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3 Tabletop RPGs You Can Try Instead of Dungeons and Dragons

D&D is a staple of the tabletop roleplaying game industry, spanning over forty years and five editions (one of which, we do not speak). Dungeons and Dragons is not just a tabletop roleplaying game; it is the tabletop roleplaying game. From its humble beginnings in the first edition, when Elf was still a class; from the days when it was banned by religious groups from being Satanic; and the days when its players were considered the lowest of the low, it has come far. Its player base is now bigger than ever, partly because of the ease of learning the new edition, and mostly because it’s fun as hell.

But there comes a time in every tabletop gamer’s life when they want to branch out, try new things, and see what else is out there.

“It’s not D&D,” you tell your Dungeon Master as a tear rolls down their cheek. “It’s me.”

Here are four other tabletop roleplaying games you can play other than D&D. Pathfinder, while a fair alternative to D&D, won’t be included on this list because it’s a little too similar.

1. Vampire: The Masquerade

Vampire The Masquerade 5th Edition RPG - Core Rulebook | eBay

Vampire: The Masquerade is a roleplay-heavy TRPG that leans towards theater of the mind gameplay (little to no use of visual aids like maps and figures). Characters are highly customizable, with the game’s unique take on the different types of vampires. The rules are designed to force the player into challenging roleplay situations through the Hunger Dice, which add the elements of a vampire’s uncontrollable thirst and powers to rolls.

In terms of themes, Vampire: The Masquerade is designed for games that ask deep moral questions, that play with themes of good and evil. It is made for players who love to put their characters through angst, and can be an amazing experience for a party—especially since most settings take place in the players’ current city.

2. Starfinder

Starfinder: Core Rulebook by James L. Sutter

Starfinder, similar to D&D, also runs on the d20 system with a few major differences. But system aside, the science fiction and space travel themes employed by its lore can be a good change of pace from all the fantasy setting RPGs. The game features a vast universe for exploring, lore that can create intriguing stories of epic adventure, or even political conflict.

Most games start with character creation. Starfinder sets itself apart by allowing the party to customize their own spaceship. And with spaceship-building also comes space battles. You can scream to your heart’s content about how you’re “Geving herr awl she’s gott, Cap’n!” The setting also allows the GM to set the scale of the campaign to the level that they want, whether it’s a large colony ship like in Battlestar Galactica, or a ratty-ass hunk of bolts like the Serenity.

3. Fate

Evil Hat Productions Fate RPG Core System - Boardgames.ca

Fate is a a highly customizable system that is designed to fit nearly any setting. The rules, similar to that of Vampire: The Masquerade, are also made to force the players into challenging roleplay situations, this time at the behest of their GM. It’s also plays very deeply into the theater of the mind, and as mentioned, can be used in any setting. Superheroes? Completely possible. The universe of your favorite anime? SASAGEYO! Brooklyn Nine Nine?! coolcoolcoolcoolcoolcool totes

The game also veers away from being heavy in combat by leaving that part to the imagination, but that doesn’t mean combat isn’t possible. It just takes a little bit of imagination.