LETS PLAY: THE CALYPSO COMPENDIUM - A NARRATIVE SOLO GAME
The Calypso Compendium, written by Tam H., is a mashup of Powered by the Apocalypse mechanics with Lady Blackbird style character generation. In addition it provides a number of tools commonly found in other solo roleplaying toolkits (or “gamemaster emulators”, oracles, etc.)
Tam has written a number of games, many are written with the solo player in mind. One of the more fantastical tools is the Player Emulator with Tags - which flips soloing an RPG on its head; what if we emulated the players instead of the GM?
Naturally, when I stumbled upon a game Tam had written that mashed up two of my favorite narrative role playing games I figured it was worth a look.
While there’s no art in the book, it is exceptionally laid out and easy to read. The items in the table of contents are bookmarked to their appropriate places which is always a nice touch. Looking through the table of contents we can see there are the general rules of the game, several pre-built scenarios, what appear to be general guidelines for building characters, a tips section, some oracles, a bit on narrative structures, and closing with some optional rules.
For this Let’s Play, I think I’ll go with the Starfarer scenario (page 25) as it most closely matches the theme of this site:
“Explore the universe in search of: adventure • refuge • mystery • revenge • power • wealth”
The entire rulebook is 69 pages but it reads very quickly thanks to the text having plenty of breathing room on the page. Additionally a lof of those pages are setting material that can be skimmed or skipped if you aren’t interested in that setting. The core rules are only 4 pages so there’s very little time investment if you want to just get the gist of the system.
Having read the General Rules (Pages 4-7), I picked my scenario and I’m going to frame the rest of the review in the context of that because such a narrative game demands a bit more context for the way the rules work.
This is the “why are we playing this?” summary of your game, they are different for each scenario but are rather formulaic so it easy to create you own. For Starfarer we get:
Challenge yourself; ask difficult questions. Fill the hero’s life with risk and adventure. Play to find out what happens.
“Play to find out what happens” is an Apocalypse World mantra, a reminder that the game’s narrative should be reacting to player’s actions. The game world’s lore should be comprised of what the player has improvisationally created from the fiction being driven from the Dramatic Moves (or GM Moves in a group game.) The game narrative should also be the result of the compromises the player has been forced to make as a result of the outcomes of their moves. We are reminded to challenge ourselves and lean into the game’s narrative more assertively. In addition we are given a nudge to fill our story with “risk and adventure.” This is the way (of the Starfarer.)
Again, these are different per-Scenario but these are prompts to keep you on-track with the game’s Agenda. For Starfarer we get:
- Seek out the exotic and strange but interject the familiar.
- Be a fan of the main character, but make him prove he deserves the role.
- Nobody has plot immunity; nothing is safe.
- Build the world and mythos as you go.
- Be honest, even when it hurts; follow the fiction where it leads.
These are both reminds about the game’s structure but also how to emulate our chosen genre. For instance “seek out the exotic but interject the familiar” might seem contradictory but this is a common sci-fi genre trope. How many times in Star Wars do you see a bizarre looking alien lifeform doing something very common place in our own world: gambling, having a drink, etc. We can relate to them even if we don’t understand how they “work”.
This is character creation, it is built off the format used in Lady Blackbird. To start you build a sentence about yourself using some canned choices:
I am a war hero • secretly gifted • an orphan • the Chosen One • the sole survivor • the lost heir. I am in debt • unjustly exiled • an outlaw • on the run • barely staying afloat • on the hunt.
Rather than pick, I note there are six choices for each, so let’s bring out our friend the d6. I roll a 2 and 3.
I am secretly gifted and an outlaw.
Your Character will have several Traits and underneath each trait your character will have several Tags. What are these? Calypso gives us this:
Choose four Traits and 16 Tags split between those Traits; these are the things the hero is good at or that are part of him. If a Trait is in brackets you may take it more than once, specifying a new aspect each time.
