Chronicles RPG Core Rules

It is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce the roleplaying rules I have been working on for way too long.  The link below is to a PDF file for the 38 page ruleset.  Enjoy!

Chronicles RPG Core Rules_1.0

I think this bit sums it up nicely.

What you are holding is an organic document.  It was never my intention for this to be a static set of rules.  The minute you read it you will have your own ideas, your own thoughts on what you should do with the framework.  Here is what I want you to do… use them!  Make this game yours.  I promise you, I’ll be doing the same on my end and fully expect these rules to go through numerous small modifications and iterations as I prune, graft and grow them.

And from the last paragraph…

In addition, I wanted to give back to a gaming community that I’ve seen evolve and grow and blossom since I first walked the hallowed halls of Gencon in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin dressed up like a ranger and carrying a Crown Royale dice bag.   It’s a community that has given me fantastic experiences, inspiration and some of the best friends I have ever made.  This core ruleset is for them, for you, and, in the spirit of it all, will remain forever free.

Some key features

  • Allows players to have an influence in world building with the game’s host by letting players make Matrix game statements. (Thanks to Chris Engle at Hamster Press!)
  • Only the players roll in combat.  This frees up the game host to help tell the story.
  • Uses a narrative system for level of success.  It uses “Yes, but…”, “No, and…” etc.

Stay tuned and thanks for being here!



Roleplaying Update

In between all this X-com nerdiness, I have a happy announcement for those of you patient, roleplaying folks that have listened to me go on about my homebrew roleplaying game.  If all goes well, I’m happy to announce that over the past few years I will FINALLY be ready to be publish the ruleset here on the blog.  I’m going over the document now, making some editing changes and making sure it looks good for it’s PDF preview.

I’ve implemented one big change which I’ve implemented as sort of a “last turn of the wrench” before finally just telling myself to “be done.”  The big change was to change the XP system by turning it around 180 degrees.  Where as before it was based on the system’s version of Critical Hits it is now based on a character’s failures.  That is, after all, how we learn, right?

Overall, I’m very happy and excited for what is to come over the next few weeks!  Hopefully, your patience will be rewarded!  Thanks for hanging on this long!




Like a Cart with Square Wheels

As 2015 passes away and 2016 knocks us around a bit, I’m looking back over this blog and where I am with things.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of herky-jerky motion that does not make me happy.

In frustration, my response was to take a sledgehammer to it, knock it all down, burn it and start over.   “No, no,” says the wizened me,  “it’s still good.  It just needs a bit of love and attention.  Focus on the wheels.  You’ll see.”


It seemed to be a good answer so let’s get this moving one more time and carve a few corners down.

The Superhero Sandbox game – The bad news? I managed to use the idea of a Solo Sandbox Superhero game to inspire me to write an entirely new RPG for the past year or so.  The good news?  See the bad news.  End result – It’s still going to happen!  (I also realized I allowed myself to get a little stuck on the world creation before actually just, you know, playing.  So, I’ll be doing the micro to macro formula and we’ll build the world as we go.)

The Homebrew Roleplaying Game – There is actually no bad news here.  Hooray!  And you know what else?  It has a name other than “that homebrew roleplaying game thing” and, as much as it can be, it’s done!  I’m running a few more playtests as well as getting it prettied up for it’s PDF deput.  I’ll be happily posting it here.  The goal is Early Spring 2016.   To get things warmed up, I’ll be talking about it here and going over a few concepts.

Game stuff, Storytelling Stuff and Whatnot –   I’ll be doing some other solo play.  I have no idea what genre.  I also want to get back to the NPC builds and maybe a few maps.  I want to create things for folks to use or experiment with.  You’ll start seeing some NPC’s pop up here again.  The first question is what genre?  Should I go with the most popular, fantasy and science fiction?  Or, maybe, make it a reader’s choice?  Maybe both?  Let me know your thoughts.  (I love the word Whatnot.  It covers SO much.)

