My Current Top 5 Go-To Fantasy TTRPGs That Aren’t D&D.
5. EZ D6 from Runehammer.
It doesn’t get any easier in terms of a system. DM Scotty has been making games exciting and fun for many years and he really knows his stuff! EZ D6 is a rules lite, Old School feel, and fun fantasy TTRPG. All contained in one book. Magic and monsters are easy to create on the fly.
4. Index Card RPG from Runehammer.
I’ve reviewed this game before, and I always say great things about it. It’s rules-lite attitude and flexibility make it a good choice for any TTRPG setting. It works especially well for fantasy gaming.
3. Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games.
I can’t heap enough praise on the designers of DCC RPG. Please go check out this game. It’s got that great Old School vibe mixed with some newer game mechanics. It has so many amazing adventure modules and the dungeon crawl feel never gets old. The zero level funnel mechanic is fun and sometimes hilarious to play through. I also love the quirky spellcasting mechanics and cool dice.
2. The Cypher System + Godforsaken by Monte Cook Games.
As I mentioned in my Cypher System review, I understated and misunderstood this game for years. I truly wish I had become more intertwined in this system sooner. I’m going to drop a full review of Godforsaken in the coming months. The one thing I will say about Cypher that I haven’t touched on much before is that it’s much less combat focused than other TTRPGs. I enjoy the challenges inherent to exploration and social encounters.
I’m in the process of building my own world for Cypher System. It’s a non-Tolkienesque setting with a lot of exploration involved. I think the system is perfectly suited to it. It’s also going to be such a relief to finally get away from the same tired, hackneyed, spell system. The other think I’m excited about is creating all new ancestries and beings to interact with. It’s nice building a world from the ground up and having a system that can easily accommodate it.
Monte Cook Games has a lot of very talented and long-standing veterans writing for them. The decades of game creation experience really show in Cypher System. I’m looking forward to running this game because of its solid mechanics created by legends of the industry.
Number 1!. Pathfinder 2nd Edition by Paizo Games.
A certain game has been D&- Dethroned from my repertoire following the OGL crisis and other recent news. This is another case of having sold the game short for a few years. I wish I had stepped up to this game years ago. I’m going to do a more in-depth review of PF2E in the coming months.
I know some people will say it’s too crunchy of a system. I’ve seen far crunchier games. The D20 mechanics are familiar but refined in this game. It fixes a lot of rules and fills in a lot of blanks that 5E just didn’t accomplish. The action economy and the classes are so well written in PF 2E.
Pathfinder is very well supported both by Paizo and on DriveThruRPG.com. I like what I see on Pathfinder Infinite. I’m also encouraged and enamored by RPG Superstar which is using the Pathfinder 2E rules. I highly recommend checking out Rofl For Combat.
I’m also excited because Pathfinder 2E has two huge campaign settings with loads and loads of adventures. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a gigantic setting similar to the old Birthright campaign. Basically your characters get to take hold of their own kingdom and run it if they choose to do so.
The other setting that’s coming out in 2023 that I’m so excited about is Xian Tia. I know the people writing it put in a lot of time to create a respectful Asian flavored setting. It’s going to be rich with all of the monsters, spells, and gear one would expect along with likely lots of martial arts action. It’s gonna cool.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Archives of Nethys and tons of support on various Virtual TableTops. The Archives contain as much of the critical information about PF2E as they can pack into the site. I use it as a reference when my rulebooks are out of reach or if I need to reference a book I don’t own. Please note that if I win the lottery, I’m buying one copy of everything. (*Shhh. Don’t tell my wife…)
- Shadowdark RPG by Arcane Library.
This Kickstarter recently wrapped up at over $1 Million! I’m excited because I’ve been a fan of the Arcane Library for a long time. I used to chat with Kelsey Dionne before she became a TTRPG icon larger than ever before. I’ve also seen preview copies of Shadowdark and it looks phenomenal. It’s like they took everything from 5E and prior editions and rewrote it so that it’s fun, streamlined, and easy to teach new players.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG by Cubicle 7 Entertainment.
I’ve mentioned this one previously as well. The world setting is rich and well developed over decades of play. It takes the miniatures game and turns it into a phenomenal RPG experience.
- Fantaji by Anthropos Games
It has a lot of elements I like in the games listed above. I like the cultural perspective it takes.
- Open Legends: Open Source RPG by Seventh Sphere Entertainment
It’s a completely open source game! You can get it for free. D6 based.
- Swords & Wizardry by Mythmere Games
This is an OSR retroclone. The first edition was terrific. Based on B/X Edition D&D.
- Old School Essentials by Necrotic Gnome
Another OSR staple. Can be played as Basic or Advanced. Many modules written for this by too many authors to list, or just break out the old D&D modules. Good system overall.
- Savage Worlds by Pinnacle Entertainment.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for every game, it does fantasy quite well. Both EGS and Cortex have a similar feel and dice systems. All good game systems for fantasy.
- Big Eyes, Small Mouth by Dyskami.
Great anime adventure feeling to the game. Tons of character options. High flying action.