The Calypso Compendium

image from ArtBreeder

filed under game design on 20 Feb 2017
tagged lady blackbird, narrative, d6, theory, pbta, apocalypse world, rpglet, and calypso

3/13: Updated core mechanic, added more generators, more explanation, more character options. Same download link.

I wasn’t satisfied with my one page Lady Blackbird and Apocalypse World mashups. It just didn’t feel like I was getting my style across.

So I went back to the drawing board, revamped everything, gave the base system a name (“Calypso”), and put together a compiled version of all the rules and scenarios I’ve made so far, along with the Traits, Secrets, and Keys I use for my own games. And added a few more scenarios, just for good measure.

So this is the first version of The Calypso Compendium.

The Calypso system is a mashup of stripped-down Apocalypse World mechanics and Lady Blackbird character generation, with a heaping helping of general soloing techniques, run through the blender of my idiosyncratic playstyle.

Calypso is designed to support open-ended, strongly narrative solo gaming. It’s designed to provide a framework for you to run games that create stories, stories that will surprise and hope- fully delight you as you experience them.

And it’s designed to leverage two amazing group- play games – Lady Blackbird and Apocalypse World – for solo play, and to be compatible with both of them and their derivatives.

  • Apocalypse World derived mechanics, Lady Blackbird derived character generation.
  • Characters and mechanics designed to work with most if not all pbtA games from a solo angle.
  • A simple soloing oracle that can be replaced with your own favorite very easily.
  • A few techniques I use to keep my games’ plots “on track”.
  • Around 15 pages of character options that, with the exception of the Secrets, can be used with Lady Blackbird.
  • Six scenarios in the style of Starfarer, including paranormal romance, superheroes, high fantasy, low fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal mystery.
  • A handful of actor creation generators from Pythia that I use all the time.
  • The distilled scene structures from 6 Against the Dark, 6 Days to Adventure and 6 Feet Under.

Obviously this is a draft and still very much in playtesting, because there is totally no way I could test all this material by myself. But it’s pretty reflective of how I personally am solo gaming right now.

So tell me what you think, point out any typos or glaring errors or lazy cut and pastes, hit my math skills (or lack thereof), playtest if something catches your imagination, yell at me if nothing does. All feedback is welcome, thanks!