Image is “Santana” by Khalifa Hytham
(Note: this is the only Alone in Vaarn post on this blog. Head over to Bucolia.Blog for the rest.)
WHAT IS THIS?
This blog series is going to be a solo play-through of Leo Hunt’s rpg setting Vaults of Vaarn. This first post, 1.0, is going to be all about my solo setup, and in 1.1 (my next post) I will post the actual solo play log. Later, I will also start a series of Vaarn-inspired music recommendations in post 1.2. I plan to post plays bi-weekly.
What is Vaarn? In the creator’s own words, “the sun is going out, it’s the end of history, and the players are combing through the ruins and wreckage of the unimaginable eras of the future.”
If you’re at all a fan of science-fantasy or dying earth, go check it out. The aesthetic is on-point, the lore is evocative, and the random roll tables are stirring. If you want to order a zine, he has digital and analog options.
I will be rolling up three characters using the tables found in Vaarn zine #1. After that, I will create the local regions using Vaarn #3.
As for my actual solo system, I will use Chris McDowall’s Ask the Stars (I’ve changed the Answer column to this) and John Fiore’s 9 Questions (more for prompting if I’m stuck). I’m also developing a d300 list of obscure, inspirational words (mostly from the works of Gene Wolfe), but that will come in a later post.
I am writing all of the moment-by-moment action on flashcards.
The three characters I rolled (manually, because I love rolling tables, but you can also use this Vaarn pc generator):
Description: Servitor caste, morbid, burn scars, gigantic,
child-like face, white hair, shabby attire
Weapon: Dyad rifle (d10)
Armour: Chitinoid brigandine (16)
Gear: Ball bearings, loaded dice
Exotica: Singing crystal
Mystic Gift: Inhuman speed (meditation)
(I like Leif. Mainly because we’re both humans. But I also think that this gigantic, traumatized, baby-faced man with white hair is a striking image. Let’s say he’s an ex-slave. Why and how did he escape his bondage?)
Race: New-beast (new-ibis)
Description: Golden-black, knight, believes itself human, can fly
Weapon: Adderspine pistol (d6)
Armour: Ceramic plate (16), bone helm, earwood aspis
Gear: EMP grenade (3), oxygen mask
Exotica: Nightmare box
Mystic Gift: Induce sleep (beheld Azathoth)
(Faulkner is interesting. He’s this new-beast that wants to fly except he’s got this heavy ceramic plate and tons of armour. Maybe he’s just trying really hard to believe that he’s human and leave the avian past behind him?)
Description: Symbiotic internal ecosystem, preacher,
titans were true gods, small, cyclops eye, broken limbs
DEX: 12 (13 w/ jump-pack)
Weapon: LogLang-inscribed shortbow (d6)
Armour: Palmfibre jerkin (13), plasteel helm
Gear: Wineskin full of posca, luminous paint
Exotica: Black glyph (burn to behold Azathoth and become paralyzed)
Cybernetic: Dorsal jump-pack (+dex)
(Symeon is intriguing. He’s a preacher that thinks the titans were true gods. Checks out. He has a cyclops eye. Maybe he developed a third eye now that’s the only one left?)
Using the Vaarn region generator in Vaarn #3, I rolled up the following map.
Detail of the regions I will be starting in.
I decided that I would start at Xrax’s Lair, because I really wanted to explore the Wreck of the Cynosura to the north. I used 9 Questions to help come up with the background plot:
The retired Thunder-Rider Xrax (I imagine he’s a synth) is now a disabled, reclusive oracle. He desires to marry the daughter of a famed science mystic, but needs a dowry. Xrax figures a pre-Collapse memory crystal from the wreck of the Cynosura should be adequate to appease. But unable to go himself because of physical ailments, Xrax recruits the help of our party: Leif, Faulkner, and Symeon. These three adventurers are looking to get off the dry list in Gnomon, where Xrax has connections. They strike a deal: the group will retrieve a memory crystal from the Cynosura and Xrax will contact an old friend in Gnomon and get them off the dry list.
I might publish some one-page vaults/dungeons on here (format might vary, depending on whether or not I can figure out how to design, illustrate, and publish a pdf or not). If I’m really feeling up to it, I might try to post sketches, homebrew, monsters, etc.
There we go. I’m stoked to explore this region and this rpg as a whole. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact me.