I am a father of a two year old, living in a rural community, working in management. I used to be a wargamer, liking complex and competitive games due to my education and personality. In the last year I found, that I have way less time for games, becoming an adult and all that. I thus looked into solo gaming and slowly began my journey to solo roleyplaying.
My sessions are usually very short. Half an hour to one and a half hours max. Usually I play when the little one sleeps or after work. If it was a long day of work my narration and style is very sloppy, my application of the rules always is.
As I am saying goodbye to “winning” as the major theme of my play, I found it hard but very worthwhile to think about what I want to experience in my solo gaming sessions. This is not a given, in my first few solo rpg sessions I actually tried to win. A useless enterprise if you are the only player, judge and jury. Countless comments by the Ironsworn community, special thanks to Shawn Tomkin, encouraged me to look further than winning. I came up with a list of the themes I want to experience:
- Exploration: Instead of exploring the subtleties of some tactical feat on the battlefield, I want to explore a new world. Using the random tables from Perilous Wilds and Ironsworn the map is slowly developed. My mission as a player is to make it stick together. By that I mean that I want the world to be plausible and interesting.
- Technological Change: My Mouse Guard RPG Campaign is set in 1492. It’s the end of the middle ages for mouse society and renaissance comes knocking. Going forward an age of discoveries and inventions will begin, which will transform mouse society completely. How societies and individuals react to krass technological change has always been an interest of mine. I hope to explore my own thoughts on the subject by playing it out.
- Colonialism/Imperialism/Ecology: I am not to clear on these themes yet. With native mice being present in the new world (the firstborn), interaction between newcomers and natives is a must. Not sure what to do with this yet. I don’t want to replay Pocahontas, that’s for sure, but I am also unable to come to grips with my thoughts on the subject yet.
- Politics/War: As soon as a few villages/colonies are erstablished I want to explore the politics between them, the cleavages that will rip them apart, the actions which will bring them back together and the outcomes of individual an collective policies.
I try to abide by this rules:
- If I want to use a ability/trait/skill in a move, I have to describe how it is employed in ONE sentence.
- I have to decide on what abilities to use, before rolling the dice.
- Make a story about failure and loss.
- Pick up the pieces from there and move on.
- Construct the first “land mass” to be plausible.
- Establish a number of villages and their relation.
- Sketch every character.
- Sketch every village.
How I play:
//this is very much work in progress. Maybe if people are interested, it would be worth the effort. But in all honesty it is really hard for me to put these things down to paper. I am just lacking the vocabulary to talk about game rules in English. Sorry for that.
Every sucessfull journeyroll in Ironsworn is one hex on my map. Using Perilous Wilds, every hex gets a terrain and every other hex a discovery (Perilous Wild).
Mice usually act in groups, so the entire mouse pack sent out by the colony is one Ironsworn character. Basically the character sheet represents a dozen mice without special abilities or traits.
Some exceptional mice rise above all others and do develop a unique personality, traits and abilities. These mice act as character assets for my Ironsworn character. As I play a Mouse Guard campaign with the neighbours, some of the characters (pc & npc) sail to the colony while others, like the firstborn characters, do originate from my Ironsworn games. Some of them are fully fleshed out Mouse Guard RPG characters, other are just a set of Perilous Wilds NPC tags.
I limit the number of characters that I am allowed to field in one play session by the experience points my Ironsworn character has gained. For 2 experience points I can buy another character slot. I do this, as I want to explore every character for a bit before falling in love with the next one. For three experience points I can upgrade one of the characters.
Whenever I can leverage one of the traits, abilities, skills from one of the characters involved I get +1. But this comes at a cost as well. Every use of a mouse costs one point of nature (concept from Mouse Guard). Nature represents the mousyness of the characters. As being a hero is quite unmouselike, the mouse falls back to being a featureless, anonymous standard mouse in the pack as soon as their nature reaches zero.
I am not allowed to use them then until their cost is payed (Concept from Perilous Wild). Vilppu’s cost, for instance, is that he wants to brag in front of other mice and wants to be seen as a big hero. By this I try to ensure that I play every mouse character a bit differently. Vilppu needs to do heroic things, or I won’t be able to use him for long. Rahona needs to protect nature, and so on …