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Can you name a good fantasy TTRPG that's not D&D?


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mrm1138

Explorer
I'm surprised I haven't seen any mention of 13th Age. Is that because it's too similar to D&D for people to consider it, or is it just not that popular? I've personally been wanting to try it out with my group as a possible replacement for 5e because I like a lot of the differences. I think the feats and the One Unique Thing make it easier to make PCs more customizable.

As far as combat goes, the Escalation Die and damage on missing an attack roll seem like nifty innovations to keep combat from bogging down. Plus, distance is abstracted (engaged, nearby, far away) so it isn't dependent on maps and minis.

Also, from a GM perspective, I like the monster stat blocks a whole lot more as they look much easier to run. Magic using NPCs don't require you to flip back and forth between their entry in the bestiary and the spells section.
 
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Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
I'm surprised I haven't seen any mention of 13th Age. Is that because it's too similar to D&D for people to consider it, or is it just not that popular. I've personally been wanting to try it out with my group as a possible replacement for 5e because I like a lot of the differences. I think the feats and the One Unique Thing make it easier to make PCs more customizable. Also, the Escalation Die and damage on missing an attack took seem like nifty innovations to keep combat from bogging down.

Also, from a GM perspective, I like the monster stat blocks a whole lot more as they look much easier to run. Magic using NPCs don't require you to flip back and forth between their entry in the bestiary and the spells section.
Oh I do like 13th Age too, but I haven't run it in a while. Other good games to run like Blades in the Dark and Beyond the Fence, Below the Grave...
 



mrm1138

Explorer
Personally, I consider 13th age to be D&D, just like Pathfinder, Hackmaster, and Arcana Evolved are D&D. The sign on the front may say differently, but that's just legal nonsense.
That's fair. Heinsoo and Tweet were definitely very overt about their intentions. I just wasn't sure how picky the OP was being about the definition of "not D&D."
 

Aldarc

Legend
Personally, I consider 13th age to be D&D, just like Pathfinder, Hackmaster, and Arcana Evolved are D&D. The sign on the front may say differently, but that's just legal nonsense.
I suppose one could distinguish between "good fantasy TTRPGs" that are technically not D&D but essentially D&D-esque fantasy heartbreakers (e.g., 13th Age, Worlds Without Number, a lot of OSR, arguably Shadow of the Demon Lord, etc.) and those that definitely lie outside of the d20 system family (e.g., AGE, PbtA, BRP, FitD, Cortex, Fate, etc.).
 


Hex08

Explorer
Personally, I consider 13th age to be D&D, just like Pathfinder, Hackmaster, and Arcana Evolved are D&D. The sign on the front may say differently, but that's just legal nonsense.
While I understand where you are coming from, and I flip flop between agreeing with you and not, in the end I would have to say I don't. Pathfinder, Arcana Evolved, Castles & Crusades, OSRIC and all the other games that are similar have things that set them apart enough to be considered their own thing (some games more than others). There is more to an RPG than just the ruleset, although that can be a big part of it, and many of these games have a different enough feel than D&D and/or enough differences in the rules to set them apart. Once we start trying to make these distinctions you are never going to get people to agree on what is or is not basically still D&D.

Since the OP just asked if anyone "Can you name a good fantasy TTRPG that's not D&D?" without any additional info or restrictions then any TTRPG that doesn't have Dungeons and Dragons on the cover fits the bill.

Just my take, no more or less valid that yours.

 

niklinna

Explorer
I suppose one could distinguish between "good fantasy TTRPGs" that are technically not D&D but essentially D&D-esque fantasy heartbreakers (e.g., 13th Age, Worlds Without Number, a lot of OSR, arguably Shadow of the Demon Lord, etc.) and those that definitely lie outside of the d20 system family (e.g., AGE, PbtA, BRP, FitD, Cortex, Fate, etc.).
What particular things about those fantasy heartbreakers break your heart?
 

Dungeon Fantasy RPG (powered by GURPS) is really great. I've been playing in a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game (same game basically, but DFPRG is a boxed set simplified) for about six years now, have GM'd DFRPG for 2+ years, and have played and GM'd D&D (1st Ed through 5th Ed) over the last 35+ years. But DFRPG is my current favorite. You should totally check it out. If you have an obsession for polyhedral dice and can't game without them...well, that might be an issue (it's 3d6). But it's ton of fun, combat is less abstract (you can parry, dodge, block), etc. And GURPS in general gives you the tools to run any kind of system. GREAT support on FoundryVTT by the way.
 

nedjer

Adventurer
I'd play other systems now but fun for those who like making ttrpgs and easy enough to find. Dragon Quest which was a bit early new school; Stormbringer, because it's Stormbringer; and Everway as something of a different approach.
 




jdrakeh

Adventurer
HarnMaster (both Gold and 3e editions) if fantasy realism floats your boat. My own Yarnmaster, perhaps, if you'd like the feel of HarnMaster with fewer rules (and for less money; there are free "Community Copies" available for download).

