[Cut-Up Solo] Testing this new kind of oracle
NOTE: I know this is the internet, and things tend to float around.  That’s fine, and my material is posted freely, but if you’re inclined to share it elsewhere, please provide a link back to the original, or at least mention my username.  Thanks.

This game uses Cut-Up Solo: The Hour of the Dragon for its system and oracle.  This "cut-up" system takes the text of The Hour of the Dragon and breaks it into four- or five-word chunks which are then determined by a d1000 roll.  Using them in blocks of five provides prompts for play.  In this case, I've never used them before and wanted to see if they were even viable as a detailed oracle, so we're experimenting here.

And so it begins.  What kind of story will this be?

934 = 934[d1000]

858 = 858[d1000]

107 = 107[d1000]

19 = 19[d1000]

327 = 327[d1000]

• Xaltotun was yet quite sure
• your defeat and your power
• rogues whose sinister countenances
• and dipping lances.  Through
• I must find the Heart

It appears we have ourselves a Hyborian Age story, after all.  Xaltotun is an ancient wizard in Robert E. Howard's book.  Judging from "your defeat and your power," considering "Xaltotun was yet quite sure," he's opposed to our protagonist.

As for "rogues with sinister countenances," I've decided they've come after our hero(ine) in the employ of Xaltotun.  Assassins, clearly.  And while it doesn't make sense for rogues to carry lances, taking "dipping" as another meaning means their weapons are laced with poison.

What must our hero(ine) do?  Find the Heart!  But what is the Heart?  We must play on.


But first, who is our hero(ine)?  Let's ask some questions.

Are they male?

(3[d10]) No

So we have a female lead.  And since this is set in the world of Howard's Conan tales, I guess we have to ask: is she from Cimmeria?

(4[d10]) No

Hour of the Dragon takes place initially in Aquilonia.  Does this story begin there?

(10[d10]) Yes, and...

I'll interpret that both as a yes on the setting, and an indicator that our heroine is Aquilonian herself.  So let's get into it.

Assassins have come to eliminate our heroine, who needs a name.  Let me jump over to Fantasy Name Generators and grab one.  Ah, there we go: Salandra.  Not as catchy as "Conan," but it'll have to do.  Besides, we have bigger things to worry about, what with Xaltotun and his band of murderers.

Speaking thereof, how many are there?  More than one, clearly, but more than two?

(4[d10]) No

Okay, there's a pair of killers.  But where is Salandra?  What are the circumstances under which the assassins have come?

125 = 125[d1000]

182 = 182[d1000]

807 = 807[d1000]

348 = 348[d1000]

528 = 528[d1000]

• was tucked unceremoniously under the
• Beloso has killed Valbroso!
• to die at the first
• streets of Belverus when you
• me all that is to

Hmm... Belverus is in Nemedia on the road to Aquilonia, and there's been a killing already.  Beloso murdered(?) Valbroso, it seems.  And the murder weapon has been hidden!  And it looks like Salandra might "die at the first," which means Beloso is after her, the only witness.  Not sure about that last one, though.  Maybe we're in a situation where Salandra is Xaltotun's target, after all.  Complications!

So here's the scene: Salandra has witnessed a murder, and the killer (Beloso) hiding the weapon.  Valbroso, who just arrived from Belverus, will maybe become important later, but the issue here is whether Beloso will kill Salandra for what she's seen.  They're alone, or so it seems, Beloso is likely one of the killers we've already heard about.  But now I wonder: is it possible Xaltotun isn't trying to kill Salandra at all?  Maybe Beloso just killed the real target!  And now he and his partner must dispose of our heroine!

The fight will be on, but I don't even know if Salandra is a warrior-type.  Given the tenor of Howard's stories, the answer is probably yes, but let's be sure.

(10[d10]) Yes, and...

She  is!  And a skilled one, at that.  Beloso doesn't know what he's in for, as he tears his sword from its sheath to cut down this stranger.  Salandra does likewise, baring steel.

Is this is two-on-one fight?

(4[d10]) No, but...

This means Beloso's accomplice is close at hand, and can join the battle if things go south.  And so the battle is joined.

Beloso charges, eager to make quick work of this meddler.  But the fight is evenly matched at the start.  Does he get an early advantage?