Also under Storytelling stuff we are going to start talking about what makes the art form work.  For the record, I do consider it on par with the actual form of storytelling and performance.  In some regards, it is the same.  In others, it is different as you also need to work the storytelling within a framework of rules as well as other players, other attendees, etc.   The best comparison at hand is scripted acting vs. improvisational.  They are both acting but are very different.   What makes a good storyteller?  Should a storyteller hold all the power in the performance?  Is the Storyteller a lord or a servant?

Finally, I’ve been doing this the majority of my life and I’ve got some stories to tell.   Look out, I’m going to do storytelling about storytelling!  I’ve got a few rambling tales to offer up about running games, creating games and selling games.  I hope they’ll be entertaining, and, hopefully, informative.

More to come!

I promise!








Solo Gaming with Flight Simulator FSX

So, I was down at Nassau and taking a day off from the standard one or two hour runs.  I’d found a nice hotel on the beach and enjoying the spoils of my past employment.  In fact, I was watching some beautiful women on the sand, eating my lunch and drinking a rum and coke.  Life was good.  My cell phone buzzed with a text.  A text from my contact in “The Group” to be exact.  A job had come up and they were asking if I wanted it.  I was to check my email ASAP and then make a quick phone call.  I took a long pull from the rum and coke and watched the waves for a few moments.

Then, I checked the email and made the phone call.  Afterwards, I ordered another rum and coke.  I made sure it was a double.

Cuba.  Why did it have to be Cuba?


At least that’s my overly creative imagination pictured as I thought about the next step my pilot would be taking in the FSEconomy virtual world.  I was down at Nassau after picking up some tourists (and some agents) from the lower Cays and bringing them back to “civilization.”  I wanted to fly another one of my homebrew assignments so I fired up Google Earth, grabbed the 6 x 6 template I talked previously and went to town.

I stretched it out all over lower Florida and the Bahamas.


I wanted the chance for a longer flight.  My first roll was a dropout as it put me in the middle of the ocean.  What was the point in that?  Second roll?  The same.  The Third roll, however, a 2 and a 4, put me into Cuba. Now, I thought, this is getting interesting!

I zoomed into Cuban area and the initial square was huge so I resized the 6 x 6 grid to match the area I had just rolled and rolled again.


Now, my favorite part, looking around on Google Earth to find something interesting.  I saw a few things and I immediately grabbed my percentile dice (2d10’s) and my love of the Mythic solo rules and started asking questions.  (Though it did not come up this time I was using the rule that doubles meant a random event!)

Was this going to be a pick-up mission?  I had no idea one way or the other so went with 50/50.  34.  Yes.

Was it going to be a water pick-up mission?  I imagined that it would be far more clandestine to do something like that and so gave it a higher chance.  I weighed things out and wrote down 75%.  The roll was a 27 so, yes, a water pick-up.


Was I going to have it do it by flying normal assignments through the area?  This also made a lot of sense so I assigned it a 85%.  The roll = 56.  Yes.

And that was all I needed! I got to work looking over FSEconomy and found a run where 2 photographers and a model needed to go a place on the northern coast of Cuba called the Cayos Las Brujas.  The Witch’s Cay?  Does it get any more pulpy than that?!?  I couldn’t let it go and so asked, “Is someone in the group heading to the Cayos Las Brujas for another reason besides a photo shoot?”  What if “something else” was going on?  I gave it a 40% chance and wah-lah, 32.  There WAS something else going on.  But what?

I split up the three passengers on a d6 roll, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and rolled to see which one was up to something.  Of course, it was the model.  I realized I was also assuming too much and rolled the gender of the model.  1-3 = male, 4-6 = female.  I rolled a 5.  A female model up to something and going to a place called Cayos Las Brujas?  Truly, the random story gods were smiling on me today!  But there was more…

I pulled up my Mythic chart of Random Events and gave it a roll.  I wanted to see what the goal was of the model.  What did I come up with?  66. Carry and 53:Home.  Carry Home.  Nice!  She was carrying something home.  It was obviously something of value or why would she carry it home?  So, it was valuable.  Was it worth a lot of money? I gave it a 60% and rolled 81. No.  Not worth money.

Finally, realizing I had gotten lost in having fun with a story and not flight planning I asked the question that I had to ask.  “Was the model actually a witch?”  I made it fair and gave it a low chance at 20%.  Something was in the air because I then rolled a 03 which meant it was an Exceptional Yes!  Sweet!

