ABIDE Solo Aventure

ABIDE Solo Aventure

For a long time I thought solo RPGs were pointless. The entire point of playing with others is to mix your imagination with theirs; forming something unique and unexpected. I don’t need a game to imagine stories!

And yet, here we are: about to embark on my first solo RPG adventure. This is a proof of concept for writing ABIDE with a solo game mode. ABIDE is my current project; a game of Elder adventurers accomplishing impossible tasks. I’ve never played a solo RPG before, so we’ll see how much I have to change ABIDE to make it work without other players.

For today’s adventure I’ll be playing as two characters exploring the Sun King’s Palace by Batts. This is an adventure I’ve been so excited to try; and since it’s all freely available online it will be easy to share the content as we go along.

Summarized rules for ABIDE will be copied in fancy little dropdowns. I made the rolls as I wrote the story, and didn’t prep anything ahead of time (I didn’t even read the Sun King’s Palace). We’re going in blind!

Our Two Elders

How to Create an Elder:
  1. In your first Slot, write down an Achievement. Achievements are notable accomplishments and events from your past. Write a short phrase to describe the Achievement.
  2. In your second Slot, write down a Spell you invented. Spells are named in an “Adjective Noun” format. A spell can be cast to do anything related to its name.
  3. In your third Slot, write down a Burden you can’t stop thinking about. Burdens take up a Slot and cannot be used with Rolls. Over time your Elder can work on a Burden to transform it into something useful.
  4. Write down a few other items your Elder considers important: tools, weapons, provisions, and knickknacks.

Your 8 Slots are not an exhaustive list of everything your Elder knows and carries. They are just a list of what your Elder is thinking about right now. They are carrying a lot more stuff that they don’t need at the moment.

  1. For each empty Slot gain 2 Energy. During your turn you can spend Energy to improve your Rolls.
  2. Augment a Result by marking its box. Augments represent your growth as an Elder.

Here are the two Elders I created:

Judor (he/him) is a retired detective turned beekeeper. Judor uses a heavily modified cane that contains a whole host of surprises. I decided that each function of the cane acts like an individual item and takes up a Slot.

Judor’s Slots
1. Achievement: Keeper of 100 Hives
2. Spell: Mystery Lure
3. Burden: Add a weapon to their cane (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)
4. Cane Flask (of honey)
5. Cane Grabby Arm
6. Cane magnifying glass

4 Energy
Judor Portrait
☑ 6 - Gain a Burden from the Past. It’s a little easier.

Amra (she/her) is a struggling poet and brilliant trader. She wishes she were more creative and less analytical.

Amra’s Slots
1. Achievement: Invented standardized rules for commerce
2. Spell: Shrewd Deal
3. Burden: Unfinished Dirty Limerick (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)
4. Stuffed wallet (local currency, pictures of family)
5. Trained pigeon
6. Small vial of valuable perfume
7. Foldable chair

2 Energy
Amra Portrait
☑ 20 - Make 10 Progress on a Burden.

Unexpected Entrance

Amra and Judor were traveling with a dozen other Elders when a Harvester landed and attacked their group. During the battle the nearby coastal cliffs were broken asunder, revealing a previously hidden tower embedded deep in the rock. Amra and Judor decided to pursue the Harvester and track its movements while the rest of the Elders regrouped and called for backup.

Learn more about Harvesters:

Headaches, insomnia, anxiety, or nightmares...every Elder knows when their Harvester is coming. It will descend from the skies to hunt them down and take them away. Even if an Elder defeats their Harvester, it will simply return stronger than before. Again. And again. And again. Until the Elder is either taken away, or they perish in some other manner.

The Harvester will not hesitate to destroy anyone who gets between it and its prey; it will tear down walls, lay waste to cities, and kill loved ones in its attempts to capture the Elder. The safest place to be is alongside fellow Elders.

As the two Elders peer over the edge of the cliffs, Amra breaks the silence. “We’re only here to observe, Judor”, she says, “It is badly injured and should leave us alone while it recovers.” “If I see an opportunity, I will take it. To do otherwise would betray our oaths.” Judor says firmly. “We live, we fight we die…but we shall not be taken.” Amra recites in a familiar way. “Notice how ‘live’ comes first and foremost?” Judor makes a grunt of acknowledgement and begins to descend to the tower’s entrance.

