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Free Solo Pen-and-Paper Roleplaying Games

April 6, 2020

Here are two free, low-barrier roleplaying games that can be enjoyed solo or with family and friends.

Ironsworn: A Tabletop RPG of Perilous Quests by Shawn Tomkin

Ironsworn is a gamemaster-less, storytelling rpg that features an ingenious system for determining your successes and failures. The consequences of your dice rolls are improvised so just start playing and go to town, or ummm, cursed village as the case may be. The rules are streamlined and modular. They can be easily tweaked for players of all ages. The game's prefab setting is grimy low fantasy à la Game of Thrones, but a quick method to figure out how whimsical you want your world to be is included. The no gamemaster feature is appealing during a quarantine, but Ironsworn can be played like a traditional rpg with a gamemaster running a predetermined campaign if that's how you, ummm, roll.

D100 Dungeon: A Solo Adventure Game by Martin Knight

If you want something you can play solo, but with a little more structure look no further than D100 Dungeon by Martin Knight. Create a character and roll two d10s to find out what dangers lurk in the next room of the dungeon. D100 Dungeon will procedurally generate a gnarly dungeon for you to hack through. At the end of every game you will have made a hand drawn dungeon map to call your own. Don't be intimidated by the size of the book. All those pages are just the many rooms you can roll up.

If you don't have dice just go here: Roll A Die, or you use a dice rolling app. Choose one that respects your privacy like one of these.

If you want to take your game to the next level and play online with friends, check out these free online gaming platforms: Roll20 and Astral Virtual Tabletop. They both offer video chat and robust game tools like character sheets and interactive maps.

Game on!



Bryan is a librarian at Nashville Public Library. Bryan enjoys board games, bikes, and free software. His only star is Trek.