A downloadable tool for Windows and Linux

Buy Now3.00€ EUR or more

Play by the writing is a small application powered by Espanso that enables rolling dice, random tables, AI Play with ChatGPT (GPT-3 and GPT-4 AI by donating at least 5EUR), and some solo RPG systems directly when writing with your keyboard. Just write down the magic keywords (listed in the documentation) and they will be replaced with the result of such command.

For example, when you write down “:r2d6.", these characters will be replaced immediately by their result "2d6: 10", or writing ":qq" will return "Yes , obviously."

This will work anywhere in your entire PC, be it in your Blog, Discord, or a Notepad.

Check explanation video!


  • Powered by espanso, you can call these commands anywhere in your PC (Microsoft Word, Notepad, within a game, Foundry VTT, browser, literally anywhere) on Windows and Linux.
  • Roll dice very quickly with various expression types (exploding, advantage, FATE, etc.)
  • Prepare your random tables and lookup them very easily by listing all of them
  • Call solo RPG systems like Mythic, Plot unfolding machine and Game unfolding machine
  • Call AI ChatGPT (GPT-3 Davinci model, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4) from OpenAI immediately (Donate 5EUR or More to unlock the AI feature)
  • Once you purchase, you'll get updates FREE for ever, for this software
  • Safe package, also available as open source, but donations are welcome :)

How to use?

Installable Version

If you are Windows or Linux user, I have put the installable version available to download here on Itch.io - The price tag is to support me and my work.

To use it, you will have to install Espanso (free), and then run the installer available here, which will automatically point to your Espanso user folder, and run immediately.

Open Source Version

The installable is compilable from the source code available HERE. If you know some Python and want to fiddle with Espanso, you can find this program in there for FREE (The installable version is priced to justify the time it takes me to compile, build and make it installable)

Follow the instructions in BUILD.md to compile the Python scripts into an executable that you can run, then place the dist files inside Espanso user directory (not the install directory!). Placing the files on Espanso as from GitHub will NOT work. You have to compile this application first.

What is included?

What is inside?

  • Espanso’s files that make this application work with Espanso
  • An executable (Windows or Linux) that is run by Espanso to support advanced functions
  • Random Tables as included or used by any of the Play-btw modules
  • Instructions in PDF format (README, INSTALL, KEYWORDS, LICENSE)

Is this safe?

  • Espanso is an open source application. I only wrote the logic to roll dice and random tables with Espanso.
  • If you are a software developer, you can go ahead and learn Espanso. I recommend it. This package is for the out-of-the-box experience.
  • Executables for Windows and Linux, meant to be of ease of use
  • I am an indie developer; I do most of my stuff for free and open source - Including Mythic GME Tools for Foundry VTT
  • I do this for love. But this took me quite a bunch of hours to get it right. This is why this time I decide to put a minimum price-gap for it 😊 Take it as a contribution and a coffee for me

Useful links

StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, Linux
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)
Tagsartificial-intelligence, chat-gpt, dice-roller, journaling, software, Solo RPG, writing


Buy Now3.00€ EUR or more

In order to download this tool you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of 3.00€ EUR. You will get access to the following files:

PlayBTW_v1_32_base_Linux.zip 15 MB
PlayBTW_v1_32_base_Windows.exe 12 MB
PlayBTW_v1_32_base_with_ai_Linux.zip 29 MB
if you pay 5.00€ EUR or more
PlayBTW_v1_32_base_with_ai_Windows.exe 20 MB
if you pay 5.00€ EUR or more

Download demo

PlayBTW_v1_11_example_windows.exe 5 MB
README_v1_32.md 19 kB

Development log

View all posts


Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.

(3 edits)

Hi there, I have built this from source without errors, but Espanso refuses to detect it. I have tried placing the various folders (some of which were generated blank for some reason, again no errors) into both \AppData\Roaming\espanso\match\packages\ and \AppData\Roaming\espanso\config to zero success. Nothing happens for any commands. I checked the search bar and it definitely does not see the packages. 

I even went as far as downloading a different package using the command line installer to verify that I was putting anything in the right spot, and that program works just fine and was placed into the packages directory.

I am an idiot and was copying the folders from the build directory, rather than the ones in the root of the project. Instead, I am running into a new problem. All commands output the following:

 [Espanso]: An error occurred during rendering, please examine the logs for more information.