Okay, that could use some further detail if you’ve never played Lady Blackbird. In Lady Blackbird Traits are fairly general descriptions of your character. “Wizard” might be too general for your game but “Wizard of Flame” is probably about right. Calypso does lean into the very broad traits (So, in our example, Wizard would be just fine.) I believe this is because in solo play, you can throw out about 50% of RPG rules that are effectively only there to help differentiate two or more players in a group so that each person can have their spotlight moments. If you’ve played Over the Edge, Fate, or Risus - then Traits should be really natural to you as Aspects or Cliches. You are a “Soldier”. Traits in game design commonly replace things such as Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, etc.) - they are not a 1:1 replacement, but a grouping of those attributes into a genre relevant label. If I’m Solider - than I’ve been basic training and I’m as strong as I need to be for that task. I don’t have to be a body builder though, maybe I’m more agile. This all comes out in the narrative.
While Traits are general, Tags can be highly specific. Tags might be skills, spells, powers, edges and feats from other games. A “Solider” trait might have “Fast” and “Guns” as tags so that I know fictionally what I can emphasize further in play.
Let’s build the shell of our character then. Generally, you start with four traits. The Starfarer scenario tells me that one of my traits must be “Future Human.” I’m not sure if this means I’m evolving into a Human or I’m a Human in the Future. I think for now I’m just to call this “Human” and assume that players/npcs would have a “Species” trait by default. Skipping over to page 27, I look through the traits to see what might help tell the story of my sentence. I choose Criminal to represent the “outlaw” part - it is on the nose but it’ll do. I think I’ll change it to Smuggler. “Off-Worlder” might also worked nicely if you wanted a more subtle outlaw feel. Secretly gifted seems it requires a Trait and the game does encourage to consider holding your starting traits in reserve. I think I’ll do that and let the play tell me what my secret gift is. Likewise I’ll hold 4 tags in reserve to use with that trait or others based on what emerges in play. You don’t have to balance tags (4 tags per trait) but it feels ideal leave roughly a quarter of the tags in reserve to assign later. I don’t see a clear weapons option under Criminal and decide to add “Blasters” as a tag.
Traits & Tags:
Now I choose two Keys that “show what I value” - these are the primary way to earn “experience points (XP)”. It is not defined as a term anywhere but each Key also has a “buyoff” condition. Lady Blackbird tells us that “If the buyoff condition occurs, you have the option of removing the Key.” In the Advancement section we are told buying off a key nets us 10xp.
- The Key of the Daredevil - Hit this key when you take a risk that you don’t have to. BUYOFF: play it safe.
- The Key of the Goal - You have a specific, long term goal. when you try for it. BUYOFF: achieve, give up on, or refuse it. We’ll say my Goal is to “Own my own starship.”
Next, I choose two Secrets that “give me power or special abilities.”
- The Secret of the Hidden Ace - You always have an ace up your sleeve. If you need a small item on your person, a useful friend nearby, or a trick prepared yesterday, you have it, but roll a d6; on a 4+ it betrays you later.
- The Secret of Luck - You’re lucky, but you always seem to need to be. If you choose, add an extra d6 to a roll and drop the lowest die, but gain a Condition like unconscious, smitten or blind after the roll is resolved.
Next, I choose two ingrained Conditions that “hamper or otherwise define me.” I’m given a table, on page 7, that I could roll randomly on. I do feel my choices so far have influenced what these should be:
Finally, I start out with what appears to be a temporary condition. There are, I’m sensing a theme here btw, six conditions to choose from. Rolling a 2 I get:
Let’s give our new friend a name: “Horo Delste”
This is story setup stuff, your opening scene. Rolling a 2: I hit the bar.
Next I roll up my choice of a Habitat or Ship. Habitat seems to make more sense, and I roll a 1 and 3. “Arcology.” These are densely packed towers of residencies/businesses/etc.
I’m told that “I stumble over an Enigma and maybe a Person.” To roll up an Engima, I roll three times on Table 3.18:
- Where: High Place
- Danger: Attacked
- Function: Alter
Arcologies are high places, so maybe it is being attacked. Maybe I’m higher up in the Arcology and on my way to the lower levels. Perhaps while I’m at the bar? On the way to the bar? Let’s get a more detail by rolling up an attacker(s). A “superhuman” who’s motive is to “prove worthy of an honor.” Rolling the final two “Beginning” details I get a crime in progress and someone is being called out. Now I’m suppose to make a Dramatic Move and make things “go south, fast.” I think I have an idea about how this story starts now and it is a little different than my original assumptions.