I couldn’t resist a final roll filled with authentic pulpy, over-the-top goodness.  “Was the model/witch the contact for the “Group” my pilot was now working for?”  I gave it a modest 40% chance and rolled a 28.  I got a good chuckle out of that one!  Does she reveal to him that she is, in fact, his contact? 50/50.  Roll = 45.  Sometimes, the dice love you.

I put it all together like this…  The trio were heading to the town in order to do a special photoshoot of the model in her hometown.  Rustic shots at the beach and at the market, that sort of thing.  Our model, boarding the flight with her photographers, would insist on hanging on to her oversized purse, not allowing it out of her possession.  She then, offhandedly, would hand the pilot a business card and on it was a symbol or a drawing or something that would tell him her true identity.  Thinking fast, he would allow her to sit up front to “get a good view” and thus wearing headsets so they could possibly talk without being overheard.    And that was that!  One final question remained, “Was she actually involved in the assignment with the clandestine pick-up?”  Given everything so far, I gave it an 85% chance of yes.  I rolled a 92!  Nope.  Just making friendly agent-like contact as she flew home.  So be it, then.

CubanMission_Flight01I planned out the flight.  I would do the first assignment to the Cayos Las Brujas.  Then, I would head westward and over fly the pickup area, a large lake, with no passengers.  Along the way, I’d dip down, pick up the contact and keep going to my next destination.  When I got airborne, I would roll to see if the “authorities” had caught wind of the weird maneuver and would go from there.  I would then fly two more assignments and head north to Florida with my “assignment” in the back.  Wah-lah!  Assignment complete! (Hardly realistic, or perfect, but the goal here was to have fun and revel in my silliness.)

The flight down to Cayos Las Brujas was uneventful and I pulled off a stellar landing.  Since I had rolled she had nothing to do with the assignment I was flying, I waved goodbye to my mini-storyline and figured I could come up with another story down the line featuring the character of the model witch.  I got things prepped for the big job and aimed the Dehavilland Turbo Beaver westward for the pick-up and rolled into the sky! Weather was holding and I angled for the lake pickup.

It was at this point everything got VERY complicated!

To Be Continued!


Question on Character Advancement

While spending time on my Flight Simulator, I’ve also been working on my RPG ruleset.   I even attain full geekery by working on the ruleset WHILE flying a long flight.  Geek Multitasking for the win!   The bulk of the basic rules are done and I’m scheduling a playtest in the next week or two to get some initial feedback.  The hope is it will be a fun, story based system that will convert well to Solo RPG play.  Earlier this week, I just finished up an initial run with it in a fantasy RPG setting and I feel it was successful which only energizes me to move forward.

Though nearly finished an important question has come up regarding character advancement.  I’m currently between two decisions and, since this will eventually be free for folks here, I thought I would put the question forward to see if anyone might be willing to offer feedback.

I am torn between two systems of character advancement.  Both have a focus on the fact that levels of Skill become increasingly difficult to attain and full mastery is very difficult and takes times.

DarwinShrugI’ll briefly describe both of them and then you can let me know your thoughts.  Which would be more fun to play?

Version A — A player gets a certain amount of XP awarded to him by the GM, typically between 2 to 4 points.  The player then can spend those XP points on making a roll vs. a difficulty number in a chance to raise the skill.  Low level skills have a low difficulty number, Higher levels are, of course, much more difficult.  This would most likely result in a player missing rolls and possibly burning all of their XP for “nothing but a chance.”  I don’t mind this idea too much but as a player I think it could get rather frustrating.

Version B — My system has “exploding dice” so anytime a 10 is rolled, the player may roll again and add that number to his new total.  If he rolls another 10, he rolls again and adds THAT.  The idea here is that anytime a player rolls an exploding die for any skill use he gets a “tally mark” next to the skill.  When that skill has built up enough tallies to reach the proper level that skill advances automatically, even if it is the middle of a session.  Also, at the GM’s discretion, he may allow a tally mark to be given if a player really bungles a skill roll.  We learn by failure, right?  The downside is that if a character is very focused on a particular skill there may be a bit of a “grinding” feel to it.