Sword Omen (also by me), if you'd like a diceless fantasy game inspired heavily by OD&D and WFRP. It has a heavy focus on rulings versus rules, as well as exploration. You can get it here (there are free "Community Copies" available for download).
 

While I understand where you are coming from, and I flip flop between agreeing with you and not, in the end I would have to say I don't. Pathfinder, Arcana Evolved, Castles & Crusades, OSRIC and all the other games that are similar have things that set them apart enough to be considered their own thing (some games more than others). There is more to an RPG than just the ruleset, although that can be a big part of it, and many of these games have a different enough feel than D&D and/or enough differences in the rules to set them apart. Once we start trying to make these distinctions you are never going to get people to agree on what is or is not basically still D&D.
That's fair. The way I see it, D&D of different editions, Pathfinder, Arcana Evolved, and so on are analogous to different types of burgers. There's some difference between a Big Mac and a Whopper, and you can discuss which one is "best" (or "most suited to your preferences"), but they're a lot more similar to one another than they are to a bowl of chili.
Since the OP just asked if anyone "Can you name a good fantasy TTRPG that's not D&D?" without any additional info or restrictions then any TTRPG that doesn't have Dungeons and Dragons on the cover fits the bill.
And in that spirit:
Ars Magica: Interesting game set in "Mythic Europe" (aka Europe with fantasy/fairy tale/legendary elements). Does a lot of things differently, notably the focus on "Troupe play" where each player controls both a Magus and a Companion (highly competent character that's not a magus), plus a bunch of commonly controlled "grogs" (servants and guards). The idea is that the Magi are part of a Covenant, which is just a fancy word for "group of magi more or less working together, usually based in fixed location", and in each adventure you send one or more Magi off to deal with a thing and they bring along the Companions of those players who are not playing Magi this time around. The game is designed to be rather slower-paced, with lots of stuff for downtime. The expectation is that there is an "adventure" maybe once a year, and the rest of the time the magi are doing research and stuff. The magic system is also very interesting, being based around five techniques/verbs (create, destroy, control, transform, perceive) and ten forms/nouns (air, earth, fire, water, body, mind, animal, plant, magic, image) which you combine to make spells.

TORG Eternity: TORG is set in an action-movie version of the modern world, except various regions of the world have been invaded by other worlds, and these invaders bring their own realities with them. So you get a multi-genre world with classic fantasy in Scandinavia and the British Isles, 30s pulp with strong Egyptian mystic elements in the Middle-East and North Africa, techno-horror combined with Max Max-style post-apocalypse in Russia, Victorian horror in India, Land of the Lost-style stone age dinosaur jungles in parts of North and Central America, a cyberpunk theocracy in France and Spain, and techno-thriller with biohorror elements in east Asia. Things work differently in these other realms, though you can usually override the local reality for a while. PCs are Storm Knights, who have a much greater ability than most in maintaining a connection to "home", and they usually work for/with the Delphi Council which send them out on missions to thwart the invaders in various ways. The game system uses cards in addition to dice, and does so in a way that make victory the result of cooperative card play. The cards also serve part of the same function as 13th Age's escalation die, in that PCs often start out as underdogs in an encounter but find advantages to turn things around.
 

Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
I'm surprised I haven't seen any mention of 13th Age. Is that because it's too similar to D&D for people to consider it, or is it just not that popular? I've personally been wanting to try it out with my group as a possible replacement for 5e because I like a lot of the differences. I think the feats and the One Unique Thing make it easier to make PCs more customizable.

As far as combat goes, the Escalation Die and damage on missing an attack roll seem like nifty innovations to keep combat from bogging down. Plus, distance is abstracted (engaged, nearby, far away) so it isn't dependent on maps and minis.

Also, from a GM perspective, I like the monster stat blocks a whole lot more as they look much easier to run. Magic using NPCs don't require you to flip back and forth between their entry in the bestiary and the spells section.

I really wish I had an opportunity to play 13th Age, for all the reasons you laid out. Another thing that interests me is how popular it is among a lot of people whose gaming diet is primarily PbtA and other narrative/story-forward games. 13th Age seems to fill a D&D-like niche for them, but it's clearly doing something very different or it wouldn't be so appealing to them.
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
Shadowrun and Dresden Files Roleplaying Game are two very different takes on urban fantasy. You either count MERP, HARP, and Rolemaster as "D&D-adjacent" or you don't, but they're excellent. Barbarians of Lemuria has been mentioned. Deadlands is more often considered horror, but it can be played as a fantasy game.
 


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