Solo gaming is nothing new, but over the last couple of years, thanks in large part to the global pandemic that sadly is still lingering, it has gained new ground. Solo role-playing games aren’t new either, but again, they’re getting new life not only due to the pandemic, but because of companies recognizing their popularity and utility. Chaosium has taken to putting a solo scenario in their starter kits as a way to introduce concepts and game mechanics to new players, and I think that’s a great idea.
Geek Gamers has been on YouTube for several years, preaching the gospel of solo games. Now she’s released a book. Wanderings: A Gothic Roll & Read Table is a random generator of moody scenes taken from Gothic literature to inspire you in both solo and group games. It uses a D88, that is two eight-sided dice where one becomes the tens place and the other the ones place. So, if you rolled a 2 and a 6, you’ve rolled 26. If you roll an 8 and a 1 you’ve rolled an 81. There are sixty four entries all together. You flip to whatever entry you’ve rolled and you read the excerpt. Some entries are little more than a paragraph, some are a couple pages long.
I can imagine this tool being useful for many different games and in many different circumstances. In fact, the author has given a few suggestions in her introduction, as well as a little random chart if you’re looking for further inspiration on how you might use them in games. If you’re going to run something in the very popular Ravenloft setting for D&D, Blades in the Dark, or maybe something for Cthulhu by Gaslight for Call of Cthulhu (yes, there’s actually an excerpt from Lovecraft in here), this can spark your imagination. If you’re playing a solo game with any kind of Horror or Gothic vibe, you could use this to create dream sequences, or simply to capture the mood. I was checking out a handful of entries and got to thinking about how I might use this while prepping for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar game I’m kicking around. Sure, it’s not the same genre, but I can imagine bits and pieces of it being great for making me think about possible scenes differently, or spawning ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
My interest in solo RPGs and in random chart tools has been growing in the last couple years. I’ve been using them to spark lots of interesting ideas and to add a bit of chaos and weirdness to my games. They’ve been a great help for running Dungeon Crawl Classics, for sure. I’m glad to have this in my arsenal. It’s more niche than some, but also more robust. I look forward to what Geek Gamers produces next.
If you like what I do, you can buy me a coffee. Check out my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Goodreads. And take a look at my Patreon page, where I’m working on a novel and developing a tabletop RPG setting. I’m proud to be an affiliate of DriveThru RPG. I’m an independent author. You can also read my fiction over on Amazon. A rating & review would make a world of difference.