A downloadable game

Buy Now$6.90 USD or more

What is this game?

mole.mole is a multi-setting RPG system for improvised solo or GMless gameplay. Stories are spontaneously generated with the help of oracles—random word banks that spark your imagination.

This game was formatted to be read on your mobile, and also for print-and-play. The printed gamebook becomes a deck of 32 standard Magic/Poker cards! An easy and fun way to pass rules around and to keep just the important stuff at hand at all times.

Rules are short and based on John Harper's Blades in the Dark. All you need is 3 six-sided die and you're ready to go. Mechanics were designed to push your story forward with complications and plot twists!

Character creation takes less than 5 minutes! The goal is to create epic, collaborative narratives without prep, and just have fun!

(Thanks to Shawn Medero for the B&W mobile version)

Now also available as a print-on-demand deck of cards!

Your purchase includes an at-cost coupon for the physical deck!

► This game was made possible by the support of my amazing patrons. Join today and get all my future games for free!

StatusReleased
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(12 total ratings)
AuthorsCezar Capacle, Luminen Cards
GenreCard Game, Role Playing
TagsGM-Less, solo

Purchase

Buy Now$6.90 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $6.90 USD. You will get access to the following files:

mole.mole_mobile_color.pdf 756 kB
mole.mole_mobile_monochrome.pdf 756 kB
mole.mole_print_color.pdf 3 MB
mole.mole_print_monochrome.pdf 3 MB
mole.mole_PoD at-cost coupon.pdf 10 kB

Exclusive content

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Community copies

If you're in need and can't afford a copy of the game, help yourself to a community copy.

• Every PDF sale adds 1 extra community copy

Development log

Comments

Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.

(2 edits) (+1)

It occurs me to I've overlooked that mole.mole's Extended Challenges can be "nested" - that is:

  1. Make an Extended Challenge check that represents how many "acts" you need to complete a Mission. Follow the steps on "playing" to get the Mission's Danger & theme (Oracles 3 & 4.)
  2. Within an Act, make an Extended Challenge check that represents how many Scenes you need to complete that Act. Remember to use the guidance for determining the where, what, why, who, and how of a scene.
  3. Of course if within a Scene you determine you need another Extended Challenge you make another a check.

I found I needed a little more structure than just a single level of "Scenes" though to really resolve a Mission - Missions have "investigative phases", "conflict phases" as the sides start to come into opposition, and then "action phases" as the various threads start to resolve themselves. (Sometimes one might even flashback to the investigative stage to pick up more clues or information...)

Anyway, this was helpful for me to put a little more story structure over my sessions, hope it sparks some ideas with others as well.

(+1)

Huh. That’s genius, really. Love it! Thanks for sharing, hope more players get to see this!

(1 edit) (+1)

There's obviously a lot of ways to tweak this to work to your preferences or genre assumptions... for example you could also do "Racing Clocks" if you want to stick to Forged in The Dark mechanics. Probably the "cleanest" way to do this would be to make the Extended Challenge check and add 4 to the result (anydice odds: https://anydice.com/program/27385) That gives you a spread of 5 to 10 which seems pretty reasonable for a "progress bar." Then you just track your progress vs. your opposition progress:

- PC Progress: [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [ ]
- Opposition Progress: [X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Yup, that works very well!

(+2)

I was randomly browsing my RPG collection and thought “well, what about re-reading this one?”. I’m very impressed by the high simplicity and cleanness of the game, and it feels like you could run a session anywhere, and that’s great!

It took me some time to get that the Disruption rule was not meant to penalize the higher check rolls, but yes, now I get it (except that may be it’d be a bit sad to have no chance to get a double if I only have one dice for a roll).

But never mind, I think I need to play at least once to make sense about it.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you have fun with it, and hit me up if you have any questions!

(+1)

If you had a game where vehicles were important (equally as important as characters) thoughts on how'd you work them into the mechanics? Feels off to just shoe-horn them into Backpack/Equipment. It is tempting to elevate them up as a full "character" but then co-mingling their attributes feels wonky (e.g. piloting check - factoring in both the pilot occupation and a fast (talent) vehicle in a chase sequence.)

Huh, interesting!
If they are as important as characters, my first impulse is to create them as characters and use the "Aid" rule in situations like the one you described. And you might also have the chance to have them as protagonists in another scene as well. 

(+1)

Well it is a late reply but I thought it worth sharing: having playtested a bit I think the following is workable as a general purpose outline of how one can extend mole.mole without adding too much complexity. 

Vehicles have an Agility rating (1-3) that grant the piloting character the equivalent number of rerolls for a check. In my games Agility was the most important factor in whether I felt a PC should get some kind of bonus to their actions based on the quality of the vehicle. Just setting position alone was not quite capturing the nuance of vehicle engagements.

Vehicles have a Role such as "fighter", "transport", etc. Mostly used for the fiction (setting position, thinking about obstacles, determining complications, etc.)

Vehicles have 4-6 Strain (4-Small, 5-Medium, 6-Large) which is used to track damage but can also be spent like Drive to access a Vehicle's Stunts via their Talent. (I think calling an attribute Drive for a Vehicle is confusing hence the rename.) 

