On the eve of publishing the book, I have some final thoughts to share. I want to help people make the right decision on whether they should consider buying this game; whether or not it might be a good fit for them.
I’ve decided on a PDF price that is as low as I can go and still cover up-front costs — well, maybe someday. I don’t care if I lose money. I built Libre SRP because I wanted to play solo a certain way, and couldn’t find anything else that scratched that itch. Libre SRP is the fourth generation, the one where all the mechanics clicked into place and something magical happened. Today, the office is littered with gameplay sheets! And there’s always a new story to tell. After all this time I’m still enthusiastic whenever I have some a couple hours to go back and play another story. I wanted to share that fun with others, by creating (what I hope is) a polished product.
Ok, now to temper my enthusiasm. I do not want anyone to buy this game and hate it, thinking I sold them a bill of goods and they wasted their money. So I’ll try to present reasons here why you might not want to buy this game.
– It is unashamedly gamist… While I consider Libre SRP a RPG, the player tries to meet requirements that advance to a final victory condition. The player narrative guides what to do in the game; the game informs the player narrative. Nobody knows in advance what a positive outcome might look like for your story. But to get to a happy ending, you (the player) basically have dice challenges that guide the storytelling.
– …and the game will hate you. Well not really. But sometimes the mechanics will make you feel like world’s unluckiest golfer. You need to be mentally prepared to have your player’s character suffer. Related to that, the game doesn’t balance foe groups when a player sets up an encounter scene. The player needs to decide when to engage, when to switch tactics, and when to run. But:
– Don’t buy the game for its combat rules. Combat using the included RPG ruleset is abstract. It’s meant to let a player line up two sides of a tactical battle, add up each side to assess the odds, then dice out what happens without getting bogged down. If you want more detail, you can import your own ruleset to substitute. Which brings us to:
– Its game mechanics are intrusive. Depending on your choices, you might make 3, 6, 10 or more rolls to set up and open a scene. Some skill checks can take 3 rolls to resolve, not counting follow-up questions. Building a totally random foe group might take a dozen or more die rolls. If you combine the GM engine with your own RPG, Libre SRP still needs high overhead to set up scenes, ask yes-no questions, ask for trouble and track plot stress. More than with other solo RPGs, Libre SRP might feel like its mechanics are running the show and your RPG is a sideshow guest. That also brings us to:
– It’s different. Solo RPGers will recognize familiar elements. But (going back to that scratching-the-gaming-itch observation) it doesn’t play like any other solo RPG that I know. The playtests were very favorable, but I also initially guided sessions before others tried it out on their own. Maybe my enthusiasm bubbled over and playtesters humored me. I’ve tried to show off the game mechanics here and elsewhere, but when you play it for yourself I can’t guarantee you will like them. I have no universal reference point, only that it’s like other solo RPG tools, only different (again, far as I know) because the GM engine’s tools incorporate atmosphere and conflict. And finally:
– Maybe the rules are vague or poorly organized, or otherwise impossible to grok. This is still my biggest fear. The GM engine section is 48+ pages of gameplay explanation and examples. I hope it’s an easy, breezy conversational read. But I feared it wasn’t enough, and added 6 pages of Summary Tables for all the game’s core mechanics at the back of the book. Then I thought maybe that wasn’t enough, so I wrote the Training Wheels Adventure; and got my local gaming community to look through the ruleset; and playtested to gather feedback; and created this web site; and most recently, started posting recorded audio gameplay examples and tutorial clips on YouTube.
Anyway, I hope that people can understand the book, and have the patience to learn and try out the rules. If your solo game bombs the first and second time, I also please ask for your patience to review the rules, figure out what went wrong and give the game a chance. I want everyone who buys this game ultimately to enjoy Libre Solo Role Playing as much as I have, and do. If you bought the book, gave it a fair shake and hate the game, then I am truly sorry. I don’t want anyone to feel they’ve been burned.