Narrative Elements for Solo Dungeon Crawling

  I'm pretty new to solo RPGs, and, as in conventional RPGs, my favorites are solo Dungeon Crawling ones. I am really not trying to make a discourse out of it and I´m not gonna talk about it here, but imo, generally, dungeon crawling systems are not the most narrative heavy RPGs in all its facets. But yeah, I really think that all RPGs need narrative elements in order to not become a board game, and again I also do not have a problem with them.  On my initial evaluation, all solo dungeon crawl games (my own included) are (and have to be imo) heavily procedural, and, despite my little experience with these games, I've always had difficulties implementing narrative elements in this procedural tangle. I know that this aspect is very subjective and that I may be doing a paradox of creating a mechanical procedure to implement narrative elements, but I need that and decided to share it with you. What I'm going to try to implement here is a journaling aspect along with the generat

Wilderness Challenges - A short rule and some insights about wilderness exploration.

In another short trip to the countryside of my state in Brazil, I was lucky enough to visit one of the most beautiful and isolated waterfalls I have ever seen. In my perspective, the reason for its isolation is that it is very, very hard to reach there.  Of course, my RPG mind made some parallels and tried to figure how to transfer the challenge/adventure I have lived, to a game mechanic. Most wilderness encounters in d&d-like games are monsters, some modules have some odd places, climate challenges, and of course they all make a lot of sense.   But if we consider the OS/OSR paradigm that the characters are not heroes but common people, as I indeed am, I can tell that a trail like this can be very difficult and challenging, it surely can cost the characters lives. All I am asking is for any wilderness random encounter table to have a 10% chance of A WILDERNESS CHALLENGE, and, of course, I will describe below a proto rule for it. (Yes, I am aware of the cool 4e rule of skill challen

Tiago's Dream

Yesterday I finally dreamed with Tiago. For a brief moment in my current life I felt a relief, the one I was craving when he was in the ICU, which never came, instead came the searing pain. We were in a car, he was driving, this scene was repeated several times in my life. We talked about frivolities, the gossip of everyday life, things we always did. Few moments with my brother were really just ours, we always shared with other people: music, RPG, and we were surrounded by friends and family. Our rides to these places or to pick up the lunchbox on Saturdays were just our moments. That's why the dream reproduced it. I remember, throughout the dream, breathing a sigh of relief, trying to search in my memory how he came out of his illness, how he got well. And as the dream passed, I realized what it really was and more than that, how life is.  I see in my children my relationship with Tiago, how we didn't declare to each other, but we influenced each other, we shared everything a

Dungeon Gig: designer notes/choices/inspirations

You may have noticed that I recently released a mini dungeon game. I never talked about my design choices for any of my games (except for a few podcasts/interviews), but here I will try to take a short look on my thoughts and intentions on Dungeon GiG. Let’s go by Topics: Single stat, lots of meanings: I don't like tracking a lot of things in character sheets, as it usually makes the players think about action options through it and don't really interact with the fictional space. A single stat that means a lot of the things you can do, synthesised in a single number, easily remembered and weighted for the choices to be made, making the interaction with the fictional space, or the game itself, more fluid. This was heavily inspired by Fighting Fantasy (FF), and the brilliance behind it. I only expanded it by taking some B/X choices in HP, damage, etc., so that these stats could modulate even more things in the game.  Magic powers over stat is  what magic represents in the game, s


As you guys know, the Hollow Earth setting is something that I'm trying to slowly build here in this blog, and in this post I will try to ramble about some mythology. You can check in other posts to get some background about the setting, or just read it through and steal some ideas, get some inspirations for your own setting/games, or whatever you feel more inclined to. I am not thinking here on a macro level, a big-bang-ish thing, norse mythology or  something like “In the beginning there was Chaos…” and this sort of thing. Here, all I'm thinking about is a landmark present in the world and, like we see on our own, it has power, or is surrounded by events that cannot be easily explained, and then a mythology is built around it. Bromo is a volcano, it is in a frozen land almost forgotten by the world, with the exception of a single village. Local legends that have spread say that Bromo is responsible for all life present in the world as it is known. The dust from eruptions, tho

FOMO (fear of missing out) and Why characters never retire.

I read an analysis of Kafka’s Castle, I can't remember where. Either way, I'm pretty sure the author says that the characters never reach the castle, so they miss or idealize a place that they will never be, no matter which goals they achieve or things they do.  What’s your character's objective? Why do they go on journeys? Some TTRPGs have this objective very clear, like in Electric Bastionland, they have a debt, and have to run from, or solve it (Yeah, I know that’s a really simplistic analysis of it). If the characters live in a post apocalyptic world, they have to survive, or to find a way to continue living.  In vanilla games or games made for long campaigns, in the OSR vision, they are looters that search for gold and glory. Oh, gold and glory doesn't mean anything for the players, so my theory is that they continue adventuring because of FOMO. Either that, or the characters are puppets of the players' will, because characters' objectives do not mean anyth

Settlements Names

  I went to the woods last holiday. My mother in law lives on a farm near a small town in the countryside of Goias, which is a smaller state in the center of Brazil. The farm is not active and the natural environment there is very well preserved. There are lots of natural places and settlements, and I found it quite funny how the people around there name these places.  In hexcrawl, pointcrawls, or any exploration games, the authors (me included) tend to name the settlements with epic names such as: Thunder Peaks, Spine of the World Mountains, Hills of the Green Wastes, etc. I imagine this as in an MMO RPG, or any electronic RPG really, when you “discover” a new settlement, a name with a good typography appears on the screen. As a GM, I named places like that when the players reached the location: “So, you enter in the Giant Rock Mountains”. Yeah, I know, this is just a detail, and doesn't have a real impact in the game or adventure. But knowing how people named the settlements in t