Friday 29 July 2022

Brutal Quest Solo Rpg Using Rory's Story Cubes


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!

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Colostle Solo RPG


I've been pootling around with my Brutal Quest RPG sessions and have been really enjoying the process of constant bodges and improvising a story as I go and have picked up Colostle, the solo storytelling RPG game to see how it works and have a try at playing an adventure.

The premise of Colostle is that you inhabit a castle that is so vast that each room appears to be a country or even continent. The main antagonists in the game are called Rooks, strange stone tower like automatons who attack the inhabitants of the world and also provide them with much of their tech, be it grafting arms, rookling companions, transport or even magic.

I've read some really positive reviews of the game so was quite keen to take a look at it and the artwork throughout, along with the setting is really evocative and thoroughly enjoyable too. 

 The rules themselves are pretty straight forward as your travels and encounters are all based on drawing from a deck of cards and looking up a table. This also gets used for creating cities, finding treasure and even combat but instead of doing the whole leading you through the adventure, the results give you prompts to create your story and adventure journal.

This is a completely different approach from what I usually do when playing games as I do tend to take notes when putting together battle reports or background but actually crafting a complete story around a few prompts that essentially give you the result of whatever you're doing but leaving how you did it, what you see and what your foe is like is completely new to me.

I'd initially tried playing it straight from the book using the cards and journalling as suggested but I kept on finding myself stumped as it felt a little too simple so I incorporated my Rory's Story Cubes which added to the experience by giving me more to work with than just the suggestions in the book and after a few false starts, I settled on putting together a more visual journal to cover the adventures of my character, Edmond of Brokhill:

Everyone knows that all good stories start with a map so I drew up the Roomland of the Rock Garden, an out of the way place which has two exits into other areas (I rolled a D4 to see how many). Thus far I only have the area surrounding Brokhill sketched in as Edmond hasn't done much adventuring yet (more on that later!).

Next I spent a bit of time writing a bit of background on the village of Brokhill and Edmond my adventurer. I actually used a book called The Amazing Story Generator that belongs to my wife to give him a background so it turns out he works for a secret agency called the Order of the White Tower and is seeking a large armed woman who may hold the key to the Order's goals of finding a way to live in peace with the Rooks (something Edmond struggles with due to having to fight them on a regular basis to protect the locals from being crushed by the great constructs).

I also decided to put together lots of little sketches to help bring the game to life a bit as I found just writing in the journal a bit of a struggle whereas having some visuals really helped give a sense of reality to the adventure.

Next up, I set off on my first adventure and Edmond who is one of The Armed, a class which is good at combat but not brilliant at exploration got three cards and I ended up with an encounter in an abandoned bandit camp involving a shady character who wished to rob me of something.

Thus Gaspode was created and he dutifully tried to dry gulch our hero who lost the fight and ended up unconscious whilst the dastardly Gaspode made off with an item that had been hidden in the camp.

So we now have our first encounter out of the way and Edmond has been shot with a crossbow and left to die in an abandoned bandit camp somewhere in the borders of Rook Country. Not an auspicious start to an adventure but we shall see how he gets on in the next session.

I must admit that I prefer my own solo RPG bodge to this approach as I like being able to roll dice and fight more interesting combats which your characters fate is down to the luck of the dice as well as your decisions, especially as most times in Colostle if you come up against a human opponent, you're going to crush them pretty easily, I gave Gaspode the same stats as Edmond and the cards resulted in Edmond striking once, a draw and Gaspode striking twice so Edmond lost the combat. 

I'll persevere with the adventure to see how it goes but if nothing else, I suspect that I'll be creating lots more small art pieces for an adventure journal for my Brutal Quest rpg sessions to help me flesh out the setting, characters and so on!

Speaking of which, the PDF of Planet 28 2nd edition will be released this Sunday so I suspect I'll be delving into it in the not too distant future so in the meantime, All the best!

Sunday 24 July 2022

Grune Warthide: Cursed Dwarf


I've been beavering away with some RPG stuff and trying to make sense of the assorted ideas I've got floating around but I've managed to get another figure sculpted and painted up in the form of Grune Warthide!

Following one of my previous posts about randomly creating a character for a solo RPG, I ended up with Grune Warthide, previously Grune the Handsome who hails from a northern hold where he was a tunnel fighter, tasked with keeping the Dwarven Labyrinth, a vast network of subterranean tunnels, caverns and halls free from the taint of the upper world of Aeroth.

Sadly he seems to have been mutated and has been exiled from his hold as he searches for a cure.

Armed with a hand axe and equipped with chainmail and a shield, Grune is pretty decent in close combat but not the sharpest tool in the shed, possibly due to his shock at being mutated.

