Solo Semi-Skirmish & Role Playing Wargames System

I've wanted something like this for a very long time, and all through my teens, early adulthood, and into my first greying hairs, I wracked my brains (giving myself even more white wool in my rapidly thinning locks) and tried to come up with a workable system for playing solo wargames. I never even imagined solo role playing was possible until I recently discovered Mythic.

But this amazingly simple and new Mythic games engine thing didn't quite do it for me in the way I wanted. Oh golly YES, without having read this wonderfully inventive innovation to the hobby, I still probably wouldn't have had a clue where to start on my own solo system. I guess all pioneers get copied endlessly, and this is no exception. But what I have done is change the way the 'original'idea worked a bit, made it my own, cribbed a few concepts, added my own ideas, and came up with.... the nameless game you are reading now.

Once I get started, and found my direction; the rules fell into place and were written in about four hours straight. By playtesting I found they work, and the rest was simply formatting them for you the reader to enjoy - for free.

I have no idea whether anyone will like my solo system. Indeed, I only really wrote it for myself, to help me with my own table top skirmishes and semi-rpg; but somewhere along the way, I decided to let others share in the fun I was having (because, believe it or not, this game is actually very workable, user friendly, and enjoyable to play - let's call it IN-RADIC from now on); and now if you want to know what IN-RADIC means, you'll have to read on to find out.

I designed everything around my personal need for a game which would allow me to play solo Victorian-esque, and 20's/30's Pulp era games: though there are no concepts in the following pages which can't easily be altered very quickly to make the system truly generic.

I've also gotten rid of the flowery text and page filler. There isn't even any pictures or sketch art included. I've stripped everything to the bare bones, and what is left is solid set of basic rules and helpful game aids which (hopefully) anyone can quickly find and reference, learn fast, and use easily.

Therefore, it follows that anyone possessing a bit of pre knowledge about the way Mythic works, will understand my rules with little or no problems what so ever. Others, because of the lack of explanations contained in IN-RADIC, may find it a tiny bit harder to break into the game.

Please enjoy.

Plot Aid Card Deck (Normal Playing Cards)

Once every in-game week (or every couple of days if you prefer a faster pace of campaign with rapidly unfolding events) shuffle a normal playing card deck and pull three cards. Or if you simply want scenario ideas, use the cards in the same way to generate a set of random event ideas to spice up your one off scenarios.

The first card drawn is called "Self", and is always drawn for the good guys... the solo gamer's personal favourite 'side'.

The second card drawn is "Enemy Influence" goes to the left of the "Self" Card already drawn, and represents recent events (leading up to the present), plus indicates the growing schemes and machinations of the enemy.

The third card "Enemy Manoeuvres" also represents the enemy; goes to the right of the central card and indicates current or very near future events. Combined with "Enemy Influence" and "Self", the three cards should suggest a current viable plot for the solo gamer to play out, either in his/her ongoing campaign blog or journals, or on the games table.

HEARTS

  • Ace: An important card, whose in game meaning is often affected by the environment of the previous or following (enemy) card. With another hearts card it implies new or rekindled love, friendship, and affection (maybe even the return of an absent character); with diamonds, money and news of distant friends; with clubs, festivities, and social or domestic rejoicing; with, spades, disagreements, misunderstandings, contention, or misfortune; individually, it stands for the home, office, safe house, etc.
  • King: The game is currently dominated by a good-hearted man, with strong affections, possibly an emotional man, and given to rash judgments, possessing more zeal than discretion.
  • Queen: The game sees a woman take centre stage: fair, loving and lovable, domesticated, prudent, and faithful.
  • Knave: Not endowed with any sex. Sometimes taken as the Cupid card. Represents information and good judgement from a best friend, or as a fair person's thoughts. The enemy cards placed previously and directly after this card are indicative of the good or bad nature of the Knave card interpretation.
  • Ten: A sign of good fortune. It implies a good heart, happiness, and the prospect of temporary security. It counteracts bad cards and confirms things in the vicinity.
  • Nine: The wish card. It is the sign of riches, and of high social position accompanied by influence and esteem. It may be affected by the enemy bad cards.
  • Eight: The pleasures of the table, convivial society. An important gathering. Another meaning implies love and the prospect of relationship or marriage between game characters.
  • Seven: A faithless, inconstant friend who may prove an enemy.
  • Six: A friend or contact with a confiding nature, liberal, open-handed, and quite possibly easy prey for swindlers; courtship, and being approached by devious enemies.
  • Five: Causeless jealousy in a person of weak, unsettled character.
  • Four: Lack of trust.
  • Three: A dire warning card (perhaps a warning from a mysterious phone caller, a scrawled message thrust under a door, or a second hand witness to an overheard conversation).
  • Deuce: Unlooked for (short term) prosperity... maybe a new client, a lucrative pay packet, a new case for your favourite'gumshoe', successful bank robbery made by the mob, etc.

