Solo RPGs are a great way to get your roleplaying fix without gathering a group. Some dice or a deck of cards can be all you need to play a compelling game, no GM or other players needed. A little alone time can be a wonderful thing, so we’re here to recommend the best solo RPGs to help you tell unique stories.
There are plenty of reasons to give the best single-player RPGs a try. Perhaps you’re struggling to gather a tabletop RPG group for a full DnD campaign and want to play without the stress of scheduling.
Perhaps you’ve enjoyed CRPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3 but want a more analogue experience, or maybe you just want to stretch your creative writing muscles. Whatever the reason, you should check out the solo RPGs below.
The best solo RPGs in 2023 are:
Thousand Year Old Vampire
Thousand Year Old Vampire lets you play pretend as a blood-sucking beast, both blessed and cursed to live long past mortal years. Using a d6 and a d10, you advance through a series of random prompts, documenting your vampire’s dark deeds.
Memories fade and scars still burn after centuries on Earth, and you’ll slowly map out a tragic journey where an individual gradually loses all ties to their humanity. The whole thing drips with atmosphere and Gothic sentiment. And if you’ve got the cash to splash on a physical copy, this is one of the most gorgeous solo RPGs we’ve ever seen.
Be Like a Crow
Price: $7.50 (or $15 physical)
Recently nominated for ‘Best Roleplaying Game’ at 2023’s UK Games Expo, Be Like a Crow transforms you into a cunning corvid. Choose whether to become a crow, magpie, or jackdaw – and then choose whether you spread your wings over an urban, gothic, or cyberpunk landscape. This is a journalling game that gives you plenty of replayability and choice over what kind of campaign you play.
Be Like a Crow uses a deck of cards to determine the random scenarios you encounter. It offers a character sheet that tracks your crow’s progress (and even offers level-ups), as well as hex maps to track how and where your crow flies. This is a game of exploration that encourages you to look at the world around you (real and fictional) from a new perspective.
Gentleman Bandit turns you into a Dick-Turpin-type highwayman, known for accosting the wealthy on lonely roads and robbing them blind. You also have the heart of an artist, though, and you’re in the process of crafting a poem that captures your legacy. Using a deck of playing cards and an optional six-sided die, Gentleman Bandit helps you produce that very poem.
Gentleman Bandit is a highly thematic game that gives a unique spin to the journaling RPG genre. This is also one solo RPG we recommend that has a great multiplayer mode. Gentleman Bandit cleverly adopts the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ poetic form to allow multiple writers to work on a poem.
Alone Among the Stars
Price: Pay what you feel
If you enjoy dwelling on the wonders of space, Alone Among the Stars has got you covered. It’s only four pages long, but these simple rules provide the building blocks for a truly captivating journaling experience. Plus, it’s available at a ‘pay what you want’ price.
Hop between planets meeting other beings and exploring different biomes. Ponder the thrill, hope, or loneliness of leaving the world you knew. Play until you reach a natural stopping point, then return home with your stories in tow.
You can buy Alone Among the Stars at the No Road Home Itch.io page.
Price: $5 on Itch.io
If horror is more your thing, The Machine is all about death and obsession. Your character is mysteriously compelled to build a machine – an ultimately impossible task, but one your character is prepared to do anything to achieve. The results of your futile efforts are dark and despairing.
The Machine does a lot with a little, offering minimalistic rules that create a creative and atmospheric journaling experience. Plus, when your character meets their untimely end, you’re encouraged to mail the journal you wrote in to a friend – who then becomes the next character compelled to work on The Machine.
Need more tabletop recommendations? We’ve plenty to say about the best board games in the tabletop space, and we can help you choose the best DnD classes and Pathfinder classes for your next multiplayer RPG session.