Vehicle Talents are:

  1.  Mobile (fast, agile, all-terrain, etc.)
  2.  Armored (heavy armor, shielded, etc.)
  3.  Weaponized (bristling with multiple weapon systems)
  4.  Versatile (can be reconfigured or perform more than one type of job)
  5. Carrier (transports people, cargo, or other types of vehicles)
  6. Smart (magically enhanced, advanced sensors, AI companion, etc.)

Vehicles don't need to posses the Armored or Weaponized Talent to have these things but it just means they have the basic type of thing they would have for their Role. Having one of those Talents means they have a particularly amazing variant of them. Some basic Vehicles may not have a Talent, use your judgment.

Vehicles in play may be grouped together for bookkeeping and story reasons. If you are being attacked by a group of similarly built light starfighters just treat them like one entity that attacks and operates together and assign them a Strain equal to their numbers. A flight of 4 starfighters has 4 Strain.

Players should question whether particularly large Vehicles should even be created using this system. The galaxy's largest moon-sized battle station is not going to use this system. This is for games where ship-to-ship combat or frequent chases are occurring and you want to provide a little bit of structure for your play.

All of this is intended to keep the focus on the PC(s) controlling the vehicle rather than spotlight vehicles but some settings I think need the additional flavor. 

I'm glad you reported back!

I think your solution works great (I'm really curious to hear a report of this game, this setting is intriguing!), and that was a clever rename of Drive.

The six reskinned talents look solid, and I can see some very flavorful car Stunts coming up in play derived from them. This is so good!

(+1)

I had read good things about this game system a while ago, and it's true that it has something to reconcile me with Blades in the Dark, with its impeccable mechanics but with its deceptively heroic and really gnarly narrative. Here it's a version of the thing that is both simplified and transformed like modeling clay that is offered to us: a flexible and inventive system, allowing probably quite a few styles of games without too much effort. I read all this with a purely theoretical interest, but if I were a fan of systems to keep on hand for improvised games, mole.mole would certainly be on my list.

Thank you so much for your feedback, deeply appreciated!

(+2)

Hi! This game sounds really neat but I must admit I find it strange that it's sold at 5 US $ here and only 4 R$ on dungeonist.com… Is the difference in price due to the different languages?

(1 edit) (+3)

Hi, there! Thank you for your observation! 

Indeed, I try to keep my games accessible considering the local economy. So Brazilian minimum wage is R$5/hour, so that's how I decided on the price for the Portuguese version. 

It is my way to keep prices fair. 

However, if you are going through financial hardship at the moment, do not hesitate to contact me and I am sure we can arrange something!  

(+1)

It's a very fair (and very good) answer, thanks!
Good enough that I just grabbed my copy right here to support you :)

Much appreciated, thank you!

(+1)

If you were unsure of the starting Posture (Position in Blades) would you use the Engagement Roll from Blades or perhaps make do with the Oracle 2 "how strong?" check? Some guidance on this in the tips & options section would be good I think.

(+1)

Yes, that’s exactly how I would do it! I’d  also use it for Challenge Level if unsure. Great idea, that’s going for tips and options for sure. 

And by "it" I mean using the Oracle 2! Sorry I just realized I wasn't clear

(+1)

I think the thing that threw me off a little bit is that Oracle 2 seems patterned in someway off the Fortune Roll but the wording is a little different. The Fortune Roll assumes that a high result (6, critical) is in the player's favor and each tier lower is less favorable. Depending on how you "ask" Oracle 2 your question a high result might be really bad for your character - so - it just takes a moment to think about how to frame the question.

(+1)

Indeed! There's some dissonance when comparing to core BitD. Oracle 2 is lifted directly from One Page Solo Engine, and higher is not necessarily better, it's just... more intense? So yeah "How bad" "How large" "How cold" "How many guards" "How many gold pieces" are all equally valid questions.

(+3)

Early review thoughts: This is based on an initial read-through and some very light playtesting.

This is a thoughtful take on Forged in the Dark genre-less style gaming for the solo player. I've played Scum and Villany (and read Blades in the Dark) solo and while it works remarkable well "out of the box" there are some challenges that can be difficult to hack around with the assumptions built into those two games. The Crew (Blades) or Ship (Scum) "playbooks" are mechanically intertwined in the game - they add flavor for sure but they also will really hamper your efforts as a solo player if you don't leverage and honor the mechanics that are embedded into the systems in on those playbooks. If you want to hack them (alter the setting, try new genres, etc) it can take some work to untangle the effects of the Crew/Ship sheets on the game. What Cezar has done is give you a clean base to start from for your solo game. If you are playing a game where you still have a fictional crew, party, or team working together then you can slowly add back on the pieces you need for your game - if you are not using these component Cezar has saved you a world of time spent hacking/editing that you can instead spend playing! I always believe that starting light and through play, building up your game/table specific modifications is a much smarter way to go that to start with something else and have to strip away what is not needed.

Very insightful review! That's exactly the philosophy I followed while designing it. Thanks and enjoy your games!

(+2)

Any chance you could make a version of the mobile variant that is monochrome as well? I often read PDFs in night mode and the colors are throwing things off a bit in my phone.

Looks great otherwise! Thanks for putting this together.

Sure thing! I’ll set one up and let you know! Thank you! 

(+1)

I forwarded an example on to you!