I’ve been on a bit of a roll when it comes to GMless games, especially of the solo kind. Last week, I talked about a dungeon crawl engine. This time, the game is more like a choose your own adventure book, but with dice.
And cosmic Horror.
And Existential terror.
You know, the good stuff.
Alone Against the Flames is a great way to get into the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu. Designed as a sort of tutorial, this booklet will take you through making a character and the core mechanics of the game. You’ll soon forget what you’re learning, however, as you fight for your life against unknown and unseen enemies. Get ready to curse at your dice.
As mentioned above, Alone Against the Flames acts a bit like a choose your own adventure book. There will be times during the text that you have to make a decision about what to do next. Depending on your answer, you’ll be directed to different sections of text as your hurdle toward it’s finale. Other times, the text will direct you to make skill checks, the results determining where you go. Your wits will be taxed, as will your luck.
Early on in the book, it addresses fudging your rolls. Sure, it’s tempting to ignore what you roll on the dice, but you’re only cheating yourself. What good is victory without adversity? Things going wrong ultimately make the story better, giving you increased difficulty. I found I was most engaged when nothing was going my way and survival looked slim. Thankfully, that happened a lot for me.
I’ve played through the book twice so far with a several month break between session. Each time, my character didn’t make it. Just like the rest of the role playing game, Alone Against the Flames doesn’t go easy on you. You can expect madness and death to await you character. Even if you “win,” it’ll likely be a hollow victory. Sure, you might survive, but at what cost? In true Lovecraft fashion, you can never unseen what you had seen.
The PDF is currently free on Drive Thru RPG. That is a perfect excuse to give it a “roll.” Grab your ten sided dice, light some candles, and get ready to lose. Darkness awaits in the flames.