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A dalliance with Non-Authoring Solo

Nearly all the solo roleplaying I do, and my rules lean towards can be referred to authoring solo. The rules may give you a prompt, but it is down to you to filling the context and meaning of what the prompt means to you.

All these tools could be used by an author to write either short stories or even an entire novel. Non-authoring solo is different, the context and meaning is generated for you.

I have never done any non-authoring solo. I was looking into it, for a friend, and one of the techniques is called cutting up. You take a text that is in the style and genre you like and then cut it up into sentences. You then rearrange the sentences to tell your characters story. The difference between this and a literary exercise is the gamification, you are an active participant in the story telling. That last bit is one of the core parts of all roleplaying, being an active participant.

But what does that have to do with the yellow and black monster in the corner?

The friend, is into rather more narrative role play than I am. At the end of the game I like to feel I have played a recognised game. I like to be able to join in with conversations and share experiences of adventures. Narrative play denies me that camaraderie.

Despite all the hype and excitement around Mörk Borg, it is actually quite a simple game. The rules can be distilled down to a page, or little more.

Going back to the non-authoring solo, I visualised two ways of playing with this. The long answer could be to get an AI powered chat bot, teach it how to GM a game, give it a volume of books to consume and then get it to run your game for you. For example, if you gave it all the Robert E Howard books to read, the chatbot should take on the tone and style of Conan or other Weird Tales stories.

That was my first thought. My second thought was I bet that is a lot more work than I imagines, followed by, if that would work, why hasn’t someone else done it?

Overnight I had a think and the idea of cutting up came bubbling up.

I could take the text of all the Howard books and stories currently on Project Gutenburg, and then turn them into a database of sentences.

Then search those sentences for key words, like cut, stab, slash etc, and put them in a table of combat sentences. then look for movement style sentences and put them into a table. Then do the same for food and eating, and so on.

What you would see on screen would be a set of buttons for each category, and clicking button would randomly show five sentences from that table. You pick the one that fits your idea, and it gets added to a journal, as a rolling record. Maybe give you a text area where you can add your own content and add that to the journal as well.

It would not be as sophisticated a chat bot, but as there is a body of work already available in text format, it would be a much simpler task to complete this in a timely fashion.

As I said, I am not a fan of narrative play, but I am a fan of Conan, that can get pretty dark, Mork Borg is pretty dark. My challenge this week is to try and mash these two up, and see where it goes.

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Into The Rad – Day 7… and Launched!

Seven days from playing a game during my lunch break to releasing an Into The Odd hack, Into The Rad.

I honestly believe that this was the fastest turn around I have ever had.

I don’t make any of the changes to the rules, or character creation, in this hack, which means that the years of playing and playtesting behind Into The Odd still holds true.

What I have added is setting, mutations and mutants. I then added on a setting in the form of random tables and a short chapter of setting ‘lore’.

I am really pleased with this game. In the screenshots above there are pink paragraphs. These are the solo rules sprinkled through the game. These solo rules are quite simple, but they are not specific to Into The Rad, meaning that you can use this as a solo set for any Into The Odd game.

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Into The Rad – Day 6

This is not the final cover, just a work in progress, or first idea.

You will notice that there was a name change. I fell out of love with Into The Gamma, and Into The Rad seemed a bit cooler.

Most of my books are US Trade format. These are smaller than the bulk of RPG books that are US Letter.

In 2021 I will be pushing as much as I can out to print. US Trades (6″ x 9″) feel really nice in the hand.

I mention this because smaller pages tend to mean more pages.

As of this evening Into The RAD [ITR] is standing at 51 pages including the cover page.

I expanded the setting material today, setting the game in Illinois, in a rectangle that goes from St. Louis to Chicago.

This setting is entirely optional, but I thought it would make a change from having everything set in Manhattan.

Also new today in ITR is a bestiary. It just gives half a dozen mutants that, according to Wikipedia, are native to Illinois, black bears, badgers and bats, for example.

Layout still needs doing, but I am still on track for a release tomorrow.

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Into The Gamma – Day 5

I had a really good day today. Technically, I could save the PDF now and, baring some art, it would be ready to go. The problem is that the more I write, the more I want to include.

I have a few screenshots to share. The pink boxouts are the solo rules and advice interspersed with the mechanics.

I am taking a break from writing for tonight. I am going to do some art selection for the rest of the evening, this will free up some time tomorrow.

The Hex Crawl didn’t turn into a Hex Crawl at all. What you get instead is a set of d6 tables about that the next terrain will be. It picks out either wilderness or urban locations, different terrain landmarks, and weather. What it doesn’t do is break the world into 6-mile hexes or whatever the standard is.

Tomorrow will be a day of adding more cool stuff.

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Into The Gamma Day 4

I missed a day as we were a bit busy on the farm, but needless to say writing still got done.

Alien landscapes by Forge Studios

As of this evening character creation is complete, the solo rules are written, mutations for animals and plants are done, and starting tech is defined. I have a section on Referee advice and I am building the Gammapendium, formerly the Oddpendium.

I am trying to pile in as many random tables as I can to create a sprawling sandbox or even hex crawl in which to play.

I think I am a day behind schedule but that is no big deal. If all goes to plan, the manuscript will be complete tomorrow and I can get the layout and art selection done on Sunday.

Right now someone could pick it up and play the game.

Still to do, player progression, lists of tech to find out there in the wilds, hex crawl system, nice to have things like tables of contents, introduction and covers.

That sounds like a good days work.

I have been solo playing the game and my intrepid mutant explorer has been wading through a swamp full of really nasty lifeforms, we discovered a half submerged jumbo jet, and that has been out main adventuring site. There is something big and horrible in here with me but I have no idea what it is but it is not bothered by the near total darkness inside the body of the aircraft.

My character had a sidekick but he got killed by a big evil vine thing that lashed out at him tried to pull his head off. His was a very short career as an explorer.

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