(4[d10]) No

Blade clashes against blade.  Very quickly Beloso realizes he's not up against any ordinary citizen, but someone of skill.  The fight turns against him quickly, as they cross steel again and again.  His sword cuts only air, while Salandra works her way toward first blood.  She drives him back.  Can she maintain the advantage?

(1[d10]) No, and...

No?  No!?  That must mean Beloso's accomplice joins the fray.  He leaps at Salandra's back, and suddenly she's defending on two fronts, trapped between Valbroso's killers!  It's not looking good as she cuts and slashes, dodges and feints.

Just to be clear, what I've done is looked at the available scale of "almost impossible" to "sure thing," and simply slid back and forth.  We started at 50/50, and when Salandra did better, I shifted to "somewhat likely."  We're back to 50/50 again now, because the odds have shifted in the bad guys' favor.  Can Salandra turn it around?

(4[d10]) No

Things turn sour, and Salandra suffers a cut on the leg.  This slows her down, but she's able to keep them from overwhelming her by sheer dint of will.  No swordsman wants to face two blades at once, but that's the hand Salandra's been dealt.  The only question is whether she can even the odds somewhat, or if things will continue toward a bad end.  So... can she?

(3[d10]) No

Yikes.  Sweat flecks her brow, and strands of hair fall into her face, sticking to her forehead, as she picks up additional nicks and cuts.  Beloso and his accomplice are taking her down piece by piece!  Has the commotion attracted someone's attention?

(7[d10]) Yes

A citizen turns onto the street, drawn by the sound of combat.  He or she (let's go with he), lets out a cry of alarm.  Murder!  Murder!  A dead man lies in the road, and a woman battles for her life against a pair of assailants!  Someone call the guardsmen!

Beloso doesn't want to get caught, so it's likely he'll break off here.  Does he?

(8[d10]) Yes

Salandra gets a reprieve.  Beloso and his accomplice draw their cloaks tightly to obscure their identities, and make a run for it.  Salandra tries to cut Beloso down before he makes his escape.

(2[d10]) No

Ah, well.  They've managed to make good their escape, and left a sweating and bloody Salandra behind.

So what happens next?

79 = 79[d1000]

121 = 121[d1000]

775 = 775[d1000]

427 = 427[d1000]

234 = 234[d1000]

• and ebbed back. Back
• as his hand fell on
• it was long ago.
• bent, staring at the
• the emblem of Valerius on

Salandra rushes to the dead man's side.  As she kneels beside him, her hand falls on something bearing the emblem of Valerius.  A crowd is forming, but they're not coming close just yet.  Valerius's emblem is recognizable to Salandra from long ago.  But I guess we ought to find out what it is.  Maybe a document with a seal on it (the emblem)?

(6[d10]) Yes, but...

A document it is, but it's soaked in Valbroso's blood.  It's still sealed with the emblem of Valerius in the wax, but it'll be hard to read once it's opened.

But there's no time to think about this.  The guardsmen arrive and take command of the scene.  And since they have only Salandra to arrest, arrest her they do.  In the name of King Conan, you will lay down your arms and come with us.  A command that Salandra would be a fool not to follow, because these are armed and armored men.  She surrenders, and that's probably as good a place to end is as any, though I'll close with what I'd use for the next time: a collection of cut-ups to set the next scene.

262 = 262[d1000]

277 = 277[d1000]

733 = 733[d1000]

453 = 453[d1000]

203 = 203[d1000]

• its forked tongue flickering in
• would escape the devastation of
• black-arched doorways opened
• from the chamber. A
• return it to your body

I don't know what it all means, but it looks like it's gonna be a strange turn of events.

And that's the experiment.  I don't know if I'll continue with this one because, like I said, I really only started it to see what using cut-ups would be like.  It's not as easy as using an oracle alone, but it does engage the imagination a little more because of the need to interpret something meatier than a yes/no.  I had absolutely no idea how or where or what this story would be, beyond it likely being fantasy, but now we have a setting, an evil wizard, a mysterious document and an assassination which must be solved.  Not bad for a few dice rolls.
Pretty cool. I do much the same approach with with the Marks Adventure Glyphs (MAG) where you get a series of pictures to help spur the imagination beyond a yes/no.

