If you build it, they will come.Field of Dreams
Session 0 – Introduction to The Old Bard
So, just what the hell is this all about.
Well, let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Keith Richie, and I am The Old Bard.
Although my introduction to RPGs happened in, I would say circa 1980, I didn’t actually fully start playing until a very few short months back from the time of writing this post. As I started really trying to play, I discovered that I could actually play Solo, without the need for a group of players. To put it mildly, I became obsessed with the hobby.
My newfound passion for this new hobby went extreme (which I’ll explain in more detail later). So much so that a few of my friends started asking me specifically “how” I was doing solo play, and what resources I used.
I thought to myself, that a better way of trying to explain how I “personally” solo play, might just be to create a new site, and post periodically about my actual solo adventures. They would detail the adventures as they unfold, and the resources I use specifically pointing out how maybe I was doing it wrong at times too so that you don’t trip over those potholes in the road.
I could also discuss the solo systems as well to any other reference material, and link to those resources, and maybe … just maybe… do a few reviews from time to time on them.
So that, in a nutshell, that’s what this is all about. Another avenue for me to express my passion, and for hopefully you, to find some useful information out of it.
This post is the first in a series of posts I’m simply calling “Well… that was interesting“. I’ll also post about the other group campaigns I’m involved in as well.
And of course, because of my musical background, I mostly play characters of the Bard class, therefore The Old Bard was a good choice of name for this.
What does Session 0 mean? Well to put it quite simply, this is a session for RPG gamers to do one or more of the following:
- To introduce themselves to the rest of the gamers in the party. A time spent to get to know the “Players” of the game, which is different from what and who their eventual “Characters” will be. It’s also a time that the “Game Master”, or GM for short, might cover some of the basics of the specific RPG system that will be used, any house rules that modify the default RPG rules, etc.
- To cover the desires and dislikes of the party members of what they want from the game, what they don’t want, and to set expectations before the actual game begins.
- And generally, to start creating their characters that will form the party, also known as the “Player Characters” or PCs for short.
Treat this post as my Session 0 with you. A session for you to get to know me, what The Old Bard is all about, and hopefully gain some insight that might help you in your own gaming sessions or help to introduce you to the fun and exciting hobby of playing TTRPGs.
In many TTRPGs, the players create Backstories for their PCs. This helps to define who they are, what makes them special and stand out from any other similar PCs in the game environment. It also helps the GM plant and use elements from these backstories as plot hooks in the game if they so desire. So here is a backstory for The Old Bard that I hope will shed some light on what this site is all about.
As I sat down to write this. I tried not to be too long winded about it, but that’s what happened anyways. So, I decided to move a majority of my backstory over on this page I’m calling My Curriculum Romance. I would encourage you to read it.
However, to quickly cut to the chase, let me just point out that I’ve become very passionate about RPGs in general. I just want to share my experiences with you in case you’re interested in learning to play within a group or learn to play solo yourself.
My initial solo adventure started with just one PC, and he got his ass kicked by a bunch of rats in a dungeon on his first adventure! He eventually matured or shall I say, Leveled up. My solo game now consists of two full PCs along with two sidekicks venturing in a world filled with undead. To top it off, I’ve now started building out an actual campaign setting guide and set of adventure modules that I may share at some point. Who knows.
Learning how to play RPG systems solo, opened a world of possibilities for me, and sometimes I’ll just spend hours crafting a tiny encounter for my PCs, filled with interesting Non Player Characters (NPC) foes and their minions to challenge them. I truly love the world building aspect of all of TTRPGs and you know what? That’s playing as well.
Everything is playing
Play is older than culture … animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing.
– Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
Play is enchanting. Play casts a spell. It is involving, and it brings you outside of
If you are getting involved with an RPG rule set in any way, you are playing.
Going through rules and thinking about what to do and downloading a pdf—
and not doing anything more than that—is not a failure. It is not a waste of time.
It is part of playing.
If you create characters but never use them in a session, that is still experiencing the RPG world. That is part of playing.
If you read rule sets but never run sessions with them, that is still experiencing the RPG world. That is part of playing.
All these things are part of the process of solo RPGing. They are part of having a solo experience.
If you roll up a world, you are playing. It doesn’t matter if you never do a skill check with a character in that world or have combat or even have an encounter.
You are still playing that world by creating it.
Everything is playing, even if it’s just trying to find a system or generating a character and moving on. One of my first attempts at solo RPGing was to work with the original Traveller (Game Designers’ Workshop, 1981) and create a starship. I made and labeled the ship’s map and used the random tables from the “Worlds and Adventures” Book 3 to imagine places the ship would go. That’s it. I never even made characters. I never sent the ship anywhere. I was playing, and it was great!
Everything is playing.
If you remember just this one point and forget all the rest you will automatically be having a richer experience in your solo sessions, and you’ll stop feeling as if what you are doing is not the “real” solo RPG experience you should be having.The Solo Game Masters Guide – Geek Gamers.
With all of that said, stay tuned for Session 1, where I discuss the first solo play guide I used and how those rats kicked my ass and nearly killed the old bard during my first D&D 5E solo game. For a list of all the posts in this series, you can click right here.
Lastly, I mentioned I was a musician, so I’d like to leave you with this link to a song I created that might inspire you as you begin your own epic adventures.