DIAMONDS

  • Ace: Treasure. Missing item. A clue.
  • King: Fresh reliable news.
  • Queen: Flirtatious woman... one used to having admirers. A loved one may wander in this direction.
  • Knave: A near friend or contact will put his/her own interests first.
  • Ten: The potential threat of kidnap, innocent victims known to the card drawer.
  • Nine: Lack of strength, loss of faith, loss of belief in self. Low ebb. Disappointment.
  • Eight: Chequered Past surfacing. The past surfacing to cause potential harm.
  • Seven: Bad Gossip and slander. A Set up.
  • Six: Former Lover or partner suddenly surfacing, making things uncomfortable.
  • Five: Unexpected news. Business success, a lucky break.
  • Four: Breach of confidence. Troubles caused by inconstant friends, vexations and disagreements.
  • Three: Legal and domestic quarrels. Temper or fight.
  • Deuce: An unsatisfactory love affair, awakening opposition from relatives or friends.

CLUBS

  • Ace: Wealth, a peaceful home, industry, and general prosperity.
  • King: A dark, shadowy, mysterious man of enters play.
  • Queen: A dark, exotic, beautiful and mysterious woman enters play.
  • Knave: A New friend or ally.
  • Ten: Stolen Riches.
  • Nine: Friction through opposition to the wishes of friends, colleagues, or associates.
  • Eight: Love of money, and a weak passion for speculating or gambling.
  • Seven: Great happiness and momentary good fortune (short term goal achieved) - but with a price to pay.
  • Six: Loss of income, blackmail, unpaid gambling debts, swindlers.
  • Five: An advantageous proposition.
  • Four: Falsehood and double-dealing.
  • Three: Real trust. Leap of faith.
  • Deuce: Care is needed to avert disappointment, and to avoid opposition.

SPADES

  • Ace: Ill-chosen friend(s).
  • King: An attack against a friend, friends, or self.
  • Queen: Bribery.
  • Knave: Weak, and unwillingness of others to help do the right thing.
  • Ten: An evil omen; grief or imprisonment. Has power to detract from the good signified by the "Self" card.
  • Nine: An ill-fated card, meaning sickness, losses, troubles, and dissensions.
  • Eight: A warning with regard to any enterprise in hand, This card means evil; also opposition from friends. Bad choices; walking into a trap.
  • Seven: Sorrow caused by the loss of a dear friend.
  • Six: Rest after toil. Safe House. Going into hiding.
  • Five: Temporary happiness, and a choice between personal desire and doing what's right.
  • Four: Illness, recovering from a wound. Temporarily out of action.
  • Three: A journey. New adventure.
  • Deuce: A removal, or possibly death.

Ranged Weapons

Uses the same normal pack of playing cards:

  • Side Arm (Pistol, Revolver): Range: 8 inches; Notes: Draw the top 3 cards from the deck.
  • Rifle: Range: 20 inches; Notes: Draw the top 3 cards from the deck.
  • Tommy Gun: Range: 12 inches; Notes: Draw the top 6 cards from the deck.
  • Vehicle Mounted Sub Machine Gun: Range: 30 inches; Notes: Draw the top 10 cards from the deck. If three cards all showing the same number or picture are drawn, the weapon immediately jams or runs out of ammunition (any remaining cards for the weapon still to be drawn are lost this turn). The weapon is classed as un-jammed/re-supplied on the subsequent turn.
  • Team Manned Sub Machine Gun: Range: 30 inches; Notes: Draw the top 10 cards from the deck. If three cards all showing the same number or picture are drawn, the weapon immediately jams or runs out of ammunition (any remaining cards for the weapon still to be drawn are lost this turn). The weapon is classed as un-jammed/re-supplied on the subsequent turn.
  • Thrown Explosives: 6 inches; Notes: Draw 1 card (ignore the picture cards), the number drawn must be between 1 and 6: anything over this represents the number of inches the explosive weapon deviates or a failure to explode (1d6, 1,2 left: 3,4 right: 5 overshoot: 6 shot fails to go off at all). Anyone within 3 inches of the explosion must draw 2 cards (unless behind substantial cover) to see whether they take any hits.
  • Thrown Spear/Blow-dart: 8 inches; Notes: Draw the top 2 cards from the deck. Don't pull the second card if the first card achieves a hit.
  • Thrown Blade: 4 inches; Notes: Draw the top 2 cards from the deck. Don't pull the second card if the first card achieves a hit.
  • Meteor Hammer / Whip: 3 inches; Notes: Draw the top 3 cards from the deck.