Sidebar: “called out” has a few meanings but I’m going to say that the superhuman is confronting one’s misdeeds/behavior.
I roll on the Dramatic Moves Table 2.3 and get “Tempt or provoke a reaction.” To get an idea of what the Complication might be I roll one of those and get “You are forced to compromise your morals or ethics.”
I also wonder, does Horo know the “superhuman”? Let’s do an Oracle Move. Rolling 2d6, I get a 3 (2,1): No, and. In this case I think this a Strong No - Horo definitely does not know them so much so that what happens next is that Horo is simply caught up in some bigger than him.
We see a human, putting on a vest and then placing a blaster into their holster. They adjust a belt on their pants. They look out the window from the room they are in see a vast clutter of what appear to be living quarters and businesses co-mingled together - 1000s of balconies, windows, reaching into the sky and even some more levels down below. It is night but the are plenty of exterior lights giving every surface an orangish glow. A comlink bleeps and the human answers.
“Meet me at the Stubborn Sarlaac. I have work for you.”
“On my way.” and Horo steps into a turbolift heading upwards.
A fish-like alien sits across the table from Horo.
“So what’s the hustle, Zini?”
“I need you to make you good on your last job. The one you… botched. My bosses aren’t happy.”
“Hey, I ran into complications! Teracom was going to impound the ship. It was either the ship or the goods and the ship was worth more.”
“All the same, you cost them credits. Here’s the details on the job.”
Zini slides over a datastick but before their hand makes it across the table the room shakes. Explosion. Horo and several others run to windows. Horo looks down and sees smoke rising from the lower levels. Another explosion shakes the room. Horo turns back to the table.
Oracle Move: Has Zini fled? 2d6+3: [2, 3]+3 = 8. Yes, but. Zini has fled but in the confusion they’ve left their datapad. A valuable asset to a smuggler like Horo. Of course he could return it. I think this is our Dramatic Move - Horo can choose to return the datapad to Sini or keep it for himself. The risk is twofold - it is possible that Zini could use some help escaping whatever disaster is unfolding in the Arcology and should Zini survive, he’s going to want this back. Horo can risk stealing the pad and using the information but Zini may retaliate. Horo can also risk avoiding helping Zini but would have to live with the moral consequences.
Zini is gone but there’s a datapad and the Job datastick on the table. Horo grabs both and throws them into his satchel.
Oracle Move: Does Zini leave higher up? 2d6: [1, 1] = 2 No, and interrupt the scene. 2d6: [6, 3] = 9 “Show off-screen badness.” I’ll start a 6-tick clock called “structure collapse.” it already has 1 tick marked.
We cut to a hand pulling an explosive out of a bag. Pulling back we see a gang of woman, leather jackets, brightly colored pants. Spikey hair and chains. Parts of their bodies appear to be electronically augmented. They are placing the explosives on what seem to be massive structural beams. Charges set, they hop on to speeder bikes and zoom off. The four pillars in the scene then slowly turn into a fade back to Horo who’s running to a turbolift.
The Crumbling Tower
Oracle Move: Are the lifts still working? 2d6: [1, 3] = 4 No, but. I’m unsure what the but is and I don’t see a random table that’s useful in the Compendium. I pull out my Story Cubes and roll up a few. Bizarrely enough a space door is one of them - the elevator I presume. There’s several others but a phone/radio and a person on a rope stand out.
Horo mashes the buttons nothing happens. The scene around him is a mixture of emotions. Some people continue about their business, others seem to be hurrying along. Those looking to leave this level are on their comlinks hastily making plans. Horo takes a moment to think about if he could call anyone. He remembers he also some gear in his satchel. He’d come into the possession of a grappling spike launcher some time ago: A device that launched a stream of liquid which solidified into tough yet lightweight cable. Having always used this device to go upwards Horo is quite sure how it’ll work heading down but decides to give it a shot as he’s quite self-assured he’ll figure it out.
