Solo Grail – Ivana vs Magic

I played a second game with the informal set of rules I derived from Archipelago, A Grail Epoch and Storyleaves. I provisionally called these rules “Solo Grail” (download link).
I made a few changes from the first game:

  • “Destinies” have been replaced by simple goals for the Protagonist and the Antagonist;
  • I introduced a count of the challenges won by the Protagonist; basically, if the Protagonist wins most challenges, he reaches his/her goal; else, the Antagonist reaches his/her goal and the Protagonist looses the session.
  • I will also change how the initially empty sheet is used: a 3×3 grid seems too much. I guess that 3×2 (with at most 6 locations) in enough.

The game went like this:
Elements: Love, Rivalry and the Grail.


Main Characters:
Protagonist: Duchess Dulcina, whose goal is to use magic to increase her power.
Beloved: Manlius, Dulcina’s astrologer.
Antagonist: Ivana, Dulcina’s maid of honor, whose goal is to fight all forms of magic.

Ivana and Manlius are characters from the previous game.

Initial Locations:
Dulcina and Ivana are at Dulcina’s palace.
Manlius is at the Library (location from the previous game).


Round 1.

I drew an Archipelago fate card for Ivana:
“This character does something rash that causes them a lot of trouble with the element you own [the Grail]. An unwise sexual liaison; insulting an ally; destruction of property”.
Cino, King Wilfred’s Geomancer, is staying at Dulcina’s during a journey. Ivana insults him, accusing him of having made a pact with the Devil.
Are Dulcina’s excuses accepted by Cino?
“Yes But in order to succeed you must sacrifice something dear to you”.
Dulcina has to send away Ivana in order to prove to Cino that she will not allow similar episodes in the future.

Manlius the Magician reaches St.Vitus Monastery, where Abbess Virtuosa is keeping a council about the boundaries between magic and heresy.


Round 2
Ivana travels South and stops at the Blue Dragon Inn. There she meets are ex-fiancee Sir Leo. She asks him to help her take revenge on the mischievous kin of magicians. Does Leo accept?
“Yes But your success has dangerous and unintended consequences”.


A Fate card for Dulcina:
“Something important is stolen from this character by someone connected to the element you own [Love]”.
Dulcina and Cino travel together towards St. Vitus, to assist the council. While crossing the Burnt Hills, they meet Sir Florian, a nobleman who is in love with Dulcina. He is so jealous of Cino that he captures the magician in order to take him as a prisoner to his castle. Dulcina asks Florian to inform Abbess Virtuosa of his action, so that they can decide if Cino has committed some kind of heresy and if he has the right to imprison him.
Does Dulcina convince Florian? “No, but your failure helps another succeed.”
Cino manages to magically inform Manlius that he has been imprisoned and asks Manlius to look after Dulcina.

[Dulcina has scored a success in R1 and a failure in R2, so in the final challenge both sides will have the same chance of winning]

Round 3: Leo and Ivana reach St.Vitus. Ivana is under disguise as Leo’s sister Igina. At dinner, Ivana attempts to poison Dulcina, so that will stop helping the treacherous plans of magicians. Does Dulcina’s survive Ivana’s attempt to kill her?
“No, and someone or something dear to you is harmed, lost or destroyed.”
The conditions are particularly favorable for Ivana: she kills both Dulcina and Manlius.


[Fate cards are very powerful, but playing one in each of the first two rounds, you get an unexpected story line. They also help introduce new characters. I like the fact that you quickly build a whole range of minor characters that can be reused in future games]