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A solo role-playing game by Nathan Mehlhorn

Overview

You’ve lived in these woods for many years. It’s treated you well all this time. The passing of each season has brought with it great beauty, but it has also presented unique hardships. Still, you managed to always make do and survive. Lately, you’ve noticed the forest has begun to change as less people dare to venture into this serene, magical place. Now only the Hunters rarely cross your path. This doesn’t bother you though, you’ll always do as you have and survive.

Into the Woods… is a solo tabletop role-playing experience that tasks you with surviving a full year in an ever-evolving forest. There will be magic, whimsy… and of course, danger! As the year progresses, the challenges you face will grow but you’ll have to overcome that adversity in order to survive.

What's in the Box?

Included is a totally revamped 58 page rulebook (up from 40!) which features several tables for everything from encounters to bonuses, a bestiary, and convenience features to make playing a smooth process. Despite the game being simple, and the rules fitting on about 10 pages, there is a lot of content packed into this with room to grow. You'll find that there is a decent amount of variety here that should allow you at least a few hours of fun.

We are on the final version folks! I am very confident and happy in the product as is. I still welcome any and all feedback, but outside of a few minor adjustments or fixes (things like spelling), I don't plan on updating the base book any further. I truly hope you have an excellent time playing Into the Woods... :)

What You’ll Need

To play Into the Woods… you’ll need a standard deck of 52 playing cards, a pencil and some paper, a journal or recording medium of preference, at least one six-sided die (two would probably be better, ideally in different colors if possible), and these rules.

What's this Cost (Spoilers, it's FREE)?

Right now the game is freely available to anyone who wishes to give it a go! Since Into the Woods... is my first foray into creating a TRPG anything for the public, it seems only right. After all, I would like all the feedback I can get! I do still ask you consider a small donation, especially if you enjoy the game. A lot of time and energy went into this, so I would appreciate it! That said, please don't feel obligated.

Expansions

I'm excited to announce that I have completed my first expansion for the game, Into the Woods... Evolutions! You can purchase the expansion below or view more info on here.

Credit & Influences

For this project I took a look at my solo library and drew inspiration from the following titles:

I gave the game a mostly player controlled narrative and added a journal component which is where Passage namely influenced me. 4AD is something I looked at to figure out how I wanted to integrate tables and was very helpful. Of course, I've been playing several TRPG's across the years, which was also was a big help for creating this.

This game was written and created by Nathan Mehlhorn for the Never Alone Jam in association with Jon Spencer Reviews.

Jon Spencer Reviews

Thank You & Feedback Request

Thank you so much for checking out Into the Woods..., I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to rate and share. If you have any feedback on the game, I gladly welcome it, though I ask you keep it as constructive as possible. Saying, "Great game!" or, "I really hated it!" doesn't tell me much about what I did well or not.

Lastly, I plan to support the game even after the jam ends so your feedback will help me to continue to evolve the game and make it even better! If you provide a really great suggestion, I'll give you a credit right here on the page and in the book itself. I also have some ideas for supplements for this, so if there is interest, I'll work on those once I know how folks are receiving this title.

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Big thank you to Mischa Krilov and Schweik for the feedback! Without your help this product wouldn't be nearly as good as it is today. Seriously, you are awesome!

Download

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Into the Woods Version 2.4.1.pdf 1 MB
Into the Woods Version 2.4.1 Plain.pdf 1 MB
Into the Woods Character Sheet & Cheat Sheets (Printer Friendly Standalone).pdf 89 kB

Development log

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Comments

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(+1)

Hi. 

So I enjoyed the game, but I found a few things that need more explanation. For example, my character had Aura, which reads "You are immune to enemy Aura." Sounds good, but then when I had an encounter that featured Aura the only description reads "All Animal, Humanoid, and Fey have a -1 when making an Opposed roll against you." 

So If I am immune to Aura that implies that I am immune to them having a -1 penalty, which means my special ability actually negates an advantage. 


Later, I had a Mutated Insect Swarm encounter. Mutated reads "Mutated creatures combine their stats and characteristics with another creature from their respective table. This is determined by rolling one six-sided die and consulting the current Season Table (treat the result as an Ace-6 result in the Spades column). If you roll an event or a duplicate creature, go to the nearest non-event or duplicate entry on the table." 

I rolled (and had to look under Clubs, not Spades, which is an error) and wound up combining with a Dream Eater. There is no explanation of how to combine the stats and abilities, so I just added them together. 

Insect Swarm has Health 3, Strength -1, Spirit 0, Survival 3, and Stealth -3. Dream Eater has Health 1, Strength -3, Spirit 2, Survival 0, and Stealth 0.

Adding them together I ended up with a Dream Insect Swarm that had Health 4, Strength -4, Spirit 2, Survival 3, and Stealth -3

Since it was a Survival challenge, it completely destroyed me. I accepted that, though I am not sure if it was correct given the lack of explanation for combining stats.

Aside from that bit of frustration, nice game.

Thank you for playing my game, I'm glad to hear you still enjoyed even with these frustrations. Let me apologize for any confusion up front, I'm no stranger to the fact that my first ever game has a few kinks in it lol. Comments like these seeking clarification are very helpful as a result.

Let's first address the aura. Always rule in your own favor. If you'd actually gain a disadvantage from a benefit, that's not intended.

The mutated scenario is actually one I've heard before and something I should add to the FAQ and mutated explanation section. You should combine with the first non-event creature, so in this case this combination should have been invalid. As a result it created this wildly unfair encounter.

