With the recent discussions regarding the possible new Open Gaming License (OGL 1.1) for Dungeons & Dragons, the upcoming D&D movie, and just general increasing interest in the roleplaying game hobby, I have received quite a few inquiries about tabletop rpg alternatives to D&D. Many people are interested in this roleplaying hobby, but for various reasons they do not wish to play D&D. Since you asked, here is a quick list of non-D&D (and non-OGL) tabletop rpgs you might enjoy.
I list these based on some popular themes, and each uses a different game system, so you can see some of the amazing variety in the tabletop roleplaying hobby.
Action – Feng Shui 2 – Do you have two six side dice? Do you like action and adventure? Then you can play Feng Shui 2. Very simple and quick system that provides over-the-top action adventures like all your favorite action movies and TV shows.
Cartoons/Comics/TV Shows – G.I. Joe/My Little Pony/Power Rangers/Transformers – Do you enjoy cartoons and tv shows from the 80s and 90s? Renegade Games continues to release fun rpgs based on popular cartoons, comics, and TV shows. The books are full of fun artwork, the rules are simple, and the games feel like you are in your favorite fictional worlds.
Fantasy – King Arthur Pendragon – Do you enjoy Arthurian legends? Do you want to tell stories over multiple generations of heroes? Pendragon takes a different approach to fantasy gaming that tells epic, multigenerational stories of an alternative medieval history.
Horror/Investigation – Call of Cthulhu – Do you enjoy investigating mysteries? Do like a little horror in your hobbies? Have you read H.P. Lovecraft’s stories or enjoy the Cthulhu memes? Call of Cthulhu lets you play investigators in the modern day or in past eras. You can choose how much horror you include in your games or focus more on the investigations.
Literature – Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG – Like a good Jane Austen novel or movie? Do you enjoy the regency period? Need a little romance in your gaming? How about family politics or court intrigue? Good Society is a unique twist on typical rpgs. It takes a much more narrative and storytelling focus over lots of combat, exploration, and dice rolling.
Science Fiction – Star Trek Adventures – Do you wish to boldly go where no one has gone before? Do you like visiting strange new worlds? Do you like aliens, technology, and starships more than swords and magic? The 2d20 system in Star Trek Adventures is used in many other rpgs by Modiphius so you can learn one system and then try other worlds like Dune.
Superhero – Masks: A New Generation – Do you enjoy comic books, superhero shows, and heroes with capes? Do you also enjoy the growth of a young, inexperienced hero and how they interact with their team mates? Masks focuses much more on storytelling and keeps the dice rolling to a minimum and like Feng Shui 2, you only need two six sided dice to play.
Teenage Adventures – Kids on Bikes/Kids on Brooms/Teens in Space – Do you enjoy YA literature? Do you like movies and tv shows about kids and teens solving mysteries before the adults do? Do you like stories set in schools for those with special abilities? My favorite thing about this series of rpgs is the players help design the world through a collaborative storytelling system.
Urban Fantasy – Dresden Files Accelerated – Do you wish to believe the magical and mythical worlds still exist but hidden from the sight of every day people? Do you like vampires, faeries, wizards, Valkyries, and more living amongst us? Dresden Files Accelerated lets you play in an urban fantasy world created in the Dresden Files books, but you don’t need to read the books to enjoy the mix of fantasy and modern life. It uses the Fate System which provides so much storytelling potential to the players.
Universal System – Savage Worlds – Do you want to create your own worlds or mix and match lots of settings? Savage Worlds is a core ruleset that many rpgs use, but it is also a narrative ruleset you can use to easily create your own worlds and stories.
Free – Eclipse Phase, Fate SRD, Honey Heist, Ironwworn, Savage Worlds Test Drive, Stars Without Number – Curious about this roleplaying game hobby but don’t want to invest money into it yet? Then check out some of these amazing free to download and play tabletop rpgs.
If you want to know more about any of these tabletop rpgs, just ask.
Any other tabletop rpgs you really want to recommend people to consider?