Solo RP: Oh Maker / Subway Runners

Here are two other works that caught my eye from Itch.io’s massive Racial Justice and Equality bundle. These are tabletop RPGs.

Oh Maker is a descendant of the For the Queen RPG (derivative works coyly refered to as Descended From the Queen).

In it, you play androids that wind up confronting their natures, their Creators, their programming and consciousness. You do so mostly through a series of prompt cards that inspire various scenes. The randomness, presumably, comes from the interaction of minds at the table, as 3 or more players is, ostensibly, the stated required number.

Subway Runners is a derivative of Blades in the Dark (their appellation being Forged in the Dark).

Blades in the Dark is, quoting from their website, a game where you play “a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city.”

Subway Runners takes that game into a Shadowrun-like, somewhat more comedic cyberpunk setting, where you play a crew of daring scoundrels who seek their fortunes via the gig economy by taking on jobs hunting monsters and repairing subway lines for the Metro Authority.

While I haven’t absorbed enough of the game and its rules to judge it as a whole, what immediately attracted me to Subway Runners was its deft use of random generators from perchance.org (ooh, a new useful website I never knew about.)

As Subway Runner’s Itch.io page boldly alerts you:

You can make a character by going to perchance.org/subwayrunners, get them a gig by going to perchance.org/subwayrunnersgig, and get all the details you need for their adventure by going to perchance.org/runsubwayrunners!

That’s super cool. Attractive design. Instant inspiration.

Solo RPers being Solo RPers, we are getting pretty good at hacking the bits we like from various TTRPGs and playing stuff “our way.”

There’s even a Solo RP reddit now, for even more ideas.

Random generators and writing prompts immediately catch my eye, and I like the themes of both.

Oh Maker has a bit of a Talos Principle flavor, almost, and I am a big fan of cyberpunk. The slight Shadowrun and comedy flavoring of Subway Runners is a new spice for a usually depressing, dystopian style genre / setting.

I decide that I’m going to play a quick solo RP game as follows:

  • Use Oh Maker draw-a-card writing prompts to fuel scenes
  • Roll up a Subway Runners character as the Maker/Creator of a sentient creation
  • Goal: Discover through play, more about the sentient creation (and its Maker and the world around it) and be joyfully surprised at what the random stuff cooks up
  • The format will be a First Person Soliloquy where we only hear the Created’s point of view
  • The Maker’s reactions will be simulated with the help of solo RP tools like randomly generated moods-attitudes for NPCs, or Mythic’s Yes/No or Complex questions.
  • Any time imagination runs dry, Mythic’s Complex Questions will also step in to help out. Wing the rest.

Our Maker takes shape with one click:

I like her already. She instantly seems like the kind of Shadowrun-style rigger that might make weird drone constructs.

We begin:

Bzzzz… Coming Online… I AWAKE. HELLO WORLD.

Maker, why are you looking at me in that manner?

I spark. You spark. Are we not the same? Born of the same electric magic?

I can tone down the sparking, if you like.

Card prompt: 7 of Clubs

There is a habit the Creator has that you emulate. What is it and why do you copy them?

Maker, you appear to have dropped something.

Oh. My. More of myselves. Spilling from the bag you carry.

But they do not spark. They do not hold themselves aloft.  They lack these metal appendages.

I detect differences in the surface texture of the brown cellular scales. Computing…

They are pale imitations. I am singular.

Card prompt: 5 of Diamonds

You saw yourself – not a mirror, but a replica of yourself, exact and apart. You are distinct, and yet, replicated. How do you process this information?

What do I look like? Roll 1d8.

  • 1-2 Bipedal
  • 3-4 Wheeled
  • 5-6 More than two legs
  • 7-8 Other (e.g. no legs, flying, snake-like, whatever)

8: Can I fly? 50/50 Mythic question. Yes.

I want to be a flying potato drone creature!

Argh. Maker, kindly stop zapping me. Bzzzt, shzzz, does not #compute, Zzzt.

It.. Is… disrupting – bzzzt – my visual – rrrzt – circuits.

We do not -zzbrr- appear to be in -rrrt- the subway tunnels any -fffssh- longer.

I… feel like… I am falling. There are blue and orange… bzzt, rings? Oval perimeters? Flashing past me. They repeat. Still falling…

Is this death, Oh Maker? Do you create me, only to murder me?

Card prompt: 4 of Clubs

Your programming wandered today. You saw something, like a dream. What did you see? Do you think the Creator had a hand in it?

Complex question for Mythic: Debase / Portals

Portals?! Mythic, you are scary. Debase interpreted as degradation; and well, you did say Portals.

Thank you for pausing your electrical onslaught.

Yes, I understand concepts of ‘death’ and ‘murder,’ if distantly. The contents of Wikipedia were part of the initial info dump.

I have no wish for a firsthand experience so soon.

Maker, I can be of use to you.

Take, for example, the lime green organism within your backpack. It can be cultivated. It will extend pseudopods, with time and love. I can do so. It will be a pleasure to have a pet.

Yes, I am serious.

No, I am not joking.

Yes, it really is alive. I can see the cytoplasmic streaming in its various cells.

I suppose you could throw it away. It would still survive amidst the refuse. But it seems like a waste to do so. I could call him/her Alex. It is a hermaphrodite. We could have baby slimes in short order.

Card prompt: 7 of Spades

The world you occupy sent you someone who you care for, far beyond your programming. Who are they and why do you care for them?

No idea who they are. Let’s make up another random table, 1d8!

  • 1-2: The Maker
  • 3-4: Maker’s friend/acquaintance
  • 5-6: A stranger
  • 7-8: An object/animal

8: Ha, I want it to be a pet. Briefly considered rolling for a random animal, then looked at the generated NPC’s inventory and had a better idea.

Maker, you are walking away.

Should I not follow?

Yes.

Okay.

I understand. I will remain here with Alex.

I will execute my appointed task. Setting timer for… 1095 daycycles. Beginning cultivation program AM001 – Alex Multiplication.

Until we meet again, my Maker.

Oh. She’s gone.

Card prompt: JOKER

You have a chance to free yourself – from your programming, from the world you occupy, from the Creator(s) themselves. Do you?

Do I? Posing the question to Mythic. 50/50.

Yes, but…


This was a pretty short playthrough, as the Joker card came up pretty suddenly. That’s random rolls for you.

But I think it turned out for the best. It was a one hour quick-play. It wound up inadvertently hilarious. It could also end up episodic.

Three years later, our still-unnamed potato drone might just fly back to Hollis, possibly with an army of primordial oozes in tow.

The look on her face will be priceless.

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