Looking at the logs, this appears to be the error:

13:07:48 [worker(23344)] [WARN] extension 'script' on var: 'output' reported an error: could not execute script: '`C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\espanso/scripts/playbtw_example`', error: '`The system cannot find the path specified. (os error 3)`'

13:07:48 [worker(23344)] [ERROR] error during rendering: rendering error

Caused by:

    could not execute script: '`C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\espanso/scripts/playbtw_example`', error: '`The system cannot find the path specified. (os error 3)`'

I have no idea how to fix this.

Hey Jeansen, just curious if Play by the Writing is able to installed on a Mac or if there are still plans for a Mac conversion?

Hi Benjamin, sorry, don't possess a mac right now to be able to compile it there. If there is anyone willing, the source code is open source!

Hi Jeansen,

In the video you use the AI autocomplete feature automatically, without opening a different window. Is there any way to do this in the current version? I use this with a journal app on an old game and opening the AI window makes the game crash.

hey! The old way (as in the video) required you to copy (Ctrl-C) the prompt you wanted to give to the AI. I am afraid that method was very unreliable. Not sure there will be any other way around for now

Hello Jeansen! I'm from the Philippines and it won't seem to let me pay via PayPal just using my bank account. I don't use cards and just pay via the bank connected to my PayPal. Is there any other way to send payment?? Thanks! Love your PUM btw :)

Hi iameggnest, reach out to me in Discord I'll send you a copy: JeansenVaars#2857

Expect some delays I am currently travelling :) best

(1 edit)

Greetings, Jeansen. Idk why but my payment thru PayPal is not working(most likely to be my own "Asian" problem...that I can't buy stuff that is in euros.). So I had to download the source code and compiled those scripts myself. And only 10 or more minutes, I'm already loving Playbtw as much as how I like Mythic. I might talk about it on my blog/channel, since I cannot find a way to pay for it or buy you a ko-fi.

Ah, by the way, ":mre"  is not working, showing :[Espanso]: An error occurred during rendering, please examine the logs for more information. " Can I ask why? or how can I fix it?


Hey thank you so much KeepOnSurviving, glad you like it. Yes need to fix some commands and the documentation, :mre was for Random Event, it was changed to :mac (action), will fix to make both work, need to double-check what is happening with the focus in that roll. I think Random Event should include the focus.

Got it. Thanks for the reply. 

1.17 should contain mentioned fixes! thanks

Hello Jeansen, couple of questions for you: Does Play-btw works in obsidian once installed with no additional plugin or integration? and, how does one upload the Mythic GM Emulator tables? Does it require programming knowledge?

Hi daniboiwp! Mythic tables are included, since the application is open source with no commercial license. And yes, it works in Obsidian and literally everywhere in your computer, including Paint, Word, your Browser, or inside a videogame. Hope that helps!

Thanks! Just got it, will let you know how it goes.

Would this work on Mac? (Or is it just for Windows and Linux so far?)

(1 edit)

Hi, so far Windows and Linux, haven't got much demand, but code is open source we could try compile python code for macos.. sorry

My anti-virus software freaked out on the file PlayBTW_v1_11_base_windows.exe.  Is anyone else seeing that?

did that happen now for the first time or is it the first time you try it out? You can check the open source version and build the software if in doubt as well. Alternatively, right click on the installer and open with a zip program. Not sure what I can do hmm

It installed peacefully the first time.  But hey, the anti-virus software is always updating itself, so it might be a new rule or something.  If nobody else is seeing this, I'll chalk it up as a false positive.

Strange. But no, nothing changed, only tables and the .yml expressions. It is all same old Python behind this.

Me again, but in a good way this time. With the help of the video, I now have it working just fine. It's a great tool! Thanks so much for the extra support as well - I hope my experiences will help others.

Fantastic! I am glad. Yes, I should have started with a Video. It really feels it gives certain confidence towards the application, and with it, I also got a few extra downloads :) Thanks and enjoy it!

Sorry, it's me again. I downloaded and installed v1.3 with the AI, but I'm not seeing any of the files listed above as PDF instructions. So, I don't know how to use the software beyond your sample video. Any idea where those files are?

Hi! Sorry that it is confusing. I have added a README.pdf file that can be downloaded for free with all instructions inside. Do ask if anything is still confusing.

