…I must admit I don’t hold with dark, dank and donk underground places as the norm… slimy, grubby affairs with creepy crawly things that just attract bigger, hairier, more aggressive things… but as this is all in the mind, I’m game for a spot of monster bashing and treasure finding…even if it is all on my lonesome.
(Press play for a dungeonesque roleplay ambience to accompany your read!)
What’s All The Fuss About?
Today’s fuss is about actually being able to play a roleplay game SOLO. Did you catch that? A roleplay game that is solo-able! The D100 Dungeon ruleset is spacifically designed to facilitate a roleplay experience as a solo player without the need for a dungeon master.
<<Just a pencil, a few sheets of paper, 2 d10’s, a d6 and the manual are all you need to take a character on Dungeon Delving Adventure. Create a Characters and you are ready to start a new journey.
The game uses a series of tables and harks back to a cross over of a RPG and a choose your own adventure book. With quests and character development. You can pick this up and play as and when you have the free time.
Each quest is a trip to the dungeon, where you will have a specific goal. Whether you win or fail the quest your character is constantly developing and looting better equipment and more gold. AS you progress through the dungeon you map your progress and make notes so you can easily return back to a quest you have started next time you have some free time. This an ideal lunch break, train journey, flight filler that can help with any gamers withdraw.>>
—description from the designer
My exploration is using the downloadable PDF. A hard copy is available, I believe.
Immersion or Subversion?
This system reminds me very much of my 1980’s D&D days. Creating characters, giving them silly names like Dogbad the Bosted (halfling), Dickstrap The Incredulous (Dwarf), Ango The Bottyflap (Elf), loads of throwing of dice, much wandering of the realm ,seaking fame, fortune or a kebab shop after a late night of heavy mead abuse. It is a self-contained set of rules and tables that generates a considerable collection of variable or random events, with a dungeon encounter “feel” every game. There are no fancy illustrations every step of the way to feign immersion. This relies purely on the adventure, how we negotiate the twists and turns and the story we tell as we progress towards the selected quest goal.
If roleplay is what we are investigating in this section of BSoMT, then this game certainly goes the distance to offer a solo player something very close to the experience offered by the likes of Pathfinder and D&D
The entire game is designed to use a couple of ten sided dice to achieve 100 rolls. Equipment, quests, encounters, dungeon room and so much more exist on tables requiring a d100 roll. Whatever we roll… well, that’s what we have found, encountered and so on and so on…
The basics to the game are simple and accessible. We choose an exit on our current room through which we wish to travel (moving us North, East etc). This requires a roll to find what the next room has in store for us and, depending on what turns up, we may face an encounter, nothing at all or even something geologically geologic.
Again we refer to the appropriate table and address the results. Combat also feels much like it does in any larger roleplay system but, for us as solo players, the game has monster reactions, stats and abilities fully automated to take the pressure of cumbersome book keeping off us. The game helps decide how a monster will react from round to round and provides them with their own series of attributes. If we are successful at completing an encounter, be it beasty or just an empty corridor populated with wooden chairs, we get opportunity to explore and search for things that may have been foolishly discarded by the tunnel’s denizens. The local population, if you will. Again we make rolls and have opportunity to discover all manner of fantastical items…
…some of which even have their own sub-table to roll against. Potions are a prime example. If we discover a potion as a treasure then we roll again to identify which particular potion we have procured. This makes for a more complete experience in my mind, offering a simple, accessible but richly varied set of circumstances. Mapping requires the compulsory us of a pencil and paper… and our ability to replicate the rolled room/dungeon/corridor… (pictured above) and scribbling on our character sheet to keep statistics up to date after getting a sever arse kicking from a gang of mean rats or what ever. eyond that, everything else is simply governed by die rolls and referencing the appropriate table.
Wood Chits and Cardboard Bits:
I have this as a PDF document and have only printed out the necessary sheets for mapping and recording my character’s statistics. The remainder of the game rests upon my ipad. as such I have no components to comment on other than the aesthetics of the sheets I printed out which are functional. I would like a hard copy (or the cash to print out the entire book) as I find flipping through real pages more user-friendly than sliding from page to page on Kindel or a PDF reader, but that is just my preference. Having the tables stored digitally actually helps with space-saving when it comes to playing on a train or plane, for example.
Meeples and Standees:
- Game Design:Martin Knight
- Game Publisher:Self Published PnP
- Playtime: (recess for those of the US persuasion): 5-90 mins
- Gangs of One: solo play
- Age of Consent: 10+
This game system is specifically designed for solo play. It doesn’t try to replace a Dungeon Master with extended automated narratives and guided choices, rather it offers a way to automate dungeon generation, monster creation, monster reaction,
items, magic potions/abilities and options for quest goals/objectives. It means that as we play our role to the full while the game automates everything else we are likely to encounter on each step of our adventure. In a nutshell we have ourselves a way to delve into those dark, dungeon places that before we may not have managed without aid of someone to guide us through said labyrinth.
