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Deal of the Day – Deep Dive

Today’s vblog is all about my recent 3Deep Deal of the Day. If you are a publisher, or aspiring publisher, Deal of the Day is ‘the thing’ that we all aim for with DriveThruRPG’s Publisher Promotion Points. It is the most expensive option available, and out of reach for most small publishers.

I have now run two DotD. The first was for a solo product. It was my Blades in the Dark book, which meant that the attached game had an existing huge following. The price was just a couple of dollars, which also meant that it was an easy impulse buy.

The second, this week’s 3Deep offer, was a completely different challenge. 3Deep is a standalone system neutral game system. Most role players already have more games than they will ever play, asking them to buy another one is a tougher challenge. Even discounted 60% the PDF was $4, not a huge amount, but the POD wasn’t discounted.

Experience says that a DotD will earn you $200 – $280 in additional sales. This one earned $199.01, so pretty much as expected. I hoped to sell 50 copies, actually sold 62.

The follow on sale was the big win this time.

What the video for more detail, and feel free to ask me anything about it.

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Deal of the Day – 3Deep 2nd Edition

3Deep (2nd Edition)

For the next 24hrs 3Deep 2nd Edition is Deal of the Day on DriveThruRPG for the next 24hrs, all over New Years Eve and into the New Year.

Get it today at a 60% discount, reduced from $9.99 to just $4.

3Deep is also available in perfect bound softcover.

World Building

3Deep was created as a GM and World Builders game. For a rule light single volume game, you get rules that cover just about everything from creating your own cultures and ancestries to vehicles, magic and super power.

Why not watch this short product primer?

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Alternatives to Mythic GME

The biggest single name in solo role play has to be the Mythic GME, Game Master Emulator. Almost every solo tool that uses look up tables shares at least some of its DNA with Mythic.

There is nothing wrong with Mythic, I have used it myself in the past. Once you have learned the way it works, and you can get to grips with all the tables and record keeping, it is easy to see why it is the market leader.

The strength of Mythic is also its greatest weakness. It is simply generic. Not only is it generic, but it is also dice and table heavy, which is often called “crunchy”. That crunch can mean that if you don’t know the system like the back of your hand, you end up spending more time playing with Mythic than you do playing the game you wanted to solo.

There are alternatives to Mythic. In fact there are many of them, I want to look at one alternative philosophy.

Mythic GME vs 3Deep

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Persistent CharactersThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Green_tick-2.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Red_x.png
Life Path Character CreationThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Green_tick-2.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Red_x.png
Published AdventuresThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Green_tick-2.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 240px-Red_x.png
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Page Count72144
Cost$9.99 (PDF)
$14.99 (print+PDF)
$10 (PDF)
$27.48 (print+PDF)

Who are the games aimed at?

Mythic Role Playing

Mythic is aimed at players. It places greater emphasis on groups of players playing collaboratively, sharing the game mastering role in a pass the parcel process. The games start with a brainstorming, idea gathering period, just a few minutes, to gather ideas to be incorporated into the game. When the game starts the players take turns to use the Mythic GME rules to answer the questions that come up.

"3Deep" (2nd Edition)

3Deep is aimed more squarely at game masters that do not get to play. That and game masters that like to create their own worlds. Gameplay assumes a single character and a sandbox world that perpetuates from game session to game session. To make things manageable it uses the idea of episodes, rather than distinct adventures, and story arcs are either season long, carried from episode to episode, or short and resolved in the current episode.

Character Creation

This is where the games differ more obviously. Mythic uses a customisation process, Everything has a rank and the rank is used for task resolution using the standard GME tables. Higher ranks make the likelihood of a yes result greater. The actual statistics, attributes, skills, abilities, and strengths and weaknesses in play can very from game to game, although most groups would soon settle down to a regular setup.

3Deep uses a “life path” character creation process. Your character has a race or species, five stats, a culture, and a set of skills. The game comes with very simple rules for creating races/species and cultures, part of its world building ethos. The skill list is brief enough to keep in memory for most people and broad enough to cover most genres. Beyond the core numbers part, characters are intengrated into the game world through person connections to NPCs and personal plot objectives. Once you have made a few characters the whole process comes down to about 5 or 10 minutes start to finish.

