Solo Tabletop Roleplaying Games



Have you played a solo tabletop roleplaying game? I live alone in a studio apartment. During the pandemic there have been weeks where I couldn't really see anyone else in-person. But I love playing games and don't always want to be on my computer. I don't have much previous experience with solo tabletop roleplaying games but I found a few popping up on suggestions and donated for a few.

How they work

I've come across two types of solo games: those emphasizing story-creation and those emphasizing mechanics or mapping.

So I don't know if most of them work this way but the vast majority I've come across seem to mostly revolve around a kind of solo story-making process. This makes sense to me, as I think of tabletop roleplaying games as collaboratively shared and created stories. Rather than you the sole player responding to other player's actions, as a solo player you use some prompts, sometimes generated by dice rolls or cards and the like, as the seed to spark the next part of the story.

Some solo games I enjoyed

The Adventurer

by James Chip

The Adventurer

This one was the first and my favorite solo ttrpg so far. In fact, it's the only one I've played twice.

The adventure is a journal writing game for a single player. During the game you will be creating a world and filling it with it's own people, traditions and folklore by journaling your characters adventures in it. All you need to play is something to log your journey in and a standard deck of playing cards.

Card picker for The Adventurer

I played this twice, for about an hour each time. James does a really good job of setting the scene with his pdf booklet including instructions, setting up something that feels like a ritual. His minimal hand-drawing digital drawings also help with the mood. He also gives just the right amount of suggestion to let my mind take over and create the story. If you get stuck, there is a way to play with an optional tool called 'The Oracle' that he details. James explains how one might want to deviate from the rules. This all made me feel welcome to try this out, explore or modify the 'rules' and see what comes. I recommend this as a good first solo ttrpg.

Alone in the Ancient City

by Takuma Okada

Alone in the Ancient City

A tabletop roleplaying game about exploring the many districts of a vast and ancient city. Uses a standard 52 card deck and a six-sided die. For 1+ players.

This is a modification of a previous solo ttrpg game called Alone Among the Stars but I didn't find that theme as compelling. In this game you play as an adventurer. You write essentially a journal, give a bit of a back story, and then through randomly selected cards of a deck choose locations and actions that take place. Perhaps you have come across a person, or you've jus arrived in a new place. You get to decide the details and write them down in a story-like diary entry. This was one of the first of these that I tried, and I enjoyed the process, 'playing' for about 45 minutes perhaps. I also often do like semi-daily web-based coding as an continual art practice, and that evening I created a random card selector program.

Card selector

A Long Walk Home

by Monte Monteleagre A Long Walk Home A Long Walk Home
A business card sized RPG about finding home. Generate a map over any flat surface with a handful of six-sided dice and journal about your travels across this new world.

Similar to the previous game, but this one was even simpler. I played it on another evening. I played this one for a shorter time period. I enjoyed it but I had trouble stretching my mind to fill out the scene. I have limited ability to picture things in my mind (aphantasia), which I think made it hard for me to fully describe a town or scene that I couldn't see that wasn't already somewhat described to me.

Dungeon Mountain: Song of the Mountain

by Ghost Glyph

Dungeon Mountain: Song of the Mountain

In Song of The Mountain, you play as an explorer attempting to find the secret Song of The Mountain.

While the games mentioned previously emphasized solo story creation I found this game to be more about rolling up a randomly generated 2d dungeon map, like a roguelike video game, then playing through it. This game was a hack by the creator of their own previous multi-player dungeon exploration game. I found the map-making compelling and enjoyed sketching this little maze-like. While playing you have little battles with NPC-like situations, and there is some strategy, but also enough room to cheat or forget where you are at. I was confused at one or two things and just found a way to make things work. Ultimately it felt like the game needed more balancing since the story was de-emphazied and the randomness of your dice rolls effected the outcome of your game. In many ways it acts like a solo version of Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert cooperative board games, if you're familiar with those.

Forbidden Desert on Board Game Geek


by Not A Pipe


You are a village shopkeeper. Sketch map of area and your shop. Roll d6. You sell 1. plant 2. medicinal herb 3. liquid 4. mineral 5. scent 6. artifact. Sketch item. Log: Describe a customer, a price, did you haggle? What will they use it for? Repeat until you close for the day.

Created for the Micro Fiction Game Jam, organized by James Chip, linked below. All game descriptions must fit within the size of a tweet. I wrote this prompt, then played it. I draw the shop, then wrote a little journal / register of the shopkeeper. I played for about 30 minutes and enjoyed it. Thinking I may play it again. Or make an interactive digital version where you draw and it saves your drawings and writing.

More collections of Games

Your Move Jam

Microfiction Games Jam

The micro fiction games jam is intended to be a yearly game jam where people write and submit very short format games, on a theme, just for fun.

Check out this other entry:

Sys-stems Planetopia