the GMs point of view.

They are an interesting way of representing the character’s understanding of their world, and of testing theories.

Kenny would like to see the sharing of actual plays to be almost standard practice. I think this is a nice idea, but even I would not want to share every game. Some end dramatically quickly, others are rather disappointing and I abandon them. Some are snatched from moments of spare time. If I had to share them the time demand would sky rocket and pretty much never happen.

Could we do with more examples of different approaches to solo? Certainly. Is making publishing solo plays obligatory the right way? I think not.

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