Sunday, November 27, 2022

Matrix Spiel Solo meets Wretched Space

     I'm a big fan of The Lizard Man Diaries blog.  He recently posted about his Matrix Spiel system that allows for solo play.  I had some downtime today and thought I would take the rules for a spin to see what would happen.  Most of the art I created using various A.I. art generators (except Order of Red Reign skull picture).  The NPC's and factions were in my notes for a "maybe one day" Campaign using the Wretched Space rules.  I've had Wretched Space for a short while, but haven't talked about it yet. "Wretched Space is an old-school role-playing game designed to play anti-hero characters in a cinematic setting. In Wretched Space, the genre is space opera. But unlike most other space operas, this one isn’t about heroic characters whose actions have significant consequences for the future of civilization. Here you are meant to play on a smaller scale, and the higher purpose your character serves is his own self-interest. That doesn't imply you're playing a villain. You can still traverse the galaxy, enjoying extraordinary adventures and possibly even helping others. The characters will most likely commit crimes and exhibit contempt for other people's rights and well being, but perhaps they will wind up saving the day after all."

     Using Wretched Space as a source of inspiration for a setting/backdrop, I used the Matrix Spiel Solo rules to see what would develop. References to Actions, Problem Lists, Results, and Turns are all from the Matrix Spiel Solo rules. Please refer to that excellent product for further information.  I decided to accept whatever outcomes resulted and will make these happenings a part of the backstory of my eventual Wretched Space Campaign. So, let's get down to it shall we?

The Setting: Charund- Once a technologically advanced world, now a vast ruined wasteland, with lost tech, horrific dangers and death lurking within its forgotten vaults and ruins.

Initial Problem List:

·         Various warring factions vie for control of the ruined world, wanting to loot the lost tech for themselves.

·         Dangerous mutants, rogue robots and other monstrous beasts lurk within the ruins preying on explorers, scavengers and each other, making the ruins quite deadly to scavengers and explorers.

 Turn 1: 

Lord Eldrake

Action:  Lord Eldrake desires the Scrolls of Seraphasma, he has gained a tip that the scrolls may be located within a ruined data archive located deep within the ruined city of Malac on the planet Charund.  He hires a band of adventurers to investigate the ruined archives and recover the scrolls or anything about them that they can find. Result: Failure, A potentially dangerous negative outcome. New Problem: The adventurers have betrayed Lord Eldrake, they were captured by a gang of outlaws (The Relentless Bastards) and have traded the location of the lost data archives to the gang leader in order to spare their lives. The gang leader murdered the adventurers after he had gotten all he could out of them. The outlaws now know the location of the ruined data archives and the adventurers Lord Eldrake hired are dead (bodies tossed out of an airlock).

The Scrolls of Seraphasma- What secrets do they hold? and Why does Lord Eldrake want them so badly?

Turn 2:

Action: Thanks to his agents and informants, Lord Eldrake knows the adventurers he hired are likely dead and that others know of the location of the data archives. (The Relentless Bastards, have big mouths and like to brag).  Lord Eldrake must act quickly to get another group onsite before others take the Scrolls for themselves (if the scrolls are even there...).  Result: Success, Desired outcome is just barely, and temporarily, achieved. - By dipping heavily into his contacts and assets, Lord Eldrake is able to hire skilled mercenaries, members of the infamous Order of the Red Reign, that get to the site before The Relentless Bastards do, however, the mercenaries get there just barely before the outlaws do and are still exploring within the ruined archives, when the gang arrives.

                                     Order of the Red Reign

Absolom Wroth
New Entity Created: Absolom Wroth leader of The Relentless Bastards. Wroth sees these mercenaries as enemies within "his" territory, and he wants whatever loot is within the data archives for himself.

Absolom Wroth's Problem List

·         Absolom only recently seized control of The Relentless Bastards. Absolom challenged the previous leader, to a duel and killed him in combat.  Absolom needs a big score to prove he has what it takes to lead this band.

·         Absolom , is a bit "off his rocker" to say the least, he is obsessed with blades, and enjoys inflicting pain. He even talks to his favorite knife, this puts his followers ill at ease, his bizarre behavior could lead to him being overthrown.

Turn 3:

Action: The Red Reign Mercenaries search the Data Archives, looking for the Scrolls of Seraphasma, or information about them...

                                       Red Reign Mercenary

Result: Failure, An immediately dangerous negative outcome.  The Red Reign Mercenaries, unintentionally activate/awaken the formerly dormant defense A.I. of the facility. The Data Archives, were for military applications and thus had far more advanced and dangerous defense measures than anticipated.  All hell breaks loose!  Advanced wardroids attack the mercenaries hard, if not for the skills of the mercs and advanced age and poor condition of the machines, the mercenaries would have been totally annihilated.  


