Inspired by the conversations happening about making an X-COM hack of Band of Blades, I’m thinking of putting together a small, single-player RPG about aliens resisting a human occupation. A few of my guiding principles/inspirations:
- Flip a familiar trope on its head. Lots of science fiction imagines that humanity are the oppressed rather than the oppressors, and I like the idea of examining and critiquing human behavior (especially imperialism, colonialism, and cultural appropriation) from the POV of an alien species.
- A game jam about endings on itch. I’ve become a big fan of game jams to inspire and motivate me to create new games and think about design in different ways. I like the idea of focusing this game about endings, not only how revolutions end but how empires end and even how people may end their involvement in these situations.
- Solo RPGs. As I’ve learned more about tabletop games I’ve become enamoured with games that you can play by yourself, especially RPGs. But a lot of games I see in this genre are too crunchy, relying on random tables and exhaustive sets of rules. I want to make a solo game that can communicate a rich narrative without too much accounting and I think a FitD game could do that.
A few design ideas I’ve been playing around with:
A Movement, Not a Character
Instead of playing a singular character, you play as a resistance group made of various alien species. Influenced by the excellent Antiquarian Adventures by Ash McAllan, each character is a combination of an alien species and a role. These different combinations add to the crew’s action ratings and provide s special abilty. When the characters leave the resistance, you can no longer use the special ability associated with that character, but the stat bonus remains. This represents the lasting influence that character had on the group.
I’m hoping to have several possible combinations of aliens and roles, because right now I imagine that when you run out of characters, you lose.
To be able to track obstacles, both small and large, I’ll be making liberal use of the clock system. Large term goals like setting up a communication system or reclaiming territory will be advanced when you complete a mission. Clocks will also represent immediate threats and goals during missions. I imagine the goal of the game will be to fill a certain amount of long-term goal clocks to enact the change you wish to see. When you complete a large goal, the crew receives some sort of bonus, similar to a crew upgrade or special ability. Something that will make future missions easier.
Inspired by the system used in Crash Cart by Galen Pejeau I wanted to use a deck of playing cards rather than dice. When the player wishes to accomplish something risky, they will select one of the group’s actions and draw cards equal to the action rating. Face cards are successes, black cards are mixed successes, red cards are failures. Jokers introduce a large complication into the scene and perhaps do something else.
That’s what I’ve got for now. Has anyone else here messed around with making solo RPGs, or using the FitD system to make something similar?