ABIDE relies on Tasks to keep the game moving:

To play ABIDE, players create Tasks for Elders to work on. Tasks keep the game focused and moving forward. Whenever you don’t know what to do next, follow these steps:

  1. Review the current situation. Mention any threats, opportunities, and weird details.
  2. Discuss your goals as a group. Decide what you want to do next.
  3. Create a Task from everyone’s ideas. Describe the goal and hint at consequences of failure.
    If you can’t think of any consequences, then your Elders just do it. No Task required.
  4. Assign the Task a Progress Cost and a Roll Limit:
    • Low Stakes: 5 Progress required, 2 Roll Limit
    • Moderate Stakes: 10 Progress required, 3 Roll Limit
    • High Stakes: 20 Progress required, 5 Roll Limit

The group succeeds or fails together. If the Elders make enough Progress before they run out of Rolls, the Task is successfully completed! If they run out of Rolls before they make enough Progress then the Task is failed, and the group suffers consequences together.

Task: Safely descend to the tower entrance before the trail grows cold. (10 Progress, 3 Rolls) Judor leans over the edge of the cliffs as if hoping to find a sturdy staircase leading down. Amra rolls her eyes and pulls the small birdcage from her pack. She makes a cooing noise to the bird and it flutters away, searching for the easiest path to climb down.

How to Roll on Tasks:

Elders take turns working on the Task in any order, as long as it makes sense. To work on a Task:

  1. Describe your action. How are you working on this Task?
  2. Roll a 20-sided die. If your Slots would help you, roll two dice and pick one result.
  3. You may spend any amount of Energy to improve your Roll, 1 Energy for +1 to your Roll.
  4. Consult the Results chart to see how much progress you made, if any. If the Result is Augmented with a checked box, then it may modify the outcome.

**Results Chart:**

20 Make 10 Progress on this Task.
▢...and make 10 Progress on a Burden.

19 Make 9 Progress on this Task.
▢...and make 5 Progress on a Burden.

18 Make 8 Progress on this Task.
▢...and you may gain an Achievement.

17 Make 7 Progress on this Task.
▢...and you may gain a Spell.

16 Make 6 Progress on this Task.
▢...and you may gain an Item.

15 Make 5 Progress on this Task.
▢...and you may gain a Burden.

14 Make 4 Progress on this Task.
▢...and grant 2 Energy to each ally.

13 Make 3 Progress on this Task.
▢...and recover all Energy spent on this Roll.

12 Make 2 Progress on this Task.
▢...and an ally may gain an Item.

11 Make 1 Progress on this Task.
▢...and make another 3 Progress.

10 Make no Progress.
▢...and increase the Task’s Roll Limit by 1.

9 A Burden suddenly requires 10 more Progress.
▢...and increase its Roll Limit by 2.

8 Gain a Burden related to an injury.
▢...and it is a little easier (15 Energy, 7 Rolls).

7 Gain a Burden related to stress.
▢...and it is a little easier (15 Energy, 7 Rolls).

6 Gain a Burden related to your past.
▢...and it is a little easier (15 Energy, 7 Rolls).

5 You must clear an Item, if possible.
▢...and gain 4 Energy after clearing it.

4 You must clear a Spell, if possible.
▢...and gain 4 Energy after clearing it.

3 You must clear an Achievement, if possible.
▢...and gain 4 Energy after clearing it.

2 Incapacitated until allies make 15 Progress to help.
▢...and you may roll to help yourself.

1 Your Harvester arrives! Use the online generator.

Amra rolls twice thanks to her bird. She gets a 7 and a 19, obviously picking the 19. She decides to spend 1 energy to improve her roll to 20 and complete the task herself and show Judor up a little. Additionally, since Amra has “20” marked with an Augment, she gets to immediately make 10 Progress on a Burden. Amra decides that “The Wandering Bird” should be the title of the Limerick she’s working on. It only has 10 Progress left on it!

