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If, like me, you find yourself stuck at home alone because your wife took off with the kids to the cottage for a week while you still had to work, then you’ll love this solo RPG.
NoteQuest is available to download at DriveThruRPG.
What is NoteQuest?
NoteQuest is a very simple D6 based solo RPG designed to be easy to pick up and play quickly. The rule book is only 24 pages long, making it extremely easy to learn how to play. NoteQuest is published by Tiago Junges (Little Green Thing). Originally developed in Portuguese, it’s been recently translated it to English.
The game sets you off as a weak adventurer looking for fame and fortune. The game boasts being very challenging, and I can agree. Enemies are powerful, and if you aren’t careful, they’ll take you out in just a few turns. I went through three adventurers before getting lucky and finding some armour to boost my stats.
You don’t level up your character to progress like in a traditional RPG. In order to become stronger, you need to search dungeons for treasure such as weapons to increase your power, armour to increase the amount of damage you can take, and spells to give you other abilities.
The book contains several tables that you use to randomly generate everything from your character to the name of the dungeon you will explore.
To start your adventure, you use the provided tables to roll up a randomly generated dungeon, then proceed through the dungeon using the tables provided to generate what is behind each door you open.
As you progress through the dungeon, you encounter various challenges, such as locked doors, treasure rooms, and fiendish monsters. There are rules that determine how big a dungeon can get. Eventually you will reach the last room, the boss room. The boss room contains a unique and very difficult enemy, and if you can defeat it, you will receive a pretty significant prize.
What do you need to play NoteQuest?
There are very few things required to play NoteQuest:
- Something to write on, preferably something with a grid, though not strictly necessary
- Something to write with
- A D6 (Here’s a secret, you can get an app for your phone so you don’t even need a real D6)
- The Note Quest rule book
I found it helpful to have multiple D6. Two was enough for me. I also used a D20 to keep track of things like provisions when I started playing the expanded world.
My first journey into NoteQuest
The random dungeon I’m exploring is “The Tomb of the Flaming Vow”. I didn’t come up with the name. You can thank NoteQuest’s random dungeon generation mechanic for that. That’s another thing that I love about the game, some interesting and whimsical things come out of the randomly generated content.
My first character turned out to be a Gnome Cook. Armed with a cleaver and three basic spells, he died almost instantly. Next I rolled a Dwarf Guard into existence. The Dwarf race has a helpful ability. When you roll to search for secret passages, you can roll an extra D6 and keep the higher result. At least the Dwarf found the boss room before perishing at the hands of “The Queen of Bladed Hands”. I marked my deaths on my dungeon map so that I could loot my previous adventurers’ corpses when I found them again.
On my third attempt, wouldn’t you know my luck? I ended up with a Dwarf Guard again. This time I was more careful. I made frequent runs back to town to recover my health and torches. Various actions use up your supply of torches, and if you run out of torches, your adventurer succumbs to the darkness and is never seen again… until you find them to loot their cold dead body, that is.
After carefully and cautiously exploring The Tomb of the Flaming Vow, I walked away with a lot of loot and the experience of defeating my first boss. There were still a few close calls. Luckily, I found a “Crown of the Beheaded Prince” pretty early on. The Crown’s effect, “don’t die from blade traps”, came in handy when I rolled insta-death from a blade trap.
Now that I’ve gotten my first adventure out of the way, it felt like time to explore the Expanded World!
What if you want more? What is the Expanded World?
So you want more, eh? The Expanded world, it’s a companion rule book that adds an extra 40 pages of content and rules to the game.
To play the Expanded World, you need another piece of paper. Try to find something with a hex grid because the rules for traversing, or “hexploring” the world, are hex based. I didn’t have any hex grid paper. Luckily, if you have access to a printer, you can download a template from PrintablePaper.net.
The first hex that you start on is your home city. Unfortunately, there isn’t a table of city names, so I had to consult my favourite fantasy name generator. From there, you spend provisions to travel to adjacent hexes. Tables are used to determine if a hex you travel to contains a location, if not, then an event occurs. Most of the time, nothing happens, but occasionally you’ll stumble upon an event. This could be anything from inclement weather, a monster encounter, or even falling through the ice and instantly dying.
Locations are rare. As you can see, I didn’t find any at all after filling up an entire sheet. Locations range from other cities to new dungeons to explore.
This isn’t all the Expanded World offers though. There are new dungeon types, additional races and classes of character that you can play, and world politics that play a role when visiting other cities.
There are rules for purchasing property, becoming a king, or even emperor, and going to war with other cities. There are even rules that make this solo game multiplayer if you wish to have your friends join in.
They are definitely serious about starting off with the core book, though. You’ll want to explore a couple of dungeons to accumulate some wealth and items to help you along your journey. The Expanded World is a dangerous place, and can be fatal to an adventurer who is just starting their journey.
There are some issues with NoteQuest
NoteQuest is really great, but not perfect. There were a few things that puzzled me, but they were not deal breakers. I got around these few issues by making assumptions and kind of adding my own minor rules.
When searching for a secret passage, if you find a staircase, the rule book does not specifically state that there is a door at the end. I assumed that there should be one and added a door at the end of stairways that came out of a secret passage search.
I also had trouble in the Expanded World. While “hexploring” the world, I had an issue with a random encounter event. I easily dispatched the monsters that I encountered, but they had the “loot” keyword attached to them. The “loot” keyword means that when you defeat an enemy, you can roll on the reward table for that dungeon. The only problem is that the world map has no rewards table. I got around this by making a few rolls. First, I rolled to see what type of dungeon would be in the specific terrain that I was occupying, then I rolled on the rewards table for that randomly selected type of dungeon.
One last thing that I wish to be an addition in the game: more options to purchase things in towns. I know it’s still early in my journey, but I have accumulated a lot of coin and there isn’t really much to spend it on at the moment.
Like I said, these aren’t big, game breaking issues. It’s also possible that these things were just lost in the translation from Portuguese to English. In any case, I think the English version needs a little refinement, but overall it is very good.
The NoteQuest rules and Expanded World books are available on Little Green Thing’s page on DriveThruRPG.
Should you pick up a copy of NoteQuest?
I would definitely recommend picking up your very own copy of NoteQuest. It’s a ton of fun and well worth the few dollars that it costs. Check out NoteQuest and more that Little Green Thing offers on DriveThruRPG.
If you do decide to pick up the game, here is a quick and dirty character sheet that I threw together. You can download the PDF here:
Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon.
If you are looking for a simple to play tabletop RPG that is also fun and engaging for children, check out my review of Hero Kids.