These are writings from the session of Winter for one solo RPG written by Zachary Donovan. Original game can be found here, at the bottom of the page.
This game is played with some changed rules. For example, I chose to roll for the next scene instead of selecting one. Also, some changes in microeconomics are made, in order to suit my style of play. In order to rise tension, starting health and hope are lowered to 5.
Health 5, Hope 5, [ ] [ ] [ ], day zero, morning
I can’t believe I volunteered for this.
I thought nothing can be worse than the smell and unison singing of dozens of soldiers, trying to make their last days on this world as miserable as possible for themselves as well as for others. I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts at least for a moment.
But after spending just a few hours alone in this frozen god forsaken trench, I think I will wish I was back at the barracks in no time.
Health 5, Hope 5, [ ] [ ] [ ], day zero, afternoon
Next scene roll: 9 – Survival. Event roll: 6 – gruesome choice.
Cold came with the evening. I have found a big pile of old, oil sunken clothes and I used them to light a fire. Smoke from the wet fabric went high to the sky. I was told to keep a low profile, and I am afraid that smoke can attract Reds to my trench. For one moment I thought about extinguishing the fire, but the cold got the best of me. Let them Reds come. They are bound to come sooner or later.
Health 5, Hope 4, [ ] [ ] [ ], day zero, night
Due to the story flow, I will deduct 1 from dice roll to increase chance for violence scene.
Next scene roll: 5-1=4 – Violence. Event roll: 1 – both physical and mental damage.
Reds came tonight, throwing everything they got towards my trench. When signal rocket shed some light to the battlefield and I saw how many of them there are, I just reacted by instinct and run towards our lines.
Bullets were flying around me equally from our trenches as from the advancing Reds, and it was miracle I was not hit. At one moment, my foot was caught into same hole in the ground and I fell, pain spreading through my leg.
As I was laying there, I saw Reds passing by, missing me in the dark, or just taking me for the dead body. I was as afraid as never before in my life.
Health 4, Hope 3, [ ] [ ] [ ], day one, morning
Relief roll: 5 – no relief. Next scene roll: 1 – survival. Event roll: 6 – gruesome choice.
With the first light I realized I was lost. I had no idea where should I go to reach our lines. Dead bodies were laying all around me. Judging by the uniform, the closest one to me was Reds officer. His face was blown up, and his abdomen open with organs coming out. I decided to search him, and it was a good idea, for in his inside pocket I found functioning compass.
If I remember well, our positions should be to the north. If I am wrong, I will probably soon join this officer in the mud.
Health 4, Hope 2, [ ] [ ] [ ], day one, afternoon
Next scene roll: 11 – Camaraderie
My leg was hurting and slowing me down. It was already late afternoon when I finally decided to take same rest in an empty fox hole. Upon entering it, I found an old dog inside. It just looked at me and moved to the corner, obviously scared.
I opened a can of dried meat, ate half of it and give the rest to the dog.
As I layed down to sleep, old animal moved next to me. Its worm body gives me comfort. I feel I will be safe tonight.
Since this is afternoon scene, I used one set of rations to regain one hope and move time ahead, therefore skipping dangerous night scene.
Health 4, Hope 3, [x] [ ] [ ], day two, morning
Relief roll: 9 – no relief. Next scene roll: 6 – Survival. Event roll: 8 – gruesome choice.
I was waked up by the cold. The old dog was gone. I left the place I spent the night at and continued north. After few hundred meters I found body of one of our soldiers. He was wearing rather good winter jacket, with just one bullet hole at the back. I figured he will not need it any more. Bat as I started undressing him, in one a pocket inside the jacket I found pictures of his family. Once, when some authority finds him, these pictures probably will be something they will recognize him by. If I take the jacket, pictures may get lost. So I let it stay on him. If I move faster, maybe I will be able to worm up…
Health 3, Hope 3, [x] [ ] [ ], day two, afternoonNext scene roll: 2 – Violence. Event roll: 3 – both physical and mental damage.
While sun was setting down, I caught the glimpse of another human figure. Soon I recognized his uniform. It was one of our boys, probably as lost as I am. He recognized me too, and moved in mine direction. Then, just a few meters from me, when I was already offering my hand for a shake, he must have stepped on a mine of something. Explosion blew him to pieces, while I was thrown to my back. Darkness swallowed me quickly.
Health 2, Hope 2, [x] [ ] [ ], day two, nightNext scene roll: 11 – Camaraderie.
I woke up by the fire. I was found by group of our engineers on mine sweeping mission. Boys cleaned me from blood and mud; one even had a cup of brandy to share. But they had no doctor in their group, so they could not do anything with my leg.
Health 2, Hope 2, [x] [ ] [ ], day three, morning
Relief roll: 1 – relief next morning! Next scene roll: 3 – Volunteering.
Next morning, these engineering boys asked me if I will go with them on a mission. I showed them my swollen leg and said “No way!” They were not pushing the question. I think they realized I would be just a burden for them.
So, they showed me how to find my unit and we said goodbyes.
Health 2, Hope 2, [x] [ ] [ ], day three, afternoon
I decided to use one box of rations and move time 24h forward.
These engineering boys must have triggered something, for bullets were flying around me all afternoon and night. I bunkered myself behind some rock and layed low until it was all over. Took some time, and I had to open another can of meat, but I was not worried, I knew I was close to our lines.
Health 2, Hope 2, [x] [x] [ ], day four, morning
Next morning I finally reached our trenches and find my unit. Boy I was happy to hear that familiar singing again!
As unfinished game, Winter won honorable mention at the Solo RPG challenge. If it was finish, I am sure it will be positioned even better.
It is a game that is easy to prepare and play, and offers great possibilities. With little tweaking it can be adjusted to any setting, and I have plans to play it as Lovecroftian game rather soon.
If taken at right direction, Winter has possibilities to become one of the best light generic solo RPGs around. I can only hope it's author will have strength to fulfill this mission.