Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CRGE Game master emulator from Conjecture Games

Unlike solo wargaming with miniatures, within the last few years solo RPG-ing turned into rather exact science.

The player uses Oracle, different randomizers and maybe some driver engine, and he knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

And as it is the case with every exact science, new works in domain are not breath taking exploits into unknown, but rather small steps that improve and deeper our understanding of the subject.

So, the latest contribution in the field of solo RGD-ing is Conjectural Roleplaying Gamemaster Emulator (CRGE) by Zack Best (Conjecture games).

Lets then explore what is the scientific contribution (or simple said, what is new in this work) of CRGE.

The most innovative part within CRGE is a d100 Oracle, which is called The Loop of Fate. Unlike the oracles we are most used to, it does not take into consideration the probability of the event. Instead, three tables within the oracle are chosen based on the scene set-up: one is for scenes where players are trying to gain knowledge, one is for scenes leading into conflict and one is for scenes that should wrap up the adventure.
Each table has eighth possible outcomes. Besides six commonly known (yes and, yes but, yes, no, no but, no and) The Loop of Fate uses two more - Yes and unexpectedly and No and unexpectedly. The Unexpectedly result is further elaborated in additional d20 table and makes good sense.
Another interesting thing is called the Surge Count. Basically, each time the plain yes and plain no is rolled on the oracle, a counter is increased. This counter value is than added to or subtracted from further rolls on the oracle to drive  the final result towards some twists. This is the good mechanics that can improve quality of one's game.

CGRE also implements a little vague driver that divides game into 3 or 4 small acts: exposition, rising action, climax and (optional) epilogue. 

The rest of the booklet is basically compilation work from lots of different sources. It is done well, and CRGE can be good starting point for beginners, even if the experience players will already be familiar with most of the stuff.

In any way, considering the price (booklet is Pay What you Want on Drive Thru RPG) it is another must have for all solo RPG players.


  1. Thank you for pointing this out. I downloaded it and it seems pretty interesting. I've always felt the Mythic GME suffered a little because it did not try to drive the action into a three-act story structure. On the other hand I think the 200 random words Mythic includes is one of its most useful aspects and feel CRGE could use something similar.

  2. Any comparisons between this and Mythic ? It seems they'v influenced each other but I'd be curious about advantages or downsides in comparison?

  3. Hi Ivan. First, Mythic is much more complex product, that incorporates many things. CGRE just gives the new approach to some of them. For example, The Loop of Fate from CGRE is just a new approach to Mythic Fate Chart (Mythic GME pages 9-12).
    The driver suggested in CGRE is one thing Mythic lacks - it is something that should replace and simplify other fan created products like 9Qs and similar.

  4. Well, I bought it :-)

    Looks nice, I think I like this systems basic mechanics better but I may try to mix it with the scene interruption rules from Mythic.