The surviving mercenaries retreat from the ruined facility. The scrolls were never within this archive and whatever data regarding their location that may have been there is now destroyed in the aftermath of the fight with the machines.

Red Reign Mercenary Problem List:

·         Badly injured by wardroids, low on ammo and numbers

·         Still have to get past The Relentless Bastards and back to their ship

Action: The Relentless Bastards attack the remnants of the Red Reign Mercenaries

Result: Success, Desired outcome is confidently achieved.- The Relentless Bastards annihilate the remnants of the Red Reign Mercenaries. New Entity: prior to being destroyed, the Red Reign Mercenary leader broadcast their status and the face of Absolom Wroth to his ship.  

Absolom Wroth

The Relentless Bastards seize what is left of the mercenaries gear, including the location of their craft. This action proves, at least for now, Absolom is a worthy leader of The Relentless Bastards.

Problem: Hated by The Red Reign Mercenary Order

Lord Eldrake

Problem: Lost his only lead on the possible location of the Scrolls of Seraphasma

Spent a ton of money on the Red Reign Mercenaries only for them to have failed, and the Order may hold Lord Eldrake responsible for their losses.

Turn 4:

Absolom leads The Relentless Bastards to seize the Red Reign's ship.

Result: Failure, Catastrophic negative outcome to attempter.  The Red Reign skeleton crew left on the Mercenary's ship and alerted by the now deceased main group, sets a trap for Absolom and his gang, Absolom's gang is obliterated and only Absolom escapes, vowing revenge!

Turn 5: 

Absolom flees and goes into hiding, licking his wounds to fight another day. 

The Red Reign sends Lord Eldrake a hefty bill

Lord Eldrake is no closer to finding the Scrolls of Seraphasma and poorer for his efforts.

For sake of time, I will wrap up here and proceed to a summary of my thoughts and findings. 

     Summary:   I had a lot of fun doing this, being able to use some of the campaign draft notes I had for a potential Wretched Space Campaign, allowed me to "play" in my campaign in a way that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to do.  Letting the Matrix Spiel solo rules decide on the outcomes of key actions made things surprising and interesting for me as the GM.  The above happenings give me a more solid background of events that occurred prior to the actual start of the game.  Giving it a stronger sense of history than if I had just arbitrarily decided that a particular thing happened.
Thanks for reading my post.  
-Good Gaming  B.B. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

5E Campaign in Mini-Review

 Happy Sunday to everyone!

I hope this post finds you well.  I've had a few folks ask about my 5E Campaign.  We were able to get in about 13 sessions before the real world caught up with us.  Job changes and general work hectic stuff, folks got married, illnesses, etc... The player's characters had made 5th level. Unfortunately we didn't get to end the campaign on a note of completion, but we had some great experiences.  I guess this is sort of a lessons learned post campaign wrap up sort of thing.

Session Zero: I think this really helped the campaign.  I intend to do this next time I start up a new campaign.

5E:  While not perfect, the system has grown on me.  I consider myself an OSR, old school DM, but I was able to run 5E with an old school approach (for the most part). 5th level hit some significant milestones, and the characters were pretty tough compared to what I had expected.  They trounced some of my encounters in the last session.  I will say with 5E, I can "throw" a lot more monsters and foes at the party than say in an OSE or C&C game. 

Milestone Leveling: this was another new approach for me, and I think it met the needs of the group. I may not do this every campaign, but it was nice method for this campaign.

Minis and Terrain: I used minis and terrain for every session, the players loved it, but I did find myself spending a lot of time making sure I had the right minis and terrain for every session, even custom built some terrain pieces.  Some of which weren't used. This was fun, but made session prep more involved.

So what's next?  We have discussed starting up a new campaign after the first of the year. Hopefully by then things will have calmed down for everyone and we can resume some sort of play.  

None of us are interested in D&D One or 6E or whatever it is, sounds like it has a significant virtual component and I don't enjoy virtual play.  We have talked about a new 5E campaign, but are reviewing options.  Currently I find myself interested in some Sci Fi, I've GM'd a TON of fantasy over the years, and a good bit of P.A. (Gamma World!!!), but very little Sci Fi RPGing. I ran one Stars Without Number campaign that ended with a TPK after 4 sessions. I did run some classic Traveller in high school/college, but that was a LOOOONG time ago. 

Well thanks for reading and Good Gaming!  -B.B.