10 Best Non-Fantasy Tabletop RPGs
Fantasy has a long association with tabletop role-playing games. Dungeons & Dragons is the world’s best-known TTRPG and is often the only game of its kind that many can name. The second best known is Scoutderived from J&D and also emphasizing fantasy adventure.
As such, many people could be forgiven for thinking that tabletop RPGs are nothing more than many different fantasy games. However, they are as diverse as any other medium. There are TTRPGs for almost every taste. For example, sci-fi, horror, and a slew of other genres are well represented and have some great fan-favorite RPGs under their umbrellas.
ten Lasers & Feelings is simple, light science fiction
The sci-fi genre has plenty of RPGs to its name, encompassing all kinds of fiction. Some players might want a dark, nightmarish dystopia while others are looking for an epic military space opera. Lasers & Feelings is an RPG for those who want something simpler. It exists for players who want a fun story of a ship exploring the galaxy and being under threat.
In a single page of rules, Lasers & Feelings captures the feeling of classic, brilliant sci-fi like star trek. It has simple rolling and threat generation mechanics; however, it is a versatile RPG that can be played session after session.
9 Call Of Cthulhu Evokes Classic Eldritch Horror
A lot of RPGs stray into horror, but few embrace horror’s literary roots as strongly as Call of Cthulhu. It takes Cosmic Horror’s most iconic and well-known example – the writing of HP Lovecraft – and distills it into a role-playing game. At a time, Call of Cthulhu addresses and attempts to resolve many problematic aspects of Lovecraft’s work, rather than ignoring them.
Due to its different gender, Call of Cthulhu plays very differently from other long-running classics like J&D. For example, combat is a last resort and almost certain to end with dead or injured characters. Instead, the meat of the system is to investigate and seek, with flight and concealment being inescapable responses to danger. Call of Cthulhu is a unique, high-risk game that handles its horror perfectly.
8 Paranoia sees the fun side of dystopia
Paranoia stands out among RPGs because it breaks all the rules. The game encourages DMs to play cruel tricks on their players, suggests that each side is trying to cheat, and is designed to motivate players to betray each other. This is due to the fact Paranoia is not just an RPG, but an absurd take on dystopian fiction.
Players control troubleshooters, low-level problem solvers, police, and soldiers in a gated city ruled by the tyrannical Friend Computer. They are designed to hunt down mutants, saboteurs, and members of secret societies, while being those things themselves. Paranoiain addition to being a hilarious slice of tabletop mayhem, is also a commentary on the absurd nature of totalitarian societies.
seven Dogs In The Vineyard is a unique and strange western
Westerns have a surprising presence in the TTRPG space. However, none are as popular as Dogs in the vineyard. It’s a very high-level handcrafted game that puts players in the shoes of travelers and messengers in an alternate history in Utah. In it, players travel between communities and correct their ailments.
Dogs in the vineyard evokes the feeling of the old west but includes social, spiritual and supernatural aspects, as well as horse chases and gunfights. Players can exorcise a demon, solve a murder, or resolve inter-community conflicts, all against the backdrop of a strangely haunting west that never quite was.
6 Force and Destiny is a perfect Star Wars RPG
Science fiction comes in all flavors, but is best known for star wars. The films are some of the most popular in the world, and the mark the franchise has left on pop culture is undeniable. As such, it’s no surprise that it’s reaching for tabletop RPGs. The Star Wars role play consists of three lines of play, each enjoyed and able to intersect, but its best output is strength and destiny.
Rather than bounty hunters or rebels, the game follows runaway Jedi and Force-sensitive newborns on the run from the Empire. Players must learn more about the Force, protect themselves and other Jedi from Inquisitors, and fight back in a small way. Between excellent narrative rules and a thrilling concept, it’s the perfect star wars live.
Many RPGs focus on action and overcoming struggles. However, the school known as Powered by Apocalypse focuses on TTRPGs as a social storytelling tool. Never is this better achieved than in monster heartsa game that brings social struggles to the fore.
It has the trappings of a horror RPG. Players control monsters in a high school and use their powers against each other. However, he uses his monsters to explore the uncertainties of social interaction in adolescence. Each serves as a metaphor for one or more teenage struggles. Sexuality and friendship are much more relevant to the game than violence or adventure.
4 Cyberpunk RED brings grit and glamor in equal measure
The cyberpunk genre has been a staple of RPGs for years, and one of the main reasons is the cyberpunk RPG. The game has many iterations and has become best known for inspiring video gaming Cyberpunk: 2077. Of all the versions in the world, however, none is better than the recent Cyberpunk RED.
Cyberpunk RED preserves the genre-codifying framework and tone of previous versions while updating the rules and some of the specifics. The game is ideal for telling dark dystopian stories of crime, corruption, and technology. With a surprisingly versatile ruleset and one of the best settings in tabletop gaming, it’s an interesting game for any group.
3 Mutants and Masterminds can tell any superhero story
Superheroes have come to dominate pop culture in recent years. However, their ties to role-playing games go back further. There are many superhero RPGs out there, but Mutants and Brains is the most comprehensive and flexible. Its rules are sadly dense and preloaded, so the game may not be for casual groups. However, for those who want to learn, it can be extremely rewarding.
The complexity of the game comes from its versatile and huge character creation system. Dozens of abilities are featured with many, many modifiers designed to allow players to recreate any superpower from fiction and create their own. The result is one of the most diverse and fulfilling superhero RPGs.
2 The Traveler is for old school, harder science fiction
traveler is one of the oldest sci-fi RPGs still produced, and it speaks to those sensibilities. The game deliberately evokes older RPGs, where simulation and detail are as important as combat and narrative flair. It’s also reminiscent of older science fiction like Extraterrestrial or Isaac Asimov’s novels, where space is uncompromising but potentially rewarding.
The game is not for everyone. Players must scrape and manage a decaying ship and all the weapons they can salvage. There is a chance to die randomly in battle, in the worst forms of space travel, or even during character creation. However, for those who enjoy more simulationist games and darker sci-fi, Traveler is a great fit.
1 World Of Darkness is a horror classic
world of darkness is the best-known horror RPG, especially in its Vampire: The Masquerade line of play. More than just Gothic tragedy, however, it offers great variety for any kind of horror. Between its two iterations – world of darkness and chronicles of darkness – players can tell all kinds of horror stories.
Whether it’s werewolves fighting to protect Earth, demons in a techno-spy environment, or victims of Fey’s kidnapping, players are spoiled for choice. world of darknessRules isn’t particularly acclaimed, but it has beloved settings and storytelling that are well worth the price of admission.
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