Multiple hits from a side arm can be directed at any target within line of sight. Following fire hits from other weapons (except explosives) must be within 4 inches of the last target hit. I figure with cover from ranged attacks reduces the enemy's attack card total by 1 card.

  • "Self " Team Heroes, side-kicks, and other good guy main characters hit when Hearts and Diamonds are drawn.
  • All other secondary good guys hit only when Diamonds are drawn.
  • Bad guy Bosses, and important main characters hit when Spades or Clubs are drawn from the pack.
  • Other secondary bad guys hit when Clubs are drawn.
  • Place all the cards drawn (when a weapon is used) in a line left to right. Stop drawing cards if the weapon jams or runs out of ammunition.

Save Cards

Every time a hit card is drawn (numbered and picture cards apply), the target figure may attempt to negate the hit by drawing a card and placing it half over the hit card. If the save card (any suit) equals or exceeds the hit card, the attack for that hit card is ignored.

Movement

At the beginning of each turn, the sides involved (usually only two) each draws 1 card (the side representing "self" may draw 2 cards and use the highest one shown). Highest number goes first, and so on. Draw fresh cards amongst sides who pull tied numbers.

Next: in order of sequence: a side draws three cards and chooses the highest number. If only picture cards are drawn, no actions may be made by that side on this turn. The number drawn represents the number of figures that side may use to perform actions during a turn. Actions include movement, making ranged attacks, moving and making ranged attacks, or melee.

Beyond this, accurate sequence of (what is normally called) 'phases'is left pretty open. Human movement is usually 4 inches per turn. Large animals 6 inches per turn. Cars, Trucks, and motorcycles can be given a default movement of 10 inches per turn.

A side may move one of his/her own figures at a cost of 1 card point. A side may move and make ranged attacks with a figure for 2 card points. A side may make a melee attack with a figure for 1 card point. Moving a figure over difficult terrain (opening a door and entering a building, getting into a car and starting the engine, moving over a wall or hedge, swimming or wading through water, moving through trees, uphill, etc) costs 2 card points. To move over difficult terrain and make a ranged attack costs 3 card points.

Turning and Manoeuvring with a Vehicle

Hey! these rules are meant to be super easy. The solo player can literally make up what seems reasonable in mid game. Most of us know how to drive nowadays, so it doesn't take much imagination to determine realistic situations... you can even throw in a few Starsky and Hutch wheel spins and handbrake turns every now and again; and you always have your IN-RADIC table (below) to help you out when you're undecided what to allow and what not to allow.

Melee

This is similar to drawing cards for ranged attacks, except weapon types are not usually that important, and when large close combat fights take place (with multiple base to base combatants), pool all the attack cards together... and lay them out in a line.

  • Team heroes, side-kicks, other good guy main characters draw 4 cards apiece in melee.
  • Secondary good guys draw 2 card each.
  • Bad guy bosses and important main characters draw 3 cards.
  • Other secondary bad guy characters draw 1 card each.
  • "Self " team heroes, side-kicks, and other good guy main characters hit when Hearts and Diamonds are drawn.
  • All other secondary good guys hit only when Diamonds are drawn.
  • Bad guy bosses, and important main characters hit when Spades or Clubs are drawn from the pack.
  • Other secondary bad guys hit when Clubs are drawn.

Every time a hit card is drawn (numbered or picture cards apply), the target of the attacks (not the individual figures) may attempt to negate the melee hit by drawing a card and placing it half over the hit card. If the save card (any suit) equals or exceeds the hit card, the attack for that hit card is ignored.

