Appliance Adventures and Emotional Cores in I, Toaster

Jun 28, 2024 | Stories | 0 comments

Explore a world where appliances come to life and prepare to go on exciting adventures at the very beginning of I, Toaster.

Although I’ve been meaning to return to playing a delightful solo RPG I started last year, I spent a little time over the last week reading a couple of RPG books and taking notes. Amidst the piles of possible reading material, I stumbled across I, Toaster. This generally unknown RPG has been hiding for a little bit, yet I immediately fell in love with it!

Game Overview

Game Name: I, Toaster
Publication Year:
2021
Designers:
Madeleine Ember & Tony Vasinda
Artist:
Uncredited
Publishers: Exalted Funeral & Plus One Games
Solo Mode: None (Solo RPG Oracle Required)

Heard of The Brave Little Toaster? This is heavily inspired by the tale of sentient appliances who seek to reunite with their owner! Here, there is a wonderful character creation process to develop a few awesome appliances with their own functions, emotions, and personalities. So much fun!

Getting Excited About the World of Sentient Appliances with I, Toaster

Finding Inspiration

On its own, this RPG is wonderful. The book is very short, but features a catalog of NPC appliances and all I could ever need to get started adventuring! Yet, I had an idea…

I didn’t have a lot of available options to bring these stories to life. My Calico Critter accessories were limited, and my appliances weren’t clean enough for my solo table!

Then, it hit me: Raising Robots! Although I know robots might not exactly be appliances, I knew what I wanted.

RPGs are often about going outside the lines a bit and finding ways to have a lot of fun. That was my goal!

Getting Inspired by a Mashup of Raising Robots Characters in I, Toaster

The Process of Creating Appliances

Many RPGs offer a very different path to creating characters, and this one was really rather neat. I modified things just a bit to utilize some other elements, but in general, these are the steps to create a functional character:

  1. Choose a Card (Raising Robots): I wanted to start off with artwork, so I drew a few and picked my favorite.
  2. Choose a Make & Model (I, Toaster): I described what this appliance could be and used the character’s name.
  3. Roll for Feature & Accessory (I, Toaster): I followed a few tables to get a pair of randomized key elements.
  4. Roll for Power Source (I, Toaster): I followed a table to find the type of power, charge, and bonuses.
  5. Roll for Statistics (I, Toaster): I rolled a few dice to get values for torque, swerve, circuit, and chrome.
  6. Choose Functions (Raising Robots & I, Toaster): I drew a trio of classes and described the main abilities built in.
  7. Choose Emotional Core (Once Upon a Time): I drew a card to describe an aspect and turned it into an emotion.
  8. Choose Emotional Trouble (Once Upon a Time): I drew an event card and tied it to the emotion with a behavior.

That was it! It wasn’t necessarily a very short process, yet everything felt like it mattered. I ended up with some absolutely delightful characters, as detailed below. Adding elements for prompts and other features might not work for everyone. I’m just glad I found the inspiration and ran with it… So much fun to just create these quirky characters!

Generating Appliances

It didn’t take much effort to shuffle up a few piles of cards and then make some choices! Suffice to say this was one of the best character creation processes I’ve experienced.

My little group were all tied to their owner, Shigeru. I didn’t worry about building out all the backstories: I only knew that they had a strong memory of him at this age.

I used classes to indicate what Shigeru was studying when he first encountered, or maybe even created, these robots.

Chill, Hazmat, Inception, and Sparky were so awesome! I smiled throughout each card flip, roll, and decision.

A Little Work and a Bunch of Amazing Raising Robots Characters to Use in I, Toaster

Chill with Ice Cream

Up first was Chill, who had a lot more going on than met the eye. Ice cream might have overpowered the general theme, yet there were strong emotions brewing!

Actually, that might be what I love about this RPG: Emotional cores. Appliances have functions, features, accessories, and power sources, but also a main emotion.

With the help of my large collection of Once Upon a Time cards, I developed some prompts to expand Chill.

So cool! Literally. Ha ha! I even leaned into the puns in the text… “I doubt myself and freeze up.” Now I’m cool, too!