The bird returns to her cage and Amra pulls Judor back from the edge before leading him to a hidden entrance.

Judor objects, “This isn’t the same entrance the Harvester used.” “But it is certainly safer.” Amra says. “I don’t think we’ll have any trouble tracking the monster through an empty tower.”

The two Elders began to descend the long staircase into the depths of the tower.


Room 1

Amra plucks a lantern from the wall, giving it a close examination. “It’s incredible that these lanterns are still functional! The light has a greenish tinge, almost–”

Judor sticks his hand into the green flame, causing Amra to gasp and recoil with the lantern. “Definitely magical, it emits no heat, only light”, Judor observes. “Perhaps the mechanism could be taken apart.”

“Not unless you think you could put it back together!” She pauses after a drop of liquid stains her nose and looks up towards the ceiling. A dozen mischievous silver eyes look down upon the Elders. Large globs of oily ink drop from the ceiling and form into squat humanoid forms. The inky forms began to slurp towards Amra.

Task: Get past the inky forms before they consume the light. (5 Progress, 2 Rolls)

Judor reacts first, snagging the lantern from Amra and covering it with his cloak. “Follow me! I remember the path ahead.” Judor rolls an 8. He must gain a Burden. The lantern glass is old and already covered in spider web cracks. Some shards slice into Judor’s skin and he gains the Burden “Lantern Shards (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)”.

With only one roll left, Judor acts again. This time he uses his Spell “Mystery Lure” to distract the forms and send them off in another direction. Judor rolls a 1 and a 19. 9 Progress is made; more than enough to complete the Task.

As they run, Judor avoids the flickering torch light in the distance, instead following a draft of air towards what is hopefully an Entrance the Harvester used to get into the tower.

Room 3

The stone under their feet gives way to soft, green grass. “Wait”, Amra stutters, “If we’re outside, then why is it suddenly night time? We haven’t even been here a full hour!”

Judor tentatively uncovers the lantern. Its light reveals rolling hills that are still somehow underground. Towards the back a large willow tree sways in the wind. Amra stands mouth agape. “How…where are we?”

Just as Judor starts to reply a quiet sob is heard from the direction of the willow. “Someone’s in trouble”, Judor whispers. Amra hesitantly nods and signals with her hands that they’ll approach together.

As they get closer the sobbing grows louder and more frequent. A loud cry is cut short and someone mutters, “Keep it together. You can’t cry forever! Just breathe just keep–” before the sobbing starts up again.

Amra puts a restraining hand on Judor’s shoulder, taking the lead and stepping into a clearing near the willow’s trunk. A tall dryad lies on a hammock of woven willow branches. The sobbing stops abruptly and the dryad draws in a breath. “Who are you? Did Jacole send you? I’m sorry about the state of the gardens, but I–I can’t…”

The dryad looks as though she’s about to erupt into tears again. Amra carefully approaches the dryad. “It’s okay, dear. Crying never killed anyone, even if it feels like your heart is breaking.” She makes some calm soothing noises and reaches out a comforting hand.

The dryad looks at the hand for a moment before leaping into Amra’s arms and bawling loudly. Judor looks down awkwardly and fiddles with his cane.

Over the next hour or so the Elders learn about the dryad (named Weep) and her recent breakup with a gardener named Jacole. Weep lives here in this underground field, afraid to venture outside because of The Hunt. Dangerous creatures roam the gardens, she explains, and Jacole left after they had a fight. “I knew it wouldn’t last, but I had hoped he would at least help me exit this damned tower before he just abandoned me here to…to…”

Judor gives an awkward smile. “Do you know this place well? If you can guide us then we can protect you. We’re actually here to hunt a monster anyway.”

Amra gives Judor a sidelong glance, but nods in agreement. “That’s right dear. We may not look it, but we’re quite capable in a pinch.” She eyes the hammock. “We could use some rest, however, before we set out.” Weep places her hands on the willow tree. Its branches began to weave themselves into two comfortable hammocks. Amra thanks Weep before laying down with a sigh.

