What is a Solo Journaling RPG? (Plus a curated list!)

You’ve heard of Dungeons and Dragons and you’re definitely interested.

However, there may be a billion reasons why you can’t play. Maybe none of your friends are on board, or you’re shy. No matter what your reasons are, solo journaling RPGs are here to rescue you!

About Solo Journaling RPGs

A solo journaling RPG is an outline for your very own adventure, where you get to call the shots. How your game turns out is a product of the RPG blueprint you choose and your own imagination— no one else’s.

Often, the rulebooks are short zines, meaning you don’t have to pore over multiple books to learn how to play— you can get started in five minutes!

Some games are long-term and some are short-term. This means that some will be done in a single 30 minute session, while others may take months of work to complete. It’s up to you what kind you want to play!

Like more traditional group tabletop RPGs, there is often no winner and no loser. You play for the joy of creation and to see where the adventure ends up!

What You May Need:

-Notebook and pen/pencil. Most people who write solo journaling RPGs recommend going analog, but you also have the option to use a word processor or other text-based app.

-Dice. Many games use dice of varying types to add the same sense of the unexpected that accompanies a more traditional group tabletop RPG. (A random number generator will work for this too.)

-Deck of cards. Other games may use a deck of cards for random selection. Some may use tarot cards! (You can also use a random card generator found through a quick Google search.)

-Less than fifteen bucks. Most of the solo journaling RPGs I’ve come across are EXTREMELY budget-friendly. Price will be listed in my recommendations below!

Some Curated Recommendations

Here are some of the solo journaling RPGs out there that I personally want to play:

Over the Mountain

This one is the only one on this list that I have actually played and it is AMAZING. As an introduction to solo journaling RPGs, it’s a great place to start.

You play as someone in a small mountain town who has a secret. As that secret hangs over your head, you meet local people (and spirits!) of your own design and go on adventures.

This one is a lot longer than some other ones, as your goal is to fill up a notebook (whatever that means for you). Therefore, it will probably be played in multiple sessions over a span of time.

Price: Free

Strange Changeling Child

This pick is about something dear to my heart, the legend of faerie changelings and their relationship to what we now know is autism. It takes the form of an allegory, and you play as a changeling who goes through many of the same struggles that autistic people do.

Price: $8

Gender Bending Reflections

This one is a little different, in that you can use it to reach for insight on your real life. You play as yourself or a gender-bending character of your own creation and go through the highs and lows of figuring out your gender.

Price: Name Your Own

Cast a Queer Spell

In the world of this RPG, you are assigned a type of magic as soon as you are born. What happens when that’s not the type of magic you want to do? This one is another allegory that will probably prove to be very emotional for queer people.

Price: Name Your Own

Hearthfyre

Use a tarot deck to construct your adventure in this RPG, which deals with themes of found family. It only takes about an hour!

Price: Name Your Own

HAUNT

Play as a ghost who doesn’t remember anything about their life, and try to connect with the living family in the house that you haunt so you can finally move on.

Price: $12

Have you played a solo journaling RPG? Which one? Let me know in the comments below!

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