World Creation

Mythic is designed for any world. The game world is created during the idea gathering stage, before play begins and the character creations flows from it. The skills and abilities are tuned to the world the players want to play in. If you don’t want to do that pre-session planning, a randomised world can be created with a Q&A session using the dice.

3Deep offers three options. The first is the player created world. As mentioned above, there are rules for creating non-human characters and specific cultures. These lay down the foundations for any characters based upon them, leaving just assigning stats and choosing spending just seven skill points. The world is as the player imagined it and then supported by the rules.

The second option is that of the Q&A and letting the dice decide what the world is like. Frequently five to ten yes-no questions is enough for any solo system to give a clear idea of the sort of world you are in. 3Deep further supports this process with the character backgrounds seeding the world with active plot hooks.

The last option for 3Deep is splatbooks. At the time of writing there are two in print. The first is a Wild West genre book and the second is No GM’s Sky, a far future adventure of space exploration and a journey home. There are more splatbooks planned including a fantasy core.

Soloing The Game

Mythic is the elder statesman of solo role-playing. The system treats everything like an oracle question from does my sword hit the goblin to are there bars at the window. There is no distinction. Open questions use a pair of d100 rolls to get one of 10,000 possible word couples to inspire your answers. For a more physical game, there are Mythic playing cards that replace dice with cards drawn from a deck. As I said in the introduction, the game is not fast to play, but it is detailed. This is the advantage of the d100, it gives you many levels of granularity.

3Deep is a much faster game to play. It borrows heavily from Mythic and credits Tiny Solitary Soldiers for its solo engine. The entire solo system fits on half a page, and the most complex thing you will do is make a pair of 3d6 rolls. Most oracle questions will just be a simple 2-12 (2d6) roll. The stated aim of the design was to ‘get out of the way’, meaning that the rules should not interfere with your roll playing. The single page format means that there is no flipping back and forth to find the right table.

3Deep also offers an advanced option rule for open questions. This is contained on a second page. The two, core and advanced, can be placed side by side when playing. These are provided in a quick reference section at the rear of the book, either for printing or to have all the tables on just four pages at the back of the book, to save hunting for them.

If you have used Mythic then moving to 3Deep’s solo engine will be very easy. The biggest change would be getting used to the compact d6 tables instead of the d100 tables in Mythic.

Industry Support

Mythic is a closed system. There is the core role-playing game, the GME and some supporting books by Word Mill, such as the Location Crafter and Creature Crafter, that apply Mythic techniques to creating semi random adventure components.

3Deep has a free compatibility license. This allows any publisher to create compatible content, stamp it with a 3Deep logo and sell it. 3Deep is also released under the Open Game License. This is another way of freeing writers from constraints and allowing them to make variations on the game. 42 publishers have downloaded the compatibility license so far.


Mythic RPG is 144 pages of which 54 are the solo engine. 3Deep is 72 pages of which 4 are the solo engine. That direct comparison really illustrates how streamlined 3Deep. Price wise they is not a lot to choose between them. Mythic is $10(pdf)/$27.48 (print+pdf) and 3Deep, $9.99 (pdf)/$14.99 (print+pdf). 3Deep is a little cheaper but it is a lighter set of rules.

In play, 3Deep was written by game masters for game masters. It encourages persistent worlds, characters and solo campaigns in the style of TV episodes and seasons. If you are looking for inventory management and encumbrance rules you won’t find them here.

Mythic is more freeform and collaborative and is designed more for players without a GM. Mythic is shines at one-shot games where you are playing supers today, last week it is grimdark fantasy and next week you will enter the world of James Bond.

Although 3Deep is the lighter ruleset, it manages to cover more situations. There are rules for car chases, gun fights, bleeding to death and explosions. There is magic, machine guns and monsters. You don’t have to use them, you can use the solo engine to test combat if that is your style.

For more about 3Deep visit its product page on

For more about Mythic visits its product page on

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#RPGTheoryJuly 4th Bleed

I am trying to work out what the idea behind ‘Bleed’ is. Are we talking character bleeding and wounds or ideas bleeding from one genre to another?

