[sagas of the icelanders] solo rpg achieved!!!11

edited March 2012 in Story Games
hey gang!

so the latest version of the SotI playbooks has been posted in another thread.
i checked out the (Free-)Man playbook last night, specifically the move Farmstead, and realized that the relationship between the harvesting move and the trading-goods move allows you to more or less play SotI by yourself if so inclined!

augh I'll post more soon to actually prove my point, but!
if you want to do it,
1 get the Man playbook, 2 open up the sample GM sheet with the godly hexagon thing, and start "running" the farmstead move. when you roll failures, consult the godly hexagon for ideas as to what kind of complication the gods might throw your way. feel free to devise whole scenarios that spring forth from bad rolls.

it's kind of compelling actually!


  • All I got is: Wow.

    (Anyone who tries this, let me know how the farm moves work for you.)
  • I have to laugh; Steve had to choose between Huscarl and Man and picked Huscarl because he thought playing a Man would be boring!
  • edited March 2012
    It seems like being a Man starts out as a pretty serious struggle against famine: you need a strategy and you need to decide whether your Labors are going to feed you directly (you farm crops, for instance) or if you're feeling lucky you can try your hand at Counting the Beans, which lets you convert goods into other goods based on your farm's capabilities.

    I will say, as a suggestion, that some of the options are just not worth it except for the variety of foodstuffs (and therefore salable goods) that open up - - if you want fish, you need to spend Handiwork to get food. To get Handiwork, you need to Expand your farm to include "a workbench, tools, and the skill to use them" (coming up with costs for expansions is super fun btw! so maybe this complexity is welcome), and to actually create some Handiwork using the 'bench, you need tools and wood. Wood you can buy for a silver. Tools cost two.
    So I guess the "cheat" to become a fisherman quickly is to purchase the tools and wood and pick Workbench and Boat&Nets as your two up-front options. Only problem is that this is pretty capital-intensive (3silver each go-around) and honestly I'm not sure the omega-3 fatty acids are worth it :) But by god if you want to fish, you can make it happen.

    It seems like the best use of your time, at least in terms of sheer survival, is to pick the Arable Land (which grows valuable crops) and the Barren Wilderness (which produces stone and wood, useful commodities). You can convert each point of labor into 2 silver worth of crops, which you can use to buy slaves and grow the enterprise. Being a Man is very much about being a 10th century agrarian semi-capitalist. It's fascinating! I will add that having a flock of sheep seems like an OK strategy too, but having to trade wool to get other things you more immediately need means that it can be dicey.

    Farming also puts you in some interesting fictional territory: because I didn't always make my family Labor beside me, they didn't always consume a food-item each season. To keep from feeling like a monster, I decided that they must be mostly living off of milk and cheese (we had a flock of sheep) and the occasional mutton or root vegetables was more like a supplement or a treat that gave them the extra wherewithal to join me in the fields.

    But boy was it nice to choose the Huscarl move "raider" at the end of the first winter, and retcon it so that I found a little food by raiding a cattle ranch a few leagues away, with the fellows. That, and the one about aging: I really needed that extra point of +versed for bean-counting!

    Honestly I think the Man is a superior, more effective version of what the Operator is supposed to be - a character you play because you're interested in watching someone scrape by and make hard choices after screwing up or getting into trouble. Basically if you don't know how to jump into the fiction with both feet, play a Man and let the Norns push you hither and yon like a boat with no rudder! I guarantee you'll eventually get close enough to the rocks or so far out to sea that you'll jump up and do something, and have a really solid fictional "underpinning" for doing so.

    In a few Moves, the Man playbook will force the GM to conjure up a reasonably detailed picture of the local economy, at least in commodities. When my Man went to buy a slave with silver from raiding, it begged the question, "Who will sell him a slave, just like that?" The lack of "marketplace" moves means, imo, that all that stuff has to be quite explicitly narrated.
    As a side note, the Bonds system is phenomenal. So evocative! It takes the AW/Hx concept of "higher Hx means they know more about you" and fills in some awesome details, plus of course connecting Bonds and XP much more directly means that people are going to be coming over for tea ale all the goddamn time.

    Howard Dean and I agree that this is a good thing.
  • This sounds totally awesome!

    (furiously thinking how i can incorporate this sort of thing into my currently running game in a totally different system...)
  • haha well just take the resource-producing part of the system, knock down the adjoining walls, and put in a nice little breakfast nook where things can go wrong.

    translation: take the blacksmithing rules and make it so that a failed dice roll or skill check or whatevs could have consequences beyond the immediate "aw your sword sucks bro LOL" - - maybe you could finish the sword on time if you resort to black magic, but if you DON'T finish the sword on time you'll be out of a job and homeless.

    resource production, and its flipside of Scarcity, can make for some really excellent story gaming stuff to tackle.
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