Review: Open Design – Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army (Party of One)

Party of One: Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army
Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army is part 2 of the Party of One solo adventure series for the Pathfinder Fantasy system written by Matthew J. Hanson and published by Open Design.
By Cape Rust

When these guys say solo adventure, they mean solo. No other players, no GM, just your standard set of gaming dice, some paper, a pencil and of course the adventure. Think of a more refined, sophisticated version of the old Choose your Own Adventure series, with the tactile sensations of rolling dice to add more intriguing randomness to the experience.


This 16 page supplement has 14 pages of solotastic adventure material. Actually this book has 12 pages with 83 different plot/story entries of which you should read about 20 to complete the adventure. The final two pages of information are character sheets of our hero Elgar Fletcher a Human Ranger at 1st and 3rd level.


I should have trusted Mr. Wolfgang Baur, he is a smart guy who knows the RPG business. Even with his esteemed name attached to this product, I was worried, and when it was all said and done, I was happy to find that I had once again misplaced my fears and wasted time taking counsel of them. In this adventure we meet the sometimes simple, but always loveable, Elgar Fletch, human ranger.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The cover of Elgar Fletch is actually a cover page. This really isn’t a bad strategy as the top half of it contains the Party of One logo as well as a drawing of Elgar brandishing his long bow in an ominous forest. Behind the Party of One logo are some gridlines that were purposely put there, and in a strange way they work. All of the pages use an interesting “textured” background that could best be described as what it would like if you zoomed in real close on a digital picture of, say, someone’s nose, sans buggers and nasal hair. Sounds gross but don’t hold my poor descriptive skills against this product. The cover/cover page does have a box that explains how the product works. The author mentions that you learn the rules as you go and that is definitely the case. I would recommend increasing the size of this description to accommodate people who might just be so excited to play this that they overlook the instructions and start this adventure without the pencil and paper.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Because of the unique nature of this product, I think that the mechanics need to be viewed differently than you would with most supplements or adventures for the Pathfinder system. This story is definitely set in the Pathfinder world, but mechanically it seems more like D&D 3.5, because of the lack of things like CMD. Elgar Fletcher works just fine without CMD, but I felt like it should be mentioned. The beauty of this Party of One adventure is that it is fun for advanced players and a great introduction to new players. Weapons and armor act just the way you would expect them to at a game table, but all of the calculations are done for you. During each encounter there is a handy chart that gives you all of the relevant information needed for Elgar and whatever he may be facing. The narration (83 total) does a great job of explaining what the player needs to do at each point whether it be roll a dice, write something on the paper, or go to a different numbered narration. All of the connections between narrations work and they are just far enough apart so you actually have to take a few notes and turn some pages. The solo adventure portion as well as the modified Pathfinder rules work great!

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Yes, yes and yes. This product is a great diversion for experienced players who suddenly find themselves without a gaming group or just get that urge to throw dice that we all get, without trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule. This is a good product to introduce some of the fundamentals of tabletop RPGs to people who have never played them before. This product would even be good for young gamers as it must be read, but still involves some tactile distractions that some children crave.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Solo adventures are not new, but I have not seen one this well-executed in a long time; I would dare to say ever, but I have to double-check. This adventure, while rather typical, really is the best of both worlds. It satisfies the experienced gamer’s need to throw dice and adventure while being an outstanding tool for people who may have never played an RPG. This is not the holy grail of RPG products, but the concept is solid and well-executed and forcing new players to learn a little bookkeeping and giving them the chance to handle and roll dice can’t be underestimated. We all have stories about the affect that those polys had on us when we first saw them and Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army keeps that opportunity in play. Support this type of product and figure out ways to use it to introduce gaming to new or young players. I promise that this is one time you won’t go blind playing with yourself.

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