It's Not All Dungeons
While any google search or stroll through a local game shop will make it pretty clear that Dungeons and Dragons reigns supreme in the tabletop roleplay game genre (TTRPG), a lot of that fact comes from the ease of the 5th edition system that the game uses, as well as the general understanding of the genre the game takes place in. Epic fantasy heroes battling terrifying monsters and saving the world is the bread and butter of TTRPG’s after all. However, just because it is the most popular with plenty of imitators that put little twists on the formula, it doesn’t make it the only game in town. There is a system and a setting to fit nearly any playstyle. Here of some of the most popular according to search results!
Tabletop Roleplaying Games
You want cars? You want magic? You want hackers? How about some orcs and elves just for good measure? Shadowrun has you covered. With the core concept of the game built around life in a cyberpunk style future ruled by corporations, there is a surprising amount of fantasy elements mixed in. It is this mix of futuristic technology, fantastical creatures, magic, and just enough of the everyday mundane things in life that really make cyberpunk a more relatable game for some. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying it is realistic at all, just that it is grounded a bit more in realism than the fantastical. It uses a 6-sided dice system as opposed to Dungeon and Dragons 20-sided system, so it may take a bit of time to get used to for experienced DnD players, but if bringing down corporate rivals by hacking through cyber security barriers in the middle of a high-speed car chase, dodging fireballs down the freeway from cyber ninja assassin dwarves sounds awesome, Shadowrun is definitely worth looking into.
Sci-fi and Space Opera’s
So, we are going to cheat a little bit on this one and talk more about the genre more than a singular system. Anyone who has heard of Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, or the myriad of other shows that feature space faring adventures, knows what science fiction (sci-fi for short) is. Are there any good tabletop roleplaying games for sci-fi? You bet your blaster there are! Want to play in your favorite universe? Fight for or against the Empire, or just get your smuggler game on in the Star Wars universe with Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Join Starfleet and boldly go where no one has gone before with the Star Trek Adventures game. If you are looking for a more freeform universe to tell your story, then there is Starfinder or Stars Without Number. If you can think of a sci-fi show or setting, chances are pretty good there is a TTRPG for it, each with their own systems. While the systems can sometimes be quite intimidating, with a little patience you’ll be saving the galaxy in no time. All you have to do is pick your poison.
The Call of Cthulu and horror
Tentacles, cultists, and the ever-present sense that things are only going to get worse. That is pretty much Call of Cthulu in a nutshell. Play as investigators doing their best to save the world, or at least delay its end for as long as possible in this cult horror game using a percentage-based skill system. Chronically, Call of Cthulu takes place in the 1920’s. However, there are plenty of modules to adjust the time frame to what ever you would like it to be. If vampires are more your thing, Vampire: The Masquerade is a game with deep lore and a fervent fanbase. It can be a bit hard to get into due to its usually slower pace and focus on social ramifications of choices and actions, but as for raw story-telling potential, it is definitely a juggernaut. Ten Candles is specifically made for one-shot horrors games where there are no “winners”…or even survivors for that matter. It’s more about the story that is told in those fleeting few hours before death. If that sounds a bit too dark for you, throw yourself into a spaceship, give yourself a futuristic assault rifle, and go battle a xenomorph in Alien: The Roleplaying Game. There is nothing that gets the blood pumping more than knowing that you’re probably the one being hunted by an evolutionary murder machine with acid blood and mouths inside mouths.
Blades in the Dark
For something a bit different, Blades in the dark is a neat little game that puts the players in the roles of thieves and cutthroats seeking the next big pay day in a fantasy-esque industrial setting. Cutting much of the story down to scenes, it can be a lot of fun to gather a few of your friends and pretend to be the bad guys for a change. We found it to be grounded much more in reality but is still a boatload of fun. Planning heists with your friends has rarely been this enjoyable…or legal.
So Much More
This quick list just covers a few of the most popular non-Dungeons and Dragons games and does not even scratch the surface of all the amazing games out there. In all honesty, it is just to serve as a spark of interest for you to sally forth and find YOUR perfect TTRPG! Simply type your universe or style of choice with “ttrpg” at the end, and it doesn’t take long to stumble down that rabbit hole, opening your eyes to the wonderful options of this gaming genre!