Wednesday, 1 March 2017

One Man And His Dice #1: SCRAWL Good

Solitaire roleplaying is a subject that sparks a lot of debate amongst gamers. Some even go as far as to say
that it isn’t possible. With this new segment though, “One Man And His Dice”; I aim to prove that it’s not only possible, but also a highly enjoyable pastime.

For my first adventure I will be using SCRAWL, a rules light system specifically designed with the solitaire gamer in mind. I am lucky enough to have all of the current supplements to hand, along with a copy of the latest rulebook, and the DungeonOf The Orc Boss; but for the set up and first session I will only be using Explore To The Core, and the core rules themselves (along with a few of my own, that alter the game-play slightly but don’t break it in anyway).

Set Up

Before I can get underway I need to generate both a character, and the land that they’ll be adventuring in; both of which are accomplished with a minimal amount of dice rolls.

First, my character. Looking over the options I decide that I will play as a Fighter. Whilst they have no specific skills that will be massively useful for the overland adventure that I am planning for my first session; they should come into their own when they reach the Dungeon Of The Orc Boss, which I have decided will be the second session.  Martial classes also tend to be easier to handle, so if you’re starting out new with a system; they’re generally a good place to begin.

Character creation in SCRAWL is extremely easy. There’s no rolling what so ever! No rolling, no calculations; just pick a few options from a few lists, and you’re good to go. Which I have to admit took me by surprise. Not rolling up characteristics is almost unheard of, but it really works here. It lets you play the character you want to play, as opposed to the one that the dice rolls give you.

Fighters are particularly easy to generate. All you need to do is pick a weapon, and decide how many provisions and torches you want to take with you (up to three of each). Initially I did wonder why this was an option. It seemed almost a given that everyone would take the maximum of each. That was until I considered the nature of my adventure.

As I’ll largely be traveling overland, I really don’t need that many torches. If I take them however, they’ll count against my encumbrance; which means I’ll be able to carry less food with me. Something that is significantly more important when I know my adventure will have me spending considerable time away from civilisation. Far better to pass up on the freebies than to overload myself with stuff I have no immediate use for I figure.

Next up I decided to semi-randomly generate the land in which I would be adventuring. I knew for example that in order to run some aspects of the adventure that I wanted to, I would need a land that was largely plains with a wooded area to the north; with some mountains beyond that. Other than that though, I decided to let the dice provide the inspiration.

Rolling on the tables for temperate plains (as that seemed the best fit to the geographical setup I was going for), I rolled up two additional sites and five dungeons. That’s a lot of dungeons! Four of these rolled up dungeons were listed as ruins, but one was listed as caves. This is the one that I decided would be the orcs den, as it fitted best with how I imagined the narrative of the adventure progressing.

The two sites rolled for where a castle, and a wizard’s abode; which suggests to me that this land is in some way quite important (why else would you build a castle). It conjured up ideas of a rich and verdant land, which was largely at peace; but not without its troubles. Maybe the castle was here as a base of operations for a peacekeeping force.. Maybe it was one of the ruins? That’s something I haven’t decided yet, and as it has no direct bearing on the adventure at hand I’m willing to let it slide until it becomes significant.

So now I was all set up, I decided to flesh out my character a little more. I named him Erik, and in my mind I have modeled him after a dark age viking warrior. I decide that his weapon of choice will be a hand axe (with which he’ll receive the Fighters combat bonus), and that his reason for adventuring is to seek glory. He wants people to sing songs of his epic exploits, and to leave his mark on the pages of history. Erik is bold to the point of reckless and believes that his best hopes of becoming immortalised through his deeds is to make them truly great.

Hearing of the troubles to the north, Erik sees the opportunity he’s been waiting for and decides to wade in.. Axe first. From the stories he has heard whispered in the streets, the orcs raiding the border villages must outnumber him at least 20-1; and whilst this would make many lesser men pale with fear, it only serves to increase the thunder of Erik’s heart as it beats with excited anticipation.

That’s unfortunately all we have time for at the moment. Join me for the next One Man And His Dice posting, where Erik begins his journey for gold and glory.

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