Single Protagonist RPGs

I’m looking for any games that have a single protagonist that may be rotated amongst the players. I’ve been contemplating a Forged in the Dark game that strongly mimics the Thief videogame series, as it has some wonderful lore for it and interesting factions. The concept is that the various roles are rotated amongst players and it’s GM-Less. Albeit the GM functions are split amongst the roles a player may have.

That said, I need to do more research, so I am looking for any suggestions on games with a single main protagonist that still have multiple players or those with a rotating GM role (like Crush the Rebellion or Cosmic Patrol)

I’ve more details of my ideas over on the Blades forum

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Lovecraftesque and Bleak Spirit.

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Cheat Your Own Adventure
Bluebeard’s Bride

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Maybe check out Ironsworn. It has GM-less play modes designed to create story through guided inspiration from rolling PBTA style moves. You could maybe adapt something like that for rotating GMs or playing shared characters within certain creative and mechanical constrains.

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I will - the issue with rotating for me is working out the timing of it. How much should be encouraged to be done when being the primary GM-type role, and when that should be passed on.

Downfall is a great example of this. There are three major characters: protagonist, antagonist, and the supporting character (though the in game terms are more specific) and the (exactly three) players rotate characters.

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Sounds perfect, thanks!

Parsely!

(Virtually useless for Thief, really, but single character, rotated among infinite players)

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I’ve played it, but really it’s a storytelling game as there’s very little playing of a role in it (in the RPG sense, as technically protagonist is a role). To me, It’s more like a pen&paper escape room.

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Valid! I like to think of the PC role as The Everythem.

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Heroine
Left Coast
Cthulhu Confidential has a single protagonist, but isn’t what you are looking for.

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There is a Fiasco playset where all the players play the same character from different points in time. Probably not what you’re looking for but worth mentioning for the general theme :slight_smile:

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Nice - turns out Heroine I already have (part of my vast and largely unread Drivethru library). I’ll look at the others

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Take a look at The Wizards Grimoire by Vincent Baker. One player plays the Wizard protagonist while 2 volunteers take on the role of GMs. Its a really neat piece of design! you can find it (and the game’s two sequels) on Vincent’s itch

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The Drifter’s Escape by Ben Lehman also uses a similar structure, where one player plays the protagonist and two players act as competing GMs (The Devil and The Man).

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For one of the 24 hour RPG design contests on the Geek I wrote Starring:, which has one player portraying the main character with the GM duties split up among the other players along (my very limited amateur understanding of) tv production lines - the casting agent plays all the NPCs, the director sets the scenes and gives direction, the props/SFX person describes what things look like etc.

It was an experiment and the game as it is is terrible, but perhaps that basic idea is of use to you.

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@Anders for a larp with a very similar idea of assigning different players different GM responsibilities I’d highly recommend checking out @jtreat3’s game Strange Gravity:

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Brian Engard’s Becoming saw a second edition this last year and is exactly what you’re looking for:

"Becoming is a game about heroism and sacrifice. It’s about what it takes to be a hero, what you have to give up in order to save the people important to you, and the home you have to leave behind. It’s about making hard choices in the face of relentless adversity, and it’s about giving up pieces of yourself in order to make sure you succeed.

In Becoming, one player takes on the role of the Hero: an individual marked by destiny or the will of the people or some other form of greatness, sent out into the world to do dangerous things in order to save people.

The other players take on the roles of the Fates: intangible, conceptual forces of malice and adversity, bent on taking everything from the Hero, maybe even making her become a villain.

The Hero goes on a Quest, and the Fates provide obstacles and conflict, as well hard bargains that the Hero must sometimes accept in order to push on. Sometimes those bargains cost her a lot, but what they cost her is usually more palatable than what she’ll lose if she falters."

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@shanel That looks pretty cool! If I ever get around to working on Starring: again I’ll have to check it out.

I made an RPG about ordinary people who suddenly get super powers. The mechanics are inspired by Polaris, so if you’ve played that you’ll find them quite familiar.

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