I think using this gadget is done via my Ace Secret so I have to roll 1d6: 1 = 1 - no complications if I read the rules correctly. Strive Move: Horo will grapple his way down a level. The risk he’ll take harm from falling. The modifier is built from his Smuggler Trait (+1) and his Gear tag (+1). I think his Reckless Condition is (+1) but I’d said his temporary Afraid condition is (-1) so - we’re left a +2. 2d6+2: [1, 4]+2 = 7. Success at a cost. Daredevil Key +1 XP. There’s a couple ways to go but, I think this is the most fun…
Horo latches the hook onto a nearby bar and attaches the restraining clip to himself. He leaps over the edge aiming to head down to the next level but misses and heads down several levels. It works mostly as he expected but as he comes to land on his feet, he sees Zini standing nearby.
Oracle Move: Is Zini alone? 2d6: [6, 2] = 8 Yes, and. I think I need a motive here. 3d6: [2, 5, 4] = 11 “achieve power”. Well Zini probably wants that datapad back.
“Horo! We should leave this tower, I have a bad feeling about this. Hey, did you happen to see my datapad back there? I left it in the confusion.”
Horo is stone faced “Ahh, no. I… like you I think we need to get out of here.”
Oracle Move: Does Zini have family that should be saved? 2d6: [1, 3] = 4. No, but. It is a droid. It is always a droid.
“Shame. I should go back for it. Look, I need you to head to my loft and get my droid. Then we’ll find our way down.”
“The turbolifts are broken though. I’m guessing the ramps are packed with people. We should just go.”
Strive Move: Horo is trying to persuade Zini into leaving. Smuggler+fast-talk (+2). The risk is Zini pulls him into finding the missing datapad and they are stuck in this disaster scenario - and maybe realizes Horo is pulling a fast one on him so far. 2d6+2: [6, 6]+2 = 14. Homerun. Zini is afraid for his life. In fact, let’s use this to shift the “afraid” condition off Horo and over to Zini as losing a condition is one of the benefits from a 10+.
“Ok, you’re right. My droid probably has a good backup of the data anyway. We need to get my droid.” Zini turns and starts walking toward his loft. Horo follows and the two collect AR-D4, an astromech droid. It beeps with a devoted and willful tone.
This strikes me as a time for a lull in the action so we should make a Dramatic Move. 2d6: [2, 4] Promise future pain or inflict harm as promised. Complication: 2d6: [6, 3] Something breaks. I’m going to mark a tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (2/6)
We wipe up to the scene of the original explosions. There are raging fires and groups of people clearly in trouble. Some emergency personnel types are trying to put out the blaze but with little effect. Part of a floor gives way and the camera rocks a bit as things become more unstable. We slowly iris wipe to Horo’s face as the shaking of the disruption below reaches their level. The ramps leading downward have become a mass of people, creatures, belongings. It is slow moving. Occasionally a speeder-taxi rises up through the scaffolding to this level and grabs a few people before heading back down.
Oracle Move: Can the Grapple Hook hold two people? 2d6-2: [2, 5]-2 = 5 No, but.
Horo eyes a nearby turbolift its door is slightly ajar. Maybe there’s a service ladder inside. Horo eyes then turn to the the astromech.
“Zini, that thing have the rocket mod?”
Oracle Move: Did Zini spring for the rocket booster mod? 2d6+3: [2, 6]+2 = 10. Yes.
“Yes, of course. I spared no expense on this little bugger.”
“I think we need to force this door open and try to climb down - trying to get through that mess will take forever.” Horo motions to the mass exodus.
“Okay, if we can make it down half-way, I have a transport in the garage there.”
Strive Move: Horo wants to pry the doors open. Human+Assured+Stubborn - Horo isn’t a body builder but he’s unlikely to just give up if the thing is jammed a bit. Zini could theoretically help as well I just think helps justify a +3. 2d6+3: [6, 3]+3 = 12. Let’s take +2 forward.