I am going to take this as physical bleeding and I am going to continue looking at this from a solo role playing perspective.

The first game I ever published was 3Deep. It is a simple d6 game but I build a solo engine into it right from the start. 3Deep uses 1d6 to 3d6 for weapon damage depending to the weight or power of the weapon. The problem with d6s of damage is that once you have seen one d6 of damage you have seen them all. They are not intrinsically exciting and you don’t get to roll buckets of them. To counter that sameness I introduced two mechanics . One was knock back. You roll damage and you roll for knock back. If the damage was higher then the difference between rolls is how far the target is knocked back. This is great for knocking people off watch towers or breaking down a shield wall.

The second mechanic was special damage. All through the game there is a 1s and 6s rule. 6s give the character a boost, think critical successes, and 1s diminish the result. When looking at damage if there is a net positive number of 6s then the attack can cause special damage. Blunt weapons cause stun, fire attacks cause burning and slashing weapons cause bleeding. Imagine you attack with a lance and do 3d6 damage. The roll is 2, 3 and a 6. The total damage was 11 with one point of bleeding. You roll 2d6 normally for knockback and roll a 3 and a 4 for 7. The target staggers back 4m (11 – 7) under the force of your blow. That is a basic rundown on the combat system and where bleeding comes into it.

The issue with characters bleeding is that they can win a battle and then bleed out. I have in the past asked the oracle “Does anyone save me?” I don’t really want the adventure to end and as I am the hero and it is my story I tend to make this a likely event. The 3Deep solo engine uses ‘plot twists’ that can introduce NPCs, complications or even make completing your quest easier. I have had a character dying from blood loss and the oracle introduce a new NPC and save the character. The enforced change of scene caused by the blacking out of the character is a perfect device for introducing these new elements.

So what if the oracle had said No? I have no problem with time in my solo plays. If the character dies on July 4th I have no qualms about playing the character on June 1st to see how he got to be on the quest that killed him.

Would it have been better to have not had the bleeding mechanic in the first place? Then I would have won the battle and been able to lick my wounds and carry on. It is my experience that the enforced wounds like bleeding and burning add to the visualisation or flow of the scene. If your character is in a shoot out and someone throws in a molotov cocktail, without special damage you take some damage from the burning petrol and then return fire. If on the other hand you character is actually on fire you are more likely to drop and roll.

In a group rpg bleeding is of little consequence, normally, as long as someone survives the battle you will be saved.

In a solo play death doesn’t have to be the end and doesn’t need to be seen as a failure of loss. Defeat can change your story and introduce new story arcs. Death can make you explore more of your character’s background.

The time hopping is something that can only really be done in solo play or following a TPK. If four characters survive the fight but you bled to death, they are going to mourn, loot and move on as they have a quest to complete.

So how do I feel about bleeding, and burning etc. for that matter? It can make combat more dangerous, and therefore not something to be leapt into at every opportunity. It can add a bit of narrative flavour to a wound and it opens up an opportunity to extend the story, does some one save you and if so who and why? I am in favour generally. I am working on an OSR SCi-Fi game right now. I haven’t written the combat system yet but when I do it will include bleeding, burning and stunning wounds.

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3Deep in the Wild West

It was always the intention that 3Deep was going to be a setting neutral core system and that there would be ‘add on’ themed or genre books to turn the setting neutral into a setting rich experience.

With 3Deep in the Wild West we have taken everything we learned when researching Devil’s Staircase Wild West and applied it to 3Deep.

What you get is a very different game. DS:WW is fun and has almost cartoon-like cowboy shenanigans, the stuff of Saturday morning pulp TV. You can stand in the middle of a dusty main street and blaze away with your six guns. Characters can dodge bullets until their luck runs out. Try that in 3Deep and you will be calling the undertaker.

Combat in 3Deep is dangerous. The top tip is get behind cover and shoot from there. If you are fighting in hand to hand then get the positional advantage, hit them from behind if you can.

3Deep in the Wild West keeps its rules light approach. NO NEW RULES are added in this supplement. What you do get are plotlines, NPCs, setting descriptions, new cultures and new equipment. Everything you need to role play in a dangerous ‘Old West’.