He's made from fimo for the most part with greenstuff details and plasticard shield and axe and was great fun to build as he's going to make for a great addition to my Somewhere on the Border campaign once I get it up and running!

Here's the original artwork:

He's a bit different from the original art as I gave him a leather jerkin and slightly slicked back hair rather than the wild tufts he originally sported but still hopefully recognisable as the same character.

I've been working on quite a few ideas for a solo mini campaign and have actually played out several quests with another character I've rolled up called Fael who is a female barbarian and her goat companion Modwen and its really helping me develop both the setting and getting into the swing of a solo RPG and using both Brutal Quest and Rory's Story Cubes to develop a game that is fun to play and a narrative that is proving to be oddly compelling, despite being created using random dice!

Hopefully I'll get some artwork up for Fael, Modwen and their new companion Arad the Golem in the not too distant future along with a bit of a breakdown of how a session runs but for now, All the best!

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Harry Potter Storycrafting


Just a quick post this morning before I head off to work as I'm hosting a Harry Potter Storycrafting session in Dundee today!

Using nothing but some story prompts, a selection of Rory's Story Cubes and our imagination, we'll be creating some new and ridiculous stories including Harry deciding to climb the Whomping Willow, Draco being eaten by a Venus Mantrap and Hermione being followed around by a unicorn called Butcher Bill...

Hopefully it will be a fun experience for the kids who are coming along and will help me with coming up with some quick-fire stories using the Story Cubes! 

All the best!

Tuesday 19 July 2022



I've been perusing the interwebs for interesting little games to add to my collection and happened across SKULLBOX, a rather quirky mini RPG that centres around animated skulls defending their dungeon from interloping adventurers using a combination of powerful box armour and cunning traps.

I must admit that I was first drawn by the creepy cute artwork but the game is super simple and actually looks like it may be rather fun to play, or at least incorporate elements into my own games.

The PDF edition of the game is currently on DRIVE THRU RPG  for the princely sum of £3.13 which is an utter bargain and its worth a peek, if for no other reason than the art and entertaining creations Shardstone Assembly have created.

I'm sorely tempted to do a Blanchitsu style mini project featuring a group of Skullboxes and foes as it would look fantastic and would be a really fun little project to have a bash at too.

I'm hoping to run a bit of a play through in the coming weeks once the temperatures have returned to a manageable level so until then, All the best!

Friday 15 July 2022

Brutal Quest as an RPG Wargame


Following on from my earlier post with all the papertech Goblins, I got to thinking about playing a bit of a mini quest using paper standees and using Brutal Quest as the basis for the rules.

After having a bit of a rummage, I got my copy of the rules, a small notebook, pens and whatnot but also got my assorted Rory's Story Cubes out and set about fiddling around with the rules themselves.

Nic handily has produced a bit of a mini supplement called Pump Those Numbers Up! which covers converting his rules from a D10 system to a D100 which I already use on Planet 28 and I also intend to use Hack and Slash! Experimental combat rules for Planet 28 to add some extra crunch to my games.

With the rules sorted, I decided to create a character and rolled up his stats randomly using the Brutal Quest character creation rules but instead of paying points, I rolled a D44 (or 2 D4's!) to see what I got. Once I'd completed this stage I gave myself 20 points to up different stats to round out the character a bit.

This will create a low level character who may be quite good at a couple of different things but not super powerful. 

I then looked at the stats for the as yet unnamed character I'd rolled up and turned to my copy of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for a bit of inspiration. Looking at the characters stats, I realised he was more suited to a warrior than say a ranger or scholar or thief so I rolled a D4 and ended up with a Dwarf and then the D100 and got Tunnel Fighter.

Looking at the profession in the rules, it says that he is equipped with a grappling hook and rope so I decided to give my newly created character the Climb trait for Brutal Quest (the Tunnel Fighter in Warhammer Roleplay has lots of other skills too but I figured they were already figured into his stats).

As you can see, the character isn't very agile, is pretty good in melee and can shoot but isn't overly aware of his surroundings and has the intelligence of a rock...

It was now time for me to crack out the Story Cubes to see if I could come up with a background for my Dwarven Tunnel Fighter, who I named Grune. 

By selecting a random trio of Story Cubes and rolling them to see what I got, I ended up with a Frog, a DNA Helix and a Lonely Tower. After a bit of head scratching I settled on Grune being an inhabitant of an isolated hold who had been mutated and now had warty skin.

Grune Warthide (Formerly Grune the Handsome)

Already I seem to have got a bit of personality for Grune so I rolled another trio of dice and got a House, a Book and the Lonely Tower again. This made me think that maybe Grune has left his home to seek a cure for his affliction and he sets off towards a nearby city to begin his search.