The door opens with surprisingly little effort.
Oracle Move: Is there a service ladder? 2d6+1: [4, 2]+1 = 7 Yes, and. It is a decent ladder and the shaft is unobstructed down to the Zini’s garage level.
Peering down into the lift, Horo is relieved to see a ladder and a shaft not filled with debris, fire, or smoke. He motions to Zini to climb down with him. Zini instructions the astro mech to follow.
Oracle Move: Does the astromech have enough fuel to make it down? 2d6: [5, 2] = 7. Yes, and. More than enough.
The three make their way down to the garage level.
Dramatic Move 2d6: [4, 1]: Use the hero’s Traits, Conditions, or Secrets against them. This isn’t just any garage level. Half-way up is where starships can pull in and dock. There are many starships - nothing fancy but plenty that Horo could steal in the confusion and call his “own.” To ratchet up the urgency of making some hard choices about keeping the datapad, stealing a ship, etc I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (3/6) Oracle Move: Is this level “stable”? 2d6: [5, 6] = 11. Yes.
The garage level is not tainted by disaster yet. There are families boarding ships and several already in mid-air pulling out. Zini points down a corridor. “This way, my friend.” Beep, boop. The astromech has touched down and follows along. Horo starts to walk in line but the sight of all these starships has his mind spinning. Surely some of these must be… available.
Reaching Zini’s ship we see the astromech maneuver itself towards a door and as the doors slide open we wipe to a field that has looks of hastily made landing strip. A bunch of dart-shaped starships are being boarded by the same gang of women from earlier. The ships are stylized with a matte black paint job and glowing pink chromed lines. They begin to lift off and form up into groups heading towards orbit it seems. We wipe up and Holo is moving a hovering repulsor palette from a storage unit over to Zini’s ship. It has a couple of crates on it.
Dramatic Move: 2d6: [1, 6]. Take something or someone away. I need an Actor here: 2d6 People Table: [3, 6] Alien. 3d6: [1, 1, 4] “protect home.” 3d6: [4, 5, 3] “find the truth”. I’m encourage to get the Temperament of an actor. Emotion 2d6: [2, 2] apathetic. Target 2d6: [4, 4] wealth. Degree 2d6: [1, 1] traces. Meh, not an entirely useful result - I think perhaps she can’t be bribed?
Walking up to Horo is a Hilak Security Bureau official. “Stop, we need to scan those materials.” Horo stares at the official. He’s not entirely sure what’s in Zini’s crates but is caught holding the bag all the same.
“Um, I’m just trying to get out here, Mam. A friend is giving me a passage and he wanted these bits out of storage before we left. Do you have a ride out?” Horo does his best to make his eyes sparkle. “We’d be happy to give you a lift.”
Strive Move: I think Horo wants to charm this person. I’m not immediately clear that his charms will be effective. The risk is she detains him for being obstructionist. Human+Attractive (+2) and +2 forward. 2d6+4: [1, 1]+4 = 6. Earn 1 Failure Currency. That failed stupendously.
“Sir, I’m going to ask you to remove your hands from the goods and I’m going to scan them now.”
Oracle Move: Are the goods contraband? 2d6+2: [4, 1]+2 = 7. Yes, and the are explosive in nature.
Horo removes his hands from the crate. Mentally he works out an escape route and the timing to get to his blaster. The scanner beeps and the Security official pulls her weapon on Horo.
“Hands up and no games.”
Strive Move: Horo pulls his blaster and attempts to shoot official. Smuggler+Blaster +2. Reckless -1. 2d6+1: [3, 3]+1 = 7. Success at a cost. Interrupt scene with a Dramatic Move: 2d6: [3, 1] Put someone in a compromising, bad, or high-stakes position. Complication 2d6: [1, 1] You suffer harm. I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. (4/6)
Horo is fast and shoots the official first. She crumples down to the ground. The blaster noise is loud on this level and Horo has failed to account for the official’s partner coming to her rescue. A blaster rings out and Horo is grazed in the right leg. It burns and Horo takes cover behind the crates.
