Need help with Game balance for Solo game

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Need help with Game balance for Solo game

#1 Postby zeth » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:01 pm

Alright I want to do a plot point campaign based on the Game Arx Fatalis. In the game you play the 'guardian' sent by the gods to stop a cult from resurrecting an evil god in game.

Now the thing is there is only one player character in this game and he is by himself for 95% of the adventure. Guardians are pretty much the same as humans who are really ca-able. I was thinking of giving the 'guardian' a d4 in all skills before spending his skill points at character creation.

Now in Arx you are in an underground City so Pilot, drive, boat, and ride are useless but the other core skills work. Unlike normal games you do not have fellow players or npc extras in your party. Is this d4 in all skills to much?

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#2 Postby Tuesday » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:46 pm

Why not rework the backstory to have multiple PCs?

(I did similar, once, for a game based on System Shock.)

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#3 Postby jamused » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:46 pm

If you're only ever going to have one player in the game, and you're not going to give him NPC allies, I don't see any reason he shouldn't have access to an entire party's worth of skills at the usual levels. He's still only one guy, and that's going to hurt. In fact, without implementing something along the lines of save points or a rewind, I would expect the player to fail. A party can survive one or more members being incapacitated as long as they win or can at least retreat with the fallen; for a solo character that's a TPK by definition.

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#4 Postby zeth » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:50 am

Tuesday wrote:Why not rework the backstory to have multiple PCs?

(I did similar, once, for a game based on System Shock.)

Because I'm trying to make a game for one on one play and capture the original feel If I retooled it for party play it would be another generic fantasy game.

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#5 Postby fanchergw » Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:20 pm

I would recommend taking your cue from famous "loner" characters such as Conan, Solomon Kane, etc. Start the character out as more powerful than usual: at least Seasoned and preferably Veteran or better. Also, have a cast of Wild Card NPC allies that come and go. Scale the opposition to the situation and character(s). Encourage the player to come up with clever solutions rather than trying to kill his/her way through everything.


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#6 Postby Control » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:57 am

Rather than giving the solo character a bonus d4 in all skills you could remove the -2 applied to actions they don't have the skill for. That way you are not changing the core rules skill advancement.

However as a solo campaign you don't need to balance the player against any one else so you can give him what ever you think is apropriate. The trick is to still be able to challenge the player/character and have them worry occasionally that they might fail. If they are good at everything its hard to do.

Just some food for thought
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#7 Postby Artking3 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:06 am

This brings to mind adventure gamebooks such as Lone Wolf, Fighting Fantasy, Bloodsword, Way of the Tiger, as well as lone RPGs such as Bioshock, Duex Ex, System Shock. A lone character will have to be a lot tougher to suvive, I concur with the suggestion to start him at seasoned or veteran. Pretty much all the characters in those lone adventures are seasoned veterans, no one is fresh from the academy.

Feel free to give magic items to aid the character, but feel free to make them one-shot items as well, so the character will not feel shy about using them up if he sees you are generous with them. Allies may appear to give temporary help or information. A lot of encounters can be avoided or solved using brains instead of brawn, so be sure to give the character options.

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#8 Postby Bill » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:50 pm

I would recommend changing healing to more of a pulp action, if they survive the encounter all damage is healed up. If they don't they don't die but are placed in a death trap (again fully healed) that they must escape from to continue.

This kind of one-on-one adventure can be fun but must be balanced carefully and understand that with only a single character, a run of bad rolls kills. I would go for fewer enemies and keep their toughness a measure of what the character can hit.

If the character has power points you would need to decide if they are recharged like wounds or using the base rules.

Good luck!
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