Quote:"Just to be clear, what I've done is looked at the available scale of "almost impossible" to "sure thing," and simply slid back and forth.  We started at 50/50, and when Salandra did better, I shifted to "somewhat likely."  We're back to 50/50 again now, because the odds have shifted in the bad guys' favor."

Nice! That's the mechanism I used for my entire muti-post "Jodi's Story" adventure:

I found it keeps things fast and simple since I didn't usually need to roll dice. Overall, I like it. Thanks for sharing!

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

It looks like your write-up was re-posted on Reddit at r/Solo_Roleplaying.  Or you are Solorpggamer, but, from the post, it sounds like the poster found this and wanted to share.
I'm of mixed feelings about this turn of events. On the one hand, it seems to have piqued readers' interests, so that's nice, but on the other hand, there's no credit given when it would have been pretty easy to do so.
Okay, this is actually kind of irritating.  I posted a comment mentioning I wrote the thing, and the comment was either deleted or hidden.

While this is no one's fault except the guy who reposted it, this experience has made me reconsider whether I want to post more material here or, frankly, anywhere.

UPDATE: Looks like I was credited in a stealth edit.  I appreciate that, though I'm concerned about the next time or the next time when someone decides to just lift my writing without attribution.  Everything here is shared freely, but come on.
(04-16-2021, 08:44 AM)Semicolon Wrote: Looks like I was credited in a stealth edit. 

It's good to hear you actually got credit, though it's a shame you weren't just credited from the get go (especially considering the person who posted is the subreddit's moderator). From what I've seen in the past, that subreddit appears to be pretty good about linking to original sources.

As for your comment that was deleted, without seeing it I won't speculate as to why except to say that if the post was simply to let them know you were the author, then I understand why they might delete that post and alter the OP appropriately. However, if you added to the discussion by giving your opinion about the game or sharing some insight about story or characters, then your post should have remained.

About posting in the future, I wouldn't let this deter you, especially since there was no financial or character damage done. As you already alluded to, it's the Internet and this is going to happen. As far as rpgsolo.com, we only have a few active posters but we're a good bunch. I would love to see the site grow and your contributions have been a welcome addition.
For me it’s more the principle of the thing.  I write professionally, so having my work used without attribution, no matter how inconsequential, gets under my skin.  Especially when it takes zero effort to drop a link or a username into a post or what have you.

As you can tell, I went ahead and posted the next Final Girl attempt despite this little hiccup, but I doubt I’ll share quite as freely as I did in the past.  I’m certainly not going to post in that subreddit anymore.
I can certainly understand your position regarding attribution, especially considering your line of work. I have worked on a lot of online projects over the years, from personal websites to writing for a reality television review site to podcasts and other things and I certainly wanted to be sure I got credit for what I did.  That being said, every now and then I come across something I created (like a photomanipulation I did for a visual pun contest) in a chain email that has no attribution and it really doesn't bother me (as long as someone isn't claiming it is their own). I actually found it neat that some liked it enough to pass it along.

If I'm being honest, I can be accused of this very thing here on RPGSolo in regards to the images I post with my stories. Everything I post here I double post on my personal Solo RPG Blog. There I include all the source information in the alt text of the images, an acceptable citation method from what I've researched online. I would do the same here, unfortunately, MyCode doesn't make doing that easy, if even possible. The only alternatives would either be to list the sources next to the images (which is messy) or list them at the end of the post (better, but still not ideal). So, for appearance sake I've chosen to post as is, and if any questions arise deal with them as they come up.  Everything else I use, such as sourcebooks, tools, or other websites, I link to or reference in the text, sometimes probably ad nauseum.

Anyway, others might be tired of us dragging this on, so feel free to private message me if there was anything else you wanted to share on this topic. 
(04-16-2021, 05:38 PM)Teviko604 Wrote: Anyway, others might be tired of us dragging this on, so feel free to private message me if there was anything else you wanted to share on this topic. 

Nah, I think we’ve exhausted it.   Smile
Question about Cut-Up Solo mechanism. Mainly, I'm wondering if anyone has developed a program or script that takes text of an e-book and does what Cut-Up Solo does? I'd like to try using this oracle mechanism, but would enjoy using a book I'm interested in and own to get a more targeted setting.

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)


Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)