As I’ve mentioned before I have a deep love of the roleplaying game called FU (Free Universal). It’s a slip stream story game that pushes the fun of story and holds back on the crunch. I used it to great success when I ran a Cthulhu game for my son last year. (Upon re-reading the rules recently I realized I had overlooked something valuable; only the players are supposed to making die rolls! ) I’ve also used FU as the main game engine for most of my solo play episodes over the past year. It’s lightweight, moves fast and blends very well with my other love, the Mythic GM Emulator.
FU allows for a lot of tweaking and over on the FU Yahoo group several people have put together various hacks for the game that cover things from Pirates to Star Wars. Something I’ve been working on has been an all purpose hack of my own that covers what I truly love about the game as well as combining a few elements that I feel are missing.
This week I was able to sit down and get some of my thoughts down about my own FU hack, something that fit my view and version of the game. I mainly wanted it for my upcoming project of running a solo sandbox game, something that I could call my own and use efficiently. With the hack I also wanted to address the missing components of character advancement as well as a structure for magic/psychics/superpowers.
I thought it was going to be easy.
The good news – We’re almost done. I say “we” because I conscripted my son and his gamer brain to help me out. He had some really good ideas and while working together we came up with a system which might just work. Collaboration for the win!
The bad news – It wasn’t easy and I’ve got a small pile of handscribbled notes complete with arrows and circles and stars which would NOT look good as an uploaded PDF. So, here I sit writing this instead of writing that! Seriously, there isn’t really any bad news except for the fact I really need an Elixir of Extra Hours or something in my day.
The Solo Sandbox Game
What do I mean by this? Well, to be more clear, I’m insane. There. That was easy to sort out.
The idea here is to start with a character made up of a series of random elements and place him (or her) in a new setting with which I have very little familiarity. Most of not all of said campaign is to be randomly created either through the main rules I’ll be using (FU and the awesome Mythic GM Emulator), tarot cards, story cards, Rory’s story cubes, random wiki pages, or the plethora of random generator sites on the internet. Along the way I’ll be linking to those sites so you can see them for yourself and sharing some of my tools that I use. But wait! There’s more. Probably the most exciting part about is that I’m going to let you, the reader, play by adding your own ideas. I would like for this to create something shared.
For the world itself or the genre of the game, I want it to start from a random seed as well. This is why I was so happy with the Swashbuckling Fairy Tale result of the previous tarot NPC post. It might be something that I could have a lot of fun running and writing. I’m not sold on it quite yet because I am also considering a few other options.
What is a sandbox game, you ask? A sandbox game in a normal RPG player/GM setting is a type of game where the players literally can go in any direction they wish. They decide what they want to do and the GM simply adapts to their ideas and builds around the moving lens of the player.
A good example in video games of a sandbox world/campaign are the Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim and the others. One thing to remember about a sandbox is that the world moves on with or without the player’s input or actions. This later part is something I’m not sure how I will construct in the actual solo play but we’ll see how it goes. A sandbox solo game is not something I’ve seen done anywhere else so we will be setting off into unexplored gamer territory. How geeky!
How will it work for me? My character (or characters) can go anywhere they would like to go and as they do I will build the world around them. I will leave the plots and stories to the mechanics of the Mythic Emulator and see what happens! It will definitely be a play-as-you-go (read: seat of the pants) type of game.
My goals? A: I want to see if it can be done. B: I think it would be great if a cool, free game setting gets built from it. C: Have fun!
At least, that’s the idea. And now you can see why I need to get the FU hack written so I can move forward with things!