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5 Tabletop RPGs You Can Play Without a Game Master

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Just about everyone would enjoy the chance to play a tabletop RPG. They’re an incredibly fun experience for everyone.

However, the issue with tabletop RPGs is that someone needs to be the game master. This is a completely different experience from being a player. It can be incredibly fun and rewarding to be the game master, but some groups just can’t find someone to step up and take on the role.

Thankfully, there are some really solid RPGs out there that you can play with just a group of players. That’s right, no dungeon master required!

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1. Fiasco

Fiasco - Gen Con 2019

Fiasco is a game that has generated quite a bit of hype, and for good reason. The GM-less RPG has interesting mechanics that are all about small-time capers gone disastrously wrong.

You can get everything you need to play Fiasco Classic on DriveThruRPG for $12, which is pretty cheap. You can also grab a physical copy on Amazon if you prefer to go that way.

2. Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest #1 | The Trojan Goat

Goblin Quest is definitely not a serious game, but it’s definitely fun. It’s all about slapstick violence as the goblins you’re playing meet their end. Of course, if the dice are friendly, you might actually survive, but don’t get your hopes up.

You can purchase a digital copy of the game on Itch.io for $15. If you want to get a physical copy of the book, you can do so on Amazon for a little bit more.

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3. Universalis

Augusta Universalis RPG - The Ruleset

If you want a GM-less RPG that has super deep mechanics, Universalis is perfect for you. The game first came out in 2002 and it’s still pretty popular today. It’s a game that’s primarily focused around actually creating the setting and world as you play, which is quite different from most tabletop RPGs. It gives every player the power to create the world, rather than game master doing all the designing.

You can buy the PDF of Universalis from Indie Press Revolution for $10, which is pretty cheap for such a deep game. Amazon has you covered for physical copies if that’s your thing, but it’s going to cost a more.

4. Downfall

Downfall – example of play

Downfall is a game that’s all about examining how something fails due to a flaw. A group will build and destroy a world over the course of a 2-4 hour session, and in doing so, they’ll actually feel some pretty serious emotions about the kingdom. Additionally, the game is versatile, so it can be played in any setting, so if you want to play a sci-fi RPG, a modern RPG, or anything else, it can handle it.

You can purchase a PDF from developer Less Than Games’ website. The company’s website also offers physical copies of the book, or you can go to Amazon for your physical copy needs.

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5. Microscope

Microscope - Board Game Session with High Level Games

Microscope is a fun game that’s actually somewhat similar to Downfall. It’s about exploring long periods of time in a single session of gameplay without a DM. It’s not so much about destruction, though. You’ll be hopping through time out of chronological order, which is quite an interesting way to make the game stand out from the crowd. You won’t need to waste hours preparing, as you can just hop in and play.

You can find Microscope on Lame Mage’s website in PDF or physical book form. It’s also available on Amazon if you prefer to shop there.

No More DM Preparation!

As someone who’s done some game mastering, let me tell you that it’s super rewarding, but incredibly time consuming. These games throw all that preparation out the window and let you and your friends jump in and play. No one has to take the responsibility—everyone can play and have a good time!

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1 Comment

  1. Brb gonna get microscope with prime. Great recomendations

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