Best solo RPGs?

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I am currently 15 days into my first play-through of Thousand Year Old Vampire, which I'll be posting as an actual play thread once my vampire's existence comes to an end. (My dice rolls are doing a real hokey pokey, so who knows when I'll get to the end of his story.) I am loving it, though, and am already wanting to do this again with other solo RPGs.

So, I'm looking for recommendations: What are your favorite solo RPGs, and why? What is the play experience like?

(And yes, I could just play through Fighting Fantasy books I haven't ever completed before. I have House of Hell, Creature of Havoc, In the Shadow of Giants and Secrets of Salmonis coming from Amazon and Amazon UK, so that's definitely an option, too.)
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Ironsworn and Starforged are practically the industry standards now, with the result of turning Shawn Tomkin into something an industry consultant or writer for solo-RPG play or solo-play conversions.
I'm looking at Starforged. I am guessing the tone is largely up to the player as they fill in the story, although it's generally meant to not be the height of starfaring civilizations, but some time after that, correct?
 


Aldarc

Legend
I'm looking at Starforged. I am guessing the tone is largely up to the player as they fill in the story, although it's generally meant to not be the height of starfaring civilizations, but some time after that, correct?
I have not looked at Starforged. I mostly know it by proxy to the Ironsworn and following Shawn Tomkin. I'm personally waiting on the seafaring conversion that is in development.

Shawn Tomkin, for the record, was also brought on board for the solo-RPG supplement for The One Ring 2e.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Oh, that's right, the Strider rules. Also a compelling choice, although I think I'd be more likely to want to play a fool of a Took wandering around Middle-Earth than a ranger.

And a seafaring Ironsworn is an interesting thought.

Ideally, I'd like my solo RPG games to all be different genres, as I don't really need 10 different flavors of layer cake, as yummy as layer cake might be.
 

kronovan

Explorer
I enjoyed The Dark Eye adventure Vampire of Havena and like those rules as a platform for solo gameplay. The Vampire of Havena is specifically tailored as a solo adventure and doesn't require knowledge of the TDE Core Rules or the Aventuria Almanac; the latter being an excellent gazeteer detailing the main campaigning continent. In terms of genre, TDE is Epic/Heoic Fantasy with its continent of Aventuria having more of a medieval Euro and Middle East rub on it than your typical D&D settings. No surprise as the system originates from Germany where it's known as Das Schwarz Auge.

I like the rules for solo play because skill rolls are an even-or-under 3d20 roll. Skills are linked to 3 attributes and skill ranks are a sort of meta-currency used to buy down any of the 3 roll results that were higher than their attribute. Combat is simplified though and only involves a single even-or-under d20 roll. It's what I'd call a crunchy ruleset, but I think that makes them appeal for solo gameplay, because dice rolls are consistently interesting and the rules cover everything from adventuring to social roleplay. Much of the crunch is front loaded, as character creation is quite complex with PC's being comprised of races, cultures, professions, skills, advantages and disadvantages. That's all taken care of with the solo adventure, as it provides a good pregen PC.

The developer (Ulisses Spiele) have created another solo adventure for TDE titled Conspiracy of Mages. Unfortunately it has an error late in the adventure which somewhat breaks immersion, as you need to read a page ahead in order to fully understand the choices. It was apparently updated since I bought it though, so that may have been fixed.
 
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I gave Lost in the Deep a shot and found it surprisingly enthralling. I might also point out that I had never played Jenga prior, so that session didn't last all that long.

 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
How do you define a solo rpg if there is no roleplaying, since it is solo. Does fighting fantasy count?
I think it's a spectrum. Fighting Fantasy is definitely an RPG in my mind, as ideally you'll need to use what your character knows of the environment to succeed (this is less true in the earlier books, which are much more random in their settings) and manage character resources to succeed. That's certainly about as much roleplaying as many D&D games feature.

I will say that my playthrough of Thousand Year Old Vampire is much more engaging than that. Even if the only roleplaying is between me and the page, it's pretty intense.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I'm probably at about the 60% mark of my daily run through TYOV (today's prompt is number 39), and I'm amazed at how much I know about the world, including the origin (and original owners) of weird magical artifacts, who else is running around the world and unmet, and information about my vampire's sire's sire, who has never shown up in the actual adventure. I may have to write up a mini-gazetteer in case I ever want to use any of this in a Vampire: The Masquerade/Requiem game.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Thousand Year Old Vampire is fantastic, and the author is a cool dude.
I can't imagine he's interested in making the same kind of thing twice, but I would snap up a similar product from him in a heartbeat.

I think I'm only two or three rolls away from finishing, assuming the dice don't play hokey-pokey with me again. It's been 576 years since my vampire was turned and he's barrelling toward the Enlightenment and maybe the Age of Exploration. He's had multiple big purges of all the mortals he's known and most of his early life he only knows of from his damaged second diary (the first was lost). He has no personal memories of ever having been human and even his diary only has fragmentary information about that time.

Fingers crossed he somehow makes it to 2022.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Oh, man. He's made it to the late 20th century, but my dice rolls are bouncing around in the high 60s, meaning any given roll could be the last one of the game. (End game rolls run from 72 to 80, and the player rolls 1d10 and subtracts 1d6 from it to get their next prompt.)

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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
That looks amazing, like a mash-up of Infinity Train, Piranesi, Gormenghast and The Castle.
In fact, a bunch of stuff already jumped into my brain about a Colostle character and game, so I guess I'm getting this one next rather than a quick game of Ruins of the Undercity, which I'd been planning to dust-off a convention character to play through.
 
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