Solo Roleplaying

The Fantasy Trip is a fantasy roleplaying game that was created way back in the late 1970s, back before the current solo roleplaying boom. Back then, “solo roleplaying” consisted of play-by-the-numbers adventures, that gave the players limited options and no real “roleplaying.”

The house rules below help fix that, with a way to play TFT without the numbered paragraphs–but without a GM. They are pretty rules lite, with only 3 tables for random outcomes, and each using 3d6. They do not include random encounter or monster tables–that is left up to you, based on your world or setting.

Setting the Scene

Like most solo games, my TFT solo rules are based around a storytelling concept of a scene. A scene can be anything–the classic tavern where an adventure is kicked off, a ruined castle dungeon entrance room–or the cavern where the dragon has its lair.

The scene has a name, purpose and some interesting details. For the name, make whatever you want up, just so you can identify it. For a scene’s purpose, choose from the Scene Table below, or roll 3d6 if you want some randomness. Then, pick some interesting details to go along with it–hidden doors, traps, monsters. The important thing is to make it dramatic, interesting and fun.

Scene Table

Roll Purpose Meaning
3-5 Reward The scene deals with the PCs receiving some form of benefit for a past action. This could be money, information, patronage or equipment.
6-7 Rest The scene deals with the PCs receiving a rest period to safely heal and recover.
8-9 Social The scene involves some form of social interaction with NPCs.
10-11 Travel The scene involves the PCs travelling from one location to another, or from the previous scene to the next.
12-13 Exploration The scene involves actual exploration of the unknown, either in a classic dungeon, ruins or other dangerous situation.
14-15 Challenge The scene involves some form of challenge. This could be a contest of will or skills with an NPC, a difficult hurdle to overcome or something like a trap to defuse or avoid.
16-18 Conflict The scene involves combat of some kind.

Ask the Oracle

Once the scene is set, play it out. Instead of asking a GM questions, form closed questions where the answer is in the form a yes or a no. Roll 3d6 on the Oracle Table below. The questions can be for information, or if some action was successful. If you would rather have a character roll against a skill or attribute, do that instead.

Oracle Table

Roll Answer
3-4 Yes, Interesting
5-6 Yes, And
7-8 Yes
9-10 Yes, But
11-12 No, But
13-14 No
15-16 No, And
17-18 No, Interesting

“Yes” and “No” are obvious answers. “Yes, And” and “No, And” are yes and no, but with more emphasis. “Yes, But” and “No, But” are yes and no, but mitigated. If the answer is “Yes, Interesting” or “No, Interesting,” that means some kind of plot twist happened–move on to the Interesting Table.

Well, That’s Interesting

If the Oracle table generates a “Yes, Interesting” or “No, Interesting” result, roll 3d6 on the Interesting Table below. This introduces surprises and unexpected changes in the scene or storyline as a result of some action by the PC(s). Feel free to roll on the Interesting Table whenever you want just to introduce a new element as well.

Interesting Table

Roll Result Meaning
3 Close thread This story thread is moved to closure or resolution.
4 To knowledge The PCs gain an important piece of knowledge.
5 Dramatic thread change The story thread changes in some important way.
6 Next scene has different thread The next scene must be about a different story thread.
7 Open new thread A new story thread is opened up.
8 Move to next scene The current scene has some action that leads to the next scene with the same story thread.
9 Positive for NPC Something good happens to an NPC.
10 Positive for PC Something good happens to a PC.
11 Negative for PC Something bad happens to a PC.
12 Negative for NPC Something bad happens to an NPC.
13 Move scene to next location The current scene is moved to a new location.
14 New NPC A new NPC is introduced.
15 NPC becomes central to main thread A new or existing NPC becomes central to the main story thread.
16 Big NPC change or move An NPC makes a big change to the story thread. This can happen in the scene or off and influence the adventure later–it is up to you.
17 To conflict Some form of combat begins. This should happen immediately. Make it interesting.
18 New threat A new threat is introduced to the PCs. This can be a dangerous NPC or monster, introduced immediately or at some point in the future.

Putting It All Together

So how does all of this work together? First, create a world or setting for your adventure to take place. This could be one of yours or from a published adventure.

Next, generate one or more characters to be your protagonists in the coming adventure. This would be done using TFT rules. The more information about the character you have, the more options you have for interesting story hooks.

Finally, create a story arc for the adventure. Create one yourself or use one of the many idea or story hook generators on the Interwebs. The story should have a main thread, connected by a series of scenes that can be played through to a conclusion.

You are now ready to use the rules above to play out the adventure. Play through each scene, either selecting from or rolling on the Scene Table, then using the Oracle Table to ask questions or perform actions. As the story progresses through the scenes, the Interesting Table will generate changes to the main story and introduce new story threads.

You do not have to document anything, but it is helpful to write down the story or events as it happens. This is good for remembering NPCs, documenting XP gained or generating story hooks for future adventures.

And that’s it. Play the game and let your imagination fill in the blanks. Any suggestions on how to improve these rules is greatly welcomed.