Three More Alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons.

I’m writing this series of articles because I want to put some fresh, Non-D20, Non-Wizards of the Coast OGL, fun fantasy RPGs in front of people.

Continuing our series on Fantasy RPGs.

I’m writing this series of articles because I want to put some fresh, Non-D20, Non-Wizards of the Coast OGL, fun fantasy RPGs in front of people. Many of them, not all, have creative commons sharealike licensing. However, I’m not a lawyer. Please check with the company and/or legal counsel before proceeding to create paid content for someone else’s game. Thank you!

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play First Edition. The way I remember it.

Published by: Cubicle 7 Games
Full Confession. I’ve been running Warhammer FRPG since high school. I still have my copies of the first two editions sitting on my shelf. I might be just a little biased on this one. I think it’s a great game on top of being a fun and fast system.

I find it interesting that the Fourth Edition cover is very reminiscent of the First Edition cover of this book. I really like the art associated with Warhammer and the RPGs under their banner. Say what you want about Games Workshop, but they do put out some very nice looking products.

The biggest draws for me in this game are the character generation, a rich world environment, and a sort of break from the traditional Dwarf + Elf + Human in a party and they all manage to get along somehow. It is actually somewhat rare in WHFRP to see a group that includes anything other than humans and maybe one of the other races in any given party especially if you roll random at character creation.

Fourth Ed has all of the chunky, crunchy, meaty awesomeness I remember from back when. Fair warning: combat can end in immediate and horrible critical hits. Magic is likewise not without complications. Psychology is… um, a thing.

The world of Warhammer is filled with monsters, cults, Chaos, Skaven (Rat folk,) and all manner of interesting characters. Some NPCs are good, some bad, and lots of gray area built into lots of situations. Heck, even the Human politics can be sticky. Campaigns can range from campy and comedic to serious horror with Machiavellian intrigue.

Index Card Roleplaying Game

Published by: Runehammer Games

I’ve been playing Index Card RPG for several years now on and off. Anyone who truly knows me is aware of the fact that I won’t shut up about this game. (LOL!) And thank you, Hankerin Ferinale, for making a Print On Demand of the Masters version! I mean yay hardcover, but it’s a bit pricey.

I’ve been rocking ICRPG since Second Edition came out. The characters literally can fit on an index card. It’s that rules lite. Combat works either theatre of the mind or on the banana scale with minis. (You just have to see it.) Magic, exploration, even dungeons for fantasy worlds are streamlined. This game is amazing!

Fantasy is great straight out of the book, but ICRPG covers other genres nicely as well. I’ve drawn up two different worlds for this game if I ever get to run them. (They’re kinda specific.) But right out of the ICRPG book, one can run everything including Science Fantasy, Mecha, Supers, Horror, Wild West and much more. It does it all pretty well.

As a bonus, D&D players will recognize the basis of the system and character creation only ICRPG does it all faster and slightly better. It’s the perfect game for folx who like Old School games or want to just jump in and start playing. It’s an intuitive system to run built by a designer who knows how to run a game. (Seriously, you should see his Actual Play stuff.)


Published by: Runehammer Games

If ICRPG is a Runehammer masterpiece, EZ D6 is the work of art that lives up to the standard. I’ve written a larger review of this game and I still stand by it. This game is such a breeze to run, I’d be tempted to use it as a teaching tool for new Rabble Rousers. (*The term for Game Master in EZ D6.) The physical book is small and very portable.

Anything you’d ever want to do with an RPG, you can probably do with EZ D6. It’s so rules lite, the RR and Pushers-and-Shovers (*Player Characters) will be doing a lot of discussing what happens vs just rolling a skill check. The system itself begs for customization, but it doesn’t actually need anything but imagination. It’s almost too easy.

I also think EZ D6 is a fabulous jumping-off point for more advanced games such as the Cypher System, Savage Worlds, ICRPG, or even Cortex. On the other hand, players would also likely be comfortable with ICONS, FATE, D6, and the dozens of other games that run off of Six-Sided Dice. Old School gamers are also going to be at home in this system because of its simplicity and heavy reliance on describing one’s actions.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s been fun. I appreciate you. Have fun. See ya later.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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