GURPS · Solo

Reflections on the first session.

So my solo play campaign had its first session this week.

How did it go?  The short version: really well!  I had a blast. Hopefully it was fun to read about, too.

The longer version?  Well, that’s what this post is for!

Positives
  • I had a blast!   There was no GM and no adventure prep, but the story was still really fun, and full of surprises.  Good times!
  • No railroading.  The initial setup was fairly rich in alternative possibilities, so things could easily have gone down differently at many points.  I think this was largely because the three auto-generated NPCs were so interesting (An Inkeeper stuck in a love triangle;  a thief with children-in-tow, and a mysterious stranger who is “sweaty”… if you can’t make a few different surprising scenes out of that mix, you just ain’t trying!) .
  • The system generated a good mix of scenes.  There was a social scene, where reaction rolls and such were required, then there was a long action scene (the fight with the thugs), and then there was another social scene.  That variety kept the session interesting.
  • Convincing Plot Arc.  I liked the plot arc, which sort of resembled a good TV pilot (but shorter, obviously!)  Each of the three scenes contributed something to that.  A fast-forward recap:
    1.  In Scene 1 our hero Temian chatted with his friend Heralf in the bar, and was then conned by Yeira, the thief.  This scene established the hero,  gave us a sense of his ordinary life (he searches the ruins for a living, but with little success, so he’s poor) and it also gave us a sense of the way he relates to others (he’s friendly and jokey with his old friend Heralf; he’s also kind and quick to help strangers, which is admirable but meant that he was easily taken in by Yeira,)
    2. In Scene 2 our hero was lured out into a dark alley and attacked by thugs. It was a fun action scene, in which our Hero got to show his heroism!  (Though, it must be said, it was against some fairly trivial opposition…)
    3. Scene 3 began with Temian being hailed as hero of the hour… but rapidly switched to montage as he got drunk, embarrassed himself, and passed out.  To my surprise, the important part of the scene actually occurred the next morning, when he met with the mysterious stranger, Nyssa, who had an Adventure for him….  (That was a nice TV-pilot style “stinger” – at the end of the first episode, we realized that the real adventure hadn’t even started yet – that’s what the series is for!)

So that plot arc worked really well, I thought.  I can’t wait for the next session, when I’ll find out what the real plot of this campaign is going to be!

Areas for Improvement
  • The first scene took a while to get going, because it took time to create the NPCs.  Hopefully that won’t be the case all the time – most sessions won’t begin with Temian walking into an inn full of new people! But I may have to work on this.
  • We only had social and action scenes – there were no  travel scenes, exploration scenes, infiltration scenes, investigation scenes… .  Hopefully the system will give us some in future.  We’ll see.
  • Surprise Rules – I definitely have to scrounge up some new surprise rules – the ones in the Basic Set seem pretty flawed, and I don’t say that lightly,since the Basic Set is my bible.  At first I was considering using Peter Dell’Orto’s rules – and yet, as he says in the post I just linked to, even he doesn’t quite use them as written.
cover_lg2
This could have helped me in my hour of need!  (despite the compete lack of “wilderness” in my “adventure”…)

Extra note: in the comments section of the first session report, Daniel Dover (a.k.a Mailanka of Mailanka’s Musings fame) very helpfully pointed out that Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures contains pretty clear new rules for Ambushes.  Thanks, Mailanka!  I wish I’d remembered that during the session.

Ambush rules are not quite the same thing as surprise rules, but there’s obviously a huge overlap, so I’m going to give those rules some serious thought.  Maybe they’ll be a feature of next session… only time and the dice will tell!

Anyway, if you enjoyed the first session, then stay tuned for the next episode in The Adventures of Temian Fell!

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