A concerted effort of the Lone Wolf Role-Playing community, SGAM occurs for the duration of November, and is dedicated to the enjoyment of solitaire tabletop gaming.

SGAM 2020

Use the #SGAM and #SGAM2020 tags on social media to join in!

Week 2: Adventure Grab Bags

+Spencer Salyer from Wisps of Time has generated several adventure “grab bags” to get your game started! As this year’s SGAM is dedicated to Zach Best, the focus here is on Conjecture Games’ Universal NPC Emulator.

Using UNE, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and its Addendum’s adventure generators, and a random word list generator found at Fifteen Minutes of Fiction, Spencer has come up with several sets of details to spur the imagination, get those gears turning, and take you off in unexpected directions. Oh, and.. a challenge!

The Setup

If you’re new to solo play, or just curious, here’s the process used (if you just want the goods, click here):

As it so happens, the SS&SS books are “pay what you want”, so you can grab them for free (they’re totally worth the recommended price, however) and generate your own adventures. Or, if you’re an Android user1, there’s a handy dandy app called AdventureSmith that is chock full of various generators and dice rollers that are super useful for the solitaire player.

I took the shortcut and used the app, since it contains all the generators from SS&SS as well as the “adventure title” generator from the Addendum (which has quite a few generators – including a monster generator! – that are not yet in the app, so check out the book/pdf!).

I started with “adventure title”. I generated about 10 or 12, some of them silly or nonsensical, but others thought-provoking – like The Profane Flower, for example. I picked 4 that I liked, then generated several adventures until I felt like things “lined up” with my titles. Now, you can take the inverse approach, or just take what you’re given, but I was aiming to construct something compelling (and somewhat genre-inspecific) for sharing with you good folks.

I similarly generated the word lists until I could see them “matching” with my title and story seed. Put it all together and BAM! a sort-of-themed-in-my-eyes adventure grab bag.

For the final of the generated seeds, I set aside SS&SS and AdventureSmith, pulled out my d100s and UNE. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but I’d never used it myself, so I was interested to see where it led. The book suggests creating adventure hooks by simply generating a few characters and then weaving the webs between them. That’s what I’ve done here (below), and I am pretty impressed with the outcome! I can definitely see a Game of Thrones-style power struggle in a setting of tense, but proper, diplomacy.

I hope you found this section useful, and I look forward to hearing about the play sessions that come out of these, or better yet – the ones you were inspired to generate yourself!

The Challenge

What? A challenge?! Well, sort of… It’s more of a “see if you can do it, but hey… sorry there’s no real reward except your own self-satisfaction and bragging rights amidst your actual play peers” kind of thing. Anyhow…

I hereby challenge thee to:

  • Include all the words from the word list in your story / actual play write-up
  • Use UNE to “motivate” the Antagonist and Supporting Character (or any/all NPCs), then to emulate their interactions.
  • Forget about all this and use UNE, SS&SS, and/or AdventureSmith to create your own story seed (don’t forget the word list!)
  • Have Fun!

The Grab Bags

Below are three grab bags generated using Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. The fourth grab bag was generated using only UNE! Feel free to mix and match, or roll your own. And, of course, come back and tell us about it!

Desolation in the Unthinkable Tunnels

Goal: Attack/Kill/Destroy Location
Location: Wilderness Isolated mountain peak
Antagonist Supernatural Entity Living energy
Support NPC: Organization Adventuring party
Complication: Resource Unlimited resources for the enemy
Reward: Knowledge Location of legendary treasure

Words: snowfall • dupe • require • prejudicial • preclude

The Minstrel of the Last Dimension

Goal: Explore/Discover New path
Location: City-State Local temple
Antagonist Irrantional Monster Vampiric primitive humanoids
Support NPC: Adventurer Weird sorcerer
Complication: Victims Innocent monster
Reward: Magic Artifact Technological machine

Words: illigitimate • fragrant • misappropriate • ringworm • peerless

The Cosmic Throne

Goal: Attack/Kill/Destroy Influential person
Location: Borderlands Enemy territory
Antagonist Organization Assassins clan
Support NPC: Supernatural Entity Immortal ghost
Complication: Supernatural Entity Lost alien
Reward: Treasure Invaluable sacred idol

Words: metropolis • pastor • magnesium • court • showcase

The Profane Flower

Generated using UNE.

Cast member Power Motivations Demeanor Bearing Focus
confident witch strong collaborate advice; comprehend distress; abduct enemies prejudiced reputation antagonist
nefarious aristocrat strongest realize academia; record ghosts; promote strength knowing history relics
lazy outcast comparable burden lust; compose knowledge; burden the government inquisitive petition current scene
titled servant comparable conceive vigilance; hinder intelligence; report pleasure scheming negotiation future action

Words: petrify • arch • char • gnawing • uh-huh

What Do I Do With All This?

Use the grab bags to start your adventure or the next scene of your current campaign. Given those elements, how can you weave them together into a cohesive story hook?

  • Is that supporting NPC a good guy, a roadblock, or perhaps working for the enemy?
  • Perhaps “immortal ghost” is your Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Are “Vampiric primitive humanoids” rabid blood-thirsty monkeys or something from the Walking Dead?
  • Does that “location of legendary treasure” lead you into your next adventure or is it a pot of gold under the rainbow?
  • Stuck on what to do next? Maybe the word list has something for you!

I’ve tried to make semi-logical links between title, adventure/characters, and word lists, but maybe that’s only in my own mind. Take what works for you and throw out what doesn’t, or just use these for inspiration – perhaps just reading over them all gives you all the ideas you need without strictly following these elements. Whatever you do, I hope those wheels are turning and have you itching to roll some dice!

… see you space cowboy …

  1. There are other ways, including browser plugins and command line tools, to use AdventureSmith