How Mythic GME got it Wrong

What follows is a draft of a (short) essay that will be posted to my blog sometime in the future.

My mind has been thinking about solo roleplaying terms recently. You might've seen it when I've started talking about avatars, heroes, and other related character terms. This post is not about that. This post is about: Solo Engines.

Mythic Games Master Emulator was my first brush with a solo engine. Though I didn't know it at the time. Forward a few years and I get into the whole solo roleplaying scene. Someone on the Lone Wolf group used the term solo engine. I do not know if they came up with the term or borrowed it from elsewhere but it seems to have stuck.

If Mythic called it a Games Master Emulator or GME why do I not call it by that name? Why do I prefer the term, and call it, a solo engine instead?

It's simple. There is no GM in a solo game. There is only the single player. In a social game the GM provides the framework of the game and helps drive the game (or story) forward. Linked to this the term GM Emulator makes people feel like you need a GM or have to wear 2 hats while solo roleplaying.

Solo Engine is a better choice because it gets away from using some of the terminology of social roleplaying. That terminology both helps and hinders in solo roleplaying. It helps because it makes solo roleplaying feel safer and is easier to pick up. It hinders because it makes solo roleplaying seem like a clone of social roleplaying. It is true that they share many of the same elements but there is a difference that needs to shown.

That's why I think the term Solo Engine is a better choice.

It gets us solo roleplayers away from talking about GM and Player. It makes us stop thinking that the GME will to do all of the 'work'.

We still have to do some of the work of the GM during the game. Some of the work of the GM can be outsourced to the Solo Engine. There is still some of the GM's work us solo roleplayers have to do.

Analogies are always good: a solo engine is like the engine in a car. Like a car engine the solo engine drives the action but needs inputs from an external force to make it go, stop, and change direction. The engine by itself is useless it needs a framework (chassis of the car) and a means of moving the framework (the drive system).

A solo engine helps you drive the adventure along with the rules. It helps drive the action but it still needs inputs and a whole lot more before its ready
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