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

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I ran a 3 year campaign with Shadow of the Demon Lord and will run another soon. It's not perfect, but mechanically it does most of what I'd want 5e to do in a more streamlined and modular fashion. Plus there's a tonne of supplemental material that'll keep you busy for years if you want it.

I'm digging reading through the witcher rpg right now. It doesn't do anything particularly innovative mechanically and it's a little more crunchy and clunky than I'd normally like, but it has a lot of tight interwoven system that look like they'd be rewarding in play.

Almost all monsters have immunities and vulnerabilities, so preparation and investigation are strongly rewarded.

Monsters have common knowledge and also monster lore checks. Common knowledge is usually a bunch of superstition that may or may not be useful, whereas monster lore (a special skill of witchers) reveals typical combat tactics, behaviours and other characteristics in a methodical almost scientific way.

Monsters are groupes into types. These types usually have weaknesses to certain oils. You can craft oils, mutagens, witcher potions and the like. And the easiest way is...the loot you get from killing a monster.

In true witcher fashion, not all monsters are evil. Sometimes it pays to find out all the facts and who the "real" monster is.

Sometimes monsters can be made to leave if the nature of them (such as a curse from someone in a town that used dark magic) is handled, so direct fighting need not always happen.

Etc. I realise this post has gone on too long.


Please please please please, when someone suggests Dungeon World for a Powered by the Apocalypse option, please please substitute Ironsworn instead.

It actually delivers on the promise that Dungeon World only partially realized, IMHO.

Also, Shaintar or Pathfinder for Savage Worlds, Fantasy Craft, Radiance RPG, Swords of the Serpentine, Genesys w/ Realms of Terrinoth would all be good options.
Dungeon World is a bit far removed from "D&D style of play". Similar in some way, VASTLY different in how the game is 'mean to be played'. Still, if you are looking for "D&D, but with different play style goals", then absolutely DW! :) It's got classes, levels, hit points, etc...but the DM doesn't roll dice and is only slightly more in control of things (re: NPC's, campaign world, etc) than the Players...who, through their actions and words, pretty much dictate where the game goes during play. It took me and my group a good two or three sessions to get comfortable with it. We all really enjoyed it! Definitely worth a test run at the very least, no matter if you stick with it or not.

I always laugh when I hear "Shaintar". I laugh because that was the name of my brothers AD&D campaign world back in the early 90's. I probably still have some of his campaign notes and maps sitting in one of the boxes in my pantry right now.


Paul L. Ming


Runequest? I’m not a fan of the setting but I’ve been thinking more and more about BRP games.
In that case I wholeheartedly recommend MYTHRAS! It's basically RQ with everything relating to Glorantha excised. It has a few great Mythic Earth settings (Mythic Britain, Mythic Constantinople, Mythic Rome, Mythic Babylon) and works well with Mongoose's "Legend" series too (Vikings of Legend etc) but also has more fantastic stuff.


Rather than repeat things already mentioned, I'll suggest a few that my group has played and enjoyed.

Barbarians of Lemuria. Barbarians, thieves, sorcerors and all that in a more imaginative setting than most, fairly simple system, not much support for it.
Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. Modiphius, uses their 2d20 system, one of the more complex games in that system, I imagine most people are familiar with Hyboria if they're reading this. Lots of stuff for this.
Questworlds. Very generic, much more abstract than most of the systems that have been mentioned, It can run pretty much any setting, quite a bit of work for the GM, probably something that depends a lot on players "getting it". Still not officially released but a free version is up on
Sword of Cepheus. Derived from Cepheus Engine, a Traveller clone. There's a fair number of adventures for this or related games, largely skill based and characters will be more fragile than experience D&D ones.
Forbidden Lands. One of the excellent free League games, explorers and plunderers in a land of ruins, simple system, build a base, establish your presence, and probably die nastily. Some supporting adventures and a new campaign region so far, more on the way it seems.

Argyle King

Familiar with GURPS - played a bit back in the day fantasy, scifi, horror (y)
Maybe play a few sessions of Deadlands (Savage Worlds) as a palate cleanser and stop reading WOTC news threads and getting discouraged about future of the game and throwing dust and ashes into the air!

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (the boxed set)
may be something you enjoy.

I would also recommend Douglas Cole's Delvers to Grow. It offers a more streamlined charter creation process which allows starting at different power levels than default Dungeon Fantasy. I believe there's also a bestiary written by Cole on Kickstarter.


Blistering Barnacles!
Some great suggestions here, DCC is intriguing, Shadow of Demon Lord as well. I've never tried the DW etc but heard lots about them.

This sounds really cool for occasional one shots with a non D&D vibe Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20

Noticed nobody mentioned any Monte Cook stuff?

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