Looking to expand your RPG library but not sure where to start? Lots of people talk about the dangers of other RPGs, whether they are boring, overdone, or just a rip-off of another, better game. Since D&D and Pathfinder often dominate the scene, it can be hard to find something more up your alley if you’re not one for fantasy.
But don’t run away, stranger. There are plenty of options for you, lingering just out of sight. And I’m here to show you how to find them.
Without further ado, here are some RPGs that might tickle your fancy, out of the limelight of the big contenders.
Blades in the Dark is a rogue-heist RPG where you are performing a heist(s) as part of your gang. You play as a scoundrel looking to get in to a place, get what you need, then get out. Your character could be sneaky, more socially minded, or just bloodthirsty. It is all up to you.
The key mechanic that differentiates this game from any other is that there is no preparation to the heist. Instead, you are thrown straight into the action. If you want to gain information, or anything from preparation, you can go into a flashback. In that flashback, you determine with the GM if you are successful or fail to gather that specific info, object, etc. Regardless, you can also gain Stress or Trauma based on the flashback that might hinder you during the heist.
So, do you think you can handle the heat?
Fiasco is a group RPG where there isn’t any kind of Game Master. The story is run and determined by the players amongst themselves as they attempt to create scene after scene of a crime drama.
The game is a crime tragedy. Everyone creates a character with various character traits. Some might be innocent, some selfish. Regardless, everyone knows each other, and is looking to get ahead in life.
Players set-up scenes with each other based on their mutual desires, wants, and needs. You can be manipulative, honest, anything you want – but it should be tragic.
Each scene is composed of two players talking back and forth, making the story go forward. One of the players outside of the scene determines who wins the scene, giving one player a good die, and the other a bad die. There are three acts to the game, leading to a climactic end for some of the players.
At the end of the game, each player counts how many good and bad dice they have. For each good die they expend, a good thing happens to them in their epilogue. For each bad die they have, something awful happens to them. There are no winners or losers in this game per say – it’s just how tragic everyones end is going to be.
Ten Candles is a one-shot RPG. You play as survivors in a post-apocalyptic world where the sun has gone out, and creatures now linger in the dark. With the world on the edge of destruction, there is one last job for you all to accomplish as a group – finding a lost friend, saving a city by getting the power running again, anything.
There is only one key rule to this game – at the end of the game, everyone in the party dies.
There are no death saves. There is no hope of escape. The end of the game is the end of your lives.
This may seem to be a bit hopeless and bleak for some players, but it offers very unique storytelling possibilities. Once you are able to accept the futility of escaping death, you are able to let go of mortality and have some truly heroic moments. Sacrifice is a big aspect of this game, and you may be surprised to see what a character is willing to give up in order to accomplish their goals.
Know any other RPGs that worth noting? Make sure to mention them in the comment section below!
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