Top 10 RPGs Without GM

Traditionally, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons have each player take on the role of a single character, while one player is the dungeon master, game master, narrator, or entertainer. This player usually has a greater sense of authorship of the game world, plays just about every other character, and sets the broad outlines of the story. However, there are many games that break down the boundary between player and GM, inviting all players to share roles equally.

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Sometimes in these games everyone plays a single character and builds the story collaboratively, while other times players work together to tell a larger story, in and out of one character at a time. given. These games are great for nights out when the whole party can’t come, or to help create a shared sense of belonging within a game setting.

ten Fiasco provides an excellent setting for chaotic stories


fiasco game logo

One of the most popular non-GM games of all time, Fiasco by Bully Pulpit Games is “a game about powerful ambition and poor impulse control”. Players work together to build a cast of characters with complicated needs and relationships, then take turns improvising scenes to watch those characters’ lives spin out of control. Fiasco’The strength of s lies in its structure, as it is cleanly divided into two acts, with two scenes per player per act. Players who might feel somewhat intimidated by the idea of ​​delivering a completely on-site story will find a nice support structure in Fiasco.

9 Firebrands games keep the action rolling


Mf0 brand cover

With their sci-fi game Mobile Frame Zero: Brandons, D. Vincent and Meguey Baker created a framework that would go on to be used in dozens of non-GM games. These games, brought together under the “Firebrands framework”, use a series of mini-games to tell stories about people with incredibly strong beliefs who collide head-on. Some standouts of the genre include dragon hearts, about mystical dragons, The king is dead, on a fractured realm, and We have become sea birds, about the birds that may or may not be the souls of deceased sailors.


8 Across the endless sea, it’s a magical journey


through endless sea rpg coverage

Inspired by works like CS Lewis Dawn Drader’s Journey and Ursula K. LeGuin’s A magician from Earthsea, Through the endless sea by Games From the Wild Wood tells the story of a group of people who take a fantastic journey across a vast ocean. Each player is responsible for detailing an aspect of the people, be it their sharp eyes, strong hands, or wild heart. In addition, each player plays a facet of the endless sea, such as the weather, the inhabitants or the islands. The game is woven with common patterns and themes, guiding players effortlessly to tell an incredible story.


7 For The Queen guides players through story creation


for queen logo

One of many non-GM games that spawned an entire genre, For the Queen has players taking on the role of courtiers and followers in the company of a powerful queen as she travels to a distant land to negotiate an alliance.

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Maps are drawn from a shared deck to help players create the story in real time, with no preparation required. Other games have used this structure, many of which are compiled on a site called For The Drama.


6 Dusk To Midnight is about soldiers on the losing side


from dusk till midnight by riley rethal title image

This game tells the story of mecha pilots dealing with the fallout of a failed war. Like many non-GM games, it takes place in a series of scenes, with a predetermined number at the start of the game. Each character in From dusk to midnight by Riley Rethal has stats reflecting their relationship to warfare, their robot, and their personal skills, as well as their fellow pilots. The game ends with the pilots completing their “Resolve” or “Disillusion” track, reflecting a decision to engage in war or succumb to doubt, respectively.


5 Dialect tells stories about language


the dialect is my alarm clock among leaves and feathers

With some of the finest artwork around, Dialect by Thorny Games is a delight to read, let alone play. It guides players through the story of an isolated group of people, telling their story by developing their fictional language.

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At the end of the story, something will happen to the isolation to shatter, scatter, or destroy them, leaving their language only in the player’s mind. There are several different scenarios to play out, from boarding school students to internet communities to Martian explorers, making sure that Dialect can be played over and over again.


4 The quiet year and the deep forest are mapping games


The Quiet Year Windmill Drawing

Avery Alder The Quiet Year and The deep forest are two deeply related games, as the latter exists in response to the former. The Quiet Year is a mapping game that tells the story of a year in the life of a community escaping the collapse of its civilization. With a deck of 52 cards representing the 52 weeks of a year, players are guided through the events of four full seasons. The deep forest is a kind of inversion, as it tells the story of traditional fantasy “monsters” in the year after they have succeeded in ousting human adventurers from their lands. Both of these games are great ways to create worlds for future games, but they’re just as valuable as standalone stories.




3 The floor itself is a story of place


the ground itself cover rpg

GM-free games are often lauded for the fact that they can be played with little to no preparation, which The ground itself by Everest Pipkin takes it to the extreme. This game tells the story of a place, regardless of who or what might (or might not) live there. One of the first things the group does is determine by random dice roll whether the story will take place over a few days or a few thousand years. This single roll of the dice will drastically alter the flow of the game, making it a completely unpredictable experience.


2 Mage Against The Machine hits players where it hurts


Mage versus machine giant robot eye with helpers

The rules for Mage versus machine by Jordan Palmer only takes up six pages, but this game really packs a punch. Players are wizards tasked with traveling through time to prevent a robotic apocalypse before it happens. To begin, players each write down a series of memories that are deeply important to their character.

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Most of the game involves traveling to important locations on the timeline and rolling dice to determine the group’s success. At the end of the game, players must use the information obtained in the last stage to determine if their original memories remain intact in the new timeline. This structure has the potential to create some truly heartbreaking moments, though it’s exceptionally simple and easy to pick up.


1 I’m sorry I said that Street Magic helps build a city


i'm sorry did you say street magic heron at a bus stop

GM-free games are great for building a collaborative world, whether as a standalone activity or in service of future games. by Caro Aserción i’m sorry did you say street magic The group works together to build a vibrant and bustling city by creating neighborhoods, landmarks, and residents, as well as short scenes and events in those locations. It features sleek rules complemented by beautifully surreal artwork and an easy-to-read layout, making it perfect for picking up and playing anytime.

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