Tabletop roleplaying games in 140 characters or less.
One Tweet RPGs (@OneTweetRPGs) is a Twitter account I created to write and share simple RPGs, especially those ideas that seem like fun to try, but don’t necessarily call for a lot of formal explanation.
One of the great things about tabletop roleplaying is how players can bend, add or ignore the rules of any game to suit their style and the needs of their story. Some of these one-tweet games will provide more details than others, but, due to their short length, they’ll often need the players to fill in a few blanks. That’s a good thing, in my experience. Players can feel free to interpret these rules in whatever way is the most fun and makes the most sense for them. Put a few together; tweak the numbers; change the subject matter; combine them with a larger system: it’s all fair game. I look forward to hearing how people build upon these “starters” or “prompts,” as one might call them.
Everything posted on One Tweet RPGs falls under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Basically, this means you’re free to share, adapt, and build upon these rules however and wherever you’d like, as long as you give credit where appropriate (either to the account or to whomever the account retweeted) and you don’t try to make money off of them. This also means that, even if our “official” posts are eventually published commercially, those submitted by other users will not be included without permission from those users, so your ideas will be safe here, too.
For your convenience, below is a glossary of terms you may find on One Tweet RPGs.
- (x)d(y) – An abbreviation indicating which dice should be rolled to determine what will happen in a game. Here, “d” is short for “die/dice,” “y“ refers to the number of faces on the die (for example, “d6” refers to a six-sided die) and “x” refers to how many dice should be rolled (for example, “2d6” means, “two six-sided dice”). When no number is listed before “d(y),” it should always be read as 1d(y). The result of the roll, unless otherwise specified, is the sum of all numbers facing upward after the dice have been rolled.
- Ability – An action able to be performed by a player character (PC). Sometimes specific to that PC—in other words, not all abilities can be used by all PCs. A “single-use” or “one-use” ability can be used by the PC only one time, and then it is unavailable for the rest of the game unless there are ways to get it back. Abilities should not be confused with “skills,” though an ability may be attached to a particular skill, depending on the game.
- Crit/critical – A particularly spectacular success or failure. In addition to the expected positive or negative effects of a successful or failed roll, respectively, the rules or GM may call for an extra bonus or complication to be applied on a critical roll result. A critical failure is also sometimes called a “fumble.”
- dF – A “Fudge” or “Fate” die (named for the games that primarily use them). These are six-sided dice which have two sides marked with a minus (-) symbol, two sides with a plus (+) symbol, and two blank sides. Each dF can roll -1 (minus side), 0 (blank side), or +1 (plus side). If no dFs are available, a d6 can be substituted; simply assign each of the three possible results to two pre-determined faces on the d6. As with (x)d(y) notation (see above), when a player is meant to roll multiple dFs, it may be written (x)dF, where x equals the number of dice.
- Freestyle – This means that the game’s setting, the scenario, the way characters are created, and pretty much anything else that’s not explained in the tweet is up to the group to decide. This is actually implied in the vast majority of the rules posted here, but, when space allows and the designer intends for the game to be open in this way, “freestyle” will be included explicitly. If you’re stuck, try borrowing ideas from another game you’ve already played.
- GM – Game master; also known in some games a dungeon master (DM). This is the member of the group who is running the game for the rest of the players. Each player typically controls only one player character; the GM controls everyone and everything else in the game world and helps to tell the story the players are playing through.
- GM-less – This means the game is meant to be played without a game master (GM). The players are collectively responsible for moving the story forward through the actions of their characters and by offering ideas and asking questions about everything else going on in the game world. In a GM-less game, consider yourself half-GM, half-player.
- NPC – Non-player character. The opposite of a player character (PC), these are the characters within the game world that are not controlled by any given player. The game master (GM) will usually control all the NPCs in the game: friend, foe, or neutral.
- Obstacle – A number set by the game master (GM) which the player must match or exceed (or go under, depending on the game) with a dice roll in order to succeed at their desired action.
- Opponent – The player character (PC) or non-player character (NPC) against whom a player is rolling their dice in a versus (VS) roll.
- PC – Player character. This is a character/protagonist/avatar representing a player within the game world. Usually, each player will control one PC and will roleplay as that character whenever appropriate.
- Phys-rep – Physical representation. Many tabletop RPGs use maps, tokens and other such implements to provide a physical “game board” for players to interact with, especially combat-heavy games where movement and range-finding are important. Most of the games posted here do not require physical representation (though players are welcome to add it, if they wish), only mentioning the concept when offering an alternative to the more traditional maps experienced role-players may be familiar with.
- Player – A person playing the game. This usually excludes the game master (GM), who is running the game for the other players. Should not be confused with a player character (PC), though they tend to be closely connected.
- Roll high – When rolling their dice, the player wants to roll higher numbers than their opponent or obstacle to succeed.
- Roll low – When rolling their dice, the player wants to roll lower numbers than their opponent or obstacle to succeed.
- RP – Roleplay. Usually telling the player which character(s) they should control within the game world.
- Skill – A single skill or a category of skills usable by a player character (PC) or non-player character (NPC). Depending on the game, there will sometimes be a dice value or some other number attached to a skill to indicate how proficient the character is at using the skill. Sometimes listing a skill simply indicates the character is “allowed” to use it, especially if it’s uncommon or difficult. This is often the case when there is not a set list of skills assigned to all characters, or when the game assumes most characters can do just about anything that makes sense—this is ultimately decided by the game master (GM).
- Success/succeed – When a player declares what action they want their player character (PC) to perform, the game master (GM) may ask them to roll dice to see if they can perform the action successfully. If they beat the obstacle or their opponent’s roll, the GM will usually interpret the result as a success, meaning the PC’s action is carried out as the player intended.
- VS – Versus; sometimes this just means “against.” Usually mentioned in the context of a dice roll, this means that any parties involved in a conflict should each roll their own dice and compare the results to one another. The game master (GM) will interpret the results based on the rules of the game; usually, the highest roll wins.