Once hits and saves have been calculated, the good guys ("Self") always get to choose which enemy or enemies receive hits. When it is a bad guy dealing out the hits (i.e. the enemy the solo player is trying to win against), the good guys ("Self") always chooses which own figures receive hits... in any combination he/she likes. Shuffle the pack of cards often. Get into the habit of doing this, to keep the game interesting. There is no cover bonus for any figures engaged in melee.

Monsters In Melee

T- Rex, King Kong, Triceratops (totally inaccurate, but fun), Raptor Packs, etc, etc. All these and any other monstrous creations need to be handled slightly differently in melee.

  • T-Rex draws 10 cards.
  • King Kong draws 12 cards.
  • Triceratops draws 7 cards.
  • Raptor Packs draws 6 cards.
  • Sabre Tooth Tiger draws 5 cards.
  • Lion, Tiger, or Gorilla draws 3 cards.
  • A Savage Dog draws 2 cards.
  • 9'Metal Robots draw 5 cards.

And so on... invent your own strengths to represent your personal model collection and individual tastes.

Hit Points

I suggest "Self " heroes, side-kicks, and other good guy main characters start a game with 3 to 6 hits each.

  • All other secondary good guys might start a game 2 hit points.
  • Bad guy Bosses, and important main characters should have 3 or 4 hit points each.
  • Other secondary bad guys only get 1.
  • T-Rex might have 6.
  • King Kong 10.
  • Triceratops 5.
  • Raptor Packs 4.
  • Sabre Tooth Tiger 3.
  • Lion, Tiger, or Gorilla 2.
  • A Savage Dog 1.
  • 9'Metal Robots 4 or 5.

You get the picture. Invent your own characters, and monstrosities to suit your collection. Generic Car 3 hit points (passengers count as in cover against explosive attacks... i.e. the vehicle makes any necessary saves, not the figures... and may not be targeted by other ranged attacks until the vehicle is destroyed; at which point place all passengers beside the wrecked vehicle.

In Game, Random Action Decision Indicative Calculator (IN-RADIC)

The In Game, Random Action Decision Indicative Calculator is your friend, and will (if treated right) make all those awkward decisions for you without disrupting the flow of the game in any way. Once you decide an action you need to resolve: quickly determine the difficulty level you wish to apply, throw a couple of dice, and read off the result (there are only ever four outcomes so it's not confusing). Determining what happens using the result of the IN-RADIC table - well that's up to you to decide using your imagination and how you thing the game should go.

The following table is a catch all to cover any situation the solo player wishes to resolve quickly and smoothly. Use it wisely, use it often... but also know when not to use it and simply apply common sense instead.

Select Difficulty, Roll 2D6
Perfect
Okay
Fail
Now Look What You Did
Impossible - but you just never know
NA
2-3
4-5
6-12
Very Unlikely - but this is Pulp
2
3-4
5-7
8-12
Below Average - go for it
2-3
4-5
6-8
9-12
Average - fifty-fifty
2-4
5-7
8-10
11-12
Above Average - easy
2-5
6-8
9-11
12
A Dead Certainty - in your sleep
2-6
7-9
10-11
12
Impossible To Fail - no contest
2-7
8-10
11-12
NA

  • Perfect: The action has succeeded so well the game character gets a positive bonus to the result. If the action being rolled is to entangle a dangerous animal in a net, a "Perfect" result not only achieve this but would also bring the beast crashing to the ground in stunned confusion. Maybe the action was to listen in secretly to a conversation. A "Perfect" roll not only means the conversation was successfully overheard, but the listener also hears something unexpected and highly valuable the scenario... perhaps a vital clue to the main campaign plot itself.
  • Okay: The action succeeds - no more, no less.
  • Fail: There are no adverse effects to a fail result other than the failed action itself.
  • Now Look What You Did: The opposite of a "Perfect" roll. The failure is so catastrophic that an additional penalty is incurred by the character's attempted action. Catching his whip onto a tree branch above the deep pit, "Inuit Jonas" attempts to swing safely across to the other side of the fiery chasm... but he gets unlucky and fumbles the attempt. With a loud *snap* the branch breaks off the tree, and suddenly the character finds himself plummeting - falling right towards the lava filled pit of destruction!

© 2008, Stephen A Gilbert