Horo Harm track moves to “grazed”. Strive Move: Horo wants to use the crates as cover. The risk is Horo is shot again in the open. Smuggler+Evade+2, -1 grazed. 2d6+1: [2, 4]+1 = 7. Success at cost. 2d6: [1, 3] Reveal an unexpected danger. 2d6: [5, 2] Something you did yesterday comes back to bite you.
“HORO! You sleeze.” shouts a voice. Horo glances up. Damn. The Security Official’s partner was Horo’s girlfriend 14 galactic standard hours ago.
Quirks Table: carrying a child
Horo got her pregnant but didn’t want to take responsibility and left last’s night date in hurry.
“This is officer Chasidy Wyse, I need backup and assistance. We have an Officer down.” Chasidy moves her attention back to Horo. “Drop the blaster, Horo. You can do the right thing, for once.”
Oracle Move: Does Zini go looking for Horo? 2d6+1: [5, 3]+1 = 9. Yes, and. Zini probably heard the blaster fire, so he’s come prepared.
Three quick auto-blaster shots ring out.
Strive Move: Zini fires on Chasidy. The risk is this fails, and the backup arrives instantly. I didn’t really roll up traits but, I imagine they can handle themselves with a blaster. 2d6+2: [4, 2]+2 = 8. Success at cost. Chasidy is pinned down but backup is starting to arrive.
Horo and Zini position themselves close enough to hear each other.
“We’re about to be outgunned Zini and what the heck is in these crates? The security official went ballistic when she scanned them.”
“What the hell did we need an entire crate of thermal detonators for?”
“Your job, kid. We were hired to take down the Dirtgirls compound.”
Dirtgirls. Horo sighs. A gang of cybernetic ladies who’ve been terrorizing the corporations setting up the arcologies.
“Zini, we’re going to need a distraction to get out of this garage and… this looks like a crate full of distractions.”
Strive Move: Horo wants to persuade Zini to use a handful of detonators to cause a distraction so they can escape. It is reckless because if it fails it could… literally blow up in their face. Smuggler+Fast-talk but -reckless. 2d6+1: [2, 2]+1 = 5. I’m going to mark another tick on our “structure collapse” clock. I figure these failed rolls are just time ticking down. (5/6)
“No way, kid. That’s the sorta dumb thinking of yours that’s get us a botched job.” Zini pulls out his comlink.
“I need you to jam communications in this area, AR-D4.”
Dramatic Move: 2d6: [4, 6]: Offer a hard bargain or an ugly choice.
“Attention: stand down. This is the Hilak Security Bureau. We have you surrounded.”
Oracle Move: Is Zini the “live to fight another day” type? 2d6: [6, 4] = 10
“Kid, I got connections - we’re gonna get out of this.” Zini moves to his blaster down and raise his hands.
Horo thinks on it. If that droid has managed to jam comms maybe Horo can still shoot his way out of here. There’s only what 3-5 of them at most?
Hidden Ace Secret: Horo has a smoke grenade. 1d6: . The item betrays me. Perhaps the smoke doesn’t last as long as Horo thinks it will. It is a 4 tick click “smokey room” but it is half-full already. Each turn it ticks.
Horo drops a smoke grenade and makes a run for it. There’s still plenty of ships to steal. Including Zini’s.
Strive Move: Horo wants to run for it. The risk is he unable to make a clean escape. Smuggler+Evade+Smokey -grazed (leg). 2d6+2: [1, 2]+2 = 5. Harm+. Advance smokey room (3/4)
Horo tries to move but in the smoke he’s having trouble seeing and failed to take into account a barrier that he runs smack into. Blaster fire rings out through the smoke and catches Horo in the shoulder.
Harm track: bruised Strive Move: Smuggler+Evade+Smokey -grazed (leg). 2d6+2: [5, 6]+2 = 13. +2 forward. Advance smokey room (4/4) - the smoke clears.
