[Solipsist] First proper game, at Conpulsion 2008

Started by Hituro, March 25, 2008, 07:40:11 PM

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So Conpulsion 2008 has just finished in Edinburgh, and I got to run my first ever game of Solipsist entirely to people who had never seen, read, or played before. I'm glad to say it all went really well, and the players enjoyed it enough to buy my last two copies :)

The game started with a little hiccup, when I discovered that I had left all my carefully pre-generated characters, play aids, and the like sitting on my bedroom floor ... ooops! Luckily I still had a pad of paper and a copy of the rules, so we decided just to go for it and create new characters anyway. You can see the characters that were created by Brian, Susan and Gwen here. In the end I was glad that we created new characters, even though it took half an hour out of a 4 hour slot, because I think the players were much more attached to their concepts than they would have been if they had just picked some of my pre-gens.

Following the advice in the book to start the game "here and now" we began in a pub on Edinburgh's Rose Street on a Sunday afternoon, where the three Solipsists were meeting to discuss a strange rash of odd and disturbing graffiti that had been popping up all around the city. After trying to erase the symbols the characters quickly became involved in rescuing the graffiti artist from a bunch of Shadow tainted circus performers who he was trying to keep in check with the symbols.

The players started a little tentatively, with small changes of reality (reading someone's surface thoughts, levitating to hide and the like), but once they realized it was no harder to make yourself Queen and produce an army of Knights from thin air than it was to hide in a pub things soon exploded into wilder and weirder stuff. Discovering that the Circus folk were nothing but hollow shells with holes in their heads (Brian's idea I think) they raised an army and set out against the Circusite kingdom, only to realize that most of the Circusite army was in fact normal people, who were being turned into these hollow creatures at the circus, and then controlled by microchips. A number of plot twists later and we reached a final confrontation on a medieval battlefield, at the edge of a giant theme park.

The endgame featured a fight between the Solipsists and a bunch of strange Circusites (partly drawn from a bizarre children's book I once had called Rameses in Rio Moto), like the Lion Tamer and a Clown who shot missiles from his mouth. After defeating these in suitably grandiose ways (Loki dealt with the missile by changing reality so that all computers were in fact tiny brains that she bred in her lab and could control with her telepathic powers) the party confronted the Ringmaster and finally did away with the Shadow Infestation.

Even with new players everything went smoothly, and there was certainly no need for advance preparation. I made a note to myself, though, that when getting into a big conflict between Solipsists and the Shadow, with tokens being spent on both sides, that it would be great to play it out as with the dice bonuses in Tiny Triangles, narrating how reality goes back and forth as each side spends tokens.

More details can be found on the Solipsist Website

Gregor Hutton

Oh, David, how did the pacing go for the length of game? How many Shadow Tokens did you start with and how many were you spending in the big conflict at the end?

Also, did the players always try and aim for a score of 0, or did they sometimes choose to get a positive or negative score (to either increase their Limitations or tick Obsessions and gain Infestation)?


The pacing was fine, we had a fairly gentle lead in, which was all concerned with the grafitti artist and had pretty small changes of reality. Then Gwen made a sweeping change that catapulted them all into a medieval war, and it picked up pace from there. The final confrontation was very fast, with missiles and lions and all sorts flying around.

I started with 20 Shadow tokens, slightly down from the 24 that the rules would suggest for 3 players, but I think that was right, 24 might have strained their ability to do it all in 1 session (which would have been fine, there was a natural pause at about hour 3 where I could happily have broken the game into 2 sessions if we had been playing regularly). I think I had 4 or 5 left in the final confrontation, so I could spend the difficulty up to something like 15. They had split the pool into 3 threads beforehand, sorting out 4 with the artist, and 3 more by rescuing the kidnapped people. A number more had gone in various attacks the Shadow made on them.

The players mostly aimed for 0, but they overshot a few times to rack up the Infestation. I didn't really push the Limitation scenes too much, so I don't think anyone failed deliberately to tick Limitations, but they probably would have done with more time, and a couple of players racked up quite a few Tears (5 or 6), so they could see that they needed more Limitation levels.