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First Edition PDF Version
Publisher: (Self-Published)
Year: 2020
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
8 pages
Size: 6.30 x 6.30 inches
Link Image
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Description Edit | History

PDF of Dandelion, a solo RPG for generating stories with no prep.

A very simple, flexible game for dramatic and unpredictable stories.

The PDF for the game is under the Files section here for free.

From introduction:

Dandelion is a story game for one player. (And maybe an audience.)

The game produces an exciting story to tell. Let the story surprise you when you follow its path. The game ends when your story comes to a natural and satisfying close. Join different games together for an epic.

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V1.2 introduces optional rules for tracking any properties of the game.

V1.1 introduces optional rules for non-player characters and penalty/bonus dice. It also suggests using counters for map features plus other little changes.

Design notes from the author:

"I wanted an introductory solo game to produce stories beyond a first-person perspective, and a game that could promiscuously absorb characters, maps, scenarios and artwork I liked.

I had a breakthrough after discovering Matrix games, a brilliant life's work and passion project by Chris Engle. In all kinds of Matrix games, players argue to advance their actor's position. A referee or other players weigh the arguments, sometimes helped by a dice roll. For solo play, I wrote declarations rather than arguments with an outcome based on a simple roll.

(Around the time of Chris Engle's retirement from games publishing, organisations exploring real-world military and humanitarian scenarios adopted a flavour of Matrix Games. See MaGCK: The Matrix Game Construction Kit for a product developed to support this technique.)

A second major influence was Trollbabe by Ron Edwards. Trollbabe players narrate failure, rather than the GM. In my search for solo play, players narrating failure seemed a gift. I thought this idea from Trollbabe made good sense in a solo game because one player must narrate all the actors and actorly success/failure lies orthogonal to the success of the story.

Matrix games and Trollbabe have another thing in common: Matrix games allow arguments to be "about anything". Trollbabe encourages players to "invent stuff into existence" from a list during rerolls. I found these invitations for sunlight essential for renewal through solo play - a completely closed matrix (ahem) would otherwise naturally wind down through entropy. Dandelion demands "wild new ideas" in declarations and "flair" in outcomes.

I added a simple outcomes table but I took exacting care with the words so failures advance the story as much as successes. I wanted successes and failures to equally drive events for the next actors for enjoyable solo play.

Through play, I uncovered that narrating (really speaking) aloud made stories take form. I found drawing/co-opting physical maps and counters (usually 22 mm counters with round labels) helped the stories gel too.

I hope I synthesised great ideas from Chris Engle and Ron Edwards into something new. I hope solo RPG players can enjoy this simple introductory game as much as I do.

Watership Down provided the name Dandelion, a fast-running storytelling rabbit."

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Pg. 1 of 1
0 Full game: Dandelion v1.2
Adding optional tracking rules.
1 Full game: Dandelion v1.1
First edition improved with two optional rules and small enhancements throughout.
2 Full game: Dandelion (First Edition)
The full game available here under the GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.3.
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