Horo picks himself and again tries to run for it. This time he manages to break away and darts behind some starships. He’s being pursued by (1d6: 1) official. Horo can make out the shape of Zini’s ship down the garage. He pulls out the grapple hook, it is a mostly clear shot to the ship… maybe he can pull himself towards it, perhaps taking a blow but still getting himself inside before the official can close on him. His grazed leg is starting to cramp up now.
Strive Move: Horo wants to grapple pull himself towards the starship’s ramp. He’ll risk being hit by something along the way or even misjuding how fast or slow the grapple will pull him at this distance. Smuggler+Gear, -1 reckless, +2 forward. 2d6+3: [5, 4]+4 = 13. Horo slams a stimpak into his shoulder to reduce the Harm condition track from bruised to grazed. (I think I’ve missed some Reckless Key XP along the way. Oh well.)
Horo attaches the grapple to his blaster and shoots at the ramp. It attaches and Horo slides across the smooth surface of the garage towards the ramp. He runs up the ramp. Blaster fire rings out behind him.
Strive Move: Horo wants to pilot the ship out of the garage. There’s going to be a bit of traffic so he’ll need his reflexes to do this smoothly. He’s also being shot at. The risk is perhaps the ship takes harm from the blaster fire or Horo even runs into another ship trying to get out of here. Pilot+Reflexes. 2d6+2: [1, 5]+2 = 8. Complication 2d6: A path is closed or barred.
The ship pulls off the ground, ramp closing. The astromech beeps and bleeps. “No, Zini got caught. Just you and me bud.” The astromech is too dutiful to leave Zini behind though and works their way off to the NavComp to interface with it. The ship’s computers power down but Horo switches things over to manual.
Strive Move: Horo wants to blast the astromech. The risk is he’ll take his eyes off piloting for too long and hit something or maybe his blaster fire misses and shots something critical. Or perhaps our structural integrity is finally at its end. Smuggler+Blaster +2, -1 reckless. 2d6+1: [3, 2]+1 = 6. Reckless Key + 1 XP
Turning around Horo pops a shot off at the astromech. It misses. Just then a massive explosion from underneath him - Horo can still feel it ripple inside the air even though he’s not on the ground. The astromech is whirling forward with a stunning attachment pointing out towards him. Meanwhile, chaos in the air as ships are dodging left and right.
Strive Move: Horo wants to punch it, and get out of this structure. The risk for sure this time is he’ll run the ship into a piece of falling build or another ship. It is pretty chaotic in the sky. Pilot+Reflexes 2d6+2, -1 reckless: [5, 5]+1 = 11. +2 Forward. Reckless Key + 1 XP
Horo jams the throttle forward and as the ship lurches forward, the astromech slides backwards. Horo dodges ships and pieces of the building and find himself in the atmosphere. He turns around to shoot the droid for sure this taking his aim.
Strive Move: Smuggler+Blaster, +2 forward (no reckless, as he took time to aim at least.) 2d6+4: [3, 3]+4 = 10.
The droid squeals as the top of the astromech’s dome is sheered with a blaster. It shivers and shuts down. Horo turns back to bring up the NavComp but as he does so
Dramatic Move: Reveal an unexpected danger.
A squadron of dart shaped starships is actively pursuing him.
The Dirtgirls Ride
“Probably should’ve gotten the droid to work out the jump sequence first.” Horo drops his head to the console and bangs it on their a few times. We wipe to a pair of fingers drumming alongside the steering controls of the interior of a starship. Loud electronic rock music is playing in the background and as we pull back we see Horo’s ship slowly be lined up in the crosshairs of the ship’s onboard targeting controls.
I could play this forever but I think this enough flavor for a review. An immensely fun system that indeed drives narrative play even without a dense set of moves or playbooks. The Scenarios do a bit of that heavy lifting by reminding of you of the necessary tone. The random dramatic moves, complications, and motives are pretty good story engines on their own. I do think you’ll still need some outside tools, such as Story Cubes, random setting tables, etc to make sense of things - but the Compendium is fairly close to a standalone solo toolkit.
- This might have been a fun game to try an experiment with “Secret Clocks” but I can only juggle so much new stuff a time.