Another trio of dice resulted in a Rainstorm, a Skull and Crossbones and a Bodybuilder. Totally random stuff but here we have Grune seeking shelter from a rainstorm on the way from his hold to the city when he is beset by bandits and as I already have the Goblin paper standees, he ends up facing a bunch of lowly Gobbos. But the bodybuilder dice made me think that maybe there's also a bigger tougher foe along with them so I ended up having Grune facing not only a pair of Goblin footpads but also a Goblin leader!

My next step will be to play out the game of Brutal Quest to see how things go so watch this space as we follow the sorrowful tale of Grune!

I had considered setting the session in the Warhammer Old World but think I'll be going for my own setting of Aeroth as it's a good way to flesh out the setting and will allow me to play around with all manner of bits and bobs without getting bogged down in trawling for details on the Old World to keep things accurate.

I now have the paper standee for Grune sorted and am going to put together a couple more Goblins and we shall see how the encounter goes but in the meantime, All the best!

Wednesday 13 July 2022

15mm Cybertronic Squad


Just a quick post this morning before I head off to Perth for the day for work. I was awoken at 4am by our smoke alarm chirping unhappily and no sooner did I remove the battery, the second one chirped so I've been sat waiting for the local supermarket to open so I could nip out and get replacement batteries, as is always the case I didn't have any left.

Instead of just stewing, I've got the bases on my tiny Cybertronic squad finished and managed to get some photos as it just doesn't get very dark in Scotland in the summer!

I've had these guys sat primed and unloved for a couple of years now as my interests have floated off from 15mm sci-fi and into random directions as is often the case with me but I'm trying to deplete my unpainted lead pile so grabbed them and got them painted up.

I must admit it took me a bit of time to get back into the swing of painting 15mm as the approach is pretty different from 28mm but they do paint up really nicely and I managed to get them churned out over the course of a couple of days inbetween the other odds and ends I've got. 

I had originally planned on just giving them the sand brown bases so they can be fighting somewhere on Mars during the Second Corporate War for Warzone and Mutant Chronicles but in my somewhat glazed state this morning decided to use a chunk of sponge that I'd been using to texture a painting which had a pleasing mixture of oranges and yellows on it to give them a bit more character. 

I ripped up small pieces and glued them onto the bases and rather like how they turned out. Oddly I prefer my small scale stuff to have more gubbins on the bases than the 28mm stuff but just feel it looks better.

Converted Capitol Squad (sadly sold off several years back!)

I've got some Militia troops that I plan on painting up as a Capitol squad and also need to rummage out a heavy weapon for my Cybertronic troops but the process of painting these figures has inspired me to try and get some more of my 15mm backlog sorted out so we shall see how I get on.

In the meantime, All the best!

Monday 11 July 2022

Super Cheap Gobbo's!


I've been pottering around with Brutal Quest with the vague idea of putting together a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay themed super cheap campaign and with that in mind, I've been doodling Goblins:

Goblin Characters

They're a bit rough and ready and I'll need to reprint them slightly smaller so they are suitably sized for Goblins but its been a really nice and easy mini project and I now have a veritable horde of little greenskins to menace any adventurers I end up with.

Goblin Great Weapons

While the Hathor campaign is ongoing, I do want to delve back into some fantasy gaming and figure that this might be a quick and easy method of doing so as with the increase in costs of pretty much everything these days, my hobby budget is severely limited in what I can get miniatures wise.

Goblin Melee 1

With this approach, I can at least play lots of quick and easy games by just making use of pen and paper. While it's not as satisfying as fully painted miniatures, it does have a charm of its own and if folks are interested, I can start compiling the artwork into a separate page here on the blog so you guys can make use of them too.

Goblin Melee 2

I actually played out a test game using a combination of Brutal Quest, Planet 28, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and some random elements introduced with Rory's Story Cubes and diverse other gubbins that I threw together and ended up having a really enjoyable experience so I may end up putting together either a post here or even a youtube video if I can muster the courage to do so detailing the campaign as I think it could be rather fun.

Goblin Spears 1

We shall see how I get on but I need to get the actual combination of rules and stuff worked out first and will need to make a bunch more paper standees featuring possible adventurers, npcs and whatnot to give me a decent selection of stuff to play with, especially if anyone else wishes to give it a try.

Goblin Spears 2

With that in mind, I'm going to be spending a bit of time hashing out the process of creating some characters and stats and will need to try out some playtest games to make sure it all works but expect to see a few more odds and ends turning up in the not too distant future as I keep working away at the project.

Speaking of which, I'm headed down to the post office today to pick up the Rory's Story Dice Actions and Journeys sets which my postie hasn't managed to deliver so I may post a bit of blather about how I use them to enhance my games in a future post but until then, All the best!