I will make a YouTube video soon and append it here!

The README file is what I was looking for. It came with the example but not the full version, so thanks for that! I can see how a video would be helpful, as the files on GitHub look great, but getting them from there to where I need them doesn't look like a job for a noob.

will do!!

This is great! Been looking for both a good way to do rolls and text expansion in my journals as I prep for games and this seems a lot better to work with than AutoHotKey (Win) or the built-it expander for MacOS.

Tested this out and it looks like it works with no issue in Obsidian and Notion as well if you use those for organizing your notes like I do.

Thanks a lot for the feedback! Let me know if the oracles suit you :) I am planning to add some basic mythic checks too.

This sounds really interesting, but I can't get it to work. I installed Espanso, then the example file, but when I type what I'm supposed to type, I just get "An error occurred during rendering, please examine the logs for more information."  I checked the logs and they say:

error: '`The system cannot find the path specified. (os error 3)`'

Any ideas?

Sounds like you need to add espanso to the $ENV:Path variable (Win) or Path (if you are on Linux or MacOS).  This may help:


How to Add to Windows PATH Environment Variable (helpdeskgeek.com)


How to Set the PATH Variable in macOS (techpp.com)

Linux (Ubuntu)

How to Add a Directory to Your $PATH in Linux (howtogeek.com)

Hope this helps!


Adding the espansod.exe tothe  PATH environment variable makes no difference, unfortunately. Is the problem caused by not finding Espanso, or by not finding the example script? When I used date (preceded by a colon) that worked. The logs say:

22:56:07 [worker(3700)] [ERROR] error during rendering: rendering error

Caused by:

    could not execute script: '`C:\Users\andyb\AppData\Roaming\espanso/scripts/playbtw_example`', error: '`The system cannot find the path specified. (os error 3)`'

I'm not sure which path can't be found.

(5 edits)

Hello there AB2014! Thanks for testing this out.

This error occurs if Espanso cannot find the executable script. In the Windows zip, this is called playbtw_example.exe and is located at C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\espanso\scripts (after you install it). This executable contains the logic such as for dice rolling.

If you are on Windows, perhaps an Antivirus thinks this is malicious and removed it when you extracted it? I am on Windows 11 and using default "Windows Security" with Windows Defender, and no issues.

(and thanks yakuzadave for trying to help! appreciated)

Still no luck, unfortunately. The Setup tells me it will install the file PlayBTW_v1_2_example, but it doesn't look like the different file name is the problem. It looks like the file just never arrives. There is no error message or warning, and if I run the Setup again immediately, there is no warning of a duplicate file. I'm using Windows 10 and Windows Defender, but I'm due to upgrade to Windows 11 in the next few days, so I'll try again after that.

(1 edit)

Ohhh!!! I have double-checked :( you are right. Totally my fault. This example will never work. I did not compile it correctly :( :( :(. Will upload a _v1_2_example_2 again. Shame on me.

Now uploaded a correct one. But that means on the good side that your error was healthy and it will work :)

Hey, is there any chance you could compile the script for Mac as well?
Or do the core functions (dice rolling, random tables) also work directly in Espanso without that script?

(1 edit)

Hi! Thanks for the interest. Soon Linux and MacOS! Stay tuned. Rolling from random tables or weighted tables can function without a script, but not system specific logic or dice rolling. I will be considering soon if to package the source code version so to let users run it however they want.

(1 edit)

Hi, After long hesitation, I am making my mind to favour Espanso and your Play by the writing system. But I only use Linux. Any news about it?

Edit: Sorry. Forget it. I just read the open-source instructions and could install it myself easily. Some issues, though, that I expect to correct soon. Otherwise, I will contact you for assistance. Splendid work! As usually.

(1 edit)

Solo Historias! Yes you are welcome to try it, I didn't update it because I got zero downloads on Linux :) Do let me know if you prefer building it yourself (run the build.sh script) or I can make the build for you, if you still face issues. Best regards

Hi, I installed the dependency for md2pdf, but the installation halts at this point: File “playbtw_all_ai.spec”, line 3, in <module> from md2pdf.core import md2pdf ModuleNotFoundError: No module named ‘md2pdf.core’

Please create an issue in Git, so we can debug it there, instead of here :) Thanks