Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mini Review - Solo Heroes (Free Rules for One on One OSR Gaming From Sine Nomine Publishing)

With a title like "Solo Heroes" you might think these rules are for solo play, much like the Tunnels & Trolls solo adventures, but you would be wrong. These are rules, stated as compatible with Labyrinth Lord but in truth usable with little effort with any of the OSR rules of your choice that enable "One on One" gaming using off the shelf adventures.

Almost sounds to good to be true. I haven't had a chance to playtest the rules yet, but I expect they work well, at least at lower and middle levels. I suspect after 5th or 6th level things break down a bit. That seem to be the big power jump for both spell casting PCs and the adversaries players face

The rules are a hack to the power curve built into OSR style rules and it allows PCs to last longer in combat while taking down their foes quick, all without changing numbers on the character sheets or the stats in your favorite adventure.

I do want to give Solo Heroes a run for it's money at some point and see how well it works in an actual playtest. I'm currently running an infrequent 2 player / 1 DM - Swords & Wizardry / Crypts & Things hack as I'm trying to find a solution for balanced play and extremely small parties. This might just be the thing I need.

Sine Nomine puts out quality stuff and Solo Heroes is no different. Lots of ideas in the 7 pages, including a small adventure. The price is definitely right at FREE. Hard to go wrong, even if all you do is mine it for the included adventure.

From the blurb:

Maybe you want to show a friend the fun of classic D&D, but you can't pull a group together on short notice. Maybe you have nights where only one friend can make it, and you're tired of breaking out the card games. Maybe you just want to run a side game for somebody, but don't feel like weighing them down with an entourage of henchmen just so they can survive their first combat. What do you need? You need Solo Heroes, a free Labyrinth Lord-compatible supplement for lone adventuring.

While written for the Red Tide Campaign Setting and Sandbox Toolkit, this supplement is compatible with a wide range of old-school games. Within, you'll find a simple set of rules for running classic adventures with just a single PC. There's no need to alter character sheets or rework modules to make them survivable for whatever class your player has chosen- Solo Heroes gives you a handful of simple rules for turning such solitary exploration from a death wish in the making to a daring tale of risk and potential glory.

In addition to these rules, the mini-adventure of The Yellow Toad God's Well is provided to give you a little something instant to run for your player's new hero. And if it turns out you've got a full group for that night's session? Just drop the optional rules and run it by the book. Solo Heroes lets you play the game without painful paperwork and adventure redesign, whether for one player or half a dozen.


  1. It's a pleasure to see you giving it a look. As for the power curve, it does tend to melt a touch at very high levels where SoD effects get thrown around a lot, but it actually holds up quite well through name-level exertions.

    The trick is in the tacit damage cap created by the dice mechanism. A single die of damage can never inflict more than 2 HP of injury on a PC, so monsters that would normally be fearsome on account of their large damage dice don't have the same wallop. They're more likely to do the maximum 2 points, but that's still not going to instagib anybody. Even a standard-issue red dragon is only going to be doing about 6 damage a round with its claw-claw-bite routine, and it's very likely to go down in five to ten rounds against a well-equipped fighter.

    As an interesting side-effect, it also tends to put the spotlight on fighters for dealing with single badass enemies. A high-level M-Us fireball will do about 10 HD of damage to everyone in its area of effect who fails a save, but they still won't have more than 24 or 25 hit points if they rolled them normally. A high-level fighter with a magic weapon and their fray dice will average 3-5 HD of damage every turn forever, depending on their weapon dice, and be able to soak up twice as much punishment at a better AC- and have more HP to deal with Dodging Doom checks as needed.

  2. I picked this up and (as usual with Kevin's work) was impressed. I think the rules would be fun to try, but mostly they have me thinking about how they might be modified for use with 2-3 players.

    We have 5 players in our group (plus myself as referee). When 1 player can't make it, we proceed as usual. When 2-3 players can't make it, that's when we have trouble.


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