During my last post I mentioned that I would post up a run-though of how I'm using Brutal Quest in combination with Rory's Story Cubes to create my adventure for my solo rpg campaign so without further ado, here we go:
First up, here's the playing area and the assorted supplies I'm using:
I've got a cheap cork pinboard with some sticky backed plastic sheet stuck over the surface. I usually use this in small Planet 28 skirmishes but it does just as well as a gaming surface for a pen and paper rpg session!
I also have the Brutal Quest rulebook, some pens and a notebook as well as lots of dice including the polyhedral D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20. I also have some of the old Epic 40k dice which I've been using to represent characters and enemies in game. I also have some Havok dice which help decide whether or nor my adventurers encounter any unexpected foes!
Next up here's the campaign map as it stands:
This campaign is taking place to the north and east of the Axeblade mountains and initially started with just the Whispering Arch, my exiled barbarian spellcasting hunter, Fael and her goat companion Modwen's new home but has expanded as they explore the surroundings and set off on quests. They are currently at the Ancient Portal as they are trying to track down their newest companion, Arud the Golem's lost mistress.
I've found this random map generation really great at developing the details of a setting I know some elements of but have never really got into the nitty gritty of!
Next up, I have a representation of the adventurers surroundings:
The battleground board is actually a piece of EVA foam painted with a kind of grass pattern and has 30mm squares marked on it to fit my 20-30mm bases if I get around to actually getting the miniatures for the session finished!
I hadn't bothered with the mini battle phase in an earlier attempt, simply rolling out the combat but I prefer this approach as it's a bit more tactical and actually allows for ranged combat rather than just a melee.
Next up, there's the rules!
The more I play Brutal Quest, the more I appreciate it as it's a really great system but as with all my rules I do tend to tweak it quite a bit to get it to fit what I'm using it for.
2nd edition of Planet 28 is out this weekend as a pdf so I'll be delving into that and trying out this sort of game for my Inquisitor Fisher mini campaign but I especially like the Brutality Points that Brutal Quest has as it allows you to develop your character or do some really handy stuff throughout the course of a game!
Next up, there's my character cards:
I picked up some revision cards from the Works for £1.00 for a pack of 50 and they're perfect for keeping a record of all my characters gear. I stuck a bit of sellotape along their stat lines so I could use a dry erase marker to record advances, wounds and whatnot.
The characters have at this stage fought about half a dozen encounters and been rather beaten up, especially Arud who is down to four points of damage following an unfortunate encounter with a Goblin shaman who kept setting him on fire. Fael has medical skills which allows her to heal wounds but Arud is mechanical so they need to source some tech soon so he can repair himself.
The revision cards are dead handy as I've also used them to put together a random encounter sheet for some of the hazards they are liable to stumble across in the Ancient Forest that is their current location.
I plan on putting together some random encounter cards for each of the locations of Aeroth to allow for some interesting scenarios going forward but thats for another day!
Next up Rory's Story Cubes:
For this session, I'm only using the basic set of nine dice but it should still allow me to run a mini encounter as the trio investigate the ancient portal that the Goblin shaman has emerged from.
With that in mind, I pick three random dice and roll them and get the following:
The Foot, Masks and a Bee.
The best thing about Rory's Story Cubes is that you can literally interpret them any way you like, it could be that they discover footprints leading to shamanic masks or a trail leading to a hive of some sort or any number of different interpretations.
In this instance, the trio stealthily enter the portal where they can see the footprints of many creatures and hear a distant buzzing or humming noise.
I then roll a Havok Dice to see if they encounter anything (which I forgot to photograph!) and got a skull which means I roll on the random encounter table:
Looking at the chart, this results in an abandoned camp.
Already there's a narrative starting to form but I roll another three dice to see what I find in the camp:
I get a Sleeping Figure, a Dice and a Question.
I decide that the dice means I am rolling to see how many sleeping creatures there are and get a six but the question mark then makes me wonder if the trio have entered some sort of guardroom that usually contains a number of Goblins but appears to be abandoned and leaving the question, where are the Goblins?
I then roll another Havok Dice to see what happens next and unsurprisingly for this party, roll another skull requiring me to roll again on the random encounter table!
This time, I get a five which reveals a shrine.
The adventurers push further into the gloom of the abandoned guard room and discover another doorway at the rear and peer through.
This requires another three dice to be rolled to see what they encounter and what the shrine looks like:
And I roll a Walking Stick, Letter and Smily Face.
The shrine appears to be dedicated to the Goblins ancestors, the walls covered with carved likenesses of long dead. Small parchments hang from each, scribed with crude characters which the Goblin Shaman that the trio have defeated had obviously used to pacify the spirits of his ancestors.
This requires another Havok dice to see if anything exciting happens and once again I get a skull (my characters very rarely if ever seem to get a break!)
This requires another roll on the random encounter chart and I get a six, a Wild Animal Encounter!
I then roll a two which results in them encountering an insect of some sort.
This could be a swarm of small insects or something larger so I decide to roll a havok dice to see what I get. A blank results in a weaker foe, a skull one as powerful as the characters and an explosion one more impressive.
Unsurprisingly I get an explosion resulting in me having to fight another giant insect, something that nearly killed my entire party earlier in the campaign.
Before I stat up my giant insect, I decide how many wounds it has by rolling a number of D6, for this instant I decided six of them would represent a big and nasty bug of some sort.
Game wise, the dice are kept like this to represent the beasts wound track with it using any earned Brutality points each time a dice is removed. I then set about statting up the insect, giving it decent melee and heavy armour as well as a poisoned weapon just to make things unpleasant for my adventurers.
Next I give my characters the chance to get the drop on the big bug by rolling under my hero Fael's Awareness to see if she spots the bug before it gets the chance to attack. Unfortunately she doesn't as she flubs her roll.
The successful awareness roll would have meant that her trio got to activate first in a combat which would have allowed them to get the jump on the bug and possibly do some serious damage with either Aruk's Handgunne or Fael's Shortbow.
With this done, we're ready for the combat and we have Fael flanked on the left by Arud and on the right by Modwen. The big bug is on the other side of the board.
As Fael's party enters the shrine to the Goblin ancestors, a ferocious buzzing begins and a great striped chitinous monstrosity drops from above to confront the interlopers and murderers of its master!
At this point I'm ready to play out the encounter. I suspect it's going to be a difficult one as the bug is going to be hard to damage and the groups firepower is limited to a single shot from a handgunne wielded by the badly damaged Arud and a shortbow held by Fael so it's probably going to come down to a bloody melee which Fael and Modwen are going to have to protect Arud from getting smashed.
Handily Fael was forced to use a lot of the items she had collected to defeat the last bug they fought and it took out her two companions during the struggle and she was down to her last two hit points so this is going to be interesting.
Whee! It took about an hour to type up a process which took minutes but I hope it shows how easy it is to use some Story Cubes to add flavour to a solo RPG, especially as I had no idea what my characters would face until they bumbled into it!
I hope my ramblings encourage folks to give the dice a bit of a try as they're really handy for introducing random elements to wargames as well as RPG's and they're great fun to play around with, as its possible to run an entire RPG using just them by turning it into a story.
I'll post another update in the next week or so to show how I use Rory's Story Cubes to create NPCs and character backgrounds as well as describing settlements and the surroundings my adventurers encounter, if they survive this!
In the meantime, All the best!