D100 offers a user-friendly approach to recreating the same experiences that one playing in groups once had. Now we can, with a simple roll of two d10 dice, create an ever more complex and involved venture of exploration, encounter and combat with the denizens of the deep.
The Real Nitty Gritty:
- Winners and Losers:This is not a simple walk in the park and, although I often use this phrase, it really is not a walk in a park. No chintz rugs and picnic baskets, dainty sanwhiches and bottles of fizzy pop. This is a tense, challenging, tentative creep through dark, foul, monster-infested tunnels. The game comes with several “training’ adventures with more achievable goals to asisist or enable us to familiarise ourselves with the nuances of the game… but once past these, and with a certain character levelling up, we have random quest choices… although, I see no problem with us cherry picking adventures that appeal to us. Either way, they have specific goals and adventure specific conditions. It is, perhaps, not so much about the winning as much as the adventure we encounter along the way…to almost certain doom!
- Rules is Rules is Rules: Of the fifty three pages, only fourteen are responsible for rules, turn summary and detailed explanation of certain mechanics. The remainder of the book is dedicated to the many tables…and at the end, templates for mapping and character sheet creation. The game works simply and as such, the rules are also straight forward. They do a good job succinctly detailing what is required of us to play. What is less straight forward is rooting through the document for the appropriate table to roll off against but that is something that is unavoidable, be it solo or multiplayer. As mentioned before I would find this task more user-friendly with a physical copy but the digital version is just as functional.
- Lucky Buggers: Dice are the driving force of the game so when we roll against a table we have no idea the outcome which makes the game refreshing and unpredictable. Combat and skill checks, however, are less refreshing from a ‘random luck’ perspective. There are things built-in to the game to enable a degree of luck mitigation and our choices also affect outcome, but be prepared to live with the ‘luck of the roll’
- Highs and Lows:It can be frustrating at times searching for illusive quest goals or endless lines of beasties clogging up the passage but for the main part I found this to be an exhilarating, deeply engaging experience…only as dark as the imagination cares to create.
- Footprints All Over Both Sides of My Table: I have touched upon this earlier but needless to say, this is a particularly space-saving game. At any one time it is feasible to only need space for one A4 sheet of paper and a tablet/phone/ipad. Obviously spreading things out make the game easier to refer to all the components but even then, there is an awful lot of adventure in a titchy space.
- Build It Up Just To Tear It All Down Again: If we were to print out the mapping and character sheets before hand, we could save some time by stockpiling sheets, this game could begin immediately. Creating a character is actually part of the game process… (or restoration of items, keys, health or such between adventures) all take part within the game so realistically there is no set up or pack up time other than sticking the map and character sheet in a dusty folder or draw.
Me, Myself and I:
This was only my second venture into solo roleplay the first being Gladus Hereticus (link) a much more simple roguelike option. D100 Dungeon has really surprised me with its simplicity and deep involvement. Once used to rolling on the tables, the game really opens up a different adventure with each new game. There is a lack of narrative found in choose your own adventure (or the fill-in details offered by a dungeon master) but he results of searches, contact with monsters and searching provide an element of background information…the remainder of the tale takes place in one’s own imagination. I suppose diligent players could document their progress and a narrative that could be looked back on in times of reminiscence.
This definitely offers the solo player an exciting opportunity to rapidly immerse themselves into a fantastical world of roleplay. There is a wealth of quest variability, each with a storyline to follow, weapons, spells, potions and all imaginable foes to enrich the word we are exploring. As it is not rules heavy, play is quick and uncluttered but not at the expense of detail.
A thought occurs to me having experienced the Big Book of Battle Mats, that this could offer us a perfect re-usable surface to map and remap our progress with textured background (link)… I shall have to put it to the test
Yay or nay?
As the 100 sided dice rolls down the passageway, it thwacks the BSoMT1d8 die into a resounding (7). I imagine it may not be to everyone’s taste, those who are deeply ensconced in D&D traditions of group play, but for me it is perfect for the solo player to access roleplay with a deeply I regent experience but without the excessive fuss, pomp and pageantry often associated with more complex systems. There is no doubt about this being a recommendation for soloists to explore at their leisure. This system should satisfy that dungeon exploration itch for soloists of any fantasy race and, as there are so many potential quests, a lengthy campaign style of play could easily be achieved by playing through a succession of pre-selected scenarios. This should allow us to see our hero develop as it experiences new and unexplored corners of the cave system
…ooh! Would ya look at that! All this monster slaying and my tinfoil coated cardboard battle-axe is all twisted ans bent out of shape. I’m going to have to eat a whole box of sugar coated chemical bomb puff flaked cereal so I can pinch the box for the cardboard to make another axe…unless I search this cave and peek inside that bulging chest over there. Perchance to find a glorious longsword…or gold and gems (which can be fired from my rubber band sling shot and give an oponent a rather nasty ping on the head, I can tell you!)
Something For The Weekend, Sir?
D100 website: http://martinknight39.wixsite.com/mk-games/d100dungeon
D100 Dungeon Youtube by Martin Knight: