Table of Contents
- Space matters
- Playing on PC
- Setup 1: Foundry VTT with Mythic GME Tools (Paid – Easy)
- Setup 2: All-in-One with Obsidian (Free – Challenging)
- Setup 3: Play anywhere with Espanso (Paid – Challenging)
- Setup 4: Practical with OneNote and Owlbear Rodeo (Free – Easy)
- Setup 5: Whiteboard with Miro or Excalidraw (Free – Easy)
- Setup 6: Play with indie Multiplatform WebApps (Free – Easy)
- Playing on Mobile
- Digital Writing and World Building
- Playing Pen and Paper
- Other cool Software
- RPG Tips Obsidian Goodies for Solo RPG
- Espanso and PlayBTW (Oracles and dice everywhere)
- Online Solo Roleplaying Toolkit (Tayruh’s WebApp)
- Dice 3D 7pixels (Dice Rolling on all platforms)
- MechaKeys (Mechanical Keyboard Sounds)
- Tabletop Audio (Music and Sound Effects for RPGs)
- Inkarnate (Fantasy map making tool)
- Other Tutorials and Guides
Believe it or not, the space to play Solo RPG is a fundamental factor to enjoying the experience. Despite some people playing from the car, from a phone, from work or from an underground room, all of them make up for the setup and the experience.
In my opinion, playing Solo should be done in a safe place, from the standpoint of comfort, privacy and light.
The setup is not only the physical place, it is also the mood, the sound, the surrounding books, or the applications you use. Regardless of the format in which you play, the setup is the feel from where you are playing. Let’s take a look at different setup configurations and how each of them can be great.
Playing on PC
In this section I can help a lot, because this is how I play. I don’t have much room in my desk, but I have a large monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and some big headsets for music. We are faced with a challenge, with so much power in front of us, what do we do next?
The following setups are just combination suggestions. Feel free to combine them however you prefer 🙂
Setup 1: Foundry VTT with Mythic GME Tools (Paid – Easy)
Foundry VTT is a virtual tabletop application like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds or Owlbear Rodeo. The biggest difference from others, is that Foundry is self-installed. That means you download the program, and for friends to play with you, you have to host it yourself, or pay a hosting service. Once you purchase Foundry, it is yours forever, no fees.
For Solo or LAN with your family, you just double-click on the launcher and play. Your content will be saved on your computer, and it is privately installed in your PC. Works offline too.
You can install systems, like Dungeon and Dragons, Pathfinder or FATE. With modules (like plugins) you can have more features. One of them is my own: Mythic GME Tools comes with everything you need to automate your solo game with Mythic Game Master Emulator.
In Foundry, you can create and play with Random Tables, Combat Maps, Music and journals for world building. Everything with a simple click. With modules, you can quick search content and very easily automate your favorite RPG systems with their character sheets and macros. Alternatively, check Roll20 which is free and also supports several systems and Mythic.
Pros: Automate everything. Even character sheet mechanics. Play combat. Music. Journals. Yours.
Cons: Not free. Takes time to configure and get used to. Has many secrets and modules.
Setup 2: All-in-One with Obsidian (Free – Challenging)
Read the Obsidian guide article HERE
Obsidian is a note-taking application that works completely offline. You save your work in what are called Vaults and within, you have the full power of writing down everything you want. It comes with powerful keyboard shortcuts that very easily let you connect notes with one another, and automatically generate mind maps for you. Markdown is a plain text format in which you write and simply with the keyboard you format the text, such as titles and bullet points.
Check out this repository of RPG Tips (an amazing source of YouTube material for solo) with further tips and content for playing in Obsidian.
The Dice Roller plugin will show and include 3D Dice Rolling within Obsidian, which you install as a Community Plugin within the software itself. This setup takes a bit more of research and reading until you get used to it, but the more you invest in it, the more productive and powerful you’ll be. Check this video for an example.
Pros: Offline. Your files are your own. Your data as well. All platforms supported.
Cons: Takes time to get used to, configure and learn its secrets.
Setup 3: Play anywhere with Espanso (Paid – Challenging)
If you would like to be able to roll dice from anywhere in your PC, be it your Blog, on a browser, Microsoft Word, Notepad or any other, then Espanso is a tool that will replace a shortcut “keyword” with an output. Normally, it would require some coding, but I have taken the effort of compiling an Espanso configuration that brings those keywords for you. With “Play by the Writing” you can roll dice and play either One Page Solo Engine or Plot Unfolding Machine systems.
Setup 4: Practical with OneNote and Owlbear Rodeo (Free – Easy)
Owlbear Rodeo is a minimalistic Virtual Tabletop. It comes with a nice 3D Dice Roller, and some basic functionalities to place tokens and map images. It is light on hardware resources and runs on the browser. No registration required!
Notion is a powerful visual note-taking application that took some RPG approach spring since Sly Flourish approach to preparing game sessions and world building with it. Your data is stored online so you don’t have to take care of files.
Alternatively, OneNote is Microsoft note-taking software. You can use it on a browser or download the client. If you like dark themes (and want to take care of your eyes), I believe dark mode can only be turned on in the Desktop app. Its advantages are direct cloud synchronization (so you never lose your notes) and flexibility (mix in text, tables and images).
Pros: Access them anywhere. Never lose data. Quite powerful for world building.
Cons: Needs Internet. Character Sheets in either Form-Fillable PDF or printed on your desk.
Setup 5: Whiteboard with Miro or Excalidraw (Free – Easy)
These are collaborative whiteboard internet applications. Very intuitive, and you can be pretty much free-form over there. You can even paste character sheet PDFs, make adventure layouts with arrows and colors, paste parts of books, random tables or cheatsheets, images or write text in sticky notes. It will be automatically stored for you on the web. It also has a desktop client you can download.
Pros: Extremely intuitive pen and paper like experience. Can play with Friends.
Cons: Needs Internet. Does not have dice roller (You can use owlbear.rodeo or roll dice on your desk)
Setup 6: Play with indie Multiplatform WebApps (Free – Easy)
What’s good about these is that they were designed from the get-go for playing Solo RPG, so they provide a bunch of given and hand-picked oracles. All you need on top is somewhere to write down your games!
Playing on Mobile
Assistant for Mythic
If you like playing with Mythic GM Emulator, this one in Android works pretty well!
One Page Solo Engine Online
For those who use or like the One Page Solo Engine emulator, the creator has made an App and a WebApp that works on all platforms, including Android and App Store
Solo Roleplaying Toolkit
This WebApp contains multiple oracles in a very simple manner, and can copy outputs to clipboard.
Online Game Master’s Apprentice Cards
This WebApp contains multiple oracles in the form of cards. It can work very well for pretty much everything.
Adventuresmith for Android
Adventuresmith randomly generates elements for tabletop RPGs — names, spells, items, monsters, characters, alien worlds, etc. Most generators are system-neutral, and can be used to add flavor to almost any tabletop RPG.
Digital Writing and World Building
Here, I can recommend either of two alternatives, depending on the power features you need.
|Powerful||Obsidian||Extremely versatile Markdown editor. Has plugins. Needs manual syncing.|
|Flexible||Notion||What you see is what you get. Straight forward formatting. Syncs on the cloud.|
|Simple||Simplenote||Free. Syncs on the Cloud. As simple as it can get.|
|Mobile||Evernote||Specialized and experienced in Mobile. Feature-rich|
|Just works||OneNote||Just works. Access everywhere. Free-form editing.|
|World building||World Anvil or Legend Keeper||Paid but feature-rich tools specifically meant for building worlds and sharing them with others.|
|Freeform Visual||Excalidraw or Miro||Paste images, draw, link things together, use sticky notes and more.|
Playing Pen and Paper
Let’s take a look at some examples and briefly analyze them.
Oracle as Cards, Adventure Crafter and Dice
Mythic Game Master Emulator also comes in the form of cards. You draw cards, and you take answers to your questions.
The Adventure Crafter is a booklet (about 30 pages?) that helps you create either entire adventures or plot hooks, based on your theme of choice (Social, Personal, Action, Horror, etc.).
The journal taking is handwritten on blank pages. There are no signs of an RPG game. Consider, some players play solo without an RPG! You can always say, “I attack him!. Do I Hit?” Yes/No should get you going.
Hybrid Pen and Paper, and Tablet
Digital content usually holds the advantage when it comes to the amount of information we can have access to, without having to print down everything.
Having certain random tables or content generators in digital form, while still having pen and paper on the core of the game, can be quite convenient!
This player writes Oracle questions and Solo rules within brackets, and summarizes combat in nice tables. Cool!
Other inspiring setups, light, space and music
A printer at hand, headsets, books, and tons of printed random tables. Cards as the Mythic Oracle and MÖRK BORG as the RPG.