RPG Solitaire Challenge: 3 Dice
Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks are wonderful things. They contain little paragraphs scattered across the pages in a seemingly chaotic order, each one ending with a set of choices and numbers which take you flicking through the book to the next paragraph in your personal journey through the book.
Which got me thinking. What happens if you make those numbers actually mean something? What if they replaced the paragraphs themselves? And what if you made them random? What would a solitaire game like that be like?
A CYOA solitaire game using just 3 dice and no gamebook
3 six-sided dice (preferably of different colours) and an imagination. If you don’t have 3 six-sided dice roll one three times. If you don’t have an imagination borrow one from a passing imaginary stranger.
Roll each dice in turn to generate your BODY, MIND and SPIRIT attributes.
- BODY reflects your physical prowess and ranges from BODY 1 (a child or weakling) or 6 (Muscle-bound!)
- MIND is your intelligence and raw cunning. Ranges from MIND 1 (a fool) to MIND 6 (Genius or particularly cunning Rogue)
- SPIRIT is your talent with magic. SPIRIT 1 shows little or no talent while SPIRIT 6 reflects your years of magical training and awesome natural awareness of the arcane world.
Create your first location by rolling the 3 dice (one for each column) and consulting the table below.
|2||Small room||Goblins||Healing potion – +2 to one reduced attribute, or +1 to two|
|3||Large room||Orcs||Magic Sword – +1 to all BODY attacks|
|4||Natural cavern||Ogres||Tome of Enlightenment – +1 to all MIND attacks|
|5||Temple||Giants||Spell Scroll – +3 to one single SPIRIT attack|
|6||Large Hall||Dragon!||Map Fragment – make two rolls and select one|
If the location contains monsters, select one of your attributes to roll against. If you roll LESS THAN your attribute you have scored a hit. Turn the Monster die to show the next lower number. When the die reaches zero, the monsters are dead and you can claim the Reward! If you rolled HIGHER OR EQUAL TO the attribute die they hit you – reduce the attribute you selected by one.
If one of your attributes reaches 0 you are at -1 to all attacks using the other two stats due to injury/panic/loss of faith. If two reach 0 you’re at -2 with your one remaining attribute. When all three attributes reach 0, you’re dead. Sorry about that.
All Rewards are cumulative. For example, if your hero already has a Magic Sword (granting +1 to BODY attacks) and finds another, it is a better Magic Sword, granting +2 to BODY attacks.
Your character can flee any Encounter, but this reduces all three attributes by 1. Running away is for cowards, not heroes!
If you won the Encounter (or the location was empty) total the 3 room dice. This is your Experience Reward. Your hero moves deeper into the Dungeon. Roll 3 Dice for the next location, and move on.
When your Experience Reward reaches 50 you have reached the end of the adventure. Restore your attributes back to their starting values and gain +1 to one attribute of your choosing.
You’re ready for your next Adventure.
Example of Play
Sir Borys is a Noble Knight with BODY 4, MIND 3, SPIRIT 3. He is strong in arm, sure of himself and in the Holy Relic he wears on a chain around his neck. He carefully walks down the Dungeon steps into….
A Natural Cavern containing a small group of Orcs arguing over a Healing Potion (result: 4,3,2). Sir Borys charges in, his sword held high and rolls against his BODY, hitting with a 2! The Monster die turns from a 3 to a 2 as one of them gurgles and falls to the floor. On the next round he isn’t so lucky, rolling a 5 and one of the Orcs lands a decent hit with his Club. Sir Borys is down to BODY 3. Switching tactics, Sir Borys spies a pit trap in the corner and lures one of the Orcs right into it (rolls against MIND 3 and gets a 1). That Orc is trapped and out of the game, leaving one remaining Orc. Our hero swings his sword, and the Orc’s head bounces into the pit trap to join his friend (BODY 3, rolls a 2).
Sir Borys gladly swigs the Healing Potion (restoring his BODY back to 4), we jot down his Experience Reward (4+3+2 = 9) and he presses onward.
The rough passageway twists, leading him to a Small Room where a brace of Goblins are sleeping. Hanging on the wall is a Magic Sword emitting a faint blue glow (result: 2,2,3). Sir Borys shouts out “Praise the High Father!” and the glow brightens, instantly incinerating one of the Goblins before he can even awake (SPIRIT 3, rolls 2). The Goblins are down to 1 on their Monster die already, and most likely not long for this world….
Options and Variations
Creating new adventures is as simple as making a fresh table with new Locations, Monsters and Rewards. For this example I chose pretty generic D&D style monsters but you could easily tie them to a theme or plotline. You could also cross into other genres or draw from classical Mythology. Here’s a handful of examples:
Locations = Planets, Gas Giants, Asteroid Belts, etc
Monsters = Aliens, Smugglers, Borg…
Rewards = Ship Upgrades: Shields, Beam Lasers, Hyperdrive…
Locations = Island chains, whirlpools, swamps, etc
Monsters = Pirates, Zombies, Kraken…
Rewards = New ship, provisions, better crew…
Locations = Mall, Park, Houses, Warehouse, etc
Monsters = Zombies, Big Zombies, Zombie Dogs, Zombie Mallrats….
Rewards = Shotgun, Double-barrelled Shotgun, Tinned food….
If you want to extend the in-game variety, use dice other than d6. A d12-based set of tables would keep you busy for hours!
Now’s it’s over to you. This is a first rough draft, nothing more. I welcome your thoughts, ideas, criticism, improvements and input!