Mass Effect Solo

This is my first "solo" adventure, and is more of a test than anything serious.

Disclaimer English is not my first language, I wanted to try just for the sake of it and because I just happen to like English. I hope it will be a good exercise.

The test will use the FATE 3.0 ruleset, customized for Mass Effect, and the Mythic Game Master Emulator. It will be a short Action/Space-Opera adventure almost entirely improvised with the aid of the Emulator. I prepared only the basic premise: an Alliance soldier taking a leave from an hard mission.

All the setting's material are obviously intellectual propriety of Bioware and I claim no rights over them.

On this page... (hide)

  1. 1. Character Creation
  2. 2. Actual Play
  3. 3. Summary
  4. 4. References
  5. 5. Post Mortem
    1. 5.1 The Good
    2. 5.2 The Bad
    3. 5.3 Conclusion

1.  Character Creation

To create the character I've used a hacked Diaspora ruleset. Being solo I don't really need to keep an eye on game balance or to apply the rule as written. I'll improvise something along the adventure.

Alan Romano


+3Computer, Stealth
+2Alertness, Guns, Oratory
+1Demolition, Pilot, Resolve, Stamina


  • Alliance Infiltrator
    Master Hacker use Tech to damage synthetics
  • First Lieutenant
  • I'am on leave!
  • I learned some tricks from a Quarian
  • Sniper specialist
    Steady hand +2 to Maneuvers to "lock-on target".
  • Strive to do the right thing
  • Never much of a ladies man

Refresh 6



2.  Actual Play

  • First Session. Alan is on a leave on the Siren's Wing when the power is cut off from his elevator.
  • Second Session. Someone boarded the ship, now Alan must try to send a distress call to the Alliance. Unfortunately, the plans goes awry.
  • Third Session. Alan confronts the pirates at the main deck, aided by an unexpected ally, who knows more about the attack.
  • Final Session. Alan must now aid Jorlan to track down the assassin ans save Sanula's life.

I was listening to this while playing.

3.  Summary

Alan is on a leave on the Siren's Wing when the power is cut off from his elevator. He tries to reach his room from the shaft to get his omni-tool.

A guard droid reaches its level and kills a guard. Alan fight and defeat the droid. Now he is certain that someone boarded the ship.

Alan decides to try and send a distress call to the Alliance from the secondary Communication Room. The room is heavily guarded, but the androids are no match for a specialist like him. However the pirates take notice of him and threaten to kill everyone if he does not surrender.

Alan surrender and is taken by two pirates. One of them wants to kill him on the lift and when the other opposes a brawl begin. Alan defeats them and is now armed and dangerous.

Improvising a small bomb, Alan starts a fight in the control cabin, aided by one of the pirates that reveals himself a salarian from the Special Tasks Group.

The salarian, Jorlan, explains that the pirates are a diversion sent from a mega corporation to kill one of the passengers, an asari that will testify against their illicit practices.

After checking the ship's cameras they decide to go for Sanula's cabin, at the VIP's deck, but are caught by a booby trap. The assassin, another asari, offer them a deal and Alan accept, leaving her to escape.

Alan and Jorlan blocks all the escape pods and the pirate ship from leaving, and go to the boarded ship for the final showdown.

Sanula free herself from her kidnapper and a vicious fight ensues. Alan in gravely wounded trying to protect Sanula, but their combined effort and Sanula's own bravery put an end to the biotic power of the assassin.

Alan is healed and awarded a medal, and an invitation from Sanula, after the success at the trial, that he gladly accepts.

4.  References

5.  Post Mortem

5.1  The Good

For a first time, "solo" play looks really promising. It is actually different from a normal game, but the GM Emulator works fine at substituting a "director". In fact The adventure diverged almost immediately from my expectation, and things kept being interesting and fluid, even if sometimes I need to bend a little the interpretation of both the rules and random events.

The combat sections were very intense, a thing that I did not anticipate. The "first roll then describe the results of the round" approach worked really, really, well, and added a nice level of storytelling to the story.

As always, FATE does not delude and produce fast and cinematic scenes. I doubt that a crunchier game would work this well without the interaction with a GM and fellow players. Sometimes I was tempted to reroll or change a couple of decision, but instead I kept them and I was satisfied with the results.

Since I was playing solo I had no need to be "fair", so I improvised as much with the rules (both FATE and Mythic) than with the story and it worked well. No need to slow down the pace deciding what was the right rule or lose time with the interpretation of the random events/detailed questions.

The javascript application that I wrote for working with the Mythic Engine was really convenient and worked really well, reducing the number of rolls that I needed to make.

5.2  The Bad

I did not use well the setting (Mass Effect), I think. Maybe it was just too short of a scenario, but I wanted to capture a little more the feeling of the games. Meh.

Coming with stats for the enemies took some time and slowed the pacing of combats. Having a set of prepared creatures/enemies at hand or using a randomized "creature builder" application (maybe I will work on it), I think, will be of great help.

I am not convinced that the wiki is a good medium for this kind of game. Writing, especially in a foreign language, and taking time for formatting text slowed the pace, especially when working inside the "small" form of the wiki editor. Maybe using your favorite word processor will be the best option. Next time I will try it.
Possibly the best option is to just play like always, more spontaneously, and writing the recap after, not during, the session.

5.3  Conclusion

I am actually pretty happy with the result. The whole thing kept me occupied for a good 6-8 hours, maybe more if taking into account the embellishments like the links to the Mass Effect Wiki and the setting up of the site, plus writing the javascript Mythic GM Emulator (I do not link it because it is not official and is therefore for personal use only, besides it is pretty ugly).

I am no longer a student, work and scheduling prevent me from playing with my friends as much as I would like and besides I really like trying new things and settings. Unfortunately it is not easy with the mentioned constraints. I think I will try again, maybe with a little more preparation and investment now that I do know that solo play can be a fun and viable alternative.

Page last modified on February 20, 2011, at 07:29 PM