31 Days of RPG Visual Tools (March 2023)
Solo RPGs Generators Community Month of RPG Generators

31 Days of RPG Visual Tools (March 2023)

Duncan Thomson

Over at the rpg_generators subreddit I'm writing 30 days of RPG Solo Gens (link to list of posts).

Here all the days are gathered in one article.

Day 1 - GM's Apprentice

For March I'm posting daily with random generators and tables for Solo RPGs. Following on from 30 Days of Visual Gens, Maps in 31 Days of Map Gens. And lots of gens in 31 Days of RPG Gens. Leave a comment with your favourite generators for solo.

So I'm starting with GM's Apprentice website, an inspiration aid that packs a lot into one place.

It has dice rolls, events for Mythic, runes, a sound, sight, feeling, smell and more details for quests, traps, npcs, encounters and other tabs. There's also a number in the top left (between two masks) I'm not sure what it's for.

There are several decks of these, the GameMaster's Apprentice series (link to DriveThru RPG - fantasy deck). With variations including sci-fi, weird horror and lots more.

Day 2 - Eigengrau's Generator

There are many great random generators out them, but for solo it's great to have connected and persistent tools.

Eigengrau's Generator will create you a fantasy settlement with streets, establishments, NPCs and more. You can add more elements to it and edit the existing ones. You can also roll a new town if you want a new one.

The detailed settlement description has a full list of buildings, NPCs, factions and demographics.

The changes you make are saved (there is an option to save and load from disk too)

There is also a toolbox that can create stand alone NPCs, scenarios, factions, items, rumours and various other items.

Day 3 - Visual Generators for RPG Solo Play

There are many ways to play solo games, and visual tools can lend something different to your games. (Visual AI another day)

  • RPG Story Constructor gives 6 visual prompts for Story (Location, Goal, Obstacle, Risk, Treat, BAM!) or Character (Profession, Goal, Love, Fear, Schtick, Secret). Genres of fantasy, sci-fi, moden and horror covered.
  • ESL Story Dice Gives 5 or 9 Images similar to Rory's Story Dice.
  • Watabou's Tarot Generator creates tarot-like cards with Text Prompts. Roll for Fantasy does more fantasy tarot cards.
  • Deep-Fold's Book of Monsters will give a monster image and desciption from a list of 2000.
  • Anvl has a Miniature Generator with a "Generate a random character" button, which will build up all the elements of the miniature in layers
  • DM Heroes does Portraits (and NPC Description) using D&D ancestries.
  • Dice Tray at DM Tools will throw the selected dice across your screen

And there is also a full list of visual generators from 30 Days of Visual Gens you might find useful for your solo games!

Day 4 - Mythic GM Emulator and Supporting Tools

It's hard to do a list of solo tools without mentioning Mythic GM Emulator. It's a system that replicates a Games Master for a solo-play experience (or for a GM-less group game). It contains guidelines, systems and random tables for supporting your rpg games.

The Mythic GM Emulator 2nd Edition is out less than a month, revised after 15+ years. The 1st Edition is still available (and much cheaper) (DriveThru links).

Some online oracles help support play using Mythic GM Emulator

  • Mythic GM at pbegames has a simple tool supporting questions, events and scenes with chaos factor and Odds.
  • GM's Apprentice has a Mythic Event Generator in each card.
  • Soloist has a section for Mythic Dice rolls as well as other tools to assist solo play.
  • Black Magic is a tool supporting Mythic, tracking Chaos Factor and Favour Points, with rolls, events and scenes.

Day 5 - Tools for Making Your Own Random Tables

Some solo gamers like to make random tables for their own adventures. Some online tools to help include...

  • Use Perchance to make and share random generators. Using simple text lists, with more in depth options for styling and complex generators.
  • Chartopia allows you to make random charts and more complex gens. Tables can be private or public and there is a library of charts to search. Notable solo tools include a M.U.N.E. adaption and collection of Ironsworn Aids.
  • Alex Schroeder has an article about making Your own random generator app. It involves downloading an html page and using a text editor such as Notepad++ or Emacs.
  • Role Generator (a generators site) has a fairly new place for building and using tables. Including a fair number of tables in Spanish

You can also build your own simple tables using pen and paper (I use d10 index cards)

Day 6 - 7Tools Generator Site

Of the many generator sites out there, one to highlight is 7Tools. It's generator collection is split into Simple Gens and Complex Gens (mostly made up of the simple ones. They include some unusual tools such as the Fantasy Language Translator (inc Draconic, Elven, Gnomish), Voice Generator, Mundane Event Generator, Secret Generator and detailed Building Generator.

The thing to highlight for solo play (as well as solid generators) is that the Complex generators create lots of linked content and details that can be expanded on (in popup). The Group generator includes NPCs associated with the group, plus possible Locations, Buildings and Settlements.

These result in some intricate generated content such as the Quest Generator and Settlement Generator (includes maps, buildings, npcs)

Day 7 - Solo RPG Actual Play Podcasts

Possibly an odd inclusion for random generators, but I've learned so much about using random tables and tools (and solo rpgs in general) from these podcasts.

