The Great American Novel, A Roleplaying Game

Nominated for Indie Groundbreaker Game of the Year and Best rules.

A tabletop roleplaying game focused on the characters, their interpersonal drama, and​ the conflicts that drive them. Designed to replicate an immersive literary experience where a character's journey drives the plot. As a framework, The Great American Novel RPG can be used for nearly any setting or genre.

The Great American Novel, A Roleplaying Game is a collaborative storytelling tabletop roleplaying game for 3 to 6 players that uses character-driven game play to create a literary experience for a variety of settings and genres.


The Great American Novel has three specific criteria for every Novel to create an experience resembling some of the best American literature:

  • Literary: Character-motivated stories that are focused on their interactions and personal journeys in a thoughtful way.

  • Realistic: Honestly depicts the characters, events, and history; use of magic and the supernatural are welcome, as long as these themes are also depicted honestly and realistically.

  • Americana: Situations and characters that are unique to the U.S., whether currently or historically.

Beyond this, it is entirely up to the table to determine what themes they would like to experience. These can be broadly-stroked ideas like “fall from grace,” or specific experiences like “loss of a family member.” They can also bring up a particular time period or genre “film noir” or “1960s counterculture.” They could be places “Jamestown” or events “The Battle of Bunker Hill.”

GAN uses a Powered by the Apocalypse approach to dice resolution, as well as featuring metacurrency mechanics and a story structure inspired by literature and featuring classic archetypes for presenting the sort of characters one can find throughout Americana.


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