Tools, oracles, resources and systems for solo rpgs. This is a big topic so starting with some simple lists.
Disclaimer. I'm an affiliate for DM's Guild and DriveThru RPG. I also create a lot of products with random tables on DM's Guild..
Solo RPGs is the art of playing a tabletop roleplaying game on your own. You are player, games master, worldbuilder, narrator and audience. Some like to journal, some like to play their favourite RPG, some try out new RPGs. Others play RPGs specific to solo play, adventure gamebooks or a lightweight RPG. I'm currently working my way through various British RPGs, old and new.
There is a companion article to this with a Guide to Solo PDFs for Solo RPGs (including a section on free titles)
Oracles and Emulators
Many people use Gamemaster emulators and oracles to help them out.
- Solo Engine has quests, oracles, NPCs, locations, traps and combat foes
- WebGM, which is open source, so you can join in the contributions. It has quick options for rolling dice and all kinds of elements in a game (names, animals, events etc)
- RPG Solo has oracles, different genres and lots of buttons for getting answers to questions. Plus a mobile version
- Soloist is a game assistant also has generators for names, characters and adventure seeds.
- GM's Apprentice gives lots of information (dice rolls, odds, events, senses, icons) at once, refreshing all on a re-roll. Plus more gens for oracles, urban, npc, trap etc
- Zero Dice can roll dice to give results in images, playing cards, runes, d6, d10 and fate dice.
- RanDM Solo supports a lot of oracle engines but has a very basic interface.
PDFs for Solo RPGs
There are many systems and tools for solo, and the ones here are taken from Random Table PDFs for Playing Solo RPGs.
- Mythic Game Master Emulator Second Edition from Word Mill is the most the most recent version of the most known emulator. The Mythic GM Emulator 1st edition is also still available, but older, shorter and cheaper.
- Ironsworn from Shawn Tomkin is one of the best known solo games (and free! in pdf form), where the narrative is pushed forward by powerful vows made by the protagonist(s).
- From Larcenous Designs are the GM's Apprentice Decks (base deck linked). There are several variants including fantasy and sci-fi.
- The Solo Games Masters's Guide from Mophidius has advice on how to play RPGs solo, from reading oracle results to examples and random tables.
- Four Against Darkness from Ganesha Games is a solitaire dungeon-delving game where you control a party of four adventurers.
- For a pay-what-you-want journalling option, Quill from Trollish Delver Games is "A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player", exploring an rpg world through writing.
Podcasts and video are great ways to see/hear how others do solo gaming, and to see particular games in action.
These three are taken from the Solo Actual Play Podcasts, which has more to choose from
- Me, Myself and Die (YouTube link) with Trevor Duvall is also a podcast. Each season covers a different game, including so far Savage Worlds, Ironsworn, Dominion Rules and 5 Parsecs from Home.
- Errant Adventures with Steve Morrison is a solo campaign starting with Starforged in Season 1. (link varies with podcast app)
- Sub-Class Act is a playthrough of shortish campaigns and one-shots using a variety of systems, oracles and resources. (link varies with podcast app)
Ironsworn is a popular solo game, as the original rules in pdf format are free. Ironsworn Oracles at Perchance has many generators in one place for Ironsworn. Then there is a list of Ironsworn Play Aids over at Chartopia, with many tables from the books added to automated random tables. Slightly different are the Ironsworn Move Cards, breaking down the game into easy to manage sections.
For Ironsworn oracles, there is the Ironsworn Companion, a tracker and generator hosted at github. Iron Journal is another tracker and oracle for Ironsworn, with sections for Truths, Characters, NPCs, Locations and Delves. There is also Ironwriter, which has a simpler interface. And the Ironsworn Assistant, with lots of info and tools in one place.
Generator Sites of Tools for Solo
A few popular site with gens useful for Solo Play include
- Ancient Quests for lots of gens in one location
- Chaotic Shiny for the sheer variety of gens
- Fantasy Name Generators to name anything in any genre.
- donjon for some of the best gens out there.