Amra suddenly jerks back up to a sitting position. “Judor, your cut! I forgot all about it. Why didn’t you say something?” Judor pulls back his sleeve to examine the wound, “In truth, I forgot about it as well. It’s mostly stopped flowing.” He pokes it with his finger.

Amra slaps his hand away. “Lie down you idiot, let me wrap the wound.”

Elders can Abide to recover energy and work on Burdens:

Abide with your fellow Elders to recover Energy and work on Burdens. While Abiding, each Elder follows these steps in order:

  1. Work on a Burden. Roll a d20, spend all Energy to improve the roll, then subtract 10. Make that much Progress on any Burden, even another Elder’s. Don’t use the Results chart. You can’t make negative Progress.
  2. Pack and Prep. You may clear a single Slot of your choice (that isn’t a Burden). You may gain one item, Achievement, or Spell of your choice. It can be something new, or something you cleared previously.
  3. Rest. Gain 2 Energy for each empty Slot.

Amra goes first. She rolls on Judor’s Burden and gets a 10. She spends her 1 remaining energy, only making 1 Progress total. The bandage is simple, but effective. “That should keep you alive long enough to get yourself into more trouble”, she huffs. Then she crawls into the hammock and looks through her wallet. “I probably don’t need this for the moment”, she mumbles as she clears that Slot. “I will keep that lantern though…” and gains the cracked lantern in a Slot. With that she quickly falls asleep, recovering 2 Energy from her two one empty Slot.

Amra’s Slots
1. Achievement: Invented standardized rules for commerce
2. Spell: Shrewd Deal
3. Burden: Unfinished Dirty Limerick (10 Progress, 6 Rolls)
4. Cracked lantern
5. Trained pigeon
6. Small vial of valuable perfume
7. Foldable chair

2 Energy
Amra Portrait
☑ 20 - Make 10 Progress on a Burden.

Judor goes next. He pokes his bandaged arm, winces, and turns his attention towards the lantern. Rather than fixing the wound, he decides to work on his Burden by repairing the lantern so there won’t be any future injuries. He rolls a 2 and spends all 4 remaining Energy to make it a 6. No Progress made.

His hands shake as he stops trying to work on the lantern. He turns to make sure Amra and Weep are asleep before he grips his cane tightly and fights back tears. The Harvester that attacked the group was HIS. He put them all in danger, and ignored the warning signs of its approach.

Not only is Judor determined to keep this a secret from the others, but he will slay the monster without putting anyone else in danger. He gains the Burden “Harvester Secret (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)”. He sleeps restlessly, not recovering any Energy because his Slots are full.

Judor’s Slots
1. Achievement: Keeper of 100 Hives
2. Spell: Mystery Lure
3. Burden: Add a weapon to their cane (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)
4. Cane Flask (of honey)
5. Cane Grabby Arm
6. Cane magnifying glass
7. Lantern Shards (19 Progress, 4 Rolls)
8. Harvester Secret (20 Progress, 6 Rolls)

0 Energy
Judor Portrait
☑ 6 - Gain a Burden from the Past. It’s a little easier.


So far we’ve only explored 2 rooms and completed two Tasks. That looks about right to me; ABIDE doesn’t roll super often and it promotes the idea of conversation as gameplay. Already we can see how Judor and Amra are growing and changing through their Slots, which is what we want!

I’m not sure how ABIDE will handle traveling NPCs; can they work on Tasks? Do they need more details? I guess we’ll find out as we play.

It raises a similar question about how Amra grabbed the lantern from the wall. Should that immediately be added to her Slots? Or is it just flavor (and not something she plans to use with Tasks)? I’m not sure…

Already this little exercise has encouraged me to make a few changes to ABIDE:

  • While Abiding, Elders ignore the Results chart, instead just making Progress. This prevents Elders from getting more Burdens or having weird interactions with each other.
  • Change some of the Results Chart to be less punishing.
  • Simplify some wording and interactions.

I think I’ll keep going with this little exercise! It is an interesting way to playtest a game, and has been helpful so far.

Will Amra and Judor manage to track the Harvester through the palace? What exactly is The Hunt? And will Judor actually use his fancy cane? Tune in next time for more ABIDE and Sun King’s Palace.