A Rather Deeply Emotional Ice Cream Machine with Chill and I, Toaster

Hazmat and the Socks

Although I enjoyed the artwork for every robot and wanted to use them all, Hazmat was far too difficult to pass up. I continue to laugh at this idea of laundry duties. Ha!

I enjoyed the open-ended ways I could come up with functions, but then had to roll to find out more.

No joke: That cleaning kit was entirely random, but so very perfect! And I ended up with a lot of the same type of power source, which only reinforced another thought…

It seemed like Shigeru created them all, likely when he was sick or injured as a little kid. Immediate connection! 

A Most Hilarious Sort of Laundry Robot with Hazmat in I, Toaster

Accepting Imperfections and Playing Now

For the longest time, I’ve kept a lot of my collections in pristine condition. That’s not a negative: I respect and love the things that bring me joy! Yet I’ve also found that it leads me to not use things. Notebooks remain empty. Printed sheets remain unused. Coloring books never get colored. Activity books never get touched. And I’m learning along the way.

If you look closely, I wrote a 7 for Chill’s circuit value before gaining a bonus to bump it up to an 8. So I just sort of wrote over it, and it’s all good! In the past, I probably would have tossed out this sheet and started all over.

I recently reacquired a very old book I remember from childhood: Richard Scarry’s Best Rainy Day Book Ever. As a child, I vividly remember all of the plans to color in and cut out the paper houses, vehicles, cards, calendars, and more. What actually happened? I didn’t want to mark up the book, so I eventually grew out of it and lost it over the years.

Now that I have a surprisingly complete and unused copy from 1974, I know that it technically falls into the vintage category where it should be preserved and kept. Yet aside from possibly scanning the pages for my own records should I ever want to look back, I’m planning on filling out pages and actually using that activity book like I always planned to!

A similar concept is taking over when it comes to solo RPGs. Often, I just flip through a book, or possibly even read a good portion of it. Yet it’s very short-lived, and any excitement dissipates as I get a little lost on where to begin. So I’m taking it slowly, allowing that excitement to creep over me, and going in whatever direction feels right to play now!

Lost with Inception

Another nice element of this RPG is how vague it is in terms of what technologies are available. It can be futuristic and theoretical, or blend old technologies. Nice!

I was a little hesitant about having a video game system. Yet Inception was absolutely perfect and brought in an emotional angle that seemed interesting to explore.

With an interesting random roll, a kinetic power source almost seemed out-of-place… But Inception moves a lot!

Again, I went back to the idea of Shigeru building a system to play that eventually included a friendly competitor.

Going Further with a Very Clever Video Game System with Inception and I, Toaster

Silly Fun with Sparky

Truth be told… As soon as I saw Sparky’s artwork, I knew I couldn’t discard the card. So I went along with every silly idea I could, calling this appliance a portable radio. Ha ha!

I almost discarded anger as an emotional core, but found the wandering behavior to be rather charming. Plus, I didn’t need my characters to be perfect and unflawed.

So many possibilities crossed my mind as I finished these character sheets and saw the strengths and weaknesses.

Perhaps that’s a nice statement about myself: Right now, my emotional core is definitely excitement and delight!

A Comical and Adorable Portable Radio Prone to Wandering with Sparky and I, Toaster

Getting Ready To Play

I made up some stories for everyone, yet didn’t get into the questions about Shigeru. It was nice to think about the connection in general, and consider possible adventures.

Is Shigeru still this young? I doubt it. But I want to explore what these appliances might get up to, and what it will mean for them to find him again someday.

Sometimes, the next great solo RPG is right in front of me, but slightly hidden in a drawer or pile of books.

Discovering this made me happy, and I look forward to seeing what Chill, Hazmat, Inception, and Sparky will do!

Creating a Backstory for an Owner and Preparing for Adventures in I, Toaster

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Continue the Conversation

Have you ever played I, Toaster? Are there any other solo RPGs you’ve made your own with other games? I simply loved this concept and enjoyed my time perusing the short book and creating these characters. Can’t get better than that! My list of solo RPGs needing my attention may be great… Yet I’m ready for some appliance adventures right now!

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