Also, it should be noted, players would not be allowed to do a repetitive task in order to try and gain more tallies with an exploded roll.  For instance, throwing a knife at a target over and over to try and get his skill tallies up.  (I understand, in reality, this would be the way you do it but it doesn’t make much of a story, right?)    I suppose I could include a rule that a character could announce between games they were doing such a bit of practicing to earn a single tally mark?

Those are the two versions right now.  What do you think?  Which would be more fun?

Thoughts?  Ideas?


Creating an NPC with Story Cubes

(Ported over from my original blog post on my Yoteden blog.)

Over on Solo Nexus, JF put together something fun which was to create an NPC for roleplaying with  random rolls of Rory’s Story Cubes.  For those non-gamers, an NPC is a non-player character which is a story character NOT played by one of the players.  For example, the bartender at the local bar, a city guard or a player character’s family member.


This should clear things up, right?

The story cubes are nine different dice that each have a different symbol on them.  The symbols and images are what you use to tell a story.  The idea is that the image on the die can be used in any way to spur an idea for the character.  By using the dice with three sets of three questions you are able to put together a random character for the player characters to encounter.  You could also do this for a player character or for a writing exercise.  You also don’t need Story Cubes.  You could do this with any sort of randomizer.  For instance, you could use Magic the Gathering cards, Tarot cards or even “Random page” on Wikipedia.

Continue reading

First Things First

Alright, the shiny new blog is up.  I’m happy.  It looks good and I’ve got my very own gaming blog to call my very own.

Now what?

Roman_DiceFirst, I’ll be bringing a handful of articles over from the original blog and scattering their seeds here over the next few weeks.  I’ll make sure to mention something at the very beginning so it’s not mistaken for new content.

My first goal here is to take another swing at a project I tried last year.  The idea was to take a solo game, start it from scratch and build a large sandbox world.  As the character, or characters, go along the plot line the world would grow around them. Like a living, growing thing I would let it spread out as much as it could.  In the process I’d eventually create a source world anyone else could use if they wished.  It was a pretty good idea but I mucked it up by stating that I was also going to write fiction pieces to go along with the gaming.

Big Mistake!


It turned the fun of sitting down and doing a bit of gaming into a job.  I’d have a good session and then realize I had to take those three pages of solo game notes and write it all up as a story.  Bleah.  Not good!  I also quickly discovered I just don’t have that kind of time.

With mistakes sorted and learned from, I’d like to give it another go.

I have two ideas bouncing around that I would like to pursue.  There is a good chance that I’ll do them both over time and possibly bounce back and forth between them because they are radically different.   The goal with both will be to create a large scale world setting through solo gameplay and random ideas.

The Two Ideas
A.) Fantasy world with a main character of a Dwarven Archaelogist.  His adventures will help explore the world.  I’ve got a map of a world that was drawn one boring day with nothing attached to it.  There will be a decent steampunk flair as well as some sort of black powder weaponry because, well, I’ve got a thing for black powder weapons.

B.) Superheroics set in the modern day.  I’ve always wanted to create my own superhero cast and world.  Back in college I gave it a shot with an idea I really liked.  I want to give that setting a jump start with a central superhero character and branch out from there with other characters, etc.

I’d like to keep things simple and flexible. The system I will use for both will most likely be my Freeform Universal RPG (FU) hack that I will be sharing shortly OR I’ll use a little known game system called Instant Game, both of which are free!  I first developed the FU hack a little over a year ago and in looking it over I feel I let it get a little too complicated. I’m taking some time over the next few days to edit it and maybe par it down a bit.  If I can’t get it whittled down, I’m going to go with Instant Game.  Heck, I might just smush them together.  (This is the life of a solo gamer… always fiddling!)

The next part, the actual GM emulation will come in another hacked up form of the Mythic GM Emulator by Mythic Press and the 9 Questions solo game engine by John Fiore (Link coming soon.)  I will be talking further about each of these as we go along.

Now, the big question…

Which world do I start with first?

Any preferences?