  • Me, Myself and Die with Trevor Devall - also a YouTube Channel. Probably the best known actual play solo show, the action on this one moves fast. Season 1 uses Savage Worlds and Mythic Emulator. Season 2 uses Ironsworn and Season 3 uses Dominion Rules.
  • Errant Adventures with Steve Morrison - Season one uses Starforged, with solid storytelling and explanations of what's going on. Second season goes into fantasy.
  • Sub-class Act with James Sral - James switches around systems, oracles and genres frequently, with frequent input from listeners. Season 3 has been using classic Traveller.
  • The Lone Adventurer with Carl White is a British production using D&D 5E & Mythic. Different in that pieces of well-told narrative are split apart from the sections that explain what is going on.
  • Die Alone has playthroughs of a different solo game in each episode (none since Feb 2022). Including Long Haul, the Wretched and Delve.
  • Tale of the Manticore uses old school D&D, is dark fantasy and heavy on the narrative. On my list to come back to and try again.

Day 8 - Lightweight Solo RPG Emulators - MUNE, 1-Page, Tilt

There are many emulators outside of Mythic, some light-weight ones include...

  • M.U.N.E. is a free 5 page document (although several versions exist) using d6 tables for oracles and interventions. It goes from basics of solo, into mechanics and ways to optimise the system.
  • One Page Solo Engine (drivethru link, free) has a page of simple tables, a page of notes and a page of extra generators. It's my current oracle for offline solo play. As mentioned in comments, One Page Solo Engine has apps for Android and iOS.
  • Tilt (link to paid drivethru pdf. Is also on itch) is an oracle with a different take. It has a simple yes/no system with fairly static odds, and ways to interact with the setting and game system to shift those odds. The last method is an ideas system using fiction related to the genre of your game (a summary in blog post reviewing Tilt)
  • Solo Titles of Parts Per Million (link to drivethru publisher). This publisher has solo oracles/systems for many rpgs/settings, most of which are light-weight. Including 13th Age, Tales from the Loop, Fate, Blades in the Dark and Maze Rats. As mentioned in ocmments, these titles use the mechanics of the target system and dice (fate/fudge dice for FATE)

Day 9 - RPGs Specifically Written for Solo Play

Any RPG can be played solo, but some are written specifically for Solo Play.

  • Ironsworn (free pdf on drivethru link) is a solo game (playable in co-op or GM mode) of low fantasy where plot and character progression revolves around iron vows. A PbtA (powered by the apocalypse) game. Ironsworn Delve (drivethru link) deals with dungeon delving for Ironsworn
  • The Wretched (drivethru link) is a solo journaling rpg where you are the last survivor on the star-ship Nostromo. And you have problems to deal with. Loot the Room has several other solo rpgs (itch link) such as the Assassin and One Endless Night
  • Scarlet Heroes (drivethru link) is an OSR built for one-to-one play (so solo too) from the author of Stars without Number and Worlds without Number. It is also built to take those solo games into any published adventure.
  • Marching Order (company site link) is a dungeon delve for solo/co-op with 112 page rulebook.
  • Starforged (drivethru link) is a sci-fi based solo (co-op/GM) game, building on Ironsworn (so also a PbtA game).
  • Rangers of Shadow Deep (drivethru link) is a solo (and co-op) minis game where you are a ranger holding back the evils engulfing a fantasy kingdom. The same publishers also have Five Parsecs from Home (galactic trailblazers wargame)

Day 10 - Solo Tools Specific to D&D 5E

For many D&D 5e is their game of choice, or the only RPG they know. And therefore the easy choice for a solo game.

Free Resources

  • Donjon has a 5e Random Dungeon Generator with map and basic encounters. As well as many other 5e specific generators
  • Nerzugal's Dungeon Master Toolkit (dm's guild) is a pay-what-you-want resource of 100+ pages of magic items, dungeons, puzzles, one-shots and dungeon maps. Not specific to solo but still useful.
  • The Lone Adventurer is a podcast using D&D 5E & Mythic. Useful for seeing how someone else does solo using 5e.
  • First Blush (dm's guild) is a pay-what-you-want adventure meant for 1 player and 1 DM, so is also suited for solo play. Part of a series of 3
  • Dungeons and Djinn (dm's guild) has a series of pay-what-you-want random tables, including encounters, npcs and random insults.
  • The Monsters Know What they Are Doing is a blog giving optimal monster combat tactics for 5e. This is useful for solo play to give guidelines to monster actions. Available as a paid book called the Monsters Know What They Are Doing.
  • DM Heroes has an npc / character generator with a portrait using dnd 5e races (except dragonborn)
  • Codex Nomina has a Character Name Generator for D&D with many D&D races
  • A Guide on Random Generators for D&D I wrote at Rand Roll including sections for characters, dungeons, treasure, npcs and encounters.

Paid Resources

Future Months of Gens

I'll be doing more of these in the future. Still deciding what the next one will be.