I hope that clears things up and once again thank you for enjoying my game in spite of some issues. Hopefully, if you play again, it'll go a bit more smoothly.

(+1)

Hi. That sort of helps. When I read the instructions to roll on the current table and "if you roll an event or a duplicate creature,..." I hadn't taken the Dream Eater to be an event. The table (Fall) calls the Dream Eater a "special  creature" and further down, lists Unimaginable Horror as an  event, so that seemed to differentiate them as separate categories.  I took the Dream Eater as just another part of the bestiary, though perhaps stronger than average. I didn't see it as an event.

For next time, does Mutated then simply mean adding the scores of two creatures together? Including Health? 

For my Aura question, I did play with it granting me a bonus, despite how it was written. I made an error in my first post: I wrote that I had Aura when I meant to say I had Indifferent (page 32).

Perhaps consider rephrasing Indifferent (currently "You are immune to enemy Aura") to something like "You have an aura of protection against certain enemies."

At any rate, the game is enjoyable. I have tried my hand at making games so I know it's not as easy as some might assume. I happen to think this is quite well made, even if there are a few minor points to touch up. I plan to recommend it to others.

I can't thank you enough for the kind words!

Yes, I see what you are saying here. I will make a note to check these items and see what revisions are possible for the next update.

For mutated, it should just be stats but I didn't specify so that's on me. Honestly, whatever makes for a more interesting encounter is fine though.

(+1)

I had a lot of fun with this. The learning curve at the beginning was a bit steep, but pnce you figured out the rules it all makes sense and easy to pick up again even after a pause.

The game is quite deadly, so be aware of that (then again it's a solo rpg, so you could always fudge a die or two if you've grown to attached to a character ;), which helps convey the darker, but never depressing tone. Generally the athmosphre really comes across well, which is the biggest pro of this game in my opinion.


The events are all creative, ranging from realustic to fanciful. I liked the "mutations" best as they provided unique opportunuties, both gameplay and storytelling wise.

Once you've done all the "special" events, however there isn't as much replay value (at least there wasn't for me), because the normal events can feel quite mundane compared to them. The expansion may fix that, so I will definitely checking that out.

The availability of food broke the immersion a little, since in the game the opportunities to gather food are plenty in spring and grow rarer as the year advances, however in real life it's almost the other way around with food growing more plenty throughout the year (until winter that is). I'm aware that the intention was to make the game more challenging as the year progresses, but perhaps starting out with more food at character creation might be another way to achieve that.

Would definutely reccommend this game for a lonely afternoon or night, just maje sure to read the rules thoroughly before you start journaling.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my game! I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed it as well. I agree with a lot of your feedback, this was the first game I ever made like this so I know there is room to improve it. Initially the scope was bigger but I had to scale back, some of that stuff being added back in through revisions and the currently available expansion.

In any case, I greatly appreciate you taking the time and giving the game a go. Hope you continue to enjoy it and any of my other titles if you choose to try them as well.

(+1)

Hi!

Is this supposed to be claimable like the expansion or just download only?

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks for your question damianea!

The base game is 100% free forever so there's no reason to claim, just download and play :) I hope you enjoy and have fun!

(+2)(-1)

So, as promised on the forum, I've been reading the PDF. Since ratings don't trigger a notification, I'll repeat here what mine says. I find the game complicated, hard, and not my idea of fun, but unusual and instructive. Worth reading just to get an idea of how different a tabletop RPG can be, But if I'm going to roleplay all by myself, might as well write a story. On a subject I care about for a change. Thanks for telling me about it though!

(+2)

I always thought it was weird that ratings don't trigger a notification. Anyhow, I appreciate you taking the time to read through the PDF and provide feedback. I also respect your honesty when it comes to this game not being your kind of fun. That said, the game is meant to be a more happy middle ground between a strict journal game and a more traditional solo experience. Most journal type games are very light on gameplay (or simply don't have any, acting more as writing exercises).

As to your point on complexity, the game is fairly straight forward and is not much different than a traditional table lookup style of game. Though, depending on how you are navigating the document, I will be the first to admit that this can feel a bit obtuse (looking at you android... the links don't work there I discovered). Additionally, I provide examples of play and how to go about each major element of the game. Again, I recognize that this game just wasn't for you, and that's fine, just felt like I ought to clarify so folks can make informed choices as to whether or not this game is for them.

Thanks again for at least giving it a look. I am a bit disappointing that you didn't actually give it a play, but I'll take what I can get. I'm also glad that this was at least "unusual and instructive" as you state, as it seems to have given you some ideas regarding your own game in development. Looking forward to seeing that :)

(+1)

played the second year with the version 2.0 too.

Well... I told you on the game-jam page that the first year was pretty quiet. That was different in the second year: my character Peter died in fall, after 3 raining seasons, a ill-chosen berry, and two bad encouters (a dangerous sentient fungus + a poisonous mutated wolf group). I guess three seasons of being sick wasn't a cool experience. As well astwo encounters needing to use strength (his -1 stat skill)

Thanks for this game! Cool game, but deadly game: Peter was dreaming about escaping the forest... but didn't know how to. Maybe there's no way out anyway.

(+1)

Poor Peter! He got very unlucky it sounds. At the moment you really only win by surviving a year.

A note on the berries, in 2.1 I changed that encounter up so it isn't as punishing. I enjoy reading your play reports though! Thank you for playing and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself :) I would write more, but I'm on mobile as I mentioned in my other comment.

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