Alternatives to 5E (I ask for no particular reason...)

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Silvercat Moonpaw

Familiar with GURPS - played a bit back in the day fantasy, scifi, horror (y)
They released a version of GURPS 4th edition specifically for doing dungeon-crawl-type fantasy:

Plus there's always Discworld and Girl Genius.


Miles apart in terms of gameplay are AIME ( which didn't work for me) and TOR, which mirrors the books very well indeed.

Openquest is lighter, and better, version of RQ like game.

WHFRP 4th is interesting, and a bit fiddly actually. The setting is great but I'm not sure of the system ( it's just a little bit full of fail for my liking)
I'll throw a vote at Openquest. I have hammered that system into various genres at my table, with great success and lots of enjoyment for myself and my players. My (at the time) 11-year-old grandkids played alongside my 40 to 50-year-old veteran players and had a blast with it, and understood the system quite well. I've used it for Modern Pulp action (that was the one my grandkids played in, they were working for an agency ran by an adult Jonny Quest :)),fantasy of course and scifi.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal

Anyway, aside from Pathfinder and Level Up, what are some other top dog alternatives to WOTC? I know there's a lot, but what are some of the big players?

Came across Necrotic Gnome - read free stuff looks pretty good. Also generally familiar with Castles & Crusades.

Looking for stuff with lots of support, material available etc.
If you're looking for "D&D-type feel", I'm a big fan of 13th Age. And it's got free starter rules, and everything in an SRD if you want to give it a try. If you like it, buy it though - the core book is full of sidebars of designer discussion abotu why they did certain things, knobs to tweak and effects of changing rules, and the like. As well as all the IP including their default setting and the Icons. Plus the Bestiary and Bestiary II are perhaps my favorite monster books from any setting, ever. The drip lore and hooks and ideas.


B/X Known World
The best "alternatives to current D&D" are typically older editions of D&D. The OSR is small potatoes by comparison to current D&D, but there's a lot of wild creativity going on in that space. Especially if you like the wild, weird, and strange. Old-School Essentials is currently the top dog in that space. There are others, of course, but it seems the most popular. It's a B/X retro-clone that recently came out with Advanced Fantasy which brings in the races and classes from AD&D. If you're looking for smooth, quick to play, and well can't go wrong with OSE.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
I bought / read the AIME books a few years back but had hard time selling it to my players. Great books though.

For me, AIME did not resonate, whereas The One Ring did.

AIME builds on the D&D chassis -- classes and levelling up, etc. That's good because it's familiar, and so quicker to learn for most players trying a new system.

The One Ring is more work (you need to learn the new skill systen, dice system, etc.) and so it is less immediately intuitive for most players. Nevertheless, it has a really great skill system that makes you re-think what a character can do. It finds mechanical ways to implement aspects of LOTR fiction that D&D just can't -- ways to reinforce the fellowship/friendships between characters, for instance; or the ability to sit and smoke with someone in order to understand them better, and cross the barriers of language [I think that might be removed in 2e]. And also some nice touches where you can cinematically remove your helmet when you are struggling in a combat and get a sudden burst of energy.

AIME may have been played more; TOR showed insight into the source material and marked ways a game could be different from D&D but still satisfying.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
As for "alternatives to WOTC": what are you and your group looking for?

Is it levelling up fantasy?

Shadow of the Demon Lord. Like D&D, but with a consistent implementation of subclasses and race. This allows for a re-thinking of how characters can develop -- there are no dead levels, and all classes advance at the same rate, so instead of subclasses, there are "novice paths" (warrior, priest, rogue, wizard) that give ability bonuses at levels 1, 2, 5, 8; "expert paths" (e.g. druid, berserker, assassin) that give abilities at levels 3, 6, 9; racial benefits that advance at level 4; and "master paths" (e.g. acrobat, apolcalyptist, gladiator, etc.) that kick in at levels 7 and 10 (or you can multiclass and choose a second expert path). It's so tidy, and gives options that you can lean into (priest > cleric > diviner) or that you can play against type (rogue > druid > chronomancer).

Or are you looking for a game that plays differently? (a different engine).

Powered by the Apocalypse. There are a lot of PBTA games out there. They are great for new players and short campaigns of a few sessions, with a rules-lite feel (Others can talk about how they work long-term). Dungeon World is the best known port of D&D ideas.

Reign. A second edition has just come out. Rules-heavy, but with a really fun "one-roll engine" system for character generation that lets you choose how much control you want over your character's origin.

One Ring (as above).

FATE. I've done a lot with FATE, but most has been sf or modern settings. Happy to talk about those if you want.



Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.
Great fun, cool art, fun to read, interesting mechanics based on the standard "d20 D&D'esque" game. Oh, and it has the Character Funnel. :) If you ever want to show a jaded Player just how amazingly powerful and strong his 2nd level Rogue this game and start it with the Character Funnel.


Paul L. Ming

aramis erak

Curious about Warhammer . . . heard about it but not much more than that.
Many Warhammer fans are unhappy with WFRP4; some like it, some more like it after a few fairly fundamental houserules.

Many more are going over to Sweihänder.

Fate Core can be used for fantasy, and is top 10-ish...
Fate Accelerated is a less gritty version of Fate, and about equally popular as Fate Core.

Sticking closer to D&D themes, Dungeon Crawl Classics is very popular.

And, while not exactly top 10, The much underrated Tunnels and Trolls is always worth a look. It's simple and elegant... very OSR, even in the new edition, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls.



Anyway, aside from Pathfinder and Level Up, what are some other top dog alternatives to WOTC? I know there's a lot, but what are some of the big players?

Came across Necrotic Gnome - read free stuff looks pretty good. Also generally familiar with Castles & Crusades.

Looking for stuff with lots of support, material available etc.
Dungeon Crawl Classics offers a pretty radical rethink of fantasy RPGs, with a ton of modular material.

Level Up!

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