Roleplaying on the Road

So My Lovely Bride™ and I will be taking a series of road trips this year, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We will be spending many long hours driving through a variety of locales in the western United States, and while our primary activity will be sight-seeing, there will be times when I expect we will become quite… bored. So, with that in mind, I am coming up with something we can do to pass the time:


We are both veteran tabletop roleplayers, so the main issue becomes how do we play such a game safely while driving? Well, I have an idea, and it basically boils down to creating my own system. My plan is to basically borrow ideas from established games, while incorporating ideas of my own, to make a rules-light, diceless, player-facing RPG that does not require a GameMaster.

So the first part, being “Rules-Light” is a no-brainer. The idea is to not have to fumble around with a physical rulebook, or even a digital book on a phone or tablet. If at all possible, we can simply know what few rules there are in our heads. I am considering using a single “skill” check, like you see in “Eldritch Hack“, but without an actual score.

This is where a few ideas meld together, actually. My plan is to bring our “GameMaster’s Apprentice” cards along on the trip, which would serve as our Oracle (allowing us to function without a GM), and play in a diceless manner, using the cards for skill checks. The idea being that we will have an idea of what our characters can and cannot do in our heads, and if we want to try something we can do, we check against the “Good” odds. If we aren’t skilled with what we want to attempt, we check against “Even” odds. Lastly, if we are hampered in some way, we check against “Bad” odds.

This works out to “I want to try something, do I succeed?”, with a Yes or No result. There is also the “!” result that can modify the Yes or No answer, which indicates a Critical result.

Now, I did consider using the Difficulty Generator, but that would require us consulting character sheets, or keeping the character attributes in our heads, which I don’t like. Same for the Dice results on the GM Apprentice cards. They make for convenient diceless play, but still require shuffling through character sheets or keeping that info in our heads.

Anyway, the final point is keeping the game “Player-facing”, which is to say, the players do all of the checks. Since there would be no GM (unless I wanted to run something one-on-one with TenKnives, my sweetie, but I’d rather play, too), obviously the GM can’t check for attacks and such. Basically, we would just have to describe our actions, and come up with what happens next, and react appropriately.

Luckily, the GM Apprentice cards are really good at providing inspiration for solo and GM-less play. With its Random Event Generator, Sensory Snippets (I absolutely love those), Name generator, Catalysts, Virtues and Vices, and Locations, these all can provide plenty of inspiration for whatever game style you wish to play. The players would just take those bit of inspiration, and describe what they think might happen, based on what the cards told them. That is why I really like the Sensory options, as it gives you ideas as to what your character can see, feel, hear, and smell, which leads to excellent clues as to what might occur in a new scene.

This, my friends, is why I almost always use these card decks for my solo Actual-Play podcast, “The Worst Actual-Play Podcast Ever!” Just saying.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to perhaps killing many boring hours on the road this way, and maybe see if this becomes a bit of a habit for the two of us!

NOTE: Yes, I realize I just basically described playing a “Free Kriegsspiel Revolution” game, just in a diceless, GM-less manner. So not really a new system at all, but whatever…

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